Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Hard Part

Hi folks, this is gonna be a weird post, not directly related to reading, but this is what is going on right now.  This weekend I lost a sister in blue.  I did not know her, it was her first night on duty and she was killed by a gunshot.  Two brothers in blue who where with her were also shot and wounded and are guys who have had my back and others in Fire and Rescue on numerous occasions.  These are the gals and guys who have my back on any call I may need them, they put themselves in harms way to keep me and my team safe and this weekend they payed a grievous price to do it.  I just want to use this moment and this post to make sure I always remember that this job, this life is about all of us, that defending the weak and having your peoples backs is not just something you read about in your favorite adventure book, it is something that happens in real life.  That when people get hurt and die in books you can put it down and move on...but it happens for real too and the hurt is real.
I am uplifted by the outpouring of support from pretty much everywhere and everyone in this hard time and am glad that we can all come together to support the people most affected by yet another seemingly senseless act of violence.  I encourage everybody to hold their loved ones tight, maybe read an extra book to the littles before bedtime, thank a person in uniform for their service and then go live your life to the absolute best of your ability.  This is how you honor family, friends and strangers who are willing to go that little extra bit.  Rest easy sister and know we have it from here.
Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I'm out of bookshelf space again and the books are stacking up in random places.  I told the Hubbin that I was gonna get new book shelves and he called me bookshelfish...this may have something to do with the fact I keep moving his books off the shelves to make room for mine, but in my defense mine are WAY prettier.  The other issue we have is that I may be out of traditional wall space for new shelves, so here are some space saving book storage ideas that may help me and possibly you out.

Expandable Bookshelf
This bookshelf can expand as I buy new books...It's like a dream come true!
This bookshelf can hang anywhere so wall space is no longer an issue
Elastic Bookshelf
A perfect morphing design to squeeze in anywhere I can find a bit of space
Bookshelf Door
Not only is this practical (I have at four doors I could do this to), but you have the added bonus of instant secret door of awesome!
Sapien Bookshelf
This super stackable shelves essentially fit anywhere you can find a spot...I can imagine my house becoming a forest of these things.

Alrighty, now I have tons of idea's to counter my sweet Hubbin when he tries to tell me we are out of room...and if he is a bit less shelfish MAYBE I'll even give him his own book case...if he gets some better looking books.  Happy Reading Everybody!!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Heaving Bosoms And The Undead

My friend L called this weekend wanting to see the new Pride and Prejudice and Zombies movie "based" (note the quotes) on the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame - Smith and Jane Austen which is an undead take on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen...did you catch all that?  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pride and Prejudice, and was actually quit pleased with the book Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, so I agreed to go.  After bribing him with Vanilla Caramel Bourbon Milkshakes (seriously Heaven in a chilled glass) Hubbin agreed to come with.  The movie was actually a lot of fun.  It did not really follow either book, but it did pay homage to it many times along with the original Colin Firth BBC version of the movie (seriously at one point the new Darcy does the whole white shirt into the water scene).
Where the book did it's best to essentially BE Pride and Prejudice as written just now with zombies, the movie decided to take on a bit of a different story line, adding in many battles and a four horse men/redeemable zombies sub-plot that was a bit confusing but did make for some great gothic battle scenes.  The casting was pretty spot on, with all the right people being young, beautiful and spunky.  My favorite casting was Lena Headey as Lady Catherine de Bourgh...even if they totally changed the character.  Over all the movie felt like a cheeky modern take on the Jane Austen era as a whole, with a loose arc of Pride and Prejudice laid over the top. There were tons of heaving bosoms barely restrained by corsets, dashing soldiers chopping at zombies and enough high class snark to please any Austenite.  I probably should not have enjoyed it as much as I did as it completely butchered both books...yet I had to give mad props to the pluck and fun of it all.  I have to think that if Jane Austen were alive today, these prim, proper and crazy characters would land within her scope and she too would enjoy the film.  I am not ashamed to say that I really had a good time watching this movie and will probably watch it again, just for the fun of it.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, February 22, 2016


