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Book Bites is currently on hiatus. Zja Noir is started a Masters degree and has had to cut back on online activities. You can still follow Book Bites on Facebook for snippets, links to giveaways, and book-related images and news. Book Bites may be updated periodically. Feel free to subscribe or follow Zja on social networking sites to see updates.

30 August 2010

Manic Monday: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


Each Monday (or the closest I can get to Monday) I will be posting a Past/Present/Future Reading Post called Manic Monday. Don't hate me if I post it on a Tuesday - it just indicates how "manic" my Monday really was! If you want to see more of what I have been reading, I try and update my Goodreads account with each book I am reading.


What I just finished reading
Suzanna's Surrender by Nora Roberts
Stars: 4/5


Blurb from Goodreads:
Suzanna Calhoun and her sisters simply had to find the priceless emeralds hidden somewhere in their ancestral home. The jewels were the key to the deadly mystery that had threatened them for so long. And for Suzanna they were something more - her link to a man whose past was tangled with hers in ways she was only beginning to understand.

Holt Bradford had love ...more Suzanna Calhoun and her sisters simply had to find the priceless emeralds hidden somewhere in their ancestral home. The jewels were the key to the deadly mystery that had threatened them for so long. And for Suzanna they were something more - her link to a man whose past was tangled with hers in ways she was only beginning to understand.

Holt Bradford had loved Suzanna for more years than he cared to remember, loved the laughing girl she'd been and the gentle, fragile woman she'd become. He'd never once told her what was in his heart, but now he had no choice. He had to protect her from the shadows swirling around her, and he had to make her his at last...


Why I picked it up: I was bored.
Why I finished it: I was bored.
I'd give it to: Anyone who loves Nora Roberts.

What I am reading now
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins



Blurb from Goodreads:
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

What I am reading next
Tomorrow I am buying Suzanne Collin's Mockingjay! *squee*



P.S. - Who do you think the best Paranormal Romance authors are?

27 August 2010

Funky Friday: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (UK edition)

Welcome to Funky Fridays! 
It is time we do something different to celebrate TGIF. Instead of focusing on the content of what we are reading (writing reviews, finding teasers to share, etc.), I thought I would start a meme on the covers of the books we are reading. There are some really amazing covers out there, and they really are worth sharing.

The Book Bites "Funky Friday" meme works like this:
  • Every Friday, have a look at the books you have read in the last week and choose the cover you loved the most. If you aren’t a big reader (some of us are freaks of nature) think about the last 5 books you read, and choose one from those).
  • If you know the name of the artist (it should be listed other side of the title page and is also sometimes on the back cover), please include it, so people can look into their art.  
  • Think about why you liked it. Was it because you loved the artist, the concept, the model? Or maybe it was really in keeping with the spirit of the story?
  • Find a picture of your favourite cover (scanned or online – if in doubt try fantasticfiction.co.uk) and share it with us. I recommend a minimum size of 200x325 so you can see the cover clearly.
  • Tell us why you like it, what draws you to it, and tell us if it affected how you approached the book.
  • Enjoy all the pretty covers! There are so many amazing, creative, inspiring and meaningful designs floating around the traps. Friday seems like a good time to celebrate this.
  • Feel free to continue this on your own blog and share the funky Friday cover love! <3

The Book:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (UK edition)
The Artist: 
To be advised.
The Cover:







Why I like it:
Aside from Mockingjay, I have to state that I don't really like the American covers of The Hunger Game series. I also find that the British covers are more effective of portraying what is between the covers. The one for The Hunger Games has a waif of a girl, a bit bedraggled, on the cover, with the HG logo and splatters of blood. As the book is about sending children off to play a game of "survivor" to the death, it is very apt. Catching Fire is about the Capitol's response to Katniss and unrest in the districts, and she becomes a symbol of rebellion, as does the mockingjay. I haven't read Mockingjay yet (TUESDAY!!) but as the hook at the end of Catching Fire was regarding the Thirteenth District, which was known for nuclear weaponry and is meant to be still steaming with nasty noxious vapours, I assume that this cover also represents the content of the story. So, I do have a preference for the UK covers of The Hunger Games series.

With The Hunger Game cover, I don’t find it as engaging as the following books, but I think it is effective. I think Katniss is looking a little too preppy, and she doesn’t wear that outfit in the book, but I guess it can be seen as one of her “between performances” outfits. It is important that she is wearing her mockingjay pin, a sign of rebellion and a reminder of home.
 I think the HG logo is also an important focal point of the UK covers. It ties the covers together as a series, as well as making an interesting design element. I love the font used to the title of the book. Having the contestant silhouettes as the white space in the letters, and with the distressed edges of the font. It is just awesome. Have I talked about my love/hate relationship with blood splatters before? I think they can be a really strong and interesting part of a piece of graphic art – but! – only if it is relevant to the story. If a protagonist gets a paper cut on page one of the novel, obviously blood splatters are overkill. However, if there is blood sport, a killer, or blood play (yes, there is a difference) in the novel, they are effective – as long as they are not over done or over emphasised. It is similar to having lightning on covers which contains magic. In this case, and in conjunction with all the other design elements, I think The Hunger Games, as well as Catching Fire and Mockingjay, are a successful balance. I really like these covers.

I am off to reread Catching Fire so I can be nice and refreshed on the details before buying Mockingjay next week :)

I may just have something different planned for post-Mockingjay. You will have to watch this space to find out!


24 August 2010

Teaser Tuesday: On The Road by Jack Kerouac


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers: 


I wondered what the Spirit of the Mountain was thinking, and looked up and saw jackpines in the moon, and saw the ghosts of old miners, and wondered about it, in the whole eastern dark wall of the Divide this night there was silence and the whisper of the wind, except in the ravine where we roared; and on the other side of the Divide was the great Western Slope, and the big plateau that went to Steamboat Springs, and dropped, and led you to the Eastern Colorado desert and the Utah desert; all in darkness now as we fumed and screamed in our mountain nook, mad drunken Americans in the mighty land. We were on the roof of America and all we could do was yell, I guess - across the night, eastward over the plains, where somewhere an old man with white hair was probably walking towards us with the Word, and would arrive any minute and make us silent.
Page 54 of On The Road by Jack Kerouac

23 August 2010

Manic Monday: Moon Swept by Rebecca York & Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Each Monday (or the closest I can get to Monday) I will be posting a Past/Present/Future Reading Post called Manic Monday. Don't hate me if I post it on a Tuesday - it just indicates how "manic" my Monday really was! If you want to see more of what I have been reading, I try and update my Goodreads account with each book I am reading.


What I just finished reading
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Stars: 5/5


Blurb from Goodreads:
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


Why I picked it up: I had finished all my new books and needed something else to read. I had planned to reread it before I buy Mockingjay, the third installment in the trilogy.
Why I finished it: It is brilliant.
I'd give it to: Everyone

What I am reading now
Moon Swept by Rebecca York



Blurb from Goodreads:

WITCHING MOON

A Werewolf park ranger must keep his identity a secret, but when he comes across a bewitching biologist, he forgets everythi ...more WITCHING MOON

A Werewolf park ranger must keep his identity a secret, but when he comes across a bewitching biologist, he forgets everything but the lust coursing through his body. Until the pair comes face-to-face with pure evil...

CRIMSON MOON

A reformed delinquent werewolf falls for the beautiful daughter of his nemesis--and even though she's wary of this man's dark secrets, she cannot ignore the heat smoldering between them...

MOON SWEPT

They couldn't be more perfect for each other. Now Rebecca York's WITCHING MOON and CRIMSON MOON, two of her acclaimed werewolf novels, come together in one exhilarating volume of suspense and sensuality--under the pale light of the moon...


What I am reading next
I have no idea. The girls on twitter gave me some great recommendations last night, so I have to sort through those. I also need to reread Catching Fire before I can read Mockingjay.



P.S. - Who do you think the best Paranormal Romance authors are?

20 August 2010

Funky Friday: Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh (cover)

Welcome to Funky Fridays! 
It is time we do something different to celebrate TGIF. Instead of focusing on the content of what we are reading (writing reviews, finding teasers to share, etc.), I thought I would start a meme on the covers of the books we are reading. There are some really amazing covers out there, and they really are worth sharing.

