Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The New 52 - September Edition

Yup, I've finished my 52 books for the year

So now what do I do?
I guess I continue to;

Yes, I will keep reading, as if finishing my quota would stop me. Plus, I still have a few more TBR's to finish before the end of the year. I'm also thinking of seeing if I can make it to 75 books by the end of the year. That's a pretty lofty goal though, so I guess we'll just see how it goes. Here is what I read this September:

by Ami McKay

480 Pages

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of Rares. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing. Dora becomes Miss B.’s apprentice, and together they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labours, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives. Filled with details as compelling as they are surprising, The Birth House is an unforgettable tale of the struggles women have faced to have control of their own bodies and to keep the best parts of tradition alive in the world of modern medicine.

This book was my TBR book of the month. I saved it for September because I knew my sister was due to have my new nephew and it seemed fitting.  I've had this book for many years and when I was about to pick it up, I was talking to my Aunt, who had just finished it, and she commented on how horrible it was to give birth at that time. That put me off reading it until now, visualizing terrible things. And looking back, I understand what she meant. It was certainly a hard time to be a woman (%) with no rights of your own and also terrible what they did in the hospitals to birth the babies. This story isn't really about that though. It's about fighting for what is in the woman and child's best interest, but also about Dora's life and the hardships she goes through. It was a very good read and I highly recommend it. 

by Robert Jordan

964 Pages (36:27 Hours)

The fifth book in Robert Jordan's internationally bestselling epic fantasy series, 
The bonds and wards that hold the Great Lord of the Dark are slowly failing, but still his fragile prison holds. The Forsaken, immortal servants of the shadow, weave their snares and tighten their grip upon the realms of men, sure in the knowledge that their master will soon break free...
Rand al' Thor, the Dragon Reborn, knows that he must strike at the Enemy, but his forces are divided by treachery and by ambition. Even the Aes Sedai, ancient guardians of the Light, are riven by civil war. Betrayed by his allies, pursued by his enemies and beset by the madness that comes to the male wielders of the One Power, Rand rides out to meet the foe.

This is the first book that really starts to get into the politics of this World. Jordan has hinted about them before, but now they become full blown. Between the Game of Houses, ji'e'toh, the breaking of the Aiel, the splitting of the Tower and the Forsaken plotting, it's a lot to take it. They are all still out in the World, but Rand's Ta'veren pull on everyone is beginning to be felt ()
Rand is beginning to take on more and more responsibility as the Dragon and it's making him into a harder man, and perhaps a crazier one too.

by Ilona Andrews

260 Pages

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic… 
One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. 
In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. 
But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy… 

I was really excited to read this book. It's the first in a series and I've been really into Urban Fantasy lately. These stories need one thing to really carry them, an awesome kick-ass main character, who takes no shit and wise cracks her way through every situation. This book has that, but the main character has no charisma to carry that kind off that kind of attitude. She just comes off as a jerk and I found I really didn't like her at all. Then again, I wasn't really fond of any of the characters or their push for a weird romance (&) and love triangle that didn't make any sense ()
They have this whole section where they try and set her up with another guy that she has absolutely no chemistry with just to be able to use him as a lame plot device later on.
The villain is just gross (%) I won't go into it, but it's just gross and gets grosser.
Also, they spend all this time heavy-handedly hinting at her "magic blood" (¥) but never go into it. It's pretty obvious what's going on, but I guess they'll reveal that in one of the other books. In the mean time, I'm sure they'll continue to use it as a Deus ex Machina. Guess I'll never know, since I won't be picking up the next book.

by Ann Aguirre 

336 Pages

All hell is breaking loose in the edge-of-your-seat follow-up to Havoc and Perdition from New York Times bestselling author Ann Aguirre…
The prison ship Perdition has become a post-battle charnel house with only a handful of Dred’s soldiers still standing and now being hunted by Silence’s trained tongueless assassins. Forging an uneasy alliance with mercenary commander Vost—who is their only chance at escape—the Dread Queen will do whatever it takes to end her life sentence on Perdition and keep the survivors alive long enough to cobble together a transport capable of getting them off station.
If Dred and her crew can win the deadly game of cat and mouse, the payoff is not only life but freedom—a prize sweeter than their wildest dreams. Yet the sadistic Silence would rather destroy Perdition than let a single soul slip from her grasp…

