February 2021 Wrap Up

February was a very good reading month for me. I read eight books and watched several documentaries but I don’t plan to discus those. The winter storm that came through Texas helped with how much I read as my family kept loosing power and trying to watch TV or use the internet just wasn’t worth it but thankfully nothing was damaged.

Books:

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers was the first book I finished. This is the second book in the Wayfarers series though each book after the first can be read in any order. We follow Lovelace who was the main ships AI in the first book and who lost her memories at the end of that story being put in a human looking body and has to learn how to survive and live in this new form. We also follow Pepper who was created by others to be used and then discarded. Pepper story is from the time she is a kid learning what freedom is to an adult who has her own path and is trying to find the ship with the AI that basically raised her. This is a feel good science fiction series that is very optimistic about the future and how different species could get along. I love this series and how Becky Chambers writes characters.

Dying With Her Cheer Pants On: Stories of the Fighting Pumpkins by Seanan McGuire is a short story collection that focuses on the Fighting Pumpkins cheerleading squad as they fight the forces of darkness and save the world. I love Seanan McGuire’s stories and writing style and this collection is no different. More light hearted then some of her work each short story focuses mainly on one member of the cheer squad and why they have been called to join but all members are showcased. Great for fans of Buffy, supernatural creatures or cheerleading I have a feeling that we might see more of these characters in the future.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore is a nonfiction book about the Radium Girls, women who painted watch dials with luminescent paint that contained radium. This book tells the story of these women who damaged their own health to paint watches used during World War I not just through the lens of history and what happened to them but through their own words and writings. No one told these women how dangerous the work they were doing could be and it took years for an justice to be given to these women. This book was very well written and I feel like I know these women at least a little bit now.

The Tangleroot Place by Marjorie M. Liu is the first ever short story collection of Marjorie Liu’s work that include stories about dangerous magic and dangerous women though its also about hope and making your own destiny. I received a advanced reader copy through NetGalley and I also have a full review posted. This collection contains six previously published stories and one new novella length story. Each story made me love the characters and the different worlds and I often wanted more but they also ended at a good place.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw is a horror novella that follows a group of friends going to an abandoned Japanese mansion for two of them to get married. However, as the night continues its clear that the ghost and spirits that inhabit the house are coming out to play. I received an advanced reader copy though NetGalley and have a full review posted. This is a beautifully written novella that still has horrifying elements and also focuses on how friendship can fall apart.

Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Editon Volume 5 by Hiromu Arakawa is the next volume in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series. I’ve mentioned before that I’m collecting these editions and rereading as I buy them. This volume gives more information on the Homunculus and how they are involved in controlling the government. Not my favorite volume but I do love Greed’s interactions with Al.

Hellsing Deluxe Volume 1 by Kohta Hirano is the first volume in this edition of the Hellsing manga series. I’ve read many manga throughout the years and have kept only the series I really loved. However, when new editions come out there are some series that I want the new nicer editions of and Hellsing is one of those. The Hellsing series follows the Hellsing Organization and the vampire Alucard in their fight against monsters and vampires in England. The biggest threat comes from Millennium a Nazi organization that uses monsters to try to take over the world. This is still one of my favorite manga series.

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson is another book I received through NetGalley and have a full review for. This is a retelling and reimagining of Dracula’s brides. Told through a long letter to Dracula who is never named Constanta tell both her story and the story of the other brides. This is mostly a story about toxic and codependent relationship using vampires. I loved the idea of this book but I found the letter format allowed for more telling then showing and often made me fell like the relationship were moving too fast. I think anyone who loves vampires or Dracula should give this story a try.

Book Review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicles #2)

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff is the second book in the Nevernight Trilogy. We follow Mia Corvere in the months after the ending of the first book where she became a Blade of the Red Church though many don’t think she has earned her place. When Mia hears that the men who destroyed her family will be at the last gladiatorial games held in Godsgrave she hatches a plan to kill them even though the Red Church has told her that Consul Scaeva is off limits.

For the first 100 pages or so of the book there are flashbacks to four months ago where Mia is working for the Red Church assassinating those she is order to and ends up running into Ash who tried to kill her in the last book. When Ash tells her that the Red Church was involved in the death of Mia’s father, they plan with Mercurio to kill Julius Scaeva behind the Churches back. Most of the story focuses on Mia working her way into the gladiatorial arena and becoming a champion to get a chance to kill those she wants revenge on. However, she is put into situations that question the lengths she will go to and is that changing her.

Though this book took me three months to finish I ended up loving it. Tough I really like Jay Kristoff’s writing and style the flashbacks happen at the begging of most of the chapters for first part of the book caused me to never feel an urge to pick the book up when I had put it down. However, about half way through this changed and I didn’t want to put the book down. I loved Mia interactions with the other gladiatorial combatants and the new information we gained about her family with the fact that what Mia knows might not be completely right.

The ending was amazing and I’m so glad that I don’t have to wait to finish the series if I don’t want to.

Book Shelf Organization

There are plenty of ways to organize book shelves. Some include by color, alphabetical, read vs unread, and many others. I’ve had many different book shelves and organization systems but the ones I’ve used the most are read and unread both keeping series together and keeping only the ones I’ve read together.

Currently, due to everything going on in the world I’m living with my parents so I’m able to have most of my book collection on shelves. During college I had one tall shelf and everything else was just stacked next to the shelf. Now days most of my books are on shelfs with some staked on the front of the shelfs. However, I do have some book mainly childhood favorites and college research text that I wanted to keep are in storage.

I’ve used different shelves and cases from different companies mostly from Ikea. Earlier this year some of the Ikea shelves started to fall apart and I purchased new bookcases from the furniture store, Havertys. I bought four in total, two taller with plenty of space to decorate and two that were smaller which fit better in the space but don’t have as much space on each shelf after books have been placed there.

My organization system works for me but I don’t think that it would work for many others. I first have separated all of my comics, manga, and lager coffee table type books from everything else. After that I organize by author and series so that all the books that I have by the same author and same series are together. If I don’t have enough books by one author for their own shelf I put other books or series that I feel fit best with them. Finally, all the books that I don’t have the next in the series or others from that author are organized by height starting with hardback and going to paperbacks. The only exception is that most of my mass-market books are on the same shelf.

This system works for me as I have a tendency to read all the books from authors I love and I get rid of books on a fairly regular bases. Because I go through everything at least once a year I would say that the organization changes a little bit every year and sometimes books are put where they fit.

Book Review: Gideon The Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir

42036538Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is an Adult Scifi/Fantasy novel. The story is very hard to explain but its amazing. What I heard about the book was that it was lesbian necromancers in space and that was all I needed to know to pick it up but its much more than that.

The world is set up where there are nine houses on nine different planets with each house focusing on aspect/power of necromancy. The Emperor has invited each houses main necromancer and their swordsman to join in a competition to become an elite member of the Emperors court. The story starts out with Gideon who is an orphan raised in the Ninth House attempting to leave and join the army. However, when Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House kicks her ass Gideon must help Harrow win or the Ninth House will die.

The story drops you straight in and you pick up what really going on as you read. For me there was a lot of things that I didn’t get or understand initially but the relationship between Gideon and Harrow keeps the story flowing and convinces you to read on.Though I feel like this is one of those books that you will understand more with each reading.

I love the banter between them as a times they just seem to hate each other but you know there is more to it. The ending was shocking and amazing and felt like my heart was being ripped out. This is one of my new favorite books and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

July 2020 Wrap Up

So this post and several others are going up late because I got very sick at the end of July and through the beginning of August. I don’t know about anyone else but when I’m sick I have a tendency to watch a lot of TV and YouTube and not do much else. However, before I got sick I did read 5 books which is always a good reading month.

Books:

50715800._SY475_Fangs by Sarah Anderson is a short graphic novel/comic book that follows the story of a vampire and a werewolf falling in love. I received an ARC of the book through Netgalley. This is a very short story that is just events in this couples life but its very cute. Good for fans of vampires and werewolfs and a way to introduce others to the graphic novel format.

34275232._SY475_The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is a YA fantasy novel. The story follows Alice and her mother who often have to runaway from bad luck. After the death of Alice’s grandmother, who is famous for writing fairy tales, their luck seems to be getting better. However, one day Alice come home to find her mother missing taken by those from the Hazel Wood which means that the fairy tales might actually be real. I love the twist later on in the story and the focus on how one an change fate.

563772The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey is a morbid and funny take on a children’s alphabet book. Though this is not for children but those who have a more sick sense of humor. Not much else to say about this book.

36538817._SX318_Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition vol. 2 by Hiromu Arakawa is the second volume in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series. This is one of my favorite manga series and I’m rereading each volume as I collect these editions. Whats great about rereading this series is that I’m pick up hints about where the overarching story will go in the later volumes that I never caught before.

18505836The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor is a historical fiction novel about the sinking of the Titanic. The story follows Irish immigrant and third class passenger Maggie Murphy as she sails on the Titanic and survives the sinking. Maggie’s story is also connected to that of her family and Granddaughter in more modern times. Good for those who like reading both historical and historical fiction about the Titanic. This story is loosely based on the true story of the Addergoole 14.

Book Review: The Anti-Virginity Pact by Katie Wismer

52831943The Anti-Virginity Pact is a Young Adult debut contemporary novel by BookTuber Katie Wismer. The story follows Meredith Beaumont, a Preacher’s daughter who happens to be an atheists. When her best friend Johanna convinces her to sign a pact that states that they both won’t be virgins at the end of their senior year of high school things don’t go as planned and Mare must make the decision as whats more important her reputation and relationship with her parents or the person she wants to be.

The Anti-Virginity Pact is a story about relationship, religion, high school, and becoming the person you want to be. This hard hitting contemporary deals with many topics that some are afraid to tackle and sheds light on to aspects of toxic religions. The authors writing and characters sucked me in  and made me root for Mare and what she stood for. Though fair warning this book does handled sensitive topics such as religion, rape, and animal abuse so its not for everyone. The emotions and events that Mare goes though not only speaks for her own situation but speaks to the emotions and even trauma that many high schoolers deal with every day.

Though young adult contemporary is not my favorite genre, Wismer’s writing accurately portrays the emotions and drama of high school so well that I brought back memories for me and I’ve been out of high school for ten years. This would be a great book for those who love young adult contemporary and young women in high school. I received an advanced copy to review through NetGalley.

April 2020 Wrap Up

In March I read three books and started and finished Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Books:

36686547The first book I read was The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette De Bodard. This is a science fiction novella that is set in a world where space ships have minds and personalities. The story follows Long Chau and the ship The Shadow’s Child who are attempting to solve a murder mystery. This is very much scifi combined with Sherlock Holmes. Though the story is short I ended up loving it, however it just drops you into the world so the first few pages are a little confusing as you try to figure out how this world works.

40333936._SX318_The League of Regrettable Sidekicks by Jon Morris is a coffee table type book that goes through many of the different sidekicks that have existed in comic book history. It focuses mostly on characters that are not popular and may have been forgotten over times. Its a very quick read for anyone who wants to know more comic history.

43785830The last book I read this month was Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals about Death by Caitlin Doughty. This is a nonfiction book that answers questions about death and dying posed by kids. The answers and questions are given in a way that is informative and interesting with a dash of humor but are simple enough explanations for many people to understand. I’ve read Caitlin’s other books and follow her on YouTube so I enjoy her content. I love the fact that she answers questions that many have but will not ask.

Games:

FFVIIRemakeI only game that I was playing and focusing on this month was Final Fantasy VII Remake. This is a game that I absolutely loved and I can’t wait for the next game. If you have never played Final Fantasy VII or any Final Fantasy games I would give this one a shot. I also have a full review that does contain some spoilers if anyone wants to know my full thoughts.

Book Review: Grave Peril By Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #3)

91476Grave Peril by Jim Butcher is the third book in the Dresden Files series. The story once again as always follows Harry Dresden, a wizard living in Chicago who helps the police with supernatural crimes. This time ghosts are causing trouble all over Chicago and many people affect are somehow connected to Harry.

The story starts out with what seems to be typical for Dresden at the moment trying to stop ghosts from killing anyone but as the story progresses there is a connection to a demon who Harry defeated before and their might be bigger problems coming.

Many people say that book three is where the series starts to get good and I agree that Jim Butcher has found his footing with the series and the stories he wants to tell. Grave Peril starts to give the reader more information about Harry’s backstory and the supernatural world that is connected to our modern world. The supernatural elements are better fleshed out and the stakes are being raised in this book as we see what Harry will do to protect the people he cares about.

As if the other books in this series, I read it as an audio book which is brilliantly narrated by James Marsters which makes me like the series even more. Unlike, the first two books I completely enjoyed the story and can’t wait to continue on with the series.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Full Moon by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #2)

91477Full Moon by Jim Butcher is the second book in the Dresden Files series. The story once again follows Harry Dresden, wizard living in Chicago who helps the police with supernatural crimes. Dresden is down on his luck with no work when a mutilated corpse, strange paw prints combined with a full moon drag him into a murder investigation. Based on the title and summary this time Dresden is going up against werewolf’s but maybe not the ones we know from fiction.

Many people say that the Dresden Files books don’t start getting really good until book three and I agree that Full Moon is not Butcher’s best work. I love the world he has created and Harry Dresden as a character but this book board me at best and annoyed me at worst. I disliked all the scenes with Murphy and until close to the end of the book I didn’t care about what happened or the stakes.

I listen to these books as audio books because even if I’m struggling with the story James Marsters as the narrator make me want to finish the book. However, even with the issues I sometimes have with this series there is something that keeps bring me back and I do plan on continuing with the series.

Book Review: The Deep by Alma Katsu

52186666._SX318_SY475_I won an advanced copy of this book through Goodreads.

The Deep by Alma Katsu is a historical fiction with supernatural elements focusing on the sinking of the Titanic and her sister ship Britannic. The story follows Annie Hebbley, a maid on Titanic, who survived the sinking and after getting her life back together becomes a nurse on Britannic which has become a hospital ship supporting British forces in World War I.

The book starts in 1916 where we find out what Annie’s life has been like since the sinking and her decision to become a nurse and sail on Titanic’s sister ship, Britannic. Shortly after arriving on the ship a soldier, Mark, is recovering and who Annie met on the Titanic and believes herself to be in love with him.

The story flashes between the events in 1916 and on the Titanic in 1912. The plot in 1916 mainly revolves around Annie and her feelings while the plot of 1912 is given through multiple different characters including some of the real historical figures like the Astor’s, who were on Titanic. The main plot kicks off when a group on the Titanic attempt to contact spirits during a seance which ends up being interrupted by Annie looking for the Astor’s as one of the child servants dies. From here multiple people believe that there are ghost or other spirits that are trying to do something to those on the ship. In the present of 1916, Mark and Annie’s pasts and the terror of the sinking might not yet be over.

For years I’ve been fascinated by Titanic which means I’ve read and watched many story both fiction and nonfiction about this incident. When I heard about The Deep originally, it hit on two things for me Titanic and the supernatural which is all I needed to know to want to read it. So I think I might have had too high of expectations going into the book. The story is very well written with interesting concepts but it jumps between perspectives too often. If there had been fewer perspectives I feel like I could have connected with each characters stories better which would have made be enjoy the book more. For me personally, its only an average read when I was expecting a new favorite.