Friday, May 31, 2013

Candy For All

Just finished an AWESOME book, that's right folks that AWESOME was in all caps, that is just how much I liked this book.  What book is this that deserves an all caps AWESOME you ask, well I will tell you.  The book is The Candymakers by Wendy Mass, it was a completely random acquisition and and even more random read (I accidentally touched it on my e-reader going for a different book), but as happens on those most wonderful of occasions, random acts of reading paid off.

Ok this is were I usually go and spoil all the fun for everybody by writing a detailed rambling synopsis, but I am not going to do that this time.  I will do my very best to leave out any major spoilers because that is half the fun of this book.
Essentially the book is about four kids who are contestants in the annual New Candy Contest.  The contestants are all 12 years old and will be on of 32 competitors.  The winner of the contest gets $1000, but more importantly his/her candy will be mass produced and sold in stores, thus potentially jump starting a persons candy making career.  Let's meet our cast shall we.  First up is Logan Sweet, he is the son of the Candymaker (with a capital C) and lives with his mother an father in the Life Is Sweet factory.  Logan is home schooled and does not have a lot of association with other children.  His biggest talent is to be able to taste a sweet and tell exactly what's in it, and exactly what it needs to make it perfect.  He is hoping to win the competition with his Bubbletastic ChocoRocket...if he can just get it perfected.  He wants to win to continue on in the tradition of his Grandfather who won with the Pepsicle and his Father who won with the Neon Yellow Lightning Chew.  He is a bit on the clumsy side, but is a sincere boy who genuinely loves the candy making business.  Next up we have Miles O'Leary, who is a bit of a strange little dude.  He carries
around a backpack with him constantly and has a weird obsession with the afterlife. Miles has some weird allergies and seems to be afraid of his own shadow.  At heart he is a good kid and loves a good hug.  Daisy Carpenter is next on our list.  This quirky vibrant girl even rides her horse to the factory one day.  She is strong, loud and willing to stick up for the little guy.  Her best friend Magpie is partial to Pepsicles and she likes to read, especially romance novels about cowboys.  Finally we come to Phillip Ransford III, a stuffy young man who arrives at the factory in a limo, wearing a suit and tie.  He is not very endearing and very quickly drops the bomb that he does not even like candy.  He tells everyone his sole reason for entering the competition is to win.  He is constantly scribbling away in a notebook that he refuses to let anybody see.  So that is our gang of kids, a variety of characters that seems to fill the requisites in Middle Grade (MG) reading...but not all is at it seems.  The book is actually best summed up by a quote from the beginning of the book,
 "Once there were four children whose names were Logan, Miles, Philip, and Daisy. Each of them had recently turned twelve, and although none of them knew it yet, their lives would never be the same. You might ask, what makes them so special that their essays were selected over hundreds of others? Why do they each want to win the contest so badly they are willing to risk everything? Perhaps it would be best to show you. Let’s start with Logan, since he is the Candymaker’s son, after all. But don’t think he has an edge in the contest just because he was born smelling like chocolate. Logan has the hardest task, for he must be your eyes and ears. Pay close attention to what he tells you about the others— and himself— and what he doesn’t. The others will get their chance, too, but it’s only fair to start with Logan because if it weren’t for his father’s generous invitation to help prepare the others for the contest, Miles, Daisy, and Philip wouldn’t be standing outside the Life Is Sweet candy factory right now, wondering if they should knock on the huge wooden door or just let themselves in."
Mass, Wendy (2010-10-05). The Candymakers (pp. 5-6). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Kindle Edition.
I don't want to give anything away, because a) I can't do it justice, the way things are revealed is pretty cool, b) I really want you all to read this book and enjoy it the way I did c) it was a 450 page book that felt like 100 pages and that is a lot to sum up.  I will try and hit some of my favorite non-spoilery parts for you.
The Factory- The factory itself is amazing!!! It has a Willy Wonka feel to it, minus the Oompa Loompas and magic.  Well actually that is not entirely true, there is magic, but it comes in a realistic form of the sheer awesomeness of people who love what they do.  Anyways back to the factory.  Life Is Sweet does its best to produce all of the raw materials for there goodies right on the premises.  This means in addition to the candy rooms (The Taffy Room, the Some more S'more's room, the Cocoa Room, etc.) there is a fully working farm, orchard and ranch.  The best part of the factory is the Tropical room where they have figured out a way to grow cinnamon trees, vanilla beans and a special variety of cocoa tree.  I think I could spend forever and a day exploring this place.
The Candy-One of my favorite things about this book is that it is continually describing new candies and new candy making techniques.  A lot of books that use a premise like this one load the front end with all kinds of awesome descriptions and variety and then the last 3/4 of the book don't introduce anything new.  This book is continually introducing us to new treat, new varieties and new ways to make things, be warned have a bag of candy with you when you read it.  These are real candy (well real as in not magic beans or anything like that) the Oozing Crunchorama is described perfectly with hazelnuts, chocolate, carmal and other yummy things.  At the competition itself many of the entries are described and this just adds awesomeness to the very end.
The Adults-In MG and YA books adults tend to fall into one of two categories, either meanie heads out to get the kids or practically non-existent.  In this book there are a few of those, but for the most part the adults are as realistically involved in the children's lives as one would see in the real world.  Keeping in mind that not every kid in this book has a traditional life, but the adults including the workers at the factory have a good
mix of authority, empathy, and frustratedness that one sees from adults dealing with 12 year olds.  Also most of the adults have a great sense of humor adding to the overall awesome tone of the book.
The Kids-After all is said and done (and there is a lot to say and do) this is actually a story about friendship.  Sure there are a ton of twists and the mystery/problem is harrowing, the solution difficult, but in the end it is about four very very different kids figuring out not only who they are, but how they fit into the world and with each other.  The friendships do not come easy and has to evolve several times over the course of the book, but by the end they all agree if nothing else to keep working at the friendship. This is a great book to show readers to never take a person at face value because you never know there true motivation at the outset.  Also how you perceive a person may not be at all how they perceive themselves.
The Story/Writing-The concept and execution of this book is truly AWESOME (sorry I just can't type that in lowercase letters).  A story of this type could very easily get out of hand, but the author keeps just the right amount of...I don't even know what it is, but she did it.  This was a 450 page book that I finished in a day and a half (hence the lack of post yesterday), I did not even realize how long it was until I was done.  To me that is a sign of a good author, one who can keep your attention and have you turning the pages as fast as you can.  Another good thing about the story is that it was interesting all the way through.  A lot of times with books like these you just want to get to the part where the secret is revealed, sometimes you don't even care about the in between stuff you just want to figure out what the heck is going on.  In this book the author does a good job setting up the questions and then doling out the answers fairly evenly through out the story, also you actually care about the characters themselves so after a while the secrets become secondary...until she reveals one and then you are like WOW OMG AHHHHH.  The only tiny nitpick is that there are a couple highly coincidental/far fetched things that make you roll your eyes a bit, you know especially those two things (read the book and then you will know what I am talking about), but in the end you just let yourself accept it and enjoy the ride. Also as far as rereadabilty goes it's kind of like The Sixth Sense once you know the secret it takes a certain Ahhness away.
In case you haven't figured it out yet I loved this book, I am sorry for the lack of details, but it must be read with out any spoilers for the full AWESOMENESS to take effect.  This is a great one to read with your kids, or curled up with your favorite treat, or to read out loud to a class (hmmm this would make a great class project that you could learn to make your own candies while reading it).  I think almost anybody would enjoy this book and give it a 9 out of 10 Oozing Crunchoramas!
What book have you accidentally started and could not put down?  How awesome are the cheapo deals on e-books that make you pick things up you never thought of before?  What kind of candy would you invent?  Is it weird I like books with yellow covers?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This Is Not A Post

