Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 In Review

Here are again, at the end of another year and a brink of a new one.  This has been a year of massive change in so many ways, including this blog.  The one thing that hasn't changed is my obsessive need to read, it is one of the things that gives me stability when everything is in flux...although I admit I love the chaos :-)  Anyways here is a list of my faves from each month that helped keep me sane.
Station 11
This book is still indefinable.  It has been read by me and several of my fellow bookies and while we can all agree it is an excellent book that stuck with us all...we still have no idea what genre to place it in.  It is the perfect book to start off the year.
The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
A collection of Holmes stories written in every style imaginable.  The stories in this collection rekindled once again my love of this great detective and the supporting cast that never leaves me bored.
This pick which was suggested to me by my partner at the firehouse was intense.  Probably one of the most emotionally draining, well written, thought provoking books I have read in a long time, go read it!
Peter Pan
One of my favorite books of all time.  It is one of my go to's when I need to be reminded that all of life is just one great adventure and to treat it as such.  This is one of the reasons books exist.
The Expanse
This is Sci Fi at its finest.  I enjoyed this book so much more then I thought I was going to and cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment in the series.  If you are looking for a very readable science fiction series, this is it my friends.
The Magican's of Caprona
Magic, magic, magic.  I could (and do) read Diana Wynne Jones all day everyday, pure magic.
The Mermaids Sister
A solid little fairytale that was both original and familiar.  The content was perfect for a midsummers read, especially in the hectic moving days.
Press Start to Play
August was a rough month overall, but this collection of stories at least gave some things to think about, which is always a good thing.
I loved this book so much.  I had high hopes for it and they were exceeded...which is really rare.  This book is weird and wild and different and I love it!
Cuckoo Song
This random read ended up being the perfect October read.  It combined mystery, atmosphere and a few hair raising moments, good book, good timing, happy reader.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
This book was long, epic and pretty awesome.  It took me close to three months to finally get through the whole thing, but I think it was definitely worth it.
When Santa Fell to Earth
This surprising and accidental find reminds me to look for unexpected joy, especially during the holiday season.  This book was a great little Christmas story which put the star on the tree so to speak.

There we have it folks, a quick year in review of some of the books that stuck with me.  Hopefully I will find more reading/rambling time this next year in between my new epic adventures.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Post Holiday Bliss

Hey!  I have an extra day off today...guess what I'm gonna do?!?
Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It's Like They Know Me!

Hello All, I hope everybody had a great whatever they choose to celebrate (or not) this season.  I was as always spoiled rotten.  Seriously folks my family and friends know me so well it's not even funny.  This year's haul included my Kindle Fire from the Hubbin so I can not only read any book at any time, but it is so high tech and usable I can actually write a lot of my posts on it  YAY HUBBIN!  Mammasan went WAAAAAAAAY above and beyond and got me the ultimate combo gift.  It is the book  As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride  by Cary Elwes...who I may have wanted to marry since I first saw the movie The Princess Bride.  To make it even more epic...she some how managed to have it signed by the Dread Pirate Roberts himself, Mr. Cary Elwes!!!!!  A small freak out may have commenced upon opening of said gift.  My baby sis of course found the best collection of books that not are only readable, but look amazing on my bookshelf.  I got a bunch of other cool stuff too...'cause you know...spoiled, including a Game of Thrones inspired card and an epic hand drawn dinosaur that goes RAWR...'cause we all know that is exactly what they screeching here lol.  Anyways  I am looking forward to some quality reading time so if I go MIA I'm probably curled up in my reading chair with a huge stack of books.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

For Unto Us A Child Is Born

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 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.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 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.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Night Before Christmas

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 the 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 the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it 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 dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top 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 peddler, 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 of 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 bowlful 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!"

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Last Santa

Rambling time!  Yep I have finally finished an actual holiday book and am ready to ramble...only four days before Christmas...oh well.  I found this book When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke and illustrated by Paul Howard and was totally stoked to have my Christmas book all set.  It is a short book compared to the behemoths I have been reading and yet it still took me a while to get through (stupid Westworld taking up all my  Anyways it is done now and it is time to ramble.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Niklas Goodfellow and his caravan falls to Earth when his flighty reindeer Twinklestar gets frightened an breaks his harness.  He falls into a typical suburban town filled with your typical suburbanites.  Niklas and his two Christmas angels the motherly and bossy Matilda and shy and quiet Emmanuel put the caravan to rights while the tiny, swear prone elves get to work on repairs.  Ben is an athletic middle grade boy who while great at sports is not so good and speaking out loud, his thoughts never come out the way he intends them too.  He is dared by his nemesis Dean to knock on the mysterious caravans door and wait for an answer.  He does this and meets Niklas, a tired looking young man for a brief second.  During this brief interlude, Ben see's the unbelievable sight of a tiny man chillin in Niklas's pocket.  Feeling guilty Ben goes back to visit Niklas.  Ben is invited inside and is astonished to see many of the little men (elves) working on repairs, and the two angels baking gingerbread.  He is also astounded to find the interior of the caravan to be much larger then the visible exterior.  After some conversation, Ben learns that Niklas is one of many "Santa Claus's" that work Christmas.  He tells Ben that a nasty Santa by the name of Goblynch took over and made new rules for the rest of the Santa's to follow.  Now all presents are only made after a parental request and payment.  Goblynch has turned almost all the reindeer into salami and fired all the elves as he finds it cheaper to just buy the presents from Earth.  Niklas and six other Santa's refused to follow the new rules and continued the old ways.  This entailed gathering wishes from children directly from their dreams and sometimes surprising them with something completely different.  Unfortunately Goblynch set his evil nutcrackers after the rouge Santa's, catching all of them but Niklas.  Matilda tells Ben that if the nutcrackers catch Niklas, they will take his boots and if he looses his boots for more then 24 seconds then he will turn into chocolate...which is what happened to the other Santa's.  The next day, a shy quiet girl by the name of Charlotte also gets invited to visit Niklas.  She offers her dog to search for Twinklestar...who is invisible while on Earth.  Ben and Charlotte have a bit of an adventure, but eventually get the rouge reindeer back where he belongs.  Ben gets teased at school about his continual belief in Santa.  To this end he makes a bet with his nemesis on whether it will snow or not, with Ben winning if it snows in the next couple of days.  Ben and Charlotte ask Niklas if this is possible and he says it is, but it is risky.  Niklas agree's to the risk and tells the kids that they need to take a pipe/hose through the White Door to Yule Land and pipe snow to the snow machine.  The risky part is that the White Door is where the nutcrackers will come through if they get a whiff of Niklas.  The kids just manage to get enough snow and through the door before the nutcrackers come through, winning the bet with Dean and making the kiddo's happy.  Unfortunately their little escapade brought Niklas to the notice of Goblynch and his henchmen.  There is a pretty awesome little battle with the tide turning when shy Emmanuel and Twinklestar free the elves and save the day.  Goblynch is turned into chocolate and Niklas is free to be the best Santa he can be.  He personally brings Ben and his parents super awesome presents and promises to see him next year.  Niklas leaves with the hope he can recruit some new Santa's who will bring the true magic back to Christmas.

World Building - The world in this book was three fold, the mundane suburbia that could literally be anywhere, the cozy homey holiday magic of the caravan and the frosty, cold mystery of Yule Land.  The three very different area's all compared and contrasted with each other to create a perfect tiny little world in which to tell our story.  It is not sweeping, their is not a ton of back story, but it is the perfect setting for the narrative that the author was trying to tell.

Story - This was a great little Christmas story.  It has everything I love in a holiday tale, kids, magic, Santa, elves, angels, danger, greed, wishes and a very happy ending with the bad guys getting whats coming to them and the good guys triumphing over the darkness.  I liked how this story had many traditional elements, but the story itself was wholly original.  Good story.

Character - So much fun when it came to the characters.  Ever single being with a line had some sort of personality.  My favorites where the elves and angels, but seriously every single character was well done.  Nobody was perfect, nobody was stock, everybody had motivation and stayed true to themselves.  Pretty awesome if you ask me.  But seriously my favorites are the interactions between the bossy Matilda and the lazy swearing elves.

Editing - The book was readable, the flow was good, it was the perfect length...not much more to say.

Accidental Find - So possibly one of my favorite things about this book is how I found it.  I was perusing my local used bookstore in the middle of summer...possibly only so I could be somewhere with AC.  I was stumbling through the kids section when the authors name caught my eye.  Her Inkheart Trilogy is one of my favorites in the world so I am always looking for more by her.   I was kind of surprised to see it was a Christmas book 'cause I did not know that she had ever written one. I then had to make sure I actually remembered that I had it...which I yay me...and yay for random book finds of perfection.

