Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Mockingbirds, Daisy Whitney

Themis Academy is a school for the exceptional students. Athletes, artists, academics, they're all brought in and placed in a setting where they can thrive. They're trusted to behave in an honourable manner, The Themis Way, and they do.

Which is why, when Alex makes the mistake of getting blackout drunk at a concert and is date raped, she feels she has nowhere to turn. Who can she tell who will believe her? She was drunk, after all.

But then her friends tell her about the Mockingbirds, a student organization formed to enforce the Themis Way the teachers pretend not to notice any infractions of, and the slow process towards healing begins.

This book made me really uncomfortable, and probably not for the reasons you're thinking of. I am an older sister of several voracious readers, and they're always pestering me for recommendations. And as this is obviously an "issue book," (Defined as the main motivating force for a book being written,) I was very concerned with how the issue was handled. On the actual issue of consent, why it is important, and how it is defined, (especially with the recent Sweden/Assange/Rape brouhahah,) I thought the book did an excellent job, especially since the court scenes allowed people to define their terms in ways which looks like tl;dr in most other cases.

But most of the book is spent in saying over and over that adults WILL NOT help you, in a case like this. Several times Alex says she won't go to the Police, because her parents will freak out. Ummmmmmm.

I hope it's clear why that makes me go all snaky. If it isn't, clearly we are approaching things from different angles, and you should disregard this review entirely.

Granted, by the end of the book Alex had come to trust the "cool" new piano teacher, and comes to talk to her when she has an issue, but so much of the book was spent setting up the idea that adults are all in their own worlds that it felt like an aberration, rather than a eureka moment. I mean, one of her teachers actually has her act out an attempted rape scene. So by the time it got to the reveal that maybe some adults are not finks, I had already written them off, along with much of my enjoyment of the book, regrettably. The way all the students rally behind her is good, but the fact that only, in this world, people within three years of her age are to be trusted not to go off the rails for no real reason, made me pull my hair.

And then: SPOILER ALERT: There's the issue of the boy she falls for over the course of the book. The romance is all very nice and healing, if it wasn't for the fact that he's on the board of the Mockingbirds, and is expressly mentioned as supposed to NOT be in any romantic setting with her. And then at the end: EVEN MORE SPOILERS: Alex is asked to be on the board of the Mockingbirds, who have helped her so much. And her first act is to give the boy an unconditional pardon and ask him to be her advisor. Because apparently the code of conduct when it expressly says, "no fraternizing with people under investigation," was a grey area. This would have made me go even MORE snaky, if I hadn't already marked the book up under "not very enjoyable to read." Maybe it's because I've grown up in a Christian, Military family, (you know those military sorts, so wrapped around the axel about codes of conduct,) but I just think that a.) that wasn't a grey area, and b.) would it be that hard to hold of the making out for a few months? and c.) if you break the rules you're very very aware of, shouldn't there be consequences? /END SPOILERS.

So I gave it three stars out of five. I actually didn't "like" it that much- if this was based on liking alone it should be two stars- but I do think it's a very useful teaching book, as long as I made sure to talk about it later. Unfortunately, I'm a very emotional reader and I'm coming from a certain culture and background, so parts of the story swelled WAY out of proportion and coloured my whole experience of reading it. 

With that said, I know the author is a date rape survivor, and that's why she wrote the book, and it was very well done. Alex's reactions and healing process was painfully honest, and it ends well. I would like someone I know to read it, and so they can tell me how I was reading it on a bad day and I totally misinterpreted it, and get my head together! Gosh, Jasmine!

Yes, erm, I'm unsure how to end this. Live long and prosper?

Matched, Ally Condie

Cassia's world is perfect. Everyone is assigned a job which suits their skills and interests, health care, entertainment, recreation and food are provided by The Society, and they live long, healthy lives. If they decide they want to be married, they are paired with their perfect match, selected from the many thousands of possible people looking for a relationship, and they live happily ever after together.

Just look at Cassia's parents! Her mother was from the country, and her father was from the city- they never would have met without The Society introducing them to each other. And now, here they are, entirely happy together.

The story starts with Cassia on her way to attend her Match Banquet. To everyone's surprise and joy, she is matched with someone in her own city, (no moving necessary!) Her best friend Xander will be who she makes her life with, which they are both delighted about. *^_^* (smily face of delight and shyness)

They already know each other so well there's hardly a need for the data slip with the information about Xander, but since it's protocol, they both take it, grinning, and then go home to their lives. Everything has worked out even better than they could have hoped for. It's perfect!

Only, when Cassia goes to look at what The Society has to tell her about Xander, (heh heh heh,) another face flashes on the screen. And again, this is a boy that she knows. Ky, also one of her friends, who also lives on her street, who she also went to school with. She's reassured that it was just a glitch in the system, which is great, but wait. There are glitches in the system?

The seed has been sown, and Cassia has started to question. She begins to question harder, with more anger, when her grandfather comes to the end of his long and productive life, and dies on his 80th birthday. (Everyone dies on their 80th Birthday.)

Okay, I want to tell you more about this story, but I'm going to stop now, because you deserve to see it unfold with all the well measured care that the author wrote it. I was very impressed with this story, the more so because the only full length review I had read of it said it was internally incoherent and spent too much time explaining the world building. Which I disagree with. ^_^

I thought the voice of the book, as narrated by Cassia, captured her emotional arc wonderfully. At first she's parroting what she's been told, ("Everything is perfect!") and then she's repeating it desperately, ("This is all good, right?") and then she's mocking it, ("Oh, yes, you have our best interests at heart, of COURSE!") and then she's just at sea as to what she does next. What do you do to escape in a world where they track your dreams every fourth night? I was particularly impressed because usually I do not notice things like voices of narrators. I'm all GET ME TO THE EXPLOSIONS. GRRR, WHY ARE THINGS NOT ON FIRE?


Instead, this time I was able to very happily follow along with the more delicately agonizing realizations Cassia is coming to, and what that means to her. And while I'm talking about the voice, I have to mention that there were three times in the book where I just stopped, amazed at how poetically Ms. Condie managed to phrase the moments of wrenching revelation. And using simple words, too! I mean, the reading level for the book can't be that high, in terms of vocabulary. It's "narrated" by someone who lives in a world where art has been simplified down to 100 of everything. And working with simple words, I was still stopped in my reading tracks several times.

Any time a book effects me that much, I am impressed.

And also there were trains and a secret war and sorting things and a strong family which you give up things for. All stories that delight me. You should read this book.

I gave it four stars out of five. I'll be looking for the sequel. Can I have it now, please?

Victory Of Eagles, Naomi Novik

It might be a reflection on my character that it took an alternate history to make me care about the Napoleonic war. But let me tell you, in this story I CARED. I had to bold that to give you the full effect. I got a bit emotional about it.
*Looks at Team Duke of Wellington t-shirt.*
Just a bit emotional.

And yes, the story. Because of reasons in the last book which I'm not going to tell you about, Lawrence and Temeraire are separated. Lawrence is in a jail until further notice, waiting trial for treason. Temeraire is in Wales, chatting up the ladies. IF you know what I mean, and I think you do. Heh.

And then the Eagles land. Eagles, in this case, referring to the standards of Napoleon's army, which just came ashore in force. WHERE IS YOUR HONOUR NOW? England is being routed, because let's face it, the generals are just not quite working on the same level as the French Army. For example, I might not think the most appropriate response to an invading force is to stand around talking how awesome you are and how he's going to turn back at the first battle, but possibly that's just me. And we didn't really want London, did we? Nah, that just took up too much space anyhow. Scotland is much nicer! Breezy!

And I gave this book five stars out of five. I know that seems excessive, give what I rated the ones just before- but hey, I told you I was fickle. I just DELIGHTED in all of this one. ^_^ I loved how finally we got to talk to Dragons other than Temeraire, and all the politics he had to confront and overcome. I especially liked the overcoming, because I'm- just that way. I like to read about people being awesome, is that so wrong? No, no it is not. And while Lawrence's arc made me shrivel up and die inside, it was good for him, I think. Yes, I think of Lawrence chiefly in a motherly way, is that so wrong? And again we say no, it is not wrong.

Let's see, I loved how basically everyone grew a pair and was AMAZING in this book. Including in some cases, growing a pair of consciences, for the empathizing, or a pair of frontal lobes, for the thinking. And the final battle. Oh, the final battle was DELICIOUS.

