Saturday, January 31, 2015

Shelf Candy Saturday #141: Od Magic, by Patricia McKillip


Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful book covers!
It also provides information,
if available, on their very talented creators!

For more information
about Shelf Candy Saturday,
simply go HERE.

Here's my choice for this week!

Od Magic
Hardcover, 320 pages
Ace Hardcover
June 7, 2005
Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

Well, so here I am, making a belated New Year's resolution not to buy any more books, so I can read the ones I already own, when I happen to come across this cover.....and so now, of course, I WANT this book!!

The words that come to mind in regards to this treasure are: "sublime", "exquisite", "breathtaking", "stunning". This cover definitely embodies all of those adjectives! It also conveys, in a very beautiful manner, an atmosphere full of fantasy. Just by gazing at this cover, the viewer is imaginatively transported to the fantasy world of the novel. The dreaming young woman in that gorgeous, ephemeral pink dress, its glittering jewels floating off into the surrounding sky, seems totally at ease as she effortlessly floats across the sky....even as a gypsy caravan passes by, in the scene at the bottom of the cover.

The basic color combination in this gorgeous cover is a favorite of mine, too -- bright blue and pink.

The sense of movement in this beautiful image reminds me of the paintings of Marc Chagall, with their fantastical, floating figures, as in the painting, "Birthday". Although the style of this cover artist is different, as well as much more graceful, there's a similar dynamic composition shared by both artists. Contributing to the dynamism is the floating arc of strange, smoky mist moving from the lower right-hand side of the cover, to the upper left-hand corner.

An Oriental-looking mask floats directly above the young woman's head, which gives the cover a rather intriguing, very mysterious look. This mask is as richly bejeweled as the young woman's dress. I'm wondering if it represents her fantasy self.  Alternatively, this mask could represent Night, slowly receding while Day, represented by the young woman, advances. If this was the artist's intention, then the swath of brilliant, white light around the young woman could represent the sun, and her eyes are closed because Day is just beginning to wake up. This is so beautifully poetic....

Also mysterious is the face of the blindfolded head at the upper left-hand corner. On closer inspection, you can see that the blindfold is made up of a part of the starry sky. 

In fact, this cover is full of rich symbolism. There's a floating winged horse in the sky, too, below the floating male head. This is a clear allusion to Pegasus, which makes me wonder about any other mythological references that might be present in this novel.

The font used for the title is a classic one, and not outstanding in any way. Perhaps it was chosen so as not to detract attention from the cover.

Now that I've mentioned the title, I find it to be very interesting..... Did the author intend references to the words "odd" and "old"? I have a strong suspicion that she did, and this adds even more to this cover's visual appeal.

I have checked the Amazon reader in vain, but have not found the brilliant artist mentioned anywhere.....However, I accidentally discovered that this person is one of my favorite cover artists -- Kinuko Craft.  She has done many of McKillip's book covers. You will find links for her below.

If you check out the Amazon reader yourself, be sure to scroll all the way down, and you'll see the book's back cover, which is also stunning, and has a clear allusion to Mother Earth.  

It's a good thing I haven't seen this book at Barnes & Noble, because I would have snapped it up in an instant! As it is, it's really hard to resist heading over to Amazon and putting in the order.... 

Online Links for Kinuko Craft


What do you think of my 
choice this week?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Book Lover's Den #16: An Eclectic Book Blogger's Dilemma....

Welcome to my Friday feature!

In each weekly post, I explore 
my thoughts on several 
book-related topics.

When I first started blogging, I really didn't give much thought to whether I would write posts about fiction and nonfiction, or only one of the two. I eventually decided that I did want to include nonfiction on my blog. As any regular reader of A Night's Dream of Books knows, this is an eclectic blog, since my reading tastes encompass several genres. 

At the time I got started, the Twilight Saga  craze was in full swing, and I was swept right along with it!  That was where my interest in Young Adult Fiction began. I became especially interested in YA books with paranormal romance and urban fantasy elements. 

Needless to say, blogs that feature YA fiction do not usually feature nonfiction titles, as well (and vice versa). These genres belong to two entirely different literary worlds. Nonfiction is usually meant to be thought-provoking and/or spiritually uplifting. Young Adult fiction, on the other hand, is meant to be mostly escapist entertainment, although some YA authors do incorporate serious philosophical themes in their books. One example that comes to mind is Of Beast and Beauty, by Stacey Jay, which I read and reviewed in 2013. Another is A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray, which I'm currently reading.

