i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings.
i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds.
i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Reading in 2010

My reading year started out strong. Dreamgirl by Lauren Mechling, Firespell by Chloe Neill and the discovery of the Percy Jackson series. I could tell by the books I started the year off with that 2010 was going to be a great year for reading.

I managed to read a few classics by joining the Time Quintet challenge, however fell short having only read the first three books by Madeline L’Engle and never getting to the last 2. I hope to get to those this year, however because I am trying to whittle down my TBR pile before I add many other books to it. (The books I bought with Christmas money do not count!)

There were a few duds and disappointments in the year as well. I seem to be the only person who didn’t like The Iron King by Julie Kagawa and though the rest of the reading world seems to be devouring her series, I couldn’t even finish the first book. I will say that series has some of the prettiest covers though.

The three books I adored the most this year are all written by Canadians. I find that amusing and just, brilliantly fantastic for my country. Those three books are:

Plain Kate – Erin Bow
The Day the Falls Stood Still – Cathy Marie Buchanan
Dragon Seer – Janet McNaughton

As I write this post, I have finished 120 books for the year. Those three stand out among them. These are books I recommend to people highly. These are books that struck a chord with me somehow. Each one is different yet each one captured me so completely that I still think about parts of the stories months after finishing them.

The 2010 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren allowed me to discover new authors that I would not have otherwise known of. Some books I had on my own radar, others were completely new to me. One of the most outstanding books was The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones which my crappy library actually had in stock. This book surprised me in it’s story and world. I have been desperately hoping for a sequel to this enchanting dystopian middle grade book but I can’t seem to find any news on that front. Please, please, please Book Gods, let the author release another book in this series!

And of course some of my most anticipated books of 2010 were also well received. I am a huge fan of Michelle Harrison’s 13 Treasures series and the sequel 13 Curses arrived just in time for my birthday in January. That book did NOT disappoint and I find myself anticipating the final chapter in the series for 2011 – 13 Secrets comes out in January and I hope to have my copy by February. (*hint* *hint* Jenny & Michelle). The other highly anticipated novel was by another Harrison – Kim Harrison and her latest Rachel Morgan novel, Black Magic Sanction. I can’t say that I adored it as much as others in the series, but it still made me happy.

I managed to read more books this year than last year and that’s even with an abysmal reading record for February a and March (due to LASIK eye surgery) and an abysmal October and November. I’m happy with what I read. I wish I had read more of the books on my shelves though. Not being able to buy books for much of 2010 helped with that. I have been shopping my own shelves lately. You can take a look at my list of books read this year by clicking on the tab above “BOOKS READ” and then scrolling down to the year in question. I decided to keep track of the books AS I read them this year because last year it took me forever to make up that list in time for the end of the year. Ha! I shall do that again for 2011.

Do I have reading goals? Not really. Just read for fun like I normally do. If I am not getting into a book, set it aside and try something else.

I am happy with the reading I did this year, very  happy. I read some of the most amazing stories in 2010 and I can’t wait to read more in 2011!

Happy New Year to my blog readers and Happy Reading in 2011!

the year of doing things

I’ve been reading through my end-of-year posts and have noticed a pattern – most of the years have sucked. Normally I would have had a stellar 2009 and 2010 would have sucked, but 2009 was miserable and 2010 just continued that trend. Am I looking forward to 2011?

I have no idea.

To be honest, I am scared of what 2011 will bring.

If my usual pattern held up, I’d have a lovely 2011 with good luck and happy times. But I don’t know if that will happen.

This is the first year that I have not suffered a loss of a family member in 3 years. 2007 saw the passing of my Aunt from cancer that she only had for a few months. 2008, the passing of my Grandfather at 96 years old who died of old age. 2009, the passing of my Grandmother who only stayed with us 10 months after her husband of 67 years left her. This year, there was no loss of a person in my family. Yes, I have suffered a different sort of loss, one that has actually affected us more than death of a loved one could. It’s been tough and spirits are low, but through it all… I continued to Do Things.

The first song I heard at the start of 2010 was, This Is The New Year by Ian Axel*. I happened to be awake and online at the turn of the years and on Twitter Ingrid Michaelson posted a link to the song’s video. There was something about that song that just struck me. It is so hopeful and uplifting and it filled me with such joy that I made a decision. This is the year I will go out and Do Things. I will suck it up, socialize, be active, leave the house and Do Things. I will make 2010 my year, my New Year.

I did Do Things, some were big (joined Highland Dancing!) some were smaller – went to friends’s houses for dinner. But to me they were all things I normally do not do. I turn down invitations and don’t go out after work. Here’s a list of some of the Things I did Do.

– went to see my first Opera in January (our School’s production of The Rake’s Progress)

– went to see the Waterhouse exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

– Stayed at Curves pretty religiously from January – May: would have stayed longer but their equipment is so poorly taken care of and the new staff they had were so pushy about buying other things, that I just stopped enjoying my workouts.

– had laser eye surgery (although I am still on the fence about being happy about that)

– went to cheer my friends on in their first Highland competition

– JOINED Highland Dance in the fall and then had my first show in public. Don’t know if I’ll compete ever. Pondering.

