Sunday, July 21, 2019

Another Sequel, A Finale, and Women Who Need To Talk

These three books are very different... and two of them are library books! I've been reading a lot from the library lately. I'm embracing library books in a way I haven't before. I'm running out of space in my house. I also feel like I can try out more new authors without the worry of money/space. Libraries are just so awesome!

Two For The Dough

Janet Evanovich is a genius at pacing her novels. Two For The Dough was full of excitement. Even the exposition passages were seamlessly woven into the intensity. I can't get enough of Stephanie Plum and Joe Morelli. I also really like how so much of the adventure takes place in the area where they live and grew up. Everyone knows everyone, including the bail jumpers on the run.

X-Men '92: Lilapalooza

There are so many characters in X-Men '92: Lilapalooza, a lot of favourites, many from the previous X-Men '92 books, but also others I was unfamiliar with. There were also a lot of "X's" in general. X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor, X-Brood. I still had fun with the comic. My nostalgia is strong. I loved seeing all my favourite characters from the 90s in their bright, colourful outfits.

I'm a little sad/disappointed though. Lilapalooza is the last book. The series was cancelled and know I don't know what happens with Xodus. Is there another comic that wraps it all up? I want to know what happens!

Women Talking

Women Talking was heartbreaking, fascinating, and made me so sad. Mariam Toews' novel is about Mennonite women deciding how to move forward with their lives after they are sexually assaulted by a group of men in their community. The story starts in the aftermath. The men have been caught, and arrested. The impression the women give is that this is for the men's protection, some of the women would have killed the men for what they did. I empathized deeply with these women. It wasn't just adult women who were brutalized, but their daughters too. As amazing as this story was, it's hard for me to think about. Women Talking is based on a true story about a real community. Part of me feels like Toews wrote the ending as she would have liked it to be, not what actually happened.

It was a wide range of stories for me. I am glad I read each of them. I like interspersing the serious with the fun. My heart can't break with every book I read, after all. 

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Three Novels Beyond the Real

I was reading Shiver, when as I neared the end, two books came in for me at the library. Bloodfever and Glory In Death. In that order. I was so excited. Two sequels to two books that had me staying up past my bedtime reading. 

Shiver

Wow. I think I use that word too much, but that ending was a definite wow. After reading The Raven Cycle I knew I had to read more from Maggie Stiefvater. Shiver did not disappoint. I was a little hesitant to read a werewolf tale, but Stiefvater's take on werewolves is not one I've read before. It's tragic. Beyond the supernatural "issues", it was the characters that got me. The characters are rich and real. They are believable and relatable. Grace is a wonder. She is unique and deserves love. Sam is sad and warm and kind. I really enjoyed the alternating points of view, but Grace was the centre for me. I often enjoy that stylye and Stiefvater does it well. 

Bloodfever

I am loving the Fever series. Bloodfever is Karen Marie Moning's sequel to Darkfever. I think I enjoyed the second book more. I loved Mac more. I loved watching her grow and learn more about herself. I liked that she didn't just fall in with whoever was making her promises. She trusted herself more. I'm in this series until the end. I want to know who/what Barrons is. I want to know more about the sisterhood. I want to see Mac get her revenge.

Glory In Death

Lt. Eve Dallas is still amazing. Glory in Death is the sequel to JD Robb's Naked in Death, a novel about a hard-ass detective, set in a future New York City. Glory in Death makes me so happy. Eve is the same, but growing, as is Roarke. He surprises her and himself. She puts it all on the line for her cases and for people she cares about. Watching her relationships grow, not just with the man in her life, but with her best friend, and her new reporter friend. Eve Dallas has me hooked. I don't know if I'll ever get tired of reading about her - and there are a lot of books in this series.

Each of these novels have a lead character who is strong, yet vulnerable. They learn and want to know more. They are three completely different worlds that these characters live in, but they adapt and seek to understand. They are compelling, consuming reads and I can't wait to read more about each of them. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

3 Stories - Fantasy, Mystery & A Marvel Comic


Things have gotten busy lately, so instead of writing three separate posts, I thought I would smash my last three reads into one. I want to consider what each book taught me, whether about what makes a good story, people, life or whatever. There still might be a little, "Ahhhh!" because my last three reads were amazing. I've been pretty good with choosing some fantastic reads this year and I hope it continues.