This is the final book to this series and I am really sad to see it end. I love this series and this World and I hope that Ann Aguirre decides to write more about this Universe. Now that being said, I'm always really amazed how she manages to wrap up all of her story lines before the end. Despite horrible things being done by and to (%) these people, they all manage to redeem themselves in a real and believable way. Even if you don't like them, you learn to at least have respect for them.
There is one thing that I'm rather upset about and going to rant (whine) about, but I will cover it in case no one wants the spoiler, even if it's only me who cares about this {Oh God! Whhhhhhhhhhy??????? Why would you put Jax and Vel together as a couple? They were the perfect friendship! Perfect!!! They don't need to be in a sexual relationship! I love that she put that nod to them in the last few pages, but making it a sexual relationship was not necessary! Oh God I ship it! I don't ship it! It hurts my soul..... whhhhhhy.......*}
Rant over. my apologies. Anyhow, I will continue to follow her work eagerly and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.

by Anne Bishop

123 of 384 Pages

Seven hundred years ago, a Black Widow witch saw an ancient prophecy come to life in her web of dreams and visions. Now the Dark Kingdom readies itself for the arrival of its Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But she is still young, still open to influence-and corruption.
Whoever controls the Queen controls the darkness. Three men-sworn enemies-know this. And they know the power that hides behind the blue eyes of an innocent young girl. And so begins a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, where the weapons are hate and love-and the prize could be terrible beyond imagining... 

I tried to read this book. I really did try. I'm a big fan of Anne Bishop's other series and I was hoping that her earlier work would be just as good. It's not and it's horrifying. I can't believe that the entire culture is based on rape (%); all sorts of rape and weird sexual demeaning coming from being sold to sick, twisted fantasies, to weird incestuous cravings, to pedophilia. I just couldn't read it anymore. I almost threw the book across the room. I want to get rid of it, so I'm actually considering throwing it out so that no one else thinks about picking it up.

by J.A. Pitts

384 Pages

Sarah Beauhall has more on her plate than most twenty-somethings: day job as a blacksmith, night job as a props manager for low-budget movies, and her free time is spent fighting in a medieval re-enactment group.
The lead actor breaks Sarah’s favorite one-of-a-kind sword, and to avoid reshooting scenes, Sarah agrees to repair the blade. One of the extras, who claims to be a dwarf, offers to help. And that’s when things start to get weird. Could the sword really be magic, as the "dwarf" claims? Are dragons really living among us as shapeshifters? 
And as if things weren’t surreal enough, Sarah’s girlfriend Katie breaks out the dreaded phrase… “I love you.” As her life begins to fall apart, first her relationship with Katie, then her job at the movie studio, and finally her blacksmithing career, Sarah hits rock bottom. It is at this moment, when she has lost everything she has prized, that one of the dragons makes their move.
And suddenly what was unthinkable becomes all too real…and Sarah will have to decide if she can reject what is safe and become the heroine who is needed to save her world.

This has been on my to-read list pretty much since I signed up for Goodreads. I finally came across a copy of it in the bookstore and was very glad that I bought it. It was really good. Not only is this a great Urban Fantasy, but it also deals with real life issues, like coming to terms with your own sexuality and learning who you are for yourself and casting off the negative feelings of others. It's also about blacksmithing and fighting jerk ass dragons (%) who are fighting their own turf war.
I am super looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

by J.C. Nelson

304 Pages

As a partner at Grimm’s magical Agency, Marissa Locks is used to working odd jobs. But when an evil queen reappears in Kingdom, life becomes too strange to handle…
Even when she’s not starting it, trouble follows Marissa everywhere. First there was the incident with the homicidal Fairy Godmother. Then there was the time she accidentally started Armageddon. But the problems that always seem to arise on Marissa’s birthday take the cake.
This year, her annual bad-luck presents include an army of invading goblins, the resurrection of two vengeful enemies from hell, and the return of the Black Queen, the evil sorceress whose reign of terror still haunts Kingdom and who happens to have claimed Marissa as her servant.
As Marissa’s friends try to save her from the Black Queen’s clutches, Marissa fights to end a bitter war that started before her birth. But her quest for peace is about to bring up some inconvenient truths about her own past—ones that might cost her the happily ever after she’s always dreamed of…

Here is another fun installment to my new Urban Fantasy kick. This is the 3rd and final book in this series, well as least about these characters as far as I can tell. I'm really enjoying final books that manage to wrap everything up so well, especially when you are tying up loose ends from the first couple of books. Everything is important and everything comes to a head. I like that. There is even some answers about things that I didn't realize were loose ends (¥).
This was a really fun series. I hope that the new series will be just as fun.

Books that I am currently reading

by H.P. Lovecraft
Page 292 of 360

Lord of Chaos (The Wheel of Time #6)
by Robert Jordan
Page 710 of 1011
(29:90 of 41:32)

Poison Sleep (Marla Mason #2)
by T.A. Pratt
Page 57 of 321

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tunage Tuesday - Pure Imagination

Come with me... and you'll be...
in a World of pure imagination....

I always loved that song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but I love it even more with Lindsey Stirling, Josh Groban and the Muppets involved

Wasn't that wonderful? Are you going to have that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day?

If that's a bad thing, trying having the Pokemon theme stuck in there instead, also preformed by Lindsay Sterling 

you know how much I love me some Lindsay Sterling

Still not what you want? How about we go back to the Muppets theme and chack out some Ben Folds Five featuring Fraggle Rock?

Yup, an awesome combination made of pure imagination!

Thanks to Never Too Old To Love Muppets and Muppet Mayhem for always loving some Muppets

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Thursday Threads - Shoe Bakery

Sometimes objects are so sweet, that you just want to eat them! That's the case with me and these adorable shoes from the Shoe Bakery

Each shoe is perfectly made to reflect a sweet treat and I want to eat wear them all!

Just look at those layered cake wedges! So amazing!

These make me want to scream for ice cream!

I think these vanilla sundae ones are my favorite!

I want every single pair of these adorable flats! I would wear them everywhere!

Aren't they just delicious?  Which pair would you like to eat wear?

Monday, August 31, 2015

The New 52 - August Edition

August was a long, busy month that seemed to go on forever. I worked long days and was exhausted a lot of the time. Sometimes too exhausted to read.... I know... It was awful!
For most of the month I was trying desperately to get through a book that I just didn't want to read and picking up other books in fits and starts, just to try and get by. By the time I finally finished the book, I was sure that there were only going to be a few books on my list this month, but in the last week, I managed to zoom through a couple of really good books and I'm feeling much more relaxed.
Here's what I read this month:

by Robert Jordan

1007 Pages

The seals of Shayol Ghul are weak now, and the Dark One reaches out. The Shadow is rising to cover humankind.
In Tar Valon, Min sees portents of hideous doom. Will the White Tower itself be broken?
In the Two Rivers, the Whitecloaks ride in pursuit of a man with golden eyes, and in pursuit of the Dragon Reborn.
In Cantorin, among the Sea Folk, High Lady Suroth plans the return of the Seanchan armies to the mainland.
In the Stone of Tear, the Lord Dragon considers his next move. It will be something no one expects, not the Black Ajah, not Tairen nobles, not Aes Sedai, not Egwene or Elayne or Nynaeve.
Against the Shadow rising stands the Dragon Reborn.....

This book further continues the series that was suppose to end with the last book.  Now, no longer shackled to a trilogy, Jordan was able to open up his World even more. The characters continued to separate and follow their own paths (most of the time) or be pulled along against their will, due to destiny (). He introduces new cultures and shows us how prophecy can change depending on where you are.
I'm always fascinated with Rand's story, as he gets dragged along by the Pattern and forced into becoming the Dragon Reborn. As the story progresses he tries to become more of a leader, despite still feeling like a shepherd.
This is the first sort of slow book in the series, at least I always thought, but listening to it on audiobook makes even the slow books much more interesting.

by Mercedes Lackey

310 Pages

Rosamund is an Earth Master in the Schwarzwald, the ancient Black Forest of Germany. Since the age of ten, she has lived with her teacher, the Hunt Master and Earth Magician of the Schwarzwald Foresters, a man she calls “Papa.” Her adoptive Papa rescued her after her original Earth Master teacher, an old woman who lived alone in a small cottage in the forest, was brutally murdered by werewolves. Rosa herself barely escaped, and this terrifying incident molded the course of her future.
For like her fellow Earth Masters of the Schwarzwald Lodge, Rosa is not a healer. Instead, her talents lead her on the more violent path of protection and defense— “cleansing” the Earth and protecting its gentle fae creatures from those evil beings who seek to do them harm.
And so Rosa becomes the first woman Hunt Master and the scourge of evil creatures, with a deadly specialty in werewolves and all shape­shifters.
While visiting with a Fire Master—a friend of her mentor from the Schwarzwald Lodge— Rosa meets a pair of Elemental Magicians from Hungary who have come looking for help. They suspect that there is a dark power responsible for a string of murders happening in the remote countryside of Transylvania, but they have no proof. Rosa agrees to help them, but there is a catch: one of the two men asking for aid is a hereditary werewolf.
Rosa has been taught that there are three kinds of werewolves. There are those, like the one that had murdered her teacher, who transform themselves by use of dark magic, and also those who have been infected by the bite of these magical werewolves—these poor victims have no control over their transforma­tive powers. Yet, there is a third kind: those who have been born with the ability to trans­form at will. Some insist that certain of these hereditary werewolves are benign. But Rosa has never encountered a benign werewolf!
Can she trust this Hungarian werewolf? Or is the Hunter destined to become the Hunted?

This was the first book I picked up when I was having trouble getting through The Court Of The Air.  I needed something that I knew was going to be good, so I went for the new Mercedes Lackey. She's always reliable for a good story... well, most of the time.
Being a part of the Elemental Master Series, I expect a few things; elemental magic, Victoria Era setting, and a Fairy Tale tie in. Triple check on all three. Rosa is a Earth Master and is suppose to be tied in with a Little Red Ridinghood theme, although other than the epilogue, we get more of a Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunter kinda vibe. Since when are Vampires and Werewolves considered Elementals? I guess the World is also full of nasty monsters who do nasty things (%)
I love that Mercedes takes her time to really flush out her characters, which is why I was disappointing that she really tried to get a love triangle () going between Rosa, the "good" werewolf (¥) and his cousin. None of them really had any chemistry together other the the workings of a good friendship (&). Oh well, can't win 'em all.
Other than these few problems, I really did enjoy this book 

by Ann Aguirre

417 Pages

The horde is coming.
Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they're not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker, and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn't run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade's love.
Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn't been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.
This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

This was the second book I picked up while reading The Court Of The Air.
I really feel like this is how raising an army would actually go. You start with a few and have everyone else laugh in your face. You show them what you can do, even in small numbers and the word begins to spread to everyone else and they start to rethink laughing at you.
This is not a story where everything just falls into place, they work and fight for every inch they can get.
As well as being a post-apocalyptic story of war, like all good YA, there's always a love story involved. This was has been evolving through the last 2 books. Deuce and Fade finally start to figure everything out and Stalker finally gives up trying to win Deuce for himself () and starts to work on making amends with Tegan for the harm he caused her in earlier books (%)
I think my favorite character in the book series might actually be Tegan. She grows so much and really comes into herself. It just goes to show you than anyone can be a hero.

by Barb Hendee

326 Pages

The national bestselling author of The Mist-Torn Witches returns to a world of princes and power, magic and mystery, where two women have the ability to reveal the future and uncover the past…
When seers Céline and Amelie Fawe fled Shetâna under threat of death, they vowed never to return. Yet, less than a year later, they are summoned back—to aid the man who once tried to kill them.…
The cruel prince Damek is on the verge of closing marriage negotiations with the powerful family of a young noblewoman when his intended’s sister is murdered. To keep the engagement from falling through, Damek must expose the killer quickly—and he needs the seers’ powers to do so. Though the Fawes’ patron, Prince Anton, fears that bringing Céline and Amelie to Shetâna places them in grave danger, he is honor-bound to help his brother Damek.
Only none of them is prepared for the peril that awaits them at Castle Kimovesk—for someone in the court is determined to prevent the marriage from happening, no matter how deadly the cost… 

This was the third book I picked up while reading The Court Of The Air.
I'm always a little surprised when I read this series, that I actually get sucked into the mystery as much as I do. These books constantly keep me guessing as to "who done it". This book keeps with that tradition as they head into the Lion's Den of Prince Anton's nasty, cruel, evil (%) brother Damek. The girls use their special ability (¥) to try and figure out what's really going on, but Celine's powers aren't doing her any favors. I guess they really can't when one reading will just give away the end. That would just spoil all the fun.
Celine and Anton continue to have an awkward relationship of unrequited longing and friendship (&) and I was sad that Jaromir wasn't in the book for more than a few pages. Hopefully he will be in more of the next book. 

by Stephen Hunt

582 Pages

A hugely engaging adventure set in a Victorian-style world -- a fantastical version of Dickens -- that will appeal to fans of Susanna Clarke and Philip Pullman. Two orphans are more than they seem. And one megalomaniac will stop at nothing to find them! When Molly Templar witnesses a brutal murder at the brothel she has just been apprenticed to, her first instinct is to return to the poorhouse where she grew up. But there she finds her fellow orphans butchered, and it slowly dawns on her that she was in fact the real target of the attack. For Molly carries a secret deep in her blood, a secret that marks her out for destruction by enemies of the state. Soon Molly will find herself battling a grave threat to civilization which draws on an ancient power thought to have been quelled millennia ago. 
Oliver Brooks has led a sheltered life in the home of his merchant uncle. But when he is framed for his only relative's murder he is forced to flee for his life. He is accompanied by Harry Stave, an agent of the Court of the Air -- a shadowy organization independent of the government that acts as the final judiciary of the land, ensuring that order prevails.Chased across the country, Oliver finds himself in the company of thieves, outlaws and spies, and gradually learns more about the secret that has blighted his life, but which may also offer him the power to avert the coming catastrophe. Their enemies are ruthless and myriad, but Molly and Oliver are joined by indomitable friends in this endlessly inventive tale full of drama, intrigue and adventure.

Yes, I finally managed to finish this book. I wasn't sure I was going to for awhile there. It's hard to know what to say about this book.
I feel like it had a lot of potential. The story was good, but it was so wordy that it became uninteresting and hard to concentrate on.
For Example:
'Same reason that worldsingers wear their purple robes, Molly, same reason magistrates and doormen put on their wigs and powder, same reason engine men talk about taking transaction drums offstream rather than just saying turn them off. Every trade like to talk up their job with a little mystique and hide its doings with a lot of words that don't do much more than make what is very simple very complex'
Yup, you said it....with way too many words.
Also, there are way too many things that the author just expects you to understand, but doesn't explain, leaving you feeling confused and left out of many things.
The wayward Orphans who must save the World with their yet-untold magical powers (¥) lack heart and emotion and deeper character development. I loved Molly, but Oliver changed half way through the book without even so much as a thought about it.
The plot was very complicated, leading to a war based on political, religious, magical, changing boarders and assimilating people into Cybermen-like mechs. I could've gotten behind one or two of those, but all of them were too many.
This book was part of a series that I'm leery about continuing. Perhaps I will add the next one to my TBR pile next year.

by Judith Fertig

279 Pages

A fiction debut that will leave you wanting seconds, from an award-winning cookbook author.
Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings—cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.
Maybe that’s why she feels the need to go home to Millcreek Valley at a time when her life seems about to fall apart. The bakery she opens in her hometown is perfect, intimate, just what she’s always dreamed of—and yet, as she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.
Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself.

This was a really sweet book, despite a few sour notes (%). The story doesn't just take place in the present, but also in the past, following a ring, a pair of sisters and a poor neighbor boy. How this connects with the present is a wonderful story in and of itself.
I love reading about bakeries and how they are run, and although Neely runs the bakery, we still get glimpses of the behind the scenes World.
Neely's power of tasting feelings (¥) was way more magical than I had anticipated. I was thinking that she just got hints about people, but she gets full-on visions.
It was the only real leap of the story, but it was one I was willing to take.

Books that I am currently reading

by H.P. Lovecraft
Page 268 of 360

by Robert Jordan
Page 848 of 890
(32:13 of 36:27 hours)

by Ami McKay
Page 50 of 480

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday Threads - Cardigans

Alas, Summer is almost over. The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler. Soon it will be back to school, the Changing of the leaves and the preparation for Halloween.

I'm getting ahead of myself, after all, I am wearing a tank top and and am perfectly comfortable in it. It's true though, while the lazy days of summer are still nice and warm, the nights are getting cooler and I sometimes find myself thinking about grabbing a cardigan.

But cardigans are so boring, or at least mine are; left over from my office days. They're all plain and bland colours, designed to go with anything and make you blend in with your equally boring attired office crowd.

Not anymore! There are geeky cardigans out there and they are just waiting for us!

Hot Topic

I love the little pokeball buttons!

I love the Her Universe Studio Ghibli line!

I haven't watched Orphan Black yet, but I'm loving this handgun cardigan

This cardigan is perfect for Shark Week or any day of the week, really.

These Star Trek cardigans are suddenly all the rage and how could they not be? They're super cute

See? All the rage

I'm still so in love with these Star Wars cardigans!

These new Varsity cardigans are perfect for back to school

Simple, geeky, perfect!

We Love Fine

There are more Adventure Time cardigans! YAY!!!

I'm loving this new Princess Bubblegum one!

I covet this Spider Gwen cardigan

What did I tell you? They're everywhere!

You can get the exact same ones at Think Geek too, but I like WLF better

Whether the weather is still warm or not, I feel cozy looking at all these cardigans. It makes me want to go make myself a cup of tea and curl up with a blanket and a book. Okay, so maybe I'll settle with a glass of lemonade and some air conditioning, but you know what I mean.
Geek on, everyone

Thanks to Fashionably Geek who always knows how to style up my day