Why do you read?

An old shelfie

 

I’m curious, are many of you readers? By readers I mean do you read to live? Is it essential as the air you breathe?

If yes, to read to live isn’t the answer to my question though. Is it an escape from reality? A quest for knowledge and empathy?

These dead leaves and digitalized words open portals to other worlds that allow us to experience life as we’ve never known it. They keep ignorance at bay and encourage us to open our eyes to notice the world around us, to make you wonder “Who around me is going through pain and suffering and are they’re hiding it?”

If anything, they are our stout companions in our hour of loneliness and trouble. My reasons for reading are included above but I’ll list them properly:

  • to understand the choices people make and how they live with them
  • to learn as much as I can about foreign vistas without all the travel
  • to not be alone
  • to be informed
  • to become a better writer Continue reading

A case of split identity

I have serious shit to do, like work stuff with real consequences and do you know what I’m doing?

Guess. Take a wild one.

I think perhaps some of you know. When the deadline approaches like when Dean Winchester grabs pie … I procrastinate aggressively. I’ve gone and made myself yet another side blog, and I’m not talking about the writing one I made last month.

This one is purely for serious thought not related to books. But HC&B has been my base for six years now and spreading out content (of any nature) away from this blog tears at my mind little by little, yet I go and do it all over again.

*frustrated scream*

It’s not as if I have the f*cking time. There’s no problem with compartmentalizing overall, I guess. It’s me running a marathon with a fire on my head. I do not have good impulse control when it matters the most.

Therefore, it’s time for drastic measures. I’m enlisting one of my sisters to help me put all my books in storage, leaving my desk bereft and glaring. I’ve tried this in the past, goodness knows how I tried, but never quite managed to not leave a book. I’m fed up with myself is what I am.

I’ll just have to survive.

Halp, can’t read me books

I’m clenching my teeth as I type this. It’s April. April, for goodness sake and I haven’t got one book read. Well, that’s not true if you count the two volumes of the stellar webcomic OMG Check Please by the one and only Ngozi Ukazu (you guys can’t tell right now but this comic brings me to tears. Tears of pure joy. Like I’m literally tearing up at this moment because I just saw her latest episode and ugh! Check this shit out.)

Just a sample of my TBR box.

Ahem. As I was saying, that would technically be *squints* two books. Last year was a decent year at seventeen books (shadow reads are not counted *blushes*). Now, that count doesn’t sound very hot but it’s all quality over quantity and I realized maybe that’s what’s been putting me back on this year’s quota of a modest 18 books. What I’m going on about is that I’d decided I should be reading more non-fiction this year and I’ve started to take notes too. When I was going through Susan Cain’s Quiet (btw, I didn’t finish) I was beginning to see how little I was assimilating what I was pouring over, hence a special notebook for that stuff.

That’s all and good but I … *sighs* I am officially an adult now so I have work, but I daydream waaaay too much and I procrastinate which eventually means I’m chasing my own ass finish stuff. Naturally, the only time I can read is late at night but since there’s a lights out policy at home I can only read on Kindle. And that brings up two other problems 1) the books I want to read aren’t digital so I need light and 2) and when I do read on the thing I’m a cranky mad woman the next day.

But my current problem is more pressing. I can’t read anything proper. I have a decent to-be-read pile with some interesting choices *sighs sadly* I can’t … read. Continue reading

The Little Fears get published!

The following is a reblog from Little Fears, a fellow WordPress site that’s guaranteed to make you snort hot beverages or simply laugh out loud. Without fail, there’s an amazingly creative illustrated pun every day brought to you by actual little fears like Spectre, Hydra, Yuffie, Serpent and the gang. Peter Edwards, the Illustrator, has a book in the works that’s full of January’s entries and I am so excited! Go on over there and see what the fuss is about.

You noticed the decrease in grammar and spelling mistakes right? We had an editor attack our tales. I have been asked on social media if I am going to release the Little Fears as an art book. Well, yes, I will. In a couple of months time I hope to release the Little Fears in full paperback form. But for that, good grief did I need an editor.

Slightly exciting in the mean time though, Little Fears – January. The collected Little Fears tales of the first 3 months. Currently on pre-order, available from the 22nd of March.

£2.99 for the UK on Amazon.co.uk

$3.65 for the USA on Amazon.com

I get about 70p per sale due to image size and bandwidth used on Amazons end. So if you fancy having us on your tablet or kindle, you can help fuel the illustrator on cups of tea.

If you want to wait for the paper edition, I can tell you it will be closer to £10 due to the colour images, and will be available in May.

If you just want to support the Little Fears, you can also head over to our Patreon page, where for as little as $1 a month you can contribute to Hydras food bill.

Thank you for being a wonderful audience and allowing me to indulge in my scribbles and stories on the internet.

Book review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Rated it: 5 stars

I reread this gem last year and the feels are still incredibly strong. Long story short this is a coming of age story of teenager Aristotle (told entirely in his point of view) during the 1980s set in El Paso, Texas, and spans two years.

The summer was hot and humid, the rain was like a veil into different emotional dimension I kid you not. And the birds, well they were there crapping on people in a real way. Oh, just read the thing and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s raining as I’m writing, and usually when it does I’m reminded of my summer boys.

And I’ll be straight with you, dear readers, this is a novel I cannot formulate a coherent sentences worthy of a decent review so I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for this mass of fangirl babble. Ari was at the awkward age where he’s coming to terms that his body is changing, he’s occupied with thoughts of his veteran father who’s in another world most of the time. Added to that he’s somewhat obsessed with an older brother who he barely remembers. 

He meets the soft spoken and bookish Dante (one of the cinnamon-iest cinnamon roll I’ve read so far) one day at the pool. A loner by choice, Ari begins to find his company an education.

The friendship that grows between these two … it’s simple yet it’s not. For better or for worse they change each other. Simply by being there they challenged themselves with facing the hard questions, the kind of questions that makes them realize just how vast and painfully tangible the universe possibly is.

What I loved

  • Sáenz didn’t mince words, let me tell you. When I first read it I was confused and uncomfortable but then I got it. This was Ari’s voice: raw, undiluted and straightforward. Also the writing gets poetic, which I expect from a book with a guy named Aristotle in it. Not that he’s poetic. Hmm, well he does get poetic but he doesn’t think he is.
  • Ari. I like him. A lot. Full of angsty pubescent emotions, foul mouthed (as much as a fifteen year old can be in YA), a natural born smart ass, and an actual decent human being. Cute too, did I mention?
  • Dante, another smarty pants. He’s the yin to Ari’s yang. Gentle, fierce, kind and forever curious. If I recall correctly, he has identity issues with his Mexian ancestry, having not been immersed in it as much as Ari. He’s terribly brave when it comes down to it.
  • The parents Continue reading

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffry Cranor

via Goodreads

Rated it: 3 stars

Read in: April

Note to people who’ve never listened to to podcast: I will not tell you that you can only enjoy this book if you listen to the episodes, though it would help.  From what I understand it’s marketed as a stand alone. Personally, I don’t mind if you disliked it. Only too easy to be confused and feel like an outsider. It’s a poor reflection of the podcast so please don’t let this discourage you from listening.

—-

When I say that I felt my mind bend several times throughout the book, I am not kidding. For some reason I still can’t put a finger on, I was skeptical about the entire thing. I could suppose that I was so trained to the podcast format that the setup for novel approach was … puzzling. Who am I kidding? Honestly it fell flat for me. There. I said it.

However, I am now satisfied in several respects with regards to the plots of certain episodes. For instance I can now file the away the speculation that The Man In The Tan Jacket is not actually Cecil’s long forgotten brother.

Thanks to The Man and his stupid note, Jackie’s become irritatingly aware of the oddness of her existence. Particularly pissed because because her boring routine life has been unashamedly demolished. The order and the peace of mind it brought, gone. It should be a damn crime.

Diane is more complicated. A single mother having to try communicate with an ever distant teenage shape-shifting son is nothing at all to sneeze at. Between that growing divide is the pothole of all potholes, his father Troy.

Continue reading

The ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ novel is mine!

I can’t read this right now but it’s not stopping me from showing off. I’ve been a listener for about three years now and to hold this in my hands is a wonder. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about Welcome to Night Vale is a free, bi-monthly podcast available on iTunes and YouTube and lots more places. It’s totally weird fiction that’s not very far from real. A place to get lost in.

Check. This. Thing. Out.

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read The Mark of Athena as yet, please don’t go any further.

via Goodreads

Rated it: ★★★★★

GR Blurb

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

Okay. I don’t know what exactly to say (oh but I do), other than that events have certainly heated up, so to speak. The House of Hades is the darkest installment yet, it had me on the edge of my seat and in an almost dire state of emotional crisis. While The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune introduced the new players and had healthy plots; The Mark of Athena saw all of the seven finally assembled aboard the Argo II as well as decent character advancement, this fourth book I observed a greater sense of growth in all of them though at varying degrees, most of all Frank (as anticipated) and Leo (I’m going to relapse in feels). AND ANNABETH AND PERCY ARE IN TARTARUS FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE.

I particularly appreciated how as the  story progressed the meaning of the prophesy takes on newer, more clearer and curiously personal meanings, completely different from what I thought before. Hazel is tested on her newfound abilities and after days of seasickness and worry we see her stepping up to the plate as she’s faced with decisions at crossroads and a farting polecat.

Piper really takes charge of her life, with her training and less focus on Jason and I gotta say I’m most pleased with her better sense of self, not as itchy in her role in the seven and as a daughter of Aphrodite. A certain snow bitch goddess didn’t know what she was stirring up.

We finally get a good feel for Jason‘s character, we see him shaping his identity against some of the traditional Roman values he was instilled with, and becoming more of his own man if you can understand that, instead of the guy they think he is and how how he should be. Palpably no longer the man he used to be. Am I happy? Bet your butts I am. 

His and Nico‘s relationship (not that kind, shippers I’m looking at you) is especially interesting. No one knew what to make of the son of Hades, the wild card, even his sister. So Jason, understandably apprehensive of the guy, having little choice but to “split” from the crew for a while with Nico had sort of … an education. Continue reading

The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus #3) by Rick Riordan

via Goodreads

Rated it: 4.5 stars

This was satisfying. Was that an understatement? Probably. We’ve got the POVs of Annabeth, Leo, Percy and Piper; I think Rick did a good job with their individual voices but I feel as if each were lacking the intensity when I compare The Heroes of Olympus to Percy’s in first five books, overall though it was well done.

I am so so happy to see more of Annabeth! I mean after all those years of Percy and here’s the brains of the operations; in wanted in her brains. Wish granted! I can appreciate her fears, not only about who and what she must face on her quest (and the gods know it’s terrifying), it’s the fact that she must do this alone and she hadn’t been that way since she was seven and on the run. Her intelligence and bravery are her knives and shield and she’s got a healthy dose of self doubt to temper her metal.

The Leo, Hazel and Frank dynamic was interesting. I recall a reviewer wondering why Frank, having understood how Sammy played into Hazel’s past, is still at odds with Leo. Okay, the fire thing aside, that Frank should give McShizzle a break. I agree. Thing is, I believe Frank’s intimidated with Leo’s loud personality, his energy and some of the jibes unintentionally that more often than not hit some sensitive spots. Leo is the opposite of Frank and while that may have problems they can prove to compliment each other.

Hazel. I love love love Hazel Levesque. Out of the seven she’s the most intriguing, for obvious reasons, Continue reading