February 2011

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Kind of a little late today on the first day of March, but I got distracted reading. And being really lazy. Though to be fair, I read three books already today so not TOO lazy. Other then the lolling around and not showering until 2pm part. Hmph. Let’s ignore that.

Three books today! I’m well on my start for March. I was kind of disappointed in myself for February since I set a goal of reading 28 books. Hey, I was like–February’s short! I should read as many books as there are days. Didn’t make it. Almost made it. Sort of. If you count books I didn’t finish. I almost just read a bunch of graphic novels so I could fake success. But I think too much of you people to cheat like that. No. Really.

Well, I didn’t do it so obviously I think something of you. Or, more likely, myself. But March is a new month and I’m already two up. Maybe it’s a re-goal.

So. February. My birthday month! Good times. It’s like I reach February and my brain says, Eek! It’s almost your birthday and you will get MORE books. Better read all these ones you got for Christmas fast, bozo. Motivating.

Books Read: 17

Books Partially Read: 7 (See if you add those together it’s 24. Almost 28.)

Books Bought: 0

Money Spent: 0!

Books Borrowed: 3 (Have I grown disillusioned with the library? Have I just read all their books?)

Books Given: 5

Books Re-read: 7 (I got nostalgic. For really bad British YA novels. It has significantly impacted my brain speech patterns. It’s not pretty in here.)

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 29 (Well, it’s a little better than last month.)

I feel like I read a wider variety of book types this month but looking back it’s really the same old. YA, romance, and fantasy. I did try some out of my comfort zone reading–apocalypse fiction of the serious kind (not the kind I write with pirates and ninjas). Namely The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy and Into the Forest by Jean Hegland. Both set in California, both seemed awesome, both bored me. Sigh. They did seem really awesome and I think many people I know would love them. I just have serious misgivings about serious literature. Give me a quick laugh and a cheap thrill any time. I like my fiction escapist.

And speaking of… my favorites this month were, of course, ridiculous.

I re-read The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger and it remained awesome. I complimented it before and I stand by my words.

I also read the latest Kresley Cole. Cole is a romance writer. I read all her paranormal titles and they are fairly uniformly hilarious and awesome. Great sex scenes and fabu characters. This one–Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark Series, Book 9)–starred Regin (the Radiant), one of my favorite Valkyries in some of the other books. She is sass and a texter supreme. Hilarity reigns with Regin the Radiant, got it? But this book was kind of a let-down in terms of her being kick-ass. Possibly because she kept getting tortured. Still pretty good. Way better than the last one. Stupid vemon (vampire demon).

Two books by new authors (to me) that I liked were The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card and Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves.

I feel a little ashamed admitting I’d never read Card. I mean, Ender’s Game? Classic sci-fi. Never read it. The Lost Gate is a YA book which might be the first way it sucked me in but it was also really, really good. I see why he’s so famous now. And then Dia Reeves. Holy Bleep. What can I say about this book? It’s about a girl who’s kind of a sociopath and falls in love(?possibly love?) with a boy who’s also kind of a sociopath. It is AWESOME. It’s set in this town in Texas where there are gates everywhere. Not like happy wooden white picket fence gates, like gates through space. Some people can see them, some people can’t. And sometimes really bad things come through them. This is not a town I would want to live in. Nor would I want to live in Dia Reeve’s mind. But sign me up for visiting in book form any time. I cannot wait for the stupid library to get her follow-up set in the same town. It’s called Slice of Cherry and is about serial killer sisters. Squee! So dark, so twisty, so innovative.

So good.

Hmm, what else did I like this month? I enjoyed re-reading my ridic YA books by Katie Maxwell about Emily. Her voice is so perfect and hilarious in these. It makes me laugh and want to wring her neck. There are 5 of them but there should be more because it totally cliff-hangers. But Katie Maxwell has gotten too caught up in her stupid vampire Dark One and Dragon adult romance series to finish the Emily ones. Lame.

I liked the new Eloise James too–When Beauty Tamed the Beast. Probably because I almost always enjoy Beauty and the Beast stories. Though the whole chicken coop with scarlet fever episode was disgusting.

