Monday, January 27, 2014


DARK PLACES, a review

I want to know, want to know, really really want to know (okay now I'm just mimicking Lyle from the book) how does GILLIAN FLYNN make me care so much about characters I don't even like?

good and creepy

I really didn't like Libby Day--at first. She's a shoplifter, pick-pocketer, and feels so darn sorry for herself. She's exhausted with life, and makes me want to give her a spanking. Afterwards I'd probably make her a sandwich or something, because I'd feel bad about it, but still--she needs a good spanking. Do something with your life, woman!

I realize I'm supposed to feel sorry for her. Her family was viciously murdered, and she helped put her older brother in jail for the horrific crime. But I can't excuse just how apathetic she is. It's weird how it happens, but I'm so glad when someone gives her a mission in life: find out if your brother really did it, and--if not--then who did?

At this point in the book, Libby just comes to life, and I start to like--even admire--her. Weird. Where did that come from?
SUCH A WHIRLWIND. Yes, fine, it's all caps. And it should be. Putting down this book is like coming up for air, almost painful at times. You just want to read. More. Faster and faster and faster. And then it's kind of relief when it's over because--at least for me--I feel rather guilty when I get so into a book because I might sort of neglect my family a little bit. (Laundry? What's that? Sure, you can play video games. What do you mean you want supper?)

Gillian Flynn, you are the coolest.
If I was 12, I'd join your fan club.
Then again, maybe I shouldn't be reading your books if I was 12.

For the record, I'm much more satisfied with the ending of this book than with GONE GIRL (even though I think that book is kick-ass as well--the ending just confused me).

I think Gillian Flynn is amazing. A crazy-good writer. And maybe just a little insane. (awkward grimace)

This is me. Well-read. Dangerous.
Okay, maybe not as dangerous as Gillian Flynn.

And I can't wait to see the movie. I envision some dark music in the back ground, sort of a Nine Inch Nails feel to it. But I kind of hope they downplay some scenes, or at least do them off screen. (if you've read this, you can probably guess what I'm talking about, and if you haven't I certainly don't want to spoil things for you.. so go find out for yourself)

So looking forward to this. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Mom was very proud of my hair
I've personally never had any luck with it,
but as a baby I rocked the hair world

Let go
Of the sentence you can't finish
Of trying to remember
My name
Where you are
What month it is

Despite the curlers, Mom looks fantastic in this photo.
I look rather worried. Not sure why, exactly.

Let me help you
Clean your glasses
Comb your hair
Ease into this wheelchair
We're moving you down the hall
You won't have to take any more pills
You can't swallow
You don't have to eat supper
If you only want juice
We understand
Your weakness is growing stronger
Your eyes are dim
Your mouth is dry

Mom was thrilled to be a Grandma.
Too bad she didn't get to fully enjoy it.
I tell my daughter that if Grandma wasn't sick,
she'd sew her dolly clothes by the hundreds.

Now it's finally time
for you to let go
And for me to say good-bye

From your daughter, Ann

Friday, January 17, 2014


I have a confession to make.
Perhaps more than one confession.

First confession:
I joined a group dictating what I should read (

Second confession:
It's like going back to college English 101 and devouring the reading list.
(Yes, I did that.)

Third confession:
I'm not reading the list in the "correct" order.
This is primarily because I had some of these books on hand and others I had difficulty locating.

But this is supposed to be a review for DIVERGENT (and I am digressing).

I gotta say I love these graphics.

I just finished this tonight, and--to be honest--I feel a bit bruised and battered. Perhaps this is a good sign, that I am feeling--quite intensely--what Tris felt. Beaten. Bleeding. Wounded. Shot. The list goes on and on...

And, of course, there is the perhaps justifiable argument that it appears that violence as entertainment seems to be an increasingly dominant force in YA literature.

I am perhaps middle-of-the-road on this topic. I do not seek nor shun violence, but I want it to be present for good reason.

There were a few times that DIVERGENT stepped pretty close to the line where I thought "this is too much", but then I got drawn back in to the story and all my doubts disappeared.

I am very excited to see the movie version.

Fourth confession:
I love watching movies on screen.
I like seeing the characters come to life, I like the costumes and setting, and (perhaps most of all) I like to hear music in the background.
Yes, sometimes I am disappointed. But not always.
Just think of how amazing it is that ALL THOSE Harry Potter movies were done so PERFECTLY up there on the screen.

Fifth confession: I've been spying this image everywhere
and had to have it for my very own.

But let's go back to the book.
I'd describe it as fast-paced action interrupted by an occasional stunning thought.
I liked how family was important to Tris.
I appreciated how she was torn. This book was so well written that I felt everything: the doubts in her head, the wind in her hair,

and the bruises on her body.

Well done, I say. I give this book 4.5 stars. I just have to figure out how to give a book the 1/2 sign on GoodReads. Anybody know how to do this?

I'm looking forward to the second book in the series...

AFTER I finish the rest of my homework (1 down, 15 to go).

What did you think of DIVERGENT?

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I could copy other blogs, full of end-of-the-year questions:
"What book do you wish you'd written?"
"What book do you wish you could live in?"
"What's your top ten favorite list of books of 2013?"

But what's the point? This book is bigger than all the above.
My wonderful critique partner, goddess-Christa, recommended this book ages ago. But, as usual, it took me a while to actually read it.
But once I started the first page--crap, what a great first page!--I couldn't get enough.
I marathoned it. I raced it to the finish.
I pretty much read the whole thing in a little over 24 hours. (So my family is probably relieved I'm done. I wasn't totally oblivious to their needs. I fed the kids, tossed in a load of laundry or two, and made cookies. So I wasn't technically neglectful. But still. I just wanted to read.)
I didn't want to do anything else but devour just one more chapter.
And then another.
And another.

I loved every bit of it.
Every. Single. Page.

I don't know anything about the comic books discussed in the book. 
Or taekwondo (in fact, I had to look up the word to see if I'd spelled it right. I had.)
But I knew all the music. (Just had to prove how cool I am.)

I'm not going to give you any spoilers.
Because I want you to discover everything for yourself.

I'm not even a big romantic story reader, but this blew me away.
I adored Park.
I wanted to be Eleanor's friend. Every hardship she endured made me want even more to be her friend.

I just loved this book so much, from the very first page to the very last.
From the very first line, in fact.

He'd stopped trying to bring her back.

Isn't that a GREAT first line? Just fabulous.
Pulls you in right away.
The characters captivated me.
The story compelled me to pretty much ignore everything else in life except it.
And it felt so good to love a book this much. 
It's just what I needed to give me back the inspiration I'll admit I've been lacking as of late. (I was blaming it on my general lack of sunlight and vitamin D, here in Artic Minnesota. But I think it was more than that. Sometimes I feel like, when I write, I empty myself out on the page. And sometimes I need to read something WONDERFUL to fill myself back up again. And this. Was. It.)

Thank you, Rainbow Rowell, for writing this. You rock. Like Joy Division and the Cure, all rolled into one.