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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stacking the Shelves - I once was lost, but now am found

Shameful, I know. But I feel as if I finally found myself. Or perhaps I just crawled out from under the mountain of responsibilities and obligations weighing me down for the past month. It has been a struggle, I'll tell you that.

Not only did I have my regular working 10 - 15 hours OT every week, but I also had to finally take down all the Halloween December. I know. I wanted to leave them up a little longer since I only got them up a few days before Halloween, but then the hurricane, the snow, getting ready for Thanksgiving, there was an earthquake, a flood. It wasn't my fault!!!!

And so, once the Halloween decorations came down the Christmas decorations had to go up and then the tree. Now the tree takes several days to do. Not only is our tree 7 feet tall, I collect ornaments, a lot of Hallmark ornaments, that I keep in the individual boxes. There are hundreds. No, of course they can't all go on the tree every year, that is why I have to get rid of some. Anyway, it takes a lot of time to take them out of the boxes. They all have to come out first so I can decide what is going on the tree. And if I have to plug in the batteries, it takes even longer as I have to unscrew the battery plate, put in the battery cells and screw the battery plate back in. Trust me, the whole process takes a lot of time.

Once the tree went up, I had to take all the empty boxes as well as the Christmas decorations I didn't use down into the basement until after the holiday. One flight of stairs up or down is easier than 2 1/2 up or down. Then, I had to clean off the dining room table, which was still full of all kinds of kitchen stuff from when the kitchen cabinets were resurfaced back in August. Once I cleared off the dining room table and cleaned up that room, I had to work on the kitchen. I couldn't even see the kitchen table and it's been a mess for the past four months. I know.

Add on top of this, shopping for Christmas presents, wrapping Christmas presents, baking Christmas cookies and any other activities, it left very little time to read or post anything. I was taking very late night baths, usually falling asleep in them, going to bed well past midnight, running around like a loon. Christmas Eve at my family's house with drama, the in-laws coming over for Christmas dinner with full-on drama, cooking, cleaning, etc.

And so for two days after Christmas, I slept on and off. Yes, that is correct. I pretty much slept through boxing day. Sad.

So, now that I have basically slept through my vacation, I can actually breathe a little and now have time to catch up on email, reading and posting. Reviews to come, but first, I need to read the books.

That being said, Santa added to my TBR pile, but since it's been a while, I'll share what I've picked up since we last spoke.

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Opal by Jennifer L Armentrout - Finally!!! I went to the local book store with a coupon in hand, but neither location in the area had the book the first week of release. I had to order from Amazon at full price and by the time I got it, both branches on the book store had it.
The Cursed Pirate Girl by Jeremy Bastian - Graphic novel somewhat reminiscent of the art of Arthur Rackham.
Love at Second Sight by Cathy Hopkins - This is a book I ordered secondary market and there was no eBook sample to download. I ordered it on plot alone. It sounded intriguing. British author, which I love. Review to come.

Six Earlier Days by David Levithan
Pure(Covenant)by Jennifer L Armentrout
Deity(Covenant)by Jennifer L Armentrout
Elixir(Covenant)by Jennifer L Armentrout
Please Don't Go by Kelly Mooney - Sequel to Please Don't Tell. I didn't know there was another book out, so I was very excited to find it.
The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein - Amazon bargain for $1.99
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr - Amazon bargain for $1.99
Radiant by Cynthia Hand - Novella for $1.99
A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows: An Outlander Novella by Diana Gabaldon - Amazon for $1.99
Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James - Amazon bargain for $2.99
Putting Boys on the Ledge (A Girlfriend's Guide to Boys) by Stephanie Rowe - Amazon for free!!
By the way, for those of you in New Jersey, Amazon seems to now be charging tax on digital books as of December.

Dengeki Daisy 11Oresama Teacher 12
Strobe Edge 2
Bleach 54
13th Boy 9
Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit 1
Chocolat 8

Blu Ray:
Hans Christian Anderson - After my literary vacation, I wanted to pick up the movie again and compare.

And now for Santa's presents:

Venom by Fiona Paul - Finally!! Missed at BEA. Now it's mine!!!
Lullaby by Amanda Hocking - This one is autographed!!
Death and Resurrection by R.A MacAvoy - A bit of adult fantasy
Under my Skin by Charles De Lint
Survival of the Filthiest (Get Fuzzy) by Darby Conley
Masters of the Nonsenseverse (Get Fuzzy) by Darby Conley
Dark Crystal Creation Myths Vol 1 by Brian Froud, et al.
Trolls by Brian Froud

Blu Ray / DVD:
Indiana Jones Collection on Blu Ray
Kung Fu Panda 2
Dragons: Gift of the Night (How to Train Your Dragon)
U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle\

Dr Who:
Tardis Flashlight Key chain
Sonic Screwdriver Flashlight Key chain
Dr Who action figure with Fez and mop - Fezzes are cool!
Dr Who Salt and Pepper Shakers
Tardis Laplander hat
Tardis pen (The Tardis is the pen topper) - From my friend Terri, Awesome!
Dr Who Sticky Notes - Also from my friend Terri - It's a book of Dr Who themed post-it notes!!! How cool is that?
I also ordered for myself a string of Tardis Christmas lights which I'll post once I take a picture.
I got a new Dr Who T-Shirt from Tee Fury which is the 10th Doctor designed as a face card from a poker deck - Awesome!!
And last, but certainly not least, a Tardis hockey jersey designed by Dave at!!!!

By the way, I hope you all caught the Dr Who Christmas special. It was fantastic!!! Alien murdering snowmen? What's not to like???

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday and just in case I don't have the opportunity tomorrow, I wish you and yours nothing but the best in the new year and I wish you all many, many happy hours of reading!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book Review: As You Wish by Jackson Pearce

So, if you had three wishes to make, what would you wish for. Ixnay on wishing for more wishes, though. That is against the rules. If you could wish for anything else, what would it be? Fame? Fortune? Beauty? A fabulous career? Undying love? Youth? World peace?

That's a tough one. Would you be able to make an altruistic wish for the betterment of mankind? Or would you make selfish wishes? Would you ever consider how your wishes could impact others around you or people you don't know? Would you care?

The business of wish making and wish granting is not an easy job. What if you were the wish granter, but your wish maker refused to make any wishes and you couldn't move on until those three little wishes were granted?

That is the position Jinn, a jinn as it were, finds himself in in As You Wish by Jackson Pearce.

Book Description (from Amazon):
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Ever since Viola's boyfriend broke up with her, she has spent her days silently wishing—to have someone love her again and, more importantly, to belong again—until one day she inadvertently summons a young genie out of his world and into her own. He will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to return home, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid she will not wish for the right thing, the thing that will make her truly happy. As the two spend time together, the lines between master and servant begin to blur, and soon Jinn can't deny that he's falling for Viola. But it's only after Viola makes her first wish that she realizes she's in love with Jinn as well . . . and that if she wishes twice more, he will disappear from her life—and her world—forever.

Jackson Pearce spins a magical tale about star-crossed lovers, what it means to belong . . . and how important it is to be careful what you wish for.

My Review:
Viola is having a hard time dealing with her recent, okay, it's been months, break-up. She was dating her best friend who announced to her one day that he was gay. She was devastated and has not been able to recover. Not only did she lose a boyfriend, she lost that sense of belonging to something greater than herself. She used to be half of a whole, but now she just feels empty and invisible. She is still best friends with Lawrence despite the fact that he broke up with her, but she can't really get over it. She is still in love with him and just wants to belong again.

