Monthly Archives: January 2014


Website: January Updates

Posted 31 January, 2014 by Lianne in Website / 6 Comments

Whoops! December was such a busy month that I never got around to posting up some updates from around the blog! Well, here we are again. Can’t believe the first month of 2014 has already gone by!


Not my gif (as always)

  1. Read a number of great books this month including Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni (review), W. Somerset Maugham’s The Painted Veil (review) and Merimee Prosper’s Carmen (review). You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
  2. Meanwhile I’ve finally cleared out my Netgalley and Edelweiss queue! Read and reviewed Charles Lambert’s The View from the Tower (review), Robin Oliveira’s I Always Loved You (review), Vivien Shotwell’s Vienna Nocturne (review) and Atiq Rahimi’s A Curse on Dostoevsky (review). You can read all of the reviews of the ARCs I’ve read in this tag.
  3. I participated in a book blog tour earlier this month for Heather Webb’s debut novel, Becoming Josephine (post). It was quite a read!
  4. The Way of Kings Read-Along also started this month! It’s a great way to revisit the world of Roshar, especially as the second novel in the series is coming out in a few months πŸ™‚ You can follow my answers through this tag; if you want to participate, please follow the links at the start of my posts. Be sure to stick around as there will be a giveaway for the titles!
  5. I’m also hosting 3 Reading Challenges this year and they’ve all kicked off (one of them was even featured over at Book Riot, which was really cool): Everything Espana, A Year of Re-Reading and 2014 Shakespeare Reading Challenge. Feel free to sign up, help spread the word! Happy reading πŸ™‚

  6. Sort of catching up with television a bit. For example, finally got around to watching series 1 of Broadchurch (review). Excellent, excellent series. Cannot recommend it enough!

So, what about moving forward into February? What is there to expect? Well, quite a bit actually:

  • Book blog tours for Will Bashor’s Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, The Queen, And The Revolution and Nick Cutter’s The Troop. Be sure to stick around for both because there’s some awesome things accompanying my reviews of both novels πŸ™‚
  • My blogoversary. Every year I more or less forget to post about it–maybe because I never really thought about celebrating it, partly because I’m too busy making sure I renewed my webspace, lol. But I am celebrating it this year (or at least making a point to remember to do so?). In what way, I’m not sure yet…stick around though!
  • I am going to be a wee bit busy this month as things are picking up offline with my classes (boo, tests).
  • The January/February issue of Femnista will be coming out tomorrow! Be sure to check it out (had a lot of fun writing my contributing article for that issue)

And that’s about it! Did you have a good January? Hope everyone has a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

Meme: Friday Book Memes

Posted 31 January, 2014 by Lianne in Meme / 9 Comments

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

Rose City Reader

Here’s a book I started reading:

Leaving the Atocha Station
By: Ben Lerner

Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable, young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his relationship to art. What is actual when our experiences are mediated by language, technology, medication, and the arts? Is poetry an essential art form, or merely a screen for the reader’s projections? Instead of following the dictates of his fellowship, Adam’s “research” becomes a meditation on the possibility of the genuine in the arts and beyond: are his relationships with the people he meets in Spain as fraudulent as he fears his poems are? A witness to the 2004 Madrid train bombings and their aftermath, does he participate in historic events or merely watch them pass him by?

Here’s the first lines of the book:

The first phase of my research involved waking up weekday mornings in a barely furnished attic apartment, the first apartment I’d looked at after arriving in Madrid, or letting myself be woken by the noise from La Plaza Santa Ana, failing to assimilate that noise fully into my dream, then putting on the rusty stovetop espresso machine and rolling a spliff while I waited for the coffee.
– p. 7

Wow, well, that was quite a mouthful! To be honest it sounds like an ideal morning for me if I lived alone in Madrid (minus the spliff). I’ve been eyeing on this novel for quite some time now (maybe in the past year and a half?), I’m glad to finally have a copy in my hands and start reading it. Spain + meditation on the arts and life/our experiences? Should be a fascinating read πŸ˜€

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Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

Couldn’t quite decide what book to choose for this week’s FF but then I remembered reflecting on the following book for an upcoming Top Ten Tuesday list πŸ˜‰

The Golden Compass
By: Philp Pullman

Young Lyra’s uncle, Lord Asriel, returns from the far North with tales of terrible danger and of a child severed from its daemon familiar. Soon Lyra, accompanied by her own daemon and aided by gyptians and witch clans, sets out to save kidnapped children and their familiars from hideous experiments. And greater mystery awaits…

on Goodreads

I suppose this would encompass the whole His Dark Materials trilogy but moreso the first volume in the trilogy. I first read it in 1999, and to date the cover featured here is my favourite of all of the editions. My copy of the novel is still this early edition (if not the earliest paperback edition in North America? Never bothered looking up the other editions), rather worn and beaten up from the many times I’ve read this novel πŸ˜‰

Anyway, this novel actually marked my first proper foray into the fantasy genre (I think I read Tamora Pierce’s The Circle of Magic afterwards). The full extent of the religious themes and what the author was getting at never really registered until later on (when I got around to the third novel, really); I was more about the alternate world that Lyra lived and the existence of witches, dΓ¦mons and ferocious bears, steampunk technology and that hint of the supernatural/epic/mystery and the use of the northern lights to tie it all in. I really enjoyed reading and following Lyra’s adventures, however harrowing and scary it was at times, and all of the people she met along the way, both enemies and allies.

The Golden Compass introduced me to the wonder of the genre and while it’s been years since I’ve revisited the story and the world, it nonetheless holds a special place in my heart, my shelf and my reading experience πŸ™‚

If you’re participating in this meme, be sure to link up over at Bookshelf Fantasies!

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And those are my two books for today’s memes! What books are you reading this Friday? Wishing a wonderful weekend–happy reading! πŸ™‚

Ten Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

Posted 30 January, 2014 by Lianne in Miscellaneous / 6 Comments

10 Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is a weekly blogging event hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. It allows book bloggers (and non-book bloggers) to write about pretty much anything, bookish or otherwise (i.e. share exciting plans for the weekend, rants on things they’ve encountered during the week, etc.).

Another super quiet week on my end…

  1. I bought these mittens last weekend. I never got around to buying the ones from the last Winter Olympics, which was too bad because they were such a hit. These however are still warm πŸ™‚
  2. I’m experiencing my first delivery mishap from Amazon/UPS πŸ™ I was supposed to receive my orders yesterday and it never arrived even though it said on my account that it was delivered to my front door. I was home at the time it said it was delivered and nada, there weren’t any cars on the street at that time. Fail. I’m supposed to hear from them tomorrow morning with an update *shrugs*
  3. Wandered into the bookstore yesterday looking for the latest issue of National Geographic (there’s an article on Brunelleschi’s dome in the Duomo in Florence) and the February issue of the Doctor Who Magazine (interview with Peter Capaldi!). Found the National Geographic (boo, couldn’t find the latter–maybe in two weeks) and also picked up C.S. Richardson’s The Emperor of Paris. I’ve been staring at that book for so long now…
  4. I recently finished reading an ARC of Lucinda Riley’s The Midnight Rose. Review won’t go live until sometime early March but suffice to say (spoilers?) I really liked it πŸ˜‰
  5. I’m also enjoying my re-read of The Way of Kings via the read-along event I’ve been participating in. A bit of shameless pluggage but to whoever is interested (loves fantasy, loves Brandon Sanderson’s books), we are hosting a super awesome giveaway sponsored by Tor πŸ™‚
  6. One book I’m re-reading at the moment that I’m not enjoying so much is Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. Of all of the Russian classic titles I’ve read, this one remains to be the one I can’t quite understand as much. I feel the themes and messages are far more embedded. Ugh, we’ll see.
  7. What book to read next? There’s Kate Mosse’s Citadel for a book tour I’ll be participating in March but that’s way away still…maybe something short, like Ben Lerner’s Learing the Atocha Station? Don’t think I’m in the mood for anything particular this weekend *stares at her to-read shelf*
  8. I may participate in this in two weeks: Literary Love 2014. We’ll see, I have a few midterms coming up + my blogoversary. Not sure what to do about the latter yet…well, there’s one thing I’m definitely planning on doing but aside from that…

And that’s about it from me! If you’re participating in this, be sure to leave a link! I’d love to read what’s going on with you, bookish or otherwise πŸ™‚ Happy weekend!

‘The Way of Kings’ Read-Along (Week 5)

Posted 29 January, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments


image credit

Anya from Starships and Dragonwings and Nrlymrtl from Dab of Darkness are hosting a read-along starting in January for Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. Please check out THIS POST for more details on how to participate, the schedule of chapters covered and how to learn more about a giveaway that Tor is hosting.

Happy Wednesday! Here we are, at another week of The Way of Kings Read-Along (or in my case, Re-Read-Along). This week we are looking at Chapters 28 to Chapter 32 (including the interludes), the questions kindly put together by Allie @ Tethyan Books. As always, SPOILERS ahead! πŸ™‚

Oh, and before I continue, be sure to drop over at Anya from Starships and Dragonwings tomorrow, January 30th, as she will be posting up details for the super awesome book giveaway contest that we are featuring courtesy of Tor.com and fellow read-along hosts πŸ™‚

1. Dalinar made a very dramatic decision at the beginning of this section. Do you think it was the right one? What do you think will happen to him, Adolin and (and the not-united Alethi) if he follows through?
I felt really bad for Dalinar in this sequence. I feel like his decision was made more out of giving up, his frustration over his visions, his condition and the lack of unity amongst the Alethi coming to a head. I have a vague recollection of what happens to him after he made this decision but suffice to say at this moment it might not be the best decision. You need someone of his perspective in the king’s court to moderate Sadeas and the other sceptical and conniving brightprinces out; Adolin has his strengths but he’s also young and his approach is more akin to the other princes in court.

Read More

Meme: Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 28 January, 2014 by Lianne in Meme / 15 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week’s topic: Top Ten Worlds I’d Never Want To Live In OR (since some of you might not read stuff with different worlds) Top Ten Characters I’d NEVER Want To Trade Places With

I’m actually going a bit of both for this week’s list ^_~ Both topics were very interesting.

5 Worlds I’d Never Want To Live In

  1. AirStrip One in George Orwell’s 1984 — Big Brother? Stalin-esque society? No thank you.
  2. OneState in Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (review) — Like Orwell’s dystopian world (which, actually, he was influenced by this novel), everything in Zamyatin’s novel is controlled by the OneState, right down to your own emotions. That is messed up.
  3. Soviet Russia during the Stalin Era in Travis Holland’s The Archivist’s Story (review) — I should clarify this, Soviet Russia at the height of the Stalin Era with the Great Terror. I wrote my undergrad independent study examining it and I cannot imagine living in such a state of fear.
  4. The Malazan World in Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen — If you think GRRM’s Westeros is brutal, Erikson’s Malazan takes the cake.
  5. Split World in Emma Newman’s Split Worlds series (review for Between Two Thorns) — The world in which Cathy came from, with its rigid patriarchy and rules of society, is terrifying, extreme and oppressive. I really felt for her and sympathised with her desire to escape.

5 Characters I’d NEVER Want To Trade Places With

  1. Edmond Dantes from Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo (review) — As a result of a few people being very jealous of his situation in life (on his way up in the navy, about to marry the love of his life), he ends up getting arrested and thrown into prison. Whatever bright future he had gets thrown out as he struggles not only to survive but also dedicates his life to getting back at those people who crapped all over him and made it miserable.
  2. Jim Holden from James S.A. Corey’s Expanse novels (review for Leviathan Wakes) — This guy just cannot catch a break! One way or the other he gets wheeled into a mess of some sort with system-wide ramnifications. Wouldn’t want to be this guy, lol.
  3. Cathy from Emma Newman’s Split Worlds novels (review) — Like I mentioned above, the family she came from is pretty oppressive, as are the ways that her society conducts itself. I honestly wouldn’t know what to do if I had been in her situation, if I’d been able to lay low until the right time…
  4. Astrid from Janet Fitch’s White Oleander (review) — Her childhood was really messed up: a mother who doesn’t really know how to be a mother, bounding from one foster family to another with its own problems…I felt for her.
  5. Sansa Stark from GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire (100 Things) — After what had happened to Ned in the first book, I had been fearful for her life, especially with the way Joffrey proceeded to treat her thereafter. I just want her saaaaafe ;_;

And that’s my list for this week! What series made your list?