Don’t judge SciFi by it’s cover!

I order the science fiction and fantasy title for our library and am CONSTANTLY lamenting the dismal covers that publishers use for speculative fiction.  Tech Services Manager Valerie and I often discuss how a bad cover can really sink a fantastic book.  In our library, if the book has a planet or a spaceship on it, the book will lend well.  If there is buxom lady with a broad sword standing on a dragon, it goes over less well.  This author really hits the nail on the head in this funny, honest article.  Enjoy!

Bonk discussion

What a terrible post-er I’ve been!  I’m so sorry that I’m behind and haven’t posted about our wonderful December meeting, where we discussed Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach.  We had two new attendees and a conversation that was surprisingly not all that awkward … considering the subject matter!

Miss Terri, darling that she is, made a recipe called “Better-Than-Sex Chex Mix.”  It was a delightful treat with mini peanut butter cups and caramel drizzle and joy!  You can find the recipe here.

December 2012: Bonk

For December 2012: Read It & Steep chose Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Sex and Science.  I felt that I had to share this outrageous cover from the UK version.  Those wily Brits!  So risque!
Amazon.com‘s description of the book is as follows:
In Bonk, the best-selling author of Stiff turns her outrageous curiosity and insight on the most alluring scientific subject of all: sex. Can a person think herself to orgasm? Why doesn’t Viagra help women-or, for that matter, pandas? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Mary Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm-two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth-can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to make the bedroom a more satisfying place.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Discussion

dosab_hbfrontAs expected, November’s discussion of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor was fantastic!  Unfortunately, a few of our steepers weren’t able to join, but those who were able to attend enjoyed a cuppa, some angel food cake, and lively conversation about this interesting title.

Now, Read It & Steep is a group that is made up of women … alas, I think the amount of estrogen in the room scared our one repeat male patron away … with lots and lots of opinions.  If you have experience with book clubs you know that a group where all the members like the exact same things can get kind of boring.  So, I was pleased when all the attendees actually LIKED the book and we still had plenty to talk about. Even one of our staunch anti-romance members came away smiling … because this book turns out to be so much more than “a paranormal romance.”

We were all a little worried going in, since we’d just read two other “paranormal romances” in a row (The Night Circus & A Discovery of Witches).  The universal response to Witches seemed to be disappointment, so many of us approached Daughter of Smoke and Bone with considerable trepidation.  Little did we know that a complete world with dynamic characters and an intriguing story lay beneath this book marketed for young adults. Steeper Tara laughs when she claims that it sounds silly to say that Daughter of Smoke and Bone which has parts taking place in a fantastic realm feels more realistic than A Discovery of Witches, a novel that takes place in England, France, and the US.  Yet it does!  Where Deborah Harkness’ world seems contrived, Taylor’s is fluid and constructed in a manner where you just believe every word she says.

Harkness’ “grand romance” between her characters drags on in choppy repetition, plus it seems rather ridiculous (a fiercely independent woman hates a man and then loves him so much the next day that she would rather die than live without him? Is this a Lifetime movie?)  Taylor weaves a seamless world, where even if the characters fall in love quickly, it feels natural and fully explored.

Steeper Maureen put it best (forgive my paraphrasing, she used hand gestures) when she described the romance as taking up only a little space in the novel, but feeling huge.

Moreover, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is about love on so many levels.  It’s about the love we feel for our families, our friends, our lovers, and mostly ourselves.  It’s a study of Karou’s relationships and it’s beautifully done.  We get first row seats as Karou explores and discovers herself and how she connects to the people in her life, both in the magical chimera world and in modern Prague.  I personally loved that the reader even gains an understanding of her relationship with peripheral characters like her ex-boyfriend’s new girl.  It’s definitely worth a read.  I know I can’t wait to dive into Days of Blood & Starlight.

We’re Thankful!

Read It and Steep sends a belated Happy Thanksgiving!  Our lovely Steeper Colleen has been participating in a thankful November on facebook, posting something she’s thankful for every day this month.  Guess what?!?! We made the cut!

“Day 15: today I am thankful to Kate and my book club! Thanks for getting me to read books I wouldn’t normally read, thanks for the convos , thanks for a great Tuesday once a month. I am enjoying reading out of my comfort zone, and reading again in general. Thanks :)”

At our meeting this past Tuesday, Steeper Shantha also shared her thanks in being a member of Read It & Steep.  I’m so blessed to be able to moderate this fascinating and extraordinary group of women through some pretty unusual books.  I’m thankful for each and every one of them (both the ladies and the books!) and I hope we all meet for a long long time to come.  Happy Thanksgiving one and all!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone treats

This month our treat was a delicious angel food cake (there are angels in the novel … it was the best I could come up with!).  It was SO GOOD that I never even took a picture of it and despite having fewer members at the meeting, there were no leftovers!  It was served with a choice of Cool Whip Free (just as good if not better than the full fat stuff), cherry pie filling (definitely NOT fat free), and a homemade last minute Maple glaze (also not fat free, but still super easy to make).

I’m including a link to (as Steeper Angela calls him) Mr. Brown’s angel food cake.  I prefer to use almond extract (or make it out of a box), but this is a nice easy recipe.

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November 2012: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

November’s book is Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Described on amazon.com:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal other wordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?