Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book review: October Daye series 1-6

So I read through the first 6 books in this series not once, but twice.  And in the interest of not having to do 6 different blog posts, I'm combining all six books into 1 blog post ( because it makes my life easier.)  I <3 the world Seanan McGuire has created here, although I wasn't hooked until the third book.  Without further ado, here are the reviews:

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, #1)

 3.5 stars. First outing with October "Toby" Daye series. Love the world building, fae intricacies, and Shakespearean references. Love Toby who kicks ass and takes names, but wish that she was better at taking care of herself (its the counselor in me.)

Other characters I <3 - Tybalt (hello yummy king of Cats), Sylvester & Luna, Dare, & the Luidaeg (she's the perfect blend of old power & nursery rhymes. I adore her.) Figured out the major plot about 3/4 through, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the book. And people will die in this series. People you will grow to love will suffer. It's not as dark as Game of Thrones, but it's just dark enough for me. Can't wait to read more ;-)

A Local Habitation (October Daye, #2)        

The second in the October Daye series gets 3.5 stars. In this book readers got to meet a Cyber Dryad, learn how a Bannick cleans, and see Toby's car blow up. We also get to learn more about Toby's maybe relationship with Connor (which I'm on the meh side of.) More fun awaits with Tybalt, the Luidaeg, and Quentin (of which all three characters I'm a huge fan of.) While I didn't guess all of the plot line, I guessed enough not to be totally surprised by the identity of the murderer. This was another fun romp into the realm of McGuire's Fae.

An Artificial Night (October Daye #3)

5 stars - Wow. I liked the first two October Daye books, but this one just blew them out of the water. Everything came together and meshed seamlessly in this book. And adding a Firstborn as a childhood bogey that Toby has to bring down? That was pure genius. I had chills by the third chapter in and had to take breaks for silly things like eating & taking care of the house/kiddos. You will not be able to put this one down.

I'm firmly on Team Tybalt for the series for many reasons, but the simplest is Connor simply couldn't keep Toby alive & Tybalt can. Until our girl can learn to take care of herself (which is looking impossible at this point) she needs someone who will keep her alive. Connor isn't that someone. Plus...King of Cats.

May! May is filled with the stuff of awesome and I'm hoping we get to keep her for some time. Also, Spike! Who doesn't love a little rosebush shaped cat?

There will be rescues, revelations, and many, many tears along the path to Babylon. This one hooked me for the long run with Toby & Seanan McGuire.

   Late Eclipses (October Daye, #4)       

4 stars - It seems like loads more stuff happens in each book since book three...and I'm loving it. We've got a ton of characters by the end of this book that weren't there in the beginning & I do love my character driven plot lines ;-) So you'll get to meet Walther (very cool professor/alchemist), Raj comes back (he's just as fun as Quentin), we get MUCH more of May in this one (& she's a hoot!), and so many other interactions I can't remember just now. 

Toby does her very best to get herself killed (as usual, unfortunately. Her allies are getting ever more determined to keep her alive, so hopefully we'll continue getting books about her.) There is running (always the running with Toby. Maybe Seanan could write a Doctor Who reference in one of these for all us Whovians.), racing against time and poison, and endings you may not have anticipated.

Connor is well, he's meh to me because I think he's dwelling more in the past than in the present where Toby's concerned, but he doesn't totally suck here. Tybalt (who is my latest book crush and I swear Seanan based him on Mr. Darcy *sigh*) is clever, alluring, honest, and saving Toby's life...really too many times to count at this point. Here's hoping she wakes up and smells the pennyroyal soon.           

 One Salt Sea (October Daye, #5)

5 stars - Read through this twice before I could write the review. This thing will grab you, pull you into the Faerie world, bring to you tears and terror, and make you want to do it all over again. What a freaking ride!

So very much happens in this book it's hard to narrow it down enough to put into review format. You're going to get back story on the selkies, the Roane (sp?), and the Luidaeg. You're going to learn what madness can drive a person (or a pureblood Fae) to do. You're going to see the lengths Toby Daye is willing to go to for the protection and safety of those she loves. And if you have any emotions whatsoever you're going to cry. A lot. There's a ton of info. on the Undersea Fae in Toby's world here (that was pretty awesome) as well as a run in with a former member of Devin's family. You just need to read it.

Okay, spoilers below.....you've been warned.

I'm not a fan of Connor. He reminds me too much of people I know in my real life and I wouldn't choose to put anyone with him who had an ounce of independence. But...Connor does good in this book. And I was actually sad for and because of him (for once.)

