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Archive for March, 2009

March Wrap

Well March hasn’t been my best reading month.. I  pretty much have resolved that this will not be my “finest” reading year.  But, that’s ok.. the “numbers” don’t mean that much to me anyway.. just as long as I enjoy what I do read.

 

So…

This month Mr Dashner took me to other Realities that were having some gave problems.

Maureen O’Hara let me know she didn’t have the most perfect life, but came out strong all the same.

Walter Koenig showed me more of his humor while also letting me know that his self esteem wasn’t that of your average movie actor.

100 Cupboards.. a surprise and a very enjoyable book!  

I am still reading Dandelion Fire.  It’s good but I’m thinking 100 Cupboards is better.. but then I am not done yet so I really can’t say that is definite.

I probably shouldn’t even count Dandelion Fire for March since I am only about 1/2 way through it but I put it on my list when I begin to read a book.. so it’s gunna stay!

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Chaos

It was not a good night last night…

5 shots rang out and scared me to the point I slept 1 hr from 5 to 6 am..

The police were all over but it was a drive past shooting again so of course no one is arrested.  They are either trying to scare or shoot the local on this street that sells drugs, but bullets don’t have names on them.

I’m more than scared and have no place I can go to each night and come here during the day to take care of the cats and continue packing for my move… I also have no real idea where I can go.  I just know I’d give anything to have someone staying here with me while I get this done.   I may well need someone to drive a UHaul to Florida for me..I would, of course pay to fly them home again.. problem is.. finding someone.

Let me tell you.. alone is not a good thing when you need reassurance and need help getting things done so I can get out of here before I get shot. or worse: killed.  Funny thing is, that if a stray bullet came thru the house and killed me, no one would know for at least a week when the relatives inheriting this house call to see if I need to go food shopping.

I will try to leave a blog message before I pack up the computer but, if things get really hectic I won’t be able to, but I will try to get on someone’s computer just to leave a message so no one thinks I have been shot.

So much needs to be done.. more packing.. then putting it in a UHaul.. finding a driver that would put up with me all the way to Florida (I don’t really want to go there but it’s the only place I know a few people I could call on for an emergency if I lived there)  All the address changes..how does one do that when I don’t know where I”ll be?  I mean, maybe I can stay with someone for a few weeks but then change the address again on everything????

And with all this going on I find myself crying over the fact that I don’t know if I can stay here for 3 more weeks and I want so badly to say goodbye to my artist friends Roger Kastel and Ken Kelly and to see Walter Koenig one more time.. that’s April 18th..  Stupid to let that upset me but I have felt for weeks now the need to say goodbye to them, have my cry and get it over with, and have one last day of enjoyment, because I know I won’t be able to afford to do shows once I leave here.  Heck.. my book buying will be close to non existent once I move!! (somehow I will still get books to series that haven’t come out yet.. not sure how.. but I will , come hell or high water!)

I know I’m babbling again from nerves.. so I’ll shut up now.

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100 cupboards

   Well.. I completed The Journey! So now I don’t have the pressure to finish my next Quest.  Not that it’s really pressure since all I am doing is reading my favorite type of books anyway! 

So, next I tackle  Quest the First, which is to read 5 books in any of the categories.  

I don’t know if I will finish this Quest or not but I will give it a go!

 

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (December 23, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0375838821

 

Henry York’s parents have been kidnapped biking in South America, and so he is sent off to live with his aunt, uncle, and three girl cousins on their farm in Kansas. Henry is not a farm child; he’s never had soda, thrown a baseball (or owned a ballglove), and he’s never used a knife, not even a pocket one.

The novel takes its time setting up the situation and slowly but surely revealing the mystery of the cupboards, all of which is charmingly fun. The mystery builds for close to a hundred pages before Henry really starts working with the cupboards, but there is never a boring moment. The writing takes you by the scruff of your neck and makes you read on. The suspense is really quite good as well, which will provide younger readers with a bit of a bedtime chill.

Henry has gone to live with his Aunt and  Uncle in Henry Kansas.   By the time I reached the first 45 pages of the book I knew I liked young Henry.. and I really liked Uncle Frank!

Excerpt from page 45:

Henry had continued chipping plaster and uncovering doors until he could count thirty-five in all, and he had no doubt there were more.  Most of them were wood, but of all different sizes, grains, and colors.  The shapes varied as well as the designs.  Some were plain, and some had surfaces so intricately carved that getting the plaster out of all the curves and crannies had been impossible.  Some had knobs, come small handles, some slides or things Henry had never seen.  There was one with nothing at all.  He had pushed and pulled and lightly thumped on every single one, but without effect.  And the, always, he had gone back to chipping plaster, making his newly sharpened knife dull and duller.  A large blister now crowned his thumb from pushing on the blade to keep it open, and the knuckles on both of his hands were missing skin.

