These Books Actually Exist

And I've actually read some of them...

Hunting Ground

Hunting Ground - Patricia Briggs

I enjoyed this more than Cry Wolf, but I forgive that because Cry Wolf was necessary to set us up for Hunting Ground. 


Easily the best part of this is the relationship between Anna and Charles. Briggs writes such lovely chemistry and tension and you really get the feeling that they're in it for the long haul together, and I love that. 


The mystery/villain was a surprise to me, but I'm always surprised by who the actual villain is even in things like Castle and low key British mysteries. And being in the grip of the book right up until the last page is the BEST. 


Fair Game, here I come!

Becoming Odyssa

Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail - Jennifer Pharr Davis

I could go through and point out all the things about this that bothered me, but I won't. It's not worth the energy. She started off immature, self absorbed, and judgmental, and ended the same way. 


Mostly I finished the book out of a perverse desire to see what dumb thing she would do or say next.

Reading progress update: I've read 69 out of 304 pages.

Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail - Jennifer Pharr Davis

Not particularly compelling so far. Lots of talk about how unprepared she is, and a weird agnostic/Christian groundhog/bear metaphor.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice

The Beekeeper's Apprentice: or, On the Segregation of the Queen (Mary Russell, #1) - Laurie R. King

Awful. Terrible. I hate saying that because this came highly recommended by a few people...but it's true.


First off, I did not finish this. It was a struggle to make it through to the third chapter, which is where I finally threw it down and yelled some bad words.


The author's note at the beginning is the first thing that made me think maybe this wasn't the book for me. I really, really dislike it when authors try and treat readers like they are so dumb that they will accept that this book was the product of (insert fictional character here)'s actual writings.


Mary Russell is apparently spelled M-a-r-y-S-u-e according to King. She is good at everything, except when it's convenient for her not to be good at something for a nanosecond, and then that's quickly rectified to explain that she's just the most wonderful and intelligent person, barely even second to Holmes himself. She enjoys a huge amount of personal freedom inconsistent with the time and declares every few pages that she is a FEMINIST and we all know that feminists always disguise themselves at boys to prove their feminist street cred. Now, I don't have any problems with smart female characters...I usually love them. But Mary doesn't come across as smart, just super annoying.


Holmes is a tame, warm and fuzzy sort of character who gets screamed at by Mary in the first few pages and just seems to be oh so charmed by this that he invites her for lunch. And apparently he's just been waiting for this exact person to come across him and now his life is complete with Mary in it. She's even so fantastic for him that he gives up any and all drugs. AMAZING.


...which brings me to what I assume happens later in the book or series (confirmed by other reviews, and Wikipedia), which is that this 15 year old girl and 50 something man get married. As my own significant other is 7 years older than me, I shouldn't have any problems with a May-December romance, but a) this age gap seems a little extreme (39 years), and b) the romance aspect is probably the whole goal of the book series in King's eyes. Was there something wrong with them being partners in solving crime without a hint of romance? Nope, we gotta have romance be the reason for everything. Always. Everywhere. 


And last...the depiction of Watson as a bumbling fool. No. Just no. Conan Doyle makes it perfectly clear (and this is consistent except in a few of the adaptations I've seen aka Rathbone) that he brings the humanity to the partnership with Holmes, and that Watson is incredibly important to him. They are a team, and this dismissal in favor of a Holmes-clone, regardless of gender, is incredibly disrespectful. Holmes doesn't need someone who is his equal in intelligence (although Watson isn't dumb). He needs someone who complements him. Watson did that, and that is why he is important. 

Lighten Up!

Lighten Up!: A Complete Handbook for Light and Ultralight Backpacking (Falcon Guide) - Don Ladigin, Don Ladigan, Mike Clelland

A good introduction to lightweight backpacking. I already knew most of the information, but this would still be an excellent book to read if you've been toting around 50 lbs every backcountry trip and you want to save your knees and lighten your load a lot. 

