Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Recently I saw a preview for a movie coming out soon called "The Lovely Bones." (note: I wrote this review before the movie came out, does that tell you how behind I am in posting reviews?) The premise intrigued me, It's the story of a teenage girl who is murdered, but instead of actually going on to some heaven and leaving earth totally behind, she finds herself in a place where she can create her own reality, and she finds herself watching her family on earth as they mourn. The movie caught my eye because it looks like a blend of a murder mystery and fantasy, and both are genre's that I love! My husband, however, was not interested in it in the slightest, so when I saw at the end of the preview that the movie is based off of a book, I decided to look it up!

"The Lovely Bones" is indeed about a teenage murder victim named Susie. While the movie preview implied that she was trapped in some sort of fantasy land between heaven and earth, in the book she is actually in heaven, although maybe not a heaven you or I would recognize. In her heaven she is able to create the world to reflect what she wants, her dreams, her ideals. Where those dreams over lap the dreams of others, she gets to interact, and she even ends up with a room mate!

Susie soon finds her attention drawn back towards earth, and realizes that she can watch her family, and anyone else she wants to. So she begins to eavesdrop on their lives, aching as she watches them mourn her, and worrying about them as they struggle through various things. Her Dad especially has been unable to let her go. He actually thinks that one of their neighbors might be her murder, despite the police saying there is no evidence, and only Susie knows he's right.

I found many things in this book fascinating. Susie was given the opportunity to get to know her family in an intimate way that most of us will never have. I love watching characters grow and change, and since we watched most of it from "heaven," it was done from a rather unique perspective.

There were some things that bothered me about this book though. I probably won't watch the movie in theater because of them, although if a friend wants to watch it on DVD I might watch it. The themes that bothered me were mainly sexual. I didn't mind the rape that accompanied the murder (although I skimmed over it) because I know that it's quite common for that to happen with murders, especially of young girls. What bothered me was when Susie watched, from heaven, her parents in some of their most intimate moments. Most of this book was voyeuristic, but that seemed to just be taking it too far.

It also bothered me as she watched her sister having her first sexual experience. That one bothered me not as much because she watched, but more because her sister was only 12 at the time, and the author wrote about it as if it's a perfectly normal and natural thing for a 12 year old to be doing. Now don't get me wrong, I'm fully accustomed to authors putting in sexual themes (and other things) that I don't necessarily agree with, but more often its simple promiscuity and I can often skip over it without really missing anything from the story. This was more insidious and central to the story, so it got on my nerves.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Writing ADD #17

I know - it's been two weeks since I posted one of these, but considering I didn't write much either week, I figured it would be ok to combine two weeks into one report!

So week before last:
Book Reviews: 4
Total Words: 1139

Yah - nothing exciting there eh? Oh well - it was something :)

Last week:
Book Reviews: 2
Letter's Home 2 - completed & posted.
The Stranger - In progress
Total Words: 1404

Ooo - do you see that loveliness? There is writing that's not simply a book review! Woohoo!

Letter's Home 2 is the much overdue second letter home from my D&D character, Illia, to her Mum. The sad part is that when I finally got a chance to finish it up I realized I only had about a paragraph left to finish it! Oopsie >_>

The Stranger is also a story about Illia. This one isn't connected to the actual D&D story, it's just something that I came up with this weekend. I still need to do a lot more work on it, but it's off to quite the respectable start! And the best part? I wrote it on the plane on the way home from AZ, but didn't have any writing paper, so I wrote it on a napkin and two barf bags :P

Well that's it for now - hopefully I'll get a bunch written this week!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Revisiting my Super Power

In case you aren't familiar with my rather dubious Super Power, it's the ability to hurt myself in new and entertaining (at least for others) ways. I could simply say I'm a clutz, but since people usually end up laughing at me, it's a lot more fun to put it this way!

This last week my Super Power has been working over time. First, last Thursday, I was getting into my car, rolled my foot slightly, and pulled a tendon on the outside of my foot. I gave it a couple of days to heal before I even tried to go to the doc, because it didn't really feel that bad. Sunday rolls around and I was planning on going in on Monday or Tuesday to have it looked right?

Well Sunday I had a migraine, but we really needed groceries so I pushed myself through a shopping trip with Mo driving. When we got home I reached into the back of the trunk to grab a bag that had slipped, and coming back out, I slammed my head on the latch for the lid to the trunk. It hurt so bad! I don't think I actually gave myself a concussion (this time) but on top of my migraine it was a little crazy.

A few hours (and some ice) later I decided I was stable enough to make dinner. Well...that didn't turn out to be the best idea I've ever had. walking between the living room and the kitchen I stepped on one of Mo's shoes and rolled my ankle. Yes, the same foot that has the pulled tendon in the foot.

Loverly eh?

I did go to the doc yesterday and we x-rayed to make sure it's just a pulled tendon in the foot. Between the foot and ankle I'm supposed to stay off my foot as much as possible for the next week. Since I can't really use crutches (too chubby, can't support my weight) I'm walking around with a cane to at least provide some relief.

Now here's the really fun part - we're flying out to Phoenix on Friday! Ben, one of Mo's cousins, is getting married. So it looks like Mo will be pushing me through the airport in a wheel chair cuz I'm really not supposed to do that much walking! LOL

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Odd and the Frost Giants

"Odd and the Frost Giants" is a fanciful children's tale set in a frozen Nordic setting. Odd is the name of the hero of the story, and while that might seem strange to you or I, in that place it was actually a lucky name to have, because it means "the tip of a blade."

Odd was, um, a bit strange though. His father had been killed in a sea raid, which was fairly normal, but these particular circumstances weren't. Not long after that, Odd crippled accidentally with an axe, forever solidifying his place as "different" among the villagers.

One lonely winter day Odd decides that he needs to get away from the cramped winter quarters and the arguments, and he goes off by himself in the woods. There he meets some interesting animals, that he soon discovers are not animals at all, but gods who have been trapped in animal form!

Next thing Odd knows he's off to talk with Frost Giants and on the adventure of his life! It's a fun and quick read, I completely enjoyed it, and I would love to share it with a child. It does get a little tense at times, but there's nothing super-dark in here like there is with some of Gaiman's other writings.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Writing ADD #16

I've decided I really need to start jazzing up my Writing ADD reports with some photos. Make things more interesting ya know? So today's report is brought to you by....the sun! Woohoo! "I'm walking on sunshine..."

I didn't get too much writing done this week. 4 book reports, 1468 words. I'm happy I got that much done though! It was a busy/sick week. Not a good combo for writing. My big accomplishment in writing for the week is that I broke 30,000 words for the year! Yippee!

This week looks to be really busy too. I have some commissions and projects I need to work on. Trying to get my booth in shape for the Saturday Markets. Helping my hubby look for a job. Lots to do! So who knows what this week is going to look like writing wise. Sometimes busy means no writing. Other times it means I'm in "hyper productivity mode" and I get lots of writing done as well! We'll see which one this week turns out to be :P

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sabriel by Garth Nix

"Sabriel" is the story of a young necromancer who sets out to save her father, who has been trapped in the realm of death. Now when you see the word "necromancer," don't start conjuring up the typical images and tales associated with that term. This book is not about some teenage girl soaked in dark magic who raises the dead to have them do her evil bidding. Or even to cause teenage mischief.

Sabriel is the last in a long line of Abhorsens. The Abhorsen is a title given to a necromancer who's job is to fight evil, and to make sure that those who should stay dead do so. Sabriel knows a little bit about this because her father was the last Abhorsen, but while he trained her as a necromancer in his infrequent visits to her school, he never really prepared her mentally to one day take his place.

Now the Abhorsen, Sabriel's father that is, is stuck in death. Sabriel doesn't know how he got stuck there, and she has very little clue as to the big picture either, but she sets out from her boarding school in Ancelstierre to set her father free. To do this she leaves her safe world, and in many ways her child hood, and travels into the Old Kingdom where magic reigns and evil walks.

