Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Titan's Curse

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

Confused as to why I'm reviewing this older book? Don't wonder! CLICK THE LINK OF VAGUE DETAILS

Didn't read the first two books in the series? THAT'S OKAY! I reviewed them as well!

UNST UNST, the party is getting started with an amazon summary, "When the goddess Artemis goes missing, she is believed to have been kidnapped. And now it’s up to Percy and his friends to find out what happened. Who is powerful enough to kidnap a goddess?  They must find Artemis before the winter solstice, when her influence on the Olympian Council could swing an important vote on the war with the titans. Not only that, but first Percy will have to solve the mystery of a rare monster that Artemis was hunting when she disappeared—a monster rumored to be so powerful it could destroy Olympus forever." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

On a side note, I'm glad I'm rereading this series since I have forgotten some interesting details about the books. MOVING ON.

Also, the summaries continue to be crap. Not surprised....

I'm going to get something out of the way right now; we now know that Percy's birthday is sometime in August; this book takes place in the winter of the same year that The Sea of Monsters took place, so he's fourteen at this point. I suppose I'm mostly bothered that in The Lightning Thief he was twelve, and in The Sea of Monsters he was thirteen, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of character growth going in the matters of actually growing UP. Like, he develops as a character because of the situations he faces with monsters, his friends, on quests, blah blah blah, but it seems like his character just goes completely into stasis when a book isn't happening. I suppose it's not entirely a bad thing so we can see the character growth, but I expect more when there's such big gaps in his life that we don't see.

...meh. I suppose I shouldn't whine TOO much as the books do take about two hours to three hours to read and I appreciate that a lot. There is such a good balance of detail and moving action but it also sets up for the later books and series so much more exquisitely than I thought so before.


So this book begins with Percy's Mom escorting Annabeth, Thalia, and Percy to a school in Maine where they're supposed to meet up with Grover about some potential demi-god recruits. They get to the school to crash a high school dance, and funny enough Percy and Annabeth dance together. But by chapter 2, Percy is already trying to square off with the monster that's after the recruits.

The demi-gods they're trying to recruit are a brother and sister; Bianca and Nico. Also, Nico seems to be obsessed with some card game/statue game that is based on Greek mythology. Er, about that. It seems important, plays a minor role at weird points, and I don't want to talk about it.

Also in chapter 2, we find that Percy, Thalia, Nico, Bianca, and Grover are rescued by the Hunters. The Hunters are a band of maidens that have forsworn males and pledged to be on the hunt with the goddess Artemis. The battle winds down with Annabeth being spirited away by the monster.

I'm going to glaze over some stuff for the sake of my attention span. Stuff happens, it's mildly important, but it's not for the overarching plot.

So Grover, Thalia, Percy, and the Hunters all make it back to camp half-blood where they fill Chiron in on what's going on and we find out why all the satyrs are fanned out in schools to get the half-bloods; they're trying to win them over to the good side before Luke can get them. The Hunters are all, "OMG BOYS, NOOOOO," kind of crap and Bianca decides to join them.

Percy rescues a creature that literally looks like a cross between a cow and a sea serpent which he nicknames 'Bessie'. Oh, and we have a two sentence back story of how he came to earn the gratitude of a Pegasus named Blackjack. That would have been unimportant but they randomly pop up. Enjoy.

So, Percy is all woeful in camp and worrying about Annabeth, and the Hunters are all woeful in camp worrying about Artemis (as her Hunters sense she's in danger, but she left them behind when she went chasing after something allegedly terrifying). Percy is all QUESTTTT and the Hunters are like LET US LEAVEEEE DAMN IT but Chiron is like CALM DOWN AND STAY. Then they play capture the flag where the campers (who are few as it's winter) face against the Hunters. Thalia and Percy get into it when they both feel that they been wrong and Thalia zaps Percy, who would have died if he hadn't been a son of Poseidon, and as he's about to retaliate by dumping a creek on her, the mummified oracle drunkenly wanders through the woods, spits out a prophecy at the Lieutenant of the Hunters (Zoe Nightshade) and slumps back into nothing.

This is about a third of the way through the book, so if you don't want spoilers, stop now. CUZ WE'RE HOPPING ON BOARD THE CRAZY TRAIN TO SPOILER LAND.

So the prophecy, and I'm quoting this directly from the book on page 89, "Five shall go west to the goddess in chains, One shall be lost in the land without rain, The bane of Olympus shows the trail, Campers and Hunters combined prevail, The Titan's curse must one withstand, And one shall perish by a parent's hand".

Basically everyone who has a name clambers to go on the quest except for Nico who is just weirdly content with letting everything happen around him. They get all growl-like at each other and it's eventually decided that Percy has to sit out, but three Hunters (including Bianca), Grover, and Thalia will go on the quest. Well, one Hunter gets all mysteriously sick and the group takes off anyways, leaving the sick Hunter behind. Percy is like NOOO BUT ANNABETH; IS THIS LOVE? WHATEVER, HERO TIME! and takes Blackjack out to follow the group.

When Percy was still wavering about whether or not to follow the group, there is a funny, horrible line from his mother. Page 105, "I'm telling you're too old for me to tell you what to do. I'm telling you that I'll support you, even if what you decide to do is dangerous. I can't believe I'm saying this." what? OKAY. PERCY IS FOURTEEN. FOURTEEN. WHAT. LADY, YOU CRAY CRAY. CRAYYYY CRAYYYY. I really liked Percy's Mom for her spunk and weird quirks and support until she went full blown, "WHATEVS, IT'S YO LIFE, DO WHAT YO WANT, YOLOOOOO". ...yeah, Percy's Mom lost all respect points. I hate/love that she says, "I can't believe I'm saying this," and that's basically her last statement on the matter.

So they go for a little ways, Percy stumbles across the bad guys and accidentally gets basically undefeatable enemies unleashed upon him and runs away towards his group of friends on the quest. Excellent. I know.

They traverse through the country side, come across some cool doo-dads, Percy gets a visit from Aphrodite and Ares, and then they stumble into Hephaestus scrap yard. They were warned not to take anything, but Bianca picks up a little statue for Nico's game since it's the only one he doesn't have, and they all get beat up by a giant statue thing that's made out of the junk. To kill it, Bianca goes inside of it, and ends up dying herself in the process. She's the one lost to land without rain.

I'm sorry, but I was given no valid reason to care about Bianca at all. She's just selfish with little quirks. Not enough to like to care. But Percy is all WAHHH, where's Annabeth? and randomly feels guilty about her death.

There's a lot of...moot things that happen in this story. Again, I'm going to gloss over them and just hit some high points or else I'd be re-writing the book here.

So they wind up at the mountain where Atlas holds the sky up to find that's where Artemis is. They have a battle, the Hunter Zoe Nightshade (who is the Lieutenant hunter) is killed by her Father, they have an epic rescue attempt by Annabeth's father and almost everyone gets to go home happy.

Except Kronos and Luke are assembling a crap ton of monsters.
The big doom prophecy of when a child of the big three turns sixteen still hasn't been spelled out for us, it's only been alluded to.
But at least Olympus has started to gear up for the impending war instead of just cautiously watching it and trying to ignore it.

Also, Grover is convinced that Pan contacted him at the end of the book.

I'm done here.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Confused as to why I'm reading this older book? CLICK THE LINK OF VAGUE EXPLANATION

Missed the first book in the series? You don't have to! I reviewed it too! THE LIGHTNING THIEF REVIEW

URMAGAWD. LET'S GET, have an amazon summary. "After a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson—a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any “normal” friends.

