Thursday, April 27, 2017

Crazy Reader

So this is how life is right now
So...yeah.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, April 21, 2017


Hi All!  So...I just finished signing up for my Paramedic my already crazy life is about to
get crazier.  This means my already spotty posting is about to get even spottier.  I considered shutting it down because I hate not being able to regularly post...but even if it is intermittent, this blog really helps me focus and calm down.  It fulfills my creative side and makes my reading even more enjoyable.  So I will continue to write when I can, just will probably only be once or twice a week most of the time.  Hopefully I can sneak in a bit extra here and there.  On an unrelated note I spilled more stuff on my keyboard and my B and N keys are super not working so blech.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Game Of Thrones In Space

Hola Readers, how are you all doing today?  I got a couple fabulous days off that were much needed and were used to my literary advantage...but more on that later.  One of the things I got finished was Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey, the second book in the Expanse series.  I loved the first one and was leery and excited to read the second one as more then once a series has disappointed in it's follow up.  Lucky for me I loved this book as much as the first one.  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
At the end of the last book we left the crew of the Rocinante putting themselves back together after helping Detective Miller plunge the protomolecule ridden space station Eros into Venus.  If this doesn't make any sense...go read the book lol.  Anyways Holden and his crew are running around doing errands for Fred Johnson, the de facto leader of the OPA when they stumble across the aftermath of Ganymede.  Ganymede is a moon that has become the main food growing space for the Belt and it was attacked by an unknown monster like entity.  The attack wiped out all of the Earth and Mars marines stationed on the base except for one, our girl Bobbie.  The attack led to the very tense Earth and Mars factions shooting at each other and chaos reigns.  The ensuing violence pretty much decimates that Ganymede station and we meet Prax, a botanist who lives with his young daughter on the base.  Prax discovers his daughter is missing and kind of goes on a bit of a bender in his search for her.  Meanwhile back on Earth Chrisjen Avasarala, the under-secretary representing Earth in the UN is desperately trying to stay in the loop and maintain what peace she can between Earth, Mars and the OPA.  This is further complicated by people both above and below her pushing their own agendas.  Avasarala is particularly interested in keeping an eye on Venus and the energy spikes that seem to correlate with the monster attack.  Bobbie the Martian Marine is brought to the UN as the only survivor to show the video of the monster. Avasarala feels that there is more going on then meets the eye and hires Bobbie to work with her to find out what it is.  Back on Ganymede Holden and crew run into Prax and agree to help him find his daughter.  Their search leads to a hidden lab where Holden...who has had a much closer encounter with the protomolecule then anybody ever needs, realizes what it is they are seeing.  He get's everybody back to the ship and the heck out of dodge.  They fly back to Fred Johnson, where after a tiff, Holden and crew are once again free to take on any contract they want.  They set up a fund to find Mei, Prax's daughter and off they go.  Avasarala after some stuff realizes that one of the Generals is behind the whole "protomolecule as a weapon" thing and that he is trying to instigate a war.  She continues to play the political game, ending up with Bobbie out in space on a slow ship to Ganymede.  She contacts Holden and makes him an offer he can't refuse.  After they all get together on the Rocinante, Holden and his crew (Naomi, Alex and Amos...who are now equal owners of the ship and its profits), Avasarala, Bobbie and Prax pool their information and come to a horrifying realization.  Prax's daughter, along with many other children who have also gone missing, all had a very specific immuno disorder.  This disorder made it possible for them to infect the children with the protomolecule in an attempt to make a controllable weapon.  The problem with this is that they were never really controllable and one got loose and caused all the events from Ganymede and forward to occur.  We also get more info on Jules Mao...the father of Julie Mao from the last book.  We discover that his wealth and company are a huge part of what has made this atrocity possible.  Of course the biggest concern is if one of these monsters makes it anywhere where there is human in habitation...cause you turns everybody into vomit zombies (still one of my favorite phrases).  Our people discover that lab base and fly there post haste.  After some political manuvering and a bit of threatening the crew make it.  They split up to accomplish various tasks and finally make it back to the Rocinante alive and with Mei and some of the other children.  Everybody goes to Luna to celebrate and reconnect with what family they have left.  Unfortunately the celebration is cut short when the news comes that Venus has spun off a comet size blast of protomolecule headed who knows where...and thus ends this second book.  Obviously there is a ton more as usual to this complex yet highly readable book, but as usual this is about the gist of it.
World Building - The series continues to build upon the last book.  This time however we get to visit some new places, namely Earth, Ganymede and plenty of various ships.  All of the careful world building and science of the last book were carried on in this book, making it a world that was easy to jump right back into.  I especially appreciate the little daily details that the authors pop in to remind us of the various environments our characters find themselves in, especially the different gravity types.  I really felt like I was hopping right back into a complete world.  Great job guys.

