Tuesday, August 9, 2016

july/august combo

How is it the ninth of August already, you guys?


We've had a busy few weeks around here, and the rest of the month looks to be much of the same. Birthdays, local festivals, and back to school to name just a few things cluttering up our calendar.

So I've been trying to read as much as possible (as per the rest of my life up to this point), but I'm both a bit busy and also trying to finish some series on Netflix. You guys get it.
(in case you were wondering, I just finished the third season of Brooklyn 99, am three episodes into the final season of Downton Abbey, am halfway through Luther, and just started Orange is the New Black. I'm busy as far as watching awesome shows go too, people.)

Anyway, so here's a reading wrap up of the month of July...

You might recall that I had wanted to get through this stack:

And mostly did.
y goal was for five books (as usual), and I did get through five, but not exactly the five in the photo above.

I don't really know how or why it happened, by I ended up circumventing my own personal reading rule.
I picked and chose some stuff from my tbr pile that was out sequence.

It's still kind of freaking me out.

Like, my ability to randomly and easily abandon all semblance of order.

Anarchy, dudes.

I ended up reading:

Reader I Married Him edited by Tracy Chevalier
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
The Little Ochre Book of Occult Stories by Karl Edward Wagner
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clark
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

You can find the reviews of most of these right here on the blog, under previous entries, and always on my Goodreads shelf.

This month I've already read a couple of books. To be precise, these:


And I am planning on trying to get through these before the month is out:

The Gaiman non-fiction piece and the Rothfuss novel are over 500 and 600 pages respectively, so it's a decent load to pull through the month.
I'm not figuring on skipping around in my pile this month, like I did in July...namely because breaking my order/rule really threw me, and plus also, there are some awesome releases hitting bookstores in the next couple months, (meaning: I have preordered a whole lot of stuff ) and I want to be able to have room for them in my tbr pile asap.

Also, I have been thinking more and more lately that I would love to start 'book tube' - ing, or vlogging my reading entries instead of writing them out. What do you all think?
 The only actual hurdle to this process being that I am very much not tech savvy and do not know how to edit videos. Hmm.

Also, what are you reading?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Review: This Savage Song

This Savage Song This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I inadvertently ended up sitting down and reading this book in one setting.
Late hour be damned, I just didn't want to put it down.
The book has a great pace and a narrative that manages a great unexplained, slow reveal; one that makes the reader work a bit to unravel the nuances/rules of the created world, without being exasperating or convoluted. I appreciated the lack of romance between the two principle characters, and the ability of the author to create viable character arcs without the need for that cheesy, over-played paranormal romance aspect which unfortunately seems to be standard within the genre. A large chunk of the book is action-packed, and very exciting to read, offering up well-executed twists and turns for both the principle and their supporting characters.
The conclusion of the book being especially interesting and poignant; without divulging too severe of a spoiler, Schwab manages to both split her action-packed previously intertwined principal narrative (again, joyously without the need for a romantic element), and give her reader a shocking final page spread.
This appears to be the beginning of a series, one I will definitely continue to make my way through.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With an epic novel, an epic review must follow...
Things that I did not especially enjoy or disliked about this novel were the pace and format. I generally feel that the formatting of the novel was designed (whether consciously or otherwise) purely to weed out the reading audience, a strategy that I could never agree with. The general population is arguably not eager to pick up a 1000+ page novel set in the 1800's, fantasy element nor hype withstanding. Readers of a certain caliber and or patience (re stubbornness) fast becoming the only standing audience. Were the formatting to be more straightforward (yes, this is all about the exhausting footnote system deployed), the story would automatically be more inclusive for the reading audience, and more easily navigated. The chosen formatting completely bogs down the pace of the novel itself; footnotes swallowing up pages upon pages of narrative endlessly more relevant and interesting than themselves. The formatting being largely responsible for the shortcomings of the pacing, there is also terrible issue of the prioritizing of the storyline itself. I don't think that this novel needed to be so sprawling at all, and found myself on multiple occasions wondering why so much of the book was devoted to certain events that ultimately had little to no sway on the main conflict and resolution. Basically: it felt like it was long-winded for the sake of being long-winded. Not maliciously pretentious, just too drawn out. Exhausting.
Finally, the positives; the characters and core story. No one would be able to drag themselves through a novel of this size and style without some sort of motivation or silver lining. The characters in the novel shine. Finding a novel with cast of characters this enticing and entirely fleshed out is rare, and Clarke deserves praise for that. They are what kept me reading; waiting and wading through other elements of the novel to find what awaited these enduring characters on the other side.
The story line: absolutely wonderful. I love a good parallel history setting, and one set in the early 19th century, fraught with gentlemen magicians and malicious fairies is just my cup of tea. The story itself is an uncontested gem, and with enough patience, absolutely worth the effort.

This novel is huge. It has pacing problems and an unfortunate format.
But this I can't emphasize enough: it is an amazing story with an incredible cast of characters. That is what makes it a triumph. One that a patient and steadfast reader will not be disappointed in.

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

plug it.

Ok, guys.

I've thought long and hard, and finally come to this conclusion: if I can't shamelessly plug something on my own blog, then where else?


There's this really rad indie mag from the UK that releases its' fourth issue later this month...

And I still can't quite believe it myself, but a short story written by yours truly will be included.

I had some poetry published back when I was doing my undergrad studies, but writing has otherwise been very much de-prioritized for me in the past odd decade...but this past spring I actually forced myself to sit down and hash out some ideas and plot lines I had rumbling around in my head, then allowed myself some quiet time for actual writing, and bam.

I got published.

I'm so stoked...and still kind of don't believe it. Maybe when I'm actually holding the issue in my hand, seeing my name and story in print.


If you're interested in a creepy read, just click on the photo above to preorder a copy of the magazine.

Review: The Little Ochre Book Of Occult Stories

The Little Ochre Book Of Occult Stories The Little Ochre Book Of Occult Stories by Karl Edward Wagner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

'Sticks' blew my mind, and was worth the purchasing price alone. I'm not a huge high-fantasy fan, but also appreciated the classic Kane piece. This was a great intro to Wagner's body of work, in the form of a very aesthetically pleasing (signed) volume from Borderlands Press publishing.
Copy 488 of 500.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Review: Flawed

Flawed Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Though it took me a while to get hooked, I definitely enjoyed this new ya venture from Cecelia Ahern. Looking forward to, and disappointed by how long readers will have to wait for the announced sequel. Would recommend if you can get through (re: appreciate) a ya level novel in general, and if you enjoy a dystopian reality with a similar vibe to the Hunger Games, or Bone Season series.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Review: Reader, I Married Him

Reader, I Married Him Reader, I Married Him by Tracy Chevalier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I give this a 3.5 stars. As with most multi-author anthologies, this collection is a mixed bag. Upon completion, I counted nine of the 21(?) to be ones that I really enjoyed. A handful of others being decent, and the rest not my cup of tea.
That being said, I did enjoy reading this collection. It made me feel like a part of an international community of literati; being privy to what Jane Eyre means and inspires in such a diverse body of authors.

View all my reviews

Friday, July 1, 2016

you guys, it's July!

It's July, you guys.

You wouldn't know it here in Vestlandet, where we're bundled up in our rain gear and the children must play outside with their waterproof mittens and hats on.
Counting the finishing of an audiobook, I managed to clear 8 reads during the month of June.
Which is not too shabby, in my humble opinion.
Check out my last post to see the full list, and remember to check out my Goodreads account if you're interested in the reviews of everything I read through, as not all the reviews make it over the blog.

But summer it is just the same, and I'm here to show you my stack of July reads...

I've got a couple of chunky pieces on my tbr pile for the month, but still pretty confident about getting through them all...

(what do you think of my new bedding, btw, folks?)

The order I'll be working in is as follows: (not sure how the pile ended up in that order in the photo)

Reader, I Married Him edited by Tracy Chevalier
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Saturday by Ian McEwan
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

There's some pieces here I'm really looking forward to reading this month: like the ever-hyped Susanna Clarke novel, and chunky high fantasy tome by Patrick Rothfuss. Atonement is one of my absolute favorite novels, so I'm usually up for a romp with Ian McEwan. The Ahern novel is a YA that came in an OwlCrate shipment, and the short story collection inspired by Jane Eyre is already proving to be a really unique read...

Our family isn't taking a proper vacation this summer, which is alright, considering all the work around the new house that we've already done and continue to pay for, and all that we're planning and saving for in the near future...

The Hubs has been in Poland for a big music festival for a week and is due back on Sunday, and I've just finished hosting what proved to be the most difficult foster case I've ever had...
Needless to say, the girls and I are really looking forward to him coming home.

What are you reading this month? Leave a comment below!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

an untraditional june post...

Whoa, mama.

June is officially half over, you guys. I cannot even believe it.

I didn't intend to take an extended absence from blogging, but as you might have heard, my family and I moved just a couple of weeks ago, and the last month has been coconuts.

Coconuts, you guys.

BUT, we're all moved now, and waist-deep in unpacking and decorating our new home.
I'll share photos of rooms as we complete our renovations...and as completely satisfied and blissed out I am about our new house, it does need renovating. Every. Single. Room, folks.
We managed a complete gutting of the living/dining room and kitchen before we moved in, so now we just have to track down a couple more pieces of furniture and put up mouldings...I'm already loving how it looks, and can't wait to share it with you all...stay tuned!

But back to all things bookish: in May, (because of all the packing and whatnot) I didn't manage to read more than my initial goal...plus I didn't get to do a wrap up of the month or a TBR for this month of June.
Let down. I know.

So here's a my untraditional June post. The Hubs having literally JUST set up the computer here at the new house...

First this month, I finished the audiobook I had been listening to in the month of May, a few days after the turnover of the month:

Then I tore through a book received as a surprise (re:AMAZING) birthday present from my Aunt:

no seriously. i was stoked. and for good reasons. it was SO good!
In the past week, I also read these:

And I'm planning on trying to get through these before the month of June is over:

So how's that for an update, folks? 

If I'm not reading, I'll be unpacking...or cleaning, or doing yardwork, or chasing my children.
You know how it is, dudes.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: All the Birds in the Sky

All the Birds in the Sky All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

At times laugh-out-loud funny, magical, and dark, with main characters that are both drawn to and repelled by each other like magnets. It manages to sew together an ecological admonition, a warning really, with a pair of star-crossed, bullied teens to create a veritable masterpiece of the genre.
I truly loved it.

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