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

Shadow and Bone

 Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1)
by Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart. (goodreads.com)

I’m on a fantasy kick, so that poor little Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult just isn’t getting read. I am now scouring my shelves (aka: piles of books all over my house because I don’t actually have shelves) for all my fantasy-esque books because that’s what I want to read RIGHT NOW.

I was gifted Shadow and Bone recently (thank you!) and it was a tasty fantasy treat. I’m used to reading fantasy worlds based on celtic-type ideas, so a fantasy world with a Russian flavour was intriguing to me. It’s nice to read something a little out of the ordinary once in a while, at least outside of my comfort zone.

I’ve seen mixed reviews of this book out there on the internet, but I have to say that I truly did enjoy this story. I liked the idea of the different Grisha and the way they distinguished themselves by the colour robe they wore. At least, I think keftas are robes? Maybe jackets? I was picturing robes, so I’ll go with that.

There were a few times I thought I might get annoyed by potential stereotypical YA plot lines – the potential love triangle, the potential “I’m so plain and everyone else is so beautiful” complaint, but both times I was surprised by how what I thought was going to happen fizzled out. Alina’s few comments about her appearance came off as just regular insecurity and it turns out that there was something to the whole issue the entire time.

I even liked the Darkling. He wasn’t too mysterious and broody (so many males ARE in YA these days. Geez. Get some therapy and Prozac already). I was sort of thrown by the way that story line went and I think I was upset about it. I’m on the fence. I liked that I was surprised but I was mad at the characters. heh

Overall, I think this was a pretty good debut fantasy book in the YA category. I have said this many times before – there just isn’t enough fantasy in YA. There is way too much paranornal/urban fantasy stuff these days, and as much as I like to think that there can be magic and creatures alive in our own world, there’s nothing I love more than to escape to a totally new world where people travel by horse, eat hunks of bread and cheese and are just totally removed from the world as we know it.

I will certainly be picking up the second book in this trilogy when it comes out next year! I can’t wait for more fantasy in my life!

(Unrelated: I am so abysmally behind in my reading challenges. I got this book in under the wire to finish in June, making it my 5th book read that month BUT in August last year I’d hit my 100th book mark! I’m only at 52 so far for 2012! I’m quite ashamed of myself. I just can’t seem to find that reading groove this year. Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on myself to read? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m sure I won’t meet my goal by the end of 2012. Who knows?)

The Grisha Trilogy

  1. Blood and Shadow
  2. Seige and Storm – 2013
  3. Ruin and Rising – 2014

Rambling Reader: 10 Middle Grade Books to Read This Summer – Syndicated on BlogHer!

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

Something very exciting happened to me this week! I have an official BlogHer Original post up over at, well, BlogHer.com! I wrote an article about 10 Middle Grade books that would be great summer reads for both kids and adults!

Here’s a snippet of the article, you can follow the link above to read it all!

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I love more than letting my imagination run wild while I enjoy glorious summer days and evenings. There are tons of great books out there, but for some reason I still feel like my perfect summer read is an amazing Middle Grade book. All I know is that there’s something about summer that inevitably draws my attention to the Middle Grade shelf at home, in the store or the library. Here are 10 of my favourite MG reads to help you make your own summer magical!

And if you’re wondering what books I suggested, take a gander at these titles!

  

 

  

 

 If you’re a MG fan and you haven’t read any of these titles yet – go check out the post and then check out these titles! You will not be disappointed. 😉

 

Legacy

Legacy (Wintercraft, #3)
by Jenna Burtenshaw

The veil which marks the division between life and death is falling. Lost souls are seeping through to roam Albion’s graveyard city of Fume. Kate Winters’ recent memory is lost. Relieved to be heading home to Albion, Kate can’t shake the feeling that Dalliah Grey, the woman she’s supposed to be working for, is not to be trusted. Disgraced warrior Silas Dane plans to rescue Kate and save Albion from the advancing armies seeking to profit from the confusion. But the veil will not be easy to repair and Silas knows sacrifices have to be made. Kate must return to the dark secrets detailed by her ancestors in the ancient book of WINTERCRAFT and learn from their mistakes to save herself. (goodreads.com)

So, true story, I had just finished watching season one of Game of Thrones and it’s going to be a very long time before season two is available on DVD and I might be going through some serious withdrawal, and seem to always be talking to my dogs and husband in a really bad British accent, because after watching 10 episodes of GoT I only want to talk with a British accent.

