Sunburnt and Weary, I Return…

100_0159Waves.  Wind.  Sun.  Seagulls.  Maglit berserking a flock of seagulls (NOT the 80s rock band made famous by their weird hair and referenced by Sam Jackson in Pulp Fiction).  It all proved too much for my ADD to overcome.  I had dreams and visions of doing damage to my ARC-alanche pile!  But, I only managed to read a little over 100 pages of Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle-Man McGinty Told Me

I put the choice to Maggie, (who, btw, wasn’t at all interested in silly little books, even FB!) “Should I start with Uncle Chestnut? or Uncle Neil?”  She said, “The one with the moon on its cover.”  So, my book choice was made by a 10-year-old and based on the book cover… lol.

Neil

So, for those of you who’ve read it, I’m at the part where Mr. Pizza just got the visit from the man in uniform.  The kids were playing kickball and the score was 42-0, but I don’t know if they’ll play on.  I’m really enjoying it.  It’s a book that reminds a grown-up what it felt like to be a kid, especially if you were the kind of kid like Tamara… a “trouble” kid. (I’m raising both hands, that’s definitely me).  Reading this book, I find my mind wandering back to all those friends, especially the ones who were only there during the summer (Nick, Angel, Heather, and so many others… funny how, as a kid, we’re never concerned with last names!).  I was seriously hoping they’d solve the McGinty on 3rd AND up to kick by putting in a “ghost man” like we did.  Ghost man rules, though, your ghost men can only advance one base, they can’t go from 1st to home.  But, alas! they threw in the giant as a pinch runner.  Boo!  :-D

Well, back to reading and I need a shower.  I have sand between my toes, in my hair, and I’ll betcha it’s in my drawers, too!  It gets everywhere.  I swear, I have no idea how beaches survive if everyone brings home as much sand as we do! lol!

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Oh, I almost forgot!  THIS was waiting for me when we got home:

Book Loot

The books are:

  1. Untamed by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast ~ Book #4 of the House of Night series
  2. Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan
  3. The Inheritance of Loss byKiran Desai
  4. God Sleeps in Rwanda by Joseph Sebarenzi with Laura Mullane
  5. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny
  6. Love Letters from Cell 92 by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  7. Fruits Basket, volume 5 by Natsuki Takaya
  8. Cowboy Bebop:  Shooting Star, volume 1 by Cain Kuga
  9. Fruits Basket, volume 4 by Natsuki Takaya

It looked like the book fairy exploded all over!  Gwen had got home before us and dumped the mail on my bed… lol.  Adding to the book loot was a check for $100 and 4 coupons for free candy bars from Mars.  Dang!  I should go to the beach more often!

Marked: A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Title:  Marked:  A House of Night Novel

Authors:  P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Paperback:  306 pages

PublisherSt. Martin’s Press

Date Published:  2007

ISBN:  9780312360269

Miscellaneous:  This is the first book in the House of Night series.

I am known by many names… Changing Woman, Gaea, A’akuluujjusi, Kuan Yin, Grandmother Spider, and even Dawn…

As she spoke each name her face was transformed so that I was dizzied by her power.  She must have understood, because she paused and flashed her beautiful smile at me again, and her face settled back into the woman I had first seen.

But you, Zoeybird, my Daughter, may call me by the name by which your world knows me today, Nyx.

“Nyx,” my voice was barely above a whisper.  “The vampyre Goddess?”

… yes, in your world [my]children are called vampyre.  Accept the name, U-we-tsi a-ge-hu-tsa; in it you will find your destiny.

I could feel my Mark burning on my forehead, and all of a sudden I wanted to cry.  “I – I don’t understand.  Find my destiny?  I just want to find a way to deal with my new life – to make this all okay.  Goddess, I just want to fit in someplace.  I don’t think I’m up to finding my destiny.”

Believe in yourself, Zoey Redbird.  I have Marked you as my own.  You will be my first tru  U-we-tsi   a-ge-hu-tsa   v-hna-i   Sv-no-yi … Daughter of Night… in this age…. Within you is combined the magic blood of ancient Wise Women and Elders, as well as insight into and understanding of the modern world.

… “But I’m sixteen!  I can’t even parallel-park!  How am I supposed to know how to be your eyes and ears?”