But things don’t stay quiet for long. Percy soon discovers there is trouble at Camp Half-Blood: the magical borders which protect Half-Blood Hill have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and the only safe haven for demigods is on the verge of being overrun by mythological monsters. To save the camp, Percy needs the help of his best friend, Grover, who has been taken prisoner by the Cyclops Polyphemus on an island somewhere in the Sea of Monsters, the dangerous waters Greek heroes have sailed for millennia—only today, the Sea of Monsters goes by a new name…the Bermuda Triangle." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

You know what? That summary can suck it. Tyson is a good dude. Shut up summary, you just shut up. ...wench.

Alright, so something that only mildly bothers me about this book, is that we don't get to see any of the time that Percy spent with his Mom or at his school except for ONE day. Now, I know the school and mom portions are 'boring' compared to all the action-y and cool stuff, but really? I think more than a few pages of "Oh yeah, the SCHOOL YEAR went great, no problem with monsters, pretttty sweet, oh and my mom hasn't turned anyone into a statue for a while, so that's cool too." I'm pretty sure the later books use this same method of TIME PASSES, but we'll get to that when we get to it.

So the book starts off with Percy going to his last day of school, a few interactions with his mom (also, I'd like to point out that Percy PINES for attention from his Dad but is like 'yeah whatever' at his mom. Apparently she needs to be in some sort of peril to have the care from him), and someone stalking him.

Normal Percy Jackson stuff.

The kids at his alternative school are basically like DODGE BALL TIME, Tyson says they smell funny, suddenly they're monsters trying to murder everything.

Again, normal Percy Jackson stuff.

So Percy manages to escape through shenanigans with the help of Annabeth (who was the one stalking him), they hook up with a taxi driven by the gray sisters who spew off some numbers at them, and Tyson has hopped along for the ride. They arrive at camp half-blood only to find that it's under attack. They go around and punch the mechanical bulls that were attacking them, and turns out Tyson is a cyclops. Then they find out that Thalia's tree (that protects the camp) has been poisoned, everyone is all OH NOES, WHAT WILL WE DOOOO ARGGHHHH (cue stupid noises) and a quest is declared. Some more camp stuff happens in there, but we're glossing over it because long run, not important. The important detail is that Chiron is suspected of having poisoned the tree and is banned from camp until they can figure out who actually did it, or how to cure tree, or whatever.

Tyson is claimed by Poseidon while he's at camp, so Percy is half-brother to a cyclops (which he is stupidly angsty about, no, I don't REALLY want to talk about it except that Percy sucked for a little bit, jerk) and the other campers are relentless with their teasing. The temporary stand in for Chiron declares that chariot races are back on, but the first day of the races, everyone gets attacked by some awful pigeons  After Annabeth and Percy drive them off, campers get more freaked out and later that night Percy and Annabeth propose a quest.

WAIT WAIT. SPOILER LAND. Technically that is a little over a third of the way through the book. So if you don't want spoilers, stop reading here!


Super side-note, Percy has been having cracked out dreams about Grover who informs him Grover's in danger, and that Grover has established a mental link with him that if one of them dies, the other will likely become a vegetable. Totally fine right?

The night after Clarisse gets the quest, Percy is visited by Hermes who gives him gifts for the quest (although he's totally going on it against the wishes of the camp and Clarisse) where he's joined by Tyson and Annabeth before heading off to a cruise ship to find the golden fleece and fix the poisoned Thalia tree.

They run into Luke on the cruise, find out he's recruiting half-bloods who are also angsty at their parents, find that he's helping Kronos reform, and he's also got a number of monsters on his side. Luke is one serious bad dude. The three manage to escape.

Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson manage to have a misadventure of running into a Hydra, but Clarisse shows up and explodes it with a cannonball. Turns out she was granted a vessel from her father for the quest and is heading to get the golden fleece.

I'm glossing over some details because they touch on some myths like the one that spawned 'stuck between a rock and a hard place' as well as Circe. Both of these I find a little irrelevant and thrown in there simply to meet the greek myth quota for the book.

They make it to the island of the Golden Fleece and manage to rescue Grover and Clarisse, have a big fight with a giant cyclops (name escapes me, irrelevant) that keeps carnivorous sheep as security detail, and has the golden fleece. They get the golden fleece, Percy sends it with Clarisse so she can have the glory of completing the quest.

Then as Percy, Annabeth, and Grover have almost literally had enough time to go, " do we get back to camp?" Luke shows up with his cruise ship, takes them hostage, threatens to kill them, and the trio is saved by Chiron and his hooligan party animal centaur brethren. They take them all back to camp where everything is cleared up about Chiron and the tree. Chiron is reinstated, all the yay, and the golden fleece is placed on the tree.

Poseidon calls Tyson to come to his underwater palace with him to study how to make better weapons in the cyclops forges and only tells Percy to 'Brace himself'. Percy gets all WTF and then Thalia appears from the magic tree as the golden fleece seems to have healed her right out of the tree.

Also, there's a prophecy hinted at that a child of the big three gods (Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades) will make a choice when their sixteen that will ultimately decide the fate of all the gods. Um, what? Yeah, don't worry, later books.

This book essentially ends with Thalia waking up.

So with this installment, I noticed a lot more details that set up for later books and there was more humor woven throughout the story but not overdone. Sometimes I thought the characters accepted everything too easily but then I remembered their half-bloods, so...whatever.

I think this is one of my more liked books in the series because we get to see Percy stepping into his powers a little better as well as more snippets of his life in general.

I liked it. Clearly.

On a side note, I think it took me just under two hours to read this ACTION FILLED BOOK. Pretty sure that's a good thing. :)

Did I miss talking about something that you want to see? Leave a comment!



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Confused as to why I'm reviewing an old book? Click THE LINK OF ALMOST DETAILED EXPLANATION

I feel like it's almost traditional for me to be lazy at this point, so I'm going to give it an amazon summary. However, Amazon had problems just giving me the first book in the series, so I had to swipe the summary from some weird box set that was going on. WHATEVER. HAVE SOME SUMMARY.

"Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. When his mom tells him the truth about where he came from, she takes him to the one place he’ll be safe—Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island). There, Percy learns that the father he never knew is actually Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon Percy finds himself caught up in a mystery that could lead to disastrous consequences. Together with his friends—a satyr and other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods." AMAZON LINK THAT WAS STUPID HARD TO FIND

Alright, that summary is crap. I'm going to metaphorically take your reading hands and lead you through some summary the good old way, with ridiculous commentary and remarks that might not make sense.

So the book starts off with Percy giving us a weird greeting where he talks directly to the readers. It lasts for less than a couple pages, and really, I just kind of laughed at it with the thought of, "Oh book, you think it'll take me more than two hours to read you. Ha, ha, haaaa."

It starts with Percy delivering us this sob story of being a troubled, misunderstood kid (everyone who's twelve, you're probably very emotional right now and tend to think the world is against you. Don't worry, a lot of people who are older than you probably understand that. If you listen to some Linkin Park, Evanessence, or Good Charlotte's album The Young and The Hopeless, your angst might make a little more sense. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT OVER).

So Percy was moved around to a lot of different schools because he gets into trouble inevitably. It just seems to be attracted to him. He also has this knack of standing up to bullies, so that plays into it I'm sure. We're introduced to two important characters right now, and one semi-important character. Grover is his best friend (with a weird name, Grover? It reminds me of RED ROVER RED ROVER except that only one kid is playing, and desperately shouting his name over and over...uh...yeah about that), who Percy tends to stick up for a lot as Percy sees him as weak and timid. Mr. Brunner who is a latin teacher and very adamant that Percy learns latin, greek history, and basically does well in his class. The semi-important character is Mrs. Dodds. In the first chapter, we see Mrs. Dodds turn into some weird monster thing, Mr. Brunner toss Percy a sword (and then disappears), and Percy kills Mrs. Dodds only to find out that no one else remembers her.

