Book Review: Veronica Mars #2- Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

March 15, 2015 Alisa Adult, Book Reviews, Mystery, Thriller 3 Comments

 

mk Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell

Author: Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

Published: January 20th 2015 by Vintage

Genres:Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Find this book on Goodreads

Blurb: The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman’s story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?

Alisa’s Review:

smalliconalisaI am a huge Veronica Mars fan and so when I heard a series of novels based off the events of the movie were being made I knew I absolutely had to read them. The first in this series ‘The Thousand Dollar Tan Line’, I really thought was extremely well done and I was eager to see how the events in the first book would continue in the next. I wasn’t sure exactly what my expectations for this series were other than wanting lots of classic Veronica Mars sassy comebacks and a nice dose of schadenfreude directed at some very deserving bad guys, all the things that made the show so charming. I was however curious to see what direction Veronica’s new/old sleuthing life would take and whether the books would push the plot of the movie that much forward.

This story once again ties back into Veronica’s past in surprising ways. It involves a horrible crime against a young girl and as the the story progresses it becomes more and more personal for Veronica to solve it.  I think I was pretty sure who it was early on in the story and as a result perhaps the mystery was the less exciting aspect of this story. However I think it is more the way she resolves it that has the appeal rather than the mystery in of itself.  The more engaging aspects of the story for me were the ones on the outskirts of the main plot involving the fate of Weevil after the events of the movie and also the re-election of Sheriff Lamb. As well Logan is back for five months from service and we get lots of time with them together, which for Logan/Veronica shippers like me there can’t be enough of.

The thing I am loving the most about this series is just how perfectly it captures the voices and nuances of the characters from the show. I can easily imagine Veronica or Logan or Keith saying these lines, to the point where it really feels like an episode of Veronica Mars. I really hope they keep writing these books as I am just loving getting more time in the Veronica Mars universe and the ending of the book  really left me intrigued for how the series is going to. If you are a fan of Veronica Mars I think these books are a most read, check them out!

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*Here are more Logan and Veronica gifs, why? Just cuz.

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Audiobook Review: Emerald Green by Kiersten Gier

March 7, 2015 Alisa Audiobook Reviews, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult 2 Comments

 

14759651 Emerald Green

Author: Kiersten Gier

Published: October 8th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co. 

Genres: Young Adult, Time Travel, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Find this book on Goodreads

Blurb: Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is. She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along. Emerald Green is the stunning conclusion to Kerstin Gier’s Ruby Red Trilogy, picking up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate..

Alisa’s Review:

smalliconalisaI was very eager to finish off this book series as I had very much enjoyed the first two in the series Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue. For the conclusion of the series I was hoping for answers to the mysteries involving the disapperance of Lucy and Paul with the chronograph, to learn more about the secret time travel society and of course get a conclusion to the love story between Gwen and Gideon.

This book was very focused on the love story between Gwen and Gideon, like many conclusions to YA series a lot of people are mostly invested in the romantic aspects of the story and are eager to get definitive decisions by the author about the fate of the leads. This was not my favorite part of the first two books so I was a bit disappointed that so much of the first chapters of this book is Gwen and Gideon angst. About midway into the story that plot line concludes in the inevitable way it was always building up to throughout the series, which was more than fine with me.

I felt once I reached the second half I was much more engaged in the story line, especially as it got more towards the crescendo of the story in which the big confrontation with Count occurs. This had some really fun twists and turns, especially the one that really ties up the lose ends of the story and looking back there were hints laid throughout the series.  Some reviewers have pointed some plot holes gaps in terms of how it is all laid out, however for me it was not such a problem and such an enjoyable ride that I could overlook some of the inconsistencies.

Overall I enjoyed this story, it had the same sense of fun and mystery that made the first two so enjoyable. It is a very light hearted series with a lot of humor and very enjoyable leads, perhaps the ending was not quite as epic as I hoped but it still was worth the time I spent on the series.

*I listened to this in audiobook format and loved the narrator, lovely accent and great voice impressions that were truly varied.

