Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rant & Rave #3

                            Rant & Rave

My new block kitties!
I shared a picture of my new kitties on Instagram but I just can't get over how cute they are! I've seen kitties like this before but I never even considered making them before because, well, power tools and I are long time enemies. Enter my awesome husband. He's more than just a pretty face. He has tools and the skills to use them! Not that cutting pointing ears into 2X4's is hard but if I was trying it, I might as well be disarming a bomb. So he cut the pointy ears and painted them and I picked out the smallest, beadiest googly eyes I could find and some cute Halloween ribbon and there you have it! Now my kitties are sitting on top of my fireplace where I can see them everyday and smile at their cuteness! My sister was so jealous I had my husband whip her up a pair.  What do you think? Cute, right?! 

Blue Jays! 

Blue Jays. The outspoken, obnoxious, state the obvious bird I can't stand! I know, you think I'm crazy. Blue Jays are so pretty. Well, pretty is as pretty does and this stupid bird couldn't make it's self more ugly if it tried! Besides the irritating sound this dumb bird makes it has declared itself the neighborhood watch! It's like that nosy old neighbor you have that is constantly watching you and then calling so and so to tell them what you're up to. These annoying birds are all over in my yard and they think it's their duty to sit in a tree right above my cats and squawk to all the other birds and squirrels that there's danger, danger, danger. No kidding, you stupid bird! Every other bird and squirrel knows all about the the cat. They've been QUIETLY watching it long before you got here. I would imagine when the blue jays start screaming that there's danger, that every other bird and squirrel rolls it's eyes and mutters, "no shit, Sherlock" under its breath. Good grief! Even as I type this one is squawking about something! So, if you ever see me in my yard yelling obscenities and throwing rocks up into the trees, well, now you know why.  Excuse me. A blue jay and I have unfinished business.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: Eleanor

Title Eleanor (The Unseen #1)
By Johnny Worthen
Genre YA, Paranormal/Supernatural
Pages 355

In a small town, staying off the radar isn't easy but  Eleanor does a pretty good job of it. That is, until David comes back to town. David with his kind smiles and attention. He begins to draw Eleanor out but when you have a secret like Eleanor's you need to say hidden. With her mother dying of cancer and the whole town starting to notice her Eleanor' secret may soon be out.

First Sentence The coyote circled the campsite in ever tightening spirals.

What it has going for it
I wrote my own synopsis for this one but if you'd like, you can check out the one on Goodreads. It and mine (I hope) are pretty vague and that's what drew me to this story. I wanted to know what Eleanor's secret was. And as it started to slowly be hinted at and revealed, I was intrigued even more. Not to say you won't catch on to her secret pretty early in the story; you will. But by then you're invested enough to want to know how it's all going to pan out. That desire to know what's going to happen and the very unique idea behind this one, kept me reading. They were definitely the strong points to this story. Oh, and the cover. Isn't that a beautiful cover?!

What's lacking
Oh, but for the poor execution. I was never quite sure if the writing in this one was bad or if it was just a style I'm not fond of. It felt so choppy and immature. The whole book needed a very heavy handed editor. Check out this sentence for example.

The following Thursday was parent-teacher conference, a meeting between educators and student guardians held three times a year to discuss performance. 

Um, yeah, I know what parent-teacher conference is and so does every kid in this book's audience. It's a simple case of over-writing that should have been edited out.  By the end the writing felt all over the place and the story became a bit unbelievable. At times I felt like the characters were perfectly young. You know, not twenty somethings acting like teens. And sometimes I felt like they sounded like ten-year-olds. Especially David. Like I said, choppy writing.

Yea or Nay?
I'd love to recommend this one for the uniqueness of the story concept but without a good editing job, I wouldn't feel comfortable doing so.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hello, Is There Anybody Out There?

Back in 2013 when I met my husband and began dating, my blogging really slowed down. Then after getting married and spending our fist year together, it got even quieter on my blog. When I finally got back into this blogging world I was so sad to see that so many of my favorite bloggers had stopped posting. I started thinking that maybe this whole blogging thing was really, once and for all becoming extinct.

But, I like to pretend I'm resilient so I continued to blog. Joined Top Ten Tuesday and saw that so many people are still book blogging! Yay! So I selected a few new to me blogs and commented on them...and started following them and commenting on all their posts.

See, not so long ago this was the way to get others to follow and comment on your blog. Not that I HAVE to have comments but it's nice to get reciprocation, conversation, discussion, you know? I got nothing! What's up with this book blogging world? I'm so confused and sad. I miss the old days. Sigh!

Oh, well, in the mean time I shall follow my small group of blogging buddies who regularly post and interact with me.

Anyone out there agree with me that this whole blog interaction thing has changed dramatically?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mini Movie Reviews #6

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
One of the best movies I've seen this year. Seriously, guys, go see this one. It's funny, exciting, suspenseful and romantic. Armie Hammer is so cute and so funny! I know most people want to seen Henry Cavill but Armie steals the show. Even the girl is great and I usually hate girls in these types of movies. Highly Recommend this one!

The Visit
The new M. Night Shyamalan movie...wait, what? He has a new one out? Yes. Yes he does. We all know The Sixth Sense was the best but still, his movies are creepy and fun to guess the big twist, right? Well, I had the "twist" figured out really fast in this one but it was still a creepy movie with parts that make you jump and squirm. If you like that kind of thing, I'd recommend it. I've seen worse.

 Seeking a Friend For The End Of The World
I really had no desire to see this one when it came out in theaters but when you see a movie on Netflix that actually WAS in theaters and not some bad b rated, made for TV crap that is usually on Netflix you check it out, right? I really, really ended up loving this one! The music was perfect in it and made me get all teary eyed. It's funny in a dark, sad way and both Carell and Knightly were great! I really loved it. Check it out but be warned, it really is the end of the world.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Book Banter #1 Jane Eyre

Welcome! My friend Suey from It's All About Book and I have decided to start a new blog feature. See, we have been reading buddies for a long time and while we share the same opinion on how awesome Markus Zusak is and swoon over many of the same TV shows, we also disagree on lots of books and authors. So we finally decided to start a feature where we can share the many debates we've had. Hope you enjoy!

Today's Argument discussion. Jane Eyre. Here's how this works. Suey and I have each sent each other three things we loved/hated about the book and now have the chance to rebuttal each other...I shall be taking the "against" side because as many of you know, I'm really, really not a fan of this book! So without further ado...

Suey1. The strength of Jane's character. I love how resilient this character is. That stuff she endures at the beginning of the book with the abuse at school and the dying of her best friend, and the crappy treatment by her aunt, and then she gets sent of to a be the governess for what appears to be a scary grouchy old guy. And she comes through it all! She grows up and finds herself. She’s strong. One of my favorite strongest heroines in all of literature.

Me Strong? Well, we're definitely going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Jane is anything but strong. She's got battered woman syndrome! The girl has been mistreated her whole life and has now accustomed herself to being mistreated; especially by men. Case in point...she calls Rochester "my master". For a brief moment, despite her issues, she manages to get away from one abusive situation into another and then goes back to the old abusive relationship because, well, hey, I guess it was a better option than being stuck with St John. But I guess the story has a happy ending because Jane is happy in her misery. She chooses the life of abuse and servitude willingly. Ugh! I wash my hands of her!

Suey 2. The love story. I remember being bugged at first by the age difference, but I got over it. I don’t think Mr. Rochester is as old as we think, and then when Jane does so much growing up, it doesn’t seem that weird. But what I do love about the story, is that we have a guy who has retreated behind a facade of grouchiness and grumpiness, a guy who appears to not care about anything or anyone, a guy who is bitter about the world. And then she comes along and starts peeling all that off. He drops all the layers he's built up around himself and allows himself to live again. I love that. I love that he’s surprised by it too, that he didn’t set out to have this happen, he didn’t mean for it to, but that Jane becomes irresistible to him, even though she is plain and quiet and boring. I love that this ornery man of the world is fascinated by a shy quiet girl, and that the shy girl has the power to change and capture an ornery man of the world.

Me Yes, Rochester goes from the picked on younger brother to the husband of a mad woman to a sleazeball who sleeps with other woman till he tires of them. He's a grouchy old man because he's spent his life selfishly serving himself. When he decides he "loves" Jane he's just, once again, being selfish. He wants to own and consume her. Jane fancies her self in love because she's attracted to this man who treats her like crap. Every man in her life has treated her horribly but, hey, they weren't as cute and crotchety as old Rochester so she settles for him. There are all sorts of loves in the world but this one is unhealthy and repulsive!

