Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Red Sister (Mark Lawrence)



What It's About

The first book in the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, this series follows young Nona taken from her village and sold as a ring fighter. Accused of the murder of a noble, the nine year old girl is set to be hanged when she is rescued by Abbess Glass who brings her to the convent of Sweet Mercy. Here, for the first time, she is given a warm bed, food to eat, an education...and training in the arts of death. But an entire convent of girls training as killers is not without its tension, and noble families do not forget when justice hasn't been served.

What I Thought

A few years back, I picked up one of Mark Lawrence's earlier books, Prince of Thorns, to see if it might be of interest to a loved one. It was really easy to get through, but I felt the writing style was a bit juvenile, even if the subject matter was gruesome. Because I didn't have any real investment in the matter, beyond the brief analysis of it for another, I read several chapters and then put it down. 

When I heard the synopsis of Red Sister, I was instantly intrigued. I mean, warrior nuns? It sounds both a little too weird, and also really cool at the same time. I picked it up - and thank goodness I did! I can thankfully credit this book as getting me out of the horrible reading slump that I've been in. Now, I'm still not going to say I'm reading a lot, or quickly, but I sure did read this one faithfully!

The writing style was still a bit juvenile at times, and at other moments it seemed like Lawrence tried a bit too hard and therefore lost some of the meaning from words altogether, but overall it flowed decently. The concept and storyline though, were wonderful and what kept me engaged the entire time enough to happily keep at it.

The violence can get pretty graphic, so if you're squeamish at all, I would stay away. Now, I don't know if I wasn't paying the best of attention, but there are some plot points that felt very unclear while I was reading. Some things were over explained, and other things...well, I either didn't get answers, or got them so late in the book that I had truly thought I was never going to get them. There wasn't much of a reminder that these things were mysteries, and instead it just felt like Lawrence forgot to explain them. I'm currently on the second book, and finally have some answers, so I am hoping this was intentional and not just the work of a strong editing team giving him a reminder.

If you need a diverting piece of fantasy with a cool new concept that isn't too tricky of a read, then I would absolutely recommend this one. It was very enjoyable and I am hoping to finish the trilogy.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

December 2021 Update

It's been awhile! I've been feeling overwhelmed by reviewing and not knowing where to start, so in a lot of ways, I just want the opportunity to start fresh. The easiest way for me to do that is to let you know what I've been reading and watching, and then...let it go! Now, some of these I likely will end up reviewing (one review I'm actually nearly complete), but I want to get rid of that pressure. So please, I'd love to chat about some of these - leave a comment about any you want to talk about (or that you'd appreciate a review on), but otherwise, here's what I can remember of the past few months:


The Midnight Library - Matt Haig
Red Sister - Mark Lawrence
The Stranger in the Lifeboat - Mitch Albom


That Forsythe Woman
Love Hard
The Lady Vanishes
Little Women (2018)
A Christmas Prince
The Little Mermaid (2018)
High Strung Free Dance
After We Collided
He's All That
The Princess Switch
V For Vendetta
When We First Met
Ladies in Black
Mary, Queen of Scots
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again


Emily in Paris
Witcher S1 (rewatch), S2 (in progress)
All Creatures Great and Small
Portrait Artist of the Year S7

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

TMST: Do You Use Your Library?

 Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team of bloggers, Roberta @ Offbeat YA, Karen @ For What It's Worth, Berls @ Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life, Jen @ That's What I'm Talking About, and Linda @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.

This week's topic is: Libraries...do you use yours? 

...Nah. End post.

I'm kidding. It's a bit unusual though, working in a library. I see the usage of it very differently than I used to, however this also comes from a change in lifestyle from when I started working there.

There are certain features of the library that I use extremely often (books, movies), some I use occasionally (music, online courses, audiobooks), and some that I don't make use of at all (newspapers, legal resources, etc.). I used to take out tons and tons of fiction, but now I mostly take out movies, cookbooks, and some fiction, with a smattering of other things in between.

The hardest part is the overwhelming desire to read and watch...well, everything. You see it come in, you talk to people about it, and you realize that there are just not enough hours in the day. It's definitely a struggle, and sometimes it can be a bit paralyzing if you are not careful, in that, there are so many choices that you don't even know where to start. But man, will I never complain that that is my problem rather than not having access to all of these beautiful things!


What about you, do you use your library? What are some resources you especially like?

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Period Drama: Gunpowder


What It's About:

Remember, remember the fifth of November...
Guy Fawkes might be the name you think of when talking about the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, but its story starts with Robert Catesby. This three part mini-series details the circumstances, plotting and planning from lead architect Catesby, and how he puts together perhaps the most famous royal assassination attempt in British history. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Can You Help Me, Shayna?

Those words, spoken to me last week, made my day. That might sound a little odd, a little simple, but it's true.

At work, there is a gentleman who comes in, Mr. F. He's been coming in for years, apparently, but I've only known him for the past three. Now, although Mr. F is rather particular, I have never had any issues with him - my interactions have always been positive ones.

Since the pandemic though, I've really only seen Mr. F a handful of times. He calls semi-regularly, but it's not always me who picks up the call, and my name isn't always given either. He's the kind of person who has been around just enough that you wonder if he's doing okay, but is never gone so long that you officially start worrying about him.

So you might wonder, given that information, why his most recent visit was so impactful to me. Well, here's the thing - many years ago, Mr. F had a traumatic brain injury. He has a really difficult time remembering details, and often needs things documented in clear steps. He always needs his checkout receipt, and you need to go over his account carefully with him every time to make sure all of the items are returned. But, after many months of not seeing each other, the first words out of Mr. F's mouth to me, were "can you help me, Shayna?"

For whatever reason, Mr. F still remembers my name. I wouldn't have been offended in the least had he recognized my face and nothing else - heck, with half of my face covered by a mask, I wouldn't even have been offended had he not recognized me at all. But there he was, not only remembering my name, but feeling comfortable enough with me to instantly know he was safe in asking me for assistance. And the simple joy of it nearly took my breath away.

So thank you, Mr. F - you are exactly why I am here doing this job.


Tell me about an impactful interaction in your life, whether at work, or in your personal life. Did it help to recharge you? Inspire you?

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Longstanding TBR - 50 Books That I'm Still Excited About

Back in May, I read a really awesome post by Nessa Luna on her blog October Tune, all about the books she still wanted to read but hadn't gotten to yet. Please check out that fun post here:

 50 Books I Still Really Want to Read in My Life – october tune

I was inspired to do something similar here, and although I'm doing it a bit differently than her, I wanted to cover books that have been on my TBR for a long time that I do actually still intend to read (rather than those ones you eventually weed off every few years). If I intend to read the series, I have listed it as the series title, but if I hope to at least read 1 book from the series and go from there, I have just listed the first book for now. So, without further ado, here's my list of 50 books that I'm still excited to get to!

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

TMST: Buddy Reads

 Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team of bloggers, Roberta @ Offbeat YA, Karen @ For What It's Worth, Berls @ Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life, Jen @ That's What I'm Talking About, and Linda @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.

This week's topic is: Do you like to read with others (buddy reads, readalongs, bookclubs, etc)?

This is one of the ideas that I go back and forth on. Sometimes I think it would be super fun to be able to read along with someone, and other times I think it's too much pressure, and I dislike it. Also, I tend to read a lot of things when they are no longer at the height of their popularity (or classics), and so it can be difficult to have someone else want to reach with me.

That being said, I have done this kind of thing in the past, albeit, unintentionally. When the Harry Potter books came out, and the Hunger Games series did (or in this case, the movies), I read these along with friends and family and got the opportunity to discuss them - and that was tons of fun! I loved those experiences so much, that I later tried to get my boyfriend to try and do buddy reads with me. Unfortunately this didn't end up panning out, and since then I've sort of been intimidated by the pressure to read at a certain pace with someone. I think I'd like to try it at some point, but I don't think it would be something I would do any time soon.

For bookclubs, I truly think I would only be content reading along with friends who are on a remotely similar brainwave as myself. I am all for different opinions, but I can find a lot of debates turn into arguments and are frustrating, which I feel like can be tempered a bit amongst my friends, but maybe not so much with a group of unknowns.


How do you feel about buddy reads and bookclubs? Do you like to debate topics?