The Immortals

Currently Reading: The Immortals (Olympus Bound)

Author: Jordanna Max Brodsky

Genre: Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Mystery Fiction

I am a little over halfway through this novel. Thus, this post is not a review but an update of sorts. A how does it feel right now post. I am trying new things, hoping to get you involved in my reading life, learning how to communicate about a book while still reading the book, and mostly escaping work and anxieties through writing/reading because today seems harder than most.

This novel came shortly on the back of completing American Gods/Anansi Boys. A modern fantasy about archaic gods in the modern day, weaker for having lost their worshippers. Oddly, this urban fantasy is a modern-day fantasy about ancient gods in the modern day, weaker for having lost their worshippers. Perhaps I picked it up as I finished Anansi Boys because I was not yet ready for the story to end there. Perhaps I picked it up because Barnes and Noble was convincing in their marketing of it during my last visit. Either way, if I was expecting to slip back into the world I had just left, today littered with immortal beings trying to fit in as worship is spiralling, without feeling as though I had transitioned into a completely different fantasy, I failed in my mission. The commonalities between these books are not such that one feels he/she/ze/hir is reading the same book. Rather, one may feel shaken by the completely different approach to a similar theme.

This book has a lot going on at once, the details that are so important in Gaiman stories are not as important in this book. It seems like the author did everything she could with this book, but it still works – so far. It is a fast paced novel, as one would expect from a book with so much going on: Greek gods, murder cult, murder mystery, relationship drama (somehow there is even time for that?), and even more puzzles to solve. There is a lot going on in this novel and as someone who is learning to appreciate details and absorption in a book, I find that I feel swept away by the novel and a dizzy by the speed. However, I am enjoying it. Life for us mortals is too short to read a book you are not enjoying, so it all somehow works.
Anyone else read this book? How did you feel about it?

-A Bookish Girl

On our most anticipated fiction reads of 2016 (so far)

Simply Reading.

It’s pretty obvious Jody and I are a tad book-obsessed. When we’re not reading them, we’re reading about them, writing about them, or listening to podcasts about them. We even keep notes in our calendars for the upcoming releases we’re excited about. With that in mind, we thought we’d let you know about the fiction books we’re ridiculously eager to read in the second half of this year.

Amanda

The Muse by Jessie Burton: Burton’s The Miniaturist was hugely popular in 2014 and her next book sounds like it could be equally so. History, art and a little suspense combined! Released June 28.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Okay. So to be honest I don’t have high hopes for this play/book about Harry Potter’s life as an adult, but I’m still hanging out to read it in the hope that I’m wrong! Released July 31.

Truly, Madly…

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Lady Trent Memoirs (To Date)

Books Read: A Natural History of Dragons, The Tropic of Serpents, Voyage of the Basilisk, & In the Labyrinth of Drakes

AuthorMarie Brennan

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Science Fiction

I cannot believe I have already broken my no post until the entire series is completed rule. It seems like just yesterday I was certain this rule was a sound idea. Then, I finished what has been published in this series. I realised that the author’s website says she will write another in a year, which means you all have plenty of time to catch up before the release of the final instalment of Lady Trent’s memoirs. I decided that my review would be better published now to encourage others to pick up these books.

Let me start by saying; these books are not about dragons. They are very much about the struggles of a woman in a scientific field when women were considered inferior in mind and constitution than me. Despite this being in a world much like Victorian England, the acceptance struggles she faces are still relevant in today’s scientific community. As one of ten females in an engineering programme boosting over 100 students, many of her difficulties were eerily personal for me. So much so, I have added these books to my significant other’s reading list so he could come to understand the patronising, belittling, and frustrating situations that occur because women are not considered as mechanically inclined as men. (Even though I have spent more time under my hood and vehicle than many of them.)

Other than identifying intensely with the main character’s professional obstacles, I found that I connected with Lady Trent. It often felt like she had sat down to pen a memoir and that I had the privilege of sitting in her drawing room while she read it alone to me. Meaning the writing is so personal it does give the reader the feel of intimately knowing and understanding the protagonist. (Less in the first novel, but that may be the reader getting to know the character. It may also be the author getting more comfortable writing as Lady Trent.)

I would recommend these to anyone who would like to know what it is like to be a female in engineering or medicine or any other male dominated field today, anyone looking to read an entertaining and action-filled fantasy novel, or anyone seeking an animated series to enjoy during these bright, perfect spring days.

-A Bookish Girl

The First Law Trilogy/ Stand Alone Novels

Recently Read: The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings, Best Served Cold, The Heroes, Red Country

Author: Joe Abercrombie

Genre: Fiction/Dark Fantasy/Fantasy

The First Law Trilogy 

These novels were my introduction to Joe Abercrombie, but I have long been a fan of dark fantasy. Joe Abercrombie has a very honest storytelling ability that makes his novels both applicable and intriguing. Abercrombie sprinkles in some the darkest, gallows humour which I felt made the books even more enjoyable. (I have been told by others they did not appreciate the humour; I think it depends entirely on how bleak and dark your own sense of humour is. – My humour is exceptionally dark, so I did enjoy it.) Abercrombie does not tell lies to make his protagonist seem like light to a darkened world; rather, he paints is very human characters as humans; with flaws, strengths, darkness, and light all mixed together. He also bitterly reflects that people do not often change, even in extraordinary circumstances. (I think this may be a little pessimistic but it seems to work in this trilogy.) I enjoyed reading Abercrombie and getting an insight into his characters, there are times I still hear some of Logen’s sayings running through my head, inspiring in his own, simple way.

Best Served Cold, The Heroes, & Red Country

I enjoyed these novels more than the trilogy, perhaps because they focused more on the Northernmen, who I liked the most. Some of the best-written battle scenes and the most clever writing techniques for a battle that I have encountered are in these novels. I recommend them for that reason alone. Again, Abercrombie’s bleak humour fills in the trying moments in the series and the character development makes you wonder if these characters are based on real people.

When I finished these six novels, I felt a loss. I was done with a very long commitment and the companionship of some very well-known friends had come to an end. I enjoyed this series and felt that as a dark fantasy, this one should be ranked higher than ASOIAF because it doesn’t get too loaded down by the desire to kill every character you form a bond with… but, on a more serious note, it is is grim, dark, and rough without the senseless macabre often achieved by authors in this genre.

I still feel a loss that there are no more novels in this world, but feel reassured when a trip to the store today revealed there are more Abercrombie series and novels still to be read.

-A Bookish Girl

American Gods / Anansi Boys

Recently Read: American Gods & Anansi Boys

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fiction/ Fantasy

Note: I will be reviewing series as one post. I think reviewing individual novels overlooks the author’s intent and ignores the connection and flow of the entire story throughout the series.

This novel has a cult following almost so big as to be referred to as a popular culture movement. I have put off reading it for a while now for no reason other than hype always makes me a little nervous. (What is wrong with me if I don’t like it? Will my friends still like me?? – Not really, but there is something about hyped novels that makes me delay. Fear of conforming to popular culture and waking realising I am another in a sea of sameness? – Maybe.) At long last, with the help of some high-pressure homework assignments, I took these books off my shelf, blew off the dust and bias, and began to read. And, as is my curse, I loved it! I am one of them now. Neil Gaiman really does have this mastery of storytelling that sets him apart as a writer. He will be remembered for generations to come. You heard it here first, this guy will go places.

Why did I love these books? What is it exactly that sets Gaiman apart? I have pondered this for a while. I could not pinpoint it for a few days. Then, as the sun refused to rise on my drive into work and my mind began to drift, it hit me. I love these books (and Gaiman books, in general) because they are so much more than they seem on the surface. The plot line is always a painfully ordinary individual caught up in this magical world so close to reality you see it seeping into your world out of the corner of your eye. The details are important in Gaiman’s storytelling. Through the details, he shapes the story that will save you from the mundane and ordinary by exposing you to the great, dangerous, and wonderful. Never do I finish a Gaiman novel as the same person or reader I was prior to opening the novel. I am transformed and see the world as a less serious place with much more serious adventures because the details stay with you. They follow you around and become a part of your everyday.

Isn’t that why we read?

-A Bookish Girl

Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife

Currently Reading: Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife (All You Need to Know to Chose the Right Heaven)

Author: E.E. King

Genre: Humour

This book is a rather entertaining, very funny, easy read worth an afternoon. The author takes you on an adventure to many different theologies with a sense of humour that keeps you engaged and intrigued. This book provides you with a very informative and accurate overview of a plethora of religions but does not take itself seriously.The main storyline did leave a bit to be desired. It felt as though the author was trying to do too much with a storyline between the

The main storyline did leave a bit to be desired. It felt as though the author was trying to do too much with a storyline between the ‘reviews’ of the afterlives. Had it just contained the commentary and ‘review’ for each afterlife, I think I would have enjoyed it just as much.

Though a funny novel, it made me really consider a lot of religions without the bias of speaking with a disciple of that religion. It spawned some research and a couple hours reading into many religions of which I had never heard. And now, I can happily declare that I am a Scientologist! -No, I am not. I just have an awful sense of humour, but it is mine and I accept it…mostly.

Anyway, I would not suggest you rush out and buy this book. But if you are looking for some light reading to fill in the commercial breaks, the slow time at work, or just a quick, one-afternoon book that will stay with you, this one should be put on your list.

-A Bookish Girl

Human Universe

Currently Reading: Human Universe

Author: Professor Brian Cox

Genre: Non-Fiction/Science/Physics

One of my favourite scientist today is Brian Cox. (I actually have a top five list of living physicists and he is probably number one on that list. Congratulations, Dr. Cox, you really are somebody now!) I have watched him on a couple panel shows, seen a few of his docu-series, and finally, I can say I have read his books. I really enjoy the way his humour and laid-back mannerisms make advanced physics theories simple and enjoyable. I would venture to say more than Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox is the Carl Sagan of the modern physics community. (If you do not know Carl Sagan, you should stop wasting your time with my thoughts of books and read Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot immediately.)

Human Universe is an inspiring and uplifting love letter to humankind that will leave you feeling like the stardust that you are. Unless stardust does not fill you with the excitement and joy and wonder as it does me. In that case, well, it will leave you feeling special and wonderfully unique. Brian Cox does an outstanding job transforming the typically dry language of science into the emotional and beautiful language of love.

I hope you enjoy!

-A Bookish Girl

Neverwhere

Currently Reading: Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

This story of a common man, so common as to be ordinary, thrown into a dangerous world so close to his home that he recognises street names and train stops, yet so different as to leave him completely overwhelmed and lost.

Gaiman spins a compelling, humorous, and fast narrative that captures the imagination of the reader. I lost track of my life – failing to eat, sleep, or breathe while reading this outstanding story.

Upon finishing the novel, I visited the London Underground and peering for people usually overlooked to take me from my dull desk job. Sadly, this is merely a work of fiction despite the clear and realistic descriptions provided by Gaiman.

After eating, sleeping, and adjusting to life after Neverwhere, I have bought, bartered, stolen, and borrowed all the Gaiman books I could find. I really do the stories and tales of Neil Gaiman. Expect a review for American Gods and Anansi Boys in the upcoming weeks.

Highly recommended.
Must be willing to surrender your life for a couple hours.

-A Bookish Girl