Nodds & Nends: Barbie’s New Bodies, Favorite Food, and Vaginal Fantasy

Mattel has finally gotten the hint that people are looking for a new kind of model image for their children. With toys like the Tree Change Dolls spreading across social media like fire, Barbie is finally following in their footsteps and diversifying her body type.  Is it weird I want to go out and buy that curvy Barbie like yesterday?!  [via The Mary Sue]

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I thought this picture below, which showed up on my FB timeline, was freakin hilarious. Mostly because I can see myself doing this. Chris and I don’t really argue all that much, we have plenty  of adult discussions, because we are adulting, but when we do argue it’s usually over who took the last of the favorite cookies and why wasn’t at least a bite offered to the other person. [via Purple Clover]

 

I’ve been doing a lot of data entry recently, which I really don’t mind. It’s good to clean up software systems and it’s definitely a project that will benefit me in the long run, but it can get mind numbing after a bit. So I’ve been listening to Vaginal Fantasy and catching up on past episodes and the time has flown. I just love the interactions between Felicia Day, Bonnie Burton, Veronica Belmont, and Kiala Kazebee.

Most of the books I have not read, I’ve gotten a few recommendations that are on my GoodReads want to read list, and I don’t mind spoilers, so I’ve giggled away the time and finished my project to boot! I will warn you that some of the recommended videos that pop up on the side on YouTube (because it is called Vaginal Fantasy) will make you want to hide your computer screen. You have been warned.

TBT and Nerdy Finds

It’s Throw Back Thursday, which I guess is something people still do? It seems to not be as much of a thing any more, but whatever, I typically jump on the bandwagon a little late. I was searching through old pictures to post and thought this was a fun picture. Henna Strong! Now I want to go and get some henna done.

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Onto my newest nerdy finds.

Check out The Bookworm Chronicles Top 10 Adaptations 2015. I too watched the Hunger Games latest movie and thought it was a good adaptation of the book by Suzanne Collins, but had kind of wished it would have been re-written a bit instead of so closely adapted. Do you have a favorite adaptation of 2015?

I’ve read several Classic Women Literature in the past, and maybe it’s time I pick up a few more books I’ve been wanting to read.  the book stop is joining in a challenge to read such books this coming year and while I don’t generally join challenges I find they are a fun thing to follow and discover excellent pieces. They are also a reminder to get outside my comfort zone and check out other books. Anyone have suggestions? I’ve read Austen and Bronte, maybe I should pick up something by George Eliot or Virginia Woolf?

This fun video of a time lapse Lego build out of a camper is really cool. Check it out!

 

Speaking of Legos, you can now have your head 3D printed in miniature to become one. No joke. Check out the Etsy store here. They are only about $30 dollars. [via Distractify]

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Best Books of 2015

Last year because I was reading law book and studying I did not even reach my own book challenge, so I set the sights low for myself this year, hoping to get back on track and start reading more. I challenged myself to read 30 books and I’ve read 39, plus I’m halfway through two more books and hope to finish them before the year is out. I’m very pleased with my accomplishment of meeting and exceeding my goal, as well as, tackling some of my “Want to Read” list and never ending tbr pile.

Here are my favorite books of 2015 in no particular order.

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Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is an amazing book. I can’t believe it took me this long to track down a copy and ready it. Read my review here.

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a perfectly intricate plot that plays across years and worlds. A must read. My review is here.

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InterWorld is another wonderfully written book by Neil Gaiman, this time with a co-author Michael Reaves, about multiple universes and how the tiny decisions in our lives have rippling affects. Read my review here.

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The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman is the final book in his The Magician’s Trilogy and is full of flawed characters and wonderful world building. As I said in my review:

“Real life in all its glory and sadness spills itself across the pages and that is the beauty of Grossman’s characters. Not that they have magic and spells, but that they have life, and they live it.”

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Dreams of Gods and Monsters is the final chapter in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. I actually liked this book the best in the series, which was a wonderful surprise. You can read my full review here. But be warned there may be spoilers about the first two books in the series.

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Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet is a fun light urban fantasy tale about a grim reaper, but the story has depth and the characters are fully developed. But my favorite part of this book is her female characters have actual agency, a nice shift from many of the urban fantasy series I read this year. Read my review here.

Audio Book Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I love Amy Poehler ever since she stole my heart in Parks and Recreation.  I think she is amazing, kind, wise, and love her openness about sharing what she has learned from life. Her YouTube channel Smart Girls is wonderful and in particular I love her show Ask Amy where she posts some wonderful pieces of advice.

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Yes Please is an extension of Amy’s wonderful self, where she gives advice, tells tales, and gets her friends and family to share their perspective. I was able to get a copy of the audio book at my library. It was one of the most enjoyable autobiographies that I’ve listened to.

Summary from GoodReads:

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book,Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.

Amy has a good balance of telling unforgettable stories that made me think, sympathize, and appreciate her ability to be vulnerable, as well as spinning satirical pieces about how writing is hard and the amazing funny moments she experienced on SNL. Most touching was her love for her children and her love for life in general that seeps through every moment of her storytelling. I also appreciated that although I’m sure it was painful, she speaks of her divorce with some distance, humor, and a lack of bitterness that is inspiring. Sometimes it is just too easy to be bitter about the traumas that come along in life. I enjoyed her stories that were sneak peaks into behind the scenes with her cast members on the TV shows she’s been on and her work with Upright Citizens Brigade, a sketch/improv troupe that she co-founded which now has theaters in two major cities.

I thought Amy did an excellent job as the voice over actor for her own book and I enjoyed the guest appearances of friends and families as they voiced their bits. She left in several  bits in the audio book that were obviously improvised and in the moment, which was lovely. Obviously these bits would not appear in the paper book version, so I do recommend listening to the audio book if you can. I thought it was well produced, well voiced, and had some interesting elements not usually associated with audio books. But, I don’t want to spoil the surprises!

I know she complains about writing the book, for most of the book, but she did such a lovely job I hope she writes some more. If you like autobiographies, enjoy Parks and Rec, or want to give a fun audio book a try, check out Yes Please by Amy Poehler.

Audio Book Review: The Name of the Wind By Patrick Rothfuss

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally decided to tackle this series. I know so many people who love Rothfuss’ work, and I had them on my tbr pile for forever. I’m not always an epic high fantasy fan, and I dislike hating what everyone else likes, because then I just feel more weird, so I put off reading this until I couldn’t anymore. I took the plunge and, using a free credit, downloaded it from Audible. I’m happy to say that I loved it!

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Summary from GoodReads:

“My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I have burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to God’s, loved women and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.”

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature – the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

What I liked about this book was that it was stories inside of stories, which broke up the main story into intervals so that it never got boring. I devoured the tales and loved nearly every minute of Nick Podehl’s narration. This story has everything in it: mythologies that are well devolved, characters that are flawed but still likable, and an wonderful plot line that kept me enthralled.

Kvothe is not the best person in the world, he is immature, and he has been through a lot of traumatic events that have shaped who he is. He is smart without wisdom, clever without a lot of purpose except getting what he wants in the moment, and he can’t seem to take instruction unless he deems the person smart enough to learn from. The side characters are well developed and help Kvothe seem less imperfect because of their own imperfections. A wonderful cast of characters in an interesting setting.

The only thing I really did not like, was his main romantic interest. Ugh. Even Kvothe admits she is cruel, but this does not stop his attraction. I’ve met women like her and seen all the men they cut through, and it’s like the guys can’t help it, they must love these women even though they are horrible human beings. Make no sense. Though, I guess this happens to both genders, and maybe is more indicative of the one who is falling being unable to respect themselves than it is the “fault” of the cruel men and women who play with other people like they are toys to be discarded after they have lost their shine. I’m not sure why such a female has to be the main romantic interest in the story though, and in almost an homage to such females. That the main character admires her cruelty and learns how to stay in the good graces of such a toxic person was a bit disappointing as a romantic plot. I kept reminding myself, he is young, he is foolish, but that only help cool my ire a tad. Perhaps, as the series progresses the main character will learn that while toxic people can be exciting, they cannot be made whole, and they are best left to their toxic lives.

What the author is able to accomplish is a connection to characters that live outside of our timeline and universe. and that is to be commended. I felt for all of the characters, even the side characters. They have strong voices and personalities and are integral to the story line, even if they just jump in for small snippets of time.

Nick Podehl did a wonderful job of narration. His voice acting was excellent and he was able to keep the story alive in my mind. He didn’t really have different voices for the characters, but he was really good at inflection and emotion at what was going on in the story. He was easy to listen to, and as there are a lot of chapters and hours to finish the audible book this was necessary.

In spite of my dislike of one of the female characters, this was definitely one of the best books I listened to this year. I would recommend it to any one who likes sci/fi  or fantasy, or enjoys intricate plot lines and coming of age stories.

Audiobook Review: InterWorld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves

I read a lot of young adult stories this summer, and I mean young adult series, not your typical 16 or 17 year old, but about protagonists who were 12, for example. InterWorld, co-authored by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves and read by  Christopher Evan Welch, was probably my favorite young young adult series from this year. I borrowed a copy from my library.

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Summary from GoodReads:

When Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman and Emmy Award winner Michael Reaves teamed up, they created the bestselling YA novelInterWorld.

InterWorld tells the story of Joey Harker, a very average kid who discovers that his world is only one of a trillion alternate earths. Some of these earths are ruled by magic. Some are ruled by science. All are at war.

Joey teams up with alternate versions of himself from an array of these worlds. Together, the army of Joeys must battle evil magicians Lord Dogknife and Lady Indigo to keep the balance of power between all the earths stable. Teens—and tweens and adults—who obsessively read the His Dark Materials and Harry Potter series will be riveted by InterWorldand its sequel, The Silver Dream.

I always love a good story about alternate universes and the different versions of people that can exist because a certain decision was made at a cross road in life or a specific environment shaped a person into a slightly different version of his or herself. Joey discovers alternate versions of himself that have wings, that are cybernetic, that have animal like features, all because he has the ability to slide into the inbetween and through that to the alternate worlds. Of course this isn’t all fun and games and he must use his powers to help keep the worlds safe, fight the bad guys, and use both magic and science to rid the world of evil.

I like Joey as a character, he is charming, intelligent, and acts like a 12 year old without me wanting to hit him upside the head too many times. His cleverness aids his ability to fight evil, but not always his ability to understand people or politics. He meets older versions of himself and learns from them. He has to get along with the different versions of himself, even if he doesn’t quite understand them always. He’s clever, but he gains wisdom as the story progresses, and that is a trait of a good character to me.

Christopher Evan Welch does a great job narrating. He has slightly different accents and character voices to keep the listener from getting too confused between the different versions of Joey . It works well that they are all versions of each other, because the voice over acting of one person makes even more sense in this particular story. Welch is dynamic and engaging in his story telling and I thought he did a good job.

The overall plot line is rather straightforward, having maybe one twist I didn’t see coming, but the character and world building are wonderful and engaging, in true Neil Gaiman fashion. If you like young adult series about great characters and fun worlds, check out InterWorld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme by The Broke and the Bookish where fellow book bloggers, and anyone who wants, can contribute to a themed top ten list. Today we are to pick Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015.

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Unfortunately, I do not have ten new-to-me authors that I can favorite. I have four. I read several new authors because I was trying out new series or got free books via Amazon Kindle, but most of the authors I would not go back to or read the next book in the series.

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Orson Scott Card was a new-to-me author this year, and I’m sure those who have read him will understand why he is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine. His writing is excellent, his prose wonderful, and his world building amazing. Check out my review of The Lost Gate and The Gate Thief.

Floors, Patrick Carman

Patrick Carmen is a new-to-me favorite author from this year because I thought his book Floors was quite imaginative. I haven’t gone on to read more in the series, but that is because I got burnt out on really young protagonist this summer. I will definitely get back to this series after I’ve read some different aged protagonist and some different genres.

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1 | [Michael Scott]

Michael Scott wrote the series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, which I’ve had a couple of friends tell me I would probably enjoy. I finally picked up a copy of the first book, The Alchemyst, and was duly impressed. I have the second book in the series sitting on my bookshelf on my growing tbr pile.

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Angela Roquet was a new-to-me author this year and her writing stood out to me in the Graveyard Shift because her women had actual female agency. It was a refreshing change after all the other romance/urban fantasy romance/historical romance books I had read that did not. I’ve been meaning to get back to her series and I’m glad this posting helped me remember that.