Wednesday, April 26, 2017

On My Wishlist: Second books in a fantasy series...

Haven't done one of these in a while...

Ever the Brave
by Erin Summerill
Series: Clash of Kingdoms #2
Published: December 5,17
Publisher: HMH Publishers for Young Readers
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost. 
The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart.
Well, gotta know what happens next. I liked the first one despite a few niggles but I do want to continue this series. Plus I like the cover. 

Now I Rise 
by Kiersten White
Series: The Conqueror's Saga #2
Publisher: Delecorte Press
Published: June 27,17 
Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her. 
What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him? 
As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.
Loved the first book and just realized I hadn't listed it as a wishlist book. Corrected that. :D

So, what is on your wishlist lately?


Monday, April 24, 2017

Snared by Jennifer Estep

Series: Elemental Assassin #16
400 p.
Publisher: Pocket Books
Published: 4/25/17
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.
Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web… 
Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl. 
My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive. 
A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.
My thoughts:

Another great addition to this series. It, once again, brings us an harrowing mission for Gin and also gets us a step closer to the overall arc in the series. I was interested in the overall arc in this section of the series, but this one really solidified my interest. I have a few questions I HAVE to know but I will try to be as patient as the Spider and wait to find out if a few of my theories are correct. Oh so many good clues and just enough of a tease to set you on edge in wanting the next in the series right now. Only problem I have with the series is that I'm up to date with the novels and that means I have to wait for the next one. You who have not read these yet will enjoy devouring them at  your leisure with out much wait. Sometimes that is an enviable position.

I did figure out the small twist in this one easily but there was no disappointment in the reveal. It still held so much tension (in a good way) that it didn't matter. You are still fully engaged in the story and the outcome. I think we may have also added to Gin's collection of people who make up her overall family. I love that she collects people like this and how they all fit together.

I don't want to say too much as I don't want to spoil this book nor do I want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't caught up to this book in the series yet. Although you could read a bit out of order, I really don't suggest it. There have been a few story arcs and you don't want to confuse those. You also should read these in order to get the feel of all the secondary characters as well as how Gin has evolved throughout the series. This is a series that should not be missed. I give this book 4 1/2 stars.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Netflix: They have movies!

Yep, still Netflix-ing and yep, it is still cutting into my book time. I have been starting to get back into my reading. Perhaps my brain is coming back? Why did it leave? Questions for the universe, I guess. 

I'm still continuing Supernatural but in the middle of S4 so I won't say more now. I did put Once Upon a Time to the side right now. I'll try it again later.

I did see a couple of movies I wanted to mention.

I'm probably the last to have seen Finding Dory but I finally did and I loved it. I don't know why it took me so long especially since I've been a fan of Pixar since their shorts. If you haven't seen it, you need to see this one. It made me laugh a lot and it is so cute. It doesn't suffer from sophomore syndrome at all.

The other movie I want to mention is Begin Again. This one is so good with a lot of character growth, romantic tension without romance (yes, you read that right). I loved Kiera Knight's character and how she made her music and how she viewed it. She was naive with a brain and willing to learn. She figured out who she was and became true to that knowledge. Adam Levine's character was a jerk, but the problem he creates is the perfect reason for her to find herself in both music and in life. Cute film.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Audiobook Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Series: The Others #2
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
14 hrs. 13 min.
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: 3/4/14
Source: Library
After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard - Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader - wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet - and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.
My thoughts:

In some ways I had a hard time getting through this story. It wasn't the story's fault at all, but I kept hearing "Humans First" group causing the feel of racism and prejudice and I couldn't help see the parallels in today's world problems. However, it is also quite different and that is what pulled me through the story and had me fading from the problems of the world a bit.

There was also a horrifying aspect of the Cassandra Sangue in how they were treated and how they were used. This brought a source of tension and realization of what Meg survived and what she was able to accomplish. It also makes Meg and her kind a sort of bridge between the humans and the Others but also outside of it all. I really like how Meg manages to hold that delicate line which would only be possible with an accepting group. This also means that Simon and the Lakeside Courtyard unique because of their acceptance. We see in this book how that isn't so easily accomplished, but it is possible.

Alexandria Harris is the narrator for the series and I really enjoyed her version of all the characters in the book. She really helps put you into the world and I also loved her wolfish and crow vocalizations. She makes this series fun. I do hope you at least try one book on audio in this series.

I give this book 4 stars. It is another good book in Meg's journey and it also does a good job at foreshadowing not only a possible romance but also what Meg may be up against in the future. I highly recommend this series and I do suggest to read them in order.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Arts and Crafts Pinspiration: Electronic Charging Station

I actually became inspired by a pin in Pinterest on making an electronics charging station. Here is the pin and my result...

This was the pin by Design Sponge I was inspired by:

There were a few things I changed and this was my result:

Sorry for the lighting, but it was the best I had at the last moment and where I have it, it is too dark for pics. I still need to set up a spot to take better pics, until then, please bear with me. 

The case is something my mom got me a million years ago from Hobby Lobby when they were on sale (I have no idea if they still have these) to store things in but I thought it would be perfect for this project. 

I used grommets for the opening in the back like the pin suggested. It was a good sized opening and I'll be able to not only fit the large plug from the surge protector power strip, but I'll also be able to thread wires back out for those things that I wouldn't put in the box.
back of case

The headphones were attached to a shower hook that I had which fits semi-securely on the top (not for a lot of movement, but stationary it will be fine). The box can be closed (without hook) just like it came.

case front
The part where I deviated the most was the place where I will lay my ereader on. In the pin they had you use white peg board and it already had a place to lay this top piece. I just glued (Gorilla wood glue and a couple of small clamps) a couple of 1 1/2" boards cut to the side areas for my shelf just under the metal pieces they had to give the case stability. I then used foamcore cut to the size of the shelf (cutting a section out for the hinge so it didn't interfere with that area), minus the 1 1/2" board in the back for a bit of extra stability, added one layer of batting on top of that and then hot glued the fabric on top of it and then added a piece at the bottom to make it look nicer even though you won't see it. The fabric I used is a very thin microsuede I got from the remnant section at Joann's (hint: the remnants are usually 50% off and if you find the fabric in in a section that is on sale, you get that % off as well). Also, because I used foam core and the box isn't completely square in the front, I have a small space which I can thread my wires through to the items that need to be charged. I did add a small tab so I can easily lift it to sort things out in the storage area.
inside which shows the glued shelf and where the cords are going. Ignore the extra wood piece...
Hope you liked my wordy explanation! 😊

So this is my pinspiration! Have you done any projects from Pinterest?


Monday, April 10, 2017

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson #5
342 p.
Publisher: Ace Books
Published: 3/30/10
Source: TBR pile
Mercy is smart enough to realize that when it comes to the magical fae, the less you know, the better. But you can't always get what you want. When she attempts to return a powerful fae she previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down. 
It seems the book contains secrets - and the fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side - leaving Mercy to cover for him lest his own father declare Samuel's life forfeit. 
All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she may not have many more...
My thoughts:

First, let me say something about that cover. I do like pretty much all Dan Dos Santos covers, but I hear that not everyone does and the biggest complaint is about her tats. Let me give you a hint about those tats.... they tell the story in the book. If you go back and examine them with the story in the book, you will see that they have imagery about the tale. This one, I admit, is harder to decipher, but the others seem to be more telling. When I figured that part out, I tend to pay more attention to her tats on these covers. I'm sad to see that there are alternative covers for these books.

 It had been a while since I read the last book and I've been wanting to catch up with this series. I finally took this book off my shelf and dove in. I was glad I did. Mercy still attracts danger without trying but she always seems to be up to whatever life throws at her, even if it is overwhelming. She doesn't hesitate to come to the aid of anyone she deems friend or family and the romance between her and Adam continues. We also get more about Samuel and what is going on with him. His problems become critical and Snowball (*grin*) takes charge. I found that with everything happening to Mercy, that part filled with me the most apprehension.

I give this book 4 stars. It is a great continuation of this series but I wouldn't start with this book if you are just getting into the series. This one I would suggest reading in order because you get a feel of who everyone is and what importance they have in Mercy's life. This is important because the characters take precedence over all the paranormal happenings and it is their relationship to each other that pulls you through the story. I recommend the series to anyone who enjoys UF.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Awakening by Amanda Stevens

Series: Graveyard Queen #6
416 p.
Publisher: Mira
Published: 3/28/17
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
Shush…lest she awaken…

My name is Amelia Gray, a cemetery restorer who lives with the dead. An anonymous donor has hired me to restore Woodbine Cemetery, a place where the rich and powerful bury their secrets. Forty years ago, a child disappeared without a trace and now her ghost has awakened, demanding that I find out the truth about her death. Only I know that she was murdered. Only I can bring her killer to justice. But the clues that I follow—a haunting melody and an unnamed baby's grave—lead me to a series of disturbing suspects.

For generations, The Devlins have been members of Charleston's elite. John Devlin once turned his back on the traditions and expectations that came with his birthright, but now he has seemingly accepted his rightful place. His family's secrets make him a questionable ally. When my investigation brings me to the gates of his family's palatial home, I have to wonder if he is about to become my mortal enemy.
My thoughts:

The last book! I'm happy and sad about that. I've loved this series so much (if you haven't read it before, you SO need to read it) so I'm sad to see it go. I'm happy because I know I'm going to get most of my questions answered. I also know I'm going to get an adventure getting there.

I was not wrong! I really loved this book and this is a series I know I will read again one day. The atmosphere was like the others and it kept me engaged and unwilling to put the book down. I got most of my answers especially the big one about John. I'm not going to tell you if it was good or bad, but it was an answer! Unfortunately, I did end up having a couple of questions that I had specific to this book I wanted answered and one small disappointment in the end. I cannot say what those were without spoiling the book, but they were minor in the whole of the story and really just made me wishing it was a longer book. To be honest, I'd probably wish that anyway. I will say that the last line was perfect.

I give this book 4 stars. I know that some people avoided this series because it is scary. I'm a total wimp when it comes to horror and I will admit this one is scary in parts (do not read at night especially when a neighborhood cat makes noise outside your window when you are reading about scary noises in the book... *cough* just sayin'... not that I jumped or anything... LOL) but it is the characters and the mystery that will hold your hand through those parts and compel you to continue with the story. So, try it! If you have, then I have no doubt you are right with me and are so sad to see this one go and anxious to see what else this author comes up with for us in the future.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Journey Across the Hidden Islands by Sarah Beth Durst

352 p.
Publisher: Clarion Books
Published: 4/4/17
Source: From author for review

The traditional Emperor’s Journey is meant to be uneventful. But as the princesses Seika and Ji-Lin—twin sisters—travel to pay respects to their kingdom’s dragon guardian, unexpected monsters appear and tremors shake the earth. The Hidden Islands face unprecedented threats, and the old rituals are failing. With only their strength, ingenuity, and flying lion to rely on, can the sisters find a new way to keep their people safe?

My thoughts:

I don't read too many MG books, but when approached by the author to read this one I had no problems wanting to read it. First, the cover is stunning and second, I usually enjoy Sarah Beth Durst's work. This is a fun book, but also one that if you are an adult reading it, should keep the age of the characters in mind.

The story is about twin girls born hours apart. One is the heir and the other is to be her protector. Both seem suited to their roles and are loyal to their subjects but miss each other terribly. The girls are called upon to do a traditional journey which will ensure the kingdom to be safe for another generation. At 12, neither feels ready but is willing to do what is needed to be done for the sake of their people. Their father is aloof to the girls and his concern seems limited to the kingdom and the girls struggle to understand. They still want to be honorable and make their father proud so they partake on the journey which brings insight, maturity, and hard choices. It is a true hero's journey which they are all aware. If this isn't enough to make you curious, you have a winged lion, Alejan, who steals the show often. He is their perfect companion and comic relief.

My only niggles about the book really don't bother me in context. At times I found the girls, especially Ji-Lin, to be rash and whiney but put in the age context and given the task they were to preform with very little fore-knowledge, it makes sense. When they meet a boy on the journey and he became the whiney one (again context but the girls also thought he was annoying) both girls seem to grow up and learned to think before acting, or put others before themselves. The ending brings all the pieces of their journey together and it comes to a good conclusion. I really like how things were solved.

I give this book 4 stars. I think adults need to remember who this is written for and I think that they will enjoy the journey and how the girls become more mature. I think kids will be enthralled with the journey, the mythological creatures, and the dragons (okay, I liked those parts too!). I recommend it to those that want to start kids on bigger books and anyone who likes an adventure.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

WTF Netflix????

Yep, still Netflix-ing. 😎 Yep, still keeping it cool... 

dude? LOL

Well, I found out that Buffy, The Vampire Slayer is about to get the axe from it's queue April 1 (wait, could that be a joke?) so I've been watching "Once More With Feeling" because it was one of my fave eps and when I get stressed sometimes I just put it on for a laugh. Well, I knew parts of the show was missing but I figured that they got the shortened versions (I hate when that happens but what are you going to do?) and just showed that. I've noticed it with other shows on there. Well, after the announcement I started that ep up and guess what? The FULL version was playing. So, does that mean that they have been editing shows? I know it was speculated but most people figured as I did and they got the shortened versions. Now I wonder if that was true... so...

WTF Netflix?

Here is the thing... most of us can deal with edited versions, even if we don't like it, if we are told that is what we are getting. Avoiding the confrontation (I'm guessing) will only lead to those of us now not trusting that anything not produced by them may not be the full version of anything.

πŸ‘† Well, not the finger I was looking for but then again, I guess it is edited like the rest. 😏

Still, despite this problem I have been trying to catch up with Supernatural.
I've completed S1 and S2 so far. Should be easy now that I know I'm not getting everything. Yea, I know I'm probably the last one to get to the show but for some reason I just didn't catch when it came on. Love the classic rock theme (it really fits) and doesn't Dean and Sam remind you just a bit of Bill and Ted? Perhaps it is more the hair but I keep thinking of that movie. LOL

I have tried Once Upon a Time but just haven't gotten into this one yet. It may take a few more eps.


Bloggy Note:

For those that gave me good wishes last week, I thank you so much! My big boy had a small injury on his paw which I thought was under control, but then he decided to dig into his paw when I was sleeping (sneaky!) and it ballooned up with infection overnight. It still hurts, he just finished a round of antibiotics and his paw is continued to be soaked in salt and epsom salts. It looks so much better but it is still tender.  The vet likes how it is progressing. My other pup has had a few good days but I still hate the bad days. I know she is having a good day when she bosses the boy around. LOL

Again thanks for the well wishes. I also needed the week since if one wasn't wanting attention, the other one was demanding it. Still doing that, but it doesn't feel as critical.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Series: Red Rising #1
382 p.
Published: Jan, 28, 14
Publisher: Del Ray
Source: TBR pile
"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them." 
"I live for you," I say sadly. 
Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more." 
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. 
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. 
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. 
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

My thoughts:

Like a lot of dystopians, in some ways this felt as if it could be a warning in how we treat each other. Also it shows how perception creates our reality. As we separate ourselves from each other we also find that it makes it easier to diminish and see people as "other" which makes it easier to discriminate. In this world, this caste society signified by colors which had been generations in the making with part of the population not even knowing anything outside their own society. Darrow, our hero, who is a low red is basically the slave in the world is given an opportunity to have his blinders removed and live the life of a privileged color. He learns that things aren't as black/white as it sometimes seen and that there are things to be fixed on all levels of society.  He finds that all levels of society have their good and bad parts but his ultimate goal does not wavier since his people do not even know they are slaves.

The book starts with several sacrifices to give Darrow that chance at another life, at being a hero. This sets up his hero journey which then falls into another part of society that is also rarely seen by others for another reason. While he makes his way through this world in a brutal way, he finds out what it really means to be a leader and begins to wonder if his goal should expand to the other colors which separate this world.

This is such an interesting take on what is going on in this world and you wonder if Darrow will continue to be consistent in his goal, if it changes, or if he falls to the lure of luxury and power. You also want to know if you can trust anyone in this world... or if ANYONE can trust anyone else. It is a complicated world which can throw readers not quite used to sci-fi or fantasy but if you stick with it you will find yourself immersed and curious about how everything will turn out. I give this book 4 1/2 stars and you can safely say that I do want that next book in my hands soon. 😁

Monday, March 20, 2017

Just a Note

I just thought I'd tell everyone that I'm taking a week blogging break b/c of puppies! You sort of know about one, but now the other one decided that he wanted more attention so he got a foot infection. It is already looking better but I thought I'd take a break for my sanity... such as it is... 😜

See ya next week!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Arts and Crafts: Creative Maker Case

With everything going on, my crafting has also suffered. However, I was able to get one pressie done before it was due! 

It is a case for my dad. The patten is from Sew Sweetness (affiliate link) and is the Creative Maker Case. The way it is written it is made for those that want to carry a lot of pencils, markers or just create a bunch of pockets. I would say to alter the pattern, it would be an intermediate project, but if you make it as written, it is surprisingly easy.

The outer shell is made with navy canvas and the inner parts are made with mostly quilting cotton fabric. I added a handle on the top spine with 5/8" nylon webbing (which was not a part of the pattern, but he likes handles) and the Bronco logo is a machine embroidery design. I also added a back pocket and made pockets that I hope satisfy what he needs in a case. This is the medium (approx: 7-1/2” long x 9-3/4” tall) which will just barely hold an ipad (average size) and easily hold most ebook tablets. It is also a double zip closure.

The corner flap has a magnetic catch to keep everything in and the small blue line in the spine is fold over elastic which can hold a pen. I also have slip pockets, zippered pocket and a mesh pocket. I hope there is enough! 😁 

I really enjoyed making this one and it was easier than I thought. The hardest part was deciding what I needed to put into it (pocket wise). I think if I make another for him I will lengthen it just slightly and perhaps add more flaps to the slip pockets. 

Hope he likes it. *crosses fingers*


Monday, March 13, 2017

Hunted by Megan Spooner

352 p.
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: 3/14/17
Source: From Edelweiss and publisher for review
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?
My thoughts:

I should probably recuse myself from reviewing this one because I love Beauty and the Beast retellings. I really loved this one, not for the romance (actually there was very little of it until the end) but because it is usually the heroine that is the strong one of the tale. This one holds to that tradition and makes Yeva (aka Beauty) a unusually strong woman who loves to hunt and go out into the wood exploring and finding that fairy tales are real.

The core of this tale is also not the romance. That may put off some readers but the theme is really about want and desire. Do we know what we really want? Do we understand what we really desire? The mythos is based on that premise as well as the tale she finds herself a part of. A tale told to Beauty which became her favorite which she starts to fully understand while living it. That does make for an interesting twist as it also becomes her real mission is to see what is before her and know what she really wants out of life. This is also not one where once you figure it out it is all solved, but knowing human nature and that wanting the next thing will always be around the corner. We can only hope our next want will accompany wisdom as well.

I give this tale 4 1/2 stars and highly recommend it to those, like me, that love a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Do be aware that the romance is minimal until the end but the hero is still the Beauty of the tale.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Binge Post: NetFlix Strikes Again!

Yea, my brain has yet to come back in full force. Wait... does your brain actually go full force? What does that mean? 


So, I've still been Netflix'ing more than I had before. I'm one of the cool kids now, right? 😎

Finally saw Stranger Things:
I loved trying to figure this one out and I loved how the relationships in this one all played out. I really do recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy or sci-fi. Just don't expect everything to make sense all the time... or sometimes at all... but that is the fun of this one.

I also saw the first season of The Magicians.
I still need to continue it and while the first season was a bit uneven in pacing for me, I was still hooked and now I have to know what else is going on. This one has some interesting characters in it and I think that is what drives this show and not the magic (at least in the first season).

Frontier. Jason Momoa... need I say more? LOL
This one took me a while to get into it but by about the 3rd episode, I wanted to know more. Note to those that don't like a lot of violence... it is quite violent and bloody.

I've also seen the first season of the Santa Clarita Diet
I didn't like this one as much as I thought I would but I think it was the hype getting in the way. I did love Joel and Shelia's relationship and that really pulled me through the series. No matter what happens to either of them they are there for each other. Yea, this one is ironically the most romantic one that I saw. LOL

I almost forgot I saw Sense8
This one took me a while to get into but once I did I liked it. They all share emotions and they can also share abilities. I'm curious where it will go in the next season. I'm just so sad that Capheus who was played by Aml Ameen is going to be played by Toby Onwumere next season. I'm sure I'll get used to the change but it is always jarring when a show does that to you.

