Thursday, February 16, 2017

Blast From The Past #12 - Heroes

Ten years ago, I was watching Heroes. I can't believe that show is 10 years old. It makes me feel old. I loved that show when it first started. I loved Peter, Claire, Sylar, Hiro and all the rest. It was a fantastic show in that first season. Admittedly, the following seasons weren't as great and the show got weirder, but I still sort of liked it. I never got around to watching Heroes Reborn though. Was it a mini-series or a first season that didn't get renewed? It's disappointing though, because that show had so much potential.

I miss wondering which new show was going to be a new favourite or if they had the story power to make it more than a year. I've been wondering about other things lately...

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Blast From The Past #11 - Nineteen Eighty-Four

Since I started looking back at my old blog posts, I've been sticking with the corresponding month from 10 years ago. However, I thought I'd change it up for this installment. Instead of talking about The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, I thought talking about George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four might be a little more relevant. It's been almost ten years since I read this powerful novel, since I thought things would never be the way they are in Winston's world, but now I'm not so sure, not after the introduction of "Alternative Facts" or the making up of a massacre that never happened. That some people seem to care more about the imagined dead instead of the real dead.

I have shied away from politics on this blog, though I have started to talk about over in my other space. I have wanted this space to be happy. I wanted to talk about books and movies and television, to share things about parenthood and food. I think I might keep this space that way. Leave the politics over there. However, that leaves me with a different feeling. How can I blog about books and things, when all this terribleness is still happening? I haven't stopped reading, I've just stopped sharing. It's almost like feeling guilty for finding something positive to say right now. I know I'm being silly. So, I will still share what I've read or watched and am excited about. I'll share my thoughts too, but I might link over to the other blog more often. Then again, maybe not. I've always let my feelings guide me here, so I'll just have to see where they lead me.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Captain Marvel: Altis Volat Propiis

Captain Marvel: Alis Volat Propiis is apparently the last book in Kelly Sue DeConnick's run with Captain Marvel. It was great. Alis Volat Propriis was fun and exciting, and so was the rest of the series. (Vague Spoilers.) The story ended much more quietly than I thought it would, but that's okay. I liked the ending. It was reflective and focused on Captain Marvel's growth. It also reinforced how much I like Spider-Woman and am growing more interested in Rhodey. The ending was emotional, happy and sad, and getting us ready for a new beginning. I'm excited to see where Captain Marvel goes from here, after an emotional year, and how her relationships grow.

David Lopez again did the art. From the cover of the next Captain Marvel volume, I can tell that Lopez's run has also ended. I've enjoyed how Lopez captures Captain Marvel's expressions, not just in her face, but in her body language, the hunched shoulders or the attack posture. I've enjoyed the lines and the colour. Everyone who came together on Captain Marvel: Alis Volat Propiis has done a wonderful job. I'm interested to see what style the new group brings.

Alis Volat Propriis was exactly what I've come to expect from a Captain Marvel comic, heart, humour and action. Though, they're a tricky group, comic creators. Because of this comic, I really want to start reading Legendary Star-Lord and there is a big "reference" to an adventure he is having with Kitty Pryde. Star-Lord and Shadowcat in space. That's hard to resist. Plus, even without DeConnick Carol Danvers is continuing to have some pretty big adventures. This isn't the last I'm going to see of any of them.

*She flies with her own wings.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lumberjanes: Beware The Kitten Holy

Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy is just so cute! It's funny and sweet, smart and tough. These are five different girls, who are friends, who trust and rely on each other. They drive their camp counselor crazy, but the camp director seems to have other ideas. I had a feeling that I would like the book, but I didn't know how much I would enjoy all its fun, interesting and unique quirks. I picked up Lumberjanes on a whim. Part of me was actually thinking this story would be great for my children in a few years. Now I am the one who has to read the whole series.

I really like how different Molly, Mal, Jo, Ripley, and April all are. They each have not only a distinct look, but distinct personalities. If this were a novel, without the visual "help", I'd easily be able to tell these girls apart. The visuals were great though. Bright when they needed to be, dark when it was time to be scared. Their expressions conveyed how they were feeling. I loved Camp Counselor Jen's expressions too. This is a difficult group of "hardcore lady types" to be in charge of. Jen does the best she can. I'm surprised these girls don't make her rip her hair out. Rosie's look is very distinct too. When you find out the girls are going to be taken to the director, you do not expect Rosie. Noelle Stevenson and the entire group who created Lumberjanes have done an amazing job.

The ending though... I mean, the whole book was great. Each chapter was a fun-filled adventure. The end really made the book even better. What they learned, the potential for danger, the new relationships, are all going to change how they continue to pursue this mystery. 

There are so many things I could talk about with this graphic novel. There's diversity, strong women who are all have their own strength, their pledge, their leader, the males they encounter, but what I want to say is that with all those aspects, the plot, the story is worth reading for everyone. 

I have to say though, this badge was one of my favourite parts of the whole book.

I'm so happy that I picked up Lumberjanes and I can't wait to find out what happens to them next.

