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December 28, 2021

Best & Worst Books I Read in 2021

This week's Top Ten Tuesday's prompt is Best Books I Read In 2021 and Tell Me Something Tuesday's prompt is What are your favorite books/audiobooks that you read in 2021? so I combined them plus some others as I don't think you should just highlight the good. I think one of the best things about being a reader is that if you can't enjoy a book, the least you can do is enjoy talking about it, whether in a positive or negative way.  I haven't read a lot this year so my list is very short. [ Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl over hereTell Me Something Tuesday was originally created by Heidi but is now hosted by Berls, Jen, Karen, Linda and Roberta. ]

The Best Books I Read in 2021:

A Problematic Paradox and The Unspeakable Unknown (Nikola Kross series) by Eliot Sappingfield
01 | A Problematic Paradox and The Unspeakable Unknown (Nikola Kross series) by Eliot Sappingfield > link
These two books are the most fun reads I had for 2021. They're weird, wacky, slightly creepy, and probably kind of nerdy but they are amazing.

Honorable Mentions:

Reflection by Elizabeth Lim
02 | Reflection: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim > link
This is a good take on Mulan but since it continues from a moment in the Disney movie (the animated version), it is sort of a sequel and probably shouldn't read it unless you have seen the movie or at least know what had happened in the first half of the movie. This could still have been shorter in the middle and perhaps a bit longer in the end. The ending is a bit open-ended which I didn't like but at the same time, I would read if there is a second book.

Elizabeth Webster and the Court of Uncommon Pleas (Book 1) by William Lashner
03 | Elizabeth Webster and the Court of Uncommon Pleas (Elizabeth Webster Book 1) by William Lashner
> link
I did enjoyed this book but I guess this would have been one of the best that I read but for this: when a scene stops before it gets to the end, then we are in the afterward, then we go back and continue that scene and then move back to the present - I just don't like this going back and forth. Other than that, this book was quite enjoyable.

The Worst Books I Read in 2021:

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club Book 1) by Theodora Goss
04 | The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club Book 1) by Theodora Goss
> link
I didn't like reading this yet I really like the idea of the book. To sum up the main reason why I didn't like it: If you're reading a book and a bunch of people suddenly appears and have inane commentaries/conversations that have nothing to do with what's going on in the book or if it relates to the current mentioned event, it does not add to the story, would you be able to enjoy your book? I wouldn't. If the commentaries are funny (they aren't), if they are important to the story (maybe two of them add any real info, very long info, to the story but you can still skip them) and if they serve any purpose except to annoy the reader, then maybe I would have enjoyed the book a little. Plus these commentaries ruin the gothic mystery vibe, turns it into a comedy and forces readers into accepting humor when it really didn't need it.
    And the mystery is kind of dull. And what makes it worst is that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (two men while all the characters are gendered-swapped to be female) did most of the solving of the murders. The ladies in this so-called Athena club are mostly there to give the necessary info. The entire book is mostly introduction of characters, then their back story, some gory detail about a murder, back to introductions and back stories and then the end. And yes, I have to consider this as a first book in a series but why do I have to read an info dumping book to get to a good book? I'm not going to continue this series because all the books have inane commentaries. Read all about my complaints here on this post, just scroll down.

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani, Julia Iredale (Illustrator)
05 | Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani, Julia Iredale (Illustrator)
> link
I didn't like the writing or the tales but I loved the cover which is really the only good thing I can say about this collection of short stories. The tales are deviated versions of fairytales but I find most of them kind of boring, some a little disturbing but most are pointless. More about my complaints about this book over here on this post.

What was the best and worst books you have read in 2021?

December 26, 2021

Books I Read & Movies I Watched in December 2021

girl reading book
Reading among the stacks

In December, I read a few books and saw a few movies but I have no memory how I spent the rest of my time. It just flew by. Here the books, movies I consumed in December.

Books I Read:

The Monster Hypothesis by Romily Bernard
01 | The Monster Hypothesis by Romily Bernard > link
I was duped in thinking this was fantasy but nope, it's a contemporary or something but not a fantasy. But it was still enjoyable and I finished the book pretty quickly which is usually a sign I like it. I especially like the start of the book where Kick Winter (that's the character's name although it's a nickname) blow a hole in the kitchen floor with her experiment and also the chapter titles with Grandma Missouri's predictions. Kick as a character was fun and I actually would befriend her even if she might blow up my bedroom if I allow her to do one of her scientific experience. Plus, I like that her parents are alive and that she's not an orphan or being neglected, well, she's a bit neglected but she has a nice uncle. This was a fun book even if it wasn't a fantasy.

December 24, 2021

Fiction: Waiting For Joy

short fiction

This month's Words for Wednesday is hosted by Elephant's Child. This week's prompts are: Bird, Lifetime, Impossible, Days, Dreams, Meet And/or Spider, Thread, Secret, Thing, Author, Recesses. Visit Elephant's Child for more takes on the prompts over here.

