____________________________________ On Hiatus ___________________________________

Sunday, December 11, 2011


*In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren* So head over there if you want to check out what everyone else got, or if you want to find out how to participate!!!

So…~~~~Flashback~~~~ A few months ago, I had a super-awesome low-key b-day involving a Netflix Murder She Wrote marathon, a thin crust cheese lovers pizza (w/pepperoni, beef, and mushroom), and some quality time spent with my sis.

I couldn’t have wished for a nicer day.  It wasn’t about presents—just about *being present.*

~~~~Fast Forward~~~~

And we’re back.

Well, in the meantime, I’ve had a couple of belated b-day presents trickle in…

But before we get to my awesome b-lated-b-day presents….there is some other pretty awesome stuff…

…like I won an ARC of Sophie Jordan’s Vanish from Harper through their First Reads contest on Goodreads!!!!  :D

…and then I won some sweet Nine Lives of Chloe King swag from ABC Family channel through playing the Nine Paths to Chloe King game on their site and entering the clues.  I won a t-shirt, and two cute little charms!!!

And back to my b-day presents…

First, since it ‘tis the season, I gotta give a shout out to the newest additions to my already epic Christmas collection—I am a Christmas music junkie all year ‘round, but this is the only time of year I don’t get weird looks when I start blasting it.—I had a pretty extensive Christmas collection to begin with, but these have totally upped the ante.  Old school, all the way.

 Bing Crosby Christmas, Bing Crosby the Voice of Christmas, Frank Sinatra:  The Christmas Collection; Christmas with the Stars; Christmas Treasures; Let It Snow; Hot Songs for a Cool Yule, and Christmas by the Fire

And back to books:
In paperback, a complete collection of Jon Hassler’s novels:
I am sort of obsessed with these books.  I love them.
Four Miles to Pinecone
Simon's Night
A Green Journey
Grand Opening
North of Hope
Dear James
Rookery Blues
The Deans List
The New Woman
The Staggerford Flood
The Staggerford Murders

And in ebook, three of my fave authors…

…and a little somthin’ somethin’ to read them on…
Yes. This. Is. A. Nook. Tablet.


That's it for meI hope everybody is enjoying the holiday season and having a great weekend!!!!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breaking Dawn: Part I

Well, since midnight Thursday night I have started this post in my head well over a hundred times, so many different things I want to say, so many different feelings.  The only constant seems to be:


Because I’m just not sure I know how to talk about Breaking Dawn (the movie/book) without even accidentally saying something spoilery.  Talking about the movie shouldn’t be spoilery if you’ve read the book, it follows fairly close, no huge changes or surprises.

But I just can’t talk about it without TALKING about it—no hinting around at scenes or characters or plots—so this is your last warning:


I hate to not recommend a movie, but I don’t think the book-lovers are going to enjoy it…And I don’t know that there’s enough content there for people who haven’t read the books to piece everything together.

Having read Stephanie Meyer's series, Breaking Dawn:  Part I felt like so much was missing and rushed.  And it makes me very nervous wondering if they left enough to fill Breaking Dawn: Part II.

For those who haven’t read the books, I think the movie may jump around a too much without giving enough background to keep up.—I was left explaining a lot of the intricacies to my movie companion, who had seen the other movies, but not read the books.

Twilight: Lover or Hater—the Controversies

It seems about from the inception of Twilight there’ve been lovers and haters.  The love movement growing stronger with each book—midnight book releases, movie adaptations, midnight movie releases, packed bookstores, multiple showings with packed theaters; sold out, people standing, sitting, or camping in line for HOURS.  Team Edward and Team Jacob.  (random thought:  I wonder why there was no Team Bella?)

There were naysayers all along, people who thought Bella was too wimpy, Edward too creepy; not good role models.  But I noticed a change after the release of Breaking Dawn—fans of the series suddenly not happy…for various reasons:  the wedding, the honeymoon, the baby…the imprinting.

And as the movie release approached, I heard more waves of disenchantment coming from [former?] fans—Had it been too long a wait between movies?  The splitting of the book into two movies?  Edward’s wedding hair?  The wedding?  The honeymoon?  The imprinting???

I heard all these reasons floating around the interworld, but I just let them slide.  I liked the series.  And honestly, I LOVED the book.  Breaking Dawn was everything I could have wanted, and I was a little mystified that so many people seemed against the fairy-tale wedding and happy ending.

Anyway, although I see the many values and merits of having such discussions...I’m getting off topic…

Which is, that I am aware of all sorts of reasons for the waning interest in Breaking Dawn.

