Tag Archives: reading

Fa-La-La-La Chaos

I survived my holiday trip north but I also survived……my first ever Black Friday shopping!

I’ve only ever worked on the dreaded craziest retail day of the year. I took it off for our trip north this year so I thought I’d revive the Black Friday tradition that my aunt had with my grandmother before she passed away.

Well folks….I don’t think I ever need to do it again. Lol. Once was enough, curiosity sated.

The plus side is that I did make some head way with shopping for people, including Mr. C&M. Now, I have to get the house clean so I can decorate. (Also, we have to buy a new fake tree.) The way my brain works, everything must be clean before the decorations go up. We’ve barely been home lately, so I’ve got some work cut out of me.

I love Christmas. It’s second only to Halloween for me. I just love getting gifts for the people in my life that matter the most.

Hopefully, I will squeeze in some holiday baking as well.

I haven’t finished Red Mars yet, it’s just so slow going, but I’m really looking forward to no more themed reading. I’m not a Christmas book person so it’s a free for all on what I read next.

Do you enjoy Christmas or are you a Scrooge?

#SciFiMonth – The Mechanical (The Alchemy Wars #1) – Book Review

Published Date: March 10, 2015

Publishing Co.: Orbit

Pages: 440

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Three different antagonists take on the Dutch, in secret, to bring down their empire of mechanical servitude.

The Dutch empire rules much of the world. They invented mechanical slaves called Clakkers, and use them to control everything. They use them for household service, they make up much of the military and others yet, are used to subdue anyone violating the laws.

One thing the empire cannot abide to let the public become aware of is, rogue Clakkers. Clakkers granted Free Will. They are to be hunted down and destroyed at all costs. Their enemies cannot know that their Clakkers have any kind of soul, it would unravel all they have built if people knew that these weren’t just mindless robots.

Jax is a rogue. Accidentally granted Free Will in a mishap, Jax flees before his secret is found out. Unfortunately for Jax, other Clakkers can sense his difference if he slips up even a little. One command ingrained in all Clakkers, is to do everything to take out a rogue when detected. He’ll need the help of humans if he’s to get out of the Dutch grasp.

Only one country resists the Dutch, they’ve been at war for years and recently had a cease fire. New France. Their draw is precarious. One wrong step and war can begin again in an instant. Berenice is in the business of knowing everything about the enemy. When given a chance to study the inside of a military Clakker, she will risk everything to unwind the Dutch’s secrets. She’ll even risk the King’s wrath if he finds out she went against his wishes.

Pastor Visser works in secret through the church. He’s apart of a network of people working to bring about the destruction of the Dutch, free Clakkers that they believe are sentient and bring back the Catholic church, currently outlawed as heresy. He’s willing to martyr himself to do so but the price may be more than he expected, for the Dutch are especially cruel.

This was a decent read for ¾ of the book. I wasn’t really connecting with any of the characters but the premise was interesting enough. It began to really come together in the last quarter when a couple of the antagonists joined forces.

My lingering question is, how can robots taste or smell? It was mentioned briefly in the beginning of the book and I’m left wondering if it was a mistake. Or, are these sciences really THAT advanced?

I’m on the fence about continuing the series.

#SciFiMonth: The Left Hand of Darkness – Book Review

Published Date: First published in 1969

Publishing Co.: ACE Science Fiction

Pages: 323

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Wooooooo boy. Get ready for unpopular opinion time folks. I fully expect the trolls to come for me on this one.

I’m not entirely sure why I even finished this book. I think only because it is considered a science fiction classic. However, now that I’ve finished it, I wish I had never wasted my time.

It took me almost 3 months to read The Left Hand of Darkness. After an unimpressive start, I took it to work to leave and read on my lunches. Sometimes it’s nice to not tote a book back and forth every day. But putting even 15 minutes into reading it, 5 days a week was a chore. There were some days that I ignored it to play on my phone or I brought another book anyway because I just could not bring myself to pick up.