Fiction: Waiting For Joy
On a cloudy day, as light rain falls, a bunny, carrying a straw umbrella, appears in a small forest. From here and there, he picks some dried leaves and lays them on the ground under a willow tree and sits down. Then he turns his eyes up toward the sky.
    A squirrel, on her way home, spots the bunny sitting there. She runs toward him and says,"What are you doing, bunny?"
    The bunny peers down at the squirrel, smiles and replies, "I'm waiting." He turns his stare back up at the sky.
    The squirrel, curious at what the bunny meant, moves closer and asks, "May I wait with you?"
    "Yes. You may share my umbrella," says the bunny. After the squirrel sits down beside him, he shifts his umbrella a little to the right toward the squirrel. Then he returns his gaze toward the sky. The squirrel turns her gaze upward as well.
    As the rain continues with their light dripping, a pair of black birds comes drifting down and lands on a branch of a nearby tree. They look at the bunny and the squirrel and then at each other. One of them asks the squirrel, "What are you two doing?"
    The squirrel replies without taking her eyes away from the sky, "We're waiting."
    The black birds looks at each other again and shrugs. They make themselves comfortable on the tree branch and let the leaves shield them from the rain. And then they too, stare in the same direction as the bunny and the squirrel.
    A family of three spiders appear. The largest spider, Papa Spider, crawls up the tree and asks the birds, "What are you all doing?"
    One of the black birds reply, "We're waiting."
    "For what?" Papa Spider wonders.
    Both birds shrug. "We do not know."
    Paper Spider crawls back down the tree towards his family and says, "It seems they are waiting but they don't know what. Let's vote whether to stay and wait or go on our vacation. I vote stay." He holds up a leg. Mama Spider holds up a leg and Baby Spider, perched on Mama Spider's back, holds up a little leg as well. Papa Spider leads his family up another tree where they will not be stepped on and they too, take up to gazing at the sky.
     Soon the rain subsides and the clouds part. The bunny stands up, closes his umbrella and shakes the raindrops from it. "The wait is almost over," he says. He stretches his arms and legs. The squirrel does the same thing. She is glad though she still have no idea what they are waiting for but at least it is almost over.
    The black birds flies closer and hovers above the bunny and the squirrel. There is a certain silence. Bright afternoon sunlight falls around them. The bunny looks toward the sky with sparkles in his eyes and a small smile on his lips. The squirrel and the black birds are also staring upward with eyes wide. The spider family stay on their tree with eyes toward the sky.
    In a moment, seven colors appears and bends in an arch that hangs in the sky. The bunny jumps up and down. His umbrella slips from his hand and falls to the ground. He laughs and claps his hands. "Do you see that? Look! Look!" the bunny shouts as he points at the rainbow.
    The squirrel is surprised by the bunny's reaction but more by the beauty of the rainbow. She has seen rainbows before but this one is particularly large and particularly beautiful to her. Laughter escapes her lips. Baby Spider jumps and chortles and slips on the edge of Mama Spider's back but Papa Spider catches him and places him back on Mama's back but he is grinning and so is Mama. The black birds tilt their heads at the bunny, squirrel and the spider family. They have seen rainbows many times before and is not impressed. Perhaps the bunny, the squirrel and the spider family are still much too young, they thought, as they fly away.
    "Yippee!" the bunny and the squirrel yell together. They both jumps up and down.
     "Well, we must get going," says Papa Spider as he crawls down the tree follow by Mama with Baby still laughing.
    "I've waited two weeks and now I finally saw a rainbow. My papa is right. He said, 'Patience is rewarding.'" The bunny sucks in a long breath and lets it out. He picks up his umbrella and says, "I must get home now. Thank you for being with me, squirrel."
    "Don't thank me. I have enjoyed my time, bunny." The squirrel laughs lightly.
    "Goodbye," says the bunny with a large grin and he hops away.
    "Goodbye!" The squirrel waves until she could not see the bunny anymore. Then she turns toward home with a smile.

December 18, 2021

Kindly read these at your earliest convenience

mermaid with headphones
'plug in'

I thought I post these random bits that I wrote and never posted. These probably should have stayed as drafts but I thought since I wrote them, why not post them even if nobody will read them? Whether these opinions are valid or not, I'm not sure as I had a different mind set when I wrote these. I might regret posting these tomorrow but for today, not so much. (The artwork above have nothing to do with anything. I had just redo this piece and want to share it.)

01 | [Does this make sense? I don't know when I wrote this] You want to be an optupus rather than an optimist because they have 8 legs and optimist only have 2 so more chances for success.

02 | [I don't know when I wrote this] I was never naked — I was born with clothes on.

03 | [June 28, 2021] I sometimes like to visit some of my favorite bloggers (who doesn't blog anymore) at their social media sites but it seems you have to sign in to see even a tiny corner of the page but I don't have any social media accounts anymore. Maybe this is good. I can stop wasting time on all social media and all websites that needs an account to view. There are a lot of those. I especially thought Instagram shouldn't be like that since the site is for sharing. It's okay if a user make their site private so only the ones they allow can view it but when it only allows user of that platform access, then I have to wonder what's the point.
    I guess it makes sense, business-wise, they want as many users to sign up as possible although forced exclusivity is kind of dumb and it make me feel like an outsider but probably because I am a outsider since I choose not to join the social media madness. I pretend to be okay with this because I have no choice unless I sign up which I won't. And I still think all those social media have such silly names, signing up does not make me feel special, just a little annoyed I'm being bossed around by silly-named platforms.

December 14, 2021

What's the hardest part about blogging for you?

This week's Tell Me Something Tuesday is: What's the hardest part about blogging for you?
I guess my answer would be actually posting something. It's not that I couldn't do it, it's just that I'm indecisive of what to post. I guess my years of blogging had made me a little lazier or more relax about blogging. Even when I have ideas or even when I have written a post, I don't seem to want to hit that publish button. The only time I seem to be blogging is challenges and memes (such as Words for Wednesday, Top Ten Tuesday) and this one you're reading now. I think they are enough to keep me blogging for a while. I do occasionally post something unrelated to these memes but I do what I have always done, make it up as I go along.
So what about you? What's the hardest part about blogging for you?

[ Tell Me Something Tuesday was originally created by Heidi but is now hosted by Berls, Jen, Karen, Linda and Roberta. ]

December 07, 2021

Reading free ebooks & (mostly) not regret it

Top Ten Tuesday
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a Freebie so I thought I share some thoughts about the free ebooks I had read. I think I'm engined to flock to free stuff so maybe it's why I like reading free ebooks. There are tons of free ebooks but the genre I like to read the most is paranormal cozy murder mysteries although there is no such category on amazon, they only have the cozy option. The books I'm referring to on this list are paranormal cozy murder mysteries and a few fantasies.
    It's pretty easy to look for free ebooks at amazon since amazon allows you to sort books by price from low to high but of course, you still have to go through various menu clicks. (I should mention I mostly read kindle ebooks because I have a kindle but you do not need a kindle to read kindle books, you can use their app on your phone, tablet or computer.) (And yes, I can read all the free ebooks from the public library but this is not about that.)

Some of the things I learned & thoughts I had while reading free ebooks:

01 | They are usually the first book in a series and are under 300 pages or less — These free ebooks are usually part of a series sometimes with 10 or more books. I guess it's nice to read a long series but when you think how short the books are, it's really like reading short stories. Now some of these are novellas but they never actually say they are novellas but some of these are just under 200 pages per book. I actually do like short books in a series because I find it easier to digest and I have the attention span of a five-year-old on occasions.

02 | They are oddly priced — The pricing of ebooks are ridiculous because it keeps going up and down for no reason (but I can say the same thing for paper books). Now for these free ebooks, they are usually priced at 4.99 (US dollars) or under as the regular price. The free price is sometimes for a limited time so other times, it's 99 cents which I supposed is almost free.
    I think it's a great idea to offer the first book in a series free. Since it was free, I was willing to take the chance on them otherwise I honestly would not have purchased any of these books. I did end up purchasing a couple of the sequels for whatever series I had read for free.

03 | Sometimes they come in a collection — Some of these ebooks are packaged with the first 3 or 5 books in a series. Sometimes you even see them at 99 cents for these collections for a limited time. Heck, sometimes you can get the first 3 books as a set for free. There's also instances where the first books of an author's various series are packaged in a collection which sometimes goes on sale for 99 cents or occasionally for free.
     I honestly do not know if any of these promotional packages or these free ebooks does anything to the sales number. If a reader pays nothing for a book, does the book's ranking changes or do they even count as part of a sale?

04 | They have grammar and spelling errors — I have accepted that books can have an error or two but simple errors somehow stands out so much in these ebooks that I'm thinking, perhaps it hasn't gotten enough proof reading. I may have tried to edit while I was reading some of these books. I even read an author's bio that needed editing which is a bit surprising because usually an author's bio rarely have mistakes.

04 | They have really good titles — I really like all the puns and the funny titles that are used. Even if the book does not really live up to the title, at least the title is fun and creative.

05 | They sometimes uses the same art or photo for the cover — Some of them even use the exact art or photo with the same models that are slightly altered. Does nobody notice these things or nobody cares? I guess it's harder to have original cover art if you're on a budget. It's possible to mistake one book for another as I have seen a few books that I thought I had read but it turned out, it was a different book by a different author - I can't say if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Examples of covers using the same art/photo

06 | They are most likely self-published — I think most of them are self-published because of the amateur covers and also because if you check out the credits, it's most likely put out from some unknown company or the copyright is in the author's name only. But I can never tell for sure. I don't mind self-published books because they are sometimes almost as good as those published by big companies.

07 | They are most likely unavailable at your public library — Mostly I think because they are self-published. I don't know if that's the reason but I've never seen any of these titles available at my public library.

08 | They are mostly written by women — Not to say there aren't any paranormal cozy murder mysteries written by men, it's just that, I don't seem to come across them as much. It's not a big deal but it's something I have noticed. I think I have read only one of these ebooks with a male author.

09 | Verdict: They are fun, quick reads. Some of these are rather amateurish because the writing isn't all that great but most of the time, I find I enjoy the story even when the writing is so-so. I complain about them but I think they are good reads even if I maybe sometimes forgot I had read them.

10 | Here are three places I look for free or discounted ebooks:
Free Booksy
Amazon Kindle Best Sellers Top 100 Free

How about you? Are you into reading ebooks (free or otherwise)?

For more Top Ten Tuesdays, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

December 04, 2021

A Slow-Quick November & Movies I had seen

girl at bus stop drawing
sleepless, 2011
Usually I would have book reviews for the books I read last month but I don't. I did read a bit but there weren't any books I want to talk about. Sometimes I read short books and then forgot about them - that's all of my November reads. November was a stressful month, work-wise. It's normal for me to work and stress so nothing new there. Work mainly filled the hours. Basically I'm in some fog of sluggishness that I sometimes weave my way through out of. Can you believe the year is almost over? November seemed slow but at the same time, it went quicker than I thought. I think this whole year went far quicker than usual. I'm trying not to panic every time I read the news but it's easier to say than doing it. Anyway, here are the movies I have seen in November:

01 | Luca > link
It's a cute, fun movie. The visual is wonderful but there's not much of a plot other than a merboy going on land and having some adventure but it was very enjoyable.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997)
02 | 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997)
> link
I read the book a while back and it was boring with lots and lots details about sea life and sea stuff and I don't think I liked it much. I did enjoyed this movie adaptation even though I don't think it's faithful to the book.

Monster Hunt and Monster Hunt 2
03 | Monster Hunt
and Monster Hunt 2 > link 1, link 2
Both movies are fun and the little monster that looked like a radish was darn cute. This movie was slightly creepy but not enough to ruin my enjoyment. There were a few sing-dance numbers which I don't care for but overall, I enjoyed both movies and recommend watching one after the other since it really does continued from movie 1 to movie 2.

How about you? Was your November full of activities or were you lazy like me?

November 30, 2021

Some Books I Would Not Read

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is Bookish Memories (Share stories of your reading life as a child, events you’ve gone to, books that made an impression on you, noteworthy experiences with books, authors you’ve met, etc.). I have no book memories as all my reading memories are of the story and not where I was or what I was doing so here's a list of books I would not read instead. I'm not saying I would never read them, I'm just saying I don't want to read them now.

Some books I don't want to read or maybe will never read:

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
01 | Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
They said it's like a prequel or sequel or whatever to To kill a mocking bird but it sounds very much like a first draft. I wish not to ruin the original book by reading this so, nope.

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy
02 | Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy
There seems to be some changes to characters/story that I don't think I'll like. Plus, this wasn't written by L.M. Montgomery. I've never liked when authors write other author's characters/books, it never seems right and most of the time, it seems like fan fiction.

03 | Romeo and Juliet retellings
I have no love for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. I've always find Romeo's way of dying a bit cowardly and also, both of them dying is just stupid to me considering they are just teens and why are they being so dramatic? I guess I just don't get the book. Retellings of Romeo and Juliet are usually kind of annoying to me, I'm not sure why. It may be teenage love never appealed to me especially the kind that involves suicides or it could be that I just hate love stories that involves opposing families, I don't know, I just know whenever a book is said to be a Romeo and Juliet retelling, I immediately want to avoid it.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
04 | Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I'm not drawn to the story at all. I don't know why. Maybe seeing all those movie adaptations has sort of spoiled the book for me but I simply have no desire to read it. I might change my mind and read it some day but just not now. Nor would I like to read any Alice retellings either.

The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum
05 | The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum
The movie really kind of spoils it for me. I doubt I would like the book. Like Alice in Wonderland, I find having watched the movie, I simply don't want to read the book.
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
06 | Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie and Retellings
I don't know why but I just don't like Peter Pan but maybe I just don't like how he seems a bit creepy because he's neither a child nor an adult, more like an overgrown man disguised as a young boy and luring young children out of their homes. It's one thing to be a child but it's another to be a child who seems perhaps to be a hundred years old, much like a vampire, someone who never matures to be an adult - it's just not appealing to me. Plus, I read samples of the book and the writing is just so oddly, unendearing, I just didn't like it. I think the Disney movie is really the one thing I can tolerate about that character but even then, he's just weirdly creepy for no reason.
    And Peter Pan retellings kind of annoys me as well. And whenever they try to make Wendy and Peter a couple, it creeps me out. Or when they make Tinkerbell and Peter a couple, that's just as bad.

07 | Beauty and the Beast Retellings

So maybe I'll probably still read some Beauty and the Beast retellings as the story appeals to me a lot. The many retellings that I read were quite disappointing with a few exceptions. I really wish people would stop referring to any books as a Beauty and the Beast retelling whenever the man is a bit beastly. It would only be a true retelling if the beast was a man that got turned into a beast and actually became a better person at the end. I guess the Disney movie (the animated version) sort of sets my standard for a Beauty and the Beast retellings minus the singing.

The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves
08 | Vera Stanhope Mysteries by Ann Cleeves
I really like Brenda Blethyn as Vera Stanhope in the tv series and somehow I can't see anyone else playing that character and if I read the books, I think that character will sort of get ruined. Maybe it's a silly reason not to read the books but I have read reviews and I'm pretty certain I would hate the books.

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
09 | Aurora Teagarden Mysteries by Charlaine Harris
The books aren't like the the movies. So maybe I prefer the movies. It's hard to see the characters in a different way after I have seen the movies. Plus I don't like that the books are written in first person - it's not a good way to get to know the other characters.

10 | Books that have fictional versions of authors
I have read some of these types of books and they weren't bad but I just don't like reading about authors doing things they would never do such as fighting zombies and vampires or solving murders or living a life that they never had - it's just not something I like anymore.

How about you? Are there any books or type of books you would not read?

For more Top Ten Tuesdays, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

November 26, 2021

Can You Blog Without Obligations?

girl on a bicycle pausing on the streets
winter pause
Maybe you have noticed, I've been posting less which is exactly what I didn't plan to do. I honestly was going to blog more this year but I guess my brain didn't want to. The joy of blogging is having what you posted be read by people, even just three people is still a joy. Maybe I like to have more readers but I think it's hard to have readers come back if you don't post.
    As bloggers, do we owe readers anything? When we don't post, we're not blogging and they're not reading so what does that mean? I do feel a slight obligation to post something at least once a week which wouldn't be a problem except for no reason, I just don't want to. Not to say I force myself to post but to say, it seems to be getting harder to have enthusiasm for something that I can easily ignore if I choose to. I guess, I'm a slow blogger who seesaw between posting a lot and barely posting and maybe that's not a bad thing, I don't think.
    Anyway, I just want to get this little thought out there. What do you think? Do you feel an obligation to post? Do you think posting once a week or even once a month is enough?

November 21, 2021

Fiction: Trudy Fine's Very Short Journey Through Space (4)

