My Job Makes Me Feel Amazing…

I have worked in customer service since I was seventeen years old. I work in a tourist attraction vice town so it’s hard to find Monday thru Friday jobs with decent hours that take place in an office. Most jobs around Reno are casinos or such type jobs.

I hate customer service. I don’t have the demeanor for it. If you are an ass to me I will be an ass right back. I do not subscribe to “The Customer Is Always Right” I don’t even subscribe to the theory that the customer is right most of the time. I should not be around people. It’s a pretty awful idea.

But, I don’t have a degree and  I live in Reno. I was pretty sure I was going to work in customer service forever.

My last job was the worst, as you may know if you have read some of my previous posts. It was pure hell for two years. So stressful to the point that I was having seizures, gained a bunch of weight (not related to eating given that my eating habits never changed) and ended up getting kidney infections and occasionally not being strong enough to walk. I spent six months on and off bed rest.

So when my boyfriend told me about a receptionist position for a veterinary clinic I thought”What the hell.” I never figured I would get hired but I really needed a new job.

Well…lo and behold, I got hired. And I act as way more than a receptionist. Turns out I’m more of an assistant. I get to do pharmacy orders, lab work, x-rays and I’m learning to monitor a patient during surgery.

Already that’s amazing but I get to work with animals all day. It’s low stress. Today was back to back and I think I saw 15 clients and no surgery today. I get to love on cats and dogs all day. I’m super awkward addressing people but if I address their pets they are totally okay with that and will answer me for them so I still get all the information I need with a minimum of human interaction.

Perfect.

But, the epitome of how great my job is came in the form of an emergency surgery we had last week.

There was a black lab/great dane mix, Timber who had been out hiking with his owner. He had tried to follow his husky brother, Odin the husky, over a log and not quite cleared it. A jagged branch went through his leg and tore it open almost down to the bone. His owners were able to get help loading him into their car (he is a 110 pound dog) and drove down the road where they found my vet hospital.

They pulled up, covered in dirt and blood and panicking . The owner thought that Timber was going to die or lose his leg. She was very upset.

As soon as they pulled up my staff got to work. We got a gurney out to their car, brought them inside. My vet staunched the bleeding while evaluating the damage. He had torn it open from his shoulder which could be a problem because of the way the shoulder moves so he would have to suture several layers to make sure they didn’t get torn or infected and then put Timber in a sling (a sling that lasted 48 hours by the way. And only that long because he was drugged up for that time) Besides his shoulder, no major veins were hit and his leg could be repaired. After the shoulder was evaluated, Timber was wheeled into emergency surgery where my vet and another assistant operated.

While helping Timber, I also got a chance to help the owners. I calmed them down. I let them know step by step what we were doing, what was going to happen next and what they could expect. When they came in, the owner was crying and could barely speak. By the time I left she was smiling. She wasn’t happy, mind you. Still stressed. But hopeful. They knew they were in good hands, they knew that Timber was going to be fine.

Timber’s recovery has been going great. His surgery was last week and I’ve seen him three times since then to make sure that the sutures are staying, his leg is draining the way it should etc…and he’s doing amazing. He’s not even walking with a limp. Though he has gained about 9 pounds because he’s been guilting his owners into giving him treats by pouting in his cone of shame.

I’ve worked in customer service for nearly ten years and I’ve never felt like I really truly helped anyone until that day.

 

-M-

 

Book Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

moon called

Synopsis:

Mercy Thompson is not your average mechanic. For starters, the VW bus she is fixing in her garage belongs to a vampire.  The former owner of her mechanic shop is a gremlin, her neighbor is a werewolf(not just any werewolf-the Alpha of the local pack) and she is a Skinwalker.

When a new werewolf shows up in town on her doorstep asking for work, she helps him and ends up getting herself mixed up in an oncoming war between Alphas.

Rating: 5/5

I loved this book. I did not expect to because it has three things authors very rarely do well (for  my taste): Skinwalker mythology, werewolves and vampires. I love the concepts behind all three of those things but they get watered down and boring in most genres these days (See: Twilight and True Blood) It’s the same reason I avoid all things Zombie.

Cool concept. Poor execution.

But Patricia Briggs handles all three masterfully. The werewolves feel like…werewolves. Like dominant, pack creatures who you would never want to make angry. There is something quietly powerful in how she writes all of the werewolves-especially the main Alpha’s you meet-Samuel, Adam and Bran.  Their weaknesses and strengths make sense and stay consistent. They don’t suffer from Superman syndrome (where they will have abilities all of a sudden that they have never had before just to get out of a sticky situation)

The vampires, though not shown too much in the first book (my understanding is they are more prominent in some other books. I’ve started the second one and that definitely seems to be the case) are terrifying. They don’t sparkle or whine about their existence. They are powerful, ancient and magical. You don’t want to go into a vampire lair. Accompanied by werewolves or not.

The Skinwalker mythology is scarce in this one but for good reason. She is the only Skinwalker she knows and what she knows about herself doesn’t fit with the Native American/Werewolf mythology of her people. She can turn into a coyote but she doesn’t require coyote skin to do it, she isn’t evil and she wields no magic. What she does know is she can shift, she has heightened senses which help her read situations and she is immune to some magic and no one knows why.

The threats in the books come fast and they are believable. You know Mercy is going to get out okay because there are eight more books in the series,  but she is not always the one you are worrying about.

Patricia Briggs also is a master at character development. Even her side characters you may only see once or twice are fully fleshed people. She spends time with the characters, creating and resolving subplots in a few paragraphs that manage to aid the overall story.

If you enjoy the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, then I definitely recommend checking out the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Both Urban Fantasy, both set in worlds almost identical to ours with the exception of magic being prominent(and, in the Mercy Thompson series, even known about by the general public) and Mercy Thompson is a coyote shapeshifter rather than a wizard.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer review

Cinder

Synopsis (From Amazon):

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My rating: 5/5

Cinder is the first book in Marissa Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicles” series, all of which are retellings of classic fairy tales set against a steampunk future background.

Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella(never would have guessed that, huh?) where Cinder is a part Cyborg living where Cyborgs are hated and feared. How she became a cyborg is a mystery to her. She woke up with no memory in the life she now lives as a renowned mechanic when the prince of New Beijing comes in to her shop looking for help repairing his damaged personal servant robot which is what starts her on a path filled with treason, secrets and danger.

Cinder has all the classic moments you would want. Her shoe(leg) that comes off. The running down the stairs at the ball. Prince Charming and the wicked step mother. It does all this while also managing to be completely unique. The plague running rampant through the streets feels dangerous as do the secrets and history Cinder uncovers as she works to fix the robot for the Prince.

It’s a great read with amazing mythos attached but be prepared to get hooked and read the whole trilogy currently available in a weekend.(the 4th is due out November 10th and there is also a prequel out) The world, though alien from our own feels real and tangible.

It’s a great deal of fun both as a YA novel and as fan of classic fantasy and I have nothing but high praise for Cinder and the Lunar Chronicles series.

-M-

 

If you are an author and would like your book reviewed please send me an email at ekuinbox@gmail.com with an introduction and a brief synopsis of your book and I will get back to you. 🙂

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson book review

Elantris

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

My rating: 4.5/5

Elantris is one of my favorite Sanderson books. It’s a great stand alone Fantasy if you are looking for a break in reading series. (He does have more books planned in this world when he gets around to it but Elantris stands on it’s own and no ends are left untied) It also has what Sanderson is famous for: a unique and intricate magic system.

It’s also the only book I’ve ever read where the magic system is broken.

Once upon a time, people were randomly chosen to become, basically, Gods. They would wake up and have glowing skin and be able to make things out of nothing, or heal with just their hands. And then, it seems, the magic turned on them. They became gray, their hair falling out and they were unable to sate their hunger.  They were condemned to the city they had made-Elantris-and the people of the city below them-Arelon-tried to ignore them. But people still wake up as “Elantrians” But now that is a curse rather than a blessing.

Which is where the story opens. With our hero, Raoden, prince of Arelon,  awaking to find that his skin has turned gray and rotting. But, this is Sanderson, so it gets much more complicated than that very quickly.

Of all the story lines, Raoden is my favorite. Watching as he copes with being an Elantrian, forsaken by the people he was going to save.  In his story line you can see a lot of Kaladin from the Stormlight Archives being developed. Especially in how he deals with his fellow Elantrians.  Having read Way of Kings first, it was fun to see a similar character. He is slightly cliche (the kind hearted prince who was going to save his people from his father, the evil king, but something gets in his way) but as he unites the previously divided and warring Elantrians (and how he does it) he shows a strength and subtle wit which was delightful to read.

But we also follow a few other characters.

The Princess Sarene from across the Ocean who comes to marry Raoden as part of a peace treaty only to find he has “died” and she is a widow as well as the High Priest Hrathen who has been given 3 months to convert all of Arelon to his religion or his God is going to destroy it.

Sarene has to adjust to a whole new land while finding herself widowed to a man she had never met but thought she might be able to love.

Hrathen is the character who shows the most growth, to me, throughout the story. He isn’t a bad guy, necessarily. He is, in his heart, doing what he thinks is best. He wants to save a continent of people from total destruction. No matter what that means. He may go about things in a bad way and it’s hard to condone all of his actions, but he is doing what is best. Which is a fascinating trait to have in a character. Normally I think other authors may have had him as a villain. Which he kind of is in Elantris but it also goes deeper than that.  Sanderson once again proves his writing prowess with the detail he has put into the characters he has written.

The three stories start out separate. You hardly think they would touch at all (especially Raoden) but as the story goes on, the web is weaved and the three character arcs start to merge into one. Lines start connecting, holes start getting filled and the mystery of the broken magic starts to come alive.

Elantris is a great ride from the first page to the last and is one I know I will be re-reading a few times in the future.

 

-m-

 

If you are an author and would like your book reviewed please send me an email at ekuinbox@gmail.com with a brief synopsis of your book.

I’m Back!

Taken by E.K.
Taken by E.K.

Hello!

I know it has been a long time since I’ve written anything here. It’s been even longer since I posted any of my video/blog reviews(not for a lack of books to review)

As those of you who read my last blog know, I’ve been undergoing a lot of changes.

A long term relationship ended out of the blue, I had to move (and get used to being settled on my own) and I changed shifts at my job.

Those are the major things. Obviously with each major change comes a host of minor changes.

But I’m back. I have a bunch of books I’m going to review with my new set up (I have a real camera and a real tripod instead of a $100.00 point and shoot and a tripod that stands 3 inches high) I have to find the best place in my new place for lighting and such and then you will see a bunch of new videos which may or may not be accompanied by written reviews.

I promise to work on my consistency of posting. I want to incorporate book hauls and such into these blogs. Since I’ve also taken up photography as a hobby I hope to use this blog as a platform for that as well. I also hope to post the finished blogs of the sample book reviews I was doing.

It’s a new year. New place. New me. So it’s going to be a new blog.

Love you all

M

A Letter To A Stranger-Response to a Writing Prompt

I have a writer friend who posts writing prompts on Mondays. She calls them Monday Muse and it’s a fun segment to look through from time to time. (if you are looking for some writing prompts or just various writing things she posts here)

Usually I don’t write with the prompt because when it comes to writing prompts I’m actually super picky. But reading through her blog today I was struck by inspiration. Kind of. (Here is the blog that inspired this post)

I was working on one of my other blogs and started thinking about what kinds of things I would tell to someone whom I had never met before about life.

So I thought I would give it a shot. Flex my letter writing muscles and see what comes out. So here you go.

**********

Dearest stranger,

I am not sure by what means you came by this letter but I can only imagine that if you did, there is a reason. Perhaps you are going through a rough time and need guidance. Perhaps you just need to feel like you’re not alone.

Or maybe this isn’t at all what you are looking for. I guess neither of us will know that until we get to the end of this, will we?

I’ve decided, for this letter, to write a few things I’ve learned about life. Well…not life necessarily so much as how to survive it.

Lesson One:

People are going to resent you when you decide to do something they love.

It’s going to happen. If you pick up something you’ve never done before-even if it’s an interest you’ve had for years-if you know people who love that particular craft they are going get mad at you for it. I don’t know why this happens. But it does. Whether it be music, painting, photography, writing, building things, drawing things whatever…someone you know will resent you for suddenly doing that thing. The trick is to not let their attitude affect you.

That’s harder than it sounds, trust me. Especially if you are like me and are hyper aware at all times what everyone in the room could possibly be judging you for.

But if you let what other people think of you deter you from doing something that brings you peace then you will live a terrible existence.

It took me a long time to get to this point-and I’m not even fully there. I’m always conscious of what various people I know will think when I post anything at all anywhere. In order to get past it I wait for the split second where the voice is silent and hit “publish”  Then I have no choice but to deal with it-and neither do they, really.

But I need to do things that make me happy or I will go insane. And so will you. So just do it.

Lesson One-point-five:

You are going to resent people who do the same things you are passionate about.

At some point in your life you are going to find someone who likes/loves the same things you do. And, rather than being able to bond with them over it, you are going to get irritated every time they bring it up. It might be because of how they bring it up and the fact that they give people who do your craft a bad name, or it might be because you feel threatened by them. They might be better than you. If not today then maybe someday. And it’s entirely possible they are going to be more successful than you are someday. And that’s hard to stomach for us ego-centric human beings.

Or it might be for some completely un-explainable reason and you know you’re being irrational but you can’t help it.

These are natural feelings to have, but you have to be careful with them. They are feelings for you and maybe your significant other or best friend. Don’t take your crazy out on this person who is doing or finding something they love. Even if you think they are just awful at it. Even if every time they ask you what you think you cringe and try to find the nicest way to put the fact that you don’t like what it is they are showing you. Still be nice. Still be supportive. You get nothing out of tearing them down and you really wouldn’t like it if the people mentioned in Lesson One did that to you.

Lesson Two:

Never underestimate the power of a best friend.

I have had exactly two best friends in my life. One was from Kindergarten through sixth grade and then I didn’t have a best friend again until about two years ago. I’m not an overly social human being. I don’t like to be in groups of people. Too much noise, too much chaos makes me unbelievably stressed and then the people in the room just think I’m a bitch because I don’t say anything and will occasionally leave the room and come back a few minutes later. Unfortunately those are the types of situations in which one typically makes friends.

I got really lucky finding my best friend as she is married to my boyfriends best friend. There have been some times in the last few years where having Molly to talk/complain to helped me keep my head together. I can ramble at Molly and she helps me clarify my thoughts so I can talk to someone else more clearly about them. She doesn’t take anything personally-like when I take days to respond to her messages and I don’t have to sit and really think about what I’m going to say and then spend days thinking about how she could have perceived the message I sent her. She helps me get out of my own head which is really important to someone who over thinks things to the degree that I do.

Having someone like that for you can make your life so much easier. Having one person in the world outside of a significant other who you can talk to is really important because sometimes you are going to need to complain about your significant other and it’s just not constructive to do it to their faces until you can calm down and clarify your thoughts.

I didn’t realize how important that was until I had it in my life.

Find that person if you don’t already have them You won’t regret it.

Lesson Three:

There is nothing in the world that a nice warm cup of Hot Chocolate with Pumpkin Spice creamer won’t fix. At least for a while.

The world is a dark and strange place filled with dark and strange things. The most I think we can ever hope to get out of life are little moments of peace and occasionally finding someone who understands us.

Best of luck on your journey,

-M-

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What it looks like when I’m picking my next book…

image

Heres how I pick the next book(s) I’m going to read(of the books I already own of course):

I go through any of the books on my “To Read” shelf that I feel might strike my mood and then read the first few pages of each and keep track of what is really capturing my interest. Sometimes I go over the pile seven or eight times, taking books out and adding books in that hadn’t occurred to me before.

It’s actually a really cathartic thing to do when you’re home alone. Even if you’re not looking for your next book. Just pick out whatever books on your shelves catch your eye as you browse and go through them. Pick random pages of books you’ve read and re – read passages.

You might be surprised how calming it is.

-M-

P.S. If any readers out there have a review of “Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor I would really like to read it  I’m on the fence because I tend to hear good things about it but the sample I got on my Kindle left me less than impressed. What are your opinions? Good things about the book and bad as well as other books you would compare it to.

Thanks in advance!

The Fault In Our Stars book review

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

fault-in-our-stars

 

Rating 5/5

Synopsis: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. 

Review:

The Fault in Our Stars surprised me because I did not expect to like it going in, and as I found myself liking it I did not expect it to move me.

I had never heard of John Green a few months ago. I had never heard of this book or any of his others. Then, on my Tumblr dash someone reblogged a Gif set of John Green on one of his webisodes telling girls they don’t need guys. He then shouts to the next room to his wife and asks if she’s ever needed him and she shouts back no and he laughs.

Or something along those lines.

It was captioned by the original blogger “I love John Green.” So I looked him up, didn’t really care about his web series and never bothered to look into his books.

And then the trailer for The Fault In Our Stars came out and everyone was so excited and a friend of mine compared something I’d written to The Fault In Our Stars. So I bought it for cheap on my Kindle and then studiously avoided reading it-afraid of what bad writing may lay within.(I have become skeptical of YA novels as of late, however unfair that may be) Until last night when, for some inexplicable reason, I picked it up.

As terrible as this sounds, I expected to hate The Fault In Our Stars. I really did. When large groups of people love something like this it too often turns out to be a Twilight like situation. Especially if the thing people love is a book and that book is a YA book. That may not be a fair analysis but it has been my experience. I really couldn’t even justify why I had bought it in the first place. But I am glad that I did.

The Fault in Our Stars is simply written, the characters are compelling and even occasionally surprising. There was a point when I was thinking about how I was enjoying the book but the characters didn’t have a lot of depth to them until a scene happened a few chapters later that changed my mind.

The plot itself is not all that surprising. You can call a lot of the shots pretty quick into the story.

What was astounding, at least for me, was how badly it hurt when the things that I knew were going to happen happened. Even if I hadn’t predicted it, they outright tell you what’s coming fifty or so pages before it does. And it still hurts.

The Fault in Our Stars is one of maybe three books I have ever read that moved me to tears (I’m not a crier) and of those three it is the only one that I had to stop reading because I couldn’t see through the tears. That sounds corny and terrible I think. But it is true. I was borderline sobbing at one point. When I could pick up the book again, I continued to tear up through the last 70 or so pages of the book.

I tell you this to illustrate a point. I’m not, as I said, easily moved. Especially going in and knowing what I knew and then predicting what I did. I’ve become an expert at preparing myself for pain. And still, knowing far ahead of time what was coming, when it happened it still broke my heart.

Besides being touching, The Fault in Our Stars is unabashedly honest.

It is honest about how the world sees and treats people with diseases, it is honest about what it means to die and what it means to be left behind. John Green, through his characters, even pokes fun at all the people who come out of the woodwork when someone dies. People who hardly knew the one who died or hadn’t spoken to them in years come together on Facebook to express how much they are going to miss this person who hasn’t been a part of their lives in a long time. And he pokes fun at the trope of every person with cancer being strong and brave and an inspiration when it’s just not the truth. No matter how much we would like it to be.

And what The Fault In Our Stars does really well is, between the sadness and the pain and the heartbreak there is real joy and real humor and real love.

-M-

“You do not immortalize the lost by writing about them. Language buries, but does not resurrect.”
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars