Musings from an almost 12 year old

Because I have been so busy this week and haven’t written a review for the book I just finished and I already started another book, here is an original creation myth my 12 year old wrote for school (though after reading it the thought crossed out mind that he may need therapy ;P )

 

Mansquito

First, Mansquito was born by two disease carrying mosquitoes.

Look,” said the first mosquito, “a man of great proportions has been hatched.”

Mansquito was human, but no one was bothered by this. He quickly learned how to help others with diseases and became a doctor. However, Mansquito was a carrier of the deadly disease malaria, and more than 40% of his patients were victims of his own disease. Despite this, he led a happy life and got his medical license.

Then, one night, while Mansquito was treating his 60th patient infected with malaria, his parents came into the hospital to congratulate him for his success. The patient, however, was not as welcoming as Mansquito was,

Ah!” the patient screeched. He then grabbed a bone saw and killed Mansquito’s parents.

No,” Mansquito shrieked “you will pay for this misery you have brought to me!”

He then sent a hundred malaria carrying mosquitoes at the patient, killing and controlling him.

Then, Mansquito went completely insane. He scampered up to the rooftop of the hospital while chanting:

“You all shall pay,” he chanted, “You all shall be my hypnotic slaves!!!”

He plagued Greece with all the deadly diseases known to man, including malaria. Millions died and become Mansquito’s minions, only a few survive the “Great Human Purge.”

Two years after the purge, Mansquito dominates the Greek people.  Mansquito first started his hypnotic campaign by forcing the Greek gods to make him a god by telling them he would kill all of Man.   Then he put malaria inducing mosquitoes everywhere in Greece. After a while, the death toll started taking one-third of the population, and people were starting to panic. Even the gods were nervous, namely Hades, who experienced a decrease in souls in the Underworld.  Hades went to Zeus to explain the issue.

Hades complained “I haven’t seen any more souls enter the underworld lately.”

We have a new employer,” Zeus replied, “He gets four times as many souls then you do, and he actually does the work”

“Who dares try to steal the reason I am a god?!” Hades roared

“A God of Disease named Mansquito” Zeus responded

Furious, Hades starts to search for Mansquito. Hades searched for days and days until he finally finds Mansquito sitting on his throne surrounded by thousands of dead minions. Mansquito wore a grassy colored robe with ghostly straps and blood stains from minions puking blood.  He also wore a leather belt and an amethyst and diamond crown.

Kindly, Mansquito questioned “How has the honorable Hades beg a favor of me?”

“How dare a disease carrying whelp steal my souls?” Hades taunted.

Angry that Hades shouted with such disrespect, Mansquito commanded his minions to  kick Hades into an unsanitary jail cell. Too make matters worse; Mansquito put a camera in the room to record Hades misery. All over Olympus the gods watched as Hades rotted in a jail cell.

Embarrassed, Hades said to Mansquito “For my freedom, I offer a challenge to kill my best warrior.” Mansquito eagerly accepted this challenge and freed Hades so he could fulfill his promise of a challenge.

Afterward, Hades sent his warrior Zathos to kill Mansquito. Z athos went on to his quest to prove his loyalty to his king.

Zathos had recently died of an arrow to his Achilles spot. Despite that, Zathos was a great warrior. The reason Hades chose Zathos to kill Mansquito was because Hades had given him immunity to disease and mind control. To help him in his battle, Hades gave Zathos a sword of god killing, and sent him on his way.

When Zathos reached Mansquito’s lair, he found a sign that said:

I have made a challenge for you my friend.”

In order to face Mansquito, Zathos had to complete three challenges. The 1st challenge consisted of walking through a pool of sewage while being bitten by malaria carrying mosquitoes. The 2nd challenge was to get through a very difficult maze slowing filling up with neurotoxin. The final challenge was to drink a glass full of sewage, leaving the person who drank it only twenty minutes to live. Zathos completes these challenges and confronts a surprised Mansquito.

Finally, Mansquito challenges Zathos to a battle and attacks him with mosquitoes plagued with West Nile Virus. To Mansquito’s surprise, Zathos was unaffected and struck Mansquito down. Mansquito then pulls out a secret sheath that contained a 3-foot long sword made of gold. Mansquito then charges Zathos, locking blades for what seems like an eternity. Then, Zathos manages to fool Mansquito by pretending to surrender, then throwing a pot of hot oil on him. Mansquito started to shriek from the pain and shock of losing.

“No, this can’t be, it’s impossible!” Mansquito shrieked.

Suddenly, Mansquito’s body exploded into a ton of disease carrying bugs and vermin due to the heat of the oil. They were coming out of his ears, nose, eyes, and mouth. His flesh and bones were starting to turn visible. This continued for three minutes until all that remained were his clothes and skeleton as well as a few organs that were untouched by the bugs and vermin. Zathos was rewarded with eternal life when he returned to Hades and lived forever as a warrior to fight in many wars. However, his quest was only half complete. The bugs and vermin flew and scuttled to all the countries in the world. When Zathos heard the news, he spent forever looking for cures to all diseases to rid the world of the carriers of diseases.

 

 

 

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Guest Review – The Hunger Games by my 12 year old son

Today we have a review of the Hunger Games from the perspective of the low-end of the target audience, my 12-year-old son!

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins,  is a thrilling book that takes place in the country of Panem.  The country is ruled by the capital which is intersected by 12 districts.  After a civil war and the 12 districts were defeated, the capital invented the Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games consist of 1 girl and 1 boy from ages 12-18 from each district.  These children have to fight to the death, on live tv, until one person remains for the reward of fame and fortune.

Katnis is the main character.  She is a 16 year old girl, from district 12, who takes her 12 year old sister’s place in the Hunger Games.  During the games she is resourceful and manages to get a bow and arrow during the games, her preferred weapon.  She is good-hearted and loves her family so much that she risks her life and faces death to spare her sister.  She is temperamental but it takes a lot to make her show it.  Katnis has two love interests, Peeta and Gale.

Peeta is the local baker in district 12 and has a crush on Katnis.  He is the boy representative from district 12 for the Hunger Games.  He is physical strong and works to help Katnis stay alive, including faking her death.  He ultimately betrays the other districts, which leads to serious injuries.

Gale is a minor character in this book and not a part of the hunger games, but it is implied that he also has a crush on Katnis.

I think the story is a good book because it provided a lot of suspense and thrills.  I really enjoyed the survival part of the plot and the author  makes you feel like your part of the story.  Katnis and Peeta indirectly revolt against the capitol’s control because they refuse to allow one of them to die and the other to live.  Instead the both agree to commit suicide with poisonous berries to end the Hunger Game with no winner, which would leave no point to the game.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and hope those books are as exciting as this one.

Review: How to Ravish a Rake

How to Ravish a Rake
How to Ravish a Rake by Vicky Dreiling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SCANDALOUS DESIRES . . .

Amy Hardwick has one last Season to shake off her wallflower image and make a love match. If she can’t, she’ll set aside her dreams of romance and return home to a suitor who can provide security-if little else. What she doesn’t count on is the inappropriate-and irresistible-attention lavished on her in a darkened library by rake extraordinaire Will “The Devil” Darcett . . .

DEVILISH DELIGHT

When Will is caught in a tryst with the tons shyest miss, he knows he must offer for her hand. Yet Amy is not the shrinking violet she seems to be. Passion lies beneath her prim exterior and Will is eager to release it. But winning Amy isn’t simply a matter of seduction; first, Will must convince her that he’s mended his wicked ways

This is the third book in Vicky Dreiling’s inaugural How To series featuring Hawk’s brother Will and Amy (from the first 2 books). I did receive my copy as an ARC from the author.

Amy happens to be my favorite of Ms. Dreiling’s three heroines so far. She is an introverted thinker who must deal with a lot of social anxiety. This leaves her tongue tied in social situations and confused in larger crowds, which explains the idea that she is aloof, first mentioned in Duke. Amy is the type of heroine that many women can relate to. While insecure, she is strong enough to face it and begin to overcome it. She does so by using her natural talent as a way to move past her anxiety and relate to people, especially the ladies of the ton.

William, Hawk’s younger brother, has been living his life on the run from his family. He keeps his exploits public and is as charming as possible as a way of garnering attention, especially from his family. Will is like many overlooked children where any attention, even for bad behavior, is welcome. But he is conflicted because he fears his family’s intervention and disapproval due to his anger at them. Instead of confronting his family with his feelings, he prefers to stay away. This becomes impossible when Hawk cuts off his allowance and Will makes a major mistake in trying to garner funds. Despite his family issues, he is loyal, steadfast, and honorable.

Will and Amy’s story is endearing and refreshing. They are very different people who handle difficult feelings in the same way, withdrawal. Ms. Dreiling caught perfectly the swirl of emotions that anxiety can cause in a person and how it can easily rip apart the fragile self-esteem. Unlike other stories where both the heroine and hero have to go through extreme emotional upheaval to grow, Will and Amy gradually work their way through their problems. Despite them not knowing each other well, they quickly learn to rely on each other for strength and the importance of fully believing in each other.

It was an absolute thrill to finally read a book where when the twist comes, the hero and heroine act like rational mature adults instead of following the first emotional impulse that flits through their brain. Of course given both Amy and Will’s tendency to withdraw from adversity, it underscores their development and why they are so perfect for each other. As in her other two books, the hero and heroine compliment each others strengths and weaknesses and bring out the best in each other. The rapport between Amy and Will is light, witty and bewitching. Watching Will fall in love with Amy was utterly delightful and easily made this my favorite book of the series.

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Romantic Places – Brandywine Waterfall Cuyahoga Valley National Park

I love waterfalls.  They are both impressive, powerful, and romantic.  There is something peaceful in watching the water pound the rocks below, in the sound of the rushing water, and even the feel of the spray (if you can get close enough).  So when I get a chance to go hunt them out I do (that and lighthouses), hence given the beautiful weather this week in the Cleveland/Akron area, we made a hike out to Cuyahoga Valley National Park and to Brandywine Falls.

Our first stop was hiking the Towpath Trail to Standford house.  We say lots of birds and some of the new   growth starting to peep out, but the trails were extremely muddy due to the rain.  I got a great picture of the towpath trees creating a canopy over the trail.

I adore pictures like these.  I have one in black and white up on my wall, in 3 parts, of a small path through birch trees.  I can’t wait to see this in the summer with full foliage and again with the fall colors.  Thankfully, this trail is well gravelled and lacked the extensive mud we found on the way to Stanford house and beyond.

 

So after finishing our 3 mile hike we returned to our car and drove over the BrandyWine Falls.  The falls cut down into a gorge and the pathway down to them is a nice wooden walk path with steps down to the base of the gorge.  The area is still fairly wooded which gives you such fun physic anomalies as this tree growing out sideways and clinging to the rocks.

 

 

 

And now to some shots of the falls

top part of the falls

the long drop down

right side of falls

Start of the falls

The falls are 60 foot drops over Berea Sandstone with the softer layers of Berea and Cleveland Shale.  You can tell the areas of shale in the pictures because the falls take on a bridal veil appearance, as in the middle parts of the top pictures.  It’s harder to see the bridal veil patterns over all due to the heavy amounts of water coming over the falls (as you can see in the right side falls picture) due to the massive amounts of rain we have had in the area over the last 6 months.  Here, you can compare my March 2012 pictures to some May 2004 pictures (and a short 5 second movie clip).   As you can see in the 2004 pictures, the waterfall is much tamer and lacks the heavy cascading water that is seen on each side of my pictures.

There are a few other waterfalls in the area that I am going to have to track down and I think I may plan a lighthouse tour for when my parents come in July.

Review: Defiant

Defiant
Defiant by Kris Kennedy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A rogue knight and an enchanting renegade join forces to right old wrongs in award-winning author Kris Kennedy’s sizzling new medieval romance.A warrior with questionable intentions . . .

Jamie Lost is the king’s most renowned commander, a fearless lieutenant ordered to kidnap an exiled priest before rebel forces close in. The mission is simple—until he meets a mysterious thief who will steal his quarry and then his heart.

A lady of remarkable courage . . .

Beautiful Eva is also seeking Father Peter, but she intends to protect him from a secret that could cost him his life. She senses that she, too, should fear Jamie—not just for his wickedly sharp sword and dangerously muscular body, but for the powerful longing he ignites within her.

A secret that could overthrow the king.

When a band of mercenaries abducts the priest, Jamie and Eva must form a volatile alliance. As civil war unfolds around them, they embark on an epic journey that betrays the truth about their hidden identities, their unexpected loyalties, and the simmering attraction that could seal their fates forever.

Kris Kennedy is not only a new author for me but her book Defiant is set in a historical time frame in which I read very little (early 13th century) as my historical preference is Regency to Victorian. Usually when I read books set further back they are time travel or other type of paranormal romances. I received the book as part of the National Reader’s Choice Awards.

The heroine of the story, Eva is a strong, feisty woman who has spent the last ten years of her life struggling to stay alive and protect her young friend, Roger. Not only is she resourceful, familiar with with a blade, and hiding in plain sight, but also witty, and quick thinking. She understands both her strengths and her weaknesses allowing her to use them to her advantage. She, with 15 year old Roger in tow, attempts to save Father Peter, an old friend, from the King, the Rebels and certain death.

Jamie is a hard, violent man known for his deadly sword and changing loyalties, who instantly sees through Eva’s deceptions and lies. He is cold and willing to do about anything to gain the information he needs to complete his task. Due to his past, Jamie falls to see his own worth. He is cold and calculating and exploits relationships, including the one with Eva, to gain the information he needs.

The book starts off with the detailed observations of Eva and Jamie, which bogs down the pace of the story. The relationship that grows between them is based on their observations of each other with short banter intermingled with their thoughts. Neither trusts the other and frequently remind the reader of their plans to betray. The observations of each are repetitive and droning, which makes it difficult to understand how a romance is developing between the two based on anything other than a mutual physical attraction. I was furthered bother by the repeating of the the same descriptions over and over. While some repetition, when it is spread out through out the story, can be effective, having the same line repeated (like knows like) three times within about thirty pages is ineffective. I was also distracted by Eva suddenly dropping into old English at the start of some conversations. It was inconsistent and instead of adding flavor and realism to the story it broke the flow of reading and seemed out of place.

As the story races to a conclusion, the pace of the book picks up and it is almost as if your reading a different story with different characters. The author stressed so much the distrust between Eva and Jamie that it is difficult to see how their relationship evolved, and it seems to be change that is contrived. Because Eva never acknowledges that she is starting to trust Jamie, her actions for the rest of the book are out of character. At times she feels betrayed by Jamie, but simply tosses those feelings aside so unlike the Eva at the beginning of the book. She no longer shows any anger or questions Jamie, just acceptance of whatever he throws at her. Instead it is almost like Stockholm syndrome, especially given the violence (choking her twice, physical intimidation, and tying her up until she agrees to behave) and captivity Eva endures from Jamie in the first half of the book. This Eva is a far cry from the bold as brass woman who, at the beginning of the novel, hoodwinked a ship’s captain, choked a man unconscious, and held a blade to a bishop’s throat.

The book and it’s plot had a lot of potential, but the author did not quite pull it off. The first half of the book would have been better served with less description and more focus in the second half on smoothing out the romance between them. It wouldn’t have taken much, a bit of anger from Eva at Jamie’s disloyalty, a few gentle touches in passing by Jamie, or some show of emotion between them that went beyond physical attraction. Otherwise, it is a decent read for the intrigue, but expect the romance to meander through the story. Though while I had issues with the book, those that enjoy this author or style should still give it a try.

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Review: How the Marquess Was Won

How the Marquess Was Won
How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Scandal Sheets call him Lord Ice.

Ruthless, cold, precise, Julian Spenser, Marquess Dryden, tolerates only the finest—in clothes, in horseflesh, in mistresses. And now he’s found the perfect bride, the one whose dowry will restore his family’s shattered legacy and bring him peace at last: the exquisite heiress Lisbeth Redmond.

She’s not afraid to play with fire…

But one unforgettable encounter with Lisbeth’s paid companion, Phoebe Vale, and the Marquess is undone: this quiet girl with the wicked smile and a wit to match is the first person to see through the icy façade to the fiery man beneath. But their irresistible attraction is a torment as sweet as it is dangerous: for surrendering to their desire could mean losing everything else they ever wanted.

I have so far enjoyed reading the Pennyroyal series, but I found this book disappointing.
Phoebe knows who and what she is but still wishes to be something more.   Despite being grounded she is a romantic carefree spirit with a lot of pride. Her character is delightful and refreshing to the series.
There are many words to describe Julian. He is restrained and precise, an anal retentive perfectionist who ultimately fears not only failure but loss of control over his very ordered world.   He is the trendsetter of the ton,  and because he fears any failure, even social ones,  he is ruled by the trends of his own making and the ton’s perception of him.
But the two don’t work together and Julian and the supporting cast are the reason why.   It was almost painful to watch the couple play out the same dance steps over and over.   Julian and Phoebe have great interaction,  then Lizbeth Redmond walks in,  demands her due and he goes all nutty over the “perfect” gal. It’s done over and over in the book, and drags the book down. The story would have flowed much better if the whole Lizbeth interest was dumped and had Julian fight himself over wanting a mere school teacher. Instead it came across more like a bad high school drama.
And the supporting cast makes it worse.   The characters are catty,  mean spirited brats that I thought I left behind in high school.   While the use of some of these characters can be successful in a novel they need to be balanced out by other nice characters.   That balance is severely lacking here and it makes it hard to like anyone in the book except Phoebe.   Most of the time Julian came across as the gloating worshiped high school jock teasing the quiet unpopular girl instead of her knight in shinning armor.
Even the ending was unsatisfying and childish.   Overall the book felt rather immature for my tastes and not what I expected from this author.   On the other hand Phoebe was an amazing character who deserved a better supporting cast.   What the overall story lacked was made up in the fresh and witty dialogues between Julian and Phoebe and that is what made the story.
I am looking forward to Olivia and Lyons story,  but I think I would rather see Lizbeth in a convent than get her happily ever after.   The author had better make her grovel and but her through some serious life altering events because she is one of those girls who needs her comeuppance and an easy HEA just isn’t right.   Karma should be in play and she,  and the rest of the supporting cast,  deserve it.

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