I also read the sequel/companion novel to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (which, if you’ll remember I crazy loved to the point of sounding racist) titled The Broken Kingdoms. It took me like two months to finish this book because it was such a huge disappointment. I still want to read the final one in the series, I can only believe it will be better and less abstractly about aesthetics than characters and plot. Groan.

Also kind of disappointing was Jennifer Crusie’s latest, Maybe This Time. Just not the same energy or entertainment value as Agnes and the Hitman. Too much ghosts and evilness happening to little kids. Also super bratty little kids. Not their fault per se what with all the poltergeists, but still. And the guy was kind of not romantic. It’s a romance novel. I mean, work with me here.

I read Zack Whedon’s contribution to the continuing Firefly saga–Shepherd’s Tale and really just want to say: “Joss, get off your ass and write something again. Your brother is NOT YOU.” Though I did enjoy the part where Jayne called River “Jelly Brain”. And the reverse linear story-telling was interesting.

Gah. I have too many books to talk about this month. Sorry. There was a lot of interesting things happening.

Finale to Karen Marie Moning(Yes. Moning)’s horrid Fever series came out–Shadowfever–and I got it late for Christmas and read the gigantically fat volume this month. I think it should count as three books. It’s terribly fat. At least 2 books. It was…ugh. Well, at least it finally explained some things. But jeez louise it took a long time getting there and laying mis-trails. I don’t really recommend reading these ever. I did kind of at first when I’d only read the first one but then I read all of them. And now I can say pretty definitively as the one who braved all five that you don’t need to go there. Let it be the unexplored country to you and I can be the sole survivor who returned from the tundra and said “There be dragons.” Ha! Actually, there are sort of dragons in it.

Last one! No! Seriously! I somehow discovered Harmony by Project Itoh and was intrigued by the whole concept of Japanese sci-fi/fantasy. Mm. Ok, wait no. That came out wrong. I’ve read Japanese sci-fi/fantasy before. I guess I mean the new wave of progressive younger writers who are making it a scene in Japan right now? There’s a whole movement and I was curious about them. So I got this book with one of my many Xmas/Bday Amazon GCs. It was interesting. Parts of it were boring and the philosophy’s proponents had holes in their arguments sometimes, I felt. But the style was new feeling to me. All the html (called etml because it was emotional encoding to simulate feelings) was fascinating because my brain totally thinks like that too! Notice I use it in the last post before this one. It’s totally fake html encoding, obviously–it’s just used to simulate emotion or present non-linear story-telling snippets. At least that’s how he (and also I) used it as you can see in my example. He wrote Harmony while he was in the hospital dying so there’s that added notoriety to the novel–which is both depressing and probably really, really good for sales. It’s not great (though I question if some/most of that is the translation) but sometimes it is poetry and perfectly shiny.

OK. I feel I’ve pretty well covered my likes and dislikes this month. And this has gotten to the too long point and past it already. So I’ll leave you. Till next month. Which may or may not include 31 books read. Don’t think I won’t read all 23 volumes of Fruits Basket over again just to make it too. Because I have been thinking of doing that anyway. Fluttery Sigh. Fruits Basket.


Maybe my stories have too much cat in them


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I’m reading and sort of editing/writing more of my YA novel right now. I was hoping it would be going better. It’s only about 100 pages right now (1.5 spacing, 11 pt font), which is short. It’s not even quite 50,000 words (this part I’m editing) and I was hoping to double it while going over it. Not happening. At all. And it’s not that what I have written is bad. It’s pretty good! But short. And I have trouble lengthening the story.

Let me give you an example. Say, I’m telling you a story of part of my day. I would choose the shortest route to get from point A to point B.

Example 1:

I was thirsty. I went and got some water. And then I sat back on the couch with cat.

Boring, but informative. Point A = thirst, Point B = water. Try to extrapolate this in terms of my zombie YA novel. Main character needs food, she goes ashore, she gets food, she returns to ship. I need to make that like 20 pages long instead of 2 but it’s VERY HARD. And I get waaaay too bored trying to make something longer when it’s so much easier to make it simple and to the point. My point here is that I’m pretty sure that makes me a bad writer. Or at least a really lazy one.

Example 2:

My throat felt like I had swallowed sand. Dry, dusty Saharan sand not even the sand I was used to from California beaches. Scorched, hot sand. Dried and dessicated like a lizard who’d been lying under a flaming ball of gas for a few days.

“Fish, I’m thirsty.”

He continued lying on my stomach with no change in demeanor.

Yeah, I talk to my cat. He’s around all the time and I get lonely. Sometimes he talks back. {read} I talk back for him. {/read}


“Are you the fuzziest Fish-face in the whole world?”

“That is the wrong question.”

“Do you love me?”


“Sigh. Do you want a smackeral of a snackeral?”

“Yes. I would like a smackeral. I like treats. They are yummy. Smackeral, snackeral, do doh do. Maybe two?”

“Because you are so fuzzy and cute.”

Crunch, crunch. Crunch, crunch.

“Maybe three?”


This time, I ignored his fuzzy cuteness and plucked him off my lap so I could roll off the couch. He immediately curled up into the warm spot my body heat left behind. Sometimes when I walk down the hallway in my house, I like to slide in my socks. And in the kitchen I often do dances to songs I make up and sing to myself. Today was no exception.

“Water cup, water cup

I choose you

Because you are the best

And oh so blue.”

I have 4 water cups. They’re tall and plastic so I can’t break them (I break glass easy). They’re each a different color and I play favorites. Yellow, green, red, and blue, I love the last two best. Much like I love red and blue pixie styx best (but black Fish Styx best of all). I dislike grape pixie styx, but I would love a purple cup so that does not correlate.

Dancing to my new song involves some booty shaking and a lot of twirling. I like to pirouette a lot so it’s good I took so many years of ballet and know precisely how to angle my wrists for the proper graceful arm movements. A pirouette without proper arm positions is worthless.

When I get back to the couch with my water, Fish slits open one eye to look up at me from his couch-hogging sprawl.

“Is it time for second breakfasts?”

“You threw up first breakfast.”

“Yes, and I tried to eat it again for second breakfasts, but you took it away. So now it is time for second second breakfast, yes?”


See, that was way too hard. Today is a day I don’t feel like being a writer. Like most days. Except that it’s kind of all I am right now. Which is ridiculous since I never even wanted to BE a writer. Ugh, back to zombies. I need to finish this before April so I can do the Script Frenzy (like NaNo, but you write a script of 100 pages instead of a novel of 50,000 words). Though I will write a graphic novel, not a script–the idea is the same.


January 2011

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Categories: Book Reviews, Tags:

A new year, another month…Time for a book round up.

Books Read: 20

Books Partially Read: 8

Books Bought: 8

Money Spent (approximately): $70, technically. But $30 of that was a gift certificate and the other $40 I got in trade from selling books so I really really want to count this as $0.

Books Borrowed: 20

Books Given: 4

Books Re-read: 0 (but I did buy two books I’ve already read–The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) and Sunshine. So I’ll be re-reading soon.)

In other news those links are totally serving my Associate Account at Amazon. Which I have, admittedly, had this entire time and just not taken advantage of. Maybe it will net me something this year. Maybe I’ll get tired of having to cull the links though and copy/paste them and give up on that enterprise.

Ooh, new category!

Money made (from selling books): $134.

None too shabby. $48 of that was pocketed in cash and I still have $45 in trade at Powell’s to spend in the coming months. Possibly online instead of driving all the way up there as I am prone to do on a whim.

And lastly, and embarrassingly:

Books on To-Be-Read Shelf: 26

A lot checked out from the library I haven’t gotten to yet. Also 3 of my Powell’s purchases. Heh.

To the meat of it.

Favorite books this month: The Lady Most Likely by Julia Quinn, Connie Brockway, and Eloisa James and Bite Me: A Love Story by Christopher Moore.

Bite Me was the third in the SF based vampire books by Moore and it was fabulous. Also I got it for free last month from Catherine (Kim’s mom) as an ARC. Score. Uh. ARC stands for Advance Reader’s Copy if you didn’t know. Catherine used to work at a book-store and still gets boxes of these to dispose of at libraries/the prison system. I sometimes get to look through them first! Lucky. Anyway, it could or could not be the end of the series. Hard to tell with that ending. But it’s told from Abby Normal’s perspective and she is biting sarcasm girlie gothic hotness. Lots of hilarious characters, brisk pace and plot. Excellent use of the Emperor and bringing back the downtrodden cops and Animals from the Safeway. All of this would make sense if you’d read Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story or You Suck: A Love Story or this one. And why haven’t you anyway? They are all great. Go read them right now. Also, that cover of Bloodsucking Fiends is better than the cover on the one I’ve got. Jealous.

The Lady Most Likely is a sort of three parter story written by three great romance authors. I *think* I know which one wrote which part but they blended it really well. They also continued the story-line throughout mostly OK–the main MAIN guy kind of vacillates between being an ass and being awesome in a couple of the transitions. But otherwise it’s good. Also it introduced me to Connie Brockway which I am unsure yet is a good or bad thing. I have now read four of her novels and have three left from the library here on this shelf. I am kind of methodical in my reading habits. Find a new author I like, I will place holds on their whole back catalog at the library. I liked two of the ones I’ve read so far, not so much the other two and these other three I’ve kind of lost interest in already.

Books I liked and want to give honorable mentions to: Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, Bridal Season and Bridal Favors by Connie Brockway, Dr. Horrible and Other Horrible Stories by Zach Whedon, Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto by Eric Lopez, iDrakula by Bekka Black, and Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

Sorry that was kind of a lot. Short reviews! This post is already way too long!

Odd: Almost a favorite of the month. It was a great fairy tale. And very short. And by Gaiman. Can you go wrong? Well, you can. I almost exclusively only like his YA/kid stuff.

Fever: I reviewed on Good Reads

Bridal Season and Bridal Favors: Main female characters running a wedding service. The second one (Favors) is better. Typical romance novels. Good characters and dialogue though. Enjoyable fluff.

Dr. Horrible: Have you seen the web show? This is background info on the characters in comic form. The Bad Horse stuff is the best.

Baumgartner: Ha, a Powell’s buy almost exclusively for the title and the author bio. Also it looked hilarious. It was good but not AWESOME.

iDrakula: Dracula told through emails and text messages. Kind of genius. Also updated obviously to modern day teens. Totally enjoyed it.

Universe: Also reviewed on Good Reads

Books I disliked: Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex, Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw, and Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Two of these–Fat Vampire and P&P–I mostly disliked because I liked the author’s other books so much. Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday and Eulberg’s The Lonely Hearts Club. Fat Vampire starred a completely unlikable fat kid. I should be kinder to America’s obese young. But he was morally corrupt. Dislike. Prom and Prejudice was just too closely modeled after Austen’s original P&P without making her characters interesting in their own right. I love P&P OG and variations on it, but it’s nice if they at least try to make it a little different.

Ok, and Anxious Hearts. Ugh. It’s based on Longfellow’s poem Evangeline and it starts off good but then it just goes downhill. So boring! So poorly planned and executed! So obvious in its third act conclusion. Pah.

So already after one month I can say that I’m sick of the whole Amazon Associate linking. Till next month, friends. Kisses.


‘Prammed’ is a good made up word

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Categories: General, Tags: , ,

Besides cousin hijinks with bus-boys in Portland, I also baby-sat my pseudo nieces one day. I call them my nieces but it’s not really accurate. I guess actually they are like second cousins or something? But that is lame. They are tiny adorable girls and I want nieces, (even though I keep typing ‘nieves’), so nieces they shall be.

While baby-sitting we took out the stroller and prammed our way into town to the ice cream parlour. Possibly one could call it a ‘shoppe’. Bella immediately chose strawberry ice cream as her favorite. I pondered the menu for a while but eventually chose chocolate chip cookie dough. Aunt Mary had something with a ridiculous name. Hugs Mugs? That wasn’t it. And obviously Ali ordered nothing as she is too young for ice cream (also, recognizable speech). When our desserts came, Bella asked to try mine and my jealous guarding nature hunched me up over the bowl and growled at her like an animal. Not really. But…sort of.

I did give her a taste. Maybe not graciously, but I did it. I could see her little eyes light up at this introduction to actual delicious flavor. Not that strawberry isn’t yummy, but come on: Strawberry? It doesn’t have chunks of cookie dough in it, does it now?

She asked for another taste. It’s hard to resist her face.

(picture from Christmas. More pictures here.)

I let her have another small bite. But then I quickly devoured the rest so she couldn’t have any more.

Yeah. I did that. I barely had time to enjoy it myself! All because I am ridiculously unwilling to share my scrumptious treats with cutie patootie three year old second cousins. Mine mine mine!

Later I considered how some day some one will fall in love with me because they find this trait of ice cream possessiveness endearing. And I wrote a scene in my head of how that might go. Since the possibility of this actually happening seems remote I might have to use it in a romance novel someday. Maybe I can substitute Gunter’s Ices (yes, I’m contemplating a historical) for actual ice cream. Ices. Heh. Probably I would share that.





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In Oregon this weekend, my family and I kidnapped my teenage cousin, Lacey, for a day in Portland at Powell’s. While there we hit up the Deschutes Brewery for some snacks and drinks (it’s like 3 blocks from the Land ‘O Books). Lacey spied a cute busser and proceeded to tell me how adorable he was ad nauseum. I stared at him politely for her sake. He did have a nice body. James (other cousin) took a different tack.

James: You think he’s cute?

Lacey: Yeah.

James: Maybe you should tell him so.

Me: What?

James: And take your picture with him.


Lacey: Maybe I will.

Me: (whimper)

2 minutes later of James being a goading terror.

Lacey: Michele, can I borrow your phone?

Me: Seriously!?!

lacey and brew boy.jpg

I can admit that my 16 year old cousin is much braver than me. And cunning with the artful lies to convince a stranger to take his picture with her.




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Have received great compliment today in thumbs up form.

Driving on freeway, heavy traffic, stupid accident, basically at stop-and-go crawl, car next to me honk-honks. I look over, confused. Elderly woman gestures at me to roll down my window, hers is already down.

I’m like, Really? It’s raining.

But I roll it down anyway.

“‘I Drive Like A Cullen?’,” she quotes at me from my bumper sticker, “Like Edward Cullen?”

I giggle and nod, she flashes me the thumbs up, waves and drives away.

Have added new sticker to collection of reading stickers on back of car (thanks to Christmas present from Erin):


It’s right above my ‘Reading is Sexy’ sticker.

Super Sweet.


2010: Books in Review


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So over the course of 365 days, how many books did I read, buy, borrow from the library? How much did I spend? How much of my life has been wasted on literary pursuits? Let’s see, shall we?


Books Read: 239

Books Partially Read: 54

Books Bought: 82

Money Spent (approximately): $191

Books Borrowed: 230 (mostly from library)

Books Given: 58

Books Re-read: 24

(A new category Kris has intrigued me into adding. Mine is 9.9% of my total reading as opposed to Kris’s 45% of total reading. Interesting).

Other statistics:

Total Books In: 370

Total Books Read: 239

Which means I only completed 65% of the books I brought into my house last year. I need to be more sparing obviously. Though it’s 79% if you count the books I half-read. This still means I did not even start 77 books I brought into the house.

Spent approximately $2.33 a book. Not bad. Good thing I go to a lot of book sales.

Favorite books of 2010: D.U.F.F. by Kody Keplinger, Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, Scott Pilgrim 1-6 by Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor. Interestingly, I only own one of those books now and when I read each of these it was a borrow from the library or a friend.

Plans for 2011: Honestly, $200 spent over the course of an entire year on books doesn’t feel that bad to me. I’m not planning on letting loose in 2011 and spending extravagantly but I’m not going to deny myself more books either. Though it is a trifle disappointing that all my favorite books of 2010 were borrows and not buys. I liked a lot of other ones, of course. I just picked top tops. Probably there will be even more library borrowing in my future. Hmph. It’s better for my shelves this way. I can’t creatively stack any further. And obviously some of that money spent was wasted as at least a small percentage of purchased books were never read or finished.

Also, possibly I need to start keeping track of how much money I make from selling books in a year. Which I then admittedly almost always turn around and spend on more books but still. I’m pretty sure Powell trips in the last 1-2 years has netted me about $250-275. That’s not bad is all I’m saying.

Any other thoughts for what I could focus on in coming book review months? I welcome input!

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