Friday, December 30, 2011


Not feeling so hot today, I hate that.  Oh well guess I just gotta concentrate a little harder on germ squashing!

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

Thursday, December 29, 2011

RIP Comfy Chair

Today I had to say good-bye to a dear friend of mine...the blue recliner chair that has been one of my favorite reading spots for years :-(

This chair has been in the family for years, my Mamma was diagnosed with MS about 21 years ago and Daddy bought her the chair to help support her during episodes.  The chair was quickly claimed by Daddy who could frequently be found napping in it.  When I moved out as a gesture of love and family the chair was passed onto me (still smelling of Daddy's aftershave).  The chair has moved with me through several states, numerous apartments and a wedding.  I have curled up in it every time I have felt homesick, sad, happy, tired or more importantly to read.  My favorite thing is to get my fluffy blankets, cup of coffee and a good book in my special chair.  Alas nothing last forever and the chair after multiple fixes has finally succumbed to old age and much abuse.  So now my new mission is to find the perfect reading chair, the following are a few options I have found (some a tad more practical then others)

Look built in bookshelves, very convenient

Now I can read my e-books too

A classic chair for the refined reader

The perfect chair to read tales from under the sea

I could see myself lounging in this

How cool is this

This looks nice and idyllic

Ohhh comfy

I want this sooooooooo bad!

What is your favorite place to read?  What is more important comfyness or looks?  What chair should I get?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Luthiel's Song

Finally finished a book that I have been reading off and on for a couple of months now, I started it right before the Christmas season and got distracted, but all done now. 
The book is Luthiel's Song: Dreams of the Ringed Vale by Robert Marston Fanney.
I am still trying to decide how much I like this book, it is the start of a series which always makes for an incomplete story, but I can live with that.  The writer came up with the idea along with the help of his role-playing game friends and that vibe definitely comes through in the book.  I'm not going to go into to much plot detail 'cause I would have to rewrite the book to make sure I got all the important points but I will go into a few things I liked and didn't like (caution spoilers ahead).

Let's start with the main character Luthiel, she is an orphan who has been lovingly raised by and elven couple along with there daughter Leowin who is approximately the same age.  Luthiel loves her foster sister very much and it is this love that sets here on this quest.  The character of Luthiel is okay, she is a little bland for me, but I like that her motivations so far seem to be love of her sister and not mooning after some guy, in fact in the first book at least there really is no romance among the main characters, which is thoroughly refreshing for a YA book.  Luthiel seems capable, not to angsty, willing to put herself in danger but not unessicarly, again not your typical lovelorn waif or your over the top GIRL POWER heroine.  I wanted to like her more...but I don't know...I found her a little eh.
One thing she does really well, and to me one of my favorite parts of this book, is ask practical challenging questions having to do with everything from how are going to actually accomplish this, to questions of morality and ethics.  This brings me to probably my favorite aspect of the book, the Vyrl.  The Vyrl are probably the authors most non-typical creative characters.  They are a corrupted and fallen race formally akin to angels.  They once numbered in the thousands and now are reduced to three, hunger driven, mad beings.  Essentially they have a never ending thirst for the blood of the elves, a thirst brought about by a curse after they were corrupted.  To save there world from being devoured by these insatiable creatures, a god/hero figure named Vlad Valkyrie allowed them to feed from his blood, holding the maddening hunger at bay.  Unfortunately Vlad is killed and in a desperate attempt to save his world he makes a pact with the Vyrl that the elves will send one child (known as the Chosen) every year to feed them, in return they will stay in there kingdom and not venture out to feed and create chaos.
 Luthiels blood turns out to carry the same properties of Vlad and returns (at least temporarily) the Vyrl to a sane state.  After this occurs Luthiel asks how the Vyrl can feed on the elves, if they feel it is evil.  The Vyrl ask her if she is evil for hunting a rabbit for her food, she replies no, she needs to eat and that's what rabbits are there for, that they are mere animals.  The Vyrl say that this is how they think of elves, as an animal to be hunted for food, and that the rabbits may hate the elves for consuming them as much as the elves hate the Vyrl.  I thought this was a pretty interesting take on the whole issue, who is "evil"  is it evil to try and survive?  What is the limit you should place on yourself when the survival of your very race is at stake?  Are the rabbits going to lead there own revolt?  After pondering this answer poor Luthiel is just more confused.  I love that the author really mixes up who is "bad" and who is "good"  and what makes somebody or somebodies good or bad, how choice plays into the whole thing, how an earlier decision may make it hard or even impossible to do the right thing later.  Anyways like I said I really like the questions he poses in this area.

