Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dorothy Must Die Review

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

5 of 5 stars

This was one of those books I was anxiously awaiting and when the store I work in got it in, I was so excited to check it out, but was also nervous that it would fall short. It did not disappoint.. I finished it in 3 days. I couldn’t put it down. And I didn’t know it was part of a series. I don’t read books that have a sequel until all of the books are published. Because it makes me crazy to get to the end of a book and know that there’s more and have to wait for it. This was definitely a great example of this. I’m going to try to be as descriptive as possible without giving anything away.

What I liked:
*I love the new take on the Wizard of Oz. I love that Dorothy and her friends are the villains. I love that the lines of Good and Wicked have been blurred.
*The world building was beautiful. The descriptions of Oz itself were fantastic, but the descriptions of everything else going on were also lovely.
*I liked the development of most of the characters.
*This was a <very> dark twist on the original story and it works well.
*There is a lot of action going on.
*Even though she was a stereotype a lot of the time, Amy was clever and witty.
*There was very little romance. While I’m usually all about romance, it’s often a frustrating subject in teen books. There was some very minor romantic interest, but no one is making decisions based on the love of their life that they just met.

What I didn’t like:
*I hate pop culture references and they tend to be all over the place in teen fiction. Fortunately, like many other books, the references stop after a short while.
*There was a lot of angst going on. I wanted to slap Amy during about ¼ of the book.
*Some of the foreshadowing was way too overt, but it never led to anything.
*You can tell that the writing is from a new author, but it wasn’t awful.
*This is a series. How did I not know this was a series??? It felt like the book just stopped. I understand cliffhangers, but ugh.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes retellings, but I would probably suggest to wait until the next book is out, if not all 3.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Peter Pan was kind of a butt.

So I know that last post was kind of a downer. So here is another book review. I've been using books as a kind of therapy and it's working really well. And I'm reading a lot more now.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Andersen

3.75/5 Stars

I’m sure anyone reading my book reviews has noticed the fairy tale retelling kick I’ve been on. I’m still not sorry and now there’s another. (In my defense, I have read two religion books –even though they were both pretty short – amidst these novels.) I knew I needed more of these types of stories to keep my reading level high, and then I stumbled onto this gem. This chart is amazing. I found a ton of books I need to read now, and I got it into my head that I should read a Peter Pan story. I went through the ones on the list and this seemed like the best new perspective.

What I liked:
*Minor characters: Tik Tok and Pine Sap were my favorite characters in the book. I think all of the minor characters were well developed though. I liked having Hook and Smee’s back stories.
*Plot premise: This was the first rewriting of Peter Pan I’ve read and really the only one I could find that wasn’t a little kids’ book. I loved the focus being about Tiger Lily. I often imagined Peter as kind of a jerk and this book finally openly admits that he really is.
*Point of View: I liked seeing Tinkerbell not being a brat and actually caring about someone
*It doesn’t even kind of matter for the story itself, but the cover is beautiful.
*I don’t care whether a book has a happy or sad ending, but I do like closure. I got that with this book.

*While it was a really good story, nothing really ever grabbed my attention and drove me to finish. I finished it because I had nothing better to read at the time, but it could have been easily put to the side and forgotten about it.
*I felt more attached to the secondary characters than the main ones. I didn't like Peter Pan and didn't want him to be with Tiger Lily. A lot of times I felt detached from her as well.
*There were a few parts of the plot that seemed a little rushed/awkward. I don’t want to give anything away, but this happens only a few times.
*There were also a few things about Tiger Lily that are never explained but were set up like they should have been.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Because sometimes reality gets the best of you and you just need to write about it.

We interrupt your not-so-regularly scheduled programming for a bit of my real life. This is where I write so it’s where I’m putting this. I have some other posts to write up still too, but for now, this is what I have. (If this is the first or only time you've read anything I've written, I usually don't write this stuff so whether you want to read more like this or not, it's not something to expect.)

So I guess this will be real talk time, and it’s hard for me to write but I feel like it’s necessary (more so for me than for anyone else). Why am I writing something so incredibly personal where anyone can see? 1. Because I need to get it out of my head where the words swirl around constantly. 2. If someone does see it and feels the same, I really want them to know they’re not alone because this can be a very lonely place. Even if you have people around you, it’s a little easier knowing someone else has felt the same (while at the same time you wouldn’t wish it on anyone). And I also want anyone who feels like this to know that reaching out to someone is the best thing you can do for yourself right now.

A few days ago I had my 6 week postpartum appointment with my midwife. I knew before the appointment that I’ve been struggling, and I was finally ready to admit that I needed some help. The biggest thing was the roller coaster I’ve been on with my hormones. And it’s just not stopping. I have to fill out this questionnaire thing about how I’ve been feeling every time I go to the pediatrician’s office for my little giraffe. The problem is that I know what they want me to say to be able to tell me I’m normal and fine and everything is going great. Unfortunately, that means that none of the doctors have known that I haven’t been fine lately and everything has not felt great. This time, I answered the questions more honestly. I admitted that I would like to run away from my life at times, and that I’m terrified everything I’m doing is wrong, and I can’t stand hearing my kid cry. all. the. time. And then I got to hear what I was dreading.

“You have postpartum depression.”

This was followed by the doctor telling me that I’m one of the ones that often get missed. The type of person who has dealt with depression without wanting to take medicine so she learns how to still get up and go to her responsible adult life things. The kind who can still get dressed and look presentable, who can still make eye contact and look like I’m fine. Because I can shut everything out for most of the day so that I can function.

Until night begins, and then I just want to scream. Every time I hear the giraffe cry. Every time I hear her start to fuss and I start to panic it’s going to turn into a complete meltdown. And I’m changing a diaper with my eyes half shut hoping I put a diaper on her and not the cat. And I’m mad that I’m not getting any sleep. And I feel like a terrible parent because I don’t like this screaming person right now. She’s taking away my sleep. She’s stealing my husband’s attention. And damnit, I want to cuddle with him now that I don’t have a giant pregnant belly or heartburn lying between us.

And then it shifts. And I’m not angry any more. I’m so upset with myself for feeling like this. I start to think “I can’t believe my baby doesn’t like me, and I’m not fond of her myself.”

I’m told I’m not alone in this. I’m told that a lot of people feel this way, and a lot of them don’t admit it. I hope this gets better with the suggestions of the doctor. I hope that soon I feel loving towards the sweet girl I’m holding more often than frustrated. Because part of my brain recognizes how lovely her tiny smiles are. Part of me knows that I’m missing out on these weeks that I’m actually able to spend at home with her. The biggest part of me, though, realizes that I am incredibly lucky to have my husband taking care of her and me and going to work while I try to keep just myself put together. And that part of me really wants to give him his wife back. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Rating: 5 out of 5

I’m finally writing this review after a week and a half of sitting on it. I’ve been a little busy with the gosling (this is her new name since she’s a silly goose like her daddy, who may be called Goose henceforth), but mostly it’s just incredibly hard for me to write a review for a book that I love this much. I try hard not to write gushing reviews often, mostly because there are very few books that deserve it, and I think that people use reviews to get fair opinions of a book before delving in and spending so much of their time reading it. This is an exception, however. Much like this one (which also happens to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling, perhaps not a coincidence).
I’m in the midst of a fairy tale retelling kick and this was the second one I read in a week’s time (there are 3 more sitting on my shelf and several on my Kindle that will be part of this adventure into once-upon-a-time land). This was the better of the two for that week, but was also one of my new favorite books. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite stories to begin with, and I was not let down by this one. I feel like I should also admit that this was a book that I actually paid for, which has not happened for a while since I usually check them out at work or get an advanced reader. Even paying for it, it was worth the $9.
So, per usual, we’ll go with the good and the not so good (well, I’ll try to come up with what I didn’t love about it, though it will be hard).

What I loved:
*The characters. They were realistic and flawed and beautiful. I loved Nyx and Ignifex together. I loved Nyx and Shade together. I loved that no one was perfect, but at the same time they were.
*The plot/mythology. I loved the back story of the Gentle Lord and how it unfolded. The twist on the classic was a nice one.
*The setting. I’ve found that my favorite retellings tend to be set essentially in “once upon a time.” These places could be anywhere, and something about this really appeals to me.
*The ending. I like books to have closure at the end, but you can still walk away thinking about where the characters would be now.

What I didn’t love so much:
*The father. It irritated me that he was never remorseful. Though, he was still well-written as this character.
*At times I got really frustrated with Nyx. Even though she was believable, I still got irritated with her.
*The ending. It shouldn’t have had one.

I should put this in the not so good column, I guess. I would classify this as mature teen. There weren't sex scenes, but there were implications about it. I would recommend that parents read this first if their younger teen (13-15) wants to read it.

As a whole, I would recommend this to pretty much anyone that I could. If you like fairy tales, if you like romance or fantasy, if you like books at all. Okay, maybe not for everyone, but I really do think a wide variety of people would enjoy this, and I loved it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review for the first book I finished after having a baby

My rating: 3.75 of 5 (the more I think about the story, the closer it gets to 4)

Fairytale retellings are one of my favorite types of books. I love to see what authors can do with a classic story to make it their own new fascinating tale. So when I found this book while looking through the list of e-advanced readers I could download, it stood out. This story was to be different from other fairy tales or even their revised versions. This one was said to be the “true” story of Sleeping Beauty, not of magic or witches, but of a curse brought on by events that could have actually taken place.
This was written as historical fiction, rather than fantasy. Usually I’m not a fan of historical fiction, but I’ve been in a reading slump and thought maybe I should give it a try since it was still a fairy tale. It took me a while to read since I started it before I had little miss ma’am and it took me a little while to adjust to a newborn. (I finally learned that feeding her/rocking her was the perfect time for reading – though not so great for trying to write. Though, I recently found that I may be able to write while wearing her in the Moby Wrap we finally got!)
I wanted to love this book, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. It did get me through the reading rut I’d been in though and I read 2 more books in the 3 days following finishing this one up so I give it credit for that. I’m still honestly a little torn on how I feel about the whole thing. I fluctuate between a 3 and 4 star  depending on which part of the book I think of. But as a whole, I would recommend this to anyone who likes fairy tale retellings or possibly even if they just like historical fiction. (Though, full disclosure, as I’m not a reader of it, I can’t vouch for whether it’s historically accurate to any time period.)

Anyway, here’s what I liked and what I did not.

The Good:
*Very well written descriptions and most of the characters were well developed. Many of them I missed once the book was over, and those are the good kind. The villains were well developed too, but I can’t say I miss them.
*Elise’s love story.
*Even though it was written as a historical version of the story, it still felt like “once upon a time” was the setting. I’m not sure if that was intentional, but I liked it.

The Not So Good
*The pacing was by far my biggest issue. It felt like there were pieces of the story that were dragged out far too long, but then the ending felt rushed.
*The foreshadowing was kind of awful. It seemed like almost every page had a line something like this: “If only we knew then what this would truly mean.” It was all. the. time. And it got really redundant. We get it, something terrible is going to happen, and you didn’t see some of the signs (or sometimes you did, and pointed that out as well).
*So as not to say any spoilers, I just want to say that I really didn’t like some of the events that played out.

The “It’s not really bad, but this made it not what I expected”
*There was very little about Rose herself. This was not her story until almost the very end, she was barely
in it. She was a driving force behind some of the story, but it was really Elise’s story.
*I still haven’t decided how I feel about the ending.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Beliefs

I wrote this back when I was writing more often.

I hate the assumption made that I don’t believe in anything. I believe in a lot more than I ever have before, and I think that should be put out there in the open.
I believe in people. I believe in humanity and that we can be better than we are. Not that we should progress and keep building more and more inventions, but that we know how to take care of one another and that most of us will. I believe that people are a kind species and that we are born innately good (for the most part). I think that people look to God and religion to show them a way to do good for others because they feel a need to help their fellow man. This alone proves to me that we can get better. Unfortunately, a nasty side effect of religion is war. Controversies have led to bloodshed over the years. But I think this is greed for power brought on by a sense of righteousness that was brought out by gods.
I believe in science. I believe that science is making progress toward explaining so many questions that many of us haven’t even thought up yet.
We are an amazing species, but instead of looking to ourselves and the world around us, we argue that there has to be something more. We cannot even come close to understanding what’s right here in front of us. Why do we need to invent gods to explain as well? It gives us a crutch. It gives people a reason for why things happen. It also gives some people a way to escape responsibility. If God says it’s okay in the Bible to judge and to be hateful toward someone not like you, that makes it okay, right? If that’s the reason to believe in a god, I’d rather believe in humanity. There are miraculous things happening all around us and we are the ones doing them.
I believe in love. I believe in the power of music. I believe in the power of the human mind and the human heart and the human body. And I believe these are more powerful than any god that any organization would have us believe in.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Looks Like I've Still Got Time

So I guess since baby girl has decided she's never going to come out, I still have time to write something. I have been incredibly slack looking at my past posts. Can I blame this on pregnancy and exhaustion? I'm probably going to. I haven't managed to do much worth writing about thus not writing.
For the record, I have tried to convince TM that it's time to go. Every old wive's tale that wouldn't hurt her has been tried:
~Hot showers
~Rolling around on an exercise ball
~Spicy food
~Foot Massage
~Evening Primrose Oil
~Clary Sage Essential Oil

She's just not ready to see the snow I guess. So for now, under doctor's orders, I've stopped trying to convince her. The midwife told me for my own health and sanity (not so much for TM's sake) that I need to stop stressing and just let her hang out there until she's ready. Today was day 2 of not trying anything. And I guess it was nice to just relax a little. And I guess writing is good for stress.

Not sure where this post is going to be completely honest, but I felt like I needed to write one more time before she comes. Which she will. One way or another.

I guess I could give you a heads up on what future posts I may eventually write. I've started a few of them, but either haven't completed the project or haven't felt like writing the post itself. Let's see.
Things you have to look forward to reading about from me when I get around to doing/writing about them:
*Cloth diapering. This is a hard one because TM isn't here yet. The idea though is to write about how cost effective it turns out to be and how much of a pain it may be. I've got everything I need to do this and I'm lucky that my apartment has a washer and dryer so hopefully it won't be so bad.
*Using a Moby-Wrap. I don't know what I'm going to say about that. I'm sure once I'm using it, I'll have some great story about how I tried to wear her out to dinner and dropped a taco on her face or something.
*I'm crocheting things. Well, I'm starting them. And I'm pinning lots of ideas on Pinterest. (You can follow me if you want *click here for my Pinterest* -I'll try to get it up in the sidebar too!) I think I'm kind of understanding how patterns work and the idea is to eventually get an Etsy shop opened up. I actually created one. And a PayPal for it. But I have no items to put in the shop so I have to work on that part still.
*Maybe I'll write mine and J's wedding story. Man, it's been almost 2 months, and I have totally not written that. I really am slack.
*I'll probably write a really great birth story for you all to read. I'm sure it'll involve us going into the hospital while it snows. Because I should have her within a week or they'll induce and it shows no sign of the snow stopping. Ever.
*I also learned how to use my Crock Pot (it's amazing!) so I'll have to link some recipes in. Or, maybe I'll even make up some of my own and share those. Okay, they'll probably be links to someone's from Pinterest.

Man, and I haven't written up any of those. I guess I did have something to write about, if I had just not been so incredibly lazy. I'll work on that. Maybe. Well, I'll think about it while I'm laying in bed.