One movie to mention:
The Fundamentals of Caring
The trailer does nothing to show off Trevor's dark sense of humor. Yea, the kid is an asshole but he has reason and it makes you love him for it. LOL Selena Gomez does a good job as Dot and she has the same sense of humor as Trevor. This one surprised me and I really loved the ending to this one. No spoilers... just see it. 


Almost forgot... Happy Women's Day!

Hope you are celebrating it and #resisting

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Series: The Bone Witch #1
400 p.
Published: 3/7/17
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: From publisher and NetGalley for review
"Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there's anything I've learned from him in the years since, it's that the dead hide truths as well as the living." 
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she's a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. 
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles...and make a powerful choice.
My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this author's other work and when I saw the cover for this one I knew I needed to read it. It is as lush in descriptions as her last work, but while that one built atmosphere, sometimes the descriptions here got in the way. I absolutely loved picturing all the gowns (hua) the asha's (magical ones) wore because it was such a part of who they were becoming. It also felt as if it was a complete amalgamation of different cultures, particularly eastern. It was fun exploring the world and what magic she could preform and what was held back in her abilities.

What I thought was a bit weak were Tea's relationships to the other secondary characters. In some ways it worked and they were completely supportive of her character in bringing her to life, but in other ways I thought the relationship should have been more defined. There were a couple of people who were interesting in their own right, felt as if they were going to be built upon but then felt dropped from importance. Now, this may correct itself (and I highly suspect it will) as the series continues, but I would have liked at least one character to have played a more distinctive role in the worldbuilding. Her brother, Fox, was rounded out much better than the others, but there were so many other personalities I wanted to get to know even just a bit better. I think the worldbuilding would have been perfected a bit more with those characters.

I still found the world fascinating and didn't mind the present/past back and forth within the book. To tell it otherwise would have made the book too long. Still, as we are building up in understanding about Tea and her abilities and coming to the climax of what is going on in the "present", the book ends. Thankfully this is part of a series or that would have really upset me.

I give this book 3 stars. I think it has the potential to really take off now that several things have been established. While it had some problems for me, I still found it interesting and compelling enough to want the next book to find out how the ending of this one plays out. I recommend it to those that enjoy YA fantasy with and Eastern bent but do be prepared for the ending. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rare Disease Day: MCAS

So, in Oct. last year I let you all know I had a form of dysautonomia (this post) for dysautonomia awareness day. Well, today I will do the same for rare disease day. I am rare (and not because I often feel like my brain is undercooked!) and I have MCAS (mast cell activation syndrome) which is considered rare and hard to diagnose. In very short, incomplete terms MCAS is a condition where my body thinks I should act allergic to things I have no allergy. There is a lot more to it, but since it is considered rare, it won't have much impact on you so I don't want to talk about my diagnosis. This is really going to be a short acknowledgement that there are people out there with rare diseases and disorders. Anything that has under 20k (in the US) citizens diagnosed is considered rare. Besides getting funding to help one rare disorder or disease helps more rare disorders to get recognized and diagnosed.

*Warning* Rant about to happen (but it is short)...

I do want to say somehing... I wouldn't have gotten diagnosed without the ACA. This is the main reason I was unhappy that Lord Dampnut (anagram of 45's name from the comedian Colin Macherie) and the republicans won in the last election. They were after the ACA and I believe them. I figure once Ryan guts it enough (already happening and has not only started to gut medicaid but also medicare with more down the road) he will probably implement his version in which those with preexisting conditions get put into a pool and get their insurance from that group. Yea, not affordable at all and quite frankly it sounds like the Hunger Games for medical help. Medical Games? Do not bet on me (just an FYI). So, I already know I will have to decide which medications I can keep and which will go. I have already made that decision but will only worry about it once my ACA is completely gone. I can't do anything else at this point. I will worry what will happen if something major happens but there is little else I can do at this point. Many of these decisions will be out of my hands. Others will be hurting as well and are even worse off than I am. Even if they keep some semblance of the ACA, I figure it will be so confusing it will be unusable. Seems to be the way this regime is going about everything. The insurance has less restrictions then I've ever seen, and so many people will be hurting so much more than even before the ACA.

Okay, soapbox is over. You can come out now. πŸ˜‰

Here is the official Rare Disease Day Video:

I agree, getting a diagnosis is hard. Even if you aren't rare, it can be a hard thing to do especially when it runs afoul of a doc's ego. This is why the ACA (or good affordable health care) and research is so important. Also, while you are trying to get that diagnosis and are frustrated, remember this: 

Sometimes this is more important to remember than those that say never quit. Sometimes you just have to have that melt down. Forgive yourself and move on. πŸ’–

I also want to address something else. I have migraines so everyone (it feels like that on social media) is an expert on migraines... even those that don't know what they are exactly (other than a bad headache... if you believe that I have a bridge to sell ya!). So for those of you who don't hold a medical degree, please do not give unsolicited advice about a problem you know nothing about. [Edit: I'm really talking about those that insist that their way is the only way and to do otherwise means you are faking it. Generic posts do not bother me] Plus the cure you have found that your second cousin's ex-sister in law's best friend's aunt's uncle who knows a guy just may not be the cure the person you are talking to is looking for. Even though it usually comes from wanting to help, the best thing to do is just say "I believe you". When you have an invisible illness (rare or not, it doesn't matter) you are often told that you are a fraud. Hell, you tell yourself that enough times that even in the midst of pain you start to question it. Fakers are easy to spot so don't assume that everyone is faking it especially when there is evidence to the contrary. If you feel they are just in it for the attention then disengage instead of insult someone who might be genuine. Okay, off that soapbox for now. 😁

Okay end of post. I know there are so many other things I could have taken on, but since I know how it feels to be overwhelmed, I just took on a couple and hope I made some sense. I also hope you took something away from it. 

If you want to get more involved with Rare Disease Day:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon Land

400 p.
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: 1/17/17
Source: From publisher for review
Twenty-four hours. That's all it takes for the lives of two young people to be changed forever. 
Alex Chin has the world on a plate. A football hero and homecoming king with plenty of scholarship offers, his future looks bright. His tutor, Samantha Dixon, is preparing to graduate high school at the top of her class. She plans to turn her NASA internship into a career. When a football accident lands Alex in the hospital, his world is turned upside down. His doctor is murdered. Then, his parents. Death seems to follow him wherever he goes, and now it's after him. 
Alex flees. He tells Samantha not to follow, but she became involved the moment she walked through his door and found Mr. and Mrs. Chin as they lay dying in their home. She cannot abandon the young man she loves. The two race desperately to stay ahead of Alex's attackers long enough to figure out why they are hunting him in the first place. The answer lies with a secret buried deep in his past, a secret his parents died to protect. Alex always knew he was adopted, but he never knew the real reason his birth parents abandoned him. He never knew where he truly came from. Until now.
My thoughts:

While I would classify the book as YA since the protagonist is a teen, I really can see this being read by adults as well. It is more a sci-fi thriller than YA in it's feel.

This was a intense ride. There are a little bit of social issues at hand in this book which I found interesting since it is a turn on its head than what is generally expected, but it really is about Alex, Sam (an intelligent girl) and aliens which all fit into questions about Alex's life he never thought to ask. There is murder and a mysterious plot in which Alex and Sam must figure out and stay ahead of what or who is stalking them. Not sure who to trust, often they fall into the right hands and while this is terribly convenient, it also doesn't feel too implausible.

I'd say that this is an easy sci-fi book if you are looking to get into the genre but not willing to go whole hog science. If you are on the other side of the spectrum of wanting a lot of science in your sci-fi, there is science in the book and it is well placed and it makes sense. Nothing too over the top but just enough to keep the plot holes at a minimum. It really is the thrill and the mystery that takes precedence in the book.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I think those looking for an easy but thrilling sci-fi book would enjoy this one. Also, while the ending is a bit of a cliff hanger, it also isn't as well. It can lead to other adventures or really stand on its own while you imagine what could happen next.

Bloggy Note:
It took me quite a while to get to the review because I had one heck of a cold which didn't want to let go (I'm finally getting better). I also have a dog (not the dobie) who is having some bad days. Luckily she is also having some good ones inbetween. So, things may get spotty here at best.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Taking a Humorous Review Break: The Handmaiden's Tale and 1984

I'm sure you just went... "What? Humorous?" and then started making plans for my padded room. Na, just more Thug Notes (yes you might get sick of me posting these, but I like them). These are humorous AND very informative. I love his analysis. I thought I'd take 2 books which have reemerged in the best seller lists. You can see why they are popular now.

The Handmaiden's Tale:


Yea, so it might be cheating a bit letting someone else review these, but they are pretty good book reviews!



Monday, February 6, 2017

Binge Post: Netflix

As most of you, I've been overwhelmed, but also taken the time to learn what is going on. In the middle of that I need to take a break to recharge and that is also why I've been trying to make more positive posts like this lately. I'm a bit scattered so my entertainment reading has been a bit sporadic. Thankfully I've been able to binge a bit on Netflix shows. I've always felt behind but I'm catching up to all you cool kids. 😎

In the past I talked about Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Well, the one that started it all was Daredevil. There are 2 seasons there right now. For a good Catholic boy with a strong moral compass, I'd have to say this one was surprisingly the bloodiest and darkest of the three. Yep, a few times I had to close my eyes or look away. So, do be aware of that.

Season 2

I also finally watched all of Penny Dreadful
I really enjoyed this one and I really liked the dark take on all the creatures we are used to seeing. Then the ending episode came. At first I thought it was an apt ending, but the more I thought about it, it was horrible and left WAY too many secondary stories hanging. It was cancelled and they just threw together an ending. So the more I thought about it, the more I hated that ending episode. Too bad, because I could really see this take off in so many directions.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Every Which Way Crochet Borders by Edie Echman

Genre: Crafts
224 p.
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Published: 1/24/17
Source: From NetGalley and publisher for review
Step-by-step instructions and symbol charts put these 100 creative new border designs within reach for beginning and advanced crocheters alike. If you’re ready to chart your own crocheted course, Edie Eckman offers plenty of helpful design advice, including how to choose an appropriate border for each project and how to incorporate an element from the main stitch pattern into a new border design. She then explains, with the help of close-up photos, how the same pattern can have dramatically different results depending on the weight of the yarn. With each pattern diagramed to approach in both rounds and rows, Every Which Way Crochet Borders is an inventive and invaluable resource.
My thoughts:

Well, one of the crafts I like to do is crochet. However, I rarely have the patience to do large crochet patterns. So, when I saw this one, I knew it would be for me. It had exactly what I wanted. Not only did it give a great variety of border patterns, it also gave me how to embellish a fleece blanket. That was really what I was after.

I have read other crafts which prefer a hook that has a needle in it to puncture the fabric, but you are still left to figure out even spacing as well (in my case specifically) how to not puncture yourself. There is a rotary blade (you can find the blades and handles in the quilting section of the craft store) that cuts the fabric at even intervals and you evenly cut with that one. Perfect! It is a bit costly for one blade, but it would serve the exact purpose I will need. I haven't purchase it yet, but I am saving my pennies for it later. So you can see, you can find all manner of tidbits within the pages.

So, while some of the borders are very simple and easily achieved, I would still put this book at advanced beginner to intermediate depending on what one you are following. If you have the basics down you can take off from there much easier. There are helpful hints for beginners as well so don't be afraid to try it.

I give this book 4 stars and highly recommend it to crocheters who want to really embellish those items with a unique border or those needing inspiration getting into a new craft.

Bloggy note: If you would like a short intro by the author and publisher, a short article HERE that helps you choose the best border for your project.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Taking a Break: Humanity and a Humorous Book Review

No matter what side you take with politics around the world (seems like the US is far from the only one experiencing turmoil) I think you have been overwhelmed as I have lately. I do think we need a break on occasion to charge our batteries. So those about to leave, relax nothing bad here at all. I hope this helps a bit to recharge so you can continue to #resist!

Now that one may make you tear a bit, but they will be good tears, I promise. The kids wrestling match gets me every time (ok, all the kid ones get to me)!

Also, if you know me, you know I enjoy the classic, Jane Eyre. However, I love this version and analysis of it. Do watch the ending for the analysis. He does a great job of it. Good overview for those that haven't read it or seen the movie. LOL A bit NSFW due to language. πŸ˜‰
Hope that put a smile on your face.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn

288 p.
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: 1/17/17
Source: From publisher for review
A great new stand-alone science fiction novel from the author of the Kitty Norville series. 
Polly Newton has one single-minded dream, to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. Her mother, the director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly's plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth—the one planet Polly has no desire to visit. Ever. 
Homesick and cut off from her desired future, Polly cannot seem to fit into the constraints of life on Earth, unlike Charles, who deftly maneuvers around people and sees through their behavior to their true motives. Strange, unexplained, dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up. Charles may be right—there's more going on than would appear, and the stakes are high. With the help of Charles, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.
My thoughts:

I do enjoy Carrie Vaughn's work so I was happy when I got this one in the mail. I also enjoy sci-fi so it was a safe bet that this one would be perfect for me. I was not wrong.

Those that do not read much or any sci-fi at all could try this one. It has just enough gadgets to make it interesting but it doesn't overwhelm. Plus, it was an interesting contrast for those that grew up in lower gravities and those that had earth's gravity. It would have been interesting to also contrast with someone who lived on Venus since that gravity is nearly equal to earth's gravity. Just a thought that proves I'm a nerd. πŸ˜‰ Still, those that do not usually care for this genre could find themselves liking it because of the main character Polly who is smart and brave. Also, the mystery as to what is going on will have you wanting to know more as each problem presents itself.

While I did figure out who was behind what was going on with the siblings, Polly and Charles, I did not figure out why it happened. While there was an explanation given, it didn't feel set in stone but it did feel like it was satisfying. I also enjoyed the dynamic of the various relationships that were formed within this group. My favorite was between Polly and Charles who seem at once distant from each other and close at the same time. Charles mostly lived in his head but it was Polly's knowledge of him from birth which gave him his humanity and spirit.

I give this book 4 stars. It was a fun trip trying to figure out what was going on and enjoying all the worldbuilding within the storyline. I also feel that while the characters are in their teens, this could easily be read by those who are MG and of course, adults as well. I recommend it to those that enjoy sci-fi or want to try it out.

I just wanted to highlight an account that would go with the book... 

Follow them in support of science and against the gag order

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Cape is in the Wash: Strategies for Hope

I'm determined to keep this one positive! LOVED the woman's march on Sat. and I want to keep that good feeling going! We are just at the beginning of this fight! #Resist! 

There is also a website from the women's march which helps to determine what is next. Just go HERE

There was a march about the #NoDAPL
You can also find several free graphics HERE for this movement and others (like the pipeline) as well (one of the posters below which you have probably seen).

There also looks like a march by scientists will be scheduled!! πŸ˜€
I am hoping this has been more informative and hopefully more uplifting than in the past. There are a couple of articles that has helped me to figure things out and I hope it does the same for you. In other words, food for thought in how to look at what has happened.

First I want to share an article I read which I found fascinating. He is the first to really explain to me how both conservatives and progressives of today approach things. I've been saying for a long time that we need to learn from the conservative movement and approach what we all feel as important in the way that they approach it. Now I didn't know what the magic formula was, but George Lakoff explained it well in his article: Don't Think of a Rampaging Elephant (πŸ‘ˆ link to the Salon article and for some reason it keeps disappearing on me and I'm not sure if it only happens when I edit. If I can't fix it, then just google search it by the title). His stance is that conservatives study marketing but progressives rely on a series of facts that the person is supposed reason it out and come to the correct conclusion. That just doesn't work in politics and I think he is right. It is just a fascinating read and I do think a lot of what happened makes sense. I think he is on the right track. 

