Narilka reads and keeps 2021 colorful part 2

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Narilka reads and keeps 2021 colorful part 2

Editado: Jul 17, 8:45am

Second thread for 2021.

My Rating System
- Absolutely horrible, don't bother

- Meh, I finished the book somehow but would not recommend it

- An entertaining read

- Highly enjoyable, I would probably recommend this book

- Excellent! The book may not be perfect but it was perfect for me. Possibly a new favorite.

A star is given for a book that falls between those categories.

Currently Reading

Listening To

Editado: Jul 21, 11:47am

Books Read in 2021
1. Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger
2. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
3. How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-world Problems by Randall Munroe
4. The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
5. Assassin's Code by Jonathan Maberry
6. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
7. The Sword of Kaigen by ML Wang
8. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
9. The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan (Theft of Swords pt 1)
10. Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
11. Space Team by Barry J. Hutchinson
12. Avempartha by Michael J. Sullivan (Theft of Swords pt 2)
13. Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
14. Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews
15. A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
16. Nyphron Rising by Michael J. Sullivan (Rise of Empire pt 1)
17. The Case of the Damaged Detective by Drew Hayes
18. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
19. The Emerald Storm by Michael J. Sullivan (Rise of Empire pt 2)
20. Pawsitively Secretive by Melissa Erin Jackson
21. Wintertide by Michael J. Sullivan (Heir of Novron pt 1)
22. Extinction Machine by Jonathan Maberry
23. Pawsitively Swindled by Melissa Erin Jackson
24. Warping Minds & Other Misdemeanors by Annette Marie and Rob Jacobsen
25. Percepliquis by Michael J. Sullivan (Heir of Novron pt 2)
26. Pawsitively Betrayed by Melissa Erin Jackson
27. Wisdom of Donkeys by Andy Merrifield
28. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
29. Awaken Online: Ember by Travis Bagwell
30. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
31. The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
32. Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
33. The Case of the Haunted Haunted House by Drew Hayes
34. Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
35. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
36. Stuff and Nonsense by Andrew Seiple
37. Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
38. Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews
39. Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
40. Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams
41. Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
42. Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Fun Stats
Books Read: 42
Total Pages Read: 10802
Audio Book Hours: 107h 8m
Rereads: 5
TBR Challenge: 6/12

2021 Series Stats
In progress: 14
Up to date: 13
On Hold: 4
Completed: 6
Abandoned: 2

Mount TBR
Start 2020: 211
End 2020: ?

Editado: Jun 12, 3:15pm

TBR Challenge
Aiming for 12 books. I'd be thrilled if I completed more.


1. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
2. Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan Completed March 13, 2021
3. Mind to Matter by Dawson Church
4. The Wisdom of Donkeys by Andy Merrifield DNF May 24, 2021
5. Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews Completed March 18, 2021
6. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
7. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
8. Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger Completed Jan 4, 2021
9. Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss Completed Jan 10, 2021
10. Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey
11. Pawsitively Secretive by Melissa Erin Jackson Completed Apr 20, 2021

Carryover from 2020
1. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
2. Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan
3. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harai
4. Circe by Madeline Miller
5. Never Grow Up by Jackie Chan
6. The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku
7. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
8. Wool by Hugh Howey
9. Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh
10. Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
11. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
12. Hunter by Mercedes Lackey
13. A Cat Named Darwin by William Jordan

Editado: Jul 21, 11:48am

My Personal Incomplete Series Challenge
Keeping my never-ending series list going for yet another year. Let's see if I complete any in 2021.

Series Stats Summary
In progress: 14
Up to date: 13
On Hold: 4
Completed: 6
Abandoned: 2

In Progress
Discworld: Rincewind - 6/8
Discworld: City Watch - 5/8
Discworld: Tiffany Aching - 2/5
Discworld: Overall - 30/41
The Dresden Files - 7/17
Temeraire - 2/9
The Empire Trilogy - 1/3
The Guild Codex: Spellbound* - 6/8
Joe Ledger* - 5/10
World of the Five Gods - 2/3
Space Team* - 1/11
Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Mysteries - 1/4
Awaken Online: Tarot* - 1/3
Threadbare* - 1/3

Up to date and waiting
The Band - 2/2 - #3 expected 2022
Skyward 2/2 - #3 expected 2021
The Witchlands - 3/3 - #4 expected 2021
Awaken Online* - 4/4 - #5 TBD
Innkeeper Chronicles - 4/4 - #5 TBD
The Darkwater Legacy* - 1/1 - #2 TBD
The Hidden Legacy - 5/5 - #6 expected 2022
The Goddess War - 1/1 - #2 expected 2021
Threshold - 4/4 - #5 TBD
The Metaframe War - 5/5 - #6 expected Dec 2021
The Brackenford Cycle - 4/4 - #5 TBD
Guild Codex: Warped - 1/1 - #2 TBD
5-minute Sherlock* - 2/2 - #3 TBD

Temporarily On Hold While I Try to Reduce my TBR
The Burning - 1/2
The Folk of the Air* - 1/3
King of Scars - 1/2
The Book of the Ice - 1/2

Completed in 2021
Finishing School - 4/4
Mistborn Era 1 - 3/3
Riyria Revelations - 6/6
Witch of Edgehill - 5/5
Enchanted Forest Chronicles - 4/4
Kate Daniels - 10/10

Abandoned in 2021
The Custard Protocol - 1/4
Hitchhiker's Guide - 3/5

*Indicates series on audio

Maio 25, 9:59am

25. Percepliquis by Michael J. Sullivan (Heir of Novron pt 2)

Percepliquis is the sixth and final book in Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Revelations series. All of the characters are brought back together for one final quest to decide the fate of Elan.

After the quick pace of the previous book I was surprised at how slow this one felt. The story follows two threads: the quest to retrieve the horn and what's going on at home while the heroes are away. The quest portion was a nice nod to Tolkien and the Mines of Moria. Still, I felt my mind wandering a lot as I read, not nearly as engaged with the story as I'd hoped. For the most part the plot goes where you expect it to. Both threads come together in the final 200 pages for an exciting finish with a couple reveals (or revelations perhaps?) at the end that were great character twists.

I loved having all the characters back together again. Myron is definitely my favorite, a wonderful blend of innocence and wisdom. Degan Gaunt is and remains an ass. I feel bad for the people he's going to rule over. He didn't display leadership quality at all. Even Magnus grew on me. Arista finally lived up to her potential as did Modina. Royce and Hadrian were their best selves and I continue to enjoy their fun banter.

Overall this was a nice ending to the series. All the loose ends are tied up and our characters are left in a good place and with plenty room left open should the author decided to write more.


Maio 25, 10:36am

26. Pawsitively Betrayed by Melissa Erin Jackson

The Here and Meow Festival finally arrives in Pawsitively Betrayed, the fifth and final book in the Witch of Edgehill series by Melissa Erin Jackson. Along with it also comes the Penhallow family's plan to regain their magic no matter what the cost is to the witch and non-witch communities. It's a lot for one witch alone to manage.

I said it before in my review the previous installment and I'll say it again: the Witch of Edgehill is so much more than your typical cozy mystery series. Emotional, suspenseful, heartwarming, laugh out loud humor - this ending was everything I could ask for and more. Amber is in over her head and I was genuinely worried for the characters being able to both survive and solve the mystery in time. It's a good thing Amber has friends and family she can rely on. I've grown attached to these characters and I'm sad I have to say goodbye for now.

This was an exciting and satisfying ending to the series. It's one I could see myself rereading in the future.


Maio 25, 10:48am

27. Wisdom of Donkeys by Andy Merrifield

DNF at 20%

Unfortunately the author's meandering, stream of consciousness style prose just wasn't for me. The narrative constantly wanders to whatever seems to be on the author's mind in the moment he was writing it and not enough on his travels with his donkey Gribouille. As always, your mileage may vary.

Rating: N/A

Maio 25, 11:30am

Happy new thread!

Thanks for the warning against the donkey book. It sounds like there are not enough donkeys in.

Maio 25, 1:39pm

>8 Sakerfalcon: Happy to help. I'd still like to read a memoir featuring a donkey so I'll have to do some searching.

I also reached a milestone. >7 Narilka: is my 500th review!

Maio 25, 2:58pm

Happy new thread.

Maio 25, 4:54pm

>5 Narilka: I enjoyed reading your review of the final Riyria Revelations book! I think my general expectations if/when I go back to this series will be a fun and non-challenging series that is enjoyable, but not amazing. I think I remember you said that you’d read the prequel series (Riyria Chronicles)? How did that one compare for you to this series, enjoyment-wise? Any plans to read any of the other related series?

>9 Narilka: Congrats on your milestone!

Maio 25, 5:19pm

>11 YouKneeK: I read Legends of the First Empire last year, which is set several thousand years before Riyria. I think I enjoyed it a tad more though I'd have to go back and compare. It moved me emotionally where Riyria didn't. Writing wise, they're about on par. I'd call them both lite epic fantasy. Enjoyable but not amazing I think is a fair description though there are sooo many people that love these series to death. At this point I'm thinking to wait for next year before tackling Chronicles.

Maio 25, 7:43pm

>12 Narilka: Helpful info, thank you! Your plan to wait a year before Chronicles sounds like a good plan. I think, whenever I decide to tackle the whole thing in print, I might take longer breaks between the subseries than I typically would.

Maio 25, 9:40pm

>13 fuzzi: Adding that to my wish list. Thanks!

Maio 25, 10:46pm

Congrats on your new thread and your 500th review!

Maio 26, 8:00am

Maio 28, 3:34pm

>15 Narilka: you're welcome!

Maio 29, 8:44am

What >16 Karlstar: said! That's quite the milestone!

Maio 31, 5:24pm

Editado: Jun 4, 11:35am

May series update!

Started: 4
Guild Codex: Warped
Awaken Online: Tarot
Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Hitchhiker's Guide

Progressed: 1
Witch of Edgehill

Brought up to date: 1
Guild Codex: Warped

Completed: 2
Riyria Revelations
Witch of Edgehill

Reviews pending: 3

Jun 12, 8:46am

28. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

"Well, I'm not a proper princess, then," Cimorene snapped. "I make cherries jubilee, and I volunteer for dragons, and I conjugate Latin verbs-or at least I would if anyone would let me. So there!"

A princess who refuses to be proper and runs away to live with dragons? Sign me up! Combine this with turning fairy tale tropes on their head and a dash of humor and you have Dealing with Dragons, the first book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. I wish I'd discovered this series as a kid. It would easily be a childhood favorite.

I never knew I wanted to be Cimorene when I grew up. She doesn't let society's expectations of what a princess should be get in the way of living the life she wants. Organizing her dragon's treasure, cooking and fencing are much preferable to being a damsel in distress to be rescued by knights. In fact Cimorene has to keep turning the knights away so she can stay a dragon's princess. They are such a nuisance! Cimorene is courageous, witty, a creative problem solver and learns how to work as a team to accomplish her goals. It's a great message.

Plot wise, there is a mystery to solve. As a story aimed at a middle-grade audience it's not overly complex though Wrede manages to add a couple twists that keep things from being too predictable. There is plenty of action, the story is fast paced and plenty of sly humor to go around.

There is something magical about Dealing with Dragons. It's one of those books that as soon as I finished I couldn't wait to read it again. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.


Jun 12, 9:13am

>22 Narilka: That sounds awfully similar to the plot of Zog - a lovely little film.

Jun 12, 10:22am

>22 Narilka: This was one of my daughter's favorite series when she was young. I keep thinking I should read it but I wonder if I'm too old. Some YA works for any age, but much of it does not.

Jun 12, 10:56am

>24 clamairy: If it helps, I "just" read this back in '17 and adored it.
(sigh, I didn't realize it was that far back. Feels like just last year)

Jun 12, 11:23am

>23 -pilgrim-: Never heard of Zog. That does look cute. There's a trailer here if anyone is interested:
You seem to be filling up my "to watch" list :)

>24 clamairy: You should try it. It's a super fast read too. Pretty sure I finished within 24 hours.

>25 BookstoogeLT: Reread time? :D

Jun 12, 12:05pm

>26 Narilka: That WAS my re-read :-D So probably another 6-10 years before I dive into it again.

Jun 12, 1:39pm

>25 BookstoogeLT: & >26 Narilka: I might give this a go. I have to admit I'm getting a bit tired of the over-complicated political and societal struggles in the sci-fi and fantasy I'm reading lately.

Jun 12, 4:01pm

29. Awaken Online: Ember by Travis Bagwell

I admit I was a bit irritated when I first learned that the author was taking a break from Jason's story to write a short spin off series for Awaken Online. Seeing that Awaken Online is my current LitRPG series of choice it was only a matter of time before I downloaded Ember, the first in the Awaken Online: Tarot series. How does it compare? It is both familiar and different in an intriguing way.

The story revolves around Finn Harris, a retired software programming genius who survived a horrific accident that left him in a wheelchair. Finn's wife died in that accident and he blames himself as he was the one who created the software that failed, causing the autonomous car they were riding in to crash. Locking himself away from the world, Finn's daughter intervenes, forcing him out of his grief and into a new virtual reality game called Awaken Online. She believes something unusual is going on in the game world and wants Finn's help to figure out what is is. Finn has no idea what to expect from the game but it certainly wasn't to be dropped into a school for mages where the students are pitted against each other in Battle Royale-style duels to keep from being expelled. What is going on here?

Fans of Awaken Online should enjoy this new branch to the series. Ember is Finn's origin story and introduction to the game world. It reminded me a lot of Catharsis in that Finn goes through a highly customized introduction where the game's AI picks up on Finn's emotional state and memories to help define what class his character will be. Also like the main series the game appears to be trying to help Finn work through his emotional issues and be a better person, though its methods feel questionable at times. The similarities end there as Finn is immediately dropped into a magic school that feels a lot more like a prison. Finn makes a friend along the way, who I hope gets some more page time in the future. Kyle is a great strategist and pays a high attention to detail. Finn's daughter, Julia, also plays a role in game. All three of them have highly complementary skills that could take them far. I also have to mention that Bagwell's sense of humor carries through to the quest updates which are snarky and hilarious.

I liked that the story focused mostly on the game world, providing a lot of depth to the magic system, and and helping Finn deal with his grief. Unlike the main series, there isn't much of a real world story thread. I could see that changing if Finn manages to work out what the AI is doing. Which brings me to the one thing I didn't like. Finn creates an AI assistant within the game world. That has a high probability of being unbalancing in the future.

I listened to the audio book narrated by David Stifel. He continues to do a good job.

While Finn's story is a 3 book arc, I'm already wondering how his inevitable meeting with Jason will go once the two stories merge in the main series. At least that's where I assume this is heading. Only time will tell.


Jun 12, 4:07pm

30. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Reread May 2021: It's always fun to take a trip around the Galaxy with Arthur and Ford. Silly and irreverent as ever, the story still holds up. Initially I was only planning to reread the first book but I think I'll do a whole series reread as the last time I did that was in 2010. Original review from 2016 below.



The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five books in The Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy by Douglas Adams. Yes, you read that right: the series is a trilogy in five parts. This is the novel adaptation of the radio series of the same name. The book begins with a rather mundane start: Arthur Dent finds his home about to be demolished to make way for a bypass. Arthur's best friend, Ford Prefect, takes him to the local pub to drown his sorrows and deliver earth shattering news: The planet is about to be destroyed. Vogon's have arrived to demolish the entire planet to make way for a space bypass. Ford and Arthur hitch a ride on the Vogon's ship in the nick of time and so starts one of the quirkiest trips around the galaxy.

This was a group read on another forum and a reread for me. I last read it in 2010. I had definitely forgotten many of the details. The book has aged quite well. It has some very British humour, which I enjoyed immensely. The book is quite quotable:

"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

"The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question How can we eat? the second by the question Why do we eat? and the third by the question Where shall we have lunch?"

The book also introduces several great concepts, some of which are still used in pop culture today: The answer to everything is 42; the Improbability Drive; Babel Fish; always know where your towel is; humans are only the third most intelligent beings on the planet.

It's a fun, irreverent scifi classic. One day I need to download and listen to the original radio broadcast.


Jun 14, 4:26am

Surprised HHGttG has aged well, although a lot happens away from earth I'd have though some of the attitudes/jokes would be dated by now.

>29 Narilka: catharsis is still on my wishlist. I quite like gamer fantasy (SF?) I'll get around to it one day.

Jun 14, 6:04am

>30 Narilka:, >31 reading_fox:

I remember listening to the original radio series when it was first broadcast.

But whenever parts come up on Radio 4 nowadays, I can't work out how they relate to what I remember.

(I also remember the horrible TV adaptation and even worse film.)

Jun 14, 8:53am

>32 -pilgrim-: >30 Narilka: Narilka >31 reading_fox: reading_fox

I quite liked the TV adaptation of HHGTTG, but the movie only had one good thing, which was Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent. Otherwise it was made by people who completely missed the point.

Jun 14, 3:08pm

>32 -pilgrim-: I listened to bootleg taps which were played at our SF club in the 80s. Or maybe a tad earlier - I don't recall how long it took for our local fan to share them.

Jun 16, 7:13pm

>31 reading_fox: I agree that since Hitchhiker's focuses more on the jokes and commentary on humanity than the technology is a big part of why it still works. The Improbability Drive is still such a great idea :D I hope you enjoy Catharsis when you get to it.

>32 -pilgrim-:, >33 tardis: It's been so long I barely remember the movie any more. I know I saw it when it released and that's about it. Probably says something about how I felt about it.

>32 -pilgrim-:, >34 quondame: I should search Audible. Maybe they have the original radio series. Hmm.

Jun 16, 8:30pm

Audible does have the radio series, digitally remastered and broken into 5 parts :\ A copy of the original recording is also available but it got bad reviews for sound quality. It's something to think about.

Jun 20, 7:49am

>22 Narilka: argh, Book Bullet!

Jun 20, 7:51am

>28 clamairy: agreed. I read partly to escape, don't need Real Life in my bedtime reading.

Jun 20, 7:57am

>37 fuzzi: Hope you enjoy it when you read it :D

Editado: Jun 21, 2:36am

>38 fuzzi: >39 Narilka: Re reality:
... we have normality, I repeat we have normality.” She turned her microphone off—then turned it back on— with a slight smile and continued: “Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem.”

>36 Narilka: And an audio BB for the radio dramatisations!

Jun 20, 8:41pm

>40 haydninvienna: Ooo I hope you give them a try. I'd love to read your thoughts the dramatizations.

Jun 21, 2:37am

>41 Narilka: I first heard the radio shows very early in their history, when the Australian National radio broadcaster picked them up. That would have been about 1980. I thought they were brilliant then and still think so.

Jun 21, 8:03am

Audible appears to be having a site wide sale as part of Prime Day for members.... this could be dangerous :)

Jun 21, 8:39am

>43 Narilka: (and I just noticed the number of my previous post): You definitely got me. I have just joined Audible for 99p and spent my first credit on the Primary Phase.

Jun 21, 9:18am

>44 haydninvienna: 42 hehehehe That's a great price. I saw your post in the deals thread. Even if you decide to cancel and wait for a similar deal in the future, 3 months at 99p isn't bad at all!

Jun 21, 2:13pm

>45 Narilka: Now listening to episode 1. First unexpected chortle: that Ford Prefect buys 6 pints and gets what is apparently rather a lot of change out of £5. Six pints in my local as of now would cost about £30, depending on what the pints were of.

Jun 21, 3:03pm

>46 haydninvienna:
I remember the outrage when the students’ union bar increased the price of a pint from 33p to 35p. Of course, had you bought a pint in a public bar at the time it could have cost you as much as 40p.

Jun 21, 3:18pm

>47 pgmcc: Ach, you pre-inflatiion boys! A pint in my Student Union was c. £1 (depending on choice of beer... or of cider).

Jun 21, 3:19pm

>40 haydninvienna: IIRC, the radio plays significantly pre-dated the books.

Jun 21, 3:35pm

I first heard of THHGTTG in my postgrad days. A friend mentioned that they were recording the broadcasts and mentioned some phenomenal number of C90 cassettes they needed. I believe it was a retransmission of the series.

Editado: Jun 21, 3:39pm

>48 -pilgrim-: I knew that. As I said above, I first encountered the radio plays on the ABC somewhere about 1980. The plays were first broadcast on the Beeb in March 1978. The ABC in Australia would have got them soonish after that. My second wife and I were married in December 1979 and we heard them together.

Jun 21, 3:41pm

>50 pgmcc: My husband remembers parties stopping to listen to KUSC on Saturdays 6mo or so after the original broadcasts.

Jun 21, 3:46pm

>50 pgmcc: I had it on cassettes as well.

Mrs H just wanted to know why I was laughing and I said “I just got to the bit where they get told the Answer was 42”. She cracked up.

>52 quondame: and KUSC is still a fine radio station, which I would be listening to now were it not for HHGttG.

Jun 21, 6:19pm

>51 haydninvienna: Sorry if I misunderstood. I took "dramatisation" to refer to the process of making a drama version out of a book.

Jun 21, 8:41pm

>46 haydninvienna: I have a bad feeling you're going to convince me to download the radio dramas :)

Jun 22, 6:42am

>55 Narilka: I would recommend it

Jun 22, 7:36am

>55 Narilka: Me? Never! Anyway, plenty of other sharpshooters in the Pub.

Jun 22, 3:36pm

Now finished the first Audible ebook. The last hour or so is a special on the making of the radio series and what came after, and there’s a sentence or two in one of the comments from Douglas Adams which throws a light on why the film (and to some extent the TV series) were less than satisfactory. His comment was that the radio scripts were about the words, and that for film a lot of the words had to go. Obvious when you think about it.

Jun 27, 2:28pm

>58 haydninvienna: I remember there were a couple of funny moments in the film and that it was sort of recognizable as the book, but otherwise not that memorable. I am tempted to watch it again, just because there's very little on to watch right now.

Jun 27, 4:31pm

31. The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

They can hear you think.

Portals to other worlds can be fun. Unfortunately Narnia is not where Carrot and Simon end up in The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher.

Recently divorced, Kara (nicknamed Carrot by her Uncle) finds herself facing the mundane horror of how to pick up the broken pieces of her life. Uncle Earl offers to let her come live with him in the museum of oddities he runs, which Carrot gladly accepts. As Carrot begins to catalog the massive collection, she finds an odd hole in the wall near one of the museum's displays. Kara asks Simon, the barista at the coffee shop next door, to help her patch the hole. Things start to get weird when the hole leads to an impossible hallway instead of plaster and drywall. Then things even weirder, if that's even a word.

Pray they are hungry.

Horror is highly individual. I'm not normally a horror fan so it's always interesting when I find one that works for me. The Hollow Places read as incredibly atmospheric and creepy, more cosmic horror than jump scares or gore. Toss in some of T. Kingfisher's trademark humor, likeable characters and a heart pounding ending and it felt almost more like a scifi thriller with horror elements, which I enjoy. Or perhaps it's a cosmic horror with thriller elements. Hmm.

Carrot is a an entertaining lead, easy to empathize with, even if I did want to shake her a few times for missing some very obvious clues in an oblivious, horror movie kind of way. Her method for dealing with not thinking about the bad things had me laughing out loud. I could've given Simon a hug, he was so great throughout the story. Beau the cat was also excellent. The resolution is fitting and explained enough to be satisfying.

This was a read that kept me up at night because I found the story so engaging and didn't want to put it down. I'll have to pick up T. Kingfisher's other horror novel one of these days.


Jun 30, 8:26pm

June series update!

Started: 1

Progressed: 3
Enchanted Forest Chronicles (x2)
Kate Daniels (x2.5)
Hitchhiker's Guide

Brought up to date: 1
5-Minute Sherlock

Reviews pending: 8. Work ate my brain. Luckily the project went live yesterday and I can get back to normal again. Here's hoping I can catch up on reviewing over the long holiday weekend.

Jul 1, 5:59am

>60 Narilka: I really enjoyed this one as well. I slightly preferred it to The twisted ones, but both were exciting, disturbing reads.

Editado: Jul 3, 9:06pm

32. Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Continuing in the same style of a fairy tale that turns fairy tale tropes on their head, Searching for Dragons is the second book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. This sequel does exactly what I was hoping for. It takes what we already know of the Enchanted Forest and builds upon it. Only this time the story is told entirely from Mendanbar's point of view.

Dead zones have started appearing in the Enchanted Forrest and Kazul, King of the Dragons, has gone missing. Mendanbar, King of the Enchanted Forest, and Cimorene are determined to figure out what's going on.

Mendanbar is a decent protagonist. He's young and feeling a tad overwhelmed with running a kingdom so jumps at the chance to start his investigation if only so he can relax a little from his other kingly duties. The journey Mendanbar and Cimorene go on is rather convoluted and they meet some interesting characters along the way. I found it funny how they pointed out common sense solutions to some typical fairy tale problems, like the giant who is fed up with "Jacks" always stealing from him on a regular schedule.

"They always do the same thing - come in, ask for a meal, hide, and then run off with a harp or a bag full of money the minute I fall asleep," Dobbilan said. "And they're always named Jack. Always. We've lived in this castle for twenty years, and every three months, regular as clockwork, one of those boys shows up, and there's never been a Tom, Dick, or Harry among 'em. Just Jacks. The English have no imagination."

Their solution to his problem is quite practical. Mendenbar and Cimorene end up working well together.

While just as charming and fun as Dealing with Dragons, I found myself missing Cimorene as the main pov character. This, of course, sets a trend. I wonder whose point of view the third book will be from.


Jul 4, 10:50am

33. The Case of the Haunted Haunted House by Drew Hayes

The World's Greatest Detective and his Watson take on their very first case, The Case of the Haunted Haunted House, the second book in the 5-minute Sherlock series by Drew Hayes. The two are hired by a young lady to investigate a local "haunted" house attraction where some of the haunts have gone off script and the otherworldly interference is suspected. Sherman and Watson are on the case!

This was a fun, quirky caper. It gave me a sort of Scooby-Doo vibe as Sherman and Watson began their investigation. The manor was built by a genius and is rumored to contain a hidden treasure for any who can survive and solve the traps that guard the house inside and out. I wonder if the author was inspired by the Winchester Mystery house at all. It was great to get to know the supporting cast and it even looks like Watson could have a potential romantic interest in the future. Best of all is how Sherman and Watson's friendship and understanding of each other grow throughout the book.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Scott Aiello. Again Aiello does a wonderful job bringing the characters to life.

I'm looking forward to the next case that Sherman and Watson take on.


Jul 10, 9:43am

34. Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Magic Shifts is the eighth book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. The implications of the ending of the last book play off in spades in this installment. There is so much going on and it all weaves together brilliantly. The impact of Kate's claiming is starting to be revealed, how the Pack is handling their shake up plus where Kate and Curran take their life next, all combined with the breathless action and interesting mythology that I love about these books. This far into the series I still have no idea how the writers manage to pack so much depth into less than 350 pages.

Kate and Curran are relationship goals. For whatever reason pop culture tends to portray unhealthy relationships on tv and in movies more often than not. It is refreshing to have two main characters who love each other for who they are, embracing their strengths and weaknesses, work together on their problems, are supportive of each other through the bad and good, and do it all in a, for this world, healthy manner. Both characters have grown through the series and they've done it together.

This is easily my favorite book in the series so far. About the only thing missing was more of Roland. Somehow I doubt that will be an issue in the remaining two books.


Editado: Jul 10, 10:11am

35. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

The last time I read this book was back in 2010 which was before I started writing reviews. As this is my first reread since, it's time to correct that. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe picks up right where the first book ends, with our group of misfit characters on their way to the most famous restaurant. We're dropped right into the middle of some action as our dont-want-to-be heroes are attempting to survive an attack.

This one feels like a more cohesive story even as the plot meanders around. The asides and snippets from the Guide are hilarious. Yet again, this book is quite quotable. Some of my favorites:

"Reality is frequently inaccurate."

"To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem."

"The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why, and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question 'How can we eat?' the second by the question 'Why do we eat?' and the third by the question 'Where shall we have lunch?"

Just as fun and irreverent as the first book though missing some of the newness factor. This book also has the best use of a seance I've ever read. Nothing like call up dearly departed great grandad to ask for advice in the middle of a battle!


Jul 11, 8:05pm

36. Stuff and Nonsense by Andrew Seiple

Adorable +1

Stuff and Nonsense, the first book in Andrew Sieple's Threadbare series, is the most unique and adorable LitRPG I've read. That's right, adorable. As a bonus it also has a healthy dose of humor. The story follows Theadbare, a toy teddy bear golem, and his little girl, Celia. The book begins as Threadbare has just gained sentience and is starting to learn about the world around him.

Threadbare gets into a lot of innocent trouble while initially leveling, though he doesn't know that's what he's doing at first. Celia helps him out significantly as does Pulsavar the family cat. The story doesn't stay completely innocent though part of me wishes it had. I could easily have enjoyed a slice of life story with Threadbare, Celia and Pulsavar. There ends up being a lot more going on than it initially appears and is revealed as the story progresses. The pacing is spot on throughout.

Unlike other LitRPG's I've read this one is not a human player logging into a virtual world to play a game. Instead the characters live in a world that has stats, levels and classes along with some rules that govern how they work. It's a refreshing take on the genre. Telling the story mostly from a teddy bear's point of view adds on to the uniqueness. Even though Threadbare technically doesn't have a mouth to speak with, that's the type of stuffed toy bear he was created from, he has his own "voice" and we get his point of view through his thoughts. It was great learning about how the world works right along with him. This little teddy bear has a lot of depth to him.

I listened to the audio book narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds. Reynolds tells the tale masterfully, giving it a story book feel that matched the writing wonderfully, even during the action scenes. When I reread that last sentence doesn't seem like should work but it does.

Thanks to my friends at the Vagabond Treehouse for the recommendation. Work it! I'm looking forward to continuing Threadbare's story soon.


Jul 11, 8:48pm

37. Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

A ha! I had been wondering whose point of view we'd be treated to next. Calling on Dragons, the third book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, is told from Morwen's point of view. The wizards are at it again, threatening the Enchanted Forest with their latest devious scheme. It's up to Morwen, Cimorene, a couple cats and Kazhul to figure out what's going on and find a way to stop them.

I like how each book is from a different point of view. Morwen and her cats are a great pick. You just knew in the first two books the cats were saying things and now we finally get to understand. It was worth the wait. The cats tend to steal the scenes they are in with their fun banter. Morwen is practical and efficient. I enjoyed her point of view and learning a little more about magic in this world.

Then there's Killer, the enchanted rabbit found eating in Morwen's garden at the beginning of the story. Good lord he's annoying! There was also less of the fairy tale aspect to the book, which was a shame. Even with less twisted fairy tales involved, I love Wrede's take on Rapunzel.

Between my two complaints, this entry didn't captivate me as much as the first two. It also ends unresolved. Still the story remains a nice, light read. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all ends.


Jul 11, 9:05pm

38. Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews

Derek and Julie got a novella! Ok ok, technically it's Derek's novella since he is the point of view character. And technically Magic Stars is the start of a possible spin off series titled Grey Wolf though the story fits directly between books 8 and 9 of Kate Daniels. It also is one of the rare times I'll say the novella is an important addition to the main series as it provides some key information that seems like it will be important.

When a family he considers friends is murdered, Derek Gaunt takes it upon himself to hunt down the killers and make sure they can't hurt anyone else ever again. Julie Lennart, stubborn as ever, joins him in his quest for revenge.

Derek and Julie make a great team. Julie is growing up! There is the hint of a possible romance in the future. I never imagined who her mentor would be though it makes complete sense. This is a great set up for her own series. Hopefully both possibilities are explored in later books.