Holiday Shopping Spot!

Today, I have a very proud announcement to make. My enterprising nieces and crafty nephew have opened a small business on Facebook called the Sonshine Smiles Shop! Find it here: https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop

The holidays are coming and this is a wonderfully cheap way to get some lovely gifts-I’m their loving aunt and some of these things are even more gorgeous and special than I even expected! So, if you know of anyone who would love to trick-or-treat in a beautiful Snow Queen dress…

Niephews_snowqueen

Or a baby in need of a fancy pink princess/birthday/holiday dress….

Niephews_pinkdress

Or some young ones who could use some sweet-smelling play-doh with jewels to find and decorate with…

Niephews_playdoh

Or anyone in need of special Mama Necklaces, organic wool dryer balls, toddler-safe Jedi light sabers, or $4 aromatherapy bath salts, please stop by https://www.facebook.com/SonshineSmilesShop today! And they take special orders, too! Tell your friends!

Niephews_facebook

Vlad the Impaler’s Just Desserts

Lately, in honor of a birthday wish, my friends and I decided to celebrate Vlad the Impaler: inspiration for Dracula, terrible warlord, motto: “To the PAIN!AND DEATH!”  

Vladportrait

Now, most people take these images and honor him by creating things along the lines of:

Vladart

My friends and I chose a different direction:

Vladcake

Note the peaked red cap!  The bloodied face!  The bodies on spikes!  The battlefield dirt and decomposing flesh!

This is our design.

…And it was delicious.

Sever (Chemical Garden Trilogy #3)

 

Sever (Chemical Garden Trilogy #3)

By: Lauren DeStefano

(http://www.laurendestefano.com/)

Simon & Schuster February, 2013

A young adult dystopian review

 

 

Revived from Fever, Rhine needs to snatch at second chances-a second chance to be honest, a second quest to find Rowan, a second turn to find a situation she can live with before it’s her time to die.  With so much to do and so little hope, Rhine finds that her world is still filled with things that can break.

DeStefano’s lyrical prose draws you right back into the story where we left off, enhancing everything with its beauty.  The pacing moves differently than one would expect, but everywhere DeStefano took us was somewhere I felt we needed to be.  There were some plot points that were brushed past rather briskly, but the strength of Sever’s atmosphere and Rhine’s mentality held it together.  It worked for me because at the end of the day, The Chemical Garden Trilogy has never been about action.  It’s always focused on the human consequences-the coping, the confusion, the chaos.  I’ve seen several disappointed reviews about this book and I think it’s because DeStefano sticks so closely to her theme.  I think for many people this kind of dystopian work, at least at the end, is about wish fulfillment-we’d like to think we could fight and overcome even horribly depressing circumstances and overwhelming odds.  Alternatively, it’s about perspective-being wrenched into feeling that whatever life you’re living now is favorable in comparison.  Sever hits none of those usual notes.  The last of Rhine’s story is real and therefore, less than fully satisfying because we’re left with a lack of finality, tainted victories, and pure hope-not fulfilled and without the comfort of endings.

Unlike its predecessors, Sever has more of an ensemble cast than focusing solely on Rhine’s views.  This significantly altered the feel of the read and heightened this conclusion because there are now more people’s feelings to deal with and more overall to hope for.  DeStefano made bold decisions with this book and I believe she left me feeling exactly how she intended me to.  Sever brings this series around from sex and death to the realization that life takes every bit as much effort and anguish and courage.  Rules break, people change, and we live surrounded by things that Sever.  I’d say this book is well worth the time.

The Borgia Bulletin 3×7 (Lucrezia’s SPOILERS)

Glorious, bloody brouhaha.  Bring it, Borgias!

 

Dear Rodrigo: Again, I love the hat!  Also, how you make Vanozza laugh about Farnese now.  It’s all very full-circle.  Send Giulia some honey as a wedding gift.  (Also, apparently her husband she was staying away from and needed punishment for avoiding originally died sometime?)

Dear Cesare: I LOVE how without saying it you still Told Dad Off for not giving you more power and trust in the first place, because then he could’ve kept some control and now you’ve got another leader-type to satisfy better.  How nice of you to warn Machiavelli.  Was expecting you to point out that last time you guys had Benito it didn’t help with Caterina at some point, though.

Dear set people: Last episode we heard that giant statue was of a bull, why was there a horse head this time?  Eh?

Dear Lucrezia: Never trust people who care too much about their lap dogs.  It’s just a good rule of thumb.  On the other hand, we can totally overlook that lack of a nemesis thing for awhile, cause now not only have you got one, but he’s another king of Naples you get to fight with!  Excellent!

Dear Alfonso: Stop whining.

Dear Rufio: Don’t you dare call yourself Michiletto’s double, you are not good enough for that.  Fuck you.

Dear Michiletto: What were you about, letting Cesare just wander into an obviously infested house?

Dear Frederigo: Thus far, you are an excellent nemesis.  Do not let me down.

 

Dr. Seuss=the Mad Hatter

 

Dr. Seuss, the Mad Hatter: A Peek Inside His Secret Closet | Collectors Weekly.

 

“Dr. Seuss had a unique remedy for writer’s block. When the late author, the alter ego of Theodor Seuss Geisel, was penning his beloved Beginner Books for Random House in the 1960s, he’d have his editor in chief, Michael Frith, over to his house, where they’d work until the wee hours. And when they’d get stuck, according to “Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel” by Judith and Neil Morgan, Geisel would open a secret door to a closet filled with hundreds of hats. Then, he and Frith would each pick a different hat, perhaps a fez, or a sombrero, or maybe an authentic Baroque Czech helmet or a plastic toy viking helmet with horns. They’d sit on the floor and stare at each other in these until the right words came to them.”

1. Best anti writer’s block scenario ever!

2. All accessories become so much better when someone keeps them in a secret location.

3.   I hereby propose that Seuss get a holiday wherein everyone wears the goofiest hats they can find and acts their part as grandly and over-the-toply as is humanly possible.  Alternatively, others watch the behatted and uses their antics to create things.  Or both!

4. I’m going to need this to become an inspiration for as many things as possible.  Project Runway-here’s your insane headgear, now sew!  Sheldon on Big Bang Theory-this worked for Seuss, surely it should help me get my creative juices flowing enough to pass this stupid school thing whatever.  Etc., etc., etc.!

 

One Rune to find them

I have been making bindrunes lately, and decided to create a separate blog to discuss runes, bindrunes, and other spiritual matters at:  http://onerunetofindthem.wordpress.com/  It can be reached from the wheresmytower@wordpress.com homepage by left-clicking on the image in the right corner.  I hope anyone with thoughts or interest in the runes or tarot will drop by and maybe share some of their thoughts on working with them.

 

One rune to find them,

One rune to bring them all

and in the magick bind them.

Napolloween Bonaparty!

I had a late, great, and satiating Halloween celebration!  Whilst there I came across a distinguished personage:

 

Napoleon Chocoparte!

 

This broad-hatted conqueror with a sword as tall as himself came as a sweet surprise.  Unfortunately, he found his general can-dy outlook on politics caused several other nations a lot of anxiety.  Napoleon Chocoparte decided to point his sword softly and take up a big pistol:

With the General’s sword aimed right at them and his pistol in tow, many surrendered on the spot to Napartyon’s awesome hat.  However, some country’s held out.  Thus, Chocopoleon Bonapiece found he needed to charge after them.  He needed…a worthy steed!

When Napolloween Bonaparty found Marshmengo he set off on a famed campaign to bring the rest of the sugary peoples under his empire.  Yet, even the most successful Generals can be defeated and Napolebonbon was eventually caught and sent to exile on Elba.  Luckily, his horse went with him (now renamed Wagramellow).  Even in defeat, Napoleon Chocoparte is crafty.  He may well come back….for A HUNDRED DOSES OF CANDY.  So, we’d all better eat up our Napolloween Bonaparty chocolates quick, or we may wind up getting scared with Welloweenton at Waterboo.

Shadowfell

Shadowfell

By: Juliet Marillier

(http://www.julietmarillier.com/)

Alfred A. Knopf 2012

A young adult fantasy review

 

Neryn’s homeland of Alban brims with magical fairies, stonie mons, and other creatures.  Unfortunately, King Keldec has been systematically taking control of all Alban’s magic by turning it, and those who wield it, to his personal service for life.  Anyone who cannot be converted is ruthlessly stamped out.  Neryn, with her gift of seeing the fairy folk, knows about running, about hiding, and about the perils of trust.  What Neryn does not know is if Shadowfell, the fabled home of a resistance force, is real.    Yet, between the enemies that hunt her and the mysterious strangers who help her, Neryn becomes determined to make her own resistance count.  After all, battling Keldec’s oppression involves far more than a place.

Shadowfell includes many of the most recognizable themes concerning magical lands, tyrants, and discovering personal strength.  Marillier manipulates them into a modern, edgy atmosphere that balances the story’s tension against its familiarity.  The result is a story where the small events draw you in and keep you engaged despite the plot’s overall predictability.  It may be the type of story you’ve read before, but here it feels less like following a cast who knows they’re in a story and more like experiencing unsettling emotions applicable to real situations.  The personalities of Neryn and Flint center the story.  The relationship between the hunted girl and the mystifying man grows in complexities and questions as they near Shadowfell.  Seen through Neryn’s eyes, the dynamic is easy to empathize with and the shifts in the relationship are realistic.  Marillier deftly uses the relationship to illuminate the issues Shadowfell discusses.  Best of all, she does it without trying too hard.

Akin to a cross between the Tiffany Aching books and Legend of the Seeker, Shadowfell serves up a journey for those who like their protagonists to think.  For those who prefer lots of action or more light-hearted magical quests, this book might be a bit heavy.

 

Personally, I found myself drawn in after the rather stereotypical introduction.  I really enjoyed reading the book and I overall did like the characters.  Thinking back on it now, though, I cannot really recall why I liked it as much as I did.  It has a lot of qualities that I personally don’t care for, though they were turned to good account for those who like that sort of thing.  I can only hazard a guess that it was the balance between all the elements-I was never left with just one aspect long enough to get really unhappy with it.

Once Upon a Time 2×1 “Broken”

SPOILERS

1. The reunion between Emma and her parents was every bit as awkward as anticipated.  I suspect a lot of the resentments about Emma’s upbringing were immediately thrown in there mainly to distract everyone from the sheer awkwardness of their age discrepancies.  David’s interaction with Henry made me quite irritated with him-he’s only interested in using him bolster his own self-image and determination by impressing them on Henry-probably subconsciously as he clearly means well, but that’s all I saw.  Of everyone in his family YOU do not know this kid-you could talk to him, ask him what he thinks, thank him for believing in you (I think Mary mentioned things like this to him) or pushing Emma to save everyone?  No?  I cannot be behind this as a proper family meeting.

2. I have many feelings about Rumplestiltskin.  After the last episode I had a lot of questions for him, and the answers don’t really alter my need to sit him down and have a chat.  As far as why Belle knows he’ll be able to canoodle with Belle after magic is brought to Storybrooke, I suppose the whole “magic works differently here”, already covering a multitude of sins, can also manage to cover for Rumple’s ability to look normal and kiss Belle.  My criticism that as a looks-conscious man Rumple should’ve leaped to redress Belle did get addressed.  I was both glad to see Rumple talking fashion with Belle and sad that it came up mainly as an excuse to be alone instead of the sincere thing it should’ve been.  It did seem that everyone else was too busy reuniting and getting angry mobbish that Rumple’s store was safe, but still-I would expect people to be trying to get back their objects anytime now.  The dagger, though…he’s really still going with leaving it in the woods, where these people run around regularly, knowing that Ruby’s got wolf powers for finding objects and that he’s actually shown Pinochio (who may not be dead and if he was I don’t think Rumple necessarily knew it) where its hiding spot is?  That seems like the height of stupidity and I expect more of him.

