Stories You Read…

“Stories you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.” ―Neil Gaiman

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

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It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read my blog and realize that I’m a Bibliophile. I think any good writer is also a good reader, time permitting, but there’s always an exception to the rule. I, however, am probably a bit over the top where my reading is concerned. It’s extremely weird to me to go for any length of time, months for example, without reading.

I’ve got my Kindle Fire attached to my hip and when it’s charging, there’s generally a book in my hand…or I’m writing, cooking, or sleeping. No, it would not be the first time someone suggested I “get a hobby”. However, since my hobbies always turn into a full-time job, it’s probably best I just stick to books.

For the past three years I have challenged myself via Goodreads to read a certain amount of books. For one, it’s a great way to keep track of what you read on a yearly basis. Two, it’s fun. Three, it’s a nice way to challenge yourself. (If you decide to join, please feel free to send me a friend request.)

Last year I reached my 90 book goal, and I was far from trying to meet the deadline at the last minute. In fact, I originally started with a much lower number and slowly had to increase the number each time I passed a goal because I still had plenty left to read.

I read 80 books for the 2011 challenge. That initially seemed difficult, but I do manage to rack up the books pretty quickly. I even manage to squeeze in time to re-read an entire series of books (or three) on a semi-regular basis, which of course, does not count toward the challenge, but is still an awful lot of material to be reading.

This year I didn’t want to attempt to break the 90 book record and aim for 95 or even 100, but there’s a very strong possibility that I’ll go over the 60 I’ve committed myself to read. I am currently at 50, and it’s not even officially the middle of August. I’ve got five books on hold at my library, none of which have been released yet so I’ll be ahead of the pack on that front. I’ve also got several on deck as we speak. It’s rare when I am truly without something to read.

My re-reads over the past two weeks have been: Dead Witch Walking, The Good, The Bad, & The Undead, Every Which Way But Dead, A Fistful of Charms, and For A Few Demons More, by Kim Harrison. I love these books, some more than others. I stumbled upon this series of books one day in search for something new to read. The first three books were in a lovely Barnes & Noble display and the person on the display plugging her books was Jim Butcher, who is without question one of my absolute favorite authors. That was about eight years ago. I have read every single one of Kim’s books in the Hollows series, and clearly I’ve read them all more than once.

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In 2015 the series will come to a close and it will be a sad time for me and for everyone who loves these books. All good things must come to an end, but the Hollows is a must-read series, especially if you love and/or enjoy urban fantasy. It will make you laugh out loud, cry, cheer, and think. It’s been an extremely interesting journey from Dead Witch Walking to the most recent book, Ever After, which was released at the beginning of this year. On a very positive note, Kim has always been amazingly kind to me on Facebook, which I find incredibly sweet and will never forget about her. She doesn’t have to say a word or respond to anything, and yet, she does. That says a lot about her as a person, and it’s something I respect and admire. Her blog, which is also on WordPress, can be found here: http://kimharrison.wordpress.com/.

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I finished reading Affliction a few weeks ago. If you haven’t read the 20+ books that come before it, take a pass. If you have, and you’ve stuck with the series from the very beginning, you won’t want to miss this one. I was expecting to cringe my way through it, but I was nicely surprised to come away feeling good about it. I almost read it a second time, but since I really don’t have the time right now for that, it will have to wait a while. Maybe I’ll do it next year before the next book comes out.

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I recently finished reading Raylan by Elmore Leonard, which is loosely based off of Season 2 of Justified, as well as an episode from Season 4 that was particularly laugh out loud hilarious. I laughed so hard I cried, and I’ve watched it several times for the additional laughs. The rest didn’t follow along with anything in particular and if it did, it was bits and pieces that were changed around, but a great deal of it was based on real people in Harlan County, Kentucky.

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If you’re not a fan of the show or you’ve never heard of it or seen it, you’re probably living under a rock, and thus may only be able to appreciate the book if you’ve read the other two books that feature the Raylan Givens character, which is brilliantly brought to life on screen by the amazingly talented Timothy Olyphant. Tim breathes so much life and humor into the character, and as a fan of his already, I went into the pilot episode of Justified not knowing anything about the character and immediately became hooked. I own each season on DVD, and there’s no higher compliment I can pay a show than that. If I take the time to pre-order it a good year in advance, you know I’m crazy about it.

Justified has received seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations since its inception. That’s not a lot considering how amazing the show is, but I’m still extremely proud of each one. The show has an amazing cast of characters.

The series received its first nomination for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music (I LOVE this song! You will always hear me singing it whenever the show is on.). For the second season, it received four nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards: Timothy Olyphant for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (I’m not sure who I have to kill for him to win, but I am more than willing to do it.), Walton Goggins for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (The same applies here.), Margo Martindale for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and Jeremy Davies for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, with Margo Martindale winning, quite deservedly. I cried when she accepted the award. She is downright incredible. For the third season, it received two nominations for the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards, with Jeremy Davies winning for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (he’s truly hilarious), and a nomination for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series. I know this show will continue to shine, awards or no awards.

