Monday, February 27, 2017

Book On My Face

Hola Readers, I'm feeling a bit whimsical and daring today so I have been experimenting with all the makeups.  I have discovered that us bibliophiles are so prevalent and obsessed that make up is now on the list of book themed things we can cool!  Here are some neat things I found wandering around the internet.

Harry Potter Makeup Brushes
Considering the apparent magic that takes place when I use makeup, I feel it is fitting that they are now in the form of a magic wand from our favorite magical tomes.
Harry Potter Eyeshadow
This is unfortunately sold out, but they have/had all four houses in their collection and it pretty magical if I do say so myself.

Hunger Games Covergirl Collection
Inspired by the 12 districts, there is something for everyone in this collection of makeup

Snow White Book Palatte
I love how this makeup collection opens up like a book and even has a story!

I feel like their is room for even MORE awesome book inspired make up collections, let's campaign for them shall we?  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Winter Is Not Behaving

I am franticly trying to finish up my winter reading before spring hits...but we have been in the 70's for the last two weeks!  Seriously this is not working quit yet for me.
What I want
What I'm getting!
I've got one more week left of winter reading to go...hopefully the weather will cooperate a little bit...Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bite Me

Hola Readers!  Who is ready for a promised rambling?  Cool, let's get to it.  Today's book is one that was given to me by one of my favorite firehouse buddy's waaaaaaay back in October.  It has been on my TBR pile since then, but various circumstances have conspired to keep pushing the book back until this last month.   The book is The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey and ended up being both exactly what I thought it was going to be, yet at the same time entirely different...As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Melanie is a just a school age girl living in a post apocalyptic world...except that her life is limited to a cell and a classroom.  Melanie it turns out is part of...a test subject group of children...(the ellipses are 'cause I don't know how else to describe them.) Anyways during the week Melanie and her classmates are taken from their individual cells and strapped into wheelchairs.  They are also masked and muzzled.  The kids are then wheeled into a classroom where various teachers teach various topics with various degrees of success.  Ms. Justineau is Melanie's favorite and is probably the most effective teacher of the bunch.  Ms. Justineau is also drawn to Melanie, feeling as if she is special in someway.  So pretty quickly we find out that the world has been ravaged by humans turned zombie and that the children are a weird mutant strain of said zombie that are being studied on the military base they are being held.  Turns out that a strain of fungal infection that has mutated from Iphigenia In Aulis (which is a real thing) has jumped species and turned humans into some form of zombie carrier for the fungal spore.  The kids that are part of this strange class are all high functioning infected group called hungriest.  Melanie is by far the smartest and most inquisitive of the group.  Dr. Caroline Cadwell is our resident mad scientist who is willing to do whatever it takes to find a cure for the infection and that includes cutting up the infected kids, using the excuse that they haven't been human since infection.  Eventually the base is over run by humans known as "junkers" that are so far uninfected humans that live off the grid.  The only people to escape are Melanie, Dr Cadwell (who had been just about to dissect Melanie), Ms. Justineau (who went to rescue Melanie), Sgt. Eddie Parks (the hard ass with a heart of gold guy in charge of this whole circus) and Kieran Gallagher ( a young and borderline idealistic soldier).  The group progresses through the landscape in the hopes of reaching the main human settelment on the British Isle called Beacon.  Along the way each member of the group has to cope with what Melanie is, a hungry that has the appearance and mannerisms of a child.  She is intelligent, able to make her own choices and yet still has the hunger for living flesh that her "hungry" counterpoints all have.   Each person deals with it in a different way.  Ms. Justineau essentially believes that she is all little girl who just has an unfortunate disease and needs to be protected.  Dr. Cadwell see's her as her ticket to scientific glory and nothing more then a case to be dissected and studied.  Sgt. Parks see's Melanie as a both an insurmountable danger and an assets and is constantly torn between both view points.  Mr. Gallagher usually just forgets that Melanie is anything more then a child.  As the motley group progresses they come across all manner of hungries.  Most of them are mindless flesh eaters, but a few seem to retain some semblance of their old humanity to varying degrees.  Eventually they end up in London and discover hungries with weird gray stalks growing from their bodies.  Turns out that eventually the fungus eats up the body and starts to grow itself to release new spores.  After much intro and extrospection (that's a word...right?) the group ends up attacked and reduced.  In the end, right before she dies, Dr. Caldwell discovers that some few humans hang on to enough humanity to reproduce and those kids who are born with the infection are much more intelligent and human like...hence Melanie.  The remenents of the group run into a strange grey wall that appears to be massive amounts of fungus stalks with seed pods that burst when set on fire.  More fighting, dying and expounding and Melanie comes to a realization.  She puts Ms. Justineau, the sole remaining human in a bio suit then proceeds to set the grey wall on fire, releasing the spores.  See, Melanie figures that the more human infected hungeries are the next generation in human evolution and started spreading the spores to hasten the process, keeping Ms. Justineau to teach the new hungry children.
World Building - The world is fairly complete, with nothing to original until we get to the gray stalk wall, which adds a bit of surreal otherworldlyness to the whole deal. It is pretty much a destroyed modern day London and surrounding areas in a slightly futuristic and destroyed vibe.  Pretty whole and complete zombie apocalypse with a fungal twist.

Story - The story was an interesting mix of run of the mill zombie with bits of originalness (I'm just making up words all over this post).  The mechanism of the zombie infection was pretty original, and I liked that it had real origins (more on that in a minute).  The real story though is Melanie and everybody's reaction to her.  I have read various thoughts on what the supposed "twist" was in the book, and I would say the ending, with Melanie essentially dooming the whole British Isle and possibly all of humanity, while still possibly saving them was perhaps the most unexpected part of the least for me.

Character - One of the best and worst parts about this book is probably the characters.  On the one hand you have characters like Melanie, who is very accepting of what she is, practical and able to adapt.  She is able to understand what she is without letting it overwhelm her, which is more then I can say for many adults.  On the other hand most of the other characters come across and pretty stock.  We have our mad scientist ho is willing to go way to far in the name of science.  The sweet teacher with a past that just wants to love the poor abandon child, the super gruff with a hidden heart of gold soldier...etc...That being said, even with the...tropieness of most of the characters, I still found myself engrossed in their story and sympathizing with most of

Editing - For the most part the editing was fairly decent.  The story moved forward and mostly made sense.  The chapters skipped around with different view points, which for the most part was pretty cool as we didn't only see the story from one perspective.  Every once in a while the transition between chapters was a bit jarring, but mostly it was pretty readable.

The Fungus - Ok, so my logical brain both loved and hated the explanation for the zombie plague.  On one hand the idea that the infection stemmed from a real fungus that really does turn living
creatures (albeit ant's) into fairly legit zombies is pretty cool.  It gives a fairly realistic way for this usually unrealistic plague to happen.  The progression of the fungus also is pretty well thought out and did not trigger any of my "oh right, like that would ever happen" bells.  On the other hand, the piece I do take issue with is that these monster flesh eating creatures would on occasion be lucid enough to get pregnant, carry the kid, give birth, not eat the baby, and then the baby would survive long enough to become the next step in the evolutionary process...not so much...Yeah.

The Author - This is the book that actually inspired my previous post.  I was reading it and thinking it was written for YA by an author that writes for that genre (I don't know why that was my assumption, but their you go.).  Anyways, I was actually a bit on the fence 'cause while I don't feel our youth should be sheltered or talked down to...this book just did not really vibe as one I would hand to a 12 year old.  Then I did some research and discovered who the author was and who the real intended audience was and magically the book totally changed tone for me.  In this case it made the overall experience infinatly better.  It is a gritty book that does not pull any punches and it fit's the authors more comic book style very well.  I also learned that the author wrote the screeenplay for the movie simultaneously, and that he stated that it was purposely different from the book.   I have not seen it yet, but if it is worth it, I'll post about it later.

Expectations - This book was a weird dichotomy for me because it was both exactly what I thought it would be and surprising at both the same time.  I was expecting a book about a kid who was a zombie but not,,,and that is exactly what it was.  On the other hand, the book was much much darker and grittier and philosophical then I had anticipated.  It was strange to read a book that pretty much did everything I expected it to, and yet still had the power to surprise me with various tidbits and actions.  I also feel like the genre/age group that this book was intended for gets muddled.  The idea of the whole book, leads me to feel like it should be a YA book, but the reality is that I feel it is intended for a bit more of a mature audience

Overall Impression - Almost two weeks later I still haven't gotten a handle of how I really feel about this book.  I know that it made me think, which I love.  I know that it made me spend most of a flight talking Hubbins ear off about various things, also good.  I know that it frustrated me 'cause it could have been even better, the ending could have been phenomenal instead of merely great.  The expectations could have been set differently...who knows...I guess I give the book 7 out of 10 bowels of maggots and recommend it to anybody looking for a good zombie book with a hint of something different.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Authors And Reading

Hola Readers, how is everybody?  Shockingly I've been super busy...I know *gasp*...I'm never busy right.  Anyways today I would like to talk about one of the things that struck me while I was on my trip.  It mostly has to do with a readers...or more specifically my view on a book in relation to who wrote it.  One of the books that I read on this trip (rambling in the next couple of days, I promise) almost completely changed when I realized the demographics of who wrote it.  I have lately found that the more I know about an author of a particular book, the more it seems to influence how I
perceive it.  For example, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke was all that much cooler for me because I know how long it took her to write it and how it was her first book and any other little details like that really enhanced my enjoyment of the book.  I find I am pre-dispositioned to like books by my favorite authors and am willing to defend even their occasional duds.  I find it hard to pick up a book by a disappointing author, even if the book is supposed to be completely different.  Sometimes I'll pick up a book by an author I know nothing about, sometimes I'm not even sure of their gender and then I'll read that book and form an opinion.  If the book is really good, or really bad, or something about it strikes me, then I will usually do some research on it, and that usually includes the author.  I can not tell you how many times I have discovered facts an tidbits about the author and/or the circumstances behind a book that has changed my whole out look on it.  After this revelation of something that has been part of my reading psyche since the age of four, I've been trying to decide how I feel about it.  On one hand, I like forming my own opinions of books with minimal outside influence...that being said, I feel that a book should be a piece of art from the author and I would assume that pieces of them, their personality, their experiances, their beliefs, etc... all play at least some small part in what they write, so of course knowing those things is going to affect my reading experience.  Anyways, I guess I was just surprised at how much the various details of the authors changed my whole reading experience.  Ok enough of my overly introspective thoughts.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Happens All The Time

Keeping up my streak of awesome reading
Sleep Optional LOL  I'll write more when I've finally attempted some sleep.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Circle Of Marsh House

Hi Readers, who's ready for a rambling?  I am...and since it's my blog...let's get to it.  I am a Studio Ghibli and always enjoy the fact that several of the movies are inspired by books.  One day while looking through movies I found one I had never heard of before, and lo and behold it was based on a book called When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson.  The premise sounded interesting, and I always love discovering new books...especially older ones so both the book and movie got put in the basket and onto my book shelves.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Anna is a foster child in England who has withdrawn from everybody.  Her parents were killed in a car accident when she was very small, and her beloved grandmother died just a few short years later.  She has been taken in by a very loving couple who do their best to make her feel like their daughter.  Unfortunately between her natural reticence at getting close to anybody, and her discovery that the couple get a stipend from the government, Anna comes across as very cold.  Anna's foster mom decides to send her to her friend who lives in a sleepy little beach village.  The couple are pretty relaxed, letting Anna run around as she pleases, which suites Anna just fine.  Anna finds herself drawn to an old manor known as the Marsh House.  It is old and abandoned, yet still draws the quiet and withdrawn girl.  One day, as Anna is exploring the marsh area, she see's a girl with pale yellow hair being brushed by a maid at one of the windows of Marsh House.  This image sticks with Anna, and lo and behold one day that same girl appears in the sand dunes.  The girls name is Marnie and she makes Anna promise to keep her as her special secret friend.  As Anna is naturally quiet, this suits her just fine.  The girls have a couple of adventures and learn more about each other.  We learn that Marnie lives in the Marsh House with her nurse and two maids, all of which are borderline abusive.  They threaten Marnie with a trip to the abandon windmill if she misbehaves, which absolutely terrifies the girl.   Marnie's parents are away most of the time, leaving her all alone with the staff.  One night Marnie and Anna end up in the windmill, and get stuck.  When Anna wakes up, she is alone and very upset that Marnie would leave her.  Anna is rescued and taken back to recover as she is very sick.  As she recovers she sneaks out to try and find Marnie.  Marnie is at her window and yells down a heartfelt and tearful apology and tells Anna that she is being taken away.  Anna is understandably devastated and takes to her bed.  Anna finally decides to get back to exploring and heads to the Marsh House.  She is surprised to see a lot of activity and discovers a family with five kids has moved in for the summer.  She is drawn out of her shell and spends a lot of time with the family, finally finding a place she belongs.  One of the girls, after acting a bit weird, finally shows Anna an old diary she found in her room.  The diary belongs to Marnie and in it there are references to a special friend and a few of the events that Anna and Marnie experienced together.  They bring the diary to the mother and discover that it is over 50 years old...which puzzles Anna 'cause her hazy memories are from recent times.  Eventually they get to talk with an old family friend who grew up in the area of the Marsh House.  The whole story comes out and it turns out that Marnie was a girl who grew up with a lonely life until she got sick after a night in the windmill.  Her parents brought her back from the Marsh House, but more tragedy struck when her father died.  Marnie married her friend Edward, but he was killed in the war when their own daughter was only a couple of years old.  The daughter was sent to America to keep her safe and did not return until she was 13 years old.  At that point her relationship with her mother Marnie was strained.  The daughter ran away and had a daughter herself, who she brought back to be raised by Marnie.  The daughter and her new husband then died in a car accident leaving the child to be brought up solely by Marnie who was the only family left.  Unfortunately Marnie never got over the death of her daughter and died a few short years later...sound familiar?  That's right, Anna is Marnie's granddaughter!  Anna is very happy to finally have her family history and is able to warm up to her foster parents, who really do want her to be happy.  Anna herself becomes much happier and able to let people love her again.
World Building - The setting of this story is pretty small, a tiny little village, a marsh/beach, the house Anna stays at and the Marsh House.  That being said the world is perfectly complete.  The author was able to create not just a world, but an atmosphere that was able to transport me as a reader so completely that it was sometimes a shock when I put the book down to realize that I wasn't actually at a little English beach.  I can totally see why somebody would be inspired to make a movie after reading this, just to capture the world.

Story - The story was good.  It was a little different then I originally anticipated, as most of the blurbs tout it as a ghost story.  I feel like it is more of a circle of life type deal, with family and friends being when and where they are most needed.  The story made sense and other then a few overly convenient moments was well done.  Combined with everything else it worked well.

Character - I really liked the characters in this story.  There was a lot of introspection and growing and feeling and variety.  Each character was fully formed, each character had a story, each character stayed true to themselves, and nobody acted out of character just to further the story.  I also really liked how every single character felt well thought out was necessary for the story.

 Editing - The editing was fairly well done.  The story could have become very confusing, especially with the dream like quality that permeated the whole book, but overall the whole thing was readable and sensical.  Like I said before, other then a few small overly convenient details the book read beautifully and stayed with me.  Good editing.

Movie - The movie was made by the famous Studio Ghibli whom I love for their ability to translate atmosphere into a watchable movie, and this film was no exception.  There were a few notable exceptions from the book to film, the biggest being that it was set in Japan instead of England which was both odd and kind of cool, it was like seeing the same story in two different views.  The thing I didn't like so much is that they made Anna a bit more aggressive and almost mean, where in the book she was just withdrawn and stoic.  I also felt the movie was a wee bit rushed compared to the book.  Overall though the signature atmosphere, introspectiveness and sheer beauty were all there, just like I wanted.

Nostalgia - So one of the things that really struck me about this book was the sense of nostalgia it gave me.  This is totally a book I would have LOVED and read over and over back when I was in the 10-12ish age.  I really enjoyed reading this book now, but really wish I had been able to read it when I was younger because I can see it becoming one of my favorite.  I'm not 100% sure why I am so sure my younger self would have been so into this book.  Maybe it reminds me of the books I read when I was younger, maybe I can see myself pulling it off of the library shelf and curling up in my yard, maybe I can see myself forcing my siblings to act it out, maybe it was my affinity for imaginary friends, who knows.  Every once in a while I will get a book like this, where as much as I enjoy it as an adult, I really want to go back in time and give myself some of these books.

Ghost Story - This book was touted as a ghost story...but it really wasn't...but it kind of was.  It is really hard to really put this in any one category 'cause it really doesn't follow any rules...which I love.  The mechanism of the interaction between Marnie and Anna is never fully explained.  We know that they both had the same experiences because Anna remembers them, even if it is a bit muddled and Marnie records them in her diary, even if Anna's name is never actually mentioned.  I don't think that this pairing needs a "scientific" or "realistic" explanation.  I like to think that these two souls that were connected by blood and love found each other at their loneliest and helped each other survive.  I am good with the idea that love can transcend time and space and I'm gonna leave it at that.

Overall Impression - I really enjoyed this book, it was different and surprising and atmospheric and stuck with me in a good way.  I will probably reread it in late spring/early summer as it feels like it should be a seasonal book, but regardless I really liked it.  I give it 8 out of 10 sand castles with gardens and recommend it to anybody who wants a story with heart or is looking for one for their kiddos with out too much of the yucky stuff.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Inspired And Accomplished

Hola Readers...did you all think I had finally been buried by my books with no hope of escape?
 Nope, I was just on a whirlwind Las Vegas trip for Hubbins birthday.  The trip was awesome, like so awesome, like so so so awesome.  We purposely designed the trip with very few time crunches so that we could maximize relaxation time, which is what we both really needed.  This environment seriously got my creative juices flowing and I not only came up with several brand spanking new post ideas, but I also finished two books, both of which were amazing in their own ways.  The new post ideas really excite me because I have been feeling drained of all creativity lately and feel like I am either repeating myself, or that I am just throwing up generic random posts.  These new ideas are ones that, to me at least, really make me feel happy, creative and the reason I got into writing this blog in the first place.  The books I finished made me happy.  One was a book I have been trying to finish for a couple weeks.  I finished it on the plane on the way there and then just sat there, inspired to write and write and write.  The second book was one that fit the environment so well I swear it was written just for this trip.  The whole feel of the trip also inspired my poor over worked brain.  We got to see the Cirque du Soleil aquatic show "O" and it was sheer magic.  After the show, all I wanted to do was dive into my magical books and continue the dream.  The bath tub in our room was another great bit.
 These tubs are so deep and so long I actually float when I'm in them.  Combine that with a glass or three of wine, a good book and some great music and my brain is just happy happy happy.  To finish of this trip of inspiration my brother flew us over the Grand Canyon in his helicopter.  We got the total VIP experience, complete with champagne at the bottom of the canyon.  Aside from a little desperately needing to pee incident, it was just the coolest thing ever.  Got to finish off my trip by going straight to my fire station and working and chilling with my other family, which just cemented the great brain space.  So all of this to say you will hopefully be seeing some high quality posts and some in depth ramblings in the near future.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Me In A Nutshell

About 1000 people have posted this to my timeline :-)
The Real Joy of Reading
I think they may be on to me lol.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Crazy Days

Hola Readers,  I realize I totally slacked last week on the posts...and guess what?  The next two weeks are gonna be just as bad.  I am completely swamped with all kinds of stuff.
I am in the middle of a couple of great books though and should have at least one rambling up before I head out on my next adventure...I will tell  you more about that later, but I can tell you it involves purple hair and an airplane...Happy Reading Everybody!