Just One Damned Thing After Another

I got this book because of the title. And it completely delivers.

It is by no means literature, but it a rip-roaring, time-travelling, laugh-out-loud adventure. I enjoyed the heck out of it even while pretty depressed- so that’s saying something.

Unfortunately, it is part of a long series so now I’m committed to something big. But even as a stand alone, the story was good. Plus the protagonist is awesome. She’s funny, tough, and smart.

I’m not going to tell you anything else because each chapter had me gasp and go: ‘no way!’ And I want you to have that experience too.

The Magicians

The dry spell has passed! I have just finished ‘The Magicians’ by Lev Grossman.

The reviews claim it is an adult ‘Harry Potter’ which I have heard before, and was skeptical, but this book really delivers. Seventeen year old Quentin is whisked away from his boring and frustrating life to Brakebills a school of magic in Boston. The place is full of horny teenagers with varying magical skill and a seemingly indifferent cast of teachers. He makes friends and pushes limits, always searching for what will finally make him happy.

Upon graduation his friend group embarks on an adventure to save Fillory- a magical land which sounds suspiciously like Narnia. This happens in the last third of the book so be prepared for a lot of reading before the action begins. Despite the story being a little slow, Quentin is an interesting and relatable character. There is no sugar coating here- his emotions are real and raw.

In the tradition of fantasy novels the book ends on a cliffhanger forcing you to read the whole series. I will keep you posted on the sequel.

Recommendations Please!

Okay people, I haven’t written a book review in a LONG time. This is not because I have stopped reading. It is because I haven’t read anything worth reviewing. I don’t often abandon a book in the middle, I usually tough it out to the end- you know, just in case it magically gets better. I have already jumped ship twice this month.

Our library is STILL closed so I have to know what I want and order it, or buy it on kindle. There is no browsing or scoping out the ‘popular reads’ shelf.

Unfortunately the deals on kindle are deals for a reason. I have come across some good ones but most are so bad I’m annoyed I spent 99c on it!

I like accurate historical fiction and fantasy mostly, bonus points if the book is a bit of both. I also read the ‘heavier’ literature that speaks about the human condition. I love anything that exposes me to other cultures or times.

Help a girl out and comment with your recommendations! I’m getting desperate here!

Floating Through

“As her pregnancy advanced, she seemed to be distractedly letting go of reality and turning inward in a secret, unceasing conversation with her baby…in a state of semi-somnambulance, ever more distracted, more exhausted, and more asthmatic, indifferent to everything around her, even her husband.”

“Clara walked around the house like a silent, overweight shadow, with a Buddhistic indifference toward everything around her.”

-The House of Spirits, Isabel Allende

This was an excellent book and an excellent description of my pregnancy. I feel as though I am losing myself- but not in a bad way. I am so content. So happy. Even the madness of COVID is not really getting through this fog of indifference. I am staying home except for walks in this glorious sunshine (honestly, if the virus had gotten this bad two months ago it would have been so much harder to isolate- at least you can still say hi to others out walking). I knit, I read, I watch Netflix, I stare into space… Days flow by like water. Each the same and each different. I’m happy to lie in a sunbeam for hours, rubbing my belly and thinking about what life will be like in a few months.

I am happy to be still. I haven’t felt bored for a moment in the last few months. I will admit I am a bit lonely with everyone distancing, but it’s not really a problem, that’s what phones are for! The only real disadvantage of this state is my utter lack of productivity. No writing. Little output but knitting (which is also curtailed). I’m not even exercising as much, and I’m cooking simple meals. I’m just BEING and growing our little bean.

Did anyone else feel like this pregnant? Does it get better? I would like to be productive again, my to do list is enormous!

Return of the Library

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As you may have picked up from A)knowing me or B)reading between the lines of my posts I am actually doing really well in the panic attack/anxiety department. I have been doing so much hard work and it is finally paying off! I have been out to restaurants several times now- including during busy times. I am also starting to drive myself to shopping and hangouts. It is spectacularly freeing. I love that I know now that I CAN do it if I keep pushing through. That being said, I am still struggling with doctors appointments as the wait is often quite long and I can feel the panic seeping in after 15 minutes or so. But on the whole, things are definitely moving in the right direction.

So yesterday I went to the Library. Alone. It was AMAZING. Just being there was so soothing and so many new books have come out since my last visit. It took me FOREVER to narrow my choices down to just two. It felt like old times browsing the shelves just waiting for something to jump out instead of grabbing the closest thing and fleeing.

