AudioBook Review: Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

So…. just realized I have not posted a book review this entire year. What? Some of that is because a lot of the new series or new books I was trying out at the beginning of the year did not make me excited enough about the story line to write a review. Some of it is because this year has seen a lot of changes and my reading time has diminished so I’m not reading as many books. I’m going to attempt to get caught up. (Where’s my laughing/crying emoticon when I need it?)

Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill Read by Cynthia Holloway

I borrowed Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill as an audio book from my local library, it is read by Cynthia Holloway.

Summary from Goodreads:

They killed me. They healed me. They changed me. Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was mine. I was doing fine until Chicago’s vampires announced their existence to the world—and then a rogue vampire attacked me. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker…and this one decided that the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead. Turns out my savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now I’ve traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred-year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude—and servitude. Right. But my burgeoning powers (all of a sudden, I’m surprisingly handy with some serious weaponry), an inconvenient sunlight allergy, and Ethan’s attitude are the least of my concerns. Someone’s still out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches? My initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war—and there will be blood.

OK, I’ll admit I picked this one because it was about vampires in Chicago. I mean what is not to love about that premise? It’s the reason I picked up Jim Butcher’s books, and I loooove those. I was also excited because this is currently a 12 book series with the 13th book to publish this year. I love finding new series and being able to binge read them. But I just couldn’t get into this book.

While there were some intriguing family dynamics that added some interest to the over all plot of girl gets made into a vampire and is trained by a really old, but extremely hot, vampire who expects submission, but Merit is a modern woman who refuses to submit, it wasn’t enough to make the series stick out from the rest of the genre. I really wish there had been a little more about the transition from being an academic whose life revolves around an all consuming thesis to becoming a vampire who has to give up that life long dream. Perhaps that is developed later in the series as sometimes it does take an author a good three books to really develop a character.

Cynthia Holloway was a decent narrator. She has a low and interesting voice. I generally do not have difficulty with narrators, I like listening to audio books and respect the hell out of voice actors. I took a class on it in Chicago and it is hard work! I do recommend listening to a sample reading before downloading and audio book if you find that some narrators turn you off the story. I do this if I’m going to buy the audio book and not just borrow it from the library.

Chloe Neill is a good writer and so this was not a bad book to read, I did enjoy parts of it, I was just wary of how much time I should continue to give the series as there were some “this has been done” parts as well. Obviously the series is popular or there wouldn’t be so many books in the series, and there are some reviews on Goodreads that suggest as a series it is quite good, so maybe I should borrow the other books in the series to see if I find the series to be more interesting than the first book.

But can we have some urban fantasy covers where the female characters are in actual fighting gear? Or even fighting? Midriffs and belly rings are hella sexy, I agree, but not exactly fighting gear. Just saying.

Spam Mail Part 3: Guilt Trips, Generating Income, and Spambots

Heyoo, it’s been a time and half, four score, and a month of Sundays since I wrote last. . . . or something like that. I thought I would get back into the game with one of my favorite things, making fun of spam mail!

I love making fun of horribly written spam mail and, as I know at least one person who believes everything she reads and can’t distinguish what is spam from proper email, I think it is educational too.  A PSA to the masses if you will, why this is spam (watch for links and bad writing), how to react to spam (delete it), and why it makes for a great post (because I’m hilarious 😉 ).

Apparently I will never start my day right. Start your day right with famous Bible quotes and let the app quench your thirst for spiritual enlightenment.

Me: Unsolicited religious guilt, . . . yah. . .#KTHXBAI 

Me: Delete

The hallmark of spam- guilt trips and asking for more work because you can never do enough to please the spambots.

online movies for kids: Superb post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it!

Me:  Great feedback, but I was wondering if you could learn how to spell better. It is “little” not “litte.”

Me: P.S. The backhanded compliment doesn’t work on anyone who has learned some self respect.

Me: P.P.S. I know as you are a spambot and try to backhand compliment people and you have no clue what the word respect means, so let me enlighten you.

Merriam-Webster defines respect as : a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way. (emphasis added)

Me: P.P.P.S. In case it wasn’t clear backhanded compliments are not an appropriate way to treat anyone.

Did you know there is a website called the BroBible (no I will not link to such a site and give them even more clicks) that has a whole article on how to give backhanded compliments? Because there aren’t enough horrible people in this world without websites like this creating more of them or helping them fine tune their ability to make the world just a little more awful.

Real quote from the article : Now it’s time to go in for the kill with the backhanded part of your backhanded compliment, aka the best part. (emphasis added)

UGH!!!!! This is not treating people in an appropriate way!

Delete, delete, delete!

Now,  let’s move off topic.

Penni Dey: Greetings! Actually, I know this really is rather off-topic but I wanted to ask. Does doing a well-established web page such as the one you have obtain a lots of employment? I’m new for you to blogging and site-building nonetheless I perform generate within my publication day-to-day. I’d choose to begin a blogging site so we could reveal my own practical experience as well as feelings on-line. Remember to identify for people with each and every suggestions or perhaps methods for innovative aspiring people. Thankyou!

Me: Greetings! This is off topic and actually, my not very well established blog does not generate any income for me, let alone enough to “obtain” lots of employment. However, if it did and those employees wrote as poorly as you do, they would not be employed much longer! But you are a spam and your employer does not care how poorly written your work is, consider yourself very lucky!

This was slightly depressing. Does not generate income is not a sentence I like to write.

print marketing definition: In fact perhaps you’ve gone on and completed some other
tutorials, on flyers or logo design!

Me: In fact, I have not gone on to complete other tutorials on flyers or logo designs. Maybe this is why my blog does not generate income. I need to start randomly designing flyers and logos and with no marketing or graphic design background this is sure to succeed!

Me: P.S. The original post was not a tutorial, it did not have a flyer nor a logo. Spambot fail.

Again, apparently I am failing at life because I cannot do design work and my blog is not generating income. Maybe this email about pets will cheer me up. Your pet would possibly confuse ammonia with its own urine,
and surely it would create a vicious circle involving your carpet
and the pet’s urine.

Me: Wait, your name is a URL? This isn’t supposed to be suspicious? But yes, you are correct, a pet can confuse ammonia with its own urine. I don’t understand what this has to do with carpets? Are people cleaning their carpets with ammoniaYes, they are . Ok spambot, you make an important point, if you have an animal cleaning the urine stains on the carpet with ammonia is not a good idea.

But, remember my first two questions?  When the name is a URL it is time to delete!

Final PSA: A spambot with a good point does not make it not a spambot!


Waiting on Wednesday: Anxiously Desirous of Reading Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases book lovers and bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

Waiting on Wednesday

Currently I’m re-reading The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, via audiobook, in great anticipation of the release of Stiletto in June of this year. The Rook was one of my favorite reads in 2012 and I’ve waited a long time to be able to read the continuing story of Myfanwy Thomas, super administrator extraordinaire who is part of a secret government organization of the bizarre and wonderful. You can read my full review of The Rook here.

Stiletto is the sequel and I can’t wait to discover what secret treasures it holds, what questions it ponders, and what revelations will make me think deep dark thoughts. If you haven’t started on this series, grab The Rook from your closest library, or download it on Audible, either way you will discover a wonderful and intricate world of the supernatural and be able to catch up in time to read the next book in the series.

**Slight spoilers for the first book in Stiletto’s description below.**

Stiletto (The Checquy Files, #2)

Summary from Good Reads:

In this spirited sequel, The Rook returns to clinch an alliance between deadly rivals and avert epic—and slimy—supernatural war.

When secret organizations are forced to merge after years of enmity and bloodshed, only one person has the fearsome powers—and the bureaucratic finesse—to get the job done. Facing her greatest challenge yet, Rook Myfanwy Thomas must broker a deal between two bitter adversaries:

The Checquy—the centuries-old covert British organization that protects society from supernatural
threats, and…
The Grafters—a centuries-old supernatural threat.

But as bizarre attacks sweep London, threatening to sabotage negotiations, old hatreds flare. Surrounded by spies, only the Rook and two women, who absolutely hate each other, can seek out the culprits before they trigger a devastating otherworldly war.

Nodds & Nends: NASA’s 3-D Printing Contest, Dear Hank & John, and A Little Cat Nap

NASA had a challenge where they awarded the top three designs of a 3-D printable habitat for Mars. The habitat design that won is called the Mars Ice House and was the brain child of Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office. You can read more about it here.

3D Habitat Team Mars Ice House

How do I know about this random Mars fact? Hank Green is how. I’ve been listening to the Dear Hank & John podcast. John Green is an author of some note.  (I have yet to read his books, they are all sad books from what I’ve heard, and I don’t generally read sad contemporary stories, mostly because that is just normal life. But I’ve heard great things and know I really should get out his stories. ) Anyway, I’ve watched some of his YouTube videos and when I found the podcast that he does with his brother,  I started listening to it. It is hilarious and sometimes a little sad. Hank is a huge science nerd and he has done little snippets about Mars at the end their most recent podcasts and that is how I heard about the printable habitat challenge. It’s just one cool thing after another in my life.

