Monday, April 06, 2020

What I Read Last Week #3


I read 2 novels last week. One mystery/comedy, and one YA retold fairy tale. 

High Five, the fifth book in the Stephanie Plum series, by Janet Evanovich. It was fun, exciting, and had an ending that drove me a bit crazy. I think that Stephanie is such a ridiculous and interesting character. She's so full of bad luck. Will things ever get better for her?

Of Curses and Kisses was and was not a fantasy. It was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It was kind of mean. I liked it, but the end was not my favourite. I wanted more. I'm hoping because it's a series, the next book will tell me what happened with Jaya and Grey. Because his father was awful and her "friend" was very manipulative. I'm also really interested in the secondary characters. They were all really interesting.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

What I Watched Last Week #3

For your viewing pleasure...

Have you been watching Patrick Stewart's sonnets? So good.

Alicia Keys has also been pretty awesome. She put her on spin on Flo Rida's "My House." 

Samuel L. Jackson also read from the book, Stay the F*ck at Home, and it was a treat. 

I just started a new anime series, InuYasha. Last week, I read Wasted Words and the InuYasha manga was mentioned. The books series is a television series on Netflix. I'm so bad at deciding what to watch next on streaming services, that my inspiration comes from the most random places.

I'm continuing to watch all my favourite late night hosts. Those guys make me happy. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

What I Watched Last Week #2

Let's start with Stephen Colbert fixing his bike. Remembering things you used to know how to do. So true.

Also, I quite enjoyed on Tuesday's show watching Jimmy Fallon interview Trevor Noah about doing shows from home.


This week on Netflix I watched The Letter for the King. An easy 10 episodes. It's got some really interesting and unexpected twists. The relationships between the characters were interesting. The ending, while a good conclusion, definitely left room for the series to grow.

I also rewatched a favourite episode of Lucifer because, ya. If you haven't watched Lucifer, it's so good.

My daughter discovered Carpool Karaoke. We watched Niall Horan, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran and Adele. All good. All fun. Though we did get into the discussion of the Carpool Karaoke "scandal" from earlier this year. It was funny. "So, he's really driving?"

What I Read Last Week #2

  

3 poems from Edgar Allan Poe. Not his most famous (I've already read those). I really enjoyed To Isadore, The Village Streetand The Forest Reverie. As I read The Village Street, I kept thinking that this would make an eerie short story. Every so often, I read a bit from Poe's complete works. I enjoy his poetry, but sometimes I can only take so much creepy.

Serpent & Dove was a book I couldn't put down. It definitely did a good job of distracting me from EVERYTHING. I'm very excited to read the sequel, Blood & Honey when it comes out later this year. - I'm hoping the release date doesn't get pushed back.

Wasted Words was my now weekly (?) Romantic Comedy. It was cute and sad, and had a great ending. It's interesting how the events of our teen years can affect us as adults. Even when rationally, we know we're acting "crazy".

I finally read The Search, the second series of graphic novels from Avatar: The Last Airbender. My daughter rewatched the series on Netflix and it was hard to pull myself away when it was on. Reading this book satisfied the itch for more Avatar. If you want to know what happened to Zuko's mother, this is the book you need to read.

Blog post from the Write Practice. It's short. Kind of helpful. Mostly it made me feel better that in my WIP, I occasionally have scenes that are 350ish words.

A reminder to myself that I only need to read so much about Coronavirus and COVID-19.

Monday, March 23, 2020

What I Watched Last Week

I've been putting some time in on Netflix. Most of us have, no? At this point, I'm happy to have more than one streaming service and some cable. Though I really miss sports. 

I watched the latest season of Castlevania. I was waiting for my favourite trio to get back together... and if I say too much, it'll be a spoiler. I did, however, watch them all survive the horrors of a post-Dracula world. Like, wtf?

I decided to try a new anime too. Beastars had a big banner at the top of my Netflix page, so I watched. The show is weird. I can't say if it was good or bad. Just weird. But once I started watching, I had to finish. I needed to know how it all turned out.

Also, I may have finished YouTube.

I have been enjoying the late night hosts "at home" shows. I like Stephen Colbert's elements theme. Jimmy Fallon's house looks amazing and super fun. His daughters are incredibly adorable. Trevor Noah is basically doing his whole regular show, just from his couch. Unlike Colbert and Fallon, it looks like Trevor Noah's crew is still putting in time, just from home. There's even a "moment of zen" at the end of each episode.

I've been watching a lot of news too. CP24 sometimes in the morning. I have alerts for whenever CBC or CTV says the Prime Minister is talking. I've watched the WHO broadcasts too. I'm trying to keep informed, check my sources, but not become too overwhelmed. There's a lot of information out there.

Helpful links:

Canada Public Health Services - COVID-19: 

WHO - Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic: 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

What I Read This Week

I needed a happy ending. That lead to Romance, which read to Meg Cabot. I enjoy Cabot's writing, her style, her characters. I knew that not only would I get a happy ending, I would get rich, interesting characters, and maybe a crazy fun plot. No Judgments did not disappoint. Even though the natural disaster the characters are going through is different that what's happening now, I found some of the isolation and attitudes of the characters similar to what we are dealing with.

I finished The Ghost King, by R.A. Salvatore. The Ghost King is the 19th book in The Legend of Drizzt series. It was a great book. Lots of action, adventure. I got to spend time with characters that I've been reading about for years (and will continue to read about as there are at least 15 more books). It's a good thing I sandwiched this fantasy between some happy endings, but this one was and emotional end for me. I yelled at my husband when I closed the book. (He's read all but the most recent of the Drizzt books.) He knew what was going to happen! Not that I'd want him to stop me from reading it, but I had to let that emotion out somewhere.

I also read Chaotic Good, by Whitney Gardner. It's a teen romance, but it's so much more. They play D&D in the book. It was so good. The title, of course, is what first got me. But it's also about growing up as a girl, and as a geek girl. What it's like to feel alienating from the things you love. How much easier things would be if you were a boy. It's also about how evil the internet is. I kept thinking, the main character is a CHILD. She hasn't even started her last year of high school! Honestly, I'm so glad they didn't have social media when I was in high school, but I worry about what it's going to be like for my children. I hope not like this.

I've been reading the Government of Canada COVID-19 website a lot too. Mostly, so I can look at the stats. I want to know how many cases are in Canada and where. My local sites. The WHO website. I have to really watch that I don't read too much of it, because then I'll just go into information overload.

I have also been spending too much time on Twitter. Also bordering on information overload. I do like the photos I saw of the Venice canals being clear though. It's strange how this lockdown / isolation is changing the world around us.


Things I Learned Today (and Yesterday)

Well.ca is offering online medical services in Canada. I just saw an ad for it. It looks like you have to make an appointment, but then you can video chat with a doctor. There are definitely things you need to see a doctor in real life for, but this seems really useful.

Various Modo Yoga Facebook and Instagram accounts are live streaming for classes. It seems that each yoga studio is doing their own classes with their own teachers, as well as the main Modo Yoga account. Modo Yoga Online is also offering one month free. I'm sure we could all use a little more fitness and zen in our lives.

Helpful links:

Well.ca Services: https://well.ca/index.html?main_page=landing_page&id=2312

Modo Yoga: https://www.instagram.com/modoyoga/

Canada Public Health Services - COVID-19: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

WHO - Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic:  https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Best Things I Watched Today

To help with our Social Distancing / Self-Isolation / Self-Quarantining, here are some things I watched today which I enjoyed.



I love Stephen Colbert. He's so smart and he makes me laugh. I also love how John Batiste plays us out.



Jimmy Fallon's daughter did the "graphics". His wife's laughter made me so happy.



PIVOT!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Global Lockdown


The world is shutting down, but we’re still here. Don’t forget. Don’t take this lightly, but don’t go nuts. The precautions are real and necessary, but after a few more weeks, a month or two, things will go back to normal. At least normal-ish. 

Social distancing. I love and hate it. I grew up in a culture of hugs and kisses, but I’ve also been more reserved, forcing myself to engage in the expected norms. I’m fine with that too. If I didn’t, I’d be a recluse. I’m still a homebody, so not going out isn’t a big deal. But it is. Events have been cancelled. Baby showers and birthdays. Will my friend’s wedding shower be okay in May? My cousin’s wedding in June? I can’t say for certain.

I just told my Hubby that I’m fine. I’m not fine. But I am.

I’m worried, but optimistic. I think as with SARS and H1N1, this will pass. Is it worse? Something to take very seriously? Yes. It might forever reshape how we interact with each other and the world. I’ve never had a problem placing a grocery order before. I laugh when I think of us ending up like the chair people in Wall-E. But we won’t (probably).

So ya, I’m having some feelings and I’m worried. Life isn’t stopping though. I’m working (from home). I’m talking to my family and friends. I’m cuddling my children as much as I can. I’m reading. I’m writing. I’m going to blog. I’ve just been getting back into it. I’m looking forward, while being aware of now.

