Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review: Splintered by A. G. Howard 5 stars

I'm posting a pic of the cover, but the computer image doesn't do it justice.  


Goodreads: Splintered

Two things drew me to this book: Melissa Marr liked it enough to write a review about it and the cover is AMAZING. I probably would have bought it for the cover alone because it just captivated me. The colors are magnified beyond what you usually find in a YA novel cover and provided a playground for my eyes the first time I saw Splintered in a bookstore. Way to go, cover artist whoever you may be!

Upon opening the book I discovered another thing that made me appreciate it....purple ink! The hardcover is printed in dark purple ink throughout the book. LOVE IT! How many authors/publishing companies will thing to change the ink color in a printing?

Now to get into the meat of this thing...it's obvious the author has a love for the works of Lewis Carroll and she displays that marvelously throughout the book. I suspect the author also has at least a working knowledge of the mental health world in the United States....she may even have studied Psychology or Human Services at one point. There are several Jungian vibes to this book that with the combination of the previously mentioned criteria has made this a personal favorite. (I don't know if the author intended this or if I'm just reading Jung into it, but the result was fabulously provoking either way.) I don't want to give too much away with Splintered (which is rare because most of my reviews have a spoiler section) but you really do need to just read the book to appreciate the art of it. All of the main characters were well fleshed out and the world making was brilliant. Will definitely be keeping on eye on the works of A. G. Howard in the future.        

Friday, February 8, 2013

Light at the end of a Very Long Tunnel

Our holiday experience with the BQ and the resulting fallout with Donald and I had me fairly depressed.  I've been in a funk for about the last month because of Winter, and bills we can't pay, and lack of employment on my part.  It's just been gloomy and dark and quite honestly I wasn't sure if I could stay in my marriage for another holiday.  Then something amazing happened.

It was a small thing, really.  But when you're dealing with NPD in a very dysfunctional family, you'll take the happy when it comes.  Donald and I had been talking about the BQ's demand to see the kids over Spring break.  (I saw demand because it's never asked or requested.  It's in the form of "I want the kids over Spring Break.)  Donald is still of the opinion that the kids should have the opportunity to spend time with the BQ.  I'm of the opinion they should stay as far away from her as possible.  We try to compromise on that and have agreed that as the kids get older they can make their own choices on spending time with her.  Anyhow, Donald is terrible about trying to make plans that are more than 30 days out.  It frustrates him because he would like to be able to plan things in advance, but it never really works.  So I volunteered to come up with what I thought was a reasonable plan for the BQ to see the kids over their Spring break from school.  The idea was the BQ could come out and spend either the first half, or the second half of the kids' break with them and we would make our own plans for whichever half she didn't use.  Donald agreed this was a good plan and said he'd call the BQ over the weekend.  At this point (because Donald has been working on boundaries with his counselor) I pointed out that since we wanted the BQ to acknowledge both of us in dealing with kidlet matters that I could very easily just send her an email with the info. and CC him on it.  He agreed and I sent the email out that afternoon.

A couple of days later he gets a text message from the BQ saying she'd accidentally deleted the text from me (I found that funny since I didn't send her a text) and wondered if he could just send her the info. again.  He sat there and looked at his phone for about half a minute or so and then he just busts out with "NO.  You can contact (oops I just realized I have no name for myself on here....we'll go with Callasyndra since that's my username) for that info."

I kid you not my jaw about hit the floor in shock and amazement.  This was a VERY GOOD THING.  I'd been waiting for something like this for 10 freaking years and it was finally happening.  It was so wondrous I was afraid to move and interrupt whatever had magically just made my husband stand up to his mother.  The he looked up from his phone and grinned at me saying "That felt kinda good."

Later that weekend he gets a phone call from the BQ where she again does her very best to just get him to divulge the sensitive Spring break info. over the phone.  He again tells her she needs to go through me because he's terrible at planning.  After he gets off the phone with her he says "That's the 2nd time she tried to circumvent you."  I told him it'd been going on for 10 years, it's just that he was seeing it now.  Apparently counseling has been very good for him.

Long story short the BQ sent me an email where she correctly provided the dates I had given her in the supposedly deleted email and stated which ones she would prefer.  The next time Donald spoke to her over the phone he informed her that she needed to quit using him as a middle man to avoid me.  I'm sure she was less than thrilled, but it felt like my husband was waking up from a spell that had been holding him all these years.  Patience may yet win out in the end!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Book review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone 5 stars

So far this has been my favorite book I've read this year.  Laini Taylor reminds quite of bit of Neil Gaiman in her writing style (or at least in this book she did) and I fell in love with the overall product.

Goodreads: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

The only thing I knew when I bought this book and read it was that I'd heard tons of good stuff about it. There really were no preconceptions going in other than I hoped it would be worth the purchase. This book was so much more than I was hoping for. It's a fairy tale. It weaves a tale of cultural difference explosive enough to lead to war and interlaces it with a droll sense of humor. This book covers the cost of war on people and their families in a much more palatable sense than The Hunger Games without the added horror script that I couldn't stand.

I really can't say enough how impressed I was by the cultural aspect of this book.  There was a part where two characters were talking about creation myths from their two different cultures.  That was simply GORGEOUS and such a huge part of the world making IMHO.  How many authors will go so far as to create creation myths for their worlds?  (Note to self:  do that for fantasy story you're working on if it ever gets going.)

My absolute favorite part of this book, however, is Zuzana. Because every young or old person deserves to have a best friend as fervent as Zuzana. I have so much love for the sheer normalcy and happiness that Zuzana gave to Karou's life. Karou's family was also a favorite.

Can't wait to get Days of Blood and Starlight to see what happens in the aftermath ;-)