Friday, November 30, 2007

2 New Challenges!! Such Fun!

I know. I know. More Challenges. What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment. Like I could say no to these??? Not a chance!

The first is the Japanese Literature Challenge hosted by the lovely Bellezza!! It starts today and goes through January 30th. The object is to read 3 pieces of Japanese Literature (of any genre) and post about them on your blog. She has some WONDERFUL prizes, but we all know the real prize is reading some fantastic books! So join in the fun!!

Here is the list of books I've chosen (and yes, I realize there are 4...I just can't help it. I couldn't decide!):

  • Out by Natsuo Kirino
  • An Artist of the Floating World by Kasuo Isiguro
  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
  • Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Finally, the Graphic Novels Challenge hosted by the Dewey, at The Hidden Side of a Leaf. This challenge will run all of 2008, and consists of reading 6 graphic novels. Now, surprisingly enough, I have never actually read a graphic novel. So, this one will be new for me. I'm excited though. All the good movies that are coming out based on graphic novels lately has really peaked my interest. (and since my new favorite author Neil Gaiman has written some, I thought it was time to take the plunge!)

Here is my list for THIS challenge:

  • The Sandman, Vol. 1 by Neil Gaiman
  • Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore
  • From Hell by Alan Moore
  • Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
  • Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis

Your turn!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Literacy Levels

I was reading an article today published by The Guardian in the UK. It's about the international literacy levels of children in the world today. The main point of the article was how much England had fallen in rankings. From 3rd last year to 19th this year. But what really stood out for me was the ranking of the US (since that's where I live!) The US ranks 18th. 18th! This is supposed to be a country where "no child is left behind".

Does is bother me that the US falls behind Russia (number 1), Bulgaria, and Latvia?? Hell, yes it bothers me! And not just because I am a "book person". It bothers me because I'm a mom. I want the best for my kids. And granted, their school ranks really high among state and national averages. But I want the best for ALL kids. To me, it seems that the gap between the "haves" and the "have nots" in this country is widening. There doesn't seem to be much of a middle class anymore. And failing schools seem to be one of the reasons.

The article states that in England the "bookless" households, tv, and computer/video games are at the heart of the problem. I definitely see this trend in the US. Our household alone has both a Playstation and an XBox. (and I'm afraid that the grandparents are getting the kids a Wii for Christmas as well). But I limit their playing. Nothing until homework is done, and usually nothing until the weekends. Video games are fun.....I love to play Guitar Hero myself. But there is a time and place for everything.

Of course in households that have 2 parents working, it's hard to monitor what the kids are doing all the time. And sometimes it's easier to just tell them to turn on the TV....I have things to do. We've all done it. But I think it's time to take a stand on this issue. We need our kids to read. We need them to learn. My kids weren't born with the proverbial silver spoon. I give them what I can. But a love of reading and education is my way to make sure they succeed in life. I want them to be able to do what they want when they get older. I want them to be happy with their lives. there really a point to this rant?? Probably. I think it's an important statistic, literacy levels. And I think something needs to be done to improve our stats in the international rankings. What can I do personally?? Make sure my kids can read. It's a little thing....but it's important. And judging from the book fair at the school 2 nights ago, I think our school agrees. How about you??

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Can One Person Really Change the World?

I chose to read I am the Messenger (357 pgs, Knopf) by Markus Zusak for a couple of reasons. I picked it for the "Something About Me" Challenge. It was on Jill's list. I had already read The Book Thief by Zuzak and I loved it. And finally....I liked the name!

Ed Kennedy is a nineteen-year-old cabdriver. He is a self-proclaimed screw-up. He didn't try hard in school, never went to the University, and only took a job cab-driving because it was easy. He spends all the rest of his time with his extremely smelly 17-year-old dog, The Doorman, or playing cards with Richie, Merv and Audrey -- his best friends and comrades in doing just enough to get by. But all of that changes one day.

