Tag Archives: reading

Strange the Dreamer – Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

Laini Taylor is the master of gods and monsters. I read her Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy years ago and loved it (aside from the last book), but in that time, as a reader, your tastes develop. So, I was a little apprehensive that this wouldn’t live up to all the hype for me.

Then, Taylor laid the smack down on me.

She could have wrote gibberish and as long as she did it in her own poetic way, I would still have read the whole damn novel. The writing is only a small portion of the epic that danced across the pages. Lazlo Strange may have just taken rank as one of my favorite male characters. The plot line was alluring, with an ending that is satisfying yet leaves you desperately wanting more. Holding out for the next book is going to be a bitch.

It seems a disservice to regale you with a summary of the story. This is to be tasted by each and every person on their own, sipped like a fine wine. (I don’t drink wine but this is how people have been telling me you do it. You get the description though.) I firmly believe this, I’m not just being a lazy reviewer.

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The Goodreads Book Tag

The Shameful Narcissist shared this lovely little book tag and I just couldn’t resist. One more reason to talk about books! I’ll also take this opportunity to openly invite, if you so choose, to add me as a friend on Goodreads here.

What was the last book you marked as read?

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

What are you currently reading?

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Almost finished though.

What was the last book you marked as ‘to-read’?

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington. (Who can resist a FAT epic fantasy novel? Not this girl!)

Are you doing the 2017 reading challenge?

Yes. My goal is 67. I usually surpass my goals but with buying a house this year, I’m glad that I didn’t set the goal too high.

Do you have a wish list?

Yes. I mostly just use it to watch for good Kindle sales on authors I haven’t tried yet.

Who are your favorite authors?

Oi vay. George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, Pierce Brown, Patricia Briggs, Anne Bishop, Chuck Palahniuk, Kevin Hearne, Patrick Rothfuss, R.S. Belcher, and Mark Lawrence.

Have you joined any groups?

Dragons & Jetpacks. A spectacular sci-fi, fantasy group. I’ve been in it a couple of years now and it’s definitely responsible for the growth of my TBR pile. (We’re currently a featured group on Goodreads as well.)

How many Goodreads shelves do you have?

29 and always growing.

I Tag…

Everyone who dwells in books! (Yeah, I took the cheap way out.)

Midnight Riot – Book Review

3 out of 5 stars

Peter Grant is pretty damn chill for someone who just had their first conversation with a ghost and found out that there is a whole paranormal division of the police department. Is it an Englishmen thing? That seems to be the implication but I don’t know any Englishmen to ask.

It took me 14 days to finish this book. For a period of time, I kept telling myself that it was me, not the book. Life has been distracting and other things have been more important that sitting down and finishing a book. As much as it hurts me to say that, it’s true. However, eventually, I had to admit that it was partially the book’s fault as well. It feels much like a set-up to future installments. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with it, it just failed to pull me back in for more. It was missing that riveting factor. At no point did I need to sit down and find out how the story was progressing.

A new cop, learning magic, while being thrown directly into the paranormal action obviously peaks ones interest and I’m sure I will continue with the series in the future. As of right now, I sit firmly on the “meh” fence. Many a great urban fantasy series begin with mediocre books so the potential is definitely there for something epic.

Cannibalism – Book Review

Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History

4 out of 5 stars

“I also learned that normal behavior or not, sometimes cannibalism in the animal kingdom can get downright weird.”

Is anyone else a little hungry right now?

No?

Hmm.

Ninety percent of my reading is fiction but every once in awhile I get an intense itch to learn something and the weirder, the better. Problem is, sometimes I know way too much about the weird things to learn anything new. When it comes to cannibalism, this was not the case.

While highly informative, I was never bored and for me, that is an important factor in a non-fiction novel. I enjoyed the scientific research in every aspect of the book, even when bringing to light that sometimes, scientists can be a little too close-minded.

This probably isn’t for the queasiest of stomachs, I’ll admit to only getting nauseous over one section, human placenta eating. To be fair though, I have a pretty iron stomach and the subject matter doesn’t skeev me out like a lot of people.

So the moral of the cannibal story is, if you like facts and taboo subjects, this is definitely for you.

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A Closed and Common Orbit – Book Review

4 out of 5 stars

This was a masterful study of artificial intelligence and for that reason alone it was beguiling.

If you noticed that it took me a little longer than usual to finish, it is not the book’s fault. Life has been hectic and that is the only reason I didn’t sit down and devour it in one go.

Here we follow Lovey after she has made the transition into a body kit and scrubbed her previous memories clean. Now Sidra, she finds discovering her new purpose difficult. Adapting to other cultures, lacking the ability to lie about ones origins, and trying to find a way to connect with her new body has been a bit of chaos for someone used to being in total control.

At the same time, we explore Pepper’s peppered past. (Yeah, I went there.) Raised by an AI on an unfair planet, she struggled to rebuild a broken ship and get herself far away from a dying planet who had been nothing but unkind to her.

The two stories intertwine and dance apart across the novel and blend back together in a wholly satisfying ending.

I look forward to many more space operas to come from Becky Chambers. (Secretly, or not so secretly, hoping to see into the past and present of other characters from the Wayfarer in future editions to the story.)

Life in Light of Death – Book Review

2 out of 5 stars

We deny the need to look at death honestly, and we even deny that we are denying death.”

Turning 30? Read a book designed to make you more comfortable with dying!

The first half of this book contains very valid points that really do make you take another look at dying. For example, let’s pretend you gain immortality, then the planet dies. Let’s pretend science becomes advanced enough that you can just move planets, but now the sun is dying. Move to another galaxy (if feasible), but eventually the Milky Way galaxy and Andromeda are going to collide. You can try to keep running but eventually death will claim you one way or another.

Then, about half way through the book, the author decides to attempt to explain away ethical vegetarianism. I was immediately skeptical of why this was even brought up, and it turns out I was right to be. In a nutshell, in his reasoning, animals don’t experience existential dread and what is more cruel, a bullet in the head (quick death) or nature’s way of starvation, injury or old age? Here’s a short list of why these points are fucking stupid:

1. Science has not proven, in any shape or form, that animals do NOT experience existential dread.

2. He clearly doesn’t understand factory farming because the animals are not simply put out of their misery with a quick bullet to the skull.

3. He doesn’t know anything about hunting either because you don’t shoot animals in the skull.

The point of ethical vegetarianism is to not cause unwarranted suffering to animals for the purpose of one’s food. Even this isn’t 100% ethical because anything to do with the dairy industry produces suffering and death. Nay, the only people who can truly claim to be innocent of causing any animal suffering and death are vegans.

But I digress, because I still don’t understand why the author bothered to bring this up except maybe perhaps to try to make himself feel better about not understanding vegetarianism/veganism whatsoever, despite his attempt at being both.

The last half of the book is redundant. He essentially goes, YOLO, YOLO, YOLO, YOLO, YOLO, YOLO. (You may only live once but you can repeat the same shit until the end of the book.)

Finding Me – Book Review

Finding Me: A decade of darkness, a life reclaimed – A memoir of the Cleveland kidnappings.

4 out of 5 stars

The struggle to rate this is real. How do you rate someone’s torture? How do you rate their suffering? How do you rate a monstrous human experience? This is every person’s worst nightmare. Held captive and used as a sex object. Beaten and starved. Not for days, not for weeks, not for months but for eleven goddamn years.

I will settle with four stars for this reasoning: I reserve five stars for my favorite books. At no point ever will this be a favorite book, because I cannot favor these disgusting acts even in the face of this woman’s incredible strength and courage. She deserves all the stars for surviving, enduring what she did and holding her head up high and refusing to let it define her.

I think most people heard about this story when it broke, but here you hear the worst of the worst of the details. It’s dark, it’s horrifying, it legitimately gave me nightmares. Yet it is awe inspiring what this woman endured, survived and is now conquering. I consider myself a strong person but I don’t know that I could have made it through 11 years of that hell, and if I did, I don’t know that I would have had the positive outlook on life that she does.

From victim to warrior for the forgotten and abandoned, the abused and broken, Michelle Knight is one hell of a fighter and for that alone, you should read this book.

 

Royal Assassin – Book Review

5 out of 5 stars 

The Farseer Trilogy Book 2 – No Spoilers

I read the first book in this series almost exactly three years ago, before I began reviewing books. I was surprised at how much of it I remembered but not enough to go back and do an actual review. So I will tell you that Hobb roped me in hook, line and sinker. Her writing has a subtle poetry to it. In the first book, the beginning of each chapter feeds you a little of the history of the world you are entering. I found it a clever and enjoyable way to learn the world building.

She continues this in the second book, but the beginning of each chapter explains instead the politics behind the royalty and sometimes background stories of other characters.

I am confident in saying that, if you enjoyed the Song of Ice and Fire series, you will enjoy this as well. Hobb has a way of making small details, rich. If one of the things that you put off of GRRM’s work is the multitude of characters each chapter switches it to, here, you follow only the view of Fitz. This does not make any of the other characters any less important.
Continue reading Royal Assassin – Book Review

T-Rex Can’t Jack Off

An astute observation from my husband’s sleep brain. He talks in his sleep on a nightly basis and some of his exclamations are just down right fabulous, so I’ve decided to use them as blog post titles. This one was hot off the press this morning and it must still be fresh in his mind because upon awakening, he tried to imitate what it would look like if a T-Rex attempted to jack off. I really wish I had been prepared for it and got it on video but alas, you’ll just have to use your own imagination.

House hunting has been seriously cutting into reading time. (I almost bought a house with built in bookshelves around a fireplace but there was a massive foundation issue.) If I have a book review once a week, that’s why. On the bright side, I’ve been imagining all things I’ll get to do once the hunt and move are over. Like, buying any damn book I please no matter the cost. Most importantly, I will be able to pre-order books from my favorite authors and support them at my full capacity. I find this rather exciting. I know buying their books at all is important but pre-ordering their new books helps them even more. Makes them more appealing to publishers so they can continue writing.

The books I want to pre-order the most:

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What books are you dying to pre-order?

The Water Knife – Book Review

4 out of 5 stars

Have you ever watched Tank Girl? Or read the comic? The setting for this novel is much like that. In the future, the world is basically a large desert and big companies own all the water and power. People are struggling to survive while states fight over water rights and restrict electricity from poor people. The unfortunate cluster around water pumps run by the Red Cross and buy what little water they can afford from their shitty jobs. They live in slum housing and are battered with dust and dust storms on a regular basis. They pee into contraptions called Clearsacs and drink the water that is cycled through. Gangs run the streets. Police can be bought. Texans are treated like cockroaches. They cannot travel to new cities as militia and border agents kill anyone who gets too close to their state. People pay coyotes to get them further north, most never make it.

The rich live in giant complexes with air conditioning, fountains, nice housing, money, corporate jobs, drugs, prostitutes and all the water they can handle.

When there is dispute between states about who owns the older water rights, sometimes dams end up blasted and the world loses even more water. Whole cities die. Other cities become richer.

Angel is a water knife. A hired assassin who takes out Las Vegas’ rivals.

Lucy is a journalist who’s tired of biting her tongue and not reporting the stories behind the bodies left in empty swimming pools.

Maria is trying her damnedest to get north to freedom. Even if it means having to peddle some ass to get there.

Someone has discovered the nation’s oldest water rights, worth billions, and everyone is throwing their big guns at finding them. There are no rules. Just murder, mayhem and water.

A visceral look at the possibility (read probability) of the future of the human race if we don’t start taking care of our planet.