Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Book: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Genre: Horror/Paranormal
Rating: B+
From: I've had this one so long and it's so old that I have no idea where it came from. A thrift shop I presume.

It seems like I've been wanting to see what this book was all about forever, and finally it happened this Halloween season! But I must say, it wasn't quite what I expected, though I couldn't even really tell you what I expected!

So there's this boy (that's all we know of him as) who sits down to interview the vampire, whose name is Louis. He is from New Orleans around the 1700's. He begins his story with his depression over his brother's death which in turn leads him to be in the wrong place at the wrong time which causes Lestat to find him and turn him. From there, he tells us what it was (is, actually, since he is still here in the present) like to be a vampire and all the conflicting emotions that entailed.

And boy is he one mixed up angsty vampire!

Unlike some vamps, he struggles with the whole killing humans to survive thing. He hates himself, he worries, he frets, he stresses. He especially doesn't get his relationship with Lestat. It's all very confusing. During one of his moods, he attacks a five year old girl. Lestat turns her and she makes up the trio, their little family.

Most of the rest of the story is the strange relationship he has with this girl. Very weird stuff here. Of course, she doesn't physically grow, but mentally she does, so this really makes things complicated.  Then stuff happens and they end up in Europe searching for more creatures like themselves. What they find makes things even worse and relationships even more complicated.

All in all, I quite enjoyed this one, even thought it was actually a little slow in parts. It didn't gross me out overly much, except perhaps this weird play thing they went to. That was really quite awful. And I found the writing to be beautiful and poetic, so that was one of the things I didn't expect I suppose. I also enjoyed all the vampire lore, compared with all we "know" about vampires today after their huge popularity! (This book was published in 1976.)

The end, the very end once the interview itself was over, was a bit unexpected and leaves you curious about the next book, which, guess what? I have sitting here! However, it will be awhile before I pick it up. Maybe next RIP?

Bottom line: I enjoyed it.

Other Reviews:

Good Books and Good Wine
Books Without Any Pictures
The Bookshelf Chronicles
Piling on the Books

Of course, most of you know there's quite the famous movie made from this book. I thought I'd throw in the trailer for curiosity's sake. I'll probably never watch it the movie because it DOES look a little too ick for me!

October Reading Recap

Still trying to "catch up" these days. I felt like I got behind in the summer, so I'm still trying to make up for that. Not bad this month I think, considering one of the books was over 1000 pages!

So here's what I read this month:

 Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams: A sad story about a girl who is dealing with her mom's major depression.

The Home Ranch by Ralph Moody: A memoir of the author's experiences being a cowhand on a ranch in Colorado when he was just 12 years old.

 Entwined by Heather Dixon: I loved this retelling of the 12 dancing princesses fairy tale.

 Crossed by Ally Condie: Cassia's fight against The Society continues.

Red Glove by Holly Black: Cassel must choose between helping the cops or working with the mafia.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima: The adventures of Han (a street rat) and Raisa (a princess) begin in this wonderful fantasy series.

 Under the Dome by Stephen King: How will this small town cope when an invisible dome cuts them off from the outside world?

 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: Strange things are going on with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Utterson finally gets to the bottom of it.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice: Louis tells his story of how lonely and conflicting being a vampire can be.

Variant by Robison Wells: Benson gets sent to what he thinks is a posh boarding school, but when he gets there he finds out it's actually a prison of sorts.

Favorites of the month include: Entwined, The Demon King, Under the Dome and Variant.

Plans for November:

  • Start and hopefully finish the next Wheel of Time book, The Path of Daggers (number 8 for those keeping track.)
  • Re-read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for book club.
  • Read The Death Cure.
  • Read The Night Circus
  • Read anything else that's stacked up around here! Anything! Make a dent!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: Under the Dome by Stephen King

Book: Under the Dome by Stephen King
Genre: Horror
Rating: A-
For: RIP VI Challenge
From: Bought it from Amazon

Since this was such a huge undertaking, Jenny and I decided to read it together, and then invite anyone to join us for an official RIP group read. You've seen our efforts over the last month with weekly update posts here:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

But the purpose of this post is do a "normal" review! Despite the size of the book, the story is actually quite simple. An invisible dome falls down around this small town one Saturday morning, suddenly, without warning. Several people die instantly or shortly after. The crisis has quickly begun.

The town is run by a city council of sorts. One guy on that council has a secret to hide and he is afraid that because of this new situation, he will be found out. Besides that, he is totally power hungry, evil and downright creepy. He has many of the town's key players in the palm of his hand and he sets out to protect his secret and to maintain control of the town.

Meanwhile, he has a psychotic son who begins a murder spree at the very same time the dome falls. When the two get together, you can only imagine what they get up to.

Of course, there's a few sort of normal people who manage to find each other and together try to discover what's causing the dome and how to solve the mess being caused by the above mentioned crazies. Will they succeed? Will they figure out what the dome really is? Will the crazies win?

This is what keeps a person glued to the page.

That and the amazing cast of characters that are so fascinating and so brilliantly written. This was my favorite part of this huge massive book, the characters themselves and how easy it was to get to know them, to care about them, to root and cheer for them, or to be disgusted by them. What a ride it was, really.

Bottom line: I was totally enthralled by this one!

Other Reviews:

Alternate Readality
Life... With Books
Book Chatter
Lost in Books

I really enjoyed this interview with Stephen King about Under the Dome, so I thought I'd throw it in here for those interested:

The Sunday Salon: Happy Halloween!

It's been a week. I don't know. Some weeks just aren't my favorite, know what I mean? Here's to a new start!

Outside my window: Chilly and leaves on the ground everywhere!  But blue sky and sunshine!

I am listening to: the song of the week of course! See below.

Song of the week: Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens. It's a classical piece everyone!  Did you know I love classical too? :) We've been playing it constantly at our house since Toto had to learn it in orchestra (a very simplified version of course.) It's lovely! A very exciting one, and perfect for Halloween.

TV Talk: Ah Vampire Diaries this week! Oh my.. poor Jeremy. I loved how everyone came back from the dead for an episode! And Ozzy's move in Survivor! Wow wow wow. He is a crazy man. Merlin made me smile this week and I moved on to a new season in Dr. Who, where once again he is companionless. I bet it won't be for long though. I watched only one Supernatural episode and where the boys had to fight each other because there was a shape shifter that shifted into their shapes of course.

Books I've Finished:  Under the Dome, Interview with the Vampire and Dr. Jekyll. They were all great spooky Halloween books. So fun.
Books I've Started: Variant by Robison Wells (as in Dan Wells brother)
Books I want to start: The Path of Daggers is up next. The Night Circus is still STILL waiting. I had to drop The Iron Daughter and take it back to the library. I will be reading The Death Cure soon too I hope.
New books: Just one in the mail from Melissa at The Avid Readers Musings, called Novel Destinations, which I won last week during her mini readathon challenge. So excited!


I wrote the above bit last night and this morning, and had plans to finish the post, but it never happened, so I thought I'd just publish this much for a simple "media consumed" report of the week for you all. Nothing much else to report on anyway. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

ABCs of Me Meme

Here's a fun random "about me" meme I've seen around a bunch this week. First on The Written World and next on Amused by Books... who both got it from Fizzy Thoughts. I figured it's been awhile, so what the heck, and maybe you'll learn something you don't already know!

Me, at one year old.

Age: My birthday is coming up in 2 weeks and let's just say that I'll be closer to the half century mark than I was before! But I FEEL like 17 always! (Well, except for the occasional achy bones and such.)

Bed Size: King, and I'm begging for a new mattress. For my birthday maybe? :)

Chore that you hate: mopping the floor. It feels impossible.

Dogs: you know, they are okay, but I would only want one if  I lived out in the country on a farm. Then I'd like a German Shepard, or a Collie, or a Lab.

Essential start to your day: checking email, though there's usually nothing very exciting there.

Favorite colors: Lavender and/or plain old purple, but truly, I like them all.

Gold or Silver: Silver

Height: I'm really not sure, but probably about 5'5" or so.

Instruments you play: I can play the piano, sort of, and once upon a time, I played the clarinet, which was a blast. (Ha, was that a pun?)

Job Title: Mom first and foremost, but 12 hours a week I'm a library clerk.

Kids: There's four of them. Two boys, two girls. How's that for planning?

Live: Utah! A pretty great state.

Mother-in-Law’s name: I think I'll pass on this one but my great grandma's name is(was) Goldie. When I was a kid I called her Grandma Goldilocks.

Nicknames: Suey

Overnight hospital stays: When I had kids. 

Pet Peeves: Being late

Quote from a movie: "Have fun storming the castle! or "It's not you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you." or "I love you!" "I know." 

Right or Left handed: Right

Siblings: I'm the oldest of 9 kids. I have three sisters and five brothers.

Time you wake up: 6:30 weekdays to get the kids up and out the door. Weekends I sleep in until 9 or 10 sometimes.

Underwear: Yes.

Vegetable you hate: Celery would have to top the list I'd say.

What makes you run late: Other people... or a phone call.

X-Rays you’ve had: At the dentist, on my teeth, is all, I think. 

Yummy food that you make: I like to bake. Rolls, cookies, desserts, etc.

Zoo animal: Gorillas. I could watch them forever.

Join in if you so desire! Tell us more about you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Under the Dome Read Along: Final Questions

I've finished this book! Wow, what a ride it was. Crazy stuff here. Really crazy stuff. It was fun to do this little read along, and thanks to those who read along with me! Here are the final questions which are COMPLETELY FULL OF SPOILERS. Really really bad spoilers too, so skip it if you plan to read this some day. But please, if you have already read it, go forward in this post and let me know what you think!

1. Were you pleased with the end that Stephen King gave Jim Rennie? Is it what you expected? Was it fitting? If not, how would you have changed it?

I thought it was pretty good, first that he died "alone" and second that he died with hallucinations of all those he killed coming after him. Appropriately creepy! Still, I kind of would have liked to see him blown to smithereens when the explosion occurred. But then of course, he wouldn't have suffered as much, right? So never mind.

2. Explain to us what you thought about the aliens and their "magnifying glass." Did you take it at face value, or is there some underlying deep meaning to it? In other words, is there actually a moral to this story? And if so, how would you explain it?

That whole bit was a little confusing to me and I think for the most part we should take it at face value however, I do think Stephen King was trying to say something about the nature of kids and their cruel streak. And how deep down, even the mean ones, want to fix things they have done. And that some of us participate in these mean cruel "jokes" but don't want to, and how THAT lives with us for our whole lives.

3. Pretty much everyone dies! Which death was the saddest for you? The hardest for you to read about? The most gruesome? The one that had you cheering? The one that made you the maddest? 

Saddest: Benny perhaps. And Aiden. I was really hoping all the kids would make it. Oh and both the dogs too of course.
Hardest: Brenda, I think, remains one of the hardest ones to read about. Oh, and Sam in the end. 
Gruesome: Wow, which to choose. Carter's death by Mr. Rennie's knife was especially disgusting. I think the hospital murder/suicide with Sammy was ick. And then the shootout at the police station was pretty ick too.
Cheering: probably when Junior finally, FINALLY, fell... with Barbie still alive! YES!  And I must admit, I cheered a little for the crazy druggies too, even though their actions caused the calamity.
Maddest: Carolyn, was that her name? The one taking care of the kids? That was very maddening.

4. If this were made into a movie (as Stephen King books often are) who would you cast in some of the leading roles?

This is always a hard question for me, but I thought it would be fun to try and to see others answers! 

Barbie: Ryan Phillippe (and I have no idea who this guy even is! But he fits the image I had.)

Julia: I think Julia Roberts herself would work just fine for this one!

Big Jim: Wade Williams (who played Brad Bellick on Prison Break)

Junior: Harry Melling (he played Dudley in Harry Potter)

Rusty: Jake Gyllenhaal

Linda: Stana Katic from Castle, only I pictured blonde hair

Joe: Gabriel Basso (from Super 8), but is he young enough here?

Now, I have no idea if these pictures match the descriptions given in the book (were there even any?) but just the image I sort of have in my head. What do you think? Did I get any of them right according to the image in your head?

5. Do you think this book is an accurate portrayal of true human nature? Do you think everyone is as corrupt as this? How do you think your community would do in such a crisis? How would you personally handle it? What side would you have ended up on?

I truly think this book made human nature out to be much worse than it really is. But then again, I'm probably quite naive. I really hope though, that random people aren't as corrupt as so many in this town were. I would say some, but not so very many! I would hope that my community would have much better leadership than this one did. I agree that that is a key part of a situation like this. I  personally, would probably have quite the panic attack at being shut in, but my guess is I would have stayed off the radar, which means I would have ended up as one of the nameless faceless crowd, nose pressed to the dome talking to loved ones, when the world ended!

Full and "normal" review, without spoilers hopefully,  to come later. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Book: Crossed by Ally Condie
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: A-
For: Support Local Authors!
From: ARC from the author/publisher (book released Nov. 1, 2011)

This book begins shortly after the first book, Matched, leaves us. (Spoilers for Matched ahead.) Cassia has been sent to work in the Outer Provinces, and she hopes to track down Ky, who has also been sent to work... rather to fight in the wars. Both of them end up escaping into a land formation called The Carving, which I thought was cool because I could totally picture in my head as some of the awesome landscapes found in Southern Utah that I imagine it to look like. Such as this:

or this:

Most of the story takes place here as they make their way to try and meet up with The Rising, those fighting against The Society. Along the way, they meet several new characters who I really enjoyed and who add a lot to the story, especially a young boy named Eli. We also meet another fugitive group in The Carving called The Farmers. The intensity builds as they try to figure out and learn more about all these different groups and  who they can really trust... or not.

I myself, got a bit confused on this part. Besides The Society, The Rising, and The Farmers, there's also The Enemy! I'm really curious as to who THOSE people are, because it is not explained at all. Unless I'm just being especially unobservant! So who IS the enemy? The Society I thought, but as things progress, you really start to wonder what's truly going on. And sadly this book doesn't provide many answers. Book three maybe?

We didn't see much of Xander in this book either, which disappointed me. I enjoy all that love triangle confusion and tension! However, he does provide information that makes Cassia (and therefore us as readers) even more confused. Which side is he on anyway!

By the time the ending arrives, I feel like we haven't learned much and that we are quite back to where we started! So now I'm particularly anxious for the next book... a whole other year away!

Anyway, despite some of my issues with this book, I still totally enjoyed the reading of it and am invested in these characters and want so badly for them to work things out. I liked that the chapters were alternating between the voice of Cassia and Ky, so we could get into both their heads. Very fun.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it much!

Other Reviews:

One Literature Nut
My Overstuffed Bookshelf
The Paper Reader
Alternate Readality

Here's the book trailer for those who enjoy them. I liked it, (it reminded me that I love the poetry bits in this book too!) though the boys weren't very much at all how I pictured them. Nope, not at all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Authors Pick Five: Ryan Jacobson

Today I'm reviewing, as part of a blog tour, this fun little choose your own adventure book called Can You Survive Jack London's Call of the Wild by Ryan Jacobson. (See my review here.) As part of that tour I've asked the author my favorite author question:

What five books are most important or influential to you? 

Here is what he had to say:

Five books? Important and influential? Wow, good question. Okay [deep breath], here goes:

Batman vs. the Incredible Hulk (DC Special Series #27)
Yes, I know, it’s a comic book—er, actually, graphic novel—but comic books count. Right? Well, it’s my list, and I say they do. If there’s one book that got me reading as a child, this was it. Thanks to their respective TV shows, Batman and the Hulk were my two favorite superheroes back in 1981. I read this graphic novel so many times that it literally fell apart; my mom had to buy me a second one. I like to credit comic books for teaching me about story pacing and cliffhanger endings.

Daredevil #208: The Deadliest Night of My Life
Three years later, I discovered my other favorite childhood comic book. (Why, yes, I was a reluctant reader/comic book nerd. Thank you for asking.) I absolutely loved watching the superhero escape booby trap after booby trap. I didn’t know it at the time, but it may have been my most important lesson about plot: goal vs. conflict. Daredevil is a character on a mission (survive!), but his problems keep getting worse and worse.

The Forbidden Castle (Choose Your Own Adventure)
You can’t tell, but I’m kind of blushing right now. You see, I’m not sure I’m naming the right story. (Hey, it was a long time ago!) But anyway, in reading my first choose your path book, I became a knight on a quest. I loved everything about the experience, especially choosing my own weapons. Well, okay, I didn’t love the part where I died just because I was born on an odd-numbered day. (Lame!) But, still… Twenty years later, my memory of reading this book—and others like it—inspired me to pen my own choose your path books.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)
The best thing about being an English major? No tests. The worst thing? Reading the classics. Yuck! I hated them. I was forced to read books like Moby Dick, Paradise Lost and Pride & Prejudice. Okay, I actually kinda liked Pride & Prejudice, but don’t tell anyone. The “classics” really turned me off reading. After forcing my way through Great Expectations, I swore I’d never read another book again! But my love of reading was rekindled when I rediscovered The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And believe it or not, that’s when I read the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia for the very first time. (Did I mention I only read comic books as a child?)

Dinosaurs Before Dark (The Magic Tree House #1)
No big deal: The only thing this book did was convince me to write children’s books in the first place! My kindergarten-teaching wife brought Dinosaurs Before Dark home one day. On a whim, I read it and immediately fell in love with the early reader format. I said, “I could write a story like this.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Ryan Jacobson has written several books that range from picture books to YA novels. He loves to give school presentations especially to ignite the love of reading and writing in the kids. He says he nearly became a teacher, which some think he should have been, but instead, he stumbled upon this author path! Please check out his website for more about him. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Review: Can You Survive the Call of the Wild? by Ryan Jacobson

Book: Can You Survive? Jack London's Call of the Wild by Ryan Jacobson
Genre: MG
Rating: A
For: Review
From: Sent by the author

I accepted this book for review thinking my 12 year old daughter would love to give it a try and review it with me. Maybe she'll have some words for you later!

But I decided I would also read it, so I did while sitting at the book fair last month, waiting for a customer or two, and it was really quite a fun book. It's a re-creation of sorts of Jack London's The Call of the Wild (a book I've not read by the way.) However, it's done in the "pick your own adventure" format. How long has it been since you read one of these? For me, a long LONG time! So this was quite fun for a change, though I found myself going crazy wondering what the story would be like for the decision I DIDN'T make! (And yes I did flip back and forth to see what would would happen!)

It's about a boy who doesn't want to go camping with his dad. He's mad, he's bugged, he's being really quite obnoxious about the whole thing. In fact, he is even downright mean to the family dog who gets in the way of his tirade. Then suddenly, by strange circumstances, he finds himself thrown into the middle of this wild adventure, and he's turned into a dog! One of those dogs that pulls those sleds in the snow in Alaska, of all things.

From there, we follow the basic plot of The Call of the Wild (at least I'm assuming that know, I haven't read it!) and this boy (dog) must make tons of decisions along the way. Things like, should he fight, or submit? Should he obey his master or not? Should he run away, or stay? Should he give up or keep trying? Many times the decision is not an obvious one and guess what happens if you pick the wrong thing? Yep... DEAD!!! Every time! How many times do you think I died before it was over? Like four or five at least! This is not an easy life! And you really are surprised at which decision turns out to be the right one.

I think this is an awesome way to introduce kids to classic stories and will hopefully encourage them to read the "real" thing sometime down the road.

