Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Confessional & 5 Fandom Friday

Five Fandom Friday at Printcess

This week's prompt: Black Friday NEEDS

1) I wasn't gonna collect Funkos, because I do not need more stuff. Also, we don't have our display space set up yet for the things we DO have, let alone a larger collection of geek stuff. But then I saw this at my local Bartell's...
(I resisted buying it...barely. But if there's a kicking Black Friday deal on these, I just know I'll go nuts for them. Look at his wee dinosaur!!)

2) I can't even express how badly I need more book shelves. Of course I want all the clever and geeky ones.

3) I don't know if it would help me be more writerly, but dammit if this USB Typewriter isn't so cool it makes me tingle. 

4) Lifetime season tickets to the Ashland, OR Shakespeare Festival (with accommodations and a way to easily/quickly get down there, since it's 7 hours south of me). Hey, a girl can dream ok?

5) This:   This:
And pretty much everything else at Hot Dame
(except the pencil skirts- I have a spare tire, and pencil skirts make me super ashamed of my body)

I confess...
I'm unfollowing a lot of blogs lately. Not because I'm upset with them, but because they've become empty. 
Stay authentic, guys. 
Don't sellout your blog, writing sponsored post after sponsored post that's clearly a promotion you got a paycheck from. And don't abandon your voice- your voice is your brand. 
I read your blog because I enjoy reading about your misadventures, learning from your wisdom, and taking part in your link ups. Maybe I even appreciate your affiliate links.
If I wanted a series of commercials, I'd get TV service.

I confess...
 I want to buy tickets for Fedora and I to attend New World Magischola, even more than I want to spend several thousand dollars on a wedding.
I'll be honest: wedding planning, and seeing how expensive everything is, makes me want to abandon it entirely. 
You don't need a party and a pretty dress to recognize that I'm a wife, right?

I confess...
I don't dare say that anywhere else, because if my mom heard that I'd rather elope than go into debt for what's basically just a catered party, she'd kill me.
So if you don't see any blog posts for a couple of weeks, check the backyard for a 6'x2' hole.

I kid, I kid.

My mom would totally dispose of my body in the desert.
(she's no fool. And we watched a lot of CSI.)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Book Review: Uprooted

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose."

Uprooted is a fantasy novel done in the best possible way. It's about best friendship, self discovery, good and evil (love and hate), court and country, magic, courage and community. I started it expecting it to be interesting, I ended it drooling with joy. Not only is it well-written (and written with the underlying assumption that your audience is intelligent, thank you Naomi Novik), it's well-paced, filled with tension and mystery, and has fleshed-out, complicated characters. 

I love how the romance was handled (NOT the dominant theme of the book, and with an assumption that the characters weren't innocent idiots). I love how the friendship aspects were handled (the best friend was not incidental, or just a plot device for the MC; she's a fully realized character even though the narrative is through Agnieszka). I love how no force was good or bad, but everyone was comprised of ambitions and fears and pain and hope. I loved how magic works in this book, the subtle tones of Polish and Czech mythology and country-life culture throughout the story, and the way Naomi Novik uses language.

Can you tell I loved this book? I love it. It makes me want to read everything Naomi Novik has ever written (the only other book of hers I've read thus far is His Majesty's Dragon). I highly recommend it for fans of fantasy stories, especially ones that are written well and with a 'crossover' appeal in both YA and adult genres. Also for fans of stories of friendship, mythology, community, female protagonists, prickly characters and hope. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Eye of the Week among the Fremen

I'm pulling out the subtle colors of the Printcess Science Fiction collection for today's Eye of the Week. This is Uplift on my brow bone and inner corner of my eyes (for added lift), and Spice over my lids. And mascara. Voila, done.

Unfortunately, the new house doesn't do much better with light in winter than the old one. I seriously need to invest in a Hollywood lighted vanity...

Here ya go- it's easier to see the true colors with the flash on.
As you can tell, Spice is a gorgeous metallic warm brown.

And Uplift SHINES
The shimmer of Spice is that warm pink/brown you see on the lids. The scattered blue shimmers are from Uplift.

This is my most neutral combo of SciFi collection colors, I think. And somehow it's also very Autumnal. Win win!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause. When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love. But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky? From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Dreams of Gods & Monsters is the final book in Laini Taylor's gorgeous Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy and I have absolutely no excuse for taking two-and-a-half years to finish this series. Except that perhaps I knew somewhere in my cold, black heart that I would be disappointed by this ending to the series. Which isn't, in fact, an ending to the story.

So there's the characters that you love, an the angstbucket that is the entire story to date. And then Laini Taylor adds a few more characters you're gonna love, and subplot AND a side plot because why not. I felt pulled in so many directions, I actually cared less about Karou and Akiva than almost everyone else in this book.

And there are some heart-tweaking sacrifices. And then some undoing of those sacrifices, because apparently The Doctor was in Eretz that day.

And while I appreciate happy endings, one of the things I adore Laini Taylor for is yanking my heart through my tear ducts. So when she plays take-backsies, I kind of wonder what happened to one of my favorite authors. And then when she introduces pretty much the plot for another trilogy in the final chapters of this trilogy-ending book, I felt like there was some marketing and sales pandering.

And THEN, worst of all guys, she did the Lord of the Rings never-ending ending.
(also known as the Battlestar Galactica never-ending ending).
So I basically finished this novel out of sheer spite, but it was difficult and awkward and I didn't understand why it was such a slog compared to the first two.

I recommend it to anyone who needs to know how the series ends, and doesn't have the same plot tics that I do. It's not a BAD novel, I just had higher expectations than I perhaps should have.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pine Bros. Dry Throat Drops & Why I Love 'Em

Pine Bros. drops are aimed at relieving dry throats...and when the weather is cold (and/or super dry) that's an ailment we all share! I love them because they're all natural- no additives, preservatives, or ingredients the medicine-sensitive among us might react to.

The active ingredient is glycerin, a totally non-toxic, sweet-tasting humectant/hygroscopic that attracts moisture. They taste like candy, honestly, but not the sickly-sweet kind.

The company has been in operation for 140 years, and recommend these for anyone with allergies, singers, actors, public speakers, frequent airplane travelers, musicians, chemo patients, SCUBA divers.....basically anyone whose regular activity dries out their throat.

Does it work? It has for me!

Does it taste good? Definitely. The honey is delicious, but my favorite is the Wild Cherry (second-fav is the Lemon Citrus). I didn't try licorice because I can't stand the taste of anise.

Are they convenient to keep with you? Absolutely! The bags are not resealable, however the tins are perfect- the top easily screws into place, and it carries a lot.

Are they big like lozenges or other medicine? Nope. They're small and 'softish', meaning they're chewy like a firm gummy candy.

So to sum up: These are my go-to when my throat is dry, or I'm craving something sweet to suck on that isn't loaded with sugar or corn syrup.

Need to grab some yourself, for the winter? They can be found in the cough drop aisle (though they aren't a cough drop) or on the Pine Bros. website.

(I received this product in exchange for my honest review, which was clearly that I love these and value them.)