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Discussion Post: I Mustache You Some Questions

February 26, 2015 Alisa Discussion Post 6 Comments

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So things have been VERY busy lately with work, it is Black History Month and I have been doing all the decorations for the show that was supposed to be this week but probably will be delayed until March because of the snow storm. Secondly my entire family has a cold, including MJ who unfortunately is too little to take cold medicine.  So that means I am behind on just about everything at the moment including blogging. I have several audiobooks I want to talk about on my blog soon, so stay tuned. As well I need to post the prize for my giveaway, Angie from Angela’s Anxious Life was the winner! Otherwise things are going fine, MJ has gotten her first two front teeth which is very cute and is very close to crawling, mostly still rolling around and scooting on her tummy. It kind of amazes me how quickly she is growing up! It is both sad and happy, really liking 4-5 months it is a fun age. I was tagged awhile ago on this meme  by Char @Bookish Whimsy and was wanting to post it but never got a chance :)

 

Four Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name

  1. Alisa- because it is not my name actually, it is my nom de plume..LOL Yes, I am very mysterious!

Four Jobs I’ve Had

  1. Art Teacher K-5- I have been teaching art for eight years now. o.O
  2. Art Lead Summer Camp- Same job essentially but I also was in charge of ordering supplies etc.
  3.  Library Assistant (Shelver)- I liked working in the library but shelving is very tedious.

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once

  1. Jane Eyre 2011, 1973, 1996, etc.- I have watched them all multiple times.
  2. Labyrinth- I was obsessed with this film when I was younger.
  3. Beauty and The Beast- my favorite Disney film.
  4. My Fair Lady- I used to drive my sister CRAZY with that, played it every afternoon for an entire summer.

Four Books I’d Recommend

  1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
  2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  4. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place or Jackaby

Four Places I Have Lived

  1. Boston, Massachusetts- For my graduate degree.
  2. Chicago, Illinois- For my art degree.
  3. Memphis, Tennessee- I REALLY hated it there, worst year of my life.
  4. Atlanta, Georgia

Four Places I Have Been

  1. England(my husband is from there)
  2. Scotland
  3. Ireland
  4. Italy

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now

  1. Disneyland
  2. London
  3. Haworth, United Kingdom
  4. On vacation somewhere it is not wintery..

Four Things I Don’t Eat

  1. Pickles
  2. Raw Onions
  3. Olives
  4. Croutons

I hate sour food in general.

Four of My Favorite Foods

  1. Kimchi!!! Korean BBQ is yummm
  2. Sushi
  3. Cheesecake
  4. Chocolate in general..

TV Shows That I Watch(I couldn’t name just four)

  1. Game Of Thrones
  2. The Walking Dead
  3. Doctor Who
  4. Gotham
  5. Jane The Virgin ( Omg! I LOVE this show, so fun/funny)
  6. Once Upon A Time

Four Things I Am Looking Forward To This Year

  1. My daughter’s first birthday party! :) I will take lots of pictures of her smooshing the cake all over her face.
  2. Summer vacation- I am really tired this year, it’s been an adjustment being  a new mom + working.
  3. Spending more time with Aidan in the summer (honestly our schedules suck right now!)
  4.  Getting more time to do fun stuff, it is hard to find me time right now.

Four Things I’m Always Saying

  1. Jane Eyre ( LOL same here Char)
  2. Whatever, not my problem ( sometimes I have an attitude)
  3. I just want to take a hot bath and read my book.
  4. I need coffee (I didn’t know what sleep deprivation was until I had a child LOL)

Four People I Tag

  1. Jami Zehr@Absurdly Nerdly
  2. Aidan@Those Who Geek
  3. Lee @Rally The Readers
  4.  Angie@Angela’s Anxious Life.
I just tagged some people randomly – feel free to not do this if you don’t feel like it, no worries! :)  And of course if you would like to do it but have not been named, consider yourself tagged!

 

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Audiobook: Fairest by Marissa Meyer/Cress Giveaway

February 9, 2015 Alisa Audiobook Reviews, Book Reviews, Young Adult 17 Comments

fairest

Fairest

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: Published January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fairy Tale, Romance

Find this book on Goodreads

Blurb: In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Alisa’s Review:

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I always think what makes a story memorable is often not the hero, rather it’s the quality of it’s villain. What makes a good villain? I always personally think the best villains are multi-layered, that aren’t merely evil for the sake of being but rather have motivations that are complex. So far in the Lunar Chronicles Levana has been rather cloaked in mystery, we know she doesn’t like mirrors and refuses to be filmed  yet at the same time she is known for being a great beauty. We also know she is very brutal and capable of doing just about anything in order to get what she wants. In Fairest the veil of mystery is finally lifted and we get a glimpse into Levana’s true nature.

Levana was never a character that stood out to me in the series before this book, as we see very little of her and rather like Sauron in LOTR she is a looming omen of doom rather than a flesh and blood character that has developed throughout the chronicles. So I was very curious what this book will do with the character and whether or not I would find it compelling as I have all the other book in this series.  Fairest is based on the fairytale Snow White and  like Cinder(Cinderella), Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel) it uses elements of the original while giving it a very distinct and original twist.

Levana is in a culture that is obsessed with physical beauty, using glamours and surgeries in order to obtain physical perfection. Levana doesn’t fit the standard, she is an outsider and as a result she struggles with her own self image. Levana doesn’t start out a villain but she becomes one because of her inability to accept that she can’t get what she wants by using manipulations, her privileged upbringing and also the unchecked cruelty of those around her. What Levana longs for is something that is very universal; love and acceptance. I found myself surprised at how much I felt for Levana in the story, her life in many ways is really tragic.

I am happy to say that while Meyer gives you context you never lose the sense that Levana is still evil.  I was very pleased with how Meyer handles her development of Levana, she maintains the fact that she is a selfish, vain and evil woman who is willing to do horrible things to get what she wants. A lot of times in these back stories or retellings you lose the sense that in spite of the sympathy you may feel for the character that they are still in fact a villain and need to be defeated in order for good to triumph. The next book is ‘Winter’ which focuses on Levana’s stepdaughter and will conclude this series. I was able to get a preview of ‘Winter’ as the audiobook has the first three chapters which made me VERY excited for the next volume in this series.

Overall I really enjoyed this and believe it is an essential read to understand the relationship between Winter and Levana in the next book. I definitely think it is a most read for all fans of the Lunar Chronicles.

 

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rating5 Be sure and check out my giveaway:

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Audiobook Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

February 4, 2015 Alisa Book Reviews 5 Comments

13206828Cress

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: February 4th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends

Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fairy Tale, Romance

Find this book on Goodreads

Blurb: In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Alisa’s Review:

smalliconalisaI have been wanting to read this book for SO long, this has been one of my all time favorite YA series and was the reason I decided I wanted to start book blogging, Cinder was my first review ever. I very much enjoyed Scarlet ,the second in the series and was eagerly awaiting the release of Cress, the third in the series, when I became pregnant with my first child. When I had my daughter on October 1st of this year my world turned upside down and I haven’t had time to read as much as I would like. I have never been a huge fan of audiobooks as I like imagining the voices any way I like and in general have a short attention span which doesn’t suit the format, but I am finding now they are the best way for me to read books because I can simultaneously watch Miranda while listening. That is how I finally had the chance to read this quite long volume in the Lunar Chronicles and I am happy to say I was not at all disappointed!

Each of these stories is based on a Fairy Tale, the first being Cinderella, the second Little Red Riding Hood and the third Rapunzel while at the same time being interwoven with a larger plot that is epic in it’s scope involving an impending war between Earthens and The Lunars. Cress like Cinder was a wonderfully drawn character, very innocent and naïve but strong like all of Marissa Meyer’s female protagonist. I loved the way she developed in this story and how her romance with Thorne starts out as adulation to genuine love/respect for each other.  Thorne is easily my favorite male character in the series, how can you not like him he is Flynn Rider, Hans Solo and Captain Jack (Dr. Who) all rolled into one awesome package! I loved that we got to see so much of him in this volume. It is very clever the way in each book how she connects them to original fairytale without being obvious and strictly flowing the plotline of the original, i.e. the surprising way Thorne becomes blind midway into the plot. I have to say ladies be prepared for the ‘smoulder’ because there is a lot of Thorne to love in this book!

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As for the larger story it was woven together pretty brilliantly and it was fascinating how what seemed like unconnected threads all came together at the end. It was  very well plotted  because each character got there moment without taking the focus from Cress’s journey. I don’t want to spoil but I loved seeing more of IKO and  yet there is one moment where my heart nearly broke because of her.  The new character I am the most intrigued by is Winter and I am looking forward to getting to know her in the volumes to come. She reminds me a bit of Drusilla from Buffy, she feels dangerous and yet at the same time sad/broken. Yes, I have already downloaded Fairest and I can’t wait to get to listening to it soon!

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So that being said, I loved this book! It had the perfect blend of action, adventure and romance. This author really knows how to keep a plot moving through several volumes and keep you engaged and fascinated for the next volume. If you haven’t started this series, pick up it up immediately!

Audiobook: As for the audiobook it was well done, wasn’t a huge fan of  Scarlet’s French accent and I also felt Cress/Cinder sounded too alike. However the narrator did a great job of varying the voices and tones throughout the story.

* I by accident picked up the paperback of this book forgetting that I had already purchased the hardback, what can I say I have new mommy brain. I am going to do a giveaway of the paperback in my next discussion post.

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Discussion Post: YA Movies / Books I Haven’t Read

January 29, 2015 Alisa Discussion Post 14 Comments

discussion-3 smalliconalisaGoing to the movies is something I am really not able to do often lately as I have a 3.5 month year old, so I have gotten in the habit of renting a lot of movies on VUDU or Red Box or Netflix.  I keep thinking I want to write up my thoughts on the various YA adaptations I have seen recently. Honestly most of the books these adaptations are based on I haven’t read (except of course The Hunger Games) and some of these adaptations made me glad I hadn’t.

 

 

 

 

1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

mockingjayThis was one of my most eagerly anticipated films of the year, as I have loved all the adaptations so far and I love Jennifer Lawrence’s depiction of Katniss. I know it is the newest trend right now to split the finally film in a series into two parts, they did it for The Hobbit, Harry Potter and now every YA adaptation of a series is getting split in half. However I feel it always does some damage to the first half of the adaptation because like the books not much happens in the first chapters and it can give you the sense that the narrative is dragging. That being said I would be perfectly happy to sit for a longer film to have this not happen and to be able to see the entire story at once, but I realize we as a culture have short attention spans (plus the movie theaters and companies make way more off two rather than one film. Though I really can’t complain because like so many others I go dutifully to the theater to see each part.) That being said I thought that it was well done and hit all the emotional points of the book extremely well, especially Katniss’s horror at the actions of Peeta in this book and the emotionally gutting reunion between the two of them.  I missed some aspects of the story that were cut such as the back story of Finnick and Haymitch that are explained in greater detail in the novel.  I am glad I got to see it in the theater and I eagerly await the next volume of the story.

Verdict: Movie Theater-go see it now.

 

2. The Maze Runner

MAZEI have not read this series, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film. I rented it on a whim from vudu and found myself surprisingly engaged in the story. It had the feel of many YA stories such as Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, in that the main character is destined for greatness. However the bit of the story I found the most intriguing was the Lord Of The Flies hierachy that had developed amongst the boys outside the maze and also the mystery of why they were chosen, who they are and what their purpose is in the Maze. The acting perhaps was not the movies strong suit and I think perhaps it could have benefited from stronger casting in some of its leads. However the story was intriguing enough that it made me want to watch the next film or perhaps pick up the book, as I felt some aspects were not fully or effectively explained in the film.

Verdict: Rent It- it is worth a watch on a rainy afternoon.

 

3. The Giver

THEGIVERAnother story where I have not read the original and therefore not able to fully compare the two. This was a very odd film, I wasn’t sure entirely how to feel at the end of it but overall I would say I found it disappointing. It has some very familiar dystopian elements in the idea of a regimented society with lack of freedom of personal choice, since this book was published many years before many of the current YA novels I think it probably has served as inspiration for many of them. In particular I saw a lot of similarities to YA series such as Divergent and Matched. However it is a very insular plot with some very high concepts which I think probably work beautifully on the page but were less evocative in the film. The casting as well left much to be desired as I felt the lead lacked charisma and that made it difficult to connect to his journey. I think perhaps if it had better direction and also if they weren’t trying so hard to make it like epic film series such as Divergent, The Hunger Games etc. it would have been much more effective.

Verdict: Skip It- read the book instead

 

4. The Fault In Our Stars

FAULTYet another book I have not had the chance to read, honestly going into it I didn’t know the twist at the end in spite of this books huge popularity. This is a very sad story that I found very touching while being very life affirming in it’s tragedy, which is not surprising as it is a story about young people with cancer. Perhaps I would be even more moved had I read the original story but the film was very effective in it’s goal in making me cry, which it tries to do often and sometimes very heavy handedly  (i.e. the rather sappy scene in Anne Franks house with the applause was too much for me.) I think what made the film for me was that the leads were extremely charming and well cast, especially Shailene Woodley. Honestly this is not my usual fare, I tend to veer away from tragedies and stories that are geared toward doomed romance. However I was surprised by how much I liked this adaptation and it makes me think I would definitely like to try the book at some point.

Verdict: Rent It- make sure you have tissues ready.

 

 

5. If I Stay

STAY This is another adaptation along the lines of books I veer away from because I know they are designed to make me cry, this as well is another book I have not had the chance to read though I hear very good things about it. However this story really didn’t effect me in the way I expected it too, the only characters I really felt sad about were the death of Mia’s parents/brother who were of the epically awesome, totally understanding and cool variety that most teenagers fantasize about having. However I really didn’t connect with the romance, especially with Adam who I know I am supposed to find dreamy as he is cool, in a band and completely unattainable in the hotness front. That being said I think he is a totally self-centered jerk often in the story and I have no idea what Mia sees in him, so I found it really hard to connect with or like him as a character (though I know he redeems himself at the end.) However I can’t help but think these two in 20 years will resent each other for giving up their dream and I can’t really buy into their romance being a long lasting one. This is essentially because I don’t buy into the idea that long distance relationships can’t last, if you don’t care enough to stick with someone even though they are far away I don’t think you really can call it love. My husband and I were long distance 3 years (England/America) and we are still together nine years later.

Verdict: Skip It.

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Book Review: Doctor Who: Silhouette (Doctor Who: New Series Adventures #53)

January 28, 2015 Alisa Adult, Book Reviews 5 Comments

 

DRWHO Doctor Who: Silhouette (Doctor Who: New Series Adventures #53)

Author: Justin Richards

Published: September 9th 2014 by Broadway Book

Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Mystery, Television Tie-In

Find this book on Goodreads

Blurb: Vastra and Strax and Jenny? Oh no, we don’t need to bother them. Trust me.”

Marlowe Hapworth is found dead in his locked study, killed by an unknown assailant. This is a case for the Great Detective, Madame Vastra.

Rick Bellamy, bare-knuckle boxer, has the life drawn out of him by a figure dressed as an undertaker. This angers Strax the Sontaran.

The Carnival of Curiosities, a collection of bizarre and fascinating sideshows and performers. This is where Jenny Flint looks for answers.

How are these things connected? And what does Orestes Milton, rich industrialist, have to do with it all? This is where the Doctor and Clara come in. The Doctor and his friends find themselves thrust into a world where nothing and no one are what they seem. Can they unravel the truth before the most dangerous weapon ever developed is unleashed on London?

Alisa’s Review:

smalliconalisaI haven’t had a chance really to talk about how I felt about the most recent season of Dr. Who and Capaldi’s depiction of the doctor in depth on this blog though I have discussed in on my husband’s Those Who Geek. I love Dr. Who, it is one of my all time favorite shows. It is a show I grew up watching with my Dad who was a fan, particularly of the Tom Baker era. It is something as well that connected me to my now husband of six years, when we first started dating we would regularly marathon episodes of classic Who as he is a HUGE fan of the show. So I was very excited when I heard they were casting Capaldi  and hoped very much to like this new doctor. However in the end I found it hard to connect with the newest doctor, mostly because he is so stern and often times harsh to those around him, especially Clara. It reminded me a bit too much of what I disliked about the Colin Baker era of Dr. Who, in that the doctor often puts down or belittles his companion in those episodes. So when my husband told me to read this tie-in, I was at first very skeptical that I could or would like it as I have not liked many of the episodes this season.

However in spite of my doubts I really loved this book and wished it had been an episode this season. The story features some familiar characters from Matt Smith’s era, such as Strax, Jenny and Vastra.  I really liked this because the author did a magnificent job of capturing to the personalities of the characters from the show, in particular Strax is really spot on. The mystery is a really intriguing one that is multi-layered and features some really striking visual imagery such as the origami birds coming to life or Silhouette herself who is described vividly.  I liked the the story really played off the strengths of all the various characters and that each gets their moment to shine. Capaldi’s Doctor is very well done in this book and one of the things I appreciated is it played off his grumpiness in a quirky, fun and humorous way. In particular there is one sequence that plays off classic Who so beautifully and I would love to see it played out in an actual episode.  The story often twisted upon itself and it made it hard for me to put this book down, this is easily my favorite Dr. Who tie-in that I have read so far. If you are a fan of Dr. Who, I definitely recommend giving this book a try.

rating5

 

 

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Discussion Post: The State of MJ

January 16, 2015 Alisa Discussion Post 12 Comments

discussion-3 smalliconalisa So the last couple of months have gone by in a blur, mostly of sleeplessness. MJ is now three months and doing very well and thriving. In fact she is progressing a little faster than expected, she has already learned how to lift up her head at 1-2 months, push up on her elbows 2.5 months, push up on her hands, roll over, grab objects and push up unto her knees if supported at 3 months ( most of these milestones are 6 months +). I definitely have a very active child, she is very curious and wants to grab everything, she is keeping me busy. So I have decide in terms of blogging I will post if and when I am able. I am finding the only chance I get to write a review is when she is taking her long nap in the morning on the weekends.

We have been reading lots of different books to her, but for whatever reason she loves anything with bears in it. I am not sure why, maybe it’s the shapes etc. Currently her favorite book is ‘ Bear Sees Colors’, which is very colorfully illustrated. She has started trying to turn the pages herself when reading it, though she sometimes tries to move them when we haven’t finished reading the page! She mostly likes the illustrations and looking at the various images on the page.

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 The hardest things about parenting for me right now is figuring out how to manage her sleep schedule, and get some rest myself as I have to get up for work at 5 am as I have a very long commute. When she was about 8 weeks she was sleeping really well from about 10 pm to 6 am, feed and the back to sleep until 8 am. We mostly were able to manage this because of an awesome book called ‘Happiest Baby On The Block’ which uses the 5’s system to get your baby to sleep (it really worked well when she was a newborn). We swaddled her up until the 3 month mark when she started rolling on to her tummy. She continued to sleep fine, if not quite as deeply for the first week we stopped but we decided that 10 pm is too late of a bedtime for her, so we moved her bedtime to about 8 pm. We have been doing that for about a week now and it has been an adjustment, some nights are great like last night fell asleep right at 8:20- woke up for a 9 p.m feed straight back to sleep, 5 am.  woke up for feed straight back to sleep, 8 am. up for the day. Other days are more rough with several evening wakings and usually a 3 a.m. rather than 5 a.m. wake up call. However we figure she will eventually catch up, as she will sleep longer as she gets older anyway and by then she will be so used to going to bed early we won’t have to go through the process again. Luckily my husband is awesome and takes the burden off me by helping me out and giving me opportunities to rest by watching MJ for me. I count myself lucky in that unlike a lot of other parents who are dealing with every 2 hour wakings and horrible reflux/colic issues that MJ is very healthy and generally good tempered.

So for those who are new parents or thinking about having a baby here are the three books that have been most useful to me are, bearing in mind that every kid is different and what works for your kid might be completely different. I tried doing a strict daytime schedule with MJ with naps at the same time everyday, haven’t had luck with that so far though she generally crashes easily at bedtime.

1) ‘ Happiest Baby on The Block’

Happiest Baby On The Block

2) ‘The No Cry Sleep Solution’

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3) ‘What To Expect: The First Year’

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Book Review: Jane F***ing Eyre by J.K. Really

January 12, 2015 Alisa Book Reviews 6 Comments

 

jane fing eyre Jane F***ing Eyre

Author: J.K. Really

Published: Published October 11th 2014 by Amazon Digital Services

Genres: Humor/Mashup

Find this book on Goodreads

Blurb: Jane F—ing Eyre is the Victorian gothic romance Jane Eyre, retold by a heroine who’s ready to get real. While Charlotte Bronte’s classic has spawned dozens of film iterations, it’s never been updated, probably because Mr. Rochester’s little tricks wouldn’t fly with any woman navigating the dating scene today. Re-telling this iconic piece of literature as a mashup of the original verbatim dialogue and what Jane’s thinking with her Victorian filter off, allows fans to experience the romance, the horror, and the passive-aggressive jabs of Ms. Fairfax again as though for the first time… but with all the boring parts cut out.

Alisa’s Review:

smalliconalisaI have an extremely rude and irreverent sense of humor, the more I like something the more I enjoy making fun of it. I love the novel Jane Eyre, it is my favorite book, so therefore I have been known to write parodies of it such as ‘The Fresh Governess Jane-Aire’ etc.  So when I read Bookish Whimsy’s review of this book, it was something I definitely something I knew I wanted to read, because I love to have a good laugh.

This book did not disappoint I was laughing out loud constantly during it, it is one of those books you don’t want to read in public for fear that people may suspect you are mentally ill on the bus and move quickly to the back away from you. Jane Eyre is a very proper person with strong moral values, so reading her thoughts such as ‘When my spoiled-a** cousins weren’t cracking me upside the head with leather-bound novels, I was getting locked in the family murder room by my b**chface Aunt.‘ it is gloriously out of character. The author seemed though to really get the character and in spite of irreverent humor it shined through that the author loves the book and the character Jane.

The biggest problem I had was that the second half of the book was obviously rushed and I suspect not read in detail by the author as they call the Rivers sisters Diana and Hannah instead of Mary (Hannah is the River’s servant.) It seems like the author was much more interested in the Rochester bits of the novel, which who can blame them as those are my favorite bits as well. However it would be fun to see Jane’s thoughts on St. John because he is a pill and I think ripe for parody. Also there were some typos, which usually doesn’t bother me as I am the typo queen myself but I think it could have used a quick look over.  That being said this book was so fun and I definitely recommend it for those who are fans of Jane Eyre, who have a sense of humor about it, so go ahead and f***ing read it now.

rating4

 

 

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Book Review: Jackaby by William Ritter

January 5, 2015 Alisa Book Reviews 8 Comments

 

20312462 Jackaby

Author: William Ritter

Published: Published September 16th 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers             

Genres: Mystery Thriller, Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Find this book on Goodreads

Blurb: Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Alisa’s Review:

smalliconalisa

This book was another random pick from Barnes and Noble. The moment I read the blurb I knew this was the book for me. Doctor Who meets Sherlock – what could be better? This story definitely has the flavor of Sherlock in that the protagonist solves mysteries using deductive reasoning however the twist is his particular gift is of the paranormal kind.  I was initially a little concerned when it seemed perhaps the two characters were too similar but quickly as the story progressed it definitely differentiated itself from its inspiration and even poked a little bit of fun at it’s protagonist in the process.

Jackaby is a fun character. He’s very quirky in the style of the Doctor but also methodical in the style of Sherlock while still being a unique character in his own right.  I liked him from his first interaction with Abigail who challenges him to think differently from their first meeting.  Abigail perhaps was my favorite of the two as it is nice to see her stand up to and match wits with Jackaby throughout the story.  The two characters instantly had chemistry with Abigail taking on the role of Watson, assisting him in solving the mystery that unfolds in the first chapters of the book.

As for the mystery – it was really well constructed. The paranormal aspects were very inventive but at the same time familiar.  The story used common mythologies and archetypes but played around with them in surprising ways. It kept me guessing from beginning to end and the twist truly surprised me – I flatter myself that I am usually pretty good at spotting the murderer midway into a mystery. This story never lagged for me, it was fun and fast paced. This was one of my favorite reads of 2014 and I definitely recommend for fans of mysteries of the paranormal variety.

rating5

* I was definitely picturing the 11th doctor as Jackaby and Clara (in her governess incarnation) as Abigail.

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