This was a refreshing read, drawing one's eyes to the holiness of the ordinary. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day routines and forget that God has a place in everything -- even the mundane things like making the bed or cooking dinner. Warren does a great job pointing out how Christ is (well, should be) present in our day to day lifestyle and how each little thing we do can point to Him.
She organizes the book like she would her day...starting with waking up and ending with going to bed. Each chapter takes an "ordinary" daily task and illuminates the holiness within. This was a great reminder that Christ is present in our day to day world...not just on Sundays. Embrace the routine and seek to find Jesus in every element of your day.
No, this Wayward Children book is my favorite.
What a delightful and heartbreaking story. I'm not a big fan of novellas - I prefer a book with some heft to it...something that will allow for the character development and world building that I enjoy. Out of the three Wayward Children books currently available, though,Beneath the Sugar Sky read like a full novel. I felt connected to the characters and the plot felt full and complete. Sure, it could have been expanded on -- and I would have read the crap out of that book. I do wish that McGuire had taken the same route with these as she has with the Toby Daye series (ie. full length books) for the Children series. I'll take what I can get, though, and this was a fantastic chapter to the Wayward Children story.
Between Toby Daye and the Wayward Children, Seanan McGuire has fast become one of my "auto read" authors.
This was a fun glimpse into Ceda's background that occurs before we meet her in Twelve Kings in Sharakhai. It was a very short book -- dare I say a combination of three novellas strung together with a single thread? As such, it made for a quick read that was easy to pick up/put down. A downside to it being a shorter book was that we don't have the character development or world building like we do inTwelve Kings, but that's to be expected in this type of book.
A fun read for fans of the Shattered Sands -- definitely read Twelve Kings first, though, for strong character building and a fascinating world system.
Are you a fan of Doctor Who? If so, you may want to check this one out. It seemed (to me at any rate) that this was a retelling of the Time War out of Doctor Who...just give the aliens races different names.
I wanted to like this...with character development (because some is better than none...and there was no character development at all beyond the barest minimum) and more plot narrative I might have been able to sink my teeth in this a bit more.
Tom (along with cohost Victoria Belmont) host a fantastic Science Fiction and Fantasy book club called Sword & Laser -- check them out on Goodreads and via podcast if you're interested. I've enjoyed taking part in the bookclub for several years!
1 started reading this book (about time travel and disease - specifically a flu outbreak) while on Christmas vacation...in a town dealing with a flu outbreak. Hospitals were restricting visitors to avoid exposure and nursing homes were on "lock down" to keep the residents as healthy as possible. I watched the characters in the story deal with the same measures (and more) as they tried to stall the spread of an unknown flu virus. I had no idea that Doomsday Book would fit so (creepily) well with that ambiance.
I had already marked this book as "read", however, I don't think I actually ever read all of it. I think I originally read the first few chapters and then mistakenly marked it as "read". This time around I absolutely devoured this book and wish I had stuck with it the first time around. From the history standpoint it's every historian's dream -- the opportunity to go back in time to witness the history first-hand as it's being made. From the fantasy/science fiction standpoint it's a well-written (obviously since it won the Hugo AND Nebula awards) and multi-layered journey through the perils of time travel and epidemiology.
This was an excellent book! While I'm not excited to start my yearly tally with a book that has the word "Doomsday" in the title, I am happy it was a riveting five-star read.
Also, remember to wash your hands.
Well, that was unexpected.
I'm not usually a fan of the "band of thieves" trope in fantasy. When I read fantasy, I tend to gravitate toward magic, fantastical races, impressive world building, etc... While Fool's Gold does have magic in it (to some extent), it doesn't really tick those boxes. It does, however, center around a group of characters who unexpectedly band together to rob a group of dragons. So...you know...the whole "band of thieves" trope that I don't much care for.
But....I found myself sucked in to the story from the very first few pages. I blame Bessie the Pig for that. She's wily in every way...escaping her handler and luring unsuspecting readers into a story they may not really have wanted to read.
Once I was hooked, Fool's Gold delivered a tongue-in-cheek approach to fantasy. If I had to pick a few words to describe this book? Rude. Crude. Lewd. With a healthy dose of humor. The chapter titles are gems in and of themselves. The humor and the characters make up for the "standard" plotline (group of ragtags band together to go a-thievin' to achieve some supposedly impregnable mark).
I anticipate I will pick up book #2 in 2018.
Second time around on this one...decided to reread it so I can jump into the sequels in time to finish the whole series.
My thoughts on round two? This is still a solid fantasy. Peter Brett's writing style is engaging, if a bit tedious at parts. I found the slow cycle between points of view (there are three in this book) to be jarring at first, but once I settled in to the story I enjoyed jumping between Arlen, Rojer, and Lesha. The magic system is interesting with demons rising from the Core every night to wreak havoc upon the people.
I will say this -- I found that I just could NOT stand Lesha for about 90% of this book. I did NOT like the way Brett wrote her character - I took quite a bit of issue with it. Up until the final chapters it seemed as though Lesha was there primarily for sex (fantasies or otherwise). Characters were always marveling at her beauty (in a sexual fashion) or talking about how they wanted to have sex with her or she was talking about having sex for the first time or characters were always looking at her chest...and the list goes on. Then we have something happen to Lesha...(no spoilers). Lesha's character is redeemed slightly toward the end as she finally is doing something not related to sex. I mean...I understand what Brett was trying to do with her character. In his world system, women are bound into very traditional roles and they do not escape them. I think there's a way to present that without making it sound like every woman is written by a twelve year old boy.
All that aside...I did enjoy this the second time around and I'm looking forward to continuing. Like last time I finished this book, though, I feel like I just need a few interim books before I pick up The Desert Spear. I've heard the series only gets better from here and I am looking forward to see the evolution of characters and introductions of new ones.
On a whim I decided to read Philippa Gregory's main series in chronological reading order. I figured that this would be a good way to a) catch up on her series as I've only read a book here and there and b) read about some of my husband's direct ancestors (yay genealogy research!).
I thought that this first novel (not Gregory's first but, rather, first in the timeline) was...just ok. I'd probably rate it about a 2.5 if I were being honest. At the end of the day there just isn't that much historically available about Jacquetta of Luxembourg. In fact, most of the novel seemed to just be a vehicle for glossing over the first part of the War of the Roses. And "glossing" is the best word for it. Gregory slams a WHOLE bunch of factoids into one paragraph...too much, really. There are sections of the book that just seem like info dumps (one of my pet peeves). Gregory stuck Jacquetta in the back of a room somewhere and...BAM...we've dropped a whole bunch of history-ish facts down that she's "observed" or "overheard".
The parts concerning Henry's illness were interesting...as were the interactions between Margaret d'Anjou and Jacquetta. I'm just not sure if the random interesting bits make up for the info dumps and the feeling that this was all just an extended introduction to her "real" books on this era in history -- The White Queen and The Red Queen and following. And, since The Lady of the Rivers was really just an introduction, I think Gregory stops the book prematurely (with Elizabeth going out to meet King Edward on the road...which is where, I believe, The White Queen picks up) as Jacquetta still has a few more documented things to experience. I am sure Gregory addresses these other things in the later book, however, I don't believe the later books are from Jacquetta's viewpoint as this one was.
This is a jumbled review...the TLDR of it is this: an "OK" book heavy on the info dumps that appears to exist only because her other books on the series sold well. It's missing that "spark" that are in some of her other works.
Have you ever had Marshmallow Fluff? It's REALLY good when you toast some bread and make a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich.
It's NOT that good when you think you're going to read a light history of royal women existing outside of the marry-prince-have-baby stereotype only to find this weird marshmallow fluffy stuff.
Now I will admit...with a title of "Princesses Behaving Badly", I was not expecting an academic piece of historical writing. I was in the mood for some light vignettes about historical women that I could listen to in the car during the drive to/from work. What I got was a weird amalgamation of some "okay" history (and myth), frequent use of odd/crass slang, and a passive aggressive (and condescending?) feminist bias.
The slang cheapened the book. Talking about a princess having balls (or not) or being a badass or pissed as hell might work in an informal blog. In a book that's presenting historical information? Um...not so much.
The feminist bias was fine I guess...we have a book showcasing women that history often overlooks so I expect it to be championing women. I don't think it had to be condescending or passive aggressive in its approach. It came off as defensive in a "see, look what women can do too even if we don't have balls!!" rather than an objective "women were valuable pieces in the historical puzzle" approach. It was off-putting.
The history. There was some...there was also a lot of myth. Granted, some of that is because women were not recorded in history like they ought to have been so we are relegated to discussing myth over fact in some instances. What historical analysis there was, I did enjoy. I wish there was more of it -- once the author stopped using crass slang and wrote about history, it was actually pretty good. Ultimately, short vignettes are too small to get an adequate historical context so I would propose all the shorts be taken with a grain of salt. Chances are there is more in-depth history/research about that particular woman that can provide some context beyond "she was a woman in a man's world" for the reader.
Let me add one more point - I listened to this on audio. I do believe that a book can live or die by its narrator and the woman who read this book wove attitude into her interpretation. For me, the attitude just amplified the slang/condescending approach. If I read a hard copy I may not have latched on to those aspects quite as much? I wasn't a fan of the audiobook.
Maybe this became better as it went along? I DNF'd at about 50%... If you want some very light and fluffy vignettes give this a whirl. If you want some meatier works on women of history, there are some good ones out there as well. Women of antiquity may have been overlooked, but there are some historical works trying to do them justice...
I'm off for a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich...
I picked this one up as it was on a list of time travel romance must-reads.
I wish they had placed an asterisk next to it that said: "Actually, this is book #4 so you might want to start at the beginning of the series which also has time travel and romance."
And then I wish they had placed a second asterisk next to it that said: "And the time travel is only for about a quarter of the book sandwiched in the middle...the rest of it takes place in modern times dealing with characters/family trees you learned about in the first three books."
Let's be honest...I really did not enjoy this that much. I think that's partly because I jumped into the series a few books in and it read like it. There was no attempt to really catch a new reader up on the world...which is totally fine. I should have researched the book a bit more before picking it up. I think even if I had been caught up on the series I would have not cared for this book much anyway.
One of my big issues with the book? The villains (Gilbert the father in law and the fiancé) were absolutely ridiculous. Madelyn's ex-fiancé is a stalker who perpetrates crimes left and right but supposedly gets away with it because he's a lawyer? Unbelievable. On the back cover blurb he's labeled as a "pesky fiancé"....um, it goes WAY beyond pesky. He was obnoxious. And a freaking CRIMINAL. And to top it all off, every time he perpetrated a crime or acted horribly (stealing her possessions? having her credit cards stopped and her credit score altered? stalking her? verbally abusing her every chance he got? etc ad nauseam), Madelyn or the supporting characters would just cower under the abuse or just wag their fingers at him and tell him to stop. It was ridiculous and I found it hard to believe that he was just able to behave in that manner for so long.
The romance fell flat for me too. I understand...98% of romance books are set up with the reader already knowing which two characters are going to end up together before he/she even starts reading. Just because we know who's going to fall in love with whom does not mean the romance has to be flat...or an afterthought. Madelyn and Patrick's romance just kind of happened...and then it was established with not enough development. I just didn't care about it which was disappointing because I wanted to read a romance book. I did not read any chemistry between these two...and, to be honest, I kind of doubted Madelyn's judgement after she was willing to marry Bentley Douglas Taylor III (...even his name reads "Obnoxiously Evil Villain"..good grief) after (I think it was only) six months. Madelyn and Patrick's romance read like it was a poor attempt at the it's-a-slow-burn-because-we-hate-each-other-but-then-find-out-we-are-each-other's-true-love-in-two-chapters trope.
Also disappointing? When you think you're going to read a time travel book...only to find that the time travel doesn't kick in for about 250 pages and then only lasts about 50 pages. Um...not what I signed up for. I was expecting the time travel to be more integral to the plot and more interlaced throughout. We spend more time watching Madelyn try to figure out why Patrick likes to wield a sword then we do actually in medieval Scotland.
I'm probably just grumpy because it wasn't a time travel book like I was expecting AND Madelyn's fiancé REALLY bugged me and it infused the whole story with a tinge of sourness. I plan to go back and read book number one in the series to see if that sets a better bedrock for the series.