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The Obsessive Bookseller’s Mini Book Review Blitz! [3]

Mini Book Review Blitz!

I’m going to need a feature image… Anyway, even when posting three times a week, I found myself becoming increasingly behind in book reviews. Behold: my solution – the Mini Book Review Blitz! 


Green Rider by Kristen Britian

Book Info: Green Rider [Green Rider #1] by Kristin Britain

Rating: 2/5 stars

I’ve had this series on my shelves for YEARS. It was one of the few I was incredibly excited to start, which makes it all the more disappointing that I didn’t like it. My 2-star “it was just okay” rating sums it up perfectly: it was just okay. The first chapter started off with the bang, then it proceeded to meander through one inconsequential event after another, and I could feel my enthusiasm dropping with every page. At one point, I was more than halfway through the book and still couldn’t see any purpose behind the scenes and kept wanting the story to get back to the inciting moment at the beginning. I’m really bummed I didn’t like Green Rider, especially since my cousins really loved it. I’m unfortunately abandoning the series from here.


Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Book Info: Magic Rises [Kate Daniels #6] by Ilona Andrews

Rating: 4/5 stars

I was fully prepared not to like Magic Rises. Any time and urban fantasy ventures out of its “home” city, I tend to lose interest (a weird thing, I know, but I pick up urban fantasies for a specific atmosphere “feel”, and if I don’t get that pay off, I get cranky). So, despite my bad attitude and determination not to like it, I actually enjoyed Magic Rises immensely. Kate Daniels is such a compelling character, I seem to be riveted no matter what she’s doing. The authors are incredible at weaving together tight plot lines and fantastic interpersonal conflicts while still bringing forth an overall series story arc that gets more intense with each installment. I am now a HUGE fan of this series – so much so that I’m trying to moderate how fast I read them… I don’t know if I can handle having no more KD books to look forward to. Even the novellas are amazing. All I can say is, hold on tight to your top spots, Mercy Thompson and Rachel Morgan – Kate Daniels is coming for you with swords a-blazing (and lions roaring)! ;P


Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi

Book Info: The Ghost Brigades [Old Man’s War #2] by John Scalzi

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I read Ghost Brigades as a Buddy Read with some awesome people over at Fantasy Buddy Reads. While most of us still appreciate Scalzi as an author and wish to continue the series, there was an overwhelming consensus that book two lacked a little of the magic that made Old Man’s War so successful. Most notably, John Perry and his pervasive humor were absent from the story. It still had little moments of humor (which I appreciated), but was much more serious overall. Ghost Brigade read very much like a set up novel (having read on, it kind of was). All of that said, I still enjoyed reading it and look forward to seeing what happens next.


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed my Mini Book Review Blitz! As you can see, I’ve been reading a lot of great titles lately. :-)

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Burning Bright by Patricia Briggs

Title: Burning Bright

Author: Patricia Briggs

Series: Alpha & Omega #5

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: March 8, 2018 

The Overview: They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm. With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn… -Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

I am totally in love with this series, which is saying something considering I wasn’t completely convinced until the third book. These are strong urban fantasies with interesting characters compelling mysteries. I think if Briggs is not careful the Alpha & Omega series is going to go toe to toe with Mercy Thompson herself (as far as amazingness is concerned). If you haven’t read the spinoff, I’d recommend starting with the Alpha & Omega short story.

Who else is excited for a new Patricia Briggs?!

by Niki Hawkes

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Tackling the TBR [27]: September 2017

tackling the TBR

It’s once again time for my favorite feature: Tackling the TBR! There’s nothing I love more than picking out which books to read next, and this slightly organized method of reading has really amped my enjoyment to the next level. Bring on the mantras!

Read the best books first.
&
Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying.

However you put together your TBR for the next month, the goal is to reduce the amount of obligation in reading and increase the fun.


Here’s a look at how the system works:

1. Identify the titles that take top priority in your TBR.
2. Combine them all in your own Tackling the TBR post.
3. Throughout the month pick from that pile as the mood strikes you.

Here’s what mine looks like:

September 2017 TBR Tackler Shelf:

Just looking at my Tackler list this month makes me happy. It really highlights in my mind why it’s important for me to prioritize and read the best books first. I’m no longer wasting time on books I’m not enjoying, and that is a truly liberating feeling. :) I have been waiting on Apex for what feels like ages (though it’s only been a year since Elite), but the one that has me chomping at the bit most this month is the conclusion to the Memoirs of Lady Trent series.

Tackler Carry-Overs


Niki’s Incomplete Series Challenge [Via Fantasy Buddy Reads]

August 2017 Titles Tackled:

Niki’s August 2017 Progress Update:

Series Finished: 4
First Lord’s Fury – Jim Butcher
The Stone Sky – N.K. Jemisin
Buried Heart – Kate Elliott
The Fall of the Dagger – Glenda Larke

 Series Brought UTD: 1
An Alchemy of Masques and MirrorsCurtis Craddock

Series Progressed: 8
The Ghost Brigades – John Scalzi
Magic Rises – Ilona Andrews
An Ill-Advised Rescue – Ilona Andrews
Rise of Empire – Michael J. Sullivan
The Churn – James S. A. Corey
The Last Colony – John Scalzi
In the Labyrinth of Drakes – Marie Brennan
The Butcher of Anderson Station – James S. A. Corey

New Series Started: 2
An Alchemy of Masques and MirrorsCurtis Craddock

Abandoned: 0

YTD Totals:
Finished Series: 12
Up To Date Series: 17
Series Progressed: 40
New Series Started: 17
Abandoned: 4

Here’s my full Incomplete Series list, in case anyone is curious.
My Goal is to be under 20 series by July 1, 2018.


What books are you Tackling this month? Even if you don’t specifically use my system, feel free to share your versions of how you manage your TBR pile (and the links to your posts if applicable) in the comments. :)

by Niki Hawkes

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The Obsessive Bookseller Simplifies Life [7]: Photos

simplifies-life-2017

In case you missed my Introductory Post, my world was in such an upheaval that I was forced to take drastic measures by simplifying and organizing all the things that caused me stress. Each month, in 2017, I’m tackling different aspects of my life that are clutter-stressors by organizing and altering them into things that bring me joy.


August 2017: Photos

So, you might be wondering why I skipped July’s Simplifying Life post. It’s not because I’ve been posting less. It’s not because I lost motivation. It’s not even because I got busy. It’s because IM STILL WORKING ON MY DANG PHOTO PROJECT. This topic quickly launched itself into the most frustrating project I’ve ever tackled, setting me way behind schedule for all of the others lined up for 2017. Let me explain.

Grab some popcorn, we’ll be here a while.

-> I usually try to make these posts insightful and relevant to others… This photos post is likely going to be neither. I decided to share it anyways because it’s still a part of my journey in 2017.

The Photo Project:

The story starts almost 2 years ago when my husband and I decided we’d like to start a family. One of the thousand worries that cross my mind was “I need to get my pictures organized so I’m ready for baby photos” (because my answer to every stressful thing in life is to organize). Thus began my 4 month embarkment on organizing the photos I had, procuring a reliable backup for them, and getting into a routine for ordering prints. This initial organizational process was brutal.

My first issue was operating solely on my 10-year-old Mac laptop that’s at max memory/capacity and takes %#@& forever to do anything (I have to be willing to wait 3 – 5 minutes every time I click the mouse). It goes without saying that I am NOT a patient person. It was an agonizing process of painstakingly arranging thousands of photos into their own “events,” meaning I didn’t put them into albums (this will be relevant later). This took about 4 months of working on it in baby steps – a little at a time throughout the days (while dealing with an eyestrain injury, might I add). It involved several reboots and freak outs and I seriously considered chucking my computer on several occasions. I think this Obsessive Bookseller finally found an organizational project that was not fun to work on.

Things went well for several months after that. Right about the time my son was born, I was On. My. Game! Uploading pics, ordering prints within a few weeks, and scrapbooking them immediately. This was level-up on-top-of-shit, even for me.

And then my computer reached max capacity, and it was all downhill from there.

Flash forward 4 months to last Christmas where my wonderful husband scrimped and saved (even going so far as to have his parents spend their Christmas money for him on me) to get me a brand new computer. I sobbed.

This next step should have been simple:

1. Obtain an external hard drive
2. Put files from my old Mac onto external hard drive
3. Put files onto new computer using external hard drive
4. Contiue on with life using my new computer.

If only. Here’s what happened instead:

1. – 2. Were actually successful… Then when I went to put the old files onto the new computer, it told me the Operating Systems weren’t compatible. This means I had to go back and upgrade my old Mac to the new operating system. The trouble is, with the new operating system came a new version of Photos where ALL OF MY EVENTS DISAPPEARED!!!

I went through the 5 stages of grief for the next two months.

When I finally accept the situation, I went back on the old computer and started the organizing process again from scratch. Only this time, I decided to sort all of the photos onto folders in my hard drive, rather than within the program itself. This took me several months to accomplish.

Niki’s thought process: “Okay, so the photos are organized, each computer has the correct operating system, and now I’m ready to repeat steps 1-4 and get my new computer up and running! In three… 2… 1…

The files didn’t transfer from the hard drive. WTF??!

Oh, okay, so only a small portion of the files transferred because apparently my new computer only has 4G of memory…shit.”

What to do? My first inclination was to delete unnecessary files, but no matter what I took off, the memory never seemed to drop much. I wanted as much room as possible for photos going forward, so I had a brilliant idea: “I’m going to figure out how to wipe the computer back to factory setting so I can go in and, instead of transferring files, add just to the programs I’m going to need most!”

As it turns out, there’s a huge problem with that idea: if you wipe a computer back to factory settings, it also erases the Operating System. If you never went in and claimed the computer with your Apple ID before wiping it, it won’t let you do anything with it because it thinks you’re a dirty thief.

So here I sit, with a useless new computer, no way to get photos off of my phone because my old computer is full, and 2 years of work that have amounted to absolutely nothing.

I’m going to need another few months to grieve.


The goal of getting photos organized was to simplify my life when it came to retrieving, preserving, and ordering them. As you can see by this sob story, I have been unable to simplify anything and in fact have managed to snowball any progress into glaring non-simplification. I’m still working daily on a solution, but am so sick of this project that I’m ready to wash my hands of it and move on to the next one.

Project Status: Photos Most Definitely NOT Simplified. Yet.

by Niki Hawkes

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Tackling the TBR [26]: August 2017

tackling the TBR

It’s once again time for my favorite feature: Tackling the TBR! There’s nothing I love more than picking out which books to read next, and this slightly organized method of reading has really amped my enjoyment to the next level. Bring on the mantras!

Read the best books first.
&
Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying.

However you put together your TBR for the next month, the goal is to reduce the amount of obligation in reading and increase the fun.


Here’s a look at how the system works:

1. Identify the titles that take top priority in your TBR.
2. Combine them all in your own Tackling the TBR post.
3. Throughout the month pick from that pile as the mood strikes you.

Here’s what mine looks like:

August 2017 TBR Tackler Shelf:

This month my focus is on progressing and finishing series that I’m really enjoying. All of these titles are from the “high priority” section of my Incomplete Series list, so I know I am in for a lot of good reading. The one I am most excited to get into is the conclusion to Jemisin’s Fifth Season trilogy… It should be good!

Tackler Carry-Overs


Niki’s Incomplete Series Challenge [Via Fantasy Buddy Reads]

June 2017 Titles Tackled:

Niki’s July 2017 Progress Update:

Series Finished: 0

 Series Brought UTD: 4
Firebrand – A.J. Hartley
Obsidian and Stars – Julie Eshbaugh
The Operator & Waylaid – Kim Harrison
Midnight Jewel – Richelle Mead

Series Progressed: 4
A Kingdom Besieged – Raymond E. Feist
Gunmetal Magic Ilona Andrews
The Rose Society – Marie Lu
Drive – James S.A. Corey

New Series Started: 2
Traitor’s Blade – Sebastien de Castille [started in March, just finished]
Old Man’s War – John Scalzi

Abandoned: 0
The Young Elites – Marie Lu
The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken
Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor

YTD Totals:
Finished Series: 8
Up To Date Series: 16
Series Progressed: 32
New Series Started: 16
Abandoned: 4

Here’s my full Incomplete Series list, in case anyone is curious.


What books are you Tackling this month? Even if you don’t specifically use my system, feel free to share your versions of how you manage your TBR pile (and the links to your posts if applicable) in the comments. :)

by Niki Hawkes

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The Obsessive Bookseller’s Mini Book Review Blitz! [2]

Mini Book Review Blitz!


Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey

Book Info: Naamah’s Kiss [Moirin’s Trilogy #1] by Jacqueline Carey

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this trilogy. You see, it’s really difficult for anything to follow Kushiel’s and Imriel’s stories and, since this one took place a few hundred years in the future, I found myself mourning the fact that we’ve moved on (kind of like when Avatar ended and they brought back Legend of Korra – it’s really good, but I miss the old characters). I also thought the story was a bit inconsistent – the first half was a solid 5-star “I was totally enamored” rating. The second half was a conservative 2.5-star rating because the story elements sort of “jumped the shark” when it came to feasibility. Overall, the parts of this story I liked, I did so with the same ferocity as those which came before. The parts I didn’t amounted to my least favorite experiences with this author so far. The verdict? Worth reading if you’ve read the other trilogies, but moderate your expectations (and take what I say with a grain of salt – I’ve met a few people who claim this as their favorite of Carey’s trilogies). I’ll also add that I really adored Moirin, so there’s no shortage of beautifully written characters.


A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Book Info: A Gathering of Shadows  [A Darker Shade of Magic #2] by V.E. Schwab

Rating: 5/5 stars

I went into A Gathering of Shadows with extremely limited expectations, but was delighted to discover one of my favorite books of the year (so far). In contrast, my friend Petrik HATED it. And we usually line up with most of our reviews (you can check out his scathing review of this book on Goodreads). We’ve such a broad difference of opinion of the same book, which is really fascinating. I see most of his points, but had a very different reaction to them. Ultimately (I like that word today) I thought A Gathering of Shadows was a fantastic follow up to A Darker Shade of Magic. It had a lot more of the fun elements the first one was missing: an exploration of Red London, a magical dueling tournament, and some excellent insight into these already good characters. I especially loved Lila. It’s refreshing to read about a tough female character who actually backs up her bolstering with action. I can’t think of another female lead with such grit (cunning, bravery, and skill, maybe, but not grit). Overall, the trilogy is worth reading just for aGoS alone – I was completely engrossed from start to finish, and will probably add it to my List of All-Time Favorites (yeah, I liked it that much).


Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

Book Info: Lady Renegades [Rebel Belle #3] by Rachel Hawkins

Rating: 1.5/5 stars

I’d been stalling on reading Lady Renegades because I was disappointed in Miss Mayhem – the second book in the trilogy (it had some good ideas, but didn’t live up to its potential). Ultimately, it was my memory of how much I loved her Hex Hall series that drew me back to finish this trilogy out of some odd sense of loyalty. Although it didn’t take me very long to get through, I can’t help but feel I wasted my time. I’m of the opinion that this story would’ve been better served as a duology. There just wasn’t enough substance to book 3, and it had a ton of repeating elements. It was essentially a drawn out segment that should’ve been the climax to Miss Mayhem and ended the story there. Usually in a YA trilogy, it’s the second book that feels like a filler novel, but in this case it was the third one. This might be harsh, but I’d say read the first two books, then skip to the final two chapters of Lady Renegades and call it a day. #harsh


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed my Mini Book Review Blitz. :)

by Niki Hawkes