Saturday, June 16, 2018

Book Review of Grave Peril by Jim Butcher


Goodreads Summary: In all his years of supernatural sleuthing, Harry Dresden has never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone-or something-is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself.

Goodreads Rating:
4.18 stars with over 114,000

Genre Listing:
Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal, Magic

Get the Book: Amazon, Book Depository

Previous reviews on the series: Storm Front, Fool Moon

Goodreads Challenge:
13/30

Reading Challenge: #47 A book with a male main character, 2018 reading challenge can be found here.

Book Review:

I'm really starting to love this series. Jim Butcher wastes no time getting right into the action. Grave Peril picks up shortly after Fool Moon left off. It does a pretty good job of catching the reader up quickly, without bogging the story down with what already happened. It also goes into a bit more of Harry's backstory and introduces some new characters, that from my understanding are going to be reoccurring characters.

Grave Peril mostly focuses on the Vampire sects within Harry's world. I like how Butcher gave each group their own focus like he did with the Weres in Fool Moon. In Grave Peril, it addresses three groups of Vampires The Red, White, and Black. Each one has their own thing that gives them power. I think small details like this is what is getting me more and more hooked on this series.

In this book, Jim Butcher introduces us to Lea. Harry's Godmother, who is hella creepy. I'm assuming that she's going to come up quite a bit in future books, and with her is going to come a lot more backstory. If that's the case, I'm really excited to read these books. I still have so many questions about Harry's past that I think this would help answer.

I really enjoyed the inclusion of Michael and Charity. I thought Michael was an interesting contrast to Harry. The way that Charity goes off on Harry cracks me up. I'd really love to get some backstory on Michael and Charity. I'm curious to know how one becomes a Knight in Dresden's world. Also, THERE"S A FREAKING DRAGON. I seriously love the details that Butcher puts into his stories.

Susan gets herself into quite a bit of trouble in Grave Peril. I can't really say that I was surprised by it. I was warming up to her and Harry's relationship, but I really felt that she's been using him for the stories he could give her access to. With what happens in Grave Peril, I won't say she had it coming, but she definitely didn't do herself any favors.

I do wish this book would have had Karrin in it more. I understand why it didn't, but I enjoy the back and forth between her and Harry. There's always a lot of tension between the two of them, and I find it interesting. I'm really curious to know where the story goes next. For whatever reason, while I was reading this, it made me think of Kim Harrison's The Hollows series that I needed to finish. So instead of doing the smart thing and completing the other two books, I have in progress, I'm now reading another Paranormal series. I have issues.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Surprise Book Haul! 6/13/2018



It's that time of year again! Half Priced Book had their massive annual sale at one of the convention centers where everything is $2 or less. I actually didn't get to go this year because I was out of town during it, but my friend Leslie who I usually meet up with during the sale was kind enough to shop for me. Thanks, Leslie! I really didn't give her any guidelines other than a few pictures of my bookshelf to show her what I already have. So, I appreciate her just going into this totally blind. I hope it wasn't too crazy. She also let me snag some of the books from her collection that she was going to get rid of. So without further ado, This year's huge book haul! Be sure to read this haul post all the way to the end, there's a special offer for those who do. ;) 




Goodreads Summary: Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Téa Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker’s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, has spun a timeless novel that will establish her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generation.


In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets are hidden in the landscape itself.

But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.

Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weekly trips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. “These stories,” Natalia comes to understand, “run like secret rivers through all the other stories” of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.


Goodreads Rating: 3.37 stars with over 78,000

Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial thoughts: The verbose summary on this one is a little daunting to me. I'm losing focus trying to read through it, so I'm hoping that's not an indication of how the actual book is going to be. I do think that I can fit this one on the 2018 book challenge though. I believe I still need something with an animal in the title. (You can find the challenge here.) Actually, this would work for a book about a doctor as well, so that's probably where I'll stick it. 




Goodreads Summary: 'When you read his extraordinary memoir you don't laugh, then cry, then laugh again; you somehow experience these emotions all at once.'


"Well, this was when Bill was sighing a lot. He had decided that after our parents died he just didn't want any more fighting between what was left of us. He was twenty-four, Beth was twenty-three, I was twenty-one, Toph was eight, and all of us were so tried already, from that winter. So when something would come up, any little thing, some bill to pay or decision to make, he would just sigh, his eyes tired, his mouth in a sorry kind of smile.