Helpful Links:

*Source your information. It matters.*

Saturday, February 15, 2020

My Evolving Affair With Romance Novels

Romance novels have taken over my to-be-read list! I thought I was still sticking to my old reading habits - diving into a fair mix of books. Some literary fiction, some genre. I've started dipping into poetry. But nothing has grabbed my attention lately like Romance. A quick look at recent reads from my Goodreads shelf shows how many of them have been romance.

I've also realized from this screenshot that
I've read a lot of graphic novels lately too.
About two years ago, I blogged about reading romances. I had become a fan of Melissa Foster and a few others. Their typical style: A couple meet. They're attracted to each other. They get together. Something happens to keep them apart. They work past it and live happily ever after. They are still fun reads.

There are two things that have been attracting me to my current choices in the Romance genre. The first is interracial romances. That's my life. My Hubby is white and his experiences with family and culture are different than mine. I'm not looking for romances that exactly mirror my relationship (frankly, there aren't really any that exist). I find any interracial romance interesting. From The Chai Factor, to The Kiss Quotient, to Duke by Default. (Another fun part of Duke by Default, is the American/Scottish dynamic added to the mix.) The other dynamic has been what also makes The Kiss Quotient and Duke by Default compelling. The female lead of The Kiss Quotient has high-functioning autism (Asperger's). Not only does she navigate love, parents, and cultural differences, but she learns to accept her own differences with someone who loves her exactly the way she is. In Duke by Default, the female lead is labeled as "flighty", "a party girl", and "unreliable." What she learns as an adult is that she has a form of ADHD. With this new knowledge, she learns how to better navigate her life. Those are the serious issues that I find reading about in these relationships fascinating.

The other thing that has been attracting me to Romances is the humour. I've been reading Romantic Comedies. Sometimes, you need a laugh. Man Hands is a good example. Even the title makes me laugh. The next book in the series is Man Card. That's enough to make me want to read it. There are definitely a lot of the same romantic tropes that you're going to find in any romance story, but the quirky situations had me laughing out loud. 

All these books are full of strong women. Most of them are over 30 and very relatable. They're working towards their dreams, being independent, fighting with family, coming together to support other women. They're people I would be friends with. The men too. They learn, grow, are kind, protective without smothering the woman in their life... or if they to do start smothering, they back off and admit they were wrong. They have their own issues, also relatable. Of course, they're also all super studly. 

So, this is me coming to accept the level of Romance in my reading life. Looking at that picture of 30 books, 12 of them fall easily into the Romance category. I always thought I read more Sci-Fi/Fantasy, but not in the last few months. Maybe it's just me looking for a laugh and a happy ending. 

Friday, January 31, 2020

Assassin Eco-Corpses


I loved Grinder. I had to say it. I don’t know what it is, maybe “biker with a big heart”, but he got to me. I know Junior is fun and spunky and unique. I can see how she would be someone’s favourite character. She’s awesome and I very much enjoyed her and her interactions with Hazel, but Grinder is the one for me. Cuthbert is another great character. A dapper man with a biker partner, and occasional English accent, he seems intriguing. All the characters do. I feel like Assassin Eco-Corpses was just a taste of who all these characters are.

I don’t want to give anything away, but I appreciated the villain twist. It wasn’t what I expected, and I do enjoy the unexpected. “Eco-Corpses” really start to make sense. I also appreciated the story taking place somewhere I was familiar with. I know that won’t be the case with every reader, but I liked the little details, seeing the different parts of town the corpses traveled.

Endings can make or break a story for me. I read a book recently where one of the sub-plots left me wanting. Not that I need everything to be wrapped up in a bow, especially with a series, but there needs to be a level of satisfaction with the ending. Assassin Eco-Corpses ended with emotion, surprise and curiosity. It also ended with possibility, which is what will have me looking forward to the next D.E.M.ON. installment.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Vacation Reads - Part 2

The Kiss Quotient was just the first of three (I think) books with inter-racial couples (Michael is half Vietnamese) I've read this summer. (Also, I'm not counting Bridal Boot Camp because it was a short story.) Inter-racial couples really grab my attention, for obvious reasons for anyone who knows me or anyone who has read my blog since the beginning. That brings me too...

The Wedding Date

I sort of loved this story. Jasmine Guillory's heroine is black and hero is white. That is not the main focus of the plot, but it does play a part. There's a wedding (obviously), some misunderstandings, and some emotional moments. Any talk about the differences in race are natural to the evolution of the relationship. At least they felt natural to me, moments I could really relate to. What I appreciated about how Guillory handled it, was the thoughtfulness she gave to both characters. Alexa makes Drew really think about the differences in the way they grew up. I also really liked how Drew never doubted Alexa, even when she commented about a guy he thought of as a nice guy. The Wedding Date had a fun "rom-com" feeling. I think it would make an adorable Netflix movie.

