Middling Ten

Books read:

21. Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy     4.5/5 Stars

22. Every Girl’s Dream by Meg Cabot     4/5 Stars

23. Games Wizards Play by Diane Duane     4/5 Stars

24. Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce (various narrators)     5/5 Stars

25. Proposal by Meg Cabot     4.5/5 Stars

26. Lireal by Garth Nix (Tim Curry)     4/5 Stars

27. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern    2.5/5 Stars

28. Remembrance by Meg Cabot    4/5 Stars

29. Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle     4.5/5 Stars

30. Matilda by Roald Dahl (Kate Winslet)    5/5 Stars

Average Rating: 4.2

Audiobooks: 3

Re-reads: 2

Indy/self-published: 0

Reviewed on Blog: 0

Bookshelf TBR: 4

Comments:

Fewer audiobooks in this section for a few reasons.  I’ve wanted to enjoy the walk and my thoughts more in the past few weeks so I haven’t been listening to them as much.  There are several that I want to read right now but they have long waiting lists.  Also, now that I’m a bit more adjusted to my new work schedule I have been reading more physical books and wanting to read more books off my shelf, which leads to fewer audiobooks.

That being said, I have bought many more books that I have not read which affects my goal to reduce by unread bookshelf books to under 6.  There are 2 posts coming up that are an update to said goal.  

I’m doing really well with the amount of books I have read so far this year.  I’m averaging more then a book a week, which I’m pleased with.  Looking at the numbers, since I started working my new job I’ve been reading 5 or 6 books a month, whereas the first 3 months I read maybe 3 books a month.  A great improvement and it means I should read well over 50 books this year!  I’m so happy about this. 

Blog-wise things were slow while I was adjusting to life but have picked up the past few weeks.  I’ll see how this thing goes but I want to keep it going but with fewer blog posts out a month.  I do want to post more reviews on this blog but the books I have been reading recently I haven’t had too much interesting to say and have not bothered with a lengthy review.  However, if you want to know what I’m up to in the book world and read shorter reviews of the books I read, you are more then welcome to friend or follow my Goodreads, which I keep pretty up-to-date.  

Finally, while it does look like I’ve had a great reading month with most of the books being 4 stars or higher, I feel like many of the books I have read are meh and that nothing has really gripped my this year.  Perhaps I need to start picking different types of books or maybe I’m just really picky lately.  

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

Note: wherever possible, I avoid adding re-reads to these kind of tag posts.  

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017. 

None have really forced me to put them on my exclusive favourites list so far this year, but a few have if forced to pick one Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.

Gemina by Kaufman and Kristoff, with Games Wizards Play by Diane Duane coming 2nd 

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (library just informed me they have a copy for me!)

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce, Juile Holderman, Timothy Liebe and Megan Messinger

5. Biggest disappointment.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  I was promised big things but they never happened.  The great setting could have used a better plot and characters.

6. Biggest surprise.

I didn’t expect to love Learning to Swear in America as much as I did.  I also didn’t expect to not like Eve: the Awakening my Jenna Moraci as much as I did.  Or HATE Beauty Queens by Libby Bray so much. 

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

No one has really forced be to need to pay attention, but Andy Weir‘s book was good and the blurb for the newest one has me interested.  Also I like Queen of the Tearling (Erika Johansen) enough to want to continue. 

8. Newest fictional crush.

None of my new reads this year have had crush material, but I have a newer appreciation for Raoul of Goldenlake and Nealan of Queenscove

9. Newest favourite character.

Again, no one really stands out here.

10. Book that made you cry.

None, I rarely cry reading books (mostly because I avoid the type of book that would make me cry).  

11. Book that made you happy.

The Martian made me laugh a tonne.  So did Learning to Swear in America and Gemina.

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year. 

I’ve seen (as far as I know) one movie adaptation, The Martian, and one TV adaptation, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and both were great!

13. Favourite review you’ve written this year. (Booktube version: Favourite video you have done so far in this year)

None of my reviews really sticks out to me. 

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Did I need it? No.  But it is beautiful inside and out.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Oh there are a tonne, and I really should make a list.  I’m still trying to read as many books on my shelves as I can in attempt to reduce the unread total to 6.  But I keep buying books….

First Line Fridays #7

“That is my decision.  We need not discuss it.” said the man at the desk.  He was already looking at a book.  His to children left the room, closing the door behind them. 

“He doesn’t want us around,” the boy muttered.  “He doesn’t care what we want.”

“We know that,” was the girl’s answer.  “He doesn’t care about anything, except his books and scrolls.”

The boy hit the wall.  “I don’t want to be a knight! I want to be a great sorcerer! I want to slay demons and walk with the gods -“

“Do you think I want to be a lady?” his sister asked.  ” ‘Walk slowly, Alanna,’ ” she said primly.  ” ‘Sit still, Alanna. Shoulders back, Alanna.’ As if that’s all I can do with myself!”  She paced the floor.  “There has to be another way.”

Published: 1983

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (also Scholastic, Simon Pulse and Random House)

Pages: 260 (most recent edition)

Genera: YA fantasy

Series: First of 4, all are out

 

The Martian by Andy Weir

I read this book and a few weeks later I watched the movie, so I will be commenting on both because I found that the movie influenced how I felt about the book.  I also listened to part of the audiobook and will comment briefly on that.  

The Book

Reviews on this book consistently talk about how it is very technical and most didn’t like that aspect of it.  Being a scientist I thought I wouldn’t mind this as much as non-scientists would.  However, I did find it very technical which slowed down reading.  I found the technical parts interesting as it made it vary clear the types of problems Mark had to face and how smart he was and how he had to think things through if he was going to survive, but there was one part where NASA spent an age describing what they wouldn’t do because it wouldn’t work before going into what they would do.  This does not seem like a thing NASA would do because they have a limited time to talk to Mark and they need to get to the point quickly.  Also my science brain wanted to look over all the calculations to see if they were right as I was reading them.  

Talking about how things would go talking to NASA, I found a lot of the questions asked (on both sides) were not very intelligent and would not have been asked as they did not add to the what you need to know right now to fix the situation.  That being said, I do like that there was a ‘daily Mark update’ news show in the book and that NASA was a part of it.  It is easy to imagine that this sort of thing would happen if it was real life.

I loved the characters, but did find Mark a bit too ‘happens to know the exact right thing every time he gets into a bind’.  He always seemed to know the exact right stats and information to figure out any problem.  Astronauts do need to be smart and train for this sort of thing, but it seemed a stretch with the sheer amount of knowledge he just knew without looking it up.  I did appreciate that Mark was allowed to be emotional about his situation.  He was allowed to cry when he got into contact with earth again.  At the time of reading the book I felt he was a little to unprofessional to be an astronaut, but reading ‘Failure is not an Option’ after I read this book, I am relenting on this a little.  The rest of the cast was surprisingly large and diverse, which I liked.  You also got to see some of the side characters develop over time.  Additionally, the way the characters react to the situation is very realistic.  

Just thinking about the amount of money that was spent to get him back is staggering, yet at the same time, it’s not too hard to image that money being spent.  Perhaps not being forked out by the government, but being raised by private citizens?  I can imagine that. 

This book was super funny and had great ‘comedic timing’.  The book would switch between PoV when a polar opposite then what was expected thing was happening.   The writing was not the most sophisticated, but I got over that quickly and learned to love it. The book did drag in the middle and follow a trend of ‘something went wrong, Mark fixed it, something went wrong, Mark fixed it’ a bit too much for my taste, but again, realistic. I do think there were a few inconsistencies in the book, but nothing that really dragged the text down.  Finally, for the first third of the book everyone pinched their chin constantly, which was a great irritation to me.   

The Audiobook

I didn’t listen to much of the audiobook, but the main two things I have to comment on, was that the audiobook I listened to (I’m not sure if there is a different English version) did not match the text of the book.  That is the main reason I didn’t stick with the audiobook.  Finally, I did like the narrator of the audiobook, even if I didn’t listen to much of the book. 

The Movie

Weirdly, while I found the book too technical, the movie was not technical at all and that irritated me.  I felt the lack of the constant calculations and considerations in the movie didn’t show how dire the situation was and how much needed to be considered and how smart Mark was.  Also, while for the most part the movie followed the book, towards the end when they needed to cut things out for time they cut some of my favourite parts!  I wanted to see Mark deal with the sand storm among other things.  However, the final scene they added to the movie was lovely.  

Overall

I loved the book and I liked the movie.  The only thing I would have changed is to see how Mark’s parents dealt with certain critical situations.  

First Line Fridays #6

“You’re a new one.”

The ‘new one’ – a boy of fifteen – paused inside the courtyard, mentally translating the words. 

“Yes, I am,” Vidanric Reselaeus said carefully in the language he’d been studying so hard since winter. 

The Remalnan boy and the Marloven men regarded on another. […]

To the Marloven the newcomer was obviously a foreigner.  […] You heard about people wearing lace, but this was the first time he’d actually seen it. 

Published: August 2008

Publisher: YA Angst

Pages: 480

Genera: YA Fantasy

Series: Prequel that should be read after Crown Duel

I’m due for a re-read of this one. 

 

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Expected Publication Date: February 6th 2018

Publisher: Random House Books

Pages: 480 (NOT ENOUGH)

Genera: YA Fantasy 

First of 3 

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

 

Reader Life

Facebook informed me of a past comment I made back in 2014 that sums up the life of a read nicely:

My favourite character in the book I am currently reading is a talking door knocker named Mort whom has only appeared in 2 chapters….I think I have issues

I’m not 100% certain what this book is, but I have a feeling it’s one of Garth Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom books.