Saturday, November 15, 2014

Getting To Know You Blog Hop (And Giveaway US/UK)


So I suppose the first thing to know about me, is that I am extremely forgetful.  Seriously.  Even the four year old I babysit constantly laughs and says..."You forgot again didn't you?"  (It's seriously taken me 3 months to remember their pet fish's name. Sometimes I am shocked at my own extreme lack of ability on this front)

Point in case:  My reaction when I saw a ton of hits on my blog (considering I've been crazy busy and therefore haven't posted anything in practically a week)

These are *squints trying to think back*

Wait...hold on...something's coming back to me...

 Bloody hell was that today??

1.  Most followers of my blog already know I'm a musician. (Mostly because I spent the month of April and May freaking out about my graduate recital)  I'm an oboist, which is both one of the most rewarding and most painful things I do on a regular basis haha.  Most people also don't know what it is, which is totally fine, because really most people don't have a reason to.  But, if you're wondering what it sounds like,  I posted my recital performance up a while back.  BUT you should really listen to Eugene Izotov play.  I was lucky enough to study with him for a bit, and he's hands down my favourite oboist (Other than Albrecht Mayer). Really they're both amazing artists!

2. I also used to dance a long, long time ago, but I still consider it one of my biggest passions (although as an audience member, not a performer!)  Last year I was lucky enough to see the Joffrey Ballet and it was one of the most memorable performances I've ever seen.

3. I pretty much credit Tamora Pierce, Madeline L'Engle, and Robin McKinley for shaping me as a reader, and Tamora Pierce in particular for shaping who I have become as a person.  Not that I didn't devour plenty of other authors, but these three were particularly influential.  

4. That being said, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy was probably the first time that I pretty much questioned everything about life after reading it.  I can still remember exactly how I felt upon completing the trilogy the first time, and I can't really say that about any other book.

5. I LOVE Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  For those of you who haven't listened/read/watched any it, that's where my blog title comes from.  It's the title of one of the books (admittedly, not one of my favourites - I tend to think of it as a quote from the first book, which is how I originally chose it for my blog).  As of this moment, I've done everything except listen to the radio series (which was its original format I believe)

6. I originally started this blog because I didn't really have anyone in my life I could probably geek out on about the books I read.  I tend to get...really...really excited when I talk about things I love, so I often get kind of disbelieving/terrified looks haha!  I've been so lucky that I've truly met some awesome people in the past year, so I'm incredibly glad that I ended blogging. I don't really go by a day without talking to someone about books now!

7. I do try to read a ton of different genres, (and until pretty recently I thought I did) but I have definite rather extreme leanings towards fantasy.  Even though I've found books I really enjoyed in almost every genre, I just get really reluctant (particularly with contemporary).

8. I've also been lucky enough to find a few blogging friends that read manga (and watch K-dramas!) which was really exciting for me!  Even though I date a Korean, he mostly just laughs really hard any time he sees me watching a K-Drama haha.  I read pretty diversely in manga, although I mostly stick to shoujo, and I don't actually know that K-dramas have exact genres really?  In any case, I am ALWAYS happy to flail over these!

Eight's my lucky number (mostly I ran out of things to say), and I want to give myself plenty of room to talk about the book I'm going to be giving away.

Abarat (Abarat, #1)

Goodreads Summary: Candy lives in Chickentown USA: the most boring place in the world, her heart bursting for some clue as to what her future may hold. She is soon to find out: swept out of our world by a giant wave, she finds herself in another place entirely...

The Abarat: a vast archipelago where every island is a different hour of the day, from the sunlit wonders of Three in the Afternoon, where dragons roam, to the dark terrors of the island of Midnight, ruled by Christopher Carrion.

Candy has a place in this extraordinary world: she has been brought here to help save the Abarat from the dark forces that are stirring at its heart. Forces older than time itself, and more evil than anything Candy has ever encountered.

As is often the case, this summary really doesn't do justice to the magnitute and awesomeness that is Abarat.  Not a lot of people know about this series.  My guess is that a lot of it has to do with the slow release.  Clive Barker, the author of this books, does A MILLION projects in all medias.  He seriously does film, video games, books (and lots of different ongoing series at that), and art.  So considering the book came out in 2003, I guess I shouldn't be as surprised as I am that not a lot of people know about that.

