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Monthly Archives: April 2017

April Wrap Up | ’17

Happy end-of-April!

This month was bananas. Between coding projects being due and prepping for graduation and starting to plan a honeymoon, my reading has kinda pattered out a bit. Woops. But! I still got some reading done, haah.

This month, I finished one novel and one graphic novel


The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru CormorantI seriously enjoyed this book. I wrote a blabber on it, going into all the reasons why I enjoyed this book. It’s a geopolitical fantasy following a main character’s who’s as sharp as a tack as she tries to take down an empire from within. I seriously seriously recommend it (and btw, check out the blabber. Shameless plug! :”D)

5/5 stars

 

 

Saga volume 7 by Brian K Vaughan

Saga, Vol. 7A friend told me today that she can never give a book that makes her feel sad a five star rating. I found that interesting, because that’s the reason this book got such a rating from me. Continuing the Saga series, the volume holds up just as well as the previous ones. I really enjoyed it.

5/5 stars

 

 

 

 

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r/Fantasy Bingo 2017

I’ve decided to use the template provided by Millenium_Dodo here, which you can as well if you’re participating. :”D I’ve noticed my progression looks like it’s going in-order of the challenges… totally not intended, hawhaw. But woot, 2 out of 2 books I read this month qualify for the challenge!

FantasyBingo2017Template


Blog Activity

12 posts created (including this one):


Reading Goals

Progress on 17 in 2017:

  1. A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
  2. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson – Complete!
  3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  4. Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey
  5. The Traitor Comorant Baru by Seth Dickinson – Complete!
  6. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  7. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
  8. Weaveworld by Clive Barker – Complete! (kinda)
  9. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas
  10. Dragon Wing by Margaret Weis
  11. 14 by Peter Clines
  12. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  13. The Edge of the World by Kevin J Anderson
  14. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  15. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (illustrated) by J. K. Rowling
  17. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (illustrated) by J. K. Rowling

Progress on 2017 Reading Goals:

Complete a Goodreads Reading Challenge of 50 Books: 21/50

Count how many books I own and determine how many are not yet read – Was complete, need to do again.

Discard books I don’t like or lose interest in reading – None this month, but I kept my eye out.

Read all of the books on my 17 in 2017 list – 3/17


And that’s it for April. I was right to predict at the end of last month’s wrap-up that I wouldn’t read too much. Hopefully in May I can read more. I’ve finished my project for classes so all my workload has essentially vanished. Just need to put the finishing touches on some stuff today and then that’s it, yo.

Happy reading!

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Posted by on 04/30/2017 in Books, Wrap-up

 

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The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson | Blabber

The Traitor Baru CormorantThe Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
Read Feb 7 – Apr 19, 2017
Geopolitical Fantasy
399 pages
Spoiler-free blabber


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“This is the truth. You will know it because it hurts.”

The Traitor Baru Cormorant is a book that you’ll either love or you’ll hate. A geopolitical fantasy set in a land controlled by a distant empire, it follows Baru, a young woman whose home is made victim of the power that empire holds. As a child, she vows revenge for her country and her family, and sets herself to tear down the nation from within.

The cover of this book, while striking on its own, is one of the most poignant covers I’ve seen when it comes to conveying the tone of a book. As a reader, you follow Baru as she enters into the realm of the enemy, manipulates her way through by cold, calculating precision. The main character is a savant for accounting, numbers, tactics. She plants herself in the middle of a rivalry of dukes, all of whom are overshadowed by the looming Masquerade, the empire that controls them all.

This is my first experience reading fantasy where the only thing fantastical about it is the names of the countries. No magic, no creatures… just a world different from ours, under a type of control that is eerily resonant at times. The Empire of Masks rules over the duchies of Aurdwynn and has imposed upon them their own rules, including those of ‘racial hygeine’.

Under the Mask, marriages must be genetically beneficial and those lands who participate ‘unhygienic practices’ must be accounted for and corrected. Baru comes from such a place – the story begins with her at home, Taranoke, living with her mother and two fathers. The Mask sweeps into Taranoke, one of Baru’s fathers is taken away and Baru herself is placed in a learning facility to learn to stay away from anything The Mask deems as sinful: sodomy, tribadism, genetically inferior breeding… all of these, The Mask seeks to eliminate by whatever means necessary.

Throughout this process, she remembers what the Mask did to her home and family.

This is one of those books that lulls you into a false sense of security, allows you to believe that you understand what’s going on and then yanks the rug out from underneath you. You see Baru’s mind as she forms plots and plans to best manipulate those around her to achieve her goal of reclaiming Taranoke. You read, you see the awfulness the Mask has created and you root for Baru… but at the same time…

The author, Seth Dickinson, is a bit of a wordsmith, but his writing style alone for this book is a tad strange. Told from Baru’s point of view, it goes into battles and hidden politics that Baru herself doesn’t see, so you as the reader sometimes only get descriptions of occurrences instead of actually seeing those occurrences through scenes. It definitely took me a bit to get into – the writing at times adopts the ‘tell’ method instead of the ‘show’, but it does that because it’s what Baru herself experiences. The writing becomes a bit more showy later in the book when Baru starts witnessing events herself, but early on it is a bit mechanic. Don’t let that dissuade you though. The endgame is totally worth the wait.

But I mentioned Dickinson being a wordsmith, and then went into mechanical writing. Whoops. The reason I mention his way with words though is because despite the overall writing at times being bit difficult, there are so many beautiful phrases and memorable quotes littered throughout the book. About half way through, I started keeping track of them and had to go back and poke through the ealier pages to find more:

“Freedom granted by your rulers is just a chain with a little slack.”

“Her fury had nothing else to eat and so it began to eat her.”

“Understood what the books and the generals always repeated: that armies did not kill each other, they broke each other, that the day would be won when one army believed it could not survive. A matter of deception, of conviction, of lies made true through performance. Like everything else.”

And there are so, so many more. Reading this book at times is like reading poetry made into war and betrayal. I really loved this book, despite my small gripes with the writing. It’s thought-provoking, it’s complex, it’s poignant…

And that bolded phrase at the top of this review? It’s the opening line to the book. And really, it’s the most perfect line that could have been there. At the end of the book, you’ll flip back to the front and just stare at that opening line for a while, thinking about what you just read. I know I did.

Rating: 5/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 04/19/2017 in Books, Review

 

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Fantasy Bingo 2017 Possible Picks | Fifth Row

Happy Easter!! 😀 I hope everyone has a lovely day today. Today I’m posting the last of my ‘possible picks’ things for r/Fantasy’s 2017 Bingo Sheet. For the reddit announcement page, click here. And here are also my posts on: my original announcement post, first row, second row, third row and fourth row picks.

Onto the fifth and final one now.


Quick reminder as to what the sheet looks like:

  • Fantasy novel featuring seafaring

The Edge of the World (Terra Incognita, #1)I’m thinking either continuing with Robin Hobb’s series and sticking Mad Ship or Ship of Destiny in here. Another possibility could be At the Edge of the World by Kevin J Anderson. Considering Hobb’s books could fit into other categories, I must just go with the Anderson one.

 

 

  • Subgenre: Steampunk

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)The only ‘steampunk’ books I think I own that I haven’t read yet are the first two books in the Parasol Protectorate series… I’ve listed Soulless for another category already, so maybe Changeless for this one? I don’t know. I might pick up a book or two in the meantime for this series – not even the rec thread is helping me out for this one, haha.

Also, if any of you need a book for this category, read Scar Night by Alan Campbell. I’ve already read it or I would’ve just picked that one, haha.

  • Five Fantasy Short Stories

I’m gonna have to scour the internet for this one. I’m sure I’ll find some. If anyone knows of any websites hosting short fiction, do tell me. I’m rather unaware of stuff like this.

  • Novel by an author from an r/fantasy Author Appreciation post

This is likely going to be a square that I’ll have to buy or borrow a book for. This list of qualifying authors is here and honestly I don’t have a single book by any of them, haha. So much for being prepared, Emily. If any of the authors are ones you recognize, shoot me a suggestion, would ya?

  • Getting to old for this crap: Fantasy novel featuring an older (50+) protagonist

The Buried GiantThere are two I could read for this one, though one of those is technically sci-fi and not fantasy… but whatevs. That would be Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. The other, most fantasy-ish choice is The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’m leaning towards picking up the latter over the former, just because it’s more fantasy than the first. But we’ll see.


OKAY THAT’S IT. I MADE A TBR FOR ALL TWENTY-FIVE SQUARES, DAMMIT. NOW I JUST GOTTA READ THE BLASTED THINGS.

 
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Posted by on 04/16/2017 in Books, TBR, Uncategorized

 

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Fantasy Bingo Possible Picks | Fourth Row

Almost done! Just one more row after this one.

If you’d like to learn more about r/Fantasy’s 2017 Bingo sheet, click my original post on the subject or the direct link to the announcement thread. And if you’re curious, here are my first, second and third row possible picks.

Here’s a reminder of what the card for this year looks like:

And here are my possible picks for the fourth row:

  • Sequel: Not the first book in the seriesQueen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)

There are so many possibilities for this one. Just skimming through my ‘owned’ shelf on goodreads helped me form this tentative list:

And many of these have additional sequels to them, so if I end up using a particular one for another category instead, I can always just use the next book along for this square.

  • Novel by an r/Fantasy AMA Author of Writer of the Day

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)Here is a link to the past AMA Authors. Not sure where to find a list of Writers of the Day though. So if you find one, do tell me. The one that sticks out to me the most at the moment is Susan Dennard, author of Truthwitch, a book I purchased a couple months or so ago and have been meaning to read. So hey, there you go. :”D

 

  • Subgenre: Fantasy of Manners

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)I had to go into the recs thread for this one. I had no idea what a Fantasy of Manners was… 😛

I’m thinking I’ll pick up Soulless by Gail Carriger, The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan or I might even reread His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, since it’s been nearly a decade since I last read it. Not sure yet what I’ll do, but this list gives me a good start.

  • Fantasy novel featuring dragons

The HobbitHah. Two of the above could count for this one, too. His Majesty’s Dragon and The Memoirs of Lady Trent. I’m also super tempted to pick up The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien… I haven’t read it yet and I know that it’s ‘one of those books’. I’m thinking bout picking it up on audio though. I’ve heard having it read to you makes the experience more magical, haha.

 

  • Subgenre: New Weird

EmbassytownI see ‘New weird’ and my brain screams China Mieville. I’ve read a total of one of his books so far… though I own a good amount by now. I could either read The Scar, which is the companion sequel to Perdido Street Station, Kraken, Embassytown… I think I own one or two more but I can’t think of them at the moment. So yes, one of those.

 


And that’s it for row four. The next day or two will have row five done with, and then you won’t have to see me gooing about this thing ’til the end of the month during my April Wrap Up. :”D Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 04/15/2017 in Books, TBR

 

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/r/Fantasy Bingo Possible Pick | Third Row

Time for shelf three! To see my original post, detailing what fantasy bingo, click here. To see my first and second row picks, click here and here. :”D


Horror novel

The Library at Mount CharThere are a couple I’m considering for this one. The top three currently are House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski, The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins and Bird Box by Josh Malerman. All of them are gonna creep me out, I just know it.

And whichever one I end up picking will likely be read in the fall. Yep, I’m one of those goofy seasonal readers, sue me.

Fantasy novel featuring a desert setting

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (The Song of the Shattered Sands, #1)At the moment, I believe I own two books that would fit in this category: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker and The Twelve Kings of Sharakhai by Bradley P Beaulieu. I know I mentioned Twelve Kings in an earlier post for a different topic, so if I end up using it for that one, I’ll obviously use The Golem and the Jinni for this one.. and visa versa.

Re-use any previous /r/Fantasy bingo square

Originally when I saw this, I thought it meant ‘re-use one from this card’. But apparently, it means use a square that was either on the 2016 card or the 2015 card. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this one yet. Likely I’ll just leave it open, read what I want, and then choose one of the 50 squares existing on the previous two years’ worth of cards and stick it in there. So woo, open-endedness.

Self-Published Fantasy novel

I think this is probably one of the few categories I’m going to have to buy a new book for. The only book I have that’s self-published is Ralph and the Pixie by G. S. Monks, which I read last year and really liked. 😀 (So check it out, btw). But otherwise, I have no idea what I’m going to do for this one. I’ll need to do a bit of research.

Fantasy novel featuring a non-human protagonist

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchThis is a really neat topic. I had to go to the recommendations thread for this one because I couldn’t come up with any off the top of my head. So on there, from books I already own, I’ve honed in on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I feel like I own other books that would fit the category, but honestly I’ll have to go through them and read synopsis. My brain’s not great at remembering stuff like that.

But as far as Good Omens goes, I’ve been meaning to read it for forever – now I have the motivation 😀


And that’s it for this row! See you soon for row 4!

 
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Posted by on 04/14/2017 in Books, TBR

 

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Top 5 books that would make good video games

Top 5 Wednesday

Happy Thursday! No camel today because my post is late (whoops). Yesterday was a frenzy and I probably shouldn’t be writing this today, either. But I need something to keep me from having a mental implosion, SO HERE WE ARE. This week’s topic is books that would make good video games – this was a really neato topic and I had a lot of fun writing it 😀

If you’d like to join T5W, you can do so here.


5. Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama

Attack on Titan, Volume 1This one probably is a video game and I just haven’t heard about it. If you don’t read manga at all and haven’t heard of these series, I highly recommend you check it out – either through the manga or via the anime, which is available on netflix and crunchyroll.

This series follows a cast of characters who live within a walled country. On the outside are the titans: huge, mindless humanoid creatures with a taste for human flesh. The show begins when the wall, kept intact for a hundred years, is compromised, allowing the titans to break inside. This series is grueling, it’s graphically violent and it’s so, so good. It takes on almost steampunky elements when it comes to how the humans in the story go about combatting the titans. Aerial tactical maneuvering using pulling and steam and… it’s so cool. I feel like the combat aspect of this especially would translate well into a video game. That, and the whole ‘where did they titans come from and what actually are they’ mystery aspect. It’d be really neat to play.

4. Rook by Sharon Cameron

RookThis book I read sometime last year and at the time, rated it three stars. I’m thinking now, looking back on it, it should be more like 3.5 or 4. This book takes place is a regressed society in France. The characters throughout the book, find old relics of civilizations past. I think at one point that one of the characters had found a video game controller… had no idea what it was or what it was for. It was really neat. The plot of this book, while already in regressed Paris, which is awesome in itself, involves a budding revolution, hidden and recovered technology and a lot of sneaking around. I feel like it was translate really well into a video game, maybe something with the feel of a city crawler.

3. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1)This is a neato book, guys. Mieville writes ‘Weird Fantasy’ and the city he’s created in this novel is about as weird as they come. The story follows a few different perspectives… a mad scientist, a lady with a bug for a head, a giant bird-man that’s lost his wings… all sorts. The plot meanders through a few different subplots about creatures sucking the dreams out of people and the ambassador to hell shows up briefly and an underground newspaper tries to uncover a huge, insidious story. Seriously, this book is good. And it would make a great sandbox-esque video game with all these subplots planted in there and intertwining nicely. I’d totally buy this thing on release day.

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusI think this would be the best point-and-click roleplaying game ever. Imagine being able to walk through the Night Circus and just see all the stuff that’s talked about in the plot of the book. Sure, the main events would still occur but honestly I’d just want to play and see the acts. I’d probably never actually beat the game, hahaha.

 

 

1. The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian(Emily, when are you gonna stop talking about the Martian? Never. ) This would be the best survival game. I’m talking like puzzle-survival. Obviously you need water… but how do you make it? You need food – how do you grow it? Combined with an ever-dwindling supply of oxygen and random disasters for chemical reactions gone wrong, this would be an amazing game. Steam, get on it!

 

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And that’s it for this week! I know it’s Thursday, hush hush. Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 04/13/2017 in Books, Top 5 Wednesday

 

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/r/Fantasy Bingo Possible Picks | Second Row

Welcome to another round of ‘I should read this book this year’. :”D Today I’ll be discussing the books I might use for the second row of  /r/Fantasy Bingo 2017. For more details about this, please check out my original post, where you can find the source material linked for the bingo sheet and my post about first row picks, which details the rules for the bingo game and links a list of recommendations.

  • I’d also like to put an update in here: Since posting the ‘First Row’ list of picks, I’ve since finished one of those categories with a book that I hadn’t originally picked… so woo? :”D It was the graphic novel slot, and I read Saga vol 7 for it. Oh my gosh, guys. I need volume 8 now, stat.

But otherwise, onward with the post!


Nonfiction fantasy-related book

Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (Forgotten Realms)I keep lucking out and having topics be books I’m currently in the middle of reading. This is no exception to that. I’m going to go with The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting by Ed Greenwood. I’ve been reading this book for months, but honestly I haven’t gotten very far into it – maybe 10% or so. SO I think it qualifies :”D

Fantasy novel that’s been on your ‘To-be-read’ list for over a year

Honestly, any of them. I have soooo many unread books. I’m not even going to narrow it down and pick a title or two for this one – there are easily 60 or 70 that fit the bill. I’m going to leave this one open-ended and read a book that strikes my fancy at the time I go to tackle this square.

Award winning fantasy novel

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)The one that pops to my mind first and foremost is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. This was my ‘gotta cope with this now so gonna buy a book’ impulse buy when whats his face took office. Hahahaaaa and I still haven’t read it. So I’d like to read it and jump on the bandwagon. As for awards, it won the 2007 Quill Award, the 2008 Alex Award and Publisher Weekly’s 2007 ‘Best Books of the Year’ award. So I think it qualifies. :”D

Sub-genre: Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic/Apocalyptic/Dying-earth

1Q84There are a few different ones I could do here. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami could work – it’s a dystopian I believe. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel could work. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen could work… there are a lot here. :”D

/r/Fantasy Big List 2016: Underrated/Underread

Sea of Ghosts (The Gravedigger Chronicles, #1)That list, for your convenience, can be found here. Looking at it and comparing it to the books I already own, the ones I’m leaning towards currently are Twelve Kings of Sharakhai by Bradley Beaulieu and Sea of Ghosts by Alan Campbell. And by ‘leaning towards’, I mean ‘they’re the only two on that list that I own’. But hey. I’ve been meaning to read them anyways, so I should get a jump on that.


And that’s it for row two! The more I do this, the more it’s hitting me that I’m basically dictating my entire TBR for the next year. xD It’s gonna be a doozy. See you in a bit with row three!

 
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Posted by on 04/10/2017 in Books, TBR

 

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