A Storm of Swords

I did not realize JUST how much happened in A Storm of Swords. I knew this book covered most of the last season of the show, but I also knew that Martin spread the timeline out over two books. (A Feast for Crows covers the same chronological timeframe for the most part, just with different character POV.) It didn’t register with me, though, that I would see all of the really major BOOM BOOM BOOM plot points here. For those of you who have read the books, or seen the show, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

For those of you who haven’t…I won’t tell you. Just get ready. Be prepared to set aside time for this book. And wine. Lots and lots of wine.

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The only real individual thought I have noted down for this one is regarding Arya:

I always forget how long Arya’s journey is. Everyone else’s lives vary and are exciting, noteable. But Arya fades into the background so much, even though she probably has the hardest battles of everyone. Her pain is constant, with no end in sight, wave after wave of older men taking advantage or using her for her name or ransom, taking her in a direction she doesn’t want to go. She is wholly driven, almost made sociopathic by her motivations and circumstances. She kills without emotion or remorse, even her “prayers” are murderous and revengeful.

 

WWW Wednesday 11/26/2014

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What are you currently reading?

A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin

 

 

What did you just finish reading?

I Grew My Boobs in China by Savannah Grace

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

First There Wasn’t, Then There Was by Troy Blackford

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Breeder by KB Hoyle (This is an ARC and part of a blog tour, so the review won’t be posted until Dec. 10)

The Camelot Conspiracy by E Duke Vincent

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

Teaser Tuesday 11/25/2014

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

“In his dreams the dead came burning, gowned in swirling green flames. Jaime danced around them with a golden sword, but for every one he struck down two more arose to take his place.”

 

–George RR Martin, A Storm of Swords

I Grew My Boobs in China

Travelling has always been a great dream of mine, especially international travel. America is wonderful and vast and varying, but aside from a jump across Niagara, I’ve never been out of it.

There’s so much world to see, and the more travel memoirs I read, the more I long to go.

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When I read I Grew My Boobs in China, I was hit with two impressions:

1. Holy crap, I want to smack this super annoying teenager right in the face. Seriously, her whining drove me crazy the entire time. One moment she’d come up with some really deep, well thought out things about how much this trip was changing her…and then boom, she’d start back in on how terrible everything was and how she missed the internet. But…I’m an adult reading a book written by a girl going through puberty in a foreign country with a giant pack strapped to her back. I’d probably whine too if it were me.

2. If Elizabeth Gilbert had a daughter…Savannah Grace would be her. The way she talked about her mom’s journey through divorce–giving up her life, taking off on this epic journey across Asia, that’s what it reminded me of.

I finished this in one day, and thankfully it was a lazy, “do nothing but laundry and read” kind of day, because I couldn’t put this down. I Grew My Boobs in China is only the first part of a 3 part series (at least so far):  Sihpromatum. The first two are on Kindle Unlimited, and you should definitely check them out. I am looking forward to the second book, to see what happened to the family in Russia!

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I’ve touted my love of horror on this blog before:  Stephen King, Joe Hill, Thomas Harris. I did not expect to find it when I picked up Ray Bradbury, but I sure did. Something Wicked This Way Comes is old school horror at it’s finest.

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Set in quiet, classic little town, Bradbury’s novel is creepy from the very beginning. We have two young best friends, with birthdays at midnight on Halloween. A storm is coming quick, so says the lightning rod salesman, got to prepare!

Except that storm isn’t thunder and lightening. It’s a circus that comes in the middle of the night–which made me want to don my black and scarlet. Unfortunately, this isn’t Morgenstern’s circus, but something much more sinister.

There is a lot of philosophy in Bradbury’s book–most of it surrounding the concept of Death. The moral of this story is all about how you live your life, saving each moment in time. Death is nothing, an idealistic myth we’ve created so we don’t have to think about now.

It was interesting to read this immediately after reading Blackford’s book, because they were so closely related. I unintentionally gave myself a course in mortality philosophy. Funny how that works out sometimes, huh? And now I’m going to go play a little more George RR Martin’s game.

First There Wasn’t, Then There Was

Remember earlier, when I said I wanted brain candy? Um. Hm. Well…I picked a short book, but instead of being sugarcoated, my mind is completely blown.

I am Twitter Mutuals with author Troy Blackford, and we got chatting about his books a week or so ago. They are available on Kindle Unlimited, so I decided to fit it in to my next rotation…and then like an idiot, promptly forgot to do so!

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I’ll be honest…in the first 15% of this book, I was pretty skeptical. I almost didn’t continue. The book starts off with four corporate mega douchebags, and the writing is nothing great. I was cringing. The sentences were long and wordy, and well…douchebaggy. Ugh.

Enter homeless man. Oh…great. What are these assholes going to do to this poor guy? Nothing good, right?

Guys, I’m not kidding you, my mind is seriously blown. *PHEW* *POW* *BLAMO*

Long story short, Douchebag #1 puts a tape recorder in homeless man’s pocket, thinking he will obviously not notice, because he’s crazy…because all homeless guys are crazy. Instead, Homeless man is absolutely aware that there is a tape recorder, and tells his entire life story.

I have 5 or 6 pages of journaling from today because there’s just so much going on here. Homeless Guy, “Kermit”, is shooting off some pretty intense wisdom. I will admit, in the middle, there is some really strange stuff going on. Blackford’s genre is Sci-Fi/Horror, according to Goodreads, so it follows…mostly I think the homeless man just had a mental breakdown. But in his very lucid moments, Kermit weaves a story of life, death, and after life.

I’m not doing any of Blackford’s book justice. There’s a reason I write a blog…and not novels. Just go read it. It only took me a few hours to read, but it was really really really great.

Flesh and Blood

Michael Cunningham has been a favorite of mine since I first read The Hours. His books are some of the deepest and darkest I’ve ever read, but they are so incredibly beautiful. Flesh and Blood is no exception to that.

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Flesh and Blood tells the story of a family living in the New York area (Long Island, NYC, Connecticut). It spans three generations, from 1935-1995. The thing I love so much about Cunningham is that he wraps the entire human experience into his stories, and no subject is barred, nor any character. LGBT characters are often the primary people in his stories, and this book is no exception to the rule. Because of the timeline, you will see all of the prejudices, struggles, stereotypes, etc thrown at the people in this book over and over and over again, and if it doesn’t infuriate you or make you want to sob…well…I don’t have much to say to you. AIDS and drug addiction also run rampant in the pages, along with suburban infidelity and general family dysfunction.

There is real emotion, love, desire, really every kind of feeling you could have, written into this book. Make sure you have ample Kleenex. This isn’t a friendly read. This is a heartbreaker, a battle, but well worth it. I would compare it to Middlesex, maybe.

Ok, I need some brain candy. Time for something easy.

WWW Wednesday 11/19/2014

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What are you currently reading?

Flesh and Blood by Michael Cunningham

 

 

What did you just finish reading?

A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

Fairies by Skye Alexander

My Days with Princess Grace of Monaco by Joan Dale

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

I Grew My Boobs in China by Savannah Grace

A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin

Favorite Mug

I have a lot of different mugs, from a lot of different places. Most of the time though, I just use our standard blue ones that we got for our wedding.

Strangely enough, my favorite mug isn’t even one I drink from.

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I got this mug on a missions trip to New Orleans, the year after Hurricane Katrina. I had had NOLA on my list of places to go for years, but suddenly, I was there under devastating circumstances. The city was nothing like I had expected it to be, and we spent the week in construction gear, tearing down mold-infested houses.

But we also spent that week holding hands in circles with neighborhood peoples, singing Cajun prayers to the sky. There was one woman who hugged every single one of us as we left her home, so grateful to us for helping her start over.

We had one day of relief in the middle of the week, and in the middle of all that darkness, the French Quarter was alive. The people had started to come back and open the city again–and some had never left. Amazingly, the Quarter hadn’t been touched by the storm, at least not like the parts drowned by the levy.

I had my first gumbo there…oh man I dream about that gumbo. And, of course, we all packed into Cafe Du Monde for the mountains of beignets. There’s just nothing like them.

The handle has fallen off the mug at some point, so I don’t use it for my coffee anymore. Instead, it sits on my desk to hold my favorite pens, reminding me every day of that week. I made some life long friendships during that trip, some amazing memories. Someday I’ll go back to that city that I fell in love with. There was so much life even after so much tragedy.

A Clash of Kings

My Game of Thrones journey continues with George RR Martin’s second book:  A Clash of Kings. Second books can sometimes be a let down, or filled with long, uninteresting scenes as we wait for the action to ramp back up. And at first, I was a little afraid that was going to happen. There wasn’t much going on, there was a lot of action pausing going on. Conversations and battle planning, strategizing. “What are we going to do next?”

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But, it never takes long for Martin to draw you back in. That’s why these books are so enthralling. Even though there is so much going on, so many characters to keep track of, and goddammit, every body freaking dies…you just can’t help but run to keep up, because you have to know what is going to happen next.

And it’s even better rereading this, I have to tell you. There is so much I missed on the first go round–I swear, if someone had a camera watching my face as I read this, they’d see me leap out of my chair, or pump my fist, or slam my hand on my desk. It’s probably quite comical.

Here’s some thoughts that I noted down from Book 2 (spoiler alert):

–Samwell Tarley is one of my very favorite characters. I love how he talks about books, the wonder of them. Tyrion (who is another favorite of mine) appreciates learning and knowledge too, but as a weapon. Samwell gets pure joy from reading all night, he loses track of time, gets lost in the pages and goes from one subject to another without stopping.

–Eureka Moment–There’s a Reek that precedes Theon! I remember being so confused by this whole storyline previously, and I knew when I watched the show that something was missing. I completely missed that Ramsey had already had a “pet,” and that’s how he ends up capturing Winterfell.

–The relationship with the Starks and their wolves is so much more intense in the books. The wildlings are going so far as to call Jon a Warg towards the end of Clash of Kings, and I never realized he had the same abilities as Bran. It makes sense, that they would all have that trait…Arya talks about being a wolf too, but I always just thought that she was projecting. Rickon too talks about his dreams into ShaggyDog. I really like this connection, and I’ll be interested to see where it goes.