ANYHOW because of this, my brain is all obsessed with GoT and all it’s awkward, graphic, BOOBIES, fantasy porn world with swords and horses (I SO want to star on a show where I get to ride horses all the time. I do NOT want to be a show where I have to show my BOOBIES all the time. Nope.)

ANYHOW… since I was in this weird fantasy world mind-set I was unable to continue reading many of the other books I had going, including the one I currently have on my sidebar at the time of writing this post. Nothing was filling that GoT void that had appeared in my brain. Somehow I realized that I still had Jenna Burtenshaw’s final Wintercraft book on my shelf waiting to be read.

OH BOY!

I ordered this book back when it came out in the UK earlier in the Spring, but I was having that Unable to Read Thing going on and I just didn’t pick up, but it was EXACTLY what I needed to transition from Game of Thrones to reading books again. I even managed to read some of it out loud to the dogs IN A BRITISH ACCENT (note: the dogs didn’t care. Nor were they at all impressed.)

Wintercraft is a freaking AMAZING fantasy series for young adults. AMAZING. There is fighting and horseback riding and death! It’s not at all as graphic as GoT. There are no BOOBIES! nor are there copious graphic doggy-style sex scenes (THANK THE GODS!) but it’s dark and moody and fantastical and there is death and spirits and soulless people and magic and just… yay!

There just isn’t enough YA Fantasy out there and this is one series that kicks butt in that genre. If you love fantasy and YA you really, truly need to pick this series up. It’s out in North America – at least the first two books are. Shadowcry (The Secrets of Wintercraft) and Blackwatch (The Secrets of Wintercraft)) are the US/Canadian titles. I, of course, have fed my UK edition obsession by getting them all in UK edition, but that’s me. 😉

I also would like to mention that Silas Dane is one of my favourite characters of all time. There’s just something about him that makes me love him and want to give him many hugs and bake him cookies and brew up cups of tea. I don’t normally get attached to characters very deeply, but Silas is one that just tugs at my heartstrings, which is odd considering his character, but eh, it’s what happened. I want to hug him. Oh, Silas.

And totally unrelated to the story itself, but is in the book – is this quote from Jenna’s author bio:

– she once ran a shelter for sick and unwanted guinea pigs, which often had more than fifty residents at one time.

That one line, my friends, totally made me cry. I don’t know if I was strangely overemotional that night, but when I read that tears just welled up in my eyes and my lungs felt all heavy. Those POOR GUINEA PIGS! Unwanted! *sobs* That just broke my heart, but then warmed my heart because Jenna was rescuing them. I actually read this as soon as I finished the book, as I am wont to do. I always read the author bios AFTER I finish the book (strangely this one is the first page in the book I have, so I made sure to avoid it most of the book. =P) *sniff* poor little unwanted guinea pigs. You are the Silas Danes of the rodent world. I WILL HUG YOU ALL! (even though guinea pigs, as well as hamsters (ESPECIALLY HAMSTERS) freak me the hell out because I am convinced I will accidentally squish all their internal organs out through their mouths because they are so squishy. I HATE holding those things. I was terrified of my friend’s hamsters when I was a kid. SO SQUISHY!

Ok, so I realize this post likely makes me seem like I am on drugs. I am not. I swear! Nothing not prescribed by my doctor, I mean. 😉

I’m done now. If you love fantasy, read these books. That is all.

Wintercraft

  1. Wintercraft
  2. Blackwatch
  3. Legacy

video tour of jinx’s garden & tomato taste test!

Jinx shows off his garden.

jinx’s garden

On May 12 I bought plants at the Farmer’s Market and planted a little garden in the back yard.

Happiness in green.

I bought one tomato plant, one cherry tomato plant, one box with some green pepper sprouts, one with red peppers, two tiny English cucumber sprouts and some herbs: cilantro, parsley, mint, basil, lemon thyme and, um, one other I can’t think of right now. Oops.

Generally it’s not safe to plant anything before our long-weekend in May, which was the weekend AFTER I planted. I took a chance though because the long-term forecast looked hot and sunny.

Such tiny little green things. May 21.

Two weeks after I planted, I repotted the tomato plants and added extra earth to the “garden” plot. I was worried about my regular tomatoes because I’d gone too long between getting it and finding a bigger pot to plant it in. Thankfully it came back to life.

It’s ALIIIIVE!

I water the little garden every night that it doesn’t rain. After dinner I’d go out and hose the garden for 15 or so minutes to make sure the earth stayed moist and delicious for those plants. Then I started to notice something…

This is my garden, Mummy.

Jinx would also come out and do the rounds with me. He was very protective of this little garden. He’d follow me from plant to plant as I inspected, pruned and weeded. Once he’d finish inspecting the plants himself (each one) he’d sit back and allow me to water them. This wasn’t MY garden anymore. Not at all.

*snuffle* Everything looks good, here. All systems, go!

Every single evening, Jinx did his rounds before I’d water the plants. Sometimes afterwards, too. He doesn’t eat, nibble or destroy the plants, in fact, he even checked on the cucumber plants right after Sophie flattened them earlier this month. He was quite concerned.

It’s ok, little plant! Do you need mouth to mouth resuscitation?

And then he checked out all of his plants to make sure they were coming along…

Herbs? Doin’ ok!

Tomatoes? Growing just fine!

Jinx assured me that I could go away to NYC for a week and he’d watch over the garden for me. It was safe to leave the garden in his paws. (With the help of Shawn, of course, since Jinx hasn’t yet figured out how to use the hose.)

On my honour, Mummy, I will try to be the best Lappie Gardener you have ever known!

And boy did he do a great job! After 7 full days away from home, I came back to see that the plants in the garden had doubled in size!

Jinx done good. June 9

The cucumber plants have now taken over the garden. The cilantro is almost might height. I have two tomatoes and a handful of cherry tomatoes almost ripe and there are even little peppers on the pepper plants. Every night, Jinx patrols the garden and whenever I go check on things his tail wags ever so excitedly and he prances around the small plot and checks on the plants himself.

Jinx, the Proud Gardener

My sweet little 7-year old pup has found himself a new hobby. I have no idea where this has come from. He HATES tomatoes, but pays attention to the plants. He’s never shown any interest in the single tomato plants I have had in the past on my deck. He doesn’t wander through my father-in-law’s garden (though Sophie does. She doesn’t pay attention to this one at all!). Obviously he’s loving the smell of the cucumber plants because they are the ones he pays special attention to. He’s so PROUD when he walks through the garden.

This isn’t even MY garden anymore. This is Jinx’s garden and I’m just the one with the ability to turn the hose on and off. He LOVES playing in the hose, too. He’ll chase the water when I put it on jet stream and bites at it.

The happy gardener.

I think I’ll have to hit up the Dollar store and pick up some craft supplies to make a sign for the garden. It will obviously say “Jinx’s Garden” because he’s quite protective of it. I will admit, he’s certainly got a green paw, because this garden is coming along just splendidly!

Six weeks after planting, we’re getting somewhere!

Who knows? Maybe Jinx will actually eat some tomato when they ripen since he’s spent all this time growing them. I’m sure he’ll want to sample his spoils once we pick them off the plants! I personally can’t wait for those tomatoes to be ready!

I’ll bet none of you have a pet who gardens. I wonder if I should set Jinx up with a little veggie stall in the Farmer’s Market. People would probably be impressed with a Doggie Gardener, no?