One more thing... I made an infographic with an app called Bookout. I couldn't change anything about it, it just generated based on my reading stats for this book. I'm not sure what I think.
I read Lumberjanes Vol. 1. Here's an infographic about it made with @bookoutapp

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Outta The Bag

Outta The Bag is the prequel short story to MaryJanice Davidson's Cadence Jones series. It was free when I downloaded it and I believe it still is. It stars not Cadence, but a plumber, Clive Better, who tells his story to a surprising group of people, a story where he encountered the Jones "sisters". He doesn't know what to think. At first he's attracted to the sweet, bumbling sister, but then the others start to show up, and it becomes a crazy girl chasing her friend's runaway cat. He wants to help at first, but soon realizes he has to get out of there. 

It's a fun story for fans of Davidson and of the series. If you haven't read the first book, you might not fully understand what's going on, even though when it was first published, it was advertised as a "free preview". It's a fun, quick read. Even in this very short story, Davidson is able to showcase the distinct voices of the sisters, so as a reader, you can tell when there's been a transition. It was definitely a fun story and it's got me in the mood to read the rest of the Cadence Jones books, but I don't think it's a short story just anyone is going to pick up. A good read though for a Davidson fan.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Can You Keep A Secret?

So cute and silly and funny. Some real emotional moments I could relate to. Can You Keep A Secret? reminded me why I love Sophia Kinsella. I could read the book again right now.

I could relate so much to Emma. I've totally faked my way through a job I didn't understand (I wasn't even sure how I ended up there). I may have acted like I had more more money than I did at that age, trying to impress the "right" people. I've been awkward (I'm still awkward). I've said I liked things when I didn't, just to make someone else happy. That stuff with Emma's family hit a nerve too. It was more extreme, but I think a lot of people can relate to what's going on with the Corrigans.

The story is pretty simple, girl meets boy, girl thinks she's going to die, girl spills all her secrets to boy, they don't die, girl thinks she'll never see boy again, boy turns up at her office. Seriously, that sums up the first bit of the book. Everything that happens after is hilarious and touching. Sometimes I cringed, sometimes I smiled, I laughed, I wanted to know what happened next. I stayed up way too late reading. Even though the plot seems simple, Kinsella packs the books with so much emotion, tension, and laughter, that you can't put it down.

Besides Emma, the other characters are great. Many of them are searching for pieces of themselves, on journeys of discovery. Jack is practically the opposite of Emma, I think. Lissy is trying to be more than what she's been labeled. Maybe Jemima even learns about herself. The ups and downs, the misunderstandings, the tears, were all worth it for them in the end. The ending made me love the book even more. Not just the Epilogue part, which was beyond cute, but the part with Lissy and Jemima. She so deserved it. I'm so happy with my book choices so far this year, I'm excited/nervous about what the next story will bring, though I know that the next book I pick up by Kinsella will surely make me laugh again.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling was just amazing. I could barely put it down. I sneaked in moments of reading when I should have been doing real life stuff. I just had to know what happened next. I loved everything and everyone. This might be the gushiest post I've had in a while, because I have nothing but love for this absolutely engrossing novel.

I love Kelsea. She's amazing. She is a 19-year-old young woman, who is taken to be crowned queen. It's not "thrust" upon her, she's been in hiding, preparing for this her whole life. When it happens though, it's not quite what she expected. She learns things on her journey through the story, about her mother (the former queen), about her foster parents, and about the kingdom she now has to rule. The entire story has Kelsea learning secrets and about the past. She learns about herself too, what she is capable of and what kind of ruler she wants to be.

There are two things I previously thought about this book that after reading the story, I don't think are entirely true. The first is that this is a fantasy novel. It is, but it is more. I keep trying to piece together the timeline of the Tearling world. I want to know what caused "The Crossing". There is so much of our world scattered throughout the story that you know these people are somehow the future. But they live in a world that feels like the past. They talk about sailing, mention technology, so they are still on Earth, it's not some weird Battlestar Galactica or a Star Wars thing. Johansen name drops "Rowling" and Lord of the Rings. Based on what we glimpse of the planet, some kind of natural disaster happened? Did the Ice Caps melt? Global Warming? Where is "the New World" actually located? I really want to know. Though I also want to learn what happens to Kelsea and the rest of the characters in the series, I'm really interested in how Erika Johansen saw this world forming.

The other thing is the "classification" of the book. It's Young Adult but not really. The main character may be 19, but she's the only one. All of the other characters in the book are older than her, save for a few small moments with children. The other women are either mothers or nobles. The men of the Queen's Guard are in their 30s and 40s, except for one, maybe two. A lot of adult things happen in this story as well. This is definitely "older" Young Adult. New Adult maybe? Or just a very good novel, where many violent and sad things happen. The Queen of The Tearling broke my heart more than once.

