Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Question of the Day.....

After days of controversy in the blog world, I'm posting a question to all of you out there: Why do you blog? Should be a simple question, right? Are you in for the glory?? For seeing your thoughts out in the world? Are you in it for the freebies?? Are you in it for the community??

The discussion that started over at My Friend Amy's a couple of days ago got me thinking. But I don't really want to dredge up the controversy again. I think it's time to put that one to bed. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions (they are only right if they agree with me, though!) Just a little recap for the uninitiated: Amy started a conversation about community vs. connection. Do we, as book bloggers really share a community, or are we just connected to one another because of a common interest? Personally, I don't see a lot of distinction between the two...but we'll let that slide. A commenter made a point of saying that a lot of small "wannabe" book blogs were dirtying the waters for other "top-tier" REAL bloggers.

OK. We are done with that. I know in my heart that I'll never be a "top-tier" blogger. Sheesh. At the moment, I'm struggling to maintain my little blog as it is. But keep it up, I will. Why, you ask?? Why do I blog? I think the reasons have changed over the past 2 and a half years that I have been doing this.

When I made my first post, I did it with a little arm twisting. My wonderful friends, Kailana and Marg, both of whom I knew from some book related message boards were bloggers. Many times they told me how much fun blogging was, and I thought to myself....."Self, you like fun. Give it a try". So I took the initiative and made the plunge. Ultimately, I figured it would be a place where I could actually keep track of the books I read (instead of my little hand-written journal) and where I could post some reviews. It gave me an outlet to see if I could actually write anything coherent (and I guess that still remains to be seen!) But it also gave me a place where I could vent my frustrations and NOT take them out on my family. I didn't even know that I would be barraged with requests from real-life authors and publishers....people wanting ME to review books for them.

What did that fateful day of December 22, 2006, do for me?? It got me CONNECTED to people I would never ever meet, but who would become my friends. I met others that were like ME. Growing up in a family of non-readers, married to a non-reader, I thought I was strange. The euphoria I felt when I walked into a book store was surely some kind of mental defect. My biggest thrill when I moved out on my own?? Getting a library card!! God, I KNOW I'm a geek. While all the librarians loved me, no one else "got" me. And then I started blogging. And guess what?? I may be a geek, but now I am not a lonely geek!! There are other people out there that share the same feelings I do! I take great comfort in that.

When people actually started reading my blog, I admit it: I got excited. I take great satisfaction in the fact that there are a few people out there that actually listen to my opinions, agree or disagree. And to know that I might have just influenced one person to try a book that I loved....well that's just an awesome feeling. I'm all about sharing the love.

The "community" concept came up later. Do I think we, as a book blogging group of people, form a "community"? You bet I do. I think there is a lot more than connection now. When our beloved dog, Ninja died last summer after 13 wonderful years, I was heartbroken. When I vented my pain, all of you answered with words of sympathy and prayers. Now, losing a pet isn't the worst thing that has ever happened, but it was painful TO ME. And I received much comfort from all of YOU. That is community. When I struggle with my day-to-day life of endless bills and even more endless work shifts, all of you are there to boost my spirits and keep me going, even when I feel I can't possibly go on. That is community. And when a member of this beloved community passed away, the outpouring of love, sadness, and grief was felt across the entire world. If that isn't "community", then I need someone to give me a definition.

