Friday, February 26, 2016

Hard To Get, by Anna Banks

I’ve been feeling the urge to read Of Triton, the second book in Anna BanksSyrena Legacy, when I realized I hadn’t yet read Hard To Get. Hard to Get is one of the several short stories Anna Banks has written as companion pieces to her Syrena novels.  I’ve read Legacy Lost, which is tragic and the reason I started with the series. Hard To Get tells the story of what happened between Toraf and Rayna, after Toraf used a kiss with the series’ protagonist, Emma, to make Rayna jealous.

When I read Of Poseidon back in September, I was not sold on this storyline. Though I liked Toraf, I could not reconcile what he did. He was forcing Rayna to be with him.  Then he hurt her for rejecting him. The two sides of him weren’t sitting well with me.  Reading this story makes me understand his actions, though they were impulsive.  It also makes me like Grom a little less, even though I was sympathetic with him previously.  Maybe he is actually an ass and it makes perfect sense why his mate did what she did.  I’m sure to read about it soon in Of Triton. Hard To Get was a quick, fun story, with insight into some of the Syrena characters.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I’m not sure how I feel about Shadowhunters. I read all the Mortal Instruments books (and The Infernal Devices). I saw City of Bones (but heard it was disappointing, so waited until it was on TV). I was excited to hear about the television series. I enjoyed Cassandra Clare’s novels. They were exciting and fun. I thought they would be a fun series. I wanted to see what they would change, what they would keep from the books and how it would differ from the movie. It is definitely different from the movie, but I’m not sure how much I like the differences from the books.

I do have to mention though, that Shadowhunters only airs on Tuesday on a US network.  For those of us who don’t live in the States, Shadowhunters is only available on Netflix, with new episodes available the day after it airs in the States. That’s fine, I guess. I have Netflix, so I get to see the show the day after, but I stay away from Twitter while the show is airing the in US.

There have only been about six episodes so far, but here are the changes... The first one that really struck me was Hodge. He’s not some doddering old man, stuck up in the library. He is the weapons instructor, who spends time with his shirt off. The second, why are there so many people in the New York institute? It’s so high tech.  It’s also very sexual, more so than I expected for a show airing on Freeform (ABC Family).

Stuff I liked… the Silent Brothers. Yes. The whole look of the City of Bones was good.  I liked that Simon and Isabelle have had a moment together. He’s intimidated by her, but she seems to be fond of him. We’ve already addressed who Clary’s father is, so that’s going to be causing some good tension. Luke, I think he’s great. I miss the bookstore, but the police station makes a lot of sense.

I’m not opposed to changes, I just want them to fit the narrative and the feeling of the books. I also understand the need for some of them, to get an audience watching that isn’t just made up of people who read the books.

I do like that Magnus name-dropped Tessa. Everything about Magnus. He might be my favourite part of the show.

So, how do I feel about Shadowhunters? I don’t know yet. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. I am invested though and I’ll be watching how everything unfolds this season.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Assassin's Blade

I needed some quick, entertaining stories and The Assassin’s Blade delivered, but also gave me some emotional, tense moments. The Assassin’s Blade is the collection of prequel novellas to Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series. They were originally sold independently, so there's a bit about each story as I read them, then I am sure I will have something to say after.

The Assassin and The Pirate

I really like that the first story in The Assassins’ Blade collection doesn’t have Celaena and Sam all happy and together, as Celaena mentions her feelings for a young man named Sam in Throne of Glass. Maas gives depth to their relationship.  I like that they start out seeming to hate each other. The Assassin and The Pirate is such a fun story, but we also get to see into Celaena and Sam’s moral compass.

Why does Celaena have to be so arrogant all the time? She’s like those kids that grow up with parents telling them they’re perfect all the time. Though it’s not untrue. Arobynn, King of the Assassin’s Guild, has poured a lot of money into hers (and Sam’s) development and has been training them since they were children.  They better be the best for all he has invested in them.

The Assassin and The Healer

I think this was the story I'd been wanting to read about Celaena. In The Assassin and The Healer, we get a chance to really see Celaena in action. Though she displays her assassin’s skill, she continues to have the conscious we saw in The Assassin and The Pirate. She helps in a small way, small to her, but everything to the one she helps. 

I really liked Yvette.  I liked that she wasn't another pretty blond, but also not another character from a land we've already addressed. Yvette was from somewhere different, another one of the lands conquered by the King of Adarlan. She's also a type of person we haven't gotten to see much of before, she's a healer. I like that even though she's fallen, as many of the conquered have, she still has a dream and wants to heal. I also wonder if we will see her again.

