Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I have to be honest- I've never read a Victoria Kann book before. However while working in the bookstore I saw how much of a hold these books had on children. Little girls flocked to them and I met a selection of very excited little boys who couldn't get enough of of the book as well.

With three books predating this newest one (Pinkalicious, Purplicious, and Goldilicious) Silverlicious will surely please all of it's fans.

Pinkalicious ends up losing a tooth, much like all other children her age, however this tooth ends up being her sweet tooth. Now all sweets taste gross and Pinkalicious is determined to get another sweet tooth. However, after visits from different fantasy characters of holidays (Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas) and being ungrateful of each gift she receives she realizes that being sweet doesn't necessarily have to come from a tooth. It's an attitude as well.

The book is published on February 1st, just in time for Valentine's Day. Give this sweet story to your child so that they can enjoy the bright colorful images and learn a thing or two about what it is to be truly sweet. As I've said, I never read Victoria Kann's books before but she definitely received another fan in me. Do expect reviews in the future of her other books.

In the meantime order your copy of Silverlicious and catch up on the previous books if you haven't already!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Hours

Pulitzer Prize winning Michael Cunningham wrote The Hours over ten years ago. Since then it was made into a beautiful major motion picture that is both startling and moving and (in my opinion) very well adapted from the book.

I read the book years ago when I was only a freshman in college. During my junior year I took a film class where we watched the film and it brought me back to the book. Now, this year, I've read it again. It is always amazing how different books are each time you sit down and read them. I notice things I never paid attention to beforehand and sometimes I understand the plots more simply because I've had experiences similar to the characters. This is what growing up does to you.

The Hours, a tale of three women, all from very different times and all tied together through actions and feelings. What I love is the power of Virginia Woolf's writing that has influenced all the women involved. The creative process and near obsession of coming up with a plot and deciding what will happen to the characters and when (shown through Woolf's chapters) I find to be accurate and written beautifully. When I've been 'in the writing mood' I literally sink into the world of which I am writing. I find it hard to escape and even when doing normal life functions such as having tea or socializing I'll find my mind slipping back to the characters and thinking of who will die, how it will affect others, what will happen to so and so.

The parallels of each plot line are so lovely and every time I read the book I notice how each character has the same experiences, no matter how small. Roses, always the mention of roses. Mrs. Brown surrounds her roses with presents for her husbands birthday, Clarissa buys roses for the party she will put on, Woolf places roses around a dead bird and has her well known character Mrs. Dalloway buy flowers.

I mean it when I say that the book always holds a newly revealed secret each time I read it. It's beautiful and haunting. It makes you open your eyes and reconsider your life, to look at it from a different perspective. At least this is how it's affected me. And don't even get me started on the movie. I love it. I love that film and the score to it. It's just lovely.

The book, with so many mentions of springtime warmth, was wonderful to read. Especially now while we have ice covering the windows and the snow plows driving by. I can't even see outside, just blurred ghostly images of everything that passes by through the sheet of ice.

There is one thing this book most certainly caused me to do, so be forewarned it might happen to you, I went out and bought flowers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interview with Author Mitchell James Kaplan

Last week I wrote about Mitchell James Kaplan's book By Fire, By Water. It was a fantastic read and the author was kind enough to answer some questions for me to present to you all. Check this interview out, my original book review and once again- go read the book!

Q: When you were finished writing this were you happy it was completed? Sad?

A: I never did feel it was “finished.” Possibly to the annoyance of my publisher, I kept revising until the last minute. Even now that it's in the marketplace, my feeling is that By Fire, By Water is only the first chapter in a larger project (my novel writing career) rather than a complete entity unto itself.

Q: Out of all the characters who were in your novel, did you find yourself connecting emotionally with a particular one?

A: I became involved with all the characters. It was important for me to inhabit each of them. I lived with them every day. They were an important part of my life. They still are.

Q: Why have Santangel be the more prominent character and not another?

A: He occupied a position at the center of the events I wanted to write about, and played a role in all of them. His role as Columbus's sponsor was crucial, yet remains relatively unknown. His life was dramatic and I found his crises of identity and faith compelling. I did not chose Santangel; he chose me.