Bottom line: I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Other Reviews:

5 Minutes for Books
The Elliott Review
There's a Book
Book Dads

P.S. Daughter is not in the reviewing mood but simply said when asked, "I liked it!"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Halloween

Here's ten books I think would be perfect Halloween reading! For more similar lists be sure to check out The Broke and the Bookish, site of this awesome Top Ten meme.

Top Ten Halloween Books

1. Dracula by Bram Stoker
2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
3. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
4. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
6. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
7. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
8. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
9. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
10. The Passage by Justin Cronin

....and pretty much anything by Stephen King of course!!!

What are your favorite creepy spooky Halloween sort of books?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Readathon Wrap Up and Etc.

Outside my window:  Sunday morning. Clear, blue, bright and beautiful. Wow, we have been having some awesome weather lately. 

I'm listening to:  one of those Sunday morning talk shows is on in the background. They make me crazy. I swear, they all think they know everything, and really they know nothing.

Song of the week: 
I've been on an Enrique kick this week. Specifically this song which I love to crank and sing along as loud as possible:

TV Talk: Nothing amazing to discuss this week really. The Vampire Diaries continues to be intense as usual. I'm loving seeing the role switch with the brothers. I watched several Dr. Who episodes, and several Merlin episodes. Love them both so very very much! Discussed Prison Break with my co-worker and now I'm yearning to watch at least some of those too. Watched a House episode just because Wentworth Miller was on it! Watched Terra Nova, but it was boring this week. Survivor is kinda boring too.

Books I'm Reading: Still working on Under the Dome. Just a few hundred pages left. Also about halfway through Interview with the Vampire. And now, nearly done with The Demon King, my main readathon book from yesterday. But no, I STILL didn't finish it! Loving it though. Wonderful fantasy.
Books I finished: no finished books this week.
Books I started:   just The Demon King.
Books I want to start: The Night Circus, The Iron Daughter
Books I bought this week: none this week! Though The Iron Knight came in the mail!

Other bookish business: YAY for the readathon! Even though I fail miserably at it. Some of you people with your "I've just finished my SIXTH book!" make me crazy! How the HECK do you do that? I read all day long, but really only actually read maybe five or so hours. Only about 400 pages worth. But it was fun to just relax and read all day long no matter what I accomplished or didn't.

 Also, this week, I went and listened to Marilynne Robinson, author of Pulitzer Prize novel Gilead. That was interesting. She read a lot, which was fine, but I wanted more just talking to us too.

Favorite things of the week: The readathon of course. Having the college son home for the weekend.  The weather, so perfect. 

Recipe of the week: 

Caramel Popcorn
24 cups popped corn (this ends up being about 1 cup unpopped I think)
Melt in pan 1 cup butter, 2 cups brown sugar and 1/2 cup light corn syrup. Boil for five minutes. Then add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 baking soda. Pour over pop corn, then spread it on a cookie sheet (a couple of them actually) and bake at 250 for an hour, stirring every 15 min. Cool and eat!

And no, this is NOT sticky (someone asked me that yesterday) and is perfect for reading books at the same time.

Around the house: I cleaned the fridge!! AND the pantry! Believe me this is epic. Take note. The fridge is so sparkling that it hurts our eyes. 

Family matters: College son does like where he's at and doesn't know where he wants to go. College daughter is so very very busy, all with a massive cold this week. Junior son played all fall break weekend with his buddy, including a "sleep over" where sleep didn't happen until 5:00 a.m. Young daughter did NOT read with me this readathon!! What's up with that?

So, that's about all I have to report for this week. Have a great one everyone!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Readathon Mini Challenge: Re-Reading

Here's a quick mini challenge from over at The Blue Stocking Society that I figured I could do real fast here at readathon's end!

The question is, what books do you enjoy re-reading?

I don't think these will be a surprise to anyone:

Ongoing Readathon Updates

Following my method from last time, I plan to post all my updates in this one place, newest updates at the top.

UPDATE FIVE: Just starting hour, gah, I have no idea... 18 I suppose. 11:05 p.m. local time.

Since last update, I've managed to read off and on in between running a few places here and there and getting food and keeping track of kids and napping a bit. I've lost track of all my numbers but I can tell you this. I read Under the Dome for space there, about 50 pages worth. And then I picked up The Demon King once more and am completely wrapped up in that story. I'm to page 335 there. So... add those two together and you have total pages for the day so far. Pathetic I know! And since I keep just reading off and on, I have no idea on hours read. Way less than it seems like, that's for sure.

Anyway, this will be my last update for the day. I plan to read another hour at least, maybe even more if my eyes stay open, but then I'll just slip into sleep and sleep in tomorrow.... very very in... (late church for those wondering!)

But even though I can't seem to read 1000 plus pages, or multitudes of books like some of the rest of you, I still have fun just reading all day long and trying not to worry about what else I should be doing, or what everyone else is doing! It's a blast of a day!

Carry on everyone! I look forward to all the wrap up posts!


UPDATE FOUR: Middle of hour 13 or something. Local time 6:40 p.m. And I'm answering questions for the mid-event meme! 

