Top Ten Tuesday: Books I own and have thus far ignored.

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic: Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading and Why, comes to us from Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea and I think it’s a great topic because I have SO MANY OF THEM.

The Name of the Wind Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss – Full disclosure: I’ve started the audiobook of this at least two times that I remember.  I think I need to eye read it, but honestly I made it halfway the second time and I still wasn’t seeing the appeal.  I think it’s incredibly slow paced and it didn’t feel like there was a lot of plot.  Also – someone tell me again why this trilogy isn’t finished yet?  What is Rothfuss waiting for?

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch 1

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentlemen Bastards #1) by Scott Lynch – I’m avoiding this for two reasons. 1) I have the paperback, and it’s 700 pages long with tiny text and it’s going to hurt my hands to keep holding this open for extended periods of time. 2) I’m terrified I won’t love it, because everything I know about it says it should be a home run.

The Wish Granter Ravenspire 2 by CJ Redwine

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire #2) by C.J. Redwine – I bought this without ever reading the first book because it’s a Rumpelstiltsken retelling- and it’s one of my favorite (grim) fairy tales. Then the first one came available through my library, and I decided maybe I should just begin at the beginning.  The Shadow Queen turned out to be full of tropes I hate and flat characters with corny dialogue that made my skin crawl (I’m sorry).  Anyway, I still want to read it, because I own it, but it might take me a year… or 10.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White

The Once and Future King by T.H. White – I really, really, want to read, what is not the original King Arthur, but certainly a King Arthur classic.  But it was written in the 50s and I’m really nervous the pacing will be slow, or the language dense… ugh.  I need to get over it.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

Half A King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie – I bought this before I really knew who Joe Abercrombie was (I was just starting to get into SFF and learning about GoodReads okay?!).  By the time I realized Abercrombie was really well known for his First Law series… I was a little nervous about why I never saw anyone mentioning Shattered Sea…

Wonder Woman Warbringer DC Icons 1 by Leigh Bardugo

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo – I love Six of Crows as much as any regular devourer of YA.  However, when I later tracked back to read the Grisha trilogy, I was sort of baffled it was written by the same author.  It’s not that they are bad books, they just feel so… generic.  And it’s made me drag my feet on reading this.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson – Have you seen it?!  It’s like 900 pages long!  Also – I’ve come to the conclusion that Stephenson is a lot smarter than I am.. and that makes me nervous.

The Drawing of Three by Stephen King

The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King – I love King.. so I feel qualified to say… The Gunslinger was kind of boring.  I’ve heard these books get better with time, and I already own this one… but I haven’t been in any rush to get to it.

A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) by George R.R. Martin – I read A Game of Thrones about 1.5 years ago.  And I actually did enjoy it, but I’m nervous that with the time that’s passed and the complexity of these books and this world.. that I won’t remember enough to enjoy it…

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erickson 1

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) by Steven Erikson – Another read that’s been classified as “difficult.”  But I want to love it so bad!  But what if I can’t figure it out?!

I have probably a hundred others I could add to this list, but that’s ten!  What about you?  What books have you been avoiding?

 

 

 

Book Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January releases tomorrow!!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow

Rating:  ★★★★1/2

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this. I was a little bit skeptical because I don’t always have the best track record with YA.  I do think the title is a little misleading.  I originally thought the blurb was misleading too, but looking back I see it’s pretty accurate.  However, if you are going into this expecting a portal fantasy and a girl who travels to a bunch of different fantasy lands… that’s not this book.  It doesn’t need to be that book.  It’s great as it is.

The beginning is fairly slow and requires a lot of patience.  As I said above, if you’re like me, and expecting January to find a door and begin adventuring.. it doesn’t happen for a very long time.  Initially, this is a lot of backstory, building the character of our protagonist and those around her, setting up little dominoes so Harrow can knock them all down brilliantly in the end.

However, once we finally reach the part where we start reading The Ten Thousand Doors (maybe starting at the second chapter) I was sucked into the story and could not put it down. In the middle of the book, this secondary story became compelling much more quickly than the first story, and at times I was frustrated with the direction January’s story was taking.  By the time we reach the end of The Ten Thousand Doors (the book within the book) I was completely hooked by January and Bad, and cared a lot about her as a fictional character.

You’ll likely see the twist coming from a mile away (I did) but that somehow didn’t make that twist any less perfect. It felt like it was where the story needed to go. Beyond that, there were plenty more surprises in store to keep the reader guessing and turning the page.

This is still a grand story, cleverly told.   Each little point in time, each character, has a neat little pin placed in it, no one and nothing forgotten. This book gave me something I feel like I’ve been missing all year, and that is closure. I don’t have any questions, I know what happened to all the characters. The ending is perfect.