Q: What would you like the readers of this book to come away with when they're finished?

A: For me, writing novels isn't just an exercise in style, or in plot-construction, it's about contemplating the human condition through narrative. I would love to think my readers benefit from getting to know, intimately, characters whom they might not otherwise have understood or felt for.

Q: Are you working on any more novels and if so will they be of the historical genre?

A: Yes, and yes. In my opinion, all novels are historical. Even if they are set in the present (or the future) they involve exploring a given society at a particular time, trying to capture the spirit of that time and the way individuals are affected by – and change – the world around them. The setting and period may differ, but the process of researching and writing the novel will probably remain the same for me.

Q: Do you ever intend on writing another novel that will focus on Christopher Columbus' journey?

A: That is not in my immediate plans. I do have an idea for a novel along these lines, but it's not one of the next few I plan to write, and I may not, in fact, ever get to it.

Q: Care to leave any final words for myself, the readers of my blog, and your fans?


Thank you so much, Erica, for giving me this opportunity.

Bloggers like you have become so important for writers and readers alike. You are providing an invaluable service by raising awareness of books that might otherwise go unnoticed. There is a wonderful vibrancy in the blogging community, too, and a respect for the written word and for storytellling.

To your readers: Thank you for supporting “Soon Remembered Tales.” Keep coming back for Erica's excellent recommendations, as will I.

To my readers: What would I be, without you?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • 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; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The Hours: A Novel"Do you think bad writing actually attracts a higher incidence of misfortune?"
"How I'd love to live in a world in which that were true."
The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Vampire Diaries- Stefan's Diaries: Vol. 2 Bloodlust

The second book in the Stefan's Diaries trilogy picks up where the first book left off. Refer to the first books review here.

We follow the newborn vampires Stefan and Damon as they run from Mystic Falls and arrive in New Orleans. Two new vampires who don't really have any idea of what it is to be a vampire they find themselves not only in trouble but realize just how young and unexperienced they are.

We see the darker side of Stefan who enjoys killing and human blood more than the Stefan we are familiar with on the tv show. Damon is weaker, sadder, certainly not the evil character that I've come to love on the show. However, by the end of the book that crazier character appears.

It's interesting to see the switch in roles of the brothers however I found myself just wanting the Stefan and Damon I enjoy from the show. Lexi appears and I embraced her. I loved her character during the show and I was happy to see read of her relationship with Stefan in the book.

Some of the scenes were incredibly predictable but it still held my attention. Vampire Diaries are generally a good form of entertainment. Whether it's the books, the show, or the books based on the show I'm always happy to sneak away and catch up with Stefan and Damon. They're age appropriate for teenagers and easily something I would have obsessed over when I was younger. Actually I obsess over the show right now. The third book is due out in May which saddens me- that's a long time to wait! But at least the tv show will have new episodes by the end of this month.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Vampire Diaries- Stefan's Diaries: Vol. 1 Origins

This albeit short book is a quick and satisfying read and perfect for any fan of the show. Now be forewarned- this book is not a continuation of The Vampire Diaries BOOK series. It is a written dialogue based off of The Vampire Diaries TV series. If you have read the books AND seen the show then you know that the two are very different in plot so if you have only watched the TV show you can pick this book up and enjoy it since it follows the TV shows plot. If you have only read the books then this will just leave you confused.

So quick sum up:
TV Show and Book Series: Stefan and Damon are the sexy vampire brothers.
TV Show: They hail from Virginia. Damon was serving in the Confederate Army, Stefan was at home.
Book Series: They hail from Italy a couple(?) hundred years BEFORE America’s Civil War.

I could go further but I won’t… I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who might decide to read the books but I just want you to understand the overall difference between the two. This book generally follows what has already been shown on the show of how Stefan and Damon became vampires. Of course, it’s placed together nicely and has much more imagery rather then when the show would go back to specific memories. The funniest thing I discovered when reading this book was that I could easily picture Ian Somerhalder as Damon each time the character showed up however for Stefan I saw a made up character in my mind. I don’t know what that says about my mind or the talents of the actors in the show but I guess it’s… good?

