[Currently Reading] The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett.

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The first in a series of Discworld novels starring the young witch Tiffany Aching.

A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side of reality. . . .

Armed with only a frying pan and her common sense, young witch-to-be Tiffany Aching must defend her home against the monsters of Fairyland. Luckily she has some very unusual help: the local Nac Mac Feegle—aka the Wee Free Men—a clan of fierce, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men.

Together they must face headless horsemen, ferocious grimhounds, terrifying dreams come true, and ultimately the sinister Queen of the Elves herself. . . .

Goodreads

As part of my drive to get off the ground running with my 2016 bookish resolutions, I’m currently working my way through Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series, which remains the sole group of blights on my TP Read list.

Knowing that it’s a series meant for younger audiences, I was initially worried that these books would be watered down and missing the trademark witticisms that place him firmly on the top of my Favourite Authors list but it’s surprisingly funny while managing to be lighter than his usual larger scale Discworld titles.

It’s been a bit slow-going, though, thanks to Life and I’ve been going at this for more than a week. I hope to be able to finish it within the next few days and start on the next one!

[Currently Reading] We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.

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Meet the Cooke family. Our narrator is Rosemary Cooke. As a child, she never stopped talking; as a young woman, she has wrapped herself in silence: the silence of intentional forgetting, of protective cover. Something happened, something so awful she has buried it in the recesses of her mind.

Now her adored older brother is a fugitive, wanted by the FBI for domestic terrorism. And her once lively mother is a shell of her former self, her clever and imperious father now a distant, brooding man.

And Fern, Rosemary’s beloved sister, her accomplice in all their childhood mischief? Fern’s is a fate the family, in all their innocence, could never have imagined.

Goodreads 

This kind of book is not something I’d usually read but it’s been sitting in my TBR for the longest time so when I came across it in the library in almost mint condition, I had to grab it.

So far it’s been an interesting read. The timeline jumps all around and the prose is a little too Quirky for my tastes but it has still made for a captivating read. It’s a rather hectic week for me school-wise though, so I guess it will take me a while to get through this.

[Currently Listening to] Hexed by Kevin Hearne.

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Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty—when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.

With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.

Goodreads

I liked the audio version of the first entry in this series enough to rank it as one of my best reads/listens of 2015 so I’m planning to return to the chronicles every few audiobooks.

Having set up the main characters in the first book, this sequel, set almost directly after the events of the last, hits the ground running. Hopefully, it keeps this speed up. The narration, just like in the last, is great, full of character and animation and provides a comfortable familiarity.

It’s been a neat ride so far and I can only hope it continues this way.

[Currently Reading/Listening to] Girl power.

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An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

Goodreads

The unnaturally speedy reading pace that I managed to achieve in the first fortnight of the year has grinded almost completely to a halt these past few days. Thanks to Life starting to take over, I don’t think I’ll be able to clock in the same amount of books within the next few weeks as I did those first two.

Of course, it isn’t helped by the fact that the titles I blew through those fourteen days were meant for much younger readers and were thus short and simple. This book isn’t either. With its 400++ pages of tiny font that makes me feel so old, it’s going to take me a while to get through it.

Still, though, reading is meant to be enjoyable and so there really isn’t a need for me to rush through it (except maybe to beat the library due date). It’s been quite an enjoyable read, too. The pace is quick enough and so far it’s been quite action-packed. I’m only done with the first 50 pages or so, though, so here’s hoping it stays or gets even more awesome.

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It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Goodreads

On the audio side of things, I’m working my way through Etiquette & Espionage and I’m really loving it. I loved Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series and this bears the same style – brimming with hilarious quips, ridiculous situations and the best over-the-top affect since, well, her last few books.

What makes the book really fantastic though, is the amazing narration done by Moira Quirk. She has such a wide repertoire of distinct voices and her delivery of aforementioned over-the-top affect is a delight to listen to.


Dear reader, what are you currently reading or listening to?

[Currently Reading] The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce.

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[…] the Song of the Lioness quartet is the adventurous story of one girl’s journey to overcome the obstacles facing her, become a valiant knight, and save Tortall from conquest. Alanna douses her female identity to begin her training in Alanna: The First Adventure, and when she gains squire status in In the Hand of the Goddess, her growing abilities make her a few friends — and many enemies. Books 3 and 4 complete Alanna’s adventure and secure her legend, with the new knight errant taking on desert tribesmen in The Woman Who Rides like a Man and seeking out the powerful Dominion Jewel in Lioness Rampant.

Goodreads

In previous posts, I mentioned how Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic wasn’t perfect but was good enough to land on my best reads of 2015, that I would have to visit the earlier quartet before resuming the Immortals series, and that I had miraculously procured the entire first quartet, all in great condition, at the library. I almost mentioned how one of my resolutions of the year is to finish off all of her works

…and that’s what I seem to be doing now.

The thing is, her books are short and written so breezily that I’m flying through them at a speed that seems quite impossible for a book snail like me. Perhaps it’s because I’m about twice the age of her actual target readers.

Still, I’m blowing so fast through the series that doing a Currently Reading for each of the books will just mean an entire week of such posts so I’m just doing it all here at once.

So far, it’s been an enjoyable ride (heh.). The books are simply written and the characters are all still a bit too nice but the story is so engaging and the plot progressed so smoothly that I’m actually foregoing internet time for the book. Here’s hoping it gets even better!


Dear reader, have you read the Song of the Lioness quartet or any of Pierce’s other works? What did you think?

 

Currently Reading: Stand Off by Andrew Winger.

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It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.
Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?

From the author of the National Book Award–nominated 100 Sideways Miles, which Kirkus Reviews called “a wickedly witty and offbeat novel,” Stand-Off is filled with hand-drawn infographics and illustrations and delivers the same spot-on teen voice and relatable narrative that legions of readers connected with in Winger.

Goodreads

I quite liked Winger. Sure, it did feel like it was trying a bit too hard at times but it felt enough like Adrian Mole with some edge that it kept me riveted. Plus, that whopper of an ending did, predictable though it was, pack quite a bit of punch.

So, of course, when I saw this sequel at the library, in spanking new condition too, I immediately picked it up. So far, it’s been a breezy read, even if I’m already instantly annoyed with Ryan Dean and also cringing in anticipation of awkward episodes coming up.

Dear reader, have you read Winger or Stand Off? What did you think?

[Currently Reading] Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce.

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Discover a land of enchantment, legend, and adventure in this first book of the Immortals series, featuring an updated cover for longtime fans and fresh converts alike, and including an all-new afterword from Tamora Pierce.

Thirteen-year-old Daine has always had a special connection with animals, but only when she’s forced to leave home does she realize it’s more than a knack—it’s magic. With this wild magic, not only can Daine speak to animals, but she can also make them obey her. Daine takes a job handling horses for the Queen’s Riders, where she meets the master mage Numair and becomes his student.

Under Numair’s guidance, Daine explores the scope of her magic. But she encounters other beings, too, who are not so gentle. These terrifying creatures, called Immortals, have been imprisoned in the Divine Realms for the past four hundred years—but now someone has broken the barrier. And it’s up to Daine and her friends to defend their world from an Immortal attack.

Goodreads

Tamora Pierce is one of those writers I’ve heard so much about and got recommended so many times that I’m quite surprised I’ve only gotten to her books now.

I’ve just started on this and am going through it slowly (thanks to me busy enjoying my holiday with other plans). So far, it’s been a pretty easy, smooth read and I’m quite excited to see where the story goes. I would assume it’s going somewhere awesome since it spawned a whole series but that assumption has let me down before.

Dear reader, have you read Tamora Pierce’s work before? How did you feel about it?