Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 5 of The Blogger Book Drive + Would You Rather?

Alright friends, this is it. The last week of The Blogger Book Drive!

All month long Amanda, Pam and I have been trying to raise funds for First Book, an organization that provides books for children that can't otherwise afford or have access to them. Books are an important learning tool and can really change lives. Think of how important books were to you as a child, and how great it would be to pass along that feeling! If you'd like to donate, there's still some time and you can do so right here! We're still a long way from our $200 goal, so any and all help is appreciated!

Our four writing prompts for the month were children's books, book quotes, favorite authors, and books in our favorite genres (I wrote about comics!). Since that was a lot of list making, we decided to do something different this week, and we're playing a little game of would you rather! The questions are all related to books, book tropes and other bookish topics. Here's my answers, and if you like them maybe try writing your own? Then link it up at the bottom so we can read them! :)

Would you rather read inside or outside? - Outside is nice (assuming the weather's not terrible), but at my apartment there's not really a good place outside to read. There's a little courtyard thing we all share, but I'm a jerk and don't like being bothered when I read. My bedroom has a nice view of the trees though, which is nice? Hahah. Maybe I need some book covers like these:

Photo from Erin Bowman. You can download the whole set (and more) for free right here!

Would you rather be the main character experiencing all of the conflict or a side character watching all of the conflict? - I guess it would depend on the story. But for something really intense or high action, I'd rather stay on the sidelines. I'm not that brave and I hate making important decisions! Eeek D:

Would you rather read a book written in first person or third person? - I enjoy both, but I'm more picky when it comes to first-person books! I have to really like the character. I mean, if I'm going to be in a characters head then I'd rather NOT want to kill them.

Would you rather read a comic book or a magazine? - Comics! I do have a few magazines that I enjoy, but I only pick up issues if I know there's a specific article I want to read in it. The last magazine I bought was at the beginning of July, and it was Entertainment Weekly because Mulder and Scully were on the cover and I needed to read about the new season! So that was pretty cool, but I read comics all the time! I'm actually reading X-Files comics right now. Hahah.

Entertainment Weekly X-Files

Would you rather be stranded on an island or lost in outer space? Alone? I think I'd last longer on an island! Not much longer, but, you know...

Would you rather fall in love or go on an adventure? - Can't I go on an adventure while falling in love?

Would you rather have a book suggested to you or judge a book by its cover (front and back)? - I love getting new book suggestions. Sometimes it takes me forever to get around to reading the suggested book, but I promise I still appreciate it!

Would you rather be the princess or the hero in a fairy tale? - Superhero Princess! BAM!

Wonder Woman

Would you rather read a novel or a short story? - I usually read novels, but short stories are a bit more satisfying in a way because it doesn't take forever to read them. On the other hand, in novels you can usually get to know the characters better, which I like!

Would you rather read the book or watch the movie first? - I usually try to read the book first, unless it's a book I already know I won't care for. Sometimes in those situations it's nice to just watch the movie, so you can get an idea what the hubbub is all about without actually reading the 300 page book. I feel like that makes me a bad book nerd, so I'm sorry ;_;

So there you go. Now it's your turn! Link up, link back, and enjoy! Thanks for sticking with us through The Blogger Book Drive!

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Your Favorite New Bag was Sent From Mars ;)

Happy Friday! Are you ready for the weekend?! I know I am, so let's start it off right! Today I am super excited to share an AMAZING giveaway for you guys! It's seriously awesome. I'm already jealous of whoever's going to win!


Yes! The beautiful stormtrooper clutch could be yours! Check out the bottom of the post for the giveaway widget, but first let me introduce you to my new friend, Mari! Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Mari while I was at work (it was fate, I'm telling you). Mari runs an Etsy shop called Sent From Mars, where she sells her amazing handmade clutch purses! Here's a few more of her designs, and an introduction from Mari herself :)

Bowser purse
Was Bowser always so cute?

Sent From Mars is an online store designing accessories based on geeky icons for everyday fandom fashion! I focus on clutch purses made from high quality leather and faux leather, sewn together with extraordinary precision, and created out of a love for movies and video games!

My design adventures started as a kid hand-sewing outfits for toys, which set the stage for Sent From Mars. A Design degree at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising led me to designing apparel, accessories and artwork for companies like Old Navy and Gymboree, and even getting to design some of my own game characters for Waka Flocka Flame in Wakaville.


With this industry experience, Sent From Mars was born, allowing me to bring my own geeky creations to life and pursue the things that I love! In addition to an online store, I also create geeky DIY projects including costumes, toys and d├ęcor for my blog, Sent From Mars. These designs have been featured in geek publications like Fashionably Geek, and have made their debut on CBS Good Day Sacramento.


Bringing Geek-culture into the modern world is at the heart of every design and inspiring other to pursue their dreams is my ultimate objective!
- Mari :)


Hedwig purse
It looks like Hedwig is finally bringing your Hogwarts acceptance letter!

I've seen a fair amount of geeky bags before, but I think what really makes Mari's work stand out is the crazy amount of detail and creativity in each and every bag she makes. Lots of other people think so too, because Mari was nominated in the fashion category for The Geekie Awards, going on right now! If you're a fan of her work be sure to stop by the voting page and vote for her! Voting ends on August 31st, and you can vote once a day.

Kirby purse
Kawaii Kirby (>^-^)>

A few more characters in her collection include Heisenberg, Rufio, and Boba Fett! It's almost impossible to decide, but I think this Shark King clutch is my favorite. I love all things from the ocean, and just look at how happy he is! Swoon <3 To follow all of Mari's work, you can visit her on her blog, Etsy, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube! She has some really cute DIY videos on YouTube - when I need a new book for my bullet journal I want to try her DIY Notebook Upgrade!

Are you obsessed yet? If so, use the rafflecopter widget below to enter for a chance to win a Stormtrooper clutch of your own! Each task gives you one entry in the giveaway. You can do all of them or just one, it's up to you! I like giving people lots of options in case they don't use certain social media sites (CoughSnapchatCough). This giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry international friends, next time!) and will run through 9/12/15. Please don't enter with giveaway accounts - the winning entry will be verified! Have fun, and good luck!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bookish (and not-so Bookish) Thoughts #8

Lucky number eight!

1. I recently fished reading Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger! It was entertaining enough, but I'm not sure if I'll be continuing the series right away. I definitely enjoyed the steampunk elements, though! It was a fun change of pace from my normal reading, and sometimes I do missing reading a series rather than standalone novels, so even though I won't be continuing right away I can see myself picking it back up later.

2. Finishing Etiquette & Espionage also checked off my final square for my Summer Reading Bingo! The challenge was made by Bookworms in Dresses, and while I was originally hoping to fill at least two bingo cards, I'm happy I still got this one. Finding some of the books was harder than I thought! Thanks for hosting, Jess! I was a little overambitious and still have two more blank bingo cards, so I guess I'll just same them for next year, hahah! Here's the books I read for each category:

- Hardcover: The Sweet Far Thing
- Book Published this Year: Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye (It's officially coming out this November, but I read and reviewed an ARC copy which you can check out right here!)
- A Book with a Purple Cover: Tolstoy and the Purple Chair (ugh)
- Graphic Novel or Manga: Rat Queens, vol 1
- Young Adult: Etiquette & Espionage

#SummerBookwormBingo

3. On the gaming front I recently finished playing Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell! It had a few buggy issues (mainly with the co-op feature) but overall I had a LOT of fun playing it. Nowadays Saints Row fans are in two separate categories. There's the "Saints Row III ruined everything / it just went downhill from there / why don't they take themselves more seriously like GTA" party and the "Saints Row III is ridiculous and I love it" party. If you're the latter (like me) then definitely check this game out. It's not a full game, but it's much longer than the DLC missions (such as How the Saints Saved Christmas, Enter the Dominatrix, etc.) and unless you're purposefully trying to rush your way through then you'll get a good chunk of game time from it. The regular price isn't terrible for what you get, but Steam puts it on sale a lot so keep an eye out for that. There's a bunch of different endings for this game, and after I play through a few more of them I hope to write a full review of the game here!

Gat Out of Hell
The game has a musical sequence. A MUSICAL SEQUENCE YOU GUYS.
(Photo source)

4. Last week I said goodbye (for now) to my friend moving for college. I've known her for a long time - we met when I started working backstage for the community college theatre, way back when I was sixteen! I think I was sixteen, anyway. Maybe I was seventeen? Either way that makes it seven or eight years ago. We didn't really start chilling outside of work until a few years ago, though. Now I wish we had started much sooner, because we get along so great. Anyway, on her last day in town we went to Chevy's for happy hour (because margaritas), and I tried a prickly pear margarita for the first time. 10/10 would recommend. Have fun at college, Stephanie! (But not too much fun.)

Prickly pear margarita's are super pink. Hahah.

5.
My new favorite earrings are from live.love boutique <3 At first I was worried they'd be too big and I'd be scared to wear them, but they are gorgeous and just the right size. They look even better in person, because when they catch the light they're sparkly and perfect. $1 from every product sold gets donated to the Alzheimer's Association, AND they're super affordable! I was really tempted to get this blue and purple pair (because they reminded me of space and Saints Row IV), but I ended up choosing the gunmetal pair instead, because they match with everything. EVERYTHING.

Photo from live.love boutique, because her camera is better than mine.

6.
 Is anyone here following along with 201 Days of The X-Files? I am, but every now and then I fall an episode or two behind. I don't know anyone else doing it, but it's still kind of fun watching it every day, knowing thousands of other people are doing the same thing and are just as excited for the new season as I am! Even if I don't know them personally.

7. (Self promotion ahead) Have you checked out my latest post for The Blogger Book Drive? I wrote about some of my favorite comics, and included something for all different age groups. Because everyone deserves a good comic to read! There's also a giveaway at the end of the post so be sure to check it out ;)


8. Currently I'm really into battle pets in World of Warcraft ^_^ With all the different things I could be doing in WoW it seems kind of silly to be doing battle pet stuff, but I can't help it! It's so easy and relaxing, hahah. Lately I'll start my day by drinking coffee while doing pet battles.

9. I know we all hate hearing about the weather, but I am SO ready for Summer to be over. Unfortunately it won't REALLY cool down here for awhile...but I can dream. I've never been much of a Summer person. The only upside was Summer break, but I haven't been in school for awhile now so that doesn't even matter, hahah. I just want to wear my kigurumi and drink hot drinks while smelling candles, dammit! Although I'd like to point out that I don't like pumpkin spiced ANYTHING so I'm not particularly excited for that (but good for you guys, I guess).

10. I'm out of things to say so here's a picture of kitties I found online and am really obsessed with right now <3 Pretty sure my cat would never let this happen.



Bookish (and not-so Bookish) Thoughts is hosted ever Wednesday by Bookishly Boisterous :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

5 Favorite Comics + Week 4 of The Blogger Book Drive!

Happy Monday, friends! Here we are at week FOUR of The Blogger Book Drive! After this we only have one more topic left :( This week we're writing our Best [Insert Topic Here] Books lists. Basically we all chose different genres that are important to us, and made a list of our favorites! If you're new to our Blogger Book Drive party, let's catch up. This month (and a little bit of next month) my friends Amanda, Pam and I are running a virtual book drive! To go along with it we're also writing about various book topics every Monday, with a link-up if others want to join in as well! Our opening topic was about our most memorable children's books, for week two we shared some book quotes, and last week was all about our favorite authors. Our goal is to raise $200 for First Book, an organization that provides books for kids in low-income families. So far we have raised 30% of our goal! We can't do this alone, so the three of us would GREATLY appreciate it if you could help us spread the word, either by writing posts and linking up with us, or just a simple tweet or Facebook share! If you'd like to donate, check out our donation page! Find it by clicking this very large link that you can't possibly miss! 

First Book

Alright. So for my list I decided to write about comic books! I chose this topic for a couple different reasons. One of them is because I LOVED comics when I was a kid - and our First Book campaign is all about providing books for kids! I mean, I still love comics now, but I think it's really amazing how some hobbies can grow and stick with you as you age. I'm not reading the SAME comics as I was when I was 12, but I'm definitely still reading comics and love them just as much. As a kid I was definitely a bookworm, but not all my friends were. The only exception was comics! Almost every kid I knew read at least one comic, whether it was about superheroes, magical girls, or lasagna eating cats. When I was a teen all my friends were reading manga (Japanese comics!) so my interest in comics only expanded from there. Even when I didn't have someone to discuss the latest novel I read, I always had someone to talk about comics with. Being able to discuss what I'm reading with other people has always been important to me (that's why I sometimes read awful-yet-somehow-popular books, because people aren't always reading what I like, and if I have to read whatever dystopian fiction that's popular right now to get you to talk about books with me, then dammit I guess I will...this time, anyway).

Another reason I chose this topic was because I was feeling inspired by some of the comic-related charities and programs I've been reading about lately, such as ComiCareComics4KidsReading with Pictures and The Comic Book Project. If you support comics, kids reading them, and even learning about them in school (gasp), these are all great programs to check out.

So here's my list. I wanted to make a list that could (hopefully) appeal to lots of different people. There's some for the kids, some for the adults, comedy, drama, fantasy and just regular real life stuff. Maybe I didn't meet all those categories perfectly but at least I gave it a shot, hahah.

1. Runaways - Not the most mainstream Marvel comic, but definitely one of my favorites. Runaways is about a group of seemingly normal teens - Alex, Karolina, Gertrude, Chase, Nico and eleven year old Molly - who are lumped together during an annual "charity event" and find out that their parents are in an evil organization called The Pride. And that they also have superpowers, so they're basically supervillians. The group decides they don't want to live with crazy evil parents, so they run away together and soon discover they have their own powers, too. And a dinosaur! I'd recommend this for ages 13 and up. Most of it is fine for even younger, but there's some language and (spoiler) in the later issues they talk about Nico sleeping around a little and stuff. A lot of the characters are angsty teenagers, but I guess I would be too if I found out my parents were evil.

Runaways

2. Afterlife with Archie (or just Archie comics in general) - I'm obsessed with this series right now. OBSESSED. I wish there were more of it out already. If you're a fan of classic Archie but are interested in a darker twist, you'll love this. Or even if you've never read an Archie comic, but you like a good action-drama about the world ending and zombies, you'll love this. Afterlife with Archie begins with Jughead's dog, Hot Dog. Hot Dog gets out one night and is hit by a car, so Jughead carries him to Sabrina's house (because she's a teenage witch and all) to see if she can bring Hot Dog back to life. Turns out bringing back the dead is some crazy dark magic, and in doing so she turns Hot Dog into a zombie. And if we know anything about zombie's, it's that they don't fly solo for very long ;)

If this is 100% not your type of thing, I still want to take a second and recommend Archie comics in general. The regular series is classic fun and can be enjoyed by all ages :)

Afterlife with Archie

 3. Teen Titans Go! (or Tiny Titans for an even younger crowd) - If you're looking to dip your toes into the massive and often confusing DC universe, I think Teen Titans Go! is a fun place to start (I also love the show, but we're talking about comic books today)! The Teen Titans are a group consisting of characters you probably already know - Robin, Beast Boy, Starfire, Raven and Cyborg - but as the title implies they're all teenagers in this series. Teen Titans Go! is a really easy series to get into, as a lot of the issues have their own one-shot story. No worries about jumping in wherever if you can't find the specific issue you're looking for. The stories are silly and comedic, and often focus on adventures they have outside from regular saving the world stuff. Teen Titans Go! is great for all ages, but if you're looking for something similar for younger kids that DOESN'T have teenage protagonists, take a look at Tiny Titans! It revolves around the same characters, only younger, and they're all together in an elementary school called Sidekick City! It's adorable. On the other hand if you're looking for something with a little more plot, try the older Teen Titans comics (sans the "Go!" part, which makes a big difference, hahah).

Teen Titans Go!

4. Yotsuba&! - This is one of my favorite manga (Japanese comic) series, fitting into the comedy/slice of life genre. It's about a weird little girl named Yotsuba, and the whole series is mostly just following her around on strange adventures. It's really cute and silly, and also incredibly funny whether you're ten years old or twenty. The main story revolves around Yotsuba, who's five years old, but the stories are also guided by those around her; such as her father, his friends, and the neighbors next door who have three daughters of different ages. The books are all filled with little short stories, so you can start with any of them!

Yotsuba&!

5. Rat Queens - This one I added 100% for me and other adult comic fans reading this. Don't share it with your little kids, ok? Hahah. Rat Queens is another recent favorite of mine, and is about four female, foul mouthed, badass adventurers. It takes place in a medieval fantasy setting that brought me back to my days of playing Dungeons & Dragons. What really makes this series stand out are the unique characters. There's the hipster dwarf, Violet (she started shaving her beard BEFORE it was cool), the hippie halfling/thief Betty, who's always hunting for shrooms and candy, an atheist cleric originating from a cult that worships Cthulhu-esqu tentable monsters, named Dee, and finally the rockabilly eleven mage, Hannah. There's lots of fighting, lots of thieving and lots of awesome.

Rat Queens

...and that wraps up my list! Below you'll find the linky tool thing, if you'd like to share your own list with us! We love reading what you have to say. As an extra bonus, we also have another giveaway this week, courtesy of Pam! Enter below for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card :) Maybe you can use it to buy books for you or your loved ones?!

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$10 Amazon Gift Card
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Favorite Authors + Week 3 of The Blogger Book Drive!

Happy Monday! Here we are at week 3 of The Blogger Book Drive and we couldn't be more excited! So far we've raised $60, which is 30% of our $200 goal! We can do this, you guys!!! I'd like to give a special shout out to our week 2 donors: Her Story Arc, Emilie Lima Burke, and Cindy! You guys ROCK! If you're new to the party you might be interested in checking out our week 1 and week 2 posts! But to summarize it, this month Amanda, Pam and I are running a virtual BOOK DRIVE! To go along with it we're also writing about various book topics every Monday, with a link-up if others want to join in as well! Our opening topic was about our favorite children's books, and for week two we shared some of our favorite book quotes! Our goal is to raise $200 for First Book, an organization that provides books for kids in low-income families. The three of us would GREATLY appreciate it if you could help us spread the word, either by writing posts and linking up with us, or just a simple tweet or Facebook share! If you'd like to donate, check out our donation page! Click the obnoxiously large hyperlink to find it, right here! (Yes, I'm going to do that every week.)

This week we're talking about our favorite authors. If you've been reading here for awhile then you'll probably be able to guess who a few of mine are, but I don't think I've ever written about all of them in the same post before, surprisingly?! I want to know who your tried and true are, so be sure to share in the comments or link up! Here's my top five, in no particular order.

1. Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby is the author of one of my favorite books, A Long Way Down. My second favorite one is probably Juliet, Naked. Most of his books are about uncanny friendships and love, with a lot of dry humor and music references. He's also written seven other novels, which I've also loved. Six of his books have been adapted for the screen (five movies and one TV series), which I think is pretty impressive. He also wrote the screenplay for the movie Wild...which I still need to see.

Nick Hornby Books

2. Lisa See

For some reason I've always been really into Asian historical fiction, and Lisa See is my absolute favorite author in the genre (though if you're also a fan I recommend Jamie Ford, too). All of her books focus on female protagonists, who are all very strong despite China's oppressive past. My favorite of hers is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, with Shanghai Girls as a close second.

Lisa See Books

3. Daniel Handler

Surprise, surprise. Hahah. Aside from The Series of Unfortunate Events books, I also really enjoyed The Basic Eight. I had trouble getting into his YA novel, Why We Broke Up, but I still enjoyed the writing style. His children's picture books are also hilarious, such as The Composer is Dead and The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming (it's a story about Hanukkah, and while I'm not Jewish I do love latkes). I'm still on the library hold list for his newest novel, We are Pirates, but I'm really excited to read it!

Daniel Handler Books

4. Ken Follett

Ken Follett books are my guilty pleasure and personal form of "beach read." Most of his books are thrillers and historical fiction. I actually feel a little silly talking about it. I've read EIGHTEEN of his books...which I think is more books than I've read from any author, but I don't think any of them are literary masterpieces or anything. It's a weird feeling, hahah. I also collect the old small/fat paperback editions. Every time I'm at a used bookstore I check if there's any to add to my collection. I only have a handful of them at my apartment (left photo), so I bugged my brother to go find the rest of my collection in my old bedroom and send me a picture (the one on the right). I tried convincing him to make the picture a little more Instagram-able, but he wasn't having it so I took what I could get, hahah. There's actually still a few missing, but he said he couldn't find anymore so I let it slide ;)

Ken Follett Books

5. Ai Yazawa

Going a bit different for this one. Ai Yazawa is my favorite manga-ka! Meaning she's the author of manga's. Particularly my favorite manga series, Nana! Unfortunately I've already given up hope on her ever finishing the series :( After writing 84 chapters she took a hiatus in 2009 due to an injury and hasn't continued the series since. It's a beautiful story about two girls with the same name (Nana!) who are moving to Tokyo at the same time and meet on the train ride there. They run into each other again after getting to Tokyo, and decide to get an apartment together and eventually they become best friends. The only downside is that it ends on such a sad note, as Yazawa obviously hadn't intended to stop writing leave us hanging at the time.

Nana manga ai yazawa

So there you have it! Something I went back and forth on was including the authors of my favorite books, even if they only had one book, or I had only read/liked one book written by them. As you can see, I decided not to count them. This doesn't mean I think less of their writing, but I think for someone to be a FAVORITE author then you need more exposure than just one book. If someone writes one book I love and five books I hated, I wouldn't consider them a favorite. This is just my personal opinion, though! So for example David Mitchell isn't in here, because as much as I LOVE Cloud Atlas, I haven't read his other books yet. For all I know I might hate them (I doubt it, but you never know). Chuck Palahniuk isn't in here, because even though I've read ten of his books, I only really liked four of them.

Now for the fancy linkup tool! We'd love for you to share a post you have about your favorite authors, whether you wrote it specifically for The Blogger Book Drive or you wrote it last year. We want to see what everyone's reading! Our prompt for next week is Top 5 Reading Lists, but with a little twist! Each of us needs to pick a different theme to base our top 5 lists on - such as top 5 sci-fi books, top 5 YA books, top 5 manga, whatever! You do you! :)

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Friday, August 14, 2015

The Book of Strange New Things (A Rambling Rant)

Alternately titled "I read a book by Michel Faber and all I got was this long list of questions and feelings of regret, so I wrote this overly long, incoherent post in one sitting."


Alright guys. Let me just say right now that this isn't going to be like one of my regular book reviews. I couldn't even bring myself to allow it in my Tales from the Bookshelf series, because my writing's just all over the place and it's just bad. Like the alternate title implies, I have more to say about what didn't happen, or things that shouldn't have happened in this book than what did happen. Like, I'm pretty sure I've never experienced a story with more disappointing plot holes, and I watched all 121 episodes of Lost (Waaaaallllltttttttt!) The worst part about it all is that the more I think about it, the more annoyed I get, and the less I'm able to calmly write my views and feelings about it. I finished the book two weeks ago, so I've been thinking about this for awhile. I guess this is why I'll never be a professional book blogger. So let's get started with a general synopsis of the book to get you caught up. We have a long post ahead of us!

P.S. All the spoilers ahead!


"It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter. 

Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us." - Penguin Random House

Sounds like it could be interesting, right? So every time something weird happened I just figured I'd keep going because I wanted to know how the story ended. Things are weird from the get-go, bringing us to my first question.