I had bought this book the week it came out and was eager to read it however I was too busy. It was the end of the semester and while at work I was helping a ton of students formulate papers and final projects so when I got home I was tired and spend my time playing an online game rather then doing pleasure reading. I also had a couple of articles I was buy writing on the side so when the games didn’t come into play- the articles did. Long version short, it took me a month to get around to reading this book but I was so glad I read it when I did. I was exhausted and in need of general light entertainment and much like the actual Vampire Diaries series this provided the entertainment I was craving. It’s a quick story and of course it leaves you wanting more. Pick up your copy of Origins today and while you’re at it grab Volume 2 Bloodlust since it just came out last week!


Monday, January 10, 2011

By Fire, By Water

In September I made a list of goals for the remainder of 2010. On this list I included a goal of reading more poetry, history, and historic fiction. Let me tell you, I was failing at this particular goal until I received a copy of Mitchell James Kaplan's By Fire, By Water. When it comes to historical fiction my knowledge and experience is very small so I was not sure what to expect upon this book. I know little about the Spanish Inquisition nor do I know much about the Jewish faith. While raised Catholic I myself have not been a practicing Catholic since I was thirteen. But this book- it brought me to a time and place that I've never been before, where I was wide eyed with interest and rushing from scene to scene.

In Mitchell James Kaplan's first novel we, as readers, travel to the time of the Spanish Inquisition and one man, Luis de Santangel, is tired of it all. Anyone suspected of practicing the Jewish faith is questioned and tortured, everyone is expected to be of the Christian faith. Luis de Santangel, who comes from a family of Jews but converted has always been a target but when an important man who is involved in the Inquisition is suddenly found murdered Santangel finds himself a suspect. With his family being threatened, his friends being seen as suspicious, and Santangel himself facing the possibility of being questioned the reader faces the cruelty of that time period. The injustice of being forced into a belief is clear and it's a frightening concept as is most historical events. I am one of those readers who always tries to place myself into the plot. I feel that being able to creatively guess how I would feel in that situation gets me to better understand the characters. It allows me to feel their joys and pains. While Santangel is a tough character and will perform less than moral actions to get what he wants I understand his position. Toss in the rest of the historical figures and moments; they all tie together nicely and make for a novel that captures your attention.

It drew my interest in ways that I did not expect. I have a greater curiosity of the Spanish Inquisition and would like to learn more of the politics and history of it all. The only problem I had with this novel was- how do I score it on goodreads? It is a great novel and I think a great historical novel too however... I haven't much to compare it to. But I am sure even if I were to read many a historic novel in the future this will remain one of my favorites. I've already begun suggesting the book to people I know and now I suggest it to you all. Please, pick it up and read it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blog Hop and Update!

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop
"What book influenced or changed your life? How did it influence/change you?"

Answer: It's hard to answer this question simply because so many books have had an influence with my life. I can look at my bookshelf and easily tell you what was happening in my life, how old I was, where I was, what I was doing or how I was feeling when I first read a book. But the most influential author I've read (yes I'm changing the question/answer around a little bit) has to be Anne Rice.

People are allowed their own opinion of her and her writing but The Vampire Chronicles has had the most impact on me. It exposed me to a more adult form of writing (I read the Chronicles when I was in middle school) and the idea that you can explain what something looks like, how it feels, and make it appear to be poetic. Through my absolute love of the books I was able to meet a great group of people who had a fascination with her novels as much as I did. That was in High School- I'm still friends with these people. Even if I do not see them (they're spread out across the US) I speak to them nearly every day. No other book I have read has managed to create a tight little family like The Vampire Chronicles has.

My 2010 Books Read List
Happy New Years!
A Book Readers Quirks
Teaser Tuesday
Reviewed: Better Together
Huckleberry Finn Censorship

I woke up to three inches of snow this morning which was lovely. The local schools are closed which amuses me to no end because this amount of snow wouldn't even call for a delay back in New York. However, I'll find a way to enjoy it. Maybe even go sledding. You just HAVE to during the winter. It's a must.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Censorship and Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain's beloved classic Huckleberry Finn has often been the topic of censorship discussions due to the many terms of racial slang. I have written about it before and I will write about it again because this is a current news topic that must be addressed.

