Posted in in other news, Uncategorized

Can someone explain this to me?

Sometimes through the course of a work day I will come across something that just makes me stop and wonder.  Some times it has to do with one’s mode of dress (if you “sag” your pants at least wear underwear… just saying), sometimes it has to do with one’s actions ( a drunk man came dancing up to my lane to buy alcohol.  I refused.  Not only was he not mad, he proposed to me);  and sometimes it has to do with items we sell.  Today I sold two of these things in half an hour.  They are full-on furry animal masks and sell for $19.98.  You know the Mickey Mouse heads?  Yeah, this is it.  I tried to get info on these things through google, but got a lot of clips for a band and not much else.  Am I missing some internet meme or something here?

Mostly I just want to know if I will be ringing up a lot of people while they wear these.  Do you know what this is about?  Do you have one?  Post (an appropriate) pic in comments.

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Posted in bookish rambles

Where is the love?

Over the last few days I have been seeing a lot of people talk about the best books of the year so far- both in YA and adult categories.  While I thought long and hard about doing this as well (and still might), it got me thinking about some of the books that I have loved in the past- I mean went fan-girl bananas for-but haven’t seen much chatter about.  So I present to you my list of hype worthy books that never got the hype they deserved.

  1. I Shall Not Hate, Izzeldin Abuelaish.  This book is one of the most inspiring that I have ever read.  Izzeldin was a doctor working in hospitals on both sides of the Gaza Strip.  In this book he is very candid about the war, prejudices, his treatment on both sides, and the loss of his daughters who were killed.  I still tear up when I talk about it.  I cannot imagine having something like this happen, but what really floored me is his reaction.  It would be easy to lay blame, become hardened, hurtful…. instead he is still an advocate for peace.  He did not let this tragedy destroy him, or his remaining family.  He chose not to hate, and instead insist upon peace, love, and understanding.
  2. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende.  This has long been my favorite book.  With a touch of magical realism and a flare for words Allende brings to life this intriguing woman.  We follow Eva as she tells us the story of her life, loves, and discoveries.  The characters are unique and charming, and the world she built in the jungle is so real that on cold nights I open up that book just to feel the humid heat.  How does this book not have a fandom?!?
  3. Kids of Appetite, David Arnold.   This was definitely a YA fave from last year.  We open to Vic and Mad stalling for time, each in their own interrogation room (seriously, what an opening)!  As he attempted to fulfill his father’s last wish, Vic is engulfed in a group of street kids.  Having a birth defect, he had never been able to really interact with people easily, but Mad, Baz, Zuz and Coco take him into their little family and life changes for all of them.  I don’t want to go too far into it, you can read my review here.  All I am going to say, is that this book needs hype.  Everyone should read it!  I loved it and am still mildly obsessed with it.
  4. A Taste For Monsters, Matthew J Kirby.  Another favorite from last year, this book blew me away.  Evelyn Fallows is a down on her luck young woman who had been disfigured badly in her previous job.  As a madman called Leather Apron is terrorizing London, Evelyn finds safety in a hospital as a probationer.  She looks after John Merrick, also known as the Elephant Man.  As the two get close, she notices that Merrick is visited by ghosts- Leather Apron’s victims- looking for closure.  Kindhearted man that he is, he wants to help and give comfort, but it is taking a toll on him.  To protect her new friend, can Evelyn find the strength to find the answers herself?   Seriously guys, this book is fantastic and I just didn’t find that many reviews on it.  How are we not talking about this book still- and always?
  5. Passenger, Alexandra Bracken.  I guess there were a lot of books from last year that I am still obsessed with.  On the night of her big performance, Etta learns a secret.  Her family can jump through time!  Practically kidnapped and thrown back in time, Etta tries to come to terms with this new reality and discover who is friend and foe.  With an amazing caste of characters and gorgeous world building I feel like this deserves at least Hunger Games level hype.  The sequel, Wayfarer, was even better, allowing for some fantastic character development.
  6. Learning to Swear in America, Katie Kennedy.  An end-of-the-world novel where our hero is a socially awkward teen genius from Russia who is just now learning the ins and outs of dating and human interaction.  Yuri and his friends were fantastic, well developed characters that you loved to death.  The book was both hilarious and heartfelt.  I remember seeing it reviewed here on WordPress and thinking…. I have to have this.  It took me over completely.  I am still waiting for I<3 Yuri shirts and memorabilia.
  7. The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko, Scott Stombach.  All his life (seventeen years), Ivan has lived the a Belarus hospital for Gravely Ill Children where he spices up the day to day hum drum by manipulating everyone around him.  He is a brash potty mouthed little demon that is both hilarious and annoying, often getting the better of his nurses.  Then Polina shows up.  While she is, indeed, terminally ill, there is such a life force to her that Ivan knows she doesn’t belong.  As the two get to know one another they both grow as people, maturing before our eyes.  The personal growth I saw in Ivan was mind blowing.  This was just a really great read- and I may or may not know how to call someone a “beef whistle” in Russian.  Seriously, lets get some merchandise out for this one.  I would totally wear that shirt!
  8. The Eagle Tree, Ned Hayes.  I have to say, this is one of the most unique narrators I have ever read.  March Wong is autistic, and has a lot of trouble being understood.  His obsession of trees, and climbing them, has landed him in some hot water in the past and with the threat of having him taken away, his mother is trying to curb that.  It is his love of trees, though, that allows him to find his calling and branch out, allowing others into his world.  I felt like Hayes did an exceptional job with this book, making March the hero of his own story and bringing the struggle that people with autism and their loved ones go through.  March needs a fan club.
  9. Love in Lowercase, Francesc Miralles.  Samuel is a loner.  A linguist and a genius, he never did learn how to interact with others and has no one in his life.  When Mishima, a stray cat, arrives at his apartment and refuses to leave, Samuel is forced out of his comfort zone and into an intriguing world with unforgettable characters.  Again, where is the merchandise?!?!  Where are the Samuel/ Mishima fan clubs?
  10. Invisible, Shari Shattuck.  Ellen is severely overweight and self conscious.  She has learned to make herself so unnoticed as to be invisible.  Having lived her adult life hoping never to be seen, Ellen isn’t ready for the moment when everything changes.  Coming off the bus, Ellen notices a young blind woman being robbed and rushes in without thinking.  Temerity doesn’t care what Ellen looks like, only that Ellen was there.  She takes her new friend in hand and with the help of her brother Justice starts giving Ellen the things she needs for a better life- basic nutritional education and a whole lot of confidence.

