Posted in Weekly Reading

What I’m Reading Oct 4

So, I decided to get back to blogging and then came down with the flu. I missed all of the Banned Book Week activities, getting started with Dewey’s pre-readathon challenge, and National Coffee Day. Talk about a major bummer. The only good thing to come of being a walking zombie is getting unlimited reading time in, guilt-free, which means I was able to start a few books while being laid up.

MontstressFirst off, I started a new graphic novel, Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu and artist Sana Takeda. I’m only a couple pages in, so I haven’t formed an opinion yet. The artwork, however, is impressive and compelling. I thought this graphic novel would be a perfect accompaniment for this time of year. From Goodreads:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

grey mask Secondly, I began an eBook by Patricia Wentworth titled Grey Mask. It’s supposed to be a cozy mystery type of book. Set in London, post-war (I haven’t read any indications which war, but I’m assuming WWI. I could be wrong though. It’s really hard to tell from the context clues or lack thereof.) this is a tale of Charles, who has returned to his childhood home after being jilted by his fiance. His father has passed away and he’s returned home from abroad to claim his inheritance. Upon his arrival, he happens upon several uninvited guests in his house discussing some scheme or conspiracy. Deciding to remain hidden, Charles hires a lady detective, Miss Silver, to try and sort out the mystery on his own rather than go to the police.

I’m just short of halfway through the book and so far, it’s ok. The dialogue comes off as being written for a screenplay rather than a book so it’s different, but not hard to follow. The characters are a little one dimensional. I’m waiting to see if some development will occur as the story goes on. As for the mystery itself, I have no idea what’s going on, so I guess it’s a good one, lol. This is supposed to be the first book in the Miss Silver series, but it’s really hard to believe that an entire series is centered on Miss Silver whom we only see sporadically in the novel. She seems like a tertiary character rather than the main one. We’ll see, I guess.

Queens Lastly, I started Queens of the Conquest:  England’s Medieval Queens by Alison Weir. I am a huge fan of Weir’s and appreciate and respect her writing, opinions, and history that she imparts expertly about England’s monarchy. Her biography about Henry VIII was what started my journey into learning more about England’s history, which blossomed into learning about other nations and periods in history. Anyway, I’ve only just started this book and between being really tired and having to take notes on every page (because I can’t help myself), I’m only in the first chapter, lol. I’m enjoying it so far though and can’t wait to really get into the meat of it. Please click on the book’s title for a link to the Goodreads page. I didn’t want to include a lengthy description here.

How’d you bring in the month of October? Are you reading anything you’d recommend?

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Posted in Reading Roundup

January 2017 Wrap Up

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I have to admit, I didn’t have the best reading month in January. I only managed to finish five books. This was due in large part because I got stuck in The Fountain and wouldn’t let myself DNF it. Because I was struggling so badly with this book, I went several days without reading anything at all. Sadly, that wasn’t the only book that didn’t hold my attention this month. Here’s my list:

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. 374 pages. I loved this book. Cline is a genius world-builder. This was such an immersive experience reading this book, I didn’t want it to end. There were bits that were predictable (my husband and I debated about these) but I didn’t mind them and they didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book. So glad it was my first of 2017.
  2. Dark Matter by Black Crouch. 342 pages. This was another fabulous read for me. Again, Crouch is a great world-builder but he’s also a fantastic character developer (not that Cline isn’t but this really stuck out for me in Dark Matter.)
  3. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. 329 pages. This was the other book I struggled with in January. I wanted to love this book so much that I think I had too high expectations for it. Great premise but poor world building. Cogman drops us in this sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk-type world with very little explanation or back story. Maybe this gets better with subsequent books, which is why I still plan on reading book two in this series.
  4. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin. 400 pages. This was another novel that I really enjoyed reading. This is about Truman Capote, Babe Paley, and the rest of their NYC socialite group. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Benjamin really takes you into this time, the 1950s, and these people’s lives. This was a book that constantly had me researching aspects of it online because it’s such an intriguing story. The people were also fascinating and most of them, with the exception of Capote, I had never heard of prior to reading this book. I highly recommend it to historical fiction fans.
  5. The Fountain of St. James Court or, Portrait of an Old Woman by Sena Jeter Naslund. 448 pages. I very recently reviewed this book here on the blog so I won’t go into it again why this was my most painful read of January.

For five books, that is a total of 1893 pages and an average rating of 3.4 stars. 3.4 stars doesn’t sound too bad except for the fact that I am scarred by The Fountain!!! Just kidding and slightly exaggerating.

How did your January of reading measure up? Any duds? Any books you’d recommend? I only reviewed one of these books on my blog (linked above), but if you’d like a more in-depth review on any of the others, you’ve only to ask.

Posted in Book Review

My Thoughts: Brave New World

brave-new-world

Title:  Brave New World

Author:  Aldous Huxley

Publisher:  Harper Perennial

Pages:  268

Genre:  Speculative Fiction

Setting:  Mostly in a dystopian London, England

Source:    Purchased for my own reading pleasure.

Publication Date:  Originally published in 1932

Blurb:

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…

Huxley’s ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

My Thoughts:

I read this book to coincide with Banned Books Week. I’m happy to say that I finished it on the last day. Yay! With that in mind, I can see why this is a challenged book. Take into account that it was first published in 1932, I’m honestly surprised it even saw the light of day.

In Huxley’s speculative future, promiscuity is the new religion. Big deal, right, until you take into account that it’s encouraged among small children as well. This shocking concept is used to demonstrate just how much social mores and ethics of this alternative world have changed from our reality. Not only is promiscuity a main theme of the novel, but so is materialism and genetic engineering. Huxley used these extremes as a parallel for how capitalistic and materialistic he viewed society as well as how he predicted the world would be in as few as 200 years from the time he wrote Brave New World. 

I enjoyed this novel despite wrinkling my nose whenever the children were trotted out in the novel which, thankfully, wasn’t often. I’m honest enough to say that I didn’t enjoy their role in the novel. I think that Huxley more than made his point about overt sexuality with the other characters in the story and adding in the children felt more like  a shock factor than a necessary additive.

What I found most surprising about this novel was how modern it felt when I was reading it. I had a very hard time remembering that this book was written in the 1930s. In the so-called utopian society that was genetically engineered I pictured it, in my head, looking like something out of the 1950s, kind of like The Jetsons. Huxley had some really advanced thinking and imagination with the technology he invented.

This book is a fast read, possibly one sitting, and easy to read as well as to get into. While I don’t think I’d recommend this book to a 8th grade or younger reading list, I would recommend it to any other reader.

Posted in Community, Fun Bookishness

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books To Read If You Like This Super Popular Book/Author

I had a super hard time with this one. I like bookish tags/memes because the topic of your post is picked out for you, which for me is half the battle. But gosh! I really had to wrack my brain to come up with a response for this week’s prompt and I still only came up with 8ish. I also realized that I don’t read a whole lot of “super popular” adult books, but I do read quite a bit of popular young adult books. Weird.

toptentuesday

  1. If you read the Twilight series, I wish you would read, the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris or even the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. I’d only recommend these two series to the 18+ crowd though. If you wanted to do me a really big favor, read Dracula by Bram Stoker and/or Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla.
  2. If you read any of Rainbow Rowell’s books, read all her other ones, lol. I’ve read them all except for Attachments and Carry On. Also, I recommend Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon for Rowell fans.
  3. If you’ve read The Diviners series by Libba Bray, I recommend the author Gail Carriger to you. Not quite the same genres, but both authors are good at creating immersive worlds and flawed characters.
  4. If you enjoy Ally Condie’s books, move right along to Lauren Oliver. I can’t think of one without thinking of the other.
  5. For fans of Cinder, I recommend A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. A Thousand Pieces of You isn’t a retelling like Cinder, but they do have some similar themes.
  6. In my opinion, Deborah Harkness and Juliet Dark write very similarly themed books. Harkness tends to lean more towards historical than does Dark, but they both felt very similar to me.
  7. This one here is a cluster of authors. If you liked one, then read them all:  Alison Weir, Phillipa Gregory, Margaret George, Michelle Moran, and Antonia Fraser. This is a mix of historical fiction and non fiction. This is also why I said “8ish” in my introduction.
  8. My last entry is two different authors who write two different SUB genres of books but I read both of their books for the same reason:  they are all very character driven. J.D. Robb and Janet Evanovich. Robb writes police procedural/romance novels set in the near future whereas Evanovich writes about an inept bounty hunter and her romantic encounters. I’ve reread both of these series multiple times and they will always remain my “fuzzy socks, in front of the fireplace, with a glass of wine” reads. They could also probably be classified as beach reads.