Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Finally, a review! Lol...and it's not even going to be a good one. Still, I'm alive. I still read. And I want to continue to write. :)

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Good Omens The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett.

This book has been around so long I'm sure everyone and the children/parents knows the plot. Two very well known authors back in the days when they were still well known. Lol. So instead of the plot, I'm just going to ramble a little on my thoughts.

Let me first admit, I've read a few Neil Gaiman books, but not Terry Pratchett. Of the Neil Gaiman books, although I usually find them fascinating, I have a hard time connecting with his characters. More am I dazzled by the world he described.

This book somewhat follows that line of thought. I mean, come on, how hilarious was this idea. The anti-christ gets misplaced and no one knows until the hell dog found him. The idea of prophecies (Agnes was my favorite character, equal to Crawley and then came Aziraphale) no matter how accurate might not make sense because of context. These were great ideas, full of interesting characters and diverse situations.

All that said, I was again unable to connect. Maybe it was also the amount of time that has passed since this book first came out. The constant change in points of view, the vast number of characters...they all became very jarring and maybe I should've concentrated more, but I had trouble following sometimes. A sudden new character over and over, the multiple storylines, the push in time limit - I could only read in small doses, which doesn't work with the complexity. Lol.

Overall, I'm glad I read it, but I probably won't be re-reading any time soon. Also, this made me want to try to read more of Terry Pratchett then Neil Gaiman. Don't know why. Lol. It didn't really pull me out of my reading slump, but it did help me get some ideas rolling around in my head. So - good read, glad I read it, but that's about it. Nothing blew me away.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December!

Happy Holidays Everyone!
Yes, I'm alive. :)
It's already into deep winter and the air has definitely been chilly.

How is everyone doing? Well, I hope. :)

As for myself, let's just say I failed NaNoWriMo. It has been crazy lately which I will get into a crazy rant at some point.

Anyhoo~ As the cute little banner states, there was a Pet Adoption Fair again and I definitely went. Not really to adopt (since I'm not sure if I'll be ready...still miss my babies), but I wanted to look for some chance to volunteer. As a fun event, I thought to bring my mother. Errr...terrible mistake.

All those cute little animals of various ages, the sight caused my mom to cry...the whole time. She was so sadden by the sight, no matter what I said, she just wouldn't leave and kept crying. I completely agree that it's a terrible fact people do horrible things and treat animals poorly, but these were people helping. Mom was just too heartbroken by the fact so many animals were in cages and she couldn't stand the fact they'd be in such states. Oh my dear mother, it'll be alright.

So, I only got lists of organizations I shall look into for volunteer opportunities in the future, but it's the best place to start.

I have read a few books and I'm scared for writing the reviews since my opinion probably differ from the general public. Lol. Soon though. After a month of my crazy crappy/no-writing nonsense, it's back to the swing of things. :)

Hopefully, I'll have some news for everyone. In the meantime, please keep warm and stay healthy!

xoxox

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quickie Update

I'm alive. I so should have been posting more, but I completely got sidetracked by my horrible NaNoWriMo. It is kicking my butt. I haven't done this badly in such a long time.

Still watching shows like crazy. Maybe if I stop...hmmm. Like that'll every happen. Lol.

Reading slump still happening, but I am still reading. I will write reviews hopefully soon.

In the meantime, I fully admit to being a bit in the shadows this month. :)

Hope everyone is doing well and took the time today to thank the veterans for all their sacrifices no matter the politics.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone will have fun and safe Halloween. :)

And candy. Yummm...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Revenge: Intrigue

Episode 6

Ok, the show is still good but I'm starting to get bored (i.e. fast forward), so it'll be a quickie review.

This episode dealt with the repercussion from last week. One great thing about this episode was allowing the story to be more fluid. So far, Emily Thorne had been able to control almost every situation. With Frank Stevens (Max Martini), the Grayson's head of security, he became more of a wildcard which was great for the storyline.

I found the love triangle to be a bit of a tragedy since Jack and Daniel probably would have became great friends if it wasn't for everyone else nudging him this way and that. Most definitely, the Declan/Charlotte and Tyler storylines officially bore me. I do end up liking Nolan more and more.

And as always, the actress that play Victoria... awesome. I am officially in love with this woman. Madeleine Stowe was absolutely awesome. I admit, I'm only watching for her sake now. Lol.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Revenge: Duplicity & Guilt... and The Count of Monte Cristo (the book)

Duplicity: Episode 4

This would probably be one of my least favorite one out of the four for a simple reason despite being one of the more emotional episode. Still, it dealt far more in line with the title and theme of revenge. The first three episodes had more of where each individual’s personal choices brought their own downfall: Lydia for cheating with her best friend’s husband, Bill for his greed and insider trading, and Kingsley for having an affair and impregnating his mistress. Here, it was more deliberate where Emily truly wanted Dr. Michelle Banks (Amy Landecker) to pay for putting young Amanda Clarke locked up.

What this episode did even more was to illustrate how no one would be free of the choices they’ve made and the past always had a way of returning. Dr. Banks was in charge of
Emily took the recordings Dr. Banks made for her personal notes and let it all leak out to destroy her relationships and credibility. The part where Dr. Banks was held captive truly was a vengeful move for Emily to want those responsible for her suffering to feel exactly what she did. It was powerful and justified, but not in a “good job” way – at least not for me. It was important that this episode also confirmed how Emily had been setting things up one by one for the Graysons (especially Victoria) to take the fall and be destroyed much the way they did to David Clarke. It does reaffirm last episode’s revelation that Victoria truly loved David Clarke and what a horrible mistake she knew she made.

Frank, the loyal head of security for the Grayson’s makes more of an appearance. I do wonder how his role will play out. Nolan, although becoming more and more of an ally for Emily, continued to be much of an enigma as well in how his character will develop. If this had been any other show, I could probably predict the outcome of the love-triangles, the plots of revenge and the possible storyline. In this case though, I do wonder how grim the outcome would be if it followed through with its title.

The whole situation with Tyler had some sort of build-up, but I am currently not very interested. Let’s see how it develops.

“The greatest weapon anyone can use against us is our own mind, by preying on the doubts and uncertainty that already lurk there.
Are we true to ourselves, or do we live for the expectations of others?
And if we are open and honest, can we ever truly be loved? Can we find the courage to release our deepest secrets, or in the end are we all unknowable even to ourselves?”



Guilt: Episode 5
“In revenge, as in life, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In the end, the guilt always fall.”

Ok, last episode was not so bad compared to this one, not that this one was a complete loss. There were great parts in terms of Nolan. He has really solidified as a character in that his motives were clear. He wants to care of Amanda at the request of his mentor, David Clarke. Ergo although trying to help her take the revenge she wants, Nolan had been trying to steer her away towards Jack Porter. Even so, the side-kick wannabe, but slowly coming to the realization of how much would be at stake.

In truth, although Emily could be sympathetic, I am very glad they’re not playing that up in the series so far. Instead, she’s the hero you’re not quite sure if you want to root for, but the anti-hero with a truly sad past that made her seek the wrong path. Still…I’m not really invested in her per say, more interested in what she’ll do next. I will admit to be very invested in Victoria Grayson. Yes, Madeleine Stowe really was that great in the series. Absolutely brilliant. She really was the only character drawing me back to this episode, the only one with depth and a conscience. Victoria, Victoria… Actually, I should say Madeleine, Madeleine… *sigh*

After Lydia requested a large sum of money from Conrad for her silence, she returned to the Hamptons wanting her old life back. Of course, we already saw what happened to her at the beginning of the episode, which was rather annoying. If you’d asked me, I think having the timelines play out linearly would have been much more shocking and had more of an impact on what Nolan must now live with.

The development of Daniel-Emily/Amanda-Jack has now become annoying. As good of guys as Daniel and Jack were portrayed, this tension of future friendship/love rivals, or even symbolism for the Emily/Amanda conflict (should she continue the path of revenge or move on and return to a better life much like before the tragedy) does not resonate with at the moment. Maybe later on. Right now, it just seems like a pity how we already suspect more and more people will suffer because of the choices of a few, whether it be greed, or to save themselves. Most likely greed.
Also, in the line, I kind of saw Emily’s quest for revenge now seemed more like a punishment to herself for not believing in her father. That rather annoyed me as well. Oh well…we’ll see how it goes.

Jumping away from the tv series itself and contrasting with the book, so far, I’ve recognized a few partial incarnations:

Conrad as Mondego

Victoria as Mercedes Mondego

Bill Harmon as Baron Danglar

Kingsley as Gerard de Villefort

As the creator of the show said, this series was inspired by Monte Cristo and not an adaption. Ergo, from what I can tell, this would be more of what happened if Edmond Dante (David Clarke in this case) died while imprisoned and instead his child returned for vengeance. Also, it was hard to say that David Clarke was completely innocent as he was having an affair with a married woman…his business partner’s wife. Eh…

Also, I loved how the writers started driving in the point that revenge isn’t all sweet early on. Despite the vengeful part of me really enjoying people getting their comeuppance, the writers all very nicely point out that there will always be unexpected consequences. As the very Pilot episode begins with a great phrase from a rather annoying man, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig tow graves.” Confucius. What? I’m not a Confucius fan. I’d rather follow on one of the other school of thoughts that weren’t horribly destroyed back in the day, but oh well, it does not mean he doesn’t have some moments of keenness.

Oddly enough, given that the feel of this series was to be on the more realistic side, I do hope it follows through to the end. There really are consequences to every action, choice, and decision. Even inaction in the face of something can come back to wrought vengeance. At the same time, the book (although very satisfying in its 1000 pages) allowed redemption to play into the storyline, the villains always got what they deserved. The series so far has made a great contrasting difference in giving other motives behind our villains.

Despite some recent events in my life, this series brought a few ideas into the forefront as I had to deal with unsavory choices made by others. It made me wonder about vengeance and justice and how very often, justice really is blind. Those in power, with money and backing, or even just very manipulative self-serving individuals never have to pay for the crimes. The suffering caused by their decisions almost blind them to their own responsibilities. In these moments, vigilantes and acts of vigilance would seem almost justified and probably very very satisfying. At the same time, there are checks and balances for a reason. Unchecked acts of vengeance would cause more hurt and detriment to all parties involved.

Well, I kind of went on a tangent, but back to the book. Edmond Dante finally realized that his actions were causing innocent people to suffer. Even so, he justified away the guilt and continued his path to vengeance. It was not until his former ex-fiancé recognized him and begged for her child to be spared did he finally pull back. In the karmatic scheme of things, even though he was getting revenge on those whom wronged him, innocent people were still hurt and he was not held responsible because it was someone else that started it. It made this awesome genius seem irresponsible. In my opinion, he got off easy. As much as I enjoy this series, I do hope it follows in a more realistic manner like it has been hinting. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Revenge: Trust & Betrayal

To continue last night's insanity... FYI, there are spoilers. Don't read if you haven't watched...
Fair warning.
And again, lazy ergo no links/pictures.


Trust: Episode 2

This episode built more on the pilot of Emily Thorne’s return to bring about the downfall of all those that broke her family apart. More of David Clarke’s accusation came to light. He was accused of supporting terrorists in an act that reminisce of 9-11. Another key figure that stacked the cards against David Clarke was Bill Harmon (Matthew Glave), the second person on Emily’s list of people to destroy. Bill Harmon was previously a friend of David and Amanda, but lied in his testimony at her father's trial to save himself as well as profited from it. Nolan was able to ‘help’ twice already and am very much interested in how his character will develop.

This was another good episode where people get their just desserts…a very much, “reap what you sow” feel. There was more revelation on each character’s background and drive. And we learn that Victoria and David were having an affair prior to the treason charges.

Starting of this episode, though, I found the secondary romance between Declan and Charlotte to be kind of distracting from the overall story. If it was meant to be the lighter side of this series, I seriously ignored most of it.

The last scene almost made me cry with Jack Porter and his father. *sigh*

If you don’t already know, the actor that plays Jack Porter, Nick Wechsler, used to be on Roswell. Seeing him onscreen again was such a good flashback of memories (before that series went to the crappers). I have much love for this guy.

“Trust is a difficult thing.
Whether it is finding the right people to trust, or trusting the right people will do the wrong thing.
But trusting your heart, is the riskiest thing of all. In the end, the only person we can truly trust is ourselves. “

Betrayal: Episode 3

This episode was one of my favorite so far for one reason, Victoria Grayson. The actress, Madeleine Stowe, was awesome. Victoria was played as a villain for the most part before despite showing cracks of vulnerability, this episode changed her to more of an ambiguous character.
This week’s list featured Tom Kingsley (Yancey Arias), the Federal prosecutor in David Clarke’s case, now a senator and running for office. While Conrad remained chummy with the senator, more was revealed about the case against David Clarke. Victoria had gone to Tom Kingsley near the end of the trial tried to reveal the truth, that she commit perjury to have David Clarke exonerating him. Instead of ‘doing the right thing’ Kingsley was swayed by Conrad’s support that Victoria was in love with a criminal, the trial would push Kingsley into the limelight and would help his political career.

From this episode, it was also becoming apparent that Emily had been planning her revenge for quite some time. Setting herself up as an innocent bystander or supporter, but merely using the connections and time to gather the information to bring about each responsible individual’s downfall. In this case, as a testament of her convictions, Emily had purchased an entire building in order to install cameras and gained evidence of Kingsley’s affair with a mistress and slowly feeding the clips to Kingsley the amounted to his resignation. Even so, as she told Nolan, she still released the information to the media and hinted that all ‘innocents’ were collateral.

Nolan has become quite the interesting character in this series, but I am still not too sure about him just yet. I still very much enjoy Jack, while conflicted about Daniel and have absolutely no interest in Charlotte and Declan.

More of Daniel’s past has been revealed and while not completely ignorant of his parents’ relationship, he really was more of an innocent bystander. For course, since we saw how the Pilot episode opened with his murder, we all knew it was a doomed relationship. What it does cast shadows on would be Emily, of how far she would go. It also hinted at how much Emily had truly given up on this path to revenge.

At the end of this episode, I almost felt as if there were no true villains (maybe Conrad, but we’ll see). Instead, it was a lot of people all making the wrong choice. The emotional driving point in this episode was Victoria (also, I absolutely LOVE her clothes), especially in the very last scene. You could see the realization on her face as she realized she made the wrong decision and much now live with the consequences of her actions.

“For the innocent, the past may hold a reward. But for the traitorous, it’s only a matter of time for the deliver what they truly deserve.”

Monday, October 24, 2011

New TV Series: Revenge

Revenge

This was a new series I originally was not that into. It was not until the recent turn of personal events did this storyline perk my interest. Created by Mark Kelley, this series was based on the idea of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (collaborating ghostwriter Auguste Maquet). If you had read the book before, you’ll be able to guess a lot of the storyline (even if you haven’t, you’d still be able to guess most of it, lol).

The basic story was simple with the pilot episode setting up the entire series, as if the title did not already give it away: Revenge.

Pilot

~ Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig tow graves. Confucius

The scene begins at a party and we learn it was to celebrate the engagement between Emily Thorne and Daniel Grayson. We meet all the players right before the unthinkable happens and it flashes back to five (5) months ago. Emily Thorne just moved into The Hamptons and in the process of renting a beach front house. It was revealed that her real name was Amanda Clarke and she lived there as a child with her father, David Clarke, before it was all destroyed. Amanda, now known as Emily, returned for revenge.

The first person on the revenge list was Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta). Lydia was David Clarke’s secretary that testified against him and profited from his downfall such that she owned the beach house Emily was used to live in and now rented.

A quick rundown of cast:
Emily Thorne, real name Amanda Clark (Emily VanCamp) – protagonist, independently wealthy and returned to the Hamptons for vengeance.
Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) – labeled “Queen of the Hamptons”.
Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny) – Victoria’s husband.
Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta) – Victoria’s best friend. David Clarke’s secretary.
David Clarke (James Tupper) – Emily’s late father, framed for terrorism.
Nolan Ross – owner of Nol Corp. He was the only one that knew Emily Thorne was Amanda Clarke and revealed he became wealthy because David Clarke believed in him by investing in Nol Corp.
Jack Porter (Nick Wechsler) – A childhood friend of Amanda and took ownership of Amanda's Yellow Lab puppy, Sammy.
Declan Porter (Connor Paolo) – Jack’s younger brother.
Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman) – Victoria and Conrad’s son.
Charlotte Grayson (Christa B. Allen) – Victoria and Conrad’s daughter.

The end of the episode showed that Emily orchestrated the revelation to Victoria that Lydia was having an affair with Conrad. In response, Victoria has Lydia publicly exiled as Victoria grows more suspicious of Emily.

“Two wrongs can never make a right, because two wrongs can never equal each other. For the truly wronged, real satisfaction can only be found in one of two places: absolute forgiveness or mortal vindications. This is not a story about forgiveness.”

~~~~
FYI - I admit, I'm being lazy these days so no links or pictures. I have a few of these lined up. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Yes, I’m still in a reading slump. Surprisingly, when I’m in that mood where nothing I read looks entertaining, I resort to the educational stuff. You’d be surprised at how much I analyze ordinary entertainment stories…then again, if you’ve read my reviews before, you’d already know how annoying I can be. As such, even as this attempt failed to get me out of the slump, I still found quite a lot information enjoyable. Lots of social commentary was what I had. Heh.

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

First off, a little tipbit about me that does related to this book in a roundabout way. I majored in Women’s Studies in undergrad. I still cannot decide if it was a good mistake or just a plain mistake, but that was my major. Complicated issue condense – as much as this major helped me come into my own as a Asian American (which almost became my second major, but was sadly missed along with my almost two minors Afro-Entho and Anthropology – all forgoed in favor of graduating in 4 years – stupidest decision ever…ever.) woman, I came out of the major more critical of it then one should be. It’s only out of love that I criticize it so.

As such, I’ve read my share of feminist theories and historical recounts to be able to decipher (and sometimes enjoy) the drier aspect of academia (person opinion of course). It also meant I’ve learned to take everything in with more than just a grain of salt. Lol. The author, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich was not new to me. Ergo, I was expecting the essay/analysis form of writing to accompany the details of Martha Ballard’s life and times. Again, why I brought this up was that I would not recommend this book for those attempting to read for some sensationalized biography. Don’t get me wrong, the contents included quite a few scandalized true historical events, but the writing was that of an academic nature. After reading this book, my undead and refusing to go away interest in history reared its ugly head and gave me much a desire to raid the Maine State Library to read the entire diary. Alas, I resisted and just did a lot of googling and wikipediaing random historical people to appease my geekiness.

This book was Ulrich’s way of telling the story of Martha Moore Ballard using her own words of the place, time and people she inhabited.

Martha, as I’ve come to call her in my head as if I actually knew her, was around 50 years old when she started her diary. This was the official start of her career as a midwife. The “diary” was really more of form of record keeping for services rendered. It was not until later in her journal did Martha started expanding on certain aspects. Then again, a lot of information lay in what was not written, in comparison to the records of those days as well as what we knew of the historical time. What was so amazing about this book was not only did it stay relatively well preserved in near completeness, but it was able to present the women’s world in the voice of an older woman. Every day. For about 27 years. Holy cheesesticks. Talk about diligence. Of course, the book contained only selections of Martha’s diary and we readers must rely on the researcher and storyteller, Ulrich, for accuracy, interpretation as well as the background of that world.

It was a small world really. During a specific time period at only one location, yet it was filled with the illustrations of that time and world so similar to our own. It’s not as if there were no other diarists during that period and in truth, that’s what made it more authentic. Ulrich was about to find documentations of the events both in the local clerical records and often contrasted with other diarist’s point of view. Of course, those were written by men of a certain class, background and distinction. Times like these, it really drove home the importance of having different perspectives on any given situations. Granted, the book probably was not as exciting as I’m making it sound, but it did give a lot of food for thought. At its bare minimum, the book was able to portray an older woman’s survival during a time period where they had no voice. Instead, I noticed how women in those times had more recourse than people gave history credit for.

For one, Martha had a career. As a midwife, not only did she have an important social role, she was also privy to the worlds of different class as well as fields (i.e. the doctors and midwives often worked together even as we saw the eventual superior/demeaning stance the medical field began to take). For another, the time period’s regulation and expectations of sexual norms was much more different than we were told as children. Example, pregnancy before marriage was not frowned upon. It was not marrying even after any child was born that was upsetting and was usually directed against the baby’s father. As such, women were able to sue the man (minus a small fine for fornication). It was amazing how much time changed that notion.

For me personally, it was important to see how much history was lost when someone else controlled the media. It also showed how biases often filtered into history and we sometimes create these puritanical worlds of years long past that really did not exist. Whether it be of gender, age, or generation. Martha Ballard was a great inspiration for not only myself, but for her own family. Her sister’s granddaughter was Clara Barton, the woman that created the Red Cross, also heard about Martha in family stories. Martha’s great-great-granddaughter was Mary Hobart, one of America’s first female physicians (Mary inherited the diary).

As I resist adding more social commentary, I could very clearly say that this book was a generally good read if you’re into history. I enjoyed the refresher as well as needed the extra inspiration. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

October?!?!!!

What the heck? How is it October? What happened?

Recent run-down:
Family craziness (as usual).
Work craziness (as usual).
Relationship craziness (also as usual).

And all in all, the world continues to turn. So what happened? I'm not sure so oh well. Made a few more changes in my life. The usual ups and downs. An annoying thing though...

I’ve hit a pretty bad reading slump. Booh!!!! Go away reading slump! Go away!

I haven’t read anything in a while and all my reviews were only partially finished. With the official end of Borders, I’ve been avoiding bookstores. I do miss that bookstore with the many coupons, discounts and perks. Say what you will about the rise of technology taking, just as there are people that still go to farmers market, grow their own mini gardens, or even cook their own food *gasp* ^_~, physical books and building filled with books shall remain.

Still, no matter the amount of books or where they are at...it doesn't help that I'm in this slump. Haven't even written in a long time. *sigh*

As such, here’s a little update on my garden to liven things up. Lol.

These were supposed to be four single giant sunflowers.

Don’t ask how I stunted them, but they’re all only half their height.

And two mutated into multi-headed sunflowers. I’m not complaining, I’m gloating at the unexpected joy. :)

See? A few heads are already seeding. Then I’m throwing a mini sunflower seed party! :D

Monday, September 26, 2011

Banned Books Week

This week came out of the blue. I seemed to never be prepared these days. Too much crap and disappointment from RL.

Onto the books!

Banned book week is a week we should all celebrate the opportunity to be able to read the vast and diverse literary works in this world. :)

What a horrible world it would be for one to be without stories...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Random Venting

Ok, I'm a little behind on my reviews even though I've been reading, but that is partially because of a reading slump. I'd ask for book recommendations (something happy, smexy, fairytales, folklores, I donno), but at the moment, I'm just really upset.

Pissed would be the more correct term. So please let me vent.

What is wrong with people? Seriously...people in general. What happened to kindness? Compassion? Common decency? COMMON SENSE?

Seriously... there is such a thing as karma and I wonder if I can assist.

A-holes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

160

Wow, after goodness knows how many years I’ve been in this tiny niche blogsphere, I’ve reached my 160th post. Took me a freaking long time. Lol. With so many different events going on, I kept wondering what I wanted this post to be about. My currently situation? Something personal? A comment on the recent social/cultural/political situation? Current blogsphere happenings? Or simply another book review (one close to my heart)?

After all these years, I am still having trouble pinning down my writing voice. Still having trouble expressing myself. Sometimes, I just want to make a big ruckus, but that’s not really me. So, here’s something simple and sweet.

Happy Moon Festival!

(Yes, I know I'm random) That's why you love reading this. ;)


I hope people celebrating were with their family members, eating yummy moon cakes, peeling giant grapefruits and eating those too. :) Nothing beats Asian holidays. Always filled with food, history and so much celebration. Mine was rather tame this year, but I loved it still. It was peaceful and I would not have asked for anything more.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa Jame

I was supposed to post this earlier and have some edits, but was distracted by some recent events. Next thing I knew...September! Lol. Time and whatnot. As such, please continue to excuse my typos, grammar problems, and incomplete sentences…have fun!

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

This was a surprisingly funny and happy book, by which I mean very awesome humorous. I had been so hesitant these days of angsty books, but I my resistance to fairytale retellings were next to none. So I picked up this book gearing myself against some emotional rollercoaster and instead, found myself happily laughing at the humorous exploits of the characters. It had angsty moments mostly at the end, but overall, it was so hilarious half the time I was giggling nonstop.

It was a very interesting idea. Our gorgeous heroine, Linnet, was so frank and straight-forward it was most refreshing. Example, the fact she knew she was beautiful and how to use it. The more books I read, the more I like reading stories where the female protagonist wasn’t always so insecure with her looks all the time. Yes, we all have body issues, but even oblivion had limits. In here, it was blown to smithereens. I just enjoyed her tremendously. Even at the end when she was sick and the fact she did show all women care about out looks, Linnet was still able to pull the rug out from Pier. She was smart and gave as good as she got.

As for our hero…Pier, he was hilarious. He really was the beast in truth. His temper and attitude would have bothered me more if our heroine hadn’t been able to stand her own ground the entire time. She was often able to point out how Pier was being a major pain and sometimes even got the better of him. It took him a while, but when he admitted defeat, it was a very poignant and funny moment. I mean, seriously, we have the hero as a doctor and a cripple…which the heroine even points out to him half teasingly. He spoke of things just as frankly as Linnet and really made them the perfect couple.

I mentioned how this book’s humor caught me by surprise and I meant it in the best way. I think the two characters were very much on equal grounds. In this sense, when any bickering and problems appeared, Pier and Linnet were able to have this understanding of each other that made everything they say – even when mean – to have a great sense of connection. They called each other on their issues and were not shy about anything between them. I especially enjoyed the part where Pier went all a-hole on Linnet just because he had trouble controlling his attraction to her, Linnet was NOT allowing him to get away with anything. Instead, Linnet called him out on his behavior and went ahead and pointed out that he should not take his frustration out on her. It’s not her fault he’s got issues. How refreshing was that?

The intimate scenes were rather tame in my opinion and were blacked out in most cases, almost as if they don’t matter. So, I didn’t really care of them. I was too focused on the funny characters. :)

And the plot about the parents. Awesome. As of late, I’ve moved away from too many secondary romance stories in books because I usually find them to be too distracting or took too much away from the main storyline. This was an exception. The secondary romance between Pier’s parents was very well done. It also helped relate to the past as to why things turned out the way they did. Surprisingly, this secondary story was very good in His mother didn’t sit around heartbroken or wasting away. She got re-married. Even after her second husband died, she came back with a vengeance. :D

Even Sebastian was adorable. I liked his interaction with Pier. It’s always nice to see deep friendship and family ties that contrasted with how a character dealt with others. I just wished Linnet also had this interaction with people. She was a little too isolated in my opinion. Even with the kid to show her softer side, Linnet did not really have any friends. Plus, her maid was still an employee no matter how close. The dog was a nice touch though. I'd like to think of it as a form of service animal as well as plug for adopting pets. Horray for doggies!

Conclusion: A fun book to read just for fun. Lol.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Night of Scandal by Sarah Morgan

A Night of Scandal by Sarah Morgan

Ms. Sarah Morgan,

Please be warned I may be drooling throughout this review because your book was so awesome. I personally do not like reading celebrity romance. Not at all. Haven’t been one of those celebrity fangirls since my teens and felt like a complete moron for having done so. Instead, this made me re-evaluate a few thing…like how hot your hero was and how awesome your heroine was. And your writing? Oh my goodness, your writing. I certainly hope you will be writing a whole lot more long novels because this one was too short. So short I re-read it 5 times…in one day…the day I bought it.

Let me repeat, I loved this book. It has now joined the ranks of a few books I am forever carrying around in a large bag. Whether at work, home or play. Why? Because it was hilarious! Don’t get me wrong, this book was filled with plenty of heartwrenching angst, but this book had such a nice quality of teasing and humor in it. The character leapt off the pages. Their chemistry, the sincerity. Oh my lovely book. *cuddles book to tiny bosoms*

Nathaniel Wolfe – He was the mega-hot international super star. I cannot believed how you even tongue-in-cheek teased the idea of the whole alpha male by letting him play a role called… Alpha Man. Ahahahaha. He was so freaking damaged it was insane, but was so incredibly good. So closed off, but not entirely cold.

Katie Fields – I love this woman. She was awesome. Yes, she had her insecurities, but the she was a smart, independent and hardworking woman in her own right. And when our male hero was being an ass? Well, I loved the fact she held her own and called him out on it. I mean, are you kidding me? She’s awesome! She doesn’t let him get away with any of the crap he dishes out even when she’s hurt. This was an awesome protagonist. I have nothing else to say. I like her.

Story-wise was simple enough. Mega star Nathaniel was at the opening night of his first theatrical play as King Richard when he saw someone in the audience...someone that did something no one had done in decades, it shattered Nathaniel the actor on the spot. He rushed off stage and ran into Katie, the costume designer. In a moment of kindness and insanity, Katie “rescued” Nathaniel and took him to her apartment. This was when the hilarity started and where the intimacy began (smoldering smexiness). In an effort to ditch the paparazzi and being found out they “spent the night together” although nothing happened (not even a kiss, just hot sexual chemistry), Nathaniel whisked Katie away onto a private island and the dance began. Katie wants to know the real Nathaniel whereas Nathaniel don’t know why he wants Katie. Lol. It was great.

The characters were very well developed. The chemistry top notch. Everything was great. I’ve seriously kept the book in my bag and kept re-reading. I really like this books.

Let me just get one thing off my chest first…I did not like their names. Sorry. I don’t know why, but their names were a little weird. Katie sounded more like a nickname whereas Nathaniel sounded so formal. Maybe it was too show their personalities, but it ended up distracting me a bit.

Second…the sister comparison. I did not really care for it. It was minorly speckled throughout the story, but felt too much of an afterthought. Messed up family aside, everything else was awesome. This was an incredibly character driven book full of angst and humor. I know, great mixture. :D

Btw, the elevator scene? Holy moly, I was – ahhh…*fans self* Hot AND then funny? It was so intense I’ve been blushing every time I enter an elevator these days. Lol.
For once, the man isn’t accusing the woman of being a skank just because he’s pissed off or whatever. The author even has the characters poke joke about him being a “caveman.” When she said no, he listened. And he didn’t call her a tease, blamed her for being seductive…none of that nonsense. Where were you when I was growing up when I devoured these books? Lol. I was half hoping you’d be the one writing the rest of the Wolfe series, but alas, this was a beloved Present with multiple writers. You have now finished off what Super Librarian started…I am official sucked back into Category Romance. *throws confetti*

Also, I’m now ready to go look for some of your other books. Then probably buy them all. Mwahaha. I want all your books! (Yes, I’ve started saving up for a massive binge).

If anyone has not read this book yet, please do.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Surprise

Ok, so I made a decision to my insane conflict and it will hopefully all go through. It reassured me that I made the right decision by listening to my gut in terms of people. Thank you gut! I shall give you more food. And thanks to all my friends that endured my craziness, insanity and near nervous breakdown through this time. :) Nanshi, Jules, Em, old guy, my family and a few more friends. *fingers crossed*

After a few more ups and downs, scares and fears...I woke up this morning feeling more refreshed and what do you know, found the happy surprise that Penguin publishing actually sold books on their website! Hello books, goodbye hard earned dollar currency. I have so many Eva Ibbotson in my cart it's insane. If only they'd have One Dog and His Boy. I really really want that book. It's ok, it will be mine someday as I catch up on the rest of this awesome author's books because I just read that it's coming out March 2012! Horray!!! *throws confetti and twirls around and around and around* It's coming!

FYI - I am starting to realize a pattern in the authors and books I am drawn to. Don't know what it says about my mentality, but it is rather different. Example of some of my favorite authors, writers: Diana Wynne Jones, Hayao Miyazaki and now Eva Ibbotson. Individuals that had to live through rather horrendous times, but rather than be pulled down by their experience somehow maintained this belief in people - I want to say, optimism, but that's not accurate. More like they were turned into depressive mopey people that wrote so much about doom and filled with self-pity, contempt or the arrogance that the world owes them. *cough*

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Help! Decisions...

If you had to choose:

Same work, less hours, same pay and a sure thing...

Or

Same work, more hours, a lot more pay and you have a 50-50 chance of getting said job, but you only get the 50-50 chance if you give up the sure thing. Meaning...you still might not get it.


Not your dream job, but work is work. Factor in you want to get the heck out of your current situation because they're working you to death without as much pay...Which would you pick?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

His At Night by Sherry Thomas

His at Night by Sherry Thomas

I admit, I heard about Sherry Thomas when she was first published. Despite all the praises I’d heard, I stayed quietly in the background like some demon fiend biding my time for a storyline that I look for and it came (yes yes, perverted pun intended). This was my first Sherry Thomas novel and I am definitely curious of all her books now. I heard great things about her, but a girl has to protect her wallet.

His at Night contained some basic historical stories: compromising situation let to marriage, woman in horrible situation, mystery and murder. What separated this book from others were the very interesting characters and the twist in the usual elements. Two people pretending to be someone they were not. It was awesome part. Also, the fact that we have the heroine as the one that did the compromising to ensure they married? Awesome. Such a twist. Normally, I would have hated the idea of those scheming women trying to land a man. Those were usually the villains in a romance novel. In Sherry Thomas’ astounding hands, this twist was mind-blowing.

Elissande Edgerton, nicknamed Ellie, pretends to be happy…all the time. How? She smiles. She smiles non-stop, with varying degrees and various styles. Ellie rarely stopped smiling…ever. Her brilliant smile was the only way she knew how to act to protect herself and her aunt Rachel from her uncle Douglas. Not so much broken as she had completely hidden herself behind her false smile. It. Was. Awesome. I know, I know. We’re supposed to like those wallflowers that don’t know her own beauty and with those rare smiles that lights up the room for the hero. This idea was turned on its head and it was buttkicking awesome. Instead, Ellie’s smile was a weapon, used to delude, seduce and hide. It was her only form of survival. Yet, it was at the moment when she dropped her smile did it truly hit how tired she was of smiling. Of pretending and it truly showed how smart and strong she truly was. It also made me infinitely sad that she had to pretend so much. I loved how she picked up on the hero’s deception and instead of throwing a fit or cowering in fear, she revealed her true self. Vere really was the person that Ellie needed and despite the fact he was very sweet to her - when Vere turned into an ass on her, I was truly devastated along with her. On top of that, when she played along – it was hilarious. Wished I could have actually seen more of that rather than be told.

Lord Vere, nicknamed Penny, pretends to be not all there in his head…all the time. His blundering rambling ways was his act to protect his secret agent identity. As the bumbling Lord, Vere was adorable. As himself though…boy was he a dark character. Too dark for my taste… and he really really pissed me off a lot of times at how he treated Ellie. He saw how Ellie was treated by her Uncle. Vere was intelligent enough to realize very quickly why Ellie acted the way she did and saw through her mask. Vere was aware of all the dangers and pressure she was under, yet he still treated her horribly. Maybe this was used to contrast against how bright he was as the ditzy character. Part of it was understandable since no man wanted to be trapped into marriage. His loss of a dream woman (that would never exist) was painful, but he really treated Ellie horribly. I kept waiting for him to grovel. The last part in the novel was not satisfying enough. I guess in his bumbling role, it gave enough light-heartedness to the whole situation to counter-weight it. All I can say was his horrible treatment of Ellie downgraded him in my book for heroes. Especially the lack of groveling. He’s too much of a self-denialer for my overall liking. The simultaneously caring for Ellie while pushing her away, it was annoying even if it was supposed to show his confusion. Too bad, he would’ve been great.

Best moments: I really enjoyed how Ellie and Vere were able to connect using discussions of Capri. It was really sweet and tender. Vere being the silly lord was also really funny overall. I loved how Ellie went along. Really did. And I really wanted to read about Ellie’s jam discussion. Don’t tell me, show me the entire thing please because I’ve been learning to make jam and would love to see Ellie turn everything on its head. :D

One of the most touching developments was Aunt Rachel. Her at the very beginning made me wonder if she would last the book. Instead, as Aunt Rachel was able to survive and rise above the hardship (as well as the drugs).

A little inconsistency was Uncle Douglas. By everything we’re “told,” this guy was supposed to be the unseeingly menacing type. I took it as the type that pulls strings and rarely lost control. I can imagine the events in the book were pushing him beyond his limits and that he was cracking under the pressure, but for the scene where we meet him again after the two first wed… I can hardly believe that should have been the first time he hit her. Evil as he maybe to strike such fear into Ellie, there should've been more. I know, how horrible am I to want a beloved heroine to suffer. In honesty, I'd rather she didn't suffer any physical attack at all. I was just a little disbelieving it was the first time.

Ok, there were several things I was quite uncomfortable with even though I understood why most were included.

Wedding night…did we have to use liquor? I never liked books where the first time main characters became intimate were under the influence of alcohol (which was what truly ruined my love for a certain book by my most beloved author). I do NOT like them. Even though I know this was supposedly the only way for these overly stubborn control freak characters to let go, I still don’t like it. Also, even though it was evident that the progress of their intimacies were to show the changes of their relationships, it was still rather disturbing that two of out three times were due to alcohol. The last time…due to nightmares as a push was so sweet, but thanks for pulling the rug out from under me the next morning. It was freaking gutwrenching.
The end revelation of Ellie’s parentage. It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t really that big of a revelation.

Angelica and Fredrick’s relationship was a sweet, but I was way way WAY too distracting for me. It’s great how they were able to help out at certain points, but I would have rather just focused more time to our main characters. The storyline took away much writing space and time especially given that it was in the second half. I avoided reading most of it until the second time around. Then the third time reading? I skipped it thereafter.

Also…what time period was this again? I’m not quite sure the “f” word was used in such a context yet, or at least not that often. Was it? I know I’ve been away from school for a while and I was always really bad with dates, but was it really? Where’s that book with the history of the f word? Maybe I should write it. Ahahahahaha. Kidding. I'm sure there should be several books out there already.

Overall, the story was great. Very interesting and different from the books out there. I do wish there was more showing rather than telling at certain points, but I do believe this was the first book where I’ve seen an author able to perfect this sort-of-telling-but-really-and-semi-showing thing, like when Lady Vere was first introduced to society. It was hilariously done and what interesting technique. Darn you for being such an awesome writer. ;) I say it with much adoration, of course.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Change? Change! Changes...



How's everyone doing? Can you believe summer is almost over? I definitely can't since I didn't really have a summer. -_-

Even so, things are still changing. First off, the gardens...

My sunflowers were plopped into the ground abated a little later than I should have. Their growth were stunted. Lol, but they are starting to bloom beautifully. Today, I even saw a little bug (bee?) going crazy in there loving the pollen and just having a blast. I was very happy seeing her enjoying the morning sun and flower.


Now I know better. Don't plant in the ground when seeds or else rabbits will consume. Move them not too early or else they'll have trouble growing, but move them too late will result in stunted growth. I'm sure next year will be much more fun.

Another change...I'm once again seeking better career options. Although I should focus more on my writing, I still cannot help but want to survive in world of commerce if only for the good food. So, here's to wishing me luck. :D

Oh and I went crazy...in the sense I'm writing two stories at once. Really not a good idea, but my romance WIP is terrible. I really mean it. Apparently, despite my love for the genre, I'm terrible at writing it. I don't know why... I write once heck of a great essay, but romance novel? Not working. Fantasy and YA seems ok (not great, but not as terrible). Oh how actually sitting down and writing reveals so much. What I really want to do is to finish a novel...without cringing throughout... As a personal challenge though, I must finish a book. Beginning to end. No excuses. Horrible as it may be, I must prove to myself I can do it. So do it I must! Go me!

In the meantime, I'm still hoping to post up some reviews. I have a lot of books on my consideration list, but nothing of great interest. With the collapse of one beloved bookstore...it's been a little hard to get my butt into any stores without utterly whining, whimpering and moping. *sigh* Books... How I love thee.

At least I haven't lost all print books yet. So, goodbye summer...hello autumn. I hope everyone is having at least much more fun than I am. Or at least a lot less moping. ;)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

It has been quite some time since I’ve read any Julia Quinn books. Once a longtime addict of hers, my taste in books changed enough that I stopped compulsively buying after the second to last Bridgerton books (despite it being one of my favorite). Maybe it was because I did not want to see Lady Danbury get old. Maybe it was my increasing dotage too and while reading, I grew concerned about young women marrying at the age of twenty when I myself past that age long ago. Maybe it was the knowledge that if I kept reading on, it would become harder and harder to main my suspension of disbelief that almost everyone would get their happy endings…in that time period…all related…one big family. Whatever it was, I stopped – whether to preserve what was left of the copper coins slaved away, or the perfect memory of the world, I just stopped. Then came Just Like Heaven.

How could anyone resist reading about the Smythe-Smith clan? Their recitals famous in so many books where no one could endure listening to, yet some of the sweetest people around continued to attend and support the young women. When I heard this was out, I dutifully ran to the bookstore and purchased. :) I am so glad I did, this was a wonderful book. It reminded me of all the reasons why I once loved Julia Quinn’s books so much.

This was a simple book about the love and relationship between Honoria and Marcus and contained one of my favorite ideas, childhood friends turned love. In extension, the story was also about family and friends. It was an incredibly sweet story. Honoria has become one of my favorite characters. The youngest of a large family, she was sweet and honest, temperamental and brave. Honoria was very truthful with herself without being all mopey-angsty-self-pity. She hit just the right balance of being humble, yet fun loving humorous. She lead the musicale clan without being over-bearing. I loved how she was the only one to notice that Marcus was both very funny and shy. Her intelligence and observation could have turned her into a very snarky character, but instead showed how close the Smythe-Smith clan truly was. For example, the true reason for the musicales: family and tradition (but in a good way). I always loved how family was an integral part of Julia Quinn’s books. In this case, it was even more so.

Marcus was also becoming one of my favorite heroes. After all the chest pounding, smooth talking, testosterone oozing alpha heroes out there, Marcus was the perfect counter-weight and turned out even better. The prologue was a great set-up and gave us a nice look into our hero. Marcus was an only child and had no one really growing up. He was heir to be Duke, ergo groomed to be very good at just about anything he did except one: learn how to interact with people. Instead, what others assumed he was the high and mighty self assured Lord as so many other cookie cutter heroes, we saw Marcus as he truly was. Marcus was shy and sweet, sensitive and funny. He’s loyal to a fault and loves very deeply. And only a very small amount of people knew that.

In school, Marcus became best friends with Daniel, Honoria’s brother. Through whatever forces were in power, Marcus became a part of the Smyth-Smith family. Off screen, Daniel had to flee the country and made Marcus promise to watch over Honoria (make sure she does not marry some idiot pretty much). Off screen, Marcus had done so for three years. As the story picked up, Honoria and Marcus reconnect on a rain-filled day over delicious pastries and as they slowly got to know each other again. It was through an accident and injury (life threatening) that caused them to realize their love and affection for each other. They realized they fell in love, or maybe they always were in love. It was sweet, that was the only word I can think of to describe this book.

There were quite a few plot holes, but I was able to read through with no problem given that this was book 1 in a series. I enjoyed seeing old characters and especially enjoyed the inside jokes for those that read the previous books. The timing of the book did throw me off with the time period as it coincided with several others from years ago. Although Marcus healed very quickly for such a leg infection (I really loved his drugged mind – rabbit, carrot, onions…lol) and then fell very quickly in love with Honoria right after… it was all within the lines of believability. Their intimate scene at the end was very tender and sweet, but felt slightly forced in how it started. Also, it made me kind of freaked out that they were doing it in a house full of guests…right after the musicale. O__o The lost letters of Daniel were never really explained either, but I’m sure he’ll have his own story. As well as Sarah’s.

Overall, I really liked it and look forward to the rest of the quartet. :) I do love those slice-of-life romances that Julia Quinn does so well. No intense mystery, murder or mayhem. No family revelations, no skeletons in the closet to rip them apart. Just two people, falling in love – with the entanglements of the inescapable family. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Big Bang Theory

I went on a Big Bang Theory binge. A final book I had been waiting for finally came out and you know what that means…credit card time! As I was amassing my usual story binge of the year, I went ahead and picked up a few tv series. I was going to get Parks and Recreation, but at those prices, I figured I would bide my time some more. I do that a lot. Impatiently wait for something. While biding my time, I stumbled on some cheap Big Bang Theory. How was I supposed to resist? It was like instant nerdgasm. I bought myself season 1-3 and holy smokes batman, I enjoyed it.
The series has really evolved (whether I liked it or not) and has always been sure to suck some chuckles outta me if not straight-out gasmic-laughter that irritates everyone around me. No really. I laughed so hard I was my tummy felt punched while my labored wheezing only squeezed out this high pitched gasping laughter. Ah, fun. *rubs sore belly*
Season 1
This was a great season. Penny, the more “normal” girl moved into an apartment across from Leonard and Sheldon, both highly intelligent physicists nerds/geeks. Leonard’s friend, Raj and Howard were also frequent guests of the apartment and both were brilliantly nerdy in their own right. Penny was our eyes into their world, so to speak.
Luckly for me, I had some understanding of the geeky world of superheroes, scifi and such. The nerd part was beyond me. Heck, I couldn’t even get basic physics in school much less the extensive backgrounds and information the four friends dealt with. I was very surprised that I was able to keep up with some of the information though. The best part was to hear the characters rant off long extensive sentences without nearly taking a breath. It was great! I love shows like these. I learn tidbits of information concerning the world and still get to laugh at the crazy interactions.
Season one was like the introduction into this world because season 2 was even better.
Season 2
By this season, we’ve already familiarized ourselves with our cast of crazy characters and the writers/producers/actors were able to develop more of each relationship. It was good to see the insanity grow and as each character started to come into themselves. Penny became a part of the group and slowly, we see how she’s not quite normal either.
Each characters quirks become more apparent, even Sheldon. Their relationships with each other further develop and one of the best ones was to see how Sheldon and Penny started to interact. I’ve heard some want them to hook up, but I see them more as a great example of siblings. The show revealed more about their families and it was hilarious.
The physics stuff flew over my head 90% of the time, but I was surprised to still understand a few tidbits of information. Not as much as last season though. The geeky stuff though, with the superhero references and extensive science fiction shows…I got more and more and loved every second of it.
Season 3
Finally! It has taken forever, but Leonard and Penny finally get together~~~ and it was great! Until they ruined it by splitting them up again. Why? I liked seeing them as a couple and I especially loved how they all became a family. Penny and Leonard were the parents. Sheldon the spoiled child. Howard and Raj the uncle/uncle. Lol. I really enjoyed the expansions on all the characters, especially the lives of Howard and Raj. We got to see a more tender side of Howard and the meaner side of Raj.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

High Expectations, Low Threshold – Reading Kate Noble backwards to get enjoyment.

Oh disappointment, your name should really be called expectation. If I could eradicate this uncooperative, whatyoucallit – emotion, I totally would because you kill books. Yes, you, expectation…you cause your evil twin like Jackal and Hyde, disappointment, to jerk the rug from under me and destroy any chances of enjoyment on books that were universally loved.
Kate Noble – her books were very well received around the blogsphere and I was totally tempted by the glorious reviews. Oh, darn you high expectation!
Expectation totally ruined my enjoyment of Follow My Lead. *sigh*

Despite the very realistic characters, the lovely road romance, the incredible interactions…I couldn’t get into it! Why?!!!! I so wanted to love this book, but it bordered on “ok.” At least for now. It made me really sad since every review I’ve read praised the books authenticity and originality. The book had all the elements I would normally enjoy, but *sigh*. I liked the heroine. Winn was awesome, so straight-forward and strong. I liked the hero too. Jason was so…practical. The culture, the world in the book pretty authentic. I loved journey romances. The conflict was different and interesting. There were no mystical help or magical resolution. The two characters actually got to know each other first with the entire emphasis on their relationship. At times, I was totally involved in the story when something I cannot pinpoint kept prodding me at the back of my mind. I don’t know what happened, but I put the book down with quite a lot of disappointment. Was it just me?

It wasn’t until I read Revealed that the problem revealed itself. I had too much expectation for Follow My Lead to rock my world as it had for so many other people. I wanted Follow My Lead to be as revolutionary as the reviews had claimed. And when it didn’t, I was much disappointed. It was pleasant, mind you. I can tell the writing and research put into Follow My Lead was very extensive. The dialogue was humorous, but mostly due to the expectations, the book ended up not working for me. I ended up not connecting with the characters as much and felt the “villain” storyline, George was kind of weak. Overall a good book, but somehow not my thing.
As it were, I had purchased Revealed and figured I’d give that one a try. Conclusion? So glad I kept reading Kate Noble books. Revealed was just lovely. I began to slowly see why so many people enjoyed Kate Noble’s books. The characters were, again, realistic and all very different from each other. Each character was unique in their own ways, with specific hobbies and personalities. I have yet to see any cookie cutter characters.

In Revealed, under normal regency novels and circumstances, Penelope would have been considered one of those anti-heroine females that competed with the sweet gentle self-unaware heroine. Penelope was the smart beautiful widow that knew how to use her charms as well as social standing to get her way. Then there was Marcus, our hero. I loved that the man really had no connects and was a simple guy. Yes, there were some covert affair kind of stuff, but he’s not some superspy. Not some secret noble born or master-of-the-world kind of guy. Not even a businessman. It was great! As the started to become friends and fall in love…it was so beautiful. Their own hidden language… “It’s just me” especially when they were together the first time. Oh, if I could swoon, I would. Just let me swoon. I loved how Kate Noble was able to go beyond the standard regency settings.

The one complaint I had with the book was towards the end, when the big reveal came for the secret. I don’t know why, but it felt kind of blown out of proportions (maybe?). Even though Marcus used it drive Penelope away as means to protect her (which I never liked characters doing to each other), the whole situation felt too forced. It felt wrong right after such a sweet scene and the way Penelope reacted, although sort of in character, also felt incomplete somehow. I did love how it was our heroine that came up to scratch and confronted Marcus at the end. Girl power all the way. ;) After that, I had to pick up the only other book of Kate Noble’s I had, Summer of You.

When I read Summer of You, I fell head over heals in love. I saw both characters already in the previous books and that probably gave me a good inclination of their HEA, but reading how they fell in love was just too sweet. By themselves, Lady Jane Cummings and Byrne Worth were incomplete. They literally felt incomplete they showed up in the book separately. Yet from the very beginning, the moment they were together on the same pages, everything fell into place. The scenes finally fitted together, which was probably the point – they were two halves of a whole. I just loved reading them together. Their interactions, the way their relationship developed. It was just so sweet and tender. It was not some random fated occurrence…no, Jane and Bryne slowly became friends and then moved onto something more. As both were trying to escape and hide from the world, they found each other instead. They teased and joked, cared for and challenged each other. This was one of the sweetest relationships I’ve read in a while. It was so wonderful I read it a few more times. Right after. Lol.

I also loved how Summer of You touched up on the subject of Alzheimer for the Duke, Jane and Jason’s father. It was equally heart-wrenching and sweet. I’m always amazed at how certain diseases or problems rarely appeared in historical novels given the historical context (like my rants about sexually transmitted diseases). So kudos for Kate Noble. I was kind of sad I didn’t get to see Marcus or Penelope. Also, as much as I enjoyed the secondary romance, I would have liked it all more the storyline was more focused on Jane and Bryne. Also, Jason…I’m sure it was because I read the books in all the wrong order, but it screwed up my head in terms of Jason as a character. Although I enjoyed seeing how much he had changed from Summer of You to Follow My Lead, it took more away from the book than added to it.

Jason in Summer of You felt too much of a set-up for Follow My Lead and that was a little irritating. Even at the end, right before the Epilogue, we saw things through Jason’s point of view. Sweet, but I wanted more of Jane and Bryne! Lol. Which leads me to another point: the endings in these books always felt so abrupt. In all three books, once the main characters have acknowledged their love and devotions, it was over. The mini Epilogues were a small extension for the resolutions and to show HEA, but didn’t felt right for me. I’d just prefer a little more, I guess.

All in all, the reviews out there were correct: Kate Noble was awesome. Be warned, Kate Noble…you’ve moving up on my list of authors I wait for (i.e. stalk). ;)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Last day of July

It has been a bit quiet here...but it will hopefully pick up soon.

Time sure does seem to go by fast these days even when nothing uneventful. As if to contradict myself, having too many projects makes life seem stagnant.

Oh well, one day at a time...or if I could, fastforward to the weekends again please. >_<

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

This was yet another book bought on a whim that turned out to be rather awesome (oh how random browsing at a bookstore comes away with unexpected surprises). Heck, I had not even read Shannon Hale until I picked up this gem. A diary writing Mongolian girl trapped in a tower? Who does not want to read something like this? It was so different from the “norm” of young novels out there, even when we account into the diverse cultural books that have popped up everywhere. Then I found out this was based on an older folklore? Heck yes, let me read.

So how to begin this review? I’m a little stumped…hmmm… Let’s just jump in with the basic.

Dashti, a mucker girl as she called herself, was our main character and voice throughout the journey. Dashti was the maid to Lady Saren and the two were sealed in the tower together because Lady Saren refused an arranged marriage.

Lady Saren, a year younger than Dashti, refused to go into an arranged marriage with a Lord Khasar. Instead as a child, she had written letters with a young Lord Tegus and they had half written they might marry as adults.

Lord Khasar, our villain, had ruthlessly driven through one nation after another, took everything in sight and left destruction in his wake. He wanted to marry Saren for some twisted reasons.

Kahn Tegus, our hero, was rather perfect but slightly one dimensional. Tegus was a noble and compassionate young man. When he heard about what happened to Saren, he did attempt to go help, but it all came to naught.

The first half of the story occurred while both Dashti and Saren were much younger and trapped in the tower. The way they lived together, trying to survive day after day. This was also the bulk were the readers learn of their world, based on our Mongolia. The author put in a good amount of research as the world and culture felt pretty authentic.

In the second half of the story, Dashti was able to get the two of them out of the tower only to find the land devastated and barren. Dashti took Saren to seek safety on Tegus’ land as his was one of the few tribes left that had not been destroyed yet. Once there, we learn they were one the verge of war. Lord Khasar was moving towards Tegus’ land. At Saren’s request, they kept their identities hidden and they tried to survive as servants. It was during the second half we finally learned why Saren was so fearful and the source of Lord Khasar’s powers. There was a touch of magic towards the end that was not entirely out of place. Just a tad. Even so, the ideas were well ingrained into the culture of the world.

Part coming of age, part mystery, part romance and all survival, this was an interesting and beautiful book. I did not completely change my hesitancy for first person narratives, but it gave me a new appreciation for it. This also reminded me a little of the oral stories I used to often read/hear. Fairytales, folklores and stories for younger children have great abilities to weave lessons of history, culture and humanity together. This was no different.

I am much in love with Shannon Hale after this book. Probably will be buying more soon. Lol.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fall shows?

I'm so going to watch this...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kiss of Snow by Nalini Signh

Yes, this opening is different. This is going to be a really long review. Really long. Please find it in your hearts to forgive me for all the below. I put the disclaimer that it is all from the rambled messed up mind of this very poorly read, unable to write, little young minds extensive overthinking that the below came to existence. Good luck.

Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

Ok, we all know this was one of the most highly anticipated book release of goodness knows when for gosh knows how long. Maybe this was why the higher the expectation, the harder it was the read without preconceived notions of how the story should be. Let me just say, I was very conflicted reading this book. Very very conflicted.

I do believe it has been confirmed anything with Ms. Nalini’s name on equated to an automatic “sealed deal” for me to spill money over. Her prose, the strength of the characters and the depth of each novel will always be a “sure thing” for me. The complexity of said book pretty much reaffirmed how Ms. Nalini was a writing goddess, but I must say this: for me to have enjoyed the book thoroughly, I had to read it in a way as a semi-stand alone rather than a continuation of the series. I know, sounds insane, but it worked. This was another wonderful piece of literature by the most awesome Ms. Nalini. Her writings, the characters and storytelling…unbelievably full of depth, culture and contemporary issues all well woven into an intense and compelling story. To this day, I really do carry my beloved book around. Hasn’t fallen apart yet. XP

Please be warned, spoilers abound. I will recap and analyze, rave and complain, and mostly love in all forms of spoiler for this book.

Please DO NOT READ if you have not yet read the book.

Leave, right now. This will be one of my longest posts and will be very extensive.

Are you leaving?

No?

You’re sure you want to read this…

It’s all spoilers.

And my rants.

You’re still here? Lol

Then let me continue…

First off, this was a series a decade in the making. Everything had been slowly building up. The world, the characters, the drama. This book definitely delivered that awesome punch and resulted in much lugging around. Ms. Nalini’s awesome and the fact this book was out in hardcover totally attest to the general brilliant writing and completely believable world create. We all cared about each and every character involved. Intricate plots and interconnection of everything – this story was so much better than some of the best literature out there. The human condition was masterfully expressed and written without the usual judgment, nor were readers spoken down to like an idiot. Instead, the book was engaging, full of encouragement and taught in the best way possible.

Yes, this was a romance novel. Yes, there were sci-fi elements. And yes, more than anything, this was a work of fiction. But as any lover of stories will tell you, stories are the true histories and records of humanity. Ok, so only I said that…leave me alone. *cowers in corner* *peeks out and judged safe to continue*

The world only moves forwards when innovative minds were willing to go the distance. Well, the world moves forward regardless, but minds. Err…I’m starting to move into another territory…let me come back and continue my gushing.

This really was a great book. The war with the PurePsy reached the boiling point. Everyone involved appeared and lent to the best of their abilities to defend their homes. The build-up tension was grant, intersliced with the ongoing tension and romance between Hawke and Sienna. Their romance sure did not let me down. The playfulness and intensity, their tenderness and affection were wonderfully tangible (after Hawke caved in of course). Now, for the breakdown analysis and me dwelling too much on the hiccups.

Why I love Sienna – sometimes when I read about her, I just felt so connected. Granted, she Aces her physics class and the best I got after practically killing myself was a *coughhackcoughchokesclearsthroatwhisperslowB*. She was calm and collected, compassionate but very realistic in her outlook (almost to the point of fatalistic). Her age did throw me off at some point, but I sort of fudged that after a while.
I love books. I love romance novels. The characters, the world. Everything. BUT. I almost never “connect” with a female character. I can count on one hand the number of female characters I was able to connect with. Sienna was one of the few I somewhat connected with and that was saying a lot. I connected, but I fully admit to being not as selfless.

Why I love Hawke – he’s hawt. Nuff said. What? I gotta write more than that? Aww, fine. Shall I write an ode to his royal hindness? Ehehehe. Hawke = perfect hero. Maybe a little too perfect, but still, he was the embodiment of the ideal hero, the perfect mate: Alpha, strong, protective, playful, compassionate, tender…the perfect combination. He was annoyingly awesome. Lol.

Some random cool stuff:
- first lesbian couple, awesome! I did always wonder the lack of diversity in romance novels.
- using the legal aspects to try and keep the pack/bonds strong, every minor in the story, but extremely effective if you think about it. I never would have thought of that, but indeed very smart, Ms. Nalini, very smart.
- everyone pitching in to help Hawke towards the end and give him a little haven. Too cute.
- the “play-time” between Hawke and Sienna. Some of it almost made me cry because it was so cute and sweet… especially the where Hawke tease Sienna about pummeling him with her tiny fists… *happy sigh*
- the bebe was born! Cccuuuuttteeeee. Kit mate? Ok, ok, that’s just me being delusional…leave me be. Lol.

Onto the complaining and some unbelievable stuff.
- I don’t think this was intentional, but I found quite a lot of repetition, but that is the folly of every long term series.
X
Alice Eldridge
PurePsy War

Stuff I’m conflicted about:
- Storylines: basic three with many glimpses of the many couples we’ve come to love. It’s great, but walked the fine line of almost over-crowded storylines and jam packed full of actions.
Hawk and Sienna…mating
Walker and Lara
PurePsy War

Something simple and completely cool: Nikita.

I always suspected Nikita was NOT the evil villain often painted of her, especially for cutting Sascha out. Throughout the series, Nikita often reminded me of a very strict parent with extremely high expectations. Harsh on her own child, wanting said child to excel because she saw the possibilities, and doing what Nikita felt was the best way to protect Sascha. Nikita was more of a misunderstood anti-hero because she was not the motherly all understanding mother we wanted for the heroine we all loved. Instead, she was the type of mother that did what she felt was best for her child, even if it pushed Sascha to the breaking point. Not necessarily a good thing, but Nikita knew what it took to survive. She was a Counselor for goodness sakes, but it was Nikita that raised Sascha and in turn taught Sascha the skills to survive. I’m glad that she stayed true and that Sascha was slowly able to understand her mother rather than the other way around. I have another whole post about mothers in books, but that’s for another day.

Alright, let’s tackle a big one…the issue I’m sure that everyone has already beaten to death…mates - Sienna v Hawke v Rissa.

First off – Mates. I’m guessing this mate stuff was two-fold.
One – Once in a lifetime, one would meet their perfect mate (I hesitate to use the word we’re all thinking because I felt there was more biological explanation than the soul stuff – i.e. pheromones = compatible) where you just know said person was the one.
Two – Then you create the “mating bond” when both mates accepted one another, like a marriage/wedding, but on a deeper level.

(a) There were those that were able have a “mating bond” with another individual even though they were not complete “mates,” but were compatible enough. It works, but not as good (ex. Nate’s parents).
(b) There was also an instance when two were “mates,” but because of not accepting each other never completely the “mating bond” (ex. Indigo’s aunt? the reasons why many of the characters often say “I don’t know if my wolf/cat will accept you”?).
(c) We also had the instance where “mates” found each other too late and were unable to be together at all, much less the “mate-bond” (ex. Riaz?).
(Updated: I read on Orianna’s blog of a speech/Q&A by Ms. Nalini that pretty much blew my theory of (b) and (c) out of the running, but for the sake of my current theories…let me continue).

So…to make the SvHvR work, it would’ve meant, Hawke and Rissa were supposed to be “mates,” but due to age and unexpected death, never completed the “mate-bond.” Sienna and Hawke, then, were compatible in all aspects that they had the “mate-bond” even without being complete “mates,” but were so compatible they might as well be “mates.” Am I still making sense?

Chocolate kudos to Ms. Nalini for being able to logically work through something this complex even though there were much easier ways to cop-out. I had no problems with the development and the logistics of this idea in general. In fact, I found it rather cool and very different from the usual “oh, I know you are the one, we were meant to be, blah blah blah.” I commend Ms. Nalini for being just so darn awesome at her writing skills and extremely high intelligence to make this entire mind blowing idea reasonable and to flow so very well.

Here was my problem… Rissa as a foil. It’s not Ms. Nalini really, but more like a catalyst many many (if not all) writers used. This was something I’ve noticed since I was a very young girl feeling wronged by society/people based on my gender and my life/interests/achievements being designated as secondary or less. To cut a very very long theory/analysis of mine short and to fit only in this novel’s parameters, I felt little Rissa was used. We take a young vulnerable and otherwise good-girl and off her character as the catalyst or emotional strength for a specific character…usually male hero. This was much more prevalent back in the days comic books and super hero cartoons, etc., but we see stuff like this in romance novels all the time. Widow, widower, ex-lover – whether good or bad.

Honestly, in this case, I totally understood why this had to happen. It were no other way under any foreseeable circumstances by my puny brain. We can blame Hawke. He was just too strong of a character (in all the right ways…hard and hot…mmm…ahem) to be stopped. Rissa was used not only to scar and strength Hawke to immeasurable heights; she was also the only possible foil that stopped Hawke from doing something insane, like end the story in the first chapter and pounced on Sienna the moment she turned 18. We all saw how Hawke was the moment he finally decided on Sienna in book. No changes. No compromises. Nothing. Heck, he was willing to give up the Pack to be with her. At the same time, as awesome as he was, Hawke would’ve held back until Sienna was ready. It still would’ve been a hard struggle since even though Sienna was able to hold her own against Hawke, I highly doubt she could win…at least not until Hawke became gorgeously old. Hawke was too strong and powerful. He would have overwhelmed Sienna before she was truly ready and it would not have ended well for all of them. Heck, it was Hawke that snapped the mate-bond with Sienna. He jumped with her – you romantic fool you. *dreamy sigh* As things were, there was no freaking way the story could have progressed at all without such a strong foil – the loss of a mate.

That’s where things also became annoying. I have trouble believing Hawke truly found his mate at such a young age. To be alpha so young – well I can understand it was necessary, but from a psychological point of view…Hawke would have grown up a somewhat…er…more scarred person? I don’t know if that made much sense. My point was: he’s not supposed to be superhuman, but he was. Darn imaginary guy had no flaw. He’s too perfect. You’ve ruined me for other men, Hawke! *shakes fists at book* Not only being alpha, we saw how most mates do not survive each other all that long (i.e. Falcons, Hawke’s parents, Lucas’ parents), but Hawke was beyond a normal alpha. Given the loophole they were too young to have the mating bond, Hawke was able to survive the unsurvivable. On top of that, this mating thing gave a new twist. Was this the traditional type based on soul? The more basic one, on scent? A combination of the two? How does one recognize? Etc… more questions than answers.

And Rissa. Poor dear Rissa, she died at age five for the sole purpose of shaping Hawke. Here’s a thought, though: Do we really not change this much? That from the moment we were children, our characters, patterns, and personalities were determined and the mating bond bordered on meant-to-be/perfect-match/only-one all predestined. If we remove the mate stuff aside, I just did not feel that at age five, it was already determined Rissa was going to be such an idealized version of a woman Hawke imagined. I felt bad for her and in a way, it was kind of creepy. Hawke continued to visit her grave to calm down… He’s a thirty-some year old clinging to the memories and imagine of a five year old. Eh… It just felt wrong sometimes. Maybe when they were teens… but for such a scarred man, Hawke was too whole and perfect. I’m not saying we can’t have young love or a strong personality that stayed with us for our entire lives, but anyone other than Ms. Nalini to write this story, said book would have been thrown into the wall long ago due to plot holes.

As it was, Ms. Nalini did cover the issues well enough. It was through Rissa’s life and death that shaped Hawke to be even stronger and for him to be able to lead the pack so early on. Then again, if his personality/strength/love was all determined the moment he realized Rissa was his mate as such a young age (as we would really have to believe how powerful he was to be able to do such an incredible thing), then Rissa was only used to show that fact.

So, the conclusion was…if it was not Ms. Nalini writing this book, I would not have believed it, much less gained any enjoyment. I read the book more as a stand-alone. Removed most of the Rissa as “mate” and replaced with “deep childhood first love.” Horrible of me, I know. I can’t help it. Part of me also felt that because it was Ms. Nalini, I had even higher (non-reachable) expectation. I felt Ms. Nalini could’ve written the book just as awesome without some of these extra stuff.

Also, I had to fudge Sienna’s age. I’m sorry, but ever since Ms. Meljean’s awesome book that pointed out the nagging feeling I’ve had about the probability of an immortal and a youngen (usually female) in a realistic equal relationship was…not that plausible...it has been hard on all books thereafter. I get that Sienna had to grow up sooner since the age of five, but coupled with Hawke circumstances of having to grow up when a) Rissa’s death and b) alpha at fifteen, the disparity should have be even more so. Yes, intelligence and experience equates maturity more than age, but the experiences within a certain amount of years at a specific time or under certain environmental conditions were factors that were hard to discount so easily. Maybe it was because of personal experience/bias, but even if you’re on the same mental footing, the experience of time and generation never really goes away

So, I fudged their ages to make the relationship more plausible for my brain. I’m so very sorry, Ms. Nalini, I’m not reading the book as intended. Please don’t hate me. I did love this book for all the intensities, intricacies and relationships, but that was also the problem for me. There were just too many people, too many storylines and just too much all at once my small brain couldn’t handle it anymore. Even with your brilliant writing, I felt certain parts to be abrupt or I simply had to pause in confusion. Sometimes, it felt out of place, but your writing was wonderful.

Still, when Sienna and Hawke finally mated…it was awesome. I loved how everyone reacted and I’m sure I was not supposed to laugh, but I did. Hawke’s absoluteness, but also unsure what happened. Sienna’s shock and fear. Jeb and Hawke’s interaction right after things calmed down, “It was you!” Hehehe. It was funny to me, in the best way possible. Heck, I’m smiling right not just writing about it. Whatever the reason, the fact Sienna and Hawke mated was a beautiful thing to witness. Now, I just need to wait for Kit to get his mate. ;D Sorry, part of me still wished Sienna and Kit would’ve mated, but I know… Hawke came first. Ehehehe.

Let’s talk Walker and Lara.
I do believe it has become a universal truth that Walker and Lara were just too cute together. Their storyline was a huge highlight and balance to the rest of the plot. Their relationship was deep, intense and very loving in the most unexpectedly glorious way. There was such unbelievable tenderness I could’ve cried. I really loved their combination. Really really loved them. They somehow just fit so well together in was incredible. Perfect. Reading their story so made me want to go back to the series and see more of them, which I did. Lol. They were great. How could I have missed them entirely? What kind of annoyed me though was also because their story was spliced in with KoS. The jumping back and forth between all the storylines was quite irritating. Sometimes, I just wanted to see more of Sienna/Hawke, or just Lara/Walker. But the simultaneous storyline was frustrating and I had to switch gears almost between chapters and paragraphs. Instead of going insane, I split them up and read them separately as separate stories. Example: at the end, L/W were having hot smexy scenes, but S/H scenes were fade to black. What the heck? Gimme both! Lol. I know, so spoiled am I to Ms. Nalini’s awesome writing.

And to skirt the political issues of abortion, I was not surprised that it was used as a male catalyst, but was definitely an improvement from the usual “blame-game.” The path it took was also pretty interesting that no blatant preaching was in the place, but it did take the path of all romance novels. So, definitely interesting to read. Not ready to tackle politics in romance novel yet, so let me move on.

Ok, onto some actual straight up confusions and problems I had reading the book. *gasps* I know, as if the above wasn’t complaining already. I’m sure you’re all breathlessly awaiting the below. Lol. Ok, so here we go.

PurePsy

The PurePsy War, for lack of a better reference, was intense and a very good development. It was a very realistic storyline that continued a grew from the previous books. Even as complicated as the Psy/Changeling books were, I felt that had I just picked up this book, I would have still been able to follow this storyline. The PurePsy was a somewhat subtle criticism on our world and the problems of fanatic racism. Oh, the joys of alternate world for analysis of contemporary politics/events. The plot worked well for me up to a point and I enjoyed the progression. It also gave more diverse points of view on the situation and not label them all as evil.

What did NOT work for me was the complete lack of heavy casualty on the people we love. Not that I want anything to happen to my adored characters, but for such a large scale battle where all F-Psy saw fire and metal and blood…it was rather…clean? Yes, there were severe and life-threatening injuries. The story did show the severity and seriousness of war as well as the resilience of people. Ms. Nalini has always been great at bringing our favorite characters to the brink of total destruction/death and then saving them. I chock that up with love. Lol. The sonic blast disabled the Changelings? What a stroke of Ms. Nalini’s genius. I was shocked, worried, and excited that the PurePsy were able to develop weapons that used the Changelings’ strength against them. Shocked that I didn’t think of something like that first (I know, aren’t I horrible). Worried at how it will be used in the future. And excited at how it will be used in the future. What was upsetting, what the low body count. Again, I don’t want to kill off my favorite characters and any loss would’ve made me heart-wretched sad. Still, the fact so many people did NOT die, left open to more questions. If I were to believe there were next to no casualties on our favorite side, why would the PurePsy want to hold them as prisoner over outright killing them as previously intended. So, with that unexplained and severe casualties, it left me with a slight feeling of disbelief. Not necessarily bad, but disbelief nonetheless or that I’m missing something. Which leads us to the X designation…

X-Psy
Ok, X-fire. The powers of the X designation was finally revealed and explained. Overall, it was very interesting. It read as something unique and awesome, but the word pyrokinetics kept popping itself into my mind. I loved how this ability was so ingrained into how Sienna was as an individual. Her actions and beliefs were influenced and controlled by the knowledge (and lack of knowledge) about her abilities. This was definitely unique in its own right and I did love how the hint of how Walker’s ability was tied to help alter the X-designation throughout the series.

What did not work for me was this now unlimited energy/power resource for the Snowdances. Actually, at the climax of the fight where Sienna walked out and started incinerating everything…well, that was a very awesome move, but when the fire went out of control and started to consume all in its path…don’t hate me, please don’t hate me…but it felt overly dramatic. Only those the fire recognized were safe? What about the woodchucks? The squirrels and birds? What about the bees and insects? The irreplaceable flowers? Yes, the Sequoias have natural fire retardants, but not everything else. Normally, I probably would not have cared, but lately, I’ve really gotten into botany. So while it was awesome cool, it was also too movie style for me. Ms. Nalini wrote it awesome, but I am personally a little tired of the overdramatics that fit almost cinematic expectations. Although, I would love for this series to be made into film/tv series...then I totally would not mind this X-fire thing. :D Hollywood? Ya listening? *ahem* To continue...

The second part of the X-fire which was mentioned earlier…it has now become an unlimited source of healing and strengthening energy for the SnowDancers. I’m sure Ms. Nalini did this for a reason and we will be able to reap the rewards later on in the series, but as of now…I felt bereft. It made me all confused and full of unnameable feelings. I know there’s more depth to all of this. The double-edged sword of power that was simultaneously destructive can equally give life (sort of) and it all fell down to how it was used. The rejection of emotions causes destruction whereas the disruptions caused by emotions were probably the only links that held everything together. The balance of life and death lingered upon the depth of love.

And leading us to…Alice (gosh, I do love my name hahaha) Eldridge.

Alice Eldgridge
Lastly, Alice Eldridge. I did enjoy reading her notes throughout the book. It was great to see how the whole storyline tied back to this single human woman a hundred years ago that learned more than most people now. A little critique about how much knowledge we’ve lost in the race for technology, Ms. Nalini? Lol, kidding. I’m sure that’s just my political mind stealing itself into place. She was such a mystery that it was a great insight to have. What I was rather upset about was…she’s alive. Shaved, naked, unconscious, brainwiped, a century into the future alive... Not cool. Enough said.

Also, I it was through her that we began to see parts of the Ghost that many readers had hoped for – something akin to kindness but not truly that kept him dangerous. I enjoyed seeing more of the Ghost, but with so many discussions on this guy, I’ve kind of given up on trying to figure him out. Part of me wants the Ghost to be a certain person and part of me does not.

Now, the expansion of this world…it has been awesome, but in this book, was a double-edge sword. Luckily, Ms. Nalini was very good at that line of keeping all the various storylines and characters well tied together. Any moment when I felt a twinge overwhelmed, or too distracted, Ms. Nalini was able to pull all the diverse points of views back together.

I totally could have done without Jed and Brenna smex scenes though. As wonderful as it was to see glimpses of everyone’s lives, it did rely on the reader’s love of the previous characters to enjoy the photo-stops. Sascha and Luca’s baby, Naya, was born. It was definitely a highly anticipated progression of the series. It was so sweet how everyone reacted. The intensity of the love of the pack and the solidification of the wolves and leopards all clearly illustrated. Then again, the way this bond between child’s minds was written bordered on certain politics and science that I shall avoid discussing at the moment. I just loved how Sienna was there. How Lucas reacted. Later, Hawke holding Naya. It was the sweetest thing.

So, overall, this was a great book. I know you wouldn’t think so because of all the above. Then again, you’ll notice I spent all my time thinking and analyzing the book on the few key points the aggravated me. Sounds insane, but I actually really loved this book. I read it all in one day. Then I read it a second time...same day. I subsequently read this everyday for two weeks. Yes, I'm insane. Thank you for letting me use this blog (and the above rant) as a form of cleansing of the hiccups I had with the book. I wonder how many people actually read it through. Lol.

Ok, I need some rest now. *collapses*