Still, I eagerly watched Breaking Dawn previews.  I bought my tickets ahead of time.  I showed up at the theater a few hours early.

Some hearty Twihards had showed up with lawn chairs and blankets to start the line at 6:00 pm.  Three hours later, the line was only at 90—A poor showing compared to the last premier where the line had snaked around the outside of our small theater.  By midnight two theaters were close to full, if not 100% sold-out.

The lights dimmed, and the crowds settled into a quiet hush.


*sigh of puzzlement*

LOVED the soundtrack!!!

As to the movie...I liked the beginning…and I didn’t like the beginning.  It was a culmination of the previews I’d seen, enmeshed with visions of the book come to life.  It was beautiful.  Picturesque.  Grand.  Sweeping.

Props to Billy Burke, who seemed to steal all his scenes as Bella’s nervous and harried father.

A wonderful ensemble cast in all.

So then, why did everything feel so rushed?  And slightly empty of the normal swell of feelings that brought forth in the in books and in the previous movies???

What about it felt mechanical and jerky—very A to B, invitation to wedding to honeymoon—disjointed snapshots instead of smooth transitions?  Indeed many wonderful moments…that didn’t quite fall into place together…and half-moments plucked from the book, but barely touched upon.

And then the second half of the movie…the pregnancy.  *hesitant sigh*

Much like the first half of the movie, I found it rushed and filled with snapshot moments that I wished could have lingered a little longer.  But this time, with the combination of the grotesque.

This is not a pretty pregnancy in the book.  Nor is it one in the movie.  And I wouldn’t have wanted it prettied up.  But it is extreme.

And when some moments felt so void of content, I was surprised to see the clever interpretations of scenes like the wolf-thought-speak and a CSI-microscope-like view into how the vampire venom takes effect.  These were very compelling movie scenes which seemed to fall flat and felt out of place without more to support them.

The birth, itself, felt almost like a different movie—but still one without direction—upon indulging in the grotesque and the extreme the movie seemed poised on the brink of horror and comedy, with Edward as a mad scientist à la Frankenstein in his lab.


And the worst part is…  I kind of want to see it again.  Just to see if it could really be as bad as I thought it was.


So, I'm really curious, now—Have you seen it?—Is it just me???


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Monday Musings: Collecting Authors and Books

(Monday Musings is an awesome meme over at Should Be Reading—And if you aren’t reading her, I totally recommend checking her out!)
This week’s question from Monday Musings is:

Are you currently collecting any authors? Why? 
Do you have all of their books? If not, why not? 
Did you buy all the books in the collection at the same time, or did you buy a book here, a book there? Have you actually read all of the collection? If not, why not?

And for all of you naysayers out there, saying, “Nay, this is Tuesday not Monday.”  Well, then I would say that we have a lot more pressing matters if you’re using the word “Nay” in conversational speech.  Or that I have bronchitis right now and the days of the week are kind of blending.  Take your pick.

 And back to the question at hand:

YES.  I TOTALLY COLLECT AUTHORS.—not that I keep them in little jars to look at, or locked in my basement (‘cause I don’t have a basement), or anything…  Really, I find it’s much more practical to collect an author’s books, rather than the actual author—while the author does indeed house the entire knowledge base characters, settings, plots, to their stories, I find the books to be ever so much more portable –you can fit so many more books in suitcases and on shelves than you can authors—And with ereaders, I can have my entire library at my fingertips and not have to travel with loads of luggage.  *sigh*  Yes, books and ebooks are definitely the way to go—I do not in any way recommend kidnapping or storage of actual authors.

[end tangent]

Well, truthfully, I think when it comes to books I might have some addictive and hoarding tendencies.  If I find a good author, I want to read EVERYTHING they’ve ever written.  I absorb books like a sponge. (A sponge in a really dry climate that will dry out and need to keep absorbing things, because it will never be fully sated.)

And especially if that author has a series (which so many of them do), they’re like Pringles—how can you read just one book in a series????  How can you not want to know what happens next???

In my tweens and teens I had two bookshelves filled with five series of Sweet Valley books (SV Kids, SV Twins, SV High, SV University, and various mini-series SV Senior Year, Jessica and the Unicorns, Elizabeth in England, and all the various Chillers, Thrillers, Super Chillers, Super Thrillers, Sagas, and Holiday editions.)  Don’t judge.  And last February, when they released Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later, I snapped that one up, too.  Don’t judge.  (Pringles, remember.)(Pringles laced with crack.)

But while the majority of my Sweet Valley books remained on my shelves for quite a few years, there are other authors that rarely leave my sight, my go-to books that come with me pretty much everywhere I go.  Favorites that I can pick up anytime, anywhere, and dive right in.  Stories that I’ve read over and over again, and still leave me as breathless and exhilarated every time I read them as they did the first time.

Top of the list:  Tamora Pierce.  I’ve been reading her books the longest—since middle-school/high-school.  Reading.  Rereading.  And first in-line at the book-store to snap up the next one.  Even if I’m living in a remote bookstore-less location (pre-ereader), and have to drive an hour away to get her newest release (at least twice).  Her books went with me to college, to Pennsylvania when I spent a year on the east coast, a few months in Montana, on to San Jose, summers in Yosemite, here in So Cal, and thanks to my handy ereader, her books also came in very handy on my last few road trips.  And when Mastiff (Beka Cooper Series #3) was released, I downloaded it at midnight from the comfort of my bed.  Also, when I got my ereader, she was the first author that I started replenishing my library with.


Harry Potter.  Up until my junior year of college, I abstained from the Harry Potter craze, holding myself aloof, I being much too old, of course to be reading children’s books.  Then, while home for Thanksgiving, I went to see the first movie.  It was magical.  I was enchanted.  And me, a lover or reading books of movies I love, had picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (adult cover, of course) to read sometime, in case I enjoyed the movie.

Back at school, a few weeks later (the week of finals, in fact) when it came down to studying, and procrastinating, I picked up my copy of Harry Potter and finished it that night.  The next day I went out and got myself a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2).  I had to settle for a children’s-style paperback, because the adult covers were coordinated to be released with the movies.  And again, I finished it the same night.  Realizing that this was not a fad, on my next trip to the bookstore, I purchased both the third and fourth books—Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (children’s paperback, again, adult cover not having been released) and the newly released Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (hardcover).  And again, I read them each in one night.

Somehow, I also passed my finals.

Now, I think most booklovers will tell you, there’s nothing worse than a mismatched collection.  So it wasn’t long before I got Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with the children’s paperback cover to match the others.  And then went and got the first three in hardcover to match the fourth book.  And of course, I picked up the adult covers as they were released.  And a few special editions.  And when I was in Ireland, I picked up a set of the British versions.  And audio books for those long back-and-forth drives home from school.  And the first four in French.  Ne judge pas.

And like Tamora Pierce, Harry Potter went with me from the Midwest to the East Coast to the mountains and the West Coast.  We spent summers in Yosemite, and then moved down here to So Cal.

And as soon as I get access to Pottermore, I am looking forward to adding a digital collection of HP to my ereader.


On a summer home from college, I stumbled upon L.A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack series.  My senior year of college I discovered Helen Gurley Brown and Winifred Wolfe.  Out east I started collecting Agatha Christie.  And here on the west coast, I found Tera Lynn Childs.

Each author, each series, each book opened up new worlds of fantastically rich words and characters.  With Helen Gurley Brown and Winifred Wolfe it is their use of language, turns of phrases, the technicolor images of the past that spring to life with each turn of the page.  With Agatha Christie it is the mystery, the who-dun-it, the quirky Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, the headstrong Tommy and Tuppence (my favorites).  With Bloody Jack, the innocence, adventure, ingenuity, humor, and adventure (yes, I said adventure twice, because there’s that much adventure).  And Tera Lynn Childs—Magic.  Humor.  Wonder.  Fun.


And just within the last month or so… Jon Hassler.  I’ve been devouring his books.  I can’t get enough of them.  Two, in particular, I’ve already read FOUR TIMES.  (Did I mention that I only discovered his books a month ago?)  To be truthful, I haven’t read Mastiff yet, or the newest Bloody Jack:  The Mark of the Golden Dragon: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Jewel of the East, Vexation of the West, and Pearl of the South China Sea, because I can’t tear myself away from Jon Hassler’s little world up in Northern Minnesota.

And I’m still trying to put my finger on it.  I mean, obviously, I enjoy the writing and think they’re wonderful stories.  But there’s more.  A pull.  I cannot get enough of these books, these characters, this world, these stories within stories.

As a native Midwesterner, I feel a tug to the familiar landscapes, weather, and even the names that ring of home.  Even the characters remind me of people I grew up around.  So, perhaps I feel a little bit of homesickness.

But there’s also travel and adventure—To Ireland (A Green Journeywhere I’ve been and feel like I’m there again as I’m reading.  To Italy (Dear James), where I have yet to go, but dream of seeing—and even more so through the eyes of this author.

There is romance.  Epic.  Sweeping.  Romance.

Lonliness.  And sadness.  Devastating.  Heartwrenching.  Sadness.

Sickness.  Illness.  Old age.—Might there be nothing scarier than reading about old people both on the brink of life and the cusp of death???

Everyday normality.  Murder.  Wrongs done.  Good people.  Bad.  Well-meaning.

And hope.  Faith.  Religion.

As a rule, I generally keep my religion and spirituality very personal, and take it in my books with a grain of salt.  I generally steer away from faith in books, finding it false, or preachy.  The stories are so full of faith and religion, religious people—but do not come off preachy.  Instead thoughtful.  Insightful?  So why do these books, these people, these stories, make me feel so powerfully close to something I am wary to name out loud????

I find myself going back to these characters day and night.  I never skip ahead.  I never read books out of order (if I can help it).

But here I couldn’t stop myself.—A Green Journey, Hassler’s fourth book was made into a movie, which is how I found the books.  I debated, but in the end decided to see if I liked the book as much as the movie, before getting the rest of his books.  I usually get books one at a time, as I’m reading them.  But I had to get all of his at once—I couldn’t imagine getting to the end of one and not having the next book to start.

And while I couldn’t allow myself to read ahead—I couldn’t help myself from reading the books out of order—knowing what happens to my favorite characters (Agatha and James), before going back to the beginning to meet all the other characters.

Indeed, they are companion books more than a series, and so I didn’t jumble things up too much by reading them out of order.

But just as strong as my compulsion to read Hassler’s books, is my compulsion to SHARE them—To see if others see what I see.  Feel what I feel.



Monday, November 14, 2011

Just For Fins Cover Reveal

Ok, so I know that some of you live in places where it is November, Fall, or even possibly Winter.  Summer might be looking like a long way off.  But, I wouldn’t go planting too many snowmen this year, because I’ve already seen the first glimpse of Summer!!!!

Yes, that’s right—Tera LynnChilds IS giving us another SEAquel to get über-FINtastically FINtasmically excited about!!!!!!

Just For Fins, the third book in Tera Lynn Childs’ in magical mermaid exploits of Lily, Quince, and (that trouble-making cousin of hers) Dosinia are scheduled to be released July 3, 2012.

But you and I can *DROOL* over the cover right now!!!

Gorgeous, right!?!?!??!!?  I’m all about the shiny.  The sparkly.  The COLORS.  The eyes, the lips, the eyebrows.  The PURPLE lettering.  I LOVE how everything *POPS*.  Honestly, I have to stop and stare at it every few seconds.  *SPARKLY*

When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mermaid kingdom Thalassinia, she knew she couldn't just coast along in the current. But since she's spent the last couple years on land-with gorgeous human Quince by her side-Lily's not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom. Even her maddeningly pretentious cousin, Dosinia, seems to know more about ruling than she does.

But Lily has to dive in deep to keep her promise to Tellin, her mer-bond in name only, whose kingdom is suffering in the changing ocean climate. From sea animals dying to oil spills and threats to humans, Lily knows this is a seven seas-sized problem. They'll need to make some serious waves to make the mer community aware and joined together to make things right. Even if that mean facing one of the iciest queens in the mer-kingdoms.

p.s. fun fact [update]:  they used the same cover model for Forgive My Fins.

Well, I know what I’m doing this summer—how about you?  ;)


Friday, November 4, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 4

I’m writing this post, not because I’m procrastinating (maybe a little bit), but because I just had a thought…
I seem to find all my best ideas when I’m not looking for them.  Or when I am as far from a pen and paper (let alone my computer), as possible—falling asleep (especially this one), waking up from dreams (before falling back asleep), driving in the car, showers…Basically whenever I’m the most relaxed…and writing is the most inconvenient.

And then, at the most convenient times, I find myself staring at the screen and feeling so distracted—Instead of thinking about writing, my mind is off in a hundred other places doing a checklist for the car and groceries, wondering if there’s a correlation between writing and exercising and if I exercise more, will that improve my writing???  Even other non-NaNo writing projects seem more urgent.

So…50k aside, I think part of the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to TRAIN YOURSELF TO WRITE when you *ARE* distracted and uninspired.

And then again, good or bad, 50k IS THE POINT—good OR bad—but WORDS.  They don’t have to be cohesive or interesting.  This is the one thing that is all about quantity not quality.  Because if you can spend a month writing 50k of the worst thing you can imagine, the most UNinspired, blah, boring, piece of work…

IMAGINE what you will be able to write when you are INSPIRED.

And remember WriMos (as said by someone very smart)—“Research isn’t writing.  WRITING is writing.”