Um, what?

So the story moves at a good clip where Percy is suddenly and pretty much harshly thrust into this world where everyone knows what he is but him. His mother knows, Grover knows, Mr. Brunner knows, and even Mrs. Dodds! But she's dead. Maybe.

There's a chase scene where Percy's mom is trying to be all sweet and let him have a little vacation, only to have it ruined by monsters. Grover finds them, and they all try to flee to camp half-blood, but Percy and Grover make it while Percy's Mom disappears into some golden light. This is the end of chapter four.

At this point, anyone who knows anything about Greek mythology has probably figured out that Percy is the son of Poisedon. No, I'm not counting that as a spoiler.

There's a couple weird things that happen at camp but I'll be brief to make this more bearable. It turns out that Grover is a satyr (think Mr. Tummus from The Chronicles of Narnia), Mr. Brummer is actually Chiron (who is a centaur), and the book explodes with explanations about how keeping all this greek stuff is a tricky secret. There are a few fun scenes where Percy inevitably does something ridiculous and gets a little shame faced, but is mostly in awe of himself (adorable right?).

Now technically, this is a third of the way through the book.

OFF TO SPOILER LAND WE GO. Seriously, there's a reason it only takes me about two hours per book to read this. Quick, easy to comprehend, and the only thing that slows me is the little nuggets that crop up that have the elements of foreshadowing about them. This book does a tremendous job of setting up for the later books.

We're going to fast forward through some camp stuff because it's a little tedious. Basic facts, the god Dionysus runs the camp with Chiron to keep him in line. A bunch of demi-gods or 'half-bloods' reside there to escape the pursuit of monsters. Satyrs, nymphs, and driads (dryads?) hang out as well, and the woods there are full of monsters (allegedly). The camp is set up with a lot of traditional greek stuff, blah blah blah. Percy meets some key people such as Annabeth, Jake, and Clarisse. Annabeth will be a future companion and watched over him while he was ill from the Minotaur ordeal, Jake will befriend him and show him around, and Clarisse takes over as being his bully for his camp experience. YAY.

So, Percy gets sent out on a quest because the gods are full of crap and can't keep their hands off each other's junk. Zeus thinks that Poseidon stole his master lightning bolt, Poseidon is all upset about being accused, and everyone thinks Hades is behind it. Percy gets sent out to find Zeus' lightning bolt. After receiving his prophecy about his quest from the Oracle that lives in the attic of the main house at camp half-blood, he chooses Annabeth and Grover to go with him.

They leave the camp, run into some furies who want something back (Mrs. Dodds is a fury LOL), escape kind of, run into Medusa on accident, barely escape with a few hilarious things from Grover, and run into Echidna and one of her sons, a Chimera at the St. Louis arch. The rest of the mortal world is under the impression that Percy Jackson may be some kind of terrorist as he's wanted for questioning about the disappearance of his mother, blah blah blah. They manage to narrowly get through a quest for Ares (because he's a craptastic god), make their way onward to Los Angeles.

They get to LA, get stuck in some weird casino where times passes faster (THIS SETS UP FOR LATER BOOKS IN THE SERIES PLOT, LOLOLOL), escape, make it to the ocean, receive gifts from Percy's father through the father's messenger to help aid in his quest, and manage to get into the Underworld.

On a sidenote, while in LA, they made a passing note about the streets being unsafe and 'gangbangers' was clumped in with muggers. I'm a little disturbed that twelve year olds allegedly see gangbangers hanging out in alleys. Um, what?

At this point, the big evil villain is alluded to (COUGH KRONOS COUGH) and they confront Hades to find that the Helm of Hades was also stolen. Percy discovers that Zeus' lightning bolt was in a backpack that Ares gave him and basically cusses Ares out a little, and then manages to escape Hades' by using the items his father gave him.

Percy gets back to the shore, Ares finds him, Percy challenges him to a wicked duel, kind of wins, gets to keep the lightning bolt and wins the helm of Hades from Ares before giving up the helm to the furies with the promise the furies will explain everything to Hades. Then Percy heads to Mount Olympus, meets up with Zeus and Poseidon, tells him the story, relinquishes the lightning bolt, chats with his Dad, brings up Kronos and crisis averted kind of. Zeus is like I DUN WANNA TALK ABOUT KRONOS, WAH. Percy does like, "Sheesh, someone get this guy a bottle for his whining" but doesn't say anything really. So Percy heads back to his house, finds out his mom is okay, leaves her with Medusa's head (which we find out that she most likely used on her horrible husband and his friends to turn them into statues and sold them off to make enough money for a better apartment, the first semester's worth of tuition and NYU for her, and a deposit on a school for Percy to go to; THE MOTHER MAY BE QUESTIONABLY EVIL), and heads back to half-blood camp.

At half-blood camp, he sees a lot of folks, gets praised for his quest completion, and then has to decide whether to spend the year with his mom or at camp. While he's trying to make up his mind, he runs into Luke who reveals that he's a bad guy, poisons him with a scorpion, and then flees camp. Turns out Luke is working for Kronos. Percy's like OH GOD, NOT ANOTHER NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE.

Percy wakes up, recounts his experience with Luke to Chiron and Annabeth and Grover before making his decision to go live with his mom for the year and try to attend seventh grade like a normal boy.


Again, I really strongly recommend reading the books; their fast and like James Bond but with Greek myths. Full of action and loosely based on some historical facts about Greek myths.

I would like to say that Rick Riordan has taken the Greek mythology and updated it in a way that almost makes sense; things that are not explained yet, will be explained. He also doesn't offer too much explanation so the details given must be taken as fact within the book's fantasy world or else it's just MADNESS.

Again, they're pretty short, quick reads and written a little young. Just pretend that you're reading the greek version of Harry Potter and it'll all be better. Also, remember that Harry Potter grows up and progresses through all his books, and you should expect the same from Percy Jackson.

I will be going through the series for the next few blog posts so I can read and post about The Mark of Athena in case you didn't click & read the link of almost detailed explanation.

Want me to discuss or talk about a part of the book I didn't cover here? LEAVE A COMMENT. I LIKE TO CONVERSE. :)

Happy reading!

I have this plan...

So, in light of not having quite reached 10 book reviews this month and there still being three days left to the month, I've decided to do something silly.

I'm dragging out my Percy Jackson series and rereading all of them in preparation to FINALLY read The Mark of Athena.

So, if you've read the Percy Jackson series, be prepared for my take on it.

If you haven't read it, I recommend it.

Let's embark on this quest to madness together.

Today, I'll be posting about the first book in the series, The Lightning Thief. No, I will not talk about the movie because I never watched it; it doesn't exist as far as I'm concerned.

January 30th, The Sea of Monsters.

January 31st, The Titan's Curse.

In the days to come, I should be able to tackle The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian, and then moving onto the Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, and FINALLY The Mark of Athena.

I'm very eager to read the Mark of Athena and I'll be sure to make clear spoiler land warnings before I go anywhere beyond a third of the way into the book in any of the books. I'm going to really try to make them all a bit more thorough then I have been (cough cough, we'll see how long that lasts. What's that? Short attention span? WHEEEE). for now, wish me good luck. More posts to come.


Happy reading!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Thai Lettuce Wraps

This recipe was inspired by a friend of mine who made something similar to it, I just tweaked it a little bit to match the tastes of those who shared the meal.


-Head of lettuce
-Bean sprouts
-Shredded carrots, or carrot match sticks
-Shredded Zucchini
-Shredded cheese (usually mozzarella or some Italian affair)
-Pulled chicken, or shredded chicken
-Sweet Chili Sauce
-Hoisin Sauce
*Raw vegetables can be added or subtracted to tailor to the consumer's tastes

Alright, I failed to take pictures, so I'm going to go draw things in paint about how this all works. I also didn't put quantities down as when I usually put this together, I make too much food or just enough as it's usually for 8-9 people at a time. I'M INCONVENIENT AT TIMES. WHEEEE.
Begin with the lettuce leaf

Assemble other ingredients

...QUESTIONS??? Leave me a comment!

Next time, I will try to include REAL photos so I don't have to use MS Paint again like this. Unless you guys like that. Then that's cool.

Happy cooking!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Queens of promise

Alright folks, this is a general news announcement because I'm sweet like that.

I'm going to try and hit the ten book reviews posts this month, but it might be a little insane to do so.


If I don't, I'm probably going to reduce myself to eight book reviews a month just to let it be slightly more manageable for me. Because life just gets a little hectic and even I have to cut myself a break once in a while.

I've also started to take lengths to eat healthier though, which means, DUN DUN DUN more recipe posts!

I'm going to try and post a 'favorite' recipe each week with photos from my phone (BECAUSE I'M LAZY AND REASONABLE, MAYBE).

Maybe you'll find them delicious if you try it, maybe you'll loathe me because it's not a book review, but if I have a funny kitchen incident, it'll be known there. Today, I've already begun to make something and screwed it up a little bit. It's a story in itself, it also involves a puppy. Who doesn't like puppies? EVIL PEOPLE. Uh...moving on.

When I make news announcements, I think I'm going to make the title a snippet from the lyrics of the last song I listened to on Spotify. So today's title is brought to you by 30 Seconds to Mars, Kings and Queens.

There's also been $101 raised for my computer fund! It delights me to no end that folks are helping me out. Just think, better computer means better blogs as I won't have to wait as long for my laptop to boot up, figure out it's boot sequence, and then after managing to log on, waiting another ten minutes for it to check for updates and other nonsense. I swear, I should write a satire about the miseries of technology, but it would just be a lot of 'first world problems' strung together, and it sounds boring just thinking about it. Um.

...happy reading!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Touch Mortal

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

I have labeled this as unreadable, since I cannot finish it.

It has finally happened folks, I've just given up on this dreadful book.

I read 126 pages out of 418 pages, so 126/418 is approximately equal to 30%. I'm calling that, "I gave it a fair chance".

I will give the amazon summary before I delve into why I'm not going to bother to force myself through it. "Eden didn't expect Az. Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings. Yeah. So long, happily-ever-after. Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven. She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own. And that's only the beginning of the end." AMAZON LINK OF DISAPPOINTMENT

....yeah, that's what I've been trying to read. When I saw it I thought, "What the hell, this won't be so bad. The description of the author is even kind of charming. Can't be too bad." WRONG. DAMN IT. WRONG.

So I'll talk about as far as I got into the book (also, when I was looking for the image for the cover, I discovered this is book one in a TRILOGY. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY).

So it starts off with Eden on the beach where she's moping because she just had a month of partying and now no one is calling or texting her. WAH WAH WAH. LIFE IS HARD. So she contemplates killing herself.

I'm going to stop right there and quote the book, "Her mind went to her other option, the one she considered more every day. What was the difference between feeling dead, knowing her whole life would be that way, and actually being dead? It wasn't like anyone would miss her. They clearly didn't now," (Clifford, page 2, A Touch Mortal).

PAGE 2. PAGE FREAKING TWO. So if no one calls you or texts you, what would be a reasonable response? Oh I don't know, enjoy a hobby, initiate the calls or texts, get a bite to eat, maybe go see your family; something that doesn't involve KILLING YOURSELF.

Clearly, I made it page 126 though. So let me share some other stupid crap I learned.

Eden sits on the beach and while she's all mopey and contemplating death, Az and Gabe just stroll up like "WHAT'S UP GIRL? HOW YOU DOING? AWFUL PICK UP LINES LOL!"

Eden's like, "Whoa now, I don't go for no pick up lines, I have to loathe you on sight because I'M MORBID AND TORMENTED. BLOO HOO HOO."

...then she relents, Az and her go on a date, and then they're in LOVVVEEEEE. Which we don't really get to see because the book then skips forward two weeks. Which we then find out that Gabe and Az are actually angels. Gabe notices Eden doesn't have a 'path' which means she's a 'Sider'. 'Path' seems to be code for life or destiny and 'sider' is code for person who commits suicide.

I'm going to get all up in arms RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. So when Eden decided to kill herself, she apparently began to disappear from the world. No one remembers her, there's not trace of her actually existing, blah blah blah. This took a turn from questionably realistic fantasy to OH, YOU WANT CRAZY TRAIN? YEEEE-HAWWWWW!


So to make Eden all upset to escape the 'Fallen (evil angels who want to torment Gabe and Az sometimes as they're 'good angels')' Az fakes his own death. Eden is all OMG HE DIED, BLOO HOO HOO....WELL LOOKS LIKE IT'S TIME TO KILL MYSELF. ROFL. OCEAN IS COLD, OH GOD DROWNING QUESTIONABLY HURTS glub blub blub.

Then Eden becomes a zombie, or a Jesus allegory, I'm not sure which, and 'wakes up' in some house where there's crazy people.

I can't even form words to summarize how horribly strewn together this all was. Everything just happens 'because' and there's no transitioning and we're introduced to characters at such a rapid fire rate that it's questionably difficult to distinguish between everyone besides by their name.

I stopped reading after Eden killed someone who was already dead and decided to leave with some people she just met who are also questionably crazy.

There was no good world mechanics explanation because no one knows how it works, there's no forthright religion to the book, just the fallen angels and upstairs angels (upstairs means heaven I'm pretty sure), there's no development of relationships between characters, and Eden (the main character; I think) is about as likable as soggy cardboard.

If someone has finished this book and would like to try and defend or to get me to reconsider not finishing it, please don't waste your time. This book was not worth the paper it was printed on. There, I said it.

Also, it did this weird, "I'm totally written in third person, but NOW IT SEEMS LIKE I'M IN FIRST PERSON, just kidding, totes in third person...maybe."


Happy reading.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Scarlet by AC Gaughen

An amazon summary to give it one leg to stand on, and then I plan on knocking it down, "Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE


So Will Scarlet is the main character of the book, she's a horribly bad narrator who can't get to the main point and changes her mind about things quicker than I could turn the page. This whole story is clearly about someone who fell in love with Robin Hood, wanted to be Robin Hood's lover, wanted a love triangle (BECAUSE THAT'S ORIGINAL; HELLO TWILIGHT? HUNGER GAMES?), and wanted to make it seem like the girl in question was on equal footing with Robin Hood. So they decided to write themselves into Robin Hood's story as 'Will Scarlet' and REALLY tried to make them fascinating but failed miserable at it.

Like this, except not a
comic book hero that
apparently can
control squirrels.
Marvel is crazy.
Also, from the way Will Scarlet is described about moving around in the trees and doing all sorts of acrobatics, half the time I was convinced she was a human sized squirrel. She kind of acted like a squirrel to, always trying to hoard items.


Moving on.

So the entire book is basically Scarlet going on one adventure after another to try and save the land from the evil sheriff who over taxes them and tries to find crimes where none exist. Whenever an adventure is about to happen, the men of the band get all up in arms like, "SCARLET'S A LADY, SHE SHOULDN'T GO ALONE, I'LL PROTECT HER EVEN THOUGH SHE'S TOTALLY KILLED MEN BEFORE, HURK TESTOSTERONE".

