Tuesday, July 30

Book Review: The Ashford Affair

Author: Lauren WIllig
Title: The Ashford Affair
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Drama, Mystery
Pages: 358
First Published: April 9th, 2013
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Amazon)

"As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she’s been working towards—but now she’s not sure it’s enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie’s ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. . . .

What follows is a potent story that spans generations and continents, bringing an Out of Africa feel to a Downton Abbey cast of unforgettable characters. From the inner circles of WWI-era British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl."

Again....I adore Lauren Willig and all her books. I was a little scared, at first, that I only loved her because of her Pink series which I'm addicted to. I was scared I wouldn't like this one. So odd. However, I was dead wrong. I read this like a madwoman! I would have had this done like three days ago, but I left it at Boyfriends house *sighs*

I am actually really proud of myself...I read the prologue, so I had a small step on the big mystery and big twist in the plot. hahaha. However, Lauren Willig did still manage to stump me on the BIG mystery. I knew Bea wasn't THAT much of an idiot, but I didn't expect what happened and how. However, thinking back I realized that there was many a foreshadow that I missed. Kuddos Lauren Willig! You stumped me. hahaha...hard to do.

I did not like Addie or Bea. I know, I know...I'm a witch....I just thought they were both selfish in their own ways. They were young and naive as well, but thats how it is. They grew up privileged, so what did I expect?  I also didn't care for good ol' Freddy. I liked him a lot more when he got over his self-pity stage and moved to Kenya. The character I really adored was Clemmie...she stole the show (in my opinion). I felt I was more addicted to her story, which is surprising because I prefer HRs to contemps. However, I'm not a huge fan of the early 1900s, especially post WWI. Oh well. I also liked Jon, but I really adored Tony. Sighs. Poor Tony. 

Anyways, this was a great book. I think it is one of the best books of the year! ^.^ I can't wait for the next installment of the Pink series comes out in August. YAYY! 

I loved the drama and the mystery and the comedy in this. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I had a hard time putting this down. I wanted to gobble it down like cookies! If you have any love of HRs and contemp, you'll like this one. Also, if you have read the Pink series, you will enjoy this one. ^.^ I shall stamp this with 5 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Clemmie, Jon, Tony, and Val (he was a rouge and his time in the spotlight was limited, but I enjoyed his character. He was an ass and he didn't care)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Bea (mmmm), Addie, & Freddy (at the beginning, I grew more fond of him as he went to Kenya)


Monday, July 29

Tattoos History Finale (part 3)

This is the last part! Thanks for going on this journey of discovery with me. ^.^

"Evidence for tattooing is also found amongst some of the ancient mummies found in China's Taklamakan Desert c. 1200 B.C., although during the later Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-A.D. 220), it seems that only criminals were tattooed.
Japanese men began adorning their bodies with elaborate tattoos in the late A.D. 3rd century.
The elaborate tattoos of the Polynesian cultures are thought to have developed over millennia, featuring highly elaborate geometric designs, which in many cases can cover the whole body. Following James Cook's British expedition to Tahiti in 1769, the islanders' term "tatatau" or "tattau," meaning to hit or strike, gave the west our modern term "tattoo." The marks then became fashionable among Europeans, particularly so in the case of men such as sailors and coal-miners, with both professions which carried serious risks and presumably explaining the almost amulet-like use of anchors or miner's lamp tattoos on the men's forearms.
What about modern tattoos outside of the western world?
Modern Japanese tattoos are real works of art, with many modern practioners, while the highly skilled tattooists of Samoa continue to create their art as it was carried out in ancient times, prior to the invention of modern tattooing equipment. Various cultures throughout Africa also employ tattoos, including the fine dots on the faces of Berber women in Algeria, the elaborate facial tattoos of Wodabe men in Niger and the small crosses on the inner forearms which mark Egypt's Christian Copts.
What do Maori facial designs represent?
In the Maori culture of New Zealand, the head was considered the most important part of the body, with the face embellished by incredibly elaborate tattoos or ‘moko,’ which were regarded as marks of high status. Each tattoo design was unique to that individual and since it conveyed specific information about their status, rank, ancestry and abilities, it has accurately been described as a form of id card or passport, a kind of aesthetic bar code for the face. After sharp bone chisels were used to cut the designs into the skin, a soot-based pigment would be tapped into the open wounds, which then healed over to seal in the design. With the tattoos of warriors given at various stages in their lives as a kind of rite of passage, the decorations were regarded as enhancing their features and making them more attractive to the opposite sex.
Although Maori women were also tattooed on their faces, the markings tended to be concentrated around the nose and lips. Although Christian missionaries tried to stop the procedure, the women maintained that tattoos around their mouths and chins prevented the skin becoming wrinkled and kept them young; the practice was apparently continued as recently as the 1970s.
Why do you think so many cultures have marked the human body and did their practices influence one another?
In many cases, it seems to have sprung up independently as a permanent way to place protective or therapeutic symbols upon the body, then as a means of marking people out into appropriate social, political or religious groups, or simply as a form of self-expression or fashion statement.
Yet, as in so many other areas of adornment, there was of course cross-cultural influences, such as those which existed between the Egyptians and Nubians, the Thracians and Greeks and the many cultures encountered by Roman soldiers during the expansion of the Roman Empire in the final centuries B.C. and the first centuries A.D. And, certainly, Polynesian culture is thought to have influenced Maori tattoos.

