Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reading in 2015

Goodreads did this thing, where it shows you your year in books, with stats and everything! There's no way to export it properly though. I can Tweet, Pin and post is on FAcebook, and of course, share it to my Goodreads profile. So, maybe I took a screenshot of the top bit with my stats. That's cool, right?

I don't know what it is, I like being able to see what I read like this. I wish it had some kind of pie chart thing, where I could see it broken down by genre, just so I could know what my 2015 reading looked like.

I also thought I'd throw together an image of all the books covers for the wonderful books I've read.
Wonder how I made that image....

I read some amazing stories this year. I look forward to all the books waiting for me in 2016! 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

The end. The end made the whole book for me.  I was enjoying Daughter of Smoke and Bone the whole time, but I was slow to get into it in the beginning, I think that's because I started reading it just a few days before Christmas. I raced through the middle on Boxing Day; I must have read at least half the book in one sitting. My Hubby had to remind me to go to bed.

Karou is such a unique, interesting character. She talks about things, admits things, that other girls in Young Adult literature never admit to, which is what got me in the beginning. Moving forward in the story, I thought she was one thing, but before the end, I came to realize she was something else, something unexpected. I love that Karou surprised me. She grew and changed as her knowledge did. She did not end the book that same as when her story began. Not even close .

I loved Akiva. He also went from being one thing to another. He was hard and soft, serious and romantic. For a minute though, can we talk about the whole staring at the girl while she sleeps thing? It isn't just for vampire books. I don't care that Akiva (or whoever) thinks the girl is the most beautiful thing ever, don't watch them sleep. It will always make my eyes roll, no matter how much I've loved the book.... and love this story I did.

I am so excited to see what happens next, to see more of the other world. The way that Laini Taylor blended the story together, moved from one world to another, slipped in memories and feelings. Taylor wove her story together to create a tapetry of worlds and characters. I'm so excited to find out what happens with the rest of this exciting series.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Annual End Of Year Survey – 2015 Edition!!

So, I did this weeks ago and totally thought I posted it.  Oops! Better late than never!  Here is the 2015 End of Year Book Survey, hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner.

Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 38

Number of Re-Reads: 2

Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

2015 Questions

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?
It’s a tie between Ruin and Rising and A Discovery of Witches

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy, I still enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it the way I thought I would.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

Umm… Shatter Me and A Discover of Witches maybe?  I didn’t expect to enjoy the books as much as I did.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I don’t really “push” people to read books. I supposed the book I suggested most to read was Mockingjay, before the movie came out.

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Starter: Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler, just amazing
Sequel: Siege and Storm, by Leigh Bardugo
Ender: Ruin and Rising, by Leigh Bardugo (a fantastic series)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Umm… A bunch?
Andrew Pyper
Deborah Harkness
Jasper Fforde

I don’t think I can pick between them.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Embroideries, by Marjane Satrapi.  It’s non-fiction, which I don’t read a lot of, but I want to read more.  I’ve actually read a couple non-fiction books this year, so yay!

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
A Discovery of Witches, which I may have already mentioned a few times (and we’re only on question #8)

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
None?  I don’t re-read much, and when I do it’s not something I just read the year before.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
The Eyre Affair or the covers for The Grisha series.

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Thursday Next

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
I don’t know about “life-changing”, but the most thought provoking books I read were Embroideries, The Flying Troutmans and Death of A Salesman

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
Dawn of the Dreadfuls, I’ve had it forever and finally got around to reading it earlier this year.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
MacBeth had a lot of great quotes and here is just one:
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing." – Act V, Scene v
Depressing, but darkly beautiful.
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Shortest: MacBeth (I’m not including the Short Stories I read.)
Longest: A Discovery of Witches (by one page over The Diviners)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
The Girl Who Played With Fire, I think.  It was a shocking, cliffhanger, ending.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Evie and Jericho, from The Diviners, even though I feel like Evie is going to end up with Sam, based on how I think the story will go, but if she ends up with Jericho, I would be so happy.
Also, I would have liked Thursday with Bowden in The Erye Affair. There’s lots of books left in the series, so who knows.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Hattie and her niece and nephew from The Flying Troutmans

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Wild Seed, by Octavia E. Butler

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
The Eyre Affair because of What Red Read.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Matthew De Clermont from A Discovery of Witches. Also Nicolai from the Grisha Trilogy.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
I didn’t read any.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The world in the Grisha trilogy.  It just came to life.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Star Wars Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully and Return of the Padawan, MG graphic novels that are just super cute.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
The Flying Troutmans, the whole thing is just so tragic.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
The Demonologist, by Andrew Pyper

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
I think it’s a tie between Ruin and Rising and A Discovery of Witches.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
The Waves, by Virginia Woolf.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
I think The Diviners, because I kept being frustrated by Evie’s decisions.

