Friday, October 28, 2016

Decor Of The Literary And Spooky

It's almost Halloween!!! Time for ghoulies and ghosties and some book themed spooky decor for your next fabulous book themed costume party of Halloween epicness!

Poe Wreath
An atmospheric and classic way to greet your guests.
Pumpkin Book
I love books, I love pumpkins...I love this idea!
Boo Banner
Printed on some ghost stories this decor also keeps your guests entertained!
Spell Book
I cast a spell on leave me alone so I can keep reading!
Pretty Books
Even our books like to get up for Halloween, so let a couple put on these printable covers and join the party!

Ok, now that I have given you all some idea's I need somebody to have a party so I can come dressed as one of my many favorite book characters and have a rousing literary discussion!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Triss, Not-Triss, Trista

On my epic trip of awesome I got a chance to read a book beginning to end.  I actually tossed this book in my back pack on a whim 'cause I had totally forgotten I had got it and stuck it on my shelf.  Turns out it was the perfect book to read as an October/Trip hybrid.  The book is Cuckoo Song by the ever creative Frances Hardinge.  The book, besides having a Halloween worthy cover also turned out to be a completely different read (in a good way) then I thought it would be.  What made this book so interesting, let's find out.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!
Triss wakes up all befuddled.  She is told that she fell into the river and suffered yet another illness...which accounts for her inability to think straight.  As she recovers, her little sister Pen starts to freak out, telling her she is not the real Triss.  As Triss's memories start to come back we learn that the Crescent family has all kinds of private problems.  The oldest brother, Sebastion died in the war five years ago, Triss has been sickly ever since and Pen acts out to get some attention from her parents, away from the ever sick Triss.  All of this is covered with a veneer of civility and wealth as their father is a genius civil engineer that has single handedly revitalized their town.  Triss develops an insatiable hunger that concerns her parents.  She also starts to see her dolls move and supposedly catches her little sister placing a weird phone call.  Her father takes her to the doctor after becoming worried that her recent fever has left her a bit touched in the head.  She passes it off as sleep walking and is taken for a new dress to make her feel better.  Here she meets Mr. Grace who lets her eat as much as she wants. Triss overhears her parents talking about a mysterious person who may have been responsible for her fall in the river and she investigates.  She discovers a weird creature delivering letters to the desk in her dead brothers room.  When she reads the letters she finds that they are from Sebastion and talk about a horrible place that he is trapped in.  She captures the creature delivering the letters and gets the location of the Shrike, a being associated with the Architect who may be able to help her figure out just what is going on.  One day while she is supposed to be resting she notices Pen sneaking out and follows her.  She arrives at a cinema and follows Pen into a weird back room where she overhears a conversations between her little sister and a being known as the Architect.  Turns out Pen made a deal with this creature to take Triss away so that her parents could finally be happy.  However as part of the deal, the Architect had a cuckoo made that looks like Triss and has Triss's memories but was made of sticks, leaves and Triss's memento's.  She will only live for seven days until the Architect does whatever he means to do with the real Triss.  Understandably the changling Triss is upset about the whole thing.  Back at home, tension has risen to an all time high and the girls parents decide to take Triss to a specialist.  Not Triss, as she calls herself now is taken to see several people and eventually they end up at a little cottage.  After being tricked into revealing herself, Mr. Grace appears and tells her parents what she is, not their daughter, but a changling placed by beings called Besiders, which is a type of fey.  He tells her parents that they need to burn her so that the Besiders will bring back the real Triss.  Not-Triss is saved from burning by the appearance of Pen and the girls make a run for it.  They are taken care of by the wild and strong Violet, the fiance of their dead brother who is no longer welcome at the Crescent household.  Not-Triss and Pen follow the Besider directions and end up in the Underbelly and finally get the whole story from the Shrike.  Turns out that Besiders can only live where there is uncertainty and with the advance of maps and science their living ground is shrinking.  The Architect has learned to make impossible spaces to house the Besiders but needed a legit city guy to get them built.  He offered Mr. Crescent contact with his dead son in return for passing off the ideas as his own.  Eventually Mr. Crescent no longer wants to honor the deal and this angers the Architect who goes and makes a deal with Pen.  Pen asks the Architect to take Triss away because she felt her constant illness and spoiledness was making her parents unhappy.  The Architect has the Shrike make not-Triss to distract everybody until he can exact his revenge.  Pen and not-Triss...whom Pen renames Trista after a couple of adventures bond the two...hook back up with Violet to evade Mr. Grace and their parents.  They learn that the Architect has been bringing in Besiders to eventually move into a space he created in the city and plans to get his revenge by burying the real Triss alive.  Trista decides to help the real Triss, regardless of the Architects attempts to tempt her to help him by giving her ways to live past seven days.  Trista and the Architect face off and Trista grabs a stopped watch that had been keeping Sebastion suspended in the bad place and starts it again.  The Architect is defeated and Triss and Pen are reunited with their parents.  Trista uses the watch to stop time for herself and survive.  Trista and Violet decide to start a new life together while the Crescent family tries to figure out how to move forward.
World Building - This was a great and unique world, blending the familiar world of post WWI England with just a touch of the fantastic.  I feel the author blended the Besiders world very well with our world and showed exactly where and how the crossover was.  The world was built through action and observation which meant no long rambling descriptions to break up the narrative and I loved it!

Story - This story was so different from what I originally thought it would be.  This is in some ways the fault of the blurbs.  The way the description of the book and the one line "reviews" sound, I thought it would be a bit of a horror novel OR that Triss would take the whole book to figure out what she was.  Instead I got a story of discovery and relationships.  The story very much was about a family discovering who they really where and how they needed to relate to each other.  The focus was on Triss and Pen, but all the characters had their places in the story.  In the end the story was less about drawing out the suspense and more about discovery and growing.  It had a clear beginning, middle and end.  Very original story.

Character - I think one of my favorite aspects of the book was the author's treatment of the characters.  Every single character had...I want to say two faces.  There was the facade they showed the world for whatever reason and then there was their true selves.  This was the most apparent in not-Triss as she was literally not her true self and had to discover who she was supposed to be, but every single character had multiple facets.  The book did a great job at showing us how and why the society facade came about and why each character felt they had to show a different face to the world.  We also got to discover each characters true self, their motives, loves, hates, history and all the complications of being a living being.  Fantastic job with the characters.

Editing - Very good pacing for this story.  The combination of writing and editing was great.  None of this, let's draw out the mystery just for tensions sake.  The book was more about discovery and less about trying for a gotcha twist.  I felt like I got through this book very quickly.  My only tiny editing qualm would be that the last quarter of the book started to feel a bit repetitive with the girls constantly running, hiding, sleeping and repeating.  Overall though the pacing was spot on and the whole thing actually made great sense.  Good job.

Family - At it's core I really felt that this story was about the Crescent family and how they had to deal with the massive changes in their life.  They were a settled wealthy English family who's life was shattered by the was most peoples.  They all did things to adjust.  Triss was "ill and sickly" so that her parents had somebody to take care of to take the focus off of their grief.  Pen, to young to understand acted out because she knew no other way.  The parents doing what they can to cope within the strictures of a very uptight society.  The whole family just trying to cope.  The catalyst of not-Triss forces the whole family to drop the veneer and really try and figure out why they act the way they do and to re-evaluate their relationships with each other.  The fact that it was magical style creatures that brought this all to a head just made it all that much cooler :-)

Discovery - I think I have probably used this term at least 100 times in this post, but I felt that it was such a prevalent theme that I am going to talk about it some more.  This whole book was about people discovering things...which is such a refreshing change from the gotcha twists, long drawn out secrets and endless telling of some other books I have read.  We get to discover along with our characters pretty much everything.  We learned about Triss and how she came into being.  We learned about the Crescent family history.  We learned about the tragedy of Mr. Grace.  We learned about the Besiders and their story.  Every thing that was discovered added to the story and gave us another piece to the puzzle.  I love reading stories like this, they feel alive.

Besiders - The treatment of the Besiders was pretty spot on.  From reading about a zillion various books, stories and studies of the old school fey, I felt that these slightly scary guys were great.  The Besiders paralleled the humans in their need to change and adapt.  As the humans had to grow and cope with the war and progress, so did the Besiders if they wanted to survive.  I especially liked that while humans needed and craved stability and certainty, the Besiders are a mirror image, needing uncertainty and chaos to thrive.  These were also not little flitting faires and regal elves.  These were wild, varied and on occasion dangerous beings who were just looking to survive.  They were the perfect mirror to our human characters and were utilized wonderfully.

Overall Impression - I loved this book.  It was not originally what I thought it was going to be, but it turned out to be so much better.  I know many people were disappointed when the book turned out not to be full on horror...but this just goes to show you not to judge a book by it's cover...or short description...or blurb.  I am finding I really enjoy this author and her slightly skewed look on everyday life without going overboard to the flat out weird.  It is a fine line to walk and so far I feel she does it beautifully.   I give it 8 out of 10 unruly scissors and recommend it to anybody who wants an engrossing read, Victorian style fantasy and isn't afraid to ask some hard questions.  I will be reading more of this authors stuff.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reading With Giants

I' BACK!!!!! Did you all miss me?  What?!?  You didn't even notice I was gone?  Eh I guess that's fair.  My super birthday trip of awesome was about as perfect as it could possibly be.  There was hiking, there was driving, there was shopping, there was playing, there was drinking, there was eating and most important of all there was READING!!!!!!  Seriously though.  This trip is exactly what I needed to get my head back in the game.  Here are some brief highlights.
Reading break by the river

Reading inside of a living hollowed out giant of a redwood tree

The site where I am going to build my giant library house

Utter epicness

Inspiration for almost every book ever

Reading time in the tub of relaxation and happiness

Natural reading throne...also super comfy!

So so so so so so big!

Just 'cause I think this is super cool.
The trip was absolutely amazing.  It got my imagination all fired up.  I got to finish a couple of books, including one from beginning to end.  I got to spend time with people I love.  Mostly I got to run away and just be.  Thank you so so so so so so much to my amazing Hubbin who put the most perfect of birthday trips together for me!!!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Birthday Surprise Of Awesome!

AHHHHHH MY HUBBIN IS THE BESTEST HUBBIN EVER!!!!!  I just got surprised with a birthday trip to California to go hiking in the redwoods and visit the west coast nephews.  AND he bought me a stack of books to take with me. To make this trip even better there is all kinds of built in reading time.  I am seriously so excited.  The only downside to all of this is that I will literally be coming home from the fire station, taking a shower and hopping on an airplane to cross the whole country.
 All this after about 30 hours on my other ambulance.  Pretty much what I am trying to say is posting will be spotty at best for the next week.  I will instead be reading, hiking and soaking up all the west coast goodness while I can.  BUT when I get back and settled there will be posting galore!  I hope you are all having as great a week as I am.  Happy Reading Everybody!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Bitter In Black

Had a bout of insomnia the other that means I got to finish another book so YAY!  This of course means time for a haunted rambling to continue our October of awesome.  The book is The Woman in Black by Susan Hill which is the inspiration for the movie by the same name.  Was I to scared to sleep?  Let's find always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Arthur Kipp starts us off by telling us where he is at now.  He is happily married to his second wife after being widowed at a young age and now enjoys his later life with his wife, step-children and grandchildren.  The family starts telling ghost stories which triggers a pretty intense memory in our narrator Mr. Kipp.  He takes us back to his younger days where he was working on making partner at his law firm.  He ultimate goal was to provide a comfortable home for his fiancee Stella and their future family.  To this end he is sent by his boss to the remote town of Crythin Gifford and further out to an old manor Eel Marsh House.  A crumbling pile that is regularly cut off by the high tide.  Mr. Kipp's job is to attend the funeral and then the business affairs of the late Alice Drablow, the last remaining Drablow to live at Eel Marsh House.  Mr. Kipp finds himself quit comfortable in the little town and sets off with the local solicitor Mr. Jerome.  During the funeral Mr. Kipp see's a gaunt and wasted figure in all black.  He enquirers about her and only receives fear and silence in answer.  Mr. Kipp heads out to Eel Marsh House and again encounters the Woman in Black and determines that she is not only unhuman, but potentially malevolent as well.  As Mr. Kipp continues to go through the house he is stuck in a fog and in that mist he hears the sound of a pony and trap go off the road and the screams of a child as they are sucked down and drowned in the treacherous marsh.  Mr. Kipp is shaken up until he is picked up by his man and realizes that what he heard was not real.  He decides to get provisions and stay at the house until his business is complete.  To this end a new friend insists that he borrows his little terrier Spider to accompany him.  Mr. Kipp is woken in the night by a sound coming from a locked door.  He breaks it open and discovers the room of a young boy and a rocking chair in motion.  After going through various documents in between being scared and startled by various noises he finally get's the tragic story of Eel Marsh House.  Turns out that Alice Drablow had a sister Jennet who gave birth to a child out of wedlock.  Because of the circumstances and time period, Jennet was forced to give the child to her sister to raise.  Jennet could finally no longer stand to be away from her son and came to Eel Marsh House.  One day, while Jennet was standing at the window she watched in horror as her son, his nursemaid and the driver of the trap and pony lost their way in the mists and were instantly sucked down and drowned in the marsh.  These are the screams Mr. Kipp kept hearing in the marsh.  Jennet died 12 years after her son, bitter, angry and blaming everybody for her sons death, haunting the town many years after her demise.  After some more terror, Mr. Kipp is brought to his friends house to recover.  It is here that Mr. Kipp learns the horrifying aftermath to the story.  Apparently every time the Woman in Black is sighted, a child dies a horrible death.  Mr. Kipp goes back to London to try and forget the terror of his trip.  He marries Stella and they have a son.  One day Mr. Kipp, his wife and infant son are at a fair.  Stella takes their son on a carriage ride while Mr. Kipp looks on.  As the carriage rounds the corner on its return trip, Mr. Kipp sees the Woman in Black step in front of the carriage, causing it to crash into a tree.  Mr. Kipp's son is killed instantly and Stella is grievously injured.  After 10 months of pain, Stella finally succumbs to her injuries, leaving Mr. Kipp as another victim of the bitter and angry spirit of the Woman in Black.
World Building - The atmosphere created by the author of this book was complete and enabled one to get lost in the moody and damp landscape.  The only real issue I had with the world building was how much of the book was spent describing the environment instead of showing it.  It felt like at least a third of the book was just descriptions of the dank marsh and the spooky, musty house.  While making a complete world, this also had the detrimental side effect of making the first 3/4 of the book a bit boring.  That being said, the setting was pretty perfect for the story.

Story - The actual ghost story part of this book is pretty awesome.  It was a story that was scary on two levels.  One, the story made sense, you could understand why the ghost was so angry and why she got revenge the way she did.  The second level of scary is that it involved innocent children.  It's bad enough when an adult with resources and reasoning is haunted, but when you involve children the chill factor jumps a least for me.  As for the rest of the story, again, the first 3/4 of the book was long drawn out set up that made me want to skip pages.  It wasn't until the last quarter of the book where I got super engrossed in the story so...

Characters - The characters where pretty much your average ghost story characters, slightly naive man, haunted villagers unwilling to part with information, the convenient friend, the cold recluse old lady, the angry spirit.  Nothing spectacular.  Nothing bad, just no real character development in anybody other then Mr. Kipp.  It was nice to see that he had overcome his past to a degree and found some happiness instead of letting it destroy him, but other then that pretty run of the mill characterization.

Editing - The combination of having this book be narrated in the first person and wanting this to be a full length book made most of it angsty and boring.  I am torn between blaming the author and blaming the editor for the pacing of this book.  The contrast between the excruciating slow bulk of the book and the amazingly creepy end of the book left me pretty frustrated and wondering how most people got far enough in to appreciate the spectacular last fourth of the story.  I personally feel that this would have been perfect for an under 100 pages story but that's just me.

Ghost Story - Let's get back to the ghost story part of this book for a minute shall we?  I was seriously scared for this part of the book.  After a ton of pages of feeling like I just wanted to put the book down it got really scary very quickly.  I really loved how squirmy and heart in the throat this part of the book made me.  I was in bed and even had a big strong Marine sleeping next to me and I STILL had the covers over my head!  This is what I look for in a good scary story.  Blood and gore don't really do it for me, but a great ghost story gives me all the chills.  I am pretty stoked that after slogging through so much blah, the pay off at least was pretty awesome.

The Movie - I loved the newest movie adaption of this book.  They definitely changed some things, but I felt, especially in movie format that the changes made the story even better.  In fact I liked the movie so much it inspired me to go hunt down other great ghost stories.  I totally got where the book inspired the creepiest parts of the movie, and the Eel Marsh House and surrounding environs were spot on match for the book.  Overall for a movie adaption I would strongly recommend it to anybody who prefers atmosphere and story over blood and gore for their chills.

Cause and Effect - I think the reason the actual ghost story part appeals to me is that it follows my own personal appreciation of cause and effect.  My favorite stories are ones where I can follow a reason for something to happen.  Many times, especially in supernatural tales, a ghost or spirit or monster is malevolent just because it makes the story scarier.  In stories like this, human actions have long term consequences AND the consequences are logical (or a logical as a bitter child killing ghost can be) to the actions that spawned them.  In this story a woman was forced to give up her child then had to watch him die a horrible death.  The consequences are that she now takes children away from their parents...makes sense in a way.  To me this is the potentially scariest thing ever 'cause it means that you have to be responsible for your actions or you or potentially innocent people will suffer for it.

Overall Impression - This is another case of a book I wanted to like a lot more then I did.  It was really excruciating to get through the majority of this book and the awesome chills I got from the last part may or may not make up for it.  In all honesty I will probably just skip to the good part if I ever read this book again.  I recommend it for anybody who has patience...or doesn't mind skipping right to the end.  I am torn because it was almost like reading two books, so I guess I give the first 3/4 of the book a 4 out of sheer boredom and the last 1/4 a 9 'cause it was super awesome...which averages to I don't know...maybe a 6 or 7 unreadable gravestones.  Anyways Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Painting Update

Look what my insanely talented Mamma is doing for my birthday!!!!
So awesome!!!! Can't wait to see it finished...have I mentioned how much I LOVE my book nook!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mamma And The Bookstore

MY MAMMA IS HERE!!!!!!  Sorry I'm a wee bit excited.  This is the woman who taught me to read and then has continually encouraged my reading through out my whole life.  Since my Mamma now lives in the middle of nowhere seriously it is about as small town as it gets...she rarely gets the pleasure of just hanging out in a bookstore.
 So today we went, gathered up a bunch of books, got some coffee and proceeded to read, talk, read, recommend books to each other, read and then buy books to read when we got home.  With the perfect fall weather and no real schedule to follow, it was a couple hours of blissful heaven.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Two Souls One Body And Some Weird Voodoo

Hola Readers. Ready to start our October scare fest?  Found a new book by a new author called The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich.  I grabbed it 'cause the cover was cool, it involved mental health issues, and a potentially unreliable narrator...which when done right is one of my favorite things.  How did I like the book?  Read on to find out.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
The book is written as a collection of culled bits and pieces from various media.  Mostly diary entries, video, and interview snippets.  We start off being told that there was a tragedy that happend at Elmbridge High School, a boarding school in England.  Over the course of a couple months multiple people have died or disappeared, culminating in a fire that left a couple more students dead and a few of them critically injured.  This book is meant to try and piece together what happened before the event.  We meet Kaitlyn, the alter identity of Carly the main character of our story.  Interestingly enough, even though Carly had her own part to play in the story, it is only Kaitlyn we hear from.  Kaitlyn's diary makes up most of the book along with her friend Naida's video diary and various interview snippets.  The gist of the story is that Carly was sent to a mental hospital following the death of her parents in some undisclosed tragedy (the term tragedy is going to be used quit a bit in this rambling, you have been warned).  Carly's therapist won' tell her what happend, rather hoping that Carly will remember on her own when she is ready.  We meet Kaitlyn, the supposed alter to ego to Carly in what their therapist has "dubbed" dissociative identity disorder.  The therapist thinks that the split happened after the accident, but Kaitlyn insists that she has always been their.  This is kind of confirmed when their little sister Jaime knows who Kaitlyn is.  Anyways, Carly is only present during the day and Kaitlyn is only present at night, neither aware of what the other experiences.  The two identities communicate through notes that they hide from the rest of the world.  Carly/Kaitlyn are allowed to go to Elmbridge, a boarding school that works with the hospital.  There they become friends with Naida, one of the few people who know about both personalities.  Naida is also very into some sort of Scottish voodoo.  Kaitlyn meets and falls in love with the mysterious and weird Ari, keeping him a secret from Carly.  One day Kaitlyn wakes up in the morning without Carly taking over.  This completely freaks Kaitlyn out which causes her to hurt herself sending her back to the hospital.  The therapist is surprised as it seems that Kaitlyn, not Carly is the "real" personality, but tries to convince her that she is still really Carly.  Kaitlyn freaks even more and wants Carly back.  Naida breaks Kaitlyn out of jail and hides her in the basement of the school.  Through out this whole time Kaitlyn refers to Dee in her diary, essentially giving her diary a name and personality.  Kaitlyn also experiences a malevolent voice, and hallucinations of an old decaying house she dubs the Dead House (hence the title of the book).  Naida decides that Kaitlyn and Carly are victims of dark magic and get's their friends in all kinds of dark Scottish voodoo to try and get Carly back. They determine that a dark magic worker has sent a demon to possess Carly/Kaitlyn and that it needs to be gotten rid of.  This does not work as planned and results in Naida cutting out her own tongue.  Naida's brother, a shaman comes to try and re-do the ritual the right way, they find out that somebody close to Kaitlyn is the bad guy.  Several bodies later it is revealed that Ari is responsible for sending the demon to possess the girls, because he felt that Carly and her friends were keeping Kaitlyn from living a full life.  We also find out that Kaitlyn is responsible for all the deaths due to the demon possessing her.  We also find out that Kaitlyn is responsible for her parents death as she grabbed the wheel and crashed the car on purpose after and argument with her father.  She told her friend John (a guy she met before the accident and one more body to add to the count) that she was glad they died and that it was the happiest day of her life.  We end the book with and interview with Carly/Kaitlyn's therapist leaning that she lost her licence and started a paranormal research lab on the remains of Elmbridge.  A transcription of a video reveals that Kaitlyn set herself and the school on fire and before she died a shadow could be seen joining her.  Carly/Kaitlyn's body was never found.  Elmbridge continues to be a site of paranormal research and mysterious disappearances.
World Building - This is a contemporary YA novel set mostly in a hospital and boarding school in England.  The world was fairly small, but very well built.  I could probably find my way to the ruined chapel, I could see the various rooms Kaitlyn was stuck in, the Dead House was sufficiently creepy and atmospheric.  As far as settings the world was pretty complete.

Story - I had some issues with the story.  It felt like a mismatch of a truly troubled individual who may or may not have at least one serious mental illness and some weird voodoo magic haunted stuff.  The story felt overloaded, convoluted and in all honesty felt like it never went anywhere.  There were several storylines that were alluded to but we never got back to them, like was Kaitlyn/Carly always a pair, or did they not appear until after the accident, was the school haunted or was that all Kaitlyn and her friends, how many malevolent entities are there and where did they all come from?  If the demon is responsible for all of Kaitlyn's killings then why did she kill her parent's long before she met Ari?  So many more questions and no answers.  It felt like the author had a thousand idea's and instead of really focusing on one or two she just crammed them all in there and hoped for the yeah.

Character - Hmmm, so in some ways I really liked some of the characters.  Kaitlyn was at least interesting, even if she was a bit angsty...though to be fair she actually sounds like some people I know as an adult so even her angst was at least on point.  Naida was pretty cool, I liked her loyalty to both Carly and Kaitlyn, I liked her ability to go and get things done and just her attitude in general.  Scott and John were ok, Ari was fun until the very end when the story went eh on the characters I guess.

Editing - From a format perspective I thought this book was pretty cool.  The various snippets were fun and gave us multiple perspectives.  From a book stand point I thought some tighter editing would have been an asset.   As mentioned before, I felt that there were just waaaaaaay to many random stories thrown in, and I feel a good editor would have sat the author down and been like "hey chica, these are all great idea's but maybe write like three or four books and really explore them instead of mush them into one confusing mess".  I also felt like the various "twists" where thrown in willy nilly while at the same time the two main mysteries (the fire and the accident) where victims of the let's use ambiguity to stretch out the suspense until nobody cares.  I really felt the editor let this book and author down as far as continuity and readability.

Mental Illness - In some ways I like that this book is a potentially jumping off point for an open and frank discussion on mental illness, especially in young adults.  I feel this book tried to touch on very important topics such as medication, integration and diagnosing of this very real and very poorly understood group of illnesses.  The questioning of the therapists methods were a good reminder that we still need to work on legitimate ways to help people, while Kaitlyn's potentially destructive behavior towards herself and others makes us ponder the balance of personal freedom and the safety of the patient and those around them.  Unfortunately the shaky inclusion of the voodoo magic stuff with no real answer at the end of the book makes it seem that all of the potential realities of this were swept away with the answer of "oh she wasn't really crazy it was probably some voodoo demon so yeah".  I think I am even more disappointed because I have read some very well written books that meld potential mental health issues and the paranormal in a way that is very effective and to me this book did not deliver on that.

Magic - I think my main problem with the voodoo in this book ( to be fair the author did name it something specific...not voodoo...I just call it voodoo 'cause that is exactly what it sounds like) is that it is never even remotely explained.  The only real info I could glean from the book is that is is some sort of maybe Scottish magic and that it seriously resembles Creole voodoo.  We never get a clear picture of what it is or how it works even though it plays a huge part in the book.  Along with that we get a timeline that includes Kaitlyn hearing voices and seeing dead people...or zombies...or ghosts...or shadows or whatever long before she meets Naida.  I guess if some of what was going on was explained better and how SO MANY unrelated characters all knew about it and how to use it was plausible I would have been more willing to believe that it may have been influencing Kaitlyn.  There was a mention of potential mass hysteria and in all honesty if this had been explored a bit more I would have been much happier.

Carly/Kaitlyn - By far the most interesting part of this book for me was the Carly/Kaitlyn dynamic.  What was in the book was very intriguing and page turning.  The idea that the two of them considered themselves sisters, figured out a way to communicate, were aware of each other and would even ask each other favors.  I really really wanted to know more about their history, were they really both around before the accident?  Were they equal as two separate people in one body or was one of them a splintered personality.  Who was really the "real" person Carly or Kaitlyn.  It seems like there was so much story to mine here, so many twits and turns to navigate that I am sad that none of it made it into the story.  I feel like if we had been able to explore at least Kaitlyn as more then the troubled angsty alter ego we may have found some true horror in her all to human psychology.

Overall - I think my feelings have been made pretty clear on this particular book.  I really wanted to like it.  The format, the premise and the topics all seemed like they could be very very interesting but overall I feel this book gave me lots of tantalizing tidbits but ultimately did not deliver on any of them.  I give this book 5 out of 10 purple notes and have now been inspired to write a completely separate post on books I would like to author to rewrite.  I have noted that I am in the minority on my opinions on this book and feel that most teen's would probably very much enjoy it and that is a good thing.  For myself I feel like I ordered a gourmet grill burger and got a McDonald's little cheeseburger instead, it tastes all right but not what I wanted.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

New Favorite Reading Spot

After a couple of not so fun shifts at work, the last 18 hours have been absolutely fantastic.  Part of the awesomeness is the discovery of my new favorite reading spot.

Seriously so awesome to just pop right out side with my blanket, coffee and a great book.  To top it off the weather is being so cooperative right now.  Cool and breezy with a good mix of sun and clouds.  Perfect for a fall day of reading!  I'm gonna head back out right now!  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Slide Onto My Bookshelf

How that I have completely covered all available wall space in bookshelves, I feel like I need to look into more options that help me pack more books into my space.  The solution seems to be sliding bookshelves, they allow me to layer up while still having access to all my lovely books.  Here are a few options that I have seen.
Sliding Into The Wall Shelves
I'm pretty sure this is a dream scenario, pulling out racks and racks of books for my own personal reading pleasure, YES PLEASE!
Closet Sliding Shelves
It's like a closet full of bookshelves!  Every time you move one door there is another behind it.
Sliding Door Shelves
With these door/shelves I can now use that pesky open space between rooms as book storage WOOHOO!
Folding Closet Bookshelf
Another pesky waste of space conquered!  Also combines my love of books and clothes so bonus!
Slide Case
A slightly more practical version of slide shelving, but with these I could at least double my book storage without too much extra space.

