January Book Haul | #14

It’s that time of month again, the time where I show you how little self-control I have. Woot.

Between gift cards I’d received for Christmas, two different bargain outlet stores and just me burning through series and ‘NEEDING THE NEXT ONE NAOOOWWWWGHGHWOGHGH’ I’ve accumulated a lot of books this month. So here they are:

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So this is all of them together. I’m gonna go into a bit further detail this time around because I wanna. :”D

20170129_090758First, I wanna point out and be happy at my local bargain outlet. I mean seriously guys. Hardbacks. Look how much. If you’ve ever wondered how I end up with so many books each month, this is how. Seriously, can’t beat it. They’re new, too! Overstock is a lovely thing, ladies and gentlemen.

And this month, I’ve fallen into a YA fantasy kick. A huge one – it’ll be evident in the Wrap Up I’ll post in a few days. But I’ve been on a streak and that’s basically all I’ve been reading. Half the books below I’ve already zoomed through and there are others I’m currently working on and almost done with as well.

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The few books I got this month that weren’t YA fantasy were manga, sci-fi or cookbooks. I’ll start with the cookbook, which was actually a Christmas present from my fiance that I forgot to haul last month because I’m a ding dong. But if you’ve ever seen the show ‘Good Eats’, you’ll see why I’m obsessed with this book. It has recipes, snippets from the show, all sorts of stuff. I’ve been pining after it for years and my lovey was kind enough to give it to me for Christmas. :”D I like him.

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I spent all the gift cards I got for Christmas on manga, as my local bookstores (both of them!) were having a buy-two-get-one sale. I kinda went nuts. I also purchased vols 6-10 of Attack on Titan as well, but they’re currently lent out so they’re not pictured. I’m obsessed with this series like I haven’t been with a manga for years. It’s been years guys. I missed buying volumes and buzzing through them. It’s a nice feeling.

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And finally, this last purchase was a total cover-buy. I read the back and it definitely sounded like it’d be something up my alley but honestly I would have walked right past it if it wasn’t so beautiful. It caught my eye and drew me right to it. The last time I bought a book this way, it ended up being one of my favorites of all time (*cough* The Fold *cough*) so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy this one just as much. I’ve linked my instagram video I made of me taking off the cover below. LOOK AT IT. LOOK HOW PRETTY IT IS OH MY GOSH.

So that’s it for this month! As I’ve said, a good deal of these I ended up reading this month too, so I thinking I’m doing rather decently. If you’ve read any of these, do let me know! 😀

Happy reading!

 

Book Review: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Audiobook
Science Fiction
21ish hours

This review might mention events in passing, but nothing will directly be spoiled.

—-

Listening to this book felt like sitting around a campfire, hearing stories from friends and family… friends and family who hate each other and are very explicit about their sex lives.

All the archetypes were even there. The father who kept telling everyone to hush because his baby was sleeping even though she shouldn’t have been out that late in the first place, the surly uncle who refuses to participate but is still a bit of a control freak, the cousin who always looks just a bit too pale, the ‘firecracker’ sister going through her ‘everything offends me’ phase, the grandpa who just nods and smiles but it still revered as the head of the family, the brother who’s been working out and keeps subtly flexing to show off his muscles, and the drunk neighbor who just showed up when he saw a party in the next yard.

Yet for some reason, I still enjoyed this book for the most part. It’s saving grace is its setting. The world of Hyperion is absolutely fascinating, and I would read one hundred books of goofy characterization of it meant I could read more about this world. I’m smitten.

Hyperion opens upon the beginning of a pilgrimage of these seven characters to the world of Hyperion. They’re to travel there to locate the Shrike, a being with unknown origins and unsettling power, to win its favor and ask it for assistance. Each one of these seven have different motivations and desires and these are revealed throughout the story. And that’s basically what this book is: these characters’ stories. Rarely does the narrative find itself upon the actual pilgrimage but more often it’s neck-deep in one of these characters’ tales. So if you’re going into this book expecting a lot of plot momentum and action, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

This book is a study of the planet Hyperion. Each one of the stories told within this book tie the character telling it to the planet in some way even though it may not be fully evident at first. None of the stories seem outwardly related to each other and it honestly felt like I was reading a bunch of short stories set in the same universe instead of a novel. Sure there were small ties, but no story built upon the previous one. And this world, man. This world is bizarre. It’s fascinating. The Shrike creature that dwells there is foreboding and unsettling and intoxicating. I couldn’t get enough.

Each story increased my love for the planet, even if the individual story didn’t happen to tickle my fancy. Because there were definitely a few that I found ridiculous. Tedious, even. This book was an interesting experience for me – in it, I found some of the best writing I’ve ever read, and some of the worst. Oh my gosh, some of this writing was awful. More than a couple times, I’d finish listening to a scene or even just a line and I’d have some kind of outburst – I’ve laughed hysterically at the absurdity, I’ve yelled at the stupidity. It was a roller coaster. And still, I was fascinated and I couldn’t stop. I read through scenes of these characters telling each other very explicitly what they were doing with another person in their story – details that one normally wouldn’t tell to the closest of friends, let alone a group of people you’d just met. It’s like they had no filter.

Hi, nice to meet you. I don’t like you – you could steal my chance at seeing the Shrike. Here, listen to me tell you how my penis felt when I boned this one chick. Also here’s some intimate details about her body that she probably would be mortified if she knew I told you.

It was so weird. And it wasn’t limited to just one gender – both were guilty. I mean, I suppose it wouldn’t have been so bad if there had been a good romantic element to the story, but there wasn’t. There was sex, and there was romance alluded, but not really any actual… romance. It made the ‘mood’ or whatever the hell it was feel very forced and awkward. So yeah, I’m going to try to block some of the more graphic scenes from my memory, thanks.

Obviously because of the above, I definitely developed favorite and least favorite stories while listening. Some characters were definitely more interesting and less infuriating than others, but I see why all of them were included. Except one. I’m still questioning that one. Stupidest story I’ve ever read. Not going to say who though, but bet you could guess after reading this. But the good stories were awesome and more than made up for the short-comings of the other ones. You’ll know the good ones when you read them. You’ll know them very quickly.

Anyways – overall Hyperion, the world not the book, has me head over heels. I’m going to read the second book just so I can experience the world more. Characters can come and go, but the planet, I love it.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Book Review: Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Read January 21, 2016 – May 2, 2016
Pages: 561
Genre: Science fiction

Leviathan Wakes is a space opera set after human kind has made it out among the planets of our solar system, but not past them. It primarily follows two characters, both with very different perspectives on the same morals.

There’s Miller, a cop from the asteroid belt obsessed with a missing persons case, and Holden, an ice miner from Earth that finds a ship he was not supposed to.

And I must say, that I loved this book so, so, so much.

Usually, the possibility of me loving a book happens towards the end of it and solidifies if the ending is what I hoped it would be. But with this one, I was smitten 80 pages in. There was just something about it – the world building, the characters, the writing, the intermittent horror and shock elements mixed into the scifi setting. All of it just blended together so well and caught me hook, line and sinker.

The story opens on the two characters – Miller as stated is given an assignment to track down a missing woman who ran away from home to find adventure among the stars, and Holden, in the middle of a mining mission when he finds himself in a compromising situation that catalyzes the entire story. Their paths slowly come together, their two seemingly unrelated situations being anything but. Conspiracy, action, horror, and even touches of noir all effected the tone of this book and it was intoxicating.

The book was full of cliffhangers and jaw-droppers and I found myself yelling at the damn thing many times. You know those books where something happens in them and you just have to close it and take a minute to catch your breath or come to terms with the latest string of events? Well, this book did that for me more times than I could count.

I think one of my favorite things about this book is the time setting. You either read books about humans solely on Earth or humans after they’ve spread out amongst the stars. You never early about the early stages – where we’ve achieved space travel but haven’t left the solar system yet. It was unique read as it didn’t feel like it took place thousands of years from now. Hundreds, maybe. Enough time for outer-planet dialects to develop, for humans to disperse to Mars, to the belt, and each area develop their own society, all held together by the fragile bond of shared humanity. It was a fascinating dynamic and it left me wanting more.

I finished this book and was tempted to change out of my pjs at 8pm and go out the to bookstore and be ‘that person’ showing up five minutes before close just so I could buy the second one. I need it, I tell you.

I haven’t yet – I managed to convince myself to write this first, and there’s a Pens game on… but I might still bite the bullet and go. Forty minutes and counting until the bookstore closes. Woot.

Rating: 5/5 stars.