Book Blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
Seeking a Little Truth

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I heard Andrew Pyper speak about the process of writing.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
Umm… all of them?

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I got a new job. So, Yay! But also, it’s a lot of work and it has totally cut into my reading blogging time.  After spending 8 hours (minimum) a day staring at a computer screen, I don’t want to do that when I’m done working. I need a better blogging app for my phone or tablet.  Just finding a better work/life balance is what I need too.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I’m surprised, my most popular post this year has been my thoughts on Jane Austen’s classic, Northanger Abbey.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I don’t know…. Let’s just go with my most recent read, As Birds Bring Forth The Sun and Other Stories.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I participated in the Classics Club Spin twice this year with The Waves and MacBeth.  I look forward to the next Spin too!

Looking Ahead – Books 2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
The Raven King, by Maggie Steifvater

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I don’t really keep up with debuts. I just go with whatever catches my eye or what others are talking about.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
The Raven King…. Should I find another answer to this question?

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
Finally find a work/life(blogging life) balance that makes me happy.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Not that lucky this year.  Maybe next year!

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Happy Boxing Day! - Merry Day After Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate. We've had a great, though busy time so far. My children got a ton of Lego.  I didn't realized when I mentioned it, that every grandparent was going to get that for them. We also got some for them, so I imagine we will be stepping on tiny, pointy pieces for the next few months.

I am really excited by the presents my husband got for me.  I tweeted it yesterday.  

Look at how well my husband knows me. Every present I opened was a gasp or squeel of joy. It was so thoughtful.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and is relaxing with their wonderful new gifts, friends and family.

For those of you braving the malls today, Good Luck!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

As Birds Bring Forth The Sun and Other Stories

I was so excited when I received a copy of Alistair MacLeod's As Birds Bring Forth The Sun and Other Stories. Years ago, I read the title story, in a collection of Canadian stories, From Ink Lake and was just captured by the beautiful writing. The words brought to life the Cape Breton landscape. When the collection containing this amazing story was offered to me, I had to take it. I'm going to say a few sentences about each story as I read them, though they all deserve so much more.

The Closing Down of Summer is a sad tale.  It is beautifully written, but my heart breaks a little for the narrator, who seems trapped in his life.  I wish they could escape and do so much more.

Winter Dog is a beautiful story, but again, a sad one. It was a timely story too, as the story began with the first snowfall before Christmas. It's a reminiscence; the  narrator looks at his children playing and at the dog that visits from across the street and he is reminded if a dog who looked similar, who saved him, but was not long for the world. The memory is strong, but somehow hidden.

To Everything There Is A Season is another beautiful story taking place at Christmas. It is sad to think if crossing the threshold to the adult side of Christmas, but is has to happen eventually. It is also sad to return home, though warmly welcomed, to see something once thought steady, has changed.  I lived this story. So much emotion in just a few pages.  

Second Spring is an interesting story. It's about growing up, I think. There's a thorough description of butchering, which was...strong. There was a lot about farm life, things I didn't know. But mostly it was about the narrator, from seventh to eighth grade and how much can change in a short amount of time. 

Why do all these stories have to be so sad?!?!

The Tuning of Perfection was heartbreaking in just a few pages. I loved Archibald. I felt for him, for his losses and how his family seemed to slip away from him. This story speaks to lost heritage and to desires. Maybe the best story of the collection thus far. 

As Birds Bring Forth The Sun is a haunting and tragic take. Maybe even stronger on this second reading.  Is is another sad tale from Mr. MacLeod. The first time I thought it was sad and mysterious. I found myself wondering about the dog. This time, I'm not wondering so much about the dog, but what spectre might be following this family, real or imagined. I'm wondering about family legends and how long they last. I also see different things in the story when it is in the context of this collection. The Gaelic, the loss and family. Now that I've read it again, I think this might be the best story in the collection, the one that can connect them all. 

Vision has many levels. It is about literal visions as in "the second sight". I really liked and felt for the narrator, retelling a tale of his father. It was deeply sad, maybe the sadest tale of all. It was not seeing what was in front of you.  It was blindness, the narrator's father and the old woman with cats. Vision is a story I feel like I will have to read again.