Can't post today, too busy reading
See you all tomorrow, Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lounging About

I finally did it...Ok my Hubbin finally did it.  We hauled our poor, old, saggy, overused, much abused, heavily traveled couch to the dump and replaced it with a new one.  I have to admit, I thought I would miss my old friend the saggy couch, but our new one is fabulous! It is huge and deep and snuggly and comfy and matches my reading chair.  The only real downside is that I never want to leave it!  I have spent several days curled up on this new couch with a pile of books and a fresh pot of coffee/glass of wine (depending on weather or not it is after noon).  Several books have already been finished on this couch and I look forward to many more days and nights pursuing this most happy of activities.  Here are a couple of other reading in comfort/style/weirdness options.
Moody Couch
This couch is actually a project done by an artist.  It is changeable and can be altered to fit your mood...just like picking up a new book!
Victorian Fainting Couch
The perfect couch for reading a bit of Jane Austen...or that naughty Regency romance novel I know you have hidden under your mattress ;-)
Coffin Couch
Perfect for undead readers...I mean readers of the undead...I mean, um any Dracula fans out there?
Bathtub Couch
Gives a whole new meaning to reading in the bathtub, I bet Hubbin would let me take the e-reader in this tub.
Bookshelf Couch
Ahhh form AND function, what is there not to love about a couch and bookshelf all rolled into one!

What is more important in a couch, style or comfort?  What is the ideal distance between a couch and a bookshelf?  Is it sad that Hubbin got stain resistant coverings for the couch for when I drop/throw/forget my drink in the excitement of a book?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dragons: Friend Or Foe?