The Book Bites "Funky Friday" meme works like this:
  • Every Friday, have a look at the books you have read in the last week and choose the cover you loved the most. If you aren’t a big reader (some of us are freaks of nature) think about the last 5 books you read, and choose one from those).
  • If you know the name of the artist (it should be listed other side of the title page and is also sometimes on the back cover), please include it, so people can look into their art.  
  • Think about why you liked it. Was it because you loved the artist, the concept, the model? Or maybe it was really in keeping with the spirit of the story?
  • Find a picture of your favourite cover (scanned or online – if in doubt try fantasticfiction.co.uk) and share it with us. I recommend a minimum size of 200x325 so you can see the cover clearly.
  • Tell us why you like it, what draws you to it, and tell us if it affected how you approached the book.
  • Enjoy all the pretty covers! There are so many amazing, creative, inspiring and meaningful designs floating around the traps. Friday seems like a good time to celebrate this.
  • Feel free to continue this on your own blog and share the funky Friday cover love! <3

The Book:
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh
The Artist: 
Tony Mauro (Here is an interview with him on Nalini's blog)
The Cover:

Why I like it:
The digital art on this is amazing! I love the design - the depth, contrast and balance is spot on! I love the wings as well.

17 August 2010

Teaser Tuesday: On The Road by Jack Kerouac


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers: 


‘You have absolutely no regard for anybody but yourself and your damned kicks. All you thinking about is what’s hanging between your legs and how much money or fun you can get out of people and then you just throw them aside.’
~ Galatea talking about Dean (and she is spot on!)
Page 182 of On The Road by Jack Kerouac

When books attack!


I scared myself last night. My friends on twitter and facebook both laughed at me whilst commiserating, but I am really scared. I started reshelving all the books I have been reading this year as well as some of the new ones I have bought. My books are now laying face down, and instead of five books to the width of a book, there is now twenty (ten high by two deep). Even that wasn’t enough room. So I started stacking them on top of the last row of books (the books on the top shelf are vertical). Those are stacked 15 high. My main bookshelf is approximately 2 metres long, and with the books on top, it is now about 2 metres tall. It looms over my bed, reminding me of the forest in Charles de Lint’s Spirits in the Wire. I am afraid it will collapse and smother me in books whilst I sleep. You think I am joking, but my bookshelf is so FULL! And it is holding more books than it should! And then, to add to the madness, there are books precariously stacked on top of books on top of books. Want to know what is worse? I haven’t even finished! I only got about half way through my unshelved books. I have more in storage as well. I think I need to splash out and buy more bookshelves. I have 2 small ones, but they are in a similar state.


At the moment, I am thinking of buying this Esprit Large Book Case in Chocolate from Officeworks. It doesn't have as much soul as the large one made by my great uncle, but I don't have time to wait for my Dad to make me one. Lets face it, by the time he does, I will have bought even more books I will need to house! This one is only $99, and is more than 2 metres tall. I think I should get at least two. One to replace the two short bookshelves (they are cheap and nasty) and one for unshelved books and future purchases. I get paid tomorrow… I would have to rearrange my room. My desk would have to go between my bookshelf and the corner, and that would free up 2x1 metre of my room (I think). And I will have to dispose of 3 shelving units some how. I think only one would be of use to anyone else… I am planning on buying a bedroom suite with my tax return as well, so I am eventually getting rid of most of my furniture.

I really am jonesing for proper storage space. I am sick of storing books anywhere I can find some flat surfaces. It means there is no order to my room and it is driving my crazy! I have given up organising my room as it is a complete and utter lost cause. I hate feeling anxiety about my room, as it is my last refuge from the world at large. Normally I look at my books and I get a glow. As of last night, I am scared they will squish me as flat as a pancake when I am sleeping LOL I have no idea how many I have, and I REALLY don’t want to think too closely about how much I have spent on them!

16 August 2010

Manic Monday: On The Road by Jack Kerouac


Each Monday (or the closest I can get to Monday) I will be posting a Past/Present/Future Reading Post called Manic Monday. Don't hate me if I post it on a Tuesday - it just indicates how "manic" my Monday really was! If you want to see more of what I have been reading, I try and update my Goodreads account with each book I am reading.


What I just finished reading
Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh
Stars: 4/5


Blurb from Goodreads:
Ashaya Aleine was separated from her son, forced to create a neural implant that will forever enslave her psychically gifted Psy race. After fighting a desperate battle to save her child and escape the PsyNet, she’s lead not to safety, but into the lethal danger of a sniper’s embrace

Why I picked it up: It was raining heavily on Sunday. I was meant to get up and head into Galaxy for Nalini's booksigning, but I didn't feel like walking in the rain. Instead I picked up one of her books and read it instead.
Why I finished it: Because Nalini is always an entertaining read!
I'd give it to: Anyone who likes paranormal romance

What I am reading now
On The Road by Jack Kerouac



Blurb from Goodreads:
On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac's works, is not only the soul of the Beat movement and literature, but one of the most important novels of the century. Like nearly all of Kerouac's writing, On The Road is thinly fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture.