But Beth and I...Jesus, we were fighting with everyone, anyone, each other, with strangers at bars, anywhere -- we were angry people wanting to exact revenge. We came to California and we wanted everything, would take what was ours, anything within reach. And I decided that little Toph and I, he with his backward hat and long hair, living together in our little house in Berkeley, would be world-destroyers. We inherited each other and, we felt, a responsibility to reinvent everything, to scoff and re-create and drive fast while singing loudly and pounding the windows. It was a hopeless sort of exhilaration, a kind of arrogance born of fatalism, I guess, of the feeling that if you could lose a couple of parents in a month, then basically anything could happen, at any time -- all bullets bear your name, all cars are there to crush you, any balcony could give way; more disaster seemed only logical.

And then, as in Dorothy's dream, all these people I grew up with were there, too, some of them orphans also, most but not all of us believing that what we had been given was extraordinary, that it was time to tear or break down, ruin, remake, take and devour. This was San Francisco, you know, and everyone had some dumb idea -- I mean, wicca? -- and no one there would tell you yours was doomed. Thus the public nudity, and this ridiculous magazine, and the Real World tryout, all this need, most of it disguised by sneering, but all driven by a hyper-awareness of this window, I guess, a few years when your muscles are taut, coiled up and vibrating. But what to do with the energy? I mean, when we drive, Toph and I, and we drive past people, standing on top of all these hills, part of me wants to stop the car and turn up the radio and have us all dance information, and part of me wants to run them all over."
 
-->

Goodreads rating: 3.68 stars with over 155,000 ratings
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial thoughts: I have zero clue what this book is about. I feel like the summary is just snippets of the book and don't really tell me anything. I do like the title though, and that catches my interest. It's won quite a few awards, so I'm pretty sure I can use it on the challenge somewhere. I'll probably stick it on #7, a book on a best seller list. 

Goodreads Summary: In the Pyrenees mountains near Carcassonne, Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery-two crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a labyrinth. Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade that will rip apart southern France, a young woman named Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail, and the ring, inscribed with a labyrinth, will identify a guardian of the Grail. Now, as crusading armies gather outside the city walls of Carcassonne, it will take a tremendous sacrifice to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe. 

Goodreads Rating: 3.55 stars with over 42,000 ratings
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial thoughts: So far, this is probably the book I'm most excited for. I've been eying this one for some time, so I'm happy that Leslie picked it out for me (without me even mentioning it, too!) I have no idea where on the challenge this one is going to fit, but I'll find a spot for it.




Goodreads Summary: The triumphant follow-up to the bestselling Bee Season, Wickett's Remedy is an epic but intimate novel about a young Irish-American woman facing down tragedy during the Great Flu epidemic of 1918. 

Wickett's Remedy leads us back to Boston in the early part of the 20th century and into the world of Lydia, an Irish-American shop girl yearning for a grander world than the cramped confines of South Boston. She seems to be well on her way to the life she has dreamed of when she marries Henry Wickett, a shy medical student and the scion of a Boston Brahmin family. Soon after their wedding, however, Henry shocks Lydia by quitting medical school and creating a mail-order patent medicine called Wickett's Remedy. And then just as the enterprise is getting off the ground, the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 begins its deadly sweep across the world, drastically changing their lives. 
In a world turned almost unrecognizable by swift and sudden tragedy, Lydia finds herself working as a nurse in an experimental ward dedicated to understanding the raging epidemic -- through the use of human subjects. 
Meanwhile, we follow the fate of Henry's beloved Wickett's Remedy as his one-time business partner steals the recipe and transforms it into QD Soda, a wildly popular soft drink. 
Based on years of research and evoking actual events, Wickett's Remedy perfectly captures the texture of the times and brings a colourful cast of characters vividly to life, including a sad and funny chorus of the dead. With wit and dexterity, Goldberg has fashioned a novel that is both charming and grand. Wickett's Remedy announces her arrival as a major novelist. "South Boston belonged to Lydia as profoundly and wordlessly as her thimble finger. Her knowledge of its streets was more complete than any atlas, her mental maps reflecting changes that occurred from season to season, day to day, and hour to hour. Each time she left 28 D Street -- one among a row of identical triple-decker houses, the tenements lining the street like so many stained teeth -- her route reflected this internal almanac. . . . 
For ten years this was enough. Then in fifth grade, Lydia saw a city map and realized her entire world was a mitten dangling from Boston's sleeve. Across the bridge lay Washington Street -- the longest street in all New England -- which began like any other but then continued north, a single determined thread of cobblestone that wove itself through every town from Boston to Providence. Once Lydia saw Washington Street she knew she could not allow it to exist without her.