There's a lot of Gaelic in MacLeod's collection of short stories. It is a part of everyone. You can tell that it was something he grew up with and had a deep impact on his life. Each of these stories is piece or slice of their particular narrator's life, and it is a piece that has had a deep impact. Jane Urquhart writes the afterward in this edition. You can tell by the way Urquhart talks about the stories, how much she enjoys them and MacLeod. She has a deep appreciation for the stories, their emotion and their "universal" themes "told though intimate moments". Do I agree with Urquhart that the themes are universal? Migration, family, love, loss? Yes, I suppose I do, though when I read the stories, I didn't think that way. Instead, I appreciated the beauty of the writing and the sadness of the tales. It's definitely a collection I can see myself coming back to in a few years. 

I feel lucky that As Birds Bring Forth The Sun and Other Stories and MacLeod's other collection, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood came to me. Both collections were eventualy published together as Island, but I'm glad I have them seperately. I wonder if the themes or feelings of the other stories will be different. For right now though, I'll allow myself to ponder the lives of Alistair MacLeod's amazing characters.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Emily Dickinson!

The Classics Club Spin number is 19!  That means Three Series (aka the poems of) Emily Dickinson. I actually started reading this some time ago, like over a year. I read the first series over the course of a few months, but then I slowed down. It is a lot of poems, like A LOT. I still read them, but it has been down to a few every month, usually inbetween whatever novels or short stories I'm reading. Whenever I've made a Classics Club Spin list the past few times, if comes up with Dickinson's number, I include it.  I want to finish the poems.  I want to finish them before my list becomes due.  With the past few spins, I've hoped to get Dickinson, because I know it will be the motivation I need to finish the complete poems. I think I can do it. February 1st. Ya, sure. No problem.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Classic Spinning

I just saw this post.  Ahh!  I've been behind on my blog reading and I just happened to be thinking, I wonder when there will be another Spin.  Bam! Here it is.  The rules are here.  20 books randomly (thanks to from my list:

1. Discourse on Method, by Rene Descartes
2. The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe
3. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
4. Medea, by Euripides
5. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë
6. Appointment with Death, by Agatha Christie
7. From the Earth to the Moon, by Jules Verne
8. Grimm's Fairy Stories, by Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm
9. The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton
10. The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
11. Daisy Miller, by Henry James
12. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
13. Sherlock Holmes #1: A Study In Scarlett, by Arthur Conan Doyle
14. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery
15. Tales of Angria, by Charlotte Brontë
16. Dracula's Guest, by Bram Stoker
17. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard
18. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
19. Three Series, Complete, by Emily Dickinson
20. The Cat In The Hat, by Dr. Seuss

I do want to read more classics this year, so this is a good way to start.  I'm excited to see what the number will be!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Book Storage

I have run out of shelf space. More than run out. I have 4 bookcases, with shelves doubled up with paperbacks and others fronted by hardcovers. I don't need just one more bookshelf, I need at least two. To try to alleviate the weight and allow my book buying to continue, I thought I'd make a "book tower". Basically, I stacked a bunch of hardcovers up to my chest. I made the tower two books wide, to try to distribute the weight and leaned my husbands Ivanhoe sword against it (yes, we have some replica weaponry), to try to hold it up. After a couple weeks, it can tumbling down. (I'm going to blame the children.) For a while now, they've been left in small stacks on my living room floor, behind the rocking chair. 

What do I do with them?

I think they're going to end up on the shelf in my room. On the bottom of the shelf I have boardgames. I love boardgames, but these are ones we haven't played in ages and they're just sitting there. Do I remove them to the basement and put the books there?  I might be able to jigsaw them into fitting. The games would go into the storage in the basement. Why don't the books go there? Well, I've realized that it's about emotional attachment. When I see the games, I don't really feel anything. I don't even really notice them. When I look at books, I think about their stories. I think about what happened, what they mean and how I felt when I read them. I remember and it makes me smile. Having the books closer to me, might just add a little happiness into that corner of my day. So, I move the books, right?

I was browsing Pinterest, when my sneaky daughter came up behind me and announced, "We should do that!" What did she see? A book Christmas tree. I told her that would be nice and we have more than enough books to do it, but not enough space. We'd have to get rid of our actual Christmas tree to do that and no one wants that. I could build one in her room, but there wouldn't be much room for anything else. Plus, this doesn't seem like the permenent solution I want.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Discovery Of Witches

Reading A Discovery of Witches was an obsession. It was desperately romantic, historic, literary and full of magic. Deborah Harkness blends paranormal, romance and historical fiction into one amazing novel. I don't know if I can express how much I loved this book. It is not a short novel, well over 500 pages of history and intensity. Harkness is a historian, like Diana, the main character. She also loves wine (and had a wine blog), this trait comes out in Diana's love interest, Matthew. Harkness's love of both history and wine permeates the novel, but it is seamless, as they are easily taken as traits belonging to Diana and Matthew. Harkness makes the pages of alchemical manuscripts come alive through Diana's descriptions of them. Matthew adds depth to history with his "recollections". The way she writes about history is with love. It makes me want to read one of her historical books, maybe The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution? That's how wonderful I am left feeling after a Discovery of Witches, I will read anything Deborah Harkness writes at this point.

I adored every character. Diana and Matthew were brilliant. It just wasn't there relationship that was wonderful, it was how they existed apart from each other before coming together.  They had careers, pasts, goals for the future. I loved Diana's need to understand the past and Matthew's scientific inquiry. For a minute there, early on in the story, when Matthew is watching Diana sleep, I wondered if I'd end up with grown up Bella and Edward, but thankfully nope. Still, guys, it was creepy. Harkness seemed to "address" the creep factor, showing that it was wrong within the story, not some romantic gesture.

I loved Marcus, Matthew's vampire son. He was young and full of energy. I loved his context within Matthew's family. I loved Matthew's family. Diana's family, just wonderful.

I enjoyed the relationships that developed between the witches, vampires and demons in the house. Marcus and Em seemed to have a special connection. Marcus and Nathaniel too. I wonder if they'll get up to trouble in one of the future books. Sarah and Matthew also developed some kind of respect and understanding. The growth of Diana and Ysabeau's relationship was interesting. I am excited to see them all under one roof.

I loved all the places they went too. Oxford, a castle in France, a small town in New York. They were each so different from each other, but Harkness made them all feel real.

I'm not going to be satisfied until I get my hands on Shadow of Night and see what Harkness has in store for her star-crossed lovers.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Overbite was a race to the finish. I just had to know what was happening. I did not expect the twist with Father Henrique and his guards. It was a nice surprise in a story where my main focus was finding out who Meena was going to end up with. I just needed to know. Lucien? Alaric? The end, it was great. I would have liked a little more romance, especially at the end, especially with Insatiable as a precedent, but I still enjoyed Overbite.

I appreciated again that though Meena was in love with a vampire, she didn't get all swoony every time he was around. She valued her friends, her family and her job. She didn't want to be turned, she wanted to live. Meena wasn't desperate to be with any man. She desired one (or two), but she that wasn't the focus of her life (though it was a big part of the novel). She wanted to save people. She wanted to figure out the mystery. 

Acording to Goodreads, Meg Cabot is working on a third Insatiable book. They cite Cabot's website, but when I look, I see no mention of it. I hope it's true though. I want to read it. I want to read more of Cabot's books. Overbite, was an entertaining read and I looked forward to more fun stories.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mockingjay Part 2

You know what ruined the end of the movie for me? The group of girls sitting behind us. They seemed to think that because the "action" was over, the could talk through the epilogue. The drool, the baby, the cat, hahaha. Please, when you got watch a movie in a theatre, be quiet. I'm not laughing. 

What I liked about Mockingjay Part 2 and all The Hunger Games movies is how faithful they are to the books. Like any adaptation, there are things changed or left out, but they use lines taken right out of the novels. They keep the essence of Suzanne Collins' story. I love Finnick. Absolutely one of my favourite characters in the entire series. I love his growth and change over the series. He comes off as a cocky egotist, who knows he's hot. He is really a loyal fighter. He falls apart, then has to put himself back together. His own journey mirrors Katniss's. He is in love with another victor, though they obviously competed in seperate games. The person he loves is captured by Snow for the purpose of hurting him. After his lover is rescued, after pulling himself together, he goes to the Capitol to fight. He does all this without the pressure of being the Mockingjay, though he still does a couple propos, outing his and Snow's secrets.

As much as I loved Finnick and enjoyed the movie, I don't really know if Mockingjay needed to be two movies.  Part 2 was definitely better than Part 1, but it lacked the intensity of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Maybe I'm jaded and just see it as a money grab (and grab our money it did).  I did think the scene with the black oil and the scene in the tunnels were well done. I appreciate the grimness of the conclusion too. It's not all sunshine and rainbows. There's sadness and hardship, there's a feeling of realism, though set in a fictional dystopia. Though there was some blood missing from certain "events", I don't think The Hunger Games movies sugar-coated things. The big, concluding battle wasn't imaginary, losses were suffered and felt by the characters. It changed them and their relationships forever. Mockingjay Part 2, was a good conclusion to an excellent series.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jessica Jones - Episode #1

I was so excited for Jessica Jones. I'd been looking forward to it since it was announced, since I finished watching Daredevil. I really enjoyed the first episode. I liked getting to know Jessica and the people around her. I found that the episode gave us a taste of everything, a taste of her friend, the man she's interested in, the woman she works for, and her powers. We get to see what her life has become after some bad things happened, after she was trying to be good.