Fiction: Trudy Fine's Very Short Journey Through Space
Fiction: Trudy Fine's Very Short Journey Through Space — Part 4 of 4  (Read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 01 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Hold on tight but don't fuss. It's going to get a little bumpy!" said Ben.
    Trudy turned about in her chair. Where was she to hold on to? Every surface of the ship was smooth and the chair she sat on didn't have seat belts nor was it bolted to the floor. She tucked the uneaten egg into her pants pocket and held onto the edge of her seat with death grips.
    Ben's eyes, full of shadows beneath them, were down at the control panel with his hands hovering over it. He wore the same black trenchcoat but his tshirt was dark blue with a yellow smily face and 'Have a nice day' in yellow around it. Had he slept? He didn't seem like he would like mindless conversations about one's well being much like Steven. Being alive was always enough for him. "We're going into hyperspeed in three, two, one!" said Ben.
    Trudy was jolted forward and then back, paused and began to shake violently. Everything she saw was doubled. A sudden realization that she was in a spaceship with a manic driver made her want to laugh and maybe freak out a little.
    "Don't worry. The chairs are magnetic, you won't be thrown about." Ben said without looking at her. "Did you have a weird dream? We did a few planet jumps while you were sleeping. I heard such travels even on a ship, make humans have strange dreams."
    Her dream was strange but very real, almost as if she was reliving it. It was a long forgotten memory or she had thought - the day her mother sold Trudy's eyes for drug money. But it was the memory of Steven that made her ached.
    "Like I said before, it's much easier to travel when you're unconscious," said Ben.
    "When did you said that?" Trudy had no memory of him telling her anything of the sort.
    "Oh. I guess I forgot. Hyperspeed travel can sort of be a little harsh on your brain. But it's not worse than time travel. Now time travel can really scramble your brain and it's not very enthusiastic in re-scrambling it back either."
    Trudy stared at the floor to steady her eyes. Her head ached. It could be because of hyperspeed or just hearing Ben talk science. Maybe her mind was a little too weak in absorbing information at the moment.
    They stopped shaking. "And we're out of hyperspeed. But we've got company," said Ben. His eyes were on the screen.
    Trudy looked up. There was something out there — a shiny, towering something. "What is that?" Trudy wasn't sure she wanted to know.
    "A Cimmerian ship. Rather too tall for my taste." Ben said. "Incoming." He pressed a spot on the right side on the control panel which lit up and then dimmed. There was a jolt. Then it was complete stillness.
    Trudy opened her eyes to the sight of a metal, two-prong instrument coming toward her. She tried to move away but she was held down by her arms. "Let me go!" But whomever was holding her had serious strength. The two-prong instrument was inches away. "I say, let me go!" she screamed.

November 16, 2021

Do authors actions impact your view of their work?

This week's Tell Me Something Tuesday is: Do authors/narrators actions, political beliefs, etc impact your view of their work?

I mostly read the little bio at the end of the book and that's really all I want to know about an author but with social media, it's so easy to know who did what so that it's a bit hard to avoid knowing. And in knowing, some of my favorite books got a little tainted. So, yes, an author's action and beliefs does impact my view of their work a little but mostly, it's a no because I don't bother to know authors. I think I would rather be reading books than trying to waste time and effort trying to judge people and then decide if I want to read their work.
How about you? Do authors/narrators actions, political beliefs, etc impact your view of their work?

[ Tell Me Something Tuesday was originally created by Heidi but is now hosted by Berls, Jen, Karen, Linda and Roberta. ]

November 09, 2021

Favorite Things Characters Have Said

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is Memorable Things Characters Have Said (quotes from book characters that have stuck with you). This list is in no particular order but number 9 and 10 are my ultimate favorites. Some of these are not direct quotes from characters, more like thoughts, which I think it's almost the same thing.

01 |
“My heart is too thoroughly dried to be broken in a hurry, and I mean to live as long as I can.”
— The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

02 |
“We had our breakfasts — whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast.”
— The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

03 |
"I did, as a child, think of New York as a kind of temporary station, and a temporary life where I never wanted anything, or pretended to not want anything, hiding that desire for a new bicycle or a comic book for that elsewhere we would most certainly end up in."
— The Mountain, from the story, Milner Field by Paul Yoon

04 |
"I'm too bookish for prison!"
— The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas

05 |
“I don't know. I don't know anything, really. I just feel. And when the feeling is strong enough, then I just say I know. But I don't...” 

— A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

06 |
"I'm a huge, hulking monster with anger management issues. I'm contractually obligated to encourage violence and anarchy on principle."
— Beast Charming by Jenniffer Wardell

07 |
"I trust you to find the good in me, but the bad I must be sure you don't overlook."
— Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

08 |
“I have been tolerably well educated.”
— Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

09 |
"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence."
— Sherlock Holmes, from the story, The Red-Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

10 |
"You see — I've never had any real life. I've just — breathed."
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

What are you some of your favorite quotes, whether from characters from books or just things you remember from books?

For more Top Ten Tuesdays, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

November 06, 2021

Some ramblings about motivations

boy with headphones and swirls of colors all around him
chill out

Just some ramblings that may or may not be about motivations. The art above (chill out) is a piece that I have re-done awhile ago and I thought it's time to share it plus it makes me happy to see it. And perhaps people can look at it instead of reading my ramblings.

01 | Is it habit or are we all prone to only talk about things we're interested? I find I now post mostly what interest me: books, art and fiction that I create, and sometimes meandering posts like this. It makes sense that I would post what interest me, right? But sometimes it does seems like I'm blogging about the same things over and over and it does feel a bit repetitive. But my interest rarely widen all that much. I guess I should get some new hobbies?

National November Writing Month
02 | Are you participating in NaNo (National November Writing Month) this month? I think NaNo is great if you need an excuse to write for a month along with other crazy people who thinks writing is something to enjoy with thousands of other people instead of doing it alone. I've not participated in any of the group writing gatherings so I've never truly benefit from doing NaNo. But mostly I'm not participating now because I have zero motivation to write a novel or even finish the twenty I have started.  (Go here if you're interested in National November Writing Month)