Goodreads Rating: 3.26 stars with over 1700 reviews
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: I can't figure out if this is a sequel or not. It doesn't seem like it, but the words "follow-up" and "leads us back" make me unsure. If anyone's read this or Bee Season, please let me know if I need to read Bee Season first.  Starting off, I LOVE the old-timey medicinal bottle look for the cover. Such a cool cover. The story sounds really interesting, and right up my alley. So I'm pretty excited to read this one. I might be able to fit this one on the challenge for a book about a doctor, but I'll have to see if there's somewhere else it fits better.  (If you haven't noticed, where I can put it on my reading challenge is front and center this year with what books I read.)



Goodreads Summary: Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.


Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
Goodreads Rating: 4.27 stars with over 830,000 ratings
Get the Book: Amazon Book Depository
Initial Thoughts: I'm going to cry when I read this, aren't I? Yep. Definitely going to cry. I can feel it coming. Couldn't tell you why, but this already reminds me of The Fault In Our Stars, which was also recommended to me by Leslie. I'm mildly concerned that she recommends books that may make me cry. :( Of the top of my head, I have no idea where I'm going to put this on my reading challenge.

Goodreads Summary: Detective Mike Hoolihan has seen it all. A fifteen-year veteran of the force, she's gone from walking a beat, to robbery, to homicide. But one case--this case--has gotten under her skin.

When Jennifer Rockwell, darling of the community and daughter of a respected career cop--now top brass--takes her own life, no one is prepared to believe it. Especially her father, Colonel Tom. Homicide Detective Mike Hoolihan, longtime colleague and friend of Colonel Tom, is ready to "put the case down." Suicide. Closed. Until Colonel Tom asks her to do the one thing any grieving father would ask: take a second look.

Not since his celebrated novel Money has Amis turned his focus on America to such remarkable effect. Fusing brilliant wordplay with all the elements of a classic whodunit, Amis exposes a world where surfaces are suspect (no matter how perfect), where paranoia is justified (no matter how pervasive), and where power and pride are brought low by the hidden recesses of our humanity.

Goodreads Rating: 3.23 stars with over 3,800 ratings
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: This seems like a really interesting mystery. I'm not quite sure where I'll put it on my challenge list, but I'm mostly glad it's only 170ish pages. It'll be a nice quick read for challenge filler, and considering I'm behind on my Goodreads challenge that's what I need. 

Goodreads Summary: With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries - and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.
Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant--and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model.
Goodreads Rating: 3.86 stars with over 530,000 ratings
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: I've thought about getting this one several times when I've been at various bookstores. Not really sure why I never did. I'm pretty excited to read this one because of it. One of the later reading challenge topics is A Book with woman or girl in the title. So I'll probably stick this there once I read it. 
Goodreads Summary: Imagine you can hear everything the town of men say about you. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit into their plans. Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run.
Goodreads Rating: 3.97 stars with over 123,000 ratings
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: I'm pretty intrigued by this one. I've been thinking I need to pick up another dystopian series, so I'm hoping this is a good one. Not sure where I'll put this on the challenge, but I'm sure it will fit somewhere. 

Goodreads Summary: Contains the novels Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay's Ark, and Patternmaster.

In her classic Patternist series, multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner Octavia E. Butler established themes of identity and transformation that echo throughout her distinguished career. Now collected for the first time in one volume, these four novels take readers on a wondrous odyssey from a mythic, prim/ordial past to a fantastic far future.
In ancient Africa, a female demigod of nurture and fertility mates with a powerful, destructive male entity. Together they birth a race of madmen, visionaries, and psychics who cling to civilization's margins and back alleys for millenia, coming together in a telepathic Pattern just as Earth is consumed by a cosmic invasion. Now these new beings--no longer mearly human--will battle to rule the transfigured world.
Goodreads Rating: 4.32 stars with over 3,000 ratings
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: This one pretty much had me at "Demigod" I love mythology and haven't read a good mythology book in a while. I really like that this is books 1-4 of the series. It should keep me busy for a while. 


I'm not actually going to do a review on this one. I saw that Leslie had a jewelry design book, and I figure I can always use more references. I'm mainly showcasing this on this post to do some shameless self-promotion of my jewelry business. I've been making jewelry for 20 years off and on, and have recently re-opened my Etsy shop where I have unique and one of a kind bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. From now until July 15,2018 and use the coupon code LINZTHEBOOKWORM at check out you'll get 15% off regularly priced items. Coupon is not valid for items in the sale/clearance album.  The Etsy shop can be found here

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Book Review of A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez

Goodreads Summary: A tale of vengeance, true love, and cannibalism

Being born undead can have its disadvantages, such as eternal youth and flawless beauty ---things most unsuitable for a witch. Hiding behind the guise of a grimy old crone, the witch is content living outside Fort Stalwart with her unlikely band of allies: a troll named Gwurm, an enchanted broom, and a demonic duck named Newt. She leads a simple life filled with spells, potions, and the occasional curse.

So when a White Knight arrives at Fort Stalwart, the witch knows her days of peace are at an end. The Knight is just days in front of a horde of ravenous goblings, and Fort Stalwart lies right in the horde's path. But the goblings are just the first wave of danger, and soon the witch and the Knight must combine forces on a perilous quest to stop a mad sorcerer from destroying the world.

Filled with menace, monsters, and magic, A Nameless Witch, is a properly witchly read by the award-winning author of Gil's All Fright Diner and In the Company of Ogres.
Goodreads Rating: 3.89 stars with just over 4,000 reviews
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Humor, Fiction, Paranormal, Witches, Magic, Romance
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Goodreads Challenge: 12/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #14, Reread a favorite (find the challenge post here).

Review:

I was recently able to sign up for the county library since I was a member of my township's smaller library, and it's probably the best book thing to ever happen to me. The massive county library uses Overdrive for their e-books and even lets you request books for them to order. I had really been wanting to read A Nameless Witch again, and when I requested it, they instantly ordered an e-book copy. This ended up being a perfect addition to #14 on the challenge list, reread a favorite. 

I've previously mentioned A Nameless Witch on the blog but hadn't reviewed it. I believe I read it long before the creation of my site. It was previously mentioned on my segment called Recommendation Tuesday. You can find the post here. It's one of two posts I tried to do for this segment. 

I'm really glad I decided to reread this book, as so much of it was forgotten. I thought I remembered the plot, but I was so wrong that it was almost like reading a new book. I remembered the characters well enough and still enjoyed their story. "Witch," the main character gives creative names to forces in her life like Nasty Larry, Ghastly Edna, and Soulless Gustav (although, that last one wasn't actually given by her.) The story follows an accursed witch with no name, those close to her end up just calling her Witch.  Her companions are her familiar, Newt, a demon duck with a thirst for blood, an animated broom, Penelope, who's obsessed with sweeping, A troll, Gwurm, who keeps his unmentionables in a bag, and the sickeningly noble (just ask Newt) White Knight, named Wyst of the West.

One thing that I really enjoyed reading in A Nameless Witch that I had forgotten about was the fact that everything in the world that A. Lee Martinez has created has a spirit of some sort. The woodland creatures, the Earth, even a cranky old dirt road which has been neglected. I don't know what it is, but I love stories that do this with the scenery and animals. 

The main plot of the story is a quest that Witch and her friends have to go on. It starts as a quest for vengeance but becomes so much more than that. More than anything the quest, at least for Witch, is about self-discovery. The trials are really set to make her look at her self and figure out the balance between her curse (being a beautiful cannibal) and being a witch, but also having her own identity. 

The curse is probably my least favorite part of the story. It was more a page filler than anything for me, and I think the story would be mostly the same if it weren't there. Or, I guess half of the curse really seemed pointless. The cannibal twist is interesting, but her having to be just like some beautiful entity is eye-rolling worthy to me. I will say that this was probably meant to be a little more tongue and cheek, poking fun at books that do this with the character. It still was a little annoying to read. 

