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Monthly Archives: July 2016

July Book Haul | #11

As I’ve stated in the past, I’ve put myself on that ‘Read five, buy one’ thing. The rules are that books I’ve borrowed from friends or the library don’t count, that a comic counts as 1/5 of a book, and books received as gifts don’t count against me.

I’ve also decided to allow myself to purchase books I’ve already read and not have them count as my ‘1’, just because the whole point of this is to decrease my TBR. So if I’ve read the book, it’s not increasing it. 😛 The only catch to this is I can’t borrow a book, read it, and then buy it right away. Defeats the purpose.

Also, the Half Price Books Clearance Sale was last weekend, and I mentioned in my original post that that was a free day for me. 😛 So aside from that book haul, I’ve stuck to my goals. Mostly. I purchased one book I hadn’t earned. I did so yesterday. I nerded. Judge away, you goofies.

My bookhaul for this month:

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The first picture is the haul from the clearance sale. The second picture are books I’ve bought/received.

Heir of Fire I’ve read, so it didn’t count as my ‘1’. Saga was my ‘1’ for buying five. The Pokemon Handbook was my failure – totally bought that without reading five books first. I’m in the middle of the Pokemon Go frenzy. I couldn’t help it. I stopped following shortly after generation three was released. Now there are over 700 – I’M SO BEHIND, MAN.

Ralph and the Pixie by G. S. Monks was sent to me by the author. I got a book from an author!! I was ecstatic! A few months ago, I mentioned this story on my blog – I had read it as a teenager on fictionpress. Apparently, he’s since got it published and his publicist found my mention on the internet – he ended up contacting me here on my blog and offering to send me a copy of the thing in exchange for a review. I totes said yes, by the way. :”D So I’m in the middle of reading it, and it’s causing a good bit of nostalgia for me – it was one of my favorite stories when I was younger. So woot woot woot, I’m diggin’ it!

So that’s it for this month! I’m currently sitting at two books in the next five to buy a book, but I’m going to use that ‘1’ to ‘pay for’ the pokemon guide I bought so I strike even again. Hee hee. Heeeee.

Get any gooduns this month? Read any of the ones above? Like me know, peeps.

Happy reading!

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Posted by on 07/31/2016 in Book Haul, Books

 

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Siblinghood of the World Bloggers Award

Siblinghood of World Bloggers.jpg

Hello! I was nominated in an awardy today, so here it is! :”D It’s come from LouiseLovesBooks and I was nominated back on May 8th. So thank you for thinking of me and sorry it’s taken me so long to post!

The rules for this award are as follows:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog in your post
  • Answer the questions that the blogger who nominated you has provided
  • Nominate ten other bloggers (or up to 10)
  • Create ten questions for your nominees and notify them of their nominations

Louise’s Questions for Me:

What was the last book you read?

The last book I finished was Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. Oh man oh man was it good.

What’s your favourite cartoon character, and why?

At the moment, I’d have to say Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. I just… I relate to her on a spiritual level, okay. She is the personification of my teenage years.

What’s your pet peeve?

It’s a tie – body odor and chewing with your mouth open. Both are things that a person can control by having a bit of hygeine or self-awareness, but it’s incredible how often a person decides they’re okay with regularly having/doing one or the other. Really people. They’re icky.

Do you have a talent, and if so, what?

I can down five cups of coffee a day without having a heart attack. GO ME.

What is your favorite book genre?

Lately I’ve been exploring Sci-fi, so that’d be my current favorite. Overall though, probably fantasy.

If you could have an endless supply of food, what would it be?

Mozarella sticks. The amount of time I spend craving those damn delicious cheese cylinders would make a grown man cry.

What was the last book you’ DNF’d?

Had to look it up – honestly doesn’t happen too often. It was The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. Why? I couldn’t get into it. I’m starting to think that urban fantasy might not be my thing.

How would you spend one million pounds/dollars?

Dollars for me. Well, let me just write you a to-do list and you can just assume I’d do these in order:

  1. Pay off student loans
  2. Pay off car loan
  3. Pay off credit card
  4. Pay off any outstanding debt my parents have
  5. Give a good chunk of it to my parents for retirement
  6. Give a good chunk of it to myself for retirement
  7. Go on a really nice vacation with my lovey – Hawaii, Italy, Japan.. somewhere neato.
  8. Put the rest of it in some kind of interest accruing savings account.