What I am reading next




P.S. - Who do you think the best Paranormal Romance authors are?

13 August 2010

Book Lovers Book Club: my shortlist for tomorrow



I am attending the Book Lovers Book Club in Sutherland. Our first meeting is tomorrow afternoon (I am desperately trying to finish On The Road in time!). We are going around the group alphabetically to choose the books - each of us choosing 5 books to present at the bookclub. I guess we will have a vote LOL The bookclub is for general fiction, so I tried to think of books that would appeal not only to myself. I wanted to go with steampunk books as well (The Boneshaker, Leviathan and Souless etc) but was told to choose 5 books. These have been on my TBR list for quite some time, so I thought it would be a chance to read one of them.

Here is my shortlist, with blurbs from goodreads.com


The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
I am fascinated by the descriptions of the era in this story. My friend Sofia keeps telling me I must read it.

In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbour Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.


Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
Adapted as a movie by Hayao Miyazaki, one of my favourite directors. My friend Sofia continues to recommend I read the original.

In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.

After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.

The Hatter sisters--Sophie, Lettie, and Martha--and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.

In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl's castle?

Diana Wynne Jones's entrancing fantasy is filled with surprises at every turn, but when the final stormy duel between the Witch and the Wizard is finished, all the pieces fall magically into place.



The Lace Reader - Brunonia Barry
Won through booktagger.com and loved it.

Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the pat ...more "Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations, but the disappearance of two women brings Towner home to Salem and the truth about the death of her twin sister to light." The Lace Reader is a tale that spirals into a world of secrets, confused identities, lies, and half-truths in which the reader quickly finds it's nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction, but as Towner Whitney points out early on in the novel, "There are no accidents.”


Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
Recommended to my by a blogging friend (Was that you JoV?), as well as a lovely girl who I work with. It was also nominated for a Booker and is about to be made into a movie.

From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love.

As a child, Kathy—now thirty-one years old—lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed-even comforted-by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood—and about their lives now.

A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance-and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro's finest work.



The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
I was at first intrigued by the Vintage Classics cover, and then fascinated when I read the blurb.

One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White was a phenomenal bestseller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Dickens, Collins' friend and mentor. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall readers today.

The story begins with an eerie midnight encounter between artist Walter Hartright and a ghostly woman dressed all in white who seems desperate to share a dark secret. The next day Hartright, engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half sister, tells his pupils about the strange events of the previous evening. Determined to learn all they can about the mysterious woman in white, the three soon find themselves drawn into a chilling vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.

Masterfully constructed, The Woman in White is dominated by two of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction: Marion Halcombe, dark, mannish, yet irresistibly fascinating, and Count Fosco, the sinister and flamboyant "Napoleon of Crime."

If you are in the Sutherland area and want to join the bookclub, you can leave a message on the club facebook page. I had better go and finish reading On The Road...

Funky Friday: Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks (cover)

Welcome to Funky Fridays! 
It is time we do something different to celebrate TGIF. Instead of focusing on the content of what we are reading (writing reviews, finding teasers to share, etc.), I thought I would start a meme on the covers of the books we are reading. There are some really amazing covers out there, and they really are worth sharing.

The Book Bites "Funky Friday" meme works like this:
  • Every Friday, have a look at the books you have read in the last week and choose the cover you loved the most. If you aren’t a big reader (some of us are freaks of nature) think about the last 5 books you read, and choose one from those).
  • If you know the name of the artist (it should be listed other side of the title page and is also sometimes on the back cover), please include it, so people can look into their art.  
  • Think about why you liked it. Was it because you loved the artist, the concept, the model? Or maybe it was really in keeping with the spirit of the story?
  • Find a picture of your favourite cover (scanned or online – if in doubt try fantasticfiction.co.uk) and share it with us. I recommend a minimum size of 200x325 so you can see the cover clearly.
  • Tell us why you like it, what draws you to it, and tell us if it affected how you approached the book.
  • Enjoy all the pretty covers! There are so many amazing, creative, inspiring and meaningful designs floating around the traps. Friday seems like a good time to celebrate this.
  • Feel free to continue this on your own blog and share the funky Friday cover love! <3

The Book:
Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks
The Artist: 
Illustration: Steve Stone / Design: LBBG – Peter Cotton
The Cover:

Why I like it:
I love the overall design and layout, the contrasting colours and the depth of the illustration. I am fascinated by silhouettes! The only thing that detracts from the cover design is the shield in the lower third of the cover.

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