The four friends had stopped at the bank before going home, and were caught up in the middle of a robbery. After a really inept attempt, the robber tried to flee the scene, and Ed chased after him. He held him until the cops arrived and was thus labeled the local "hero", a title that was rather unusual to Ed. He wasn't used to the attention. And then it happened. He received a card in the mail. Not just any card, but the Ace of Diamonds. There was nothing on the card, but 3 addresses, with a different time next to each. But what did it mean? What was he supposed to do?

Ed didn't have a clue what to do, but Audrey felt that he was chosen for something special because of the robbery. So late one night he arrived at the first address, only to find a very scared wife and daughter that had to endure the torture of a drunken man each night. Ed knew in his heart it was up to him to rescue them, but he wasn't a hero. In fact, he was rather a coward. Would he be able to find the courage to tackle each assignment as it came along? Could he deliver the "messages" that needed to be sent?

To be honest, I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I decided to read it. But I liked The Book Thief, and thought I would give it a try. It turned out to be a very special that touched me very deeply. Have you ever had a book weave it's way into you soul? Deeply, like there was spot there waiting just for that book?? Well, I am the Messenger was the book that did it for me. Ed Kennedy was a wonderfully flawed character. He knew his weaknesses, and was afraid to actually do anything that might disrupt the sameness of his life. Page after page the story builds, and Ed evolves into someone new.

Usually, we walk around constantly believing ourselves. "I'm okay," we say. "I'm all right." But sometimes the truth arrives on you, and you can't get it off. That's when you realize that sometimes it isn't even an answer -- it's a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced."

I can understand this. I can relate to this. I FEEL this sometimes. I really loved this book. The absolutely only thing that kept this from a 5-star review was the ending. I thought it was rather rushed, and tied up a little too neatly. The entire premise of the book is a little unbelievable. But it made me WANT to believe that one person really can change the world. 4.5/5

Monday, November 26, 2007

Short Story Monday - Smoke and Mirrors

I FINALLY got my hands on a copy of Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors, (339 pgs, Avon) through Inter Library Loan. It's amazing to me that a writer of this caliber isn't in every library in the world!! I had a hell of a time finding this one! But now that I did, it looks like Short Story Monday is back on!

The Wedding Present isn't really even part of the collection. It's actually in the introduction. Gaiman states that he was going to write a story and give to some friends that were getting married. But he didn't think they would appreciate the is a little dark. But I liked it so much, I'm adding it to my review. When Brenda and Gordon sat down to write their thank-you's for the wedding presents they received, they found one envelope that was unsigned. Inside was a hand-typed paper, describing perfectly their wedding. Since they couldn't figure out who sent it, the put in a box of their wedding keepsakes. A few years later, it was pulled out so they could reminisce. But it had changed. It no longer told of their wedding, but their marriage. And it didn't in any way reflect their actual marriage, but one that was not a good one. With an eerie twist like The Picture of Dorian Gray, this turned out to be a very special wedding present.

Chivalry is the story of Mrs. Whitaker, a pensioner who liked to browse through The Oxfam shop. It is a second-hand story that sells clothes, books and knick-knacks that have all been donated. Mrs. Whitaker found the Holy Grail; it was under a fur coat - as the opening line of the story reads. She buys it for 30p, and takes it home. She cleans it until it sparkles and places it on her mantle. Then one day, a knight named Galaad arrives on horseback searching for the Grail.

Nicholas a one hundred word story that is a creepy twist on St. Nick. In fact, Gaiman used it for his Christmas Cards one year.

Finally, The Price is a story that Gaiman tells about his family, and they way they adopt the cats that come to their house. One day, a special cat, named only Black Cat arrives at their house. He is large and beautiful....and almost human, or so it would seem. He doesn't look like a stray; he is too well-taken-care-of. But he doesn't leave. Each morning, when the family gets up, Black Cat seems to have been in battle the night before. He has cuts and wounds. One day, he seemed so weak, that the family took him the house for four days just so he could recover. And those were the four worst days this family has seen in years.

