I’m reading Throne of Glass. Please send more chocolate.

Sometimes, I wonder if I live in a parallel book universe and so the super popular books I read are not the super popular books everyone else read. Because this book is terrible.

I am just under a hundred pages into Throne of Glass, and if this wasn’t a buddy read with the lovely Tash whom I do not want to disappoint (and a library book), I’d have cut out the pages to make small, angry-looking origami animals.

But I don’t want to have to pay the library’s book damage fine, and I don’t want to disappoint Tash, so instead, I made a Bingo game. (Because Bingo is safer than drinking, kids.)

You too can play along at home.

GLASS (2).png

Just 300 pages to go.

I am viciously devouring a lot of chocolate right now. Please send more.

 

 

Advertisements

The Cover Made Me Read It: The Dream Protocol: Descent by Adara Quick

The soft, vintage tones. The flowy dress. The dramatic clockwork moth. The lovely font on the cover. I had to read this.

The premise: Diedre is a teen in a futuristic underground city where the caste system is all, sleep and dreams are manufactured by the elites, and anyone who turns 35 is eliminated from the system. In a dystopian world frantically obsessed with youth, Diedre’s best friend, Flynn, was born with a genetic condition that ages him prematurely. If anyone finds out, he’s as good as dead.

Impressions: I was looking for some Lana Del Rey summertime sadness with this – a touch of hipster, a bit of romantic subplot, a dash of dystopia.

Instead, and despite the incredibly clever world concept, the novel reads like a kind of morality tale, in which teen characters speak out against the system in eloquent, full sentences and rhetorical questions. Continue reading

My year of Non Fiction

Canary friends! Remember when I posted about how great it would be to diversify my own reading, dip my toes into some non fiction, try some new stuff out?* The dip turned out to be an all inclusive two-year stay.

But I’m back now. Fantasy and sci-fi, here I come.

2015-2016 Books Read List:

 The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson Under and Alone by William Queen Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn Everything is Obvious by Duncan J. Watts The Immortal Game by David ShenkAll the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister Ghettoside by Jill Leovy Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates How to Fly a Horse by Kevin Ashton Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny LawsonCathedral of the Wild by Boyd Varty Animal Wise by Virginia Morell Being Mortal by Atul Gawande Pandemic by Sonia Shah The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami Rising Strong by Brené BrownThe Big Short by Michael Lewis I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling Bad Feminist by Roxane GayThe Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling Originals by Adam M. GrantWaste-Free Kitchen Handbook by Dana Gunders Spinster by Kate BolickDark Money by Jane Mayer Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari Never Broken by JewelSounds Like Me by Sara BareillesEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery America Again by Stephen Colbert Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss Kitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainDaring Greatly by Brené Brown Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson Yes Please by Amy Poehler You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day First Bite by Bee WilsonMy Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem A Brief History of Creation by Bill Mesler Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell Grain Brain by David PerlmutterDays of Rage by Bryan Burrough When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew  Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim Working Stiff by Judy Melinek Kill Chain by Andrew CockburnThe Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee Endurance by Alfred Lansing Surprise by Tania Luna Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey Moody Bitches by Julie HollandThe Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee The Mormon People by Matthew Bowman Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter Future Crimes by Marc GoodmanIt Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell Made to Stick by Chip Heath It's What I Do by Lynsey Addario The Powerhouse by Steve Levine Fields of Blood by Karen Armstrong The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill LeporeHow Google Works by Eric Schmidt Angry Optimist by Lisa Rogak Now I See You by Nicole C. Kear Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo Switch by Chip Heath The $100 Startup by Chris GuillebeauBehind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel Drive by Daniel H. Pink Blink by Malcolm Gladwell Born to Run by Christopher McDougall How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters by Andrew Shaffer

 

*This is why I am not allowed to have reasonable sounding goals anymore. These things escalate quite quickly.

[Small Chirp] Those books you just can’t make yourself read

I suspect everyone has a few of these books. They’re the guilty secret – the great books you want to read, but over the course of weeks, months, and years, just can’t seem to get around to opening. Ugh.

The mental block.

The agony.

The what-is-wrong-with-me?

Here is my short-list of books I want to read, but just can’t seem to.

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)

There really is no excuse for me not to have read this book – or this entire series, really. For about three years now, I’ve put it off.

Thing is, I have it on good authority that the Hunger Games series is awesome. That Collins is awesome. That I will read this book and feel that happy zen zing of a great book devoured. I know I can munch my way through all three books over a weekend, then finish off with the movies.

And that brings me to the other reason I really ought to read The Hunger Games. I can’t watch the movies until I read the books. It’s a rule. But it just doesn’t seem enough yet.

2. Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay

The Last Light of the Sun

This book sits on my shelf. It’s been sitting on my shelf since my birthday two years ago. And it judges me. Oh man, it judges me.

I even read the first page (and liked it!) but then the book went back to my shelf.

Where it sits to this day.

Judging me. Continue reading

[Small Chirps] Surviving the Crazy Romance Novel

Those of you who follow the The Canary Review even a bit might know that I have a weakness. This weakness comes in the form of popcorn fiction of the romantic sort. Gimme chick lit, and paranormal romances, and romantic fluff, and I am set.

…or the respective eye size and placement (see above).

However, those of you who’ve been around me a little longer may also know that I am a born again feminazi of the most lovable sort who enjoys constructivist theories on the side and watches adorable Disney movies with one eye trained on the waist-hip ratio of the characters.

So what’s my trick? How do I manage to get through the truly ridiculous without throwing books against the wall?

Easy: I have a very well developed coping mechanism. Let me pull out an example.

I’m going to pick on Feehan’s Dark (Carpathian) series because, well, I haven’t been able to get through a single one of her books without eye-rolling since I was sixteen. But my love-hate relationship with them means I can’t resist the books whenever I spot them.

From what I’ve sampled, this series has all the hallmarks of overblown paranormal romance, from the Good & Noble Vampires™ to the Irresistible Soulmates™ trope used in lieu of relationship-building. Gender roles are crisply defined: The Carpathian Male (read: the vampire guy) is an instinct-driven creature, overwhelmingly possessive and territorial when it comes to “his” woman. Even if our petite, lovely, and compassionate lady is independent and modern, she finds that she much prefers to cuddle with Dominating Male, courtesy of  the aforementioned Irresistible Soulmates™ effect, than do her own stuff. Continue reading

[Book Review] The only living werewolf girl in town

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson

In the world of shapeshifter stories (and urban fantasy, in general), it’s pretty common for the female protagonist to be a rarity among her kind. This trope pretty much guarantees that the main character will have endless material for romantic subplots (and romantic angst) and a deep well of built-in turmoil.

They're endangered, and in danger!

They’re endangered, and in danger!

Full Blooded (Jessica McClain, #1)

So when I saw Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson had gone all the way to the extreme of the spectrum, I was curious. Werewolf Jessica McClain isn’t just rare – she’s the only female werewolf ever. This odd fact comes with a lot of baggage.

On the one hand, the werewolves think she’s the lupine version of the Antichrist. On the other hand, hiding the fact that she’s a werewolf from her kind and from regular humans is getting harder and harder. A disgruntled cop is stalking Jessica, trying to catch her doing something illegal so he can put her away for a couple dozen years, and Jessica’s wolf instincts keep waking up and telling her to eat people she doesn’t like. Oh, and she’s also a private detective to pay the bills. Continue reading

[Small Chirp] Sneak peek at the next book in my favorite-love-to-hate series

To everyone, even those who don’t know my long love-to-hate relationship with the books, I refer to Pittacus Lore’s series exclusively as IAmSexy Number Four. There is a whole legion of very confused people wandering around the Midwest trying to find such an excellently titled series. Sometimes they actually stumble upon the real books and, after reading the first, they say, “Meg, this is utterly terrible. Why did you make them sound so good?”

And I always tell them, “Wait, read the second one. It gets better.”

And that, canaries, is how I lose friends. Continue reading