The Assassin and The Desert

I knew she was doing something bad…

The Assassin and The Desert might be my favourite of the stories so far. I feel like Celaena grew and learned so much during her time with the Silent Assassins.  Not just what they taught her in terms of fighting, that wouldn’t make as good a story, but who she ws as a person, and who she wants to be. I wonder how this will change her relationship with Arobynn. I also wonder if she’ll ever return to the Red Desert.

I wish we knew what happened to Sam. Her wondering has me wondering too.

I also wonder if we’ll see Ansel again. Will Celaena ever journey to the Flatlands? Ansel seems too good a character to just let go, riding off into the desert.

The spider silk merchant…. We’re seeing him again in the future too, right?

Ilias and the Silent Master?

The Assassin and The Underworld

The Assassin and The Underworld is another story I was waiting for. It was dark. It had Sam. It showed how much Celaena had really changed. There was excitement, intrigue and moments were we saw just how young Adarlan’s Assassin really is. Choices were made, debts were paid and the world was full of betrayal.

I like that we got to see Celaena interact with Arobynn. He’s a bastard. He makes Celaena think one thing, but then does another. He makes her do things she would not choose to do. He lies to her, I think he wants to break her. I wonder if he’s really training her to take his place or if that is just something he tells everyone. What is going to happen during their next encounter? Is he the reason she ends up in the Salt Mines?

I kind of adore Sam. I’ve read Throne of Glass though. I know what happens. The next story in The Assassin’s Blade is the last one and I’m kind of dreading it. I want it to be one of those things were we learn it actually isn’t true. I know I really liked Captain Westfall while reading Throne of Glass, but it’s almost as if Sam is made for Celaena. I’m not putting anything past the King of Assassins. Celaena should take Sam to the Red Desert and the Silent Assassins, but I know that’s not going to happen.

Also, was those men in the masks Dorian and Choal?

The Assassin and The Empire

I knew he was a bastard.

I knew it was going to happen too, but it was still sad.  I was hoping that it would be left more open, with possibility. But nope. It’s certain. The end.

There’s a lot more set up/revelation in The Assassin and The Empire. Probably because this is what happens right before Celaena is thrown into the Salt Mines. For those who have read Throne of Glass we learn what happened to Sam, the job that got Celaena finally caught and why it all happened.  For those who haven’t read Throne of Glass, it’s like a giant teaser for the book. What happens in the Mines? How does she get out? Does she learn who did this to her?

I’m eager for Arobynn to show up again, for Celaena to learn what happened. I wonder if she’ll ever seek out Wesley, if she’ll ever have the opportunity. I wonder if Maas will work revenge for Sam into other books.  There’s so much hope in this story at the beginning, but it got resolutely crushed.

In Conclusion…

I think these stories stand well on their own, but they are peppered with so many different characters, I can see Sarah J. Maas bringing them back into the novels. I don’t think you need to read these stories to enjoy the main books (though I’ve only read the first one), but they’re fun and entertaining; they give just that little bit more insight into who Celaena is and who the people around her are/were. They also give a larger view of Erilea and the empire the King is trying to create. There’s destruction across the continent, with victims littered everywhere. I think The Assassin’s Blade has solidified Throne of Glass as a series I must read.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Deadpool was everything I wanted it to be. It was funny, bloody and unapologetically rated R. It derserved that R rating too. The action, the car chases and fights, were amazing. They were excited and had my eyes glued to the screen. Honestly, I don't know how to talk about the movie without a spoiler explosion. I mean, the double mask reveal, 16 walls, 127 hours, angsty teenager, all of it was so well done. I kind of loved/hated Colossus. I loved the after-credits scenes. Go see the movie. Just don't take your kids.

Also, I've been loving the movie posters....

Also, Happy Valentines Day!!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Transformers: Age of Extinction

So, I think watching movies while I do housework is going to be a thing for me. First it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and now it is Transformers: Age of Extinction. Usually, this is the kind of movie my Hubby and I watch on the big TV, with a snack and a blanket. However, Hubby stated sometime ago that he didn't want to watch it. He is a huge fan of the original animated series and was so grossly disappointed by the second and third movies, they put him off Transformers on the big screen. Instead of convincing him to watch it, especially with so many movies out there we both want see, I decided to finally just go for it. With the iPad propped up and the laundry laid out, I pressed play on Transformers: Age of Extinction.

It was better than I expected. My husband did have a point, the last two Transformers movies didn't leave me expecting much. I knew there would be explosions and girls in short skirts/shorts. Everyone would be pretty. I didn't realize Kelsey Grammar was in this movie, though. That made me happy. I liked the father/daughter dynamic. I liked the boyfriend. The CG was amazing. I had fun watching. That's all I really need while I'm folding laundry and making dinner. It was long though. I don't know why it needed to be 2 hours and 45 minutes. Also, I don't think many inventors look like Mark Wahlberg. Or am I wrong? It doesn't matter. I was entertained.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Emily Dickinson - Three Series

Emily Dickinson - Three Series is the collection of Emily Dickinson's poems, which I had to read as an ebook, since I could not find a complete printed collection in store.  Also, the complete ebook was free. Not a bad deal, right? I wrote a bit about my reading experience last week. I decided to include it on my Spin list, even though I started it a while ago, because I needed the motivation to finish it. Reading one or two poems in between novels was not cutting it anymore. Plus, I've been wanting to share what I've been reading. 

It's just so difficult to talk about all the poems, but I feel like I should, like each one deserves a moment of its own. They deserve more than just the glimpse into her work that I'm going to give here.

I think most literary people (any many non-literary people) are familiar with Dickinson's The Chariot:

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 't is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

I remember reading this poem more than once during university, for various classes. Something about it must have stuck with me, because now I've read all of her poems. All those poems and all that reading has left me with eight pages of notes and highlights that I want to go back to and read again as I read the poems.

I decided to read the poems slowly. Many of the poems are short, some are only four lines, so I decided reading them like a novel would be a waste. I wanted to take my time, think, feel each poem. I may not write about each poem, but I can go through the eight pages of notes and highlights and pick a few things to share.

The poem titled in the collection, In A Library, is great.  It starts:

A precious, mouldering pleasure 't is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,

I just love it! The entire thing is an ode to books and libraries. It spoke to me.

As light as this poem was, there are many that have darkness, that come from some deep, solitary place. There are also others that seem to be observational, looking at the beauty of nature especially. There are times when I feel like she's talking about herself and others where I feel as though she is reacting to the outside world.

The Lonely House stood out for me as poem with a bit of a story. It had a good creep factor too, a poem for Halloween maybe.  The third stanza

How orderly the kitchen ’d look by night,
With just a clock,—
But they could gag the tick,
And mice won’t bark;
And so the walls don’t tell,
None will.

The walls don't tell what? Who's in my house? Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

I want to talk about The Mystery of Pain, but instead I'll just include the link. I'm nervous about looking too deeply at it.  There's pain there and maybe Dickinson wanted to solve the mystery of her own.

This one also stood out for me:

Death is a dialogue between
The spirit and the dust.
“Dissolve,” says Death. The Spirit, “Sir,
I have another trust.”
Death doubts it, argues from the ground.
The Spirit turns away,
Just laying off, for evidence,
An overcoat of clay.

I don't even know what to say about this one, I just want people to read it.

But for a new part of the emotional journey:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

This is actually the second time I've posted this poem on my blog. I think it's my favourite in the entire collection. 

There are just so many, too many. 

This one, near the end of the collection, almost had me crying:

We never know we go,—when we are going
  We jest and shut the door;
Fate following behind us bolts it,
  And we accost no more.

I read it shortly after the deaths of Alan Rickman and David Bowie, as well as news of the death of the oldest person in the world.  Rickman and Bowie were 69, but the former oldest person was 112. The poem just made me think that we never know when we are going to go, 69 or 112, sooner or later. I don't even know if that's what this poem is really talking about. 

Many of the titles (all?) are arbitrary, added posthumously. Some aren't even the same across all collections. Most of the poems are just numbered. I suppose that is because she only published handful of them in her lifetime. I wish she had published more in her life, but I suppose that's what many people have wished. I think that I might start re-reading the poems, just always have them on my tablet and between novels and stories, when I want a little clarity or burst of emotion, read one of her poems, a cycle from beginning to end and around again, always with me. Is that crazy? I don't know. I just find the idea comforting and isn't that what you want from what you read.

I don't think there is enough time in my world for an in depth study of her work, maybe back when I was studying in University. Let's just say, I recommend her work, from the well-known to the lesser-known and that Dickinson's work is something I see myself continually returning.