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December 31, 2019

Favorite New Book Covers

This week's Top Ten Tuesday's prompt is 'Favorite Books I Read In 2019.' I don't have enough books to make a list so instead I made a new list: 'Favorite covers of books I have yet to read or perhaps will never read.' So maybe I'm superficial about book covers but who can't help it when it's the first thing you see? I didn't give any synopsis because I want you to also judge these books by their covers. Sorry there are no book links but mostly these are UK editions so you can find them at Book Depository here.

01 | The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg
I read the synopsis a while ago and I had thought I wanted to read it but now I can't remember what's it about but the cover is gorgeous. This will be released on January 21, 2020

02 | The Book of Dragons: An Anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan and illustrated by Rovina Cai
This is a collection of stories and poems connected by the theme of dragons which is what makes me interested. I haven't decided if I want to read this but it isn't released yet so we'll see. This will be released on July 7, 2020.

03 | The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea
The synopsis sounds like a gothic tale and kind of interesting but I probably won't read this as I don't really like reading gothic tales. This is the UK hardcover.

04 | Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang
I'm doubtful I would read this since this is a contemporary which I do not read a lot of but I like the simple cover and I love the title. This will be released on March 31, 2020.

05 | Skyward & Starlight by Brandon Sanderson
I think I might enjoy this series but I haven't decide yet. These are the UK editions which I think are way better than the US versions.

06 | The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
This one I'll probably read because I have read almost all Hargrave's books and I have enjoyed them.

07 | The Witchlands Series by Susan Dennard
They remake the first two covers. The second book Windwitch certainly looks better but Truthwitch is kind of strange - I'm not sure I like the look of her face but the Bloodwitch cover is super amazing. I have yet to read the series but I definitely will, soon-ish.

08 | Nevermoor Book 1 and 2 in German by Jessica Townsend, Translated by Franca Fritz/Heinrich Koop, Illustrated by Eva Schöffmann-Davidov
Sadly, I do not know how to read German but if I did, I would buy these books with the lovely covers and read them. I did read book 1 but I didn't think it was that great so I had decided not to read the rest of the series but I might have changed my mind if they had put these covers on the English editions.

09 | Fly by Night & Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge
I had tried to read Fly by Night but I was bored with it so I didn't finish. I'm thinking I should try rereading that and also the sequel. Twilight Robbery is also known under the title, Fly Trap. These are UK editions.

10 | The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I already read the series and I owned the paperbacks but I saw these covers and now I sort of see the series with a different eye. I love the old covers but I sort of like these new covers as well. They are fresh and yet, there's something about the illustrations that doesn't quite suit the stories, almost like they are targeting these toward children somehow. I think these would be great as covers for graphic novels, not sure as novel covers. These new paperbacks will be released on February 4, 2020.

For more Top Ten Tuesdays, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

December 29, 2019

2019 Year End Ramblings

I spent the whole of 2019 doing nothing or rather it just feels like I did nothing that I can remember well but I must have done something or else I don't know where the time went. Now that I thought about it, I think I was a bit aimless this year. So I may have set some new year resolutions (read them here) and I may have succeeded some of them (read about it here) but they aren't much to brag about. Here I'm going to list some of my accomplishments and non-accomplishments.

01 | I walked the Brooklyn Bridge again like I did last year. I think I only remember it because it was at the beginning of the year and I also didn't take photos like I used to.

02 | I got rid of a lot of books. I still have the books but they will be gone before February. At least, I hope so because I really do not have space for them. I also got rid of a few other things and vowed never to buy them again but I'll probably replace some of the things I got rid of. Clutter - the enemy of people who like to hoard things. It's really hard to get rid of clutter.

03 | I got a Kindle reader. I already have dozens of book samples on my reader and it's so easy to impulsively click on the buy button at end of the sample. I know you shouldn't judge a book by just a few page excerpts but sometimes the writing really draws you in and you want to keep going. I think I'll be reading a lot more next year.

04 | I tried to renew my library card and failed. The second main reason I got a Kindle (aside from getting rid of book clutter) is so I can borrow ebooks from the library. But I don't see myself going to a library and renewing my card any time soon as I just don't want to encounter another patronizing librarian. I don't know why I keep this stupid memory in my head but it just won't go away. But perhaps after a time, I'll try to renew my library card again.

05 | I did some writing. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother when I have so much doubts and I'm constantly procrastinating on finishing. I have been writing for twelve years and all I have to show for are some stories, half-finished novels and hundreds of drafts. And yet, I still continue to write because I have a this need to finish. And yet, I procrastinate day after day. I don't mind letting people read my not-so-greatly-edited works but sometimes I just feel like I shouldn't let anyone read them and yet I post them anyway because I know I'll never get them publish in a traditional book form so my posting my writing here is my way of publishing my work. Does that make any sense?

06 | I finished writing April Gale. No, I didn't. I thought I would have by now but I didn't. It's all that procrastinating's fault. If that's something you can blame when I know it's my own doing. I have written it close to the ending so I might finish soon-ish. I will post them all and I will make a pdf for people to download because why not? I'll try to edit them but really, I'm terrible at editing but I'm going to try anyway. Better to finish and regret it, than to regret not finishing.

