Saturday, December 31, 2016

Peter Pan and Symbiont Seeking Symbiont thoughts, last books of the year

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie


"Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside of Neverland. In addition to two distinct works by Barrie, the character has been featured in a variety of media and merchandise, both adapting and expanding on Barrie's works."

My Thoughts

I'm going to keep these reviews short as I don't have much to say on either of them, the year is almost over and I have a bad headache that won't go away. Anyway Peter Pan...

Good points: Imgainative, the whole message and stuff about not growing up, Peter Pan is an interesting character and there are some good points and some fun throughout the story.

Bad points: Racism, Sexism, problematic stuff through-out the story that goes unchallenged and no i'm not giving it a break for being a "product of it's time", and who let's children read this book?

1.5 stars out of 5

Symbiont Seeking Symbiont by Jennifer Foehner Wells


"A short story

Allus Jenson is a space pirateer on a layover between jobs. The ship she lives and works in is waylaid on a barren planet for repairs. She’s bored, goes for a stroll, and meets someone who would very much like to spend the rest of their life with her."

My Thoughts

This is a short story (I read it in less than an hour I believe) and while it's short I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it! I didn't think i'd be into a short story but I believe I got it when it was free because the cover is interesting and had an interesting sounding, to me, synopsis. I figured why not and yes, I choose it because it's short and wanted one more book for the year, hey at least i'm honest. Anyway it's a short sci-fi story and it's not what you'd expect from the synopsis though it is accurate. There is a twist to it, alice in wonderland references, the main character is a lesbian, it's funny, creepy, strange and educational. I loved it and it even had me thinking after I read it! For a short story to do all that had me surprised. I really need to get into short stories more!

A solid 4 stars out of 5

Thursday, December 29, 2016

When Universes Collide by Laura Phillips book thoughts


"When Anna starts volunteering at a homeless shelter in June, she has no idea that her life is about to be turned upside down.

Anna spends most of her summer with another volunteer, Lara, and the connection is instant.

But is it just infatuation? A crush?

When September comes, Anna discovers that she has a lot more to worry about than her feelings for Lara.

How can these two women overcome the odds when universes collide?

Lesbian romance 18+"

My thoughts

I really don't even want to write this review but I suppose I should, to get it off my chest. Also I DNF'd it at 29%.

First of all i'll talk about the stuff that wasn't that big of a deal, that I wouldn't have really held much against it or cared about. The writing left something to be desired but it wasn't horrible or anything. There were a few typos here and there. The main character Anna was a bit annoying but not in a bad way, in a goodie-two-shoes kinda way but that might be pushing it a little bit. She was a nice girl.

The reason I DNF'd it? A fire. I wasn't aware there would be a fire in the book, and it's not that it was there, here me out. I was in a house fire over 4 years ago. It took my house, everything me and my husband owned (he was at work at the time), our 3 kittens, and gave me fire-related ptsd. I have it for other reasons as well from before that happened but that isn't the point here, it just added another thing. We were homeless but thankfully we had a tent and some nice friends. They didn't have the room for us inside but had a yard, the tent we had was in the garage, the only thing that survived besides our cat and dog that were outside at the time it happened. I was asleep. I woke up to the smell of smoke, I couldn't hear the only working alarm as it was too far away. I was trapped in the bedroom. I went to the window where some neighbors were looking at the house and saw me. We lived in the middle of nowhere, a small town, and while the fire station was on it's way it was taking awhile, because of distance. I had called 911 on the phone before it was cut off..cell phones didn't work there (except in the middle of the street and the idea why) and managed to get out the address and that I was trapped upstairs. I have hemangioma on my leg and it's big, the second story jump would have killed me, I just had to hope they got there in time. Someone said they'd catch me but I don't think that would've worked and I was too scared. Smoke was in the room and it was hard to breathe. A neighbor saw once I got to the window (I might be going a bit all over the place here it's hard to talk about) and yelled asking if someone had a ladder.

He took a ladder, put it to the window, came up and got me. It was more complicated then that. I couldn't think straight, was only worried about the fact I was naked minus underwear (he took the sheet off the bed, wrapped me up in it, picked me up and shoved me through the window because I couldn't think myself or comprehend at this point what was really going on and we couldn't see much. I could see his feet, that was it but it wasn't dawning on me at the time that ment the room was filled with smoke. The lack of oxygen, trauma and shock don't let you think real well. After I got down the ladder and oxygen was making it's way to my brain I was able to start thinking clearly again. My BP was through the roof (and I never have issues with it). Shock, trauma, nightmares and panic attacks followed in time. I am currently still on Trazadone so I can sleep. Drowsiness is a side effect but it's for more than that. The nightmares are much fewer now than they were 4 years ago. I am better than I was but I am not perfect, not sure I ever will be. I know I got lucky, i'm still here thanks to my neighbor. The firemen said the way it sounded I was about to pass out from the smoke when he shoved me through the window. After we got out, barely, actual fire blasted through the window. Eventually they got it under control but everything was destroyed. It wasn't until after we got out that the firemen arrived. If it wasn't for my neighbor, who was not a firefighter, I would not still be here. But that doesn't mean i'm unharmed just because I made it out physically intact. Also friends helped us get back on our feet.

