Friday, May 30, 2014

Reading Evolution

As I am sure most of you have noticed in your own life, the way you read changes as you do.  I have changed what I read and how I read it multiple times in my life for various reasons.  When I was little I read what my parents gave me to read, and concentrated on learning more words.  When I discovered the library I learned what my own tastes were and found series I stuck to religiously, reading just for fun, loving everything I read with an unbiased abandon.  Once  I hit high school, I read to survive, life got a bit rough for me (not compared to most people, but for this sheltered little girl, it was rough) and a lot of times reading is what made it better.  This is when fantasy really got it's hooks into me, I loved anything that could take me
far far away and avoided reality at all cost.  College saw me hoarding books, as I had very little money I had to make any book I bought last as long as possible.  This led me back to my local library...which in the town I lived in was about 10 years behind.  The plus side to this was I was forced to expand my book reading to other genre's and authors then I was used to.  Since I had to reread a lot of what I already had I started to pick up on stuff I had missed the first time around, learning to pick up subtleties and finding new things to love or hate.  This also showed me my feelings towards certain books can change, upon reread certain books lost some appeal and others were actually better upon rereading.  Meeting my sweet Hubbin was not only amazing 'cause he is awesome, but my bookshelves benefited as well.  We were both working full time and had a bit more to spend on books and so I had much more variety to choose from.  Hubbin is also a reader and a very smart guy who lets me talk and talk and talk and talk about the books I am reading and discusses his books as well.  It was his questions about why I
really liked a particular book, or how a certain idea stayed with me, or why a weird little detail bugged me so much that led to this blog.  This leads to the most recent change in how I read.  Now when I read I a) look for more variety, branching out way farther then I ever have before...which is AWESOME! b) I take notes which are really funny to read later, especially if I have been reading when I am tired c) Most books I read, I now read as a sort of critic, I am constantly thinking about what I am going to write about as I read, getting nit picky or stuck on how to phrase something.  I am still trying to decide if that last one is a good thing or not.  In some ways it makes me think about the book I am reading from a lot of different angles, really putting into words what I like and don't like.  This has helped me refine my tastes and pushed me to try new things, and I really really really love talking about books with fellow bookworms.  On the other hand sometimes I feel as if the simple joy of reading gets lost in my over analyzing everything I read.  I will say though, every once in a while I will pick up a book and just bliss out and forget everything else, including this blog and that is how I know it is an exceptional book. In conclusion I think it is fair to say that not only has my taste in books evolved and changed, but how I read them as well.  It will be interesting to see when and what the next change will be.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Editing Humanity