Wow, I am so sorry about the gap in posting, I ended up at the station with no access to my computer for several days, and the worst part is we were so busy I didn't even get any extra reading in.  Actually that part was ok 'cause as much as I love reading, I love going on calls even more, especially the ones that come in over a holiday weekend.  Since this is a book blog and not a blood and guts blog I will now commence with the post I have been meaning to put up for the last four days.
Right before I went to the station I finished up a book that has been on my TBR pile forever.  It came with a ton of recommendations and I was very excited to read it.  I promptly bought it, put it on my book shelf and completely forgot about it until the other day when I was frantically cleaning the house for last second guests.  Alas the cleaning never got quit done, but the book was a page turner.  The book was Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.  It was a really good read, not what I was expecting at all in a good way, but more on that later.  First a rambling synopsis. As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Seraphina is set in a the fictional land of Gorred in a medieval type time period.  One of what makes this world so special is the presence of dragons. Up until 40 years ago, dragons and humans were at war.  Dragons would eat humans and humans developed a form of fighting called dracomachia that turned the tied and made it into an even battle. Finally the Queen of Gorred and the Ardmager of the dragons come up with a treaty to ensure peace between the two species.  As with all change, especially when it involves putting hostilities aside, it is not popular with everybody. Both sides have it's detractors and vocal portions of the populations in opposition to the treaty.  Our story opens a couple of weeks before the 40th anniversary of the signing of the treaty.  Our heroine, Seraphina a 15 year old girl and the assistant music director has had to make a last minute adjustment in the funeral program of the crown prince.  Seraphina was forced to put herself on the program and play her flute for the entire crowd.  Now this is normally not a big deal, especially as Seraphina is an extordinarly talented musician, but she has been trying to keep a low profile her entire life. We learn the reason for this is because Seraphina is a dragon/human hybrid, possibly the only one in the world, in fact most people think that it is not possible for a dragon and human to breed. This manifests itself in a band of silvery scales around her forearm and midriff.  She also inherited her musical talent from her dragon mother, along with some pretty freaky maternal memories.  One of the side effects of her dragon half is the relentless inundation of images and sounds from random and bizarre creatures inside her head.  Her Uncle Orma, who is also her teacher, helped her create a garden in her head that she could "place" each creature into.  The garden has an environment suited to each character and Seraphina has to visit it each night to make sure everybody is in their place.  Many of these characters that live in her head have some sort of unusual feature, a wattle, deformed wings, lumpy skin, and some are mostly human looking.  I have to admit I found this whole garden of personalities fascinating and promptly tried to apply it to any number of things :-).  As our heroine goes about her duties as music mistress (she is described by her peers as prickly) we see just how deep seated the prejudiced between the two species are.  We also start to get a glimpse of the complicated religious and political structure.  We learn that dragons take the form of humans when they are in the cities, and unless they have a special dispensation they must wear a bell to identify themselves.  For dragons ard, or order is the most important part of their life.  Being in human form allows them to experience intense emotions which is contradictory to their dragon way of life.  Dragons in human form are kept under strict watch by the Censors and if they display any undue emotion are ordered to have that part of their memories or brain cleansed.  Any extreme feeling such as love, guilt, empathy etc. are forbidden and seen as a disease.  This creates a lot of Vulcan like conversations with the dragons.
Most of the story itself focuses on trying to solve the murder of the crown Prince before the Ardmager comes to celebrate the treaty signing.  Seraphina uses her maternal memories (memories that her mother passed down to her before she died giving birth) and information from her Uncle Orma to piece together what happened.  With the help of the bastard Prince Lucian Riggs, the captain of the guard, and his fiancee the spirited (and one of my favorite characters) crown princess Glissenda, she finds the dragon that is her grandfather is responsible not only for the princes death, but also a plot to try and kill both the royal family and the Ardmager.  Along the way Seraphina starts to meet some of the people/creatures in her garden in real life.  At first she is confused and frightened, but then soon realizes that they are all part dragon as well.  It turns out that each of these creatures has it's own unique talent that can be used to help our intrepid trio in keeping everybody safe.  Unfortunately the dragon conspiracy is uncovered to late and the Queen and her daughter (Glissenda's dragon hating mother) are both killed, leaving Glissenda as the ruling heir. Back in the dragons land a coup has occured and the treaty is nulled. Seraphina and Lucian fall in love with each other, but he decides he can't leave Glissenda on her own and asks Seraphina to let him go, which she does.  Her uncle Orma assists in killing his own father, and goes into hiding to avoid having his brain cleansed of all memories of his niece.  Seraphina goes out to find the rest of the people in her garden to try rally them and their talents to help keep the piece.  The book ends with everybody gearing up for war and a sequel.
As always my summation does not do this book justice. There was a lot of intricacies and interpersonal stuff, a lot of history both personal and world, just all kinds of stuff.  Phew, lets take this one piece at a time shall we? The biggest thing that struck me about this book is how different it was from what I had expected.  From the reviews and blurbs I was expecting a typical, if fresh YA fantasy novel.  This book was not in any way shape or form a typical fantasy novel, in fact I would call it a political novel with dragons.  The main part of this book was setting up the relationship between dragons and humans.  In this book humans are religious, emotional beings, while dragons are brilliant, logical beings.  This sets up a conflict not only between dragons and humans, but between human and human, and dragon and dragon.  Humans have a normal life span of a mediaeval time person, while dragons can be extremely long lived.  This sets up other conflicts, especially when it comes to the treaty.  I found it interesting that the older generation of humans, one that was starting to die out had an understandable hatred/fear of dragons, after all for most of their lives the dragons were trying to eat them.  The younger generation of humans, ones who have lived with the treaty their whole lives were more of a mixed bag, some adapting and utilizing the teachings of the dragons, even befriending, or in some rare, secret occasions even falling in love with a dragon (in human form).  Others either inherited their prejudiced or were induced into it by an extreme faction of the multi saint religion.  The people who follow St. Ogden are notorious for their extreme intolerance of dragon kind and any who associate with them.  Dragons also have a divided population. The older generation is still alive and well, some resenting the loss of the old ways, others rejoicing in the peace between them and humans.  The younger dragons almost all enjoy the freedom of the treaty and try their best to uphold it.  The human political/religious set up is reminiscent, though not exactly like old European style monarchies, with religion and government being inseparable on most accounts and how that influences the way things are done.  I loved, loved, loved Seraphina's brain, the way things in their were almost tangible.  She could "walk" in her garden and maintain it, she would create visual representations of things (such as a file box for her mothers memories) that could be interacted with, so much fodder for a person like me who finds that stuff fascinating, I wanted to spend even more then the ample amount of time the book allowed in her head.  The Seraphina/Prince Lucian love thing was a bit of a mixed bag for me.  Lucian is not my favorite of characters, he is a bit of a black and white type of guy, and Seraphina is an accomplished liar so that obviously caused some issues.  The fact that he is not only engaged to Glissenda, who is great friends with Seraphina, but that the relationship seems to work well, makes it hard to see how the Seraphina/Lucian thing could ever work out well.  I actually kind of liked that she falls for an unavailable man, who is engaged to somebody who is not a horrible wench, but a friend.  I also like that Glissenda and Lucian seem to have a very functional relationship and that he decides to honor it, at least for the moment.  It is a much different love story than I am used to.  The different versions of family and the different ways those relationships play into decision making are pretty thoroughly explored, and the parts were music was prominent made me happy.  The main problem I had with the book was it tended to skip around a bit much, it gave a ton of information without actually telling you anything.  When I started the book I did not know it was intended as a series, so I went reading it as a stand alone, which made the gaps even more frustrating.  Even knowing it is supposed to be a series just makes it feel like the author purposely left stuff out so that she would have something for the next book, which is one of my reading pet peeves.  I felt like I needed a bit more of a complete history of this world to really be able to put all of this great material into context. The ending felt completely rushed and different from the rest of the book, which again irritates me to no end.  The writing style however was superb, very readable without being simple.  I enjoyed the book on the whole, will definitely read the sequel when it comes out, and maybe some of her freshmen writing flaws will be mended by the next book. I will give this book 7 out of 10 houppelande.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stages Of Reading

Just finished up another book last night (actually I finished two, but I am refusing to acknowledge one of them).  As I shut off my light and lay there thinking over the story I had just finished a thought occurred to me, my feelings for the book were already changing.  What is this I thought to myself, I loved the book...didn't I? Of course I did...except that one part, Oh and that thing that didn't really make any sense...hmmm...but I would not hesitate to recommend this book to almost anybody, what is going on?!?  That is when I realized that I go through a couple stages with almost every book I read (my Hubbin calls it over analyzing). These are based only on my personal experiences in reading, you will probably have your own unique stages.
Stage One-Anticipation (or Judging a book by its cover)
This is before you even read the first page.  It is the reason you picked up the book in the first place, an intriguing review, a cool cover, an interesting concept, a known author/series.  You make a basic judgement on what you think the book may be about, and start to form very basic opinions on what you  may or may not like about this book
Stage Two-The First Chapter (or Love/hate at first sight)
This is where your gut reaction kicks in, in the first chapter or so you start to get a feel for the tone and voice of the book.  This is very dangerous territory as one can very easily be seduced and start announcing this to be the most wonderful book in the world to anybody who will listen.  Or on the flip side one can start to hate the book, I have found that this is the point where most people give up on a book, which I personally find annoying as it is hard to really get into a story with just a chapter or two.
Stage Three-The Halfway Point (or I am so in love/already invested so many hours that I can't put it down/may as well finish it)
This is always an interesting point in my reading.  I am usually either so into the book that I am walking around with it in front of my face, taking every opportunity I can to sneak in a couple pages (most people read while cooking dinner right?).  Or I feel I have read this far I might as well finish it so I can at least write an honest rambling on it.  On occasion a book is bad, or just so insanely insulting that I devour it as quickly as possible just so I have as much fodder as possible for a really scathing rambling.  Around this time weather you love it, hate it, or eh it you start to think of things within the whole context of the story, plots, characters, and concepts should be fairly rounded out by now, your first flush of love/hate is over and your opinions may start to be tempered into something a bit less vehement.
Stage Four-The End (or That was the perfect ending/that was a stupid stupid way to end it/AH it's gonna be a stupid series/AH thank goodness it's gonna be an awesome series.)
The end of a book is always different for me. There have been a few times that I just did not want it to end, I actually felt a sense of loss that there were no more words in this wonderful piece of art ('cause to me that is what a great book is, a piece of art).  Sometimes I am just relived that the book is finished.  On occasion I have wanted to throw the book (or e-reader, not a good idea) across the room in frustration for such an unsatisfactory/stupid ending.  Other times I feel betrayed, either by an unknown continuation (doesn't count for books I know are going to be a series), or a complete reversal or ignoring of the whole rest of the book to try and wrap it all up in a neat package.  Needless to say, the end stage of a book is always the most harrowing for me.
Stage Five-The Review (or Going back and nit picking the crap out of what I just read and revising my opinions several times)
This is where you get to feel all superior and nit pick the book to death.  I admit, I am horrible when it comes to this, even my most favorite books in the whole entire world, ones that I still read over and over do not escape my incessant scrutiny.  This is when you have had a chance to distance yourself from some of the intense reactions you may have had.  You start to see where things did not quit add up, or an idea that didn't really make sense.  You may also find new levels of connection, and new meanings to characters and situations when looked at as a whole.  I'm sure if you have taken time to actually get through one of my gargantuan ramblings you have noticed that there are always things that I don't like in books.  Most of these are personal preference things, but it may seem like I don't like anything I read, this is not true, I truly enjoy the majority of books, I just can't help myself analyzing them to death.  This process I think is helpful in defining what you like and don't like about a reading experience, it makes it easier to sum up why a book had a certain impact on you.
Stage Six-The Verdict (or I can't wait to read it again/at least it will look nice on my shelf)
This is not a stage everybody goes through, but usually this where you (usually subconsciously) decide weather this book will be read again, and passed to friends and family with a fevered "You must read and love this book right now!" or if it gets quietly placed on a book shelf and rarely thought of again.  On a few rare occasions, this is the point where a new book gets added to my Most Beloved Books of All Time list or I Hate That Book With the Fire of a Thousand Suns list.  These are not extensive lists and when a book goes on them it is because of the enduring extreme love/hate that it has inspired in me.
What are your reading stages?  Do any of these sound familiar to you?  How crazy am I that I not only over analyze my reading, but then analyze my over analyzing?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Your Nose Is Growing

