Friday, June 26, 2009 7 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: Memory

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


I am about to start Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint so this is the closest to me right now.

"You seem rather nice," she said, "and you've certainly got her working. It's almost time for the dawn chorus and she's still up there, filling sheet after sheet with sketches."

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke and other stuff

This is another classic of Sci-fi that I have not, until now, gotten around to reading. I did try to watch the movie about a year ago. I say try because I was simply bored. I fell asleep and never finished watching it. Jeff too. Too much cinematic beauty and not enough dialogue for me I guess.

I recently got an MP3 player (yes, my first, I am behind the times) and it came with a free audio book from That's when I chose The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint. I enjoyed being able to take my audio book with me where ever I wanted. I've listened to audio books in the past because I drive so much for work. It keeps me awake and from getting bored. But when I had it on my MP3 player I could take it ANYWHERE! I could listen to a story while I packed my house, while I unpacked the new house, while I walked the dogs, while I exercised, and of course, while I drove. It was wonderful! I'm so silly. I know this is something that most people take for granted every day because everyone in the world besides me already has I-Pods and their like. You'll notice I didn't say I had an I-Pod. Too expensive for me. Here's the irony. The very day AFTER I bought mine, the I-Pods went on sale to same price that I paid for mine because some newer, fancier I-Pod was about to be released. That's life for ya I guess.

Ok, less rambling...more to the point. Or maybe not. The whole reason I write these is because I want to share and make it more interesting than the professional on with the rambling!

Seriously, about 2001. I went back to Audible to see if they had any audio books for cheaper than I would find them in the store and I found a bunch of free stuff for members and then while I'm looking this thing pops up that says something about getting certain books for $1!! I downloaded a short story by Neil Gaiman and 2001.

can be found in the collection of short stories called Smoke and Mirrors. It is a hilarious story of what happens when an old woman finds the Holy Grail in her local antique store.

So, back to 2001 (I know, you're thinking, about time!). Before the book begins you get to listen to Arthur C. Clarke tell about the making of this book and the movie. It's fairly interesting. I was not aware that the idea was something that Clarke and Stanley Kubrick came up with together. In fact, Kubrick came to Clarke with the idea of having him write the book for his movie before the movie was made (before there was a screenplay). The book was to act partly as a reference for the screenplay so there wouldn't have to be as much written in the screenplay. The movie was to be released first but the book was written first. It's a very odd way to do things. I had always assumed that the movie was just based on the book. It's always interesting to learn that there's more to the story than you thought. He also talked about the fact that he never meant to write a sequel but it was a "public demanded it" sort of situation. Then, he ended up writing 2 more after that. Then he says, "A trilogy should never have more than 4 books." I loved that. He concluded with how sad he was that Kubrick died shortly before the celebration of the book and movie in the actual year 2001.

I was impressed with the writing of 2001. When I mentioned it to my mom (also a Sci-Fi buff) she was surprised that I had never read it or any of Clarke's other stuff. She started talking about what an amazing writer he is, about how Asimov gets all the credit but Clarke's book are much better. I find that interesting since she was always buying me the Robot Series'. Where were all these great Clarke books? JK mom!

The story was much better than I expected and took a turn I certainly was not expecting. I thought HAL would be a much bigger threat and I suppose he was a fairly huge threat but I guess I expected more from him. I didn't expect him to be taken out so soon after the threat was realized. I thought he would be the hinge of the rest of the book. I was very surprised at the turn (don't want to spoil it so I am repeating myself) just after that. WOW is all I can say.

The narrator, Dick Hill, did an amazing job as well. He got the intonation of the HAL from the movie down so well I actually looked it up to see if it was the same guy. Nope. The original HAL is Douglas Rain but the similarity is remarkable.

I will definitely reading more by Arthur C. Clarke and if you haven't read this, I suggest you do it soon!
Thursday, June 25, 2009 5 comments By: Suzanne

My Favorite Reads: American Gods

My Favorite Reads is hosted by Alyce on her blog At Home With Books. The idea is to take a book you read before you started blogging and tell your readers about it.

