[Book Review] Conceptually intriguing, casually terrible

Eyre Affair.jpgBook Review: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

So many things to dislike, so little time to talk about them all.

(Spoilers ahead. All the spoilers, because idgaf.)

I rarely try books more than once, so I should have trusted my gut when I got stuck a couple chapter in – not once but twice. But this week, I got the audiobook, because I really wanted to get through this book about a murder mystery in an alternative history fantasy world of time travel and literature. Lesson learned, because this book was terrible.

I grit my teeth through the prose style and weird perspective shifts. I was willing to suffer through the self-indulgent literary babble and fangirling, because, okay, literature is as religion in this world, and as a book lover, I totally get it. I even powered through the weird inconsistencies: Okay, this universe has casual time travel, and yet the biggest mystery in Fforde’s world is the identity of the true author of Shakespeare’s plays? And Thursday is the first person ever to ask a time traveler to check? Fine, whatever. Continue reading

This month in the mine shaft: January


  • The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★
  • The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★
  • The Falling Woman by Pat Murphy ★★★★☆
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor ★★★★☆
  • Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells ★★★★☆
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick ★★★★☆
  • I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley ★★★★☆
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben ★★★★☆
  • Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★☆
  • Trickster by Jeff Somers ★★★★☆
  • Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal ★★★☆☆
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham ★★★☆☆
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling ★★★☆☆
  • I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi ★★★☆☆
  • Shade Chaser by Clara Coulson ★★★☆☆
  • Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern ★★☆☆☆






Onward to February! What’s on your to-read list?

Want to buddy read something?

[Book Review] Possessed priest seeks renegade shaman

Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold 


Penric, a demon-possessed sorcerer and a divine of the Bastard’s Order, is content doing scholarly things in the court of the Princess-Archdivine. But when an investigator needs the services of a sorcerer to track a runaway shaman accused of murder, the Princess-Archdivine assigns Penric to accompany Senior Locator Oswyl on his mission into the snowblown winter mountains to capture the shaman and bring him to justice.

Bujold has yet to disappoint. With a few deft strokes, she paints a cast of intriguing characters with rich internal lives and motivations. Brilliant pacing, an engaging plot, and all delivered with that deft  touch I’ve long come to associate with this series. This is also one of the few – if not the only – series (and I count all the Five Gods books in this) that I can think of that handles religion and fantasy beautifully, with a mixture of grace, humanity and irreverent humor. (Lackey’s Valdemar world is the only other one that comes to mind, but there, the spiritualism takes more of a ba Continue reading

[Book Review] Clocks, souls, and a bunch of pissed off werewolves

Shade Chaser by Clara Coulson

Shade Chaser.png

In the last book, we had rookie detective Calvin Kinsey take on an ancient, angry god-entity as it tried to murder its way through Aurora, Michigan. In Shade Chaser, murder and mayhem are afoot once again. When the former mayor, prominent city witch, and a local ware wolf are found brutally murdered in the basement of a popular city bar, it’s up to Cal and his gang of elite investigators to unravel an interspecies conspiracy.

Things (and buildings) continue to explode all over the place. Bodies are discovered in unexpected places. Cal continues to make questionable life choices. Continue reading

Blogging, birthdays, and blogaversaries

The wonderful Audrey Writes Abroad launched this blog birthday tag to celebrate her blog year anniversary! Then Elizabelle tagged my buddy-read mischevian-in-crime Tash who tagged me, and so here we are. Happy Blogaversary, world!

The Rules:-

  1. Say you’re a champion out loud.
  2. Write a post in which you answer the questions below. (You can change or add questions if you want to.)
  3. Tag as many blogging champions as you wish so we can all create a huge chain of Champ Happiness and enlighten everyone’s day and possibly prompt a full hour of perfect World Wide Peace.
  4. Link this page in your post so I can read everyone’s answers and know more about you!

How old is your blog?

As of me writing this, my blog is exactly this old:

5 Years
8 Months
14 Days
18 Hours
25 Minutes
46 Seconds
Give or take a few days. My blog is a January baby that took its first steps on Tumblr before being unceremoniously dumped here.
Astrology sign: Aquarius.
Birthstone: Red garnet.
Mission: Books.

What was your blog’s first words?

My first ever post and book review starts, rather ominously, “A novel of the Liaden Universe, the front cover says.”

This first post (later reposted here from Tumblr) was a review of the space opera read, A Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Rather tellingly, it is a scathing one-star. It was closely followed by another review, titled, There’s a terrified reader down there.

While there have been a great number of five-stars, the dead canary hall of fame has included…

What are you most proud about your blog?

I should probably say something about books and reading and literature, but five years. Five years. That’s like, half a lifespan of a domestic canary.


If you had to describe your blog in one picture what would it be?


What are your hopes for your blog’s future?

I wouldn’t mind another five years of amazing.

In what Hogwarts House would your blog be and why?

Ravenclaw, because that raven wishes it were a bright, yellow canary.


I nominate anyone else who wants to celebrate their blog birthday!

[Book Review] Short stories and Shadowed Souls

Book Review: Shadowed Souls, edited by Kerrie L. Hughes & Jim Butcher

Shadowed Souls.jpgThis has been a great month for short story collections and Urban Fantasy. I just finished Patricia Briggs’ Shifting Shadows, a collection of stories from her Mercy Thompson werewolf world, when this book popped up on my radar. Shadowed Souls. Am I on a short-story-collections-that-have-‘Shadow”-in-their-title kick? Seems so!

So Shadowed Souls. Where do I start? How about with the list of authors:

Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Tanya Huff, Anton Strout, Kat Richardson, Kevin J Anderson, Lucy A. Snyder, Jim C. Hines, Erik Scott de Bie, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Rob Thurman.  Just writing out all these author names is setting my heart aflutter all over again. The stories span the entire spectrum of mood and tone, from playful banter and zany world-building, to chilling darkness and regret. Continue reading

Love, ghosts, and traitors in WWI London

The Book I Ended Up Reading. Cuz Cover.

Ghost Talkers

Yep. It’s historic fantasy, a genre I don’t often read, but after a couple weeks of agony and watching the publication date of this new release creep up on me (and past), I broke down and went for it.

Man, am I glad I did.

The Plot:

London. World War I. Ginger Stuyvesant is an American heiress and a powerful medium serving in the British Spirit Corps, a secret, spiritualist force in the military tasked with hearing the field reports of dead soldiers and passing along military intelligence. Continue reading