Here is a link to an article about it

In regards to the book, the fire, an incident that happens to people everyday and is obviously trauma-inducing, I don't know the statistics but I know i'm not alone, it was used as a plot device. No justice was done to it, it wasn't believable, obviously not researched, there was that kiss shortly after used in such a way that was blatantly offensive. Using an incident that happens to real people and will obviously be traumatic in a such a way, as a plot device, with no research done to it to make sure it's done well, is just not right. I can see now why people hate rape being used as a plot device, this is the same way.

I'm not against these things being in books, they happen and books should reflect that. I'm against them being used as a plot device in this way with no thought to the people who go through this stuff in real life and not making sure it's done well. Take the extra time and effort to get stuff right and done with justice, not just as an offensive plot device. With the internet it's easier than ever. Think when you're writing traumatic incidents. Research, talk to people who have been through it, make sure it's not just a badly written plot device. This goes for a lot more than this one thing. If it can happen in real life and does, and can obviously cause trauma in people, please make the extra effort. It will be worth it.

Not to mention that the love interest was much older, married and unaware that it was the MC's 18th birthday, she shortly apologized saying she shouldn't have kissed a minor. She didn't because birthday but she didn't know and felt bad until the MC told her. No idea if she felt bad for cheating on her husband, I didn't get to that part. I am assuming she did and maybe the rest of the book is alright, I have no idea as I can not push myself to finish it. I tried, I really did but I just couldn't take it. My chest was hurting and filling me with rage, I had to DNF it. 1 star because I can't give it less.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Harry Potter and the cursed child parts 1 & 2 book thoughts

The Synopsis

"The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

My Thoughts

Let me start by saying these are just my opinions. If you liked or loved the book that's fine and i'm glad you enjoyed it. I wish I did too.

Also I wasn't allowed to read Harry Potter growing up, even though i'd have been the perfect age. Why? Because magic. Apparently magic in a middle grade fantasy book is devil worship that will send the reader to hell or something. Or at least according to some people. I am not trying to attack any religion or belief, in any belief there will be different people, you can't paint all people in any group with the same brush, I get that. I'm just explaining that I couldn't read Harry Potter growing up to explain why I don't have any nostalgia factor for Harry Potter like many people do and maybe that's a factor in my feelings towards this book. I read the original 7 HP books last year. I love them! I also watched the movies afterwards, also great! I found out i'm a Hufflepuff and am proud. :) Also nostalgia isn't necessarily a bad thing. I have nostalgia with goosebumps for example.

Anyway, now that that's out the way, these are just my opinions and nothing more, let's get to it..SPOILERS AHEAD! And ranting.

Stuff breaks canon in the original Harry Potter books, opens up plot holes in the original series (both to do with time and time turners), characters are very out of character even when accounting for the 20 years that have passed. The writing left stuff to be desired and yes I know it was a script but I don't think even good acting could save it, for me at least. I was bored and didn't care for most of the book, which says quite a lot. Stuff was completely unbelievable. Cedric, a good guy in hufflepuff, which believes in fairness, becomes evil from losing and being humiliated in the triwizard tournament? Like I know that isn't pleasant but I can't believe Cedric would become a death eater over that...that just seems ridiculous. He was such a good person.

The whole book felt like badly written fan fiction by people who don't really know much about the first 7 Harry Potter books.

Also if Delphi was born just before the Battle of Hogwarts? Bellatrix would have been hella pregnant when the Golden Trio were taken to Malfoy Manor around Easter. Also Draco would have known because he was living there at the time. I also call bullshit on Harry, having the abusive childhood he had, saying such a horrible thing to his son and not having a decent father figure to go off of. Arthur Weasley? Sirius Black? Remus Lupin? Rubeus Hagrid? Also...speaking of Lupin..where was Teddy?

ALSO CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE QUEERBAITING?! A serious case of queerbaiting between Albus and Scorpius and at the end, when there was a chance for a tiny bit of diversity in it, ya fucked it all up! Like...what?!

