Monday, November 24, 2014

Literary Lundi #2

Another week has gone by so here I am to tell you about what I've been reading!

Books Acquired:

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers-- This is the first book in a series I'd heard good things about.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler (audio)-- Yep, decided to go with this for my next audiobook.

The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood (audio)-- I had really enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale, plus this was an Audible daily deal and I know I'll need something before I get my next credit.

Books Finished:

The Book of Strange New ThingsThe Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was anticipating this book quite a bit because the plot sounded similar to one of my favorite books, The Sparrow. There are some surface similarities (basically, a missionary to an alien planet), but they aren't at all the same book. Overall, I like The Sparrow better because it is more plot driven and I think does a better job of addressing certain religious questions, but I still really liked this one. It is much more about characters and relationships. The missionary had to leave his wife to go on this journey, and things don't go very well at home for her. I think I was hoping for a stronger religious aspect as well as more of a reveal. Yes, there are a few things we don't know until later on but nothing like the sucker punch toward the end of The Sparrow. So, maybe I shouldn't have had that comparison in my head, because nothing else can be that book and this one certainly has merit in its own right. I just don't think a person who loved The Sparrow would necessarily also love this one because they are doing very different things.

I read the audiobook and the narration was really good. The author does several different accents, and his voice for the aliens is fantastic. My understanding is that in the print version, symbols are used in place of the letters they can't say (I might not have this exactly right). The reader does such a good job of the alien accent; I just loved it.

I'm almost hesitant to label this sci-fi, because it really isn't a science fiction story. The man could just as easily have been in an unexplored, isolated corner of the Earth and I don't think it would change much. Anyway, it's a strong novel, although not entirely what I was expecting.

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The Silent Deal (The Card Game, #1)The Silent Deal by Levi Stack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Most of the YA I read takes place in fantasy worlds or postapocalyptic wastelands. The Silent Deal's setting? 1840s Russia, the town of Aryk. Isolated and covered in strange grafitti, populated by serfs, and, oh, yeah--playing cards are illegal. Viktor and his new buddy Romulus, a mysterious boy who lives in the woods and won't reveal his past, try to find out just what went on in their town--where did the graffiti come from, why are there so few children, and what is the secret that all the adults seem to know?

I went through this pretty quickly. The plot moves forward at a good pace, and there are many interesting characters. There is nothing in this to make it inappropriate for middle grade/younger YA, although the plot can be a bit complicated so I think it would be a good recommendation for advanced readers/thinkers who maybe aren't ready for older content. It's the first in a series, and the plot is wrapped up while still leaving several mysteries to be solved in the subsequent books--no cliffhanger, but we still only know a small part of what is going on.

I received my copy free from the author and am looking forward to reading the second book in the series.

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Currently Reading:

Yes Please by Amy Poehler-- I'm getting through this pretty quickly (on audio) and it's great! She reads it, of course, and it's funny, sad, heartfelt--definitely a must for fans of the celebrity memoir.

The Antiquarian by Julian Sanchez-- Hunter and I have this joke that every book we read has the word "palimpsest" in it. Seeing as how this book involves a centuries-old manuscript whose contents are worth murdering for, I will be sorely disappointed if "palimpsest" doesn't make an appearance.

Next Up:

Well, I already have my next audiobook, so that's settled. As far as regular books go, I think it's time for another non-fiction. Maybe something more historical or humanities, since the last nonfic I read was math-based. I'll have to look and see what I have in my library.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Literary Lundi #1

So, I decided I wanted to do a "what I'm reading" post, kind of in line with this column from BookRiot or this one from Stacked. I know at least some of the readers of this blog follow me on Goodreads, and I'm going to try not to make this redundant. I will link to my reviews, but I'll also be writing about what books I've bought, what I'm currently reading, and what I'm thinking about reading next.

It may or may not seem like I buy a lot of books. I subscribe to several newsletters that notify me of ebook deals, so I rarely pay more than $2.99 for a book. The only exception would be if it's a new book that I really want to read and don't want to wait for it to go on sale. So here we go!

Books Acquired:

Under the Never Sky-- A YA scifi dystopia. It was on my TBR and then went on sale so I picked it up.

The Crimson Petal and the White-- I'm reading another book by Michel Faber right now (see below) and really enjoying it, so when I saw this on sale I figured I'd grab it.

Grimm Tales for Young and Old-- Because I love fairy tales.

Books Finished:

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical SecretsThe Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, this is probably an insta-read for anyone who likes both math and the Simpsons, but people who like one or the other might also enjoy it. Singh not only explains many of the math references from the Simpsons, but also reveals the reason they are there: many of the writers have advanced degrees in math or science! There is also a section on Futurama, which has even more advanced mathematical ideas. None of the concepts are particularly advanced; basically even if you haven't studied math in awhile you can probably follow what is going on. There are also some pretty good math jokes and fun dinner party tidbits.

View all my reviews

Currently Reading:

The Silent Deal-- I received a copy of this book from the author and I'm really enjoying it. It's middle grade/YA, 1840s Russia with magic... or at least mystery and intrigue.

The Book of Strange New Things(audio)-- I got this from Audible I think the day after it came out. The plot synopsis sounded a lot like one of my favorite books, The Sparrow, and I'm really enjoying it.

Next Up:

I'm likely going to finish both my audiobook and my ebook within the next week. I've been choosing my next books largely for their eligibility in the Seasonal Reading Challenge, but there are plenty of tasks so I have books that fit almost every one. I am thinking about The Antiquarian, since it's fairly different from the last few books I've read (I like to vary between fiction, nonfiction, adult, kids, etc). As for audiobook, I'm not sure. I would like to read Yes Please,  but the audio isn't very long and I'm not sure I'd have another Audible credit by the time I finish it. I also want to continue my Harry Potter audio re-read, but they are so expensive! Book 4 is I think $40? So I guess we'll see what I do about that.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sadie's Room

So, as you probably know, if you know us and/or read this blog, Sadie had been sleeping in our bed. We would put her in her crib, in the bedroom, between 7 and 8, and then when we went to bed she would typically wake up and move to our bed (I think once or twice she slept until 4 or 5). Eventually, this became really difficult because she would wake up but then not sleep, not even sit still in the bed. She would just keep trying to crawl off and I would have to get up and walk around with her until she went back to sleep. We realized this was just not sustainable, practical, or good for any of us, so I came up with a solution.

I decided to make the living room into "Sadie's Room," and move the couch and TV into the bedroom. Here is a before and after:



I am still needing to figure out a way to divide the room that doesn't involve drilling into anything. I had a curtain sort of attached to the roof beam you can see. I'm not sure how well it comes out in the pictures, but the room is sort of architecturally weird. Dividing the room at that beam would make part of it extremely narrow; there is a more natural division where the kitchen wall thing is. I have a before shot of the bedroom, but it's not really in a state to take an "after" right now. I can't really have more than one room clean at a time.

So, Sadie took to her new room extremely well. She goes to sleep as easily as she did before. We have a had a few nights where she had trouble sleeping, or woke up because she was hungry or needed a diaper, but it's working out really well. I guess the only thing is that she wakes up a bit earlier than I'd like--but that's ok because we can take a nap together later in the day.

And just for fun here are a few more pics of Sadie.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hallowe'en Pictures!

Last week for Hallowe'en, we went to a little gathering of English-speaking parents in the park. Sadie showed off her costume and we learned that she likes spring rolls! She even got a little bit of candy. She didn't actually mind wearing the costume, it was just getting it on that was the hard part--she hates even getting dressed because of the few seconds where she can't see. Anyway, I took a few pics of the little cutie so here they are:

I'm hoping to make another post within the next few days because we have a MAJOR update about Sadie's sleeping habits.