I don't want to say too much more.  It's only the first day and there are 12 more episodes for me to watch.

One thing I was expecting though was a little more action. We got some "action", but not what I thought I'd be seeing. I wanted to see Jessica Jones kick someone's ass. She did shove someone through a window, but it wasn't a big fight scene or anything. I want to see her powers. The lack of powers, coupled with the intriguing story, made me want to hit play on the second episode. I didn't though. Other things to do. But I want to. So much. I enjoyed the first episode so much and I can't wait to watch the rest of the series.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mockingjay (Re-Read)

I love The Hunger Games. I loved the books when I first read them and I have loved every movie. Before I go to see Mockingjay Part 2, I decided to re-read the book. Mockingjay is a fantastic novel and a great conclusion to The Hunger Games trilogy.  Though the other books have “The Hunger Games” in them, the last book, a Hunger Game in its own right, is so much more violent.  We watch as characters we love come to gruesome ends.  I’m not going to say who dies, as the movie is about to be released, but I do wonder how they are going to portray these scenes.  When the first movie came out, I remember hearing about complaints, some people didn’t expect it to be so violent. Perhaps they hadn’t read the books, or even understood what “The Hunger Games” were. Mockingjay is more violent.  Maybe I can give one warning about the tunnels?  Also, just when you think things are safe and easy…

There are a lot of frightening, heart-wrenching moments. I really like how Katniss’s relationships with everyone evolve through this novel and through these moments.  Her relationships are so much more complicated and multi-dimensional than they were before. Peeta and Gale aren’t just boys who love her, they have their own anger and motivations.  I also like the relationships that are left out of the films, how Katniss feels about Mags and Delly, the roll Delly plays with Peeta, even Greasy Sae, who is there, but not there in the movies. Katniss goes through such a change.  She thinks about children in war and includes herself, she is only 17, but remembers that there is no way either side think of her like that anymore. Peeta, oh Peeta.  Gale, so different, but maybe more himself than he’s ever been.  Prim, not yet 14. 

I have noticed though, that Plutarch is so different in the books than the movie, he’s so much more “Capitol” in the books.  I’m surprised Katniss never punches him, or even screams at him. There’s a difference that is noticeable between the three groups of people.  The Citizens of District 13, the Citizens of the Capitol and the Rebels. Though I guess there’s another group, the Rebels who come from the Capitol, like Plutarch and Fulvia, they don’t quite fit in at District 13, but they know life in the Capitol is wrong.

I don’t re-read a lot, but reading each of The Hunger Games books before seeing the movies was a good decision. It places the characters fresh in my mind. I’m eager to see how this exciting novel plays out on the screen.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geek Girls

I've been a Geek Girl ever since my Dad sat me down to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. I developed a love for geeky things, books, movies, television.  When I first heard about The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy, I was excited.  What would I discover? What did author Sam Maggs have to say about fellow Geek Girls?

I enjoyed The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy. It was cute, fun and had a bunch of laugh out loud moments.  Did it give me any new information? Not really.  I liked how Maggs broke down things like social media and conventions, but I knew all that stuff already.  Maggs included different books, movies and television shows Geek Girls would enjoy.  Most of the movies and shows I have already watched, but a lot of the books she mentioned, I have not, so I put those on my to-read list (not that it needs to be any bigger). A large part of the book is devoted to conventions and cosplay, I may have glazed over some of the things I already knew, but there were some helpful information and sources for cosplay creations. There was a great section on feminism. Yes, again it was stuff I knew, but the tone felt true and empowering.

Though the book didn't reveal to me any new insights into geekdom, it was nice to be reminded of so many of the things I love. I also think this is a great source of information for beginner geeks, someone just discovering Star Trek: TNG or the Marvel Cinematic Universe or looking to dive into cosplay. I think when reading Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy, many people will find the comfortingly familiar mixed with the new. It made me feel good about being a Geek Girl.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Source Code

I'm not really sure how to describe Source Code. It's a movie with Jake Gyllenhaal. It's full of action and explosions and some interesting effects. Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Captain Coulter Stevens, appears to be on a train, but then he appears to be in some kind of Arctic capsule, but then a whole lot of other things. It is a movie that is full of action and adventure and a mystery that needs to be solved, but is also movie that plays with your mind. The lies are everywhere. The twists are incredible and interesting. The last few minutes of those last two or three scenes of the movie are totally the best and they get you thinking back on the entire movie. They also have Stevens' "friend," Goodwin, thinking. What are the possibilities with Source Code? I am so glad I stopped to watch this movie, I was not disappointed.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Books I Don't Want to Want

