Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fortnightly Update #33: May Flowers and a SEP

Technically, this is more of a monthly update because I skipped my last Fortnightly Update, but nonetheless I'll call it that. I won't be tempted to skip again next time, given how much I had to type up in terms of my invisible-pile acquisitions and my finished books. However, I'm happy to be on a reading spree rather than a drought, as it seems that most of this year has been a bit of a dry patch in terms of reading.

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

the-pile Additions:

Both of these books were from the Dollar Tree
The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell
This is historical fiction which I'm currently reading. I was initially attracted by the cover art and the mention of the author having penned Winter's Bone (I saw the film but never knew it was a book). It's one of those stories where a grandmother is telling the history to her grandchild, and it's interesting so far.

The Rebel Pirate (Renegades of the American Revolution) by Donna Thorland
I wasn't sure whether this one was historical fiction or historical romance, but it had me at the title and cover. I like books with pirate themes- perhaps because I know so little about pirates, sailing, and the ocean that I can put down my critic's monocle and simply read for fun. From the reviews, it sounds more like historical romance.

the-invisible-pile Additions:

Sister Light, Sister Dark (Great Alta #1) by Jane Yolen
This is actually an older YA novel by Jane Yolen, who wrote Briar Rose. Since I liked Briar Rose, I picked it up to add to my hoard of older fantasy that features prophecies and the like.

Time and Again by Clifford D. Simak
A while ago, I read Way Station which impressed me enough that I'm on the lookout for more of Simak's work. Time and Again features sci-fi and time travel.

Traitor's Blade (Greatcoats #1) by Sebastien de Castell
About three years ago I wanted to read this book, but due to the Amazon/Hachette feud (remember that?) the price for the Kindle version was $27. I finally declared victory by snagging it as a Kindle Daily Deal.

The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1) by Brandon Sanderson
This is a middle grade book by Brandon Sanderson. Of course I had to have it!

Cards of Grief by Jane Yolen
Another book by Jane Yolen, but this one is a first contact story featuring aliens who center themselves around death and grieving. It won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for 1985.

Tales of Wonder by Jane Yolen
In one of the Amazon reviews, it was described as a book of fairy tales for adults. Who can resist that?

Latest Humble Bundle (which I now call humbly-bundly in my Goodreads tags):

Super Nebula Author Showcase
There are many books, novellas, and comics available in this bundle- as per usual, I chose the $1+ bundle. The most exciting thing to me in the entire thing was a cookbook (Ad Astra: The 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook) that featured a recipe for pineapple fried rice which Octavia E. Butler apparently liked. I love fried rice and pineapple, but I've never eaten pineapple fried rice before (which I'll soon be remedying). I won't be listing the titles but definitely check the bundle out if you're a fan of sci-fi and fantasy.

Currently Reading:

The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell
I'm not very far in yet, but it is interesting.

Finished These Books:

A lot of romance authors would've avoided or tastelessly dealt with one of the core, spoilery issues in this book, but somehow Sabrina Jeffries wrote it in such a way that I had no complaints. This is a bit darker than your average historical romance, so tread on to lighter books if you prefer them.

This historical romance was on the verge of fantasy, but I liked it anyways. A shopgirl rescues a duke from death, which somehow leads to her inadvertently being assumed to be his fiancée. As you can imagine, some absurdities ensued.

I read the Kindle preview for this and kept reading it until I had to sleep, finishing it the next day. Though it was gripping, from a patient's perspective it was a bit... disconcerting. Both of my grandmas, and my cousin happen to be nurses at different points in their life, so although I do empathize with Theresa's perspective, I feel like she almost wanted to make herself out to be this absolutely fantastic nurse (the pinnacle of nursedom, perhaps?). Life in hospitals is so much different from the patient's perspective that seeing the nurse's take was a bit worrying (because she so obviously favored people, even though they didn't necessarily need her help- to the point she didn't tend to her core job of medical care). To add to that sour feeling, she tended to go off on literary tangents that I felt had little to do with the story itself ("X book had this to say about X, and here's why I dis/liked that"). Every chapter, I began to look for a reference to an obscure book, poem, story, or essay, almost as a game, because she usually did add one. I feel like if she took those out and relied on her own voice, it would've been a much better book. That said, she had a doctorate in English prior to becoming a nurse, so maybe that's why she felt the need to add those. And I found myself wondering why she became a nurse when she had such an education?
Nonfiction is not my strong point, but I felt this book could've been a lot better with more edits.

There was a spoilery issue I had with this that had to do with the hero's conduct early in the book... which pretty much made the rest of it not so good for me.

I wrote a review for this one, but basically I didn't feel like the author made the elements of urban fantasy her own in such a short book, and I didn't like the characters all that much.

Violet (V #6) by Jane Feather
A historical romance with a strong heroine who acts more like a fantasy heroine, Violet was right up my alley. Given that I felt tempted to skim at times and some of the set up for the sex scenes was a bit outrageous, I had to rate this one three stars instead of any higher.

A mystery that was actually pretty good, but a bit on the long side of things. I was surprised at how much I guessed right, given how far out I thought my guesses to be. In other words, this is a bit nontraditional for a classic book.

Legion (Legion #1) and Skin Deep (Legion #2)* by Brandon Sanderson (the Benevolent)
I wrote a Twofer Review for these- basically, I prefer high fantasy Sanderson.

In a word, this one was trippy. It starts out like a normal mystery, but then devolves into pseudo-philosophy (which is not my strong suit). 

In My Life:

Oops.. phlox, not plox.

The weather has been up and down the thermometer lately- at the end of April, we had snow, which is unusual, and this Wednesday we are supposed to get more. I've been very impressed with the yard this year because although I haven't been able to do half of what I used to (trim hedges, fertilize roses, etc.). The fantastic PHlox has endured one snow shower without wilting, so we'll see how long it lasts.

I'm scheduled for a SEP, a Somatosensory Evoked Potential in about a week. I've done an EEG (a long time ago) and from what I read, this sounds similar, only trying to detect if signals/sensations from my feet/hands/etc. are being properly sent to my brain through my spine. It's another test they're attempting to rule out the syrinx with, but because I have so many unexplained symptoms from eyelash to toe (double vision, random muscle weakness, occasional tremor/spasms in my hands, and not to mention my fabulously unique walk), it may still take a while longer.

Happy Reading!


  1. Yes, I remember the Amazon/Hachett war well, ha ha. I think it was the first big book blogging "drama" (scandal?) that surfaced when I first started blogging. Can you explain to me how those Humble Bundles work? I tried to figure it out a couple of months ago and ended up buying nothing because my foggy old brain wasn't grasping the concept. Ha! Pineapple fried rice is good because it has pork in it. I made a vegetarian version once and it just wasn't the same. :/

    1. It seemed to be the talk of the book blogging world- especially if I was miffed about it. I tended to keep far from the mainstream book bloggers, so a lot of the drama went right past me.

      Humble Bundles basically are for charity, though usually the author/publisher does get a small cut of what you pay. They usually have levels- pay $1+ you get a basic pack, pay $8+ you get more, and pay $15+ you get everything the bundle has to offer. One bad thing about it is the ebooks usually show up like NetGalley books in your Kindle and you have to look for them under Documents instead of books. I usually buy the $1+ option and just get the basic books (sometimes they'll have audiobooks, but you'd have to ask someone else how well they work- I've never used mine). I just recently started buying them because before I wasn't sure how they worked either.

      I will try mine without pork. My father was very Old Testamently anti-pork, so I grew up mostly without it and always felt weird when people wanted me to eat it. I still can't eat ham without being all weird-feeling. I think I may make it semi-dessert-y by adding coconut. Hopefully it will taste good!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, La La!
      ~Litha Nelle


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