WWW Wednesday: 24 April 2019

Thanks Howling Libraries for your Wednesday meme post!

WWW Wednesday is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where they revived it after its former host MizB at A Daily Rhythm. To participate you answer the 3 W’s (on Wednesday):

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

And of course I’ll link back to the host (click the link above) as well as link back to the blogger I first saw participating in this (the link to Howling Libraries). Finally I’ll post my link back to me on the host’s page! Yeah, go networking! Should you decide to participate then that’s what ya do. 😀

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What I’m Currently Reading:

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Okay guys, don’t make any faces. No, that’s fine, make faces or what have you. Lol. Still reading the non-fiction (well it’s been a minute since I picked it up to be honest) My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel. So much to do so little time I kind of forgot about this investigation into all things anxiety. Whoops…

Do I even mention Everfair by Nisi Shawl? Ugh, I haven’t picked it up in ages. I have by default DNF’d this I think it’s fair to say. I keep swearing that I’m going to finish it because I got as far as I did but every time I think about it it feels like a homework assignment. I guess I feel bad because this is inspired by real historical events, it’s an awesome concept and she’s a good writer. It’s an alternate history/historical fantasy/steampunk novel (that sounds cool by itself right?) about the Belgian occupation in the Congo. Here’s part of the Goodreads’ synopsis:

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Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo’s “owner,” King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.”

Now fast forward to discovering the narrative structure makes reading more difficult and disengaging than intriguing and engaging. Connecting with the characters was not so easily done and the story itself felt disjointed and lacking. But I REALLY REALLY wanted to like this! It has not been exciting as I thought it would be. So as of right now I’m going to DNF this book although I’ll let it linger on Goodreads.

Moving on…

I’m more than half way through Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness. This is a big book in my world, 584 pages, but it’s pretty awesome. I loved the first one, A Discovery of Witches, and even got my

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Great Aunt reading it. She just asked me the other day if she could get book two as she would be finished with #1 soon. I was maybe a quarter in so

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she’s going to have to wait but I’ve turned up the reading especially considering the Goodreads group I’m in is reading this this month as well. I’d like to join some discussions.

This paranormal fantasy with some historical fiction going on as well as some saucy romance is well-written though very long what with all the setting descriptions (I do believe the author has a thing for historic buildings) among others. Let me just add that the romance gets turned up a bit in this book. 😉 There’s a large cast of characters but Diana (witch) and Matthew (vampire) are our main protagonists engaging in forbidden love, as adults. If you haven’t read A Discovery of Witches that might be a tad of a spoiler although it probably wouldn’t take you long to guess they’d

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hook up. I won’t say much more but I plan to use this book in a post about reading as a writer and how this story works. Deborah Harkness crafts a great story here with plenty of activity and intrigue, mystery and twists. I’ll finish this before the month is up and probably read the third book, The Book of Life, in May.

What I Recently Finished Was:

I finished this a couple weeks ago now, I know I know I owe you a review and I promised it would be forthcoming. Well folks I’m behind, so let’s just say you’ll get it this week. While I enjoyed this book I was a little disappointed. I would recommend it should you like what you read in the synopsis or if you liked the Queens of Renthia trilogy by this author. But I don’t think it lived up to the hype, at least not for me. I’m sitting between 3 – 3.5 stars, so it’s still good there’s just some specific things that kind of drove me nuts.

And since I haven’t done WWW Wednesday in forever I want to add the book I finished before The Deepest Blue, which was The Honours by Tim Clare. His new book The Ice House is coming out in early May, really looking forward to that. Tim is a podcaster I follow and now an author I also follow. I do recommend you check out his work as well as my review.

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What Will I Read Next?

Next up is The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan. This is the third book in The Memoirs of Lady Trent series, a very interesting fantasy series

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imagining a world with not only dragons but many different species of dragons. I’ve got all five books so know you’ll be hearing a bit about this series for the rest of the season.

I’ll also be starting The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present and Women Wartime Spies, both books from my post Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering books.

In addition I’ll be rereading Nnedi Okorafor’s The Book of Phoenix.

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Stay tuned for my May TBR (don’t think I ever posted an April TBR!) and plans for May. I do have my Spring 2019 TBR if you want to look a little farther into the future of what I plan to read. Then you can say oh yeah I do want to follow eLPy because I’m interested to hear about… 😉 And check out my 2019 TBR to look even farther in to the future. Expect updates!

I’ve got my mind on some writing based posts that I’m looking forward to writing, including Writer’s Block is Not A Thing. If you already disagree with me, great let’s discuss! So keep your eyes open for that post and see what I have to say. You never know, you just might agree with me after all.

Until next time this is what I’ve got for you for WWW Wednesday. If you read Everfair let me know what you think please. Maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea, because she certainly deserves credit for her writing talent. And what about the others? Have you read the All Souls Trilogy? Did you love it? Do you know there’s a TV series that just premiered some weeks ago? I haven’t seen any of it because I don’t want to yet, at least not until I’ve finished book two. I’ll probably even wait until I’ve finished the whole trilogy.

Okay folks, I’m out for now. Thanks for reading my WWW Wednesday!

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My Review of The Honours by Tim Clare

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Info from Goodreads:

(My review to follow.)

TRUE HONOUR IS ENDLESS. JOIN US.

1935. Norfolk.

War is looming in Great Britain and the sprawling country estate of Alderberen Hall is shadowed by suspicion and paranoia. Thirteen-year-old Delphine Venner is determined to uncover the secrets of the Hall’s elite society, which has taken in her gullible mother and unstable father.

As she explores the house and discovers the secret network of hidden passages that thread through the estate, Delphine uncovers a world more dark and threatening than she ever imagined. With the help of head gamekeeper Mr Garforth, Delphine must learn the bloody lessons of war and find the soldier within herself in time to battle the deadly forces amassing in the woods . . .

The Honours is a dark, glittering and dangerously unputdownable novel which invites you to enter a thrilling and fantastical world unlike any other.

Kindle Edition, 416 pages – Published April 2nd 2015 by Canongate Books

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My Review of The Honours:

4/5 stars

This book gets a very well-earned 4/5 stars.

From the very beginning I recognized this would be a well-written book with beautiful prose. Tim Clare, I’d say, masters “show, don’t tell”. It took a little bit longer than I would have liked to get into the action, the meat of the book, but once that happened I was all in. The second half of the book seems to fly by, making it hard to put down.

I found that I wasn’t always guessing what would happen next, which is an easy thing to do when reading especially with books that are less than original. This is because I couldn’t guess, I didn’t know. The Honours is wholly original. It’s a worthy read even if you find the beginning kind of slow, keep reading, trust me you’ll be glad you did.

The ending wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be but it wasn’t a “bad” ending, just left me with more questions. Luckily, at the time I read this I know book 2, The Ice House, is coming out in a month. I will be pre-ordering my copy soon and adding it to my Spring TBR. Some might find this to be a strange story and/or not what they expected, but it is very interesting and entertaining, to say the least. Well-worth the time spent reading it.

Considering I listen to his podcast, which is how I found this book in the first place, I must say he lives up to his hype. I wondered as I’d hear him critique people’s first pages (which was half of why I took to his podcast) if his reading really lived up to his critiques. Did he critique himself as thoroughly and did he live by his own rules? Yes folks he does. You might already know I don’t love loads of description, which would normally make this book slow to read. While it did make this a slower read in the beginning especially, it really made reading it like watching a movie for me. He does such a great job engaging the senses. This is an admirable work of art.

“Delphine woke with a start, gripped by the conviction she had missed her stop. The carriage was empty. She swung her feet tot he floor and turned to the window. Her groggy face gaped back at her. Beyond the glass, the night was rock-black. Her damp hair stuck to her cheek in strands. She shivered.

“Pulling on her duffel coat, she got to her feet and walked around the carriage. It was deathly quiet, aside from a steady ca-chuck ca-chuck. Her chest tightened. The train was heading back to the rail yard. She imagined spending the night on the cold carriage floor, Mother doubled over in tears on a deserted platform, policeman searching the tracks by electric torchlight, digging in snowbanks, the whisper of pencil lead on notebooks, her fellow passengers brought in for questioning, the finger of blame swinging sure as a compass needle towards the large man with the cigar – well, he was still with her when I left – the conductor recounting with relish the man’s sudden unprovoked aggression, his wild gesticulations and fiery eyes – like a fiend he was, sir, like a man possessed – the newspapers tattooed with lurid headlines: CIGAR-SMOKING CHILD-SNATCHER STILL AT LARGE, and Daddy, ashen, wracked with torment (at this she felt a pang of guilt), before a knock at the front door, and in she would glide to bellows of relief, to tears and a hug as tight and strong as plate armour.”

Now tell me that isn’t how your imagination works, especially when you were 12 years old? This isn’t even an eventful seen but I thought it gives you a very small taste of his writing, plus I really didn’t want to spoil anything or tell you too much about the book. It’s way more fun to discover it as you with no solid expectations or understanding of what’s to happen. And I think the name Delphine is lovely. 😉

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Have you read this? Are you going to now? Be sure to let me know when you do if you read this because of my recommendation, and if you don’t my giving my review a pingback or shout-out I would be so grateful. Don’t forget The Ice House is coming out in May, so read this in time to pick it up!

If you want to read more of my reviews CLICK HERE.

And check out my 2019 TBR as well as my Spring TBR to know what I’m reading, or at least planning too.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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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WWW Wednesday: 27 March 2019

Thanks Howling Libraries for your Wednesday meme post!

WWW Wednesday is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where they revived it after its former host MizB at A Daily Rhythm. To participate you answer the 3 W’s (on Wednesday):

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

And of course I’ll link back to the host (click the link above) as well as link back to the blogger I first saw participating in this (the link to Howling Libraries). Finally I’ll post my link back to me on the host’s page! Yeah, go networking! Should you decide to participate then that’s what ya do. 😀

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Okay this week you’ll have to forgive me for the repetitive info but that’s life. In addition to this meme, I’ll be doing the meme Shelf Control hosted by BookShelf Fantasies. (Click HERE for my last week’s Shelf Control.) Thank you! Let’s get started with WWW Wednesday.

WWW Wednesday: Q1

What am I currently reading?

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The Honours by Tim Clare is the most recent I’ve started. I’m reading the Kindle edition and am 34% through it. Tim Clare is a podcaster, author, poet, comedian, and dad I listen to on a regular basis. This is the first I’ve read of his and I’m enjoying it so far. He’s a talented writer, he definitely shows instead of telling although I’m the kind of reader that doesn’t want EVERYTHING described to me. I like to get a sense of the surroundings but I’m really more concerned with the story itself. That said, I’m digging this and will certainly keep reading. I expect to finish this month. Also, he has a new book, The Ice House, coming out in May. So I want to enjoy this (hopefully) and be ready in time to pre-order The Ice House.

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Everfair by Nisi Shawl is a book I’ve been reading for a while now and I’m still reading it on account it’s been a bad two weeks of reading. I really just want to be done with it but it doesn’t deserve to be DNF’d at this point, at this point. If I went back to before I was 3/4 of the way through I might DNF it after all. She’s a talented writer but I don’t think this is an interesting story. I wish she would focus in on more of the meat and potatoes of the story. Each chapter is set in the future, near or far, it varies. The chapters also follow different characters. These changes in perspective are not clear, I wish there was a little more direction as to who we’re reading and why. The characters in my opinion aren’t very well fleshed out either. This will be finished this month.

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Another book I’ve been reading for a little while, and will continue to take my time with, is My Age of Anxiety by Scott Stossel. This is a non-fiction book about, you guessed it, anxiety. I’m not very far into this book but already I can see it’s very well researched and thorough (and with itty bitty print which means this book is even longer than it looks). I’ll finish this book in April. In the meantime I look forward to all that I’ll learn.

WWW Wednesday: Q2

What did I recently finish reading?

A fellow blogger’s post! Lol. Last week and this week so far have been pretty busy outside of the bookish world so I haven’t finished any books. Expect that to change for the next WWW Wednesday! I’ll have Everfair done by next week and who knows, I’ll aim my reading goals high.

WWW Wednesday: Q3

What do I think I’ll read next?

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

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Cool cover right? This will be next, as soon as I finish Everfair. You might know I finished Book 2, The Tropic of Serpents, last month. Click HERE to read my review and see how I enjoyed it. I look forward to discovering new dragons with Lady Trent. Since finishing The Tropic of Serpents I’ve learned a little more about the author Marie Brennan. I’ve added some more of her books – she’s a prolific writer it seems – to my TBR and look forward to getting to know her better.

The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death 0.1#) by Nnedi Okorafor

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Check out my post March Plans for more on my history with this book. Then return here and read that since that post I started this book, sort of. Immediately I realized I’VE ALREADY READ THIS. I’VE ALREADY READ THIS! I think it was a couple years ago and I do not remember where I found this book but I do know I really enjoyed it. It seems only fair and right then that I read it again, something I do not do. So this book will be started before March ends. Started again because this last start did not count once I remembered I’d read this already. This book is magical futurism and a prequel to the World Fantasy-award winning novel, Who Fears Death. You know I will be reading that one too. Hats off to Nnedi Okorafor for her talented works. Do not mistake my poor memory for a bad book.

Lastly, as I mentioned in Here’s What’s Up: Rediscovering Books I will be slowly working my way through The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present. Just a little at a time and that will start in this next line up.

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Okay, what do you think? You reading or have read any of these? Have you read any of these authors? What’s your WWW Wednesday?

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! Check out my Spring 2019 TBR and comment there if you’re interested in any of those books.

You can also see my 2019 TBR, that should give you a good idea of what we may or may not have in common. Who knows, you might find that you want to stay posted with what I’m reading and talking about.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

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. 

Lab Girl
 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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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?

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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