Hearts at Stake

Like Faefever, Hearts at Stake was one of the only books I read that didn't have an adult romance at the centre of it. Hearts at Stake is a vampire book. One of the first I have read in a long time. It's also Young Adult, again a departure from my other steamy summer reads. The main reason I read it: author Alyxandra Harvey will be speaking at the York Writer's Conference this October. I have registered to attend her workshop about genre-blending. I enjoyed her first book in the Drake Chronicles and look forward to reading more of her work.

Steeped in Love

Together We Read is a digital book club with participating libraries Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Steeped in Love was the selection for August. I saw it on the homepage and the synopsis gave me that summer rom-com feeling, with a little extra that spoke to me. One of the main characters is a writer, suffering from writer's block. The other main character is a tea-lover and tea leaf reader. I LOVE tea. I'm probably drinking tea right now. It's one of those stories I had to read. Author Julie Evelyn Joyce is also very Canadian (just take a peek at her profile pic). Steeped in Love was funny, sweet, and had a great feel-good ending. Also, unlike several of the adult romances I read this summer, the "steam-level" was rather low. The story of Abbie and Ethan is heartwarming. It made me smile.

This summer I also read the sequel to The Kiss Quotient, The Bride Test, also featuring an autistic main character. Again, a fantastic story.

I read, Seaside Nights, Seaside Embrace, Seaside Lovers, and Promise My Love by Melissa Foster. Still clearly one of my favourite romance writers.


I also read Chemical Reaction, the sixth book in the Nerds of Paradise series. It's Merry Farmer's last Nerd book for a while. She typically writers Historical Romances (Bodice-Rippers?), and it'll be a while before another Nerd book pops up. I don't think I've read a Historical Romance (unless Shadow of Night counts), but if it's written by Farmer, I might give it a try. Ten years ago, I never thought I'd read Romances, but this year, I had a summer filled with them. I think it's the happy endings. The past few years, I've needed more happy endings.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Vacation Reads - Part 1

Summer was busy. There were parties, barbecues, kid-events, family gatherings, and girls and guys nights. It was hot, too rainy, then not rainy enough. Even though summer is technically June 21 to September 23, I always feel like summer doesn't really start until the last weekend in June when school is out. Then something happens, it's like the flick of a switch and suddenly it's fall on September 1 (or August 29 this year).

Like many summers before, there were a lot of long drives, including our family vacation. We visited beautiful Prince Edward Island for the third time. I highly recommend going. PEI is amazing. The people are beyond nice. Everything about the island makes me happy. I plan on continually going. We road-tripped it to PEI from Ontario and it was the beginning of my "summer reading". That involved a lot of Romance of one kind or another. Everything I read this summer was "fun", (except for Faefever's ending and a bunch of Stephen King short stories), and they left me with a smile on my face. I guess I just wanted happy reads in between all the busy days and nights. I picked out a few of the books to share.

Faefever

The ending. Just, whoa. What is going to happen to Mac? I'm very worried about her. I was really hoping that there was going to be a last minute something, but nope. This is probably one of the most major cliffhanger endings I have ever read. It's definitely an ending that comes from a book in the middle of a series. After Mac as the main character, I was left wondering if that would change. I think it's the kind of ending that keeps readers invested in the series.

Bridal Boot Camp

A short story from Meg Cabot. Bridal Boot Camp is essentially a prequel to her upcoming release, No Judgments. It was a cute, fun story, but more than anything, I want to know what happens when the storm hits. It came up in the "Just Added" section of my library's ebooks. An author I like, a readily available short story, a good, fun read, it was an easy selection. 

The Kiss Quotient

Even though I have been reading a lot of love-centred stories, I still like finding stories that are out of the ordinary. That brought me to The Kiss Quotient. Helen Hoang's debut novel is about a single woman finding love, like so many romances. What makes it different is who Stella is. Stella Lane has high-functioning autism/Asperger's. The story follows Stella as she navigates love and life with all her unique qualities. I couldn't put it down. I was a bit surprised at the "steam" level (as I've seen  romance writers/readers call it). The cover and synopsis did not fully describe how hot the book is. Stella and her "love-interest", Michael, were full, complete, complex characters. Michael had his own issues and journey to go on and was just as interesting. I think it's the best Romance I've read this year. It might be one of the best ever.

That's just three of the books I read. Part 2 will be here in [hopefully] a couple days.

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.