Actually, my first thoughts on this book were:  “doors that lead to another land… been there done that”.. Pullman used doors to other lands, and others have done the same thing.   But this book, thankfully, had a completely different feel to it.  I liked Pullmans books and I like this book too.  Way different from each other…

I like the characters Wilson has introduced us to.  Henry is our main protagonist.  A young boy who has come to stay with his Aunt and Uncle until his parents are found.  Henry quickly falls right into place at the house and makes friends with the unusually quiet Uncle Frank, and one of his female cousins Henrietta.

I’m sure most of this book is the set up for the entire trilogy (if that’s what it’s going to be?)  The Cupboard full of doors is an interesting way for a young boy and his cousin Henrietta to get into trouble with…. and they do that very nicely before the book ends!  So many doors… and so many ways to get into trouble… and into danger!

I don’t want to give away anything.. but I will say it was a very enjoyable read. 

At first with its small stature and double spaced lines I thought this was something “younger” than I wanted it to be.  I was only partly right.  It is a story for YA… but I was totally captured by it!  

The book does come to a nice ending, so that one doesn’t have to jump right into the next book… but since I have the next book….   I will begin reading right away!

Thus concludes the first book of Quest the First, for the Once Upon a Time Challenge

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Gosh! Yet another award!..  This one is the Zombie Chicken Award! (who knew?!)

Becky has seen fit to give me this award .. Becky, who reads and reviews more books than I could ever read in a life time!  If you even are in doubt about a book, just wait a day or two and a review will show up at Becky’s blog!  She’s great! 

I want to thank Becky for this honor…    and I know I am supposed to hand it out to others… by now everyone knows what a difficult time I have doing that!  Not everyone has to read as many books as Becky for me to enjoy their blog and to think they are incredible for all the work they put into blogging…  So the deal is:  if I’ve left a comment on your blog ..at any time!… you are entitled to this award!! 

 

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence is all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all …

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Well, that didn’t take long!  I finished my first Fantasy book for Once Upon a Time III !

Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (January 27, 2009)
ISBN-10: 142310966X

 

Product Description
Halli Sveinsson has grown up in the House of Svein, listening to the legends of the heroes as all his forefathers did. His is a peaceful society where the violence of the past has been outlawed and disputes are settled by the Council. But young Halli has never quite seemed to fit in with the others. For starters, he was not at all handsome or tall, like his attractive blond siblings. He’s stumpy and swarthy, with a quick mind and aptitude for getting in trouble. Bored with the everyday chores and sheep herding, he can’t help himself from playing practical jokes on everyone, from Eyjolf the old servant, to his brother and sister. But when he plays a trick on Ragnor of the House of Hakonsson, he goes too far, setting in motion a chain of events that will forever alter his destiny. Because of it, Halli will have to leave home and go on a hero’s quest. Along the way, he will encounter highway robbers, terrifying monsters, and a girl who may finally be his match. In the end, he will discover the truth about the legends, his family, and himself. Jonathan Stroud’s new novel is a hero’s saga and coming-of-age–as well as a surprising look at what bravery really means.

I was a bit leery to read this book by Jonathan Stroud because I sooooooo love his Bartimaeus Trilogy!

Between my emotional problems right now, and the fact that as soon as I picked up this book I began to think about a humorous demon, I did have a slow start getting into this book.  It’s hard enough to pick up a book when you come off of one that you loved so much you can’t quite shake it from your mind, let alone one that stays with you for a really long time.

But Stroud seems to have a way of making characters that you want to read about.  This time he makes his main character something less than perfect.  In fact.. he’s pretty much the underdog.  Which of course makes you want him to come out on top.

The book is pretty much two stories in one.  At the beginning of the chapters you get a small amount of a story of “heroes of long ago”.  The ancestors and the heroic stories that Halli grew up on.  Then what follows is Halli’s story.  Amazon did a good job giving a synopsis of the book.

It’s very clever how it was written so that you are always seeing if there are any comparisons between the past and the present.  The heroes story is so fantastical you even begin to wonder if any of it is real, or just stories that somehow have lived through the years.

It’s safe to say that eventually I managed to break away from my love of Bartimaeus and enter Halli’s story.  Once entered, I found I picked up the book more than once a day.  It moved along just quickly enough that you always wanted to read just a little more to see what Halli would do next! 

In the end, I would say Jonathan Stroud has written a very enjoyable stand alone book.  (just don’t ask me if I liked it MORE than Bartimaeus, ’cause that ain’t gunna happen!) 

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award

I’ve been remiss about responding to some wonderful gifts..

It seems that Susan at You Can’t Have Too Many Books  has given out an award and I was a recipient!

This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award.”

Susan is fairly new to my blog list, but once I found her I do check her blog each and every day.  Not long ago she delighted me with photo’s that she took when she visited England, something I had always wished to do myself. 

I also received another award !  (must be something in the air!)

Cj over at My Years of Reading Seriously has given me a sisterhood award!

4. DesLily of Here, There, and Everywhere – Pat is priceless. It’s that simple. She’s had a rough time lately but has continued to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And it’s nice to have someone around here who seems to remember the same things I do!

As with all awards I am to pass it on to 10 others of which I have a very difficult time doing, since I always believe that all the blogs I read on a daily basis deserves all the awards that come along..

This is a very neat award.  I don’t know who started it but it has the faint ring of “the sisterhood of the traveling pants” .. and that’s pretty nice.

My life hasn’t been the best these past few months and especially this last month.  Many things are up in the air for me right now and with much depression, lack of sleep and feeling as if I have some health issues of my own, I’m not always “with it”.  And so I apologize for not having responded to these two really great gifts I’ve been given..

Thank you very much ladies!

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Wow, I actually got books delivered on Monday in time for my version of Bad Bloggers!

 

  The book covers are all beautiful!…

Two out of the three books gives points to Becky!!  That would be Graceling and Wings!

Tuck on the other hand is my own fault..heh.

Well, I’d better get back to the book I am reading… which is none of these! Oh goody.. more on the tbr list!! (I gave up counting!)

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Once Upon a Time

 It’s March 20th..

It’s the first day of spring..

Although I am not feeling the happiness I generally feel on this day, I am still very glad that it’s the day that Carl’s Once Upon a Time III begins.

Filled with Journey’s and Quests that should not be ignored, Carl’s reading challenge to read Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore or Mythology is one that takes you into the realms of your mind that need to be nurtured and not forgotten.

I can remember my discovery of this challenge while it was in progress for the very first time.  A day didn’t go by that I didn’t click on all the new links to read all of the reviews!  I couldn’t believe all these people reading the same kind of book “only I enjoyed” !  What a revelation to me! I was in hog heaven!

Once Upon a Time dragged me, kicking and screaming, (yeah right) into a whole new world of book review blogger’s..  A fact I will always be happy about.

That year was the first time that I tried to keep track of how many books I read..heck, I never did anything like that before!  And last year I read 101 books!  And I can tell you, I never, in my 65 years read that many books in one year.. I always thought it great if anyone read 12 books a year.. I mean one book a month for busy people sounded extraordinarily good to me!  And it still does.  Anyone that takes the time to read, no matter how many books or how few, feeds your inner self.

This year I am committing to the smallest and easiest, The Journey.  But as always I will strive to also do Quest the First.

Here are my Challenge Choices:

This is really as simple as the name implies. It means you are participating, but not committing yourself to any specific number of books. All reading is a journey, perhaps none more so than reading fantastical fiction. By signing up for The Journey you are agreeing to at least read one book within one of the four categories during March 21st to June 20th period. Just one book. If you choose to read more, fantastic! If not, then we have still had the pleasure of your company during this three month reading journey and hopefully you have read a great book, met some interesting people, and enjoyed the various activities that occur during the challenge. It has always been of utmost importance to me that the challenges that I host be all about experiencing enjoyable literature and sharing it with others. I want you to participate. Hence, The Journey.

Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time III criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

 

I have 21 books to choose from: (in my tbr pile.. of course more will undoubtedly get added and so the list may change somewhat!)

 

     Heroes of the Valley … Jonathan Stroud

    The Hobbit (re-read)… J R R Tolkien

     ( 5 books)… The Dark is Rising… Susan Cooper

     East… Edith Patiou

     (3 books)  The Black Jewels Trilogy…. Anne Bishop

     Grimpow…Rafiel Abalos

     The Mysterious Benedict Society… Trenton Lee Stewart

     The Hound of Rowan.. Henry H Neff

     The Second Siege… Henry H Neff

     The Magicians and Mrs Quent…Galen Beckett

     The Farwalkers Quest… Joni Sensel

     100 Cupboards… N D Wilson

     Dandelion Fire… N D Wilson

    Name of the Wind … Patrick Rothfuss

    Merlin … T A Barron

As always I know my wish list will grow considerably during this challenge, and I look forward to reading many reviews that will either entice me to get a book or give me the deciding factor that the book is not for me.  Either way it’s a great way to have all the information that everyone provides.

Here’s too three months of Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore and Mythology reading!

Let the challenge begin!

(one more thing:  Happy Birthday Mary!)

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I had to share this bit of Spring news:

This morning was beautiful!…

Yes, it is the first day of Spring, but the visual picture was saying something else.

…. snow!….

For an hour or so we had this snow coming down!.. big beautiful flakes.  The prettiest snow of the whole winter and it happened on the first day of spring.   (sadly, it’s all gone already  :O(  )

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