River Secrets (The Books of Bayern, #3)
by Shannon Hale
Razo has never been anything but ordinary. He’s not very fast or tall or strong, so when he’s invited to join an elite mission escorting the ambassador into Tira, Bayern’s great enemy, he’s sure it’s only out of pity. But as Razo finds potential allies among the Tiran, including the beautiful Lady Dasha, he realizes it may be up to him to stop a murderer and get the Bayern army safely home again. (goodreads.com)
I don’t think any of these Books of Bayern will live up to the first – Goose Girl. I was so enchanted by that book I was eager to read the others once I discovered that they existed. Last year at Christmas I treated myself to the Bayern box set and I am finally getting to the end of those three books. I didn’t enjoy River Secrets as much as GG, but I did like it better than Enna Burning.
The good parts of River Secrets were Razo and Dasha. The bad, well, I thought the story wasn’t as enchanting, but then again it’s about two countries ready to go to war and the egg shells that were being walked on as they learned to live together. I did like the humour in this story, Razo has always been the sort of comic relief guy so it was sort of fun to give him his own story. I was on the edge of “too much of Razo isn’t a good thing” the entire time. He never really crossed that line though and I loved watching him develop his self confidence and self esteem.
No one ever takes Razo seriously and he often gets over looked, which ends up being to his advantage. What I liked though, was that the Captain of the guard actually listened to Razo and sought his opinion and help in matters. Razo has always been the joke of the story and this made me feel like the character would have more substance and I was right.
Razo is probably one of my favourite characters in the world of Bayern. I always like the comic relief and he doesn’t take himself seriously therefore making him a much more palatable character than say, Enna. I thought Enna was a whiny self-centered girl. I didn’t change my opinion much in this story, though she wasn’t the focus and in fact as a side character she was quite flat.
I’ve got one more story to read in the Bayern world and I am about to start it now!
Books of Bayern
- Goose Girl
- Enna Burning
- River of Secrets
- Forest Born
Today the cable guy came over and disconnected our cable line. We’re now officially a house without cable. To be honest, I haven’t really watched anything but the news during dinner for ages. I can’t think of the last time I sat down and watched a show. The stations we did watch, like Star!, got reformatted and the two things I enjoyed watching on that station (TMZ and The Ellen Show) were no longer available. We used to watch Attack of the Show on G4tv but they changed that show and we couldn’t stand it anymore.
Shawn watched tv twice a week – wrestling on Mondays and occasionally on Fridays. Other than that? Nothing.
Our tv gets used for watching shows on DVD, or playing video games, and now, watching things through Netflix. We actually increased our internet a little to have the, er, higher data thing? (I have no idea what it’s called). So streaming video isn’t a problem.
Down the road we’re thinking of investing in AppleTV, but for now we’re fine without it.
The last time I had no cable was probably about 10 years ago now. It was after my ex moved out and before I started living with Shawn. I never watched TV so I cut that cost from my life and I didn’t miss it once. Not a once.
There just isn’t anything worth watching for me nowadays, and the shows I enjoy I’d rather watch on DVD all at once. Every year at Christmas Shawn’s best friend gets me How I Met Your Mother on DVD. It’s not even a show I can catch on a regular basis during the week, so watching the entire season, two episodes at a time without interruption is nice. We tend to watch shows when we have dinner (yes, I know better habits could be observed, but we do talk during the shows while we eat!)
I suggested we cut out cable a few months ago and we’ve been weighing the pros and cons. Turns out the sports station the wrestling is on will be getting the wrestling online soon. This way Shawn won’t miss the shows he actually enjoys which I felt bad of robbing him of.
Meanwhile we’re never in the basement anymore unless we watch shows on Netflix or play a game. We’re both upstairs on our laptops. What was the point of paying what we were paying a month when we weren’t actually using the cable?
So now our bill will be almost cut in half, which will be easier on our finances. Sadly it’s not quite a half because we had a discount on the internet by having the cable hooked up, too. Bastards. But still, the monthly bill will be considerably reduced.
And we can always reactivate the cable at any time. We had to make the decision to cancel it before April 1st though due to the one-year contracts these places now have. I don’t see us making that decision any time soon though. TV has just lost its appeal to both of us, it’s been a while, too.
On Tuesday morning I had my 6 month follow-up with my Rheumatologist as I am still being followed for my mystery pain that seems to be caused for no reason. This is the Utopian Department of the hospital. The one where everyone is super nice and happy and you get taken on time. The appointment went something like this:
Dr: So when I saw you in August we said you should try to decrease from 20mg to 10mg for two weeks and then try to stop the meds.
Me: Yeah, well, after 5 days of 10mg the pain was so bad I was back to not being able to exist without hurting.
Dr: So, you should keep taking the meds if you’re ok with that. They are not harmful and such a small dosage isn’t something I would worry about.
Me: I’m so down with that, yo.
Dr: And as I told you last time, you have Fibromyalgia and…
Me: Um… actually you told me last time “I don’t want to say you have Fibromyalgia because of all the ‘stigma’ attached, it’s sort of a cop-out diagnosis”
Dr: Oh. Well, I wrote here that you have Fibromyalgia.
(please note my doctor is awesome and this was a very humour-filled conversation. Not once did I get upset about the conversation. It’s one of those “you had to be there” things because he’s a great doctor!)
So I am officially diagnosed with something.
What does this mean? Well, to me it really doesn’t mean anything. If you look up Fibromyalgia online it is pretty much the cop-out diagnosis. It means that there is no medical reason doctors can find to explain why whatever is happening is happening. It has like, all the symptoms in the world. It’s one of those things that a person can look at and pick out 10 or more things and say “OMG! That is SO what I have!” and then pester their doctor for drugs and time off work.
Every single serious and scary reason for my extreme pain in my tendons has been ruled out by blood tests, MRIs, x-rays and um.. wait, think that’s it. I have had so many different blood tests I am amazed I have had enough blood in my body to live this long. The pain I was feeling wasn’t in my head. The inflammation actually showed up in blood tests and scans. But there is No. Reason. For. It.
I guess now I can play the Fibromyalgia card for things. I tried it at work already stating that as I now have an official reason for my chronic fatigue that I should be allowed to take naps during the work day whenever I need one. This was met by a smirk and eye roll by my boss so I tossed out, “Or, I can just say that my stress level is too high and go on 6 months disability. Neener neener. Make your choice, woman.” That didn’t go over too well either. Although I think I might be closer to making the nap thing work. (I love my boss, she’s so fun to be snarky with and she’s very supportive of me.)
My doctor can’t tell me why this happened or what I can do to make it go away. I am sleeping better (because these pills also apparently help with insomnia), I am exercising a lot because I don’t hurt with the meds. I am eating better (most of the time) and the only thing I can’t do anything about is reduce the stress in my life because, hoooo boy, yeah. Not going to happen. I have a very stressful job, too, so that’s not really something I can change unless I leave it.
I don’t like not knowing WHY this is happening and HOW I can make it go away. This diagnosis is almost the same to me as a non-diagnosis. Sure I have a name to toss around now, but it really means (to me) “we have no idea, so we’ll just make something up.”
What matters to me is that with 20mg of some drug I don’t hurt and I can function in every day life like a normal person and I don’t think about the fact that something is wrong. When the pain is back that’s all I can think about and I start to panic that I have cancer or something just as deadly. When I am not in any pain? I don’t think twice about it.
I guess it’s nice to finally have a doctor tell me I have something after so many years of being in and out of the hospital with real, visible problems but never any cause. I guess. I can’t really decide how I feel. Yes, I have a “label” but at the same time it doesn’t really mean anything. I hurt a lot, my tendons swell and inflame from head to toe when I am not taking these little pills, but there’s no reason they should be. No medical reason at any rate.
But I now have a label, and if there is stigma attached, then so be it. I am not about to take advantage of my health benefits and go on sick leave for 6 months (although, some days I am tempted to do just that. Six months away from the office… bliss!). The only way I would take leave is if it was very serious and I was near death. I managed to work through the pain as it reached its peak before I got to see my Rheumatologist so I think I can handle working without pain.
I don’t think this changes anything, but I guess now I can tell people what I have and not just say “Well, I can’t lift that because I hurt” and not seem lazy.
I don’t know. I don’t know enough about this to decide how I feel.
by Chris Wooding
Poison has always been a willful, contrary girl, prone to being argumentative and stubborn. So when her sister is snatched by the mean-spirited faeries, she seeks out the Phaerie Lord to get her back. But finding him isn’t easy, and the quest leads Poison into a murderous world of intrigue, danger, and deadly storytelling. With only her wits and her friends to aid her, Poison must survive the attentions of the Phaerie Lord, rescue her sister, and thwart a plot that’s beyond anything she (or the reader) can imagine. . . (goodreads.com)
I have now realized that when Michelle Harrison tells me to read a book, that it is fantastic, that I have to listen to her better. Sure I went out and bought two books based on her recommendation, but it took me forever to get to them. Aside from this book, Michelle also told me to read The Merrybegot, which I finally did last May. I’m not sure what possessed me to pick up Poison from my TBR shelf, but I did. Next thing I know? I wasn’t putting it down for anything and I finished it in an afternoon.
My hesitation over reading this was over such a silly thing – the font. I found the font face of the text very hard on my eyes. It made me dizzy at times and I had to re-read some of the passages. I am very sensitive to the look and texture of words and this book sadly was one that did not agree with my eyes.
However once I started reading and realized how amazing the book actually was I forced my eyes to focus and I would look away occasionally to steady my head. It’s hard when reading a book gives you a vertigo type sensation!
Poison is a wonderful fairy tale (phaerie tale?) that is suspenseful and whimsical all at the same time. It has some very creepy bad guys and some very charming and lovable good guys.
I think Poison was a great main character. I loved her voice and her way of thinking. She seemed to keep cool under all sorts of pressure and rather than feel like she was acting out of character for someone in her situation, I honestly felt she was reacting the way she was because she was meant to. She was different.
There’s a really cool twist towards the end of the story which made me love the entire book so much more. It was so original and surprising I actually breathed “oh… cool!” while I read it.
If you like dark faerie stories, that aren’t all romancy and paranormal, but more like a fairy tale, then I would suggest you find a copy of Poison and read it right away. The book originally came out in 2006 so it likely won’t be featured on the display at the store, but I would make an effort to check the shelves under “W” to see what you can find! I must read more by Chris Wooding now because he tells a great story!
The Cabinet of Wonders (Kronos Chronicles, #1)
by Marie Rutkoski
Petra Kronos has a simple, happy life. But it’s never been ordinary. She has a pet tin spider named Astrophil who likes to hide in her snarled hair and give her advice. Her best friend can trap lightning inside a glass sphere. Petra also has a father in faraway Prague who is able to move metal with his mind. He has been commissioned by the prince of Bohemia to build the world’s finest astronomical clock. Petra’s life is forever changed when, one day, her father returns home – blind. The prince has stolen his eyes, enchanted them, and now wears them. But why? Petra doesn’t know, but she knows this: she will go to Prague, sneak into Salamander Castle, and steal her father’s eyes back. Joining forces with Neel, whose fingers extend into invisible ghosts that pick locks and pockets, Petra finds that many people in the castle are not what they seem, and that her father’s clock has powers capable of destroying their world. (goodreads.com)
Good golly! This was just a superb book! I wasn’t sure what I wanted to read the other night and this has been sitting in my TBR for, like, ever, and I picked it up and wrinkled my nose and thought “I don’t know if this is what I am looking for”. *points to self* Hi, Mood Reader here. I started the prologue and was just… I don’t know, swept away? Enchanted? Captured? The flow of the words, the dialogue between the two men, the feel of the book just from those few pages washed over me and settled my nerves a little. I wasn’t completely sold until the end of the first chapter and I had grown very fond of Petra and her little mechanical spider, Astrophil.
Thing is, as soon as I read the back and saw that there was a pet spider in this story I almost ignored it completely. I am deathly afraid of spiders and I can’t even talk about them without shivering and sweating. Having a pet spider wasn’t the best way to sell this book to me. But he’s made of metal and he is so. utterly. charming. I described him to my husband as C3P0 in teeny spider form. He was let into my heart the second he said “I was trying to read about other spiders, like me”. Oh my gosh, sympathy and tears rushed through me and I thought, ok, well, he can’t be that bad. In fact he was one of my favourite things about the entire story.
This is another one of those stories that feels like a folktale. I’d put it up there with Plain Kate and the series Tales From the Sinister City. I don’t want to call them just fantasy because I feel that makes people think of dragons and swords and sorcery. These are fantasy in folktale form. Folk-fantasy? What the heck would you call that? It’s just a very Storytelling sort of feel. There are magical elements to the plot, but it’s really a different feel than regular high fantasy.
All the characters were charming and/or creepy as heck. The Prince is a loon and I love that about him. Petra is a good person and her actions win her many allies. I loved her relationship with Iris in the Dye Room and I think Iris is up there in my list of favourite characters with Astrophil.
As I have mentioned before, I do not like eyes. Stories about them, medical whatnots, ugh. It’s gross. (also on that list are: feet, armpits, nakedness of any sort…) Something about eye stuff just grosses me out way too much so I had to skim over the parts where they talk about the stolen eyes and the bandages and ….. ugh.. have to stop. I can’t even write about it. *shudder*
I have added this book to the pile of books I have told my husband he needs to read. Oddly that pile is just made from Middle Grade books. Why is it the higher up in age a story goes the less plot and more useless romantic lusting is thrown in there? There are a ton of fantastic middle grade books right now that are long and well written and just full of STORY. I wish there was stuff like this out when I was 10-12 and was reading everything in sight. At that time I was going through my father’s fantasy collection and devouring Piers Anthony’s Xanth series and anything else he had on his shelf (oddly enough it took me until I worked in a bookstore at the age of 20 to discover David Edding’s Belgariad series. I don’t know if I just didn’t notice them when I was 12 or my father had given them away?)
The Cabinet of Wonders was indeed wonderful. To the point that when I finished the book Saturday night I made my husband look on the Chapigo site to see if the second book was in stock anywhere. (My computer was already off and i was about to fall over asleep so I made him do it. heh). The second book comes out in paperback this month! March 29th to be exact. One store has a copy already and I might mosey on over there this week at lunch and find $7 somewhere and get it. I was so enamoured by the story that I would honestly like to continue on as soon as I can because that is the mindset I am currently in. I am in the world that is created, an old timey Prague and I have the voices and characters in my head. Trying to read anything else right now won’t work very well, I know myself too much.
I love a great story and great storytelling and this book was exactly that.
- The Cabinet of Wonders
- The Celestial Globe
- The Jewel of the Kalderash