Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Format changes...

I made a big/awesome decision the other day...

Since becoming a huge fan of the 'booktube' side of Youtube earlier this year, and the fact that sitting down to write out a blog the old-fashioned way seems to take me ages to do, I've decided to try out a little format change.

I'm not sure that this is an official abandon ship call for my trusty LiO page. But it means that I'm gonna try my hand at video blogging for a bit...'vlogging', or 'booktubing'.

I'm SUPER green here, folks. My first video is not in any way edited, nor did I attempt to make myself especially camera ready as far as my hair, clothes and makeup go...

It's just me. Honest, imperfect me.

So I hope you like it. :)

I even created a new channel for these video entries, and will be posting under my new handle:
Books by the Fjord

Enjoy, and subscribe to the channel to keep up with me!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Review: Vengeance Road

Vengeance Road Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this book up as it was highly recommended to me by multiple sources. And while I definitely was not disappointed with the overall narrative or characters, it confirmed to me that westerns aren't really my cup of tea. If you're looking for an ice - breaker into the genre yourself, or just want to dip your toes into the old west setting, then this is a great story with which to do so.

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Review: Garden Spells

Garden Spells Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I enjoyed previous reads in Allen's body of work far greater than this one.
It was a decent enough chic lit / popcorn read in the magical realism world, but I couldn't get over how alike yet far inferior it was to Hoffman's 'Practical Magic' piece...something that really impeded me from getting too fond of the narrative.

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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.

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