– went to see CATS at Place des Arts (even though we couldn’t afford it)

– drove more than I have in years…but only in the spring. That stopped once our road was dug up. Maybe 2011 will see me write “FINALLY GOT LICENCE!” but I doubt it. 😉

– helped Shawn save a bird from our drain pipe. 😉

– had our bank account hacked and money stolen TWICE. (Ok, so this wasn’t a Doing Thing that I did really, but still, it’s important and scary)

– went to NYC by train, by myself to attend Book Expo America and roomed with two people I had never met in person. Those of you who know me and my panic attacks know how HUGE this  is for me. I came out of this with some of the best new friendships I could ever have asked for. Kristi and Erica are awesome people and I wish I could hang out with them in NYC again!

–  I met/reconnected with my bestfriend from my childhood for the first time since 1984.. wow.

– socialized. Yes, that seems lame, but I never do. I stay at home and become hermit-like. This year I did things with friends and forced myself to stay out past my bed time. Even if it’s going to see my friend’s boyfriend (now fiance) and his quintet/trio play Jazz gigs (which were amazing!) or going over for girly night dinner. I had fun, I laughed and I didn’t turn into a pumpkin at 9PM.

Nothing huge and flashy happened. There was no exciting trip to California as we had planned for our 5th anniversary due to other stupidity in our lives, but that will happen one year. I know it will.

This year I challenged myself to come out of my shell a little and I did. I am proud of that. I am still continuing the Highland classes, which are the most intense and difficult things I have ever done. After 5 minutes I am sweating like I have never been before and I hurt, a lot. And yet it is so bloody fun.

Despite the 7 months of suck we’ve been going through I have managed to find things that can take my mind of the stress and sadness and give me some pleasure. I read 120 books this year (hoping to finish one more today so I can put that at 121 and keep it in the odd numbers), I wrote a couple of songs (which I haven’t done in YEARS), I made friendships that I hope last a long time, I danced in public, I sang back in the church choir for Advent and Christmas (and the concert).

I lived life.

Which is a rare and bizarre thing for me to do.

Some things I will try to continue to do this coming year. To be honest, I would much rather dub 2011 as The Year I Spent In My Jammies Doing Nothing. But we’ll see about that. 😉

Happy New Year, everyone!

*(I was happy to see that his album was being released on January 3rd and I bought it off iTunes and that entire album has pretty much been my soundtrack for the year!)

If I Stay

If I Stay (Book #1)
by Gayle Forman

Mia has no memory of the accident that changed her life. This inexperienced 17-year-old only recalls riding on that slippery Oregon road with her family, then, in an instant, seeing herself lifted from the twisted wreck. This affecting story of one young woman’s struggle through tragedy and grieving will appeal to readers of books likeThirteen Reasons Why. (goodreads.com)

I have to get this little niggly thing out of the way first – that last line in the summary on Goodreads? I don’t get it. I read Thirteen Reasons Why this summer and it is NOTHING like If I Stay. Yes, I enjoyed both books but I don’t see a connection there. Anyhow that’s the summary I got from Goodreads, and I wasn’t going to leave that last sentence in because it bothered me so much but I did anyways because I wanted to ramble about it. 😛

And now for some back story as to why this book was difficult for me. When I was 18 my best friend who was 17 and her mother were killed in a car accident when a MAC truck hit them. It was October. It was rainy and cold. My mother and her mother had grown up together. My friend and I grew up together. We always said our kids would grow up together. The mother died instantly I was told. My friend passed 24 hours later after falling into a coma. She was 17. Mia is 17. Mia “survived” the crash unlike her family and my friend’s mother.

I know this is fiction but it was so close to home with the age and the accident and the coma and brain swelling. It was hard. It made me wonder if my friend had been outside of her body watching everything going on. If she was scared, alone, tired, in pain. Did she know I was writing a song for her as she finally passed away. Almost at the exact same time they called it and I signed and dated my song.

Whereas I didn’t connect as much with Mia as I did with Sam in Before I Fall, the story was closer to my own reality than Lauren Oliver’s novel was. I don’t know why I suddenly seem to be on such a morbid story line kick, I swear it’s not on purpose! Before I Fall made me wonder what might happen to people when they die – do they really get a chance to relive their last day and make changes? If I Stay made me think of my best friend, taken from the world at such a young age and stuck in limbo for 24 hours after the accident. Could she hear people? Did she know what was going on? What does happen to brain dead or comatose people? What do they hear? Feel? Anything? All I could picture was my friend, who looked nothing like the way Mia was described. The story was nothing like my real life but the situation was so real to me.

Even now, 5 hours after I finished the novel I am thinking of my friend and realizing how much emotion the novel has brought up in me without even realizing it. I suddenly achingly miss my grandparents who passed in 2008 and 2009, my aunt who passed in 2007 as well as my friend and her mother who passed in 1994.

All of this and yet I still feel that this book doesn’t need to have a sequel. I am not entirely certain why a sequel was decided. I think if you added another 50 pages to the story it would have been enough to resolve it. I don’t even know if I want to read the sequel. I am happy not knowing what happens. Somehow it makes it more realistic and poignant. Maybe it’s just to raw for me and I can’t continue to wander down the path with Mia as she makes her decision. I don’t think I would be at all happy with either decision if I think about it. I like the not knowing. It feels more like real life.

At the same time I want to read more by the author. I like her writing. I remember also liking her talking while at the Teen Author Carnival in NYC in May. This was one of the only books I bought while there and I stood in line to get it signed. I was very happy to meet her, having not really known much about her or the book before I went to TAC. Something about the author made me curious about the book and then the book made me like the author even more. Happy circle!

I think maybe I need to read something happier now because I feel like I am drowning in a puddle of tears with all these books about death! *sniff*

Before I Fall

Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver

What if you had only one day to live?
What would you do?
Who would you kiss?
And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing. (goodreads.com)

I won this book at the Teen Author Carnival in NYC in May, I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up before now. I think perhaps because I thought it would be all emotional and depressing. It’s not though. Yes, there is emotion but it’s not overwhelming and suffocating.

This is a brilliant debut novel. I started it last night (Monday) and thought I wouldn’t get into it as fast as I did. Within an hour I was a quarter of the way through the novel. I went up to bed thinking I would sleep, but just kept reading. I was halfway through the book before my eyes closed on their own and told me I had to stop reading. As soon as I got up in the morning I started reading – even before turning my laptop on! This is a Big Deal. By 10:30 am I was finished and content.

I had to know what was going to happen the next time Sam woke up. I had to know. I wanted desperately to see what choices she made and what she did that day and how she’d end up waking up again to the same morning.

When I was rambling on excitedly about how awesome this book was to my husband he said “Oh, so it’s like Groundhog’s Day but with less Bill Murray?” I yelled, NO! Only because I HATED that movie with a passion and I was loving this book so much. I don’t think Bill Murray died in that movie though, right? He was just reliving the same stupid day over and over again until he got it right or turned happy or something? Either way that movie gave me nightmares and I will stop talking about it now.

I started off not caring much for Sam and her friends. They are the kind of girls I avoided in school. They are shallow and mean spirited and bad eggs with the drinking and the smoking and the not caring about other people’s feelings. I did not like them. And then Sam grew on me as she relived her last day over and over again. She became more of a real person to me and less of a 2-dimensional character in a book.  By the end, on her last day, I even shed a tear for her as everything fell into place and she was finally gone. I felt sorry for the life she could have had if she had only just realized what needed to change before the accident.

I don’t know why books about death appeal to me. I swear I do not have a morbid obsession with death. I think I just like the different opinions of what happens to a person after they die. Gabrielle Zevin’s Elsewhere was another book I truly enjoyed that dealt with the after death stuff.

I am happy I chose this book to read last night. I think I made the right choice.

(And although this wasn’t originally on my 2010 Debut Author list I am totally putting it there now since it qualifies! ;))

Cast in Silence

Cast in Silence (Chronicles of Elantra, #5)
by Michelle Sagara

Funny thing about this book. I hated it and my husband loved it. I thought it was the worst book in the series and my husband thought it was the best. Go figure.

It took  me forever to read this book. I bought it in the summer and stopped reading about 100 pages in because I was bored out of my mind. My husband picked it up when I stopped and read it in two nights. Huh. I finally thought I would pick it up again while I am on holiday this week and it was still a struggle to get through.

I don’t think I even know what the heck went on in this story. Something about a tower that has a living avatar and it was unhappy or something and was destroying the fief it was in. There was a  lot of vague description of things happening that I just couldn’t wrap my brain around and I spent most of the time asking my husband “What the hell is going on? Did you understand any of this?”

I also spent a lot of time flipping pages going “Blah, blah, blah, unhappy childhood, things I regret, whine, blah, blah” for a lot of Kaylin’s inner thoughts and struggles as she navigated through the tower. I loved Kaylin. I did. But something about her in this book just made me lose any patience I had with her. Yes, she did things she feels guilty about now to survive, get over it. Really. Yes, she is an abysmal student and fails everything and doesn’t get to work on time, but for the love of all that is holy – she’s the only one who ever figures anything out. She’s like this idiot savant or something.

The whole business with the words forming into solid sigils and no one can see them but her and the words taking shape but she can’t really see them to see the shape? I am tired of it. I am because it is all so vague it’s frustrating. You’d think by the 5th book we’d be able to get a better description or something?

I will of course read the next book because every series is bound to have one book that you just don’t connect with and I believe this one was mine. I found this book long and confusing and I was so happy when it was over. I contemplated giving up and just leaving the last 100 pages and starting something else, but I pushed through and made it to the end. The end was slightly more understandable, only I am not entirely sure what happened with Tiamaris and the Tower. The bright side is, I love that Dragon character so I was happy he was in the story!

Totally not sure why this book is called Cast in SILENCE there wasn’t anything silent in the book. No lack of noise, no robbing of voices. I would have called it Cast in SHADOW. That would have made more sense to me.

The Chronicles of Elantra

  1. Cast in Shadow
  2. Cast in Courtlight
  3. Cast in Secret
  4. Cast in Fury
  5. Cast in Silence
  6. Cast in Chaos (August 2010)