Saturday, October 31, 2015

Dataclysm | Christian Rudder

*Book provided by Blogging for Books.


Christian Rudder, one of co-founders of OkCupid, uses data from OkCupid, Google, Twitter, and others to show patterns of behavior. Some of these patterns relate to romantic interests, but there are also chapters on stereotypes, prejudices, privacy concerns and other information related to living in the digital age.


I initially requested this book because I actually met my husband on OkCupid and was interested in seeing if our relationship had fit the norms gathered from the OkCupid data. When I started reading it, however, I was happy to be shown a lot of data with Rudder's interpretations. Statistics was one of my favorite subjects and a good portion of the book plays to that. If you have trouble with statistics, this book will show you what kind of practical applications the subject can have.

The majority of the book, however, reads like a set of personal opinion essays. I know that's not what they are; Rudder has a lot of data and has done his research. The subjects he covered were certainly interesting and relevant. For some reason, though, the second half of the book (give or take) just kinda fell flat for me. I lost interest quickly and had a hard time getting through it. I almost think I'd have had more fun just reading a book of statistics. Then again, I've always had problems reading about anything that involves contemporary politics, social life, etc. 

I do encourage you to pick up a copy if you're interested in what the raw data from the Internet says about the United States culture. It's just not for me. 


Saturday, October 24, 2015

City of Blades | Robert Jackson Bennett

*Image and eBook provided courtesy of NetGalley


 General Turyin Mulaghesh has been called back from retirement, kicking and screaming. Though the gods have been dead for a while, there is a new material found in Voortyashtan that seems to be divine in nature. If it is divine, that spells trouble for Mulaghesh's country, Saypur, and her friend, the Prime Minister. Unfortunately she gets caught up in several conspiracies and near-death experiences that make even her false arm ache from overuse. 


Once again I find myself accidentally reading the second book of a series, and once again, I have to say "OMG! Why didn't I read the first book as well? This is so AWESOME!" I kid you not, the only times I ever had to stop reading the book was because I had to tell people how much I was enjoying it. I can't say that all the "plot twists" surprised me, but there were a few things that caught me off guard and even more things that me feel a connection with Mulaghesh. 

This book has an amazing story and even better characters. These characters got me laughing with them so much, but they also almost made me cry. Everyone had a story that was reflected in their actions. Where there was exposition it was almost always based on the Battle of Bulikov so it was certainly not boring. 

As much as I love this book, I do have to warn people that there is some very graphic violence in it. One of the side effects of being in the former city of Voortya, goddess of war and death. However, if you can get past that, you will get a brilliant story about survival, what it means to be a soldier, and, most importantly, making your life and actions matter. I happily give City of Blades 5 hoots and have already added City of Stairs (the first book in the series) to my wishlist. 

                Hoot! Hoot!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dewey Read-A-Thon | Closing Survey

Dewey's Read-a-Thon

Which hour was most daunting for you?

Funny enough, it wasn't my usual times. This time around I was "okay" until about 6 AM (Hour 23). That's when I started having the most problems staying awake.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

I highly recommend Calvin & Hobbes, FoxTrot and the like.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I really can't think of anything right now.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

The Twitter presence. 

How many books did you read?

5, but three of those were comic ooks.

What were the names of the books you read?

The Jedi Doth Return, Dataclysm, The First Book of Swords, Enormously Foxtrot, Jassorasic Park, and FoxTrot Sundaes. 

Which book did you enjoy most?

All of them. 

Which did you enjoy least?

I actually enjoyed all the books.

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I feel like, at the later hours, the teams dissolve and it's just everyone supporting each other. At least that's how it felt on Twitter. 

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

You won't be able to get rid of me THAT easily! I did enjoy hosting my first mini-challenge so I know I'd be happy to volunteer for that again as well as cheerlead!

Dewey Read-A-Thon Mini-Challenge: BLANKET FORTS!

i will be in my blanket fort:

At the last Read-A-Thon I was living in a 1-bedroom apartment with 2 other people. I really didn't have a lot of space for myself and, during the later hours of the Read-A-Thon, I needed to keep my light and noise to a minimum. For some of the time, mainly when I was reading an ebook, I covered up myself and my laptop and made an impromptu blanket fort. It wasn't all it could be, though, and I got to wondering, what would make for an ideal blanket fort?

So your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with an ideal Read-A-Thon book fort! It's hour 23, so feel free to go silly. It doesn't have to be fancy:

Fort Triumphant

And can even be quite simple: 

couches,forts,there I fixed it

I will keep this going for three hours (though I will be passing out in a couple) and the winner will get their choice of a $15 gift card to either B&N or Amazon, though I may be open to gift cards to other locations. 

So, tell me in the comments below: What is your ideal blanket fort? How big or small is it? What materials would you use to make it? Would it be a fortress of solitude or would you allow others? Get creative!

Dewey Read-A-Thon | 3 AM (Begin Hour 20)

invader zim animated gif

Holy wah people have been dropping like flies! Some people were complaining about being too old for staying up so late. I have not yet admitted such a thing and I do not plan to for many years!

Also, in case you can't tell, I have been getting quite silly in my thought patterns and, as a result, less discriminatory in my tweets and blog posts. I actually had a few minutes where the last cup of coffee I drank must have kicked in because my eyes were almost bugging and my body couldn't tell if it was time to collapse or run around the apartment a few times. 

I am still enjoying Dataclysm and FINALLY broke 300 pages for this Read-A-Thon. For now, I'm going to do some cheering, run a load of dishes in the dishwasher, and then get back to reading. Though I may take some time to use the exercise bike. Make sure my muscles still work and whatnot. 

I must be careful with how I distribute my energy. 4-5 AM is notoriously difficult for me to stay awake through. I do plan on visiting Dunkin Donuts at 4:30 or so, though. If they're not open, contradictory to their reported hours, I'll just get something from 7-11. The walks in the cold seem to do wonders with waking me up.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dewey Readathon | 11 PM (Begin Hour 16)

Change places. this is the episode.

We are at hour 16! I just got back from a trip to Taco Bell in an attempt to see if Lava Sauce can help wake you up. It was a success! Unless that's the Mountain Dew. Or the walk in the cold weather. Or the combination!

So, Fluxxdog has finally decided he needs to sleep for the night so I've had to move my base of operations from the bedroom to the living room. Fortunately we have a comfy sofa and I don't have to worry so much this Read-A-Thon about keeping the lights low. 

I am currently working on my 3rd book of the Read-A-Thon: Dataclysm by Christian Rudder. The statistics geek in me is quite pleased with this read!

Also, I'm quite hyper right now! So I'm gonna put this energy to good use and do some cheering!

Dewey Readathon | 7PM (Begin Hour 12!)

The Read-A-Thon is half over already?! Where has all the time gone?! Seriously! It's gotten so dark I had to turn my lamp back on and it felt like it had only been off for a few hours! Why must these events be so done so quickly?

So, I'm STILL working on the first part of The Complete Book of Swords (though I am nearing the end. I'm going to finish book one and then switch to something else for a while. 

In even better news, I won a prize! Woo hoo! I made sure to prioritize my choices for prizes as those only being delivered to the US. I want to make sure as many people as possible can get prizes so I avoided those that were international specific. 

For now, though, I am going to spend some time cheering and then read while riding my exercise bike for 15 minutes or so. Gotta make sure I don't sit too still for too long!

Dewey Read-A-Thon | 3 PM (Begin Hour 8)

bridesmaids animated GIF

I'm a lot more tired than I should be right now. Then again, I've only had 3 cups of coffee today. I am still working on the first book from The Complete Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen. It's taking more time than I would like, but also reading rather quickly. I'm often surprised by how quickly I end a chapter.

For now, though, my plan is to finish this post, drink an energy drink, do some cheering, and then walk to the 7-11 for another energy drink or two. Hopefully walking out in the cold will also help to wake me up a bit.

Wish me luck!

Dewey Read-A-Thon | 11 AM Update (Begin Hour 4)

Geek Zone

I had an interesting moment during these first few hours of the Read-A-Thon where I had insight into just how much of a geek I am. I am participating in a 24-Hour reading event. I was reading a Shakespearean version of Star Wars. AND I was listening to the orchestral version of the Legend of Zelda soundtrack. Currently I'm listening to the London Philharmonic Orchestra's "The Greatest Video Game Music". I am a complete geek. And you know what? I love it.

proud to be a nerd

I have finished up The Jedi Doth Return and now am looking to start another book. I've done a bit of cheerleading as well as entered a few mini-challenges. I think I've now entered more mini-challenges than I ever have during a Read-A-Thon. Now I need to get back to reading and see what new mini-challenge has been posted!

Dewey 24-Hour Read-A-Thon | Introductory Meme


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Ypsilanti, MI! Just recently moved here from Ann Arbor. Not much of a move, but enough to get me into a different town.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Last Christmas my husband gave me a copy of The Complete Book of Swords. While I have no intention of reading all three of the books, I do plan to finish the one that I started.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I have to check their Sunday times, but I have a Dunkin Donuts down the road from me. I'm definitely looking forward to visiting them during one of my exercises to stretch my legs.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I haven't even made breakfast yet and I'm hyper!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I have a much bigger apartment this Read-A-Thon so I am most looking forward to not having to be nearly as quiet as I have had to be in the past. This also means I have more room to walk around when I need to!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fried Apple Muffins | Recipe

As many of you know, I recently switched jobs. Before I left my old job, however, a coworker gave me a new recipe book!
Seriously, thanks Kathy!
In this book there was a recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes and I thought that would be a good recipe to start out with. Something simple. But I wanted to do something special for the frosting since, plain vanilla doesn't always sound good. I wanted something that would mix well with the vanilla flavoring. Long story short, I ended up going for Apple-Vanilla Cupcakes with Apple Spice Frosting. They were a huge hit. However, my taste testers and I noted that these were good even without the frosting. And what do we call cupcakes without frosting? Muffins!!! So I opted to try to make some Apple Muffins this time around.

Naturally, the first step is to slice and dice the apples. I learned with the cupcakes that two apples work better than one. Also, not much of a surprise, but granny smith apples are perfect for this.

Next up were the seasonings. I was tempted to buy some apple spice seasoning from the store, but it was $5 for a tiny jar. I read the ingredients and decided I could improvise my own. It really is just nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. With the cupcakes I had used these seasonings in the frosting. For the muffins, I'm mixing them into the mix to fry up with the apples.

A pinch (1/16 tsp) of ground nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon on top of brown sugar and regular sugar.
 Then it was time to fry up the apples. I had never done this before, never thought of it before, but Fluxxdog agreed to show how it was done. We melted some butter on the stove, added the apple pieces and then threw in the mix with it. Made the entire apartment smell so good!

In the meantime, I made up a nice, simple batter using the usual ingredients. Though I will admit, there were more eggs in this recipe than I'm used to. After the apples were fried, we went ahead and mixed them in.

Then I spooned the batter into their containers. I always try to be careful, but the darn batter still gets everywhere.

Then after about 8 minutes, the muffins are done! They aren't as big as I would like my muffins, but I ended up getting about two dozen or so of them, so the numbers make up for it.

As for the taste, I was fortunate enough to have guests over that day so I got two additional opinions in with those of Fluxxdog and Veonoss. Apparently, the muffins were good enough that they asked if they could take some home with them! I was pleased with this reaction, but I know I can make them taste better. Next time I go for this recipe, I'm going to add some of the apple spice seasoning mix into the batter and not just the apples. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Homeland: The Legend of Drizzt Book 1 | R. A. Salvatore


Drizzt is a drow elf noble born with a strong, innocent heart, thrown into a world of corruption and backstabbing. The only true law of the kingdom of Menzoberranzan is "don't get caught." But Drizzt's heart longs for honor and admires bravery. How is he to survive Menzoberranzan?


I've been tempted to read Salvatore many times before but it was never a high priority for me. I picked up this book in an attempt to learn a little more about the world of Dungeons & Dragons. As it turns out, this is only a small segment of a much greater world and I have a LOT more reading ahead of me. The good news is, I am completely engaged in this series. I was looking for some high fantasy to break me out of my non-fiction streak and Homeland was a great choice. 

Finally I understand why my friend Catharciss completely geeked when she saw I was reading this. Salvatore is a talented author. The entire book is very fast paced but never did I feel I missed something nor did I feel there wasn't enough character development. As my husband can tell you, I was reading while dishing up my dinner because I needed to know the fate of my favorite character. 

Homeland was such an engaging read and for all the right reasons. The story was fairly simple, there were only a few surprises, but that's because the rules of Menzoberranzen are explained, not through an exposition dump so much as a battle scene that serves as the example. Kinda like a tutorial level where you learn as you go. 

I happily give Homeland 4.5 hoots. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've already bought the second book in the series and need to see how it goes.

                Hoot! Hoo

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Dewey Readathon Plan

It's that time again!!!!!! Seriously, the Dewey 24-Hour Readathons are two of my favorite days of the year. The only potential hang-up this time around is that I've started a new job, so I don't have a lot of time off, so I may not be able to take off the following Monday. I'll find out for certain closer to time.

Anyways, I've been going back and forth between reading a bunch of new web comics for 24 hours or working on my TBR list. Ultimately, I'm going for the TBR list. Just like last time, I will work on books that I started but never finished. This includes:

The Complete Book of Swords
The Disaster Artist

Of course, this almost always changes once I actually start reading, but that's part of the joys of the Read-A-Thon, I'm always reading!

As for a tentative schedule:

0700 - Wake up and prep.
0800 - Starting post and commence reading.
1100 - Update post and cheerleading.
1400 - Update post and exercise. 
1700 - Update post and cheerleading.
2000 - Update post and exercise.
2300 - Update post and cheerleading.
0200 - Update post and exercise.
0500 - Update post. 
0800 - Final post and passing out.

Again, these are all subject to change once the real event starts. I'm just glad I'm in a big enough apartment that I actually can use my exercise bike without worrying about waking up other people. I'll have the entire living room/dining room/kitchen to myself! Also, I'm across the street from a Taco Bell and down the street from a Dunkin' Donuts so I won't have to worry about not having enough calories. I'll just need to invest in an audio book.

Most importantly, I am so happy that I'll be able to provide prizes for the readathon. Last time I was able to give a $25 Amazon card and I was so happy to help. This time around I hope to give two $15 Amazon cards. I prefer to give cards to books because it's a lot easier and I don't have to pay for shipping and handling. 

So this is my tentative plan for the October 15, 2015 Dewey 24-Hour Readathon. Wish me luck! Hope to see you there!