Friday, July 24, 2015

Cruising And Reading

Hi All, hope you are having a great summer!  I am headed out on my cruise of awesome today YAY!
That being said, I will not be posting next week 'cause no internets.  I will get back to you all next week with all kinds of beachy goodness.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cruising Book List

Here it is folks, my super duper list of awesome books that are coming with me on my trip.  I don't know if I'll get them all read, but I'm sure gonna try.  I'm gonna divide them up into all of my favorite summer genre's this time.

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu - My brand new, never heard of it, sounds really cool and I think it will be a fun one to read with Hubbin book.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - My I know I love this book and it always delivers the right amount of humor and nostalgia so it can never be a bad day book.

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis - My I've been wanting to read this forever seriously old school sci-fi book.

The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey - My I love how absolutely immersed in this world I can get so I can escape when I need to book.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi - My the premise of this book is so insanely crazy I hope it turns out as awesome as it sounds book

Federations by John Joseph Adams - My sci-fi short story collection that features one of my favorite aspects of epic space BUREAUCRACY book.

Double Helix: Infection by John Gregory Betancourt - My combing of sci-fi, Star Trek, medicine and oh yeah it's the beginning of a series book.

Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli - My I totally forgot I had this book, but how perfect is this for reading on the open sea book.

Prospero's Children by Jan Siegel - My random wow this cover is so cool this book will be either love or hate book.

Mermaids and Other Mysteries of the Deep by Paula Guran - My short stories about some of my favorite mythological beings and I was actually disciplined enough not to even start it until the cruise even though it's been on my shelf for weeks book.

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary Jacky Faber, Ship's Boy  by L.A. Meyer - My cheeky, cross-dressing wanna be sailor/pirate misadventure book.

Capt Hook by JV Hart - My I love Captain Hook so much and this proves there is more to him then the Disney villain (even though he is pretty awesome too) book.

Pirates! by Celia Rees - My girl pirates are super kick ass awesome book.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi - My what got me obsessed with the ocean and big pretty boats book.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson - My hey there are cool pictures and a unique premise how cool is that book.

Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire - My I know I'm gonna love it 'cause I have adored every other book in this series book.

Spelled by Betsy Schow - My sarcastic fairy tale rewrite that sounds like it could be a good ride book.

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey - My retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales as part of one of my favorite series book.

Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones - My story taking place in the desert in case being in the open ocean is just too much water for me book.

Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich - My light hearted mystery that is always good to make my brain feel good book.

At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie - My vacation mystery featuring one of my favorite authors always a classic book.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - My recommended with great feeling by my baby sis book.

The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan - My I have to get this read to stay ahead of the TV show so I sound way cooler then everybody else when I watch it book.

The Straight Dope by Cecil Adams - My not have to think to hard, humorous, easy to pick up and put down book.

I also have a ton of books on my Kindle and Nook apps on my phone, but I don't really plan on bringing that to the pool or beach so I doubt I will get much of those read.  I am super excited to have time to sit by the pool and beach and just read my little brains out.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Important Packing

Getting ready for my vacation!!! YAY!!! SOOOOO EXCITED!!!! Of course I have started with the most important part of packing.
These are the books that are coming with me on the cruise, all divided into their appropriate summer categories (SciFi, Mermaids, Pirates, Mystery, Fantasy, Hubbin and Misc.)  I can't wait!!!!  I will list them all in a couple of days, but now MORE PACKING OF BOOKS!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ninja Nuns

Hey, so I totally thought I did a rambling on this book, mostly 'cause I am totally proud of the post title, 'cause seriously ninja nuns! That being said, I'm pretty sure I heard that phrase somewhere else so maybe I'm not as cool as I think.  This ramble is already getting rambley so let's get to it shall we?  The book is Grave Mercy the first book in the His Fair Assassins series by Robin LaFevers.  I have heard mixed reviews on this book so it took me a while to start it.  Which side of the coin did I land on?  Let's find out, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Ismae has just gone from her abusive father's house, to what will probably be an abusive husbands house.  She is rescued when her new spouse freaks when he see's a mark on her body that is there from when her mother tried to abort her with poison.  She is taken to a convent and trained as an assassin for the "saint-god" Mortain.  An old god that is now called a "saint" to make it more palatable to the Christians and Catholics of this time period.  Isame it turns out is especially good at poison's as she is immune to them.  Essentially the daughter's of Mortain are trained to carry out kills at the will of their god.  The marks are given to them by the blind seeress Sister Vereda who tells them who Mortain wants dead.  The assassin girl then will usually see a dark mark that indicates the manner in which the person is to be killed.  Ismae gets through her training, makes a couple of kills and is then paired with Duval a bastard noble as his "special friend" to go to court.  Turns out that one of the convent's most important tasks is getting Ann the Duchess of Brittany back on her throne and confirmed as ruler...not sure why Mortain cares...but there it is.  Ismae goes begrudgingly with Duval, who happens to be the over protective half brother of the Duchess and is installed in his household.  During her stay Ismae keeps feeling all kinds of feelings she doesn't understand for Duval, but that doesn't stop her from her duty's.  Ismae ferrets out all kinds of information, kills a couple people and gets in good with the Duchess.  Duval works mostly with her, in spite of his mother and brother schemeing, several important men vying for Ann's hand, and his obvious attraction for Ismae.  Ismae receives several disturbing orders from the convent and Duval asks her to consider the idea that at least some of what the convent does is driven by human need and want, and not solely by direct orders of Mortain.  Chaos and madness ensue and Duval gets himself all poisoned.  Ismae must leave him, dying to save the Duchess.  The Duchess and her kingdom is saved, most of the bad guys are at least identified and Ismae goes back to say good bye to Duval.  She meets Mortain in the flesh on the way back and is given the means with which to heal Duval...which coincidentally means getting nekkid with him.  Ismae after finding out more of the big picture and after actually meeting Mortain decides that the convent is not the be all end all of her existence.  The story ends there, with a promise of more to come.
Contrary to my snarky tone in the above synopsis there were actually several things I really enjoyed about this book...and obviously a few things I didn't.  Let's start with the good shall we?  The premise is pretty darn awesome, I mean seriously a female religious order dedicated to death in it's most elegant form?!?  Kind of awesome.  The methods in which the girls used to carry out their assignments were pretty cool and out of professional curiosity kind of want to see how some of them work.  The  historic setting was fairly accurate and portrayed events that actually happened which I always find pretty neat.  The story flowed very smoothly, keeping my attention, and making it a book that I picked up very easily.  I liked some of the mythology we got with Mortain and some of the other "saints' mentioned in the book and would like to know more about them as well.  I actually probably enjoyed Duval most as a character.  He seemed to have a fairly reasonable head on his shoulders, a wicked sense of sarcasm, and an ability to come across as an intelligent, yet caring human being.  I didn't mind Ismae that much except for her over the top awareness of her own skin.  This seems to be a thing in YA books with any romance in them, especially set in earlier times.  If I had to read about her trembling, shivering anything, or the way her skin felt any time Duval touched her for any reason I was going to SCREAM.  I also hate how much time was devoted to Ismae's skin feeling things.  I was a teenager once, and I had crushes and my skin got touched and I never remember having any of these issues.  I think my biggest problem with Ismae as a character is that she was very inconsistent.  She was wait she was wait she was highly wait she doesn't know wait...and not in a round out the character way, but in a whatever felt convenient for the story way.  I never got a good fix on Ismae's personality like I did with some of the other characters, which was to bad 'cause I think she could have been pretty awesome.  In the end, despite my issues, I actually did enjoy the book and will finish the trilogy.  I give it 7 out of 10 pearls of poison and recommend it to anybody who likes European history, romance, or girls who know how to kill you 15 different ways.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Family Book Club

My whole entire family reads, my parents read, my siblings read, my in-laws read, my nephews read, we all read and it is awesome.  The best part of this extended reading family is that my life has turned into a bit of a family book club.  We call each other all excited when we have read a great new book, laugh when we realize that we have already read it, buy each other a book that they just have to read ('cause none of us shares our books very well we always buy each other our very own copies), are thrilled when we agree on books, get upset when we don''s all rather hilarious really.
Many memories my family has is based around books, being read to, library time, group reads.  Now that my family has grown to include in-laws and nephews, the book memories have as well.  I now have literary moments with all of my nephews forever happily etched in my brain, discussions with my brothers and sisters in law who have added a ton of variety to my approach to reading, and a mother and father in law who avidly support my literary habits in various ways.  I love this shared pool of books, reading and memories I have with all of these people whom I love so much.  It makes a wonderful thing like reading all that much better.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, July 17, 2015

We All Scream For (Literary) Ice Cream

Ahh warm weather...that means ICE CREAM!!!!!  I love ice cream, mostly 'cause it comes in so many varieties you can eat a different kind every day and still not repeat yourself.  Here are some ice creams for when you are in a more literary minded mood.