This week I chose American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I was going to do these different but realize now that I can't! I'll explain down the page.

From Neil Gaiman's website:
Released from prison, Shadow finds his world turned upside down. His wife has been killed; a mysterious stranger offers him a job. But Mr. Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow than is possible, warns that a storm is coming -- a battle for the very soul of America . . . and they are in its direct path.

From my memory:
The Gods of old are at war. These would be the Gods from all the religions of the past, the religions of now, and the mythologies we never considered "religion." These Gods are not at war with themselves. They are at war with the new Gods of America. That would be Commerce, Interstate, Internet, Television, News, Cellular and many more. Who will win? Who should win? Is it all that important anyway?

I wanted to do the MY Favorite Reads meme in a different way. I wanted to tell the summary of the book from my memory because I felt that this would highlight what I thought was important and special about the book. Unfortunately, it's been so long since I read this book and I read it at a very difficult time in my life that I couldn't tell you any more about this book than what I just wrote. I had to go to another site to even remember names!

This is the book that started me reading "urban fantasy," the type of fantasy in which people just like you and me deal with amazing and fantastical things. My two favorite writers in this type of fantasy are Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint, though even their books are very different form each other. This is fantasy set in our own world, in modern times yet there are magical and wondrous things are happening if you just open your eyes to see them. I do remember that I loved this book so much that I felt a desperate need to read anything and everything else by Neil Gaiman. It's a wonderful book and I suggest you pick it up soon!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I am ashamed to admit that this lover of Sci-fi and Fantasy books has never read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Not sure why but I guess it's just one of those books I always meant to read and never seemed to pick up when I was at the store. Something else always looked more interesting. I was also stunned to realized that I really didn't know what it was about.

Ford Prefect is on Earth briefly while working on a revision to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but somehow ends up being stuck there for 15 years. In that time, he makes friends with Arthur Dent. When Earth is scheduled for demolition to make room for a galactic freeway, Ford hitches a ride with the aliens doing the demolition and takes Arthur along with him. Along the way they meet up with some very interesting characters.

Adams' writing is very much in the Monty Python sarcastic-humor style, which shouldn't be too surprising since he was one of the writers for that too. I enjoy that style sometimes but more in movies and tv than in books. When it's a part of the book but not solely the entire writing style, I think I enjoy it more. Neil Gaiman is good at that, peppering his dialogue with snarky, sarcastic remarks. I liked reading Hitchhiker's but I'm glad it was fairly short. I think it would have gotten a little tedious and irritating in a longer book. There isn't really any character in the book that you can relate to or feel a connection to and the storyline is kind of "put together" (if that makes any sense), however I do think it's a good book and can see why it has such a cult following. It's not something I feel I could ever read again, knowing the big punch-line at the end about Earth just makes that impossible for me, but I would like to see the movie now. I have a feeling I might like that better than the book. It's weird, that's only happened one time (with Bridget Jones) but I just saw the preview (I know, I know, behind the times here) and it looks hilarious. I know it got a lot of bad reviews but come on....Monty Python would get terrible reviews today too.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

Buffy vs. Edward

I first saw this at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin? I have been a HUGE fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since the first season and watched them through as they aired and then again when the seasons began coming out on DVD. I got my friends Andrea and Jennefer addicted and we sometimes have Buffy watching parties even now, years after the last episode aired. Currently, Jennefer and I have found a new way to enjoy our Buffy addiction. She's never seen Angel (the series) so we're watching season 4 of Buffy and season 1 of Angel in order together just as they originally aired. Yep, we're kind of pathetic but we know and don't care!

So if you love Buffy and are just plain irritated as I am with the whole Twilight thing, then you will love this video.

Update: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, I can't the video to fit my 3 column page so here's the link

Buffy's Better Than Twilight (that's my own title).

Where are you and Teaser: 6/23/09

It's Tuesday, Where are you? is hosted on An Adventure in Reading.

I am in space on two separate missions. One is close to home (2001: A Space Odyssey). I have just got a boost from Jupiter on my way to Saturn and am beginning to suspect that there is something slightly off about my ship's main computer....
On the other "mission" (A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy) I have just entered the orbit of Magrathea, a planet that has been dead for 5 million years and, until today, was considered simply a myth.

