Monday, May 31, 2010

Listful Monday: A Collection of Signed Books

Many of you posted about your signed books last week. You know I couldn't be left out of that! So I decided to share my signed books as part of Listful Monday this week since the theme is A Collection. Most of my signed books are by my local author favorites, with a few others thrown in. Here's a list of most of them I think:

1. Orson Scott Card (2)
2. Brandon Mull (3)
3. Stephenie Meyer (2)
4. Obert Skye (2)
5. Brandon Sanderson (3)
6. Shannon Hale (6?)
7. Nathan Hale (2)
8. Dean Hale (2)
9. Mette Ivie Harrison (3)
10. James Dashner (8)
11. J. Scott Savage (2)
12. Ann Cannon (1)
13. Aprilynne Pike (1)
14. Richard Peck (4)
15. Dan Wells (1)
16. Lisa Mangum (1)
17. Angela Morrison (2)
18. Frank L. Cole (1)
19. Kathryn Stockett (1)
20. Bree Despain (1)

The longest lines? Stephenie Meyer, Brandon Mull and Richard Peck, Orson Scott Card
Most personal? Shannon Hale, James Dashner, J. Scott Savage
Quickest? Kathryn Stockett
Slowest? Richard Peck
Most prized? Stephenie Meyer, Orson Scott Card, Richard Peck
Funniest? The Shannon, Dean and Nathan trio
Most by one author? James Dashner, with Shannon Hale coming in second
Authors I have signed bookplates from: Avi and Meg Cabot

Signatures I hope to get some day, both realistic and un:

Markus Zusak
John Green
Sara Zarr
Jessica Day George
Megan Whalen Turner
Patrick Ness
M.T. Anderson
Sarah Dessen
Robin McKinley
Neil Gaiman
... and many many others!

Did I post too many pictures? That's what you called getting carried away! But I have just one more... here's the portrait that Nathan Hale drew of Toto, which looks so much like her, it's amazing! How does he DO that?

Okay, so that was fun! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Let Summer Begin!

Whew! What a week it was!

In the blogging world it was BEA and the first ever Book Blogger Con. Maybe some year I'll get to go, but instead, this year I participated in Armchair BEA for those of us left behind. It was a blast interviewing other bloggers (see my interview with Jen) and talking about what we'd do if we could go to BEA.  I especially had fun coming up with a dream panel! Then we had our own BBC and gave out all sorts of wonderful advice and wisdom and ideas to each other. (Click here for the list of those fun posts.) Thursday evening was especially fun because of the Twitter party and getting to know more bloggers and following everyone all over the place!

In the personal world, it was the last week of school and we had activity after activity. A ground breaking for one school, moving furniture at another school, dance festivals, concerts, finals to help study for, American Idol to watch, kids to drive everywhere, etc etc. Plus one night it was book club here, and then the next day it was graduation for JJ. Wow, crazy stuff. All the days were filled to the brim! Yesterday, I crashed and did pretty much nothing. Oh, except we did go see the Robin Hood movie. Good, but not great. It was a little too political for  me and needed to focus more on Robin Hood. And I'm too much in love with the BBC version now which means Jonas Armstrong will now and forever be my Robin Hood of choice.

In the reading world, not much happened. But even at that, I did finish a couple this weekend. Both I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells and Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman. (Liked IANASK, loved Antsy. Reviews to come soon!) Earlier in the week I finished Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier and LOVED it! So today I've started Coop for a blog tour coming up and Meg Cabot's newest one called Insatiable. Talk about two completely opposite sorts of books!

But summer is here! Here's the plan:
-- kid #2 needs a job. Somehow, that's my problem.
-- kid #3 needs to get his learner's permit and take driver's ed. Joy.
-- kid #3 also needs to find and do an Eagle Project, also somehow my problem.
-- I hope they all read a ton but especially kid#3 and 4. We will do the library summer program, but I'm nervous that only kid#4 will be interested this year, and that will be sad.
-- I hope to bump up my monthly "books read" average from around 8 to more like around 12, for the summer anyway.
-- we have a couple of family reunions to survive. But no "big trip" planned which always makes me sad.
-- Ah the movies this summer look crazy! I'm afraid I'll be spending all my money on those instead of books!

I guess we'll see how it goes. I hope it's a good summer!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Building Blog Content or What Should I Write About?

Today's topic for Armchair BEA is to discuss something related to the Book Bloggers Convention. This year, in conjunction with BEA, the book bloggers are also getting together for their very own convention. How fun does that sound? I'm so sad to be missing it! But today, I have my own partying going on. This morning my son is participating in a Battle of the Bands at his friends school as part of their last day of school festivities. Then this afternoon, my daughter (and second kid) will be graduating from high school. Exciting and sad. And all part of life!

But to help us who had to stay home this week feel part of the first ever BBC, the organizers of Armchair BEA came up with some ideas for us to discuss bloggish sort of things here on our blogs. I've chosen to highlight some ideas on building content. This is where we all can crack up laughing, because I seriously have no idea what I am doing as far as this goes! I only know that participating in the Blog Improvement Project has given me some very fun ideas on what to do when you feel.... out of blogging ideas!

First of all, most of us book bloggers spend a lot of our writing time and effort on writing reviews. Back in January as part of Bloggiesta, I surveyed my readers on what they liked in a review. Let me just quickly remind you of what I learned as a result. Here's what we liked:

  • Short summary 
  • Picture of the book cover 
  • Reason for reading 
  • Simple reader reaction 
  • Detailed reader reaction 
Other important parts of a review post appear to be a reader rating, genre, and links to other reviews. Things that don't seem to be important are: long summary, author information, publisher information, book trailers, publishing date, movie tie-ins or the first line.

However, I feel like reviews should only be part of the fun of a book blog. In fact, I would be bored with a blog that does only reviews. What do you think? Do you want to see more than reviews too? So what are some other bookish sorts of things do we blog about?

As most of you will remember in April I participated in the BIP Bingo Challenge which encourages us to post 14 different kinds of posts during the month. This challenge gives us some wonderful ideas on different things to post about. Let me highlight some of my favorites from this list:

Opinion/Question/Discussion Post: This one is my favorite kind, and whenever I do it, it seems to bring the most comments. This post is one where you bring up a question you've been pondering and let everyone weigh in... or you bring up the question, give your opinion, but still let everyone weigh in with theirs also. Or just ponder some sort of bookish thing you've been thinking about and see what everyone else thinks. I love it.

List Post: I have a blast with lists, thus the two list features I came up with for my blog (Suey's Top Tens and Author's Pick Five.) And recently, Julie from A Small Accomplishment has created a very fun list feature (Listful Mondays) where she comes up with a list theme, and then you come up with your list to fit that theme. I'm loving it.

Poll Post: Another thing  I totally enjoy, especially now that I've sort of figured out Google Docs, is to survey my readers. It's very fun, and easy, to think up questions, create the form, and throw it out there for people to answer. You could think of all kinds of bookish themes to question people about too.

Personal Post: I know many bloggers shy away from the personal things, and I did too for a long time. I'm still careful about what personal things I blog about, but I feel it's very important to get a personality out there so other bloggers can get a good feel for you, what you like, what you get excited about, what you might be doing "when you're not reading." (A new feature Maw Books has been doing lately!) My guess is most of my readers will know who my favorite singer is, my favorite TV show, what bookish theme I'm currently enthralled with at the moment, etc. And I think it's fun that way, don't you?

Bottom line: I think that the best content for a blog is to cover all sorts of things. Memes are even okay if they aren't the sole content. On the other hand reviews are also great, if THEY aren't the sole content. And that pretty much goes for everything!

What do you think? Do you have suggestions for how to keep the creative ball rolling when it comes to blog content?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Dream Panel at BEA: My Favorite YA Dudes

If I were organizing a panel at BEA I would include:

Markus Zusak (hello! Is this a surprise to anyone? Of course he's #1 on my dream panel list!)
John Green (I could look at and listen to him for a long, long, long time!)
Neal Shusterman (a new favorite author who I can only imagine must be just as fun in real life)
Scott Westerfeld (he writes very cool books, so does he also have very cool things to say?)
James Dashner (so okay, I've heard him a million (or so) times now, but I'd love to see him up against these guys!)

This panel would be called:


Questions I would ask them:

1. How in the heck do you guys do it? That thing you do with words? Were you born that way? (Ha, they would  HATE this question and roll their eyes big time.)

2. What is your writing ritual? (If you don't have one, feel free to make one up.)

3. Plug your next book, tell us what to expect, give us a little teaser.(Or read from it even.) And what do you have planned down the road, what should we expect in the future? (And how can we get the ARCs!! )

4. What are you like in real life? What do your non-bookish, non-author activities include? (This is the stalker question.)

5. So, like, where do you get your ideas?!?! (We have to throw this one in because otherwise, the dudes would be so disappointed if no one asked it.)

6. What do you like to read? What are some of your favorite books and authors? (I seriously hope authors have answers to this kind of question, because that's just sad if authors don't find time to read.)

7. For this last question, I'd like everyone else to shut up be quiet and let's all just listen to Markus Zusak talk now.... about anything.... for as long as he wants.... 1, 2, 3, GO.

I would so be there! And please let me have the guts to go talk to them all afterwards!

Who would be on your dream panel?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Come Vote for the Latest Bookword!

We had several suggestions for this week's new bookword. But first, here's the question:

What should we call a library book that gets returned unread?

And here are the suggestions:

Unlucky and The Forgotten and Readless Returned all suggested by Ham1299
Unfulfilled Novel or Failed Potential both suggested by Jan from Eating YA Books
Delayed Gratification suggested by another Jan
A Library Leftover suggested by Stephanie from Open Mind, Insert Book
A Boomerang Book suggested by Bybee from Naked Without Books

Now the poll! Please take a quick moment and vote for your favorite. Results will be up next week, along with a new word to create!

Armchair BEA Interview with Jen from The Introverted Reader

I have the privilege of interviewing and getting to know Jen from The Introverted Reader for my Armchair BEA blogger connection experience. Jen is a fairly new blogger, starting just a few months ago. But it appears to me that she has it all figured out and is hosting features and getting tons of followers already! She's also been reviewing on Goodreads for years. Click here to find her profile there. And if you are into Twitter, she's there too!

One of the features she has going is called The Character Connection, which is a chance to post about your favorite character crushes! Click here for more info on that. I think I'm just going to have try this one soon! (Isn't that the cutest button?)

But anyway... on to the interview!

What is keeping you from going to BEA this year? Do you have plans to go some year in the future?

I only started my blog in late November, so I still feel pretty new. I hadn't even heard of BEA until the past couple of months, which was way too late for me to get time off from work and make plans to go. I would love to go in the future! I'm already trying to talk my aunt, who loves New York and books, into going along with me. She's willing! So hopefully I'll get to go as soon as next year. *fingers crossed*

What's the biggest thing you'll miss about not being at BEA?

It sounds like such a great experience in so many ways! I would love to meet other bloggers; sit in on the Book Blogger Con, because the topics they're covering are ones I have questions about; and of course meet authors, look at new books and scoop some of them up!

What's your favorite book you've read so far this year and why?

I read three close together that I just can't choose from. The Help by Kathryn Stockett was incredible. It was such an everyday kind of story about these women's lives at such an important time in history. I didn't feel like I was being hit over the head with the message but it still came through loud and clear. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake was great. I love WWII novels and this one was set right before the US entered the war, which is a time I haven't really read about before. I just loved the way that the novel was beautifully written and it tackled those "What if?" questions that we all have to live with. She-Rain: A Story of Hope by Michael Cogdill is set in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, which is where I live. The characters go through some incredibly dark times, but it truly was a story of hope. The setting and the theme hooked me.

Who is the most recent "new-to-you" author that you've discovered and added to your favorite list?

I just finished reading Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran and I loved it. She immediately went onto my "author_to_follow" shelf on GoodReads. That was great historical fiction.

What do you do with your non-blogging and reading time?

My husband and I like to travel a lot, even if it's just a weekend away. We're also usually working on some project around the house. We haven't made as much time for this lately, but we do enjoy hiking and camping. We love to see traveling Broadway shows, or really anything on the stage.

Describe what your perfect day would be like.

That depends on how energetic I'm feeling! Some days it's just heavenly to lie around in my pjs, reading, blogging, and watching movies, especially on rainy or snowy days. Now that summertime is here, I'm more likely to enjoy a nice breakfast with my hubby, heading out to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a drive and maybe a hike, having a picnic along the way somewhere and maybe squeezing in a little reading time there, then home for a nice shower and a divine dinner. My husband's the cook, thank goodness!

What's the best thing you've discovered about book blogging?

This huge, welcoming community, which I didn't even really know existed before! I had tapped into it a little on GoodReads (I've been on there for three years already), but I was surprised to find what feels like an even bigger book blogging community. I enjoy when people stop by and leave comments on my blog, and I love reading what others have to say on their blogs. I also have to admit that I enjoy having my own space on the web to talk about whatever I want and learning a little about html and how to make my blog look the way I want.

Tell us about a favorite reading/bookish memory.

Books have truly always been in my life, so it's hard for me to think of just one thing that stands out. Hmmm. Here's one. I love L.M. Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. My little local library only had a couple of her books. Every summer, my family used to spend a week at the beach, and there was one little bookstore that my mom always took my sister and I to. They sold every book Montgomery had ever written, I swear! So I looked forward to going to that bookstore every summer and getting a new book or two for my collection. I have all of her fiction now, as far as I know, and they almost all came from that little bookstore on the beach.

Non-bookish favorites:

- music/song: "Drops of Jupiter" by Train is my all-time favorite song. Other artists that make it into the player regularly are Sara Bareilles, Nickelback, and Michael Buble.

- food: That would have to be a toss-up between anything that includes cheese or chocolate.

- place to visit: Oh, tough one. I've been fortunate enough to go to Italy and Hawaii on vacation and I loved both. Rome and the island of Kauai were my favorite places. I also love this tiny little town on the coast of North Carolina called Emerald Isle. My mom's family used to rent a beach house together when we were all kids and I have tons of great memories from there.

- movie: My very, very favorite would have to be Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

- TV show:  I've worked the night shift for ten years and I'm hopelessly out of the loop on current shows. I've always loved Friends and Seinfeld though. Now all I ever see is whatever's on HGTV. Did I just date myself?

- candy bar:  Snickers, hands down.

Fun answers! Thanks Jen! I truly look forward to getting to know you better.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If I Went to BEA

First a little lesson for those of you who don't know what all this BEA talk is about. BEA stands for Book Expo America, which is, I think, pretty much the biggest event and gathering of bookish people and products in the country. From what I'm understanding, it's held at this time every year in New York. (Though it has been in other cities, right? I'm not sure.) Anyway, there's hundreds of authors, hundreds of publishing companies... all promoting themselves and their up and coming new books. And just in the last year or two, hundreds of bloggers have been joining the fun. In fact for the first time this year, the bloggers have tacked on an extra day to the main event, just for their own Book Blogger Convention. Cool.

But sad for so many of us who aren't able to go. But we can still dream about it! Thus, the Armchair BEA event was born! And today for my first post as part of the Armchair BEA, I'm going to do some dreaming and ponder what it would be like if I got to go.

If I went to BEA, I know I'd be so overwhelmed by all the many exhibits, and panels and author signings, that I wouldn't have a clue where to start. I'd probably stand in one place and spin in circles trying to decide. I mean, just click on one of these links and you tell me where you'd start!

If I went to BEA, I'd probably end up going to say hi to all the local authors... the ones I get to see all the time right here anyway!

If I went to BEA, I hope I'd have the courage to check out all the big publisher exhibits like Random House, Harper Collins and HarperTeen and Simon and Schuster and Little Brown and Scholastic and you know all those famous ones. And hopefully I'd be brave enough to say "Hey I'm a blogger!"

If I went to BEA, I also hope I'd check out the interesting little guy publishers too. And I would say, "Hey, I'm a book blogger!"

If I went to BEA, I'd spend a lot time hanging out at the author signings. Let's going down the list I'd have to meet: Justin Cronin, Cory Doctorow, James Dashner, Rosemary Wells, Carmen Deedy, Lemony Snicket, Holly Black, Rick Riordan, Bree Despain, Dan Wells, Melissa Marr, R.L. Stine, Beth Kephart, just to name a few. And if there's an author that I've never heard of who has no one in his or her line, I'd go say hi and say, "Hey, I'm a book blogger!" (Which reminds me, have you seen this video yet? It's hilarious! Those poor authors with no one in their line!)

If I went to BEA, I'd go crazy because I'd want to go to all the panels! Ones like Hot Book Club Titles, From Writer to Reader, You're Reading That?!, The Next Decade in Book Culture.....

If I went to BEA, what I'd really really look forward to is meeting other book bloggers. Meeting the Utah bloggers is a blast, and I imagine meeting bloggers from across the county would be just as fun! Oh, man, this is the part that makes me sad.

If I went to BEA, I'd need a friend, because I really hate doing these sorts of things alone. Really.

If I went to BEA, I'd probably exhaust myself trying to fit too much in.

If I went to BEA, I know I'd have a blast no matter what I ended up doing!

Maybe one of these years......

Monday, May 24, 2010

Listful Monday: Reading Hazards

Once again, Julie (A Small Accomplishment) has come up with a creative list theme.... what hazards are involved with being a here's my stab at it:

My Reading Hazards

1. Heavy Lid Syndrome: Don't you hate it when you sit down to read and then suddenly, you find your eyes just refuse to stay open?

2. Turning Blue: I find that if I sit still for very long somehow I'm suddenly freezing. What's up with that? Old age you say? No way!

3. Child Neglect: "Hey Mom, can you tuck me in now?" "MOM!! I need help!" "Mom? Where's my book/shoes/keys/phone/food/?"  Mom says, "Will you PLEASE leave me alone... I'm reading!!!"

4. Oh My Aching Neck: Do you ever have a problem getting you head positioned just right and comfortable for reading?

5. Dirty House: because why clean when you can read?

6. Telephone Torture: Do you find that as soon as you finally have a moment to read, you sit down, get all comfortable, then the telephone rings?

7. Too Many Books and Not Enough Time: quite the cliche phrase, but so very very true. And if anyone ever says "there's nothing to read' in my presence.... beware.

8. The Headache: the age old "I've been reading too much" ailment. But why let a little headache stop you? That's what ibuprofen is for!

9. Guilty Guilty Guilty: there's that constant voice inside my head that I'm always ignoring, you know, that one that says, "Seriously! Shouldn't you be doing something else!?"

10. Emotional Overload: I have told you I sometimes get a bit wrapped up and involved in my book reading, right?

Join us and make your own list! Let me know if you do, so I can come see.

Weekly Geeks 2010.18: A Character Comparison

Weekly Geeks this week asks us to compare ourselves to our favorite characters in the following three ways:

A character I am most like:

Meg from Little Women: Because she is the oldest in her family and seems pretty level headed and slow to get all riled up. She is not the center of attention, and tends to observe things from the sidelines. At the same time, her passion proves to be quite strong when she falls heavily in love.


Elinor from Sense and Sensibility: for some of the same reasons listed above. She is the oldest and feels responsible for her sisters and family. She keeps things to herself and only "blows" when the pressure gets too strong. Even though she tends to be quiet about things, in reality, she is very much a part of life and has extremely strong feelings.

A character I am least like:

I am pretty much not at all like any of the teenage heroines in all the supernatural/paranormal romances that are so popular these days. I am not (or was not if I think of myself back in the teenage years) the kind that would be the new girl in school and be suddenly getting attention from all the guys. Or, if there's a new guy in school, I would not be seeking out his company, especially if he exudes the dark mysterious vibes. I would be much too shy and too scared to ever be the type to star in one of these books.

A character I want to be like:

Anne from Anne of Green Gables: I want to have her creative ability, and her way with people. I want her outgoing, friendly nature and her zest for exploration and discovery. She has a wonderful personality that I've always admired and wish I could be more like.

Join us over at Weekly Geeks and post your character comparison!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Book Reports

What I'm working on:

Today I'm all wrapped up in Sorcha's story in Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. I'm so very anxious for a certain someone to show up again... because I KNOW he will, and I'm anxious for Sorcha to complete her impossible task, and I really want to know what Red is thinking about everything and how he is going to fit into this story. Ah, great book! Hopefully I'll get lots of time to keep reading today.

I started another Neal Shusterman book this week too. Antsy Does Time.... a sort of sequel to The Schwa Was Here though the feeling I'm getting so far is that it doesn't really matter if you've read the first one or not for this one to make sense. Anyway, I love it! This author is so funny and is one of those with an amazing way with words and comparisons and interesting pop culture tie ins. Love it.

Also, I read a couple of chapters of  I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells. Just a couple of pages into it and I'm already grossed out! But in a good way, sort of.  I'm looking forward to this one, having heard so much about it. I have no idea what to expect though. It's going to be interesting.

Here's what I hope to get going in the next week or two:

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan: time for the next installment of this series!
Insatiable by Meg Cabot: she sent me her next book, so I should read it...
Coop by Michael Perry: I have a blog tour scheduled for this one.
Captivate by Carrie Jones: a borrowed book needs returning!
Little Bee by Chris Cleave: I need to know what all the fuss is about.
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whelan Turner: my book club voted this series as our summer project and I'm very anxious to keep going with it
Percy Jackson #2: to finish of the Once Upon a Time Challenge

What the family is reading:

Mr. Stuey: Sounds Like Crazy by Shana Mahaffey
JJ: Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
Moder: hmmmm..... not sure he's reading anything dang it.
Toto: Percy Jackson #5

Happy BEA week to everyone! Both those lucky enough to go and those who are staying home and playing from our armchairs.... and even to those who have no idea what it is!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Music Stuck in My Head

Time for another music installment. That's because I spent much time yesterday buying iTunes songs since I got an iTunes card as a thank you from work. Fun times. And of course since then I've been playing them constantly, thus.... stuck in my head.

This one I love love love.... I think I heard it years ago and have thought about it often since then, wondering what it was and if I would ever find it. Suddenly, I've stumbled on it and am thinking that it really is that song that has stuck with me all this time. Are you familiar with it? It sounds like Avatar music, but I promise, it's not.

Not sure what it is about this song, but it gives me chills. Even though Sarah Brightman kind of creeps me out. Love Andrea though.

And here's these guys on Glee singing one of my all time favorite songs, Dream On. I didn't watch the episode, but I did find this clip (finally) of them singing, but here I'll embed the whole song. I'm finding more and more that I love anything this Matthew Morrison guy does. I want a CD of "just the Glee teacher" please! Weird that I'm almost liking their version better of this song than the original Aerosmith.

And finally, a new group to love.... The Canadian Tenors. Where have they been? Where have I been? Beautiful!

Did you listen? Did you like any?
Got any music stuck in your head today?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Book: The Passage by Justin Cronin
Genre: Horror/SciFi/Dystopian
Rating: A, perhaps with a plus even
For: ARC Review (release date June 8, 2010)
From: the publisher (Ballantine Books) Thanks!

I'm a little scared of reviewing this book because it worries me to add to the buzz and hype that so many of you are leery of. Besides that, if you are like me and you plan on reading it eventually, you won't want to be reading anything at all about it before you have the chance to form your own opinions. Am I right?

So I'm going to do a simple spoiler free summary, then my thoughts (without restraint and may contain a spoiler-y element) and then some questions (which will be full of spoilers,) because my brain is reeling with them! So you can easily pick and choose what you are willing to read! (And hopefully if you skip stuff, you'll come back after reading the book to share your thoughts.)

Very Simple Summary.Very Very Simple.

This book is divided into several parts, but really there are only two parts. The world before the virus.... and the world after. The world before is our familiar world in the very near future. There's a virus discovered in... now I forget where.... South America somewhere I think?... that is brought back and of course is being experimented with. And of course, as we all can guess, something goes wrong. Very very wrong.

The second, and biggest part, of the book is the consequences of this experiment gone wrong, the aftermath,  and the solution. Or not.

Throughout all, we are in and out of many of the characters' heads. I loved that. Because everyone was going through different things, it was fun to be able to be in on much of it. Some of the characters we meet include a little girl, a nun, an FBI agent, a death row inmate, the doctor/scientist, an old lady named Auntie, an electrical genius, a pair of brothers.... and you end up loving them all.

My Thoughts (hopefully no spoilers) 

This is the kind of book where you are often holding your breath and reading so fast that you consciously have to make an effort to slow down, and breathe.

This is the kind of book where the amount of pages it has doesn't really matter because you'll be turning them so fast and even at that, when you get to the end, it will be too soon.

This is the kind of book that is perfect for summer consumption! It's no surprise it's coming out the first week in June.

This book has been compared to Stephen King's The Stand and Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, both of which I totally agree with. It also reminded me of The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau.

This is the kind of book that is far out there, yet eerily realistic and plausible at the same time.

This is the kind of book where if you are not reading it, you are thinking about it and dying to get back to it... as I was all day yesterday at work!

This is the kind of book that defines the word epic, and you know how I love epic.

This is the kind of book where you really really need to talk to someone about it afterwards and say, "so.... what did YOU think?"

Bottom line: I loved it. Of course I did!

My Burning Questions (BEWARE: Spoilers! I will hide them so you'll have to highlight them to see them, but do come back and answer after reading the book, please?)

- Do you really think that if the world ended and there were just a few survivors that we would lose our sense of history? Would really no one tell stories and pass it down?

- How long, really, do you think it would take for our cities to crumble to nothing? I think I saw a documentary about this once and it was quite disheartening!

- Do you think a scenario like this is possible? Do you think our country is woefully unequipped to handle it?

- Did you catch this thought by Amy at the end: "What she was witnessing would be a secret between them, a thing to know and never speak of. Like Peter, what he was. For Amy believed Alicia knew that, too." What WAS Peter? This makes me crazy!! Did I miss something? Or does this just mean that Peter was Alicia's heart and soul?

- What exactly is the passage anyway? 

- Did you end up feeling sorry for any of the virals?

- Is this really the first of a trilogy? Ah, sheesh! No wonder I was feeling a little left hanging there at the end. Did you feel that? What ARE your thoughts on the ending? 

The Passage has it's own website here.

Other Reviews:
(which I will allow myself to read now and it will be interesting to see if anything I said matches what they said!)

Books I Done Read
Presenting Lenore
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
Books and Movies

Do you have plans to read this book? If it continues to get a lot of buzz will that affect your decision to read it or not? Are you scared to read reviews before you read the book?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weekly Geeks 2010.17: P.A.B.D.

This week's Geek discussion is all about a phenomenon called P.A.B.D. which stands for Post Amazing Book Depression  and means: the over-whelming sad feeling one gets after finishing a great book. 

Yes, I feel this feeling a lot! Well, I used to more than I do now actually. Now, sometimes I feel like I don't have time to feel sad about a book being over because there's so many waiting their turn. And I know that just around the corner is another great book, so there's really no reason to be sad.

However, if a book has consumed me and made me feel such a part of it's life and world, it's often quite traumatic to be done with it. I do resort to many of the tactics listed in the Weekly Geek post in order to deal with it.

Yes, I've been known to seek out other books with a similar theme. (Does my current Robin Hood obsession ring a bell? This may be due mostly to the sadness of finishing the BBC series that we watched and needing to fill the void with books!)

Yes, I make other people read the book. (I did this with the ever popular Twilight, Book Thief, Hunger Games, etc.)

Yes, I read other things by the author. (John Green, Markus Zusak!) and follow them around the internet.

No, I don't go seek out fan fiction though. That stuff sort of makes me crazy. And no I don't re-read over and over and over. For the most part anyway. 

Some of the books that have caused this P.A.B.D. for me (that aren't the obvious choices mentioned above):
-- The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
-- The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye
-- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
-- Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
-- pretty much any good sappy Victorian novel... and that's why the movies are so fun too, they keep those books alive and strong.
-- pretty much any big epic fantasy
-- pretty much any book where I feel a huge character connection. It's hard to let them go!

How about you? What books have caused you P.A.B.D.?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Review: Need by Carrie Jones

Book: Need by Carrie Jones
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating: A-
For: Fun
From: Borrowed from Jenny

This book is simply another take on the whole teenage paranormal ride. In this installment, we have a girl whose dad (well, step dad) has just died and she isn't doing so well with it, so her mom sends her to live with her grandma (well, step grandma) in Maine, which, I guess, is kind of a scary place. For one thing, there
s this guy who keeps popping up out of nowhere, stares her down or points at her, then disappears. (Hate it when that happens! CREEPY!) So there's that mystery to solve.

Then at school, she is instantly popular and has a couple of interesting guys hanging around, so she needs to figure that out too. Basically, in this book,  nearly everyone is not what or who they appear to be.

I had fun with it. I especially enjoyed the witty banter and snappy conversation. Also, things were just different enough to be interesting and keep me turning the pages. I understand that the second book, Captivate, may be even better, so I've got that one borrowed and ready to read any day now.

Bottom line: It was fun.

Carrie Jones website.

Other reviews:

The Story Siren
One Librarian's Book Reviews
Queen of Happy Endings
My Favourite Books

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Sunday Salon: What I'm Doing

What I'm Doing (or Plan on Doing) Today:
  • stuffing and addressing graduation announcements for the senior
  • brainstorming and creating a 3D model of a theme park with the 9th grader
  • compiling and writing papers for the student council application packet for the 5th grader
  • making dinner
  • going to church
  • watching the Survivor finale
  • reading (or thinking about reading) The Passage.... half way done!
  • writing this blog post
Sara Zarr and Ann Dee Ellis talking about their blogs at the festival yesterday.

What I Did Yesterday:
  • read (or thought about reading) The Passage
  • went to the children's festival at the library
  • bought four new books there
  • one of them, I Am Not a Serial Killer, I got signed by author Dan Wells
  • but Sara Zarr went home so I couldn't get Once Was Lost signed
  • listened to three bookish panels which included authors like Brandon Sanderson, J. Scott Savage, Sara Zarr, Ann Dee Ellis, Emily Wing Smith, Mette Ivie Harrison, .... and some new-to-me authors I want to check out Kris Chandler, Wendy Toliver and Clint Johnson
  • went to a wedding reception of the sister to my son's best friend
  • watched a really cool show about the history of Robin Hood on the History Channel
Other Stuff of Interest This Week:
  • got Meg Cabot's new book, Insatiable, in the mail along with a personal card from her that said, "I like your blog! Love, Meg Cabot."  I find that insanely cool.
  • won a giveaway over at  Alexia's Books and Such.... also insanely cool.
  • planted half a garden (tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers)
  • finished Need by Carrie Jones
  • tried to find and rent The Young Victoria, but it was not available
  • checked out two more Neal Shusterman books from the library
  • took the 5th grader to the orthodontist and got braces on her top teeth
  • took the 5th grader, who made 20 knitted beanie baby hats, to the hospital where she donated the hats to the newborn nursery for her service project for the application for student council next year.
  • went to the senior's last choir concert of the year, which was also the last performance that high school will see before they tear it down in two weeks! 

So... what have you been doing?

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Happy List, Hopping Blogs, and an Armchair BEA Shout Out

Hey, I got an award! This one called Happy 101  from a new-to-me blogger friend Tif Talks Books. It requires that I list ten things that make me happy. Since I appear to be into lists this week, why not, I say:

1. chocolate chip cookie dough
2. reading in bed... in the morning
3. powerful awesome thunder storms
4. going to music concerts
5. books in the mail
6. teenage kids home safe and sound
7. blog comments
8. the sound of the ocean
9. traveling the back roads
10. getting books signed

If you're especially happy today, I pass this award on to you!!

I thought I'd couple this post with my first try at the Blogger Hop. Details and sign-ups for that over on Crazy for Books. So welcome to new blogger friends hopping over here. Hopefully you'll take a minute to look around and see what you think! I'm hoping to get a chance to hop around to new blogs later on today.

Also,  I wanted to help spread the news about the Armchair BEA. This is what several bloggers have come up with as a way for those of us who are sad about not getting to go to New York for the real BEA, too participate from home and have our own bookish fun. There's several bloggers with a sign up posted for that, but I will direct you to Emily's over at Emily's Reading Room, if you are interested. I think it's going to be great fun!

Have a great weekend everyone! Tomorrow I have plans to stalk more authors, so hopefully I'll have a report about that experience to share on Sunday.


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