These are all conceptualized over at   Go check out the page for the great ingredient descriptions for each one.  I am now off to go sit in a tub of ice and eat all the ice cream I can find, hopefully without dropping any on my books.  HAPPY READING EVERYBODY!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fighting Fiction In Space

Hello all!  I think I have time for a quick rambling before I head back to the grind.  Today's book is Gulliver's Fugitives Star Trek: The Next Generation by Keith Sharee.  Summer by the pool always puts me in the mood for SciFi and I love Star Trek TNG so this sounded like a good idea.  Was it a good read?  First, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
First of all, I'm gonna just say I'm gonna write this like anybody reading it is already a Trekkie and knows the characters I'm talking about.  The books are written with the assumption that the readers, if not already fans of the show, at least have a basic knowledge of the cast and setting.  If you are not part of this's on Netflix so you have no excuse :-)
Councilor Troi finds herself in a trance that seems to transport her mind to a world filled with fantastic beings.  She manages to wake herself up, but is disturbed and goes to the Captain with her feelings of concern about a possible alien presence.  Meanwhile the crew has discovered a planet where a lost ship may have crashed ten years earlier. The crew contacts the planet and they are told that a boarding party will have to come aboard the Enterprise to make sure that no contraband or instances of the dreaded Allpox are present.  Two men and a couple of machines beam on board and fairly quickly start freaking out.  Apparently, the planet (called Rampart) is populated by a human colony that left year many many many years ago and established a world built around a lack of any fiction.  To maintain this strict adherence to facts, the government uses a combination of filtering helmet's that filter out any supposed "fiction" and deadly machine's called one-eyes that pretty much shoot lethal blasts of radiation at anybody's who's brain waves register in the fiction zone.  All kinds of hell breaks loose when the one-eyes detect the ever present fiction that thrives aboard the varied enterprise, and considering that the people of Rampart believe that even aliens are a work of fiction, you can see how a ship that employ's various races and species is in trouble.  The Rampart crew captures Captain Picard and the one-eye's wreak destruction upon the Enterprise.  A landing crew consisting of Riker, Data and Troi goes down to rescue Picard and are immediately captured themselves.  All except Councilor Troi who falls in with the Dissenters, a group of people who take on the names and persona's of various fictional characters and rebel against the fictionless government. Picard and Riker are to be "blanked" a process in which people who suffer from the Allpox (which is what they call fiction) have their mind completely erased and a new personality is inserted.  This is the only way the government can work around killing most of it's population.  More chaos and crazieness ensue.  The Dissenters stage a major demonstration and Picard and company are rescued.  Geordi and Worf with some help from the crew save the Enterprise and it is revealed that one of the Rampart guys is actually the brainwashed captain and sole survivor of the missing ship.
Troi discovers her trances are a result of a strange movie she watched based on the mythologies of Earth and the crew moves on to their next adventure.
Soooooo...this book was stupid.  I can't think of a nicer way to put it.  I usually enjoy the Star Trek books, they let me explore a vast universe that I love in greater detail, but this book was very very juvenile.  I think what really killed it for me was the writing.  For most of the book the writing felt cliched, trite and stock.  The author only attributed the simplist of emotions or thought process to very well established characters, dumbing down people who have been shown over and over to be smart, making characters with great depth one-dimensional, attributing all kinds of insta-relationship emotions to characters who were only around for a short while.  It actually took me a really long time to read because I kept having to put it down to unroll my eyes.  The concept was ok I guess, even though we all know that humans are creative by nature, and the standards of fiction on Rampart are especially strict, though I will give it to the author that he acknowledged if the government killed all the dissenters there would be no one left.  I'm not going to spend a lot more time on this 'cause there was just not a whole lot to it.  Essentially I felt like I was reading a very very basic fan fiction version of a Star Trek story.  I give this story a 3 out of 10 Zen bows and am looking forward to reading a GOOD Star Trek story.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Book Is Falling

One of the hazards of my job...well my life in general, is that any down time I get seems to me struggling to stay awake long enough to read a couple of pages.  This usually results in a couple of things.  One, I get really strange dreams incorporating snippets of what ever I tried to read in various strange ways (this can actually be kind of cool sometimes) and two, my books fall off the bed.
This is sad 'cause while I am all for using my books to there fullest, it is still sad to wake up and peek over the edge of my bed and see  my book sprawled open on the floor.  Sometimes if I am lucky, Hubbin comes in and gets the book before it falls, but then I wake up in a panic 'cause I can't find my book.  I'm not sure what this post is about, or what I'm trying to say really, just that I wish I had more time to read and that I could skip sleep more often.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Books To Wear

