Do the Book-y Dance of Joy!

A book I’ve been dying to get finally came in the mail today:  xxxHOLiC volume 1 by Clamp.  xxxHOLiC is my favorite anime… I like it even better than Fruits Basket, can you believe that?!

This what’s on my desktop:

xxxHOLiC desktop

and then, lo and behold, it’s like page 2 of the book.  :-D   The picture makes me giggle because Watanuki has neko ears (or are they fox ears, maybe?) and a chain attached to his neck and Yuko is holding onto it.  She soo OWNS him. *gigling some more*

If you’ve not seen the show or read the books, the picture may be pretty, or may even disturb you, but if you have seen it, then you totally get the pic!

Quick summary of the story:

Watanuki sees spirits, and those spirits chase, harrass, and attack him.   He accidentally (or, is destined, depending on your take) finds his way to Yuko, who promises to grant his wish and rid him of the spirits, but it will cost him.  He has to work for her until the debt is paid off.  He cooks, cleans, serves and does her shopping, and in the process he learns a great deal about himself, the world around him and about helping people.

I like the philosophy and treatment of the supernatural in xxxHOLiC, as it is very similar to my own. 

So, do you believe in destiny, that your steps in life are prearranged?  Do you believe everything is chance and choice?  A mixture of both?

I Love You GWEN COOPER!

Okay, I had to HAD TO blog this.  Wendy from Musings of Bookish Kitty talked about the book Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper yesterday

Amazon.com Review
Book Description
Once in nine lives, something extraordinary happens…

The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever,” never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.

But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.

In her blog post, The Spoiler Odyssey (Well, Sort Of), Wendy relayed the humorous details of her quest to know whether the cat Homer suffers or dies before deciding to read it.  She put forth the question in her online reading group with some interesting results (go and read it, it’s quite a fun post ;-) ).

I commented:

I have the book on my ARC-alanche pile, and I’m dying to get to it. My middle daughter’s name is Gwen and she loves cats, so she wants me to read it to her (she’s special needs and reads at about a 2nd-3rd grade level)….

and was surprised to receive an email from Wendy forwarding the author’s comment offering to send a finished copy of the book as well as an audio book for my daughter, adding “What’s not to love about another Gwen who loves cats??? :-) ”  It is such an absolutely sweet and wonderful thing for her to do, and I got a little lumpy in my throat reading it.

Here’s Gwen in her first video appearance after I read her the comments:

I Love you, GWEN COOPER!! and Wendy for letting me know ;-)

Great Goblins! Giveaway

I’ve just started reading Goblins! An UnderEarth Adventure by Royce Buckingham, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a fast and easy read, and I may get Mags to do a guest review on it, as well… seems like something she’d really enjoy. It reminds me a bit of The Spiderwick Chronicles, with goblins and kids battling goblins and goblin goo all over, but it’s its own book as well.

 

Here’s a trailer for the book:

and a blurb from Amazon.com:

Sneaking out into the woods near the Canadian border, Sam and PJ come across what looks like a mutant gorilla with a bad attitude. But it’s no ape— it’s a goblin, and thousands more of them live under the earth, kept in check only by a small corps of human Guardians.
Sam finds a tunnel below the surface, and in no time he’s in the goblins’ clutches. With goblin leaders Eww-Yuk and Slurp at odds, it will take all of PJ’s strength and ingenuity to get Sam back—but then again, how hard could it be to outsmart a goblin?

Featuring the high adventure and slapstick humor that made Demonkeeper a fantasy favorite, Goblins! is a subterranean romp that will keep readers laughing as they race through the pages to see what happens next.

So, I want to share the Goblin! fun with you! I have a second, spanking-new copy to give away to a lucky winner. I think we’ll keep this one quick and easy.

  1. Leave a comment here to enter the contest.
  2. Blog this contest for an extra 3 entries, and make sure to leave a comment with the link.
  3. email 5 people or more about the contest, make sure to include me ( ibetnoonehasthisdamnid@yahoo.com )  in the CC, for another 3 entries.
  4. Post the contest and link (shortened URL: http://bit.ly/vX3Se ) on Twitter, make sure to include @thekoolaidmom in your tweet so I’ll catch it, for another 3 bonus entries.
  5. Leave a comment on the review of the book when I post it Saturday for another bonus entry.

Contest is open until 11:59 pm, EDT, and I’ll post the winners names on Monday, June 1st :-)  Good luck!

BTT ~ Pop! Goes Dean Koontz

Which is worse?

Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author, or

Reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

.

Yesterday one of my facebook friends sent me an invite to take one of those quizzes to see how much alike we were.  It was the kind where you have 10 phrases to put in order, most to least, starting with what I hated the most.  “Disappoint me” was top of the chart, even above “lie to me”, “ignore me” or “talk behind my back”.

At least with reading a book I love, then hating everything else by that author, I had that book one that I  loved.  It’s easier to take the rest of his or her writing, and I can just shrug it all off as a fluke.  As much as I love The Book Thief, I’m slightly worried that nothing else by Markus Zusak will be any good.  However, if I should happen to give another of his books a try and hate it, It will not sully my memory of The Book Thief.