07 | I tried Instagram, hated it, deleted my account. I don't think there's much to say except I'm not a phone person so the idea of updating something with my phone is not appealing even though I did use my computer instead of my phone. But Instagram is designed for phones and using a computer to post to Instagram is a bit challenging. So I thought I should just not do it.

08 | I hosted Words for Wednesday for the first time and it was nice. I tend to participate more if I'm the one providing the prompts but still, I delay in writing anything even when I know the prompts in advance and also, I change my mind a lot so the prompts were changed sometimes at the last moment. I'll be hosting it again in August and I hope I'll try to participate more.

09 | I worked. It's not an accomplishment, it's more like something I had to do. As much as I dislike work, I actually did it well. I'm not bragging but I certainly didn't lazy out of any of the work. I think I might have pulled out a few hairs because it had been very stressful at times. But I get pay for it so I guess losing a few hair is not too terrible.

10 | I finished some art pieces. Of course that doesn't sound like much when I compare it to the 50+ drawings I haven't finished but at least, the amount is small-ish. I'm not sure why I haven't worked on them but at least, some are done.

11 | I read 15 books this year which I'm certain is only half of what I read last year. I've checked out many books but I haven't come across that many that I wanted to read nor there are many that I had enjoyed reading. But there had been some good ones so no complaints.

12 | I blogged and I am still blogging and at the same blog too which is kind of rare for me as I have been moving to url's a lot. But I'm actually back at a blog that I had before so in a way, I have returned here but the 800+ posts that was here has been foolishly deleted but I have no regret about that. Well, today I had no regret about that. Tomorrow, I don't know. Anyway, I am still here and still posting. If I'm on Twitter or Instagram, I wouldn't be as motivated to post anything but for some odd reason, I actually like to blog. I guess I'm so used to blogs that social media just puts me off.  

Here are some of my favorite posts from 2019:
* Blogging without coffee since 2006
* Seven things: thank you for being social
* The witch who loves cats & bunnies
* Fiction: Melinda met the devil or so she thought
* Fiction: Vanished
* Just some blogs I thought people would enjoy
* The First Annual Mory Blog Award 2019


How was your 2019? Did you do anything you are proud of or did something that you are not so proud of?

December 28, 2019

April Gale 27

~ ~  Read previous April Gale here ~ ~

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April Gale 27

Vincent sits on the floor and leans against the door. He unfastens a few buttons of his shirt. For a long moment, he tries to slow down his heartbeat. He waits for the voice of his father but it does not come.

He had lost control back in Winifred's room. There had been something controlling his movements - a faint control but nonetheless, it had been there. It was only when he saw Winifred's ghostly form did he felt himself again. If he had pressed the pillow to her face snuffing out her breath, would the ghost have disappeared?

Footsteps are padding near. Then a knock at his door. It must have been half an hour since he entered his room. He stands up and tries to shake off the stiffness in his legs. His fingers fumbles with the buttons of his shirt but he manages only a button. He lets out a short breath. There is never a time he is this disheveled. He runs a hand through his hair but he knows he does not look well kept. Trying to restore his expression into calmness, he opens the door. Miss April Gale stands there with a shy smile.

"May I ask what is the purpose of your visit, Miss April?" Vincent tries for a casual tone but hears his voice faltering on the last few words.

April smiles but her eyebrows knits at the corners. She holds a wooden box with both hands. "Just April. Mr. Vincent, I mean, Vincy."

"Vincent is just fine. I really do not like to be called Vincy at all." He confesses. Vincy is a silly nickname Winifred's mother came up with but has been too polite to decline the name.

"Right, Vincent. I thought you should have this." She holds out the box. "Take it. But I want the box back later. My father made it for my mother and I want to keep it."

Vincent reaches out and takes the box. It is dark brown wood with a rose carving on the top. He lifts the lid. Inside is a large leaf that is curled up like a rose. The green rose - he has tried looking for it in the garden but could not found it. He looks up or rather he looks down as April is few inches shorter than him. He closes the box. "Where did you found it?"

December 27, 2019

My Favorite & Not So Favorite Beauty & The Beast Retellings

Beauty & The Beast has been my favorite fairytale since the day I saw the Disney movie. I really just like the Beast because his exterior appearance is big, strong, tough while inside, he's just a gentle fellow who wants to be loved. As of today, Beauty & The Beast is no longer my main favorite fairytale. I read the original story and it wasn't all that great, it's the Disney movie that made it great. I will still read retellings of Beauty & The Beast but I just won't go looking them anymore. So here's a list of Beauty & The Beast retellings that I have read and some I didn't finish. (These are not in any particular order.)

My Favorite & Not So Favorite Beauty & The Beast Retellings

01 | Barefoot on the wind by Zoë Marriott > link
The writing is oh-so lovely and the Japan settling is just perfect. My only complaint is that the end seems rather short. I kind of wish the author had written more about the ending, that is, more details, explanations, otherwise, it's a great book.

Favorite Quote: "His silence and stillness felt like a chasm yawning between us now. And I found that I was sorry — and I wanted somehow to bridge the silence. Not to ask all the questions that burned inside me, to discover just what he meant — how could anyone forget their own name? — or where this strange home of his was, or what had happened to bring me here. Not even to attempt to placate him for my own safety. I had hurt him and I wanted to soothe the wound."

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02 | Beauty by Robin McKinley > link
Beauty is a mostly true to the original story. I like the main characters and even though we don't get much information about the beast, there's still a lot to enjoy. I can easily admit that this is my ultimate favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling of all time.

Favorite Quote: "There was something about the way he stood there without looking at me: Resignation born of long silent hopeless years sat heavily on him, and I found myself involuntarily anxious to comfort him."

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03 | Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley > link
Robin McKinley wrote two Beauty and the Beast retelling and Rose Daughter is her second one. I like the rooftop scenes and talk of stars and there is a story within a story but there seems to be a lot of talks of gardening which is okay but I'm not a gardener or even a fan of gardening so that part didn't interest me as much. Sometimes I like the ending for Rose Daughter better than Beauty because this is not an ending that you would expect. I read Rose Daughter after Beauty so I was not expect to even like this but I did and still do. I have re-read this several times now.

Favorite Quote: "The Beast was a darkness the starlight could not leaven."

December 26, 2019

Subway Christmas

'subway christmas'
This week's Thursday Art Date With Rain prompt is 'Merry Christmas.' I don't actually celebrate Christmas but I do like the holiday spirit during this time so I usually send out a few holiday cards but that's the extend of my celebrating.

closeup
Since the prompt is 'Merry Christmas,' I thought to redo this piece that I think fits the theme. (I often redo a lot of my art works because I'm not always satisfied with the result.) If you have been following me, you might have seen this piece before. I may have also used this for one of my Christmas cards back when I print my own cards. This is a new version with bolder and darker colors and I may have redrawn a few bits here and there. This is hand-drawn, scanned into the computer and then is digitally colored.

Find more Art Dates at Rain's blog here.

December 24, 2019

Books I'm currently (sort of) reading & a reader's expectation

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is 'Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree' which I have a short list so I turn this into: 'Books I got that I keep putting off reading but I still want to read somehow.' The more accurate title probably should be 'A reader's expectation.' I don't know about other people but when I read a book, I form certain expectations along the way which usually is not met but if the book ends well, then I would probably think the book is worth reading. If it ends badly, that doesn't mean the book is not worth reading. It's all a matter of perspective and preference and also whether the book is actually good or not. If you have read these books, let me know what you think of them.

01 | The Ballroom by Anna Hope > link
After I started reading the first few pages, I realized I hate reading about people in asylums because no one ever get treated nicely in asylums and you know something terrible is going to happen. I haven't exactly read far considering the second main character has not been introduced yet. But I really want to finish reading this book because I like the premise about two people meeting in a ballroom in an asylum and because I have a paperback copy and because I think it's a bit of a waste not to read it. I will try to read it but it's going to take a few weeks or months, maybe years.

02 | A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer  > link
Another Beauty and the Beast retelling (if you don't know Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale which I now think it's not as true as before) but that's really the only reason I got interested. This book started out pretty good but it keeps making detours and I'm 165 pages in and still, they keep doing other things that does not involve the curse or the monster that they often refer to but we don't get to see. Why does it take so long to get to that part of the story which is really the only interesting thing at the moment? I get this feeling that the author is trying to prolong the story and put in unnecessary storylines but I could be wrong but maybe it will get back on track if I read farther?

And also, it seems there might be a strange love triangle going on — the beast aka the prince is twenty or older and beauty aka Harper is probably sixteen or seventeen and the prince's guard is a few years older than the prince — tell me why they make the main three characters about the same age if not for a love triangle? And there are some instances that somehow make it seems like it could happen. I really hate love triangles. But that's just speculation because I haven't finish the book but I'm hoping it doesn't happen because it's a little creepy to me because the two men are indeed a lot older than the girl since they have been stuck in the curse for some years so they are like probably 50+ years older than she (if I remember correctly since they refer years as seasons and it had been about a hundred seasons since the curse started) but I guess we are supposed to ignore that. So basically, this is a YA book which I kind of regret picking up even though the whole idea of the books sound really good. But even with all that, I will finish reading this book because I have placed it in a giveaway (which is here if you want to check it out) and I gave myself at the end of December to finish. But it's unlikely I'll like this book after I finish.

03 | The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman > link
I thought I try another Alice Hoffman book because I really like to get back to reading her books but after reading the first few chapters that included a rape scene, I just could not go on. Hoffman's books are heavy in subject matter and kind of hard to enjoy because of said subject matter and also I really hate reading rape scenes. I know no one likes them but sometimes it completely turns me off from continuing a book. This is magical realism which I sometimes like and sometimes hate. I haven't read far enough for any type of magic to turn up but I think this is the sort of book that starts out slow so I'm willing to give it a try. I do have a hardcover signed by the author so it's almost a pity not to read it. But maybe I'll finish reading this next year.

04 | Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery > link
I brought the ebook version from Amazon which cost nothing. They have a few classic books that are pretty cheap. I have started on this but somehow it seems boring and a bit confusing because I didn't actually remember what is about but I'll definitely read this because it's the only novel of Montgomery's I haven't read. Of course that's not a good reason to read a book but what the heck. I expect to like this but not as much as Anne of Green Gables though.

05 | Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer > link
I read a sample of Echo North (I had mistaken this to be Echoes North at one time which I thought sounded better) and that made me want to read more so brought the ebook. This is a East of the sun and west of the moon retelling which is like Beauty and the Beast but with more story toward the end. I have started this and it's pretty good but it seems to be detouring a bit but I think if I read more, it might just get better.

06 | Deadgirl by B.C. Johnson > link
I saw this book (which is the first in a series) on Roberta's Offbeat YA blog and I really want to read it because of the premise and it has no zombies so that's always a plus for me. I have started it and it is pretty good. This is the one time that I don't mind reading about teenagers that act like teenager because most books I read that has teenagers don't act like teenagers until they start with the angst. This book has angst but it suits the characters. I do like the unknown fantasy bits like the mystery which I haven't read enough to know why this girl has become this strange entity — not alive and yet kind of dead and who is chasing her but I don't know because haven't read that far. I'm starting to think this might be a horror which I really don't like reading so even if end up liking this book, I might not read the rest of the series.

07 | Sherwood by Meagan Spooner > link
I have wanted to read this since I read Spooner's Beauty and the Beast retelling, Haunted and that was a pretty good book. And I also like Robin Hood stories and this Robin Hood is a girl. There are a lot of negative reviews for this but I thought what the heck, it isn't a long book and I already like the first bits I read with the sample and it was a pretty cheap ebook. So being cheap is not a good reason to buy a book or read a book but to me, it is. Plus I like Spooner's writing. I know I'll probably hate the ending so I have low expectation for this but hopefully, I'll enjoy reading some of it if not the whole of it.

08 | The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie > link
I don't have this book but I want to read an Agatha Christie mystery so I'm thinking I should start with this one or perhaps And Then There Were None but there are so many to choose from, it's a bit hard to decide. I love watching mystery shows and movies but rarely do I like reading about them. Maybe a cozy mystery where the characters are likable but Agatha Christie's books aren't cozy mysterious so I have very low expectation of them. But I am determine to read at least one Agatha Christie book in my lifetime even if I might not like it.

09 | The Witchlands Series (Truthwitch/Windwitch/Bloodwitch) by Susan Dennard > link
I don't own this series yet but I really like the idea of the story but mostly I kind of want to read this series because of the Bloodwitch character (I forgot his name) and he sounds the most interesting character of the whole series and it's too bad his character didn't start the series. Truthwitch's magic is really her being able to tell if someone's lying which is a really useful talent but kind of boring when you think about it. Truthwitch does start with action but it was boring to me and I just couldn't decide if this is taking place in the modern world or not. The way they talk about things, it sounds like they are in the modern world and yet not really. I would like that to be clear plus why have covers like these if you're going to set this in the modern world, right? As much as I like to read this series because of Bloodwitch, I fear I can't get pass Truthwitch. I'm wondering if I should just read Bloodwitch and forget the other two books but then I might miss something so it's a conundrum. We'll see if I can stand finishing reading the sample excerpt of Truthwitch first.

10 | Winternight trilogy (The Bear and the Nightingale/The Girl in the Tower/The Winter of the Witch) by Katherine Arden > link
I don't have any copies of this series but I really want to read this since two years ago. I had wanted to read the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale because it seems to be a  Beauty and the Beast retelling which does get me interested but I think all my reading of reviews has formed too much expectations that I might end up not liking it. But I'm going to keep this on my 'Check it out later' list because there's a part of me that really wants to read this.

For more Top Ten Tuesdays, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

December 22, 2019

April Gale 26

~ ~  Read previous April Gale here ~ ~


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April Gale 26

Winifred appears as before - not a hair or an eyebrow out of place. In this state, Winifred is more beautiful than when she is awake. April can almost like her.

April have not heard Mrs. Summers complained but she did caught her muttering to herself now and then passing through the hallways. April has not seen of Mrs. Winters nor the second ghost Mona nor anyone else. Vincy have been having meals in his room. She hardly sees Toby. He seems to be always somewhere where she is not. Mrs. Summers have said she keeps him busy ever since they lost their two maids.

April picks up the pillow off the floor. Why is it on the floor?

A sob seeps in the silence of the room. April looks about. The spirit of Winifred is sobbing in the corner with her hair in a mad tangle. April wonders if a ghost, if Winifred is really a ghost, even a half ghost's tear might be useful for a spell. She closes her eyes and pictures one of the vials in the school room and holds out a hand. The vial appears in an instant. She pulls the stopper out and rushes toward Winifred. "Keep still." She holds the vial right under Winifred's left eye. Winifred's tears drop into the vial. April moves the vial toward the other eye and let more tears fall before removing it and putting the stopper back and places the vial into her gown's pocket. Then she regrets it immediately. It is heartless of her to take something when Winifred is clearly in pain. "Are you alright?" she timidly asks as she kneels beside the distraught Winifred.

Winifred swallows and wipes her face with the palm of her hand. "Of course, I am not alright." After a pause. "Why did you collect my tears in the vial?"

December 20, 2019

The pros and cons of using an e-reader

'book dreams'
I'm still learning to use my Kindle Paperwhite but I thought I share some of my thoughts and ideas from using an e-reader. I have skimmed through the e-manual because I hate reading manuals so I might be wrong on some things so feel free to correct me.

