My New Found Love of Memoirs

My first review book from The Book Depository didn’t go so well. You know how disappointed I was that the series didn’t meet my expectations. I apologised to my contact and she offered me a list of current books to choose from to review so I ended up with a memoir.

A touching and brutally honest memoir, painful yet ultimately life affirming in its humor, warmth, and candor

Suzanne Harrington did all the thing that adults do, long before she’d grown up: met Leo, married, had babies. She also partied, was homeless for a while, and drank—and drank. She headed toward disintegration, with Leo at her side, locked deep in himself. Then, waking to the wreckage of yet another lost weekend, she stopped drinking—and Leo, her companion and enabler, became a stranger. They separated. Newly sober, and freed from her demons, Suzanne embraced life. Leo chose escape. Early one morning the police arrived. A body had been found hanging from a tree. When it was all over, and Suzanne had buried Leo, and helped her children to grieve, she sat down and wrote the story of their father’s life. This is for them. It is for the memory of Leo. It is also for anyone who has partied too hard, found life unbearable, or avoided the truth. It is touching, hilarious, brutally honest, and utterly compelling.

There was something about this one that really caught my attention so despite it being out of my usual comfort zone, I accepted it and the moment I finished Soul Screamers I picked it up and fell in love. Suzanne Harrington has a way of writing that is to die for and I’ve found myself unable to put this book down. What I’ve learned from this? I’m apparently a memoir person.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you won’t catch me reading A Child Called It anytime soon. I am not one for the real life sob story type books and never will be but adults with a story to tell? I’m interested now. Whether humorous or just looking back in hindsight once older and wiser, I’m on the scout for more memoirs but I have no clue where to look or how to exclude the memoirs which are pretty much a string of depressing events. Any recommendations for me? Of course I have Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman still to read and must fix that, and.. another which was gifted to me about a year or two ago, but otherwise I’m clueless.

And They Lived Happily Ever After: March Roundup

*waves madly* Hi! I thought I’d jump on the monthly roundup bandwagon. I haven’t necessarily been up to much this month but it’s still a good a time as any to start. Like the name? Thought I’d go with something to match the blog’s name for once!

During March, I’ve mostly been playing a lot of World of Warcraft. I’m an officer in the guild I’m in and it’s something I do with my other half and our ingame friends. I enjoy myself so much that it’s quite badly affected how much I read. As book blogging is still considered my primary hobby, I’m not okay with this and have spent the past month working out how best to fix my reading schedule and only over the past week has that started taking any affect. With any luck I’ll be back to normal soon with a slightly different idea for what to post on any given day. It didn’t help that there were a few issues with moving the blog from one server to another so I held off from blogging for a little bit until that could be sorted but we’re there now.

I also had a little issue with a blog tour which I’m not going into but it has inspired a post which I haven’t written yet giving some advice on how to deal with authors and publicists when things go wrong, as sadly the folk who read posts about how to treat book bloggers already know how to treat them. With any luck I’ll be getting this post sorted and posted in the next couple of weeks.

And I received the final Soul Screamers book and the Eternity Cure for review! I’m not accepting review books at the moment, this still stands, but these are both series that I’ve been loving so I really wanted to help promote these ones.. and read them. I will always be just a little bit weak.

Posts

As I decided in February to switch around how I do things around here, March was the first proper month I started blogging for me rather than an audience. I figure this also works better for my current readers. No more trying to be a book blogger, I am one.

During my little time off, I started watching anime again and decided to start up a blog. I participated in my last blog tour for a while (Tomorrow Comes Media being the exception to this rule) which showcases Storm Dancer by Rayne Hall. I know most of you are uninterested in spotlight tour stops but I showcased Storm Dancer for good reason – if you like dark epic fantasy, you’ll want to check this one out. I’m going to squeeze it in soon, I really can’t wait to read it.

We also had the (actually a little shocking) news that Google Reader will be closing its doors permanently in June. I suggested my choice for a new feedreader. I’m still hoping there’s a fix for images being all over the place within the reader but aside from that I love my choice of reader.

I also ran my first response post regarding a couple of fantastic blog posts about blog tours. I had a lot of fun with this one and definitely plan to do more! Then I opened up yet another way you can follow Once Upon A Time, which there is now a button for in the usual place, and complained about my lack of reading.

11/03/13 – Incase You’re Wondering Where I Am..
14/03/13 – Storm Dancer Blog Tour (epic fantasy)
16/03/13 – Google Reader is Shutting Down, So What Now?
17/03/13 – Good Blog Tour Advice
25/03/13 – I Signed Up With Bloglovin
29/03/13 – Please Fix Me, I’m Hardly Reading

Reviews

My review situation has been incredibly poor of late. This one review I have to share with you took me 2 nights to write and format, and is my first in precisely 2 months. However, exciting (for me anyway) news is that I’ve changed the layout! Previously, I had way too much unecessary information and long blurbs and it took way too long to put together so I asked around on Fantasy Faction for the kind of information folk like to know and came up with this new layout. It still takes a little while but it’s all information that I know people are interested in.