1. What are you reading right now? Put down The Demon King in favor of some Under the Dome
2. How many books have you read so far? umm.... none
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? finishing something.. anything?
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? No, it was a dead day already.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Tons of kid interruptions. And sleepy naps. 
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I'm surprised about the amount of crappy obxious tweets we got from the random public this morning when the readathon was trending on Twitter! Wow, what was up with that?
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? No, everyone does an amazing job.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Short books I think, so I can feel some sort of accomplishment.
9. Are you getting tired yet? Yes, much more tired than normal. Sort of sick of reading! GASP. Did I Just say that?
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Nothing, because I'm pretty lousy at this. 


UPDATE THREE: Just beginning hour ten? I think.... crazy... it's 3:00 p.m. local time. I've come to the conclusion that I don't do well at readathons. I try. I fail. Oh well. I guess it's just fun to try, right?

What I’m reading now: The Demon King
How many pages read since last update: 90
How many pages read total: 195
Books finished since last update: none of course (I'm telling you, I doubt I'll get even one book read!)
How many minutes/hours read since last update: about 1 1/2 hours maybe
How many minutes/hours read total: 3 1/2 perhaps
How many minutes/hours blogged since last update: 30 min
What the family is reading: nothing
What we are listening to: mellow music mix on the cd player... I hear Kurt Bestor at the moment
What we are eating: thinking about a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch
Distractions: Okay here's the thing. Talked to my college son for like an hour, then my mom called for like a half hour, then another phone call, then texted my other son about the football game currently in progress, then.... what else? I can't even remember what else. Seriously, there's not much reading going on.
Mini Challenges: Nothing this time around, but I won the STATE one! Yay me! I'm intrigued by the Music one, but it would take me like an hour to ponder and think about what to say, so maybe I"ll save that one for my own little post later.
Visits Made: I've been to a few people, but not much because I'm so bugged about not reading much that I can't take much time on visiting! I hate that.


UPDATE TWO: Just beginning hour six, 11:00 am. local time
What I’m reading now: The Demon King
How many pages read since last update: 35
How many pages read total: 105
Books finished since last update: none!
How many minutes/hours read since last update: 30 min
How many minutes/hours read total: 2 hours
How many minutes/hours blogged since last update: 1 hour
What the family is reading: Toto is not as much into things this year. Fell back asleep and now watching TV.
What we are listening to: Disney Channel is now on. :(
What we are eating: broke out the caramel popcorn and also had a banana
Distractions: Kids are awake and puttering around, then I had to shower.
Mini Challenges: Book Puzzle, States, and Book Love
Visits Made: Hey, I've been around a bit now!

UPDATE ONE: Just beginning hour four, 9:00 a.m. local time.
What I’m reading now: The Demon King
How many pages read since last update: 70 pages
How many pages read total: 70
Books finished since last update: nothing finished yet!
How many minutes/hours read since last update: 1 1/2 hours
How many minutes/hours read total: 1 1/2 hours
How many minutes/hours blogged/tweeted since last update: 1 hour
What the family is reading: Toto has recently joined me reading The Son of Neptune
What we are listening to: nothing yet
What we are eating: I had to have some cheerios in order even function.
Distractions: It was a bad night, so I'm very tired. Already went back to sleep for 45 min.
Mini Challenges: Just the opening meme on my starting post.
Visits Made: None yet.

Readathon: Book Puzzle Challenge

Here's my book puzzle for the readathon mini challenge found over at One Librarian's Book Reviews. Comment with your guess for what book this is:

Let the Readathon Begin!

I'm a happy to be joining you all here bright and early this morning for this crazy thing we call the readathon! Even on only four hours of sleep. (Dang kids keep you awake no matter how old they are!) I look forward to anything I manage to get read. We'll see how it goes.

But first and most importantly, here's a picture of our readathon snacks:

I threw the apples in for it look more healthy. If we eat those, it will be with caramel, so you know, we can keep up the reputation.

And here's the book stack. The top and bottom ones are books I'm currently working so I may read a bit on those. The rest are books I'm anxious to get to. Many of you suggested I go for The Night Circus, but in flipping through it, I decided it seems too long and too meaty for a readathon book... and one that I should savor more and go slower with.  Don't you think?

So I think maybe I'll go for The Demon King at the moment, since I sort of started it a few weeks ago, and have the first few pages down anyway. None of these books are short and simple and easy, so I've a feeling I won't make much progress actually finishing books today.

And now for the traditional opening meme for hour one:

1)Where are you reading from today? UTAH

2)Three random facts about me…
a. Mom to four kids, ages 22 to 12.
b. I work in the local public library's admin office.
c. I should stop stressing about thinking up "random" facts and start reading!

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? SEVEN as you can see above.

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? NO GOALS!!! I don't do goals, except just read and have fun. I'm skeptical of even finishing one book today. I would hope to read about half of the 24 hours... which is 12 in case you aren't up to math today...

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? DON'T DO GOALS! Ha, just kidding. Only don't do them if they stress you out and make you forget to enjoy yourself and HAVE FUN!!

And now, I'm off to read. Wish me luck in keeping my eyes open. I see a nap in my future.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Under the Dome Read Along: Week Three Questions

Whew! Coming down to the wire with this RIP VI group read book... "only" three hundred or so pages left to go! Things are deteriorating in a big big way under the dome, thanks to a very crazy man. Keeping fingers crossed that the heroes will come to the rescue!

Here are some questions we are discussing this week, courtesy of Jenny at Alternate Readality:

We finally got to see what's probably behind the Dome. Did that freak you out? Are you convinced it's extraterrestrial?

No, I would say it didn't really freak me out, but things just get curiouser and curiouser don't they? The vision that Rusty has when he touches it, the leathermen he called them, does really seem to point to the alien theory though, doesn't it. I'm not convinced of anything at any point though. I know not to trust a thing we are reading!

Jackie thinks no one outside the Dome understands. She thinks it's "different" for the people inside the Dome. Do you agree with that, or do you tend to feel like Cox and think someone should just put a bullet in Rennie's head? 

Hmmm... I don't remember this quote so I'm not sure what it's specifically referring to. I do believe that Cox and those outside have no clue about the craziness going on inside. That's for sure. And I do think that someone should just off Big Jim! Hopefully his heart will give out, but I don't think we are going to get that lucky!

Speaking of Rennie, do you think he really believes that everything he's doing is for the good of the town, or is it all about power? 

I don't think for a minute that he wants to do something good for the town. Totally about power. I mean, he is very delusional and all, but still, I think his main motivation is all about the power. Gah, he creeps me out!

I'm finding it very interesting that the bad guys all seem to have some strong religious beliefs. Have you noticed that and wondered about it? Do you think it's symbolic of something or just coincidence?

Interesting. I hadn't really thought about it. I wonder now if King is trying to make a point? Religious people are crazy? Sheesh, I hope that's not what he's thinking truly.

Do you think Barbie being dragged to jail was the push the town needed to start forming their "side"? Do you think a war of sorts is brewing and will that be what causes the fire on Halloween? 

Yes, it does seem that this is what they needed. I think it will come to blows, but not sure this is what will cause the fire. Maybe something with the alien looking generator will be part of that too?   Ugh!! I don't know!!!

I can't wait to finish this and see how it all wraps up! Stay tuned for next week!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: Red Glove by Holly Black

Book: Red Glove by Holly Black
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Rating: A-
For: Fun
From: borrowed from Jenny

This is the second book in what's known as the Curse Workers series. The first book, White Cat, I really enjoyed because of it's uniqueness and many twisty moments.  This book continues the story with more crazy things happening for our hero Cassel, who just really wants to be a normal high school senior.

But that's not going to happen because his mom, now out of jail, continues to cause havoc on his life by insisting on working rich men (with emotion) and stealing from them. Then suddenly, his brother is found dead and the only clue they have is a vague piece of surveillance tape that shows a women wearing red gloves. Cassel is being pulled first by the FBI dudes that want him to help solve the mystery, and then by the mafia dudes that want him to be part of their crime ring. If he turns either one of them down, life will be even more messy.

Meanwhile, there's Lila, who he really likes, but he doesn't want to because she has been worked (by his mom again) to love him, and so he knows it's not real and that really messes with him! Poor Cassel! There really is no way for things to be normal for him!

While I enjoyed the continuation of this story, I didn't enjoy it near as much as the first book, mostly because all those cool things have already been revealed. This one was more a straight forward mystery (who killed the brother) and what should Cassel do? So it didn't grab me as much.

However, I really do enjoy this character. Cassel is an intriguing boy. It's a blast to be inside his confused little head. I love it. This is for sure what drives the story for me and I will be anxious for more of him.

Bottom line: I enjoyed this one.

Other Reviews:

Madigan Reads
One Librarian's Book Reviews
Alternate Readality (a Cassel Character Connection post)
Skunk Cat Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Five Bookish Thoughts

It's one of those days where I really want to post something, preferably some sort of discussion post (even though I'm still behind in reviews, but a review seems too boring for today), but I can't think of anything really profound to discuss, and so I revert to a random post of bookish thoughts, as I'm prone to do when this sort of thing happens.....

Thought One

And so it seems we are staying home for fall break. This means I will be reading in the readathon after all. Today I'll probably end up at the store for treats and munchies. For sure I'll be making caramel popcorn since that has now become the tradition! I think it just might turn out to be the perfect day for reading since the boys may be gone scout camping. We'll see how that turns out. But regardless, I'm excited to read the day away and maybe make a dent in some of the piles around here. Books I really hope to get to are: The Death Cure, The Iron Daughter, The Demon King, and The Night Circus. I'll be lucky though if I finish just one. Which one of these four do you think I should start with?

Thought Two

I told you how I held off on the Pinterest thing, but finally gave in over the weekend, right? Now I'm finding that I'm adding books over there and giving them a two or three word review. First the blog (two or three paragraphs), then Goodreads (two or three sentences) and now Pinterest with two or three words. Interesting progression, don't you think? Which do you like the best? Lots of info on a book? Or just a little bit?