In a previous post for this meme, I referred to the problem of blogging about books that I really enjoy reading, but that might not be very popular with my readers. In  that previous post, I came to the conclusion that I simply had to blog about my own interests, whether or not my readers shared those interests. Doing this might very well cost me not only comments, but followers, as well, but I felt I had to be true to myself.

Being an eclectic blogger  is not an easy thing at all...

I really do want to include more nonfiction on this blog. I also want to keep reading YA Fiction, as well as include more Science Fiction. It's frustrating that I don't seem to have the time to read and blog about the books that appeal to me the most!

Very recently, I came to a very sobering conclusion, which has been precipitated by our move to a new condo here in Miami: I may never be able to read many of the books in my collection......and a lot of them are nonfiction books on several topics that fascinate me, such as philosophy, psychology, art, paranormal phenomena, and on and on....

Therefore, I will have to simply start reading these books that have been sitting on my shelves for several years now. I do have a lot of fiction, as well. And really, why should I continue to obsessively buy books, when I have so many that I've never read? So, I'm seriously considering doing no more "Waiting On Wednesday" posts. It really makes no sense for me to anxiously anticipate new book releases, at this point. 

One interesting nonfiction book I discovered while packing yesterday was The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan. It's a feminist classic that I've owned for years, and have yet to read. I know I have The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir, buried somewhere....

I also came across Tertium Organum, by P.D. Ouspensky, and Voice Therapy, by Robert Firestone, and a book on Symbolist Art, and The Other Side of Silence, by Morton Kelsey, and Kabbalah, by Gershom Scholem, many others I want to read!  So many books to make one ponder so many interesting things! 

I will henceforth focus more on those books I bought with such enthusiasm, years ago, and which I have neglected due to the crazy need to get even more books, especially those receiving a lot of media hype.

Hopefully, new readers who like nonfiction won't judge my blog by its very definite "YA look".  I could attempt to make my blog design more "serious-looking", somehow more "academic-looking", but I really don't have the heart to do that....I was an Art major in college, after all, and I LOVE colorful design and BIG images! 

I hope that readers will continue to enjoy my blog, no matter which of my favorite genres I choose to focus on. Maybe one or two of these genres will end up becoming reader favorites, too! I believe that's part of the fun of being an eclectic book blogger!


What do you think of this topic?
Do you prefer to read blogs
that feature mostly 
fiction, nonfiction, or both?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #125: Sea of Stars, by Amy A. Bartol

This is a weekly event hosted by
It showcases future releases which
we book bloggers
are eagerly anticipating!!

Here's my choice for this week!

Sea of Stars 
(The Kricket Series, #2)
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
March 31, 2015
Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, 
Science Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Eighteen-year-old Kricket Hollowell was looking for her place in the world when she discovered that the universe was bigger—and more dangerous—than she had ever dreamed. Now, whisked across space to the planet Ethar, Kricket learns that her genetic ability to see the future makes her a sought-after commodity…and the catalyst for war between her star-crossed parents’ clans. According to Alameedan prophecy, one house will rise to power and the other will be completely wiped out, and Kricket’s precognition is believed to be the weapon that will tip the scales.

A target of both the Rafe and the Alameeda houses, Kricket finds protection—and a home—in the arms of Trey, her Etharian bodyguard-turned-boyfriend. But her visions of what’s to come disturb her deeply, especially since she must discover whether the gift of foresight will allow her to rewrite the future, or if her fate is as immovable as the stars.

Why I'm waiting on this one!!

This is the second novel in a
newly-discovered series that sure
sounds exciting!
This book has everything, it seems --
fantasy, paranormal activity
coupled with romance,
and the story takes place on
a faraway planet!
Science fiction mixed with fantasy
is the perfect combination for
this longtime Trekkie!!

What do you think of my choice?
What fascinating book(s) are 
you longing for this week?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday # 124: Prudence, by Gail Carriger

This is a weekly event hosted by
It showcases future releases which
we book bloggers
are eagerly anticipating!!

Here's my choice for this week!

(The Custard Protocol, #1)
Hardcover, 368 pages
March 17, 2015
Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk,Urban Fantasy

From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes a new novel in the world of the Parasol Protectorate starring Prudence, the daughter of Alexia Tarabotti.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances - names it "The Spotted Custard" and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone's secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?

Why I'm waiting on this one!!

