Blood Song

Anthony Ryan - Blood Song
592 Pages - Ace
For the Big Book Challenge

I've been meaning to read this book for a while. /r/Fantasy had been touting it's awesomeness for some time and so I picked it up on my kindle way back around Christmas but it just never made it into the rounds until now. I'm really glad I read it, and I'm excited to read the second book in the series, since it just came out.

Vaelin Al Sorna is the son of the Battle Lord of King Janus. One day shortly after his mother's death, his father ships 10-year-old Vaelin off to a brotherhood of soldiers where he casts off all ties to his family and learns to to fight. He becomes pretty badass. Quite infamous too. Throughout the world.

This book held elements of other books that I love. The brotherhood sometimes felt like the Night's Watch to me, and Vaelin like Jon Snow, and at other times it felt like the Kingkiller Chronicles, in the way that the story was laid out like him telling his story to, well, a chronicler. It's a coming of age story and I am excited to see where the series goes from here.


Feels. Oh, the feels.

Jim Butcher - Skin Game
454 Pages - Roc
For the Big Book Summer Challenge

Remember yesterday, when I reviewed Cold Days and was all like 'I'm reading the next book in the series and it's already soooo good'?

Well, welcome to today. Where I DEVOURED this 450 page long book and loved every second of it. Seriously. It's like 1:30 AM and I have to wake up at 6. Nevertheless, I have to tell you about this book. Imperative and whatnot.

Books don't make me cry, guys. They just don't. I don't know if it's that I just don't have that sort of depth of emotional bond to books or what, but I read some pretty feely romance from time and time and nope, never happens.

This book made me cry. For realsies. Like two or three times. Right. In. The. Goddamn. Feels.

 Changes, I thought, was easily the best book in the series. And then I read Ghost Story. Well it couldn't get better than that. Then there was Cold Days. It could not possibly get better than Cold Days. BUT THEN IT DID.

Guys, I might swoon a bit here, in just a minute. I honestly don't know how I'm going to wait a year or so for the next one, but I'll cope. I might even read the entire series again, and I never do that shit.



Big Fantastic Book

Jim Butcher - Cold Days
515 Pages - Roc
For the Big Book Summer Challenge

Ermagherd, Dresden Files. What originally started for me as a sort of 'Eh, it's not bad' urban fantasy series has become a 'OMG MORE NOW PLS' urban fantasy series.

I thought that Changes was the magnum opus of the series but jeeeeez it just gets better! I'm gobbling it up at record speed now.

I can't really go into any of the plot line without spoiling some part of the series for someone, but suffice to say that it is amazing and that if you are a fan of the urban fantasy genre, you should read it.

This one made me laugh (the banter between Harry and Thomas is hi-larious) and contained a few scenes that made me put the book down and have a bit of a "Well, shit." moment.

I moved right on to the next book in the series immediately upon finishing this one (it was released last week and my kindle had it ready and waiting!) and it'll be my next big book for summer because it's over 400 pages too. They don't even seem very long, either.

A couple of colorful reviews

So, I've been spending a lot of my time in the wonderful world of Eorzea, but have found time enough to do some reading for the color coated challenge, so here's what I've got so far!

Scott Lynch - Red Seas Under Red Skies
558 Pages - Bantam
For the Color Coded Challenge

Ermagherd, I love Scott Lynch. I love Locke Lamora! Love love love. There are so many quotes highlighted in my copy of this book. It's a little ridiculous. I think Republic of Thieves, out of the three of them, got the most highlights though.

Locke Lamora, the Thorn of Camorr, and his faithful bestie and partner Jean Tannen decide to target the greatest prize in all of Tal Verrar, the Sinspire, a very rich casino where rule number one is: you cheat and you die. But someone has learned their secret plan, and is going to hand them over to the casino's owner, Requin unless they agree to do a little piracy on the side.

I had no idea that Scott Lynch knew so much about nautical terminology. That whole aspect of the book was very believable. The banter between Jean and Locke, as per usual was fantastic and I love quoting this book. So, here, to make my day, is a quote:
“That's a sweet piece," said Jean, briefly forgetting to be aggravated. "You didn't snatch that off a street."
"No," said Locke, before taking another deep draught of the warm water in the decanter. "I got it from the neck of the governor's mistress."
"You can't be serious."
"In the governor's manor."
"Of all the -"
"In the governor's bed."
"Damned lunatic!"
"With the governor sleeping next to her."
The night quiet was broken by the high, distant trill of a whistle, the traditional swarming noise of city watches everywhere. Several other whistles joined in a few moments later.
"It is possible," said Locke with a sheepish grin, "that I have been slightly too bold.” 
Five stars!

Diana Rowland - My Life as a White Trash Zombie
310 Pages - DAW Books
For the Color Coded Challenge

I've seen this one around, mainly because of it's cover (the cover artist is the same who does a lot of the Mercy Thomson series covers and I love his work!), and so I decided that since I had a big ol' Amazon gift card from my in-laws that I would splurge.

Angel Crawford wakes up in a hospital one day after apparently overdosing on drugs and then being in a horrible car accident with  both no memory of the accident and  not a scratch on her. She receives a mysterious anonymous note saying that she has a job at the morgue, and it's not an offer that she can really refuse. She finds herself with an unbelievable craving for brains and falling apart at the seams without them, so she uses her fantastic new job to feed her new addiction, while simultaneously trying to find out who keeps decapitating a bunch of people in her town.

Pretty generic urban fantasy, and I'm truly not a huge zombie fan but I thought this one was pretty good. I gave it four stars for being a fun read. It was a bit predictable in parts, but it didn't turn me off of it at all.


Christie Anderson - Deep Blue Secret
358 Pages - Self Published
For the Color Coded Challenge

This is one that I actually got for free on the kindle store aaaaages ago and decided that I would give a try for my challenge this year. Also the cover looked faintly intriguing.

California teen Sadie James is a carefree girl with best friends and a loving mom and her life is just wonderful. One day she's rescued from drowning by a mysterious boy with crystal green eyes and she finds herself really attracted to him. He also seems to show up whenever she's in trouble. Sadie tries to get to the bottom of the mystery of the boy with crystal green eyes and finds out that the boy is actually a secret agent, assigned to protect her at all costs.

Not a bad book, but not great. It kept me reading anyway, and I did end up reading two of it's sequels as well. The romance portion was very tame, even by young adult standards. They didn't kiss until most of the way through book two. That's pretty freaking tame compared to what I'm used to reading, but hey, it's a YA book so I couldn't complain. I gave it three stars. The sequels were better, if a little weirder.


Big Book Summer!

Well, it's been a while :)

I've been busy reading! Well, and some other stuff too, I'm sure. I'm plugging away at my color challenge, and it's going pretty well so far. I've read a few colorful books that I shall tell you all about someday.

But, today I'm here to tell you about the 2014 Big Book Summer Challenge! (and how it's awesome every year)

This year I plan to read a couple -very long- and apparently amazing books by Brandon Sanderson, and a sequel or two to one of the books I read for the challenge last year.

We'll see how all this goes :)


A wild 2014 challenge appears

Well, now that I've completed all my 2013 challenges, I guess I better sign up for some 2014 ones, right?! I think next year I'm going to challenge myself to a bit less, because I already know that I've got all kinds of stuff that's going to prevent me from reading 100+ books like this year.

I had so much fun with the color coded challenge this year that -of course- I am going for that one again!

Maybe more challenges will come, maybe not =)



Dan Simmons - Hyperion
482 Pages - Spectra
For the Mind Voyages Challenge - Won Hugo Award 1990

Omg why haven't I read this book before now?! Soooooooo good.

Here's the skinny: 7 people are sent by the 'Church of Final Atonement' on a pilgrimage to the planet Hyperion, to the Time Tombs, home of the Shrike, a creature of unknown origins and power whom they worship as a god. They all have different reasons for coming on the pilgrimage, so they decide that they'll tell their stories on the journey to the tombs to see if that gives a better idea of just what will be waiting for them there. It was a brilliant way to bring each character to life for me, while advancing the plot along.

When I first picked up the book I had a really hard time getting through the prologue because it seemed like really samey-sounding sci-fi. I felt it was kind of pulling a 'Let's throw some techno-jargon for stuff that doesn't exist in real life out there to make this sound spacey!' He really does just throw you right into his world with this one. Hold on tight though, because it gets gooooooooood. I was totally hooked about 5 minutes into Father Hoyt's story. I started out with 'well, I'm certain the next person's story can't top that!' and then it kept freaking happening!

Kassad's story made me WTF. Out loud. At 1am in my living room- just 'What the WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?!' and then reading Silenus' story, I laughed out loud. Goddamn poopoo.

Then there was Sol's story, which started out telling us about how he taught at a university, which was in a small bit of civilization amongst cornfields and cornfields and cornfields and cornfields. I found out that Dan Simmons is from Peoria, Illinois, a city just down the road from the town I spent the last year living in, a college town, a bit of civilization among cornfields and cornfields and cornfields and cornfields, and it made me laugh. Then, as Sol's story went on, it made me sad.

I originally didn't really like Brawne Lamia's character (her name is really quite clever once you know her story, too) until we got to her story. I read it and I saw, not only a detective story, but a cyberpunk detective story. Oldschool William Gibson style sometimes. With a definite nod or two towards Gibson, in fact. Ended up loving it. Probably my favorite of all of them, really. What sci-fi author can seamlessly blend a romance, the sort that makes my romance novel reading brain do a little 'squee', into a cyberpunk detective story within a science fiction novel basically about a large pointy metal creature that likes to impale things. Uh, this one I guess!

This book is a freaking masterpiece not only of science fiction, but of several other genres as well. Read it. Really. Do read this book.


And with this book, I have (somehow, to my own surprise mostly) finished my reading challenges for 2013 =) Yaaay!


World War Z

Max Brooks - World War Z
342 Pages - Crown
For the Book to Movie Challenge

Book - Oh, World War Z. I would never have experienced you if it wasn't for Audible. It's true, I would never have picked this book up unless someone from reddit started a thread that said 'hey, what are some audiobooks that are better experiences as an audiobook' and World War Z was right at the top of that list. So, audiobook it was. It had a full cast, with one actor per interview or close to. Martin Scorsese, J├╝rgen Prochnow, Nathan Fillion, Simon Pegg, etc, etc, etc, etc. It made it a really unique and awesome experience.

Basically, it's a series of interviews from the point of view of several different people in different parts of the world detailing the rise of the zombies and the war against them. Panic leading up to it, actually fighting it, and what have you.

Movie - I totally skipped over this movie when it first came out. I'm not a big fan of zombie stuff, you see. So, I saw a trailer, and it looked dumb, so I moved on. Now, I figured I'd like to see the live interpretation of the book at least, even if it ends up being bad. I pretty much do this with all books I read which I know have been made into movies, lol. It's kind of interesting how much of a strange occurrence that the whole experience of this book and movie were to me. I usually have my books and my reading challenges planned out like a madwoman and this one was totally spontaneously unplanned. Fun fun!

Obviously, the movie isn't in the same format of the book, because that wouldn't make it very Hollywood, but they did try the interview angle a little bit, as the main character goes from place to place. It's from the point of view of one guy and his family. My biggest problem with the story was that, this guy and his family had -no idea- what was going on, when millions of zombies just appeared out of nowhere and pretty much took out Newark in an hour. Now, in the book, people knew what was happening. There was a progression from outbreak, to global outbreak, to panic, to global panic, to all out war.

All and all, it was a sort of entertaining movie based on the book slightly. That's about it.


So Much Nostalgia...

Peter S. Beagle - The Last Unicorn
294 Pages - Roc
For the Book to Movie Challenge

Book - holy crap I just got nostalgia'ed in the face. I loved this movie when I was a kid. Love Love Love Love Loved. I had my mom put it on as often. I had a thing for unicorns.... hey... I was 8, gimme a break. I didn't actually know that this was a book until I was in my 20s, and then I put it on my to-read immediately. When my husband grabbed it in one of the humble e-book bundles, I put it on my kindle and then forgot about it for a bit longer. Man, this story is so much better when you truly understand what's going on. It's much darker than I remember though. Plus, I had forgotten how it really ended.

The Unicorn hears from some hunters passing through her woods that she is the last and goes on a quest to find the rest of her people. Aided by Schmendrick the magician and Molly Grue, they find themselves at the end of the world in King Haggard's dark castle, under which sleeps the Red Bull, rumored to have banished all the unicorns from the land.

Movie - I hadn't seen this movie since I was probably about 12 years old and yet as I was reading the book I was recalling entire scenes and even quoting bits of it. I watched it that much back then. Watching it again made me nostalgic even more. Ahh, it's been a while. This movie is remarkably true to the book. I can tell you that I didn't truly appreciate the casting of the movie until I saw it this time, because when I was 12 I didn't appreciate how awesome Christopher Lee and Alan Arkin are. It's just.. a good movie. For an animated movie from the 80s, it's good. It's got a much darker feel to it then most animated movies I've seen though.

Awful lot of boobs in here for a kid's movie, too. I'm just saying. That harpy puts Total Recall to shame, lol.


The Big Book Challenge - Wrap Up

I only got 3 books done for this challenge but they were good ones!

The Big Book Summer Challenge
hosted by Sue @ Book By Book

1. 629 Pages - Brent Weeks - The Black Prism
2. 436 Pages - Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl
3. 592 Pages - Stephen King - The Green Mile

Thanks again to Sue for hosting!


I also love it when things inadvertently help with my reading challenges so, seeing as Redshirts won a Hugo award this year, I added it to my list of Hugo winning novels. Yaaaay!