She also appears to have a dark past of some sort which she reflects on constantly but doesn't give any details about until she ABSOLUTELY HAS TO. UH. BECAUSE SHE'S EMO LIKE THAT.

..Let's just go to spoiler land so we can rip the bandaid off and everyone can share my 280+ pages of pain.


So Scarlet is part of Robin Hood's band which consists of Robin Hood, John Little, and Much. Scarlet spends the entire book being like STOP TREATING ME LIKE IMMA LADY, I'M SO TOUGH *GETS HURT ALL THE TIME*.







John Little ...WHAT.

Scarlet HAHAHA

John Little ...WHAT.








Robin Hood KAY

Scarlet IMMA SQUIRREL that's the book.

There's some parts where Scarlet's all WOE IS ME, I'M SAVING PEOPLE BY STEALING THINGS, WAH MY ETERNAL SOUL *kills another dude* OH NOOOO but it's not important.

There's a lot of bad things that happen to the civilians, but it's really downplayed and more used as fuel to get Scarlet to go all up in arms, put herself in danger, and the men to help her out or rescue her. Then they all praise her for her bravery.

My last piece on this is Scarlet is revealed to have some convoluted back story where she's actually a lady of something and she ran away from the bad guy that was her fiance. That bad guy came to town to kill Robin Hood and his band as he was hired by the sheriff and Scarlet is all upset about it but you don't get to know why until like it's too late to care. She's just all upset and stupid about it. She's really close to having the 'Too dumb to live' syndrome.

...just don't bother reading this. I kept aggressively falling asleep on it.

Happy reading!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Diviners

The Diviners by Libba Bray

An amazon summary because I'm getting lazy about summarizing stories and just want to get to the meaty bits (WHAT, HONESTY IS GOOD POLICY), "Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

I'm going to disclaimer right here and say that this book is so interconnected that it's impossible to talk about any sort of sustenance to it without revealing something later in the book. So if you want to read it without knowing any spoilers, don't read this blog post. Otherwise, carry on.

So what the summary doesn't tell you is that there's a lot of different characters in this story that are connected to each other through all of the different acquaintances. It's like a chain of people with 'friendship' serving as the links.

...what that statement doesn't tell you is that there's about twenty or so characters you come across and have to remember all the details about and what's important about them and if they potentially have a power or not.

...this book took me a few weeks of putting it down and coming back to it and then taking some more notes on characters and then having to put it down and read something else; etc until I actually finished it.

...I suppose it was worth it merely to satisfy my curiosity about what Libba Bray has been writing (I've been kind of waiting with remote interest to see what she would do after The Great and Terrible Beauty series ended).

That was some ramblings. WHAT WHAT. No, wait, what? ....Yeah...

So The Diviners is set up to make you believe that the character is 'pos-i-toot-ly' awesome but really, she's quite a selfish whiner that serves as the catalyst of showing how all the characters relate to one another in some way by a connection being formed. The book is comprised of a lot of mini sub plots that is not going to be answered with one big plot that's mostly resolved (maybe) but an even larger plot is lurking in the background waiting to show it's true form in later books I presume.

Confused? Don't worry! I took notes.

One thing before I make this seem like a book bashing; as far as I know, everything about setting, speech, mannerisms, and all the aspects that go into effective world creating were done excessively well. When Libba Bray wants to recreate a time period in American History, she does it very well. There are creative liberties taken on some level I imagine, but to what extent I am unsure. I don't know if the museum actually existed, or if Manhattan was exactly in that fashion at some point, but the fluid world building and how the characters interacted with each other without slipping up or becoming tirelessly silly, it was great.

So let's talk about character connection mapping and why that's important (maybe). I'm only going to share what I gleaned about Evie's map, since if I sat here trying to do everyone's map, I'd basically just be rewriting the book. So let me not do that. Yeah.

So Evie started out in some small town in Ohio where she has two parents, and her brother James. James is dead and is relevant as he serves to show that Evie has a heart somewhere in the midst of all her selfishness. Now Evie got into trouble in Ohio by using her 'power' (and oh man will I get to that later) so her folks sent her to Manhattan to live with her sensible Uncle Will who is the curator of a museum and took in a ward of the state, Jericho. Evie wasn't put off by her 'punishment' though as Manhattan had her pen pal friend Mabel, and Mabel is 'goofy' (crush) on Jericho. So automatically, Evie is connected to her Uncle Will through her parents, and Evie is connected to Jericho who seems like an outlying character through bother Uncle Will and Mabel. It's not even complicated yet guys.

So as Evie gets to Manhattan, she won some money on the train which was promptly pick pocketed by a fellow named Sam Lloyd who also steals a smooch from her. Evie arrives at the museum, blah blah, she gets to the building where she'll be staying with her Uncle (which is where Mabel lives as well), and meets Henry and Theta. Theta and Evie automatically have friendship because they're cool like that, and through Theta, Evie knows Henry. Now because Theta is a Ziegfield girl (which is a fancy way of saying she dances in revealing outfits but is not a stripper...maybe) who gets invited to a lot of parties, parties that Sam Lloyd is at. So Sam Lloyd doesn't leave the picture folks.

At this point, Evie is connected to her parents, her Uncle Will, Jericho, Mabel, Theta, Henry, and Sam Lloyd. Just to show you how obnoxious this all is, let's take the Theta train. Evie knows Theta, Theta knows Memphis, Memphis is Isiah's brother, Isiah knows Sister Walker, Sister Walker and Uncle Will are connected from something in the past, Uncle Will is connected to Evie. Everyone manages to loop back to each other somehow. The book is full of a chain of people that are all interconnected. It's clever I suppose, but kind of obnoxious that so many characters are present. I suppose each one has a different power and it is called The Diviners not One person only has the powers LOL so there's that.

Oh yeah. Let's talk about the POWERS. OOOOOOO (imagine wiggling fingers).

So Evie is able to pick up objects and concentrate on them, feel them grow warm, and learn information about the past of whoever the object belongs to. Memphis was able to heal people at one point until he tried to heal his dying mother and lost his gifts (maybe, there's a very inconclusive scene, maybe more on that later, probably not though). Isiah is able to 'read cards'; if someone holds up a card where he can't see what it says, he can concentrate and read it. Isiah is also able to do the object reading like Evie does, but he seems to learn something about their future instead of their past. Sam Lloyd is able to control people's thoughts on some level as when he pick pockets people he thinks 'DON'T SEE ME' and people look right through him or do not notice what he's doing. Sam Lloyd seems to give mental suggestions I suppose, kind of like a Jedi mind trick. Theta does SOMETHING MYSTERIOUS as she gets all hot and blacks out when she does whatever she can do. I want to say that Henry is alluded to having a power as well, but I can't find anything about it in my notes. So he's a maybe. There's a strong implication that Sam Lloyd's mother has a power of some sort, there's a strong implication that Uncle Will knows something of powers if he does not possess powers himself, and that Sister Walker also has knowledge of powers or possesses power.

If you've ever read the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, and this thing happens where for the first, oh, four books or so it's like, "YOU'RE GONNA SAVE THE WORLD" and it doesn't tell anyone how they're going to save the world, what the world needs saving from, or basically anything helpful about the statement (did that series ever say who needed saving, or did they just drop it (I stopped reading it)); The Diviners basically does the same thing. It's like, OH MAN, CHECK OUT THOSE POWERS. HERE'S A BUNCH OF CRYPTIC AND HALF FACT STATEMENTS ABOUT POWERS, WIGGLY FINGERS, NOISES. Libba Bray clearly set her book up to be full of unexplained oddities that have the air of possible explanations in the coming books (if there's not more books then this book was an absolute waste of time and do not read it). Right now it basically gives you the beginning sentence on an implied piece of paper, and expects you to have enough patience to wait and be told what the rest of the page contains. It's freaking annoying as a hangnail.

