Thursday, October 8, 2015

Reading behind

Wow.... I haven't updated this in forever. Ironically, I've been reading a ton for the last 2 years. I was on the Lariat Committee and recommended books for adult reading lists. My absolute favorite book from that list was The Enchanted by Rene Denfield. I can't recommend it highly enough and all I can say is read it: it is so beautiful it will destroy you and put you back together. :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What I've been reading...


  • A Thousand Pardons by John Dee (liked it, but still...huh?)
  • When the Sea is Rising Red
  • The Sisters Grimm (first book--fun!!!)
  • Zom-B (book 3)
  • The 5th Wave
  • Audiobook: The Night Circus (awesome!!!!)

Still Reading:

  • Java for Dummies (still feeling dumb after reading)
  • The Golem and the Jinni (loving it!!!!!)
  • All manner of "How to Crochet" books (I can make a really neat string blob now.)
  • Android Apps for Dummies 
A movie I actually enjoyed:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower -- really beautiful the way its filmed and the way music and words and pictures flow together. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Finished: A Crown of Embers

Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

<----- First of all, I wish this was the cover to the book I read. However, apparently this is the UK edition. The US of A edition is white-washed, with a very pale, Caucasian looking lady in the gem on the cover. The woman on this cover looks like Elisa.

Elisa is a queen that carries a living Godstone. The Godstone speaks to her and helps her channel "magic." However, in this sequel, Elisa learns that not all is as she imagined or as she learned from study and scripture. The Godstone is more mysterious than anyone knows and the "will of God" is even more difficult to understand than Elisa imagined.

I enjoyed the book very much. I love that Elisa is strong and smart. I love that she's solid and not willowy or wispy. She's a strong, solid girl growing into an amazing woman. She doesn't shy away from the tough choices in life. She's pretty cool.

I don't want to spoil things for any readers, but there were nice little surprises in the story, including a gay character and an interesting "enemy" Invierno. I wish, however, that American publishers weren't afraid to show Elisa as she is: she's dark of skin, eyes and hair. All of her people are. It's nice to enter a world of magic that isn't full of white people, even if American publishers try to trick readers into thinking that's the case by changing the cover.

Anyway, this book is recommended... but you really do have to read the first book (Girl of Fire and Thorns) to understand quite a bit of what happens. So read the first and pick up this one, too. Check out the American covers if you live in America and see if you agree. The cover above is WAY better. :)

BTW... the third book in the series, The Bitter Kingdom, is coming out in August, 2013.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Currently reading.... 3 Books!

Yep. I'm reading 3 books right now. I'm totally reading only for sheer escapist pleasure and I'm reading what strikes my fancy at the moment.

Right now:

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. This is a book where I know exactly what's going to happen. That's why I'm reading it. I want to see the uppity social neo-Puritan in the story fall on his butt. I want to see the girl and the guy fall in love despite their obvious differences and to be able to let go of their baggage. I want the nice girl in the town to find her dreams. I will get what I want and I will vicariously enjoy their triumph and ups and downs. Escapist non-literature at its best.

Castle Corona by Sharon Creech. Again, I'm pretty sure I know what's going to happen, but the journey is fun to go along with. This is a simple story with interesting little undertones.

Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. Just started this one... a sequel to the really cool book, A Girl of Fire and Thorns. I liked Fire and Thorns so much because the protagonist, Elisa, isn't a girl that needs saving. She is mentally strong, smart and not thin or pretty. An usual heroine in today's world indeed!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finished: "The Fault in Our Stars"

I can't even begin to say how wonderful this book is.

I could actually write an entire thesis on the awesomeness of this book, the symbolism, the resonant metaphors and many themes explored in the pages of this story about kids who are in love and who happen to have cancer. I could even then go on to write fan fiction to speculate about the continued futures of the characters I met listening to the audio recording.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is truly beautiful. There is nothing that isn't in the book for a reason. Even more exciting for me is that I have always wanted to find a book that had a character that I truly understood and felt a kinship to, and I did in Hazel Grace.

I've never been seriously ill, but I don't need to be to understand Hazel. I feel like John Green wrote Hazel as a character who feels so real and as a person who seems so cool and wonderful that I wish I'd known her when I was a teen. I wish I could have had a friend like her. I wish I could have met someone like Augustus. I wish I could know Isaac. But, as Hazel and Gus say, "The universe is not a wish-granting factory."

John Green made me remember that looking at the world and noticing the things around is so important. So much depends on us being able to notice the patterns of shadows cast by trees in the springtime. It is so essential that the taste of something rare be recognized and celebrated. The small, the insignificant, the overlooked is so important because it is a part of our small infinity of time. Hazel sees this. Hazel reminds me to look again to not forget to look and appreciate and be glad.

This book was not schmaltzy, overdone, melodramatic or weepy. It twisted and turned and surprised me. It's made me think about the story within a story, An Imperial Affliction, and I think I know how that fictional novel ends. I'd love to tell Hazel, but I suspect she figured it out, too.

This story makes me think how authors like John Green are so privileged to have characters like Hazel and Gus living inside of them. If Hazel and Gus are creations of Mr. Green and are a part of who he is, I think that he must be a truly amazing and very interesting person. His thoughts and ideas seem so engaging and I wonder if all of us have characters inside of us. What would happen if we brought them to life? What would they say about us?

PS: This audiobook won the 2013 Odyssey Award.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Finished: The Death of Bees

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

Nelly and Marnie have lost their parents just before Christmas. But they don't really miss them. Their parents were absent, neglectful and abusive. The next-door neighbor, Lennie, an older gay man with a shameful past befriends them and provides them a home--but how long can their thrown-together family last when Social Services, a man looking for his money and a long-absent grandfather search for the missing parents?

This book was a great read, though I wanted more. I enjoyed how each chapter was told from a different perspective with the oldest daughter, Marnie taking turns narrating with Lennie and Nelly. Each person understands the world differently from the others and their limited ability to see the full picture (which we as readers know) is heartbreaking sometimes.

O'Donnell has been a screenwriter and I think I'd love to see this book done up as a movie. It has that feeling--that it needs more visuals that a movie could provide.

The book explores family--the ideas that blood relations aren't necessarily the most important components of creating lasting bonds and that there are many different ways to love, hate and forgive.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Okay... I've been reading a LOT and not writing about it :(

Yep, I've been slacking. Or rather, I've been dithering. Or maybe I've been procrastinating.

I love to read (duh), but sometimes, I'm devouring books to escape and I'm not taking the time to reflect on them as I should--to describe what they mean to me, how they changed me, reinforced me, repelled me or just made me feel happy. 

But, in the interest of disclosure and hopeful revisiting of what I've been reading, here's the run-down:

Aloha From Hell
Casual Vacancy
Good Omens

Young Adult
Inside Out
Outside In
Scorpio Races
Fat Angie

Weird Life
Various Gardening Books

The Death of Bees
The new Flavia de Luce book

I'll try to write how I felt about these stories at a later date... :P