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First Books of 2013

Okay, I said I was going to do my book posts more often so I don't forget them. Here I am trying it. :) Really, though, I only was reminded to do so because the sixth book I read really irked me and I needed to rant. Of course, you all might not have read it... But hopefully someone can read it and commiserate with me, haha. The book seems to have received positive reviews on Goodreads.

1. Thunderbird Falls by C. E. Murphy -- I guess I decided to dive back into this series at the right time, since apparently Murphy is completely ending the series soon. I can't remember if the next book is the last or the one after is... Well, it was a fun book, though I didn't enjoy it as much as Urban Shaman. There were maybe just a few too many dumb characters... And the villain was pretty easy to spot.

2. Graveminder by Melissa Marr -- I absolutely loved the first half of this book. We're talking impossible to put down loved. However, things got... well, more (I can't say anything other than that without spoiling things) and that just didn't work as well for me. I do hope there are more stories in this universe since Marr left some tantalizing loose ends blowing in the wind...

3. Hero by Perry Moore -- I absolutely loved this YA novel about a teenaged kid hiding in the closet about his super powers and his sexuality because he was worried about what his dad would think. (don't worry, this isn't like the cheerleader in Heroes whining about how uncool her powers would make her in school -- this kid's dad was terribly hurt by super powered types) It was a fun super hero tale, but it was also just a great character driven story. It was fascinating to get into the head of this kid and all his worries about life. I only had issues with the end. (it was a tad weak)

4. Morning Glories vol.3: P.E. by Nick Spencer -- even better than the second volume! I am still waiting for Spenser to reveal that he's really J.J. Abrams, though. My ONLY issue is that the artist draws people so similarly that sometimes I can't tell who is who... Or who might be who.

5. Lio: There's a Monster in My Socks by Mark Tatulli -- okay, so there are maybe ten words in this entire book, since it's a bunch of comics. I recommend you check the comic strip, though. It's awesome. Why don't I just give you some links to funny ones so you'd know what you could get into:




6. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis -- okay, this book bugged me so much that I retroactively don't like the earlier books in the series. I wouldn't say that this book was bad per se, but it had a lot of problems. Granted, these were problems that were present in the first two books and I forgave them... But they were worse in this book and the series ended with them, so there was hopefulness that the next book would fix them.

I hadn't realized how much "next book" syndrome was affecting me until I finished this one -- I went back and read my reviews of the earlier books and, while they were short, they were positive. In my mind, however, I remember all the things that irked me and very little of the positive. Seriously, what did I like about the earlier ones so much?

Okay, so, maybe you're wondering why this book bugged me so much. (maybe you aren't, but it's coming anyway) The big thing is all the bad science. We're talking bad grade or high school science. Wait, it's not just science. It's a bucnh of common sense things from all different sorts of walks of life. I had way too many "head-palm" moments. My head could be permanently dented at this point. Then we need to toss in a bunch of cliches, ridiculously self involved characters, a shoehorned in mystery, and what I've heard termed as "Everything You New Before Was a LIE syndrome." How many times can we learn that in a series? Geez. Oh yeah, and the alternating chapters. That works when the characters are separated, but when they are often seeing the EXACT SAME THING it just seems like a needlessly intrusive tactic (perhaps only present for the cute chapter numbering thing at the end...). Oh! And the end. That was... Weak. Or there is that thing where she makes this obvious implication... and then just states the issue in the very next line. It's so much better if they just let our minds put it all together. Okay, an example: "The door was built to only let humans enter?" I ask as we step inside the room." You get the implication from that, right? The chapter can end there. Nope. She has to add, If the scanner detects humanity, then that means there must be something other than humans it's designed to keep out. You can pretty much here the "DUN DUN DUN" notes at the end of every chapter.

I also have to point out this line (yes, it's a spoiler):
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Last Books of 2012

Geez. I keep forgetting to put books here instead of just on Goodreads. I have GOT to get better about that. Okay, so here are just the final books of 2012. Well, at least, what I can remember of them... But I do recall that some of them were definitely worthy of being the last books I'd ever read if the world had ended (no, I didn't at all think it would).

96. Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake -- nearly as fun as Anna Dressed in Blood but the story is a completely different kind of story. It isn't scary at all -- it's much more of a quest story.

97. Dragon Slippers by Jessica George Day -- It was decent enough, but I dunno, it never quite engaged me.

98. The Changeling Sea by Patricia McKillip -- This is the kind of McKillip book I especially love. It's got one of those wonderful at odds with the world characters, interesting magic, unexplored depths, and confused love.

99. Spirits That Walk in Shadow by Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- geowench said I'd love Hoffman and she's completely right. I definitely will delve more into this world.

100. & 101. the Boneshaker and the Broken Lands by Kate Milford -- Milford is definitely one of my new favorite authors! I love her alternate, magical early American and the tall tales that live there. tBL is the better book, but you need to read tB first to really get the proper feel and taste for more...

102. A Red Heart of Memories by Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- this book has a very different feel from the other book I read and is also of a different series. It's wonderfully strange feeling, but also deals a lot more definitively with the issues people gain growing up.

103. Radiant by Cynthia Hand -- This was a fairly bland and uneventful story to tide readers of the series over between books two and three. I'm not sure that it really will add anything to book three... (which I will probably read, but not buy for sure... Only book one was great so far) It was basically a tale of people acting stupidly and with lots of drama.

104. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone -- this book has been on a lot of new great novels type lists and it is really interesting and has a fairly unique world where the lawyer and necromancer professions are very intertwined -- magic comes from contracts, so the best magic users are very legally savvy... However, Gladstone had some of the weirdest metaphors (enough that they tossed me out of the writing) and through much of the book I had this niggling feeling that if I stopped to really think about things, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense... Also, parts of the plot were rather predictable. However, I enjoyed it a lot and look forward to the next book.

105. Alice in the Country of Hearts vol. 3 by Quinrose -- pretty lackluster finale to the manga. What's worse is that the library went from single volumes to omnibuses and I didn't notice (I just figured it was a bigger book) so I actually managed to miss a book or two there... And it didn't matter.

106. Stickman Odyssey, Book 1: An Epic Doodle by Christopher Ford -- cute Greek inspired stickman comic.

107. Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O'Malley -- I was curious to see what he did besides Scott Pilgrim. This wasn't bad. It was cute and basically just a journey from one girls isolation into realizing she actually can form new friendships.

The Castle at Turner Falls

My friend SvR is in Oklahoma again and we decided we needed to go on an adventure since neither of us has had enough of us lately. We thought that heading down to Turner Falls and the Castle would be a fun, easy trip. You know me, I was excited about all the photo opportunities too!

The temperature was perfect and after a lunch of fried pies we decided to wander up to the falls and follow this path and then another. We eventually made it back to the Castle. It certainly quite a few dark and spooky places. It all definitely felt like adventure...

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Board Game Collection

I don't know that much of anyone will be interested in this, but my brother has asked me more than once if I had a list of board games that I own. Well, being a nerdy librarian, I spent my Saturday night cataloging them.

Okay, actually I have this cool program called Delicious Library that keeps track of all your stuff after you enter in ISBNs or UPC codes. I've done it with books, movies, and video games (and have partially entered my CD collection), but didn't try to see if it could do board games until today. It worked, so, voila! Here it is: my collection of board games and expansion packs (minus some standards like the decks of cards and chess sets and such).

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Dark Matter and Others

I hate it when I forget to put my book list up in a timely manner. The list gets too long for me to really remember my impressions and I don't want to be typing for hours anyway... Sure, they're listed on Goodreads, but I've been doing lists here for years now and I like this better. :) So, anyway, here goes... I'm nearing a hundred books this year, so hopefully I can be timely about at least the last five!

73. - 77. the Vor Game, Brothers in Arms, Ethan of Athos, and Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold -- more in the Miles Vorkosigan series. Vor and Brothers I really loved, like the ones I talked about earlier this year. Cetaganda is not bad, but the kind of story Bujold wrote changed partway through the story and I like the newer type less well. This book is on that half of the divide, even though there are ones in the old style that come later in the series chronology. Ethan is also good, but it's sort of a strange early tale set in that universe without Miles to amp things up... Borders is a book of short stories that fit between various novels. Most are excellent.

78. the Nex by Tim Pratt -- this was a free e-book that I read on my phone basically whenever I was stuck waiting for someone or in line, so it was fairly slow going, but a good, engrossing story. It was a little simplistic as many authors' early jaunts into YA fiction seem to be, but enjoyable nonetheless. It also tied into a story in his Hart and Boot so it was kind of fun to see progression in that world.

79. & 80. the Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and the Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente -- I can't express just how much I loved these books. The first was best but both are excellent. The language is beautiful, the humor clever, the plots twang those heart strings. I love how they play with fairy tale tropes and how they include deeper issues underneath the fun. I was truly touched by parts of them.

81. 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman -- I read this for work and loved it. The book is just full of psychological studies that can help you in life with takeaway 59 second (ish) exercises that you can do to utilize them. It was really fascinating.

82. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman -- this was another book that I absolutely loved. It was a little slow getting into it, but after a chapter or two I couldn't put this down. Hartman created such an amazing world and such interesting ideas about her dragons... I can't wait for book two to come out!

83. Envy by Elizabeth Miles -- this is the second book in that teenage drama with creepy Furies series. It shouldn't be as good as it is, but... It is! The teenage drama actually works really well with the premise and Miles knows how to create a creepy atmosphere. Book three... Hurry up and come out!

84. - 89. The Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O'Malley -- I am so glad my coworker convinced me to rad these. The first was so so-so, but the rest were great! I love what they say about how past relationships affect us and how you incorporate them into yourself and hopefully become something better, move on... with a lot of geeky, goofy, video gamey things happening. :) By the way, WAAAAAY better than the movie. I really didn't like that Cera kid.

90. Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz -- this was an interesting book about about a cruel sorcerer, puppeteering, and a little girl who became a puppet. The writing was sometimes a bit dense or overly expanded, but the story shone through pretty well. It's an enjoyable read for sure, with an interesting plot that also deals with effects of the past and grief, so it has some important messages.

91. Flesh and Bone by Jonathan Maberry -- an enjoyable third book to the series, though with even more action and a bit less depth than the others. This one ALSO dealt a lot with the trauma caused by grief (I swear I wasn't pursuing this theme in my reading... Perhaps this is a popular current theme in children's and young adult books?). I was dismayed by the end and a little annoyed that every main character girl who showed up is stunningly beautiful. I guess zombies prefer to eat ugly girls?

92. Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan -- this was an interesting prequel to her awesome Forest of Hands and Teeth series that explains a lot about an important character in that series (well, explains, or confirms that she is kind of psycho). This is more a story to read because you love the series rather than one to read to get into the series, however. I know she said she isn't writing any more of these zombie books, but since she keeps writing stories set in the world, I'm hoping Ryan will change her mind.

93. the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien -- I reread this because I am so excited about the movie. It's still a lot of fun, but I'd forgotten how different in tone it is from LOTR. Heck, Gandalf isn't even really the same person. He's a bit brattier and seems to have a lot less power... I guess some important things happened to him between the two stories!

94. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake -- how can you not want to read a book with an awesome title like this? I actually put it off for a while because they did this "cute" thing where the books were printed with red lettering. It kind of annoyed me... But then I found the large print version at work and it had normal type. I was prepared to be annoyed by a too perfect hero, but Blake pulls it off well. I think anyone who likes the show Supernatural will definitely love this book. It was a good ghost story, had plenty of creepiness, and explored a bit of Finnish folklore (not in depth, but hey, how often have you heard anything about Finnish folklore at ALL?). Read it. :) I have book two in my stack to read this weekend (I hope).

95. Dark Matter by Michelle Paver -- and THIS was a fantastic ghost story and I was a little afraid of the dark when I stopped reading it last night. Some people may find the beginning boring, but I love "world-building" -- even if we're talking real world, 1930s, Arctic expedition as a world. The descriptions of Sweden made me long for Alaskan winters and reminded me of so much... And then the creepiness begins and holds the tension at just the right level for the right amount of time before arcing into terror. It was so good. I want to read nothing but ghost stories now. (but I won't because the next Dresden novel is almost out)

Dark Matter

Perhaps it is too late at night to be reading a ghost story -- especially when it's well written! I'm kind of creeped out... It really doesn't help that much of the creep factor comes from someone being alone in a little building, worried that when it's dark he can't see what's going on inside too well and when he lights a lantern he can't see what's sneaking up from outside...

The book is called Dark Matter and is by Michelle Paver. It was another Book Smugglers recommendation and I am definitely really sucked into it. It is based around an Arctic expedition, so I've been comforted and amazed by the description of all they were seeing and experiencing -- as well as getting drawn into the main character's account. But then... The spooky stuff showed up!

I don't really want to put the book down, but it's all really getting under my skin tonight!



It's pretty exciting to jump onto a blog you read and see your name, right there, winning something! :)  I didn't win the books, but it's still super cool!

Their blog is so dangerous to my budget -- they're always making many books sound really fantastic.

Now...  On to the new episode of Doctor Who!

Best Amazon Review Ever

This is a review for BIC For Her pens:

"I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day's tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack. It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks."

Really, the sarcasm in pretty much all the reivews is amazing.

Frostbitten Warrior's Apprentice

WOW. It has been way too long since I did a book post! If I am looking at this right the last one I posted about was #50. Goodreads has me at #72. (I may actually make a hundred books this year unless this school semester turns out to be killer -- wouldn't it be kind of funny if library school classes kept me from making my reading goal?) Anyway, I guess the comments will have to be super short 'cause I don't want to stay up that late tonight. Plus... Well, there's going to be a lot of book interference between more recent reads and the older ones.

51. the Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold -- it's been an awfully long time since I read this book. I know I first came across it in my high school library in Izmir and fell in love right away (we had some great books in that tiny, often empty place! It's also where I first read Planet of the Apes which was awesome, but unfortunately led to my dad making me watch the Charlton Heston movie -- I kind of figured, by the end of the movie, that if he were the only human left, we should just let humanity die. Blech.). I suppose that's why part of me worried that it would be just a "high school read" and that I'd have outgrown it like I've outgrown some of my other favorites of bygone years. It was a silly fear -- not only was it still a truly excellent novel, but it's not like I hadn't read many later books in the series over the years (though I still haven't read Cryoburn so I better catch up before Captain Vorpatril's Alliance this November!). Is it possible not to love Miles Vorkosigan? Even if he isn't quite as awesome as his mother, Cordelia...

52. the Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle -- here's another old favorite. It was just a really comforting, though powerful, read for my weekend decompression. I don't really know what to tell you about the book except that you should read it! There are so many lines that resonate with me, there are characters to love with all their flaws, there's the fairy tale element, and just... SO MUCH and yet it doesn't feel at all dense.

53. Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch -- I really might just love this series more than the Harry Dresden series. It's a really close race, there. The writing is good, I love the characters, the plots are complex and interesting, there's humor, but plenty of suspense... Plus it's full of fascinating glimpses of London and British police work... with magic, of course!

54. Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell -- in full disclosure I must admit that I am counting novellas as "books" as well. This is the story that all the Thing movies sprang from. It was interesting and I do like the old sci-fi story feel, but it wasn't a great story. It was just a bit too stiff.

55. Fury by Elizabeth Miles -- This is a modern interpretation of the Greek Furies myth -- but the Furies are hanging about in a small New England town and tormenting high schoolers. Now, as many reviewers brought up, there are certainly bigger fish to fry in the world, but I think it's part of the mystery. Why are they pestering people in this town? The characters feel very real and I was completely sucked into their lives -- and their terror. There's a lot of nice psychological suspense going on. I definitely want to read the sequel!

56. Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough -- another creepy teen read. This one had to do with a ghost in England. It had some good creepy bits, though sometimes the story was dragged out a bit by the altering viewpoints. I also wanted to gripe at the main character for the way she treated her little sister at times... But I had to admit it was very real. Anyway, I really love a ghost story! By the way, the story is based on a creepy old balled about this dude who creeps into a house while the lord is away and kills the baby and drains its blood with the baby's nurse's help and then kills the lady of the home.

57. Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge -- great book about a girl, a goose, and a conman who become embroiled in political intrigue and rebellion in a well crafted imaginary world. Reading is heavily censored and controlled by a guild of scribes and common belief has it that if you read the wrong book -- I wish I had the direct quote here -- words crawl off the pages and into your mind to wreak all kind of havoc and make you into someone terrible.

58. A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz -- a cute kid's book that ties a bunch of fairy tales together and relishes the gore that exists in the original Grimm's tales. It begins with the heroes -- Hansel and Gretel -- having their heads chopped off to depetrify Faithful John and, while they are made whole again in body, their trust in their parents (who did the chopping) is definitely still cleaved in two...

59. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline -- Okay, I really do try not to be that guy who won't partake in certain media just because they are so darned popular, but sometimes too many people tell me I MUST read something because I, of all people, will HAVE TO LOVE IT! They just know it! Then part of my brain thinks, who are you people to tell me what I will love? You don't read much of ANYTHING I like, and I get stubborn... Well, I shouldn't have. The book may have had a bit of a slow start but it was fantastic! I whole heartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the 80s pop culture(with some overflow into the adjoining decades), video games, and stories about loners. I kind of want to read the book again -- and I definitely need to get my own copy, since I borrowed it from the library.

60. the Breach by Patrick Lee -- It came highly recommended, but I found it a rather typical sci-fi thriller and it had one of those to-awesome male leads that I find kind of boring.

61. the Silent Land by Graham Joyce -- a very creepy story about a couple who survive an avalanche, but return to their hotel to find that the everyone in town has vanished. I'm not at all going to say it's impossible ti figure out what's going on, but it was all done very well (though there was a decent bit of explicit sex -- I guess if you're isolated with just your spouse then there's going to be a lot of that going on) and, for me, what made the book so good was the high element of suspense interspersed with some very real feeling characters. They bickered plenty, but you could tell they loved each other.

62. the Far West by Patricia Wrede -- another fine entry to the series. I believe it is supposed to be the last, but I find myself hoping it isn't. There's still so much of the alternate Old West to explore!

63. Arise by Tara Hudson -- I didn't find this to be near as good as Hereafter but it was interesting and I'm glad that I bought it because it helps support a local author -- who also happens to be a very nice person.

64. Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones -- a friend highly recommended this book. It wasn't bad, though I had a slight ick factor with part of it... It's a Tam-Lin/Thomas the Rhymer adaptation that's very well thought out and interesting.

65. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi -- okay, it's kind of weirding me out because I'd swear I talked about some of these books already... Maybe I just thought about them a lot or maybe I reviewed them on Goodreads... Anyway, I've enjoyed the Scalzi books I've read (so far) immensely (despite his close ties to Stargate Universe -- bleah!). This one is about aliens who find a Hollywood agent to create a PR campaign for their first contact because, well, they look like snot and smell like dead fish (that may be a direct quote from the book -- it's something like that). I enjoyed it all the way 'til about the end. I dislike it when fun romps take a sudden serious turn.

66. Redshirts by John Scalzi -- awesomely funny and anyone who enjoyed Classic Trek will love this. Basically, some new junior crewmembers are assigned to a ship where and low ranking officers who go on an away mission with a high ranking officer have a high chance of being killed... Some of these low ranked folks try to figure out just what is going on.

67. House of Shadows by Rachel Neumeier -- ah, I just love her books so much! This one is a tale of two sisters who have to be sold into apprenticeships (one to a "flower house" which is like a geisha deal without the prostitution, and the other to a wizard). There's political intrigue, there's an interesting magic system, great world building, and beautiful writing. I want everyone to read Neumeier! I also would like a sequel, please.

68. Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edgehill -- Old West zombie young adult novel with a touch of gadgetry to give it a very light steampunk flavor. It has furthered my opinion to give up on Lackey for now despite her having written some of my favorite books. It makes me a bit afraid to go back and re-read some of my old favorites...

69. Infinity Beach by Jack McDevitt -- This is another re-read. Science fiction, mystery, suspense. It's typical wonderful McDevitt.

70. & 71. Changeless and Blameless by Gail Carriger -- not qute as good as Soulless but still very good and very funny. I still really want to know what geowench and redfaerie would think of this series.

72. Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong -- I'm almost done with the Women of the Otherworld series! (minus short stories) However, they've not been as strong as they've gone on, I think, plus this was an Elena story. I'm really not as fond of her, so it's helped me take a break. I think the rest of the books are about Savannah, so hopefully she will be a character that I'll like. I only know her so far as a kid, but I think she's older in her books.

Okay, and now I have stayed up way too late... But I'm caught up!

Driving Song

I don't know how many of you watch anime, but I'm going to share the opening credits of one I've seen recently. (I've actually had it for ages and tried to watch it here and there... something always interrupts, though!)

So the anime is called Paprika and like other anime I've seen done by this guy (Millennium Actress and Perfect Blue) it's pretty wild. He really likes to bend reality and fantasy together and definitely likes to play with psychology. I loved Actress and was ambivalent about Blue. Paprika is more towards the Actress end of the spectrum -- partially because of the odd, but addicting, music. This opening song (and the very similar ending song) really feel like traveling songs to me. I love listening to them while I drive.

Gosh, I'm so behind on anime... I don't know what's new and cool at all. I think the only recent thing I've seen is the Persona 4 anime -- which is excellent, but probably way better if you've played the game and are mildly obsessed with it like me.



Persona 3

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