Bring On the ZOMBIE CHICKENS!!!

I am excited and proud to announce that Mt. TBR is the recipient of a prestigious award for excellent content, highly-intelligent writing, and a special gift for sarcasm. That, or I just like to fill my Friday Fill-Ins with the weirdest, off-the-wall, funny things I can think of.

Either way, high-quality content or goofiness, Wrighty Reads has given me:

Zombie Chickens Couldn't Keep Me Away!!!

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…

Wrighty ponders how one might stop a zombie chicken, and the answer’s easy… by removing the head or destroying the brain.  That’s how Shaun did it.

And now for my five picks to pass the award to:

1. Bermudaonion’s Weblog offers book reviews that are clear and concise and are interesting to read, she also gives us a weekly vocabularly lesson 🙂 But more than that, Bermudaonion makes her rounds throughout the blogging world, leaving comments on everyone’s blog. I don’t know how she does it without being a clone!

2. Musings of a Bookish Kitty is the book challenge QUEEN! I’m not sure exactly how many book challenges the Literary Feline participates in, but it’s quite a few. AND I love the cute kitty pics 😀

3. Steph Su Reads offers giveaways, book reviews and more. And in a fun bit of serendipity, I recently recieved a book from PBS with Steph’s return address. It was a fun surprise and made me smile 🙂

4.

BTT ~ The Library Is the Heart of a Community

btt2

Suggested by Barbara:

I saw that National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions. How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

The trouble I have with borrowing books from the library is that I am horrible at reading them in a timely fashion and I can never decide on one book or two, so I just get all twenty; the result of these failings is that I end up with a lot of fines, my highest fine balance  being over a hundred dollars.  Instead of borrowing books from the library, I get books from BookMooch and PaperBackSwap, as well as buying them from the thrift stores and an occasional brand-new book from Wal-Mart (I used to be a permanent fixture at Waldenbooks, but Border’s shut our store down… I’m still grieving over that loss).

If I never brought home  another book, there are enough books in Mt. TBR’s inventory, and even more in the rest of my home library, to keep me busy for three or four years, maybe more.  What’s more, I also receive ARCs and books from publishers to review, so I doubt I’ll ever run out of books, barring a disaster like a fire or a book thief 😀

No, my main use of our local library is as a place to take my kids.  Our library has family movie events once a month, the last one we went to was “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” and shows for local artists and musicians.  They also have a monthly book sale, though the prices have gone up and up so I’ve gone less and less.  Our library also has a nice computer farm that occupy my kids, during which time I sit in a quiet corner away from everyone and read.

As we live about seven or so blocks from the library we walk there, which gives us time to enjoy the flowers and the world around us, as well as chat about whatever little thing crosses our minds.  A little over six years ago, we lived right behind the library and the kids went everyday, but now we go about once a week, sometimes more, and usually on Saturdays.  The library is a large part of our life, both as a source of entertainment as well as a backdrop for memories.

A few years ago, our library underwent a major renovation that brought the building into the 21st century.  With the installation of a gas fireplace and an open curving staircase with a glass ceiling and window walls, it went from a dreary cement box to one of the most beautiful libraries in our state and winning awards.  After the old one retired, the new director has enlarged the DVD, audio book, and music CD inventory a thousand percent, and has returned the library to public.

Some of my happiest childhood memories take place in a library, and I’m glad that I’m giving the same gift to my children. 🙂

The Sunday Salon ~ I’m Loadin’ Up the ARCs for April!

The Sunday Salon.com

Good Morning and Happy Sunday everyone 😀

I’ve been busy reading and working hard to catch up with myself, and I’ve finally managed to be on track to accomplish my goal of 75 books by December 31st. I’m even a little ahead with 21% of my reading complete while there’s only 19% of the year spent. I read Wuthering Heights, The Appeal, Heart-Shaped Box, and Derailed this past week, and started The Book Thief Saturday evening. I doubt I’ll be breaking any reading records this week, though, since I have two dentist appointments, a choir concert, and a school meeting to go to, not to mention a serious need for spring cleaning, laundry, gardening, dishes and spring cleaning. I hope to at least get through Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, though.

All this frenzied reading, though, has made me remember all the ARCs and other books I’ve committed to reviewing… about 35 books. I dug them all out of Mt. TBR today and stack them in the Books on Deck shelf which is now making me a little claustrophobic sitting between the two: Imposing and collapsing Mt. TBR to my left and towering and condemning Books on Deck to my right. My plan is to declare April as ARC month… and probably May and half of June, too. I’ve been feeling a bit irresponsible with all those books just sitting around and waiting on me to fulfill my committment. And now I feel a bit better.

So, should I thoroughly shame myself by posting the list of the books I owe reviews for? Books that have been sitting on Mt. TBR, gathering dust, and being passed over and forgotten?

*sigh* full-disclosure and acknowledging my problem and all that, in no particular order:
1. Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland ~this is an LT ER book, and I can’t remember when I got it.
2. Memoirs of a Fortune Teller and Vigilante Witch Hunter by Gary Turcotte. I received these books recently, and the second is the sequel book to the first.
3. An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
4. The Tutu Ballet by Sally O. Lee ~ETA finished and reviewed 🙂
5. Mischief Maker’s Manual by Sir John Hargrave
6. The Forbidden Daughter by Shobhan Bantwal. This is an unbound galley I received after a cold request. I have trouble in and of myself with an unbound galley, like it’s not a real book. Anyone else have that problem?
7. Stealing Athena by Karen Essex. Yes, I really HAVE had it THAT long.
8. The Power Makers by Maury Klein
9. I, Robot by Howard S. Smith
10. The Spirit of the Place by Samuel Shem. What? I thought I read that one…
11. The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman
12. Surviving Ben’s Suicide by C. Comfort Shields
13. Guernica by Dave Boling
14. So Long at the Fair by Christina Schwarz. I don’t think I got this book in lieu of a review, I think I won in on a blog contest.
15. First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader.
16. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
17. The Art of Listening by Seth Barnes
18. Operation Blue Light by Phillip Chabot
19. When a Man Loves a Woman by LaConnie Taylor-Jones
20. My Father’s Paradise by Ariel Sabar
21. Shadow of Colossus by T. L. Higley
22. Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi
23. Schooled by Anisha Lakhani
24. The Mysterious Receding Seas by Richard Guy
25. The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti . Yes, like I said… I have had them THAT long… I’m a bad, bad kitty.
26. Red Letters by Tom Davis
27. Blue Genes by Christopher Lukas
28. The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis
29. Swimming With Strangers by Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum
30. Forbidden Tales: Sword by Da Chen
31. The Icy Hand: Something Wickedly Wierd vol 2 by Chris Mould -finished and reviewed 😉
32. The Terminal Spy by Alan S. Cowell
33. Nation by Terry Pratchett
34. The Organ Grinder and the Monkey by Sam Moffie
35. Last Night I Dreamed of Peace by Dang Thuy Tram

ok… I think that’s it… for now… but I know I have a few more on the way. SO… any suggestions on how to organize this list? Any books I should read right away? Were there any that you particualarly liked or wanted to know about? HELP ME!!!! :-p

The Sunday Salon ~ Decompression Day!

The Sunday Salon.com

Wow! What a week of reading! I have been reading more or less NON STOP all week, stopping only to write the reviews and blog or when life called me away, and even then I had my book in my coat pocket. I polished off four books this past week, so today I am kicking back and watching movies 🙂

Books read this week:
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson ~ Of the four books I’ve read this past week, I have to say I enjoyed Miss Pettigrew the most.

Yesterday, the kids and I went to the library for their monthly family movie, “Beverly Hills Chihauhau.” Saturated with the “aww factor,” which was supplied by toy dogs in Italian Leather and Pepto-pink cashmere sweaters. It’s definitely an adorable movie and worth seeing again 😀

And yesterday evening brought our Netflix movies in the mail, one of which was disc 1 of Dexter season 2 \O/ Woo-Hoo! \O/ . Poor Dexter struggles with an identity crisis after finding out his adopted father and mentor, Harry, lied to him about crucial information. Then, divers discover his body-dumping ground. Rita thinks he’s an addict and tells him he either goes to NA or it’s over. And Doakes, Dexter’s nemesis, tails him wherever he goes leaving Dexter the Dark Avenger all Jekyll and no Hyde. I can’t wait for disc 2!

For Maggie’s Netflix movie, The Forbidden Kingdom was a fun fantasy movie about a western teen boy with a fascination for martial arts movies who is magically whisked away to a mystical Middle Kingdom China. While I could have lived without Jason, the movie stars both Jet Li and Jackie Chan as Kung Fu masters. There is even a rare sight in this movie, Jet Li ACTUALLY throws his head back in a hearty laugh!

For my middle daughter, Penelope is the romantic tale of title character Penelope, who had the misfortune of being the victim of an old family curse that gave her the nose and ears of a pig. Penelope has to learn that being happy with who you are is more important than what others think of you. As an added bonus, Penelope’s love interest is played by James McAvoy :-p

And finally, for my oldest daughter, The Crow. She thinks the Crow is cool, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie.

Books on the menu for the coming week are:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Appeal by John Grisham
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Derailed by James Siegel

If I actually manage to get through all those in the coming week, which I doubt, I’ll start The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

So, what are your plans for the coming week?

The Sunday Salon.com

Well, I missed last week’s Salon, and finishing Breaking Dawntook a bit longer than I had anticipated… like 10 days longer; it was an exercise in self-torture and perseverance. I wanted to finish before my boyfriend, but I think we both finished the same night, and I’m not sure who read “THE END” first. You can read my review here.

One of the things disappearing in Second Life for a few months has done is rob me of the time to comfortably achieve my reading goal of 75 books for the year by December 31st. After Breaking Dawn, I had 19 books to go… it’s a seemingly impossible goal to achieve; it works out to one book every day and a half. So I’ve been piling headlong into this insurmountable quota. It’s my goal, set by me, and if I miss it I’ve only got myself to answer to. But still, it chafes a bit that I might NOT make it. I have every intention to meeting this goal if I go blind in the process.

For that reason, my next book was Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr. A short 125 pages with a lot of illustrations, this cute little book took a little over 2 hours to finish. Maggie looked it up at her school to see if it’s an Accelerated Reader book, which it is, so I’ll be reading it a second time with her next week 😉 . You can read my review for Nim’s Island here.

I finally returned to my Viral Video Wednesday post, this week posting music videos. The concept was “If there was a soundtrack to your life, what songs would be on it?” I listed mine, along with my reasons for them in a brief history of my life, which included songs like “Crawling” by Linkin Park, “The Unforgiven” by Metallica, “Wonderful, Merciful Saviour” by Selah, Natasha Beddingfield’s “Unwritten” as sung by Team Lachey, and Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love”, among others. Personally, I thought it is a story of triumph and resilience, but it would seem that it was more depressing than joyous, inspiring pity. I apologize to those of you who found it more of a downer than a sharing of my life and recovery. You can check out this week’s Viral Video Wednesday here, if you dare.

I tried hard to finish Fragile Thingsby Neil Gaiman by Thursday to hit that one book per each day and a half quota, but didn’t quite make it. So I finished a book Maggie and I had been slowly working on for the last month or so. Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives, vol 2 by Ellen Schreiber was my first experience in Manga. It’s an interesting and by no means a small genre of reading material. Manga covers any subject matter and age group that books of text cover, only they do it with graphic art panels and thought and speech bubbles. You can read <my review of Vampire Kisses Blood Relatives, vol 2 here.

I did finish Fragile Things: Short Stories and Wonders by Neil Gaiman today. I really loved this book, and read the two poems I posted in the review, plus the short story “Other People”… making that my fourth time reading it… to my boyfriend. I remembered another short entry (not written in verse form, but feels like poetry nonetheless) that I liked in it a while ago. It’s called “In the End”:

IN THE END

In the end, the Lord gave Mankind the world. All the world was Man’s, save for one garden. This is my garden, said the Lord, and here you shall not enter.

There was a man and woman who came to the garden, and their names were Earth and Breath.

They had with them a small fruit which the Man carried, and when they arrived at the gate to the garden, the Man gave the fruit to the Woman, and the Woman gave the fruit to the Serpent with the flaming sword who guarded the Eastern Gate.

And the Serpent took the fruit and placed it upon a tree in the center of the garden.

Then Earth and Breath knew their clothedness, and removed their garments, one by one, until they were naked; and when the Lord walked through the garden he saw the man and the woman, who no longer knew good from evil, but were satisfied, and He saw it was good.

Then the Lord opened the gates and gave Mankind the garden, and the Serpent raised up, and it walked away proudly on four strong legs; and where it went none but the Lord can say.

And after that there was nothing but silence in the Garden, save for the occasional sound of the man taking away its name from another animal.

Fragile Things: Short Stories and Wondersby Neil Gaiman, “The End” page 233.

You can read my review of Fragile Things here.

I started reading The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon today, and hope to finish and post the review tomorrow. I’m about 70 pages in and am enjoying it so far. It’s an alternate timeline in which Sitka, Alaska became the interim Jewish homeland after the fall of the State of Israel after three months of independence. The book opens with a murder, a messed up homicide detective, and the stress of the reversion of the Federal District of Sitka to the state of Alaska.

Unfortunately, though, I may not be able to finish it tomorrow… Second Life has made a claim to my time tomorrow, as a SL friend is getting married there and I’m a bridesmaid. Busy, busy, busy!

TSS – Habits, Addictions, and I’m Back!!

The Sunday Salon.com

Alright, alright… So I’ve been away for a couple weeks months, and the few posts in between seem to get the same comments, “I was wondering where you’ve been! I thought you died!” lol… Not quite, but I found a virtual world called Second Life and found it rather addictive. Think: Everything the real world has to offer, and then add flying, teleporting… being a werewolf or vampire… or a middle-age princess or knight in King Arthur’s court… and you can see why it’s so addictive.

I’m very much a creature of habit, BUT… my habits are so-SO-SO easily disrupted. My grandma’s death and funeral brought my mom up from Texas for a week long visit, which knocked me out of my reading habit. I decided to try Second Life because my best friend and her fiance (now husband…Yay!) were ALWAYS talking about it. So, on a whim, I created an avatar, signed on and was instantly caught up… so much so that I’ve been planning to buy a second computer and giving this one to the kids because I wouldn’t get off even for them to take their hour computer time (3 hours… I couldn’t even take 3 hours away!).

And in the process of living in Second Life (a common expression on it is “My first life is getting in the way of my Second Life!), I met a guy. Now, if you knew me, you’d know what a LAUGH this is. I’ve always been adamant AGAINST online relationships… and here I am, in a relationship began online. Yeah… be careful what you say because you may end up eating your words… lol. BUT, it’s mostly good. Both of us have had some really bad luck in past relationships, so there’s a lot of fear and insecurities to get past, and I vacillate several times a day between ending it NOW to avoid the heartache that MAY happen and going headlong into it, hoping for the best. HOPE.. *gack!*… never been a good friend of mine.

So, boyfriend lives about 2 1/2 hours from me and came to visit for the first time last weekend. Two and a half days of goo-goo eyes and my kids (who love him already, and likewise… a good chunk of my fears and insecurities eliminated right there) chanting “KISS! KISS! KISS!” then going, “EwwWWWwwwwWWww!” when we did, and my habit of Second Life was broke. I’ve been on for maybe, MAYBE, 8 hours in the last week.

And what filled the Second Life spot? Back to the books 😀 and reviewing (-: and blogging the memes \o/ (yay!). I had the commitment of a November 25th blog stop for Two Brothers: One North, One South by David H. Jones, and I had only read a chapter or so before his visit, so I had to cook through it to make the deadline. And while it was an excellently written and researched book, it wasn’t exactly my cuppa. However, it really reminded me of my serious LOVE of reading, and how I’ve always said that as long as you have a book there’s no hell you can’t escape. Hey, if I lost the internet or if Second Life was shut down for some reason, where would I escape to? But books are always there, always accessible, and provide a second life in the world within.

And one of the fun things with my boyfriend is that he’s an avid reader. I’ve introduced him to The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, my number one Best New Author book and definitely on my top 5 reads for this year, as well as getting him into the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer.

He had read the first two books, Twilight and New Moon, and had just started reading the third, Eclipse, when he came down Friday. One reason for coming Friday was so we could go together to see the movie Twilight (I should review the movie, but I’ll have to watch it again… lol.. I was a bit, erm.. distracted the first time 😉 ). So when I finished Two Brothers, I picked up Breaking Dawn so I could keep ahead of him. Problem is, he’s reading them by audio book, which is faster than I can read. I HAVE to beat him, lol, so I picked up the audio book to read along. Hehehehe…. So I’m in chapter 16 and he’s in chapter 7, and if I read while he sleeps I should be able to beat him 😉 .

And now I’m so excited to be back into the books… of course, now I’m getting the “Where are you? Are you dead?” messages from my SL friends, but Boyfriend can let them know 😉

So what’s next on my TBR right away pile? Well, after Breaking Dawn’s 700+ pages, I think I’ll read Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr. It’s a nice thin book, and I saw the movie when it came out… hadn’t realized it was a book until a few days later. Then maybe Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling… the movie will be out soon, so I want to get it read before then. Then… maybe Yiddish Policemen’s Unionby Michael Chabon (never read anything by him) and Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, or vice versa. Also, I’ve been slowly working through Emma by Jane Austen, so I’ll get back to my Jane-a-thon, too.  AND… I’m ashamed to say, but somewhere in the last couple months I missed a blog tour stop.  I was suppose to be on Elizabeth McCracken’s An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination.  I couldn’t find the date I was suppose to post… if I would have looked at the letter in the book I would’ve seen it was for September 30th.  I think I didn’t start looking for the date until after my House and Home review was posted, so I owe that review quickly.  As well as owing a review of Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland for LibraryThing’s ER group.  AND all the other ARC books I compulively requested… which is a LOT :-\ .

My reading goal was 75 books by December 31st, and I’m at 54 books… which means I’ve got less than five weeks to read 21 books. Hmm… don’t know if I can do that now, that’ll be more than 5 books a week, but I’ll do my best to get as close as possible.

So check back often, because the reviews are going to be flying up here quickly.

Oh…

and I’M BACK!!! 😀

The Sunday Salon -Tan Lines and Lemonade Stands

The Sunday Salon.com

For some reason, I feel this week has been very unproductive. I’ve really only read one book this week, Tan Lines. I finished Sana Krasikov’s One More Year, and I’m about halfway through The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deavers.

I did receive a nomination for the Brilliante Weblog Premio 2008 award, finished my interview with Nam Le, author of The Boat. Technocrati set spiders loose, LT recommendations were discussed and favorite lines from books were shared.  But I still only read one book. 😦

Part of the reason for only reading one book is I can’t seem to keep away from the computer.  If I would just keep my happy butt off of it I could get some things done.  That problem will be remedied this week since Sammi, my 15-year-old, has come back from her dad’s and she’ll be taking over the ‘puter.  A second impediment to reading this week is people won’t leave me alone!  I no sooner than crack the spine and the phone rings or there’s a knock at the door.  Someone selling Amway products came by this week… Amway?!  I thought they were run out of the country back in the 80’s. 

Friday and Saturday I got nothing read… at all.  No, correct that, I got the same paragraph read… over and over… of Julius Caesar’s The Conquest of Gaul.  Mags had Vacation Bible School this week and Friday was the program for their families.  Then she was invited to go to Indiana Beach, so she had a Fresh Baked Cookies and Lemonade stand yesterday.

Okay, when did a child showing inititive and motivation become the equivelent to begging? My stinky-head neighbors (the ones I don’t like) treated her like a leper because she was hawking her wares. She gave up on the stand after an hour and took her products door to door (just on our block where I could see her). She made enough to go, but her friend never came and picked her up to go. What the heck happened to decency? If her mom had decided she couldn’t take a friend, or if she’d picked a different friend as her plus one, she could’ve called to let Mags know. People!

-)

Mags and Sam with their blue tongues 🙂

Then, of course, Sam came home and wanted to get her 3-weeks-attention last night. Mags missed her, as did their friend across the street, and they played until 10:30 to 11 o’clock last night.

So, here I am… nothing much in the way of bookish things to report. Last week was the fair, this week… not much excuse. Next week I’m gonna make it up and get three books done. I swear!! 😀

Oh, I almost forgot! My First Ever Giveaway!! has 691 entries. Prizes are now the $20 Borders gift card, plus two $10, and a $5 gift card. Another 9 entries, and I’m throwing in another $5, which makes the total prizes add up to $50. But, I’m thinking 700 entries is pretty monumental, so I’m giving the grand prize winner a mystery prize to boot. So don’t forget to enter!