BUT I'M HERE TO CHANGE THAT.  Muahahahahaha!

I've talked on the blog at length (aka every TTT post ever) about why I think this series is amazing.  Not only does it have fantastic characters and world building - they're so unique I honestly can't relate them to anything to give you an idea.  I know everyone says that every story has already been told, but I can honestly say that if I though that there was an exception to that rule, this book would be it.  It is like nothing else I have ever read.  If that isn't enough for you, Clive Barker paints around 200 paintings for each of the books in this series. TWO. HUNDRED. PAINTINGS.  In real life, they're full size. I mean the artwork is just...mind blowing.  In the book they can be as large as two full pages, or so small they fit in the margins of the page.   In one of my posts on Abarat, I show a few of the amazing paintings you can find in the book.  But because I love you guys and know some of you might be too lazy to click on the link, here's two of my all time favourites of his paintings:

The paperback version doesn't have this artwork, so I am giving away a HARD COPY of this book so that whoever wins this can revel in the full amazeballsness of this book.  On my link in Cuddlebuggery it says US only, but since I've ended up choosing a book I'd be getting from a store, if you're in the UK go ahead and enter if you live in the UK!  Sadly it's actually rather difficult to get your hands on a hard copy, and the only other store I could find it in was in the UK, or I'd open it up completely internationally.  (Hopefully I won't break the bank on accident by doing this) And because I can't help myself...

 Guys. There's a dude playing a very oboe-like instrument in this book. NO ONE PLAYS THE OBOE! Ok, I'm done now. Really.


  1. I got so excited when I saw the name of your blog - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books are some of the funniest I've ever read! Also, it was interesting to see number 6 on your list. I started blogging for the same reason you did; I'm so, SO passionate and vocal about reading, and I needed an outlet for all of my enthusiasm. Normal people just can't handle it, haha. Great list, and it was nice to "meet" you!

  2. Ahh a fellow Hitchhiker lover! I always get excited when I run into them :D (But for reals, that series is hilarious)

    I think a lot of us must have started for those reasons. Which is weird, because it feels like there's a ton of us, so it would stand to reason we would have more people to fangirl with (but I guess I underestimate how many people exist on Earth). Thanks for stopping by!

  3. The artwork is amazing! I knew Clive Barker did films but I didn't realize what a rennaissance man he is! I think that "oboe" looks more like a hookah;0)!

  4. AHAHAHAH it totally does!! Man I'm never going to be able to think of it the same way again lol! And yeah, he seriously does like...everything. It's crazy impressive!

  5. I know right? In high school I used the copy machine to copy a bunch of pictures from the books so I could put them in my binders to decorate. I was THAT obsessed haha!

    I am so freaking happy!!! One of the upsides of having to move all my life belongings from my mother's house is that I now have my giant copy of all 5 books (I disregard the Eoin Colfer one, although perhaps I should give it a shot) sitting right next to my bed! A reread is imminent.

  6. Oboist, my gosh, you are stellar! Two of my best friends in high school played the oboe, infact they were the entire oboe section, lol. One also rotated and played bassoon every once in awhile. My hat is off to you because it is such a difficult instrument to play. Clive Barker, yes!! I have seen and loved most of his movies, all of them before 2000. I actually have his novel Imajica in hardcover. My ex bought it for my birthday about 20 years ago. The story was marvelously intricate, and now that you have reminded me about it, I don't know why I never looked into any of his other books. I am going to go to Goodreads and add some to my tbr shelf. I love M. L'Engle and credit her for my love of Science Fiction. Thank you for visiting my blog. I am going to watch your recital video later. Two thumbs up on the K-dramas, too!!

  7. HII nice to meet you!!

  8. Nice to meet you too! If you have a blog, leave a link and I'll pop by!

  9. Yeah oboists tend to be a small group. It's crazy impressive she did bassoon and oboe though - even though they're both double reeds, playing them feels like they are exact opposites haha.

    You know, despite my all encompassing love of this series, I have never seen any of his films! ...they'd probably scare the pants off me. Imajica is actually the next novel by him I'd like to read. That or The Thief of Always. He may write horror, but I love him enough to try most of his stuff anyway haha. And Madeleine L'Engle is just so fantastic on all levels. I'm hoping to get into some of her adult books soon!