I’d forgotten that I’d read only part of Raylan when it was released in February 2012. I was probably distracted at the time since Season 3 was in full swing. I decided to re-visit it so I wouldn’t miss anything, and got an immense kick out of it. It is brilliant in a way that only Elmore Leonard can deliver.

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What else is on my current reading list? Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes, Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill, and Graveyard Child by M.L.N. Hanover. These books are all drastically different from one another, which gives me the freedom to jump from one to the other if I find my interest is lagging or I’m too tired to follow anything complex.

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The Beautiful Creatures novels are far better in book format than the film version. Key characters were cut entirely from the movie, which was horribly disappointing seeing as they were the best characters, and the richer characters they kept in the film were incredibly dull on screen, so if you’ve been wanting to see the movie, skip it and read the books.

Yes, it’s a good “young adult” series, but I’m an adult-adult and I’m still following through. I don’t think it’s one of those things where you need to worry about it being “age appropriate” or not. It’s something a 12 year old could read, but they might not get the gist of it or the nuances you get as a reader over age 20.

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The Seven Daughters of Eve is about genetic ancestry. If you’re trying to trace your ancestry or you’re simply interested in how it’s done on a scientific level, this book is for you. I have very rich ancestry that I am deeply connected to on a level most people are not. This book will take me a while to read, but it’s definitely a must-read.

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Beyond Belief is about Jenna Miscavige Hill’s escape from Scientology. I generally roll my eyes when anyone says anything in regard to Scientology, but I have to admit that I am intrigued that so many high-ranking members are leaving “the church” and continue to do so. The level of brain-washing that Jenna talks about in this book is enough to make any free-thinking individual cringe. As an educated woman, I’ve never been one for anything that feels “cult-ish”, and I’ve never been a very good follower. Hell, there are times where I have serious issues with organized religion and the people that blindly follow it, as well as the message it sends all across the board. However, I think anybody willing to walk away from what they know in their heart is wrong deserves credit for it. It could not have been an easy journey. I find it incredibly scary, creepy, and just plain disturbing what “the church” does, all the while claiming not to have any part in it, to those who leave. They do everything within their considerable power to discredit the honesty of those who leave. Clearly they wouldn’t all have the same story to tell if something extremely bizarre wasn’t going on within the organization. I will never be able to call it a religion with a straight face.

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Graveyard Child is the 5th book in the Black Sun’s Daughter series created by M.L.N. Hanover (A pseudonym of fantasy author Daniel Abraham). This series is one of the most original I have ever read, and I read pretty heavily on the dark urban fantasy front. This book is fan-freaking-tastic. It’s a fast read and highly entertaining, but if you’re going to check it out, start from the beginning by picking up a copy of Unclean Spirits. This is a series I happened upon, but it has been a very happy accident. This is a very unique story that I can’t help, but thoroughly enjoy.

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Ok, now it’s your turn. What are you reading? What genres do you enjoy the most and why? Hit the comment button and lets discuss it all.

Ramblings Of The Sick & Exhausted

Let me preface this by saying that I am still sick. Very much so. I’ll spare you all the truly gory details, but it’s both pretty bad and pretty boring. I feel like I’m under the age of ten if I’m throwing up, and that always lets me know exactly how sick I am. I’ve been under horrendous, mind-numbing stress for almost a full year now and a lot of it is manifesting into minor, and a few major, health issues. Stress is a silent killer, but it’s also the exact words that were used when I was born.”We’re pulling the baby out, she’s stressed.” And stressed I have remained. Maybe there’s some truth to the saying that we live our lives the same way we come into this world, who knows!

I am behind on what I’ve been writing, and in some ways I’m also ahead of myself because I’ve pre-prepped work on the first six books in the series every step of the way. Every time something comes to me, I write it, but I can’t deny that I’m in pain and struggling. Sleep is a struggle, every day life is a struggle, not coughing my brains out is a struggle, dealing with people is a struggle, and I’ve had my phone turned off for almost a full month in an effort to not deal with any more idiots, only taking calls from select family members and friends. Never one to suffer fools, I can hear my entire voice change the second someone gets stupid with me. It’s not just the cadence of my voice, it’s every little thing about it. If I’m answering in clipped tones, I’m not all right. I’ll be polite, I’ll be professional, but that’s where it ends. I’ve got my second shipment of Valerin on its way, need I say more? I’m a beast that needs to be kept calm. LOL.

I did not celebrate Passover this year, and I’ll be honest when I say that I try not to acknowledge it much, beyond conversations with family members and making sure I send my Rabbi a card. It’s one thing when you’ve got a family and you’re cooking for 6-8 people, or more. It makes it worth it, even if most aspects bore you to tears and make you want to rip your eyeballs out. When it’s just two people and neither of you is really into it, sometimes you take a pass.

I don’t really address holidays that I don’t personally celebrate, for many reasons. Full blown discussions on religion and politics are surefire ways to get people to send you a shitload of hate mail. People like to fancy themselves so incredibly tolerant, but I’ve spent my entire life having to explain that Catholicism and Christianity are not the only religions in the world, and God forbid you call someone that is Catholic a Christian, or vice versa. They flip out! All that kindness flies right out the window, and I wish I were joking, but I’m not. Yet explaining to them that you do not share their religious and spiritual beliefs is a lot like saying you’re personally slaughtering human beings in your basement. The expressions and comments are so unreal, and I’m from a city that has one of the largest Jewish populations outside of Israel, so I shake my head at people and, the older I get, the more I disengage. If only people asked smarter questions…

I’ve spent the last few days trying to really rest my injuries and rest in general. I’ve also been reading and re-reading, reminding myself over and over again what I don’t want to write where my own work is concerned. Of course, there is always research to be done as well, and thankfully a lot of that research allows me to dip into my own ancestry and gather information from the countries my ancestors are from. It’s a long, interesting list, and people always comment on how different it is. I probably relate more to my ancestry at times than I do to being born in America. That might seem weird, but when you question where your family is from and the answers aren’t simple, I think it’s a good thing. And of course, I’m kind of fascinated by family crests.

Best book of the last few weeks was Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. Beautifully written, richly detailed, and I had a good cry at the end, which is often a good indicator of how well done a book is. She is without fail, one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t read The Infernal Devices Trilogy or The Mortal Instruments series, I strongly urge you to do so. You won’t be sorry. I’m really looking forward to the next series which is slated for release in a few years.

I apologize for my ‘pain brain’ ramblings, but wanted to at least connect with my readers on some level for now.

If you have sent me a message or an e-mail and I haven’t responded to it yet, know that I will do so ASAP. A few of you are deserving of a real, personal e-mail from me based on things you’ve said and you will get exactly that.

I have a handful of readers that are becoming fast friends (I never use the word friend lightly) and I think that’s one of the great things about this blog as a platform for the future. I don’t make friends easily. Women are often intimidated by me, so they only approach me about superficial things, and I’ve recently had two people convey (to a third party, never to my face) that they don’t want to be friends with me because A) I’m not a big drinker and B) They’re afraid I will try and steal their husbands from them. Yeah, my jaw was on the floor both times. If your issue with someone is that they don’t drink, maybe you need to reassess how you choose your friends. I am a girl’s girl to the core. I get along well with men and I have a decent amount of male friends, but I don’t see them as anything beyond that, and many of them have been married so many times that I can literally pinpoint exactly when their next divorce and marriage will be! A married man is basically a eunuch to me, even if I’ve known him for 20 years, even if he’s “currently single”, I still consider him a non-entity when it comes to romance, love, and sex. I find cheating and home-wrecking abhorrent. My name is not LeAnn Rimes! Yeah, I said it. Someone should. I also find it disgusting that anyone would look at someone they don’t know very well, or at all, and say “She’s going to steal my husband.” First of all, people are not property and cannot be “stolen”. Two, if you’re that insecure, seek therapy. Three, if your husband has ever given you any indication that he’s cheating on you with a female friend, or anyone for that matter, hire a P.I., but also understand that not every woman is a lower life form lacking morals. So you have a husband? Big deal, I’m not impressed. Unless that husband is Gerard Butler, I swear to God I won’t so much as look in his general direction, flirt, or do anything other than be polite. I’m a lady, and I don’t believe in scoping out a friend’s boyfriend, leave alone her husband!! No one is so fabulous that he needs me to “steal” him. <rolls eyes>

I’m an extremely devoted, fiercely passionate, loyal friend, and once I’m your friend, I’m genuinely your friend for life. Just ask my best friend, who regularly comments on my posts. I’m like heavy duty nail glue. The woman keeps trying to shake me and she’s still stuck. LOL. Marion, I’m KIDDING, I swear. XOXO.

I will talk to you all soon, and I hope it will be in a much more organized fashion.

~Li

What Is Everyone Reading Right Now?

I’m an equal opportunity writer/reader and when I’m having a week where I feel like crap (I know, it’s only Monday! I’m sick and having problems with my laptop, so until the laptop is fixed by my resident Tech Maestro, I have a feeling I’ll be doing some serious reading.) I like to go through my Kindle book list and see what’s recently downloaded that I haven’t read.

My last two books were Drinking & Tweeting by Brandi Glanville (Don’t judge me, read my review. I have found similarly positive reviews for this book on Goodreads, where I am a member and a Librarian. I strongly suggest joining and friending me there if you’re a big reader and follow my blog.) and Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead. Since then I have re-read a couple of old faves, am working my way through a Meditation book, and am now reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia.

I have no idea what it is exactly that I want to read right now, but something inspiring would be nice. If you’re reading something particularly good at the moment, drop me a line here or on Goodreads and let me know what it is. You can find me on Goodreads by clicking the link on my blog or by going to http://www.goodreads.com/triplegoddessmatriarch

Hope you’re all having a Monday that doesn’t involve copious amounts of hot tea and tissues.