Crystal Starr Light, Raging Snarky Stormtrooper Pony

Fellow Goodreads refugee, I am known as "old hag with too much time on her hands" or (preferably) "Crystal Starr Light".


I read mostly science fiction and fantasy, but I will read just about any book and genre at least once.

Glamour Shot!

I've been seeing this Glamour Shot thing going around, so I did both my real name and my internet name - my real name was rather boring (80's hair), but my Internet name is a freaking riot! I don't want to scare you with it, so I'll hide it in the spoiler tag and leave the link below.


(show spoiler)

Did Tartt switch books on us halfway through?

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

Bullet Review:


I am so exhausted after forcing myself to listen to the last 8% that I have no energy for a review. But here's my thoughts as I listened:

3%: This isn't too shabby, but it's litfic, so I should be careful.
15%: Ah, this is actually rather nice to read.
21%: Another good part - Hobie! So great to see such a well-written character!
27%: That was quite a change. Wonder what's gonna happen now.
34%: God, Borys and Theo are turning into some warped kids. Hope we can get past this to something interesting.
45%: Theo has the worst luck of any teenager. Dayum
54%: WHOA NELLY!! We spend nearly half the book on, like, 3 years and then we FASTFORWARD EIGHT?!
58%: Who is this person walking around calling himself Theo? DO NOT LIKE.
60%: Time to speed up the audiobook
64%: THEO IS GETTING MARRIED??!?! What idiot wants to MARRY him??!
75%: Theo's fiancee cheated on him? I'm supposed to feel bad for him? NOPE.
82%: LORD HAVE MERCY, I MUST finish this before vacation!
88%: Home stretch?
90%: This is agonizing!
92%: Are we there yet?
94%: Can I speed up the audiobook anymore? No?


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A new summer classic for the child at heart

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy - Jeanne Birdsall

Bullet Review:

This was a lot of fun, very reminiscent of quirky, family adventure books I read as a child. I would heartily recommend to this age group or anyone who is a child at heart who loves fun.

That said, there were a few eye-twitching parts/moments that keep this from a higher rating.

Although I rated it 3 stars, this is not me hating on the book! It is me saying it was "Okay". A book I would definitely recommend, but not want to pursue further books in the series.

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They don't write 'em like they used to

What I Saw and How I Lied - Judy Blundell

Bullet Review:

I'm still pondering over the events of this novel. I'd say it's got a great message and portrays a time period that tends to get sanitized (oh sure, every woman from the 40's was a virgin on her wedding night - right) rather honestly.

Not sure what the rating will be - probably will stick to 4 stars for all the meat and thoughts it's dredged up in me.

Superb work by the author who wrote "Jedi Apprentice". More YA needs to be written like this.

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"Life of Pi" with a smattering of "Gravity"

The Raft - S.A. Bodeen

Bullet Review:

This actually wasn't half-bad. Sure I think it was better done in "Life of Pi", but I finished it on a 4-hour flight so hey, that's awesome!

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Sabriel is the female character we need more of

Sabriel - Garth Nix

Bullet Review:

I've got a lot to say about this, but I'm on my phone in an airport between flights so I'll write my full thoughts later.

In the meantime:

YAY for female protagonists!

YAY for fantasy!

HUH for what "time period" this falls into.

HUH for the weird out-of-the-blue forced romance.

HUH/YAY?! For the magic.

Nonetheless, I would probably read further and wouldn't hesitate to recommend this, particularly to young adults with the caution about slight gore.

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Reading progress update: I've read 390 out of 491 pages.

Sabriel - Garth Nix

Making great progress! So pleased with myself.

Though the Touchstone and Sabriel "romance" is weird. I really don't buy that they are romancing, more than just - there. Conveniently kissing.

Reading progress update: I've read 329 out of 491 pages.

Sabriel - Garth Nix

I get another 2 weeks to finish this!

Such a sad ending but what a beautiful journey!

The Last Empress - Anchee Min

Bullet Review:

So bittersweet at the end. The biggest problem with this though was how hurried and rushed it felt in places. When Min was given the time to flesh out a scene and spend time in it, THAT was pure gold.

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Reading progress update: I've read 169 out of 320 pages.

