I am finally caught up with The Dresden Files, yay! Even though Skin Game wasn’t really my favorite Dresden Files book it was still a ton of fun. This was so caper heavy in execution and I think that singular focus of Dresden working with a lot of these other bad guys was a bit much at times. Sure, it was a good book but the stand out moments came not from the actual caper but from the quiet moments of stillness between characters and I think there should have been a few more of those moments in this book. Looking forward to reading the short story collections from the Dresden universe next.
I’m a few days late on a reading update. Yesterday I was able to finish up Ninefox Gambit and I have to say that I really enjoyed this reread. When I initially read Ninefox Gambit I think that I took way too many breaks at certain points in the book. I think I took a lot of breaks after the 75% mark and I think that influenced my initial view of the book because I thought that the side characters were a much larger part of the book than I realized they are during this reread. Yes, I would still have liked to have known the other characters around Cheris and Jedao more, but for the story that Yoon Ha Lee was telling, it worked. I understood the Calendrical stuff a lot more in this reread and it isn’t nearly as confusing as the first time around. I think the thing that impacted me more during this read through was just how much Kel formation influences every single aspect of this book and into the next book. Raven Stratagem I just started tonight and am only about 40 pages in or so and I’m already enjoying it much more than what I did when I first tried to read it.
I’m starting a buddy read of The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli with a friend of mine. It is a YA book about dragons and this race’s connection to the dragons. So far, the writing is a bit generic, but I think the story has potential to go to some interesting places(at least I hope). I’m over halfway on my Skin Game audiobook and it is floundering a little bit at the moment. Some of the Dresden Files have this dip in the plot in the middle and I think this is one of them. It is still good so far but I think it is trying too hard attempting to do everything at once at the moment.
I took a gym break for a few days to let my body rest up for a change in my workouts starting on Monday. I’m going to be focusing on fat burning, full body movements, and less isolation weight movements. I’m hoping this can get me leaner, more stable, and building up my endurance. Work has been fine, about to start a project of shifting the books and cleaning. I’m so blessed to work with such amazing women at my job. They are all so nice and supportive of each other, including me. I’m hoping for a great Sunday with a lot of reading time in the afternoon and night.
Other than all this, I must say that I’ve been feeling a little bit blah lately. I just think I’m in a comfortable routine in my life where days are going by really quickly with not a whole lot of difference between them. I think I need to have some new experiences and change things up a little bit. That is one reason I’m changing my workout as well. This is one of the only drawbacks to being a reader is that your days and nights seem to be similar. I need to take some time to go out more so that things aren’t always the same.
It is the 6th of June and I really wanted to read a lot today but once again I chose to be more outgoing. I went out for breakfast with the family and I watched basketball some with my brother tonight. It is so difficult at times for me to make these decisions because in the moment I always want to just curl up with a book. I always have to remind myself that many years from now I will remember and wish I spent more time with those that I love. The books will always be there. I will eventually finish my Ninefox Gambit reread. It may be two days later than I wanted to but I will finish it. Spending the extra 2 hours today to spend time with the family is more important and should be more important to me. I’m not saying I always pick family time over reading but I also don’t always pick reading time over family. The thing of it is, having just one hour a day to read is more than a lot of people get to read. If and when I have my own family or significant other, I’d still like to spend an hour reading every day but the reality is that doing those 3 or 4 hours of reading in a day just isn’t going to happen if I want to have a healthy relationship with the people I love.
Anyways, battles in Ninefox Gambit is just gibberish to me and it bugs me. I don’t understand why science fiction books don’t have illustrations of the ships in the back of the book and what each formation looks like. If the author keeps saying that the fleet of ships moves from formation A to formation B, I want to know what that looks like. I kind of understand that a Cindermoth is the largest ship in the fleet but it is still difficult for me to visualize. This is probably one of the largest obstacles I have when reading science fiction. I can visualize what fantasy fights look like but I have a hard time visualizing ship to ship combat. I basically keep replying scenes from movies in my head during these scenes but I know that can’t be accurate.
I had a good day today. Work was great, though we were a bit slow, I got a lot of side stuff done. My workout was good today but for the first time, I had to be patient for a few machines I had to use. I’m up to about page 180 in Skin Game by Jim Butcher. I’ve been listening to this primarily on audiobook. I’m definitely enjoying it but there are so many new characters in this “evil heist” group. Harry and Michael’s scene was just fantastic. I’ve been waiting awhile for that scene. I kind of rolled my eyes when I found out what was really going on with Harry’s head. Regardless, it has been a fun listen.
I’m actually skipping the gym tomorrow(gasp! I know, right!?) and giving my body some rest. I hope to read a ton of Ninefox Gambit as I’ll be alone and I don’t work until 2. Hope everyone has a great Thursday!
I am starting my reread of Ninefox Gambit in my attempt to get through Raven Stratagem, a book a DNF’d last year. This is all for the Hugo Awards baby. Anyway, I am about 100pgs into Ninefox Gambit(or at least I will be before I go to bed tonight), spent probably about 3 hours reading the book to get to page 100 today too. I am intentionally slowing down my reading of Yoon Ha Lee this time around because I remember when I read both books I tried to race through them too quickly and I missed a lot of info. The thing that I’m picking up the most with this reread is just how much the Kel training in Cheris has to do with how she reacts to what Jedao does and says. She is so ingrained with the notion that she must take orders from superiors that I can start to see her becoming submissive to Jedao. Also, I knew that Cheris was manipulated into choosing the Jedao tactic to take back the fortress but with this reread I know much more of the specifics. Overall, I am enjoying the book a lot at around page 100 and finding the reread to be much more clear.
I am so excited to say that I am starting the last released Dresden Files book tomorrow, Skin Game. I am starting it on audiobook in the morning at the gym and I can’t fricken wait! Woo! I’ve been thinking about what I want to listen to after The Dresden Files and I think it might be The Expanse series.
It is Monday so it is time for some fitness talk. I did my Monday weigh in and was at 265.7. This is awesome for me because a month or 5 weeks ago I was at 275. My heaviest weight was at 330. I started at 307 at the beginning of January. So, I’ve lost 65 lbs so far and 42 of that this year! So super excited and proud of myself. I did incline bench press today to firm up a specific spot on my chest and, hahah, when I tried to get off the incline, I just kind of flopped off. It was pretty embarrassing but you gotta do what you gotta do.
I had a fantastic day today, I was happy, outgoing, and calm. I got to read 3 hours and I was productive at work today. Hoping tomorrow will be just as good.
Well, this Sunday was a decent day as I finished a couple books today. Cold Days by Jim Butcher is the 14th book in The Dresden Files series(almost done the released books! woo!) and You Are a Badass is a self-help book all about the law of attraction. As with other Dresden Files books, this book ended so excitingly. Spells flying everywhere, everyone has their own agenda, and Harry bumbling through the situation like always but still out-thinks everyone in the end. The Dresden Files has such great pacing and still, 14 books in, it is very familiar, yet has changed to become even better.
You Are a Badass is all about hyping the reader up into believing they are the next best thing to sliced bread. I don’t know if I really believe in the law of attraction, if you believe it, you will get it, type of stuff, but it is positive to think that way. This is one of those self-help books that feels great while you are reading it but you won’t really remember a whole lot of it. I’m hoping the thing I take away from it the most will be that it is important to love yourself for anything amazing to happen to you.
Overall, I spent a little over 6 hours reading this weekend(Fri, Sat, Sun). I was hoping to hit at least 9 hours but 6 is alright too.
Other than finishing these books it was a pretty relaxing day. I went to church, finished up reading Genesis(I love the story of Joseph), and spent time with the family. It was a good day and I was happy that the new computer at the church for the audio/visual system worked fine this morning after I set it up early in the week. I’m hoping for a great week at the library where a lot of kids should show up to sign up for summer reading.
I am shifting into my Hugo reading preparation in June. I am going to reread Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee and give Raven Stratagem another try. I failed to finish Raven Stratagem last year as I just got super bored reading it. I’m hoping it was just my mood when I first gave it a try. I struggle with Yoon Ha Lee’s writing for the most part but I’m hoping with some quality focus I can figure out his writing style more and love it like everyone else. Anyway, I hope everyone has a great week. Thanks for reading.
So, I am in a weird space at the moment as far as my website and writing reviews. I just haven’t had the desire to write traditional reviews. I am in the process of reimagining what it is I want to do with this site and my reading life content. Without further ado though, these are the books I’ve read in the last few months with a very short review.
Head On(Lock In #2) by John Scalzi – 3/5
Scalzi is great, one of my favorite authors, and in this book, he creates a robot sports league mystery. Head On is a passable sci-fi mystery that still has its strength in its main character Chris Shane. The actual plot and the Hilketa sports league didn’t really interest me much.
Changes(Dresden Files #12) by Jim Butcher – 4/5
I was really looking forward to this book and it did not disappoint. A lot of the plot lines in the first 11 books come home in book 12 and the stakes are rather high. It was a good Dresden book but I think a lot of it was just the whole “gathering your army/friends” shtick. That ending was one of the best endings I’ve read in a series though and I’m so glad I wasn’t spoiled.
The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1) by S.A. Chakraborty – 3/5
The City of Brass gave me so many mixed feelings. I really liked the setting and a lot of the world building but the plot just didn’t build up to anything that exciting. I found the audiobook a little confusing because I never really knew who was telling the truth about what happened in the past. When the entire foundation of the novel is based on an event that happened many years ago but everyone has their own interpretation of that event, as a reader, it gets a little confusing. I doubt I’ll continue with the series as the book was good but didn’t leave me with any longing for more.
The Changeling by Victor LaValle – 3/5
*screams in frustration* The beginning of this was soooo good. I absolutely loved the tension and atmosphere that LaValle was building in this book but the fantasy elements that the entire book built up to just didn’t deliver for me. I really like the creepy aspect of the book and the dark fantasy feel but it just didn’t land. Great characters, setting, and tone, but the world building just wasn’t quite there for me.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach of Living a Good Life by Mark Manson – 3/5
A good self-help book that is all about embracing the truth of your situation and not about thinking unrealistically positive. This book is basically the opposite of the visualization, if you believe it, it will happen self-help book. This is about concrete, basic, and sometimes hard to hear advice that we need. A lot of Zen and stoicism teachings in this.
The Power by Naomi Alderman – 2/5
Unforgettable and at times powerful, but on the whole, I did not enjoy reading this book. It didn’t feel like a story to me. Alderman attempted to tell an encompassing story through multiple points of view but I just couldn’t grab hold to a point of view that I found interesting. Some really difficult scenes here and there. Yes, as an opinion piece on the awfulness of how women are treated by turning the situation around and making the males the ones that were persecuted, it worked, but it was never enjoyable or engaging enough for me to get a whole lot out of it.
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson – 2/5
For every chapter that had something insightful to say there were probably 3 chapters of utter nonsense. Sure, I liked her attitude of embracing herself and all her crazy ways, but it gets a little old after awhile. I was entertained while reading this but what I wanted was a book about how Jenny Lawson deals with her crippling mental disorders, a more informative book than the one I ended up reading.
Ghost Story (The Dresden Files, #13) by Jim Butcher – 4/5
Amazingly, this is the first Dresden Files book I read in physical form because the library’s audiobook was the wrong narrator. Really enjoyable and not as different as you would expect given the plotline that would be a spoiler to talk about. I really like the direction some of the side characters are going in the series with their attitude and personality.
Murder is Bad Manners ( Wells and Wong, #1) by Robin Stevens – 2/5
A snoozefest of a middle-grade mystery book. The book takes place in a school for girls and I guess this whole boarding school mystery thing is a genre? Anyway, this book was just alright, and rather a cliche. The mystery had some holes in it and seemed to not be the focus of the book. The focus of the book was between Hazel and Daisy’s friendship as they investigate this murder at the school but Daisy treats Hazel so badly at times that I just was annoyed. Character’s feelings and personalities changed on a whim at times in this and it wasn’t the greatest.
John Dies at the End (John Dies at the End, #1) by David Wong – 1/5
What started out as a fun take on urban fantasy turned into a Lovecraftian mess of a plot that went randomly in many different directions. I have to say that the bigotry and racism used in the book to do one of two things: 1) show how backward the town they lived in was and 2) to show how evil the monsters were, just did not fly for me at all. I was hoping for a fun and light read but it just annoyed me. Maybe the physical book wouldn’t be that bad but the audiobook is one I don’t recommend. I’m finding that I just can’t deal with vulgarity as much with audiobooks.
River of Teeth (River of Teeth, #1) by Sarah Gailey – 3/5
This is an alternate history western set in Louisiana where the Mississippi has a dam/gate that creates a huge swampland and in this swamp are feral hippos. Our “heroes” have their own hippos to ride and they are paid to destroy this dam/gate so that the feral hippos will be released. It was an alright novella, I liked it. I was expecting much more than what I got but the characters were fabulous. I think the hype got to me a little bit with this read. I will still read the sequel.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer – 3/5
Less is a book about realizing that your life and what is in front of you isn’t as bad as you really thought it was. It is a middle age, coming to life story. The main character is a writer and he is visiting a bunch of countries while his ex is getting married back home. Less, the main character, is also reminiscing about all his old boyfriends and choices in love while visiting the world. Great writing, a good message, but never really touched me on an emotional level. Definitely one of those books that will get better the further from when you read it and when you think back on it.
Own the Day, One Your Life: Optimised Practices for Waking, Working, Learning, Eating, Training, Playing, Sleeping, and Sex by Aubrey Marcus – 3/5
Some great information in this book but there are also a lot of things in this book that I just don’t buy into. At times it felt like Marcus was giving me a sale pitch for a special store, vitamin, or supplement and those things I’m just not interested in. However, his tips about waking up, nutrition, health, and sleeping were really good. I started to implement some of the things that he shared in this book into my own life. A good read but would recommend with caveats.