The thing I've come to realize about Gaiman is he is an unending well of stories. Of the ones I've read, none are even close to being the same. I don't know from where inside his stories come, but I do hope they never stop!! I loved each of these stories!! Chivalry was a very happy, light-hearted story. The others were not. But each was fantastic in the way it was written. Gaiman's magic, his "smoke and mirrors", is his way of taking a few words and creating something lasting and impressionable. And personally, I don't think I will ever look at cats in the same way. I may even have to get one!!

Till next week.......

Saturday, November 24, 2007

NY Times Notable Books List for 2007 and others.

It's that time of year again. The Christmas season. Time for children to start being good with the hopes that St. Nick will bring them something from their "Wish" lists. I know my kids have already started making their lists. They hijacked the Wish Book from Sears and Toys R Us already, and have been writing like crazy!

But it's also the time of year when Book Readers like us start making our own Wish Lists. And to aid us in our journey, many newspapers and magazines start publishing their Top 100 of the 2007. The New York Times 100 Notable Books for 2007 just came out. This is probably the biggest, most prestigious list I know. I was perusing it, and realized I hadn't read a single book from it!! (Other than the Deathly Hollows, of course!) This year, Wendy (Caribousmom) has set up another Notable Book blog for reading the List! You should think about signing up! has a couple of lists for this time of year. The Editor's Top 100 of 2007 and the Customer's Top 100 of 2007. It looks like Harry Potter's Finale and Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns has topped both lists!

Publisher's Weekly also posted their picks for Best books of the year. The thing I like about PW is that they break their lists down by genre. They have fiction, poetry, mystery, SF/Fantasy/Horror, Romance, Comics, Non-fiction, Religion, Lifestyle, Picture books, Children's Fiction and Children's non-fiction. I think it's easier for us genre-type readers to find something broken down this way!!

The ALA always publishes a list as well. But it isn't out yet. And neither are some of the other major newspapers and magazines. Next Saturday, maybe I can find some more book lists.

But right now, I need to start making by Wish List for Christmas!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I just wanted to take the time to wish all my blogging friends across the US a Happy Thanksgiving!! Many blessings to you and your families!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cleaning For Thanksgiving!

I KNEW there was a reason my house was so messy!! Since I am hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow for my in-laws, I'm off cleaning today!! I also still have to do some last minute shopping and try to bake some orange cranberry bread and a pumpkin pie cake tonight!!

I just found this poem and wanted to leave you with it :

Cleaning Poem

I asked the Lord to tell me
Why my house is such a mess.
He asked if I'd been 'puttering',
And I had to answer "yes."

He told me to get off my butt
And tidy up the house.
And so I started cleaning up...
The smudges off my mouse.

I wiped and shined the topside.
That really did the trick...
I was just admiring my work...
I didn't mean to 'click.'

But click, I did, and oops I found
A real absorbing site
That I got SO way into...
I was into it all night.

(Sigh)Nothing's changed except my mouse
It's very, very shiny.
I guess my house will stay a mess...
While I sit here on my hiney.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amazon's Kindle

During yesterday's discussion of Hardback books, Chris at Book-a-Rama mentioned the Kindle. Then, surprisingly enough, my father-in-law called me to ask me about it. First of all, you have to understand that my father-in-law is a man of the digital age. He MUST try all the new "gadgets" that come out. He's the first person in the neighborhood to have the "in" thing. From state-of-the-art computer equipment to LCD TV's; from portable DVD players to iPhones, he's the first in line.

Now, he knows my interest in reading. And I'm not really sure if he was hinting around for Christmas and my birthday, trying to find something I would love. (maybe for him and my husband to go in together). I really hope not. Because I'd hate to disappoint him. But I thought I'd do a little research, so I could at least be able to discuss it with him.

Amazon's Kindle is an e-Reader. It's actually pretty slick. It will hold up to 200 books, has wireless access so you can subscribe to newspapers and magazines, and even has a built-in dictionary. You can shop directly to Amazon from the Kindle and purchase the books you would like. At the moment, they have 88,000 books available in a Kindle format. The screen utilizes a "a new high-resolution display technology called electronic paper, Kindle provides a crisp black-and-white screen that resembles the appearance and readability of printed paper." It will even display pictures, if the book has illustrations. The price of the Kindle is $399, and the price of the books range from $5.49 - $9.99.

But will all the bells and whistles be enough to pull in readers? That is indeed the question that Jeff Bezos of Amazon would like to know, since this is a huge gamble for him. But does Bezos really understand book readers? I don't think so.

Reading is a personal experience. Maybe I'm the weird one, but I LOVE the feel of a book in my hands. I love the smell of a new book. I love the sensation of the crisp pages as I'm turning them, anxious to see the words on the next page. And I love being able to go to the bookstore or the library and browse the endless bookshelves filled with stories.

To me, an e-Reader of any kind is just impersonal, despite all the handy perks. I realize the portability is main factor, and that is the one thing that really appeals to me. (This said, after I hauled a huge bookbag through the airport this past summer!) It would be nice to carry around a personal library with me, everywhere I go. I'd never be without something to read. Is this enough for me to actually want or buy one? I don't think so.

This is just who I am. I really don't care if I don't have a high-definition TV. Is it important for surround sound to be playing when I'm watching a movie? Not particularly. Hell...I still listen to vinyl! In the movie Live Free or Die Hard, the bad guy described John McClane as a "Timex watch in a Digital Age", and I can relate!! That is how I feel sometimes. Would I like one of the new Kindles? Not really. I can think of much better ways to spend $400!! So if you see my father-in-law, be sure to tell him that a $400 gift card to B&N would make me much happier!! Yippi-kay-ay......

Monday, November 19, 2007

The End of Hardbacks?

I love books. I think that much is rather obvious when you read this blog. And I'm going out on a limb here, but I'd like to assume if you ARE reading this blog, you love books too! And I covet my hardbacks. All my favorite books I buy in hardback. I have all of Stephen King's books in hardback. Same with my Harry Potter's, Anne Rice, Jodi Picoult, and a few others that I plan to keep. I like the feel of them. I love the look of them. I even like the smell of them.

But I also have a bit of a money crisis at the moment. And while I do buy some books in hardback, most of the time I wait for the paperback version to be released. It's not that I like them better. Just cheaper. (Although I do prefer Trade Paperback to mass market paperbacks. Even those new bigger mass markets.)

But today, I read an article in The Guardian called "Publisher's Plan Could Spell the End of the Literary Hardback". It seems that Picador Books, an imprint of Pan MacMillan, will be launching all their new books in paperback. Some of the authors that publish with Picador are Helen Fielding, Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy.

"The decision to scrap the system of selling a hardback a year before releasing the paperback has created waves in the publishing world, and is seen by some as the beginning of the end of the format in literary fiction."

The reason? Why the all-mighty dollar, of course. It seems that unless there is a "guaranteed profitable hardback market", then all books that are launched will now be in paperback format, and Picador is estimating that at least 80% of books will be released this way.

"Hardback then paperback has been the model for 60 years," said Dan Franklin, the veteran publisher at Jonathan Cape. "I would be worried about the call to Cormac McCarthy to tell him he's going straight into mass-market paperback. I think he'd say no thanks."

I think a lot of authors would agree with that assessment. At least many veteran writers. To me, I think it's an honor to have your book published in hardback. I know a lot of authors start out with their books published in paperback. It's easier to hit the markets that way. For example, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series started out in mass market paperbacks. When they became a hit, the later books were released in hardback. And now they are going back and publishing his first books in hardback. It's a sign that he is doing well.

Like I said earlier, I have money issues. That is my reason for waiting for many books to come out in paperback. I treat myself to the occasional hardback. And I love them! In this digital world we live in, many people think books are obsolete anyway. Of course, those people aren't really book people. They just don't understand the love I have for my books. And I think that is sad. To feel the cover in your hands, and how your fingers brush over the pages as you are reading. I would never trade that for an e-reader.

What about you? Do you think this would be a good thing or a bad thing? I'm curious to find out.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

What's In a Name Challenge

OK. So I finally caved and joined ANOTHER reading challenge. So sue me. I have been seeing this one all over the place and I just wanted to join in the fun!!

Hosted by Annie, of Words by Annie, the challenge is another one that encompasses all of 2008. Here are the Rules:

Dates: January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008
The Challenge: Choose one book from each of the following categories.
1. A book with a color in its title
2. A book with an animal in its title.
3. A book with a first name in its title.
4. A book with a place in its title.
5. A book with a weather event in its title.
6. A book with a plant in its title.

--You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don't use the same book for more than one category. (For example, you can use The Red Pony for either a "color" book or an "animal" book, but not for both.)
See? This is going to be fun!!

My List:
  • COLOR - Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • ANIMAL - All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
  • FIRST NAME - Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (if that is stretching it too much, I can always go with Emma by Jane Austin!)
  • PLACE - Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  • WEATHER - The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 1) by Patrick Rothfuss
  • PLANT - Moonlight and Vines by Charles de Lint

Anyone else??

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Blogger Christmas Exchange

What a wonderful idea!! A Blogger Christmas Exchange!! Nymeth has put forth this really fun idea for the holidays...and I'm in!! Here is what she says:

Here’s how it works: Each participant is randomly assigned as another participant’s Secret Santa, and they are also assigned as somebody else’s “Santee”. What you have to do is send your person a little something – it can be a book, a pretty journal or bookmark, a box of homemade Christmas cookies, a Christmas mixed CD, or whatever else you can think of. Nothing pricey, of course. Second hand books are perfectly acceptable, as are homemade gifts. And of course, it should be something light, so it doesn’t cost a fortune to mail. Each person won’t know who their Secret Santa is until they get their package in the mail.

Sounds fun to me!! Check out her wonderful blog for details and to possibly sign up!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Rather Be-Witching Mystery

Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard (304 pgs. Avon) is the first book in the Ophelia and Abby Mystery Series. I didn't read this book for any challenge, I just spotted it at the library one day. Isn't it nice to read something just because sometimes?

Ophelia Jensen is the local librarian in the small town of Summerset, Iowa, a place where the townspeople know everything and everyone. She moved to Summerset four years prior, after a great tragedy struck in the big city. Her grandmother, Abby, had lived in Summerset for over 50 years and it seemed like a great place to go to get away from her troubled past. She wants to be left alone, to her own thoughts and feelings. Because Ophelia is keeping secrets. Abby is a witch, with the power to see things and cast certain spells. And Ophelia, herself, has the power of sight. A power that she doesn't want, and has been denying since the tragedy occurred.

But then mysterious stranger Rick Davis enters town, full of questions about Ophelia and the mysterious thefts of anhydrous chemicals...the kind used by big meth labs. And as much as Ophelia tries to deny it, she is drawn to Rick. He is full of questions and insults.....and is wildly handsome. Abby "sees" trouble in the future for Ophelia, and tries to get her to open herself up to the magick that lies within. But Ophelia is too stubborn to believe....until she and Rick stumble across a dead body!

This little mystery is a really decent start to this witching series. I was a little put off by Ophelia's introvertedness. Not only was she a loner, she was downright rude to a lot of people. I really didn't warm up to her until the very end. I do think that other books will prove that Ophelia can be a much better character. I liked Abby and her ways. She was wise and warm. And Darci, another librarian, was great fun!! This book was darker than I thought it would be....not like a lot of the cute little witch books that have hit the market. The mystery was solid, and kept me guessing until the very end. Although I didn't love this book, there was enough there for me to enjoy. And enough of a start that I will continue reading the series! 3.5/5

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stephen King is Cool

What can I say? Stephen King is probably my very favorite author. I've spent many a night, pouring over one of his novels. Some are so good, they give me shivers. Others, not so much. But every one of them has a piece of Uncle Steve inside.

When I was reading EW this week, Stephen's editorial on all things Cool made me laugh! He really knows his stuff sometimes. "Cool and the Gang" is a must read article, so do! Stephen King is cool....just ask him! "You can find definitions in various slang dictionaries, but the meaning of cool is beyond definition. And, as I said, beyond modification. It just is, man."

Right now, I have my Ipod on, and the first song that came up in my shuffle is White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. Now THAT'S cool!

I also just got a copy of The Melancholy Fate of Capt. Lewis by Michael Pritchett from Early Reviewers at LibraryThing. New, FREE books to review are cool!

Tony Soprano was the epitome of cool. I mean, come on. I find myself wildly attracted to the danger of him, and I'm certainly not alone. How else do you explain James Gandolfini as a sex symbol? Enough said.

Paul Newman, in Cool Hand Luke. Just as the name indicates, he was cool!! Anyone who could eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in an hour without dying has to be cool! Besides, he has baby blues to die for!

Sarah Michelle Gellar, as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was cool. She was a bad-ass when she needed to be, but there was also a soft-side to her. That is cool. And if you've never seen her in Cruel Intentions, you should watch it. She's so cool, she's frosty!

Book blogs are cool. I love reading them. I love writing them. And I love making friends through them. It's about time that books aren't seen as nerdy.

According to Uncle Steve "cool is not a way of life; it's a state of being" and I totally agree. So, I'm asking you, dear readers....what do you think is cool?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hmmmm.....Another Wizard Named Harry!

Storm Front by Jim Butcher (322 pgs, ROC) is the first book in the Dresden Files series. I have had this book ever since the first episode of the Dresden Files aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. I loved the series on TV, and I'm still disappointed that it won't be coming back. But I can say that I'm extremely glad Jim Butcher is still writing the books! Because after reading the first one, I'll definitely be continuing reading the series!

Harry Dresden – Wizard

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.

No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

That is how Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is listed in the Chicago phone book. He's a wizard. And he's very good at what he does. Unfortunately, not every one in Chicago believes in magic. But Harry manages to scrape by finding lost objects for people. Sometimes he's even called in as a special investigator for the Chicago PD, in cases that are "unique". So when Lt. Murphy of the Special Investigations unit calls Harry to help her investigate a double homicide at the Madison Hotel, Harry jumps at the chance to earn a little extra rent money. Business for the local wizard isn't exactly booming.

When he arrives at the scene, he finds the gruesome remains of 2 people whose hearts have exploded from inside their chests. Only an extremely powerful wizard could conjure enough Black Magic to accomplish this feat, and Harry isn't exactly thrilled with the idea of helping in the investigation. He's on thin ice as it is with the White Council, the governing body of the Wizard community. In fact, he's under the Doom of Damocles, a probation of sorts. Harry was "convicted" of killing a person with Black Magic, which goes against the Laws of Magic and is punishable by death. Harry's plea of self-defense won him this probation instead of execution, but the White Council is watching every move he makes. And the fact that one of the victims worked for mob boss "Gentleman" Johnny Marcone is just one more reason to stay far away from this case. Besides, Harry just got a new client. Her name is Monica and she is looking for something she lost....her husband. And she is willing to pay top dollar to find him.

But Lt. Murphy needs help and soon it becomes apparent that both cases are somehow linked to a new drug that hit the streets in Chicago called the ThreeEye. To top it off, it seems the White Council is convening a special meeting to determine if HARRY is the wizard that did the killing. Now he must help in the investigation, if only to save his own skin!

I couldn't help but picture Paul Blackstone, from the TV series when I was reading this book. He was the perfect Harry!! Storm Front is filled with a little bit of everything....vampires, wizards, both White and Black magic, faeries, frog demons, killer scorpions, and spirits. Harry is a phenomenal character that is not only smart, but funny as hell! He's compassionate, as well as strong-willed, and is determined to the do the right thing. I was completely enthralled by page 2! This series seems to mix a little bit of the hard-boiled PI with the paranormal. And it works! It's fast-moving and fun. I whole-heartedly recommend it to both mystery fans and fantasy fans!! 4.5/5

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I've been a bit remiss about posting lately. Mostly, I've been busy. But I also haven't had that much to say!!, while I was blog hopping, I stumbled on this priceless little meme on Kookie's blog! I'm still laughing at her answers. So I thought I would play along.

Here's what you do:
Set your Mp3 player on shuffle and write the title of the first song that comes up as an answer to each question no matter how stupid it sounds...(savvy? Here we go.)

The Number of the Beast (Iron Maiden) (Isn't it scary I even HAVE this song on my Ipod??)

Oh L'Amour (Erasure) (Ah....everyone needs a little love!)

Danger is Go! (Powerman 5000) (Figures. This explains alot)

Hell and Consequences (Stone Sour) (Yeah...that about sums it up!)

Need to Get Some (Division of Laura Lee)(OH MAN! THAT is funny!)

Perfect Drug (NIN) (Is this good or bad???)

No New Tale to Tell (Love & Rockets)(Yeah....that's about right too!)

Highway to Hell (AC/DC) (Lord, I couldn't have planned it better if I tried!)

WHAT IS 1+1?
Every Day is Halloween (Ministry) (Well that doesn't make sense, but it's a great song!)

Wynona's Big Brown Beaver (Primus) ( I have TEARS in my eyes from laughing. But really. Her name isn't Wynona!)

Did My Time (Korn) (Amen to that!)

Crazy Train (Ozzie) (Couldn't said it better myself!)

Love My Way (Psychedelic Furs) (Seriously. I would love this song played at my funeral!)

Fuck and Run (Liz Phair) (Yikes! I'm a married woman!! But maybe in college.....Sheesh, that's bad!)

Missionary Man (Eurythmics) ('s really clowns and snakes. But maybe the occassional missionary man!)

Nineteen Forever (Joe Jackson) (Oh, God!! I WISH!)

All in the Mind (Oasis) (???)

Viva Las Vegas (Dead Kennedy's) (Absolutely True!)

I go Crazy (Flesh for Lulu) (Again....absolutely True!)

Today (Smashing Pumpkins) (One of my all-time favorites!)

You Guys have to do this!! It was so much fun!! Thanks Kookie!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Booking Through Thursday - Volume

Would you say that you read about the same amount now as when you were younger? More? Less?Why?

If I was going to be truthful, I would say that I read less now. Although I think the quality of the books I read now are far superior to what I used to read, I just don't have as much time. Life has certainly gotten in the way of my fun!! But with work, kids, all the activities of those said kids, and a home, there just aren't enough hours in the day to read! Of course, that hasn't stopped me from BUYING more books!! I guess I'm saving up for my retirement!

(By the way.....Happy Birthday Deb!)

2008 Young Adult Reading Challenge

Since there wasn't a Booking Through Thursday today, I thought I would post my reading list for Thoughts of Joy's new challenge: Young Adult Challenge 2008! I LOVE YA books!! So this will actually be an easy challenge for me. The hardest part about it was narrowing down the list of possibilities!!

The Rules are simple:

Choose 12 YA books.
Link to Joy's Challenge.
Read them in 2008!

Could it be any easier??

Here is my list:
  • Chosen: A House of Night Novel by PC Cast and Kristin Cast
  • Freaks by Annette Curtis Klause
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  • Magyk by Angie Sage
  • The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  • Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
  • Memories of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Twisted by Lauris Halse Anderson
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • Tithe by Holly Black
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

As you can see most of my books are leaning toward the fantasy or paranormal genre. I can't wait to start on this one!


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Is Book 2 Better than the First?? You Bet!!

Although my original intent was to finish reading Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason (352 pgs, Signet) for Carl's RIP Challenge, I missed the mark by about a week!! There just aren't enough hours in the day anymore! But as with the first, I am certainly glad I decided to pick up this book!