I may have mentioned it before, but I have a thing for the show Once Upon A Time, this season not as much as last season, but it still holds a place in my cheesy Disney loving, fairytale hoarding heart.  One of my favorite characters in the show is the grown up Pinocchio, let me show you why mmmmmm.
Eion Bailey Picture
Mmm seriously yummy little wooden boy :-)  My Hubbin, being the wonderful guy that he is has been buying me all of the movies, books, and TV shows that include all of these great characters.  Once of the books was the original Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.  This story is a bit different from the normal fairy tales because instead of a short story it is a full blown book.  It is a bit crude and a bit out there, but I found myself enjoying it immensely.

The story starts out in Master Cherry's work shop where a bit of wood starts being very rude.  Shocked at this woods behavior he sells it to his friend Geppetto who then carves it into a puppet.  This puppet is Pinocchio.  Alas our little puppet boy is a very selfish creature demanding food and clothes. even though the woodcarver is desperately poor, he supplies his puppet son with paper clothing and what food is in the house.  Geppetto sends Pinocchio to school, selling his own cloth coat to buy his puppet son a proper school book.  Pinocchio is told to go straight to school, but is enticed to sell his book to get admittance into a puppet show.  Pinocchio makes friends with the other puppets.  He is then caught by Fire Eater, the puppet master who intends to us him for fire wood.  Pinocchio's friends implore Fire Eater to release him, which he does, but informs them that he will use another puppet instead.  The horrified Pinocchio will not allow this and offers himself in the other puppets stead.  Moved by this loyalty Fire Eater decides not to burn any of the puppets and sends Pinocchio on his way with five gold pieces.  Pinocchio is very excited to bring the gold home to his Papa Geppetto, so that he can buy a new coat and have food in the house.  Along the way the
hapless puppet meets up with Fox and Cat who convince him to plant his gold pieces in a special field that will grow a tree full of gold.  Pinocchio thinks that this sounds like a good idea and goes off with the unsavory duo.  The trio stop at an inn, where the Fox and Cat order a feast and tell the puppet that they will start their journey at midnight.  Alas when the puppet is woken at midnight by the landlord of the inn, he informs him that Fox and Cat have already left without paying for their board or meal.  Pinocchio gives the innkeeper a gold piece and hurries after his supposed friends.  While out he is accosted by a hooded duo who try and rob him, thinking quickly Pinocchio puts the gold pieces in his mouth and refuses to open it.  The shadow figures hang Pinocchio in a tree and wait for him to die so that they can get to the gold. Luckily for Pinocchio the beautiful Child with the blue hair spots him and sends help.  He is taken to her house and put to bed.  He is seen by multiple doctors who come to the conclusion that he must drink a bitter medicine or die.  The naughty puppet does everything he can to not drink his medicine, until they begin preparing for his funeral, which is just what he needs to finally take his medicine.  Pinocchio then proceeds to start lying to the Child and his nose starts to grow, with every lie he tells his nose gets bigger and bigger until he is trapped.  After finally confessing to the lies the Child has birds come in and peck Pinocchio's nose back to its normal size.  Pinocchio vows to be a good boy and the Child tells him that his Papa Geppetto is coming to live with them.  The excited Pinocchio begs to go meet him.  Along the way he runs into Fox and Cat, who once again convince him to go and plant his gold in the fields.  Of course this is all a ruse and when he goes to check his gold is gone.  Heartbroken the puppet gets into a couple more scrapes and ends up in jail.  Upon his release he sadly discovers that the Child has died of a broken heart and his Papa Geppetto has gone off in search of his missing puppet son.  Pinocchio sets of to find his Papa and ends up in a small town trying to beg food.  He is not willing to do any work, so nobody will give him anything to eat.  Eventually he agrees to help a woman who turns out to be the Child grown up into the Fairy with the blue hair.  Pinocchio does his best to be good and worthy of the Fairy and applies himself to his school work diligently.  The Fairy informs him that because of his hard work he will be turned into a real boy the following day as long as behaves.  On his way to invite his friends to his real boy party,
Pinocchio gets enticed to run away to the land of Boobies where nobody ever has to work or go to school.  After a time of leisure and fun the puppet discovers that he is turned into a donkey! He is sold and has a few more adventures before turning back into a puppet and getting swallowed by the giant Dog-Fish.  Inside the Dog-Fish Pinocchio discovers his Papa Geppetto and devises a way for them to escape.  Alas all of the time inside the fish has made Geppetto unwell, so Pinocchio goes and finds work to help care for his beloved Papa.  On his way to work one day he meets up with a friend of the Fairy's who informs Pinocchio that she is sick in a hospital with no money to feed or care for herself.  The puppet gives the friend all the money he has and tells him to come back in two days for more.  Pinocchio determines to work twice as hard to make twice as much money so that he can care for both Geppetto and the Fairy.  The next day he wakes up as a real boy.  The Fairy comes to him and tells him that though he has been a bad puppet in the past, he has taken care of the people he loves and has earned himself real boy status.

