Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Another 52 - January Edition

January has been a crazy month of stress, studying and exams. That being said, it didn't give me a lot of time to read much non-school related books. Probably why most of my books this month were audiobooks. 
I did really well on my exams, if you're wondering, but if you're reading this, you're probably much more interested in my books,

So here's what I read this month:

by Brandon Sanderson

1243 Pages (55:04 Hours)

The eagerly awaited sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Words of Radiance, from an epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson at the top of his game.
In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.
Dalinar Kholin's Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.
Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar's blood-soaked past and stand together--and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past--even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.

Amazing, outstanding, incredible! I wan't to read and read and read this series and wish that it never ended. But like all great epics, I'll probably be waiting a few more years for the next book to come out and then all the next books after that. That's okay. I waited for Wheel Of Time and I'll wait for The Stormlight Archives as well. This train might not be moving very fast, but I really do recommend jumping on board if you want a fantastic series to read.

by Seanan McGuire

312 Pages (11:18 Hours)

Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.
It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.
They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.
You can’t kill what’s already dead.

This was outside what I usually read. I've never been one to pick up ghost stories, but I love Seanan McGuire and when I came across this I just couldn't pass it by. And I'm glad I didn't because it had me entranced from beginning to end. I'm glad she's doing a sequel and I can't wait to read it.

by Katherine Arden

333 Pages

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind--she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed--this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

I had heard a lot of great things about this book, so I was super excited to get it for Christmas. Although it was very good, I wanted more from it. I'm not sure of what, just more. The story didn't leave me entranced and that was what I really wanted because I love Russian folk tales (or at least the ones that I know) and I love when authors re-imagine them. I guess I find that stories that take place over many years lose something when they don't devote time to the here and now. Knowing a history is good, but I want to really get into the characters and how they feel. This book did have that at some parts, but I would've like some more. I will be reading the next book though. I do want to know what happens.

by Sarah J. Maas

70 Pages

A Throne of Glass novella.
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about.

This was a great little short story that has been hinted about in later novels and I wanted to find out more. It was hard to watch Celaena being that cock sure teenager and there are times that you realy do want to punch her. But she does have a good side and it's nice to see that the Queen of Assassins has a soft side even then.

by Victoria Aveyard

528 Pages (17:19 Hours)

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard's bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?
Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

It's been awhile since I've read this series and I went back to it thinking that it was really great. It wasn't. It was okay, but for the most part it wasn't overly interesting. Mare being captured is rather dull. She sits around a lot. People make a lot of threats, that's about it. The first 2 books had a lot of action and moving around and you could feel that electricity (pardon my pun). But in this one, all the battles happen off screen and it's hard to feel emotionally invested. I'm hoping the next one will be better. Not every book in a series can be the best.

by James Patterson

417 Pages (8:06 Hours)

For 36 years, James Patterson has written unputdownable, pulse-racing novels. Now, he has written a book that surpasses all of them. ZOO is the thriller he was born to write.
All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear.
With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it's too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide. With wildly inventive imagination and white-knuckle suspense that rivals Stephen King at his very best, James Patterson's ZOO is an epic, non-stop thrill-ride from "One of the best of the best."

I've been watching this on Netflix and it's awesome. So when I came across this in the Little Library, I knew I had to read it. It became my first LLB of the year. Sadly the book did not live up to the TV show. I was so bored with it right away that I switched over to the audiobook to try and make it easier. It didn't really. The killed off one of my favorite characters right away and the main character was completely ruined. In fact, they ruined the Chloe as well. She went from being pretty awesome in the show to being a wide eyes, useless woman, who's only importance was that she became a mom and they totally ignored that she was a super awesome researcher and had her do almost nothing. It was quite aggravating. I was glad when it was done. I'll go back and watch the show instead.

by Seanan McGuire

48 Pages (1:38 Hours)

Working for the last traveling carnival in Cascadia is sweaty, back-breaking work - and Ansley loves it. She's fiercely loyal to her charge, Billie - a giant genework Indricothere. But now the only life Ansley has ever known is in danger - and the threat is coming from within.

This wasn't the best short story that I've read my Seanan McGuire, but it was still interesting. I think if it were longer and I had a better chance to get to know the characters that it would've had a bigger impact on me. As it was, I don't really feel one way or another about this story.

by Seanan McGuire

157 Pages (4:11 Hours)

Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world. 
Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

I have fallen in love with this series and I want an entire line of books to read about every single character and what was behind their doors and if they get to go back and all the new students and on and on and on forever. This was not a prequel like the second book was, but took place after the first. I am in love with the world of Confection and I think my new goal in life is to become The Baker there. (Is it because I'm a culinary student? you decide) The way she talks about baking and sugared trees and gingerbread molding makes me want to buy multiple copies of this book so that I can highlight my favorite quotes and cross-stitch them onto pillows or some such.

by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe

400 Pages

This “first rate anthology of reimagined fairy tales” (Locus Magazine) features an all-star lineup of award-winning and critically acclaimed writers.
Once upon a time. It’s how so many of our most beloved stories start.
Fairy tales have dominated our cultural imagination for centuries. From the Brothers Grimm to the Countess d’Aulnoy, from Charles Perrault to Hans Christian Anderson, storytellers have crafted all sorts of tales that have always found a place in our hearts.
Now a new generation of storytellers has taken up the mantle that the masters created and shaped their stories into something startling and electrifying.
Packed with award-winning authors, this “fresh, diverse” (Library Journal) anthology explores an array of fairy tales in startling and innovative ways, in genres and settings both traditional and unusual, including science fiction, western, and post-apocalyptic as well as traditional fantasy and contemporary horror.
From the woods to the stars, The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales takes readers on a journey at once unexpected and familiar, as a diverse group of writers explore some of our most beloved tales in new ways across genres and styles.
Contains stories by: Charlie Jane Anders, Aliette de Bodard, Amal El-mohtar, Jeffrey Ford, Max Gladstone, Theodora Goss, Daryl Gregory, Kat Howard, Stephen Graham Jones, Margo Lanagan, Marjorie Liu, Seanan McGuire, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Sofia Samatar, Karin Tidbeck, Catherynne M. Valente, and Genevieve Valentine.

If you've been a follower for awhile, you know that I have a soft spot for retellings of fairy tales. So when I came across an entire book of them I was super excited. I wanted to see what all of these authors had re imagined when given this assignment. For some I was happily surprised. I would've read novels about them. For others I was totally horrified or weirded out with the direction that they went in. Others had me in thought loops for days where I couldn't get the concepts out of my mind.
It was a very mixed bag that made it hard to pick up and read, not knowing what type of story is going to be next. I guess that's why I usually try and stay away from anthologies like this. That being said, If I found another such book tomorrow, I would probably still buy it and read it. Such is the love of the re imagined fairy tales...

by Kiera Cass

276 Pages (7:01 Hours)

From Kiera Cass, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Selection series, comes a captivating stand-alone fantasy romance.
Kahlen is a Siren, bound to serve the Ocean by luring humans to watery graves with her voice, which is deadly to any human who hears it. Akinli is human—a kind, handsome boy who's everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. Falling in love puts them both in danger . . . but Kahlen can't bear to stay away. Will she risk everything to follow her heart?

This definitely had a Little Mermaid vibe to it that I absolutely loved. Much like The Selection, these characters swept me up in their stories and didn't let go. I would be very happy if this was turned into a series or at least had some short stories about the other characters. I also really loved the nod to Prince Maxon with Akinli's last name. Very cute little add in.

by Marissa Meyer

256 Pages (6:36 Hours)

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story—a story that has never been told... until now. 
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death.

More retelling of fairy tales? Who me? You can guess that I love the Lunar Chronicles for this very reason. It was neat to go behind the scenes and see what makes Levana who she really is. In the beginning you really want to feel bad for her, but as time goes by, you just can't justify what she's doing and you want to yell at yourself for ever being sympathetic at all. So good.

Books that I am currently reading

by Rohinton Mistry
65 of 603 Pages

by Sally Armstrong
122 of 320 Pages

by N.K. Jemisin
109 of 613

The Reburialists
by J.C. Nelson
275 of 416 Pages

Discount Armageddon (InCryptid #1)
by Seanan McGuire
120 of 352 Pages

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1)
by Rin Chupeco
1:45 of 12:08 Hours

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Another 52 Book Reading Challenge

Another year, another book challenge.

Yes, I'm starting all over again from book 1 and working my way back up to 52.
Although it hurts my soul a bit to delete all the books from last years list, I feel I am up to the challenge to start again from scratch.

I've signed up both here and here for the challenge and you can too
Or if you're more interested in just following what I read, I will continue to update every month on what I've read and you can look to the bottom right of my blog (you may have to scroll down) where I will be keeping a list of what books I've finished, links to Goodreads and a bar of my challenge progress.

I didn't read quite as much last year as I did the year before, but with school happening, I'm just happy to have time to read at all.

I managed to clear out most of my To Be Read (TBR) and Recommended By Adam (RBA) books over the last few years, so my choice of extra challenge is going to be Little Library Books (LLB).
In case you don't know what that is, a Little Library or a Wee-Free Library are tiny neighborhood boxes that people put on their front lawns and fill with books to take and bring back. I have quite a few in my neighborhood and try to keep them as stocked as I empty them.

But I have accumulated too many and they need to be read and returned to their homes.

So here is a list of the 12 books that I've chosen

My LLB (Little Library Books) List Challenge

1. The Invention of Wings - Sue Monk Kidd

2. Zoo (Zoo #1) - James Patterson

3. The Windup Girl (The Windup Universe #1) - Paolo Bacigalupi

4. A Reunion Of Ghosts - Judith Claire Mitchell

5. Best Friends Forever -  Jennifer Weiner

6. Looking for Alaska - John Green

7. The Knight and the Rose - Isolde Martyn

8. Mr. Churchill's Secretary (Maggie Hope Mystery #1) - Susan Elia MacNeal

9. The Kitchen House - Kathleen Grissom

10. 666 Park Avenue (666 Park Avenue #1) - Gabriella Pierce

11. The Little Paris Bookshop - Nina George

12. The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling

Happy Reading!