March 6, 2017

Thoughts While Reading Swiss Family Robinson

I'm mostly able not to read this through the prism of chronic pain & fatigue, but it's not easy. So many instances I stop and just think, how would I survive? I'd be at least semi-functional most of the time with meds. But without? Once they ran out? I wouldn't survive long. It's a challenge too massive to procure food and shelter while unable to stay awake or sit up, much less walk or build or hunt. I'd definitely have to rely on those with me. I hate relying on people as much as I do now. The thought of needing it all day long because I'm bedridden again makes me anxious, sad, and heartbroken. It's not easy having a disability. When you are fiercely independent, it's that much harder.

Only I would make this book this complicated. 😂

Have you ever read The Swiss Family Robinson?
Have you ever read a book that you threw more layers on than the author ever intended you're sure? No, just me?

March 5, 2017

Hiatus Interuptus

Hey! Is anybody still out there?

As you may have noticed, I have been on a hiatus for the past several months.  I've been the pretty much sole caretaker for my mom as she goes through treatment for breast cancer.  I say "pretty much" because my older sister has been around, but has been working 12 hour days and has a health issue so it's been mostly up to me.  And if you know me you know I am partially disabled myself so adding the role of caretaker onto my resume hasn't been easy to say the least. My younger sister and 2yo niece are in town right now from California and staying a couple of weeks, my older sister just got better treatment for her issue, my friend Michele has been helping out more, and my mom had her final chemo appointment this past Thursday (she's had every single side effect possible so I am SUPER glad this is behind her), so things should be a little less bat-shit crazy here for a while. Thank goodness.  I could use the rest.

However, my mom's treatment is not over.  She gets a couple weeks off to recover her white count from chemo and then she has another surgery (she had one prior to receiving chemo), and once she's recovered from THAT, then she goes through an intense round of radiation 5 days a week. 

Me, getting through the day any way I can
I am exhausted, I hurt continuously, and I'm basically running on caffeine, Adderall, pain pills, and adrenaline, but I am more than happy to help my mom out. She's always been there for me, including helping me through the most disabling 3 years of my life only a couple of years ago. I owe her so much.  She's going to survive, it is just a long fight to get there since the cancer is super aggressive.  But the good news is she will survive. Hooray! :)

I have missed blogging.  Just the other day Emma from Words & Peace sent me a lovely tweet about how she missed seeing my posts and would be here when I came back.  Others have sent me lovely messages of comfort and support, too, and I appreciate every. single. one.  They help you get through the really tough days when everything is going wrong and you aren't sure how you're going to take one more step, even if she has fallen again or her blood sugar fell or she can't breathe.  I worry so much I won't be able to be where I need to be when I need to be there because of my chronic pain & fatigue.  But it has worked out so far that on these days someone has been there to help out.  I am beyond grateful for that.  And you guys still being around hoping to hear my thoughts on books is just the best, thank you.  It helps me remember that all of this is temporary and that there are still completely normal, beautiful, happy, interesting things all around me even when I forget.

I am going to try to post something every now and then as I can.  It was pretty impossible when my mom first started treatment as she was sick all the time.  Fingers crossed I can take a few minutes to read and blog every week.  It would be good for my sanity. ;)

October 16, 2016

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

The Unit follows Dorrit Weger starting at the moment she is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit to be used for her biological material.  The Unit takes in every man over 60 and women over 50 who are single, childless, and without scientifically progressive occupations.  They are sequestered in The Unit, which provides them with food, shelter, clothes, shopping, and many amenities while they are put through experimental drug testing and psychological experiments, made to donate blood and platelets, and have their organs harvested. They will be there until their "final donation," which results in death. We follow Dorrit as she tries to mentally survive The Unit. When she ends up falling in love, suddenly this life changes from "just how it is" to an unbearable burden.

I went through a lot of emotions reading this book.  I actually can't believe I had not heard of this one before, considering I do like reading about dystopian societies. I often feel dystopians have been oversaturated in the industry for a while, but I still like reading them, and have ever since I first read 1984 over a decade ago.

The Unit made me question so much, such as, what would I do if I was in Dorrit's place? It is easy to sit here in freedom and safety and judge her choices and decide what I would want and do myself. But we never truly know until we are in that situation.  I have no children of my ownIn our own society, I am often seen as strange for not wanting my own children, and am often judged. Especially since I love children.  I have just never had the desire to be pregnantIn the book's society, they have gone further than judging people and have declared that the childless are less worthy of living.  I am more expendable.  My working body parts are more useful transferred to an ill parent or a doctor or scientist. No one else is of any importance farther than the use of harvesting their bodies.  Can you imagine such a societyThat the only qualifications for the importance of a human being is the ability to procreate or the ability to further the advancement of life and procreation.  It is eugenicsAnd it is terrifying.

The Unit's society is very specific about gender roles, as well.  I have never been one to stick to any prescribed role so that was unsettling, too. I feel people should be able to live in whatever kind of role they see fitGender roles are very culture-specific.  Nature itself has a variety of gender roles that play out across the animal kingdom from male seahorses carrying the fertilized eggs in its own pouch instead of the female, to female praying mantis' killing the males as soon as they are done mating, to homosexual penguins, dolphins, giraffes, and more.  In the book's society the people have no freedom of choice.  Not only are their bodies not their own, but neither are they allowed their own ideas, desires, needs, or beliefs.

Thanks to Kristen for getting me to read this book. It reaffirmed for me how much I believe in personal freedoms, as long as what you are doing does not harm another person.   I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels, especially one from an adult perspective.

September 24, 2016

Happy Fall! Halloween Events and Playlists

Happy Autumn, everybody!

Once I loved all 4 seasons equally.  For the decade since I got fibromyalgia, I prefer the warmer months simply because I feel better during warmer weather. Cold weather makes my muscles seize up.  HOWEVER, I still love wrapping up in blankets with hot tea or cocoa and a good book.  I love watching the leaves changing to all the beautiful shades of green, orange, red, and yellow.  I even love pumpkin spice candles like some basic white girl. :D  I might feel better physically during the warmer months, but I still mentally and emotionally love so many things about the autumn.

This year I have decided to take part in some spooky reading events, too.

Hosted by Michelle of True Book Addict/Seasons of Reading/Castle Macabre:


Gothic September and Season of the Witch Events

FrightFall Readathon

R.I.P. hosted by Carl @ Stainless Steel Droppings
If you don't know, Carl includes several different options for this event (which I am TOTALLY late joining in for because it is all of September and October).  Since I am reading for Michelle's events, I am going to do the Peril the Screen option for RIP and make myself watch some creepy movies!

Right now I have been reading Dracula by Bram Stoker since Gothic September started.  I am not sure what else I am going to add on.  Dracula is pretty long.  I am reading Lamp Black, Grey Wolf by Paula Brackston, too, but it is more of a paranormal ghost/magic and Merlin re-telling than it is horror or gothic, but I do think there is a witch aspect to it. I need to read further and make sure for Michelle's October event.

For the screen challenge, I know I want to watch The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, re-watch Sleepy Hollow the Johnny Depp version, and maybe a re-watch of a couple of the films I watched last year for this challenge like Stonehearst Asylum or Lost Boys or The Awakening. I usually watch The Others around this time of year, as well.  It's my favorite movie of this type, it really is.

And as you may or may not know, my seriously terrible A.D.D. has led me to create playlists on Spotify of instrumental music to help me concentrate on reading (counterproductive it may seem, but it totally works) and now I have created a Halloween Background Music playlist to listen to whilst reading Dracula and any other books I pick up for these events.  Then I created a Halloween-ish playlist with words, too, to listen to in the car or while cleaning the house. I have not always dived into Halloween without reluctance - I was once very, embarrassingly easily scared. Last year (or maybe year before?) I slowly got back into it. Now as long as I avoid hard core gore I can handle most things. It has opened up a lot more movies, tv shows, and books for me. Huzzah!  That is always to be celebrated!

ANYway, I thought I'd share the playlists with you in case you wanted to pilfer the songs you like for your own playlists or follow it or maybe it will give you the idea to create your own on your own music platform you enjoy.  So here are the links to each and I included a sampling of songs included in case you can't see the lists because you don't have Spotify (you should totally get it, it is awesome, but I digress) because I am not sure if you can still see them or not.

Halloween Instrumental Background Music

Over 6 hours of music. Some songs include:

Music to be Murdered By by Alfred Hitchcock and Jeff Alexander
Whale & Wasp by Alice in Chains
Tubular Bells by Mary Ayers (from "The Exorcist")
Bad Things (from "True Blood")
Room 1408 by Gabriel Yared (from "1408")
Ghost Song by Max Ablitzer
Creepy Crawl by Necro
Psycho - Suite for Strings by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Night of the Vampire by The Moontrekkers
Theme from Friday the 13th
White Walkers by Ramin Djawadi (from "Game of Thrones") 
Bad Moon Rising (instrumental version of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song)
Sympathy for the Devil (inst. version of the Rolling Stones song)
Hungry Face by Mogwai (you might recognize this as theme song from France's The Returned tv show)

Psycho Killer - Halloween-ish Playlist

3 hours of music. Some songs included:

Psycho Killer by Talking Heads
Sweet Transvestite from Rocky Horror Picture Show
Nightmare by Avenge Sevenfold
Elegy by Carina Round
If I Had a Heart by Fever Ray (you may remember this song from Vikings or The Following)
Hotel California by The Eagles
The Devil in Miss Jones by Mike Ness
Horror Hotel by The Misfits
Gods & Monsters by Lana Del Rey
The Watcher by Midnight Syndicate
Voodoo by Godsmack
Down in a Hole by Alice in Chains
Trigger Happy Jack by Poe
Black Magic by Magic Wands
Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMann (Theme from Lost Boys)
Devil in Me by 22-20s
Thriller by Michael Jackson  

What are you reading this fall/autumn/Halloween?  Gothic stories?  Horror?  Psychological scary or gory scary?  Are you participating in any of the above events?  Share in the comments!!

September 6, 2016

A Thousand Salt Kisses: Why to Skip It


I couldn't even read half of this book. The writing is, unfortunately, pretty awful. I love a good mermaid story, so I kept reading thinking it had to get better at some point, but no. No, it doesn't. I've read stories written by young teenagers that far exceed this writing. It was just truly terrible. Here is why:

1. The descriptions of people and places are laundry lists of adjectives - every adjective she could find. Kill me now.

2. The main character constantly contradicts herself and I'm not sure the author settled on a personality for her. She is one way, then the complete opposite 2 pages later, then she changes back, and it goes on like this continuously.

3. Everything is a stereotype or a cliche, from what Crystal acts like to what the bad guy of the story is like. The only originality I saw was in the character's personality disorder. (which I don't believe was on purpose.)

4. I wouldn't find Crystal relatable even if I was still a teenager. Probably because I still have no idea who she is. But also probably because she is supposedly really smart but is written as an obnoxious and naive twit of a girl who couldn't find her way out of a paper bag (how is that for cliches, Demuth?)

5. Insta-love. I HATE insta-love. Not only that, but it wasn't even done well. The guy was cliche in looks, and boring as drywall in personality. 

I am not usually so harsh on a book I did not like because I know the author tried. But I don't think this one tried at all. There is no way.

I seriously wanted to throw this book at a wall several times, but it was on my Kindle, so I just pressed delete extra, extra hard.

P.S. If you want to read a GOOD story about mermaids, try Nichole Chase's Flukes and Tera Lynn Child's Forgive My Fins.