(Couldn’t help it, I love Bitmoji)
I borrowed the audiobook of The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires, #1) by Jim Butcher from the local library. It is read by.
Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.
Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.
And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…
This book made it onto my Top Five Books I Enjoyed that were Outside My Comfort Zone in 2015 post because I generally do not enjoy high fantasy but I ended up really engaging in this story. Maybe part of this was that it was an audiobook and I did not have to keep names straight because the narrator had excellent character voices and I followed along so much easier.
Ok, so the reason I really liked this story was that there are people who can speak Cat. No joke. It is amazing because Butcher has cat psychology and physiology down pat and brings this real world knowledge to the story, giving it ground in reality even though people are living in the clouds (literally) and talking to cats! Bridget Tagwynn is one of those people and she is such an interesting character. Of a lower status than those around her, but with training in how to be a strong human being, and an understanding of how people interact and react she is just a great shining example of a strong female character that isn’t hateful or bitter. All the characters are interesting, have depth, have things I liked about them and had things I rolled my eyes about, because they are human and have a reason for being part of the story.
I’ll dare say I enjoyed this cast of characters to a greater extent than the cast of the Dresden Files. Not because I now dislike Dresden, but because this series has a wider cast of strong main characters instead of just the select few in the Dresden series. From Gwendolyn Lancaster who is a little too enthusiastic and know-how when she first arrives for training at the Academy to her cousin Benedict Sorellin-Lancaster who seems a steady sort of person, but manages to have depth as well, to Rowl, a cat, who manages to be helpful and unhelpful all of the time. A really interesting play of people and story line, masterfully told.
But I attribute my ability to read this high fantasy story with greater ease to the voice actor Euan Morton. He did an amazing array of voices and I easily followed a wide cast of characters trotting across and unfamiliar landscape. His Rowl voice is literally stuck in my head, it is that good. I really recommend this audiobook, he is a wonderful voice over actor.
There is a lot to this story that I can’t even fully get into with a review, but I would suggest it for anyone who enjoys strong characters, both male and female. and for people who enjoy adventure romps that have depth. Don’t be put off by the high fantasy, steam punk aspects, or talking cats, this story is more than the fun setting it is about the very real and interesting characters that make up a group people who are trying to accomplish something together.
I borrowed The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman from my local library. This audio book was performed by a full cast which I always love so much!
A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.
On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.
I’m biased when it comes to Gaiman, I usually find his way of writing stories and viewing life so interesting. This story definitely has it’s twists and turns and didn’t exactly go where I thought it might. At the same time the story feels familiar because it is based on fairy tales we all know and love. I do like retellings and I love a good mash-up so those aspects of the story kept me listening, plus it is a short story so it was over really before I knew it. But that was also part of the problem, there wasn’t as much development of character that I normally expect from Gaiman and the twists were OK, but not of the deep and dark and unexpected caliber that I have come to expect from the author.
Listening to a full cast is always fun, it makes telling the different characters apart easier and I enjoy hearing several people chime in on a story. No one stood out as particularly brilliant or horrible, just good voice actors giving life to a story. (As I read the audio version of the book, I cannot comment on the supposed amazing pictures of the hardcover, but I hear it was brilliantly done.)
I enjoyed this retelling from Gaiman, but it is not my favorite of his stories. Some of the story line was predictable and it was so on the go adventuresque (that’s a word, I think?) that I didn’t get the same sense of development of character as I have from his other books. The ending was different than I expected, but not so much so I was blown away by it. While a fun fairy tale retelling/mash-up story to listen to, I’m glad I borrowed it from the library.
So…. just realized I have not posted a book review this entire year. What? Some of that is because a lot of the new series or new books I was trying out at the beginning of the year did not make me excited enough about the story line to write a review. Some of it is because this year has seen a lot of changes and my reading time has diminished so I’m not reading as many books. I’m going to attempt to get caught up. (Where’s my laughing/crying emoticon when I need it?)
I borrowed Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill as an audio book from my local library, it is read by Cynthia Holloway.
They killed me. They healed me. They changed me. Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was mine. I was doing fine until Chicago’s vampires announced their existence to the world—and then a rogue vampire attacked me. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker…and this one decided that the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead. Turns out my savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now I’ve traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred-year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude—and servitude. Right. But my burgeoning powers (all of a sudden, I’m surprisingly handy with some serious weaponry), an inconvenient sunlight allergy, and Ethan’s attitude are the least of my concerns. Someone’s still out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches? My initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war—and there will be blood.
OK, I’ll admit I picked this one because it was about vampires in Chicago. I mean what is not to love about that premise? It’s the reason I picked up Jim Butcher’s books, and I loooove those. I was also excited because this is currently a 12 book series with the 13th book to publish this year. I love finding new series and being able to binge read them. But I just couldn’t get into this book.
While there were some intriguing family dynamics that added some interest to the over all plot of girl gets made into a vampire and is trained by a really old, but extremely hot, vampire who expects submission, but Merit is a modern woman who refuses to submit, it wasn’t enough to make the series stick out from the rest of the genre. I really wish there had been a little more about the transition from being an academic whose life revolves around an all consuming thesis to becoming a vampire who has to give up that life long dream. Perhaps that is developed later in the series as sometimes it does take an author a good three books to really develop a character.
Cynthia Holloway was a decent narrator. She has a low and interesting voice. I generally do not have difficulty with narrators, I like listening to audio books and respect the hell out of voice actors. I took a class on it in Chicago and it is hard work! I do recommend listening to a sample reading before downloading and audio book if you find that some narrators turn you off the story. I do this if I’m going to buy the audio book and not just borrow it from the library.
Chloe Neill is a good writer and so this was not a bad book to read, I did enjoy parts of it, I was just wary of how much time I should continue to give the series as there were some “this has been done” parts as well. Obviously the series is popular or there wouldn’t be so many books in the series, and there are some reviews on Goodreads that suggest as a series it is quite good, so maybe I should borrow the other books in the series to see if I find the series to be more interesting than the first book.
But can we have some urban fantasy covers where the female characters are in actual fighting gear? Or even fighting? Midriffs and belly rings are hella sexy, I agree, but not exactly fighting gear. Just saying.
Heyoo, it’s been a time and half, four score, and a month of Sundays since I wrote last. . . . or something like that. I thought I would get back into the game with one of my favorite things, making fun of spam mail!
I love making fun of horribly written spam mail and, as I know at least one person who believes everything she reads and can’t distinguish what is spam from proper email, I think it is educational too. A PSA to the masses if you will, why this is spam (watch for links and bad writing), how to react to spam (delete it), and why it makes for a great post (because I’m hilarious 😉 ).
Apparently I will never start my day right.
oo4.biz: Start your day right with famous Bible quotes and let the app quench your thirst for spiritual enlightenment.
Me: Unsolicited religious guilt, . . . yah. . .#KTHXBAI
The hallmark of spam- guilt trips and asking for more work because you can never do enough to please the spambots.
online movies for kids: Superb post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it!
Me: Great feedback, but I was wondering if you could learn how to spell better. It is “little” not “litte.”
Me: P.S. The backhanded compliment doesn’t work on anyone who has learned some self respect.
Me: P.P.S. I know as you are a spambot and try to backhand compliment people and you have no clue what the word respect means, so let me enlighten you.
Merriam-Webster defines respect as : a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way. (emphasis added)
Me: P.P.P.S. In case it wasn’t clear backhanded compliments are not an appropriate way to treat anyone.
Did you know there is a website called the BroBible (no I will not link to such a site and give them even more clicks) that has a whole article on how to give backhanded compliments? Because there aren’t enough horrible people in this world without websites like this creating more of them or helping them fine tune their ability to make the world just a little more awful.
Real quote from the article : Now it’s time to go in for the kill with the backhanded part of your backhanded compliment, aka the best part. (emphasis added)
UGH!!!!! This is not treating people in an appropriate way!
Delete, delete, delete!
Now, let’s move off topic.
Penni Dey: Greetings! Actually, I know this really is rather off-topic but I wanted to ask. Does doing a well-established web page such as the one you have obtain a lots of employment? I’m new for you to blogging and site-building nonetheless I perform generate within my publication day-to-day. I’d choose to begin a blogging site so we could reveal my own practical experience as well as feelings on-line. Remember to identify for people with each and every suggestions or perhaps methods for innovative aspiring people. Thankyou!
Me: Greetings! This is off topic and actually, my not very well established blog does not generate any income for me, let alone enough to “obtain” lots of employment. However, if it did and those employees wrote as poorly as you do, they would not be employed much longer! But you are a spam and your employer does not care how poorly written your work is, consider yourself very lucky!
This was slightly depressing. Does not generate income is not a sentence I like to write.
print marketing definition: In fact perhaps you’ve gone on and completed some other
tutorials, on flyers or logo design!
Me: In fact, I have not gone on to complete other tutorials on flyers or logo designs. Maybe this is why my blog does not generate income. I need to start randomly designing flyers and logos and with no marketing or graphic design background this is sure to succeed!
Me: P.S. The original post was not a tutorial, it did not have a flyer nor a logo. Spambot fail.
Again, apparently I am failing at life because I cannot do design work and my blog is not generating income. Maybe this email about pets will cheer me up.
http://ajn.me: Your pet would possibly confuse ammonia with its own urine,
and surely it would create a vicious circle involving your carpet
and the pet’s urine.
Me: Wait, your name is a URL? This isn’t supposed to be suspicious? But yes, you are correct, a pet can confuse ammonia with its own urine. I don’t understand what this has to do with carpets? Are people cleaning their carpets with ammonia? Yes, they are . Ok spambot, you make an important point, if you have an animal cleaning the urine stains on the carpet with ammonia is not a good idea.
But, remember my first two questions? When the name is a URL it is time to delete!
Final PSA: A spambot with a good point does not make it not a spambot!
“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases book lovers and bloggers are eagerly anticipating.
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.**
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
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.
NASA had a challenge where they awarded the top three designs of a 3-D printable habitat for Mars. The habitat design that won is called the Mars Ice House and was the brain child of Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office. You can read more about it here.
How do I know about this random Mars fact? Hank Green is how. I’ve been listening to the Dear Hank & John podcast. John Green is an author of some note. (I have yet to read his books, they are all sad books from what I’ve heard, and I don’t generally read sad contemporary stories, mostly because that is just normal life. But I’ve heard great things and know I really should get out his stories. ) Anyway, I’ve watched some of his YouTube videos and when I found the podcast that he does with his brother, I started listening to it. It is hilarious and sometimes a little sad. Hank is a huge science nerd and he has done little snippets about Mars at the end their most recent podcasts and that is how I heard about the printable habitat challenge. It’s just one cool thing after another in my life.
One recent Facebook find (and sorry, I can’t remember who originally posted it on my wall) is this illustrative take on what it is like to be inside the brain of an introvert. Introverts have given it several thumbs up and I think it can help extroverts understand the other side of things. My favorite one was the bit on risk. “In other words, introverts feel less excitement from surprise or risk.” Yes. This. Also, this may help explain why people sometimes think I am similar to a cat.
Speaking of cats, check out this hilarious and adorable video of a kitten falling asleep while in a not so great position for doing so. I think what is so funny is that we have all done this (maybe not on a kitchen bar stool). [via George Takei FB page]