Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Musing Mondays - Star Wars & reading to remember

Musing Monday, April 24, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I bought the following book(s) in the past week…

by Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta

A few years back I bought my cousin Ian the first 6 books in this series as a Christmas gift because like me, he is a Star Wars nut and he was the perfect age for these books. So when I was talking to him at our family's Easter dinner on the 15th we got into an in-depth discussion about Star Wars as per usual. In the course of the conversation, it came up that he really did love the 6 books I had bought him which thrilled me. I immediately him that I would set about trying to get my hands on the rest of the series for him. I remembered that they seemed to be kind of tricky to get my hands on but I was determined. I ended up getting all of them used through Amazon, I only ordered "Good" and "Acceptable" copies so hopefully, they'll be in good shape when they arrive. Because there are 8 of them my Mum and I are planning to dole them out to him over the course of multiple gift seasons. In buying these I also realised I only own the first 3, so I think I need to get off my butt and buy the rest for myself too.

Here's the summaries for them all from left to right top to bottom:

Shards of Alderaan (Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights #7)
Jacen and Jaina set off for the Alderaan system, determined to salvage a piece of the shattered planet as a gift for their mother. But amid the ghosts of a dead world, the twins are in for a lethal surprise--some ghosts still live. A long-lost enemy of the Solo family is about to return. -- via Goodreads

Diversity Alliance (Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights #8)
When a fellow Jedi student, who holds the key to a New Republic secret coalition, turns up missing, the young Jedi Knights race across the galaxy to find him and are forced to confront a deadly enemy. Original. -- via Goodreads

Delusions of Grandeur (Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights #9)
As the young Jedi Knights continue their search for Raynor Thul's father, they turn for assistance to a dangerous resource, the reprogrammed assassin droid IG-88, a fearsome bounty hunter that the young Jedis may or may not have under control. Original." -- via Goodreads

Jedi Bounty (Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights #10)
Lowbacca has left the Jedi academy and traveled to the planet Ryloth, headquarters of the Diversity Alliance, to see what the Alliance is really all about. On Yavin 4, Jacen, Jaina and the other young Jedi Knights have already discovered one truth about the Alliance--once you go to Ryloth, you either join, or you die. Lowie is in great danger, and they must rescue him. But what can a small group of humans do against a planet full of hostile aliens? -- via Goodreads

The Emperor's Plague (Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights #11)
Bornan Thul's secret is out: he's protecting a deadly plague that could devastate the galaxy if released. And the evil Nolaa Tarkona -- leader of the Diversity Alliance -- knows where it is hidden.Now Jacen, Jaina, and their allies must race against time. As a massive battle rages between New Republic soldiers and the forces of the Diversity Alliance, the young Jedi Knights must find and destroy the plague before it can be released.

But first they must face Nolaa Tarkona. And her very lethal hired hand, Boba Fett... -- via Goodreads

Return to Ord Mantell (Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights #12)
Berkley's new imprint for young adults is off and running with the first novel in a new trilogy starring the young Jedi Knights! 
As the "New York TImes" bestselling series continues, a devastating secret could mean disaster for the entire Solo family... 
STAR WARS is hotter then Ever!
Over 3 Million Young Jedi Knight Novels in Print! -- via Goodreads

Trouble on Cloud City (Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights #13)
Lando Calrissian offers the twins a rare opportunity--a vacation on Cloud City. They jump at the chance, as long as their mysterious new friend Anja Gallandro can come along. Anja is happy to be included. But little do the twins know that they are actually helping Anja hatch her sinister plan. A plan that goes far deeper than simple revenge... -- via Goodreads

Crisis at Crystal Reef (Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights #14)
Anja Gallandro planned to destroy the Solo family. But now she fights an intense inner battle -- against her increasing spice addiction, and her growing friendship with Jacen and Jaina. In desperation for spice, she steals a ship and flees the Jedi academy.The young Jedi Knights follow her from the spice mines of Kessel to the dangerous beauty of Crystal Reef -- where an even more sinister plan is hatching... -- via Goodreads

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: When someone in your life passes do you pick up a book they liked or one that reminds you of them to read?

I never have in the past, but it's an intrigung idea. I've toyed with reading books I know my dad liked over the years since he passed, but he and I had very different tastes in books. He was very much a Tom Clancy fan and I've not yet found any of his Tom Clancy books interesting, actually I don't even know if we moved them with us from Toronto.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Musing Mondays - reading Neil Gaiman & favourite time of day to read

Musing Monday, April 17, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I’m currently reading…

by Neil Gaiman

I'm still working on The Gunseller but I needed a genre shift over the weekend. So I picked up Stardust from where it sat on my to be read shelves. It's been calling to me for a couple of weeks now on its own, but when my coworker Melanie was over one night she commented on it and said I should read it because it's good and it reads quickly. This is exactly the kind of book I was looking for this weekend, so it got started on Friday and I've been reading it in fits and starts.

I've been wanting to read it for several years now, either since 2009 or 2013, or maybe 2014. I can't remember which trip for sure it was that Angie and I watched Stardust but that was what made me want to read the book, her showing me the film. The only previous experience I had had with Neil Gaiman at that point was with Coraline because I'd had to read/watch it for a class. I really enjoyed Coraline and the film version of Stardust, so I have high hopes for the novel.

I tried Sandman in the past but couldn't get into it, although I now regret not trying that harder so I may try it again sometime this year, we have most if not all of it at work I think. Here's the summary of Stardust just in case you don't already know what it's about:

Stardust is an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story. Neil Gaiman, creator of the darkly elegant Sandman comics and author of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love.-- via Goodreads
I'm up to page 154 and so far the pace seems slower than the movie, and I don't remember Tristran being this doltish in the film. It has been several years since I saw the film though so I'll have to rewatch it when I finish the book for an accurate comparison.

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you have a favourite time of day to read?

I'll read any time of the day or night, happily! That being said the time of day that makes me happiest to read is first thing in the morning. A lot of people use coffee as their tool of choice for waking up and starting a day off right. For me, it's 15-30 minutes of reading - or about 1-2 chapters if they're long chapters! This wakes up my brain and primes me for the rest of the day. On days where I can't work reading in first thing in the morning I find myself feeling sluggish and tired throughout the rest of the day. Reading anywhere from 2-5 chapters first thing, depending on their length, has the added benefit of letting me start off my day feeling accomplished which I think really helps my morning productivity. Second favourite time is about 8-10pm after I get home from work and hang out with Angie but before I'm ready for bed.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Musing Mondays - favourite fictional names & some comics I bought

Musing Monday, March 27, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I bought the following book(s) in the past week…

Angel Catbird, Volume 2: To Castle Catula
by Margaret Atwood

When I first heard about the first book, Angel Catbird, Volume 1 I had several reactions, confusion, curiosity and amusement chief among them. I was confused firstly because I had no idea why Margaret Atwood, who I've only ever known as a serious author was into comics let alone into writing comics. I now know, after reading volume 1 on Saturday, that she's a big comic fan. I am absolutely intrigued by that piece of knowledge!
I was also confused because what on earth is an Angel Catbird, haha, but that was also the source of my curiosity I had to know more! And that's also where the amusement kicked in. So it's been on my wishlist for ages, and when I was ordering something else off of Amazon and needed to make up the amount for free shipping I just threw volume one into the cart a few weeks ago.

Then as soon as I was finished with volume 1 I immediately ordered the second volume and added the 3rd to my wish list so I can buy it when it's released later this year. Here's the summary for volume 2:

The cat-centric adventure continues, in the all-ages follow-up to best-selling novelist Margaret Atwood's debut graphic novel. Genetic engineer Strig Feleedus, also known as Angel Catbird, and his band of half-cats head to Castle Catula to seek allies as the war between cats and rats escalates. Margaret Atwood, the respected, worldwide best-selling novelist, and acclaimed artist Johnnie Christmas continue their action-packed adventure! -- via Goodreads
What made volume 1 great to me was that it was total and complete nonsense and I have high hopes that volume 2 will be more of the same. I love utter nonsense in my fiction and comics :D. I also ordered another book last week. This one was mentioned in the ads at the back of Angel Catbird, Volume 1.

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls
by Hope Nicholson (ed.)

So why did I buy this one? Three reasons. Reason 1 I recognised the names of some authors names as authors I either like or have heard good things about. Margaret Atwood among them, there's also Marjorie Liu (whose Monstress series has been on my want to read list for eons it feels like), Noelle Stevenson (of Nimona and Lumberjanes fame) and Carla Speed McNeil (whose Finder Library I've had out from work for ages because I want to read it.). Reason 2 is because all the authors are females, and all of the comics count as stories - therefore I can use this to fulfil one of the challenges from one of my 2017 reading challenges to read a collection of stories by women. Reason 3 is really the easiest, I kind of love the subject matter, as a geek girl how could I not?

I'm really excited for this one to come now because I am super curious to see what it's all about. I'd never heard of it before I saw the preview at the back of Angel Catbird.

Here's the summary:

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is a non-fiction anthology mixing prose, comics, and illustrated stories on the lives and loves of an amazing cast of female creators. Featuring work by Margaret Atwood (The Heart Goes Last), Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer), Trina Robbins (Wonder Woman), Marguerite Bennett (Marvel's A-Force), Noelle Stevenson (Nimona), Marjorie Liu (Monstress), Carla Speed McNeil (Finder), and over fifty more creators. It's a compilation of tales told from both sides of the tables: from the fans who love video games, comics, and sci-fi to those that work behind the scenes: creators and industry insiders.  -- via Goodreads

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What’s the coolest name you have ever seen in a book? Would you name your offspring after said fictional character?

So as Angie will certainly attest from all of out many, many years roleplaying together - I am more than mildly obsessed with names. And I have a particular interest in unusual and even weird names, I've thrown a couple of doozies at her over the years only to have her completely turn them down. So instead of writing a giant long paragraph about why I love names and what kind of names I love I am just going to make a list of 25 of my favourite fictional names because I really think that's as few as I can narrow it down to:

  1. Myron Wagtail - one of the Weird Sisters from Harry Potter
  2. James Rasmussen - from LJ Smith's Secret Vampire
  3. Poppy North - James's love interest
  4. Sabriel - the title character in Sabriel
  5. Effie Trinket - Katniss and Peeta's Capitol liaison in The Hunger Games
  6. Doreen Green - Squirrel Girl
  7. Magnus Chase - the title character from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
  8. Thalia Grace - one of Artemis's huntresses in Percy Jackson/Lost Heroes of Olympus/Hidden Oracle
  9. Finley Jayne - the first main character in the Steampunk Chronicles
  10. Newton Artemis Fido Scamander - from Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  11. Artemis Fowl - title character in the Artemis Fowl series
  12. Tally - the main character in Uglies
  13. Cormoran Strike - JK Rowling's detective
  14. Isabeau St. Croix - a vampire from the Drake Chronicles, specifically one of the leads in Blood Feud
  15. Rio Richlin - one of the POV characters of Front Lines
  16. Rainy Schulterman - another of the POV characters of Front Lines
  17. Annwyl the Bloody - the Queen in G.A. Aiken's Dragon Kin series. This series is full of characters with fantastically over the top titles 
  18. Ramona Flowers - from Scott Pilgrim
  19. Odd Thomas - from Odd Thomas
  20. Claire Trevelyan - main character from Lady of Devices
  21. Elvie Nara - main character from Mothership
  22. Cimorene - from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles
  23. Dominique Vide - from Shattered Mirror and All Just Glass
  24. Nymphadora Tonks - from Harry Potter
  25. Ford Prefect - from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

As I do not plan on ever having children - no I would not ever name my offspring after any of these characters. But I would sure as hell use them as names for pets!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Calendar Girls - Apr 2017 - best high fantasy - #CalendarGirlsBooks

Calendar Girls is hosted by bloggers, Flavia the Bibliophile and Melanie Noell Bernard – both have amazing blogs full of fun, bookish posts. Calendar Girls is a brand new monthly blog event inspired by Neil Sedaka’s 1961 song Calendar Girl. Just like in the song, we decided to use a specific theme for each month and choose a book based on these themes! The event is meant to incite discussions with other bloggers about books we’ve read and loved, is meant to help bloggers meet other bloggers, and also for bloggers and readers to find out about blogs which they normally may not have come across! Want to know more? Click on the links above! And it’s not too late to jump on the Calendar Girl train! Join now!

Best high fantasy novel

At first, when I saw this category I alternated between thinking it was going to be an easy choice and thinking it was going to be a really hard choice. I thought it would be easy because some of my all time favourite books are high fantasy. And then I thought it would be hard for the same reason, how was I ever going to choose? Turns out I wasn't as spoiled for choice as I thought, ended up only having to really choose between 5 or 6 series in particular. That's because as it turns out, most of my high fantasy novels aren't pure high fantasy and so I didn't want to choose them. The two I immediately thought of, Narnia and Fionavar seem like high fantasy at first glance; but according to my former Tolkien and Fantasy professor, because they start off in the real world before moving into the secondary world - they don't count as pure high fantasy, they're called portal fantasies. Which sucks because I think Fionavar has some of the best high fantasy out there. So I decided that I'd stick with a pure high fantasy choice, and maybe also one that wouldn't really be thought of by other. I didn't want to go Game of Thrones even though it's awesome, and I thought Eragon was too predictable (and also derivative even though I do like it), so that left me with 3 options: Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Hilari Bell's Farsala Trilogy, G.A. Aiken's Dragon Kin and Garth Nix's Abhorsen series. Let's see which one I chose:

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Musing Mondays - next on the reading docket & songs that remind me of books

Musing Monday, March 27, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

Up next I think I’ll read…

The Gun Seller
by Hugh Laurie

I am only 67% through Serpent's Kiss according to Goodreads. It just hasn't sucked me in as much as I'd like. The characters have done things to really tick me off actually. But I am enjoying it enough to keep going with it albeit at a much slower pace than I would usually read a 323-page book. So even though I am trying to finish the trilogy as fast as I can I think I'm going to take a break in between Serpent's Kiss and Winds of Salem. This reason is not least of them because the next book I want happens to be a library book from the public library and I've only got it on a 3-week loan with no guarantee of being able to renew it. And I suspect by the time I've finished Serpent's Kiss I'll have already had it checked out a week.

I heard about this book probably about 5 years back and I just remember being totally and completely psyched that the guy who played House and Wooster wrote a spy novel. I knew I had to read it at some point but I kept putting it off. I'd forget about it for long stretches and then something would remind me of it and I still wouldn't try to get it. Finally last week after being reminded of it again I said enough is enough and immediately put a hold on it from the local public library. Now that it's in my hands I can't wait to actually read it, especially after reading some of the review blurbs on the from cover. The book has been called "a skilful mix of Bertie Wooster and James Bond" (by Booklist), "the literary equivalent of Get Smart or cinema's Naked Gun." (by London's Weekend Saturday) a fun mash-up of Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum and Douglas Adams-esque tropes (by Entertainment Weekly). With praise like that, I really can't wait to read it.

When Thomas Lang, a hired gunman with a soft heart, is contracted to assassinate an American industrialist, he opts instead to warn the intended victim – a good deed that doesn't go unpunished. 

Within hours Lang is butting heads with a Buddha statue, matching wits with evil billionaires, and putting his life (among other things) in the hands of a bevy of femmes fatales, whilst trying to save a beautiful lady... and prevent an international bloodbath to boot. -- via Goodreads

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Are there any songs that make you think of certain books or scenes from books? If so, which songs/books?

There are certainly many songs, like ACDC's Back in Black, Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Rear the Reaper, Thin Lizzy's Boys are Back in Town and Asia's Heat of the Moment that makes me think of all the books in the Supernatural novel series, but that's an easy answer really. If you've seen the show, you know Dean's taste in music and therefore it's impossible not to associate songs that Dean likes with books about Dean and Sam. It's so impossible that some of the authors have actually included the playlists they listened to while writing the books. There's a song from the Treasure Planet soundtrack, I'm Still Here (Jim's Theme) it doesn't make me think of a book so much as it does characters in a book - I can hear it playing when I think of young Harry and young Sirius from Harry Potter, or thinking of both Gale and Peeta from The Hunger Games. Which is because all of them share similarities with the character that the song is about. I'll never be able to hear Avril Lavinge's Sk8er Boi ever again without imagining a Ginny/Draco or Hermione/Draco fanfic. Miley Cyrus's He Could be the One definitely, makes me think of Tris and Four's relationship in Divergent. As much as I wish I wouldn't because I enjoy the song, Jesse McCartney's Just so you know sadly reminds me of Twilight. There are probably more but none are coming to mind right now.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

#Unboxing - Wizarding World of Harry Potter Loot Crate #3 - Mar 2017

I didn't do an unboxing for the January box - oops! It was a pretty good box! There was a t-shirt with Snape on it, a Funko Pop that I already had (Yule Ball Ron) which is getting taken to Angie when I go to visit her, a prophecy pin, a really neat pair of Platform 9 3/4 socks, a time turner necklace, and a Deathly Hallows pocket watch. The pocket watch is my favourite thing from the box. I am obsessed with pocket watches! I resolved to do better and NOT forget to do a post for March's box when it arrives and it arrived last week. So without further ado, let's see what was in the March box: