Saturday, June 7, 2014

Review: Hannah


Hannah
Hannah by Kathryn Lasky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Just a short review.

I liked the amount of detail put into scene description, I found the servant scenes to be my favorites. Some of the information about the time period is a little inaccurate, but it does give readers the general gist of the era.(Truthfully the author did a lot of research about the 19th century and drew from personal experiences. I would say any inaccuracy is irrelevant considering the fact that households were not all ran the same way. I looked up the lexile score for this book and it is listed as 800L. That is usually considered a fourth or fifth grade reading level. It was a very easy read so based on that and the Lexile score, I would consider this more Middle Grade than Young Adult. But it should definitely be enjoyable to teens, after all what does a reading level score matter in terms of enjoyment?

Hannah is an orphan and upon reaching age fifteen, technically fourteen is the preferred age but ya know Scarlet Fever and all that year, must go out into the workforce. When she is found unsuitable by some vindictive matron, she is sent to the midwest. This makes her physically sick so she comes back. This time a nice lady places her with a wealthy family as a scullery maid...she even gives her a book instructing her on the norms of domestic servitude. Then our heroine begins to really change. Into what she does not know. All she knows is the sea is calling her.

Hannah was interesting, a little dull but likeable. The anatgonist of the story is a real troubled girl. Jealousy, hysteria, and friendship are experienced in this tale of a lost girl searching for a sense of belonging.

One of my only complaints is the ending. It felt rather abrupt and while the last line spoke volumes without saying anything, I feel it could have been dealt with easier.



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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review: The One


The One
The One by Kiera Cass

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



I had so many issues with this book that I do not even have the urge to write a review.

- Senseless killing off characters
- Wishy Washy Romance
- Complete character 180s just because it is Tuesday
- Predictable ending with no real drive
- Annoying main character
- Annoying love interests of main character
- Subplot that had little resolution or a very hurried resolution
- HEA ending with more character development than the entire series

But I am glad Kiera Cass wrote this series because others seem to love it and that is always great.



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Friday, May 2, 2014

May is Lupus Awareness Month

For those of you who do not know, May is Lupus Awareness Month. Lupus is a serious disease that changes the life of those who suffer from the symptoms. Some Lupies experience mild symptoms, but for those who suffer from the severe effects, life is an endless struggle.

In March 2010, I was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE). It was my last semester of college. The previous semester,  I noticed I was having more difficulties climbing the stairs to our apartment and the stairs at my college.  I also had a pretty bad rash on my face and no idea what was causing it. I was having trouble remembering things and concentrating in class and on my studies.

I developed two staph infections on my left arm. One at the bend of my elbow where I had a bug bite and one on my outer elbow. I still have the scars. The infection on my outer elbow got so bad that I went to the ER on Thanksgiving day 2009. The doctor never looked at my facial rash or listened to me when I told him my entire body hurt and I was exhausted all the time. He drew a circle around my infection, told me it was a staph infection, and treated me as if I was a drug addict looking for a fix. (Our small town hospital usually treated people this way. So I was used to it.) I  wanted blood tests and an explanation for my symptoms. I didn't want a ball point pen circle on my arm and a "get the fuck out of here" look.

This is the point where I started to research my symptoms on WebMD. (Which is a VERY scary place to go looking for possible causes of your symptoms.) At first I thought, maybe it is this, maybe it is that, but I finally clicked on the description of Lupus. And my heart stopped. I told family members about it and they said it could not possibly be Lupus. EVERYTHING WOULD BE OKAY.

But the next semester I was still sick. In fact things got worse. I started to get nauseated everyday. My throat was swollen and I could barely eat. What I did eat did not stay down. My hair began to fall out. I left hair everywhere. The shower was covered. It was constantly being swept up when I cleaned the floors. My family even found my hair in the refrigerator.  Ewwww.

Then I REALLY started to get fatigued. I would go to class around 9 am in the mornings. By noon I was so tired I started to sleep in my SUV between classes. Then I stopped waking up and began to miss classes. I would rest in the women's bathroom at school, and fall asleep. My grades started to suffer. I could not remember anything. And I was still getting sick everyday. My weight dropped below 100lbs. I was constantly cold but sweating at the same time.

Finally,  on my mom's birthday my best friend's family, whom I was staying with at the time, forced me to go to the ER. I had a temperature above 101 and I hadn't been able to keep anything down for over a week. So I went to the hospital. The doctor, totally different doctor than the doctor at Thanskgiving, took on look at my face and asked if I had Lupus. ONE LOOK AT MY FACE.

He asked what symptoms I was experiencing. Then told me not to worry that I was suffering from a severe stomach virus made worse by the possible disease the believed I was suffering from...and told me to go see my general practitioner as soon as possible. I had not been able to afford to see my doctor because all money was going toward gas for school. Oh did I mention by this time I was too tired to even drive, I had a friend who went to the same college driving me.

I saw my doctor, he ran bloodtests and referred me to a rheumatologist,  who then did further tests. And then the news came and I did have Lupus. So I went on anti-malarials, corticosteroids,  and ointment for my face. And I got better.

But then I could not afford healthcare and here we are now. I stay out of the sun as much as I can, I take NSAIDs for inflammation and pain, and I pace myself. I am just hanging on until I can afford healthcare again. I cross my fingers everyday and wait. But I am still here and do not plan to give up anytime soon. I get depressed.  I have flares. But I hold on to hope. 

Thank you for listening.




All infographics are from the Lupus Foundation of America website.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Can We Talk About Neanderthals For a Moment?

Something has been bothering me for quite some time and I believe now is the time to address it.

For goodness sakes people stop stereotyping neanderthals. They were just like us. #browsbeforeplows

It has long been  theorized that neanderthals died out because they were not as intelligent as their homo sapien neighbors.

I for one find it fascinating that two somewhat equal species of man existed around the same time and in around the same locations.

In fact neanderthal man  may have boiled their food. In fact that may have also heated grains. Not sure how this will effect those following the paleo diet.

Here is a  fun little site about neanderthals. It looks kid friendly for those of you who wish to share a little bit of history with your kids, niece/nephew, siblings, random children you meet on the street. It is the website for the neanderthal museum in Germany I believe. So yea...Germany has a neanderthal musuem and I. AM. JEALOUS.


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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Tale Dark & Grimm By Adam Gidwitz

A Tale Dark & Grimm (A Tale Dark & Grimm, #1)A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Tale Dark & Grimm follows the adventures of young Hansel and his twin sister Gretel. Well I should say Prince Hansel and Princess Gretel as it is revealed in the first chapter that they are the children of the King and Queen of The Kingdom of Grimm. (See what the author did there? Very cute.) This isn't the usual "parents leave children in the woods because there is no food" Hansel & Gretel. No this is something much more exciting. Hansel and Gretel take off on their own because they are not happy with their parents. The book follows their adventures and ties in many of fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. Each chapter is a different fairy tale and they involve our young protagonists. 

     Hansel is kind of foolish in the first few chapters. He does some really silly and dangerous things but by the sixth chapter Hansel has decided to be good so...magically he becomes good. Gretel seems to be the brains of the operations in my opinion. She is always the one with a plan and sacrifices in order for the children to accomplish their goals. As for the parents, the son is definitely the offspring of his father. The King is rather foolish in the beginning, also sort of a kidnapper but that is beside the point, but he redeems himself in the end and seeing the error of his ways makes a very generous gift to his children. The Queen, she is just there, she is like the draperies and carpets. She just exists because she has to exist. I'm sure she is a nice lady and all that jazz but girl is a static character through and through. But the story isn't about her so that is totally understandable.

     I really enjoyed this book because of the integration of so many less familiar tales. There were a few that I could pick out easily but some I had to look up. Gidwitz wove these tales together so well that it reads not as separate tales just stuck into a collection, but as one continuous adventure. Some of my favorite parts come from the interruptions of the narrator. The narrator breaks into the story every little bit to give advice to readers to hurry small children off to bed cause things are about to get "awesome", to explain something to the reader, or to give spoilers. The narrator was the funniest part of this book. Some of the comments made me giggle and some made me laugh out loud, which then made my husband look at me like I was insane because it is 3am and I should really be asleep. 

     I would highly recommend this book to preteens who love fantasy and adventure, parents who don't mind reading stories with a little bit of violence to their children, and adults who first fell in love with fairy tales not found in the Disney vaults. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series. I checked out the synopsis of the next book, In a Glass Grimmly, which features a new set of children, Jack and Jill. 

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My Favorite Quote: "You see, to find the brightest wisdom one must pass through the darkest zones. And through the darkest zones there can be no guide. No guide, that is, but courage."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My Latest DNF : Gruesomely Grimm Zombie Tales

"Read" April 20 - 22 but ended up as a DNF.

Gruesomely Grimm Zombie Tales (Volume #1)Gruesomely Grimm Zombie Tales by T.W. Brown
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Seemed like a great idea, but poor execution. Some of the tales you can guess what they are from the story line and some just didn't not seem like anything recognzable at all. And you can't tell what story is a retelling of what cause the Grimm title is entirely in German. It wasn't horrible but I sure did not like it.

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I tried and tried to rouse the interest to finish this book. I just could not do it. I love Grimm's Fairytales because they are dark and thrilling. I thought if the author added zombies, these stories would be even more awesome. But they were not. In some stories the pacing felt off. In some the characters just felt like cardboard cut outs of their original selves. Some of the stories seemed a little too silly. (A beefy bodybuilder woman holds a young lady hostage.) It was a good idea but it just didn't come off as well as I hoped.

Reviews: 4 Novellas And One Comic

URUR by Stephen King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This novella started out interesting. A man orders a Kindle and ends up with a different, pink device instead. Then he notices the strange previously unpublished works by well known authors and news articles for days not yet past! And that is all that I enjoyed. Usually King has strong, complex characters. But this Professor, I don't even remember his name anymore, is a schmuck. He is just there it seems. And his unrequited love bothered me. The story was a motivational tool only.

I feel most of King's short stories are captivating and make me want to hide my head under the covers. This one was just a fluke. One out of hundreds of stories.

The Guard (The Selection, #2.5)The Guard by Kiera Cass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was interesting to see what was going on in Aspen's head and what his motivation was throughout the second book. The excerpt from The One, first two chapters, made me grind my teeth at Maxon. I mean that guy is such a jerk. Honestly. But now I really want to read The Prince novella. I wanna see why this guy is such a immature a-hole.

What Once We Feared (The Forest of Hands and Teeth)What Once We Feared by Carrie Ryan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This just didn't turn out as well as I hoped. It did not have the intensity of Ryan's novels. Admittedly, it could have been because it was so short. I think it was the unrelatability of the characters. I did not feel for any of them. And I did not feel the story truly showed the terror they felt in a whole gone chaotic.

I'm Starved for You (Positron, #1)I'm Starved for You by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This characters...man oh man. The sexual tension...so intense. This was interesting. The world set up by Atwood drew me into the story. A world where people switch places between prisoner and community service. Now that is how I imagine one sets up a true utopia. People would truly understand one another. The only thing I took issue with in this short story was the twist. It felt so blah. I felt more sexual tension when the main male character was fantasizing. Then at the end it just seemed hurriedly concluded.

The Walking Dead, Issue #1The Walking Dead, Issue #1 by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was free on Google Play books. I have not read many comics or graphic novels, so this review is from the POV of a noob.

I, like millions of other people, love the Walking Dead TV show. So I found it impossible to pass up the first issue.

This is the beginning of Rick Grimes journey post-apocalypse. After being hospitalized, Rick awakes to a world changed, a world gritty and raw.

This issue did a good job aquainting the reader with the world Rick has awoken to, a world where the walking dead are around every corner. We learn very little about Rick in this issue. The sole purpose of it is to introduce the reader to the premise of the series.

It wasn't action packed, the amount of zombie attack left me a little underwhelmed, but it is engaging. it made me want to buy Vol. 1 so that I could continue the adventure. That will have to wait though, I would prefer to read something like this in the physical form rather than digitally.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring Cleaning


When my husband and I moved into this house we had an agreement. He gets 50% of the room for his stuff and I get 50%. However, recently his space has bled into my space and now I need feel suffocated.  So I decided today to tackle a small piece of spring cleaning.



You can see the before and after and also how much nicer my bookshelf looks.



Only took me two hours and a piece of glass in the foot. And I may have rebroken my finger.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Review: Off-Topic: The Story of an Internet Revolt


Off-Topic: The Story of an Internet Revolt
Off-Topic: The Story of an Internet Revolt by G.R. Reader

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Edit: Nov 9, 2013
Finished reading this a few minutes ago.
I do not feel I could add anything to my review written pre-reading. All my opinions and feelings about the book are as true after reading the book as they were after pre-reading.
I feel in an organized manner, this book laid out the main points and reasonings behind the members who are actively rebelling against the new GR policies.
The discussion of the meaning of censorship, starting on page 177 of 211, was particularly interesting to me.

This book retains the 4 stars I originally rated it, well earned and well deserved.
_____________________________________________________

Looking forward to reading this soon. I've tried to keep up with the subject on which this book is based, but I'm positive I have missed at least half of the conflict. (This book is 211 pages long, I had to have missed quite a bit.)

The preface, titled "How this book got written", gave the basic background of the conflict and illuminated why the author chose to pen this book. While critics may contend that this book is just a glorified revenge piece and has no place on Goodreads, I believe this book is valuable as a documentation of the experiences of those "21" reviewers who were censored in their attempt to speak out against behavior they found unfavorable. I believe this book shows that it is not "off-topic" to discuss author behavior. As a consumer I would honestly like to know what type of author I am supporting. Even if my support only amounts to having their book on my huge to be read shelf.

I am rating this four stars at this time based on the skim read I have done of the book, my interest in the book, and my opinion on it's validity. It is my right to rate as I see fit and this is me exercising that right.

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Review: Stupid Perfect World


Stupid Perfect World
Stupid Perfect World by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This review is going to be full of spoilers. But considering it is a novella there is not much I can say about the characters, plot, and setting that wouldn't spoil the story. So your basic run down is the plot is interesting, the characters are actually funny at times, and I only found a few flaws in the story.

So it starts out set in a world where teens teleport to their classes on different continents, don't sleep, have their hormones regulated, don't get sick, and they learn about the old world in a class called Scarcity. Kieran has to do a project for his Scarcity class and unfortunately Barefoot(what kind of parent names their kid Barefoot...honestly)Tillman distracted him before he could remember to put a reminder in his headspace to do research for choosing a topic. So on the fly Kieran chooses to sleep. He wonders how bad could it really be to lay unconscious for a few hours.

The other main character in this short fiction, Maria, is a "meeker" (apparently this means nerd/overachiever), who has chosen to give up her hormone regulation for the assignment. Two weeks of teen angst, crawling skin, and uncontrollable urges. Kieran jokingly tells her not to start writing poetry. Which she actually ends up doing...cause you know teens naturally do that right off the bat. Ok, I did write a few poems as a teen, but not everyone does that.

So here they both are, trying to master the art of snoozing and feeling all kinds of conflicting feelings they have never felt before. Kieran experiences what it is like to dream. And of course he dreams about Maria. Cause you know that's how dreams go...I personally dreamed about outlandish things like werewolves breaking in the house, living in a dollhouse will tiny plates, and being able to magic myself into Walmart after hours (back when they were not 24 hour supercenters) to go shopping for all the things I could never have in real life. (It's not stealing if you use magic.)

There were some flaws such as in the beginning when he talks about everyone tries not to fall asleep in class. (They don't even know what sleep is...)
"It wasn't a real course with grades and everything, so only the most pathetic meekers worked hard at it. The rest of us just showed up and tried not to fall asleep."

And if their hormones are so well regulated then why would his father deny him his request for a bed...and not even LISTEN when he tried to explain it was for a class project. Didn't really matter, Kieran made due by putting a bunch of parkas on the floor of his room. (Apparently dude either lives in Antarctica or he owns a lot of parkas because of his interest in building a snow habitat.


Even though somethings were a bit, come on that wouldn't happen, it was a very interesting book. I kind of wish it had been a full length standalone novel. I liked Kieran and Maria well enough, but the WORLD is the one I would love to hear more about.



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