My favorite thing about this story is the humorous wit throughout. There are a lot of witchy things said that were just generally great lines. Here are some of my favorites:

"It was not fate, she'd explained once, but rather the past yet to be. Not to be confused with the future that might come or the present that never was." - Page 2

"I wondered if this was perhaps the magic finally talking to me. Ghastly Edna said that it talked to everyone, but most were unwilling to listen." - page 21

"Second, remember that people, human or otherwise, are, with rare exception, basically good at heart. Treat them as you would be treated, and you'll almost never go wrong." - page 26

"Your destiny is always wherever you go," I replied. "Usually a day or two ahead of you," I added because it seemed a witchly turn of phrase." - page 52

"It's easy not to kill people who don't deserve it. It's keeping from killing the people who irritate you that is the task." - page 57

"No one can catch tomorrow." - page 125

"But Magic, by its very nature, defies true understanding. It follows its own rules, and often ignores those rules when it feels like it." - page 128

"To worry is to acknowledge that the world is unpredictable, and there is power in understanding one's own powerlessness at times. But too often, worry takes on a life of its own. Men are quite prone to this. They'll plague themselves with so many 'what if's' and 'if only's' that they soon forget to ponder the true possibilities before them. Which inevitably leads to poor decisions. Whatever happens, will happen. Sometimes we have say over the future. Sometimes we do not. Either way, worrying alone never accomplishes anything." - page 139 (as someone with horrendous anxiety, this one really hit close to home.) 

"Like all lost things, he was in the last and most obvious place I looked." - page 202

"Certainty is for fools and death." - page 231

"We all save ourselves, child, even if we are fortunate enough to have help along the way." - page 240

"I liked playing with words, watching how they might say so much and so little at once." - page 242 (this one tugged at the writer heartstrings in me.) 

"Only you can decide whether to take offense or not."- page 257

"Destiny was constantly setting designs in motion, most of which would never achieve fruition. Fate was an energetic child with a short attention span." - page 261

"The Truth is rarely comforting. If it were, lies would not be as well received as they usually are." - page 262

"It's easy to defeat life -or- death ordeals. Such tribulations demand success. It's the small tests that require something more from us. When we can turn and walk away is when we find what we're made of." - page 283

When I previously read this book, I gave it a four on Goodreads. I think that's a pretty solid place for my thoughts to stay. I hope you all will check it out, it's a really great story.



Saturday, May 19, 2018

Book Review of Fool by Christopher Moore

Goodreads Summary: “Hilarious, always inventive, this is a book for all, especially uptight English teachers, bardolaters, and ministerial students.”

—Dallas Morning News

Fool—the bawdy and outrageous New York Times bestseller from the unstoppable Christopher Moore—is a hilarious new take on William Shakespeare’s King Lear…as seen through the eyes of the foolish liege’s clownish jester, Pocket. A rousing tale of “gratuitous shagging, murder, spanking, maiming, treason, and heretofore unexplored heights of vulgarity and profanity,” Fool joins Moore’s own Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, and You Suck!as modern masterworks of satiric wit and sublimely twisted genius, prompting Carl Hiassen to declare Christopher Moore “a very sick man, in the very best sense of the word.”

Goodreads ratings: 3.96 stars with over 45,000 reviews
Genre Listing: Humor, Fiction, Comedy, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository

Goodreads Challenge: 11/30
2018 Book Challenge: #23 A book by an Author named Chris or Christopher (See the challenge here)

Book Review:

I've wanted to read one of Christopher Moore's books for a while now, and I'm glad I picked this one up. I'm going to preface my review with this is apparently based off of Shakespeare's King Lear. I've never read King Lear, so I have no idea how Fool stacks up. I will say that if you are someone who does not enjoy a ton of swearing or laughing at dark things that should not be laughed at, this book is most definitely not for you. I, on the other hand, am a filthy little heathen, so I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I think I mostly enjoyed this book for the sheer humor of it and creative cursing. I thought that Pocket was hilarious, and I enjoyed his witty banter. Beyond the humor, Pocket was just mainly a horny slut who slept with almost as many people as Drool, his apprentice did. Spoiler, Drool "had a laugh with" several people in the story, a ghost, a tree, and possibly an animal. Like I said if you are easily offended this is not the book for you. There's also a fair bit of incest and a dash of necrophilia. 

Plot-wise, the story was interesting but not great. I think without the humor it'd be a lot worse. It was pretty predictable. None of the characters had much depth, but given that it's a comedic take on a play I wasn't suspecting much at all. The story was pretty quickly paced, I didn't really ever feel bogged down by the story and ready for it to end. 

Overall, it was a light comical read, and I spent most of my time reading it laughing. I enjoyed it, and I think if this is the type of humor is present in all of Moore's books I could definitely be a fan. If you're not easily offended, definitely check it out. Since I was reading this on the Kindle, I'm going to share some quotes that I enjoyed. This is your warning for Profanity. I'm also going to post some questions after the quotes and rating, so feel free to answer in the comments!

"Sorry. And a dozen other nobles, as well as the Earl of Kent, are here. Kent doesn't want to kill you, does he?" "Not that I know of. But it is only lunchtime." - Page 12

"Precisely. What good are princesses? Dragon food and ransom markers- spoiled brats to be bartered for real estate" - Page 13. This is probably my favorite line in the book. 

"Heinous fuckery most foul, lad. Heinous fuckery most foul." - Page 18

"I am chief cheeky monkey to the King of Bloody Britain!" - Page 63

"The dull always seek to be clever at the fool's expense, to somehow repay him for his cutting wit, but never are they clever, and often are they cruel." - Page 101

"The fool's number is zero," she said, "but that's because he represents the infinite possibility of all things. He may become anything. See, he carries all of his possessions in a bundle on his back. He is ready for anything, to go anywhere, to become whatever he needs to be. Don't count out the fool, Pocket, simply because his number is zero." - Page 159

"Sarcasm will make your tits fall off," said I. - Page 255 (Good thing this isn't true. I'd be in trouble. 0_0) 

"Sorry, Gloucester, old chap. Most excellent hat." "He's not wearing a hat," said Curan. "Well he's blind, isn't he? If you hadn't said anything he might have enjoyed his bloody hat, mightn't he?" - page 270

"It's not proper to dry-hump the deceased, love." - Page 348. I mean, good life advice, I suppose.



Discussion Questions

1.) If you've read both Fool and Shakespeare's King Lear how does Christopher Moore's comedic version compare to the original classic?
2.)  What did you like the most or the least about this story? 

3.)  If you've read other books by Christopher Moore are there any others you would recommend?

Monday, May 7, 2018

2018 Reading Challenge Progress Update


Hello, Readers! This post is long overdue. I meant to do an update per quarter, but well my time management skills are horrendous. I also meant to start doing weekly posts. When I say these things, just roll your eyes and say "Sure you are, Linz!"

I set my goal for the year at 30 books. I generally set it for around 50, but the past few years I've not come close to meeting it, so I thought I'd be a little more realistic with my goal. Plus, I knew I was going to try and read a couple of 500+ page books. So far, according to Goodreads, I'm right on track at 10 books read so far.

If you're wanting to check out the original challenge post, you can find it here. If you want to check out my co-author Tress's latest update on the challenge you can check that out at her blog, which is linked here. She's kicking my butt on our challenge and has almost read double the amount of books I have so far.

Level 1: Book of the Month Club

1.) A book from Project Gutenberg- Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
2.) A book that costs less than $5- Fate's Mistress by Laura Du Pre *
       *This is cheating just a smidge. I got this with Kindle Unlimited so I didn't technically pay for it. But it's currently listed at $0.99 for the Kindle version, so I'm counting on it. I didn't originally have this on my challenge, but it was bugging me that I had read a book, not on the list.
8.) A book under 300 pages- Lady of the Court by Laura Du Pre
10.) A book with a one-word title- Limelight by Emily Organ

Level 2: Casual Reader Club

21.) A book that involves a mythical creature- Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

Level 3: Dedicated Reader Club

27.) First in a series you've wanted to start- A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
29.) A Book with a purple cover- The Maid's Secret by Emily Organ
33.) A book that takes place before 1900- Rookery by Emily Organ

Level 4: Speed Reader Club

40.) Read a Compliation of Short Stories- Six Scary Stories- Various Authors, Selected by Stephen King
57.) A book that was originally published in a foreign language- The Chalk Circle Man by Fred Vargas

I'm really intrigued by the fact that Tress and I are going about this in completely different ways. She's super organized and trying to go level by level, where I'm just going through and hoping for the best. I think this is kind of how we approach life too.

Here's a little bit of what I have in the works, or plan to read soon.

I'm currently reading:
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Fool by Christopher Moore
The Witch of Cologne by Tobsha Learner  (reread)

Going with two huge books at one time is not one of my better ideas, so I started Fool last night to try and get something actually finished so my posts aren't a month a part.

Here's some books I'm hoping to read soonish:
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erickson
A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez (reread)
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (reread)
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (reread)
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray


If you're currently doing this challenge with Tress and I, I would love to hear where you're at!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Goodreads Summary: It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?
Goodreads Rating: 3.79 stars with over 186,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Good Reads Challenge: 10/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #27, The first in a series you've wanted to start. Find the reading challenge here
Book Haul: Canadian Book Haul

Review:

I have wanted to read A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray for so long. It's been on my shelf for about a year, and I'm not sure why it took me so long to pick it up. This is yet another one of her books that I could not put down. It was painful for me to not be able to read it whenever I wanted. Stupid grown-up responsibilities. About half-way through the book, I went ahead and ordered the other two books in the trilogy. The only reason I am not currently upset about having to wait to read the second book is that I started the second Outlander book. 

I've already started recommending this book to others long before I finished it. The best and quickest way I can describe A Great and Terrible Beauty is "The Craft meets the Victorian era." Some of the similarities include four unlikely friends who either seek power/ have power. At some point, they use the magic on some of their tormentors. Said power goes to their head. I love the movie The Craft, and I love anything about the Victorian era, so this is a total win-win for me.

I really enjoy the wit and sarcasm in this story. It keeps it interesting and a little cheeky.  An example of this is on page 145, where the girls are reading a mysterious diary that Gemma found.

Felicity stops. "Oh, honestly, this is the worst attempt at a gothic novel I've ever read. all we're missing are creaking castle floors and a heroine in danger of losing her virtue." 
Pippa sits up giggling."Let's read on and find out if they do lose their virtue!" 

This line made me giggle a lot, and I took a picture of it and shared it with a couple of people so they could chuckle as well. The book is filled with lines like that, and it's not from just one character. I think a good chunk of the characters shows some humor like that.

I really adore Gemma as the main character. I thought that she showed a lot of depth and growth. She started out as a spoiled brat and quickly got slapped with reality when her mom died. Honestly, I can relate to that on an intensely personal level. My heart hurt while reading this because it made me think of losing my own mother and my journey with and without her. Aside from the whole special powers thing, she's probably one of the more relatable characters for me personally.

The fact that each of the girls had their own personalities was interesting. I feel like in a lot of books the main group of friends' characters can get lost. In a Great and Terrible Beauty even though the main four friends were about as different as can be, they still shared a lot. They each had their own secrets, strengths, and insecurities. I was shocked that by the end it felt like they had grown into real friends, even though that is definitely not how it started.

I really don't have anything critical to say regarding this book. I loved it and couldn't get enough of it. Since I'm trying to do discussion questions with each post now, I'm going to use some of the ones in the back of the book. I'm doing this partly because I think they are great questions, but primarily because I'm really lazy and need to do some homework.





Discussion Questions:

1.) The Realms are a place where anything seems possible. Each of the four girls wants one thing above all else: Felicity desires power, Pippa seeks love, Ann wants beauty, and Gemma craves self-knowledge. Does any of the characters achieve her goal by the end of the story? Why or Why not? What would you want?
A.) I would definitely say that Pippa and Gemma get what they want, though not in the way they expect it. I think that Gemma finds out who she is and the events that have led up to her becoming that person by speaking with her mother. Sadly and painfully, Pippa does find love. I think by doing that she was able to make her own choice for the first time in her life, however sad that decision is. I'm trying to think of how Felicity and Ann achieved their goals outside of the realm, but I'm struggling.
I think that I would want success, it's not something I really feel I've achieved as of yet. 


2.) Gemma says of Felicity, "I don't know what power feels like. But this is surely what it looks like, and I think I'm beginning to understand why those ancient women had to hide in caves. Why our parents and teachers and suitors wat us to behave properly and predictably. It's not that they want to protect us; it's that they fear us" (p. 207). What kind of power is Gemma talking about? What is it that she thinks the parents and teachers and suitors fear?
A.) I think that she's speaking of being brave and fearless, and given the time, perhaps even it's the fear of a woman being headstrong and able to think for herself. Which on this note, I'm amending what I said in my previous answer of not being sure of when Felicity gained power. Because in this sense, she definitely had it and it'd be a terrifying thing for a woman to have in the 1800s when this book takes place.


3.) "It's a dream, only a dream," Gemma thinks of her sexually charged encounter with Kartik (p. 219). Why do you think Gemma stops the fantasy when she does? Why do you think the author chose to make this scene a dream rather than a reality? Do you believe this makes Gemma's experience any less "real" to her?
A.) I think that this being shown as a dream instead of reality hints towards Gemma being young and naive. Gemma lives in a time where girls are to remain "pure" until they are married. To show it otherwise would make it taboo for the time period that A Great and Terrible Beauty is set in. By making it a dream, it gives Gemma a sense of curiosity about sexual encounters but doesn't ruin her in Victorian Society's point of view. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Book Review of Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

Goodreads Summary: Harry Dresden--WizardLost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Business has been slow. Okay, business has been dead. And not even of the undead variety. You would think Chicago would have a little more action for the only professional wizard in the phone book. But lately, Harry Dresden hasn't been able to dredge up any kind of work--magical or mundane.

