Update

It seems like ages since I posted here. I’ve not really had the enthusiasm to post reviews recently, which is why I’ve not bothered to do it.

I will be starting an online course next week,  Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World and I’ve been doing some background reading on the books I have to read.

These are the books we are reading:
Grimm — Children’s and Household Tales
Carroll — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Stoker — Dracula
Shelley — Frankenstein
Hawthorne & Poe — Stories and Poems
Wells — The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, “The Country of the Blind,” “The Star”
Burroughs & Gilman — A Princess of Mars & Herland
Bradbury — The Martian Chronicles
LeGuin — The Left Hand of Darkness
Doctorow — Little Brother

I have already got through Dracula and I am starting on Little Brother, as these books were ones which the course lecturer suggested that we read before the course starts. I don’t normally do English literature courses, but I thought it would be interesting to do this because the books are in the genre that I tend to read and well, it is nice to get some suggestions of authors to read because I’ve been so disappointed by the books I’ve been reading over the past few years. Hopefully, this will get me into reading again. Sadly though, for me, it comes at a time when I am fangirling about the Hobbit and I would much rather be doing that – *laughs* and I want to write fan fic about Kili…. This will have to wait, though. I may allow myself to do some writing when I’ve done some of the work for the course as a break, or something. In some ways it is a shame that the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings aren’t in there, but then, I guess the course would have to be twice as long just to fit them in. Wish my luck….

 

Most recent books….

I have been neglecting this blog recently, and I thought it was about time that I did a recent purchase post. It is nothing as bad as last year over why I have been neglecting updating the blog – I have been distracted by working on my miniatures lately and I’ve been posting in that more. I don’t seem to buy as many books as I used to either, and it seems to take me much longer to get through them than I used to do. Reading in the evening seems to be a bad idea because I’m wide awake when I start reading a chapter then I’m starting to get tired and lose my concentration to the extent that words don’t really register anymore. At that point, I decide that there’s not much point in me continuing reading.

I have recently finished reading Judgement at Proteus by Timothy Zahn. Great book, as usual, but I can’t help but think that the story would have been better over two books instead of one. There seemed to be a lot going on in it and as it is only a 300 – 400 page book, it seemed to me that it was a bit too condensed.

I have been reading Pride by Rachel Vincent. Still not really impressed with the series, but I like it better than the previous two because there is less of the relationship rubbish between Faythe and Marc, but it still could have been improved upon. Rachel Vincent is by no means subtle in her writing when it comes to conflicts between characters and I am not certain if she is pro feminist or anti feminist, and my views on the series hasn’t really changed.  She also seems to shy away from the interesting parts by bringing in unnecessary seeming conflict which is just as bad as Stephanie Meyer failing to write about action.  Interesting premise, but lousy in the way it is delivered and she could have improved them if they had been rewritten slightly.

I am also in the middle of reading Frost Burned by Patrica Briggs. It is urban fantasy as it should be written, though I think it has suffered from the huge gap between publications since the last book in the Mercy Thompson series.  There isn’t much that I could criticise it on, really.

I am making my way though A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin and I get the distinct impression that I will be seeing series two of Game of Thrones on DVD before I actually finish the  book! I would have liked to see more from Jon Snow and Daenerys – it is almost as if the author forgets about them, suddenly remembers them and writes a chapter about them… Although I generally enjoy reading the book, I don’t like the way he handles Theon Greyjoy. I don’t really care about him shagging this character, or almost doing that to his sister…. It doesn’t really do anything for the story and in a similar vain, I don’t think that it is necessary that every time Tyrion is in the story that whores and brothels need to be mentioned… I mean, seriously???? Yeah, I don’t mind it if he goes there to see Varys, but I don’t need the details of his base urges…. Because the book is so long, I break off reading it to read a shorter book and then go back to it.

Now on to the books I’m waiting to arrive:

lukegamble2

Remember Luke Gamble’s book from last year? This is his second.

emmamilne

I don’t know if anyone remembers this lady, but she was in a couple of BBC TV series in the mid 90’s – Vet School and Vets in Practice. I don’t normally go for celebratory anything, but as she’s remained out of the spot light, I thought it would be interesting to see how she has got on 15 years later….

Trust Me I'm  A Vet

This book is a fiction book. I don’t normally go for contemporary fiction titles, but as the book is about a vet (and written by a vet as well), I decided to give it a chance.

dogbecamethedog

I am gathering books to read for what will hopefully be useful for my MSc study when I finally get back to uni. This book will be useful, even just for reference articles / papers. I am hoping to investigate Canis evolution.

