Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get [To]

Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get [To]

I’ve officially given up on doing Top 5 Wednesday’s since I seem to have lost all interest and find some of the topics rather boring so I’ll be doing Top 10 Tuesdays from here on! 10 picks for any list gives me a big of wiggle room, compared to top 5, so hopefully, this will be better. :) Top 10 Tuesdays was a meme created by a multitude of bloggers over at the The Broke and the Bookish.

10. Cormoran Strike #3 by Robert Galbraith

I’ve come to anticipate J. K. Rowling’s new mystery series and seem to enjoy them even though they aren’t the greatest. Rowling knows how to write and I am looking forward to the next installment! Rowling has confirmed there’ll be at least 6 more so I’m looking forward to a long journey.

9. Cress & Winter by Marissa Meyer

Unlike the general opinion that Meyer is the greatest and that the Lunar Chronicles is the best series ever, ever, ever…I think they aren’t that great but I find them something quick to get through on a dull day.

8. Amelia Peabody by Elizabeth Peters

I’m in the middle of this series actually, currently starting book 3 and want to finish all the books. There’s about 19 or so and I want to get done by the end of next year.

7. Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams

Really wanted to read this this year but didn’t get to it…

6. The Eye of Zoltar by Jasper Fforde

I read the second book, The Song of the Quarkbeast, just last week and thought it was just as fun as the first book so I would really like to continue…they’re really fun, middle grade, fantasy series with bits of humor here and there.

5. Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

I enjoyed the first book, Hyperion, and really want to know more about this Shrike.

4. Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

The author is restarting the Study series with another set of 3 books and I can’t wait to meet Yelena and Valek again!

3. Rithmatist #2 by Brandon Sanderson

Loved the first book and can’t wait for the next one! Such imagination!

2. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

It’s been almost 2 years since I read Seraphina and was quite impressed by it so it’s really time for this book to come out…and for me to read in 2015.

1. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

My first adult book by Sanderon was The Way of Kings…which blew. Me. Away. So I need to read this next.


Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 10 Tuesday or simply tell me in the comments what your picks for this week would be! :)

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Happy Reading!

Review | Starship Grifters by Robert Kroese

Starship Grifters by Robert Kroese

ABOUT THE BOOK

Published: May 6, 2014
Genre: Science-Fiction, Humor
Edition: Kindle eBook
Length: 242 pgs.

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

THE BLURB

A space-faring ne’er-do-well with more bravado than brains, Rex Nihilo plies the known universe in a tireless quest for his own personal gain. But when he fleeces a wealthy weapons dealer in a high-stakes poker game, he ends up winning a worthless planet?and owing an outstanding debt more vast than space itself!

The only way for Rex to escape a lifetime of torture on the prison world Gulagatraz is to score a big payday by pulling off his biggest scam. But getting mixed up in the struggle between the tyrannical Malarchian Empire and the plucky rebels of the Revolting Front and trying to double-cross them both may be his biggest mistake. Luckily for Rex, his frustrated but faithful robot sidekick has the cyber-smarts to deal with buxom bounty hunters, pudgy princesses, overbearing overlords, and interstellar evangelists?while still keeping Rex’s martini glass filled.

☁  ☁  ☁  ☁  ☁

ramblings

The power of Amazon’s Kindle daily deals: getting me to purchase and read books I never would have found otherwise. Amazon might be this big bad company everyone hates but I have to be honest, they know how to make lesser known authors noticeable.

I don’t often read hardcore Science Fiction…mostly because I don’t often understand it. I actually understand pure, nonfictional science more than the fictional one so I’m picky in my selection of science-fiction books (meaning I usually only pick up the big titles that the general population has been able to enjoy without losing their mind). But for the first time, this human ventured out and tried a book all on her own and I am happy to report, Starship Grifters did not disappoint me at all.

Starship Grifters reminded me of a blend of the television show Futurama (hilarious if you haven’t watched it by the way) and Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (mostly because this book is all about adventure). It’s pretty much about a guy who is knee-deep in debt and in order to get out of it, he tries everything he can to blow up his own planet. Yeah. Oh, and also, the story is told from the perspective of his robot, Sasha, who is continually agitated and frustrated by Rex’s “adventures” and his inability to listen.

A day before I began the book, someone did a review of Willful Child by Steven Erikson in which the reviewer compared the main character to Zapp Branigan (from Futurama) so that was stuck into my head quite good…and when I began Starship Grifters, I immediately thought of that again and of how the main character in this book also has similar characteristics of Zapp. Rex isn’t as bad as Zapp Brannigan was to be honest, but he’s quite arrogant, selfish, forgetful of his companions, and completely neglects to account for any kind of hazardous outcomes when he jumps from one plan to another.

“‘One thing I’ve learned, Sasha,’ said Rex, ‘is that no matter how poorly thought out a plan is, there’s always a chance it will succeed unless I’m directly involved.’” (98).

So clearly this makes for a lot of comical events and moments in the book that never failed to make me chuckle, even if Rex couldn’t be a very likable character. But it isn’t just Rex who fails to use his brain in many situations, many of the other characters are equally as silly and just as laughable. Sasha (the robot), on the other hand, is the voice of rationality in this book. Sasha’s character, in fact, reminded me more of Kip than Rex reminded me of Zapp.

“‘This is just like you, Sasha. Always wanting to leave things well enough alone. Haven’t you learned anything about that?’

I thought for a moment. ‘That we never do it?’

“‘Correct…’” (98).

Often times, much like Kip (from Futurama) did, Sasha will brace herself for disaster to strike or to take the blame or (in one instance) prepared herself to be imprisoned because of her boss even before Rex comes up with a plan that has the potential for failure. Additionally, because Sasha is a robot and, thus, is not supposed to able to think for herself (or she will shut down), she again suffers the consequences of Rex’s hasty decision. Oh poor Sasha!

And a little plus point towards my rating of this book was also the ending. I thought of this book as more of a collection of funny adventures so I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have to the little details and well, the ending came as quite a surprise. It was a nice little twist there with what happens with Zapp and Sasha (no, I’m not referring to romance of any kind) but let me you tell you…it was quite a shock for me.

I would like to leave this review at that, even though I am aware I did not discuss any of the actual events that happen in the book. But that’s where all the fun lies so go forth and discover all the adventures for yourself when you read this book. And I assure you, even if you may not love this book, you’ll certainly have lots of fun with it.

This review is also available on BookLikes.

5star

Review | The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

ABOUT THE BOOK

Published: Sept 2nd, 2014
Genre: Literary Fiction, Science-Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Edition: Hardcover
Length: 624 pgs.

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

THE BLURB

Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born.

A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.

☁  ☁  ☁  ☁  ☁

ramblings

Generally, I always have one or two more critical comments to make about every book I’ve read but I think the most popular reviews have covered everything I wanted to discuss this time around. Still, here’s a short review anyway…even though it didn’t really turn out to be that short. ;)

One of the biggest criticism made about this book that I’ve seen is that this book is good but not great and I have to agree. I read David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas last year and was absolutely blown away by such a complex but beautifully crafted narrative structure and even though it took a lot to get through the book, in the end I strongly felt as if I’d accomplished something. So clearly, I was excited to read The Bone Clocks. It’s a good book and has a similar narrative framework to Cloud Atlas but it leaves a bit more to be desired. One uplifting element I found that made this book easier to get through was that unlike Cloud AtlasThe Bone Clocks narrows itself down to the life of one girl—Holly Sykes. So instead of having memories scattered all over time and space, it’s really more about the time than anything else (the “bone clocks,” get it?).

We begin in the 1980s, when a fifteen-year-old Holly runs away from home and finds herself lost, forlorn, and heartbroken. After the first narrative, we see Holly’s life progress through other’s perspectives and the people that she meets over the years. We see Holly at fifteen, lost and alone, in her twenties, discovering a new world, married to a man addicted to war in her thirties, in her forties she has become somewhat of a celebrity writing about her psychic abilities, and so on and so forth…It very confusing to explain and at times it’s also very confusing to jump from one point to another but Holly is the one constant that we can hold on to as readers, the one thing that makes sense and at the same time, it often doesn’t.

The Bone Clocks is part historical fiction, part contemporary/literary fiction, part magical realism, part science-ficition, and part dystopian (and possibly a few more other genres). And that, my friends, is what makes this book so exciting for me. Often times, at the beginning of a narrative, I’ll feel put out by the change in perspective at such a crucial point in the story but once we’re in a few more chapters, it becomes difficult to keep myself from flipping the pages.

