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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sometimes

After two years without, thanks to my little dude, I have a new Kindle Fire. I have to admit that this device has already basically saved my life in the most basic sense. 

I got a call a couple days before Christmas telling me that my mother was very ill. More than that, that she was in the hospital, in a coma, and likely would not make it through the holidays. After that, I could think of nothing else. I did nothing but lie in bed, feeling miserable. Pathetic. Heartbroken. 

I got my new kindle for Christmas. It gave me something else to focus on, even if the focus was weak. I read eight books between Christmas and the day of her death. She died o the 29th.

This new Kindle is pretty fantastic. They have finally incorporated removable storage, which is fantastic. It's about time. There is, however, a slight drawback which I will get to in a minute.

Like the fire tablets that came before it, there is the option to purchase this device with special offers, which lowers the price. That is always nice, because I love to spend less money on things I want. It includes a front and rear camera, of course, but I have yet to use them. It will connect and cast to fire tv, but not Chromecast. I am not sure if they eliminated the mayday button, but I've never seen it.

With this generation of Fire tablets, they have added the ability to create family accounts. This means you can add a second adult profile and account, as well as multiple children. As long as one adult profile has prime, you have the ability to share it with the other. This shares prime instant video and two day shipping, plus all digital purchases. 

There is now a microsd card slot, It is compatable with cards up to 128 gig. it will hold most of your apps, your music, your photos. It can hold your books, but the kindle app cannot read the sd card. Oops. There is the drawback. There are ways to make it work. Somewhat. But there are drawbacks there too. But that isn't half as important as you might think, since all of your purchases are on the cloud anyway.


Monday, April 21, 2014

So Much More To Come

It has been less than easy keeping up with my blog lately. The keyboard on my laptop was (is) broken so I was only able to post from my phone. That is not so bad for small editing jobs or short posts, but for something as in depth as what I usually try for, it just stinks. I finally got a usb keyboard, and now am able to type. Now that I can see too, reading and blogging is not such a daunting task.

Now here's the thing, I have been simply been reading whatever I come across, usually choosing at random. I have not really had much aim. I do not even know how many people subject themselves to my opinions, but I would like to toss something out there. If you are reading this, and enjoy my insane opinions, thank you. f you would like to help give my blog a little direction, if there is a specific book you would like me to review, let me know. 

There is only one rule. The book has to be available in e-book format.

Any book. I will read any book at least once. Some have made me want to rip my eyes out, but I finished them, except for one with way too many terribly juvenile metaphors an one that was NOT written in a way I could understand.


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

When I first got this series, I didn't know what to expect. I figured that with a target audience of pre-teen to young adult, I might have trouble appreciating it for what it was intended to be. I had avoided to film for over a year, simply because of all the hype, I was afraid it would be a let down. 

*Movie/Book Spoiler Alert*

My girls' dad convinced me to watch the movie last summer. I was pleasantly surprised. Although Katniss seems very sedated throughout the movie, you can see her passion for her family. Peeta has a history with Katniss that is glossed over more in the movie than I would have liked, but at least it wasn't left out. I loved the movie, but would have enjoyed it much more had they not left out so much from the book. I know this makes me sound like a hipster or something, but...

It would have been good to know that Peeta burned that bread on purpose all those years ago, and took a beating for it, just so he could give it to her. 

In the movie, during the goodbye scene, it would have been helpful to see just how much faith his parents had in her to win. It is made very clear in the book.

In the movie, Peeta gets a nasty cut. In the book, it is bad enough to eventually cost him his leg. That is pretty important in the building of his character in the future.

There are other things, but since I would really rather you read it for yourself (and learn the truth about the mutant mutts in the arena) I shall give you no more.

Basically, just as in the film, this is a novel set in a dystopian future. Here, North America is now called Panem, and is divided into 13 districts. Following a particularly brutal civil war, each district has to give one boy and one girl to fight to the death, and the winner's district is rewarded. 

There is some dissent among fans as to how the districts are layed out, but she clearly states that The Capitol is Colorado Springs, and district 12 consists of the Northeast coal mining states.

When Katniss hears her sister's name called in the reaping, she passionately volunteers to take her lace, setting in motion a series of events that create a nightmare for the capitol, and giving hope to the people of Panem.

My initial opinion assumption of this series was way off base. The target audience of this book does not invalidate its enjoy-ability, even for a much older reader. I would not recommend it for persons under the age of twelve, as it has some very graphic and emotional scenes, but it is a very good read.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Guardian Idiot ~ Fantasy Tales For Your Funny Bone - Barbra Annino

There are few female authors that I can appreciate. Many that I simply tolerate their work. Barbra Annino has a talent of her own. The stories included in this book are cute, but not too cute. There were points thst I actually did giggle.

The book's namesake, "My Guardian Idiot" is silly, and at first you realy sympathize with the narrator. It isn't until later in the story that you start to feel as though she is a bit of an entitled snob.

"Sexual Healing" is the story of a sex therapist that apparently hates sex and relationships, but seems good at her job. Her narrative views on her situation are humerous. This one had me laughing a bit. Maybe because I am a bit of a cynical hag myself.

"Genie School Dropout" seems to play on the idea that you should be careful what you wish for. Maybe the idea of a sarcastic or literal minded genie is a bit humerous on its own, but one that is hard of hearing (or suffering something else) is a nice twist.

"Stephen King Kills His Darlings" is where this one kinda died for me. Maybe it was supposed to be a dramatic comedy piece, but it just didn't hold me. It is pretty much exactly what the title says in the most basic sense. Kinda cheesy, life affirming, pointless feeling for me.

"Cupid's Arrow" is just downright silly and cute. It had more potential that it had follow through.

All in all, it was not a horrible book. It was worth reading at least once.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The incredible power of a well written book

I know I don't post as much on here as I likely should, what with how much I read. I have read dozens of books since my last post, but I get caught up in being mommy or fall deeper into my depression and cannot make myself write no matter how much I want to. This is why books themselves are so much magic. No matter how depressed I am, I can pick up my kindle and find a book that will transport me to a magical place where it does not matter. A world where I don't hurt. A world where I do not exist as I am, which is exactky what I need. I can cease to exist, without erasing myself from existance.

I often try to put myself in the shoes, if you will, of the characters in the books I am reading. Maybe that is why it is so hard for me to consider my own existance at that time. This has gotten me go wonder, what were these authors going through when they wrote this book, or that character, or even that simple yet powerful scene. I have started to wonder what they might think if they were to learn that the beautiful words that have poured forth from their very soul just might be the only thing keeping my heart beating on my worst days.

These are very hard things for me to admit. Not everyone knows how hard it can be. How most days the smile on your face is a lie. Every laugh is forced. Getting out of bed is painful. Looking ino the eyes of my children is torture because they can't know. I cannot ever let them see how much it hurts. It is not their fault. They are peffect. I am the one with the broken brain. I get up every morning for them. The books help me get through the worst days, and show my children how special the written word really is. They help to lessen my own pain and help me rage, laugh, cry, feel. My children can see me with real emotion, and it carries out into the real world so I csn have an honest smile or laugh with them, those that deserve and truly need it most.

If I could keep that going for more than just a day...maybe I could get these stories of my own out of my head. It saddens me that they seem just to be locked inside. It is not the author that writes the book though, but the book using the author as a catalyst to bring it into existance. Maybe mine just are not ready yet. They in there though. I dream them. They play like movies in my head. If I could just beat down the depression for a little while. I know that every post in my blogs is a step forward, but every post I don't make is a step back. It is so hard. It is so hard to know that is my own broken brain holding me back.

But that is the beauty of books. They mend the broken pieces, even if just for a little while. They bring a special beauty into an otherwise dark and empty feeling life. I know what you are thinking. How dare I feel my life is empty when I have kids, right? What kind of mother feels that way? One that knows she could give them so much more, if only she were not always in so much invisible pain. My kids are the reason I get up every morning and look for as many was as I can find to fight through every painful day. They are the reason I fight back every tear thzt comes from nowhere, and why I try so hard to look for any beauty I can find. They are also the reason I started blogging. To share the beauty, the pain, the anxiety. To maybe find someone like me, someone that needs to hear what I am saying. Someone I can helpmthe way my books help me.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Guardians of Ga' Hoole by Kathrine Lasky *Contains Spoilers*

At this point, I have read books one through twelve of "The Guardians of Ga ' Hoole" collection. As with many of the books I write about here, I began reading them to my daughters to help them fall asleep at night. Like some before it, and hopefully many to come, I was pleasantly surprised with how wonderfully written and attention holding these stories are. I would read them to my kids to help them sleep, and find myself unable to stop reading until I had finished the book, or even the next book after that.

For those that have seen the movie and have preconceived expectations as to how things will progress, as usual, leave those thoughts behind. Very few things happen the same way, and I quickly came to appreciate the stories more for this reason. You have little surprises all throughout the books, and it gets incredibly easy to become fully absorbed in the stories as you go. This may or may not be a good thing, so consider yourself warned.

The stories seem greatly inspired by the Arthurian legends, as the Owls that are " The Guardians of Ga' Hoole" take an honor bound oath that strongly resembles a Knights code. In the movie, this is first mentioned by Soren and hid brother Kludd while they are branching and playing a game. In the book however, it is the father telling the stories to the children.

The movie, while it has its dark places, is in no way as dark as the books it is based upon. Where in the movie, Soren and Kludd both end up falling from the nest and find themselves at St. Aggies, the book has a far different series of events leading up to this location. While these events do involve Kludd, they are nothing like the movie. In the film adaptation, characters are moved from where and when they arrive in the book, and there is treachery added where there isn't in the book.

The film, after reading the book, is a sad attempt at adaption. Just once, I would like for my children to be able to watch a movie that is based on a book that we have read that actually follows the writing. There is supposed to be a sequel coming. I hope to never see it as they messed up the first one so terribly that the second will not follow well at all. 

Back to the book. I would not really recommend reading this to a very young child that is sensitive to violence or turmoil. The book begins with some family violence, and has some really emotional places. Let me run through a few of them here...

Book 1:
We are introduced to Soren and his family, including his unpleasant brother, Kludd. We hear our first pieces of the Legends of Ga' Hoole. Then Soren, who is not even fully fledged (he has yet to grow any flight feathers) finds himself on the forest floor while his parents are away. He is snatched and taken to a horrible place that uses young owlets as slaves to hatch stolen eggs, and search for metal flecks in yarped pellets.

The owlets are kept under control by a brainwashing technique called moon blinking. Their names are taken and they are given numbers in their place. He makes a friend, Gylfie, and together they find another owl that has managed to avoid the brainwashing. She is a spy from another area of the world that has infiltrated this horrible place to save pre-hatched chicks.

They escape with the help of one of the owls that initially snatched them, and meet an owlet that was orphaned just after hatching. Together they search for Soren and Gylfie's families and learn something even more bone chilling about St. Aggie's. They then go searching for the fabled Ga' Hoole tree. 

Book Two:
There are reunions and the beginnings of a terrible battle. We learn what has come of Soren's brother, Kludd. We learn what is really worse than St. Aggies. Amazing alliances are made. Book three is the start of what is really a war, but this is where the new hope for all of the owl kingdoms is introduced.

I will not go through all of the books with such extreme spoilers, but I do hope that you will read them, and certainly read them to your children. They are very much a new Arthurian Legend for our newest generations. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Coraline by Neil Gaiman *Contains Spoilers, especially about the movie*

Toss aside your assumptions about this book, especially if you have seen the movie. There is no Whybie, no doll, hell, it is not even set in America. The cat though, is still there, as are the other mother and ghost children. The neighbors are the same as well.

In the movie, Coraline's parents are inattentive, mean, lousy parents. In the book, Coraline is a spoiled, self important, bratty child. The parents are good, attentive, caring, and loving. Interesting how Hollywood can screw a book up. It was very difficult for my daughter to sit quietly through this one as she expected it to be just like the film.

The author wrote this or his daughter, but did not finish it right away. In fact, it took him an amazing amount of time. You can tell it was a feat of love. It is a good book. It is not my typical style, but I appreciated it for what it was and my girls did enjoy it.