I may love this one best because it has such a great message.  No one made Ellen change her life- there was no boy that would fall for her if only…. instead this is about a woman not only beginning to learn how to love and take care of herself, but a testament to the power of friendship and encouragement.  Sometimes I think Ellen has partially inspired my own drive to become healthier.  Both she and Temerity need fan clubs.

Of course, I could name a hundred others… but you get the point.  Which books do you think did not get the hype they deserved?  And what are you still obsessed with?

Amber

Posted in Book spots, bookish rambles, Uncategorized

I may seriously never leave my new library!!

pic of front.jpg We just got a new town library and it is absolutely gorgeous!  I am so excited!  Not only is it at least five times larger than the previous one, but there is more parking, lots of computers, study rooms- yes, rooms that students can rent out and put themselves in so that they can study in peace, conference rooms, a storm shelter and IT support on hand.  Holy cow!

Did I mention how gorgeous it is?!?  Sky lights and open layout, comfy chairs scattered everywhere.  Tables…. freaking vending machines!!!!  That’s right, we have an eating area where I can see myself having a lot of snacks (brought from home, of course, so that I don’t blow my diet), while I read several papers or magazines.

Warren is excited because we are also supposed to get a 3D printer here, along with other tech in the green room (it isn’t open yet, I think they are still getting equipment).

Here are just a few pics I took in my quick tour:

While I love all this, it does hurt that it is so far from me now- it used to be a five minute walk, now it is across town.  Having our area loose fast access has made me consider things like the Little Libraries that are popping up everywhere.  I am blessed in that I have a car and can get anywhere, and have free time.  Some of my neighbors aren’t so lucky.  I had considered taking some of my books- ones that I don’t mind possibly loosing- and setting up one a Little Library outside my house with the idea of people being able to take a book to read and return, or leave a well loved book for others.

In a perfect world this would work flawlessly.  Everyone would only go to the book area and leave the rest of the house unmolested, books would return, and nothing would get broken or vandalized.  But I worry that this would not be the case.  Is it fair of me to invite strangers so close to my home- a home I share with my husband (and his possessions)?  Also, would this affect the neighbors?  And for the love of God, I don’t want to be part of the Little Library site because I would have to enter my information and address!  You have to pay them at least once, maybe more, and I don’t see how they could make this any safer.  I just want a weather proof cabinet outside that proclaims that it has Community Books- take a book, share a book.  That sort of thing.  One would open the cabinet and see a small selection of books.  They would take one to read, and return it when finished for the next reader.  I want to believe this would work!  I also don’t worry about “getting the word out” because it would be small and, with luck, just for my community.  What do you guys think?  Crazy, right?  I haven’t even asked the husband yet because I know he’s gonna nix it lol.  Let me know your thoughts in comments!

