A Court of Mist and Fury: Wow.


Moments ago I finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. Wow, does not cover it. There are too many words that I want to use and non of them can encompass the amazing novel I just spent my entire day reading because I couldn’t put it down.

I did pause for food and water, I’m not that self destructive, but I had only read about a quarter of the way through this 624 page book before I sat down and devoured it today. Just shows how much I can read on a day that I don’t have to deal with adulthood.

Maas has outdone herself. The way she managed to manipulate my emotions and my sensations was remarkable. I lived and breathed with Feyre, the main character, through the whole novel. I don’t understand the power that Maas wields over me with there words, but I love it.

The novel starts slow and that’s likely why it took me some time to actually sit and read through, but it has to. Once you get midway through you realize that Feyre needs that time to adjust and deal with her PTSD. You go through it with her and you’re on her side, willing that fire in her to ignite, for her to become that strength you know she is.

Normally, I would find flaws in even my favourite novels, but apart from a few editing errors where clearly spellcheck added the wrong word, I found no flaws in her plot, no re-story telling of that same story so over used.

There’s not much more I can say other than read it. READ IT. Maas is the top of my list for authors, without a doubt. You don’t read her work, you live it.

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The Night Circus – Yeah, Okay.


I’ve just finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I have mixed feelings about this one.

Normally, you’d find me rattling off the praise for the novel first off, but there’s something that truly had me struggling with this novel. The execution of the actual sentences was poor. So many times I had to stop and re-read a sentence or two because I honestly did not understand what Morgenstern was trying to convey. Many of the sentences were wordy and unnecessarily long. I’ve always found that great writing conveys exactly what is meant to be conveyed in as few words as possible. Yes, I know that we embellish and add words for flourish and style, but Morgenstern’s sentence structures felt fumbled and in disarray rather than stylistic.

That being said, I did enjoy the story as a whole, even though I felt that the organization of her multiple perspective structure could have used some more work. Some pieces didn’t seem to fit in the flow of things, others seemed obsolete nearing the end and didn’t need to be there.

However, despite all these technical flaws the story itself was well thought out. The characters were rich and vibrant, while the challenge surrounding the circus is what kept me reading.

My favourite characters, which will likely be everyone’s favourite characters, were Poppet and Widgets. Their mixture of brilliance and innocence made them so enchanting. Plus, I just love red-heads.

The concept of the circus itself was wonderful and well described. Each tent had it’s own individual personality that resinated well on the page. I found when I was reading the descriptions of each tent that I fumbled far less over the sentence structure.

My final verdict for this novel would be to read it, only for the general story idea, rather than the execution of it. I’m, of course, very picky when it comes to the execution of an idea and for me it needs to be done well so that I can immerse myself in a novel without tripping over awkward sentences. But, unlike me, a lot of people won’t notice these things that grind my gears.

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Holiday Swag – The Wordiest Kind


I thought you’d all want to check out my Holiday Haul!

My family knows me oh-so well and decided that instead of guessing at what I’d like to read they’d just give me Indigo gift cards. Well done family!

Boxing Day Sale = so many lovely books.

Here’s what I got:

Baltasar and Blimunda  by Jose Saramago
The Night Circus  by Erin Morgentern
The Passion of New Eve  by Angela Carter
Night at the Circus by Angela Carter
Maddam by Margaret Atwood
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardvgo
Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Now, I know it’s quite the mixed bag, but so is the inside of my head.

This brings my total of unread books I own up to 38. It’s an addition, okay. I should really join a support group for book buyers… I mean really.

Anyways, some of these titles with be reviewed, hopefully soon.

(We’re getting a new system at work which I need to be an expert on by February 1st, so a lot of studying/reading will be devoted to that, but I’m determined not to let work take over my life this year.)

I raise my books to you and all book lovers, let’s hit that 50 books read goal this year and finish a novel! Okay, I might be getting ahead of myself here. To as many as humanly possible without burning out!

Lost: 2015. Have you seen it?


Well, I lost a whole year!

What in all the versions of the afterlife happened?!?