3. I was happy with the show’s take on Sleeping Beauty’s kingdom “sleeping for years” along with her.  Phillip is clearly the dashing hero I want him to be.  Unfortunately, the love triangle with Mulan meant that their feminine-stereotype fight, which might have led to really awesome feminist breakthroughs or at least a shattering of said stereotypes, led only to a love-triangle.  This is not okay.

4. Our clues for the new guy are: he’s in a big city, he’s got a postcard, there’s a significant pigeon.  Right now the strongest possibilities of the ones I’ve seen seem to be the White Rabbit or Peter Pan, as both of those had the ability to traverse worlds.  My personal theory is that he’s the boy who befriended Pinochio on Pleasure Island.  Pinochio may well have confided in his best friend his mission, his conversation with the Blue Fairy may have been about the sending of this postcard to an address at a ‘certain time’, or Pinochio may have survived and sent it himself.  Further evidence comes from the pigeon-in Disney’s Pinochio he found out where Gepetto went because of a message dropped to him by some birds that resembled doves or pigeons.  Hence, the significant pigeon points this way.  Also, this version of Pleasure Island IS a part of the normal world, so of course he would be there.

5. Dr Whale is unknown by David.  And possibly Regina, though was an integral person who collaborated with her, which argues she is lying.  He is a doctor.  He is a womanizer.  Is he Smee?  Smee performed caretaking duties, is tied to the sea, and could be imagined as a womanizer pirate like the others.  I like the idea that he’s the wizard from Wizard of Oz-he could have ballooned in from FTL, or passed through there, which would explain how he got there-but he would be unknown.  The wizard performed ‘operations’ on heads, hearts, etc., so could easily become a doctor.  The wizard is  a natural collaborator, explaining his switch from cooperating so well with Regina to hating her so much.  He’s manipulative, which could lead to lying and womanizing.  Also, perhaps his balloon was named or shaped or bore the image of a whale.  It could totally work.

6. Where is Jefferson???  He is needed here.

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy)

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1)

By: Sarah Rees Brennan

(http://sarahreesbrennan.com/)

Random House (September 11, 2012)

A young adult fantasy romance review

Kami Glass has come to terms with the fact that she may be crazy.  After all, when the voice you’re constantly connected to in your brain is the friend who makes you feel sane, even craziness seems safer than losing them.  Particularly when Kami’s zest for investigation begins exposing her quiet English town as a disturbing place.  Unfortunately, the new discoveries are happening everywhere and they are not abiding by the rules.  The founding family has returned to the town, animals are being ritually sacrificed in the woods, and supernatural things seem to be happening.  But for Kami, the most unnerving thing of all is meeting her imaginary friend…in the flesh.

Brennan writes with charm and creates voices that are distinctly fun.  For all of the strangeness of Kami’s private world with Jared, Unspoken is cheering and easy to read.  The mystery element folds in nicely, turning up new information at a good pace without losing suspense from any of aspect of the story.  The world of Sorry-in-the-Vale fills the novel with a sense of place, with a fully-functioning society to support the important characters, and with an atmosphere that feels natural, no matter what eccentricities came to light.

Most importantly, Unspoken plays with the notion of individuality and what it really means.  In order to care about this overall theme, Brennan really had to bring it with her characters.  She succeeded.  Kami heads a cast of three-dimensional people with histories and secrets.  Specific stereotypes are deliberately smashed and issues of class and race are included as they really would be, integral underlying matters that don’t need a lot of focus to touch on everything.  The discussion of physical beauty and attraction mirrors and complements Brennan’s discussion of personality and perception in such simple ways it was almost painfully wonderful.

Unspoken meddles with so many things: romance, mystery, magic, meaningful questions.  This novel works through as many layers as Kami and Jared do in their relationship with each other.  The ending clarity felt nearly wrong, with so many layers of suspense and wonder lost in the final revelations.  On the other hand, this is only book one and I see several reasons why Brennan may have wanted the ending to feel that way.  If nothing else, it felt fitting.  This is the first Sarah Rees Brennan book I have read and already I trust her to ultimately provide satisfaction.  Like Kami, I feel “strongly that Fridays should not be full of disappointments.”  Luckily, Unspoken offered me none.

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