Thursday, July 27, 2017

To Be Read Pile: Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor


The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around--and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries--including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Best Line:  Sometimes a moment is so remarkable that it carves out a space in time and spins there, while the world rushes on around it.

Full disclosure: I adore Laini Taylor. I'm pretty sure there is nothing she could do that I wouldn't fall over myself adoring. And Strange the Dreamer is no exception. Laini's writing is lyrical without tipping over the edge into purple prose. Not only are her concepts fantastical and so casually wondrous it sends an actual thrill up your spine, but her characters are addictively fun as well. She's the whole package.

Our story starts with Lazlo, mysterious orphan come librarian who is fascinated with the magical city of Weep. A city that has been relegated to legend and then myth for his people but which has a hold over him because he remembers the time when Weep had a proper name and remembers the moment everyone forgot.

Then, when the opportunity comes for him to travel to the magical place of his childhood fantasies he, along with a ragtag group of weirdos finds things are so much more complicated than he could ever have dreamed.

This is also the story of Sarai, trapped with her family in a floating castle after a horrifying massacre, served by the ghosts of the people who tried to kill them. Sarai knows that if the people of Weep ever find out that she and her people are still alive nothing will be the same. She knows that they cannot stay hidden forever and when they are found they will have to take their revenge. She knows all of this, and still she dreams.

This book is a little slow to start. Compelling, but the plot doesn't really kick in until about halfway through. But once it does it is daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn all the way down. There's beauty, there's heartbreak and there's one of the best goddamn villains I've ever seen. Definitely give it a shot and make sure you've got some tissues ready for the end.

If you like lyrical prose and ideas that make you gasp and you've got a real soft spot for stories and dreams, this is the book for you. Seriously, though, pack tissues.

Get it here

Monday, July 24, 2017

101 Ways To Live Better: Good Bed, Good Shoes

Welcome to my 101 series, which explores 101 little things you can do to improve your day to day life, and the world, just a little bit.

Our fourth post is: GOOD BED, GOOD SHOES

Most people spent their lives either wearing shoes or in bed. The periods we are not wearing shoes or in bed are exceptions. In between times. You could say the same about clothes, of course. However, clothes don’t affect our health in the same way as shoes and beds.

Posture and sleep are both vital to our longevity. Our spine is the core of our bodies and our bed and shoes will affect our spine’s health as much as how we sit and how we exercise. Yet for some reason, many people don’t invest in comfortable beds and supportive shoes.

The quality of your sleep affects a lot more than just your posture. It affects your mental health, your weight loss, your alertness, your digestion and your satisfaction with life. You’re going to spend a third of your life in bed. Buy a good one! Yes, a good bed can be very expensive, but think of a bed like a car. A big, important purchase. One you expect to have to save for—and one that will cost you a lot more in the long run if you end up with a lemon!

When it comes to shoes, women tend to make much worse choices than men. Women sacrifice comfort and health for aesthetics—in particular heels—which are terrible for your legs and spine, no matter how good they make your ass look.

Buy good quality, supportive footwear without a heel. Save being tall for special occasions. Make sure to find shoes that fit properly and that don’t require you to hurt muscles to walk in. If you aren’t sure what the best sort of shoe is, see a podiatrist.

Remember, the world’s most famous foot model refuses to wear heels except while she is working and only then while the photos are being taken. She doesn’t want to damage her feet. So, if a foot model refuses to wear them, imagine what they are doing to you.

Buying good shoes and a good bed are worthwhile investments. Personally, I’d rather just have three pairs of really good expensive shoes (everyday, fancy and outdoors/hiking) than 40 shitty pairs that hurt my feet, fall apart and ruin my spine. It also makes choosing which shoes to go with my outfit really easy. In fact, it makes organizing my wardrobe and buying new clothes really easy too. I don’t have to wonder if they will go with any shoes I own, because I am probably already wearing the shoes in question. It makes life simple, comfortable and uncluttered.

And imagine how nice it would be to get a proper night’s sleep? To wake up rested and without any aching parts? No sinus issues, no back pain, no fatigue. And when you are buying a good bed, buy nice sheets and replace your pillows with good quality pillows every six months.

Investing in a good bed is like investing in education. Its serving your future. And you don’t need all those shoes anyway.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

To Be Read Pile: Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo


Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams - but he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.

Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first.

Best Line:  The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.

What a ride! Ocean's Eleven with magic and more charm than even George Clooney can muster. Kaz Brekker is a street rat from the Barrel. A con man and a thief with greed as his master and a love of puzzles. When he is presented with the ultimate puzzle with a tantalising reward at the end, how can he be expected to say no?

So much happens in this book. It's a rollicking charge through a plot that never lets up. This book isn't just about a heist. It is the heistiest of heists. It is the heist-master other heists hike up mountains to learn from. If anything can go wrong it will, and the best laid plans are the ones that definitely aren't going to work out the way you want them to.

Every character in this is fantastic. I love characters with huge, obvious flaws they can't get past and everyone here scratches that itch for me. And the banter. The banter. This is Buffy-worthy levels of dialogue and the group dynamics are played perfectly. I found reasons to love all of the characters and reasons to be irritated by all of them in turn. They felt not only real, but like the kind of people I would happily hang out with for a few hours. Albeit with all of my valuables safely locked away on another planet.

I think my favourite thing about this book is how far it is willing to go. There are multiple times when a scene is set up and there is no possible way for the characters to get out of the situation, until it all clicks into place and suddenly the most unthinkable, horrible perfect thing is the only way things are going to go forward. I spent a lot of time screaming the word 'NOOOOOO' while I read this book.

If you like YA that is fast and smart with killer characters and killer twists, this is the book for you.

Get it here /dp/B01175KE0M/