One year after the battle with Lilith, Queen of the Vampires, Victoria is finally getting her life as a Venator back to normal. Or as normal as a Ventator's life can be. But when Lilith left London, it seems that she took all the vampires with her. But Victoria still keeps up her patrols. It was the only thing that kept her feeling alive. One night, she decided to go see the remnants of the Silver Chalice. And ran smack dab into a vampire AND a demon. After the dust clears on the ensuing battle, Victoria finds a small pendant with a strange design.

After some research, it is discovered the design is the new insignia for the Tutela, a group of mortals that protect vampires. Victoria also learns that Max has been missing for almost 8 months! And now, Nedes, Lilith's son, has in his position an ancient object that can wake the dead. If he succeeds in activating it, all hell will break loose....literally! So, it is up to Victoria to infiltrate the Tutela, find Max, and save the world...again!

From London to Italy, this book is almost non-stop action. We learn more about the shady, but extremely sexy Sebastian. In fact, we learn more about most of the main characters in this book. Colleen Gleason has taken it up a notch with the darkness of this book, and gives us a wild ride! There are more twists and unexpected turns than in Book 1, and by the end, I was blown away! This book is truly original, exciting, and deeply sexy. I for one, can not wait until the release of Book 3!! 4.5/5

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bragging Rights

Yesterday, the kids were home from school. It was the end of the first Quarter, and I had to go to parent/teacher conferences. I started with Bella's 2nd grade teacher. Bella got all A's and one B+ (in reading, I might add). Her teacher said she was doing very well, but started out the year lacking a lot of confidence. But she's coming along just fine! She's my little social butterfly....loves everyone.

Ana didn't get an actual "report card" for Kindergarten. It was just a progress report. She's way off the charts as far as academics. She knew all the basics when she started. Colors, shapes, count to 100, letters. All of it. But she can't tie her shoes!! And although she was the painfully shy one of the bunch, she has acclimated herself very nicely in school.

Now there's Chad. I met with the principal first who handed out his report card, then on to all of his teachers. My boy made the Straight A honor roll. At his school, the honor roll is Straight A's, High Honors, then finally Honor Roll. He was one of only 4 6th graders (out of 65) and one of 18 (out of 197) in the whole school to make the Straight A Honors!! (Can you tell I'm just a wee bit proud??) After the little mishap that led to his suspension, I was a tiny bit worried. But every single one of his teachers had nothing but good things to say about him. He's hard-working, smart, conscientious, polite, and driven. Wow. I'm kind of blown away by how good he's done.

I've always been proud of my kids. I've been to every football, soccer, softball, and baseball game for years. I've been to cheerleading competitions and dance lessons. But I have never been prouder than I am today! I know in my heart there is nothing that these kids can't do!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My Year of Reading Dangerously

See all the fun things blog hopping brings? More challenges. Like I said in an earlier post, I think I already have my 2008 reads lined up!! Why not add a few more??

The lovely ladies from Estella's Revenge came up with this really cool challenge. They are hosting "My Year of Reading Dangerously". The idea is to read authors of genres that are intimidating! They even have their own "official Dangerous" reading list. You can join in with the official list, or make up one of your own. The challenge starts on January 1, 2008 and runs throughout the year.

Here is the Official list:

January: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens (since Estella is our namesake)
February: The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (African American)
March: Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood (Atwood for Atwood's sake)
April: Transformations, by Anne Sexton (Poetry)
May: Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote (Southern)
June: Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov (Russian)
July: The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier (adolescent)
August: Maus I and II, by Art Spiegelman (Graphic Novel, Pulitzer winner)
September: The Secret Lives of People in Love, by Simon Van Booy (Independent)
October: The Human Stain, by Philip Roth (Contemporary/Jewish)November: A Month of Classic Short Stories, Various - watch for a list
December: The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck (Dusty)

Since I've already read Great Expectations...twice....I will probably be reading another Dickens in go along with the theme. Otherwise, I think I will just stick with their list. There will be discussions about the monthly well as great prizes!! Andi and Heather have even set up a blogsite for this challenge!!'s crazy, but I'm adding this challenge to my list!