The n-word that is seen in Huckleberry Finn over 200 times and recently made headline news due to a publisher’s decision to edit the word out of the book and replaced with the word “slave.” Jenice Armstrong, author of the article, “Why whitewash n-word from Huck Finn?” states, “Those two words are not synonyms. Nope, not even close. They each mean something entirely different.”

If we were going to go on a parade of censorship and remove all of the words that could offend a person we would have nothing of literature or art left. There is really no way to make everyone happy, I understand this, even amongst friends it is easy to butt heads from a difference in opinion. But this is an extreme case where people are taking measures to attempt to not offend anyone, but also making the mistake of brushing away something that could be seen as a historic look of how people once treated one another. Just look at what is going on here, a book publisher is removing the offensive word from a classic to appease those who find it offensive and there is an outcry from the scholarly sort saying no, you can't do this. But this, unfortunately, is different from saying “that word in that book written years and years ago offends me.” The book stays true to the social norms of that time period and is reflective of history passed.

The word is terrible. But it's a linchpin of this book. What makes so radical is the fact that in a time when the horror of slavery was still fresh and the specter of inequality hung over the whole country, Mark Twain was still able to use satire to show how wrong it was. -Alexandra Petri, author of "Why a new edition of Huckleberry Finn is wrong to remove the N-word"

If we remove historical content, words and writing that children and adults might have the opportunity to learn from, what will we be left with? What will be next? Removing all books written about the Holocaust? Maybe anything pertaining to teenage suicide or eating disorders. Oh, wait, people are fighting to have those removed as well.

But what these censorship-driven people do not seem to grasp is that this is reality and this is life. Bad things happen, people have been looked down upon, and we have less than stellar previous actions that the people of the world acted out long before we were born. But how can we learn from these mistakes and learn to look past them, to recognize when we our selves are falling into the same rut, if we do not know what historical mistakes we are trying to avoid? 

To read more views of this topic please check out the following news articles that are all beautifully written (and some quoted here)
'Huck Finn' sanitized for your protection
Should "Huckleberry Finn" be censored?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Better Together

A number of months ago I did a brief mention of an up and coming book by Raymond Rose. Since then, I’ve reviewed his first novel: The Fire Inside and now his second book has been released- Better Together. Better Together, for those of you who might not remember, is the manuscript I spoke of all those months ago.

When Paul Rhoads moves back to Pennsylvania he’s not entirely sure what is waiting for him. Being a well known author he’s met with a writers worst nightmare- ongoing writers block. With hopes of finding a level of inspiration and returning to his roots Paul isn’t expecting to end up in a relationship to boot. Annie, his High School love, is there to support and adore him as she had always been. With her infant son from a previous marriage Paul is brought into unknown territory. In a whirlwind moment Paul and Annie marry and feel they could never be happier.

But tragedy strikes when Annie is killed in a car accident and Paul is left with her son. He becomes a single father to a child he did not bear, a child who he is still getting to know, and he didn’t have any time to prepare for fatherhood.

What I appreciate about this book is that there are many a novel out there which focuses on motherhood. The books go on and on about single mothers and their pains and struggles. They have that right, because there are many a single mother out there. However, there are men who are single fathers and they deserve some recognition as well. Paul bumbles along trying to make the best of an upsetting situation and finds that one can find prejudices in being a single father.

As a reader you’ll feel the emotional effects of losing a loved one, the hilarity of fatherhood, and the surprise of finding love when you least expect it. Paul will become a familiar friend to you and his son an adorable little sidekick who you just want to hug. I certainly was sad when I had to put the finished product down and I will still think of the characters. You can buy your copy of the book at Christopher Williams Books.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • 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; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The Hours: A Novel"She appears to be flying, a fantastic figure, arms outstretched, hair streaming, the tail of the fur coat billowing behind. She floats, heavily, through shafts of brown, granular light." 
The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Book Reader's Quirks

I figured I'd take a step away from book reviews and talk a little about my non-book life. I know, the title of the post kind of lies, this isn't  entirely quirks I have as a book reader- just quirks in general.