A Little Dark - I love a Middle Grade book that does not shy away from realizing that most kids, especially by the time they hit those middle grades might actually have a clue to what goes on in the real world.  This book is one of those.  The bad guy is not nice and some of the scenes...especially the illustrations are down right scary.  That being said, everything has a reason for being in the book and the way the kids deal with the scary stuff is dealt with really well.  It is not your typical sugary Christmas story where the bad guy gets redeemed...he pretty much gets turned to chocolate...and I for one am very happy about that.

Multi Santa's - The story is not super detailed on whether there was an original Santa that hired help, or if there have always been multiple Santa's, but I think the concept works.  It gives so much plausible explanation to how Santa can be everywhere at once.  It also helps explain some of the physical and story differences that abound when the various stories are told.  I also liked how even the Santa's were not immune from human greed and how that affected Christmas as a whole.  An original concept that was very well executed.

Overall Impression - I enjoyed this little Christmas book.  It had everything I was looking for in a Christmas story and is one I would recommend for anybody old enough not to have nightmares from the demonic looking nutcrackers.  Overall I would give it 7 out of 10 polar glow worms and am now going to start looking at everybody who might possibly be a Santa.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Letters From St Nick

Have I mentioned I'm spoiled?  Hubbin got me a new top of the line tablet to help me read and write while I'm away from home...cause apparently I am never ever ever home any more.  Anyways, one of the many perks of the new tablet...or the Sketchbook as my nephew calls it (Hubbin also got me an super cool awesome bestest ever cover for said tablet) is the amazing resolution and screen size.  So to test out the abilities of my new toy I found and downloaded Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien, which is not really a story but a collection of letters written by the famous J.R.R. Tolkien to his children over the course of many years.
Normally this is the sort of book I would only buy in hard copy as the whole point of it is to be able to appreciate the detailed and magical letters and illustrations...but with the new tablet I can see everything perfectly (full disclosure, I'm so totally gonna still buy this in hard copy lol)!  Anyways back to the letters.  This isn't really gonna be a rambling 'cause there is really no story per se,  but I'm still going to expound on some of my favorite stuff...'cause it's Christmas week...and it's my blog :-)  There are a couple of things about this collection that really struck me.  The foremost is the amazing ability Tolkien had to create a world in such a short time and space.  In the course of apx 25-30 letters this guy created a whole entire world populated with developed characters and it's own story line.
 I find this to be further testament to this mans brilliance at creating worlds and story's, this my friend is the real deal.   The envelopes, the letters and the accompanying illustrations, all done by Tolkien are just absolute insane.  Seriously the time, effort and eye to detail these little bits and pieces add to the over all feel are stunning.   It is kind of hard to believe that they were ever only intended for his children.  Which brings me to my last point.  This guy clearly adored his kids.  Even when the older ones started to grow up, he still mentioned them multiple times.  This whole endevor was so clearly a labor of love and it makes my heart happy to know that this talented man was also a phenomenal father.  This collection is the perfect Christmas read, it is quick, simple, beautiful, heartwarming and I will probably peruse it for many years to come.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Oh Reading Tree Oh Reading Tree

Hi All!  FINALLY got a day off, first one over two weeks.  Got some reading done, got some shopping done and now I am finally in the holiday spirit.  To continue this holiday cheer, here are some super cool tree's decorated in a theme most literary.
Jane Austin Tree
I like the combination of little books and ornaments on this tree
Harry Potter Tree
I love this tree on so many levels, the cauldron base, the Hogwarts train and track, floating candles.  To make it even better it was built by the writer of one of my favorite blogs!  Go check out the detail pics.
Narnia Tree
It's a book, it's Christmas tree, it's all themed to my favorite book in the whole entire world....I seriously don't think it gets any better then this!
Lord of the Rings Tree
This tree just makes me smile...I think the giant spider with the book is what really makes this fantasy themed tree special.
Shakespeare Tree
All kinds of Shakespearen goodies on this tree.  I would love to sit next it and explore all the various items on it!

Ok folks, here is our quick dose of Christmas cheer, more to come including a holiday rambling later in the week.  Happy Reading Everbody!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Here A Page There A Page

Not sure if I've mentioned it yet, but I've got a new job as a nanny for my nephews E and N. It's an interesting experience and I'm never gonna be upset about spending time with my boys so, so far all good.  One of the things that  I never realized...though I am sure any full time caretaker would probably already know this...but sometimes watching small people gets a bit boring.  Seriously one more episode of Dugee and I may lose it lol.
Anyways, lucky for me technology has come to rescue and I have learned to keep a book open on my phone at all times.  It's actually really great, while I am pooping the kids lunch in the oven, or watching them bounce in the bouncy, or build an epic building I can sneak a page or two in.  I also have the advantage of being a super fast reader so I can get a couple pages in fairly quickly.  Since its super easy to pick up and put down my indestructible phone I can still pay plenty of attention to the little guys.  So far in the last week and a half I've gotten three or four chapters read so YAY ME!  At this rate I might actually get a couple extra books in this year...Also gives me an excuse to buy more books online...oh darn.  Happy Reading Everybody!!!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Lonley Unicorn

Hey all! Guess what? I am Incredibly Spoiled...and yes that is in all caps.  Anyways I am writing this on my new tablet so we shall see how this goes.  Also I actually got a chance to finish a book so you know what that means...rambling time. The book is The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Be able and it has been on my radar for years and years and I have finally finally read it. How do I feel now that I've read it? Let's find out, but first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Unicorns are solitary, immortal creatures, sticking to their own territory only meeting with other unicorns to mate on rare occasions.  Our unicorn has lived in her first for ages and has been content until some disturbing rumors reached her ears.  It seems that no other unicorn has been hard from in quit some time. Our unicorn decides to leave her first and try to discover where the other unicorns have gone and recover them if she can.  As she starts on her path our unicorn notices a couple of things, one that humans seem to no longer believe in unicorns and two that most people see her as nothing more then a beautiful white mare.  Our unicorn also learns of a creature known as the Red Bull that is in the service of one King Haggard who has used the creature to herd the other unicorns to an undisclosed location.  Our unicorn decides to seek out this Red Bull and discover where her fellow unicorns have gone.  Along the way, our unicorn is taken prisoner by Mommy Fortuna who is the proprietor and resident witch of a traveling carnival.  While captive, our Unicorn meets a man by the name of Schmendrick who is a magician with no true magic.  He finds a way to help our unicorn escape and joins her on her quest.  The pair end up in the woods with a merry band of thieves where they make the acquaintance of  Molly Grue, a woman who has seen a lot and requests to go with Schmendrick and our unicorn.  The trio continue on their quest and travel through a blighted land.  They learn from the folk who live there that they are under the rule of King Haggard and that the land has been under an eternal bitter winter or brutal summer with no relief.  Eventually the trio end up in Hagsgate a town that is unusually prosperous for the area.  Here they meet Drinn and learn the curse of Hagsgate.  Apparently since the townspeople of yore refused to help some magical style folks, they then cursed the town to share in Haggard's eventual fate, which was to be destroyed by the sea, further more, the curse foretold that the destruction would be brought about by a child of the village.  Because of this curse the townspeople, while prosperous, take no joy in life as they anticipate it ending at any moment.  Drinn also tells our trio of a baby abandon in the village square that was taken and is now being raised by King Haggard as his son, the Prince Lir.  Our unicorn, Schmendrick and Molly all head towards the castle to continue their quest.  Along the ways we learn that Schmendrick was a student of one of the greatest magicians of all time, but he could not learn how to actually control the magic.  Instead on rare occasions, great magic would flow through him and accomplish whatever needed to be done.  Schmendrick was cursed with immortality until he could learn his magic.  As they approach the castle, the Red Bull comes and chases our unicorn, trying to herd her.  Her friends encourage her to fight back, but she continues to run.  In desperation, Schmendrick opens himself to the mysterious magic, turning our unicorn into a human girl.  They call the girl Lady Amalthea and bring her along to the castle.  King Haggard accepts the trio into the castle, having Molly work as a cook/maid/drudge and Schmendrick works as the resident nonmagical magician.  Prince Lir falls in love with the Lady Amalthea and she starts to forget that she is a unicorn.  After some observations, they trio realize that Haggard has trapped all of the other unicorns in the sea and is now after our unicorn.  Schmendrick discovers the way to the Red Bull's lair and away the trio go, along with the Prince Lir who is enamored of the human version of our unicorn.  There is a fight and the Prince is killed trying to protect the Lady Amalthea, this triggers her to return to her unicorn form and fight the Red Bull, winning the freedom of her fellow unicorns.  The result is a surge of the sea that destroys the castle and kills King Haggard.  Prince Lir, though upset over the loss of his love, decides to become the good king his kingdom never had.  Schmendrick gains his magic and mortality and the love of Molly Grue.  The unicorn returns to her forest, secure in the knowledge that her fellow unicorns are free and thriving.

World Building - The world for the most part is a fairly standard fantasy world with the requisite forest, villages, and blighted land.  It was fairly intact and consistent which made for getting easily immersed.  This was written before the huge amount of mainstream fantasy so for the time and even now the world is magical and complete.

Story - The story is the biggest part of the book.  It is complete, varied, nuanced, beautiful and easy to follow.  The story is exactly what I wanted in a true magical fantasy.  It is the kind of story that a person can get lost in.  It has everything you could want in high fantasy.  An epic quest, magical creatures, bad guys, hero's, princes, prophecy's, seriously everything one needs for the ultimate fantasy story.  I loved it.

Characters - There were definitely a variety of characters, and many of them even had pretty filled out back stories...that being said, this book wasn't really about the characters as it was the overall story and feel of the rhythm of storytelling.  I did like that all of the characters stayed in character and acted accordingly.  They did not do things just to further the story, they maintained their path and pattern.  Also I liked that the characters were not cut and dry good or bad, and they all had motivation...yeah so characters.

Editing - The overall editing was well done, the book flowed nicely and the story progressed in a linear style that was very readable.  The prose got a bit lyrical on occasion (I'll get more into that in a minute) which sometimes made my mind drift a bit, but the overall book was well edited.

Style - I want to make note on the style of this book.  It was very lyrical and yet at the same time it had a fairly basic prose as well...that does not make any sense let me try again.  The book was very readable and almost simple in it's story telling at times, other times it felt almost like an epic poem.  I feel like this book would actually work best read out loud...yeah, that is what the style is like.  It is a tale to tell by the fire.  I loved it, it felt very old school and wandering minsteral.

TBR Pile - I have been wanting to read this book for years.  It is very famous, especially in the fantasy circles and has been named a top book in several categories many times over.  I honestly do not have any idea why it took me so long to actually read this one.  I do know that I wanted to read it in actual book form and I had the hardest time finding it in bookstores...which considering its fame was a little weird.  Anyways it has been read and now I know why it is so famous.  It is not my favorite book in the universe, but it is solid.

Extras - There is a graphic novel, a movie and all kinds of other tie in stuff to this book that I am now eager to go hunt down.  I will also see if I can get my hands on more of this authors stuff, so that is always good.

Overall Impression - This post probably does not make a whole lot of sense, but I've been at work since last Thursday and am working until next Saturday so the lack of sleep makes me muzzy.  Anyways on that note.  I did very much enjoy this book.  I loved the old school epic feel of it.  I love the impressions it left in my head, and if it got a bit maudlin (what a great word) on occasion, well it just added to the atmosphere.  I give this book 8 out of 10 old talking skulls and recommend it to anybody who loves true fantasy or is looking for a read out loud to the kiddo's book.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Fantastic Beasts And Why I Love Them

HI!  Guess what I saw?  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is based on the encyclopedic style book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling and Newt Scamander.  I've had the book forever and when I heard they were gonna make a movie based on it I was a little confused 'cause it's not a's a list of magical creatures and some cool facts about each one.  While the book was entertaining and fun, not so much movie material.  That being said there was not way on God's green earth that I was gonna miss the change to get some much needed wizarding world magic, especially during this holiday season.
So Hubbin packed me up and hauled me to the movie theatre were I was alternating between apprehension that this all new, unprecedented untold story would not live up to expectations (slim as they were as again the book wasn't really a story) of the great world of Harry Potter and sheer and utter child like excitement of the idea of finally having any sort of magic back after years of nothing.  The movie started...and people it was sheer and utter magic!  Sure it had a few dark moments, and sure it was probably twenty minutes longer then it needed to be and with out a doubt the "revelation" at the very end of the movie was just...dumb...but seriously folks over all the movie was incredible.  It felt like it should be over the top, but as Hubbin said, it was just the right amount for us poor HP starved fans.  A couple of highlights.  It was set in New York in the 1920's which was pretty much the awesomest thing ever as it totally set it apart from Harry Potter and expanded into a full fledged Wizarding World.  We got to see a different era, a different place, different customs, different laws and all seen through a foreigners eyes so that the explanations and confusion made sense.
   The over all story tied directly into the history we learned in HP and gave us a connection to our beloved stories without retelling Harry Potter.  The best part for me however was the sheer number of Fantastic Beasts that were shown and discussed in the movie.  Seriously they actually made a movie off this book.  Mr. Scamander's suitcase filled with so many magical creatures each in their own makeshift habitat made me ache to go live in the suitcase.  Beginning to end with a very few minor considerations, this movie was sheer magic and made this Wizarding World fan so very very very happy.  Here is to the next four movies being as good!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Insert Real Post Here

Hi Guys...this is supposed to be a real post or a rambling or something coherent and interesting.  Seriously I have a zillion posts in my brain, some about life, some cool holiday stuff, a few ramblings...but my brain won't let any of them out until I've had some'll see you all tomorrow.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Nanny Bookworm Girl

Hi All!  Guess what?!?  I have a new adventure I get to go on, I am now going to be a full time Nanny for two of my nephews and I am so very excited!  In honor of this new job I have assembled some of my favorite literary caretakers of small children to inspire (or in some cases warn) me of the potential adventures that lie ahead.
Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins - This sassy, imaginative and potentially magical nanny is the one that we all want to float into our homes and turn every day outings into grand adventures.  The fact that Ms. Poppins is the queen of snark as well adds a bit of a realistic twist to the magic of caring for young children.

Nurse Matilda
Nurse Matilda - Our ugly yet oddly lovable Nurse Matilda brings order to the chaotic Brown household.  Nurse Matilda's unorthodox methods turn our misbehaving brats into well mannered and kind children.  Not 100% sure if Nurse Matilda is legit magic, or just very very imaginative and crafty...may need to take a page from her book though.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
Ms. Penelope Lumley - This young nanny has quit the handful caring for the formally feral children of Ashton Place.  Her job is two fold, first she has to figure out how to "tame" these wild children and THEN she actually has to teach and care for them.  Ms. Lumley though presented with very unique challenges never lets it lower her standards, quit the lesson for us all.

Peter Pan
Nana - Nana has infinite patience and is extremely loyal to not only her three young charges but also to the family they belong to.  She is consistent, caring and oh yeah...she's a dog.  Say what you like, but I have definitely met some canines that I would more then trust my siblings precious off spring to.

These ladies have inspired me to try and be the most magical, sassy, patient, fun and crazy nanny a girl can be...also I feel like we are gonna read a lot of books :-)  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

I'm So Excited And I Just Can't Hide It

Can I tell you all what one of the best feelings in the world is?  When one of your favorite authors comes out with a new trilogy set in one of your favorite worlds!  I was perusing the shelves at my bookstore and caught sight of a book with the name of one of my beloved never fail authors on it.  I got really excited then noticed that the title sounded like books that were already out.  "Oh well" I thought, "at least her books are getting some attention".  The title kept niggling (isn't that one of the best words ever?) at the back of my mind so I hopped on her website and lo and behold sure enough IT WAS A NEW TRILOGY!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously though folks, this is not the first time I have had
this thrill.  A lot of my favorite authors are either not super know 'cause they actually take time to create awesome books instead of spewing out lather rinse repeat novels every six months (sorry, literary pet peeve coming out there) or they have multiple series or projects and I am waiting for a specific one.  I love the excitement and surprise of finding an unexpected book that I have never read from one of my favorite authors, it's like a special present just for me.  Anyways I am now off to my local bookstore to see if there are any other undiscovered treasures hiding out.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

This Tree Is Ready For Books!

Hi All, had a whirlwind of a holiday with family both blood and adopted.
We got a chance to get Christmas up...all that's missing is some more books for under the tree!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book Sandwich

This week kicks off the start to binging on every sort of food one can find for the next three months.  YAY!  To start us off I found this nifty little book.