You know when you read a series of books and you finish, and you think you're done with that series forever, then surprisingly another book in the series comes out? What if you were torn about whether or not you should read this new book? I mean, I enjoyed the series when I read it, but after time and reflection, I realize it wasn't as good as I thought it was. But I still enjoyed it, a lot. When I was reading it it was all I could think about. I found it exciting and engaging and I was desperate to know what happened next. I have the hope that this new book would still excite me, but having reflected back on the series I'm not sure how I would take the new installment. Do I leave it alone? Do I let my enjoyment of the series stay in the past or do I succumb to the urge to buy this new book?

There's also this feeling of the series being incomplete on my bookshelf. I have all the other books, if there's a new one, I should have it too, right? However, I've been trying to not let my book hoarding get out of control. I have so many other books that I want to read, should I let this one go? (At least for now?) I was thinking I might, but then I saw it... 50% off. It is so tempting....

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Shatter Me

I could not stop reading Shatter Me. Tahereh Mafi created a story was exciting, fun and full of energy. I liked the unique writing style. I enjoyed those "secret" crossed out sentences, like we were really being immersed in the main character's minds, being involved in her thought process. I loved Juliette. She was such a different protagonist. She was observant, clever and a fighter. She was kind, but fierce. She can also manipulate. She had a lot of time to think and observe, to learn how to manage people and time, I think only now has she had the opportunity to put this into practice.

I enjoyed the relationship between Juliette and Alex. I like how involved, complex, yet simple it is. I like the special aspect of their relationship. I like the twist with Warner. I like that Alex has more than just Juliette to care about. I like when Juliette takes control. There are other characters I found really interesting, but if I talk about them, I think I'll give away too much of the story.

I like that you start reading Shatter Me thinking it is dystopian, but then it is not just that. There is a supernatural, X-Men kind of element. Juliette very much reminds me of Rogue. That can only play in the novel's favour for me. The inability to touch, but the goodness. The bad influence, but choosing what's right.

I have had Shatter Me sitting in my Kindle app for ages. I saw it and had to have it, but then I didn't read it. I mentioned recently that I wanted to read all these first books that I own, to see if I want to buy the rest of the series. I will be getting everything from Mafi.  I want all the Shatter Me books, plus she's working on something new, due out next year, I already want that too. This very much reminds me of how I felt after reading Lauren DeStefano's Wither. I don't know what it is about these specific books, maybe it's the love. I have always enjoyed a good love story, mixed in with something otherworldly. It isn't just love that drives the plot in either book, but in Shatter Me, it's the desperation, the fight to get something more.

Watch out for The Reestablishment. I feel like someone, a group of someones, could come up with this, promise a better future, then hold the world in their grip. 

I am very happy that I finally read Shatter Me and I am excited to read the rest of the series.

Sunday, November 01, 2015


MacBeth was interesting, but not what I expected. Though, I don't know what I really expected. I had never read MacBeth before (even though I took an entire class in University on William Shakespeare). I knew about the witches, I knew they told MacBeth some stuff and because it is Shakespeare, I assumed MacBeth died at the end. You know what I didn't know? Lady MacBeth. She does some serious convincing, then she goes nuts! Can I blame her for the path MacBeth goes down a bit? Not all of it though. He goes mad with paranoia! All the those people, former friends, wives and children. The witches definitely put the idea into MacBeth's head, but it is Lady MacBeth that spurs him into action, and MacBeth has to be held accountable for falling into desperate ambition.

I'm left feeling like I did after reading Cyrano de Bergerac, I really want to see this play. I've heard that there is going to be a movie soon, with Michael Fassbender. I'm really excited for it, more than I would have been had I never read Shakespeare's play first. I really enjoy the witches' scenes. Something about their rhymes and laughs and talks with Hecate are so fascinating. I'd love to see it played out. The opening scene, one of the best I've ever read, I'd love to see it on stage or the big screen. The scenes with MacBeth and his wife, making plans, deciding to do the deeds. I also feel like I will connect more with the themes and emotion of the play, if I could see it. Though, the end, with the beheading, very dramatic no matter how that's played out on film or stage. 

Is it weird that this kind of reminded me of The Hunger Games and killing for power... though I suppose there are a lot plays, movies, novels, about killing for power...

I was supposed to be done on October 23 for the Classics Club Spin, but somehow didn't get it finished in time.

I wonder how I'll feel and what new insights I'll have after seeing the movie?

I wonder if I'll ever finish reading all of Shakespeare's plays?


"Fair is foul, and foul is fair:"

"Round about the cauldron go; 
In the poison'd entrails throw."

"Double, double toil and trouble; 
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."

"Fillet of a fenny snake, 
In the cauldron boil and bake; 
Eye of newt and toe of frog, 
Wool of bat and tongue of dog, 
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, 
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing, 
For a charm of powerful trouble, 
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."

"By the pricking of my thumbs, 
Something wicked this way comes."

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player 
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage 
And then is heard no more: it is a tale 
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,"

Friday, October 23, 2015

Classics Club Spin - MacBeth

Oh well...
I'm not done.  I'm at about half.  I underestimated how long it would take me to read not just MacBeth, but also the last two books I read.  Oh well.  When it's done, I'll post about it and link to the Classics Club.  Still, I am enjoying my Spin book and as always, am happy to participate in the Spin as it motivates me to keep going on my Classics List.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Do My Book Covers Need To Match?

No?  Yes?  Sometimes?

Let's use examples.

Last week, I would have said, no, I do not need my covers to match. I own Stephen King's Dark Tower series and the covers do not match.  I have a mix of paperbacks, trade paperbacks and hardcovers. The designs on the covers themselves are different. I bought the first three novels years after they were released, when I first started the series.  I got others in the series at different points after their release. It didn't matter to me that the covers didn't match, I just wanted the stories. I have a couple other series like that.

Recently, I read The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde and loved it. I had to find out about the other books. I believe there are currently seven books in the series with one more set to be released. I don't know why, but I really wanted the cover of the second book to match the first. Do I just like the look of it better than the others? Yes, I think so, but like The Dark Tower it shouldn't matter, I should just want the stories. I looked at different sites and checked my local bookstore. No copies of the second book were at the bookstores in town. I looked at four different sites. I found the cover I wanted, at a pretty good price too. Why was this so important to me? By the time I purchase the last book, will the editions have changed? Will the covers I have now match the others I'll get in the future? Maybe, maybe not.

I guess I don't understand why it was important to me this time around. Maybe it's just this series, just these covers.  I don't know.  I guess I'll find out the next time I buy a book for a series I'm reading.

* There were more than just the three covers.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Today is my birthday.  I'm in my mid-thirties and I cringe whenever I think about it.  You know what made me feel better.  Two days ago, I got ID'd at the liquor store!  Wahoo!  Legal drinking age in Ontario, Canada is 19!  What!?

Sometimes, it's the little things that make you feel the best.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Library of Souls

I was so excited to read Library of Souls. I saw it there, on a table of books, surrounded by Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City, announcing its arrival. (There were other books on the table too, but I couldn’t tell you what they were.) I love the excitement of seeing a book on a table, one that you’ve been anticipating for a year. Then I had it, it was mine, I couldn’t wait to read it.

I was glad that the story focused on Jacob and Emma. It was always Jacob-focused, as the story is told in first-person, but it was just him and Emma, without the crowd of the other children.  I liked all the other Peculiar children, but at times I had a hard time remembering who was who and after more than a year, I felt like that might be my problem again.  There were other secondary characters, Sharon (who was great) and Bentham (who I might talk more about later), Mother Dust and Reynaldo, and more, but they didn’t occupy the same space in my mind that the children did.  They also came in at specific times and weren’t a constant crowd. Also, by focusing on just Jacob and Emma, we got to see their relationship develop.  It also really let us have a connection with Bentham and Sharon, who were important to how the story turned out in the end.

See that guy? Wouldn't you
want to put him in your story?
I think that Ransom Riggs used less photographs this time. In the first novel, they were fascinating.  I loved them, I loved how they must have inspired the author. In Hollow City, I thought there were too many. In Library of Souls, there was the perfect amount. They didn’t overtake the story, they enhanced it.  Just looking at the photos, the ones Riggs decided to include, the ones that must have inspired him, I can see how collecting them could be a passion. So many of them are curious, all are unique and I wonder about the story behind them.

The real story, the one that stayed at the focus of the novel, was freeing the Peculiar children and their Ymbrynes.  Even with all the things that could distract them, Jacob and Emma stayed focused. They’d rather break away than wait and delay.  There were so many times they could have been sidetracked, by curiosity, by morals, but they had to rescue their friends and that was it (I won’t get into all the distractions, as those would be spoilers).

