Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year In Review

It's that time again, time to look back an revel in all the books I got read and weep over the size of my TBR pile (which only seems to grow, never shrink).  Here are my favorite books I blogged about this year, one for every month.  Enjoy!

The Lost Ones

This book was not only a perfect winter read, but really rekindled my sense of adventure.  After reading this book, I wanted to pack my bag and try and find the unknown.

This is one of those books that got read at the exact perfect time, making what was already a great book awesome!

Wings of Fire
Dragons!  I love dragons!  This book was full of dragons and awesome stories and great authors and just all around magnificent.
Chrestomanci Volume 1
  Magic, alternate worlds, sibling rivalries, it's all so wonderful.  Set it in an alternate English manor and this is a perfect spring read.
More Than This
This book was equal parts disturbing, frustrating, thought provoking and ambiguous.  Read while in between calls, this twisty little number stayed in my head for a long time.

Court Duel
Court intrigue, intricate plots, a secret admirer and niceness actually having a positive affect, I keep coming back to this book.
Grave Mercy
This book drove me crazy AND was surprisingly good all at the same time.

Prospero's Children
This book is why I love reading.  It took me far away and yet felt familiar all at the same time, instant love my friends.
The Lives of Tao
Everything I want in a book is here, a plot that keeps pace and makes sense, characters that are actually true to themselves and an alien who rocks!
The Martian
I LOVE THIS BOOK!  It is one of my new favorites AND may be the best book I read this year...go read it right now.
Victoria's Book of Spells
An era I adore, a place I love, atmosphere perfection, great book.
The Stupidest Angel
In case anybody was wondering how my holidays went :-)  This was fun and irreverent and suited my mood this year exactly.

I read a ton of great books this year, and these are just a few of my faves.  What was your favorites of the year?  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Dust Jackets

Do you know what I hate?  Dust jackets.  Yep those paper/plastic covers placed over books (mostly hard cover) that are there to protect and add color and pictures to our tomes.  I usually take them off the minute the book is purchased.  Usually 'cause the sound and the slipperiness of it drives me crazy when I am trying to read, but also 'cause the book underneath is usually so much more elegant looking.  I also like how my series that are in hard back look all similar without the dust jacket and even the most ludicrous of books looks awesome on my book shelf when in it's naked glory.
The funny thing is that as much as I hate dust jackets...I can't bear to throw them away...yep I'm a weird one folks.  I don't know if I feel guilty throwing away any part of a book, or feel at some point I might regret getting rid but for some reason they all get kept.  So I now have a big giant pile of dust jackets stashed on the bottom of on of my book shelves just waiting for me to figure out what to do with them.  If any of you have any ideas let me know.  Until then I've gotta go take all the dust jackets of my new books and add them to my stash.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Post Holiday/Work Sleepys

Hi Everybody! (Hi Dr. Nick...any Simpson fans?  anybody?)  If I seem a little loopy it's 'cause I am.  Holiday's were awesome (yay more books) and my 48 straight hours at the fire station were insanely busy, but so very productive AND I even got some reading done.
That being said, I am beyond exhausted and I have another 24 hours coming up, so this is gonna be short and sweet.  In fact this is all there is to it :-)  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, December 25, 2015


The Birth of Jesus
2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's Christmas Eve!

A Visit from St. Nicholas
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Magic Space Christmas

To continue my foray into weird holiday moods I picked up an old school short story collection called The Magic of Christmas edited by John Silbersack and Christopher Schelling which is a collection of seven short stories that are either holiday themed sci fi or fantasy.  It was an interesting little read, with each of the stories having a various success in getting me in the Christmas mood.  Since there are only seven stories, here they all are.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Star of Wonder by Julian May - A people who have lost their home planet to a super nova search for a new one.  Meanwhile the captain, burying his wife on an unsuitable planet gets to witness the supernova of his home planet leading the primitive people of this little world to a child in a manger...yep an alien observes the oldest Christmas story.  I liked this bittersweet story that gave a new perspective on the Christmas miracle.

