Monday, January 15, 2018

Happy January! My Mid-Month Plan For The Rest Of The Month

Happy (belated) New Year!

Well, it's a new year and a busy one at that!  Last year was extremely hectic, and even painful at one point (miscarriages are never fun), and I didn't really achieve any goals that I wanted to achieve.  There were some good moments of course; I'm grateful to have such a wonderful husband, and we did get our first house, so there are good things to balance out the craziness that is life.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Book Review: Oathbringer (Stormlight Archive #3), by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Date Published: November 2017
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
# Of Pages/Listening Time: 1243 pages/55 hours

Goodreads | Audible

Synopsis: The eagerly awaited sequel to the New York Times best-selling Words of Radiance, from epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson at the top of his game.

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times best-selling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin's Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost. The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar's blood-soaked past and stand together - and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past - even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.

My Rating:
.....For being just plain awesome!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Review: Crucible Of Gold (Temeraire #7), by Naomi Novik

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Date Published: March 2012
Publisher: Random House
# Of Pages/Listening Time: 325 pages/9 hours and 56 minutes

Goodreads | Audible

Synopsis: Naomi Novik’s beloved series returns, with Captain Will Laurence and his fighting dragon Temeraire once again taking to the air against the broadsides of Napoleon’s forces and the friendly—and sometimes not-so-friendly—fire of British soldiers and politicians who continue to suspect them of divided loyalties, if not outright treason.
For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. But perhaps they are no longer alone in this opinion. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon.
And now the government that sidelined them has decided they have the best chance at negotiating a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and thus offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one’s country do not always run on parallel tracks.
Nonetheless, the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that force them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers.
Now with the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, and failure looking more likely by the minute, the unexpected arrival of an old enemy will tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it

My Rating:
.....For improving on the re-read

My Thoughts:

The last time I read this, I gave it 3 stars. This time however, I think I'll upgrade it to 4 stars.

There is a lot going on in this novel, so I can understand why I didn't like it so much the last time, but I can that this time around it was easier, and more entertaining, to follow.

Temeraire is a forever enjoyable character, along with Laurence (he's loosened up quite a bit in this novel). And I think I like Iskierka even more in this novel, she's such a fiesty character with so much gumption. It was very amusing watching her make all sorts of rash decisions without consulting anyone.

I can definitely see how much Laurence has changed in this novel. He's not as rigid about following orders as he used to be, and he's more outspoken about what needs to be done. It was nice to see that.

Anyway, I'm two books away from finishing the series, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. On to the next book!

Book Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Date Published: February 1999
Publisher: MTV books/Pocket books
# Of Pages: 213 pages


Synopsis: The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

My Rating:
.....For being a very good coming-of-age novel that I want my future kids to read

My Thoughts:

Okay, this had been on my TBR for a long long time. I never read it because I was never in the mood to read about high school issues. Reading challenges definitely help with the motivation, I guess.

I really enjoyed this novel, and the ending really surprised me, especially since my knowledge of mental disorders is practically slim to none, and I didn't recognize the signs for what they were.

I loved the characters in this novel. Sam, Patrick, Charlie, they're all very well done. As an adult, I sometimes get annoyed reading about teenage problems, but the problems these kids experience were written very well. The writing style seems mechanic and toneless at first, but the descriptions of what is going on in these kids' lives are so intricate, that you get sucked in and you want to find out what happens next.

If I had one complaint, it's that there are almost too many serious teen issues in this novel. The book is only 213 pages, yet there's suicide, multiple counts of drug abuse, rapes, abortion, child molestation, parent abuse, closeted homosexuality, .... it goes on and on. Every high school has students who have experienced at least one of these issues, and maybe I was too goody-goody and sheltered that I didn't notice all of them, but I don't remember there being so many problems at my high school.

This is a good book that I do want my future kids to eventually read someday. There's a strong The Catcher in the Rye influence, but I think I enjoyed this book better (it's been a long time since I read The Catcher in the Rye however, I think I should read that book again soon).

If you've been like me, and keeping this book on your TBR shelf for years, you should definitely take it off this shelf now. It's worth reading, even if you don't like it as much as I did. If you are currently a teenager, you should really read this, because there are lessons to learn in this book. Strongly recommended.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy Monday! How I'm Doing With My Reading Schedule

It's Monday again!

Well, the 25th has come and gone and I've managed to accomplish my goal of finishing books according to schedule!