I shall continue to explore extra book storage options.  Anybody who has any suggestions is more then welcome to pass them along.  Happy Reading Everybody! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fantasy In The City

Hi All, I have just realized how long it's been since I've posted, sorry about that.  To make it up to you, how about a rambling?  Cool.  Now that we are into the best month of the year, I thought I would start us off with some short stories of the urban variety.  A few werewolves and zombies to get this month of awesome started if you will.  The book is The Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. Lansdale.  It was one of my awesome finds at my new used book store.  Shall we get on with it?  Here is a sampling of my favorite stories in the collection.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
A Bird That Whistles by Emma Bull - The first story in the collection made me happy right off the bat.  We have a typical urban farie that makes unwordly music meeting up and influencing the life of the young college crowd.  The difference in this story is that instead of your typical human/farie love story, it is actually about an odd sort of friendship between the human musician and the faire one that is not romantic in any way shape or form.  I really enjoyed this different type of fae interaction.

Julie's Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle - A girl with mysterious powers "rescues" a unicorn from a tapestry.  The following adventure shows us what can happen when an ancient mythological creature gets stuck in our modern world.  This feels like a story set in a world that is ongoing, so now I'm gonna try and find the rest of the stories.

A Haunted House of Her Own by Kelley Armstrong - This slightly humorous story features a woman with an inheritance, a potentially haunted B&B, a gruesome murder...and another gruesome murder all culminating in a bit of a twist ending.  I like how this story is set up.  You think it's a potential haunted house story...and it is, just not in the way you think.  Also wifely ghost revenge is the best!

Kitty's Zombie New Year by Carrie Vaughn - A typical New Years party takes a gruesome turn when a woman with a mysterious ailment shows up at the shin-dig.  Our girl Kitty pretty much recognizes this new girl as a zombie of the voodoo slave variety and goes about trying to figure out what happened.  Turns out this poor girls ex boyfriend used a zombie powder he bought on ebay to try and turn his lover into a mindless sex slave, the result of which turns out to be actual zombification.  Perfect for a quick Halloween read.

Boobs by Suzy McKee Charnas - I love this story.  For real, seriously love this story.  Our poor heroine has been dubbed Boobs by her juvenile classmates for her development of...well boobs.  She is humiliated and upset and to make it worse she gets her period for the first time.  Our girl discovers though that instead of her period, she turns into a she has that going for her.  She runs around eating annoying dogs, then moving on to the creep who dubbed her Boobs.  She is now empowered and happy and this story is awesome, seriously go read it.

Gestella by Susan Palwick - So another werewolf story.  This time we have a beautiful European woman by the name of Gestella.  She met an American by the name of Jonathan who essentially tames the young werewolf.  He calls her Stella when she is human and Jessie when she is in wolf form.  He takes her back to the states where she stuns all of his friends.  The problem though is that Stella ages in dog years, seven to one for those who don't know.  As she starts to overtake Jonathan in age, he starts to lose interest and eventually does his worse.  This story is sad and heartbreaking, yet still has some great moments that make it very readable.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black - This is a short story that I think was the basis for the book.  This story however has different characters and a different story, so that made me happy 'cause I loved the book and this was like a bit of bonus.  It follows a girl who has been bitten and infected and tries to beat it, but eventually purposely succumbs to help save the sister of a friend.  She ends up a permanent resident of Coldtown and starts her own campaign against the infection.  Good times were had by all.
I felt this collection was pretty hit or miss for my own personal taste.  The stories I liked, I really really liked, the rest of them I felt suffered from a bit of esoteric existentialism.  This is a problem I sometimes run into when I read Urban Fantasy stories in their various forms is that the author's can too easily get into the urban angst, or go into borderline nonsensical.  All that being said, I did enjoy a number of the stories here, and am now going to go look up several of these authors to read more, which makes this a very successful book.  I give it 7 out 10 zombiewolfwitchghosts and recommend it to anybody trying to get into the widespread genre that is Urban Fantasy.  Happy Reading Everybody!