Monday, 20 February 2017

Musing Mondays - blind date with a book & book smell

Musing Monday, February 20, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…my library's BLIND DATE WITH A BOOK event last week

Last week at work we had a blind date with a book event organised by the Outreach Librarian. Blind book selections are all the rage in libraries and bookstores right now, vert trendy. What you do is you take a book, wrap it in craft paper, and then put a 3-5 word description of the book on the paper. The goal being to make the books sound exciting so people choose them. In choosing them you're hoping to get something you'll enjoy, but also something you might never have picked yourself. Anyone who knows me knows I have a little bit of an obsession with blind boxes and things like that, I love the surprise of seeing what I'm actually going to get. Therefore it should be no surprise that I ended up with 3 of the blind date books.

Rebecca's Daughters by Dylan Thomas

This is the first book I scooped up. It was really down to the "derring-do", that was what caught my attention, I needed to know what this book was. I didn't read the whole summary, just enough to see that it was set in the 19th century in Wales. I'm on a steampunk kick so I thought why not give it a try it since I had it! It's under 200 pages so I figured I could get it done in about 2 hours. I started reading it on Wednesday and read for 50 minutes and then I haven't picked it back up again. But I do plan to finish it tonight. I'm up to page 61.

If I were going to re-wrap this book and put it back on a blind date with a book table here's how I would describe it: 19th-century, cross-dressing Welsh Batman:

Rebecca’s Daughters is the nearest Dylan Thomas ever came to realizing his ambition to write a film scenario in such a way that it would not only stand ready for shooting but would, at the same time, give the ordinary reader a visual impression of the film in words. A romantic adventure story set in mid-nineteenth-century Wales, Rebecca’s Daughters has a dashing hero who is not what he seems; commonfolk oppressed by the landowners; and finally, justice triumphant over greed and misused privilege. Who is the mysterious "Rebecca" swathed in wide black skirts with a shawl drawn over his mouth and his eyes flashing from beneath the brim of his tall black hat as he exhorts his "daughters" to tear down the hated tollgates imposed by the gentry’s Turnpike Trust? And where does the foppish Anthony Raine––just returned from a tour in India with the despised British army––stand? And how is the lovely Rhiannon to choose between them? -- via Goodreads

The Tiger in the Smoke (Albert Campion #14)  by Margery Allingham

I was only planning on taking 1 book, but I should have known myself better. I succumbed to this book for the same reasons I grabbed the first one, the description. I wanted to know what kind of treasure and havoc! I am too curious for my own good sometimes!! My coworker Melanie was with me when I unwrapped this one, and because we work in an Academic library we don't keep the dust jackets on our hardcovers, so neither of us had any idea what this book was just based on the title. Thankfully Goodreads exists.

Once I found out on Goodreads that Tiger in the Smoke is actually the 14th book in the series Melanie and I agreed I should probably try and get my hands on the first book and start with that to get a sense of the character. Luckily one of the libraries in our consortium owns a copy, so I've got that on its way to me so I can read it before I read this one:

Meg's marriage to self-made millionaire Geoffrey Levett should have been happy, until she began receiving photos of her late husband Martin, presumed dead in WWII. She calls on old friend Albert Campion to get to the bottom of things. For Campion, the case was cut and dry - until a brutal triple murder.

All the books from Albert Campion series are standalone titles and can be read in any order.  -- via Goodreads

Among Others  by Jo Walton

I certainly wasn't planning on 3 of them...This one had been sitting there for a few days, I expect that was because a lot of people made the assumption that I made. I assumed that it was our copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone so I wasn't going to take it because I own 4 copies of that book in various formats and have read it about a dozen times. But my curiosity got the better of me again and I had to know if I was right. I brought the book over the the user services desk and scanned the barcode, obviously, it wasn't Philosopher's Stone and I'd never heard of Among Others so to Goodreads I went once more.

After reading the synopsis on Goodreads I just had to bring this book home with me. How could I not when it's got a premise so close to my absolute #1 favourite series? And it's pretty highly rated. I'm really shocked I've never heard of this book before now. It's not even that old because it came out in 2011:

Startling, unusual, and yet irresistably readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and SF, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled--and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England–a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off…

Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.   -- via Goodreads

I'd like to try and read all 3 of these this week. I'm sort of setting myself a personal mini-challenge in that regard. It's what we call reading week at work, so the students are all off for the middle of their term. You might know it by spring break or half-term break but we call it reading week. So I'm going to have my own personal reading week by attempting to finish 7 books this week. I've already finished 1 (finished The Girl with the Iron Touch this morning) and if I finish Rebecca's Daughters tonight too then I am on track to meet that goal :)

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you like new book smell? Old book smell? All book smell?

My original answer was going to be all book smell with the exception of musty books. But then I realised that I had both an old book and a new book right on my desk thanks to Tiger in the Smoke and the copy of The Invisible Library that I've borrowed from a friend, which was recently purchased. So I sniffed both - and I definitely found the new book smell to be more pleasant than the old book smell. Some old books do smell amazing, though, and in large quantities old book smell just makes me happy. That's why I like wandering up in the stacks at work.

Which type of book smell do you prefer?

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Musing Mondays - reading Steampunk & visiting the Enchanted Forest

Musing Monday, February 13, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 I’m currently reading…

The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross

This series has 4 full-length novels and 3 novellas. Cross published the first book The Girl in the Steel Corset in January 2011. I read that one for the first time in June 2011 and then had to wait for the next one to come out. By the time it did it was off my radar and then in May 2014 the final book, The Girl with the Windup Heart dropped and that made me remember this series. So I bought the entire rest of the series, I don't remember when or from where, but I did, and they'd been sitting on my TBR shelves ever since. Until last week when after finishing The Hammer of Thor I found myself very much in the mood to read some steampunk next. Which may or may not have been attributed to some discussions generated by last week's Musing Monday threads. But me being me, I am not one to ignore my reading whims, because I know ignoring my whims leads to reading slumps and I am on a pretty good roll right now (9 books ahead of schedule according to Goodreads.). I pulled all 4 Steampunk Chronicles novels off my shelf, set them on the top of the shelf closest to my desk, set aside the dust jacket for Girl in the Steel Corset and set about re-reading it so I could read my way through the rest of the series finally.

I remember really enjoying Girl in the Steel Corset the first time I read it and I remembered quite a bit about it going into the re-read which surprised me a bit give how long it's been since I read it and that it was sort of a one-off read at the time. The main character Finley Jayne is, according to the author, tied to the in-universe inspiration for the story of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. I feel comfortable telling you that without giving anything away, but that's all I'm going to say about that because I don't want to give anything away! My enjoyment of this book was no less than it was during my first read, in fact, I think I may have even enjoyed it more this time around. It's a fun story and the characters are really great, all of them, which is nice. At the time of writing this, I am up to page 248 in the second book, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (2012), which I am so far enjoying just as much as I did the first book.  In this book, the setting switches from London to New York as the gang from the first book travel there to help out a friend and end up hanging out with Nikola Tesla.

I expect that by the time I publish this post tomorrow I'll have started the 3rd book, which is the one I've pictured here, The Girl with the Iron Touch (2013). I'm super duper excited for that one because that's Emily on the cover and Emily is freaking awesome. If you plan to read the whole series do not read the summary below for Girl with the Iron Touch until you've read Girl with the Steel Corset because it will give too much away:

In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken... 

When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives. 

With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine. 

To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has... -- via Goodreads

Monday update: Yup, finished Girl in the Clockwork Collar, starting Girl with the Iron Touch after I post this. Final thoughts on Girl with the Clockwork Collar? It was good! I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the first one and it was nice to get to know Jasper a little better than we did in the first book because he's a fun character. Also Tesla, what's not to love about Tesla?

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: If you could travel to one place you’ve read about in a book, what place would you visit and what book was it from?

That's like asking me to choose my favourite book! I can only pick one?! What an impossible task, but I guess if I have to just pick one I will. I mean the most obvious answer, given how much of a Potterhead I am, would be Diagon Alley, but do I want to choose the most obvious answer? Another few fairly obvious answers to anyone who knows me would be Narnia or Wonderland. But I'm kind of really tempted to choose something that is not one of those obvious three that I have so often fantasised about visiting. I wandered around looking at my bookshelves and considering my answer. I decided against Percy Jackson's world, Fionavar, anything dystopian, anything back in time, and a whole bunch of other options. One option that I thought about choosing was Garth Nix's Old Kingdom from the Abhorsen series, but as I was thinking about writing about that one the perfect answer popped into my head: the Enchanted Forest, care of Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles. These books have been favourites of mine since I was in high school. I still remember the exact moment I discovered them. We were on a school trip to Stratford to see a play and I was browsing the theatre gift shop and came across a book called Talking to Dragons which looked so awesome. I bought it, and read it, and was very confused while I was reading it. This was the pre-Goodreads days, but my confusion led me to realise that I was actually reading the final book in the series first...oops? Once I got my hands on the first three I devoured them and I've since read them all probably about a half dozen times each.

The Enchanted Forest is to put it simply, amazing, it has everything. It's magical, filled with creatures and beings like witches (fire witches, and a witch who can talk to cats among them), talking dragons, Wizards who can be melted with soapy water, and a King with a Magic sword. It's surrounded by all sorts of interesting mountains and caverns too and would just be ripe for adventure and exploration. I definitely think it's a good choice.

What place would you choose?

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Graze Box Number 2 Unboxing

So here I am with another Graze box.  This is a bit late as I received the box late.  I should have received this last Saturday (4th) but it only arrived Wednesday, and then for some reason I procrastinated with writing this blog post.

However here it is now with a run down of all the snacks I received and my thoughts on them.

The snacks I received were a mixed bag.  Two of them look absolutely delicious and I tucked into those pretty early on.  The other two I'm not so sure about and have yet to try them.

1. Chia Coconut Cookie with Afternoon Infusion Tea.  This is one of the ones I'm not so sure about.  I'm not a lover of coconut and thought I had binned any snacks with coconut in it.  I do love the Graze tea though.  It's an Assam and Kenyan leaf blend and it's the most delicious tea I have ever tasted.

2. Belgian Speculoos.  This is a new product which I hadn't had before but it is definitely now on my LOVE list.   The pretzel dipping sticks are cinnamon flavoured and the dip itself is cookie but it's more of a caramel/toffee flavour.  This snack is simply heavenly and I really hope I get this again very soon.  It was one of the higher end snacks calorie wise but still AMAZING!!

3. Smokehouse Barbecue Crunch.  Again I've not had this before and this is the other snack I am unsure of, mainly because it contains chilli corn.  I had definitely binned anything off with chilli in the title or contents as I don't like it but I think this is also a new product and therefore found its way onto the try list.  I will give it a go and see but I'm not holding out much hope on this one.

4. Sour Cream & Garlic Crostini.  I have tried this before and love it so I was pleased to see it again and it didn't last long.  This has sour cream and onion cashew nuts (my favourite type of nut) and little crostini bites with garlic flavouring.  This always pleases me when I see it.

So to sum up the box, I was 50% pleased, 25% unsure and 25% not happy.  I will give snacks 1 & 3 a try nevertheless and see what they are like but the other two have already gone and were delicious.

If anyone wishes to try a Graze box subscription, I have a referral code which enables you to get your first box free.  You aren't tied into any length of subscription but if you decide to continue with the boxes, this code means you will also get your 5th and 10th boxes for free as well.

The code is 7PZV1P2WB 

Follow the link here

Monday, 6 February 2017

Musing Mondays - Scott Pilgrim & test driving genres

Musing Monday February 6, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 I’m currently reading…

Scott Pilgrim by Brian Lee O'Malley - at the time of writing this vol. 2 specifically: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

I was up the the stacks at work on Thursday and found myself walking past the graphic novels. Sometimes I just can't stop myself from grabbing something on the way past that section. This time was no different, I saw the 6 Scott Pilgrim books sitting there and though, what the heck these are supposed to be good, so I picked them up. It was my intention/goal to just read all 6 of them this past weekend, but that didn't exactly happen. I didn't pick volume 1 up until like midnight on Sunday as I was going to bed Saturday night. I read the vast majority of volume 1 on Sunday evening after finishing The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2) (which FYI is awesome as I think all of Rick Riordan's books are :D). Honestly I said several times as I was reading volume 1, what the everloving F am I reading?! Things just happen, seemingly at random! And nothing is really explained? Or at least if it is I must be missing it. I am thinking that these books might be waaaaaay overhyped. But I have committed myself, I want to see out the whole 6 volumes. Therefore at the time of pre-writing this post on Sunday night I am currently about a third of the way into volume 2. I will probably be up to at least volume 3 by the time I make this post go live.

Hopefully I'll start to get what's going on in these books. One thing I don't expect will ever grow on me about these books though is the art style. It is not my style at all, I am just not digging the drawing. I suspect that that is colouring my opinion of the story at least somewhat. It is Canadian though, set in my home town in fact, and I have been saying I wanted to start reading more Canadian stuff, so it's got that going for it!

Does Scott and Ramona's burgeoning relationship have a future? Isn't Scott still supposedly dating Knives Chau? Who is Ramona's second evil ex-boyfriend, and why is he in Toronto? Who are The Clash At Demonhead, and what kind of bizarre art-punky music do they play? Who's their hot girl keyboardist, and what is Scott's relation to her? Why are they Knives Chau's new favourite band? Fights! Drama! Secrets revealed! The answers to all these questions and more! -- via Goodreads

I really hope that summary is accurate because I have so very many questions...

Monday update: Yup totally finished volume 2 before bed last night, onwards to volume 3!

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you try out genres you have not liked in the past once in a while just to see if your taste changed?

I read a fair number of genres now but I didn't always. I used to be pretty much all fantasy with a sprinkling of sci-fi and I was deadset against romance for years and years. Now though, and probably thanks in large part to both my English degree and my Library Technician diploma (hurrah for reader's advisory class!) I read pretty much every genre but Western. And I suspect that that is only because I have yet to find a Western author who I like. See for me, now anyway, it's not so much about the genre as it is about the writer. Like I was so deadset against romance, but then I tried a Diana Gabaldon book because it was assigned to me in an English class. I really liked it, but I still refused to read romance. Then in my Reader's Advisory class I had to pick from 2 genres I wasn't really a bigger reader of and pick a book from each of them to read, summarise and review. So I picked romance and thriller (because at the time I was also not reading a lot of thrillers) and it was that assignment that changed my perspective on romance and made me realise it's about the writer and the story not the genre as a whole. Although I just realised I still also don't like literary fiction - no matter how many times I try it. And I'm pretty sure that's not just because I haven't found an author I like yet. Every now and then I try the classics again, but I've yet to manage to stick with them so my tastes haven't changed there either.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Calendar Girls - Feb 2017 - best romance in YA (in my opinion) - #CalendarGirlsBooks

Calendar Girls is hosted by bloggers, Flavia the Bibliophile and Melanie Noell Bernard – both have amazing blogs full of fun, bookish posts. Calendar Girls is a brand new monthly blog event inspired by Neil Sedaka’s 1961 song Calendar Girl. Just like in the song, we decided to use a specific them for each month and choose a book based on these themes! The event is meant to incite discussions with other bloggers about books we’ve read and loved, is meant to help bloggers meet other bloggers, and also for bloggers and readers to find out about blogs which they normally may not have come across! Want to know more? Click on the links above! And it’s not too late to jump on the Calendar Girl train! Join now!

Best romance in a YA novel

You'll note the careful wording of this month's topic, and I am very, very glad of it. I am glad they chose the best romance in YA and not the best YA romance. Because I don't read a lot of YA that is only romance. A lot of the YA I read has elements of romance, but cannot be classed as romance per se in the same way Outlander or the Lords of the Underworld can be. But even with my picks for romance novels I tend towards choices like the above where the romance itself isn't the sole element of the novel. That being said it was still really hard for me to make a choice here. I feel like I had a couple of good options rolling around in my head that were all good for various reasons, but I still discarded them for my ultimate winners:

Monday, 30 January 2017

Musing Mondays - Kelley Armstrong Mystery Box & most anticipated books of 2017

Musing Monday January 30, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 I’m super excited to tell you about...

The box of books I received today! So earlier this month on Facebook Kelley Armstrong (who I know I have mentioned is one of my favourite authors) announced that she had mystery boxes to give away. Each mystery box was going to contain a random selection of 9-11 of her excess books and they would all be autographed as well (for $40 all in). I thought what the heck and threw my name in thinking there is no way in heck I was going to be selected because there'd be hundreds of people wanting one. BUT I WAS! And they arrived today! And I only already owned 3 of them! Another 2 I own different versions of, 1 book I got I own as an ebook, and I got an auidobook which I already own a hardcover of. One of the 3 books that I already own was autographed and the other wasn't (oops?). So I figure I'll keep the autographed one and either sell/donate/gift my old copy. I was thinking about giving the other one to my Aunt who is the one who got me into Armstrong's Otherworld series, but that was when I discovered that that one wasn't autographed, but the 3rd one, also from that series is autographed so I'll give her that one. All in I got 10 novels and 1 audiobook and also some bookmarks. So which books did I get?

Let's go top to bottom:

1. Thirteen - audiobook, this is the one I own a hardcover of. Book 13 of Women of the Otherworld.

2. Dime Store Magic - I already own this exact edition, and this is the one that isn't autographed :(. Book 3 of Women of the Otherworld.

3. The Rising - this one one I own and am going to switch out the non-autographed version for. Book 3 of Darkness Rising.

4. Men of the Otherworld - this is the one I am thinking about giving to my aunt. I own a copy of the edition that matches Dime Store Magic. Book 1 of Otherworld Stories.

5. Thor's Serpents - this one was on my Amazon wishlist cause I bought Loki's Wolves late in 2016 and it's still on my to be read pile. Book 3 in The Blackwell Pages.

6. Enthralled - I'd not heard of this one before! So this one is very exciting for me. It's part of the Morganville Vampire series apparently.

7. Forsaken - Another one that's been on my wishlist forever. Book 13.5 of Otherworld Stories.

8. Living with the dead - it's a good thing I am not one of those people who cares overmuchly about having all of my books in the same series match each other. Book 9 of Women of the Otherworld.

9. Visions - I just finished reading this at the tail end of 2016 haha. This is one I own as an ebook, because I bought the first book as an ebook and thus just kept going with that. It's nice to have a hardcopy, because I do love it. And it's autographed :). Book 2 in the Cainsville series.

10. Waking the Witch - I've had this one on my wishlist for ages because I want to read the entire series it is a part of. Book 11 of Women of the Otherworld.

11. The Unquiet Past - Another one I'd not heard of, most exciting! This one is the first in a series of 7 linked novels by 7 different authors called Secrets.

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Are there any books you are really eagerly waiting for in 2017?

Hahahaha. Yes, yes there are. There are at least 10. Or these are the 10 that most immediately jump to mind anyway. I'm a series hound, so all of these books are part of ongoing series that I am enjoying and want more of. Here they are in order of release date:

  1. Winter of the Gods (Olympus Bound #2) by Jordanna Max Brodsky - coming February 14 2017
  2. Saga, Vol. 7 (Saga) by Brian K. Vaughan - coming March 28 2017
  3. The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2) by Rick Riordan - coming May 2 2017
  4. The Darkest Promise (Lords of the Underworld #13) by Gena Showalter - coming June 13 2017 [OMG WE'RE FINALLY GETTING CAMEO! YES!]
  5. Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab - coming June 13 2017
  6. Faith, Volume 3: Superstar (Faith #3) by Jody Houser - coming June June 27 2017 [I didn't realise vol. 2 was already out! Must acquire ASAP!]
  7. Rituals (Cainsville #5) by Kelley Armstrong - coming August 19 2017
  8. Bring the Heat (Dragon Kin #9) by G.A. Aiken - coming August 29 2017
  9. One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake - coming September 19 2017
  10. The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3) by Rick Riordan - coming October 3 2017

So much for my plan of buying fewer books this year! Hah! What books are you looking forward to this year?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Musing Mondays - Novellas from the library & reading formats

Musing Monday January 23, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 I bought acquired the following book(s) in the past week…

I'm making a change to this category because I didn't buy the books I got last week, I acquired them from the library where I work, so I've got them out indefinitely (until I read them or someone else recalls them, whichever comes first). I wanted to talk about them still so that was why I chose to hijack one of the categories for them. I read an article on Book Riot last week, 100 Must Read Novellas, and it inspired me to snag a few from the library. Specifically 3 of them that had been on my want to read list for some time but that I'd never gotten around to. What I like best about novellas is that they can usually be read in one sitting and I can usually get through them in about 2 hours because they're under 200 pages. So what did I pick up?

Booker Prize winner Dame Antonia Byatt breathes life into the Ragnorak myth, the story of the end of the gods in Norse mythology.

Ragnarok retells the finale of Norse mythology. A story of the destruction of life on this planet and the end of the gods themselves: what more relevant myth could any modern writer choose? Just as Wagner used this dramatic and catastrophic struggle for the climax of his Ring Cycle, so AS Byatt now reinvents it in all its intensity and glory. As the bombs of the Blitz rain down on Britain, one young girl is evacuated to the countryside. She is struggling to make sense of her new wartime life. Then she is given a copy of Asgard and the Gods—a book of ancient Norse myths—and her inner and outer worlds are transformed.

War, natural disaster, reckless gods and the recognition of impermanence in the world are just some of the threads that AS Byatt weaves into this most timely of books. Linguistically stunning and imaginatively abundant, this is a landmark. -- via Goodreads
Why this one? Two reasons - 1 I love mythology of all kinds as I have mentioned before and 2, because I have a love/hate relationship with A.S. Byatt. I did my 4th year English seminar on her and her mother, I had to write a 25 page paper on her novel Possession, I hated that novel. But I loved all of her short stories, so I figured this being in between the two I've got a 50/50 chance of loving it. I know she won't spend nearly as much time describing bathrooms in this one as she did in Possession.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
For Penelope, Odysseus's wife, running a kingdom while her husband is away fighting in the Trojan War is no simple matter. Already distressed that he had been lured away because of the shocking behavior of her beautiful cousin Helen, Penelope must also raise her wayward son, face scandalous rumors, and keep more than one hundred lustful, greedy, and bloodthirsty suitors at bay.

Margaret Atwood gives voice to Penelope, one of antiquity's most infamous heroines, so that she can tell her story at last and set the record straight once and for all. -- via Goodreads
I chose this one for similar reasons to Ragnarok. It's another one about mythology, Greek this time. I've been saying for years I'd like to try reading more Margaret Atwood stuff. The only book of hers that have read is The Robber Bride which I actually really liked. So I thought I'd start with her novella and then move to her comic book and then try her novels. I've had Oryx and Crake out from work for ages.

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret -- a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.
At once a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a savage commentary on a media-driven society that values the pursuit of youth and beauty at all costs, The Stepford Wives is a novel so frightening in its final implications that the title itself has earned a place in the American lexicon.  -- via Goodreads
I didn't even realise that this was a book. I knew about the film, I've seen the Nicole Kidman version. So I was already familiar with the premise and I decided I should read the original source material. I also thought given the subject matter that now was an appropriate time to read this. I read it last Wednesday and I was right about my timing, it's a disturbing and scary novella, even moreso because you can see something like this happening. (not with robots  (hidden for spoilers), but through legislation for example)

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your preferred reading format?

I was a die hard physical books only girl when ebooks first started getting big, which thinking back makes no sense at all given that I am also a long time fanfiction reader but whatever, I guess I was a little hypocritical. I have since changed my tune! I also had a similar thing about audiobooks, I kept saying they didn't work for me, but they do now. All in all I don't necessarily have one particular format that is my preferred choice. Usually I make my choice of format based on specific circumstances. Like if I know I am going to be travelling, ebooks are perfect because then I just need my phone or tablet instead of the 3-5 paperbacks or 2 hardcovers that I previously would have fought to get into my carry-on and suitcase. I'm going to visit Angie in May and have already decided that I am not taking ANY physical books with me - this will be a first for me. Auidobooks have their place for me as well, usually when I'm at work and am the only one in the office and thus need some sound. I've tried them while walking the dog a few times, that was fun too. I didn't bring headphones with me so I'm listening to Philosopher's Stone on speaker phone while I walk through the park on a Saturday morning. Good thing there was no one around to disturb with it. I like paper backs because they're light, easily fit in my messenger bag and are easy to hold, they're also relatively cheap compared to everything but ebooks usually. And of course I do love a good hardcover, I love hardcovers best for reading at something, like at my desk or at the kitchen table, because then I can just sit the book down and just flip the pages. They can be a pain, literally, when you have to hold them up, especially if you read in marathon stretches like I've been known to do.

Also - this is the 100th post on this blog, YAY! Congrats to us Angie!