I have to be honest, I felt very disconnected with Holly at first. I thought she was childish, unrealistic, and often times annoying. But as I see her growing up, she kind of grew on me too. It’s hard to describe her personality in this book because we see her grow from a teenager all the way to a grandmother and the human mind is incapable of having a constant persona during such a vast amount of time so honestly, I don’t know what Holly is like and I don’t know what I like about her. I just found myself sympathetic to her more than once and towards the end of the journey, all I wanted to do was reach out and give her a hug. And I’m not even going to pretend otherwise, my eyes were definitely a bit misty by the end of her story. I couldn’t believe it was done and she was gone and ultimately, it even made me face the harsh mortality of my own life (which, as a survival mechanism, is a topic I’m sure we all avoid ruminating about).

All in all, I enjoyed taking this journey with Holly Sykes. It wasn’t the greatest story I’ve read and I wasn’t as impressed as I was with Cloud Atlas, but I think it’s still a story worth reading. For those of you who haven’t tried anything by David Mitchell yet, I would recommend this as a starter point (even though I’ve yet to read all of his works myself).

This review is also available on BookLikes.

4star

October Reads. November TBR.

wrapup

October was actually a disappointing month for me in that I didn’t get to review nearly as many books as I wanted. By that I mean, I only reviewed two book. Sad, I know. But I do have a short review of The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell coming up soon. :)

Here’s what I read anyway:

  1. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories by Robert L. Stevenson - ★★★★
  2. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch - ★★
  3. Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers – ★★★★
  4. Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry - ★★★★★
  5. The Curse of the Pharaoh by Elizabeth Peters - ★★★★
  6. The Monk: A Romance by Matthew Lewis - ★★★
  7. The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham - ★★★★
  8. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving - ★★★
  9. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf – ★★★★★
  10. Reckoners: #1.5 Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson – ★★★★
  11. The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft - ★★★
  12. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (reread) - ★★★★★
  13. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters - ★★★★★
  14. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James - ★★★
  15. I am Legend by Richard Matheson - ★★★
  16. Amulet Vol. 6 by Kazu Kibuishi - ★★★★
  17. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - ★★★★
  18. The Graveyard Book (The Graphic Novel) Vol. 2 by Neil Gaiman - ★★★★★
  19. Double Indemnity by James M. Cain - ★★★★
  20. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell - ★★★★

I was also currently-reading this month:

  1. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (DNF)
  2. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx (finished)
  3. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
  4. Incarnadine by Mary Szybist
  5. The Kalevala by Elias Lonnrot
  6. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow (on going for months)

image

And then some books for November (along with the “currently reading” I mention above) –

  1. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  2. The Once and Future King by T. H. White
  3. Night Rounds by Helene Tursten
  4. The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters
  5. The Skystone by Jack Whyte
  6. Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Some maybes - 

  1. Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons
  2. Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
  3. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo
  4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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What are you reading in November? Have you read any of the books I mentioned above? Share your thoughts below!

Review | Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

ABOUT THE BOOK

Published: Sept 9th, 2014
Genre: Literary Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Edition: Kindle eBook
Length: 333 pgs.

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

THE BLURB

An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, from the author of three highly acclaimed previous novels.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

☁  ☁  ☁  ☁  ☁

ramblings

This is one of these rare times when I actually bought a newly released book (on sale!) and started reading it in a day. Because this is such a rare event, I knew I had to review this book. Station Eleven is a literary fiction novel that takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting.

The dystopia isn’t a major part of this book, but this book does take a very different approach to the usual dystopians that have come out in recent years. I am, of course, thinking along the lines The Hunger Games or Divergent, but even in terms of other dystopians, this novel stands separate from the usual tropes of dystopias. The setting of this novel feels more melancholic and nostalgic than the general expectation of terror and chaos. Once civilization has collapsed, governments have dismantled and lawlessness reigns. Everyone is on their own and though there are some obvious concerns to be addressed in this sort of situation, it’s not as bad as one would think. Once all the luxuries that we in the twenty-first century enjoy have been taken away, people simply began to adapt. The basic survival instinct that we have as a species takes over and people began to gather, hunt, guard, and organize. The only dangerous situation one can find themselves in in this world is to be alone and make yourself vulnerable as an easy target for theft, assault, or rape. Perhaps this is simply my take on this setting or maybe I am understanding this due to the fact that we follow only one major group of artists as they are traveling but they all seem pretty normal and no one is running around screaming for war or any kind of revolution.