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading.

From A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The introduction begins like this:
"Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. Listen..." and so on.
pg. 77
Sunday, June 21, 2009 2 comments By: Suzanne

Seriously NBC?

I have a major complaint. Jeff thinks I'm being silly but I feel this is kind of serious!

I watched NBC's newest show Merlin for about 45 minutes tonight. With the opening scene I knew I was going to hate it but I kept watching. 20 minutes later I said, "You've got to be kidding me!" Jeff asked, "What? Does it suck?" I said, "It wouldn't suck if you didn't know anything at all about the legends of King Arthur and Merlin." I know there are some inconsistencies between the different stories about Camelot, the round table, Merlin, Arthur, Guinevere, etc, but there are a few things that are usually taken for granted in those stories:

1. King Arthur founded Camelot. It did not exist before he was King.
2. Merlin was already an old and known wizard with a widely known reputation long before King Arthur was born.
3. Guinevere had "golden hair" and was significantly younger than Arthur, who was dark.
4. Guinevere was the daughter of King Leodegrance
5. "King" Uther is anti-magic

There are more but I named these specifically because they are the ones that NBC has decided to screw with. Here's what they have done:

1. Camelot is already an established city being ruled over by "King" Uther Pendragon.
---although Arthur becomes King, Uther is known only as a mighty chief - not King.
2, 3,5. Arthur, Merlin, and Guinevere all appear to be the same age
---one of the best known legends is the one of Uther using Merlin to trick Arthur's mother (Lady Igraine) into sleeping with him. She believes she is with her husband, Gorlois, when in fact Merlin has disguised Uther into looking like Gorlois so he can be with Igraine while his soldiers kill Gorlois on the battlefield.
---there are, admittedly, some stories in which Guinevere and Arthur are the same age, but NEVER Merlin and Arthur. Merlin was one of his teachers. And, of course, my above example.
---They've made Guinevere dark and gypsy-like while Arthur is tall and blonde - WHY?
4. Guinevere is a maid to Morgause (Arthur's half-sister), or Morganna as they're calling her in this show.
---I find that interesting since Morganna or Morgan Le Fey was a completely different character in most of the stories. They've taken Marion ZImmer Bradley's Morgan for this role. Even gave her the same dark curly hair.
---Really? Why is Guinivere a maid? Where the hell did that come from?

Why does all this bother me so much? Because if they keep this up it will completely ruin the old stories. People are going to watch this show and think that's the way the stories really went and there will be whole other stories cropping up that are just plain WRONG. What they've done makes all of us who love the old stories just MAD. It could have been great. If they wanted to have a young character to follow in the time of a young Arthur, why not just make the show about Arthur? What they've done is stupid. Yep, just plain stupid. What are people who watch this show going to do when they come across the old legends later? They're going to think those stories are dumb because it doesn't have the same drama as the tv show. They're going to be completely missing out on the beauty and poetry and drama that is there.

Audio: The Onion Girl by Charles De Lint

If you have been reading me since the beginning then you know what a fan I am of Charles de Lint. He is probably my favorite author of all time. The first book I ever read by him was Someplace To Be Flying. I was so enamored with the book that I immediately began telling everyone I knew I about it. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same as I do about his books, at least in my small circle of family and friends. It was shortly after this that I started my blog. I wanted to share my favorite books with people that would appreciate them. I wanted others to love Charles de Lint's writing as much as I do.

