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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Out of Sight, Out of Time

Out of Sight, Out of Time (The Gallagher Girls, #5)
by Ally Carter

The last thing Cammie Morgan remembers is leaving the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family. But when Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers months have passed, her memory is a black hole. The only traces left of Cammie’s summer vacation are the bruises on her body and dirt under her nails. All she wants is to go home. But even the Gallagher Academy now holds more questions than answers as Cammie and her friends face their most difficult challenge yet. With only their training and a few clues to guide them, the girls go in search of answers on the other side of the world. But the Circle is hot on their trail and will stop at nothing to prevent Cammie from remembering what she did last summer. (goodreads.com)

I always get this series when the books come out in paperback format, so I’m likely way behind the times here but…OH MY GODS THIS BOOK HAS ALL OF THE FEELS. The emotions! DEAR GODS! I was bawling – BAWLING! – before I even got through the first third of the book. Cammie was just so lost and damaged. I was..just… when she was in the bathroom with the scissors and her friends burst in.. I couldn’t hold back. I just cried for what seemed like hours (it was maybe 10 minutes) before I could continue on. The sadness and distress had been building from the first pages, but by golly, it all came to a smashing crescendo by that bathroom scene and I couldn’t stop the tears.

Out of Sight, Out of Time, wasn’t just an emotional roller coaster of sadness and loss, there was also this urgent, thriller of a mystery overlaying the entire mental breakdown. What happened to Cammie? Who can be trusted? Who keeps trying to kill her? Why does she need to die? WHAT IS GOING ON!?

This book is so epic with its mystery that I think it’s my all-time favourite of the entire Gallagher Girl series. This book has grown up, much like Cammie has since we first met her in the halls of GG Academy in book one. She’s a senior now and so much has happened in 5 books.

My heart was racing for much of this story and I could not put it down. I was feeling all of the feels while reading GG#5 and I couldn’t deal with anything else in life at the same time. The writing is excellent, the story is fantastic, the emotions are so real and vivid.

I have said this before but it’s worth repeating… this series is AMAZING! I wish this series existed when I was a kid. A school for spies! Danger! Mystery! Romance (in amounts I can stomach)! Not one iota of paranormal stuff, this is just plain ol’ mystery and intrigue at its best. A step up from Nancy Drew for those girls who want to have just that little bit MORE to their mysteries as they get older. I cannot wait to share these with my niece when she’s a little older and reading more. She’s only 6 now, so I have a while to wait – BUT! I will have a complete series to lend her when she gets there. Hooray!

I know Ally Carter is writing another series as well, and this one seems to be taking the back burner while the Heist Society books are being written (I have not read them yet – should I?) but I do hope the next Gallagher Girl novel is amazing and soon. I did find a cross-over novella in ebook format and was delighted to see that Kobo had it as a free download (yay!) so I got it. I am pretty excited to read about Macy and see what this Heist Society world is all about. I am a little worried I will compare it too strongly against the GG series so I haven’t picked it up yet. I’d appreciate thoughts from my readers if you have read both. Will I love it like this one, do you think?

Man, I love this series.

The Gallagher Girls series

  1. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You
  2. Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy
  3. Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover
  4. Only the Good Spy Young
  5. Out of Sight, Out of Time
  6. TBA – 2013?

Crimson Frost

Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy, #4)
by Jennifer Estep

For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes—the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki—the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison—and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself… (goodreads.com)

There is just something about this series that is so fun.  I look forward to each release with such anticipation. I wasn’t sure what to expect for this instalment though. At first I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as the previous three books, but in the end, I remained content and amused by the adventures of Gwen and everyone else at Mythos Academy.

What I am worried about is this series turning into a House of Night type series, where each book becomes more recap of the previous ones than it is new story. So far this hasn’t happened, though I was noticing the recaps a lot more in the first few chapters than I had in the third book. I don’t know how many books are pending for the Mythos Academy series and I hope very strongly that this series stays, well, STRONG until it’s done. As much as I love revisiting the location and the characters, I don’t want this series to become stale and repetitive.

Probable spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Things I liked about Crimson Frost – the addition of Alexi as a character. I liked him a lot, as silent as he was. I am looking forward to him becoming part of the group. I don’t know why I liked him so much, but I did. He amused me. He seems like a good egg. I also liked the arrest, as contrived as it seemed. I found it very strange that all these Powers That Be people were so quick to condemn Gwen and take the word of the bad guys, but it worked out how I thought it would.

I also liked that I guessed the bad guy correctly. Muahahahah. I always feel so smart when I do that. *pats self on back* I mean, when it’s not totally obvious and stuff.

Things I didn’t like – This episode (heh) of Mythos Academy was a little too lovey dovey for me. It was also a little too “Gwen on her own” for most of it. One of the things I truly like about the series is Gwen’s interaction with her friends. I especially like Daphne. There was less group action in this book and I missed it. There was a lot of Gwen thinking only of Logan and herself and that’s just not my thing. That’s actually how I feel about most contemporary novels, all “girl thinks of boy all the time”. I don’t care about that part of the story. That’s not what I like about books, I like the mystery and snappy dialogue with friends.

This is just my personal opinion though! It just didn’t have the elements that I love about story telling as strongly featured as some of the other instalments.

I know there’s at least one more book to come and I am eager to read it. I hope this series can stay strong and fresh and fun because it’s one I really like to escape from the real world with. Some people read romance, I like to read books about boarding schools and mythological mysteries. 😉

Oh, and can we just talk about this cover for a second? I have to say I don’t have a clue as to how this ties into the story. Why is there a smokey, red dragon in the background? Anyone? Because I totally do not recall a dragon being in this book at all. Did I miss something? Is it supposed to be a gargoyle from outside the library? They weren’t red and smokey though. I am totally confused about this AND the whole “Crimson” thing. What was crimson? How did I miss something so crucial to the title and cover art? I feel lost when I look at that cover. Also, I don’t think the same model has been used for the covers. Especially not for the next book. This bugs me somewhat. I’m persnickety about these sorts of things.

That is all.

 
Mythos Academy

  1. Touch of Frost
  2. Kiss of Frost
  3. Dark Frost
  4. Crimson Frost
  5. Midnight Frost – August 2013

Level 2

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles, #1)
by Lenore Appelhans

‘I pause to look around the hive – all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories … I’ve wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.’

Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend … and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her.

Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves. (goodreads.com)

When I first heard that Lenore from Presenting Lenore had her dream come true and was going to become a published author, I was excited. Not all book bloggers want to be writers (like me!) but when a book blogger within your blogging community has something great happen to them, it’s quite a to-do! I was even more excited when the details of her first novel were made public. I love me some dystopian type stories but this book seemed to have a very different spin than what I was used to.

Flash back to June 2012 when I was able to attend the SimonTeen shin-dig right before BEA began. Level 2 was one of the ARCs included in the party favours and I have been sitting on this book for HALF A YEAR in anticipation of reading it. It’s been in a pile, semi-hidden from my sight so that I wouldn’t be tempted by it on a daily basis. I could have read this book months ago, but I can’t do that. My brain is all “IT’S TOO EARLY!” and “You’ll have to wait even LONGER for the sequel if you like this book. JUST WAIT!” So, January came and I picked up this book and…

Wow!

That’s a good wow, too. There is so much going on in this debut novel that is fascinating to read about and original content. I loved the mish-mash of the mysterious, creepy Level 2 hives and drones and memories for credits… and the flash-backs into Felicia’s life by way of recorded memories that you can access, rate, tag and make public for people to rent. I loved how each flash-back was categorized and listed as if in a catalogue.

I was even fascinated by the references to religion which were spattered about the book. Not once was it preachy but you could really get a glimpse into the views and beliefs of how much faith played a role in Felicia’s life before death. One of the memories she revisits is one where there’s a sort of sleepover youth camp thing at the church and they play a game with Romans and christians and you have to make it to Christ to win. Or something like that. I’m explaining it poorly because I read this book over a week ago and I don’t have it near me as I type this up now. 😛 Anyhow, I thought the religion aspects of the story were well done and interesting, even though I was worried for a moment it would be TOO religion-y for me.

It doesn’t really have a huge role to play in the actual story, but I loved these memories throughout the story because they seemed so real and believable. They made the story a lot more deep and meaty than if they hadn’t been included. They just made the pacing of the book seem fast and engaging to me.

What I didn’t like about the story? I didn’t like Julian. Not from his first appearance in the book and not by the end of the book. I didn’t like his character and I didn’t like how he manipulates Felicia with every single breath he takes. I was so mad at him by the final chapter that I just wanted to throw the book across the room and not read the next book when it comes out. Stupid Julian. Bah.

I was also slightly confused at the end of Level 2 as explanations were coming out. I sort of wondered if maybe it was just a little too much to take in at once, but mostly I was irritated that Julian was still around and I had to suffer through more of him in the future.

Totally Random Cat Fact & Side Note: I am a huge fan of the TV show Angel, but I never once liked the character of Gunn. I said almost every episode “Why don’t you just DIE already!?” and each time my husband and I re-watch all five seasons (we have done this numerous times) I still said things like “Maybe Gunn will die this episode.” knowing full-well it wasn’t going to happen. A girl can dream. And then to add insult to injury, the dude doesn’t even die in the COMIC BOOKS! Oh, no. He gets killed alright but then COMES BACK AS A VAMPIRE JUST TO RUIN MY LIFE WITH HIS PRESENCE!!! Gah! Stupid Gunn. Ruining my life.

I have a feeling Julian is going to the Gunn of the Memory Chronicles. Ugh.

So, Internet, I highly recommend that you check out this Level 2 novel because it’s fresh and new and pretty imaginative. It’s different from what you’re used to reading in a totally good way. We need more NEW in YA literature and this is one of those books that falls into that category.

Meanwhile, I’ll just be here waiting for Level 3  to come out and hope with all my might that Julian dies in that one. heh heh

The Memory Chronicles

  1. Level 2
  2. Level 3  – 2014

 

37

On January 23 I turned 37.

I’m normally very vocal about my birthdays but this year I felt quite about things. Not due to my age, not one bit. I just feel quieter this year. This hasn’t stopped me from having many birthday festivities, though. I mean, I still get Birthday Week and this year it has sort of stretched into a Birthday Month and a Half. 😉 When my parents stayed with us in early January, my mum made me my favourite birthday meal. Then I had a friend in from out of town and along with some other friends, we had a birthday dinner (that I cooked) on January 19 – which is actually my sister’s birthday. (And sister mine, if you are reading this, I still need to get over there and give you the hand-made card and your gifts! Oops.) Shawn got me my presents early and I have been playing with one since. I just had another birthday dinner this weekend at my in-laws’ place and in February I’ll be celebrating once more with other friends as one of our group will be back in town for the weekend. I was taken to lunch by my two bosses on my actual birthday and then we had a group lunch for myself and another coworker on Friday.

Birthdays come with a lot of food and cake. 😉

So, here are some photos of the last couple of weeks, just so I have a place holder on my blog when I look back years from now to see how I rocked my entry into my 37th year.

A treasure hunt was set out for me upon my return from work on January 17. The surprise as the end was my very own Cards Against Humanity  game. Shawn had this printed up and then he and a coworker cut up the cards one afternoon. I had this in time for my dinner party on the weekend. I will not tell you how long it took me to figure out the riddles to the next clues… ugh. I felt so stupid! haha

The BIG gift (which my in-laws’ chipped in on) was this here fancy pants DSLR camera! I have been looking at the Canon Rebel for a few years now and could never justify the price but I have wanted a decent entry level camera for some time. A well-timed sale and my research into what I wanted to use, yielded the Canon Rebel EOS T31. I still have a ton to learn about how to use this, but I have been having fun experimenting with it so far.

On the morning of January 19 I went out to a fancy Japanese paper store with my friend Dylann, who is to blame for my current card-making obsession. I’m all about fancy paper, stickers and hand-made cards now. My husband is thrilled. It was super snowy that day and the roads were horrible, so of course I was having people over for dinner and we needed to use the car a lot. I know how to pick the days.

Dylann and I needed food before we set to crafting and we ended up at this place without even a sign on the door. I posted this photo on Facebook and a friend named it for me. The Sparrow. I think, anyhow. I even checked in ON facebook in hopes that the GPS thing would pull up the name of the place. Anyhow, the food was so good I am STILL thinking about it over a week later. It had gluten free options, too. People keep telling me it’s a place for hipsters, but by golly, if that’s the kind of food hipsters eat? Just call me a hipster.

I made the Betty Crocker gluten-free birthday cake and it was so good. In fact, I think I might like it better than regular birthday cake. And this, my friends, is a BIG DEAL when it comes to me and vanilla birthday cake. I fought with the icing, but it turned out ok in the end. As I was cursing and swearing at the icing as I made it, Dylann patiently ironed all the scraps of paper I bought at the paper store. Dylann is a treasure I am so glad I found. 😉

Click me for a bigger regal experience!

Jinx is a delight to experiment with my camera on. Sophie doesn’t stay still enough to get a photo, but Jinx will hold poses forever. I was thrilled with the detail that comes out when I use my new Canon camera on the dogs. Absolutely thrilled. (Click photo to enlarge a little bit. I don’t have the full-sized photos up though.)

RRRRrrrrrroooOOOOOoooooOOOO!! Stop taking my photo!

Sophie is the complete opposite of a delight to photograph. I’m surprised as anything when I manage to capture a clear shot of her that isn’t her bum or a tail zooming off camera. I caught her this Saturday RRRrrroooooooOOOooing at Shawn as he pretended to chase her around the yard. Yesterday’s -18C temperature felt almost spring-like after coming off a week of -34C. We spent quite a bit of time outside in the back yard.

One of the things I am most excited for with my new camera is the possibilities I have for capturing sunsets. I know you all know I have an obsession with sunsets, so you’ll not be surprised when I realized how wonderfully this camera captured them.

Click me for a bigger sunset experience!

This sunset on January 24 was EXACTLY how I saw it with my own eyes. I cannot wait for more glorious sunsets to come this year. I might even get some of these printed up and made into art for my walls. Man, I love sunsets.

My mother-in-law also made me the Betty Crocker gf cake (yum!) and I was just enamoured by these candles. They were just so cute! Little cupcake things… of course I had to play with my camera before blowing them out. I am impressed with the low-light results with this camera. I love my camera.

Oh, I also started Operation New Age New Hair… on my birthday I cut it after my shower. I was going to wait for the weekend but it was driving me crazy. I don’t know how you people with long hair do it. Mine was just reaching the top of my shoulders and I couldn’t do anything without inhaling it or eating it. Ugh. So Wednesday night I cut all the pink ends off. My plan was to bleach it and then dye it bright read (like real red, as in a primary colour red) and black, but the store is out of red dye. Until they have it in stock I didn’t know what to do… but then… the bleach turned the purple in my hair a bright pink. I slept on it for a day and then decided I will keep it like this until my dye is back in stock.

I feel like bubblegum and JEM! I finally have Jem hair, after decades of dreaming I could be a cartoon character! If any of you recall the doll from the 80s she had these yellow-blonds roots and then the pink… and that’s how my hair has gone just from bleaching it. I LOVE IT!  (This was right before we got in the car on the way to my in-laws’.)

Can I just take a moment to be all excited about the fact that I am starting to have muscle definition in my arms from doing push-ups every day? I might not have lost all the weight I wanted to by now, but by golly, I have nicer arms than I ever had. Yay for muscle! Now if only it didn’t weigh more than fat… hmm.

And to conclude this very long post.. a photo of all three dogs from Saturday night…

Aren’t they precious? It’s very interesting when someone goes near the front door at my in-laws’ place. One of the only times Sophie wil stand still AND because she was focused on the door, she didn’t notice I was taking a photo. HA!

And a PS –

Without fail, when my father-in-law gets a new hat, I will notice it (but not realize it’s a new acquisition at the time) and I will steal it and put it on my head (I put a lot of things on my head. It’s a thing.) I happen to think I look rather adorable in this one, if I do say so myself. It goes very well with my new pink hair. Happy birthday to ME! (Ok, I left the hat there and didn’t take it home, but I think I need one just like it. Yes?)

The end.

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