One of the things that got a tad tedious is the whole quest/convenient item/help aspect to the plot.  When your just looking at the current "quest" it follows a pattern similar to gaming, complete with the oh so convenient weapon/jewel/cape of untold power that just happens to be exactly what you need at that exact moment to defeat the bad guy/escape the dungeon/find a better item.  To me it takes away some of the realism and self sufficiency of the characters. Also his stock character races (elves, humans, dwarfs, trolls) are pretty stereo-typical teenage girl/gamer boy run of the mill races.  It also gets a bit predictable, though one can always argue that J.R.R. Tolkien was the original quest/item/race creator :-)
I think Mr. Fanneys main strength is when he gives himself license to use his own creativity to it's fullest.  The world building, history and myth/legend framework he has laid down is amazing (makes me want to go visit this world) The characters he seems to create aside from the typical cliche fantasy characters and the stories behind them are really cool.  They are still derived from other stories and histories but he seems to have made them his own.
On the whole, it was a decent read, I will probably finish the series, but I won't be waiting at the edge of my seat for the next one, I give this 3 out of 5 zombies. If you want more info and some art and music go to the
Luthiels Song website, it's kinda cool. It's where I got all of the artwork on todays post

What do you like in your fantasy books?  Do you like the traditional characters or do you prefer a more out there creature?  Do you think all heroines need to be lovelorn waifs or SUPER GIRL POWER, or is something in between ok?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Christmas Eve eve eve eve eve eve ect

Hope everybody had an amazing holiday weekend!

Twas the Day After Christmas

Tell me the weirdest thing that happened this year !

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The True Meaning of Christmas

Luke 2 (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's Almost Here!!!

Twas the Night before Christmas Poem
By Clement Moore

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

Nook Twas the Night Before Christmas
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
Jon Goodell (illustrator)
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
Mary Englbreit
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
Robert Sabuda (This is a pop up I own, I love it)
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
Pirate Night Before Christmas (I want this!)
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
A search and find book
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
 An Irish Night Before Christmas
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
It's Christmas Eve Eve!
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
Mr. Man and Little Miss
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
Can't forget Elmo!
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
In Seattle
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
Zombies need Christmas too!
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
Ah nostalgia had little golden books when I was young
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Friday, December 23, 2011

Your a Mean One Mr. Grinch

One of my families favorite Christmas movies!

Also a great book
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Happy Christmas Eve Eve everybody!  How do you spend your Christmas Eve Eve?  Who is the Grinch in your family?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tracking Santa

It's almost that time, almost ready to start the countdown to Santa's visit!  My nephews (and me and the Hubbin too!) love tracking Santa on the NORAD Tracks Santa site.  I recently found out about the history of the Santa tracking and it's pretty cool.

The program began on December 24, 1955 when a Sears department store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper which told children that they could telephone Santa Claus and included a number for them to call. However, the telephone number printed was incorrect and calls instead came through to Colorado Springs' Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Colonel Shoup, who was on duty that night, told his staff to give all children that called in a "current location" for Santa Claus. A tradition began which continued when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958. -found at wikipedia here

I think just the simple fact that the Colonel decided to play along instead of just dismissing the screw-up is a Christmas Miracle in and of itself.

