Tag Archives: reads

BIP: Summer Goals

So a while back now (like January) my mother gave me the best gift anyone could give me when they have no clue what to give me… a Chapter’s gift card! I finally got around to actually making a selection for my purchase, which is very hard when you’ve already created yourself a wish list on your account that’s valued over 1000$ hahaha.

I have very limited estate for books
I have very limited estate for books

I knew I wanted to get a box set to maximize my gift cards value, question what which box sets did I want? The Maze Runner and Beautiful Creatures were off right away because I’ve been buying their first few books individually because I’ve been having a love-hate relationship with those series. I also considered Game of Thrones, but I kind of want that collection to be hard cover. While I was living in Hawaii I picked up Restaurant at the end of Universe, a part of the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy collection. I remember enjoying that book and the challenge this universe presented with its language and terminology. I had no space left to bring the book back, so this was the perfect opportunity to get the whole series! Which is beautiful!

Awesome cover/banner
Awesome cover/banner

All the book covers were designed for the images to align next to each other. I live and die all at the same time just looking at this spread. The synopsis for each book are just as amazing to me.

“One Thursday lunchtime the Earth is Unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun, and the galaxy is a very strange and startling place.”

The following books each seem to have just as humorous of a tale to get you ready. I love the movie adaptation for this novel. The world they created in the movie with all the space characters were so great I’m going to love sitting outside on a warm sunny evening, enjoy a beer and read this series.

20150319_232258[1]20150319_232342[1]

Look at how dense those books are! The thickest one has over a thousand pages! eek! This will be more of a mental challenge because of the immensity of it all, that’s why I was reading Game of Thrones eBook style so it wouldn’t be as daunting.

20150319_232324[1]This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to book covers. Promotional stamps/stickers. I’m not sure exactly how this happens, maybe some deal between the publishers and the production company has them print more books with the tv show being promoted, I don’t like it. I’m very much a fan or original print or art covers that don’t bring into account their tv/movie counter-part. Off the top of my head; If I Stay, Lord of the Rings, GoT (starting to), etc. It also bugs me that only this cover out of the four in the series I purchase is the only one with this tag which I cannot remove! Ahh! The TORTURE!!

If you haven’t seen the tv series (season 2 starts April 4th!) or read the book the synopsis written for it goes by…

“Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another…

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon—when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire’s destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life …and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire…and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.”

 I cannot wait for this semester to finish so I can commit more brain waves and space towards reading. Let’s be honest, sometimes reality just isn’t as great as fiction is.

There goes the last bit of space without staking on top.
There goes the last bit of space without stacking on top.

Just a minor note: These two box sets came up to 53$CDN…. so 9 books for 50$ sounds like victory to me.

Book Windup: These Broken Stars

*Chances this will contain (minor) spoilers*

I wanted to read this book because of the mix reviews it was getting and I wanted to get a clear satisfactory opinion of it on my own. This novel was co-written by an Aussie and an American. The american writer is from Washington, DC so I imagine when they were writing up the draft for this novel she provided the backdrop information on the multi-planetary corporation LaRoux Industries. Their business is terra-forming uninhabited planets for colonization and scientific exploration… but is operated by what feels like a business-sociopath. The Aussie, Amie Kaufman, providing the sci-fy aspects.

Overall I really liked this book, some topics of the book were only vaguely detailed which I took liberties of filling in the gap. The story just drops you off in this particular time frame with no real history or origin story to provide better understanding of their kooky society. I’ll try explain why, however! Some information is backed-up with reading a short story called This Night So Dark by the authors released for free to be read, book #1.5 you could say, that tells how Tarver Meredsen received his medal of honor. That’s not a spoiler, it’s all apart of the pre-text as to why his character is on the Icarus mingling among the “elite social” class to begin with.

Hello Space
Hello Space

How I herd this book being summarize was “like titanic, but in space…. then survival.” The only real comparison between the two is just the ship “sinking.” Otherwise Tarver and Lilac both prove to have the necessary survival skills to get off Icarus in the only escape pod able to deploy. I guess to create some sort of fun dialogue between the two initially they used their division of “society classes” since it’s their only familiarity on a planet that’s not so much familiar. Apart of the reason as to why I felt extremely freaked out at certain moments along their journey to the crashed ship was because I read it after a couple glasses of wine around 2 a.m., so I felt extra paranoid, in the dark. Regardless of the wine, these moments T&L had with these “whisperers” really had me feeling vulnerable and scared for what could happen to them. It’s not until closer to the end of the book that the whisperers were able to acknowledge them and assure them they meant no harm, even though they had many opportunities to do otherwise. I was along the mind frame they were being “killed with kindness.”

Space hyper-speed: While the characters in the book try to attempt explaining the ships ability to travel hyper-speed I’ve translated into terms I think better clarify whats being attempted. SO! Imagine time is a straight line, however hyper-speed requires the manipulation of folding the fabric of space (they call it rifts I believe) to cut down travel time between colonized planets that are millions or billions of light years away.  How they created this technology isn’t explained fully is so were bypassing this origin story for the time being.

rough sketch
rough sketch/ Sorry it’s crap- made it on Paint

The planet which Tarver and Lilac  crash onto was a terra-formed planet in the final stages of colonization yet left alone because of the scientific experiment it had been running commissioned by LaRoux Industry. The concept that this planet had an alternative energy source (life-related) which they were able to contain between the outpost station and the mirror moon creating this great energy, very unstable clearly, that can influences the atmosphere’s gravity and its strength. I believe they initially thought they could use this energy in conjunction with the mirrored moon as a way to improve hyper-space travel. Ever played Mario go-cart? when you drive your avatar over the arrows on the road it speeds up the cart significantly? So i imagine this is the type of concept/theory they were grasping for.  The amount of energy a ship holding over 50,000 people to travel hyper-speed to planets millions of light-years away must be insurmountable, which is why LaRoux Industry attempted this research. In the ships case, it clips a little too close to the atmosphere (and gravity) of the planet because time is “folded” at this point this “friction” rips the ship apart. Like tectonic plates.

However from the information given in book #1.5 questions were being raised in terms of the safety of such a creation happening by the head scientist conduction the research.  It’s insane to think a corporation has so much power that it has the ability to hide a planet! That’s why I think there’s more than one of these types of planets existing, hence the question marks scattered on the rough sketch.

Another really unspoken matter was just how much Lilac was able to hear and understand the whisperers were saying towards the end. Why she was targeted so heavily in comparison to Tarver? Might be because of how little emotional attachment she felt towards returning to her planet and father? The universe’s wealthiest and most powerful man. It’s the only way I can justify her actions and doing what she did, or else how would they have been able to destroy the blue energy source from behind the door in the communication building’s basement floor. Taking the whisperers out of limbo, didn’t they? confused.

I haven’t completed the series, so many of the incomplete answers to questions I have may still be answered in book #2 or #3 which are from alternative duo characters. Not from the ship, but the universe itself so most of my questions are more related to their universe and society. Overall I’d give this book an 8.5/10.

Last Note: This series might be converted into a television series. Not sure how that’ll work out.

Barnes and Noble Collectible Edition

I love books.

Hard covers even more, special editions even more than more. Which is why if I have the means to get ones that I’m interested in reading or the cover just blows my socks off I’ll do what I can to get it. Barnes and Noble has an array of classic books leather bounded with beautiful gold filigree and art work on both the cover and inside, the page edges are gold, and there’s the ribbon bookmark! They just reminded me of walking into a home library with vaulted ceilings so book cases would go all the way up the walls and ladders were necessary, and on these cases were stacks of leather bounded books collected over time and chosen with love and care.

Beast’s Library

 

The library that's beauty and the beats inspiration!
The library that’s beauty and the beats inspiration!

So the one’s I own are pictured below: Arabian Nights, Alice in Wonderland, Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Dracula. I haven’t read the two thicker books because, let’s be honest, its way too intimidating to approach them for any other reason than just admiration. That’s why I read GoT eBook style, just to ease my manic need to read novels quick. For the other three, a ranking of which I enjoyed, most to least, I would say Dracula, Sense & Sensibility, then Pride & Prejudice. I think because for the most part once you read Dracula you can understand why many people say it’s near impossible to make a true adaptation into film for it. The style and sense Bram Stoker places the reader in just make you feel like your literally going through the motions, thoughts, and feelings of the characters. It feels very film noir in the sense that more visual/scenic layout is provided over dialogue. Not to say there isn’t dialogue, just the tone and mood Bram sets you in has a more visceral affect. The book cover for this novel was perfect! I lost my mind in excitement just looking at it.

For Jane Austen’s novel there have been so many adaptations into film, mini-series, or television specials that you could find one that fits your ideal translation from novel to movie. The collectible editions by Barnes and Noble may initially seem like off-putting colour to match them with but it grows on you. The chances off all the books being able to have the same colour with slight change in tone variation is difficult without all the novels from different authors looking like a collection of dictionary tomes, aka the same. Disregarding the looks of the books, they’re both good reads. The style isn’t current so if words are written in a manner you can’t decipher right away just do a quick google or dictionary search and that should clear up any miscomprehension. All of these novels do have sparks notes you can find online, but if you’re reading for leisure instead of a school assignment I would say pass on the sparks.

I have attempted reading Arabian Nights, and have read a few chapters but I had trouble wrapping my head around the logic some of the stories were making. Thought it best I leave it for another attempt at a later time when instead of looking at the book my first thought being “oooo, pretty,” is actually “I wanna read that book.” Arabian and Alice were purely shallow purchases initially because they’re so beautiful to look at and I wanted them on my bookshelf for others to envy. That’s not a bad way either to start a book, just looking at the cover, which is generally speaking the “faux pas.” However if you’ve developed a love for the characters, stories, themes by some other means and want to better understand the plot and you by chance walk by said book looking extra alluring, why not?

These novels I purchased between $15-$22 depending on their sizes.

Book Windup: The Intern’s Handbook

Now I found this book in my local Chapters tucked away in the business section and thought the title intriguing enough to buy it despite the $30 price tag on it. I like to stay below 20 if I can help it, hence a lot of YA books. Alas, I looked at purchasing and reading this book as an investment towards bettering my education in the business academia world. I was wrong. Let’s call it a blond moment because I’m fully aware now of all the signs that point it else wise of it being a nonfictional book. (warning: potential spoilers)

Book Cover
Book Cover

I have almost too much faith in the bookstore to have scattered books sorted, and I should have read the inside sleeve and maybe a few pages into the novel as well. This book had nothing to do about business or developing skills to become the desired intern a company may decide to take on as a full time employee. It’s a fictional story about a young man in his mid-twenties who grew up in the foster care system and done time in juvie only to be taken in by an organization whose business is assassinations. These young, vulnerable, no family to miss foster kids are trained and then placed into large corporate businesses staging as interns. This book follows the story of the main character’s final job/year in the organization. Because the only way this organization’s is able to place their assassins in intern roles is because of their youthful appearance.

John Lago is the main character of the novel. He’s HR, Inc. (his organization’s name and fronts as a “placement agency”) best hitman. He’s placed on his last assignment, during his time there he’ll address you the reader on various tricks he’s pick-up during his time as a hitman (i.e. making the perfect cup of coffee), but also the style will switch back so your just the reader instead of participating. During this period at this law firm he’s interning at he develops a relationship with a co-worker, Alice, that will help him gain better access to one of the Law firms partner who’s his target (there’s 3, but only 1 is targeted). Turns out Alice isn’t who John thought she was, HR, Inc. and his boss aren’t who he thought they were, and during all this chaos he finds out who his parents were (they’re alive?). Is John really who he thinks he is?? John takes everything thrown at him with calculated, sarcastic, predatory style attitude which was fun for me to read.

Under 300 pages and an easy language to follow if you have nothing going on for a couple days, it can done on a weekend. I’d give it 7/10 mainly cause it cost $30, I know I shouldn’t punish the book for the price tag it was given and I consequentially agreed to pay for but its my review. So Ha! Anyways, its a good book for all ages depending on how critical one is of their particular choice of literature.

Who wants to be killed by Franco?!?
Who wants to be killed by Franco?!?

Fun Fact: Sony bought the movie rights to this book and Dave Franco is to take on the lead role. I think he’s a good choice, we’ll see how that pans out.

Rise and Shine: Olomana trail

I’ll start off right away with saying if you’r new to the hiking scene or even just wary of heights, I’d recommend taking other hikes just a few notches below this one (like Maunawili Falls).

The Olomana trail is more on the eastside of the island, about a 10-15 minute drive from Kaneohe area. I’ve unfortunately never taken the bus to this trail so I can’t say much on how direct a bus will get you to the trail, however; Hawaii’s transit system is one of the best you can experience so it’s not impossible to get there, just time consuming.

You’ll recognize it from the distance because the whole trail consists of 3 peaks in total. This hike will take up a few hours of your day, if you only go to the first peak. That’s what I did. I’m terrified of heights, but can manage as long as I know that there should be no reason to fear. As I was approaching the summit of the first peak the path narrows and becomes completely rock at the top (there’s rope for some security), so in some sense your walking/scaling the peak. The view is unfucking believable! You see pretty much all of Kaneohe-Kailua Bay area, the military base, the scattered islands (i.e. coconut island), and geographically is stunning to see pretty much the creation of the island to how is it today and it kind of clues you in better to Oahu’s weather if you weren’t sure before.

Let’s return to the bottom of the trail though and work our way up. The lane you walk/drive down to the beginning of this trail does feel a bit “private property” because of the golf course nearby, but as long as you’re parked off the side of the road there won’t be any problems.

entrance to trail
entrance to trail

The trek begins easy enough feeling similar to a walk through a forest area. There’s even a point where pine needle like trees have a whole area covered. Feels almost like a scene out of Lord of the Rings when its just Frodo, Sam, and Gollum. Picture doesn’t serve my memory justice. hahaha

Best tip for this hike is finding your right pace and sticking to it. Initially this hike will seem novice and not too difficult to speed along but it does become challenging and fatigue will set in. If you set out a pace and maintain that throughout the hike, it will be more relaxing and enjoyable when not having to stop constantly to catch ones breath.

Hawaii's kind of Pine Forest
Hawaii’s kind of Pine Forest

Another part of the trail becomes an open area of packed red dirt. My assumption would be because of the high iron content from extinct volcanic activity. You can tell this area would be annoying to hike after some generous rainfall because it would be a slippery mess. lol (are lol okay to use in blogs?)

Look at all the red dirt!

These next parts get harder. By that I mean… climbing.

Start climbing
Start climbing

and more climbing…

Be careful!

and then….

Thanks for demonstrating Kathy*
Thanks for demonstrating Kathy*

At this point you might want to take a break. Pack a lunch that’s easily portable and re-energize, cause you’ve earned it! I’ll admit the trail will remain pretty narrow (single lane traffic), but the occasional nook appears that you can sit and take a break.

Relax, your only hundreds of feet above sea level. hahaha
Relax, your only hundreds of feet above sea level.

Look around! check out the views! it’s crazy inspiring.

best views
best views
The next two peaks
The next two peaks
close up of #3
close up of #3

Now this next picture is essentially what the “Summit” of the 1st peak looks like, and it terrified me. That may have been from being completely exhausted at this point and not giving myself sufficient recovery time because the minute I saw this I was like “DONE!”

summit of peak #1
summit of peak #1

 You’ll feel so pleased with yourself afterwards; all that physical stamina for the experience will be worth it. I will express severe caution now and this is because of what happened the day I went. It was Easter Weekend, and there were a fair amount of groups doing the trek, and we didn’t find out until we were walking back to our vehicle that we saw the News trucks parked. Three people had fallen off the trail! I can’t remember if it was more than 1 that ended in fatality. It was a very somber moment, and crazy to think these people were on the hike as well (they all passed the 1st peak though before they fell). Rescue helicopters were scouring the areas around peaks #2 and #3. I know one was with a group and they didn’t even notice the person’s disappearance right away, and that was already after this group pulled a different member from a fall of his/her own. I don’t mean to scare, just express caution. If your not sure-footed or a bit of a klutz just recognized your limit.

Hike time to 1st peak: 1.5hr-2hr depending on personal fitness and pace level.

BIP: Books in Progress

Ever come across a book you’ve wanted to read so badly but it’s just a challenge to open the book knowing the hard road that’s about to come your way? It’s not a leisure read, but it’s definitely rewarding to close that book and think, “YES!!” throw that book onto the bed and do a celebratory dance then proceed to kitchen to enjoy that well earned glass of wine.

Well no wine for Emma just yet, she’s got some books to finish.

Book #1: Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

This book is a challenge to read for me right now because of my sense of accomplishment towards book 1 & 2, along with the Hobbit has me all J.R.R. Tolkien out. I had a very good reading pattern for this series going, 1 hr 3-4 nights a week. This initially did start out as a leisure read however; I do get distracted easily by the young adult section (knocking out 4 YA books in a month with no sweat). Regrettably this book has begun collecting dust and my bookmark is my sole indicator and reminder of just where I am in the book (with Pippin exploring Minas Tirith and seeing day become swallowed by darkness from Mordor). I’ll make a mental note to finish this before the year has ended… or at least January 3rd. That happens to be both Tolkien and myself’s birthday.

#2: Children of Men by P.D. James

Novel Cover
Novel Cover

If this sounds familiar to you, its because it was adapted into a movie back in 2006 staring Clive Owen. That was my first exposure to this story, and it took quiet a few years for me to finally get around to buy this book and find a set time to sit down and read this story. Before I continue I’ll say SPOILER just in case this should reveal anything for anyone who might choose to read this book. I’ll start with this; I’m a book over movie type of person. No matter how visually exciting a movie may be, I’m crazy for the small details and background information characters would have that films don’t have time to inform the audience about. Which this book does, in very wordily detail your given amazing information and imagery about Theo and his relationship with minor characters and societies attitude towards their demise and how governments (mainly Britain) have seen to proceed life with as much structure (oligarchy??) as it can possibly enforce with a world mixed with “who cares?” and “what’s the point?” also, jobs/careers that become moot in this sterile world are discussed as well. This books a challenge for me right now because of how dense of the novel has been. Contained in under 200 pages, I’m only a quarter way through yet it feels like I’ve made little progression in the plot. I feel like Yoda is whispering in my ear “Patients you must have.” I’M TRYING YODA!!

#3 A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin 

I don’t need to elaborate very much on why this book is a BIP. It’s over 1000+ pages! Holy crap I’m on chapter 26 of 64! I’m not beating myself up over my slow progress over this one. Each chapter is a different character so it’s more like 8+ books in one. The only complaint I have is I wish Arya had more chapter’s in this book. I understand Feast of Crows is in the same timeline as A Dance with Dragons and she had many chapters in FoC. Doesn’t stop me from wanting a book solely on her adventures in Braavos. How amazing would that be! George has released an Arya chapter from The Winds of Winter and my reaction? I just felt like I was at Eminem’s first ever Rap battle backing away from the computer screen, arms up in the airs, making inaudible noises from shock and excitement. WHAT!! WOAH!! OH NO HE DIDN’T!!!