Fortnight of Fright: Beyond Books – Halloween Playlists

FoF2014

Today we are kicking off our Fortnight of Fright madness! October is the beginning of my favorite time of year, I just love when the leaves start to change and HELLO scarf weather!! Well, today I want to get you guys in the mood to celebrate the wind blowing through the trees, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, and monsters lurking under your bed. What is the best way to do this? Well, how about some music…

Have you guys ever heard of 8tracks? I am pretty much obsessed with it. Essentially it works like Spotify and the like, but you can use different tags to search for fan made albums. I have found albums for The Name of the Wind, and other fantastic books! Seriously can’t tell you how much I love this website, I go in there and type whatever mood I am in, “chill,” “happy,” “studying,” and so on..and then IT FINDS THE BEST PLAYLISTS EVER!

SO, my favorite Halloween-like (aka I listen to them all year long) playlists are..

Make Out in the Graveyard – This one is a bit more fun, not creepy!

All Hallows Eve – Featuring such songs as The Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show & songs from Buffy the Vampire Slayer! P.S. How badly do I want this Audrey skeleton tattoo…

Rockin’ in the Graveyard – Rockabilly and Halloween..sign me up!

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Event Recap: Or, How I Met Neil Gaiman and Didn’t Touch His Hair

So I saw Neil Gaiman this year. Twice. That’s right twice; weeks apart from one another and mostly in promotion for his new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I know, it isn’t too crazy when you take into account that I often exclaim “Oh my Gaiman!” in lieu of other Godly beings. It isn’t crazy, no, but it was slightly overwhelming for the senses. In the sense that, though I saw him over a month ago I am just now able to come down and let you all in on my FEELINGS about the whole thing…I will do my best to recap the two events and drop some blurbs here and there from Mr. Gaiman throughout :]

 “I wrote this book accidentally. It started because I missed my wife, and I wanted her to see the world through my eyes when I was seven….I don’t do feelings…because I’m English…and I’m male.”

First, there was the event at Book Expo America when I got to listen to him speak about why fiction is dangerous. Without being a bore, let me quickly walk you through it…in a nutshell: my morning was insane. We missed our train and then had PROBLEMS ON THE TRACKS mere weeks after the whole train crash debacle, and I literally RAN into Javits hoping beyond hope that I hadn’t missed my chance to hear Neil speak. My dear friends Heidi and Asheley saved a seat for me and I was so giddy from anticipation that when Neil came out, I cried real tears. The absolute awe I felt was entirely too much to handle. You see, this is the voice that got me through some incredibly rough times. The voice that allowed me to gain enough courage to drive through rush hour for the first time without becoming so frozen with fear that I had to pull over until my panic attack subsided. Reality hit and I became so overwhelmed with gratitude and utter happiness that I couldn’t contain myself.

 “Kids don’t need to be told what it’s like to be kids, they’re already there! It’s the adults who forget…”

Some quick things to note about Mr. Gaiman, he is a genius with words, and he is hilarious. Make you laugh out loud, hilarious. For example, when asked if he would ever consider another career, perhaps as a “hot librarian,” he answered that, “Hot librarians are apart from anything else, a very different gender than me…but yeah, the two professions that I fantasized about, that I could actually imagine wanting when I was a kid growing up were an English teacher and a librarian. They were the people that I loved and respected and the things that I was good at…well, I didn’t know that I would be good at being an English teacher or a librarian..BUT…when I was seven, all of my books…alphabetical order. The amount of worry I gave to Roger Lancelyn Green, over whether that man belonged in the L’s or the G’s…WHAT. What are you Roger Lancelyn Green?! Why are you writing these books and tales of the norsemen? Why can’t you just be Roger Green, or Roger Lancelyn, then I would know where to put you. Well, I put him in the L’s, and later discovered I was wrong!”

And then…well…this happened…

 

photo 

and my life was basically made…

“We don’t think of ourselves as names. I don’t walk around saying, oh look at what I am doing in my Neil Gaiman way!” 

Then just three weeks later I drove three hours to Saratoga Springs to listen to Neil speak again, and this time I got to meet him. To be honest it is nearly impossible for me to explain what it feels like to meet someone so incredible and important. If you haven’t experienced it, I really can’t put the feeling into words. Basically, I listened to the wonderful man speak about his new book, and he read bits of it to us in which the beau, who drove 3 hours  just to watch me react to my favorite author speak, became an instant Neil Gaiman fan. True story – he has gone through my entire Gaiman library at this point and is starting on the audiobooks. Then, and this is the best part, I got to actually meet Neil and tell him how amazing I think he is, TO HIS FACE. As you see in the picture above, there is an ongoing joke between my friend Amy and I that I need want to touch Neil’s hair, and I had every intention of reminding Neil of that tweet and informing him that I am not the kind of gal who just goes around touching people’s hair, but it didn’t all go according to plan..

Looking up and smiling, politely ignoring my flails.

Looking up and smiling, politely ignoring my flails.