And a couple of recent books which are waiting on my to-read list:

shadowfell

scoundrels

One of the main problems with having a huge to read list is that you want to go on to reading a new series of books or authors when you have loads to read already! My problem?

Recently, we got the Sharpe TV series and now I want to read the books because they have given me a taste for them (I’d also like to read the Hornblower ones as well, since I also have the TV series to that…) But I know that I can’t really get any more books or really shouldn’t because I hardly have time to read the ones I’ve got now, without going on to something else. Another thing is that I’ve been wanting to read the Sharpe series for a long time because they caught my eye when I was younger, but I suppose with them being quite popular, there is little chance of them going out of print any time soon, and even if they did, there is still a lot of them around to get them second hand. Maybe I should make a promise to myself that if I get through a significant portion of them this year that I’ll reward myself by starting the Sharpe series? Probably a good idea…

Bitten TV Series

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in a past Kelley Armstrong review, but I am now. There is going to be a TV series of Bitten, the first book in the Women of the Otherworld series. Great! Let’s hope that it goes the full 13 books, and beyond. I am excited about it because it means that the characters we don’t get to see much of will probably be developed more and well, it is nice to see something I like before it was made into a film or TV series get made into one. I only hope that we can get it here. For those of you who are interested, Kelley Armstrong is sending up dates on the production, and so I am going to post links to the updates to keep those interested posted. I am also quite thrilled to see that a book series that I read which has had the promise of being made into a film or TV series is finally going ahead. It has happened in the past where there have been some speculation that something may happen, but then it never materialises, causing great disappointment to fans. Yes, it is great news when a studio looks at your work with the possibility of making it into a show or film, but it is probably best to keep it to yourself until you know for certain that is it going ahead, so I greeted the initial announcement with caution. But it IS going ahead. I just hope that it is not just being filmed for Canadian and American audiences like what has happened with some programmes (e.g. Third Watch…)

http://kelleyarmstrong.tumblr.com/post/40776680735/january-update-bitten-tv-show

Off The Shelf 2013

I have decided once again to take part in Bookish Ardour’s Off the Shelf Challenge. I didn’t do very well in 2012 because there were so many distractions and problems that I found it very difficult to find the time to sit down and read, and a lot of the time, I just didn’t feel like it. This year, (2013!) I am only going to take part in this challenge, partly because last year, I think I tried to do too many, and because there aren’t that many this year that have spiked my interest. (I would be interested in Fantasy, Science Fiction and Urban Fantasy if there are any out there and would appreciate any pointers to any that do exist. I’ve looked but not found any this time round and have no interest in hosting them myself).

I shall choose On A Roll – Choose 50 books to read again. Well, 50 books seems to be the average that I get through, and it will leave me free to read books that I buy throughout the year. I have books of various genres to read and I am determined to get through some of the long neglected ones. Should I make a list? No. When I do that, I then read any book other than the ones on that list. It’s almost as if I make a list of books to avoid reading, rather than a list of ones to read…

Wish me look!

Waterstones fails again…

I was looking on amazon for books to buy next year and found that an author whose books I’ve not seen for ages (and thought had stopped writing) had a book published in 2010! So, I’ve been reading what I consider to mediocre fiction when all along authors I thought had stopped writing are, well, still writing stuff… All this just because high street shops and book clubs can’t be arsed to stock their books!

A note on Challenges

After going through the books I’ve read on Goodreads, I realize that I’ve not really completed any of them. The main reason for this is because this year was far more disruptive that I thought it would be this time last year and to be honest, has been a nightmare. Loads of things have gone wrong and in fact, the only thing that seems to be better in comparison to this time last year is the fact that we got a dog, Jaffa. Of course, without going into massive details into the crappiness of this year, there were a few times when it could have turned out far worse than it has, and because it didn’t I suppose does offset the crappiness somewhat. I am hoping that next year things will be better.

But this post is really about books, I suppose, and the future of challenges. I will participate in them next year, because that pile has hardly gone down much, in-spite of the fact that I’ve not bought that many. Due to lack of interest, I probably won’t bother hosting any challenges next year (apart from maybe the Star Wars, Natural History and Science ones) Part of the reason for that is that there are really no equivalent challenges out there and I would like to be a bit more social online than I have been this year. Because of the fact that many of my old forum haunts, etc, have declined in recent years it is quite easy for me to slip into being a recluse even when I don’t intend to do that!

So which challenges am I interested in next year?

An Urban Fantasy one would be great, as I am still a reader of that genre, but I don’t want to join in with one which is purely for PR or YA because those genres don’t really interest me that much.

A normal, straight fantasy one, because I love reading fantasy.

A science fiction one, because I love sci-fi and there was one this year – hopefully it will be around next year as well.

And of course, the old, Bookish Ardour Off the Shelf Challenge if it is running. There may also be additional ones that I add to it, if they coincide with what I need to read, but I am just not at all interested in stuff like YA, Classics (at least ones where you’re told what to read) and a few others. It is all well and good but when I know I have to read a certain book or books, I then don’t want to read them and read something else instead. I am also going to be more picky in future about what I read because I’ve read a lot of duds over the past few years and we also lack the room, which I want to keep for books which I like more and want to keep reading!

ZAHN BOOKS AT LAST!

Now this list is a bunch of books I’ve been wanting to get for a long time, but because they have for ages been out of print (and as a consequence relatively rare), I have been unable to get them until now. It is great – at last my interest in reading has been rekindled after a long absence because there are finally books I’ve found by an author that I like but haven’t read before. And the pun is not intended, I assure you…

I have decided that Kindle is the e-reader for me because it is now actually worth buying. I can only hope that over the next few months more of my good paperback library can be converted into digital format (with the addition of some newbees (or rather, not so newbees….). There are a couple not on the list which I am going to have to see if I have or not, as I am not sure. But I am looking forward to a good year of reading next year and maybe my disillusion I’ve been having with the publishing industry in recent years is now at an end. It is a shame that they aren’t physical books because I would have preferred that, but I suppose I must be happy that they are at last available for me to read!

Triplet

Deadman Switch

A Coming of Age

Spinneret

Warhorse

An Unexpected Development…

It appears that after a loooooong wait, more Star Wars books are finally available on Kindle. (Yay!) But I know have a decision to make.  This means that Kobo/Sony and Kindle are now about evenly matched in the UK price wise. I only found this out after doing some investigating. So which to choose? Also, I can now start selling off my old paperbacks that I don’t want anymore and free up some space and replace them with the digital copies (well, all but the VERY BEST of my fiction library, anyway…)

Hoping for a Home

Ok, this is probably my first review since June or July but I feel like doing one for this book. I quite like reading the books about vets, something which James Herriot is to thank for sparking off, as well as my love for animals in general. This one is about the stories from an RSPCA manager. What I have enjoyed about the book is that it is a fast read, and in spite of its subject matter, quite up lifting, especially when awful owners get their just deserts for being violently cruel to their animals, and even more so when the animal survives and ends up getting their very much deserved home. The author stays free of those cliches which I find can be annoying coming from animal rescue people (Forever Home and Rainbow Bridge…) and she does acknowledge that sometimes animals are in a bad situation through no fault of their owners, like the angora rabbit that belonged to a man with mental health problems or the St Bernard and GSD that belonged to the couple where the wife had fallen ill and the husband couldn’t look after them anymore because he had to give up his job to look after his wife. Those types of people need just as much help as the animal, and one of my bugbears with animal rescue is the taking of animals away from people when if given a bit of support they could keep the animals – having lost my mum as a teenager, I know that animal welfare problems aren’t always the fault of a cruel or willfully neglectful owner, so cruelty to animals basically has three levels of badness for me… The first is suffering caused on purpose (i.e. bloodsports, hunting or in the case of this book, hitting a dog over the head with a shovel),  or for profit (fur farming, factory farming, experiments, etc) – these I consider to be bad because they either cause the worst amount of suffering to an individual animal, or because of the large scale of the problem and the fact that often the law is on the wrong side! The second level is neglect caused by laziness of owners or carers – there is no excuse for it, but  unless it is large scale or violent, it is not as bad as the first, but the owners do need to be punished for it and the third level is that caused by poverty or illness of the owners – it is not willful and with support (which can be lacking) there’s no need for animals to be taken from their owners as long as the problem is resolved.

As foxes are one of my favourite animals, I loved the story about the fox cub! The only drawback I find reading books like this is that it makes me regret that I was unable to go down the career path I wanted when I was younger and that they also make me want to have more animals to look after! Maybe that will change in the future, once all the crap that we need to sort out now is over. I enjoyed this book immensely and I hope to be able to read more from the author.

My Rating: