Spring 2019 TBR

Thank you Destiny @ Howling Libraries for your Spring TBR post. You inspired and motivated me to break my 2019 TBR down further into seasonal TBRs. It seems a strange thing to say this but gosh it’s almost hard to pin myself down, to commit to reading certain books within a certain time! Most of the time I base what I’m reading off spontaneous thoughts and feelings. I see a book, on my shelf or a shelf (or in my Kindle), and say okay that’s next or that’s now.

However as a book blogger and a blogger period I do think it helps to let my audience know what’s coming up in case you want to read along with me or follow me to stay tuned for a review. First I broke my Goodreads TBR down to my current 2019 TBR. And now I’m going to break that down to this here Spring TBR, in no particular order. Which, disclaimer, may be subject to change. 😉 Feel free to post your comments at the end. Thank you!

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This first title, Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina, is a book I found at Books and Tea with Brittany. Brittany is an Australian blogger I just found and mentions this book is by Aborginal authors. It sounds really interesting, a woman has died and her father a detective is the only one who can see her and together they work to solve a mystery. Follow the above link to read the full synopsis on Goodreads.

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The Deepest Blue By Sarah Beth Durst JUST came out, and I even more JUST got my copy. This is a standalone continuation of the Tales of Renthia. Prior to this book there was the Queens of Renthia trilogy that I read and enjoyed very much last year. So it’s with great joy I heard about this from Mrs. Durst’s page, a story set in another part of the same world. Yeah!

Oh and I read the book Lost and loved it by this author but the rest of the trilogy apparently isn’t forthcoming after all. However we may have reason to believe that series will be put to TV or movie. Oh my gosh, let’s hope so! That was a great book and I really wish they would have published the rest of the trilogy/series.

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Another trilogy I’m very happy to be reading. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness is the second in the All Souls Trilogy. The first was A Discovery of Witches. Kind of a big book but it was well worth it. In fact I just lent the book to my Great Aunt, let’s see if she likes it! I’m not a Twilight fan so if you also aren’t don’t get worried when I say witches, vampires, daemons and more. We’ve got ancient magic, a witch discovering her powers and why is everyone so obsessed with her? There’s some romance here – not a romance reader myself – and it works for me, well at least the first book. This is also a book that they’re going to be reading in the Goodreads’ group Bookworm Bitches in April. I’ll be reading this along with them.

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If you’ve read any of my other posts yet you might know I’m going to be reading this very soon, like this week. The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan is the third book in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I recently finished The Tropic of Serpents #2, click to learn more. Imagine reading a journal of sorts about a woman in a different, though similar, world long ago studying dragons around the world. You can bet I’ll be reading this entire series (I think there’s five total.) I’ll also be following the author in the future.

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The Honours by Tim Clare is a fantasy book I just started, well like a week ago. I follow his podcast about writing, Death of A Thousand Cuts, and wanted to give his writing a shot. This is the first book, a sequel is to follow this May. My plan is to finish this, hopefully love it, and pre-order his second book, The Ice House, and provide a fellow author the much-needed support.

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Binti – Home by Nnedi Okorafor is the second book in this trilogy. This science fiction story started with Binti (my review here) which was a short and great read about a young lady leaving her home for a distinguished university on another planet. But of course, it’s not that simple, things go real wrong. Original, creative, beautiful story. Can’t wait. This one’s a little longer but 176 pages, not long. I’ve also read – forget I read it years ago and re-added to my TBR – Book of Phoenix by Nnedi and became a fan of hers then. You can expect to hear about more from this author.

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The Night Masquerade is the final book in this trilogy. Little big longer than the first two but still short at about 200 or so pages. Definitely plan to finish this series this spring.

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Women Wartime Spies by Ann Kramer is a book I’ve had in my personal library for a LONG time. I wrote about this and other such books in the post Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering Books. Check it out.

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I’m currently reading My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel. This is a sort of academic non-fiction that I’m slowly picking my way through. It’s very interesting and well-researched. He not only shares his own experience with mental illness but looks into the history and research surrounding anxiety disorders. Check it out if you’re curious.

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Yes I’m still reading this. Ugh, these last few weeks have not been good reading weeks. But Everfair by Nisi Shawl will hopefully be finished this week. I’m including it here because it’s spring and I’m currently reading this, so I think it makes sense to add it to my Spring TBR. I will say if you haven’t read it here already, I’m not loving this book and have fought to finish instead of DNF. Stay tuned for my review.

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Yes I will be re-reading this as I recently realized that I have in fact read this book a couple years ago. Imagine that. That means I came across Binti having forgotten I’ve already read from this author! Lol, oh dear. I do remember that I really liked this book and I think I owe it a re-read even though reading books more than once is not really my thing. But The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor is an awesome book.

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Another book my from Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering Books series. The Greek Poets – Homer to the Present is a behemoth I will start reading this spring, maybe I’ll finish or maybe I won’t until summer. Either way I’m going to pick at this slowly with no rush to finish.

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Here we have another from Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering books. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years. It’s about time and perfect for the season to read about a woman in science with a love for plants. Right up my alley.

Wow, I feel so limited to have to stop and yet I’m not a fast reader! When I think about how much time I actually have, what with work and writing my novel, this is an ambitious list for the next couple of months. I want to add more just because I get excited thinking about reading books but I have to be realistic. Besides, I’d rather be like oh my gosh people, I read alllllllllllllll those and here’s another. LOL! Or maybe they’ll bleed over into summer. Whatever the case, this is going to be a good season for bookish adventures.

Stay tuned for my more detailed April plans or go back and check out March Plans, whatever makes you happy.

I’d love to know if you’re reading any of these books or plan to. Now don’t go spoiling anything for me but I still want to hear your thoughts. What about your Spring list, are we similar? Not at all, no way? Do you think I’m crazy for trying to read all these or maybe you’re more crazy than me? Come on, comment, let’s share notes.

Please like and comment if you enjoy my posts. Absolutely please do follow me if you want to keep up and stay tuned. I post reviews shortly after I finish books and I’m posting monthly plans so you have a better idea of what’s coming up.

Here’s What’s Up Book Lovers!

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This Saturday’s installment for Here’s What’s Up is bookish. The theme is re-discovering books. By this I mean books I’ve had for a long time just chilling on the shelf.

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While packing and unpacking a recent move I encountered books that had long become decorative pieces that made up those things called bookshelves. It’s easy to get on a kick about a certain subject, author, theme, you name it. You pick up some books. You put them on the shelf then stand back in awe of the beauty they’ve added to your collection. Ah if only you could read faster and read them all this week, or this month perhaps. Sigh.

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Then life does that thing it does and makes a turn, a hard turn sometimes at that. You forget all about how hard-pressed you were to read your entire library, new and old. How you’d just found this new author and picked up two of their 15 books with the promise to read them all. Those new books on your bookshelf fade into the background. They become a piece of decorative wall art. That one you started with the cool new bookmark gets buried on your desk or permanently lodged in the bag you were always carrying before time changed. Your books are now in the ether of dreams. Fear not! Here’s what’s up with those books (well mine).

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As I unpacked my books I sorted them. These are going to be sold or given away. Those are going to be packed and put in the attic (until a new bookshelf magically appears). And these, yup these right here, are going to be put somewhere nearby and added to my TBR. The books I mention here are books of different origins and eras (in my life) that I will add to my 2019 TBR. They are all over the place in genre and decade, as well as condition. Most I’ve not read. So I thought it would be fun to share some of my new old stock with you for this week’s Here’s What’s Up Book Lovers: Rediscovering books.

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OH bonus for this post is the fact that this first book fits right into Women’s History Month, which is right now, March, in case you didn’t know. And let’s just say all the books I add written by women count because well they’re history, they’ve already been published. 😉

Women Wartime Spies by Ann Kramer

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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From Mata Hari through to Noor Inyat Khan, women spies have rarely received the recognition they deserve. They have often been trivialized and, in cinema and popular fiction, stereotyped as vamps or dupes. The reality is very different. As spies, women have played a critical role during wartime, receiving and passing on vital information, frequently at considerable risk. Often able to blend into their background more easily than their male counterparts, women have worked as couriers, transmitters and with resistance fighters, their achievements often unknown. Many have died. Ann Kramer describes the role of women spies during wartime, with particular reference to the two world wars. She looks at why some women chose to become spies, their motives and backgrounds. She looks at the experience of women spies during wartime, what training they received, and what skills they needed. She examines the reality of life for a woman spy, operating behind enemy lines, and explores and explodes the myths about women spies that continue until the present day. The focus is mainly on Britain but will also take an international view as appropriate.

Hardcover, 171 pagesPublished 2011 by MJF Books

Here’s what’s up with this book:

Yes it was a bargain priced book at Barnes & Noble that pushed me to buy this book. But what really made me reach for it is the fact that my late Grandmother was a W.A.S.P., a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot. These women were trained pilots who tested and ferried aircrafts in addition to training other pilots during World War II. Their existence meant that more men were freed up for combat. Despite the courageous work they did they had no military standing. In fact, they didn’t receive veteran status for their World War II service until 1977. Then in 2009, President Barack Obama signed the WASP Congressional Gold Medal bill into law. My Grandmother was lucky enough to live to see and attend that day. She was a brave, adventurous woman who continued to fly until old age deemed it unsafe. I’ll never forget the story of how she applied to fly for a commercial airline as a young woman but was turned down. They said she was over-qualified for the job but would not be hired because she was a woman.

Hats off to you Grandma! Thank you to all the WASPs and to all the vets everywhere. My Grandfather is also a WWII vet. So this book drew my interest for personal reasons, though neither of them were spies. I hope to read it in April.

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The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (Book #1) by Carlos Castaneda

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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The story of a remarkable spiritual journey, the first awesone steps on the road to becoming “a man of knowledge,” the road that continues with A Separate Reality and Journey To ixtlan. Includes The Teachings and A Structural Analysis.

Paperback, 288 pages – Published 1983 by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster (first published 1968)

Here’s what’s up with this book:

To be honest I don’t remember exactly how and why I have this. I kind of know why. It’s a book I’ve heard of before and thought eh, let’s see what this is all about. Seemed up my ally. And when I open the cover of this used, I’d say worn paperback, I find I wrote my name and 07/06′. There ya go, I got this in 2006 either at a garage sale (maybe) or used book stand/store.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. 

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 is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home.

Hardcover, 290 pagesPublished April 5th 2016 by Knopf (first published March 1st 2016)

Here’s what’s up with this book:

This book as you see above is about three years old, which is probably how long I’ve had it. I like science and I love plants. This book was 20% off in Barnes & Noble and therefore out on display. The cool cover and the title drew me in like fish on a line. And come to find out, it was nominated for a whole bunch of awards! This is right on time for Spring TBR.

The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present, edited by Peter Constantine, Rachel Hadas, Edmund Keeley, & Karen Van Dyck

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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This landmark volume captures three millennia of Greek poetry—more than 1,000 poems and 200 poets. From the epics of Homeric Greece to the historical and erotic ironies of Cavafy, from the romances, hymns, and bawdy rhymes of Byzantium to the innovative voices of a resurgent twentieth century, this anthology brings together the diverse strands of the Greek poetic tradition. The favorites are all here—raging Achilles, restless Odysseus, strong-hearted Penelope—but The Greek Poets also presents neglected eras, from the rise of Constantinople to the end of the Ottoman occupation. In offering canonical poets such as Sappho and Pindar, and the modern Nobel laureates Seferis and Elytis, the renowned editors give us their new translations and bring together other masterful translators, including Robert Fagles, James Merrill, and W. S. Merwin, along with a younger generation that includes Anne Carson, Paul Muldoon, and Alicia Stallings. This is an essential companion to the Western literary tradition.

Hardcover, 736 pages – Published December 14th 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company

Here’s what’s up with this book:

This behemoth was a gift. I believe at the time I got this book (not when it was published) I was in the midst of or had already published my poetry book. It was an interest (and still is though it’s a bit side-lined) of mine to read more poetry especially classics such as these. So a family member found this book and wah-la! It joined my shelf…

Let me be candid in saying I didn’t request to read the Greek Poets specifically (don’t give me that kind of credit) and I did take Intro to Mythology in college but by now, these will be new adventures all over again, and just new period. I’m actually kind of excited. 😉

Of course given what it is, this is a big book. And because it’s a compilation, I don’t feel pressure to read it in one take all on its own. Phew. This is a book I will pick at, reading some here and there with the goal to finish this spring (deadline: summer equinox).

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As I wrote this I decided that Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering Books will be ongoing until announced otherwise. I’m going to stop this post at four books though there are many others that I have rediscovered. I think I’ll pop in every so often and update or add to these ongoing discoveries. You’ll find books like Dana Stabenow’s Liam Campbell & Kate Shugak series, as well as books I’ll be reading for research for my novel, and a number of non-fiction books. This series of posts will probably extend to titles that come to mind as I travel down the rabbit hole of the past and authors I used to read.

Of course when I finish a book I’ll have something to say about it. I mean that’s the point of a book blog right? So stay tuned for my progress on these books, reading to start in April. Which also means you should stay tuned for my April Plans post and an update to March Plans, progress report or something to that effect.

Now it’s comment time! Are you familiar with any of these books I’ve posted here?

What do you do when you “re-find” old books? After reading this consider going back to your older bookshelf and browsing for new old finds. If you decide to do a similar post please link back to me here and post your link in my comments. This could be a fun book meme! And of course tell me about your rediscoveries!

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Shelf Control – Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

This Wednesday bookish meme is hosted by BookShelf Fantasies. Thank you for letting us join in this fun!

And I am eeking this Shelf Control post in at the end of Wednesday so it still counts (even if you might not read it till Thursday). 😉

Oh, AND, I’m sort of not following the rules (this time) in that I don’t own this book YET. The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst came out today. This “standalone epic fantasy for adults published by Harper Voyager” is set in the same world as her Queens of Renthia series but a different part, a part of the world we did not get to explore in that series. We got a small taste, a teaser, but that’s it. Who can blame her because here we are, book-thirsty and ready to discover. I suggest you check out her blog post announcing its book birthday.

Here’s the Goodreads’ Synopsis, and a beautiful cover to boot!

The natural magic of the classic The Island of the Blue Dolphinsmeets the danger and courage of The Hunger Games in this dazzling, intricate stand-alone fantasy novel set in award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst’s beloved world of Renthia.

Life is precious and precarious on the islands of Belene. Besieged by a capricious ocean full of malicious spirits, the people of the islands seek joy where they can. Mayara, one of the island’s fearless oyster divers, has found happiness in love. But on the day of her wedding to the artist Kelo, a spirit-driven storm hits the island with deadly force.

To save her loved ones, Mayara reveals a dangerous secret: she has the power to control the spirits. When the storm ends, she is taken into custody by the queen’s soldiers and imprisoned with other women like her.

They vary in age and social status, but to many they are heroes who will aide the country or witches that will sacrifice themselves trying. No matter who they are, the women are sent to a terrifying place—an island filled with bloodthirsty nature spirits, and left without food, water, shelter, or any tools except their own instincts and magic. Whoever survives the Island of Testing will be declared heirs to the queen. But no matter if she wins or loses, Mayara knows that the life she dreamed of is gone.

How and When I got it:

Not yet but I’ve ordered my copy and I just might add it to the April TBR (which is yet to be finished).

Why I Want to Read It:

Because I thoroughly enjoyed The Queens of Renthia series by Sarah Beth Durst! Why did I like that series? It was a unique and creative world to me. Renthia is a world I’ve not yet seen, one full of beautiful, strange, and frightening creatures. Mrs. Durst is a talented writer whose imagination manifests on the page and begs you to want more. I really hope The Deepest Blue is just one more in a long line of books that explore Renthia. You don’t have to read The Queens of Renthia series to read this book I think you’ll want to. 😀

Do you have this on your TBR yet? Or maybe you’ve read Queens of Renthia or any other Sarah Beth Durst book? Are you interested? Let me know!

Got your own installment for Shelf Control? Do please share!

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Here’s What’s Up With Me

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For starters I can’t choose between that giph or

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But they both make me smile and I think they fit some of what I feel besides exhausted. Let’s just enjoy them both.

I told you before that Here’s What’s Up is going to be a regular series of posts ranging from topics about me (Here’s What’s Up With Me), bookish things (Here’s What’s Up Book Lovers) and stuff out in the world/news (Here’s What Else Is Up). While that post might not have given you a clear direction, look at these posts like this, they’re updates, insightful updates. To update my Here’s What’s Up post I will add that I’m going to post these every Saturday. That’s the plan so stay tuned. Now back to our regularly scheduled progam.

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Here’s What’s Up With Me [This Week]

Wow it has been a week, gosh. The last few days my mother (thank you, love her!) has been helping me move out of the apartment I’ve had for 11-1/2 years (it’s been that long). (To give credit where credit is due my sister helped me start the process.) Let me be honest people, I suck at moving. Some people just have a knack for it, I’m not that person. I’ll help you, and I’ll be helpful definitely, but moving my own stuff? Oh no…

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And I’m not done. But that’s fine. It’s spring cleaning time my friends! My apartment was small so I just figured hey, can’t be that bad. Yes it can. And it was. I did not realize how much I had gathered and collected over the years. Sacrifices must be made! Books though? Oh people leave me alone (yes all you non-book people in my life I’m talking to YOU) about getting rid of my books. People be like, oh toss it, just get rid of them.

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Shhh, I will be selling and giving some away, I need to make room, but that’s between me and you. But moving has made me want to purge real bad. Real bad.

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It is inspiring and scary. It’s not easy for me to get rid of stuff, I form weird attachments to things especially if I’ve had it for some time. The memories seem to embed themselves in these things like smells and stains. There’s a little stuffed bear I got for Valentine’s Day, aw it’s so cute. What! You’re a grown ass woman throw it away! OMG! And then I threw the bear away. You won’t convince me to throw it all away (amazing how many people find this so easy when it’s NOT their stuff) but I have seen the error in my ways. So Here’s What’s Up with me!

Getting rid of stuff is like shedding your skin. And if you’ve ever seen something after it’s shed you’ve seen how beautiful that new layer is. My Ball Python is iridescent and shiny after he sheds. He’s truly beautiful, more beautiful, handsome, whatever. This is an opportunity for me to be reborn, kind of, and kick off some cool stuff. There’s so much stress smog in my air these days something’s got to give and I tell you it’s going to be me. But as we kept saying moving heavy stuff down the stairs, this is a controlled slide.

Life will get the best of you sometimes and it will kick your ass. But you know, it doesn’t always have to be an uncontrolled slide. You can handle this. YOU. CAN. HANDLE. THIS.

At the beginning I thought yeah there’s a lot to do but we got this, won’t take that long. Near the end reality hit me. The truck was filling and there was still so much to do! I felt like I was about to have a panic attack or break down. I got to feeling like I really need to sit down, hide in a closet or something, close the door and put my head in my hands. Is this for real? Do I really have this much stuff? Are we going to be here all night? Oh my God I’m wearing her down. Oh my God she did not know she was going to have to work this hard. Oh my God I did not know it was going to be this hard! I’m terrible. This is terrible! I just wanted to run and scream. Maybe I should just leave all this stuff. Yeah, no.

First of all it would make me crazy to not know just what I left behind and not have made an intentional decision on each thing to be rid of it. And second, that’s just bad karma. No. Not right. But I do not need this stuff and I can’t handle any more stress in my life right now, I’m imploding! What have I done?! Oh gosh yeah I got this dramatic in my head because, it’s sad but it’s true. Life has gotten away from me. All of it.

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But I want better. I want more. This doesn’t have to be terrible. New is good. I love reading because through books I see other worlds, observations, viewpoints, and ways of life. New. I see different. In agitated almost panicked state, I needed a different view. Through writing I get to explore my own visions and experiences and imagination. Then I can take that out into the world and say, look at this, what do you think? What do you observe? Like books ask me, at least I think so sometimes.

But I can’t do these things if I’m always stressed out and holding on to things, figuratively and literally. If it’s not working for you let it go. I mean, get your work done. Don’t let that panicked state own you. Control that slide! So that’s why Here’s What’s Up With Me this week was about this move. Controlled slide. This move is catapulting me into this new direction because it was and is a call to action like so many other things in my life. From writing to work to the personal. A new chapter is here folks and I’m taking it all in. Moving isn’t just physical, it’s transformative.

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How’s about you, what’s up with you? Are you going through something transformative? On a small or grand scale, it all counts. Whether you’re transforming your arms to wings or shedding a whole layer of yourself, it’s something and YOU CAN FN DO IT. Don’t focus on how hard it is, that’ll drive you crazy. Picture what you want to do with this new self, or place, or phase, what have you. Picture your newness. Remember, theme for this spring, CONTROLLED SLIDES.

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My Review of Borderline (The Arcadia Project #1) by Mishell Baker

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Info from Goodreads:

(My Review of Borderline follows (from May 2018))

A year ago Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.

For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star, who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she’ll have to smooth talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble’s disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.

No pressure.

Paperback, 390 pagesPublished March 1st 2016 by Saga Press

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My Review of Borderline (from May 2018)

4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I don’t read a lot of fantasy per se so I don’t have a whole lot to compare to. With that said I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick easy read – read it in a weekend – and I’m not a fast reader. A more character-based story if you ask me, it was relatively fast paced with short chapters (of which I’m a big fan), but not action packed.