Sabriel quickly realizes that there is a lot more going on than her father simply being trapped. She also finds herself being addressed by the title Abhorsen, something that both frightens her and catches her completely off guard. She makes some dubious alliances with a cat named Mogget and a young Charter Mage named Touchstone, and it will be up to them to hold the darkness at bay that is threatening to destroy what fragile peace and hope is left in the Old Kingdom, not to mention invading and destroying Ancelstierre.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

I first heard of Anne Rice's work a long time ago, from a friend who loved her books, but I wasn't really ready to read them then. Since I've more recently started reading quite a few books about the fae and vampires, I've been thinking that it's time to start reading Anne Rices books, after all she's known as the Queen of the Vampire writers.

"Interview with a Vampire" was Anne Rice's first novel, and it is also the first in series "The Vampire Chronicles." Have you ever wondered what the transformation from a man or a woman to a vampire is like? What do they feel physically? Emotionally? What changes? What's it like trying to adjust to your new life and immortality?

In this book we receive answers to all of those questions, and more, as a young boy interviews a vampire and we follow that vampires life from his initial transformation on. One of the things that we learn is that, while the actual transformation process is pretty standard, the initial reaction to the change can be very different depending on how well the "creator" guides fledgling vampire. Louis (the main character) reflects often about things he would have done differently as he relates the tale of his own change. Different ways he would have guided his fledgling self.

Many things change when you become a vampire, but there are some things that remain the same. You still retain your memories (although you may interpret them differently), your knowledge, and (if no one realizes your dead) your property. In many cases, vampires discover themselves having some of the same interests and inclinations that they had before the change.

Louis struggled with many internal questions after his change. In many ways it was made harder because Lestat, his master, and he would not have been compatible personalities in life, and are even less so in death. Because of this, Lestat not only wouldn't know how to usher Louis through his struggles, he doesn't have any desire to. His only aim with Louis is to keep him subjugated, and to use him for his money and property.

Eventually their little group grows, and a young girl becomes a part of their vampire family. Now we are faced with a whole new set of questions. Vampires never age physically, they are forever stuck at the age they were transformed, so what happens when a vampire is transformed as a child? As a woman's consciousness develops in a child's body?

One of the things I really appreciated about "Interview with a Vampire" is that not only do you have a story that keeps you captivated, Anne Rice thinks through all the different angles, and feeds you the information almost before you have a chance to wonder. So many authors focus too much on the plot and don't fill in any of the details, or spend too much time on the details and the story never moves. Anne Rice has found a wonderful balance between these two pressures.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Geeks Like Me

This is entirely my elf sisters fault. Seriously. You can blame her. See - it's even on her blog!

Pick 20 movies/books/video games and put their summaries from Better than it Sounds and, WITHOUT CHEATING, have your friends guess.

I'll give you a hint though ;)

Tv Shows:

1. A DHS agent, a mad scientist, and a high-school dropout solve mysteries with dubious scientific techniques. (Fringe - La)

2. A super-strong cheerleader, a Jewish computer nerd witch, a goofy slacker, and the school librarian fight undead (mostly) monsters of the week while their personal lives turn into a soap opera. Beloved people die with depressing regularity. (Buffy - Cecily)

3. A spy who can't fire a gun helps people by using everyday items in unconventional ways. (Macguyver - Cecily)

4. A gorgeous but socially clueless genius anthropologist solves murders involving really icky decomposition with a street-smart and equally gorgeous wisecracking FBI agent. UST ensues. They are helped by a socially retarded supergenius, a conspiracy-theorist slime expert, and a good-hearted, free-spirited artist. (Bones - Meri & Cecily)

5. Three men and four hundred extras travel through space in their futuristic living room/model UN club. (Star Trek TOS - Cecily)

1. A commercial for granola bars causes a schizophrenic ninety pound girl and a Shell Shocked Senior to topple a government. (Serenity - Meri & Cecily)

2. Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles. It doesn't sound too bad. (Princess Bride - Meri & Cecily)

3. A neurotic ballet dancer takes singing lessons from a serial killer who lives behind her dressing-room mirror. (Phantom of the Opera - Meri & Cecily)

4. Smartass kid neglects his education, shamelessly manipulates the sympathy of his parents and those around him and, for his own self-gratification, triggers a series of events that results in the destruction of his best friend's father's priceless car. Without remorse. Despite this, everyone loves him. (Ferris Bheulers Day Off - Cecily)

5. An anti-social teenager sees visions of an anthropomorphic rabbit, has a jet engine crash into his room, and has one month to prevent the end of the world... which he is the cause of. (Donnie Darko - Cecily)

Books (some may be movies as well):
1. Opinionated young woman meets snob and doesn't like him, until it turns out that she does. (Pride and Prejudice - Cecily)

2. Girl finds an alternate universe in a closet. Jesus is shaved. (The Lion, The Witch, and Wardrobe - Meri & Cecily)

3. A drunken cynic, a middle-aged fat guy, a kleptomaniac midget, and the world's tallest dwarf save their hometown from a dragon. (Guards! Guards! - Meri)

4. Four sisters with very different personalities grow up next door to a boy who plays the piano. One of them dies. (Little Women - Meri & Cecily)

5. Obsessive control-freak stalker and self-confessed cannibal breaks into the house of a hybristophiliac girl with age and appearance issues and low self-esteem, watches her sleep, goes through her dirty laundry, attempts to intimidate her with displays of his physical prowess and rare dermatological disorder, and reminds her at every opportunity that he wants to kill and eat her. It's a love story. (Really NOT better than it sounds.) (Twilight Saga - Cecily)

6. Three kids use The Power Of Love to help save the universe from a disembodied brain who's really big on conformity. (A Wrinkle in Time - Teri)

7. A young man travels into a magical kingdom to find a meteor to give his girlfriend, except the meteor is another woman. (Stardust - Cecily)

8. Ten-year-old girl with gender identity issues decides to become a professional crossdresser. (Allanna - the First Adventure - Meri & Cecily)

9. Girl pursues a lagomorph into a land ruled by playing cards, bad logic, and nursery rhymes. (Alice in Wonderland - Meri & Cecily)

10. Teenager teams up with a dragon and an old guy to get revenge on some strangers and rescue an elf. (Eragon - La)

Have fun scratching your head :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Writing ADD #15 and a Look at April

This weeks Writing update is pretty dull again - I wrote 3 book reports last week and that's it. In my defense though, I ended up going in for unexpected oral surgery! I don't really remember what ate the rest of the week though. Oh well, I'm getting a decent start to this week. I'm coming out of my drug/pain induced fog and I have tons of book reviews to catch up on :) I did a LOT of reading this last weekend!

I didn't get very much published this last month either - but my brother's twins being born is a good excuse! If I had a more portable laptop (mine got baptized and I have to use a plug in keyboard - not very transportable) I might have gotten more done this month, but that's ok. I don't mind!


Book Review

Movie Review

Now I need to go review some more books so I can return them to the library. And I REALLY need to post on here more frequently! You don't even want to know how many months behind I am on posting reviews versus what I'm reading right now!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Unexpected

Friday I went in to have a major cavity taken care of. Unfortunately, they discovered that the decay had advanced farther than they thought, and they had to take the tooth. That in and of itself would have been difficult/emotional to deal with, but I lost the tooth next to it six months ago, so I no longer have any upper molars on that side. *sigh*

The procedure didn't go easily. It took 2 hours, 2 doctors, 6 or 7 shots, and in the end 12 stitches. They had to dig a root out from the previous extraction that the doctor before had missed. As you can imagine, I haven't been having a fun couple of days. I've been staying drugged up, sleeping a lot, eating soft foods, and icing my face a lot! I'm frustrated, but not dealing with it too bad. At this point I just can hardly wait to be able to eat regular foods again! Even if it will be more challenging now.