Mini Reviews: Shape of Water, All the Bright Places

A hot and cold set of audiobook reviews! On the one hand, I enjoyed Shape of Water lots. On the other hand, All the Bright Places was not so very bright. A lot of this comes from bias for the former, and annoyance for the latter.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

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TTT: Longest Books Read

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

This is kind of appropriate this week, coming out of New York Comic Con with several ARCs and signed books, two of which were the massive epics from Patrick Rothfuss. And then it did get me thinking about how many large books I’ve actually read…and then I realized I probably need to pick one epic before the year ends. Huh. ANYWAY.

At least half of these are over a thousand pages long, and three of the ones on the list came from G.R.R. Martin…but likely this’ll change once I start reading the other epics on my TBR…which is a long list *sobs*

Eleven Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Big Damn Sin City by Frank Miller (1,354 pages) – This was definitely a compilation of Frank Miller’s entire Sin City story. I figure if I was going to read the series, I was going to read them all one right after the other.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (1,280 pages) – I’m still mustering up my endurance to read the next book–which is even LONGER OMG–but this was already a massive undertaking as is. All the same, no regrets.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (1,069 pages) – I’m surprised only Atlas Shrugged made it on this list, considering I’d read the other Rand books. But yeah, this was the longest of hers, and probably The Fountainhead was around 800ish pages. Lots of this could have definitely been cut off, or made into a duology or something, because the story itself has two parts.

A Feast for Crows by G.R.R. Martin (1,061) – This was about the time I started getting bored and annoyed with A Song of Ice and Fire, but I read this through anyway.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1,037 pages) – This was on my list, and I swear I did read it, but I’ve forgotten so much of it by now! It was pretty long and epic, though, and most of the stuff I do remember came from the movie. Oops?

Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind (979 pages) – The last book I’ve read of Goodkind’s, and it will stay like that forevermore.

A Storm of Swords by G.R.R. Martin (973 pages) – Definitely a big punch in the guts, this book, and it was both hard to put down and easy to chuck out the window.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (870 pages) – Ahahaha, goodness, the amount of times I’d had to sequester myself in my room to read this when I was, what, 15? I polished it off within a weekend, but the memories are definitely still there, and so are the tear stains.

A Game of Thrones by G.R.R. Martin (837 pages) – G.R.R. Martin just writes a lot, though I keep seeing some of his other works pop up but is it the next book in ASoIaF? NO. Not that I should be complaining, I haven’t really planned on reading the next stuff anyway.

Servant of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts / Winter by Marissa Meyer (827 pages) – A tie, a tie! Honestly, this wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d actually read Outlander and not listened to it because it was such a long book. So I have two here, both books I loved muchly.

Food and Fandom: Zelie’s Jollof Rice

Well, maybe not Zelie’s and more like Zelie’s mom.

I haven’t finished Children of Blood and Bone just yet, but there were two dishes I really wanted to try out when I started reading it. The first was this coconut pie that Amari really wanted to eat but was kind of unable to because circumstances and plot. On the other hand, the other dish was the first thing I was hit with in the book.

I try not to think of her.

But when I do, I think of rice.

When Mama was around, the hut always smelled of jollof rice.

Now, as a Filipino, I grew up on appreciating the beauty that is rice. I grew up appreciating the fact that there isn’t just the ONE rice brand to end all rice brands (though as far as I’m concerned, jasmine rice beats out all the rest). So when I saw this mention of jollof rice, I needed to do a bit of research to see what makes this different, from, say, fried rice or something (though even fried rice has a different set of ingredients to it depending on the culture you’re looking at).

And ya know, I kind of dig it.

I found the jollof rice recipe at Naija Chef, and just browsing through his recipe list has definitely gotten me curious over what other types of food I could try from the site’s collection. There are DESSERTS THERE, DAMMIT. I might also even try something with fish, because fish was such a big deal in the first few chapters of CoBaB.

When I had my family taste test the rice, they seemed to like it enough. It had this nice sweet kick to it, though in hindsight, I probably didn’t need to use parboiled rice for it. To me, it was good, but the rice got overcooked and was way too soft-textured, which I didn’t like as much as I thought I would. If I make this again, I’ll probably add an extra cup of rice (maybe long-grain? I might have to experiment there) or lessen the tomato sauce.

Verdict: All in all, though, the flavors were all there, and it really made for a lovely combination with some fried pork chops!

Sass and Sword and Sorcery || Rat Queens Review

Initial Thoughts:

HOW have I not read this series until now?! This is pretty much sassy sexy females romping around a fantasy world slaying orcs and partying when the deed is done! With more plot, of course, but COME ON. Sassy. Sexy. Females.


RAT QUEENS, VOL. 1 AND 2

Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch (illustrator), Stjepan Sejic (illustrator)
Image Comics, March 2014
Adult fantasy, comics
Rated: 5 / 5 cookies

Who are the Rat Queens?

They’re a pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire and they’re in the business of killing all the god’s creatures for profit. Meet Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.

This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent, monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

So I pretty much devoured the first two volumes of this series and realized I couldn’t really review the first one without reviewing the other. For one, the first volume was this super-quick introduction to the world and the chaos that is the Rat Queens. The Rat Queens definitely brook no apologies for their penchant towards booze, drugs, and foul language, and if this was an ’80s band, they’d certainly be quickly assimilated into the world of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. Which makes them badass in a high fantasy world, and I love each one of them for it.

But seriously, Hannah steals the show every time.

Not exactly the “leader” of the Rat Queens (I don’t think there’s a definitive one between Dee, Hannah, and Violet, to be honest), Hannah is the elven mage who’s got some uncanny affinity towards necromancy and the black arts. She’s the crudest as far as language goes, and a lot of her story in the first two volumes definitely gets more fleshed out (heh, “fleshed out” hehe…I’m immature) than the others. Not saying that the other three don’t get their limelight–they actually do!

But still. Hannah killed me every time.

Also, I totally ship those two. But I mean…Sawyer is kind of delish, not gonna lie.

This booze-soaked second volume of RAT QUEENS reveals a growing menace within the very walls of Palisade. And while Dee may have run from her past, the bloated, blood-feasting sky god N’rygoth never really lets his children stray too far.

But anyway, the first volume really just lays in the groundwork of the series. The Rat Queens are a sordid lot, and for the most part chaos ensues when they’re around. This makes them an unwelcome presence in the kingdom of Palisade, a thorn on the mayor’s side, and a headache to Sawyer, captain of the guard and former assassin. In the end, though, they eventually save the day, gain the town’s praise, and host a super psychedelic party!

By volume 2, though, the tentacle monster attacks, and shit starts to get crazy. And no, not in that hentai way (though we do see some nudity on both sides of the river). The second volume picks up the story, and I actually loved it more than the first because the volume deals with a lot of character backstories. I loved Violet and Hannah’s arcs, and Dee gets to do some major butt-kicking against the forces of darkness and the far-reaching tentacles of N’rygoth. Of course, don’t forget Betty, whose mushroom-loving bubbly personality brings light to an otherwise dysfunctional group.

Because of course Betty would.

Seriously, though, my review can’t really do justice with these first two volumes. I’d just urge anyone who likes fantasy and fierce females to read it and experience the series for themselves.

Okay, I’ll stop with the Hannah pics already!

5 out of 5 cookies for both Vol. 1 and 2!

Have you read this series? What did you think?

TTT: Fave Authors, Unread Books

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

Egads, asking me who my favorite author is at any given time is a dangerous subject to go into, and I’ve been asked this a few times over the past few weeks already. That being said, I have been pretty consistent with the types of authors I adore, and there have always been tried and true authors who’ve not once disappointed me yet. So. I suppose, here it goes.

Note: Some of the authors (Katherine Arden, Laini Taylor, Renee Ahdieh, etc.) I’ve been loving this year and last year I didn’t include on this list, because while I loved their trilogy/duology/books, I’ve only read one or few of their stuff so the jury is still out on that front.

Ten Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read Yet

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab – I will admit I haven’t had as much interest in Schwab’s YA books compared to her adult ones, but I did read This Savage Song and enjoyed it and even recommended it several times to my middle schoolers. I have a copy of ODD on my shelf, I just haven’t gotten around to reading it. Likely I’ll devour Vengeful first, and quite possibly the Steel Prince issues beforehand, but it’ll get read eventually!

Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce – I meaaan…I have practically read every single Tortall book this woman has released by far, so the only books left unread by the ever-fabulous TP are her Circle series. I’ve actually gotten through the first set, so it makes logical sense to continue on with the next quartet. All that said, the Circle series is pretty much being discontinued, so there’s little likelihood that anything new will be added to its worldbuilding.

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks – Gaaaawd I don’t know why it’s taking me so long to read The Black Prism. I adored the Night Angel Trilogy and even read the short story with Durzo as the main character. Apparently TBP is even better, and my brain already exploded with NAT, so…gah I really should read this. Really.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore – Cashore doesn’t have as prolific a list of books as many of the authors I’ve loved, but the thing about her is that I’ve loved all three of her Graceling books to pieces. And then she came out with one that wasn’t Graceling-related, but I loved her writing, so I really should read this one anyway.

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs – So far, this is the only book on the Mercy Thompson and its spin-off series that I have yet to read. I probably should before the next MT book comes out.

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier – I’ll admit I haven’t read as much Marillier as I should have, but I will say that she’s my go-to author for books that will absolutely positively make. me. cry. No joke, this is why she’s one of my favorites, because she always sends me into a state of tears, and not just because she’s gone and done horrible things to her characters. She also writes really lovely romances and I love her for them. I really should read more of her in any case.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer – Alright, so she completely won me over on The Lunar Chronicles alone. I haven’t read anything past that, other than the graphic novels with Iko, but I really do mean to get to Heartless at some point! I loved her sassy characters.

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson – For someone who constantly praises the Mistborn trilogy, it’s a huge surprise that I haven’t read the sequel trilogy to Mistborn. Sanderson hasn’t failed me yet in any case, so I’m going to walk into TAoL with super high Mistborn-y expectations.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell – Since I couldn’t put Wayward Son in here because technically it won’t even come out until around 2020 *grumbles* I’m putting in an older work of Rowell’s. I will say I haven’t tried her adulty stuff, but I really loved Carry On and Fangirl and actually liked Eleanor and Park, too, though not on the level of the first two books I’d read of hers.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Shush. SHUSH. I WILL READ ALL BARDUGO BOOKS I PROMISE. I MUST. READ. ALL.

What books of your favorite authors haven’t you read yet?