I've finally done it, I have finally finished reading and watching the last Harry Potter book,  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling.  I'm not gonna  lie, this is by far my least favorite book in the series...but there is still some good stuff too.  For a complete synopsis of the book pop over to the HP Lexicon here  if you are on of the three people left who have not read it.  Lets dive right in, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Camping - Every time I even hear this book mentioned, the first thing I think about is the seemingly endless camping our main trio do.  I understand that they are on the run, and in all honesty a tent stuffed in a magic traveling bag is a new twist on the old "on the run from the corrupt government" deal, but seriously SO MUCH CAMPING!  I felt a lot of this book was just our trio moodily introspecting in that stupid tent that I just really wanted to start skipping pages, even the first time I read it.  It just got really really tedious.

Horcrux/Hallows - I was not entirely thrilled with the addition of the Hallows in this last book in the series.  While the concept itself is very cool, and I loved the story/fable/myth behind it, it felt like it's own separate story and quest.  Especially since it did not seem Voldemort even knew about the Hallows, much less wanted to use them.  The Horcrux's on the other hand really seemed to fulfill that history/mythic/Voldemort/Harry link and to me it kind of made the Hallows superfluous.  I would have much rather seen this last book focus on the Horcrux's and their history and connection to each other and save the Hallows for another story/quest.

Snape - HA!  I was RIGHT!  HE IS AWESOME!!!!!  Ahem...sorry...just had to get that out of my system.  From the very first book I have loved Snape, something about him just always struck the right chord with me.  I don't know if the fact that he did not love Harry like everybody else did, or that he seemed to do the right think while having an attitude or...I don't know what it was but he's been my guy.  After the events in the last book and watching him kill Dumbledore, everybody was all like "see, he's evil", but I still felt like we were missing something.  When he dies and gives Harry his memories and we see the complete tragedy that was his life, and his willingness to risk everything numerous times to protect Harry...well WOW THIS GUY ROCKS!!!!  Anyways I was pretty stoked that I was right and loved that the author really played a very good long game with the readers in regards to this character.

Family - I know this topic comes up in pretty much every rambling I do on HP, but it is a main theme yet again.  Here we see family across all lines and in all forms.  We see the Weasely's, Potters, Lovegoods, Malfoy's (yes I said the Malfoy's), Lupins and any other number of family's do what they need to do to protect each other.  We see fierce mother's love in the form of Molly Weasley taking out Bellatrix to protect her daughter, and Narcissa Malfoy willing to defy the Dark Lord to ensure her son's safety.  We watch a father willing to bend on his beliefs to keep his precious daughter safe in the form of Luna and her father, we see siblings band together when Percy comes home to open arms, and them helping each other through Fred's death.  We hear how Albus Dumbledore's past was influenced more by his family then anything.  I could go on and on, but true to form the author puts family front and center, which is in part what I think the series is about.  It was refreshing to see supposed "bad guys" also display love and protectiveness when it came to their families, showing that every person in the universe wants, needs, and can use family bonds.

The Movies - The book was made into two movies, which was completely unneeded...but was still more entertaining then the book.  As with most of the later movies I felt that the movies focused on the personal relationships more then the overall story and after watching all of them don't know how well the actual story comes across.  All that being said I will watch it over and over and over just to watch my beloved Alan Rickman (I miss you so much)  play my beloved Snape.  The casting of most of the bad guys was pretty cool too.  I don't know...I should probably just not watch the later movies.