Fiction: Trudy Fine's Very Short Journey Through Space
03 | I was going to post the last part to Trudy Fine's Very Short Journey Through Space but then I decided not to post it until later.
I usually don't take too long in writing because I use writing prompts (mainly Words for Wednesday) and they have a schedule though I'm usually late in posting. I sometimes write a bit of the story and then finish it after I get the prompts or just write from scratch after I get the prompts. So often I write these fairy quickly, perhaps two days, so I'm wondering maybe I should spend more time on them because I find myself correcting what I had already posted. People probably don't realize it but I had make some corrections to the Trudy Fine posts because there were mistakes to the story, tiny mistakes but I corrected them. Even if there aren't people reading it, I still would correct it. It's one of my habits, probably a bad habit. I don't like seeing mistakes where they can be easily fixed. Does anyone know what I mean?  (Go here if you want to read the first three parts of Trudy Fine.)
    I like using writing prompts because it motivates me to write and finish a story instead of procrastinating on it. But maybe I should start participating in writing challenges like WEP (link) again. One should hone their craft even if they are never going to publish a book, right? Supposedly participating in writing challenges helps a writer to grow and get better but do they? I'm not really certain but it's still better to allow other people to read your writing than to keep it to yourself.
04 | It's November but it seems like it was January just yesterday. I don't feel I have accomplished anything this year. It's like I've been half-sleeping my way through the months. I can't even tell you a single thing I did that stood out aside from blogging.    
    I blog so that I can sort of say I've been doing something but in fact, having a blog is kind of showing me I haven't been doing much. I would like to have been doing more with my time other than staring at screens and eating meals and trying to remind focus at whatever I was doing but I don't know. Either I'm too lazy to do something or I'm too frustrated with everything to do anything. I'm more motivated to watch youtube videos than finishing any of my hundreds of unfinished projects. I've talked about this before, I lack motivations. I struggled to finish things but maybe I'm afraid to fail. One of the quotes I remember by Erica Jong: I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged. It might be that reason I don't finish things. Or maybe I'm just naturally lazy.

How about you? Do you wait until motivation hits you to do something or do you just start doing without a need for motivation?

November 01, 2021

Books I Read in October 2021

I didn't do much reading. I was a bit preoccupied by drawing but mostly, I just didn't feel like reading much. I've managed to finish reading a few books so here they are. You can just read the summary if you don't want to read my babbling.

The Ghost of Midnight Lake (aka The Ghost of Gosswater) by Lucy Strange
01 | The Ghost of Midnight Lake (aka The Ghost of Gosswater) by Lucy Strange > link
There is a ghost but it wasn't that present and there is a mystery but I sort of guessed almost immediately and there is a villain but he seemed like, 'oh yes, I'm a bad guy and I have dogs that I use to attack people' but he doesn't seem to have much personality other than being the bad guy. I kind of pictured him with large eyes and a manic grin, like those cartoon villains that acts a little crazy because they are villains and they know it and they like it. It would be nice if the ghost had appeared more often and maybe actually talk to the main character. I didn't like this was told in first person present tense - it just seemed off somehow.
The mystery was a little bland for me even though I did find the beginning kind of fun.

Murder Most Unladylike: Book 1 by Robin Stevens
02 | Murder Most Unladylike: Book 1 (aka Murder is Bad Manners) by Robin Stevens > link 1, link 2
I really couldn't stand the relationship between Hazel Wong (the narrator) and Daisy Wells. The first thing Daisy did when Hazel arrived at the school is to talk Hazel into getting into a trunk and then locked her there - is this what you would call friendship? Hazel and Daisy are supposed to be best friends but Daisy is a bully and is often regard as the one who is smarter and better (mostly by Hazel) and she is worshipped by the younger students (and Hazel) while Hazel is basically a slave to Daisy. The fact that Daisy can lie so easily makes me wonder about her character and the constant mention of criminal knowledges in reference to finding them out from her uncle - what is that supposed to be mean, has Daisy got an uncle who is a criminal? I do think Daisy is bit Sherlock Holmes-like which I kind of like but I guess one has to question her behavior especially being 12 years old (I don't remember how old she is supposed to be exactly). As Hazel lets us know, "Guilt slides straight off Daisy like butter." So Daisy pretty much do whatever she wants and Hazel just follows her commands. (Even with Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson never seemed like he was put down by Holmes, at least, I've never had that impression.) I guess what I don't like is that Hazel herself kind of put herself down for being Asian, for being not skinny enough or pretty enough or English enough. Why does an Asian Sherlock not a realistic goal for Hazel? Hazel has some issues with herself and perhaps staying away from Daisy might be better for her.
    And the way the girls pretend to be dumb in their classes so the other children can like them? I don't get that. So maybe you don't want to be seen as too smart but to pretend that you're dumb is just odd and kind of dishonest. And how does the teacher grade students like them? Or how did Hazel and Daisy ever pass any class behaving this way?
    Summary: I simply just couldn't stand the relationship between Hazel and Daisy and how condescending Daisy is to Hazel and how Hazel seems to accept that she will always be second to Daisy. The murder mystery was a bit intriguing but it was also kind of lame how it ended. I doubt I'll read the other books in the series.
    Note: I like to refer to this book as Murder Most Unladylike because it's the original title. This series is known as A Murder Most Unladylike in the UK and as A Wells & Wong Mystery in the US. For some reason, some covers had A Wells & Wong Mystery above the titles and some do not. The title of this book 1 is also published as Murder is Bad Manners in the US. I think the confusion will continue just because some publisher thought it was a good idea to retitle a series for the US audience and let's not discuss how they Americanized the text.

The Oddmire, Book 3: Deepest, Darkest by William Ritter
03 | The Oddmire, Book 3: Deepest, Darkest by William Ritter > link
The third book in this series ended well but it reminded me of Ritter's other series (Jackaby) and how it kind of ended almost the same way but at least, this ended slightly better, I think. Although the multiple view points seems far too many and kind of distracting. My favorite character is still Fable but she seems like a side character here. So the main, main characters are the brothers Cole and Tinn but to make the other characters seems like side character seems a bit strange since we get their point of view but maybe it would have been nice just having Cole and Tinn's viewpoint instead of scattering around other people's heads but I suppose you would not get the whole story that way.
    Summary: I enjoyed this series and I really like how Ritter built the world but I doubt I would read a fourth book unless it's about Fable.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Illustrated Edition by Douglas Adams
04 | The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Illustrated Edition by Douglas Adams, Illustrated by Chris Riddell  > link
This started out fun but then it sort of meanders and the bits with the guide text (with info that sort of give you some details/back stories that sort of relates to what is happening) seems almost useless. Some of the technical or science explanations for this or that sounds like nonsense to me but maybe I'm not intelligent enough to understand them but whenever some strange name for a species or a place is used, it just sounds so absurd and meaningless like the words were just put together for no reason other than to sound foolish or maybe to mock someone or some place or thing. Sometimes the text seems to repeat, not sure it was intentional but there were few instances in the beginning where I felt like I was re-reading something I had read in the previous paragraph - an error or intentional, I don't know. I guess I shouldn't have read this edition because I really didn't like the illustrations, they looked kind of weird and gross, though I saw them on my small kindle screen.
    Summary: It was a short book, a little over 200 pages but I took three weeks to read it (not the actual reading time) but I kept putting off finishing it somehow. I did enjoyed the first half of the book but then somehow, it just became dull to me. This really is like part one of a story as it seemed to end abruptly, there is an end but it didn't go anywhere but I don't know if I'll read the other books, I can't keep my attention on reading this first book.

