2014 #TBRChallengeRBR Checkpoint 10!

2014tbrbuttonHello, TBR Pile Challengers!

Time has flown by! I know this because I’m somehow nearly 2 weeks late posting this checkpoint! I’m so sorry about that….but, here we are, at Checkpoint #10 for this year’s TBR PILE CHALLENGE!

Question of the Month: Has there been a book (or book) that you have just been unable to finish for this challenge?  What’s the book & why do you think it’s such a challenge? Do you plan to try again?

Below, you’re going to find the infamous Mr. Linky widget. If you read and review any challenge books this month, please link-up on the widget below. This Mr. Linky will be open until October 31st, so any books that you complete this month (and post thoughts for), can be linked-up in this first checkpoint. Any that you read/write about in November can be linked-up on November 15th, when the new widget opens.

indexGiveaway: This month’s check-in comes with a giveaway! Any books read and reviewed for this challenge, and linked-up below by October 31, will earn you an entry. If you haven’t yet finished/reviewed a book for the challenge, a checkpoint post of your own also counts. This giveaway is open only to official, pre-registered participants of the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge. The prize is a book of your choice, $20USD or less, to be shipped from The Book Depository. Good Luck!

Keep up the great work and best of luck to you in the coming months!

LINK UP YOUR REVIEWS October 1 – October 31

Interview with Merlin Author T.A. Barron!

downloadAs a big fan of T.A. Barron’s Merlin Saga series, I’m excited to announce the paperback release of Atlantis Rising, the first book in an exciting fantasy new series!  I’m even more exciting to bring you all this interview with the author.  Enjoy!

From the publisher: “With his trademark magic and adventure, T.A. Barron, international best-selling author of The Merlin Saga, has returned with a whole new mythology – the origin of the legendary isle of Atlantis.  Atlantis Rising is the first book in an exciting new trilogy that explores not how Atlantis was destroyed, but how it was born.”


Q&A with T. A. Barron on Atlantis Rising

What fascinates you most about the legend of Atlantis?

No word evokes more of a feeling of tragedy than the word Atlantis. It stands for almost, what might have been. The tale of Atlantis is such a beautiful story, and for the 2000 years since Plato first wrote about it, people have wondered and dreamed about it. But one thing that has never changed is that the island of Atlantis was utterly destroyed.  I started to wonder, though, about something else—how Atlantis began.  How did a place that rose to such a level of near perfection get destroyed by the flaws and weaknesses of its people? Ultimately, how did that happen? This big unknown question is what got me to write Atlantis Rising. I wanted to add a new thread to the tapestry of myth about Atlantis—how it all began, the secrets of its origins.

Why do you choose to write about origins of stories?

When you write about the origins of a great legend, you experience the best of two worlds. You get to tap into a wondrous emotional and mythical journey that people have celebrated and enjoyed for a long time—which is why stories persist, why people keep telling the tales about Merlin or Atlantis. At the same time though, you get the opportunity to be fresh and original. You can explore and go behind the myth to discover how and where it all began. It just might start with the most inconsequential event—a boy stealing a pie, a girl discovering something strange in the woods, or a young man washing ashore. In those small moments you may discover the beginning of an amazing adventure!

What research was involved in preparing for Atlantis Rising

Before starting this project, I read everything I possibly could about Atlantis. As I got deeper into the research, I realized not only is there an immense story of high ideals and tragic consequences, human aspirations and failures, but a wonderful mystery of how it all began. That powered me even more to want to set forth the beginning, the origins of that magical place.  In addition, I have often thought about Atlantis since visiting Greece 20 years ago—the place where the legend began.  Often, I’ve recalled the sight of that landscape, the sound of waves on those islands, and the smell of the Mediterranean air. All that will, I hope, come through for anyone who reads the Atlantis trilogy.

In the last few scenes of Atlantis Rising, we see Atlantis become an island at last, while Promi returns to the spirit world. Where does the second book start?

The second book picks up immediately after Atlantis Rising finishes.  But time works differently between Earth and the spirit realm. Quite a bit more could have happened up in the spirit realm than has happened on Atlantis.  You see, during that brief interval—which feels just like a few days on Earth—many perils have risen. Some of them are dangers that come from old enemies—enemies who want to control all the magic and power of the Earth. And some of the perils come from romance…and we all know how tricky that can be.

In Atlantis Rising, Promi, the protagonist, risks his life for Smackberry pie. What dessert would you risk everything for?

Fresh Colorado snow-covered in maple syrup.


Thanks, T.A. Barron, for stopping by to share your thoughts – and thanks to the publisher for orchestrating this opportunity.  Whether you’re a fan of Barron or new to him, I hope you’ve enjoyed his thoughts and I invite (encourage!) you to check out his books – they’re great fun!

2014 #TBRChallengeRBR Checkpoint 9!

2014tbrbuttonHello, TBR Pile Challengers!

It is September 15th, which means we have arrived at Checkpoint #9 for this year’s TBR PILE CHALLENGE!

Unlike so many of you who are doing extraordinary well this year, I have read only 2 of my required 12 books. These are: The Complete Poems of Walt Whitman and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Next year, I will be able to do better, I think. But there’s still time and I adored the two that I’ve completed so far, so that’s good.

imagesQuestion of the Month: Which author from your challenge list this year (that you’ve read) would you like to read more of – and why?  Do you know of anything else they’ve written, or was the work you picked the author’s only one?

Below, you’re going to find the infamous Mr. Linky widget. If you read and review any challenge books this month, please link-up on the widget below. This Mr. Linky will be open until September 30th, so any books that you complete this month (and post thoughts for), can be linked-up in this first checkpoint. Any that you read/write about in October can be linked-up on October 15th, when the new widget opens.

Giveaway: This month’s check-in comes with a giveaway! Any books read and reviewed for this challenge, and linked-up below by September 30, will earn you an entry. If you haven’t yet finished/reviewed a book for the challenge, a checkpoint post of your own also counts. This giveaway is open only to official, pre-registered participants of the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge. The prize is a book of your choice, $15USD or less, to be shipped from The Book Depository. Good Luck!

Keep up the great work and best of luck to you in the coming months!

LINK UP YOUR REVIEWS September 1 – September 30

Guest Post: Mansfield Park & the Art of Self-Deception (#AustenInAugustLGR)

Originally posted on Lost Generation Reader:

I bet you were starting to see a trend with my posts by now, but alas, I’m here to throw you off just a little bit. I needed to send you into the weekend with another fabulous guest post, dear readers. Sara is taking over today’s post to talk about Mansfield Park and self-knowledge/self-deception. Sara is currently finishing a degree in English literature. When she’s not reading, studying, or drinking unhealthily large quantities of Earl Grey tea, she’s blogging at Majoring in Literature. Welcome, Sara!


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​If there’s one Austen novel that divides readers more than any other, it would have to be Mansfield Park. For some, the novel is the work of a skilled and mature writer at the height of her powers. For others, an evening spent watching paint dry may be preferable to spending even one second with the insufferable Fanny Price and her dreadfully dull…

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Guest Post: Speculation and Conjecture in Jane Austen’s Emma (#AustenInAugustLGR)

Originally posted on Lost Generation Reader:

Happy Thursday, Janeites! I’m here to welcome another fabulous guest blogger to the Lost Generation Reader stage. Ellen Mandeville blogs at Ellen Exploring: Seeking Truth One Post at a – SQUIRREL! She holds a degree in English Literature and is currently writing Hartfield, a sequel to Emma. Welcome, Ellen!


emmacover One aspect of Jane Austen’s work that I absolutely love is that each novel differs from the others. In Northanger Abbey, Austen rebuts the Gothic Romance novel. Sense and Sensibility contains Austen’s response to the Romanticism of her age. Pride and Prejudice depicts love triumphant overcoming pride, prejudice, the social cast system, and embarrassing family members. In Mansfield Park — Austen’s most theological work — she contrasts many things, one being the mere learning of Maria and Julia versus Fanny’s learning to develop true character. In Persuasion , we enjoy an ode to the Navy, the portrayal of meritocracy…

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