    And yay for K-Dramas! Any favourites?

  10. Pleae do!

  11. The very first one I ever watched Rooftop Room Cat is still my favorite!
    Any suggestions for new ones?

  12. I haven't heard of that one before! I'm adding it to my list right now :). Coffee Prince is my all time favourite, but I feel like most K-Drama watchers have seen that one (but if you haven't, it's AMAZING). I'm also a huge fan of Secret Garden and You're Beautiful (Park Shin-hye is so funny!)

  13. Shannon Lee AlexanderNovember 18, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Our school band had one lonely oboist. We clarinets let him hang out with us, but I know he always felt like an outsider. ;)

    I love The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I went through a phase where I read the books back to back. By the end, I wasn't exactly fit to live on planet Earth! Love it!

    Nice to meet you. I love your enthusiasm!

  14. Yeah it can definitely be isolating, but you also get to be the star of the show a lot. Which of course I'm all about ;)

    Yeah, I really do need to get to a reread again. I actually didn't like the last 3 books all that much, but I'm hoping on a reread that might change. I SUPER love the first two books though!

    Do you have a blog? I'd love to stop by and say hi!

  15. Shannon Lee AlexanderNovember 20, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    Come say hello at

  16. I definitely need to read The Hitchhiker's Guide - I've been wanting to for forever! I love your blog name comes from that series. And you've really made me want to read the His Dark Materials trilogy. I was on the fence about that one, but I want that same feeling afterward. I love it when you read a book that makes you see the world differently afterward - one of my favorite things about reading! :D I was in band all through school. I played the trumpet, and we had a girl who played the oboe. She hung out with the clarinets, too. I think our band teacher said once that playing it can make you dizzy or something like that because the air you put into it is so concentrated? I don't know, maybe I'm crazy, but do you know what I'm talking about? lol

  17. Yes! Do it! To both series! And yeah, I tend to like things that completely shake up my world (or obliterate my soul. *cough* Sarah J. Maas *cough*)

    Oh man, I DEFINITELY know what you're talking about. It's just a lot of pressure - trumpet actually is the next high pressure instrument to play. It is the WORST to play when you have a sinus headache. The whole world goes swimmy and your head feels like it's going to explode haha!

    (Do I even need to say any more?)

  19. I'm a fan of reading in a ton of genres (although I can't say I've made it to a self help book yet, so I haven't hit all genres just yet!), but fantasy is definitely my go to genre! Do you have a blog? Leave me a link and I'll stop by!

  20. Tamora Pierce is pretty much my hero haha! Do you have a blog? Leave me a link and I'll stop by!

  21. She is my hero as well! I do have a blog :)

  22. I loved Madeline le engle!

  23. Thanks for asking about my blog Elizabeth! I do have one, its about genealogy and I haven't done a thing with it for about a year! Its mostly about the tribulations of trying to find ancestors.

  24. I'm so lucky - my dad's side of the family actually has a leather-bound copy of the family history that goes all the way back to like...the 1500's. It's so freaking awesome! And it's nice that at least on one side of the family I have all the history right at the tip of my fingers :)

  25. yes that is one of the luckiest family heirlooms I have heard of! I of course watch genealogy shows, like who do you think you are as well as Finding your roots, great shows I watch online.

  26. #8 calls out to me, so I'm commenting even though this contest is over. What mangas/manga series are your favorites? I read alot of mangas myself as well. shows what I've read this year, if you'd like to see which ones I've been reading lately. is probably a better showing, though.

  27. Skip Beat was my first manga, and remains my all time favourite (even if the story line has gotten weird in a way I don't like), although Cat Street might end up giving Skip Beat a run for its money on favourites depending on how Skip Beat ends. Cat Street is by the same author who did Hana Yori Dango, which I actually dislike quite a bit, so it's kind of amazing to see something like Cat Street come out of the same author! Koi Dano Ai Dano is probably my favourite ongoing manga (except for Skip Beat), and it has one of my favourite heroines EVER (she's totally scheming when it comes to analyzing people, but zero awareness of love interests). Love so Life is one of the most adorable things I've ever read, and the art in Oboreru Knife is just...gorgeous. I haven't seen anything that comes anywhere close to it.