So please, feel free to enjoy what makes me strange (or unique?).

1) I need to write out all of my bills with this pen:
Did I ever apply to Villanova?
Do I know anyone who attends the school?
Not that I can think of.
Do I know how I acquired this pen?
Not a clue.
But what I can say is that it writes great and for whatever reason I MUST write out all bills with this pen. If not, I have a back up- a purple pen of the same make from a hair salon I've never been to.

2) My desk must be organized.
At least when I'm working. This was taken prior to Christmas. I have my spot for my outgoing bills, I have my spot for Christmas cards that were going to be sent out. I have my to do list and all other objects where they should be. Also, pictures on my wall are straight. If something is crooked it drives me nuts.

3) My folders must be organized by name.
This goes for all 'folders' on my computer. I'll drag and drop things into my folders all the time but I need to go in afterwards and organize them or else.

4) I'm addicted to my daily planner.
And seriously? time.mine is THE BEST daily planner I have ever had. It has everything I could ask for. Full calendars of each month PLUS day to day. I write out lists like nuts, it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I'm able to cross things off. I am also one of those people who show up to things fifteen minutes early. God forbid I show up on time or even worse- late. My time.mine keeps me going and I would probably be lost without it. The company also makes a family_time.mine which is similar and just as awesome. So all of you- go out and buy one. I love mine so much!

5) I freak when there are creases in my books.
See that crease? It's from a used book. If I buy them new I have become quite skilled at not getting them to crease. I also hate flipped up pages (what you get if you bend the front cover around the book in order to see the full page). So I read books like this:
I hold the book open, trying not to bend the cover, then use my other hand to help support the spine. I know, I'm insane.

So what are your random quirks?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Thank goodness for scheduled posts because this is the first day I've really had the time to sit down and look over this blog. The holidays have a way of taking over your lives, right? As mentioned (I think) I spent part of the week in Washington, DC where I celebrated my God Mother/Aunt's 60th birthday then it was just business at home. Now I am relatively stuck inside because it's raining and I'm getting over the affects of eating gluten while on my trip. (Kind of like having a stomach virus).

Washington DC is one of my favorite cities. Actually, it's my second favorite because NYC will always hold a special place in my heart. I love the hustle and bustle of this youthful city and hope to live in the vicinity of it one day. 

When we arrived I had a few hours to spend with a friend prior to getting ready for the birthday celebration. I love doing touristy things- even in my home town! I love to visit all of the special attractions and no matter how many times I go there I take photos and get just as excited. However this trip was a tiny bit more exciting because I was able to get so close to the White House. 

The party was splendid with a lot of rich food and rich drinks. My body certainly felt the effects of it the following day. New Years was spent at home, talking to friends through skype, and being host to more guests at our home. But now I've returned! I'm back! And I'm eager to dive into the reading challenges of the year plus bring you all more blog posts. 

We've put away the Christmas decorations and now I'm waiting for spring. Usually around January first I begin to keep regular stock of flowers in my bedroom. The little gathering of flowers reminds me that spring isn't that far away. 
(the Amish made hope chest in my room plus the flowers)

I stay away from the word 'resolutions' and try for 'goals' because I'm more likely to do them. So with that my blogs goals for the year are:
  1. Write another weeks worth of Banned Books in the fall!
  2. Have more guest posts.
  3. Incorporate more historical fiction, poetry, and classics into the blog.
  4. Keep up with posts on children's and young adult books.
  5. Maintain having a post every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Even if two of those days are simply Teaser Tuesday and Blog Hop Friday.
  6. Respond to the blogs emails and comments faster.
  7. Entertain and inform you all as well as I possibly can!
Here's hoping I achieve my goals and you all achieve yours! Have a good end to the weekend and I hope you all had a wonderful start to the new year!