Kassilem's (Melissa) 2015 Reading 2

Això és la continuació del tema Kassilem's (Melissa) 2015 Reading.

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2015

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Kassilem's (Melissa) 2015 Reading 2

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Editat: març 31, 2015, 9:19pm

Hello everyone! I hope you're here for Part 2 of 2015's crazy reading! Please feel free to snoop or take/leave recommendations!

Melissa's 2015 Graphic Novel Reads
Melissa's 2015 Movie Watching
Reading Statistics

Past '75 Book Challenge' threads:
2011 Challenge Part 1, Part 2
2012 Challenge Part 1
2013 Challenge Part 1, Part 2
2014 Challenge Part 1, Part 2
2015 Challenge Part 1,

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

Editat: des. 30, 2015, 3:38pm

Books Read in 2015

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

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

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

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

50. I Am the Messenger - Markus Zusak (Post 14)
51. Vision in Silver - Anne Bishop (Post 15)
52. Redoubt - Mercedes Lackey (Post 18)
53. Scarlet - Marissa Meyer (Post 19)
54. It Happened in Idaho - Randy Stapilus (Post 20)
55. Going Postal - Terry Pratchett (Post 26)
56. Bastion - Mercedes Lackey (Post 28)
57. The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater (Post 30)
58. Legion: Skin Deep - Brandon Sanderson (Post 31)
59. Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery (Post 35)
60. Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones (Post 38)
61. Everlost - Neal Shusterman (Post 41)
62. Heir of Novron - Michael J. Sullivan (Post 42)
63. The Darkest Part of the Forest - Holly Black (Post 43)
64. Closer to Home - Mercedes Lackey (Post 45)

65. The Shadows - J. R. Ward (Post 48)
66. Heir of Fire - Sarah J. Maas (Post 49)
67. Black Sun Rising - C. S. Friedman (Post 50)
68. Everwild - Neal Shusterman (Post 51)
69. Everfound - Neal Shusterman (Post 63)
70. Shadow Scale - Rachel Hartman (Post 67)

71. End of Days - Susan Ee (Post 78)
72. The Broken Eye - Brent Weeks (Post 84)

73. The Magicians - Lev Grossman (Post 99)
74. The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombie (Post 101)
75. Before They Are Hanged - Joe Abercrombie (Post 103)

76. The Once and Future King - T. H. White (Post 112)
77. Last Argument of Kings - Joe Abercrombie (Post 113)
78. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom (Post 114)
79. Fool's Quest - Robin Hobb (Post 115)
80. Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews (Post 116)
81. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer (Post 118)
82. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert (Post 122)

83. Caleb's Crossing - Geraldine Brooks (Post 126)
84. Emma - Jane Austen (Post 127)
85. The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan (Post 128)
86. Pegasus - Robin McKinley (Post 133)
87. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons (Post 134)
88. Seventh Son - Orson Scott Card (Post 135)
89. Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater (Post 136)
90. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach (Post 137)
91. Wild - Cheryl Strayed (Post 139)
92. The Assassin's Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas - Sarah J. Maas (Post 140)
93. Perfect Shadow: A Night Angel Novella (Post 141)
94. The Story of Son: A Dark Vampire Romance - J. R. Ward (Post 142)
95. Life of Pi - Yann Martel (Post 143)
96. The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson (Post 144)
97. Bridget Jone's Diary - Helen Fielding (Post 146)
98. Windhaven - George R. R. Martin & Lisa Tuttle (Post 149)
99. The Amulet of Samarkand - Jonathan Stroud (Post 151)
100. Cress - Marissa Meyer (Post 155)
101. The First Confessor - Terry Goodkind (Post 156)
102. Something Like Winter - Jay Bell (Post 157)

103. Something Like Autumn - Jay Bell (Post 161)
104. Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Lani Taylor (Post 166)
105. Firefight - Brandon Sanderson (Post 167)
106. No Touch Monkey! - Ayun Halliday (Post 173)
107. The Gray Wolf Throne - Cinda Williams Chima (Post 174)
108. Something Like Spring - Jay Bell (Post 175)
109. Like and Subscribe - Jay Bell (Post 177)
110. At the Mountains of Madness - H. P. Lovecraft (Post 178)
111. The Wolf Gift - Anne Rice (Post 179)
112. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (Post 181)
113. Feed - M. T. Anderson (Post 182)
114. The Door in the Hedge - Robin McKinley (Post 183)
115. Mitosis - Brandon Sanderson (Post 184)
116. Something Like Lightning - Jay Bell (Post 185)
117. Stormy Persuasion - Johanna Lindsey (Post 186)
118. Something Like Thunder - Jay Bell (Post 188)
119. Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi (Post 194)
120. Let's Get Lost - Craig Nelson (Post 197)
121. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater (Post 198)
122. The Skull Throne - Peter V. Brett (Post 199)
123. Way of the Peaceful Warrior - Dan Millman (Post 200)
124. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain (Post 202)
125. Angel Time - Anne Rice (Post 203)

126. Days of Blood and Starlight - Laini Taylor (Post 208)
127. An Apprentice to Elves - Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette (Post 209)
128. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (Post 212)
129. Deep Survival - Laurence Gonzales (Post 215)
130. Of Love and Evil - Anne Rice (Post 216)
131. How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff (Post 217)
132. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms - George R. R. Martin (Post 219)

133. Closer to the Heart - Mercedes Lackey (Post 221)
134. Magic's Promise - Mercedes Lackey (Post 223)
135. Magic's Price - Mercedes Lackey (Post 224)
136. The Help - Kathryn Stockett (Post 228)
137. The Book of Three - Lloyd Alexander (Post 130)
138. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon (Post 234)
139. Plan B - Sjd Peterson (Post 235)
140. Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer (Post 236)
141. Firstborn - Brandon Sanderson (Post 237)
142. The Bourbon Kings - J. R. Ward (Post 242)
143. The Aeronaut's Windlass - Jim Butcher (Post 244)

Editat: des. 15, 2015, 1:05pm

Off-the-Shelf Challenge (7/20)
This is a challenge that never seems to end since more books are added to it every year :) But here’s another shot at it. These are ordered down from most recently acquired.

Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country - Rosalind Miles
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
A Dance With Dragons - George R. R. Martin (2015)
Path of Revenge - Russell Kirkpatrick
Daughter of the Blood - Anne Bishop
The Summoner - Gail Z Martin (Donated)
The Blood King - Gail Z Martin (Donated)
Wraeththu - Storm Constantine
Writing the Breakout Novel - Donald Maass
Techniques of the Selling Writer - Dwight V. Swain
The Magician's Apprentice - Trudi Canavan (Donated)
1,000 Years, 1,000 People -Agnes Hooper Gottlieb (2015)
Battle Cries - James Inglis
The Complete Book of World History - Carson-Dellosa Publishing
Sacajewea - Anna Lee Waldo
Captain Kidd and the War against the Pirates - Robert Ritchie
Timelines of World History - John B. Teeple
Banewreaker - Jacqueline Carey
The Gold Falcon - Katharine Kerr (Donated)
Black Sun Rising - C. S. Friedman (Post 50)


Best-21st-Fantasy Challenge (15/25)
Here's a list of the best 21st century fantasy novels I am intending to read. The list was made a few years ago so it doesn't have the newest books on it but I am looking forward to getting into these ones.

Gaiman, Neil : American Gods (2014)
Clarke, Susanna : Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Rothfuss, Patrick : The Name of the Wind (2009)
Mieville, China : The Scar
Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2009)
Martin, George R. R. : A Feast for Crows (2008)
Bujold, Lois McMaster : The Curse of Chalion
Mieville, China : The City & the City (2014)
Fforde, Jasper : The Eyre Affair (2014)
Gaiman, Neil : Coraline (2014)
Wolfe, Gene : The Wizard Knight
Bujold, Lois McMaster : Paladin of Souls
Pratchett, Terry : Going Postal (Post 26)
Pratchett, Terry : Night Watch
Lynch, Scott : The Lies of Locke Lamora
Abercrombie, Joe : The Blade Itself (Post 101)
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 (32/75)
Here's a list of the best seventy-five 20th century fantasy novels created from Locus Online polls that I am intending to read as well.

1 Tolkien, J. R. R. : Lord of the Rings (2013)
2 Martin, George R. R. : A Game of Thrones (2008)
3 Tolkien, J. R. R. : The Hobbit (2008)
4 Le Guin, Ursula K. : A Wizard of Earthsea (2014)
5 Zelazny, Roger : Nine Princes in Amber
6 Mieville, China : Perdido Street Station
7 Lewis, C. S. : The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
8 Gaiman/Pratchett : Good Omens (2015)
9 Rowling, J. K. : Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2008)
10 Crowley, John : Little, Big
11 Adams, Richard : Watership Down
12 Martin, George R. R. : A Storm of Swords (2008)
13 Goldman, William : The Princess Bride
14 Beagle, Peter S. : The Last Unicorn
15 White, T. H. : The Once and Future King (Post 112)
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
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 (Post 178)
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 (Post 144)
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 (Post 38)
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 (39/100)
This is a list that BBC put together of the best 100 literary books a person should read. They think that on average a person has only read 6 of these books. I made it a goal to read as many of these as I can. These are the books you always hear people talk about and should read so that you can have your own opinion as well.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (2014)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (2013)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (2009)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (2013)
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (2014)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (2013)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (2007)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (2005)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (2013)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (Post 212)
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 (Post 127)
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 (Post 35)
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 (Post 143)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (2011)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons (Post 134)
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (Post 234)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (2013)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding (Post 146)
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
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
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 (Post 181)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (2015)

març 31, 2015, 9:27pm

Peace Corps Update

Two months to the day!

It's beginning to get really real because I have started my packing list and weighing everything. I'm only allowed 100 Ibs with me. I'm at 30 Ibs so far which I think means I'm doing okay because I've got at least half of my stuff already. However a lot of what's left is clothes and those weigh so much more than you ever think they do. I finally found a formal dress that will work and was pretty cheap but I'm not doing well finding skirts. They are all too long and too heavy. I'm going to be in 90 degree weather year round, and possibly higher than that, so I need something light. Misc items left too, like a hammock and chapstick, etc. :)

I'm way excited to almost be there!

març 31, 2015, 10:32pm

>4 Kassilem: LOL! Seriously, you're weighing everything? But I can see what you mean. If you're only allowed 100 lbs, then I can understand that. Hmm, you could almost pack a human. ;) I say stick with a bathing suit. :P Actually, if you look at various cultural outfits from India to Asia and Africa, they have some really nice "dresses" that aren't hot at all and will protect you from the heat. I'm not sure if you can order them ahead of time or maybe do some bargain shopping? Anyway, good luck! Excitement! :)

març 31, 2015, 10:37pm

Definitely here for Part 2, and also all the Peace Corps updates!

abr. 1, 2015, 7:04am

Happy New Thread! And good luck with the weighing/packing!

abr. 1, 2015, 2:13pm

Happy new thread, Melissa!

abr. 1, 2015, 3:19pm

I had a quick search and there seem to be various places you could get some nice, lightweight cotton skirts that will wash well. I liked the look of the crinkle cotton skirts:

http://www.travelsmith.com/women/skirts/?redirect=y#w=*&af=cat2:womens_skirt... cat1:womens pagetype:products

Of course, you could always risk on getting some local skirts instead - the women are going to be wearing clothes that are suitable for the weather, and a lot cheaper than anything you can get in the US, even though not of top quality.

abr. 1, 2015, 6:46pm

>5 saraslibrary: :) Got the bathing suit although I'm not sure it'll be appropriate being a two piece bikini. Some regions of Ghana are very traditional I hear. I'm finding the biggest problem with finding skirts is that I just don't wear skirts, like ever. So I'm not very good at trying some on in the dressing rooms and determining if they will work or not. But yea, I'm trying to find light material for the heat. What I've been recommended to do is get a skirt or two I really like and bring them with me. Then once in Ghana I can get skirts tailored for me based off of the skirt I bring. That way I know I'll get clothes that fit me well and I like, in Ghanaian cloth. :)

>6 ronincats: Welcome! I will certainly be putting up more updates as it gets closer and during, hopefully.

>7 scaifea: Thanks Amber! I'm having more fun with it than I imagined, even if sometimes it stresses me out for a few moments. It's defiantly helping me spring clean! I find I'm getting rid of quite a few things. If I'm not taking it with me it'll be stored in boxes for two years. It's really making me think about what I use/wear/etc. and what I don't. Haven't used my hair dryer in six years for example. Was about time I got rid of it. :)

>8 MickyFine: Welcome!

>9 lunacat: Awesome site! Thanks a bunch lunacat! I do like those crinkle skirts too. And cotton is a must definitely. As I mentioned to Sara above, I've been recommended to buy a skirt or two here in the US, to get fit that I really like, then to take it with me and use it as a template for the tailors. That way I can get my comfortable fit in Ghanaian cloth. :) I actually am really looking forward to getting some tailor made clothes in Ghana itself. :D

abr. 1, 2015, 10:41pm

>9 lunacat: Cool site! Thanks for listing it. :)

>10 Kassilem: Oh, I know, I was teasing you on the bathing suit. ;) It's not exactly appropriate attire here either, unless you're at the beach, etc. LOL @ I just don't wear skirts, like ever. Same here! It'll be interesting to have air flow in places you didn't know about. o.o That is a good recommendation getting a skirt or two here and then going Ghanaian once you're there.

abr. 2, 2015, 4:04pm

Happy new thread! I have fallen a bit behind...

>4 Kassilem: Exciting! Wow, time is really flying.

abr. 3, 2015, 6:46am

Happy new thread, Melissa! Wow, only two months left to go.... exciting! I am a huge fan of crinkly skirts that are just wash and wear. They also weigh next to nothing, which should help with your weight restrictions.

abr. 3, 2015, 4:46pm

>11 saraslibrary: Haha. And oh I see :)) Even on the beach though, in Ghana it might be inappropriate. I'm really not sure. I keep getting all kinds of contradicting info. it really just depends on where I end up in Ghana I suppose. :)

>12 rosylibrarian: Welcome Marie! No worries. I fall behind in threads all the time... except mine of course :D

>13 lkernagh: Hi Lori! I think I will be going wit the crinkly. The family is taking a trip to the mall this weekend so I'm hoping I can find a pair that aren't too expensive. :) I'm way excited!

50. I Am the Messenger - Markus Zusak
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 357
Rating: 4 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That's when the first ace arrives in the mail. That's when Ed becomes the messenger. Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

This was an awesome book. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I picked it up, only that I'd heard it was good. It was. I loved how Ed started out as an ordinary human being, just living his normal monotonous life and then begins to pay attention to people and to care about people. It was so charming to read about him doing tiny little things for people that just made their day. it makes you want to emulate him. Which I think was the whole point of the book. I don't know if Zusak is a British author but the book certainly had a British feel due to the jargon; letterbox instead of mailbox, telly instead of television, etc. And I'm not sure if it was the British influence or not, but there was some awesome humor in her. Not a lot of laugh out loud humor but a ... British humor is all I can say to describe it and British humor is really growing on me. Anyways, I highly recommend this book. It was great and I'm very glad I picked it up.

Favorite Line:
Maybe everyone can live beyond what they're capable of.

abr. 4, 2015, 3:20pm

51. Vision in Silver - Anne Bishop
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating: 4 Stars

The Others freed the cassandra sangue to protect the blood prophets from exploitation, not realizing their actions would have dire consequences. Now the fragile seers are in greater danger than ever before—both from their own weaknesses and from those who seek to control their divinations for wicked purposes. In desperate need of answers, Simon Wolfgard, a shape-shifter leader among the Others, has no choice but to enlist blood prophet Meg Corbyn’s help, regardless of the risks she faces by aiding him. For the shadows of war are deepening across the Atlantik, and the prejudice of a fanatic faction is threatening to bring the battle right to Meg and Simon’s doorstep.

I can't decide if the first two books were better than this thrid book in my mine because they really are, or because I listened to the first two on audio and read this one, which made it a different experience. Either way, this book didn't get me as excited as the first two did. I read it pretty fast but there were only a few parts of the book that would have had me not being able to put the book down. Still a great book and a great continuation to the series. And there's a big turning point at the end which will have some ramifications for the fourth book, which I am looking forward to.

Favorite Line:
She was cheek to jaw a fuzzy brown bear, and both of them were looking in his direction.
Why did humans give their offspring fake versions of predators that would happily eat those offspring?

abr. 4, 2015, 10:25pm

Happy new thread and a Happy Easter as well!

abr. 5, 2015, 8:16am

>14 Kassilem: That is a great book. Markus Zusak is actually Australian. Have you read The Book Thief by him?

abr. 7, 2015, 5:26pm

>16 jolerie: Thanks Valerie! Welcome.

>17 rosylibrarian: Yes, I have read that one, although I had forgotten that that one was written by Zusak. :) I really liked that book too. And Australian makes sense!

52. Redoubt - Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 400
Rating: 3 Stars

Life at the Heralds' Collegium in Haven has definitely improved for Mags. He's even become something of a hero since risking his own life to rescue Amily--daughter of Nikolas, the King's Own Herald--from Karsite kidnappers. But Mags still doesn't know who his parents were, and Bear, Mags' Trainee friend, will not one to let him forget: "You gotta deal with your past Mags, you have to. If you don't, it'll just keep coming back to haunt you, and one day it'll do something to you that you can't get out of." And it does.

I'm actually pretty interested in seeing Mags as a herald which is why I'm still reading this series. But this book didn't give us much. Really two major things happened; that's it. Disappointing. But it was a short read and now I can move on to the next and last book in this series before it switches to Mags as a Herald. Plus I have this insane idea of reading as many Lackey books as possible. Because there are gems in that huge bibliography of hers. I've found them before and I've heard there are more. Lackey usually works in one of two ways for me. Her books are either okay or they hook me and I absolutely love them. It's more the characters that pull me in than the writing. So we'll see what comes up.

abr. 7, 2015, 6:10pm

53. Scarlet - Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Fairytale
Pages: 512
Rating: 4 Stars

Cinder is back and trying to break out of prison--even though she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive if she does. And halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother, or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana.

I didn't realize this book would be half about Cinder too. I was under the impression that it was all about the new character, Scarlet. I am glad I was wrong. What we get instead is a continuation of Cinder's plight as well as a new character's story that is intertwined with Cinder's. Because these stories have fairy tale influences, I knew what was going to happen with Wolf, but I was hoping, like in the first book based on the Cinderella tale, that there would be a slight twist for the good. And there was. So a little predictable, but very entertaining nonetheless. I am looking forward to more from this author.

Favorite Line:
“But I'm a wanted fugitive, like Cinder." Thorne continued. "They do realise I'm missing, don't they?"
"Maybe they're grateful," Cinder muttered.”

abr. 8, 2015, 12:16am

54. It Happened in Idaho - Randy Stapilus
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Pages: 104
Rating: 4 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

This book offers an inside look at 31 interesting and unusual episodes that shaped the history of the Gem State.

This was an awesome book for the fact that I love history and really enjoyed reading about what made Idaho Idaho. I will certainly have to go find this series again for the other states I have lived in and perhaps even find this series when I travel. I've always been interested in finding out the history of places I travel to. Certainly there is bias here in the fact that some things are included and some things aren't. There's always bias when determining what if important and what isn't. But it was fairly comprehensive to my knowledge and I learned a lot of interesting things. I highly recommend finding your particular state in this series.

abr. 9, 2015, 1:03am

So, I went to my very first author book signing event today!

For being such an avid reader, I'm almost ashamed that I'm 24 years old and this was my first time meeting an author. :/ But anyways, Boise State University was hosting Margaret Atwood tonight and she spoke about the power of words which was fascinating! Afterwards she was signing books so I figured I might as well. Waited in line for an hour and a half but I think it was worth it. I certainly want to go to more of these things in the future. :)

abr. 9, 2015, 11:27am

>21 Kassilem: I. Am. So. Jealous.

abr. 9, 2015, 6:41pm

I've never been to a book signing either (at the age of nearly-27), but I must say, that's quite an amazing experience for a first-timer! :)

abr. 9, 2015, 8:41pm

>15 Kassilem: - I adore this series! I really enjoyed vision in silver and I can kind of see what you mean in terms of this book compared to the other 2 thoughtoo also raced through it. I cannot wait for the next book. I was also lucky enough to meet Anne Bishop last year though i must have seemed like an idiot because of course all coherent though left my head when i met her and i couldn't thnk of anything to say so i just kinda stood there whilst she signed my books LOL!

>19 Kassilem: - I keep meaning to start this series because I have heard so many good things about it. I have the first book conder both in hardback and e-book form and have even started reading the first page or so but can never seem to get any further. I think its the fact its a re-imagined conderella typoe tale that is the problem. I have read ( & watched) a lot of re-imaginings/retelling in recent years and Cinderella has always been one of my least favourite fairy tales so i cannot seem to get into this series though I really really want to.

>21 Kassilem: Congratulations on attending your first book signing! :-) I am lucky enough to have attended a few. I guess when some of the bigger YA authors come to Australia its a bigger thing because it is so rare. However in the last few years I have been lucky enough to meet Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, Maggie Stiefvater, Anne Bishop, Claudia Gray, Lauren Kate, Jessica Shirvington, Kristin Cashore, Kylie Chan and Traci Harding. I even got to meet Marcas Zusak at a writer's festival a couple of years ago. I am really excited though as Sarah J Maas is coming to Australia in September and I am really looking forward to attending that book event and hopefully get all my books signed. I ahve even already pre-ordered Queen of Shadows in anticipation :-)

abr. 10, 2015, 9:44am

Congratulations on attending your first author book signing!

abr. 10, 2015, 7:31pm

>22 rosylibrarian: :) I think that is good news for me then. :)

>23 Ape: Thanks! It was great fun!

>24 SapphiredDragon: That's about what I did. Stood there silently. I did manage to say thanks for sitting for an hour and a half to sign books, and to say she was very inspiring. On you're second point about Cinder, while it is a Cinderella retelling I think there is plenty of originality in it that you'll end up liking it once you get past the first part. And on you're third point: well wow! That's a lot of authors you've seen! :) I'm a little jealous :)

>24 SapphiredDragon: Thanks Lori!

55. Going Postal - Terry Pratchett
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 416
Rating: 3 Stars
(Best 21st c. Fantasy)

Suddenly, condemned arch-swindler Moist von Lipwig found himself with a noose around his neck and dropping through a trapdoor into ... a government job? By all rights, Moist should be meeting his maker rather than being offered a position as Postmaster by Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork. Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may prove an impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, greedy Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical headman.

I now know which of the authors in Good Omens I liked; Terry Pratchett. He's got a unique humor to his writing. And yet it's not a humor I find myself laughing at. I enjoyed listening to this on audio but I'm not sure I would have ever picked it up if it hadn't been on the Best 21st century Fantasy list I'm am going through. I did like that it was different and that's the point of these lists of mine. In addition to my TBR list of books I want to read which mostly consists of fantasy novels and series, reading books like these broaden's my reading repertoire and horizons. Plus if I ever go on a road trip with a bunch of people I now know this is the author to go to for audio books that everyone can get a kick out of.

Favorite Line:
Moist was sure doctors keep skeletons around to cow patients. Nyer, nyer, we know what you look underneath ...

abr. 10, 2015, 11:29pm

I can highly recommend the TV movie adaptation of Going Postal. It was my first - and so far only - venture into Terry Pratchettland and really made me appreciate what a creative mind Pratchett had.

abr. 11, 2015, 1:13am

>27 lkernagh: I'll have to look into it. I know I've seen the cover for it somewhere and saw it had some good actors in it. :)

56. Bastion - Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 343
Rating: 2 Stars

Mags returns to the Collegium, but there are mixed feelings--his included--about him actually remaining there. No one doubts that he is and should be a Herald, but he is afraid that his mere presence is going to incite more danger right in the heart of Valdemar. Everyone decides that going elsewhere is the solution for now. And those who are closest to him, and might provide secondary targets, are going along. Together they head for the Bastion, the hidden spot in the hills that had once been the headquarters of a powerful band of raiders that had held him and his parents prisoner. But what they find is not what anyone had expected.

We've waited all series long to find out Mag's past; about his parents. There's really nothing about Mag's parents that's earth shattering. Really, there's nothing we're given that's even remotely interesting. What he learns in this last book seems like a afterthought to this side plot. Overall I feel as if this series wasn't planned out very well. The first book of the series is my favorite but the rest weren't that good. Definitely not one of Lackey's best series. I suppose I was hoping for a good last book, to give the series a good ending and some closure; plus I really am interested in seeing mags as a Herald. But if the writing in the sequel series is on par with this I doubt it will be worth it. It's really too bad. I was hoping for more.

abr. 12, 2015, 7:18pm

Hi Melissa, boy, it is getting close to the time you head out to Africa. I can only imagine how light a cotton you will need for skirts over there. Taking a couple that fit as a pattern is a good idea as I am sure they will be less expensive over there. When will you find out your actual destination? It's all so very exciting!

Editat: abr. 13, 2015, 2:47pm

>29 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy! It is getting close! I'm doing some traveling in the next two weeks so May is going to be here before I know it and from there it will be a crazy mess of me trying to get everything in order before I leave. I'm already thinking about how to pack and store most of my stuff so that hopefully it will be less painful that last week on May. :) I try to check Ghana whether periodically just to get an idea: they have been averaging 90 degrees for weeks now, and they are just under the equator so it's really their winter time (although they don't really have four season like we do). As for the destination, I will go to training for the first ten weeks and three weeks into that training I will know for sure exactly where I will be placed.

57. The Dream Thieves - Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 448
Rating: 4 Stars

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself. One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things. Ronan is one of the raven boys - a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface - changing everything in its wake.

I thought this was a great continuation of the Raven Cycle series. I enjoyed the first book The Raven Boys and this one is on par with that one in mystery, suspense, and entertainment. I particularly liked the narrator, Will Patton, for this audio book; he had a tone down for the boys that brought them to life for me. I am looking forward to the third and soon to be published fourth book. Recommended if you like urban fantasy.

Favorite Line:
“Silence was never a wrong answer.”

abr. 14, 2015, 2:00pm

58. Legion: Skin Deep - Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 207
Rating: 4 Stars

Stephen Leeds, AKA ''Legion,'' is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the new story begins, Leeds and his ''aspects'' are hired by I3 (Innovative Information Incorporated) to recover a corpse stolen from the local morgue. But there's a catch. The corpse is that of a pioneer in the field of experimental biotechnology, a man whose work concerned the use of the human body as a massive storage device. He may have embedded something in the cells of his now dead body. And that something might be dangerous.

I enjoy the fact that Stephen Leeds doesn't know exactly why he manifests hallucinatory entities, that he recognizes that he might be insane (but not crazy!) and that he has it under control. It's a fascinating concept. And it makes for some intrigue so that the reader hopes for some more explanations to come their way. As always Sanderson is really good at coming up with really interesting and unique ideas. That is some massive talent. The way these books are written makes them almost episodic, which is also interesting to me. If you read the first book Legion then you'll like this one.

Favorite Line:
His phone chirped the sound of some bird.
"That's actually the call of an eagle," Tobias said. "Most people are surprised to hear how they really sound, as the American media uses the call of the red tailed hawk when showing an eagle. They don't think the eagle sounds regal enough. And so we lie to ourselves about the very identity of our national icon..."

abr. 15, 2015, 11:55pm

I found this interesting:

These Were 2014’s Most Challenged Books (SmartNews)

1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education,
sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”

2) Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially
offensive,” “graphic depictions”

3) And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional
reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”

4) The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”

5) It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child

6) Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

7) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence

8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.
Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”

9) A Stolen Life, by Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group

10) Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: sexually explicit

abr. 16, 2015, 4:18am

>32 Kassilem: Hmm, all the more reason to read them now! :D

abr. 16, 2015, 7:35pm

Yep, "banned" and "controversial" book lists get converted to "to read" lists in my household. :P

abr. 16, 2015, 10:20pm

>33 saraslibrary: Yep! I've already read three of them and another was already on my list to read, but I'm thinking of adding the rest :)

>34 Ape: Same here!

59. Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 Stars
(BBC's Best 100)

A scrawny 13-year-old, all carrot-colored pigtails and outrageous chatter, Anne seems fated to go nowhere but back to the orphanage. Her new family, after all, ordered a boy and she was delivered by mistake. But by turning adversity to advantage with lots of spunk, Anne of Green Gables has enchanted four generations of children and their elders since the world’s most widely read Canadian novel was first published in Boston in 1908.

I remember liking this movie but never even thought to read the book until I saw it on the BBC's 100 Best list. That's one reason I like the list: it's bring attention to books I wouldn't normally think about. And this one deserves to be thought about, and read. I enjoyed Anne with an "e"'s character and loquacious nature. Now I need to go watch the movie again and possibly read the other two books after this one as Anne grows up even more.

Favorite Line:
“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

abr. 17, 2015, 5:34am

>35 Kassilem: I adored the Anne of Green Gables series growing up though I think my favourite is actually the last one Rilla of Ingleside. I got e-copies of the series a couple of years ago and I plan to buy print copies of them for my daughter when she get's older :-)

I also like L M montgomery 's other series Emily of New moon

abr. 17, 2015, 9:37am

>32 Kassilem: Ugh, banning books... don't get me started. Like, Jaycee Dugard's book is about something that happened to her by a despicable man. It's not her fault her story contains drugs, alcohol and smoking. Banning it is... ugh... anyways...

>35 Kassilem: Yay, Anne!

abr. 18, 2015, 1:27am

>36 SapphiredDragon: I looked up Emily of New Moon and it does look rather interesting. I might have to add that one to the growing list :) Thanks for that rec! I think I will also probably buy the Anne books for my future children. :)

>37 rosylibrarian: I don't agree with most types of banning. All it does really is bring attention to the books, more attention than it probably would have got beforehand. Everyone knows that the quickest way to make someone do something mysterious is to tell them not to do it. :)

60. Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 448
Rating: 4 Stars
(Best 20th c. Fantasy)

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

This was a charming book. I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into when I put this audio book into the car stereo for my long road trip but it was entertaining and made the drive fly by. There's a fairytale quality about it, and indeed I caught one or two generalized fairytale references in the story. I think many people would call the book highly comical. It's one I would have enjoyed listening to in the company of siblings. It looks like Jones has another book or two along this same thread and in the same world, so I might look at picking those one up at some point. If you like fantasy, this one is recommended.

Favorite Line:
"Typical! I break my neck trying to get here, and I find you peacefully tidying up!"

abr. 18, 2015, 3:38pm

I love the "Anne" books and I am currently working through them for the umteenth time! Overall I still think the first three are my favorite, some of the later ones get a little preachy.

abr. 18, 2015, 4:10pm

>32 Kassilem: Yup, saw that list. It's surprising how much the ALA top ten list of most challenged titles doesn't change from year to year.

abr. 20, 2015, 9:51pm

>39 DeltaQueen50: :) I didn't even know there were more than the three books. I'll have to see what the other ones are about. And yet, I'm not sure I'll ever get that far into the series myself.

>40 MickyFine: Interesting. I do like to look at the controversial books in the zeitgesit as well but like you said those hardly ever change either.

61. Everlost - Neal Shusterman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Rating: 4 Stars
(Walk By=Pick Up)

Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident, but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to go either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost kids run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth. When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost souls, Nick feels like he’s found a home, but Allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

This was a very interesting book. I feel that I can count on that from Shusterman anytime I pick up a new series from him. Like Brandon Sanderson, Shusterman has created incredible unique stories and ideas over and over again. This one has a definite "young adult" feel to it so it might not appeal to some readers but I listened to it while driving a long stretch and enjoyed it immensely as it kept me engaged and interested so that I barely felt the hours and hours I was driving. The characters aren't you're typical heroes but they are interesting enough teenagers dealing with a unique situation.

abr. 24, 2015, 12:25pm

62. Heir of Novron - Michael J. Sullivan
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 960
Rating: 4 Stars

The New Empire intends to mark its victory over the Nationalists with a bloody celebration. On the high holiday of Wintertide, the Witch of Melengar will be burned and the Heir of Novron executed. On that same day the Empress faces a forced marriage, with a fatal accident soon to follow. The New Empire is confident in the totality of its triumph, but there's just one problem--Royce and Hadrian have finally found the Heir of Novron and they have their own holiday plans. And so concludes the final tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

I enjoyed this conclusion to the series. The blurb I pulled from amazon really only covers events that happen in book 5, the first in this third omnibus. Book six, the second in this volume is about the team of our characters looking for a magical horn to stop the end of mankind. Both stories in this volume are packed with action and suspense. I enjoyed Hadrian and Royce's interactions like always and I enjoyed the twists that Sullivan tricks the reader with. I knew I didn't know the whole story due to hints and clues but I still couldn't have guessed how it would have turned out. Good planning there. I suppose now I am just waiting to see if Sullivan writes any more prequels to this series like he said he might. Recommended if you like high fantasy.

Favorite Line:
"You always think everything is so easy," Royce replied, wiping his eyes.
"I'm just a glass-half-full kinda guy. How's your glass looking these days?"
"I have no idea. I'm still trying to get over the sheer size of it."

Editat: abr. 25, 2015, 3:27am

63. The Darkest Part of the Forest - Holly Black
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fairytales
Pages: 336
Rating: 3 Stars

Since they were children, Hazel and Ben have been telling each other stories about the boy in the glass coffin, that he is a prince and they are valiant knights, pretending their prince would be different from the other faeries, the ones who made cruel bargains, lurked in the shadows of trees, and doomed tourists. But as Hazel grows up, she puts aside those stories. Hazel knows the horned boy will never wake. Until one day, he does.... As the world turns upside down, Hazel has to become the knight she once pretended to be. But as she's swept up in new love, with shifting loyalties and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

I really enjoyed Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Black so I thought I would try another one from her. I didn't like this latter book nearly as much as I did the former. Interesting, but it didn't hold my attention very well. I didn't invest in any of the characters. None. Maybe Jack, just a little, but that just doesn't cut it. I'm so into characters and character development that not being about to feel them, emphasize with them and love them usually breaks books for me. These characters felt to flat for me. But good story idea. Sort of a Grimms fairy tale feel.

Favorite Line:
He saw now the ways in which they tried to be careful with each other, afraid of hitting those raw places where they might hurt each other almost without trying. But sparing another person is a tricky thing. It’s easy to think you’re succeeding when you’re failing spectacularly.

abr. 29, 2015, 6:13pm

MickyFine found a calculator for how long it will take to finish going through your TBR list, and I found it so fascinating that I had to share it here as well. :) You can find the link HERE

Not including the three lists I added to my TBR last year (BBC's best, Best 21st c. Fantasy, & Best 20th c. Fantasy) it will take me a day under 3 YEARS to finish my TBR list. Awesome! With the lists included it will take me 4 YEARS and 1 month. Still really cool.

And yet I always add more and more books, so I will never really finish the list. :)

abr. 30, 2015, 1:35am

64. Closer to Home - Mercedes Lackey
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 361
Rating: 3 Stars

Although normally a Herald in his first year of Whites would be sent off on circuit, Mags is needed close to home for his abilities as a spy and his powerful Mindspeech gift. There is a secret, treacherous plot within the royal court to destroy the Heralds. The situation becomes dire after the life of Mags' mentor, King's Own Nikolas, is imperiled. His daughter Amily is chosen as the new King's Own, a complicated and dangerous job that is made more so by this perilous time. Can Mags and Amily save the court, the Heralds, and the Collegium itself?

Don't you love how wrong some book summaries can be? The above summary comes straight from the dust cover, with a little editing on my part, and would you guess, there is no treacherous plot to destroy the heralds. There is no plan to kill Nikolas. The things you see on book covers now a days... Anyways, this first book to the squeal series of Mags is much better than the last three books of the first series were. Not on par with Lackey's earlier Herald books (cough - Vanyel - cough) which some reviewers thought, but not as bad as some the books were getting. The majority of the book was Mags and Amily tagging the heels of the royal court ladies and gentlemen which wasn't too exciting but it picks up in the last fifty pages or so. Overall, mediocre.

abr. 30, 2015, 5:20pm

Reading Stats: April

Books: 15
Pages: 5,996

Dead Tree: 7
Audiobook: 8

TBR: 9
New: 3
Walk By-Pick Up: 3

5 Stars: 0
4 Stars: 10
3 Stars: 4
2 Stars: 1
1 Stars: 0

Time Range:
1900-1909: 1
1980-1989: 1
2000-2009: 4
2010-2014: 9

Urban Fantasy: 4
High Fantasy: 3
Science Fiction: 3
Epic Fantasy: 2
Fairytale: 2
Non-Fiction: 1
Lit Classics: 1
History; 1
Mystery: 1

Graphic Novels read: 4 ('GN count' Thread can be found HERE)

abr. 30, 2015, 7:02pm

>44 Kassilem: I'm scared to look! But thank you for the link. :) And I guess, thank you, Micky, too! *wonders if things echo on LT if she says it loud enough*

I think I just might have to steal this and put it on my thread too. :)

maig 2, 2015, 9:15pm

65. The Shadows - J. R. Ward
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 592
Rating: 5 Stars

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating. Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice.

I loved this book. The ending came through pretty quick and I got a small feeling of somethings being too coincidental. But it really didn't take that much out of my sheer enjoyment of this newest book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Reading this latest book makes me want to go back and reread all the previous books. When I first started, I wasn't as invested in Trez and iAm as much as I was some of the other characters. But now I'm totally invested. That's something Ward does well. There are so many characters now that the books don't and can't focus on them all. So we get intense stories for each and then we rotate with each of them popping back up into the other characters stories again. I loved that Rhage was a part of this one. I feel like I haven't seen him for a while in the series. I loved Trez's journey and iAms as well. Recommended if you don't mind some erotic and graphic sex scenes. And if not, well you can just skips those, since I think everyone should try these books.

maig 4, 2015, 10:55pm

66. Heir of Fire - Sarah J. Maas
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 576
Rating: 4 Stars

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak-but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth - a truth about her heritage that could change her life-and her future-forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

This was an intense continuation of the series. And it's not the end. The newest book in the series - the last maybe? - is coming out later this year. A lot of "points of no return" happen and characters you love get shoved in bad situations. Maas doesn't pull her punches. The series is very character driven. It's great fantasy, and while the evil characters are really distgustingly "evil", Celaena is wonderfully complex in motives and emotions. She's not your typical heroine. I'm looking forward to seeing where this latest semi cliff-hanger leads us.

Favorite Line:
"You cannot pick and choose what parts of her to love."

maig 6, 2015, 11:56pm

67. Black Sun Rising - C. S. Friedman
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 496
Rating: 3 Stars
(Off Bookshelf)

For over a thousand years, the colonists of the planet Erna have struggled to gain control over a land prone to seismic instability and infused with a wild, near-sentient natural force known as "the fae." While sorcerers and adepts manipulate the dark and light sides of this power, the Church maintains its stance in opposition to its use. As the dark side of the fae grows in strength, feeding off the nightmares and greed of the minds that are drawn to it, four individuals form an unwilling alliance to battle the source of evil.

This book has seriously taken me around three or four years to finish. I remember I had owned it for much longer than that and then a friend said I had to read it immediately because it was so good. Maybe the friend jinxed me because I read about 200 pages and then put it down and I've only now been able to pick it back up. Part of that I think was because I put it down during a lull in the book. Not much was happening. So when I went to pick it back up there was nothing exciting to get me back into the story. This book reminds me a little of Tad Williams books which take forever to get anywhere because they are so focused on character development. Expect this book wasn't written as effectively as Williams because I had to struggle to keep me interest from waning. And yet after the ending, I still want to read the next book in the series. It's just not a book you can read quickly. I do like the interaction developing between Damion and Tarrant. I will be trying more from this author at some point.

maig 8, 2015, 5:50pm

68. Everwild - Neal Shusterman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 448
Rating: 3 Stars

Going against Mary Hightower's wishes, Nick, "the chocolate ogre" is slowly trying to reach every kid in Everlost to hand each and every one a coin, which will release them from Everlost. Mikey McGill and Allie have joined a band of skinjackers who have more of an impact on the living world then any other inhabitant of Everlost. Except Mikey can't skinjack and Allie can - and there is a very good reason. Allie is not actually dead.

More crazy fun stories from Shusterman. This is the second book in the Skinjacker trilogy. I can always count on Shusterman to give me something original. I'm really beginning to hate Mary - which is probably the point. I can't decide if she is just plain insane or if she really is that evil/wicked. Allie grants on my nerves occasionally. Nick was my favorite but we don't see him that much in this volume. Mickey is growing on me. Overall, I'm enjoying the read but I haven't decided what I think about how the series is going. It's taking a turn definitely. So I will just have to read the next and last book to figure it out.

maig 8, 2015, 7:21pm

Cross-stitch: 17.5% finished

Panels 7/40

maig 10, 2015, 3:45am

>52 Kassilem: 17.5% finished? Lol, I love the precision. ;)

maig 10, 2015, 11:14pm

Haha. Just dividing panels by the total number of panels but I see what you mean :)

maig 11, 2015, 1:46am

Peace Corps Update

18 days left... woah. :)

In leeway of my leaving so soon it has really hit me how I've haven't taken the time this year so far to finish reading the books I own. I keep reminding myself that they will still be here when I get back and they've sat on my shelves for this long already. But... I'm crazy and feel the need to try and read at least the fiction.

Anyways, I've taken a look at all the fiction I own and haven't read and had decided to donate a few and take them off the list. I've looked at general ratings and reviews for all and saw that The Summoner and The Blood King both got very low ratings due to bad writing. I try not to base my reading off of other people's reviews because it has happened before that I liked a book that lot of other people didn't. But when that many people say the same thing and I'm in a time crunch... well, I decided it wasn't worth trying to read them at this point in my life. :) So off they go. Second, I found out that The Gold Falcon is actually book 12; technically book 1 in a third sequel series. It sounds like it can be read as a stand alone series but you get much more out of it if you've read the other series first. So off that one goes too. And lastly, again reviews say The Magician's Apprentice is just plain boring. I actually started this book a few days ago and I have to concur. So out it goes.

If anyone has read any of these four books and disagrees, liked them, let me know. Otherwise I am just not going to worry about them from now on.

As for Peace Corps Ghana, I'm working on graduate school applications so that I can have some materials ready to just submit while overseas. I'm also thinking of how to pack up my belongings - though I'm trying not to jump the gun because me being me will have everything packed and done in two days once I get going - and stressing a little about financial issues of buying a few more things to take with me. Mostly I'm just trying to enjoy high speed (and free for me) internet while I still have it.

No idea if anyone was even remotely interested in that or not, but it's the middle of the night and I should be a asleep but instead I'm here, filling my screen with words. :)

maig 11, 2015, 2:22am

>54 Kassilem: I was just messing with you. :) But good job on your needlework! It's coming along nicely.

>55 Kassilem: I'm impressed you're able to part with your books. I really should take a hint and do the same. :) But... hmm, I'll think of a reason. Just give me time. ;) And, no, I haven't read any of those books you listed or heard opinions of them, so I agree: don't worry about them for now. Focus on your remaining 18 days. :) And, yes, we're totally interested in what you're up to. I find it amazing you're going overseas. I don't think I was "adult" enough at your age to just pick up and go. I should be asleep, too, but I have too many updates to finish online. Hope you get some sleep! :)

maig 11, 2015, 10:51am

>55 Kassilem: Count me as very interested in the Peace Corp update. Sounds like a fantastic adventure.

maig 11, 2015, 7:24pm

A cousin of mine had a wonderful experience with the Peace Corps in her late 70s. I hope you enjoy your time there. My niece has fallen in love with that country. This summer will be her third trip there where she is working with an orphanage. This time they will be training some of the locals to install some sort of well. She had to go for special training to learn to do it herself.

maig 12, 2015, 12:40am

Always interested, Melissa!

maig 13, 2015, 5:23pm

Hi Melissa, I, too, am very interested in your Peace Corp experiences. I can't believe how close it is to departure time! I sure hope you will have some sort of internet access when you are over there and are able to check in with us occasionally!

maig 13, 2015, 5:30pm

Thanks for the update, Melissa! How exciting that your trip is just around the corner. Good on you for taking stock of the books and purging where necessary. Sending you thoughts of a fun and safe journey overseas!

maig 13, 2015, 7:03pm

>56 saraslibrary: I've always been told I'm older than my age in maturity. And, really, now is the perfect time for me to go: no undeferable loans, no mortgage, no kids, etc. I have literally nothing holding me back expect my only emotional relationships. And in regard to those the ones that really matter will last. :)

>57 Oberon: I'm so excited!

>58 thornton37814: It sounds like she loves it if she's going back for a third time. I hear Ghanaian culture is so very friendly. :)

>59 ronincats: :) I'm glad

>60 DeltaQueen50: I should, I just can't say how spotty it will be. The hardest part of getting ready for this is not knowing where I'll end up in country; it makes planning very difficult. Already I have learned that I will just have to get used to going with the flow!

>61 jolerie: Thanks Valerie!

maig 13, 2015, 7:10pm

69. Everfound - Neal Shusterman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 528
Rating: 3 Stars

While Mary lies in a glass coffin aboard a ghost train heading west, her minions are awaiting her re-awakening by bringing lots of new souls into Everlost to serve her. Meanwhile Jackin’ Jill has met Jix, a furjacker—a skinjacker who can take over the bodies of animals, most notably jaguars. Jix serves a Mayan god who collects Everlost coins to use in his Wurlitzer, which predicts the future. In the concluding volume of The Skinjacker Trilogy, Neal Shusterman reveals new sides of the characters of Everlost, who are pitted against each other in a battle that may destroy all life on Earth.

This was a interesting conclusion. I thought it was a tiny bit anticlimactic as an ending to a trilogy but it didn't bother me too much. Again, the writing is done very well and the story is based around a very interesting idea. I will certainly be keeping my eyes open to more of Shusterman's books for now on; more than I have been previously because he gives us such interesting books. A recommended author.

Favorite Line:
Wars are often waged not because of what we believe, but because of the things we want others to believe.

maig 18, 2015, 1:31am

>62 Kassilem: Good rationalizing. Now is the perfect opportunity for you to go. And agreed: real relationships last over time. I'm sure you'll be missed. :)

Editat: maig 20, 2015, 11:58pm

Peace Corps Update

It's getting really real :)


maig 21, 2015, 3:48am

>65 Kassilem: No kidding. It puts me in a gotta-get-going mode all of a sudden. Probably because we moved so much when I was a kid. But anyway, it looks like it's all coming together. Good work! :)

maig 22, 2015, 8:16pm

>66 saraslibrary: Thanks! It's coming together.

70. Shadow Scale - Rachel Hartman
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 608
Rating: 4 Stars

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself. As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

I had a hard time getting into this second book initially but once I did I enjoyed it as much as the first book. There seems to be a love triangle forming but it's a very unique triangle and I'm actually excited to see how it works out not annoyed like I usually am at love triangles. Beware the evil villianess. There is justification behind her evil; it almost makes her more disturbing and evil than if there was no justifiable reason which made for tough reading on some pages just because I really really hated her. I feel like there were some missing explanations here and there but we still have a third book (I think) to look for those answers in. I'll be looking forward to that next book.

Favorite Line:
"The thing about reason is that there's a geometry to it. It travels in a straight line, so that slightly different beginnings can lead you to wildly divergent endpoints."

maig 28, 2015, 11:48pm

Well, I'm leaving for Peace Corps Staging tomorrow morning and will be busy for the next who knows how long, so I am ending my reading month a tiny bit early. When next you hear from me, my new life journey will have started. :)

Reading Stats: May

Books: 6
Pages: 3,248

Dead Tree: 2
Audiobook: 4

TBR: 3
New: 2
Off Bookshelf: 1

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

Time Range:
1990-1999: 1
2010-2015: 5

Urban Fantasy: 3
High Fantasy: 2
Gothic Fantasy: 1

Graphic Novels read: 0 ('GN count' Thread can be found HERE)

maig 29, 2015, 12:20am

Good luck, Melissa. :)

maig 29, 2015, 12:31am

Bon voyage, Melissa!

maig 29, 2015, 12:35am

We'll see you when we do! :)

maig 29, 2015, 6:40am

Best of luck and happy travels!!

maig 29, 2015, 10:01am

I wish you the very best, Melissa!

maig 29, 2015, 11:24am

Best wishes!

maig 29, 2015, 11:28am

All the best, Melissa!

maig 29, 2015, 12:41pm

Looking forward to your next update on your adventure.

maig 29, 2015, 2:22pm

>68 Kassilem: Good luck, Melissa! Keep safe!

maig 30, 2015, 10:06pm

Well... Staging is in Philadelphia and I do have internet access in the hotel so I'm back. Since I did finish a book on my plane rides, of course (I'll just count it for June). So far the information I am receiving about what I will be doing in Ghana is just making me more excited. Although I can still only really think day to day. It's too big otherwise to really comprehend.

I wanted to say thanks to everyone who posted here in the last few days!! I loved coming in today and seeing everyone's luck and wishes. :) So thanks!!

71. End of Days - Susan Ee
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 344
Rating: 4 Stars

As Penryn and Raffe set off in search of answers to what's happened, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all. When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

I thought this was a good conclusion to the trilogy. Ee took Penryn down the path I was most hoping for even though I couldn't see how she'd get out alive if she did. By Ee found a way and she made it believable. I suppose in a small sense I guess I expected the ending. I do have questions that were not answered at all. But I decided that maybe addressing those questions might have taken the book in a slightly different ending and I can't say which would have been stronger. Overall I enjoyed this trilogy. I didn't love it enough to want to go buy the books, but I am glad to have added it to my repertoire of interesting stories.

maig 30, 2015, 10:40pm

>78 Kassilem: You're welcome! :) I'm glad to hear your flight's been good so far. And congrats on getting another book read. I just recently bought Angelfall and hope to squeeze it in sometime this year. Thanks for recommending this series to me. :)

And, yes, definitely take it one day at a time. :) *fingers crossed the rest of your travels go as smoothly*

maig 31, 2015, 7:11am

Have a great experience! Good luck and enjoy your time and helping others. :)

juny 1, 2015, 6:46pm

Best wishes for your adventure, Melissa!

juny 3, 2015, 8:56am

Good luck and have fun!

juny 5, 2015, 9:22pm

Good luck, I loved Howls Moving Castle by the way. Not which I like better the book or the film.

juny 23, 2015, 3:19am

Hello everyone! Internet usage has been tricky here so far. I’m still figuring things out and the service just isn’t that good in my training site. Hopefully things will get a little clearer once I’m in site. At least by that point I can accept what is and not sit around anticipating what my site will be like. :) Due to the difficultly of my even posting anything on my own thread for the time being I want to put to everyone that my posting on your all’s threads has sadly come to a temporary end. I hope you’ll still visit mine for my occasionally Peace Corps and book updates. If my internet usage increases reliably enough I will try to pick up some threads again. Thanks for understanding!

They’re so much to say; suffice to say that I’m having an adventure. I will be in training for another seven weeks, which just seems crazy because the training so far has been so intense that I feel like I’ve been here for much longer than I actually have. Heavy, heavy technical and language training. I am learning the language Twi, which may or may not be at my site, and I am already practicing my teaching with Ghanaian students at a senior high boarding school. The teaching here is much more different than I anticipated. More route memorization. I’m a little nervous to teach but that’s because my skills a little dusty after a half year lazing around the house and reading all day. :)

I am learning to: bucket bathe; to wash my clothes by hand; to eat more food than usual; to live out of my suitcases due to lack of furniture; to get used to the sight of animal malnutrition; to not scratch mosquito bites; to lose my fear of pit-toilets and their nocturnal cockroach appearance; to tune out the numerous noises that never stop all through the night; to really dislike the cocks that crow right outside my window at 4 am every morning; to eat with my hands, particularly my right; to deal with heat rashes; to having to write my “google” questions in a notebook for later. These are just a few. :)

Please feel free to ask me questions; I will get to them when I can!

72. The Broken Eye – Brent Weeks
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 816
Rating: 4 Stars

As the old gods awaken and astrapies splinter, the Chromeria races to find the only man who can still end a civil war before it engulfs the known world. But Gavin Guile has been captured by an old enemy and enslaved on a pirate galey. Worse still, Gavin has lost more than his powers as Prism – he can’t use magic at all. Without the protection of his father, Kip Guile will face a master of shadows as his grandfather moves to choose a new Prism and put himself in power. With Teia and Karris, Kip will have to use all his wits to survive a secret war between noble houses, religious factions, rebels, and an ascendant order of hidden assassins called The Broken Eye.

I thought maybe this was the last book in the series but no. This book brings up even more questions for the series while it answers some of the ones the readers have been waiting for. Beware of the cliffhangers in this series. The last book had one and this one has one too, cliffhangers that leave you second guessing everything you thought you knew. It’s a big series, epic fantasy, so you’re bound to see good development here and we do. It seems like there is a big cast of characters but there’s not too many when you consider that most all have main stories that all tie in together somehow. Definitely read the first two books first. Recommended if you like the epic fantasy genre and big long books/series.

juny 23, 2015, 9:27am

Lovely to see you are able to post, Melissa, even if it may be infrequently. Sounds like you are adjusting well to your new surroundings. I am not a fan of cockroaches or anything that crawls or slithers so I understand having to overcome the fear of the pit-toilets!

juny 23, 2015, 11:42am

Certainly sounds like an adventure! I hope the good outweighs some of the discomforts. Glad to see you get some internet time to update us all. Good luck!

juny 23, 2015, 5:45pm

>84 Kassilem: Wow, what an amazing experience, bucket bathing and all. I know your internet connection is sporadic, but I for one loved hearing your update and hope you can update again soon.

Tell us more about the languages too! How do you say "to read" in those languages?

juny 23, 2015, 10:45pm

Great to hear from you, and looking forward to whatever you can share when you have a connection.

juny 25, 2015, 6:48am

>84 Kassilem: No worries on the internet thing. :) We understand. I'll definitely make sure to pop in once in awhile for Melissa updates. :)

I've never even heard of Twi. Wow, best of luck with learning a new language. That's got to be intense. And I'm sure you'll be fine teaching. :) Once the cobwebs blow off, you'll get the hang of it.

Oh, yeah, bucket baths and laundry by hand. Rockin'! ;) I've had to do those at home sometimes when the power goes out or while champing, etc. *shudders at the thought of animal malnutrition* That's a rough one. :( *sprays Melissa down with mosquito repellent* I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds certain toilets/outhouses scary as hell. Sometimes I'd much rather do my business behind a bush than risk the chance of falling in. o.o Eating with your hands sounds kinda fun, though. :) Reminds me of being a kid.

>87 rosylibrarian: I found this cool little Twi(Akan?)-to-English translator (there are probably better ones out there *shrugs*), and "to read" in Twi is "kɔ kan." I should probably find one of those pronunciation sites to figure out how to say that. :D Melissa can help us out on that one!

juny 25, 2015, 2:13pm

>84 Kassilem: It is always interesting getting introduced to a new culture and way of life. It gave me such appreciation for so many things that we take for granted. Also expanding to really appreciate a really different culture.

The Brent Weeks series is one that ive had on my radar for some time. Unfortunately so are so many other things. I just can't seem to fit it all in. But thats half the fun. How did you decide what books to bring or did you have a reading device preloaded? I know on my later deployments I took mine along as a faithful companion and there were always places to find a book to snag.

juny 25, 2015, 6:11pm

So great to hear from you, Melissa. Thanks for keeping us updated on your adventure. Good for you dealing with all that you have been given to learn and do. Uh, good luck with both the pit toilets and the cockroaches. Glad to hear that you are squeezing in some reading!

Editat: jul. 6, 2015, 4:17pm

Hello friends! I'm in Kumasi for a few days before I visit the site where I will be living for the next two years, and have some good internet connections here.

>85 lkernagh: There's a lot of adjustments going on. :) But I'm slowly creating routines and getting used to things.

>86 Oberon: The good and adventure do outweigh the slight discomforts. :)

>87 rosylibrarian: In Twi, which is what I am learning to speak, to read is "kenkan". "Me kenkan nhoma no." (I read the book) I still have a long ways to go!

>88 ronincats: I'm looking forward to it as well!

>89 saraslibrary: K-backwatrds c is the verb "to go" and kan is "to count" :) But there could be a way that it fits together as an expression. The Twi language is very situational. And very tonal which makes it a struggle for me because I not a auditory learner by any means.

>90 xymon81: I brought a kindle with me and planned on borrowing from my library in the states over overdrive. However the week I got here, there were two volunteers who had hundreds of kindle books on their harddrives so I copied those onto my hardrive and now I have over 10,000 books at my disposal. I've already checked and half of my list is in the collection so I am set for a few years at least :)

>91 DeltaQueen50: The reading is going much slower than I anticipated it going but I've just been so busy. I anticipate that changing once training is done!

Every week I write a email/journal. I thought about putting some of that here but it unfortunately falls under the term blogging which I did not sign up to do under Peace Corps approval. So instead - if you are interested in the details of my Ghanaian experiences, please message me with an email address and I will add you to my list that I send the emails too. Just be warned that I tend to write a lot and they are first and foremost to my family so there may be some mushy things or nonessential in them for you.

I will try to upload some photos here if it'll work. :) Hoping all is well with you all!

jul. 6, 2015, 4:50pm

Thanks for the update! Glad to hear that things are going and well and that you will not lack for books!

jul. 6, 2015, 6:49pm

>92 Kassilem: Thats a sweet amount of books. Lucky you. Thats more than a person could ever read.

jul. 6, 2015, 8:44pm

Thanks for posting the update and the pictures!

jul. 6, 2015, 10:55pm

Looks like a beautiful country, Melissa. You certainly won't be book-starved by any means, the hardest thing will be choosing which one to read next!

jul. 7, 2015, 1:23am

Great pictures!

jul. 7, 2015, 9:11am

Thanks for the translation and love the photos! Love your dress in the second photo.

jul. 10, 2015, 3:48pm

Thanks everyone! I'm visiting my site! and the coverage is good. It takes a while to load pages but I can access the internet. I have to hotspot off my phone so depending on how my monthly plan works out that may limit me but so far it looks like once I am sworn in and actually living at my site things will be a little easier. :)

73. The Magicians - Lev Grossman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 432
Rating: 3 Stars

Quentin Coldwater lives in a state of perpetual melancholy, privately obsessed with his childhood books about the enchanted land of Fillory. When he’s admitted to the surreptitious Brakebills Academy for an education in magic, Quentin finds mastering spells is tedious (and love is even more fraught). He also discovers his power has thrilling potential--though it's unclear what he should do with it once he's moved with his new magician cohorts to New York City. Then they discover the magical land of Fillory is real and launch an expedition to use their powers to set things right in the kingdom--which, naturally, turns out to be a much murkier proposition than expected.

I thought I would like this book a lot. I forget now why I thought that, but I did. :) I didn't. This book reminded me of a mix between Harry Potter (with the magic school) and The Wizard of Earthsea (with the events that happen) and The Chronicles of Narnia (the second part of the book). But it was almost all tell and no show which really broke it for me. I had a hard time making myself invested in this book. I probably won't read the second book, even with the slight cliffhanger the first book ended on. Oh well. On to another book that is hopefully more to my liking.

jul. 10, 2015, 4:11pm

Forgot about this :/

Reading Stats: June

Books: 2
Pages: 1,160

Dead Tree: 1
E-Book: 1

TBR: 1
New: 1

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

Time Range:
2010-2015: 2

Epic Fantasy: 1
Dystopia: 1

jul. 15, 2015, 5:06pm

74. The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 617
Rating: 4 Stars

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers. Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men. And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior with a bloody past, is about to wake up in a hole in the snow with plans to settle a blood feud with Bethod, the new King of the Northmen, once and for all - ideally by running away from it. But as he's discovering, old habits die really, really hard indeed...especially when Bayaz gets involved. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Glotka, Jezal and Logen a whole lot more difficult.

Wow. When I first started this book I wasn’t sure where it was going to go, but it took me on a ride. This is like an epic fantasy story where characters from all over the world are matched together to go on an adventure to save something. Except in this case its more gory than usual. I really enjoyed the array of characters. None of them are heroes that never get hurt or are brave all the time. They are all very human which was great. There were a few times in the beginning of the book that I wondered if there was a book or series I was supposed to have read before this one. But I think that is just how Abercrombie writes maybe; you learn about the characters and their history throughout the book not just in the beginning. New and interesting things that change your perspective of the characters. You hardly know what they look like until halfway through the book when another character finally describes what they are seeing. It is very interesting. I am very anxious to get to the second book in the trilogy.

jul. 16, 2015, 3:03pm

I am a huge fan of Joe Abercrombie and I loved that trilogy! I have also read Best Served Cold which takes place in the same world but with different characters, although I see some include it as the 4th book in the First Law trilogy.

jul. 23, 2015, 4:47am

>102 DeltaQueen50: I'm looking forward to all of Abrocrombie's books at this point :)

75. Before They Are Hanged – Joe Abercrombie
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 543
Rating: 4 Stars

As savage Northmen invade Angland, the northernmost province of the unwieldy Union, honorable, hard-working Union soldier Colonel West watches his notions of civilized warfare erode in one horrible battle after another. In Dagoska, a southern city threatened by Gurkish soldiers and left undefended as Union troops head to Angland, dreadfully maimed Inquisitor Glokta employs tortures and deceptions to ferret out conspiracies against the king. Ignoring these worldly concerns, disreputable magus Bayaz of Calcis drives a squabbling little band through a wasteland in search of a relic that can open a gate to the realm of demons.

This book was as good as the first book. I’m becoming more and more invested in Glokta, even though I never thought I would, him being what he is. But you can see the person behind the cruel occupation. The book is more gory than most fantasy books you read because of his perspectives, and has a dark outlook, but that itself makes the books fascinating in their own way. Logan and Ferro was a surprise but at the same time, not really. I hope they work it all out. Logan and Jezal are probably my favorite characters at the moment but all the characters are becoming dear to me. Abercrombie may become a new favorite author of mine. This series is recommended.

jul. 23, 2015, 10:42pm


jul. 24, 2015, 11:53am

>103 Kassilem: What a good series to reach 75 on.

jul. 24, 2015, 9:47pm

Congrats on 75 books read, Melissa!

jul. 25, 2015, 3:55pm

Congrats on reaching the magic number!

jul. 28, 2015, 2:49pm

Congrats on 75 - yay!

jul. 30, 2015, 4:01am

Thanks all!!!! My reading has been pretty slow this month, but they've been some good books. :)

Editat: ag. 3, 2015, 12:09pm

Reading Stats: July

Books: 3
Pages: 1,592

E-Book: 3

TBR: 3

4 Stars: 2
3 Stars: 1

Time Range:
2000-2009: 3

Epic Fantasy: 2
Urban Fantasy: 1

ag. 8, 2015, 12:57am

Hey, congrats on hitting the 75 book mark!

Editat: ag. 10, 2015, 3:49am


76. The Once and Future King – T. H. White
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 800
Rating: 4 Stars
(TBR-Best 20th c. Fantasy)

T.H. White's masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance, and magic that has enchanted readers for generations.

This book seemed to go on forever, due to it being four books combined. Also due to my busy schedule. The story is the classic King Arthur story but with much more detail and with The Sword and the Stone story included in the beginning. I loved having it all together. I particularly liked the last book, The Book of Merlin, where the race of humankind was analyzed in relation to other animal species, to show how horrendous we are as human beings. Saying it here makes it sound horrible but, as an anthropologist, it fascinated me, and that these thoughts have been going on for centuries’. If you are interested in arthur stories, you may enjoy this book

ag. 10, 2015, 3:51am

77. Last Argument of Kings – Joe Abercrombie
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 639
Rating: 4 Stars

Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him -- but it's going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the king of the Northmen still stands firm, and there's only one man who can stop him. With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no one is safe, and no one can be trusted. Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is too painful an undertaking and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too.

Wow. No happy ending here. I was expecting one because as far as I know this was the last book of the series. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe a sequel series? Or it could be that Abrocrombie just wants to keep the story realistic and unfair. I feel bad for these characters. And the first of the Magi? I guess I kind of expected that, but still, it was kind of a shock. Usually the great wizards are the good guys. This one is something else. Beware. Good epic fantasy though. I’m looking forward to more of Abercrombie’s work.

ag. 12, 2015, 9:18am

78. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Pages: 192
Rating: 4 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague, someone older, patient and wise, who understood when you were young and searching helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. Re rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.

This was a powerful book, full of so much good advice. And very good quotes. It comes down to how to live a life without regrets. I’ve read other books to this effect. This one is short and sweet – very too the point. Because it was so short and because I have read other books that talk about this stuff before it wasn’t as mind blowing as some people told me it would be, which is why it’s only a four star for me and not a five. I still highly recommend the book to everyone.

ag. 16, 2015, 2:02pm

79. Fool's Quest - Robin Hobb
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 768
Rating: 5 Stars

Long ago, Fitz and the Fool changed the world, bringing back the magic of dragons and securing both the Farseer succession and the stability of the kingdom. Or so they thought. But now the Fool is near death, maimed by mysterious pale-skinned figures whose plans for world domination hinge upon the powers the Fool may share with Fitz’s own daughter. Distracted by the Fool’s perilous health, and swept up against his will in the intrigues of the royal court, Fitz lets down his guard . . . and in a horrible instant, his world is undone and his beloved daughter stolen away by those who would use her as they had once sought to use the Fool—as a weapon. But FitzChivalry Farseer is not without weapons of his own. An ancient magic still lives in his veins. And though he may have let his skills as royal assassin diminish over the years, such things, once learned, are not so easily forgotten. Now enemies and friends alike are about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a man who has nothing left to lose.

Of course this book ended on a cliff-hanger; almost as bad the cliffhanger in the previous book. Bee wasn’t present in the majority of this book, since it focused on Fitz and the Fool. The Fool is changed however and only towards the end did the interaction between the two become the loved interactions I so crave when reading these books. I love how the Rain Wilds series is being incorporated in this latest series – it really shows how interconnected all the different series of Hobb’s are. There are lots of characters that we see briefly that we haven’t seen since the first series where Fitz was young. It all makes me want to go back and reread all books in all the series. A lot of reading, but all of it fantastic writing. The books can be depressing but I highly recommend them if you are at all interested in fantasy.

ag. 20, 2015, 6:14pm

80. Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 260
Rating: 3 Stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels cleans up urban problems of a paranormal kind. But her latest prey, a pack of undead warriors, presents her greatest challenge.

I was expecting more from this book for some reason. Perhaps because I have read too many urban fantasy books like this one, the story has lost it's flare for me. It seems like the exact same story with only a few variations as many I have already read. I do have to admit I was kind of distracted while listening to this book however. I am not sure if I will be reading more in the series. Perhaps at a future date.

ag. 22, 2015, 4:28am

So I know I said that I wasn't going to put too much up here about me in Ghana because of the whole blogging thing but I'm dying to share some things :) I think it will be okay if I share some as long as everyone here understands that these are all my own thoughts and opinions and not Peace Corps. (I'm suppose to put a disclaimer here).

Sorry ahead of time for the amount of words I am probably going to write here. :) Skip and scan at your pleasure.

First off, my site is at a place called Tease (Tea-a-say). It is located in the Afram Plains in the Eastern region of the country. . I am one of the two lucky volunteers that have to cross the lake in a boat to get to site. But no worries; it’s a big pontoon ferry that carries buses and cars back and forth.

However this makes getting out of site expensive and time consuming. It took me a whole day to get there from the region over. It’s all in the timing. Usually you can get a taxi to a bus station but you have to wait until that taxi fills up all the way, otherwise you have to pay for all the extra empty seats. Then you time it right to get the bus station on time. The bus only come and goes twice in one day; at 6:00 am or 12:00 pm. If you miss those then you’re out of luck. So usually you go early to account for any taxi waits or break downs. If nothing happens great! Except that you are now at the station early and have to wait for the bus. There are a lot of waits, because you have to plan for a bunch of things that might happen. Adding a boat into the mix just makes it even more tricky. Because of the expense and time of travel most volunteers in the Afram Plains don’t leave the area very often.

In essence I was placed in the Afram Plains because I’m an introvert and will do okay with not leaving site as often as some other volunteers will want to. :) But there are eight other volunteers in the area that I can visit easily if I feel the need to get out and socialize with other Americans. I always did better with small groups of people than with large groups anyways.

Tease itself is not too big, but it’s bigger than my training site. I think the population is around 5000. The senior high school that I am teaching at is the only senior high in the area with a population of 350 students and 17 teachers. But it looks smaller than the numbers indicate. Basically there are four longhouses with three or four classrooms each, an administration building, a library, and a cafeteria. I can walk across the whole campus in five minutes. Pretty close knit. I live on campus on the end of the girl’s dormitory, in my own place.

I have a spare room that I can put some couches in, a bedroom, a kitchen, a washroom and a toilet room. There is no running water and the toilet isn’t hooked up to anything anyways so my actual toilet is in the dormitory bathhouse across the courtyard, and I will still be bucket bathing. But hey! I have an actual toilet – I have to pour water into it every time I use it, but it’s an actual legit white porcelain toilet. Luxury! I also have good phone service at my site so no worries there. I should be able to update online much more often. I feel a little spoiled. I was told that the power goes on a 24/12 hour schedule. It will be on for 24 hours and then off for 12 followed by 24 hours on and 12 off, in a cycle. I now own a mini fridge, a clothes rack, cooking utensils, and, best of all, two ceiling fans!

I’m really excited to start teaching and to getting into some secondary projects. The volunteer before me tried to start a reading club but it didn’t really go anywhere. I’m hoping to bring it back to its feet again. I also want to get a grant to bring in some science resources. The school doesn’t have any microscopes or basic things for scientific laboratories. It’s all just ideas right now.

I have since determined that I will want to do my own laundry, and my own cleaning. When I first came I was told I could get a small girl to help me with these things, but I think I’ll end up wanting to do them all myself. Firstly because, really, there won’t be much to do on the weekends, and secondly because who am I kidding. I’m such an OCD individual that I’d be following the girl around the whole time making sure she’s doing it all right.  The way Ghanians wash them clothes is very tough on American cloth I have discovered; especially elastic tank tops. As for cleaning I am a pro at cleaning by this point in my life. I just need to figure out the techniques here – how to clean a mirror without Windex for example! Because I am living on the school campus I can have the cafeteria food brought to my place for lunches and dinners if I want, so really my cooking is all up to me.

I’m happy to say that the rooster population at site is much reduced to what it is at my training site. I don’t have any roosters crowing right outside the windows, thank all that is good! What I do have are goats. And lots of them. I practically trip over them when I have to walk to the toilet at night. They can be alarmingly annoying as well. My annoyance may be in the process of transferring from roosters to goats.  The other new noise I will have to get used to is the frogs.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m feeling comfortable doing certain things, like riding a tro-tro or brushing my teeth out of a water bottle. But then I have moments where I look around and think “My god, I’m in Ghana. What am I doing in Ghana.” I expect to have more of these moments once training is over and it’s just me at my site. But they are not bad moments. They are not moments where I panic and want to go home. It’s more of just an incredulous feeling – like I can’t believe I had the gall and the courage to get here, and yet here I am. Here I am!

In less dramatic news, I’ve got my writing juices back and actually feel like writing again. If only I wasn’t so busy. :/ I’m also reading more, which is good news for me. A time period of a few weeks with me not reading is bad news on too many levels. Not that I wasn’t reading. I was just reading at a snail’s pace, which was pretty foreign for me.

I am still struggling with the language. I passed my test which means I can make simple conversation about myself and my family, and shop/travel with some expressions but that is about it. They taught us the functional part of the language so we skipped all the whys/hows and structures and jumped immediately into phrases and when to use them. Unfortunately this does not mesh well with my learning style. But when you have to teach a language to a proficiency of intermediate mid in the span of eight weeks that restricts the way they can teach us. I’m hoping to dig into the language deeper to fully grasp it once at site.

I do have a language success story however: I was woken up in the middle of the night by my homestay mother one night, in Twi. Even half asleep I understood what she was saying! It’s a little tiny success only, but I’m taking it as mine with full bragging rights. :) It reminds me of what my trainer told me last week: that while I don’t feel like I’ve come a long way with the language, its relative. He told me not to measure my progress by conversations with Ghanaians, and instead suggested thinking about all I could say to someone back home; to all of you. Good advice.

The only other projects we did while learning the language were ‘small community outreach project’ (SCOP) and ‘personal presentation project’ (PPP). The PPP was an excuse for us to pick a topic about Ghana and research it. I and a fellow volunteer talked about the ecology of Ghana. For our SCOP project my group talked to the training community about teen pregnancy. We did a skit with local Ghanaians as our leads, lead an information session, gave a condom demonstration and lastly had them pledge to fight against teen pregnancy by signing their name on a wall mural we painted beforehand. It didn’t work out the way we had envisioned it working.

First of all, all the people who had promised to come when we recruited earlier in the week didn’t come (typical way of Ghanaians, I’m realizing). Then we had a heck of a time running around and gathering people. The skit went well but we had to get an interpreter for us during the info session. We had targeted the young teenagers as our audience but forgotten that they did not understand English very well. The condom demo was great and we got local boys and girls to demonstrate themselves which the crowd loved. The wall mural became organic in the end – we filled the wall with swirls of paint, not with names but with thumbprints and handprints.

Once upon a time I might have gotten upset at all the setbacks we had and not called it a success. But ah, I’ve been in training for ten weeks! This project was, for all intents and purposes, a way for us to get firsthand experience at the struggle of getting things done here in Ghana.

The Peace Corps swear-in ceremony was both nerve-racking and great. The eastern region Minister himself came to the ceremony. A lot of it was speeches as you can probably imagine. Think about a normal graduation… then add African dancing, language skits, searing sunshine, and really really bright colors. :) My nerves stemmed from the dance and the skit. For our skit, my language group did a musical where we sang Twi songs about how to greet, or about birthdays, etc. interspersed with dialogue. We had to memorize all our lines in Twi, which was the nerve factor, but it turned out great. The dance wasn’t as good, but it still came out okay. We all danced two dances. We have been practicing them for a few weeks, but Ghanaians do not count dance steps. And they do not play drums off of sheet music but rather how they think it should sound. This meant that every time we practiced our dances, the beat of the drum was slightly different and while we did one particular move four times last week, we are now doing it five times this week. At times it was very frustrating but I learned in the end to follow the music instead of trying to count it all out; but I don’t think all 26 of us volunteers were in sync with each other ever. :) Oh well.

Our volunteer group ended our swear-in ceremony night yesterday by awarding superlatives to everyone. My superlative was most likely to give tribal marks and most likely to make earrings out of water sachets or other found material constantly! They all discovered my fondness for earring pretty early on. I’m not sure where the giving tribal marks came from. I had one nickname for a while – Dr. Kidd – because I was the one who read the 150 page manual on health in Ghana. Perhaps it stemmed from that :)

I've now moved into site completely. I arrived on Tuesday and have been cleaning ever since. And trying to figure out what to eat. I am enjoying the house immensely so far, as implied above. I'm still getting used to the town and community.

I’m thinking of getting a kitten. Seriously thinking about it. I’ve never really been an animal person but I’ve been with a volunteer named Amy a lot and she is taking a kitten to site with her from the training site. I’ve played with her kitten a lot already and today I carried it in a sling for a few hours while we did our sector camp. Every time it snuggled against my stomach I fell in love a little more. I think I am beginning to crave its cuddles. I’ve lived alone without an animal companion before but I think it would be beneficial here to have a cat as a companion. If I ever get lonely or sad all I’d need to do is sneak some snuggles. Plus it will keep away small critters and/or bugs. I’m not so excited about cat hair all over the place but I’ve been doing some research (i.e. asking other volunteers) and the cats here don’t seem to shed their hair as much as cats in America. And hey, if I have to clean my place more because the hair is bothering me, well that’s no hardship. I clean constantly anyways.  I’m still doing “research” on what to feed it and which vaccinations it will need, and how to keep it from tearing up my sheets, etc. I always like to do as much research as possible before committing to anything, so it may take me a few more weeks to completely decide.

One other thing that happened that I almost forgot to mention is that I was voted my training group’s diversity representative. This means I am on the PCDS (Peace Corps Diversity Support) committee and am the go-to person for my group if they want to talk to someone about anything without fear of judgement. Once I know more about what resources the committee has I can also begin to find volunteer allies – putting my group of volunteers in contact with other volunteers that have similar backgrounds or beliefs or hobbies. I’m looking forward to the role more than I initially thought I would.

I think that's a good catch up. Maybe more than you were hoping for. Oops. I can never seem to write only a little. I'll update here more often. My service is good but it's not perfect. I can load most pages as long as they don't have a bunch of pictures. Librarything seems to work okay - facebook is another matter. But I'm learning to accept the sloooowwwww loading. I think I might try to pick up lurking at some thread again but will probably wait until the new year to begin. I'll start small and see how it works. I am limited to only 1.2 GB of data a month. I'm still in the experimental process right now to see how much I use on average. So far I haven't hit my halfway mark. :)

Anyways, I miss you all! Hope everyone's reading is going well.

Editat: ag. 22, 2015, 4:52am

81. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 290
Rating: 4 Stars

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

This was an interesting book format. Written all in letter correspondences. It makes it feel like you are watching history. I find it was a great format for this particular story and genre. I wonder if it is based off of a true event in history. It has the feel that it is, but that could just credit the author with a talent to write very very well. I enjoyed the characters and their letter correspondences much more than I expected to from the start. A great read, and recommended. And such quotes!

Favorite Line:
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”

“Men are more interesting in books than they are in real life.”

“That's what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It's geometrically progressive—all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment."

ag. 23, 2015, 12:18am

>117 Kassilem: Love the long newsy update, Melissa!! Let us know how that cat thing goes.

ag. 24, 2015, 11:03am

Wonderful to read about your experience, Melissa. I am OCD when it comes to laundry - my other half is not allowed to do the laundry! - so I understand. As for cleaning windows, I tend to wash our windows with a little bit of dish detergent added to a pail of water and wash them with a rag. Of course, you have to rinse the windows off with clean water (I tend to dry the windows a bit with an old towel). Alternatively, you can use a dilution of vinegar in water but that can tend to leave some streaks. I perked up at the mention of a kitty. As Roni said, keep us posted on that!

ag. 24, 2015, 4:50pm

>117 Kassilem: Loved the update. Thanks so much!

ag. 29, 2015, 4:03pm

>119 ronincats: Will do! I've decided to wait on the matter for now, since I'm still struggling to figure out how to feed myself at the moment :)

>120 lkernagh: Thanks for the tips :) I might try the dish detergent one next time. Once the dust is off, they are actually not to bad.

>121 Oberon: You are very welcome :) I enjoyed sharing.

82. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Memoir, Travel
Pages: 352
Rating: 5 Stars

Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.

I think I read this book at the exact right time in my life because it struck a very big chord in me. This book is already on my list of books to buy. I enjoy to travel but beyond that the struggles that Liz was going through in this book, while not compatible with some of my struggles, where related enough that I was able to relate. I took away a lot of advice from this book. Now it seems like people either love or hate this book. Those that hate it say things like the author secured a book before traveling to get the money and others say that the spirituality addressed in the book is superficial. The bad list goes on and on and I decided to stop seeing why people hated the book. I am not going to question the reasons for writing the book, or how it was written - it was well written and it kept me very engaged. As for the religious aspect of the book; I don't usually like books that preach on how to be religious or how to get close to god, and because of that I did not focus on that aspect of the book that much. What I found myself relating to was Liz's struggle to be happy. Again, I got so much from this book, and can't wait to peruse it again in a few years. To each their own, right? This is a book that did something beneficial for me, at a time in my life where I needed to hear it. That makes it a food book in my opinion.

ag. 29, 2015, 6:30pm

Hi Melissa! I'm looking forward to hearing more about Ghana, please keep sharing! :)

ag. 30, 2015, 10:27pm

It was great to get more of a in-depth idea of your life in Ghana, Melissa. Thanks for keeping us in the loop! :)

set. 1, 2015, 1:28pm

>123 kgodey: Will do!

>124 DeltaQueen50: You're totally welcome. I enjoyed reminiscing about it all.

Reading Stats: August

Books: 7
Pages: 3,301

E-Book: 2
Audiobook: 4
Dead Tree: 1

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

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

Time Range:
1950-1959: 1
2000-2009: 5
2010-2015: 1

Epic Fantasy: 2
Memoir: 2
Travel: 1
Lit Classics: 1
Non-Fiction: 1
Urban Fantasy: 1
Historical Fiction: 1

Graphic Novels read: 10 ('GN count' Thread can be found HERE)

set. 1, 2015, 2:00pm

83. Caleb's Crossing - Geraldine Brooks
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 318
Rating: 4 Stars

Bethia Mayfield is a restless and curious young woman growing up in Martha's vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest between old ways and new, eventually becoming the first Native American graduate of Harvard College. Inspired by a true story and narrated by the irresistible Bethia, Caleb’s Crossing brilliantly captures the triumphs and turmoil of two brave, openhearted spirits who risk everything in a search for knowledge at a time of superstition and ignorance.

All I knew about this book (or all that I could remember since putting it on my to-read list) was that it was historical fiction and supposed to be good. It was good; good writing and an engaging tale. I am surprised actually how engaging it was for all that it was a life story - and if you haven't been paying attention, I tend not to invest in life-stories unless the character is exceptional. The setting did it for me. I appreciate any form of learning and while I worried at times that the book would get too preachy, it never crossed over the line. And I am fascinated by all things Native American. There were a few times I wondered where the book was going but when I read the book I did not know it was based on a true story. I struggled with the fact that woman had absolutely no rights int he 1600s, which was very clear in this book. But it historically correct so I can't blame the author. And Bethia wasn't just any woman. Overall, a nice read.

set. 3, 2015, 6:17am

84. Emma - Jane Austen
Genre: Lit Classics
Pages: 384
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR- BBC Best 100)

Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; Emma, however, is also rather spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives; and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray.

These kinds of books are just not my cup of tea: Romantic classics. Maybe because I can't seem to invest or relate to the characters all that much. Maybe because the writing is usually pretty formal. Maybe because the topics simply don't get my blood going. I tend to drift and think of more present things when reading books like these. However the writing was very good, and the characters very unique.

Editat: set. 5, 2015, 12:12pm

85. The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 336
Rating: 2 Stars

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. Now, she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

I almost didn't finish this book, probably shouldn't have based on how much I didn't like it. But I'm crazy and forced myself through it all since it wasn't too long. And I suppose I was hoping, hoping for any glimpse of it getting better. But I shouldn't fool myself. This was an awful book. Mostly in the writing. The plot held promise but the characters fell flat, tripping face first into the ground by the second chapter. I don't believe that this is the way humans would act when in a situation like presented. There is needless cruelty between family and friends. More importantly, it was unexplained cruelty, which just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The emotions here were too fake. Actually there were only superficial emotions, all centered around "love" which came off as too fake as well. I was really disappointed when I realized this was a romance more than anything. And why oh why, did there have to be a love triangle. There was a little promise here but none of it bloomed. I think the artwork of the next two books is gorgeous and I hoped the story would be good enough for me to get my hands on the second and third book but I will not be wasting my time. So I'll just put the gorgeous covers up here to appreciate and move to better books.


set. 5, 2015, 12:37pm

Cross-stitch: 20% finished

Panels 8/40

set. 9, 2015, 6:25pm

>128 Kassilem: I had the same bad reaction to The Forest of Hands and Teeth - could have and should have been so much better. I am also going to let the rest of the trilogy go. :(

set. 10, 2015, 2:53am

I'm a little bit belated. Heck, I'm a lot belated. :D But congrats on hitting 75 books!! That's wonderful. :) And thank you so much for sharing your photos and updates with us. It's refreshing to see how people live in different countries. I can kind of relate to your not having running water. We didn't have hot water for a few days when our water heater died, so everything was cold, colder, and coldest. ;) We have a large water supply here, so we were prepared. And, thankfully, my mom's a pro at home projects, so she did most of the work installing our new water heater. Oh, and hooray for having a toilet! You are most definitely spoiled. ;) Ah, the little luxuries, huh? I don't want to take up your entire thread responding to everything you wrote about, but I'm so happy for you about the kitten. Did you go ahead and keep it? Name it? Anyway, I hope you're having fun and learning a lot from your new friends and students. Tease has got to be one of the coolest names, not only because it means something else in English, but the way it's pronounced.

set. 10, 2015, 2:33pm

>130 DeltaQueen50: Usually I try not to be so harsh on a review but man...

>131 saraslibrary: Hi Sara! Welcome back :) Glad your water heater got fixed. Luckily the temperature here stays basically the same all year round so I shouldn't have too cold water. And it is so the little luxuries. I don't have a kitten yet. I'm still deciding. I'm actually doing fine without one, so fine that I might hold off until I get really lonely or something. It's like kids. When I babysat my friend's kid I always thought about having my own child. When the kittens were in front of me, I really wanted one, but now, away from the cuteness, I'm remembering why my personality doesn't totally match up with having animals. :) I'll start teaching in a week, and should be able to meet some of my this coming week. I'm looking forward to it. Until then I'm mostly writing and trying to tune out the annoying goats!

set. 11, 2015, 8:42am

86. Pegasus - Robin McKinley
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating: 4 Stars

ecause of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication. But it's different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close - so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.

I started to worry when my kindle said I was 97 percent done with the book and it seemed like the story had so much left to get through. Then it ended on a cliff-hanger, a terrible one. I had not realized this was not a stand alone novel. McKinley's novels are all stand alone's. And the second book to this story is not published yet! I'm dying here. The story itself is good. A little slow at times but that's expected from McKinley. I really enjoyed the pegasi. I don't think I've read a book featuring them before. Very well done. And Sylvi was a very likable character. I would really love it if the sequel came out soon.

set. 11, 2015, 2:20pm

87. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Genre: Lit Classics, Play
Pages: 256
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR- BBCs Best 100)

The deliriously entertaining Cold Comfort Farm is a hilarious parody of D. H. Lawrence's and Thomas Hardy's earthy, melodramatic novels. When the recently orphaned socialite Flora Poste descends on her relatives at the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm in deepest Sussex, she finds a singularly miserable group in dire need of her particular talent: organization.

While I found some moments of this book to be funny I did not think it hilarious. I believe this is because I did not relate to the play very well. It's a satire apparently but in this day and age it didn't come across as satirical as it might have when it was first published. I didn't realize it was a play when I picked it up either. But it's not long. Check it off the list.

set. 13, 2015, 9:50am

88. Seventh Son - Orson Scott Card
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Pages: 256
Rating: 4 Stars

From the author of Ender's Game, an unforgettable story about young Alvin Maker: the seventh son of a seventh son. Born into an alternative frontier America where life is hard and folk magic is real, Alvin is gifted with the power. He must learn to use his gift wisely. But dark forces are arrayed against Alvin, and only a young girl with second sight can protect him.

My father recommended this book to me, saying that it was an alternate history of American and native American history which caught my interest immediately. This book doesn't really touch upon it however, and focuses more on Alvin's childhood. The second book is where the alternate history will really be noticeably I'm told. I enjoyed this book a lot; it kept me engaged the whole book. The ending is a little ominous and I am eager to get my hands on the next book.

Editat: set. 18, 2015, 7:59am

89. Blue Lily, Lily Blue - Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 Stars

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost. Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel.

Another great installment to the series. I absolutely love what the narrator of this audio book, Will Patton, does for the books. He really brings it to life for me. However I got the impression that there was less that went on in this novel than the previous two. It seems a little like a transition novel where things between Gansey and Blue become interesting. I am really interested in seeing where the relationship between Adama and Ronan might grow. I can't tell if the language is hinting at something obvious or at something more implied and can't wait to see which of the scenarios happens. I'm looking forward to the fourth installment, coming out next year.

set. 16, 2015, 2:08pm

90. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach
Genre: Non-Fiction, Science
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 Stars

Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For two thousand years, cadavers―some willingly, some unwittingly―have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

This was a very interesting book. My initial impression is to only recommend this book to biological anthropologists, people who have worked with dead bodies before or are just curious with a really strong stomach. However, I have worked with dead bodies before so I could very easily see exactly what Roach was describing, and thus perhaps for those who can not picture this with perfect clarity, it will not be as disturbing as I would imagine it to be for most people. It looks like quite a mass of people have read the book and enjoyed it, and I doubt ALL of them meet the before mentioned criteria. I really enjoyed the history aspect of the book. Why I didn't think it was "hilarious", I did enjoy the tone of the book as well. I've taken a look at the other books from Mary Roach and am now looking forward to getting my hands on those ones as well.

Favorite Line:
"We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget."

Editat: set. 16, 2015, 2:44pm

Cross-stitch: 22.5% finished

Panels 9/40

set. 17, 2015, 11:25am

91. Wild - Cheryl Strayed
Genre: Memoir, Travel
Pages: 311
Rating: 5 Stars

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

This was another book that I feel I read at a good time in my life. My life is also changing drastically, mentally. And I used to backpack so I can relate to Cheryl's physical burden a little bit. I can fee the pain of her feet and backpack rubbing her shoulders raw and I can see the dazzling sights she's seeing - I have seen quite a few of them myself. It made this book very real for me and very powerful. It made me think about my life, and where I will go from now, and what brought me to the place I am in now. I appreciated the hiking parts of the book the most, what I read the book for; the rest was an added on story of Cheryl's urban life. There's a lot packed into the small printed three hundred pages. I'm so glad I finally got to this book. It will be joining my other books on my bookshelves when I return home.

Favorite Line:
'There is no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. What leads to what. What destroys what. what causes what to flourish or die or take another course.'

set. 18, 2015, 7:39am

92. The Assassin's Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas - Sarah J. Maas
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating: 4 Stars

In these action-packed prequel novellas to Throne of Glass, Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and avenge tyranny. But by acting on her own terms, will Celaena truly free herself from her master, or will she suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery?

This reads more as a novel than as five separate novellas because each leads right into the next. I actually liked that because it seemed like a prequel novel all by itself which was nice to read before heading into the next and latest book in the series. I can't quite remember how Celaena learns about Arobynn's treachery in the series but at least she does. He is a nasty character who hides behind sweetness, something I can't stand. Celaena sometimes feels out of character with her occupation to me, but it is something that has been consistent throughout the whole series, and is something I have learned to just deal with to enjoy the story. But the rest is a great story. I'm glad I got to see her and Sam's relationship. That was a treat. Recommended if you've read the series. Maybe read book one and two first before coming to this prequel though.

Editat: set. 19, 2015, 5:07am

93. Perfect Shadow: A Night Angel Novella - Brent Weeks
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 96
Rating: 3 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Gaelan Starfire is a farmer, happy to be a husband and a father; a careful, quiet, simple man. He's also an immortal, peerless in the arts of war. Over the centuries, he's worn many faces to hide his gift, but he is a man ill-fit for obscurity, and all too often he's become a hero, his very names passing into legend: Acaelus Thorne, Yric the Black, Hrothan Steelbender, Tal Drakkan, Rebus Nimble. But when Gaelan must take a job hunting down the world's finest assassins for the beautiful courtesan-and-crimelord Gwinvere Kirena, what he finds may destroy everything he's ever believed in.

I was warned that this novella wasn't anything special. I knew what I was getting myself into. I think the novella could have been much better if each time skip was more noticeably a time skip. And the flashbacks were more noticeably flashbacks. They weren't always clear, which causes some confusion. Also there is nothing phenomenal, nothing that really effects the series this is prequel to. It's just a short story leading up to how Durzo becomes Durzo and even that isn't fully explained; why he has to change all the sudden. What this novella did do for me is make me realize I want to reread the Night Angel trilogy again and soon. Maybe worth it if you're a die herd fan of the series. It's very short, doesn't take all that long to read through. An hour maybe. :)

Editat: set. 19, 2015, 10:17am

94. The Story of Son: A Dark Vampire Romance - J. R. Ward
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 92
Rating: 4 Stars

Held captive by a dark, seductive vampire with an unworldly hunger, the beautiful Claire Stroughton fears her life as a lawyer has irrevocably taken a turn for the worse. But when this deeply sensual-and highly dangerous-vampire convinces Claire that his desire for her is stronger than his lust for blood, she is compelled to give everything up to him, body and soul.

It's hard to know sometimes, based off of the blurbs I see in Ward's books, whether I will like them or not. I should remind myself that while Ward does write erotic romance scenes that is not all that her books entail. This one was no exception. I once said before on another book of Wards that I don't read these books for the sex. I read them for the deep, satisfying relationship and interactions her characters have. I worried a little that in a story this short, that wouldn't come across as well, but it did okay. I think it would have done great as a full length book with more to the story but this was entertaining, and reminded me how excited I am for her continuation of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. If you like paranormal romance this is a great series to read.

set. 20, 2015, 9:05pm

95. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Genre: Lit Classic
Pages: 326
Rating: 5 Stars
(TBR-BBCs Best 100)

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea.

Wow. When I watched the movie based on this book I was blown away and have thought of it ever since. Now, having read the book, I have to say it again. Wow. First off, I loved how many factual information there was on mammals and sea life. I never knew so much about zoos either. Second, this is fantastic writing! And third, the ending just blows me away. Turns out this novel is not all that you think it is for the majority of the book. Around the time of the island is where, like in the movie, I become a little skeptical and wonder if it isn't all just hallucinations. There are other points in the novel where my understanding of the situation gets blown away as well. And then Martel hits us with the line "the story with the animals is better," and "so it goes with God" at the end and you realize this isn't a story about a tiger and a boy, it's a story about story-telling. I haven't yet figured out all that's hidden in this yet; faith, religion, philosophy, perception. Is it a story about a boy who witnesses such magnificent human cruelty and baseness that he comes up with a story that sounds better? Is it a story about a boy coexisting with a tiger on a boat and finding unclassified carnivorous plants? Is it neither? I don't know. But I don't think the point is for us to know. Instead I'm beginning to think it's about belief. What do we believe in? Something that makes logical sense, or something that has the better story? Isn't that the question of the any year. I don't know what the exact intent of this book was, in Martel's mind, but it is seriously thought provoking. I'm so glad I read this. I may have to come back to this at some point. I think this book is going to be in my mind for a very long time. Highly recommended. Just beware of the gruesome details of animal slaughter.

Favorite Line:
“The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?
Doesn't that make life a story?”

“We commonly say in the trade that the most dangerous animal in a zoo is Man.”

set. 21, 2015, 4:17pm

96. The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson
Genre: Horror
Pages: 208
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR - Best 20th c. Fantasy)

It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a "haunting"; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

I generally don't read the horror genre. I picked this one up because it was included on the Best 20th century fantasy novels. I suppose it's the supernatural element that got it placed there. And it wasn't too long of a book. But horror just doesn't do anything for me in book form. Horror movies will scare the crap out of me, but horror books usually don't bother me. But they don't get me engaged either. However, this was pretty good writing. And while it really wasn't too scary when you consider what the horror genre is today, for it's time and era in 1959, this was supposed to be fairly scary. I'm sure the fact that readers never do know exactly what is going on in the house contributes to that. If you like the horror genre, this may be a great book for you. Me, I'm on to other books.

set. 21, 2015, 6:16pm

I loved The Life of Pi so much. I resisted reading it for years thinking that I wouldn't like it, but it absolutely blew me away. As you say there is so much hidden in it's depths. I know I still think about this book a lot.

set. 22, 2015, 11:41am

>145 DeltaQueen50: Such a great presentation of his point. And really good writing. :) I'll be thinking about it for a long time too.

97. Bridget Jone's Diary - Helen Fielding
Genre: Chick Lit
Pages: 267
Rating: 2 Stars
(TBR - BBCs Best 100)

This laugh-out-loud chronicle charts a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a single girl on a permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement. Caught between her Singleton friends, who are all convinced they will end up dying alone and found three weeks later half-eaten by an Alsatian, and the Smug Marrieds, whose dinner parties offer ever-new opportunities for humiliation, Bridget struggles to keep her life on an even keel (or at least afloat).

Well, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. This humor didn't do much for me. Perhaps I just can't relate. And I know the format of the book was in dairy format but the incomplete sentences and abbreviations got on my nerves after a while. And basically it was a life story with some romance thrown in. Not really my cup of tea. Checking it off the list and moving on.

set. 24, 2015, 11:13am

Cross-stitch: 25% finished

Panels 10/40

set. 25, 2015, 9:30am

Wow! I'm so impressed with how quickly you're making it through such a detailed - and large! - project! You're putting me and my cross stitch project to shame, I'm afraid.

set. 25, 2015, 11:59am

>148 scaifea: Thanks Amber. :) I'm afraid Ghana has accelerated my pace much more than I myself ever expected. Actually, this whole year has left me with a lot of time on my hands. Plus, I have been listening to some really good audio books to help push me along. I sure it will slow down once I actually start teaching, but who knows. I was told Ghana would teach me to live a slower pace, but I've always been goal oriented. I'll always find things to do. Cross-stitch will forever be one of those now. :)

98. Windhaven - George R. R. Martin & Lisa Tuttle
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 Stars

Among the scattered islands that make up the water world of Windhaven, no one holds more prestige than the silver-winged flyers, romantic figures who cross treacherous oceans, braving shifting winds and sudden storms, to bring news, gossip, songs, and stories to a waiting populace. Maris of Amberly, a fisherman’s daughter, wants nothing more than to soar on the currents high above Windhaven. So she challenges tradition, demanding that flyers be chosen by merit rather than inheritance. But even after winning that bitter battle, Maris finds that her troubles are only beginning. Now a revolution threatens to destroy the world she fought so hard to join—and force her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I didn't mean to finish this book so fast. Didn't expect to. But before I knew it I had spent half the day finishing it. I was drawn in and captured by the story. I don't know how the co-writing went, if this is more Martin's style or Tuttle, since I've never read anything by Tuttle. The politics side of the story seem to be Martin's game, but I'm guessing the story is more Tuttles. Whichever the case, I applaud both authors for a book very well done. I enjoyed the characters, felt Maris' pain, loved the winds. A good book.

set. 25, 2015, 12:52pm

*waves cast*

set. 26, 2015, 9:20am

>150 ronincats: Hi Roni!

99. The Amulet of Samarkand - Jonathan Stroud
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 462
Rating: 4 Stars

Nathaniel is a magician's apprentice, taking his first lessons in the arts of magic. But when a devious hot-shot wizard named Simon Lovelace ruthlessly humiliates Nathaniel in front of his elders, Nathaniel decides to kick up his education a few notches and show Lovelace who's boss. With revenge on his mind, he summons the powerful djinni, Bartimaeus. But summoning Bartimaeus and controlling him are two different things entirely, and when Nathaniel sends the djinni out to steal Lovelace's greatest treasure, the Amulet of Samarkand, he finds himself caught up in a whirlwind of magical espionage, murder, and rebellion.

Interesting story. I can't say I like Nathaniel that much - he's a spoiled brat of a child. But Bartimaeus I thoroughly enjoyed. He was a fantastic character, and the writing really brought him to life as a lovable semi-villain. And while I don't like Nathaniel all that much, I feel that this is a story that might develop him into a great character. But I'd have to read the next books to find out. I just might do that. This is a book written for a juvenile audience but the writing is good enough that I think many adults will like the book as well.

Favorite Line:
“And then, as if written by the hand of a bad novelist, an incredible thing happened."

set. 27, 2015, 9:14am

>151 Kassilem: I started that one on audio once and stopped after maybe 5 minutes. I think it was the reader? I don't remember why I couldn't go on. Maybe I'll try *reading* it someday...

set. 28, 2015, 7:57am

:) I've had narrators ruin books for me, and vice versa, I've had them really make a book for me. I forgot why that particular series was on my list now. Probably a book bullet from LT at some point. :)

set. 28, 2015, 9:39pm

Wow, great progress on both the reading and the cross stitch!

oct. 1, 2015, 8:04am


>154 lkernagh: Thanks Lori!

100. Cress - Marissa Meyer
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fairytales
Pages: 592
Rating: 4 Stars

Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

This is a good third book in the series, and read just in time for the next book coming out next month. Cinder and Kai will always be my favorite but I enjoyed the romance between Thorne and Cress, mostly because I like Thorne so much. We also get a hint at Winter, who is the main protagonist in the next book. I enjoy how, while each book focuses on a new heroine - a new fairy tale - they are all interwoven into a bigger story. I also enjoy how these fairy tale retelling are truer to the Grimm style fairy tales and less the disneyfied versions. I could pick out things about the fairy tale that I only could because I've read the Grimm versions. This series is gearing up for what should be a fantastic climax. I'm looking forward to it.

Favorite Line:
"Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?"
He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. "No. I'm pretty sure it was Cinder.”

oct. 1, 2015, 8:22am

101. The First Confessor - Terry Goodkind
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 608
Rating: 3 Stars

Married to the powerful leader of her people, safe among those gifted with great ability, Magda Searus is protected from a distant world descending into war. But when her husband, a man who loved life and loved her, unexpectedly commits suicide, she suddenly finds herself alone. Despite her grief, she is driven to find the reasons behind why her husband would do such a thing--why he would abandon her and her people at such a profoundly dangerous time. Without anyone to help her, she knows that she must embark on a mission to unravel what is really behind the mysterious events befalling her people. What she discovers along the way is that the war is going far worse than she had known, and that the consequences of defeat will be more terrifying for her and her people than she could have imagined. As mortal peril begin to close in around her, Magda learns that she is somehow the key to her people's salvation.

I really can't decide if I liked this book or not. I mean, I did like it, but I still feel that this is not Goodkind's best. It's got the same problem as some of his latest books. If you took out how of the book's dialogue, nothing would be missed at all. The characters have a habit of repeating questions over and over again, only varied slightly. It seems like Goodkind is trying to get a word count here, and not making the story the masterpiece I know he can make it. it bothers me, and I feel I am wasting time reading these characters repeat things over and over. However the plot is good. I'm thinking however that this is a prequel that any reader should read after reading the actual series itself. Otherwise a lot of these references don't make sense. Things are not explained, with the understanding that readers, having read the series, already know all about it. Overall, I don't regret reading this book, but it's not all that I was hoping for. Oh well.

Favorite Line:
'People take history at face value and assume it's accurate, but often it really isn't. Accounts of past events differ. You don;t know the honesty or the motives of the person who wrote the chronicle. Accounts from antiquity may have been lost over time, leaving critical gaps that would change the picture. Some of what we do have may actually have been rumor or even false charges that over time were wrongly assumed to be true. Some historical accounts are biased or distorted viewpoints, while others were embellished along the way. It's a mistake to indiscriminately assume historical accounts are true.'

oct. 1, 2015, 8:31am

102. Something Like Winter - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 374
Rating: 4 Stars

There are two sides to every story. Tim hoped moving to Texas would mean a new beginning, but he soon finds himself falling into the same tired patterns. Until he meets recklessly brave Benjamin Bentley, who introduces Tim to a world of love, sex, and warmth. Certain that society won't understand what he and Ben have together, Tim struggles to protect their relationship, even if it means twisting the truth. Buried beneath his own deceptions, Tim must claw his way to the surface in the hopes of learning to fly.

This is the other side of the first story, Something Like Summer, from Tim's perspective. I loved Something Like Summer, but wasn't sure if this book would work, since it's the same story from different eyes. Perhaps because its been so long since I read the first book it worked perfectly for me. I can't say how it would compare if I read these two book back to back. In any case I really enjoyed reading about Ben and Tim again. And I'm stoked to get to the third book which is from Jace's perspective. This is a hard, sad love story but it's also beautiful. I liked how, with Tim we see all kinds of different romance stories throughout his life. Some might say it's a little corny that after everything, in the end Tim and Ben find each other again, but I thought it was a great way to conclude the story. Highly recommended to those who enjoy GLBT romance stories.

Favorite Line:
"What's it say about a person when they know they have a problem but never do anything to fix it?"
Eric smiled, "That they're human."

"Coming out is something you never stop doing. You start by telling your friends and family. Then you tell new acquaintances or coworkers who invite you out for drink. Even telemarketers who call and ask if my wife is home. You don't have to tell everyone you meet, of course, but coming out is something that accompanies your entire life."

oct. 1, 2015, 8:56am

Reading Stats: September

Books: 20
Pages: 6,886

E-Book: 6
Audiobook: 11
Dead Tree: 3

New: 4
TBR: 15
Walk By-Pick Up: 1

5 Stars: 2
4 Stars: 11
3 Stars: 5
2 Stars: 2

Time Range:
1810-1819: 1
1930-1939: 1
1950-1959: 1
1980-1989: 2
1990-1999: 1
2000-2009: 3
2010-2015: 11

Urban Fantasy: 4
High Fantasy: 3
Lit Classics: 3
Romance: 2
Epic Fantasy: 1
Historical Fantasy: 1
Science Fiction: 1
Fairytales: 1
Memoir: 1
Travel: 1
Play: 1
Horror: 1
Chick Lit: 1
Dystopia: 1
Non-Fiction: 1
Science: 1
Historical Fiction: 1

Graphic Novels read: 0 ('GN count' Thread can be found HERE)

oct. 1, 2015, 11:38am

*waves cast --4 more days!*

oct. 2, 2015, 2:05pm

>159 ronincats: Can't wait Roni!

ANNNNDDD... I've been continuing my rapid pace on the cross-stitch.

Cross-stitch: 27.5% finished

Panels 11/40

oct. 3, 2015, 9:22am

103. Something Like Autumn - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 418
Rating: 4 Stars

Love can appear unexpectedly: a chance meeting at a friend's wedding, the arrival of a handsome new co-worker... or while being robbed at a convenience store. For some, love seems an impossible dream. Growing up gay in small-town Missouri, Jace Holden thought his chance would never come. When he meets Victor--a wild soul and fellow outsider--his chances of finding love go from bleak to a very uncertain maybe. Bracing his heart, Jace chases after his desire, hoping for a warm hand to hold his tight. Something Like Autumn tells the story of Jace's life before the events of Something Like Summer, while also revisiting his time with Benjamin Bentley.

I worried that reading this book right after the previous book I wouldn't enjoy the story as much, already knowing what was going to happen. But I loved it just as much as the first two books. While I know what will happen, the emotions and interactions are all still new from a different perspective. That points to great writing. However, I am excited to see this new character, Jason, that is featured in the next and fourth book in the series. If you enjoy GLBT romance, these are highly recommended books.

Favorite Line:
'You don't get used to death, by any means, but it becomes more familiar and less shocking. Suicide is something completely different. Losing someone to age is natural. Illness you can get angry at. You can rage at the conditions that cause an accident, and in war you can hate the enemy for taking a life. But when it comes to suicide, only the person who committed it is responsible. Who in their right mind would put the blame on them? Maybe that's why those left behind end up blaming themselves instead.'

oct. 3, 2015, 9:28am

Wow! Too many new books coming out soon. I'm excited and nervous (that's a lot of expensive kindle prices!) Any books here anyone else is excited for?

Anne Bishop (Novel of the Others) – Book 4: Marked in Flesh (March 8, 2016)
Patricia Briggs (Mercedes Thompson) – Book 9: Fire Touched (March 8, 2016)
Pierce Brown (Red Rising) – Book 2: Morning Star (Feb 9, 2016)
Jim Butcher (The Cinder Spires) – Book 1: The Aeronaut's Windlass (Sept 29, 2015)
Terry Goodkind (Sword of Truth) – Book 15: Warheart (Nov 24, 2015)
Mercedes Lackey (The Herald Spy) – Book 2: Closer to the Heart (Oct 6, 2015)
George R. R. Martin (Duncan & Egg) - A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (Oct 6, 2015)
Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles) – Book 4: Winter (Nov 10, 2015)
Sarah Monette (Iskryne) – Book 3: An Apprentice to Elves (Oct 13, 2015)
Naomi Novik (Temeraire) – Book 9: League of Dragons (May 10, 2016)
Brandon Sanderson (The Reckoners) – Book 3: Calamity (Feb 16, 2016)
Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn) – Book 5: Shadows of Self (Oct 6, 2015)
Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn) – Book 6: The Bands of Mourning (Jan 26, 2016)
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle) – Book 4: The Raven King (March 29, 2016)
Michael J Sullivan (Riyria Chronicles) – Book 3: The Death of Dulgath (Nov 16, 2015)
Michael J Sullivan (The First Empire) – Book 1: Age of Myth (June 7, 2016)
J R Ward (The Black Dagger Legacy) – Book 1: Blood Kiss (Dec 1, 2015)
J R Ward (The Black Dagger Brotherhood) – Book 14: The Beast (April 5, 2016)

oct. 3, 2015, 9:41am

I did a meme once where I pulled sentences from books and put them together to see what they made. :) I came across it the other day. The original meme said to pull the first sentence for the first book, then the second sentence on page 50 for the second book, then the third sentence on page 100, and so on until you get the last sentence of the last book. I guess I'm a little bored because I thought I would pull six books that i have on my kindle currently and see what happens :)

1. Firefight
2. Something Like Spring
3. Chosen
4. Skull Throne
5. The Liar's Key
6. Elantris

I watched Calamity rise. "Has nothing to do with whether you want to go or not," Peter said. "It will be easier to deal with them out here in the middle of nowhere." "Then what, Ahmann?" Arlen asked, losing patience. "What?" Not the word, not even a whisper of it, but faint unmistable sound of inquiry, deep inside my ear. "He was our savior."

oct. 3, 2015, 4:32pm

*waves cast--2 more days!*

oct. 3, 2015, 6:19pm


Look here for more great ideas. A few of them made your list.

oct. 4, 2015, 12:32pm

>164 ronincats: I bet you're so excited! :)

>165 xymon81: Awesome list. I pulled a few books from it. Thanks!

104. Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Lani Taylor
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 448
Rating: 4 Stars

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Interesting story. I suppose I am a sucker for a lot of themes because I am a sucker for angels/demons stories as well as all my other theme likes. I really enjoyed the idea of the chimera. I've heard other reviews bemoan the length of the flashbacks near the end of the book, which did in a way divert the story a little, but not enough to take anything away in my opinion. I enjoyed Karou as a character more than Marigold but I'm sure she will grow on me. I also liked the accents the narrator added - they made listening to this book more enjoyable than perhaps it would have been reading it. If you enjoy urban fantasy, and/or angels/demons this may be a great book to pick up in your spare time.

Favorite Line:
“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”

oct. 5, 2015, 9:25am

105. Firefight - Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 Stars

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life simpler. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And no one in Newcago can give him answers. Babylon Restored, the city formerly known as the borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic Regalia, Babylon Restored is flooded and miserable, but David is sure it's the path that will lead him to what he needs to find. Now he will go on a quest darker and even more dangerous than the fight against Steelheart to find Firefight, and to get his answers.

At first I was a little taken aback by the youngness of David. I had forgotten from the first book that he had a young charm to him. But before long the story here was pulling me along and David was just another character that I was enjoying. The series is written for a young adult audience, but I really enjoyed it. So many new questions have popped up after that ending. And more have been answered. I am really looking forward to the third book coming out early next year. I have no idea how Sanderson does it, publishing three-four books per year, but he is a fantastic writer.

Favorite Line:
'Don't worry," I whispered over the line. "I'm an expert on stupid."
"Like, I can spot stupidity, because I know it so well. The way an exterminator knows bugs really well, and can spot where they've been? I'm like that. A stupidinator."
"Never say that word again," Prof said.

oct. 5, 2015, 10:23am

>167 Kassilem: I agree I am quite in awe in how many books he puts out in a year. And its not like other writers like Patterson who may churn out the novels but he doesnt actually write any of the them anymore. Sanderson writes his own stuff and some like his new Stormlight series are 1000 pages a piece. I like this series I also want to read book two of his rithmatist series. That is the other thing that amazes me is that each series is so differant with its own world and inventive magic system that makes sense for its world.

oct. 5, 2015, 10:36pm

*waves* Stopping by to say hi because I CAN!

oct. 6, 2015, 3:46pm

>168 xymon81: Is book two of The Rithmatist series out yet? I've been waiting for that one! And his different systems always awe me.

>169 ronincats: Hurrah! Thanks for stopping by Roni! I'm glad that blasted thing is off now.

oct. 6, 2015, 3:58pm

>170 Kassilem: Not yet. I was just looking at his blog and he is still in the research phases so I dont think until maybe 2017. He is working to finish up Calamity on time. I don't fault him for making sure it will be right and just not rushing it out. It looks like after that the focus is book three of Sotrmlight Archive. There are some sequals in the beginning works as well to to include one for Warbreaker.

This last one sounds really cool. I took it right off his blog page.

"Dark One

This is a series I’ve talked about for a long, long time about a boy who discovers he’s the “Dark One.” Basically, it’s the classic epic fantasy story told from the eyes of the dude destined to try to destroy the world instead of save it. I’ve made good progress on the setting, which is going to be awesome. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the teen series I do once the Reckoners and the Rithmatist are both done."

oct. 7, 2015, 6:10am

Wow. I didn't know he was still working on Calamity. I guess I figured that once the date is on Amazon that means it's written. Guess I was wrong. That's even more inspiring that Sanderson can write on a deadline like that and still come out with wonderful endings.

And oh an I excited for his third book in the Stormlight series. That's one of my favorite series, despite how long they are. And sequels to Warbreaker! Damn that man amazes me.

His new idea sounds awesome as well.

oct. 7, 2015, 8:37am

106. No Touch Monkey! - Ayun Halliday
Genre: Memoir, Travel
Pages: 273
Rating: 2 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Ayun Halliday may not make for the most sensible travel companion, but she is certainly one of the most outrageous, with a knack for inserting herself (and her unwitting cohorts) into bizarre situations around the globe. Curator of kitsch and unabashed aficionada of pop culture, Halliday offers bemused, self-deprecating narration of events from guerilla theater in Romania to drug-induced Apocalypse Now reenactments in Vietnam to a perhaps even more surreal collagen-implant demonstration at a Paris fashion show emceed by Lauren Bacall.

Yea... this book crashed and died pretty early for me. VERY clearly not my style. I ended up skimming the second half of the book because I just couldn't take it anymore. It was all over the place, jumping from here to there and I didn't like the prose all that much. I did not invest in Ayun at all. I didn't really like her all that much either, but perhaps that was because I never did really get to know her as a person. So on to other travel books.

oct. 8, 2015, 5:59am

107. The Gray Wolf Throne - Cinda Williams Chima
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 544
Rating: 4 Stars

When Han finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, he knows that nothing matters more than saving her. But nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana'Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he's concerned, the princess's family as good as killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen. But some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending.

I'm glad the secret of Rebecca has been laid to rest between Han and Raisa. This is the first book in the series that i read instead of listening to on audio and I didn't get annoyed with Raisa hardly at all - proof that some narrators can make characters more annoying than they actually are. Han's agenda here is pretty hidden, which is frustrating but exciting. The ending puts a twist on things and I'm not sure I can say one way of the other what is going to happen. Intriguing. I am looking forward to the next and last book in the series.

Editat: oct. 8, 2015, 3:22pm

108. Something Like Spring - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 458
Rating: 5 Stars

Jason Grant doesn't have much, aside from a beat-up old guitar and knack for getting kicked out of foster homes. His latest placement is set to be just another in a long line of failures. Then he meets Caesar Hubbard, a handsome guy who lives down the hall. For the first time in his life, Jason wants to stay, which means learning to be part of a family, and not letting his feelings--or his actions--ruin his first real chance of falling in love. Something Like Spring introduces a new character to the Seasons story, one with a troubled past and an equally turbulent future. Jason must traverse a winding road fraught with emotional conflicts and tough decisions... a road that might just lead to a certain couple in Austin.

Loved it! I loved how Bell took another character and weaved him into the story of our previous character's lives. When I read romance, I want to enjoy the emotions and the heart of the relationships. I want to see the people interact. These books give that and more. These are not erotic sex filled stories. They are not coming out stories. These are stories about humanity at it's finest. I love these characters, and I absolutely loved how it ended. From the amount of times I've said love in this review, perhaps you get the point. :) If that doesn't get the point across perhaps the image of me reading this book practically non-stop. I read, read, read, slept maybe four hours, zombied my way through two hours of obligatory face showing at school and went right back to reading until I had finished this book. Can someone say obsessed? I am. Obsessed about this books, that is. Highly recommended for those who enjoy GLBT romance.

Favorite Line:
The only thing love needs to apologize for is being too difficult to understand and too easy to give in to.

oct. 8, 2015, 4:52pm

>174 Kassilem: I love that series!

oct. 9, 2015, 2:39pm

>176 ronincats: Me too :)

109. Like and Subscribe - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 54
Rating: 4 Stars

Remember that hunky guy on YouTube who caught your eye? The one with the awesome pecs and killer smile? I bet you couldn't stop watching his videos. Just imagine if you had a chance to meet him and all your fantasies started coming true. There's only one catch: Between you and your dream guy is his less-than-pleased boyfriend. They say that love conquers all, but can love conquer love?

This is short and sweet, and a good read. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was, but that will show me that anything Bell writes is going to be good, as long as you like good romance. The story does bring to mind the pros and cons of the internet, and how its so easy to lie online these days. A person can't really know another person through internet interaction. I enjoyed how this was played into the story. Very well done.

oct. 10, 2015, 5:52am

110. At the Mountains of Madness - H. P. Lovecraft
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction
Pages: 138
Rating: 3 Stars
(TBR-Best 20th c. Fantasy)

In the first story, "At the Mountains of Madness", you find yourself immediately immersed in the world of the Necronomicon, Miskantonic University, and the cosmic pantheon of the Cthulhu Cult and the Elder Things.

During the first half of the this book I was tempted to give it a four star, but the second half of the book lowered that rating. The suspense in the beginning was great but then the book seemed to drag by. If you're not a biologist or familiar with the terms of biology this book might go over your head. Even I had trouble with some of the words, so I can't imagine what a reader with no background in biology would feel reading this. The book is supposed to be horror but it was not all at scary. Perhaps in it's day and age in the 1930s it might have been. I did enjoy the biological premise but like most books written in the 20th century, the prose and I did not like each other all that much. But, as my first book by Lovecraft, it does make me think I might peruse other works from this author.

oct. 10, 2015, 9:34am

111. The Wolf Gift - Anne Rice
Genre: Gothic Fantasy
Pages: 528
Rating: 4 Stars

When Reuben Golding, a young reporter on assignment, arrives at a secluded mansion on a bluff high above the Pacific, it’s at the behest of the home’s enigmatic female owner. She quickly seduces him, but their idyllic night is shattered by violence when the man is inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness. It will set in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation that will propel Reuben into a mysterious new world and raise profound questions. Why has he been given the wolf gift? What is its true nature--good or evil? And are there others out there like him?

I expected this to be set in the early centuries for some reason, but instead it takes place in modern day times. The book overall wasn't exactly what I was expecting. but no matter. It was mostly enjoyable. Not much really happened but when you consider that the majority of the book took place over a span of only two weeks that's not too surprising. But I didn't really invest in Ruben as much as I expected to. And I didn't really get how the relationship between him and Laura played out the way it did. There were explanations that I didn't totally like. But I really enjoyed coming back to Rice's romanticization of the supernatural. So it's a low four star. If you like Anne Rice but took a break from her when she moved to books about angels and Jesus, then this book is for you, where she comes back to her supernatural greatness.

Favorite Line:
“Oh, if the moon only had a secret, if the moon only held a truth. But the moon was just the moon.”

oct. 10, 2015, 9:39am

Cross-stitch: 30% finished

Panels 12/40

oct. 11, 2015, 8:17am

112. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
Genre: Lit Classic
Pages: 176
Rating: 4 Stars
(TBR - BBCs Best 100)

Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

This was a cute children's book. I enjoyed the way the book showed that kids who are spoiled are the worst off. I especially liked all the songs that had warnings and messages in them. I remember watching the movie and being scared that the bad children would never be okay again but this book reassures that all is well in the end. It's short but a great read. I think every child should have this book read to them early on.

oct. 12, 2015, 2:14pm

113. Feed - M. T. Anderson
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 299
Rating: 4 Stars

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires.

This book reminds me a little of 1984. There were some things here that I wished had been explained in more detail and I'm not sure how I feel about the ending at this point, but I did enjoy the book. There's a lot presented here to think about. It's a reality that I can easily see our world becoming in the right circumstances. And that is a scary thought. Very thought provoking.

Favorite Line:
“We Americans are interested only in the consumption of our products. We have no interest in how they are produced, or what happens to them once we discard them, once we throw them away.”

oct. 13, 2015, 2:07pm

114. The Door in the Hedge - Robin McKinley
Genre: Fairytales
Pages: 216
Rating: 3 Stars

Master storyteller Robin McKinley here spins two new fairy tales and retells two cherished classics. All feature princesses touched with or by magic. There is Linadel, who lives in a kingdom next to Faerieland, where princesses are stolen away on their seventeenth birthdays-and Linadel's seventeenth birthday is tomorrow. And Korah, whose brother is bewitched by the magical Golden Hind; now it is up to her to break the spell. Rana must turn to a talking frog to help save her kingdom from the evil Aliyander. And then there are the twelve princesses, enspelled to dance through the soles of their shoes every night.

I didn't like the first story, something that seems common among other reviewers. Too many things left unexplained or too or too convenient. The second one, The Hunt and The Hind, like the first, gave me the impression that I was missing critical pieces to a larger story. The other two stories were great. It looks like the first two stories were McKinley originals and the last two were retellings of The Princess and the Frog and the The Twelve Dancing Princesses. That surprises me that the two I didn't enjoy as much were Mckinley's because I usually like her work. I did like her twists on the retellings. Another one of her works down.

oct. 13, 2015, 4:51pm

115. Mitosis - Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 96
Rating: 4 Stars

Mitosis, a short story set in the action-packed world of Steelheart and Firefight: the Reckoners series, exclusively available in the digital format. Epics still plague Newcago, but David and the Reckoners have vowed to fight back.

This is a short novella that takes place between the books Steelheart and Firefight. There's the same action filled chapters, the same awful metaphors, and the same teenage charm. Short, but engaging and fun.

oct. 14, 2015, 2:04pm

116. Something Like Lightning - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 374
Rating: 5 Stars

Kelly Phillips has been out and proud since he was a young teenager, and thanks to the gay youth group he frequents, he's never been short on friends or lovers. But when you have almost everything, it's hard not to focus on what's just out of reach: A best friend, who would be Mr. Right if he wasn't already Mr. Straight. Or that handsome athlete at school, who would be easier to wrangle if not for his angel wings. And then there's the guy who might be a perfect fit, maybe even a soulmate... if only he wasn't convinced he didn't need anyone. Kelly has always been good at running. Now he must learn to chase, which will not only test his endurance, but the durability of his heart as well.

The thing I love about Bell's work is that he can redeem any character. In one book the focus is on two males and this other, third wheel guy, while not the bad guy per say, is not someone you root for. Then in the next book Bell takes you down the path of that third wheel guy's life and you come to love him just as much as you loved the previous guys. Every character has a story, a perspective. While in one book Kelly's comment to William seems harsh and cruel, in another book, Kelly's book, you understand why he said what he did and it not longer seems so cruel or harsh. It's all about perspective. That's what Bell gives his readers, different character's perspectives, which alters a story more significantly than I previously realized it could. Jay Bell is a very skilled writer. His books are fantastic. This is another of his works that I stayed up practically the whole night reading because I was enjoying it so much. I really really enjoyed Kelly and Nathaniel's interactions. Highly recommended for the right crowd.

Favorite Line:
“All of us have an undeniable urge to be loved and to give love in return. In that regard, you can’t do much better than a dog.”

oct. 15, 2015, 2:00pm

117. Stormy Persuasion - Johanna Lindsey
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 400
Rating: 3 Stars

Judith and Jacqueline Malory are not simply cousins; they are inseparable best friends. Refusing to miss Jacqueline’s come-out in Connecticut, Judy convinces her parents to let her delay her London debut by a few weeks so she can accompany her cousin. Neither girl intends to fall in love during her first Season. But Judy’s plans are overturned when aboard ship she comes face-to-face with the ghost who has been haunting her dreams. Unknown to the Malorys, deckhand Nathan Tremayne is a smuggler with a noose around his neck. He's determined to carry out a covert mission in America that could gain him a pardon. But somehow the minx knows his secret—and now she’s blackmailing him into doing her bidding—teaching her how to climb the rigging and how to kiss.

I think that reading the rest of the series before this book is advised. This book can stand as a stand-alone novel because a lot of the history of the family is explained - too much in some reviewer's opinion. I didn't feel that I missed much because I hadn't read the earlier books. However I feel that I might have invested in the characters more if I had. There was some good chemistry but there wasn't anything phenomenal about it. I kind of wanted more character from them both. Judy came closer in that regard than Nathan. It was a nice average romance set on the sea. Lindsey does write good romance though, at least I've read fantastic stories of hers before, so I'll be reading more from her.

oct. 15, 2015, 2:06pm

Time for another Ghana update!

The school term technically started the second week of September but my contact person and I agreed that I would be teaching Form One students (basically 9th graders). However, September came and the students had not received their BECE scores. The BECE is similar to the SAT/ACT that all the junior high students take at the end of their schooling. This test score determines if they can go to Senior High (which isn’t compulsorily) and what course track they are eligible for (Home Economics, Science, Business, etc.) I think there is some choice in this school track but the score definitely has a say as well. Anyways, the students didn’t have their scores so they couldn’t be admitted. As of now, the middle of October, the students have finally received their scores and are in the process of being admitted to the school. Then they will have to work on getting the money for the school fees. I’m told I may be teaching in a week or two.

In the meantime, I was given a few Form 3 (11th-12th graders) classes next week to teach. Basically I’m stealing a class from another science teacher to do this, but apparently they decided I should do this instead of sitting in the teachers’ lounge everyday reading. :) If I am getting my facts correct, the original teacher will continue to teach to the class after school, something about trying to complete the syllabus, which is nigh impossible. Many Ghanaian schools are actually adopting this method of adding an extra compulsory class after or before school in an effort to complete the government-approved syllabus. Since the senior high school’s end test, WASSCE (like the BECE except for getting into university), is a test based on the syllabus, teachers are pressured to lecture on all topics. In previous years, this has been an impossible task.

While I was sort of blindsided when the opportunity fell in my lap, having gotten comfortable with my leisurely schedule, I’m not complaining. :) I can pick whatever Form 3 topic I want to teach and I choose Genetics and Evolution. Surprise surprise? Haha. The only part of the whole thing I am not looking forward to is having to teach the class at 7:00 in the morning!

Before this opportunity my days have been very leisurely. I’m usually up around 8 and at school by 9 where I then read for about three hours. In the beginning it was books about classroom management and teaching strategies as I planned for my Form One classes, but that soon changed into fiction. Sometimes I tried to read outside but inevitably I’d have ants crawling up my legs or flies investigating my face. I’ve come to the conclusion that the flies are investigating the smell of my shampoo, since they are worse the mornings I shampoo (every other day). Anyways, I’ve taken to reading in the teacher’s longue. Plus I tend to get distracted when outside. Lizards staring at me, roosters crowing, turkeys gobbling, sheep baaing, donkeys grazing. :)

The Dining Hall on the school finally opened two weeks ago so I have begun taking my lunch and dinner there. I’ll usually grab my lunch on my way out of the school and take it at home. Then it’s a few hours of more leisure activities. Listening to a different audiobook while working on my cross-stitch project, working on my cross-stitch project while watching a movie, listening to an audio book while searching amazon for more book ideas, reading on my kindle. ;) I think you can all see that I have been doing a massive amount of reading lately.

I exaggerate. I do read a massive amount these days (actually it’s not much different than what it was in America…), but I do have other activities that keep me busy. I have to sweep and dust every few days, and I try to go to town every few days to interact with the locals. Some days I get an urge to rearrange my meager possession. Just the other day I spent a few hours in the kitchen moving things back and forth until I was mostly satisfied. Somedays I write. Actually I just entered one of my finished fanfiction novels into a writing contest.

I have had a few other volunteers pass through my town and stop for a drink and a chat. Two have stayed the night at my place while in transit, which was a treat. I also occasionally travel to Donkorkrum, the northern district town about an hour away, to meet Max, another volunteer that I trained with. And lately I have been helping other volunteers with some secondary projects, with heavy involvement this week. I can’t remember if I mentioned in a past email that I am my education group’s diversity representative. In this regard, I’ve been working with the Diversity Committee to create a support network for all Ghana volunteers. We are also hoping to get a Peer Coaching program running so I drafted an application for the program. Along with this work I try to stay in touch with the other volunteers in my group to make sure they are adapting okay and aren’t struggling too much.

I’m also working with a fellow science teacher volunteer on creating a test bank book that other science teachers can use, based on the WASSCE resources we have. The WASSCE is so important for the students, which is why teachers are pressured to get through all the material, which, as I said above, is nigh impossible. So Amy and I are looking at all past WASSCE exams and seeing if there is a trend of topics that are more important than others. So far, there does seem to be a trend. We’re hoping that with this resource we’re making, other teachers can see what topics to focus the most energy on.

Lastly, I’m working with one of my pre-service trainers with her library project. She’s been trying to get her junior high kids interested in reading more so I worked with her to develop a reading program with prize ideas. She cataloged all the books she has in her library and I have gone through them all to see if there are comprehension quizzes online that she can use. This project was fun since I love books so much and have experience with library reading programs.

I’m excited to do something similar here, but I feel that I need to get to know the students better first, something that will come once I beginning teaching. I also need to work on the library here on the school campus. It has abundant textbooks but only a dozen or so fictional books and none of them very interesting. Plus it could use a makeover. It’s got all kinds of random things scattered around inside; like and attic. However I’m not allowed to do anything that involved funding until my first three months at site are ended. I’m halfway through the three month site restriction, and then Peace Corps will give me all the information on funding that I could want.

The carpenter that I mentioned in my last email is a very elusive man. I had to track him down through the school bursar before he would come and replace my mosquito screens for me. When I asked if he could come do some measurements for some shelves I was hoping he could build, he left me hanging for two weeks before showing up. He still hasn’t built the small earring frame I asked for a month and a half ago. If I didn’t get it before, this experience is reinforcing that getting anything done here in Ghana takes forever. :)

Once the shelves are in though, the place will finally be organized! Then it’s just décor searching :) I actually found one vendor who was selling fake potted flowers. I’d been warned that this is the closest thing Ghana has to fake plants (something I adore). I was expecting garish cheap things, but the ones I found were actually very pretty. Unfortunately there are a little pricey so I only got one. I was hoping the vendor would be in town again on market day this week so I could buy one more (one potted flower bundle every week or two, or something) but he’s vanished. So this too may take some time. Accra has street vendors that sell paintings for cheap so when I’m next in Accra I’m going to stock up on a bunch to liven up my walls. And to cover the dirty marks I can’t get off! Then the place will really look nice.

I’m trying to decide if getting a couch built is worth it. I’m the last volunteer at my site and it’s not like I can bring the couch back to America with me… Me being me, I will probably bring half my house back with me. :) There’s even a bunch of suitcases I can buy here to pack it all in. Well, we’ll see. Ghana may change my material side as well.

I still get asked to take people back to America with me. My response is to usually say I won’t be going back because I love Ghana so much. They like this and laugh and drop the subject. When men say they love me, I just smile and say thank you. They like this too and laugh. When they say they want to marry me, I say that in my culture we must be friends for a long time before and they usually laugh and drop it. Other conversations are harder. Women see I’m walking to market and tell me to bring them back some biscuits (cookies). I try to curtail this by saying that I only have enough money to feed myself. Or I laugh, say okay and then don’t bring them anything. They don’t ever mind, but they keep asking. I’m asked by many what church I go to. This one has been a struggle, but recently another volunteer suggested saying that the Peace Corps doesn’t want me picking favorites so I don’t go to any. This works.

Usually if kids or teenagers see me carrying bags from market they will rush over and rip the bags away from me and then strut after me to my house. Apparently, carrying the obroni’s bags is an important gig. Sometimes though, I’m on my own. Usually I wouldn’t mind this but occasionally I actually do need the help. Ghana has taught me exactly how heavy water is to carry. Just a pail of water carried fifty yards has me hobbling with one arm stretched out in a desperate balance act and inevitably I soak my leg with all my wobbling. :) Instead of purifying my water I usually buy pure water sachets. These come 30 in a bag. I tried carrying this home from market this week… Yea. That wasn’t fun. I was soaked through with sweat by the time I got home, exhausted, and my arms were so weak that I could barely use them for the rest of the day. No need to work out this week after that! Watch out everyone. I’m gonna come home in two years with amazing arm muscles.

I’m mastering the art of using urinals! For a woman, this is a pretty big achievement. Perhaps too much information for you readers but it’s actually a good thing. Peeing in a hole is so much more efficient than peeing in a toilet while warding off spiders, fetching and filling a pail of water and then using half the pail to flush the toilet. Here, wasting that much water is almost sacrilege. Plus this way I can make my water last two weeks instead of one before I have to get students to fetch more, which costs money. Not much; two cedi for enough to last two weeks; but the fact that I’m paying for it make me not want to waste it.

That's about all I can think of. Can you believe that in two weeks I'll have been in Ghana for five months!? I can't.

oct. 16, 2015, 9:49am

118. Something Like Thunder - Jay Bell
Genre: GLBT, Romance
Pages: 456
Rating: 5 Stars

My name is Nathaniel Courtney and I'm a survivor. I didn't let the cruelty of others wear me down, and I've weathered the more subtle hardships of the heart. Love is a Trojan horse, slipping past your guard and leaving you ransacked and vulnerable. I emerged from that war not unscathed but as a new man. The only mistake I ever made was letting the right guy get away. Now I've got one more chance. This is the final battle, because if I fail now... I won't. You'll see. Just listen to my story, Kelly Phillips, and when I m done, please don't walk away. Take this weary soldier into your arms so we can find peace together.

I don't know if I want to be done with this book. Being done means I'm caught up on the series without another book to salivate over. I don't even know if Bell is planning another book in this series or not but I hope he does. I absolutely love his writing and these characters. I really enjoyed how Nathaniel is connected to characters from the earlier books, how every book is tied into the other. Nathaniel is the second generation in this series and being able to see both generations together, or even just seeing the connections between them, is such a treat. These books will have a special place on my shelves. I might be even nerdier and go find some merchandise. I don't think I can help myself. I adore these characters.

Favorite Line:
"There are far too many artists in the world these days. Everyone is writing a book or pitching ideas to Hollywood or describing the content of their cell phones as photography. Don't even get me started on YouTube. I don't mind creative impulses, but soon there wont be an audience left. The world will just be performers, stumbling around each other and impressing nobody in their presence."

"Funny how that works. He probably doesn't even remember me, To him it was just another work day. For me, it was life-changing."

oct. 16, 2015, 10:31am

>187 Kassilem: Have you found any bookstalls? I loved digging through the random second hand stalls and (rarer) the new book sellers' stocks in Nigeria. My most random find was a copy of Caro's bio of President Johnson. I guess Kindle makes this less attractive, but fun book conversations were possible :-)

Hope your first years get to start their classes soon.

oct. 16, 2015, 10:53am

>189 charl08: Hi Charlotte! I haven't found any yet since I've been in my small town community for most of my service so far, but I'm going to Accra soon and I bet I can find something similar there.

However, the Peace Corps rest office has a library that stocks all kinds of literature. Basically volunteers can donate their books and take any others there for reading. You can take whatever is available and how ever much you want, with the unspoken rule that you return them before leaving country for good. When I was there before heading to site I grabbed about a dozen of so books and have gone through about half of them. I love my kindle but I couldn't give up actual paperback books totally. :) I plan on returning those I've read and grabbing some more while I'm down there in November. Some of the books there are even on my lists so it works really nicely.

I've also just found this site that tracks kindle price drops and have imported my whole list onto it, so I'll be notified if any books on my list drop down below $1.00. Now I'm covered! I've got a bunch of kindle books on my computer (like a ton) and I download a dozen or so audio book every month over overdrive. This combined with the actual paperbacks I find in the Peace Corps office and the random kindle prices that go down every once in a while... I might actually make a significant dent in my lists over the next two years!

My lists are a godsend actually because I can't easily browse books anymore. So my lists are how I usually pick my next book now. :)

oct. 16, 2015, 8:40pm

LOVE the update, Melissa! So interesting!

oct. 16, 2015, 10:36pm

Sounds like everything is going along nicely. I bet you will be much busier once you are teaching. Your Kindle is a very necessary tool for you these days!

oct. 16, 2015, 11:57pm

Really enjoying hearing all of your updates Melissa!

oct. 17, 2015, 3:50pm

>191 ronincats: Thanks for reading Roni :)

>192 DeltaQueen50: I am looking forward to the teaching! And my kindle is my new favorite toy ;)

>193 evilmoose: Thanks for reading Megan. I'm glad to share my experiences :)

119. Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Rating: 3 Stars

No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she's finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she'd lost forever.

This is a book where I think the audio version half-ruined the story for me. But then again, perhaps I wouldn't have liked Juliette even in paperback form. I'm not sure. I actually only didn't like her for the first half of the book. The second half was much better, redeemed the series for me and makes me think I might want to read the second book after all. I really didn't like all the metaphors in this book either. Too poetic, except that it didn't come across as poetic to me. I prefer a more direct way of words. Despite all this, I probably will read the next book because the second half of the book did pick up into something interesting. I can't tell if this is a book about superheros or not yet, but I'm interested in finding out.

oct. 18, 2015, 1:15am

Your updates are wonderful to read, Melissa. It sounds like this has been a great experience that you will always remember.

Editat: oct. 19, 2015, 12:04pm

>195 lkernagh: Thanks Lori. I will certainly never forgotten this experience. It's already teaching me a lot about myself.

Cross-stitch: 32.5% finished

Panels 13/40

oct. 23, 2015, 11:28am

120. Let's Get Lost - Craig Nelson
Genre: Memoir, Travel
Pages: 384
Rating: 3 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Craig Nelson has experienced places most people only dream about. He has walked the Great Wall of China; taught New Guinea cannibals how to dance; communed with a sign-language-speaking orangutan in Borneo; gotten into an altercation with the People's Liberation Army in Tiananmen Square; and taken psychoactive pharmaceuticals with a male witch in the depths of the Amazon jungle. In this vastly entertaining, often hilarious, and sometimes poignant book, he shares his global jaunts and haunts with armchair travelers everywhere.

This travel book was better than the last travel book I read, but it still wasn't quite what I was looking for. It's more a memoir of a guy who apparently has gobs of money and can travel whenever and wherever he wants. There were parts of the book that I appreciated but there were less than I wanted. And the writing bogged me down. I had to make a plan to read this book which doesn't happen very often - fifty pages a day and then I can put it down and move on to something else. If I didn't have so much time on my hands at the moment I might have left it and not finished it. It wasn't horrible, it just wasn't that good.

oct. 24, 2015, 5:13pm

121. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating: 3 Stars

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

If this book was set outside of high school with more adult characters and more adult romance I probably would have really really enjoyed it. As it stands, I enjoyed the story without engagement. I didn't feel for the characters as much as I hoped to. Some of this was the young adult audience and some of it was the narrator. I think I'm coming to the conclusion that it is the readers for young adult novels that I don't like as much. Probably because they make the characters sound like teenagers with inflection and tone. It's not a good thing when I realize how I would have heard the way a character says something different in my head if I had been reading the book rather than how the narrator made the statement sound. The way I would have read it, with the combination of words as they are, is different and I feel that it actually changes the story. When what I would read is simply a statement, what the narrator says makes it seem like a throaty purr, and it changes the scene for me. I'm babbling, but I'm beginning to pick apart young adult book narrators, and I've noticed the trend. Anyways, the story idea is interesting, and I like the fact that when the characters are wolves, that's all they are, just wolves. A refreshing idea. I picked up the series because I really liked Stiefvater's recent series, The Dream Thieves. This one doesn't compare but it's not too bad. I'll probably find the second book.

oct. 24, 2015, 10:24pm

122. The Skull Throne - Peter V. Brett
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Pages: 747
Rating: 4 Stars

The Skull Throne of Krasia stands empty. Built from the skulls of fallen generals and demon princes, it is a seat of honor and ancient, powerful magic, keeping the demon corelings at bay. From atop the throne, Ahmann Jardir was meant to conquer the known world, forging its isolated peoples into a unified army to rise up and end the demon war once and for all. But Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, stood against this course, challenging Jardir to a duel he could not in honor refuse. Rather than risk defeat, Arlen cast them both from a precipice, leaving the world without a savior, and opening a struggle for succession that threatens to tear the Free Cities of Thesa apart.

There's still things about these characters that drives me mad but I actually enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. Some reviewers complain this it is a middle book, a filler but I disagree. This book is a pivotal turning point in the grand scene of things. I liked that this is not turning out to be good against evil, this is about culture against culture, both believing they are in the right. Not so different than real life. I also liked how the destruction that happens in this book comes from within rather than without. I am saddened by the deaths of certain characters, who I didn't think I would invest in but did. I didn't even mind all that much that Arlen was only in the book briefly when he was once my sole reason for reading the series. I absolutely loved the first book. The second book put me off a little but I was still going strong. The last book however was my least favorite. But I think, looking back on it all together after this latest book, that there is a masterpiece in the works here. It's got flaws yea, but this book has redeemed the series for me. It's got some classic fantasy moves but it is getting into the gory gritty part of this-day-and-age fantasy. It also has it's own uniqueness. Perhaps the story as a whole with these four books so far could have been told without as many words and still be successful but it's doing okay. Long series are in now a days, apparently. I like the development of where this is going.

Favorite Line:
“You came to lands that were not yours, murdered thousands of men, raped their women, enslaved their children, and think your soul is clean because their holy book’s a little different from yours! You keep the demons from them, ay, but chickens on the chopping block don’t call the butcher Deliverer for keeping the fox at bay.”

oct. 26, 2015, 11:26am

123. Way of the Peaceful Warrior - Dan Millman
Genre: Memoir, Philosophy
Pages: 217
Rating: 4 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Way of the Peaceful Warrior is based on the story of Dan Millman, a world champion athlete, who journeys into realms of romance and magic, light and darkness, body, mind, and spirit. Guided by a powerful old warrior named Socrates and tempted by an elusive, playful woman named Joy, Dan is led toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him. Readers join Dan as he learns to live as a peaceful warrior. This international bestseller conveys piercing truths and humorous wisdom, speaking directly to the universal quest for happiness.

I thought the book was pretty pretentious to claim that it can change lives when I first picked it up. I still think it's a little pretentious, but I have to admit that this book does, in some ways, change my life. There were things about the book that I didn't necessarily like but I loved the overall message. There were times when I felt that the book was going over my head, over my understanding of the world around me. I feel that I need more experience with eastern thinking/Buddhism - something that I'm coming to understand embodies many of the lessons in this book. I think different people may take away different things from this book. I'm taking away a desire to really absorb the world around me, and to let go.; to let emotions come but not to be hijacked by them. I think this book could have been a five star easily but while I connected with the messages and lessons to be learned, I did not connect with the story. I'm glad it found it's way into my hands however. While some of these messages I already knew, having them again with others to accompany them, brings it home for me. every once in a while everyone needs a reminder of how to live life.

oct. 26, 2015, 10:16pm

>194 Kassilem: I enjoyed that series... I didn't like Juliette at the beginning either... but she grows on you toward the end - I hope you like the next two in the series

oct. 27, 2015, 2:10pm

>201 lovelyluck: Me too :)

124. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking - Susan Cain
Genre: Non-Fiction, Psychology
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 Stars

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society. In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

I enjoyed this book. I'm sort of biased, as I'm a classic introvert, but I think extroverts can get a lot of information from this book as well. I thought it dragged just a little bit towards the end but that was most likely just me and my mood during that time period. While I've never been ashamed of my introvertness, this book did make me think about how I can use it to more advantage. I've done some of the things that are recommended but I never recognized exactly what I was doing until now. This book has also given me some understanding on extroverts as well. I don't think I ever really understood just how the two are different. I highly recommend this book to any and everyone.

Favorite Line:
Introversion- along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness- is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living in the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man's world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we've turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

oct. 28, 2015, 3:12pm

125. Angel Time - Anne Rice
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Time-Travel
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 Stars

It’s the present day. Toby O’Dare—aka Lucky the Fox—is a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. He’s a soulless soul, a dead man walking. His nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions is disrupted when a mysterious stranger, a seraph, offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives. O’Dare, who long ago dreamt of being a priest, seizes his chance. Now he is carried back through the ages to thirteenth-century England, to dark realms where accusations of ritual murder have been made against Jews, where children suddenly die or disappear. In this primitive setting, O’Dare begins his perilous quest for salvation, a journey of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love.

I was entranced by this book. I'm pretty sure it was the character, Toby O'Dare. Usually with Anne Rice it is the characters that pull me in. While not much of action happened at all here, I didn't mind at all because I was just too interested in the character. I started this book this morning and pretty much immediately decided I was going to finish it before going to bed. I liked the time-travel aspect or course. The angel side of the story was minimal, much more so than I expected, and I appreciated it. This is a story of redemption but it's not a redemption shoved in your face. I'm looking forward to seeing where else this story goes in the next book.

oct. 30, 2015, 6:02pm

Hi Melissa, just catching up here. November is always a month I find myself reading a lot of fantsy, I guess I am try to escape the gray, rainy weather. How is the weather where you are?

oct. 31, 2015, 6:23am

>204 DeltaQueen50: :) The weather here is the same as it always is. Mid 80's year round, although during the dry season the nights do tend to get a little cold. And I just read a lot of fantasy all the time but I can see why it would be preferable during the gloomy winter months in America. I won't miss those days. Well... actually I probably will. Am a little bit already. Not the cold, but the things that come with the cold - hot chocolate, scarves, reading by he fire, the whiteness of snow. :) I hope your winter treats you well Judy!

And I've been going crazy progress on the corss-stitch. All those audio books and movies. Eventually I'll slow down :)

Cross-stitch: 35% finished

Panels 14/40

oct. 31, 2015, 6:52am

Reading Stats: October

Books: 23
Pages: 8,210

E-Book: 11
Audiobook: 9
Dead Tree: 3

New: 3
TBR: 17
Walk By-Pick Up: 3

5 Stars: 3
4 Stars: 13
3 Stars: 6
2 Stars: 1

Time Range:
1930-1939: 1
1960-1969: 1
1980-1989: 1
2000-2009: 5
2010-2015: 15

Romance: 6
Urban Fantasy: 5
Science Fiction: 3
Memoir: 3
Travel: 2
Dystopia: 2
Epic Fantasy: 2
Historical Fiction: 1
Gothic Fantasy: 1
Time-Travel: 1
Non-Fiction: 1
Psychology: 1
Philosophy: 1
Lit Classics: 1
Fairytales: 1
Horror: 1

nov. 1, 2015, 8:22am

>202 Kassilem: I'm going to get to this book soon! I am determined (I just have to remember where I put it). Your review reminded me why I am so keen to read it for myself.

nov. 4, 2015, 12:15pm

>207 charl08: :) Welcome

126. Days of Blood and Starlight - Laini Taylor
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 528
Rating: 4 Stars

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is--and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it. Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life. While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope. But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

This was a good sequel to the first book Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Suspense, thrill, betrayal, friendship... not so much love, not in this middle book. I'm aganizing over the rift between Karou and Akiva. I want to shake the girl and tell her to get over it and take Akiva back without all this needless pain on both their parts. But I know how emotion can get the best of you, and there's a lot of emotion in that rift. Still, it's painful to watch them interact now. I didn't like how meek Karou was to Theago, but being aggressive would have caused much more hurt and pain, so at the same time, I took it for what it was. And cheered at Theago's fate. The book does have a different cast to it from the first book. I get the feeling that the third book will be just as different. I do hope that Karou gets some of her spunk back though.

Favorite Line:
“Nothing made you feel so useless as another person's grief.”

nov. 10, 2015, 1:19pm

127. An Apprentice to Elves - Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 336
Rating: 3 Stars

The warrior culture of Iskryne forbids many things to women-and most especially it forbids them bonding to one of the giant telepathic trellwolves. But as her father was no ordinary boy, Alfgyfa is no ordinary girl. Her father has long planned to send his daughter to Tin, a matriarch among the elves who live nearby, to be both apprentice and ambassador, and now she is of age to go.

I forgot that this series skips years and years in between books. That's not a bad thing, unless the reader was expecting the book to be about their favorite character from the first book. I don't know how I forget it, but I did. I blame the years in between the second book and this book. One problem I had with the book was the ending. it felt extremely rushed to me. I suppose I am used to long epic books that have a scene to explain everything. This book does not. I enjoyed the story but it took me a long time to read this one. It didn't engage me like I was hoping. Which was too bad because I absolutely loved the first book. But the series is over now, so I'm moving on now to other books from the two authors separately.

nov. 10, 2015, 4:59pm

>209 Kassilem: Waaait. This is out? Cool!

nov. 14, 2015, 6:17am

>210 lycomayflower: Yep! Finally

nov. 22, 2015, 1:04pm

128. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 592
Rating: 5 Stars
(TBR-BBC Best 100)

A most untraditional love story, this is the celebrated tale of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who inadvertently travels through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate affair endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap that tests the strength of fate and basks in the bonds of love.

This was a wonderful book. So much better than I ever thought it could be. I love time travel books, but this one was exceptional. I loved how it was laid out and the way Clare and Henry went through their lives. Both characters went through a lot in their lives and I felt so invested in both of them. I loved how normal they were, and how unnormal they were at the same time. I don't know if Niffenegger has written any other books, but if she has I'll be making sure I get my hands on them because this kind of writing is very well done. Now I want to go watch the movie. I know it won't compare but I'd love to see a rendition of the story. And I think Rachel and Eric were perfect actors/actresses for the characters. I think I might buy this book. Really really good. Recommended.

Favorite Line:
Time is priceless, but it’s Free. You can't own it, you can use it. You can spend it. But you can't keep it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.

nov. 22, 2015, 1:32pm

So I spent two weeks at the Peace Corps main office because of an infection that is stubbornly refusing to go away. It sucked because I was gone from site for so long and now feel like I've lost ground in my integration but it was good in that the office has a library where volunteers leave books that other volunteers can take to read with the assumption that we bring them back afterwards. I grabbed a couple when I first went to site and read them all so I took them back and while I was there I grabbed more to read.

Since I was there for so long I found myself picking out book after book without regard to having to carry them all back to site with me :) It didn't help that I reorganized the whole library room one day and got a look at the majority of the titles. There were a lot that were on my lists and well.... I came away with a lot, carried them all the way back to site and everything. I'm excited to get to them and so I thought I would share the list here for kicks. :)

The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
African Friends and Money Matters - David E. Maranz
On Hitler's Mountain - Irmgard A. Hunt
Dancing Skeletons - Katherine Dettwyler
Anthropology and the Peace Corps
Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris
Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Handmaids's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
The Towers of the Sunset - L. E. Modesitt Jr.
Rose Daughter - Robin McKinley
Magic's Promise - Mercedes Lackey - This one was always one of my favorites so it'll be a comfort read
Inda - Sherwood Smith
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
The Vampire Lestat - Anne Rice - another comfort read
The Tale of the Body Thief - Anne Rice - yet another comfort
The Boys in the Boat - Daniel James Brown
The Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
Nightwatch - Sergei Lukyanenko
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes - Edith Hamilton

While I had really great internet & downloading speed I also downloaded a bunch of audiobooks to listen to as well.

Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker
Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer
Book of Three - Lloyd Alexander
Bourbon Kings - J. R. Ward
Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller Jr.
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Dangerous Women - George R. R. Martin
Dreams of Gods & Monsters - Laini Taylor
Girl with All the Gifts - M. R. Carey
Golem's Eye - Jonathan Stroud
How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff
Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer
Linger - Maggie Stiefvater
Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Of Love and Evil - Anne Rice
Rabid - Bill Wasik
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
The Stand - Stephen King

Yea... :) So off I go to read!

nov. 22, 2015, 2:25pm

You carried all of those!? I see some big ones in there too. I hope a lot of them were paperbacks. :P

nov. 24, 2015, 12:05pm

>214 Ape: Yep! And I think only one of the books was hardback. Mostly they just sat under my legs on the bus. I only had to carry them in between buses and more often than not Ghanaians were eager to help me carry everything which is what I had been hoping for. :)

129. Deep Survival - Laurence Gonzales
Genre: Non-Fiction, Pyschology
Pages: 318
Rating: 3 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

In 'Deep Survival', Laurence Gonzalez combines hard science and powerful storytelling to illustrate the mysteries of survival, whether in the wilderness or in meeting any of life's great challenges. This gripping narrative, the first book to describe the art and science of survival, will change the way you see the world. Everyone has a mountain to climb. Everyone has a wilderness inside.

I enjoyed the first half of this book but I felt the second half dragged, going over the same things that had been talked about in the first half. It was much more scientific than I had anticipated, with a lot of information on the brain included. I really enjoyed the way the book focused on what makes some people survivors. it makes you wonder what type of person you are: a survivor or not? You quickly realize that no one can really know for sure until the moment happens; where you have to choose life or death. Interesting concept. Some of it seems like common sense. Some of it seems like the author is reaching a little. But overall an interesting read.

Favorite Line:
The world won't adapt to me. I must adapt to it.

The enivoronment we're used to is designed to sustain us. We live like fish in an aquarium. Food comes mysteriously down, oxygen bubbles up. We are the domestic pets of a human zoo we call civilization.

We must plan. But we must be able to let go of the plan, too.

nov. 24, 2015, 12:41pm

130. Of Love and Evil - Anne Rice
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Time Travel
Pages: 224
Rating: 3 Stars

Barely recovered from his previous divine mission, former contract killer Toby O'Dare is once again summoned by the angel Malchiah to investigate the poisoning of a prominent nobleman and stop the haunting of a diabolical dybbuk. Together, they travel back to fifteenth-century Italy—the age of Michelangelo, the Holy Inquisition, and Pope Leo X—and this time Malchiah has Toby pose as a lute player sent to charm and calm this troublesome spirit. But Toby soon discovers that he is in the midst of plots and counterplots, surrounded on all sides by increasingly dangerous threats as the veil of ecclesiastical terror closes in around him.

I really liked the first book of this series so I don't quite understand why I didn't like this one. I didn't expect it to be such a short novel, probably one of the shortest books Rice has written. It just seemed kind of boring next to the events of the first book. Not much happens. It's all kind of anti climatic. I hear that a third book is being written so I'm hoping that it is on par with the first book not this second book.

nov. 26, 2015, 7:35am

131. How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff
Genre: Dystopia
Pages: 194
Rating: 2 Stars

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy. As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

This was not what I had in mind when I picked the book off my to read list. I can't remember why it was on the list in the first place, because it turned out to be a book that I was just glad to finish. if it hadn't been so short I might have abandoned it. I didn't like how black and white the whole step-mother thing was handled, nor the anorexia. It didn't seem to fit in with all the other stuff. I also didn't really see why a lot of reviewers thought it was such a traumatizing war story. I thought it was a very soft war story. Could be because I didn't invest in any of the characters. The story might have been too juvenile for me, but regardless, not recommended.

nov. 30, 2015, 10:39am

>213 Kassilem: Oh no, sorry to hear you had an infection. Looks like it led to some good reading material though.

>217 Kassilem: This is a really strange little book. The movie is equally perplexing, but yet I couldn't put it down or look away.

Editat: des. 2, 2015, 2:03pm

>218 rosylibrarian: I just brought back even MORE books because I visited another sub-office in a different Ghanaian city. People wonder why I prefer to carry the books since i have a lot of them on kindle, but I just really prefer the paperback/hardback formats over kindle if I can get them. I don't care if I have to carry them. I will be carry books back and forth every where I go for the rest of my life. :) That is inevitable!

132. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms - George R. R. Martin
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 368
Rating: 5 Stars

Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne, there was Dunk and Egg. A young, naïve but ultimately courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals—in stature if not experience. Tagging along is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg—whose true name is hidden from all he and Dunk encounter. Though more improbable heroes may not be found in all of Westeros, great destinies lay ahead for these two . . . as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.

I've been wanting to read these novellas for a long time but could never get my hands on them so I was thrilled when I heard that they were being published as one book. The writing was slightly different from Martin's 'Game of Thrones' writing but that was alright. They are meant to be short stories so you can't expect the same character development as you would for longer books. I would be thrilled however if Martin writes more on Dunk and Egg like is hinted at, at the end of this book. This is only just the beginning of their journeys and there so much more that I am interested in hearing about. The illustrations that went with this book were great as well. If you are a fan of the Game of Thrones books then this is a book for you. Even if you are not, this may be a perfect book for that fantasy urge that's being hindered by long thick sized book series.

nov. 30, 2015, 5:47pm

Reading Stats: November

Books: 7
Pages: 2,560

E-Book: 2
Audiobook: 4
Dead Tree: 1

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

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

Time Range:
2000-2009: 3
2010-2015: 4

Urban Fantasy: 2
High Fantasy: 2
Time Travel: 2
Science Fiction: 1
Non-Fiction: 1
Psychology: 1
Dystopia: 1

des. 8, 2015, 8:36am

133. Closer to the Heart - Mercedes Lackey
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 336
Rating: 3 Stars

Mags was a Herald of Valdemar. But he had once lived the brutal life of a child slave. When he was Chosen by his Companion Dallen, his young life was saved, and he slowly adjusted to being well fed, educated, and treasured as a trainee in the Herald's Collegium at Haven. Singled out by the King's Own Herald, Mags would thrive in his secret training as a spy. His unusually strong Gift—an ability to Mindspeak and Mindhear anyone, not just others who were Gifted—made him a perfect undercover agent for the king.

I had hoped this sequel series had picked up a little in performance. The first book showed some promise, and while this second book wasn't too bad, it was not the awesomeness that I was hoping for. I think I am just going to have to accept that the gems found in lackey's biography will all be found in her earlier writings. Again, this book wasn't bad, but it was predictable and not terribly exciting. I felt the ending was rushed. I felt that Mags being a victim again was a little redundant. I felt that it was not worth the kindle price I paid to read it. Oh well. Maybe I will go read one of Lackey's earlier books to make myself feel better.

des. 8, 2015, 9:05am

>213 Kassilem: Hope that you're feeling better now.

I just thought your list of books was fantastic. I love my kindle but sometimes paper is just better. From your list, Atonement is one of my favourite books and I loved the film version as well.

des. 9, 2015, 2:25pm

134. Magic's Promise - Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Epic Fantasy, GLBT
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 Stars

The wild magic is taking its toll on the land, and even Vanyel, the most powerful Herald-Mage to ever walk the world, is almost at the end of his strength. But when his Companion, Yfandes, receives a call for help from neighboring Lineas, both Herald-Mage and Companion are drawn into a holocaust of dark magic that could be the end of them both.

I picked this book up thinking it was the one with Stefan in it, but I was mistaken. I was looking fora comfort read and while this book wasn't the one I ultimately wanted it to be, it was still a comfort read. I've always loved Vanyel. I'm starting to see things in these books that might have thrown me off the story if the character had been different. I used to praise these books up and down, but I think it's mostly because of the character, because the writing is good but it isn't that good. :) And yet, because of the characters, for whatever reason I have lacked onto them, these books will forever be comfort reads for me.

des. 9, 2015, 2:33pm

>222 charl08: Hi Charlotte! I am feeling much better. Fighting a cold due to the change from rainy season to dry season all of the sudden but my infection is gone. I also prefer the paperback to kindle if I can get it. The kindle is damn useful when the power is out and I can't read without wasting candles, so I'm really glad I have one, but the paperbacks just bring a story to life sometimes, with the pages literally in my hands. Anyways :) I am looking forward to Atonement!

135. Magic's Price - Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Epic Fantasy, GLBT
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 Stars

The final chapter in Mercedes Lackey's spellbinding fantasy trilogy! The Herald-Mage, Vanyel, and his Companion, Yfandes, are alone responsible for saving the once-peaceful kingdom of Valdemar from the forces of a master who wields a dark, forbidding magic. And if either Vanyel or Yfandes falters, both Valdemar and its Herald-Mage must pay the ultimate price.

Most of what I said in the above review stands for this book as well. This one actually has Stefan in it but the romance was less than I remembered it being. That was alright. It was a nice comfort read that occupying me all day. Perhaps more than it should have. :) It is interesting to go back to these earlier books (chronologically as well as written) after reading so much more about the world of Valdemar. Certain pieces fit together or even just a sense of completeness comes when I realize little facts that I never caught before. Good book.

des. 9, 2015, 2:43pm

Peace Corps Update

Merry soon Christmas everyone!

I hope you are enjoying your wintry season! Here in Africa, the season has changed as well – into the dry season. :) It’s even hotter now, and more dusty. All the bushes have been cut down and the grasses are dying from the lack of rain. Pretty soon I am going to be living in a brown, dry world. But I do have a small 1-foot Christmas tree that I inherited from the last volunteer at my site that I have put up and a stocking that I might fill for myself. They don’t really match all my new African décor but that’s okay!

Christmas is celebrated here in Ghana but “celebration” mostly means eating a lot of rice and going to church all day. I myself am looking forward to spending my Christmas with Mom and Dave in Amsterdam!! At this point I think I’m more excited to see Mom and Dave than I am to see Amsterdam, although that will be such an awesome experience too. :) Can you all believe that I have been here in Ghana for over six months now? It really surprises me that it’s been that long already. I knew, coming here, that two years wasn’t really that long of a time, but WOW! My service is going to be over before I know it.

I feel like I haven’t done that much here yet. I only just started teaching the last week of November. I had one week of classes, and then, last week I was in Kumasi for a reconnect workshop with my training group so I didn’t see my kids then. And this week is the end of term examinations. I get to see them once this week and that’s when I give them their test on the small small information I wrote down for them to copy while I was gone last week. Then it’s vacation until the middle of January. But even the little time I’ve had with them has been enlightening. I came here hoping to teach these kids how to think critically. Now I know that the task is going to be much harder than I anticipated.

But now that I have completed six months (three months integration if you don’t count my three month training) I can apply for grants. So I’m looking at what big projects I can realistically pull off. The two big ones I want to look at doing are refurnishing the library with some literary books since all it hosts now are textbooks and getting a reading program going; and getting the science labs finished. It looks like one volunteer wrote a grant to get one started but it was never finished. I don’t know what happened but I would love to get some microscopes and resources for the school and we’ll need a lab to house the materials. I’ve been told that with the time it takes for things to get done here, having two big projects like that is more than some volunteers can get accomplished, so we’ll see if I can get both off the ground and walking – because no one runs here. :)

I also want to paint a world map at the school so students can see where they are in relation to the world. And I thought maybe a debate team would be a good idea for getting to that critical thinking aspect I wanted to instill in the students. I know, I know. My ideas change every few months. I remember when I came out of training and wanted to do small sack gardens on my porch and a reading club and all these little projects. Now I look back on all those ideas and think, that would be so much work! I’m learning to accept that most of my ideas will never happen. But I’m also beginning to realize that now is the time where things will start to change. I needed those three-four months while I was not teaching to just figure out how to live here in Ghana and get comfortable with the culture - or as comfortable as I’m going to get. It was also a time where I learned a lot about myself as a person. Now, with things picking up, I feel that some of my ideas will finally come to fruition.

Lets see, the end of October went pretty slow. I taught that one week of Form 3 students, like I mentioned in my last email. I was told I could pick whatever topic I wanted from the Form 3 section of the syllabus and evolution was there so… you can guess what I taught. :) Evolution, variation and a small part of genetics. The class enjoyed it and I enjoyed it so it was a very successful week. The teacher took his class back after that one week and I went back to reading in the teacher’s lounge. I did learn a lot about teaching even from that one week though. Previously I had spent a lot of time working on a point system for my Form 1 classes. I was thinking I could award points for good behavior and take away points for bad behavior and issue rewards and punishments based on the points at the end of each week or two weeks. But I quickly learned, just from teaching a class I wasn’t even using the system with that it was not going to work.

The students here can’t always control whether they are late or not, and if they are sleeping in class it’s possible that they are sick with malaria. And some of the rewards would never happen because the students here can’t think critically the same way students do in America. So it seemed to me that nothing would be gained by the system. It was my attempt at cultivating good behavior but with the way the school and education system is run here, I doubt any behavioral learning could be learned very well. So I dropped the idea. Now I am taking a different approach, which we will see the effectiveness of this next term. Most of my collegues have had this past term to practice and see what works and what doesn’t. They all agreed that the first term of teaching sucks and that they all made millions of mistakes that they now know how to address. Next term will be my practice term. Classroom management skills, here I come.

In the beginning of November I went down to Accra for a medical check-up and while I was there I picked up some African paintings and some décor to liven up my walls. The school carpenter also finished my shelves so they are installed as well. The place is actually starting to look lived in now!

Every once in a while I’ll go to town and see something that catches my eye. There are no set items that you can be guaranteed to find. One week I found a plastic wrack to dry dishes on but I never saw anything like it before or since. Once there was a water bottle but again, I haven’t seen one since. So I’ve taken to getting things on the spot if think I’ll use it. The other day I found a silverware holder that I snatched up. It works perfectly – looks much nicer than the jam jars I was using as holders before. :) I’d love to find another one, but haven’t seen one since. It makes shopping kind of interesting. And it makes me want to go to town more often than necessary so that I can take a glance into my favorite stall and see what new things are on display.

So the place is a mismatch of odds and ends of all kinds of colors, but it totally feels like home now. :)

Anyways, while I was in Accra I also picked up two new additions to keep me company. The Accra Peace Corps office has cats and one of the cats has had two kittens six weeks earlier. Usually volunteers who are interested will take kittens to their site with them. It’s preferred because they don’t get regular meals at the office with everyone coming in and out all the time. And there is a rumor that the mother ate two of her kittens before this litter. *Shudder* There were a few volunteers that suggested I take one. Then it turned into taking both of the kittens to keep them together. And… well. I have two new kittens now!

It's all kind of an experiment for me since I've never had animals/pets before except for fish which hardly count. They are both females and I named them Mitsy and Mira. :) Did I say this was an experiment? They are living on my porch because I quickly realized that I'm slightly allergic. :/ I've never been around cats long enough to really realize the symptoms but after a day and a half of them climbing all over me and my things, I went to bed with the worst itchy eyes possible. But this actually works best however. This way, they can get used to the outdoors so that when I leave in two years they will not be traumatized by the environmental change when the new Ghanaian owners I find for them inevitably put them outside rather than in (Only few Ghanaians do the pet thing and even fewer keep them inside). This also helped immensely when I was away in Kumasi all of last week. My neighbor was able to put food and water in their bowls while I was away without having to enter my house to do so. Also, my shoes, clothes and table fabrics won’t get ripped up due to kitty love. They don’t mind the porch. They like to sleep together in a pile of adorableness on my porch chair or my water cans, and they love to climb up on the clothesline’s post or the ladder leaning on the tree. I think they will grow up just fine. And bigger than most Ghanaian cats if I continue to feed them fish every day!

They are pretty attached to each other - litter mates - and one will cry when the other is gone for too long, but they always come back to the food I give them. They are still a little skittish of me due to the horrible day of travel where they were stuck in a box all day followed by the litter box training the next day where I had to corner them each time they tried to squat so I could put them in the box instead. They are really small and I am really tall in comparison. I think I scared them more than I thought I would. But progress is being made. :) With them on the porch or out exploring half the day I’m not around them as much as I thought I would be but that’s alright. I’m just enjoying their adorableness while it lasts. Before I know it they will be full grown.

The end of November and this month has been and will be full of travel. I got back from Accra with the kittens and all my new décor (and a load of books from the PC office!) a week before I had to turn around and travel to Kumasi for my reconnect workshop. I just got back from that this weekend. And in a week I am going back to Accra for a work day with the Diversity committee I’m a part of just before I fly off to Europe for a reunion with Mom and Dave. Then we’ll all fly back to Ghana where I’ll get to show them my site and my digs, and then it’s back to Accra to see them off just before I head to the Volta region for a paragliding festival for New Years. Phew :) Things will slow down after that though, something I’m kind of looking forward to.

des. 9, 2015, 11:57pm

Love to get these more detailed updates, Melissa! What an adventure you are having. And two kittens as well!

des. 10, 2015, 12:08pm

>225 Kassilem: Wonderful update. Glad to hear things are going so well. Enjoy the time with your family!

des. 12, 2015, 11:23am

>226 ronincats: :) They are a handful

>227 Oberon: Thanks!

136. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 544
Rating: 4 Stars

Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who's always taken orders quietly, but lately she's unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She's full of ambition, but without a husband, she's considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town...

This book grabbed me pretty well from the beginning. The characters were very real and lovable - most of them :) I enjoyed that it was a book about characters writing a book. It gives me two stories in one. And that aspect was very well done here. It also makes me wonder about the research behind this book. It's so well written that I automatically assumed everything in this book happened. I can't say for sure if specific instances did or did not, not knowing the writing process behind this book, but it felt and sounded so real. Very interesting book, and very thought provoking. I highly recommend it if you haven't read it yet.

Favorite Line:
All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries.

des. 13, 2015, 10:03am

Cross-stitch: 37.5% finished

Panels 15/40

des. 13, 2015, 11:16am

137. The Book of Three - Lloyd Alexander
Genre: High Fantasy
Pages: 190
Rating: 3 Stars

Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli―all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain.

I think I should have read this book when I was younger. I feel I missed my chance because now the writing is too juvenile for me. I couldn't really stand Eilonwy either, the way she always degraded Taran. Taran was a spoiled young brat. The rest of the character's weren't too bad. But definitely meant for young fantasy readers. It doesn't help that i pictured the animated characters from the movie based off of this series the whole time I was reading it. It's a series, but I won't be continuing.

des. 14, 2015, 11:39am

>229 Kassilem: Wow - lovely!

>230 Kassilem: Aw, that's too bad, because the series gets exponentially better as it goes along...

des. 14, 2015, 4:03pm

>231 scaifea:, >230 Kassilem: The first book is definitely a children's book, the next one a little less so, the next one less so, the fourth one an adolescent's book, and the fifth one totally satisfying to all ages, a classic. The animated film was a disaster.

des. 15, 2015, 2:08am

Thanks for the update, Melissa. I am so happy for you that you will be able to spend Christmas with your loved ones. I think you should shop for a new needlework piece while you are in Amsterdam as it looks like your current one will be finished soon. ;)

des. 15, 2015, 1:00pm

>231 scaifea: :) Thanks. And... well if the books get better perhaps I should give it a try. I do love the classic high fantasy tales.

>232 ronincats: They are short books. As I said above, I might find the next book. I don't want to waste my time but I'll take both yours and Amber's word that it gets better :)

>233 DeltaQueen50: Haha. Right? It's about halfway done. But it took me a year to do that much, so maybe it'll take longer than I'm thinking it will. Especially if I get busy with school. But I did bring a backup in case I did finish it. And I've already bookmarked some other projects I'd like to buy at some point. :)

138. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
Genre: Lit Classic, Mystery
Pages: 226
Rating: 4 Stars
(TBR- BBC's Best 100)

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.

This was an interesting book. Like nothing I've read before, which I think is partly why it is such a popular book. I feel really bad for the parents of Christopher. I have someone in my family who has autism and I've watched his parents try to raise him. It is not easy. I admire anyone that does. I also felt bad for Christopher, at his luck in life, but I couldn't really invest in him that well because of his lack of empathy or feelings for others. I think this was also a part of the book that was meant to make a point. And yet the book was easy to read, even from Christopher's perspective. I liked some of how Christopher explained parts of the world. I'm glad I finally got to this book.

Favorite Line:
“Lots of things are mysteries. But that doesn't mean there isn't an answer to them. It's just that scientists haven't found the answer yet.”

“I find people confusing.”

des. 16, 2015, 9:07am

139. Plan B - Sjd Peterson
Genre: LGBT, Romance
Pages: 200
Rating: 4 Stars

Danny Marshal has always lived his life out loud, but his androgynous appearance is only a small part of who he is. One night at a frat party, Danny meets Lance Lenard, football jock and apparent straight guy. Lance is shocked when he's immediately attracted to Danny's feminine side. Danny is happy to be the subject of Lance's first man-on-man experiment—until Lance begins to struggle with the fact that despite his appearance, Danny is indeed a man. Life sends Danny and Lance in different directions, each of them focused on his respective Plan A. But the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

This is a book that I probably would have liked a lot more than I did if I hadn't read Jay bell's books. Same type of story, but the writing there was so fantastic. It's the paradox of reading such a good book that it ruins other books. That's the case here. This is a good book, a good story with some good romance. It just doesn't have the umpfh behind it. The sex scenes are fairly explicit so don't read if you don't like male on male sex.

des. 16, 2015, 9:27am

140. Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror
Pages: 209
Rating: 3 Stars

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation we join the twelfth expedition. The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist; and a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

This book wasn't what I was expecting. The prose was very lyrical and yet I still didn't know exactly was was going on throughout the book. The ending especially was weird. It was a short book but I get the sense that it would have taken me longer to read than it did to listen to the audio. There's something about this book... I can't put mu finger on it. It's both fascinating and upsetting in a literature point of view. Maybe it's a ploy to get readers to buy the other two books in the trilogy, stretching out a story that should have been one book into three. *Shrug* I'm still trying to wrap my head around it, obviously.

Favorite Line:
"The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you."

“Silence creates its own violence.”

des. 16, 2015, 9:37am

141. Firstborn - Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 48
Rating: 3 Stars
(Walk By-Pick Up)

Of the son of a High Duke of the interstellar Empire, much glory is expected. And expected. And still expected, despite endless proof that young Dennison Crestmar has no talent whatsoever for war. But the life Dennison is forced to live will have its surprising lessons to impart.

Very short. I kind of wonder at the purpose. But it wasn't a bad book. Not all that fantastic but good. Could have been better as a full story, a full book. It kind of reminded me of Ender's Game. A fuller book could have explained things. but maybe there's something I'm missing in why this story was written. Unless you're a die hard fan of Sanderson, this one is really not needed to complete his biography.

des. 16, 2015, 12:12pm

Interesting as always to hear your Ghana updates - hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your parents!

des. 17, 2015, 6:40am

>234 Kassilem: I just picked up the audio version of The Curious Incidence of the Dog in the Night-Time, so I'm glad to see that you liked it!

des. 17, 2015, 1:54pm

>238 evilmoose: Thanks Megan! I'm so excited. Just traveled to the capital today and will get on the plane tomorrow!

>239 scaifea: I'm sure you'll enjoy it Amber :) Having in on audio will be nice.

des. 21, 2015, 9:07am

Sorry to read that you contracted an infection. Wow on the books you were able to bring back to the site. Great update on your Peace Corps work and WHOOT for Christmas in Amsterdam with your Mom and Dave! Have a safe trip!

des. 21, 2015, 1:32pm

>241 lkernagh: Thanks Lori. I'm having a fantastic trip so far! Thanks for stopping by :)

142. The Bourbon Kings - J. R. Ward
Genre: Romance
Pages: 432
Rating: 4 Stars

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked.

This was a pretty good book if you like romance. Or J R Ward. I like her way of writing. This first book in the new series is contemporary, with a normal human setting which sets it against her famous Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and while I didn't like the book as much as I do the books in the latter series, I did highly enjoy the characters in this book. There wasn't too much sex to distract from the plot which was nice. I am looking forward to the next book in the series which should be coming out sometime next year.

des. 23, 2015, 3:26pm

For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!

des. 30, 2015, 3:36pm

>243 ronincats: Thanks Roni! I hope you had and have wonderful holidays. I'm just getting back from mine and had a great time.

143. The Aeronaut's Windlass - Jim Butcher
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 640
Rating: 4 Stars

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace. Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory. Even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake.

It took me a little bit to get into this book for some reason but once I was into the book I was into it. I didn't like the characters to the extent that I like Harry Dresden from Butcher's other series but I still really enjoyed them. Gwen annoyed me for a while but she's a character that has a lot of potential to grow into a very decent human being. I can see the potential of other things in some of the other characters as well and am looking forward to the character development that is bound to happen in the next few books. I'm not sure how many books are planned for this story as of right now but I am interested in reading them as a long as that doesn't mean that the Dresden Files books are on hold. Good first book.

des. 30, 2015, 3:50pm

Reading Stats: December

Books: 11
Pages: 3,497

E-Book: 5
Audiobook: 4
Dead Tree: 2

New: 3
TBR: 5
Reread: 2
Walk By-Pick Up: 1

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

Time Range:
1960-1969: 1
1990-1999: 2
2000-2009: 2
2010-2015: 6

High Fantasy: 2
Epic Fantasy: 2
Romance: 2
Science Fiction: 2
Urban Fantasy: 1
Historical Fiction: 1
Lit Classic: 1
Mystery: 1
Horror: 1

des. 30, 2015, 3:59pm

Reading Stats: 2015

Books: 143
Pages: 57,132

January - 13 books / 5,842 pages
February - 21 books / 7,793 pages
March - 15 books / 7,047 pages
April - 15 books / 5,996 pages
May - 6 books / 3,248 pages
June - 2 books / 1,160 pages
July - 3 books / 1,592 pages
August - 7 books / 3,301 pages
September - 20 books / 6,886 pages
October - 23 books / 8,210 pages
November - 7 books / 2,560 pages
December - 11 books / 3,497 pages

~ 2.8 books per week
~ 1,098 pages per week

Dead Tree: 45
Audiobook: 68
E-Book: 30

TBR: 102
New: 25
Rereads: 2
Off Bookshelf: 3
Walk By-Pick Up: 11

5 Stars: 15
4 Stars: 82
3 Stars: 39
2 Stars: 7
1 Stars: 0

Time Range:
1810-1819: 1
1840-1849: 1
1860-1869: 1
1890-1899: 2
1900-1909: 1
1930-1939: 2
1940-1949: 1
1950-1959: 2
1960-1969: 3
1970-1979: 3
1980-1989: 4
1990-1999: 7
2000-2009: 31
2010-2014: 84

Urban Fantasy: 27
High Fantasy: 27
Epic Fantasy: 19
Lit Classics: 12
Romance: 12
Dystopia: 10
Science Fiction: 11
GLBT: 11
Non-Fiction: 7
Fairy-Tale: 6
Memoir: 6
Travel: 5
Historical Fiction: 5
Time Travel: 3
Horror: 4
Gothic Fantasy: 2
Gothic Fiction: 2
Reference: 2
History: 2
Science: 2
Psychology: 2
Philosophy: 1
Historical Fantasy: 1
Play: 1
Mystery: 2
Chick Lit: 1

5 Stars (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

Graphic Novels Read: 79
Movies Watched: 199

Editat: des. 30, 2015, 4:34pm

Reading Stats: Year Comparisons

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)

des. 30, 2015, 4:09pm

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)

des. 30, 2015, 4:37pm

I can't believe it's a new year already! Goodness this year has just flown by. Thanks to all those who stayed with me through my reading even with all the transitions I had this year! If you are interested in following me to my 2016 thread please follow this thread: https://www.librarything.com/topic/210636

Best wishes to everyone and a Happy New Year!