But just when it looks like he can't afford his next meal, a murder comes along that requires his particular brand of supernatural expertise.

A brutally mutilated corpse. Strange-looking paw prints. A full moon. Take three guesses--and the first two don't count...
Goodreads Rating: 4.04 stars with over 129,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Reviews on series: Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Goodreads: 9/30 (I miscounted in the last review)
2018 Reading Challenge:  #21 A book involving a mythical creature (Check out the reading challenge here.)

Review:

So far, I think I'm making pretty decent progress on my challenge. I'm at least mildly thinking about what's on the list before I pick a book to read. I wasn't really sure where I was going to stick Fool Moon until just a few days ago. Luckily, a book full of wizardry and werewolves seems like a good fit for Mythical Creatures to me! Another idea for this one would be #32 an Action Adventure book or #47 A book with a male main character.

I'm really glad that my friend Tress got me into this series. I adore the sense of humor that Harry has, as well as the sort of wing it attitude. He makes an interesting main character because he's smart, funny, knows his strengths, but also understands his weaknesses. I get really tired of reading books where the main character is either perfect in every way or has some "quirk" that's supposed to make them unique and then fails to do so. 

Susan's grown on me as a love interest for Harry. In Storm Front, I was really hoping there'd be something between Murph and Harry. I felt that Susan came across as just trying to use Dresden for the link to supernatural stories. In Fool Moon, I felt like she really came across as she cared about Harry, or at least was starting to. I'm actually interested to see where the relationship heads in the next book.

I feel like the trust/broken trust issue between Harry and Murph is going to be a reoccurring theme in the series. Based on the end of the book, it made it seem like things are somewhat patched up, but I have a feeling something will change that in book three. We'll see if I'm right. 

I really enjoyed the different types of werewolves that Butcher put in this story. I liked how he gave each type their own identity and history. It was interesting since some of it strayed from the typical versions of the creature I've read about in the past.  I thought the concept of having a magic belt turn a person into a wolf was interesting. I also like the point of view provided when it was used. It made it seem like an internal good vs. evil type of thing.

I'm going to try something a little different with my reviews. What I'd like to do is do a quick overview of my review, like I just did. I'm then going to rate it, and below the rating, I'm going to ask a series of book-club-style questions. My answers are going to be with spoilers, just as a warning. I would really love for folks to chime in. 



Discussion Questions:

1.) What was your favorite type of wolf depicted in Fool Moon?
I really enjoyed the Hexenwolfe. I thought the idea of a magic item being able to turn someone. The concept was an interesting one that I have not read before. As I mentioned previously, I also really liked how the point of view changed and the internal struggle it provided. 
2.) What is your least favorite type of wolf depicted? 
I wouldn't really say I have a least favorite exactly. I liked them all in their own way, but I felt like The type of wolf Tera was got the least amount of attention. In the entire book it was hinted that she was *something else* and then at the end, it hinted towards the fact that she was a wolf transforming into a human. I think the concept is interesting, and I'd like to read more of it, but there just wasn't much detail on it. It was more of a "wait... what?' moment for me.
3.) What is your favorite part of the story?
I liked that Harry has to learn to fight without his magic. It's very obviously his identity, and I think by losing it momentarily he has to grow and use his intellect to get himself out of situations. 
What's your least favorite part?
Probably the weird sexual tension that Agent Benn has with being a Hexenwolf.  It seemed out of place and awkward. I didn't really see the point of her constantly exposing her self to touch the belt and shift. It felt like they only point of it was "Hey! Boobs!" 
5.) What are you looking forward to the most in the series?
I'm really hoping that we get to dive into more of Harry's past. I want to know what's so terrifying in his past, what people see when they soulgaze with him, and obviously who's trying to set him up. I also want to know more about him becoming a wizard, I still don't full understand how that happens in this world. Does some random person just decide to become a wizard and train for it? Is there some kind of gene? Does some magic toad lick your face and then *bam* yerrr a wizard, Harry? I need to know these things.