I am reading “The Testaments” by Margret Atwood. It is absolutely absorbing. I read the first half this morning and am dying for bed-time to read the other half!

The reason that motivated me to go to the Library at all was my utter lack of ability to write anything. My novels are all languishing in a baby induced stupor. I can’t explain it. I’m happy, I’m able to get lots done, but sit me in front of a computer and my mind goes blank. It’s like this little bean is getting all of my creative energy- which I guess is a good thing. I’ve decided that since writing eludes me, I will spend this time reading all those things I will have no time for in a few short months. I’m talking some of the classics and more modern works of literature. I want to build my vocabulary and solidify my style before I go back to writing.

The kindle is great, and I have lived through it for more then a year, but I must gush about the FEEL of paper sliding between your fingers with each page turn. I love the weight of a hardcover in your lap. But mostly I love just how much is available FOR FREE at the Library. I am so excited we are friends again.

Three Dark Crowns

I wanted to wait until I finished the series to review these books but I just can’t! This fantasy series by Kendare Blake is mind-blowing. The world she has created is so rich and satisfying. The magic is clearly explained and has logical outcomes.

The series centers around a group of girls who have been born to destroy their sisters in order to claim the crown. The culture in the book is female-centric. Women hold the power and make the decisions for families and principalities. Their religion is also based on ‘the Goddess’.

Each sister has a different magic (as do all the people who support her) and throughout the series they learn to harness it and use it to their advantage. Each type of magic is valued for different reasons.

Seriously people, even if you’re not really into fantasy try this series out. The writing is great and the story moves briskly. If you’re into the fantasy genre prepare to have your world rocked.

Winter’s Bone

I just inhaled Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. It’s a short book so it was easy.

People, the writing was so beautiful I HAD to keep reading. I NEEDED to know what he was going to say next. I hung on every word, every vivid and unique description.

I was sad when it ended- I could have read his writing for days. It also made me re-evaluate my own writing. I must start describing things more creatively!

The story, of course, was also interesting. It’s set in the Ozarks and features many poverty-hardened characters who are using violence and drugs to get by and live with ‘honor’.

Do yourself a favour and read this book.

Apparently, a movie has been made starring Jennifer Lawrence. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I will reserve judgement until I’ve seen it.

Furiously Happy

I just finished Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson.

I had been so excited to read this book when it came out, but initially the cover price was a bit steep. Luckily it was on sale on amazon prime days and I snatched up a copy for my kindle. I started it right away. Expecting my mind to be blown.

It wasn’t.

Most of the book feels like your watching an episode of the Gilmore Girls (fast and witty dialogue). And the rest is badly written ‘life advice’.

Yes, I know that’s what I write so I should shut up. But I was expecting some new insights, or at least some decent writing.

I will admit I had a few out-loud laughs in the early chapters before I got a bit jaded. I had to force myself to finish it.

In sum- not worth the money, but if you can borrow a copy and want to read about unrealistic shenanigans mostly involving taxidermied animals by all means go ahead.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

I finished a book on my vacation that has left me feeling so many things I could not write a review right away.

Please know I only review books that impact me. You know the ones that leave you lying awake at night wondering, or just reliving those wonderful and terrible moments.

This book certainly fulfills all these criteria.

Image result for all the ugly and wonderful things

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is beautifully crafted. The writing is rich and engaging. The subject matter on the other hand leaves one unsure what to feel. When it first became clear what was going on between the main characters I literally put the book down and went: “huh”.

I don’t want to spoil what becomes the central plot line so that’s all I’ll say. Pick up at your own risk, but know that you will be brought into a world different from your own.

The Astonishing Color of After

I just finished this book- or should I say: I just devoured this book.

Emily XR Pan masterfully created a story in which it is unclear if magic or mental illness is at play. The teenaged protagonist must cope with the loss of her mother to suicide after a long and painful battle with depression. She is convinced her mother has taken the form of a red bird who is trying to tell her something. Her search takes her to Taiwan to learn about her mother’s heritage.

While in Taiwan strange and wonderful things begin happening all around Leigh. While it seems as though she may be coming unhinged there are some tantalizing physical clues that argue she is not.

Of course, there is a love story woven throughout the book, but it has its own magic and is not an afterthought.

Leigh is beautifully developed and has her own teenaged complexities. You find yourself rooting for her very early in the story.

I will warn that the book speaks very frankly about severe depression and suicide which could be triggering. The story is told from the point of view of a child with a parent suffering. This dynamic was very interesting.

I got my copy on Kindle