I also think this article (short one) on How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps is also valuable in learning how to promote the message across a wider range of people and defeat populism. Yea, this one article that I'll be reading again and thinking about. This one really got to me.

Also, know we have been here before:

There is also a brilliant how to when getting yourself psyched up to call your representative. This is primarily focused on those with social anxiety but it works for anyone even a bit nervous about calling or if, like me, you have brain fog a lot. 
Just go HERE for the information and also realize that if the issue is something well organized, they often give you the script to use. You could just tweak it a bit (which is what I often do) so it fits me better. The article is probably the best I've seen in terms of what to do and how.

Remember that some of the best things have come out of the worst circumstances. But it won't happen without a fight!

You are not alone.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone-just the way she likes it. She doesn't believe in friends, and she doesn't speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous. 
In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago. To protect the innocent-and to punish those who stand in her way. 
With the NYPD out of its depth, Selene vows to hunt the killer on her own. But when classics professor Theo Schultz decodes the ancient myth behind the crime, the solitary Huntress finds herself working with a man who's her opposite in every way. Together, they face a long-forgotten cult that lies behind a string of murders, and they'll need help from the one source Selene distrusts most of all: the city's other Immortals.
My thoughts:

I wasn't sure what to expect from this one but they already had me at Greek gods. :) In this one the gods have been diminished by the lack of believers and worshipers. They are born out of human's imagination and mythos but are now becoming human, losing their immortality. Some are panicked at not just dying but at losing their godhood and powers. Some are still powerful depending on how the worship has changed. I really thought this world was interesting.

It isn't just the worldbuilding that was good here. There was also a serial killer that Selene (Artemis) has heard the call to avenge. She has made that her life's work until she fades, she still protects the innocent. She is also haunted by a wrong that she committed under the falsehood of her brother and twin, Paul (Apollo). This action not only blinds her to certain aspects of the killer but also plays a huge role in her wanting love but not believing in it. AND with all this the ritual sacrifices within the serial killings are also making her stronger and closer to what she had as a god. This is all confusing but all eventually leads to who could be the serial killer. Oh, and let me mention this... it works.

I'd have to say my biggest criticism would be that there were parts that lagged. All of it was interesting but some might not enjoy the slower bits and some might like how it keeps you in the world. I think it all depends on the reader. Despite this, there were a couple of big twists that kept me guessing and I didn't guess who it was until the end. She did a good job on the mystery aspect of this book.

I give this book 4 stars. I really recommend it to those who enjoy mythology retellings and a good mystery/thriller.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

336 p.
Publisher: Del Ray
Published: 1/10/17
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. 
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. 
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. 
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
My thoughts:
I knew I wanted to read this as soon as I understood it was a retelling of mythology, especially one that I'm not familiar. And while I've seen people equate Frost with Jack Frost in nature (and I totally see why), he felt more like a Russian version of Hades and his twin brother reminded me of Ares and Phobos combined. We also get some house spirits that reminded me of the mythology of Brownies but friendlier. Yes, you can safely say I enjoyed this book.

You follow Vasya who comes from an unusual lineage and has a wild and forthright attitude and is a strong woman. Of course during this time period, that causes problems, but he family still supports her being who she really is inside (with the exception of the step-monster... uh... mother). She has magic in her blood which also causes problems when an enigmatic priest comes to spread the word of God. This does deal with religion, but really isn't religious. The world this story inhabits is when pagan mythos clashed with Christian mythos. It reminds me of many of the stories you get when the fae diminish because of the one God religion. All is very familiar so it helps with those of us who don't know much about Russian mythology.

In the end Vasya makes difficult choices and also isn't the one to make the big sacrifice. I liked that she didn't fight as a man and didn't know how but had her own strengths she wielded with courage and wisdom. To me, this made her strong as she did not emulate man but was her own woman. There is also very little romance to the story and this book may become part of a series. I hope so because there is hint of something at the end and I need to know more. It isn't a cliffie, but I need that story I am hoping to get.

I give this book 4 stars. It is highly recommended to those that love mythology stories and a strong woman character who defies what she "should" become and has the courage to find herself.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Craft Corner

Thought I'd show one last (I think) holiday pressies I did as well as a couple of other things.

I stitched this out on towels for my aunt:
Not the best pic but I kind of got it done at the last minute. It was the first time I did towels. :)

I also did some napkins for my neighbor, but that one was REALLY last minute so I didn't get a picture of it. I was behind but got it done! πŸ˜…

I also did a wreath for my mom. 

I also made a couple of scarves for my dogs.

The last thing I'll share is something I made for another bee I know. This one is for the soon coming baby bee. I made sure the patch on the big bee's tummy was something the mom loves and the little one is a rattle. I also made the bib in the hoop and the burp cloths were sewn on the machine with an appliqué on the embroidery machine. I bought the onesie but embroidered the bee. 🐝

So done anything crafty?