Disclaimer 2: I am personally biased towards her use of mental illness in the story. Mishell Baker knows what she’s doing and doesn’t fuss around putting make-up on a pig. This isn’t a dark story, it’s light-hearted in a lot ways which complicates writing about mental illness as you don’t want it to be romanticized. I think she balanced this well. Might it seem too light a treatment to some people? Sure. But this is a light fantasy so what do you expect. But I respect that she chose a main protagonist who’s handicapped both mentally and physically. There are a lot of struggles she faces that ground us in a sense of reality even as we’re dealing with bad fairies and good fairies. This story was dynamic and unique. All the characters main and otherwise had personality and stood out on their own.

Sure as a story I think this is more an introduction to this system of magic, the Arcadia Project and our main protagonist so it may fall flat for those of you looking for a lot of excitement and action; it’s more mystery than action. If you want to read an interesting story about magic and mental illness than dive in.

As far as the ending goes I was satisfied but a little mixed. It kind of felt too swift. On the one hand I don’t want the conclusion to unravel super slowly but it was kind of a wham-bam action scene. Well it did unravel in terms of the information and then there’s the final scene, like I said the conclusion. And yet what more did I want? In terms of a conclusion to the “mystery” it worked, it made sense, but it wasn’t super exciting. I think there were other parts of the book that I was more interested in. However the ending didn’t discourage me from wanting to hurry up and read the next one. More than anything the book left me saying okay next, can I have the next book now please? 

So I’m giving this book 4 stars, I’d reach for 4.3 if I could. It was kind of light, nothing totally mind blowing, but I found the portrayals of mental illness to be intense. The author deserves a lot of credit and respect for doing that well. Like I said I’m going to read the next book and I will also be looking into more of Mishell Baker’s writing.

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I’ve since read all three books in this series (I don’t know if there’s more to come in the future). You can read my reviews HERE.

Want to see what else I’ve read so far in 2019? Go to my REVIEWS.

You can see what I’m currently reading and what I hope to read this year at my 2019 TBR.

My DNF and Review of Gutshot by Amelia Gray

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I really tried with this book; I swore I was going to finish it even though I’d taken almost zero interest in the first 80 pages I read. Last night I skipped around to a few more stories because I felt guilty about the very idea that I was going to DNF it. You can’t just quit a book!

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But where’s my integrity? I’ve been talking about DNFing and reading other blog posts about DNFing books. At the end of the day I think we all agree there’s not enough time to spend it reading a book you don’t like when we all also agree that there’s too many books to read every single one you could ever want! So there I was reading a book that was like plugging my nose to avoid tasting what I’m eating. I just wanted to hurry up and get through it and call it read.

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If I had one hundred or so pages left to go in that book but I was barely interested 80 pages in, why? That’s one hundred pages I could be into the next book such as The Honours or The Voyage of the Basilisk. At least the latter I know I’m going to like a little bit because I’ve liked the first two in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series. And The Honours, well I know there’s a story there, it sounds interesting, and I like the author’s podcast. Do I really want to keep reading a collection of stories that has me saying

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This might as well be my review but no, I’m going to follow the format I’ve used on other books and give you my Goodreads review.

Info from Goodreads:

(My DNF & review of Gutshot follows)

A searing new collection from the inimitable Amelia Gray

A woman creeps through the ductwork of a quiet home. A medical procedure reveals an object of worship. A carnivorous reptile divides and cauterizes a town. Amelia Gray’s curio cabinet expands in Gutshot, where isolation and coupling are pushed to their dark and outrageous edges. These singular stories live and breathe on their own, pulsating with energy and humanness and a glorious sense of humor. Hers are stories that you will read and reread—raw gems that burrow into your brain, reminders of just how strange and beautiful our world is. These collected stories come to us like a vivisected body, the whole that is all the more elegant and breathtaking for exploring its most grotesque and intimate lightless viscera.

Paperback, 209 pagesPublished April 14th 2015 by Fsg Originals (first published March 3rd 2015)

My DNF & Review of Gutshot by Amelia Gray

1/5 stars (sorry, not sorry)

I don’t know if it’s fair to leave a rating for a book I didn’t finish but then again this is a testament to how I feel about this book and what I’d rate it, so I did.

The reason I DNFed this book is because it wasn’t interesting to me. I gave it a chance, for real, I read almost half the book. Let me tell you it is very difficult for me to just quit a book. Given how small it is I was determined to read it in its entirety but then I came across a story that was extra graphic and violent. It turned me off completely. I’m not skittish about violence but this felt like it was just violent to be violent. I’m sure there was a deeper meaning but it wasn’t worth spending anymore time on it, even though I read the story to the end to see if it was worth it after all. Nope. The stories I did read in addition to that one weren’t anymore interesting. So many of them were pointless. At the end of the story I’d sit there thinking, did I miss something or was that not a story at all? I got tired of wondering about the rest of the story between the lines, I couldn’t get into the story on the lines.

I get stories having a deeper meaning and subtle nuances but they have to be interesting to start. Sure there were pieces here and there that made me decide to keep reading. I thought this was going to be my cup of tea but turns out it’s not. And I’ve decided not to be afraid to DNF books that I’m just not connecting to at all. Why when there are so many I will enjoy at least half the time? 

I like weird stories but I want there to be a story, some meat on the bone and these stories were just bone IMHO, like broken bones. Reading the blurb again I feel a little cheated because that makes the book sound really interesting. It turned out to be like a movie trailer in which all the good parts are in the trailer.

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Have you read this book? Do you plan to? Let me know what you thought, feel free to share your thoughts even if you disagree. I love discussion!

CLICK HERE to check out my other reviews.

And visit my 2019 TBR to see what’s piquing my interest. You’ll find what I’ve read so far this year, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan to read. How do our TBRs compare?

Here’s What’s Up

Here’s what’s up this week! An introduction to a new series of posts I’m starting. I do like the idea of having a regular feature so to speak. So, here’s what’s up!

My goal with my blog this time around is to be a bit more focused. I will still bring you a variety of different things like occasional interesting bits of my fun with photography, I mean who doesn’t like to look at stuff?

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Here’s What’s Up Book Lovers

Officially, I’m going to focus more on reading and writing. While I’d love to share all that I’m writing with you, I can’t because I’ve got plans to submit and well most publications want to be first. And my novel is still very much a work in progress. Best to let it simmer in secret. That doesn’t mean we won’t be talking about writing but there will be heavy focus on reading. SO call me A Book Blogger (plus, okay don’t forget the plus)! What can I say, I like to read. And so can blame me, I’m a writer after all. Here’s What’s Up Book Lovers might feature updates to my 2019 TBR in detail, a new book blogger I found and want to feature, fun insights on writing, news from authors and books I like. LIKE Sue Burke’s book Semiosis has been nominated for the Kitschies Golden Tentacle Award. The Kitschies are British awards for “the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining fiction that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic”. The Golden Tentacle she goes on to say is for debut authors. Stuff like that!

In addition to hearing about books and from other book bloggers – you know I got to network and support my fellow book lovers and writers – you’re also going to hear about my personal struggles. Now this is a fragile point of glass. What kind of blogger does this make me? Not a lifestyle…?

Here’s What’s Up With Me

Sometimes we divulge our personal lives with ease and I am a bit of a confessionalist, a bit or more. At other times we stand at the door with our eyes on the peep hole wondering whether or not to open and share. I’m both these things. I love to share and I hate to let people in beyond my control. However, what I have known for a long time is that we can help each other through our experiences. It’ll take some strength and heart for me to really open the doors for you but I’m going to get creative and I’m going to open doors and windows. Bring in the light baby!

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I struggle with anxiety and have for many many years; I struggle with whether or not to say for most of my life. In addition to my anxiety I have obsessive thoughts. While I don’t believe I’m OCD I have in the last year been struggling with some compulsions, all founded on obsessive thoughts. It is a strength I know to share my struggles and yet I feel vulnerable putting it out in the open. It’s not difficult for me to tell you I have anxiety issues, but to put it in words and publish it means that I can’t stop it. Whereas in real time there are days I want to talk to everyone about having anxiety and then there are days I just don’t want to talk to anyone period.

When you’re writing a blog it might seem obvious to share things that are personal. Sure it could be uncomfortable but you want to connect with people. However once I tell you, I’ve told you and I don’t know what you’ll think or feel. I don’t want to be painted with pity nor do I want you to think this is a cry for attention. I think the latter is the worst. I don’t want your attention on me for my anxiety, although I do want your attention on the issue of anxiety. That said I do want your attention on me so you get to know me as a person and a writer. I have self-published a collection of poetry (please contact me if you’d like to know more, links are forthcoming), and I am working on my first novel in addition to short stories. (Writerly facts about me thrown out at random.)

Here’s What Else Is Up

There’s a lot going on in my life, reading and writing are definitely some of those things but they aren’t the only. When I think it’s relevant or helpful I’ll share about these other things. And if I find a clever way (I will) to share about my life regularly, you can expect I will. For the time being (right now it’s 8 Mar 2019), expect a book blog. Simple. But, don’t be suprised if you find author interviews, interviews of all kinds, and more in the future because I am ambitious. Anxiety may kick my ass from time to time but at the end of the day, I’m in charge. I’m the one who wakes up and runs this ship so I’m the one you get to know. My anxiety, eh, it’s like the weather. We’ll talk about it in passing.

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In summary, here’s what’s up posts will consist of weekly updates and/or bits of news of what’s happening in my world, the world, and/or the book world. And you’ll see such headings as those above to give you an idea of the topic/category. The above was a summary of what you might expect but also like I said, an introduction to what’s up with me and this blog.

Please do bear with me as I get this all figured out. Some might be a bit convoluted or drug out but

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Give ‘Em Some Credit

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Part of blogging is being a part of the blogging community. You browse, you read, you like, you comment, at least you should. Whether you’re a book blogger or other sort, this is just part of what you do.

It’s come to my attention however that many of us bloggers and/or blog readers aren’t so good at this. Morgana’s post Book Bloggers Made Me Buy It got me thinking about this. Too often people visit blogs and read them but never “like” let alone comment. Maybe you’ve done this (certainly I have) without meaning to. I’m not always in a position to comment and sometimes it’s late and I fall asleep before remembering to like. Or maybe you’ve done it on purpose because you didn’t like what you read. Such instances as the latter don’t count for what I’m talking about here, I’m referring to – and fellow bloggers are also – the posts you DO like. And I’m not so much telling you what to do if you do or don’t like a post, consider this a “consider this” moment.

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Sometimes it’s intimidating to comment. Maybe you feel silly because you don’t know what to say. Whatever your reason, consider that that blogger will probably smile just to know you liked what they read. We want to interact with people. We want to know what you think. Even if you just hit “like” and then tell me you liked it (redundant you think), that means a lot. In addition to showing other readers our blog has other readers (:D) your comment might give others the courage or the little extra push to leave a comment themselves.