The promise of a gender fluid society with mating seasons, and how that went against the grain of human society, was what sparked my interest in this novel in the first place. It turns out to be a very small portion of the book. It quickly develops into political intrigue and some of the most boring politics I’ve read yet. I want to say that some of the terminology was never fully explained but it’s possible that my very bored brain skimmed past it and never let it sink in. It’s also still possible that it was not explained.

If I thought I was bored the first half of the book, the second half only proved that it was possible to make it worse. Daily descriptions of a journey across ice and very little dialogue, stretched my patience and I almost threw the book in the garbage. That’s not an exaggeration. I eyeballed that trash can like it was a promise of relief.

The chapters switched back and forth between the two main characters. The problem with this is that both characters sounded much the same and I wasn’t sure who’s point of view I was reading from until sometimes, several pages into each chapter. Neither character was likable and I could care less if they perished before their mission was complete.

The only parts I enjoyed were the small chapters that told myths and legends of the planet of Winter and they were few and far between.

So go ahead, lambaste me that I don’t know good writing or that my small brain just couldn’t comprehend the genius of the author during that time. I don’t care, I should have never tortured myself to finish this.

#SpooktasticReads: Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) – Book Review

Published Date: October 1, 2009

Publishing Co: Orbit

Pages: 357

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Miss Tarabotti was not one of life’s milk-water misses—in fact, quite the opposite. Many gentlemen had likened his first meeting with her to downing a very strong cognac when one was expecting to imbibe fruit juice – that is to say, startling and apt to leave one with a distinct burning sensation.”

Earlier this month, when I was yearning for a good werewolf story, I should have picked this up instead of the one I did. But what matters, is that I finally read this, having owned the ebook for a number of years.

Alexia Tarabotti is one of those female main characters that I love. Smart, rebellious, and incorrigible. Considered a spinster at the rough ol’ age of 26, Alexia is mostly a pain to her family. She’s apt to embarrass them at dinners, talking to scientists and aristocrats, about……gulp….intellectual subjects. Not to mention, she’s half Italian and her tan skin is an offense to their delicate pale senses. Her nose is just slightly too large and they will probably never find someone to marry her off to.

Lord Maccon is a werewolf and the head of BUR, essentially the police of supernatural creatures. Currently humanity knows of the existence of werewolves, vampires and ghosts. There may be a few others creeping about that they have no idea exist, like Miss Tarabotti herself. Lord Maccon is forced to endure several encounters with Miss Tarabotti after she is attacked by a rogue vampire. More perplexing still, every new mystery seems to happen in Miss Tarabotti’s presence. Lone werewolves and vampires are missing, and new ones appearing with no idea of what they are or the rules they must now live by. Every time he turns his back, another incident involving Alexia occurs.

Being the curious sort, Alexia begins gathering information after each incident and uses her contacts to find out more. If the police can’t figure this out, why, she will.

Love it or not, Lord Maccon can either work with Miss Tarabotti or……lock her up? That might be the only way to keep her out of it.

The woman is frustratingly intriguing.

This was just a wallop of fun. Steampunk, mystery, romance, strong characters and adventure. I could binge read the whole series in one go.

#SpooktasticReads : Nightwise (Nightwise #1) – Book Review

Published Date: August 18, 2015

Publishing Co.: Tor Books

Pages: 320

Goodreads synopsis.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The banker was crucified on the wall of his Wall Street office, fountain pens rammed through both wrists, an Armani Jesus.”

Well hello there. You have my attention.

When that’s your opening sentence to the story, you just know you’re embarking on a dark and gritty ride.

Laytham Ballard was born a Wisdom, as his grandma called him. It ran in the family. She tried her best to instill the whole, “With great power comes great responsibility,” thing in him, but sometimes, life throws more at a little boy than he can handle. With lots of power swirling within him and a broken heart, Laytham lashed out on a level no normal parent has to deal with. He raised the dead and caused a slaughter.

That was only the beginning of his moral down slide. He spent his life hunting other people in the Life and building a legend of himself as the biggest bad ass in town. It doesn’t matter how dirty he has to fight to build that image, he’s sold half his soul already.

Even villains have their own strange loyalties, so when one of his only friends is dying, he makes a promise to avenge his wife’s brutal death. The one thing his friend was never able to do while living. But the target hasn’t been seen in nearly 11 years, and has some very big friends that Laytham will have to get past first. He’ll have to use every trick in his book to find him and then, will he even have the power to take him down?

It really hurts your pride when you doubt just how bad ass you are.

This is a dark urban fantasy with an anti-hero that you can’t trust but you also, can’t wait to see what he does next.

October Week 3: A Virus Strikes

This past week was a little less eventful in the Halloween department. Only because we attended a metal concert (Midnight, Abbath and Obituary) Tuesday night and I’m pretty sure that’s where I picked up this lovely little virus I’m currently battling. So every night, after work, was pretty much me relaxing and then sleeping. Each day I feel a little bit more human but man, I haven’t had that bad of a sore throat in a long time. I actually had to take pain meds because it felt so awful and swollen.

Now, I’m mostly a mucus factory so that’s an improvement. 😀

Watching

I had thought I had seen this movie earlier in life but upon watching it with Mr. C&M (it’s one of his favorites), I realized I never have. It was fun. 100% 80s horror movie. (Currently available on Amazon Prime.) 4/5 stars

Another movie I’ve managed to never see. This one was pretty cheesy. It’s one of those I would recommend you watch at least once, so you can say you’ve seen it, but then you’ll probably never watch again. (Currently on Netflix.) 3/5 stars

Reading

I just finished Nightwise last night. I really enjoyed it and I’ll review it later in the week.

Treats

Well, with being sick, nothing really happened in the treat department. Soup season has definitely begun though!

We went and began purchasing parts of our Halloween costumes today. This coming Saturday we have a Harry Potter party to attend, thrown by Mr. C&M’s friend and coworker. She’s been planning it for months and it’s going to be 100% Harry Potter related so we’re pretty excited about it.

We also picked up our pumpkins. They’re currently sitting in the dining room warming up so we can carve them soon.

What are you dressing up as this Halloween?

October Week 2: Apple Cider Slushies

The second full week of October was a bit of a doozy. Work has been absolutely swamped with hordes of people coming in for their flu shots. We’ve been doing anywhere from 20 to 50 per day. As you can imagine, this interrupts the natural flow of work when it’s busy in it’s own right. Plenty of people getting sick already and a few confirmed cases of the flu. I don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon so it’s even more important to enjoy the season whenever I get a chance.

Watching

I was pretty skeptical the first few episodes of this season. Yes, it’s honoring slasher films but in the beginning, it was pretty basic. Then, we had some twists and turns that brought my interest back. The last episode was so weird, I don’t know how to feel. We might be coming to ‘absolutely ridiculous’ grounds but I’ll hang in there and find out. I can say that I am LOVING Billie Lourd this season. I can’t stand Emma Roberts, if she’d hurry up and die, I would enjoy it a lot more.

This one was weird but in a good way. It was original and how often do we get to say that about movies anymore? I would recommend giving it a try. It’s not amazing but I enjoyed my time watching it. 3/5 stars

Reading

I finished In a Dark, Dark Wood and you can read the review here. I’ve picked up one of my absolute favorite authors, R.S. Belcher’s Nightwise. It had my attention at the very first sentence. I binged about 45 pages before I was interrupted but I can’t wait to get back at it.

Treats

Oh, the treats were glorious! We went to the local orchard during the town’s fall festival strictly to get apple cider slushies because, what about that does not sound amazing?! It was cold, but we wanted one anyway. Worth it. We also picked up a pumpkin cream coffee cake that we have yet to break into and chocolate covered cherries and bananas. Both of which, we HAVE broken into and they’re damn tasty. We also bought a jar of apple butter and I forgot to make myself an amazing sandwich with it today.

I also baked up another goodie that I will post later in the week. Sipping an apple cider slushie while baking is the only way I want to bake every autumn now.

Apple versus Pumpkin, GO!