Her desire to belong is so strong that she unwittingly summons a jinn who tells her that she has three wishes. Once she makes her three wishes, he will go back to Caliban, his home. In the mortal world, he ages, but back in Caliban, time freezes. So, he really wants to go back. The only problem is that Viola is not cooperating. She refuses to make any wishes. That leaves Jinn, as Viola has named him, stuck.

Oh, Vi, Vi, Vi! I wanted to slap her, tell her to wake up and stop wallowing in her own self pity. She was taking absolutely no responsibility for her own life or happiness. While people around her were telling her she could fit in again if she just made an effort, she refused to believe that she had the power to change her life herself and didn't need anyone else. To coin a phrase, she is her own problem and her own solution.

Jinn is a jinn. He is a wish granter. He must grant three wishes his master makes. While waiting to carry out the three wishes, he must obey any direct command of his master's. He must not address his master by any other name. He cannot let anyone else but his master see him. He cannot talk about his race or Caliban. He cannot build any kind of relationships with any humans. He is on earth to do a job, the granting of three wishes. Once those wishes are granted, he goes back to Caliban and the wish maker forgets that he ever existed.

So, when Viola names him Jinn, demands that he call her by her name and starts asking questions about him and Caliban, Jinn finds himself in a very sticky situation. There are three protocols that protect his kind and his home world. And he's just broken all three. He finds that while at first he was pushing Viola to make her wishes, he now wants her to take her time and be careful what she wishes for. He's willing to pay the consequences for breaking the three protocols as long as Viola is happy, but when her first wish results in her dating the most popular boy in school, Jinn finds that what is making Viola happy for the moment is far from making him happy. As a matter of fact, it makes him a little green.

So what did Viola wish for and did she find her sense of belonging? You'll just need to pick up the book to find out.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: Merry Christmas to me! Merry Christmas to me!

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

So, I was not able to post my Stacking the Shelves last week as I spent the weekend cyber shopping.  I have a phobia about shopping malls at Christmas.  Perhaps, it's not so much a phobia as Mall rage, so I try to order as much on line as I can.  The problem, or the bonus depending on the point of view, is that I also find some cyber weekend deals that I would want.  I can't add them to my wish list because my family doesn't shop a lot during cyber weekend.  I don't want to risk not getting the great deal, so I gift it to myself.

As I was not able to post last Sunday, I am including my two weeks worth of loot.  It's been a couple of good weeks.  So, without further delay, here are my acquisitions... 
Used to be by Eileen Cook (Bookstore)
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle (Amazon Marketplace)
The Other Wind by Ursula K. LeGuin (Cyber weekend deal I couldn't resist)
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams (Bargan Book)
Find You In the Dark by A. Meredith Walters - Kindle
Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers Editd bu Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling - Kindle $1.99
That Wedding (That Boy) by Jillian Dodd - Kindle $.99
Oresama Teacher 11 by Izumi Tsubaki
Bleach 50 and 51 by Tite Kubo
Kimi Ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina
We Were There 15 by Yuuki Obata
Hero Tales 5 by Hiromu Arakawa
Sister Red by Jackson Pearce
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Sumomomo Momomo 8, 10 - 12 by Shinobu Ohtaka
Strobe Edge 1 By Io Sakisaka
Kamisama Kiss By Julietta Suzuki
Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
Rin-Ne 10 by Rumiko Takahashi
The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Alice in the Country of Hearts Omnibus 1 - 3 by QuinRose
13th Boy 11 and 12 by SangEun Lee
The Other Wind by Ursula K. LeGuin (Cyber weekend deal I couldn't resist)
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Scents and Sensibility
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Cyber weekend deal I couldn't resist)
Disney Brave DVD / Blu Ray
Don't Panic by All Time Low
Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da by Madness

I hope you all had a fruitful week as well.  Until next time...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Swoon Thursday

Swoon Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by

Here's how it works:
From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering.

This week's Swoon for me is from Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Book 2 of the Lux series. There were so many swoon worthy moments in this book that I had a hard time picking out just one, but I could only pick one for the week, so here it is.

Closing my eyes, I brushed my lips over his.
"Kitten," he growled roughly.
I kissed him softly, sliding my hands into his silky locks, letting the pieces slide through my fingers.  I tasted in him my own rising desire, my own need and heartache. Thrilling. Frightening. I pulled back.
"Kitten," he said again, voice strained. "You don't get to do that and then stop. That's not how it works."
I stared at him, my breath stalling in my lungs.
"Not when you're mine." Daemon backed us up and slid down the wall, pulling me onto his lap so I was straddling him. "And you're mine."
I placed my hands on his shoulders as he brought my mouth to his. This kiss was lazy, exploratory...and sensual. For once, I wasn't fighting the depth of my response. I welcomed it, thrived in the warmth rippling through me. I deepened the kiss. He made a sound in the back of his throat, and his arms wrapped around me, pinning me to him.
My fingers found the strands of hair curling at the back of his neck and dug in. I couldn't get enough of him - never could. I couldn't remember feeling this way about anyone else. I couldn't remember being kissed like this by anyone else. I'm not sure how long we kissed, but it seemed like forever, and at the same time, it wasn't long enough.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review: Decked With Holly by Marni Bates

One of my favorite games to play is 'Spot the Celebrity'. For instance, there was a waitress in Friendly's who looked like Julie Haggarty,a waitress in Jose Tejas that looked like Diane Wiest and a bus boy in IHOP that looked like Lance Henriksen. You know, now that I think about it, they all seem to work in the food service industry. Hmm.

Anyway, I have actually had some real life celebrity sightings.

I saw Sean Penn when he was in New York filming State of least I think it was him. I was within a mile of Mel Gibson (right? Like who cares now?)when he was filming Ransom in the quarry by my old house. Well, I didn't actually see him, but the helicopters they were filming with kept me up to all hours of the night for several days. I saw Uma Thurman at a rest stop on the NY Thruway. Sadly, I didn't realize it was her until she had walked past, but the lady selling bread, jam or sunglasses, whatever, pointed her out and when I looked at Uma's retreating back, I saw that it was indeed her. She looked very much like a Plain Jane, no Hollywood makeup or anything and it was the last place I would expect to see her, but when I saw her face and really looked, it was undeniably her.

I've seen Bruce Springsteen, too, four times. Well, three times with a rumor of a fourth time. The first sighting was at a bar called The Fast Lane in Asbury Park that no longer exists.  I went to a Stray Cats concert and he came up on stage and played with the band. The second sighting was at a club in Red Bank called Big Man's West that was owned by the late Clarence Clemens. I went with some friends from college for a battle of the bands type event and the Boss was there checking it out. The third sighting was at a Greenpeace festival in Sandy Hook. My step-dad went all stalkerish and followed him around taking pictures from a distance, but damn if my step-dad didn't show up in some pictures with Bruce. I don't know how he does it.  My step-dad, that is.  The fourth time was at a little local watering hole.  John Eddie was playing.  The crowd was electrified.  The energy was bouncing off the walls, which was nothing new for a John Eddie performance, but the crowd was rowdier than usual.  The place was wild, people we're on the bar tops dancing, not me, mind you.  I was into the mood of things, but had a few and was just going along with the excitement of the crowd.  I found out a few days later that Bruce had shown up and got up on stage and played.  He was not more than 20 feet away from me and I didn't even know it.   I kid you not.  