    *Browses through your read list* - Wow you've read so many I haven't even heard of! I'm definitely going to have to check some of these out! ...I am ashamed to say that I STILL haven't read Kimi ni, even though I've been meaning to for AGES. Oh man - I really enjoyed Ratstetsu, but then I couldn't find any English volumes and it looked like there were no new scanlations. I'm going to have to see if that's changed since I last looked! Hana Kimi was another favourite, and I've really enjoyed Dengeki Daisy. Oh my god you haven't read Fruits Basket?! That was my second manga, and I love everything by Takaya. She's amazing! ...ok this is a really long comment now, so I'm going to stop haha. Did I mention I go into crazy fangirl mode when these things come up?

  28. "Crazy fangirl mode" is awesome. I wish everyone got that way about manga(s). I will definitely have to check out the ones you recommended. It seems sad to me that you say the HYD manga doesn't stack up. I loved the J-drama and anime of the series. But, since the manga series is around 40 volumes, I had have yet read the manga. The libraries here only have bits-and-pieces of the HYD manga series, and I doubt that I could find scanslations of that, anymore. So, I may never read it....LOL.

    As for *Furuba*, I read some of it years ago.....long before joing GR. I could not remember which volumes I had read, so I didn't add it, since I'd want to start it over, anyway, since it has been so long. Sadly, libraries here have very few volumes of it as well. || I agree about *Rasetsu*. I loved that series. I found out (only after reading several volumes) that it's a spin-off of the series, *Yurara*. So, I am wanting to read *Yurara* as well. || I'm a late-comer to the *Hana-Kimi* craze. I tried it years ago, and could not get into it at all. Maybe, I just needed to be older to appreciate it, because I am loving it this time around. I am presently reading V10 of that series. I also loved the J-drama of it as well. I still need to watch the T-drama.

    Also, as you said, *Skip Beat!* is amazing. I have read various volumes of that series, and quite enjoyed it. I need to read alot more of it, especially the lower-#'d volumes.|| Right now, I am focused on reading *Hana-Kimi* and *Shugo Chara!*.

  29. I'm lucky enough that I actually have a fair number of friends who read manga - more than I have who are bookish minded actually. Unfortunately, none of them read shoujo which gets the brunt of my fangirlishness, so it feels as lonely as my YA fangirling haha!

    I have a really love/hate relationship with HYD. I mean, I've somehow ended up watching the anime, K-drama, AND reading the manga, which doesn't really seem like the actions of someone who dislikes the series. I think the anime might be my favourite medium of the lot (...that's probably almost entirely influenced by it's use of Mahler's Adagietto aka one of the most beautiful/heartwrenching pieces in existence. It's Rui's theme I think?). I think it also toned down the bullying a lot too. That's my biggest issue with the series - the level of bullying and what is clearly an abusive relationship really bothers me. But at the same time it's totally addictive and I know I did like some things about the series that have just been dampened by my above issues and the fact that I read the series probably 5 years ago now. You definitely can find scanlations of it though! ...says the person who hasn't looked at the series in years. But really I'm sure they're still up!

    I'm always surprised at libraries selections for mangas and graphic novels - it's weird to me that it's not sequential. Like I understand not having the whole series...but why have volume 10, 14, and 20-23? What's the thought process on that one?!

    AHAHAHA I'm still listening to Beatallica and I just go to "CREAM CHEESE. BUTTER." and now I'm cracking up hahaha

    I had no idea it was a spinoff! I'm definitely going to have to go check that out asap! (As soon as I get to all those chapters of Rasetsu I know must be around if you've been able to read them!) The J Drama for Hana Kimi is so fun!

    Let me know when you get to more of Skip Beat - that's my ultimate fangirl series haha

  30. I don't really keep an up-to-date blog. (You can check out if you'd like.) But, definitely feel free to add me there or on Facebook/Goodreads if you'd like to. I keep FB & GR updated alot more.

    As for *Rasetsu*, that was one I checked out from the libraries up here. I love the libraries in Spokane, but they do have the problem you mentioned with longer series, where they have Vols. 6, 9, 14-16, 26, 29, and 38. (I think that happens, sometimes, because some of the other volumes got messed-up over time. Then, they threw them away, and never re-ordered the volumes....which leaves huge gaps.) And, they also have the problem, being as there are 16 libraries around here that you oftentimes have to get Vols.1-3 at one time then put a hold on Vols.4-6 from another library and wait for them to arrive before you can read them. Or, you can look online to find scanslations. As for *Rasetsu* and *Yurara*, here's a link to the KissManga page for the author, Shiomi Chika, where you can find those to read:

    I don't do much of my online-reading (of mangas) on the computer, anymore. Moreso on the phone or tablet, using Android apps like MangaROCK and MangaGalaxy. Also, if you like webcomic-type mangas, MangaBox is an awesome app as well.

    As for HYD, I also enjoyed the anime version better than the drama version. Not saying that the J-drama was not good, though. I need to get around to watching the K-Drama (Boys Over Flowers) and the T-dramas (Meteor Garden I & II) as well, so that I can compare them all. I can see how the bullying would turn people off, though.

    Are you one of the people that likes to experience a series in all mediums to compare? I say this, since several series have manga, anime, and drama series available. Some even have drama series in more than 1 country, like HYD, Hana-Kimi, and Itazura na Kiss. And, some, like Sailor Moon, are lucky enough to get more than 1 anime series.

    Also, do you like shounen series that have a romance aspect to them, yet don't focus entirely on them as shoujo series do? I mean series like *Nisekoi*. Those are fun. But, shoujo (and mahou shoujo!) will always have my heart.

    It's nice to have talked to you again. Sorry for rambling on and on there.

  31. I haven't even tried to see what the manga situation is like at my new library because it's been pretty abysmal selection wise for YA and MG, but I might actually look into that since it's the best way to show the library that people will read it. Thanks so much for the link! Especially since my guess is that this library won't have any of it (but who knows?)

    I would LOVE to have some great apps for manga! I've tried to read them on my iPad before, but it just really didn't work for me, so it's good to know that there are things out there now that weren't there before. I'll have to look into that because that's how I prefer to read manga if I don't have much time to just sit and read it on my computer.

    You know, I'm not sure. It's not something I've actively sought out, but in pretty much all cases I've ended up both watching the anime and reading the manga. Most of it has ended up because the animes often don't finish, so I end up reading the manga. That's actually how I started reading Skip Beat which then led me down the whole manga path to begin with.

    I don't read a ton of stuff outside of shoujo and josei, but that's more to do with the fact that I am just not well versed in the other genres. I stumbled around a lot in shoujo and ended up discovering what I liked and how to know if I'd like it pretty quickly in, but I didn't have as much luck with other genres. I really loved xxxHolic and Chobits, so I know I must like seinen, but I can't think of any shounen I've read. I've probably watched some that fit though - like Blue Exorcist and Black Cat. Any recommendations on that front? I'm always looking to branch out!

    And I love rambling comments! I think? I've added you on Goodreads (if not I added someone else with your name...) so feel free to message me there. And I'm totally going to stalk your shelves next time I'm looking for a manga to pick up!

  32. Funny that you say that, actually. I'm originally from a small town in Mississippi, where the library had no manga at all. And, it was hard to find used volumes as well. When I moved to Alabama, basically 3.5 years ago, I was happy to see a couple shelves of manga at the local library, and to also build myself a collection of used volumes via thrift stores and CL as well. Sadly, my collection is still in Alabama with my parents. However, the Spokane libraries have decent amounts of manga on the shelves.

    So, my guess is you're a CLAMP addict. Oh, how I love CLAMP mangas. I especially loved CCS (CardCaptor Sakura). Chobits and KTAL (Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer) were also good. I have read some of both *Tsubasa Resevoir Chronicle* and *XxX-Holic*, but have not finished either. I also love the CLAMP animes as well. I did watch CCD (CLAMP Campus/School Detectives) without reading the manga, though.

    As for shounen, I don't read near as many of those as I do shoujo. So, I end up falling behind on them, or not reading some parts. *Food Wars* and *Nisekoi* are both really good. I also enjoy some of the longer ongoing ones, like *Bleach* and *Fairy Tail*. And, some *Tiger and Bunny* or *Blue Exorcist*, every once in a while.

    Didn't *Skip Beat!* get a drama series? I remember reading about that, but have not gotten around to watching it, yet. I enjoyed the anime, though. But, it seemed to cut off in the center of the story somewhere, and they teased us with another season, but never gave us another one.

    Thanks for adding me on GR.



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