Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sick...

I wasn't going to make a post until after I'd recovered from this... grossness. But I can't stand laying around right now, so I figured sitting at the computer for a few minutes wouldn't be too very hard! So about 2 weeks ago now, Matt came down with a respiratory infection. He usually doesn't get sick, so it was kind of a surprise. Of course, I get sick really easily it seems. This last Sunday while I was at work, I noticed my throat was kinda scratchy feeling... Uh-oh.

Of course that Monday, I wake up and I'm sick. I tried to go into work, but left after about an hour- it was obvious I was very sick, and I didn't want to get anyone else sick either. And I've been home since then. No fever this time, but I feel just disgusting. Runny, stoppy nose, throat constantly on fire, no balance from clogged up ears, can't hardly breathe, coughing stuff up- the whole shebang! For some reason, I can't just get 'meh' sick- no simple colds for me! Whenever I get sick, it's like I get the plague or something, and I'm laid up for days.

The stress of the last few months hasn't really been helping my immune system I guess..? I've spent the last few days as a groaning, coughing heap of blankets and disgusting on the couch in the living room... Which I'll be returning too after I post this, finish my soup, and have a nice warm shower!


Anyway, since my last post I finished up The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge. It was very enjoyable, and way better then the first. I'm really glad I stuck with the series after the train wreck of the first book. It was essentially all the awesomeness of the last 100 pages of the first book, without the 400 pages of crap before it. I hate to sound spiteful about The Iron Thorn, but it was pretty bad. I'm hoping the third book, when it's released (Next year, from what I've read. Boo.) continues in the awesome vane, and stays away from the bad!


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor was also good. I really enjoyed the unique take on 'angels' and 'demons', especially how the author managed to keep it away from pretty much any religious bias, which I despise. Overall, I really enjoyed the interesting characters, and twisting, mystery filled story, though I was less then impressed with the writing style. I found myself skimming along more then actually reading every word, something I usually don't do- I usually quit reading a book if I'm skimming, rather then waste my time with something I clearly don't like. But the story was excellent, and I'm interested in finding out what happens in the next, when it's released later this year. Good enough to keep reading, wouldn't buy it though!

The copy of Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor that I had on reserve came in, which I snagged last time I was at work, so that will be next, followed by Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card.

Oh, and my car is finally at the shop. I had a voice mail this morning that they'd been waiting on a few parts, which came in this today. Once those are installed, it'll be off to the paint shop. So good news on that front.

Allrighty, off for a nice shower, more jammy clothes, then back into my heap of blankets...

~~Brunn~~

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stress...

The last few weeks have just been kind of crappy. Between the loss of my dog, having a car wreck, and my grandmother being ill, I've just been stressed all to pieces! That's not fun at all. Oh, did I not mention the car accident?

Yeah, had a wreck...

So last Wednesday I'm driving to work down Northwest Expressway. I leave for work about 4:30 in the afternoon, and usually just get in the left lane and stay there as it's very busy. Northwest is a six lane highway, with a center grassy median, and with all the people shuffling around and acting like dumbasses, it's usually safer to just stay put! 

So I'm nearly to work, when suddenly a grey SUV whips across both right lanes, directly in front of me, and slams on their brakes. She was clearly trying to get into the turn lane in the median to make a u-turn, (She told the officer as much), but by the time she made it over, she was already abreast of the other cars in the turn lane, had already slammed on her breaks, and had no where to go. Idiot. And why was it so hard to make it into the turn lane for her?


Because that red marker is where she got onto the highway and that green one is where she was trying go. That's 600 feet. Across 3 lanes. During rush-hour traffic. At 45 miles an hour. She had like, a minute to get over there. Does this seem like a good plan to you..? I didn't think so.

And the police officers, when they finally showed up, pretty much just laughed at us and said they'd let the insurance companies "hash it out". In other words, by not declaring her at fault (Which it clearly was, the only way to get to where she was is to blow across 3 lanes of traffic in rush hour. That's reckless driving at the least.) and not giving her a ticket, my own insurance company gets to pay for my car. 

And the best part? She was a little 17 year old girl. And one of those prissy prep girls by all appearances as well, the kind I can't stand. It infuriates me that this little brat can't swoop in, and in under a minute, cause me all this annoyance and suffering, and gets away with it. Little bitch!
  
So yeah, I've been rather annoyed. And then, on Mother's Day no less, my grandmother comes down extemely ill. Out of respect, I won't go into details, but it was pretty bad. I received word this morning that she's better now, so at least there's that relief!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, now that all this is out there and done with, lets talk about some happy things! Like Cats!


Taco is a big help with the laundry!

Last week I got a wild hair and dug out my scene painting projects from college. They've been hanging around in the trunk of my car since then, and the last few months in the closet. I decided it was time to get the suckers out and put them up. Plus, we need decoration bad!


None too shabby I think!

And last but not least, books! I'm still doing a lot of reading, as curling up with a book and a mug of bavarian wildberry tea is great for de-stressing. Still reading on Green Rider by Kristen Britain, but it's not really grabbing my interest. the writing is... Quaint? Good, but not brilliant. Started on The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge (The second book of that Iron Thorn series) in the meantime. It is way better then the first, and I'm glad I continued on in the series.

Also snagged Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor from the library. After the stress of the last two months, I'm really enjoying these quick reading YAs! It's great to sit down and read for a bit, and really make real headway in a book. It makes you feel... accomplished? And it's nice to be able to quickly read a story, no fuss, or days and days spent on one book!

~~Brunn~~

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More Books!

It's been a fairly busy couple of days here. Lots of reading for me really! So here's a little update!

About a month ago now I think, one of my fellow Pages at the library quit. She was quite ill, and also attending college and between the two had been calling in for weeks at a time. While we all felt for her, and certainly never blamed her for her absences, it was nice to know we'd be getting in someone who would be more reliable. Our new Page started this last week. I'm not sure what to make of her- she's very friendly, which is great, but as I'm a shy person I like to feel people out a bit before I get buddy buddy with them, and she's not really giving me the time to do that. She also seems very... well, loud. I don't really like talkative, loud people like that. O.o; I'm sure all will work out once we know each other better!

I've been sick these last few days, and was afraid I'd have to go to the doctor for antibiotics. What's worse, the over the counter meds I was taking was making my stomach extremely upset every time I took a dose- which was three times a day. I think I'm over it now though, off the meds with no ill effect and my stomach seems settled. I did take yesterday off though, for some much needed sleep and rest on the bed while my stomach ached instead of standing around in the heat shelving books, and feel way better today!

Oh, and I mentioned heat? That's the one downside to my job really. Our air conditioner SUCKS. Badly. It is always hot and humid in the library, which is terrible for both the books and the Pages moods. It isn't fun to shove heavy carts laden with heavy books around the library when it's 83 degrees in a building with no air flow. By the end of the day I'm usually sweating and in a sour mood. It may be fine and dandy for the librarians who do nothing but sit at a computer all day, but when you're climbing step stools, bending down, sitting on the floor, pushing carts and handling books, it's nearly unbearable. They did come in and 'work on' the air conditioner so it was slightly cooler inside then out, but I seriously worry about this summer when it'll be 105 degrees outside. If it's that hot inside, I dunno how long I'll be working there.

Anyway, I said I'd been doing some reading since my last post, and I have! I've finished two books, albeit teen reads. I usually don't read books labeled as 'teen' or 'young adult'. They are usually not in depth enough for me to enjoy- the plot lines and language too simple, and the characters too little detailed. But after the last few thousand page tomes and long winded series I've read, I thought it would be nice for a little fluff!


The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor was very well written for how short it was. I really enjoyed the unique take on the traditional Alice in Wonderland characters. The action was very fast paced, and the premise was enjoyable. I even put the sequel to it on reserve at the library. That being said, it wasn't as in depth as I would have liked. I'd have loved to have this be on of my thousand page epics, fully realized and as awesome as it could have been! I'll enjoy the rest of the series, and console myself on how fantastic a book like this would be if written for adults I suppose.


I also finished The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge this morning. As I said in my Shelfari review: 

I really wanted to rate this book higher, but there are so many little annoyances with it that really stopped me from enjoying it as much as I could have. The dystopian 'steampunkish' setting doesn't work well with the time period it's set in. While everyone else's name in the book is simple and pronounceable such as 'Dean', 'Cal', or 'Conrad', the main character's name is an unpronounceable and strange ''Aoife'. And the character of Cal will argue with EVERYTHING, no matter what it is, whether it be life or death- to the point you'll want to fling the book across the room whenever he opens his trap. His character is so over done for the majority of the book that it nearly ruins a big reveal.
On top of this, the pacing is awful for the majority of the book, where it takes too long to get anywhere or do anything. The author leaves you in the dark as to what's happening to Aoife for far too long, practically to the point you'll put the book down in frustration. I feel as if she trying to build dramatic tension to keep you going, but it fell flat, and just leaves you confused for the first half of the book.
As it stands however, after about 400 pages, the story -finally- picked up and grabbed my interest. Once you finally get a real idea of where it's going and the magic system at work (Which, I'm sorry, the author used a terrible and stupid sounding name for) the book turns around and leaves you wanting more. I'll be putting in a request for the sequel at the library today.
So should you read the book? It is YA and it is a fairly fast read, which does work in it's favor for the first 400 pages. I would recommend checking this unique and interesting book out at the library before you buy. It's great at the end- IF you can get there!

Aoife? Seriously? I just can't get over how ridiculous this name choice was when compared with everyone else. Like any teen kid is going to figure out it's pronounced 'Eeffa'. Anyway, all the reviews I've seen for the sequel The Nightmare Garden have started with "Way better then the first book!" and as I did enjoy the end of Iron Thorn, I'll be picking it up at some point. Being YA, it's such a quick read, why not?

Right now I've got a library copy of Green Rider by Kristen Britain to keep me occupied. Haven't seena  bad review for it yet, and in fact, I technically own a copy of it... But it's a stripped book I got when I worked at Hastings, and paperbacks are kind of a pain in the butt to read when missing the front cover. Besides, I've noticed I tend to stay on track reading library books better then I do my own copies, especially when it's a new series or author I'm unfamiliar with. I thinks it's because I've technically only got the book for so long, so I want to get it finished quickly! I set my Shelfari goal for this year to be 50 books read, and I'm way behind as it is- have to stay at it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Television, Books, and Other Tidbits!

It's been so long since my last post, yet nothing much has happened. At least, not a whole lot I've wanted to write about! But I decided to scrape together a post anyway! Here's hoping for more interesting post material in the future!

Let's see... Remember our new layout in the office, the one with our shiny new desks? It's been working out fantastically so far! With one minor problem...


That itty bitty, super low quality monitor there? That's our 'TV'. We used it to watch netflix and Hulu, and other shows and programs on. And it sucked! The board we had spanning the open space between the desks (An unused shelf that was supposed to go in the computer tower cabinets, but our towers are too tall) was too long, so it sat in front of the hutches. That put the monitor too far forward that you had to sit back in your chair away from the desk to properly see the screen! On top of this, it was just plain small, low quality and cruddy!

We've fixed that now though!


We had dinner with Matt's parents the other day (good food, good family, had a blast!) and while they were here, Wade used our dremel tool and cut the board down to fit properly between the desks. Actually, for some reason they cut it inside the apartment, so when I came home it smelled like there had been a fire in the computer room! Anyway, after dinner we dropped by Best Buy to take a look at their TVs.

The one we settled on was a 24" flat screen that was on sale for $200, usually $260. Pretty good deal we thought, the perfect size, why not? But they didn't have any under the display, and when we inquired, it turns out the TV's had been discontinued  for a new model coming out, and the display model was the only one they had at all! So, seeing as it had no remote and was technically a 'used' TV, we got the price down to 170! Great deal for a TV that fits perfectly, and a massive upgrade from what we had before!

So yeah, stuff has been rolling along fairly smoothly for the last few weeks. Most of my time has been spent reading with a wee bit of WoW mixed in. Yes, yes, I know I 'quit' WoW, but we're still stuck paying for it for a full year, so we've been dabbling on it some. Nothing like last time, not anything overwhelming. It's been enjoyable playing with my friends again. I've also been learning to type, so I'm writing this really, really slowly.

Now then, I said I've been reading a bunch, and I mean a bunch. So far this year I've read several books, most of which have been great! I've started a few that were so so, and read one that, while it was decent, it didn't live up to the hype at all...


I finished the first two books in the original Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson: Mistborn, and The Well of Ascension. Both were fantastic, and exemplify why Brandon Sanderson is my favorite author. Everyone of his series has a new magic and unique system, interesting and believable characters, and flows beautifully. This series stands out as well in that the main lead character is female, something that seems to be rare in a lot of well written fantasies. And I don't mean the boring 'princess' or 'queen' main characters who don't really do anything but sit around... No, no! In Mistborn, she kicks as much, if not more butt then the other characters. a nice change of pace from the usual 'woman as political intrigue.



The Name of the Wind and it's sequel The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss were stunning. I loved every minute of them, and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a good read. These fall under my 'realistic fantasy' genre. Yes it's fantasy, and  yes there's magic, but if there really were magic in the world, this would be how it's done. My only complaint with this series is that there isn't a release date for next book yet! If you're reading this Mr. Rothfuss, please write faster!  



Now, I've heard no end to the praises for Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series. So I borrowed it from a  friend. I don't tend to like the books that are hyped all to pieces, especially if they're teen- but I don't really want to pass judgment on them if I've not read them. To my credit, I read all four books of the twilight series. And in case you were wondering, no, I do not have a very high opinion of them. They're fine as a fluff story, and I appreciate them for how they did get some kids who wouldn't normally pick up a book to read. All in all however, I feel they are poorly written written, and it's a shame so many people choose them over far better young adult fiction.

Anyway! I did read the first Hunger Games book. It was alright. It did read insanely fast, but I don't know if I can say that's a good thing or not. It got it's story across, and it was enjoyable. But I have no interest in continuing on with the series, even though I know I could have both of them finished in a day or two. I guess I just don't want to spend the time? I want a story with more depth to it, not something that just tosses it all out there in a serviceable way. On top of that, the world in which it takes place just isn't very believable; I honestly can't see how this type of dystopian future could evolve from what they place as the future United States. Maybe  the ancient Roman's... but not any future world coming from our own modern times. So for me, the book was a 'meh'.

I also tried Anne Rice's The Wolf Gift, and Paula Brackston's The Witch's Daughter, both of which I gave up on shortly after starting. The Witch's Daughter was written in a 'journal' format which I did not like at all, and when it did get into the main story and jumped back to the time of Salem Witch Trial's, all the characters had completely unbelievable speech patterns. Now, it may have been completely true to the way they would have spoken at the time, but to me it came off as fake and distracting. As for The Wolf Gift, it failed to catch my interest in the slightest and I gave up after slogging through only a few pages.


The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks is what I'm reading right now. I'm only a couple pages in, and I'm not sure if I like it. I know it's an older book, and a fantasy classic at that, but so far it's been slapping me in the face with half a dozen fantasy cliche's...  The legendary sword to save the world, a great war between the races of men, elves, and dwarves, a mysterious traveler come to find a man who was adopted and turns out to be from an ancient bloodline, etc. This book could very well be the one that came up with some of these cliches, but seriously? I'm hoping it picks up with some action and well written story to make up for it soon. Otherwise, it's on it's way back to the library!

~~Brunn~~