-Marked:  A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast, pages 39-40

Marked by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast was a definite divergence from my typical reading, but I enjoyed it very much.  It’s a Young Adult (though, was edging very close to mostly adult, IMHO) book about a 16 year-old named Zoey who is marked by a Vampyre Tracker and has to leave her world and her old life behind and attend the private vampyre school, House of Night (for which the book series is named).  All young Zoey wants is a place to fit in and belong, but it’s clear from her abnormal Mark that “fitting in” isn’t going to happen.

The book is typical of YA hero books.  Zoey is the good-vamp and immediately knows that Aphrodite is her nemesis.  Zoeylacks the confidence, but overcomes that with the help of her friends who believe in her and encourage her.  She has those few trusted adults to turn to who also encourage her (and of course, none of them are her parents).  She’s surprised by the deep well of abilities and talents, and she sees and feels things others don’t.  And when the time comes to stand up and save the day, she does… over the whimpering and cowering body of Aphrodite, who, afterwards, draws the proverbial line in the sand and tells Zoey “it’s not over.”

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the book is like everything else out there, simply that it follows a form.  The writing, owing probably to the way the two authors divvy up the responsibilities, is unique (a trait that is heavily stressed and embraced at the school, btw) and seems almost conversational.  It is narrated by Zoey, who says little asides to herself while telling the story, and we see the world of the fledgling vampyre through her unique perspective.

Whereas Twilight was a fun, reminiscense of high-school romance and first loves, squeeky clean and was more about temptation and timing, Marked is a bit more sullied.  Within the first few free minutes Zoey has in the school, she accidentally walks up on a guy standing in front of a kneeling girl, face in his crotch area and her hair blocking Zoey’s view.  It is an event that sets the tone of the book, as well as the relationship she has with the two later on (after she discovers their identities).  Yeah… I’d have to say, even after they were married, Bella never gave Edward a blow job (and the Casts use that term, too).  I’m trying to think of how I can sneak Marked back to the library before my 16-year-old can read it.

On a technical level, the characters are well-developed and most of them are likable.  The ones you aren’t meant to like, Aphrodite’s sycophants, her step-loser (step-dad), even Kayla, her ex-best friend, aren’t developed beyond the point of, “name, relationship and purpose… next!”  I would also add, that the Casts have dug deep, imagination-wise, to create a half-a-step-away alternate-reality where vampyrism has always existed, and contain everything in our world (stars, books, mythology) but claiming it as it’s own, Faith Hill is a vampyre for instance.  Also, they borrow a bit from Wicca and the Native American, as well as other bits and pieces from other religions, to create the Vampyre religion, worship of the Goddess Nyx.  It’s rather interesting in that regard, as well.

Fun and a bit naughty, Marked by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast is my beginning into the world of vampyres, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book, Betrayed.  I give Marked 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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I highly recommend visiting The House of Night website, it’s a lot of fun.  You can read the first chapter of Marked there, as well as check out videos of the other HoN books, and even make a pic of yourself with a vampyre Mark.

The video I picked for this book is a lot of fun.  It is a bit long, but you can get a feel for how playful P. C. and Kristen are, both as mother and daughter and as co-authors. It’s a spoof interview, and the Casts contributed to the script.  It’s not so much about Marked, all I found for it were teenage fan-vids, several containing Britney Snow as their hoped-for Stevie Rae… Britney Snow gets on my last nerve D-:< .  But the series has been optioned, so a movie may be coming to a theater near you… or a series on the WB.

Heads or Tails, My Stapler, Knives and Nukes, and Much, Much More!

Once upon a time, there was a meme enjoyed by LibraryThingers called “TuesdayThingers”.  It was hosted by Marie, the Boston Bibliophile, and played on Tuesdays, naturally.  The Kool-Aid Mom was one of the many, many bloggers who loved playing along, and looked forward to Tuesdays, stalking Marie’s blog around midnight every Tuesday so that she could jump on the question and post her answer with great relish.

Thenone day, The Kool-Aid Mom was tempted away from her home in Mt. TBR and the blogosphere by the deceptively addictive virtual world of SecondLife.  Before she knew it, months had gone by, her fellow bloggers were emailing their concerns for her welfare.  Was she still alive?  Was she alright?  Her brief, random and sporadic posts always received comments of deep relief that she was still in the land of the living.

When she received an email from a stranger offering her a free book to read and review, there was something about his book that rang true within her, and she could not resist accepting his offer of Matrimony.  What The Kool-Aid Mom did not realize, though, was that the book contain a magical spell that broke the enchantments SL have woven around her.

Suddenly, everything was clear!  Her eyes were opened to the long months wasted in SLumber  under the wizard LindenLab’s evil spell.  The Kool-Aid Mom was grateful to the wise author, Joshua Henkin, for her rescue, and gave his book a glowing review, including it in her Top 10 list in the sidebar.

However, as she settled back into reading, blogging and memes, she was stricken to find Marie no longer hosted her beloved TuesdayThingers.  She became even more dismayed when she couldn’t find where it had moved to.  Who is hosting TuesdayThingers now? The Kool-Aid Mom wondered, but to this day, it still remains a mystery to her.

The End

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Since I’ve lost track of who’s hosting TuesdayThingers now, I visited The Daily Meme to see what might be out there for what is possibly the longest day of the week.  So far from either weekend, Tuesday’s doesn’t have the misery of Monday when everyone goes back to the salt mines, nor does it have the glamour of being dubbed “hump” day, like Wednesday.  Thursday is practically Friday, but Tuesday is just…. *sigh*… Tuesday.

TBH, I’m still pooped from the read-a-thon, and the grey and rainy sky is NOT helping in my quest to stay awake and read.  I have a little bit more than 1/3 left in Marked, which I really should’ve been able to finish Sunday, but I haven’t been able to string two thoughts together in a straight, cogent line.  I want my brain back! lol…

So for today, I found a couple Tuesday memes to play:  Heads or Tails and Ten on Tuesday.

First up, Heads or Tails:

The theme/prompt for today, April 21, is:

TAILS - “Once upon a time”

 

Make a post using the prompt “Once upon a time.” It can be a real story or idea that you want to start that way, a fairy tale of your own, etc. (Remember this is TAILS so your post needs to start with “Once upon a time.”)

This one was covered by the first part of this post since the rules are the post had to start with “Once upon a time” ;-)

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Ten on Tuesday ~ Ever watched a movie that got bad reviews, or didn’t do well at the box office and think to yourself, “Man, this should have been a HIT!!!”?

okay, the whole concept of whether a movie got bad reviews or lost money is lost on me, as I don’t listen to the “movie critics” or watch the financials for the film industry.  So, I think what I’ll do with this is just list the top TEN movies I’ve loved, but never hear people talk about or they say, “Huh?” when I do.

  1. Anything by Tyler Perry.  Period.  More specifically, though, I think Madea’s Family Reunion has been my favorite so far, but that’s probably only because I haven’t seen Madea Goes to Jail yet, or because he hasn’t made a movie of Madea’s Class Reunion yet, either, which is the play where Madea suddenly realizes Mr. Brown is Cora’s daddy :-D  FUNNY!
  2. Music of the Heart~ Mags and I just watched this last night and loved it!  It’s the true story of Roberta Guaspari and her violin classes in the East Harlem school system.  Sweet, funny, and moving, it was also a movie that was a conversation starter as Maggie talked at length about her own music teacher… particularly during the scenes where Roberta bit the kids’ heads off. 
  3. (*shaking my head, thinking about Madea and Dr. Phil going head to head…* I have to see that movie!) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ~ Okay, I think the only reason this movie tanked is because people seem to be growing illiterate in this country.  If it wasn’t in Capt. Underwear or Gossip Girls, then it was never a book, so obviously this movie was completely lost on them.  *growls in bitter frustration…*
  4. *singing… Go, go, go… Go! GO! Speed Racer!  What was not to love with this movie?  Racing action; cool, futuristic cars; a monkey and a little brother;  Jack, er I mean, Matthew Fox as Racer X…  The cinematography was awesome, and it remained incredibly anime-like, even though it was real people. 
  5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show~ Cult classic, panned by the critics…. Dammit, Janet!  Do the Time Warp!  Few movies encourage audience-participation, or at least not to the extent of TRHPS.  And, though I’ve seen the movie, I’m still a “virgin” as far as going to an event.  I seriously doubt it’ll ever be shown here, in my little small-town two-screen theater.  Come on, the man didn’t even get Twilight.
  6. The Rundown~ The ROCK… nuf said.
  7. Office Space ~ I believe you have my stapler, Michael Bolton.
  8. Super Troopers ~ Cat Game, seriously.  If for no other reason, I’d watch it for The Cat Game.  *Foster and Mac have pulled a man over for speeding and are deciding what game to play*
    Mac: All right, how about “Cat Game?”
    Foster: Cat Game? What’s the record?
    Mac: Thorny did six, but I think you can do ten.
    Foster: Ten? Starting right ‘meow?’
    [Mac laughs - they walk up to the car, and Foster taps on the driver side]
    Larry Johnson: Sorry about the…
    Foster: All right meow. (1) Hand over your license and registration.
    [the man hands him his license]
    Foster: Your registration? Hurry up meow. (2)
    [Mac ticks off two fingers]
    Larry Johnson: Sorry.
    [the man laughs a little]
    Foster: Is there something funny here boy?
    Larry Johnson: Oh, no.
    Foster: Then why you laughing, Mister… Larry Johnson?
    [pause]
    Foster: All right meow, (3) where were we?
    Larry Johnson: Excuse me, are you saying meow?
    Foster: Am I saying meow?
    [Mac puts his hands up for the fourth one, but makes an "eehhh" facial expression, as he is considering the last one]
    Larry Johnson: I thought…
    Foster: Don’t think boy. Meow, (4) do you know how fast you were going?
    [man laughs]
    Foster: Meow. (5) What is so damn funny?
    Larry Johnson: I could have sworn you said meow.
    Foster: Do I look like a cat to you, boy? Am I jumpin’ around all nimbly bimbly from tree to tree?
    [Mac is gut-busting laughing]
    Foster: Am I drinking milk from a saucer?
    [feigned anger]
    Foster: Do you see me eating mice?
    Foster: [Mac and the man are laughing their heads off now] You stop laughing right meow! (6)
    Larry Johnson: [the man stops and swallows hard] Yes sir.
    Foster: Meow, (7) I’m gonna have to give you a ticket on this one. No buts meow. (8) It’s the law.
    [rips off the ticket and hands it to the man]
    Foster: Not so funny meow, (9) is it?
    Foster: [Foster gets up to leave, but Mac shakes his hands at him, indicating only nine meows] Meow!
  9. Starship Troopers ~ ROFL…  What goods’ a knife in a nuke fight? All you have to do is press a button… 
  10. Jack the Bear~ I bawl every time I watch this movie.  Danny DeVito plays a single dad of two young boys.  He’s a local late-night TV celebrity, hosting horror movies, Sammy Terry style.  Gary Sinese plays a neo-Nazi in it, and if I had nightmares, his character would be the boogeyman in them.

