TSS ~ I’m Planning a Realignment

The Sunday Salon.com

This is the last Sunday Salon of 2009, and it’s got me thinking about how things has gone this year, as well as what I want to do next year.  For one thing, in looking back at all the books I’ve read this year (76 as of right now), it seems like it’s been a LOOOONG year, lol.  AND I started the year late, finishing my first book, Bedlam, Bath and Beyond by J.D. Warren on February 10.  I also took a detour into the land of Azeroth, discovering the world of MMORPG (the acronym for “Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game”) when I decided to check out what all the WoW fuss was.  And while I still enjoy playing, I’ve gotten over it as such an obsessive distraction.  Recently, a friend of mine tried to get me into another game like World of Warcraft (or WoW is like it, since it was first) called Guild Wars, but I didn’t really dig it.  I also gave Warhammer a try, and was unimpressed by it, as well.  Books just beat any other medium of escape!

This past year I’ve read a variety of genres from sci-fi like Freedom’s Landing, Dune and Dune Messiah (not yet reviewed) to classics such as Silas Marner, Emma, and Northanger Abbey (not yet reviewed).  I’ve read horror, like Heart-Shaped Box, children’s books, like The Tutu Ballet, and serial books like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6 of the Harry Potter series), Marked (Book 1 of The House of Night series), and Brisingr (Book 3 of The Inheritance Cycle).  I’ve read books that have been made into movies, sometimes for the better, like Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, and Confessions of a Shopoholic.  I didn’t limit myself to fiction, either, and read The World Without Us, The Stettheimer Dollhouse, and  An Inconvenient Book (not yet reviewed) and read poetry and plays like Dr. Faustus and Custard and Company, too.

For the most part, I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read this year and it’s hard to pick favorites.  But I shall try!  The following are my stars of 2009 (in no particular order):

1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ~ My all-time favorite book, I fell in love with the story and Zusak’s writing style.  I hope to give his other books a read as well someday.  After finishing this book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I couldn’t start another book for awhile.  I still find myself thinking about the beauty of the writing, the characters, and I want to reread it sometime soon.

2.  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury ~ First off, I love dystopic books, it’s probably my favorite genre.  My definition of dystopia is:  Someone’s Utopia is another’s HELL.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this book lately, as I look at pictures I’ve taken of my 16-year-old this year.  In every one she’s got her mp3 player going in her ears.  At one point in time this year, all four of us were sitting in the same room, all of us listening to our own little soundtracks of our own lives.  We were all in huggable difference, and yet we were in different universes.  All I could think about were the seashells that Montag’s wife wore in her ears.  It was a disturbing and surreal moment.

3.  Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen ~ This book was vivid and well-researched, and it made me feel the magic of going to a circus as a child for the first time.  It had intrigue, romance, and the Great Depression.  The moving back and forth from the present Jacob Jankowski (who was 92, or 93, or 94.. he couldn’t even remember anymore) to the young Jacob who walked away from his vet finals after the death of his parents, becoming the vet for the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.

4.  Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen ~ I recently finished this one, but in my rush to reach my goal of 75 books I’ve put off writing a review.  Hopefully I’ll get to it this coming week, but it’ll probably not happened until after the kids get back to school in the new year.  Northanger Abbey is my FAVORITE Austen book.  It’s witty and fun and Austen uses it as a great vehicle for arguing the criticisms of her day.  Reading this book was like watching myself as a teen.  I was soOOo Catherine Morland!  Dreamy, romantic who read way too many books and had no grasp of how the real world worked.

5.  Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper ~ Probably the book with the longest full title I’ve read:  Homer’s Odyssey:  A Fearless Feline Tale, Or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat.  This is my pimping-book for the year, meaning it’s the book I’ve been telling EVERYONE I see to read.  In addition to mad reco’s, I gave away copies as Christmas presents.  It’s such an inspirational and heart-warming story that I just can’t stop talking about it.  I know I’ll reread this one again and again :-)

So, what are my plans for the New Year?  Well… I don’t really want to say I’ve made RESOLUTIONS because they never really work.  I’ve been thinking in terms of REALIGNMENTS.  I’ve gotten a bit lazy or distracted about things and have gone a bit off mark from where I wanted to go at the beginning of this year.  So, here’s what I’m wanting to do as we begin 2010:

1.  Um… I really need to do some house cleaning.  Bad.  I keep waiting for Miss Niecy to show up, lol, but I don’t think she’s coming.  Honestly, with all my online game-playing (WoW and facebook games being the main offenders) in the last few months, the laundry has piled up as have the dishes, and it’s starting to look like we have a dirt floor in the kitchen.  So, that’s first on my list of what I need to get done.

2.  I need to get back to cooking dinners.  Again, I’ve been lazy about not wanting to stop playing the games, and Domino’s has become #1 on my speed dial.  My kids are probably the only ones in the world that have said “Please, no more pizza!  I’m sick of pizza!”  And no,  frozen dinners don’t count as “cooking more”… lol.

3.  Get back to blogging regularly.  I’ve been bad about writing meme posts (which I enjoy) and writing reviews (which is sometimes a bit of work, but I also enjoy), mostly because *cough* it’d require me to get off the game and write them.  Yeah… like I said, I’ve been bad about the games here lately.

4.  Try to take things in balance.  I have a bad habit of going “all one thing at the expense of everything else”.  When I’m reading, that’s all I’m doing.  That’s how I’ve managed to read almost 20 books in a little over a month.  It’s pretty much all I’ve done.  When I was playing WoW, that was all I did, too.  All day, every day… sometimes for more than 24 hours straight.  I just don’t seem to know how to do moderation.

5.  Get through all my ARC-alanche pile.  Period.  Some of them have been on this pile for almost 2 years now.  I still have Stealing Athena, The Aviary Gate, Zoe’s Tale, and The Good Thief on it.  SOME are now available in AUDIOBOOK FORM.  I really need to focus on getting these books done.  I have FIVE LibraryThing Early Reader books to read, including Any Given Doomsday which I received back in February. 

So, how about you?  Any resolutions?  What do you hope to do in the year to come?

Mags and I love watching Style Network’s Clean House (the ones with Niecy Nash… not the other lady) and we love to veg in my bed together and watch marathons of the show.  Miss Niecy is lovely and hilarious, and after a few shows we can’t help but walk around doing Miss Niecy impressions… lol.  But, of course, it’s never as good as the original ;-) 

Books, Buds, and Blueberry-Lemon Crunch Cake

It’s been an interesting and fun day here.  The weather is gorgeous!  Warm, sunny, and a good breeze to blow all the winter stench away.  The girls and I all headed to the library to take back a few things and Sam wanted to get some more movies and Twilight.  As it turns out, by the way, all I had to do was tell her what was in Marked (oral sex), and she decided it wasn’t a book for her.  She’s a good kid :-)

On our way, we met up with a friend who reminded me that the library sale was today, a fact I had NOT forgotten, but alas, did not have any money for it.  I made the comment that I didn’t have any money so I’d have to catch the next one, and she pressed a five dollar bill in my hand and told me to get everyone some books. :-D Friends are great ;-)

So, at our library sale books cost fifty cents a piece, or $5 per bag.  I perused the books, looking at all the books offered. Most of the children’s books were a bit baby-ish, but Maggie picked up a book on Texas (that’s where my mom lives).  Sam snatched up a Where’s Waldo? book, and Gwen got a beautifully illustrated fairy tale book.

One of the main criteria for the books I chose were size.  The smaller the book, the more I could cram in the bag ;-) so no coffee table books today (there wasn’t many available anyway, oddly enough).  But a very interesting thing has happened since joining LibraryThing, the blogging realm and reading emails from publishers, Shelf Awarenes, and everything else.  I’m beginning to recocgnize titles I’ve heard and wanted.  For instance, one book that jumped out at me is called People of the Valley, though I’m not even sure why it popped out at me.

Then, just a little bit ago, the mailman dropped off a few of my mooches, and one of them caught my eye. Last week, Abe Publishing sent an email about the 10 overlooked Pulitzer Prize winning books, and I immediately mooched them or put the titles on my wishlists. One of them, Lamb in His Bosom, was among my haul today.  What caught my attention about the book is that, looking at the cover or reading the title, I would have passed over this book without a thought.

Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller

My first thought on it is, “It’s just some religious book.”  Which reminds me of the proverb “Never judge a book by its cover.”  And I wonder how many exceptional books have I missed, how many life-changing narratives have I blown off, and it makes me a little sad.

Add to that, all those books in the library itself were all dreams and babies of writers, and I will never be able to read even 1% of all of them.  So many colorful spines that call out to me from those lightly dusted faux-wood shelves, and I am forced to turn my back on them and walk out… ignoring all those voices of all those people who had something to say and managed to do what most don’t:  Bind their words in an available and solid, tangible way.

So have you ever had a book call to you?  Have you read a book that you loved, but would have never picked up on your own?  What sources do you turn to for the next title to read?  How do you stretch your reading taste?

Off to eat my Blueberry-Lemon Crunch Bundt cake :-D

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 ~ Final Tally

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I’m writing this final RaT post on the fly, waiting for our ride to church. When I get back, I’ll write my Sunday Salon post and go a bit deeper about things, but I just wanted to write an official wrap up post.

The last two hours of the Read-a-Thon were looooooooong and slooooooow. The last half hour, I pretty much kept reading over the same lines again and again, never comprehending the bizarre inked symbols pressed into the once-living-tree-material. My last page in Marked was 134.

On the other hand, oddly enough, I’m feeling a tremendous, magnetic pull from one of the families in one of the books I’m writing. The eldest and youngest sisters are fighting and expelling everything they’ve ever thought and felt about the other’s character flaws and bad-daughter-ness. I’ll def have to work them through it later today.