No jacket. So pretty.
– This part will be a little spoilery – I wasn’t super happy with the final battle.  I thought there should have been more Jacob.  It’s like he did his bit and the other guys took care of the scary part.  It lost a sense of urgency. Why couldn’t he have battled more, fallen in the pool or something?  I also thought that Bentham could have either seemed more sinister or not flip-flopped so much. It was okay though.

What I really liked was the very end.  All that stuff with Jacob and his parents, I thought was great. I would have thought his father was more understanding, but nope. I also liked the decision Jacob made when he was presented with an opportunity to make it all go away. He wanted to work through it with his parents, instead of the more obvious/conventional/expected choice, to just stay in the peculiar world.  His reasoning was sound though, who would want to be 16 forever?  The very end though, I would have loved to see that conversation, with the adults, with the very old children. - That's it for spoilers. - 

I loved Ransom Riggs’ series and the Peculiar world. I loved the old photographs and I love how they inspired so much of these novels. I wonder what is next for Riggs and if we’ll ever visit the Peculiars again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Eyre Affair

I loved The Eyre Affair. I am totally hooked on Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. I love Thursday. She was amazing. Thursday was a grown-up. Just a couple years older than me. It's been a while since I've read a book with a main character that was my age. Everyone has been in their twenties or a teen lately. I really related to Thursday and was happy to see a woman in her thirties taking charge, fighting the bad guy and dealing with relationships. Thursday was a complex character, like a real person.

I loved all the fun character names Fforde came up with. There were a lot though, and there was a point, while in the middle of the novel, where I couldn't read for a couple days and I kind of forgot who was who with some of the minor characters. Thankfully, Wikipedia helped me out with that... Not that there were too many characters or anything, you just have to pay attention while reading. I loved Thursday's Dad and the whole Next family. I am a little iffy on Landen. I think I liked Bowden better. I think I know what Hades was, I just wish there was more confirmation in the book. I liked Spike and Victory Analogy, Mycroft and Polly. So many wonderful characters. I wonder who we'll see in the next novel.

The alternate 1985 was intriguing. The English war with Russia. Wales having independence. The Battle of Waterloo. Winston Churchill. Literature is revered. People battle over Shakespeare. There is an entire investigate branch of the government devoted to the preservation of literature.  The LiteraTecs are amazing.  I loved Jane Eyre.  I loved everything about her novel and Rochester's involvement in Thursday's life.  I love the idea of entering a piece of literature, whether it is a novel, like Jane Eyre or one of Wordsworth's poems. Everything in Thursday's world is so different from ours, yet still similar.  It's just that priorities changed somewhere in history (or altered by the French Revisionists). I love the tidbits of history and altered history that Thursday's Dad is always talking about.

The Eyre Affair is such and interested, intricate, engaging, fun novel.  I enjoyed every minute of it. I had heard so many good things about Jasper Fforde (especially from over at What Red Read), that when I saw The Eyre Affair I had to pick it up.  I am so glad I did.  I have to read more by Fforde and I am obsessed with getting the rest of the Thursday Next series, which my local bookstore doesn't have in stock.  Time for online shopping. I need to get Lost in a Good Book.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Scorch Trials

There will be some vague spoilers, but I'll try not to give anything away.

The Scorch Trials is the sequel to The Maze Runner (which I watched on Netflix over the summer when I heard that a sequel was going to be released soon). These movies are based on The Maze Runner books by James Dashner. I felt like a lot of stuff was going on in The Scorch Trials. They were saved, then they weren't saved. They were running, finding bits of the old world left behind. Then they thought they were safe, then they weren't.  They met new people. They met monsters.  Is it just me, or were those things basically zombies? I didn't expect that, and I appreciate the unexpected. What I saw coming, was what happened with Teresa.  My Hubby called it too.

I am having a hard time really wrapping my mind around the movie.  It was okay, but like I said, there was a lot going on. The trial was a journey. I like the idea of the journey, some of it was good, but I don't feel like we really got to know a lot of people in the different places.  It's like we were only meant to care about the people we met in the first movie, while maybe being forced to care about Thomas's new friend. The Scorch Trials was entertaining, but I don't think I connected with it the way I did with The Maze Runner.  While they explained why the kids were important, they didn't really explain why they put so many of them in the Maze. Why put them in there and watch them die? It was very much a middle movie too, with an obvious quest set up for a third movie, which I am assuming they will make.

The Scorch Trials was entertaining and I do like the character of Thomas, I like Minho, Newt and Teresa. Though I predicted it, I appreciate the choice to make Teresa do what she did. While it wasn't as exciting as The Maze Runner, I enjoyed The Scorch Trials and I look forward to the third movie in this series.