Wednesday, December 31, 2014

52 Review - December Edition

Wow! It's the end of the year and I've managed to read 58 books for the challenge!!!

Yes, I read 112% of my goal in books! That's 21808 pages! How cool is that?

Last year I only read 43 books (18396 Pages)
That means this year I beat myself by 15 books and read a whopping 3412 more pages!

So this last month of 2014, here are the books that I read

by Jacqueline Carey 

413 Pages

Fathered by an incubus, raised by a mortal mother, and liaison to the Pemkowet Police Department, Daisy Johanssen pulled the community together after a summer tragedy befell the resort town she calls home. Things are back to normal — as normal as it gets for a town famous for its supernatural tourism and presided over by the reclusive Norse goddess Hel.

Not only has Daisy now gained respect as Hel’s enforcer; she’s dating Sinclair Palmer, a nice, seemingly normal human guy. Not too shabby for the daughter of a demon. Unfortunately, Sinclair has a secret. And it’s a big one.

He’s descended from obeah sorcerers, and they want him back. If he doesn’t return to Jamaica to take up his rightful role in the family, they’ll unleash spirit magic that could have dire consequences for the town. It’s Daisy’s job to stop it, and she’s going to need a lot of help. But time is running out, the dead are growing restless, and one mistake could cost Daisy everything...

This book was fun. I don't read a lot of urban fantasy, but when I do, I always hope that it will be like this. I love Daisy and her interactions with all her fellow characters. I'm less inclined to like the love triangle (square?) that's going on, but then I don't like when every main male character of a certain age (at least in appearance) has to be a love interest. I feel like I should be going out and buying t-shirts that say I'm Team Cody or Team Sinclair  or Team Stefan (I'm totally Team Cody btw)
The story-line that I wasn't expecting and really, really enjoyed, came in the back-story of her best friend Jen and her blood slave sister. Nice twist there. Much better than the twist with Sinclair and his family. It's those little back stories that get me every time. 
This book was not as good as the first, but still fun and will have me picking up the next one when it eventually comes out in paperback.

by Barb Hendee

325 Pages

Far to the north, the men of an isolated silver mining community are turning into vicious “beasts” that slaughter anyone in sight. The mines belong to the noble family of Prince Anton—ruler of Castle Sèone and Céline and Amelie’s patron—and Anton’s tyrannical father has ordered his son to solve the mystery as a test of his leadership. He has no choice but to send the witches into the perilous north, to use their abilities to discover the cause of the transformations. Given how much they owe the prince, the sisters have no choice but to accept.

Together with the over-protective Lieutenant Jaromir, Célene and Amelie enter the dark world of a far off mining camp tainted by fear, mistrust, and enslavement—and haunted by men turning into massive, mad wolves without warning. Now, the two must draw upon strength and cunning they never thought they possessed not only to solve the mystery, but to survive…

I love this series. It's super easy to read and I had a hard time putting it down. I was having trouble finishing one of my TBR books and ended up picking this one up instead. I finished it in a few days. I love the differences between Celene and Amelie. You can tell they are sisters, but they are still very much their own people, strong in their own ways. 
Although they tried to give Celene a love triangle, it was  never very much of one and it never defined her character, which was quite refreshing. 
The plot was a little silly, but they played the mystery of it very well. I had no idea. I'm also looking forward to reading the next book in the series when it comes out.

by George R.R. Martin

1128 Pages

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces maneuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others--a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords...

OMG! I'm finally done this book! After 2 years of trying to reread it it's finished!!! I tried to sit down and read it numerous times this year and never got farther than a few chapters before I got fed up and picked up something else instead. I was trying to figure out how I would ever finish this TBR book by the end of the year, when I had an epiphany; I could get the audio book and listen to it. I thought it would be just as hard to listen to. I hate almost all the characters, so it's been hard to invest so much time into each of them while reading, but listening to it, I actually found it quite enjoyable. I would have it on while cooking and cleaning, when I was out walking or Christmas shopping and I found it went rather quickly. It's not a bad book, but it's not the be-all-end-all that people seem to think it is either. This is for sure the way I'm finally going to be able to read the rest of them. I've already downloaded A Feast of Crows and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next. I also think I will continue the trend of audio books in the future. I always wanted a way to be able to read while doing other mundane things and I think this will be the way!

by Katharine Kerr

454 Pages

Return to the fantastical land of myth, magic and passion. Over a thousand years ago the People of Deverry were driven from their splendid kingdom by their enemy, the Hordes, and forced to find sanctuary in the remote forests in the east of their lands where they eventually settled. Succeeding generations remembered these terrible events as the Burning - and they never forgot the cities, towns and marvels of the far, far west. 

"Dawnspell", the third compelling volume in Katharine Kerr's epic "Deverry" series, continues the bold saga of Nevyn, Rhodry and Jill as they battle with the evil forces threatening the world of Deverry in the decades that follow the Burning. Rooted in Celtic mythology, this dazzling novel offers a vision of an extraordinary universe of magicians, kings, elves and prophets, of a world where love is triumphant - even over death.

Ugh! This book was awful. It was the last book on my TBR pile for the year and one of the hardest ones I've had to get through. It's the 3rd book in a series that I started years ago when I bought a book that I thought was the 1st in a series and then found out that it was actually the 12th book....
I've had to search high and low for the other books and have found them here and there over the years. The other books so far haven't been that bad, but this one was awful! As if rape wasn't bad enough in a book, magical rape where she is magically coerced over and over again left me feeling violated.  It wasn't the worst rape scene I've read (I hate you so much The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), but that doesn't make it any better. Can we please stop this horrible trope of raping women to give men more character and leaving the women to figure out how to cope?
Will I read more of this series? Ugh... I'm not sure after that. Part of me hopes that it will redeem itself. I guess we'll see.

by S. Andrew Swann

325 Pages

Frank Blackthorne's most recent heist did not end optimally. The sacrificial virgin survived, but the whole incident left Frank, a respectable career thief, on the run from a kingdom full of evil cultists eager to replace their sacrifice.

So, when the Court Wizard of Lendowyn, Elhared the Unwise, comes to him intending to hire someone to save Lendowyn’s princess from an evil dragon in return for riches, glory, and help with the bloodthirsty cultists problem, Frank is rightfully suspicious. Frank is also not in a position to refuse.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Frank’s rescue fails—in an explosion of spectacularly misapplied magic. When the dust settles, all parties involved find themselves body-swapped. Frank is left stranded in the Princess Lucille’s body, halfway across the kingdom. The understandably angry Princess Lucille finds herself inhabiting the body of the dragon. In order to set things right, they will have to team up and face down thugs, slavers, elvish bookies, knights in shining armor, an evil Queen, and the hordes of the Dark Lord Nâtalc.

This was a nice, silly book to read after trudging through the last one. Body swaps everywhere! The thief ends up in the body of the princess and she ends up in the body of the dragon. There are so many fun twists and turns in this book, I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next! The writing behind the switching of bodies was well done. Frank dealt with being a woman very well. You never thought of him as a man after that. I always pictured him in his female form. Yes, there was a constant reminder that his body was female, but it was never sexualized by Frank. He always tried to be very polite to the body that he was in. Everyone else was another story. There were at least 6 times in the book that someone tried to rape him in her body, which he fought back with punches and stabbings in the groin. As awful as it was, he seemed to grasp the concept that this happens all the time and he had never realized it before. It was done almost in a comedic tone, which I didn't really like, but did drive home the message that it happens too much. That being said, I would have much preferred that it didn't happen at all.
This was a quick, fun read, that I managed to finish in 2 days over Christmas. I will definitely read more by this author.

by Maia Chance 

336 Pages

Miss Ophelia Flax is a Victorian actress who knows all about making quick changes and even quicker exits. But to solve a fairy-tale crime in the haunted Black Forest, she’ll need more than a bit of charm…

1867: After being fired from her latest variety hall engagement, Ophelia acts her way into a lady’s maid position for a crass American millionaire. But when her new job whisks her off to a foreboding castle straight out of a Grimm tale, she begins to wonder if her fast-talking ways might have been too hasty. The vast grounds contain the suspected remains of Snow White’s cottage, along with a disturbing dwarf skeleton. And when her millionaire boss turns up dead—poisoned by an apple—the fantastic setting turns into a once upon a crime scene.

To keep from rising to the top of the suspect list, Ophelia fights through a bramble of elegant lies, sinister folklore, and priceless treasure, with only a dashing but mysterious scholar as her ally. And as the clock ticks towards midnight, she’ll have to break a cunning killer’s spell before her own time runs out…

I'm not much of a mystery buff, but every once and a while I come across something that just sounds too good to pass up. This was the case with this book. Sadly, it did not live up to my hopes. It was pretty terrible. I was hoping that it would actually take on a fairy tale-like vibe, but it didn't at all. It was just a bad murder mystery with so many dead-end and stupid plots that at times it was hard to keep track of what was going on. Most of the characters were irrelevant, but stuck in just to have more people to maybe pin the murder on. By the end I had figured it out, but still had no idea where the story was going. The ending was lackluster and no one really got what they wanted. I see now that this is the first book in a new series. I will not be reading the next one.

So, how did you do this year with your reading? Did you beat me or your own goal? Will you be trying again next year? I certainly will!

Books that I am currently reading

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
by H.P. Lovecraft
Page 16 of 360
(hoping to actually finish this next year)

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire #4)
by George R.R. Martin
Page 114 of 978

Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Wishes From Talk Star To Me

Wishing you and yours the best internet connection you can get :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

One Year From Now.....

Let the countdown begin!!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Star Wars Movie Name Generator

Not happy with the new title for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens?

You can make your own title here with this name generator.

Me? I love the new name. I just wanted to make one for my blog!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Very Special Christmas Angel

Putting up the tree is one of my favorite holiday traditions.
I can spend hours fluffing the branches and making sure that the lights are just right.

I have a couple of Angel Barbies and usually one of them graces the top of my tree.
But this year I wanted to do something different. Something Geeky.

Behold, my favorite Angel

Doesn't she look amazing? I tried to arrange the lights under her skirts to match the lights in her gown. I'll probably tweak it a bit more until I'm satisfied, but for now, I think she looks awesome and totally deserves to be on the top of my tree

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Team Unicorn Is All About That Base And Other Geek Music

You know me; I can't resist geeky music, especially when it comes from my favorite team of Geek Girls: Team Unicorn!

Yes, they are all about that Base!

This is a cute parody of Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass, which is also pretty awesome. It's a song about being happy with what you look like, and how can we not love that?
 Here it is in case you haven't seen it

Now here are some more awesome videos by one of my other fave Geek Girls, Lindsay Sterling

Art by Elise Ferrari for the Design A Poster for Lindsay Sterling Contest (this was my fave)

Star Wars Medley featuring Peter Hollens

Amazing! Anyone else think that Peter Hollens makes a great Obi-Wan?
Not only are they super talented, but they always look like they;re having so much fun!

Dragon Age

This is such a beautiful song and the video is amazing!

Mission Impossible featuring the Piano Guys

Roundtable Rival

As much fun as the other videos looked, I think this one is the most fun!

And last but not least, an awesome song and video about geek equality

Nothing to Prove - Geek Girls & The Doubleclicks

Because in the end, we're all just awesome geeks and we love the same things!
Keep on rocking out and being geeks
Love you all!