This is an art piece/book by the artist Pawel Piotrowski and I absolutely love it!  Go check out the rest of his stuff too!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bringing Magic Back To England

I DID IT!!!!  I finally finished my big fat book!  Clocking in at a whopping 1006 pages of teeny tiny type complete with footnotes is the book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.  This book had been on my TBR pile for a while and got pulled out after Hubbin discovered a BBC version of the book.  Despite it's length the book was very readable and I am now ready to attempt to ramble about it.
The book is written as a bit of a history, complete with foot notes and follows two very different magicians the staid and cautious Mr. Norrell and the younger more fiery Jonathan Strange.   Essentially we are taken to an alternate version of Victorianish England (though there is a King on the throne not a Queen) where magic is accepted as part of life.  Being a magician is a respectable job and magic is talked about in all circles.  However, magic at this time is only theoretical.  Magicians are actually just men who study any sort of magical text they can get there hands on.  True magic has been gone from the realm of England for hundreds of years for some reason.  Enter Mr. Norrell, a scholarly little man who is obsessed with buying, reading and hoarding books of a magical nature.  To this end he has actually been able to perform real magic and is brought to England to become the authority and sole practicer of magic.  Mr. Norrell has in his employ a mysterious man by the name of Childermass who pretty much runs Mr. Norrell's life for him. To prove the respectability and genuine nature of magic, Mr. Norrell engages the help of a fairy, known as the Gentlman with the thistle-down hair, to bring the Lady Pole back to life after she dies.  The deal Mr. Norrell brokers with the
Gentleman essentially dooms the Lady Pole to be held in fairy whenever the Gentlman chooses. Along comes Jonathan Strange, a gentleman who has started practicing magic after a run in with the vagabond Vinculus who speaks a prophecy stating among other things that two magicians will bring back magic to England.  We then follow our two magicians as they use their own styles of magic, sometimes together and sometimes at odds to help England win a war, protect the country and try and discover lost spells.  Meanwhile the Lady Pole continues to be sucked into fairy at any given time, makeing her appear quit mad. The butler Stehpen black, a black servant who the Gentleman has taken a liking to does his best to support Lady Pole.  Strange's wife Arabella is the only other person who is able to be with Lady Pole.  Eventually the two magicians have a falling out.  Mr. Norrell wants to continue and keep a tight reign on all things magic while Strange wants to bring magic to the masses.  All kinds of stuff happens one of which is the unfortunate death of Arabella Strange.  Strange leaves the country to finish his book and recover from his wife's death and Mr. Norrell stays in London to fret and work with the government on improving the country.  Strange discovers that madness is the key to seeing fairy and finds a way to distill it to its essence and become mad at will.  With this madness he discovers the Gentleman has actually stolen Arabella to fairy to be a companion to Lady Pole and she is not dead after all.  After a battle of wills, the Gentleman wraps Strange in eternal night and Strange devotes his time to trying to find John Uskglass, the Raven King who brought magic to England in the first place.  More crazyness and mayhem and Strange finally comes to Mr. Norrell for help.  The two magicians work together to find a way to summon the Raven King and unintentionally give Stephen Black the power to finally defeat the Gentleman.  Lady Pole and Arabella are released and Mr. Norrell and Jonathan Strange, wrapped in their eternal night disappear from England.  Childermass, along with Vinculus assemble all who want to learn magic and utilize the power that now flows through England.  This my friends does not even begin to summarize the complexity of this book, the stories and the characters, I just do not have enough time or space to truly give you the gist of this book, so this will have to do.

World Building - This book has a very Jane Austinesque vibe when it comes to world building.  We get to see a variety of English places (and few other places in Europe) mostly through the eyes of the gentleman class.  It is a bit drearier and a bit harsher then true Austin, but the vibe totally comes through.  One extra aspect of world building is the realm of fairy.  I really very much enjoyed how the author built the world of fairy as being right next door to our world, complete with cross-roads and touch stones.  The best parts of fairy where the descriptions of the familiar with a fantastic twist.  Ever time I picked up this book I was easily able to slip into the worlds the author created.

Story - So this was an interesting book as far as story goes.  I am not 100% sure that there was an actual whole beginning, middle and end story or if it was more of a history with the reader just catching a slice of time.  There were bits of story, mostly connected with individual characters, but over all I felt that this was more of an old school history of an alternate place/time.  That being said, it was still a book that I could pick up and read and stay interested in so yeah.  Maybe it was that there were many many stories with in the framework of the history that kept it interesting...yeah, so not really sure how to describe it, but I liked it.

Character - This may be where the Austin feel really came through in this book.  The characters were many and varied and true to themselves.  Right when I was about to get tired of reading about a certain character or story line, bam the author switched to somebody else and it was awesome.  I particularly liked the Raven King as an overarching presence that was constantly felt but only once actually seen; Childermass who probably actually knew and understood more then any other character; Stephen Black a man who was kind, smart, brave, and searching to belong; Vinculus the vagabond man with all the answers and of course the Gentleman who tied everybody together.  The characters may be the best part of this book.

Editing - This was a very very long book and I want to be tempted to say that it could have easily been broken up...but you know what?  I'm glad it is one long self contained book.  It really gives the vibe of a history in this format.  For all it's length, the way it is broken up in parts and chapters makes it very very readable and the fun footnotes that are scattered through out just adds to the overall feel.  It was consistent, follow able and readable, editing for the win.

The Author - Ok so I really feel like the author and the way she wrote this book has to be talked about.  She started writing it in 1993 and did not actually publish the whole book until 2003, that my friends is dedication.  She worked on it in her spare time and had to work with trying to put all her ideas and fragments into a cohesive form.  I totally feel her and her writing style 'cause every time I try and write something I feel the same way.  I obviously don't have the patience she does, but it makes the book all that better for me that I feel a kinship with her thought process and writing style.

Fairy - I love love love old school English/Welsh/Scottish/Irish/Celtic style fairy land.  This book brought the old school ideas of stolen humans, especially children, timelessness, agreements between fairy and human kind, the glamour vs the reality of magic, just everything that I love.  I felt like I could go hunt down a fairy road and ride off and explore this whole other world behind the mirrors.  I have not read such a great take on the old school fairy in a while and I have to say I loved every second of it and totally want to read more about the Raven King...hint hint lol.

Manners - Ok ok I know I have mentioned the Austin feel of this book 100 times, but here it is again.  I am a Jane Austin fan, her ability to mingle peoples everyday lives with wit and story have always made her books a go to for me.  When an author can capture that style in a whole new book I am always happy.  This book had the feel of manners and little intrigues (along with the big stuff), just instead of marriages it was magic.  The combination of the Austin feel with the old school Fairy feel and then turning it into something wholly original is pretty epic.

Overall Impression - I liked this book, it is a book book, it is a book for people who like to READ!  This is not a book for the beach, or a quick pick me up, it requires concentration, time, and a love of reading.   That being said, it is a wonderful book, I give it 8 out of 9 viles of mad cat lady essence and recommend it to anybody who loves to read, likes Austen, magic, Fairy or just some good writing.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, November 18, 2016

This Is Taking Forever

So.  I am like 100 or so pages away from finally finishing a book that I swear I started when I was like 7.  Do ever run into a book like this?  This book in particular is over 1000 pages long and while it is very good and very interesting...I don't think it is ever gonna end.  I run into this problem on occasion as I love all books, and big books are no exception.  It is also books like this that give me a reason to read more then one book at a time...'cause no matter how good a book is about a week or so in I just need a change of pace.  Big books also help me keep my ego in check, especially dense
books that I actually have to pay attention to.  I get all high and mighty and proud of myself for my reading speed and comprehension then BAM my big fat book takes me down a peg.  Eventually I get sick of the unfinished book mocking me then I do what I have been doing this week and buckle down and finish.  The unfortunate side effect is nothing else gets read, hence the lack of ramblings.  However I shall not be defeated so you can all look forward to a rambling on this epic book and then hopefully back to my book a week routine.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Stuffed Reading

It's birthday season for my nephews...seriously all 6 of them were born within months of each other.  They range in age from 8 months to 9 years and one thing they all have in common is a love of what they call stuffy's.  These are what they call there stuffed animals.  They also love reading...'cause what kid with me for an aunt wouldn't.  Here are a couple literary stuffy's for you tiny tot.

I loved this book so much growing up, it's such a classic.

This monkey has been a favorite of every nephew at some point in time.

This book series is STILL one of my go to's...I just love it

Instant nostalgia with this set

Who didn't love this canine growing up?
Just a couple of ideas for the little guys and gals in your life.  Of course these are just a few...the possibilities are ENDLESS!  Happy Reading Everybody!