Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vacation Post #1

Arrived at the beach yesterday afternoon, and much thanks to the beach gods as the temperature is actually nice and not overwhelming hot like back home.  The Hubs isn't coming down to the end of this week, but I'm down here for the full 3 weeks.  :)

I actually got quite a bit of reading done last night- finishing up Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- I forgot that Fleur briefly meets Bill in this book and shows some interest in him.  I really love how layered J.K. Rowling's books are- the end of book 4 looms large in how book 7 plays out.  I am just so in awe of Rowling's writing.  Cedric's death in GoF is so much more tragic in the book, and Fudge goes from preening politician to obstinate ass in just a few pages.  Which of course sets up book 5 and the introduction of the villain I dislike the most- Delores Umbridge. 

Also started Dog On It last night, and I'm probably about half way done since I was the first one up this morning.  Is there anything better than reading in the ocean breeze?  So far I'm really enjoying the book, which is told from Chet the dog's perspective.  It's a bit Bunnicula for the adult crowd- and I still read that series, usually adding one to my Readathon Pile O' Books.

Should be hitting the beach in a bit, and then I need to take a nap so I can stay up late to try to get into Pottermore.  I know, I'm a nerd.  I'm especially a Harry Potter nerd.  I have made peace with this.
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ocean City Reads

 Ocean City, here I come!  Well, not right this second.  Right this second I'm packing.  I don't actually leave for the beach until Saturday, but today (which is Wednesday but this won't post until tomorrow) is the day I'm packing since I'll be traveling to Northern Virginia on Friday to travel to the beach with my Mom. 

The fun part of packing is picking out what books I'll be taking to the beach. Although I have a Kindle and a Nook, I like to take lots of print books since I won't take my ereaders on the beach, and around the house leaving them laying about is dangerous because my nieces and nephews, while varying degrees of cute, are miniature and not so miniature creatures of MASS Destruction. Seriously, had George Bush found them in Iraq he would have been instantly vindicated.

So here's the library books I'm taking:
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
World War Z by Max Brooks
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Cohn and Levithan
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (which I totally plan on telling my niece Kerry that's it's about her and her sisters and which she'll totally believe before saying "Hey! That's not nice!" And then I will simply remind her that she's pretty. And she'll ask why I always say that to her, and I'll just smile and pat her on the head).

The books growing mold on my To Be Read Shelves that I'm taking:
Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton
Haunting Jordan by P.J Alderman
The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin
Night of the Living Deed by E.J. Copperman
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Obedience by Will Lavender
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Dog On It by Spencer Quinn
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (for Book Club)
and Curse of the Wolf Girl by Martin Millar

Now do I honesty think I'll read all of these books? Heck, no! But I am going to the beach for three whole weeks. And while I love, love, love my crazy, loud, dramatic family, I will need lots of escape, and reading is always the best way to get away without physically running away. 

And I want choice in case any of the books start sucking. I refuse to waste my time reading sucky books. I plan on overcoming my insistence on finishing books despite their high level of suck, thus wasting hours on crappy books. No more!

Everyone knows the best part of vacation is reading! The one year I didn't read as much I spent an entire rainy day watching a Toddlers and Tiaras marathon. God knows how many brain cells I killed that day!  Even the worst book in all the world would have been better than that show.  I blame the fact that our culture is obsessed with watching car crashes and rubber necking on my ability to watch not one, but six or seven episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras back to back.  My brain was held hostage!  And, and... I made my family watch it too and refused to change the channel, but it only took a few minutes before their brains were held hostage too.  I am so ashamed.

So which books do you think would make prime beach reads?  If you had to choose from my list, what would you start with?  What is your most memorable beach read?
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday 7.27.11

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This should not come as a surprise, by my WoW pick is:

by Stephen King
From Goodreads:

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas,
President Kennedy died, and the world changed.

If you had the chance to change history, would you?
Would the consequences be worth it?

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

How awesome does this sound?  Now obviously I was not around during the JFK era, but it's hard not to wonder how things would have turned out had he not been assassinated.  Although, if truth be told, if I had the chance to go back in time and stop a Kennedy assassination I'd choose Bobby Kennedy- I think if any Kennedy actually came close to the mythology that's behind the Kennedy name then it's RFK.  There is something so sad about a life cut down by an assassin's bullet- how different would our world be if Martin Luther King, Jr, RFK, JFK, even John Lennon, not been assassinated?  I'm looking forward to King bringing the 60's to life, and I'm wondering how he's going to pull this story off!
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blog Hop and Follow 7.22

It's been awhile, but it's time to Hop!

Question of the Week: What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?

This may sound weird, since I actually follow a LOT of blogs that pretty much specialize in this genre, but Paranormal Romance.  Now, I'm not talking about YA books like Twilight, but the steamy kind of Mermaid meets Sexy Werewolf with a bit of Half-Demon joining in.  I couldn't even handle the Anita Blake series, there was just too much sex and switching up partners for my simple (read prudish) tastes.  I feel like I probably miss out on some great books, but that's part of the reason I follow bloggers who read genres that I don't normally read.

 Hosted by Parajunkee

Question of the Week: Name 3 authors that you would love to sit down and spend an hour or a meal with just talking about either their books or get advice on writing from?

Okay, this is a fairly easy one.  Stephen King, first and foremost.  I don't even care if all he wants to talk about is baseball (a sport I dislike) or his various ache and pains. In fact I could just stop there, but you know I won't.  JK Rowling, because I really want to get all the little tidbits from her head that she didn't put in the books and to ask her if she'd be willing to write a story starring me and Oliver Wood (and if she doesn't agree to do this, then perhaps I can take a page from Stephen King's book Misery and MAKE her write me a story).  Thirdly, Maureen Johnson.  She is hilarious, and I certainly wouldn't have to worry about the awkward silence that may arise as I stare slacked jawed and adoringly at King and Rowling, because Maureen Johnson does not do silence.  And since I do like writing, and if I ever actually finish anything (like my NaNoWriMo project) then it'll be in the YA genre that Johnson writes so wonderfully for and I'm sure after spending an hour with me she'll invite me into her secret writer's club with John Green and Scott Westerfeld, among others.  Right?  

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A Wake Me Up Read

Have you ever read a book that surprised you, more than once?  I'm currently reading The Five by Robert McCammon as part of my Stephen King Reading List Summer Self-Challenge.  I thought it'd be in the thriller/horror genre or crime genre, I'm only 50 pages in, but it's leaning more towards thriller/horror... I think.  I also assumed it was about zombies or some kind of murderous apocalypse based on the cover.

But it's about a band.  On the road.  I have to admit, I was a little put off by that.  I don't know why but the idea of spending time with a band on the road just didn't appeal to me.  I've never read a Robert McCammon book so I have no established trust with him.

Despite my initial hesitation, I must say McCammon has won me over with his writing.  It's a long book, 50 pages in is a mere drop in the bucket, but now I'm anxious for the band.  First of all they are currently in Texas, they're debuting a video on tv that can be seen as anti-war and one of the locals has already warned them not to take a political stand, and now there's a strange girl passing out water and maybe blessings.  I have no idea where this is going, but I'm a little in fear for our band of five.

Plus, I read the author's note in the back where Robert McCammon lists all of the many, many, many bands and artists that helped him write this book, starting with the Verve. He doesn't just list a handful of bands, he lists over two pages of bands.  And it is packed with other groups and singers I like. Now he has all kinds of musicians listed, in no particular order, but the fact that not only does he know who The Call and Toad the Wet Sprocket are but likes them enough to list them has made me want to read everything he's ever written. 

So I went from thinking I'd love the book (which I thought might be about zombies), to thinking I'd hate the book (thinking it was about a band on tour), back to thinking I'm going to love the book (based on McCammon's writing style and superior taste in music).

It's often easy, especially when I get stuck in a genre, to stop being surprised by plots or authors.  It's kind of nice when a book comes along and wakes you up.  A book that says, don't go judging so fast, little miss reader, I've got more than one trick up my sleeve.

What was the last book that surprised you?
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Monday, July 18, 2011

My Stephen King Summer Update #1

Last month I declared my intention to read all 12 books that Stephen King had recommended as summer reads in an article in Entertainment Weekly.  So far it's going great, I've already read 6 of the 12 books, and I'm starting the 7th book now. 

And King's list has not disappointed!  But he's a bit of a trickster.  Obviously Mr. King, knowing of my intense dislike for reading books in a series out of order, and counting on my obsession fondness for him to outweigh my weird, bookish OCD, purposefully included several new books in an established series.  While I'm not the most punctual person in the world, I don't like arriving late to a party.  I am never that last minute movie goer, scrambling around during the previews or opening credits, searching for a primo seat.  In fact, I hate those people.

In June I read Buried Prey and The Fifth Witness, both newest offerings in a series.  The weird thing is, when I read these books, the world did not end, hell probably didn't even get a little chilly.  And I liked both the books even though I wasn't bff's with the main characters yet.  I think I'm ready to let go of my Must Read In Order mentality. 

I even gave myself permission not to follow Stephen King's order- 3 of the books I read in June were indeed June suggestions, but I couldn't get my hands on the 4th book, so I read one from July's list.  I know.  It's scandalous.  But I'm feeling a bit Rhett Butler about it, not giving a damn.    So here's what I read, how I rated it, and what I thought about it:

Buried Prey by John Sandford
From Goodreads:
A house demolition provides an unpleasant surprise for Minneapolis-the bodies of two girls, wrapped in plastic. It looks like they've been there a long time. Lucas Davenport knows exactly how long.

In 1985, Davenport was a young cop with a reputation for recklessness, and the girls' disappearance was a big deal. His bosses ultimately declared the case closed, but he never agreed with that. Now that he has a chance to investigate it all over again, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: It wasn't just the bodies that were buried. It was the truth
My Thoughts-  I wasn't completely sold on Davenport- he's a bit arrogant and his Let Me Do It attitude annoyed me at times, but the story was very exciting.  The flashbacks, the search for justice, the surprise attacks, it was all very edge-of-your-seat reading.  Plus I have a soft spot for re-opened cold cases.  Buried Prey is book #21 in the Lucas Davenport series, so I was way out of my comfort zone here, but I didn't feel lost at any point.  I just wasn't as emotionally invested in Davenport as I usually am in thrillers.  Will definitely be on the lookout for other books in this series (but probably only the ones that sound enticing, I've no wish to go back and read 20 books in order, I mean, have you seen my tbr pile?!).

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
From Goodreads:
Daniel H. Wilson, the author of this book, has a doctorate in robotics from prestigious Carnegie Mellon and his writing credits include the nonfiction How to Survive A Robot Uprising and How to Build a Robot Army. That knowledge alone should activate your senses as you enter Robopocalypse, a realm where robots run free and humans flee skittering in many directions. Told with the unfolding menace of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, this novel will keep you up late and your computer
My Thoughts: Okay, that's a bit of a lame summary of this book, because I found Robopocalypse to be AWESOME and I don't even like robots!  Seriously, I will pick zombies and vampires any day over robots or aliens.  But for me, Robopocalypse is everything you don't actually get when watching the Terminator movies- the actually beginning of the war.  Only Wilson's robots are a bit smarter than the ones in the Terminator movies.  They aren't interesting in nuking our planet, but rather ridding it of mankind.  This book is told in many different styles and voices, but that's something I actually really like.  It reminded me a bit of how Carrie by Stephen King is presented.  I plan on jumping on the robot band wagon if Wilson and others keep bringing on the cool robot books. 

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
From Goodreads:
Mickey Haller has fallen on tough times. He expands his business into foreclosure defense, only to see one of his clients accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take away her home.

Mickey puts his team into high gear to exonerate Lisa Trammel, even though the evidence and his own suspicions tell him his client is guilty. Soon after he learns that the victim had black market dealings of his own, Haller is assaulted, too--and he's certain he's on the right trail.

Despite the danger and uncertainty, Haller mounts the best defense of his career in a trial where the last surprise comes after the verdict is in.
 My Thoughts: I'm going to be honest, I really didn't think I was going to like this book.  I was expecting to hate the whole foreclosure storyline to bore me, but it didn't and it's really not the main focus of the book and what is presented is done so in a entertaining way.  I also hate the name Mickey... that hasn't changed.  This book has so many twists and turns, some of which I thought I saw coming only to find out that it was only the tip of the ice burg.  It also helps that even though I haven't seen the movie The Lincoln Lawyer based on the first book of the series, I was able to picture Haller as Matthew McConaughey.  Great courtroom drama, and some really great characters.

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce
From Goodreads:
Award-winning novelist and cult favorite Graham Joyce transports readers to a mysterious world of isolation and fear with a hypnotically dark story about a young couple trapped by an avalanche in the remote French Alps . . . a daring and powerful novel about love, loss, and rebirth. In the French Alps around Chamonix, a young married couple is buried under a flash avalanche while skiing. Miraculously, Jake and Zoe dig their way out from under the snow—only to discover the world they knew has been overtaken by an eerie and absolute silence. Their hotel is devoid of another living soul. Cell phones and land lines are cut off. An evacuation as sudden and thorough as this leaves Jake and Zoe to face a terrifying situation alone. They are trapped by the storm, completely isolated, with another catastrophic avalanche threatening to bury them alive . . . again. And as the couple begin to witness unset­tling events neither one can ignore, they are forced to con­front a frightening truth about the silent land they now inhabit.
My Thoughts: The Silent Land is a fairly short book, and a fast, engrossing read.  Even though I figured out what was going on, I still couldn't put the book down.  Despite the elements of horror, it's a lovely, elegant book.  You really get to know Jake and Zoe and to understand their marriage and relationship.  Despite the fact that I was able to enjoy reading this book while sitting on the porch on a hot day, I suspect this would be an even better read on a cold, snowy day.

That's the books I read in June from King's list.  So far this month I've read The Sentry by Robert Crais and The Cypress House by Michael Koryta.  On deck are The Five and Dog On It.    I'm expecting great things from these reads, and so far I haven't been disappointed.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Last of Harry Potter...

Well, okay, it's not really the last of Harry Potter.  Because that's the wonderful thing about books, they can be re-read again and again.  In fact, I just picked up Goblet of Fire again, and I'll keep going until I get to the beginning again.

But oh, how I wish I had a time turner! 

I'm getting ready to head out for the midnight showing of the last film (3-D, at the awesome Cinebistro theater where you have to be 21 and over and you get to sit in love seats and drink alcohol and eat. Did I mention it's adults only?  So that means there won't be some little budding sociopath giggling maniacally behind me when Dobby gets the ultimate sock from God like there was in the last movie).  I got my scarf, my plastic Barnes and Noble Time Turner, my Harry Potter bandz, my toe tattoos and a box of tissues.  I'm ready to go!

There's a lot to love about Harry Potter.  As far as I know, the books started the whole midnight book release parties at bookstores.  And I do know that the series is responsible for making reading seem cool, which of course it totally is. 

I'm a fan, Harry Potter.  And this may be the last movie, but our love will go on.  I will not toss you in the ocean and let you sink into the watery depths of forgetfulness (yes, that is a Titanic reference). 

And I always knew Snape was good, so congrats to the best man winning The Potter World Cup!

And if you're a HUGE Harry Potter nerd, then check out Hogwarts Experience, which has been Pottermore-ish long before JK Rowling even thought to make a site. I'm Rigby Dumbledore on there, and a proud Ravenclaw.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Once Upon a Time Readathon Update

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

So far it's been more of a suck-a-thon for me, but all my own fault. Is it weird that I read less when I'm not working than when I am? On the plus side I did a lot more housework than usual, and read a bit (I'm very close to finishing two books!).

Today is a work day for me, so I'll be there for 12 hours. Fortunately there is usually plenty of opportunity for me to read during work so I will use that as much as I can. Here's what's on deck for today:

I'm planning on reading The Night Season by Chelsea Cain first, and then if I get to it, The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen... or I might read a Harry Potter novel, most likely book 4 or 5.  Now that it's all coming to an end, I have a huge craving for all things Potter.  I finished the second half of Deathly Hallows on Sunday night, crying like a baby the entire last 50 pages or so.  I can't wait for Pottermore to start up.  I used to be heavily involved in an HP site called Hogwarts Experience (yes, I  once "taught" Potions and History of Magic, and I am one heck of a rp Quidditch player), but somehow I kept getting older and all the newbies kept getting younger...

So reading today, and hopefully I'll find time for a challenge!
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Once Upon a Time Readathon is On!

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

You all know I love a good readathon!  And the lovely Lori at Pure Imagination (and the genius behind my awesome blog design) is hosting one in just a few days!  I do have to work one of readathon days, but because I have a wonderful job I usually find time to read quite a bit. I'll be finishing up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling, and the rest of the books will be whatever comes into my hands, although I'll try to post a small pile o'books on Monday.  Happy Reading, and if you haven't signed up then what are you waiting for?
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