The Parasol Protectorate

The latest books I am listening to! I stumbled upon the Parasol Protectorate Series purely by coincidence. They were mentioned briefly at the end of another audio book series. The only thing mentioned was the name of the first book and the author, Soulless by Gail Carriger.

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These books are set in Victorian England; an alternate reality were werewolves and vampires are accepted into everyday society. The main character, Alexia Tarrabotti, was born without a soul. Her soulless state leaves her unaffected by other supernatural’s powers.

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This complicates things in the very beginning when Miss Tarrabotti accidentally kills a vampire. Queen Victoria sends her lead investigator, a werewolf named Lord Maccon.

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Unlike most of the books I read this series has concluded with five books. I am usually finishing off a last book and waiting forever for the next one to come out. I guess that will be true with this one, because no more will come.

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The thing I like most about these books is the humour. Miss Tarrabotti is unfailingly polite to everyone, even in the most ridiculous situations. Even though this is Victorian times she is not submissive at all. Miss Tarrabotti prides herself on being an intellectual woman with a sharp tongue, mostly aimed at Lord Maccon, but who’s counting?

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I haven’t finished the last book yet, but if it is anything like the other ones it will not disappoint. I’ve been texting my friends with quotes and passages trying to lure them into reading all the books!! Lets hope I can succeed!

Books!

It has been a long time since I’ve written about the books I am currently into. I really fell off the book wagon and didn’t keep up with the series I read. When I came around to it, there were two more books out for the Chloe Neill, Chicagoland Vampires series.

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This book series is one of my favourites and a blogged about it way back in April 2014. The last time I checked in, I was waiting for the next book to come out around August 2014. I was so excited for the book release, but didn’t manage to check it out when the time came. I suppose that was only two months before the wedding and one month before the Kitchener/Waterloo show so I was, unsurprisingly, preoccupied.

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I realized I was TWO WHOLE BOOKS BEHIND when I was recommending this series to a friend. When I looked up the order of the books, there were two I didn’t have! I actually love it when that happens because you get a new book without the wait. Usually when I finish a book I am hunting down the release date for the next one immediately.

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I really love the energy this series gives. They’re a fun read and very descriptive. I swear I gain weight every time I go over these books; all the food descriptions are to die for. The next book in this series is coming out in March of 2016. I am going to mark that one on my calendar and try not to miss it!!

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Chloe Neill is coming out with another series, the Devil’s Isle books. I am really looking forward to checking this book out! I really love Chloe Neill’s writing style and can’t wait to see what she has coming out next!

Functional Friday: Podcasts!

Since I’ve been reviewing a lot of knitting tools on Fridays, I’ve decided to take a couple minutes and review two knitting podcasts. The first one is called knit circus, from knitcircus yarn. The second it called CraftLit, it is a really wonderful literary podcast for the book loving among us.

I was directed to the Knit Circus pod cast because I love Jalaa’s yarns. Found on Etsy, KnitCircus does the most amazing gradients! You will see an example of the colourway for the month of may, Over the Rainbow, because I ordered enough for two pairs. I just can’t get enough of these gradients.

I’ve actually met both Jalaa and Amy at Vogue Knitting Chicago! I plan to see them there again this fall! Both of these ladies are the most welcoming and friendly people I have ever met, and considering most knitters, that is saying a lot! You can especially tell in their pod cast; sometimes I feel like I am just having coffee with them and listening to what they’ve been up to in the knitting world.

There are a lot of really great resources for patterns, books, upcoming events (mostly in the USA) and a lot of information in general. I usually listen to these podcasts while I am working and constantly take notes. By the time I’ve caught up on all the episodes my desk is completely covered in post-it notes.

The reviews are honest and they always pass on things they think are the best. If something they review doesn’t meet with their approval, we don’t hear about it. Amy and Jalaa keep me in the loop as far as upcoming knitting publications are concerned. I am always writing the release dates for book releases in my planner.

The second podcast I am going to talk about is CraftLit. I briefly mentioned CraftLit in an earlier podcast; Heather was nice enough to help me with formatting the new blog space. I did not really go in depth as to why I like it so much.

As creepy as this may sound, I love Heather’s voice. She has a very good voice for doing audio books or a podcast and has amazing sound quality. There is nothing worse than trying to listen to an audio book with poor sound quality. To really demonstrate how much I appreciate good sound quality, I once popped in a set of headphones and listened to this podcast when I was having trouble sleeping in a hotel. It really did help, I went straight to sleep and had some very strange dreams… Although I think that had more to do with the story that particular podcast was about…

Enough about the esthetics! CraftLit has great content as well, which is really the most important thing. As an English major I really don’t get as much opportunity to flex my language muscles as I would like, so this is a perfect fit for me. As I mentioned in my previous post, the books read on this podcast are in the public domain. Which means they are older and mostly classic literature.

I could, technically, go onto the website that records all these audio books and listen to them straight, but I love the commentary Heather does. She puts things into historical context, accentuates the tone someone used while speaking and those 1000 other little things that make you understand the book better. I have a great appreciation for the research that goes into each book and she really manages to find good information. They are very engaging and I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to read more, but can’t stop their hands from crafting long enough!

On my Bookshelf

This is going to be another post about what I have been reading or listening to via audio book while knitting. I have only written one other previous post about books and I changed the category it was tagged under to Audio Knitting. That is what Paul calls it whenever I hunker down with an audio book and my knitting. With changing the category, if anyone were only interested in what books I have or am currently reading, they would just have to look under that one tag.

On the docket right now is the fifth installment of the Green Rider series. This was the first ‘grown up’ fantasy I ever read. I was at that age where I had grown out of Goosebumps books and needed to start defining my own reading style. I remember, I was in the Coles at the Sears mall in Chatham, I completely judged the book by it’s cover. The cover is what caught my eye and once I read the back, I knew I wanted to read this book.

Green Rider One

The first and the second books were amazing! Also, they were published five years apart. I am not a person with an overabundance of patience, so it was luck I found the series just as the second book was about to be published. The wait for the third fourth and fifth books were brutal. Especially the wait between the fourth and fifth books. We were left with a cliffhanger ending for the fourth book; luckily we only had to wait four years for the next one. Oh my goodness, I thought I wouldn’t make it.

The last post I wrote on this topic, I mentioned how much I dislike cliffhanger endings. It is cruel; yes it does make the people who read the previous book more likely to buy the next one, but what about the people like me who have zero patience and a BURNING curiosity? I find, even though I am irked by cliffhangers, the next book is usually a let down. I’ve spent the whole year… or four, thinking about what could happen next. Forming and discarding possibilities for that long you build up a standard in your mind. Especially when the series in question doesn’t usually end with a cliffhanger. I enjoy the feeling of resolution and problems just upon the horizon, not ‘okay, we’ve tied up most of the lose ends, lets just throw the main character into mortal peril at the very last second’.

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If you can’t tell, the emotional tea that are my feelings on this subject have been steeping for much too long. For those of you who aren’t tea drinkers, I’m bitter.

The book itself was okay, your lovely main character is out of danger and continues on the journey that is the basis of this series. This book answered quite a few questions, but really felt like filler for the next book. I feel like there was one major revolution and that didn’t even really come to fruition.

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I could be biased because the romantic subplot that I DESPARATELY want to happen is really not working out how I thought it would. From any of the forums that I’ve read, my feelings are not unusual. This is a romantic subplot that was hinted at in the first book, looked likely through the second book, at the end of the second book your hopes for this couple took a pretty hard hit and the fourth book made it extremely unlikely. The fifth book has pushed this almost right over to impossible. I am currently sitting in a huge sweater and sweatpants, sobbing ‘BUT THEY JUST WANT TO BE TOGETHER’ into a tub of ice cream. No I am not exaggerating. Yes it is that bad!

GR Four

I am about to hash out some serious spoilers, so if you haven’t read the book and plan to, look away!!

In the book mirror sight Karigan has a romance with a character from the future named Cade. While I did like the idea of Karigan having a romance with a character that is not the love interest she has had since book one, I didn’t like that it was one book long. She tried to being Cade back to the past with her, but she was unable to. I actually thought Cade would turn out to be a descendant of King Zachary and would end up being the man she saw begging her to stay in the Berry sisters telescope. Now I very seriously wonder if we are going to come back around to that at all? In the first book it was hinted at that it would be the King. Karigan recognized something in the shape of his eyes; it would have made sense for the Kings heir to be the one begging her not to go. I am really not sure what to think of the romance with Cade though. Since she coupled with him in the book and had the potential to be carrying his child, now that she has gone back in time to before it happened does that mean she is a virgin again? Telegoth said that there had been the potential for a child but since she travelled back and it would have been Cade’s child, the Gods would not have allowed something from the future to come back.

Overall I am really not sure how I felt about this book, it was good, but there are other parts of the plot I would have liked to see advanced. While the giant overall plot of saving the world is important, what really keeps me captivated are the smaller subplots and the interactions between the characters. I love the interactions between Karigan and Captain Mapstone because the Captain has become something of a surrogate mother figure within her own mind. Karigan respects her and it is touching to see the Captain struggling with sending her into dangerous situations and worrying about her as a mother would. Also what is going on between Captain Mapstone and Karigan’s father?! There was a hint that she went to see him, but nothing concrete. Since this book took place in the future we only received small clips from the past. I didn’t like that, I found myself getting really confused because I didn’t really understand what had happened.

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It really appears the King has lost most of his regard for Karigan now that he and Lady Estora are married and expecting a baby. At the very end he hands back the letter Karigan had written him for the contingency that she did not come back from the Blackveil forest. He said he thinks she knows what his feelings are towards her, but it felt like he was trying to placate her to forget about Cade or something. It didn’t seem genuine.

Hopefully the next book will give me a little more of what I really enjoy about this series. The whole time I read this book I was rushing through to get to the end and the interactions between the characters I really wanted to see. Hopefully I’ll get more from the next book and not have to wait five years.

Billions of Books

As I’ve told you in previous posts, I listen to audio books while I knit. I used to read actual books, but that was very awkward and required too much set up to be easy and enjoyable. I was somewhat forced into audio books when I received my concussion because you’re not allowed to watch TV, or read, or do anything that causes eye strain. Audio books were pretty much it.

I was really apprehensive about audio books because, what if you don’t like the voice of the person who reads it? Wouldn’t that ruin the whole book for you? For me, yes it would, but luckily on Audible.com you can listen to a snippet of the book and see how you like the person who reads it. Another thing about audio books that I like, you can usually get them from your local library.

Regardless of physical, audio or ebook this is a wonderful time of year. The next installments of most book series come out in the next few months. I am going to go over the series I read and the books I am looking forward to. I will warn you now; I am a hardcore fantasy reader, so if you’re not into this genre, look the other way.

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February 25th marked the release of Kim Harrison’s newest book The Undead Pool; it is the 12th book in the Hollows series. I came across Kim Harrison books in a discount bookstore, I read the inside of the dust cover and thought it was intriguing. So I picked it up, I mean, discount books; I probably brought 40lbs of books home. When your counting the amount in weight and not number of individual books, you know it’s been a good day.

The individual book happened to be For a Few Demons More, which is actually the 5th book in the succession. Of course, I had to go out and find the first book because I am physically not able to read them out of order. It’s a sickness, it really is.

Luckily the first book, Dead Witch Walking, was not hard to find. My local Chapters had it in stock. I took it home and immediately started reading; the story line was good, the characters had depth, but for some reason I just couldn’t really get into it. It was a few months later while talking to one of Paul’s friends I realized why. It was the language, Kim Harrison uses colloquialisms in the main characters speech. For example, she calls vampires, vamps. I am not sure why, but it just wasn’t resonating with me. This friend of Paul said his wife reads this series and she is crazy about them so I decided to give it another try. I am so glad I did. Once I got into the main character, Rachel Morgan, a little more the language didn’t bother me all that much. If fact, I don’t even notice it all that much. Then again, the character has gone through some pretty huge transformations within the storyline and I am sure Kim Harrison herself has continued to develop her writing style.

This video was on Kim Harrison’s website. It’s the books from the main character; in her own words no less.

As someone who majored in English Lit, I am picky with the things I read. Right now I am reading another series and the author keeps saying “me and [insert character name]” and EVERY TIME I think “It’s [character name] AND I!!!!!”There are little things that grate on my nerves in ALL books, but I have already said I am persnickety and compulsive. Overall this means any book I choose to read and continue with the series, must be AMAZING!

There have been a few other books come out, but I think I will just give you one more for now. I don’t want this post to go on forever, and trust me, I could.

CN Wild Things

The Chicagoland Vampire series by Chloe Neil is something I’ve come across more recently, but I really like it. The characters are sassy, sarcastic and everything that appeals to me. There is a nice martial arts base within the storyline and it’s fairly accurate. Another one of the things I do not like is when books misrepresent martial arts. For me, it puts an extra shine on the book when the research is done and proper form and terminology used.

I didn’t actually read this book, I came across the audio version and I think this may have been a stroke of luck. Chloe Neil also uses a lot of colloquialisms in her characters speech; especially the dialogue between the main character, Merit, and her best friend, Mallory. Cynthia Holloway reads these audio books and does a great job at bringing the characters to life. They say things like ‘for serial’ instead of ‘for serious’. I think that may have bothered me in print, but in audio I find it endearing.

The most recent book, Wild Things, came out on February 4th this year and I couldn’t wait. The last book left us at a crucial point on many different fronts, so I was impatient to see what happened! I was not disappointed at all. Just looking through web pages for the release date of Wild Things I found out that Chloe Neill had the NEXT book, Blood Games, coming out on August 5th! I can’t believe how fast she is getting these books out there; I love it!

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I highly recommend both these series; they’re fun and well written. In a few weeks I’ll go over another the next books that have been released. If anyone has any suggestions for reading material, I am always looking for more. I am a notorious re-reader and I feel that I SHOULD read more new things than I do. Please, save me from myself and comment with books!