I have never been the kind of fan that would write to an author or musician or actor. I just never felt that strongly about any of them I guess. Before I would have said I didn't want to break that boundary and be disappointed, but I think now I simply had not had that extreme fan feeling that causes this NEED to write to someone famous. Charles de Lint was my first and remains to this day the only one I've written. I can't explain it very well except that the two times I've written him, it's been about music, not books. His books have a lot of musical references and often one or more characters who are musicians. In some books, the main character is a musician and the music is central to the story. In others, the musicians are friends of the main character, who is usually an artist-type too. I noticed that his musical references were ones that I love too: Dar Williams, Steve Earle, Tori Amos, Ani DeFranco, and many more. I wrote and told him that I had just discovered why I connected so well to his books: the music. He wrote me back THE NEXT DAY and said:

Sounds like you're on the same wavelength as me, Tonya. Though I wonder what you'll think of the music that got me through my next Tor novel--lots of surf guitar and rockabilly! :) But I do love a good story song. cheers Charles

I can only assume he means Mystery of Grace, which is the only novel that came out after this exchange but I still haven't read it yet. Bad, Tonya! Ok, so maybe I'm a little silly and this is not such a big deal, but I was impressed. All this is a lead up to the title of the book I just finished, The Onion Girl. The title comes from a song by Holly Cole. I'm going to share the lyrics with you because it not only describes the heroine of de Lint's book, but most of us too.

I'm a bit unstable, she said with a Cheshire grin
So many cracks in my sidewalk, boy
Don't you fall in.

Feels like the things that I've wanted
The most in this life I can't have
So you see I've been damning the world before it damns me

She said I'm naked and shameless
And I'm peeling back the layers
Like an onion girl
Don't try to save me Just stay away 'Cause I might make you cry
Like an onion girl
Like an onion girl

Second grade playground I still haven't the nerve
Fear is under my skin like St. Anthony's fire
And I can't stand the burn
So let's break a little bread, have a little laugh
I haven't laughed for a while cause it's a long road back, yes
From the womb tonight

I'm naked, shameless And peeling back the layers
Like an onion girl
Don't try to save me Just stay away 'Cause I might make you cry, yes
Like an onion girl
Like an onion girl

Ok, on to the book. I'm sure you've figured out that it may not matter if I've even read the book, if it's by Charles de Lint, I'm probably going to like it. His story lines follow my interests: music, spirituality and ancient religions, and self-growth and of course, lots and lots of fairies, goblins, and other equally fun characters. The Onion Girl is Jilly's story. Jilly is a character that shows up in a lot of his books. I was excited when I saw there was a book telling her story. In several other books there is reference to some traumatic past that Jilly isn't willing to share and I always wondered that was. Maybe I missed it somehow, but it seems that de Lint forgot this little fact because all of her friends in the book acted like she had always been open about her past. In the books I remember, Jilly alludes to it, but always seems to not want to talk about it and no one else seemed to know what happened. Of course, I haven't read nearly all of his books and there are probably ten more that show her opening up.

The book begins as Jilly has had a terrible accident. A hit and run driver has left her in a coma and possibly paralyzed. The upside is that now Jilly appears able to cross into the dreamlands that she has always wanted to visit and has never been able to before. She can only do it in her dreams but it becomes clear that her experiences are real. Joe, a friend that is also one of the Animal People (his parents were a crow and a dog) tells her to not spend so much time there. She will only be able to heal when she deals with an older inside hurt that never healed. The story follows Jilly in the present day, mainly, and her sister in the past as they make their way toward each other again after 30 years apart. And they are both very different than either remembers...

If you like "urban fantasy" then you will love this book. Modern day collides with the fairy-lands and native spirituality in The Onion Girl.

"I'm not as trusting as people think I am. Sure, I see the best in people, but that doesn't mean it's really there."
- Jilly
Saturday, June 20, 2009 3 comments By: Suzanne

Audio: Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

I have to admit that I never read Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier before. I wasn't even sure of the plot. How this happened is beyond me. You would think a book as well known as this with it's hooks in pop culture would have found it's way to me before this, but alas, it had not. I recently finished listening to it and was IMPRESSED. Now I get it! I understand why this book is so popular!

If you're anything like me, and do not know what this book is about, let me explain a little. Our never-named heroine is the companion to Mrs. Hopper, an older lady whom our heroine despises, and on vacation in Monte Carlo when she meets Maxim DeWinter. Maxim is recently a widower and obviously still worked up over his wife's death. There is not really a whirl-wind romance, as there is very little romance in it, but shortly afterward Maxim proposes to our heroine. The new Mrs. Winter returns with him to Manderly, the family estate that had been run by the previous Mrs. DeWinter: Rebecca. Rebecca is like a ghost haunting Manderly. Her touch is everywhere. The servants continue to run things as Rebecca did, especially Mrs. Danvers. Mrs. Danvers appears to feel a special dislike for the new Mrs. DeWinter, since Mrs. Danvers was very close to Rebecca, and she seems to be doing things just to make the new bride uncomfortable. Mrs. DeWinter is very young and easily intimidated. Along with her name, we are also not aware of her exact age, it seems to around 18-22 or so, though I would guess the younger end of that spectrum. As she tries to adjust to her new surroundings, she is constantly inundated with reminders of Rebecca, and inferences that she may not be good enough to fill her shoes. The more our heroine hears of Rebecca, the more it seems the beautiful ghost is everywhere. The final straw may be when she sees the old bedroom, which Mrs. Dancers continues to keep ready as if in wait for Rebecca's return.

First of all I was a little confused by the proposal. The proposal is closer to a business proposition than a marriage proposal but I have to remind myself that marrying for romantic reasons was only common in recent history. It may have been more common when Rebecca was written but it was still also fairly common to marry for economic reasons. What was ocnfusing about it is that Maxim doesn't seem to have any reason at all for marrying this girl. He doesn't appear to love her and she comes from unknown economic background.

Then, I was just plain annoyed with the fact that the poor girl has no name. I understand the reasoning for it. She feels insignificant and inferior to Rebecca. But there are times when it's just awkward for her not to have a name. Like when Maxim comments that her name is remarkable and odd. If we're not going to know it, then this comment is simply a distraction from the story. It brings too much attention to the fact that DuMaurier is not going to name her. I remember reading last year a book (unfortunately I don't remember the name of it) in which the heroine is never named, but it's so well written that you don't even notice! Bringing attention to it, as DuMaurier does, takes you out of the story.

I was also very irritated with how easily intimated and cow-towed she was throughout most of the book. I know that I might be a little intimidated if I came into that situation but I would stick up for myself. Even when I was 18 I would have stuck up for myself. It's not until the end of the book that she begins to "grow up" a little and grow a backbone.

In spite of all this I really did like the book. I kept waiting for the next shoe to drop, because I KNEW it would. I was not all that surprised when Maxim told his wife his big secret. I just knew something like that had to happen. I kept waiting for Mrs. Danvers to get what was coming to her. And I kept wondering, after all this, what would make them leave Manderly. If they could survive that, why would they ever leave? We know from the beginning of the book that something has happened to make them leave, as the first line (and most quoted) of the book is "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again." The description of her dream is so eerie and beautiful. It sets up DuMaurier's prose perfectly but it also perfectly sets up the constant question in your mind of, "What's going to happen?" I think what finally happens, is the real surprise of the book. Maxim's secret is nothing compared with this. The shocker of it is wonderful.

I think it may be the writing style that I loved so much. Would I have liked this book as much without it? Don't know. I like a good ghost story and I love the old gothic stories. Even though this was written in 1938, I kept having to remind myself when they said "car" they really meant car and not horse drawn carriage. It's just written that way. I kept picturing an older time.

If you have not read Rebecca but enjoyed Jane Eyre then you will love this book. In fact, my comparison is not the first. I came across an interesting tidbit while looking up the history of the book. Apperently there was a Brazillian author, Carolina Nabuco, that claimed DuMaurier stole the idea for Rebecca from her book, The Successor. From Wikipedia: Nina Auerbach alleged, in her book Daphne du Maurier, Haunted Heiress, that du Maurier read the Brazilian book when the first drafts were sent to be published in England and based her famous bestseller on it. According to Nabuco's autobiography, she refused to sign a contract brought to her by a United Artists' worker in which she agreed that the similarities between her book and the movie were mere coincidence. Du Maurier denied copying Nabuco's book, as did her publisher, claiming that the plot used in Rebecca was quite common. However, this plot was fairly common, including Jane Eyre, which was older than both books. It's amazing to me that people are so sensitive that they would see something similar and shout foul. I wonder if Nabuco ever considered the fact that her plot was so similar to Jane Eyre? Also from Wiki: Nabuco's A sucessora (The Successor) has a main plot similar to Rebecca, including a young woman marrying a widower and the strange presence of the first wife — plot features also shared with the far older Jane Eyre.

So, all this to say that even with the few quirks, I really enjoyed this novel and wish I had found it much sooner.
Friday, June 19, 2009 15 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: Crossroads

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


Well I still haven't finished unpacking so this is the closest book: Crossroads of Twilight from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. That's what happens when you move. A book you read 5 years ago becomes the closest one!

She had to be the sister Rajar had spoken of, yet compared to the others, the agelessness was hardly noticeable in her. Compared to the other two, she was hardly noticeable at all.
Monday, June 15, 2009 4 comments By: Suzanne

Home Story: New House

In case anyone is wondering why I found the time to post about a book when I hardly had time to do the Friday 56 this week, I got all my stuff moved in to my new house yesterday. The house is a still filled with boxes (we can hardly move through the house) but it's all here. YAYYYYY!! The new place is still a rental, I'm still in a duplex but it's much nicer. The other place was simply falling apart. And even though I'm sure I got the rat to go away (or at least stay in the walls where he belongs) the fact that Loki was still way too interested in the kitchen cabinets bothered me constantly. Here's the story I told about that in you missed it. An update to that story: natural ways to repel mice...

I have two dogs, a bird, and a third dog that is over so often he might as well live with me so using rat poison is out of the question. Rats also carry all kinds of diseases so luring it out where it can get trapped is also out of the question. I don't want the dogs finding it when I'm not home and eating it or getting bit. You might have noticed that in the previous story I called him a mouse. Mouse is such a cute name. You think of cute little furry animals with pink noses. You can feel ok living with a cute furry animal with a pink nose living in your walls. Now that I don't live there I feel comfortable calling it by it's proper name: Rat. That's the only thing that could possibly have made droppings that large. I never actually saw the rat, except for one brief image when I caught him scurrying out the hole under the kitchen sink, so I can't say for sure but I feel confident enough to say it was a rat based on those abnormally large mouse droppings. Ok, getting to the repelling. Have you noticed I can be a bit long winded sometimes?

I started researching how to naturally repel mice. I kept finding references to peppermint oil and (oddly enough) Bounce dryer sheets. This seemed so far fetched that I dismissed it at first. But it kept popping up. I thought, ok, Bounce has found this obscure reference to it POSSIBLY repelling mice and has run with it. They have some guy in their IT department just online all day filling the web with notes about Bounce repelling mice on the all the "natural home" websites. But there were a lot of personal accounts of it working. The other big thing I saw was peppermint oil. This one I could buy, so why not Bounce sheets? Ok, I thought, I'll try it. But I'm putting the peppermint oil in there too just in case.

I personally don't use dryer sheets because I hate that smell. Yes, I know, I'm weird. Maybe I'm part mouse. I already had some peppermint oil, so I put it on some cotton balls and threw it in the cabinets and drawers where I know he'd already been plus in all the rest of cabinets in the kitchen and different possible openings throughout the house. I then went out and bought some Bounce sheets to boost my mouse/rat repelling power. I did not notice any signs of that rat in the last month I was there. I like to think this worked but I honestly don't know. He wasn't coming in the kitchen anymore, that's for sure. There were no droppings anywhere in the house but, who knows? Maybe he was just biding his time, waiting to terrorize the next tenant.

So, now I'm in my new place. It's 9:15 in the morning and I'm doing nothing. I've rescheduled my clients for Wednesday so I can work on getting the house in order but that's not happening so fast right now. I'm finding it much more interesting to write about my rat situation. I'm am very much enjoying not worrying and wondering if there is a mouse in my house. For all I know there are mice in these walls too. But this place is not falling apart. I don't have to put plastic sheeting on the windows AND CABINETS to keep my temperature even in the house. Windows I can buy. It's an old house with old windows. But the cabinets should not be ice boxes in the winter and microwaves in the summer. I'm enjoying my central a/c. No more window units! And I know I will love my central heat in the winter. No more cuddling up to the wall heater. I love my tub that DOESN'T fill with bugs coming up the drain pipe throughout the day that I have to wash back down before using it every morning. I love that I DON'T have to keep all-purpose cleaner sitting on the side of the tub because of this. I love my house that DOESN'T tilt to the east. I love that my washer and dryer are INSIDE the house so I don't have to walk out and around the house to get to it. I love that my outdoor water facet is NOT on the other side of the fence where I have to walk all the way around the house to turn it on just water my garden. Some of these things I never told anyone. It's embarrassing to live in a house like that. But now that I don't, I don't mind letting you know. I live in a much better house now! Oh, yes, I'm so glad I moved. Now I just have to get things in order. Now I just have to find my work clothes...

20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

This is the second book in a row that I find might have been mis-marketed. The blurb on the back makes it sound like fluff (in the chick lit sort of way) but it was fairly heavy, even making me cry at times.

Anna and Frankie are best friends. They have been since they were babies, along with Frankie's older brother, Matt, the trio: inseparable. Unknown to Frankie (or anyone), Anna has been in love with Matt for years. At her 15th birthday party, Matt makes it clear he has the same feelings for her. Anna is flying high in love for a few weeks, until tragedy strikes. This book is the story of a family recovering from loss, and a girl who doesn't know how to label her grief. It's a story of a friendship redefining itself when a trio becomes a duet. And it's about being a teenager and all the normal, awful, wonderful things that come along with that.

It's only been lately that I've been disappointed in the blurbs on the backs of books. Normally, they're pretty good at describing the book in just a way that gets you interested without giving too much away. That's why I use them in my reviews. I'm usually afraid if I write my own, I'll spoil something. But the last few books I've read have just been completely off the mark. This one made it sound like Anna and Frankie were just two crazy teenagers having a high old time on vacation, and oh by the way, Frankie's brother has just died. (This is not a spoiler, it's on the back of the book). The minute I began reading, I knew it got the tone of the book wrong. I'm sure it must be hard for new authors to push the marketing of their book in a certain direction. They're probably just thrilled someone's marketing it at all. This isn't as blatant as Royal Blood but reading them back to back like that made it seem similar.

This book was wonderful though. I cried, I laughed, and I hoped along with the girls. I was 16 again with every wonderful and horrible thing that implies.
Saturday, June 13, 2009 3 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: None for me please!

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

HAPPY FRIDAY! Or Saturday as the case may be!

I'm sorry guys! I've been moving for the past few days and completely forgot to put up a post for the 56 until my lovely friends decided to add theirs to last week's post. Thank you for that! I'm so glad that ya'll enjoy this so much that you just do it on your own without my posting first. That means the 56 is bigger than my little blog. I'm not posting one this week but I here's the link for last week's post so everyone can see the ones that have posted already. If you want to continue posting there that's fine, but I've got this one so if anyone else wants to post, it'll show here right away. Any posts older than 1 week have to be approved and I don't know when I'll be back on this weekend. See ya next week!
Friday, June 5, 2009 11 comments By: Suzanne

Friday 56: 20 Boy Summer

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


The closest book to me right now is 20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. I've been really behind in my reading lately, spending way too much time on the computer. I've had this book for a couple weeks but haven't started it yet. Now that I've finished Royal Blood I guess I can now! Here's my post for this week:

I give him and mom one more round of hugs before settling in next to Frankie in the backseat. After a few more words to Red and Jayne about taking care of the Perinos' plants, house, and mail while we're away, Mom and Dad finally let us leave.
Thursday, June 4, 2009 7 comments By: Suzanne

My Favorite Reads: Samaria Series

Alyce who writes the blog At Home With Books has come up with an ingenious new meme. Take a book you read before your started your blog and write a little blurb about it. It doesn't have to be a full review. Just give the book it's time on your blog.

I love this idea because there are so many books I have never talked about on her that changed me in some way. I'm going to do things just a little bit different than Alyce. Instead of giving you the mass-marketed blurb for these books, I'm going to write what I remember of the stories. I think this will show what why it was so important to me that I needed to write about it all these years later. Instead of choosing a book for my first one, I'm choosing a series. I read the Samaria Series by Sharon Shinn several years ago and I read them right in order without reading anything else in between so I remember them more as one story, than several different stories, even though there are different characters in each one.

Samaria is a world far from our own inhabited by the descendants of humans from Earth. Their ancestors fled a dying Earth that was destroyed by our technology. The planet they found to inhabit had the right conditions to live on for the most part, except the weather was so erratic and sometimes dangerous, they needed some way to control it. They spaceship they came in would be able to do this for them, with only occasional commands. These people decided to give up all technology, as they felt this is what led to the destruction of Earth. In order to continue living on the planet, however, the needed to be able to continue communication with the ship. They found a way around this dilemma by creating people who could fly up into the sky within range of the ship microphones and sing the commands in song. Over many generations a religion grew up around this practice. The flying people were angels and the ship, now unknown o both people and angels, became their god. The series opens in the first book in these generations that do not know their own origins. It is about the interaction between angels and humans, what goes wrong when someone begins to suspect there is more to their origins than they believed, and how to continue their simple society when inventors want to bring new gadgets to people.

I was initially drawn to this series because of the overt Old Testament themes. Although I am not religious myself, I love reading about all kinds of religions. Religions that may be derived from those we already know, seem just fascinating. Shinn is an excellent writer. Her imagery is beautiful and her stories take you away to possible worlds, not just fantastical ones. This series led me to read everything she has written. Of course, I'm still working on that part! I am in the middle of The Twelve Houses Series now.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Royal Blood by Rona Sharon

I am probably the last person to review this book. I feel like I've been reading it forever. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get through it. The writing was wonderful. Sharon's style is vivid and funny and made me want to keep turning the page while I was reading. However, until I got to the supernatural stuff I just had a hard time reading. For some reason I got it in my head that this book was historical fiction. I hadn't read any of the reviews that everyone else did because I didn't want to be tainted while I was reading the book. Something about the style and blurb in the book made me think historical fiction. Maybe the author and publisher wanted to mislead people, not sure. Maybe they wanted the other stuff to be a surprise. I'm going to ruin the surprise so if you don't want to know stop reading at the end of this paragraph! I have to say this book is WONDERFUL! If you like supernatural fantasy with a little erotica, you're in luck. This is the book for you!

If the author and publishers wanted people to be surprised by vampire storyline, it worked. However, I think they're lucky that I LOVE vampire fiction. I've read a lot of vampire fiction, the good and the bad. I was thrilled when I realized the turn the story was taking. I also like historical fiction but I haven't been in a historical fiction kind of mood lately. I promised to review this book before I stopped taking books and so felt I had to do it to keep my promise. Someone else who might, like me, be expecting straight historical fiction but does not care for vampire fiction would probably be turned off by the book. I'm not sure it's a good marketing strategy. There are many, many, many good historical fiction writers. Sharon's book could easily get lost. However, there are many authors of vampire fiction but only a few GOOD ones. Those of us that love a good vampire novel are always on the look out for a good one. Of course, I'm not in the book marketing industry so, what do I know?

The one thing that bugs me about vampire fiction is that some authors feel the need to use an excessive amount of sex. And the long descriptions of what the couple is doing to each other, page after page, is just a little on the pornographic side. I like sex as much as the next person, in case you're interested. I'm not a prude and would rather read/watch about sex than violence (one of my soap boxes - our society bans the wrong stuff. Violence is more damaging to people than sex) but I don't like to read porn. I want a good story. Making people want to stop reading and find their partner is not necessarily a good story. There wasn't a lot of it throughout the book but once it got started, it was in every chapter near the end. I'm just glad the storyline was so riveting otherwise I might have just put it away the way I did with the last few Anita Blake novels. Hamilton's books don't even count as anything other than erotica anymore. I understand the connection between vampire lore and sex. It's always been there. But there are ways to do it (and some authors are good at this) without making your readers feel like they're reading porn. On the other hand, I think some people seek out this kind of writing. So, maybe, that's who she's writing it for.

Again, I will say that this story itself was riveting. Once I got to the vampire story, I just couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this book.