19 October 2014

Readathon Wrap Up

Didn't get as much reading done as I wanted to.  B, pesky man that he is, put on Gremlins when he got home from work so I ended up watching most of that! I did end up finishing The Devil's Cave by Martin Walker but didn't get to work on any of the graphic novels like had hoped.  My final stats:


  • Total minutes read:  5 hours, 50 minutes
  • Total pages read: 487
  • Books finished: The Hobbit, The Devil's Cave
I wonder if reading on my Kindle affected me? All day i felt a bit unfocused.  It wasn't that I didn't feel like reading or that the books weren't grabbing me; I just kept drifting away from what I was reading (even before B came home).  Perhaps next time I'll try an experiment where I read for X amount of time on Kindle and paper each and compare.  

Hope the readathon went well for everyone else!  

18 October 2014

First Readathon Update.

I got started pretty late today.  We went to an Ok Go concert last night which was amazing; I highly recommend seeing them if you have chance.  Even though we were home by midnight, I ended up sleeping late since the power blinked sometime during the night.  After having breakfast and watching some soccer, I started reading about 12:30.  Here are my stats so far:
  • Total minutes read:  3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Total pages read: 228
  • Books finished: The Hobbit
  • Currently reading: The Devil's Cave
I'm jumping in to a contest!  I have a pig roast I'm going to tomorrow and I am bringing Pumpking Pasties (from Harry Potter)! So for the next hour or so I'll be working on this recipe from Chew Out Loud.   

Hopefully they will turn out ok; I've never made them before.  

Happy Reading!

UPDATE ON RECIPE:  you're going to want to double the stuff to make the filling, I ran out about halfway through.  also, you'll want to half (at least) the milk in the frosting because it is too runny otherwise.  These taste fabulous though!  

16 October 2014

The Readathon!

Crap!  I just now realized Dewey's Readathon is this weekend!  This may be the first October one that doesn't coincide with the Southern Festival of Books (which was a bust for me this year; i didn't even go) so that is great!  B and I are going to the OK GO concert here on Friday night so I know I won't be starting on time.  I'm still off coffee/caffeinated beverages so that's a bit of a handicap as well.  I am a bit excited to put some real time in reading.

I plan on doing some Kindle reading this time!  I've got The Hobbit (though I might finish that before Saturday), Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, Dawn by Octavia Butler and The Devil's Cave by Martin Walker loaded and ready to go. 

For physical books, I've got The Unwritten 8 and 9, S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst, The Infinity Gauntlet gigantic graphic novel and Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell (a Doctor Who book).  Overall I've got a lot of choices.  Of course, I always reserve the right to go digging in a box for a book if I feel like reading it.  

Best of luck to everyone!
 

06 October 2014

I read some Octavia Butler

I've had a mixed experience with Octavia Butler.  I read Wild Seed years ago and really didn't like it, mainly because of the female character's passivity.  After meeting B, he had me read Fledgling and I loved it.  So when my sci-fi reading group picked Parable of the Sower I wasn't sure what to expect.  Sower is about a teenage girl named Lauren living in California in a not-quite-apocalyptic future.  She and her family live in a walled subdivision.  Her father and a few others leave the compound to work but most people stay within the walls.  They have to grow most of their food and while there is a government, it does little to help people or stop the hordes of homeless from preying on those with a home.  Lauren feels the future of humanity is in the stars and begins writing the scriptures of her new religion, Earthseed. When the community is attacked, Lauren and a few others escape and begin making their way north to find work or a place to settle.

I both liked and didn't connect with this book.  Strictly plot- and setting-wise I found the book to be scary and believable.  The time Lauren spends on the roads is harrowing but you can see how she becomes the leader of their band.  While I liked Lauren, I didn't understand the motivation behind the Earthseed scripture.  As a strong atheist who was never a believer, I find it hard to connect with characters who feel a strong desire for religion and spirituality.  It is a need I just cannot fathom.  Overall though, this book is well worth reading.  a 6. 


I went on to read Kindred, which is Butler's most popular book. I really liked it.  The main character, Dana, is an African-American 20-something married to a white man in 1976. She suddenly gets thrown back in time to save a young boy.  By the third time it happens, Dana understands she's going back and saving her white ancestor. It explores race and how people lived during slavery, but also feminism and marriage and ties that bind us, for good or ill, to other people.  I can't stop thinking about it!  a 7.

