Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SwapNote: A Doodler's Dream!

I know this is supposed to be a blog about reading, etc.  I promise I am nearly done Demi-Monde: Winter and will have a review written up when I am done.  However, I came to sing the praises of a certain little program that is available free to Nintendo 3DS owners.  Said program is called SwapNote.

 Above is one of the Japanese tutorial screens (I couldn't find any English ones) that show you what you can do with the program.  It's a basic interface.  You have a pen, which you control with your stylus; you just write on-screen.  Also, you have the eraser which allows you to erase mistakes.  Just write what you want, and sent to recipients of your choice (from your friends list).

It's fairly simple, but soooooo much deeper than what I made it seem.  SwapNote gives you access to a Pop-Out Pen, which renders whatever you draw/write with it, into 3D!  It's so much fun to experiment with drawings in 3D, and I am thrilled Nintendo allowed an option that let you do so!

I am an unabashed doodler, to be honest.  You should see the margins of my class notes from college.  Drawings of all kinds live in my binders.  Now I can take them to another (frankly, more awesome!) level than I ever could before.  I drew an awesome picture--this might mean nothing to non-Mario fans--of Lakitu throwing a spiny egg.

I used the Pop-Out Pen to draw the spiny egg itself in the foreground.  A rather large, and in-your-face spiny egg pops out of the picture, while I doodled a tiny Lakitu floating safely out of reach.  I imagine this is a sight poor Mario would see just before he was clobbered by the spiny egg!

This is rather thrilling, if you can't tell by my gushing!  It makes owning a 3DS that much more fun.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Review Reading, New Kindle Downloads and What to Read?!

I am currently reading Demi-Monde: Winter, by Rod Rees, for review.  It's pretty good so far!  I have another review copy to read, as wellThe other is Archon: The Books of Raziel by Sabrina Benulis.  It seems interesting.

I am enjoying reading for review purposes, but I miss reading on my Kindle a little.  Especially since Demi-Monde  is rather large.  I've gotten used to the non-weight that is my Kindle.  Makes it much easier to read what would be HUGE volume.  Since my carpal tunnel is acting up fiercely, holding something light has been a welcome change.

I added a couple new books to the eighty-something I already have downloaded.  After a recent purchased of a Kindle gift card, I downloaded The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  I have already read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, but haven't had a chance to even look at Mockingjay yet.  I plan on rereading the first two, to brush up before I read Mockingjay.

Another book I downloaded was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.  It has been on my to-read list for some time.  A friend mentioned something about it the other day, and I remembered I wanted to read it, so I looked for a Kindle Edition.  I was ecstatic to find that it was $2.99!

Now I have so many books to read, it's not funny!  I have had a copy of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 since the 28th of October, and I haven't even cracked it.  My brain sees how big it is, and my hands just throb at the thought of hefting it!  I also have Stephen Fry's The Liar, which has been kicking around my room for a while. 

Not to mention that  I am STILL reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  He is on hiatus until I read the review novels that I have here.  Holmes is definitely next, then I have actual novels to read.  Or do I read another Kindle title?  This has never really been a dilemma for me before!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Related Movie: The Hobbit

I know there is the whole spiel about books being better than movies, etc.  I, for one, greatly enjoyed the Lord of the Rings films.  I thought that they were excellent adaptations.  The Fellowship of the Ring even came out on my 21st birthday, which thrilled me to no end.

So I decided to share with you the gorgeous trailer to the film(s) based on J.R.R Tolkein's The Hobbit!  Maybe one of them will be released on my next birthday (32nd...UGH!)  At any rate, I know how I will be celebrating it when it rolls around.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Words Devoured: Near Death

I am totally excited (and a little nervous) to be reviewing a the book of a good friend. My friend Marybeth--I call her MB--Mulhall wrote a book called Near Death. She asked me if I wanted to review it for her, and I jumped on the chance.

When Aya, a Japanese-American high school student, and her circle of soon-to-be friends begin seeing a mysterious young man with striking green eyes, they don't know what they are in for.

The young man, Christoph, is an Angel of Death so-to-speak. That is he helps people pass, even if it means being the one that causes their passing. However, Christoph is there to warn against dangers, and is sent back to the living world as punishment.

He joins Aya and her friends, and learns to live as a human teen again, just with his abilities still intact. These abilities help him to prepare for some terrible deeds. Even deeds he, himself, must commit... Much to the pain of his friends.

MB writes believable, relatable teenaged characters. Their interactions are natural, and their relationships are not forced, though they might move on a little quickly--then again, these are teenagers we're talking about.

The back stories of the characters, Christoph in particular, are well developed, and a bit heartbreaking.

MB's supernatural elements are very natural, as well. (That is an odd idea... naturally supernatural). And enough of the supernatural elements something that might not have a real-world parallel should do. It keeps the reader wondering how things work.

All-in-all, I really enjoyed Near Death. I hope that more stories come from these characters (Do you hear that, MB?!) because I would like to find out what has been going on with them.

If you would like to pick up a copy in e-format, please visit:  MB's Smashwords Page and download it for your e-reader as soon as you can!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This is something that affects us all...

I've censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet--a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit:

Do you ████ the ██████████ to ████ the ███████ to ██████ ████ ████████ we, as █████████, can █████?  If you ████ to █████ for one of our ████████ ████████--the ███████ of ██████--you ██████ do as I did, and ███████ ████████.  If not, ██████████ you ████ to ████ █████ ████ ████ ████!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Words Devoured: The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories

Good news!  I received my review copy tonight!  I was totally thrilled when I opened the mailbox and found the envelope waiting for me inside.

This is The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, and it lives up to it's name in that it is, indeed, a tiny book.  While the stories contained within are short--a mere handful of sentences each--when accompanied by the beautiful art, they tell tales that are volumes long!  This is an amazing collaborative effort.

Each of the tiny stories is full of emotion.  Many of them made me laugh out loud because they were just surprising.  One or two of them tugged at the heartstrings, honestly.  I find it amazing how such a tiny story can easily move someone.

Since the book itself is so tiny, I don't want to mention in great detail some of my favorite tiny stories because...well...I'd have most of the book covered in this review.  I enjoyed the following story immensely, because it leads you to the only conclusion you can think of--that would happen naturally:

It was the little surprises like this that brought a smile to my face.  I am sure you would come to the same conclusion I did, but no one knows what really happened to the egg.  The open end allows you, the reader, to decide what happens.  I, however, am a bit of a pessimist...  Poor egg!

hitRECord publishing has a charming tiny book here.  The good news is that it's only the first of three planned volumes!  I cannot wait to see more if these great little works!

Tiny Book of Tiny Stories

This is a book that I will be receiving a review copy of within the  next couple days.  I am thrilled to be able to do so, honestly!  It's something I look forward to doing in my down time post-graduation (Friday!!).  Anyway, here is a video about the book.  Watch and enjoy!  I'll give my impressions of the book after I have read it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Interesting Prospect

I was just checking my e-mail today, and I found two pretty interesting e-mails.  Both of the came from Harper Collins Publishing, and both of them offered me a chance to receive some review copies of some upcoming books.  These both caught my attention rather easily, for sure!

The first e-mail I looked at was for a single book called A Tiny Book of Tiny Stories by hitRECord (which went through Harper Collins.)  I sent along word that I would like to give it a look, and would review it.  Further on in my inbox, I came across a second email that had a list of books (from which I could choose up the three to review). 

I figured "why the hell not?".  So I opted to read two--which were the two that most interested me.  I just wonder how I got picked for this?  I haven't done any real book reviews here (yet).  I am still very interested in the idea, however, and will gladly review if I am asked!