Library Loot: eclectic as usual

My little sister is all into yoga and that type of stuff, for example her “Religion” on facebook is listed as “Peace, Love and Happiness,” and I’ve been to a few yoga classes with her. One particular instructor was all about “balance” and “chakras” and “finding your third eye.” I can barely balance on one foot so balancing my energy, soul, or chakras is nigh on impossible.

And although my reading choices are decidedly tilted towards anything with a happy ending (namely romance) I try to have a little bit of balance there too. I’m still working on the balancing on one leg thing though…

This week’s Library Loot needed some distinct balancing – following my self-imposed rule of having to read a book before going to see a movie it’s based upon I have been super intrigued by The Road commercials. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve had a thing for Viggo Mortensen since LOtR. I put myself on the wait list of my library for it and received dire warnings from friends to read it privately with a box of tissues handy, *not* a good read in public on the metro in 20 minute pieces.

Knowing I was getting myself into a dreary apocalyptic world with a father and son fighting death, and possibly succumbing to it, I had to add some sweetness, light, and happiness to my library loot pile.

Here is the math in my mind: Any depression from The Road will be equalized by no less than three (3) Romance Novels…

  1. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (never read anything by him before, but hubby loved the movie No Country For Old Men)
  2. Untouched, by Anna Campbell (never read anything by her before either, but heard her first book Claiming the Courtesan is awesome)
  3. The Confessions of a Duchess, by Nicola Cornick
  4. A Duke of Her Own, by Eloisa James (I’ve had my ups and downs with this series but overall *adore* this author and am excited for the Duke of Villiers to find his match in this final book of the series)

Now let’s just hope my math was right and when I finish reading this stack my reading chakras are all balanced and I’m not still depressed from The Road.

Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Marg and Eva

Dead and Gone, by Charlaine Harris

dead-and-gone-coverI’m all wrapped up in the true joyfulness of squeeing fandom, so this post might have some incoherent bits.  I won’t write ANY spoilers though, I promise.

I called the closest bookstore to my house last week and put a copy of Dead and Gone on hold. It came out today and the store opened at 8am. Guess where I was at 8:05? You guessed it! Literally my hands were shaking (I was going to say I was quivering, but that word is forever banned after a lifetime of reading romance novels) with excitement. I don’t even know why I bothered coming into work today…

I loved Dead and Gone, it is my second favorite book of the series after Dead to the World. A- grade for them both!

I was a speed-reader with the Harry Potter books, so I can’t remember which one to specifically compare Dead and Goneto, but this book definitely had a darker edge, similar to the turn the HP series took as well. Again NO SPOILERS but two characters who are not enemies do die and I experienced the same feeling I got when Dumbledore died…are they REALLY DEAD? (or haha “definitely dead”? inside Sookie joke!!! fist bump to all the other fans! [i told u i wasn’t going to be making sense]) With magic books I always have this little kernel of hope.

I’m still in denial about Dumbledore.

 Sookie’s life, personality, town, goals, future, you name it…will never be the same. This book was a real turning point in her character and as it’s narrated in first person we the reader saw the largest amount of progression in her character arc.

Harris’ neat turns of phrase expressing Sookie’s wry humor and sharp observations, even about herself, still stand out to me after 9 books in the series. Sometimes Sookie’s voice annoys me, but for the most part she will make me LOL. Like when Sookie’s boss Sam pisses her off while they are working together at his bar, Merlotte’s:

“I’m sorry,” he said, but it was too late. I was on my high horse and I was riding it out of Merlotte’s. I was out the back door before our heaviest drinker could have counted to five.

The delightful Janet over at Dear Author also wrote an excellent review with many of the quotes that stood out to me while I was reading it as well.

I have invested emotionally in Sookie, and definitely want a happily ever after ending for her, and usually I try to find out BEFORE I heavily invest in a book whether it is a series or involves a love triangle/quadrangle/ etc because I want instant gratification *bangs spoon on table in toddler tantrum* and I want it now! Sigh, too late now, after buying all 9 books her romantic life is NO CLEARER.

The main love triangle is between Bill, Eric, and Sookie and Bill vs Eric fans take things pretty seriously. It bears repeating from an earlier post I wrote about this, but HBO’s tv series based on the books made me in favor of Bill, while the books themselves have me leaning completely towards Eric.

Either way Dead and Gonehas bits that will make both Bill AND Eric fans happyish, but again, no resolution, not even CLOSE.

I’m sure Ms. Harris has something fabulous brewing in her brain, but we’ll all just have to wait another year until the next book comes out!!!!

[EDITED TO ADD] Ugh, totally forgot two things, my b.

1.  One secondary story line follows a murder and I totally knew who the murderer was this time. Usually Harris has been able to keep it from me, but this time it wasn’t as suspenseful

2. The info dumping (ie explanations of sci-fi fantasy world/rules, backstories, etc) was not as bad in this book as it has been in others. When we are introduced to the depths of the Fae kingdom, their history, hierarchy, powers, motivations, etc  these are painted in world building conversations and observations that flow more smoothly into the narration.

Seriously this alternate world is so believable, I can’t help but wonder if the Japanese really ARE creating synthetic blood?!!! I might start carrying some silver, iron, and lemon juice just in case!

Upcoming release: Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

May 5th, May 5th, May 5th, May 5th…

I have been chanting that since I finished the 8th book in Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series this winter. Dead and Gone comes out next week, yayyyy!!! Can’t wait to read about the were community coming out into the open and Sookie’s cousin’s secret baby who is also a telepath!!!

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In preparation I am reading a few of my favorite Sookie books, especially Dead to the World where Sookie gets it on with Eric. No surprise there as I’ve mentioned this before, but he is my fave love interest of hers. AND this will all help me get ready for the Season Two premiere of True Blood, HBO’s version of Sookies world, it starts up again in June!

Marley and Me by John Grogan

marley-and-meI read Marley and Me over the Christmas holidays (glad I started keeping track of what I read otherwise I would never remember!) And YES I read it when the movie came out, how pop culture of me, I can’t claim to be avant garde in this instance. I had heard about the book for years but never picked it up, and seeing the movie trailer was the final impetus to actually read it. I NEVER see a movie without reading the book first. My personal rule.

I really liked the book, it read sort of like one of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books, and I thought Grogan did a great job tying together all the little anecdotes and vignettes into a smooth story line. Including so much about his family’s struggles and developments made it more poignant and interesting to me, above and beyond a “funny dog book.” Although sometimes I got the same feeling I got when I read Nanny Diaries or The Devil Wears Prada: just quit already! Some of the stories about Marley was sooo horrible it seemed masochistic to keep him! But as a dog lover myself I know those puppy eyes trump everything. “B grade” overall for me, I would definitely read it again.

Why I am posting about this now when I read the book months ago? Well because we netflixed the movie this weekend and almost every scene was a MAJOR WTF moment for me, and I ranted and raved at the screen.

Hubby started televiserphonernetting (why did Comcast stop with those commercials, they were genius) and paid almost no attention to the movie or to me as he had no point of reference for my diatribe having not read the book or chosen to rent the movie…it was my turn to pick. I think he actually fell asleep cuddling his MacBook and Blackberry halfway through.

I was pissed off at how many times the movie deviated from what actually happened. Look, I know the movie is NEVER the same as the book, like the Harry Potter movies have changed SO MANY things from the plots in the books, but that’s exactly what they were for HP – PLOTS! As in FICTION!

But Marley and Me is NOT FICTION, so HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THE STORY IF IT IS TRUE? Ok deep breaths, step away from the caps lock key.

Everything from how they picked Marley out the litter, why he is a crazy dog, where Grogan worked, his wife’s pregnancies, to how Marley died were all different in the movie. This was absolutely retarded to me, and reinforces that Hollywood is full of idiots who can’t think of original story lines and just ruin it when they adapt other people’s ideas anyways.

At a party this weekend I mentioned I had seen the movie to someone and they asked how I liked it, they got a face-full of the rant above. Their response? “Wait, Marley and Me is a true story?” **insert WTF face again**

What is this world coming to??? I mean I know I read A LOT and that I pay more attention to new book releases and reviews that the average person, but am I a total book snob to think this person is a crazy troglodyte not to have known it is a true story?!?!?

Again, this is exactly why I started this blog earlier this year. Plus now hubby is much happier that he doesn’t have to hear quite as much about my reading adventures as I now have the interwebs as an audience.

And so the lion fell in love with the lamb

Stayed up way too late watching Twilight the movie and the second DVD with all the special features. I just signed up for Twitter and was tweeting as I watched, so instead of re-writing anything, here are my thoughts as they happened (in 140 characters or less of course!):

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  1. now that i’ve read midnight sun and twilight i think i’m ready for the Twilight movie. ALWAYS gotta read the book version first!
  2. just pressed play on twilight. first meeting with jacob was super awkward…due to their bad acting together
  3. r patz american accent sounds sooo fake
  4. is esme the same actress who was the crazy chick from greys anatomy? you know the amnesia patient that karev had a thing with?
  5. wtf he just called her a spider monkey. that is not sexy nor romantic
  6. yay lots more kissing in the movie than in the book
  7. sad that its 10:20 and hubby’s still not home from work. but that means i can watch disc 2 special features without him harumphing!
  8. can’t decide my favorite scene, when edward rolled the apple up into his hands like the cover? or all the kissing scenes?

The visual rendering was brilliant, so many of the scenes I played in my head while reading were only enhanced by the good old Hollywood magic.

 

But too many good parts were left out, and sometimes my imagination was far superior of what ended up on the screen.

 

What surprised me the most was that I really liked Kristen Stewart as Bella. I thought she said her lines a too fast a lot and she had some awkward acting moments, but she was my favorite actor in the movie. I think my opinion was prejudiced by Perez Hilton’s snarkiness towards her, but I thought she was fabulous.

 

And she has super-great-cute-brown-hair. I heart her hair.

Is Becky Australian, American, or British?

Imagine a famous book character, beloved by millions, written into a FIVE book series she is so popular, is turned into a feature length film! She would already have a built in fan-base eager to part with their recession dollars at the box office, right? But what if she was cast as an Australian actress, faking an American accent, but her character in 9084352 written pages of the novels was British? CONFUSING AND IRRITATING doesn’t really begin to describe it to me.

shopaholicWhile visiting my corporate headquarters in Boston yesterday, my HR team of 8 women was having a nice, calm, lunch around the conference room table together when one of my colleagues and I started screaming and gesturing wildly at each other in mutual distaste for how Hollywood has interpreted Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic Series. Whoever was in charge of that disaster should be drawn and quartered. (I’m not sure what drawn is, but being cut into quarters sounds bad enough)

When I saw the first trailer in the theatre I thought I must be hearing things wrong, it couldn’t be set in NYC, she couldn’t be faking an American accent, she couldn’t have the wrong job. That is ALL WRONG. Sadly I was with my sister, who had never read the books, nor had hubby, nor had my immediate friends. See why this blog is necessary now? Until our conference room outburst I hadn’t had the chance to share my disgust with anyone else.

Small disclaimer, I do love the actress protraying Becky, Isla Fisher, especially since her significant other is one of the funniest people of all time.shopaholic2

We agreed that even though we were huge fans of the series we would not see the movie because they had mutilated it, so we are actively boycotting. So that is two of us, I wonder how many others in Kinsella’s fan base will feel the same way?

Size 12 Is Not Fat, Meg Cabot

megcabotThis book came recommended by the younger sister of my bestie (let’s call her J) from college. We were having brunch at Circa before bridesmaid dress shopping for J’s upcoming nuptials! Selfishly I am super lucky that J picked Aria Dresses because she lives in NYC, found them online, and 1 of their only 3 stores is in my neighborhood in DC! (Aside: almost wedding season, such is the life in your mid-twenties!)

 

 Before checking it out from the library I did zero research, I picked it up based only on “I think you will like books by Meg Cabot.” I only knew she wrote the book that was turned into The Princess Diaries (I liked the movie, but only because I have huge crushes on Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway).

i have such a huge girl crush on her!!11!1

i have such a huge girl crush on her!!11!1

As I skimmed through her books on the shelf I chose it because the prose was written “normally,” the others I picked up were all written as letters, emails, and IM conversations back and forth between characters, which I did not find very appealing.

 

Size 12 is Not Fat started off pretty well for me, the first scene giving good insight into Heather’s character and setting up her background story as a fallen pop-star. I liked that she retained a good self-image throughout the story even though (per the title) others perceived her as fat, she never obsessed about her weight or losing it.

 

However, the main conflict in the book, the murder mystery, was based on a premise that didn’t work for me and subsequently annoyed me until the end. Then Heather’s narrative voice annoyed me even more, and finally the ending annoyed me to MAX when the romantic element (the most important part of any read to me) was NOT resolved! As I turned the last page I discovered the rest of Cabot’s backlist, explaining why Heather did not have a happy ending, this is a SERIES!   Continue reading