Lover of books, rats, and things that are nifty. Atheist, liberal, historian, scientist.

 

My birthday presents to myself! I was hoping to find a LOTR compendium - and I did, but it cost more than these three put together - but I decided to stick with Children of Hurin so that I could also get the other two. I was also looking at the leatherbound Poe, but that one was more than twice as much as this one, and this one has a nifty raven on the cover.

My birthday presents to myself! I was hoping to find a LOTR compendium - and I did, but it cost more than these three put together - but I decided to stick with Children of Hurin so that I could also get the other two. I was also looking at the leatherbound Poe, but that one was more than twice as much as this one, and this one has a nifty raven on the cover.

Started reading The Twyning, by Terence Blacker last night. I’m sorry to say that if this book hadn’t been about rats, I would have stopped reading it already. It starts with action, plot points, and tension right off the bat, but it reads so slow that it feels like I’ve been reading a dictionary. There’s also quite a bit of exposition, but while it doesn’t necessarily drag down the book, it does give the impression that the author over-thought the structure of a rat society by a factor of a bajillion.
I’m going to keep going for another twenty pages or so to see if it gets better. I was really looking forward to reading this book, and now I’m just disappointed.

Started reading The Twyning, by Terence Blacker last night. I’m sorry to say that if this book hadn’t been about rats, I would have stopped reading it already. It starts with action, plot points, and tension right off the bat, but it reads so slow that it feels like I’ve been reading a dictionary. There’s also quite a bit of exposition, but while it doesn’t necessarily drag down the book, it does give the impression that the author over-thought the structure of a rat society by a factor of a bajillion.

I’m going to keep going for another twenty pages or so to see if it gets better. I was really looking forward to reading this book, and now I’m just disappointed.

Weekend reads: Sharp Objects and Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn
I picked these two up from the library on Saturday morning. By Sunday afternoon, I had finished Dark Places, and by the time I went to bed I was almost halfway through Sharp Objects. If you liked Gone Girl, then I highly recommend these two books, too.
In Dark Places, Libby Day, the lone survivor of the massacre of her family, reexamines what she remembers of that night when she meets with a group of crime groupies who say her brother, who has been in prison for 25 years, is actually innocent of the crime. The narrative alternates between Libby’s POV in the present day and her mother’s and brother’s POVs in the 24 hours before the killings.
Sharp Objects follows a journalist, Camille Preaker, as she goes back to her hometown to investigate the murders of two young girls.

Weekend reads: Sharp Objects and Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn

I picked these two up from the library on Saturday morning. By Sunday afternoon, I had finished Dark Places, and by the time I went to bed I was almost halfway through Sharp Objects. If you liked Gone Girl, then I highly recommend these two books, too.

In Dark Places, Libby Day, the lone survivor of the massacre of her family, reexamines what she remembers of that night when she meets with a group of crime groupies who say her brother, who has been in prison for 25 years, is actually innocent of the crime. The narrative alternates between Libby’s POV in the present day and her mother’s and brother’s POVs in the 24 hours before the killings.

Sharp Objects follows a journalist, Camille Preaker, as she goes back to her hometown to investigate the murders of two young girls.

Dreamsongs, Volumes I & II, by George R. R. Martin

Overall, I enjoyed these two collections. For you Song of Ice and Fire fans, only one of those novellas - The Hedge Knight - is included, so if that’s all you’re interested in, then these books are not necessarily a must-read (you can find Dunk and Egg elsewhere, even in graphic novel form). But if you’re into sci-fi and fantasy in general, I highly recommend these books.

It’s hard to say which was my favorite story. The two Wild Card stories left me wanting more. There’s the set of stories set in the Dying of the Light universe that I really enjoyed - GRRM is fantastic at world building. “Sandkings” was a freaky little hubris tale. Like werewolves? “The Skin Trade” is right up your alley. Chess nerd? “Unsound Variations” is for you. Necrophiliac? “Meathouse Man” (really can’t stress the ick factor enough on this one).

Just finished reading: Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight
Intriguing novel, sad and sweet. The story is told from two viewpoints, Kate and her daughter Amelia, and in three time periods - the present (Kate), the recent past (Amelia), and fifteen years past (Kate). The author did a fantastic job of knitting the threads together without leaving any loose ends or dropped stitches, creating only gracefully twisting cables and a leafy lace pattern that-
uh-
hmm… 
*gently places metaphor aside*  
Other than that, there were a few stylistic issues that rubbed me the wrong way. For instance, in Kate’s storyline, a lot of the narrative takes place inside her head. There was also some exposition that was shoved awkwardly into the narrative and slowed it down, and it probably would have served the story better if it weren’t there.
Also, the story left me wondering why people don’t just turn off text notifications when they’re trying to sleep.

Just finished reading: Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight

Intriguing novel, sad and sweet. The story is told from two viewpoints, Kate and her daughter Amelia, and in three time periods - the present (Kate), the recent past (Amelia), and fifteen years past (Kate). The author did a fantastic job of knitting the threads together without leaving any loose ends or dropped stitches, creating only gracefully twisting cables and a leafy lace pattern that-

uh-

hmm… 

*gently places metaphor aside* 

Other than that, there were a few stylistic issues that rubbed me the wrong way. For instance, in Kate’s storyline, a lot of the narrative takes place inside her head. There was also some exposition that was shoved awkwardly into the narrative and slowed it down, and it probably would have served the story better if it weren’t there.

Also, the story left me wondering why people don’t just turn off text notifications when they’re trying to sleep.

Reading now: Parasite Rex, by Carl Zimmer
Well-researched and entertaining overview of parasites, parasitologists, parasitology, and the history of parasitology.
I probably don’t have to say it, but if you’re squeamish, STAY AWAY FROM THIS BOOK.
That being said, I was hoping for parasite pictures. :(

Reading now: Parasite Rex, by Carl Zimmer

Well-researched and entertaining overview of parasites, parasitologists, parasitology, and the history of parasitology.

I probably don’t have to say it, but if you’re squeamish, STAY AWAY FROM THIS BOOK.

That being said, I was hoping for parasite pictures. :(

Reading now: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
When this book first came out, it seemed to me that it was just another formulaic mystery series with a cutesy hook to make it geared towards women. 
When I saw it at a library book sale a few months ago, I thought, what the heck, I’ll grab it up cheap and maybe read it, maybe not, who knows.
After just two chapters, I know that my original opinion is utterly and completely wrong, and I can’t wait to see what happens!
Oh, and there’s a tv series based on the book series.  *adds to Netflix queue*

Reading now: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith

When this book first came out, it seemed to me that it was just another formulaic mystery series with a cutesy hook to make it geared towards women. 

When I saw it at a library book sale a few months ago, I thought, what the heck, I’ll grab it up cheap and maybe read it, maybe not, who knows.

After just two chapters, I know that my original opinion is utterly and completely wrong, and I can’t wait to see what happens!

Oh, and there’s a tv series based on the book series.  *adds to Netflix queue*

Just finished reading: Dying of the Light, by George R. R. Martin
It may surprise you to learn that by the end of this book, approximately 3/4 of the named characters die gruesome deaths.
ETA: Oh yeah, forgot to say that I thought it was good. ASOIF series is definitely better, but this is a pretty good sci-fi story. I have a soft spot for rogue planets, and this is the only book I’ve come across that takes place on one.

Just finished reading: Dying of the Light, by George R. R. Martin

It may surprise you to learn that by the end of this book, approximately 3/4 of the named characters die gruesome deaths.

ETA: Oh yeah, forgot to say that I thought it was good. ASOIF series is definitely better, but this is a pretty good sci-fi story. I have a soft spot for rogue planets, and this is the only book I’ve come across that takes place on one.

Reading now: Night Film, by Marisha Pessl
Wonderfully dark and full (strange word to describe a book, but it fits), Night Film is the story of a reporter who is totally obsessed with investigates a reclusive film director after the director’s daughter is found dead.
If you like your mysteries lightly frosted with the supernatural, this book is for you.

Reading now: Night Film, by Marisha Pessl

Wonderfully dark and full (strange word to describe a book, but it fits), Night Film is the story of a reporter who is totally obsessed with investigates a reclusive film director after the director’s daughter is found dead.

If you like your mysteries lightly frosted with the supernatural, this book is for you.

Reading now: Dead Beat, by Jim Butcher
I got this from the library a few weeks ago but didn’t start reading it until last week right before the due date. Of course, there was a hold on it, so I had to return it before I finished it. Dammit.

Reading now: Dead Beat, by Jim Butcher

I got this from the library a few weeks ago but didn’t start reading it until last week right before the due date. Of course, there was a hold on it, so I had to return it before I finished it. Dammit.

ivoryandsalt asked
Saw your post on books! I was wondering if you'd read Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner? Talking rats! Rats not as the bad guys! Decent story! Part of a series! (though I haven't gotten the other ones yet) Conversely, books with dinosaurs are my weakness and if you have any recommendations, I would take them in a heartbeat.

Ooh, I haven’t seen that one before!  Definitely adding it to my list, thanks! :) My favorite of the talking rats genre of books is Terry Pratchett’s The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. I like the Redwall series too, but the rats are always the bad guys. 

I haven’t found too many good dinosaur books outside of the Jurassic Park series. Eric Garcia has a series of books in which the main characters are dinosaur descendents disguised as humans. If you’re into Star Trek, there’s a book called First Frontier in which the villains are dinosaur descendents (??  I think. It’s been a while since I’ve read it) who prevented the extinction of the dinosaurs and so the crew of the Enterprise has to go back in time to make sure humanity evolves. No, seriously, Star Trek + dinosaurs = awesomeness.  There’s also Dinotopia, which I haven’t read yet, but I’m totally in love with the illustrations.

I’ve been trying to find a book of dinosaur short stories I read a long time ago, but I can’t for the life of me remember the title, so I can’t tell you what it is. :(

Reading now: Sepulchre, by Kate Mosse (not Kate Moss)
This is the second in Mosse’s Languedoc series.  As the name implies, the books in the series are united by setting - the Languedoc region in the south of France.  Like in Labyrinth, the first in the series, the narrative of Sepulchre is divided between two time periods, 1891 and 2007. While the plot does rely on supernatural elements such as tarot cards, demons, and ghosts, what really drives the plot is the idea of family and how it defines who we are.
The writing isn’t bad, although it took two tries for me to get into it. But once I did, I couldn’t put it down.  I’m also quite impressed at the way Mosse goes about writing historical fiction. Too many authors feel the need to hammer home the fact that This! Is! Not! Set! In! The! Present! Mosse is equally adept at writing in the present and in the past. The narrative flows smoothly in both time periods, and the switch between the two is anything but jarring.

Reading now: Sepulchre, by Kate Mosse (not Kate Moss)

This is the second in Mosse’s Languedoc series.  As the name implies, the books in the series are united by setting - the Languedoc region in the south of France.  Like in Labyrinth, the first in the series, the narrative of Sepulchre is divided between two time periods, 1891 and 2007. While the plot does rely on supernatural elements such as tarot cards, demons, and ghosts, what really drives the plot is the idea of family and how it defines who we are.

The writing isn’t bad, although it took two tries for me to get into it. But once I did, I couldn’t put it down.  I’m also quite impressed at the way Mosse goes about writing historical fiction. Too many authors feel the need to hammer home the fact that This! Is! Not! Set! In! The! Present! Mosse is equally adept at writing in the present and in the past. The narrative flows smoothly in both time periods, and the switch between the two is anything but jarring.

prettybooks:

Book Review: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett @ Pretty Books
Rating: ★★★★
When Mary Lennox is sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody says she is the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It is true, too. Mary is pale, spoiled, and quite contrary. But she is also horribly lonely. Then one day she hears about a garden in the grounds of the manor that has been kept locked and hidden for years. And when a friendly robin helps Mary find the key, she discovers the most magical place anyone could imagine. Continue to the review.Have you signed up to the 2014 Classics Challenge?

This was one of my favorite books growing up.  I really need to read it again.

prettybooks:

Book Review: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett @ Pretty Books

Rating: ★★★★

When Mary Lennox is sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody says she is the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It is true, too. Mary is pale, spoiled, and quite contrary. But she is also horribly lonely. Then one day she hears about a garden in the grounds of the manor that has been kept locked and hidden for years. And when a friendly robin helps Mary find the key, she discovers the most magical place anyone could imagine. Continue to the review.

Have you signed up to the 2014 Classics Challenge?

This was one of my favorite books growing up.  I really need to read it again.