October and November TBR (a.k.a. P. Pufferfish’s first ever TBR)

For the past 18 or so hours, I’ve been reading fanfiction and hemming and hawing, trying to decide what to read next now that I’m done with Lady Midnight and won’t be getting Lord of Shadows anytime soon ’cause I was a fool and didn’t bother putting it on hold until 2 days ago. I’m listening to The Clockwork Dynasty, by Daniel Wilson, on audiobook (read by David Giuntoli and Claire Coffee of Grimm fame!) so I’ve been walking around with it playing on my phone, listening while I do laundry, brush my teeth, etc. I have Son of Neptune on CD to listen to in my car. I’ve been slooooowly making my way through Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren, but I usually only read a chapter or two of that in the morning or afternoon ’cause it’s nonfiction. I need a different fiction book to read, though, and I have a stack to pick from, but which one to read first?!

I can’t choose, so I’m just going to set an overambitious goal and say I’m reading ALL of them. I finally get why people do #toberead posts. I’m one of those people who read whatever they see that catches their eye regardless of what they currently have in their stack of unread books already. I also read whatever book gets automatically checked out to me next on the holds list, so any TBR list I create would have to keep shifting and be pretty much unpredictable, unless I want to sit down and calculate which book I’m most likely to get based on where I am on the holds lists. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

It’s, what, October 23rd? That’s one week till the end of the month, so this TBR will have to be an end of October/November TBR. Fall TBR? I guess. Anyways, here’s what I have:

  1. American Elsewhere, by Robert Jackson Bennett. I’ve heard this book reminds people of the Nightvale podcast, which I’m a fan of, so I checked it out on e-book. It’s due in 2.5 weeks, I think.
  2. The Black Witch, by Laurie Forest. There was a LOOOOOOT of controversy surrounding this book, which is how I first heard about it, although many people say that it’s very good. I read some of the passages that were considered problematic and, while the language makes me uncomfortable, I’m pretty sure it’s fucking supposed to. The point of the book is to show what it’s like to move from your stuffy, conservative, racist hometown to a diverse area where you’re forced to interact with those who are different from you on a daily basis and how that can change a person, especially a young person. It makes sense to me to show the level of ignorance and intolerance the protagonist has been exposed to all her life so that we get where she’s coming from and can see why these beliefs are wrong. Anyways, I HAD TO KNOW if complaints were justified after I read some articles about people hating on this book, so I checked it out…. aaaaand left it on my couch for 3 weeks. I managed to renew it, so now I have 2.5 weeks left to read it. Do I read this one or American Elsewhere first? I kind of want to read this, ’cause I just read Lady Midnight and am in a supernatural, elves-fey-vampires kind of mood, BUT… it’s in print. I’m too lazy to read books in print nowadays. I don’t like carrying the book around and it makes it harder to read in bed. I still read print books ’cause sometimes, the library only has the book in print or Amazon sells the print book for the same price/for a LOWER price than the e-book, for some inexplicable reason, but I greatly prefer e-books.
  3. Dracula, by Bram Stoker. It’s Halloween, which means it’s time for my annual reread of one of my favorite novels! It’s been unseasonably warm this year, so I feel like I forgot it’s October and have been procrastinating on starting this. In fact, I didn’t remember until last night that there’s only a week left in the month. Shame on me!
  4. Prince Lestat, by Anne Rice. Last night, when I was lying there in the dark waiting to fall asleep, I randomly started missing my old friend Lestat. The Vampire Chronicles ruined me for all other vampire novels (aside from Dracula), so I occasionally reread them, but I’ve never managed to finish Memnoch the Devil. Anne Rice says Memnoch is her favorite book, so I should really try to finish it, but in my head, The Vampire Chronicles ends with Tale of the Body Thief. Wha’s all this other crap I hear about Lestat falling in love with a witch from a crossover story? Nope! Nope, nope, nope! I think I’ll just skip however many books and jump straight into Prince Lestat, which I’ve heard good things about. Can I do that? Can I make-believe books 5-whatever don’t exist and still have the story make sense to me? Anyone know?
  5. Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy, by Cassandra Clare. Apparently, I was supposed to read this BEFORE Lady Midnight? Oops. I saw that the library where I work has a copy, so I ran upstairs to grab it, and it WASN’T THERE. Now I have to put it on hold and have it sent from another library. Damn. Hate it when that happens. This one should be a quick read, though, so I’ll probably read a story per day when I get it.
  6. The Crimson Campaign (Book #2 of The Powder Mage Trilogy), by Brian McClellan. I’ve had this book on my couch for 1.5 months. I kept forgetting to read it. I just checked it in and checked it out to myself again today. Thank goodness no one had it on hold. I’ll have to read it asap. I don’t even know why I’m lagging– I loved the first book.

All right, that’s what I have for now. Wait a minute! Now that I’ve listed this out, I only have 6 books! I can get through these in 2-3 weeks! What was I even freaking out about? Oh yeah, library due dates. Hmm. I also have a ton of children’s books on my TBR list, but I’ll put those up when I finally start updating the Children’s Reviews page. I’ll do it… soon. Next week. Next month. Someday…

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P. Pufferfish has an interview and finally reviews Promise of Blood

This morning, I had the shock of my life when the search committee at the university I applied for a job with called me 3 hours earlier than I’d expected. Turns out I’d forgotten about the time difference between the East and West coasts. OOPS. It was an all right interview. Not good, but okay, all things considering. I’m glad it’s over and done with, so I can go back to reading and not worrying about it! promiseofbloodcover

Today’s featured book: Promise of Blood, by Brian McClellan (Book #1 of The Powder Mage Trilogy).

Format I consumed it in: Print, from the library where I work.

The premise: So I’m used to books about revolutions starting with the protagonist living a pretty normal life and then noticing problems with the place where he lives and realizing that there’s a lot of injustice, yada yada yada, and then ENDING in revolution. Promise of Blood STARTS OUT in the middle of a coup. Tamas, the Field Marshal and one of the strongest powder mages alive, has murdered the Royal Cabal, which is basically a group of powerful magicians (called Privileged) loyal to the king; in the process, five of his own mages were killed by a ridiculously strong Privileged who manages to escape. Tamas sends his son, Taniel, who’s known as Taniel Two-Shot (also a powder mage) and some mercenaries after the escaped Privileged while he and his co-conspirators (a council of 6, including Tamas himself, who represent the cities’ elite mercenaries, the union, the Church, the university, and the treasury) publicly execute the king, the royal family, and all prominent nobles over 17. Unbeknownst to everyone else, before the Royal Cabal members died, each of them mentioned something called “Kresimir’s promise”, which Tamas orders the private investigator Adamat to… well, investigate. Meanwhile, a laundress named Nila successfully sneaks the son of the duke she’s employed by (who is now the king’s closest living heir) out of the manor while the rest of the family is being arrested…

My thoughts: I LOVED this book! It was fascinating to see the aftermath of a successful coup. I usually read about revolutions and coups in fiction depicted in more of a big picture sort of way; it was different reading about all the details, including the difficulties of trying to satisfy all one’s allies (who have conflicting interests) AND the people. I thought the appearance of the gods was weird at first, because it felt as if the book was going to focus more on politics and the struggles of ordinary people to build a new government, and then it went and dropped gods on us (yes, I am aware it’s in the summary on the back of the book, but reading it as it happened was still strange). I eventually got used to it, though; plus, Mihali is a fun character.

One thing that disappointed me: I was hoping Ka-Poel was going to be a character of color, but then Brian McClellan started describing her freckles, light skin, and bright red hair. *Sighhhhh* I also thought the mini-romance between Nila and Olem was odd, although I hope they’ll return to this idea eventually. I am less pleased with the Ka-Poel/Taniel thing McClellan seems to be pushing. Must the main dude always, always, ALWAYS fall in love with the girl he travels with? Does he always have to have a love interest? If we’re going with yes, I honestly think Taniel has more chemistry with his best friend Bo, the exiled Privileged/Royal Cabal member who Tamas hasn’t killed yet. There is so much potential there! I even went and looked for fanfiction on it, but couldn’t find any. I thought there would be at least SOME, since the sci-fi/fantasy community always brings up The Powder Mage Trilogy, but I guess there’s “big enough to be talked about” and then there’s “so big there is fanfiction written about it”. Boooo….

Rating: 4.5/5.