The Ending - Ok folks, before we get all up in arms, just remember that this rambling is only my opinion.  I hate the ending of this series.  I felt that after all the creativity and wonder and building up of the story, the ending was to trite and derivative for my taste.  What my big girl pretentious words mean is that in almost any fantasy story, especially the more old school ones, "the hero having to die...but wait not really 'cause he just had to prove that he was willing to make the sacrifice and that is enough now he can come back and marry the girl"  I did not feel there was any real creativeness or story development that came out of the way Harry defeated Voldemort, it felt like every other basic fantasy epic that gets churned out I've ever read.  I guess I just expected more considering the awesomeness of the previous books.
Overall I felt this book was tedious and dark and trite with glimpses of the authors true genius.  Although the series has been getting progressivly older and it should because of the story arc, this book seemed to be borderline hopeless in a way even the last book wasn't.  I think the biggest issue is that this book suffers by comparison.  The first books were so full of wonder, the middle books continued letting us muggles continue to discover the wizarding world, and the last books still gave us some insight and moments of humor and hope.  Other then the realization that Snape is the man (which I already knew) I don't know, I felt like this book was almost written by another person who wanted to cram all the rest of her idea's into one book, but didn't know how to make it interesting.  I know I sound crabby and bitter, the book was still much better then many books that I have read, I guess I just love certain things about the series to much and they were not present in this book which makes me sad.  I will probably do one more post about the series as a whole but until then Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Firehouse Book Club

As if my firehouse wasn't awesome enough, a sort of impromptu reading club has spontaneously formed.  A core group of us from various battalions and such have started reading, sharing and recommending books to each other.  Eventually it gets to the point most of us have read the same book and then we gather around the dinner table excitedly talking over each about our love/hate/eh of the books until we are interrupted by a call.
It is awesome to walk  into my bunk and find a book on my bed, or get a text that a new book is waiting for me in my locker, or have an eager fellow EMT/Firefighter flag me down in the hall with a new "you HAVE to read this" book in hand.  This is my favorite thing about reading, you can ALWAYS find somebody else who shares that joy, and to find several someones in a place I love who share this literary passion of mine is just insanely wonderful.  I hope you all find the same sort of serendipity in the places that you love.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dragons And Hares

Hello all.  Shall we ramble today?  Ok good.  Today we ramble about Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick.  I saved it until now because the title hinted that it would be a winter book...which it really wasn't...but that's not really important.  The book was different, both in a good and bad way, but we will get to that momentarily.  Now that I have thoroughly confused you, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
The book is divided into sevenish parts all connected by an underlying story.  I will give you a quick recap in parts 'cause I think that will be the least confusing.  I realize that in the book the names Merle and Eric are used in different forms but to try and minimize some confusion I will use just the simple version of their names for all the stories.

Midsummer Sun - This first story takes place in 2027 and Eric Seven, a journalist has traveled to the island of Blest to explore rumors of a dragon orchid that gives eternal life.  He is greeted on the docks by a friendly group of people including a young woman by the name of Merle.  Eric feels an immediate connection with Merle that he cannot explain.  As the days go by, Eric starts to forget his purpose.  This changes when a note from Merle sends him to the other side of the island.  There he finds a chapel like structure, a painting and a huge field of the dragon orchids.  Eric is taken by the islanders and strapped to a stone table to become a sacrifice to bring back children to the island.  Turns out that using the orchids will give you eternal life, but make children impossible.

The Archaeologist - This story takes place in 2011.  An archaeologist and his young team have gotten permission to do some digging on the Isle of Blest.  He is frustrated as he seems to be getting no where and his funding and time are just about up.  A local young man, with apparent mental deficiencies by the name of Eric points out a specific mound and the archaeologist having nothing else to go on digs.  Turns out Eric was right and a cairn containing the bones of an adult male and child are found.  An unexploded bomb from a previous war is also found, and Eric exhibiting super strength dumps it into the ocean.  The archaeologist meets Eric's mom, who is named Merle and after learning Eric's story decides to stay with them on the island.

The Airman -  This story takes place in 1944 and features and airman with a daughter by the name of Merle back in the states.  The airman crashes on the Isle of Blest and is reluctantly taken in by a family on the island.  The head of the family is a man named Eric.  The family uses a special tea, made of the dragon orchids to help heal the airman.  They help him escape as soldiers come looking for him, Eric being shot to death as he distracts them from the airmans escape.

