Waiting on Wednesday: Anxiously Desirous of Reading Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases book lovers and bloggers are eagerly anticipating.

Waiting on Wednesday

Currently I’m re-reading The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, via audiobook, in great anticipation of the release of Stiletto in June of this year. The Rook was one of my favorite reads in 2012 and I’ve waited a long time to be able to read the continuing story of Myfanwy Thomas, super administrator extraordinaire who is part of a secret government organization of the bizarre and wonderful. You can read my full review of The Rook here.

Stiletto is the sequel and I can’t wait to discover what secret treasures it holds, what questions it ponders, and what revelations will make me think deep dark thoughts. If you haven’t started on this series, grab The Rook from your closest library, or download it on Audible, either way you will discover a wonderful and intricate world of the supernatural and be able to catch up in time to read the next book in the series.

**Slight spoilers for the first book in Stiletto’s description below.**

Stiletto (The Checquy Files, #2)

Summary from Good Reads:

In this spirited sequel, The Rook returns to clinch an alliance between deadly rivals and avert epic—and slimy—supernatural war.

When secret organizations are forced to merge after years of enmity and bloodshed, only one person has the fearsome powers—and the bureaucratic finesse—to get the job done. Facing her greatest challenge yet, Rook Myfanwy Thomas must broker a deal between two bitter adversaries:

The Checquy—the centuries-old covert British organization that protects society from supernatural
threats, and…
The Grafters—a centuries-old supernatural threat.

But as bizarre attacks sweep London, threatening to sabotage negotiations, old hatreds flare. Surrounded by spies, only the Rook and two women, who absolutely hate each other, can seek out the culprits before they trigger a devastating otherworldly war.

Top Ten Tuesday: Outside My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme by The Broke and the Bookish where fellow book bloggers, and anyone who wants, can contribute to a themed top ten list.  Today’s list is supposed to include: Ten Books I Enjoyed Recently (2015) That Were Outside my Comfort Zone.

Top Ten Tuesday

 My Favorite Genre: Urban Fantasy

I’ll admit that I still pretty much stick to one genre, urban fantasy, but occasionally I do find things because I’m browsing through GoodReads or the library catalog that are surprisingly good reads even though they are  outside my comfort zone. Not surprisingly, I don’t have ten books I’ve read outside my comfort zone. I have a limited amount of time I can devote to reading, and so I tend to go for what I know I will find enjoyable rather than branching out.

Top Five Books I Enjoyed that were Outside My Comfort Zone in 2015

The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires, #1) by Jim Butcher

The Aeronauts Windlass by Jim Butcher

While I have devoured Butcher’s Dresden Files series over the years, I was not able to get into his Codex Alera novels, I generally do not enjoy high fantasy and hard to pronounce (i.e. read and keep them straight) names. But, I decided to give Aeronaut’s Windlass a try, and I ended up really engaging in the story. It is about a world above the clouds where wood is scarce and some lucky people can understand the language of Cats. Espionage, intrigue, and fighting among the different Spires adds excitement to an interesting setting.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please is outside my comfort zone because I generally do not read non-fiction. However, I do try to read one memoir/non-fiction book a year and chose Yes Please for 2015. I was expecting great things, because I just adore Amy Poehler and I was not disappointed, she wrote a great book. I love her honesty and vulnerability, she is amazing and human and I want to go to there and meet her some day. You can read my full review here.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

As, I mentioned above, I am not usually a fan of high fantasy. I could not finish a very famous book series that is now a very famous television series because it was just too high fantasy. I find that a lot of characters in high fantasy are not easy for me to relate to and I have a hard time enjoying a story for the sake of the story, I need to me able to emotionally connect and feel safe in that connection. That rarely happens in high fantasy, usually the life of the main character is in such danger, that I cannot connect and therefore end up hating the character and the story. However, I really connected to Kvothe. This might be partly because as he is telling his life story I know he makes it out, at least alive if not unharmed. I felt safe emotionally connecting to him, though I despised his choice in women. He may be unpredictable and a hothead, but he had a good heart and he watched out for his friends. You can read my full review here.

Floors by Patrick Carman

Floors by Patrick Carman

Floors is a middle grade children’s book, and very much outside my comfort zone. I tried a few young young adult books last year and this was my favorite. Leo, the main character, is growing up and learning more and more about the Whippet Hotel where he lives, plus he has a mystery  to solve. What’s not to like?! It was a fun read, that was well written, had a couple of too goofy moments to be real, but enough real life that I connected to the story even though I am far beyond middle grade years. You can read my full review here.

Unnatural Acts (Dan Shamble, Zombie PI, #2) by Kevin J. Anderson

Unnatural Acts (Dan Shamble, Zombie PI, #2) by Kevin J. Anderson

I like urban fantasy, which I would say this falls under, but it is a very specific subset, the zombie genre, and that I do not read a lot of. I have tried a few and they are OK, but I really like the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series. I’m not always a fan of the details about zombie bodily upkeep, ’cause I find that icky, but Dan Shamble, his lawyer work partner, and ghostly girlfriend are great characters. Each book has a unique story line while also exploring the reason Dan was killed and became a zombie. It’s a zombie mystery sub-sub genre and I really enjoy reading these books. Plus, the lawyer in this book is a smart woman, who does good, and is a refreshing change of pace in how authors like to write about lawyers. So, I like that part of it too.

Nodds & Nends: Barbie’s New Bodies, Favorite Food, and Vaginal Fantasy

Mattel has finally gotten the hint that people are looking for a new kind of model image for their children. With toys like the Tree Change Dolls spreading across social media like fire, Barbie is finally following in their footsteps and diversifying her body type.  Is it weird I want to go out and buy that curvy Barbie like yesterday?!  [via The Mary Sue]

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I thought this picture below, which showed up on my FB timeline, was freakin hilarious. Mostly because I can see myself doing this. Chris and I don’t really argue all that much, we have plenty  of adult discussions, because we are adulting, but when we do argue it’s usually over who took the last of the favorite cookies and why wasn’t at least a bite offered to the other person. [via Purple Clover]

 

I’ve been doing a lot of data entry recently, which I really don’t mind. It’s good to clean up software systems and it’s definitely a project that will benefit me in the long run, but it can get mind numbing after a bit. So I’ve been listening to Vaginal Fantasy and catching up on past episodes and the time has flown. I just love the interactions between Felicia Day, Bonnie Burton, Veronica Belmont, and Kiala Kazebee.

Most of the books I have not read, I’ve gotten a few recommendations that are on my GoodReads want to read list, and I don’t mind spoilers, so I’ve giggled away the time and finished my project to boot! I will warn you that some of the recommended videos that pop up on the side on YouTube (because it is called Vaginal Fantasy) will make you want to hide your computer screen. You have been warned.

TBT and Nerdy Finds

It’s Throw Back Thursday, which I guess is something people still do? It seems to not be as much of a thing any more, but whatever, I typically jump on the bandwagon a little late. I was searching through old pictures to post and thought this was a fun picture. Henna Strong! Now I want to go and get some henna done.

tbt

Onto my newest nerdy finds.

Check out The Bookworm Chronicles Top 10 Adaptations 2015. I too watched the Hunger Games latest movie and thought it was a good adaptation of the book by Suzanne Collins, but had kind of wished it would have been re-written a bit instead of so closely adapted. Do you have a favorite adaptation of 2015?

I’ve read several Classic Women Literature in the past, and maybe it’s time I pick up a few more books I’ve been wanting to read.  the book stop is joining in a challenge to read such books this coming year and while I don’t generally join challenges I find they are a fun thing to follow and discover excellent pieces. They are also a reminder to get outside my comfort zone and check out other books. Anyone have suggestions? I’ve read Austen and Bronte, maybe I should pick up something by George Eliot or Virginia Woolf?

This fun video of a time lapse Lego build out of a camper is really cool. Check it out!

 

Speaking of Legos, you can now have your head 3D printed in miniature to become one. No joke. Check out the Etsy store here. They are only about $30 dollars. [via Distractify]

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Best Books of 2015

Last year because I was reading law book and studying I did not even reach my own book challenge, so I set the sights low for myself this year, hoping to get back on track and start reading more. I challenged myself to read 30 books and I’ve read 39, plus I’m halfway through two more books and hope to finish them before the year is out. I’m very pleased with my accomplishment of meeting and exceeding my goal, as well as, tackling some of my “Want to Read” list and never ending tbr pile.

Here are my favorite books of 2015 in no particular order.

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Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is an amazing book. I can’t believe it took me this long to track down a copy and ready it. Read my review here.

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a perfectly intricate plot that plays across years and worlds. A must read. My review is here.

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InterWorld is another wonderfully written book by Neil Gaiman, this time with a co-author Michael Reaves, about multiple universes and how the tiny decisions in our lives have rippling affects. Read my review here.

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The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman is the final book in his The Magician’s Trilogy and is full of flawed characters and wonderful world building. As I said in my review:

“Real life in all its glory and sadness spills itself across the pages and that is the beauty of Grossman’s characters. Not that they have magic and spells, but that they have life, and they live it.”

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Dreams of Gods and Monsters is the final chapter in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. I actually liked this book the best in the series, which was a wonderful surprise. You can read my full review here. But be warned there may be spoilers about the first two books in the series.

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Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet is a fun light urban fantasy tale about a grim reaper, but the story has depth and the characters are fully developed. But my favorite part of this book is her female characters have actual agency, a nice shift from many of the urban fantasy series I read this year. Read my review here.

Audio Book Review: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I love Amy Poehler ever since she stole my heart in Parks and Recreation.  I think she is amazing, kind, wise, and love her openness about sharing what she has learned from life. Her YouTube channel Smart Girls is wonderful and in particular I love her show Ask Amy where she posts some wonderful pieces of advice.

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Yes Please is an extension of Amy’s wonderful self, where she gives advice, tells tales, and gets her friends and family to share their perspective. I was able to get a copy of the audio book at my library. It was one of the most enjoyable autobiographies that I’ve listened to.

Summary from GoodReads:

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book,Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by.

Amy has a good balance of telling unforgettable stories that made me think, sympathize, and appreciate her ability to be vulnerable, as well as spinning satirical pieces about how writing is hard and the amazing funny moments she experienced on SNL. Most touching was her love for her children and her love for life in general that seeps through every moment of her storytelling. I also appreciated that although I’m sure it was painful, she speaks of her divorce with some distance, humor, and a lack of bitterness that is inspiring. Sometimes it is just too easy to be bitter about the traumas that come along in life. I enjoyed her stories that were sneak peaks into behind the scenes with her cast members on the TV shows she’s been on and her work with Upright Citizens Brigade, a sketch/improv troupe that she co-founded which now has theaters in two major cities.

I thought Amy did an excellent job as the voice over actor for her own book and I enjoyed the guest appearances of friends and families as they voiced their bits. She left in several  bits in the audio book that were obviously improvised and in the moment, which was lovely. Obviously these bits would not appear in the paper book version, so I do recommend listening to the audio book if you can. I thought it was well produced, well voiced, and had some interesting elements not usually associated with audio books. But, I don’t want to spoil the surprises!

I know she complains about writing the book, for most of the book, but she did such a lovely job I hope she writes some more. If you like autobiographies, enjoy Parks and Rec, or want to give a fun audio book a try, check out Yes Please by Amy Poehler.

Audio Book Review: The Name of the Wind By Patrick Rothfuss

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally decided to tackle this series. I know so many people who love Rothfuss’ work, and I had them on my tbr pile for forever. I’m not always an epic high fantasy fan, and I dislike hating what everyone else likes, because then I just feel more weird, so I put off reading this until I couldn’t anymore. I took the plunge and, using a free credit, downloaded it from Audible. I’m happy to say that I loved it!

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Summary from GoodReads:

“My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I have burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to God’s, loved women and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.”

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature – the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

What I liked about this book was that it was stories inside of stories, which broke up the main story into intervals so that it never got boring. I devoured the tales and loved nearly every minute of Nick Podehl’s narration. This story has everything in it: mythologies that are well devolved, characters that are flawed but still likable, and an wonderful plot line that kept me enthralled.

Kvothe is not the best person in the world, he is immature, and he has been through a lot of traumatic events that have shaped who he is. He is smart without wisdom, clever without a lot of purpose except getting what he wants in the moment, and he can’t seem to take instruction unless he deems the person smart enough to learn from. The side characters are well developed and help Kvothe seem less imperfect because of their own imperfections. A wonderful cast of characters in an interesting setting.

The only thing I really did not like, was his main romantic interest. Ugh. Even Kvothe admits she is cruel, but this does not stop his attraction. I’ve met women like her and seen all the men they cut through, and it’s like the guys can’t help it, they must love these women even though they are horrible human beings. Make no sense. Though, I guess this happens to both genders, and maybe is more indicative of the one who is falling being unable to respect themselves than it is the “fault” of the cruel men and women who play with other people like they are toys to be discarded after they have lost their shine. I’m not sure why such a female has to be the main romantic interest in the story though, and in almost an homage to such females. That the main character admires her cruelty and learns how to stay in the good graces of such a toxic person was a bit disappointing as a romantic plot. I kept reminding myself, he is young, he is foolish, but that only help cool my ire a tad. Perhaps, as the series progresses the main character will learn that while toxic people can be exciting, they cannot be made whole, and they are best left to their toxic lives.

What the author is able to accomplish is a connection to characters that live outside of our timeline and universe. and that is to be commended. I felt for all of the characters, even the side characters. They have strong voices and personalities and are integral to the story line, even if they just jump in for small snippets of time.

Nick Podehl did a wonderful job of narration. His voice acting was excellent and he was able to keep the story alive in my mind. He didn’t really have different voices for the characters, but he was really good at inflection and emotion at what was going on in the story. He was easy to listen to, and as there are a lot of chapters and hours to finish the audible book this was necessary.

In spite of my dislike of one of the female characters, this was definitely one of the best books I listened to this year. I would recommend it to any one who likes sci/fi  or fantasy, or enjoys intricate plot lines and coming of age stories.