There are also two things about the story that stood out to me. The first, there is no "love interest". Kelsea is constantly surrounded by men, but they are all older than she is. Whether she finds them attractive or not does not matter. There were a couple times, where I thought she might "fall" for a man, but besides a potentially inappropriate attraction to one, she stays focused. Johansen doesn't go there. This is about Kelsea and her people. Going along with the idea of not having a love interest, Kelsea is described as plain. Her mother was apparently a great beauty, but not her daughter. Kelsea has her mother's eyes and height, and that's it.  It is commented on more than once. There are times we are reminded that Kelsea is 19 and is self-conscious about her appearance, like many at that age (and at my age). Is it bad that I like that she's not a princess who "dazzles" with her beauty? Kelsea uses words and strength.

I'm so excited to read the rest of the series. I have The Invasion of the Tearling, but I might wait until I pick up The Fate of the Tearling before I read it. It's such a wonderful, exciting, thoughtful book, that I'm confident the rest of the series will not disappoint.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Blast From The Past #10 - Blood Diamond

I can't believe it's been 10 years since I saw Blood Diamond. Has anything in that world changed? Are the African people still exploited, their lands, for diamonds? Do people still hunger for them in a one-sided market? I like to think there's been some change. One obvious example with people I know, is with engagement rings. I know a few women who have chosen an alternative to a diamond. I have seen a beautiful black pearl ring and a sparkling sapphire. More and more, I'm seeing "different" choices. Is this the new generation wanting to be different from those who have come before? Are these socially conscious people? Are personal tastes circumventing the norm? I think maybe all those things. I also think that diamond stores are being more socially conscious, as the population is becoming more so. There are certifications that diamonds can receive to show that they were mined within certain standards. There are agreements that diamond producing countries (including Canada) have signed. So, maybe some things have changed, but not enough.

I've included a couple interesting links below.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back At 2016

The past few years, I've been posting a long survey looking back at the previous year. I'm not doing that this year. I don't have it in me. 2016 was not a great year for me. Real life could have been better. Besides the personal stuff, I keep looking at world news. I look at the upcoming leader of the US, I look at polar bears, I look at Aleppo. Everything makes me feel like the apocalypse is getting closer and closer. I'm worried for my children. I'm worried about the world they're growing up in, which I thought was going to be better than the world I grew up in. Isn't that how things are supposed to go?

Okay, I'm going to stop talking about this stuff. Before I start rambling about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds and start crying.

Instead, I'm going to use Goodreads' handy infographic thing and look at the wonderful stories I read this year. 

I can't embed it, so I screenshot the top. Little Dorrit certainly was a long book. It was quite good too. Hard to Get is a short story, so I'm not surprised it was the shortest book. Though on Goodreads Heir of Fire is the highest rated, I think I liked Crown of Midnight better, which I also read this year. I am not surprised that The Little Prince is the most "popular" book I read this year. It's a classic and that movie came out, which I haven't seen yet; the book broke my heart a little. I really do like this Year in Books, I like looking at the stats. It gives me a moment of happy reflection.

Getting an image of all the books didn't look quite right since I would need to zoom out a lot and then the books would look tiny. Instead, I screenshot my books from the 50 Book Pledge.

I read a lot of graphic novels this year... and romance too. There was a lot of science fiction and fantasy. There were a lot of exciting stories. For reading, it was a good year.

There were other good things about the year too. My children turned 7 and 5. They're doing well at school. One of my best friends got married in a magical forest wedding. My baby cousin got married (she's not a baby anymore) in a gallery. So, a lot of good things, good moments that I'm grateful for. I'm just hoping for more of them in 2017.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!!!!!

Wishing everyone the best for the holiday season, and hoping for the best in the new year!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blast from the Past #9 - A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal

Ten years ago, I shared my favourite poem, A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal, by William Wordsworth. It's still one of my favourite poems. It's up there with The Raven (which I will blog about soon, I think) and Rime of the Ancient Mariner. A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal doesn't tell a story the way the other two do, but there's mystery in it. It's a beautiful, haunting poem, so Romantic in its evocation of emotion. I remember studying it in school, trying to unlock its secret. Sometimes, that make me like poems and stories less, but with this one, I just loved it more.

So, here we are again:

A slumber did my spirit seal; 
I had no human fears: 
She seemed a thing that could not feel 
The touch of earthly years. 

No motion has she now, no force; 
She neither hears nor sees; 
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course, 
With rocks, and stones, and trees. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Rogue One

Wow. I don't know if I really have the words to explain how I feel about Rogue One. It was a fantastic movie. Admittedly, it took me a minute to get into it. Not just the prologue bit, but after the first sequence. Maybe because I kept thinking of Luke Skywalker's beginning and his family's farm. Maybe it was something else. Maybe I was waiting for more connection between the little girl and the rebellion. When it came, it was great.

I loved Jedha though. Everything that happened was amazing, not "good", but interesting, engaging and giving you a deeper insight into what the Empire was capable of. Because Rogue One was dark. It was war. There were battles and losses. So many. Too many for these people. The characters were amazing. Jyn Erso, Cassian, Bohdi, K2 and all the rest. They had fears, hopes, dreams. I wanted a happy ending for all of them.

