Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Welcome, 2018.

Day two of the new year. As with each new year, I feel a renewed sense of enthusiasm about pretty much everything. I don't bother setting resolutions, but rather keep the idea of them in the back of my mind. I want to write more, read more, stay more positive, shun negativity, submit more stories, enter more writing contests, meet more people, learn new things, get better at writing, make more paper flower designs, be a better human overall.

New endeavors this year, well. I started keeping a handwritten journal like I did when I was much younger. It's fun, nostalgic, and will help me remember things. I've updated my blog with this post. I've eaten healthy so far this whole year (ha!). And today, I go back to work after a 2-week holiday break, better after having the flu.

Reading wise, I am on book 4 of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series that became the show True Blood. So far so good. I met Charlaine Harris at a Story Con event in NOLA in 2016, so it's nice to read her work finally. Talented lady and such an inspiration.

Not a bad start to 2018. Let's see what else it brings.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A year ago...

OK, time to revive this hibernating blog! First let me explain the reason behind my long lapse in posting. Starting in January last year, I began reading the Game of Thrones (GoT) book series because I became so enthralled with the show. Also, I started focusing more on my paper-flower business Closet Full of Crafts, as well as working more hours in my day/evening job as an academic advisor. Just in the past month, my city (Houston) has been dealing with Hurricane Harvey's aftermath in which I lost 2 vehicles to flood water, not to mention a paycheck because of my workplace being closed. My home was surrounded by flooding yet remained unscathed, thank the stars. Others were not so lucky. I've since been able to replace both vehicles, and life is getting back to normal.

I didn't post any reviews of the GoT books because, considering the immense popularity of both the books and the show, I didn't want to spill any secrets or be tempted to get carried away in the comparison (something quite easy to do!).

I'm just now wrapping up the last available book in the series, A Dance With Dragons. The books helped remedy my withdrawals while waiting for each season to premier. But now, I fear the burning yearning will be prolonged seeing as how the series won't be back until 2019 AND Martin is still not done with the next book Winds of Winter, which he hinted might not be out until 2018 or later. (Double ouch!)

All I'll say is that the show and the books are both outstanding and provided me a double thrill because each has a unique story line. Over the last year, I've only managed to read a couple other books outside of GoT, including The Count of Monte Cristo and a non-fiction book titled The End of Diabetes by Dr. Joel Fuhrman (which I might review soon) into my narrow reading schedule.

Anyway, as for GoT, I'm in love. I'll spit you a short list of my likes and dislikes regarding just the books, and I'll try to avoid spoilers.


  • The story line remains a multi-faceted network of shocks and twists. You almost never know where Tyrion will end up or with whom.
  • Daenerys is still alive. 
  • Jon Snow is still alive.
  • No part of it is ever boring. Just when you think you feel a yawn coming on, boom! 
  • The dialogue is very believable. This is important to me because dialogue is not easy to write and get right. 
  • Even with just words, Martin makes me feel like I'm watching a show with his vivid and clever wordplay. 
  • Martin is a master at naming characters and places. Casterly Rock, The Vale, Winterfell, Dragonstone, and on and on. As a writer, I can tell you, it's not easy to come up with names that aren't overdone or simply annoying. Eye of the beholder, I suppose.


  • WAY too many characters mentioned to keep up with. My head spins with the amount of names I encounter, many of which are just temporary scene fodder, but it makes it confusing at times. 
  • I don't enjoy the part about Arya joining and training to be part of the Faceless cult. I find it tedious both to watch and read about, even though the outcome is quite awesome. 
*Bonus list

Loves (books and show):

  • Dragons! I love, love, love dragons.
  • The Night King. I have a kind of sick crush on him. He is a total badass who terrifies and fascinates me. 
  • The way Tormund flirts with Brienne of Tarth! LOVE that. I'm not a romantic, but this one is just too adorbs. I hope neither or them die. =/
  • The new Arya. *wink*
  • The fact that Sansa finally grows a pair (a bigger pair, anyway) and does the right thing.
  • Watching Daenerys grow into her role as a queen. She is amazing. 
  • Tyrion. His snark is magnificent and one thing I can always rely on.
  • Romance isn't a prime focus. 
  • Jon Snow. What isn't there to love. 

I'd love to hear what you love/hate/dislike/like about the books and/or series.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: Brother Odd by Dean Koontz

This is a book review of the novel Brother Odd by Dean Koontz, the third book in the Odd Thomas series.

Synopsis from Amazon: Loop me in, odd one. The words, spoken in the deep of night by a sleeping child, chill the young man watching over her. For this was a favorite phrase of Stormy Llewellyn, his lost love. In the haunted halls of the isolated monastery where he had sought peace, Odd Thomas is stalking spirits of an infinitely darker nature. 
As he steadfastly journeys toward his mysterious destiny, Odd Thomas has established himself as one of the most beloved and unique fictional heroes of our time. Now, wielding all the power and magic of a master storyteller at the pinnacle of his craft, Dean Koontz follows Odd into a singular new world where he hopes to make a fresh beginning—but where he will meet an adversary as old and inexorable as time itself.

Firstly, I'll start by saying there will be SPOILERS in this review, so you've been warned. I actually read this book in January, but I'm just getting around to writing the review. So far, I have really enjoyed this series. Koontz has a way with storytelling like no other. It didn't take long for him to become one of my favorite authors. 

This book picks up after the tragic events of Forever Odd in which his beloved Stormy is murdered by gunmen who reined terror on a mall in a mass shooting. Odd managed to stop them, but in the process he lost the most important person in his life. The ending of that novel shook me. If you only ever read one of these books, I'd suggest that one. In this book, Odd decided to spend some time in a monastery near the mountains to clear his mind and avoid the heroic reputation and attention he'd earned after the mall incident. His interactions with nuns and monks is humorous and touching. I love how he never loses his self-directed mockery and sarcastic yet respectful way of addressing those he doesn't trust, namely one guest at the abbey named Romanovich. Their interactions are witty and bold. Odd finally met his match with the lip service. 

Only a few know Odd's secret, that he can see the lingering dead. During his stay, he befriends a ghost dog who leads him in his quests of psychic magnetism. His connection to these lingering spirits and the dark ones he calls bodachs help him solve murders at the abbey. Suspicion fell upon the wrong individuals when among them was one brilliant mind using his monastery salvation and solitude to create mechanical monsters with his extensive knowledge of science and engineering. He was trying to play God. These creations attack innocents who learn of them and aim to destroy the abbey's children, one of which is the creator's autistic son about whom he doesn't seem to care.

What I enjoyed most this time was how Koontz managed to brew the perfect recipe of sci-fi, thriller, and horror into one scrumptious read. I enjoyed every page of this novel. 

Just today, I finished reading the next one in the series. So stay tuned for a review of Odd Hours