Aug 9, 2016

Bajillions of Books

Maybe not bajillions, but since quitting social media, I have been reading nonstop.  In a word: awesome.  Since I didn't report in in July (and because I've been reading a fair bit), this is a bit long.  Bear with me.

Edit: Apparently not a lot of 5 stars, but a ton of 4s and a couple DNF!  I'm getting so good at putting down books I'm not enjoying.  :P

♥♥♥♥♥ - Loved!

Big Magic

I started this off being stupidly skeptical and then the author won me over and got me all inspired to do something.  It makes me really want to write a book, but I'm not sure if that's my own desire or because she's a writer, so makes it sound so compelling.  In some ways it made me think of the BFG and how he catches dreams.  Anyway, I recommend this for anyone, but especially for all aspiring authors.  I loved her point about not needing to achieve perfection and that doing was more important.  I also loved her combination of mysticism and pragmatism.  I felt like, while she did personify ideas, it wasn't for the sake of being mystical, it was to give your brain a way to think about them that would get you moving.  Or, if you didn't move fast enough and lost your idea, to not feel regretful about it.  I wish I had written about this right after listening because it's starting to fade so I might have to listen again.  In any case, I'm revisiting the story I started last fall, because this really was a good kick in the butt.


Way of Shadows (and the Night Angel series)

One of Roommate's books, I stole this because I was trying to be good and not purchase books and then it turned out to be an awesome read.  The world is dark and grim, which made me rate the first book 4 stars, because I had trouble reading certain parts, but the story was amazing and I was totally invested in the main character, really all the characters.  At first I thought, "Oh, this is a boy book" because there weren't female characters, but by the end there are at least two strong ones, with quite a few female side characters, so it really wasn't lacking for much of anything, other than maybe a little levity.  By the 2nd book, I was a little more adjusted to the grimness of the world and I was so fascinated by the plot that it was absolutely 5 star and so far the 3rd is as well.

♥♥♥♥ - Liked

The Wise Man's Fear

I didn't love this quite as much as the first.  I still like the character and the writing style, but I started to get impatient with the story, which wanders around and isn't in much of a hurry to get to the point and often involves things I don't think are truly necessary to the story.  I think I might have enjoyed it more if I was in the mood - sometimes it's nice to take a break from constant conflict and just enjoy the world the author has created, but I was torn because there was just so much of it.  Because this one was so long, the cut scenes where we come back to the present are even more annoying, because they don't add to the story.  I hope in the third book that something will happen in the present, otherwise all of the back and forth will have been completely wasted time.  Still a good story, still love Kvothe, still want to how he ends up where he is.


This one was interesting, because I've read a couple others by Brandon Sanderson and they've been sweeping fantasy epics.  The style in this one differs slightly, but that might be because it's his first published work, but it's more romance-y and maybe a little less polished.  I still enjoyed it quite a bit, but I like the depth of his current works even more.

You Are a Badass

Awesome, awesome book.  I identified pretty strongly with the author - she talks about all the self help books she read and workshops she attended in the quest to find and improve herself and achieve the life she wants.  I loved hearing all that knowledge summed up in one place, and it was nice to see what themes I could pick out that I'd read in other books, because it kind of validated my prior reading.  I do still have trouble with the mystical part: both the spiritual need for faith in something and the idea that you can manifest things by believing them.  I do believe you can change your own actions by changing your beliefs, but I don't believe the world literally shifts to give you what you want just because you believe it.  So not quite 5 stars but I really liked everything else and I think she does have good action steps in addition to "just believe" so it was inspiring and useful.

The Golden Compass and His Dark Materials Series

This was a reread.  I picked it for the car ride, because I read online that The Golden Compass is one of the most well-narrated audiobooks out there and it was!  They actually have different voices for each of the characters and it's almost more like listening to the movie and having someone read at you.  This is my first successful fantasy audiobook - normally I'd rather read it myself, but this one was so captivating I actually listened to it at home in addition to at work.  I also have a lot more respect for the world building as an adult than I did the first time I read it.  And lol at my teenage self who thought it wasn't an anti-religious book.  They're literally going to war with God.


I read this when I was 12, or something, and strongly disliked it.  I couldn't keep up with the characters and politics and it was all too much for me.  I'd since read Game of Thrones (and the rest of the Song of Fire and Ice series) and figured it was time to revisit (it couldn't have THAT many viewpoints!).  It was so good.  Very political, so I can see why I struggled as a kid, but Paul's story and transition was fascinating and I really liked learning more about the world and its ecosystem with the spice and the sandworms.  Planning on reading the sequels.

Pudd'nhead Wilson

A classic!  This was very interesting, both for the historical aspects and the story itself.  I found the ending very satisfying in a "justice is served" kind of way and I'm doing my best to ignore the unlikeliness of it (it involves people believing scientific proof using technology they've never heard of before and I think we know how that goes in real life).

Swan Lake

My expectations were low going in, because my last KM Shea experience was lackluster and I thought maybe I was just getting tired of her style (I've read everything she has, because she's on Kindle Unlimited and her stories are all cute, but the writing isn't as mature as some authors - perhaps because she pumps out several books a year).  But apparently I was in the mood, because I thoroughly enjoyed this.  4 stars for enjoyment!

Notorious RBG

Another hugely inspiring book.  I listened to this one, and I really liked the narrator (minus one little bit at the end where she reads what I think is supposed to be rap and I wish someone had legit rapped it instead).  Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a phenomenal human being and I'm so glad I took the time to learn more about her achievements and what she's done to move our country forward.

♥♥♥ - Ambivalent-ed


It was a cute story.  It always takes me a little while to adapt to the more classical writing style, but once I was in, I was pretty invested in Anne.  But, despite how much I liked her as a person, I didn't feel like she really showed that she was different than everyone else who only cared about rank.  She turns the guy down because her family tells her to, and then only wants him back after she finds out that he has higher status now.  She thinks her family shouldn't chase after and cater to ridiculous people just because they're high-ranking but disapproves of Mrs. Clay because she's low-ranking.  I think maybe Anne was open-minded for that time period, but not for modern times and thus I had trouble fully relating to her.

♥♥ - Mildly Disliked

No 2 stars here!

 - Did Not Finish or Wanted to Burn in a Fire

Bad Feminist

It wasn't THAT bad, but I listen to audiobooks to take my mind off certain dull tasks at work, and this one wasn't doing it for me.  I liked the first part where she talks about teaching and some of the racial issues with underprivileged minority students.  But then she lost me in an endless chapter about Scrabble tournaments and I decided if I was going to improve my mind with knowledge about feminism and feminists, I'd rather do it with a more cohesive book instead of something so rambly.

Turning Points (Thieves World)

This was one of Ryan's and he really liked it, but never actually explained to me that it wasn't an actual novel.  It's a series of short stories, all written by different authors about the same world.  Not a fan.  I could do short stories if they felt more cohesive, but these were totally random and not all of them even felt finished.  I didn't realize until after the 3rd story that we weren't going to go back to the first character's POV.  So not burn-in-a-fire bad, but not my style and I didn't finish.


Finishing up the Night Angel series with Beyond the Shadows.  Seemingly unrelated, but it ties back in, I swear, did you guys see Erin's post about her reading habits?  I went to all the work of mapping out my own reads so far this year and making fancy pie charts and I realized I've been filling my brain up with fluff.  So I'm going to try to dive into some classics and actually tackle my challenge list for Erin 5.0 (more on that below).  And then I think I'll save the fancy pie charts for the end of the year, when I have 12 months of data instead of 7, as much as I want to post it right now.

Challenge Updates

Erin 5.0

Challenge progress: not good.  Only Persuasion and Pudd'nhead Wilson were challenge books, so only 2/10 for a total of 55 points (out of 200 possible).  Need to get a move on!

Read My Own Books

Also, I didn't linkup because I was on an impromptu break, but I did read my own books for Dani and Erin's challenge.  I cleared my kindle with You Are a Badass, finished May Cause Miracles (and decided I didn't need to follow the 40 day project), started Physics of the Impossible and decided I was ok with getting rid of that one without finishing, and then started reading Ryan and Roommate's books (Dune, Turning Points, Way of Shadows).

What have you been reading?  Have you read anything from my list and what did you think?

Linking up with Steph and Jana
Life According to Steph

Jenn signature graphic | Business, Life & Design


  1. Aww I love Persuasion but I totally see what you are saying. I still haven't read a KM Shea book but I really should sometime...they sound like my kind of books. I loved The Golden Compass series as a pre-teen and re-reading them on audio is a great idea. You aren't the first person to highly recommend them in that format. I need to read Big Magic sometime too - it sounds so inspiring.

  2. When I read your books posts, I'm always struck but just how different our tastes are. But then you read RBG last month and so did I! Finally. One we have in common!

  3. I keep contemplating reading Big Magic and I have You Are a Badass and just haven't had time to start reading it yet. Now I need to get myself moving on more reading as Summer is coming to an end. Maybe Fall will be my season for getting the books read.

  4. I get what you are saying about Persuasion...Anne was not as independent and strong-willed as I would have liked. Why have I not read RBG yet?!?! I've gotta. And YES for Bad Feminist! I liked the parts that were actually about, you know, feminism. But some of it just felt so random...

  5. haha there are plenty of books that I chucked because they just didn't capture me in the first few chapters or they were just straight up wack.

  6. yay for putting down books you aren't enjoying!! i really need to learn how to do that.
    definitely adding the way of shadows to my list!
    you are a badass is on my list, i have heard great things. thanks for the heads up about the spiritual/faith parts, you know my thoughts on things like that......
    i really liked the swan lake book! i think i would like them all more if they were all released and i could read them all in one go, but i had forgotten basically everything from that 'world' by the time i got to swan lake, which makes me sad. i haven't read all of her books but i have enjoyed like 90% of the ones i did haha. i can't think of any i really disliked (except for the other swan book.. the one with the brothers).
    i totally agree about Anne. she was open minded but not for right now. i do disagree that she only wanted wentworth after she found out he was higher up, she wanted him because she LOVED HIM AND IT WAS TRUE LOVE <3 hahahahaha jk. i think it made it easier for sure, but i like to think she would have accepted him/gone back with him/begged him to love her no matter what. sigh. i love captain wentworth so much.

  7. I love the Badass title.

    I 100% support abandoning books if you feel the need to.

    Dune is not my style but MFD loves it.

  8. I have Big Magic on my list. I need to get to that!!! I totally will not finish a book I am hating because life is too short and I have too many to read!

  9. I LOVED Big Magic, especially that idea to give yourself permission to be creative and to fail. I can be such a perfectionist that it stops me from even trying. You are a Badass is on my TBR and so is the Notorious RBG. I'm adding the Night Angel series to my TBR. It sounds like a series I'd enjoy. I'm trying to get better about DNFing a book, although lately books for me have fallen apart at the very end, which makes it really hard to DNF a book you've almost finished.

    1. Do you typically do fantasy? Night Angel is pretty epic fantasy, with magic and monsters and whole world system that's different from ours. Which I love, but I just want to make sure that's what you wanted to get into. :P

  10. I am intrigued by Big Magic but I haven't read it because I feel like maybe it will make me feel bad that I'm not more creative, or that I'm not dedicated more time in my life to creativity, and I don't really want to add one more thing to the list of things I feel bad about not doing...
    You are a Badass is on my TBR. I love self help. :-)

  11. You Are a Badass is on my radar. I keep seeing it a lot lately and since I KNOW I'm badass, I need to read it :) I'm also planning to read Notorious RBG at some point. Hopefully before the end of the year.

  12. I like Brandon Sanderson. I read the first two Mistborn books, although I didn't finish the series and would need to reread at this point! My favorite by him so far has been Warbreaker, which is a standalone book. I loved the personalities of the characters. It's hard to find good sarcastic characters :). I might have to check out Elantris, too. I love The Golden Compass series, too, although I reread the first one recently and remembered enjoying it more as a kid. That is the way, sometimes.

  13. My husband loves Dune and keeps trying to get me to read it. Maybe I should give it a try!

  14. Because of you, Steph, Jana, and others ... I feel like I must read RBG.
    Thanks for all the shout outs! You still have plenty of time to catch up in the book challenge. And, I'm glad to hear that Read My Books encouraged you to clear out some that have been waiting to be read.

  15. The only two I have thoughts on are two that I've read. I loved, LOVED Big Magic. Honestly. It changed me. Not just gave me a new thought—it changed me. I was halfway through the library audiobook when I bought it because I knew I needed a physical copy to comfort me whenever I felt like I was floundering in the future. I've already loaned it out twice (to Michael and Dani). I agree, everyone should read it.

    I think I told you also that I'd read RBG, and loved it. I thought I knew a good deal about her before, but I had no idea just how much she's changed the landscape of our politics. She's one hell of a person.

  16. I loved Dark Materials when I read them in high school but I'm definitely do for a re-read. I'm curious if I feel the same way now.

  17. I've heard great things about Big Magic. I've put off reading it but maybe I need to give it a try. Definitely got a few to add to my list!

  18. I will have to check out Big Magic!

    I also loved You Are A Badass! Such an inspiring and motivating book!

  19. Big Magic does sound good! Putting that one on my list :) I probably should also read You Are a Badass!


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