Paul Auster goes big in his new novel 4 3 2 1, an 880-page doorstopper following four different versions of the same character, leading four not-quite parallel lives. Check out Muchael Schaub’s review here.
Every so often, I think of this book and smile. It’s not that it’s a perfect book by any means. It has it’s pitfalls. But for what it is, Long May She Reign is a delightful, charming read. The biggest thing that charmed me was the protagonist. Fraya is refreshingly different from the YA fantasy heroine trope. She’s not kickass. She’s not girly. But she’s also not a damsel in distress. Instead, she’s smart and resourceful and fit to take important matters to task. And she’s not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what is right.
I should, perhaps, preface this with the plot. Right from the first chapter, Thomas places her readers in this lavish, beautiful royal feast. Everyone’s gorgeously dressed in elaborate court outfits, acrobats and contortionists are performing between tables, and doves fly out of a pie. It’s big and bold and she’s making a flashy statement from the get go. What I love about this set up is that it perfectly reflects the greedy conspicuous consumption of this corrupt king and really creates the tone for the remainder of the novel.
Just when you think we’re getting this beautiful, over the top royal aesthetic for the rest of the narrative, the entire court dies of poisoning. And in one fell swoop, Fraya becomes next in line for the throne. What remains is a twisty, turny murder mystery on a large scale, paired with some admirable character development on Fraya’s part. There’s a certain quiet dose of classic Sherlock Holmes in this. Unlike many fantasy novels these days, Long May She Reign is far from action packed. Instead, Thomas brings the excitement back to a more cerebral level as we watch Fraya use her science smarts and cunning to unravel the whodunnit. Effectively, she’s Watson and Holmes all rolled into one and I love that in a female protagonist.
Although this novel is essentially set in a medieval fantasy plot, there’s something about it that feels very Victorian. Fraya’s scientific reasoning harkens back to the early days of forensic science, when doctors were still trying to discover how to detect arsenic in everyday matter. Rarely ever do I see female characters engaging in science in young adult novels and it brings me so much joy to see Fraya really excelling at it and revelling in her work. She’s not ashamed of being a scientist, nor does she bow to anyone’s will if ever they tell her it’s not her place to do such investigations. Her scientific curiosity makes her a very different kind of fantasy queen, and a much needed one at that.
Fraya is not a girl who ever expected to become queen. About a dozen down the line to inherit the throne, she was not meant to become queen. Yet it happens, and at first, she’s reluctant. She has grand plans to make the next great scientific discovery and invent something useful enough so she can gain notoriety and get out of her greedy town. She’s got aspirations beyond the kingdom. She wants to make something of herself.
And at first, becoming queen isn’t going to grant her that.
Of course, in time, she comes to realise how corrupt the court truly is and she starts to realise that she has a voice, and she’s in control. She calls the shots and no one else. People will try to pull her strings and manipulate her into doing what they want, but she wants none of it. The minute she has that epiphany, it’s her way or the highway. No more lavish spending, the poor are going to get their due, she really pulls it together despite the odds.
This is exactly what I need out of female characters! I need girls who get shit done! Because that’s exactly the type of role model young girls need right now more than ever! We need to be teaching them that they can do science. They can be effective leaders.
They have a voice!
I am beyond thrilled to see Rhiannon Thomas sharing such a message, and I’m excited to see what she does in the future because true, self-aware, feminist YA authors are few and far between. And they deserve all the attention we can give them.
“The Highlander's Princess Bride”, by Vanessa Kelly
A young governess finds herself in the Highlands looking after a family of seven brothers. The Kendrick family; three rascals, three drama queens, one sensible young boy and Victoria to handle them all. Oh well, and a grumpy grandpla who hates English people.
I read this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review
RELEASE DATE - OCTOBER 31st
only defending herself from the attack of a sexual abuser when Victoria had
thrown her employer’s only brother down the stairs, a fall so bad that it
caused his death. Quickly, the young governess went to her own brother by blood
seeking advice and protection and then the head of her strange family set
things to rights… but the young man’s family wants her hanged for his murder.
Until gossip died down in London both her brother and Sir Dominic send her to a
new position in Scotland, after making her promise that she won’t tell anyone
what had happened in London and who she really is. Because Victoria Knight is
one of the prince Regent’s natural children.
That is how
Victoria gets to meet the Kendrick family, a rather chaotic family of Highland
men who live in a castle a day or so away from Glasgow. There are seven of
them. Nick, the laird of the Kendrick lands, Logan, the estranged brother who’s
just back from Canada, and their step-brothers, Royal, the twins and
mischief-makers Grant and Graeme, Braden the good student who wants to be a
doctor, and young Kade, the sweetest of them all, not yet sixteen. And of
course there’s grumpy Grandpa Macdonald… and his bagpipes in the middle of the night… Soon enough Victoria
will find that it will take a great deal of strength and stubbornness to handle
these rascals and make decent gentlemen out of them. But she will find herself
a new family that will protect her, love her, and give their lives for her if
needed be. And Victoria will help them heal these wounds and make amends if not
peace, that would be too much to ask.
thoroughly enjoyed the story of this family that stick together despite the
many sadness and tragedies that happened in the past, despite the fights that
happened between them and to them. I loved all the men in the Kendrick family,
their personalities are so well described that even if they have similarities,
as all brothers and sisters do, they are completely different entities, even
the twins. And their personalities are so loveable, because even the one who
seems the most hateful (that would be grandpa Angus) has something good inside,
they’re not totally mean and each of them end up a little bit in love with the
heroine, she conquers them all, one step at a time, because she sees good in
them as does the reader.
has as much drama as it has fun. It’s so engaging that once you start reading
you can’t stop because there’s never a moment of dull in that castle, you just
want to know what kind of mischief are Graeme, Grant and their grandpa Angus are
up to, because they’re always up to something. You want young Kade’s health
fully restored, you want Royal to get over his moods and win the heart of that
lady he always fights with, you want everyone supporting Braden’s ambitions of
being a physician in order to cure his little brother and you want Nick and
Logan making amends. And of course if there is one who can give you what you
want, or at least die trying, that’s Victoria. And only for that, you want her
to have her happily ever after with Nick.
one thing that I didn’t like very much and that is the fact that in two
occasions one of the brothers appears out of thin air to save the day. When all
hope is lost he happened to be around as if by smelling trouble. The ‘Deus ex
machina’ kind of narrative was never my cup of tea, but it might work well for
someone else. Yet these two concrete scenes don’t spoil the novel at all as one
of them is to no consequence (or so it seems in that moment) and the second
brings something good… and that is not the fact that the character saves the
day, but what happens after that.
4 of 5
Despite this being book #3 in the Improper Princesses series, it is only connected with book #2 if only in the distance. It is connected with book #1,
the novella “Tall, Dark and Royal”,
and most especially book #4 of the Renegade Royals series. As the heroine of this book is the sister, protegée and cousin respectively of the heroes of these novels, the three men do have parts in this novel.
your hair was long when we first met (Pidge/Lance)
Summary: Pidge’s hair grows with the seasons. So do Lance’s feelings. A/N: this has been sitting in the back of my head for a while now and finally I was just like welp, let’s give it a go. It’s a little bit different stylistically from my latest plance fics, but take a peek if you’re interested? ;)
Lance holds his beer bottle loosely between thumb and forefinger, raising it to his lips as he surveys the yard. Cheesy tiki torches jut from the grass, to be lit up later. Over by the fence, Sara, their sales manager (his superior) oversees the grill, auburn hair tied in a messy bun. The company party is in full swing, porch door squeaking open and closed behind him as his coworkers flip flop between enjoying the muggy summer air outside or the cool respite indoors.
It’s not where he thought he’d be, three years after returning. “Sales rep” is quite a ways off from “paladin of Voltron.” But Lance has always been good at talking himself up; after jetting across half the universe convincing foreign species to join up in the Alliance, getting some wary investors to buy into the latest tech product is a walk in the park. He’s back on Earth and on his feet. That’s what counts.
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair…
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.
I am completely heartbroken over this story. This was not at all what I expected in all the best ways and I’m glad I picked this up.
First, this is not a novel to read if you are expecting something similar to Peter Pan because this is the opposite in so many ways. I think that’s why I was so surprised by this because I expected something lighthearted and happy and a bit of a cutesy romance. Instead, this was dark and sad in a beautiful way. And that’s just the storyline, the writing was even better.
What made this story really amazing for me was the writing and the way it was told. It was written from the point of view of Tinkerbell, but she was almost purely an observer, hardly ever interacting with the characters. It was as if we were sitting on the couch and she was telling me this story of people she saw and there was something so different about it that was perfect. Something that was also really different and paid off was that there wasn’t much dialogue between the characters. It worked and made me see the characters a bit differently than I think I would have had there been a lot more conversation.
The way Anderson writes was amazing as well. It was poetic and perhaps to some may seem a bit flowery, but I’m a sucker for that. There were a few times that the way a sentence was worded would throw me, so that was a bit of a downer, but it didn’t happen often. Clearly, it was still great.
My favorite thing is how… real the characters were. There was such different take on their personalities that still seemed to match the character I know and love from the original Peter Pan. And Tiger Lily? I loved the exploration into her character and her relationship with Peter.
I’ll never be able to watch Peter Pan the same way again, but I love that because I’ll see so much more now. This book broke my poor little heart and in the process became one of my favorites, one I’d recommend to nearly everyone.
Pages: 412 Pages Genre: Fantasy Date Started: October 10th, 2017 Date Finished: November 14th, 2017 Goodreads Rating: 4.25
Many times I start a book with high expectations and those hopes are dashed to the ground suddenly. Bood Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is not one of those books. The story started out strong with an engaging premise and an irony that pleased my dry-humor loving soul. The characters are well-written, likable, and comedic. I thoroughly enjoyed reading along with the audiobook (narrated by Martin Jarvis) who gave true life to the characters, although they already seemed to jump off the page.
The story itself didn’t sputter and it moved along at a pace that was easy to follow but still quick enough that it didn’t drag. It really picked up towards the end but stat seems to happen a lot with Apocalypses. The satire of the book gave it a light-heartedness that is far from typical with most end of the world novels but is par for the course with what I’ve read of Pratchett and Gaiman. I can safely say this is a must-read on all accounts! And certainly should be read before the television show.
Sorry it takes a long time. Now I’m back at work it’s hard to find time to write, but I don’t want to stop I just love it too much. (I do not own these pictures all credits go to owners.)
Jared woke first “Morning kitten” his hands trailed down my body. Slightly ticking me waking me up. “Good morning Daddy” one of his hands made it’s way in between my legs. I whimpered. “Still wet from last night, dirty girl?” He laid back down and made the sound “Hmm”. He was content. As was I. I rolled over and flung my arms over him. I had a day off today but Jared did not. He had to go soon as he was working on the new album. I needed to get stuff done around my apartment anyway and I was going to his later on and staying overnight. He got dressed and we had breakfast together. We spent a little time on the balcony talking about last nights events. He leaned over the side and I was sat on the little sofa I had. Just looking at his butt. “Enjoying the view? Because I am!” I laughed. He turned around and looked at me then laughed. I stood up to hug him. He pulled me in “I gotta get going” he sighed. “Okay, I’ll be over at yours by 7″ I kissed him and walked him to the door. I started the housework then carried on with my work. I checked my emails and I swear my boss has it out for me, I do everything he asks and it still isn’t enough. He needs me to read and review 4 papers from his clients. They’re all at least 7 pages or more. “ugh I need wine” I sighed loudly to myself. Unfortunately I didn’t have any. Sober reading it was. At two o’clock Jared messaged me saying how boring his meet is. This meeting had nothing or little to nothing to do with the band. He could be using this time wisely. ‘I know what would make it less boring’ I thought to myself. I ran to the bedroom and stripped so I only had panties on. I grabbed my phone and took a picture to send to Jared.
This month was packed full, but I still hit just about everything on my TBR! The only book that did not make it was Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust, but I plan to just move that to next month. Some of what I read this month isn’t included on this least because they’re either one-act plays (i.e. Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett) or short stories that aren’t whole books. I also decided to drop Gives Light lower on my TBR–I may still read it one day, but given all the drama and weirdness with the author, I think there are other books I’d prefer to read first. November should be a great reading month, especially since I have Thanksgiving break. You can also find a video about these books on my YouTube channel next week! Stay tuned!
1. Learn to read the descriptions thoroughly. Just because the picture looks good does not necessarily mean that the item is going to be all that you imagine it to be and vice versa.
2. Know your materials. For example, there’s a difference between PVC and PU leather. You’ll have a much better idea of what to expect when you have this knowledge.
3. Know your body size and measurements. Most sites have a size chart which makes it a lot easier to order your accurate size.
4. Always read the reviews. It seems like it’s either an extremely happy or super pissed off customer who writes the reviews, so keep that in mind. Reviews can help you find out if the sizes run a bit small, in which case you will want to order a size bigger than you usually would.
5. For sites like Amazon and Ebay, look at the amount of items sold and the number of stars a seller has. From my experience, when those numbers were high I always got what I expected from the seller.
6. The beautiful thing about shopping on the Internet is that you can compare prices and reviews for an item easily. There’s no harm in doing a little research to make sure you’re spending your money on what you really want.
7. Pay with Paypal.
8. Trust your gut. If a seller/transaction seems shady, move on. You’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for somewhere else.
9. Just go for it! If you’ve never purchased online then I must say that you are totally missing out on a life changing experience.
I hope my tips can be of some use to you when doing your online shopping! xx
The Note 4 is the first Samsung phone I’ve ever truly enjoyed using. It’s not just a huge curiosity, though it is certainly that; it’s not just powerful, though that’s true too. It’s an excellent phone inside and out, the first Note that combines design, power, and performance in one package. Samsung knows how to take advantage of a large screen — even more so than Apple — and with a pen and some software tweaks and a ridiculous number of pixels, it does just that. Note still stands for productivity, and Samsung still sets the standard: you can do so much with this 5.7-inch device.
Good review in ch 6 of implied time vs. actual time. I really like they used Bunny as an example. That little film is so oddly emotionally affecting, even before the light or any of that comes into the picture. There is something about the mundanity of cooking and swatting the moth that puts a big old lump in my throat. Implying time is obviously very useful for storytelling, giving viewers/readers a sense of distance between beats. I always think of films that force the viewer to sit in confusion about time passage, Antichrist by Lars von Trier comes to mind. It’s always so difficult to tell how much time is passing between events in that movie. Everything feels so cramped and so distant at the same time.
The Vanishing and Becoming reading was very interesting. I think I understand most of the key points made, but it’s possible that I’m misinterpreting some things, as a disclaimer. I don’t know how well equipped I am to respond or critique it, but here I go anyway.
The paragraph that described the significance of Plato’s projections successfully nutshelled what they represent in a philosophical context. It also did a really nice job of laying the groundwork for what the author references later, with the ideal forms of expression throughout the renaissance being judged on how accurate a depiction of reality, or a moment, they set forth.
I also greatly appreciated the comparison of Gorky’s response to early silent films with iconoclasts of the orthodox church. I think that resistance to evolving mediums exists in essentially every time period, and it’s interesting to cast doubts into similar categories. Similarly, the author weaves a wide associative web surrounding the term ‘projection,’ drawing comparisons between the artistic objectives of projection and the psychological and ego-preserving aspects of projection, among others (including the permanent projection of radiowaves into space).
However, I’m critical of comparative aspects of pieces such as this when those observations stand as implicit claims. Word association is not an effective way to develop a greater understanding of the world. The tendency of folks to reconstruct categories—whether they’re social, physical, ideological, etc.—to conform to Venn diagrams they’ve constructed by reasoning through analogy is extremely dangerous, in my opinion. Luckily, I think it’s used in an extremely exploratory context for this piece, and using it as a method of qualitative exploration can greatly expand how we interpret the thematic functions of the medium in the work we produce.
Still though, I can’t help but feel that some of the eventual conceptions of projection in this critique go a tiny bit off the rails—the advent of the pixel throws a huge boomerang in the wheels of this wagon, and in my opinion, besides a very eloquently constructed sentence, the author doesn’t do a great job of conceptualizing projection in a way that relates to how people view mostly. Maybe that’s not the point, but they do reference mass media in itself as a form of projection, and that all projection is innately ideological, which I think is an extremely apt description of even the most banal of commercial films.
The author penned a great paragraph on the function of projection as mortality vs. natality, and the overuse of the medium to examine/think about death. Earlier in the piece, they reference projection as a medium innately focused on the dissolution of the subject and the object simultaneously, drawing comparison to Plato’s death of a higher reality intrinsic in the projection of forms. I certainly find it more interesting to the think about projection/film in the light of it giving birth to a new moment and new world with every passing frame, but I don’t know how appropriate I find either one of them. Projection as creation/death is appropriate in the context of the cast shadows—those moments aren’t recorded; they are ephemeral distortions of the current moment transcribed into art. Any performance art can be thought of in that way, but if the functional conception of projection as a medium is the distortion of an ‘exact’ reality, those themes apply. However, in the context of recorded film, although the subject is lost, the object exists in perpetuity. Maybe it’s due to a lack of imagination on my part, but I don’t find it especially useful to think of a projected slide in the context of the creation/death of a moment any more than the act of watching said projection or looking at a painting represents the birth/death of those individual moments.
Really thought provoking piece! I will continue to enjoy chewing on it.
People are always talking about Taylor trying to “find her old self again” based on that line in All Too Well (I’d like to be my old self again, but I’m still trying to find it.) Some people think she still hasn’t, that whoever she was before Jake is lost and gone forever. Some people think she has, but only just, as it’s taken her a while to get back to that point. But what her “old self” really means seems to be the thing that most people disagree on - is it her clothes, her music style, the way she smiles in pictures…?
The thing is, Taylor had already found herself well before any of us even heard All Too Well. In all honesty, I believe Taylor found herself well over two years ago, on the day she decided to sit down and write Begin Again. I think the entire Red album is a from start to finish story of her losing herself, and then finding herself, again.
State of Grace opens the album with lines like “this love is brave and wild,” and “love is a ruthless game unless you play it good and right.” The song is about engaging in a love that is perhaps dangerous, but that Taylor thinks is brave instead of reckless - which is what she has always thought, and has always been proven wrong about. But, not this time, she thinks. This time I’ll be right.
Onto Treacherous where the theme of “dangerous but I kinda like it” continues on - “nothing safe is worth the drive, and I will follow you home.” Risking everything for a person because you truly believe they’ll be worth it in the end, no matter that your friends and family tell you he’s bad news, no matter that even you know he’s bad news…classic Taylor, again.
I Knew You Were Trouble, Treacherous’ evil twin, obviously represents the breakdown of what both State of Grace and Treacherous tried to peddle to us. SOG and Treacherous tried to get us thinking that this dangerous guy would be worth it, that he seemed like bad news, but he would prove himself in the end. IKYWT is the “fuck, was I stupid” of the album. “And the saddest fear comes creeping in, that you never loved me, or her, or anyone, or anything…” An underrated line, because I think it’s the start of Taylor losing herself on this album. Her saddest fear, the breakdown of everything she believed in, everything she’s always believed in, has just come true. That this love wasn’t brave, or wild, it was stupidly reckless and heartbreaking. Again. This line is so underrated because it’s the buildup to All Too Well, the very first glimpse at Taylor losing all the things she believed in.
I Almost Do, The Last Time, and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together are like triplets that represent the different phases of post break up destruction.I Almost Do is the story of Taylor shutting someone out of her life simply because to let them back in, even for the tiniest of moments, would be much, much too painful. But she still dreams about them, in vivid heartbreaking detail, and every time it’s like she can feel herself falling back into it. Almost. Of course, she catches herself every time, because she’s not like she was anymore. She refuses to be naive, silly enough to think she could ever make things work again.
The Last Time, however, is Taylor giving into those naive temptations…maybe just a couple times. Trying to salvage whatever was so “good and right” about the relationship, desperately clinging on to those last remaining bits of happiness.
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together sounds like the acceptance song. Happy and upbeat sounds like acceptance, right? But Taylor was still angry. Anger isn’t acceptance.
The real acceptance song is Sad Beautiful Tragic. SBT has no anger, no heightened emotions whatsoever. It’s dismally sad, to the point of just giving up, plain and simple. This was a love that Taylor had to give up, though, otherwise…that perfect, peppy forever love she wrote about in Stay Stay Stay was never going to be hers. That person she kept waiting for, the one who made her stop believing in the things that make her who she is, they weren’t ever going to come back. SBT is the final nail in the coffin, which is why it is appropriately the last sad song on the album.
Now, what three songs does Taylor choose to stack back to back to back as the ending songs?
1.) Everything Has Changed - a song about meeting someone who, in some way shape or form, is so amazing that it literally causes something in your life to change. What ‘everything’ is was left more or less to the imagination - but I think 'everything’ refers more to Taylor’s feelings about relationships and love, in a “Mine” kind of way. Taylor might have been wondering why anyone even bothers with love like she had been the last time she had gotten her heart truly broken, but then someone came into her life and had her start thinking that old familiar Fearless type of way again.
2.) Starlight - a song circa Mary’s Song that channels the energy of “forever love”, with magical stories about commonplace events, that don’t feel so commonplace when they’re about love, that thing that Taylor is so obsessed with. The line “don’t you dream impossible things?” always felt cryptic to me; the Ethel Kennedy story wasn’t a particularly enchanted or impossible one. But what I think Taylor was getting at with this was the idea that true love, forever love itself, is an impossible thing. But she dreams of it, finally, again, after I Knew You Were Trouble’s fatal let down.
3.) Begin Again - “I’ve been spending the last eight months, thinking all love ever does is break, and burn, and end. But on a Wednesday, in a Cafe’, I watched it begin again.” I think that not only did Taylor find love again, not only did she start believing in it again, but she also found herself again. Because believing in true love is so much of who Taylor is, that when it’s taken away, by that creeping fear from IKYWT, it’s like parts of herself go missing and she gets paralyzed. She needs to believe in forever love to truly be her old self.
With these things in mind, Red plays like a story about finding something so amazing that feels so real, and then losing it, and losing yourself along with it. Only to find it again, slowly, bit by bit, song by song, until…you watch it begin again.
Okay, I feel like I need to do a review of this book/trilogy by Ari Bach, aka @the-walrus-squad aka facts-i-just-made-up, because if you couldn’t tell from the fact I keep making fanart every time I re-read it, I really, really like Valhalla. I really, really do! So I’m gonna make a review basically saying why.