Sunday, July 28

Tattoos History (part 2)

Happy Sunday everyone. I am continuing the quick and interesting history of tattoos. I find this really interesting. Me, being a geek, thrive in learning this stuff. ^.^ Part 3 will be posted tomorrow! Can't wait!

"What did these tattoos look like?
Most examples on mummies are largely dotted patterns of lines and diamond patterns, while figurines sometimes feature more naturalistic images. The tattoos occasionally found in tomb scenes and on small female figurines which form part of cosmetic items also have small figures of the dwarf god Bes on the thigh area.
What were they made of? How many colors were used?
Usually a dark or black pigment such as soot was introduced into the pricked skin. It seems that brighter colors were largely used in other ancient cultures, such as the Inuit who are believed to have used a yellow color along with the more usual darker pigments.
What has surprised you the most about ancient Egyptian tattooing?
That it appears to have been restricted to women during the purely dynastic period, i.e. pre-332 B.C. Also the way in which some of the designs can be seen to be very well placed, once it is accepted they were used as a means of safeguarding women during pregnancy and birth.
Can you describe the tattoos used in other ancient cultures and how they differ?
Among the numerous ancient cultures who appear to have used tattooing as a permanent form of body adornment, the Nubians to the south of Egypt are known to have used tattoos. The mummified remains of women of the indigenous C-group culture found in cemeteries near Kubban c. 2000-15000 B.C. were found to have blue tattoos, which in at least one case featured the same arrangement of dots across the abdomen noted on the aforementioned female mummies from Deir el-Bahari. The ancient Egyptians also represented the male leaders of the Libyan neighbors c. 1300-1100 B.C. with clear, rather geometrical tattoo marks on their arms and legs and portrayed them in Egyptian tomb, temple and palace scenes.
The Scythian Pazyryk of the Altai Mountain region were another ancient culture which employed tattoos. In 1948, the 2,400 year old body of a Scythian male was discovered preserved in ice in Siberia, his limbs and torso covered in ornate tattoos of mythical animals. Then, in 1993, a woman with tattoos, again of mythical creatures on her shoulders, wrists and thumb and of similar date, was found in a tomb in Altai. The practice is also confirmed by the Greek writer Herodotus c. 450 B.C., who stated that amongst the Scythians and Thracians "tattoos were a mark of nobility, and not to have them was testimony of low birth.”
Accounts of the ancient Britons likewise suggest they too were tattooed as a mark of high status, and with "divers shapes of beasts" tattooed on their bodies, the Romans named one northern tribe "Picti," literally "the painted people."
Yet amongst the Greeks and Romans, the use of tattoos or "stigmata" as they were then called, seems to have been largely used as a means to mark someone as "belonging" either to a religious sect or to an owner in the case of slaves or even as a punitive measure to mark them as criminals. It is therefore quite intriguing that during Ptolemaic times when a dynasty of Macedonian Greek monarchs ruled Egypt, the pharaoh himself, Ptolemy IV (221-205 B.C.), was said to have been tattooed with ivy leaves to symbolize his devotion to Dionysus, Greek god of wine and the patron deity of the royal house at that time. The fashion was also adopted by Roman soldiers and spread across the Roman Empire until the emergence of Christianity, when tattoos were felt to "disfigure that made in God's image" and so were banned by the Emperor Constantine (A.D. 306-373).
We have also examined tattoos on mummified remains of some of the ancient pre-Columbian cultures of Peru and Chile, which often replicate the same highly ornate images of stylized animals and a wide variety of symbols found in their textile and pottery designs. One stunning female figurine of the Naszca culture has what appears to be a huge tattoo right around her lower torso, stretching across her abdomen and extending down to her genitalia and, presumably, once again alluding to the regions associated with birth. Then on the mummified remains which have survived, the tattoos were noted on torsos, limbs, hands, the fingers and thumbs, and sometimes facial tattooing was practiced.
With extensive facial and body tattooing used among Native Americans, such as the Cree, the mummified bodies of a group of six Greenland Inuit women c. A.D. 1475 also revealed evidence for facial tattooing. Infrared examination revealed that five of the women had been tattooed in a line extending over the eyebrows, along the cheeks and in some cases with a series of lines on the chin. Another tattooed female mummy, dated 1,000 years earlier, was also found on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, her tattoos of dots, lines and hearts confined to the arms and hands.

Saturday, July 27

My Tattoo & The History Behind the Art (part 1)

Happy Saturday everyone! I have nothing really to post today, but I felt like posting something anyways. haha. Well, Thursday I manned up and finally got my second tattoo I've wanted for a couple years now. It hurt a lot, but I knew that going in because a couple of my gal pals had gotten tattoos on there foot as well. It really hurt up near the toes. OH MY GOODNESS! I told Jerad to warn me every time he was going to put the needle near my foot, so I could brace myself. haha. Jerad was awesome and I would recommend him to anyone! He's so talented and so nice. When I wanted a small little break, he let me. He also is a very fair charger. Mine took an hour and a half and he charged me $100. Not bad at all! Defiantly check out some of his work. Hopefully my foot gets posted! Click HERE or his name above to be transferred to his facebook page. 

The tattoo I got was of a blue jay feather. Why? Well, I love them and also they are my totem pole/spirit animal. ^.^

Going along with this...shall we dive a little into the history or tattoos? I think we shall!! I found this nefty little website called Tattoo - History and Archaeology...this what they say:

"Humans have marked their bodies with tattoos for thousands of years. These permanent designs—sometimes plain, sometimes elaborate, always personal—have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of punishment. Joann Fletcher, research fellow in the department of archaeology at the University of York in Britain, describes the history of tattoos and their cultural significance to people around the world, from the famous " Iceman," a 5,200-year-old frozen mummy, to today’s Maori.
What is the earliest evidence of tattoos?
In terms of tattoos on actual bodies, the earliest known examples were for a long time Egyptian and were present on several female mummies dated to c. 2000 B.C. But following the more recent discovery of the Iceman from the area of the Italian-Austrian border in 1991 and his tattoo patterns, this date has been pushed back a further thousand years when he was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old.
Can you describe the tattoos on the Iceman and their significance?
Following discussions with my colleague Professor Don Brothwell of the University of York, one of the specialists who examined him, the distribution of the tattooed dots and small crosses on his lower spine and right knee and ankle joints correspond to areas of strain-induced degeneration, with the suggestion that they may have been applied to alleviate joint pain and were therefore essentially therapeutic. This would also explain their somewhat 'random' distribution in areas of the body which would not have been that easy to display had they been applied as a form of status marker.
What is the evidence that ancient Egyptians had tattoos?
There's certainly evidence that women had tattoos on their bodies and limbs from figurines c. 4000-3500 B.C. to occasional female figures represented in tomb scenes c. 1200 B.C. and in figurine form c. 1300 B.C., all with tattoos on their thighs. Also small bronze implements identified as tattooing tools were discovered at the town site of Gurob in northern Egypt and dated to c. 1450 B.C. And then, of course, there are the mummies with tattoos, from the three women already mentioned and dated to c. 2000 B.C. to several later examples of female mummies with these forms of permanent marks found in Greco-Roman burials at Akhmim.
What function did these tattoos serve? Who got them and why?