Okay, so I cheated a little with Rocky Horror… I don’t know many people who say “Huh?” to that one, but it did get panned, critically.

So, what’s your favorite dissed movies?

Read-a-Thon ~ Takin’ a Break :-)

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As I was reading Marked, I came across the perfect passage to include in the review, so I had to log in and start the review, saving the quote. Sometimes that happens when I’m reading, most of the time, actually. I’ll be reading along and something will just hit me, and I’ll be, like… “Wow, that’s the perfect quote for this book!” When that happens, I always try to get it in here, lest I forget it when I’m actually sitting down and writing the review.

I know what quote I’ll use for How to Be a Villian, but I haven’t got a clue for Empire Falls. That happens sometimes, too, and every once in a while I even think about cheating and putting what’s on the back cover or front flap for the quote.

BTW, the House of Night series has been optioned for a movie. No work has really been done on it, just the plan to make it into film. I can see the spoof-movie now, “Not another Teen Vampire Movie!” Though, this book is NOTHING like Twilight.

If you’d like to check out the series, click House of Night Series. There you can click on the yearbook and learn about the characters, watch vid clips for each of the books, and even get your own vampyre Mark tattoo :-D

Reading Update:

Empire Falls by Richard Russo ~ finished.
The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis, Chapter Four “The Bell and the Hammer” ~ finished
How to Be a Villian: Evil Laughs, Secret Lairs, Master Plans and More!!! by Neil Zawacki ~ finished :-D
Marked: A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast ~ starting Chapter Six, page 43

Read-a-Thon ~ I Can Now Be a Villian :-D

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YaY! I just finished How to Be a Villian by Neil Zawacki. At the back of the book there’s a template called an Evil Plan Generator, and I thought it’d be fun to post mine here.

Now, my Sinister Name worked out as: Countess Carnal Fury

My Evil Plan is:

Stage One:

To begin, I must first _seduce_ _the Chosen One_. This will cause the world to _whisper among themselves_, _amazed_ by my arrival. Who is this _Destroyer of All That is Good and Nice_? Where did she come from? And why does she look so frightening in that _dominatrix outfit_?

Stage Two:

Next, I must _steal_ _that Opera House in Sydney_. This will all be done from my _Underground Secret Headquarters of Doom_ , a mysterious place of unrivaled dark glory. Upon seeing this, the world will _weep uncontrollably_ , as countless hordes of _Demented Clowns_ hasten to do my every bidding.

Stage Three:

Finally, I must _tauntingly wave_ my _Needlessly Big Weather Machine_ , bringing about _something really, really bad_ . My name shall become synonymous with _fuzzy bunnies_ , and no man will ever again dare _interrupt my sentences_ . Everyone will bow before my _mystical abilities_ , and the world will have no choice but to _restore my credit rating_.

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It was a fun book, and I’ll post a review tomorrow or Monday. For today, more reading! :-D Next, I’m going to read Marked by P. C. Cast. It’s the first book in the House of Night series. It’s a book about a boarding school for the training of teenage vampyres. Coincidently, I talked to a good friend of mine last night, and she started telling me about a book series she was into at the moment, and when I asked her what it was called, she said “House of Night.” I thought that was really cool, since I was planning to read Marked today ;-) Then again, she’s really into vamps (she’s my SL vamp clan’s Queen, in fact), so I shouldn’t be too surprised.

*sigh*… peace and quiet’s over, Gwen’s home and wants to tell me everything that was wrong with my demented idea of sending her to the Y.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who said they love my RaT button :-D It was fun making it, too ;-)

Reading Update:

Empire Falls by Richard Russo ~ finished.
The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis, Chapter Four “The Bell and the Hammer” ~ finished
How to Be a Villian: Evil Laughs, Secret Lairs, Master Plans and More!!! by Neil Zawacki ~ finished :-D
Marked: A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast ~ just starting

The Sunday Salon ~ Finding a New Home

The Sunday Salon.com

Spring is here :-D and it’s a time for new growth, changes, cleaning, and new beginnings. Today is Easter, as well. one of those two or three days a year the less-than-faithful drag their butts out of bed and into the church to do their duty, please their parents or as part pf their holiday visits with friends and family.

For me, today was the first time I’ve been to a church service in about a year. For five years we went to a church that was within walking distance. We loved everyone there, worked in the children’s church as a teacher, and it was our family and home. Then they moved to the mall and we couldn’t walk their anymore, so they picked us up (I have no car) and we rarely missed a service. Though we had a ride, the move cut us down to in and out on Sundays (only) on someone else’s schedule, and no more mid-weeks or other activities, and we kind of started to feel disconnected from them. Then one day they stopped coming. No phone call, no card, just nothing.

It’s hard, or at least it’s hard for me, to change churches. I want to find one and stay. I don’t like to try this one, then that, and go everywhere… I used to as a kid, though. I don’t want to tell my life story to all new people every other week or month or year. And this particular one hit me hard, as I did nothing to cause them to dump us. And for the last year, I’ve felt as if they abandoned us, and to pick a new church would somehow be disloyal, to say I’ve given up hope on returning there.

But a year is long enough, I guess. It’s time to accept that we’re no longer part of that family. Yesterday, I took Maggie to an Easter party at the Assembly of God church. It was very warm and friendly, and there were several faces I recognized. Also, a very good friend of mine goes to church there, and they have a great youth group, children’s church, and bus ministry. It’s a bigger church than what we’ve been used to, a LOT bigger, but it’s not the first time I’ve been a member of a big church (when I lived in Kokomo, the church we went to was a 500-700 member church, a lot of them were my cousins).

So today, Easter Sunday, was my first day back into a church. The kids are excited and happy, they’ve always loved church. Maggie even wants to be baptized, and, as she’s now 10, I think she’s old enough now.

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I picked up a lot of books this week (like I need some more!). Maggie’s school had a book fair, and I grabbed a few there:
The Name of This Book Is a Secret
Skeleton Creek
How to Steal a Dog, and more.

Then, we stopped into the library yesterday to pick up a movie on hold for us there, and left with:
Marked: House of Night book 1
Just Ella and its sequel Palace of Mirrors.

Also, I’ll be participating in a few blog tours, among them:
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetMay 11th
They Plotted Revenge Against AmericaMay 20th
The 19th WifeJune 19th
and for The 19th Wife, I’ll be having a give away for a book :-D

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I had my first experience with a a weird show called Happy Tree Friendsthis week. Netflix suggester thought I’d like it, so it arrived on Thursday. Maggie hates it, she hates anything in which animals are hurt… even cartoon ones. Sam, having a weak stomach, also hated it. Gwen, however, found them to be completely hilarious and was the only one to watch them with me. Here’s an episode for ya :-D

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