16 Jul 2010

Midsummer update

I'm still alive and still reading.  Have joined the ranks of fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books; just need to read the last three and I'll be done the series.

My e-reading was put on pause a little bit ago.  I tried to do the upgrade to the new firmware for my Kobo on my own instead of just taking it into the store to be done.  The instructions were simple enough to follow and I am not completely technologically challenged but somewhere along the line I managed to break something and my Kobo decided it just didn't want to turn off or reset or anything.  I contaced the company and they mailed me a return package.  The entire process was actually painless and now I have a Kobo that is happy and works.

Today I decided to pick up a few more ebooks:  The Unblemished by William Conrad, The Passage by Justin Cronin, His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik, Feed by Mira Grant, and Hater by David Moody.  Doesn't hurt that Kobo was running a 48hr contest today through tomorrow.  Each of those books counted as an entry into the contest, so that was a nice bonus.

Other than that, I'm just trying really hard not to melt in the heat/humidity we've been having over the last little while.  My AC unit is getting a good workout this summer!

25 Jun 2010

Book Review - Pretty When She Dies

Title: Pretty When She Dies
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Source: Own it
Format: Ebook
Publisher: February 12th 2009 by Smashwords, Inc.
Rating: 3 stars

Amaliya wakes under the forest floor, disoriented, famished and confused. She digs out of the shallow grave and realizes she is hungry... ... in a new, horrific, unimaginable way... Sating her great hunger, she discovers that she is now a vampire, the bloodthirsty creature of legend. She has no choice but to flee from her old life and travels across Texas. Her new hunger spurs her to leave a wake of death and blood behind her as she struggles with her new nature. All the while, her creator is watching. He is ancient, he is powerful, and what's worse is that he's a necromancer. He has the power to force the dead to do his bidding. Amaliya realizes she is but a pawn in a twisted game, and her only hope for survival is to seek out one of her own kind. But if Amaliya finds another vampire, will it mean her salvation... or her death?
My first Rhiannon Frater book, but certainly not my last. I rather enjoyed her style of writing and am looking forward to reading her zombie trilogy.

Pretty When She Dies... not exactly a title that left me super curious about the book, but that cover sure did. In case you haven't been watching, I'm somewhat of a sucker for a good vampire story; especially if said story has vampires that aren't emo and vegetarian. No worries on that front in this novel. These vampires know what they need to survive and how to go about getting it.

The book starts off with a bang; Amaliya pushing her way out of a grave and trying to figure out what the hell happened to her. From there it only gets better as she has to figure out how to survive as a vampire with absolutely no instructions from her maker (who's a real piece of work himself).

Despite a few editorial errors, the novel was a hit with me. Great pacing and a kick ass heroine who has her faults and knows it. A few pretty hot sex scenes, great supporting cast of characters (love, love, loved the Gramma), and a decent plot line -- not much more I could ask for in a vampire story... except maybe a sequel?

18 Jun 2010

Yet another new toy

The back, showing off the spiffy Gelaskin art.
 Well, I was supposed to get this for my birthday, but after moaning and groaning over how much I wanted one and making moon eyes at it every time we were in Chapters, the man caved and bought me my very own Kobo last weekend.

Now I really wasn't fussy on the white version; I really wanted the black but they didn't have any in stock so I sighed all dramatic like and went with the white but picked up one of these really cool Gelaskins for it.  I think I shall become a Gelaskin junkie and change it up every couple months or so, they're just that cool.  (Check out the huge stock of images they have over at their very own website. They have skins for all kinds of devices, not just Kobos.
The front of the device; very uncluttered.

The only things I don't like about the Kobo are the software that came with it and the fact that there isn't a page count for the whole book.  The Kobo desktop software is not a very intuitive piece of software.  In fact it is actually rather awkward and annoying to use so I just stick with the Adobe Digital Editions and move my books around that way.  Hopefully the Kobo designers will come up with a more functional software in the near future.  As for the page count, the Kobo has a page count per chapter and when you are reviewing your 'currently reading' list is will tell you what chapter you are on for each book rather than a page count or percent done.  Not a huge, huge issue for most people but it makes updating my read progress at Goodreads a tad annoying.

Overall, though, I really, really love the screen on this thing.  Much easier on the eyes than my Libre (though I still have the Libre around because I just can't convince myself to pass it along to someone else) and the unit is much lighter than the Libre as well.  The fact that there are no page turn buttons on the left side took a while for me to get used to, but I'm cruising along fairly well with the Kobo now.  Even the 'flash' on page turns doesn't bother me now that I'm used to it.

I've read three books on it so far (reviews for them upcoming - wanted to finish the series and review them as a whole) and have started a fourth so obviously it was a good idea.

7 Jun 2010

Book Review - The Book Thief

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Source: Own
Pages: 552
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-84220-7
Rating: 4 stars

By her brother's graveside, Liesel Meminger's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow.  It is The Grave Digger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.  So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read.  Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever there are books to be found.  But these are dangerous times.  When Liesel's foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up and closed down.  In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
 Narrated by Death, this is basically Liesel's coming of age story set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany.  Sent off to live with a foster family because her mother was unable to care for her (reasons never really gotten into beyond 'unable to afford it'), Liesel manages to settle into life on Himmel Street with the help of her foster father, Hans.  He stays by her during her nightmares and, eventually, helps her learn to read.  Her foster mother, Rosa, is a strong lady with a foul mouth who appears to be rather verbally abusive but in reality truly cares about those in her home.

Death as a narrator was gimmicky and yes it got rather annoying to have those random bolded lists pop up in the middle of chapters with Death's 'info you should probably know now', but overall the writing was fantastic.  The main characters were sufficiently fleshed out and each had their quirks - they felt real and I cared about what was going to happen to them (even after Death foreshadowed events to death :p).  The concept of Liesel as a book thief was, in my opinion, rather weak considering her only real theft was the Grave Digger's Handbook.  Rudy summed it up perfectly:
"You know something, Liesel, I was thinking.  You're not a thief at all," and he didn't give her a chance to reply.  "That woman lets you in.  She even leaves you cookies, for Christ's sake.  I don't call that stealing.  Stealing is what the army does.  Taking your father and mine."
 So why did I give it four stars?  Because I really did enjoy reading it.  The story flowed very well and I wanted to see how events were going to play out.  I wanted Liesel to kiss Rudy each time he asked her for one.  I wanted everything to end with a 'happily ever after' even though I knew it was very unlikely.  I wanted Liesel to grow up and realize that life and war aren't fair and that everyone was just holding their breaths waiting to see what would happen next, and it was good to see that she did learn something about the adult world around her.  Basically, even though some of the gimmicks Zusak used felt out of place and contrived, the overall story and characters more than made up for it, in my opinion.

The Book Thief was well worth my reading time and I'm going to see if I can't convince my eldest to give it a shot as well.

5 Jun 2010

Weekly Geeks: 2010-20 The Wishlist

Is your wishlist as big as your TBR pile? What books are topping your list? Are there any new releases that you are counting down the days for? Share a handful of titles and be sure to share why you want to get your hands on these books! And if another blogger is responsible for that book being on your wishlist, consider sharing a link to their review!

This is my first Weekly Geeks question/answer session.  I kind of stumbled onto it via a link from a link from a link ... you know how those internet surfing chain link clicking days go.  Anyhow, onto my answers.

I have a wishlist at amazon.ca.  Sometimes I even remember to update it, but that's usually around Christmas time when I need to email it out to people that are bugging me for the yearly "book list" so they can figure out what to buy for me.  These days I just add the books I want to read to my TBR list over on Goodreads.  It is a faster/simpler way for me to keep track of things that look interesting.  Especially handy because a lot of the 'oooh that actually looks good' titles tend to come from the group I belong to over there, so it's really easy to just hit the 'add to shelf' button.

I am a bad bookish type.  I don't really watch the calendar for release dates anymore.  I have missed a few really good books that way, but I find I'm simply not interested in picking up hardcovers anymore.  I used to neeeeeeed to get the newest Stephen King titles as soon as they were released, but I've since managed to bite that habit in the butt.  So, I'd have to say there aren't any releases that I'm counting down the ... oh wait, not true.  I'm counting down the days to Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. Oh wait, I lied some more.  I neeeeeeed to get my hands on the second and third books in Guillermo del Toro's Strain trilogy.

The Passage by Justin Cronin: This is tops on my wishlist at the moment simply because a) the description vaguely sounds like The Stand and some vampire stuff all mushed into one and b) Stephen King says it will rock my socks.  Seriously though, I'm hearing really good things about this book and it is nice to see more 'bad' vampire books coming out vs fluffy/romancy/soft vampires :p

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni: I blame this one partly on my own curiosity but mostly because of Pam's review on Bookalicious.

Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex: Kind of fell onto this one by accident.  Was looking at HarperCollins catalogue online, then ended up over at Harper Teen and I couldn't resist the title.  Read the synopsis and was hooked.  Looking forward to reading this one.

Monster Island, Monster Nation, Monster Planet by David Wellington: I loved Wellington's vampire and werewolf books so I'm just dying to see what he does with zombies.

There are a ton more on my TBR/Wishlist list at Goodreads, but I think those are the ones I wouldn't mind getting my paws on first.

4 Jun 2010

A bit more game talk

Who ya gonna call? Ghost hunting in action.
So I've had more time to dig into The Sims 3: Ambitions expansion and have decided that this is one expansion I'm really glad I purchased. I take back my previous statement that the Education career path is new - I realize now it was in the original game all along, I just never played it - and instead give you laundry! Yes, for all those who had been asking, EA finally broke down and gave you the ability for your sims to do laundry.

I've created a new sim, Eleanor Rigby, and she's moving up the chain in the Ghost Hunter profession.  Currently she's at level 8, though the image to the left shows her at a lower level as she busts some seriously angry ghosts.  On top of that, she has maxed out her Inventor skill and now I just need to work through the chain of items that the science lab wants me to turn in before I can make my first robot.  Love, love, love this expansion.

Everyone should have a two headed, flaming doggie!
Remember when I talked about getting my WoW account hacked?  Well it took about ten days, but Blizzard finally got everything sorted out.  I have my level 80 toons back and everything that was taken has been returned to all the toons on my account plus to the guild master of the guild my 80's are in.  Whew.  So I decided it was time to invest in a little more security for my account.  I purchased (and received via UPS today) the Blizzard authenticator gizmo and it has been set up on my account.  The added bonus, for me anyway because I have a huge vanity pet addiction, is that the authenticator purchase comes with an in game pet: the corehound.  So now my tree can wander around with a two-headed, flaming beast behind him all the time.  It doesn't hurt that the idle animations are adorable - the two heads fight over a bone, it rolls over and begs.

In book news:  Kobo is having a week long iPad giveaway so I broke down and ordered seven ebooks (entry limit was six, but there was one more I wanted anyway) and will keep my fingers crossed.  So now I have my ereader loaded up with two series - Molly Harper's Nice Girls ... books as well as Rhiannon Frater's As the World Dies zombie trilogy - and a stand alone vampire novel (Pretty When She Dies also by Frater).

I'm currently working my way through Markus Zusak's The Book Thief for my latest Refer-A-Book Friday read.  On deck is Town House by Tish Cohen, an impulse buy at Costco.  I'll post reviews when I'm done.
I did write a review for Columbine over at Goodreads, but I haven't brought it over here.  I've been thinking about how my reviews are written and I may just try a more conversational tone, like I did with the Sims Ambitions post.  I found it easier to write that than the last few reviews I've posted.  Still trying to find my 'book review' voice, I guess you could say.

'til next time.

2 Jun 2010

The Sims 3: Ambitions Expansion Pack

The new Sims 3 expansion pack, Ambitions, was released yesterday and I got my paws on a copy. I've been a HUGE Sims fan ever since the first installment was released and I've usually picked up each new iteration as it came out (with the exception of the Stuff packs for Sims 2 ... those never really interested me). When Ambitions was announced I was tickled. Finally we'd be able to control our Sims while they went about their workday.