Alyssa waiting in line: *bounces up and down* *makes girly noises*

Alyssa still waiting in line, 3 hours later: “OMG I can see him, he is right there * points * I promise I won’t cry!”

Nice woman assisting Neil with the signing: “You wouldn’t be the first one who has.”

Alyssa approaching an exhausted Neil Gaiman: *in awe* “Hello.”

Neil Gaiman: “Hello, thank you so much for waiting!” *smiles in his Neil Gaiman way*

Alyssa: *stares at Neil Gaiman*

* Neil Gaiman is handed The Sandman: Dream Country to be personalized *

Neil Gaiman: *caresses the page with Puck’s face* “Oh.”

Alyssa: IT’S BECAUSE I LOVE THE CHARACTER OF PUCK. HE IS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER IN LITERATURE!! (The beau says I did not yell at Neil Gaiman but in my memory I surely was not using an indoor voice.)

Neil Gaiman: *looks up and smiles* “Thank you so much for saying that, I enjoy him as well!”

Alyssa: *GASP* “Thank you, thank you so much for being you. OMG. Thank you!” *floats out of signing room*

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful?

So yeah, overwhelming. He looked so tired and was still so charming and gracious, I could barely handle it. Then I drove the three hours home, while listening to the Evelyn, Evelyn CD we were given at the event, and became an immediate Amanda Palmer fan, so there’s that.

“How many secrets can you keep in your hair, and is that where the metaphors come from?”
“All of them.”

To sum up, go hear Neil Gaiman speak at your earliest opportunity, it is an absolutely fantastic experience that I can hardly put into words. Oh and read ALL THE GAIMAN BOOKS. No, seriously.

Related Posts:

Neil Gaiman, I Love You

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Blogger Love-a-Thon Mini Challenge (3)

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Welcome to Blogger Love-a-Thon! This is a 24 hour event that helps us bloggers take some time to show love to one another! If you are so inclined, head on over to the Announcement Post! This event is hosted by Alexa from Alexa Loves Books and Katelyn from Kate’s Tales of Books & Bands! This Mini Challenge is to create a bookish playlist!

Years ago, I was working at Barnes and Noble and was “lucky” enough to work the midnight party for the launch of Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. Though I was disgruntled and annoyed at all of the tweens, I was in my glory because I adored the music that we had going on that night. Come to find out, our music manager had found playlists for the books on Stephenie Meyer’s website! I know many of you will be like “um ew…” over 1. Twilight (and I might agree) and 2. some of these songs are a little cheesefest (okay, emo), and there is a lot of Muse (who I just so happen to love). Nonetheless I made you a playlist for The Twilight series with with my own insight and some help from Stephenie Meyer! (Admittedly this playlist could really go for any angsty YA romance novel…ahh love)

might have had this on repeat for the past few days…

Happy Ho Ho Ho To You!

Today is the kick-off for the CHRISTMAS FUN that will be happening on the blog this month! We have Kristina here from Gone Pecan talking about her favorite holiday tunes! I’m a hateful sort of person so I made her stick to only SIX titles lest she get carried away with the Christmas LOVE, bah, humbug indeed!

I am partial to The Christmas Song performed by Nat King Cole myself but I have been rocking my “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” Pandora playlist since Thanksgiving! Let’s hear what K has to say…

When Alyssa asked me to guest post I agreed automatically since she is awesome sauce but to say I’m slacking in posts for November / December is putting it mildly. It’s the holiday season and life gets in the way of the blog.  It also doesn’t help that I’m not a fan of Christmas. Maybe it’s because I live in south Louisiana where even though we are in December it’s still in the 70s and there is always at least a 50/50 chance I can wear shorts on Christmas day.  Maybe it’s because everyone makes enough money to just buy what they want so Christmas is filled with less gifts each year and more cash and gift cards or maybe because I make my grandmother’s pralines and I have so many requests each year that I have to start making them three weeks before taking up what little weekend time I have left after trying to shop for gifts.  Or the real reason may be that it doesn’t help me with my anti-social tendencies.  (Bah Humbug!)
Regardless of all these things there is one thing I love that is a direct result from this holiday. The music. Ah yes, I’m a sucker for Christmas music. We even have a couple of stations where I live that switch to all Christmas music all the time after Thanksgiving.  So after thinking about what kind fo Christmas related post I could do why not talk about my favorite songs of the season?
 Louisiana Christmas Day by Aaron Neville – I’m from Louisiana so this one doesn’t need much explanation.  🙂
Last Christmas by Wham! – Ah, George Michael my first crush on someone that later came out as gay.  Note I did say first because apparently I have a knack for picking the closeted gay member of any boy band (I’m not saying that they all have at least one gay member nor that there is anything wrong with that, just that is who I end up crushing on and they are playing for the other team.)  But come on, George Michael when he had that scruffy beard, leather jacket, and aviator glasses?  I know I wasn’t alone.
Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton – Hard Candy Christmas is hands down my favorite Christmas song of all time.  We’ve listened to this song so much that my brother who is NOT a country fan can identify this song by the fifth note.  (Believe me we’ve tested him.)  This song plays in one of the best movies ever The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and if the name alone doesn’t make you want to watch it I have nothing left to say to you!
All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey  This is my second favorite Christmas song.  I sing it every single time it comes on (and maybe do a little dance) regardless of who is around me so I apologize to anyone that has been subjected to this demonstration.  How can you not want to sing/dance to it though?  I feel the need to point out this is the ONLY Mariah Carey song I like and I’m pretty sure it’s going to stay that way.  (SIDE NOTE:  They sing this in Love Actually as well, a version that I can accept since the little girl singing is so darn cute.)
Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley – Every now and then there comes a song that my whole family sings.  This is one of them.  We not only sing it, we act it out, and definitely include the back up singers.  There is a local radio DJ that loves all things Elvis and he said something about Elvis hating this song and not wanting to record it so he told the back up singers to make up the most ridiculous riff they could.  I have no idea if that’s true but I find it funny.
Mele Kalilimaka by Bing Crosby – I admit it, I like this song almost entirely for that fact that I learned how to say something in Hawaiian.  I feel more cultured.  I know, it’s sad.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra by Wizards of Winter – Have you seen that new Volkswagon commerical with the guy playing air drums in his car?  (my favorite part is when he tosses the drumstick up and catches it).  This song has the same effect on me and I LOVE IT.
So while I spend Christmas with my family trying to pretend that I actually like it (not hanging with my family mind you, just the holiday) and trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t stuff my face with everything sweet I’ll be listening to all my favorites.  What about you??

Thanks, Kiki! Some of these songs brought back some fond memories for me and some I have actually never heard before! Love me some Dolly Parton though! Rock out kids! Share the love, what songs do you HAVE to listen to this time of year?

Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Title: Seraphina

Author: Rachel Hartman

Publishing Information: July 10, 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series information: Book 1 in a planned series

Format: Hardcover, 451 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher

Recommended For: Readers looking for a very new fantasy tale rich with dragons, court intrigue, and excellent romance.

 
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

I’m going to have to leave the summary up to Goodreads at this point because this book isn’t published until July 10, 2012 and I really don’t want to ruin it for anyone. I am SO grateful to have received an ARC from Random House via Netgalley! This review was hard for me to write because the book was so amazing I didn’t know how to approach the book to do it justice. So I decided to break it down as much as I could with no spoilers!! So here we go…

The world:

The world Rachel Hartman created was beautifully imaginative. I was honestly awed by the way she molded everything together. Seraphina is walking the line between two very distinct societies and social classes. Everything from the description of the clothing down to each dragon scale described was stunning. I was immediately captured and had no trouble imagining the world in which Seraphina lived.

The characters:

I loved the characters though I do have to say that there were quite a few to keep track of and I did find myself getting a tad confused at times trying to keep everyone straight. First, Seraphina is extremely headstrong, independent and intelligent. I was very impressed by her character because she felt very real for me. Her feelings (or lack of) toward her dead mother really touched me and made me appreciate and understand her in a magnificent way. I loved the way Seraphina grew throughout the novel and came to trust those around her as she was wary to do her whole life. Prince Lucian Kiggs was so loveable to me. He played the “Prince Charming” character wonderfully and I basically fell in love with him from the start. He was extremely devoted to his family and his duty but also torn in his affection for the mysterious Seraphina. Orma may have been my favorite character. I simply loved him. He seemed tactless, rude and uncaring in the beginning and still, he won my heart. As the story progressed I could see how much Seraphina meant to him and it reminded me of Karou and Brimstone’s heartfelt relationship from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The secondary characters (found in Seraphina’s head and elsewhere) were so fun and interesting, I only wish we had learned more about them. Let’s not forget about the DRAGONS!!! They were gorgeous, mean, loving, and intricate and not at all like dragons I have read about before.

The plot:

Unfortunately I can’t go into too much detail here but I loved the story throughout. I loved the interwoven themes and relationships. It was mysterious, romantic, fantastical and all things amazing. The romance in the novel was not at all instantaneous and fake. It progressed slowly through the novel and grew in a real way. Finally, I was so happy with the ending of this book. Things were tied up in a nice way so that the immediate threat was handled but not in a way that left the reader wondering what had just happened. However, I have to be honest and say that once I turned the last page I immediately wondered (and researched) if there was a sequel in the works, and it looks like there is!

I honestly can’t say enough about this book, from the breathtaking cover to the last page I was completely enthralled. Though I am lucky enough to have an ARC of this book I have already pre-ordered the hardcover edition.

“A thousand regrets I’ve had in love,
A thousand times I’ve longed to change the past.
I know, my love, there is no going back.
No undoing of our thousand burdens.
We must go on despite our heavy hearts.
A thousand regrets I’ve had in love, but I shall never regret you.”