Story - I felt that this story really built on the completeness and simplicity (yet in a complete contradiction the complexness) of the first book.  I felt like the first story set us up to read through this story with complete understanding.  This story, with it's personal bits with Prax and his daughter, the larger political landscape and the even larger ancient alien threat to humanity all tied together in a whole that left me feeling satisfied while still wanting to hurry up and read the next story.  This is the kind of serial reading I like, where the story is not repetitive with the same formula over and over.  They are original stories that when all read together make an even longer overall story...very saga like.

Character -  We add a couple of new characters in this installment and I love each and every one of them.  In some ways, each character is a bit of an extreme version of a certain personality...on the other hand, each character also has various layers and motivations, making the more outlandish components of their persona's make sense.  I love the naturalness of the characters interactions with each other and how each one seemed authentic and genuine.  I also appreciated how the characters we already knew developed in a believable way considering the insane events of the first book.  Awesome characters.

Editing - The editing of this series is becoming on of my favorite aspects of these books.  These complex ideas, twisted politics, various characters and multiple places could very quickly become confusing, but between the authors and editors it is insanely readable.  Part of the ease of reading is that they use a trick that helps the Game of Thrones Series (hence the title...along with it is pretty much a similar feel...just in space...)which is each chapter belongs to a specific character and is labeled as such.  This takes the big crazy and funnels it through a single viewpoint...but more on that later.

Viewpoints - The first book in this series worked because we saw all the complexity funneled through two very distinct and two very different view points.  This book builds on what we learned in the first book and kicks it up a notch with FOUR viewpoints.  I like the characters they choose as they come from different places (Mars, Earth, Belt and Holden representing a kind of every man).  They are different personalities, different professions, different socio-economic classes...essentially every issue is shown to us from a sampling of who might be affected.  This expanded version of what we started with further enriches the world and story, yet still makes me feel like the book is readable without being overly bogged down.  I also feel like I am getting a mostly diverse view of events, not all one sided, no one planet or area is right, no one view is entirely's pretty open ended without being ambiguous...if that makes sense.

Micro to Macro - When a series is set in such an epic setting, I like it when they can focus on multiple layers, and this book does it beautifully.  I mentioned it before, but I like how we have the personal story of Prax and his daughter Mei, it puts an individual face on the impact of these vast and broad happenings.  I think even in real life we get so used to hearing these epic horror stories that we forget that individual suffer horribly because of these events.  We then expand to the politicol/soci-economic problems of Earth, Mars and the OPA.  This is a bigger issue, affecting more people and requiring a bigger and more complex solution, while still depending on the whims of individuals and their own prides and prejudices (see what I did their Austen fans?).  Then we expand into a universal concern as the protomolecule threatens EVERYBODY, doesn't matter where you were born, or where you work, or even how much money you have...this requires people to put aside individual concerns, patriotic alliances and work together in an unprecedented way to save humanity.  The various levels give the reader both somebody to root for and an epic horror to root against.

Names - Something I have noticed and loved as a bibliophile is the abundance of literary and historical references scattered through out the books.  In this book even the title has a Shakespearean origin.  Caliban is the twisted son of a witch who is a slave to the main character Prospero of the Tempest, until he throws off his shackles to disastrous effect.  This is paralleled in our book by the protomolecule/human hybrid monsters breaking the human constraints.  The names of the ships are especially fun to look up.  The Rocinante is named after the horse in Don Quixote.  The Barbapiccola is named after a philosopher and poet.  The Somnambulist is a pretty awesome word for sleepwalking and the Guanshiyin is a Hindu Goddess.  Pretty much anything with a name has some sort of cool story attached to it...jut another layer of awesome.

Overall - I am so excited that this second installment lived up to my love of the first book.  This is not always the case and I now have super high hopes for the next book.  I have been putting these books on my phone 'cause they are super easy to read a couple of pages inbetween calls and dealing with the monsters so they have been my go to books lately.  I give this book 8 out of 10 bulbs of coffee and am totally stoked to catch up on the tv show AND read the next book.  I recommend it to anybody who wants a solid scifi story, misses game of thrones and doesn't mind vomit zombies instead of white walkers or who read the first book and loved it.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sleeping And Dreaming

Sooooo incredibly tired...just need to close my eyes for a bit.
I'll see you all later.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

FriendsThat Are Family

Ok, so these last couple weeks have been super rough and to be honest it is probably not gonna improve for at least a couple weeks more.  That being said I have this amazing group of friends that have become my family.  After coming home from work and sobbing and blubbering to Hubbin (who was f*%#ing amazing by the way) I immediately contacted my friends...who in all honesty are not my friends, they are my family and boy did they come through and help pull me out of my funk.  Being of the literary minded I was eventually led to think of all of the awesome friendships in my beloved books (who also work as friends and family lol).  Here are some friendships that I feel bring the vibe that I have with my peeps.

Samwise Gamgeee - After mentioning this one to Hubbin, he made the point that I really did not need to look any further, and he is probably right.  Sam from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series, embodies true friendship to the point of family.  He takes his duties as Frodo's best friend very seriously. He keeps Frodo fed, clothed and in all honesty grounded in reality.  I still maintain without Sam, Frodo would have perished...or at least given up very early on.  This guy embodies everything one looks for in a true best friend.  Loyalty, helpfulness, intelligence, resourcefulness...seriously this guy is the ultimate best friend!

Jill and Eustace - At the outset this mismatched pair from C.S. Lewis Silver Chair don't seem like friends at all.  Over the course of the book however the two learn to not only work together, but to trust each other in a way that ensures an enduring life long friendship.  This friendship is proven in later books as the pair are brought back the to magical world of Narnia once again to help it.  This is a case of circumstances leading to the choice of becoming mortal enemies or best of friends and these two decide on the bond of friendship, much to their mutual benefit.

A Through L - After being brought to a world of pure awesomeness, our favorite heroine, September meets up with the wavery A-L and forms a lifelong friendship that can never end.  Through out the series we see just how tight these two are and just how valuable the friendship is.  This is a case of truly mutual beneficial a friendship can be, as both parties rely on each other, help each other, depend on each other and come through for each other no matter the situation.  Even though both parties meet other entities the truest friendship is with each other and that is awesome.

Piemur - This lovable scamp is the friend that all of need.  When Menolly arrives friendless, familyless and pretty much nothingless (that's a word right?), this guy steps right in.  Through his cleverness and ability to manipulate almost anybody, Piemur helps Menolly go from a friendless oddity to one of the most valued members of Harper Hall.  This friendship continues as both parties grow older.  This is a friendship that is shared until death, this is a friendship that causes children to call them auntie and uncle, this is a friendship that can never end as it is so tight that the bonds of family and friend are irrevocably blurred.

The Hogwarts Trinity - We can't really mention bestest friends without mentioning Harry, Ron and Hermione.  This trio's ability to maintain the tightest of friendships regardless of insane circumstances is utterly amazing.  I kind of feel like my firehouse family has a bond like this...given a bit expanded as there are more then 3, but still a super tight bond that is able to endure hardships, squabbles, boy/girl troubles and pretty much anything else life has to throw at us.  The author imagines this trio enduring well into adulthood and beyond and to be honest my boys and girls are there for me in the same way.  It is nice to know that friendships like this are real.

Ok, I'm done gushing now, but seriously I feel that friendship is very important, in both a real and literary sense.  I am always rooting for the friends, I always want the friendship to endure and a large part of this is my amazing luck at having people like this in my own life.  My boys and girls who get me through this sh* know who your are ( I know at least two of you read this on at least a semi-regular basis lol).  I love you all so very much and am glad to have these legendary friends in my life.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"Know Your Own Happiness"