31/03/13 – Decoy (Assassin’s Rising #1) by S.B. Sebrick

What I’ve Been Reading

Started: The Midnight Spell by Rhiannon Frater & Kody Boye – The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett
Currently: The Midnight Spell by Rhiannon Frater & Kody Boye – The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett
Finished: The Black Company by Glen Cook

*kicks dirt* Shup. Next month will be better. And I’ve almost finished The Painted Man! Determined to have reviews for all three of his books by the end of April. That is in part because The Daylight War (book three of the same series) was sent over for review from The Book Depository. Have to say, I love their new review feature for affiliates.

Plans For April

My plans for April consist of working a little harder on the blog to make it much more my own space in the book blogging world as so far, I haven’t given you guys much, and to work harder on my reader schedule. I like to make sure I have at least one hour to read per day, up to 3 or 4 hours preferably, however, and I really want to ensure I’m able to read efficiently and get the reviews out that I want to be getting out. April will be a better month.

A couple weeks ago, I landed on my challenges page and challenge goal post and realised how little I’ve done towards these so very soon I’d like to get cracking on the classics, freebies and series I’d like to get reading.

I have also signed up with Tomorrow Comes Media, which I will explain a little about soon. I know I have said no more guest content, no more blog tours, after the bad time I had recently, but I can’t say no to Stephen Zimmer. This is a company with a community, who cares about bloggers and authors and I’m proud to be a part of their promotional good times. :)

Anything you would like to ask me or suggest? Leave a comment!

Please Fix Me, I’m Hardly Reading

Reading emergency guys! I’m barely reading at all so far this year. I’m 6 books behind on my Goodreads goal and counting and I’m not in the slightest in a reading slump I just don’t seem to be making time to read before the sandman comes for me. Take right now, for example. I’m working on a few goals in World of Warcraft so as such, come about midnight (my sleep pattern is screwed before you think I’m up late) I’m finishing off a few quests and things and Dan comes over and says “I think you should head off and read, it might help your headache to be in the quiet.” I just shrugged, carried on watching Big Bang Theory and went off to go solo some old content for shiny things. An hour later, I realise he was trying to help me sort my not-reading-enough conundrum by reminding me! *slaps self*

Ideally, what I’d like to do is say.. okay. It’s 11.30 pm, time to go to bed and read. Not only would I squeeze in more reading but it might even help me fix my stupid sleep pattern somewhat. But I get to 11, think about reading, then Dan and other friends get all, “Let’s do a fun thing!” And there goes my willpower.

As I say, it’s not as though I’m not enjoying reading because when I do sit down to read I adore every moment, I just struggle to tear myself away from games and TV shows when I get going.

Do you ever have this problem? How do you tear yourself away from something else to get back to reading? Any suggestions because I really have too much to read to fall behind like this! Please send help!

End Of Year Book Survey 2012

Usually, I do a top 5 list of books I’ve read in the past year. This year, however, I couldn’t resist joining in with this survey that Hanna seems addicted to, especially considering I’ve actually read enough books to adequately answer the questions for the first time in my life! So here’s my year in reading.

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas hands down. It’s a high fantasy with a strong female protagonist who can look pretty and kick some arse at the same time with somewhat of a love triangle which doesn’t interfere with the story whatsoever. To top it off, I was even quoted in the book! Though I can’t find my quote in my copy, I have seen a picture and that was awesome, especially in my favourite book of the year.

I would like to give an honourable mention to The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson which is taking me forever to read because I keep stopping and starting but it’s wowed me completely, I just haven’t finished it yet.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke, I mean come on! It’s a novel about dragon shapeshifters!! It just kind of fell flat for me.. It was predictable and didn’t excite me the way I expected it would. It was okay, just a bit.. meh.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?

I think White Wedding by Milly Johnson. Looking at the covers and blurbs, I’ve always expected average local stories of troubled romance and lifestyle troubles, and while I wasn’t far off, White Wedding proved to be far from average. It was a completely delightful read which I was sad to see end. Definitely took me by surprise and cemented me as a firm Milly Johnson fan.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Oh yeesh. Err.. Well I always recommend Morganville which comes across as yet another average, or even bad, teen vampire romance but turned out to be far from it. I seem to have made it my blogger’s mission to convert as many people as possible into Morganville fans.