Another great article on the history of and continuation of the NORAD Santa Tracking program can be found at Tracking "Big Red" NORAD's Secret Santa Mission .

There are not too many books on the subject of tracking Santa, which is odd 'cause I can think of a million great stories that could be told.  Here are a couple I did find

NORAD Tracks Santa
Around the World in One Night
Santa Tracking Tales (The Christmas Connection)

How do you think Santa makes it around the world in one night?  Do you track Santa?  Do you know any good books about Santa Tracking?  Will you write one for me?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa and Goblins ?!?

Discovered a nifty little book called Kringle by Tony Abbot. . 

This book has EVERYTHING, elves, goblins, monks, viking/pirates, runes, flying reindeer, even a bit of history. It is an epic fantasy set back around 500 A.D. right as the Romans were leaving the British Isles.  A young orphan boy is being raised by a kind old woman in the middle of the foreset.  He is called Kringle after the sound of a bell being rung by the wing of a sparrow, that his mother heard as he was being born.  The story tells of the boy searching for his guardian after she is kidnapped by goblins, who love the darkness and are working towards engulfing the world in permenent night. 
As he travels he is befriended by elves who spend nights sneaking in and out of human settlements replacing worn out shoes :-)  One night when he is helping them the villiage they are at is attacked by goblins and viking pirates simutaniously (that is a really hard word to spell)  In the wake of helping save the sun of the viking pirate leader, Kringle is taken by them.  Eventually Kringle continues on his quest to rescue Merwen his guardian.  He follows the goblins into there lair where he discovers the priest Alban who shows him where all the children taken by goblins are kept.  They learn that the fear of the children is going to be used to raise a demon of darkness on Long Night, when the goblins are the most powerful.  Alban and Kringle sneak out of the lair and escape by finding the prow of a viking pirate ship that Kringle turns into a sled.  Kringle takes the injured Alban to his mountain top home, where he teaches Kringle about the Holy Child that was born on Long Night to bring peace and hope to all who knew him. 
While spying on the goblins Kringle is rescued from a nasty fall by a majestic magical reindeer who is one of twevle who embody good spirits who have passed on.  Through the reindeer Kringle gets to finally speak with his parents who died the day of his birth.  The reindeer, priest, elves, viking pirates, and villiagers all band together to deafeat the goblins with the help of a time stopping rune that Kringle inherited from the elven elder.  After the goblins have been defeated, Kringle decides that in honor of the Holy Child he will turn Long Night from a time of fear to a time of joy by bringing special toys made by the elves to all the children of the world.  Merwan eventually finds Kringles villiage in the far north and helps him in his endevors which continue until this day.
I love how this book takes the traditional story Santa Claus, the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus, and a really epic fantasy adventure and combines them into something so cohesive and wonderful.  I highly recommened this book to any one who love Christmas, or a good fantasy, or both.

What do you think of this new Santa origin story?  What is your favorite Chirstmas legend

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Give a Book

In the spirit of Christmas I thought I would share one of my favorite traditions me and the Hubbin do every year.  It is quit simple really, we always try and donate books around this season.  Not my own mind you, my books are my children and I could never give them up!  So we buy new ones to donate.  I try and make sure they are either one of my favorites or something very current.  We like to donate to kids, hospitals, and nursing homes, because especially when winter hits and people are stuck inside there is nothing like a good book to lift your spirits.
We usually like to go to our local Barnes and Noble who lets each store choose there own local recipients.  They usually have a huge selection of books and they wrap and give whatever one you choose.  This year we gave The Hunger Games Trilogy to a family with a bunch of teenagers.
There are tons of places to donate books, everywhere from your local Salvation Army, to your local library. They are a great gift to leave on a doorstep anonymously, or quietly hand a box full over to the front desk of a hospital or recovery center.  Remember books are not that expensive and there is one out there for everybody and it may just make that little bit of difference.  So everybody lets donate a book and make somebodies life a little more magical.

What is your giving tradition?  What books have special meaning to you, that you would like to pass along? 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Nutcracker

Ever since I was a little girl I have LOVED The Nutcracker, I love the book, the ballet, the music, the toy.  I have a huge collection of nutcrackers and love to add to them every year.

 I remember one year when I was in grade school wanting a nutcracker so bad, and when Christmas came lo and behold there was a nutcracker waiting for me under the tree, my pre-teen shrieks of joy are still a favorite story in our house. 
Most people know The Nutcracker as a ballet with the music by  Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as some of most familiar out there.  With all of the adaptions, pretty costumes and parade of Christmas treats it is easy to see why it is such a tradition all over the world.

 I especially love when all the different treats from around the world come and do there different dances, the Arabian Coffee dance is always the best!

What a lot of people don't know is that the ballet is actually based on a book called The Nutcracker and The Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffman.  The plot is much more focused on the how and why the Nutcracker came to be, and how to break the curse that is placed on him.

Nutcracker Backstage: The Story and the Magic is a very cool look at the whole process of bringing this traditional tale of imagination to life.

What is your favorite old Christmas Tradition?  What is the best adaption of the Nutcracker you have seen?  What is your favorite part of the Nutcracker?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Ghost Story

Time for a classic boys and girls! Did you know that a ghost story is one of the most well known and beloved of Christmas tales?  I'm talking about A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I think this story published in 1843 is probably one of the most filmed, adapted, retold Christmas stories out there.  I think this is because it combines great characters, a good episodic story and of course a fantastic feel good message about loving your fellow man. 

A quick summary of the story, our main character Ebeneezer Scrooge is a cold unfeeling man who only cares about money.  He is assisted by his clerk, Bob Cratchit a warm and caring family man who does his best to keep the Christmas spirit year round.  On Christmas Eve Scrooge is visited by the shackled ghost of his dead partner Marley who informs him that to save himself the same fate Scrooge will be visited by the three ghost of Christmas.  The first Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge back to better times, school, his first job, and an engagement that sadly ends went it becomes apparent that Scrooge loves money more then his fiancee.  The Ghost of Christmas Present (and my personal favorite) is next, showing Scrooge the joy and happiness that can be found even in the humblest of abodes, focusing on his clerk and his small sickly son Tiny Tim. 

The last Ghost of Christmas future (that used to scare the bejeezus out of me!)  shows Scrooge a bleak future, where his death is celebrated by the public and Tiny Tim has tragically died from lack of medical care.  Scrooge "wakes up" the next morning to find that it is Christmas and he has undergone a drastic change of heart.  The story ends with Scrooge generously sharing his wealth and forever keeping Christmas in his heart.  The story ends with them famous quote by Tiny Tim "God bless us, everyone!"
There are many many many adaption of this story, but my absolute favorite one is an old family tradition of ours all the way back from when I was little  A Muppet Christmas Carol!!!!! It's got everything Michael Cain as Scrooge, Kermit and Piggy as the Cratchits, and Gonzo and Rizzo as hilarious narrator's, even many hundreds of miles away from home I still watch it every Christmas day (right after the parade of course)

What is your favorite Christmas Classic? What is your favorite version of A Christmas Carol?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's Begining to Look Alot Like...Books

One of my favorite things about the Holidays is the sheer variety of things you can do with it, especially in the decorations department.  Here are some really cool literary decorations.

Kyle Design
Very nice elegant ornament
I might actually try this one

One of the best uses of a Twilight book heehee
Fun one for your local book club

Oooh Ahhhhh

I want these Pride and Prejudice balls!

Book Christmas Tree
How cool is this, I am trying to think how I can convince my Hubbin to buy about 100 green books just so I can do this next year!

Once I got looking I found so many things I want to do.  At this rate next year this post will be about Christmas at my house :-)

What special book related decoration do have?  What do you want?  Do you think decor should be traditional red and green or can you go a little crazy?