That was an unexpected ending. Just wow. I immediately searched for when the sequel was coming out when I finished. Children of Blood and Bone is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Not only did I love the characters, I loved the interpretation of magic and world that Tomi Odeyemi created. Odeyemi wove magic into the world in a way I really enjoyed. Something about the world she created called to me. I found Odeyemi, her world and her characters inspiring.


Stephanie Plum is amazing. She is smart, funny, witty, and maybe a little too confident sometimes. The pacing in One for the Money was perfect. There was action, but also emotional, frightening moments as well. This was another book I stayed up much too late reading. I’ve already put the second book on hold at the library. I think this would make a great television series. I looked it up and saw that a movie was made. I also saw the reviews and ratings it received. It makes me a little sad. There is so much great material. There are awkward situations, tension and cliffhangers. Janet Evanovich created a sensational hero and cast of supporting characters. Her parents and grandmother are amazing.


A small side note, this novel is very 90s. There were so many situations where a cell phone would have been extremely useful. There’s a car phone that’s used, which is a small source of tension. I wonder how Stephanie changes her tactics as the years progress. Will cell phones and texting become part of the story? Will technology change her cases? This is a series that will give me years of enjoyment.


One look at the cover and I couldn't resist picking up A-Force: Warzones. Just look at She-Hulk. She means business. A-Force:Warzones is like the other Warzones comics I’ve read. It takes place on Battleworld where Doom is god. A-Force taught me that anyone can be a hero. It’s about need and home and love. It’s about fighting for what you believed in and for what’s right. This edition just reinforced my desire to read the Thors Warzone comic. What makes them the way they are? There’s so much to learn there.

That’s three! What will my next three be? I wonder what genres I’ll be choosing and what each story will teach me.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Naked In Death


It's been a while since I've been so engrossed in a novel. Naked In Death was brilliant. I couldn't put it down. I stayed up too late reading more than once. Naked In Death is the first novel in JD Robb's (Nora Roberts) the In Death series, which I've been eyeing for a while. It was daunting to begin. There are 49 books in the series! With so many books, I felt like it was too late to start, but again and again I would hear about this series and how good it was. If the rest of the series is like Naked In Death, I'm going to love all of them.

I really connected with Lieutenant Eve Dallas. She is smart, sassy, tough, but has a tender side. She's guarded and has secrets. I might eventually get a little obsessed with her. Her past is shrouded. There's a crack, dreams into a dark place, but what else is there. She is amazing at putting that aside and focusing on the case. The case was awful. I feel like it was also very relevant. It was a case we could hear about happening now. Naked In Death is a mystery that takes place in the future. There are all sorts of changes and progress that have been made, but there are still throwbacks, people who long for their grandparents' time. It's so reminiscent of the world we live in now. Someone gets in power and tries to roll back all the progress that was previously made.

Enough about real life.

I'm also a little obsessed with Roarke. That's his last name, right? I love him. He's mysterious, but thoughtful. He is private, but shows his emotions to Eve. I want to know what happens to him, to them. I've read the synopsis for Glory In Death and I'm just not sure. He's certainly a target.

Can I also mention how good the fight scenes are? I can really see the fights, the blood, bruises, the torn knuckles. I love the mystery, the tension, the romance, but I also love when a fight scene is real, when I can feel the main character fighting for their life. I've read books where the action is just glazed over, but Robb doesn't do that. She makes it as real as anything else in the book. 

This book hangover is going to last a while, I think. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

An Easy Death


In An Easy Death, Charlaine Harris brings together Western and Fantasy through an alternate American history, with a little magic thrown in the mix. I loved Gunnie Lizbeth Rose. She was strong, intelligent, self-assured and confident. Gunnie Rose kicked ass. She followed orders and she gave them. She could shoot, but she didn't kill without reason. Growing up in such a harsh world, with cruelty all around her, Lizbeth has become a good person. She is fair, though not always kind. She is loyal and honourable. I am invested in what happens to Lizbeth now. An Easy Death is the first in Harris' new Gunnie Rose series and after that ending, I wonder what is next for Lizbeth Rose.