I keep saying that I want to read a
Steampunk novel, but just
haven't gotten around to
I simply have GOT to start somewhere!
And what better book to start
off with than this one, which promises
to have a lot of colorful action,
with an equally colorful, female,
kick-butt protagonist?
(There's something about her
that reminds me of Hermione Granger...)
Also, just LOOK at that GORGEOUS cover!
I WANT that entire outfit!!!!

What do you think of my choice?
What fascinating book(s) are 
you longing for this week?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observed in the United States

Wherever freedom and the right to exercise it are honored, so will be the memory of the great Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of the American civil rights movement, who was born on January 15, 1929, and was cruelly assassinated on April 4, 1968.   He followed the nonviolent example of Mahatma Ghandi, and, like him, ironically died a violent death.

Sadly, not every employer in the U.S. chooses to honor the memory of this unforgettable man.  He is indeed honored by those whose moral compass compels them to do so.

Dr. King's famous speech, "I Have a Dream", which he delivered at the 1963 Washington, D.C. Civil Rights March, rallied every citizen who truly believed in racial equality.

His stirring speeches have been gathered into several books, one of which I have listed here.  I have also listed a biography written by 'the reporter who became the unofficial chronicler of the civil rights movement', Marshall Frady.  Also included here is Dr. King's compelling account of the 1963 Birmingham campaign, Why We Can't Wait, as well as a recently-published book on Dr. King's last year of life.


 Martin Luther King, Jr., A Life
Trade Paperback, 224 pages
Penguin Group, USA
December 27, 2005
American History, Biography, Nonfiction
Politics, Social Justice

Book Synopsis

Marshall Frady, the reporter who became the unofficial chronicler of the civil rights movement, here re-creates the life and turbulent times of its inspirational leader. Deftly interweaving the story of King’s quest with a history of the African American struggle for equality, Frady offers fascinating insights into his subject’s magnetic character, with its mixture of piety and ambition. He explores the complexities of King’s relationships with other civil rights leaders, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover, who conducted a relentless vendetta against him. The result is a biography that conveys not just the facts of King’s life but the power of his legacy.

A Testament of Hope:
The Essential Writings and 
Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
edited by James M. Washington
Trade Paperback, 736 pages
December 7, 1990
(first published 1986)
American History, Politics, Philosophy, 
Nonfiction, Social Justice

Book Synopsis

Here, in the only major one-volume collection of his writings, speeches, interviews, and autobiographical reflections, is Martin Luther
King Jr. on non-violence, social policy, integration, black nationalism, the ethics of love and hope,
and more.

Why We Can't Wait
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Beacon Press
January 11, 2011
(first published 1963)
American History, Politics, Philosophy,
Nonfiction, Social Justice

Amazon US/Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository

Book Synopsis

Often applauded as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most incisive and eloquent book, Why We Can’t Wait recounts the Birmingham campaign in vivid detail, while underscoring why 1963 was such a crucial year for the civil rights movement. During this time, Birmingham, Alabama, was perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States, but the campaign launched by Fred Shuttlesworth, King, and others demonstrated to the world the power of nonviolent direct action. King examines the history of the civil rights struggle and the tasks that future generations must accomplish to bring about full equality. The book also includes the extraordinary “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which King wrote in April of 1963.

Death of a King: The Real Story of 
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Last Year
(with David Ritz)
Hardcover, 288 pages
Little, Brown and Company
September 9, 2014
American History, Biography, 
Nonfiction, Politics, Social Justice

Book Synopsis

 A revealing and dramatic chronicle of the twelve months leading up to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination.Martin Luther King, Jr. died in one of the most shocking assassinations the world has known, but little is remembered about the life he led in his final year. New York Times bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley recounts the final 365 days of King's life, revealing the minister's trials and tribulations -- denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country's black middle class and militants, assaults on his character, ideology, and political tactics, to name a few -- all of which he had to rise above in order to lead and address the racism, poverty, and militarism that threatened to destroy our democracy.

Smiley's Death of a King paints a portrait of a leader and visionary in a narrative different from all that have come before. Here is an exceptional glimpse into King's life -- one that adds both nuance and gravitas to his legacy as an American hero.

Famous Dr. King Quotes
"I have a dream that my four little children
will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color
of their skin, but
by the content of their character."

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that."

"The ultimate measure of a man  is not
where he stands in moments
of comfort and convenience, but
where he stands at times of challenge
and controversy."

"Our lives begin to end the day
we become silent about things that matter."

"I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear."

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Online Links