Yeah, remember?  My obsessive-compulsive reading schedule that only proves that I'm a crazy person?  The one that I made to get me out of my reading slump?

Well, it's working!  Slump is now a distant memory, and I'm only two books away from finishing my 12-book goal!  Yippee!

Here's what I've read this past week (click on the covers for a link to the review):

This is one of my favorites in this series (#5), along with the first book.  You gotta love Temeraire in this one!

This was a re-read (book 6 is in the series), and, once again, it read better the second time around.  There were still some slow parts, but there were enough interesting bits scattered around to make it fun.

I admit, King has thoroughly confused me with this one.  I'm hoping the subsequent installments in the series will clear things up a little.

This was a book club BOTM, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  I think I'll read it again later it on; it seems like one of those books that will improve on the re-read.

Okay, I've got only two books left this month.  Two.  That's it.  That's all I'm planning so far.  I need to figure out what next month's books are, but in the meantime, I've got my next two books to read, and here they are (click on the cover to find out more):

This is BOTM read for a book group that has a monthly tag, where you read as many books as you like that fit that tag.  This month's tag is coming-of-age, and this book is considered to fit that tag, so there you go!

This is the next book in the Temeraire series.  I've read it before and I remember vaguely what happens (apparently I only gave it 3 stars last time.  Huh.), but I'm looking forward to reading it again. 

Anyway, I need to get back to reading!  I'm feeling super confident and happy about my goals this month, and I can't wait to finish it!
Happy reading everyone!

Book Review: Tongues Of Serpents (Temeraire #6), by Naomi Novik

Genre:Historical Fantasy
Date Published: July 2010
Publisher: Del Rey
# Of Pages/Listening Time: 274 pages/9 hours and 47 minutes

Goodreads | Audible

Synopsis: A dazzling blend of military history, high-flying fantasy, and edge-of-your-seat adventure, Naomi Novik’s Temeraire novels, set in an alternate Napoleonic era in which intelligent dragons have been harnessed as weapons of war, are more than just perennial bestsellers—they are a worldwide phenomenon. Now, in Tongues of Serpents, Naomi Novik is back, along with the dragon Temeraire and his rider and friend, Capt. Will Laurence.

Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon’s invasion of England, Temeraire and Laurence—stripped of rank and standing—have been transported to the prison colony at New South Wales in distant Australia, where, it is hoped, they cannot further corrupt the British Aerial Corps with their dangerous notions of liberty for dragons. Temeraire and Laurence carry with them three dragon eggs intended to help establish a covert in the colony and destined to be handed over to such second-rate, undesirable officers as have been willing to accept so remote an assignment—including one former acquaintance, Captain Rankin, whose cruelty once cost a dragon its life.

Nor is this the greatest difficulty that confronts the exiled dragon and rider: Instead of leaving behind all the political entanglements and corruptions of the war, Laurence and Temeraire have instead sailed into a hornet’s nest of fresh complications. For the colony at New South Wales has been thrown into turmoil after the overthrow of the military governor, one William Bligh—better known as Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. Bligh wastes no time in attempting to enlist Temeraire and Laurence to restore him to office, while the upstart masters of the colony are equally determined that the new arrivals should not upset a balance of power precariously tipped in their favor.

Eager to escape this political quagmire, Laurence and Temeraire take on a mission to find a way through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But when one of the dragon eggs is stolen from Temeraire, the surveying expedition becomes a desperate race to recover it in time—a race that leads to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new obstacle in the global war between Britain and Napoleon.

My Rating:
.....For being enjoyable and making me want to read more.

My Thoughts:

My Thoughts: Like with the previous installments, this book improved on the re-read. It still isn't my favorite in the series, but it was still pretty enjoyable, especially the beginning and the ending.

The middle was the slowest bit (but not too slow). The 2-month flight across the continent of Australia didn't have much going for it, in my opinion, although there were some occasional parts that were exciting to read. I also enjoyed reading about the hatching and harnessing of Kulingile; it's one of those triumphant stories about overcoming the odds, which I feel saved the middle section of the book.

Temeraire is still my favorite. It's clear that Naomi Novik is using him to include modern ideas in a historical setting. He's our gateway to understanding what early 19th-century life is like, and he's such a fun character to follow. I'm glad Novik has continued to write parts of the novel from his point of view, and I hope she'll continue to do so (I can't remember, it's been two years since I read the series).

All in all, a fun read in a new place. The culture comparisons continue to be interesting, the action still grabs my interest, and I want to read the rest of the series. So, on to the next one!