Greenglass House (Book 1) by Kate Milford
05 | Greenglass House (Book 1) by Kate Milford > link
Someone wrote a review titled with the spoiler which I thought is kind of stupid because if you're telling people you're going to include a spoiler, should you really put it in your title? I'm pretty sure most people read the title of reviews (which are usually bolded text) because I certainly do. So I started reading the book knowing a character is a ghost. Somehow, there are no clear indications other than one instant which when you think about it, it's not really much an indiction at all unless you know beforehand that the character is a ghost. But it doesn't seem to make much difference whether you know or not before reading because the ghost is kind of a surprise that no one can see it coming. Was it a good surprise? Not to me.
    I actually find it refreshing that Milo is adopted but I didn't need more on that. In the beginning, they make it seems like it's not a big deal to be adopted but then they make it seem like it's the most important thing to Milo. But honestly, this isn't an adoption story so I prefer not to have this little bit in the story. I don't know how to explain it but it just seems like they put this bit in to make Milo interesting when he's really just kind of plain without it. I guess this isn't the kind of book for this kind of story, that's what I think I'm saying.
    I also like the stories from The Raconteur's Commonplace Book which Milo was reading which included a few tidbits that are quite amusing and fun. (The fifth book in this series is titled The Raconteur's Commonplace Book which has the full stories as far as I know and which I might read.)
    I really, really don't like the role playing game the main characters, Milo and Meddy, are doing. Milo and Meddy plays Negret and Sirin and their names keep getting switched. Like Milo is suddenly Negret just like that. The role playing is sort of related to the mystery but to have these two characters kept switching names, drove me nuts. Plus, I don't think it was necessary.
   With 13 characters, stories told by said characters and a mystery that is full of mini mysteries, it seems like it's going somewhere but in an extremely slow crawl. Either is the writing or just me, I find this book to be quite slow. I can't quite believe that Milo can solve a mystery in a few days while adults wasted years and didn't even get close but it's a kid's mystery book so I guess it's only fair the children solves the mystery.
    Summary: I did really enjoyed the beginning when the guests arrive at the inn but then it sort of became a very slow move toward toward the end even at 389 pages. I guess if you enjoy slow mysteries and don't mind having your characters role play other people, then you'll like this book.

How was your October? Read any good books?

October 31, 2021

Draw Something October 2021 - Last One

I redrawn this several times but I'm still not quite sure about this piece. This character is also the same person in this other piece.  I don't have a name for her.  I call this 'Midnight Snack' but I probably wouldn't eat this much as a snack but noodles is one of my favorite food. What about you? Do you eat snacks at midnight?

girl eating noodles
Midnight Snack
draw something

October 28, 2021

Fiction: Trudy Fine's Very Short Journey Through Space (3)

This month's Words for Wednesday is hosted by Elephant's Child. This week's prompts are common phrases with links to food. Feel free to mix and match - or to add ones of your own. They are: 1. He had a chip on his shoulder; 2. Best thing since sliced bread; 3. With a cherry on top; 4. She wants to have her cake and eat it too; 5. Everything but the kitchen sink; 6. Bringing home the bacon. You can find more participants at Elephant's Child's blog over here.
    I didn't use any these phrases, they just didn't fit so I decided to make up one - 'An egg a day keeps the doctor from going back in time to hand you a bill.' It sounds a bit silly but I like it. Maybe I wasn't so clear-minded when I thought this up.

lighthouse in sunset
Photo by Ray Bilcliff Photography, link here

Fiction: Trudy Fine's Very Short Journey Through Space — Part 3 of 4
  (Read part 1 here, part 2 here)

Ben stopped and stretched out a hand. "We're here." They were in a empty field with flat grounds. There was nothing in sight except for the fallen ferris wheel which was far away and was the size of one of Trudy's fingers. How did they get so far so fast? Her leg throbbed every step she took but at least the pain had lessened. She stopped beside Ben.
    "No need to think too deeply. I moved us forward a bit because you were too slow." Ben smiled. There was that hint of laughter in his voice again. "Look up there." He tilted his chin upward. She lifted her head and looked up. 
    A light appeared in the air high above them. It grew bigger and wider and sent light outward like a pinwheel. The structure was about twelve meters high and was about four meters wide. The light came from the dome at the top of the structure.
    "Is this your ship?" There were no doors or windows aside from the various openings spaced out one above the other which Trudy could only see darkness in them.
    "Of course not. Don't you know it's a lighthouse? It's a cover to keep the tourist away."
    Trudy wondered why he would need to do that when it was Ben's planet. She turned to him. He was grinning with his hands in his trenchcoat pockets. "What do you think? Too old fashioned?"
    She shrugged. "Maybe but I like it." She had never seen a lighthouse but she had read books on how they were used to light the way for ships at night. 
    He snapped his fingers and a door opened in the lower part of the lighthouse."Let's go." The moon sphere light began to dim and shrink and fall into Ben's opened hand. He entered the opening and left Trudy in the half dark. The light from the dome gave off a lot of light but it was rather too high up to light where Trudy stood. She followed him, half wobbling, half walking.
    Inside, Ben's sphere lit the small space. The opening closed with a low click. They started to move upward. "Where are we?"

October 26, 2021

Reading Side Effects

top ten tuesday + books
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is: Halloween Freebie - I got nothing for that. So instead, I'll share a list of reading side effects or some books I read that sort of changed my thoughts on what I'm reading. This may be a list of complaints just so you know. I probably, maybe, should stop linking to Top Ten Tuesday because I don't use the prompts any more. For more Top Ten Tuesday, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

01 | Read one too many translated book that was a bit too Americanized — So maybe it's mostly Japanese translated books that I find a bit too Americanized and not other foreign books. Maybe because it never felt like the books were taking place in Japan or even with Japanese people that sort of make me think it's Americanize plus all the American cliches and phrases that were used. Do they make them more Americanized for American audience or for some other reason? I actually don't want to read that many translated book because I find most of them aren't translated well or rather, I read them as not translated well but who knows?

02 | Read one book with gross content — The fact that some people said this is their favorite book baffled me because it was not a book one would say nice things about and yet, these people make it seem like it's a wonderful fantasy book. I don't know if they were reading the same book but mine version had a disgusting scene in it and it would never be a favorite book. Also, this was categorized as children's book which makes no sense because there was a sex scene in there. This book had me avoided reading the author's other works. Actually, now that I think about, I don't read this author's works because they are mostly horror which I've not realized before.    
    This book made me realized my tolerance for disgusting things is just a little too low compared to other people's. How other readers loved this book, I guess, is by ignoring the disgusting bit and the sex scene and focus on the good bits which this book does have but the disgusting scene overrode any good that I had read because I certainly don't remember any of the good parts.

03 | Read a book with a scene with a boy watching two men having oral sex — This definitely started my need for trigger warnings or at least, content warnings. It may have been my fault for reading one review that offered a glorified view of the book and a couple of reviews that said how good that book was but none of them mentioned any kind content that people might need/want to know. But I definitely prefer not to read books with oral sex.

04 | Read more than one book that uses the f word as a verb — If a man says to a woman, 'Okay, let's f*ck,' and then the woman actually sleeps with the man, is this consider romantic? It makes me wonder, why would a woman sleeps with a man who says such things? I find that too vulgar and certainly, it's neither romantic nor something I would think of as a good thing. Being frank is good but isn't this a bit too much? But I guess I'm too much of a prude to accept such talk.

05 | Read far too many books with rape scenes — Why is it the scene is never quick or short as if the writer decided we need excessive details about how a woman is being raped? Reading books with rape scenes makes me keep wondering how could this happened or why did this happened or sometimes, was it necessary to have happened? If a writer wants a woman to have a tough life, why did they use rape when there are many ways that could destroy a person? There are a few books I put off reading knowing there would be a rape scene in it. It's just not something I read and then moved on. The images lingered somehow.

06 | Read one too many books that are first book in a series but I didn't know — Somehow, I seem to always missed where it said that the book was first in a series until after I finished the book and it has no real ending. Why publishers keep pretending that some books that are part of a series can be read as a standalone and advertise it as such, I don't know. They are standalone if you don't care about finding out the end to the plot that the whole book series is supposed to be about. I sort of hate book series and I kind of avoid them but I always, somehow, end up reading a book that is a series. I think it's easier to find books that are part of a series than standalones.
    And novella series? They are even worst. I think of novellas as short stories so to me, making novellas into series is like separating short stories into books. Why do that? Or why is it not a novel? Or why can't you just put them into one volume? Or why are they 20 or 30 books long? Or why do we have to pay full price for them when they are under 150 pages and are clearly not a novel? Do we need to treat novellas like book series in which people anticipate their releases? Why are we so into making every book, novella a series?

07 | Read many YA books that has romances that I hated — Is it mandatory to have a romance in Young Adults books? I wonder. One of the reasons I avoid reading YA books is because they almost always have a romance in it whether it is needed or not. I'm not against young romance but sometimes while reading a YA book I keep thinking, don't make it a romance because it's stupid or so unreasonably unnecessary but they always do, it's like you can't avoid them. Is it necessary to have romance in YA books or are YA books essentially romance books and I just didn't know?

08 | Read too many middle grade books that have semi-romance — I said semi because it's not actually romances but blushing and hand accidentally touching, that sort of thing but they feel like romance moments, cringe-worthy romance moments because these are 11 and 12 years olds. If they are implying that 11 and 12 years olds can have deep, romantic relationships, then I'm out. Yes, they can have crushes but can't they start that after they are older like in a YA book and not in a middle grade book? I read middle grades to avoid romances but somehow they just keep leaking in.
09 | Read too many books with footnotes — What's up with footnotes? It's okay if they are teaching kids word meanings but when they contain useless information that offer nothing to the story, then I have to question why they are there. Can't they insert these info into the book or are they footnotes because they are useless? I guess I don't like my reading getting interrupted for useless information or side information that does not make the story better or make the reader more informative. I can ignore footnotes, yes but I guess I keep thinking, these footnotes are there for a reason so I should read them, right?

10 | Read one too many books that uses famous characters or some relation to those characters  — I guess since we are all for the familiar that if we see any name we know, we would immediately be interested in that book. I also am like that. For example, I gravitate toward books related to or about Sherlock Holmes and I read a lot of them and they could be original stories if not for the Holmes bits. I guess the only reason to include such familiar and famous character is to attract readers but I kind of wish writers would stop doing it. I'm not saying I won't read books that uses original characters or some new make-up original characters' children or relative, I just find that I either like the famous character or the new original idea more than the combination of the two. I suppose if I am to choose, I would rather read an original story than one that combines a familiar character with a new idea.
Has a book or books changed your idea of reading?