P.S. I'm sorry this is so incoherent. I don't want to really spoil anything? It just made me happy, that's all! You should read it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Empire of Ivory, Naomi Novik

So I go back to my May drafts, and LO AND BEHOLD. This one isn't written, much less published. Face, meet palm.

Now in the last book, a lot of spoilery stuff happened. Which I'm not going to tell you about. I'm saving my spoilery reviews for the next book. :D Heh. Heh. Heh.

Anyways, just about right after Temeraire and the crew left for China in book two, dragons in England started coughing and sneezing. Which fast acquires the tone of a national emergency when the dragons just don't get better. Instead they start drowning in their own lungs, and did I mention they have no medicine for dragons? Yeah. Bad times when your air force is all in-operational. That is, at least, how the powers that be see it. The dragon crews we've all come to know and love see it, naturally, in a bit more of a personal light. "Our friends are dying and we can't do anything about it."

 In pure desperation, Temeraire and some other dragons we know and love are sent to Africa. So that maybe they'll find medicine? Or maybe the climate will cure the cough? Or maybe- something. Quarantine?

There is a real sense of desperation behind this trip. And to my mind, it never really lifts off. There's barely a purpose, people are just eating things madly, running away, sailing endlessly, despairing and dying. You know. The general cheerful stuff. There is some nice things about Africa, but I didn't enjoy that as much as my friends. Possibly because I found it kinda super creepy. Ahem. Though on the other hand, telling the giant meat-eating-but-intelligent beast that he's related to you, and you don't eat your family,  DOES seem like a pretty good idea. However, Lawrence just tired me, and the girls were awkward, and Temeraire was painfully innocent, and the only ones who were awesome were the crews. And I read books like this for the awesome people! So I gave it three stars out of five.

Why is it still December?

You may have noticed my continuing, obsessive desire to read Beth Revis's Across The Universe. This is an obsession you should share. Or at least pretend to share, and then you can give me your copy. The hard cover has a reversible dust jacket, okay? With ship schematics. I am crying tears over the sheer awesomeness of that, right now.
Dust Jacket one way-
-Dust Jacket t'other way.
And this blog post is brought to you by the fact that Ms. Revis, bless her soul, is having a EPICNESS OF EPIC IS EPIC giveaway. We are talking One Hundred Prizes.

67 Mini swag packs
15 Button swag packs
15 ARC packs. 
2 ARC and Watch packs
1 Hardcover, Signed, First Edition swag pack of PURE AWESOME.

And it's international. So you should go enter. Because something this awesome deserves to be celebrated and adored and talked about. And entered for.

Black Powder War, Naomi Novik

Note: I thought I had this reviewed in May. FAIL. TERRIBLE FAIL.

So in the last book, our jolly crew started heading home from Asia. Everyone is VERY happy to be free of the political machinations of the Chinese Court- BUT LOOK, over there in the hills! Yep, that is Ms. Political Machinations herself, Lien, the white dragon. How will they get home NOW?

Most of the book, at least the way I remember it, deals with decent people getting caught up in dishonourable politics, and what happens when technology changes. With Lien *Spoiler* teaming up with Napoleon *End!Spoiler* the game has shifted mightily. Now everyone is dealing with brilliant tacticians who just aren't thinking in ways they're used to. And if they're not prepared to change the way THEY deal? Well- there's the ocean. Armies are traditionally run into it right about now. Do you have your escape armada lined up?

While this book was interesting, and I enjoyed it... I gave it three stars out of five. It just didn't have the crackly magic of the first Temeraire book. It was better than the second, that's for sure! But not by a whole lot. Plus, it was just DEPRESSING. Hello, here's a war- I mean a rout. Sigh.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Over the past year I've become interested in Debut authors, as I think is evident from the sidebar, with it's 2010 Debut Challenge piece. :P And I've ALWAYS loved SF and dystopian fiction.

So I definitely started following The League of Extraordinary Writers. Five 2011 debut authors writing SF about dystopian futures? YES PLEASE. And if those authors are Beth Revis, Julia Karr, Angie Smibert, Elana Johnson and Jeff Hirsch? YES PLEASE+500.

And now this week they're giving away prize packs based on the books, AND author copies of the books. Obviously winning this would make my YEAR, and because part of the requirement to enter is to post about the contest I am a generous person, I'm telling you to go enter. :D


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nano 2010- After Action: Let's not do that again.

It's entirely possible that I misspelled my title. I can't get it to not look wrong, now
This nano was an experience I was not expecting. I have devoted my life to writing in November for the past two years, (my family can attest to this) and word count has never been the issue. I mean yes, I usually burned out at about day 25, but I was already at 66,000 words, or some such thing.

And then this year I opened up my doc, and I felt like I had adequately drained myself dry if I could wrench 500 words from my chest and shove them onto the page. It was HAAAAAARRRRRRRRRDDDDDDD. *dramatic drape across the couch*

I can identify two reasons why this was so desperately painful.

  1. I was trying not to completely fail at work. I'm leaving in December and moving into the big city, and I want to go out on a high note, not on a "good grief, what is WITH that woman?"
  2. I didn't have a plot. 
Reason one is pretty self explanatory. But it led into reason two, as well. You see, when I went into my last two nanos, I'd spent eight or five months thinking about the story. I knew who my characters were, I knew how the plot started and ended, if not the middle, and I knew the political structure of what was going on. (This is important when my default is to make people a. work for the govt, or b. rage against the govt.) So when I went, "Oh, I'll just put people on a train and make them talk to each other," I did have material to work with. This time I- what DID I start with? 

Oh yeah. I knew one MC woke up with no memory, another MC thought she was going mad but really she was telepathic and in scene two she's going to be recruited by a government security group, and my other two MCs were going to escape an assassination attempt and, uh, survive. While all of this is terribly shiny, it isn't really what you would call a PLOT. And with me spending my time while working thinking about (shockingly) my work, I didn't have any time to MAKE a plot. 

So then for 50,000 words, I basically flailed madly around trying to figure out who was important or not, and why people were doing things and if that was important, and HOW ARE THEY ALL CONNECTED? It was my finest moment. (Not really.) Fortunately after about 20,000 words I was able to recognize that I had whole sections that totally contradicted each other, so basically this wasn't a usable first draft. From then on it was able to be a world-building exercise, so my flailing was in broader and less coherent stripes. :D 

Even so, by the last day I was 10 thousand words behind. Which led to amazing things like this. 
Hmmm, his name was breathed pretty distractingly into his ear. Hmmm. Hmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. The hmming here represents what’s happening because I can’t tell you Peter’s internal monologue. But I’ll do some stage directions.

AMBROSE: Put one hand on the back of Peter’s head, and rove around there. With the other arm, the one with the hand holding the knife, hang it down Peter’s back so that you hold yourself up with your elbow. Also, stand on your toes so you can knock teeth with him more efficiency. Also, make sure to knock teeth. Objective is to trade tongues, and you should try that diligently. It’s possible that the latch for your tongue is in his lips, so be sure to bite those several times. Otherwise, use your imagination. And your hips.

PETER: Do what feels right to you. NOT LIKE THAT- oh. Okay. Well, um. Yeah. We’ll take an intermission and you just- you do that. Okay.

When we left our anti-hero, he’d been breaking the law regarding legal ages for consent in the prep kitchen of a restaurant. (Peter is underage.) And when we return, Peter is STILL breaking the law regarding legal age for consent...

And he’s just produced handcuffs. I”M TOO YOUNG TO SEE THIS. *hides face while the cuffs levitate into the air by themselves, catch Ambrose’s hands and lock them behind her and hold her there while Peter steps away* Wait, what?

Yes, Audience, you read that correctly! (Audience? What are you doing in here watching freaky sketch happen? Not only many of you underage, there are sharp thing in here! You may become injured!) Peter mentally handcuffed Ambrose, and much more shockingly, he STEPPED AWAY. And it’s not just to admire the view with her shirt hanging open, though that was definitely a useful side effect of it. “Sorry, Ambrose, the Queen’s going to be paying for your meals for a while. You’re under arrest for illegal shellfish use, and use of mock firtute.”

“... and I don’t use mock firture!” Ambrose finished in angry, pretty tears. “It’s real!”

“That’ll have to go to a panel of experts to decide.” Peter said in his best tortured hero look, caught in the grip of virtue and following it nobly. Also, I hate myself. “But I know a holding temperature for mock eff when I see it. Did you really think you were fooling anyone?”

“You were fooled.” She glared. Breathing hevily, too! Well done, Ambrose, but Peter’s the virtuous hero, he’s too strong for you. He’s- um, Peter. Eyes up here. *snaps fingers* PETER. Eyes UP.

“I was having a little fun while we were waiting for the backup to get here.” Peter smirked. “Thanks for the entertainment, by the way, honey.”

This is the first make-out scene I've really written with more of an "that looked complicated" write-off. I think I'm going to go back to that method.

But yes, due to complete madness and some creative use of punctuation, I finished Nano!

Now I just have to re-write everything.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"I'm going to dress professional. And by that I mean MY profession, not a streetwalker."

(Title quote from online conversations. Where all the insanity happens.)

I've learned so much this Nano. Like how I ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE SAME SUBJECTS. Governments, Trust, Grief and Family, oh HAI! And colourful hair. That seems to be a theme. (And Fire. Heh.)

And also how what seems to be easy writing is actually based on MONTHS of thinking about the story, the characters, and how it all fits together. If I actually have to think it up when I'm writing it? I am lucky to crank out 500 words an hour.

Also I'm Lazy. :D

But I got my hair cut last night!

I've been told this makes me look Taller, Shorter, Thiner, Curvier,  Healthier, Younger, Older, Prettier, and "just better!"
So it's magic hair?
(Either way, I like it. ^_^)

Without further ado, I usher in Sylvie Stone!

Sylvie: *nods to everyone, with a slight smile*
Interviewer: "How old are you?"
S: "19, sir."
I: "Height?"
S: "5 feet 4 inches, sir."
I: "Do you have any bad habits?"
S: "Nothing that interferes with my work, sir."
I: "What’s your hairstyle?"
S: *mild panic as this must be a trick question* "Regulation, sir."
I: "Have any kids?"
S: "No sir."
I: "Favourite food?"
S: "I enjoy pomegranates and strawberries, sir. Though usually not at the same time."
I: "Killed anyone?"
S: "Yes sir."
I: "Hate anyone?"
S: "Yes sir."
I: "Any secrets?"
S: "Yes sir."
I: "Love anyone?"
S: "Yes sir."
I: "What is your job?"
S: "Sir! I am a Licensed Driver in the employ of Her Majesty, Sir!"
I: "Are you a boy or a girl?"
S: "Female, Sir!"
I: "Family? You can- tone down the yelling, Stone."
S: "Sorry sir. I do have living family, sir. My mother and father, and two sisters and a brother. Sir."
I: "Best Friends?"
S: "That would probably be my brother Goward, sir."
I: "What was the most surprising moment in your life up until now?"
S: "I try not to be surprised, sir."
I: "Where would you rather be?"
S: "I don't understand the question, sir. I'm sorry."
I: "Ever wish to be something else?"
S: "I believe everyone's wished for more income, sir." *smiles* "But that's about the extent of it."
I: "Ever kissed anyone that's not a family member?"
S: "Could you define "kissing," sir?

She's just a bundle of personality, is our Sylvie. :D

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

“A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.”

So yesterday I wrote a little over a thousand words!


Please don't shoot me! I tried! I just- got distracted by other characters?

Alright, that is an excuse and not even a very good one. I'll try to do better. I HAVE to do better, or I'm not going to finish. So yeah. *nods* Note to self. Concentration is for cool people. Look into that.

And now I need another interview so I can figure out who on earth I'm writing! Or, who in space, because it's SF... Anyways. Say hi to Sym, everyone!

*Sym greets the chorus of "hi's" with a guilty flinch, and then glares at everyone*

Sym: "What's your problem? Huh?"
Interviewer: "How old are you?"
S: "Green."
I: "Height?"
S: "I don't care what any of the girls said, I can't fit through there. They just like whining. It's their hobby. Whining and being stupid."
I: "Do you have any bad habits?"
S: "You know, that depends on- Wait....  Why do you ask?"
I: "What’s your hairstyle?"
S: "I don't understand the question."
I: "Have any kids?"
S: "Dozens. Get over it."
I: "Favorite food?"
S: "There are kinds of food?"
I. "Killed anyone?"
S: "I've got amnesia, see. No idea. Probably thousands. OR YOU COULD LOOKING IT UP YOUR SELF ON YOUR FLATLINING COMPUTER YOU"VE GOT THERE YOU GIRL. So no, no idea really."
I: "Hate anyone?"
S: "Only stupid people. So most of humanity, yeah. And all girls."
I: "Any secrets?"
S: *smirks*
I: "Love anyone?"
S: *Tries to continue smirking, but goes red.* "Whatever."
I: "What is your job?"
S: "No idea. Like I said. You're a moron and a girl."
I: "Are you a boy or a girl?"
S: *So. Much. Profanity.*
I: "Family?"
S: "What do YOU think, machine-headed girl-idiot-child?"
I: "Best Friends?"
S: "No one I'd tell YOU about."
I: "What was the most surprising moment in your life up until now?"
S: "When I woke up and didn't know who I was." *laughs*
I: "Where would you rather be?"
S: "Where else COULD I rather be?"
I: "Ever wish to be something else?"
S: "Have something else? Yeah. Be someone else? MASK no."
I: "Ever kissed anyone that's not a family member?"
S: *so red*

Monday, November 15, 2010

"but I think you'll be good to me/ I'll be so good to you."

Today, at work, my plot finally arrived. It may have been fifteen days late, but it's HERE!

Which really means I need characters. I realized, (belatedly, I know,) that my brain was still stuck on short stories. In them, you really only need one character trait, or maybe two. There just isn't time to fit other things in them? And now I'm trying long form again. MUST SHUNT MY BRAIN ONTO NEW TRACK.

This post, therefore, is my attempt to nail down one of my characters. Say hello to Johanne, everyone!

Johanne: "Hi." *dry tone*
Interviewer: "How old are you?"
J: "Seventeen? Why do you ask?"
I. "Height?"
J: "Tall enough..."
I: "Do you have any bad habits? "
J: "That depends on who you ask, really." *bright, fake smile*
I: "What’s your hairstyle?"
J: "It's- hair." *looks at hair, nonplussed* "Dark and in a ponytail?"
I. "Have any kids?"
J: *stares* "Wow. That's just- a special question. If you've seen me out and about, that would be my siblings? You know, not every family has 2.4 children? Some people get a bit edge about cutting their children into five pieces and only keeping two of the limbs. I'm just saying."
I: "Favourite food?"
J: "Sandwiches? You know, I really don't have an absolute favourite. I like cold food, but nothing really stands out."
I: "Killed anyone?"
J: "I'd like to exercise my right to legal council."
I: "Hate anyone?"
J: "Is my lawyer here yet?"
I: "Any secrets?"
J: "Have I been keeping my desire for a lawyer secret? Because I think I've been pretty open about that."
New Interviewer: "Do you love anyone?"
J: *small grin* "I wouldn't say I'm incapable of emotion, no. I'm quite close with my family, even when we don't get along. They're very important to me."
NI: "What is your job?"
J: "I'm a student, but for medical reasons I'm studying at home."
NI: "Are you a boy or a girl?"
J: "Well, that sales woman was certainly lying about this shirt being flattering to my so-called curves." *looks up as the pause stretches on. "That was a real quest- girl." *sits back and folds her arms, eyebrows raised.* "I am medically female."
NI: "Family?"
J: *pause* "I wasn't cloned, no..."
NI: "Best Friends?"
J: "Are you capable of using verbs? I think that's the questions we're all waiting on!"
NI: "What was the most surprising moment in your life up until now?"
J: "WELL DONE, you. I applaud your use of language. I'd say that moment right up there, when you spoke so eloquently- that has to be in the top five."
NI: "Where would you rather be?"
J: "Thank here? How long do I have to list places?"
NI: "Ever wish to be something else?"
J: "It is my fondest and most heartfelt desire to be a knife. Or a feather. I don't know what I want. Where are you GETTING these questions?"
NI: "Ever kissed anyone that's not a family member?"
J: *totally red* "N-no?"

So there's Johanne. Touchy and mad, and not at all as worldly as she likes to tell herself. :D

I think I like her. :D

Nano Week 2: "[Insert Witty Quote Here]"

So, as you may have heard, Nano is HARD.

Picture's worth a thousand words? Darn it, I just need eight more pictures to catch up. ^_^
And it just continues to BE hard. Gosh and Golly, it continues to be hard. This may be for a myriad of reasons, including my lack of plot, the fact that all my characters are the same person, or even the rest of my life, which is devouring my brain, soul and memory by the day. University searches, I LOVE YOU. (Wait, that last part was a lie. Oops.)

But the fact remains, I am stuck. I mean, my settings are all pretty, but there's only so much drive I have to talk about settings, if there's no PLOT!

*pokes novel with a stick*

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nano Week 1. "Cause I've seen it before-"

  • Words I should be at: 11,669
  • Words I am at: 7,519
  • Stories within Stories: 3
  • Characters who don't have names yet, despite being featured prominently: 2

This has been- hard. Despite what I've been accused of, I do NOT have words on tap. I'm pretty much dry, this year. :P And the fact that I never have any idea where my story is going is also- fun.

Basically I've been motivating myself for a week with the hope of getting to this one line.
The prince stretched out again. “Stone, we’re having air conservation issues. I really must insist on informality. Call me Highness!”
Now what do I write? o.O

P.S. I'll update later today with a Character Call and excerpt.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What's that you say?

Something about November?
It starts TOMORROW?

You mean, in 70 minutes?

Well, this would be a good time to announce that I am planning on Nanoing. See my Handy Dandy badge in the side bar for proof. :D

I'm doing a SF story that I have done entirely NO planning for, and I'm still trying to finish a short story for a competition in the next 70 minutes. So yes. Expect deteriorating levels of sanity over the future time line.

(And coherency is totes for n00bs, right? Right. We're so true.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How To Train Your Dragon, Cressidia Cowell

I'm gonna steal the description from Goodreads, because it's said better than all the ones I was working on.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was a truly extraordinary Viking Hero. Warrior chieftain, awesome sword-fighter and amateur naturalist, he was known throughout Vikingdom as 'The Dragon Whisperer', on account of his amazing power over these terrifying beasts.

But it wasn't always like that. In fact, in the beginning, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was the most put upon Viking you'd ever seen. Not loud enough to make himself heard at dinner with his father, Stoick the Vast, not hard enough to beat his chief rival, Snotlout, at Bashyball, the number one school sport, and Certainly not stupid enough to go into a cave full of dragons to find a pet...
You see the sticker over there that says to read the book before you watch the movie? Yeah. It's a good idea. Because if you expect the same story on either hand, you will NOT get it. For one thing, this book has no girls. (Contra to the movie, where the main characters are Toothless, Astrid, Hiccup and Stoick.) For another, Hiccup's relationship with his schoolmates is severely different. Also, the dragon-Viking dynamic is almost entirely opposite to the movie. That's not to say either one is bad, they're just really not at all the same story.

Okay, now that that's out of the way. :D In the book, dragons are working animals, and training one is an integral part of a young Viking Hero's education. Only Hiccup is USELESS at training dragons. He tries to TALK to his dragon instead of shouting at it, (mainly because he can't yell loud enough to do any good,) his dragon is the size of a teacup anyways, and said dragon has a bad attitude problem. If he can't turn things around, he's gonna end up banished. Hmmm, I said I was going to steal the GoodReads description, and then I wrote my own. Well done, me. ANYHOW.

I did like this book quite a lot. And I especially liked the things in that I was not expecting. You see, I saw that this was an adventure book and that the MC was a bit of a nerd, and I said to myself "oh right, he's going to be hated by everyone." But no! He has a friend. Or a partner in being hated, but they have each other's backs. And I thought that his dad was going to be a lolstupid oaf who NEVER UNDERSTANDS HIS KIDS. And while he didn't understand, that wasn't because he was stupid or uncaring, which is a a pre-conception I had about this sort of "prove yourself" book. Instead, it was because he was so well-meaning that things went pear-shaped.

Oh, also I CHORTLED over "This isn't a democracy! What do you think this is, the Republic of ROME? We're Vikings!"

And I gave it four stars out of five. A lot of fun. :D

Unnatural Death, Dorothy L. Sayers

"Ohmigod. Damn. Double rainbow. So intense."
I presume you've seen the video. You know, the guy who's crying over the rainbow? That is just about the emotional reaction I had to this book. It's so beautiful... What does it mean?


I used to read mysteries with obsessive, almost irrational hunger. Then I moved into reading Fantasy and writing SF, but that's another story. What I am talking about is Mysteries.

I've read a lot of them.

Until the read-a-thon, I had never read a Lord Peter Whimsey mystery.

This is a criminaloversight. Which I will fix as soon as possible. (Hint: Christmas is coming. The goose getting fat. Please to put a book in the ageless woman's hat.)

So yes, the book.

It is the third in the series, but I read it with minimal confusion as to who was who. You just dive right into post-war London and environs. Where Lord Peter, who quotes EVERYTHING, is wandering around looking useless and being a genius, his butler is being AWESOME, (seriously, I think the man only had one scene, but I had to do my delighted dance and read it aloud,) the police are being SRYS BYSNS, and the spinster writer who he employs to spy for him, whose name I have forgotten because I thought of her as Maureen Johnson, is off being Catholic and hardcore. (Seriously, it was like a Maureen Johnson cameo. Only written 80 years before mj became the darling of Twitter. TIME TRAVEL?) And there were Lawyers, being delighted and fascinated by words in laws. I like words, so this pleased me. Also, there are a lot of LADIES doing THINGS in this book. Being one myself, I approve of them becoming more than Damsels in Distress or Moral Compasses in stories. And here they were, being Evil, and Stupid, and Clever, and Moral, and Rebellious, and Good, and all sorts of lovely things. (Hint: Christmas is coming.)

The actual murder was delightfully clever, to start. You see, they weren't actually sure that it WAS a murder until the end of the book. It was only a terribly convenient death, with some suspicious circumstances. But when they started investigating, other people started dying mysteriously too. By the end of the book, the murderer was getting quite sloppy. But we still weren't sure HOW people were dying until the end.

So yes. I want marry Lord Peter. I gave it four stars out of five. No big deal.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Star Wars: 501st, Karen Traviss

I said I would review everything I read for the read-a-thon. But next year I'm not going to do that, because when that is just not fair to the book. I mean, I barely remember this one. I started reading it at about three in the morning? And most of the book I spent my time propping my eyes open and muttering "where are the EXPLOSIONS?" at the page. (Hint: there were not as many explosions as I'd like.)

The idea behind the book, as best as I can figure out, is that Order 66 ended, and millions of nerds cried out and said, BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? They were given this book to silence them. The issue with that, is that I do believe that Order 66 finished off all the plot threads quite nicely. I mean yes, there were things hanging, but they were aesthetically pleasing things. In a terrible way.

I mean yes, there were people killed and others were left in terrible no-win situations. But the story WORKED. That was a good ending point. Now in this book, most of the text is spent on people thinking about the meaning of things, from a religious, moral or ethical perspective. Which might be fine, I was just OUT OF IT when I read the book, (and now when I'm writing this. Symmetry! Hah!)

When I pick up a book with Storm Troopers on the front, I want a heavy dose of action and plot. Regrettably for that idea, Ms. Traviss has spent much of the previous series writing the Imperial Commandos to be darn near indestructible genius demi-gods. So just breaking a few people out of triple zero isn't such a much. So just to fill up the PAGE COUNT, you need the endless soul-searching. So maybe more flaws would have been good? Or less of a stupid enemy? I dunno. I gave it two stars out of five. I shan't worry about the characters any more.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Deadlies: Felix Takes The Stage, Kathryn Lasky

This is another book I read during the readathon. At the time that I read it I had already been reading for 21 hours and it was six in the morning. And now since then said sister has brought it back to the library. So i'm working from my (very fuzzy) memory.

Felix is one of a family of well mannered, loving Deadly Recluse spiders who happen to be super toxic, and they live in the symphony hall. He has an artistic soul! All he wants is to be accepted and to create! All he wants is to take a ride on the conductor's baton!

One quick attempt at a ride later, the conductor is being treated for a heart attack, Felix is regrowing a leg, and the Deadlies are looking for a new home, due to their previous home being the domain of exterminators now. Will they ever find a place where they can live without persecution? Will Felix ever find a place where he fits?

I was very confused by the book. I'll be honest. There was a mom spider, and two sisters I couldn't keep straight, and Felix. I think what Felix wanted was to not be an introvert, but that is so far outside of my comprehension that I was still going HUHHHH????? The whole time. Also, Mom was all worked up about kindergartens and her children being teased despite being super toxic? Like I said, I was confused. There was a lot of stuff about acceptance, but I just focused on the search for a house, since I could understand that. And that was rather fun, the dramatic cross-coutnry trip, including movies. ^_^

However, the book was fun, and it had fun pictures. :D It was exactly what I wanted at that hour. So I gave it three stars out of five.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2nd Samuel

I was actually supposed to read 1st Samuel, which makes more sense. !st Samuel is all about how awesome David is. 2nd Samuel is more like LET"S ALL WATCH IT FALL APART.


  1. Someone needs to stop Joab. He takes his personal vengeance WAY too seriously. I don't care how good of a general he is. Someone needs to go to David, and say "Dude, this man is stabbing people in front of the whole army. It's BAD FOR MORALE. And morals."
  2. Never name your daughter Tamar. That's just- not a name with a good history.
  3. David is SO BAD with women. I just kept facepalming the whole time, really.
    1. But I still love him. Something about his poetry and way of rallying the troops. :D
  4. There is SO MUCH politics in this book! Seriously! Everyone's backstabbing and supporting people, and withdrawing their support, and all that junk. It's CA-RAY-SEE. 
  5. Also, sexism. There's a lot of it.

Song Of Solomon

So, for the readathon, two people got me to read books of the bible. Part of the promise was that I would review ALL books I read, so here goes. :P

Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs, as it's also know, was very interesting to read. I mean, it's about physical love. Between a man and (one of) his wives. Serious I'M TOO YOUNG moments happened frequently. There was a lot of glistening. And myrrh, and spices. And "going down into your garden."

MAYBE I have a dirty mind. But that seemed an AWEFUL lot like innuendo to me. I'm just SAYING.

But all the don'tthinkaboutitreallydon'tthinkSEEItoldyoutoothat'syourownfault was worth it for these two verses. ^_^

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.
        -Song of Songs 8:6-7

They make me happy.

Passages: Darien's Rise, Paul McCusker

So you're a city kid who've been sent out to an exile in a small town named Odyssey- obviously when you hear about an old abandoned mansion you go to explore it. And when you hear mysterious voices behind a closed door, you go to investigate those voices. Kyle thinks this is OBVIOUS. Anna thinks they should go home.

Kyle kinda gets his way. It's hard to tell, since he fell through the floor into a bright light, and Anna opened a door to find the same bright light swallowing her up. Now he's running across the country side with a dashing young officer, and she's been charged with spying and sold as a slave.

Those people who've read 1st Samuel will find the plot of the book to be rather familiar. That would be because it's the same plot, just in a different setting, with several added characters, and technology, and points. And stuff. *cough*

I have mixed feelings about this story.

There are several points against it. A Con would be that it's very sexist. Kyle is going on adventures and saving lives all around the country for most of the book, as said, while Anna gets rescued from the slave market and then does chores in the house of the Old Prophet. Then they send her on a mission- which is to go hang out in a convent. That doesn't go well, but the pattern continues. Kyle does stuff, Anna stays home. She's even the one with the natural mystical faith, which faithful-girl trope I am SO OVER. I was also quite bothered by the reaction the characters have to deaths of other characters. One "main" character dies, offscreen, and everyone is devastated. That's fine. I support devastation. The fact that some minor characters died, ON SCREEN, and they got one line about the (girl) character praying for them? That bothered me.

But on the Pro side, it's a very funny book. I laughed quite a lot, and not in a mocking way. Okay, a couple times it was mocking. Like when Darien is paying for his bride with enemy metals? In the original it was the foreskins of his enemies. Had to update that one a bit, did they? Though they didn't really have to update the one where Darien steals part of the king's clothes while he's sleeping, and it's hilarious all ways. :D The book is also a rollicking good adventure, at least on Kyle's part. And while Anna's story arc is less satisfying at the end, she gets to witness some good parts, and have the most human reactions to her situation.  (You know, like : I'm seeing things in the mirror that aren't there- I MUST BE CRAZY.)

Overall, it was a successful book, and I would feel quite sanguine about lending it to my smaller siblings. It's one of those that has nothing to pollute young minds in it- but even with that handicap it manages to land a solid "fun read." I gave it three stars out of five.

P.S. ONE MORE THING. Why does no one accuse them of being crazy when they say they're from another world? I feel strongly that there should have been more allegation of insanity. AUGGGGGGGGH.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

CLICK, CLACK, MOO: Cows That Type. Story by Doreen Cronin, pictures by Betsey Lewis

Farmer Brown never thought much of of the old typewriter in the barn, until the day the cows found it.

Now there's a strike going on, demands are being made on both sides, and the ducks are serving as neutral arbitration.

The farmer hasn't had milk or eggs in days.


Okay, so this cautionary tale about the perils of education* was quietly hilarious. I mean, I expected it to be funny, it's that type, (you can tell by the illustrations,) I just didn't expect it to be quite THAT funny. I laughed out loud when I got to the end, and I'll CERTAINLY be buying it.

I gave it four stars out of five.

*Not really. I just wanted to say that. :D

Is Your Momma a Llama? Written by Deborah Guarino, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg

In this charming rhyming book, a baby Llama goes around asking all his friends who their mamas are. I'm not a great out-loud reader, (minimal acting skills or emotions,) but the meter was fun, and even I could fall into the rhythm of the question and answer.

Now as this is a picture book, the text is only one part of the story. Steven Kellogg illustrated this one, and I admit to being a fan of his super detailed drawings. :D After I read this one out loud, we went through the book again and picked out all the sets of Mamas and their babies.

(I liked the turtles and the owls best. Turtles are pro, and Owls are SO FLUFFY.)

I gave it three stars out of five. If I see it for sale, I will probably pick it up.

Notice Of Intent To Review

So, I have a serious backlog of books that I've read and not reviewed. Also, Nanowrimo is coming up. I know well that I get a trifle obsessed with writing during the month of November. I have been known to consider all things that aren't putting words in order to be sins, including working, eating, sleeping...

I know that reviewing won't happen in November. I'll be lucking if SHOWERING happens that month.

So this is my notice of intent to review these books in the month of October.

  • Is Your Momma a Llama? Written by Deborah Guarino, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg
  • CLICK, CLACK, MOO. Cows That Type. By Doreen Cronin. Pictures by Betsey Lewis
  • Paranormalcy, Kiersten White
  • 2nd Samuel, GOD, 
  • Passages: Darien's Rise, Paul McCusker
  • Unnatural Death, Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Song Of Solomon
  • Intertwined, Gena Showalter
  • The Deadlies: Felix Takes The Stage, Kathryn Lansky
  • Star Wars: 501st, Karen Traviss (Sponsored Book)
  • Emma, Jane Austen
  • How To Train Your Dragon, Cressidia Cowell
  • An Artificial Night, Seanan McGuire
  • A Local Habitation, Seanan McGuire
  • Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire
  • The Book Of Negros, Lawrence Hill
  • Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
  • Guns, Germs and Steel, Jaren Diamond
  • Sassinak, Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon
  • Poison Study, Maria V. Snyder
  • On The Prowl, Patrica Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance, Sunny
  • Moon Called, Patricia Briggs
  • Blood Bound, Patricia Briggs
  • Iron Kissed, Patricia Briggs
  • Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs
  • Silver Borne, Patricia Briggs
  • Black Powder War, Naomi Novik
  • Empire Of Ivory, Naomi Novik
  • Victory Of Eagles, Naomi Novik
  • Hunting Ground, Patricia Briggs
Oh boy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: Wrap-up post.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Uh, what was between three and six am? I only started laying into the caffeine at six, and then I was magically ready to go. Plus my siblings came down to ooze energy around.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
NOT Emma. NOT Star Wars: 501. Ummmmmmmmmm. I'd say stick with authors you know? *looks longingly at Rick Rordian*

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Just what I said at the mid point? More challenges that didn't take a full post to enter? I like prizes! I was just all read-ey, so I couldn't enter them.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The Cheerleaders were great! And I liked the music videos on the main page.

5. How many books did you read?
11! :D

6. What were the names of the books you read?

  • Emma, Jane Austen (Sponsored Book)
  • Is Your Momma a Llama? Written by Deborah Guarino, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg (Sponsored Book)
  • CLICK, CLACK, MOO. Cows That Type. By Doreen Cronin. Pictures by Betsey Lewis (Sponsored Book)
  • Paranormalcy, Kiersten White
  • 2nd Samuel, GOD, (Sponsored Book)
  • Passages: Darien's Rise, Paul McCusker (Sponsored Book)
  • Unnatural Death, Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Song Of Solomon (Sponsored Book)
  • Intertwined, Gena Showalter
  • The Deadlies: Felix Takes The Stage, Kathryn Lansky
  • Star Wars: 501st, Karen Traviss (Sponsored Book)

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Probably that's a tie between Paranormalcy and Unnatural Death. After that I was just loopy, but I could still tell when a book was a few points short of a full plot.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
Star Wars: 501st. I was so tired. And they kept TALKING, instead of FIGHTING. I was DESCIEVED.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
:D Keep up the good work!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I am very likely to participate again. Possibly as a cheerleader AND a reader.

Pages Read: 2456
Drinks: 1 Coffee, 1 Tea, and about 6 Sodas

Plans for the Day: Sweet, blessed sleep

If you wanna sponsor my reading to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I've pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Entering into my 23rd hour awake and reading. Wonders really do never cease.

Books Completed: 10
  • Emma, Jane Austen (Sponsored Book)
  • Is Your Momma a Llama? Written by Deborah Guarino, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg (Sponsored Book)
  • CLICK, CLACK, MOO. Cows That Type. By Doreen Cronin. Pictures by Betsey Lewis (Sponsored Book)
  • Paranormalcy, Kiersten White
  • 2nd Samuel, GOD, (Sponsored Book)
  • Passages: Darien's Rise, Paul McCusker (Sponsored Book)
  • Unnatural Death, Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Song Of Solomon (Sponsored Book)
  • Intertwined, Gena Showalter
  • The Deadlies: Felix Takes The Stage, Kathryn Lansky
In Progress:
  • Star Wars: 501st, Karen Traviss (Sponsored Book

Pages Read: 1912
Coffees: 1
Teas: 1
Sodas: 5?
Gummy Worms: I've been a massacre all by myself.

In other news, it's now light outside again. ODD.

If you wanna sponsor my reading to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I've pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Hour 19: I feel strongly that it should be time to sleep now.

Books Completed: 9
  • Emma, Jane Austen (Sponsored Book)
  • Is Your Momma a Llama? Written by Deborah Guarino, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg (Sponsored Book)
  • CLICK, CLACK, MOO. Cows That Type. By Doreen Cronin. Pictures by Betsey Lewis (Sponsored Book)
  • Paranormalcy, Kiersten White
  • 2nd Samuel, GOD, (Sponsored Book)
  • Passages: Darien's Rise, Paul McCusker (Sponsored Book)
  • Unnatural Death, Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Song Of Solomon (Sponsored Book)
  • Intertwined, Gena Showalter
Pages Read: 1770
Coffees: 1
Teas: 1
Sodas: 3
Gummy Worms: I've been a massacre all by myself.

If you wanna sponsor my reading to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I've pledged to read in 24 hours: 7


So I'm more than a little bit in love with Lord Peter Wimsey now. SO excellent.

Um, Um, Um.

Okay, I'm flagging. These posts will probably be mainly stats from now on.

But now I get some Spite, and then read some more BIBLE! Huzzah for my lovely sponsors.

OH, and I'm participating in the wordle mini-challenge, because wordles are pretty. :D

I used my lately rant about Storm Glass, because it was wordy. :D

Books Completed: 7
  • Emma, Jane Austen (Sponsored Book)
  • Is Your Momma a Llama? Written by Deborah Guarino, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg (Sponsored Book)
  • CLICK, CLACK, MOO. Cows That Type. By Doreen Cronin. Pictures by Betsey Lewis (Sponsored Book)
  • Paranormalcy, Kiersten White
  • 2nd Samuel, GOD, (Sponsored Book)
  • Passages: Darien's Rise, Paul McCusker (Sponsored Book)
  • Unnatural Death, Dorothy L. Sayers
Pages Read: 1320
Coffees: 1
Teas: 1
Gummy Worms: I've been a massacre all by myself.

If you wanna sponsor my reading to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I've pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: Midpoint Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
I am just about to dive into Dorthy L. Sayers' Unnatural Death

2. How many books have you read so far?
6, babeh. :D And yes, two of those were picture books and one of those was a book of the bible, but come on. I also read Emma.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Hehehehe. Heheheheh. Heheheheh. I have no idea. Something with FIRE? Oh, I'm  reading Song Of Solomon, that should be sketchy delight.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
I raised money! *proud*

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
I don't HAVE interruptions. I AM an interruption. Sheesh.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
My ability to read books that normally I would scoff at. I guess my standards aren't as high as I thought. *cringe*

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
More challenges that don't require a blog post?

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
Not being sick would be AWESOME.

9. Are you getting tired yet?
I woke up tired, honey.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
Um. Um. Um. Wear comfy pants? :P

Hour 12


Also, so far I've been reading a lot of sexism. That's entertaining.

Books Completed: 6
  • Emma, Jane Austen (Sponsored Book)
  • Is Your Momma a Llama? Written by Deborah Guarino, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg (Sponsored Book)
  • CLICK, CLACK, MOO. Cows That Type. By Doreen Cronin. Pictures by Betsey Lewis (Sponsored Book)
  • Paranormalcy, Kiersten White
  • 2nd Samuel, GOD, (Sponsored Book)
  • Passages: Darien's Rise, Paul McCusker (Sponsored Book)
Pages Read: 1035
Coffees: 1
Teas: 1
Gummy Worms: I've been a massacre all by myself.

If you wanna sponsor my reading to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I've pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Hour 10!

Okay, so I just finished Paranormalcy, and that was bleeping awesome. And- the deaths hurt. A lot. I LOVED the snark, and I'm looking forward to seeing some moral questions dealt with in the sequel. Longer review coming later. :P

Now I think I'll tackle some Bible. My Grandmother sponsored me to read Second Samuel. :P A lot of "and he was worse than all the kings before him, and he died to no one's regret."

Books Completed: 4
  • Emma, Jane Austen (Sponsored Book)
  • Is Your Momma a Llama? Written by Deborah Guarino, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg (Sponsored Book)
  • CLICK, CLACK, MOO. Cows That Type. By Doreen Cronin. Pictures by Betsey Lewis (Sponsored Book)
  • Paranormalcy, Kiersten White
Pages Read: 798
Coffees: 1 (STILL. I think it's time to fix that.)

If you wanna sponsor my reading to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I've pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Read-a-thon Update 3: Sunspot

Currently I'm hanging out in a sunspot. This meets with my complete approval. :D Oh, and I'm done with Emma. w00t! It was lovely, though my WORD those people talk a lot, and it went on for a while at the end.

Then I read two picture books I was sponsored to read, out loud to my siblings, with laryngitis. :P Now I think I will tackle something more my style. Yay for Paranormalcy!

Books Completed: 3
  • Emma, Jane Austen (Sponsored Book)
  • Is Your Momma a Llama? Written by Deborah Guarino, Illustrated by Steven Kellogg (Sponsored Book)
  • CLICK, CLACK, MOO. Cows That Type. By Doreen Cronin. Pictures by Betsey Lewis (Sponsored Book)
Pages Read: 463
Coffees: 1

If you wanna sponsor my reading to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I've pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Dewey's Readathon: Update 2

Yes, I'm STILL reading Emma, by Jane Austen.

  • I am distressed by the lack of explosions.
  • My WORD do they have the awesomest put-downs or What? Golly!
  • Sly humour ftw.
  • Also, I'm marrying Mr. Knightly. Ah-huh.

Books Completed: None
Pages Read: 271
Coffees: 1

If you wanna sponsor my reading to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I've pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Readathon update! Augh!

Augh, I've been reading for an hour, and I just realized that I never did my start post! Augh! Augh!


I'm reading Emma, by Jane Austen. And oh my word, the cringe-inducing DRAMA. Mr. Knightly is the only person I don't wanna punch in the FACE.

If you wanna sponsor me to help kids with Cancer, you do that HERE.
Books I've already pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Guardian of the Dead, Karen Healey

Ellie Spencer is attending boarding school in New Zealand. Note to readers: this is not a "jolly school story." Minimal shades of Enid Blyton. (heheheheh)

Ahem. Ellie isn't what you'd call a social butterfly. Or outstanding in any discernible way, really. I mean yes, she has her black belt in Tae Kwon Do, but she hasn't practiced in a year or more. She's slumping along through school work in approved teenager fashion, and she's worrying about the future and her body in a distracted fashion.

And that's fine with her! Maybe not, y'know, great, (when is exile ever great?) but it's perfectly fine. She has her best friend Kevin, and there's a cute boy in school to obsess over from a safe distance.

Perfectly normal.

Until Kevin vanishes, the cute boy starts stalking her, and a freaky red-haired woman is showing up everywhere. Put this together with a serial killer who's taking people's eyes, and mysterious people making cryptic comments about her own power, and you have a recipe for a book that escalates fast.  Every time I thought things were going to find an equilibrium, the stakes went up again.

Now, I can't exactly say I believed in the romance. (This is YA Paranormal! Of course there's a romance!) I still have that lost-in-translation problem. But I did absolutely love how it panned out. It was just aesthetically delicious, to me at least. *hums happily* Oh man was that delicious. I just beam every time I think of that scene with Ellie and [Redacted] at [Redacted] after the [Redacted Redacted.] So [Redacted] lovely.

I have to give this five stars because there is no other way to describe it. The book was amazing. I cared, I was furious, I was grossed out, and I learned a lot about Maori culture. I didn't agree with everything the characters said, or even the author said between the lines. But it was so relentlessly creative, I can't help but call it amazing. Because it was. Amazing.


P.P.S. Geckoes are freaky. Poke them with sticks.

Please sponsor me for the Read-a-Thon: here
Books I've already pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Daisy Miller, Henry James

I read this for book club- and it was rather an interesting experience. For one, I had a bit of difficulty finding a plot. It seems to revolve entirely around the stalking of a girl named Daisy Miller, by an American fop in Europe, Mr. Winterbourne.

He's indentured himself for social reasons to an Aunt of his, who he follows around Europe being useful to. All very respectable. And then in Switzerland he meets a very pretty, bland little girl named Daisy Miller. I admit to not being particularly impressed by Ms. Miller, especially since what Winterbourne is particularly enraptured by is her toneless prattle.

*pause for headdesking*


But despite being prone to prattling and vagueness, Daisy is also very used to getting her own way. She makes Winterbourne promise to take her on a trip to the castle across the lake, and it's all very charming and romantic. However, warning signs are seen on the horizon in the fact that W-'s Aunt refuses to be introduced to her, as she's not proper society. *gasp*

Yes, despite the reputation of Americans abroad, or probably because of it, all the USians in this book and hypersensitive of propriety. This becomes very obvious when the setting moves to Rome. There's a whole enclave of ex-pat Americans there, and they are shunning Daisy because of her insistence on going around with an Italian man unchaperoned. *double gasp*

The shunning continues, with Winterbourne weakly trying to tell Daisy that noooo, you're only hurting yourself! Pay attention to society!

And then she gets the fever and dies.

*puts ribbon on obvious happy ending*

Oh wait. No, that isn't a happy ending, is it? No, not really. Hmmm. What is it, then? It's not particularly tragic, cause everything was leading up to that from the very beginning and we meet doctors and mentions of night fevers. And there's the fact that Daisy is so bland a character as to resemble a bit of pretty fog in a dress. Her definite characteristics are prattling tonelessly, and doing whatever she isn't supposed to. But not in an interesting way, just in a stupid one. So what is this, if it's not a tragedy, or a happy story? Oh, I've got it! It's a morality play! Pay attention to your elders and don't hang around boys, or you will die of fever. Right-o.

From my description there, you might think I didn't like the book. That wouldn't be exactly accurate. See, I have a bit of a bloodthirsty streak, and as previously mentioned, I did NOT love Daisy. Maybe I thought she was too stupid to live? I'm sure I wouldn't tell you here...

And despite my dis-love of the actual content, I really liked Mr. James' style. I loved his dialogue, which actually sounded like people (delicious,) and I very much liked the his voice. I gave it three stars out of five.

You can sponsor me for the Read-a-Thon: here
Books I've already pledged to read in 24 hours: 7

Monday, September 27, 2010

Forms! Options! Triumph!

So, I have fought with Google Docs for the right to make forms, and I do believe I've won.
*triumphant clash of cymbals*

Now commences stage two of reading for a good cause! Putting up the cash. Or more accurately, saying how much cash you'll put up on the 10th of October. (After I've racked my body with caffeine and sugar and ruined my eyes with reading. I'm so excited. :D) Right now I am just collecting pledges.

There are three ways you can pledge money to Candlelighters. (Which provides support for families affected by Childhood Cancer, does research into Childhood Cancers, and is generally awesome.)

    • In this one, you pledge to give a certain amount for every hour I, (or any of the other readers,) keep reading. 
    • Or, as I read fast, you could pledge to give a certain amount per book I (or any of the other readers) read! 
    • *hand held high* I promise I will not resort to speeding through the Franklin books if all the pledges are of that sort. (Heh.) 
    • I estimate I can read 12 books in 24 hours, and that is what I'm going to aim for.
    • And for option three, you could pay what you think is a fair amount to make me read a book and review it. As long as I can get ahold of the book and it does not offend my morals, I will read it. I might review VERY SARCASTICALLY, but yes, I will read it. :D
    • I'm the only one you can sponsor this way, as Bonny wants to choose her own books. No imagination, that girl.
    • And yes, if you want me to read Twilight, I reserve the right to ask for the money up front. Not going through that again without some reassurance that I'm actually making money for Candlelighters.
    • Because I estimate I'm only getting through 12 books in 24 hours, I am taking a maximum of 12 of these sponsorships. 
      • And I promise you I will not sleep until those books are read.

The form for signing up to pledge is right below.

Alternatively, you have just give money right away, and worry not about amount of books read, hours gone without sleep, or any of that fun stuff.

And, thank you.

Reading is for awesome people. See?

Thank you so much.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Princess Bride, William Goldman

"What's it about? Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."
I am tempted to leave my description of the plot there, as whoever wrote the jacket copy of this edition was really good at his/her job.  :D Plus, most people have seen the movie already, so they know what happens! Yeah, I'll leave the plot description there.

I'd seen the movie before I read the book, and I was rather surprised on reading the book to get the narrator's long ruminations on how love was basically impossible. One of the big points in the book is that Buttercup and Westley are in love, true love, which is something almost as rare as Buttercup's beauty.

This annoyed me.

I have witnessed many long marriages that are happy, loving, and even cringe-ingly passionate. (Okay, if it was your parents, you wouldn't want to know either. That's all I'm saying.) The whole clever OH AREN"T WE SO CYNICAL thing vexed me mightily.

BUT, the overall story still amuses me. :D I like the old-school adventure, and I really really like the fact that we go more into depth with Miracle Max, Fezzik and Inigo Montoya, as they were my favourite characters in the movie.

It was certainly very engrossing, I was just vexed and stressed out by certain aspects of the story. And I gave it four stars out of five.

P.S. The torture scenes creeped me the ross out. GAH.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Radiant Shadows, Melissa Marr

This is the fourth book in the Faerie courts trilogy, and it mainly deals with the shrapnel that's still falling from the actions of Keenan, Irial, Seth and Ash. The Summer Court is weak because Keenan and Ash both have mixed focus due to Ash not being seduceable for Keenan, since she's still in love with Seth, who's left her. Seth is hanging out as a solitary Fae, and dealing mostly with the Dark Court. The Dark Court, on the other hand, is reeling because of the whole almost-starvation thing they just lived through, and change in leadership. The Winter court is probably building armies, they're not talking to anyone that much, which leaves the High Court. Where Sorcha, the Unchangeable, is obsessed with her new son to the point that her realm is turning to fog. Oh, and Bannach, Chaos Personified, is loving it. She's prowling around starting wars. Which, y'know, is always a GREAT sign. So that's the setting.

And the characters? Ani is the half-human daughter of Gabriel, leader of the wild hunt. Too faerie to survive in the mortal world, and too human to be allowed to run with the hunt, it's not a great position. Her father Gabe, brother Rabbit, friend Irial and sister Tish are trying to take care of her, but that's difficult when the person you're caring for is a.) fed by touch, but b.) not allowed to ravish the members of the wild hunt, because she's c.) Ani. Because being the kind of girl she is, it's more to protect the hunt than her that she's not allowed to get freaky in the stables. (Did I just write that? Oh my word. Imma go laugh with shame now.)

Devlin is the brother of both Bannach and Sorcha, and the liason between both. He's chosen to be as logical and Sorcha-like as possible, and she reacts by using him as her assassin.

Neither one is really loving life right now.

And then they meet, and the plot unreels in an entirely inevitable way.

I'm in the weird position now of really loving the characters, but not caring what happens to them. I especially love Rabbit. And Tish, and Irial, and Ani, and Devlin, and oh man do I love Gabriel. But the plot, I'm really not sure about. I liked the plot in Wicked Lovely, and LOVED it in Ink Exchange. Both times it seemed inexorable, but in a good way. I liked what happened for aesthetic reasons, if not liking the actual things that happened. But for two books now, I've just seen things happen to people I like, and I don't like what's happening on any level. It's because of the characters that I give it three stars, and because of the plot that it's not four or higher.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cry Wolf, Patricia Briggs

Anna had no idea werewolves existed until three years ago, when she was attacked by one. She survived, more from innate stubbornness than from anything to look forward too. Since she healed from the attack, she's spent the intervening time learning that werewolves are monsters, and the more dominant a wolf is, the more she'll want to forget any encounter with him afterwards. Her pack spent the three years violently teaching her her place, and feminism has NOT hit them yet.

But last weekend there was a power change in her pack. A lot of people she isn't going to mourn died. The enforcer who did the killing, (who specifically was able to kill the alpha because he's even more dominant,) tells her their wolves have decided they're mated, and he asked her to come home with him. And she went, maybe not even for the usual keeping-her-head-down ways. Now Anna and Charles have to get to know each other, and also oh, btw, ancient evil is prowling around in the woods, maybe you should look into that before it eats your soul.

Okay, this is a romance, no denying. And I liked it. :D I could actually track emotional developments, and  I could identify with the characters' romantic interest. As I believe I've mentioned, this hardly ever happens. But I liked following along with Charles learning not to glare at his girl, and Anna learning she's allowed to be bossy when her man is gonna HURT himself cause he won't let himself HEAL. *exasperated sigh and pushes him around*

Within Patricia Briggs' world-building, werewolves deal with being basically two people in one changeable body. The human and the wolf. The wolf is generally not the peaceful one with the relationship. Which is why, given that they barely know each other, both the angry, defiant and damaged little girl and the super powerful hitman everyone's scared of are rather disconcerted by their wolves' interest in curling up and snuggling around the other person.

And in this book, the snuggling was what interested me. (Sigh, I really am a girl, aren't I? Drat.)  It was just sweet! :D And yes, this is a "sweet" romance, not "steamy." Which is possibly why I also liked it. I could enjoy following the emotional arc without having to go "AUGH, I"M TOO YOUNG," and there was more focus on building friendship, instead of half the book being depictions of body parts and how there's heightened blood flow. Which really, you know, I'm just not that interested.

There was an actual plot, beyond making friends with each other, and I did approve of how it ended. For me, it was more of a vehicle for the making-of-friends than a key player, so I'm not gonna deal with it. Because of my somewhat "meh" reaction to the plot, I gave it three stars out of five.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The 50,000 Word Question

As you may have noticed, NaNoWriMo is coming up soon. Like, really soon. Like, OMG NEXT MONTH AUGH WHAT AM I GOING TO WRITE?


*five minutes pass*

*slaps self in head*

Ahem. As I see it, I have three real options, which I am now going to ramble about incomprehensibly. In the first corner, we have re-writing Merchant's Daughter. I wrote it once years ago, but now I have to pull out the entire middle and inject all the characters with life. So I don't feel bad about calling that an option, seeing as I'm going to change ALL THE WORDS. Also my idea of kissing being bad has changed, so I kinda have to re-jig some characters' morality, and you know, maybe not killing all the children would be good... And what's it like?

It's set in Eastern Germany in the early eleventh century, and it's all political backstabbing and plans and possibly a secret romance or more accurately two people who really like to fight each other, and get married so they could fight more efficiently. The feel of it in my head is quiet, and controlled, with snow and noisy hearths, and small wooden spaces and being an outsider. YA Historical Fiction.

Then we have the Medusa-ish Story, which is based on a line in Dr. Who, and my feeling that the monsters should all be the heros every so often. I mean really, I'll be making up this plot on the go. I think it's a prison break. Maybe. Possibly finding out your bosses are killing you. WHO EVEN KNOWS? The feel in my head is about open spaces, and tents and metal and stone (possibly after the fall of "modern" civilization?) Bits of sensory deprivation, and children used as weapons, and climbing. Cliffs and floating prisons and storms. :D *bounces at the feel of the world* The characters are older, so I think it's straight up Fantasy. Heh. I have Sirens and Succubus, so yeah, no YA. HOW many FTBs, plot? I'm not sure, let's find out!

And for contender number three, there is my Selkie Kidnapping, which is set- shockingly- in the modern day. For tradition's sake, there is bound to be a storage container. It has a PLOT, and feels like being about family, and wondering who you trust, and book hunting, and escaping a small town. It smells of salt water and blood and wind and rock. Cold, and low income, and fighting the seductive sexy mysterious paranormal boys. :D This would either be the closest to a paranormal romance that I've got, or be about the death of romance and how you should stab the opposite sex on sight. I'm not sure yet.

SO YEAH. With those wonderful descriptions, what do YOU think? :P

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reading for a good cause.

Those of you who follow this blog might have noticed that I like to read.

Those of you who notice time stamps might have noticed that I like to stay up till all hours

So it was pretty obvious that I was going to be participating in Dewey's 24-Hour read-a-thon.

What is Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon? For 24 hours, we read books, post to our blogs about our reading, and visit other readers’ blogs. We also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day. It happens twice a year, in April and in October.   
PARTICULARLY because I'm Canadian, and I get Canadian Thanksgiving, so that's a three day weekend for me, so I don't fall asleep at work the day after. :D Lord Willing. It could still happen. ^_^

But, I should really have a reason to give to my family for staying up for 24 hours, beyond the usual "people on the internet are doing it." So I thought, and I decided I should raise money for a CAUSE! As one usually does with an a-thon. (I'm so clever.)

And then I had to think about what I should raise money for, which was a hard game! Only it wasn't, because the idea that came to mind immediately was to raise money for the Candlelighters Association.

Those of you who know me might know that I'm from a family that's been affected by Childhood Cancer. My little brother Gideon was diagnosed with a Wilms' Tumor when he was four, and he passed away when he was five. As a result, I am rather interested in funding research into childhood cancers, and the Candlelighters Association is one of the few groups which does this.

Wait, can't I just give to the Canadian Cancer Society? No, the Canadian Cancer Scociety does not fund research into cancers which only affect children, as that's such a small segment of the population, and they want to get the most bang for their buck, so to speak. Wilms' only affects children. Oh, and the Candlelighters also puts funds towards awesome things like Oncology Camps for childhood cancer survivors and children affected by childhood cancer, including siblings and bereaved siblings, which I FULLY SUPPORT. My family looks forward to Camp Delight for basically the whole year. :D

And I'm getting off topic. But- Candlelighters are awesome, and reading is awesome, and not sleeping is awesome, and TOGETHER we can be UNSTOPPABLE. Ahem.

Now I'm looking for two things; people to read with me, and people to support me!

The Dewey read-a-thon is already an awesomely put together organization, and as long as you like reading and caffeine you'll have a blast, I am sure. :D Talk to me, I will be delighted to walk you through signing up. (No you don't have to raise money, I just want a reason to keep me going past hour 12, and this is a good one for me.)

For funding, there are several ways you could give the Candlelighters money. You could pledge to give a certain amount, (a dollar is popular, five dollars is for awesome people,) for  every hour I read. Or, as I read fast, you could pledge to give a certain amount per book read! I promise I will not resort to reading through the Franklin books if all my pledges are of that sort. (Heh.) And for option three, you could pay a certain amount ($15.00 would be a good starting point) to make me read a book and review it. As long as I can get ahold of the book and it does not offend my morals, I will read it. I might review VERY SARCASTICALLY, but yes, I will read it. :D

There you have it! My plans for Thanksgiving weekend. Read for a good cause.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Just the numbers, sir...