01 | Ebooks are pretty cheap
It's sort of cheap when compare to paper books (but not always since pricing various on books no matter the format) but when you think of all the books you can get for free (not including borrowing from the library), it's still pretty cheap.

02 | You have less book clutter
I don't know if this is a plus or not since I do love arranging my books on my tiny shelf and seeing my collection. But I'm greedy I suppose because not everyone can afford to have a book collection. Maybe it is a plus not to have too many paper books because it takes up a lot of space and I really don't have space for them.

03 | You buy a lot more books than you would normally
It's easy to purchase ebooks since you don't necessary see the receipt which is not a plus for your wallet but a plus for your reading enjoyment. Honestly, when I get an email from amazon telling me I have purchased this or that ebook, I just ignore it. It's terrible of me but what can you do? You can't unpurchase them so you might as well enjoy them...until you get your credit card statement.

04 | You become a sample hoarder
Apparently having a Kindle reader makes you a sample hoarder because I seem to accumulate a lot of book samples even when I'm not sure I would read the book. I also think when I'm not in the mood to read my current book, I can read book samples instead.

05 | You can have an endless selection of books at your fingertip

So it's not quite endless but if you have like 200 books on you Kindle, that's almost like an endless supply. I have less than ten books right now but it will grow. Do people delete books from their device once they read them? I do sometimes like to re-read books so I haven't deleted any books yet. Technically I could delete a book once I read them and then re-download it again when I want to read them again but what if I can't go online to get them? I just can't decide to delete or not.

06 | It's easy to skim
So there are a lot of options to go to this page and that page and you can accidentally skip a page which I did a few times because all that tapping is easy. Sometimes I'm not even sure if I didn't skip a page. I know there is an option to freeze some of the functions but there's no option to stop yourself from tapping the screen accidentally. Also page number - I had the info at the bottom of the page not showing but then I realized there is page numbers except it also included the pecentage but I think I like having the page number looked more like a page in a book - on the right side or the center without the pecentage.

07 | It's durable if you don't drop it into a volcano
I might have dropped my Kindle once or twice but it didn't break or crack. I don't have a case for it because I don't think is necessary as the surface is pretty solid. I don't know why I have to buy extra things to protect it when it's clearly made to withstand certain wear and tear. It's not like I'm going to take it into the ocean and read it underwater or climb into a volcano and read in the heat, you know? If I'm doing those things, I would probably not be reading at all. Also that waterproof feature - completely useless to me. I have seen someone put their Kindle in a bowl of water just to test this and it's ridiculous because electronic devices does not go well with water. I know for certain I would never be reading beside a pool or a pond and even if I do, heck, what's the big deal? Instead of that stupid feature, they should add something more useful like an audio port or speakers or a year supply of free books.

08 | It's (sort of) easy to hold
I hold it with my left hand and turn the page with my right hand but it still feels a bit weird because it's so small, just a tiny bit larger than those mass paperbacks which I hate reading from by the way. I had first thought a Kindle would be bigger and I don't know why I thought that. It is lightweight but I keep shifting the way I hold it because it's weird to hold something this light - I feel like I should hold it tighter one minute and looser the next. I guess I just need to get use to holding it.

Also, the power button at the bottom is just wrong. Even though I hold my kindle with my left hand and don't always touch the power button, I still sometimes end up hitting it. And the power port is right next to the power button. What is wrong for putting them at the top? I know you can sort of rotate your screen so that both of these features would be at the top but why should I have to do that? I don't get their silly reason for either one of these.

And let me say just say how much I hate looking at the word 'kindle' at the bottom below the screen. The regular Kindle has the word in black which blends in but the Paperwhite version which is the one I have, has the word in white. This makes no sense to me because if I'm to spend more money, I should be getting the better looking one, that is, having the word 'kindle' there makes the device look cheap - some people might not think so but I do. And it is so distracting. My thumb is not big enough to always cover it. And as I say, I don't use a case so it's always there.

09 | You can't read if your Kindle's battery dies or if your screen is broken
So technically, I have not have either of these problems yet but the battery life seems to be draining a lot faster than when I was not reading regularly. I'm wondering why there is no power off button like when you don't want to use your Kindle for a week or something. They said 'screen off' is the same as 'power off' but I don't know, I keep seeing the power level going down even when I'm not using it. I'm just going to charge it whenever it gets below 15%. Does anyone else think the light to tell if your Kindle is at green or amber a bit too easy to mix up? When you're charging your Kindle, the light is amber and when it's done, it's green. But I just think they should change the amber to red because green and amber are a bit too similar under certain lights.

10 | You read more books
This is probably a personal thing but I find I seem to want to read more because the books are easily available and I don't have to look through my shelves which is being lazy but I'm a lazy reader. I seem to be reading three books right now which is kind of normal for me anyway since I don't always read one book at a time because some books have middle boredom syndrome that you can only relief by reading another book. But I seem to be reading faster somehow with the e-reader and it have nothing with paper turning time. I don't know, I just seems to be reading faster or maybe it just feels faster because there are less words on the screen?

Do you use a Kindle or an e-reader? If so, how do you like it?

December 10, 2019

Books I used to love & Books I used to dislike but now I love

This week's Top Ten Tuesday's prompt is a freebie so I thought I do two short lists: 'Books I used to love but now I only slightly like' and 'Books I used to dislike but now I love.' I like to say I have matured as a reader and that my judgement is better but I can't. I somehow just dislike books for silly reasons but hey, I could do that if I want to because I'm an adult, sort of. My reading taste have changed for reasons I do not  know but I suppose I might have grown out of certain books or authors or simply I just no longer have a desire to love certain books, that could happen right? Anyway, on with the lists:

Books I used to love but now I only slightly like

01 | The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I read this one real fast and it was quite enjoyable but reading it again now, it just seems kind of plain. I actually do not like books set during war time but I did like that death is the narrator so that's really the only reason I was interested in reading this. I still do like this book but I don't love it like I used to.

02 | The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
It was quite a wonderful story when I read it but now it's rather boring. I mean, it's meaningful but at the same, a little forgettable for me.

03 | Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell with illustrations by Terry Fan
I was interested in this book because I am a fan of the illustrator, Terry Fan. When I read this years ago, I really loved it and it was rather cute and I like the characters but now not so much. I suppose the target audience is for a much, much younger audience than me.

04 | The Polar Bear Explorers' Club by Alex Bell and Illustrated by Tomislav Tomic
So I didn't love the whole book, just the first half because it's so much fun but the second half is like they make a sudden detour for no reason and it reminded me too much of the Disney movie (Frozen) but the illustrations are quite lovely. If they had stuck to the main idea of explorers instead of this ice princess story, it could really have been a great book. And this is the first of a series so do expect more of this ice princess story in the next book.

05 | The River King/Second Nature/Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
I used to be, I would not say a big fan but I loved and read almost all of Alice Hoffman's books back then, but now her newer books doesn't appeal to me as much. 'The River King', 'Second Nature', 'Practical Magic' used to be my favorite Hoffman books but now I find I do not like to read them as much. It's rather strange but I don't remember there is this much sex in her books but there are. It was as if my brain had ignored those parts of the books when I was reading them for some odd reason. I still think Hoffman is a great writer but I guess I just don't like her books that much these days.

06 | Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I totally loved this book when I first it read years ago but now it's no longer a favorite. I now find Mr. Rochester a bit unromantic. I think all those tv movies made him sounded so great but he's not. He may be Jane's equal but I think Jane could have done better. It's still an enjoyable book to read but I just don't like it all that much now.

07 | Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
This book is written in letter form and with each letter, the writing gets a bit ridiculous because certain alphabet letters can't be used. I though it was fun when I read it but now it just seems rather silly and not as enjoyable.


Books I used to dislike but now I love

08 | Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
I used to think this was rather ordinary and not much worth reading but now I just love it and it's now my favorite Bronte book. In fact, Anne is my favorite Bronte now instead of Charlotte. I even enjoyed 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' which I never did before.

09 | The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
So I don't love this book completely but it has become a sort of favorite. I still adore Hoffman's writing and she is such a wonderful writer that her books are always worth reading even if you don't like the story.

10 | Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I didn't like Anne of Green Gables the first time I read it but I loved it upon re-reading a few years later. So much that I read the rest of the seven books and I like those but I have to admit when the focus moved away from Anne, I didn't like it that much but now I do. I almost love all of Montgomery's novels and I read them all except 'Kilmeny of the Orchard' - there is no good edition of that book. The ones I look at has such terrible covers and strange formatting. So that story isn't that great but I still think it deserves a good edition, well, mostly so I can finish my collection
 
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More Top Ten Tuesday at 'That Artsy Reader Girl' here. 

So what books have you love but don't love as much now? Or what books have you read that you dislike or even hate but now really love?

December 9, 2019

April Gale 25

~ ~  Read previous April Gale here ~ ~


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April Gale 25

April opens her eyes and a strange anticipation runs through her. But she isn't sure why. She looks around her. The little sliver of moonlight between the curtains allows her to view her room just enough to see everything. All is quiet and still. What is it?

A meow rings out. There's no cat in Windy Shadows aside from Howl but she doesn't sound like a cat at all. April gets out of bed and turns on the lantern. The wallpaper at her right looks the same with the tree gone. Everything in her room is the same.

Another meow rings out. It sounds like it's coming from beneath her bed. She lowers to the floor and lifts the sheet. There in the corner is a bundle but she could tell what it is as there is no light reaching beneath the bed. "Come out, little one," April says. She hopes it's something that doesn't bite. "Come on, I'm not going to hurt you."

The little bundle shifts in the semi-darkness but then it stops.

"What have you got there? Spiders?" Winifred sounds almost cheerful.

April looks up at Winifred. "Don't you ever rest?"

"Rest? I am a ghost."

"You're not a ghost! I told you, you're not dead." April wants to shake Winifred to her senses but she would not be able to even touch Winifred at all. Another meow. April turns back to the creature under her bed. "Come out, there's no need to be afraid of the rude lady. She is quite friendly deep, deep, way deep down inside."

"Are you talking about me? Of course, I am friendly. It is other people that are rude."

April doesn't bother to look up. How Winifred's parents can tolerate her, April will never know. She drops the edge of the sheet and sits down on the floor. Winifred lowers down to face April.

