Sunday, November 29, 2015

NQAC: Biweekly Update #23: Back Home for Christmas Preparations and Crafting

I was off to Montana for the week, but now I'm back to blogging (even though my body thinks it's hibernation time). I didn't take advantage of the Black Friday/Thursday sales- I really didn't see anything worth buying this year, but then I'm buying for specific people who I have rather niche ideas for as far as gifts. Cyber Monday may be more my speed- I'll just have to see what deals will be available then.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

the-pile Additions:

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
This was popular roughly ten years ago, and I've been wanting to pick it up since then due to its lovely cover.

A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers by John Johnson Craighead

My mom and I like to know all the plants when we go walking, so this will come in handy. I read through it the other day and was able to identify some of the plants I've been wondering about.

Wolfskin (The Light Isles #1) by Juliet Marillier
A fantasy book with wolfhounds/deerhounds on the cover? That's auto-buy bait for me.

In the Walled Gardens by Anahita Firouz
I picked this one up since it was set in Iran. The Travel the World in Books Challenge has increased my book hoarding...

A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve
Anita Shreve is one of my favorite authors, despite having very hit-and-miss books. Hopefully this one will be a hit- it's set in Kenya.

the-invisible-pile Additions:

City of Stairs (The Divine Cities #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
This one has been on my wishlist for some time now and recently went on sale. I can't wait to read it, though I may be trudging through some other books first.

Currently Reading:

The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle #1) by Miles Cameron
I have a theme with my currently reading reads this week: they're both highly adored on Goodreads and they're both going very slowly now that I've gotten 'into' them. The Red Knight is irking me with it's random perspective changes- the author tells you who it is, but all I want to do is smack my head and scream "Not again!". There is such a thing as too many perspectives, and this book may have that issue in my case.

Desert Bound (Cambio Springs #2) by Elizabeth Hunter
I'm not sure why, but this book is getting on my nerves. Maybe it's the focus on shifter politics/dominance which is the sort of thing that usually rubs me the wrong way, or maybe it's too much of a mystery type book. I'll finish this one off, but it's beginning to irk me.

Finished These Books:

Not what I expected it to be, but that's okay. This year I've had a lot of trouble with having high expectations- I still have only rated one book this year 5 Stars, and I've read a fair share so far (80+). I wanted to love this one, but it didn't quite hit the mark with me.

So this began with bang, lagged heavily in the middle, but finished with panache. Definitely a recommendable nonfiction as long as you're willing to trudge through the excess detail.

A nice change of pace from your average historical romance. A former concubine is kidnapped by a warlord seeking to protect and/or use her for his political ambitions. I love that although some dynamics are the same as a Regency romance, it's still a lot different (as in, more action than your average romance). There were a few things I would've tweaked in this book, but it was pretty great overall.

What an adorable urban fantasy with a touch of sci-fi! I didn't realize how much I'd enjoy it based on the description and cover, but this one was really a gem. I'm looking forward to the next installment! I won't be doubting Ilona Andrews again!

In the Blogosphere:

None this week since I haven't been bookmarking/saving links diligently enough.

In My Life:

Christmas Preparations:

Outdoor/Porch Decorations
When we bought our house, it was covered in Christmas lights. Since the house was built in 1903, I've always felt the Christmas lights were gaudy, so I've always used ribbons instead. Someday I may add some evergreen garland, but for now it's very candy cane-ish. Poor Caucasian babydoll Jesus looks a little out of place, though.

The Tree Sans Decorations
Since we've gotten George, I've been anticipating his shenanigans during the holiday season because cats like Christmas trees a little too much. I haven't put any decorations on the tree yet, but I expect he'll be very interested in the shiny/sparkly ornaments, since he has a tendency to steal jewelry from my mother.


I began weaving a scarf for my mom with some black, gray, and white yarn. George enjoys trying to eat at my hands while I'm weaving, leading to a few time-outs.

I started my next Querkle, which will be varying shades of black to blue to aqua:

And on the holiday dessert front, my mom and I made our first batch of lefse without help from the lefse guardians (my grandmother and her sister):

For those not in the know, lefse is a Scandinavian dessert specialty that would be somewhat similar to a tortilla made of potatoes, but instead of a savory dish it is a dessert. You butter it then sprinkle it with sugar, roll it up, and eat it. It's the most honest cookie, since you add most of the butter and sugar afterwards, while other cookies disguise their devastating dietary blows.

Did you find any good bookish Black Friday/Thursday sales? Which holiday desserts will you be cooking/baking?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

SFF: The 5 Characters from Books You're Grateful For

The Sunday Fun Five #41

Sunday Fun 5:
#38: The 5 Scary-Sounding Books You Want to Read
#39: The 5 Scary Movies You Want to Read the Book Version Of
#40: The 5 Books You Want to Read Before 2015 Ends
#41: The 5 Characters from Books You're Grateful For
For the 6th of December: #42: The 5 Bookish Charities Santa Claus Approves Of

A Countdown of

 The 5 Characters from Books You're Grateful For

(With short and sweet explanations.)

Image from Fanpop
5. Harry Potter of The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
The Boy Who Lived represents the hero in all of us, whether we happen to be kids or adults.

4. Meg Corbyn from The Others Series by Anne Bishop
Because not all heroines are fearless and physically 'bulletproof'.

3. Aerin of The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
A dragon-slaying independent heroine who taught me girls can do whatever they choose to, on their own.

From the movie version
2. Odd Thomas of The Odd Thomas Series by Dean Koontz
Sometimes the best heroes start out flipping pancakes.

1. Lisbeth Salander of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
We can't all be perfect, and Lisbeth is perfectly imperfect.

Which characters are you thankful for? What traits do you love most about them?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Querkles: A Fun Spin on Adult Coloring!

As a fan of adult coloring, I've been searching for more fun novelty books to color, so when I began thinking of what I wanted for Christmas, I scoured the online stores for a new coloring book. This one caught my eye, since I am a lover of old films and pop art. My mother bought it as an early Christmas gift (since I am generally a hard-to-buy-for person), and I quickly started my own Querkle Icon portrait.

Front and Back of Cover
Querkles is basically a 'paint by numbers' but more whimsical, since the sections to color in are made of circles. And instead of having to wait for paint to dry (impossible for me), you can use pencils or markers to color these in. Since I've already acquired a hoard of colored pencils, I chose to use those, though the nice thing about Querkles is each portrait gets it's own page (the page on the other side of the portrait is blank), and it is easy to tear out if you don't wish to color it in the book, making it easier for those of you who like markers to not have collateral damage AKA bleed through.

Another thing that makes this coloring book unique is you only need 5 shades/colors to do an entire page in this book (there are twenty portraits in my Icons book). For those of you color lovers out there, that may seem restrictive, but you have a lot of fun finding the right shades. It took me a couple tries- I even made another color chart with darkest to lightest in each color group before choosing my colors.

Marilyn Monroe Portrait, prior to coloring:

I chose to start with Amy Winehouse for my first Querkle Icons portrait. Since I am a perfectionist, I chose to take the mystery away by looking at the index of portraits in the back of the book, though some portraits, despite their befuddling beginning patterns, I could tell who the portraits depicted. I chose my colors around Amy's penchant for wearing red and yellow. I began with the darkest shade (1) and went to the lightest (5). Here is some of that transformation:


-Choose your colors beforehand, even if you choose to not know which portrait you are coloring.

-I went from darkest to lightest, doing one section/color at a time- I highly recommend that approach. Otherwise you may get confused or even a bit overwhelmed.

-Like any puzzle, it's easier to start at the edges- trace the inner outline of the area you wish to color (like the 1 section, 2 section, etc.) and then fill it in. It gives you a barrier just in case you have a penchant to get outside the lines.

-Know your pencils/markers before you choose them. For example, my darkest shade I chose was a pain to work with- I'd rated the brand lowest in my Color Me Happy guide due to its belligerence. And yet, I still chose it to do the largest swathe of color in the portrait. I struggled with it needlessly, when I should've chosen another pencil from the start to work with.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adult coloring with a healthy dose of pop culture portraits that remind one of Sixties style pop art. There is another Querkles book out there if you don't like portraits: Querkles Masterpieces, which I am coveting as I write this. I was impressed with the variety of people portrayed in this book- it is pretty diverse for even a regular book, though the cover/back and my initial portrait choice doesn't do credit to that. For a full list of people portrayed in this coloring book, highlight below (they are in no particular order, so the mystery/puzzle is preserved slightly):

Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, James Dean, Che Guevara, Jimi Hendrix, Groucho Marx, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Nelson Mandela, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frida Kahlo, Janis Joplin, Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor

P.S. Although this seems like a sponsored post, I'm just completely obsessed over this book right now and had to share how much I adore it. If you wish to see the complete page of completed Querkles portraits as seen in the back of this coloring book, PM me on Twitter or email me.

Happy Coloring!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

"Shifting Dreams (Cambio Springs #1)" by Elizabeth Hunter

About a month ago the author (who is one of my favorites) emailed me about perhaps reading and reviewing her newest addition to the Cambio Springs series. The problem was, I hadn't read it yet, although when I looked it up, it wasn't the genre I thought it was. I'm not sure why, but I'd gotten the impression this was a contemporary romance series rather than a paranormal/urban romance and fantasy series. So when the first two books in this series came up as a super cheap Kindle Daily Deal, I snagged both of them.

Fast forward to when I actually picked it up: I was pretty much hooked from the start. It always seems like there is a static heroine for paranormal romance books: independent, but down on her luck, single, usually (and boringly) of European descent, and usually pretty alone in the world, so the vampires/shifters/paranormal beings can scoop her up into their weird version of the world. With this book, the heroine, Jena, is already part of the paranormal world, when an outsider arrives to become their sheriff. She also has children (two boys), family, and friends who all live in the small town of Cambio Springs. Jena has a more varied ancestry than your usual heroine, along with more responsibilities- and it makes her so much more interesting because of it.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'Somedays, Jena Crowe just can’t get a break. Work at her diner never ends, her two boys are bundles of energy, and she’s pretty sure her oldest is about to shift into something furry or feathery. Added to that, changes seem to be coming to the tiny town of Cambio Springs—big changes that not everyone in the isolated town of shapeshifters is thrilled about.
'Caleb Gilbert was looking for change, and the quiet desert town seemed just the ticket for a more peaceful life. He never counted on violence finding him, nor could he have predicted just how crazy his new life would become.
'When murder rocks their small community, Caleb and Jena will have to work together. And when the new Chief of Police isn’t put off by any of her usual defenses, Jena may be faced with the most frightening change of all: lowering the defenses around her carefully guarded heart.'

Caleb, being the token outsider in an insider town, had much more to adjust to. He realizes something fishy is going on in the town, but isn't certain what until he starts drinking the Kool Aid, so to speak. After he drinks said Kool Aid, everything becomes much clearer, even as what he thought he believed gets turned upside down. He was easy to relate to but I didn't find him as interesting as Jena, maybe because he wasn't already embedded into the culture of Cambio Springs.

Some of my favorite characters in this book weren't even really a part of the main storyline, which makes me want to pick up the next book right now and cross my fingers that their number didn't come up. Joe Quinn, who we meet on the first page, reminded me of quite a few 'characters' in my own family. There is an obvious set up for the next book within this one, but really it only gives you something to look forward to. I can't really put my finger on why this book hasn't made it to the four stars ranking, but despite the charm and excellent characterization, I felt something was missing.

Shifting Dreams is a genre-bending paranormal romance that has a wide range of appeal to niche readers. So you like small towns? Mysteries set in small towns? But with some romance? How about some outside the box elements? Perhaps some paranormal aspects? And add in some kids for 'aww' moments? If you answered yes to all of those queries, this will be an ideal read for you.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a great, mysterious shifter romance!

Content: Ages 18+ for violence and steamy scenes.

Page Count: 260 pages

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

O.o.O.C.: "Astrid & Veronika" by Linda Olsson

Out of Orbit Critiques are the reviews on books that stray outside my usual genres. Astrid & Veronika is a work of contemporary fiction.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this up, other than a book about female friendship set in Sweden. As I prefer books with lots of female characters, I looked forward to one about an unconventional friendship between two women of somewhat similar experiences with an age gap between them. Astrid has lived in the small Swedish village all her life, rarely venturing outside it, while Veronika was a world traveller, even as a young woman.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'With extraordinary emotional power, Linda Olsson's stunningly well-crafted debut novel recounts the unusual and unexpected friendship that develops between two women. Veronika, a young writer from New Zealand, rents a house in a small Swedish village as she tries to come to terms with a recent tragedy while also finishing a novel. Her arrival is silently observed by Astrid, an older, reclusive neighbor who slowly becomes a presence in Veronika's life, offering comfort in the form of companionship and lovingly prepared home-cooked meals. Set against a haunting Swedish landscape, Astrid & Veronika is a lyrical and meditative novel of love and loss, and a story that will remain with readers long after the characters' secrets are revealed.'

My only other Swedish read prior to this one having been The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I also had no idea what to expect on that front. Unfortunately with this read, the focus is less on the setting than on the friendship, so I didn't feel I got to experience anything distinctly 'Swedish' in culture, although the descriptions of the surrounding wilderness were lovely. Since this was set in a small village, I had wanted to see more of the village lifestyle, but since Astrid and Veronika were so honed in on each other from the very start, I suppose that would be a slightly unrealistic expectation.

As much as I did empathize with the characters, there was something rather contrived about them. Astrid was more my speed than Veronika, and yet she still irked me in that she was rather static. Veronika was less dysfunctional, but I really didn't understand her motives throughout the book. Why a small village in Sweden? Sure, Sweden is her native country, but of all the places in the world? As a world traveller, I would suspect her of wanting a change of pace to write her novel in, not something so familiar. I found a few of Astrid's scenes problematic as well, but she still felt more realistic to me than Veronika.

Astrid & Veronika is more unfocused than I would like, but an interesting book about two women's life stories. Although I found the main plot dealing with Astrid and Veronika's friendship to be lacking, their flashbacks kept me engaged, helping me finish this before the Travel the World in Books readathon ended. If you enjoy contemporary fiction about friendships, you may find this book of more interest than I did, since I'm more interested in historical narratives.

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars for a good, if a little too meandering, read.

Content: Ages 18+ for violence and abuse.

Page Count: 247 pages in my paperback edition

Sunday, November 15, 2015

NQAC: Biweekly Update #22: Taking Up Genealogy and a Crazy Lazy Cat

I was doing pretty well this week until I heard about the tragic events overseas (Paris, Beirut, Japan, and elsewhere). I actually ignored the newscasts for two days to keep my head in the sand a while longer. After I finally read all the news, it's safe to say I haven't been in a reading mood lately, since I was reading epic fantasy of the usual violent vein, with a fair bit of tragedy sprinkled in. I'm thinking of reading books by my favorite authors for the next few weeks to get out of my funky mood, as I am really far behind on my reading challenge for Goodreads (not that it actually matters much to me). That said, I think people shouldn't be blabbering on social media on things they know little to nothing about. And because I loathe blathering about things other than books, I'll keep this short: No one can win the blame game. And, as Ellen Degeneres so aptly puts it, be kind to one another.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

the-pile Additions:

The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien
I've been coveting this one, even though I don't even have The Silmarillion yet. So when I found this at the thrift shop as a brand new hardcover for $1.49, I didn't hesitate to pick it up.

the-invisible-pile Additions:

I've been looking for this one for roughly two years, and although I had seen copies around before, they were ridiculously high priced. Since I've signed up for Orbit's newsletters, they tell me when their books are super cheap, and this one was a week or so ago. Although I may not pick it up until later, I am excited to read it despite its supposed 'darkness'.

Four Books of the Tang Dynasty Series:

I forget who recommended this one, but I added My Fair Concubine to my Amazon wishlist some time ago due to that recommendation. The entire series was on sale roughly a week ago, so I snagged the ones that sounded the best to me. These are historical romances set in China, and I absolutely adore the covers, especially The Sword Dancer's cover.

The Dragon and the Pearl (Tang Dynasty #2) by Jeannie Lin

My Fair Concubine (Tang Dynasty #3) by Jeannie Lin

The Sword Dancer (Tang Dynasty, #4) by Jeannie Lin

A Dance with Danger (Lovers and Rebels, #2) (Tang Dynasty #5) by Jeannie Lin

Currently Reading:

The Red Knight (The Traitor Son Cycle #1) by Miles Cameron
I was avidly reading this until Friday, and since then I've been stalled at 28%ish. I really was enjoying it, but darker books aren't the best for me when I'm in a darker mood.

Genealogy Books:

I recently delved into the murkiness that is my ancestry. As it turns out, in the late 1800s/early 1900s, it was a hobby to record your ancestry/lineage in book form, which then, in more recent times, became available as ebooks/scanned books. This is ever so helpful when the ancestry you happen to be tracking up and disappears at the turn of the century, and even more helpful when you aren't in contact with anyone who would know anything but the basics about your grandparents. My mom was adopted in the '50s, knows her birth mom very well, but she's never even met her birth father, so tracking her side of the family is enlightening. I might be Dutch! And then, with my father's mom, I really had no clue other than "she might've been Scottish" and her maiden name to go on. She was actually (if the lineage has it right) British. What? This is all very perplexing to me, since I was told she was Scottish and/or Irish.

Then I learned both of my grandparents names weren't their actual names: my grandfather was supposed to be Emmett- his name was actually Robert. My grandmother's name was also supposed to be something else, and it was actually Mary. Why did they all use their middle names as their real names?

A History of the Doggett-Daggett Family by Samuel Bradlee Doggett
I'm having a good laugh at some of the wording in this book. At one point, they say the Doggetts are the noblest family pretty much ever. Nope on that, but it is interesting to note the family motto was "Do not despair". My grandmother lost two of her husbands and two of her children in her lifetime. If this lineage isn't grossly exaggerated and is actually accurate, that's morbidly humorous.

Genealogy of the Onderdonk Family in America by Elmer Onderdonk
I haven't read much of this, but this ancestry is confusing me. You see, I googled my biological great grandfather's full name, and it appears in the book, but if this is correct, his surname should be Onderdonk, not his mother's maiden name. The birth date, location, and everything else are perfect. Is it possible that he was born out of wedlock, therefore keeping his mother's maiden name, or am I missing something else? I feel a bit out of my depth on this one- I'm considering going to a genealogy expert and asking for their take on it.

Weird Coincidence Alert: If I am related to the Onderdonks, their name means "under hill". Mr. Underhill was the alias of Frodo Baggins.

Finished These Books:

This is the first paranormal romance/urban fantasy I remember reading that has a main character who is a single mother. I think this is in the 3.5 Star range, as I was entertained, but wasn't completely sold on the book, despite the more diverse characters and interesting setting. I like books set in small towns, but I think I wanted a bit more out of this one (and I'm not even sure what I mean by more).

In the Blogosphere:

Dragana @ Bookworm Dreams compares herself to other bookworms worldwide in terms of reading habits.

Kritika @ Snowflakes & Spider silk is seeking a co-blogger. I'm not sure if she's found one yet, so if you're interested, head on over there.

Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings decided to share the love by having a giveaway for her birthday.

In My Life:

Current Obsession Updates:

Genealogy: My grandfather's parents were both born in Ireland. If the records are right, my great grandmother was born in Northern Ireland, and my great grandfather was born in what they called "The Irish Free State". Now I wonder if they met in America, or Ireland?

Blue Stars = Born in the USA

Four Leaf Clovers = Born in Ireland

Prior to my investigations, I knew none of my great grandparents' names. Now I know 3 out of 4 sets of their names. Pretty good for a week's work.


This is a gift I've been trying to complete so I can mail it. I'm thinking of making myself one to carry my Kindle around in (although, truth be told, that thing rarely leaves my hands).


Georgie's 1st Christmas Tree

These mini Christmas trees (my mom bought three) will be mounted to the weighted Christmas tins, then decorated. Thus far, I have decided to try and knit covers for the tins/tree stands, but I haven't decided on the colors or anything like that. Since these will be outside on our porch, which I decorate with red velvet ribbons, I'm guessing red will be the main color for them.

Pets George:

At the end of the summer, I finally found suitable boards to put on top of our living room radiators for George to perch more comfortably on. I'm still not sure if he likes them or not...

George Learns to Play Dead

Have you ever dabbled in genealogy? Do you have any tips for this poor newbie (whose grandparents don't even use their real names)?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

"Kutath (The Faded Sun #3)" by C.J. Cherryh

This is the third (and final) book in The Faded Sun Trilogy, and there may be are spoilers in the review for those of you who haven't read the first two books. For a spoiler free review, check out my take on Kesrith, the first book of the trilogy.

Having finally arrived on Kutath during the course of Shon'jir, Sten Duncan's 'coming of mri' has been accomplished, but getting a planet-full of mri used to a human who two mri have accepted as one of them? That takes some time to achieve, and that's how this book begins, along with that pesky armada of human/regul allies arriving to disturb the peace.

Although some people may have been perturbed by the last book's inclusion of vacant (yet habitable) planets leading to Kutath, I really didn't think it was that sinister. I realize in this sci-fi universe, things might not work under the same rules as our universe, but there are planets capable of life that simply have no lifeforms adrift in our universe. Finding several in a row in a universe capable of intergalactic travel might be eerie, but the way that it was emphasized in this book was a bit out of hand, in my opinion.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'When the Mri, a proud and noble race of warriors serving as mercenaries in exchange for a planet to call home, confront the human enemies of their employers, they encounter a method of warfare alien to their system of honor. No match for the Mri one to one, despite their similar physiology, the humans fight without honor, driving the Mri to extinction with superior numbers and firepower. Both the humans and the regul - former employers of the Mri whose trade disputes with humans sparked the war in which the Mri were slaughtered - see them as nothing more than professional warriors, the most dangerous killers in the galaxy. They take no prisoners, they have no fear of death, they keep the company of dangerous beasts. And yet there is a deep and powerful truth at the heart of Mri culture, hidden even to the warriors, who are the hand of contact with the outside world. True secrets of Mri culture have never been known to the outside, until one human being makes direct, personal contact. To understand their ways, he will have to become more Mri than human....'

We learn some interesting factoids about Reguls in this book. From previous books, I've learned Regul elders are the only valuable Reguls- if they are Regul young, and remain sexless (yep, that's a thing) they can be killed/neglected with almost entire impunity. Regul young are almost like drones of the beehive, as they still are capable of movement, so they do the physical work, while the Regul elders are almost completely reliant on their 'sleds' (think space age Hoverounds). When some unfortunate circumstances transpire in this book, some of the Regul young are spurred into their puberty/sexual maturation, which led me to this Goodreads update. Luckily for the Regul, they can choose their biological sex as they go through their maturation process, although they pretty much are only capable of 'breeding' for a short time after they hit puberty.

My relationship with Melein has been slightly ambivalent due to having no chapters written from her perspective, but with Kutath, it seems my impressions of her have improved. She seemed so soulless in the last book, but you get to see more of why she keeps that facade in this book, when tough decisions come knocking. I think of the mri, I obviously prefer Niun, as he shows the most emotion, but Melein comes a close second due to her queen-bee-ness in this book.

Kutath is as excellent as I thought it would be, but I had hoped for a bit more. Nonetheless, this series has proven itself to be an engaging science fiction expedition for those of us fascinated with alien species and diplomacy. If you find yourself craving something like epic fantasy, but set in space, look no further than The Faded Sun Trilogy.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent conclusion to an excellent sci-fi trilogy!

Content: Ages 16+ for violence, non-graphic Regul breeding, and questionable use of explosives.

Page Count: 256 pages

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy #1)" by Douglas Adams

The beginning of this book didn't impress me near as much as the second half- and I have my childhood experience of watching the movie to blame for it. Sometimes watching the movie does ruin the book, and for me, it did greatly affect my perception of the first half of the book, so naturally I didn't have the best first impressions. The movie version made little to no sense to me, having watched it when I was roughly 13 years old with little grasp of satire- you have to have a slightly peculiar sense of humor to realize some of the more subtle moments in this book.

Beyond that, I have become less tolerant over the years of the basic absence of female characters in some (usually older) sci-fi/fantasy books. So when the book has basically one 'main' female character, and you're used to reading books teeming with female characters, as it is your preference... let's say you miss all those badass ladies. If you don't mind books with mostly male characters, you likely won't even notice, so consider this my pet peeve.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
'Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.'

That said, I wish I'd read this book back in my irreverent teen years (15-18), as I would've loved this one likely more than I do now. The humor (and/or sarcasm) is right on target, as seen in this snippet from Chapter 15:

In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

         ~The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Chapter 15

If that's not your sort of humor, you may want to consider skipping this one. Naturally there are funnier bits, but those have longer set-ups as well as the eminent possibility of spoilers. The characters, although mostly male *sighs*, are the key to making this book what it is. Specifically, I found Marvin the Paranoid Android my favorite of the bunch, but maybe that's because I like dark humor.

If you don't own The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yet, don't panic. You should be able to pick up a copy before you begin your universal travels begin, or, to play it safe, right after you read this review, just in case Earth is set for demolition or something absurdly strange like that. I recommend this to those who enjoy light science fiction laced with quirky humor, as long as the absence of female characters doesn't deter you.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent classic sci-fi that has more than a few laugh out loud moments!

Content: Ages 14+ for brief panicking, crimes against sperm whales, and general violence/mayhem.

Page Count: 216 pages of galactic adventures

Fair Warning: If you own a Kindle or other ereader, this book will make you zealously covet a "Don't Panic" ereader cover.
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