In a Dark, Dark Wood – Book Review

Published Date: April 19, 2016

Publishing Co.: Gallery/Scout Press

Pages: 308

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Leonora, aka Lee, aka Nora, has been invited to the hen party (British version of a bachelorette party) of her best friend from school. Whom, she lost connect with ten years ago. She thinks to herself that it’s weird that she’s invited and she shouldn’t go, but when a common friend decides to go, Nora makes the decision to as well.

The hen party is in a literal glass house in the middle of nowhere, surrounding by forest. If you’ve ever stayed in the middle of nowhere, you know how creepy the woods can be at night. Add a bunch of city folks, and the atmosphere is scarier when they all begin to share their feelings. Not just feelings about where they’re staying but their actual feelings about things that have happened in the past and the complicated present.

Complicated feelings that lead to lies and murder.

I liked it. It wasn’t near as spooky as I had hoped but it’s a pretty solid murder mystery. I won’t say that I completely understand the hype around this one but, I would say to give it a try. The big secret that Nora won’t talk to anyone about was less exciting than I had anticipated it would be so that was a let down.

I’m not good at reviewing mysteries. I’m so afraid to ruin plot points or twists that I avoid saying much at all.

October Week 1: Axe Queen

Aaaaaaah! The first week of October has been splendid. Not quite up my alley, but I’m being a supportive wife, has been the three day weekend of Big House 9. A giant Smash Bros tournament. Today is day 3 and the Championships. The husband played the first day and won his first match, then lost his second. I love him for not being a sore loser and just using it as motivation to get better for the next tournament. He’s not into regular sports (neither am I) but man does he love E-Sports. He’s been like a kid in a candy shop through the whole experience.

Last night, after a partial day of gaming, we attended my uncle’s yearly Brewfest. He brews his own beer (he’s really good at it), and show cases what he’s done. It’s more like an annual get-together that revolves around beer. It’s always a fun time but this year, he built an axe throwing range. I’ve always thought throwing axes would be sweet so I of course gave it a try. Turns out, ya girl is a natural. I was named VIP of axe throwing. It may have been a little too much fun, this might become a ‘thing’.

I was the only person to duel wield weapons and stick them both. I was also the only person who managed to stick the cleaver at all.

Books – I gave up on The Five and picked up; In a Dark, Dark Wood. It’s October’s book club choice and so far it’s pretty interesting.

We only managed one horror movie for the week. We’ve wanted to watch US for quite some time since it was hyped as being seriously creepy. However, neither of us ended up being overly impressed by it. (We both enjoyed Get Out much more.) When you have to look up plot line details online afterwards, you know the story was missing large chunks. It wasn’t bad, but it was not as amazing as it was made out to be. 3/5 stars.

Treats – It was time to officially start indulging in pumpkin. We tried Meijer’s mini pumpkin muffins for breakfasts. They were pretty good, if you don’t want to make better homemade ones, they’ll suffice. I had my first Pumpkin Spice latte of the season from Tim Horton’s. Again, it was okay. (I think my pumpkin standards are set really high.) I also made an easy pumpkin treat for the part yesterday that I’ll post later in the week.

How did your first week of October treat you? Or was it full of tricks?

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper – Book Review

Published Date: August 9, 2019

Publishing Co.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 336

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: unrated

DNF at page 95.

For the first time ever, I’m not rating a book that I didn’t finish. Usually, if I don’t finish a book it’s because I hated it or it bored me to death. Those two things mean they deserve some type of rating either for the feedback of the author (if they bother reading reviews) and for other people who are considering picking up the book or both.

In this case, the book did keep my attention, however, in the end, I just can’t bring myself to care much about the lives of people who died 130 years ago. I respect the concept that these women don’t deserve to be remembered as prostitutes because there is not enough evidence that they were. But in the end, they are dead and they don’t care. (Does that sound super insensitive? Probably, but I’m too tired to care.)

This is thoroughly researched when it comes to Victorian London and that I really enjoyed. I learned things I didn’t know and that always earns my respect.

So this is a toss up kids! It’s research is fantastic. If you want to learn lots of information on that time period, this is great. If you don’t really care if someone who was murdered that long ago was a prostitute or not, this might not be for you either.