The Ornament by Dennis L. McKiernan - A cherished acorn ornament is the symbol of a special Chrismtas story.  A young boy is befriended by what can only be called elves and to reward him for his help one Christmas Eve an acorn is carved with the story.  The boy grows up and has a family of his own, passing on the fantastic story before he is taken by his childhood friends to live with them in their magical realm.  This is a perfect and sweet tale to tell by the fire side, I loved it.

A Very Dickensy Christmas by Andre Norton - For this tale the author takes the style of a Dickens ghost story and gives us a bit of a modern twist.  A girl with no family is hired to play the part of a ghost girl for the benefit of a wealthy group interested in a Christmas at an old family house.  Little does she know that the boy she is playing oppisite of is no actor, but a true ghost of the old family.  The atmosphere in this book is perfect and in the exact style of Charles Dickens and feels like an extension of his famous works.  Definitely a good one.

What Are We Going to Do With Grandfather? by Christopher Stasheff - Set on an astroid a titled family worries what to do when the patriarch appears to go a bit batty.  Turns out the guy is finally free of his duties and his need to be so formal with his noble peers.  It ends with the more tender and eccentric part of the family embracing the story that Grandfather is trying to part of this story is the way he makes it snow on the astroid for a Christmas gift for his daughter in law.   I like the mix of sci fi and fantasy in this one, it is the exact type of story and setting I like to read.

I Sing of a Maiden by Judith Tarr - A researcher studying the Canterbury Cathedral finds that she and the spirit/ghost/being of Thomas Becket can cross into each others worlds.  To be honest I did not really get this story that much, but it was still cool in it's own almost wistful way.  The only real Christmas part was the season in which the story is set. On a complete side note, I very much love the song I Sing of a Maiden that the title of this story is based on.  

Tidings of Comfort and Joy by Gael Baudino - Possibly my least favorite story in the collection as again, besides the season this story had very little to do with the holidays.  The story is about a Wiccan and a Catholic priest who come together to help a mutual friend who has died move on to the next world.  Not really my style of story, but I'm sure there is an audience for it. 

Holiday by Richard Christian Matheson - This is a super short, yet very well written story about a man who encounters Santa while on vacation.  The man gets to here from Santa's point of view on a couple of topics that seem to bug non-believers.  The perfect grown up tale.
Overall the book was a bit uneven with the actual holidays only really making an appearance in a couple of the stories.  I was hoping for something a bit more festive oriented, but there were still some great gems.  I give it 6 out of 10 Christmas foxes and recommend it for anybody who wants something a bit different for their holiday reading.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

12 Days Of Books Singing

So apparently I am in a completely irreverent mood this holiday season and am enjoying all the fun ways we can morph the traditions to suit our individual selves.  To that end, if you are sick of hearing the original 12 Days of Christmas, here are some literary alternatives.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Owl Post brought to me
Twelve veela dancing (Happy Christmas, indeed!)
Eleven Slyth'rins scheming
Ten points from Gryffindor
Nine folks named Weasley
Eight books by Lockhart
Seven years at Hogwarts
Six Quidditch teammates
Five golden snitches
Four Hogwarts Houses
Three Dursleys
Two best friends
And a new sweater under the tree

On the twelfth day of Christmas a wizard gave to me, 
Twelve Elves of Lorien, 
eleven gems from Moria, 
ten of Gandalf's fireworks,
 nine Fellowship members,
 eight talking trees, 
seven men of Rohan, 
six smelly orcs, 
five undead Wraiths,
 four little hobbits, 
three lembas bread,
 two sons of Gondor 
and one ring to rule them all. 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
Twelve ‘Spiders’ spying, 
Eleven loyal liege-men,
Ten banners flying, 
Nine armies marching,
Eight holds a-keeping, 
Seven Gods to worship,
Six maidens waiting,
 Five warring kings!
Four pigeon pies, 
Three dragon eggs,
Two twins in sin,
And a throne that was very bloody.

Anybody else know of anymore?  Let me know and we will have the whole world singing along with these booky versions of a beloved carol.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Stockings To Stuff...With Books Of Course

Hubbin and I have a tradition that the week of Christmas any where we go we wear our sparkly Santa hats.  We love the pointing, the smiles, the giggles and the cheer such a simple act brings.  It's also really hard to be grumpy in a sparkly Santa hat.  So here are some stockings for you sparkly Santa's to stuff with books and bookmarks and all kinds of booky goodness.