Amber

Posted in bookish rambles, in other news

I am so very behind and feel awful!!!!

I-am-so-sorry-sad-puppyUgh!  I hate myself this month.  I had several read-for-reviews from First to Read and Netgalley and I swear I don’t think any of them will be out on time.  I don’t like doing that and, honestly, rarely do.  I just can’t get my act together.  I am especially worried about FTR, because it won’t let me post a review after the release date, so I basically failed.

It isn’t that I don’t want to read the books- I do!  I am just having trouble finding time to read right now, which is completely out of character.  Also, I may have been bad and started a free trial of Comixology- I swear I have only read a few Guardians of The Galaxy and X23!

Hopefully I will have a better work-exercise-housework-read-socialize routine down for next month.  One can dream, right?

Have you guys ever missed a bunch of release dates at once?  How did you feel?

Amber

Posted in in other news

Get Lost (…and make new friends)

My morning rambles have been my favorite form of exercise so far- I do gym workouts, stationary bike, resistance bands, and tried Zumba, but Sassy Britches got curious and tried to kill me.  Yesterday I went to my favorite spot and started my walk on the other side of the creek.  Warren and I had done this trail once, and it linked up to the other side easily making for a nice 2.5 mile walk.  Well, somewhere along the way I took a wrong turn.  I kept thinking if I just kept moving forward I would a) find a way across, b) turn around and try to find the way back, or c) find a road, call a cab, and make them take me to my car.  Seriously, I was that lost.  Add to this, I had my pack with my book, keys, wallet, and two things of fruit…. but had forgotten my water bottle in said car that I can’t get to.  Luckily it was early enough that it wasn’t too hot- quite nice, actually.

So, I am sitting on one of the copious benches along the path contemplating my choices and getting ready to eat some of my cherries when a beautiful forest elf finds me- lol I am just kidding.  A lovely fisherwoman saw me walking up and down the path to bridge (saw it, but didn’t think it lead my way so I went back).  Monica introduced herself and walked me along the bridge and showed me my trail.  What my new bud forgot to mention was that it was up the side of a hill and hosted signs stating that one should proceed with caution.  I figure, in for a penny in for a pound.  The walk is narrow and I just knew my clumsy ass was going to fall off at any moment.  To add insult to injury I got passed by two older gentlemen with walking sticks- don’t be fooled, they can motor!  Half way through that part there was a stone table and bench so I decided now was the time for my impromptu breakfast- a large mandarin and 100 grams of cherries.  By the time I made it to familiar trails the two gentlemen were turning around to go back up!  Still, they were nice, as were the two women that I met on the walk.  I hope to be friends with Monica, as she seems very interesting.

Long story short, my 2.5 mile ramble turned into a 4.5 mile mini hike.  It was interesting, and beautiful…. and a little nerve wracking.  I called my husband as soon as I got to the car to let him know I was alive (I know, so melodramatic!).  He proceeded to buy me lunch and get me a pedicure.  Yeah…. I’m not spoiled.  I got some good pics though!  I wish I had asked Monica and the others if I could take theirs, but it seemed awkward and weird.

I kind of want to do this again- on purpose next time!  I may park at the bridge though, so that the hardest part for me is in the beginning.  Up hill is still hard, and ledges don’t make me happy, but it was beautiful and I was really proud of myself.  My out-of-shape butt did a 4.5 mile walk and I didn’t die!  Now, I did go slow, and sit when needed so it took roughly two hours round trip.  Lol, no wonder those guys passed me!  Maybe I shouldn’t bring my book on walks….

Amber

Posted in in other news

May The Fourth Be With You- 2017!

Hey guys!  While I am not as big a Star Wars fan, I have tons of friends that are and I love watching them celebrate their fandom.  Last year, I caught a local guy that dresses like a Madalorian and rides his scooter around town all day.  This year two of my buddies are having some fun.  My friend Chris took advantage of the fact that his work said he could dress up for the day.  Here’s his choice:

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Honestly, I kind of love it!  It’s great that we can just laugh and have fun like this.  I mean, this is a pretty wild fandom really.  My best friend from high school belongs to a legion and they do a lot of fun things.  They go out and do volunteer work, go to cons and celebrations- there was one last month actually.  Finding him in this pic is like searching for Waldo, but I have to share because it’s awesome.

Mandalorian Mercs

He celebrated today by getting the Imperial Cog tattooed on him, and then getting into his Mandalorian outfit and going out. 

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I love these guys, and I am so glad they were able to have fun!  As for me…

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Lol just kidding.  What did you guys do do?