Because this seemed to be an exclusively female practice in ancient Egypt, mummies found with tattoos were usually dismissed by the (male) excavators who seemed to assume the women were of "dubious status," described in some cases as "dancing girls." The female mummies had nevertheless been buried at Deir el-Bahari (opposite modern Luxor) in an area associated with royal and elite burials, and we know that at least one of the women described as "probably a royal concubine" was actually a high-status priestess named Amunet, as revealed by her funerary inscriptions.
And although it has long been assumed that such tattoos were the mark of prostitutes or were meant to protect the women against sexually transmitted diseases, I personally believe that the tattooing of ancient Egyptian women had a therapeutic role and functioned as a permanent form of amulet during the very difficult time of pregnancy and birth. This is supported by the pattern of distribution, largely around the abdomen, on top of the thighs and the breasts, and would also explain the specific types of designs, in particular the net-like distribution of dots applied over the abdomen. During pregnancy, this specific pattern would expand in a protective fashion in the same way bead nets were placed over wrapped mummies to protect them and "keep everything in." The placing of small figures of the household deity Bes at the tops of their thighs would again suggest the use of tattoos as a means of safeguarding the actual birth, since Bes was the protector of women in labor, and his position at the tops of the thighs a suitable location. This would ultimately explain tattoos as a purely female custom.
Who made the tattoos?
Although we have no explicit written evidence in the case of ancient Egypt, it may well be that the older women of a community would create the tattoos for the younger women, as happened in 19th-century Egypt and happens in some parts of the world today.
What instruments did they use?
It is possible that an implement best described as a sharp point set in a wooden handle, dated to c. 3000 B.C. and discovered by archaeologist W.M.F. Petrie at the site of Abydos may have been used to create tattoos. Petrie also found the aforementioned set of small bronze instruments c. 1450 B.C.—resembling wide, flattened needles—at the ancient town site of Gurob. If tied together in a bunch, they would provide repeated patterns of multiple dots.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/tattoo.html#ixzz2aFwK4won 
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter"

I'll post more later on this interesting topic. 

Thursday, July 25

Thursday Book Teaser: The Ashford Affair

Happy Thursday everyone! How is everyone doing? I'm doing okay. I have today off and I'm relaxing until about 5:30 my time...why? Well, I'm getting another tattoo today! ^.^ It's been nearly about three years since I got my little tattoo. I'm super nervous. Well I tell you what I am getting? No...this shall be a surprise and I will post a couple pictures. ^.^ Eeeek! Nervous I am!


This week I'm going to share a little tease from Lauren Willig's new-ish book 'The Ashford Affair'.

Page number: 125
Location on page: paragraph 1

"There was something strangely familiar about her. Not the expression, but the facial features. Clemmie knew she had seen her before, but in a different setting, with a different tone. She gasped after the memory.

Paul drew in his breath in a long hiss. "You know who that is, don't you?"

"Bea," Said Clemmie, realizing suddenly where she had seen her before. It was the woman in Granny Addie's drawer.

Paul looked at her as though she were stupid. "What? That's the owner," said Paul impatiently, in a whisper that wasn't. "The Marquess of Rivesdale."

"Huh?" Clemmie came down with a crash from her own thoughts. "Where?"

"There." Paul nodded to the far side of the room, where a man had paused to say hello to the two elderly ladies, bending to kiss one of them on the cheek. He had changed out of his gray flannels and into the regulation black and white of evening wear, but Clemmie recognized him as the man...."

AND boom. I could go no further in fear of creating a HUGE spoiler. ^.^


Wednesday, July 24

Movie Review: The Hobbit

Length: 2 hours & 50 minutes
Released: December 14th, 2012
Genre: Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: PG-13
Directed By: Peter Jackson

Where I Got It: borrowed from library

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever... Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths ofguile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum's "precious" ...a simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know. 


Gandalf - Ian McKellen
Bilbo Baggins - Martin Freeman
Thorin - Richard Armitage
Balin - Ken Stott
Dwalin - Graham McTavish
Bifur - William Kircher
Bofur - James Nesbitt
Bombur - Stephen Hunter
Fili - Dean O'Gorman
Kili - Aidan Turner
Oin - John Callen
Gloin - Peter Hambleton
Nori - Jed Brophy
Bert Troll, Dori - Mark Hadlow
Ori - Adam Brown
Frodo Baggins - Elijah Wood
Elrond - Hugo Weaving
Galadriel - Cate Blanchett
Saruman - Christopher Lee
Gollum - Andy Serkis
Radagast - Sylvester McCoy
Goblin King - Barry Humphries
Thror - Jeffrey Thomas
Thrain - Mike Mizraho
Thranduil - Lee Pace

I am absolutely ashamed of myself...I just seen this last week...I am ashamed. I call myself a HUGE fan of the world of Middle Earth and all that jazz. However, I never seen it in theaters. *head to desk* :(

Okaaaay, self pity time is over.

I am SO glad I finally seen this movie! It may have taken 7 months, but I finally got to see it Huzzah! I'm glad I had a friend pretty  much guilt me into watching it. He pretty much called me out on me being unloyal hahaha. 

I've read the book a couple times and yet again Peter Jackson and his crew has won my approval. This is as close as it is ever going to get without scaring away those that haven't read the book. It is Hollywood people and you have to take somethings out and edit what you have. That's what people don't get...they HAVE to make it so those new fans can know what is going on and are not bored to tears. That is why you go in the movie with clear mind and you have to pretty much forget the book exists. 

Ooooooh how I love Middle Earth! I wanna live there SO bad! The really make the place come to life with the amazing sets and costumes and weapons and music and just everything! They have yet again stunned me. I applaud the entire crew and everyone deserves Oscars. Especially the actors...fantastic job. It may have been many, many years since the Lord of the Rings came out and the old actors seemed to easily slip back into their characters. 

I really enjoyed the inclusion of the Song of the Misty Mountains. Fantastic job. It gave me goosebumps...I wish that they'd have included the entire song/poem...but oh well. I'll take what I can get!

In the end, this was a fantastic movie! I so sad they haven't done this sooner. Perhaps they should have done this before the big three. *shurgs* Oh well, I have it now and I am content. ^.^ The entire crew did a wonderful job and I was completely glued to this film. I could barely look away from it. I would recommend this to those that loved the Lord of the Rings movie/books. Even if you hadn't seen those films and you want a good adventure...go check this out! I will grant this 5 stars. ^.^

Would I re-watch?: 
Heck yeah!

Favorite Charatcer(s): Young Bilbo & Thorin
Not-so Favorite Character(s): The albino orc (*cough*rape face *cough*)


Thursday, July 18

Thursday Book Teaser: The Forever Queen

Happy Thursday everyone!! How is everyone doing? I'm doing alright....the heat is killing me though. Gaaaaaaah. I hate summer so much. I hate the hot and humidness. >.< I like fall and spring. Not too hot, not too cold. Perfect. 

Well, today I'll be sharing a little snipbit from 'The Forever Queen' by Helen Hollick. Been meaning to read this one for a while now. 

Page Number: It's an ebook, so it is on 2%
Place on Page: Paragraph 2

"'It seems they approve of you, girl. Not that it matters, the populace detested my mother. It made not the slightest difference to her; she cared nothing for them either. Nor for my father. Still, it helps to be liked.'

Emma understood one or two of his words, as for the rest - ah, well, perhaps they were not important.

Inside the cathedral, her shoes, expensive leather slippers, scuffed gently on the red and black patchwork of the tiles that led from the great western door to the altar steps. Prestigious men dipped their heads as she passed by, her hand resting lightly on 
 Ã†thelred's arm, the women sinking into deep curtsies....."


Wednesday, July 17

Book Review: Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats

Author: Angela Shelton
Title: Tilda Pinkerton's Magical Hats - By the Red Tractor Mailbox (book 1)
Genre: kid's book
Pages: 196
First Published: September 7th, 20102
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Given to me from the publisher/author to read and review for my honest and unbiased opinion)

"Eleven-year-old Madison Mae and her younger brother, Albert, want to help save the family farm during troubled times. When a mysterious Magical Hat Shop appears by their grandpa's red tractor mailbox, the children meet Tilda Pinkerton who presents them with one-of-a-kind hats, causing new ideas and talents to suddenly burst forth. As a flood of harm comes rushing towards the farm, Tilda Pinkerton teaches the children how they can accomplish much more than anyone ever imagined."

Like earlier stated I was given this book to read and review from the author/publisher for my unbiased and honest opinion.

Though I am an adult and I have no kids of my own yet, there are little rugrats running around my life in many different ways (family, friends, and etc). When I first got the book in the mail, I opened it and left it on the counter at my parents. One of the little girls who my mom babysits seen it and begged to read it. I, being impressed that she so wanted to read it, allowed and encouraged her. In one sitting she read half of the book on her own. She is seven years old. She is an avid reader and barely had to ask about the big words. I asked her what she thought and she said, "I liked it! I want to read more! Can I have the sticker?" (a sticker came with the book). 

I was excited that she liked it! So it is approved by a 7 year old.

Once she was done, I took the book and read it myself. It is a quick and simple read. However, it was simply adorable! I can this becoming a little kid show one day. Tilda Pinkerton reminds me a lot of Mary Poppins with her magical hats and cute cat. She teaches that imagination and creative is a good thing! Trying new things makes life unique! Also, it teaches about family and loving one another even though they may differ in opinions. Like Grandpa who is stuck in his ways and doesn't like new things. Good lessons for the young minds of today.

The ending was cliffhanger-ish, so I expect to see more books following Tilda and her hats. Exciting! It was a nice ending, so the cliffhanger-ness didn't annoy me as much as it normally does. I also loved how she added a glossary of the big words she introduced. Very nice. Very clever of her. Along with that, at the end of every chapter she lists all the big words she used in that chapter, so the kids can then look up the words that were used. Very, very cool.

In the end, this was a cute book. The author did a wonderful job blending in moral lessons into a fun book! This would defiantly make a cute TV show or movie for the youngsters. For all my friends and family members that have younger kids I recommend this for them. The age group ranges between 6-12, I believe. There are some bigger words, but with the help of the glossary they should be fine. I grant this 5 stars. ^.^

Favorite Character(s): The cat and Tilda
Not-so Favorite Character(s): None.


Tuesday, July 16

Book Review: Spring Moon

Author: Bette Bao Lord
Title: Spring Moon
Genre: Drama, Historical Fiction
Pages: 480
First Published: 1981
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Goodwill Book section)

"At a time of mystery and cruelty ... in an ancient land of breathtaking beauty and exotic surprise ... a courageous woman triumphs over her world's ultimate tragedy.

Behind the garden walls of the House of Chang, pampered daughter Spring Moon is born into luxury and privilege. But the tempests of change sweep her into a new world -- one of hardship, turmoil, and heartbreak, one that threatens to destroy her husband, her family, and her darkest secret love. Through a tumultuous lifetime, Spring Moon must cling to her honor, to the memory of a time gone by, and to a destiny, foretold at her birth, that has yet to be fulfilled"

This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a LONG time. Nearly four years now...*bows head in shame* Finally I decided it was time to take this from my bookshelf and read it. 

It took me a while to finish this, but there was so much going on, my poor brain needed a rest. I will also admit at some spots it was rather dry. So yeah...it did take me some time to get through it. There was a lot going on and China went through many changes over such short amounts of time. It was a lot to take it, but it was interesting and I learned a lot more about the culture and the history of China. 

I really liked Spring Moon. She may have been born into luxury and privilege, but she easily adapted to the changes around her. She was a strong woman and I'm so glad the author made her so. I'm so glad she got to see her dream and her prophecy come true. It was nice and I really liked the epilogue. ^.^ It was bittersweet, but it was good.

Even though this was solely about Spring Moon, it followed the stories of many of her kin. It did get confusing sometimes, but again...I advise taking your time. Some of the names were very similar - Bold Talent, Noble Talent - so I would get confused at times. I did like the additional voices, but after a while it was too much. Too much that it heavily slowed down the story. 

In the end, this was worth the read. I did like it. Though some parts were dryer then toast under the hot sun and some a couple points had my mind in a swirl, it was good. I learned a lot more then history books taught me about the history of China. I enjoyed Spring Moon's story and that of her kin. I recommend this to those that like or want to know more about China. I shall stamp this with 2 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Spring Moon
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Lustrous Jade


Wednesday, July 10

Movie Review: Sin Nombre

Length: 1 & 36 mins
Released: May 20, 2009
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Rating: R
Directed By: Cary Fukunaga
Where I Got It: borrowed from library

This epic dramatic thriller following a Honduran teenager who reunites with her long-estranged father and attempts to emigrate to America with him in order to start a new life.  Meanwhile, in Mexico, Tapachula teen Casper (aka Casper), has gotten caught up with the notorious Mara Salvatrucha street gang. He's just delivered a new recruit to the Maras in the form of desperate 12-year-old Smiley, and though the youngster's initiation proves particularly rough, she adapts to gang life rather quickly. As involved as Casper is with the Mara, he does his best to keep his relationship with girlfriend Martha Marlene.

Sayra - Paulina Gaitan
Willy/Casper - Edgar Flores
Smiley - Kristyan Ferrer
Lil' Mago - Tenoch Huerta Mejia
Martha Marlene - Diana Garcia
Leche - Hector Jimenez
El Sol - Luis Fernando Pena


Been wanting to watch this for a while now and Boyfriend stumbled upon this at his library (I will make an account there because they have many more resources to get things then mine does).  ^.^ 

There is so much to say about this movie. It was a really deep and emotional and realistic movie that follows a gang member who did something bad and is on the run from his gang and a girl who is trying to sneak into America for a better life. The two come into connect and found their fate with each other. The way they met was clever and seemed realistic and not forced. They are from two completely different ways of life. If you expect a HEA ending...then you are dreaming. This movie broke my heart so many times, but I really adored it. As you know...I love my tragedies and this did fit into that category.

There were a few instances that I was unsure on what was happening and why. Some events happened so quickly that I feel like I missed a couple things due to blinking. At one point I did have to rewind a couple minutes to understand a scene. Other then that the lay out and the story-line was wonderfully done. The actors and director did wonderful too. Except for the girl who played Sayra...she reminded me of a Hispanic version of Kristen Stewart (Bella from the Twilight films). She was a very dry and emotionless actress. Even during one part where she was being attacked...I didn't feel that she was scared for her life. Oh well, I guess.

Then there was the ending....

I can't decide if I like it or not. Gah...at first I was in utter shock and anger! Now I'm unsure. Sighs. I guess I have a love hate relationship with it. I can't say much more for fear of giving away a spoiler. But yeah...I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it and figure out if I like it or not.

In the end, I did like this movie and I'm so happy I finally got to see it. Thank you Boyfriend for finding it for me! On the majority, the acting was good (besides for Sayra who is the Hispanic twin for Bella Swann). The storytelling was done well and I applaud this new director. I loved the tragedy and the realistic charm of this film. It was deep and had a great moral lesson mixed in. Poor Willy. *sad face* This would be a good film for those that like drama movies and that like people movies. This is a POV not done much in movies. The gangster running away from his gang and a person who wants a better life in the USA. Though it is wrong...I was rooting for her and her family. In conclusion, I shall stamp this with 5 stars. In reality, it is more like 4.5, but since I don't give decimals, I rounded.

Favorite Character(s): Willy/Casper (*sad face*), Uncle Orlando, Sayra (though she highly reminded me of a certain someone), and Smiley's Grandma (hehe)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Lil' Mago, Le Sol, and Sayra's Dad (>.>)

Monday, July 8

Anecdote of the Jar by Wallace Stevens

Happy Monday everyone! I am having horrible luck lately! Jeez. My router is broke so I have no internet at home. We bought a new one and its being a pain. >.< The only way I can use the blessed internet is to go to a public place or go to a friend's house or Boyfriend's apartment. NOW Youtube is acting up. Sighs. I can't win these last couple of weeks. 

In place of my scheduled Music Monday post, I shall post some poetry. It's been awhile. ^.^ This poem I had memorized for my American Lit II class. Not sure why I didn't share it earlier...oh well. It is called 'Anecdote of the Jar' by Wallace Stevens:

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion every where.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.


Wednesday, July 3

Book Review: My Year as a Clown

Author: Robert Steven Williams
Title: My Year as a Clown
Genre: Fiction, Drama
Pages: ebook
First Published: December 26th, 2012
Where I Got It: Given to me by the author and publisher to read and give an honest review

"With My Year as a Clown, Williams introduces us to Chuck Morgan, a new kind of male hero—imperfect and uncertain—fumbling his way forward in the aftermath of the abrupt collapse his 20-year marriage.

Initially, Chuck worries he’ll never have a relationship again, that he could stand in the lobby of a brothel with a hundred dollar bill plastered to his forehead and still not get lucky. But as his emotionally raw, 365-day odyssey unfolds, Chuck gradually relearns to live on his own, navigating the minefield of issues faced by the suddenly single—new routines, awkward dates, and even more awkward sex."

Like earlier stated, I was given this to read for my honest and unbiased opinion.

I was initially drawn to this book by the title and the cover. Such an interesting title. The cover is plain, but it really matches the story and the main character, Chuck. It fits. Chuck is an interesting character, but in the end he is just the guy next door. An average Joe of sorts. I really enjoyed reading the book in the guys view. There are a scarce amount of books following the man's POV after a divorce or break-up (or just in general). I also loved how it seemed that Chuck was writing some sort of journal to keep his sanity throughout Claudia leaving him.

Poor guy. He went through so much shit throughout that year. Stupid Claudia...if I was him I would give her not a dime. She was the reason for the divorce...she cheated and left him for another man. Stupid...>.> I hate women like her. I do. He did really nothing wrong (besides for get fired) and wanted to live his dream of being a writer. They didn't suffer of lack of funds. They had enough money for him to try and become a writer. He paid for her college and that is how she repays him????!!!!! GAH! I must leave this ramble....

*clears throat* Sorry. But women like her give good girls, like me, a bad name. *grumbles* stupid chit....

I really enjoyed the array of characters the author gave us. Chuck met some rather interesting people along the way. However, sometimes I was rather stunned by how cheesy and odd the Rabbi was. I didn't trust the man at all throughout the whole book. He seemed too cool and I was right that it was too cool to be true. I can not say more on this point without spoiling anything...but I have never heard of a Rabbi being a pot-head. JUST saying.

What else can I really say? I did like this book. It was a different book, but pretty good. Though I found some spots cheesy and unbelievable (aka, the Rabbi), I did enjoy it. Claudia needed a good punch to the face. Also, the ending left me dried mouth and a little empty. The epilogue was a little dry in my opinion and I really wanted to know more about future events for Chuck...like did he ever really settle down again? What about the other characters/friends of his? Sighs.

In the end, this was a good book. I enjoyed the journey and it really made me think about myself and what I would do in a similar situation. Even though I'm a chicka and he is a male, I still found myself connecting to him once in a while. I'm glad I agreed to read this book, because it was a mighty shake up to my reading bookshelf. I would recommend this to people who like people stories and for those that need a good shake up in their readings. Chuck was an interesting character. He was not at all perfect and I liked that. Just an average Joe with complexities. I shall stamp this with 4 stars.

Favorite Character(s): Chuck, Pauline, and Siobhan
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Claudia (*grumble*whore*grumble*), Jimmy, Bart, and the Rabbi