The Painter - This story is set in 1902.  Here we meet a woman and her young daughter Merle who regularly collect the dragon orchid and use it in its many forms to help the people of the island of Blest.  Merle is warned to not go near the chapel like house on the Western side of the island.  She ignores this warning and goes to collect apples, leaving one at the door of the mysterious house.  Eventually we learn that the house was built by a famous painter who no longer paints.  The painter is name Eric and he eventually befriends Merle and her mother.  He finally finishes his painting, a scene of an ancient Viking king on his way to be sacrificed to bring the crops back to his island. Eric dies as the painting is finished, putting the young Merle in the painting as his last act.

The Unquiet Grave - In 1848 a young woman tells a pair of young children who are visiting the Isle of Blest a story.  The story is a tale of forbidden love between the rich merchants daughter Merle and the fisherman Eric.  Merle's father is vehemently opposed to the match and convinces Eric to go away.  He kills himself and Merle goes slowly mad over his grave.  She convinces herself that a hare she see's is Eric and finds a witch to give her a potion to become a hare as well.  She apparently turns but is instantly killed by a hunter.   When the children go to tell their parents about the story, the parents are confused as the woman was not supposed to be there yet.  The real young woman then say's that the story in a different form is known on the island.  In the real story Eric is Erikka and the love was forbidden for a different reason.  Turns out the girl telling the story was the ghost of Erikka.

The Vampire - 10th century on the Isle of Blest shows us Merle old and telling us a story.  In this tale Merle and Eric are twins who are the children of the chief.  The chief comes back from raiding and a strange man is with him.  Turns out the man is named Tor and he is the brother of the chief.  He claims that because the chief uses the dragon flowers he can not father children and that the twins are actually his.  He claims them and is killed when he tries to fight the chief for them.  After Tor is buried, vicious attacks start happening, with animals and people getting their throats ripped out.  A specter of Tor appears and says he will continue killing until he gets his children.  Eric decides to go with Tor to his grave to save Merle and the attacks end.

Midwinterblood - Time unknown.  This story pretty much tells us what is happening in the painting from previous stories.  A king by the name of Eric is going to be willingly sacrificed to hopefully bring about a good harvest to the island which is slowly starving.  The king is on his third wife, a pretty young thing by the name of Merle who is not so keen on her king dying.  He tells her that he will come back for seven lives to find her and then he is killed.  The sacrifice apparently works and the harvest is good.  The islanders decide to cut back on the dragon orchid stuff so that they can start having kids again and the island prospers.

Epilogue - Here we go back to the beginning of the book.  Merle gets Eric free and they flee.  Unfortunately they are both caught and taken back to the place of sacrifice.  The islanders have not had a new child in many years and they are hoping that a blood sacrifice will change this.  Eric has some sort of understanding of his past lives and tells Merle that he is ready to die for a final time and both he and Merle are killed.
World Building - The world was a small one, focusing almost exclusively on this mysterious island in the far north.  I felt that it was well done, I am pretty sure that I could find my way around the island if I ever found it.  The basic feel of the place and its people was pretty complete and I felt the island itself was a sort of character tying the stories yeah, pretty good job with such a limited scope.

Story - really loved the idea of this story, a circle of time in which everything had something to do with the story before and after it.  In someways the author was successful at this, there were elements that definitely tied everything together...but in other ways I felt that there were just way to many threads.  It felt like the author had 1000 ideas and used all of them instead of just focusing on a few really strong ones.  I also was not a huge fan of the supposed impetuous for the whole story.  I did not get a strong love vibe between the king and his queen, it felt like "hey your hot and your crying so I'll make you a promise 'cause yeah I can" instead of two people who loved each other so much they could transcend time to find each other again, it kind of made the whole story eh.  I also was not thrilled with the ending.  They both just decide to die?  With no real connecting in any of their other lives, they find each other and then die?  What was the point?  Essentially I feel the same way about this story as I felt about watching Lost, I was hooked and intrigued, but then too much got shoved in without any real reason.

Character - This is a toughie 'cause really the only real consistent "characters" where supposedly Merle and Eric...but as they changed so drastically through out each story I really never got to know them.  They appeared not only as different types of people, but they had a different relationship in each story as well.  Getting to know them as mother and son, is way different then brother and sister which is way different then lovers, which is way different then...well  you get the idea.  So really there was no consistent character to get to know and identify with.

Editing - The book was well edited.  It flowed fairly well and for the most part made as much sense as a story like this will.  The feel of the book was consistent.  So really no major issues in the editing department. The only real thing I would have done as an editor was to try and get the author to focus a bit more and not try and shove every story line, object or myth that came to mind into the book...seriously save some idea's for later.

Eric and Merle Timeline - One of the things I had questions about in this book was the whole time line of Eric and Merle.  There were many times that according to the timeline of the book, either or both Eric and Merle would have been alive at the same time as their other life counterparts...does that make sense?  Essentially there would be two incarnations of Merle or Eric alive at the same time.  I never quit got how that fit in with the multiple lives thing.  Was this on purpose, is it possible, was it an editing thing, a convince thing?

Relationships - One of the main things in this book was relationships.  We saw pretty much every form of relationship one could imagine in this book, and not just between Merle and Eric.  We saw lovers, parents, siblings, friends, enemies, strangers, individuals, pairs, groups, families, it was kind of cool in some ways to see how many ways a person could be connected to another.  I know a lot of people had an issue with Merle and Eric not always being lovers, but I thought it was an interesting concept of two people exploring a relationship in many different ways.  I thought as long as the loving thread was there it worked for me.  The only one that did not make a whole lot of sense was in the airman where they did not even inhabit the same area, much less meet.  I also noticed Eric in each life sacrificed himself for Merle in some way shape or form continuing that part of their relationship...I just wished I believed in it more.

Genre - Oddly enough this book is usually marketed as a young adult book.  I do not know how it really falls into that category.  That is not to say some teenagers would not enjoy it or get it, just I don't think that YA is the primary audience.  The book itself is very vague and symbolismy and not really something that a young person would identify with.  The vast majority of the characters are adults and parents at that, they deal with mature adult problems and there is not a whole lot a young person would identify with.  I would put it more in the fantasy, alternate history, novel style genre, not YA.

Painting - Interesting fact, the painting in the book is actually based on a real painting called Midvinterblot painted by Carl Larsson and has its own interesting story behind it.

Overall Impression - I wanted to like this book better then I did.  It started off really strong, but each story seemed to have less and less connection with the original story and the pay off was not worth it to me.  I did not get a sense of genuine connection between the two main characters and I feel that is what was needed to really drive the thread of all the stories.  I also felt that it was to cluttered and distracting with so many little tidbits and storylines that seemed shoved in to be totally immersed in the world.  The idea itself was very cool, and the writing is very good so I might pick up another of the authors books based on that.  I give the book 6 out of 10 hares.

Happy Reading Everybody!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Eat Chocolate Day

Hello All, In honor of that bloody massacre we call St Valentines Day, here are some literary love  notes to pass to your loved ones.

Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Baby Six

Woohoooo Baby Boy #6 is here!!!!  I am so in love!!!!
I can't wait to read him his first book. Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lego Authors

Here I was just perusing the internets when I found these amazing dudes and dudettes!

These are all found here along with a bunch of other non literary related characters.  Seriously though I want all of these!!!! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sherlock Everywhere And Everything And Everybody Holmes

Hola readers!  How are you all doing this week?  Ready for a rambling?  Cool.  Today I'm gonna ramble about The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes a short story collection edited by John Joseph Adams, a favorite of mine in the short story world.  This collection features stories about my favorite detective set in every style of writing you can imagine.  We've got fantasy, we've got scifi. we've got traditional, we've got alternate history, alternate reality and any and all mix of the above that one can imagine.  I would thing that this would cause the collection to be a mess, but the editor once again manages to get a sort of flow to the whole thing.  Here are some of my favorites out of the many many amazing stories within this book.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Doctor's Case by Stephen King - This story, besides reminding me how much I like Stephen King in short story form is the perfect tale to set off the collection.  Here we have a fairly straight forward Holmsian tale...but solved by Watson, who has begun to think like the famous detective after so much time spent in his company.  This story makes me smile every time I read it, I just really love every word of it.

The Adventure of the Other Detective by Bradley H. Sinor - We go off the traditional track a bit in this alternate reality story.  Dr. Watson stumbles quit by accident into a world where Moriarty is the good guy, chasing down the notorious Sherlock Holmes.  Watching Watson try and work out this world that feels turned topsy turvey, all the while seeing where it would make sense to have a place where the two master minds switch places makes one want to go back and reread a couple of the original stories.  I love how the author dealt with both worlds, and the eventual acceptance of all parties of situation.

The Adventure of the Field Theorems by Vonda N. McIntyre - The author of this story get's a bit meta on us, introducing Conan Doyle (the original Holmes author) as a character.  The author uses the well known, and slightly odd fact that Sir Doyle, while writing the coldly logical Sherlock Holmes, was actually an avid Spiritualist who was more then willing to believe anything.  This story capitalizes on this fact with a mystery set in the fields in the form of crop circles and possibly aliens.  It is hard to describe the appeal of this story other then to compare it to an almost X-files style story with the added bonus of making me want to study Conan Doyle.

Dynamics of a Hanging by Tony Pi- Another Moriarty story, and again going meta with the inclusion of authors as characters.  This time the focus is on Moriarty's early years and the discovery of an almost impossible cipher.  I think what I really liked about this story was the duel focus on music and math as a way to write a code.  It also inspired me to go find some awesome cipher's to brush up on my code breaking.

The Specter of Tullyfane Abbey by Peter Tremayne - Here we get a glimpse of Holmes younger days.  He is portrayed as a smart young man, perhaps lacking the cold logic of his older self, but brilliant none the less.  He investigates a mystery at an old friends house with the hopes of gaining the friend's sisters affection.  This turns out to be hopeless as she is engaged to a wealthy man.  Holmes does his best to solve the case, but eventually sums it up to "darker powers"  which is not the Holmes we know.  Watson however figures out what young Holmes cannot admit to himself, giving us a satisfying conclusion.

The Adventure of the Lost World by Dominic Green - Sherlock Holmes and Dinosaurs...need I say more?

The Adventure of the Pirates of Devil's Cape - Pirates!  I love pirates!  This tale takes us to the sultry swamps of New Orleans, introducing our proper London gents to the sweat and swizzle of the Big Easy.  I like this story 'cause it has just the right amount of swashbuckling, a handful of Holmsian logic and just a smidge of potential super natural.  Also there is an albino alligator, Siamese twins and bit of awesome swordplay.

A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman - Another author whose short stories make me happy.  This tale is in a weird way the most traditional, yet most twisted tale in the collection.  We get a new take on a very traditional case...but in this one we get a Cthulhu alien royalty, an alternate reality and a twist ending that makes one want to go reread the story over to get every nuance.  I think that this story really sums up what the editor wanted this collection to be.  A very good entry to a very good collection.
These are just a few of the numerous and varied stories in this collection.  A few thoughts on the book as a whole.  I found an interesting pervalance of  Moriarty, Irene Adler and oddly enough H.P. Lovecraft style monsters making numerous appearances.  I noted that Watson was the most popular narration and that the authors usually used either the name of a case that was mentioned but not told in the original stories, or a twist on the title of the original stories.  I found that it took me some time to get through this book, mostly because every story had the basic element of a Holmes mystery so I had to take time to digest and think through every story as I read it...and a few I had to read twice.  Overall I loved the weird combination of the tried and true and creativity that was present in EVERY story.  I will be reading most of the stories in this collection again and recommend it to anybody who loves Holmes and just about any other genre of books.  I give it 8 out of 10 deer stalking hats.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Quote Quote Baby

We are on baby watch here at The Super Bookworm Girl household.  I have a new nephew coming in the next week or two (that makes six!!!!)  In the meantime, here are some ways to ensure that the little ones get off to the right start.
Pride and Prejudice
Harry Potter
Alice in Wonderland
Lord of the Rings
The Tempest
I think dressing the littles in these fun outfits will give them perfect literary start to life.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Feeling The Snark

I'm in a bit of a snarky mood today (also I really love the word snark).  Apparently the internet also loves snark...and reading...and reading related snark...who knew?  Anyways here are some fun tidbits that caught my snark today.

Ahhh now that I've shared the snark I feel better.  Happy Reading Everybody!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Eclectic Book Buying

After a long weekend at the station, I decided to treat myself to a day at the used book store.  The weather was also very Northwest like, so my nostalgia was in full effect.  I put on my hoodie, stopped for some coffee and book shopping I went.
The first thing I found was this GIANT Anne McCaffery book that I didn't even know existed.  So yay me!!!
Seriously though this book is huge, here is another normal sized book for comparison...I think I would have gotten it just for the sheer size, the fact that it is dragons AND my favorite author just sealed the deal.
I then continued my spree with quite possible the weirdest mix of books ever (and yes those are my ugly Mamma is the photographer in the family not me) and then came home to write this post, grab a glass of wine and read my new enormous book.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Flinging Across Space

Hi Readers!  How was your weekend?  Mine was insanely busy...but what else is new :-)  I did however manage to blaze through a book, which I will now ramble about.  The book The Rowan by my favorite Anne McCaffrey is an old school sci fi book that is always a perfect go to book.  We have been watching The X-Files here at my house and it made me nostalgic for some of my old school reading so The Rowan was grabbed and read.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Rowan is about an orphan colonial child who is found to have great telekinetic and telepathic abilities.  In this future universe, people with any sort of mental abilities are called Talents and the people who posses the high level and rare combination of telekinesis and telepathy are called Primes and are invaluable to keeping the now space fairing human race going.    These Primes have the ability to fling any object, large or small across an set amount of space.  This includes ships, drones, packages and any other thing a new planetary colony may need.  The Rowan is the child rescued from a devastating mudslide on the colonial planet Altair.  She is deemed to be Prime material and is so trained.  We follow the Rowen as she grows from a child to a teenager, encountering many hardships, growing moments along the way.  She also develops her talents, showing a promise to become one of the most talented Primes alive.  The next part of the book shows the Rowan taking over her own Prime station.  She is adept at her job and continues to grow but she if very lonely.  Although she tries, any person under her high level of talent just is not comfortable spending too much time around her.  This is loneliness is made worse by her inability to leave the moon on which her station is built due to dealing with a traumatizing illness anytime she tries to leave.  One day while working, the Rowan is contacted by mind from the far away colonial planet Deneb.  The contact states that the planet is under attack and requests help.  After lobbing a few missiles Earth's way to demonstrate the sever danger the planet is under.  To save the planet the Rowen merges with the other Prime talents to give the Deneb mind a chance to defeat the aliens.  After the crisis is over, the mind of Deneb in the form of Jeff Raven appears, and thanks to the intense merger discovers that he and the Rowan are in love.  The two of them spend time together, but the Rowans inability to travel makes their new love difficult.  Jeff Raven heads back to Deneb and the Rowan resumes work.  the Rowan is devastated when she loses contact with Jeff and learning he has been gravely injured transports herself to Deneb to nurse him back to health.  Jeff eventually heals and he and the Rowan are officially a pair.  Jeff signs on the the FT&T which is the impartial and neutral company that employs the Primes and pretty much controls all the instantaneous transport within the scope of humanity.  The last part of the book follows the Rowan and Jeff as they start their family and cope with the new responsibilities given to them by FT&T.  This culminates in a son with a second child on the way for the happy couple.  the Rowan and her female talents start to feel a malevolent presence that turns out to be the same aliens that had attacked before, but with infinantly more power. The Rowan merges with all the other female talents and Jeff merges with all the male kinetics and hopefully ends the alien threat for once and for all.  The book ends with Jeff and the Rowan  continuing to build their family and the FT&T finally carving a life for themselves.
World Building - I feel one of the authors strengths is world building.  The universe in which this story is set is detailed and complete.  It is set in a future Earth era where humans have expanded into space.  The FT&T and Talent set up is pretty well explained and very consistent through out the whole book.  This is one of those worlds that stays with you long after you have finished the book.  It is also one you feel infinite stories can be told in.    I found it interesting that for the purposes of this series, it was a private company and in some ways economics that was the focus of this universe.  That being said, the author was good at keeping the setting aligned with the other parts of the book.

Story - The story was fairly cohesive, following the main character through several stages of her life.  While the Rowan, Jeff and the aliens provided a thread to follow, the story was more episodic then flowing, more a series of short glimpses to make a whole then a beginning to end story. This worked for this book, setting up a universe and characters more then any over all story.  It kept me engaged from beginning to end and lived up to it's premise.

Characters - I found in this book, that along with the world building, characters were a very strong point in this book.  The characters where varied. well written and well fleshed out.  They interacted with each other in meaningful ways and every character introduced had a purpose.  My favorites were Jeff's mother Isthia of the ear, Elizara the insanely talented medic and both Ackerman and Gerolaman the stationmasters all of whom had great senses of humor.  I did feel that the Rowan had a bit of the special snowflake syndrome, being the bestest ever at being a Prime, but felt it was tempered by the hardships and personal issues she had to endure.

Editing - The book was divided into four parts, and at times it felt like four separate stories strung together.  There was a bit of choppiness and disparities between the parts as well that sometimes took me out of the world to say to myself "um that is not what was said/happened in the last part".  Part of this is the fact that the middle part of the book started as a completed short story and that the rest of the book was built around that.  Overall though the pacing and flow of the book was very good.

Talents - I love love love the concept and execution of the talents in this future universe.  The author introduced the concept and followed through with it in a very scientific, yet understandable way.  She then continued to be consistant and varied with the various types, strengths and combinations a person could have.  She also made sure to have a structured environment where a talent can and would thrive, be useful and be accepted as a valuable member of society.  It would be very easy for the author to make a book about the "normal" people vs. the "talented" people, but instead she integrated them into a economic society.  I just really love the concept and execution of the concept.
The Love Story - Sooo... not really a fan of how Jeff just happened to appear and be a perfect match for the Rowan right when she was feeling the most lonely.  I guess I understand that if you merged your whole mind with somebody you would know pretty quickly if you loved them or not...but it still seemed pretty convenient.  I also was not a fan of the proprietary bossing around of the Rowan, especially when she was pregnant by Jeff, and also a few other's, but mostly Jeff.  It felt like since he loved her, he felt he could control her when he felt it was in her best interest.  On the plus side, the Rowan usually fought back against the imposed restrictions and overall Jeff loved and appreciated the Rowan for exactly who she was.

Personal Interactions - One of my favorite parts about this book, and the author in general is how the characters interact with each other.  The book has many characters and they all play a role with their own personalities, likes and dislikes.  Not one character is perfect, they all have their positives and negatives and they all deal with each other on different levels.  Watching these interactions gives an authenticity to the book that is phenomenal and really elevates it above a lot of other books.  It is nice to see an author have a grasp on true human interactions and work them so well into the book.

Complete Randomness - I just want to say I love the original cover of this book (the first pic on the post) the colors themselves just make me happy.  Also I have an old school paperback version of the book and it smells incredible!!!  So yeah...

Overall Impression - I love this book.  It definitely has it's flaws, but I go back to this story over and over again.  It is one of those that get's in my brain and stays there.  I feel this is mostly due to the amazing universe the author has created.  This is a great start to a great series and I will continually go back to it as both a nostalgia piece and just a good book.  I recommend it to anybody who wants to read incredible world building, sci fi with a more domestic bent or just really loves Anne McCaffrey.

Score - I give this book 8 out of 10 pukah's

That is today's rambling...not to bad considering I've taken care of and transported close to a ton of human flesh this week.  Happy Reading Everybody!!!!