"Winifred," April begins and then sighs. She wishes for more patience for Winifred.

"Yes, April dear?" Winifred smiles and it is the first time that April have seen Winifred's teeth. The two in front are larger than the rest, like a rabbit's only Winifred looks more like a snake.

"Winifred, why do you want to die so much?'

December 7, 2019

Seven Things: Buying less books & other things

'the beast's library'
01| I have decided to read ebooks only and maybe a few paper books now and then. I find I like my space to be a little more spare these days. So I got a Kindle Paperwhite. I brought it without the special offers which I thought is a total joke. Shouldn't a buyer be able to purchase something without advertisement without having to pay an extra 45 dollars? But I did brought it on sale so I sort of didn't have to pay for the advertisement but it's still stupid. If it wasn't on sale, I would still pay extra to have the advertisement remove because I know it would drive me mad to see it every time I turn it on. So far my new Kindle turns on so that's good but it seems so much smaller than I thought.

Apparently Kindle Paperwhite does not come in white which is weird. They come in black and a twilight blue which is kind of nice but I couldn't get that one as it wasn't available in the model without advertisement. I could have gotten a refurbished Kindle Paperwhite but you can't get one without the special offers. And it seems refurbished Kindles are one of those hit or miss thing. You either get a really good one or you will spend a lot of time trying to get a replacement. You really do not save much money and also, it's stupid that people are forced to buy something with advertisement. I cannot repeat this stupid issue enough.

02 | The other day, I went to the Manhattan New York Public Library and tried to renew my library card but I didn't succeed. You are supposed to renew your card every 3 years. They want you to renew your card so that they can make fun of how old you're getting. I'm just kidding. They should just make it every 10 years because I don't find myself going to the library often.

So I ask at the information desk where to go and she gave me a direction and a room number. That place is so huge and confusing that I don't even know where the actual books are located. And the security is almost a joke. When you enter, they don't search your bags but when you exit, they search you but when I was there, they just waved a hand, like they don't even want to bother. What they should have done is search bags when people enter because you don't know what people will bring into the library – I'm more worry about that than people stealing and it's a library and it's full of boring stuff, expensive, boring stuff I should say. But I guess they probably thought no one will bring harmful things into the library because everyone's calm and nice when they go to the library. Yeah, everyone becomes angels when they enter libraries.

Anyway, I went through hallways, stairways, more hallways, more stairways, more hallways and then to this certain room with the certain number. So I went up to the desk and make a request to renew my card. He the librarian sitting behind the desk said something about card and ID. I took out my library card and my ID card and this man holds up my library card looking like a emotionless robot and then in a drone voice (well, it sounded like it to me), "This is a Brooklyn card." And I said, "So I can't renew it?" He just stared at me like I should know better. He wasn't rude exactly but he certainly gave me the feeling that I was stupid (Yeah, I pay my taxes for this kind of treatment) and that I didn't know the obvious reason why that is a Brooklyn library card. Like everyone knows you have to renew your library card at the borough branch that you got your card in the first place. I had always renewed in a Brooklyn library so I didn't know. The NYPL website certainly said nothing about it and neither did the Brooklyn website. I really thought all the NYC libraries are on a connected system but nope. They're not that advance. All those expensive remodeling and rebuilding and they didn't make that possible. It's sad because I really don't wan to deal with people like him just to get a library card. I only went there because I was nearby as I had other things to do. I could have apply for a new card but I didn't want to deal with the robot librarian. And I was tired, hot (as they heated the place like a furnace) and I just didn't care anymore. So I left. Lesson learned but I was disappointed and maybe a little angry. I'll probably won't try to renew my card until later on or maybe until I can't afford to buy books anymore.

03 | I almost stepped on dog stuff several times walking the other day (you know what I mean, I refuse to dirty my blog using the p word or the s word). I don't know why the government bother with fines for people who does not pick up after their dogs because no one pay attention to it and I doubt there was anyone that had to pay a fine. Cleaning/picking up after your pet is not about kindness or about common curtesy or even saving shoes, it's about cleanliness. I mean, even if you don't live in that neighborhood, don't you know it will effect you some day? Like perhaps the water that touches that stuff gets into your pipes? Or that someone might step on that stuff and move it around from neighborhood to neighborhood? I now imagine that all dog owners who does not clean after their pets should have people walk into their house with dogs and have them do their business there. And I'm only complaining because this is a constant problem in my neighborhood. I'm not asking people to follow rules but can we be a little cleaner?

04 | I am going to finish writing April Gale but I don't think I'll be able to finish this year as I thought. But even when I'm finish with it, it still needs editing. I have posted the parts on this blog without much editing. For some odd reason, when it comes to editing anything I write, I become restless and unable to do more than a few paragraphs at a time. I don't know what it is but I suppose it is one of the challenges of writing that I have to get through.

05| I'll be closing up my society6 shop probably at the end of December. Technically, I would just unpublish/delete posts and that's that. (I won't delete my account yet.) I really see no reason to keep it up. I think when you have a shop, even a virtual one, you should have some new product now and then and since I have not been creating new art, I haven't been able to update. And I haven't been doing promoting or even promoting those sales event which seems a bit of joke because they have sales every other week. Honestly, I just can't deal with the promotion part.

