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February 2012

Timeless

I was lucky enough to attend the farewell tea party for Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate Series this weekend. It was a celebration of the final book in the series in which a roomful of fans got to dress up, nibble on some goodies and ask the author some questions about the universe she has so adeptly created. I rushed home afterward, book in hand, fully intent on savoring it over the week, only to end up finishing it in a day.

A fantastic end to a truly unique series. There was a little taste of everything to be desired by avid fans of the series. There was adventure, romance and horrendous hats by way of Ivy.

Alexia’s arc really wraps up some of the overarching mysteries that had been left unsolved in the previous books. Along the way we find out much about various characters that some of us have been dying to learn. Some aspects of the story were predictable (like Prudence’s continued growth and experimentation with her abilities) but there were some new bits that came out of nowhere (at least to me).

Alexia would be very proud of how tidily the end was wrapped up. Yes, there is a part of me that wants to know how certain characters fare with some of the changes that came about in this book, but it didn’t feel like the readers had been purposely left without anything to gnaw on. Many hints were dropped that seem to give us just enough to go on until Prudence comes of age (which is where I’m guessing the Parasol Protectorate Series Abroad will start up).

I’m very eager to read more from Gail Carriger, but I’ll have to console myself with rereading the series and investing in the Manga until her next book which will not be released for a year.

Here’s one of my crappy phone photos of the event. It’s of the authoress herself looking fabulous (as always).

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Redeeming the Rogue

Awhile back I joined Goodreads and started exploring its vast amounts of booky goodness. I still have yet to fully utilize the site, but I have to recommend one particular section. Under the “Explore” tab is a wondrous page called “Giveaways” where you can enter to win free books. Free books.

FREE BOOKS.

The first book I won from the site was Redeeming the Rogue by Donna MacMeans. I received a fabulous package of bookmarks, cards, a message from the author, a peacock feather and a signed copy of the book.

The book itself is the third in a series, so I was concerned that I would need to read the previous books before starting this one. Thankfully MacMeans has written in enough information for the reader to understand the bare necessities of the previous books.

I was immediately captivated by Lady Arianne’s personal turmoil. MacMeans shows that she has done her research on societal expectations for the time period (which is 1885). There are parts later on, like the description of all of Lady Arianne’s layers of clothes, that also highlight the authors care in historical accuracy.

I have to review this book with the genre in mind. For a romance novel the plot has a lot more meat (haha) than expected. Not only is there intrigue, there are political conspiracies and deadly encounters at every turn. Instead of following the romance formula of constant sex. I feel that the author kept the story from becoming too entrenched in intercourse by focusing on subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, flirtation, which would have been more common for the time.

Overall I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the book. The main male Character, Rafferty, is in many ways the typical male of all romance novels, yet in some ways he deviates from the model by having compelling facets of his past that keep him focused on his mission rather than just his developing attachment to Lady Arianne. The references to past events in each character’s timelines made it clear the author had taken the time to flesh out a universe before writing the published story.

Lastly, a pic of the package I got.

Mindy Kaling – my new hero

All I wanted for Christmas was Mindy Kaling’s book (and a job, but I was trying to be realistic). I had known since summer that it was slated to be released in November, so I started notifying gift-giving relatives that this was my one desire.

I was a fan of the American version of The Office for a time (starting at Season 2 and progressing until the moment Pam and Jim got together, after which point there was no reason for me to continue watching), so I was familiar with Kaling and her work. I’m one to watch DVD extras, so I was aware of the episodes she had written and lines she had given comedic birth to. I was also a follower of her old fashion blog and occasionally noticed her tweets.

Mindy Kaling's book

After receiving Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? at Christmas I devoured the first 60 pages in a very short amount of time. I stopped myself. I wanted to savor this book. I could already tell from the few short chapters I had sped through that I would not only love this book, but I could relate to her plights on a sincere level.

So I slowly tasted a chapter or two between my library marathon (which was basically me trying to read as many books that I could only get from the college library as quickly as possible before my card expired). Kaling is brutally honest about the awkward things she’s done, which I have major respect for. We all have those moments that even today make use cringe, but not everyone can write about it in an amusing way. It didn’t feel like she was trying to gain my sympathy, it felt like she was just trying to relay events in her life that helped form her into the person she is today.

There are plenty of amazing, and not so awkward, entries as well. Kaling gives advice to men on how to maintain themselves in a way she sees fit and lists some of her movie ideas (which seriously need to be picked up. Female Ghostbusters? Hell yes).

I respect Kaling for her flawless taste in romantic comedies and hot men, but I also appreciate her brutal honesty about her size. I’ve read tons of chic lit that have a heroine that makes a big deal about her size, and she’s only 130. That crap annoys me. Same thing for movies that have treat size 9 actresses like they’re massive. (And as much as I love Bridget Jones I have to say that the books and movies are both guilty of this).

Close to the end of the book there’s a chapter about her ludicrous experience at a photoshoot, where she was treated in a heinously disrespectful way because she wasn’t a size zero. Instead of wearing a muumuu she stands up for herself and her size. I believe it is within this chapter, or one in proximity to it, that she reveals her size. She’s a size 8, and she’s treated like an elephant. This is bullshit. I want to go off on a rant on modern standards of beauty and health, but I won’t, instead I’ll say that Kaling is a BAMF for being a woman in Hollywood and owning her size (even though she shouldn’t have to).

I’m glad I got a peek inside the hilarious mind of a writer I’ve been a fan of for awhile. I recently saw some rumors that she’s in talks to get her own show on another network. All I have to say after reading her book is that she deserves some serious attention for her overall awesome.

Post-grad Postcard Project

Having just finished the first part of my college education I’ve been doing a lot of reading and show watching. One of the shows I devoured in days was Downton Abbey. This period drama reminded me of the importance of letters in gothic novels. Everything is just fine until *gasp* Lady Lucas writes a letter detailing the elopement of the youngest Westley daughter, ruining the family’s prospects for years to come.

I’ve also just finished a six volume set of letters from Vincent can Gogh (which was amazing and depressing). After reading this lovely set of books I read the historical notes, which mentioned the importance of the art of letter writing during the 19th century. Letters were an art. That we lost. And that’s sad. (I would go into a rant about modern technologies being at fault for the lack of writing skills in current generations, but… not now)

So here’s the deal. I’m not going to be doing much of anything this Spring besides looking for a job (haha, right) and reading. Living away from my friends doesn’t mean I have to be isolated from them. During Harry’s summers with the Dursley’s he always had Ron and Hermione’s correspondences to stay sane.

I’m going to be asking a few friends to join me on this project and see how that goes. I hope to expand the project as time goes on so that maybe we can all rely a little less on social networking to keep in touch.

 

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