Suey 3. Emotion and angst! You know I’m drawn to this sort of thing in books and stories. All the drama! All the feelings! All the brooding! The Mr. Rochester in my head is deliciously complicated. He’s gruff, he’s mean, he’s scary. And then, he’s compassionate, he’s sincere and he’s loyal. Okay, so he DID hide a wife in the attic and neglected to tell Jane. But I think this shows how much he wants to take care of this person… and not send her to an asylum like most people would do in this case. He could just turn Jane into a mistress, but he wants to make it right and marry her. This puts him in a very bad place and one he has no idea how to solve. He chooses poorly. He messes up. But this makes him so human! Bottom line: Mr. Rochester is the very definition of a brooding gothic tortured soul, which for some reason, I totally can’t resist when comes to crushing on fiction book boys.

Me Oh, no, no, no, NO! I'm sorry but Rochester is not compassionate, sincere or loyal. He didn't lock his wife away in the attic because he was compassionate. He did it to hide her. If he put her in an asylum he would have had to still admit to the world he was married to her. He full on admits to Jane that he convinced himself he wasn't married and a free man. He locks his wife away and lies to everyone else and himself. He spends years searching for a woman who can challenge him intellectually probably because he finally wants someone to call him out on his bullcrap! Wow! Maybe this book is deeper than I thought. Sigh! Sadly Jane sort of calls him out of his crap but just comes running back to him forgiving him of something he never apologizes for. Well, Rochester, you failed again. You only would have succeeded if Jane DIDN'T come back. I guess you're just too manipulative for your own good.  Yes, there's a lot of angst in this book but it's not coming from the characters. It's coming from the ever growing frustration of the reader!


Now you can go check out my 3 hates...

1. Rochester. The biggest reason I hate Jane Eyre is and always will be Mr Edward "pathological liar" Rochester. How can anyone actually like this guy?! He decided to marry a girl based soley on the fact that she was beautiful. Didn't bother to get to know her or anything, and then when he discovers she's nuts what does he do? He throws her in the attic and completely ignores her. And what really gets me about this is that he then begins to loathe her! Like it's her fault she's crazy? Good Grief! His only excuse to this is, "you don't know what I went through". He goes off after this and looks for another woman and has torrid affairs with two or three woman that he then finds tedious and pays off to shut up. Then simple, plain Jane comes into the picture and let's look over the fact that he lies to her about his crazy wife locked in the attic which is reason enough to hate him but it's the way he approaches the whole thing. He proceeds to FORCE Jane to be in his presence and "talk with him" which is really just him talking AT her and telling her how naive and innocent she is. "Poor stupid, Jane. Let me take you under my wing and teach you about life". And let's not forget he never even has the balls to tell Jane about his wife she finds out on her wedding day at the alter! When she decides to leave him he threatens her...twice! The man is a pompous, abusive, drama king! After all is said and done and he's left in complete abject humiliation Jane comes back. Does he apologize? Did he apologize to her before she ran away? NO!!! He doesn't! Argh!!!

2. Jane. Poor, stupid pathetic Jane. She never learns to just love herself. Oh, she says she does but how can you really love yourself if you walk right back into an abusive relationship? I guess her whole life has been a lesson in bowing down and obeying men and so she does. She calls Rochester master, people! To be honest, I'm kinda shocked she didn't marry St John at the end. She always does what any man tells her to so why not continue the tradition? Oh well, I guess she just turned down one jerk for another. The whole book would have been better if, after she left Rochester she met another wonderful man who truly loved and respected her and married him. Then went back to look at poor stupid Rochester and pitied him enough to spare a kind though then got her bustle out of there!

3.The writing. I really despise that the author consistently has Jane call us, dear reader. Anytime you start trying to form your own opinion the author comes in with the voice of Jane and tells you you're are stupid. You're not allowed to have your own opinion. You must have the opinion of these stupid characters that she has. Well, nice try Charlotte! it didn't work. I've formed my opinion and your characters suck! Your book sucks and if you were still alive I'd recommend you see a therapist for your deep seeded man issues!

Have you read Jane Eyre? Who's side are you on? Feel free to share in the comments! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Review: Poison

Title Poison (Wind Dancer 1)
By Lan Chan
Genre YA Dystopian
Pages 336

In post-apocalyptic Australia, the scientists known as Seeders have built a Citadel surrounded by food-producing regions and populated with refugees from the wars and famine. To maintain their control, the Seeders poisoned the land and outlawed the saving of seeds.
It’s been six years since Rory graced the Seeders’ circus stage as the Wind Dancer and still the scars on her body haven’t healed. Even worse are the scars on her heart, left by a Seeder boy who promised to protect her. Now the Seeders are withholding supplies from Rory’s region for perceived disobedience. Utilising the Wanderer knowledge she received from her mother, Rory must journey to the Citadel through uninhabitable terrain to plead for mercy. However, the Citadel isn’t as Rory remembered. The chief plant geneticist is dying and rumours fly that the store of viable seed is dwindling. The Seeders are desperate to find a seed bank they believe Rory can locate, and they will stop at nothing to get it.  To defy the Seeders means death. But Rory has been close to death before--this time she’s learned the value of poison. (from Goodreads)

First Sentence
The Seeders came for my mother in the middle of the night.

Poison was written by my blogging buddy Lan from The Write Obsession. I've been following Lan's blog for over four years and have eagerly been waiting her book's release this whole time. Lan is from Australia (the story in this one takes place in a future Australia) and I have this theory about Australian authors being the most amazing authors in the world. I always told Lan that she had nothing to worry about. There must be something in the water down there because Australian writers are awesome and I had no doubt that Lan's writing and stories would be just as awesome. Doubtful as she was her book proves me right.

What is has going for it
The writing was beautiful, and considering this book is a debut book, not at all amateurish as one might expect. I was blown away by the writing. Sadly, I'm not a reader who highlights phrases or paragraphs I like but I found myself itching to do so in this book. It was that good, guys! The world building was one of my favorite things. There's no smoothed over, unexplained details. Everything in the world and how it came to be and where it's going was perfectly fleshed out. Every detail covered. And with such a complex world one might expect loads of info dumping. Nope! Not a dump in sight. The information was seamlessly woven throughout the narrative. And then there's the characters. Rory was tough yet vulnerable. Aiden, oh Aiden why?! I don't know if I can trust you anymore than poor Rory! And what about Micha?! What's happening with him? Guy's...beware. Chan creates these beautifully flawed characters that you're instantly attached to and...well, let me just warn you. Don't get too attached. No one is safe if this crazy dystopian world. I for one, love when authors can kill of a characters. It makes things much more believable...but oh so sad!

What's lacking
Not every book can be perfect to every reader and I did have an issue with this one...but just one. A LOT of stuff happened in this book. Where Rory started out at the beginning of the book to where she ends up at the end takes a lot story in between and while I commend the author for not scrimping or skipping plot, there was a almost TV episode feeling to it...if that makes sense. There were a lot of plot arcs. Rising and peaking and falling to settle and then start all over again. Maybe it was just too much for one book. Maybe if the book had been broken into parts my puny brain might not have felt so battered.

Yea or Nay?
With gorgeous writing, intricate world building, exciting plot and fleshed out lovable/hate-able characters, I would highly recommend it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train

Title The Girl on the Train
By Paula Hawkins
Genre Mystery/Suspense
Pages 336

Rachel lost her husband to another woman when she couldn't get her drinking under control. 

Megan's trying to piece a life together while still holding onto a secret that haunts her

Anna loves being "the other woman" if she could just get rid of the ex-wife. 

These three women's lives are about to be drawn together by a secret. A secret that will take one of their lives and might kill them all.

First Sentence There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks.

What is has going for it
Everyone has or is going to read this book. Some books are written and for whatever reason are picked up, talked about, recommended and become wildly popular. I'm not one to follow the crowd but this book looked like one I might want to check out. So, when my book club decided to read it I was all for it. Something about this book (and I never was able to put a finger on what it was)  makes you unable to put it down. It's incredibly engaging and, well, much like watching a train wreck (no pun intended). I gulped this one up. I was completely enthralled. I didn't much care for any of the characters. I figured out the mystery fairly early in the book. Earlier than I was supposed to, I'm guessing, and yet. I sped read through it. I guess what I'm saying is this: What does this one have going for it? Whether you like it or not, you're most likely going to be dragged into the story and helpless to set the book down.

What's lacking
As I said, none of the characters are likable. Seriously! These people are completely horrible. And I don't mean perfectly flawed. They were worse than flawed. I could sympathize with Rachel but I really had no patience with her. What really bothered me was that the mystery was completely predictable and then you had the villain monologuing. Really?! Needless to say, after being completely enraptured for the whole book the ending was predictable and a complete let down. I felt something like this...

Yea or Nay?
I'd still recommend this one for the writing and the spell it casts over you but you'll probably see the ending coming. If not, you might like it.