Tag Archives: George R.R. Martin

Snapshot: May 21, 2015

The Victoria Day long weekend really threw me off—I normally write my Snapshot posts on Tuesdays, but when Tuesday came around I thought it was Monday, and on Wednesday I wanted to write about something else so I’m doing my Snapshot post today. Whew. That was a long, and probably unnecessary explanation!

Time: 2:09 pm

Feeling: I wish I could say refreshed, because I’ve been feeling quite refreshed the past few days, but wouldn’t you just know it, since I’m writing a Snapshot post of course today I’m feeling tired.

Eating: I’m about to make my anything-goes veggie soup. So delicious, and with heaps of veggies in it. And parmesan cheese.

Drinking: Water. Lots and lots of water. It’s my latest thing, drinking water, and I’m really liking how it makes me feel. Plus I’m starting to recognize again when I’m thirsty (which is fairly often).

Reading: Still working my way through Good Omens; it’s been mostly in my bag, so I’m not getting through it as fast as I would if it was an “at home” read. It’s good and funny and just a great read for when I’m out and about.

I also started A Game of ThronesI just couldn’t resist the temptation. But I only read the first couple of pages, because I’m just not ready yet to be caught up in a whirl of down-the-rabbit-hole book addiction the series promises to be. I’m witnessing that firsthand anyway: my older son is still working through the series; he started book 4 yesterday.

Listening: I’m almost finished Ready Player One and am wondering WHY it took me so long to get to this book. It’s so good, and Wil Wheaton is perfect narrating as Wade Watts.

ready player one

And some slightly related fun: Dylan downloaded the Akinator app on the weekend, and yesterday we had a such a fun time with it. Akinator is a genie who’s able to guess the character you’re thinking of, simply by asking you a bunch of questions. I was slightly awed by how he managed to guess Wade Watts. I did manage to stump him several times, though, with characters from and authors of some of my favourite, but older, reads. If you want to give it a whirl, here’s the web version. Warning, though: it can be slightly addictive!

Writing: Yes, I’ve been writing! Yay! So okay, it’s only been a few paragraphs to start off a couple of short stories, but I also pulled out my half-completed manuscript for the dark fantasy I’ll be workshopping this summer in Kelley Armstrong’s writing class. I have the next scene in mind, and in the meantime I’m rereading it to get reacquainted with all my characters. It’s progress!

Working: The indexing load has been nice and even, which helps a lot when it comes to my stress levels. I just finished an indexing deadline, and have another one next week, plus an article. In other news, I’ve signed on as the marketing manager for my first author at Booktrope, and it’s been such fun working with her.

Creating: Nothing yet. *sob* So much for being creative every day, right?

Exercising: I’ve been trying my best to keep moving throughout my day, and I’ve also been using my standing desk, too. Tomorrow is my first walking date with my friend; we’re meeting at 8:00 a.m., a time at which I’m usually still sleeping, so wish me luck!

So that’s the Snapshot of this past week. All my focusing on stress reduction seems to be working so far – yay! How has your week been?

So Tempted

I don’t really have a lot of extra time on my hands these days, not even for reading, but I am so very, very tempted right now … very tempted.

Have you ever seen someone close to you really enjoying a book—enjoying it so much you want to join in on the reading of it?

Last week, my older son Sean said to me, “So, you said you have A Game of Thrones book?”

game of thrones

Why, yes. Yes I do. Along with the next three, as I’d bought a boxed set quite a few years back, before the fifth book in the series was released.

This series has been on my TBR for ages.

Well, Sean blazed through the first book in the series. Then the second book. And now he’s halfway through the third book.

I’ve actually been encouraging him to read them for ages, because he enjoys the series, and I also like to see him reading. I just never thought he’d take me up on it (he’d always say, “No, I want to watch it happen on TV).

I’m not sure what happened to change his mind, but change his mind he did. He’s been staying up until all hours of the night, just devouring these books. I just ordered the fifth book because I’m pretty sure he’ll be finished the fourth by midweek sometime.

When I ask him, “How are you liking it?”, he starts telling me how there’s so much more to the novels than in the series, and how he’s really enjoying all the extra things.

(And yes, I did say a few times, “I told you you’d enjoy it.”)

But now I have a dilemma. I really want to start A Game of Thrones now. But it’s over 800 pages. And book 2 is over 900 pages. And the chunkster status doesn’t let up with books 3, 4 or 5. I mean, A Dance with Dragons is 1152 pages long.

Anyone have some willpower they can lend me?

Wanting to read more middle grade novels … and A Game of Thrones

I know, I know, two totally different things. But for some reason, they’ve become interconnected in my mind. When I start thinking about what I’d like to start reading more of, I think, middle grade novels! And then for some funny reason, I head straight from there to A Game of Thrones. And then back to middle grade novels again. A very strange but now comfortable cycle.

A few years ago, I bought this from Costco:

Game of Thrones boxed set (Actually, it was the boxed set without A Dance with Dragons …) I was listening to A Game of Thrones in audio at the time, and realized it was going to be too gory for me to continue it in audio (because it’s impossible to listen with your ears half-closed, the way you can skim through the brutal bits with your eyes half-opened). But for some reason I’ve just never gotten back to the series, even though I had been so enthralled by what I’d heard so far in the audiobook. (I’d gotten as far as Bran’s fall.) I say “for some reason” but it’s mostly because I suspect the books are a lot like potato chips—you can’t consume just one or two.

So these books stare at me every day from their place on my TBR shelves. I need to just bite the bullet and start reading them. Amazon tells me, though, that all five books combined total 5,216 pages. That’s a lot of pages. A lot of reading time.

Anyway, swinging back to the whole middle grade novel thing, I really need to start reading more middle grade novels. I used to read them all the time, but in the past few years I haven’t added very many new titles to my TBR.

So to honour this yearning of mine, I recently made a list of middle grade reads to add to my TBR (I know. As if I needed to add more, right?). Here they are, in no particular order:

So that’s my list so far. Do you have any suggestions for good middle grade fantasies or mysteries?

{2015 Goals} Reducing the TBR Stash – The Last Five Books

A couple of days ago I shared the first five books I’m going to try and tackle from Mount TBR in 2015. Here are the final five.

 

Photo 2014-12-18, 8 19 29 PM

6. Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin

Not that anyone really needs the blurb to this one …

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

I started the series in audio, but then I realized from reading other people’s thoughts there would be a lot of bloody, gory deaths. Much better in print for me, then. I actually bought a boxed set of the first four books, so I have the other three to read as well.

7. The Man on the Balcony, by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

The chilling third novel in the Martin Beck mystery series by the internationally renowned crime writing duo Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, finds Martin Beck investigating a string of child murders.In the once peaceful parks of Stockholm, a killer is stalking young girls and disposing their bodies. The city is on edge, and an undercurrent of fear has gripped its residents. Martin Beck, now a superintendent, has two possible witnesses: a silent, stone-cold mugger and a mute three year old boy. With the likelihood of another murder growing as each day passes, the police force work night and day. But their efforts have offered little insight into the methodology of the killer. Then a distant memory resurfaces in Beck’s mind, and he may just have the break he needs.

I’ve been meaning to read the Martin Beck series for a while. This isn’t the first book in the series, but it’s the one book in the series that I do have.

8. Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay

Ned Marriner is spending springtime with his father in Provence, where the celebrated photographer is shooting images for a glossy coffee table book.

While his father photographs the cathedral of Aix-en-Provence, Ned explores the shadowy interior with Kate Wenger, an American exchange student who has a deep knowledge of the area’s history. They surprise an intruder in a place where he should not be: “I think you ought to go now,” he tells them, drawing a knife. “You have blundered into a corner of a very old story.”

In this sublime and ancient part of the world, where borders between the living and the long-dead are most vulnerable, Ned and those close to him are about to be drawn into a haunted tale, as mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, changing and claiming lives.

I have had Ysabel and Tigana in my TBR stash for a few years now. The only reason Ysabel is in this list and not Tigana is because I couldn’t find Tigana in any of the TBR piles. It’s there somewhere, though, I know!

9. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Another one that doesn’t really need the blurb, but to be consistent, here it is:

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.

I haven’t read this one because I don’t really like dystopian novels. And then last year I read Divergent and realized I was, of course, wrong to use such a blanket assumption (as is usually the case with assumptions). I’m pretty sure I’ll like The Hunger Games, once I start reading it.

10. Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

Fat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother. Now brother Spider’s on his doorstep—about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting . . . and a lot more dangerous.

Another Neil Gaiman book in my list. Stardust is the other Gaiman novel I have yet to read (not counting his two recent fairy tale retellings, Hansel and Gretel and The Sleeper and the Spindle), but I don’t have a physical copy of Stardust, so it’s not on this list. But it would be, if it was actually in my TBR stash.

So these five plus these previous five are the ones I intend to read in 2015. It’s only ten books from my TBR, but it’s ten more than I read this year! I thought about doing twelve books, one per month, but when I went through TBR piles, only ten books called to me. Which might lead you to think, maybe I should get rid of the rest of the TBR books, right? But I just couldn’t. I already weeded it out three years ago when we moved. I don’t think I can bear to weed out any more books from it …

Rambling About Reading

I’d kicked July off with a migraine (my first since I was 16!), followed by a two-week long tension headache. It’s kind of funny, but once I realized it was all due to tension, I relaxed, got a massage, and the whole thing went away.

There’s one thing that’s very difficult to do when you’re caught in the throes of a headache or a migraine – read! So when I started feeling better, it was like my mind was starved for books. Really really starved. In the last four weeks, it feels like all I’ve been doing is reading, and reading, and more reading. I was getting through books so fast, I didn’t have time to Pin them, or even add them to Goodreads.

So today I’m sitting here, trying to remember what-all I’ve read over the past four weeks. I’m probably missing some reads, but here’s the list so far:

Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers trilogy: The Summoning, The Awakening and The Reckoning

     

I enjoyed this series, and I’m very glad that I came to it late, since I really really hate cliffhangers – but guess what? When you have all three books of the trilogy in your hot little hands, it’s like having one lovely, long absolutely thrilling book to read. You can say things like, cliffhangers? What cliffhangers?

Book One of Kelley Armstrong’s Darkness Rising trilogy, The Gathering

I enjoyed The Gathering even more than the Darkest Powers trilogy. And I was more than a little bummed out because I got the ebook copy of The Calling, the second book in the series, from the library – and I accidentally deleted and returned it!  So yes, I’m now back on hold for it. Sigh.

And from Daniel Suarez:

First, I decided to use up some of my Audible credits, and after browsing around, decided on Kill Decision. I enjoyed it, and remembered that some of the reviewers at Audible mentioned that Suarez’s Daemon/Freedom ™ books were even better, so I decided to give Daemon a try.

I LOVED Daemon! It was on-the-edge-of-your-seat exciting – I devoured it in a day. I’m now at the start of the sequel, Freedom ™.

   

Mind Game, by Christine Feehan

I also read one of the books from Christine Feehan’s GhostWalkers series, Mind Game. And this is what I discovered about myself (well, okay, I already knew this) – I’m not really cut out for the romantic thriller/paranormal types of reads.  Reading Mind Game, I loved the story, I loved the characters, and all I really wanted to know was – what’s going to happen next?

The book would have been a page-turner for me, but all the love scenes got in the way. The first love scene was great, in that it was very credible. Actually all of the love scenes were very credible – they happen at reasonable times, and not in the middle of a suspenseful bit of plot.

I’ve always disliked books where the male and female protagonists are hiding out, people are hunting them, they are basically facing death around every corner – and they somehow find the time to have mind blowing sex in the middle of it all.  I mean, really, if your options are A. have ground-shaking fireworks-driven sex or B. survive to see tomorrow, what would you choose?

And even if you did choose option A, seriously, would you really be able to keep your mind on the moment? Wouldn’t you have some pesky, worrisome thoughts lurking at the back of your mind, like Wait! What was that I just heard? My God, it sounds like footsteps coming our way. I’m really glad he’s enjoying this, but I wish he’d keep the moans down to an almost inaudible level. What if the killer hears us?

Anyway, Feehan wrote that first love scene very credibly, and that first scene was all quite enjoyable. But I ended up quickly flipping through all the remaining love scenes, because what I really wanted to know was, what’s going to happen?

So, no, romantic suspense/paranormals just aren’t really my cup of tea.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

I’m in the middle of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter right now, and it’s been quite an interesting read so far. I like the way Grahame-Smith weaves fictitious journal entries into the narrative. The whole thing reads rather like nonfiction – fun stuff!

A Song of Fire and Ice series by George R.R. Martin

Yes! I finally got around to picking up this series! I got the audiobook version of A Game of Thrones, and enjoyed it so much in audio, when I saw the boxed set containing Books 1-4 at Costco last week, I couldn’t resist. I’ll probably end up reading them all in print first, and then going back to the audio versions for a re-read – there are so many characters, I suspect I’ll find it a little less confusing if I tackle the series in print first.

Power Play, by Joseph Finder

I’ve had Power Play in my TBR stacks for a long time now. We don’t really have much space for my TBR piles in the condo, so I stash them all in my bedroom closet, along the narrow shelves that run along the top. We’ve also managed to squeeze our dressers into the closet, the surface of which provides additional TBR room. I happened to wander into the closet one day, thinking vaguely about changing out of my PJs, and saw Power Play on the top of the stack sitting on my dresser. I grabbed it, started reading, and didn’t stop until I was finished. Definitely a page-turner. It’s the sort of book that you finish and think to yourself, this would make a great movie.

The Keeper of Lost Causes, by Jussi Adler-Olsen

This mystery from Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen has a nice touch of humour to lighten up what would otherwise be quite a grim plot. It was an interesting, quick read, and I’d like to read more in this series about detective Carl Mørck, not so much because Mørck is that absorbing a character, but because I want to find out more about his quirky assistant, Assad!

Hotwire, by Alex Kava

This is the first Maggie O’Dell book I’ve read, and I’ll definitely be reading more in the series. I would have preferred more of a blockbuster, justice for all kind of ending, but I guess when you’re talking about government and bureaucracy, it’s not really such a credible thing. Still, I found O’Dell interesting, and have put several more of the titles in the series on my TBR list.

The Vanessa Michael Monroe series, by Taylor Stevens

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Informationist, by Taylor Stevens. Munroe is a wonderfully strong protagonist, and Stevens delivers a thrilling, suspenseful read. As soon as I finished The Informationist, I grabbed a copy of The Innocent, the second book in the series. While The Innocent was a good read, it didn’t have quite the flare of The Informationist. But I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!

And the coming attractions:

So all in all, it’s been quite a good four weeks for me, reading-wise! I suspect the rest of August will serve up more of the same, as I’ve got some great-sounding books on hold at the library, as well as some coming-soon attractions that I can hardly wait to get my hands on:

The Twelve, by Justin Cronin

The Beautiful Mystery, by Louise Penny

What about you? What good books have you read lately?