I haven't touched on the main plot of this book folks. That's how twisted up this whole book is.

So the 'MAIN PLOT', I'm saying main plot as it appears to begin and end neatly in this one book, but it probably doesn't because whatever, can't keep a good killer down or some crap.

Okay, not tangent.

The main plot is essentially some murders have started to happen around Manhattan that seem to have some religious or paranormal involvement. The police detectives go to Uncle Will to be like, 'Dude, this body is covered in weird symbols, and you have a vast knowledge of crap like this, so what's going on with that body?' and Uncle Will's like, 'Uh, uh, I have no clue. TO THE LIBRARY!' which is kind of epic but MOVING ON FROM TANGENT LAND.

So Evie, being all selfish and attention seeking and wants to be around the 'city excitement' weasels her way into seeing the dead body gets all weirded out and accidentally uses her power on the body. So she gets all involved in it, Jericho gets involved, and inevitably Sam Lloyd does as well, and they basically become Scooby Doo except everyone brings something to the table and not just Thelma.

The plot on that basically wraps up at the end of the book after revealing a lot of weird power, exposes the readers to the idea that belief and conviction hold a lot of power, kind of splatters some religion in there for good measure, and then waits for the second book.

All in all, I'm not sure if I enjoyed the actual story of the book more than the puzzle of the book.

Take that as you will.

Happy reading!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Drowned Cities

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

A disclaimer; I know this book was a sequel or companion book or something to Ship Breaker, but I have not read Ship Breaker. I knew that picking up the book, yet I recklessly read it anyways. Cheers!

An amazon summary to say all the stuff I don't really want to, "Soldier boys emerged from the darkness. Guns gleamed dully. Bullet bandoliers and scars draped their bare chests. Ugly brands scored their faces. She knew why these soldier boys had come. She knew what they sought, and she knew, too, that if they found it, her best friend would surely die.

In a dark future America where violence, terror, and grief touch everyone, young refugees Mahlia and Mouse have managed to leave behind the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities by escaping into the jungle outskirts. But when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool--who is being hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers, their fragile existence quickly collapses. One is taken prisoner by merciless soldier boys, and the other is faced with an impossible decision: Risk everything to save a friend, or flee to a place where freedom might finally be possible." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

That summary actually reveals right around a quarter of the way through the book, and this pleases me. Well done!

Moving on.

So Mahila and Mouse are 'war maggots'; people who have been displaced by the war in the drowned cities and struggle to survive wherever they wind up.

Something I want to say about this book up front; it's very gruesome. There's a lot of vivid details and it actually felt like reading a much cooler Heart of Darkness; much cooler in the sense that it wasn't Heart of Darkness, there weren't random metaphors lurking about, I had a pretty clear idea of what was happening all the time, and there were some science fiction elements to it that were pretty neat in a terrifying way. It's gruesome as it is a war book, so people get blown up, they get ravaged by animals, and the violence is bloody, gory, gross.

So Mahila and Mouse saved each other in one manner or other and develop a bond that is much stronger than friends & family; but no they are not in love. That is one thing I applaud this book for, not a love story anywhere to be seen. Proof that not all books need romance. MWAHAHAHA. Although it is rather bloody. Uh...WHATEVER. MOVING ON.

So presumably in the last book Mahila lost her hand to one of the warring factions. She only has her 'lucky' left hand left. She still has both of her feet. She was saved by Mouse and is eternally grateful and blah blah blah (the book reiterates this point a lot, but not frequently; mostly when 'big' decisions are being made). She and Mouse are very cute together with their banter and easy companionship. At the beginning of the book, we learn a lot about the heart of the characters which was nice for a war book.

As the book moves on, Tool comes into more center stage focus as he is what brings the soldiers to the village, threatens mouse's life, and forces Mahila to bring him medicines.


After that, it's basically unending action as they weave through the world to achieve their goals. Mouse is almost killed by the soldiers, but instead becomes one of them. Mahila and Tool team up and together they figure out a way to get to Mouse. They work their way into the drowned cities where Mouse has gone with the soldiers. There are five factions all warring in the city, and Tool with Mahila have to worm their way through all of them for the chance to rescue Mouse.

Now Tool is a genetic beast who was created and trained for war. He is comprised of four different animals I believe; human, hyena, wolf, and something else. I know they told us a few times, but he's basically huge, creepy, and can talk. He's much more intelligent than anyone else in the book. So kudos to him. He does have animalistic moments where's he like FIGHT, KILL IT, I AM THE PREDATOR, EVERYTHING IS MY PREY, but forces that urge aside when he knows he needs to be smart.

The ending scene probably would have meant a lot more to me if I had read the first book, but it didn't. Tool essentially wiped out an entire faction's headquarters/leadership area, Mouse died, and Mahila with the rag tag soldiers she managed to pick up figure a way to get out of the drowned cities and hopefully to safety. THAT'S WHERE THE BOOK LEAVES OFF.

Overall, this book wasn't exactly to my taste as it didn't seem to accomplish anything other than showing how awful war is. There was no peace, resolution, anything (there might be a third book coming and I just don't know it). The writing was good, but the content wasn't to my liking.

I do not think you absolutely HAVE to read the first book to understand the second book, but it probably helps.

Happy reading!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Seven Tales of Trinket

The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas

An Amazon summary to get my bearings, "Guided by a tattered map, accompanied by Thomas the Pig Boy, and inspired by the storyteller’s blood that thrums through her veins, eleven-year-old Trinket searches for the seven stories she needs to become a bard like her father, who disappeared years before. She befriends a fortune-telling gypsy girl; returns a child stolen by the selkies to his true mother; confronts a banshee and receives a message from a ghost; helps a village girl outwit—and out-dance—the Faerie Queen; travels beyond the grave to battle a dastardly undead Highwayman; and meets a hound so loyal he fights a wolf to the death to protect the baby prince left in his charge. All fine material for six tales, but it is the seventh tale, in which Trinket learns her father’s true fate, that changes her life forever." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

The summary above does a great job of summarizing about 5/6's of the book. Which is annoying as hell. As always, I am annoyed when book summaries give clues to the book's plot that extends more than a quarter or even a third of the way through the book.

However, this is very much a children's book. So perhaps the rules are a little different. I don't know, but from the title it's obvious that the book does contain seven tales.

So among every thing I am a sucker for, I am an immense sucker for fairy tales. Or books that take a fairy tale and retell it, but do so in the right fashion. Maybe someday I'll explain that. For a brief summary, I think that a retelling of the tale should be humble and keep many key points the same and if the tale is changed, it should only enhance the story; not detract from it.

With The Seven Tales of Trinket, I was whole heartedly delighted by what took place amongst these pages.

Trinket is a wise eleven year old (almost twelve I believe) who wants to discover what happened to her father. Her mother has just passed at the beginning of the book and she realizes there's not much left for her in the little town and now more than ever, she needs to find out what happened to her father. Why did he leave five years ago and never returned? Was he dead? Was he captured by pirates? Was he spending his days in jail somewhere? What happened to him?

As Trinket and her companion Thomas (the pig boy who was mothered in her house as his own mother had a very sharp tongue) go through her mother's belongings, they find an old map presumably left by her father; or it at least appears to be written in his hand.

Trinket decides to follow the map to see if she can discover what happened to her father, and perhaps even find him. Thomas accompanies her for the promise of adventure, and perhaps to keep an eye on her.

I also thought this story was slightly fantastic because the main plot seems to be about Trinket finding out about her Father, when the real story is so much more important. Yet, I would hate to spoil the real story since it's up to the individual reader to divine it.

I wish I had read this in 2012 so I could put it in my top ten book list.

A little bit of SPOILER LAND.

Now Trinket's journey takes her through different tales; most of them I am familiar with, yet one or two were new to me. In the back of her book she has an author's note that gives the title of the tales she told with brief explanations: The Gypsies and the Seer, The Harp of Bone and Hair, The Wee Banshee of Crossmaglin, The Faerie Queen and the Gold Coin, A Pig Boy, a Ghost, and a Pooka, The Old Burned Man and the Hound, and The Storyteller and the Truth.
As a reader, this thrilled me a little bit. It's neat to know where she drew her inspiration from, and where she uncovered some of the stories. As a writer, it emphasizes the importance of doing the research before you write a story that's based on something.

I don't know what else to say as I am often at a loss for words after reading a story I adored.

So I bid you adieu.

Happy reading!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spirit's Princess

Spirit's Princess by Esther Friesner

Amazon summary to get my bearings, because that isn't getting old. "Himiko the beloved daughter of a chieftain in third century Japan has always been special. The day she was born there was a devastating earthquake, and the tribe's shamaness had an amazing vision revealing the young girl's future—one day this privledged child will be the spiritual and tribal leader over all of the tribes. Book One revolves around the events of Himiko's early teen years—her shaman lessons, friendships, contact with other tribes, and journey to save her family after a series of tragic events. Once again, Esther Friesner masterfully weaves together history, myth, and mysticism in a tale of a princess whose path is far from traditional." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

When I picked this up, I didn't know it was book one, but knowing that now really helps with some questions I have. If there are more books, than they will most likely be answered in the following books. I can live with that. Maybe. probably.

So Spirit's Princess follows the story of Lady Himiko growing up. I was a little daunted by the book at first as I usually don't like to read books that involve a very young child's life (essentially ages 10 and below), but this book moved at a good pace, seemed to capture the perspective of each age, and didn't dwell on unimportant details. I also found it to be believable historical fiction. There were a few moments where it seemed to go in crazy directions, but I assume this will be addressed in later books.

I don't know anything about the Lady Himiko myth. Nothing. Not one bit. This was completely new to me.

However, I enjoyed reading this book while I was reading it; it was a great coming of age story and stepping into your own life out of our parent's shadow kind of story.

Yet, I don't find there's much I can say about it.

Yeah, she grew up. We got to see the lessons she learned, and sometimes it seemed to be portrayed in aggressively simple ways to ensure that the point is made. I didn't mind though.


This was simply an enjoyable read as it depicted the strained relationship between father and daughter as her father is the chieftain of their pine tree clan (Matsu) and she had a will to be a shaman. However, the questions I still have that linger are mostly in concern to her being a shaman.

Yama tells the story of how Himiko was twice born; from her second birth of the earth she was found carrying a stone. The stone's description makes me want to think it's made of gold, but it doesn't seem likely with how entranced she is with it.

There's also a lot of use of mirrors in the shaman's rituals. Yama speaks of a mirror land, but the deer clan's shaman speaks of how a mirror she gifted to Himiko was actually made in her clan. It could be me misreading it, but why would the pine tree clan have to go to implied great lengths to get mirrors if mirrors can be made?

A very trippy scene happens at the end where Himiko enters the spirit realm for twelve days and everyone believes she is ill but Himiko is convinced that she had a journey and that she must bring the clans of the mountains together. On her spirit journey she meets a man who she LOVES. She never knew him before that encounter, but she loves him immediately. Um, what? I would have been much more content with the story if it didn't have an instant love happen. If the romance slowly happened, okay. But to be like, "Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, we're in the spirit world, SO LOVE MEEEEE". Maybe it'll be explained in later books, but I somehow doubt that.

Overall, I'm glad I read the book, but I'm unlikely to pick it up again. It was another journey into historical fiction for me, and I don't think it was wasted.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Princess Curse

The Princess Curse by Merrie Huskell

The amazon summary because I have no idea what to say about this book. "Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling (if silly) curse, and anyone who ends it will win a reward. Reveka, a sharp-witted and irreverent apprentice herbalist, wants that reward. But her investigations lead to deeper mysteries and a daunting choice—will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

First, I kind of despised this book as it kept triggering a niggling memory in the back of my mind of a fairy tale that I've read countless times before. I also kept feeling like I've read countless versions of this fairy tale before, and with much annoyance I just googled plot bits with vague terminology. This wikipedia article sums up the fairy tale nicely. WIKIPEDIA LINK OF ANNOYANCE

I would like to take a moment and share my feelings about re-imaginings of fairy tales.

If a story is rewritten that recreates a fairy tale, please state that somewhere obviously. Give us a clue on the back of the book or inside cover, or a forward at the front. Maybe even include the original tale that you embellished and warped at the back of the book.

For the actual story content; if you recreate a fairy tale, please do it completely. Do not take the whimsy of a fairy tale where it gives the spartan details, shares the cleverness of a character, or has a hidden lesson in it. Flesh it out completely and explain everything that needs explaining; with a story it's much harder to suspend disbelief if the details we're supposed to take in stride are only half-formed.

I like it when fairy tales are re-imagined for the most part. I love the series Fables by Bill Willingham which is a re-imagining of everything surrounding fairy tales.

This book did not set well with me at all. TO SPOILER LAND WE GO.

First, the book delved into the life of Reveka and told us the sob story of how she grew up in the convent after her mother died giving birth to her. Her mother originally left her father because he was a soldier and she could not endure him or something vague like that. The mother is vaguely hinted at throughout the book like maybe she has a sibling or some other relative that may or may not be relevant to Reveka! WHO KNOWS? Clearly, there's going to be a second book, perhaps even a series. I sense it's going to be a series in which it drags a lot of details or plot points out with no final resolution.

Anyways, Reveka is an apprentice to the herbalist and claims to teach the monk who is her master more about herbs than he has taught her as Reveka learned much about plant lore at the convent. Annoyed yet? Me too.

Her father came to claim Reveka from the convent and she's only 13, and the nuns informed her father that she is a liar. Her father in turn made her take an oath to never lie to him. I find this detail disorienting as it adds no value to the story and is rather distracting with how many times she brought it up. I suppose it could be a big deal that she was previously a liar, or maybe it was a really bad allusion that she might be an unreliable narrator. I don't really care, it was annoying as crap.

I'm going to ignore a bit of the book because there's not really much to say about it. It's essentially the introduction to the princesses, some characters that dwell in or around the castle, and Reveka 'developing' her sense of self. (COUGH BADLY COUGH...NO JUST BADLY.)

So as the apprentice herablist, she makes things around the castle that include plants. For example, she makes the bathing herbs that the princesses bathe in every day. She runs into Marjut (Marjeet? whatever, not important) who is the castle gossip. Marjut has such a token role of 'having a big mouth' and making everything seem more than it is or hinting at things that are not.

You know what? I just don't care. This book is atrocious. Let me get down to the things that bothered the hell out of me.

Marjut is a witch. Reveka only discovers this when she approaches Marjut about needing a witch as she needs to make an invisibility cap. Marjut reveals to her that she is a witch JUST LIKE THAT. "Oh you need a witch? CONVENIENTLY I AM A WITCH AND TOTALLY TOLD YOU BECAUSE YOU SAID YOU NEEDED ONE. It's not like the kingdom fears and despises witches and the greatest secret I keep is the fact that I am a witch. ...WHATEVER." ...what is that? That is inconsistent story building. Damn you book.

The princess consort (currently betrothed to the king who is the father of the cursed princesses) seeks out Reveka's help after she figures out that Reveka is trying to break the curse. It's alluded to that the princess consort has spies everywhere, and later when the monk herbalist makes astute observations out loud about Reveka to Reveka's father, it can be assumed that he might be a spy for the princess. MIGHT. Of course the book doesn't provide any real graspable answers, so there's that.

Because of the curse, the princesses put everyone to sleep. And by sleep I mean an eternal slumber that they might die from. This is a huge deterrent to people who are trying to break the curse and free the princesses. HOWEVER, it is later revealed that the thing that is the cause of the curse has nothing to do with the people sleeping. It's the princesses who kind of concocted some sort of mixture that put everyone to sleep. They have no idea how or why it works, just that it did. So it's basically dumb luck that they're murdering people through sleep. OH, and then at the end of the book, Reveka is helped by a river nymph who just so happens to provide her with the 'solution' to the sleepers sleep.

The last quarter of the book is a whirlwind of, "Oh crap, I better wrap this up, HURRY THROUGH EVERYTHING."

...yeah it gets worse.

So at some point Reveka manages to make an invisibility hat through the unknowing help of a kind princess, the witch, and her own 'pluck' I suppose. She stays in the Princesses tower and watches as the door is barred from the outside and they journey through a secret passageway from their fireplace. (OH, THE CURSE HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR SIX YEARS BY THE BY. BECAUSE THAT'S NOT AN IMPORTANT DETAIL.) Reveka follows the princesses into a strange world where they pass through three seasons and she collects samples from the foliage in each season. (She doesn't do anything with the foliage by the way. Nothing. She just grabs it.) They come upon the boats which are manned by the missing men (oh yeah, sometimes young, handsome men who have dared to break the curse end up entirely missing; LOL THEY'RE TRAPPED IN THE UNDERWORLD), Reveka gets into a boat with a princess and off she goes to see the curse maker.


So the zmeu or whatever (it's basically a weird crap dragon) actually isn't THE bad guy kind of. He made a bargain with the princesses that they could dance or marry him; each night they had to dance with him and if they lasted twelve years then they were free of their contract. The reason they had to enter into the contract is that one of the dumb princesses went into the underworld (oh yeah, they're in the under world, and no I don't know how to explain that) on accident and ate some of the food. The zmeu was like DUDE, YOU ATE THE FOOD, YOU HAVE TO STAY, SO, UH, MARRY ME? Then the princess was like, "WELL MAYBE NOT ME, BUT I HAVE ELEVEN OTHER SISTERS WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED".

The part that really doesn't make sense about that, is when the princesses tried to go to other countries to marry or just not go down every night, terrible storms would happen and the princes would fall asleep and it's so stupid. None of it makes sense. Ever. The zmeu at one point explains that it was very taxing on him to sync the underworld's time with the above world's time (as they run on different time cycles; OF COURSE BECAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE) so how would he have the power to create the devastating storms in addition to making sure the time cycles remained in sync?

There's also a long explanation about the Underworld and how it's all jacked up and relates to the world above being all jacked up and there's allusions to political forces trying to take over kingdoms and blah blah blah blah annoying.

Basically the zmeu was trying to get a willing bride to heal the Underworld, because again it's all jacked up for some unknown reason. To free the princesses and her father (who wandered down to see if he could help the princesses, oh and did I mention he and a princess are in love? What? When did the father (who is a retired soldier/gardener who apparently can be terrifying as all get out, that's never explained either) have a chance to love the princess? WHAT THE CRAP BOOK) who had followed the princesses down there after he stole his daughter's (Reveka) first invisibility hat? Oh yeah, she made two invisibility hats. I don't want to talk about it.

ANYWAYS. So Reveka takes off her invisibility hat and says she'll marry the zmeu; granted he frees everyone who is trapped in the underworld (many her father and the princesses, and a sheep herder boy who has a weird crush on her; I don't want to talk about that either because it doesn't make sense. He just stares at her with an open mouth and she's like WELL, HE LIKES ME RIGHT? WHATEVER). So everyone returns to the surface world except sheep herder boy who vows to serve as her footman. The zmeu is not actually that bad for being a feared demon dragon thing. He turns out to be one of the only decent characters which is hilarious.

So until Reveka eats the food of the Underworld she won't be queen of the section that the zmeu controls. So Reveka holds off for as long as she can which distresses the zmeu, and then she begins to care what happens in the Underworld as she sees a soul disappear before her. Yep. So in a fit of anger from the zmeu about him needing a willing bride, she eats part of a pomegranate. Five seeds to be exact. So she strikes the bargain that she'll live in the world above for five years and return when she's eighteen.

Well then she goes to the world above and calls for him and works out that she'll visit him every five days.

Book ends.

FINALLY. It was FREAKING terrible.

I understand what she was trying to do, I just think it was so horribly rushed through that she failed to solidly establish what she was trying to accomplish. Also, Reveka kind of acted like a thirteen year old sometimes and other times like a middle aged adult. Yeah, inconsistent character to go with inconsistent story. WHOO. THE CIRCLE IS COMPLETE.



Happy reading!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I am here to give you a weird news update.

I have about five posts hoarded for rewards when donations are made to my computer fund. Don't know what I'm talking about? TOO BAD IT'S OVERRRRRR (Link removed on 4/11/13).

The next book I read, the review will be posted publicly  I'm sure you've been waiting for something good, but we'll see what happens.

Some things that have happened in my personal life (ALL THE REALLY BORING STUFF, HURR HURR HURR).

My sister went back to the land down below (a state in the south, I just wanted to remind anyone who's old enough of a terrible song; or Austrailia...).

While at Meijer (a local Walmart essentially), I observed a woman sniffing scented candles before licking them. She did this for about two rows of candles. She moved on without any scented candles in her basket. ...No, I don't really know what to make of it either. I just wanted to share some weirdness that occasionally happens in my life.

I've never shared this tidbit, but I do work 40 hours a week on third shift (9pm to 5:30am; when I go into work, I get out INTO THE FUTUREEEE). I don't know why that's relevant. ...I HAVE A JOB. DEAL WITH IT.

Probably sharing too much, but the SHOW MUST GO ON. I'm really looking forward to Valentine's Day this year as I'm going to surprise my boyfriend with something completely unexpected, and something that's probably expected. YAY GIFTS.

After going through some of my belongings and discovering that I apparently hoard useless items solely because someone gave it to me, I have been determined to give gifts that are either useful or something that I know without a doubt that they want. This method pleases me greatly.

The title of this post was inspired by my current MUST LISTEN TO song: Elle de mit by MIKA. I don't know any french, but I love the sound of the song. The part that I can sing is when it goes DANCE DANCE DANCE and that's basically what I spend the song waiting for. ...yeah.

I think I'm being obnoxious now. conclusion, I AM NOT DEAD.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy 2013!

Merry new year! YAY!!!!


So business.

I'm currently compiling a lot of blog posts about books I've read so that I can fulfill what I have promised on my computer funding page (LOOK AT IT). There probably won't be a real update for a few weeks while I hoard posts to post at the appropriate donation reached amount. If you would like to see a different 'reward' system in place, leave me a comment! I'm open to suggestions. really! I am!

I have a sister who lives in a far away place and she is up visiting until January 6th so I will be a little lagging in my reading anyways as she is very distracting. And fun. Must not forget to mention fun. ;)

I don't really have any more news that I feel comfortable with spreading around the world wide web, so just know that I have not forgotten or abandoned this blog, I'm just a little caught up in life.



Happy reading! :)