Bookish Book Lover Tag

Found this on the Thrice Read blog and thought it looked fun!

Rules:

  • Use the original banner.
  • Answer the questions!
  • Use lots of book covers.
  • Tag your friends.

What book are you currently reading?

90360Ireland by Frank Delaney – This is a wonderful little book about a Storyteller in Ireland and the boy he inspires. I’m listening to it on audio, which is probably the best medium for this novel, since it makes you feel like you’re actually sitting and listening to the Storyteller and the boy tell you the history of Ireland.


What’s the last book you finished?

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber – I did a review that you can read here, but basically it’s a fun adventure/mystery about a girl searching for her lost sister within a magical treasure hunt.


Favorite book you read this year?

28449207.jpgStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I ADORED this book!!! You can read my review of it here. I can’t wait until the sequel comes out! Unfortunately, since this one literally came out like a month ago, I think I’m in for a long wait.


What genre have you read most this year?

I’ve actually read a good mixture so far this year. Mysteries, fantasies, sci-fi, contemporary fiction, non-fiction…I’ve been all over the place. 🙂


What genre have you read least this year?

90160Western. I’m not really a huge fan of pure westerns (give me a steampunk anyday), but I managed to force myself to read Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey for my reading challenge. My admittedly biased review can be found here. 😉


What genre do you want to read more of?

I’ve been trying to get myself to read more contemporary fiction lately. I have a tendency to stick with mysteries, fantasy, and sci-fi, so part of my reading challenge this year was to branch out a bit. I’m doing pretty well so far.


How many books have you read this year, and what’s your goal?

I have completed 26 books so far this year and am about halfway done with Ireland. My goal is 60 books, which is pretty average for what I read in a year.


What’s the last book you bought?

I actually just picked up 6 book from local authors at a Book Fest last weekend:


What book are you saving up to buy next?

I just recently (finally) read Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fables Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham. I loved them both! I might pick up the second volumes of each this weekend if I happen to swing by my local comic store for Free Comic Book Day.

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How many books did you check out last library visit?

Three. I went in for two, but got three. It’s an addiction, I swear.


What’s a book you can’t wait to read?

28208687I’m actually really looking forward to It Devours by Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor. It’s the next book from the Welcome to Night Vale universe and it sounds pretty interesting. 🙂


What’s a series you’d recommend to everyone?

22088245Hm…tricky. Depends on what genres you like. If you like fantasies (and especially if you like role playing games), then you’d probably enjoy the Spells, Swords, & Stealth series by Drew Hayes. I’ve only read the first book, NPCs, so far, but am looking forward to the next one.


Who’s an author you’re hoping writes more?

28517611Jackson Lear, author of Kingston Raine & the Grim Reaper. This was a fun little book where Death accidentally kills a fictional character who then flees into other books. It’s a bit hard to explain, but I tried my best in this review. It was funny and action-filled, and I highly recommend it, especially to book lovers.


A few books your heart adores?

Oh, this is a hard question! There are so many!…Let’s try, books I would try to save if my house was fire:

  • Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (the early years)
  • Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman

What series’ coming conclusion makes you sad?

The Weird West Tales series by Mike Resnick. I LOVE this series. It’s a steampunk AU of the old west, complete with classic gunslingers, zombies, magic, dinosaurs (yes, I said dinosaurs) and more. I haven’t started the fourth novel yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s the last one. 😦

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What books are on your wish-list?

27809678Way, WAY too many to list. I do want to pick up the Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling (I’m trying to get the full series). I’ve also been eyeballing The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette, but I’m waiting for the price to go down.

 


My Tags:

I tag anyone and everyone that is reading this tag. I had a lot of fun and would love to see your answers.

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Netflix Book Tag

While scrolling through my Reader list on WordPress, I stumbled across this fun little book tag (sources at the bottom). Turns out that it’s quite the fad on Youtube!

Recently Watched
The last book you finished reading 

The Haunting of Gillespie House by Darcy Coates – This was a good little suspense/horror novel. Not TOO scary, but still kept me on my toes. The author included a short story he had written, which inspired this novel.

Top Pick
A book that has been recommended to you based on books you’ve previously read

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan – People keep telling me that I will like this series. Apparently it’s ‘right up my alley’. I’m sure I’ll start it eventually.

Recently Added
The last book you bought 

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer – I made myself give up buying books for Lent this year, so I bought one final present right before it started. The story sounds cute, Colfer is a good writer, and honestly, it had the word Fanfiction in the title, so I was intrigued. 😉

Popular on Netflix
Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you haven’t read or have no interest in reading)

Read: Paper Towns by John Green – I really enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were all pretty interesting and the plot was fun. More light-hearted than The Fault in Our Stars, but still introspective.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I’m reading this one right now and it’s pretty good so far! I like all the characters (at this point anyway) and I’m really curious to see if they will accomplish their mission.

Not Reading: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – I love Neil Gaiman AND mythology, but I’m so far into the Myths & Legends podcast (highly recommend!) that I’m pretty sure I’ve heard all the myths that will be covered in this book. I may still read it eventually, but I’m not falling over myself to get it right now.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp – I was in high school during Columbine and I just can’t bring myself to read this book. Even seeing it brings up memories of being terrified, walking down the halls looking for hiding places, praying it wouldn’t happen at my school…I just can’t.

Comedies
A funny book: 

The Martian by Andy Weir – It’s pretty impressive that a true sci-fi book, with all the technobabble involved in that genre, can still make me laugh as much as this book did. I binged this one in 6 hours and a lot of my sticking with it had to do with the humor.

Dramas
A character who is a drama queen/king.

Can I say Harry Potter here? Will people stop speaking to me? – Order of the Phoenix especially. He’s a total butthead in that one! Granted, he’s a 15 year old boy, but really; I almost gave up on the series at that point. JK’s writing skills were the only thing that kept me going.

Animated
A book with cartoons on the cover

Hyperbole & a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, and Other Things that Happened by Allie Brosh – This is one of my all time favorite books. If you are having a bad day and need a bit of cheering up, you should definitely try this one. 🙂

Watch It Again
A book/book series that you want to re-read

The Tapestry series by Henry H. Neff – I’ve been trying to purge my shelves a bit, donating to the local library and mission, and I can’t seem to bring myself to get rid of these books. I really should re-read them to jog my memory of why I liked them so much!

Documentaries
A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day – Considering that it’s likely you are a nerd to some degree if you are reading my blog, I’d definitely recommend this memoir to everyone, even if you have never heard of Felicia Day (though you should really look her up if you haven’t heard of her; she’s totally awesome!)

Action and Adventure
An action packed book

Cuckoo Song by Francis Hardinge – This book was amazing. Well written, action-packed, suspenseful, full of interesting characters & mythology…plus you were never quite sure if the main characters were going to make it!

New Releases
A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I was shocked that my library already had this one, since it came out like a month ago, so I grabbed it immediately. All the 5-star reviews were right; this book is AMAZING! I’m completely distraught that it just came out and I have no idea when the next one will be published. 😦

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Sources: I snagged this book tag from The Paperback Pilgrim and the photo from A Book Lovers Playlist.

Mini-Reviews!

Hey all! Since I’m still not feeling up to a full review, here are a few mini-reviews for books I felt worth recommendation. 🙂

Hotel Andromeda (Edited by Jack Chalker) – Sci-Fi, Anthology

Description from Goodreads: At the grandest hotel in the universe, star-crossed lovers cross paths with the woman who rules the earth, a shape-shifting madame fulfills the needs of extraterrestrials, and a thin-skinned human fights cosmic assassins.

Short Review: This was a fun little book. It contains several short stories that all take place in a hotel in outer space. All the stories are written by different authors and have different characters/plots, but they all have a nice similarity to them; the writing styles flow well together and the similar location of the stories gives them a nice connection. I enjoyed every story in this collection, which is quite a feat!

The King’s Hounds (Martin Jensen) – Mystery, Historical Fiction

Description from Goodreads (condensed): The newly crowned King Cnut of Denmark has conquered England and rules his new empire from Oxford. The year is 1018 and the war is finally over, but the unified kingdom is far from peaceful. Halfdan’s mixed lineage—half Danish, half Saxon—has made him a pauper in the new kingdom. When he finds an unlikely ally in Winston, a former monk, he sees no reason not to accept his strange invitation to travel together to Oxford. But when the pair’s arrival in court coincides with news of a murder, the king has a brilliant idea: Why not enlist the newly arrived womanizing half-Dane and the Saxon intellectual to defuse a politically explosive situation? 

Short Review: I enjoyed this book overall. The plot was interesting, though a bit slow and kind of absurd. The verbiage seemed a bit too modern as well. I did enjoy the characters though: Halfdan was quite humorous and affable, Winston a bit more introspective but enjoyable. I think they were supposed to be slightly like Sherlock and Dr. Watson, though they didn’t quite meet the mark. All around a fun little mystery, but stick to the cheapest version you can find. 😉

Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks (Andrea Lankford) – Non-Fiction, Memoir

Description from Goodreads: For twelve years, Andrea Lankford lived in the biggest, most impressive national parks in the world, working a job she loved. She chaperoned baby sea turtles on their journey to sea. She pursued bad guys on her galloping patrol horse. She jumped into rescue helicopters bound for the heart of the Grand Canyon. She won arguments with bears. She slept with a few too many rattlesnakes. Hell yeah, it was the best job in the world! Fortunately, Andrea survived it.

Short Review: I really enjoyed this book. It’s a slightly fictionalized, non-fiction  about Andrea and some of her co-workers while they were working for the National Park Service (USA). All the stories are true, she just rounded out some of the dialogue and thought processes. The stories range from humorous to nerve-wracking to sorrowful. You come to really care about every person in this book and really feel for what they go through. The stories do a wonderful job of humanizing the authority figure of a Ranger and I came out of it feeling a lot more thoughtful of what it means to be in their position.

The Little Paris Bookshop (Nina George) – General Fiction, Romance (kinda)

Description from Goodreads: Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened. After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Short Review: This was not my usual read. I’m not generally fond of romances, though this wasn’t quite like a regular romance novel. This book is more of a journey novel. Each character in it is trying to find something: a lost love, a muse, a friend. The pace is slow and introspective, but not boring. I found myself getting quite attached to Monsieur Perdu and his motley crew. This is a sweet book that will leave you with a sense of cozy-happiness.

Book Review – Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Book: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory – Author: Caitlin Doughty

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Description from Goodreads:

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.

Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like?

Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin’s engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).

My Review:

I was a bit hesitant going into this book. I get a little queasy even just thinking about dead things; people, animals, anything dead really. Partially due to the squick factor and partially due to the connotation. But I was assured that the book was really interesting and humorous, so I decided to give it a try.

I ended up really enjoying the book. The author was able to put enough spin on the stories that you ended up more thoughtful than upset. And she has a nice, quirky sense of humor, which helps keep the narrative upbeat, even in the darkest portions. If you can make me laugh during a chapter about dead babies, you are doing something right. 😉

It was really interesting having such an in-depth look at a profession that most people shy away from even talking about. Learning about the history of burial practices in America was fascinating; the transition from natural burial to embalming to cremation and back to natural burial. I also liked how she discussed different burial practices without really putting any of them down. It was nice to learn about how other cultures treat death from a (mostly) unbiased perspective.

I would really recommend this book for people who are interested in learning about American burial practices or the funereal profession.

Similar Books:

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner – Judy Melinek, T.J. Mitchell

The American Way of Death – Jessica Mitford

Book Review – Blood Royal

Book: Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris – Author: Eric Jager

Description from Amazon:

On a chilly November night in 1407, Louis of Orleans was murdered by a band of masked men. The crime stunned and paralyzed France since Louis had often ruled in place of his brother King Charles, who had gone mad. As panic seized Paris, an investigation began. In charge was the Provost of Paris, Guillaume de Tignonville, the city’s chief law enforcement officer–and one of history’s first detectives. As de Tignonville began to investigate, he realized that his hunt for the truth was much more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.

My Review:

Though I am an avid fan of fiction, I do occasionally like to pick up a non-fiction book; and with my current fascination with mysteries, this seemed like a good contender.

Eric Jager did a magnificent job taking bits and pieces from historical documents and weaving them together to make a comprehensive story. His attention to detail was great, from describing Medieval Paris to giving exact details of the murder to explaining the court system, all of it was very well-rounded and interesting. And it was fascinating to see the details pulled directly from real documents from Guillaume de Tigonville, including statements from eye-witnesses and actual notes taken by the investigators!

I will admit, though, the title is a bit misleading. There are really only a few chapters that deal with the crime and investigation. The rest has to deal with the aftermath. But what an aftermath it was! It’s amazing how one person’s death can lead to so much tragedy. Wars, starvation, pillaging, destruction of entire cities…just because one man decided he wanted revenge on another. (I don’t want to give away too much information on the story, so I won’t say too much more. You’ll have to read it yourself for more details. 😉 )

Some reviewers on other sites say that this story is so interesting and well-written that it reads like a novel. This is not true. Though it IS very well-written, it definitely read for me more like a documentary than a work of fiction. But that is good in my opinion. It kept it real in my mind, reminded me that this really happened to these people. And it didn’t make the story dry, like some other non-fiction, it just made the story more robust.

If you like learning about history, especially Medieval France, this is a good book for you to pick up.

Similar Books:

The Johnstown Flood – David McCullough

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water – Marc Reisner