I feel like if I knew or understood how normally wealthy people dealt with money, this list would be a lot different. Who knows, maybe I’d do the last thing first and slowly do the rest with the interest. I have no clue.

Would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds?

I’d rather be invisible. I feel like reading minds would cause a lot of trouble for my personal relationships, especially if I couldn’t turn it on and off.

If you could live in any period of history, when would it be?

Right now, actually. Assuming I can’t go into the future, I’d rather stay at now. I feel like the farther back I’d go, the more likely it would be that I’d be uneducated, not respected, and not seen as anything except a bargaining chip. So now is good, thanks.

I nominate:

Ace (I know you’ve done this already, but DO IT AGAIN)

The Orang-utan Librarian (Same for you!)

Questions for you:

  1. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever caught your pet doing? If you don’t have a pet, use a friend’s pet.
  2. Who is your role model?
  3. Create a list of goals, all involving cheese.
  4. Who’s your favorite actor/actress?
  5. If you could go into the past to stop/cause one event to happen, what would it be?
  6. What’s the subject you’re most knowledgeable about? Gimme a rundown.
  7. What’s your favorite day of the week, and what do you normally do that day?
  8. What tv show can you not stand?
  9. What’s your favorite scent?
  10. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

 

Happy reading. :”D

 

 
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Posted by on 07/30/2016 in Book Tag, Nominations

 

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Book Review: A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)A Feast For Crows by George R. R. Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4

Listened June 1st – 20th, 2016
Fantasy
30-something hours long

Where do I even start with this book. Reading it, I had so many different thoughts and feelings that I began writing them all down so I wouldn’t forget anything… and likely, I’ll still forget some things.

Let’s just say overall I liked it and I feel it was a good addition to the story arc, but man did I have some issues with it. As I’ve stated in my June wrap-up, this book knocked me out of the blind-love I had for this series. Don’t get me wrong – I still very, very much enjoy it, but this book highlighted some things that I didn’t find particularly amusing.

And before I go any further: This review will be mildly spoilerific. I won’t mention any deaths specifically, but I will mention elements of scenes in passing. So if you want to be blind about this one, back out now. If you don’t mind a bit of non-necessary detail, dive on in.

 The first notable thing about this book is the huge expansion of characters and locations. Some of the chapter titles were things like ‘The Queenmaker’, making it impossible to know who was being talked about until the chapter actually began. Many times, these oddly named chapters were new characters altogether. It gave an air of excitement to reading the thing – you’d never know where in this world you’ve find yourself. I really enjoyed the massive expansion and the world building. More motivations, more intrigue. This book series is amazingly detailed, and I love it. I always appreciated the family lists that were in the back of the book, but this time they became essential. So. Many. People. Wanting so many different things. I feel like when all these separate motivations finally come together, this book series is going to blow me out of the water.

Another thing I want to mention has to do with the general attitude people get when reading this book. Looking into other reviews, there seems to be a bit of an argument going on. To preface, for those who don’t know, the time line of this book takes place simultaneously as the time line in the fifth book. This book focuses on one set of characters while the other another set. A lot of people I’ve seen have issues with the particular set of characters focused on in this book. So you have one side, ripping into the book for not having their favorite characters, and you have another side, ripping into the first side for complaining. And then you have another side, ripping into both other sides for whoever knows what reason.

So it really depends on where you fall into the spectrum how much you will enjoy this book. Personally, I enjoyed it. It definitely was a bit slow – all the focus characters, save a few, were those involved in the politics of the land. So if you don’t like political intrigue, there’s a reason you might find this book lacking. What this book did have though was character development. Characters that I was luke warm towards before have become my favorites – namely Jaime and Brienne. Both of them, I love. And Cersei… well, I still dislike Cersei, but I can see her motivations and her feelings now that chapters have been written from her point of view. It makes her feel more real instead of just this antagonistic force.