What started out as a little fun, has turned into something completely different for me. blog...has turned into a little island of sanity in my very insane life. And I cherish it. If someone out there thinks that my little corner of the world is sullying theirs, so be it. Quit reading. I REALLY DON'T CARE! Do you know why? Because I have friends here that don't agree with you. (I hope I'm not making too many assumptions with that statement!) Kailana and Marg, THANK YOU for twisting my arm and getting me started. Nymeth, you have created endless piles of books for me to read, and I thank you for all your wonderful reviews. Without you, there are so many wonderful books I never would have known about. Debi, in you I have found a person that is like a mirror image of me!! With similar likes and dislikes, I take comfort in reading your posts about family, books, and yes...all those damned challenges!! When you read my Christmas post about not receiving one book, you sent me one yourself, and that moment will be treasured always. Chris, you are like a little brother that shares such similar tastes, I really think we might be related. Thank you for being one of the first people in the blogosphere to read my blog and become my friend. Christina, Michelle, Tammy, Kristi, are my friends from The Classics Club, and I treasure that friendship. Because of my schedule, I haven't been able to participate in the discussions for quite a while now, but through blogging, I am still able to keep up with all of you. I know there will always be a place for me in 'the club', when the time is right for me to participate again. Carl...your love of the arts and literature INSPIRE me. A community-builder at it's finest, your challenges are something, I look forward to and enjoy so much. So thank you. Michelle, Wendy, Nicola, Wendy, Amy, Teddy, Raidergirl and all the other ladies at Novels Now, thank you for giving me a chance and one more creative outlet to for my opinions.

Damn. This post just morphed into something I wasn't expecting when I started it. But I just felt that the Cum-bya moment couldn't pass without a few thanks! (and Wendy, a special thanks to you for the pep-talk on Monday, when I was smarting from hurt feelings. Talk about putting things in perspective. You, my dear, did that for me!) I wish I could list a thanks to everyone who has touched my life through blogging, but frankly there isn't time or space for all of that. If you are reading this right now, THANK YOU!

Back to the original question though, I really want to know, WHY DO YOU BLOG?? Please feel free to comment, if you are so inclined!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

To Twitter or Not to Twitter......

The Sunday Salon.comThat is certainly the question!! I have intentionally stayed away from Twitter because frankly, I don't need another drain on my time! Due to some weird circumstances, I actually logged over 77 hours of work last week. I'm sleep deprived, seriously behind in housework, behind in book reviews, behind in my reading, and behind in catching up with some of my favorite TV shows. Behind in time with the kids and behind on my new workout schedule. I'm spending WAY too much time on Facebook. And yet....I'm thinking about Twitter. Why??? Because it seems like everyone else has a Twitter account, and I think I'm afraid I'm missing something!!

In this age of connectivity, is it possible to be TOO connected?? With cell phones, pda's, blogs, email, Facebook, MySpace, and now Twitter, there are so many ways to check in with people, do I really need ONE more?? Sometimes I think it would be easier if I wasn't connected at all. There are days when I don't want anyone to be able to "find" me!!

The kids are growing up in this completely connected world. Chad has a cell phone (he's 12) and is constantly getting text messages from his friends. He has email, and an IM account. The girls have a Club Penguin account and now a Pixie Hollow account. They like to make new "friends", just like us grownups. Pretty soon, we are going to have to get another computer just to keep up with them!!

So, I ask you.....what's the appeal of Twitter?? Why should I or should I not Twitter??? I'd like to hear from the masses!

In reading news, I signed up for 2 more challenges this week. Carl's Once Upon a Time III Challenge and Becky's End of the World Challenge. Both are awesome, fun challenges...and in genres that I love: fantasy and dystopian/apocalyptic fiction. I'm encouraging one and all to join in the fun!!

I have a couple of reviews to post this week : Jason Pratt's Cry of Justice, a High Fantasy battle/epic and Lisa Jackson/Nancy Bush's thriller, Wicked Game. Hopefully, I'll have a couple more too....I'm 1/2 through Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely and I'm hoping to get through Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games as well. In fact, with a few days of much needed PTO time this week, I'd even like to slip in a vampire novel or two. Did anyone read any good books this week?? Something that will just have to go on my TBR mountain??

I think that's all for now....I'm off for a nap before I have to go in to work!! Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Didn't I just say, One More Challenge???

Yes, I did. But damn it....I lied!! Carl just announced it's time for the Once Upon a Time III challenge, and there is NO WAY I'm missing this one!! Not a chance!! If the picture at the top of my blog is any indication, fantasy is most definitely my favorite genre (next to creepy crawly, horror books which will just have to wait for the RIP challenge!)

I know I've said it before, but Carl is the best host challenge ever!! He has a way of bringing the community together for fun and a shared love of fantasy like no one else.

As always, there are many "Quests" you can follow if you decide to join in the fun. Last year, I ended with a reading of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. This year, I think I'm going to go for Quest the Second:

Read at least one book from each of the four categories. In this quest you will be reading 4 books total: one fantasy, one folklore, one fairy tale, and one mythology. This proves to be one of the more difficult quests each year merely because of the need to classify each read and determine which books fit into which category. I am not a stickler, fear not, but I am endlessly fascinated watching how folks work to find books for each category.

Last year, I think I finished 7 books. I'm shooting for a total higher than that this year!!

Fairytale Fantasy:

  • East by Edith Pattou (this could fall in the folklore category as well!) - East is a deftly woven tapestry that melds traditional fairy tale motifs of both Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun and West of the Moon, with the haunting icy lore of medieval northern lands.
  • Briar Rose by Jane Yolen - a retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
  • Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede

Mythic Fantasy:

  • Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint
  • The Ivory and the Horn by Charles de Lint
  • The Wood Wife by Terri Windling

Folklore Fantasy:

  • The Presence: A Ghost Story by Eve Bunting
  • The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and their Meanings by Jan Harold Brunvand
  • Will Storr Vs. The Supernatural by Will Storr


  • Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
  • Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
  • Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
  • A Fine and Private Place by Peter S. Beagle
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Now, I KNOW I won't get all of these books finished for the challenge. But they are definitely the ones I am using to complete my categories!!!

Thanks for hosting again, Carl. You've made my week!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Zig-Zagging: A Memoir

When Lisa from TLC Book Tours asked me if I would like to be a part of a Blog Tour for Zig-Zagging: A Memoir by Tom Wilson (212pg, HCI, 2009), I jumped at the chance. For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading the Ziggy cartoons. He's such an inspirational little guy that always seems to see the bright side of every bad thing that happens to him.

Zig-Zagging: A Memoir, Loving Madly, Losing Badly....How Ziggy Saved my Life is written by Tom Wilson Jr. He is the current genius behind the Ziggy cartoons, but he is not the first. His father, Tom, is the original creator of Ziggy. Originally drawn for use in his father's greeting card business, Ziggy has grown into the phenomenon he is today. And Tom has always felt like Ziggy was more than just a character his father drew. No, Ziggy was more like a brother to Tom.

The book begins in the early years giving us the details of how Ziggy was born. Through Tom's childhood, Ziggy was a connection to his father. They used to go to Big Boy's and eat dinner together, Tom and his father. And they would draw on the paper placemats and play their own game called "Save Ziggy". Tom's dad would draw Ziggy in a precarious position and then Tom would draw ways to "save" him.

But this book is about more than just Ziggy. It's about Tom himself. In college, he meets his soulmate: Susan, the love of his life. They marry right after school, and start a modest but wonderfully happy life together. When Tom's father gets sick, he is called into service to help with the cartoon. An artist of his own right, Tom stays in the background to do the cartoons while his dad is the one in the public eye. But when Tom's dad is no longer able to continue, Ziggy is handed down.

But Tom's world is turned upside down when Susan is diagnosed with breast cancer. Through a long and difficult 7 year battle, the Wilson's continue to live hard and make memories for their children. But Susan's death knocks the wind out of Tom. He sinks into a horrible depression. And only a little guy named Ziggy can save him.

What I liked most about this beautiful little book is that Tom writes in the "Zen" way that Ziggy thinks. "Every now and then, maybe we become lost in order to find ourselves again." "Life is a love affair and love is an affair of life. Love affairs must be embraced and savored for all their complexities, just as life must be, as well. Being a student of life also means being a student of love. Love is a living thing with an agenda and a commission to work within our fate."

Losing the love of his life was a horrible tragedy. But dropping out of his own life was a far worse one. Seemingly, it was Ziggy that pulled him through it all.

This small little biography is such an inspiration to anyone that has lost a loved one. A quick read, it's filled with not only gut-wrenching personal accounts of his loss, but also gives comfort that yes, it will get better. Best of all, there are many Ziggy cartoons interspersed throughout. I really loved this little book, and I think many people can draw strength from not only Tom Wilson's perspective on loss, but also his renewed faith is God. As someone who has suffered a devastating loss of a dear loved one, I could too well relate to his words. A must read for all Ziggy lovers, and a must read for a person that just wants to be inspired! 4.5/5

You should watch this video for a quick insight into who Tom Wilson is now, and his take on the book itself:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Library Loot, Mailbox Monday, and Just One More Challenge!

Today's post is kind of a mess! With some hellish hours at work, I've only had a chance to post sporadically at best. So here is a little bit of everything compiled the last week!!

This week's trip to the library bore the fruit of the graphic novel!! I keep saying, "I've got to try the graphic novel!" So here goes nothing!! Book 1 in the Sandman series, Preludes and Nocturnes. I couldn't start reading the genre without a Neil Gaiman book, could I? And I'm so anal about reading in series order. Hence the first book!

I've read SO MANY good reviews on the Fables Series that I just couldn't pass it up. So many thanks to Chris, Nymeth, and most recently Kailana for my next book: Fables: Legends in Exile.

Although I did receive a few books in the mail this past week, the majority of the books listed here were purchases. Yes, that's right. I bought some books this week!! I haven't purchased a book in months, so this was a treat to myself for all the hard work I've done lately!! Besides, I have a few days off next week. Although the majority of my time will probably be spent doing some spring cleaning (seriously....I think I'm dangerously close to the border of living in a crack house! OK. Maybe it's not quite that bad, but it feels like it sometimes. I just haven't had the time nor desire to do a lot of cleaning lately). And I also want to spend some quality time with the kids. But after it's all said and done, I'd like to have a few hours to myself for a little vampire read-a-thon! That being said, here are my purchases:

Oh yeah. Like this is a surprise!! I've only been talking about Hunted: A House of Night Novel by PC Cast and Kristin Cast since I finished Book 4! The only surprise is, I haven't read it yet :( But like I said, I'm hoping for Vampire Read-a-Thon next week!!

The final book in Colleen Gleason's Gardella Vampire Series is As Shadows Fade. Another book I'm dying to read, and yet I'll be really sad when the series ends. But end it must, so at least I'm looking for a happy farewell!!

I also picked up the next 3 books in the Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine:

Book 3, Midnight Alley

Book 4, Feast of Fools

and Book 5, Lords of Misrule. Should be an interesting week!!

Now, I haven't even finished the first book in Melissa Marr's Trilogy that started with Wicked Lovely. But somehow, I managed to wrangle an ARC of Book 3 called Fragile Eternity. Isn't the cover gorgeous?? I hope to get to all of these really soon too!!

Valerie Russo from Hatchette Books sent me an ARC of David Cristofano's novel, The Girl She Used to Be. It really looks good!

The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson was sent to my by a publicist. It's a memoir, and I think it will be great in my quest to branch out into more non-fiction.

Finally, I picked up an ARC of Laura Lippman's new novel, Life Sentences. I've been wanting to read a Lippman novel for a long time, and this one looks like a great place to start!!


Finally, I've decided to join yet another challenge. But this one should be easy. Becky from Becky's Book Reviews is hosting the End of the World Reading Challenge. I LOVE Dystopian books....I read The Host for this challenge last year and it turned out to be my favorite of the year!! So I'm really looking forward to the 2009 choices. Here is what Becky says:

"Name: It's The End Of The World II
Host: Becky (of Becky's Book Reviews)

Dates: March 10, 2009 - October 9, 2009

Books Required: at least four

Read at least four books about "the end of the world." This includes both apocalyptic fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction. There is quite a bit of overlap with dystopic fiction as well. The point being something--be it coming from within or without, natural or unnatural--has changed civilization, society, humanity to such a degree that it radically differs from "life as we now know it." (Aliens, evil governments, war, plague, natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, depletion of resources, genetic manipulation, etc.) Here is a wikipedia article on the subject. Also see here. These changes can be small-but-still-significant or huge-and-life-threatening.

Books can be classified as children's, young adult, and adult. (Not many children's books go there. But many teen books do. And they're great.)

Graphic novels can count for this challenge.

Audio books allowed.

Crossovers with other challenges are allowed."

So on to my choices (which I reserve the right to change at any time!!)

  • Uglies by Scott Westerfield (and maybe a couple of the others in the series)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • The Rising by Brian Keene
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy

That should be enough to keep me busy for awhile!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Channeling Holden Caulfield

A book review?? Holy's about time, you say!! Well, yes. I AM hopelessly behind in reviews. And my reading has been slow and tedious lately. But I have found the way out of this kind of slump is a GREAT book. With Looking for Alaska by John Green (256 pgs, Puffin, 2005) I found just that. I guess I finally know what all the fuss is about!

The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party. To say that I had low expectations would be to underestimate the matter drastically.

Miles Halter is looking for something new. His life in Florida is boring, he has no one he can really call a friend, he's never had a girlfriend, and he's obsessed with famous Last Words. Miles wants more out of life, and decides to pack it all in and go to Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama. When asked by his mother why he wants to leave he gives this answer:

"So this guy," I said, standing in the doorway of the living room. "Francois Rebelais. He was this poet. And his last words were 'I go to seek a Great Perhaps'. That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps."

Into the Great Perhaps, he meets up with a group of people that he can finally call friends: His roommate, Chip "the Colonel" Martin, a brilliant scholarship kid that can plan a prank with the best of them; Takumi, the Japanese DJ; and Alaska Young, the beautiful, intelligent, but troubled girl that everyone falls just a bit in love with.

This book is divided into 2 sections: The Before and The After, leaving the reader with only the knowledge that something important is going to happen. I really can't say anything else about the plot without giving away some spoiler, but the reader knows that the countdown is to something ominous.

But the plot is secondary to the characters and their relationships in this book. Miles search for the Great Perhaps completely evoked thoughts of Holden Caulfield and his search for meaning in Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. Miles sheds his lonely life and learns what it's like to have friends. He learns the values of loyalty, honor, and even love. (He also learns how to smoke, drink, and perform some of the greatest school pranks in recorded history!)

John Green's writing is a thing of beauty. At once, it is funny, touching, tragic and heartbreaking. Green is a master with his words, and he knows how to get inside the head of teenagers.

"There were so many of us who would have to live with things done and things left undone that day. Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future. If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless."

Simple, yet so complex. The "before" half of the book is filled with wonder and discovery. The "after" half of the book shows how Miles deals with consequences....and it can be gut-wrenching. But through it all, Green weaves a beautiful story of friendship, love, and grief. This book is a testament to the fact that teens today are a lot smarter than I think most adults give them credit. A fantastic read, this will definitely be one of the "bests" of the year! And it also shows that another "G" author is going to make his way into my favorites list! A superb 5/5!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Weekly Geeks - Quote of the Day

I haven't been posting a whole lot lately. With that, I haven't participated in Weekly Geeks the last few weeks. This week, the theme is "Quote of the Day".

Quoth Dewey:
You may want to come up with a theme, such as favorite passages from books, author quotes, political quotes, quotes about books or reading, humorous quotes, whatever. Or you may not want a theme at all; maybe you just want to gather up seven assorted quotes that appeal to you. You may want to start each of your posts of the week with a quote, or you may want to give quotes posts of their own in addition to your regular posts. It’s all up to you!Signing Mr Linky this week means you’re committing to posting a quote each day for a full week, starting on the day you sign up. You can postdate your quote posts so they appear automatically if you can’t get to your blog each day.

These will probably just be quotes from my favorite books and/or authors!!

"The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!" -- Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Ernest

The Sunday Salon - Of Reading Slumps and Super Heroes

The Sunday Salon.comWell, I think this is the first Sunday Salon I've done in awhile. All goes back to that whole slump thing. Which, by the way, I think I'm well on the way to kicking. My trip to the library was a thing of beauty...and the first book that I started, Looking for Alaska by John Green, is amazing! In fact, I will probably finish it this morning. YA books have always been right near the top of my list when I talk about favorite genres. I love a good "coming-of-age" type story. And this one totally fits the bill.

But besides all the books that I picked up from the library, I'll definitely be waiting for Barnes & Noble to open on Tuesday. Book 5 in the House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast is being released. Besides....I'm in the mood to buy a few books since I haven't splurged on anything since....well, the last House of Night book! I also need to pick up a copy of Colleen Gleason's last book in the Gardella Vampire Series. And maybe round out the Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine. Nothing like a good round of vampire novels to break out of a horrible reading slump!!

Yesterday, we went to see The Watchmen. Since I'm utterly horrible at doing movie reviews, I'll save you the disappointment. I do, however, have a few things I'd like to say about it. First and foremost, I do think I should mention that I have NOT read the graphic novel. So I didn't have any expectations going into the theater. I'll be really curious to read a review written by a fan of the book. I'm sure our perspectives will be different.

I LOVED this movie! Seriously. I've also been a bit of a geek anyway. And super heroes are cool to me. (I do realize that I really should be addicted to graphic novels because of this. And let me tell you, I'm awaiting a couple from the library that might just throw me into fangirl status. I know I DEFINITELY need to read this one). This movie is dark, violent and extremely complex. I took Chad to see it, and I can tell a lot of the little nuances went right over his head. He was rather lost by the end. I wouldn't really recommend it for young kids anyway. Too dark, sexual and bloody. But for you big kids, it's a smart movie. It's not what I would consider a fun action/adventure. It is way too deep for that title. I was captivated from the opening scene.

And the music.....what a weird mish-mash of music that totally worked!! From My Chemical Romance to Bob Dylan; from Nena to Simon and Garfunkel - some really awesome tunes! Music is one of those things that can make or break a movie for me, and it really worked in The Watchmen.

Finally, I just have a little bit to say about Jackie Earle Haley who plays Rorschach. I remember seeing him in the Bad News Bears (the original) oh, so many years ago. I never thought that skinny kid would ever amount to much as an actor. But I've seen the error of that thinking. He was phenomenal in the movie Little Children, where he played the role of a pedophile. Even without reading the book, you know within 10 minutes of the movie how pivotal a role Rorschach is. And Haley was Freakin' Fantastic!! He doesn't seem to be an imposing type guy. But man...he is. It looks like he bulked up a lot to play this role....and he was great!!

I'd love to hear your thoughts....if you've seen the movie, or if you are just a fan of the book! That's all for now....Happy Reading and Happy Sunday!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

SO Excited!

One of my favorite series is the House of Night Series by PC and Kristin Cast. Book 5 is being released next Tuesday....March 10!! I can NOT wait!! I will probably be waiting at Barnes & Noble when the doors open!

This is the first book that is being released in hardback. A little more dollars...but if the last book is any indication, it will be well worth the money.

Here are the links to my reviews of the first 4 books:

Marked: A House of Night Novel

Betrayed: A House of Night Novel

Chosen: A House of Night Novel

Untamed: A House of Night Novel

Here is a look at the new book trailer for Hunted: A House of Night Novel:

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Remember Me?? And.....Library Loot

Goodness. It seems like WEEKS since I've posted. Not quite that bad, but still. The reasons for my abrupt leave of absence?? Well....a couple I guess. First of all, I was sick last week. And not just a sniffly little cold either. I was completely down-and-out, flat-on-my-back, in bed with the flu! Of course, there were those wonderful moments when I was draped over the toilet, because I couldn't keep anything down for long. And a fever of 102 didn't help. Sheesh. I was hurtin' pretty bad for about 3 days.

I'm FINALLY feeling better. The older I get, it seems the longer it takes to recover. Of course, working 70 hours a week can catch up to a person pretty quick. I have a feeling that was a major part of me catching a bug...and it hanging on so long. The things we do to keep the electricity on, I tell you.

But another reason I haven't posted in a bit, is a little harder to define. I've been in this funk lately. Not only with reading, but blogging as well. And I hate it. I hate not feeling the bliss of picking up a new book, or the excitement of logging on to the blog to check in with all my friends. But that's exactly what was happening. I know part of it had to do with being sick. But I also think a part of it is due to the stack of ARC's I have piling up. From Advanced Copies to Blog Tours, it seems I have over-extended myself a bit. Not that I haven't enjoyed the books I've received....because I have. I do, however, think it has ruined the spontaneity of just picking up a book because. Because I want to read it. Not because I'm on a schedule, or because I owe someone a review. But because *I* want to read it.

So today, I think I took care of the problem. And how, pray tell, did I do it? I took a trip to the library. With that trip, I fell back to the kind of books I enjoy the most....fantasy and young adult literature. Books I've been dying to read. 8 books to get me "Back in the Saddle", so to speak. Without further adieu, here is my first addition of "Library Loot":

I have been wanting to read this book for SO LONG. First of all, it's Neil Freakin' Gaiman! Haven't I already established he is one of my 3 favorite authors?? If that isn't enough of a reason to read this, how about the fact this book won the 2009 Newberry Medal?? I haven't read a Newberry that I have disliked...and all the fantastic reviews make me pretty sure I'm going to love this one!! Enough said!

Rise of the Evening Star is Book 2 in the Fablehaven Series. Although I wasn't over the top about Book 1, I found enough good in it to continue the series. Why not sooner, rather than later?? It seems when I put off continuing a series, I never actually get back to it!

Magyk by Angie Sage is Book 1 of the Septimus Heap Series. I love, love, LOVE the covers of the books in this series! Not really a great reason to read a book, I know. But I can't help it. I'm drawn to cool covers. Besides, the reviews of this series are fantastic, and I'm totally looking forward to this one!!

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr is another series starter. YA Urban fantasy.....dealing with the fae, and the faerie world. Yep....this is what I meant when I said "back to the books I love". Right up my alley, this one is. And like the others, I have read some fantastic reviews of this series.

Looking for Alaska is actually a book I have on my list for Dewey's Challenge. And even if it wasn't, between Chris and Nymeth's wonderful reviews of this book, I still would be dying to read it!! John Green seems to be the man of the hour, and I figured I might as well start with this one.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins hit my radar about eight months ago when I read a review that Stephen King wrote about this book. He liked it. And if it was good for Uncle Steve, then it's good enough for me. Especially since I love dystopian books! Also, I'm using it as a selection for the What's in a Name Challenge.

Purple Hibiscus is another Dewey Read. I'm also using this as a selection for the Orbis Terrarum Challenge. Besides, with all the fantasy I picked up, a little seriousness is necessary.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld (who really is a woman) is another book I've been wanting to read for a long time. I read her first book, Prep, a few years ago and loved it. Besides, I'm using this as a selection in the What's in a Name Challenge.

So.....if this doesn't bring my funk to a grinding halt, I don't know what will!! I also requested a couple of graphic novels through Inter-library loan. Can't wait to get those in!