The Last Empress - Anchee Min

Flying is a great time for me to play catch-up!

Crystal Asks: The Price of Cologne in the US

So, why would the Calvin Klein men's cologne, Obession, be less expensive than the Calvin Klein women's cologne, Eternity?


Some price investigation:


At Amazon the 1 floz bottles run $39/$45 respectively.


At the CK website, men's come in 4oz bottles for $71, and women's come in 3.4oz bottles for $78. Men's have the option of 6oz, but 3.4oz is the highest available for women.


Obsession came out in 1986, 1 year after the female version. Eternity came out in 1988.


Is there a difference in technique? Can the price of spices and scents used influence price so obviously? Or is this just plain old sexism at work?

ETA: Seems the whole damn industry is messed up:


No, Marina, I *AM* a robot

John Dies at the End - David Wong

Bullet Review:

Bleh. I tried and I tried and I tried to like this disgusting, gory, weird little book, and it just isn't happening. I'm sure there's an audience for this type of book, but it sure as hell ain't me. And, as I've said before, life's too short to be wasted on books I'm not liking.

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The Crazy School - Cornelia Read

Bullet Review: was okay. Highly readable but dayum, not as mysterious or thrillerish as the cover blurb would indicate. Took waaay too long to get to the mystery. And the mystery got wrapped up so quickly, so pattly, like a Nancy Drew book.

And the never-ending ending!

But still, it wasn't so bad I couldn't finish.

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This was just a whole lotta fun

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal - G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona

Bullet Review:

Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel is a much needed hero in the world of comics. Superheroes tend to be far too white, far too male, far too perfect for their own good. It's nice to have a girl's/Muslim's/Pakastani's version of Peter Parker.

It was hugely insightful into the life of a Pakastani Muslim girl - how different AND similar it was to my own childhood. I do wonder if perhaps Muslim and/or Pakastani women may find it very different from their own lives - but hey, what with all the Islamaphobia these days, Kamala is desperately needed to knock into people's heads that, dur, "not all Muslims" are violent.

Storywise, it's your typical "origins story", which is why I knocked off a star. I'm sure once things get situated, the story will really take off. At the very least, this is a comic I can heartily recommend to teenaged girls and one I will continue to follow.


ETA: I have read issues 6 and 7, and I would say they are even stronger than the first 5 issues. This series is REALLY kicking off nicely!

Don't faint! A YA novel that I actually enjoyed!

Story of a Girl - Sara Zarr

Bullet Review:

I'm VERY impressed. Finally, a YA novel I don't want to choke myself after reading.

Some may find the conclusion boring or unimpressive or pedestrian, but I thought it genius and inspired and indicative of real life. Sometimes things get wrapped up (or at least set back on a good track) by a few simple words rather than some cataclysmic battle.

Highly recommended to mature teens.

Don't slut-shame.

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Cheating in Paris is TOTES AWESOME!!

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

Bullet Review:

DNF at 55% or chapter 27.

And I'm done. It was bad enough that Anna is as dumb as a brick (she's a film freak that doesn't know that theaters exist in Paris!!), but when the story "twists" so that her best friend starts dating a guy she was interested in and she starts blaming HER FRIEND, I'm done. What a hypocritical, woman-hating, cheating, petty b!tch Anna is. She can go around flirting with Etienne (who is dating Ellie), sleeping next to him, undressing in front of him, and that's fine even though her new friend, Meredith also has feelings for Etienne. But when HER SUPPOSED BEST FRIEND starts dating a guy who wasn't even dating Anna, that's just unacceptable. WHAT??!? In who's book?!

Not to mention, I HATE cheating stories. If Etienne loves Anna more than Ellie, he needs to grow a f@#$ing pair and dump his girlfriend. None of this sneaking around, hanging out with Anna and leading her on business.

I know, I know, this was supposed to be fluffy. I tried to embrace fluffy. But I can't do it when the protagonist, the person I am supposed to be rooting for, is such a stupid, hypocrtical, woman-hating b!tch. If you can look past it, more power to you.

I'm done.

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Currently reading

A Storm of Swords
George R.R. Martin
Progress: 50 %
These Things Hidden
Heather Gudenkauf