Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Maus: A Survivor's Tale Volume 1: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

Book: Maus: A Survivor's Tale Part 1 by Art Spiegelman
Genre: Graphic NF Memoir
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Book club
From: Book club library set

Short Synopsis: The author sits down and interviews his dad about their experiences during WWII. This is the stuff leading up to their imprisonment in a concentration camp. The rest of the story is in Part 2. It's all harrowing and terrible and gut wrenching.

My Response: I wasn't overly fond of the drawings themselves. I mean, I could take them or leave them. But the story was powerful and sad and crazy. My favorite parts, however, were back in the "present" (the story was written in the 70s I think) and seeing the interactions between the son and the dad. I loved the dad's cute accent. And loved that the author decided to leave that in and let us enjoy it. Some parts of the story were very hard to read. And the dad told it so matter of factly. I wonder if that's how he really told it, and if he had to distance himself from things that way just in order to get through the telling. And also, I'm with the author and feel pretty furious about the throwing away of the mom's diary. Say what????

Bottom Line: I can see why this one gets so much attention. It's yet another wonderful, terrible Holocaust tale. And yes, I'll for sure be reading the rest of the story. I think it's in my house somewhere.

Let's Talk About: What do you think about a story such as this being told in graphic (comic) form? Strange I think. Very strange. But still, I guess it can make it even more a powerful story to actually SEE it as the author would like us to see it. The animal thing I just think is weird. I don't get why he decided to do that. Just... weird.

Other Reviews:

While I read this, I found moments to laugh, but there are also many moments to cry. From Historical Tapestry

There’s a good reason Maus has won nearly every award that can be bestowed on graphic novels. From Little Read Reviewer

I cannot possibly recommend Maus I and II enough. If you are new to graphic books, this would be a perfect place to start, and if you are an old pro with the genre – why haven’t you read these yet?? From Book Addiction

To say much more would come across as trite but suffice to say that Spiegelman never trivialises Vladek’s experiences but articulates them with brutal honesty and creativity that emphasises rather than detracts from the horror whilst also presenting it through an accessible medium. From Paperback Reader

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: I NEED To Read More of These Authors!

Today's list prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is. . . what author have you read just once... and are pretty much dying to read again. I had no trouble coming up with a list:

Ten Authors I NEED to Read More Of:

Juliet Marillier
Maria V. Synder
Sarah Waters
Jandy Nelsen
Jamie Ford
Kate Morton
Anne Rice
Rick Yancey
Erin Morgenstern
Justina Chen Headley

Some of them only have the one book. Some of them just came out with another book. Some of them have TONS of books, so what am I waiting for????

What authors are on your list today?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Skinwalker Ranch: The Path of the Skinwalker by Ryan Skinner

Book: Skinwalker Ranch: The Path of the Skinwalker by Ryan Skinner
Genre: NF Memoir
Rating:★ ★ ☆☆☆
For: Fun
From: The library

Short Synopsis: So this guy, Ryan, has a strange experience out in the middle of nowhere Utah one night. After that, he's obsessed and he learns that there's a place near Fort Duchesne Utah where strange things happen all the time. So he begins to investigate. This book is the story of what first happened to him, and what happened to him during a couple of times that he camped on the ranch. For those interested... some of the strange stuff he sees are: blue floating lights that come up out of the ground, bigger lighted orbs that circle overhead and charge at him, voices in the sky that speak a strange robotic language, a wolf that emerges out black smoke, power lines that furiously wig out, creatures that appear out of the orbs of light, sounds and lights that are there one second and gone the next, etc. etc. etc.

My Response: I'm researching skinwalkes... yes. It's crazy I know. And fairly spooky. But I wanted to learn more about how others see them, or portray them, or what they think. This ranch here in Utah is named for the Skinwalker, but the stuff that goes on there is mostly alien, UFO, other worldly related. Spooky stuff for sure, but I still haven't heard any stories that are truly about the Skinwalker, which is a Navajo folk legend about evil shape-shifting witches. So, this book was disappointing in that regard. Plus, it had many problems. No editing at all (I've never read a book with so many mistakes!) and extremely strange writing. (And what do you think about the author's last name in regard to the subject matter? Now THAT's what's weird!)

Bottom line: Interesting as far as the stories go, terrible as far as the writing goes, and the fact that I'm still not sure if he has any idea what a skinwalker is.

Let's Talk About: When it comes to other worldly phenomenon, what do you think? Do you say yay or nay? Do you believe that we have aliens among us? How would you explain the strange goings on at Skinwalker Ranch? An elaborate hoax that someone's been keeping up on for the past 50 years? Or truly a mystifying enchanted haunted place?

Other Reviews:

There really are no other reviews on blogs that I can find. But you can always check out what the people on Amazon have to say!

A little clip from a SYFY show:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bloggiesta To Do List September 2014

Hey everyone! Bloggiesta is happening this week! I hope you'll be able to join in the fun. Check out the website for all the information. We'll be bloggiesta-ing for FOUR days again, Thursday through Sunday. There'll be Twitter parties every day. Here's the schedule for those:

  • Blogging and Life (Time Management): Thursday September 18 @ 2 p.m. Eastern
  • All Your Blogging Problems Solved: Friday September 19 @  6 p.m. Eastern
  • Book Blogging Basics: Saturday September 20 @ 11 a.m. Eastern
  • End of Event Wrap Up: Sunday September 21 @ 1 p.m. Eastern
Here's hoping you can join in the fun!

This week, bloggers are being asked to sign up for Bloggiesta by linking up their To Do Lists. (You can find the linky here.) I actually should (SHOULD!!) have lots of time to blog during this event, with only book club on Thursday night and The Maze Runner movie on Friday in my plans at the moment.  Here's hoping the rest of the days stay free!

So here's what I hope to accomplish this go around:
  • add reviews to Pinterest
  • update the archive (as usual)
  • update Utah Authors read list
  • add events to Utah Books blog
  • fix my broken social media icons
  • update My Favorites list
  • update my blog roll
  • update other lists on the tabs
  • host twitter chats
  • visit lots of bloggers
  • write some fun posts
  • do a couple mini challenges
  • catch up on reviews

A pretty big list, but all basic stuff, yes? Here's hoping it all goes down!

I hope to see all you, my blogging buddies, joining in! See you there!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy
Genre: Superhero Drama
Starring: Chis Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana
Rating: PG 13
My Rating: One thumb up

I'm not sure I understand all the hype around this movie. So I went to see what I thought.. despite the fact that the previews and trailers I'd seen made it look so so stupid to me!

So, it was less stupid than I expected, but I still don't quite get the hype. Yes, it's funny. A silly sort of parody funny. Is it trying to make fun of itself and other superhero movies? I think so. But I'm not quite sure.

The almost kiss. This is as close as it got.
And that's it for the romance!

I was surprised at the emotion it contained. It had several nearly weepy-eyed moments. Groot's face was especially expressive, which I found to be fascinating.

Did you want a short synopsis? Let's see if I can even do it! So, we have this guy who was kidnapped into space when he was a kid. He's since been living a sort of life of thievery and when he steals this thing, this orb thing, he's caught up in a battle for it. And he has no idea what it even does. But he learns and then he has to save the world! I mean, the galaxy! With the help of his trusty sidekicks... a genetically engineered raccoon, a sentient tree, a revenge filled killer, and an alien girl who has a ton of baggage. Their characters are all a bit silly, and it's amazing they can accomplish anything!

So, bottom line: It was fun. A good ride. But, nothing I'd come home and say... "you HAVE to see this!"

Here's the trailer for those who have been living under a rock:

And P.S. Why do they always destroy Lee Pace's beautiful face and make him a bad guy.. in all the movies lately?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Book: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Fun
From: I bought this one at B and N.

Short Synopsis: This is the third and final book in this trilogy. So spoilers for the first two books may appear! In this book, the bad angels have gone through the portal and appeared in the mortal world. Karou and Akiva have joined their forces in an uneasy alliance to stop them. Many wonderful and awful things happen in the process. In the end, a whole new crazy aspect to this story is discovered and the craziness continues!

My response: The writing is so beautiful that I have no words to gush. I just love it so so much. The plot gets a bit complicated and sometimes makes my head spin, but I love it too. But most importantly, I really really love the characters Such unique characters. Angels and demons? I mean, hello. And these are not your typical angels and demons. Sometimes the angles are pretty demonic and the demons are pretty angelic. It's all a bit confusing! But makes for such a compelling story. And our resident humans, Zuze and Mik, are just the perfect touch to keep the humanity in the story. I want a whole book just about them, you know? And Ziri? Sigh. I loved him too, like, so so much.

Bottom line: I loved this book. I love this series. Totally and completely.

Let's Talk About: What is it,  for you, that makes writing... good writing? Awesome metaphors? Unique adjectives? Descriptions that are perfect and not overdone or cliche? Funny, humorous moments? Writing filled with emotion? It's all of that for me. And I wish it was something I could learn, but seriously, I think it's just something one comes with. And I just realized this author is coming to my area in a couple of weeks. Here's hoping I manage to get there to see her. Do you think if I ask her... "how do you write so well?" she'll tell me? Ha.

Other Reviews:

There is so much action, emotion, and tension packed into every page (or every minute of the mp3 in my case) that it forces the reader to race on. From My Books. My Life.

It is an investment, but you will not be disappointed. From Annette's Book Spot

The entire point of this book: peace is worth whatever it takes. A New Kind of Living is worth giving your life for. From The Book Nest

Laini Taylor has a talent for writing a modern epic story in a poetic style that is not hit you over the head poetic. This I completely appreciate and think her unique style of writing makes this story. From My Little Pocketbooks

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Salt Lake Comic Con Experience

The crowd on Saturday. Over 90,000 people attending
just that one day. Yes, it's a little crazy.
(This picture from the SLCC Facebook page)
I've wanted to go to a comic con forever, well, not forever perhaps, but ever since I realized what a comic con even was and read all about the fun everyone was having down there in San Diego. It blew my mind when last year we suddenly had a comic con of our very own, in our very own neighborhood. Though, I didn't learn about it fast enough to actually attend.

So, to finally be at one this year was... awesome to say the least. A dream come true one might even say. But, did it live up to expectations? Was it all it's cracked up to be? Did it turn out as cool as I had dreamed about all these years?

I'd have to say yes! There were some bumps and a few disappointments, but mostly, we figured out the strategy and had a blast.

First of all, I must say, that I'm not a huge spender and to pay 50 bucks for an autorgraph and 100 bucks for a picture with a celebrity, for me, is insane. It's just not going to happen. Unless certain really high profile celebrities come (coughTomHiddlestoncough), and then I may try, though, I have a feeling if certain high profile celebrities come, I'll be fighting my way through such a huge crowd that I'm still not totally sure how I'd react! So for me, this experience did not include face to face moments with the celebrities, which I know is, for many people, the whole point of a comic con.

However, I did enjoy going to audience Q and A panels that these celebrities did. For many of them, we worked our way to the front of the huge room and did get a sort of close and personal look at them. Over the course of the three days, we saw:

** Cary Elewes aka. Westley from The Princess Bride, one of my all time favorite movies. And he was awesome. Such a nice guy and so very personal with the audience. I loved seeing him in action. And he still looks as cute as Westley ever did. We were 15 minutes late because we were stuck outside in the massive line, but I was happy just to have made it for most of it and that it "only" took us an hour to get in. It was the very first thing we did at the con, and I think probably one of my favorite moments.  I found someone's video on YouTube of highlights of his appearance:

**  Colin Baker and Paul McGann: former Dr. Whos.... namely number 6 and 8. They were fun, not quite as personal with the audience as Cary was. But I mean... Dr. Who!!! Hello! :)

Here's what they looked like in their Dr. days.

** Manu Bennett: the guy behind Azog the Pale Orc in The Hobbit. Also, he's Deathstroke in the TV show, Arrow. He's from New Zealand, half Maori and so very big and buff... and extremely sweet. I hadn't really heard of him until comic con, but now, I'm totally in love! Once again, he was awesome with the audience and very personable.

** Partrick Warburton: many different voices in many different things but my daughter was especially excited about his Kronk (from The Emperor's New Groove) performance. I guess he's also some dude on Seinfeld? Anyway, I had no idea who he was, but he was a ton of fun and yes... awesome with the audience, all the kids that asked questions, and even took a lady backstage with him to send a personal message to her sick husband. Sweet. So many sweet celebrities! I'm impressed!

** Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez  aka. Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro! Ah, I love this movie! And Efren came out and started talking like Pedro and it was awesome. And Jon did a bunch of Napoleon impressions and it was awesome. Weird thing though, Jon reminded me of Josh Groban, same sort of mannerisms, same build, etc. It was SO WEIRD. Yeah. I was freaked out a bit. Anyway, they were funny and we loved it.

** Lou Ferrigno aka. The Incredible Hulk! I didn't watch a ton of TV when I was growing up. For awhile there, we didn't even have one, but we DID watch this show. And to see this guy in person... so cool! And another very sweet man. His soapbox, so to speak, is to talk against bullying, so he did that a bit. I guess he got so teased as a kid because of his hearing problem and speech impediment and then he grew up to be a body builder and he came back and let those kids have it. Now they are all friends. What a story. What a cool guy. We were very close by this time and at the end, they had us "rush the stage" and I ended up right there front and center when he turned around and did his Hulk two armed flex and growl. I didn't get my camera out fast enough! But can you say... wow!! Wow!!!

Yeah, this.... right in front of me!

** Simon Helberg aka. Howard from The Big Bang Theory... a show I've never watched. So... yeah. We were just here in order to be in the room and have seats for John Barrowman two hours later! Strategy I tell you! It's very necessary. Anyway, this guy was very nervous I think. It was weird considering the confidence so many of the other celebrities seem to have. Or at least show. I felt a little bad for him. He looked like he was in pain!

** Stephen Amell aka. Oliver Queen in Arrow. Now this show I've wanted to
watch but just haven't fit it in yet. Watching at this very moment as I type this. Let's just say that this Stephen Amell guy... very impressive. Nice dude. Very nice all around. Loved seeing him even without knowing the show
very well.

** John Barrowman aka. Captian Jack Harkness from Dr. Who... and a bunch of other stuff. We love him! What a dude. I was fangirling when I saw him in Celebrity Row signing authographs. So cute! And we were really looking forward to his panel. However, even though he was cute and funny and very energentic... he was not what we expected. It turned into a bit of a gay rights lecture... and lots of pretty inappropriate gay jokes (especially considering the family sort of auidence) and... we didn't even know he was gay! So it was a bit to wrap our head around. I can handle the gay thing... but I wasn't so keen on the content of the panel . Oh, well. It happens. But... we did love his singing at the end. He's got an amazing voice! Here's the video I took... scratch that.. the video someone else took... I'm too lazy to upload my own video!

** Barbara Eden aka. Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie. Another show that I managed to watch during my kid years... probably after school specials or something. Such a fun show. Good memories. It was awesome to see her. We managed to move to the third row, center, by this time of the day.

I should have stayed there and enjoyed Stan Lee (who I don't really know other than he created Marvel) and Leonard Nimoy, who was joining the con by Skype, but I also really wanted to see Danny Glover... so I left and moved on!

** Danny Glover who I especially loved in Silverado... but many other movies too. It was cool to see him. He eneded up talking quite a bit about civil rights and etc. But it was cool to hear some of his history and that he remembered his grandma (or aunt) who was actually a freed slave. Also, he talked about how his grandma was so very bugged at him when she saw how he acted in The Color Purple. You know, he wasn't too nice in that movie.

In between all this celebrity stuff, we went to a few panels. I showed up to some writing ones featuring some of my favorite local authors like Bree Despain, J.R. Johannson, Natalie Whipple, Lisa Mangum, etc. We also went to a YouTubers panel. That was fun. And then, finally, a panel (well two guys) talking about the Skinwalker Ranch. Now, as it turns out, I'm extremely interested in skinwalkers these days, so I was very much looking forward to this one! However, they didn't talk much about actual skinwalkers because on this ranch, many more paranormal things are going on besides skinwalker sightings... things like UFOs and dinosaurs. They actually think it could be a time portal. Wait, what? I know!! Did you hear that? A TIME PORTAL! How cool and creepy and fantastic is that? Anway, if you want to know more about this place.... click here on the Skinwalker Ranch site. Some crazy stuff.

But... they did talk about skinwalkers a bit.. and I guess the one guy was actually abucted by one. He didn't want to talk about it much though... hello... I was dying! I wanted to know it all. But I could tell it freaked them out. And it was hard to talk about. Which is a thing, you know, having a hard time talking about them. But still, I wanted to know and now I want to buy the guy's book but it's out of print.

In between the panels and the celebrities, we managed to walk about a bit. That's when we took some pcitures and tried to shop. I wanted to at least buy a tshirt and maybe a Loki print, but didn't find the perfect one of either thing. So it never happened. Anyway, here's some of the pictures we took:

This is the line for Alan Tudyk.. . aka. Wash in Firefly and Wat
in A Night's Tale. Sadly. we did not get in. After this,we learned
that if you want a certain celebrity... go to the class before him!

In the end, the experience was wonderful and so much fun. The crowds were crazy, but can be avoided if you have strategy. The lines to get in were crazy but they figured it out for the other two days. Everything was crazy, but in a fun way. I loved it. I'll go again!

(P.S. As for my "official" Comic Con blogger status? Eh, that turned out to not be as cool a thing as I expected. They've only published one of my posts... I sent them three. We'll see... maybe there'll be more eventually, but I'm not holding my breath. It didn't send any more readers my direction that I know of either. Oh, well. It was a fun thought! And they did give me my ticket to the con after all!)

(P.P.S... sorry, what a long post! Gold star for you if you read the whole freaking thing!)


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