What is up with that Trolley witch?!

The continued romanticizing of Severus Snape. Loving a woman who didn't love you doesn't excuse years of bullying children, including hers! Doing one good thing doesn't excuse years of child abuse. Being bullied doesn't excuse becoming a bully. Just fucking stop it already! I hate Snape with a passion, he is not a good person! He is a horrible teacher, a bully, and certainly not sentimental!

McGonagall was a human welcome mat! The sass explosion, take no bullshit from anyone she used to be? GONE! I can not believe she'd become a welcome mat!

And that isn't quite all of it. I just have so many issues with this book. It was not written by J.K and it shows, my god does it show!

There were good points. A couple nice lines, some funny moments and even some emotion from me at certain points in the story. I really liked Albus and Scorpius. Scorpius is a beautiful ray of sunshine and deserves no part of this nonsense. There were some nice messages in there too but it's so bogged down with all the nonsense around it..I just..I can't even..

This book is just a hot mess, and I gave it 1.5 stars. The half a star for scorpius and what little good I found in this book.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

This Full House by Virginia Euwer Wolff Book Thoughts

The Synopsis

"LaVaughn has made it through the projects, she's gotten over heartbreak, she's grown up, and now she might finally have her ticket to college. She believes that she's keeping alert to all possibilities. But discoveries she makes during her senior year in high school disturb everything in her small universe. And in an effort to bring together people who should love each other, she jeopardizes the one prize she has sought her whole life long.

When do you know whether you're doing the right thing? What happens when you can't find a way to make lemonade out of lemons?"

My Thoughts

This is the third and final book in the "Make Lemonade" trilogy. A contemporary Young Adult trilogy written in verse, and still very powerful and heart-wrenching, with important messages on a number of topics (education, poverty, teen pregnancy, religion (and not preachy) etc.) in an accessible way. I loved the first 2 so of course I wanted to read the finale!

Sadly I didn't love it as much as the first two but I still enjoyed it a lot. The plot had some too convenient and somewhat unbelievable aspects too it, though it was all still ultimately touching and there were tears. The pacing was mostly good, it's written in verse so it doesn't take as long to read as the length of the book might imply, but there is a lot of science terms in it that, frankly I could have skimmed. They had a point but I don't personally feel like it took all those pages of it to make it.

I still love the characters and the way LaVaughn has grown over the course of the trilogy. LaVaughn really matures over time, it starts out I believe when she is a Freshmen and by the end she's a senior in High school and in those years she does mature and grow up while still retaining her personality. I loved seeing that! I do love Jolly and the other characters as well. They are all so resilient and caring. They don't always have great lives, in fact quite often the opposite, and no they don't always make great decisions and stuff doesn't always work out well, but they try, they care and they are resilient. This trilogy has many great messages in it as well.

Even not loving the last book as much i'd still recommend this well everyone really. It didn't initially sound like my cup of tea and I ended up loving it! Especially would recommend to teens, it's who it's written for and has many great messages about hard and real life topics and does make you think, while being a very entertaining read.

I gave this last one a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood Book Thoughts

The Synopsis

"Two friends are midway on a canoe trip down the Danube River. Throughout the story Blackwood personifies the surrounding environment—river, sun, wind—and imbues them with a powerful and ultimately threatening character. Most ominous are the masses of dense, desultory, menacing willows, which "moved of their own will as though alive, and they touched, by some incalculable method, my own keen sense of the horrible."
"The Willows" is one of Algernon Blackwood's best known short stories. American horror author H.P. Lovecraft considered it to be the finest supernatural tale in English literature.[1] "The Willows" is an example of early modern horror and is connected within the literary tradition of weird fiction."

My Thoughts

I read this book as a group read for a group I am in on Goodreads, a horror group called "Horror Aficionados". And I am glad that I did.

It's a short book and an atmospheric creepy story. It takes place in some sort of forest area. The Danube River runs through it, islands that change and whispering Willows. Blackwood does a great job at being descriptive and really it's the atmosphere that holds the pull in the story. Two men are canoeing down the river and end up in that place when things take a turn for the worse and things get creepy. It was slow to start for me but quickly picked up the pace and pulled me in.

I really did enjoy the characters, my favorite though being the one that tells the story. Personally I found him relate-able in how stuff was making him feel and his thought process. I found both the men believable.

The writing, in addition to being atmospheric, also held a few nice quotes in it.

This story did make me think a little bit but mostly it was an entertaining and creepy story. I found it easy to read as well.

I would recommend this book to anyone that likes creepy atmospheric books or wants to read an older horror classic, or just wants a quick read and likes a haunting story.

I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars