Saturday, May 1, 2010

Are You A Passer, or A Hoarder?

I guess I should start with the obvious, which is where the inspiration for this post came from. It was actually my local used bookstore lady that inspired this, but the story to go along with it is too good not to share. One thing I figured out that I didn't know before: owners of used bookstores do NOT like hearing that you keep your books. Okay, maybe it's not all of them, but mine doesn't.

I have a used bookstore that I travel to every other week. I'm obsessed with this place. Like, my husband has me on a budget because I could quite possibly put us in debt if I had my way. The obsession started when I was in elementary school. Being an only child, you kind of have to learn to make your own fun. My parents were awesome, and always there for me - but that can't make up for having friends. Being painfully shy and inheriting my father's social phobic persona didn't help, either. So, my imagination had entirely too much free time. Once I started reading, I was hooked. Books helped my imagination go to places I never thought possible. I love fiction because you can create your own world when your world kind of sucks. Cancer runs in my family, and my childhood was full of memories of family members battling the disease. My mom was the only one with spare time (she was a housewife), so I was usually dragged along for care-taking when I wasn't in school. So, my childhood world kind of sucked. Don't get me wrong, I was a very spoiled and loved little girl - but, with helping my mom take care of sick relatives, I had to grow up a lot faster than most of my peers. It put a wall between us.

Reading was my best friend from then on out. When I wasn't doing schoolwork or helping my mom, I had my nose in a book. Those worlds were happy worlds and kept my mind away from my dying family members. Because of this, my reading speed grew rapidly. Now? I can read over a hundred pages in an hour. The typical novel of 350-400 pages takes me less than three hours to finish if it grabs my attention and keeps it. So, I go through a lot of books.

The used bookstore was like a miracle to me, especially when I got married. Having pets, a husband and a household to take care of, you learn that your money for yourself is no longer as much as it was when it was just you living with your parents and having pretty much no responsibility - except maybe rent, food, and a car payment. That changes drastically when you get married. So, I was finding that I could no longer go to regular bookstores and buy a bag full at a time, dropping as much as $100 for maybe a week's supply of books. The used bookstore allows me to get that bag full of books for maybe a little over $20. Heavenly.

I know that it's good to go to bookstores and pay full price for books to support authors. Believe me, I get that ... and I still do that. As a matter of fact, I typically tend to get slightly older books at the used bookstore - they're at least a year old. With the shelf life of a book in retail, I typically can only find new books that I want. I read a lot, but I don't read enough to keep up-to-date with every single title that is released. There are older books that I still haven't read, and most of the time I can't find those at B.A.M., or Borders, or other stores. They focus more on the now, not so much the past - unless it's a classic. I also live in a small town. Small businesses are all around and need our money to thrive. I like to feel like I'm helping them out as well.

I'm getting off the point of this post now. Back to my story. I went to the used bookstore with my mother-in-law. Typically, I go alone ... but, sometimes, she'll tag along. She is, after all, the one who introduced me to the place when I moved in with her son and had absolutely no idea where anything was. So, we spent about an hour in there. We both like to browse all the sections because she's always putting new things on the shelf. After we're done, we go to check out and, like always, she asks me if I have an account with credit. I tell her no. Her helper then comes over and says, "As much as you're in here, I'm sure you'd have enough books to trade in for a very nice credit." I replied that I do have a ton of books, but I tend to keep my books. The helper said, "Oh, you're one of those people." I kind of laughed it off and said, "Well, I typically tend to read books more than once, and I'm always sharing my books with my friends."

Apparently, that was a bad answer. They both got quiet and didn't say anything else. I understand that she probably benefits in some way by her credit system. You pay $3 for a book, bring it back, get about the same in credit, so you can get another book. It's pretty much the same system that libraries use to lend you books, just with a library card and no credits. A lot of her customers are retirees, housewives, and school teachers. They do the swapping thing all the time. I would think that she would benefit just as much from me coming in, paying money, and doing that each time. I don't have credits, so she's getting a profit off of me every single time.

I didn't lie to her, though. I can read books over and over and not tire of them. Reading is a lot like watching a movie. Sometimes, you miss things the first time you watch a movie. Once you watch it and get the gist of the storyline, you're more prone to spotting details the second time around, especially since you know the main idea of the story. Same with reading. You can spot the details you missed before, and sometimes they're a little more significant to the story than what you had originally thought.

And I do share with my friends. We kind of have a trading system that we do. We don't get the same titles so that we can borrow from one another and cover more ground. I live a good ways from my friends and I typically go see them when I see my parents because they live in the same area. I don't get many opportunities to share the wealth of the used bookstore with my friends. But I do tell people about it all the time.

Nine times out of ten, when I buy my friends a present, it's typically book-related and it's always from retail so everyone benefits.

So, there's my confession for the week. I feel as though I need to stand up and say, "Hi, my name is Missy. I'm an obsessive book hoarder." I'll say that the book lady made me feel slightly dirty for being the way I am, but I don't regret it. I love my books and look at them as though they're treasures. I fantasize about the day that I have kids and I'm able to share with them the gift of reading. I don't regret it. And I'm not changing.

So, which one are you: the passer, or the hoarder?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Fill-In

Friday Fill-Ins is a fun, weekly meme hosted by Janet over at the Friday Fill-Ins blog. It's a simple meme - all you have to do is fill in your answers!! we go!

1. I was in the mood for pizza this afternoon.
2. I was too distracted by the pizza and I left my book in the car.
3. Why do people have to bring others down to make themselves feel better?
4. My cousin was in my thoughts today.
5. One of my father's favorite sayings was "if you're stupid when you're young, then you'll be stupid when you're old".
6. Impatience --I know that feeling!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to time with my husband and catching up on blogs, tomorrow my plans include re-arranging my house and Sunday, I want to just veg out!

Looks fun, right? Copy & paste, then fill out your own answers. I'd love to read them!

Fic Friday: Home Torn

After being without a computer so long, I forgot about this! However, it IS a small weekly feature that I do want to keep on this blog. This story is from FictionPress. It's complete, which is what I love in a story. I know I shouldn't sound ungrateful ... but, I get a little sore when I really get into a story and it's not complete. Why? Typically, with my luck: A) the story, which was once updated weekly or more so, has suddenly stopped being updated, and B) the story gets removed because of silly people trying to steal their stories. I understand that plagiarism is a big deal, but what about the fans that have stuck with you? Don't they deserve something?? How about a nice e-mail that says, "Sorry, people suck and I can't update anymore, but here's the ending of the story for your personal closure", or something along those lines? And the stories that never get updated? I am absolutely stuck on a story that's close to completion and BAM! - no more updates. I have seriously been waiting over a year for one stinking chapter to be posted and the story to be ended.

For that reason, I have decided and vowed to only post links to completed stories. I know it sounds insane, but I don't want to put others through what I have gone through with said story above. I just can't do it.
Note to Writers: I can still do beta, but I'll hope you understand. If you're really itching to get your story out and you can promise me that production just won't halt - I'll see what I can do. I don't know if it could be a feature, but maybe I can still give it a mention for people who are interested?

This week's feature for Fic Friday, as I mentioned, comes from FictionPress. Typically, I'm visiting there more than I'm visiting FanFiction - but that doesn't stop me from wandering over to FF for a fix every once in a while.

Home Torn

Synopsis: She'd left five years ago because her sister took away someone she loved. It had always been like that. Her sisters were adored while she was ignored. Now she's back, but she's different. She had changed and now sought healing in a cold and torn home.

There are some grammatical errors that do make me want to scream some times. However, the story is wonderful and interesting. I immediately fell in love with the bad-boy, but that tends to always be the case with me. ;) If you have family drama like I do, you should read this story. Seriously, it will make you feel a lot better about your own situation.

Also check out Tijan's other stories. Sounding completely hypocritical, I will say that I follow one of her stories that isn't finished right now. She does update pretty regular, though.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Review: Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins

Before I start the review, I thought I would tell you guys about a contest to win one of FIVE copies of Shade, by Jeri Smith-Ready. Simply click here to be directed to Fantastic Book Review to enter to win. Good luck, guys!!

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, Book 1)
Rachel Hawkins
Hyperion Book CH
Release Date:
March 2, 2010

Young Adult
paranormal, romance, witchcraft, humor, series.

(From GoodReads) Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Review: I did it again. I'm not catching up on my other reviews to review something that I just recently read. I just discovered that reviewing as soon as I finish reading a book is much better than waiting - since, right now, I'm having to re-read some other things to refresh my memory for a more accurate review.

