Sunday, March 27, 2016

Finished: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

(via Macmillan)

Kell is one of the last Travelers-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes, connected by one magical city.
There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king-George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered-and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London-a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.
A Darker Shade of Magic is something I took a chance on and ended up enjoying a lot. I'd seen it time and again on the shelf of the library's SF/Fantasy section, but didn't think it looked like the sort of fantasy I normally read. But you know, YOLO and all that, so I took the dive and I did not regret it even once. I fell in love with Kell and Lila and Rhys. I developed a solid, burning hatred of the Astrid and Athos. I dreamed of how amazing it it would be to travel to Red London and shuddered at the thought of going to White London.

I would easily, easily give this book a 10/10.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Just a head's up: Google's giving away an extra two gigabytes of storage if you do a security checkup on your Google account

Google did this last year and it's a ridiculously easy way of adding extra space if you use Drive, Picasa, or Photos. Basically, all you need to do is go to your account, scroll down to Security Checkup and click on Get Started. Once you finish the checkup (which takes all of a few seconds), the 2 gigs are added automatically.

https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2015/02/take-security-checkup-on-safer-internet.html

http://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-get-2gb-free-on-google-drive/

On a related note, I just checked to see how much space I have now and I'm currently using all of 118 megabytes (or 0.61%) out of 19 gigabytes. Clearly, I needed the extra space.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Finished: Storm Front (Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher and what to read next

When we last left our hero, he had just begun the task of reading The Magicians, but somehow he ended up re-reading Storm Front instead. What happened?!

Honestly, I just could not get into it. I could read the words and turn the page and read the words and so on and so forth, but I was seriously lacking any interest to. I didn't want to get stalled in my reading right at the beginning of the year, so I switched over to finishing my re-read of Storm Front. I'm going to try and come back around to The Magicians later this year and see if I want to read it then, otherwise I'm not going to worry about it.

Anyways, Storm Front was as good as I remembered it being when I first read it like seven or so years ago. I can't believe it's even been that long. I had started the re-read late last year, then got distracted by other books. I was already like a 139 pages into Storm Front, so I decided to finish it off, which took only about a day and a half. What can I say? I like The Dresden Files. I plan on reading the others again over the course of the year, except for maybe Summer Knight because it's still pretty fresh in my memories.

After finishing Storm Front, I decided to switch over to military science fiction and I'm in the homestretch to finish the second of the pair, Fortune's Pawn. After that, I'm sliding back over to fantasy. I'm not sure what to read, but I have some choices:

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn also by Sanderson
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
The Magic of Recluce by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I get the feeling that there will be people screaming for me to read the last one.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

And that's how you troll a troll

Credit: Stepan Alekseev.
I get the feeling that there are a lot of DMs and players who will look at this picture and go "Yeah, that's happened before."

Monday, January 11, 2016

I would certainly hate to meet her in a dungeon!

Credit: Spacefriend-T.

Because there is no doubt that she would kick my ass up one corridor and down the other. I really like the choice of a war pickaxe, since you don't see those used in fantasy fiction much at all. No idea how prevalent they are in gaming.

Credit: Spacefriend-T.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Stardust's finished, time for The Magicians

Well, I wrapped up reading Neil Gaiman's Stardust yesterday. I had planned on finishing it on Monday, but real life sank that battleship. Stardust was really a great book and I would highly recommend it. Like I mentioned in a previous post, Stardust was written in a pre-Tolkien style of fantasy and has a fairy tale feel to it. There's no mega-quest or big bad, but there's plenty of enchantment and interesting characters. I'll write a separate post about it later, but I give it two thumbs up.

Moving on, I've already started to dig into Lev Grossman's The Magicians. One of the reasons why I picked it is because Syfy's adaptation is set to premiere later this month and I want to read the book before it airs. The other reasons are that I've had the book for years and I've heard nothing but praise for it. Might as well give it a whirl.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Well, so much for Shannara

I had planned on starting 2016 off by reading The Sword of Shannara, but had to ditch that plan about a week ago because the book is starting to fall apart; the perils of paperback library books. Seeing as how several of the pages decided to divorce themselves from the binding, I just have to wait until I can get my own copy before I can resume following the adventures of Shea and Flick. So what am I reading now?

I bought this something like ten years ago and never read it until now, aside from one abortive attempt when I first bought it, but that was like five years before I finally became a fantasy addict.
Young Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie—where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.
If the premise of the book sounds familiar, it was turned into a movie back in 2007 starring Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Good movie.

It's pretty excellent so far. Gaiman wrote Stardust in the vein of pre-Tolkien fantasy, like Lord Dunsany's "King of Elfland's Daughter" and such, so there's no like epic, high, or grimdark elements which is actually a nice change of pace after what I read last year

One of the reasons I picked Stardust besides having it for ten years, is because it clocks in at only 248 pages. I have at least fourteen more books to read before year's end, so starting off with a fairly short book that I can finish quickly will hopefully help motivate me to keep going. After I finish Stardust, I'm going read Lev Grossman's The Magicians. After that, maybe a break from fantasy to read either scifi or just plain fiction. My overall strategy is to focus on books that are less than 500 pages (preferably in the high 300 to low 400 range) in order to clear them out of the way before tackling the door stoppers. The latter's going to be a bitch for sure because I have both Jordan and Sanderson AND Martin in the pile. Yeah.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

This is what 2016 is looking like for me

YUP. I call it my 2016 Fuck Me in the Asshole Reading Pile™. I counted and it's a hot mess of 15 fantasy, seven scifi, a legal thriller, and a military fiction. It's a work in progress because I have plans to add to it this summer and I don't doubt that some of these books may fall to the way side if they don't get their hooks into me. Right now, I'm reading The Sword of Shannara and Star Trek Vanguard: Reap the Whirlwind, since I like having a book I can switch to when I don't feel like reading the other. I'll probably give precedence to the library books since I don't own them and can't take my slow and steady time with them, but other than that, there's no reading order to this madness.

See anything you like or have already read?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Finished: King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (The Broken Empire, Book Two)

Ten books in a year isn't great, but it's still pretty decent. A really excellent book, better than Prince of Thorns. That'll probably do it for the year, unless I manage to finish up this Star Trek novel I've been reading on the side. I'm shooting for fifteen books in 2016.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

And that makes nine

(via Tor.com)
Just finished Dark Jenny not more than an hour or so ago, which brings my book reading total to nine with five of those being of the fantasy genre. I really binged on this book, running through 192 pages in a few hours. Dark Jenny is 348 pages total and if Google's math isn't wrong, that's more than half the book. I'm not sure if it's related or not, but I felt exhausted afterwards.

So next is either King of Thorns (Mark Lawrence) or The Mirror Empire (Kameron Hurley). The former is 419 pages, while the other is 511, not counting the glossary and such. Not even a hundred page difference, so either could work. They're both longer than Dark Jenny, which means it might take longer to read through whichever one I choose before the month and year end and I'd really like to make the number of books read a nice even ten. I guess it'll all come down to the one that hooks and pulls me in.

I do plan on writing reviews (or what I call reviews) for Dark Jenny and The Crown Tower at some point soon. I might wait until next month when I have more time I can spare away from reading. I have a mostly finished review about Legacies that I need to finish too.
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