Here’s What’s Up: March TBR Additions

Hello friendly blog readers and bloggers! How are you all doing? Was this a good reading month for you? Are you reading more, less, the same? Any new books you just have to share? What’s happening with your March TBR additions, I know you’ve got some!

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I’m taking advantage of this Saturday being the last one in March and using it to post March TBR Additions as a Here’s What’s Up for Book Lovers Saturday series! Let’s dive in.

This is a monthly TBR wrap-up post. It’s simple, I tell you what I added to my TBR at the end of the current month! There’s my TBR (on Goodreads, 231 as of today) and my 2019 TBR (42, as of this second). I will also have seasonal TBRs, like Spring 2019 TBR. If I add new books to any of these specific lists I’ll let you know, otherwise assume they’re just being added to my general TBR, as in sometime in my life maybe I’d like to read this.

Here’s what’s up: In March I added 39 books to my TBR thanks to multiple sources, from podcasts to other book bloggers. I will give credit where credit’s due when available. Some books I just found.

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The following list is the books I’ve added to my TBR starting March 1st. If available, the source of the referral follows the title and author.

Okay so wow, there you have it. Just when you think you’re set on finding anymore books – which let’s be honest I’m just saying that because you never think that – you run into lists, posts, podcasts, and interesting covers, let’s not get started on series.

Are you reading any of these? Maybe you already have or want to? Let me know, I’d love to hear what we have in common or not. Don’t be afraid to tell me if you think any of these books are crap. I’m not afraid of opinions that are other than I LOVE THAT BOOK. Stay tuned for more information on some of these books and what made me add them to my list. Of course these list change and depend on my progress with reading and writing.

What do you think?

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Shelf Control – Wednesday, 27 March, 2019

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

From the host’s page:

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

My Shelf Control

The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

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From Goodreads:

Birds are astonishingly intelligent creatures. According to revolutionary new research, some birds rival primates and even humans in their remarkable forms of intelligence.

In The Genius of Birds, acclaimed author Jennifer Ackerman explores the newly discovered brilliance of birds. As she travels around the world to the most cutting-edge frontiers of research–the distant laboratories of Barbados and New Caledonia, the great tit communities of the United Kingdom and the bowerbird habitats of Australia, the ravaged mid-Atlantic coast after Hurricane Sandy and the warming mountains of central Virginia and the western states–Ackerman not only tells the story of the recently uncovered genius of birds but also delves deeply into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are shifting our view of what it means to be intelligent. 

Consider, as Ackerman does, the Clark’s nutcracker, a bird that can hide as many as 30,000 seeds over dozens of square miles and remember several months later where it put them, or the mockingbirds and thrashers, species that can store 200 to 2,000 different songs in a brain a thousand times smaller than ours. 

But beyond highlighting how birds use their unique genius in technical ways, Ackerman points out the impressive social smarts of birds. They deceive and manipulate. They eavesdrop. They give gifts. They kiss to console one another. They blackmail their parents. They alert one another to danger. They summon witnesses to the death of a peer. They may even grieve. 

This elegant scientific investigation and travelogue weaves personal anecdotes with fascinating science. Ackerman delivers an extraordinary story that will both give readers a new appreciation for the exceptional talents of birds and let them discover what birds can reveal about our changing world. Richly informative and beautifully written, The Genius of Birds celebrates the triumphs of these surprising and fiercely intelligent creatures. From the Hardcover edition.

Paperback, 340 pages – Published April 11th 2017 by Penguin Books (first published April 12th 2016)

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How & When I Got It:

I don’t know. To be honest, it feels like I’ve had this book for a long time. When I found it lingering in my house late last year I assumed it was a book I’ve had for years because I’ve always loved birds. Then I saw the date of publication, and well, that solved some of that. Pretty sure I got this at a book store.

Why I Want to Read It:

I love birds.

Birds have always fascinated, since I was a girl. The start of spring is a great time to bump this up my TBR. You’ve heard it here now, a change to my Spring 2019 TBR & the first hint of my April Plans. And a sneaky addition to today’s WWW Wednesday. 😉

My favorite sign of spring is the growing sound of bird songs. I remember a couple weeks ago, even before the spring equinox, I stepped out my front door and immediately to my left in the shrubs was a pair of Robins. My heart joined them in their fluttering wings and feathers. I texted people close to me announcing what I’d seen. This was a beautiful sign for me. Regardless of the mess of the big world, in my small world, the Robins had arrived. I always wonder what’s happening inside the world of birds, especially since I live with two Parrots. When I was a little girl one of my favorite books was my first guide to bird watching. It was a thin hard cover, I still own it though the dust jacket is long gone. I drew pictures of Birds of Prey and put them in my bedroom windows to keep birds from flying into the glass. All things birds were cool with me. You can bet I will write about them one day.

I can’t wait to see what’s happening on the forefront of birds and their lives around the world. Hopefully you’ll join me.

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How do you feel about birds? Or what do you think about birds? Let’s talk!

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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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Do You DNF?

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This post is happening because I’m in the midst of whether or not to DNF? Do you DNF? It’s not really grammatically correct to ask do you “do not finish” or “did not finish”, but that’s the beauty of language and this age of everyone loves acronyms. LOL. But really, do you DNF? I don’t.

I’m not against it, I mean I’ve done it a few times, on purpose. (If I didn’t do it on purpose I don’t count it unless I pick up the book (so to speak) and say yeah I’m not going to read you after all.) It’s hard for me to give up on a book, even if I’m not enjoying it. That really doesn’t make sense, do I really have time to read something I don’t like? After all, there are literally tens of thousands of books, plus, to be discovered by my brain and yours. There are 196 books on my Goodreads want-to-read shelf, and I promise you that list will grow because that list doesn’t include every sequel or installment in series I’ve found and have yet to learn I like.

If I find a new author and I like their work then I’m going to see what else they’ve written. I’m probably going to follow them if I like them a lot. So in the case of Patricia McKillip, I have a lot of back reading to do. No I don’t read every book by every author I enjoy but it’s possible that I could (in theory). Every year hundreds, thousands of new books are published, many are debuts. That means more authors and series to add to my list. Unless I learn how to read a book a day, it’s safe to say I’ll never get to every book I might want to read out there.

So it is I keep asking myself, do you DNF? AHHHHHH! It’s so hard! Even after everything I just said about all the books out there, when I’m reading a book I feel like I HAVE to finish it. There’s a stain in my mind when I see those books I said OMG I can’t do this. What if it got better after I quit? But what if it never did? What if the ending kind of makes it worth it? Then just read the ending. But where exactly is the ending?

My great aunt and I had lunch the other day and we talked about this DNF. Do you DNF my dear aunt? Her answer wasn’t yes or no, but in summary it was yes. She will flip forward a dozen or so pages and if it gets better, great, if it doesn’t she skips to the end and reads the ending. At the very least, you gotta know how it ends right? She agreed, why spend time reading something you don’t like?

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DNF Lists

When I searched Goodreads’ lists for “DNF” I got 15 results, not all relevant. The top of the list was “The Most Begun ‘Read But Unfinished’ (Initiated) Book Ever” with 2,334 books in the list. The list was created in July 2008, has 653 likes, and 12,383 people voted on the list. The description states that this list is not about books being bad, just really difficult to finish. The book at the top of the list is Catch 22 #1 by Joseph Heller. Next is The Lord of the Rings series. There’s Ulysses, Moby Dick, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, Dracula, The Catcher in the Rye, A Brief History of Time, 1984, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, Interview with the Vampire (love that movie), Eat Pray Love, The Great Gatsby, The Origin of Species, and I’m skipping a lot of books on the first page. Little Women, The Time Traveler’s Wife (another great movie), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (my dad read this to us when I was kid before bed we’d gather and listen), American Gods, Gulliver’s Travels, and book number #100 on this first page is The Red Badge of Courage.

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There are 24 pages total. Granted this spans 10 1/2 years of people voting and adding books, I’m leaning towards surprise there’s not more! Perhaps I don’t understand the severity of 24 pages of about 100 books… On page 24 we find Portrait of a Killer – Jack the Ripper, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants #1, The Hate You Give (strange as it has a 4.55 star average rating, though I haven’t read or seen it), The Lost City of Z, To the Ends of the Earth, and so many more as I only picked out some titles that sounded familiar to me. While I’m more than curious to scan over some of the other pages, I do not have the time. Do you DNF any of these?