Hex Hall begins with a prologue that has a fun story about why the main character, Sophie Mercer, was actually sent to Hecate Hall in the first place. Hecate Hall is a reform institution to help shape-shifters, witches, and fae control their abilities and teach them how to blend into the human world better. Once there, she meets her roommate - a vampire, the only vampire student at the school. She also has a run-in with the three dark witches at the school, who don't take rejection from Sophie very lightly. The day-to-day dribble is interrupted by a few incidents (read: intended murders) that coincides with a death from the previous year -- a death that looks suspiciously like a vampire attack, and the students are too eager to blame it on Sophie's roommate. While trying to prove her friends innocence, Sophie tries to blend in as a normal student. However, with her dad being the head of the Council and the person who sent all of the students to the institution, Sophie finds out that being friends with the number-one murder suspect is the least of her problems. The worst of her problems? Sophie has no idea who she really is.

I know I'm behind on reviews, but I do not regret taking a break from said research to read this book. It was a pretty easy read (this is coming from someone who's read entirely too many books and reads too fast for her own good sometimes), and had a very light-hearted feel to it. I did feel a sense of recognition from this book, as far as some of the story reminding me of other stories I've read recently - but it definitely shouldn't be judged by that. The writing was first-person point-of-view, which helped understand Sophie's feelings as she found herself, and discovering how others truly were as well. It seems like all of the characters, minor or major, had a lot of depth to them. The main characters definitely stayed true and never strayed from themselves, or did anything completely unpredictable. As a matter of fact, some of the actions of the characters made some things a little too predictable, so when something happened, it didn't surprise you as much as it maybe should have. The storyline was wonderful. As a book that is part of a series, I think the writer perfected the ending. It left you with some questions about the future of the characters, but didn't end abruptly - it ended with enough loose strands tied up to make it a stand alone in itself. Perfect.

- As I said, some things were predictable. The humor and actual plot itself helped save the story, as well as good writing. I heart good writing.

Source of Book: Public Library.

Other Books By Author: The second book in the Hex Hall series, Demonglass, it's rumored that it is set to be released March 1, 2011.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading.

· Grab your current read.
· Open to a random page.
· Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
· BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
· Share the author and title, too, so that the other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

And in the moment I made that decision, there was a terrific crash from downstairs. It was so loud and so wrong that for a moment her mother and I just frowned at each other as if we couldn't believe that the sound had happened.
Then there was the scream.
Right after, I heard a snarl, and was out of the room before I could hear any more.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly event - hosted by the wonderful Sheila - to share what we are reading this week, as well as what we read the previous week. Feel free to share in on the fun, or just click on the link to see what others are reading!

Last Week:

On Writing, by Stephen King
Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales, by Stephen King
Wake, by Lisa McMann (Review here.)
Fade, by Lisa McMann

This Week:

Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater
Hex Hall, by Rachel Hawkins

Not too much planned in the way of reading books since I need to catch up on reviews. As of right now, I have a list of 20+ books I've read that I need to get reviews out for. Yikes!

What are you reading??

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Contest: Jekel Loves Hyde

Alright, so I'll admit ... I'm extremely excited about this book! As you may know from reading this blog, I absolutely adored Jessica's Guide To Dating On The Dark Side. If Jekel Loves Hyde is half as good as that one, then I'll be very pleased.

For those of you who haven't heard about JLH, I'm posting the synopsis so you can get a taste of what it's about.

Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.

Excited? I know I am! Okay, now for the good news!

There's a Jekel Loves Hyde contest over at Imperial Beach Teen Blog! You can win a copy of the book, along with a sweatshirt AND copy of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde. But, that's not the only reason you should check it out. Oh, no ... there's also an interview with Beth Fantaskey as well. I love reading interviews with authors, especially when it's one of my favorites.

So, in review: Contest! Also: Interview with the author. Comment on the post and you get a chance at snagging a pretty awesome prize pack. So, click HERE and check it out!

From IB Teen Blog:
Winners of this contest will receive:
  • A SIGNED copy of Jekel Loves Hyde from Beth.
  • A copy of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (a gift from Tristen so says the bookplate inside the book!)
  • And a cozy sweatshirt pictured here, in any size, to cuddle up with at night and read your new books!
To Enter:
  • Post a comment on this post with contact information.
  • For One Extra Entry: Add contest to your blog, twitter, or other site.
  • For One Extra Entry: you an add yourself as a Follower of this blog! (Followers automatically get the extra entry.)
Contest will end 05/15/10 at 11:59 pm! This contest is open to all, including international readers!

Contest: "Guess Who?"

I knew as soon as I saw this that I would have to post about it and spread the word! Trini at A Book-Lovers' Review is having a huge giveaway with weekly chances to enter and win the three grand prize packs! The rules are pretty easy and there are multiple, multiple ways to get entries into the contest.

So, head over to the official post to read everything you may need to know about the giveaway. I will post some of the highlights here, but you definitely need to go over and sign up as soon as possible!

How the Contest will work?

I have asked each author to answer one or both of these questions:

1.Can you please share one memorable moment that has happened to you since becoming an author?
2.Can you please share 3 things about yourself that your fans probably don’t know?

Every Friday starting March 26th I will post an answer. You will have a week to guess who the answer belongs to. I will stop accepting guesses on the following Wednesday midnight CST and reveal the identity of the author. This will happen every week for (as of now)29 weeks. I will provide one hint and a list of participating authors to help you guess. You may only guess once in the form of a comment. The followers who guess correctly get entered into the lottery for that weeks prize. That means if ten followers picked the correct person, a winner will be drawn out of those ten. The winner of the lottery may pick one book written by that weeks featured author. Example: If the answer I posted belongs to John Steinbeck you may pick one of his books in which I will provide as that weeks prize. If you pick a book that is not out yet or if that week features a debut author who’s book is not out yet I will pre-order that book online and have it shipped to your address.

Grand Prize Pack #1

Drawing held on 6/9/10
$50 gift card for B&N
-Pride & Prejudice book and movie + candy & popcorn
-Fandango gift card
-Signed bookmarks donated by Lisa Schroeder
-Signed bookmarks donated by Jen Nadol
-Forget-Her-Nots swag donated by Amy Brecount White
-Bookmark and key charm donated by Bonnie Doerr
-Signed copy of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood donated by Eileen Cook
-One signed book donated by Melissa DeLaCruz
-One signed book donated by Elizabeth Scott

Grand Prize Pack #2

Drawing held on 8/18/10
$50 gift card for B&N
-Pride & Prejudice book and movie + candy & popcorn
-Fandango gift card
-Signed bookmarks donated by Lisa Schroeder
-Signed bookmarks donated by Jen Nadol
-Bookmarks and possibly!! an ARC copy of Deathday Letter donated by Shaun David Hutchinson
-Copy of The Last Knight, Rogue's House and Player's Ruse donated by Hilari Bell
-One Devil's Kiss audiobook donated by Sarwat Chadda
-One signed book by donated by Julie Anne Peters
-One signed copy of My Soul to Save donated by Rachel Vincent
-The Drake Chronicles tote bag donated by Alyxandra Harvey

Grand Prize Pack #3

Drawing held on 10/27/10
$50 gift card for B&N
-Pride & Prejudice book and movie + candy & popcorn
-Fandango gift card
-Signed bookmarks donated by Lisa Schroeder
-Signed bookmarks donated by Jen Nadol
-ARC copy of The Julian Game and The Knaveheart's Curse donated by Adele Griffin
-Siged bookmarks,postcards and bookplates Of All the Stupid Things donated by Alexandra Diaz
-ARC Copy of Gaurdian of the Dead donated by Karen Healey
-Signed bookmarks and bookplates donated by Carrie Ryan
-A The Body Finder swag pack (tote bag, signed poster, bookmarks and stickers) donated by Kimberly Derting

Good luck guys!!

Squee! An Update!

This whole not having a computer for so long has put a fire in my pants. The whole "having a computer but can't do anything with graphics" thing has pained me to no end. As a matter of fact, I was almost in hysterics the other day when I was trying to post my review of Wake. Then, during a bout of insomnia the other night, I figured out a way to help me with some of my computer problems and it was so simple. I downloaded Mozilla Firefox on my husband's computer. It freezes occasionally, but not nearly as much as the Internet Explorer browser did. The best part? I CAN PUT GRAPHICS IN MY POSTS! You know the old saying, "You don't know you have a good thing until it's gone"? I felt that way with IE. I still can't do my overly complicated custom graphics because this computer's RAM won't deal with my Photoshop, but I think I can manage with what I have for now - though I am hoping it is very temporary.

Having said that ...

I have fiddled with my layout. It took a while with some of the coding and the computer's random freezing, but I'm pretty happy with it for now. It's pretty simple (I hate not being able to make graphics!), but it is easy on the eyes as well as navigation.

I've also gone through and revised (or just plain out redone) some of the old posts so some of the coding would work and it'd adhere better to the new layout. If you see some old reviews/posts pop up as new on your dashboard, then I apologize. They are back-dated, but when you start with a brand new post, they tend to still show up.

In short: I'm back in business! Posting will happen more often and there are many, many reviews I need to get up - though I will refrain from posting twenty a day so I don't spoil you. ;)
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