Posted in Community, meme, Weekly Reading

Mid-Week Update 9/27/16

I’ve had a busy week, so far, when it comes to reading. I had a few unexpected requests come in from Net Galley, which has made me switch up my reading list just a smidge. We’ll start out with What Are You Reading Wednesdays hosted by It’s a Reading Thing and go from there.

whatareyoureadingwed

Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

I’m currently reading Sepulcher (every time I type that word into WP, it highlights it as being misspelled even though it’s not) by Kate Mosse. At page 34 we have:

Anatole smiled. “Ah, but that is precisely the point. Debussy says that one must drown the sense of key. He is seeking to illuminate, through his music, the connections between the material and the spiritual worlds, the seen and the unseen, and such a thing cannot be presented in the traditional ways.”

Leonie pulled a face. “That sounds like one of those clever things people say that mean precisely nothing!”

I love that this passage is on page 34 because I laughed when I first read it. I get irritated at the same thing that Leonie does here.

This book takes place mostly in France (From what I can tell so far. I’m only on page 75.) but it switches back in forth in time from 1891 to 2007. I wouldn’t mind living in France in either of these times, but I’d probably prefer 1891…at least until WWI started.

shelf-control

Next is Shelf Control hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

The rules for this meme:  Write a blog post about a book you already own but haven’t read yet. Include when and where you got it.

brave-new-world
Don’tcha love this cover?

I am picking Brave New World by Aldous Huxley this week because it’s an ALA challenged book and I’m going to do my best to actually read it sometime this week, lol. We’ll see how it goes. I bought this book at a used book store but I’m drawing a blank on which one and I have absolutely no memory of when. I want to say it’s been at least a year if not two but definitely less than four, lmao!!

Blurb:

Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author of The Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment.

This article from the Washington Post on why this book has been challenged is hilarious. When I bought it, I didn’t know it was a challenged book. I bought it because it was a dystopian novel written in 1932 and I wanted to compare it to dystopian novels written more recently. Now, I’ll read it with the reasoning behind the challenges in mind.

 

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Posted in Community, meme, TBR

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s prompt is Books on My Fall TBR.

Hopefully making this list doesn’t automatically doom me to not reading these books as making lists so often does. It’s a really weird quirk of mine.

  1. The Sepulcher by Kate Mosse. This is the print book that I’m currently reading. It had been sitting on my shelf for quite some time and I decided to give it a go.
  2. The Heretic’s Creed by Fiona Buckley. This is my current eBook that I’m reading from Netgalley.
  3. To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin. This is next up from Netgalley.
  4. ODY-C, Vol 1 – Off to Far Ithicaa by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward. This is a graphic novel that I plan on reading for Dewey’s Read-a-thon next month.
  5. Saga, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Another graphic novel I plan on reading for Dewey’s.
  6. Rogues edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner R. Dozois. This is a collection of short stories by authors like Neil Gaiman and Gillian Flynn.
  7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This is an ALA challenged book that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. No time like the present.
  8. The Mathematician’s Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer. This is another book that’s been sitting on my shelf for at least a year. Recently, it’s been catching my eye as I walk by. I think it’s calling out to me, lol. 

There are plenty more books that I’ll read between now and the winter solstice, but I’m not sure what they are at present. I have a list of “need to buy” books that I’d love to read asap, but with Christmas right around the corner, I’m not sure how many of them I’ll pick up. Actually, I have 74 unread books currently sitting on my shelves so I have plenty to choose from. Why is it that we continue to buy books to read when our physical TBR pile is so tall??? 😉

So tell me, what’s on your Fall TBR? Anything you’d recommend?

Posted in Community, meme

Mid-Week Update

Just giving a brief update as to what I’m reading or planning on reading via a couple bookish memes.

whatareyoureadingwed

First up, What Are You Reading Wednesdays hosted by It’s a Reading Thing.

Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

Funnily enough, I started my current read last week after writing up the Shelf Control meme. It sounded so good to me, that I just couldn’t put it off another day. I’m currently reading The Affinity Bridge by George Mann. From page 34:

“This bruising suggests the victim was grabbed forcefully around the throat and struggled somewhat before finally being despatched. There’s nothing of the perpetrator left at the scene, but it certainly matches the profile of the other killings.”