I really like how they made Rogue One into its own story, but still connected it to the rest of the Star Wars films. It wasn't just what Jyn, Cassian and the others were doing, but seeing familiar characters, getting glimpses of what they were doing when we weren't seeing them in the previous films, I think was really important. There were some surprises there too.

The end hit me hard though. It was so emotional. I didn't know how to feel. I wanted things to be different, but they couldn't be. Even though it's not what I wanted, I think it had to be that way, to keep the story going, to even add meaning to that first Star Wars film. Rogue One was everything it should have been. I am eagerly anticipating the future Star Wars stories.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Blast From The Past #8 - Beautiful Lies

Apparently ten years ago in December I only blogged twice. A bit different from how my blogging habits grew, so it was a little unexpected. In the first half of the month, I read a book called Beautiful Lies, by Emilie Richards. I seemed to have had mixed feelings about it. It was a romance novel, that based on the previous post, I thought was okay. There were unexpected things that happened (apparently), and I always like that. Beyond what this post says, I have zero recollection of this book. I still own it, it's on my shelf, but if you had asked me before today I had read it, I might have said, no.

So I looked up the synopsis of the book and that is what I remember. I remember reading the synopsis and thinking it sounded kind of interesting and that I would give it a try. I think there's a boat in it too...

Do you remember every book you've ever read? I've read a lot, and I like to think that I at least vaguely remember what I've read. Some books I remember more than others, but if I've enjoyed it, the story aught to leave some kind of impression. Right? Though it would be hard to come up with a book that I have read, but forgotten.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Stay Fly

I think I'm just in a comics sort of mood. I can't get enough of Captain Marvel and Stay Fly was great. I really enjoy Captain Marvel's personality. She's so brash, but she's fiercely loyal and she loves so strongly. Everything she does seems to be big, I don't know if anyone would accuse her of being subtle. I do, however, wish the story was more coherent. I know that Stay Fly is a collection of individual comic issues, but they usually follow an arc, and this did, it was just a little everywhere. Though, (SPOILER) the Christmas stuff seemed seasonally appropriate and a pleasant surprise.

Like with Higher, Further, Faster, More, I loved the art. The cover is hilarious and definitely not "pretty" like the last volume. Besides the depictions of Captain Marvel, I really liked Rocket. I liked the expressions, the continuity, the color. Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez and the rest of the team did an amazing job bringing Captain Marvel to life. Also, she was put in some interesting situations. The thing with her cat was funny. It was a unique twist that I just didn't see coming.

Also, the more I read of Captain Marvel, the more I love Spider-Woman. She's hilarious and I really enjoy Carol and Jessica's friendship. I wonder what Captain Marvel is like from Spider-Woman's point of view. I was also interested in seeing Tracy again. I wonder how all that is going to end. Stay Flay has definitely kept me hooked and I'm excited to read the next installment of Captain Marvel.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Blast From The Past #7 - Ella Enchanted

I can't believe how old this movie is! It's been 10 years since I watched Ella Enchanted but it's actually 12 years old, first released in 2004. I know the movie isn't critically great and that it's yet another Cinderella retelling, but something about it always charms me. I don't know if it's the singing or how sweet Ella is or how terrible the fairy-godmother's gift is, but every time it comes on television, I watch it, even if it's just for a few minutes. Something about it lightens my mood, and in these current times, I think that's something we all need.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Heir Of Fire

That's how it ends? Some of it surprising, some of it not, and in this situation, I appreciated both. Heir of Fire is the third novel in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. The non-surprising parts kind of had to happen, since this is a book in the middle of a six-book (not including novellas) series.  Many the Mistward/Doranelle events, I think, needed to happen in order to advance Celaena forward in her quest. The events back in Rifthold, with Chaol and Dorian (among others) were where I was more surprised. I am worried about all of them. What's going to happen to them? I know Chaol is not on the path he thought he'd be on. Dorian and Aedion certainly aren't. Celaena, I think, is exactly where she should be.

Rowan and the other residents of Mistward, were an excellent addition to the series. The characters added perspective to the events of Adarlan, because they're across the sea, in another continent, where there is still magic and they are ruled over by a beloved king. Through these characters, the world of Erilea is expanded, there are other kingdoms and other rulers. We are left wondering what role these people will play in Celaena's story. 

Also, what role will the witches eventually play. That storyline, completely separate from Celaena, as these seem to be people she has never met, was full of surprises. Yes, witches and Yellowlegs have been introduced, but the prominence of them in this story is almost a warning.

I don't want to give anything away, but I have to say that while there is a cliffhanger ending and this felt like a "middle" book, it was enjoyable. There was a lot of emotional and skillful learning. There were tense moments. There were times when I wasn't sure who would live and die. There was some fun peppered throughout too. I am excited to read the rest of the series and not sure what will happen next.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Tigana was epic. That was the first word that came to mind while thinking of what to say about this very long, fantasy adventure. It was epic in scope and breadth. My edition of Tigana is 803 pages, including Guy Gavriel Kay's Afterword. I'm including the Afterword, because it should be read. It is beautifully written and it is about Tigana's lost culture. The way to get rid of a culture and language is to outlaw its name, burn it's books, destroy its art and replace them with that of the conqueror's. Though Brandin uses sorcery to accomplish this, the idea and occurrences of erasing a culture is rooted in history.