I WANT THESE SO BAD!!!!!  Seriously, it's probably a good thing I don't get paid for a while 'cause seriously I want all of these!!!!!!!  You can find all of them at which is quickly becoming a favorite site of mine. They are shirts made from the texts of the books they depict.  They come in various color schemes and seriously I NEED THESE!
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Pride and Prejudice (front and back)

Peter Pan (front and back)

Alice in Wonderland (front and back)

Phantom of the Opera

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Tempest

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Anne of Green Gables
So there is a billion trillion more shirts I want, and on top of that the site has totes, posters, and temp tattoos that are all super awesome (I'm not being paid I swear).  This is book love in one of its purest forms.  Sooooo if anybody wants to get me a present ANYTHING from this site is welcome...Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Magic Merlin

I FINALLY finished The Mammoth Book of Merlin edited by Mike Ashley.  It took a while, but I'm finally ready to ramble about it so yay me.  The book is a short story collection about the enigmatic and magical wizard advisor to the mythical King Arthur.  The various authors spin many different takes on the man with varying measures of success, here are the ones I liked the best.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!

Dream Reader by Jane Yolen - Merlin is a young boy with no name in the start of this story of the young magicians childhood.  He is taken in by a traveling circus where he is shepherded and guided by a mage named Ambrosious and a singer named Viviane. Merlin learns that the dreams he has are prophetic and decides to stay with his friends.  I like the mix of innocence, simplicity, and magic in this great origin tale.

The Horse Who Would Be King by Jennifer Roberson - This was the only truly humorous story, and funny it was.  Essentially this tale attributes most of Merlin's plans to a magic horse who is much more intelligent then most people.  Deciding that no matter who is crowned King, Merlin will be the real power behind the throne, the horse comes up with a plan to put the stable boy Arthur on the throne.  Amazingly this works and we get the Sword in the Stone.

Namer of Beasts, Maker of Souls by Jessica Amanda Salmonson - This story is probably the most abstract, yet most complete...if that makes any sense.  Here we get to see Merlin in many of his mythical forms and we also get to see the Morgain, in various incantations as well.  The story is a love story, a creation story, a mythic story and an epic story.  It's hard to put into words what I liked about this particular style, but it did stick with me.

The Death of Nimue by Esther Fiesner - Here we move to a moment with the sorceress Nimue, who is now old and ready to die.  She tells her youngest daughter that she stole most of her power from Merlin and sealed him into a tomb to sleep.  Nimue is now ready to give up her power and die.  Unfortunately for her, Merlin no longer wants it and condemns her to immortality.  Nimue's daughter willingly takes on the mantle of power freeing her mother to die.  I like this one because it gives us the responsibilities and hazards of power.

Merlin Dreams in the Mondream Wood by Charles de Lint - Here we bring Merlin closer to the present.  In this tale, a young girl befriends a Merlin trapped in a tree in a garden that is part of an unusual house.  Her pure, unselfish love free's him and she forgets about him until becoming an adult.  All I know is this story makes me go talk to all of the cool looking tree's I can find...just in case.

The Dragon Line by Michael Swanwick - This story brings us to the present/future and Mordred, illegitimate/incestuous son of Arthur and his half sister has endured to the future and is now spending all his resources looking for Merlin to help him save the world from it's own destruction at the hands of humans.  Mordred and Merlin clearly do not get along, but Mordred needs his help.  It comes to light that Merlin killed the real Arthur as a babe and replaced him as his own son, making Mordred his grandson.  This story is dark, weird, and one of my favorite.
Overall this was not one of my favorites.  Most of the stories felt like they dragged on for quit a bit.  You may notice that most of the stories I liked the best were not even about Merlin at all.  It felt like most of the stories were pieces of much larger stories that would only really make sense or be interesting if you knew the whole thing.  I felt like the short story format did not actually work all that well for most of the stories in the collection and wanted more actual "short stories" that did not need as much background info.  I actually had to force myself to get through this collection, not because the writing was bad, just because the format did not work.  I felt if more stories had actually been written as short stories instead of pieces lifted out of a larger whole (which is what happened with most stories according to the authors notes) that this book would have worked much better.  I am disappointed because I LOVE Merlin and all his incantations and was looking forward to the different ways his story could be told.  Overall I give the collection a 5 out of 10 Swords in the Stone and wish it had been better.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, July 9, 2015