Monthly Archives: September 2013

Go Hawks

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As a proud long standing member of the 12th Man – I am so so so pleased with this evenings NFL match up of the Seattle Seahawks and the SF 49’ers.  Such stars on our team.

And the FOX broadcast guys (who I normally love) can suck it!

FOXNFL

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Standing at a Great Precipice

I am at the edge of a great precipice.  I need a new book to read.  I love and loathe this moment.  I always hope that I select a book that will be awesome and entertain, awe, shock or effect me in some way.  I have several that I’ve loaded on ye ole kindle device waiting to be started.  Just what to choose.  The last book was so INTERESTING (Ocean at the End of the Lane), and before that Odd Thomas was such a nice surprise.   I have an 11.5 hour flight tomorrow which means at some point my Kindle battery will probably die.  I’ve loaded a few books in multiple locations (Kindle, laptop, and surface) so I’ll be ready to roll.

My choices are endless – which is part of the problem.  There are so many great great books.  I was reading another blog earlier today from a writer, and they recommended reading great literature every once and a while to continue to hone your own ‘voice’ with the classics.  I have a few classics loaded (Great Gatsby, Tale of Two Cities, and Call of the Wild).  I have a bunch of books from authors I’ve enjoyed in the past (More Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich, the next Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz, Red Shirts by John Scalzi, Scarlet by Marissa Meyers, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde and a few others).  And I have a few books that are new to me by recommended by others (Cloud Atlas, Life After Life).  What to choose?  I will most likely have time to read a couple of books with the downtime on the plane and at night after tackling email.     I am sort of leaning towards Jasper Fforde.  I really enjoyed the Thursday Next series – so creative and written like no other books I’d ever read, and who doesn’t like Dragons?  Neato.

I’m also bringing a paperback for take off, landings and complete battery suckage if all devices die.   For the paperback I have a creepy book by Gillian Flynn called Dark Places.  I am a few chapters in on that one, and like Gone Girl it’s giving me the eebie jeebies.  I also recently picked up a book by Pam Binder, who will be my professor this fall, called The Quest (looks like it’s about Scottish Highlanders in a mystical time… ).  Will probably bring The Quest because its slightly smaller than the Dark Places book and space/weight is a premium when  you’re carrying on a flight.   I also have the giant fall Vogue to look through and leave with the flight attendants (heck, that will take up 1.5 hours, so YAY for pretty pictures).

If all else fails, I have also downloaded the rest of the season for Continuum, 666 Park Avenue (RIP), and the latest Project Runway.  I should be able to fill up those hours with ease!!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane & Stardust

Ocean_at_the_End_of_the_Lane_US_CoverFinished the book The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman last night. It is a small little book, so was a pretty fast read. I’ve had this on my reading list for a while and finally had the opportunity to get into it. Now that I’ve finished, I’m still not sure I understand what happened or what was supposed to be happening in the book, but I enjoyed the story quite a bit. It was mystical, magical and strange, but enjoyable. I think this might be the most creative book I’ve read this year, so I’m giving it a five star rating.

The story is told in flashback mode with a now adult remembering a terrifying period in his childhood. You forget that you’re in flashback mode, because the majority of the story is told in this mode, rather than flipping back and forth. The main character is a 7 year old boy and meets an 11 year old neighbor after one of their house guests commits suicide near her house.

I honestly, didn’t know what was going on for the first fourth of the book, but finally suspended reality and went with it and it became much more enjoyable. It was very descriptive, and considering many of the characters in the book were mystical, he’s done a great job of taking the English countryside in the 1960s and turning it on it’s ear.

After finishing the book, I went to see if Neil Gaiman had any other stories I could read and noticed that he was also the author of the book ‘Stardust’ which was made into a fun movie a few years back with Claire Danes (she was a falling star). I picked up another one of his books to see if I’d like that story as well.  I think I might want to read Stardust as well, even though I’ve already seen the movie.  I read in another review that the Hempstock ladies (the little girl’s family) show up in that book too.  I liked those kooky ladies.

I think now that I’ve finished I should read it again and try to discern a bit more of what was happening. Especially after discovering that Mr Gaiman is the same character that wrote a love story where one of the characters was a ‘falling star’. 🙂 This would be an excellent book for a book club, allowing everyone to debate what the heck is going on and if there are supposed to be parallel storylines going on etc.  Mom – time to pick this book up so we can discuss.

That said – I will not be rereading this book this year – I just completed 32 of the 52 books I want to read this year, and am 4 books behind where I need to be at this point in the year to make my goal. Good news in this, on Monday I’m on a plane for 11.5 hours heading to Tokyo – so that should help me catch up (as long as I don’t get distracted by the video games I just loaded on my lap top, the tv shows I loaded on my surface and the giant fall Vogue I am bringing!) 🙂

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Kathy has
read 32 books toward her goal of 52 books.
hide

 

Oddie and his band of merry men help me get to 31 of 52!

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Kathy has
read 31 books toward her goal of 52 books.
hide

 

Finished Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz this morning. 31 books read on the road to reading 52 this year. Actually wanted to finish so badly was slightly later to work than normal (though we don’t have ‘hours’ so it doesn’t really matter). This book was a strong recommendation from my husband, but I put off reading it for years because I thought the genre was one I wouldn’t like. I really liked it. I didn’t give it 5 of 5 stars only because there were a couple of things in the book that were head scratchers and I want the series to have time to grow.

Not sure if this below part contains spoilers or not – so read on at your own risk.  🙂

This is my first Dean Koontz novel. I usually don’t read horror and for some reason I thought this would be horror. It certainly had some scary moments that were nail biters, and then some gruesome moments (e.g. finding the trophies in the freezer) – but the humor and character development was so rich and enticing that you forgot about those bits quickly after reading them. I loved the character Odd. He was fearless, which helped me as the (sometimes) timid reader be fearless as well. I would categorize this more as a thriller than horror. But perhaps after watching the first season of that creepy show American Horror Story nothing seems like horror anymore.

Near the end there were a couple of doozy twists that I was not expecting which always makes me happy when reading a book too (though one of the twists had me bawling – thanks husband for the recco! sheesh).

I’ve already downloaded the next one and am happy to have ‘discovered’ this series to give me something to read as a go to when I have a hole in the book lineup. Going to take a break for now though – that ending was hard hitting and I need to recover. phew!

Up next?  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.  I fly to Tokyo on Monday so will have ample time to read a few books (11.5  hours there and 8.5 hours back yeesh).  But do feel I need to make up some nice ground on this challenge before my novel writing and anthropology class start up later this month and next.

City of Bones and Young Adult misery….

Okay – as promised in blog post 20 (!! I made it to 20 yay!) – I am going to write out my thoughts on Cassandra Clare’s first book in the Mortal Instrument’s series “City of Bones”. I have been reading a lot of Young Adult books to a) get a feel for the ‘voice’ of Young Adult in the event that I move that direction with my writing and b) because I like the ease of cruising through a YA book in between the more serious books I have on my ‘to read’ list. HA!

I picked up City of Bones based on a recommendation from a few gf’s at work.  We all trade YA book reccos, and all loved the Harry Potter, Twilight (!!), Divergent and Hunger Game series.  We often hit the movies together as a ‘girls night’ wine in hand, mainly because our husband’s refuse to be subjected to the film torture.  We’re looking forward to this holiday’s next Hunger Games, and next spring’s Divergent in the theaters.   We haven’t steered each other wrong yet, so after I finished Samantha Shannon’s Bone Season, I quickly downloaded City of Bones (we wanted to make another movie date of it – even with the bad reviews of the film).

The-Mortal-Instruments-City-of-Bones-Book-Cover

Okay – on with my thoughts.  Probably should put a *SPOILER ALERT* here if you want to read on, but haven’t read the book.  I can see why my colleagues liked it.  The paranormal world that Cassandra Clare has created right under the nose of the ‘Mundanes’ in NYC is rich and interesting.  Adding new elements than your average Were/Vamp novel, with demons and demon hunters.  That said there were things that were written into this book that seemed so ridiculous and poorly thought through that I couldn’t fully endorse (let’s be clear, I’ll still go to the movie with the ladies and drink some wine!).  Here is what I had the biggest problem with it:

  • The main character “Clary” found out within the first few pages that demos, vampires, and werewolves existed along shadow hunters to accompany them.   Her mother is kidnapped, and her house destroyed by these weird lizard critters.  Was her reaction hysterics, or bewilderment, or fascination, or terror?  newp.  She barely had a reaction, just as if these things were always around, not completely preposterous.  Problem 1 for me.  She didn’t have any reaction to this crazy new world, just transitioned from ‘mundane’ human to super hero in a matter of pages.
  • Within 24 hours of meeting the ‘love interest’ Jace in the book she was already talking about how his ‘moods’ impacted his behavior.  how the HECK would she know after less than 24 hours (most of that she was passed out/asleep due to a demo attack….).
  • The characters in general weren’t likable, or believable.  All the sudden one was gay in love with the main guy character.  All of the sudden Clary’s bff wanted to smoke and drink (and I am pretty sure they were supposed to be teenagers – and NOT that the smoking and drinking are odd for teens – but it cropped up out of nowhere, and prior to this the character seemed pretty nerdy/innocent.
  • A lot of predictable twists.  Was anyone really surprised that the big bad was this character’s true father?  I was a little surprised (and creeped out) when the ‘love interest’ was the long dead brother.  For that reason alone I MIGHT read the next book if I get desperate, but doubtful.  It would be interesting to see if they can turn off their hormones to be more brother and sister than bf and gf, or if they go Game of Thrones Cersi and Jaime on us.  (ew).
  • Lastly – I find the praise on the book cover hilarious.  “Funny, Dark, Sexy…”  It wasn’t funny- the characters were stale and not interesting at all.  The sexy parts ended up giving me the jeebies at the end due to the relationship – yick.  Dark?  okay dark.  people die and get stabbed etc and the world is a bad ass place.  Fine.

Anywhoo.  I didn’t like it very much, but didn’t want to not give up before finishing.  Glad I saw it through for the twists at the end.

Just started Odd Thomas on my husband’s insistence.  He L O V E S the Odd Thomas books and won’t read any of my other reccos until I read one of his.  So far so good.  Odd sees dead people.  🙂

 

Candy Crush Detox Day 3

nocandycrush

Okay – I’m on day 3 of no Candy Crush. Made it through the three day weekend. Made it through a couple days at work (but have been pretty busy, so that’s not really a surprise…I do get to play games at work, but this type of game isn’t really what I’m paid to know about). So far so good.

The next few hours will certainly be another test. We are settled in watching the opening NFL game and both of us are on our computers while watching (multitasking of course) – go Wes Welker (fantasy team WR) and Justin Tucker (fantasy kicker)!  Usually though we’re watching Red Zone so the action is non-stop.  Watching just one game can get a little boring when it’s not your team (Go HAWKS!), so I must come up with things to do to occupy my time that don’t have the words Candy or Crush in their title.

Here is my proposed list:
1) Watch the game (of course)
2) clean out my work inbox (almost done with that already – actually taking a break to write this blog – ha!)
3) read some of the other blogs and Writer’s Digest mails I have in my Hotmail account.
4) Book a hotel in NYC for our visit with friends upcoming in October (fun!)
5) Play Small World with P so he can redeem himself from last time
6) Write a book review on City of Bones: Mortal Instruments #1
7) Read these the-30-most-hilarious-autocorrect-struggles-ever (http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/the-30-most-hilarious-autocorrect-struggles-ever)  because they are hilarious!
8) Avoid the Sugar Rush…

Wish me luck!

Candy Crush Detox Day 1

I mentioned yesterday that today I was going to NOT play candy crush.  Full day – no crush!  We have loads of stuff planned for the day; 4m race this am at 9a, grocery shop after that, dog park after that, clean up yard after that, fantasy football research… etc.  Busy, busy this labor day.

That said – waking up at 5:30a is a real test.  This is our normal week day wake up time, mainly because that is when the dogs want their breakfast and when we get up to hit the gym m,w,f. But, on a day like today where we don’t have to leave the house until about 8a to get to the race down at Marymoor park, it leaves me with a little free time.

Here is the plan 1) read some email (I’m getting these great mails from writer’s digest that have little nuggets in them) 2) check out facebook – but NOT Candy Crush.  3) have breakfast and 4) start up Skyrim again.

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PAX Critter no.1

P and I went to the Penny Arcade Expo yesterday (PAX for those in the know) and besides coming away with a new Star Trek Catan game (!!), and once again longing for some very expensive gaming tables, we watched the demo for Bethesda’s upcoming Elder Scrolls Online and feel we need to try and complete more of the Elder Scroll’s Skyrim before it comes out.  That’s saying something – Skyrim has over 100 hours of content and the UI is a little jenky (why we stopped playing before).

pax1

PAX Critter no. 2

You may ask yourself, as I ask myself, why not use this time to ‘write’… well first, I AM writing.  See: ‘blog’ writing.  Next, I haven’t gotten into the groove of writing or forming real thoughts this early in the morning.  I know a few published authors who use this time (some get up even earlier than me) to crank out a couple thousand words.  Not me.   I usually use this time to drink a protein shake, listen to the news (on the radio *gasp* how old school) and catch up on games I need to try out for work, whilst my brain wakes up.  That nasty nasty Candy Crush has really sidelined ‘real’ game playing.  So today – as part of the Candy Crush detox, I will play SOMETHING else this AM.