05 October 2014

I can't believe I forgot about RIP!


So it suddenly struck me that it is October and that I hadn't signed up for the RIP challenge! I've been doing this challenge pretty much since I started blogging and it is in it's ninth year.  Carl does an amazing job of running this great challenge. We all get together to ready mysteries, horror stories, gothic tales, thrillers, and spooky ghost stories to celebrate fall, Halloween, and great stories! 




So, since I'm starting so late, I think I'll try to just read 2 books.  I've got several on my Kindle and shelves that will qualify.  I'm sure I'll manage to catch a few movies and spooky shows as well.  Guess I could have saved that Twin Peaks rewatch for this month!  Also, have you seen this October Horror Movie Challenge? While I could probably manage it, even starting late (a benefit of unemployment is all the tv you want) I don't know if my mental state could handle it.  Still, it's a good place to get some ideas for movies.  

Best of luck to everyone! 

04 October 2014

Circus of the Damned

I am reviewing another Netgalley book. Circus of the Damned by Cornelia Grey is about a young man named Gilbert Blake in a quasi-Victorian city.  Blake is a con-man who uses real magic to fleece his victims.  When running for his life from some thugs, he comes across the Circus of the Damned led by Jesse, the hot redheaded ringmaster.  Desperate for help, Blake agrees to join the circus.  However, he finds out he can't ever leave the circus; he's joined up for life (and the afterlife).  Thinking to bide his time to figure out a loophole, Blake becomes a magician for the circus and begins a relationship with Jesse. When the circus gets into trouble and Blake's past catches up with him, they have to work together to survive. 

What I liked: 1) the gay romance! it was pretty well done and didn't shy away from sex scenes  2) the circus family atmosphere 3) how the circus "kept" its performers from leaving permanently 4) the ending was great

What I didn't like: 1) There wasn't enough world building.  Where does the magic come from?  Why does Blake have a seemingly sentient mouse as a pet?  What sort of religion is there?  What's the deal with some of the performers in the circus who seem to be intelligent creatures or AI automatons? 
2) There were a few really bad lines that stuck out terribly to me.  Just phrasing and images that were just wrong.  Like saying a room was pitch black, except for the light coming through the cracks in the ceiling.  Now, I was reading this off Netgalley so it could be that some of this would be corrected in a final edit.  

It wasn't a bad book.  I'm glad I read it and I can imagine the author getting a lot better quickly.  I give it a 5/7. 

01 October 2014

September Movies

Carrie (the remake): pretty good.  It's been so long since I saw the original that I can't remember what was changed.  Julianne Moore made an awesome crazy mom.  a 5

The Lone Ranger: not as bad as the reviews led me to believe.  Had plenty of plot holes but lots of cartoony action.  a 5. 

Riddick: Wish it didn't have the "female character portrayed as lesbian who appears to fall for the male hero" aspect.  Not as good as Pitch Black.  Everything you saw in the previews takes place in the last 2/3 of the movie so it feels as if it takes a while to start.  a 4. 

The Monuments Men:  Good war movie about a somewhat unknown aspect of WWII.  George Clooney gets a crew together to find all the art the Nazis have stolen.  Funny and touching and worth a watch!  a 6.

17 September 2014

August Movies which I am super late on

Guardians of the Galaxy: this movie hit all of my sweet spots. Goofy family of choice? Check.  Females with their own character arcs and motivations? check.  Big guys with heart? check.  Scoundrel with a heart of gold? check and double check.  Great music, great effects, just a wonderful movie.  a 7. 

Inside Llewyn Davis: kinda depressing.  great music.  B liked it more than i did i think.  a 5.

Captain Phillips: again, kinda depressing.  The "bad guys" aren't particularly bad guys.  very suspenseful for a movie where you know the hero lives.  Not necessarily one I'd want to watch again but worth seeing.  a 5.

Only Lovers Left Alive:  loved it! I put this in our Netflix queue and bumped it to the top.  B asked what it was and I replied "a vampire movie with Loki in it".  We started watching it and about 20 minutes in B stopped the movie and said "I'm really liking this.  I thought it was going to be some Twilight crap but it's really good!".  :)  It is a dark movie, both in tone and in color.  Adam is a vampire living in Detroit who spends his time making music and keeping up his off-the-grid house.  Eve lives in Tangier and comes to visit when she realizes Adam is very depressed.  It's a very moody film but wonderful.  you should so see it.  a 7.