Thursday, March 31, 2016

Brand New 52 - March Edition

art by Regina Vega
I can't believe that March is over and that I've actually read as much as I have.

yup, that's right. It's only March and I'm already over halfway to my reading goal of this year! How crazy is that? I don't even feel like I've been reading all that much, but I guess I have.
Here's what I read this month:

by Joanne Fluke

304 Pages

Bakery owner Hannah Swensen just can't keep her hands out of the batter when murder stirs things up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, leaving the sheriff dead, an innocent deputy accused, and a killer still on the loose...
For Hannah, life seems to be lacking a certain flavor. It's not that she doesn't enjoy teaching a weekly "Potluck Cooking Class" at the community outreach center. Or that she's not excited about her sister Andrea's bun in the oven -- watching the very pregnant Andrea try to sit on a stool at The Cookie Jar is worth it every time.
Maybe it's this year's sheriff's election that's got her down. For years, Sheriff Grant's been the iron hand in town. But now, Hannah's brother-in-law Bill is giving the old blowhard the fight of his long, dubious career -- and Grant's not taking it in stride, especially once the local polls (and The Cookie Jar gossip) show Bill pulling ahead.
But before anyone can get a taste of victory, things go sour. Just as Hannah's emptying the trash, she makes a very unappetizing discovery: Sheriff Grant's body in the dumpster behind the high school where she's teaching her cooking class. And if that weren't bad enough, the poor man still has fudge frosting on his shirt from the cupcake she gave him earlier. She'd been trying to find the secret ingredient left out of the recipe. Now she has a more important mystery to crack.
The number one suspect is none other than Bill. In fact, he's the only suspect. But Hannah's not swallowing it. Plenty of people had reason to hate Sheriff Grant, starting with all the deputies whose cases he stole during election years just so he could take the glory. Soon, Hannah's dishing up scandalous secrets, steaming hot betrayals, and enough nastiness to keep the gossip mill at The Cookie Jar going through several pots of decaf. And the closer Hannah gets to the truth, the closer she gets to smoking out a murderer with a very nasty recipe for silencing people. Will Hannah be able to stand the heat when someone wants her out of the kitchen... for good?

I wish the book was filled with as many bad baking puns as that summary was. That was just delicious! But puns aside, this book was actually quite fun. Maybe I finally gave up on trying to put logic to the plot and just let it take me for a ride instead, because I found that I liked it much better than any of the previous books. I love that it doesn't even phase Hannah any more when she finds the murdered bodies of people she knows. She just goes home and watches TV. Sure, she's going to investigate it for some thin plot point or another. To be honest, the plots in these books never really changes; she finds someone she knows who's been murdered, she decides to investigate for some reason, the police tell her not to, she does anyway. Blah, blah investigation, blah blah can't decide which man she wants to commit to, figures out whodunit, somehow gets trapped by them, gets saved, happy ending...
Seriously though, 5 books in and she still can't get out of her very boring love triangle. Also, this book totally would've fit into my trends from last year (@)
Ah, who am I kidding,,, I'm in it for the recipes

by Marissa Meyer 

387 Pages

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. 
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I've wanted to read this book since I started my fairy-tale kick.  It's not the best one that I've read, but I did find that I enjoyed it for simple YA. Enough so that I think I will read all of them. Without saying so on the back, you can pretty much figure out by the cover that this is a Cinderella tale.
I giggled through the twists like moon people with glamours, felt moved by the plight of the people lost to disease and looked forward to the inevitable loss of her foot. !

by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

416 Pages

Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger () aboard Britain's latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance - every case inexplicably unexamined by the Crown.

