I have become completely obsessed with the Kate Daniels series and world by Ilona Andrews.
Until now, I had completely dismissed companion novels, .5 short stories and novellas. My world has completely changed. The Ilona Andrews team has shifted my thinking and reading experiences. I engrossed into this world, enhanced through each story and perspective.
My obsession has led me to track down short stories in obscure anthologies and cut scenes post of their blog.
The Kate Daniel’s world is rich and holistic. Even though it is set in a futuristic Atlanta where magic and technology exist in deep conflict that waves throughout the world. A world inhabited by a range of preternatural beings that are fierce, predatory and loyal. This world feels real or at least believable.
Now that my reading experience has evolved into this new sector or the market, I’m going to relive some of my favourite series. I’m starting with the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr (another favourite author or urban fantasy). I’ve almost finished the audiobook of Desert Tales and I’m keen to find some short stories or novellas from this world.
What are your opinions of companion novels and short stories?
Are there any great series enhanced with them that I should read?
Happy reading 🙂
I haven’t read a printed book (dead-tree variety) in over a year. I’m a new convert to ebooks and eaudio but I’ve jumped in with both feet.
I came to ebooks through necessity rather than choice. I quite unexpectantly found myself in hospital having a baby six weeks early. I had a few complications and after 10 days I was discharged but without my baby and unable to drive. What does one do? Head to mum’s for some looking after until bubs is strong enough to come home.
As a librarian, my life is reading. My passion is for fiction. Here I was staying in TV Land not Bookville. All I was armed with was an iPad and a library card!
Overdrive is my new best friend. I ended up having over a year off work and only being paid for a quarter so my relationship with my old friends (Dead-Tree sellers) bitterly needed to come to an end.
While Overdrive, Amazon and Audible were fulfilling my appetite for fiction, I no longer had anyone with which to share my reading. I hadn’t realised how much of my day used to be dedicated to discussing reading.
Having a new baby can be isolating – more than I was prepared to encounter. I tried to look for a local bookclub but it is difficult to fit anything around baby’s sleep patterns (I use pattern figuratively!) and I mainly read Young Adult fiction because of work. Not too many (any) daytime YA book groups around. That is why Goodreads saved my sanity.
We use Goodreads at work with the students. It is a fantastic way to breech the divide that makes solitary reading a social activity. I knew all the theory about why it was good for the students and their connectedness to their peers – why did it take me so long.
After starting a new, anonymous Goodreads account, I joined a variety of online book clubs. I’ve been enjoying book of the month chats, buddy reads, challenges, scavenger hunts (my favourite) and I’ve been connecting with some fabulous people. I’ve chatted with authors and reviewed their books. I’ve won competitions and accessed ARCs. I’ve loved having recommendations made for me and meeting some new Goodreads friends.
Goodreads saved my sanity because I’m able to connect with other book lovers and feel involved without having to leave my baby (who is now an adventurist toddler).
Feel free to come and share your reading with me on Goodreads. There should be a link via the Goodreads widget.
Happy reading 🙂
The Drew Lab at Columbia University
This is a guest post by a student in our program Amy Wray (@amykwray) who comes to us from UC Berkeley where she did her senior thesis on the theme of disease ecology in James Joyce’s work. -JAD
10 Reasons Why Young Scientists Should Read Literature
There are many reasons why everyone should read literature, but I believe that young scientists in particular can benefit greatly from engaging with literary texts. As an undergraduate I studied both Biology and English, and sometimes people ask me why I chose a seemingly unusual combination. Usually my answer is that I just kept taking classes in the things that I liked, but this response breezes over the true complexities of the matter. There is much more to the story because to me the two things aren’t so different after all, and I think that there are a lot of skills…
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Pawn by Aimee Carter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Pawn is just another YA dystopian novel. If you’re really into this genre then it is worth a read. I read so many great reviews of this novel but for me it just didn’t have that wow factor. In fact, there were several aspects that got on my nerves.
Pawn is set in an American meritocracy where at seventeen, citizens are required to undertake an aptitude test. This test determines their social ranking and job. With shadows of Soylent Green but a little bit more tasteful, overpopulation is curbed by sending the infirmed, elderly and excess children to Elsewhere. The concept of Elsewhere had too many holes for me and it wasn’t really explained well. There is only so much hunting that the politicians can do!
The protagonist, Kitty, has undiagnosed dyslexia. This is why she performs poorly on the aptitude test. If this novel is supposed to be able the inequity in our schooling system and society for people with learning disorders or disabilities – it fall falls dramatically short. It also seems to waver between supporting and destroying the meritocracy. The only strong message was anti monarchy. I’m really confused about what Carter was trying to convey. Most successful dystopian novels have a clear message for society to act upon – I don’t think it was there.
The huge issue I had with Pawn was the title. There were two tacked on references to chess. They really stuck out. If the Harts had actually been a monarchy, perhaps it would have worked better. In my opinion the metaphor of the pawn failed. The other issue I had with this novel was the sheer amount of dialogue. If it is made into a film, the screen writer will have an easy job. I know the old adage of show don’t tell but sometimes paraphrasing can save ten pages!
Some people have really liked this novel. I thought it was ok. I think if you’re a fan of the genre then you should read it and form your own conclusion. I doubt that I will read the rest of the series.
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Fast Money: A Shelby Nichols Adventure by Colleen Helme
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This series would make a great present for my mother. I’m finding it harder and harder to find things to read that my mother would also enjoy. I hate that awkward feeling I get when she asks me what I’m reading and if she can read it when I’m done. Fast Money has everything she enjoys in a story – a relatable female protagonist, minimal explicit language, a bit of humour to keep it light, implied violence, a mystery to follow, and no graphic sex scenes – WINNER!
Fast Money has just enough humour to balance with the mystery to make this a great holiday read. The protagonist is a mother and wife. Such a different sleuth from what I usually read. I think I would enjoy this series more my children were a little older so I could empathise with Shelby more.
I hadn’t read the first book so some parts were a bit confusing. I suggest reading the synopsis of the first book, Carrots, before reading Fast Money. There were a lot of characters and at times I was confused with who was who but a strong series needs a range allies and villains. You do need to suspend belief a little bit to truly engage with this series. I found that there was quite a bit of repetition in the novel due to its stream of consciousness style. This is good if you like to read small passages over a period of time or if you often put a book down and come back to it later.
I read the audiobook edition. I really liked the narrator. She really embodied the character of Shelby. Fast Money is written from Shelby’s perspective in almost a stream of consciousness style. Through Shelby we hear what the other characters are thinking, this meant that while the narrate or differentiated character voices, she didn’t attempt any rediculous accents – YAY!
There are several plot lines that intersect in interesting ways. The novel’s conclusion sets it a promising premise for the rest of the series
Next time I’m looking for a holiday read, I will pick up the next one.
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The New Low-Carb Diet Cookbook by Laura Lamont
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was really excited by this diet until I got to the recipes. I have a nut allergy. This, like many other diets, uses a lot of nuts in its recipes.
The photos in the book are great. I love seeing great photos on cookbooks. I'm alway so disappointed that my attempts never live up to the photos but I like to see them anyway.
The diet makes sense.
The diet uses colour coding to establish the 'rules' to follow. I thought that this makes sense and would make it easier to create your own meal plans.
The informative pages explaining the science behind the diet are in accessible language,
Too many nuts in the recipes.
The sample recipes all required a lot of cooking. When I'm detoxing off sugar, carbs and caffeine the last thing I want to be doing to baking my own bread for half a slice at breakfast.
Most of the recipes had at least a couple of ingredients that I don't usually buy. This makes it more difficult to get the rest of the family to eat with you.
The recipes were not colour coded to illustrated how the colour coded system works. I really expected the recipes to clearly model the system.
I have bookmarked six recipes to try. However, I don't think that I will try the diet because I prefer to have greater guidance.
Have a look for yourself.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
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I am trying to plan, organise and execute a first birthday. We have birthday and Christmas engagements every weekend. We are trying to get our house in order to be able to sell it. I’ve also become addicted to Dance Moms I am embarrassed to say.
All things considered, this means I am dramatically behind in my reading. I’ve been too tired to focus on anything.
I’m also really struggling through BZRK Reloaded. I enjoyed the first book, BZRK, but the second one isn’t my cup of tea. It is an extreme rarity that I ever abandon a book so I feel as though I need to endure through.
Hopefully, January will find my reading and blogging schedule back on track.
Happy Reading 🙂