1. So Peter's going on this trip to space to teach the natives (aliens, who are called Oasans in this book) about Christianity. He's hired and sent there by a corporation called USIC. Except Peter knows nothing about USIC. He doesn't know their main purpose, why they're in space, or even what USIC stands for. He DOES know that it's "urgent" for him to start right away. Can you think of a single adult that would think this was ok and still go?! This doesn't sound the least bit sketchy? Leading right into question two...

2. What is USIC doing?! We never found out, not exactly. Unless I missed it. Let me know if you have any theories.

PLEASE USIC I NEED TO KNOW.

What often made this book hard to read it that Peter is kind of an asshole. In chapter 4 we learn how much Peter likes to judge people based on their appearance, and how he really thinks he's better than everyone. First it's with some of the men in the spacecraft thing as it's arriving to the USIC base. He describes their behavior and appearances as crude (he compares them to construction workers) and is constantly surprised whenever they say something intellectual. Apparently there's a very specific look to being smart, and if you don't have it then you must be dumb. In Peter's younger days before he became a pastor, he was an alcoholic and drug addict. Then through Bea he finds God and turns his life around. So you'd think he'd be a little less judgmental.

This attitude of his is even worse regarding women. More times than I can count, Peter meets various women working for USIC and describes her appearance. If she's conventionally good looking he'll describe her as attractive. If she's not attractive then she's described as butch. Because if you weren't born with supermodel genes or if you don't feel like getting dolled up everyday then you're a butch lesbian! Although there's a nurse up there that's lucky enough to not be in either category, because more than once she's compared to an ape instead! Example: "Nurse Flores spoke up again, her simian face unexpectedly illuminated with sharp intelligence." He also references her "simian fingers" and "monkey face." This makes my head hurt.


The woman we hear about the most, aside from his wife Bea, is Hermione Grainger. Grainger is assigned to help Peter learn the ins and outs of USIC and to transport him to and from the native camp. At almost every encounter with Grainger, Peter has something new to say about her appearance. In the beginning she falls into the butch category. Later on as he gets to know her, she magically becomes more attractive. In fact Peter starts to find her SO attractive that you have to be like, hey, calm down bro. But before that happens Peter says this: (as they are talking about how he's lost weight and you can see his cheekbones)..."As a reflex, he appraised Grainger's facial features. Her cheekbones were not particularly good. She had the sort of face that was beautiful only if she watched her diet and didn't get much older than she was now.  As soon as age or over-indulgence filled out her cheeks and thickened her neck, even a little, she would cross a line from elfin allure into mannish homeliness. He felt sad for her, sad about the ease with which her physical destiny could be read by anyone who cared to cast a glance over her, sad about the matter-of-factness with which her genes stated the limits of what they were willing to do for her in the years to come, sad in the knowledge that she was at her peak now and still not fulfilled."

Or how about this one, where he feels the need to criticize her appearance WHILE SHE'S CRYING:"A glance confirmed that the weeping hadn't done her any good -- her face was blotched, puffy and unfeminine, and she knew it. He looked gallantly askance while she dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve, pecked at her hair with her fingers, and generally tried to compose herself."

So gallant. Taking me to question three...

3. Is Michel Faber the stupid asshole, or is Peter? I haven't read any other books by Mitchel Faber, so I can't compare this to his past stuff. I don't feel like Peter was supposed to be a particularly unlikable character, but maybe he was? I don't know.


Peter eventually learns that before his arrival to USIC there was another pastor recruited to teach the natives, named Kurtzberg. Kurtzberg "went native," which is their way of saying he disappeared and they have no idea what happened. Throughout most of the book there's the overhanging mystery of "what happened to Kurtzberg?" as Peter tries to get more information from both USIC workers and the Oasans. The USIC people literally have no idea, and the aliens just say "he left us" with no further explanation. Bringing us to another question...

4. WHAT HAPPENED TO KURTZBERG?! After all the buildup, we never find out. We do learn that he's dead, but we don't know why he left in the first place, or how he died. It's barely talked about, but there's one more person from USIC who also went native - a translator named Tartaglione. So when the book's almost over and Peter's traipsing (AKA getting lost) across the space desert, he finds an abandoned Oasan settlement and finds Tartaglione hiding there! But why?! Why does Mitchel Faber decide to (kind of) reveal what happened to Tartaglione, who I had literally forgotten about until that moment, rather than Kurtzberg? NO ONE CARES ABOUT TARTAGLIONE. Are you trolling me right now?


I jumped ahead a bit there, sorry. Let's back up. One of the most important parts of the book is Peter's communication with his wife, who's back on earth because she did not pass the USIC interview to go with him. The messages start out nice enough, but as time goes on Bea starts telling Peter that things aren't going great on earth. Every week a new disaster is happening. Towards the end of the book it sounds like an episode of The Walking Dead is going on down there, and it's all quite sad and I feel bad for her. Although, again, we're not given too much information on what exactly is happening there. Part of this is because, again, Peter's an asshole. With Peter being so far away he has trouble caring about whatever's happening on earth, and he writes to Bea less and less. At one point he actually says he doesn't want to hear about it anymore, so she stops telling him. This makes Peter beat himself up over not writing to her more (he had originally promised to write every day) and his brooding gets really annoying. Then it just gets worse! Bea can clearly sense his disinterest in the fact that her house is literally falling apart, there are no resources as shops are all closing, their cat dies, everyone in town is leaving, or when she discovers that she's PREGNANT! She calls him out on his bullshit and then Peter feels even worse. He finally makes an attempt to write more, but by then it's too late and he says all the wrong things. "Darling I know you're mad at me right now but let's just put faith in God and everything will be ok!!!" Ugh, men. That's not a direct quote, by the way. But you get the idea. So question five and six...

5. Why didn't he just write to Bea more often? Most of the times he didn't write to her it sounded like he just didn't feel like dealing with her drama. But if you're going to keep brooding about it then just write to her. I'm not married, but I'm pretty sure that in any serious relationship good communication's important and you just have to suck it up and do it. Especially if you're in space. Be a good husband and write to your wife, Peter! This whole book might have had a different ending if Peter just wrote to his wife more.


6. What's causing all this ruckus on Earth? Is USIC responsible? Or even if they're not, do they know what's going on, and why? During Peter's unfortunate encounter with Tartaglione, he tells Peter that USIC's agenda is to start a new world, because they know that Earth is ending. Except Tartaglione is super drunk and stir-crazy, so it's hard to know if we should believe him. However, when Peter explains this encounter in a letter to Bea, his mail is not approved to be sent out, and we learn from Grainger that his revealing USIC information (whether it's true or not) is why. Hmmm...

Now, since the reason Peter's in space is about God and teaching the Oasans about God, let's talk about that. I found Peter's ideas about Christianity and the bible unbearable. I later found out that Michel Faber is atheist, so maybe he just doesn't know a lot about it and that's why I often felt like he was making fun of religion without even meaning to. It doesn't bother me if people are atheist or whatever else they want to be, but if you're going to talk about these things then you need to know what you're talking about. Every time Peter has a problem, he prays about it. Which is fine, except that's ALL he does to try and fix the problem. He doesn't put in any more effort than that, because he expects God to just take care of things. "Hi God, my wife's really mad at me because I haven't acknowledged the fact that she's having my child and I don't want to hear about earth crumbling to pieces, but I don't feel like writing to her right now, so just make things better, ok?" That's also not an actual quote from the book, but it gets my point across.


Aliens! Ok, the Oasans are kind of interesting. Peter knows literally NOTHING about the Oasans before going to meet them (another red flag that I probably should have mentioned in question 1, I mean what if they were cannibals? You never know.). When he first meets the Oasans he describes their faces as two fetuses squished together. This isn't offensive, but like...really, Michel Faber? Fetuses? Out of all the things you could have chosen, and you picked fetuses. Fine. The Oasans are skinny, average height, sort of genderless (I don't think we ever figured that out, either) and each wear a hooded robe of a different color. Aside from the robe colors, Peter finds that most of them to look identical. For the most part they are able to speak English (also weird), and they really, really want to learn about God. Bringing me to question six...

7. How did the Oasans know about religion and God? They didn't pick it up from USIC, because they don't really converse with them unless they have to. They like their privacy. Kurtzberg probably taught them about the bible, but Kurtzberg was only there in the first place because the Oasans told USIC to find them a pastor.

Instead of their actual names, they tell Peter to Call them Jesus Lover One, Jesus Lover Two, and on and on. It sounds hokey but I also found it a little endearing somehow. He gets along pretty well with them. They all work together and build a church and Peter teaches them about the bible and things. Oh, and the Oasans call the bible "The Book of Strange New Things." So there's where the book title comes from. They actually get along so well that it got a little boring. Peter becomes especially close to Jesus Lover Five. Towards the end of the book Peter is hanging out at USIC and learns that Jesus Lover Five is injured and asks to be taken to USIC for medical assistance. Like I mentioned before, the Oasans try to keep away from USIC, so the fact the she asked for their help is surprising. Since Oasans don't heal the same way humans do, they're all pretty sure she's going to die. It's sad.

Around the same time (either before or after, honestly I'm getting the ending a little jumbled up), Peter finally decides to be a good husband and go back to Earth for his wife. He says goodbye to Jesus Lover Five, still in the USIC hospital. He says goodbye to the rest of the Oasans, who are pretty upset about it but decide to forgive him anyway.

Unfortunately, his actions are again, too late. When he writes to Bea to tell her he's coming home, she tells him to stay there. She says that by the time he gets back to earth she won't be in their home anymore, and that this is the last night she'll be able to stay in their house. This is the last time she'll be able to write to him, because she's leaving and will be traveling with a group of strangers to who knows where (and again, we don't know why). Things on Earth just got that bad, so that's what it came down to. Of course, Peter decides to go back to Earth anyway.

That's pretty much how the book ends.


On one hand I'm incredibly curious about what happens when Peter gets back to earth. On the other hand, even if a second book were to come out, I don't think I could bring myself to read it. That's what reading spoilers is good for ;)


I received a paperback of The Book of Strange New Things courtesy of Blogging for Books. All thoughts and opinions are unfortunately my own.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bookish (and not-so Bookish) Thoughts #7

1. On Friday I finished reading Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, and it sucked. I thought it was going to be a book about books, then it felt like she was going more towards the grief memoir route, but really she's trying to do both and that just didn't work out. The main story is that the authors sister dies, and as a way to handle her grief she makes this project for herself where she'll read a book and review it every day for a year. Except she's too selfish and unbearable, so as much as losing a family member sucks, it's really hard to feel sorry for this woman. Ugh, now I sound like a jerk.

2. Now my current read is Etiquette and Espionage. This is the first steampunk book I've read! Which is weird because I think steampunk is really cool. Another steampunk book I want to read is Android Karenina. Oh! Thinking about all this steampunk stuff just made me realize that with my new computer I can finally try playing Bioshock! YEEESSSSSSS.

3. We're now in week two of The Blogger Book Drive, and so far our goal is 25% funded! You guys ROCK and this has been so exciting for me! Everyone that has donated and helped speard the word deserves 10,000 gold stars and if I could hug you right now I totally would. For now please accept this ghost hug!

Unless you think it's creepy, then you don't have to accept it.

4. Last Thursday I went to the circus for the first time! I got two free tickets at work, and even though I had some weird stomach bug that morning I decided to suck it up and go because the tickets were only good for that night and I was curious what it was all about. Since I'd never been to one before I can't really compare it to anything, but we had an interesting time. There weren't many animals (which I was ok with), but the ones they did have seemed happy and healthy. The only thing that REALLY bugged me was the constant schilling trying to get you to buy stupid balloons, light up toys and other crap. The show started almost FORTY FIVE minutes late - and I got the vibe that it was done on purpose so they could spend more time shouting trying to get you to buy stuff, but I don't know. Working in theatre I know starting late sometimes can't be helped, but the only reason you should start THAT late is if someone died or something equally terrible.

5. My favorite "mindless phone game" is 2048. I play it all the time, and surprisingly, I'm not bad at it. No one ever believes me, because I've always been terrible at math! Hahah. Last night I realized that the game has sound effects?! I don't know how it took me so long to find out. It makes these little pinging noises whenever you move a tile. It was cute for a couple minutes, then I had to turn the sound back off.

I'm only showing off a little bit.

6. So Aquaman Underoos are a thing now?! Too bad the Aquaman set is only in men's sizes :( Actually, they don't have any of the male hero themes in women's sizing. The women's sets are really cool too, though! But I mean...Aquaman!

7. I really enjoy writing these Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts posts, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should write them every other Wednesday, instead. Sometimes I feel like I'm grasping for things to say, because honestly the things I get up to every week are not always interesting. If I'm not working I'm usually reading books and blogs, playing video games, watching Netflix or singing to my pet turtle (sorry, I won't sing for you guys!). Obviously I do go out and do ~fun things~ sometimes, but for the most part I'm a homebody, hahah. So if you notice I've missed a Wednesday post, now you know why!

Bookish (and not-so Bookish) Thoughts is hosted every Wednesday by Bookisly Boisterous! :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Quotes + Week 2 of The Blogger Book Drive!

Happy Monday, and welcome to week two of The Blogger Book Drive! The theme this week is your favorite book quotes! Finding a good quote is sometimes enough to convince me to pick up a book, so I can't wait to see what everyone's favorite quotes are! If you're new to the party, here's a little recap :)

This month, Amanda, Pam and I are running a virtual BOOK DRIVE! To go along with it we're also going to be posting about various book topics every Monday, with a link-up if others want to join in as well! Our opening topic was about our favorite children's books, which we thought was appropriate since we're raising money for children and all ;) You can check that out right here! Our goal is to raise $200 for First Book, an organization that provides books for kids in low-income families. The three of us would GREATLY appreciate it if you could help us spread the word, either by writing posts and linking up with us, or just a simple tweet! Thank you!!! If you'd like to donate, please visit our donation page, right here! So far our goal is 20% funded! I'd like to give a BIG thank you to Kayla, Ashlee, Amanda, and the two anonymous donors we had in our first week! You guys are the best!

Ok, now back to our topic...book quotes! Many of my favorite quotes come from Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket. Most of his books are technically for children, but I guess I just haven't outgrown them yet, hahah. His writing is often silly, while still pretty real and able to get you right in the feels. He also has a lot of great quotes about reading! For example this one; which isn't actually from one of his books, but it's about reading so I figured it can count anyway ;)

Lemony Snicket Quote
(Source)

Here's another quote, which he wrote in A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Slippery Slope. It's the 10th book in the series, and also one of my favorites. Books 9 - 13 are all probably my favorites, because by then the characters have grown so much and that's when you really start to get to the bottom of some of the mysteries in the story...sort of. Hahah.

Lemony Snicket Quote
Couldn't find the original source for this one! Are you there, artist?

While I could easily share Lemony Snicket quotes all day, here's a few other favorites - along with some notes about the books they come from!

“A strong woman who recklessly throws away her strength, she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away.” 
― Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles (One of my favorite classics! If you have trouble getting into classics, I find Thomas Hardy books very easy to read.)

“One could argue that most of the trouble in the world is caused by introspection.” 
― Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down (Definitely recommend if you're into dark comedies! This is my favorite book that deals with depression.)

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” 
― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (We all know Neil Gaiman is great.)

“The absurdity of working so hard to continue doing something you don’t like can be overwhelming.” 
― Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half (Hyperbole and a Half can always put me in a better mood! It's original format is a web comic, but she has a book out now so check that out if web comics aren't your thing.)

“Reread that Bronte book all you want, but Jane Eyre's never going to get gender-reassignment surgery or train to become a kick-ass ninja assassin.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk, Damned (I enjoyed this book, but do yourself a favor and skip the second book, Doomed!)

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” 
David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (If you've been reading here for awhile then you already know my love for Cloud Atlas. I recommend it to everyone!)

“My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!” 
― William Goldman, The Princess Bride (I'm pretty sure it's impossible to dislike The Princess Bride! Although I've met some people that love the movie but haven't read the book because it's long. Don't be intimidated! The book is just as fun, if not more fun, than the movie!)

So tell us, what are your favorite book quotes? Comment or link up below! Next weeks theme is our favorite authors! I've had the same favorite authors for a few years now (what can I say, I like staying with my tried and true), but I'm looking forward to see what everyone else loves and I can add to my TBR list ;)

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An InLinkz Link-up

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Psssssst!
As an extra thank you, Amanda has donated a $10 Starbucks gift card to give away to one lucky winner! I didn't write about this in the title because I wanted to keep it for people that care about the book drive, so you guys are special! Winkwink. Enter using the widget below! 


$10 Starbucks Gift Card

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Avengers Book Tag!

The Avengers Book Tag

The lovely Kayly, writer/artist/nerd-mom extraordinaire behind My Open Sketchbook tagged me for The Avengers Book Tag! She also made the awesome image above! I'm pretty sure this is the most creative book tag I've seen, so I was super excited to try it out!

Iron Man - a book that made you laugh out loud: I am America (and So Can You!), by Stephen Colbert - I'm not going to get all political here, but if you're a fan of Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report (RIP), then you'll LOVE this book!

I am America (and So Can You)

Captain America - a book that sends a positive message: My Friend Leonard, by James Frey - My Friend Leonard is a memoir that takes place after A Million Little Pieces (also known as that book Oprah got really angry about when she found out half of it wasn't true). To be honest, I don't really care if it's all true, as long as it makes a good story. Anyway, in the second installment James Frey is newly-sober and out of rehab. The book mostly focuses on his friendship with Leonard, his charismatic mobster friend. He's awesome and makes me wish I had a Leonard to be my friend (minus the mobster part...maybe).

My Friend Leonard

Thor - a book with a characters strength you admire: Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell - Everyone already knows this is one of my favorite books, but I'm going to write about it anyway! One of the things that make this book so awesome is ALL of the strong characters. Loisa Rey, Adam Ewing, Timothy Cavendish, Sonmi-451 and Zachry (some would also say Robert Frobisher but tbh I'm not a fan) are all incredibly strong characters, each in very different ways. You'd think with how many different characters there are floating around in the book (there's like a million) that none of them would be particularly deep or fleshed out, but that's not true at all!

Cloud Atlas book

Black Widow - a book with a kick-ass female protagonist: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins - As a whole I'm not obsessed with this series, but I admit that Katniss is pretty freakin' badass. She's strong and smart, and (for the most part) doesn't let a stupid love triangle distract her from getting shit done. Although I'm totally #TeamPeeta, if you were wondering :P

The Hunger Games book

Hulk-  a book that made you incredibly angry: The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber - I only recently finished this book, so part of the reason it makes me so angry right now is probably just because the wound is still fresh, hahah. The ending was bad, the main character was bad, and the writing was often bad; because even though there's plenty of women in the story it really gives off a "this book was definitely written by a man" vibe. Which it was...but your portrayal of woman shouldn't be so off and pathetic that I have to tell people about it.

The Book of Strange New Things

Hawkeye - an underrated book you think more people should pay attention to: Anything written by Lisa See - So actually she's incredibly successful and generally not underrated, but I don't have a single friend that reads her books even though I LOVE them, which makes me feel like they are underrated :( Maybe they're just underrated for my age group. I don't know. But she's one of my favorite authors so I recommend her books to everyone!

Lisa See book covers
I took the time to make you this collage to show off the
pretty covers 'cause that's how much I want you to read them.

{BONUS} Loki - a book with a twist or surprise that tricked you: Before I Go to Sleep, by S.J. Watson - This book was a little annoying to read at times, but he really got me with the ending, so credit where credit is due. Also, even though I said it was annoying to read, I still think it's an interesting story! The movie also followed pretty closely to the book, which I was impressed with. Watching the movie when I already knew the ending was kinda lame though, hahah!

Before I Go to Sleep book

So there you go! I'm tagging Happy Indulgence Books and Kokoba! Have a great weekend, everyone! :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bookish (and not-so Bookish) Thoughts #6

1. Many people have asked how I like my new computer, so I'll say it again right here that it's amazing. I've been playing a lot of Saints Row IV (which wouldn't even run on my old laptop, I always had to use Andrew's computer to play it) and World of Warcraft (I finally have my first lvl 60!) and feeling totally badass. Yesterday I was listening to Pandora while editing photos on Paint.net and Pandora didn't crash ONCE. Yeah I know, pretty hi-tech stuff. Hahah!

2. This week I'm letting my inner magical girl shine with my new necklace from Etsy shop Hell Yeah Sweet N' Sour. I won this moon crisis necklace (which is from Sailor Moon, if you're like whaaa?) in a giveaway hosted my one of my favorite bloggers, Darling Stewie! It's a lot bigger and blingier than other necklaces I'm used to wearing! Everyone that sees it either thinks it's awesome or really weird and obnoxious.

Moon Crisis Necklace


3. Actually talking about book stuff now! So I started reading Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, but I'm having trouble getting into it. I mean, it's alright, but...ugh. So the main idea is that this lady makes a goal to read one book every day for a year. Which I guess is possible if you pick the right books and are a fast reader. Anyway, my uncertainty in this book started with her first day of her challenge. She picks The Elegance of the Hedgehog to read first, which in paperback is 325 pages (Goodreads told me). She starts reading it in the morning, as she's on a train to meet her husband for lunch. Then she reads it more on the train ride back. Then states that by the time she got home she only had "a few chapters left." When she gets home it's probably only about 4pm, because she starts making snacks for her kids on their way home from school. I don't know. Maybe I'm just bitter. If you can read that fast and still absorb the whole story then mad props to you, but it sounds like some baloney to me. Luckily this book isn't too long.

4. Now for some shameless self promoting, but it's also book related, and for a good cause!!! If you haven't heard the news yet (because I know we're a big deal wink wink) this month two of my blog friends and I are running a virtual BOOK DRIVE! To go along with it we're also going to be posting about various book topics every Monday, with a link-up if others want to join in as well! Our announcement and first topic (children's books) went live on Monday! Our goal is to raise $200 for First Book, an organization that provides books for kids in low-income families. Amanda, Pam and I would GREATLY appreciate it if you could help us spread the word, either by writing posts and linking up with us, or just a simple tweet! If you'd like to donate you can check out our donation page right here! Thank you!!!

First Book

5. Earlier this week I started a bullet journal! I first learned about it a few months ago and now it seems like all the cool kids are doing it. What I liked about the idea is that with a little effort, I could have all my crap in one place. This one journal could be my calendar, blog planner, grocery list holder, whatever I want! Also it was a good way to use all the washi tape I kept buying for no reason (and now I don't have to feel bad for getting MORE because I TOTALLY have a reason)! I've only been using it for a few days, but I'm hoping it's a habit that sticks so I can finally get more organized!

Washi Tape Bullet Journal


6. The perfect t-shirt is hard to find. On Thursday I was at Old Navy and bought two of these Linen-Blend Boyfriend-Tees (I hate the name, but it is what it is). The next day I decided I liked them so much, I went back and bought 3 more...because not only are they great but they were on sale for $8.00. I might have bought even more if they had more dark colors available. That was also the day I found some sweet stuff at the library book sale. So it was an A+ day. Where are your favorite t-shirts from? A few years ago those v-necks from Target were my jam, but they're not quite the same anymore!

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Bookish (and not-so Bookish) Thoughts is hosted every Wednesday by Bookishly Boisterous!