One small issue I had with this book were the off-scene deaths. People were mentioned in passing and the characters were like ‘Oh, we had news so and so is dead now’ but it would be one of the characters not mentioned in this book so we wouldn’t see it happen. My biff with this is small, solely for one reason: I know about the book five timeline. Book five was clearly out before I read this one, so I know that (hopefully) I’ll read from these characters’ POVs and get my questions answered as to whether or not they truly died. I feel like if I was reading this book right as it had come out, before book five, before knowing about this timeline stuff, that I would be rather sore about it. I don’t know – maybe I’m being silly, but it left a foul taste in my mouth.

And finally, the main issue with this book was also something I really liked – the characterization. As said, the character development was wonderful, but on the other hand, it was grating. I’ve mentioned before the love/hate relationship I have with how George R. R. Martin writes women. On the one hand, I love how different each one is, each with their own goals and motivations and personalities. And my favorite part: Not all of them are strong. I know that’s probably a weird thing to be happy about, but it makes them all realistic. I’m not saying they’re flat characters – not at all – but not all of them have nerves of steel or can kick ass. Some of them are weak, and that’s a good thing. Not all people are strong, so it would be weird to write them that way.

On the other hand, the issue I have with the female characters in this book ties in to the book’s tone over all. This book, while full of wonderful women and terrible women, is still clearly written from a male perspective. Now, I know that George R. R. Martin is in fact a man, so I guess it’s expected, but it still struck me how male the women were. Case in point: When a new female character was introduced, even when in a chapter told from another straight female character’s POV, that woman’s chest size was mentioned in the initial description of that character. I could understand a mention if the chapter was a straight man’s or a gay woman’s POV, but the women who noticed how big other women’s boobs were had been established as heterosexual. And sure, a passing glance would be fine – I’ve noticed women’s chests upon meeting them but it’s never more than that – a notice. I don’t focus, I don’t wonder. But they seemed to focus on them for just a bit too long, making me feel like there was another looking instead. It made me feel like the tone of this book said now how matter how weak or strong or in the middle this woman was, all the mattered was how big her chest was, because it was mentioned every time. I mean if it’s a sex scene – sure, describe some boobs. Boob yourself to death for all I care. But if you’re in the middle of a counsel meeting or whatever, is that detail relevant? Especially coming from someone who (in theory) wouldn’t focus on it anyways?

Maybe I’m alone in this, who knows. But it irritated me, mostly because it was so one-sided. Did I get to read about man butt? Man forearms? Man peen? No. Wasn’t relevant, wasn’t mentioned. But boobs are relevant all the time, apparently. So like I said: I have a huge love/hate relationship with how the women are characterized in this book.

Sigh. Enough of that.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I can understand why people have had issues with it. I still highly enjoy this series, but I’m seriously getting tired of reading about boobs. Gonna read  the next one, hopefully will love it. Wish me luck.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 07/16/2016 in Books, Review

 

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books outside my comfort zone

Top 5 Wednesday

My first T5W in ages. Hopefully I’ll float back into the habit.

5. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör

Out of my comfort zone because: It’s horror. Me and horror are a bit dodgy at best. I like it, but I have to do some serious mental prep to read it. If you didn’t hear about this book when it came out a couple years ago, it’s pretty interesting. Written to look like a furniture catalogue with increasingly disturbing advertisements, Horrorstor takes place in an Ikea knockoff store. It’s creepy. It’s good. I’m glad I read it.

4. Easy by Tammara Webber

Easy (Contours of the Heart, #1)Out of my comfort zone because: It’s new adult. I wouldn’t call out out of my zone anymore, but when I picked it up it certainly was. It was my first new adult book, and it made me a fan of the genre. Since then, I’ve found a few more good’uns and a loooot of bad’uns. Overall though, it introduced me to a good genre and I’m glad I read it.

 

3. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)Out of my comfort zone because: It’s a 90s fantasy. My parents’ house is full of 90s fantasy, but I had never picked any up due to the covers. They’re just all so.. dated. But I’ve since learned my lesson – I’m a bad and I feel bad. This series is fantastic and it’s led me to pick up the second book and want to pick up the rest.

 

2. Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1)Out of my comfort zone because: It’s science fiction. Now, I’ve read sci-fi before, and I thoroughly enjoy it. Before this though, I had never read space opera sci-fi. And since, I’ve picked up more along in the same genre, like The Forever War. I’m thinking about attempting Dan Simmons soon, and PKD on top of that. This book has really been a gateway for me. I LOVE SCIENCE FICTION, MAN.

 

1. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, #1)Out of my comfort zone because: It’s a thriller. This remains the only thriller I’ve read, which is why it’s number one. I plan on reading The Da Vinci Code eventually, along with the rest of the Robert Langdon novels if I like it. But otherwise, I just don’t tend to reach for these. No idea why – I like what I’ve read, I just have no drive to read more. Halp?

….

For all except number one, these books I’ve read that were originally out of my comfort zones all ended up being gateway books for me. My reading tastes have expanded so much because of them, and it’s wonderful. So if a friend recommends you a book you’d normally not read, try it out – you might find you like it. :”D

As always, the Top 5 Wednesday group can be found here if you’d like to join.

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 07/06/2016 in Books, Top 5 Wednesday

 

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Book Review: Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Read May 24th-June 13th, 2016
Fantasy
435 pages

Reading this book taught me a lesson: Don’t judge a book by the synopsis.

I picked this book up as the first novel to be read in the Hobb-along-read-along and honestly, I didn’t expect much from it. The synopsis was terribly generic. The cover even more so. The two combined set a very low bar for me, and now after reading it, I know I judged it very unfairly going in. So for that, I’m sorry, and I’ll keep in mind my mistake the next time I see a book that looks or sounds generic and try to reserve judgement before giving it a chance.

So moving on from my admittedly awful judginess.

Assassin’s Apprentice is a story written from the perspective of the apprentice in question as he retells the story of his life. It starts when he was just a boy and continues through his youth. One of the things that surprised me was how quickly I became invested in the story. Robin Hobb’s writing just flows beautifully, and the characterizaton of the main and side characters quickly develop into distinct personalities and motivations. I felt like I knew who everyone was and what they wanted shortly after they were introduced, and it was nice not having flat characters that the author wanted the reader to like but gave no reason as to why poking around.

Another thing that I really liked was the magic systems. There were two of them, and what I found fascinating was that while they definitely played a part in the story, they weren’t the point of the story, if that makes sense. The main character wasn’t trying to become the strongest magician or whatever, and even at times, he would invoke the use of these magic systems and the reader wouldn’t even be fully aware of it right away. It was cool to see it snaked in there without being the main attraction.

The characters, male and female, were developed beautifully. And in reading this book, I noticed something that I really liked: until this book, I’ve seldom read an adult fantasy where upon introduction of a female character, her bosom or butt size wasn’t mentioned almost immediately. I have no idea what the chest sizes of the women in this book are, and I like it that way. (I think this idea popped into my head because while reading this, I was also reading George R.R. Martin, and the fact that he did that constantly irked me). Because of this (and because of this continuing in Royal Assassin, the second book) Robin Hobb has definitely become one of my new favorite authors. I loves her.

I honestly can’t come up with many negatives, aside from the synopsis and cover. The book was a wholly pleasant and engaging experience, and I’m glad I decided to read it. As I’ve said, I’m currently reading the second one, and afterwards I would like to read the rest of her works. Definitely a fan. Thumbs up. Go read it.

Rating: 5/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 07/04/2016 in Books, Review

 

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June Book Haul | #10

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Happy day! I purchased four books in June, all within the first four days of the month before I put myself on the book limit. I reached ‘five books read’ yesterday, so I’ve since purchased one more, but that one won’t be in this haul since it was bought in July, technically.

Speaking of which, the next haul will be huge: the Half Price Books clearance sale is happening on July 23rd and if you read my post on my book limit, I’m giving myself an except for that event. So shh.

Anyways, here are the books I’ve acquired this month:

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Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. I’m currently reading this one, about 200 pages through. I picked this up for the Hobb-along-read-along, and as I’ve mentioned before, have fallen terribly behind. It’s only going to get worse now that I’ve put myself on this buying limit and can’t keep up with buying a book every two weeks for the thing. But on the plus side, I’ve fallen in love with this author – definitely my new favorite of the year – and I want to read all her books anyways, read-along or not. Those covers though, man. Who though that was a good idea.

A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin. The last two books, I’ve listened to on audio, but this one I want to physically read. The narrator of the audios has been grating on my nerves, so hopefully not having his voice in my ear will improve my liking of this last book that’s out. I’ve heard it’s supposed to be pretty good, so I’m excited. 😀

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I love it when books on my list end up on the clearance shelf. Found this hardback baby for four bucks. It was awesome. I’ve heard mixed things about this one, but the premise sounds pretty neat, so hopefully I’ll be one of those on the ‘I like it’ side of the thing. :”D

Emperor of Eight Islands by Lian Hearn. This one I’m particularly stoked about. This is the first of a four books series, all to be released in quick succession. This one just came out in April, and when I was out buying a book yesterday, I saw the second one sitting on the shelf! But anyways, this book follows a few different weaving story lines of warlords and priestesses and others all trying to achieve their own goals amidst a rich fantasy setting of medieval Japan – the medieval Japan full of Japanese folklore – demons and guardian spirits and all sorts of things. Reading the synopsis of this one reminded me strongly of Inuyasha, so it has me feeling nostalgic before even reading it. I’m hoping I’ll love it. I love that setting (and if you know other books in that setting, chuck them at me will you). If you’ve heard of The Tales of the Otori series, this is by the same author. I’m so stoked! :”D


And that’s it for this month! Hopefully I get a good deal of books read by HPB time, but we’ll see.

If you’ve read any of these, let me know! Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 07/03/2016 in Book Haul, Books

 

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June Wrap Up and July Currently Reading

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Hello~ June is over and was a good reading month for me, but not so good of a posting month. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve started working fulltime, and with a total of two and a half hours commuting a day on top of it, my energy is zapped. I get a lot of time to listen to audiobooks in the car though, which is basically what my entire wrap up consists of.

I’m starting to adjust to the constant tiredness now, so hopefully my posting will pick back up this coming month. Anyways, it’s nice to see you all. Sorry I haven’t kept up with your posts!


Overview of Blog Activity for the Month:

Total posts for June: 4


Reading Overview for the Month:

Books:

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin HobbA Feast for Crows by George R.R. MartinThe Time Machine by H.G. WellsFlowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, read for the Hobb-along-read-along (which I have since fallen way behind in). This book was a pleasant surprise. I plan on writing a full review on the thing, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book, much more than I had expected – 5 stars

A Feast For Crows by George RR Martin. This book was good as well, and definitely one that is going to get its own review. I think this book knocked me out of the star-struck-blind-love I had for this series. I still love it, but I’m definitely seeing its flaws now – 4 stars

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. I enjoyed this book. I originally tried to read it, but ended up switching over to the audiobook. Maybe it was just the format of the book, maybe it was that really sluggish conversation the Time Traveller is having at the beginning… who knows. I liked it though – 3.5 stars

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I had very mixed feelings about this one. I like it overall but it definitely grinds my gears. This one will also be getting a review. My goodness. This book was both a joy and a chore to read –3 stars

Favorite book of the month: Assassin’s Apprentice
Least favorite book of the month: Flowers for Algernon

Articles:

A universal basic income only makes sense if Americans change how they think about work

Elon Musk thinks we all live in a video game. So what if we do?

How to win at the women’s memoir game

What’s going on in your cat’s head?

What we understand about cats, and what they understand about us

Why average people decide to become terrorists

Why gravitational wave astronomy has physicists so damn excited

Father’s Day: Five things you didn’t know you didn’t know about the holiday

Favorite article of the month: Why gravitational wave astronomy has physicists so damn excited


Since I just posted a mid-year update yesterday, I’m not going to go into my progress on yearly goals except to link the post and state that I’ve reached five books read and can now buy one. :”D Guess who’s going to the bookstore, man.


July Currently Reading

Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #3)Caliban's War (Expanse, #2)Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy, #2)The Forever War (The Forever War, #1)

Life, The Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams
Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

One day I’ll finish Life, The Universe and Everything. ONE DAY, DAMMIT.

 
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Posted by on 07/02/2016 in Books, Currently Reading, TBR, Wrap-up

 

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