John Green and Hank Green

One recent Facebook find (and sorry, I can’t remember who originally posted it on my wall) is this illustrative take on what it is like to be inside the brain of an introvert. Introverts have given it several thumbs up and I think it can help extroverts understand the other side of things.  My favorite one was the bit on risk. “In other words, introverts feel less excitement from surprise or risk.” Yes. This. Also, this may help explain why people sometimes think I am similar to a cat.

introvert process

Speaking of cats, check out this hilarious and adorable video of a kitten falling asleep while in a not so great position for doing so. I think what is so funny is that we have all done this (maybe not on a kitchen bar stool). [via George Takei FB page]

Deadpool: A Violent Story about Love

Deadpool was an Amazing Movie

My husband and I went with a friend to see Deadpool last week. I didn’t really know anything about the character or the movie, and I purposely went to the theater without an ounce of knowledge. The only thing I knew was that it was rated R, and for a reason, and I saw all those posts by “Deadpool” not to take your kids to see the movie. Deadpool was an amazing movie, definitely my favorite Ryan Reynolds movie, and perhaps my favorite Marvel movie.

Deadpool (2016) Poster

Summary from IMDB:

A former Special Forces operative turned mercenary is subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopting the alter ego Deadpool.

******So, I’ll try not to be spoilery, but if you are reading a review of Deadpool I’m going to assume you want some information before hand or have already seen it and want to discuss what you have seen. *****

Clever and Sad

Deadpool was amazing, it was witty, clever, funny, and sad, horrible, tragic, and basically all the feels. This is my favorite movie I’ve seen Ryan Reynolds in. While I haven’t seen every movie he’s done (I don’t watch horror movies) I have  followed his career (and Nathan Fillion’s) since Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Hut and am a fan. He is hilarious. His comedic timing fits the character to a tee, which makes the character’s tragedy all that more sad and depressing.  His face, oh his face in pain, that is burned in my mind.

Ryan Reynolds is great in this movie because he is able to be both comedic and dramatic. When the two genres intertwine so seamlessly, it is not because it is an easy thing to accomplish, it is because both the writers and the actors have accomplish an incredibly hard task and made it look easy (an even harder thing to do). A really well done performance by Reynolds

The Love Interest

Morena Baccarin (of Firefly and Serenity fame) plays Wade’s (Deadpool) love interest, Vanessa. I have always admired her acting chomps and was delighted by the out of control character she plays in this film.  Wade meets Vanessa, who is a prostitute, and the two of them hit it off immediate. Both of them come from rough backgrounds (though we aren’t quite sure what that means) and are living hard lives. This connection is more than just skin deep, it goes to how deeply they end up caring for each other.

I related to this connection because I too have a hard time finding people who can relate to how I grew up and also where I am now in life. Most of my childhood friends are not in the same place I am in today, and new friends I make do not have the same background that I do. In fact, Chris is the only person who really understands both those parts of me. So I connected emotionally to their particular love story. Their love is the reason Wade makes all of his decisions, maybe not the best decisions, but everything he does ties back to how much he loves Vanessa and what he wants from life for her.

Disconnected from Violence

I did not connect as deeply to the violence. In fact, I spent probably a good five to ten minutes total not even looking at the screen, the violence was that graphic. In fact, I thought some of it was rather gratuitous. I see no reason to have a  human character flung against a billboard and then completely splatter across said board into millions of squashy pieces. Plus, the violence was generally followed by a joke.

We get it, everyone has super powers and is a badass physically. Thanks for all the blood and goodnight.  You can take my brain to sleep and deal with the nightmares.

But I was particularly disturb that the horror of the graphic violence was usually countered by a joke . To me, that is a way to disconnect from the violence rather than understand it.However, my husband and our male friend did not appear at all disturbed by the violence and it’s disconnection from emotion. In fact, I will say that no one else in the theater was having as much trouble with it as I was, I know this because I was watching the people and not the screen. So, take from that what you will.

Nudity Gone Wild?

You want to know about the nudity? Well, there is full on female nudity in two scenes and Ryan Reynolds’ very nicely toned butt is shown several times. (Technically there is a scene where Deadpool is completely naked, but is blurry and you really cannot see anything.) The two female nudity scenes make sense story wise and I was OK with them. Generally, I handle nudity much better than violence. I felt that it was appropriate to the story line and actually connected to the overall plot.

Witty Writing

When I went to see Deadpool, I was not expecting anything, except hoping for a good time. By the end of the film, I was blown away by the witty  and clever writing, and how perfectly Ryan Reynolds encapsulated that with his acting. Kudos to everyone involved in an excellent movie. Clever writing, great acting, and a love that thrives in the middle of a violent story, make for a great piece of art.

Top Ten Tuesday: Outside My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday

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’s list is supposed to include: Ten Books I Enjoyed Recently (2015) That Were Outside my Comfort Zone.

Top Ten Tuesday

 My Favorite Genre: Urban Fantasy

I’ll admit that I still pretty much stick to one genre, urban fantasy, but occasionally I do find things because I’m browsing through GoodReads or the library catalog that are surprisingly good reads even though they are  outside my comfort zone. Not surprisingly, I don’t have ten books I’ve read outside my comfort zone. I have a limited amount of time I can devote to reading, and so I tend to go for what I know I will find enjoyable rather than branching out.

Top Five Books I Enjoyed that were Outside My Comfort Zone in 2015

The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires, #1) by Jim Butcher

The Aeronauts Windlass by Jim Butcher

While I have devoured Butcher’s Dresden Files series over the years, I was not able to get into his Codex Alera novels, I generally do not enjoy high fantasy and hard to pronounce (i.e. read and keep them straight) names. But, I decided to give Aeronaut’s Windlass a try, and I ended up really engaging in the story. It is about a world above the clouds where wood is scarce and some lucky people can understand the language of Cats. Espionage, intrigue, and fighting among the different Spires adds excitement to an interesting setting.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please is outside my comfort zone because I generally do not read non-fiction. However, I do try to read one memoir/non-fiction book a year and chose Yes Please for 2015. I was expecting great things, because I just adore Amy Poehler and I was not disappointed, she wrote a great book. I love her honesty and vulnerability, she is amazing and human and I want to go to there and meet her some day. You can read my full review here.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

As, I mentioned above, I am not usually a fan of high fantasy. I could not finish a very famous book series that is now a very famous television series because it was just too high fantasy. I find that a lot of characters in high fantasy are not easy for me to relate to and I have a hard time enjoying a story for the sake of the story, I need to me able to emotionally connect and feel safe in that connection. That rarely happens in high fantasy, usually the life of the main character is in such danger, that I cannot connect and therefore end up hating the character and the story. However, I really connected to Kvothe. This might be partly because as he is telling his life story I know he makes it out, at least alive if not unharmed. I felt safe emotionally connecting to him, though I despised his choice in women. He may be unpredictable and a hothead, but he had a good heart and he watched out for his friends. You can read my full review here.

Floors by Patrick Carman

Floors by Patrick Carman

Floors is a middle grade children’s book, and very much outside my comfort zone. I tried a few young young adult books last year and this was my favorite. Leo, the main character, is growing up and learning more and more about the Whippet Hotel where he lives, plus he has a mystery  to solve. What’s not to like?! It was a fun read, that was well written, had a couple of too goofy moments to be real, but enough real life that I connected to the story even though I am far beyond middle grade years. You can read my full review here.

Unnatural Acts (Dan Shamble, Zombie PI, #2) by Kevin J. Anderson

Unnatural Acts (Dan Shamble, Zombie PI, #2) by Kevin J. Anderson

I like urban fantasy, which I would say this falls under, but it is a very specific subset, the zombie genre, and that I do not read a lot of. I have tried a few and they are OK, but I really like the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series. I’m not always a fan of the details about zombie bodily upkeep, ’cause I find that icky, but Dan Shamble, his lawyer work partner, and ghostly girlfriend are great characters. Each book has a unique story line while also exploring the reason Dan was killed and became a zombie. It’s a zombie mystery sub-sub genre and I really enjoy reading these books. Plus, the lawyer in this book is a smart woman, who does good, and is a refreshing change of pace in how authors like to write about lawyers. So, I like that part of it too.

Nodds & Nends: Star Wars Wipers, Crochet Chemistry Set, and Zero Gravity Dancing

{Edit: WordPress is driving me batty. I cannot get the right version of this post to go up. I apologize for it’s hackneyed look. I’m trying here.}

One of my favorite celebrities to follow on FB is George Takei. He and his team post some awesome geeky stuff. (Yes, I follow celebrities, Mindy Kaling is hilarious, stop judging.) Recently George Takei posted this awesome picture of Darth Vader as a windshield wiper. It is the bomb. 

 Also seen on FB recently, this crochet chemistry set. Which I may have to figure out if I can make something similar, just because it is awesome. Unfortunately, the artist is not selling this set or the pattern. But still super amazing just to view.  [via here and here]

Watch this video from OK Go. If you can. Guh, WordPress.