Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Ghost in the Closet | M. K. Theodoratus | Mini-Review


This short-story was a pleasantly optimistic read. When the story started out with main characters who were moving into a mansion remodeled into a women's shelter, I was very worried this was going to be a story of depression and abuse. What I got was a group of women who turned their curses into blessings. When the shelter gets contested and they're told they have to leave now, Turner challenges this saying "I know how foreclosures work. Been through enough of the damn things." Even Dumdie, the one who's lost so much because of her ability to see ghosts, is able to turn it for good. Despite some grammatical issues, this was a delightful short story that I encourage you to pick up. 3.5 hoots!



Saturday, October 28, 2017

Nanoshock | K. C. Alexander

*Image and book provided via NetGalley for an honest review.


Riko's cred is still draining. She's losing more allies than she even knew she'd had. She's gaining more enemies than she thought possible. With the price on her head going up, she's having trouble focusing on her mission of getting proof that MetaCorp set her up and is trying to weaponize Necros. 


I have been waiting for this sequel for a while. I never forgot my joy at reading the first book. When I saw this one available on NetGalley, I jumped on it. I was not disappointed! Riko is back, doing and saying things that would make a sailor blush and living up to the title "Splatter Specialist" the whole way. And I loved every minute of it.

This isn't a book for everyone. It is incredibly NSFW and has a lot of fight scenes that made me cringe. That said, if you're okay with some gruesomeness and a lot of foul language, you'll probably appreciate the humor that permeates throughout the book. You will probably want to read the first one before you read this. There's a lot of important backstory there.

I'll admit, there were a few times when Riko's attitude and act-first-think-later personality began to get annoying, but the author wonderfully seems to know when this is happening and has another character call her out on it. This really helps with balancing Riko's obtuse nature keeping the reader from burnout. There were times it was difficult to figure out what was going on, then again, since we're reading from Riko's perspective, and she's not the brains of any operation, it kinda makes sense. 

Then, there was the ending. I'm going to avoid spoilers by not telling you a thing about the last chapter. All I will say, when I finished this book, I had a big smile on my face that only got bigger as I thought more and more about how well the ending fit. This book was an exceptional follow up to the first one and I couldn't be more pleased with it.



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Read-A-Thon - Closing Survey

This was a fun Read-A-Thon. I co-hosted for the first time ever. It was a bit of a trying experience. I had to learn to put aside my need to read all the things so I could properly man the twitter feed. I hope I didn't overdo it. Had a lot of fun hosting the mini-challenge. I got introduced to some new books that I need to look up. Here's my final survey:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
I'm torn between Hours 6-8 (when I co-hosted) and Hours 22-23 when I nearly fell asleep.

2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read!
Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha! Ha. I read one book. Soonish. The rest of the time I read the web comic Schlock Mercenary. 

3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?
Calvin & Hobbes, all the way.

4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile?
I dunno, I was smiling quite a bit already with this one.

5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?
I've already signed up! See you in April.

Dewey's Read-A-Thon Mini-Challenge - You're Wearing That?

Image result for bookish outfits

I'll be the first to admit, I'm not that crazy about clothes. Does it fit? Yes. Is it comfortable? Yes. Then I'll buy it (give or take). Though I do often have a weakness for funny or bookish t-shirts and dark denim jeans. Other than that, I really don't care about clothes, especially fancy dresses.

With one exception.

Image result for elvenborn

In the book Elvenborn, Lady Lydiell shows up to a dinner wearing a dress that, at first glance looks like a simple sparkly, silver dress. Upon closer inspection, however, the dress is show to be made of chain mail with tiny plates hosting tiny diamonds. It was so well crafted another character wonders if it could turn a blade. The only fancy/pretty dress I will ever truly want.

In terms of more practical clothing, I love the armor from Jay Posey's Outriders. That stuff is so responsive and lightweight the main character feels it's like a second skin. At the same time, it's stronger than most futuristic bullets, can survive in low atmosphere, has food(ish) & water available, and has the ability to sense the coloration of its environment and adjust its camouflage accordingly! Tell me that wouldn't be cool to wear!

This gets me thinking: have you ever read about an outfit that you would want for yourself? Not just an accessory (i.e. an invisibility cloak) but a full outfit. 

Image result for what should i wear

In the comments section, let me know the clothing, the book it's from and why you want it. This is a free-for-all, no restrictions on genre, magical or not, etc. The description and reason for wanting it that I like the most wins a $15 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes & Nobles (winner's choice). Please also make sure you leave a way to get a hold of you. A twitter handle or an email address (i.e. username   @   domain   .   com). I'll even give you 3 hours to enter!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Read-A-Thon | Mid-Event Survey

Fun fact, I still have not finished my first book for the Read-A-Thon! I spent 3 hours Co-Hosting and keeping up with everyone on Twitter and lost precious reading time.

The interesting thing? Since I logged out of the @readathon account, I've actually been pretty zen. I'm not energetic, but I'm not tired. I think I'm pleasantly relaxed. This is good for me because it means I'm less likely to burn out and more likely to stay awake the full 24 hours. 

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?
Soonish by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith.

2. How many books have you read so far?

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Finishing a book!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Well, to be fair, I kinda signed on to be a co-host, so all I could really do was go with the flow. ^_^

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
I had fun co-hosting. Not sure I did well, and I'll only do it again if really needed, but I had some fun.

10 Years in 10 Books | Dewey Read-A-Thon Challenge

So, basically, the challenge is to submit one book recommendation from each year the Read-A-Thon was running (2007-2017). This is gonna be a challenge because I've only been keeping track of my reading for the past few years! Wish me luck!

2007 - Chimichanga by Eric Powell
2008 - Hellboy: The All Seeing Eye by Mark Morris
2009 - I Kill Giants by  Joe Kelly, J.M. Ken Niimura
2010 - How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
2011 - The Tower's Alchemist by Alesha Escobar
2012 - WBI: Witches Bureau of Investigation by Richard Capwell
2013 - The Science of Monsters by Matt Kaplan
2014 - The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
2015 - RunLoveKill by  Jonathan Tsuei, Eric Canete, Leonardo Olea 
2016 - Outriders by Jay Posey
2017 - Under the Pendulum Sun by  Jeannette Ng

I can verify that, to me, all these books were highly entertaining and engaging!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - Hour 0 Opening Meme

Yes! We're getting ready to start! This'll be my 7th Read-A-Thon! I'm so excited and I haven't even had my coffee yet!!!!!

As is traditional, the Read-A-Thon begins with an opening list of questions. Here they are, with my answers:

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

Michigan! I'm using Read-A-Thon as an excuse not to go outside on a game day.

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

Soonish by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith. It JUST got published this week. I made sure to pre-order it.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Chocolate Belvita Crackers with coffee. I LOVE chocolate and coffee!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I'm 31 years old!

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'll be co-hosting today! From 1-4 EST I'M CO-HOSTING! Hold on a sec, I need to keep from hyperventilating!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon

Holy wah! Holy wah! Holy wah! It's that time again! Read-A-Thon is here!!! I love this holiday more than Christmas! These events are the two times a year that I am at my most social. Seriously, follow my Twitter account (@Silelda) and you'll see my feed just explode with updates and conversations. Or you can just follow @readathon or #readathon! 

In a twist to my usual routine, I will actually be co-hosting the Read-A-Thon! I've never done this before, so I hope you'll all be patient with me. I'll be posting hourly updates from Noon to 3 PM on the Read-A-Thon's website and manning their Twitter account during that time. And answering questions, etc. as they come up. Fingers crossed I have a relatively easy shift. 

Other than that, my schedule looks pretty standard. Wake up at 7 to prep and cook breakfast. Sometimes Fluxxdog offers to cook breakfast (or get it from Taco Bell) but that rarely works out, so I'll just plan on making it myself to be safe. I'm going to set a time for myself to get up and move every couple of hours. As much fun as it is to just sit and read, movement is important! And I've got an audio book on YouTube to finish in case I need to walk around more than I expected or have other chores to do.

I'm not sure what books I'll be reading. I'll probably only be able to really go through one or two throughout the day. However, at 3 AM I will be switching to Schlock Mercenary, a daily webcomic that is almost two decades old that I've been meaning to catch up on. Yeah. Wish me luck! 

As far as snacks and meals go, I'm not guaranteed to eat a the times I have listed below, and I don't even have any snacks prepared yet! I'll probably spend all day Friday cooking and shopping for all the snacks to get me through Read-A-Thon. I'm gonna try to be smart about my snacking and not just down a bunch of sugary stuff. That'll sour my stomach and make me go to sleep which I will NOT stand for! I WILL stay up the full 24 hours!

Anyways, this is my Read-A-Thon plan. There should still be time to sign up, if you're interested!

Schedule Outline

7 AM - Wake up & breakfast
8 AM - Start with [book name]
11:30 AM - Lunch
1-4 PM - Hosting the website & Twitter feed
4:01 PM - Back to reading!
6 PM - Dinner
12 AM - Snack
2 AM - Shower
3 AM - Switch to Schlock Mercenary
4 AM - Snack

Proposed Reading List
Verax by Pratap Chatterjee and Khalil
Rescue Road by Peter Zheutlin
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Rubber Soldiers | Gary Neeleman and Rose Neeleman

*Image and book provided via NetGalley for an honest review.


This book looks at the essential role Brazil played in World War II by providing the rubber that was needed for the war effort.


The first half of this book was riveting. I had no clue that Brazil was so essential to the war effort. I had no idea how many lives were lost getting that rubber to the United States. Heck, I didn't even know German U-Boats were active in the South Atlantic. It was very educational, and heart-wrenching, relaying the stories of the Rubber Soldiers and the conditions under which they worked. 

The second half of the book however, was almost nothing but the very bureaucracy filled letters that passed between the Brazilian and US governments. These letters are not good for general readers. They were written with politicians and, maybe, reporters in mind. I had to skim through several pages of technical and political lingo just to get to the authors' summaries that were significantly more effective at exposition than the letters. I get that the letters were needed, but they really dragged down the book for me, a non-historian. 

It really upsets me because this book has a very important and under-represented story to tell and point to make. And the first half of the book does that so very well! The problem comes when the authors rely on verbatim copies of the letters and telegraphs. My eyes glazed over quickly and I had to force myself to continue reading. I really feel like the authors were only including the letters to pad the page count. The letters may have been better off being included as an appendix with the authors writing up summaries in the main book. They are talented authors but these letters just kill the book for me.

If you're a history buff or have a very strong interest in the subject, you'll probably enjoy the entire book. If you're a casual reader, like me, whose curiosity was piqued, you'll probably only like the first half of the book. 2.5 hoots.



Saturday, October 7, 2017

SonofaWitch! | Trysh Thompson

*Image and book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.


A collection of six humorous short stories about magic spells gone wrong.


This was a fun book! All six stories are great on their own and almost had me laughing out loud on the bus! At one point I actually had to set the book down just to get a hold of myself and my laughing. I think the phrase "it seemed like a good idea at the time" can summarize almost all of these stories' spells gone wrong.

While most of them involved a love spell gone wrong (after reading this I recommend never even trying a love spell) there is enough diversity of style and other elements to keep them from sounding the same. Let's face it, wishing for someone loyal and loving and accidentally turn your dog into a human is far different from accidentally ensnaring your crush's soul into a poppet doll. And exchanging one curse for another is very different from accidentally changing your own gender. Seriously, don't mess with love spells!

But all of the stories were so good! I have six new authors to start looking up. My top two favorites were "Good Spell Gone Bug" and "A Matter of Perspective". Both very different, but so much fun to read. I absolutely loved the part in every story where you realized that these witches, who are characteristically well versed in magic, are not always so perfect. If you liked Neville Longbottom because he wasn't the best at everything, I think you'll like this collection. There are a lot of underdogs.

In all, I give this book 4.5 hoots! It's full of good humor, good characters and downright good fun.



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Which Card Suit Are You?

As many of you know, I'm married to a Gamer. Fluxxdog enjoys sharing aspects of Gamer culture. One of the things he shared with me is how play styles are, generally, organized into four categories, Hearts, Spades, Clubs and Diamonds. Admittedly no one only fits into one single category; neither Fluxxdog nor I do. 

After thinking about it for a while, I figured out how to transfer these play styles into reader styles. I've listed and explained them below. They're written in the order of what most to least reflects my own reading style.

(Fluxxdog here. For the record, these are generalizations used to easily coordinate various aspects of game design. Context matters and mileage will vary.)

1. Diamonds

I am a true diamond, not just in gaming but reading as well. In gaming, diamonds are the achievement hunters, the trophy winners, the show-offs and the braggarts. It's all about trophies and stats. 

In reading, this translates to readers who are very count oriented. They know how many books they've read and how many pages (yes, I have a spreadsheet). These are also the people who collect paraphernalia from different book events. Readers who collect author autographs/selfies. Readers who buy the boxed set on top of the individual copies of the books they've already read. Trophies and stats.

2. Hearts

I am secondarily a heart, again both in gaming and reading. In gaming, hearts are the community oriented players. They prefer playing with and enjoy helping others while creating a good atmosphere for all players, experienced or newbie. 

In reading, these are the readers who attend every book related community event they can. Whether it's simply going to a book club, joining in on a Read-A-Thon, or even going to conventions, expos, readings and author signings. These are the readers who enjoy talking about books and encouraging other readers when they're in a slump or during an event and they love to recommend good books to people.

3. Spades

I'm not as much of a spade as I once was or could be (but it's Fluxxdog's strong suit). In gaming, spades are the people who dig into the mechanics and lore of a game. They're the ones who figure out which armor combinations (regardless of looks) is the best for which boss. They figure out that the main character was secretly dead the whole time.

In reading, these are the readers who look into the mechanics of the world they're reading and the writing of the book they're reading. They understand what makes a world work and what doesn't. These are also the readers who will research the world, character names, etc. looking for even more meaning and depth. 

4. Clubs

This is the category I identify with the least. In gaming, clubs are the competitors. They thrive in a player vs. player environment. Whether they're looking for a challenging fight or asserting their strength over noobs, they enjoy the battle.

In reading, these are the readers who partake in debates over which book series was better or which character was the better choice. Team Edward vs. Team Jacob? Clubs. Divergent vs. Hunger Games? Clubs. And a lot of the time it will be just a friendly talk or debate about why you preferred this to that. I'm just not a very competitive person, at least not against other people (see Diamonds above).

So, those are my comparisons between the categories in gaming and reading. I know there's plenty of room for improvement in the gamer-to-reader translations. Let me know what you think and what order you'd choose for you!

(Fluxxdog here with one last note. Games try to appeal to all four suits, generally to varying degrees. I would think a good book does the same. Call me old fashioned, but I certainly think The Hobbit is one of those. What books can you think of that appeal to all?)
*Silelda's Note: I never could finish The Hobbit. Didn't appeal to me. ^_^