I've been tinkering at the new game play for less than a day now, but I'm already in love with all the stuff I've poked at. I created a new Sim in the new town that comes with the expansion, Twinbrook, and installed him in the fire fighting profession. Yes, your Sims can now have a job or a profession - far as I know only the professions are playable, the jobs are still run the standard way - and fire fighting is just one of them. Being able to upgrade your fire extinguisher (upper image) and actually fighting fires in other sims' houses (lower image) are only a few of the interesting things the fire fighter profession lets your Sim do. You get to hang out at the fire station during your work day and get buddy buddy with your fellow fire fighters. While at the station you can work on your athletic and handiness skills (very important for a fire fighter, especially to keep the truck in good repair), upgrade/maintain the alarm system, upgrade/repair the fire truck and just generally keep your fire fighting Sim in good spirits as you wait for the next emergency to come in.

Along with the new town and the fire fighter profession we've also been given new items, build objects, decorations, and Sims can look up available real estate for sale using their phone or computer.  In addition to fire fighting, your Sims can also be private investigators, tattoo artists, makeover experts, architectural designers, inventors, sculptors, and ghost hunters.  Doctor sims will be able to make house calls and have to respond to emergencies in town.  I also noticed that there is an educational career path now as well (you can join it at the school in town) and sims can list themselves as self-employed at city hall.  Sims who produce things (inventions, sculptors, produce, fish, etc) can now put their items up for sale at the new consignment shop in town.  If the item sells they get the simoleans, if not it gets returned to them in the mail.

Overall I am really enjoying all the new bits and pieces in the expansion, though I have a lot more to try out and tinker with.  My fire fighter is currently the fire chief (level 7 in the profession) and has the life long wish to save a whole bunch of lives (2 so far!).  I think I'll create a mad scientist type next, just for laughs.

If you're into the Sims at all, this is a great expansion pack to add to your collection.
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25 May 2010

Book Review - Boneman's Daughters

Title: Boneman's Daughters
Author: Ted Dekker
Source: Purchased
Pages: 404
Publisher: Center Street
ISBN-13: 978-0446547208
Rating: 2 stars

From the back of the book:  Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?
They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who's abducted six young women.  He's the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.
Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father.  His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.
Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan's estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim.  Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.
But the FBI sees it differently.  New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan.  Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.

My Thoughts: Interesting concept that failed to really deliver, IMO.

This read more like two books in one, both of which never really got fleshed out. In part one we have Ryan, the military intelligence officer who ends up being picked up by a terrorist and tortured. In part two we have broken Ryan trying to save his daughter from a serial killer.

There was no real mesh between the two, not to mention that I felt absolutely zero sympathy for Ryan and his plight, nor did I have any kind of feelings for the daughter, the mother or the other man. I really can't say that I super enjoyed a book where I cared for none of the characters.

The whole book felt like it wasn't sure where it wanted to go, or what it wanted to be ... rushed and choppy. To be completely honest I had to stop and make sure I wasn't reading book two in a series. I was expecting more serial killer stuff and here he'd already murdered everyone, been arrested and was being released on a technicality???? Huh?

Being the first Ted Dekker that I've actually read, I will give him a second chance, but I honestly was not impressed with this book at all. It was okay, I finished it to see how it would end, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Book Review - The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife
Title: The Time Traveler's Wife
Author: Audrey Niffenegger
Pages: 536
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN-13: 978-0676976335
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 stars

From the back of the book: When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty.  Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six.  Impossible but true, because Henry finds himself periodically displaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future.  Henry and Clare's attempts to live normal lives are threatened by a force they can neither prevent nor control, making their passionate love story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.  The Time Traveler's Wife is a story of fate, hope and belief, and more than that, it's about the power of love to endure beyond the bounds of time.
My Thoughts: This was my second attempt to read this book.  The first attempt I didn't even make it through the first chapter before I set it down to read something else.  When this book was referred to me by a fellow group member on Goodreads, it provided the motivation to pick it up and give it another try.  I am pleased to say that it was a good thing I did.
Henry and Clare are beautifully written, no matter what time they are in.  Niffenegger has created characters that live and breath and, best of all, feel solid and real.  I was more interested in what was happening to them because of this.  I didn't mind investing the time to read their story because it was an interesting tale happening to interesting people.  There was no magic wand to wave and make all the bad stuff go away.  There was no miracle cure to help everyone live happily ever after.  That alone makes the book worth reading.
The author also handled the time travel aspect smoothly.  So smoothly, in fact, that I stopped paying attention to the date and age markers at the start of each chapter because I was wrapped up in the story.  There was usually a mention of when/where Henry either was or was coming from and there was no real interrupt or jarring in the flow of the writing from that.
All in all, a really great read.  Thanks, Aths, for recommending it for Refer a Book Friday.

I admit I have a fickle mind...

Okay, okay.  I just can't keep up with too many different blogging platforms so... my reviews will stay here.  I'll keep the wordpress site just in case I decide to ever switch my /entire/ blog over there at some point, but for now Blogger is the place I will hang my hat and call home.

On that note, there will be a couple of new book reviews coming up.  I'll be copying my last two reviews over from the wordpress blog and I have a new one I need to finish writing.

Currently I have my nose buried in Columbine by Dave Cullen.

Hopefully I'll be able to finish both of those off soon, though I have to admit that Columbine is sometimes hard to just sit and read more than a few pages at a time.

20 May 2010

In which our heroine has her WoW account hacked...

So, I have been playing World of Warcraft for almost five years now. It's my way of letting off some steam and having a good time in a multi-user environment. My guildies are great people and it is actually nice to have adults I can chat with over ventrillo to offset the toddler language that I get during the day most of the time.

In the time I've been playing Warcraft, I've had to deal with the GM's (in game support staff) on a couple of occasions and they were all very curteous and helpful in resolving the issues I had contacted them about. I had listened to various people in the game and in my guild discuss their efforts in dealing with hacked accounts and getting their toons and/or items back. Not once did I contemplate that I might have to go through this myself.

Well... was I wrong :p

7 May 2010

Some random catchup

This is just one of the images I tend to find on my camera if I leave it out and the little guy gets his hands on it. He's actually managed to take some very interesting shots, but most tend to be blurry because he moves around too much. He is completely fascinated with the camera; has been for a while. He's my favorite subject to take pictures of because he simply loves to ham it up when a camera is pointed in his direction.

Really not too much new to report on. I've been enjoying the new TV. I must say that bluray movies in high def really are lovely to watch on the appropriate equipment. I actually play with the playstation 3 games now as well. It makes it more fun when you can actually /read/ the instructions on the screen.

I rented Heavy Rain for myself, but the elder son got his hands on it and finished the game first. It was ... an interesting game; very dark noir detective tale with the player controlling four different main characters. Each chapter of the game focused on one of the characters and you pieced everything together from the clues that all four managed to gather throughout gameplay. The controls took a little while to get used to (one of my characters even died because I messed up the sequence of button presses!) but after playing for a bit it actually added to the story. Overall an interesting game to play through but not one that I'd have bought since there really isn't much replay value. Once you know who the killer is the mystery isn't so much a mystery anymore.

I think I'm forcing myself out of my reading slump. After my horrible lack of reading in April I've decided to make more of an effort to actually /read/. One thing I've done is to set up a new blog specifically for my revies and ramblings about what I am reading. You can view it by clicking here.

That's pretty much all for now.
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18 Apr 2010

New toy!

So after a month or so of shopping around, the man /finally/ decided to pick up a new TV.  Such a difference from our old tv, I must say.  I'm just waiting impatiently to see how the games play on it!

Posted via email from mercy20's posterous

17 Apr 2010

Testing out some email posting features

Just a quicky post to see if posting via email works or not.

I realize I haven't updated in a while, but I'll get back to it asap.  I finished reading The Strain and I enjoyed it, however I totally forgot to write a review for it so... yeah.  Maybe I'll try and do one from memory or I'll wait until I've finished the trilogy (2011!) before posting a review on the series as a whole.

Currently reading The Little Giant of Auberdine County for my Novel Ladies group read and then I need to tackle The Time Traveler's Wife for my Refer-A-Book Friday read.  Once those are done I need to get back on track with my year long challenges.  The books are sitting here collecting dust... I neeeed to get them moved to my 'read' bookshelf.

Other than that, it is pretty much business as usual around here.  Big kid is out doing tagging for his Air Cadet squadron this weekend.  Middle kid is chasing toddler around the house and the man is having a veg out day for the moment.

Until next time.

Posted via email from mercy20's posterous

3 Apr 2010

New toy...

So.  I had been saving up my loonies and toonies (that would be Canadian $1 and $2 coins for those of you not in the know) in a sealed can for a while now.  I just really wanted to see how much the can would hold before it got full.  The other day I couldn't jam anymore coins into it so I took a can opener to the sucker and proceeded to roll up all the coins.  Much to my surprise and delight the damn can holds just over $700 in loonies and toonies.  I was tickled pink that I'd managed to do that just by tossing my change into a can.

Anyway, I took all the rolls to the bank today and walked out with crisp new bills instead and then proceeded to Best Buy to have a gawk around.  Picked up Brutal Legend for the PS3 because it was on for $20 and I enjoyed the demo like mad.  Then I found their ebook reader section.  Not a whole lot of stuff there to gawk at.. just the two Sony devices and the Aluratek Libre, which I had been eyeballing (it's pretty much an exact duplicate of the Ectaco Jetbook).  Still fence sitting on if I'd even like reading on a device vs good old books, I decided to take the cheaper route and picked up the Libre.

It is currently sitting in the kitchen charging up, but the man and I tinkered with it a bit in the van (he's got a usb charger thingy in the van for his blackberry) and I'm actually really impressed by the little thing.  The screen is so so so much crisper than the Sony ones and, because of the tech this device uses, there is no annoying black flash on page turns.  It came loaded with 100 classic books on it already, so I don't even have to spend any coin unless I want to grab new releases.  It has decent file support (PDF, TXT, FB2, ePub, MOBI, PRC, and RTF) and will even play mp3s/audiobooks if you want it to (I doubt I'll be using that function at all).

For a first step into e-reading it really is a nice deal.  It cost me $159.00 at Best Buy and, for a simple basic ebook reader, it comes with all those books, a carrying case, wrist strap, earphones, usb cable and usb wall charger.  It may have a small internal memory, but you can slap a 32GB SD card into it if memory/storage is an issue.

I'll post more after I've actually sat down and played with it/read something on it, but at first look for a device to read on it really was a nice deal for the price.  Annnnnd if it turns out that I hate reading on a machine, I didn't just toss $300 out the window.  I can see if my kid will read on it or toss it onto ebay or something.

2 Apr 2010

Book Review - Going Bovine

Title: Going Bovine
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Delacorte Press
ISBN: 9780385733977
480 pgs

Meet Cameron.  He's a sixteen year old high school student who's just getting by.  He doesn't try hard to succeed, he just sort of meanders his way through his life and that suits him just fine.  Then, one day, Cameron's body starts rebelling against him and the doctors give him dire news.  He's contracted mad cow disease and there is no cure.  Now Cameron's in the hospital hoping that some new treatment will show up to help him get better.  What he wasn't expecting was the punk rock angel who shows up to tell him he has to go on a road trip.

At first I wasn't overly impressed with the book; it just seemed to take too long to get moving.  However, once it did get moving, I managed to finish it off as fast as I could just to see how things turned out.

Libba Bray manages to convey 'teenage male' fairly reasonably; all the obligatory guy stuff is in here -- chicks, cars, possible armageddon, things blowing up, good music, beer, etc. --- and, even though some of the characters come off as fairly flat, I was still amused by the antics of the main characters and that was a good thing.

Personally I liked the ending.  I think it was the only way the book could have ended and it worked.  Anything else would've felt contrived and/or pointless, in my opinion.  Overall a good enough read, one that I won't mind recommending to my own kids.

28 Mar 2010

Quiet Weekend

Like the title says, it was a rather quiet weekend.

Saturday was spent doing a lot of wandering around and window shopping at various stores. The Man is seriously contemplating a new television, which means we need to look at new television stands and a place for the guniea pig's cage to go. I've got no complaints in this department... a new television would rock. We spent some time at the mall and I hit the Sony store to check out their ereaders again. Price has come down and I really don't seem to mind the 6" touch screen one. Not sure if I should wait for the newest model to hit shelves or just grab the one that's there now :p.

Today was another wandering day, but we actually made purchases! No, no TV, but I did get all the yarn I need to make the baby blanket I want to make for a friend of mine. His wife is pregnant and it is their first child, so I figured I'd do up a blankie for them. The little guy got new shoes (his feet grow so damn fast!) and we decided to get a potty seat for the big toilet with hopes that perhaps he'd rather just do it that way. Keeping fingers crossed on that front :p (Have I mentioned I hate potty training???).

Now I'm off to crawl into bed.

currently reading: Going Bovine - Libba Bray

25 Mar 2010

Book Review - Little Bee

Title: Little Bee (also known as The Other Hand in some countries)
Author: Chris Cleave
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
ISBN: 978-0-385-66530-8
266 pgs

I picked up this book off one of my group's Potluck Book thread, which worked out well since I had it on my TBR list anyway.

So, there is no typical blurb on this book to tell you what it is about.  Instead there is this:

We don't want to tell you too much about this book.  It is a truely special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:  This is the story of two women.  Their lives collide one fateful day and one of them has to make a terrible choice.  Two years later, they meet again.  The story starts there.  Once you have read it you'll want to tell everyone about it.  When you do, please don't tell them what happens.  The magic is in how it unfolds.

So I basically went into this book blind, with nothing except my group pals assurances that they loved it and I'd probably love it too.  I liked it.  I don't, however, feel the urge to tell everyone about it and I'd probably not really recommend it to anyone else, except maybe my mom.

The author chose to have each woman narrate alternating chapters, so there are two voices/views to get used to.  One, Little Bee herself, is easy to fall into.  She's got such an interesting world view, wit and charm that it is like talking to an old friend when she tells her side of things.  Sarah, the other woman, just feels stilted.  I really wasn't fond of her 'voice' at all and that didn't help me to connect to her or feel sorry for her or anything.

Other than than, the narrative does move fairly smoothly through the two voices (obviously since I managed to finish it in about a day) and the tale was engaging enough to keep me going to the end.  I just... I dunno what it is, I suppose, but it just didn't seem to linger with me long after I finished it *shrugs*.

Book Review - Pandemonium

Title: Pandemonium
Author: Daryl Gregory
Publisher: Del Ray
ISBN: 978-0-345-50116-5
283 pages

I'd classify this book as an alternate reality/science fiction mash up, to be honest.

In a world like our own, demons have been possessing people since the 1950's and now people have just learned to accept it, wait it out and move on when the demon leaves.

Del Pierce is one of these people. Possessed as a child by a demon called the Hellion, a Denise the Menace type demon whose trouble making can be deadly, it took his family a long time and a lot of work to get Del back. Though, years later, it would seem that the Hellion never left.

For a first time novel, this one reads really well. I liked how there were 'intermission' type chapters that gave a glimpse into the different demons and what sort of situations they tended to appear in. As the story progressed, I realized those little vingettes were there for a reason.

The concept is certainly interesting and I think Gregory did a pretty good job of putting together a decent tale with an ending that, although open ended, worked well enough that I wasn't frustrated with a lack of closure.

I'll certainly pick up more of Daryl Gregory's works.

24 Mar 2010

Sims, Warcraft and the library

Heh. I've been working on a single family in Sims 3 lately. The Jones family started out with Devon, single female who painted and gardened her way through life until she ended up pregnant by Stiles McGraw. She decided to keep the baby, but her relationship with Stiles never went anywhere... the two aren't even on speaking terms now.

So, Devon raised Tiffany all on her own and, just recently, was tickled pink when Tiffany got married to Shayne. Everyone in the house helps out with the garden (which containes a lot of perfect generation plants) and the house and they all get along really well. When Tiffany /finally/ got pregnant, somethine strange happened to Shayne. He took to shutting himself up in a tiny room all alone, spending days in there just gabbing on the phone, until one day he just... dropped dead. So Tiffany's twin girls will never know their dad. *tear*

Patch day was yesterday in WoW. No major changes for resto druids, which is nice, but lots of improvements to the dungeon finder and some of the more annoying dungeons with loooooooong ass intro animations. Didn't even bother logging in yesterday until just before the weekly raid time for the guild. Noth the plaguebringing went down fast and netted everyone their 5 frost badges.

Took the little guy out today to the library. Came home with more books than I took back, but can't complain too much. Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Little Bee by Chris Cleave, The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, Horns by Joe Hill all decided to follow me home... all in hardcover :p The only downfall to getting things from the library.

Weather is starting to get nicer and nicer. May have to set aside a weekend to force all the guys to help with some spring cleaning!

22 Mar 2010

Potty Training Sucks

I've been trying to potty train my son for a while now. He's been in pullups for a few months and hasn't made any progress so today we're switching tactics and stuffing him into regular underpants.

We just had accident #1... should be interesting to see if this method works any faster than just leaving him in pullups to avoid the messes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll hate the wet feeling and the ick of the accidents running down his legs (he's in the tub right now so I think that's a definate plus to this method).

Survived March Break! Both the older kids are back in school today, so I'm enjoying some peace and quiet. Can't really complain too much though... eldest spent the week at his dad's place and on Sunday both boys went to lunch and a movie with their grandparents.

Currently Reading: Pandemonium - by Darly Gregory

21 Mar 2010

Housekeeping and ramblings

Finally found a layout that I actually like for this blog. Got it working with very little difficulty, I must say.

Still surrounded by piles of books that I absolutely must get read. Down to only one library book, which is awsome, though I did put another one on hold because I need it for a potluck read for Novel Ladies (one of the groups I belong to on Goodreads). My recommendation for April's group read actually got selected, so I'll be reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker next month.

Right now I've just finished the third book in the Allie Beckstrom series, Magic in the Shadows and started Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory.

The Allie Beckstrom series by Devon Monk is a really great set of books to read if you are into urban fantasy with a female main character. Allie lives in a world where ordinary people have access to magic; she is a Hound -- a person who can track a spell back to the person who cast it -- and is good at what she does. Thankfully, Ms. Monk decided not to make Allie an uberheroine; the girl pays a physical price for each spell she uses ranging from headaches all the way to the full blown flu and worse. Good action, some romance (not alot to put of non-romance types) and great plot lines make this series one that I'm eagerly waiting for the next installment from.

In other news, the guild decided to try an ICC 25man run this evening. Was nice to see we only needed a couple of non-guild bodies to fill out the ranks. Unfortunately, even though we managed to clear the trash without many issues, Lord Marrowgar turned out to be too much for us to handle at this stage of the game. Five wipes later we decided to call it. Both of the ten man groups will continue to run their weekly run, but I think it'll take a few more 25 man runs for the two teams to be able to gel enough to get Marrowgar down.

I'm making some progress on leveling my jewelcrafting on my death knight. I just need to spend more time actually leveling /her/ and not just her craft. My priest also needs some work so that I can catch up to the man's warrior. He dinged 49 tonight and that puts him 9 levels past me.

My resto druid is going to need to undergo some gear changes, I think. I may have to toss some of my leather pieces to go with cloth for the extra bonus healing/spell power. I may be hitting the #2 spot in some of the groups I heal for, but I still feel like something is really lacking when it comes to his healing performance. Time to scour the web for more infos I suppose.

Currently Reading: Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory

19 Jan 2010

New Year, New Updates

So. January may be almost over, but I figured I'd better start getting a few of my resolutions into gear.

I've decided that blogger is going to be my platform of choice for the time being simply because it lets me play with flash widgets in my sidebars. LiveJournal and Wordpress don't seem to like to play nice with flash widgets :(.

What you won't see here: deep, intellectual discussions about current events/polititcs etc.

What you are likely to see here: random ramblings on my day to day life, book and/or movie "reveiws", what I'm currently reading, possible ramblings on my attempts to get healthy and/or lose weight.

In other words, this really is a mostly personal type blog, so don't expect to gain any sort of mental enlightenment from reading it. :D