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Reading Totals:

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 ~ 134 pages.

Read-a-Thon ~ Like That DAMN Bunny, I’m Still Goin’ !

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Yes, like that pink, drum-beating, shades-wearing, battery-hawking Rabbit, I’m still going. A little slower and a bit less chatty, but still awake and reading Marked.

After a third cup of coffee and no food since somewhere around 6:30 last night, my stomach was feeling rather roily. I made a nice bowl of old-fashioned oats (made with milk, not water), refilled my water bottle for the I’ve-lost-count number of times, and another cup of coffee. The oatmeal settled my stomach and gave me a boost of energy, but I quit the coffee after a sip or two started making me sick. I may take the dog for a walk to the gas station and get a couple cans of soda, then come back and pop some popcorn.

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I started this last stint of reading on page 46 of Marked, and I’m now on page 99, meaning I’ve read 53 pages in the last 2 1/2 hours.

*stinging sensation in my throat… the beginnings of heartburn, caused by too much coffee* Yeah, I’m taking the dog to get a soda.

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 11, page 99, almost a third of the way through.

Read-a-Thon ~ Settling Back In

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Okay… I’ve got the MP3 player resolved… still have room for ONE more song, but it’d prob take me 3 more hours to finish if I tried to find that ONE song.

My eyes are a little sticky and wanting to shut, and it’s 2:25 am here, which means I have 5 1/2 hours left in the 24-hour Read-a-Thon. I’m going to count song titles as reading :-p … lol.

Back to Marked. I’m on page 46. I’m baked, toasted and fried.

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’ve been Chosen by the House of Night

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First off, I want to say Thank You! and throw smooches and hugs at all the RaT cheerleaders :-) You are much appreciated ;-) And I’m glad everyone’s enjoying my button… you know me, I like to mock ‘em and shock ‘em :-D

Also, I “finished” Empire Falls and How to Be a Villian today, but they were unfinished reads already began before today. I read about 20 pages and 80 pages in them, respectively, and about 15 in The Magician’s Nephew So I’ve only read about 140 pages altogether, including what I’ve read in Marked. S.Krishna and a few others blow me away with their tweets ever 20 minutes, “Finished another book!” Gack!

But It’s not a contest… *deep, cleansing breath* :-D

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Okay, so on to Marked… I don’t know where I’d heard of the House of Night series, maybe from one of the publisher’s newsletters, but when I did, something about the books screamed for me to read them.

I’ve been thinking that I might want to include some of the more popular books in my reading and reviewing for two reasons: 1) It’s part of the Zeitgeist of our culture, so I need to read them so I can keep up with the conversations, and 2) Reading and posting reviews of the more popular books might increase my blog traffic. The House of Night series popped out as possibly being a more popular set of books. AND, they’re about vamps, and I like vamp books. :-D

So far, I’ve read the first 3 chapters of the first book in the series, Marked, and I get it. It’s more of a social commentary… an allegory of our culture… and “vampyre” is the concept being used, but I think “homosexuality” is really what the authors are saying.

Zooey is an average, just-wanna-fit-in, middle child, sixteen year old in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Her mom, who used to wear make-up and have fun, is now married to a church Elder who’s more concerned about what people will think of him than if Zooey should go where she can get what she needs.

When her step-loser (as she calls him) sees the sapphire-blue crescent moon given to her by the Vampyre Tracker that marks her as a Vampyre, he tells her he’s not surprised her bad behavior has brought this crisis on her. He tells her, “Get behind me, Satan,” and tells his wife and her mother to call the clueless family psychiatrist and the church Elders to come over and “cure” Zooey.

To all of this Zooey replies that scientists have proven than it’s a genetic change that happens to some teens, and is not brought on by a vamp’s bite or by a person’s “bad behavior.”

Of course, his reply is, “God’s knowledge surpasses science, and it’s blasphemous for you to say otherwise…”

Yeah, okay…. I get it. On the one side, yes, people can get very cruel about things, Christians or otherwise. Parents, too, can be absolutely clueless about what’s going on with their kids.

I am torn on the issue, too. On the one hand, I do believe that God can do anything. He can heal people of incurable diseases, one of my good friends was healed (against all the doctors prognoses) of ovarian cancer. He can change the nature of a person, the habitual thief can be touched and steal no more. He can change a person’s desires, too, and an alcoholic or smoker can lay down their vice and never look back or suffer a twinge of withdrawal. I know people who have experienced these things.

On the other hand, it is the job of those around these people to judge them as a freak, criminal, or worthless, only to love, befriend and support as a fellow human being. Providing a person is not harming another, it is not our business what they do in their own private moments.

*drags the soapbox away and stores it back in the closet*

Any way… lol… back to reading. I am enjoying the book Marked.

What are your thoughts or book selection being partially influenced by popularity and the hope of increasing blog traffic? Selling out?

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 ~ page 27, the start of Chapter Four

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

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