Pride and Prejudice Stocking
The perfect touch to your Regency Christmas
Curiouser and Curiouser Stocking
The perfect Alice and Santa mix
Hogwarts Stocking
I really hope I find my Hogwarts Letter in this stocking!
Middle Earth Stocking
A place for Gladriel's gifts.
Game of Thrones Stocking
Show your support for your favorite house with this stocking.
I hope everybody finds their inner sparkly Santa (or whoever you want to be) this Christmas season and fills up everybody's literary stocking with all kinds of booky awesome!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

One Messed Up Christmas

I decided to start of my Christmas reading this year with something a bit on the irreverent side...ok... a lot on the irreverent side.  I had been feeling a wee bit stressed and just wanted something that  required little thought and a bit of relief.  To this end I picked up The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore.  Did it give me the holiday break I needed?  Let's find out, but first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
First things first, this is not a family tale of magic and wonder, it is the complete opposite and has a fair amount of all the stuff that makes a book rated R so you have been warned.  Pine Cove, California is a picturesque town that is still small enough to be considered charming to outsiders.  The denizens of this town are varied and a bit...well...crazy.  The main players in our tale are Dale, an "evil" and developer, his ex-wife Lena, Tucker a free-lance helicopter pilot and his fruit bat Roberto with a thing for Lena, Mavis the old broad of a bar tender (with a penchant for spiking her fruitcake), Theo a pot-head constable and his certifiable wife Molly who when she off her meds morphs into Kendra Warrior Babe, complete with sword wielding prowess.  Lena and Dale get into it one night, resulting in Lena accidentally killing him with a shovel.  Little Josh see's this and as Dale is dressed as Santa, his little child mind thinks that Santa is now dead.  Meanwhile the angel Raziel (who must have whatever form of ADD angels can have) has been tasked with fulfilling the Christmas wish of one child.  In between consuming human treats Raziel wanders over to the chapel that is hosting the Lonesome Christmas party where most of the town has gathered.  Taking the wish literally, Raziel raises all the dead in the area so that "Santa" will be alive.  This results in the dead coming back as very interesting zombies and terrorizing the party.  All sorts of crazy hell breaks loose which I cannot even begin to describe.  Little Josh freaks out and tells the angel he just wants everything to go back to how it was.  Poof, the angel grants the Christmas wish and all is well.
The book itself is a completely twisted mish-mash of personal stories interwoven with the main one, making it impossible to really sum up, but that is part of its charm.  The book was fun, violent, weird, crude, vulgar, silly, insane, but fun.  It is the type of book one reads when they are in that weird sort of mood for a tale that makes your life seem normal in comparison.  This book will make even the most messed up of holiday's seem sane in comparison.  Besides all of the weirdness and un-PCness, the author still managed to keep the gist of the holiday spirit through out the book.  The entire time I was reading, I got the sense that the people of Pine Cove were trying their hardest to be good people and to ensure their friends and family were doing ok regardless of what was going on. The characters were the best part of the book. each one having their own quirky past and interesting present.  I will forever have a soft spot for my schizophrenic Molly/Warrior Babe and I will probably read more of this authors books just to read more of her.  There is really not much more I can say about it other then if you like this sort of book, it fits in wonderfully for a little bit of a saucy holiday read.  I give it 7 out of 10 lasagna's and recommend it to anybody who likes something a bit different and does not get offended even moderately easily.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Stupid Internet Conglomerate

Soooo I seriously had a great post for today, but our lovely internet company of massive corperatness is stupid and my connection keeps cutting out.
So I will try again tomorrow.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Party

One of my favorite things about my Hubbin is the random conversations he starts.  The other day he asked me what literary characters I would invite to my wonderful Christmas Party of Awesome.  So guess what, you guys now get to read a post about my fantasy literary Christmas Party.
The March Sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy from Little Women would be the first people I would invite.  There industriousness, creativity and varied personalities would be invaluable.  They would be able to help me plan and execute the party and during the event any other guest would find a kindred spirit in at least one of the girls.

Lexi the Fox - In the Legend of Holly Claus the little fox Lexi is the reason Holly is so well and appropriately dressed for all of her adventures.  I would hope that having this little vixen around would assure that not only would I look fabulous for my party, but that the guest would enjoy her spirit as well.

Mr. Tumnus - In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the faun Mr. Tumnus embodies the spirit of hope that the world can be a better place.  I feel that this guy could make my party a positive and fun experience for all of us, and if we were lucky we could get him to play his pipes for some entertainment.

The Weasley Twins - The intrepid duo from the Harry Potter series would bring the magic...literaly to our shindig.  Their sense of humor and inability to take anything other then fun seriously would be just the touch our party needs to bring it from good to AWESOME! And since there are two of them, we could spread the fun.

Heather and Morag - My favorite buddies from The Good Fairies of New York would bring the music and dancing...and probably a wee bit of mischief  to the proceedings.  Nobody would be able to keep still when these two go their fey music started...provided they could get along for the duration.

Calcifer - A fire demon who is also a sarcastic wit would brighten up the fete considerably (did you see what I did there...brighten...get it...he's a fire demon...I crack myself up sometimes).  He would have a place of honor in my fire grate and only be fed the best yule log.

The Ghost of Christmas Present - My favorite ghost in A Christmas Carol  would be the ultimate guest.  This jolly guy would bring the spirit, the charm. the feel and all the good stuff that the holiday season is supposed to evoke.  I can't imagine having one crabby guest with this guy in attendance.
This of course is just a few of the illustrious literary characters I would invite, but I have to save some good stuff for next year.  Who would you invite to your literary holiday party?  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, December 14, 2015

More Strange Children

Hola, after a day full of Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts, I thought I would take a break and do a quick non-holiday related rambling.  I had finished Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (the second book in the Peculiar Children series) a while ago and totally forgot to ramble about it so here we go.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
When we left our peculiar children they were fleeing the collapse of their time loop due to the interference of the scary hollowgasts.  They are traveling with their caretaker Miss Peregrine who is trapped in bird form. Emma (the girl who can produce fire) and our main guy Jacob (the boy can feel/see the hollowgast) continue to act as leaders to our ragtag band of misfits.  After a bad storm they lose almost all their belongings but manage to retain their copy of the book The Tales of the Peculiar which turns out to be able to guide them to various areas.  They use it to travel to the Menagerie, a hidden loop populated by peculiar animals (and my favorite part of the book).  Here they learn that Miss Wren, this loops caretaker has gone to London to try and combat the hollowgast invasion.  The kids leave Fiona (the plant growing girl) and Claire (the girl with the mouth in the back of her head) at the menagerie so that Claire can recover from an illness.  Meanwhile Emma, Jacob and the rest of the kids, Bronwyn (super strong), Millard (invisible boy), Olive (lighter then air) Horace (has prophetic visions), Enoch (can animate the dead) and Hugh (controls bees that live in his stomach) continue on to London.  They end up with a Gypsy band that risks themselves to help the children once they realize they are peculiars, as they have a close relationship to them historically.  Using their help they hop on a train and find the loop to 1940s London...right in the middle of World War II.  During their travels they run into a pair of sisters, one of which is a peculiar herself (it is her we see on the cover of the book) who pretty much gives the kids a hard time for their attitude towards supposed "non-peculiars" and declines their invitation to join them.  The kids hook up with a reluctant Melina a peculiar who can work with the peculiar pigeons that lead them to the next step in their journey.  They also join a pair of brothers who are very peculiar and very much do not like to be split up.  The intrepid group end up in a loop that features a circus, which as one can imagine has all kinds of peculiars in it.  They are brought to an iced in building, which turns out to be a sort of un-official-official headquarters of the peculiars and has been under siege by the hollowgasts.  They finally find Miss Wren who agree's to help them turn Miss Peregrine back to a human.  While this process is going on, Emma convinces Jacob that he needs to go home and be with his family.  Miss Peregrine is finally returned to human form, but much to the shock and horror of the whole group, it is not Miss Peregrine that emerges, but Caul, her brother who tricked the kids into traveling with him so he could finally catch the last of the guardians.  There is mass chaos and the majority of the group is captured.  The book ends with Jacob back in his present calling his father and finding out he is able to control the hollowgast.
I realized as I read this book that it had been a couple of years between reading the first book and this one and had to go back and get the gist of the first book so the second one would make sense.  Where the first book felt original and fresh, a lot of this book felt like the author was trying to fit it in with the pictures he had (weird and awesome pictures feature prominently into this book as they did in the last one.).  In the first book, the photo's were actually part of the story, with Jacob finding them in his grandfathers collection, and more at the destroyed orphanage, they felt more integrated to the story.  In this book the photo's were used for strictly illustration purposes.  I personally felt that much of the book was their as a reason to show the photo's instead of the photo's furthering the story.  I also felt the story was a bit disjointed and hard to follow, I kept wanting a guide to how the peculiar world worked...but that may have also been 'cause I don't remember the first book all that well.  On the plus side I LOVED the idea that a book of "tales" actually had hidden information and the fact that the bird was Caul and not Miss Peregrine was actually surprising were both pretty cool.  I continue to love the personality of some of the peculiar children and the way Hugh used his bee's to save the group made me smile.  The book was okay, and I suspect as I finish the series I will appreciate it more as a whole then as any single book (at least I hope so).  If nothing else, the photo's make for very cool and pretty visuals.  I give this book 6 out of 10 iron shoes and recommend it to anybody who read the first one and wants to know what happens next.  Hopefully it will be a shorter interval between the next books and the rambling will come soon.  Side note, if this post is incoherent it's 'cause Hubbin thought it would be a good idea to drink a couple glasses of wine and three shots of rum before writing  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Yuletide Reading

I FINALLY got my Holiday books and am ready to immerse myself in this wonderful season.  That being said all other reading (except for the one book I am trying to finish) will be put on hold for the next couple of weeks while I try and read and ramble about four holiday tomes.  Hopefully this will all work out...but if not more for next year.
 I will probably pop up a couple non holiday related ramblings and posts both to give the non-holidayers among us something to not roll their eyes over AND to smooth out the gaps between getting a book read and a ramble ready.  Since I am also pretty sick today, I'm gonna go make myself some gingerbread tea and hop in the tub with my new Christmas book.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holding My Eyes Open

Skyping with baby sis today and realized we both suffer from the same problem on occasion...we can't stay awake to read.  We go to bed early with the intention of reading for an hour or two (a habit that we both still have from our childhood) and lo and behold we fall asleep a couple pages in.  There are several stages to falling asleep while reading.
 First you are all good to go, you start reading, getting into it. The next stage is you realize that you have read the same page a couple of times and still don't remember what you just read.  The third stage is when you rest your eyes for "just a second" only to drag them open a few minutes later to read one word and then rest them again.  Stage four is what I like to call the tired two year old phase, and this is when you know it's hopeless, but you refuse to actually go to sleep and force your eyes open one more time.  Eventually you hit the final stage and that is when your book slips from your fingers and falls to the floor and you just don't have the energy to lean over and pick up...and you finally admit defeat.  What happens when you fall asleep reading?  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Tree Of Books

One of the problems with writing a blog for so long is that you start to repeat your self on occasion.  The up side is while I may repeat a theme, it's usually 'cause I have some fresh material YAY!  So here once again are some fabulous trees made of our favorite thing ever BOOKS!
Red and Books
I love the color and contrast of this picture
EB Tree
I like how this book tree is decorated
Vintage Book Stack Tree
I am really enjoying the mix of old school and originality of this tree
Book Pop Up Tree
This seems like something I could actually do pretty quickly
Book Page Tree
Another DIY...provided you don't mind killing books lol
Now that you are all inspired go out and create me a forest of book tree's my reading minions...and send lots of pics!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Problem With Book Shopping

Soooo went Christmas shopping and ran into a couple of problems...mostly 'cause I wanted to spend all my money on books...
BUT...I was a good girl and mostly got presents instead...then promptly came home and ordered three books online...oh well Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Children And Farmers...In Space

I have just enough time to throw together a quick rambling today so lets get right to it shall we?  Today's ramble is brought to you by The Children of Hamlin by Carmen Carter and is one of the early Star Trek: TNG books.  After the not so enjoyable experience of my last Star Trek book, I turned to one my favorites when I was younger, and I still very much enjoy it.  I am going to assume everybody reading this knows enough about the show that I don't need to rehash and will jump into the synopsis.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
The USS Enterprise gets a distress signal and diverts from it's current mission of delivering a group known as the Farmers to their new home planet.  They get to the distressed ship just in time to rescue a small number of people from the ship.  Turns out that the ship was carrying Andrew Deelor, a Starfleet operative and his mysterious companion Ruthe.  Deelor was on the ship to work negotiations with a reclusive species known as the Choraii.  The aliens live in a loose society of traveling ships made of a bubble like structure and are willing to destroy whole civilizations for the smallest amounts of metal which is crucial to their survival.  It was this need for metal that brought the Choraii to the Federations attention in the first place.  They massacred every adult on an outpost known as Hamlin and all the children disappeared.  Now thirty five years later they have discovered that the children were taken by the Choraii and have had children of their own and Deelor's job is to negotiate for them back.  The Choraii are very difficult to negotiate with as their language is music based and they do not use visuals. Through out the negotiations the crew has to deal with the Farmers who not only eschew technology but are very vocal about being stuck on the ship.  A child and an older man are traded from the Choraii ship. The young one does pretty good once they figure out how to deal with him, but the older one eventually ends up dying.  When approached Ruthe says it is because he grew up in a world so different that being "rescued" was too much of a shock.  With the humans rescued, the ship heads to the Farmer's new world where they discover another massacre similar to what happened at Hamlin.  They also discover that the only child on the world is missing.  They track down the Choraii ship responsible and Ruthe negotiates for the child.  The trade turns out to be Ruthe for the child.  Ruthe was a child that had been "rescued" around 11 years of age and has been secretly searching for what she considers her home ship ever since.  There is much discussion about the ethics, morals and rules when it comes to this complicated situation, but in the end everybody has to move on.
I have always enjoyed this book, ever since I started reading them at the age of 10.  I think I liked this one so much because it featured children and Dr. Crusher, two of my favorite things at the time.  I still enjoy it for it's portrayal of such an alien species, culture and environment and  how one has to think a different way when dealing with them.  There is all the things that make Star Trek...well Star Trek in this book and as a huge fan I love it! The allusion to the story Pied Piper of Hamelin with the children being taken, the music being how the aliens communicate (Ruthe uses a pipe to "talk" with them) and the children's reluctance to leave the Choraii environment is very well done without being to extremely blatant.  The writing is pretty good, it flows nicely and switches between characters very smoothly.  There is not too much character introspection, and the author did not try and read too much into very established characters.  This book gave me the perfect combination of familiarity with my beloved Enterprise and loved characters and a bit of the exotic and alien with the absolutely strange and wonderful Choraii.  This is why I love SciFi, this is why I love rereading old favorites and this is why I love Star Trek.  Over all a solid entry into a wide and varied series.  I give it 7 out of 10 grapes and recommend it to anybody who loves this show/series as much as I do.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Rare Day Of Rest

Showed up at work today, my boss took one look a me and decided maybe I needed a day off :-)  So after sitting through a very very boring class I got to come home around 1pm, which for me is just awesome.  Called the Hubbin, not quit sure what to do with myself.  He suggested that I enjoy it and get some reading in since I had been complaining about my lack of literary time.  So I did just that.  I made a hot cup of spicy tea, cut a piece of Hubbins amazing pie, filled the tub with bubble bath and read for hours.  It was absolutely amazing!!!!  
It was great to have a couple hours with nobody home, no chores that needed to be done, no errands to run, just time to read with no pressure and no interruptions.  I have to suggest this for everybody, even if you need to schedule it, or call in sick or change your locks, whatever it takes.  I also suggest letting yourself enjoy your couple hours to yourself with out feeling guilty or fretting over undone stuff.  I rarely get these opportunities, especially with my job so I really tried to take advantage of it.  So that being said, I'm gonna go put on my fuzzy slippers and get some more relaxing done before I work 24 hours in the next two days.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Online Extra's

One of the best things about a good series is the world building.  Some authors have created such complete worlds that they cannot put all of their ideas and stories into the actual books.  I love it when this happens 'cause now a days they tend to create online sites for all the extras!  To me reading through some of these sites makes the books that much richer and more complete.  Chalk up another plus for technology.  Here are some of my favorite extra's sites.

The Harry Potter Lexicon - This all inclusive website gives us page by page info, extras and links to even more Harry Potter goodness.  There is so many cross links and rabbit hole possibilities that I can (and have) spent almost as much time clicking through the site as reading the books.

Pottermore - Just like the name implies, this site is more of Harry Potter.  More illustrations, more stories, more details, more interactions.  It is a great way for those of us who love the series to continue to explore the rich wizarding universe.
InCryptid Field Guide - This handy little field guide give those of us who want to delve into the varied and rich history of Cryptids in Seanan McGuires IncCryptid world need look no further then her website.  Add to this a great listing and description of the series books and a whole TON of short stories (seriously gonna have to take a sick day to read them all) makes this site a massively cool extension of an awesomly great series.
A Wheel of Time Wiki - Anybody who has read the Wheel of Time series can tell you that as awesome as it is, a guide is definitely needed (unless you have a photographic memory) to try and keep the people, cultures, places and story lines straight.  I had a friend who tried to do this using colored pennies but had to stop after he almost when bankrupt (teeheehee).  This guide is much easier and bit less bulky.

Tolkien Gateway - When Tolkien wrote his famous Lord of the Rings trilogy, he intended it to be one piece in a larger mythology...that he then proceeded to write.  If one has the time and enough pots of coffee you can discover on of the most detailed worlds in literary existence, with each story and character linking to each other in fantastic ways.  This wiki helps us keep all the strands of this beautiful tapestry from getting to tangled.
Dragonriders of Pern - One of my first introductions to a series where the world was as important as the story and characters, the books of Anne McCaffery and Pern in particular have inspired my imagination and fueled my devouring of books like no other series.  This wiki gives us just a bit more information, and a bit more time in the world I love so very much.

There are a ton other great sites dedicated to other literary worlds of awesome that I can't wait to off I go down the rabbit hole, you all start on these and we will meet back here and talk ok?  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thou Shalt Not Denude The Airplane's Cheese Selection

First off, Happy Birthday to L.M. Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series which has been one of my favorites for years!  Also shout out to Google for their awesome tribute.  Ok on to business.  Today I shall ramble about Pocket Apocalypse the fourth book in the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire.  I was in the mood for a fun book and this one, like the others did not disappoint.  Let's jump right in, as always SPOILERS AHEAD.
I'm gonna try and get back to the shorter synopsis...but we will see how it goes.  Alex Price's life is finally getting back to normal.  His cuckoo cousin Sarah is recovering nicely, his basilisk project is doing well and his girlfriend Shelby Tanner is as hot and feisty as ever.  Of course our friends the Price kids can never just live a normal life, so after an expedition to show his assistant some migrating screaming yams (yes you read that right) he is asked by Shelby to accompany her to her home in Australia to assist with a pesky werewolf problem.  Now this may not seem to be a big deal for our strong yet studious InCryptid Price boy...but in reality it is a nightmare come true.  Turns out that werewolfism is actually a sort of mutated rabies on steroids and once it takes hold in a population becomes incredibly difficult to stop.  Add this to the fact that Australia is a super fragile and enclosed eco-system and BAM potential devastation all the way around.  All of this is made worse by the duo facts of Alex's previous bad run ins with werewolves and the prospect of meeting Shelby's family.  Alex and Shelby hop a plane (along with a splinter colony of Aeslin Mice ((WOOHOO)) and down under they go.  The Tanner family does not like Alex in any way shape or form and do not even pretend to try and hide it.  After a whole bunch of hoop jumping they finally get down to business.  The Thirty-Six (which is the Cryptid protection group of Australia) is vastly different then Alex's family and it takes him a while to earn even their nominal trust.  This is made even worse, when gathering ingredients for a risky partial cure, he and another 36er by the name of Cooper get attacked and bitten by werewolves.  Cooper is killed and Alex is bitten.  After more fighting and arguing and all kinds of stupid ignorance Alex finally gets back on track hunting down the werewolves.  Shelby is continually torn between standing by Alex and being pressured by her family.  An incident involving weresheep (yep you read that right too) finally convinces the Tanner family that somebody is using the werewolves to get them.  More chaos and confusion and it turns out Cooper (who did not really die) had been turned and was turning other people to try and change the way the 36er's dealt with them (up to this point if you turned you were killed).  Alex is save and the 36er's agree to try and deal with the werewolves AND to also try and be friendlier with the more humanoid Cryptids, which up to this point they had mostly ignored.  Shelby declares her intent to marry Alex...which he is totally ok with.  The book ends with Alex and the Tanner on if not friendly terms, at least better then they were before and Alex and Shelby head back to the US to plan the wedding.
Hey that wasn't too long, yay me!  Anyways, as with every book in this series so far I loved it.  Alex is still  no Verity, but he is still an awesomely written character who I enjoy reading about.  Let's see, stuff I liked specific to this book.  I loved the trip to Australia and getting to see how another InCryptid group works, seeing the history, challenges and differences reminds me that no matter what story I read, there is always another perspective.  This story really showed us in the character of Alex how somebody can be capable and trained and still prefer a different lifestyle...what do I mean by that?  Alex grew up in a home where training to stay alive was paramount, and by his own admission, while he was good (even amazing by lay people standards) his sisters where the true pro's.  This was mostly because his interest lay more in the studious scientific side of things.  This however does not make him a weakling, as several episodes in this book show him holding his own, just that violence or physicalness is not his preferred method.  This author is very good at writing characters that show a person can be more then one thing, Shelby can be hot, flirty, take charge, a bit cowed by her family, and have a great sense of humor all at the same time.  Alex can have his nose in his books, prefer to avoid drama, roll his eyes at his girlfriends impulsiveness and still kick major hinney.  The other books in this series have also shown how adept miss McGuire is at these sort of characters which I LOVE!  I was super worried when Alex and Shelby went to Australia 'cause I thought we might have to leave the Aeslin Mice behind, and they are my absolute favorites in all the books.  Happily for me, the Aeslin Mice not only got to come, but they played a pretty significant part in the book.  As with the earlier books, I like how the Cryptids, and in this case Outsiders (non Thirty-Sixers) were used as a bit of a metaphor for prejudice and fear.  In this book we saw how even the subtle "polite ignorance" of a fellow being can lead to very huge consequences...something we all need to remember.  Things I didn't like so much.  I missed the rest of the Price family (though we did get to hear family stories and also had the Price/Healy family quote at the start of each chapter) I absolutely adore their sense of humor which was soley carried by Alex in this book.  I also had a hard time at the sheer meaness and bossiness of the Tanner family, that they thought it was ok to essentially hold Alex as an enemy with useful information and that regardless of their daughters happiness their continual efforts to drive them apart.  I get what was happening, but it got a bit tedious and I wanted either/or Alex and Shelby to put up more of a fuss, or walk away...thought eventually they both kind of do.  While I understood the Thirty-Sixers initial distrust of outsiders, the fact that Alex had a proven track record and had actually successfully dealt with werewolves before made me feel like at least some of the group would have gotten on board with what he was saying, especially after he did some good work in Australia.  Also the next book is about Verity again, which while I am totally excited to see my dancing girl again...I was sort of hoping we could get to know Antimony better...she seems like my type of girl.  Overall I very much enjoyed the book, finishing it in just a few days and looking forward to the next one.  I recommend it to any urban fantasy, sci fi fans, people who like myths and legends that can kill them, or really enjoy a migrating screaming yam.  I give it 7 out of 10 binyips and can't wait for the next one.  Happy Reading Everybody!