Another list is titled “Books Not On My Shelves That I’ve Started But Could Not/Did Not Finish”. Their description is ” Books not gripping enough or interesting enough to be worth finishing–or adding to a DNF shelf.” There are 68 books and 30 voters, started April 2012. Not so many here especially given almost seven years. The first is On the Road by Jack Kerouac, the second is Catch 22 (again), and the last is Inside Outside by Philip Jose Farmer.

There’s a “DNF” list, “Sorry Couldn’t Finish Reading”, “Books We DNFed In 2015”, “Books you have abandoned this year in 2018”, “Books I Decided Not to Finish”, “Books We DNFed in 2016”, “First Half Good, Last Half Disappointing/Bad”, and many more. A lot of these don’t have many voters, the first list I mentioned was the only one that passed 1,000 books or 1,000 voters.

DNF Posts

Then of course there are plenty of blog posts dedicated to DNFed books and the topic of DNF. One blogger, at Sophie’s Corner, writes how she has a hard time DNFing books. It seems we all come back to the fact that there is so little time and so much to do. She created a list of criteria she’s going to use going forward. One such set of criteria I haven’t considered is triggers and explicit content. Do you DNF books for these reasons? I would but I haven’t picked up a lot of books trigger me in this way. I’ve read some gruesome books and taken interest in them but most of the time I don’t read a lot of that. I don’t read horror. But if I happened to pick up something and the blurb didn’t forewarn me so-to-speak but the story bothered me, I think that this is quick reason to DNF.

Book Steff is another blogger who finds it difficult to DNF books. I’m finding more and more that it’s common for people to find this difficult to do. She has a 100 page limit before she’ll DNF a book, more if it’s a chunkster as they call books 450 pages or more in the bookish world. (Of course it could be 500 plus pages depending who you talk to.) She emphasizes that you should allow yourself to put a book down that just doesn’t fit you. Don’t be ashamed. Interesting angle…

The biggest reason I even think about DNFing a book is because I can’t get into it, I just don’t care what happens in this story or to the characters. The reason I even finish those books is because I can’t stand to not finish a book. But it does frustrate me to get to the end of a book and never forge any connection with the characters or the story. If I’m halfway through a book and I still feel like I’m reading something for school, something assigned to me, I get anxious and pick up another book. I will seriously read other books but come to that one again and again reading pages just because I feel I have to and hope I don’t regret it.

While I’ve not run into a lot of books like this – I’ve found some blurbs and reading samples – I will absolutely DNF a book with loads of spelling mistakes (lack of editing) and overall unprofessional writing. If the story reads like seven year old wrote it but an adult did, I’m not going there. Now we’re into a whole other topic…back to do you DNF…

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I could go on, there’s much more, so many more bloggers and lists and reasons for DNFing. Maybe we’ll revisit this in the future, but for now I’m going to leave this here. So what do you say, should we create some DNF criteria this year? What do you DNF & why? Or why is it hard for you to DNF?

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My Review of Impostor Syndrome (The Arcadia Project #3) by Mishell Baker

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Info From Goodreads:

(My review of Impostor Syndrome follows)

In the third book of the Nebula Award–nominated Arcadia Project series, which New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire called “exciting, inventive, and brilliantly plotted,” Millie Roper has to pull off two impossible heists—with the fate of the worlds in the balance.

Three months ago, a rift between agents in London and Los Angeles tore the Arcadia Project apart. With both fey Courts split down the middle—half supporting London, half LA—London is putting the pieces in place to quash the resistance. But due to an alarming backslide in her mental health, new LA agent Mille Roper is in no condition to fight.

When London’s opening shot is to frame Millie’s partner, Tjuan, for attempted homicide, Millie has no choice but to hide him and try to clear his name. Her investigation will take her across the pond to the heart of Arcadia at the mysterious and impenetrable White Rose palace. The key to Tjuan’s freedom—and to the success of the revolution—is locked in a vault under the fey Queen’s watchful eye. It’s up to Millie to plan and lead a heist that will shape the future of two worlds—all while pretending that she knows exactly what she’s doing…

Paperback, 480 pagesPublished March 13th 2018 by Saga Press

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My Review of Impostor Syndrome:

4.5/5 stars

This was tricky for me to rate. I really enjoyed this whole series and wonder if there will be a fourth installment. While this was a great installment it didn’t wow me the same way the second did. So I gave it five stars since you can’t leave half stars but 4.5 is what I really give it.

Mishell Baker is a great writer. Her imagination and creative direction impress me, I look forward to discovering more of her work. Hopefully we’ll see more of this cast of characters. That said, I thought this book could have been a lot shorter. As with the previous two this was a busy, active book, which makes for an entertaining read. However a lot of time was spent on relationships, too much time IMHO.

Other than that this was another fun read I could read it relatively fast, for me that’s saying a lot. It was full of the usual cast of characters in addition to some cool new ones. I enjoyed getting to know them all more. Great twists and turns and the system and workings of the magic in this world do not get old. I really appreciate the beings she’s created in this world and how they vary. Her characters are real and dynamic, human and otherwise. I appreciate that her main character, Millie, is a double amputee finding her way through Borderline Personality Disorder. She’s not a character you see every day but this story is proof that we need more real life characters. She is an unlikely hero but a good one nonetheless.

Of course I recommend this book, I recommend this series! Definitely start from the beginning. 😉 

Thanks for reading my review of Impostor Syndrome. I’ve got more reviews, click here!

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.

Check out what else I’m reading or planning to, 2019 TBR.

Have you read this or other Mishell Baker books? Please share your thoughts, I love comments!

Review of The Tropic of Serpents (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #2) by Marie Brennan

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From Goodreads:

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, in which she lost her husband, the widowed Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the savage, war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.

The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell – where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

Published February 17th 2015 by Tor Books (first published March 4th 2014)

My Review

4/5 stars

It’s been a while since I read the first in this series so I couldn’t remember just what I was in for or wasn’t. At times I wished the story itself would pick up and I really wanted to read more about dragons than anything else. All in all though this book ended really well, so if you’re feeling a little dissatisfied, hold on I think you’ll appreciate finishing it.

This book is not a bad book, it’s written well, simply put it’s just not your average story. Imagine dragons are real but they haven’t been well studied, if much at all. Now go back in time, let’s say like early 1900s, and imagine a woman scientist, naturalist whose life revolves around dragons. She’s a young woman, in her 20s, with a young son this time around. She’s very likable, an adventurer who doesn’t always make the best choices, and she’s dedicated to dragons, their well being, and her study of them. While she’s always pushing the boundaries she has to live within the restrictions of a world that doesn’t encourage women in science (she had to publish her work under her husband’s name) let alone trousers. This is a story about her adventures and studies so it’s not always exciting but IMHO it’s very interesting. Reading it I felt like I could very well be reading a real memoir, it was fun to imagine and helped me get through the slower parts of the story. And it’s not even that this is a slow story by any means, every chapter is full of a new development, I’m just pouting because I wanted more dragon time. That said the people of the Green Hell, the swamp of Mouleen, are themselves quite interesting. I think it’s fair to say this story has a long lead up to a great conclusion.

If you want to read about a world with dragons from a natural history perspective, that includes all aspects of such expeditions to study them, then you’ll really enjoy this. There’s a lot more than dragons going on here and they’re not the same dragons you read about in all the other fantasy stories you’ve come across. Again, think real world dragons. One of the best parts, I think, is that this is a world with dragons across the globe in all kinds of environments. There’s different species of dragons, not just the one kind like we’re used to hearing about. Most other stories treat dragons like there’s only ever one kind of dragon. That is not the case here.

I’ll be starting the next The Voyage of the Basilisk sooner than later because I’d like to stay in the vein of this kind of writing, this book ended with an excerpt from the next, and I already have it in my possession. 😀 Check my 2019 TBR for Voyage of the Basilisk and more!

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For more of my reviews CLICK HERE!