**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [284]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer I am in Atlanta. It's Friday. And it's absolutely snowing buckets. And it's just at the right (or wrong) temperature for it all to stick. We have actual accumulation.

And I moved down south to get away from this stuff!

But it will be a great weekend to curl up with a cat or two and a good book or three. I got lots of wonderful things over at Reading Reality, but here are a couple of teasers.


Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai


Lake Silence by Anne Bishop


Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris


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Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Steampunk
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: ACE
Release date: June 14, 2016

Series:  The Invisible Library #1

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen.

London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.

Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself...


Okay, you all know I'm a librarian; obviously I have been intrigued about this book ever since I heard about it.

Having finished with it, I am of two minds which can't quite mesh together, like magnets of the same polarity that push on one another the harder you try to force them. I loved the idea of a library with sentient powers and librarians with, for lack of a better word, magical authority who go off on adventures. Granted, instead of obtaining artifacts, they obtain rare books from an infinite number of alternate worlds, but that's probably where the similarities to the TNT show The Librarians begins and ends.

Instead, I found the beginning of this book and its worldbuilding explanations to be intricate and almost painful to wrap my head around. And while I naturally love organization of information and research, the revealing of the Library and its world/rules was not logical and presented in a forthright manner, leaving me both confused and irritated. My brain wanted library facts to be logical, just as real librarianship is (mostly). Since we only get a few ideas at a time revealed from the protagonist, I was chomping at the bit to see the full picture. Therefore, I did not have much appreciation for Irene and her way of telling the story.

This reads as a fantastical mystery series, which I supposed I missed from the get-go, having expected  more sci-fi with bits of fantasy. It takes place in a steampunk setting with a meld of fae and other traditional urban fantasy elements like vampires and werewolves (at least in this particular alternate). The mystery itself is very unpredictable because you just don't have many clues about the world itself or its inhabitants and their capabilities.

Another frustrating parts of the novel were the characters and character development. They mainly exist in the present but without much detail, Kai being the real exception (since he is part of the mystery). In other words, their pasts, physical descriptions, and motivations are largely unknown and, I think, make the reader connect less with them. Kai's revelation was not surprising, but what this entails? I still have no clue after finishing this first book. Irene also has a nemesis in Bradamant, whom we meet at the beginning, but their history is still very vague. And though I disliked Bradamant, I found her loyalty and morality to be very questionable though she works for the Library and we're just supposed to trust her? Bradamant seems like she'd be happy throwing whomever under the nearest bus, and why would even the Library supervisors approve of a person like that who doesn't inspire cooperativeness with her coworkers? It astounds me. Speaking of librarians, I did have a couple library specific quotes to share that were my favorite and humorous to the profession. (Disclaimer: naturally, I will allow that these are not entirely accurate--for instance, I spend way more time with people than I do with books but I suppose I haven't lived a full lifetime yet.)

Favorite Librarian Quotes:

"'We are the Library,' Coppelia pointed out. 'What we don't know, we research.'"


"Irene felt chilled. Some of the older Librarians had . . . unsavory reputations. A lifetime among books didn't cultivate depravity or debauchery as much as a love of mind games and politics. And those games could turn dark."

"[Dragons] were supposed to be hoarders after all. Not so different from Librarians."


I'll be reading the second installment, The Masked City, soon, so we'll see whether this picks up in detail and logicality.


Saturday, December 02, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [283]



Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!



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It's the holiday season! Hopefully that means all of you might receive some wonderful books in the coming weeks? I know I'm looking forward to hopefully having some reading time, but I'm starting to realize how working moms do it. Or don't. Every day is a conscious choice, a constant battle of priorities. Sometimes reading wins (or insert other hobby here). Sometimes your infant catches a terrible cold and you remember both sleep and reading with a desperation bordering on insanity. Still, I've managed to add a few things to my shelves. Here's hoping I get to read them. 



The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
Recently completed. 
My library had a visit by Amber Smith & Robin Benway (below), so frantically read something of theirs. This was an intense book and carries you through the emotions of the main character so much that you feel it while reading. Unforgettable.


Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Recently completed.
This was a fun book about a girl breaks up with a musician and he writes a song about her. This is about the chaotic aftermath that makes her a household name.

Crucible of Gold (Temeraire, 7) by Naomi Novik
Recently completed.
Stay tuned for a review at some point...

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Currently Reading
I'm in the middle of this beautiful short story collection. 

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman
Currently reading.

Warcross by Marie Lu
Recently Completed.
Review to come.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Currently Reading

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Currently Checked Out...

P.S. Apologies for not getting this up asap this morning! We've been dealing with some illness because that's what happens when your children go to daycare. :) 









Saturday, November 25, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [282]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
——————
 
Enregistrer For those in the U.S. this is Thanksgiving weekend. Hopefully you have all recovered from your turkey comas by the time you read this.

I'm away from home for the holidays, so I'm writing this post relatively early. Which doesn't mean that I don't have oodles of books in my complete stack over at Reading Reality.

And that I don't have a couple of special things to tease you with.

Happy Beginning of the Holiday Season!


Rebel by Rhys Ford


A Study in Sable by Mercedes Lackey


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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik

Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Historical fiction
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: June 7, 2011

Series:  Temeraire, #6

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon’s invasion of England, Temeraire and Capt. Will Laurence have been transported to a prison colony in distant Australia—and into a hornet’s nest of fresh complications. The colony is in turmoil after the overthrow of military governor William Bligh—aka Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. And when Bligh tries to enlist them in his bid to regain office, the dragon and his captain are caught in the middle of a political power struggle. Their only chance to escape the fray is accepting a mission to blaze a route through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But the theft of a precious dragon egg turns their expedition into a desperate recovery operation—leading to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new complication in the global war between Britain and Napoleon.

I was really excited to begin this book to see a glimpse of Australia, but the Australia of this time period is, frankly, miserable and messy. There's not much food or resources to be had, and not many good men to work since Australia was used as a penal colony. There has also been a coup for power, known as the Rum Rebellion of 1810, and two rival military groups are trying to gain control, thus trying to also influence their new Aerial Corps members to their side. Temeraire and Laurence have been accompanied by Iskierka (of her own will, naturally) and Granby and three dragon eggs, intended to found the colony's only dragons and airmen. One of the potential captains for the eggs is Rankin, who was in His Majesty's Dragon and ill-treated his old dragon to death. The first egg to hatch is that of the ferals and arrogant Caesar emerges, choosing Rankin on account of his family's status and wealth despite Temeraire's best efforts to convince him of Rankin's villany. Thus, when the temporary commander of the colony orders Laurence to make a pass to Sydney from the nearby mountains, Rankin, Caesar, and the two eggs accompany them along with men to dig and Iskierka and Granby. This task, and the underlying one of catching smugglers, leads them on a chase across all of Australia, especially when one of the eggs is stolen. 

I found this book to be a bit more of slog than the rest of them since they kept traveling constantly and running out of food, sinking into danger, and generally finding bad luck every which way, not to mention the quarrelsomeness of their company. It felt like the Oregon Trail where people are dying of dysentery left and right and treacherous mountain passes and little food mean possible cannibalism. Not that there was cannibalism exactly. It's just there was more chaos in command for both Temeraire and Laurence and despite their experience and talents, they just fell short. Add this to the fact that they're being gagged by the British government and reports of the war are getting steadily worse, and you feel downright depressed at the lack of action or progress. Another factor in this book is relations with China again and the idea of more conflict between governments over trade. Temeraire and Laurence have to discuss political bribery, which is a moral gray area for Temeraire and largely unknown to him. This dilemma was perhaps one of the most interesting details since heretofore Temeraire usually chooses the moral high ground. Other fun parts are the surprise of Demane, which I won't spoil, and the intrigue of the tiniest dragon egg. After finishing this one, I'm ready to get out of Australia and back to Temeraire and Laurence being regarded as heroes. Onward to Brazil and hopefully some good news!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [281]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer In the U.S., this is the weekend before Thanksgiving. And even though the holiday isn't until Thursday, this week usually ends up being kind of a "lost week" when it comes to work - or much of anything else!

So, I'll leave with with a couple of light and fluffy romances from my stack over at Reading Reality, just in case you have a few spare moments to read!

Have a great week and welcome to the beginning of the holiday season!


The Art of Running with Heels by Rachel Gibson


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory




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Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss


Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: DAW
Release date: November 17, 2015

Series:  The Kingkiller Chronicles #2.5

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place.

Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows....

In this book, Patrick Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. Full of secrets and mysteries, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world. 


This book takes place after The Wise Man's Fear from minor character Auri's perspective. It has no bearing, that I can tell, upon Kvothe's tale, but presents a different snapshot of Rothfuss's world in a unique voice and point of view. Therefore, don't pick this tale up without having read the first two books! If you're interested in reading about Auri and only Auri, then you will find this a quick, engrossing read.

Auri lives in the Underthing, a network of forgotten rooms and places under the University. The Underthing is her entire home. She has her own names for things, very few of which was revealed in the other stories, as she is secretive and shy of people. Also, she is very sensitive to emotion and confrontation, running away at direct questions. Readers will know she has befriended mainly Kvothe, for his lute playing and special nature, and Master Elodin, another odd duck. No one else (to our knowledge) knows she lives there as she would be hauled off to Haven, the asylum for people who experienced magical mishaps, because Auri isn't quite...normal. Instead, the characters of her world are objects and places, which Auri gives somewhat human characteristics. For example, her magical light is "Foxen" and acts as a sort of pet; while the large gear she finds, she carries from place to place, showing it the rooms and seeing if that is its place of belonging.

In my estimation, I think she could have a form of magical Asperger's since she is very gifted and smart, prefers things to people, and yet everything has to be "just so". I really enjoyed this novella despite not having a plot or purpose other than to get a glimpse of everyday life for Auri. It's sweet how carefully she prepares for Kvothe's visits and takes care of her Underthing, trying to preserve it rather than be selfish and take from the things she finds. The descriptions and work of making numerous inanimate objects and places act as characters shows Rothfuss's talent in a new light, as its truly a delicate, faintly rhythmic piece of short fiction.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [280]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
——————
 November 11, 2017 is the 99th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. The holiday is known as Veterans Day in the United States  and Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom and both current and former members of the Commonwealth.

Here are just a few of the new books that have arrived this week. My complete stack is over at Reading Reality.




War Games by Jess Anastasi
This is the fourth book in Jess Anastasi's Valiant Knox series. And it's science fiction romance for those who like their SFR to also be space operas. The Valiant Knox is a city in a spaceship, much like Babylon 5. But the setting is in the midst of an interstellar war, so it also reminds me more than a bit of Battlestar Galactic and Star Trek: Discovery. And it's one heck of a ride.



The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen
This one feels like it's the closest to being apropos for today, even though the war it follows is World War II rather than WW1. Based on the description, it feels like it might be a follow up to last year's marvelous In Fairleigh Field. And it looks like just as much of a treat as the previous book.


Cast in Deception by Michelle Sagara
Cast in Deception is the OMG 13th book in Sagara's epic Chronicles of Elantra series. The series follows the adventures of Private Kaylin Nera of the Elantra city guard, and on the surface it feels like urban fantasy set in an epic fantasy world. But as the series has continued, Kaylin has moved far from her roots as a street rat into the halls of power, however reluctantly on her part - and on the parts of those who occupy those halls. Reading the latest book in this series is one of my much looked forward to annual treats.



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Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Adult
Genre: High Fantasy
Hardcover: 993 pages
Publisher: DAW
Release date: March 1, 2011

Series:  The Kingkiller Chronicles, #2

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

DAY TWO: THE WISE MAN’S FEAR

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale told from his own point of view—a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, Day Two of The Kingkiller Chronicle, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.


Our mysterious innkeeper, Kote, continues the story of Kvothe, really his own secret story, and his many unbelievable adventures. Having called the name of the wind in the last revelation, Kvothe is still at the University and participating in some of his usual antics: playing tricks on Ambrose, learning nonsense from Elodin, and fawning over Denna. However, when he heroically attempts to help Denna by snubbing Ambrose, this creates a mess where Kvothe is forced to take a term off from the University and travel to perhaps find a wealthy patron.

This book takes us on Kvothe's longest journey yet and well away from the University and classes, but not losing any bit of the magnitude of his learning and maturity. Where Kvothe seemed like a chip-on-the-shoulder wily teenager in the last book, here he gains some perspective and a great deal of wisdom. Having made brash decisions in the past and well-paid for them, he attempts to give more consideration to the consequences of potential outcomes though there are still plenty of opportunities for spontaneity and hilarity. Almost every wild escapade seems to happen in this book with masterfully credible storytelling, both on the part of Kvothe and Rothfuss. Here his greatest personal gains are discipline and in romance, for the Kvothe who sets out from the University is nowhere near the man who returns. However, despite the fun adventure, there is still the undercurrent of great danger as Kvothe hunts for lore on the Chandrian and comes quite close to imminent disaster.

Quite a few world details caught me this time as we encounter the world of the Fae, which hasn't much been explained by the presence of Bast and their vague references to Fae; and the unconventional modes of culture and communication by the Ademre, who are largely stoics and staunch observers of tradition. I quite enjoyed learning about the Ademre, in particular. The Fae, on the other hand, is still a great mystery as not much is revealed except about Felurian and the Cthaeh. I also liked the parts in Vintas (I think this was where Severen was, on the coast? I'm really bad with locations if I haven't mentally mapped it out.) with the Maer and his romance. There were a lot of thought-provoking details about that culture and social behaviors that I savored reading.

Though the narrative is not fast-paced, it still is an interesting adventure. (In adventures, you still have to have boring days, and Kvothe has no few of them but still even if it is a boring day, he manages to learn something or give a few details for the reader to worry over.) We also learn a bit more details about Denna, find out what's in the Archives, and discover some truth and some folly in the tales of the magnificent Kvothe. Lastly, we leave our hero not quite as pitiful as he was before, for he has actually made some money on a few ventures. It's downright positive! But wait...that means he'll have to get kicked out of the University in the next novel. I'll be nervously fidgeting until then.

I still loved this second book despite its daunting size (993 pages!), and will count myself in the hordes of people eagerly anticipating his third novel, currently still TBD due to the vast number of revisions. Look for my brief review of his novella about sweet Auri very soon!

(Please note, he has been at work on the final book, but as stated on his blog, he's had a tough few years personally with his family and regular life responsibilities. That is a lot for any person to take, let alone a writer who has to get out of his own head and into his character's. I have a lot of sympathy for him, and no, I'm not talking about the ones that make magical lamps...) 

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Stacking the Shelves [279]


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!
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Enregistrer My stack at Reading Reality isn't much taller than what I'll post here. Some weeks are like that.

But I have some books this week that I've been waiting for, so I can certainly tease you right here and right now!


Cave of Bones by Anne Hillerman
Many, many moons ago, I began Tony Hillerman's evocative Leaphorn and Chee mystery series on a long commute. Mysteries are great on audio, but this was at a time when there weren't a lot of audiobooks available, so I took what I could get. And I got hooked on this series. When Tony Hillerman died a few years ago, I assumed that the series was over. But his daughter Anne, also an author, resurrected it by adding a new point-of-view character and continuing this marvelous series in awesome fashion. If you love mysteries, particularly if you are a fan of Longmire, this series is not to be missed.


The Forbidden Heir by M.J. Scott
This is the long anticipated second book in the author's utterly magical Four Arts series, after 2015's The Shattered Court. Court was one of my favorite books of that year, and I've been waiting on pins and needles for the second book in the series ever since. If you love fantasy romance, this series is a treat!


Heart Sight by Robin D. Owens
The Celta's Heartmate series has become one of my all time favorite series. It sits right on the border between science fiction and fantasy, much in the same way that Anne McCaffrey's beloved Pern series does. Day to day life on Celta feels like fantasy, but Celta is a lost colony just like Pern, making it SF after all. The worldbuilding is top-notch, feeling like a functional place that a person could actually live in. And the romances are always marvelous. This is the one series that makes the fated mate trope work, by making the protagonists seriously have to work for their HEA.


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