Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Reading Challenges for 2016

Book challenges are kind of a new thing for me. I'm not totally sure how I feel about them, yet, but I know that they do help me read a book or two outside of my usual go-to genres. I guess that's important? Of course, I tend to join book challenges that fit with my usual go-to genres but let us pretend that I'm making sense, shall we. It does work, sometimes. I never would have read the Stiff micro-history if it wasn't for the Read Harder Challenge this year. That turned out to be one of my top books of the year. YAY, book challenges! 

For 2015, I didn't really have a Reading Challenge plan at the beginning of the year. For 2016, I've decided to pick a few things ahead of time. We will see how it goes. I'm pretty good at doing that thing where you sign up for everything but then get too bogged down to really do anything. I also don't want reading to start feeling like a chore. If it starts to be a pain in the butt, then I will totally just abandon ship on the whole idea. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review: The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

I read this book because of the title. Yes, yes. I'm a cover-judger and a sucker for a good book book. Anyway.
Here's the modified Goodreads Summary (I edited it and changed the formatting): 

"The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams. Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . . 

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped. Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It's everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.
As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?"

What Say I:

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Must Reads of 2015 - YA Edition

Don't miss my post of must read grown up books. I've only separated out Adult and YA books to make the posts easier for me, but my actual Goodreads shelf is not separated. Feel free to check it out. And to be my friend. Does that sound desperate? Whatever. Basically, I've given up on trying to pick my favorite 10 books and am showing you books that I shelved as Must Reads for 2015. I shelve books as must reads as I go along. This whole trying- to- compare- books- across- 12- months thing is nutso! Hats off to all of you who are able to do it well.

Apparently, I didn't do full review posts for many YA novels this year, which is interesting. What was I thinking!? I read some AWESOME YA. Maybe it's because most of my YA reading was at the beginning of the year because of my Rochester Teen Book Festival challenge and I didn't really start blogging/ reviewing until the end of the year. 

Let me see if I can do a few of these justice: 
The Living and The Hunted by Matt de la Pena: This book pair is about a boy who gets caught up in a conspiracy while he's working on a cruise ship. It's fast paced and awesome.

Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older: A girl in Brooklyn discovers that folk art and graffiti are the key to connecting with spirits.

The Novice by Taran Matharu: Fun, whirl wind adventure of Harry Potter meets Pokemon. With a sassy elf girl. If you don't like sassy elves, I can't even deal with you, right now. 

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: I LOVED this book. Great for fans of the earlier episodes of Supernatural (the TV show). Girl of Nightmares is the sequel. 

The False Prince by Jennifer Neilson: It's about a young orphan who is forced into a sinister political plot. Here's my post from 10/26

Okay, I'm going to stop trying to sum these up because I feel like I'm just creating a hashtag for Describe a Book Plot Badly, or something. 

Posted Reviews of books from this list:

Feed by M.T. Anderson

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 
Related Posts

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Book Review: Breakdown by Jordon Quattlebaum

So, I have mentioned before that I met three of the Dapper Press guys at Book Riot Live. As a related aside, if you haven't been over to the Dapper Press website you should head on over. It's pretty neat. They come up with book - related ideas and projects and the common folk like you and I get to throw in our two- cents. 


Breakdown is a Post-apocalyptic Serial Adventure. 
It's released in "episodes" via kindle through for about a buck each with the episodes being about 40 pages. This printed version is the first 5 episodes. The story starts pretty quickly, with our main dude Thom Monroe breaking down on the side of the road right before hell breaks loose.

So, we are at the moment of Apocalyptic breakdown. And Thom's car breaks down... heh heh... the title of the book... but I digress. There are three primary character voices through the first five episodes: Thom, his daughter (Anna), and his new friend, John. 

What I like about this book is the realistic - ness, if that can be a word for a second. This could be happening right now. Thom is an every day man trying to deal with an every day life that kind of sucks. His wife has died and he's lost his job and his daughter is away at college. There are people who are more prepared and people who have lost their minds. This is probably how the downfall of technology is actually going to hit people. I hope I'm dead at the time. 

This book gives you the sense that you should INDEED be packing up a few survival kits. It also made me think of an article I read recently about how old zombie movies had an educational element to them: what do do and not to do if the ZA broke out. This book reads, too, like a fictionalized survival manual. Apparently, Jordon Quattlebaum is into that sort of stuff.

The action is quick, the pace is lively, each episode ending with a "and now what?" vibe so you're ready for the next one. I'm on the fence about whether I will start getting the serials or wait until the next "bulk" one comes out. I'm not too good with ongoing series. I'm a binge - er. But this is definitely on my list to keep following.


Related Posts: 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

My Must Reads 2015 - Adult Edition

Basically, I've given up on trying to pick my favorite 10 books. It seems like an overwhelming task. I think it would be easier for me to pick my favorite 10 people. So, I decided to go a bit of a different way with it. I have a Must Reads shelf on Goodreads. I shelve books as Must reads when I love them, obviously, but if it was just that, it would be a complete overlap with my 5-star books, right? Must reads are also books that I think are good books for recommending to people, avid readers and light readers alike. Of course, there may still be some "specialty" interests to consider or avoid when making recommendations, but whatever. These are the Adult books I added to my Must Read shelf in 2015 (including the last week of December in 2014).

I'd like to go on record to say that I am often annoyed by the YA/ Non-YA split even when I agree it's completely appropriate, and I have split up my posts just to make things easier on myself. There are a couple of books below that might be considered YA based on the main character being young and the action or whatever. However, something about the book makes me think it's better for older audiences. Queen of the Tearling is an example.

I'd say A Tale for the Time Being, A Replacement Life, Stiff, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Kindred, and We are All Completely Beside Ourselves are the books that have stayed with me the most and I've continued to talk about and recommend them in different situations and with lots of different people. 

I mentioned some of these books mentioned in mini-review and/or Outbox posts, rather than in reviews of their own, which I've only really been doing for the last two months. But here are links to the ones that I did review posts for:

Related Posts

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Meet the Boss

I've noticed that most of the blogs that I visit have an About Me page other than the lame one offered through the host site. Technically, I didn't really notice it, myself. I was actually reading someone else's blog that pointed out that most blogs have one... and THEN I noticed. And who am I to shuck a tradition in blogging?

I'm Kenya. I'm a "30 - something" mother of two teens who lives in a suburb of Rochester, NY. I guess 30- something is generous... I'm more like "late- 30's." My 18 year old just moved out to stay with her grandparents in Dallas for while. I miss her like hell but know that she needed some grown-up space for herself. My 15 year old is a smart- alecky book nerd who is getting more active at school and drives me bat shit crazy. I don't know what I'd do without her to keep me humble.


I both love and hate Rochester. I love my job. I hate the weather. We're no where near extended family... which is a pro and a con. My life is actually pretty awesome. I spend most of my days doing things that I really like doing with people I really like. I drink too much coffee, I rarely exercise and I don't sleep enough. What's not to love! 

I've always been a reader but have really been able to become an extreme reader and maybe just "a little over the top bookish" over the last couple of years, since my kids are older and my career has settled down a bit. My partner recently told me that he thinks I'll be "over my book thing" soon, but I don't see it happening. 

I tend to read a lot of Young Adult books. This is probably because I have the attention span of a teenager and YA books tend to move quickly and have more action. But I enjoy a wide range of books, really. I decided to start blogging because it seems like fun. Writing about the books I read also helps me remember the books for longer. I kind of get book amnesia and source confusion BIG TIME about a month after reading a book.

I tend to blog my reviews for books that I liked, rather than those I didn't care as much for, though I am trying to get better about at least leaving a few thoughts on the Goodreads review for all books. For small press books, I also try to remember to post a review on one vendor site, usually Please feel free to contact me through this blog, my Twitter, or my Goodreads accounts with review requests. 

I've been off from work following a surgery from the end of November 2015 until the first week of January, which means I've been able to spend more time with the blog than I would have otherwise. I'm hoping I keep up some momentum when I go back to work. But life happens. Here's a post about what I'm doing when I'm not reading.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Little Free Library Update and My Diversity "Problem"

I wanted to post some updated info about my Little Free Library, though there is not too much to say. I posted the library in October. I know that there has been at least a little bit of usage out of it because a few books have appeared on the shelves.  One was a very large historical text that had been ripped down the middle and was held together by a rubber band. I left it; who am I to say that someone wouldn't like it!? I'm not keeping track of what I put in there so I don't know if anything has been taken. 

I love seeing the LFL when I leave the house and when I get home every day. Here are a few updated pictures. It's holding up well so far with the weather. We get a lot of wind where we are. We get a lot of snow, too, so we will see how it fares against its first Rochester winter hell.


My friend who built my library told me that sometime people are confused about whether they can actually take a book for free. Maybe I'll put a sign in the window: FREE BOOKS! And see if that gets things moving a little more. It's also getting cold, so the natural flow of traffic is going to plummet, soon. 

An interesting thing I've been thinking about as a LFL steward: diversity in the books I'm offering. I live in a small lily white village town. I'm not just saying that. According to the 2000 census and wikipedia: "The racial makeup of the town was 96.53% White, 1.35%African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.37% of the population." 

So, this poses an interesting thing to think about because I have a number of books that were donated that were written by and depict on their covers people of color. This is a great problem to have, actually, as I want to be able to offer a range of books, but I also don't want to be the Black Little Free Library. I don't think it would be seen as useful to the community I live in. I'm not even sure that I am saying this right. The truth is, though, that majority people tend to see things as not really for them if the demographics don't look or sound like them. It makes sense for a lot of social science reasons. My LFL diversity problem is not limited to race: I don't want to be the Chick Lit library or the YA library, either. Those are the other types of books I have more of than others. I'm just super aware of the "race" problem as the only Black person I've seen on my street.

Additionally, I have a number of donated books that are very technical or profession- specific. Should they go in there?  

And what about the romance novels with sexy people on the cover and raunchy sex scenes? I cannot be the steward of the Smut Little Free Library! I mean, I could... but I don't want to!

I would totally read this book, though. Seriously. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Book Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

I know exactly when I bought this book. It was at the 2014 Rochester Teen Book Festival, May 17th. I have tried to volunteer at the event each year since I discovered it. That year, I was paired with an author. Each author at the festival gets an adult and a team of teens to show them around, get them stuff, fight off the hordes of adoring fans, etc. Guess who I was paired with. I'll tell you. It was Marie Rutkoski. ::feigned gasp:: I didn't know Dr. Rutkoski's work very well, though I read The Cabinet of Wonders when I found out that I would be her helper for the day. The Cabinet of Wonders, by the way, was quite good. Excellent premise and interesting fantasy elements. Also, I would like a little metal spider, if anyone has one to give me for keepsies. I haven't finished that trilogy, though it is on my "read before I die" list. I can't find the picture I took with the team that fateful day, which totally sucks because I recall having fabulous hair that day!

Update: found it!

Anyway, Dr. Rutkoski was a lovely person, and by the fourth time I heard her talk about the book and her inspiration for it, I was hooked. She also talked about throwing knives and busted fish tanks, and who wouldn't like that.

The Winner's Curse is about two people, really, though I'm sure I would have thought it was simply about Kestrel if I wasn't really paying attention. Kestrel is the general's daughter, rich, respected, restless in her privileged life. She has to choose, soon, if she will join the military or marry an appropriate suitor. She's a good person, as she must be, right? She's actually none to happy about the slave trade. Arin, also known as Smith, is the slave that Kestrel buys, perhaps on a whim. Dr. Rutkoski spilled the beans for me, so I'm spilling the beans for you: Arin is a spy and a war is coming. Before that, Arin and Kestrel become friends, make waves, and generally try to out wit each other, which is just what nerds do on their way to love.

The Winner's Curse is WONDERFUL. It's fast paced and interesting and the first time the two primary characters meet is at least a little different. A little in that it takes place at a slave auction and one of them is the slave. The rest is kinda the usual. You know that Arin is not what he seems and you hope, along with him, that he is able to balance his loyalties in a way that work out for everyone. Obviously, that can't happen in the first book. The author is an excellent world- builder and the writing is great, which is good because I hold Professor Rutkoski to an absurdly high standard given that she teaches English. 

I have already requested the second book in the series from the library with a plan to own the whole trilogy for my own shelves. I hope that I have the opportunity to hear her speak about her books, again. I look forward to hearing her updated thoughts about the story as well as her thoughts about the controversy surrounding the publisher's decision to change the cover art to show Kestrel in fighting clothes. I kid you not, it's apparently a thing. Kestrel is "known for her strategy not her fighting" is one argument I've heard against the new cover. But she's also not know for being in a froo froo dress... but whatever. Both formal dress AND bad-ass military chick covers are overplayed and underwhelming, in my opinion.

The Winner's Curse is an actual economic concept. It's the idea that if you win an item by overbidding for it, you have the item but at too high a cost. Kestrel does, indeed, overpay for Arin. But the farther reaching consequences of having him in her life are much greater.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I'll admit that I picked up this book almost exclusively because of all the Social Media love that it's been getting recently. Once I had gotten it from the library it took me a while to read it for the same reason. Ya know how sometimes you just know that a book isn't really going to live up to the hype so you don't want to really jump in and be disappointed. But, then, if it does live up to expectations you're going to be irritated because you have to wait for the second book, anyway! There is no way to win... 

Anyway, though. I loved this book and am, indeed, irritated to have to wait until the anticipated pub date of book 2 (September, 2016). I need this book and am willing to bargain to get it sooner. What business, Ms. Bardugo?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Completed Book Challenges 2015

For 2015, I participated in 3 Reading Challenges that are completed, my first 24- Hour Readathon, and there are two challenges that have started that will go through the end of 2015 (I'll save those for a later post). Oh! I also became more involved with this whole book blogging community! Whoot whoot!

I like book challenges because they make me think a little about which books I'm choosing and can also force me out of the comfort zone of my usual books. Well, kind of. For the category- based challenges, there are always those categories that I don't do, usually the ones that I really don't want to read. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Book Review: Joe Vampire by Steven Luna

I mentioned in one of my post - Book Riot Live posts that I met three cutie patootie authors from Dapper Press and fell hook, line, and sinker for their schpiel. Schpiel is apparently not a word. But, I guess neither is patootie. 
Well, Joe Vampire is the second Kenya- is- a- sucker- for - a- good- sales- pitch book. It's a story of an average Joe (yep) who gets bitten and changed into a vampire. Before the bite, Joe is a bit of a pushover with a history of being run over by friends and bitches. Seriously, his ex- girlfriends are bitches and Joe has a clever way of nicknaming them that I might steal for my own purposes. After he's bitten, he's trying to be the same loser but might just have to get a backbone and make some meaningful connections with people. In the meantime, he's going to blog about it.

Yes, the chapters are set up (as in label) as if they are blog posts. There are zero people about whom I would sit down and just read 247 pages of their blog, so the concept kind of bugged me. Once I was able to get past that, there was a glaring plot hole of Joe wanting to keep his little experience on the hush- hush but blabbing everything into the interwebs. This plot hole is not left dangling, so that was a relief. 

Joe's blog takes us through how he's dealing with all This, his life, his job, and his relationships while trying to maintain his sense of morality and cope with the proverbial blue balls of staying off the people- meat. His friends and co-workers think he's a crack- head. And they aren't any better at keeping his new- found fangs a secret than he is. And so, shit hits the fan. Not literally, though there is a lot of talk about poop in this twist on a classic monster tale. But I guess that's actually better than there being sparkly skin, but I digress. 

Joe Vampire is a quick, light - hearted (mostly) read and there's enough action and Oh! moments to keep you moving along, with only a few spots of ho-humness (most notably the first chapter). There's some good wisdom about how we are masters of your own destiny regardless of the shit (literal and otherwise) you have to deal with and that we all get by a little easier with some help from our friends. And that it's never to late to stop being a D-bag. 

The Whole Bloody Story is available in Kindle version for four bucks. Now, everyone go out and buy his stuff so that Mr. Luna can get famous and I can hock his autograph on The eBay. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

That Blog Life: From NaBloPoMo to Regular Posting

I'm trying to work out my "blog life." I mean, I know that I like blogging but I need to add some structure into the task for it to GET DONE. I just looked at the stats for this blog and it looks like I didn't post at all between 2011 and 2014. Of course, I was moving a couple of times, buying a house, starting a practice, increasing my time at my job blah blah blah, but I probably could have posted if I had really wanted to. But things come up, you know? When I was doing NaBloPoMo, it was helpful to think about how I was going to get the task done. That was an intense but short- term goal. Now it's time to think about how to sustain the "blog life." 

I'm actually a fan of structured problem solving and goal setting, because it's what I help people do for my living, probably... but it never hurts to reflect on what the hell you're doing. Right? If you don't know where you're going, you can't really know if you are on the right track. Or if you need to make a change. That reminds me of something:

Here are some questions I have for myself:
1.  Is your blog only going to be about books and bookish things?
a.   Mostly. But I think that there will be some posts that are more current thought/ event based. Primarily, I like doing the reviews but don't like the idea of only having review posts. I think that would be boring. My last few book posts have incorporated thoughts about the book along with some related real- life thing. I'm going to try to keep that up for review posts.

2.   Who are you writing to/for? Is this a Dear Diary sort of a thing or more of an open letter to an unknown reader sort of thing?
a.   I'm still working on that. When I blog, I think about "talking" to someone who knows me pretty well so the posts are pretty casual. It book review posts are partially to provide some information about the book to those who might be interested, but also to me, because I forget stories pretty quickly. 

3.   How often are you going to post? Or are you going to just post when the mood strikes?
a.   Aye. There's the question. I posted a twitter poll for bloggers and it seems like a common goal is to post about once per week/ at least several times per month. I actually have two blogs, one of which is super dead. My goal will be to post to each of them once per week. The other one is here, if you want to see it come back to life.

4.   What do you NEED: Space, materials, time, hardware?
o   I have a lap top but I don't really like my set up at home. For NaBloPoMo, I went to the library pretty often because I like their computers better. This is something to think about. 

Related prompt:
Name the five biggest distractions from your writing. I have posted about the things I do when I'm not posted. It boils down to:
  1. Family
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Work and Paperwork from my actual job
  5. Extracurricular/ Volunteer work 

Links for blog posts ideas:

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Book Review: Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement- Moore

My daughter shares many of my reading proclivities. For example, she has been known to go the library to borrow a book or two and leaving with a bag of 12 books she just HAS TO HAVE. She also still owes me money from a $74 library fine several years ago but I'm not one to bring up old stuff... no, siree. Anyway, it's pretty common for her to check out books that I keep after she's ready to have them returned. Case in point: Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement - Moore. 

Texas Gothic is the story of Amaryllis "Amy" Goodnight, a recent high school graduate who lives in Austin and goes to house sit her Aunt's ranch over the summer. The Goodnight family are all witchy, with magical potions, ghosts, and clairvoyance running in the family.  While on the ranch, Amy and her sister Delphinium "Phin" discover a ghost story that's haunting the town and making people a little nuts. Plus, there's a douchy pothead guy and a hot ass-holey cowboy guy who's all flawed and whatnot. You know the hunky neighbor who is totally a jerk but his life has been hard and you can save him from his bitterness if he would just let you! Yes, that guy. On a horse. 

The story blends in some good old fashioned YA tropes and a few Texas ghost stories.  It reminds me a little of Supernatural (the TV show). Ghosts are real and sometimes can be helpful; plus, you have to understand their story and figure out what's going on. It's also got some Scooby Doo elements, too: a rascally group of kids who are just walking around trying to solve a mystery and get almost dead!! Plus, there are the adults who are always in the way and wrapped up in their own bullshit schemes. It's even got a science driven, social awkward girl in Phin who reminds me a little of Egon from the Ghost Busters, but there is really no reason she should. 

Texas Gothic is long, in number of pages, but the story is quick and fun. Lots of action. The supernatural might be a week bit much for the sensitive child but tweens/ teens will probably like it. If they're into that sort of thing. 

Texas is known for many things, ghost stories are just some of the cooler things. The pic below links to tourist site to learn more. While you're there try the Whataburger, the BBQ, and the Mexican food. But try and avoid the politics. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Book Review: The Golem and The Jinni (#MustRead)

This is one of those books that was recommended on some list for something or other. I actually worry that all of my social media sites are actually just becoming different places for lists of books I should read. It's ridiculous. So, maybe this book was on a list of books for people who like fairy tales, or fable creatures, or something. It could have been on a "best thing we read this week/ month" sort of a list. It's definitely made my best of 2015 list for the year.
This story is really about four characters:
  • A rare female golem (Chava) made with curiosity and intelligence for her master, who promptly dies, and the man that created her. 
  • A jinni (Ahmad) who has been trapped in a flask for 1000 years and can't remember how he got there, and the man that becomes his mentor and friend.
  • There are a number of other characters that move the story along: a man who is struggling to keep a homeless shelter open with scraps, a love- seeking young girl that Chava works with and befriends, etc. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

#NaBloPoMo is No Mo! (November Recap)

Yay! I made it through my first National Blog Post Month! Wooo hooo! Happy blog posting dance. NaBloPoMo is a challenge to post every day of a given month. You can do it any month, but November tends to be the big one, to coincide with National Novel Writing Month.

Of the 30 days in November, I only failed to post 4 times.... well, technically it was 6 times but I posted twice the next day on both those other times to make up for it. It's MY challenge, I can do whatever I want!! And I blame Book Riot Live and the Unofficial Book Crawl for one of those. I blame two of them on having my uterus taken out. Totally legit reasons. 

I am really glad that I participated. I've been trying to get more involved with my blog and this was a great way to keep it on my radar, to motivate me to post even when I wasn't even really interested in posting, kinda the whole point of making a goal. I'm glad that there were times that I drafted/ started a few posts that I could just review and edit and post when I needed to. 

It also helped me review more books, which is something that I am trying to get better at. It really is a skill and I'm still a little shaky, preferring the short mini review focused on my feelings about the book, rather than describing the book and ANALYZING elements of it. Is anyone interested in my analyzing things? I'm really not, though, sometimes a book with remind me of some other issue or concept or thing and might include some talk about that in my review. (Like when I read It's Kind of a Funny Story) I'm trying to get a handle on my reviewing style which has been pretty inconsistent. But, I guess, what I like about blogging is 1) that I really write it for myself and it can be whatever I want it to be at the time and 2) it gives me a chance to write down a few things about books before I move on to the next one.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (#NaBloPoMo)

I've basically decided to give up on the synopses on the backs of books. It's really a 50/50 shot they they are going to tell you anything meaningful besides the names of the characters and MAYBE the setting. But, I digress... before I even get started. Hoozah!

This book was a lovely little ditty about a man, Nathaniel who works as a telegraphist in London in 1884. There's all kinds of stuff going on the world at that time. Irish bombs, women's suffrage, and Japan's civil war. Thaniel (yes, he's called Thaniel because his father was Nat) gets thrust into the role of detective/ hapless spy and meets a man who most certainly changes his outlook on things. He also meets his future wife. I assure you, that's not a spoiler to be up in stitches about.

I love historical fiction that's a bit speculative. [In fact, Speculative Historical Fiction is a better genre sticker for this book's spine than simple "Fantasy."] I've only recently discovered this proclivity of mine so sorry if I seem a little enthusiastic about it. I should probably started writing these Things down, so I'm not constantly surprised by The Things. 

Anyway. This one is well written with a dash of mystery. There's advanced clockwork technology, a female physicist, and a clueless man all wrapped up in a story that pulls you forward wondering what is going to blow up next. Tamely. They're English. There's also a beautiful hint of ambiguity the reader is left with making this a good pick for a discussion group. There's also the touches of cultural relevance of the day that keep it realistic: the women aren't thought of as competent enough for property ownership; the Japanese are all called Chinamen and the women think they're all dirty; the perceived role of nationalism and the danger of it's extremes. These aren't heavy handed or used in an preachy or distracting way, but allow you to better immerse yourself in the story and the time period, so you're not going "Wait... wouldn't she have needed a chaperone?"  

I believe this was on a list of must reads, or good reads, or something, which is what led me to pick it up. If it's not, it should be.  I got a little bogged down with the names and the details and it needed a chapter or two to pick up a bit of pace. And the resolution of one of the story lines was meh. It's a solid 4.5 out of 5 starts. This was well worth the 70 cents in library fines I accrued because I wanted to finish it. If the author ever writes another fiction novel, I'm definitely in!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Emergency #NaBloPoMo Post!!

I've got 13 minutes to get this bad boy "published" and no idea what topic to chat about.

Ooo. How about an update on my 14 - in-4 Book Challenge. This is my third one and I am determined to read a book for each category this time. See my Time 1 (Winter 2014) and Time 2 (Spring 2015) posts for the previous attempts. You would think it would be easy since IM THE ONE THAT MAKES THE CATEGORIES!

So, I've read 6 books for this current challenge, with started on the first of this month. (SIX MINUTES!) even though I will probably change some of the books around depending on how things go with other books.

2. *Mathilda Savitch (dont recommend. at all.)
6. *Ready Player One (old school gamer geeks will love)
7. Octavian Nothing (meh)
8. Reconstructing Amelia (good, kinda pissed me off)...

11. *Apocalypticon (good)
13: Queen of the Tearling (Loved)

Starred books have been reviewed on this blog.