06 | On a happier note, I don't owe anyone money, okay, maybe the credit card company but I'll probably keep owing them because I do have expenses. I don't use cash much these days. I think there was some study that says you spend more using credit cards than when you use cash and I totally agreed because you don't count how much money have you have left on a credit card verses when you have cash that you can physically count so you keep spending and you assume can afford to spend more. But as not every place takes credit cards so I still keep cash around.

07 | I don't want to be a minimalist but I really hate clutter. I now find myself choosing not to purchase unnecessary things. Some of the things I no longer purchase are: CDs (I purchase digital versions if I really like them); DVDs (I can rent most movies or subscribe to services for tv shows); clothes (only when I need a replacement); accessories like scarves, hats, shoes, handbags; jewelry (I was never into wearing them anyway so it's not a problem giving them up altogether); box tissue (I use handkerchieves and occasionally toilet paper if I'm desperate), blank notebooks, pens, pencils; gadgets like mp3 players, cameras (I don't trade them in for new ones anyway); those movies/tv shows/books tie-in products/merchandises; paper books (well, not as much as before, this is why I brought the Kindle); wigs (just kidding but if I didn't need hair to keep my head warm, I would probably shave my hair off and stop buying shampoo); seriously, I'm just trying to buy less of everything.

How is your December going?

December 4, 2019

The First Annual Mory Blog Award 2019

It seems there are a lot of awards events at the end of the year so I thought I try one of my own since all awards are makeup anyway, right? I decided to call these Mory awards named after my blog. (Yes, my blog has its own nickname. Mory is the last four letters of Memory as in 'The Memory of Rain' the name of this blog you're currently reading).

The theme or something like it, for the Mory award is, "For excellence in remembering to blog." So what does that mean? I'm not really sure, I just kind of wanted something funny and silly and casual without saying too much. I do like the idea of giving out awards to bloggers because I think every blogger deserves a award or two just for keeping up their blog. These are just for fun so don't take them seriously, well, you could if you want to. Please visit the links to check out these lovely people's blogs. So here goes:

(1) Best Commentator (commentator might not be the proper term but what the heck)
Not everyone has the time to comment but I do like to thank everyone who have commented on my blog here. Without you, it would be kind of lonely to blog. So the award goes to (It's a tie!):

Christine @ Christine's Blog > link
Christine has been a stable commentator on my blog for a long while and I'm grateful for her kind words however short or long. Thank you, Christine!

Elephant's Child (I don't use real names unless it's on someone's blog) > link
Elephant's Child had been very supportive and kind. I feel bad that I don't comment on her blog as much. Thank you, Elephant's Child!

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(2) Blogger Who Make Every Book Worth Reading
No matter what book she is writing about, it just sounds really good and makes me want to read it even though most of the time, it's not the type of book I would read. I think her love of books and reading is very evident. The award goes to:

Lark Writes...on books and life > link

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(3) The Best Place For Things You Thought You Didn't Want to Know
I think the name of this award speaks for itself but if you don't get it, this is for blogs that offers information that might surprise you or help you but either way, it will entertain you. The award goes to:

In the know with Ro > link

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(4) The Seriously Funny Blog
So I may have just discovered this blog two months ago but I have been quite amused by her recent posts. The award goes to:

Can we have a new witch? Ours melted > link

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(5) The Best Place to Go If You're Hungry
So the photographs aren't professionally presented but I like the real-life shots and you know the blogger actually cooked the food. I do believe the food gets eaten often so none of them are wasted. And she also post her lovely art. The award goes to:

Rain's Garden > link

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(6) Best Travel-ish Blog Full of International Food
So perhaps this is almost the same as the award #5, but this is slightly different as the food is from all over the world and she definitely enjoyed them and she also share recipes and various tutorials. The award goes to:

Ice Pandora > link

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(7) The Blogger Most Likely to Inspire Me to Write
If it's not for this blogger hosting and taking care of Words for Wednesday, I would not be writing, well, I would still be writing but I would be so lazy, I would not have written much. So blame her or thank her for me writing April Gale. It should not be a surprise you know who I'm talking about. And the award goes to:

Elephant's Child > link

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(8) The Only Male Blogger
I'm sure there are a lot of male bloggers out there but I haven't find a lot of them. Not that I activity try to find them but I guess I'm more drawn to female bloggers probably because I can relate to them more but I definitely like reading male bloggers when I find one. The award goes to (It's a tie!)

Speculator @ La Vie Graphite > link
Greg @ Book Haven > link

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(9) The Best Place to See Gorgeous Images of Cities and Nature
I've stopped taking photos so visiting this blogger's blog is my way of replacing that and her photography skills are way better than mine.

Reflections and Nature > link

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(10) The Friendliest Blogger in The Blogosphere
For posting daily and daring to say whatever she wants. And also taking time to comment on other people's blog as well. And the final award goes to:

Christine @ Christine's Blog > link

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So what do the winners get? Um, nothing. If I had a lot of money, I would pay someone to create actual trophies for each of the winners so they may put it on their shelf or fireplace mantel but I don't, so, they will just had to accept this digital award:

If you have the time, please visit my bookmark page for a list of wonderful bloggers. The link is over here.