Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Wrap-Up

How do you get poison oak on your foot and not even realize it? Seriously, sometimes I am such an airhead. Instead of giving you TMI, let's make a long story short and say that no matter how cute and fluffy Axel (my dog) looks, I am never rubbing my bare feet on him again.

Also, as some of you might know - as I did mention it a couple of months back - I can't eat dairy. Well, I've finally figured out that I am lactose intolerant. As a whole, it's actually not too bad. There are some amazing dairy-free ice creams out there, especially a couple really awesome coconut ones. And, the truth is, I've not been a milk drinker for years preferring rice or soy milk for just about everything. However...I miss my cheeses. Yeah, I just wanted to tell you all this to I could say how much I miss eating cheese. And it's not even like I ate a lot of really high dollar cheeses. (Though I do love Havarti.) I miss cheddar cheese on my tacos, burritos and roll-ups. I miss real, honest cheddar and mozzarella pizza. I know things should get easier over time, but while there are some great dairy-free choices for most everything else, the cheese seriously lacks.

I would like to say that the reason I got through so many books is because they were just that good - and some of them were - but in truth, for about a week at the beginning of the month, my internet wasn't working at all. So all the time I would have been socializing on blogs or just doing random things on the net, I was reading instead. And some of these books were short. I'd say I also had an extra day off (Labor Day) but all I did that day was play computer games. (In truth, my internet has barely been working for six weeks and I've been getting a lot of extra reading done instead of ... well, socializing.)

I'd also like to take a moment to tell everyone that I'm so sorry. It's partially because of my poor internet service - but I also haven't had energy to interact. Besides, whenever I try to, that's when my internet disconnects me. So, I haven't been ignoring you. I just feel swamped and like I just don't have words no matter how hard I try. Once again, so sorry. The good news is that I've been feeling more social the past week, so I've probably been popping up on your blogs again.

I have been thinking about buying an Ethernet cable and running it to my computer. Does anyone know if they help the internet service? Because I have heard totally mixed things.

What I've been reading...

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo - **** - My Review Here
Enigma by Lindsay Buroker - *****
Red Rope of Fate by K.M. Shea - **** - Review Up 10/7

The Palace Job by Patrick Weeks - ****
Dogs: Bullets & Carnage Vol. 2 by Shirow Miwa - ****
Dogs: Bullets & Carnage Vol. 3 by Shirow Miwa - *****

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - ***** - ReRead for #TLCReadAlong - Thoughts Here
Balanced on the Blade's Edge by Lindsay Buroker - ****
The Wondrous and the Wicked by Page Morgan - **

Murder, Served Simply by Isabella Alan - ** - Thoughts Here
The Ships of Air by Martha Wells - *****
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George - ***

Splintered by A.G. Howard - DNF - Thoughts Here
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells - DNF - Thoughts Here

The Comet's Curse by Dom Testa - **** - Review Up 10/14
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly - **** - Review Up 10/21
Blooms of Consequence by Breeana Puttroff - * - Series Spotlight Up 10/8

It's interesting to note I'd been craving some sci-fi most of the month. Thankfully, Dogs and Scarlet took care of some of that fairly early on. The Comet's Curse was also an awesome fix for that craving. Definitely wishing that I'd grabbed a sci-fi romance by one of my authors as my last book instead of finishing a series that I loved up until the final book.

What I've been watching...
So very, very much. Most of these I got finished the third week, because I had so many shows started that I had less than a handful of episodes left of and they were just sitting there. (Because for whatever reason, I didn't want to watch them.)

Finally finished season 10 (the final season) of Stargate: SG:1 and it was crap. I mean, the show had been going downhill ever since season four, (except the awesome, Daniel-free season 6!) loosing heart and the sense of exploration by gallons. But the final episode was probably the most depressing series finale ever and it has killed my interest in rewatching Stargate: Atlantis (which I always did like more than SG:1).

Rewatched Code: Breaker. The word 'awesome' springs to mind. Might even like the characters a bit more the second time around.

Watched The Third: The Girl With The Blue Eye. I mostly enjoyed it, but the ending was a disappointment. (But, then again, so was most anything that concerned the main guy.)

Watched season 7 of Castle. So, I adore the people (characters and actors both) but - and I hate saying this - parts of the last two season have been draggy. (Mostly the romantic angst.) I think the show should just end before it totally drives itself into the ground.

Rewatched season 4 of Warehouse 13. Pertaining to a book I tried reading this month: this is my H.G. Wells! Besides that, I love the show as much as ever.

Watched Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital (which is season 2) and...I love this show! Seriously, I was worried about season two because second seasons of anime shows are notoriously bad for me. But I needn't have worried because it was even better than season one!

Watched season 2 of Freezing (called Vibration). This is the kind of season two I'm used to. Disappointing. Butchering characters I've grown to love - especially the formerly strong, capable women turning into a weak, pathetic Stockholm Syndrom-er. And a worthless girl who talks the talk but sure don't walk the walk. And I was finally pushed too far with the bitchy in fighting. (Bad season, bad.)

Watched Leviathan - the last defense and it is such a cute little show. Sure, it's not much but fluff, but the girls are totally 'aw' and complement each other so well. Besides, it's an anime from a Gree game, so that's cool right there.

Watched season 2 of Falling Skies. So, I love the show but it is flawed, it does have its problems. The fact that there's a lot of diversity does not negate the fact that nearly every time a named character is killed it's a POC. Also, a line like 'leave the women at home while the men go out to fight' coming from a women only works when the only two named female fighters in the group aren't going. A bonus though is that this show is starting to look like a catch-all for actors that have been on sci-fi shows in the past.

So, my month has been pretty much a mixed bag on everything, but I'm super excited to see the start of October tomorrow! How has your month went?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Top Ten Books To Read If You Like These Super Popular Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

I'm actually not a big reader of really popular books or authors, but that's what this prompt was for. I have actually been thinking about doing a couple of posts like this, even though I'm always terrified of giving suggestions for books to read that are similar to certain books. But, I decided to give it a go and hope you find something here to read! I would like to note that I don't personally put all these books on the same level - I like some a lot more than others - but the ones I paired all have something in common that reminded me of each other as I was reading them or while thinking about them.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Scarlet Talk (#TLCReadAlong) (Spoilers!)

taking place here

Today I get to talk about rereading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer which is book two in The Lunar Chronicles. If you like to see my talk on Cinder, click here. And you can find my Cinder Talk from last month here. As usual, figure on there being spoilers here, for both Scarlet and for Cinder, so don't say I didn't warn you! If you'd like to see my original, spoiler-free, review of Scarlet, click here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

September Book Haul

This month has definitely been light on the book buying for me. Not only has several shows that I wanted to buy finally hit DVD, but I also had to renew my Epipen prescription and those things are crazy expensive.

I finally got the rest of my manga order in with these two sure-to-be gems.

On Kindle

If any of these three books catches your eye, you might want to check Amazon out, because I got all three of them for free.

I'm definitely planning to buy a lot of books to make up for this month in October, so we'll see if that happens.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Summer TBR Update & Fall TBR

Back in June, one of the Top Ten Tuesday topics from The Broke and The Bookish was the top ten books you wanted to read that season. Well, lately I've been so terrible at actually reading the books I choose for that season, I decided to make a real effort.

I actually read all but one of them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha
Genre: Fantasy
Add on Goodreads

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

What I did last season was just grab ten random books that sounded good - but then I decided to do my best to read them all before fall started. (Update on how that went in a couple of days.) This time around, I really put a lot of thought into what books I would want to read the most, even if they didn't come up in my TBR jar.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Little Red References in Scarlet (#TBRReadAlong) (Spoilers!)

taking place here

Warning: There will be spoilers in this post. If you've not read Scarlet yet, don't say I didn't warn you.

I was actually surprised at how few parallels I could draw between this book and the original tale of Little Red. Maybe that's because I don't know that fairytale as much as I might like, or maybe it's just because I read the book so quickly. (Like 24 hours quickly. That just means it was awesome though. Right?)

Let's get started with the obvious - the ones that I think everyone probably saw.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Clicking 'Mark-As-Read'

I love the blogs I follow. I don't follow a bunch of them - not dozens like some people, though I have recently found a few more to follow - but the ones I do follow are awesome. I love the bloggers, even if our taste is seldom the same, they are still awesome people and I love talking to them. And I love Bloglovin'. That is my first choice for following blogs. It works perfectly for me and is just excellent.

However, some days I sit down and load up Bloglovin', ready to comment on the awesome posts these awesome bloggers posted but… Something happens. Something I don't like. I wind up clicking 'mark-as-read'.

It happens. I know it does. No matter how much you like a blog or the blogger behind it, they're going to post stuff you're not interested in.

However, I've been noticing that that little 'mark-as-read' button gets quite a workout from me.

So, I'm wondering, what makes you 'mark-as-read' a post? For me, it's gotta be the Blitz and the Tour posts. I love the weird stuff, the odd post title that leave me going 'what's that?'. For me, reviews are kind of hit and miss. Contemporary isn't my thing, so more often than not that'll get an automatic pass. I always read the fantasy reviews though. And finally, I love the Top Ten Tuesday memes - though I never click on the Stacking the Shelves ones. I'm also not the biggest reader of recap posts.

I definitely don't feel guilt over this, as I know that each post just won't be for everyone. (I sure know that my posts aren't.) But, it's an interesting realization to come to.

How do you follow blogs? Bloglovin'? Or another platform? - I'd love to know what it is, if that's the case. What causes you to just give the post a pass without even reading it?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Burn, Rewrite or Reread Tag

So, I don't know if this is the first time I saw it, but it wasn't until seeing this tag over at Lovely Literature that I decided to give it a go. It sounds like a lot of fun - and potentially nail-bitingly stressful depending on which books are paired up. You probably know the drill, but if not: select three random books you've read then decide which of the three you would re-read, which one you'd rewrite and which one you'd burn. (I'm obviously not going to be doing that, but let's pretend, shall we?)

Round One (aka: Easy Enough)

Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk - Burn - Ugh, this book is just - Well, it was okay, right up until the main woman/love interest was raped for no reason! There wasn't even a 'hero saves the day' with it. I think the only reason was so the 'hero' could have a reason to want the villain dead. Because, of course, the only function rape could serve in a fantasy story doesn't pertain to the victim. Cheap, sexist piece of trash!

Green Rider by Kristen Britain- Rewrite - I love the idea behind this series: a group of messengers and spies for the king. However, this book (actually, the first three books of the series because I stopped after that) just didn't quite work for me. There was too much longing romance and way too much time spent on just the main character. Alone. With her horse. I mean, with the idea, you've pretty much got a tailor made 'ragtag bunch of misfits'. Now use them!

Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters - Reread - I've lost count of how many times I've already reread this book - and in fact, most of the series - but I still love it as much as the first time. It's about a family (that get's very large and extended over time) of egyptologists in the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds. Can't recommend this whole series strongly enough to fans of mysteries and fans of Egypt.

Round Two (aka: How can I? Don't make me.)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - Burn - I actually have my reasons that have nothing to do with this book. This book, I loved. That is totally the past tense though, because the sequel was nothing compared to this book. I am attempting to convince myself to give this series one more shot, but for now... I distance myself from it and light the pyre.

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill - Rewrite - This book was actually pretty darn close to perfect. Besides my usual issue of first person pov, the only slight quibble I have was that ending. It was perfectly bittersweet, but I would have loved a little more...hope at the end. (Actually, I wanted romance at the end, but this short story set after the end helped me a little.)

The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan - Reread - This book is the first in what has become my favorite fantasy series - so of course I want to reread it. Actually, that is the truth. I think I need to reread the entire series, but I really want to refresh my memory of how everything started.

Round Three (aka: Everything Falls Into Place)

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle - Burn - It's really sad. I wanted to like this book and while I didn't hate it, I certainly didn't like it much. My problems all boil down to the main girl. She's mean to her siblings, self absorbed to a disturbing extent and is supposed to be solving the disappearance of a close friend, but can't be bothered to think about her between the dresses, balls and tea. I didn't hate the book, but that was no thanks so the main girl.

Wings of the Falcon Barbara Michaels - Rewrite - I think this book is as perfect as all the author's other books - and, in truth, this is one of my favorites. However, I would have liked it just a bit better if the 'twist' was one that I couldn't have seen coming from a mile off. And over a hill at that!

Cruel Beauty Rosamund Hodge - Reread - This is a book that I definitely do want to reread. It's also a book I love and can never quite speak coherently about why I do love it. The characters are amazing and complex, the world building is of the 'blink-and-you'll-miss-something-that-will-leave-you-confused-about-the-ending' variety and ... well, I just really need to reread it.

Round Four (aka: Wherein Things Sag)

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - Burn - I've read a lot of books I've hated, but seldom have I ever read a book that was just simply annoying. This is one of those 'look at me, look at me, I'm funny' cases that left me not laughing. This is like the kid that you just know is trying too hard.

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess - Rewrite - Potential, but potential that was never realized. This was a book that kept me at arm's length throughout the story. It was like the main character was always edging away from me and telling me 'don't touch' and I'm over there saying 'I just want to get to know you' and she keeps edging away until finally I don't even care anymore.

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer - Reread - While in any other round this would have been the rewrite option - for failing to deliver on promises (like the mysterious family history that ties to the pirate Lafitte and the whole plotline with the boilers that was never explored) - it was also my favorite out of these three books. And probably the one I'd be least likely to rip in little-itty-bitty pieces if I tried to reread.

So, there's my Burn, Rewrite or Reread tag. I hope you enjoyed and I know I picked some pretty popular books to Burn. (Don't hate me, please. It takes all kinds, right. Right?) If you're interested in doing this, I had a lot of fun and totally tag you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary
Add on Goodreads

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Top Ten Dynamic Duos In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's a 'freebie' week over at The Broke and The Bookish, so I got to give some thought to what I wanted to do. Originally it was supposed to be my bookish crushes, but then I realized that I really don't have ten. (Probably, if I'm being fair, not even five.) I don't come up with my own topics for these posts (though I have a few, very nebulous, ideas…) so I started looking through the backlog at their website. Just scanning through the list, I found one that immediately caught my eye. I love friendships in books so, even though this can also be couples, it'll probably be mostly friends. (I'd also like to note that none of these images are mine. I'm just spreading them around to share the love. <3)

Top Ten Dynamic Duos In Books

Sherlock Holmes & John Watson
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
You can take the original novels, or any of the (newish, anyhow) TV and film remakes - I have always adored their friendship. I'm also quite partial to Elementary that has a Joan Watson. :) (Also love the old series with Ronald Howard and H. Marion Crawford.)

Hadrian Blackwater & Royce Melborn
The Riyria Revelations (and The Riyria Chronicles) by Michael J. Sullivan
Probably my favorite 'dynamic duo' ever. These two guys are very different and yet they work together so perfectly. What I think is especially awesome is the way, over time, that each guy rubs off on the other a little.

Prudence Akeldama & Primrose Hisselpenny
The Custard Protocol series by Gail Carriger
One of my favorite things about Gail Carriger's books is how the leading lady always has a best friend. Well, these two are quite a pair, let me tell you. They're both always ready for adventure - even while Prim does her best to keep Rue in the proper garments! (And, in truth, is a little less adventurous. Re: More sensible.)

Linh Cinder & Carswell Thorne
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
So, I could have totally chosen on of the romance-y couples, but instead I had to go with another one of those total-opposites-friendships. I love their interactions so much and they are really good for each other. (Even better, there's not one point where I thought they 'could' have been a couple.)

Will Herondale & Jem Carstairs
The Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare
Sure, sure, I could add Tessa to the duo, and, in truth, probably should. But I adore the friendship these two have and their past together.

Amaranthe Lockdon & Sicarius
The Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker
A couple! Seriously though, beyond that, this is another opposites attract setup - they just attract a bit more than anyone else on my list so far. (I could also talk about the opposites attracting friendship between Maldynado and Books.)

Aerin Renning & Dane Madousin
Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund
An awesome friendship that turns into romance. These two characters need each other and it was so wonderful watching them slowly come to care for each other and let the other person in.

Rose Hathaway & Lissa Dragomir
Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Even if I've only read the first book, the friendship between these two really spoke to me. The love each other, would probably do anything for each other, but they still get under each other's skin. That's got to be one of the most realistic friendships I've come across.

Ramses Emerson & David Todros
Amelia Peabody Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters
Best friends, partners in crime (sometimes literally as well as partners in crime-solving). They aren't brothers, but they are closer than - and eventually do become family by marriage. Much like Prim is to Rue, David is Ramses voice of reason. (Least, most of the time.)

Arilyn Moonblade & Danilo Thann
Songs & Swords series by Elaine Cunningham
They start off antagonistic to each other - rather, him always getting under her skin - become friends then romantic interests for each other. All the while he still gets under her skin. But I seriously love these two!

There we have my post for this freebie week on ten dynamic duos in books. I had a lot of fun putting this together and am so excited to check out everyone else's posts. These weeks always have such unique topics!