Finally finished my first Jane Austen book of the great reread!  It took me a while mostly 'cause the weather was being dumb and when the weather would cooperate I was on an ambulance keeping people alive.  Anyways a couple of nice days with some free time and I've finished Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.  Are we ready for my thoughts on this first novel by our famous lady?  But first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
I'm not gonna go into a ton of detail as full on synopsis are available in a zillion places, but here is the bare bones gist.  Our story centers on the Dashwood women.  We have Mrs. Dashwood, the widowed second wife of a gentleman.  She has three daughters, the sensible Elinor, the passionate Marianne and the young Margaret.  Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters must find a new living under diminished means after the late Mr. Dashwoods son from his first marriage inherits almost all of his assets.  The ladies are fortunate enough to be offered a cottage by a distant relation, Sir John Middleton and his wife.  Though much less the they are used to, the women find a way to get comfortable.  Elinor is stoically nursing a secret attachment to her brother's wife's brother...that makes sense right?  Anyways the gentleman in question is Edward Ferrars, who is even more stoic and controlled then Elinor.  Unfortunately for our stalwart couple, his mother and sister are set against any marriage that does not improve the family fortune.  The family is continually invited to the main house of the Middleton's where they make the acquaintance of Colonel Brandon, a man out of his 20's who very much admires Marianne and her free spirit.  She of course being young and wild does not consider the man a true prospect.  While out exploring her new surroundings, Marianne falls and injures her ankle and is rescued by the dashing young Willoughby.  With what feels to Elinor a lack of propriety the pair begin a very obvious flirtation, spending as much time together as humanly possible.  One day at a party headed by Colonel Brandon, he is suddenly called away on urgent business.  Elinore learns from the effusive Mrs. Jennings (Sir John's mother-in-law) that the Colonel has a tragic past that involved a young free spirited girl that he was not allowed to marry, leading to the young woman landing in very dire straights.  Not much later Willoughby with an apparent sudden change of heart bids farewll to the Dashwoods in a very abrupt and painful manner, leaving Marianne a not so happy creature.  Meanwhile two young lady's by the name of Ann and Lucy Steele have taken up residence with Sir John and his family.  Elinor is taken into the confidence of Lucy and is informed that Lucy has been engaged to Edward for several years.  The engagement has been kept a secret as his mother would not be pleased to see her eldest son wed to such a low person.  Marianne and Elinor are invited to London by Mrs. Jennings and they agree to go.  Upon arrival Marianne promptly does her best to get in touch with Willoughby to no avail.  The Steeles also arrive to plague Elinor with Lucy's continual talk of her engagement.  Marianne eventually gets to see Willoughby, but he is very cold and very formal with her.  This is followed by a letter letting her know in no uncertain terms that there is nothing between them.  Marianne is devastated and succumbs to a crippling emotional melancholy.  Colonel Brandon arrives soon after to tell Elinor that the reason he and Willoughby left was because Willoughby and seduced, impregnated and then abandoned Colonel Brandon's ward.  After much back and forth, it finally comes out to Edward's mother and sister of his engagement to Lucy...and it does not go well.  He is essentially disinherited in favor of his younger brother, but Edward shows his true colors by refusing to break of he engament just for the sake of money (good job Edward).  Elinor is resigned that he should follow his honor instead of his heart and prepares herself to live with the idea of him married to Lucy.  The Dashwood sisters start their journey home, but are stalled when Marianne falls very ill.  She is tended by Elinor, Colonel Brandon and eventually her mother. At some point Willoughby comes to seek if not forgiveness, then at least understanding.  Mariann starts to recover and they head home with Mariann being clamer and wiser for her illness.  Upon arrival they are greeted with the news of Lucy becoming Mrs. Ferrars.  Everybody believes that Edward and Lucy married...until Edward shows up to refute that idea.  Apparently after shifting the inheritance to Edward's brother, Lucy found she preferred him and left Edward.  This has the happy consequence of allowing Edward to follow his heart to Elinor, who agree's to be his wife.  They soon marry.  Marianne eventually grows to love the Colonel who has stayed by her through thick and thin and also finds happiness.  Everybody gets what they deserve, learn to be better people and live mostly happily ever after.

World Building - Set in the late 1700's in various parts of England, this at the time could be considered contemporary.  Of course we all now think of it as historical fiction...but yeah.  Anyways, the author does a good job of setting the various scene's, making us feel like we are in the various locations and really really making me want to visit 18th century England.  I always feel like I could walk the streets or parks or paths of whatever place the characters happen to be.  One of my favorite things about this author.  In this book in particular I am always enamored with Barton Cottage and the surrounding areas.

Story - With the exception of a few overly convenient plot points, the story is very well done.  We have the weaving of several story lines, a bunch of characters and a setting the brings everything together in a fairly believable fashion.  This is one of the more full on romantic of this authors novels, focusing mostly on the love lives of the main characters, but so many other things are also taken into consideration.  The ability of the author to balance romance, everyday living, practicality, humor, pathos and every other literary thing is pretty awesome.  It is even cooler when I remember that this was at the time a contemporary novel so it was written for the time, and yet still resonates now.

Character - The varied and complex characters are for me what really make a Jane Austen novel.  She has the ability to create characters that at first glance seem to be stock or even extreme, but as the novel goes on we notice nuance and growth for almost every single character.  Take the two main characters for example.  Elinor is portrayed as stoic and sensible.  This is mostly a good thing, but we see where her inability to share her feelings with the people she loves leads to miscommunication.  Marianne on the other hand is overly emotional leading people to try and calm her or tame her, yet at the same time she is shown to be able to truly enjoy life in a way most people can't.  We see Mrs. Jennings as portrayed to be a well-meaning gossip, yet by the end of the book both Elinor and Marianne see that she acts with genuine love and care.  I LOVE that everybody has a motive, arc and even in most cases some sort of redeeming quality.

Editing - To me this book makes perfect sense.  Some people have a bit of difficulty with some of the language...not Shakespeare level trouble, but enough to turn some people off.  There are several editions that contain footnotes and blurbs that explain some of the more arcane language or turns of phrase.  I find this both helpful and enlightening and find it a smart editorial choice.

Love - This book is chock full of love.  Family love, sister love, friend love, but most prominently love love.  I like this book because it shows us the many ways a person can fall in and out of love.  We have Elinor and Edward who take there time and fall in love with the whole person.  They also suffer because they are both stoic and honorable and are constantly giving each other up for various noble reasons...I'm just glad they finally got together.  Marianne shows us violent young love that does not wait for true knowledge of the other person, but rather falls in love with idea's and circumstances.  Marianne's later acknowledgement and acceptance of the slower, deeper, yet way less passionate love of Colonel Brandon shows a maturity in here way of thinking.  Lucy Steele shows us a more selfish and catty love as she attaches only to improve her station AND to make people (mostly Elinor) feel bad.  Willoughby's flirtations, seductions, abandonment's and finally marrying for money show us the worst of immature love where one only loves to gratify ones own feelings.  By exploring the various kinds of love and their consequences I feel like every teenager regardless of gender/identity should read this book to get an idea of the craziness that is what we call love.

Humor - When one talks about classics or even more specifically Jane Austen one does not necessarily think of humor.  I will probably address this again, as it is one of my favorite things about Austen's style, but let's start here.  Ms. Austen has a very subtle tongue in cheek style that can catch one of guard if you are not paying attention.  There is more then one occasion when I have laughed out loud at a turn of phrase or a well placed pun.  Also certain characters (the elder Ms. Steele and Charlotte Palmer comes to mind) that seemed to be placed in the book for comic relief.  It is this well roundedness that adds a lot to the overall reading experience.

 Ages - This is just a bit of a personal thing for me.  I know that the era that this was written in was vastly different then ours is now...but still.  In this book in particular, the ages of the girls who are looking to be married are very young, like 17 years old young.  In this book Marianne, who is 17 marries the 36 year old Colonel Brandon...who has a 15 year old female ward...who has a baby of her essentially he married a girl who is the same age as his adopted daughter and made her an instant grandmother...kinda ew...and I like Colonel Brandon...but ew...and apparently lots of ellipses...Anyways.  I know there are probably worse things, and that the age difference still happens today and there are many happy couples who have a significant age difference.  I think it's the idea of a 17 year old grandmother that really gets to

Overall Impression - This first novel of my beloved Jane Austen does not disappoint.  I love the complicatedness of it, I love the humaness of it, I love the eloquance of it, I don't love the overly convenient plot fixes...but that is minor compared to the awesomeness of this debut novel.  I give it 8 out of 10 painted screens and recommend it to anybody who wants a great story, loves a classic or is looking for a non vomit inducing romance.  Happy Reading Everybody!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bibliophiles Shirts

Hola Readers,  I noticed today that a lot of my clothes have gotten pretty worn out.  That means one thing of course SHOPPING!  Here are a couple of shirts I think would probably fit right into my wardrobe.

A Without Reading
Why would you ever go a day without reading?
Book Dragon
One of my new favorites
Allergic to Stupidity
Truer words were never spoken lol
My name is Super Bookworm Girl and I'm a bookaholic
To Read or Not to Read
Is that even a question?

A couple of these shirts should greatly enhance my closet and my overall outlook on life.  So off I go to get some shirts, Happy Reading Everybody!