On the other hand, if I pick up a book by an author I love, and hate it, there’s a sense that the author has failed me personally.  We have a relationship, of sorts, and he or she did not hold up his end of the bargain.  He or she has FAILED ME, and with every book I read thereafter I will hold this little uncertainty, a distrust, and wonder if he or she is going to screw me over again.

The worst of all, though, is that first experience reading an author and loving the whole book, every word is perfectly placed, his pace perfect, his story compelling, and you sit there and think “How on EARTH have I lived my life without reading this author!”  Then you get to the last three or four chapters, the last 10-15 pages, and he totally and completely bottoms out in epic-sized proportions.  And now, because of this, every book you touch by him you are leery to pick up, no matter how fascinating, intriguing or compelling the story line, because you wonder if he’s going to “screw you over” again.  AND he’s one of your bookfriend’s favorite authors, so she’s always sharing whatever one of his 147 just-out-in-paperback-because-he-has-a-new-release-ever-five-minutes-book she has just finished, and you look at every single one she thrusts at you to read, with the proclamation, “This is his best book yet!”, as if it were an adorable puppy you just watched get bitten by a foaming-at-the-mouth, crazy rabid squirrel and you know it’s only a matter of time until the big-eyed, heart-tugging pup turns on you.  But you finally relent and take her offering, however, no matter how good the writing is, you say to yourself, “Oh, sure it’s good now, but is he going to screw me over in the last few chapters like the other one?”  So you can’t enjoy it AT ALL because every page comes with that feeling you have as you turn the Jack-in-the-box crank as “the monkey though ’twas all in fun….” plunks out.  EVERY page you ever read by him again is saturated with the aftertaste of that massive  let down.

Dean Koontz, I’m talking to you. 

If you’d like to play along, or read other Booking Through Thursday answers, click the button above :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After reading The Darkest Evening of the Year and loving it, loving it, loving it… then having it all turn to crap in the last three or four chapters, I feel like Buddy in this vid clip while reading From the Corner of His Eye.

Read-a-Thon ~ Takin’ a Break :-)

Photobucket

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

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 :-D

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 :-D

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. :-)

Booking Through Thursday – Stories

If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?

Or, um, is it just me?

Great writing is important, and figuring out the metaphors in a book is also something I really dig into some books for. But without a story that interests me I wouldn’t get far enough into the book to apprecialte those things. Great characters are a definite need, but if great characters do nothing but sit around and drink coffee then I’m not sure that’s enough to make even the best writing compelling.

No, it’s definitely the story that I read and even buy a book for. I’m not standing there in Walden’s, flipping books over and reading the back covers wondering, “Hmm.. I wonder what Pub Weekly said.” No, I’m wanting to know what the book is about. Why do I want to spend $12 (avg) to put this book on Mt. TBR, which is already overflowing onto my desk. The story has to be something I want to read. I’d sacrifice great writing for great story.

Of course, I want great writing, great characters, and great story, though you know ;-)

Friday Fill-Ins -Where’s the TP?!

 

1. If I could travel back in time, I’d go to the early 80′s and buy $5000 of stock in Microsoft.

2. Give me Ioan Gruffudd or give me a lifetime supply of chocolate.

3. I am listening to Hannah Montana (Maggie loves HM and is watching it right now).

4. Somewhere, someone is thinking “CRAP!! All the toilet paper’s gone!!”.

5. I’ll always be weird, ’cause I like me that way.

6. My idea of a good time includes grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, chips, sweet tea, my mom’s deviled eggs and potato salad, my baked beans, cakes, pies and brownies and all my family together for fun, visiting, rehashing old arguments, accusing each other of cheating at euchre, and otherwise sharing all the love a family can.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to reading The Richest Season (it’s really a beautiful book), tomorrow my plans include shopping for school clothes and supplies for my kids, and Sunday, I want to have finished and reviewed The Richest Season.

Booking Through Thursday -Endings

Booking Through Thursday

I had a couple of people (Readerville and Nithin) leave me suggestions in response to last week’s post on Beginnings, but this one was already on its way! I mean, it was the obvious next question….

What are your favourite final sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its last sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the last line?

I actually DOhave a favorite last sentence. It’s from Janet Evanovich’s Two For the Dough: Morelli tells Stephanie that she’s the worst bounty hunter ever, she gets mad and shoves him out the door, and tells him “This is war!” To which he flirtatiously replies:

“Lucky for me,” Morelli said. “I give good war.”

I’ve never suddenly liked a book simply for a great wrap-up sentence. If the last 300 pages sucked, one final sentence isn’t going to change that. What the last sentence is for me is the parting kiss of an intimate friend. Depending on the quality of our relationship, that kiss may be something that warms my heart and helps me hold onto the joy and pride and love I’ve felt, or it can be a kiss I’m in a hurry to get through, happy it’s over so I’ll never have to see it again and awkward because the kiss-giver doesn’t realize how much I can’t stand it.

I think beginnings and endings provide a frame, but if the middle is terrible then the reader will never make it to the end. Great Bs and Es with a crap middle is like taking an antique frame and putting your kindergartners stick people drawing in it. Likewise, a flat B and E with a phenomenal middle is like hanging a Monet over the garbage can.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 494 other followers