Sunday, August 16, 2015

It's Been Almost A Year...

Since I got married.

My first wedding anniversary is on Thursday. It's hard to believe it's been a year already. Time has flown by.

Unfortunately I haven't gotten to spend as much time with my husband as I would have liked, but we're much further in our process of getting to be together than we were. (For anyone who might not know, my husband is Canadian, and I live in the US. I'm currently in the process of trying to immigrate to Canada, so that we can be together.)

What's even crazier is that my husband and I have been together for 10 years in September.

My plane should have already taken off and I should be on my way to Canada see him already, but the flight has been delayed for about 3 more hours, til 8:25, so I'll just have to be a little more patient and wait a little longer.

Since I had to work this morning, and have been awake since 5 AM, that's going to make for a very long night. Here's to hoping that I can sleep on the plane.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Among The Ten Thousand Things

23503361Title: Among The Ten Thousand Things
Author: Julia Pierpoint 
Series:  N/A
Publisher: Random House
Published: July 7th, 2015
Format: Kindle ARC
Pages: 336
Dates Read: July 8-19th
Source: Received from publisher via Netgalley
in exchange for an honest review
Add on Goodreads
My Rating: 2 Stars
Snippet That Stuck With Me: N/A

Synopsis: or fans of Jennifer Egan, Jonathan Franzen, Lorrie Moore, and Curtis Sittenfeld, Among the Ten Thousand Things is a dazzling first novel, a portrait of an American family on the cusp of irrevocable change, and a startlingly original story of love and time lost.

Jack Shanley is a well-known New York artist, charming and vain, who doesn’t mean to plunge his family into crisis. His wife, Deb, gladly left behind a difficult career as a dancer to raise the two children she adores. In the ensuing years, she has mostly avoided coming face-to-face with the weaknesses of the man she married. But then an anonymously sent package arrives in the mail: a cardboard box containing sheaves of printed emails chronicling Jack’s secret life. The package is addressed to Deb, but it’s delivered into the wrong hands: her children’s.

With this vertiginous opening begins a debut that is by turns funny, wise, and indescribably moving. As the Shanleys spin apart into separate orbits, leaving New York in an attempt to regain their bearings, fifteen-year-old Simon feels the allure of adult freedoms for the first time, while eleven-year-old Kay wanders precariously into a grown-up world she can’t possibly understand. Writing with extraordinary precision, humor, and beauty, Julia Pierpont has crafted a timeless, hugely enjoyable novel about the bonds of family life—their brittleness, and their resilience

Melissa's Musings:

What originally drew me to this book was the synopsis. I couldn't imagine something like this happening to a family. Sure, affairs happen far too often. But for one of the participants to print out all the emails and conversations and send it to the wife of her lover, and instead it falls into the children's hands? I had to read about what would happen after that.

Sadly, despite the synopsis and the promise of that story, the book was a huge letdown.

The main thing that took away from this book for me is the sequence jumping. I don't think I've ever read a book where the story is told out of sequence. It's very unsettling. You start out as the story unfolds and the box is delivered. Then in part two, everyone ages, and you find out what eventually happens to the entire family as they go through life. Part three is a jump back to the past and the summer adventures directly after the box. Part four is somewhere between 3 and 2. The last line of the book had me saying "Seriously? That's it?" to myself.

I felt almost no connection to the characters. The story felt detached, the phrasing blurted out in rough, but descriptive sentences. I think I kept reading the book hoping that it would redeem itself somehow. That somewhere along the way,  story would start taking a deeper turn, and you'd really start to get into the characters thoughts as they went through this experience.

I was hoping for a look into the minds of the kids, and how Simon and Kay would process and deal with their father's affair. Simon reacts in anger, Kay seems to shrink away into herself. But there's no deeper processing beyond that.

 I wanted more from Deborah too, more than to see her just run away for the summer. And more from Jack, than just seeing him wrap himself in his work and run off to Arizona.

The synopsis promised a story that was funny, wise, and indescribably moving. I found it to be none of these things. I did enjoy bits and pieces of the writing, but that's probably the only thing that kept me from giving the story only one star. If I could sum up the book I would say it reminds me of Jack's installation art piece. An attempt to see inside the destruction of a demolition site that ends up detonating in disappointment one last time unexpectedly, just like his failed art show detonates unexpectedly injuring that woman. Only the ending of the book leaves the reader slightly injured and disappointed.

Have you read this? What did you think of it?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review: Hera, Queen of Gods

Hera, Queen of Gods (Goddess Unbound, #1)Title: Hera, Queen of Gods
Author: T.D. Thomas
Series: Goddess Unbound # 1
Publisher: Self Published
Published: October 3, 2012
Format: Kindle
Pages: 536
Dates Read: June 26-July 5
Source: Received from the author
in exchange for an honest review
Add on Goodreads
My Rating: 3 Stars
Hera couldn't care less what the other gods think, even when it's about her. And it often is. Frankly, Hera couldn't care less about anything, except doing her duty as queen - protecting order and defending the mortal world against any threats. But when the Fates go missing, Hera and a handful of other gods must temporarily become mortal to search the human world for the missing goddesses.

Hera finds that mortality begins to change her. It's not just the loss of her divine powers. She expected that. It's deeper somehow. It's affecting how she thinks, how she feels, what's important to her. And it gets much worse after she meets Justin, who defies every prejudice she once had
about mortals. At the worst possible time, and despite all her efforts, Hera's black-and-white world starts to unravel.

Torn between who she's becoming and who she needs to be in order to fulfill her duty, Hera must survive a horde of murderous creatures sent to exploit her new weakness. In the end, only Hera can stop a traitorous plot conceived by a secret alliance of ancient and new enemies, a plot that threatens to destroy not only the order Hera is sworn to protect, but all of existence itself

Melissa's Musings

I have to admit, my knowledge of Greek Mythology is a little sparse, given that the only time I remember learning about it was in 6th grade, and that was now several years ago. At first, I was tempted to Google and fact check the powers and roles of all the different gods that were mentioned, but I decided to let myself get carried away into the story instead.

I do have to say though that I've never read a story that put such a modern twist on the subject before. I really liked the fact that Thomas set the story with these gods and goddesses inhabiting the bodies of teenagers. Definitely not something you would expect.

The story progresses quickly and is quite action packed. A little too much so, if I'm being honest. Once the story got going it seemed like the characters were constantly battling/running from something. First it's half man half bear. Then, it's snakes. And then a giant. And harpies, among other things.

While all this action definitely makes you want to keep turning the pages, it really takes away from the character development. I felt like the story was more about the action and less about the characters themselves.

If I had to pick a favorite though, it would be Hera. She's strong, somewhat closed off, but also has a softer side. Her spark with Justin is an interesting twist too, given that she despises the fact that Zeus falls for mortals all the time. But, since Justin becomes a Dreamer throughout the course of the story maybe it's just a little different for her?

Justin's ability to move to and from the Dreamlands was also an unexpected twist. It felt like a reward for all the stuff he was quickly expected to believe and go along with when he started helping the gods on their mission to find the Fates.

There's also an element of magic in the story which was an interesting touch as well.

This was a unique story, and, despite a little too much action I'm curious to see what else happens to these characters.

Has anyone else read this? Or would you recommend any other stories that feature Greek mythology?