And once, only once mind you, I took a vacation with Gary Shandling. Well, I saw him a few times. Okay, actually it pretty much was that every where we went off the beaten track, Gary Shandling was also there. He would notice us and leave. And then he was on the return flight with me back to the mainland. Well, he was in first class, but we did do Maui together. I have to wonder, though, who was stalking whom?

Book Description (From Amazon):
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Taking a Christmas cruise with her two cousins from hell isn't Holly's idea of a good time. And when seasickness forces her into an open suite, she's pepper-sprayed by a gorgeous guy called Nick. But when Holly makes her exit, she's greeted by a horde of screaming teenage fans. Because Nick happens to be Dominic Wyatt, drummer for one of the hottest bands in America. Suddenly rumours are swirling and Holly's face is plastered all over the Internet. The band can't risk a scandal destroying their family-friendly image, so Dominic convinces Holly to be his fake girlfriend - just for two weeks. How bad could it be to be "fauxmantically" involved with a cute rock star? She's about to find out...

My Review:
I was in the mood for a little holiday cheer. I admit. I am a sucker for the Hallmark Channel, ABCFamily Channel and Lifetime Channel Christmas movies. Yes, I know they are formulaic and sappy and sometimes not well acted and yes, the girl always ends up with the right guy who is gorgeous (Hello, nurse!), but I still can't resist. I mean, come on! It is Christmas! It's the time for silver and gold and twinkle lights where everyone pretends to love one another (except in the malls and parking lots). Things are supposed to have happy endings and be glittery and fun! That's the point of the movies. It's the season! I do get slightly annoyed, though, when I am trying to watch a movie undisturbed, so I can breathe in all the holiday romance, when hubby comes in the room and asks, "Whatcha watching? Is it that Mimi Rodgers movie?"

But I digress. I saw Decked with Holly by Marni Bates at the local bookstore, but picked something else up instead. When I went back to get it with coupon in hand, the one and only copy was gone. A visit to the larger book store up the highway the next day proved fruitful as I walked out of the store with book in hand, or, er, bag. I was not disappointed and I am glad I was able to pick it up. It was a lot of fun and just what the season calls for.

Holly Dayton is a walking disaster. She gets a job as Santa's Elf at the mall and ends up slapping Santa in front of the children, destroying Santa's village and getting escorted out of the mall. To make matters worse, her family shows up to support her the first day on the job and witness the whole thing. To make matters much worse, her two perfect, evil twins video the entire episode on their phone. She's grounded and screwed. She only took the job so she could make a little extra dough to by some decent clothes since she was going on a cruise with her Grandpa, aunt and uncle and four cousins, two of them being the brides of Dracula, or the Hollywood equivalent. No job, no cash, cruise still on and she'll be sharing a cabin with her two bullying cousins. I don't see the negative, do you?

Dominic Wyatt is the drummer of the world-famous band, ReadySet. He doesn't really seem to have much of a life as he is always busy with the band recording or touring, always for very long, extended hours. He really doesn't have time for anything else. To the press, he seems to live the celebrity rocker lifestyle, but he really doesn't have time to make any kind of serious commitments. He is tired, frustrated and just needs a break from the studio, so he calls a band meeting to discuss taking a break. He finally convinces his band mates that they should take a 2 week break. Tim was going to be able to go visit his boyfriend who he hardly sees, Chris was going to work on the movie soundtrack deal and Dominic was going to take a cruise to check out the facilities and work on a deal with the cruise line. No one would recognize him, right?

And we're back to Holly. She is going to have the vacation from hell. She can't stand her two cousins, Claire and Allison. They mock her, berate her, look down their nose, point out all her imperfections and she's sharing a cabin with them. They come by it honestly, though. Every meal spent with the family has her aunt counting every calorie that passes Holly's lips. Lots of comments like "You should join a gym" and "You didn't actually pack a bikini, did you?". Her Grandpa seems oblivious to her torment from the female members of the family. Her uncle and two male cousins are not central to the plot and are not flushed out at all. They are background.

So she sees a hot guy walk into the restaurant and she can't take her eyes off him. Dominic sees a girl staring at him who is a hot mess wearing a ReadySet Tshirt and he smiles at her, but then figures she's probably a crazed fan, so he turns away from her so she won't recognize him.

A bout of seasickness, her getting thrown out of her cabin because her cousins have brought back a couple of guys to the room, busting into an open door because she is going to hurl, actually hurling in some strangers bathroom, being mistaken for a zombie and then being pepper sprayed in the face, Dominic's presence being leaked to the press and we have ourselves a hot holiday fauxmance just right for the holiday season!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg

I know there are different schools of thought on interior decoration. There is the minimalist school of thought, the 'This painting matches my sofa' school of thought, there's the modern approach where everything is sterile looking and I'd be afraid to sit down.

My personal philosophy is to mix and match. Well, the living room furniture all matches because I bought a set, but everything else is very eclectic. I like to collect odd trinkets. So not only do I have mementos from my travels and souvenirs given to me from my friend's and family's travels, I also have medieval accents including Vlad the Impaler, Asian accents including masks, Gothic and macabre accents (Halloween isn't just for, well, Halloween. Some of the stuff stays out year round), some folk art looking pieces.

Even though there is a lot of things all over the house, when the house is tidied, it never seems overly cluttered. It's sort of a feast for the eyes. There's something every where and lots to look at. To me, it feels very comfortable and homey.

How a room or a house is decorated says a lot about a person. It's a reflection of the person who occupies that space. How do you think you would feel, though, if you had to give up your space for a couple of months and allow a stranger access to it? I'm not certain I would want someone touching my things when I'm not there, but I do like inviting people into my home. My house says things about me, things that I could never communicate. And yes, my house tells people I'm a little strange, but I'm okay with that.

Book Description (From Amazon):
Release Date: October 16, 2008
Molly and Charlie have fallen head over heels in love, even though they've never met Molly is a fashion-conscious city girl in L.A. Charlie is an earthy, mountain-biking dude from Boulder, Colorado. Each of them has big plans with their respective friends for the summer until they discover that their parents decided to swap houses!
Luckily there's no amount of homesickness that a bit of snooping can't cure. Charlie and Molly begin crawling under beds and poking around in closets to find out a little more about each other, and they like what they find.

Can Charlie and Molly's long-distance romance survive jealousy, misunderstandings, and the thousand miles between them?

MTV's Room Raiders meets You've Got Mail in this sweet, old-fashioned love story for the digital age. . .

My Review:
This is a book I just chanced upon in the book store and I really liked the concept. Two families do a house swap for the summer with both having a teenager the same age. One is a girl and one a boy and they are both less than thrilled to be giving up their home and staying in someone else's house for the summer. As it happens they are both staying in each other's rooms.

It all started with a cat in the window.  He climbs up into the window and meows all night long. Charlie doesn't know what to do about the cat, so he finds Molly's name and looks her up on Facebook. He then sends her a message asking about what to do with the cat and that is the start of their summer correspondence.

This is a 'he said, she said' book with alternating chapters. I found it to be a really sweet tale. At the start of the book, Molly and Charlie are resentful and less than thrilled about the swap. When they first find themselves in each other's rooms, they form opinions about each other, none of it too flattering.

Molly is horrified to find that Charlie has Star Wars sheets on his bed and that he must be the biggest geek. He has bicycling posters on the wall and dirty laundry under the bed.  Charlie thinks Molly is stuck up as she has a bulletin board full of pictures of herself, but always with other people, so he is not sure which girl is Molly. The room is girly and has floral patterns and it's very clean.

Molly responds to Charlie's message to tell him what to do about the cat. She calls him Cheese as she doesn't know his name. It is not her cat, but he visits and she feeds him. Molly and Charlie start corresponding and exploring the rooms they're staying in, finding that first impressions are not always correct and that rooms can tell a lot about a person. As they continue their correspondence, they find themselves being drawn closer and closer together.

Charlie gets Molly to start taking his mountain bike out for rides. He even gives her directions for some of the best trails. He convinces her to take a chance and go for her dreams, by entering a competition for an intern position at a fashion design studio as she would like to be a fashion designer one day.

Molly, for Charlie, is someone he can relate to and he can share his passion for biking. He has had lots of girlfriends, but it was always very superficial. He has never felt a deep connection with any of the girls he's dated, but he feels very comfortable with Molly, like he can tell her anything.

They get closer as the summer progresses and then Charlie tells Molly he has to meet her before the end of the summer. He just can't wait that long. They make plans to meet, but Charlie gets caught doing something stupid that could jeopardize the plans to meet and their future together, if there is going to be one.

I like the anonymity of conversing strictly through electronic medium. I believe it would allow a person to be more free, to say things and share things they might not otherwise. Is it enough to build a relationship on? I'm not really sure, but I think it could be possible.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Swoon Thursday - Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Let the feasting begin!!!

Swoon Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by

Here's how it works:
From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering.

"When I can't control my need for you and allow myself to touch you it ignites a monster inside of me that I'm afraid I'll lose control over. You make me keel things I've never felt before. Something happens," he paused and lowered his gaze from my eyes to my lips, "when I'm near you like this." He touched my lips with his fingertip and I trembled. He closed his eyes as if in pain. "And when you react the way you do, I feel the clawing inside me to take what I want."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Just Another Manga Monday - Skip Beat 29 by Yoshiki Nakamura

I feel like this is the last piece of a puzzle. I was able to post regularly until vacation and it took me a month and a half to recover. Of course, in that time, I had the New York Comic Con, storage facility boxes in my living room still to deal with, a hurricane, a winter storm, a friend visiting from out of town, 6 days of no power from the hurricane and I'm still working 10 - 15 hours over time per week. It hasn't left me a lot of time.

This, though, is the last regular post I was doing that I needed to start up again and does it feel good to be back in the swing of things.

Alison Can Read started a weekly Manga Monday meme which I have jumped on. I've been reviewing manga from the start, but it is nice to have a place were like minded Otaku can meet and share our favorites.

This week, I give you Skip Beat 29 by Yoshiki Nakamura.

Book Description (From Amazon):
Release Date: October 2, 2012 | Series: Skip Beat (Book 29)
Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous! Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!
On the way to the Dark Moon wrap party Kyoko bumps into her cast mate Kijima. He’s never paid her any attention before, but he heard that people called her beautiful when they saw her in her Natsu role. Kijima can’t contain his curiosity and buys Kyoko a total makeover for the party. But is his interest innocent, or does he have wicked plans in store?!

My Review:
I am finding that quite a few of the series I read regularly are starting to drag a bit and I was wondering if it was me. Kind of like a soap opera where dramatic music, close up camera work with over the top facial expressions and some sharp camera cut aways make it seem like there is more going on than there really is, or at least that things seem much more dramatic than they really are. I was beginning to despair.

Skip Beat had been dragging a bit, but I am happy to say that issue 29 starts to pick up the action again.

Half the book is the wrap party for Dark Moon. Kyoko shows up in her school uniform. What's up with that? Do Japanese teens really have no dress clothes forcing them to wear their school uniforms to every fancy occasion? As I feel I will never get an answer to that question, moving on.

Kijima, arrives at the same time Kyoko does. Kijima is a bit of a slime I must say, but regardless. He takes her to the salon and pays to rent her a dress and have her hair and make up done. When he sees what a beauty she turned out to be, he suddenly seems very interested in her and asks her out. Kyoko, not realizing he is serious, says yes and it is all down hill from there. Ren sees her all dolled up on the arm of Kijima and smiles his fake gentleman's smile and she knows she's in trouble.

Finally we see Sho again. The press is at the wrap party interviewing the cast members. Ren and Kyoko are interviewed together and Sho's manager sees the interview. She does everything in her power to prevent Sho from seeing Kyoko on television. Sho was in only briefly, but at least we have seen him again.

The second half of the book heralded the return of the Heel siblings. This is the role Ren was preparing for a few issues ago. The production has finally started. The trick is that know one knows he is Ren Tsuruga. He has a totally fake back story, looks like the devil and only speaks English. He has Kyoko with him who is playing his sister and she is actually translating the Japanese into English for him.

Murasame is the star of the show and he seems to be a bit of an arrogant jerk. When Cain Heel shows up, he seems to feel a little threatened and does that postering thing guys sometimes do. Then Murasame makes the mistake of coming on to Kyoko which doesn't go over well with either Heel sibling.

Will Ren be able to pull off a character playing a character without anyone finding out who he really is? If he taps into the great well of darkness within, will Kyoko still be his good luck charm? Has Murasame bitten off more than he can chew and made an enemy of Cain Heel? It looks like the pace is definitely picking up in the series and I can't wait to find out what happens next!
Skip Beat 30 is due out February 5, 2013.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stacking the Shelves - The Curse of Cursed is Broken

It appears my postman has decided he wants to be my friend again. It is just as well as I wasn't sure what I had done to piss him off, but he brought me some lovely things this week and I no longer feel like I've been abandoned.

In addition to the post , one of my favorite comic book stores (I have two favorites) was having a total inventory sale and as a Preferred Customer, I got in Friday night for a special preview of the sale. I suspect, however, that every reserve customer was invited to the special preview sale as I could barely move in the tiny store and came away with only two graphic novels.

So, without further delay, here are my acquisitions for this past week....

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

I finally got my copy of Cursed. That's right. You heard me. After I was thwarted at BEA, I finally ordered my very own shinny copy once I had read some of Jennifer L. Armentrout's other stuff. I'd hate to order up her entire library without reading any of them only to find her books aren't my thing. Not that I would know about anything like that.

I got in a deluxe pocket edition of The Hobbit. It is soft leather bound with gilt pages. Very shiny. While I have reread the Lord of the Rings many times, I haven't reread The Hobbit in a very long time and I wanted to reread it before seeing the movie, which is coming out soon.

While I don't generally buy a lot of adult fantasy fiction anymore, I still have my favorite authors that I will still pick up. Juliet Marillier is one of those authors. Although she has crossed over into YA as well with Wildwood Dancing (One of my favorites of all time - Fairy tale set in Romania) and Cybele's Secret. I received her newest book from the Sevenwaters series, Flame of Sevenwaters.

To adorn my Mike Mignola / Hellboy book shelf, I ordered Father Gaetano's Puppet Catechism: A Novella. And since I am trying to turn some of my comic book collection into hard bound books, I also ordered B.P.R.D: Plague of Frogs Vol 4, so the comic versions can go in the 'comics to sell' box.

And finally, keeping with the comic theme, I picked up Superman: Earth One Vol 1 and Vol 2 from the pre-sale sale at the comic book store. The books are written by J Michael Stracynski. He has written quite a few series of comic books. I haven't really bothered with any of his superhero series he's written, but I do have some of the other series that he actually created, like Rising Stars, in their entirety. He is an amazing write, much in the way of Joss Whedon for me. JMS created one of my all time favorite SciFi TV shows, Babylon 5. So, as I used to read Superman all the time, I figured this might be a good series to read. Besides, the book covers are just awesome...

Well, there you have it. Not a bad week if I may say so myself. I think I'll have to leave something for my mailman for the holidays. I have made him work overtime this year...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Swoon Thursday

Well, it has been a while since I've been able to manage this meme.  Still trying to get back to normal after the past month and a half.  I think I'm making a good start.  I've started visiting some of my favorite blogs again, posted some reviews, finally managed a Stacking the Shelves post and now this, Swoon Thursday.

I love Swoon Thursday.  I'm such a sucker for romance.

Swoon Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by

Here's how it works:
From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering.

This week's Swoon for me is from Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone.  It's just a beautifully crafted story about falling in love out of time.

So without further ado, here is my swoon....

"The point is that I'm not supposed to be here, Anna. Not in Evanston. Not in 1995. I'm not supposed to know you, or Emma, or this Maggie. I'm not supposed to go to this school, or do this homework, or hang out in your coffeehouse." Then he takes my hands in his like he's about to take me somewhere, but we don't leave the room - we just move a lot closer to each other. "I don't stay...anywhere. I visit. I observe. I leave. I don't ever stay."

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this information. Tell him to leave? Tell him to stay? But I don't have time to consider any other alternatives because he scoots in closer and brings his hands to my face, and I fall back into the bookcase as he kisses me with this intensity - like he wants to be here, and if he kisses me just long enough, deeply enough, none of what he just said will actually be true. And as much as I know it's all true and that it's incredibly stupid to feel this way about someone who doesn't belong here - who, when he leaves, will hardly be a plane ride away - my hands leave the Berber carpet, find his back, and pull him into me until I'm pinned against the shelves. Because he's here now. And because I'm pretty certain I don't want this to stop. Ever."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake or Happy Un-Stacking the Shelves Day

Terri, because you asked for it, I am going to comply...for once. I have spent some time trying to compile my acquisitions since I got back from vacation and I think this just about does it...except for the books I got at The NYC Comic Con which will be a different post.

I am not going to upload the covers as there are too many, but I will say most of the Kindle books were under $3.00. I think American Gods was the most expensive and that was $3.99 on special. I'm not sure if it still is.  I ordered all the eBooks in one shot when I got back from Germany.  I think I was so starved for English text and needed the instant gratification of having the book in my hand, even if electronically.  And they were all a bargain so I could hardly afford not to.  Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So without further delay, here are the three weeks worth of books I added to my collection from the beginning of October through to Hurricane Sandy.

For Kindle:
Daimon: A Prequel to Half-blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Fall For You (The Jane Austen Academy Series Book 1) by Cecilia Gray
Twixt Firelight and Water: A Tale of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier
Leif (Existence) by Abbi Glines
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Ceaseless (Existence) by Abbi Glines
Goblin King by Shona Husk
Shadows (A Lux Novella) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Prude and Prejudice by Francene Carroll
Turn Here by Jackson Pearce
Surfacing by Shana Norris
Half-Blood (Covenant) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Predestined (Existence) by Abbi Glines

Ordered From Amazon:
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Milk and Cheese: Dairy Products Gone Bad by Evan Dorkin
Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A. McKillip
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Steifvater
The Perfect Hero by Victoria Connelly
Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick
Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Manga Received From
Bleach Graphic Novel 48
Bleach Graphic Novel 49
Dawn of the Arcana Graphic Novel 6
Devil and Her Love Song Graphic Novel 5
Skip Beat! Graphic Novel 29
Stepping on Roses Graphic Novel 8
Story of Saiunkoku, The Graphic Novel 8
Bride of the Water God Graphic Novel 12

From Bookstore:
Onyx (A Lux Novel) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Whispers at Moonrise by C.C. Hunter
Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent

Gifted (From my awesome friend Terri):
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stacking the Shelves...Finally!!!!

I am appalled and dismayed at how long it has been since I've been able to do a STS post. The last post was September 9th. I haven't really gotten anything in the past couple of weeks, what with the hurricane, loss of power and all, but the beginning of October...Now that was spectacular. I got all kinds of loot I never got a chance to write about and, well, now it's just too late.

It's like when someone tries to get you a birthday cake weeks after the fact. I mean, sure, I love cake. Who doesn't? But a few weeks later and now it is no longer a birthday cake, so what's the point?

So that is why I'm not even going to mention my stash from earlier in the month. Suffice it to say I was in heaven. Now I'm going through a dry spell. Ah, well. Not every week can be a gem.

Since the postman is seeming to refuse to bring me my packages I know are out there, I had to settle for going to the local book store and bringing books home myself.

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

This week, I purchased two books by Marni Bates, Awkward and Decked With Holly. I saw Decked With Holly in the book store last weekend, but picked up The Lost Prince instead. This weekend, I went to the bookstore Saturday, but they didn't have Decked With Holly, so I picked up Awkward.

As luck would have it, today, my hubby wanted to go to the other book store down the highway, which is larger. So, I was able to find Decked With Holly there. It's a Christmas themed book involving a rock star. Awkward is about a geek of a girl that is the subject of a You Tube video and she goes from being invisible to famous in no time at all. The video is not complimentary. It is probably like the equivalent of Lightsaber Boy.

So, I was okay with two books, but this evening I was looking at the Kindle deals and actually found Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer for $2.99. I was excited as I had seen this in the book store, added it to my wish list and downloaded a sample. I figured for $2.99, I might as well take the plunge. How could I afford not to?

And there you have it. I hope you all have had a good week and have found lots of treasures.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review: Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

So, I have a time turner. It used to be in my car, but since I got my mini, there is no place to put a dangly bit. So I took it to work. It is there as a reminder to me that I wish I had 48 hours in a day. That way, I could have my day, you know, the working 8, 9, 10 hours, chores, bath, bed, whatever, but also have the same day for me, to do whatever I want.

That's the sad part. I feel for the most part, I can't just do whatever I want. There's work, there's overtime (sure I get paid for it, but), there's household chores, errands, being Egg's lap when he's cold (which is pretty much September to July). While I always somehow manage to have the time to do the things I need to take care of, I don't always feel like I have me time or the time to do the things I really want to do, like reading more, writing, gardening, working out, traveling, etc.

How great would it be to have the ability to travel in the blink of an eye? Just think of it. You could go anywhere in the world in a moments notice. Oh, I'm feeling a bit chilled at the moment. I think I'll put on some shorts and nip over to the Fiji Islands. How great would that be? I could see my family instantaneously wherever they may be living. I wouldn't have to worry about rush hour traffic. I could show up for BEA when the doors open and not have to worry about gas or paying for parking!!

And what if you had the ability to not only travel in the blink of an eye, but could also travel through time just as easily? How awesome would that be? I would have been able to make it to that Madness concert in Fountains Casino back in '82 when they were here. I could go back and see the Ramones when they came to my college or see Nirvana live. I could go back and spend more time with people I miss. I could go back in time and see things that are no longer around, like CBGB's.

What if you had the ability to go back in time and change the course of the future? Would you? If you could do anything over, would you risk it knowing that you could end up making things worse? Would I?

Book Description (From Amazon):
Release Date: October 9, 2012
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett’s unique ability to travel through time and space brings him into Anna’s life, and with him, a new world of adventure and possibility. As their relationship deepens, they face the reality that time might knock Bennett back where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate—and what consequences they can bear in order to stay together.

My Review:
When you think about it, every day is made up of thousands of  tiny, little moments, one triggering another. How many times during the day could one of those moments, if done differently, change the course of the events in our lives? How could you identify what could become a defining moment, a crossroad, that if changed would take us left when we were meant to go right? How seductive would it be to know that if something didn't work to your advantage that you could just go back and change it?

The story opens with the narrator of the story going to a young boy who is skateboarding with his friends. She asks to speak privately to him and hands him a letter. She introduces herself as Anna and says, "It's too easy for me to say the wrong thing today, and if I do, we may never meet at all."

Anna thinks...
"What I just did could change everything, or it could change nothing. But I have to try. I've got nothing to lose. If my plan doesn't work, my life will remain the same: Safe. Comfortable. Perfectly average.
But that wasn't the life I originally chose."

I was hooked.

The story opens up with Anna out running, ending her run at the university track where she sees a boy in the bleachers watching her. She is a little creeped out by it as he seems to be watching her. When he notices her looking his way, he gives her a shy smile which she returns, but when she looks his way again, he is gone. Anna goes home and gets ready for school. When her best friend, Emma, picks her up, she is told there is a new kid starting at school that day. When she sees the new kid at school, she realizes it is the same boy she saw at the track, only he doesn't seem to recognize her. When he is confronted about being at the track, he tells her he wasn't there and that she must have been mistaken.

Bennett is a boy that has the ability to travel through time. Anna is a girl he should never have met and yet he does meet her in 1995. He took his older sister to a Pearl Jam concert, but it was before he was born and he lost her in time. He ended up being bounced back to when he was born and he stayed there, knowing his sister would show up eventually and then he could take them back to 2012.

Anna is drawn to Bennett, but he seems to want to be left alone. She sees him one night in the park when she is walking by and he seems to be in agony. She tries to help him by going to get him some water, but when she returns, she finds he has left already. He misses school for a few days, so she finds out where he lives and goes to see if he is alright, but he is down right rude to her.

Bennett shows up at her dad's book store where Anna works part time to apologize for his behavior at his house, which is actually his grandmother's house. He invites her for coffee and he walks her home and then says good night. She feels confused, because she thought that Bennett was going to kiss her and then when she sees him over the next several weeks, he is distant and aloof.

Anna is working at the book store by herself one night when I man walks in, locks the door behind him and holds Anna at knife point. He takes her into the back room where the safe is.  As he is attempting to open the safe, she sees movement out of the corner of her eye which she realizes is Bennett. He crouches down next to her, takes her hands in his and then she finds herself under a tree in the park with police sirens heading to the book store.

Bennett tells her part of his secret, that he can travel between places by just thinking about where he wants to go. He proves this to her by taking Anna to a little island of Thailand were they frolic on the beach. Once she learns of his ability, she wants to learn more about him and what the rest of his secret is.

He then confides in her that he can travel though time and he can do over events. As an example, when she was held at knife point, Bennett was actually in the shop with her, but he popped back a few minutes in time, which erases the previous event and replaces it, so that he could go back and call the police earlier. She would not remember the original event, though, only the do over.

There are rules to time travel though. He can only travel within his lifespan, so not before he was born or into his future. He also cannot change any events as that could have catastrophic repercussions. He is challenged to follow these rules when Emma is involved in a car accident that leaves her in critical condition. Anna realizes Bennett could go back and change the course of the day, but he refuses. He won't play God, but she refuses to understand if he has the power to change events why he won't use that ability to go back and stop the accident. They have a bit of a falling out, but she won't relent.

I understand her desperation out of grief for her friend, but she becomes so absorbed in her own feelings of loss that she can't see anything from Bennett's perspective. It's not that he doesn't want to help, but he knows that if he goes back and changes the events of that day, that he might be changing things for the worse. Anna refuses to see that and she just badgers him about it.

And that's the catch. Events transpire in one way. If the events were to be changed, even one brief moment changed, the original event is wiped out and replaced. If it is a worse situation, there is no cancelling out the do over. Could you risk it? I'm not sure I could or would.

Bennett does have more secrets, but they are not mine to tell.  I thought this was a captivating, thought provoking story that had me wondering up to the end just exactly how this was going to end up.  Does Bennett go back and change the course of events that prevent Emma from having the accident?  If Anna didn't have the life she chose, what did it end up being?  And how does Bennett fit into her present and her future.  Do we have the ability to alter the course of our lives and if so, how do we know the moment when we get there?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

When I was a kid, I had a lot of anxieties I did not know how to deal with. Those anxieties would come out at night when I was sleeping and give me nightmares. The nightmares were frightening and vivid.

For instance, I had a talking doll when I was about 7. I don't remember her name, but before you ask, no, her name was not Tina, but it should have been. Creepy. Anyway, I used to have this recurring nightmare about my doll that she was about 200 feet tall and on display at the World's Fair. Me and my family were there for the exhibition, but she became animated and broke her bindings much like King Kong and took to stomping about the fair grounds. My family and I ran for the hills and holed ourselves up in a cave. But she was coming for us and I could her the boom, boom, boom of her steps as she headed towards us.

Many of the nightmares were recurring, by the way.

Anyway, another recurring nightmare I had was of alien invaders. They would come floating down to earth, slowly, on a beam of light. The aliens actually looked like they would in Scooby Doo. You all know the episode. The glowing alien in the space suit with the eerie background music and the maniacal laugh, skull looking face through the visor. That's what my aliens looked like, the alien from Scooby Doo.

If the aliens in my dream looked like Daemon Black, though, it would have been an entirely different kind of dream.

Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: May 8, 2012 | Series: A Lux Novel (Book 1)
When seventeen-year-old Katy Swartz moved to West Virginia right before her senior year, she’d pretty much resigned herself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring, but then she spotted her hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up…until he opened his mouth. Daemon Black is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. It’s hate at first sight, but when a stranger attacks her and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. The hot guy next door? Well, he’s an alien. Turns out that Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities and Katy is caught in the crosshairs. Daemon’s touch has lit her up like the Vegas Strip and the only way she’s getting out of this alive is by sticking close to him until her alien mojo fades. That is if she doesn’t kill him first.

My Review:
One of the books I wanted to pick up from the BEA was Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout, which I was not able to obtain. It is on my wish list, though, but I figured before I pre-ordered the hard cover, I would read samples of some of her other books to see if I liked her writing style. So, I downloaded a sample of Obsidian to start. I was hooked.

Katy has moved to a new state because after her father died, her mother needed a fresh new start. And where else better to get a new start than the boondocks of West Virginia. John Denver wrote about West Virginia making it seem like the place to be on those country roads, but I'm fairly certain he was just driving through. I just can't figure out why, if her mother needed a new, fresh start, they didn't go somewhere slightly more populated, but that's just me I guess.

Anyway, the neighbors next door have kids her age and at her mother's urging, she goes over to introduce herself and ask directions to the nearest store for gardening supplies. She is greeted by a solid, well-defined chest and an attitude that could flay the fur off of kittens. Meet Daemon Black.

Daemon is a jerk most of the time, but he is also a walking contradiction. While he seems to truly dislike Katy, he is not always a complete and utter ass. Katy meets Daemon's sister Dee at the store and Dee comes over to help Katy with her gardening project. They become friends, which Daemon seems to find particularly offensive. Katy, not able to stand for Daemon's crap, gives it right back to him. Sparks fly and it seems like something is going to explode.

Dee has to leave town and she takes Daemon's car keys which she will return only if he will be nice to Katy in her absence. Only because he wants to get his car keys back, Daemon invites Katy to go swimming with him at the lake. She agrees only so he will leave her alone, but as they spend time together, she finds that he is not always so obnoxious. He can actually be nice at times and he completely dotes on his sister.

He runs hot and cold, though, which Katy just cannot deal with, so she tries to stay away from him, but it seems like she just can't get away. And not only that, things are starting to happen.

When she is attacked at night coming out of the library, it is Daemon who comes to her rescue, but who was her attacker and what did he want. He kept asking her where are they, but she had no idea what he was talking about. After that, even more strange things start to happen until Katy discovers why these occurrences seem to happen around Daemon and why he comes off like such a jerk.

While I really enjoyed the book, enough to have picked up and finished the sequel, Onyx, there was one thing that put me off a bit. Katy is a book blogger. That in itself is a cool concept and I really liked the idea, but when she was talking about her blog, I just found it annoying and distracting. Her attitude seemed a bit over the top.

Here are some examples:

"The day my Internet was hooked up was better than having a hot guy check out my butt and ask for my phone number. Since it was Wednesday, I'd typed up a quick "Waiting on Wednesday" post for my blog featuring this YA book about a hot boy with a killer touch - can't go wrong there - apologized for my extended absence, responded to comments, and stalked a few other blogs I loved. It was like coming home."

"Once I got home, though, and saw several packages on my front porch, all the crap from the day disappeared. A few had smiley faces on them. Squealing, I grabbed the boxes. Books were inside - new release books I'd preordered weeks ago.
I hurried upstairs and powered up my laptop. I checked on the review I'd posted last night. No comments. People sucked. But I did gain five new followers. People rocked. I closed out the page before I started redesigning everything."

"On the way home, I stopped at the post office. There was a ton of junk mail in our box, but also a few yellow envelopes, which brought a big ole smile to my face. Media Mail was stamped across them. Gathering my goodies, I headed home and piddled around the house."

Now, I love getting packages as much as the next gal or guy, but it seems to me that Katy is always going to the post office and always gets several packages at a time. I'm trying to figure out how she has time to read all the books she does get. Also, she makes several comments about a quick post. Well, I might have a tendency to run at the mouth...a lot...but I still can't see how a review can be quick. Even a short one for me takes a while to compose. All the comments she makes about blogging, while a great idea, are just a little forced seeming to me. It doesn't flow naturally and at times, it gets in the way of the story for me. Other than that, I absolutely loved the book. I am looking forward to the release of Opal in December and have the novella, Shadows, on my Kindle to read. I have also downloaded the first book, Half-Blood, and the prequel, Daimon, in her Covenant series and am now going to need to pick up Cursed. Looks like I found a new author to love.

If anyone out there has an opinion about Jennifer L. Armentrout's body of work, please share. I'd love to get your opinion.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review: Sean Griswald's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

Ever notice how once you become aware of something, it is like you always see it or hear about it?

For instance, when we were in Germany, my hubby decided he needed to get a new winter jacket. There is a chain of stores over there called Jack Wolfskin that is like North Face. We went to the store and spent a great deal of time in there looking for the perfect coat. We had to try on numerous styles and re-try on coats. No seats in the store, by the way. Anyway, we finally got it down to know, the amount of time it took him to pick out a jacket is irrelevant. Suffice it to say, five days later, he picked out a coat.

I had never seen the brand before, but let me tell you, I saw it a plenty after. It seemed to me like every one in the countries of Denmark and Germany own Jack Wolfskin jackets. I saw them every where.

That in itself isn't so odd a thing, but we were taking the ferry over to NYC for the Social Distortion show and someone on the ferry had a Jack Wolfskin jacket on. Had I not seen the store in Kiel, I never would have noticed the jacket on the ferry.  Now I will see them everywhere I go.

Book Description (From Amazon):
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Payton Gritas likes everything just so-she even color-codes the pages of her school planner. But her perfectly organized life falls apart when she learns that her father has MS-and that her parents have been keeping it a secret. Payton refuses to speak to her parents about the illness and lands herself in the school guidance office where she's encouraged to choose a personal focus exercise to help her deal with her feelings. It's a completely ridiculous exercise, but Payton decides to try it. For her focus object, she chooses Sean Griswold's head. Sean and Payton have been linked since kindergarten (Gritas/Griswold-it's an alphabetical order thing) but she's never really known him. The more Payton focuses on his head, the more Payton becomes intrigued with Sean Griswold. Sean is training for a bike race, shares Payton's Seinfeld obsession, and seems to have a secret or two of his own. As their relationship develops, Payton realizes that it actually helps to focus on something else for awhile-especially something like Sean Griswold. But focusing on Sean won't fix her battered relationship with her father. For that, Payton has to focus on herself.

My Review:
I have to admit. I wanted to pick up this book based on the title alone. When I read the blurb, I was completely sold and bought it on the spot, which is so unlike me. Generally, I write the title down, order a sample for my Kindle, read the sample and then decide if I want to buy it. Let's face it, I have so many books to read, I am trying to be a bit more choosy with new authors to me. I am really glad I picked this one up, though.

Payton Gritas is a girl with issues. She has just found out her dad has multiple sclerosis. That she could deal with, but on top of that, she found out her two brothers have known about it for some time, but no one saw fit to tell her. She feels betrayed by her family because they lied to her by not telling her about her dad's illness. Not able to deal with the situation any other way, she takes out her anger on her family and has decided to shut them out. She won't talk to them anymore and she has shut down. She was on the basketball team, but quit after she found out about her dad's illness. She won't hang out with her friends and she has closed herself off to everyone and everything around her except her one best friend.

The fact that she will not speak to her family has caused the school counselor to get involved in her situation. The counselor, Ms. Callahan gives her an exercise. She tells Payton to start a focus journal. Payton needs to pick something to focus on and write about her emotions and reactions to the object. It is supposed to help her be able to open up and address the deeper issues in her life.

During a video in class, she thinks about what to focus on, but draws a blank until the boy in front of her turns around and speaks to her. And it is like she has had an epiphany. She decides to write about his head, Sean Griswald's head.

At first, she just focuses on the physical aspects of his head, size, shape, etc. But as she focuses on his head, she starts to find out a lot of things about Sean as a person. The more she learns, the more she wants to know. So she orchestrates some chance encounters for the sake of research and learns that there is a lot more to Sean than just his noggin which at first seemed way to huge to her, but starts to seem just right.

How does this help her with her dad? The journal allows her to focus on something out side of herself, so she can start to see things from a different perspective. Sean also tries to help her deal with her anger towards her family and give her a positive way to deal with her anxiety rather than turning it against those she loves.

Payton is at first very self absorbed and can only see the Great Big Lie in terms of how it effects her. She at first does not even try to see what it could be doing to other members of her family or how her father is dealing with the illness. She just knows that her life was perfect one day and the next day, not.

Through the focus exercises and getting to know Sean, Payton learns that they are positive ways to deal with issues and she learns to see things from another person's perspective, not just her own. Which is good because I wanted to smack her upside the head, but now I don't.

So we all learned something.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Road Goes Ever Onward or What Would You Do for a Magnum Bar?

Finally I can finish the tale of my literary journey...I hope.

When we last left off.....we were awoken by mad drunk Danes hell bent on Kulture and found ourselves at a viking shipyard in search of a ship.

The final stop was a city named Odense which is where Hans Christian Anderson was born. Not very far from Copenhagen, but on another island. In the movie, it seemed so far away, not the next island over, but as there were no bridges back then, I guess it would seem pretty far.

We found our way to city center and located the area where HC Anderson was born. As in all other things practically, the museum was also closed. We walked around a bit and found a hotel which proved to be too expensive. As our choice for the next day was either the Anderson walk or visiting a really cool castle with tree bridges further south, we opted for the castle instead. I figured my hubby would like it better. We made it to the town in not much time and drove straight to the castle. It was closed, naturally, but we just wanted to get a feel for it. We drove back to town to look for a hotel. You would figure a town sporting a major attraction that has pamphlets and everything would have a hotel or B&B. Turning south at the light, we went a couple blocks and ran out of town. Turning around, we headed north and also ran out of town in due time. This was not a big place. Don't even remember the name of the town, so I can't caution you to avoid it. Anyway, driving back to the one traffic light in town, we finally saw a billboard for a B&B which was actually at the crossroads where the one traffic light hung. The fact that we drove past it several times and didn't see it, didn't bode well. It was above the bar at the corner. We parked and decided to enquire. We walked into the bar and it was like a scene from a movie. All conversation stopped and every head turned. Vaguely reminiscent of Animal House when the boys take a road trip and end up in a bar where Otis is playing. We walked up to the bar and all eyes followed us. When we enquired, we were advised they didn't have any rooms. Now I don't know if that means they were full up, that they are no longer a B&B or they just don't have any rooms for the likes of us, but we decided to beat a hasty retreat before they beat it for us. Never have I felt so unwelcome in a place. The whole town was bordering on the creepy.
Well, we had two choices. We could either go further afield or just get out of Dodge. I suggested we head back to Odense and we were glad to be quit of what felt like East Deliverance. The concierge at the expensive hotel suggested we try a hotel called Cabinn by the train station, which we located easily enough. We ended up with the second largest room available. Let me illustrate for you. The smallest room was a single roughly the size of a match box. The next size up was a slightly larger room with bunk beds. If we had taken that room, we would have gotten so many activities done, but as the bunk beds did not actually save space since there was no space to begin with, we probably wouldn't have gotten those activities done anyway. The next size up was our room. The bed was in the corner. That's right. This was once instance when someone put baby in the corner. I sleep on the left. When I had the window open, I actually had to crawl across the bed to get under the covers since the window pane stretched out across half the bed. It was one of those pull open things not lift up things. The room was basically about the size of a closet or, more appropriately, a ship's cabin. Hence the name I believe. The door's to the rooms were not flat. There were on about a 45 degree angle from the wall in order to save room, cram more rooms on the floor, who knows? Same type of shower, drain in the middle of the bathroom floor with a hanging curtain. At least it wasn't right on top of the toilet.

The hotel was budget all right. There was no restaurant. The reception desk sold snacks like chips or crisps as some call them, candy, gum and beverages like wine, beer, water soda. If you wanted to make a purchase of the snacks or beverages you had to use a credit card. They would not take cash. The concierge did direct us to the center of town where we had a really nice steak dinner. When we got back to the hotel, I decided to get some water for the room. Unfortunately, a gentleman in his cups flanked by two girls got there first. He was purchasing some kind of snack but could not make up his mind. Settling on a bag of chips, I thought he would go away, but he decided that he also wanted a beer. As one of the girls was paying, she told the girl at reception to give him a soda. His response was to get shirty and cause a stink. Just my luck. After arguing for a few and his girlfriend telling him no beer, they finally headed to their room. I got my water and we headed for the elevators. I was so tired at that point that I didn't notice the two guys that got off the elevator heading to the reception desk to purchase snacks and such. My husband drew my attention to them. They were clad in naught but their tighty whities. No shirts, no pants other than under, no socks, no shoes. Just their underwear. Now that is something I don't see every day.

The next day, we got an early start, left the car parked where it was and headed off for the museum. The museum is actually in the home where HC Anderson was born, but it had been expanded. It was a really nicely done museum and every display was themed. The first room is full of news of the world during the time that he lived. It is interesting to see the timeline and get a perspective on what else was happening in the world. There was a display for his young life, his education, his travels, his later life, etc. There were lots of pictures, copies of letters and books and such to illustrate his life in such detail. It would take a good number of hours were we to read everything, so after we got about half way through, we had to start speeding things up.

He was a fascinating character. He was born to poverty in the slums of Odense. His mother was a washerwoman and his father was a cobbler. His father died at the age of 33 and his mother took solace in alcohol which was eventually the cause of her death. His grandfather was in the sanitarium. His maternal grandmother was married to a convict in the prison. At one point she was confined under the Town Hall on rations of bread and water for having three children out of wedlock. Family gatherings were at the prison which Anderson would avoid as he was not comfortable with the inmates waiting on him and his family at the gatherings. He was afraid of them. His young life seemed very tragic. He went to school part time at the workhouse and aspired to be an actor. At the age of 14, he left Odense for Copenhagen where he did get a job with the theater company, but was also dismissed. I get the impression he was not very good at it.

He was a bit paranoid in his later life. He always carried a rope with him everywhere he went because if he was at a hotel and it caught on fire, he could throw the rope out the window and climb to safety. The rope was on display in the museum as well as his top hat and his inkwell and quill. He was great with children, however, and was always telling stories and making them books. One of his hobbies was to make paper cut-outs, not of snowflakes, but of people, characters, designs, animals, etc. He was also an artist and would often sketch out scenes that he might employ in some capacity at a later date, like perhaps a story.

He travelled the world from 1833 to 1834, but he never had his own home. He just stayed at hotels, rented apartments or stayed with friends. Never seemed to settle down anywhere for long and he never married. He died in Copenhagen in Nyhaven. Not long before he passed away he was made an official citizen of Odense and given the key to the city. It was an uplifting tale that even though he came from such poverty, he raised himself above it and was widely recognized within his own lifetime.
There are paving stones throughout the city with his sun design that mark locations that were important in his life. We walked the path of his life and ended with the castle where he played as a boy with the crown prince when his mother was also a maid in the castle.  

 Around the museum, the streetlights have red and green Hans Christian Anderson shaped lights with top hat and all. There are paving stones throughout the city with his sun design that mark locations that were important in his life.



Our final stop was a reconstructed village that was contemporary during the life of HC Anderson.

The attraction was called Funen Village and was an interesting stop but really had nothing to do with Hans Christian Anderson.

Each of the buildings were taken from actual villages around the country and were put on display to illustrate what life might have been like. During the warmer months, it is a living museum, but as it was colder when we were there, there were no re-enacters walking around. 

It was a really interesting place and we were able to walk into all the buildings. There were farms, a priests home, a school, a prison, a windmill and other trade type buildings significant to a rural community back then.

All in all, I really liked Odense a lot. For those travelling with family, my suggestion would be to make the trip during the warmer months as there is a lot more going on at that time


                                                                                                                                                                                Traveling back to Germany, I did have the opportunity to go to a German equivalent of a superstore. I was ecstatic when I found one whole bay dedicated to books in English!! It also appears that as Germans are ever in the forefront of any advances to further society, they have discovered a new genre...Romantasy. Awesome.

We went to a couple of gaming stores (yes, I mean like D & D, other role playing and table top miniatures gaming), which were awesome as they also had toys, books, manga, comics, puzzles and any other variety of geeky things one could think of. Not only did I buy a German Lord of the Rings calendar, I also bought a Jack Skellington bracelet, wallet and change purse. I also managed to score some swag. Each of the stores had manga samplers. They are in German, but I can translate. It may take me a while, but I'm up for the challenge. I just love getting freebies!

 So there you have it.  TTFN!!!