I have finally finished that last book in the Divergent series, Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  All of my fellow bookies have been dying for me to finish this series so that we could talk about it.  I love all the various reactions to this book and how other people thought I would react to the book.  Some people thought I would love the ending, others thought I would hate the end, as with this whole series I have mixed feelings.  As always SPOILERS, SO MANY HUGE DON'T READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU WANT ANY SENSE OF SURPRISE TO THE ENDING OF THIS SERIES, SERIOUSLY SPOILERS AHEAD!!
Ok, here we go with my new and improved shortened synopsis of this book.  As before we pick up right were we left off.  The factionless are now in charge and they are hellbent on revenge for all of their suffering through out the years.  Tris gets put on trial and using her super Divergent powers is able to resist the truth serum enough to get her and her friends set free.  Tobias pretends to break up with her so his mom (the factionless leader Evelyn) will continue to trust him, but really they just sneak out for almost sexy fun time.  They, along with their friends get recruited into Allegiant, a group dedicated to following the precepts of their ancestors, which includes reinstating the factions and sending the Divergents out into the world.  Of course our intrepid band gets chosen to set out into the big bad world including Tris, Tobias, Cara, Will, Christina, Uriah and Caleb who gets rescued from certain execution by Tobias.  Off our group goes and once they are outside the fence are almost immediately picked up by some former faction members who had either dissapered or supposedly died.  They pretty quickly learn that the video they found was mostly a lie to get the Divergent to come out of the city.  They are told that back a while ago people started messing with their genes to try and eradicate the bad stuff, selfishness, violence, cowardice, untrustworthiness, and
ignorance...sound familiar.  This led to people also losing the opposite of whatever they cut selfless people had no sense of self preservation, truthfulness at the cost of tact and so on so forth.  Because all good dystopia's need a war the people with damaged genes fought the people with the pure genes, causing what is called the Purity war.  This lasted long enough and caused enough damage that the government could blame all the bad stuff on the people with the damaged genes.  This led to groups of what they call Genetically Damaged or GD's being put in sealed cities and treated with serums and experiments to try and fix the genes and then get them passed down to other generations...yeah it's supposed to make sense but never does.  Anyways when people are born with fixed genes they become Divergent, come out to the real world...and yeah.  So anyways in the real world it is found by our group that the GD's are very oppressed by the GP's (Genetically Pure).  The experiments are a big reason for the prejudice as all of the countries resources are being used to fund these experiments instead of rebuilding the country.  All kinds of chaos, and yet a whole lot of nothing occurs.  Near the end they find out that the leaders of the experiment are going to use a memory serum to wipe the memories of the people left in Chicago and start again.  Tris and her gang come up with a plan to stop this, while at the same time modifying the memories of the experiment leaders for a better world where both GD's and GP's can live in peace. Tobias goes and makes peace with his mother, and comes to terms with his father, stopping a potential massacre. In the end Tris takes the most risk and dies for it...yep Tris, the heroine dies...for real...I told you spoilers.  The risk pays off and everything goes as planned.  The country looks like it is one the right track, Tobias comes to terms with Tris's death and becomes a leader and they all attempt to live happily ever after. we the end of this series and I have to try and figure out how to explain my feelings on this book and the series as a whole.  Lets start with the good, shall we?  I have fallen hard for Tris, Christina and Cara.  Christina is just awesome, loud, adventurous, smart, funny and deals with life in a fairly realistic, yet healthy way. Cara is a super smart person who has had to come to terms with her own humanity and grows in leaps and bounds through out the books, especially this one.  She also proves herself to be a fantastic leader.  Tris is just awesome, I wasn't sure at the beginning, but by the end of this book, so much love.  I think this last book is where I finally picked up on what I love about her...she is not a push over.  At one point in the book Tobias pulls his stupid double standard paternal crap and Tris calls him on it so hard I just wanted to kiss her.  Another time Tobias does something really stupid, after Tris tried time and again to talk to him and in the end she pretty much broke up with him over a totally mature, hey this is not cool and I am not kissing a guy who refuses to respect or listen to me.  Of course they get back together before the end, but still, I feel Tris can hold her own against him.  I also feel Tris is a good window into humanity in general, she has strong moments, weak moments, funny moments, serious moments, hard moments, and crazy moment I just really like her. Props to the author for writing a wide variety of positive females.  The other thing I liked in this book is the realistic way the author killed a couple of good characters.  I love it when an author realizes that when you have a violent book...people die.  Uriah's death was a sad, slow brain injury instead of the normal sudden violent death which is awesome because it gave the other characters time to reflect and respond in a totally different way then normal.  Tris's death was significant because, well, she was the main character and her death made sense and brought home the real cost of rebellions.  I loved it.
On to the bad.  I hate Tobias.  In this book the author had the narration go back and forth between Tris and Tobias and I hated hated hated it.  Tobias came across as a whiny petulant 14 year old girl with a bit of angry 15 year old wanna be gangster boy thrown in just to really annoy everybody. I liked nothing about him, at all, not even a little bit.  I was excited to finally find out about the whats and whys of the whole Divergent thingy, but the explanation just did not work for me...or anybody who has gotten past third grade science.  It probably seems super nit picky, and I know I drone on and and on about it every time I review a book in this series, but seriously, it goes against human nature, it goes against science and it goes against all reason and as before, it ruins the premise for me.  There was not a lot of world building outside of there was a war, stuff was destroyed now there are the haves and have nots...makes me miss the Dauntless areas.  I also hate when reveals make the first couple books irrelevant, which this book seems to do.  There seemed to be a disconnect through out this book, a kind of feeling like I should care more about certain things then I did.  There is so much more about the serums, and how they worked, and how does one tell a GD from a GP unless you are holding their genetic results in your hand, and how does the genetic damage and repair even work, and so much stuff that probably only bugs me so I will end this here.  Overall I felt about this book how I felt about the series, I enjoyed a lot of the characters, but the world building, the premise and the story just did not ring true for me.  I give this book a 5 out of 10 truth serum.
How did you feel about this book compared to the overall series?  Does the lack of any sensible science in this book bug you anywhere near as much as it does me?   Am I sick and twisted to be happy when an author actually kills off a character in a meaningful, adept, realistic way?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou

It is a sad day today, Maya Angelou has died.  This amazing woman is probably most known for her work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, in which she tells her own story.
This strong, yet gentle woman has touched countless people of ever age, color, creed and gender across many countries with her poet's gift.  Aside from sharing her life in her autobiographies and poems she has shared herself with the world through music, acting an writing for tv and movies.  This multi-talented, unique woman will be very much missed, but her spirit will live on through her works.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My House Is Full Of Books!

Decided to attempt to clean my house this morning and this is what I found

Yep I have books EVERYWHERE...and the best part is I am actually reading all of these at the moment :-) So of course instead of cleaning, I started reading...Oh well!
Where is your stash of books?  Where is the weirdest place you stash books?  Where is the most surprising place you have found a book in your house?

Monday, May 26, 2014


I love cookies yum yum yum, so many cookies for me to eat.  I love books, yay yay yay, so many books for me to read.  Wait, what if I combine books and cookies...BOOKIES!!!!!  I may have had a wee bit too much sugar this weekend, so just enjoy these awesome bookies and ignore the sugar induce babbling.
Shel Silverstein cookies
I don't think you can have a more fun set of cookies
Children's book cookies
I see a good representation of all my favorite children's books here
Bookworm cookies
I LOVE THESE!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Hunger Games cookies
I bet you won't be hungry if you eat these great looking cookies
Harry Potter Cookies
Ahhh these Harry Potter inspired cookies are too cute!
Pride and Prejudice cookies
These illustrated quote cookies are as elegant as the book
Alice in Wonderland cookies
I love how these are a bit more abstract, and idea rather then a replication
Ok now I am hungry for cookies so I'm gonna go hunt some down to go with my coffee while I read my new book.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, May 23, 2014

There Is No Place Like Home

Yay, after much swearing, pounding of the keyboard, and a ton of coffee, I have finally gotten my technology to behave again!  In celebration of this, let's take a look at a short story collection I have recently finished.  The book is Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond, by  John Joseph Adams (Editor), Douglas Cohen (Editor).  I picked it up because I love all things Wizard of Oz, and it had some great authors contributing to it.  Here are some of my favorite stories.
The Great Zeppelin Heist of Oz by Rae Carson and C.C. Finlay - The first story in the collection was a witty little bit of fun.  It puts the witches in the role of smart ladies and the wizard in a more bumbling, conniving role, loved it.

The Lost Girls of Oz by Theodora Goss - This story is all about girl power in its best form, making Oz a haven for abused girls and giving them a way to fight back.  Nell, the reporter and main character in this story is a perfect voice to let us all know what is going on.

The Boy Detective of Oz: An Otherland Story by Tad Williams - This was a strange and cool little story that placed Oz in a virtual world, making it a sort of program.  This scifi take was cool in itself, and makes me want to go pick up the Otherland novels, which is always cool.

Off to See the Emperor by Orson Scott Card - This was a twisty little story about a little boy and a girl and how the story of Oz came to be.  The idea of a snarky 9 year old girl was written to perfection, adding just the right note to this story.

The Cobbler of Oz by Jonathan Maberry - This is probably my favorite story in this collection.  It is a sweet story about a little monkey girl with stunted wings who gets a great reward after a great risk.  It also gives a potential origin for the coveted Silver Slippers.
Over all the collection was a bit meh, but a lot of the stories were really dark and I was not in the mood for dark, so that may have had something to do with it.  In the beginning they say that you do not have to have read the original books to enjoy this collection, but I must say, it definitely helps if you have.  It did make me want to read the originals again and since they are free or cheap on the e-reader you may be seeing some original ramblings pop up. Be warned that this collection is not for children, more for the over 15 crowd.  As much as I liked a few of these stories the over all feeling was a 6 out of 10 silver slippers, but your mileage may vary, depending on your style preferences.
What do you think of short stories based on classics?  Does it feel like professional fanfic?  What type of story would you write about Oz?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Technology Woes

I love technology, I really do.  It's what enables me to write this blog, to get almost any book I want cheaply and instantly. It makes it possible to find literary events, and research fun tidbits.  All kinds of great things are made possible by technology.
Of course then there are the days like today when NOTHING wants to work, where your books disappear from your device, your computer refuses to cooperate, and your phone battery just laughs and laughs and laughs at you.  That my friends is the kind of day I am having.  I had a great rambling all set for today, but alas instead you get my ranting and raving, my apologies.  Tomorrow I will hopefully have this techno-monster under control and have the most amazing posts to make up for this one.  Thanks for understanding.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Books Fall Over

I know I have posted something similar before, but I still find stuff like this so cool!
I really like the interaction between the bookstore workers/readers and the falling books, takes a lot of time to make something this cool!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


As I 'm sure you can see from my What I'm Reading Now list, and my complete and utter random ramblings that I usually read several books at once.  Sometimes it is hard to keep certain detail that I want to put in the rambling in my head, so I have started carrying around a notebook to help me keep track.  Sometimes I write down a quote, sometimes it's a page number to go back an reread a scene, sometimes it is just something that strikes me in a certain way.  As I read through certain books sometimes they talk about things or events I want to look up later (I love that in a book), other times I just need to gush or vent.  In any case here are a few ways I can jot down my personal notes.
Shoulder Strap Notebook
This is perfect for when I am on the go and don't want to carry extra stuff around
Magic Notebooks
These Harry Potter inspired notebooks are great for jotting down magic discoveries
Quote Notebook
What better place to write down quotes then this little notebook?
Sherlock Notebook
Clues to whether this is a good book or not can go in here
Happily Ever After Notebook
This is a great place to write down all the Happily, or Not So Happily Ever Afters.
These notebooks are all wonderfully cool, wonderfully portable and hopefully soon to be wonderfully full on notes on all the wonderful books I'm gonna read (in case you were wondering, wonderful is the word of the day).  I have delusions that some day in the far distant future my extensive library will be unearthed, along with all of my babbling notes and they will think me some great literary critic...or laugh hysterically at my depraved ramblings.
Do you take notes on your books if you don't have too?  How awesome are e-readers for taking notes?  Am I taking my reading WAY too seriously? 

Monday, May 19, 2014

What Is Good And Evil?

Just finished a book that I picked up on a whim.  The cover was cool, the description sounded fun and the hardcover book would look great on my bookshelf so I decided to give it a go.  The book is called The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani and my feelings on the final outcome are mixed.  I'm gonna mix it up a bit and do less detailed synopsis so there will be less rambling to slog through, let me know if you like this better, or if you prefer a more in depth synopsis.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD.
Sophie is everything a princess should be, in fact she has been preparing all of her young life for the rare opportunity to become one. Agatha is the complete opposite, dreary, dark, and not into princes at all.  Both girls are spirited away to the either the School for Good or the School for Evil.  To everybody's amazement Sophie gets put in Evil and Agatha into Good.  This of course causes all kinds of problems as Sophie wants nothing more then to be pretty and be rescued by a prince, while Agatha just wants to go home. The girls find a way to talk to the mysterious School Master, who controls the school, and the magical pen that writes the children into the fairytales after they graduate from the school.  They are given some obscure riddle,
giving Agatha hope she can return home with her friend Sophie.  Through out the story Sophie tries to get Tedros, the most desired prince to fall in love with her to prove that she is Good, not Evil. Agatha thinking she is really Sophie's friend does her best to help her.  Sophie however does nothing but prove over and over how selfish she is, while Agatha continually tries to help and protect whenever she can.  Eventually Sophie's true inner Evil is revealed and all her beauty melts away to reveal her ugly Evil inner self, intent on destroying the school.  Agatha meanwhile has learned to love her inner beauty and won the heart of the fickle Tedros. It is also discovered that most of the students do not become Royalty, but many of them become loyal companions, or steadfast animals, or even props (think the the beanstalk, the pumpkin carriage and the birds that come when Cinderella calls).  It is also revealed that Evil never wins and all the Evil students have to look foward to is a hopefully glorious death.  After a full on student against student fight it revealed that the School Master has set all of this up to find his pure Evil mate, and that person is Sophie.  Sophie decides that she does not want this and in some sort of twist takes an arrow meant for Agatha, finally proving her friendship and Goodness.  The story ends with the students...well something and then Agatha and Sophie dissolve into birds and fly away.
This book had a lot of promise, and in certain area's lived up to it, but over all I was left feeling a bit confused and meh.  The good.  I liked the idea of a fairy tale school, with various classes and rules. I liked the continual reference to various fairytales and the various students that ended up in them in various capacities.  I also liked at the end the idea that it was rarely fair to label a person as Good or Evil as most people are both. The book has some pretty sweet illustrations.  What didn't really do it for me was the over all mushiness of the plot, it was a bit hard to follow and took a long time to get anywhere.  When we finally get were we are going it didn't make any sense.  The ending was abrupt and just kind of happened, like the author had an idea in mind, but did not know how to make the transition from the story to the next idea.  I had a hard time trying to decide if Sophie was truly Evil, or had just grown up on fairy tales telling her what a
princess should be like and she was just doing what she thought she had to, to become one.  Agatha's transformation was much more believable, but pretty predictable. I hated how much being Good or Evil was based on looks, especially Sophie, who became more and more physically unattractive as she got Eviler, unlike Agatha who was precieved as prettier the Gooder she got.  I hate this because a) we have enough issues now a days without beauty and goodness being linked and b) some of the best villians out there are some of the best looking people out there.  The middle 2/3 of the book seemed repetitive, going over the same ground over and over again without a clear point, which made it drag a bit.  The world building could have been really cool, and the bit that was in there was done well, but I still feel like I know nothing about the world in this book.  Overall the book had a willy-nilly, mushed up feel to it, there was a lot of action that did not go anywhere, a lot of supposedly important questions that got posed that either did not get answered, or were brushed aside, and an ending that was not only random but made no sense at all.  There is a second book in this series and to be honest I am not sure if I'm gonna pick it up or not. I give this book 5 out of 10 magic glowing pinkies.
Is there such thing as pure good or pure evil in humans?  Do you think physical appearance is a good indicator of good and evil? What fairy tale object would you like to live your life as?

Friday, May 16, 2014


I may have stayed up all night reading and totally forgot to set my alarm this to apologize for this late post here are some things to make you laugh...or groan...or both

Happy Reading Everybody

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New York, New York!

Hello all, I got the chance to spend an amazing weekend in New York City with a good chunk of my family and let me tell you it was AWESOME!  Seriously I am so moving who wants to pay me $3500 a month to read...anybody?  There were a zillion amazing things about this city that never sleeps, but of course most of my favorite parts involved literary awesomeness.  We started that day with a little Starbucks and meandering through lower Manhattan.  I knew it was gonna be a good day when I spotted a massive Barnes and Nobles.  We started with the WTC memorial

I have to admit now that I am part of the fire and rescue community this takes on even more meaning then it did before.  I am fortunate that I did not lose anybody, but being there really brings it home.
After that a little Tribeca film and food fest action

How creepy cool are those human puppets?  It was fun to watch them interact with the crowd, they creeped out the adults, but the kids loved them.
The next day we started off at Bryant Park, it was absolutely beautiful, and the best part was on the other side was the New York Public Library!!!!!!!!!!!

This place is the one place I really wanted to go while we were here, and it was so awesome.  I named the lions Author and Chester (supposedly they are called Patience and Fortitude, but I like my names better).  I did not get to go inside, but that just means I'll have to go back :-)
Times Square, Carnegie Hall, and another Starbucks run got us to Central Park.

 After the Library, Central Park was the other must see on my list, mostly because of all the literary awesomeness that can be found inside.

Here we have a statue of the great bard William Shakespeare
The famous Alice in Wonderland Statue
The Tempest statue from the Shakespeare Garden
And last but not least, Belvedere Castle...but I call it Rapunzel Tower.
It was a fast and furious two days, but I got to see a lot and hit most of the places I wanted to see.  Soon enough I will do a post on all of the books I love that are set in New York and be little miss know it all on the spots I've been too.  Hopefully you have enjoyed my frantic rush through New York and will share some of your own literary destinations.  Happy Reading Everybody!