Oh, where do I begin with this book...
I read this book because I initially put the 3rd one on my TBR list without realizing it was the 3rd, so I went out and bought the 2nd book only to find out it was the 4th. These books are terribly labeled!  So I ended up having to order in the 2nd book (which is this one) and I figured I might as well get it out of the way so I can read the 3rd one later.
I was hoping that this one would be better than the 1st book, and it was, just not by much. I was intrigued by the Suffragist movement, that was having it's members whisked away by bright flashes of lighting. What devious plot would want to undermined this movement so badly? Turns out a terrible plot that had nothing to do with the movement at all. To be honest, the story kind of fell apart the closer to the end that it got. 
It also bothered me that they took the entire premise of the book (a buddy-cop story but with a tough, gun toting female and a bookish male) and swapped it so that the bookish male was the hero who could suddenly out shoot his counterpart and saves her and the day, while she didn't do much of anything. Sigh...!  

by Robert Jordan

783 Pages (32:19 Hours)

The Wheel of Time turns, and Robert Jordan gives us the eleventh volume of his extraordinary masterwork of fantasy.
The dead are walking, men die impossible deaths, and it seems as though reality itself has become unstable: All are signs of the imminence of Tarmon Gai'don, the Last Battle, when Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn, must confront the Dark One as humanity's only hope. But Rand dares not fight until he possesses all the surviving seals on the Dark One's prison and has dealt with the Seanchan, who threaten to overrun all nations this side of the Aryth Ocean and increasingly seem too entrenched to be fought off. But his attempt to make a truce with the Seanchan is shadowed by treachery that may cost him everything. Whatever the price, though, he must have that truce. And he faces other dangers. There are those among the Forsaken who will go to any length to see him dead--and the Black Ajah is at his side....
Unbeknownst to Rand, Perrin has made his own truce with the Seanchan. It is a deal made with the Dark One, in his eyes, but he will do whatever is needed to rescue his wife, Faile, and destroy the Shaido who captured her. Among the Shaido, Faile works to free herself while hiding a secret that might give her her freedom or cause her destruction. And at a town called Malden, the Two Rivers longbow will be matched against Shaido spears.
Fleeing Ebou Dar through Seanchan-controlled Altara with the kidnapped Daughter of the Nine Moons, Mat attempts to court the woman to whom he is half-married, knowing that she will complete that ceremony eventually. But Tuon coolly leads him on a merry chase as he learns that even a gift can have deep significance among the Seanchan Blood and what he thinks he knows of women is not enough to save him. For reasons of her own, which she will not reveal until a time of her choosing, she has pledged not to escape, but Mat still sweats whenever there are Seanchan soldiers near. Then he learns that Tuon herself is in deadly danger from those very soldiers. To get her to safety, he must do what he hates worse than work....(!)
In Caemlyn, Elayne fights to gain the Lion Throne while trying to avert what seems a certain civil war should she win the crown....
In the White Tower, Egwene struggles to undermine the sisters loyal to Elaida from within....
The winds of time have become a storm, and things that everyone believes are fixed in place forever are changing before their eyes. Even the White Tower itself is no longer a place of safety. Now Rand, Perrin and Mat, Egwene and Elayne, Nynaeve and Lan, and even Loial, must ride those storm winds, or the Dark One will triumph.

Book Eleven is where the story line finally starts to resolve it's self and that is a really really great thing. Plots that have taken books to cover are finally coming to a close so that the characters can finally start focusing on the fact that The Last Battle is approaching.  It's where things start to get really interesting, especially Egwene. I originally thought her story line was going to be dull, but it's actually one of my favorites. ()
Sadly, this was the last book that Jordan wrote before passing the torch to Brandon Sanderson and passing away. He is still greatly missed.

The High King's Tomb (Green Rider #3)
by Kristen Britain

656 Pages

More than a thousand years ago the armies of the Arcosian Empire, led by Mornhavon the Black, crossed the great sea and tried to conquer the land of Sacoridia using terrible dark magic. Eventually Mornhavon had been captured, and his evil spirit imprisoned in Blackveil Forest, protected by the mighty D'Yer Wall; and in the centuries since the war's end, knowledge of the working of magic had disappeared from Sacoridia.
Karigan G'ladheon was now a seasoned Green Rider—a member of the magical messenger corps of the king. But during her first year as a Rider, a rogue magician had cracked the D'Yer Wall. The spirit of Mornhavon, sensing the weakness, had begun to wake, seeking vengeance. Karigan had managed to transport the spirit of Mornhavon into the future, buying valuable time for her king and country. But how far in the future was Mornhavon now? There was no way to tell.
And though Karigan and her fellow Riders scoured the land searching for lost magical knowledge, they were unaware of a threat to their kingdom that lay far closer: the descendants of ancient enemies had spent generations honing their powers of dark magic—a force against which the Sacoridians had no defense. The High King's Tomb is the thrilling third installment of the Green Rider series.

I'm really enjoying this series. This one went back to it's roots a little more and had Karigan actually out on Rider business and all the fun, crazy, amazing trials that went with it, including staying at a brothel (), going to get more of their special horses (^..^) and meeting a deity and also, you know, saving the realm (!) I really love how her story isn't the only focus, that there are multiple story lines going on that take their own time and pace. I really love reading about the Wall and what's going on with the spirits inside. This is the kind of writer that I want to be and I find it inspiring

A Treasury of Royal Scandals
The Shocking True Stories of History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors
by Michael Farquhar

324 Pages

From Nero's nagging mother (whom he found especially annoying after taking her as his lover) to Catherine's stable of studs (not of the equine variety), here is a wickedly delightful look at the most scandalous royal doings you never learned about in history class.
Gleeful, naughty, sometimes perverted-like so many of the crowned heads themselves-A Treasury of Royal Scandals presents the best (the worst?) of royal misbehavior through the ages. From ancient Rome to Edwardian England, from the lavish rooms of Versailles to the dankest corners of the Bastille, the great royals of Europe have excelled at savage parenting, deadly rivalry, pathological lust, and meeting death with the utmost indignity-or just very bad luck.

Wow! I mean what can one really say about this book, other than Wow!
If I didn't know that this was History, I would've laughed and assumed that it was just crazy fiction.
It's amazing that people let the monarchy get away with a lot of this stuff and also amazing that we as a society today would never stand for any of this, which I think is both good and bad. I certainly have no issues with royalty and such loving as they wilt () but the murders and torture were just awful and unimaginable!
It also amazed me how much mental illness there was (#) It certainly made me feel less alone in a weird way.
This was one of my TBR books for the year and I was surprised that I actually finished it as quickly as I did. There were times where I just had to keep reading to see what outrageous thing happened next.

Half a King (Shattered Sea #1)
by Joe Abercrombie

368 Pages

“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.
The deceived will become the deceiver.
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.
The betrayed will become the betrayer.
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.
Will the usurped become the usurper?
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

This was a good book, good enough that I think I will read the rest of the series. I felt sorry for poor Yarvi in the beginning. All he wanted was the join the Ministry and give up his life as a Prince, but when his Father and older Brother are murdered, he is forced to become the King he never wanted to be and to swear an oath to avenge the family he didn't even really like. But when he's betrayed and sold into slavery, becoming King and fulfilling his oath seem to be the only things that matters. Despite the hardships that he goes through, everything seems to continually fall into place for him. He always seems to know the language of anyone he meets, he rises quickly through the slaves and he always gets what he wants pretty much right as he needs it. (!)
I found the further along the story got and the closer her got to reaching his goal, the less I liked him as a character. I found that it was very to do that with your main character.

Transformers: Windblade
by Mairghread Scott & Sarah Stone

106 Pages

In the aftermath of Dark Cybertron, Windblade takes the planet by storm! But where did she come from - and what does her secret mean to the future of the Transformers?

Wow, that description tell you absolutely nothing. This is the story of Cybertron in the aftermath the war where Starscream, of all bots, runs Cybertron. Windblade is a city speaker who can speak with the city-bot itself who has neen badly damaged (#) and is in need of fixing. Windblade is trying her hardest to help it fix itself, but someone is trying to sabotage it and blame someone else, including Windblade. It was pretty good, although I felt like I was missing a lot by not reading the comics that lead up to it. I'm loving that they are finally making more female transformers and I'm loving Windblade.

The Sorcerer's House
by Gene Wolfe

302 Pages

In a contemporary town in the American midwest where he has no connections, Bax, an educated man recently released from prison, is staying in a motel. He writes letters to his brother and to others, including a friend still in jail, to whom he progressively reveals the intriguing pieces of a strange and fantastic narrative. When he meets a real estate agent who tells him he is, to his utter surprise, the heir to a huge old house in town, long empty, he moves in. He is immediately confronted by an array of supernatural creatures and events, by love and danger.
His life is utterly transformed and we read on, because we must know more. We revise our opinions of him, and of others, with each letter, piecing together more of the story as we go. We learn things about magic, and another world, and about the sorcerer Mr. Black, who originally inhabited the house. And then knowing what we now know only in the end, perhaps we read it again.

I started reading A Time of Exile (Deverry #5) by Katharine Kerr  and could not get into it. I finally decided that I have wasted too much time and money on a series that I don't even like and I really don't want to invest in 10 more books just to say that I finished it. So I did what I should've done years ago and took the series to my nearby free little library and washed my hands of them. Since this book was on my TBR list, I needed to replace it with a different book, so I chose this one (which was the first book I took from a free little library last year).
Although this book went faster, it certainly wasn't better. It might have even been worse.
The entire book was written in letters, which would be really dull if you were on the receiving end of such letters. He goes into way too much detail and isn't consistent to whom he writes to, so no one is getting the full story, which I imagine is confusing for them. This is another case of everything falling into the main character's lap: a house, money, ladies (one is a fox familiar {^..^}) even servants and more land. It really doesn't make any sense. He also doesn't seem to really care about anything and accepts everything as it happens like it's no big deal. The blurb above says that once you find out what happens at the end you'll want to read it again, so I was expecting something profound to happen that would change the whole thing (like the Sixth Sense) but that totally didn't happen at all. In fact, the end was left totally open to interpretation and obviously left out something important. I was disappointed.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke

849 Pages (32:30 Hours)

Two magicians shall appear in England. 
The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me...
The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine. 

This book was super long and quiet slow, but still very good. It was to be my TBR book for last month, but it took me much longer to read than expecpted. I was having a hard time reading it, so I decided to skip the next WOT book and listen to this instead. This made it go much faster. As this is an alternate history, the author took the time to go into all that was different with the world and it's magic, citing book passages and stories and I was impressed (as well as often bored) with the amount of effort she put into creating this AU. The magic was quite fastening, except when being explained by Mr. Norrell, who is quite a dry character.
There was a great subplot in the book about The Man With The Thistledown Hair (the fairy Mr. Norrell uses to bring back young Mrs. Pole) and his distaste for the magicians and his liking of a servant, Stephen Black, whom he is constantly whisking away into fairie.
(^..^)  (#)

Books that I am currently reading

by Sam Maggs
20 of 208 Pages

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1)
by Seanan McGuire
285 of 346

Thursday Threads - New And Totally Awesome!

I love when new stuff comes out, especially when it all seems to come out at the same time! The only problem is trying to decide who gets my money first!

Couldn't make it to WonderCon? Yeah, me neither. But I am super glad that Her Universe didn't wait too long before releasing their new outfits, starting with these awesome hoodies

I want them both, like right now

This blood stripe cardigan makes my heart stand still, swoon....

Living Dead

It seems that Living Dead has been on a Simpsons kick as of late, and who can blame them when they come up with awesome designs like these

love me some Kang and Kodos

Everything's coming up Milhouse

I've never been a fan of Itchy and Scratchy, but these skull dresses are pretty amazing

Black Milk

It seems that someone is excited about the upcoming Batman Vs. Superman movie. These dresses would be great for the premiere 

These shirts make me laugh,because if you're chesty at all, you're going to have abs on your boobs

Pinup Girl Clothing

Lovecraft fans rejoice! Check out adorable Cthulhu and friends on these new items! Oh man, I want them sooooo bad it's making me crazy


Are you a Social Justice Warrior? Or are you like me and feel that maybe you'd be better as a Rogue or a Bard? Now you can choose!
These great designs were floating around Tumblr for awhile and got so many notes that the creator decided to get them made! The first sets have been sold, but you can pre-order more

STEAM Angels: Smart Dresses For Smart Women

a great company called Svaha has kickstarted these amazing dresses based on the different acronyms of STEAM:





& Math

Aren't they gorgeous as well as being smart?

So what new duds will you be wearing?