Based on this passage, I wouldn’t choose to live in this world. Seems awfully dangerous. However, in general, I would love the chance to live in a steampunk version of Victorian England. It’s a time in history that I find vastly interesting and it’d be enhanced with steampunk inventions.

shelf-control

My book for this week’s Shelf Control is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

Blurb:

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

I bought this book at Barnes & Noble somewhere around June 2015. Honestly, I bought it because it’s a Rainbow Rowell book and because it’s a signed copy. If you’re familiar with Rowell’s books, you know that Carry On was taken from her Fangirl novel. In Fangirl, the main character is obsessed with a Harry Potter-like series of books and there were quite a few passages (that I skimmed more than read.) taken from those “books” and quoted in Fangirl. So, Rowell took those fictional characters from within a fictional world and wrote Carry On as its own story. From the very first, I thought that Simon and Baz’s world sounded too much like a spin off of Harry Potter’s world and it doesn’t sound too original. As such, I really don’t have any plans on actually reading this book. It was more of a buy for collecting reasons than because I’m interested in the story. Who knows though? Someday…

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: A Study in Scarlet Women

scarlet-women

Title:  A Study in Scarlet Women

Author:  Sherry Thomas

Publisher:  Penguin Publishing Group

Pages:  336

Genre:  Mystery, Retelling, Fiction

Setting:  Victorian England

Source:    Net Galley

Publication Date:  Oct 18, 2016

Blurb:

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society.  But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.

From Me:

This was an entertaining read. It had a very Sherlockian feel to it with added feminist twist. Sherry Thomas was vastly clever in her retelling of Sherlock and let’s face it, this is a story that has been retold by many authors in varying ways over the decades. I would think it would be a daunting task to not only take on such a revered story but to try and put any originality to it but Thomas succeeds.

For the most part, all of the characters are well-developed, interesting, and three dimensional. The “but” in this is that I wish Thomas would have put a little more time into Charlotte’s love interest or not have given her one at all. It almost felt superfluous to the story.

I’m thrilled that this is the first book in a series. However, reading this as an ARC, I’m going to have a verrrry long wait for the next installment.

 

Posted in Community

The Ratings Pressure

5 Hearts
I recently watched a booktube vid on YouTube about the positive and/or negative aspects of rating books. The video is Goodreads Ratings:  Yay or Nay? by suddenlylorna, who I love and you should check out. I’ve touched on this subject in the past but from a different perspective and I’d like to revisit it today.

I rate books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and here on my blog. I do so for several reasons.

  1. A rating gives an instant and brief glimpse into my feelings about a book. This is useful to me, personally, because it helps jog my memory about how I initially felt about a book. I think this is helpful to other readers too, to give them a starting place upon which to decide if they want to read a book or not.
  2. It’s easy. I do my very best to write about my feelings on books that I’ve read but sometimes, especially if the book is older, I don’t always take the time. A rating takes the place of a drawn out review and/or journal entry.
  3. A rating is less opinionated.

I can see suddenlylorna’s point about no longer wanting to rate books on GR though. She said she feels pressure to rate a book in her mind, as she’s reading it before she even finishes a book. I’m sure other readers feel the same pressure. In my mind or in a notebook, I am taking notes on what I am liking or disliking about the book as I’m reading it. I’m not assigning it a rating though. I also don’t give in to the pressure to agree with the majority. If I rate a book, its rating is coming from my experience with the book, not other people’s. This is controversial, but I’ve seen GR users gang up together to attack authors and/or books. These so-called “influencers” can severely hurt a book’s rating. This reason alone is enough to base your opinions on a book on what you take away from it, not what other people are telling you is good or bad about a book.

Ratings and opinions are subjective. The book I reviewed on Monday was given a wide range of ratings on GR. I gave it a middle rating of 3 but I could see why other people only rated it 1 star. The things that bugged me about the book bugged them even more. That’s their opinion and it isn’t right or wrong just like my opinion isn’t right or wrong. I can think of one specific book that bugged the ever living hell out of me. I can’t, not for one millisecond, see why so many people liked it. Still, it has been made into a movie and is ever so popular. Who cares? I can live with being in the minority.

Why don’t we, as a book reading society, allow ourselves to have opinions? I remember reading someone’s blog or an article or something, where someone said it’s rude to post a negative opinion about a book. Maybe it was in a Facebook group. I think it’s actually against the rules to debate about why they (the member(s)) didn’t like a specific book. Anyway, wow! Not every book published is actually good. Not every book that has received critical acclaim is good. Not every book adapted into a movie is good.

It amazes me how much pressure we put on ourselves. Allow yourself to have an opinion on your books! Of equal importance, allow others to have opinions too even if they don’t agree with yours! The world would be a boring place if we all thought the exact same things.

Posted in Community, meme

When You’re Stumped for a Post Topic

Find a new weekly meme!! I gravitate towards memes for a couple reasons. For one, they provide a post topic with little thought on my part. I can get on board with that. Secondly, participating in memes is a great way to involve yourself in the book reading and book blogging community. If you’re looking for a meme, I suggest you check out Bookshelf Fantasies meme directory post. I found it through Google and was surprised at how many bookish memes there are out there. Wowza!

I decided to try out It’s a Reading Thing‘s meme, What Are You Reading Wednesdays.

whatareyoureadingwed

Rules are pretty simple:

Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

I just finished my current read last night in bed and I’m starting The Heretic’s Creed by Fiona Buckley today.

the-heretics-creed

At 34% in:

The men led the horses away and the small woman who had with such difficulty dragged the gate open turned to us.

“My name is Margaret Beale,” she said. “Whatever brought you here and in such terrible weather? Did you miss your way somehow? You must be long miles out of your proper road. You’re in luck as it chances for we’re expecting a part of five guests soon, but I can’t suppose they’re likely to arrive now, not until the weather clears.”

I have an insatiable interest in the Tudors and the Elizabethan era. That being said, being alive in those times was a dangerous thing, even more so for women. If something as innocuous today as the flu didn’t get you, childbirth oftentimes did. If time travel existed, I wouldn’t be able to resist at least visiting this world though.

I’m also giving Bookshelf Fantasies Shelf Control Meme a go this week.

shelf-control

Again, rules are pretty simple:  write a blog post about a book you already own but haven’t read yet. Include when and where you got it.

This is a pretty easy meme for me since I have approximately 70 books on my bookshelves that I haven’t read yet. This doesn’t include books that I want to read but haven’t yet bought. This number also doesn’t include books my husband and/or kids have bought that I might want to read but haven’t added to my TBR. We, as a family, have bookish issues, lol.

Anyway, first up is The Affinity Bridge (#1 in the Newbury and Hobbes series) by George Mann. Published in 2009 by Tor Books.

the-affinity-bridge
This cover! ::swoon::

Blurb:

Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, a city teetering on the edge of revolution. Its people are ushering in a new era of technology, dazzled each day by unfamiliar inventions. Airships soar in the skies over the city, while ground trains rumble through the streets and clockwork automatons are programmed to carry out menial tasks in the offices of lawyers, policemen, and journalists.

But beneath this shiny veneer of progress lurks a sinister side.

Queen Victoria is kept alive by a primitive life-support system, while her agents, Sir Maurice Newbury and his delectable assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes, do battle with enemies of the crown, physical and supernatural. This time Newbury and Hobbes are called to investigate the wreckage of a crashed airship and its missing automaton pilot, while attempting to solve a string of strangulations attributed to a mysterious glowing policeman, and dealing with a zombie plague that is ravaging the slums of the capital.

Get ready to follow dazzling young writer George Mann to a London unlike any you’ve ever seen and into an adventure you will never forget…

I bought this book in June 2016 from Barnes & Noble. I love steampunk. I love Victorian England. And zombie plagues?? This title received decent reviews on Goodreads. I really don’t know why I haven’t started this book yet!! Writing about it makes me want to eat it up.

Posted in Community

Top Ten Tuesday: Fave Books

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

toptentuesday

This week’s topic is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre. I don’t like this kind of pressure. So, I’m adding a caveat to mine to say these are books that I really like in the historical fiction genre at this moment in time. I’m not listing them in any particular order either because that’s too much pressure.

  1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
  2. The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
  3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  4. Madame Tussaud:  A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran
  5. Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
  6. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
  7. The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
  8. Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund
  9. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

For some of my picks, I only listed the first book in a series. I could have filled my list with books by just one or two authors because they’ve written so many books in a series, but I wanted my list to be more diverse.