Tigana could have easily been two books, if not three. There were “parts” to the book, separations in time. There were breaks that could have easily been conclusions to create a trilogy or duology. Though, how often have we read series that we thought could have been just one big book? There is just so much going on, the stories of the different characters are deep and interweave in incredible ways. There's so much thought put into every chapter. I was excited, and pleasantly surprised, that I won a second book from Goodreads by Guy Gavriel Kay, but its length was definitely daunting.

Though the story and the world were large and complex, it was the characters that kept me wanting to know more. For me, Devin was the star. It was his journey from farm-boy to singer to freedom fighter that got me hooked. I really loved all the characters, but I was always wondering, who is Devin going to end up with, is he going to fight, will he live in the end? Devin's journey was the journey of the reader, thinking one thing, then learning another. Devin and his companions are what grounded the story for me.

I appreciated that Catriana was not your typical girl or damsel. The contrast between her and Alais was interesting, but more so, both of these strong women and the "boy crazy" Svetlana. Catriana had a warrior's heart, wanting to make up for past deeds that weren't her fault. She grew so much throughout the novel, her anger dissipating a bit, or at least it became more fine-tuned. She also found hope, which I don't think she necessarily had in the beginning

I didn't know what to think of Baerd at first. He was quiet, keeping his secrets close. Then we learn so much more. There were no flat characters. Kay keeps us guessing with all of them. By the end, Baerd became one of my favourites, the hope I had for him built throughout the story and makes me wish for only the best for him.

A possible prematurely grey, prince without a throne, Alessan binds the group together. Without him, who knows what would have happened to Baerd? What would Catriana have done with her life? Though I'm pretty sure Devin would have ended up pretty famous anyway. Alessan struggles for what is right. He wants to restore Tigana, but he is also looking at the bigger picture.

The Tyrants were an interesting pair. We meet Alberico first and he's terrible. He's a conqueror in the worst way. He leads through intimidation, fear and money. He tortures for the pleasure of it. He kills to make himself feel better when he's down. No one is loyal to him because of faith or trust, they just want to be on the right side when his sword comes crashing down. If he wasn't a sorcerer, I feel like the people would never have let him win, more than that, his men might never have fought for him.

I thought Brandin would be the same, but he's not. He's a conqueror that we can sympathize with. He knows love and grief. His uncontrollable grief is the crux of this tale. Brandin actually shows that he cares for people. He has depth and a complex web of emotions. How I ended up feeling about him by the end was complex too. I wanted him to be okay, but he was still a brutal conqueror. The difference between him and Alberico was that there were people who were truly loyal to him. He was a king in his own land and his army followed him because of that. He didn't have to pay them the same way Alberico did. He engendered loyalty and trust from many of his people. When he talked about Fionavar, it made me immediately want to read The Fionavar Tapestry, (just like how Children of Earth and Sky made me want to read The Sarantine Mosaic.) Brandin had love in his heart.

Brandin believed that a conqueror could unite the Palm, which is what Alessan wanted, but not by his enemy. It's interesting how their lives paralleled, made even more complex when you think of Dianora. Her story ran parallel to that of Devin's and was equally important. Dianora was probably the most complex character in the entire novel. She loved and hated Brandin, when you read the novel, you can see why. Sometimes I wonder if she told him the truth, if the end would have been different. I wonder if he would have understood what she did and forgiven her.

All these brilliant, amazing characters crossed the Palm, north to south, east to west, on their quest. They mapped the world out for us. They were amazing, complex and had me wanting to know what happened. I wanted to know how they all turned out. Even with a well-written ending, I am still left wondering about what will happen to these characters, especially the three at the very end. I wonder if Kay will ever revisit this world. I hope he does and I hope it's just as deeply intense.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Sun Is Also A Star

Heartbreakingly perfect, The Sun Is Also A Star is simply an amazing novel. It tells the story of Daniel and Natasha and how two people who have never met can find each other and fall in love. Natasha is trying to stay in America, trying not to get deported, and her whole day is supposed to revolve around that. Then there's Daniel. He's supposed to prepare for and have the biggest interview of his whole life. Then they meet.

I really connected with Natasha and Daniel, as I am also a child of immigrants. It can be a difficult balance, trying to stay connected to the culture of your parents and being a part of the culture of the country you live in. Some people want you to be one way, others want you to be another. It's a wonderful thing to find someone who understands. I have friends who were in the same boat growing up, even though our parents were not necessarily from the same countries, we shared similar experiences. There is a struggle that I think maybe all children of immigrants go through, though maybe to different degrees depending on how "different" a parent's home country is. While Natasha is Jamaican and Daniel is Korean-American, they share similar life experiences. I really enjoyed the conversation about "where are you really from", as I have had that question asked many times. There's the food thing too.

Nicola Yoon creates not only complex, beautiful characters, but writes with emotion. The decisions that not only Natasha and Daniel make, but also Irene, Natasha and Daniel's respective parents, Charlie, Attorney Fitzgerald, and even the waitress at the restaurant, are full of heartache. Nothing is taken lightly, they all have deep, serious, inner lives that maybe our two main characters know nothing about. It comes through in the interesting style in which Yoon has structured her novel. I wonder if her first novel, Everything, Everything is written in the same style (a book that I absolutely now have to read). There were also great references to 90's grunge and a quiz that I watched Penny and Sheldon take on The Big Bang Theory, which made me so happy. A great plot, amazing characters and interesting style, I couldn't help but love The Sun Is Also A Star.

*I won The Sun Is Also A Star as an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway. Yay! 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Blast From The Past #6 - A Series Of Unfortunate Events

I can't believe it's been 10 years since I finished A Series of Unfortunate Events. I really loved those books. They were so quirky and unique. I'm just waiting for my children to be old enough so that I can read the series with them. The idea of reading them again makes me happy. I loved them then and I love them now. I am excited that 10 years later there's going to be a Netflix television series based on them, that these books are still popular and loved. Of course it's being released on a "Friday the 13th". I am sure they did that on purpose. It's such an "unfortunate" thing to happen.

I remember being excited for the movie too. I thought A Series of Unfortunate Events was fantastic. I loved the children, and Jim Carrey as Count Olaf was perfect. Meryl Streep was in it! Why did they stop at one? I don't really know. Money and scripts probably. You can only wait so long too, since they were child actors, once they age too much, it's not believable anymore.

Back to my past post... The post I wrote 10 years ago is part love of A Series of Unfortunate Events and part the last books I read in the series. Based on what I said in the post about the "extra stories" my hot/cold relationship with side stories is at least 10 years old. I remember being a bit disappointed about what was learned in The Beatrice Letters and The Unauthorized Autobiography. Some of it was good and they were good stories, but they didn't affect how I viewed the rest of the series or my reading of The End. I remember not wanting The End to be the end of the series. I wanted to know so much more about the Baudelaires. They're still children at the end of the series. What happened when they became adults? I've always wanted to know more. I also wonder if Lemony Snicket's most recent series, All The Wrong Questions eventually relates to A Series of Unfortunate Events. I should finish reading that series too.

So, 10 years ago, I finished reading a fun series. Now, I can look forward to watching (maybe binge-watching) a television show based on those books. 

Netflix series trailer:

Monday, November 07, 2016

Dr. Strange

I love Dr. Strange. It was weird and wonderful. There were serious and dark moments, there were light and funny moments. Dr. Strange is the story of Dr. Stephen Strange, brilliant, egotistical neurosurgeon, who gets into a car accident and forever alters the path of his life. There's so much I could say about Dr. Strange. I thought he was great, Christine Palmer, The Ancient One, Wong, Mordo, all great characters who showed depth, the capacity for change, and the ability to believe. There were surprises, things not shown in the trailers, which I always appreciate and have come to expect from Marvel/Disney. Visually, the movie was amazing. The world creating, the world bending, adding layers, adding the multiverse. I totally love Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel McAdams more than I used to. They were so fantastic.

This is a bit difficult, to write about the movie, without giving things away. My favourite parts are all spoilers. But I won't do it. Because that's not me. On Friday morning, I was online and I happened to scroll by a comment on the movie which gave away a part of the after-credits scene. Friday morning! The movie hadn't even been out for 24 hours yet. This person went to a midnight screening and then ruined one of the surprises. Did they give away the plot or say what the surprise was about? No, but it still took something away from me and I'm guessing from anyone else who happened by it. I wasn't even looking for Dr. Strange stuff. So frustrating. "Spoiler Alert" or don't say anything. (Sorry about the rant.)

I supposed I could say that now and then talk about all my favourite parts and the amazing plot, great characters and fantastic effects, but I don't think I will. It would probably end up just me gushing about how much I enjoyed the movie anyway. What I will say (again) is that this was a fantastic Marvel movie and a great way to introduce magic into the MCU.


Thursday, November 03, 2016

Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More

I love Captain Marvel so much. She's just amazing. She fights when she needs to fight, she stands up for people, she cares. Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More was a great beginning to this Captain Marvel series. She's done with her illness from the last series and she is moving forward with her life. I definitely love her new apartment and her roommates. I love her new love, but I don't see that necessarily working out. I also love her new ship and the AI that goes with it. Tony Stark definitely builds good stuff. Kelly Sue DeConnick is carrying on Captain Marvel's story with fun and adventure.

I have to say, the art in Higher, Further, Faster, More is fantastic. I love Captain Marvel's expressions. I love all the faces throughout the story and the expressions the artist gives them. David Lopez does a great job. He's the artist for the next Captain Marvel graphic novel too, so I'm looking forward to more of his work. A good artist can really lift a story.

After the seriousness of Captain Marvel's last arc, it was nice to have a fun story. There are aliens, spaceships, fights and explosions.  There are the Guardians of the Galaxy and a few other surprise encounters. I'm excited to see where Carol Danvers goes next.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Road of the Patriarch

I missed this pair, Artemis Entreri and Jarlaxle are amazing. I just love them. Whenever they're around, things get interesting. Jarlaxle is still fun and vibrant. He has so much personality, but he can still take out a squad of soldiers. The care he shows for Entreri is interesting. It's not what other drow expect, and he definitely doesn't show it the way others would, but I think it's genuine. Entreri is going through some things, memories are surfacing, betrayal is felt deeply, and none of it is really accidental. Road of the Patriarch was exciting and exactly what I wanted it to be, R.A. Salvatore definitely delivered in this fantasy tale.

The end though. All of them. The end that wasn't really the end. I mean, just when I think it's over, there's more. I knew something like that was going to happen with the half-elf. I mean, not exactly what happened, but the general idea. Then the actual end, with the journey into the past, the memories. Those yucky, yucky men, taking advantage of the poor. It was slightly horrifying that this is where Entreri came from, but kind of understandable when you think of the journey to who he is by the end of this novel. Road of The Patriarch made two villains, into characters you could sympathize with and understand, the entire Sellswords trilogy managed to do that. Salvatore did not disappoint and I am excited to see what happens next with these characters.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Blast From The Past #6 - Reading Douglas Coupland

I've read a few books by author, Douglas Coupland. The first I ever read though, was Hey Nostradamus!. I remember that I had always wanted to read something by Coupland, he was the author of Generation X, after all, as well as being a prolific Canadian writer. I was hooked by this story. The power of Hey Nostradamus! led me to read Generation X, Eleanor Rigby, The Gum Thief and more. I enjoyed The Gum Thief maybe way more that I should. Without reading that first book by Coupland, I might have missed out on some fantastic novels.

Coupland has written so many novels. I have three unread ones downstairs, including Generation A, the "sequel" to Generation X. I should definitely read it, especially since bees play a part in the story. There are just so many books that he's written. I still have to read JPod, Worst. Person. Ever. Bit Rot, and it doesn't seem like Coupland is about to stop writing. This desire to read all these books would not have started if I did not read Hey Nostradamus! ten years ago and think it was brilliant.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Humans

I loved The Humans. I really loved it. The unnamed alien narrator was brilliant. I thought every bit of his comments about life on Earth were spot on and hilarious. Some observations from the narrator (who is Andrew, but not really Andrew), are just funny: "unfathomably pointless eyebrows"; but also true: "The manners and social customs too are a baffling enigma at first. Their conversation topics are very rarely the things they want to be talking about." Matt Haig created a compelling, interesting, complex character, who has to deal with our complex world.

Many of the quotes really hit me, especially in the currently global and political state. Or societal state. Or feminism: "I could write ninety-seven books on body shame and clothing etiquette before you would get even close to understanding them."

Matt Haig wrote The Humans from the perspective of an alien visitor, who has taken on human form, and is trying to fit in, though he also has a pretty awful mission. In his trying to fulfill his mission, we the see the world from the outside, in. I wonder if The Humans might contain everything that has ever made Haig frustrated about life in our world.

"Oh, and let’s not forget The Things They Do To Make Themselves Happy That Actually Make Them Miserable. This is an infinite list. It includes – shopping, watching TV, taking the better job, getting the bigger house, writing a semi-autobiographical novel, educating their young, making their skin look mildly less old, and harbouring a vague desire to believe there might be a meaning to it all."

There are just so many quotes. I have not highlighted so much from a novel since University (not that I highlighted the actual novel). Most of these are from the beginning of the novel when the alien is trying to figure out human life.  With the idea that they are being said by an alien impersonating a human, they are just so insightful. They are blunt and honest. It is the main character's honesty and innocence (ignorance?) that had me from the beginning. I also couldn't help but think, this super advanced civilization sending an alien to live among us, they couldn't have coached him better? Or given him clothes? The beginning would have been less funny, though.

The journey that not-Andrew goes through though, is just amazing. He knows nothing, but also everything. He learns so much, he moves beyond the numbers. Not-Andrew is amazed with what he is capable of. The Humans is really one of the best books I've read this year (so far). It's funny, but layered with emotion. I really didn't know what was going to happen at the end.

So here are way more quotes than I think I've ever included in a post before, but I just love them. I also tried not to include anything spoilery.

"Once there, I had several immediate reactions. First, what was with the weather? I was not really used to weather you had to think about. But this was England, a part of Earth where thinking about the weather was the chief human activity."

(I'm sure the English really appreciated this one. Also, weather is also a hot topic in Canada.)

"This was, I would later realise, a planet of things wrapped inside things. Food inside wrappers. Bodies inside clothes. Contempt inside smiles."

"Understandably, a human needs to know what kind of book they are about to read. They need to know if it is a love story. Or a murder story. Or a story about aliens. There are other questions, too, that humans have in bookstores. Such as, is it one of those books they read to feel clever, or one of those they will pretend never to have read in order to stay looking clever? Will it make them laugh, or cry? Or will it simply force them to stare out of the window watching the tracks of raindrops? Is it a true story? Or is it a false one? Is it the kind of story that will work on their brain or one which aims for lower organs? Is it one of those books that ends up acquiring religious followers or getting burned by them? Is it a book about mathematics or – like everything else in the universe – simply because of it?"

"Yes, there are lots of questions. And even more books. So, so many. Humans in their typical human way have written far too many to get through. Reading is added to that great pile of things – work, love, sexual prowess, the words they didn’t say when they really needed to say them – that they are bound to feel a bit dissatisfied about."

(I love the quotes about books!)

"Humans, as a rule, don’t like mad people unless they are good at painting, and only then once they are dead. But the definition of mad, on Earth, seems to be very unclear and inconsistent. What is perfectly sane in one era turns out to be insane in another. The earliest humans walked around naked with no problem. Certain humans, in humid rainforests mainly, still do so. So, we must conclude that madness is sometimes a question of time, and sometimes of postcode."

"Basically, the key rule is, if you want to appear sane on Earth you have to be in the right place, wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and only stepping on the right kind of grass."

"She came to see me in my room, while a nurse watched. It was, of course, another test. Everything in human life was a test. That was why they all looked so stressed out."

"Remember, during your mission, never to become influenced or corrupted. The humans are an arrogant species, defined by violence and greed. They have taken their home planet, the only one they currently have access to, and placed it on the road to destruction. They have created a world of divisions and categories and have continually failed to see the similarities between themselves. They have developed technology at a rate too fast for human psychology to keep up with, and yet they still pursue advancement for advancement’s sake, and for the pursuit of the money and fame they all crave so much."

"As well as religion, human history is full of depressing things like colonisation, disease, racism, sexism, homophobia, class snobbery, environmental destruction, slavery, totalitarianism, military dictatorships, inventions of things which they have no idea how to handle (the atomic bomb, the Internet, the semi-colon), the victimisation of clever people, the worshipping of idiotic people, boredom, despair, periodic collapses, and catastrophes within the psychic landscape. And through it all there has always been some truly awful food."

"Where we are from there are no comforting delusions, no religions, no impossible fiction."

"A human life is on average 80 Earth years or around 30,000 Earth days. Which means they are born, they make some friends, eat a few meals, they get married, or they don’t get married, have a child or two, or not, drink a few thousand glasses of wine, have sexual intercourse a few times, discover a lump somewhere, feel a bit of regret, wonder where all the time went, know they should have done it differently, realise they would have done it the same, and then they die. Into the great black nothing. Out of space. Out of time."

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Blast From The Past #5 - Flowers and Henry James

If you look at posts from the first half of October 10 years ago, you'll find several of my wedding photos. I remembered this: people from my real life used to look at my blog. I wonder if they still do. I was asked by friends and family to post photos, so I did. It's not something I do much of anymore. I think I've gotten more private as the internet is.... well, you know. I'm not linking to all the posts. I think there of five of them, but if you want to check out a bit of my wedding day, it's all still there. While I may not post a lot of personal photos anymore, I'm not going to take down the ones that are already here.

I couldn't let this post go by though, without mentioning The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James. This ten-year-old post was written after the second time I read this story. It might be my favourite of all James' tales. I read it first in University and just loved it. This might be another story I have to read again!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Thank You To...

Whoever handed in the money my Hubby forgot.

Last weekend, my Hubby went to the grocery store, picked up a few things and got $100 cash back for the weekend. He forgot the money. That night, as we were preparing to go to sleep and talking about what was happening the next day, he remembered. Naturally, he was freaking out. I calmed him as best I could, but still, it was something to freak out about. All we (he) could do was head to the store in the morning with the receipt and tell them he didn't receive the cash. Out on my errands, he texted me. The store had the money set aside. Someone had handed it in. A kind person, maybe the next person behind him in line, handed the money in to the service desk. I was set aside, waiting for a person with the right receipt to come in and claim it.  This person didn't have to do that.  It was a fair amount of money. They could have pocketed it. They didn't. They did the right thing, thankfully for us.

To whoever returned my husband's money, to anyone who has ever returned anyone's forgotten money, lost wallet, dropped phone, forgotten keys, misplaced jewelry, and the like, Thank You.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Luke Cage: Episode #1

Maybe I couldn't wait. Maybe I've been so excited for Luke Cage that I had to watch it on my lunch break. (It's cool though. I didn't actually skip work.)

So I saw episode one and I'm hooked. Just like Jessica Jones, just like Daredevil. That first scene, it's so simple, yet says so much. He's starting over. He's hiding. He still misses his wife. There are so many looks, so many moments, that had me riveted to the screen. I'm going to keep the rest of this brief, as the show hasn't even been out for 24 hours yet.

- Cottonmouth reminded me of Fisk, so much.
- I love Alfrie Woodard.
- The jail! Backstory! Yay!
- The cop ;)
- I love Pops.
- That one kid was crazy.

I know Claire Temple is going to be in the series, but I wonder if we'll see anyone else from the Netflix shows. Also, Mike Coulter is amazing. His portrayal of Luke Cage since Jessica Jones has just been fantastic.

The trailor... you know, in case you haven't seen it already.