The writing in this story beautiful, lyrical, magical. The tone can be very grim at times. January’s race (which is not white, at a time when persons of color in the US and elsewhere were widely unwelcome, to put it mildly) plays an important part in the story, and she is reminded of it constantly. Aside from her race, there are characters in the story who use and abuse her (mentally, verbally, and physically on occasion). To them, she is not a person, she is very much a thing.  It’s heartbreaking and at times I just wanted to scream at the page.  Thank goodness for Jane.

Even though the reader is only given glimpses of other worlds, worlds with leopard people and worlds filled with monsters, I loved how the magic was incorporated into the story. I think this particular magic will appeal to anyone who reads.  Adding to that, there are little trinkets from different worlds incorporated throughout the book, all with their own unique abilities and their parts to play.  It’s this level of detail in the book, the way items are mentioned and forgotten and pulled back in, purposes revealed that I loved so much.

I highly recommend this book to readers of any age.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January releases tomorrow, September 10! So add it to your GoodReads TBR or head on over to Amazon to check it out!

Book Review: The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden

The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden

Rating:  ★★★1/2

3.5 stars really from me. I enjoyed this much more than I usually enjoy my 3 star reads and I read the bulk of it in just two days. I never really considered quitting, and I do sometimes have that thought for my 3 star reads.

The Hive is a book about the dangers of social media taken to the extreme. Sometime in the not so distant future it is decided that people should be held accountable for absolutely everything they do online. When a person turns 13, they are given a social media identity that belongs only to them. Everything they say can be liked or condemned. If you receive enough condemn votes, you become subject to Hive justice.

Once that happens, people are alerted to the perpetrator’s presence via phone notifications, along with a picture of the perpetrator and the level of justice the Hive is allowed to inflict (1-5). The people who endorse the Hive form a mob and hunt down the condemned. At level 1 the punishment is small, but surely humiliating, at level 5 punishment is more severe and the humiliation less likely to fade away quietly.

It’s an interesting concept, and the mobs we see in this book are pretty terrifying. Mobs quickly escalate out of control and even people who normally make sound choices can get sucked in.

There were some technical issues with The Hive that I was able to look past, but I can see being an issue for other readers. For starters – the protagonist, despite how smart she is (or how smart we are told she is), she makes a lot of dumb choices. The antagonists are all painfully obvious to the reader while Cassie remains totally oblivious. Some of the situations and their subsequent resolutions are just a little too convenient to be believable in terms of the plot, and a lot Cassie’s abilities as a hacker seem really far fetched.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it, and in fact, once Cassie finds herself in hot water, I was up late reading this book until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer. I just had to see where the book was going next, and it kept me pretty sucked in until the end.

The characters are all pretty fun, if a little flat. Although Cassie, the MC, is fairly unlikeable (and the thing she says that gets her in trouble is horrible– cringe inducing really). She spends a lot of the early pages disliking everyone and everything, generally being as tiresome as moody teenagers can be. I don’t know that she becomes any more likable as the book goes on, but she does at least become tolerable.

The book includes, at the end of some chapters, different posts (what I want to say here is Tweets, but technically in the book they’re from a platform called BLINQ) from some of the characters in the book as well as posts from non-characters.  I really enjoyed the addition of them and thought they added a lot to feeling what was going on in the wider world, as well as upping the ante for Cassie, who we know will be subject to their justice.

Aside from the earlier issues I mentioned, the ending seems a little anticlimactic. Throughout the book the action and the intrigue are building and building, and then the resolution is so mind boggling simple that it ended up feeling unbelievable.

Regardless, I did enjoy it and read through it all pretty quickly.  If you like the concept at all I think this book is well worth picking up.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.

The Hive released on September 3, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or ordered on Amazon.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Outside My Comfort Zone

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is books I enjoyed outside my comfort zone, but I covered that here not too long ago.  Instead I put together a list of ten books on my TBR outside my comfort zone.  They all fall into the realm of non-fiction, since it’s probably the furthest outside my comfort zone I can go.

The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs by Tristan Gooley

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs by Tristan Gooley – I added this and meant to read it last year for the Pop Sugar Challenge.  I never got around to this particular book but would still like to read it.

Bunk by Kevin Young

Bunk: The True Story of Hoaxes, Hucksters, Humbug, Plagiarists, Forgeries and Phonies by Kevin Young – Another one I added for a forgotten prompt on Pop Sugar.  It sounds like an interesting discussion of the connection between power, fake news and race.

The Last Good Heist by Tim White

The Last Good Heist by Tim White, Randall Richard and Wayne Worcester – A true crime book about a heist in which thieves stole from a secret bank utilized by La Cosa Nostra.  I added this because I actually own it (through a purchase my mother made on her Kindle).  It seems to have some ties to my very tiny state of Rhode Island and sounds interesting.

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – If people have only read one book by Stephen King, it always seems to be this one.  I’m not even sure it counts as outside my comfort zone.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – I grew up listening to The Boss.  His music always makes me really nostalgic, and I’d love to read more about him.  Also- thanks to my mother, I already sort of own it.  (Also – I’m dying to see that new movie, Blinded by the Light with the probably awesome sound track.  Has anyone seen it?)

The Lie by William Dameron

The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out by William Dameron – I got to see William Dameron speak earlier in the year about his path to publishing, and would love to read his book also.  Again- I own it… just need to read it…

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris – It’s Neil Patrick Harris!  It’s gotta be funny right?  Or at least interesting?

The Vikings by Robert Ferguson

The Vikings: A History by Robert Ferguson – I’m really getting tired of reminding myself how many books I own and haven’t read.  I love history, but I especially love all things Vikings.

A Brief History of the Vikings by Jonathan Clements

A Brief History of the Vikings: The Last Pagans or the First Modern Europeans? by Jonathan Clements – See Above.

Always I am Caesar by W. Jeffrey Tatum

Always I am Caesar by W. Jeffrey Tatum – Julius Caesar is probably one of the most interesting historical figures, to me.  Tyrant, dictator, genius.  Love, loss, betrayal… Just so much real life drama there.  I own this one too (for years… sigh).

And that’s all 10!  Which books are outside your comfort zone?

Month in Review: August 2019

Books read: 9 for August, 68 for the year

Pages read: 3,663 out of 21,723

Average rating: 3.78

Female Authors: 6 out of 33 for the year

Favorite Read:

Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

Tough call between this and last month’s Inland, but as I run a Sci Fi & Fantasy blog I’ll defer to the Fantasy book.  The hype is real for Kel Kade’s Fate of the Fallen.  My review is all written… it’ll just be another month or so before anyone sees it.  (I’m sorry.)

Translated Books Read:

I read three translated books this month!  Go me!

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup – A chilling Nordic thriller that would make for a great fall read!

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa – A highly awarded Japanese dystopian that feels very dreamlike.

Qualityland by Mark-Uwe Kling – Review to come on this one- but if you have a chance to read it and enjoy the kind of humor found in A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this one is well worth picking up.  No other book this year made me laugh so much!

ARCs Read:

The Hive by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden – Review also to come on this one.  Not my favorite book this month but it flew by and I enjoyed it more than not.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger – Turned out to be a little disappointing but not bad. I may just not be the right audience for this book.

Other reads completed this month:

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova – A slightly disappointing first entry into a series.  Still haven’t decided if I’ll continue.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I’VE FINALLY READ IT!  And I see what all the hype is about. Loved this book, even if the ending isn’t quite what I hoped for.

Salvation Day by Kali Wallace – An exciting sci-fi thriller!

ARCs received:

Followers by Megan Angelo – A neat sounding (dystopian?) about internet celebrities.

The Bear by Andrew Krivak – I don’t even know what this one is about (a dad and a daughter on a distant planet I think?).  Truth: I requested it because I love the cover.

Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling – I had never even heard of this when I requested it, but I am so glad I took the risk.  A really funny and hugely relevant novel about the dangers of big business.  (Did I mention it was funny?)

eGalley’s Approved:

Follow Me To Ground by Sue Rainsford – This isn’t the sort of book I usually request, but some of my most favorite books this year have trended towards the literary side of things, and I’m looking forward to giving this a try!

A Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan – This novella is being released but Subterranean Press. I recently enjoyed Atmosphaera Incognita as an intro to Neal Stephenson, so I’m hoping this works as an into to Ryan.

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer – *insert gif of excited, screaming, crying tears of joy child here*.  I’m really excited for another book that sheds light on Borne’s world.

The Resisters by Gish Jen – I technically got approved for this in July- but I’ve been waiting for it to have a cover to talk about it.  And look at that cover!  I’m hoping for a literary, dystopian, mind bending, feminist, masterpiece.

Giveaways Won:

Overthrow by Caleb Crain

Overthrow by Caleb Crain – I mentioned this on my mythothon post not too long ago- but part of the reason I added it there was because I had just won it on GoodReads!

Currently reading:

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie – I’d been hoping this would be something I could blast through in a couple days and… eesh.  Was I ever wrong.  The writing style reminds me a lot of Cormac McCarthy’s mind numbing run on sentences in Blood Meridian.  I’m probably going to start something else and just try to read a chapter a day.

Planned reads for August:

In addition to my September Mythothon reads, these are… erm… a few of the others I hope to get to.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht – A dark villain story that I’m super excited for!

The Institute by Stephen King – Releases on my birthday.  Couldn’t ask for a better birthday present.

A Hero Born by Jin Yong – This was a wish I had granted months ago, and I love historical fantasy.  Fingers crossed the translation is tolerable.

How was August for you?