After that, Throne of Glass. It probably won’t appeal to adult epic fantasy readers, but I think every fantasy reader should give this one a try. It might surprise you.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Alex Craft! I adored Grave Witch and Grave Dance. The mixture of Witches, Faeries, ghosts, reapers and the way it all mingles and separates.. I loved it! And every supernatural type has so many variations and Alex is such an anomaly, she’s amazing. I was worried she’d be another “independent woman” type but she so wasn’t. She has her moments but she knows when she needs help from her friends.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
  • Rachel Vincent. I finally read the Soul Screamers series this year and I’m very much excited to get started on her other two series.
  • Catherynne M. Valente. Author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making I fell in love with her imagination and must read everything by her.
  • Milly Johnson. I’ve already discussed why I love her, her Christmas novel A Winter Flame proved to me that White Wedding wasn’t just a fluke. I’ve already started gathering her other novels and I won’t stop. Her books leave me feeling so happy.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I’m gonna go with chick lit. I read my first chick lit in years last December and was surprised to find, as a big fantasy reader, that I adored every moment. I carried on in January as those first two were Christmassy reads and still found I loved every moment even with a regular chick lit. Seems I like the humour, the predictable and safe romances, and the warm, happy feeling I get when I read them. While I have to read chick lit in small doses, it’s definitely a new genre for me.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

If I Die by Rachel Vincent, fifth of the Soul Screamers. Oh my god. I still haven’t reviewed this one but I could not stop reading. And why is a spoiler!!

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Throne of Glass… Perhaps not in 2013, we’ll see. But I need to read it again!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

   

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Myrnin. C’mon – he’s Myrnin!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Shop of Her Own Making is a modern fairytale which lovingly caresses that which it is emulating. It’s odd and charming throughout. Beautiful.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan and When I Fall in Love by Miranda Dickinson both made me stop and think about my life and how I am living it and what could I do differently. Cupcake Café made me think more about doing what you love rather than ‘making do’, whereas When I Fall in Love made me think more about life. How to really live.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Unf.. I’ll have to say The Way of Kings here. Sure I only bought it at the very tail end of 2011 but it’s truly amazing and I can’t believe I waited this long to pick it up. I’ve overall focused way too much on review books this year which makes this a very difficult question to answer.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

Oh I have the worst memory ever, I don’t tend to remember passages/quotes I’ve enjoyed offhand.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

The shortest was Never to Sleep by Rachel Vincent, one of the Soul Screamers novellas which I couldn’t resist squeezing in for some extra Soul Screamer goodness. This clocked in at about 62 pages and took me barely any time to read.

The longest is Way of Kings at 1001 pages (I’m currently on page 648 as I write this) but as I say, I still haven’t finished so perhaps the latest Morganville which is about 530 pages, or Watermelon by Marian Keyes which I can’t remember the length just the size of it.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

If I Die by Rachel Vincent!! I started rambling about it to Dan I was that desperate to speak to somebody. He didn’t care in the slightest but I had to talk!!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
  • Claire and Myrnin’s friendship always makes me happy.
  • Another one I’d mention is a spoiler so I’ll not go there.
  • I think Elsie’s relationship with her dad in When I Fall in Love takes the biscuit. It’s so heartwarming, in fact, reminding me of my relationship with my dad in some ways. The way she gets on so easily with him and the way he loves his daughter.
  • An honourable mention to Lucien the Fallen Angel and Lalael the Angel in In The End by Alexandra Rowland.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine, the most recent Morganville. I seriously can’t get enough of this series and sod it, it’s really about time I started on the Weather Warden series. I haven’t disliked a Rachel Caine series yet.. I say series rather than book because I have disliked a couple of the Morganvilles.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Erm.. there actually haven’t been any. Every book I’ve read this past year I’ve read because it appealed to me, or because many, many people recommended it as being amazing. None I have read based solely on somebody else’s recommendation BUT there are a few on my shelves and my Kindle so perhaps next year.

My Top 5

  1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  2. If I Die (Soul Screamers #5) by Rachel Vincent
  3. Bitter Blood (Morganville #13) by Rachel Caine
  4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  5. White Wedding by Milly Johnson

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

All of them. :3 No.. err.. Kingdom by Anderson O’Donnell. He’s a great guy and an amazing author and every time I’ve gone to pick his book up I’ve been adoring it and then kaput goes my mood for Science Fiction. I’m not sure when, but I will read it in 2013. Sidenote: Congratulations for getting into Kirkus’ Top 25 Indie Books of 2012!!!!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

With All my Soul by Rachel Vincent. The end of Before I Wake? I NEEED to know what happens!! But also looking forward to reading some of my own books, particularly some of the epic fantasy.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Back down on review books and read more of what I want to read. Read some classics, some epic fantasy, some gifts and spur of the moment charity shop purchases. In blogging, I’d like to bring in an active co-blogger to help me out when I get into a slump. This is my New Year’s Resolution and I’m really crossing my fingers that I’ll keep to it.

Happy new year!

What Am I Reading?

I thought I’d jump in on the “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?” meme, hosted by Book Journey, as I haven’t had a Sunday post for you in a couple of weeks and I’ve had a pretty nuts reading week. There will be a Sunday post this week, however. :)

I finished: Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan.

I picked up my copy of Cupcake Café from The Works when my dad was visiting in Summer. I’d been itching to read Sweet Shop of Dreams so snapped this one up when I saw it. I finally read it because I have Christmas at the Cupcake Café to read for review and I always read in order. I loved it! Shall be reviewing it soon (I hope).

I started: Hoboy.. I picked Fairy Metal Thunder by J.L. Bryan back up after putting it on hold a loong time ago. I have about half an hour’s worth of reading left in this book but I’ve been gone so long I’m a bit bemused by everything going on, but I shall finish it off soon.

I started reading Alight, K.C. Neal’s sequel to the brilliant Pyxis, but swiftly realised I wasn’t in the mood for this type of book. It starts off much better than Pyxis did, I can say that much, but my review for this one might be a little while longer. I hate writing tainted reviews and I know I’ll enjoy Alight when I’m in a more young adulty mood.

I also picked up The Awakening, the first of The Vampire Diaries books by L.J. Smith after finally finishing watching the end of series 3 and neeeding more but my word the book and the series are two completely different entities. Everything is different. Everything. The town, the characters.. Elena is a blonde, Queen of the school preppy type who cares not for others, Stefan is Italian, Jeremy doesn’t exist, instead she has a 4 year old sister, and they lost their parents 3 years previous. It’s shallow and just plain drags. Dunno how far I’ll go with this one.

So feeling lethargic and needing to read something, I finally picked up Single in the City by Michele Gorman and hit paydirt. Hannah (great name, by the way) is an American from Connecticut who out of the blue moves to London without a plan. She stumbles around, realising that American and British culture are very different from each other, but she makes the most of it and tries to make friends where she can. It’s interesting, well written and best of all, funny. And I also have Misfortune Cookie and The Twelve Days to Christmas to read afterwards and can’t wait.

I might read next: I’ll most likely finish off Fairy Metal Thunder and Alight before starting anything new, but we’ll see where my reading mood lies. I’ve started bringing out the tinsel to get me ready for the stash of Christmas chick lits I’ve got and may take a look at Christmas At the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan, Married by Christmas by Scarlett Bailey, or A Winter Flame by Milly Johnson.

Fairy Metal Thunder Read-Along & Scavenger Hunt: Ch. 21-27

Fairy Metal Thunder Read-Along and Scavenger Hunt

Fairy Metal Thunder Read-Along & Scavenger Hunt hosted by In the Closet with a BibliophileReading the ParanormalTina’s Book Reviews and The Unread Reader.

1.  Grizelmore the Goblin has some really weird cravings and eating habits. Tell us about some of your weird eating habits. Bonus point if you can show me a picture!

I think I’m the fussiest eater I know. I don’t like vegetables or salad, and hell I really wish I did, and so certain foods bore me (*cough* I’m looking at you, bread). It doesn’t leave me with many options from day to day.

2.  In chapter 22 Aiode and her friends try to go and get their instruments replaced at the factory. There are a ton of different instruments there being made for the fairies, but man are they a fortune. Do any of you play any instruments? Have you ever played an instrument? If not, what would you play if you could?

No I do not. I do not have the talent or the patience for it. I tried learning clarinet when I was 10 but I just wasn’t picking it up. I also tried to learn guitar when I was about 17 but my guitar was crappy and I think the fact that my creepy ex was teaching me and kept coming on to me put me off for life. I have not fooled myself since. I just don’t have what is needed to be able to play an instrument or even sing and I am okay with that!

3.  Jason and the band are finally discovered by the elf (with the crazy long name) and Buttercake the freaking adorable unicorn who turns into something not so adorable. If you were a detective who would you choose for your magical accomplice?

My magical apprentice would have to be a magical talking Border Collie. They could go for hours and hours and by god they’re adorable.

4.  The book ends on a happy but painful note. What do you think of the ending? Were you happy with the turn of events?

I haven’t quite managed to finish it yet *sad* but believe me, I’m going to. I was just hit by such a huge reading slump over the past couple of weeks I’m having to roll with it for now but this book is fantastic. So fantastic, in fact, that it has completely rekindled my faith in indie fiction. So I will most definitely be finishing it soon and eyeing up the copy of Jenny Pox on my Kindle.

5. Tell us your favorite quote(s)/part(s) from the book!

I’m struggling to pick out any one part. I really enjoyed the whole thing I’d be here all day! I love the light fun mood you get from the characters, I love how the obstacles Jason encounters keep the story moving along without making the story too gritty, and I absolutely love J.L. Bryan’s representation of Faerie! How could I pick any one quote or part of the book?