logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: june
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-05 22:22
The Desert Spear / Peter V. Brett
The Desert Spear - Peter V. Brett

The sun is setting on humanity. The night now belongs to voracious demons that prey upon a dwindling population forced to cower behind half-forgotten symbols of power.

Legends tell of a Deliverer: a general who once bound all mankind into a single force that defeated the demons. But is the return of the Deliverer just another myth? Perhaps not.

Out of the desert rides Ahmann Jardir, who has forged the desert tribes into a demon-killing army. He has proclaimed himself Shar'Dama Ka, the Deliverer, and he carries ancient weapons--a spear and a crown--that give credence to his claim.

But the Northerners claim their own Deliverer: the Warded Man, a dark, forbidding figure.

 

This book is a distinct change of view from the first one, The Warded Man. We must back up and approach this story again, this time from the Krasian point of view. Jardir, who seemed like simply a back-stabbing traitor in book one now has his own version of the same events, giving us an alternate POV in this one.

We learn far more about Krasian civilization, which seems to be heavily based on early Middle Eastern cultures, with warrior values, harems of women, and contempt for outsiders, both non-warriors within the culture & actual foreigners. Many parallels can be seen within Arlen’s agrarian society, which is extremely patriarchal and very hidebound (very like medieval Europe), something which can happen when a society is under siege.

It almost seems, in this installment, that everyone has become much too comfortable with the demon-haunted night. Both societies seem to be channeling their inner demon hunters and the tension of the first book is gone in this regard. Hints are happening that we may soon get the POV of the demons—will they get the same sympathetic treatment as Jardir?

Arlen and Jardir were friends at one point—now they are rivals. Which one will become the great Unifier who will unite humanity and defeat the Corelings (demons)? But while Jardier claims to be the Deliverer, Arlen denies the title just as strenuously. Nevertheless, the demons clearly see them both as threats. These men could also have been rivals over Leesha if Brett had written things a little differently, but that ship seems to have sailed.

I’m displeased that my library doesn’t have book three and there’s no time for them to order it before I see Peter Brett at the When Words Collide conference in August. I’m not usually known for laying out the dinero for new books, but if I can get a bit of a discount at the merchants’ corner, I’ll maybe spring for book 3 (since I note that the library has books 4 & 5).

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-05 20:15
Casino Royale / Ian Fleming
Casino Royale - Ian Fleming

In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming’s agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who’s been on a bad luck streak at the baccarat table.

One of SMERSH’s most deadly operatives, the man known only as “Le Chiffre,” has been a prime target of the British Secret Service for years. If Bond can wipe out his bankroll, Le Chiffre will likely be “retired” by his paymasters in Moscow. But what if the cards won’t cooperate? After a brutal night at the gaming tables, Bond soon finds himself dodging would-be assassins, fighting off brutal torturers, and going all-in to save the life of his beautiful female counterpart, Vesper Lynd.

 

***2018 Summer of Spies***

Two things about this book surprised me—first that Fleming was a pretty good writer, second that the book was so short! I’ve never attempted any of Fleming’s fiction before, partly because I saw some of the films of these works back about 30 years ago. You can’t live in a co-ed residence in university without at least having some of these movies on the lounge television set and I think I may have been dragged to the movie theatre as well (back when a movie only cost $5 and a person could afford to go).

Bond in the book is much less charming than Bond on the screen. He’s rougher around the edges and the racism & misogyny of earlier times are very apparent. It’s difficult for me to judge—how much of this is the fictional character, how much is just the zeitgeist of the 1950s, and how much of this is Ian Fleming himself?

I’ve requested a biography of Fleming from the library, to help me try to sort this matter. I’m also intrigued by how much he was influenced by the work of Agatha Christie. One of the very first scenes in Casino Royale involves Bond checking to see if his room has been searched, using exactly the same stratagem as a character in Christie’s They Came to Baghdad (the use of precisely placed, unobtrusive hairs). Undoubtedly Fleming read Christie, so I’m interested in that angle as well.

One can’t claim to have read spy fiction without reading Fleming, so I will pick up Live and Let Die in the near future and continue on during my Summer of Spies.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-05 17:22
The Good Gut / Justin and Erica Sonnenburg
The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health - Erica Sonnenburg,Justin Sonnenburg,Andrew Weil

Finally, a book about the gut microbiome that actually offers constructive advice! This is what I’ve been searching for, even if I am a bit disappointed with the authors’ recommendations.


First off, there are things that affect your microbiome that you cannot change—if you were born by C-section or weren’t breastfed, there’s nothing that you can about it. Neither can you change the amount of antibiotics that you took as a child.

There are three things that you can do from this moment on, however. First, don’t rush off to your doctor and demand antibiotics for every little thing. Every time you take them, there is nuclear winter for the good microbes in your gut, leaving space for pathogens to muscle in and make you sick. There are times that you will need antibiotics—save your exposures for those time. (Having recently struggled with a nasty skin infection, cellulitis, which made me very feverish and scared, I am very thankful for antibiotics).

The second thing is that we have developed the idea that ultra-clean is ultra-good. Not necessarily so, say the authors. Accept a bit of dirt back into your life. Dig in the garden, get a bit of dirt under your fingernails, pet your dog or cat, don’t stress too much about washing. Of course, clean up to make yourself comfortable and always wash your hands after toilet visits, but your kitchen does not have to have the same level of clean as an operating room. You can benefit by challenging your immune system via the gut and maybe acquire some useful microfauna in the process.

Thirdly, we are starving our good gut microbes. They need the fibre from foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Lots of it. Also keep in mind that our microbiome is a pharmaceutical factory, producing molecules that can affect our lives in unexpected ways. Too much meat favours microbes that produce a cancer causing substance. Finally the whole “eat less meat” message makes more sense to me, although it makes it no easier to follow. Moving away from simple carbohydrates can also be challenging, especially because we enjoy them so much, but they feed the wrong bacteria.

I find this kind of book very inspirational. It’s difficult to change life-long bad habits, but I’m always re-inspired after reading about current research and its ramifications. So I made a happy trip to the farmers’ market last night to buy cherries, raspberries and carrots and I plan to feed the beneficial bacteria as well as I can.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-07-01 13:21
June 2018 — A Wrap Up

 

17451921

 

Shaman Rises by C. E. Murphy

 

Read my series review here. Meanwhile here are two of my fave quotes from the last book:

 

 

 

Don’t you just love it when a favorite author of yours quotes/alludes to the work of another favorite author?

 

I saw Morrison’s face twitch like he couldn’t believe I was baiting the Master, and also like he couldn’t believe that he couldn’t believe it. It was Schrödinger’s twitch, neither believing nor disbelieving until we got out of here alive.

 

But then that is how Jo does things! She dares where she shouldn’t and that is one of the reasons this series was fun to read.

 

 

12033364

 

Soulless by Gail Carriger (Manga)

 

Some books are just too beautiful and the manga series for the Parasol Protectorate books is one of them! I love how the characters are drawn. Ms. Carriger’s wit shines brightly in each dialogue. Mostly, I have trouble believing I have these books in my life and on my shelf. Thanks to my sister who would get me the moon and who visited Seattle, I do! I intend to savor these three books and so am taking my time reading them.

You can check out the covers on my Instagram.

 

15815762

 

Tarnished and Torn by Juliet Blackwell 

 
 
View image on Twitter
 

Juliet Blackwell's giving me major @judypost vibes. Her books have the same patient way of deepening into interesting plots and create a homey feeling that keeps you reading long into the night!

 

 

This succinctly explains why I keep returning to the series. A few weeks will have gone by and I’ll suddenly think of the next book to read from this series. That is all it takes for me to start reading!

 

16130758

 

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

 

I dunno what it is but Yelena has started to piss me off. It could be her attitude towards others or her magic. Either way, I am finding it more and more difficult to like her with each new book I read. Valek, on the other hand, has become less of the token YA hero and in the process of being fleshed out into an actual character. In this book, we are shown how life has been for him and the training he has received to end up where he did. I have always liked the connection he has had with Ambrose. Yet it seems to be coming to an end and quick. The supporting characters were their usual entertaining selves. We are also introduced to a new character with a history of having been abused. She comes across as prickly and immature at times but I liked her tenacity.

 

Would all this be enough to get me to read the next book in the series? Let’s find out!

 

 

12926767

 

Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay

 

I don’t even know where to begin. Okay, wait I do:

He is a liar!

No, he loves me!

He is a murderer!

No, he loves me!

He is a traitor!

No, he loves me!

This goes on until the very end, which happened on a happy note. Not impressed. At all.

 

pjimage.jpg

 

Sleepy Hollow #2-4 by Marguerite Bennett

 

I found these to be all right.

 

17159943

 

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

 

Much better than the last one. I am only reviewing this one because I enjoyed reading it. The lead couple seemed beyond redemption but that was the only cliched part. The time they took in coming closer, discovering each other, and initiating physical contact of any sort seemed realistic.

 

Another thing that I liked was how hard the author worked to show us how Arrows lived their lives. Simple kindness was a concept unknown to them because they had never been on the receiving end of it. The main characters connected with the shifter alpha and conveyed how inept they were at this. Small changes that slowly lead to better lives for these soldiers were fun to watch.

 

Ms. Singh expertly introduced another shifter pack in this book and took us just a little deeper into the world of the water changelings, as well. There are no signs of this series ending, especially with all the characters to be written about.

 

What I didn’t like was how quickly the problem of the bad guy was solved. Yeah, I know he wasn’t the Big Bad but the story had been setting him up that way. So much evil and all it took was half a page of writing to extinguish it,

 

30687916

 

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

 

So many reasons for me to have loved this book:

 

The Humor

 

 

Galina, of course, is a ghost who is trying to help a caged Mercy from a golem or rather The Golem. All she manages to do is roll around the head of a decapitated vampire. It was funny. You had to be there, okay?

 

The Mercy

 

She was completely herself…outmaneuvered, overpowered, and with no chances of escape. Once or twice, she even took out some time to wallow in self-pity but that didn’t last long. Mercy is used to being the weakest player in any supernatural game. So, she doesn’t let that hold her back for long.

 

The Adam

 

The book gave us Adam’s POV, which I loved. Another thing was how Adam was pitted against people who were stronger than he was. He was out of his depth and couldn’t afford to start a war with the vampires. While all of that was happening, Mercy was far away from him, having been kidnapped from right outside their home. In short, he was putting up with shit that Mercy has had to deal with all her life lol

There is also his acceptance that Mercy is going to be drawn wherever trouble brews. In fact, she doesn’t realize this truth but he does and had made his peace with it. This is how the scene goes when they are finally reunited:

 

Start of Spoiler

 

(spoiler show)

“I killed the Golem of Prague—for real this time,” I told him. “After I used him to kill all the vampires. I don’t know how many he killed. Lots, I think. Mary figured out how to mass-produce vampires, though I gather they had quite an expiration date. The problem was he didn’t want to stop with the vampires. Your help was the only reason all of the people in the Jewish Quarter aren’t dead.”

(spoiler show)

 

End of Spoiler

 

A guy who doesn’t lose it after being faced with such an information overload is someone who has already accepted life with Mercy is going to be exciting!

 

The Relationship

 

The faith he had in Mercy being able to take care of herself was one of my favorite things about this book. It was the same trust that Mercy placed in him. That didn’t stop them from taking action where needed. I think they have never been stronger than they are in this book.

 

The Surprise

 

Oh boy! I mean it made complete sense when it was revealed but I loved the juiciness of it. I am so glad I didn’t let the previous book keep me from reading this one!

 

pjimage.jpg

 

Black Magick, Vols. 1 & 2 by Greg Rucka

 
Okay, this was equal parts scary and intriguing. I haven’t yet started connecting with the characters but I am liking where the story is heading.
 
 

 

26194013

 

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley

 

I just love how poetic Flavia sometimes gets even with such a scientific mind. Look at this piece of writing:

I want to know who I am before it is too late — before I am no longer the same person — before I becomes someone different. Although there are days when this seems a furious race against time, there are others when it seems to matter a tinker’s curse.

Combined with the reticent father she has had for a parent, her mom’s death, and her sisters’ scathing behavior towards her, it is words like these that make the reader feel deeply for Flavia.

 

Dogger will remain my fave character from these books. He is broken too just like Flavia is but in a completely different way. Below is a sample from a conversation he has with her:

Do you have any brothers or sisters, Dogger?

Yes I do, Miss Flavia. Do you wish me to tell you about them?

No.

Thank you.

I love how he looks out for Flavia without seeming to; it could be why her father can pretend not to care about the trouble she regularly gets into!

 

Flavia also says things like:

 

 

Oh, and the ending just broke my heart even though I saw it coming. Can’t wait to see the direction this series will take now!

 

33517532

 

Vallista by Steven Brust 

 

Remember the thing that I said at the beginning of the post? Here are the opening words:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a human assassin in possession of an important mission must be in want of a target.

 
 As you can expect, I got a chuckle out of it.
 
While Vlad spends his life acting like an idiot, what makes these books worth reading are two things:
 
The repartee between Vlad and his familiar, Loiosh. I find it really funny. Consider this scene where they have spotted a huge white monster disappearing around a corner:
 
Are we going after it, Boss?
After it? Are you nuts? What if we caught it?
I love it when you break out in common sense.
(I kept walking.)
Boss, you said…
We aren’ going after it. We’re just going in the same direction.
 
Vlad believing that he is a tough guy who doesn’t stick out his neck for anyone and yet that is exactly what he manages to do every time! He gives a damn, which is why he is a likable character.
 
 
 
3833

 

The Black Tower by P. D. James

 

Typical Dalgliesh story that kept me hanging on every word until I finished it!

 
This is what I have been up to in June. What have you been doing?

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-29 08:39
The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies
The Novel Cure, An A-Z of Literary Remedies - Ella Berthoud,Susan Elderkin

In terms of quantity and breadth, this might be the mother of all books on book recommendations.  Quality of the recommendations likely lies in the eye of the beholder, although there has to be something in here for everyone, just from a statistical point o view.  

 

This is a reference of maladies; everything from going off the rails, to giving birth, to children, under pressure to have.  Each entry (and they are legion) has a t least one book recommendation, if not an entire list (see: turning forty-something, books on); some with commentary, some without - presumably because their inclusion is obvious.  There are also occasional sets about book collecting, b book lending, over-coming an over-hyped book, finding your book identity and so on. 

 

This is NOT a book to be tackled all at once or even cover to cover over a long period of time.  This is a true reference for those times when you need a book that is a match for your mood, or just desperate for inspiration.  

 

This is not a book for people trying to combat their TBR piles - but I'm telling you about it anyway.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?