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Kassilem's (Melissa) 2016 Reading

This topic was continued by Kassilem's (Melissa) 2016 Reading, Part 2.

75 Books Challenge for 2016

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Edited: Sep 1, 2016, 12:13am Top

Hello fellow readers! My name is Melissa. I’m two months away from 25 and currently serving in the Peace Corps. I live in Ghana Africa and teach biology to high school students. I’m seven months into my service and have another 20 months left! After this, I can’t say for sure where I’ll end up but regardless, you can always find me here on LT.

This will be my 6th year on ‘LT 75 Books Challenge’. For those who have not followed my threads before, my favorite genre is fantasy, but that’s not all you’ll see here. I have a humongous list of books that I’ve never been able to put a dent into until now. Since I no longer have access to a library where I can browse, the majority of my reading now comes from those lists, which include all types of genres. However, you can find my favorite authors on my profile page and my favorite (5 Star) books collected on my Statistics Page (link below).

I also have separate links for my two other threads: my blog for the Graphic Novels I read (which has sadly diminished as I no longer have high speed internet) and the blog I keep for the movies I watch during the year. Both links can be found below as well.

Please feel free to snoop or take/leave recommendations!

Reading Statistics

Reading Blog threads:
2011 Books Part 1, Part 2
2012 Books Part 1
2013 Books Part 1, Part 2
2014 Books Part 1, Part 2
2015 Books Part 1, Part 2

Graphic Novels Blog threads:
2011 GN Count
2012 GN Count
2013 GN Count
2014 GN Count
2015 GN Count
2016 GN Count

Movie Watching Blog threads:
2015 Movies
2016 Movies

Edited: Aug 31, 2016, 11:47pm Top

Books Read in 2016

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

1. Just One Night - Gayle Forman (Post 18)
2. The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker (Post 24)
3. Warheart - Terry Goodkind (Post 36)
4. A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller Jr. (Post 41)
5. Shadows of Self - Brandon Sanderson (Post 53)
6. Language Lessons - Jay Bell (Post 55)
7. Something Like Stories, Vol. 1 - Jay Bell (Post 57)
8. The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley (Post 58)

9. Rose Daughter - Robin McKinley (Post 70)
10. Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus - Bill Wasik & Monica Murphy (Post 71)
11. Queen of Shadows - Sarah J. Maas (Post 74)
12. Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer (Post 76)
13. Level Up: A Geek Romance - Cathy Yardley (Post 79)
14. Stray - Rachel Vincent (Post 83)
15. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (Post 88)

16. Winter - Marissa Meyer (Post 105)
17. Fairest - Marissa Meyer (Post 109)
18. The Death of Dulgath - Michael J. Sullivan (Post 111)
19. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice (Post 131)
20. Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection - Marissa Meyer (Post 135)

21. The Vampire Lestat - Anne Rice (Post 138)
22. The Queen of the Damned - Anne Rice (Post 139)
23. Another Day - David Levithan (Post 140)
24. Six Earlier Days - David Levithan (Post 141)
25. The Wolves of Midwinter - Anne Rice (Post 142)
26. Messenger's Legacy - Peter V. Brett (Post 143)
27. Hold Me Closer - Daivd Levithan (Post 144)
28. The Tale of the Body Thief - Anne Rice (Post 145)
29. Saving Alex - Alex Cooper (Post 147)
30. The Liar's Key - Mark Lawrence (Post 148)
31. Kamikaze Boys - Jay Bell (Post 149)
32. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion (Post 151)
33. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (Post 152)

34. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex - Mary Roach (Post 156)
35. The Fairy Godmother - Mercedes Lackey (Post 159)
36. I Was Here - Gayle Forman (Post 161)
37. Wonder - R. J. Palacio (Post 162)
38. Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty (Post 166)
39. The Geography of Bliss - Eric Weiner (Post 168)
40. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom (Post 169)

41. Packing For Mars - Mary Roach (Post 173)
42. The Magician's Nephew - C. S. Lewis (Post 176)
43. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis (Post 177)
44. The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins (Post 178)
45. Marked in Flesh - Anne Bishop (Post 182)
46. Blood Kiss - J. R. Ward (Post 185)
47. The Beast - J. R. Ward (Post 186)

48. Calamity - Brandon Sanderson (Post 188)
49. Memnoch the Devil - Anne Rice (Post 190)
50. Of Mice and Man - John Steinbeck (Post 191)
51. The Martian - Andy Weir (Post 192)
52. The Bands of Mourning - Brandon Sanderson (Post 194)
53. Morning Star - Pierce Brown (Post 195)
54. The Vampire Armand - Anne Rice (Post 196)
55. Blood and Gold - Anne Rice (Post 198)
56. Pandora - Anne Rice (Post 199)
57. Prince Lestat - Anne Rice (Post 201)

58. Fire Touched - Patricia Briggs (Post 204)
59. You Know Me Well - David Levithan & Nina LaCour (Post 205)
60. The Raven King - Maggie Stiefvater (Post 206)
61. Something Like Rain - Jay Bell (Post 207)
62. Remember My Name - Chase Potter (Post 208)
63. Age of Myth - Michael J. Sullivan (Post 209)
64. Fin&Matt - Charlie Winters (Post 210)
65. The Angels' Share - J. R. Ward (Post 211)
66. The Rebel - J. R. Ward (Post 212)
67. Watership Down - Richard Adams (Post 123)
68. League of Dragons - Naomi Novik (Post 214)
69. UnEnchanted - Chanda Hahn (Post 215)
70. Blood Rights - Kristen Painter (Post 217)
71. UnSouled - Neal Shusterman (Post 219)
72. People of the Wolf - Kathleen O'Neal Gear & Michael Gear (225)

Edited: Dec 4, 2016, 6:42pm Top

Best-21st-Fantasy Challenge (16/25)
Here's a list of the best 21st century fantasy novels I am working through. This will be my second year of consciously pulling books from the list. And, as I no longer have access to a library, living in Ghana and all, the majority of books I read now come from my lists, so I hope to put a deep dent in this and the following lists. :)

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 (Post 26)
Pratchett, Terry : Night Watch
Lynch, Scott : The Lies of Locke Lamora (2016)
Abercrombie, Joe : The Blade Itself (2015)
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 (2015)
Novik, Naomi : His Majesty's Dragon (2013)
Kay, Guy Gavriel : Under Heaven

Best 20th Fantasy Challenge (34/75)
Here's a list of the best seventy-five 20th century fantasy novels created from Locus Online polls that I am working my way through 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 (2015)
9 Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2008)
10 Crowley, John : Little, Big
11 Adams, Richard : Watership Down (Post 213)
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 (2015)
16 Kay, Guy Gavriel : Tigana (2015)
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 (2015)
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 (2015)
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 (Post 58)
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 (2015)
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 (2015)
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 (2015)
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 (2015)
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 (43/100)
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 Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (2015)
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 (2015)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (2005)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (2015)
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 (2015)
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 (2015)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (2011)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons (2015)
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 (Post 152)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (2015)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (Post 191)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (Post 88)
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 (2015)
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 (2015)
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 (Post 169)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (2015)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint Exupery (2015)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (Post 213)
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 (2015)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (2015)

Edited: Jan 16, 2016, 9:20am Top

Reading Stats: Yearly Comparison

2011: (82)
2012: (138)
2013: (120)
2014: (111)
2015: (143)

2011: (39,011)
2012: (62,775)
2013: (50,171)
2014: (43,177)
2015: (57,132)

Books per week:
2011: (~1.6)
2012: (~2.6)
2013: (~2.3)
2014: (~2.1)
2015: (~2.8)

Pages per week:
2011: (~750)
2012: (~1,203)
2013: (~962)
2014: (~830)
2015: (~1,098)

Top Format:
2011: (Dead Tree - 73)
2012: (Dead Tree - 104)
2013: (Dead Tree/Audiobook - 60)
2014: (Dead Tree - 56)
2015: (Audiobook - 68)

Top Category:
2011: (Walk By-Pick Up - 28)
2012: (Walk By-Pick Up - 39)
2013: (TBR - 41)
2014: (TBR - 53)
2015: (TBR - 102)

Top Genre:
2011: (Urban Fantasy - 22)
2012: (Epic Fantasy - 28)
2013: (Non-Fiction - 32)
2014: (Epic Fantasy - 16)
2015: (Urban Fantasy/High Fantasy - 27)

Graphic Novels Read:
2011: (226)
2012: (85)
2013: (82)
2014: (98)
2015: (79)

Movies Watched:
2015: (199)

Reading Stats: Challenges

Best-21st-Fantasy Challenge:
2014 - (12/25)
2015 - (15/25)

Best 20th Fantasy Challenge:
2014 - (23/75)
2015 - (32/75)

BBC-List-of-Best-100 Challenge:
2014 - (27/100)
2015 - (38/100)


2011 (23):
The Black Prism / Magic's Pawn / Magic's Promise / Magic's Price / Shadow Magic / The Way of the Shadows / A Strong and Sudden Thaw / Beyond the Shadows / The Bone Doll's Twin / Hidden Warrior / The Oracle's Queen / The Wise Man's Fear / Evil at Heart / Wizard's First Rule / White Night / Guns, Germs, and Steel / Changes / The Eye of the World / Melusine / The Virtu / Origins Reconsidered / The Great Hunt / Alanna

2012 (38):
In the Hand of the Goddess / Writing to Change the World / The Lover's Dictionary / Stone of Tears / Blood of the Fold / Raised By Wolves: Brethren / Raised by Wolves: Matelot / Raised By Wolves: Treasure / Raised By Wolves: Wolves / Temple of the Winds / A Companion to Wolves / Maledicte / Lord of Chaos / Assassin's Apprentice / Faith of the Fallen / Royal Assassin / Assassin's Quest / Don't Let Me Go / Naked Empire / Golden Fool / Leave Myself Behind / Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You / Fool's Fate / Something Like Summer / Chainfire / Side Jobs / The Song of Achilles / The Valley of the Horses / The Blinding Knife / Confessor / Break / The Immortal Rules / Dragon Haven / The Gathering Storm / Sociocultural Theory in Anthropology / The Happiness Advantage / Towers of Midnight / Every Day / Cold Days

2013 (12):
Raised By Wolves: Brethren / The Way of Kings / The Immense Journey / The Fault in our Stars / Every Day / A Memory of Light / The Giver / The Alchemist / Bones of Contention / Why Evolution is True / Two Boys Kissing / The Insider's Guide to the Peace Corps

2014 (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

2015 (15):
A Dance With Dragons: Part 1 / A Dance With Dragons: Part 2 / The Little Prince / State of Wonder / Golden Son / The Shadows / Fool's Quest / Eat, Pray, Love / Wild / Life of Pi / Something Like Spring / Something Like Lightning / Something Like Thunder / The Time Traveler's Wife / The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Dec 30, 2015, 4:30pm Top

AND… here’s a great book meme for 2015's reads

Describe yourself: I Am the Messenger
Describe how you feel: State of Wonder
Describe where you currently live: At the Mountains of Madness
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Let’s Get Lost
Your favorite form of transportation: Going Postal
Your best friend is: The Little Prince
You and your friends are: The Magicians
What’s the weather like: Something like Thunder
You fear: Blood of Tyrants
What is the best advice you have to give: Eat, Pray, Love
Thought for the day: End of Days
How I would like to die: The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
My soul’s present condition: Wild

Dec 30, 2015, 9:43pm Top

Welcome back!

Dec 31, 2015, 11:11am Top

Dropping a star to follow along. Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2015, 12:21pm Top

Hi Melissa! Love the meme answers. :)

Dec 31, 2015, 1:54pm Top

Happy New Years, Melissa!

Dec 31, 2015, 2:49pm Top


Dec 31, 2015, 6:16pm Top

Dropping off a star. Happy New Year, Melissa!

Dec 31, 2015, 10:11pm Top

Stopping by to leave a star!

Dec 31, 2015, 10:40pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jan 1, 2016, 4:16pm Top

Found your new thread! Wishing you a Happy New Year and best wishes for 2016, Melissa!

Jan 2, 2016, 11:10am Top

Have a wonderful bookfilled 2016, Melissa.

Jan 2, 2016, 12:57pm Top

Got you starred Melissa! Happy New Year, hope it's full of wonderful reading.

Jan 3, 2016, 11:58am Top

>6 drneutron: Thanks Jim! It's always nice to be here.

>7 mahsdad: Welcome Jeff! I hope you enjoyed your New Years as well.

>8 Ape: Thanks Stephen. I always have to smile at how some book titles totally fit those meme questions. Happy 2016!

>9 rosylibrarian: Happy 2016 Marie!

>10 kgodey: Welcome Kriti :)

>11 MickyFine: Hey Micky. Thanks for stopping by.

>12 ronincats: Glad to have you Roni!

>13 foggidawn: Thanks Foggidawn :)

>14 lkernagh: Same back at you Lori

>15 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul! I certainly will

>16 Thebookdiva: Thanks Abigial! Welcome :)

Jan 3, 2016, 12:10pm Top

1. Just One Night - Gayle Forman
Genre: Romance
Pages: 55
Rating: 3 Stars
(Spur of the Moment)

After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.

I thought the original duology ended fine. It left readers hanging a little, but in a good way. However I thought I would try this novella because it does give a conclusion to the ending of the second book. However it wasn't quite what i was expecting. Mostly I felt this was just an information dump not a real story. Even the writing was different. The information wasn't too bad. I enjoyed that things worked out and it worked in a way that I had already mostly imagined. But if this was it, then it wasn't ever needed.

Jan 3, 2016, 4:34pm Top

Thanks for visiting my thread, Melissa! Dropping my star and looking forward to following your reading.

Jan 3, 2016, 4:41pm Top

Dropping off a star! :D

Jan 3, 2016, 5:19pm Top

Found ya! :)

Jan 3, 2016, 5:45pm Top

Dropping in to drop a star. Love your reading challenges in SF and Fantasy.

Jan 3, 2016, 8:20pm Top

>18 Kassilem: I felt the same way about the original books, and I usually give novellas a pass, but maybe I am missing something. They are crazy popular in YA and romance, aren't they?

Jan 6, 2016, 5:16am Top

>19 Crazymamie: Me too!

>20 dk_phoenix: Welcome Faith :)

>21 kgriffith: Here I am

>22 sibyx: Welcome!!

>23 rosylibrarian: It certainly seems like it :)

2. The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 304
Rating: 3 Stars

On an ordinary Saturday, Julia awakes to discover that something has happened to the rotation of the earth. The days and nights are growing longer and longer, gravity is affected, the birds, the tides, human behavior and cosmic rhythms are thrown into disarray. In a world of danger and loss, Julia faces surprising developments in herself, and her personal world—divisions widening between her parents, strange behavior by Hannah and other friends, the vulnerability of first love, a sense of isolation, and a rebellious new strength.

This book wasn't quite what I was expecting it to be. Instead of a book that deals with the implications of a world that loses it's rotation, this story was about children on the cusp of adolescence growing up in a slightly altered world and dealing with normal adolescent things, like parental problems, losing friends and liking boys. I liked the premise, the setting of the book but I really wanted to know more about earth's problem and less about Julia's problems. The ending felt really rushed. There was no real explanation about how the loss of rotation ultimately affects the world long term. Too bad. Perhaps it was just written for a young audience and didn't want to get into the details. If that's the case I will have to be more careful about searching out the audiences of books before I put them on my lists.

Favorite Line:
“The only thing you have to do in this life is die," said Mrs. Pinsky..."everything else is a choice.”

Jan 6, 2016, 8:43am Top

>24 Kassilem: I think that would be my reaction to The Age of Miracles as well. I remember seeing a TV programme about what would happen if the Earth stopped spinning, and there were some interesting and unexpected (to me, anyway) side effects. The only effect that I can remember now is that oceanic water would migrate from the equator to the poles in sufficient quantity to completely change the location of the oceans.

Jan 6, 2016, 8:48am Top

So no then. Sounds like you took one for the team - thanks, Melissa!

Jan 6, 2016, 9:50am Top

Darn about The Age of Miracles. As Mamie said, thanks for taking one for the team!

Jan 6, 2016, 2:23pm Top

>24 Kassilem: I felt exactly the same about this book. Meh.

Jan 6, 2016, 5:47pm Top

Too bad. Sounds like the premise devolved into a metaphor . . . not a bad thing exactly, but not what was being promised.

Jan 6, 2016, 8:33pm Top

>24 Kassilem: I also felt similarly.

Jan 7, 2016, 10:20am Top

>25 SandDune: It is kind of mind blowing to think about all the complications and effects. I just rewatched the movie The Day After Tomorrow recently and it was the same type of thing. I have no idea when or what will happen to our world but I love reading/watching people's ideas.

>26 Crazymamie: Guess so :) No worries

>27 lkernagh: You welcome I think :D

>28 kgriffith: I always seem to find the meh books in the beginning of the year.

>29 sibyx: I don't know if this is where you were going with it or not, but it does now, when I think about it, kind of look like a metaphor. That in a world that's changing, the miracle is the continuum of life.

>30 rosylibrarian: I didn't know the book was so popular until I looked at it again on amazon. Probably why i put it on the list back whenever I did. :)

Jan 7, 2016, 1:43pm Top

Heya Melissa, I look forward to following your Ghana adventures again this year too. I'm working my way through that BBC list as well, but having been at it for a few years, I'm close to done now! The fantasy lists are interesting - a mix of very familiar combined with 'hang on, I've not even heard of that one!'

Jan 7, 2016, 6:18pm Top


Jan 9, 2016, 9:18am Top

Oh, I love listy things! There are quite a few on the Locus Fantasy list that I haven't heard of. Disappointing to hear about The Age of Miracles as the premise is so interesting.

Jan 9, 2016, 9:25am Top

Weekend wishes Melissa. May the Books be with you.

Jan 9, 2016, 10:02am Top

>32 evilmoose: I saw a bunch of unfamiliar books on those Fantasy lists too, which I found surprising since I'm such a fantasy fan. But it just means great new reads hopefully!

>33 lovelyluck: Hi Jennifer! Hope you are doing well.

>34 Tanglewood: I don't know if I could live without lists of some kinds in my life :) And it was too bad.

>35 Thebookdiva: Thanks Abigail. My power was out all of yesterday so the books were indeed with me. I think the only thing I did yesterday was read and play with my kittens. Although I'm having a hard time sticking to one book at the moment. :/

3. Warheart - Terry Goodkind
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating: 4 Stars

All is lost. Evil will soon consume the D'Haran Empire. Richard Rahl lies on his funeral bier. It is the end of everything. Except what isn't lost is Kahlan Amnell. Following an inner prompting beyond all reason, the last Confessor will wager everything on a final desperate gambit, and in so doing, she will change the world forever.

This is supposed to be it; the end of the long series. Many people thought it should have ended at Confessor, before this sequel series began. It felt like the last three books had lost the power and awe of the original series, like there were being written for word count only. When I saw that this last book was under 500 pages I had hope that that trend had stopped. It did thankfully. Things weren't repeated endlessly. Perhaps Goodkind read all the bad reviews? To me it does look like Goodkind tried to salvage what he could here. I had to snort at the way Samantha was taken care of though. That stank of convenient ends. And the famous relationship between Kahlan and Richard fell flat on it's face. While it still doesn't have the power of the beginning of the series, it WAS better than it's predecessors in this sequel series. I'm gonna miss Richard, but I'm glad this has finally ended. I'll do reread in a few years to remind myself how much I love the original series.

Jan 9, 2016, 7:25pm Top

Hi Melissa and Happy New Year! Hope all is well with you and that you are looking forward to a great 2016!

Jan 9, 2016, 8:26pm Top

Hey Melissa - you asked about Ghana Must Go on Amber's thread. I don't know how relevant you'd find it to your current location, but I would definitely recommend it as a good read. It's about a family who move to the US but continue to have links with (and return to) Ghana. Wish I could send you my copy!

Jan 9, 2016, 8:52pm Top

Melissa, are you still with family or back at your village?

Jan 10, 2016, 9:19am Top

>36 Kassilem: I read that series (or rather, listened to it) up through Confessor and thought that was the end (well, it was at the time - Confessor had just come out when I listened to it. I liked the story but the writing was, um, not good. I think I'll just continue to believe that I finished the series...

Jan 11, 2016, 10:37am Top

>37 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy. I am looking forward to 2016. Though mostly in the reading and writing department, not so much in the teaching department. :)

>38 charl08: I think I will look at finding a copy somewhere. It only seems fitting to read it while I myself am living in Ghana! Thanks Charlotte.

>39 ronincats: Hi Roni. I am back at my village. After taking my parents back to the airport where they would fly home I headed to a different part of Ghana to do a few touristy things: visited Ghana's tallest waterfall and fed monkeys in a monkey sanctuary and attempted to paraglide. All very fun. I got back to my village on the 5th and things are back to normal. :) Sort of.

>40 scaifea: I think the first few books in that series are the best. For me, it was after Faith of the Fallen, book 6, that it started to go downhill. But I do have to admit, it was always the story that hooked me, not necessarily the writing.

4. A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller Jr.
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 334
Rating: 2 Stars

In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes.

Well... Something went wrong here for me. I think it happened because I didn't realize this book was going to span centuries and so I invested myself pretty heavily with Francis. And so after what happened to him and the time skip I instantly lost interest in anything else happening. The writing didn't help this: it was a little monotonous and long-winded. I feel like this book deserves better attention on a second reread someday but for now, I'm just gonna shelve it

Jan 11, 2016, 2:00pm Top

>41 Kassilem: You also suffer from the disadvantage of not initially reading this during the Cold War, when we truly believed in the inevitability of nuclear war, and how chilling it was at that time. Also, well, writing styles have changed in the intervening years and we are accustomed to a lot more character development and interaction. But this was very powerful in the early 60's.

Jan 11, 2016, 6:55pm Top

Stopping by to get caught up and to wish you a lovely week, Melissa!

Jan 13, 2016, 6:12pm Top

Hi Melissa just stoppng by to drop off a * and take away 3 BB ;)

Jan 14, 2016, 11:42am Top

>42 ronincats: I can only imagine. Thank you for putting some perspective on it for me. :) I'm a 90's child so I am definitely into the character development stories. :)

>43 lkernagh: Welcome Lori! And thank you. My week has been alright.

>44 BBGirl55: Hi Bryony. Glad to have you here. 3 BB's already :) I must be reading some good stuff ;)

Jan 16, 2016, 9:28am Top

Concurring with Roni about Canticle which I read when I was 12-14 or so in the 60's. It made sense then, it would be interesting to read it again.

Jan 16, 2016, 9:33am Top

Cross Stitch Update

Halfway done! Two more rows to go.

Jan 16, 2016, 2:26pm Top

>47 Kassilem: that is amazing!

Jan 16, 2016, 6:04pm Top

Wow! That's incredible! Halfway?! Yikes, Melissa!

Jan 17, 2016, 12:55pm Top

>47 Kassilem: - Wow, you are making wonderful progress with your cross stitch!

Jan 18, 2016, 8:50am Top

>46 sibyx: Sometimes a book is made or broken depending on when you read it. :)

>48 lovelyluck:, >49 Crazymamie: & >50 lkernagh: Thanks Jennifer, Mamie and Lori! i probably wont put up updates as often as I was doing last year for each panel done because I felt like it was getting to monotonous, but at big points I'll make sure to update it here :)

Jan 18, 2016, 10:07am Top

Your tapestey looks beautiful.

Good luck with finding Ghana Must go. Your touristy trip sounds like a good move. Have you been to any of the old slave castles? (I appreciate this may not be an ideal light hearted holiday visit when you are after a break from your classes).

Jan 19, 2016, 7:26am Top

>52 charl08: Thanks Charlotte! I did visit James Town in Accra which hosts the fort with the underground tunnel that almost all slaves headed for the New World walked through to get to the docks and the ships that would take them across the ocean. It's been used as a prison for decades now, and just recently was shut down. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed in, just around it and the docks.

5. Shadows of Self - Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 384
Rating: 4 Stars

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn's society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts. This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial's progress in its tracks.

I thought I would go through this book faster than I did, but then it always took me longer than expected to get through the first three books of the Mistborn trilogy. It's been a while since I read the original series; I feel like I need to go back and reread them again at some point. There were references in this book that I can't seem to remember the meaning or importance of. It's been a while since I've read the first book of this sequel series too. Luckily the third book is coming out this month, only a few months after the publication of this book, which doesn't happen very often. Anyways, Wax and Wayne are engaging characters. I didn't really get into Marasi.

Jan 19, 2016, 8:52am Top

You're the second person to mention forgetting things from the first book and how it may have impacted some of your ability to enjoy this one. I'm wondering if I should go back and read it again before taking on this one, so that I can just zip through all three in a row. Hmm.

Jan 20, 2016, 11:20am Top

>54 dk_phoenix: I recommend it if it's been a while since you've read it. :)

6. Language Lessons - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 47
Rating: 3 Stars

Love doesn't come easy. For Joey, he didn't care if it ever came at all. He was much too busy adding notches to his bedpost and preparing for life as an adult. But when a causal fling waxes nostalgic about the one that got away, Joey starts to wonder if he isn't missing something after all--if there really is something to be learned from the language of love.

Because this is a short story, it can't properly do what I love about Bell's other works. It doesn't make me completely love the characters. It just doesn't have time to. But I did enjoy the characters. The explicitness of the beginning took me aback a little because I wasn't expecting it, but I liked the lesson here: that everyone can love and be loved, you just have to find the right person. Probably only recommended if you like Jay Bell's other works or if you enjoy short story romances.

Jan 20, 2016, 12:20pm Top

>54 dk_phoenix: It's not just the first book, though. I feel like I would have needed more familiarity with the whole first Mistborn trilogy to really appreciate everything.

But of course, rereading just The Alloy of Law would be a much more reasonable time commitment.

Jan 28, 2016, 10:31am Top

7. Something Like Stories, Vol. 1 - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 360
Rating: 4 Stars

Benjamin Bentley and many other beloved characters from the Something Like... series make their triumphant return in this collection of short stories and bonus material. Something Like Yesterday travels to the past where Eric Conroy attempts to find love against a backdrop of intolerance and political upheaval. In Something Like Fall, Ben meets Jace's family and tries to cope with many changes in the years that follow. Allison Cross finally gets her dues in Something Like Tonight, examining the relationships in her life during a girls night out. Something Like Eternity takes the series where it has never gone before as Victor Hemingway seeks out his ultimate destiny. Also included is a character guide and a timeline of key events thus far.

For any fans of Jay Bell this is a great book, just like the series. Not AS good since they are only short stories, but they give readers a short look into scenes that were previously only up to imagination. What I really enjoyed was the character files/bios and the timeline at the end of this book. The timeline especially was a treat, to see how all the different character's stories overlapped. The rest was really just fluff for die hard fans like me.

Edited: Jan 30, 2016, 5:44pm Top

8. The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 876
Rating: 5 Stars
(TBR-Best 20th c Fantasy)

Even readers who don't normally enjoy Arthurian legends will love this version, a retelling from the point of view of the women behind the throne. Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar struggle for power, using Arthur as a way to score points and promote their respective worldviews. The Mists of Avalon's Camelot politics and intrigue take place at a time when Christianity is taking over the island-nation of Britain.

This book kind of blew me away a little bit. I love the Arthurian legend so I was excited from the beginning, even with the slow pace. This take on the legend has both the classic events and new twists. I don't think there is one accurate telling of the legend and seeing Bradley's take on it was fantastic. I loved how simple it ended up being. One small event that creates a chain reaction. Innocent things leading to others. The magic was portrayed pretty realistically in my opinion; I feel that even the magic could be interpreted as happening in real life, if that makes sense. Gwenhwyfar's piousness got on my nerves more than I expected her to. Morgaine was my favorite, which was startling at first because she's not always portrayed in a likable manner. Here she was very likable. The writing takes a little bit to get comfortable with, at least for me. But once you're in, you're in. I recommend it on audio. I really really enjoyed this rendition, and highly recommend it to those fans of the legends, if you can ignore the facts about the auhtor to enjoy a wonderful story.

Favorite Line:
“There is no such thing as a true tale. Truth has many faces and the truth is like to the old road to Avalon; it depends on your own will, and your own thoughts, whither the road will take you.”

Jan 30, 2016, 5:52pm Top

I loved The Mists of Avalon when I read it! I'm reluctant to re-read it or read any of her other work, though, because of the controversy surrounding her. I'm usually not affected by how authors conduct themselves outside of their work, but I think I've just associated her name with too much negativity :(

Jan 30, 2016, 6:05pm Top

>59 kgodey: I didn't know anything about it until tonight after I finished the book and looked up her biography. Got to say I'm really shocked. But I think I might see if I can find some of her other books anyways. The stories are written so well that I think I can disassociate her actions from the stories I'm reading. I don't like to think about authors that much anyways.

Reading Stats: January

Books: 8
Pages: 2,824

E-Book: 5
Audiobook: 3

New: 3
TBR: 4
Walk By-Pick Up: 1

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

Time Range:
1950-1959: 1
1980-1989: 1
2010-2015: 6

Romance: 3
Epic Fantasy: 2
Science Fiction: 1
Historical Fiction: 1
Dystopia: 1

Graphic Novels read: 3 ('GN Blog' can be found HERE)
Movies Watched: 22 ('Movie Blog' can be found HERE)

Jan 30, 2016, 6:57pm Top

>58 Kassilem: I also love The Mists of Avalon. It was my first introduction to the Arthurian legend, and it's still one of my favourite renditions. I love the Igraine section, and like you find Gwenhwyfar hard to handle. My other favourite take on Arthur is Jack Whyte's series, which starts with The Skystone. It's more historical than magical, and it starts a few generations before Arthur. If you're looking for a good, long series, it's a great one!

Jan 30, 2016, 8:24pm Top

>59 kgodey: and >60 Kassilem: re: authors and their work, I had to come to a decision around one of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card, many years ago when I first saw accusations of homophobia. I still read him, but I use the library or purchase from used booksellers. (Using his money to back anti-gay legislature isn't quite the same though)

Feb 1, 2016, 9:29pm Top

Great review of Mists of Avalon, Melissa. I failed miserably in my read of it years and years ago. Still trying to decide if it is a book that doesn't work for me or if it was one of those "reading it at the wrong time" kind of response. Glad to see you were wowed by the story!

Edited: Feb 2, 2016, 1:10am Top

>58 Kassilem:
I read Mists of Avalon when I was in middle school and was just entranced by it. So entranced that I still remember it vividly and fondly now (at 31). The rest of the trilogy (The Forest House and Lady of Avalon) is also quite good and I recommend reading them although the Mists is truly the standout.

I don't tend to read up on authors so I have no idea what it is you guys are referring to about Bradley but I also am very good about dissociating someone's art from the their person. Plus, well, I read her back in middle school and it's not something I'd go back to now in any case.

Feb 2, 2016, 6:15am Top

Melissa, there is a good possibility that work commitments will take me once again to Ghana next month (to Accra, almost certainly and a trip up country to look at potential development sites). I am not sure whether you would be able to get the time for us to have an LT meet-up....it would be the first 75ers meet-up in Africa unless I am very much mistaken.

Feb 2, 2016, 7:47am Top

I need to get round to Mists of Avalon some day...

Feb 2, 2016, 1:58pm Top

>61 Cait86: I've heard of that book series. I can't remember if it's on my list or not at the moment, but if it's not I'll have to add it. I'm in the mood for the Arthurian legends now. :) Thanks for the recommendation.

>62 kgriffith: It's too bad. I didn't know that for sure about Card either, though I think maybe I heard something vague about it years ago. His books are also wonderful. I think I'll just stick to my disassociation with authors and their works. :(

>63 lkernagh: :) Thanks. I'd recommend giving it a try again. I personally feel that it really gets good after the first part with Igraine. Once you're past that maybe it'll be different?

>64 lilisin: No need to read up on it. I kind of wish I hadn't. I've put the next book in the series on my list!

>65 PaulCranswick: Paul! That would be awesome. In March? I can usually take two days of personal leave to go down to Accra and pick up mail and things. Or if your work takes you to somewhere in the Eastern region I could travel down for an afternoon. :) Keep me posted!

>66 scaifea: Recommended! Just beware the length :)

Feb 2, 2016, 6:47pm Top

>67 Kassilem: Will do Melissa. This year's election in Ghana is something that gives us pause a little about the likelihood of projects really moving as everyone seems quite convinced that the government will be changed. We are partnered with Fidelity Bank and their take on this is interesting.

Feb 2, 2016, 8:39pm Top

How sad about Bradley. I had no idea.

Feb 4, 2016, 6:27pm Top

>68 PaulCranswick: That is interesting to hear about. I don't get much political talk in the village life.

>69 sibyx: I know...

9. Rose Daughter - Robin McKinley
Genre: Fairytale
Pages: 304
Rating: 3 Stars

Twenty years ago, Robin McKinley dazzled readers with the power of her novel Beauty. Now this extraordinarily gifted novelist returns to the story of Beauty and the Beast with a fresh perspective, ingenuity, and mature insight.

This took me much longer to get through than I anticipated. I think it was the writing; it was very lyrical and very descriptive. I prefer books with more dialogue and line/paragraph breaks. Besides that, this was an interesting twist on the fairy tale. Pretty simple with just a few details on the Beasts past different than usual, and of course Beauty's personage. But I didn't really invest in either character, which for me is really important. Glad I found the book but I won't be looking for it again most likely.

Feb 4, 2016, 6:34pm Top

10. Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus - Bill Wasik & Monica Murphy
Genre: Non-Fiction. Science
Pages: 288
Rating: 3 Stars

The most fatal virus known to science, rabies-a disease that spreads avidly from animals to humans-kills nearly one hundred percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. In this critically acclaimed exploration, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart four thousand years of the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh and often wildly entertaining look at one of humankind's oldest and most fearsome foes.

Not quite what I imagined it to be, but not, having read it, I don't know why I expected something different. It did what it's title said it would do: looked at rabies from a cultural perspective. I guess I was thinking there would be more on the influence rabies had on the supernatural vampires and werewolves. There was a whole chapter dedicated to this, so it worked out. Interesting topic, and not one that I've given this much thought too before. It's a good eye opener for a topic that a lot of people don't know enough about. And it's something that should be more wide-spread knowledge. It's one of those diseases that we could eradicate if enough people were just informed and educated on the topic. In that regard, this a great book to do that.

Feb 5, 2016, 8:43am Top

Hi there, I've been lurking along on your thread. Haven't had a lot to say because our reading doesn't have a whole lot in common, but I'm following along anyway. :)

I have a question, though, unrelated to books. Would you be willing to send me a postcard? I belong to Postcrossing, but it's a random exchange and who knows when I might get a postcard from a place like Ghana, which doesn't have many members at all. I would be happy to send you one back from Italy, if that interests you. And if you don't want to, no hard feelings, it's always worth asking. :)

Feb 5, 2016, 8:55am Top

>70 Kassilem: I haven't read either of McKinley's Beauty & the Beast books, but I just love how she wrote one...and then decades later was like "nah, I think I'd do it differently now" and wrote a second interpretation. That's got to take guts. I love it. Who cares if the books were any good, I give mad props to her for just doing that at all. :D

Feb 6, 2016, 5:16am Top

>72 ursula: Hi Ursula. I'd be willing to do that. I'll have to see if I can find a postcard somewhere first. I'll PM you about addresses and such :) Good idea!

>73 dk_phoenix: I thought the same thing. :) I read her author's note in the back of the book where she talked about how accidental the second book was. She never intended to write a second retelling, but then someone asked her to write a short story on the fairy-tale. She said no, but then she was in a writers block so she decided to give the short story a go to get the juices flowing and it turned into a full length book. :)

11. Queen of Shadows - Sarah J. Maas
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 656
Rating: 4 Stars

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire-for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past. She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight. She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

There was a lot of character development in this fourth installment. And more romance than I was expecting. But a very good installment. I went through the book faster than I thought I would. A lot happened and yet at the same time I feel like not enough happened for the length of the book, if that makes sense. It does feel like a transition book, which is probably why there was such a good chunk of character development. I think there is two more books planned for the series, so some of these loose ends can be taken care of. There was a couple of loose ends that were answered here, big twists.

Feb 7, 2016, 1:58pm Top

>72 ursula: Awesome, thanks for humoring me! I imagine where you are, there are probably not a lot of postcard/souvenir shops. :) I guess when you go to Accra again will probably be the next opportunity. It's funny, I've never really lived in a place with a dearth of postcards. Some people in the US complain that they don't have any shops like that in their area, but I've always lived in pretty major metropolitan areas.

Feb 8, 2016, 10:07am Top

12. Life as We Knew It - Beth Pfeffer
Genre: Gothic Fiction
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 Stars

High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like "one marble hits another." The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. Told in a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

This was a better book than I expected it to be. I was thinking it would be something similar to Age of Miracles, but this book dealt with the worldly effects of the moon getting closer to the earth, and discussed the science of it. I also invested in Miranda pretty early on. It's clearly a YA book, but enjoyable in a saddening kind of way. I'll be grabbing the next book for sure.

Feb 8, 2016, 5:06pm Top

Hi Melissa, I have read Life As We Knew It and the next few in the series as well. I thought the first few books were well done, but by the time the fourth came round, the series had gone a little stale and I haven't continued on.

Edited: Feb 8, 2016, 9:51pm Top

>76 Kassilem: Would you say it is better than Age of Miracles? I got an arc of that book and felt so-so about it, but I liked the premise.

Edit: Dang, touchstones are not working tonight.

Feb 11, 2016, 12:36pm Top

>77 DeltaQueen50: Ahh. That's too bad. Well I'm sure I'll get to that point as well

>78 rosylibrarian: In my opinion it was much better than Age of Miracles. I suppose it depends on how much you like the science in your books. Age of Miracles didn't have much explanations about what happened and why and it's effects worldwide. Life As We Knew It does.

13. Level Up: A Geek Romance - Cathy Yardley
Genre: Romance
Pages: 151
Rating: 3 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can't do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get.

I enjoyed this book in the beginning. When it became more about the romance and less about the video games, I started to get a little bored however. I did enjoy that I got almost all the video game references here, which is why I picked the book up in the first place, after seeing it on a few threads here in LT. I haven't read a great book about a female into the video game world before, so I feel that that aspect was a treat. But then I felt the book did a 180 with the romance. I have to admit, I wasn't really into it. Still pretty entertaining.

Feb 11, 2016, 4:44pm Top

I liked Level Up! Glad you enjoyed it, 8f only in the begining.

Feb 13, 2016, 8:18am Top

>76 Kassilem: What a lovely book cover.

Have a lovely weekend, Melissa.

Feb 14, 2016, 10:32am Top

Happy Valentine's Day, Melissa!

Feb 14, 2016, 10:49am Top

>80 BBGirl55: :) Same

>81 PaulCranswick: I know, right? Thanks!

14. Stray - Rachel Vincent
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Rating: 3 Stars

I'd been warned about Strays—werecats without a Pride—constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared. This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back…for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever—and whoever—I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays—'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them.

I really liked the premise to this book - werecats. And I liked how Vincent portrayed them during their shift. What I didn't like was the characters. I liked the main girl in the beginning. She was strong, and could take care of herself. Except it turns out she's mostly just stupid. I wanted her to be strong mentally and be able to back it up. But she didn't. She annoyed me mostly, saying things and then totally contradicting it with her actions. And Marc annoyed me too. The secondary characters were better than these two main ones. Which is too bad, cause it could have been a great book. I most likely will not pick the next book up since I read a few reviews and they say that the girl doesn't get any better.

Feb 14, 2016, 10:50am Top

>82 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie! You know, you're the first person that's said that to me so far today and it's already 4:00 PM my time.

Feb 14, 2016, 2:20pm Top

Feb 16, 2016, 4:37pm Top

#85 That is awsome!

Feb 16, 2016, 7:31pm Top

>47 Kassilem: I'm not sure I have the patience to work a design that large with that many stitches. I want gratification a little more often, I think.

Feb 18, 2016, 5:49am Top

>85 Thebookdiva: Thanks Abigail!

>87 thornton37814: :) This one is testing me Lori, for that very reason.

15. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Genre: Gothic Fiction
Pages: 352
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR - BBCs Best 100)

When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. This was before milk carton photos and public service announcements, she tells us; back in 1973, when Susie mysteriously disappeared, people still believed these things didn't happen. In the sweet, untroubled voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death and her own adjustment to the strange new place she finds herself. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. With love, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie watches her family as they cope with their grief, her father embarks on a search for the killer, her sister undertakes a feat of amazing daring, her little brother builds a fort in her honor and begin the difficult process of healing.

I never really got into this book. I suppose I thought this would be more of a thriller book, with it centered around Susie's father going after the rapist. But it was not. Instead it was Susie watching her family grieve and then movie on... for the whole book. Not very exciting. I don't think it was meant to, but I know what kind of books I like. I like the exciting books. And this just wasn't powerful enough to overcome the lack of excitement or thrill. The first half was much better than the second half. But it's another "classic" book people think you should read. It's under my belt now.

Feb 18, 2016, 8:23am Top

>88 Kassilem: Yeah, I know people went crazy over this book but when I read it I was pretty much unmoved.

Feb 18, 2016, 4:33pm Top

I've never read the book, but I enjoyed the movie.

Feb 19, 2016, 8:37am Top

I liked the book up until toward the end, when I thought it took an unnecessarily, um, weird, turn.

Feb 24, 2016, 9:48am Top

>89 ursula: Same. I remember though that it had such a hype about it. :/

>90 Ape: I've have to get my hands on a copy. Although truthfully, I'm not all that excited to watch it. But now, having read the book, eventually I'm sure I'll watch the movie too.

>91 scaifea: Yea that was weird. And unneeded I thought. It didn't do much of anything to the story.

Edited: Feb 25, 2016, 8:25am Top

#88 I read it before all the hype, enjoyed it.

#91 I was not a fan of the wired turn. Though I did use this turn for one of my assignments at Uni!

Feb 25, 2016, 12:41pm Top

Peace Corps Update

Hi everyone!

I know it’s been a long time since my last update so I thought it was time to sit down and let you all know what’s been going on. I sent my last email in the beginning of December. I hope you all had a fantastic holiday?

Mine was pretty awesome, if I say so myself. The first part of the holidays was spent in Europe with my parents. Amsterdam. A curious and interesting city. (As an aside, I read a book right after I got back, and it was set in Amsterdam. When the book mentioned street names that I had literally just walked the week before, I had to laugh a little.) The whole week was fantastic, and there was no one favorite day. They were all my favorites! Plus I was able to buy some foods and bring them back to Ghana with me: fruity sprinkles, jam, and best of all cheese! I absolutely loved it all and have been trying to send good vibes back to my parents ever since in thanks for how they spoiled me. Let me tell you that I’ve learned if you’re flexible and enjoy the small things, trips like that can be the most amazing things. It’s all about the attitude. Seriously.

Then Mom and Dave did the awesome and came to visit my place in Ghana. I did my best to prepare them, but there are just some things that can’t be explained, or that I no longer consider unnerving and forgot to mention. I’m sure their culture shock was different than the one I experienced when I first came. But they handled everything very well. And it was great to have someone see how I lived me life now.

As soon as they left for the airport, I left to visit the Volta region where I and a few girls from my training group met up to go paragliding for New Years. Turns out, the dry season isn’t the best time to go paragliding. Especially this year, since the Harmattan (Dust storms coming down from the Sahara Desert above Ghana) is peculiarly bad. The winds were not going the way the flyers wanted them to go. Because I was one of the lightest weighing people there, they hooked me up, showed me what I would need to do and then had me stand and wait to see if a good wind came in in the right direction. It never did. I stood out in the sun twice, each for twenty minutes while we waited and hoped. But no luck. We ended up sitting around all day long waiting and then being disappointed.

I decided however that it was for the best. The flyers informed us that with the Harmattan, the flights would not be an easy luxurious picture filled time. The flyers would be too busy just trying to land us in the right spot. Plus, because of all the dust in the air, you couldn’t see much on the ground as it was. There’s another paragliding festival over Easter, and I decided that I’ll try again then. And if I can make it, the paragliding will be much better then.  So no loss. I got my money back, and the girls and I decided to do some other things. We went to visit the Wli Waterfalls, which I think are the largest waterfalls in Western Africa. It’s set back into a canyon and the rocks surrounding the waterfalls were covered in bats. It was a sight to see! We waded into the freezing water until we were under the waterfall itself which was an adrenaline rush.

The next day we visited a monkey sanctuary, just outside of a small village. The best time to see them is in the morning so we arrived pretty early and went out into the forest with some bananas and a guide. The guide was great at making the right kind of noise with her lips to attract the monkeys and the then the bananas did the rest. You just held out your arm with the banana in your hand and they would jump onto you and steal the banana. If you had a good grip, they would stay there and eat the banana in bit by bit. The primatologist slice of me absolutely loved the experience and I am determined to do it again before I leave Ghana.

The school term didn’t start up until mid-January so I had a week or two to chill and then my classes started for real this time. I now have thirty-one students. Most of them behave fairly well, although many like to sleep in class. The other teachers cane for this. I take points away, and then every few week I look at which group of students has in their point column. Negative means punishments, and positive means rewards. I’m dishing out the punishment/rewards next week for the first time, so we’ll see how effective it is.

I just had my first class test as well this last week to see if the students are grasping the concepts I am teaching them. The scores were all over the place. 4 above 90%, 4 around 60%, 6 around 50% and 11 below that. Passing in Ghana schools is 30% so I only had 3 students technically “fail” the test, but the scores worry me a little. It is hard to teach a range like that. I have some really smart students, and I have some really unmotivated students. And a bunch in between. But I’ll be doing my best.

Actually, I have just started a Biology Tutoring program after school for all Biology students. I was unsure of its attraction, but I started it yesterday and had two students show up already. I have another session tonight and am hopeful for more attendance. Actually, I might have started something bigger than I anticipated. I’ve talked about the WASCE exam that all the students will have to take at the end of their Form 3s. The two students that showed up yesterday brought in past WASCE questions to ask me about. I’m wondering, now, if I haven’t just started a program for students to come in so they can prepare for their test. The equivalent of a SAT prep-class. 

If I have, and I get more WASCE questions than class questions, then that’s alright. The fail rate on the WASCE Biology section is very high. If I can help these students prepare for the test of their young lives, something they can’t easily get in the classroom beyond the general information, then I feel like I will be doing something incredible.

Related to the problem with the WASCE fail rate, I’ve mentioned briefly before that another volunteer and I are working on creating a Biology teaching manual. She is looking at all the past WASCE exams she can get her hands on and organizing the questions by topic, and also creating statistics on which topics are seen more than others on the WASCE. This is an attempt to help the Biology teachers know what they should be focusing the most time on and what material can be glossed over, since the biggest problem with the topic is the amount of information Biology teachers are given to teach their students. They can never cover all the topics and so some important topics at the end of the syllabus, like genetics and evolution never get taught; even though the WASCE will test the student on it.

My part of the project is putting together the manual itself. I am taking the information that the major Ghanaian Biology textbook gives and am reordering and mixing the information into something that makes more logical sense and will take less time to teach. The manual will only be a supplement, but I’m including recommended activates and games, acronyms, advice, warnings, etc. It is the hope of Amy and I that the manual can provide an outline to biology teachers on what topics to cover or focus on and how to do it in a more effective way, and thus bring the fail rate on the WASCE down.

Also related to the WASCE (You can probably see a trend to my projects by now!) is my attempt to get my school microscopes. Students will have to work a microscope on their WASCE test, but our school doesn’t have any that they can practice with. Teachers draw the microscope on the boards and have students memorize each part of the microscope but they never actually have the chance to handle one until the exam itself where the school borrows a few microscopes from another school an hour away. I’ve talked to the assistant headmaster (since the school doesn’t actually have a headmaster anymore) about this and he is enthusiastic about the idea. I’ve picked the grant out and now I need to apply for it and get the science teachers to write it with me. I could probably write the grant myself in a day, but I want to get some other teachers in on the process if I can, since I’m not going to be here for that long of a time. Plus, the grant will only be given to us if the community or school contributes 25% of the cost.

I want to talk to all of the science teachers about any other materials the school might need as well before the writing process starts. Something, I just discovered that I really need to talk to someone about. The room I was given to do my tutoring in is the science lab. Considering I was told the school didn’t have a science lab, this was very surprising for me and I spent some time just looking at what we had, which is a lot. And none of it is used! So there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before the grant can be submitted. But I’m hoping to have the project done before the end of the year.

If those weren’t enough I just took over a book project that the Diversity committee has been shifting its feet over for months. The original idea was to collect Ghanaian folklore, both in their original language and then translated to be bound into a book that could be sold to Peace Corps volunteers to use in their schools or sent home to America to share the culture. Problem is that only a few folklore stories and proverbs have been submitted. Someone nominated me to head the project recently and I agreed. I’m working with another volunteer who is doing the illustrations for the book, as we are thinking of trying to make it bigger than originally planned. We’re trying to see if there’s a possibility of getting it published and distributed nationwide. The more information I get on what material we have however is not going to make this easy. I think I might keep it simple, collect the folklore, bind it and help it be distributed back home in America, as a sharing of cultures. There’s simply too many books in Ghana that have done the same thing and been published, so we can’t use anything that has already been published, which really limits us.

I’m okay with that project being something small, because James (the volunteer doing the illustrations) and I are talking about doing a book on Ghanaian female role models. We both feel that this can have a much bigger impact then the folklore book, and it fit in really nicely with the Let Girls Learn initiative that Michelle Obama has tasked Peace Corps with. I’m currently in contact with some Ghanaians who are getting me academic contacts. James and I are hoping that we can get a university professor or student interested in helping us put this thing together, since we feel it is important to have an insider approach to the project. This is a book we could have published nation-wide, and maybe even further, so I’m pretty excited about its possibilities.

On top of all this I have finally signed up for the GRE in May and have begun to study. If I want to go to graduate school when I return to the states, I will need to start thinking about applying this fall, which means I will need my GRE out of the way before then.

Wow, when I write it all down, it seems like a LOT. I suppose it is. :) But I’ve always liked to have things to do. Just have to keep it at a manageable level. Especially because I feel like I’ll be traveling a whole heck of a lot soon. Already am. I had to go down to Accra at the end of January for my three month birth control injection, which was no big deal. I used it as an excuse to go out and buy a bunch of food items from Accra. I splurged pretty hard. I went back to site thinking I would be there for another couple of months without having to go anywhere, but not even a week later, they wanted me to go back for a meningitis vaccination, because a new strain of the illness has broken out in Ghana. No problem, since I want to be as safe as possible. I just had to make sure that I didn’t spend as much as I had when I was there a week previous.

That was the beginning of a spring full of travel. I’m going to Kumasi this weekend for a birthday party some volunteers are throwing for me, which should be fun. Then in the beginning of March, I got approved to go visit Amy’s site for a week so that we could get some serious work done on this biology manual. A week after that is the Easter paragliding festival. Then the first week of April is my All-Volunteer conference I am required to attend. That’ll be for a week, followed by an education IST workshop at the end of April.

And May brings the next group of education volunteers into country. I am considering being a trainer for the new group; help give lectures on Peace Corps; give advice on site and teachings, etc.; and most importantly be a role model for the new Americans coming into Ghana. It will cut into my teaching and take me away from my site for two-three months, but I think it could be very rewarding. I’ll need to get approval to bring my kittens along with me though if my application is accepted. Although I suppose they won’t be little kittens by that point anymore.

The kittens are doing well. Getting bigger every month. Mira has definitely bonded very strongly with me. Everything I leave for a few days and come back she’s all over me, kneading my legs and arms with her sharp claws and rubbing her head and neck all over me. Mitsy is always going to be a loner, I am getting the impression. She likes to go off by herself a lot, and is still very skittish if I touch her without first showing her where my hand is coming from. Actually I’m kind of in a conundrum with the kittens. They are both females and soon they will be able to reproduce. And there are stray males that run around the village! There is an option to get them spayed if I take them to the right place around Kumasi, but if I don’t bring them back to America with me (which I haven’t decided on but the answer is probably no) then I feel that it would be very cruel of me to spay them so early in their life and then leave them with another family.

So… I may have a litter of kittens in the future! Yikes! It’s kind of thrilling to think about tiny fuzz balls, but then I think about having that many cats in the house. I’ll be that crazy cat woman with dozens of cats in her house. I’ll have to figure out how to find some happy families to take the kittens once they are weaned. Obviously, I am only just now thinking about the implications.

Anyways, I’ve been reading a normal amount. I was in a writer’s block for a while, but this past week and a half I’ve begun writing seriously again. And of course I’ve been watching a lot of media. Finally got around to watching the Big Bang Theory. It’s a fantastic show, and I’m glad I finally got to watch it.

But I think I've written plenty by this point, so let me stop. :)

Feb 25, 2016, 2:45pm Top

Fantastic update! I am particularly envious of the monkey experience. That sounds really cool.

Feb 26, 2016, 8:56am Top

Agree with Erik that you have given us a fantastic update. You are very busy!! I loved reading about it all, and the lack of a microscope made me sad - seems so unfair to have to be tested on equipment that they have never gotten to use before the test.

Just reading about all that you are doing makes my head spin a bit - I don't know how you keep up with it all. And your kitty conjecture made me smile - that is a dilemma! Wishing you happiness and success in all of your endeavors.

Feb 26, 2016, 5:17pm Top

Thanks for the update, Melissa. You are keeping busy! I think you are accomplishing so much and you are making memories that will last a lifetime. I hope you do get a chance to get back to the monkey sanctuary as it sounds fascinating. It's wonderful to hear you sounding so happy and fulfilled.

Feb 26, 2016, 9:14pm Top

Love the update! What a difference you are making!

Feb 27, 2016, 1:01pm Top

>95 Oberon: Thanks Erik. The monkey's were so cool. I just spent the other afternoon watching a monkey in a village. I swear I could watch them all day long.

>96 Crazymamie: So unfair, Mamie. And it doesn't seem like too much, but then I alternate between most of those projects. Like the book project, I'm still waiting on some contacts, so that's on a standstill until then. Thanks for reading :)

>97 DeltaQueen50: Tons of memories. Thanks Judith.

>98 ronincats: :) Here's to me hoping so!

Edited: Feb 28, 2016, 9:22am Top

>94 Kassilem: Thanks for the fascinating update Melissa. I do hope to get back out to Ghana fairly soon possibly in about a month's time.

There is a possibility also of my going to Sao Tome which looks very interesting and will involve the building of a remote school there which chimes with what you're doing a little I guess.

Have a great Sunday.

Feb 28, 2016, 9:45am Top

>94 Kassilem: Truly wonderful report! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Edited: Feb 28, 2016, 10:49am Top

>94 Kassilem: Thanks for the update. It certainly sounds like you have a lot on but also that you are enjoying it and making a difference :-)

Feb 29, 2016, 12:55pm Top

>94 Kassilem: What an adventure. It's really interesting to read about Ghana's educational system.

Mar 2, 2016, 4:58pm Top

>100 PaulCranswick: That sounds amazing :)

>101 streamsong: Your very welcome!

>102 souloftherose: :) Definitely

>103 rosylibrarian: It is very different.

Reading Stats: February

Books: 7
Pages: 2,503

Dead Tree: 1
E-Book: 3
Audiobook: 3

New: 1
TBR: 5
Walk By-Pick Up: 1

5 Stars: 0
4 Stars: 2
3 Stars: 5
2 Stars: 0

Time Range:
1990-1999: 1
2000-2009: 2
2010-2016: 4

Gothic Fiction: 2
High Fantasy: 1
Urban Fantasy: 1
Romance: 1
Non-Fiction: 1
Science: 1
Fairytale: 1

Graphic Novels read: 0 ('GN Blog' can be found HERE)
Movies Watched: 28 ('Movie Blog' can be found HERE)

Mar 4, 2016, 8:12am Top

16. Winter - Marissa Meyer
Genre: Fairytale, Science Fiction
Pages: 832
Rating: 4 Stars

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long. Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

This was a great conclusion to the series. I ended predictably enough, but I did like the way the fight ended. Not too easy but not too tragic. There was a lot of focus on the relationships in this last story which was okay. Maybe just because we see the culmination of all the character's relationships instead of just the focus on one that each of the previous novels had. The ending wasn't too rushed but I'm glad there is a collection of Lunar stories coming out (I guess it's already out now) To give the series even more closure. I think too the short story about Levana is worth reading. Overall the series wasn't phenomenal for me but I did highly enjoy it.

Mar 6, 2016, 6:07am Top

#105 Glad you liked Winter Melissa. I read it last year and had some of the same fellings as you did. Hope you are having a good weekend.

Mar 7, 2016, 7:27pm Top

Love your Peace Corps update, Melissa! What an amazing experience you are having and what a difference you are making. I can imagine how difficult it would have been to try and prep your parents. Somethings defy explanation and need to be experienced first hand.

Mar 10, 2016, 8:45am Top

I didn't get a lot out of The Lovely Bones either. It was an early "listen". It amazes me in retrospect that I didn't quit . . . yes, an odd turn at the end.

Thank you for that long letter about everything you have been doing and some of your thinking too.

Mar 12, 2016, 1:14pm Top

>106 BBGirl55: Thanks Bryony :)

>107 lkernagh: :) Thanks for the appreciation Lori

>108 sibyx: You're very welcome, sibyx

17. Fairest - Marissa Meyer
Genre: Fairytale, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Rating: 4 Stars

Pure evil has a name, hides behind a mask of deceit, and uses her "glamour" to gain power. But who is Queen Levana? Long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in The Lunar Chronicles, Levana lived a very different story―a story that has never been told . . . until now. New York Times –bestselling author Marissa Meyer reveals the story behind her fascinating villain in Fairest, an unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death.

This was a quick read. I don't know that I would have enjoyed it as much if I'd read it before reading the last book in the chronicles, Winter, but after having finished the series, it was nice to look back. I do enjoy seeing these kinds of stories that show how the 'evil' character turns out the way they do. it gives perspective and the idea that monsters are created not born, an idea popular in today's writing. A good addition to the chronicles if you are a fan.

Mar 13, 2016, 10:29am Top

Melissa, this week I am hosting a delegation from Ghana - Awutu Senya District Assembly tomorrow and Tuesday.

Immediately after that our plans for a trip to the region will be confirmed. I will definitely be in Sao Tome April 10 and it looks like around 15 and 16th I will be in Accra. Will let you now for certain soon and see whether we have a chance for Africa's first 75er meet-up!

Have a lovely Sunday.

Mar 13, 2016, 2:29pm Top

>110 PaulCranswick: That would be awesome :) Just keep me updated and I'll see if I can afford the travel. it will depend on when exactly you are here. :)

18. The Death of Dulgath - Michael J. Sullivan
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 Stars

When the last member of the oldest noble family in Avryn is targeted for assassination, Riyria's Royce and Hadrian are hired to foil the plot. Three years have passed since Hadrian, the war-weary mercenary, and Royce, the cynical ex-assassin, joined forces to become rogues-for-hire. All has gone well until they're asked to help prevent a murder. Now they must venture into an ancient corner of the world to save a mysterious woman who knows more about Royce than is safe and cares less about herself than is sane.

Because I read the first two books in this prequel series before reading the trilogy written first I had to really think to remember what had and hadn't happened in the time of this book. Maybe in a few years I'll come back and reread them all in order. I should actually wait until this next pre-prequel series about Norvon is done and then do a reread. Anyways, this book was pretty good. In the beginning I felt like it would be a little bit too predictable but it surprised me. These books aren't knock your socks off good, but they are solid high fantasy.

Mar 18, 2016, 10:32am Top

Happy Friday, Melissa! Great reviews; I feel better about starting Winter now.

Mar 18, 2016, 11:06am Top

>112 Thebookdiva: Thanks Abigail. :)

Peace Corps Update

I have some sad news.

I've been struggling with depression for two and a half months now. Towards the end of February it got really bad, to the point where I was not eating and not being able to go out and interact with my village. I ended up talking to my doctor here in Ghana and he pulled me from my site. I've been sitting in Accra for three weeks now, talking to counselors and DC headquarter therapists and trying to decide what the best course of action was.

Medication was was a possibility, but then after talking things through I figured out what my trigger was for this depression episode: The Ghanaian culture and my personality do not go well together. I'm too much of an introvert, too sensitive and too conflict-avoidance oriented. Chance put me in Ghana but unfortunately this country and I can't seem to get along. I've been struggling with this situation ever since I came to Ghana and thought I was doing alright, but it was rising my anxiety up continuously and in January the anxiety got debilitating and triggered the depression. So while medication might help the depression, it won't fix what caused the depression.

In light of this revelation, two days ago a decision was reached. Peace Corps has decided to medically separate me. They are flying me back home tonight.

I am very upset that it has come to this, but I am also aware that I need to worry about my health first and foremost. Perhaps if I had been placed in a different country, this would have been different but I try not to do the 'what-if' game. I have to remind myself that I've been here for almost a full year and while it doesn't seem to me that I did all that much for my village and school here in Ghana, I did grow a lot as a person, and I don't regret having this adventure in my life.

Now, I suppose I need to look at what my next adventure will be.

Mar 18, 2016, 6:01pm Top

Oh, Melissa. {{{{{{{Melissa}}}}}}}}
Having exactly the same personality profile, I can identify so well with what you describe. I admire you for having the courage to give it a try and to stick it out for so long. It will only enrich your life in the long run.

Mar 18, 2016, 9:12pm Top

>113 Kassilem: Melissa, I am so sorry to read your quite heart-rending news. As someone who has in part had similar experiences having lived in Africa and Asia while hailing from Europe I can fully understand the stresses and strains on your young self. I am also, though many would not agree, a quite shy and introverted person myself who deflects by being able to make people laugh.

You have done something in your life that you should be inordinately proud of and I wish you every success in whatever you decide to do next. I am a little sad we won't meet up in Accra when I am there on 14th April but I am sure that I will get to meet you in the US or elsewhere at sometime in the future in more settled circumstances for you.

Safe journey home. xx

Mar 19, 2016, 3:07am Top

>113 Kassilem: I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling so much. I know what a strain it can be living in another country, and it can be compounded in so many ways. Sounds like you tried to get through it, but it's just not a healthy fit. Wishing you all the best on whatever comes next.

Mar 19, 2016, 5:41am Top

>113 Kassilem: Sending hugs Melissa. As another introvert with a history of depression/anxiety I can also identify - I have never spent anywhere near as long as you in Africa but I spent 3 weeks in Uganda a few years ago and really struggled with the lack of privacy and lack of quiet and definitely experienced a significant downturn in my depression as a result. I think you should be very proud of your achievement of having spent a year living in a foreign culture - it's a lot more than most people manage and although you don't feel you 'did all that much' for the village and school (and I suspect anyway that you have probably done more than you think) African cultures can be less achievement focused than ours and the people you spent time with will really value your willingness to come to a foreign culture and just spend time with them. And because I think it's worth reiterating, you spent a year in a foreign culture - that's huge!

I hope you had a safe trip home and can rest and recover now you're back home. Be gentle with yourself.

Mar 19, 2016, 9:21am Top

>117 souloftherose: I pretty much agree with Heather on everything she said. Most people can't handle a foreign culture - check out how many Americans you can find at a McDonalds in a foreign country. A year abroad in a foreign country is a big accomplishment and you should feel proud of it.

Focus on your health for now. We will all look forward to your next adventure.

Mar 19, 2016, 9:39am Top

Adding my hugs to the pile, Melissa. It sounds like the right thing for you to come home and focus on getting well. I love the idea of looking forward to the next adventure life will bring to you, and these experiences you've accumulated on this past adventure will help you to meet it with strength and grace and poise.

Mar 19, 2016, 6:40pm Top

Melissa, I won't say much because I can only echo what others have said much better but don't beat yourself up too much - you did accomplish much by living there as long as you did, even if it doesn't feel that way right now! Looking forward to seeing your next adventure.

Mar 19, 2016, 10:44pm Top

Put me on the pile too. I think what you did was awesome, even if it didn't work out the way you expected. No regrets!

Mar 20, 2016, 11:00pm Top

Melissa, so sorry to learn that your time in Ghana will be cut short but it sounds like the right decision for you and your own mental health and well being. Based on your previous posts, I believe that you will have a number of positive memories that will have special meaning for you throughout your life. An experience that many people never get the chance to experience. As drneutron said, no regrets!

Mar 21, 2016, 3:05am Top

So sorry to hear that you had to leave Ghana earlier than you expected. Just to echo with what others have said above. I look forward to hearing about your next adventure too.

Mar 21, 2016, 11:03am Top

Melissa, you are absolutely doing the right thing. I am so in awe of everything that you have done in Ghana, and for an entire year. That is huge, even if it doesn't feel like it right now. I bet when you look back on it, it will. When you gain the perspective that only time can offer. You are so smart to put your health first and to realize that in order to treat the depression, you also need to address what is causing it.

I am thinking of you and wishing you well. I love what Heather said up there - be gentle with yourself. Life rarely takes us where we think we are going - it's not about the destination but about the journey. In order to enjoy that journey fully, we need to understand ourselves and what makes us happy. Sounds like you are doing an excellent job of listening to both your heart and your mind - choose what will make you happy, even it is turns out to be something different than what you thought it would be.

Mar 21, 2016, 11:58am Top

Hugs to you, safe trip home and hoping you will feel better soon!

Mar 21, 2016, 3:12pm Top

Hugs for you, Melissa.

Mar 22, 2016, 11:31pm Top

Hi Melissa, I am thinking of you and congratulate you on taking that step to seek help. I love what Heather and Mamie have said and totally agree with them. Many (((hugs))) to you, dear, take care of yourself and get ready for the next adventure that will be coming down the road.

Mar 23, 2016, 12:28am Top

Adding my good wishes for a very difficult decision wisely made. Take care of yourself, Melissa!

Mar 23, 2016, 1:28am Top

Thank you everyone! All of your comments and support are greatly appreciated. I'm home and trying to adjust now. I'll try to put an update here soon.

Mar 25, 2016, 12:12am Top

Have a wonderful Easter.

Edited: Apr 10, 2016, 2:20pm Top

>114 ronincats:, >115 PaulCranswick:, >116 ursula:, >117 souloftherose:, >118 Oberon:, >119 scaifea:, >120 bell7:, >121 drneutron:, >122 lkernagh:, >123 charl08:, >124 Crazymamie:, >125 FAMeulstee:, >126 MickyFine:, >127 DeltaQueen50:, >128 swynn:, >129 Kassilem: Thanks again to everyone who left a comment. It made me feel a lot better to read them all, and again today it boosted my attitude to reread them all. I'm not going to write a reply to each one because I feel like I would be saying the same thing to all of you: Thank you so much for the support and kind words. But I hope you all know that I mean it to everyone of you. Thanks

>130 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. Happy Easter to you as well.

19. Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 352
Rating: 5 Stars

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force–a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses.

I've been struggling to read lately so I decided what I needed was a comfort read; something I'd read before and knew I loved. This book was one of the first ones that came to mind. Especially as I just recently discovered that Anne Rice wrote another book to the series in 2014 that I never knew about. This book is a masterpiece to me. I love how emotive it is, and yet the emotions portrayed are not always clear. You know Louis is suffering but only later do we and he realize why. I love that, but in my life I feel that I don't understand my emotions most of the time. I also just really like the characters in this story. I think, having read the whole chronicles helped me really grasp everything in this first book this time. I could read what was Louis' interpretation of events and remind myself that his is only one interpretation. If you enjoy vampire literature, I highly recommend this book.

Favorite Line:
"Then no sin matters," he said. "No sin achieves evil."
"That's not true. Because if God doesn't exist we are the creatures of highest consciousness in the universe. We alone understand the passage of time and the value of every minute of human life. And what constitutes evil, real evil, is the taking of a single human life. Whether a man would have died tomorrow or the day after or eventually... it doesn't matter. Because if God does not exist, this life... every second of it... is all we have."

Mar 25, 2016, 2:38pm Top

Hey! I got your postcard! So awesome, thanks so much. :)

Pop me a message with the address where you want me to send you one!

Mar 26, 2016, 11:02pm Top

Have a lovely Easter weekend, Melissa!

Mar 27, 2016, 11:12pm Top

I'm sorry you had to leave Ghana, Melissa – that sounds like a really difficult decision to make. I agree with what everyone else said, taking care of yourself is the most important thing. I don't think I'd do very well in Ghana either, I'm also too much of an introvert and homebody.

Mar 31, 2016, 11:44pm Top

>132 ursula: Your very welcome. :) I'm glad I could send one along before I left. I've just sent you a message. Sorry for the late reply.

>133 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy!

>134 kgodey: :) Thanks for the kind words Kriti

20. Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection - Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Fairytale
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 Stars

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories - and secrets - that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies? With nine stories - five of which have never before been published, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

This was a nice collection of short stories of all our beloved characters childhoods. Most of it was no surprise since each of these events were eluded to in the series itself. There was one story about an android that was different from the rest though. I enjoyed the last short story the most, most likely because it was a epilogue of sorts to the series. It was a nice conclusion to the series. Recommended if you really enjoyed reading the series.

Mar 31, 2016, 11:54pm Top

Reading Stats: March

Books: 5
Pages: 2,304

E-Book: 2
Audiobook: 3

New: 4
Reread: 1

5 Stars: 1
4 Stars: 4

Time Range:
1970-1979: 1
2010-2016: 4

Science Fiction: 3
Fairytale: 3
Gothic Fantasy: 1
High Fantasy: 1

Graphic Novels read: 0 ('GN Blog' can be found HERE)
Movies Watched: 27 ('Movie Blog' can be found HERE)

Apr 3, 2016, 1:02pm Top

>113 Kassilem: So sorry that you have been struggling, but it sounds like you made the absolute best decision for yourself and that is something in itself. Learning to know when enough is enough is a hard thing to learn. I know I need to be better at it. Plus a year in Africa is quite the accomplishment! Many would struggle in some a different climate and culture. So, bravo to you and cheers to a new adventure!

Apr 5, 2016, 3:44pm Top

>137 rosylibrarian: Thanks Marie :) I really am bad at knowing when enough is enough in many things.

21. The Vampire Lestat - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 496
Rating: 5 Stars

Lestat. The vampire hero of Anne Rice’s enthralling novel is a creature of the darkest and richest imagination. Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now a rock star in the demonic, shimmering 1980s, he rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his eternal, terrifying existence. His is a mesmerizing story—passionate, complex, and thrilling.

I love these books. I love this romanticizing of vampires. I love the emotions and the talk of life and death and what it all means and what's the point. I love Anne Rice's writing in that time of her life where she was asking all these questions too. I will definitely be reading the whole Chronicles over again like I knew I would eventually but I'm beginning to see signs of her other books, outside of the chronicles that are connected. Great writing, great stories, fantastic characters. I'm loving these rereads.

Apr 7, 2016, 2:19pm Top

22. The Queen of the Damned - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating: 5 Stars

In a feat of virtuoso storytelling, Anne Rice unleashes Akasha, the queen of the damned, who has risen from a six-thousand-year sleep to let loose the powers of the night. Akasha has a marvelously devious plan to “save” mankind and destroy the vampire Lestat—in this extraordinarily sensual novel of the complex, erotic, electrifying world of the undead.

I remember really loving this book. It might have been my favorite in the whole series at one point. Part of that I think was the delving into the history of these vampires. It is a slower going book than the previous two however in my current opinion. The second book leaves us on a cliffhanger and then here in this third volume, we don't get a conclusion to that cliffhanger until 200 pages in. But having read it before, I knew what was going to happen and could spend more time on the other perspectives like they deserved. I do still really enjoy this book but I think I'm more excited to read the next and fourth installment to tell the truth. I love Lestat and while this book's events were a crucial turning point for him, the next volume deals much more with his emotions.

Apr 10, 2016, 2:14pm Top

23. Another Day - David Levithan
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 Stars

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up. Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

This is a companion novel to Every Day, one of my favorite books. It tells Rhiannon's side of the story which is unusual for Levithan to write, but I think it came off well. It most likely helped that I hadn't just read the first book right before this. In that case I could see it becoming a little tedious. Instead, by putting some time in between the two, I was able to get another look at the story I love so much, just in time for this year which is when the sequel is supposed to be published. Great story. Definetly YA, but great story.

Favorite Line:
I'm just wondering why people stay together," I say. "Why they connect in the first place, and what keeps that connection is strong. I want it to be all things inside---who you are, what you believe. But what if the things on the outside are just as important? When I was little, I was always worried I'd fall in love with someone ugly. Like Shrek. Then I figured that love would make anyone beautiful to me, if I love them enough. I want to believe that. I want to believe that you can love someone so strongly that none of it will matter. But what if it does?

Apr 12, 2016, 6:26pm Top

24. Six Earlier Days - David Levithan
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 49
Rating: 3 Stars

The novel Every Day starts on Day 5994 of A’s life. In this digital-only collection Six Earlier Days, Levithan gives readers a glimpse at a handful of the other 5993 stories yet to be told that inform how A navigates the complexities of a life lived anew each day. In Every Day, readers discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day. In Six Earlier Days, readers will discover a little bit more about how A became that someone.

This was so short I'm not even sure it was worth it. Probably why you can only get it on kindle. I loved the book Every Day but if you're the same there's really no need to read this novella. At all. I'm a die hard fan of the series and even I thought it was just paper used up. Interesting short stories but nothing we as readers needed.

Apr 14, 2016, 5:01pm Top

25. The Wolves of Midwinter - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars

It is winter at Nideck Point. Oak fires burn in the stately flickering hearths, and the community organizes its annual celebration of music and pageantry. But for Reuben Golding, now infused with the Wolf Gift, this promises to be a season like no other. He’s preparing to honor an ancient Midwinter festival with his fellow Morphenkinder—a secret gathering that takes place deep within the verdant recesses of the surrounding forests. However, Reuben is soon distracted by a ghost. Tormented, imploring, and unable to speak, it haunts the halls of the great mansion, drawing him toward a strange netherworld of new spirits, or “ageless ones.” And as the swirl of Nideck’s preparations reaches a fever pitch, they reveal their own dark magical powers.

I can't say that I enjoyed this series as much as I did Rice's Vampire Chronicles. I don't enjoy the characters as much. it is an interesting story however and while I don't invest in the characters, they are well written. If there's another book that finishes this series into a trilogy I'm sure I will read it.

Apr 14, 2016, 7:07pm Top

26. Messenger's Legacy - Peter V. Brett
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 140
Rating: 4 Stars

Briar Damaj is a boy of six in the small village of Bogton. Half-Krasian, the village children call him Mudboy for his dark skin. When tragedy strikes, Briar decides the town is better off without him, fleeing into the bog with nothing but his wits and a bit of herb lore to protect him. After twenty years, Ragen Messenger has agreed to retire and pass on his route to his protégé, Arlen Bales. But for all that he's earned the rest, he has no idea what to do with the rest of his life. When he learns Briar, the son of an old friend, is missing, Ragen is willing to risk any danger to bring him safely home.

This is a novella to read only if you've read the first three books of the Demon Cycle series by Brett, as there are some spoilers in this story. It also introduces Briar who makes an appearance in the fourth book of the series. It's a short read but interesting enough. It could probably have made a good full sized novel, but since it's connected to an already complex and huge series, it works as it is.

Apr 19, 2016, 2:28pm Top

27. Hold Me Closer - Daivd Levithan
Genre: GLBT, Romance, Play
Pages: 224
Rating: 3 Stars

Jazz hands at the ready! Tiny Cooper (“the world’s largest person who is also really, really gay”) stole readers’ hearts when he was introduced to the world in the New York Times bestselling book Will Grayson, Will Grayson, co-authored by John Green and David Levithan. Now Tiny finally gets to tell his story—from his fabulous birth and childhood to his quest for true love and his infamous parade of ex-boyfriends—the way he always intended: as a musical!

This was a really interesting book due to the fact that it's basically a musical script. This is part of why I didn't like the book as much as I might have. But it also makes it so unique, which is why I also like it so much. Tiny Cooper is quite a character.

Apr 19, 2016, 2:34pm Top

28. The Tale of the Body Theif - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 448
Rating: 5 Stars

For centuries, Lestat—vampire-hero, enchanter, seducer of mortals—has been a courted prince in the dark and flourishing universe of the living dead. Now he is alone. And in his overwhelming need to destroy his doubts and his loneliness, Lestat embarks on the most dangerous enterprise he has undertaken in all the years of his haunted existence.

There are parts in this book where the story dragged just a little. But otherwise, the story is just as exciting, if not more exciting than the previous book. Only Lestat can do this thing and overcome it again, go back to the dark world that he started in. I loved it. I loved the interaction between Lestat and David most of all. If I remember correctly after this point in the series, I started to like the books less. I'm hoping with this reread of the series, I will like them more, but we'll see. I'm really really excited to read the newest book Prince Lestat. Soon. The series is recommended if you enjoy vampire literature.

Apr 20, 2016, 3:22pm Top

>145 Kassilem: It seems this one is one of the least-liked in the series for most people, but I actually probably liked it the most. I don't remember much about why, since I read it an eternity ago.

Apr 23, 2016, 3:42pm Top

>146 ursula: It's my favorite too, but only just above the third book Queen of the Damned. I liked it just a tiny bit less this second time reading it than my first read through however. My least favorite of the whole series I think was Memnoch the Devil which I'm trying to reread now. I'm hoping a second reread through this one will make me like it more and, true, there are a lot of parts about it that I'd forgotten. But there seems to be a lot of unneeded dialogue and I have yet to figure out why most of it is important.

29. Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I was Gay, and That's When My Nightmare Began - Alex Cooper with Joanna Brooks
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 248
Rating: 4 Stars

When Alex Cooper was fifteen years old, life was pretty ordinary in her sleepy suburban town and nice Mormon family. At church and at home, Alex was taught that God had a plan for everyone. But something was gnawing at her that made her feel different. These feelings exploded when she met Yvette, a girl who made Alex feel alive in a new way, and with whom Alex would quickly fall in love. Alex knew she was holding a secret that could shatter her family, her church community, and her life. Yet when this secret couldn’t be hidden any longer, she told her parents that she was gay, and the nightmare began. She was driven from her home in Southern California to Utah, where, against her will, her parents handed her over to fellow Mormons who promised to save Alex from her homosexuality.

This was a very distressing book. I could feel myself trembling with the emotions of reading this book multiple times. It is also a book that is very very hard to put down. Not because I was thrilled or excited but because I just couldn't put the book down without seeing the resolution, without seeing that Alex was safe. I didn't feel good knowing I was going to read this book, I didn't feel good while reading it and I don't feel good, now, after having read it. But sometimes you have to read books like this. They open your eyes. They are evidence of how our world shifts and changes and how one case or one voice can help make those shifts happen. Having said all that, I struggled a little with this book on a different level, a writer-reader level. This was a retelling of something horrible, and I felt the horror, but I felt that there was a big lack of emotional connection here. I fully understand why this happened the way it did: Writing about something like this would be and was very emotionally difficult for the author and her ghost writer. That made the book come out with 'all tell and no show', as us writers like to phrase it. I think this happens often, when the point of the book is that it's message is more important that it's format. Nothing wrong with it, but it makes for a different type or reading. One I'm not keen on doing very often. Anyways, anyone can relate to this book I think, but some people more than others might take a lot from this if they gave it a chance.

Favorite Line:
'Here was someone who had spent eight months talking to me about God, morality, and heaven, and she was lying in court. If she was proud of her beliefs, proud of her methods, if she believed in everything she said and did, why did she feel she had to lie about it all?'

Apr 27, 2016, 7:56pm Top

30. The Liar's Key - Mark Lawrence
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 496
Rating: 4 Stars

After harrowing adventure and near-death, Prince Jalan Kendeth and the Viking Snorri ver Snagason find themselves in possession of Loki’s Key, an artefact capable of opening any door, and sought by the most dangerous beings in the Broken Empire—including The Dead King. Jal wants only to return home to his wine, women, and song, but Snorri has his own purpose for the key: to find the very door into death, throw it wide, and bring his family back into the land of the living. And as Snorri prepares for his quest to find death’s door, Jal’s grandmother, the Red Queen continues to manipulate kings and pawns towards an endgame of her own design.

These aren't necessarily quick reads. I do like them, but there's something there that holds me back from fully completely investing in the story. Maybe I'm missing some things, having read this series before Lawrence's first trilogy. Or maybe it's just the character Jalan. I can't place my finger on it. Regardless I thought the overall story was good, if a little drawn out due to the huge amount of travel done in this series. I did enjoy the ending. And the humor is fantastic in comic relief from the depressing plot. I finally got to this just in time for the third book to be ready to be published. Although I'll need a break between this one and that one.

Favorite Line:
A consequence of boredom is that a man is forced to look either to the future or the past, or sideways into his imagination.

These were bankers we were talking about, and I owed taxes. They’d hunt me to the ends of the earth!

Apr 28, 2016, 1:01am Top

31. Kamikaze Boys - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 365
Rating: 4 Stars

My name is Connor Williams and people say I'm crazy. But that's not who I am. They also think I'm straight, and mean, and dangerous. But that's not who I am. The stories people tell, all those legends which made me an outsider--they don't mean a thing. Only my mother and my younger brother matter to me. Funny then that I find myself wanting to stand up for someone else. David Henry, that kind-of-cute guy who keeps to himself, he's about to get his ass beat by a bunch of dudes bigger than him. I could look away, let him be one more causality of this cruel world... But that's not who I am. Kamikaze Boys is a story of love triumphant as two young men walk a perilous path in the hopes of saving each other.

I didn't like this book as much as I like Jay Bell's other books. Maybe because it was one of his earlier works? Or maybe I'm just enamored with the Something Like series that nothing else can compare to it. I liked these characters but the story seemed to drag just a bit until the last third of the book. For those who don't know, Conner appears in the Something Like Stories, so it was kind of cool to see him now and know how he got to the point he was in that short story. If you enjoy GLBT romance than you'll probably enjoy this one.

Apr 28, 2016, 7:39am Top

148: I have the original Broken Empire trilogy waiting to be read, so I'm skipping the summary for now, but I'm encouraged by the 4-star rating. :)

Apr 29, 2016, 11:05am Top

>150 Ape: I haven't read the original Broken Empire series yet but if they are as good or better than this series than they're really good. I've heard that they are.

32. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
Genre: Romance
Pages: 295
Rating: 5 Stars

The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project. But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

This book was so awesome. Finally a book about a person who has just as much problems with their emotions as I do, albeit in a different way. I loved how socially awkward Don was, because you usually don't see that in a fictional character to this extent. And yet he handles himself so well. I really enjoyed how this romance evolved and how it turned out. The fact that Don is a geneticist was a added bonus - something I want to do. Don is now one of my favorite lead characters. Highly recommended.

Favorite Line:
“And how could I be sure that other people were not doing the same—playing the game to be accepted but suspecting all the time that they were different?”

“Professor Tillman. Most of us here are not scientists, so you may need to be a little less technical.’ This sort of thing is incredibly annoying. People can tell you the supposed characteristics of a Gemini or a Taurus and will spend five days watching a cricket match, but cannot find the interest or the time to learn the basics of what they, as humans, are made up of.”

Apr 30, 2016, 10:37pm Top

33. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 288
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR- BBC's Best 100)

"Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today--let's hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren't yet to come.

An interesting idea here. Probably very much so for it's time, era before the world wars. It's interesting for me to read this now, while I'm also reading a book about what makes people happy. Because Huxley is talking about problems in which a society has made themselves happy and nothing else. I have to say that while I didn't dislike this book, I didn't really like it that much. But that's not why I'm reading these classical literature. A good classic that a lot of people should take the time to read.

Apr 30, 2016, 10:51pm Top

Reading Stats: April

Books: 13
Pages: 4,313

E-Book: 3
Dead Tree: 4
Audiobook: 6

TBR: 7
New: 2
Reread: 3
Recommended: 1

5 Stars: 4
4 Stars: 5
3 Stars: 4

Time Range:
1930-1939: 1
1980-1989: 2
1990-1999: 1
2010-2016: 9

Gothic Fantasy: 4
Romance: 4
Urban Fantasy: 2
Memoir: 1
Epic Fantasy: 1
High Fantasy: 1
Lit Classics: 1
Play: 1

Graphic Novels read: 5 ('GN Blog' can be found HERE)
Movies Watched: 4 ('Movie Blog' can be found HERE)

May 1, 2016, 8:28am Top

>151 Kassilem: Ah, The Rosie Project is such a fun book!

May 2, 2016, 9:04am Top

I haven't been by in far too long and I apologize - having missed your departure from Ghana and return home. Everything has been said, but I hope that now you've been home for several weeks, that you are feeling better.

May 2, 2016, 10:47pm Top

>154 foggidawn: It was! I think I saw that a movie is being made for it...

>155 sibyx: Thanks sibyx. I am feeling much better.

34. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex - Mary Roach
Genre: Non-Fiction, Science
Pages: 336
Rating: 3 Stars

Roach turns her outrageous curiosity and insight on the most alluring scientific subject of all: sex. Can a person think herself to orgasm? Why doesn't Viagra help women-or, for that matter, pandas? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Mary Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm-two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth-can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to make the bedroom a more satisfying place.

I wasn't as interested in this book as I thought I might be. I so liked Roach's Stiff book, but this one didn't catch my attention quite like that one did. It was so technical with so many words that assumed you knew genital anatomy. The title is spot on. This is all science. Nothing else. I listened to most of this book while doing yard work and never once felt distracted or embarrassed by the material speaking into my ear. So, I guess I got what I asked for, pulling this book off the bookshelf. Nothing else.

May 3, 2016, 4:10pm Top

>156 Kassilem: I felt similarly. She wasn't as entertaining with this one. Though the MRI machine bit has certainly stuck with me...

May 3, 2016, 6:14pm Top

I gave that one 5-stars. >_>

May 7, 2016, 2:49pm Top

>157 rosylibrarian: That is an aspect of the book I will never forget :) I;m hoping some of her other books on my list are more entertaining.

>158 Ape: :) I thought I would when I first started it but then it got too technical for me.

35. The Fairy Godmother - Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Fairytale, High Fantasy
Pages: 417
Rating: 4 Stars

Elena Klovis was supposed to be her kingdom's Cinderella--until fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! So she set out to make a new life for herself. But breaking with "The Tradition" was no easy matter--until she got a little help from her own fairy godmother. Who promptly offered Elena a most unexpected job. Now, instead of sleeping in the chimney. She has to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who keep trying to rise above their place in the tale. And there's one in particular who needs to be dealt with.

I enjoyed this story and the world it's built in. It was just slightly slow in the beginning but not in a bad way. It was necessary to see the history of Elena before she became a Godmother. But it does make it seem a little like two books in one. I really enjoy the aspect of The Tradition and what that makes for the story here. I didn't catch all the fairy-tale references but I'll go see if I can figure them out now. Similar to Lackey's other stories in the fact that there's always a happy ending and nothing too terrible happens, but different from what I'm used to from her as well. Enjoyable.

May 13, 2016, 1:37pm Top

Hi Melissa, I really enjoyed Mercedes Lackey's take on the Cinderella story when I read it last year. I plan to work through her Five Hundred Kingdoms series but so far I have only gotten through the next one, One Good Knight. At this rate it will take me a good few years to complete the series!

May 17, 2016, 11:14pm Top

>160 DeltaQueen50: :) It might take me a while to get through them too myself.

36. I Was Here - Gayle Forman
Genre: Gothic Fiction
Pages: 304
Rating: 3 Stars

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, and some secrets of his own. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I was warned beforehand that this new book of Forman's wasn't as good as her previous books. But it wasn't as bad as I was beginning to think it might be. It's a tough subject, depression. And especially in this case, how depression affects those around the person effected by the illness. I guess the problem I had with this book in the end was that I didn't really like Cody all that much. But other than that it was a pretty solid story and read.

May 19, 2016, 1:08pm Top

37. Wonder - R. J. Palacio
Genre: Gothic Fiction
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 Stars

The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement. August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

This was a great book. I worried a little when I realized it was a juvenile children's book that it would be too young for me. But it wasn't. This is a book that anyone, of any age, can read and enjoy. It's got very good messages, but the messages are subtle, not necessarily spelled out, which I liked. These parents are amazing. And August is pretty amazing himself. Highly recommended for everyone.

Favorite Line:
“Jack, sometimes you don't have to be mean to hurt someone.”

May 21, 2016, 6:46pm Top

Hi Melissa! I am taking advantage of sub par weather this weekend to get caught up with some threads. So happy to see you enjoyed The Rosie Project! That was a gem of a read for me. A close comparison that I can recommend - if you are on the lookout for similar books is Border Songs by Jim Lynch.

Hope all is well with you and wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Not sure why Border Songs brings up the touchstone for Macbeth... just one of those wonderful anomalies of LT.

May 21, 2016, 10:50pm Top

Melissa, it is good to see you settled back in the US ~ what are your future plans now, or are you taking a well earned rest first?

Have a lovely weekend?

May 23, 2016, 5:51pm Top

>163 lkernagh: Sounds like an interesting book! Is it set in Australia? I'm beginning to see a trend forming. All the books that I've read that are set in Australia are fantastic books! I'm currently reading Big Little Lies and it's the same type of awesomeness.

>164 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul. I'm taking a rest at the moment. I'm going on a summer vacation across the country in another week or so, so I'm leaving the big decisions till after then. I'm working on taking small steps. :) The weekend was nice. My sister turned 21 so the family all went to paint ceramics with her. Hope life is treating you well. Did you travel to Africa yet?

May 24, 2016, 11:10pm Top

38. Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty
Genre: Chick Lit, Mystery
Pages: 512
Rating: 5 Stars

Big Little Lies focuses on three women, all of whom have children at the same preschool. One is a great beauty married to a fabulously rich businessman; they have a “perfect” set of twins. One is the can-do mom who can put together a mean pre-school art project but can’t prevent her teenage daughter from preferring her divorced dad. The third is a withdrawn, single mother who doesn’t quite fit in. Right from the start--thanks to a modern “Greek chorus” that narrates the action--we know that someone is going to end up dead. The questions are who and how.

Wow! I had no idea what a jem of a book this would be. Is there something about books set in Australia? This is a very domestic, motherhood type of story but with the reader being aware from the very beginning that a murder is going to happen at the end. That puts a lot of spice into it. Even without that however, it would have been a great book. I loved the characters. And I loved how... true? it holds. We all lie, to others and to ourselves. Sometimes they are only small lies that we don't think matter all that much in the big picture. But, alas. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they can lead to something really terrible. I will definetly be reading more (maybe all!) of Liane Moriarty's books. I really enjoyed this book.

Favorite Line:
“All conflict can be traced back to someone’s feelings getting hurt, don’t you think?”

May 25, 2016, 5:16pm Top

Hi Melissa, it's great to see you give Big Little Lies 5 stars as I am going to be reading it next month. Well, perhaps I should say I am going to listen to the book as I have the audio version all ready to go.

May 30, 2016, 11:10pm Top

>167 DeltaQueen50: I did the audio version. It helped make the book what it was for me. Did you know they are in the process of making a TV show based off of the book? It's supposed to come out in 2017.

39. The Geography of Bliss - Eric Weiner
Genre: Memoir, Travel, Psychology
Pages: 342
Rating: 4 Stars
(Book Club)

Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness." The book uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. Are people in Switzerland happier because it is the most democratic country in the world? Do citizens of Qatar, awash in petrodollars, find joy in all that cash? Is the King of Bhutan a visionary for his initiative to calculate Gross National Happiness? Why is Asheville, North Carolina so damn happy? With engaging wit and surprising insights, Eric Weiner answers those questions and many others, offering travelers of all moods some interesting new ideas for sunnier destinations and dispositions.

This was a pretty great book. The humor part of Weiner's narrative was charming in the beginning but began to get old towards the end. However, I really enjoyed learning about the different cultures. The culture of Iceland is so appealing! But it wasn't just the culture, it was the different levels of happiness in each culture that was fascinating. In some cultures/countries people were very happy, in others they weren't at all. The book tries to analyze why there's these differences which make a bunch of sense when you take the time to think about it. This is a thought provoking book and a great read if you're interesting in the concept of happiness.

Favorite Line:
“Our happiness is completely and utterly intertwined with other people: family and friends and neighbors and the woman you hardly notice who cleans your office. Happiness is not a noun or verb. It's a conjunction. Connective tissue.”

“Maybe happiness is this: not feeling that you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.”

May 30, 2016, 11:20pm Top

40. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 196
Rating: 4 Stars
(TBR - BBC's Best 100)

On his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever. One by one, Eddie's five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life.

I really enjoyed that this book shows how people effect one another and how they effect where people end up. I also liked how Eddie got to realize the meaning of his life and the good his life did for others, even when he didn't realize he was helping others. I don't believe in fate or destiny, but it is a nice thought that things happen to put us in a place where we are able to help others. I think this book has the subtle message that we can do this while alive too - to be aware of how we are affecting people (positively and negatively). A good read.

Favorite Line:
“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”

May 31, 2016, 12:04am Top

>168 Kassilem: I am now 9 hours into Big Little Lies and I am totally captivated by this story! I also have already gone to audio.com and ordered myself another Liane Moriarty book read by the same person, Carolyn Lee.

Oh, I would love to see a TV show based on this book. I love the characters.

May 31, 2016, 11:07am Top

>161 Kassilem: I know I read that one, but I have no memory of it.

>162 Kassilem: This one was very moving.

>168 Kassilem: I need to get to this one. It's been on my TBR list for awhile.

Edited: Jun 2, 2016, 3:21pm Top

Reading Stats: May

Books: 7
Pages: 2,427

Dead Tree: 2
Audiobook: 5

TBR: 6
Book Club: 1
Walk By-Pick Up:

5 Stars: 1
4 Stars: 6

Time Range:
2000-2009: 4
2010-2016: 3

Gothic Fiction: 2
Urban Fantasy: 1
High Fantasy: 1
Non-Fiction: 1
Science: 1
Fairy tales: 1
Mystery: 1
Chick Lit: 1
Psychology: 1
Memoir: 1
Travel: 1

Graphic Novels read: 0 ('GN Blog' can be found HERE)
Movies Watched: 7 ('Movie Blog' can be found HERE)

Jun 2, 2016, 3:22pm Top

.170 You're probably done with the book now :) I am also looking at finding her other books because I enjoyed that one so much.

>171 rosylibrarian: The first book you mention was an okay book. Nothing special which is probably why you don't remember it. The other two are pretty good.

41. Packing For Mars - Mary Roach
Genre: Non-Fiction, Science
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.

This gets a four star because it's so interesting. But it is a low four star because the interest wasn't a WOW interest, it was a interesting interest. There was a little too much focus on all that defecating and vomiting in space for my like. Interesting. But a little revolting at the same time. There is a lot about space travel that I had no knowledge of so this was a all new for me. I do like that Roach finds curious topics like these and writes books about them.

Jun 2, 2016, 8:28pm Top

>173 Kassilem: Yeah, I'm with you on this one. Packing for Mars was good, but not her best.

Jun 12, 2016, 11:08am Top

Popping in to wish you a happy Sunday!

Jun 14, 2016, 11:23am Top

>174 rosylibrarian: Yea... I'm wondering if that's going to be true for the rest of her books. I really loved her debut: Stiff. But the rest haven't lived up to that one. Thanks for stopping by so often! I don't get around here much anymore beyond cursory glances and my own reviews.

>175 Thebookdiva: Thanks Abigail! I'm currently on a road trip with my parents and younger brother so Sunday was actually pretty awesome. We were in Alberquerque, NM walking around Oldwtown before we went up into the mountains to have dinner. Hope you had a great weekend as well.

42. The Magician's Nephew - C. S. Lewis
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 221
Rating: 3 Stars

On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan's song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible.

When you and you'r family are on a long road trip and need a book series that everyone is willing to listen to (and you've already done a Harry Potter book series) you end up with the Narnia Chronicles. The last time I listened to these books was when my mother read them to me just before bedtime when I was six or seven. So granted, there is a lot of things I don't remember about this series. I can't say that I completely enjoyed this one as much as I had hoped. The christian influence was very heavy for me. I tried to convince myself that I should just look at it as a fantasy story - that's what it is after all. But religion has been on my mind a lot lately since I'm currently reading a book about religious delusions at the moment. I am, however, glad that I've getting this chance to go through these books again as an adult, to fully appreciate them for what they are.

Jun 14, 2016, 11:29am Top

43. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 208
Rating: 3 Stars

Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

I never realized how short these books were until I started listening to them on this road trip. When you're younger they seemed so much longer. They also seemed much more richer in detail. Now, they seem fairly simple. But charming. I can see why they are still a classic. I was never one of those children who read the series young and fell in love with the story and wanted to find my own Narnia, but I can see why, in it's time era, it might have had that effect on children. On to the next book in the series, the one - if my memory is true- that is my favorite of the whole series.

Jun 18, 2016, 12:38pm Top

44. The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Genre: Non-Fiction, Science
Pages: 464
Rating: 4 Stars

With rigor and wit, Dawkins examines God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong but potentially deadly.

Not quite what I was hoping for, but about what I expected. The middle part of the book was very technical with a lot of scientific terminology. There were a few parts that I had to read a few times before I understood and I have a undergraduate degree in this kind of of science, so for the layperson, these parts might be a bit of a challenge. The rest of the book, the beginning and end, is much easier to understand - and more aggressive. Dawkin's explains why he takes the aggressive stance here and I ended up not minding it as much as I worried I would. This is something I feel I can back and support. I feel now like I have some arguments I can use when I'm subjected to a religious diatribe. Before, I knew what I wanted to defend and what I felt was plain wrong, but I was never able to quite find the words to counter with. Trying to explain my lack of religion didn't bother me much before, not until I spent a year in Africa in a community where one's religion was the first question strangers asked each other. And if you can't back up your lack of belief, well then, you are in for some nasty judgement. Due to this experience, I will most likely be spending a lot of time on books like this. I believe this was a pretty good start.

Favorite Line:
'We humans give ourselves such airs, even aggrandizing our poky little 'sins' to the level of cosmic significance.'

'The unmistakable trademark of the faith-based moralizer is to care passionately about what other people do (or even think) in private.'

'There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else (parents in the case of children, God int he case of adults) has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point. It is all of a piece with the infantilism of those who, the moment they twists their ankle, look around for someone to sue. Somebody else must be responsible for my well-being, and somebody else must be to blame if I am hurt.'

Jun 18, 2016, 1:13pm Top

178: I've considered reading this many times, but I tend to get annoyed by preachy books, if if I'm in agreement with what is being preached. Maybe someday, though? :)

Jun 18, 2016, 1:34pm Top

>178 Kassilem: Nice review of The God Delusion, I think I would like to read it too.

Jun 20, 2016, 1:11pm Top

I apologize for my lack of response to your question until now Melissa. I have just started get caught up with some threads.

Border Songs is set in Washington State and BC, where the main character is a US customs border guard.

Happy Monday!

Jun 22, 2016, 11:19am Top

>179 Ape: I worried about that a little too because I really don't like preachy books. But I guess I'm less bothered with the books I agree with, because this one didn't really rub me the wrong way like I worried it would. There were parts in here that could be taken as preachy if you don't agree, however. It is a bit hostile.

>180 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. :) It's definitely an interesting read.

>181 lkernagh: No worries! Border Songs is now on the TBR list.

45. Marked in Flesh - Anne Bishop
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating: 4 Stars

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others changed. Some, like Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn, see the new, closer companionship as beneficial—both personally and practically. But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others—and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs.

This was a good addition to the series. It ties up a lot of loose ends that have been hanging since the beginning of the series. However I don't think that this is the end. The ending makes me think there will be another book dedicated to the budding romance between Simon and Meg. At least I hope there is. :) This story didn't seem very long but most of that was because the whole book was a lead up to the ending where the Others extracted their punishment. Very page-turning even when not much was happened because you knew what was coming. Looking forward to more.

Edited: Jun 22, 2016, 12:11pm Top

>178 Kassilem: Melissa, if you are going to be reading in this area, may I recommend the bookends by Karen Armstrong, A History of God and The Case for God, as well as A God that could be Real by Nancy Abrams. The last book has some weaknesses but its strength is in analyzing what the nature of a god would look like that is consistent with the latest of what we know about physics. Of the first two books, the first was written when Armstrong had pretty much rejected her religious upbringing, and the latter when, as a result of her extensive research into the religions of the world, she had come to once again thing there might be a God.

Edited: Jun 23, 2016, 5:28pm Top

182: I'm okay with hostility, the problem is I'm such a contrarian that if I say something and someone agrees, I'm tempted to change my mind and argue against what I just said just to be a hassle. :P

I still remember a line from The Stand, I'm heavily paraphrasing but it was something along the lines of "He was being so contradictory that if someone said firetrucks are red, he'd make the argument that most were actually neon yellow." Yep, that sounds like me...

Jun 24, 2016, 10:04am Top

>183 ronincats: Thanks for the recommendations Roni! The first two look like something I should pick up, definitely. I can't say for sure, just by looking at the summary and reviews, that I'll find them to my liking but I think perhaps I might. And if nothing else, the first one for sure would be a great history lesson (something I've been thinking of trying to find). No promises on the third one, but perhaps eventually I'll branch out into that kind of thing. :)

>184 Ape: Ah, I see how it goes. :) PS. I've got that book by King on my itunes deck. Trying to find the right time for the 50+ hr listen.

46. Blood Kiss - J. R. Ward
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 412
Rating: 4 Stars

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself...be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated.

Once again, Ward has a way of making me invest in characters I think I won't care all that much for. I wasn't thrilled to be reading about some aristocrat named Paradise, but, like Marissa, I came to like her. And of course I got a little dose of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. There was much less than I'd hoped - probably because this is a side story and nothing too dramatic can happen to the characters that mostly belong to the original series. I was glad that half of this story revolved around butch and Marissa. That was something else Ward always did well with - alternating between two or three story lines in each book, so that there's always something interesting going on with no real lags. I'm pretty excited to get on to the other new book, the newest Black Dagger Brotherhood, but I think this new smaller series of a newer generation might take off as well. I must do a reread of the whole series soon.

Favorite Line:
'We are every age we have ever been at each moment in our lives, We carry it all with us like luggage.'

Jun 26, 2016, 11:47am Top

47. The Beast - J. R. Ward
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 528
Rating: 5 Stars

For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him. And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world...and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from.

Loved it. But I always love these books. The summary makes it seem like the story is only about Rhage and Mary and that it climaxes with the resolution to the conflict summarized. But actually, the story is about some many other story lines as well. And the conflict climaxes about half way through the book - again, because there is so much more to this story than just that one conflict. Having it that way always keeps me on my toes and wanting more. 12 hr car yesterday day? No problem. I just opened this up and was content the whole trip. Onto the buy list it goes. And another anxious wait for the next book to come out next year.

Jul 1, 2016, 6:19pm Top

Reading Stats: June

Books: 7
Pages: 2,585

E-Book: 4
Audiobook: 3

TBR: 1
New: 3
Reread: 2
Walk By-Pick Up: 1

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

Time Range:
1950-1959: 2
2000-2009: 1
2010-2016: 4

Urban Fantasy: 3
Epic Fantasy: 2
Romance: 2
Non-Fiction: 2
Science: 2

Graphic Novels read: 3 ('GN Blog' can be found HERE)
Movies Watched: 6 ('Movie Blog' can be found HERE)

Jul 2, 2016, 11:18pm Top

48. Calamity - Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 Stars

David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when Prof struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Once the Reckoners’ leader, Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back. But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

Oh no! The series is done? Man, I was hoping for more after this; I've come to really like these characters. As an ending to a series, I feel like it needed just a little more, an epilogue or something. But maybe that's just me. I just really wanted to see David in action. But I suppose that would be a whole different kind of story. Maybe a sequel series sometime in the future? When I first pick these books up I get a little worried because of the more juvenile feel to them than some of Sanderson's other works, but it doesn't take me long to just get sucked in and all the worry goes away. They hook me, pull me in, make me smirk and laugh and bite my nails. I love the unanticipated moments - those are the best. Anyways, a great series that I'm sorry to see the end of.

Jul 4, 2016, 1:56pm Top

Edited: Jul 4, 2016, 8:31pm Top

>189 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul! You too.

49. Memnoch the Devil - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 432
Rating: 3 Stars

Having survived his near-fatal reacquaintance with human mortality in The Tale of the Body Thief (1992), the world-weary vampire Lestat is recruited by the biblical Devil, Memnoch, to help fight a cruel and negligent God. The bulk of the novel is a retelling of the Creation story from the point of view of the fallen angel, who blames his damnation on his refusal to accept human suffering as part of God's divine plan.

This was a hard book to get through for the first half. Part of this was the fact that I felt like too much time was spent on things that didn't matter in the long run. But part of it was that I remembered not liking this book when I read it for the first time long ago. I wasn't interested in reading a creation story. But this time around I found that, while I didn't love it, I did appreciate it much more as a good story told. And actually, I did find it a fascinating, this version of the classic tale: this idea of a negligent god. I also kind of enjoyed the revelations part where Memnoch goes through the big steps of evolution, abet in a intelligent design fashion. In the end, I think I enjoyed the book quite a bit, even though it stands as totally different from the first four books in this series.

Edited: Jul 6, 2016, 2:48pm Top

50. Of Mice and Man - John Steinbeck
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 112
Rating: 2 Stars
(TBR-BBCs Best 100)

hey are an unlikely pair: George is "small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation. George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

This is probably a good book for discussion, but ultimately, I didn't like it. I struggled a lot to find motivation to even finish this book even with its short length. I didn't like the ending, nor the prevalent negativity throughout the story. I understand that this was written during the Great Depression, so in context it makes sense, but I wasn't in the mood for it. Maybe if the book had taken longer to develop the characters I would have cared about them more, but I doubt it. Not a book for me.

Jul 9, 2016, 8:20pm Top

51. The Martian - Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 387
Rating: 4 Stars

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

This was a pretty cool book. Very nerdy which I like, but also pretty action packed. There's a lot of math and physics and chemistry in this book - a lot of which I didn't understand at all no matter how layman like it tried to be. You can only dumb down the science of being in space so far. I was unfortunately beneath that bar. But I didn't like it took away from my enjoyment of the story. Sure I couldn't understand why Watney did this reaction and that reaction and how things ultimately worked for him or didn't, but I got the story of survival, and that was the key story. Which I really enjoyed. Mostly because it's a survival story and I like those kinds of stories, and also because of it's setting. Come on, surviving on Mars. That's a total new one and one that fits this day and age. Very good book, like everyone has been saying. Probably not going to end up on my personal shelves, but I have to raise a glass to this one.

Favorite Line:
'Just think of the playground cred he'll have later in life," she said. '"My dad went to Mars. What's your dad do?"'

Jul 11, 2016, 11:24am Top

>192 Kassilem: Loved that book. I thought the movie was decent too.

Jul 20, 2016, 9:47pm Top

>193 Oberon: I watched the movie right after finishing the book which might have been a mistake. The movie couldn't compare at all for me. :/

52. The Bands of Mourning - Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 448
Rating: 4 Stars

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metalminds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

These stories are always so full of action. It makes it easy and fun to read through these quickly. And the story is very good. I was trying to pay attention to the writing this time to see how Sanderson does it - write this many books in such a short time frame. There is less descriptive narration than I originally thought. But I think the story does so well overshadowing that fact that it doesn't matter. And it's not done yet. There's going to be one more book to this series. But not until after the third book in the Stormlight series comes out - which I'm way excited for! Anyways, great book to a great series from a great author.

Favorite Line:
"She assumes," Wax said, "that our detective style isn't normally the punchy-punchy, stabby-stabby type."
"To be fair," Wayne said, "it's usually a more shooty-shooty, whacky-whacky type."

Jul 24, 2016, 10:34pm Top

53. Morning Star - Pierce Brown
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 544
Rating: 4 Stars

Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within. Finally, the time has come. But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

Wow. What an ending. This was a difficult ending to pull off, so first off, props to Brown for pulling it off. I'm not as into space science fiction as I wish I was, so parts of this series didn't appeal to me, but the story pulled me along anyways, hooked and biting my nails. The story made this what it was - the friendship and love and betrayal and pain. This is set in a brutal world and this story's war is won by brutal ends. There was real grief and terror to this story and the cruelty of the world it's set in. It's very real and it's ugly where friend fights against friend. The name of the genre nowadays I suppose. But the ugliness of it all makes for a very engaging plot. I think overall, I enjoyed the first and second book the most. The way Brown handles the characters in this last installment felt different than the previous two volumes. The series as a whole, however gets a nod from me. It'll probably make it's way on my bookshelves.

Favorite Line:
'In war, men lose what makes them great. Their creativity. Their wisdom. Their joy. All that's left is their utility.'

Jul 25, 2016, 9:12pm Top

54. The Vampire Armand - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 457
Rating: 4 Stars

In the latest installment of The Vampire Chronicles, Anne Rice summons up dazzling worlds to bring us the story of Armand - eternally young, with the face of a Botticelli angel. We go with Armand across the centuries to the Kiev Rus of his boyhood - a ruined city under Mongol dominion - and to ancient Constantinople, where Tartar raiders sell him into slavery. And in a magnificent palazzo in the Venice of the Renaissance we see him emotionally and intellectually in thrall to the great vampire Marius, who masquerades among humankind as a mysterious, reclusive painter and who will bestow upon Armand the gift of vampiric blood.

As with the previous book I enjoyed this story more during this reread than I did when I first read it years ago. Then, I was enamored with Lestat and only felt annoyed at all the other story. This time I was able to really fall into Armand's story. There are still parts of Rice's writing that I scan over - the flowery descriptions of the landscape for instance. You can certainly see her as an author warring with her own beliefs in these last few books. It shows in her character's widely different beliefs. Great series! So on I go to plow through the rest of the books.

Jul 26, 2016, 11:50am Top

>194 Kassilem: I've really enjoyed Sanderson's Mistborn series too and now I'm caught up I'm impatient for the next one!

Jul 28, 2016, 12:23am Top

>197 souloftherose: I'm impatient too! But I hear that before the next and last Mistborm book comes out, the third book of Sanderson's Stormlight series will come out and I'm WAY excited for that one too. Sanderson is a super writer - pumping out as many books as he does so quickly.

55. Blood and Gold - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 576
Rating: 4 Stars

Once a proud Senator in Imperial Rome, Marius is kidnapped and forced into that dark realm of blood, where he is made a protector of the Queen and King of the vampires–in whom the core of the supernatural race resides. Through his eyes we see the fall of pagan Rome to the Emperor Constantine, the horrific sack of the Eternal City at the hands of the Visigoths, and the vile aftermath of the Black Death. Ultimately restored by the beauty of the Renaissance, Marius becomes a painter, living dangerously yet happily among mortals, and giving his heart to the great master Botticelli, to the bewitching courtesan Bianca, and to the mysterious young apprentice Armand. But it is in the present day, deep in the jungle, when Marius will meet his fate seeking justice from the oldest vampires in the world.

I liked this volume a lot, maybe more than the story of Armand. The story of Armand was sensual, erotic almost. Marius's story is historical. I loved how much history and culture was in this volume. I do find it interesting that the same conversation, told by Armand first and then Marius in this volume could be so different. At first it bothered me a lot. Why would Armand say Marius said or did something, but then Marius says he didn't or that something completely different happened. Finally I decided that Rice wasn't referring back to her earlier writing as reference. And then I decided that maybe it was deliberate - a way of showing that different people see things differently and see different things as important or not. Whether or not that is the case, I am actually very interested in the differences now. Put yourself in the shoes of an immortal. Of course small details disappear. Imagine them thinking back thousands of years and trying to remember what was said or not. No, it would be more that they took away from the events. I'm having too much fun with these books. :) And now that I've gotten Armand and Marius' stories out of the way I feel that I now have to read Pandora's story, since hers is so intertwined with these two. So off I go!

Edited: Jul 29, 2016, 10:57am Top

56. Pandora - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 353
Rating: 4 Stars
(Spur of Moment)

Pandora begins, reluctantly at first and then with increasing passion, to recount her mesmerizing tale, which takes us through the ages, from Imperial Rome to eighteenth-century France to twentieth-century Paris and New Orleans. She carries us back to her mortal girlhood in the world of Caesar Augustus, a world chronicled by Ovid and Petronius. This is where Pandora meets and falls in love with the handsome, charismatic, lighthearted, still-mortal Marius. This is the Rome she is forced to flee in fear of assassination by conspirators plotting to take over the city. And we follow her to the exotic port of Antioch, where she is destined to be reunited with Marius, now immortal and haunted by his vampire nature, who will bestow on her the Dark Gift as they set out on the fraught and fantastic adventure of their two turbulent centuries together.

I was right to read this after reading Blood and Gold and before Prince Lestat. You would think that reading the books where character's stories intertwine one after the other might become monotonous. But not with Anne Rice. Each character's point of view is always different than what you heard from another character. I liked this volume a lot because it was historical - like Marius', set in ancient Rome and Antioch. I also liked Pandora as a woman. And while I expected more to Pandora's story, such as her later life after her journey with Marius, what was revealed was great.

Favorite Line:
'Television at times seems an unbroken series of gladiatorial fights or massacres. And look at the traffic now in video recordings of actual war. Records of war have become art and entertainment.'

Jul 30, 2016, 12:47pm Top

Anne Rice can get double the stars of John Steinbeck, Melissa? Wow. Must admit that vampire novels started and finished for me with Bram Stoker and after reading Prince Lestat I have avoided them like they would garlic, holy water or stakes through the heart.

LT is brilliant in that none of our judgements are right or wrong; they are our own and always interesting. xx

Have a great weekend.

Jul 30, 2016, 6:06pm Top

>200 PaulCranswick: ;) Yes, I like what I like and I don't like what I don't like. I accepted that a long time ago. I also like that about LT; that people don't judge me based on my reading interests/obsessions/etc. And I've always been a sucker for vampires and the supernatural.

57. Prince Lestat - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 608
Rating: 3 Stars

Old vampires, roused from deep slumber in the earth, are doing the bidding of a Voice commanding that they indiscriminately burn their kin in cities across the globe, from Paris to Mumbai, Hong Kong to San Francisco. Left with little time to spare, a host of familiar characters including Louis de Pointe du Lac, Armand, and even the vampire Lestat, must embark on a journey to discover who—or what—is driving this mysterious being.

Man... I really wanted to love this book. I've had a lot of fun (mostly) rereading most of the Vampire Chronicles to get myself up to reading this newest volume in the series. But, reading this volume, I find not so much love and adoration but only a "eh..." I zipped through the book because I do love these characters, and I enjoyed seeing them in another book. I liked all the different perspectives. I also liked seeing so many 'Children of Millennia' vampires in this volume. However, everyone was SOOO 2-dimensional. I'm used to seeing these characters with great depth and emotions. I didn't feel like there was much emotion here. Not enough, at least, for this series. I really hope this is just a one book fluke and any others written after this will pick up the greatness of the earlier volumes, because this one really disappointed me in the end. :(

Jul 30, 2016, 6:16pm Top

Reading Stats: July

Books: 10
Pages: 4,349

E-Book: 9
Audiobook: 1

TBR: 2
New: 4
Reread: 3
Walk By-Pick Up: 1

5 Stars: 0
4 Stars: 7
3 Stars: 2
2 Stars: 1

Time Range:
1990-1999: 4
2000-2009: 1
2010-2016: 5

Gothic Fantasy: 5
Science Fiction: 1
Urban Fantasy: 1
Epic Fantasy: 1
Lit Classic: 1
Dystopia: 1

Graphic Novels read: 0 ('GN Blog' can be found HERE)
Movies Watched: 7 ('Movie Blog' can be found HERE)

Aug 2, 2016, 12:19pm Top

>198 Kassilem: I haven't tried the Stormlight series yet but if a third book's on the way that gives me a good excuse to start!

Edited: Aug 3, 2016, 6:48pm Top

>203 souloftherose: I love the series! However i will warn you the 3rd book will not be the last in that series. It's supposed to be another long 10-book series.

58. Fire Touched - Patricia Briggs
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 Stars

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae. Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

This was shorter and less climactic than I was expecting. I guess I was getting used to Mercy getting injured all the time in all her hero-escapades. She's still one of my favorite heroines, but she seemed a little two dimensional in this latest volume, not at all like the bad ass she was in the last volume Night Broken. I'm chalking it up to a 'middle book' slump. Because the next book is already scheduled to come out next March and it looks like that one is going to be a good one. Fingers crossed. I still enjoyed this story and of course I loved all the characters, but there seemed to be something missing here. PS. I love the cover art on these books.

Aug 5, 2016, 3:48pm Top

59. You Know Me Well - David Levithan & Nina LaCour
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 256
Rating: 4 Stars

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really? Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed. That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way. When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

This is another great young adult GLBT book. I would definitely recommend it to any young read (any reader, actually) that enjoys literature about this topic. There's some good inspiration in here for young gay youths who are struggling. I also liked that Kate's and Mark's journey's were more than just finding romance but about finding themselves too. Not too short, but not too long - I felt this was the perfect length for the story. And not too detailed or involved, but just right with it's week snapshot. Keep them coming Levithan!

Aug 6, 2016, 5:07pm Top

60. The Raven King - Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 448
Rating: 4 Stars

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

That summary is lacking a lot. This is the finally book to the series and a whole lot of shit happens. As endings go, it was a good ending. All the loose ends I can think of were concluded. There was a happy ending, even if I'm not quite sure exactly the mechanics of how that happened. Some romance even founds it's way through the cracks. I was not expecting that with Ronan and Adam because I don't think I got any hint about it at all before, but it had a nice ring to it there at the end. The magic part of the series was intense in the beginning of this last book and I felt it was almost overwhelming me at times with it's intensity. I think I would recommend reading these books closely together so that the intricacies of the magic don't keep taking you by surprised. It's been an adventure, and now it's over. But I will be keeping an eye on Stiefvater to see what she comes up with next.

Aug 7, 2016, 5:26pm Top

61. Something Like Rain - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 470
Rating: 5 Stars

Nice guys finish last, but that doesn’t mean they give up the fight. Sometimes it’s necessary to keep trudging through the rain in the hopes of finding a break in the clouds. William Townson is a good person. He’s kind, considerate, and the last thing he ever wanted was to hurt anyone. Accidents happen though, and when they do, all that can be done is to pick up the pieces. For William, this means trying to hold together a stagnant relationship while resisting the temptation of Jason Grant, a young man with eyes just as intense as his love. Only the future can promise redemption for mistakes of the past, forcing William to choose between the Coast Guard and the needs of his heart. Can he find his way through the downpour to somewhere warm and dry?

I don't think I could not love these books. Although I will admit that perhaps it's better to read them slightly apart then reading them one after the other. This is because a lot of conversations will be the same ones as in previous books since the books are about character's whose life revolve around each other. I really love these characters. In this one, William is the focus. I wondered how I'd react with William because of what he ends up doing to Kelly. The action itself doesn't sit well with me, but like always, Jay Bell makes you love the characters. He makes them human and fallible so that you can't help but forgive them for things they do to those they love. I really like the character development that always plays out in these books as well. Now I'm curious though. We've come a full circle of the characters again. Who else will Jay Bell write about? Someone new? That would be a real treat.

Aug 9, 2016, 1:16am Top

62. Remember My Name - Chase Potter
Genre: GLBT, Boy Lit
Pages: 264
Rating: 3 Stars

Every action can have devastating consequences. For Jackson Roanoke, the greatest consequence of his parents’ divorce was watching his mother drive away with his twin brother Ben, putting thousands of miles between them. Brought together by circumstance, the estranged brothers are forced to navigate a relationship that persists only in their memories. Marked by the heat of a Midwest summer and rolling wheat fields, the short months are punctuated by scattered moments of closeness between the two brothers, hinting at the possibility of rekindling the connection they once shared.

This is a book that's on Jay Bell's recommendation list and it's been floating around on my kindle for a few months at least. So after reading Something Like Rain, I thought I'd give this book a go. It was probably a bad idea to read it right after that one that I loved so much but not much can compare to it. This one was not bad. I liked that it was story not centered around the GLBT issue but a story that only incorporated it. But the story didn't pull me in. I felt fairly distant from the characters throughout the book and the ending was very generic and unassuming. It was mediocre for me.

Edited: Aug 10, 2016, 10:38pm Top

63. Age of Myth - Michael J. Sullivan
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 Stars

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer. Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom. And Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.

It took me a little bit to fully get into this book. I like that Sullivan spent so much time introducing us to his characters - because that can lead to great character development - but it did make for a slow beginning. The second half of the book just flew by however. I am interested in seeing where this story is going. It seems a little predictable at times but then you realize that it's not really. I'm enjoying all the characters too. I'll definitely be reading the next book. And if I'm not mistaken all the books are already written so we should be seeing a book out each year.

Favorite Line:
"Fulfillment comes from striving to succeed, to survive by your own wits and strength."

Edited: Aug 11, 2016, 6:21pm Top

64. Fin&Matt - Charlie Winters
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 236
Rating: 3 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Fin MacAuliffe had always been less than masculine; never truly confident enough to be himself. He’d long known he was gay – he’d just never shared it with anyone, not even his own free-thinking, liberal parents. Sure, they knew. Yet, they never quite gave up on linking him to some respectable girl with good genes and a generous bank account. The only true thing he longed for was companionship. After dragging himself back home to Missouri after graduation, Fin prepared to start his adult life – beginning with taking a new job as a music teacher at a private school. He was set, at least by the traditional standards. On his very first day, he saw him... If there was a God, he made Matt DiFiore personally.

This... was a little unrealistic. Sweet at times and cute, but totally unrealistic. It was rushed too. I can't decide if that's the case because the writing wasn't good enough to accommodate more or if that was intentional. I'm skating closer to the former. And there was an awful lot of corny sex. I'm not even sure while this book was on my kindle or why I put it there months ago. However, like I said, it was cute. Thus the three star rating and not a two star.

Aug 13, 2016, 4:09pm Top

65. The Angels' Share - J. R. Ward
Genre: Romance
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 Stars

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself. Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners?

It's the characters I like in this series. And the narrator does them well - although I swear the narrator for this second book was different than the narrator for the first book. The characters are what make the story for me. The actual story - the intrigue, the lies, the romance, that's all secondary. I expected more of Maxwell after reading the summary but his story didn't seem to beginning all the much. I assume that will be coming in the next installment. Which I will be waiting for, like I wait for all of J. R. Ward's book these days. :)

Aug 15, 2016, 11:14pm Top

66. The Rebel - J. R. Ward
Genre: Romance
Pages: 304
Rating: 4 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Nate Walker has never shied away from the hard road. Even when it meant leaving behind his family's wealth and the fiancée who only wanted a rich man. Nothing was going to stop him from opening his own five-star restaurant.
And he was on his way—until his car broke down on a dark road in the Adirondacks, leading him right to White Caps Inn… and Frankie Moorehouse. Suddenly Nate has a job he doesn't really need—and an affair that has to end when summer does. Except Frankie has a way about her. She gets under his skin. She even makes him want to do what he never thought he could: stay forever.

Because I've enjoyed all of J R Ward's works, I decided to see what I thought of her really early works. This series was originally under a different pseudonym but they're being republished under her newest pseudonym - Ward. I was surprised by this book. There was much less sex than I expected. But the emphasis was more on the story instead which I liked. I didn't get into her characters like I do will the stuff she writes now but the story was solid and likable. I'm not feeling any hurry to go grab the next book or anything, but eventually I'm sure I'll make my way through this series completely.

Aug 17, 2016, 6:33pm Top

67. Watership Down - Richard Adams
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 476
Rating: 3 Stars
(Best 20th c. Fantasy)

Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage, and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.

I'm not usually into stories about anthropomorphic animals. But I can definitely see why this turned out to be a classic. I could easily inter-impose the story onto men and women in my head and when I did that, it became just like any other story about a people trying to survive in the world. It's not really fit for small children in my opinion however. I ended up liking the story. But the life of me I couldn't begin to feel anything for the characters. Most likely because they were rabbits. ;) Otherwise, it's a great story.

Aug 19, 2016, 12:14am Top

68. League of Dragons - Naomi Novik
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 Stars

Napoleon’s invasion of Russia has been roundly thwarted. But even as Capt. William Laurence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the retreating enemy through an unforgiving winter, Napoleon is raising a new force, and he’ll soon have enough men and dragons to resume the offensive. While the emperor regroups, the allies have an opportunity to strike first and defeat him once and for all—if internal struggles and petty squabbles don’t tear them apart.

Wow. The series is over. This was a series that I began to like more and more the longer I read it. It's an evolution of character development over a long time period. I enjoyed seeing it and the more it evolved the more my esteem of the whole series went up. It's had it's ups and down and at times it seemed to just drag by. This last installment was full to the brim of action and battles. I do feel like there were a few loose ends not taken care of, but perhaps a novella will be written later on or something. Overall, a great addition to the fantasy genre and a great read for anyone who enjoys fiction about dragons.

Aug 19, 2016, 6:09pm Top

69. UnEnchanted - Chanda Hahn
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fairytale
Pages: 234
Rating: 3 Stars

Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated; that is until she saves her crush's life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is a descendant from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her its' next fairy-tale victim. To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.

The story is a good one. The writing - not so much. This could simply be that the audience was meant to be young teenagers and I am far from being one. There was too much girly teenage thoughts and predictable teenage romance in this for my enjoyment. There were definitely parts about the story that I really liked but overall the voice of the story ruined it for me. I didn't hate it by any means, but if it had been twice as long as it was, I might not have finished it.

Aug 21, 2016, 9:38am Top

>213 Kassilem: But the life of me I couldn't begin to feel anything for the characters.
But.. but not even Fiver? He was my hero in Watership Down, I even named my rabbit after him ;-)

>214 Kassilem: I really hate it when translations stop in the middle of series, the Dutch translations stopped after Tongues of serpents :-(

Aug 22, 2016, 5:12pm Top

>216 FAMeulstee: Not even Fiver. I just can't do the anthropomorphic animals. :) And that's too bad about the Novik series. I really hope the translations pick back up for you.

70. Blood Rights - Kristen Painter
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 Stars

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle's body bears the telltale marks of a comarré -- a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world...and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks. Now, Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

The cover art hooked me first. Then the summary. And on the list it went. Now that I'm trying to make a sizable dent in my 'to-read' list, I picked it up thinking I needed a good old vampire fantasy story to burrow into. It was actually better than I expected. I enjoyed how strong the female lead is and I enjoyed the battle of wills between her and the male lead. There is a little predictability in the budding romance, but we're still early enough along that a lot could happen to block that romance in the next book. Even though I'm trying to lessen my to-read list I will be adding the sequel of this book to the list to replace this title, because I am interested in seeing what happens in this plot.

Edited: Aug 23, 2016, 9:13am Top

>213 Kassilem: >216 FAMeulstee: Maybe not even for all young teenagers. I found that hard reading, and I must have been in my early teens. Scary stuff.

Aug 30, 2016, 10:43pm Top

>218 charl08: :) Definitely can see why

In other news: I GOT A JOB! Finally! Ever since I got back from Africa I've been in limbo. It's a 9-5 job to be exact. I am suddenly understanding the definition of business busy. Sadly, my reading has slowed down a lot due to this. Fortunately, I like the job and soon enough I'll forget I had so much free time over the last year and a half. ;)

71. UnSouled - Neal Shusterman
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 Stars

Connor and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they’re not just running away from something. This time, they’re running towards answers, in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures behind unwinding are so afraid of her, they may discover the key to ending the unwinding process forever. Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting to take down the organization that created him. He knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having trouble remembering what it feels like to be human. With the Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, their paths will converge explosively—and everyone will be changed.

This series is fantastic. I'm really into Shusterman's work because they are always so different and thought provoking. To think that we might end up like the people in these books. It makes me want to shudder. I struggled a little bit with the previous book before this one because I thought it dragged a little, but this volume picked up the pace a lot. There's another book to finish the series out after this and I'm very excited to get to it. I like the characters, but even more than that, I really like the story. Not in a I-enjoy-the-horrendous-settings type of way but in a this is a thought provoking train of thought being expressed. I do highly recommend this book or any of Shusterman's books.

Favorite Line:
She idly wonders which is crueler, man or nature. She determines it must be man. Nature has no remorse, but neither does it have malice.

Aug 31, 2016, 1:45pm Top

Congratulations on finding a job!

Aug 31, 2016, 3:15pm Top

Congratulations on the new job! And even better that you like it. :)

Aug 31, 2016, 3:21pm Top

Yay for job having and liking! :D

Aug 31, 2016, 3:35pm Top

Congrats on the job. Even better you like it!

Aug 31, 2016, 9:01pm Top

Congrats! What kind of job is it?

Edited: Aug 31, 2016, 11:45pm Top

Thanks everyone! And Kriti, it's a biology laboratory administrative assistant position with lots of potential to change into a full laboratory position. :)

72. People of the Wolf - Kathleen O'Neal Gear & Michael Gear
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 435
Rating: 4 Stars

In the dawn of history, a valiant people forged a pathway from an old world into a new one. Led by a dreamer who followed the spirit of the wolf, a handful of courageous men and women dared to cross the frozen wastes to find an untouched, unspoiled continent. This is the magnificent saga of the vision-filled man who led his people to an awesome destiny, and the courageous woman whose love and bravery drove them on in pursuit of that dream.A sweeping epic of prehistory, People of the Wolf brings the true story of the ancestors of today`s Native American peoples to life in an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion.

Mostly I liked this story. It brings back a lot of my anthropology lessons from school. Classic historical american history here. What bothered me was some of the formatting of the book. There was a lot of time skips which made it flow jarringly for me instead of smoothly. I also couldn't invest in the characters as much as I wanted to because they were a little too 2-dimensional. But I have hope that the following books will show some improvement in these areas. And there are MANY more books after this one. ;) If you love historical fiction, this could be a good read for you.

Sep 1, 2016, 12:03am Top

Reading Stats: August

Books: 15
Pages: 5,603

E-Book: 5
Audiobook: 4
Dead Tree: 6

TBR: 6
New: 7
Walk By-Pick Up: 2

5 Stars: 1
4 Stars: 10
3 Stars: 4

Time Range:
1970-1979: 1
1990-1999: 1
2010-2016: 13

Romance: 5
Urban Fantasy: 4
Historical Fantasy: 1
Historical Fiction: 1
High Fantasy: 1
Fairy-tale: 1
Lit Classic: 1
Dystopia: 1
Boy Lit: 1

Graphic Novels read: 3 ('GN Blog' can be found HERE)
Movies Watched: 4 ('Movie Blog' can be found HERE)

Sep 1, 2016, 12:11am Top

Now seems like a good time to switch over to Part 2. Please follow me on to a continuation of this thread!

This topic was continued by Kassilem's (Melissa) 2016 Reading, Part 2.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2016

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