Thought Three

Tomorrow is another author event over at Orem Library. Marilynn Robinson, winner of the Pultizer Prize for Gilead will be talking, reading, answering questions and signing. So local bloggers, come on out and join us! Let me know if you are coming so I can find you to say hi! I know many of you get a little more excited for the popular YA author appearances, but we should support these "literary" ones too, don't you think? (Ha, there's that word literary.... we had an interesting discussion on THAT word at book club last week! Can you guess the gist of it?) So, are you coming?

Thought Four

I was just thinking about what it would be like with no books or music in my life. That thought makes me crazy. Some people chose not to have either. I don't get that. I guess they fill their lives with something else that perhaps I don't have and then they don't get me. Still, sometimes I think about this and wonder where I'd be without these two passions of mine. It's a scary thought.

Thought Five

I need one more thought to make this post sort of balance out you know? But nothing much is coming to mind except this, after all this horror/supernatural reading I've been doing for RIP VI, I'm so ready for more fantasies and love stories! And after watching a certain Dr. Who episode the other day, that angel on the RIP VI button really really creeps me out!

Okay, over and out. Happy bookish thoughts to you all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Book: Entwined by Heather Dixon
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: A
For: Supporting Local Authors
From: Bought it at Costco

Turns out this book is a 12 dancing princesses retelling and I just barely read one of those! But hey,  it was totally okay because this retelling was wonderful! Much of the same elements are here (the girls go dancing during the night, they wear out their shoes, they can't tell anyone why, their dad has princes come to try and figure it out, etc.)

But there are also differences. They WANT to go dancing, they love it. There's only one underworldly prince and he is eerily gothic and awesomely creepy. There are several different love stories going on, not just the main one. The dad/king is a complicated dynamic character, which is a first. All the girls, all 12, have very unique and fun and feisty personalities. The princes that come to the palace are fun and different and interesting too.

Yes, I guess you'd say I especially loved the characterization in this book. The story, though familiar, was also done in such a way that made it fresh and fun too. And I loved that not only was it fun, but a bit spooky and scary and intense.

I don't really know what else to say except that when you are in the mood for a fairy tale re-telling, you've gotta read this one.

Bottom line: I loved it!

Other Reviews:

Small Review
One Librarian's Book Reviews
Gamila's Book Review

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review and Book Club Report: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

Book: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
Genre: Literary Dystopian (wow this is a weird one to genre-ize!)
Rating: A-
For: Book Club
From: the library

Here's a cute little book that I've heard much about and finally read! It's about a small island society that revers the creator of the sentence "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" which uses every letter of the alphabet. One day, their monument to this guy begins to lose its letters, so the council bans the use of those letters, one by one, as they each fall off.

It's a little book that is both a fun experiment in language and a statement on totalitarianism. I enjoyed it mostly for the experiment side of things. I thought what a fun thing to try and do, write a book as slowly one by one the letters disappear. I thought the author did a pretty good job of it too! It was also part of the book's experiment to discover a  new sentence that uses all the letters. Could you do it? It was done several times in this book, and that was quite fun too.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it quite thoroughly.

What the book club thought:

  • An overwhelming message of this book was not only on totalitarianism, but also on organized religion. This was very troublesome and downright maddening to many of the book club members. It got nearly to the point of chucking the book across the room for a few!
  • Some people felt the author made the whole story too convenient. Both, by making up rules that fit his purpose and deciding what letters would go first. We thought it would have been fun had he randomly picked the letters that would get banned. 
  • Some people enjoyed the big crazy words that were used and some people were bugged by them. Some enjoyed the made up words the author came up with, and some not so much. 
  • This book is written in actual letters by several different characters. Many book club members felt there was not enough of a voice developed for each character thus making all those letters sound exactly the same. It was hard to tell who was who as each letter began, which was a bit frustrating.
  • There was much reaction to the gullible-ness of the town people to just do whatever was told of them, and to not fight back at all. But then it was also pointed out that this truly does happen in real life!
  • Many felt there was a contest between Tassie and Ella as to which was truly the main character, and it was wondered if the author had an issue here.
  • We all seemed to enjoy the later parts of the book when everything went phonetic and it was, as someone said, like playing a game of Mad Gab! Some stuff was pretty funny. 
  • Bottom line: I think everyone enjoyed it for the most part, even with the issues.
After the main discussion about the book, and the general talk about other books we've been reading, several of us carried on for a couple of hours more on other book related things. I bet we could have gone on all night! It was especially fun to try and define genres and to try and determine the difference between paranormal and supernatural... or what makes a fantasy "epic" or "dark." Or even the difference between fantasy and science fiction (where the magic comes from I say!) We also continued on with the book banning discussion that was begun on my blog a week or so ago, and gosh... what else did we talk about? All sorts of things it seemed! It was very fun anyway. 

Up next for book club: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I'm blown away by how many members of the book club have not read this one yet. I'm so excited for them! Hopefully I'll manage to get to it for a re-read. 


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