Last you heard from me it was 2014 and I promised I’d updated you on my travels… what a fail.

So, I spent my days looking for work, finding work, working my ass off, being under appreciated, and finding new work. Doesn’t my life sound fun? Yeah, no wonder I didn’t write anything for a year, nothing happened!

Okay, not nothing. I fell head first into a life I never expected. I became a house wife, so to speak. I live with my fella, it’s been nearly a year now. We’ve dawned typical domestic gender rolls, except I still work. Yes, the feminist’s soul in me died after the third load of laundry. But we have the cutest kitty in the known universe, so I guess it’s okay. And no, I’m not biased.

But there’s been an itch in my brain I just couldn’t scratch. For some reason, I spent the last year feeling somewhat vacant. Something from this glamorous life was missing. I’ve been working harder than I’ve ever worked for less money than I’ve ever made, I’ve been keeping an almost clean house, and feeding the creatures I live with, but I haven’t felt fulfilled? How could these things not keep me ecstatic, you ask? I asked the same thing.

At first, I realized, “You shmuck, you haven’t read much in a while!” Well, no wonder I felt a shade of blue, I wasn’t reading! So, I went to the vast collection in my office and looked through the list of books that I have and haven’t yet read and started to catch up.

But something still nagged at me. It took me almost a year to realize I’d been missing the most vital thing that kept me from jumping off a cliff when I had three jobs and full time classes, I wasn’t writing ANYTHING. I hadn’t sat down to put a word on a page in so long, I almost forgot how to spell “I.”

So, dear readers who’ve probably forgotten the tone of my voice in your heads, I’m back!

We’re gonna return to old times. Yes, reviews and rants are back my friends.

I’m about to start Tom Robbin’s Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates. It feels like a game changer. I’m excited.

I’m also going to give up the unpaid overtime (I know, crazy talk) and focus on the novel I’ve been trying to write for ten years but still haven’t managed a first draft of.

In one year’s time, if I don’t have a first draft completed you all have permission to pelt me with olives, or the salty snack of your choice.

Let’s do this!

The Climb – Mount Batu, Bali


I awoke, much like most other nights due to jet lag, just before 2am. I rolled out of bed and got myself ready. Walking up to the entrance way of my bungalow the gate was closed, but I had no idea whom I was waiting for so I just stood a little like a deer in headlights and waited. I listened to the noises of the early morning, the chirping of the crickets, a cat meowing in the distance, a dog barking, and then suddenly I heard footsteps down the path.image

I waited, my heart slowly rising in my throat, just in case this wasn’t what I thought. A man dressed for colder weather than it was turned to look through the gate and said, “Michele?” Oh good, it was my guide.

imageI got into the large van and in the front seat sat an older lady than myself. Her name was Janet, she was from the United States but was living in Europe, and she too decided to join this early morning undertaking. We stopped at one more bungalow and picked up Clara, Thomas, and Karen, three Austrians.

The sun was still slumbering behind the mountains as we arrived at a make-shift picnic area. The sign said it was a coffee plantation, but I had learned by then that there were so many of these that it really didn’t make a difference if it was. We were served tea or coffee and the traditional breakfast for tourists, a banana “pancake.” It’s more like a think crepe, but fried dough is fried dough in that part of the world. Once we had finished and exchanged a few “get to know yous” we got back in the van and continued our venture.image

We arrived in the parking lot and the place was packed full of other tourists. Janet was very disappointed, as she thought this would be a more intimate adventure, but it seems that in Bali no attraction is.image

Our driver handed us off to three other guides, whose names unfortunately escape me. The three of them were to take us up along with another van of people. There was a group of five french travellers and Charlotte who was from England.

We began our accent, the ground riddled with dust and loose gravel. Charlotte and I began conversing and soon she was to become my trekking buddy. The path was at a slight incline, but all I could see were my feet and where I was putting them with the small flashlight I was provided. The night wasn’t all together dark, as the moon was to be full the next night.image

Soon, the very large hoard of tourists broke off into too groups and the trail began to worsen, the rocks became larger and looser and the dust began to get deeper. As my footing became wobblier I felt bad for Charlotte. The only shoes she had were a pair of Toms, while I was wearing Nike trail climbers and was still having a rough time. I couldn’t imagine how bad the trail was for her. Needless to say, the second half of her climb was spent holding the hand of one of our guides so she wouldn’t plummet down the slope.image

Sweat began to accumulate on my back and brow, and I felt that maybe the t-shirt and shorts combo was a little too much clothing. The “easy hike” as was advertised was not the case. I felt that I was pretty fit before this trek, but sadly it made me realize just how out of shape I am. The trail became a literal climb up a rocky, volcanic slope.

imageThe dust that coated everything began to cover all of me and as my short legs had trouble reaching for the next step my hands came into play far more than I thought I would need them on a “hike.” The rocks were porous and uneven, most them of loose. I slipped more than I would care to admit and I heard many people doing the same.

I took a look out over the trail below me and in the dark I could see the little lights of all the flashlights climbing behind me and when I looked up I could see the same lights climbing above me, and as they twisted up into the peak I realized I had quite the way left to go and my heart sank into my stomach a little. But when I looked out over beyond the trail I could see the dim lights of Kitamani the view was enough to lift me back up to my task.

We stopped at a rest area by a shrine where our guides asked us to wait while they prayed. Our group got quiet then Charlotte told me to look up. The amount of stars I was able to see only rivalled that of when I was young and attending a wedding in Merritt, BC. I saw clusters of little stars I had never been able to see. I felt the vastness of it all encircling me and I could have stared up at that sky for hours, Charlotte agreed with me, but we had to keep moving.

The climb began to ware on me and I was slowly losing my pace. When Janet told the guides we didn’t need a second break I was ready to kick her. But, I kept moving, albeit a little further behind the others.

Finally, we made it to the top! Oh, no wait I was wrong. This was the first point, if we so chose we could continue on to the summit. Well, I’d come this far it was only reasonable that I make it to the top. I got a second wind and climbed with vigour, even though the back of my shirt was drenched with sweat and my hands was dusty and raw. We were about ten minutes from the top when the sun began to peak over Mount Agung, the tallest peak in Bali, in the distance. Janet took a second to snap a picture, but I wanted to finish the climb before getting out my camera. The last bit of the way was mostly just deep volcanic dust up a steep incline. It was difficult to lift your feet through it and my shoes were filled with the stuff, it was in my socks and between my toes. I ignored the discomfort and kept my pace steady.

This was it, I had made it. I had summited a volcano! I stood at the top gazing out at the horizon, at the spectacular Mount Agung with Lake Kitamani tucked in underneath it. The sun rose slowly and I watched as the clouds crossed over the view slowly.

Once I had taken this all in Janet suggested to me and Charlotte that we climb up a touch hiker and take a photo with the Mount Batu summit sign. We did just that. But, as we came back down to our little perch the clouds rolled in completely over the view and it was a complete white-out. I was grateful for taking what pictures I did before the view became just a white slate.

As we stood at the top people were bundling up. I was soaked through with my own perspiration and didn’t notice the cold at first, having done ten years of winter season soccer in BC I was used to short sleeves and shorts in cold weather. But as we became stagnant waiting for the clouds to pass the chill hit my wet sink and a deep cold began to come over me. I hadn’t realized when I was getting ready that morning that I was still in essence climbing a volcano, that the air was thin and chilled at the top, despite being in a tropical climate. People were wearing hats and scarves and thick jackets as I stood there in my shorts and t-shirt. I was clearly that crazy Canadian girl. I laughed at my own naivety.

Our guides gave us breakfast, hard boiled eggs cooked in the steam of the mountain and banana sandwiches (literally bananas between white slices of bread). Once we had finished we began our decent down the mountain.

Our “hike” turned more into a skating down a slope in thick volcanic dust. When we reached the rockier portions I looked at what I had climbed up and was so grateful that I couldn’t see further than where I had been putting my feet earlier. I would have been convinced that I wouldn’t have been able to do it had I seen the slope before hand. I would have thrown down my backpack, sat down and said “Forget it, I can’t do that? Who do you think I am?” Charlotte thought the exact same thing.

Our shoes filled to the brim with dust, rocks, and sand we stopped to empty them, which didn’t help much. My legs and feet were greyed from the dirt.

After this our guides took us over to the volcanic crater, showed us the steam rising from inside, brought us to the bat caves, and showed us a hot spot on the mountain. At the hot spot, I got to create a whole bunch of smoke by blowing the smoke from a cigarette into the opening, creating a reaction that made the steam visible. Only me and one other girl dared to try it.

We of course ran into some monkeys and one of our guides gave them the uneaten banana sandwiches from the morning.

As we descended the trail became lighter and I stopped being as careful as I had been. With my bad right ankle and my injured left knee I was super diligent with my steps. Of course, the first sign of asphalt I let down my guard, as did Charlotte. First Charlotte slipped. Having slipped quite a few times in those terrible shoes, she cursed them, then laughed and got up. I also slipped, but I of course aggravated my MLC again and had to limp a while. I still had roughly twenty minutes to walk back to the car though, so I sucked it up, stopped myself from limping, and just went with it.

Fortunately, my knee got the idea and the swelling wasn’t terrible and the pain subsided by the time I had reached the car. Apparently, in my case walking it off was the best remedy.

By the time we returned to the parking lot it was after 10am. I had climbed a volcano and returned from its summit alive all before noon.

A New Adventure


Hello Lovely Readers,

As you may have notice, the format of my blog has changed slightly. I’m actually going away for four months. I’m off to discover what it is that makes this world so beautiful, frightening, amazing, and intriguing. Along the way I’ll be documenting my travels for you, narrative style. Well, my causal narrative style.

Every experience I have I’d like to take you along for the ride, complete with photos if my technology serves me well.

I’ll be embarking on my travels on October 2nd. First stop is Bali, Indonesia.

Following that I’ll be spending a few days in Singapore.

Then it’s off to New Zealand where I’ll hopefully get to explore a touch of Middle Earth.

Finally, I’ll be roaming the East Coast of Australia.

I’ll still be reading along with way and will have one final review for you before I depart.

Cheers and happy reading.

Some Wayward Thoughts


Unfortunately, NaNoWriMo was not a success. Although, it was my first attempt during a month that just got a little bit too crazy so I feel like I get a pass on this one. There’s always next time!

I haven’t been writing much lately, my life has been all sorts of surprises, excitements, disappointments, heart aches, and warm fuzzies this past few weeks. I need to find some time to hammer out some chapters, I’m thinking a library hunker-down is in order this week.

Updates? The insanity that’s hit me full force? Well, as I was getting heavily into planning my wanderlust experiences a new force came into my life, subtly then all at once. Needless to say it’s taking up a lot of my time, which I am more than willing to give. For lack of a better name, since for some reason it’s incredibly hard for me to come up with one, we’ll just call him Flynn Rider. Just insert all those cliches you know I’m thinking and you’ll understand what’s going on there with Flynn Rider. It’s one of those insane things that you don’t ever think actually exist.

Apart from this lovely and whimsical development, I’ve been dealing with a hurricane of tangled negativity. The brash speed with which this hit was unbelievable and frankly, nearly unbearable.  I’m still recovering from the emotional beating.

I’ve had excessive amounts of emotional changes from both ends of the spectrum hit me all at once. It’s something that has caused my mind to be a little bit scattered and blind-sided to say the least. But, all these things I experience are something I need both to grow as a person and a writer. What is good literature without experience? It’s just not good.

I’m hoping that this week I’ll be working on some scene setting exercises, which I will share with you. Just little excerpts to set a mood, tone, etc. I feel like I’m a little out of practice with the poetic-type prose. I haven’t written any of my bleak, post-modern short stories and I feel as if I may be over due.

My thoughts seem to be scattering to the winds yet again, dancing away with the dust.

Well, keep reading, dear reader and do love the skin you’re in, it’s the only one you get.