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While hop-skipping around the world of book bloggers on WordPress I found Morgana’s Book Box, as noted at the top of this post. In addition to that one (that really got me on this topic) I also took interest in a relevant and related post The Art of Surviving As A Book Blogger, I think you will also find it interesting. Props Morgana for bringing this topic to the forefront.

Now just what these bloggers think about my long comments – hopefully they don’t cringe 😉 – we’ll see. But I shared with them that I plan to recognize the people, blogs, podcasts, booktubers that I follow and have found books through, among other things. Since you might know I’ve been talking about this it only makes sense I’d get all excited talking about it with other folks. In fact I’ve already started. When I added another book – Angelfall – to my 2019 TBR, one I found in January but thanks to Morgana’s review I pushed it up, I linked back to her review saying as much as I am here. 😀 Scroll down my TBR to find the link to her review.

What do you think? Do you want to comment more now? Did this get you thinking about your comments or lack thereof? Are you a blogger and do you give ’em some credit? Will you now?

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March Plans

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First week of March is over already? Oh dear, I guess my hopes that time would slow down now that we’re almost out of winter won’t be realized. Bummer. That said, March as we all know is home to the spring equinox, and spring is the kick off to lots of activities. Yard work, house work (remodels, repairs, flips, rentals), exercise (sure this is a year long thing but ya know, gotta get ready for summer), bonfires, BBQs, outdoor adventures, gardening perhaps. So so much to do with those long days.

All this activity means sitting around reading will be a bit more difficult. However, it’s not impossible especially when reading is kind of a priority, although writing is a greater priority. (Beware writers, reading is an excellent EXCUSE not to write. Lol.) This is one reason it’s a great idea to lay out some March plans. I’ll be creating a lot of plans for a lot of different things but not sharing them all here. What I will share here, right here right now, are my reading and writing plans for March.

While browsing the world of Book Bloggers I found an interesting post, well two, about book blog post ideas. It’s a collaboration between two book bloggers, one posts 10 ideas then links to the other who shares another 15. Interesting post and really cool idea and execution of a collaboration. You can find these lists at Elated Books by El and 10 more from Maggie at Dreaming of Guatemala. I’m mentioning this now because as you might know I already have a 2019 TBR page. However, what I’ve not done is told you guys what I’m about to read and why. I just listed all the books I’m so far planning (read: hoping) to read in 2019.

Their list inspired me be more interactive with my TBR. This means my March plans will include specific books, the order I will read them, why I have them in the first place, why I’m reading them now, and if applicable how I heard of the book. This way you know in advance what I’ll be talking about and maybe you can read along with me. It might be difficult for me to make these March plans, as I like to choose the books I read spontaneously. But I’ve been planning my reads in advance more often. With so many books to read it helps to have some kind of method for choosing.

What am I talking about? Well for example, I finished Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker earlier this year. Last year I started the series with Borderline. Having finished Phantom Pains rather quickly (for me) I thought it best to start Impostor Syndrome sooner than later so my connection to the story would be current. It was nice to have read #2 & 3 closer together than #1 & 2.

Also, I read Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons quite a while ago. I shelved it on Goodreads back in 2015 and apparently never wrote a review. Eh… of course I enjoyed it, I’m going to read book 3 this month! I read The Tropic of Serpents (Lady Trent #2) last month. Just like with The Arcadia Project, I want to read #3 closer to having read the last one. This is a great segue into my March plans for reading!

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March Plans for Reading

At present I’m reading three books; Gutshot by Amelia Gray (a collection of short stories), Everfair by Nisi Shawl (alternate history/historical fantasy/steampunk novel), and My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread and the Search for Peace of Mind by Scott Stossel (non-fiction). The first two I will finish by the end of this weekend. The non-fiction I will finish in the next two weeks (that’s the deadline I’m going to give myself).

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I have been reading Everfair for quite some time now. To be honest I’ve come really close to DNFing it. Nisi Shawl is clearly a talented writer however I’m not a fan of her style of writing and I’m leaning towards the idea that I’m also not a fan of this genre. I’m more than 3/4 of the way through this book and I still can’t get into it, it’s like there’s no solid story to grab hold of even though this is an alternate telling of history, so there’s a real life story under there!

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Gutshot is my first collection of short stories in a long time. While I would like to read more collections than I do now this one isn’t turning out to be my cup of tea or coffee. In my most humble opinion, there’s not a lot of meat on the bones of these stories. I’m sure they’re the type to read in between the lines with deeper meanings and all but that’s not the type of story I want to read. I’ll go to poetry for that. It’s a short book so DNFing isn’t necessary, I’ll see it all the way through.

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No need to go into my feelings about My Age of Anxiety now, it’s a non-fiction so it’s going to take me a little longer and I’m not even halfway through. Instead let’s go back to March plans for reading!

After I finish the first two, the fiction books, I will start on The Honours by Tim Clare in Kindle format and The Voyage of the Basilisk (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #3) by Marie Brennan in paperback format. So I will start these on the 10th or 11th if not a little sooner.

The Honours by Tim Clare

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The Honours is written by the podcaster Tim Clare. I’ve been listening to him using the app Podcast Addict for a little under a year now. I do enjoy his eccentric nature though some of his rants get a little long. That said he has a new book coming out in May, The Ice House, a sort of sequel to The Honours. He’s hoping to get enough pre-orders to make it on a best seller list. I haven’t read The Honours already because I’m not entirely sure it’s my kind of story but it’s good to support fellow writers you enjoy if you can. So I’m going to give his book a shot and now so if I do enjoy his writing I can pre-order The Ice House.

The Voyage of the Basilisk (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #3) by Marie Brennan

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The Voyage of the Basilisk is the third book in this series and seeing as I liked the first two naturally I’m going to go ahead and continue reading this series. I don’t recall how I found this series and this author in the first place. It was probably a random find for me, meaning no one suggested it to me, just sounded interesting. I also plan to read more books by Marie Brennan.

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If I finish these two fiction books before the end of March then I will start on The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor. Here’s some fun irony… I can’t remember exactly how I found this book, either from an Amazon recommendation or just a random. But I have had it for some time. Fast forward to the present. Browsing Book Outlet for something interesting I found Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. Ordered it. Got it. Read it (click the link above to read my review) and loved it. That led me to look for more work by the author. Naturally I added the Binti sequels to my TBR (probably will make my April plans for reading) but I also saw other books that looked interesting. This book stood out, I knew I’d seen it before but where? I then looked around for how best to get the book.

Don’t you know I forgot I already had it? Yup. Yup. Guilty. But it kept nagging at me that I was aware of the book prior to reading Binti. So here I’ve read Binti, became a fan of Nnedi, while sitting in a stack of books in my dining room was The Book of Phoenix waiting for me. My dining room table is tall, think bar stool tall with storage underneath, part of the reason I chose it. Naturally books dominate this storage. So a couple weeks ago I was sweeping and bent down to fill the dust pan. This particular sweeping event had me facing some of the books under the table and BAM! Hey I know that book! The Book of the Phoenix is now out and visible and stands out even more due to this series of events. Strange right?

Okay this post is super long, they won’t all be but since March plans are my first in this “series” it’s naturally a little longer. But there you have it, hit me up if you plan to read any of these or if you have (do not leave me spoilers!). Stay posted for reviews and thoughts on the books I finish and updates for when I start the new ones.

Check out my 2019 TBR to see what else I want to read this year. If there’s something you’re dying to read or hear about let me know because you never know, I might push it up my list just for you. 😉

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My Review of Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker

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Info from Goodreads:

(My review of Phantom Pains follows.)

Four months ago, Millie left the Arcadia Project after losing her partner Teo to the lethal magic of an Unseelie fey countess. Now, on what’s meant to be a last visit to the scene of the crime, Millie and her former boss, Caryl, encounter what seems to be Teo’s tormented ghost. One problem: according to Caryl, ghosts don’t exist.

Millie has a new life, a stressful new job, and no time to get pulled back into the Project’s chaos, but she agrees to tell agents from the Project’s National Headquarters her side of the ghost story. During her visit, an agent is gruesomely murdered in a way only Caryl could have accomplished. Millie knows Caryl is innocent, but the only chance she has to save her from the Project’s severe, off-the-books justice is to uncover the mystery behind incorporeal fey known as wraiths. Why has the centuries-old Project never heard of them? And how do you fight an enemy that is only seen when it wants to be seen? Millie must answer these questions not just to save Caryl, but to foil an insidious, arcane terrorist plot that would leave two worlds in ruins.

Paperback, 406 pagesPublished March 21st 2017 by Saga Press

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My Review of Phantom Pains:

5/5 stars

Four months after the last book took place we’re back with Millie Roper, the unlikely and oh so imperfect hero from last time. While no longer working for the Arcadia Project they need her, and she needs them, to help tie up some loose ends. But loose ends they are not! Arcadia and the Arcadia Project have found themselves in turmoil and faced with a new mystery. Millie has to help her friend who’s facing exile, help her boss to keep her job, and help herself get through every day challenges. In this book we meet a whole host of new characters that stand out in a number of ways, the head of the Arcadia Project, Arcadia royalty, monsters, and more Echos!

This book was great, I have no trouble giving it five stars. I really appreciate that Mishell Baker uses short chapters, it makes for an easier read, IMHO. This story is fast-paced and full of new information about this strange world of fantasy. I’m impressed by Mrs. Baker’s imagination and her expression of it. There are some great twists and turns in this book. A very entertaining read no doubt. Pay attention because there’s a lot of details at times but interesting nonetheless.

I also appreciate Baker’s diverse cast of characters. You know she’s word painting this world with a realistic brush. It’s not often that you find a main character who suffers from mental illness, is a double-amputee, and is a woman. Baker teaches and shows us another world in a number of ways and makes it easier to get lost in the story. 

I recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of adult fantasy and diverse characters. This is not your usual cast of characters or fantasy novel so it’s a must read. If you haven’t read the first in this series, Borderline, do start there. This could be read as a stand alone, perhaps, but best playing its part in the series. I will be reading Book #3 very soon, which was published in 2018. 🙂 😀

Thanks for reading my review of Phantom Pains. As I write this I’ve already read and review the third book in this series, Impostor Syndrome. I’ll also be putting up my review of the first book Borderline, from May 2018.

And I have more Reviews!

Have you read any of this series or perhaps you plan to? Tell me what you think. Or maybe you’re a fan of fantasy or all things Fae. Whatever the case I’m game to talk. 😀

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For more of my reviews of the Arcadia Project, CLICK HERE. You might also find interesting bits of Arcadia Project news there in the future.

And don’t forget to check out my 2019 TBR, promise you’ll find something interesting to read there! Soon I’m going to put up a sort of reading schedule, let’s call it a monthly TBR so you know what to expect. Stay tuned for March plans (maybe when YOU read this they’ll be a link there for you to follow).

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