The writing, similarly, is very straightforward and sincere, which merely enhances the tranquility of the setting. It almost felt like the fact that this a lot of story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting is simply a coincidence and doesn’t have much to add to the story other than helping us see how people would adapt in such a situation.

There were a few too many characters in this story for me to follow at first but that might be due to the fact that this was a rare occasion in which I never bothered to read the synopsis before jumping into the book. The synopsis actually does an excellent job of setting up the story, in my opinion, as it tells us of the five major perspectives we follow and once we categorize the perspectives while reading, it becomes easier to follow the separate stories. Additionally, these people and their life do eventually connect back together by the end of the story. “Station Eleven” is a title that refers to a comic series written and illustrated by Arthur’s first wife, Miranda, and though that is one object that connects these people, the stories are entwined in one manner or another and eventually we make these connections through Arthur’s life—which played a bigger role than I initially imagined.

The characters themselves don’t seem to have much to say particularly; I think their actions and life experiences speak louder and more clearly at times—this would a book where it would be redundant to try and pick a favorite character because it’s kind of like picking a favorite person in your real life. Arthur, himself, I couldn’t understand completely until I realized he isn’t as important as the role he played in other’s lives. But these characters are as realistic as they can get and because of this I believe they were harder to categorize.

There is some ambiguity about the “big picture” in such a setting which I was slightly curious about and disappointed wasn’t discussed but because that wasn’t the focus, it wasn’t a big deal. I was most definitely annoyed by the existence of the “Prophet” in the novel. It was both agitating and comical that everything in the world has been wiped out but we still have some ignorant form of religion in existence that continues to terrify the population. The lack of background story on the Prophet was the only major suspense in the story and, unfortunately, just about a couple chapters before the Prophet’s identity is revealed, I had already guessed who he was which made me both sad (knowing the person he was) and—obviously—satisfied that I could figured it out for myself.

Overall, this is a very relaxing, serene novel that is not only easy to read but speeds by once you really start connecting with the characters. It’s not overly done or pretentious; Mandel writes a story that almost makes us wishful for such a tranquil existence in which we can finally begin to enjoy life as it was given without squandering our time obsessed with artificial and materialistic things.

This review is also available on BookLikes.

4star

Top 5 Wednesday: Recommendations for Halloween

top 5 wed

Top 5 Recommendations for Halloween

I don’t read “horror” books at all so I’m going to have to be satisfied with grim and gothic picks for this one. :)

5. The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham

Due to the ambiguity of whether or not this “magician” is really a magician, this was somewhat of a creepy read.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

4. Dracula by Bram Stoker

A bit more dull and dry than Frankenstein but a bit more creepy too.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

3. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Recently read this. Whether you buy the supernatural bits or whether you read it without them, this is one heck of a creepy read.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

2. Locke and Key by Joe Hill

Ahh…so I do have a horror pick! It’s a graphic novel and pretty horrific in my opinion. There are some really gory details and pretty disturbing images that are hard to shake off later.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

1. The Monk: A Romance by Matthew Lewis

If you get through the first half, which is pretty boring in my opinion, the second half is really disturbing and might possibly scare you (didn’t scare me but that might just be me).


Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 5 Wednesday post, I would love to see what you have for the week! If you have read any of these titles, share your thoughts below. :)

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Happy Reading!

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Titles

top 5 wed

Top 5 Favorite Titles
(just “titles” not books right?)

5. Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish by David Rakoff

Didn’t love the book, loved the title.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

4. The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson

Pretty powerful title.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

3. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Another powerful title! Loved the book too.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

2. Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry

Loved the title. Loved the book. LOVE the author.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

1. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Didn’t really love the book as I had hoped but that is one of the catchiest titles ever. Perfect.


Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 5 Wednesday post, I would love to see what you have for the week! If you have read any of these titles, share your thoughts below. :)

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Happy Reading!