Her mother did well for Lizbeth and for herself. She married a good man, who seems to care for Lizbeth. There were times, however, I wondered why Candle wasn't around her daughter more when she returned from jobs. She did fuss, but Gunnie kept giving the reason that she wanted to go home, to her own house. She didn't want to inconvenience her mother and step-father or bother them. If it was my daughter, in this harsh life, I think I'd tell my husband I was going to spend a couple days with her. At least one overnight? Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Jackson, Gunnie Rose's step-father wasn't affectionate, but he treated both her well, also ensured to cover anything owed by his step-daughter while she was gone - owing someone is not a position you want to be in. 

I was maybe a little in love with Eli too. He is so different than Gunnie Rose, but they connect. They learn to trust each other deeply. There are many words unsaid between them, but they see beyond that. Apart from his relationship with Gunnie Rose, Eli goes through a lot. He suffers different, deep losses and I think it was good that Lizbeth was there. 

The alternate history is really interesting. The way Harris explained it in the novel was woven in well. It didn't feel like an info dump, though I knew that is what it was. You can only mention "New America" and "Texoma" so many times before you have to explain what happened. Is it weird that the Canadian in me likes the idea of Canada getting a chunk of the northern states? (The good thing is that they'd all have universal health care.) Mexico gets a chunk of the south too. When the Russian royal family flees, they don't all die. Instead the Tsar settles in California and some western states become the Holy Russian Empire. I really wish I had a map. The copy I read is a library ebook. I'm going to have to check out a print edition the next time I'm in a bookstore or library to see if there is a map. I think one would be fascinating. 

There was so much that pulled me into An Easy Death, but the main thing was Gunnie Rose herself. It's a harsh, hard world that she lives in, especially for women. Yet she survives and even thrives. I'm interested to see where her journey takes her and I wonder if she'll make it to the HRE one day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Cat's Table

Michael Ondaatje is a master writer. His prose is so lyrical, it flows, it wraps around your imagination. I wasn't sure what I was going to make of The Cat's Table. The premise seemed simple enough, but simple things did not happen on the ship, Oronsay, as it traveled from Sri Lanka to England. There were so many twists and turns, paths not to be taken, and ones all too alluring.

The Cat's Table is primarily told from the perspective of Michael (nicknamed Mynah), on his journey to be reunited with his mother in England. The story feels so real as it's being told. Michael grows up to be an author, which is the last piece of information that makes you wonder if the tale is actually autobiographical. Much of what happens to the main character feels real. The people he meets feel real. It has a "life story" sensibility. You could be told this tale is a memoir and you would believe it. It is so believable, that Ondaatje includes a note at the end of the story telling the reader that the story is fictional. He did not take a trip on a boat called the Oronsay. Apparently, there were many boats with that name travelling from Sri Lanka to England during that time.

By the end of the novel, my heart had begun to reach out to Emily. I was so happy that she and Michael reconnected. I was glad that they figured out the truth of what happened to the CID agent. I loved all the characters. Cassius and Ramadhin felt like really people. They felt like they could have been life-long friends. I immensely enjoyed Mr. Daniels and Miss Lasqueti. Miss Lasqueti's story was an interesting one, folded into Michael's. Having finished the book, it really is difficult not to see these characters as real. They felt real. Ondaatje created people going on a journey, not just physical, but within themselves as well. I want to know what happened to all of them. How did they live their lives? Were they happy? Also, was Mynah ever Ondaatje's nickname? He took a trip like this when he was young. What interesting characters were on the boat with him? The Cat's Table still has me thinking. A beautiful read, The Cat's Table shows off Ondaatje at his lyrical best.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Titans


I have watched five episodes of Titans on Netflix and I love it. I loved it from the first time I saw Detective Grayson, from the first time I saw Rachel and her mother. Dick Grayson is fantastic. I don't think I've ever loved him more (except for maybe Robin/Nightwing on Young Justice). Being a detective is just so fitting. He learned from the greatest detective in the world, even if others didn't know that from the start. It definitely ups his cool factor in Garfield's eyes.

Titans is very dark. These aren't the characters from Teen Titans Go! or Young Justice. Robin and Starfire/Koriand'r are very much adults. Raven and Beast Boy are teens. Bad stuff happens. There is a lot of blood. Heads explode. Also, Hawk and Dove are part the story, an interesting part so far. I wonder how they will factor into Rachel's story. As much as we're seeing Dick, Kory, and Garfield's stories, the plot so far has revolved around Raven/Rachel. She's a kid, a young teen, just trying to figure things out, missing her mother, with serious trust issues. 

Is it weird that I really like the title sequence?

A few episodes in and Titans is becoming one of my favourite series of the year. I'm so excited to see what happens next!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Caraval



From beginning to end, my heart raced with Caraval. Stephanie Garber created such compelling characters. I adored Scarlett, but with both Tella and Julian, there was so much more to them. Scarlett grew, so much in the story. She went to wanting just to escape, but also wanting to live. Not only did she learn about what people were capable of, good and bad, she learned about herself. She was more than what she thought.

Tella was more as well. There is a strength, as well as a level of duplicity beneath her colourful attitude. By the end, I didn't know what Tella was going to do. I didn't know if she was lying or what her plans were. Julian stole my heart a little though. He was torn throughout the story. Something about Scarlett though, she made him happy, I think. Being with her made him happy in a way he did not think was possible.

[Lite Spoilers] Caraval is a complex story. It sort of reminds me of Ocean's Eleven, where we see what happens, but then the end is a surprise. At the end, we take a journey back through the story so that we can see what was really going on the whole time. Even now, with two more books in the series, I don't know what's going to happen next. The future of Caraval is really unknown. I feel like anything could happen. Tella could die, she could also meet Legend and marry him. Their father could come back. The count is definitely not out of the picture.

One thing I absolutely loved was Stephanie Garber's use of colour to reflect how Scarlett was feeling. She even discusses her own name. Scarlett is red, which is the colour of love AND lust. Red can be positive and negative. The use of colour to describe feelings was a brilliant tool. I thought at first it was just part of Garber's writing style, but then I began to wonder if Scarlett had magical abilities and this was how it manifested. Maybe I'll learn more about it when I read Legendary. I'm definitely a fan of Stephanie Garber now. I look forward to reading more of her work.


Sunday, January 06, 2019

Wonder Woman: War-Torn


I started out pretty frustrated with Wonder Woman: War-Torn. I was wondering what Meredith Finch and David Finch did to this series that I had been seriously enjoying until now. The ending saved the book. Not just Diana getting more in touch with the island, but her final battle with Donna Troy and the flashback chapter. Oh, Hippolyta.

Irony: "She's everything they used to mock me for."


I don't agree with quite a few of Diana's decisions in this story, not that I have to in order to enjoy it. Diana seems to be that "wonder woman" who aims to do it all. She is a member of the Justice League, Queen of the Amazons, and God of War. Can I be honest? I would give up being a member of the Justice League, at least a full-time member. I'd keep in touch, help when the big things are happening, like alien invasions or whatever, but both God of War and Amazon Queen seem like full-time positions. I think that's what frustrated me. Also, when Diana was dealing with First Born, where was the League? I get that it was an Olympus problem, but this involved the FATE OF THE WORLD. Even Orion came from ANOTHER PLANET to help. Sorry for all the All Caps. I have feelings about this book.

Speaking of Orion, where is he? I missed him. I missed Zola and a bunch of the characters from the previous story arc. I know there is a new writer and artistic team, but still! Also, if they want to see who has Hera's favour, Diana couldn't just ask her to stop by? That would have saved lives, no? As I mentioned, the end saved the entire story for me. There were some touching moments. I wonder about Wonder Woman's relationships with Superman and Batman, and if they'll be explored the next two books. I also wonder if all those characters I loved will come back and what these new creators will do with them.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe



With a title like, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe, how could I resist? The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe is my first Squirrel Girl comic, but it definitely won't be my last. I adore Team Squirrel Girl. I love Nancy, Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk. Their names are amazing. Also, Squirrel Girl's dynamic with Tony Stark is fantastic and fun. I also enjoyed watching Squirrel Girl have a little banter with Spider-Man. Her final outfit change was perfect. 

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe was the perfect book to start off my 2019. It was fun, very funny, but also had a female hero at the centre of a crazy storyline, who was also just a girl. Doreen Green is a 2nd year computer science student. Her hero team are more nerds. She balances her super hero life with her school life. Homework is a high priority and so is her best friend, Nancy. Also, Tippy. Tippy is the BEST squirrel ever. Based on this little squirrel's awesomeness, I hope that she's in the other Squirrel Girl comics that I have. Ryan North and Erica Henderson have created an amazing team of young heroes, who are totally capable of saving the world.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Forward and Backward: Hello 2019

The past 2 years probably saw me take some of my biggest steps forward with regards to my writing life. I joined the WCYR. I became one of their staff bloggers. I’ve taken on the membership profile posts and I have become more active within the group as a whole. In 2018, I joined a second local writing group and I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I’ve also been taking an online course from Sarah Selecky. On her website she posted some questions writers can ask themselves: Writing Inventory, Intentions, and Reminders for the New Year

Here are some answers to those questions: 

LAST YEAR:

A pitfall from this year, and how going through it made me into the writer I am now:
A pitfall? The first question and I really don’t know how to answer it. Every writing experience I’ve had this year and all the years before, have made me into the writer I am now.

A success from this year, and how going through it made me into the writer I am now:
A success from this year is the activity on the WCYR blog, The Easy Writer. I like to think that I played a pretty decent part in the increased activity.

Writing milestones. What actually happened, that mattered? What am I proud of doing this year?
(Get out your diary/notebooks and reflect, month by month.)
I don’t have time to reflect month by month, but NaNoWriMo might be the thing I’m most proud of this year.

Now I guess we’re at the “resolutions” part…

NEXT YEAR:

Next year, I’ll stop: Being so critical of myself. Probably not. But I can try.

Next year, I’ll start: Taking more time for my writing.

I want more of: The intense focus I get when I’m “in the zone”. Also, word count.

I want less of: Self-doubt. Goes with the first one, I guess. I also want less procrastination. I need to get the words on the page.

I am totally done with: I don’t know. Nothing? Nothingness?

I am ready, so ready for: A draft that I can show people.

I expect… my words to keep moving me forward.

I believe… I make pretty sentences.

I desire… my children to go to bed when I tell them so that I can keep working on my stories.

REMINDERS ABOUT MYSELF AND MY WRITING

What inspires me, without fail?
A really good prompt.

What grounds me, always?
My children telling me they need me.

What strengthens me, reliably?
My husband? Yoga?

What softens me, in just the right way?
My husband? Yoga?

I promise, I took this very seriously. However, I also have no time. Questions like these, like my responses in yesterday’s post, are often instinctual. They are my gut reaction. Often, from my gut, from deep within the pit of my stomach, is where I find the truth.


Monday, December 31, 2018

Forward and Backward: Goodbye 2018


I've seen so many "best of 2018" posts in December, and every December, I wonder how do people already know? How do you know which book was your favourite? Which movie? 2018 isn't over until December 31. So, I wait. I'm glad I waited too, because one of the best things I saw in 2018 was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Musical. It was fantastic. Hubby and I took the kids to see it on the 28th, a gift from his dad. The songs were great, the acting was great, it was fun and funny. The kids loved it. After seeing The Little Mermaid earlier this month, my son is totally a fan of musicals. My daughter loves going to the theatre. It's so much fun dressing up a little and taking them.

What were the other "bests" of 2018?

The movie that made me the happiest was probably To All The Boys I've Loved Before. I loved it. It put a smile on my face, warmed my heart and was just so full of happiness, with a good dose of teenage angst.

My favourite movie of the year was Black Panther. It was just straight-up amazing. It makes me excited just to think about it.

But what do I do more than anything else? I read. So here are some thoughts on the books I read in 2018:

I only read one book of poetry this year, but the sun and her flowers was amazing. I picked up milk and honey and will read it in 2019.

I also did not read a lot of non-fiction this year, but I have to say, Dear Ijeawele,or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions was a great book and I really recommend it to everyone.

Looking back, I thought I read more classics. I usually do. From the few I read, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was the best of the year for me. It’s a lesson in unreliable narrators.

The best mystery was easily The Surgeon. I need more Rizzoli &Isles in my life.

In literary fiction, the best book I read was one of those few classics. Fahrenheit 451 should be on everyone’s to-read lists.

I read a lot of fantasy this year. I guess it was all about living in another world in 2018. But the one that was probably my favourite was the urban fantasy, Visions, by Kelley Armstrong. It might be a sequel, but it definitely sucked me in more than Omens.

Romance made a surprising surge this year. I’ve just needed the feel-good nature of romance novels. The collection of short stories I recently finished, My True Love Gave to Me was probably the best, but Geekerella might make it a tie, since Geekerella was also pretty funny. Since those are both Young Adult, I’ll say my favourite “Adult Romance” of the year was Bursting with Love.

Choosing a favourite graphic novel is hard though. I read quite a few this year, especially in March (apparently). Wonder Woman: Bones really stands out for me. Though I am currently reading The UnbeatableSquirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe! and assuming I finish it before midnight, December 31, it might be my favourite of the year.

I have to say I was really surprised by how much I loved The Scorpio Races. I still think about Puck and Sean. I really hope they are living happily-ever-after.

I’ve been trying not to start new series, since I have SO MANY unfinished ones to read. I couldn’t resist Omens though. I had been wanting to read Kelley Armstrong for a while and when I got the first couple Cainsville books, I couldn’t stop myself.

I’m glad to have discovered Kelley Armstrong’s writing, as well as Karen Marie Moning and Ernst Cline. I’m looking forward to reading more by all these great writers.

Based on my Goodreads stats, the shortest book I read was Unlocked (63pgs) and the longest was It (1090pgs).

I’ve been looking for books that make me happy this year and the most fun I had reading was with Geekerella and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe!.

I went for the fun and happy books, but I was also capable of other emotions. The book that made me the most mad, was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. If you’ve read Agatha Christie’s classic, you know why. If you haven’t, you really should.


Those are a few thoughts on books for 2018. It was another year of great reading. I explored new genres, read new authors, but also came back to reliable friends. I feel kind of bad for not mentioning The Invasion of the Tearling and pretty much every graphic novel I read. There is just not enough space or enough categories (I used The Perpetual Page Turner as inspiration.)

This is much longer than I intended, so I'm going to stop here and maybe look back at my 2018 writing journey in the next post. Thanks for sticking with me through 2018!

I love this! From Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy

Sunday, December 30, 2018

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

With a great selection of authors, I was excited to read My True Love Gave to Me over the holidays. The stories promised to put me in that happy, holiday mood. I thought I write a sentence or two about each.

Midnights, by Rainbow Rowell - The cutest story. I love Mags! Rainbow Rowell is amazing.

The Lady and the Fox, by Kelly Link - Magical. Odd. I'm not sure if I am on board with the ending, but the story has an artistry about it.

Angels in the Snow, by Matt de la Peña - I want to know so much more about Shy and Haley. I could read a whole novel about them.

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me, by Jenny Han - This story broke my heart a little. It was magical and beautiful and it feels like a prelude to something amazing or amazingly sad.

It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown, by Stephanie Perkins - This is one of the sweetest, most romantic stories I’ve read I ages. It just made me so happy.

Your Temporary Santa, by David Levithan - Sweet, but confused. Santa is so unsure of himself.

Krampuslauf, by Holly Black - Magic and inner strength. What more could you want?

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?, by Gayle Forman - Another romantic, slice of coming-of-age story. You might not get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus, by Myra McEntire - A bad-boy using his powers for good? So sweet and emotional. I could read a whole novel about Gracie and Vaughn.

Welcome to Christmas, CA, by Kiersten White - This one almost had me crying. Maria learning about her mom and Rick’s real motivations was so heartwarming.

Star of Bethlehem, by Ally Carter - Another sweet story, but with a twist I didn’t expect.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor - This story was magic. Not that I expected anything else from the author of the Smoke and Bone series. I loved Neve and the Dreamer. The reverend more than gave me the creeps and I think he got what he deserved.

My True Love Gave to Me was a great collection to read over the holidays. The stories allowed a peak into the lives of the characters at a time when magic seemed possible. I enjoyed every story, they were full of amazing characters. Stephanie Perkins' It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown was my favourite of all the stories and it was the first thing I've ever read by Perkins. I'm going to have to read more of her work. My True Love Gave to Me also reminded me how much I love short story collections.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Visions


I don't think I could have loved Kelley Armstrong's Visions more. Visions had everything I wanted. I love Olivia. She's just amazing. Her attitude, personality, acceptance, fight, she is a strong character who is taking charge of her destiny. It is Owl versus Raven, with one side telling her to stay close to Gabriel and the other saying stay close to Ricky. Olivia has no plans to give up either. With both relationships, she is going in with eyes open. She knows who Ricky is, at least as much as he knows about himself. She knows who Gabriel is and has accepted a while ago that she is not going to be the woman to "change" Gabriel Walsh. She is happy with their friendship, they both are, and they both don't want to ruin it.

There were so many revelations in Visions. I wondered how both Olivia and Gabriel were going to handle it. Olivia did a very normal, human thing, which I appreciated. I don't want to say sensible, because that sounds boring, but sometimes I really do appreciate when a character makes a sensible decision. Olivia's decision at the end led to something lovely, and then something heartbreaking. It was a fantastic ending for the second book in the Cainsville series. It had me reaching for Deceptions, wanting to make sure that I had it available for when I was ready to read it.

I'm going to need a bit of a break. I had a lot of emotions and Visions sucked up a lot of my time. I could barely put it down. I had to re-read the end, just so I wouldn't be done, so I could spend a little more time with Olivia and Gabriel. Ricky is nice and everything, but I'm all about Gabriel. When  his exterior cracks he's fun and funny. Olivia has managed to get passed it.

I'm a little worried about  the ex-fiancé though. James seems like he's going to be a problem. Olivia is finding out who she really is. She is making new friends and forming new relationships. James is trying to pull her back to who she was. That's just not going to happen. He doesn't seem like he's going to accept that. 

Visions was a complete, wonderful, intriguing story. It has also left me wondering what crazy thing is going to happen to Olivia next.

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Christmas Chronicles

Another Netflix film that I thought was just so cute. Who could resist Kurt Russell as Santa? I didn't even mean to watch it. My daughter and her friend put it on over the weekend. I meant to keep going about my day, but then I saw that family. I saw their Christmases together. I saw how happy they all were together. When a movie starts that way, I get a sinking feeling. It's a feeling I always associate with the beginning of Up. If you've seen Up, you know what I'm talking about.

Maybe I could have walked away then, but nope. Santa bursts on the scene, or glitters, or something. Then BAM! All the highjinks starts and it's hilarious. It's funny, but heartwarming. It's magical, but also cynical. It's real, even when it's not. The Christmas Chronicles marries reality with childhood adventure and I couldn't resist it. Kurt Russell (and Mrs. Claus), put me in the holiday spirit.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

NaNoWriMo Is Over


My first ever NaNoWriMo is completed. Did I get to 50,000 words? Yes! I actually got to just over 54,000. I must say, I'm pretty impressed with myself. However, is my novel done? No. I'd say it's about two-thirds to three-quarters done. I was wondering if I should take a break or just power through. Hubby thinks I should just power through, basically NaNoWriMo-Lite. 

Today being December 1st, I felt like I needed a little break. So, I haven't written anything today...yet. In the car coming home, I had a thought, something that I realized would help not only the battle scene in which it takes place, but also a thread running through the overall novel. I only have to add in a few sentences too, which makes it even better.

The most important thing for me about last month, besides the word count, is what I learned. I need to schedule my writing time and stick to that time. I have a supportive Hubby and if I say I'm going to write between 7pm to 9pm, he'll take care of all the house and child responsibilities. I also learned when my most productive time is during the day. I learned how to turn off, or at least turn down my inner editor, and that getting it on the page is more important than having a "perfect" first draft. All these things, I think will help me with my writing moving forward. That's part of what I was hoping for, I wanted the words, but I also wanted to learn.

Monday, November 19, 2018

To All The Boys I Loved Before

The movie, not the book. But after watching the movie, I want to read the book. To All The Boys I've Love Before is the cutest movie. I wasn't sure I was going to watch this movie, but then I saw Jenny Han on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. After watching the interview, I knew I had to watch this movie. The way Jenny Han talked about her characters, representation, and the story, connected with me. I could relate to her feelings growing up, which in turn went into her book, then into the movie. I loved her description of her "discussion" with the studio about why Lara Jean had to be Asian. Lana Condor was perfect (coming from someone who hasn't read the book). She was sweet and goofy, while also being strong and independenhttps://www.netflix.com/ca/t. She didn't NEED Peter or Josh. She kind of needed her sister.

Though I loved all the moments of Lara Jean and her fake boyfriend, the moments with her sisters really stuck with me. Her dynamic with Kitty is fun and fantastic. Kitty loves Lara Jean so much too. I can see how much Kitty wants her to be happy. Though Margot was away for a lot of the movie, she is a huge part of Lara Jean's life. Margot is who Lara Jean can't lie to, who she wants to make happy more than anyone else. Margot is Lara Jean's maternal figure, she wants to make Margot proud. The relationship with her Dad offers some of the funniest moments too. I also have loved John Corbett since Northern Exposure.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before is available on Netflix now and if you want to watch something that will make you just feel good, this movie is for you.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

NaNoWriMo Update - Halfway


But not really.

The story I want to tell isn't going to fit into 50,000 words. I feel like I'm going to 90k. Can I do that in a month? Maybe if I had realized this on November 1st. Now? Nope.

Enter the mom-guilt.

I tried to type out a non-mean, non-sucky description about what the last couple weeks have been like in my house, but it's not working. Let's just say that November has been different. I've appreciated it, but also felt bad, and so many emotions.

So, NaNoWriMo...That's where I'm at. I'm halfway done, but not exactly. At least I'm confident that I can write 50,000 words in one month.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Geekerella

I could not resist a title like Geekerella. Geekerella is full of the most amazing geek references. I sat reading it and every time the novel referred to some awesome geekiness, I yelled it out to my Hubby. When I commented on a reference to The Princess Bride, he asked me to stop, because he might read this book now. I loved seeing all this geekiness, all these different fandoms represented. The "geek" part of Ashley Poston's story takes two different forms. First, there's Starfield, a sci-fi series with a serious cult following. I had been kind of thinking of it as a combination of Star Trek and Firefly, with a splash of Star Wars, and some of Poston's own uniqueness. In the story, there is the original Starfield, the movie remake, and ExcelsiCon, which was started by someone who loved Starfield (Elle's father). The other geeky aspects of the book are more subtle. It's where all the fun references come in. Just in conversation, like a bad person being called a Dalek or a group of people being called the Fellowship. Technology, social media, and blogging, are all big parts of the story too. Geekerella is definitely set now. It is present and I think it's relevant.

I was beyond entertained. There were parts of the story where I thought I might cry. I loved Elle. She was looking forward, moving forward, even though it would be so easy to slip into despair. She was a modern Cinderella, but with an opportunity to find a best friend, instead of just a fairy godmother. Sage was just fantastic. I really enjoyed the glimpses of her home life with her mom. The twist with Cal was great. The people at the Con were great. They were so loving and excepting. I don't go to a lot of cons, but I've been to FanExpo and it is a great time. The cosplay contest and the ball were just amazing scenes I could read again and again. Geekerella is definitely a book I could read more than once.

There's something about Danielle's step-mom though, something underneath her "meanness". I think she really did love Danielle's father. I also think she doesn't see herself as the bad guy. I wouldn't mind knowing more about her, what she's thinking, and why she makes her decisions. Chloe is just an entitled brat though.

Darien Freeman is fantastic. He felt so real throughout the whole novel. I loved Danielle's story, and I loved his too. Darien is not just a nameless prince with a pretty face. His story is important too, taking up just as must space in the novel. It is the connection Darien makes with with Elle than anchors the story.

I can't say enough nice things about Geekerella. The geek stuff is great. The story is interesting and heartwarming, the characters are engaging. Geekerella is everything I could have wanted from a story with the title, Geekerella

Monday, October 29, 2018

It's Been A Long Time Since I Finished Something New

Not counting blogging, of course, but even that has been affected lately. It took me a month just to finish this post.

Fiction-wise, I haven't finished a new short story since my most recent job began, and I had decided that all my spare creative energy was going into my novel-in-progress. That's not finished either. I feel like it could be, if I just had the brain-power to fit all the pieces together.

So, I haven't finished any new fiction in a long while, and what do I decide to do? NaNoWriMo. 

I thought to help myself along, I would create an outline. I already had the idea for this story for a while. Characters and scenes have played out in my head. This is a story that has been asking to be told. I hope that it's the perfect story for my first NaNoWriMo. I hope that I finish it too. Not just with NaNoWriMo, I want to finish more stories, more posts, more. I want to stick a fork in it and say, I'm done.