Tybalt! If I wasn't already team Tybalt I would be after this book. <3 the chemistry between Tybalt and Toby that every other character in these books is aware of except for Ms. Daye herself. (To be fair I think most of that is because Toby knows as a changeling she doesn't have any real chance with him...or does she?)

I can't wait to find out more about the mysterious Arden the Luidaeg mentioned as well as what happens in a year when the Luidaeg calls the selkies' time due. This series just gets better and better!

Ashes of Honor (October Daye, #6)

5 stars - Again, read through this twice before writing the review as I just wasn't ready to leave Faery quite yet. Toby is acting with absolutely no regard for her own life in the beginning of this book and her friends fear for her. I believe it was stated that they believed she was trying to join Connor and they were opposed to this idea as they really wanted to keep her around. ITA with that and just lapped up all the Tybalt goodness in this book. One of the things I love so much about Tybalt is he calls Toby on her shit. He doesn't put up with it and doesn't bow to her. They fuss and squabble, but always have each others' backs. If you're a Tybalt fan you need to read this book. Yesterday.

Other things that happened: holy crap Etienne (Sylvester's stick in the mud knight) becomes a real person! That was pretty awesome to see. Quentin and Raj get to hang out (they're always fun.) Someone in Tybalt's court is trying to overthrow him, and Duchess Riordan raises her snotty ambitious head into the game. It's non-stop pretty much from the time Toby runs into some kids in an alley until the end.

The Luidaeg makes a few appearances, but not as much as in One Salt Sea. There are areas of Faery coming to light which haven't for centuries and we get to see just how much damage Toby can take in her new and improved Fae body. Can't believe the next book doesn't come out until September, 2013!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Perhaps long overdue...

I've hesitated in blogging on this particular subject as it is not comfortable.  While it took me some time to blog about the narcissist in my life, this is something that wanted to stay buried deep inside.  It didn't want to come out at all, because if it came out then I would have to acknowledge that it happened.  And I don't know many adults that want to acknowledge trauma that they can't quite remember from their childhood.  So here's a deep breath....and what I'm willing to share with the world at this point.

I'm not going to explain what trauma is.  There are so many different definitions and types and depending on who you talk to it means one thing or another.  I look at trauma as something that hurts you so badly it takes years and sometimes even a lifetime to recover from it.  If anyone wants an official definition do some searches at medical sites as well as mental health sites...all the "official" definitions can make your head spin.

I've experienced trauma as an adult that I remember clearly and at the same time it's like I was in a glass box looking at everything, but not really feeling any of it.  Lightning was diagnosed with multiple congenital heart abnormalities when he was still in utero and quite frankly that's what saved him.  There were tons of doctors and tests and I felt a bit like a lab rat through the last 1.5 months of that pregnancy, but he was born safely.  And the day after he was born he was flown in what looked like a baby rocket to have open heart surgery.  It was a horrible experience for all of us and I wouldn't wish it on anyone...he was 3 weeks old before I got to hold him.  He was in a medically induced coma the first time I saw him after he left on the baby rocket for his surgery.  It.  Was.  Awful.  But...I remember it.  And I'm very grateful every time he has a checkup where his pediatric cardiologist says his heart repair is holding.  We had one of the best surgeons for Lightning's particular procedure perform his surgery and if we are very, very lucky Lightning will never have to have another surgery.  (Many thanks to Dr. Mohan Reddy of Lucille Packard Children's Hospital for giving my son the chance to have a life.)

I don't remember what happened during my childhood that made me block so many memories.  There's a very clear suspicion that involves the father of a friend who I used to have sleepovers with....I remember going over to that house so many times and then suddenly never going there again.  I remember not talking to my friend for years.  Literally I would not ever speak to this girl and I didn't know why.  There have been dreams and speculation since I gained my master's degree, but nothing definite.  There is a quiet horror in not knowing what the hell happened to me.  There is raging anger that someone forced me to do things I didn't understand.  There is acknowledgement that I will never again be coerced into doing something I don't wish to do.  And there is patience...patience that if I get to the point where I can remember without imploding, then the memories will come back to me.  

There is tons of information on abuse in literature, but I'm more interested in trauma.  Trauma is less cruel I think than the word abuse is...not entirely sure why I feel that way, but there it is.  Because it can happen to anyone.  Nobody knows what they can't comprehend until it happens to them.  Disassociation is a tool we use to survive something we normally would not be able to deal with.  If you are a trauma survivor don't let anyone belittle your experience.  Many people will not understand what you went through.  That's okay.  If we were all traumatized there'd be all kinds of zombie apocalypse shit going on in the world.  Those of us who have experienced trauma and have climbed out of the prison it can put us in are unique.   We may have to be patient with those who don't understand....and with ourselves when we have setbacks.

I found this blog post by Michele Rosenthal to be very helpful....please share it with any others it may help  -->

Friday, April 12, 2013

Book review: The Rising by Kelley Armstrong 3.5 stars

The Rising (Darkness Rising, #3)

This was not my favorite book of the series mainly because I had so many unanswered questions at the end of the book. Pleased with the relationship settlement among the characters overall...the young adults showed some pretty great levels of maturity. I would love to see a continuation of this series with the Project Phoenix kids and the Project Genesis kids as the main characters. That would be the perfect opportunity for Kelley Armstrong to answer any questions her readers had about Cabals and the purposes the kids choose to pursue.        

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SO the drama

This post will chronicle the recent events which transpired between the Borg Queen (my NPD MIL) and my family during the kids' Spring Break from school.  It will be edited at least three times before posting (trying really hard to keep the grammar issues down) and will hopefully be at least a little bit funny.  The title I completely stole from a 2 parter of Kim Possible because it was very appropriate.

Donald had previously ended his counseling prior to this visit as both he and his counselor thought he had accomplished what was needed and he was good to go.  That assumption has been usurped by Donald's complete and utter inability to keep any type of self-care going while the BQ was in the same city.  The BQ left today and Donald is going to see his counselor in the morning.  Thank the Gods.

We didn't realize when plans were made for the BQ to come out during the first part of Spring break that it was also going to be Easter weekend.  Even though we're not Christian, we still celebrate the holiday of the Bunny & the candy as well as have an egg hunt because we live in the United States.  It's kind of a thing here.  Anyhow...I believe it was the first day of the BQ's arrival that she announced her intention to dye eggs.  The BQ is no longer allowed to boil eggs in our home because she damn near burned our home down several years ago leaving eggs boiling in a pan for 5 hours.  (No I'm not kidding.  This actually happened.  I have pictures.)  So after announcing her intentions she informs Donald we will need another 2 dozen eggs.  Yeah.  Not happening because it was GROSS outside & we weren't doing an egg hunt in that shit.  So I compromised with Donald by telling him I'd get 1 dozen white eggs & we'd dye them & 6 brown eggs.  The kids could then use those & some filled plastic eggs for a small indoor egg hunt then we'd do another egg hunt later in the week outside when it wasn't gross.  An accord was met and all was good in the kingdom.  Until it wasn't.  Because while Donald assumed we'd be using regular old egg dye from the store, the BQ had brought this special egg dye she keeps in jars from her house.  This shit apparently stains everything.  Remember that self-care thing I mentioned before?  The resulting mess involved Donald bowing and scraping to his mother while trying to keep the kitchen table from being stained and completely forgetting he was supposed to feed himself lunch.  I was upstairs during this debacle because I've made it very clear to Donald that it's in our marriage's best interest (and my sanity) for me to spend as little time with the BQ as possible.  

Later the same afternoon Donald decides he needs to vent to someone about the problems he's having with his mother.  He chose me (wasn't I the lucky one) as his receiver and proceeded to rant about what she was doing that was driving him mad.  I pointed out that him venting to me was a bad idea because I wanted to strangle the woman before he stared and this just gives me more impetus to strangle her.  I then pointed out how his self-care was sucking and told him to go back to his counselor.  He wanted me to craft him a self-care guide   on how to survive his mother.  After again pointing out that I wanted to strangle her (I really shouldn't have had to mention this more than once) I told him that was something to talk to his counselor about.  Then he ate.  All was well once more.

Other fun anecdotes that occurred during this most recent visit was the BQ talking about the stress of her work situation and how one particular colleague was so toxic (her words, not mine.)  I had to get up and leave at that point as it was a struggle not to burst out laughing at the irony of the situation.

One last thing I must mention that damn near resulted in the strangulation of said Borg Queen was when she called Donald to come get Lightning because the child had gotten sick.  My general rule with the kids is you don't take them with you if you can't/won't take care of them.  I get that he threw up, but that little boy cried for 30 minutes after he got back to our house because he wanted to go back to Grandma's hotel.  30 fucking minutes.  He passed out after that.  From now on the BQ isn't going to get to decide who she wants to take, she's going to get the choice to take Bess one night, and the two boys with one parent the next night.  Because all three of my kids deserve love and I'll be damned if I'm going to let the BQ (who is obsessed with Bess & sees her as the daughter she never had) hurt my boys because they're not girls.

We always have the day after effect that to me feels like recovery from a hurricane after the BQ departs.  That's where we are now and I'm hoping the remainder of Spring Break isn't as draining as the first part was.