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Kassilem's (Melissa) 2015 Reading

This topic was continued by Kassilem's (Melissa) 2015 Reading 2.

75 Books Challenge for 2015

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Edited: Jan 9, 2015, 12:09am Top

Hello everyone! My name is Melissa. I’m 23, recently graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology with a Biology minor, and hope to pursue a doctoral degree in Molecular Anthropology in the future. In the meantime I am waiting to hear from the Peace Corps on my placement, but if that doesn't pan out I have a few job applications out being reviewed at the moment. I am greatly looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life. But whatever happens, you can be sure to find me here.

This will be my 5th year on ‘LT 75 Books Challenge’. For those who have not followed my threads before, I like to read fantasy, historical fiction & GLBT but that is certainly not all you will see here. I never know what I’ll get my hands on. However if it helps, my favorite authors are as follows: Elizabeth Chadwick, Lynn Flewelling, Terry Goodkind, Robin Hobb, W. A. Hoffman, George R. R. Martin, Sarah Monette, Melanie Rawn, Patrick Rothfuss, Brent Weeks and Bart Yates to name a few. You are also welcome to go to my statistics page (link below) to see my favorite books of the last few years.

I also read a fair amount of graphic novels and I keep a separate thread dedicated to them. 2015's GN count can be found here in Melissa's 2015 Graphic Novel Reads

In additional to all my normal threads, I have begun to keep a thread dedicated to the Movies I watch. 2015's Movies Watched can be found here in Melissa's 2015 Movie Watching

Please feel free to snoop or take/leave recommendations! I’m looking forward to the reading in 2015.

Past '75 Book Challenge' threads:
2011 Challenge Part 1, Part 2
2012 Challenge Part 1
2013 Challenge Part 1, Part 2
2014 Challenge Part 1, Part 2

Past ‘Graphic Novels’ threads:
2011 GN Count
2012 GN Count
2013 GN Count
2014 GN Count

Book Statistics:
Reading Statistics

2014 Statistics (abridged)

Books: 111
Pages: 43,177

~ 2.1 books per week
~ 830 pages per week

Time Range: 1810-2014
Format: Dead Tree (56); Audiobook (55)
Top 3 categories: TBR (53); New (16); Rereads (11)
Top 4 genres: Epic Fantasy (16); Urban Fantasy (16); High Fantasy (13); Science Fiction (12)

5 Stars (14):
A Game of Thrones / Oryx and Crake / Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire / Words of Radiance / Skin Game / A Clash of Kings / Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows / Fool's Assassin / How They Met and Other Stories / Harry Potter Page to Screen / A Storm of Swords

Additional - Graphic Novels read: 98

Edited: Mar 31, 2015, 8:50pm Top

Books Read in 2015

Here starts the challenge! Below will be a condensed list of what I read, while in the posts below I'll put my reviews. Happy reading!!

1. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (Post 37)
2. 1,000 Years, 1,000 People - Agnes Hooper Gottlieb (Post 52)
3. Antigoddess - Kendare Blake (Post 75)
4. Try Not To Breathe - Jennifer Hubbard (Post 80)
5. The Origins of Tolkien's Middle Earth for Dummies - Greg Harvey (Post 84)
6. Shards of Time - Lynn Flewelling (Post 94)
7. Dance with Dragons: Part 1, Dreams and Dust - George R R Martin (Post 97)
8. The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales - Brothers Grimm (Post 98)
9. The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History - George R R Martin & Elio Garcia (Post 103)
10. A Dance with Dragons: Part 2, After the Feast - George R R Martin (Post 110)
11. Victory of Eagles - Naomi Novik (Post 115)
12. Cinder - Marissa Meyer (Post 121)
13. Freaks and Revelations - Davida Wills Hurwin (Post 125)

14. The Broken Kingdoms - N. K. Jemisin (Post 133)
15. The Demon King - Chinda Williams Chima (Post 144)
16. Just One Day - Gayle Forman (Post 155)
17. Seraphina - Rachel Hartman (Post 159)
18. The Simarillion - J R R Tolkien (Post 164)
19. The Crown Tower - Michael J Sullivan (Post 169)
20. Echoes of Us - Kat Zhang (Posy 170)
21. Tongues of Serpents - Naomi Novik (Post 179)
22. The Rose and the Thorn - Michael J Sullivan (Post 182)
23. Just One Year - Gayle Forman (Post 183)
24. Talon - Julie Kagawa (Post 184)
25. Angelfall - Susan Ee (Post 185)
26. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (Post 188)
27. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Post 195)
28. Crucible of Gold - Naomi Novik (Post 199)
29. Blood of Tyrants - Naomi Novik (Post 205)
30. The Elvenbane - Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey (Post 211)
31. UnWholly - Neal Shusterman (Post 212)
32. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (Post 213)
33. The Tombs of Atuan - Ursula K. Le Guin (Post 215)
34. World After - Susan Ee (Posy 218)

35. Prince of Fools - Mark Lawrence (Post 222)
36. State of Wonder - Ann Patchett (Post 225)
37. Good Omens - Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (Post 226)
38. Theft of Swords - Michael J Sullivan (Post 230)
39. Golden Son - Pierce Brown (Post 231)
40. The Picture of Dorian Grey - Oscar Wilde (Post 232)
41. The Exiled Queen - China Williams Chima (Post 241)
42. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (Post 242)
43. Rise of Empire - Michael J Sullivan (Post 245)
44. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman (Post 246)
45. Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas (Post 248)
46. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury (Post 249)
47. Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay (Post 253)
48. Dead Heat - Patricia Briggs (Post 258)
49. Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo (Post 262)

Edited: Mar 25, 2015, 12:58am Top

Off-the-Shelf Challenge (2/20)
This is a challenge that never seems to end since more books are added to it every year :) But here’s another shot at it. These are ordered down from most recently acquired.

Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country - Rosalind Miles
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
A Dance With Dragons - George R. R. Martin (Post 97)
Path of Revenge - Russell Kirkpatrick
Daughter of the Blood - Anne Bishop
The Summoner - Gail Z Martin
The Blood King - Gail Z Martin
Wraeththu - Storm Constantine
Writing the Breakout Novel - Donald Maass
Techniques of the Selling Writer - Dwight V. Swain
The Magician's Apprentice - Trudi Canavan
1,000 Years, 1,000 People -Agnes Hooper Gottlieb (Post 52)
Battle Cries - James Inglis
The Complete Book of World History - Carson-Dellosa Publishing
Sacajewea - Anna Lee Waldo
Captain Kidd and the War against the Pirates - Robert Ritchie
Timelines of World History - John B. Teeple
Banewreaker - Jacqueline Carey
The Gold Falcon - Katharine Kerr
Black Sun Rising - C. S. Friedman


Best-21st-Fantasy Challenge (13/25)
Here's a list of the best 21st century fantasy novels I am intending to read. The list was made a few years ago so it doesn't have the newest books on it but I am looking forward to getting into these ones.

Gaiman, Neil : American Gods (2014)
Clarke, Susanna : Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Rothfuss, Patrick : The Name of the Wind (2009)
Mieville, China : The Scar
Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2009)
Martin, George R. R. : A Feast for Crows (2008)
Bujold, Lois McMaster : The Curse of Chalion
Mieville, China : The City & the City (2014)
Fforde, Jasper : The Eyre Affair (2014)
Gaiman, Neil : Coraline (2014)
Wolfe, Gene : The Wizard Knight
Bujold, Lois McMaster : Paladin of Souls
Pratchett, Terry : Going Postal
Pratchett, Terry : Night Watch
Lynch, Scott : The Lies of Locke Lamora
Abercrombie, Joe : The Blade Itself
Gaiman, Neil : The Graveyard Book (2014)
Jemisin, N. K. : The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (2014)
Le Guin, Ursula K. : Lavinia
Sanderson, Brandon : Mistborn (2012)
Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2008)
Le Guin, Ursula K. : The Other Wind
Gaiman, Neil : Anansi Boys (Post 246)
Novik, Naomi : His Majesty's Dragon (2013)
Kay, Guy Gavriel : Under Heaven


Best 20th Fantasy Challenge (28/75)
Here's a list of the best seventy-five 20th century fantasy novels created from Locus Online polls that I am intending to read as well.

1 Tolkien, J. R. R. : Lord of the Rings (2013)
2 Martin, George R. R. : A Game of Thrones (2008)
3 Tolkien, J. R. R. : The Hobbit (2008)
4 Le Guin, Ursula K. : A Wizard of Earthsea (2014)
5 Zelazny, Roger : Nine Princes in Amber
6 Mieville, China : Perdido Street Station
7 Lewis, C. S. : The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
8 Gaiman/Pratchett : Good Omens (Post 226)
9 Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2008)
10 Crowley, John : Little, Big
11 Adams, Richard : Watership Down
12 Martin, George R. R. : A Storm of Swords (2008)
13 Goldman, William : The Princess Bride
14 Beagle, Peter S. : The Last Unicorn
15 White, T. H. : The Once and Future King
16 Kay, Guy Gavriel : Tigana (Post 253)
17 Gaiman, Neil : Neverwhere
18 Wolfe, Gene : The Book of the New Sun
19 Vance, Jack : The Dying Earth
20 Bulgakov, Mikhail : The Master and Margarita
21 Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2008)
22 Tolkien, J. R. R. : The Silmarillion (Post 164)
23 Leiber, Fritz : The Swords of Lankhmar
24 Jordan, Robert : The Eye of the World (2009)
25 Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2008)
26 Donaldson, Stephen R. : Lord Foul's Bane (2009)
27 Bradbury, Ray : Something Wicked This Way Comes (Post 249)
28 Peake, Mervyn : Gormenghast
29 Powers, Tim : The Anubis Gates
30 Martin, George R. R. : A Clash of Kings (2008)
31 Bradley, Marion Zimmer : The Mists of Avalon
32 Hobb, Robin : Assassin's Apprentice (2009)
33 Pratchett, Terry : The Colour of Magic
34 Holdstock, Robert : Mythago Wood
35 King, Stephen : The Stand
36 L'Engle, Madeleine : A Wrinkle in Time (2007)
36 Pratchett, Terry : Small Gods
38 Howard, Robert E. : Conan the Barbarian
39 Ende, Michael : The Neverending Story
40 Peake, Mervyn : Titus Groan
41 McCaffrey, Anne : Dragonflight (2013)
42 Feist, Raymond E. : Magician
43 Orwell, George : Animal Farm (2014)
44 Silverberg, Robert : Lord Valentine's Castle
45 Lovecraft, H. P. : At the Mountains of Madness
46 Swanwick, Michael : The Iron Dragon's Daughter
47 King, Stephen : The Shining
48 Garcia Marquez, Gabriel : One Hundred Years of Solitude
49 Saint-Exupery, Antoine de : The Little Prince (Post 195)
50 Hughart, Barry : Bridge of Birds
51 Rice, Anne : Interview with the Vampire (2010)
51 King, Stephen : It
53 Stewart, Mary : The Crystal Cave
54 Mirrlees, Hope : Lud-In-The-Mist
55 Anthony, Piers : A Spell for Chameleon
56 Pullman, Philip : The Amber Spyglass (2007)
57 McKillip, Patricia A. : The Riddle-Master of Hed
58 Jackson, Shirley : The Haunting of Hill House
59 Brooks, Terry : The Sword of Shannara (2008)
60 Heinlein, Robert A. : Glory Road
61 Eddison, E. R. : The Worm Ouroboros
62 Le Guin, Ursula K. : Tehanu
63 Eddings, David : Pawn of Prophecy (2008)
64 Grimwood, Ken : Replay
65 Zelazny, Roger : Lord of Light
66 Grahame, Kenneth : The Wind in the Willows (2014)
67 Anderson, Poul : The Broken Sword
68 Kay, Guy Gavriel : The Lions of Al-Rassan
69 Barker, Clive : Imagica
70 Jones, Dianna Wynne : Howl's Moving Castle
71 Donaldson, Stephen R. : The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (2010)
71 Burroughs, Edgar Rice : A Princess of Mars (2010)
73 Leiber, Fritz : Our Lady of Darkness
73 Le Guin, Ursula K. : The Earthsea Trilogy
75 Priest, Christopher : The Prestige

BBC-List-of-Best-100 Challenge (32/100)
This is a list that BBC put together of the best 100 literary books a person should read. They think that on average a person has only read 6 of these books. I made it a goal to read as many of these as I can. These are the books you always hear people talk about and should read so that you can have your own opinion as well.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (2014)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (2013)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (2009)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (2013)
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (2014)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (2013)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (2007)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (2005)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (2013)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (2008)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (2014)
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (2009)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (2014)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (2014)
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (2013)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (2005)
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (2005)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (Post 242)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (2007)
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (2014)
41 Animal Famr - George Orwell (2014)
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (2009)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (2007)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (2011)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (2013)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (2013)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (2007)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (Post 37)
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White (2005)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (Post 213)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint Exupery (Post 195)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (Post 188)

Edited: Dec 27, 2014, 3:41pm Top

First off here’s a great book meme for 2014's reads

Describe yourself: The Bone Woman
Describe how you feel: Wide Awake
Describe where you currently live: The Realm of Possibility
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Lost City of Z
Your favorite form of transportation: The Ice Dragon
Your best friend is: Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan
You and your friends are: Dangerous Women
What’s the weather like: A Searing Wind
You fear: World War Z
What is the best advice you have to give: Love is the Higher Law
Thought for the day: Human Variation
How I would like to die: Surviving the Extremes
My soul’s present condition: Steelheart

Dec 27, 2014, 4:01pm Top

Hey, Melissa! Glad to see you here. :)

I also fear World War Z. That book gave me nightmares.

Dec 27, 2014, 4:43pm Top

Hi Melissa! I just got Banewreaker too, and I see that you have it on your off-the-shelf list. Want to do a group read?

Dec 27, 2014, 4:48pm Top

Welcome back!

Edited: Dec 27, 2014, 8:54pm Top

>5 rosylibrarian: Hello Marie. Welcome and thank you. And yea, while I didn't like the format of the book as much as I had hoped, the premise and idea of the book was frightful. :)

>6 kgodey: Welcome Kriti! I would love to do a group read. I'm determined to make a very big dent in that Off the Shelf Challenge this year!

>7 drneutron: Thanks Jim! And thanks as always for getting the threads going each year!

Dec 27, 2014, 5:12pm Top

I love reading off lists too, but I'm trying to be as unstructured as possible this year.

Dec 27, 2014, 7:32pm Top

I absolutely failed at reading from lists last year (and pretty much every year I try it) so I'm keeping my reading unstructured, too. I can do one book for a group read, though. I'll post in the group read thread to see if anyone else wants to do one for Banewreaker.

Dec 27, 2014, 7:46pm Top

Hi Melissa - I'm just roaming around all the new threads as I start my second year in the 75ers, and golly! There are a lot of fun books listed above. Starred for future book sharing pleasure :) And you've made me realise - ages ago I took down the BBC 100 books list as a to-read collection, and I've been working my way through it for years now. I think I have about 22 to go... golly, shall I make that an official challenge to myself now?

Dec 27, 2014, 8:05pm Top

Welcome back. This is my fourth year as a 75r I believe. I like your lists. It compares to my top 25 list I have started on my own posts pretty well. Stop by evey once in a while and lets compare, Id like to know what you think.

Dec 27, 2014, 9:06pm Top

>9 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel. I also don't always do good with lists, unless they are my own TBR lists I've put together. However a few years ago I decided that I should broaden my reading horizons a little more into classics and now here I am. To tell the truth, I've only read as much from those lists by this point because the majority of them can be found on audio, and I've begun to "listen" to books as much as physically read them; I found I had to turn to the audio while in school if I wanted to keep reading. :) Those lists will probably take me years and years to finish!

>10 kgodey: Awesome; keep me posted and I'll look for the thread.

>11 evilmoose: Welcome Megan! 22 left?! That's amazing. :) As stated above, I'm not pushing myself to finish that list this year. But I do enjoy actually having read some of those classics, even if sometimes it was only for the sake of having read them. Luckily most of those aren't very long books. And you never know when you'll find a hidden jem you never thought to find. Do you have some favorites from the list?

>12 xymon81: Welcome xymom! Looks like we share 59 books in common from our libraries as it is. :) I'll look for your thread when it's up! I'd love to compare books and thoughts.

Dec 27, 2014, 9:18pm Top

>13 Kassilem: I have strong opinions about a lot of the books on that list! I read quite a few as a child (Chronicles of Narnia, Roald Dahl, Anne of Green Gables, Enid Blyton, Watership Down, J.R.R Tolkein, Lewis Carroll, Arthur Ransome, The Little Prince). Douglas Adams is fantastic, and I've re-read his books many times. I enjoy Tolstoy, Dostoevksy, Joseph Conrad and Jane Austen, but feel like strangling Charles Dickens. The Handmaid's Tale is my least favourite Atwood book thus far, and it nearly put me off her entirely. Ulysses is one of the few books that I've started and just couldn't bring myself to finish - I've tried, honestly. And Iain Banks just makes me want to cover my eyes as I read his books - too dark! Too scary! I found Life of Pi, Cloud Atlas and The Kite Runner pretty captivating amongst the more modern ones I've read.

Dec 28, 2014, 10:13pm Top

Hi Melissa! I love my fantasy books as well so I had to chime in and say if you haven't read Tigana, I would do so sooner rather than later. It's one my all time favourite books. :)

Dec 29, 2014, 11:05am Top

Hi Melissa! Stopping by to drop a star so that I can find my way back here!

Dec 29, 2014, 6:51pm Top

>14 evilmoose: Thanks Megan! I'll have to keep those in mind next time I'm looking for an audio :)

>15 jolerie: And thank you too Valerie. I'll be sure to push that one up the list!

>16 lkernagh: Welcome Lori! Looking forward to having you

Dec 30, 2014, 10:09pm Top

Hi, Melissa! :) Yay, found you.

Dec 30, 2014, 10:13pm Top

>18 saraslibrary: Welcome Sara!

Dec 30, 2014, 10:32pm Top

Thanks, Melissa! :)

Dec 31, 2014, 8:58am Top

Dec 31, 2014, 11:04am Top

Happy New Thread!

Dec 31, 2014, 2:01pm Top

Dec 31, 2014, 4:02pm Top

dropping a star! looking forward to see what you are reading :)

Dec 31, 2014, 10:48pm Top

Melissa - loved the lists

Happy New Year from your friend in Kuala Lumpur

Jan 1, 2015, 1:18am Top

Thanks lunacat, foggidawn, xymom & Paul! Happy New Years back!

And Welcome Jennifer!

Jan 1, 2015, 4:25am Top

Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 2015, 7:10am Top

Melissa, I wish you a Happy 2015 and that all your goals will come true!

Jan 1, 2015, 9:14am Top

Jan 1, 2015, 2:34pm Top

Happy New Year, Melissa!

Jan 1, 2015, 5:57pm Top

Happy new year and new thread, Melissa! Looking forward to following your reading again this year.

Jan 1, 2015, 9:17pm Top

Jan 1, 2015, 11:50pm Top

Still lurking to hear about your Peace Corp assignment.

Jan 2, 2015, 1:02pm Top

>27 BBGirl55: Thanks Bryony! Happy New Year!

>28 drachenbraut23: Welcome Bianca! Happy New Year. I am looking forward to making some new goals for 2015 but I've decided to wait until I know for sure which direction my life is going to take. I should know by mid-January.

>29 lovelyluck: Happy New Year Jennifer!

>30 scaifea: Welcome and Happy New Year Amber!

>31 MickyFine: Welcome MickyFine! I'm looking forward to seeing what I read this year too

>32 ronincats: Happy New Year Roni!

>33 Oberon: Welcome Erik! Lurk away :) I'm supposed to know mid-January. My fingers are crossed. The waiting is the toughest part.

Jan 2, 2015, 1:46pm Top

Happy New Year!

Jan 2, 2015, 3:46pm Top

>35 inge87: Thanks Jennifer! Happy New Year back to you as well :)

Jan 2, 2015, 3:57pm Top

1. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 160
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR - BBC Challenge)

Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come.

This was a short easy book to read, or in my case listen (narrated by Jim Dale). I've known of the story for years and years and have seen many renditions of it in film but had never actually read the book. Having known the story beforehand there was nothing here that was new or exciting but it is nice to have got through it. And it's such a classic, that if you haven't read it, I highly suggest getting a copy while the season is right.

Favorite Line:
“No space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused”

Edited: Jan 3, 2015, 3:20pm Top

Cross-stitch: 2.5% finished

As some of you know I like to include my cross-stitch on my threads since they are one of my primary activities when listening to audiobooks. This morning while finished A Christmas Carol I also finished the first panel of my cross-stitch project. It's 1 out of 40 so I still have a long way to go, but I thought I would put up each new added panel as I finish them.

Thus panel 1/40


Jan 2, 2015, 8:43pm Top

A Christmas Carol has been sitting on my kindle forever. I believe I read it once in school, but can't remember. What is the pattern supposed to be when the cross stich is finished? It looks good so far.

Jan 3, 2015, 7:16am Top

I'm hoping to get back into my cross-stitching this year - I'm taking you as an inspiration, then. No pressure or anything. Ha!

Jan 3, 2015, 3:24pm Top

>39 xymon81: I know, I felt like I had read it before because I knew the story so well, but actually looking back showed me I hadn't. As for the cross-stitch I've gone ahead and edited my post 38 to show the pattern as well. And thank you!

>40 scaifea: I'd love to be an inspiration :) No pressure at all. It is big however. Much bigger than any of my previous projects so I'm not sure how long it will take to finish. I suppose that all depends on what happens in the next month or so!

Edited: Jan 3, 2015, 3:28pm Top

Hey! A fellow cross-stitcher! I was wondering when I would come across another stitcher. :D

I'll be honest and confess that I've been working on the same project for the last 7 years.....ha! It's painstakingly slow...but so worth it.

Edited: Jan 3, 2015, 3:31pm Top

>42 jolerie: Hi Valerie! Don't worry. My first took me 10 years to finish. But then I didn't find out that I liked audio books until three years ago so that was mostly the reason why. I couldn't cross-stitch for very long before getting bored with it until I started listening to books while doing it :)

Edit: what's you're project?

Edited: Jan 3, 2015, 3:38pm Top

As Laura (lycomayflower) posted in her thread today, it is Tolkien's birthday today!

I had no idea beforehand. I'm being a huge Tolkien fan this month - I just re-watched all the LOTR and Hobbit movies this past two weeks, and have two companion books for Tolkien's books that I'm looking to get through, as well as thinking of doing a reread on The Hobbit. I've also got into some LOTR fanfiction reading as well. Thus, I can't help but also celebrate his life here on my thread as well.

To Tolkien:

Jan 3, 2015, 6:53pm Top

My current cross stitch project is huge, also, so I'll be years in the making of it, too. *sigh*

Jan 3, 2015, 7:40pm Top

I have not cross stitched for years. I do do a lot of hand sewing though!

Jan 4, 2015, 9:30am Top

>38 Kassilem: that is super amazing... wow when you get finished it will be beautiful!

Jan 4, 2015, 9:38am Top

>44 Kassilem: Ah, LotR fanfic. It is a blackhole of awesome from which there is no escape. Find anything really good?

Jan 4, 2015, 9:40am Top

As inspired by you, I asked my mum for all her old cross-stitch supplies as she is no longer able to do it much, so she'll be digging them out for me at some point. There is a tradition in our family that once a family unit is 'complete', a cross stitch family tree gets made for them with the parents and children's names on it, but the next generation haven't got them yet so I might start designing some. The tricky part (other than only being able to make them once I'm sure people have stopped having children) is making the designs modern - so much of cross stitch is a bit dated.

I'll give it a go anyway. Well done on completing your first panel. It's good to get one knocked off!

Jan 4, 2015, 10:17am Top

Cross stitch looks good Marie, look forward to seeing more!

Jan 4, 2015, 3:11pm Top

>45 scaifea: Oh well. The best things in life are those that aren't forced right? So if it takes years, who cares :) (actually, I get a little obsessive about finishing things, but that' just me!)

>46 BBGirl55: I never would have pictured myself getting into the crafts years and years ago but they really are relaxing. And awesome with a book going in your ear as well :)

>47 lovelyluck: Yep! Thank you. I had a hard time finding a new project for this year but the instant I saw that one I knew I wanted to do it. Little did I know how big it was. But it will be worth it.

>48 lycomayflower: A HUGE blackhole. I try to stay away from fanfiction at times because I can spend hours and hours reading. But sometimes it's nice to have it on my phone for when I have unexpected times where I am waiting in line or something. I only just started in on the LOTR fandom. I have high expectations on the writing I read in those fandoms so I've only found a few so far that I've been willing to read. I'm on one at the moment, set in between the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings where Legolas is temporarily blind from an Orc attack. It's good writing and a intriguing story - To See A World by Nightwing6. I wrote a story last year on a character that became blind so seeing the different writing style for the same situation is interesting.

>49 lunacat: Thanks lunacat! That's awesome that you have a family tree cross stitch. Good luck on the designs! I can imagine how tricky that might be :)

>50 swynn: Thanks swynn!

Jan 4, 2015, 11:41pm Top

2. 1,000 Years, 1,000 People - Agnes Hooper Gottlieb
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Pages: 352
Rating: 3 Stars
(Off My Bookshelf)

This text presents a list of 1000 of the most important, influential and intriguing figures of the past millennium. Among the figures profiled are philosophers and artists, statesmen and warlords, inventors and explorers. Each person is profiled with a brief autobiography.

I don't know how long this book has been on my bookshelf. A long time. And I can't remember why I bought it. I think it must have been around that time when I wanted to be a historian. The book is fascinating but there is so many people discussed here that it was a hard book to read cover to cover. Truth be told towards the end, I had to decide to skim over many of the people's brief autobiography. I enjoyed reading about many of the listed people but in reality I don't really care to know about this famous ballerina or that foreign businessman. As a reference book to look back through later when you want a brief factual paragraph on some name you came across it's probably a good source. Going through the book cover to cover does give the reader a good overview of major names worldwide. I enjoy that each person only has a brief autobiography. It wont bore you to death. And there is some humor that the authors include for that very reason. But it is a lot of information. Recommended if you are interested in history or people.

Jan 5, 2015, 3:50pm Top

I wanted to upload a pic to show you but somehow my boys have decided to play hide and seek with the camera so I can't find the darn thing..ha!
Anyways, it's actually a pattern from Disney that I bought when I was there on my honeymoon 7 years ago. They are so intricate and beautiful that I ended up buying like 4 other kits at the same time. My husband gave me the look of *do you think you will EVER finish all of them*. I'm beginning to think he's onto something. :)

Jan 6, 2015, 5:53pm Top

Oh, there's no way I could do that much cross-stitch. You have my admiration.

Jan 7, 2015, 2:27am Top

Hi Melissa, I have placed a star and I'm looking forward to following along for another year.

Jan 7, 2015, 10:05am Top

>53 jolerie: :) Those sound like awesome patterns! If you find your camera at some point I would love to see them! I think I am going to try for one project a year but we'll see. I have no idea what path my life is going to take so I can't make any promises to myself, but... they're fun!

>54 ronincats: Thanks Roni! It is a lot. Sometimes I think I'm slightly crazy.

>55 DeltaQueen50: Welcome Judy!

Edited: Jan 7, 2015, 4:52pm Top


Hurrah! I feel like I've been waiting forever! But now I'm placed. I'll be teaching Biology in Ghana and will be leaving June 1, 2015!

I have no idea what this will mean for my reading and my book blogging here. I guess we'll have to wait and find out.

Jan 7, 2015, 5:23pm Top

Fantastic! What an exciting adventure! Congratulations.

Jan 7, 2015, 5:51pm Top

Good luck and stay safe

Jan 7, 2015, 6:01pm Top

I have no idea what this will mean for my reading and my book blogging here.

You mean you didn't think of us first? In that case we'll have to fill the time we would have spent reading your thread by just being insanely jealous. In fact, I think I'll start practicing.

By which I mean: Woohoo! Congratulations Melissa!

Jan 7, 2015, 8:44pm Top

>57 Kassilem: Congratulations! What a cool adventure! I actually had a friend who spent his senior year of high school living in Ghana. His dad was in mining. It really changed my friend's life as I'm sure it will change yours.

Edited: Jan 7, 2015, 8:55pm Top

Congratulations, Melissa! :) I know you've been waiting for this for a long time, so I am super psyched you got what you want. Finally! :) Is the above pic where you'll be? It's gorgeous! :) Not to worry about keeping up with your reading and blogging. It'll happen when it happens. Just enjoy yourself!

Jan 7, 2015, 9:24pm Top

What exciting news!! Hopefully you will have some access to the internet so you can keep us up to date on all your adventures. Oh, and pictures are a must! :)

Jan 7, 2015, 10:57pm Top

Great news, Melissa. You must be relieved that the waiting to hear is over.

Jan 7, 2015, 11:32pm Top

So excited for you, Melissa. I'm sure it's going to be a fantastic adventure!

Jan 8, 2015, 12:09am Top

>57 Kassilem: Wow, that's awesome. How long will you be over there? Is there a set amount of time for peace corps-ing?

Jan 8, 2015, 5:21am Top

That is so wonderful! So pleased for you.

Jan 8, 2015, 5:25am Top

>57 Kassilem: Congratulations, Melissa!! What a great opportunity for you!

Jan 8, 2015, 6:50am Top

Wow, that's going to be amazing! What a fantastic adventure you'll have. I'm insanely jealous.

Jan 8, 2015, 6:54am Top

Oh, yay!! Congrats!!

Edited: Jan 8, 2015, 1:47pm Top

That's terrific news, Melissa! Congrats! I hope you'll have time to update us on your adventures while you're there. :)

I don't know much about Ghana (except where it is roughly on the map, thanks to Sporcle's Countries of Africa), but I had an acquaintance in college that was an international student from there.

Jan 8, 2015, 2:32pm Top

>58 Oberon: Thanks Erik!

>59 xymon81: Thanks xymom. I'll be training for three months on how to be safe so no worries :)

>60 swynn: :) Thank you swynn.

>61 rosylibrarian: I'm positive it will change me. I'm planning on it. I think that's one of the reasons I applied.

>62 saraslibrary: Thanks Sara. I'm not sure where I'll end up in Ghana. I won't until I get there for my training. Then I can give my preference on where in the country I'll end up. :) The picture was just a beautiful one I found online.

>63 jolerie: Yes, I'll certainly be sending pictures. I'm hoping for internet connection even sporadically. Once a week would be fine. Just some time to check email and update places like LT with my reading :) I have a feeling I will be listening to a lot of audiobooks and reading e-books since it'll be hard to bring in all the paperbooks I'd want to read. :)

>64 DeltaQueen50: So relieved the waiting is over! I feel like I can actually plan. And actually find a job that will work for the next four months. Now I can focus on buying those things that will get me though like an e-reader and a new laptop with a camera for skyping since my phone won't work overseas. Stuff like that.

>65 MickyFine: Thanks Micky. It's going to be such an adventure!

>66 evilmoose: I'll be there for 27 months. 3 months of training and a minimum of two years serving. I won't be back until August 2017! Wow that sounds weird even just typing it.

>67 BBGirl55: Thanks Bryony!

>68 alcottacre: Thank you Stasia! I'm really looking forward to it.

>69 lunacat: Thanks lunacat! Don't be too jealous. It's gonna be hard work :)

>70 scaifea: Thanks Amber!

>71 kgodey: Thanks Kriti. I hope I have time too. That's one of the scary things about it. I have no idea what is going to happen. But I've been told that no matter what does happen, it's going to be an adventure.

Jan 8, 2015, 3:03pm Top

>57 Kassilem: reading and my book blogging here
Ghana-blogging would be a perfectly acceptable substitute. Congrats!

Jan 9, 2015, 12:06am Top

>73 qebo: Thanks qebo! I will see what I can do :)

Well, I may be crazy but I've been watching Sara (saraslibrary) put up the movies she's been watching, and I've been thinking of reviewing the movies I've watched for a while, and since it's the new year... :) I have looked for a decent movie blogging site but haven't been able to find anything that matches the greatness of LibraryThing. So, I have created a new thread in the 'Off Topic' Group to dedicate to the movies I have watched.

If you are at all interested please refer to this link: Melissa's 2015 Movie Watching

Edited: Jan 9, 2015, 4:44pm Top

3. Antigoddess - Kendare Blake
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Rating: 3 Stars

Old Gods never die. Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health. Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

I picked this book up because I enjoyed Blake's book Anna Dressed in Blood. This isn't quite on par with that first book but it's not too bad either. It took me about a 100 pages to really get into the book but once I did it was very fast reading. Enough gruesome YA imagery to show you it's Blake's writing but not a horror story either. I actually really like books about the roman/greek gods and goddesses. This book didn't quite meet my expectations on that front in the beginning but, the same way the story took a while to engage, the characters eventually grew on me. I think they could have stood for some more character development, but overall the book was enjoyable.

Edited: Jan 9, 2015, 5:26pm Top

>75 Kassilem: I also enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood and the sequel. Antigoddess goes in the Someday Swamp.

Jan 9, 2015, 5:53pm Top

Congratulations, Melissa! I'm so glad the "don't know when or where" part of the waiting is over for you.

Jan 10, 2015, 6:46pm Top

>74 Kassilem: Yes, you have to be crazy to visit my thread. It's a prerequisite. ;) I'm hopping right over!

Jan 11, 2015, 10:44pm Top

>76 swynn: Enjoy it when it happens :)

>77 ronincats: Thanks Roni! I'm so glad the waiting it so. Although, now it's a different kind of waiting. :) But lots to do in that time.

>78 saraslibrary: Ha! Love it.

Jan 11, 2015, 10:53pm Top

4. Try Not To Breathe - Jennifer Hubbard
Genre: Gothic Fiction
Pages: 256
Rating: 3 Stars

Everyday, Ryan Turner must face the reality that everyone knows what he did. It’s in they way they speak to him. It’s in the way they look at him. Ryan’s only solace comes from the local waterfall, where the violent crashing of the water clears his mind of everything. But then one day, a girl named Nicki Thornton throws herself into his solitary world. Nicki is direct about his past and determined to crash through the wall of glass that Ryan has put between himself and others. She seeks answers to questions that she knows only Ryan can understand. Nicki dives deeper into his life, opening his heart and getting closer to the shameful secrets that he has tried to bury. Though Ryan knows he does not have all of the answers that she seeks, but he realizes that he may have found an answer to his own questions in her.

This is a book about attempted suicide and the mental rehabilitation afterwards that Ryan goes through once he's been cleared to go home and to his 'normal life'. However, I didn't feel like enough emotion was written about for the messages to really hit home. Ryan was a little 2-dimensional for me. Also it's a 'soft' suicide story. Nothing really traumatic happens, the suicide attempt wasn't painful or disturbing beyond the obvious action itself, and Ryan moves past it all fairly fast. What I did like about the story was one perhaps intended message: Ryan had a good life. He wasn't bullied all that much, his parent loved him, he wasn't abused. Nothing. And yet he still fell prey to the depression. That, in my opinion is a strong and important message. Depression can hit anyone. Your life doesn't have to be horrendous for you to fall prey to it's clutches. But other than that the book was lackluster for me. It was a short read though - a few hours max. Not really a book I would recommend however. This kind of story needs more than what was given here.

Jan 11, 2015, 11:13pm Top

>80 Kassilem: Great review! :) I thumbed you. At first, the cover/title kind of had me going, "Is this a necrophilia type thing?", until I realized it was a YA book (definitely not a Kissed type of thing). Oops, never mind. ;) Too bad the book wasn't all it could've been. It sounded kind of interesting.

Jan 13, 2015, 11:53am Top

Thanks Sara! I think the cover and title had me going too when I looked at putting it on my TBR list. I can't remember why in the end it was on the list now but oh well. Now it's off :)

Jan 13, 2015, 10:32pm Top

LOL! That's a good way of looking at it: Now it's off. ;) On to the next! And hopefully a better one, too. :)

Jan 14, 2015, 12:31am Top

5. The Origins of Tolkien's Middle Earth for Dummies - Greg Harvey
Genre: Non-Fiction, Reference
Pages: 360
Rating: 4 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

As the author says in his introduction to the book, this is not an encyclopedia or quick guide to all the diverse beings, languages, and history that make up Tolkien's Middle-earth. Nor is it a set of plot outlines for the novels. Rather, what you'll find in The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies is a basic guide to some of the possible linguistic and mythological origins of Middle-earth, plus a rudimentary analysis of its many themes and lessons for our world. This book can help enrich your reading (or re-reading) of Tolkien's novels, and it will challenge you to think about the themes inherent in Tolkien's Middle-earth and their implications in your own life.

I highly enjoyed this book. I was on a big Tolkien fan kick for a while the past month, partly due to the new release of The Hobbit movie, which sparked a re-watching of all the other movies as well, which then caused a domino effect of moving further out in fanfiction and eventually to reference books when I came across too many references I was curious about. That all led me to the the 823 decimal place in the library where I found this book. I needed something simple that would explain the history behind the references and that's exactly what this book gave me, in addition to all the other interesting facts that I didn't even know to look for. I had no idea there was so much history behind the stories I had read (barely) and watched. Another thing this book did for me was to get me excited to read The Silmarillion, which is on my TBR-Best 20th fantasy list. It also makes me want to look into rereading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Now that I know the history and can understand the references I feel like I would get a lot more out of the books, and even the movies. I'm actually really looking forward to it. One problem I had with the book with it's many typos. Bad editing on the publisher/editors part there. If you don't know the intricate history in Tolkien's world, I recommend this book. It explains it all in a fairly interesting and easily understandable way.

Favorite Line:
'The For Dummies title refers to the humility required in approaching Tolkien's complex myth, not to the level of insight herein.'

Jan 14, 2015, 12:47pm Top

>84 Kassilem: Sounds interesting, but my library doesn't have it. I've added it to my PaperBackSwap wishlist.

Jan 14, 2015, 3:43pm Top

Finally found my camera.

This is my labour of love for 7 years:

I'm finally done all the pattern stitching and all that is left is the backstitching!

Jan 15, 2015, 12:58am Top

>85 ronincats: I hate when the libraries don't have the books. But I love the inter-library loan option for the same reason. I just got two inter-library loans in today, books I'm shocked my library doesn't have. :)

>86 jolerie: I love it! It's so adorable. It must be fairly big - those stitches look pretty small :) Thank you for sharing it! Ah it makes me want to pull mine out even though it's practically midnight.

Jan 15, 2015, 11:46am Top

Yeah..it's pretty big. The suggest frame size for it is 16"x14". I have a few of them that are that big. I can't wait to start the next project and this time I swear it can't take me as long otherwise my projects are going to outlive me!

Jan 15, 2015, 9:07pm Top

>84 Kassilem: I had no idea they had a "Dummies" book for that. Wow!

Jan 15, 2015, 9:27pm Top

>89 thornton37814: We once did a "Dummies" library display at work... I can safely say there is a Dummies for nearly everything! Though I don't think we had the Middle Earth one. :)

Jan 15, 2015, 10:31pm Top

>75 Kassilem: I have AntiGoddess on my TBR pile, somewhere in the middle of it. I think I might leave it there for now :-)

Jan 16, 2015, 1:59pm Top

I read Antigoddess when it came out because I got a review copy – I didn't enjoy it, the whole "greek gods as angsty teenagers" didn't appeal to me at all.

The Just City by Jo Walton (which I read recently) was really great though, and it also features Athena and Apollo.

Jan 16, 2015, 3:03pm Top

>88 jolerie: Haha. That would be bad. Thanks again for sharing!

>89 thornton37814: Me neither until I stumbled across it. But I'm so glad we did.

>90 rosylibrarian: It looks kind of recent. I think the publication date was 2003 if I remember correctly. :) I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of libraries don't or didn't have it.

>91 SapphiredDragon: Perhaps that's best. :) I saw the same type of reviews on Amazon but I gave it a try because I know sometimes I just like different things and I end up liking some books that a lot of other people didn't. But this wasn't one of those unfortunately.

>92 kgodey: That's exactly the problem. You've hit it on the head. Thank you for the recommendation. I'll have to look that one up.

Edited: Jan 16, 2015, 11:35pm Top

6. Shards of Time - Lynn Flewelling
Genre: High Fantasy, GLBT
Pages: 409
Rating: 3 Stars

The governor of the sacred island of Korous and his mistress have been killed inside a locked and guarded room. The sole witnesses to the crime—guards who broke down the doors, hearing the screams from within—have gone mad with terror, babbling about ghosts and things worse than ghosts. Dispatched to Korous by the queen, master spies Alec and Seregil find all the excitement and danger they could want—and more. For an ancient evil has been awakened there, a great power that will not rest until it has escaped its otherworldly prison and taken revenge on all that lives. And only those like Alec—who have died and returned to life—can step between the worlds and confront the killer . . . even if it means a second and all too permanent death.

I had thought Casket of Souls would be the last Nightrunner book, but I was wrong. However Flewelling has said that this one should - should - be the last now. :) I was hoping, really hoping this book would be better than the last one. It was to an extent but it's still not up to par with the first three books in the Nightrunner series. Lackluster, a fellow reviewer said and that's a perfect word to describe it. It wasn't a bad story, the story itself was interesting but there was a lot of character development missing here. The characters seemed flat to me, which is a shame because I love reading about Alec and Seregil. I think I do need to reread the beginning of the series again, just to remind myself that Flewelling did at one time write really fantastic books. Recommended if you're a big fan of the series but for someone just starting in, I think I'd only recommend the first couple of books.

Favorite Line:
'"What if we can't do this? What if it doesn't work?"
"Well, if things go seriously wrong then none of us will have to live with our mistakes, since we'll all be dead. So that's taken care of."
"You're such a comfort."

Jan 17, 2015, 10:42pm Top

>57 Kassilem: - Congratulations on the Peace Corps placement!

I'll be there for 27 months. 3 months of training and a minimum of two years serving.

What an experience this will be for you. If one had to choose between reading about the books you will be reading at that time or your experiences, I would choose your experiences!

>80 Kassilem: - The book sounds so promising it is unfortunate it doesn't hold up to what I would expect based on the summary. Good review!

Jan 20, 2015, 7:13pm Top

Thanks Lori! That is true that the experiences will be so much more than just my reading :) I'll make sure to include them.

And thanks again for the compliment on the review. I was kind of excited after reading the summary and thus was disappointed. But oh well, I'll just go reread my favorite first two/three and be content :)

Jan 20, 2015, 7:26pm Top

7. Dance with Dragons: Part 1, Dreams and Dust - George R R Martin
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 704
Rating: 5 Stars
(Off the Shelf)

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, new threats are emerging from every direction. Tyrion Lannister, having killed his father, and wrongfully accused of killing his nephew, King Joffrey, has escaped from King's Landing with a price on his head. To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone - a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark's bastard son Jon Snow has been elected 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. But Jon has enemies both inside and beyond the Wall. And in the east Daenerys Targaryen struggles to hold a city built on dreams and dust.

My first read through of the newest book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. The book itself isn't so new now but I had to do a reread of the previous four books before I was going to tackle this one. I'm glad I did. Without the rereads I would have been very confused about why some people were in the places they were and why they meant when they said some things. Martin includes some explanations but these are integrated into the story and not really meant as a fill-in for readers. Martin expects you to have read all the previous books and kept up with the goings-on in the realm. I enjoyed this book. This book happens at the same time as book four does. There was just too much material to write about that Martin had to split it all into two books. And whereas the fourth book consisted of many viewpoints from characters I either didn't like or wasn't invested in, I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped. This volume however has the viewpoints of some of my favorites: Jon, Tyrion and Daenerys. It's a long book though. And I'm only halfway done: this book was too big as well and was divided into two. That is a lot of damn hours of reading/listening but in the end it is all worth it. I've said it before, but this series is a masterpiece; very complex and dark but fantastic. It's not for everyone, but if you can handle it, you'll never forget it.

Favorite Line:
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies", said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one."

Jan 20, 2015, 7:45pm Top

8. The Complete Grimms Fairy Tales - Brothers Grimm
Genre: Fairy-tale
Pages: 880
Rating: 3 Stars

They are the stories we've known since we were children. Rapunzel. Hansel and Gretel. Cinderella. Sleeping Beauty. But the works originally collected by the Brothers Grimm in the early 1800s are not necessarily the versions we heard before bedtime. They're darker and often don't end very happily—but they're often far more interesting. This elegant edition of Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales includes all our cherished favorites—Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, Little Red Cap, and many more—in their original versions.

This was a hard book to read. Not because these stories weren't interesting. No, it was the sheer amount of stories to get through and the repetitive nature of the stories and how they were organized in this book. All the stories that were similar were lumped together so that by the time you'd gotten through fifty pages of Cinderella versions you could hardly read anything more. The repetitive nature makes sense sine these tale were originally oral tales and had to be easily remembered. Beyond the language however, there was a repetitiveness to the story-lines as well. The wolf creatures were always getting their belly's cut open to have their meals jump out unharmed and well, and there are always three siblings and it's always the youngest sibling who accomplished the goal and came out on top. Things like that. But beyond the chore of getting through more than a few pages at a time, it was interesting to read this short stories and discover a life lesson people of old would tell their children to make them aware of the world. I have to admit however that I ended up scanning towards the end of the book because it was such a chore to read. This book has been a long time on my desk. I think as an alternative I would recommend finding the original Grimm's stories for those classic stories you want to hear about - Cinderella, Rapunzel, etc and not worrying about the rest of the small tales unless you really want to.

Favorite Line:
“He who is too well off is always longing for something new.”

Jan 20, 2015, 8:36pm Top

I'm still taking my sweet time working through The Wheel of Time series so there is no chance I'm going to be sucked into the black hole that Mr. Martin has created until he is remotely close to wrapping up the series..haha! Your 5 stars sure makes it tempting though..... :)

Jan 20, 2015, 11:00pm Top

>98 Kassilem: I'm a huge fan of the Grimm tales, though I agree small doses are ideal.

Jan 21, 2015, 9:26pm Top

I know just from watching the TV shows that you practically need a scorecard to keep track of George Martin's characters - where they are, if they are alive, who they've killed, and what they are currently planning! It must make reading the books really confusing especially if there are long breaks between books.

Jan 22, 2015, 12:16am Top

>99 jolerie: Ha, oh is it a black hole. :) That's sort of the reason it took me so long to bet into the rereading. But then I started watching the TV show and it got me back into the world again. It's a lot of hours of reading so I'd say tackle when the time just feels right :)

>100 swynn: Small doses are always good no matter the context :D I have a hard time limiting myself to small doses. I get obsessive about finishing things. Someday I'll find that happy medium.

>101 DeltaQueen50: Certainly! I've got the point where I can keep track of all the important characters but man there are a lot of other names thrown around. Rereads are almost required each time a new books is published since there's usually five years in between each. That or a very thorough read-through of an online summary somewhere. Actually I just finished a book about the world on a Song of Ice and Fire (review coming) that helped me in keeping track of more references. Even that book was humongous. :)

Jan 22, 2015, 12:29am Top

9. The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones - George R R Martin & Elio Garcia
Genre: Reference
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 Stars

f the past is prologue, then George R. R. Martin’s masterwork—the most inventive and entertaining fantasy saga of our time—warrants one hell of an introduction. At long last, it has arrived with The World of Ice & Fire. This lavishly illustrated volume is a comprehensive history of the Seven Kingdoms, providing vividly constructed accounts of the epic battles, bitter rivalries, and daring rebellions that lead to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire.

This was an awesome book from an artistic perspective. It has full-color artwork and maps, with more than 170 original pieces, and full family trees for Houses Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen. Don't let that measly 300 page number fool you. This is an oversized book and has a ton of information. That being said, it took me a long time to get through it. May just be a funk I'm in at the time, but towards the end, the history was a little wearing, and long-winded. If you want to have a better understanding of the history behind the events of the published books, this is your book with a warning on the sheer amount of knowledge presented. If you want to be an expert on the world of Ice and Fire this is your book, however, this might be an introduction but I didn't get the feeling that it will please a lot of die-hard fans. A few things seemed a little lopsided. Some areas got pages and pages of history while some only got a few. Actually some of it was a little dry. But overall, a good reference. I enjoyed most of the information.

Jan 23, 2015, 12:49pm Top

Peace Corps Update

Well I've bulldozed through a lot of tasks this past two weeks. I've got my dental examination done, my eye exam done, bought a spare pair of glasses, updated my aspirations statement and updated resume, signed off on all the legal paperwork, submitted my visa and passport applications, renewed my bank card, and read all the packets that were emailed to me. Phew.

Now I just need to get in for my physical and vaccinations and renew my driver's license.

Oh and start looking at some Ghana recipes so I know what to cook when I'm there. I've been told my only oven might be a "dutch oven". :)

It's getting closer and I'm definitely feeling it.

Edited: Jan 23, 2015, 1:06pm Top

>104 Kassilem:

There are a few recipes here that you might be able to adapt for use just with a dutch oven:


I'm assuming you'll have seen this pdf but it seems to have a lot of useful information so here is the link just in case you haven't/


Ghana chicken-peanut stew


Ghana jollof rice


Spinach stew with beef (Ghana)


Favourite food of Ghana


Jan 23, 2015, 7:43pm Top

>104 Kassilem: Wow, you have been busy! Good job! :)

>105 lunacat: That was so sweet of you to get all those recipes lined up. :)

Jan 23, 2015, 8:15pm Top

>105 lunacat: Thank you SOOOOO much lunacat! I actually haven't seen that 2nd pdf so that was extremely enlightening to look over. I'm going to print it and pursue it more in depth next week. Thanks again! And thank you for all those other links. I've bookmarked them all. I'd barely scratched the surface of the recipes this week so they'll all be useful no doubt :)

>106 saraslibrary: Thanks Sara. I was doing really good until I got sick. Now, for the past few days it's been a struggle to do anything beyond my work.

My doctor's appointment was this morning but it was canceled because my doctor is sick too. Probably for the best because I'm not sure they would have given me the vaccinations today since I'm still sick. Next week though and it should all be done. I did go get my driver's license renewed this afternoon and I was finally approved on the facebook group so I can start talking to volunteers already overseas about what to pack and what not to pack :)

Jan 23, 2015, 9:02pm Top

>107 Kassilem: Sorry to hear your sick! :( And, yeah, they'll probably wait to give you your vaccinations. Awesome on getting your license renewed and joining the facebook volunteer group. They'll probably have a TON of good advice to give. :)

Jan 26, 2015, 3:57pm Top

Oh they do. I'm really glad I got in contact with them all. Already I've learned things I might not have otherwise. :)

Jan 26, 2015, 4:12pm Top

10. A Dance with Dragons: Part 2, After the Feast - George R R Martin
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 1,016
Rating: 5 Stars

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, new threats are emerging from every direction. Tyrion Lannister, having killed his father, and wrongfully accused of killing his nephew, King Joffrey, has escaped from King's Landing with a price on his head. To the north lies the great Wall of ice and stone - a structure only as strong as those guarding it. Eddard Stark's bastard son Jon Snow has been elected 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. But Jon has enemies both inside and beyond the Wall. And in the east Daenerys Targaryen struggles to hold a city built on dreams and dust.

Oh, that was a cruel place to end the book. Really cruel indeed for how long we have to wait for an explanation and resolution in the sixth book Winds of Winter. But it will certainly make sure readers come back to discover what does happen when the long awaited book does get published. At first I was confused with this book because it's Part 2 after the Feast and there was no feast at the end of part one. but then I realized that Part 1 should really be considered an extension of A Feast for Crows the fourth book. This second part includes characters that were not present in the first part because the first part took place at the same time as the fourth book did. This second part alone stands over a 1000 pages long. I highly recommend buying the book in these parts, rather than the one huge volume, because of this. Anyways, the story-line has not faltered in it's complexity or intrigue, and the characters have not dulled. It's adventure after adventure and a great deal of great character development. The only thing I don't like about this book is the fact that at the end most of the main characters are in a state of peril that we don't have an ending to. I don't know if some of my favorite characters have died or not. Although I suppose letting me think up ways of how they won't die might be nicer than leaving me with an outright fact of death. I really really really hope Martin doesn't kill off some of the characters he's threatening to kill off here. He's playing with the readers here. It's a fantastic world and plot and fantastic characters. Highly recommended.

Favorite Line:
“Men are men, vows are words, and words are wind.”

Jan 27, 2015, 2:34am Top

Hope you feel better soon, Melissa. I have been under the weather for a few days now but at least I was able to actually pick up a book and concentrate today.

Edited: Jan 27, 2015, 11:32pm Top

Thanks Judy. I think I'm mostly over the cold now. Good enough to be able to get my vaccinations today at least. I hope you're feeling better soon too. :)

Cross-stitch: 5% finished

It's not much yet but all those spalshes of colors are leaves. :)

Panels 2/40

Jan 27, 2015, 11:46pm Top

>110 Kassilem: I've been wailing and gnashing my teeth for SO long now! "I'll do it by 2012... by 2013... eventually.... I've told the TV guys the key plot points in case I die before I'm done."

Jan 28, 2015, 10:10am Top

>113 evilmoose: :/ I about had a fit when I heard Martin say that. I don't know what I would do if he died before finishing the series... Maybe someone could pick the series up. Brandon Sanderson did it for Robert Jordan. But it would never be the same. And not knowing how many more books the series is going to end up having makes it all the worse.

Jan 28, 2015, 10:25am Top

11. Victory of Eagles - Naomi Novik
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 329
Rating: 4 Stars

For Britain, conditions are grim: Napoleon’s resurgent forces have breached the Channel and successfully invaded English soil. Napoleon’s prime objective is the occupation of London. Unfortunately, the dragon Temeraire has been removed from military service–and his captain, Will Laurence, has been condemned to death for treason. Separated by their own government and threatened at every turn by Napoleon’s forces, Laurence and Temeraire must struggle to find each other amid the turmoil of war. If only they can be reunited, master and dragon might rally Britain’s scattered resistance forces and take the fight to the enemy as never before–for king and country, and for their own liberty.

This was a great addition to the series. The dust cover makes it out to seem like Laurence and Temeraire are separated from each other for the majority of the book but they actually reunite pretty early on. The rest is their reconciliation with what they did at the end of the last book, which has tarred both of their reputations and livelihoods and good old war. There are some good battle scenes in here. I felt that Temeraire got a much bigger spotlight in this book as well and he shined. The language is different than any other book that I've read but you get used to it and it factors into making the books what they are - something wholly different. Refreshing and great. And it is humorous following dragon logic. If you like dragons or/and historical fiction I would highly recommend this series.

Edited: Jan 28, 2015, 1:57pm Top

>114 Kassilem: I think he's said he doesn't want another author to finish the books for him. Which is reasonable. I will be sad when/if the TV shows overtake the books though.

Jan 28, 2015, 1:47pm Top

Congratulations on the Peace Corps placement! That's super exciting. (Yeah, I'm a little bit behind on the threads....) I hope you'll be able to keep us updated on your adventures once you're there.

Jan 28, 2015, 1:48pm Top

Very cool project, Melissa!

How many completed cross stitches have you done now?

I only have a bout 1/4 of the back stitching left to do before I can finally say that I've finished my very first project. Eeeeek! :)

Edited: Jan 28, 2015, 2:54pm Top

>116 evilmoose: I think they might be coming up on him already. This next season will probably bring us all the way to a Dance with Dragons. I watched the 2014 Comic Con panel with the actors and directors and they said they already had plans for what to do after they caught up with the books but wouldn't say what those plans were. It has me very curious and a little apprehensive.

>117 _Zoe_: Thanks Zoe. I've been talking to a lot of volunteers in Ghana presently which suggests that I have a good chance of being placed in a area with some internet coverage. I'll certainly be asking for it in my preferences. But it seems to be spotty and not always reliable. So we'll have to see. :)

>118 jolerie: Thanks Valerie! This is my third project. I'll include pictures of the first two I completed below. I've only really gotten into them in the last two or three years. And huzzah for your first project! I love the feeling of putting the needle down and knowing that it's done. It feels like such an accomplishment. :D

Previous cross-stitches:

Jan 28, 2015, 2:56pm Top

Oh..that lighthouse one is gorgeous! It's true. You get such a sense of accomplishment when you finish something that you've spent months, or years on. :D

Jan 28, 2015, 3:09pm Top

12. Cinder - Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Fairytales
Pages: 448
Rating: 4 Stars

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Hmm. Not bad. I wanted to give this one a try since I've seen it pop up a lot lately on LT. It's a low four star for me due the predictability and the common YA feel to the dialogue. The YA dialogue gives it a little charm however and I can see many a teenage girl falling in love with Cinder's character. And I suppose when you're retelling a fairy-tale, there is bound to be predictability. But I could see what was going to happen miles and miles away from the climax. I did worry for a little bit that he book would leave the readers hanging with a cliffhanger because the end of the book kept getting closer and closer without any resolution, but luckily no. Except that I've now looked at the next book and it's isn't focused on Cinder but a different character, so in a sense the reader is left hanging a little. I am assuming Cinder will make an appearance at least in the next book, but you never know. I liked the futuristic feel and I liked the differences brought in. I will continue with this series because I like fairy-tale retellings and the story Meyer tells here kept me interested.

Favorite Line:
Clearing his throat, Kai murmured, "You have no idea how to dance, do you?"
Cinder fixed her gaze on him, mind still reeling. "I'm a mechanic."
His eyebrows raised mockingly. "Believe me, I noticed. Are those grease stains on the gloves I gave you?”

Jan 28, 2015, 3:23pm Top

Aieee! I did the baby animals cross stitch when I was a teenager! I then sold it at a craft show, but my mother told me recently that she bought it and put it away for me, because she hated the thought of me losing all those hours of work. But I still haven't actually seen it again, not since I finished it... probably about 20 years ago now.

Jan 28, 2015, 7:16pm Top

>112 Kassilem: Good job! :) And I love the ones you've completed, too (in mss 119).

Jan 28, 2015, 7:52pm Top

>122 evilmoose: Seriously?! That's awesome :) Haha, what a small world.

>123 saraslibrary: Thanks Sara!

Jan 28, 2015, 8:09pm Top

13. Freaks and Revelations - Davida Wills Hurwin
Genre: Gothic Fiction, GLBT
Pages: 240
Rating: 4 Stars

This raw, moving novel follows two teenagers-one, a Mohawk-wearing 17-year-old violent misfit; the other, a gay 13-year-old cast out by his family, hustling on the streets and trying to survive. Acclaimed author Davida Wills Hurwin creates a riveting narrative told in alternating perspectives of their lives before and after the violent hate crime that changed both their futures. This tragic but ultimately inspirational journey of two polarized teens, their violent first meeting, and their peaceful reunion years later is an unforgettable story of survival and forgiveness. This story is inspired by the real lives of Matthew Boger and Timothy Zaal, who have shared their story on The Oprah Winfrey Show and NPR.

I read this in the time it's taken since I reviewed my latest book earlier today. 'Nuff said? Well sometimes, that just means a really intense but short book. But in this case, I feel I found a good one to treasure. The whole book is centered around forgiveness and hatred, and there is a powerful message there for those who want to see it. It's about how parents can influence a child for the worst without even meaning to, and how your environment makes you who you are, but more importantly, how a person can change no matter those factors, if he really pushes himself to and has enough motivation and self-control. And it's about surviving in a cruel world. This story takes place in the 1980-1990s and the world has come a long way since then but we still have the same kinds of problems. Life can be cruel. These characters, based off of a true story, survived and forgave. Recommended.

Favorite Line:
Before the alley, I didn't understand that people could stop being human and still live. That a mother could decide not to love her child. That a stranger could want to kill you for being who you are. That there are people who breathe and walk and speak and live and do not care about other people at all. People who cannot see.

Jan 29, 2015, 7:05am Top

Your cross stitch projects are lovely! I love seeing the progress of your current one, too.

Jan 29, 2015, 7:34am Top

I love your cross stitch projects, they are just wonderful and it's so much fun to see how your work progresses. Yep, to audiobooks. I love knitting, but don't like watching tv whilst doing it as I tend to use complicated pattern which need counting a lot. So, audiobooks for me as well :)

Hooray for the peace corps and your assignment in Ghana. I wish you a wonderful time and I am looking forward to your Ghana blogging :) As I mentioned before, one of my collegues is serving on The Mercy ship in Madagaskar at present and she doesn't have to much problems with her blogging. I should imagine depending on where will be based that you should be ok as well :)

>94 Kassilem: Just finished last week Casket of Souls and Shards of Time definitely not the same level as the first three, but IMO still wonderful.

>98 Kassilem: Yes, Grimm Fairy Tales are to be taken in doses. Do you know if your stories are the original ones? Or are the ones toned down for children? The first books weren't meant for children, but aimed at adults. Also, I have to admit that I do prefer The Hans Christian Anderson stories and the "proper" German Legends.

Jan 29, 2015, 12:09pm Top

>126 scaifea: Thanks Amber! I really enjoy watching the picture emerge.

>127 drachenbraut23: Hi Bianca! Thanks. I've tried to watch TV while cross-stitching but it inevitably fails but I miss too much in people's expressions in the shows. Oh well. Multi-tasking only goes so far. :) And I expect that I will At Least be on once a week updating and checking things while in Ghana but I don't want to get my hopes up too high now in case something happens that I'm not expecting. As for Casket of Souls and Shards of Time I think I decided not to buy them to finish the collection but your correct, they were still entertaining! Lastly, I have no idea if the stories were toned down. I was under the impression they weren't but they didn't seem really really horrible either. :/ Someday I'll look it up.

Jan 30, 2015, 6:42am Top

I can knit while watching TV but definitely not cross stitch. I agree that audio books are excellent in that capacity!

Jan 30, 2015, 11:41am Top

I play DVDs of movies I've seen several times when crocheting or cross-stitching. Either that or listen to my playlist. I can listen to audiobooks while crocheting but not while cross-stitching. I get too distracting by counting.

Feb 1, 2015, 1:03am Top

>129 scaifea: :) Definitely.

>130 Morphidae: :) Yea, sometimes I get too distracted. I make a big slip up yesterday because I miscounted and now there a area where all the black is a row off. But I decided with this current project some black off a little wont make a difference. At least that's what I told myself because I didn't want to undo an hours worth of work.

Feb 1, 2015, 1:17am Top

Reading Stats: January

Books: 13
Pages: 5,842

Dead Tree: 9
Audiobook: 4

TBR: 9
New: 1
Off My Shelves: 2
Walk By-Pick Up: 1

5 Stars: 2
4 Stars: 5
3 Stars: 6

Time Range:
1840-1849: 1
1970-1979: 1
1990-1999: 1
2000-2009: 3
2010-2014: 7

Gothic Fiction: 2
Epic Fantasy: 2
High Fantasy: 2
Fairy-Tale: 2
Reference: 2
Non-Fiction: 2
Urban Fantasy: 1
Science Fiction: 1
Lit Classics: 1
History: 1

Graphic Novels read: 41 ('GN count' Thread can be found HERE)

Feb 1, 2015, 3:59pm Top

14. The Broken Kingdoms - N. K. Jemisin
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating: 4 Stars

In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homeless man on an impulse. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. And Oree's guest is at the heart of it.

This is a very different kind of book than it's predecessor The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and can almost stand as a stand alone if more about the world was explained like it was in the first book. The characters from the first book only make a few appearances. I enjoyed reading the book; I stayed up way late to finish it last night, but at the same time I don't know what to think of it. I liked it, but I didn't like the ending. I like to get closure and I don't feel I got any here. With most trilogies you can just say that the next book will have that closure, but with this trilogy which each book focused on a totally different cast of characters, I don't feel that I can expect that. But the story was intriguing and kept me reading. I haven't decided if I'll read the third book or not. The writing isn't too bad and the stories are good, but we'll see.

Favorite Line:
“Oree," she would say whenever I sought to prove my independence, "it's all right to need help. All of us have things we can't do alone.”

Feb 1, 2015, 4:30pm Top

>132 Kassilem: I love reading people's stats. Good job! :) How do you keep track of everything? I was thinking of doing it, until I realized how much work goes into it. Any easy pointers?

Feb 1, 2015, 4:34pm Top

>134 saraslibrary: I was thinking of doing it too but eh.... too much work... and not sure where to start

Feb 1, 2015, 4:58pm Top

>135 lovelyluck: LOL! I'm glad I'm not the only one. :) I wouldn't know where to start either. This is the first year I started using one of those tickers, and that took me a few minutes to figure out, but I finally got the hang of it. Good luck if/when you do decide to do!

Feb 1, 2015, 11:41pm Top

>134 saraslibrary: When I review a book I include then an there the book #, genre, pages, rating and category. Then at the end of each month I open my thread up on two tabs and do some counting. I count the number of books and total pages and the rest. It's really just going from review to review and adding up numbers. The only part that I have to look elsewhere for is the time range which I just pull from my 'Your Books' tab in LT. The trick is to have most of the info already in the review so I can just go back and look. I think on average it takes me ten minutes to put together each month. I don't bother with the more complex things like how many were female authors etc. but those can be found with more effort and time. :) Hope this helps!

>135 lovelyluck: & >136 saraslibrary: Maybe what I said for Sara above will help you think about if you want to start :) Stats are kind of fun when you get into them. Hope life is treating you two well!

Feb 1, 2015, 11:52pm Top

WE read the same number of books in January, but you read over 2000 more pages! Whew!

Edited: Feb 2, 2015, 12:43am Top

>137 Kassilem: Actually, that does help. However, I kind of have a mess going on my thread with books, CDs, and movies, so I'm surprised I'm able to keep them separate for now and not accidentally counting a book for a CD/DVD or vice versa. I'll see what I can do. I may try and go back to my January summary stats, but I won't hold my breath. Ten minutes to put your stuff together?? You're a pro! :)

Feb 2, 2015, 3:57am Top

Great reading stats for January, Melissa!

I felt similar about The Broken Kingdoms, also I thought it was another brilliant story it still left me kind of wanting.

Feb 2, 2015, 7:20am Top

I might try it.... just add it onto the word doc I have saved for when I finish a book and then look back.... wonder if I can go back and figure it out for January's?.... It doesn't sound like too much work... :)

Feb 2, 2015, 5:52pm Top

>138 ronincats: :) I did read two very very long books in January. Congrats on 13 books!

>139 saraslibrary: Thanks! Good luck

>140 drachenbraut23: Thank you Bianca. That's what it was. It left me wanting.

>141 lovelyluck: It's not too much work in my opinion. Good luck!

Feb 2, 2015, 7:37pm Top

>142 Kassilem: Well, I did start on it last night, but my math skills are, um, lacking. I may try again, but don't hold your breath. ;)

Feb 2, 2015, 11:19pm Top

15. The Demon King - Chinda Williams Chima
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 528
Rating: 4 Stars

Han Alister was once a street thief and gang leader, nicknamed Cuffs for the magical silver cuffs he's worn for as long as he can remember. Now that he's reformed, he can't seem to escape from his past, and he spends much of his time hunting in the mountains with his clan friends. When he and his friend Fire Dancer meet a group of young wizards, Han comes into possession of a magical amulet linked to the legendary Demon King, not knowing that it will bring danger to him and his family. Meanwhile, Princess Raisa is soon to turn 16 and be named heir to her mother's throne. She becomes aware of intrigues that surround the queen, who seems to be strongly influenced by their country's High Wizard. Han's and Raisa's adventures and journeys toward understanding themselves run parallel throughout the book, intersecting only when the princess dresses up as a commoner and meets Han briefly. The conclusion leaves both Raisa and Han setting out on new adventures toward a common destination, leaving much to be resolved in their futures and in the future of their land.

I liked this book a lot. I see a lot of great potential built here for the later books. It's a book that sets up. It's like reading the first hundred pages of a book before the real action happens. Only here, the whole book is the build up to that mid-climax. But by doing this, I feel like Chima can spend more time developing the characters, which she does very well. I really enjoy the character Han, and some of the time I enjoyed Raisa. I'm sure she will grow on me as her princess attitude of the world revolving around her and castle life changes. She's already shown some promise in that area in this first book of the series. The other characters are all handled well too. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the next book. Recommended if you like YA fantasy and perhaps even if you really only like Adult Fantasy. This is a YA book that could entrance Adult readers easily.

Favorite Line:
“History,' Mari muttered, as if she'd overheard his thoughts. 'Why do we need to know what happened before we were born?'
'So hopefully we get smarter and don't make the same mistakes again.”

Feb 3, 2015, 10:02am Top

>144 Kassilem: Nice review! I've also heard good things about this series. I think I will keep it in mind the next time I feel like starting a fantasy series. I'm finishing up one at the moment so I think I'll need bit of a break.

Feb 3, 2015, 12:00pm Top

>144 Kassilem: That looks like fun. Onto the list!

Feb 3, 2015, 3:09pm Top

>142 Kassilem: I did it... I made stats :)

>144 Kassilem: I love that series! And lucky for you - you don't have to wait for the books to come out as they already are and the series is completed! I hope you continue with the next three... Han was one of my favorites...

Feb 3, 2015, 3:27pm Top

>147 lovelyluck: Good job making stats! :)

Feb 3, 2015, 7:06pm Top

>145 rosylibrarian: Thanks Marie. :)

>146 swynn: :) Hope you enjoy it

>147 lovelyluck: Awesome! I checked them out. You've reminded me that soon I'm going to have to start accounting for e-books too. :/

Feb 3, 2015, 11:11pm Top

>131 Kassilem: Ah, not doing the frog-stitch, eh? (Ripit, ripit.)

Feb 4, 2015, 1:12pm Top

>150 Morphidae: I feel stupid not knowing this but what does it mean to frog-stitch?

Feb 4, 2015, 7:44pm Top

I tried to give a hint. It's when you rip out stitches. Rip-it, rip-it. A frog goes ribbit, ribbit. Ergo, frog-stitch.

Feb 4, 2015, 9:16pm Top

>152 Morphidae: I like that... LOL super funny and cute... I use the frog-stitch fairly often :)

Feb 4, 2015, 9:41pm Top

>152 Morphidae: & >153 lovelyluck: OH! :) Awesome. No I've never done that. Before, I was always using kits and I didn't want to run out of thread. Now that I am in the know about getting threads, that's certainly an option now. In the end, leaving the black where it was doesn't change anything since the color surrounding the black is a dark dark brown that blends right in. :)

Feb 5, 2015, 2:00pm Top

16. Just One Day - Gayle Forman
Genre: Romance
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 Stars

Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life. A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

Gayle Forman is a wonderful writer. I loved her other duology, If I Stay and Where She Went, and I think this is another one on that list. I first liked it because the premise of traveling. But it's so much more than that. It's about finding yourself, and taking risks. I enjoyed watching Allyson find herself in her journey to find Willem. That's the real story not the short romance between the two. I also enjoyed that there is more to Willem then the player that so many people make him out to be. I'm sure that reading the next book, in Willem's perspective, will only increase his worth in my eyes. It's a young adult book but I think any adult can find something in here to love and take away. It's not as intense as If I Stay, it has a different flow to it, but it's a pretty great book too. Recommended.

Favorite Line:
I turn to Melanie. It's on her now. She narrows her green eyes at Willem. "If you rape or murder my friend, I will kill you."
Willem tsk-tsks. "You Americans are so violent. I'm Dutch. The worst I wil do is run her over with a bicycle."

Feb 5, 2015, 4:20pm Top

>155 Kassilem: I just started her new book called I Was Here. I think it is very different than this book and If I Stay. I think she's a great writer too.

Feb 5, 2015, 4:29pm Top

>144 Kassilem: Oh, I loved that series when I read it a couple of years ago! All five books, really good. Enjoy!

Feb 5, 2015, 5:57pm Top

>156 rosylibrarian: I just saw that new book this morning and added it to my list. :) I'm looking forward to seeing what you say about it when you finish!

>157 ronincats: Thanks Roni! I'm pretty excited about the next few books.

Edited: Feb 6, 2015, 12:43am Top

17. Seraphina - Rachel Hartman
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 528
Rating: 4 Stars

In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer. The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being. When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult, while its discovery could mean her very life.

I decided to give this one a try since it contained dragons and I've always been a big fan of dragons. In this case the dragons have a peace treaty with the humans and part of that treaty is that they must be in human shape when around humans. That comes with it's peril of developing human emotions, etc. That aspect of the book was very interesting, but only a backdrop to Seraphina herself and her story. I liked her and the bastard princes' interaction and reactions. The story started out a little slow but that was to allow the reader to really understand Seraphina. It was a very lyrical kind of book, language-wise and charming. The book don't blow my mind away but it was a good read. Recommended if you enjoy fantasy.

Favorite Line:
“That’s the secret to performance: conviction. The right note played tentatively still misses its mark, but play boldly and no one will question you. If one believes there is truth in art – and I do – then it’s troubling how similar the skill of performing is to lying. Maybe lying is itself a kind of art. I think about that more than I should.”

Edited: Feb 5, 2015, 6:32pm Top

>159 Kassilem: Such a great book! It came out about two years ago -- maybe it's the paperback that's just out? And the sequel is coming out soon.

Feb 6, 2015, 12:45am Top

I was sure it wasn't new, but amazon kept saying Dec 2014 which just sounded wrong. :) Google says 2012 though. Thanks for that tidbit! I feel better knowing that I wasn't wrong. :D I've put the sequel on my to read list already. Looking forward to it.

Feb 6, 2015, 8:48am Top

>158 Kassilem: I have to admit... it's kind of an odd book. I'm not sure it's working for me, but I am curious to see how it ends. A good ending can make all the difference.

>159 Kassilem: I love the cover to this book!

Feb 6, 2015, 6:32pm Top

Yea, when I read the summary I was a little hesitant. :/ And I also like that cover for Seraphina :)

Feb 6, 2015, 6:46pm Top

18. The Simarillion - J R R Tolkien
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 480
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR-Best 20th c Fantasy)

This audio version of the "Bible of Middle-Earth" does The Silmarillion justice. Martin Shaw's reading is grave and resonant, conveying all the powerful events and emotions that shaped elven and human history long before Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and all the rest embarked on their quests. Beginning with the Music of the Ainur, The Silmarillion tells a tale of the Elder Days, when Elves and Men became estranged by the Dark Lord Morgoth's lust for the Silmarils, pure and powerful magic jewels. Even the love between a human warrior and the daughter of the Elven king cannot defeat Morgoth, but the War of Wrath finally brings down the Dark Lord. Peace reigns until the evil Sauron recovers the Rings of Power and sets the stage for the events told in the Lord of the Rings.

I almost gave this a four star but I had to really concentrate while listening to this book, otherwise I would start thinking of other things and miss great swaths of the book. However it has to be a high three star because while it's all tell and no show, the language is wonderful. Perhaps Martin Shaw reading this book aloud for me did the trick but I really enjoyed the sound of the reading - all those elven words sound so lyrical. It was probably a good thing I read The Origins of Tolkien's Middle Earth for Dummies book before reading this, because I feel I was able to take much more out of the stories due to knowing the overall plot-lines of each story. However, the Dummies book does have quote a few spoilers. I enjoyed the fact that this was like a bible for the Lord of the Rings series. And if you know your history, you can pull quite a bit of references out that may have inspired some stories. A lot was obviously taken from Christianity, but there's some Greek history there and Saxon, etc. Probably only for those big fans of Tolkien, but I enjoyed it more than anticipated.

Favorite Line:
All have their worth and each contributes to the worth of the others.

Feb 6, 2015, 8:17pm Top

I've tried The Silmarillion several times and never could maintain interest. Audiobook may be just the thing for getting through the tough parts.

Feb 7, 2015, 2:19pm Top

Looks like you are on a great reading roll, Melissa!

Feb 7, 2015, 2:26pm Top

I still need to read The Silmarillion, it's on Mt. TBR. I got it for SantaThing one year from Marie, and given that I like Tolkien a lot, I should have really have read it by now.

Feb 7, 2015, 4:00pm Top

>165 swynn: I found it made a big difference. I did the same thing with The Lord of the Rings and it was probably the only reason I ever finished them. :)

>166 lkernagh: Thanks Lori! I feel on a roll. Ever since finishing that monstrously big book A Dance with Dragons!

>167 kgodey: :) Well it's no normal book that's for sure. It'll happen eventually. At least that's what I always tell myself.

Feb 7, 2015, 4:08pm Top

19. The Crown Tower - Michael J Sullivan
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 Stars

Hadrian Blackwater, a warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with Royce Melborn, a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm's most prized possessions. But it isn't gold or jewels that the old wizard is after, and if he can keep them from killing each other they might just become a legendary team.

This is a start to the prequel series of the Riyria Revelations, which is a series I've heard good things about. You can read this series first or the other one first as this prequel series is still in the making. But this was the one I picked up first so I decided to just go with it. I was a little skeptical at first since it read more like a young adult fantasy novel where there are corny jokes and predictable ambushes. But the book pulled me in and either the writing got better or I just stopped caring in lue of the story itself. Good enough that I will be reading the next book The Rose and the Thorn and moving on the famed Theft of Swords. Not phenomenal but great enjoyment to see these two men interact. Total opposites but then opposites sometimes become the greatest of friends, and I've always loved stories about deep friendship.

Favorite Line:
“The thing about the old is that we never change so much as the young. We slip in degrees, adding rings like trees--a new wrinkle here, a shade less color there, but the young transform like caterpillars into butterflies. They become whole new people as if overnight.”

Feb 8, 2015, 2:29am Top

20. Echoes of Us - Kat Zhang
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 Stars

Addie and Eva barely survived the explosion at the Powatt institution, but they refuse to sit still as the nation ripples with rebellion. When an ambitious reporter offers Addie and Eva the chance to go undercover and film the wretched conditions of a hybrid institution, the girls jump at the chance to once again take part in the fight for hybrid freedom. As Eva and Addie walk into danger, they cling to each other and the hope of a better future. But the price they might pay is higher than they ever could have imagined.

Overall not a bad ending to the series. I still love the premise of the story and this book didn't drag like the second book did at points, but I still feel like there could have been much more to this story. But that is just me looking for more meat on the bones. The books are fine without the added weight, entertaining reads, but a different, more serious and more powerful story could have been in the making. I did feel the ending was rushed and squeezed into thirty pages. But overall not bad. The series overall gets a bold four stars. I'll be keeping my eye on Zhang in the future.

Feb 8, 2015, 5:31pm Top

Great review of The Demon King of which Roni put on my wishlist some time ago. I also like the sound of Seraphina so another one is being added to my wishlist!

Feb 8, 2015, 6:24pm Top

>171 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy! I think you'll like them. :)

Cross-stitch: 7.5% finished

Panels 3/40

Feb 8, 2015, 10:15pm Top

I finished both The Simarillion and The Unfinished Tales and I'm glad I can check it off the list. There were definitely some interesting back stories but overall, I wouldn't call them easy reads...ha!

Feb 9, 2015, 10:52am Top

>173 jolerie: Not at all! :)

Feb 9, 2015, 12:51pm Top

>169 Kassilem: I forgot I had that one hidden in the TBR stack, but I'm glad you mentioned the relationship between the two characters because it has made me want to bump it up for the next time I'm in a high fantasy mood.

Feb 9, 2015, 4:12pm Top

I enjoyed the Riyria Revelations series - good old straightforward fantasy :)

Feb 9, 2015, 4:17pm Top

Wow! Lots of great reading going on! Adding several to the BlackHole. Thanks for the reviews and recommendations, Melissa!

Feb 10, 2015, 11:05pm Top

>175 rosylibrarian: They we fun and quick reads :)

>176 evilmoose: Yes! Sometimes you need a little straightforward fantasy

>177 alcottacre: Your welcome!!

Feb 10, 2015, 11:18pm Top

21. Tongues of Serpents - Naomi Novik
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 Stars

Convicted of treason despite their heroic defense against Napoleon’s invasion of England, Temeraire and Capt. Will Laurence have been transported to a prison colony in distant Australia—and into a hornet’s nest of fresh complications. The colony is in turmoil after the overthrow of military governor William Bligh—aka Captain Bligh, late of HMS Bounty. And when Bligh tries to enlist them in his bid to regain office, the dragon and his captain are caught in the middle of a political power struggle. Their only chance to escape the fray is accepting a mission to blaze a route through the forbidding Blue Mountains and into the interior of Australia. But the theft of a precious dragon egg turns their expedition into a desperate recovery operation—leading to a shocking discovery and a dangerous new complication in the global war between Britain and Napoleon.

I'm really really enjoying this series. You get used to the old fashioned language and then start to enjoy the difference. You don't usually get that type of language - tell me, pray; etc. - in fantasy. I didn't think this volume had so blatant comedy as the last volume did but that did not detract from the enjoyment of the volume. I've seen a lot of reviewers say they did not like this volume as much as previous ones. The book does drag a tiny bit and not much happens until the end of the book, but I still liked it myself. Perhaps because I listened to the book on audio? regardless, I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Feb 11, 2015, 9:39am Top

>179 Kassilem: There was, maybe, a little bit too much wandering around in the bush in the middle of the book, but otherwise I really enjoyed Tongue of Serpents. Then again, I've loved these books since the first one came out, and I'm inclined to be biased! It probably isn't the best in the series, but it's still a good read. Glad you also enjoyed it!

I may have to try out the audiobooks. That would be a fun way to re-experience them.

Edited: Feb 11, 2015, 11:57pm Top

>180 archerygirl: I love going back to some of my favorite series now and listening to them on audio. :) As for the Novik series I might have to come back and reread it again in a few years. They've really grown on me :)

Feb 11, 2015, 11:57pm Top

22. The Rose and the Thorn - Michael J Sullivan
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 384
Rating: 4 Stars

For more than a year Royce Melborn has tried to forget Gwen DeLancy, the woman who saved him and his partner Hadrian Blackwater from certain death. Unable to get her out of his mind, the two thieves return to Medford but receive a very different reception -- Gwen refuses to see them. The victim of abuse by a powerful noble, she suspects Royce will ignore any danger and seek revenge. By turning the thieves away, Gwen hopes to protect them once more. What she doesn't realize is what the two are capable of, but she's about to find out.

As I understand it, Sullivan is maybe considering continuing the series after this book but nothing conclusive has been said, so now I am on my way to the series that created this one, the Riyria Revelations. This second book in the Riyria Chronicles was as good as the first book. It had some good mystery and twists that I didn't see coming. There are a few hints here about Hadrian's past that are new, and make me curious so I'm hoping more is explained in the sequel series. As someone said, this is good old fashioned fantasy. Nothing too corny but nothing too depressing either, although the death count of characters has gone up from the previous book. And less character development between Hadrian and Royce in this volume. The writing is simple and hooking. I am looking forward to Theft of Swords.

Feb 12, 2015, 1:01pm Top

23. Just One Year - Gayle Forman
Genre: Romance
Pages: 323
Rating: 4 Stars

ust One Year tells Willem's side of the story. After spending an amazing day and night with Allyson in Paris that ends in separation, Willem and Allyson are both searching for one another. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, and ultimately, redefining himself.

This was a great contrast to Forman's other novel Just One Day. I really enjoyed Willem's journey to discover himself and stop being 'lost'. This happened with Forman's other series too, If I Stay and Where She Went: in the first volume from the perspective of the woman, I was never too into the guy. Then the second book from the guy's perspective puts me straight and I'm sometimes even fonder of the guy afterwards. The same is true here. It just goes to show how only seeing one side of the story can make you biased and judgmental about the other person, until you see his side of the story and realize there was a lot more going on. I like how Forman pulls that off. I also really enjoyed all the travel the book had. You could see the different cultures Willem was traveling through. Great story. Recommended if you like romance or/and Forman's books.

Favorite Line:
Love is not something you protect. It's something you risk.

Feb 13, 2015, 8:30pm Top

24. Talon - Julie Kagawa
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating: 3 Stars

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser. Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him—and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

It's a high three star, but a three star rating. I liked the story and the premise but the writing and dialogue was too juvenile for me. Also there's the classic "evil" b*tch women trainer, the classic love triangle forming, the classic blood betraying blood, etc. And the romance did nothing for me but leave a sensation of "ick-corny". And yet I will be reading the next book in the series because I am interested in seeing what happens to these characters. I'm kind of disappointed however overall. I loved Kagawa's debut novel The Immortal Rules quite a bit. This one wasn't on par. But maybe, maybe the second book will be better while focused on action and not corny classic romance between two different species. We shall see.

Feb 14, 2015, 3:06pm Top

25. Angelfall - Susan Ee
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 283
Rating: 4 Stars

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with Raffe, an injured enemy angel. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco, where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

I really really enjoyed this book. Not sure why it took me so long to read since it's been on my list for a while now. I enjoyed the character Penryn - she's a tough girl who can fight her own battles and will do anything to save her family. And I enjoyed the angels. The book isn't long and doesn't take very long to read. That mixed with the page-turning quality of the story makes for an intense read. Watch out or you'll find yourself skipping from dialogue to dialogue in order to figure out what happens faster. I am really looking forward to the next book in the trilogy. Recommended if you enjoy dystopia or apocalyptic books.

Favorite Line:
“Angels are violent creatures.”
“So I noticed. I used to think they were all sweet and kind.”
“Why would you think that? Even in your Bible, we’re harbingers of doom, willing and able to destroy entire cities. Just because we sometimes warned one or two of you beforehand doesn’t make us altruistic.”

Feb 15, 2015, 1:09pm Top

>184 Kassilem: I liked The Immortal Rules and Eternity Cure but was not happy with the ending in The Forever Song but I like the Iron Fey series better which Kagawa published prior to the Eden series ... I really enjoyed Talon wish you had too... but I see where you are coming from with the dialogue ... and the evil talon lady.... who annoyed me.... and I don't want a love triangle.... but that tends to be typical of many YA fictions :( I am glad to see you will continue with the story though :)

Feb 17, 2015, 1:59am Top

Thanks Jennifer :) I never cold get into the Iron Fey series. But maybe I'll give it one more shot. Just to be sure because I did really like The Immortal Rules. :)

Feb 17, 2015, 2:15am Top

26. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 334
Rating: 4 Stars
(TBR- BBC Best)

Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, LES MISERABLES is not only superb adventure but a powerful social document. The story of how the convict Jean-Valjean struggled to escape his past and reaffirm his humanity, in a world brutalized by poverty and ignorance, became the gospel of the poor and the oppressed.

I didn't realize I was listening to the abridged version of the book until I saw that the page number was supposed to be over a thousand pages, which would have been impossible in a audiobook of 13 hours. Once again I have been mislead - the first time when I read The Count of Monte Cristo abridged. And yet I did not feel as if I were missing pieces of the story. Perhaps because I went into this having seen the movie adaption and the musical play? I'm not sure I have the patience to go through another 700 pages of Hugo, to tell the truth, but I've heard the experience of the unabridged book is wonderful. I will take everyone's word on it. I haven't decided if I like the book as much as I do because I loved the play and movie first or not but regardless this is a classic I enjoyed reading. There's a charm to watching Jean-Valjean redeem himself but yet is always just human in his emotions.

Favorite Line:
Not being heard is no reason for silence.

Feb 17, 2015, 10:04am Top

>188 Kassilem: I will say that I loved the unabridged book. I suspect they cut the lengthy section on the battle of Waterloo and the back story for Thenardier. I don't recall it in either the play or the movie.

Edited: Feb 17, 2015, 1:31pm Top

Yea I did see something about the Waterloo battle being cut. One reviewer also gave a sample of both and it looks like things were just said in more simple ways that took up a lot less space. :)

Cross-stitch: 10% finished

Panels 4/40
I can start to see some things now!

Feb 17, 2015, 7:06pm Top

>190 Kassilem: beautiful!

Feb 17, 2015, 7:48pm Top

>188 Kassilem: I've read the unabridged version and there are definitely sections I feel could be skipped. The aforementioned 100 pages on the Battle of Waterloo is one of them. The other is over 50 pages on the history of the Paris sewers.

Edited: Feb 17, 2015, 9:06pm Top

>190 Kassilem: Thanks Jennifer! I'm getting excited about it more and more :) I'm going to take this one with me to the Peace Corps and one more:

So excited for this one. Such beautiful colors.

>191 lovelyluck: Ha, yea I think I'll be happy with the abridged version I read :)

On another note, there's been a terrible accident. Schlow Centre Region Library in State College, PA had a frozen sprinker pipe burst this week. The water damaged around 1,500 books! I used to work here and thus hold the library close to my heart. I'm devastated that they lost that much material. :(

Feb 17, 2015, 9:55pm Top

Oh, that's terrible!

Feb 17, 2015, 11:30pm Top

>194 drneutron: :(

27. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 83
Rating: 5 Stars
(TBR- Best 20th c Fantasy)

No story is more beloved by children and grown-ups alike than this wise, enchanting fable. The author reminisces about a day when his plane was forced down in the Sahara, a thousand miles from help. There he encountered a most extraordinary small-person. "If you please," said the stranger, "draw me a sheep." And thus begins the remarkable story of the Little Prince, whose strange history he learned, bit by bit, in the days that followed. There are few stories that in some way, in some degree, change the world forever for their readers. This is one.

This is a short book, but that helps make it what it is. It doesn't take hundreds of pages to make a point or give a lesson. It just makes it's point. And it makes it in a clear, charming way. The translation itself, by Richard Howard, is supposedly one of the worst, but I feel I still came away with the story itself, which was pretty inspiring. It does make me want to get my hands on the other translation by Katherine Woods. Still... this a way of looking at the world differently. And for that it gets my full appreciation.

Favorite Line:
“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”

Feb 18, 2015, 7:05am Top

Wow, you're making amazing progress on the cross stitch project!
And what a terrible thing to happen to a library! Gah.

Feb 18, 2015, 7:07am Top

>193 Kassilem: that is terrible!

but the new project will be very pretty.... have fun

Feb 18, 2015, 11:34am Top

Oh that pattern in 193 is beautiful. I love them. Where do you usually purchase your cross stitch projects from?

Sad news about the book loss!

Edited: Feb 18, 2015, 12:25pm Top

>196 scaifea: Thanks Amber :) And yea! It's horrible. Hopefully the insurance will cover at least half of those books. My fingers are crossed for them.

>197 lovelyluck: Thanks Jennifer. I'm positive I'll have fun with it :)

>198 jolerie: I usually buy them off amazon.com. The last one I'm working on now however I ordered from a cross-stitch website; I can't think of the name at the moment. That was how I was introduced to buying my own threads. When I buy off amazon I get the full kits. :)

28. Crucible of Gold - Naomi Novik
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 318
Rating: 4 Stars

Former Aerial Corps captain Will Laurence and his faithful dragon, Temeraire, have been put out to pasture in Australia—and it seems their part in the war has ended just when they are needed most. The French have invaded Spain, forged an alliance with Africa’s powerful Tswana empire, and brought revolution to Brazil. With Britain’s last desperate hope of defeating Napoleon in peril, the government that sidelined Laurence swiftly offers to reinstate him, convinced that he’s the best man to enter the fray and negotiate peace. So the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that forces them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire. With the success of the mission balanced on a razor’s edge, an old enemy appears and threatens to tip the scales toward ruin. Yet even in the midst of disaster, opportunity may lurk—for one bold enough to grasp it.

Another great book in the series. I love Temeraire's and Laurence's interaction and the general humor of the series that you only get because you've read all the previous books. The dragons are like no other dragons I have read about. Some readers have given up on the series but I can't see why. I suppose the latest books have not been as action packed as the first three books, but I find I still get just as much enjoyment out of these later books as I did the first books. I recommend the series to any dragon lover.

Favorite Line:
"Small wonder," Berkley said. "I'm only surprised you didn't have to flee the country witha horde of dragons on your tails."
"Well, we did," Temeraire said. "-It was not in the least amusing: so I don't see why you should be laughing," he added, rather nettled.

Feb 18, 2015, 3:22pm Top

>193 Kassilem: Ugh, that really sucks about your library.

>195 Kassilem: One of my favorite books.

Feb 19, 2015, 12:17am Top

>188 Kassilem: - I read Les Miserables a few years back and I have to say, I can see where some might appreciate an abridged version... although it is frustrating to think you are reading the unabridged version and then discover otherwise.

>190 Kassilem: - Great progress!

>191 lovelyluck: - Oh, I really like the colours in that one!

Oh no, are they able to restore the books or are they beyond repair? Our central library branch suffered water damage two years ago when a pipe burst in the business above them. They worked quickly to protect the collection and were lucky that the leak was spotted quick enough for them to get protective wrapping around the shelves.

>195 Kassilem: - I loved The Little Prince as a teenager but I think I appreciated the story more when I re-read it recently.

Feb 20, 2015, 1:16pm Top

>200 rosylibrarian: :/ and :)

>201 lkernagh: Very frustrating. And thank you! As for the library, the majority of the books were totally damaged. The burst pipe was so bad they had to close the library for a few days and as far as I know, that section is still closed off as they dry everything out. They're hoping the insurance will cover some of the recovery expenses and hope to get some donations to cover the costs of the rest.

Feb 21, 2015, 6:07pm Top

So sad to see about the library, hopefully they can replace most of it.

Feb 21, 2015, 7:02pm Top

I'm sad to hear about the library too, Melissa :/ That's terrible!

Edited: Feb 23, 2015, 9:41pm Top

>203 xymon81: & >204 kgodey: Thanks. It's terrible. I'm keeping my ear and eyes open to see what gets replaced and what doesn't.

29. Blood of Tyrants - Naomi Novik
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 512
Rating: 4 Stars

Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark—a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead. For to the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia, and is even now leading the largest army the world has ever seen to add that country to his list of conquests. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire—along with some unexpected allies and old friends—will face their ultimate challenge . . . and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory.

I'm sad because I am now caught up with this series and must wait for the next book which is slotted for publication in 2016 if everything goes according to plan. This was a hefty novel after the last one, at half a hundred pages. But all of it exciting. I'll say that the first half of the book was more exciting than the second half because of Laurence's loss of memory. The second half of the book is war, war, war, but not as much action as one would have expected. I thought the book focused a little more on politics than some of the previous books focused on although the whole series is full with it. I'm glad I found this series and took the time to go through it. I am looking forward to the next book, as this one ended on a slight cliff-hanger.

Favorite Line:
He caught Lily as they departed and whispered "Lily, will you keep a lookout for Laurence will you not? Pray don't let him wander off, or be assassinated, or lose any more of his memory."

Feb 25, 2015, 11:30am Top

Peace Corps Update

I'm medically cleared now! All my paperwork is in and approved. Now I just have to wait until May and start looking at my packing list :) Hurrah!

Feb 25, 2015, 12:07pm Top

Congrats Melissa! So exciting. :)

Feb 25, 2015, 1:02pm Top

Feb 25, 2015, 2:18pm Top


Feb 25, 2015, 5:58pm Top

Hi Melissa, I have mostly been lurking here, but very happy that everything is progressing, May isn't that far off, you must be getting so excited!

Feb 25, 2015, 7:11pm Top

Thanks Valerie, Marie, MickeyFine & Judy! I am getting pretty excited :)

30. The Elvenbane - Andre Norton & Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 566
Rating: 4 Stars

This is the story of Shana, a halfbreed born of the forbidden union of an Elvenlord father and a human mother. Her exiled mother dead, she was rescued and raised by dragons, a proud, ancient race who existed unbeknownst to elven or humankind. From birth, Shana was the embodiment of the Prophecy that the all-powerful Elvenlords feared. Her destiny is the enthralling adventure of a lifetime.

This was an interesting story. I don't think I've come across a story where elves are a conquering and evil race before this. It set a intriguing premise. Shana annoyed me a little bit, but then again she is a teenage character and has teenage impulses and desires. I'm not sure what part of this book was contributed by Lackey as the writing style and dark events didn't seem like her style. I'm assuming Norton contributed the majority of the plot and am interested in the author, whom I haven't come across before. This is the first of a trilogy and I'm sure I'll be continuing the series.

Feb 26, 2015, 2:23am Top

31. UnWholly - Neal Shusterman
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 416
Rating: 4 Stars

Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simultaneously providing much-needed tissues for transplant might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished. Cam is a product of unwinding; made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds, he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles with a search for identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

The first half of this book didn't grab me and keep me reading like I thought it might, since I had been so taken with the first book UnWind. The first half dragged a bit. However, the second half of the book flew by. I usually enjoy reading about what some people think will be our futures as human beings. This particular idea of unwinding teenagers chilled me when I first came across it, and here in this second book we start to get some more clues as to how exactly the world got to the point of excepting such a horrific practice. I'm looking forward to more on this angle in the next and last book of the series. I'm also looking forward to seeing where the characters go from here. The end of the book was a big turning point for them all I think. I'm very interested in Cam now. Recommended if you enjoy dystopia novels.

Favorite Line:
"Words don't hurt you." Which is one of the hugest criminal lies perpetrated by adults against children in this world. Because words hurt more than any physical pain.

The sad truth about humanity...is that people believe what they're told. Maybe not the first time, but by the hundredth time, the craziest of ideas just becomes a given.

Feb 26, 2015, 2:46am Top

32. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 78
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR-BBC's Best)

The tale concerns the journey of the narrator (Marlow) up the Congo River on behalf of a Belgian trading company. Far upriver, he encounters the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory trader who exercises an almost godlike sway over the inhabitants of the region. Both repelled and fascinated by the man, Marlow is brought face to face with the corruption and despair that Conrad saw at the heart of human existence.

Interesting novel. Great prose. But the book didn't really do much for me. It's very short but kind of difficult to maintain the concentration it takes to process what is being said. Or at least so I found it, in my case. When I was able to maintain that concentration, the story was interesting enough. I like exploring and tribal life and the jungle. But I suppose the book wasn't long enough for me to really invest in it all that much. Oh well. Another one off the list.

Favorite Line:
The mind of man is capable of anything.

Feb 26, 2015, 4:13am Top

Awesome news, and time is going quickly! May will be here before you know it!

Feb 27, 2015, 5:07pm Top

>214 lunacat: :) Can't wait!

33. The Tombs of Atuan - Ursula K. Le Guin
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 192
Rating: 2 Stars

When young Tenar is chosen as high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, everything is taken away -- home, family, possessions, even her name. For she is now Arha, the Eaten One, guardian of the ominous Tombs of Atuan. While she is learning her way through the dark labyrinth, a young wizard, Ged, comes to steal the Tombs' greatest hidden treasure, the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. But Ged also brings with him the light of magic, and together, he and Tenar escape from the darkness that has become her domain.

I've heard the second and third book in the Earthsea trilogy were better than the first book, which I gave a three star. And in regards to the way the story is told, I do think I liked it better. However I did not like the character that this second book focused on and that killed it for me. Sometimes I dislike a character and then they start to grow on me, but Tenar never grew on me. Thus the low rating. I am determined to read the next book in the series as that will cross it off my list and these books aren't very long, and because the third book moves it's focus back to Ged, but this second middle book is a lost cause for me. Too bad.

Favorite Line:
Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.

Feb 28, 2015, 9:29am Top

I gave The Tombs of Atuan 5/10 stars. About what you rated it. The Farthest Shore got 6/10 - not much better.

Edited: Feb 28, 2015, 12:10pm Top

I find LeGuin's characters in the Earthsea series to be very rough sketches of people – you have to fill in a lot of the blanks yourself. I like that, especially as a contrast to a lot of other fantasy. I wouldn't like it if most books did that, though.

Feb 28, 2015, 3:13pm Top

>216 Morphidae: Darn on the third book not being much better. :/ oh well. Thanks for dropping by Morphy!

>217 kgodey: That sums it up pretty nicely. :) I did feel like there was a lot of potential for Tenar to change and in some ways she did. I just felt that I didn't see enough of that. And she really just got on my nerves a lot. Perhaps a reading not "listening" would have made it better. Sometimes a narrator can really make me hate a character just by the way they speak in that characters voice with certain tones.

34. World After - Susan Ee
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 Stars

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world. When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans, where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go. Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

This is a great sequel to an awesome book and series. I'm loving the story of Penryn and Raffe. They're average length but I find myself going through this series at an incredible rate. This one disappeared into my "read book list" within a couple of hours last night. Penryn is a teenage girl but she has had to learn to be strong and dependable. She's a hero even if she doesn't think she should be. And she's just so human, human in a world that is ending. She's the kind of girl that I'd like to be like. I am really looking forward to the next book which is coming out in a few months. Highly recommended if you like Dystopia.

Favorite Line:
I look up to say something but he puts his finger to my lips and whispers, "Don't talk. You'll just spoil my fantasy of rescuing an innocent damsel in distress as soon as you open your mouth."

Feb 28, 2015, 11:13pm Top

>206 Kassilem: - Congratulations, Melissa! Exciting time, for sure!

Edited: Mar 31, 2015, 8:51pm Top

>219 lkernagh: Thanks Lori!

Reading Stats: February

Books: 21
Pages: 7,793

Dead Tree: 11
Audiobook: 10

TBR: 19
New: 2

5 Stars: 1
4 Stars: 16
3 Stars: 3
2 Stars: 1

Time Range:
1860-1869: 1
1890-1899: 1
1940-1949: 1
1970-1979: 2
1990-1999: 1
2010-2014: 15

High Fantasy: 8
Dystopia: 4
Epic Fantasy: 3
Lit Classics: 3
Romance: 2
Urban Fantasy: 1

Graphic Novels read: 14 ('GN count' Thread can be found HERE)

Edited: Mar 2, 2015, 12:16am Top

Cross-stitch: 12.5% finished

Panels 5/40

Edited: Mar 3, 2015, 7:39pm Top

35. Prince of Fools - Mark Lawrence
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 Stars

The Red Queen’s grandson, Prince Jalan Kendeth—drinker, gambler, seducer of women—is one who can see The Silent Sister. Tenth in line for the throne and content with his role as a minor royal, he pretends that the hideous crone is not there. But war is coming. Witnesses claim an undead army is on the march, and the Red Queen has called on her family to defend the realm. Jal thinks it’s all a rumor—nothing that will affect him—but he is wrong. After escaping a death trap set by the Silent Sister, Jal finds his fate magically intertwined with a fierce Norse warrior. As the two undertake a journey across the Empire to undo the spell, encountering grave dangers, willing women, and an upstart prince named Jorg Ancrath along the way, Jalan gradually catches a glimmer of the truth: he and the Norseman are but pieces in a game, part of a series of moves in the long war—and the Red Queen controls the board.

This is my first Mark Lawrence book, and it wasn't a bad introduction. Jalan was a great character to watch and read about. He's not your usual hero. No, actually he's a self-acclaimed coward and runs from any and every violent encounter. It was very entertaining for being so different from the normal male character in fantasy books. And yet in his running he tends to accidentally do good deeds. And yet there is more to Jalan than even he realizes. You can see it build as he goes through his journey's. I'm looking forward to the next book and to reading Lawrence's other trilogy at some point in the future.

Favorite Line:
“I've always felt that the placement of a man's testicles is an eloquent argument against intelligent design.”

Mar 4, 2015, 3:29pm Top

The quote made me crack up.

Mar 4, 2015, 11:28pm Top

:) haha. Me too

Mar 5, 2015, 5:17pm Top

36. State of Wonder - Ann Patchett
Genre: Science, Travel
Pages: 448
Rating: 5 Stars

As Dr. Marina Singh embarks upon an uncertain odyssey into the insect-infested Amazon, she will be forced to surrender herself to the lush but forbidding world that awaits within the jungle. Charged with finding her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug, she will have to confront her own memories of tragedy and sacrifice as she journeys into the unforgiving heart of darkness. Stirring and luminous, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss beneath the rain forest’s jeweled canopy.

This was an amazing book. :) I'm partial to books about traveling around the world, granted. And I like science. So this was right up my alley. It almost makes me want to go travel to the amazon. I think these books read differently then say a fantasy book or a science fiction. For example I could say that there didn't seem to be much character growth or dimensions for many of the character. And yet I feel for a book like this, which focuses on something fundamentally different, it's just not needed. I've never really thought about it before but there is something different there. Anyways, I enjoyed this book immensely, although some events didn't sit completely easy with me. The book teaches that too though. That in the wild, in the amazon, things have to be different. It's a different life with different morals. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the amazon forest or the science of working in the field.

Favorite Line:
No one tells the truth to people they don't actually know, and if they do it is a horrible trait. Everyone wants something smaller, something neater than the truth.

Edited: Mar 7, 2015, 3:54am Top

37. Good Omens - Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 432
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR-Best 20th c Fantasy)

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist

I thought I might like this book. While listening to it with my siblings on out short road trip I was laughing, but I realized later I was laughing because my siblings were laughing. Once I started listening to it on my own to finish it, it got less interesting. Too many unimportant characters to keep track of. Not bad, but overall not my cup of tea. Sorry Gaiman & Pratchett.

Favorite Line:
It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.

Mar 7, 2015, 4:15am Top

>225 Kassilem: That is an Ann Patchett book I have not read. I will have to get hold of a copy. Thanks for the recommendation, Melissa!

Mar 7, 2015, 10:41am Top

No problem!

Mar 7, 2015, 11:58am Top

>226 Kassilem: I agree with you on Good Omens. I had high hopes for that one, too, but it was a 3 for me, too. :/ Better luck next time, right? :)

Edited: Mar 8, 2015, 3:37pm Top

>230 Kassilem: Yep! There's always other books out there that are better :) For example:

38. Theft of Swords - Michael J Sullivan
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 686
Rating: 4 Stars

There's no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are running for their lives when they're framed for the murder of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it's too late.

I think the later two prequel books are better written but that happens sometimes; the more a writer writes the better they become at it. However the story here is just as good as promised. I love the easy interaction between Royce and Hadrian. I can't say for sure what my impression of the book would have been if I hadn't read the two prequels first. I kind of feel that the unique friendship between the two men wouldn't be as obvious if I had read this one first. But regardless I found myself flying through this book. It's actually two books in one; really six books cramped into three volumes. But that's alright. I loved the ending. It makes me want to get my hands on the next book soon. These books aren't you're next epic fantasy that will be made into a TV series because of it's worldwide impact, but it is darn entertaining fantasy.

Favorite Line:
“Will nodded toward Hadrian. “Look at the swords he’s carrying. A man wearing one—maybe he knows how to use it, maybe not. A man carries two—he probably don’t know nothing about swords, but he wants you to think he does. But a man carrying three swords—that’s a lot of weight. No one’s gonna haul that much steel around unless he makes a living using them.”

Edited: Mar 10, 2015, 1:42pm Top

39. Golden Son - Pierce Brown
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 446
Rating: 5 Stars

Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrificed himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He become a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within. A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people. He must live for more.

This is a book where after I finished it, I had to just sit for a few minutes to take it all in, primarily the ending which was a god awful dooming cliffhanger. I certainly think this second book is a bit better than the first book. I am definitely going to be going out and buying it. It was hard to watch Darrow make choices that turned out wrong or got lots of people killed. I grieved with him. I've totally invested myself in Darrow at this point and am thus greatly terrified for him. The twists in the book remind me a little of Martin's books; they are twists for the worst. This isn't a revolution that is successful so far. But I like that Darrow isn't the hero who wins every battle - that would be unrealistic, especially based off of the setting and the world and who Darrow is as a human being. I also really like that Darrow is watching himself revel in being a Gold or fighting and then hating himself for it. That makes him real too - having emotions that he doesn't like. We all like to be powerful, and once we have power, usually anyone would want more. Its part of being a human being. And Darrow is portrayed as a realistic human being. High praise for Pierce Brown. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.

Favorite Line:
Friendships take minutes to make, moments to break, years to repair

Mar 11, 2015, 12:24am Top

40. The Picture of Dorian Grey - Oscar Wilde
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 176
Rating: 4 Stars

In this celebrated work, his only novel, Wilde forged a devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on a young aesthete in late-19th-century England. Combining elements of the Gothic horror novel and decadent French fiction, the book centers on a striking premise: As Dorian Gray sinks into a life of crime and gross sensuality, his body retains perfect youth and vigor while his recently painted portrait grows day by day into a hideous record of evil, which he must keep hidden from the world.

Very interesting book, especially for the time period it was written in. The writing style seems very different from the other books I've read from the time period. And the premise of the story based on debauchery with no lawful repercussions probably upset quite a few people. I liked the story. My father was actually named after Dorian Grey, so I've been meaning to read this book for a while to see what inspired my grandmother to use the name. Not that my father partakes in debauchery, of course. :) Actually I don't know why my father was given the name. Anyways, this is a classic I am not just glad to check off the list and have in my reading repertoire. I ended up enjoying the book and purposefully sat and cross-stitched instead of my other plans just so I could finish the book on audio.

Favorite Line:
“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

Mar 11, 2015, 7:07am Top

I love Wilde so much - I'm happy to see that you enjoyed Dorian Grey!

Mar 11, 2015, 9:42am Top

I am also happy you enjoyed Dorian Grey.... one of my favorites.

Mar 12, 2015, 12:33am Top

>231 Kassilem: I just started Golden Son. I am really enjoying it so far. It is a very good dark series.

Mar 12, 2015, 2:18am Top

>232 Kassilem: Hmm, I was thinking of listening to that one on audio for one of my challenges. I just might do it; all I hear are good things about it.

Mar 12, 2015, 2:18am Top

>233 scaifea: Thanks :) I knew it was pretty popular with both the fans and the critics.

>234 lkernagh: I'm glad I enjoyed it as well. I was told I would and would have been disappointed if I hadn't. :)

>235 xymon81: :D yea those dark series seem to be popular nowadays. I'm glad you're enjoying the book so far. I'm looking forward to seeing what you say when you finish it.

Mar 12, 2015, 2:19am Top

>236 saraslibrary: Hi Sara. You slipped in while I was replying to those above. :) I do recommend the audio.

Mar 12, 2015, 2:41am Top

>238 Kassilem: Hiya! I do tend to sneak in. ;) Thanks, I just might try it.

Mar 12, 2015, 9:21am Top

>231 Kassilem: I have heard great things about this series. I think I may read it all together when the third book comes out.

Mar 14, 2015, 5:31pm Top

>240 rosylibrarian: You definitely should :)

41. The Exiled Queen - China Williams Chima
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 608
Rating: 4 Stars

Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden's Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn't mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana'Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen. Everything changes when Han and Raisa's paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.

This is definitely a middle of a trilogy type of book. It's all to set up what happens next. However, I still enjoyed this second book as much as I enjoyed the first book. Instead of street life and palace life, it's school life, which has always held a charm for me, being an educational type of person. Han is still a favorite of mine and Raisa is growing on me. The story has me hooked good. I'm really looking forward to more of this series.

Favorite Line:
“Nobody's going to hand you anything. You don't get what you don't go after.”

Mar 15, 2015, 5:03pm Top

42. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 Stars
(TBR-BBC's Best)

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

This was an interesting book. There was something about it that drew me in. I ended up reading it all in one sitting. Well listening, but the same thing. I think it was a combination of the prose and the characters. Something. I can see why so many people liked the book. I enjoyed reading about the middle eastern culture, the little that was portrayed in this book. I think I do recommend this book. :)

Favorite Line:
There is only one sin. and that is theft... when you tell a lie, you steal someones right to the truth.

Edited: Mar 15, 2015, 5:05pm Top

Cross-stitch: 15% finished

Panels 6/40

Mar 15, 2015, 8:47pm Top

I used the exact same line for my review when I read The Kite Runner a couple years ago. :)

Edited: Mar 16, 2015, 4:24pm Top

>244 jolerie: Awesome :)

43. Rise of Empire - Michael J Sullivan
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 816
Rating: 4 Stars

War has come to Melengar and once more Royce and Hadrian are hired to make a desperate gamble and form an alliance with the Nationalists who are fighting the Imperialists in the south. But Royce has plans of his own and uses this opportunity to discover if an ancient wizard is using Riyria as pawns in his own bid for power. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian's past--what he discovers may end their friendship and break Riyria in two.And so continues the next volume of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend. This is the second omnibus (containing books #3 & #4) in the original series.

Another good two stories to the series. I think I liked the first one in this omnibus than the second one. The first had lost of nature, war, battles, budding love, etc. The second book in the omnibus had oceans, ships, murder, and intrigue. Both good, but the second of the two felt more like a transitional book. I'm still looking forward to the next in the series. There has been a lot of foreshadowing going on and I'm curious to see how it all plays out.

Favorite Line:
“That’s why you shouldn’t make vows. The moment you do, fate starts conspiring to shove them down your throat.”

Mar 17, 2015, 4:25pm Top

44. Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR-Best 21st Fantasy)

Fat Charlie Nancy's normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn't know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider's on his doorstep—about to make Fat Charlie's life more interesting and a lot more dangerous.

Another Gaiman book. I still can't quite reconcile myself around this author. He's still not my cup of tea but I think I've come to the point where there is something about his books that is charming in their own way. Maybe because they are so different than most other books I've read? If nothing else, they have certainly broadened my reading horizons :) It wasn't too long of a book however and it was on the list and I've been making a point of broadening my horizons, so it wasn't too bad in the end.

Favorite Line:
“The important thing about songs is that they're just like stories. They don't mean a damn unless there's people listenin' to them.”

Mar 17, 2015, 7:53pm Top

>246 Kassilem: I liked Anasi Boys, not as much as American Gods or some of his others but it was an interesting read. I honestly just like his writing style and that quirkiness that you know you will get in one if his stories.

Mar 19, 2015, 2:34am Top

>247 xymon81: Yea. There is definitely a quirkiness there :)

45. Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 448
Rating: 4 Stars

Celaena Sardothien is the king's Champion—yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one, not even her supposed allies Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and foreign princess Nehemia. Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena's world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie and whom she will fight for.

There is definitely a love triangle here, but it wasn't too bad. One of the men actually tries to let her go and almost succeeds. A step up from the young adult triangles I've read before. This second volume in the series was intriguing and had a bunch of twists in it that I wasn't expecting but probably should have. I enjoyed listening to this audio book and am looking forward to seeing what happens next in the third book.

Favorite Line:
Some things you hear with your ears. Others, you hear with your heart.

Edited: Mar 19, 2015, 10:34pm Top

46. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror
Pages: 304
Rating: 2 Stars
(TBR- Best 20th c. Fantasy)

The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes and the stuff of nightmare.

Hmm... one reviewer said something I think I have to agree with: batshit craziness. This was one weird book. And I found I didn't like it. Firstly I listened to this book on audio and found my mind wandering easily throughout it. I think that might have been the prose and the way Bradbury talked in metaphors a lot. I feel like I need to go back and reread it again just to understand what all was said and implied. Also, I couldn't invest in any of the characters. I got close with Will but barely. I was very close to putting this book down. If it was any longer I might have. But, well now it's off the list. I was a little disappointed with this, as I loved Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451. Oh well. There are some great quotes in this book however.

Favorite Line:
A stranger is shot in the street, you hardly move to help. But if, half an hour before, you spent just ten minutes with the fellow and knew a little about him and his family, you might just jump in front of his killer and try to stop it. Really knowing is good. Not knowing, or refusing to know is bad, or amoral, at least. You can’t act if you don’t know.

Mar 20, 2015, 10:15am Top

>249 Kassilem: A shame you didn't care for it. I will certainly agree that it is a weird book. I will note that I have read it more than once and I enjoyed much more on the reread.

Mar 21, 2015, 2:48am Top

>249 Kassilem: I have a hard time reading Bradbury, something about his style makes it difficult to keep my attention as well.

Mar 22, 2015, 3:14am Top

>249 Kassilem: I saw the movie. :) I have the book, but now I'm not super eager to start it any time soon.

Mar 25, 2015, 12:52am Top

>250 Oberon: Maybe I'll have to give it another try in the future. :)

>251 xymon81: I don't know what it is, but yea. There was something there. If I do ever read it again I will definetly be holding a paper copy to see if that makes any difference.

>252 saraslibrary: Someday, right? Maybe you'll like it better than me though. That has happened to me many times.

47. Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 676
Rating: 4 Stars
(TBR- Best 20th c. Fantasy)

Eight of the nine provinces of the Peninsula of the Palm, on a world with two moons, have fallen to the warrior sorcerers Brandin of Ygrath and Alberico of Barbadior. Brandin's younger son is slain in a battle with the principality of Tigana, which the grief-stricken sorcerer then destroys. Years later, a small band of survivors, led by Alessan, last prince of Tigana's royal house, wages psychological warfare, planting seeds for the overthrow of the two tyrants. At the center of these activities are Devin, a gifted young singer; Catriana, a young woman pursued by suspicions of her family's guilt; and Duke Sandre d'Astibar, a wily resistance leader thought dead. Meanwhile, at Brandin's court, Dianora, his favorite concubine and--unknown to anyone, another survivor of Tigana--struggles between her growing love for the often gentle tyrant and her desire for vengeance.

This book has been sitting on my desk for months. I renewed it the maximum amount of times available and only once I really only had a week left to read it did I actually get down to reading it. I blame it on the first chapter. The first chapter was a little boring and the style of writing was new to me as this is my first Kay book. After reading the first chapter months ago I put it down to read something more exciting and fast. I shouldn't have lost hope so soon however because once I got past that prologue and was introduced to the characters and got familiar with Kay's writing, the book unfurled and out came a great story. It is not often that you find a fantasy story this in depth and complex that is not a multiple book series, so getting close to the end of the book was odd because I knew everything would be concluding and wrapping up soon. It felt TOO soon almost. But the conclusion was well done. Not a complete happy ending but a great conclusion with a twist at the very end that makes me wonder if it was put there for thought and speculation or for a potential sequel. I'm sure I will be reading more of Kay's books after this.

Favorite Line:
“Language. The process of sharing with words seemed such a futile exercise sometimes.”

Mar 25, 2015, 1:52am Top

Tigana is my absolute favourite of Kay's so far. It is a monster of a book, but what he accomplishes in regards to the subject of the power of memory and the depth of his character was magical for me!

Edited: Mar 25, 2015, 7:26pm Top

>183 Kassilem: - i was looking at the first book of this duology a couple days ago - just one day - but I can't make up my mind whether i ant to borrow it form the library or not.

>226 Kassilem: I got this book for a present for Christmas. Have yet to read it. I keep hearing really good things about this book and neil Gaiman in particular but the blurbs on his books never seem to garner my interest which is sad

>248 Kassilem: As mentioned on my thread, I am really enjoying this series and this instalment fineshes at a place that makes you want to pick up book 3 straight away :-)

Mar 25, 2015, 11:03pm Top

>253 Kassilem: There is a reason it is listed as one if the must read fantasy novels. Next you might want to try Ysabel. I really liked that one.

Mar 26, 2015, 3:40pm Top

>253 Kassilem: Ooo, I have that one my TBR. I keep meaning to give it a go. I think I'll move it up.

Mar 27, 2015, 2:02am Top

>254 jolerie: It was magical. I will certainly have to read more of him. But it was a monster book.

>255 SapphiredDragon: I really enjoyed the duology but I love books about travel. If it had been the same story of romance set in North America I might not have liked it as much. But Foreman is a pretty good writer. And yea about Gaiman. His books are all over my lists because he's supposedly a really great fantasy writer but I find he's not my cup of tea. But me and my lists... :) And yes! I am looking forward to Heir of Fire very much, but I have to take a break between seires when I listen to them more so than when I read them. Don't know why. But I'm sure I'll get to it this year. Did you see she's starting a new series too? A Court of Thorns and Roses. At least that is what I think the title is.

>256 xymon81: That one's not on my lists. I might have to add it to my TBR though. :) Thanks!

>257 lycomayflower: As mentioned it's a monster of a book but I found once I got past the prologue it was fairly easy to read. :)

48. Dead Heat - Patricia Briggs
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 327
Rating: 4 Stars

For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal--or at least it starts out that way. Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.

Another good book in the series. Another supernatural problem to deal with. I love Anna and Charles. This book had a lot of info on horses as well which was interesting and new. I didn't feel like there was much character development here however for some reason. The story was focused so much on the problem the two of them were facing, although there were a few scenes were we can watch the relationship between the two and it's complexity. But mostly, the book didn't excite me as much as I had hoped it would. Still, a good continuation.

Favorite Line:
“It comes with being a teenager—you inspire violence in the hearts of those who love you. It mostly goes away when you hit twenty.”

Mar 30, 2015, 1:12am Top

>258 Kassilem: - I actually have an advance copy of court of thones and roses which I plan to read this month. It looks really good its kind of based arounfd the beauty and the beast story by the sounds of the blurb and that's always been a favourite story of mine.

I have the firest couple of Patricia Briggs books as I have heard a lot of good thigs but never seem to get around to reading them. I am will someday I am sure :-)

Mar 30, 2015, 10:19pm Top

>253 Kassilem: Yes, someday. :) I hope I like it. I mean, I want to like it, because I liked the movie so much. So maybe I'll watch the movie before/during my read, just to keep me going.

Mar 31, 2015, 8:56am Top

I adore Guy Gavriel Kay and Tigana is my favourite of his, perhaps because it's the first one I read, but he cannot put a foot wrong for me. I love the way he makes his characters have to make the really difficult decisions, the way often they make the wrong choice or the right choice for the wrong reason, and that he shows the consequences as very real. It's incredibly skillful.

Mar 31, 2015, 8:48pm Top

>259 SapphiredDragon: I love Beauty and the Beast! :) I'm looking forward to that book.

>260 saraslibrary: That's a good idea. :)

>261 lunacat: Very skillful. I am really looking forward to getting to more of his books.

49. Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 496
Rating: 3 Stars

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long. The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

This was a good continuation of the series. But there was things I didn't like about it. The way Mal drew away from Alina. They way the prince used her, etc. None of these made the story bad. In fact they add to the story - Mal drawing away leaves Alina alone and mentally vulnerable which furthers the story in a powerful way for example. I just didn't like it and that made it hard for me to get through the book. One of my moods most likely. I listened to this book on audio and the narrator's voice for the Darkling really really rubs me the wrong way. Luckily he wasn't present for most of the book. In summary, a book storyline. I will be reading the next and last book in the seires for sure, but this one will have a low rating.

Mar 31, 2015, 9:03pm Top

Reading Stats: March

Books: 15
Pages: 7,047

Dead Tree: 5
Audiobook: 10

TBR: 12
New: 3

5 Stars: 2
4 Stars: 9
3 Stars: 3
2 Stars: 1

Time Range:
1890-1899: 1
1960-1969: 1
1990-1999: 1
2000-2009: 3
2010-2014: 9

High Fantasy: 5
Urban Fantasy: 4
Epic Fantasy: 2
Historical Fiction: 1
Science: 1
Travel: 1
Dystopia: 1
Lit Classics: 1
Horror: 1

Graphic Novels read: 6 ('GN count' Thread can be found HERE)

This topic was continued by Kassilem's (Melissa) 2015 Reading 2.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2015

552 members

146,964 messages


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