My synopsis can not do justice to the flavor of the writing of this book.  It is hilarious.  It does not read like a children's book at all, even though that was the intended audience.  There is a lot of violence and insolence and all around mayhem. Doing some research the book was initially supposed to end with the naughty Pinocchio being hung from the tree until he died as a warning to children, but the editors wisely thought that might be a bit much and so the second redemptive half was written.  The version I have has the original font and illustrations which are just really weird and wonderful all at the same time.  I'm not sure what else to say about it other then I recommend it on its oddities alone. Seriously go read it :-)
How do you think children's tales have changed over time?  Do you like the more gruesome original tales for kids, or do you think they need the less violent versions?  How old is old enough to learn some of these harsh realities?  How crazy are the 19th century Italians?!?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sweet Snuggle Dreams

Had a long last night last night.  Every time I would try and go to bed the tones would go off and I was up on another call...and all of them involved some extensive lifting (why does everybody have to live on the fourth floor?).  All I want to do now if fall into a nice fluffy bed...kind of like this.
Pillow Book
This work by Vladimir Kush is just so comfy looking. I love the colors and the concept and really just want to crawl under the covers in my very own book bed.  Check out his other stuff too, it is pretty cool.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lego Legolas

If my last couple of posts have not clued you in, I am a super dork :-)  My dorkiness knows no bounds and extends even into my video games.  I have recently acquired the Lego Lord of the Rings Game and it is AWESOME!
The best part is that while it follows the movie, even using the voices, it also puts back in some of the stuff from the books.  My favorite addition is the character of Tom Bombadil who was sadly not in any of the movies.  Like the other Lego game installations, this one adds a lot of humor to the proceedings, making it ideal for the younger crowd.  I would recommend this game for lovers of the books and movies.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Space The Final Frontier

Ahhhhh OMGOMGOMG EEEEPPPPIICCCC!!!!!  Sorry fan girl moment.  Got to stay up past my bed time last night and go see the new Star Trek: Into Darkness movie and it was wonderful.  Just like the first movie it gave a nod to all the best pieces of the original while definitely becoming it's own movie.  Extra cool was the fact that all of my favorite geeky girl shows seemed to be represented by various actors, we had Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Who, Fringe I mean seriously a girl could go crazy happy with all the dorky goodness.
The movie gave all kinds of direct and indirect homage to the original film everything from direct moments (think KHAN!!!!) to more subtle ones such as switching up the relationships between people (Carol now being the daughter instead of the mother).  Of course if you haven't seen the original than you probably have no idea what I am talking about and are rolling your eyes if you have even read this far :-)  Since this is a book blog I am going to leave you with some of my favorite SciFi short story collections so you too can see all of the wonderfully odd ways this amazing genre can make your summer great.
One of my favorite things about scifi is the new worlds and organizations that appear out of necessity when you go full scale universal.  All of the stories in this collection are part of some sort of federation.
The Starry Rift: Tales of New Tomorrows
The Starry Rift
My baby sis actually recommended this one to me and boy was it a perfect choice.  The stories in here are fresh and varied.  The one by Neil Gaiman, who I usually think of as a fantasy guy was seriously entertaining.
Get Off the Unicorn (Talent Series)
Get Off the Unicorn
While not strictly scifi in the sense we are used to, this collection has everything from high tech scifi, to the more subtle blurring of fantasy and scifi.  A great one to take a look at if you are not a hard core techie.
The Last Mimzy: Stories Originally Published as The Best of Henry Kuttner
The Last Mimzy
This collection is just insane, with stories published as early as the 1940's it is far ahead of it's time.  This collection offers everything from humor to head scratcher's to true tragedies.  This is for a true die hard fan of Science Fiction
Star Trek: The Amazing Stories
Star Trek: The Amazing Stories
Of course I can't write a post about Star Trek awesomeness without including a bit of biblio Star Trek love.  This is a collection of short stories based on all the various incarnations of the Star Trek franchise from some of the best authors out there.
Hopefully this will give you a little summer scifi reading to fill in all those long hours in a car, train, airplane, bus or space shuttle that always seems part of getting to where ever it is you are going for your summer fun.  Happy reading everybody!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I have this really weird OCD thing when I go into bookstores, I always have to buy three books, not sure why, but I cannot go into a bookstore without coming out with three new tomes to add to my bookshelf.  Normally this is really no big deal, my book list is pretty long and I love buying books.  Well one week my sweet Hubbin had a lot of studying to do so we ended up at the bookstore three times in a row!  One of the problems with the bookstores now days is they have a much more limited selection.  Many of the books on my list were not available at that particular store so off I went to find some different books to fill out my OCD three.  This is were I got Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  I had heard of it with the movie version coming out, but had mostly written it off as yet another YA paranormal romance, but I needed one more book, it had a pretty purple cover (no stupid movie cover for me) and it was surprisingly big so into the bag it went.  I had finished another book and this one was the closest one to the bed, and being the lazy bum that I am I picked it up and started reading it.  I enjoyed it more then I thought I would, and finished it fairly quickly.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Ethan Wate can't wait to leave the slow and unchanging Gatlin in South Carolina.  His hometown is small, boring and stuck on following the most archaic of traditions.  Ethan is a 16 year old high school student, with a spot on the basketball team, a dead mother and a reclusive father, he also has dreams, strange haunting dreams about a girl, and a song.  Enter Lena Duchannes (rhymes with rains), the niece of the mysterious and never seen Macon Ravenwood.  Lena starts school with a literal bang (exploding windows) and is immediately cast as the outsider.  In a town like Gatlin anything different is not welcome and Lena is about as different as they come. Ethan notices this and oddly enough takes an intense liking to this dark haired, black wearing, poetry writing new girl.  At first Lena is standoffish, not trusting that Ethan actually wants to be friends, she has had bad experiences before and while she desperately wants the typical teenage experience, isn't sure how to trust someone enough to get it.  You see Lena as we discover quit quickly is not a typical teenager, she is Caster, a person who has powers.  She is approaching her 16th birthday in which every
Caster must choose to go to the Light or the Dark (very Jedi, use the force vibe here).  For Lena this not a choice, she comes from a family of Casters that does not get to choose to Claim the Light or the Dark, but rather the Light or Dark Claims her.  This is all a bit confusing and never really gets fully explained, but more on that later.  Ethan discovers her powers and her fear of being Claimed by the Dark on her sixteenthwho can get people to do what they want,

birthday, turning her into a heartless, soulless creature who uses her power only for her own pleasure.  Her cousin Ridley (who used to be her best friend) was claimed by the dark on her 16th birthday and is now banished from the Light and Unclaimed side of the family (again the reasons never being fully explained) and this has Lena scared that she too will be claimed by the Dark.  Ethan decides that he is going to help Lena find a way to have some sort of choice in the matter.  Along the way they find a locket that shows them the past, and her we see what caused Lena's family to give up their right to choose Light or Dark.  One of Lena's ancestors used The Book of Moons to attempt to bring her Mortal lover back to life, the cost being that all her descendants would loose the chance to Claim the Light or Dark and instead be Claimed by the Dark or Light. We learn that there are many different types of casters,  Sirens,  Palimpsests who can see a place through all layers of time and so forth.  A Caster does not entirely know what type of power they have until they are Claimed, but with some you get an idea beforehand.  In the family it is thought that Lena is most likely a Natural, a Caster with a massive amount of power and one that is rare.  While attempting to help Lena (who he has fallen hopelessly in love with), Ethan discovers that his mother knew about the Casters and was in fact one of the Keepers of the Caster Library, a job that got passed down to her best friend after her death.  Ethan's Amma (his nanny/housekeeper/surrogate mother) also is shown to have certain powers as a Seer (somebody who has the Sight and can call on her ancestors for certain types of help).  Through out all of this discovery of magic, ancestors, and secrets Ethan and Lena attempt to have as normal a life as they can.  They are hampered in this effort by the close minded attitude of the towns folk.  They do everything in their power to get Lena to leave the school and the town.  Ethan also gets shunned for his association with Lena.  Finally the day of Lena's 16th birthday arrives and as one can guess chaos ensues.  We discover that Lena's mother (who was previously thought dead) is actually on of the most powerful Dark casters in existence.  She tells Lena that she has a choice, that she is a Natural Caster and that she is the second one born into the family.  Her mother tells her that according to some random prophecy or spell or instruction or something that the first Natural born into the family will be claimed by the Dark and become the Cataclyst, (which is what Lena's mother has become), but the second Natural born into the family, Lena, can actually choose to go Light or Dark.  The big secret everybody has been keeping is that if Lena chooses to Dark, every Light Caster will die, and if she chooses the Light, every Dark caster, including her beloved Uncle Macon will die.  Her mother also ups the ante by telling Lena she has a way that her and Ethan, a Mortal can be together forever.  A big confusing battle ensues and Lena finds a way out of Claiming either the Light or the Dark.  Ethan is mortally wounded, but is saved when in a recreation of earlier events, Lena uses the Book of Moons to bring him back to life, inadvertently causing the death of her Uncle Macon in payment.  The book ends with Lena being neither Dark or Light and an opening for all the sequels to follow.

This book comes in at a whopping 563 pages so the above synopsis is about as bare bones as you can get.  The funny this is I actually liked the in between parts of this book the most, the ones that are not necessarily essential to the overall EPIC plot.  I liked the moments where the characters just lived their lives, the times when no matter what else was happening, life still carried on. It was these moments that made this book so enjoyable. Considering that this is written in first person narrative, but two female writers writing from a male perspective I surprisingly enjoyed most of the tone and pacing of the book. Overall the Caster/Claimed/Light vs Dark plot had a weird vibe of overdone, yet incoherent at the same time.  There were things that I never got, like what actually happened when you went Dark or Light? Why were you banished when you went Dark?  Why did Lena get to choose and not anybody else?  Why if the manor was so thoroughly protected against Dark Casters was Larkin able to hang out there for so many years? Does Ethan have power, if so what is it and where did it come from? What makes a person more susceptible to be Claimed by the Dark or Light?  And so many more questions that just did not seem to add up.  That part was frustrating, on the other hand they did a decent job showing the different types of powers you could have, not everybody was the same strength or had the same talents, and the various ways one could learn to use such talents was pretty cool.  Most of the characters were pretty much one dimensional stock characters.  You had your pretty, popular girls and her followers, the goofy best friend, the spiritual wise woman, the pinched faced ultra-conservative groups, so on so forth. The only characters that had any real depth to them were Ethan and Lena, and of these two Lena seemed to have the most range.  The authors did a great job showing a teenage girl in the middle of this horrible and strange perdiciment, who's biggest desire was to just be normal.  I liked how at times Lena
could find her inner strength and kick ass, and other times it was all to overwhelming and she melted into an emotional puddle that just needed somebody to hold her.  This seems to be a fairly accurate representation of what it is like to be a sixteen year old girl, not all kick-ass, not all helpless, not all powerful, not all kind and sweet and not all bitchy, but a mix of all these, as most people are.  Ethan was a little bland, most of his personality came from being around different people.  However I loved it when the authors explored his life after his mother was killed, how the town treated him differently, how his father withdrew completely, how he is living this surreal life of fragile normalcy, again a fairly accurate portrayal of attempting to move on from a massive loss. Overall I enjoyed the book, I got through it in a couple days, and I only found myself rolling my eyes on occasion.  It is not a work of epic astoundingness, there is a lot of things that feel like they were taken from previous works (seriously there is a scene that is almost exactly like the prom scene from Carrie), but the pacing was good and it kept my interest for most of the book.  The ending was a bit chaotic and confusing for my taste, but other then that I would recommend it to anybody who likes YA paranormal romances and isn't offended by a bit of witch craft.  I give it 7 out of 10 Civil War Re-enactments.
What do you think of the double author debut novel?  Does it feel like they threw in everything and the kitchen sink, or do they have a plan for the future novels?  What is your readers OCD?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book Dominos

This is what I do at home on those rare days that I am bored and can't make it to the book store :-)
Pretty cool!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Weapon Of Mass Instruction

I just have to share this because I think it is the coolest thing!
Book Tank
I don't know what it is about the South American continent, but they are kicking hinney when it comes to awesome book stuff !  This is an old military transport that the artist Raul Lemesoff has turned into a book giving vehicle of awesomeness!    Click the link for the whole story. This is the kind of think I love, a person taking a symbol of destruction and turning it into a sign of hope and learning.

Monday, May 13, 2013


Quick little book that has been on my radar for some time, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood.  This was a fun little read that is the first book in the Incorrigible Children series about three special children and there young governess. As Always Spoilers Ahead.

Penelope Lumley a recent graduate of the Swanburne Acadamey for Poor Bright Females is on her way to her first interview as a governess.  She is only fifteen and is understandably nervous about this opportunity, the only bright spot is that the advertisement specifically mentioned a love of animals as a requirement.  Upon her arrival to Ashton Place she is taken to the new young wife of Lord Ashton who gives her a few vague details about the children, but shows her a contract with a very high salary and very desirable benefits.  Penelope decides to accept the job and signs on.  All through out this interview, Penelope hears a strange howling sound, almost as if there are hungry dogs around, Lady Ashton tries to brush it off, but the howling continues.  Penelope does learn that the children are not the natural children of Lord and Lady Ashton, but rather three orphans who were found wandering the woods on a hunting trip.  For some unknown reason Lord Ashton has taken to the idea of keeping the children, even though his young wife is overwhelmed.
Unable to stand the howling of the poor dogs any longer, Penelope goes out to the barn to see what the matter is, and lo and behold instead of dogs, she finds three children.  The children seem to be feral and are running around like animals with no clothes on and and no way to communicate. Penelope is understandably upset and goes to see Lord Ashton about moving the children into the nursery.  He says that it is to late that night, but they can move in the next day.  And so begins Penelope Lumley's humerus attempts to tame these feral wolf children.  After bathing and clothing the children who have been named according to Lord Ashton's wishes. Ten year old Alexander, eight year old Beowulf, and 5 year old Cassiopeia. The children learn English fairly quickly, only adding a woo to certain words, leading Penelope to become Ms. Lumawoo.  The children do their best to learn everything there beloved Ms. Lumawoo is teaching them and make considerable progress.  Lady Ashton informs Penelope that she is holding a party for Christmas and all of the best of society will be there. Even though he is absent at his club most of the time Lord Ashton has decided that the children should attend and it is up to Penelope to get them ready.  The party comes and the children start off behaving impeccably well, much to the disappointment of certain guests who were apparently expecting the equivalent of caged animals.  All goes well until a little play about wolves is presented, when questioned the actors produce a letter requesting that only wolf plays be
presented.  Just as the children are being calmed, a squirrel is released into the ballroom, causing the children to lose control and chase after it.  Penelope eventually catches up to the children, and brings them to their room to get some rest.  The next morning, while awaiting a summons from Lady Ashton about the children's behavior, Cassiopeia remarks on the similarity of hair color between herself and Ms. Lumawoo.  Penelope is summoned and fired by Lady Ashton as she intends to send the children away, but Lord Ashton makes an appearance (after being absent for the whole party) and insists the children, and by proxy Ms. Lumley stay.  Lady Ashton and Penelope both agree that something strange is going on, and that the children were provoked on purpose, but by who is not known.  The book ends on this little cliff hanger, giving us a reason to read the next book.
The book was a pretty quick read, I think it only took me a day or two.  The kids were my favorite part of the book, the contrast in them being perfect ladies and gentlemen and then switching to the more feral versions was fun to watch.  Penelope is a good hearted, smart girl who truly wants the best for her pupils.  Her ability to adapt and yet still expect great things is refreshing.  None of the questions or mysteries get resolved at all which is a little frustrating, and on occasion it got a bit dark for a middle grade book (think the hunting of children with guns!).  Overall it was cute, and entertaining and I will probably read more books in this series.  I give it 6 out of 10 wolf-pups

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mothers Day Bouquet

Bouquet is a really hard word to spell, I just wanted to get that out there before starting this post. Mother's Day is here again, though if the world was a fair day we would have a Mother's Week, or a Mother's Day every month, or something like that because gosh darnnit my Mamma is just that awesome.  To celebrate this blessed occasion let us shower these amazing women (not all who are mothers by birth I might add) with the traditional Mother's Day gift of flowers, but not just any flowers, we shall bestow on these wonderful caretakers the present of literary flowers.  Ok enough rambling and more pictures.
Shimmering white paper flower book bouquet, real fresh water pearl centers
Lily Book Bouquet
How beautiful is this book bouquet?!?  Best part is it will never die
Rustic paper book flower & burlap wedding corsage
Book Corsage
This would be a nice variation on the cheap carnations most mothers get on their special day
Paper Flowers // Vintage Wedding Paper Roses Book Page Flowers
Book Rose
Simple and Elegant
Book Flower Centerpiece
Forget my Mamma, I want this!
Of course you could always reverse the process and giver a book about flowers!

Seriously though a HUGE shout out to all of the amazing women who take on any sort of mothering role.  As an EMT I see people at there worst, but whenever a mother figure is around, it always goes just a little bit better.  Special mention to M, E, and E for being amazing mothers and letting me borrow there children on occasion.  A huge hug and kiss to my incredibly special MIL, who makes every other MIL in the world look bad :-)  To my own Mamma, who to this day remains my bestest friend in the whole entire universe.  I wouldn't be who I am without you, and I really love who I turned out to be (even if I am still a work in progress), thanks for still teaching me, helping me, drinking with me, venting with me, getting inked with me, and who knows maybe this trip posting bail with me!  I love you Mamma!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Resisting Rubbernecking

So I have a confession...sometimes I love a really bad book.  Whew I'm glad I got that out there in the open.  Seriously though, for some strange reason when I start seeing books that are all one star, especially for a supposedly controversial reason, I just can't help but take a peek.  Of course if I can even finish the book I am usually irate and upset over the sheer badness of the book...which of course is my own fault for purposely picking it up in the first place. I've been trying to stay away from these train wrecks, I just have such a huge pile of potentially good books to read that I need to quit wasting time on books that have a 99% chance of being horrible.  Every once in a while though, I just can't resist, I see the reviews (or even better dueling reviews that both lambaste and praise to high heaven) and I think to myself there is no way a book can be that bad, nobody in there right mind would write about that, or in that manner.  Wrong, as soon as I pick it up I can feel my blood pressure rising :-)  I try not to review these books, because it is kind of not fair to pick up a book that you know you are going to hate and then go looking for even more ways to hate it, but on occasion I will make a few exceptions.  If I personally believe the book has harmful messages I might say something, if the book is popular I might read it and review it, even if I know I will probably not like it (part of my no whining unless you've read it policy), or if it was just so deliciously bad that I have to share it with the world.  There now you all know my dirty little reading secret...whats yours?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Crewel Intentions

One of my favorite things about e-books is the sheer variety one can now find, of course one of my least favorite things about e-books is the sheer variety of crapiness one can also find.  The upside is that most major online retailers (notably Barnes and Noble and Amazon) have a daily deal or even several deals where you can buy books that normally cost upwards of $18 for a mere couple of bucks.  Most of the books in these categories are from lesser known authors, or titles you may not have heard of before.  I have purchased many of these because hey for a couple bucks it is totally worth the risk.  I have found a few amazing books this way, and found new authors to love that I would never have the opportunity to find before this.  I have also found some really horrible books, crappy editing, amateur writing, books drug out into series that should have stayed as one book. And then there are the inbetweeners, books that have great potential but suffer from various issues.  Crewel by Gennifer Albin was one of these inbetween books.  I really wanted to like it.  It had an interesting premise and potential to go in many different directions, but in the end it just did not work for me.  Lets get to it shall we?

As always Spoiler Ahead!
We meet the main character Adelice Lewys, a teenage girl who lives on the world Arras.  This world is a highly controlled place, where women are subject to men and everything from food to jobs to education to the number of children your allowed to have is regulated by the all powerful Guild.  We learn that Adelice has just come from a mandatory testing to become a Spinster, a female who can see the "fabric" of the world and manipulate it.  To become a Spinster is every girls dream, it allows them to live in the lap of luxury and they are treated like celebrities.  For some reason though Adelice's parents are dead set against her becoming a Spinster.  Even though she displays immense talent at a young age, her parents teach her to hide it, to act clumsy and graceless. Unfortunately on the day of testing Adelice slips and weaves on the Loom that has been set up for testing purposes.  Her younger sister Amie, who is the most important person in Adelice's life is completely
oblivious to the tension surrounding the testing.  Adelice lies to her parents about her slip, trying to have one last night with her family before they take her away.  When they come for her, Adelice's parents do something unusual, they drag the girls to the basement and try to escape out of tunnels that had been built just for this purpose.  It is to no avail Adelice is captured, her father killed and her sister and mother's whereabouts are unknown. Cormac Patton, the Ambassador between the all powerful Guild and the Coventry (which is where the Spinsters live) warns Adelice to cooperate or bad things will happen. Adelice is taken to the Coventry where she is placed in a cell with nothing but a stone cold floor for company.  She meets Jost, the head valet who brings her food and has a bit of a sarcastic streak.  She is finally brought to her new rooms, which are palatial and belong only to her.  She is given a make over and a wardrobe and more food then she has ever seen in her life.  She is also given a mentor, a kind hearted Spinster by the name of Enora.  Enora gets her situated, but cannot or will not answer most of Adelice's questions, she is taken to orientation and meets her fellow trainee's for the first time.  It is here we learn not every girl selected actually ends up a Spinster, much testing is done and only a very few end up actually able to weave at a level needed to become a Spinster.  Everybody else is given other jobs in the Coventry, but none may leave. A bunch of stuff happens...kind of...ish.  Adelice makes enemies of pretty much every one, because she can't keep her mouth shut.  She meets Erik and a bit of a love triangle forms between her, Erik and Jost...kind of.  She learns the "shocking" (yes that is in quotes because, seriously not shocking at all) truth about her world from the Creweler Loricel.  Apparently only the most super duper talented girls can become the Creweler, a Creweler can see the weave of the world and manipulate it without a loom.  A Creweler is the only person who can harvest raw materials and weave more actual substance into the world of Arras.  All the other Spinsters can do is manipulate the material that is already present.   The "shocking truth" of Arras is that it is built over, or around, or on top of, or through or something (this part doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me) Earth.  Apparently humans were busy planning to bomb each other to end a war (it sounds like it may have been WWII from some of what they were saying, but I haven't been able to confirm it yet), but one of
the creators of the bomb posed some sort of space/time theory and the result was 12 nations of Earth decided to "weave" themselves a new home. Every body who knows about Earth assumes that the people left there have utterly destroyed themselves and the world with it.  Resources are pretty limited and everybody lives in utter and total fear of any type of discord, so the Guild has taken over for every body's own good.  From what I read, it sounds like the world of Arras has only been around for a couple of generations, but again not a lot of actual facts or consistency.  Adelice is continually being dragged back and forth between being wooed and coddled for her talents and threatened and tortured for her uppity behavior.  On top of all this Adelice discovers multiple conspiracies...kind of.  There is a process called ripping, which essentially means a Spinster can pull a persons thread and they disappear to who knows where.  The sick part is a person can put in a request to have an elderly or sick relative ripped without their consent.  What happens to a persons thread after they are ripped is never really talked about (probably because there are two more books), but a Big Bad Conspiracy is hinted at. More stuff happens...kind of.  Adelice finally has had enough and realizes she can use her super duper weaving power to rip a big whole in reality itself.  She takes herself, Jost and Erik through the rip and ends up on Earth.  The book ends just as a zeppelin type things comes over the horizon.

Other stuff happened in the book, there were lots of characters and lots of ideas and lots of conspiracies and lots of mysteries...kind of.  Are you getting sick of my kind of's yet?  Yeah me too.  I think that this was my biggest problem with the story, there was a lot going on, but none of it seemed to be going anywhere.  It felt like the author had a lot of great ideas, but did not know how to fully integrate them into one functioning story.  She missed a lot of opportunities to give us information to help us acclimate to this world we knew nothing about.  Every once in a while she would throw out a custom, or a geographical type reference, but for the most part I was left feeling like I did not know enough about this world to care what happened to it or its people. To me the key to a story like this is to really build a world that you want to know more about, and this book seemed like it wanted to, but it never was fully formed for me.  The idea/theory that Arras is based on, that it is a world literally woven out of space, time and stuff is a cool one and I would have loved to
explore the idea fully, but again the author left if until about 2/3 of the way through the book to even attempt to explain why they even needed Spinsters (which is the sole focus of the book), and then it felt like it was supposed to be this huge twisty reveal...which it wasn't.  I think it would have been better for the reader if the author had just shown us how the world worked pretty quickly, then you might have been able to enjoy the story instead of constantly wondering what the heck was going on!  The main character Adelice drove me banana's.  She seemed to come across as a feisty truth seeker, which is awesome.  She was loyal to her family and always had her sisters best interest at heart, she even risked her own little bit of happiness to reveal some potentially life changing information to Jost, all admirable and wonderful traits.  Except for all her mouthing off, she came across as completely powerless.  From the early parts of the book, she is aware of her super duper weaving ability, by half way through the book she knows she can pretty much do whatever she wants with the weave of the world AND she knows that you can rip a persons thread out of the what does she do with all this as they are torturing her, her loved ones, and friends? NOTHING! That's right, all it would take is for her to reach out and tug on a persons life thread as a reminder that she does not even need any special tools
to use the weave, she can rip you or your loved ones any time she wants if you don't do what she wants, but no, she whimpers and sneaks around and freaks when they decide to do mind experiments to get her to behave.  I wanted to shake her and shout "FOR THE LOVE OF LITTLE GREEN APPLES YOU CONTROL THE WHOLE FREAKING WEAVE!!!!!!" Anyways, a bit on the frustrating side.  I wanted to know more about this world and how it worked, I wanted to know how it was the Guild came to be and how they keep such tight control, I wanted to know if women were the ONLY ONES who could keep this world from fading away, why did they allow themselves to be second class citizens?  I wanted to know what all these supposed awesome clothes looked like (other then jewel colored), I wanted this book to be what it could have been.  I give it 4 out of 10 woven tapestries
What book(s) frustrate you with unrealized potential?  Did you think this book was going somewhere or did it get to caught up in its own ideas?  Am I being unrealistic in my demand for perfection? Do you ever feel bad not liking a book?