Ultralight Backpackin' Tips

Ultralight Backpackin' Tips: 153 Amazing & Inexpensive Tips for Extremely Lightweight Camping - Mike Clelland

Besides a few minor aesthetic annoyances (the exclamation point in the author's name, the tips being in a somewhat random order and the cover design almost made me not pick it up) this is an excellent  and thorough introduction to the UL world. 


The order of the tips makes a little more sense once you finish and see that the pre-trip stuff is at the beginning, on the trail stuff is in the middle, and specific situations (bears, snow) happens at the end. However, it would have been nice to see, for instance, all the water tips grouped together for easy reference. 


I've been experimenting with UL on my own, but it was nice to be able to pick up a lot of new information all at once. I took a lot of notes in my journal, and am excited to try out some of the stuff in here and have an even more comfortable and light trail experience. The amount of tips that are useful (or will be useful) far outweighed the ones that I skipped over because it's something I already do. 


All in all, this is a must-read if you're going to try ultralight backpacking!

The Amazing Thing About the Way it Goes

The Amazing Thing About the Way It Goes: Stories of Tidiness, Self-Esteem and Other Things I Gave Up On - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

DNF. I think this just wasn't for me. None of the essays that I read kept my attention very well. I'm not a parent, nor into cycling, and it was hard to relate to the ones about her husband and sister. 


I'm a knitter. That's why I read and love the Yarn Harlot. As it lacked knitting, this one didn't do it for me.


Insurgent  - Veronica Roth





Divergent was enjoyable. It wasn't the greatest book ever, but I enjoyed it. Insurgent, on the other hand, made me want to ragequit about every half page. It's a good thing I can skim read 100+ pages in about 20 minutes or I probably would have clawed my eyes out. Here's a summary of the book using percentages because I don't have words:


25% awkward makeout scenes between Tris and Tobias

37% Tris angsting about Will

54% Tris angsting about her parents

99.99% Tris thinking about Tobias and how much she loves him and wants things to be "back the way they used to be"...THREE WEEKS AGO BECAUSE THAT'S HOW LONG THEY'VE BEEN TOGETHER

100% Tobias being an asshat

13% other characters that I am apparently supposed to remember from Divergent but don't

0% plot development or fucks given

100% Tris and Tobias being too stupid to live

67% inane plot twists

0% knowledge of how scientific research works


There's also all the times that Tris is supposed to die but then a plot device swoops down and saves her, the complete lack of editing, the 400ish pages where nothing happens, the enormous plot holes, and the horrible world building. 


Allegiant, I will be reading your Wikipedia entry instead of slogging through anything that might remotely resemble what I just read. 


ETA: Read Allegiant's Wiki entry. "Because genes and stuff" REALLY??????? NO.

Reading progress update: I've read 400 out of 484 pages.

Insurgent  - Veronica Roth

This book is making my eyes want to bleed, or cry, or be stabbed out. How can it possibly be so bad?

The Dirty Life

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love - Kristin Kimball

...is dirty indeed. This book was absolutely fascinating to me. I grew up on a tree farm, so am used to the plants aspect (constantly fighting back the invasives, planting baby trees in the dead of winter, etc.) but the animal parts were awesome to read about. 


This is far and away the best of the "find yourself" type memoirs I've read, ever. Kimball doesn't beat around the bush with how hard and dirty and neverending the work is, and that's refreshing. She and her husband go out and get down in the mud and do real work to make their home (a nice departure from the "I went to a foreign country for a week and found myself the end" books that have become so popular).


If you're yearning for a sequel, like I am, then go to the Essex Farm blog and read the weekly reports on the farm. There are lamb pictures. 


Frost Burned

Frost Burned - Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs knows how to rip my heart out. I was on the verge of tears for most of the first half of the book. It was so intense, so raw. I loved it.


And then the next quarter of the book was kinda disappointing. Adam and the pack are rescued with half the book left to go? Huh? I'm glad I stuck with it, because the end was awesome, and we had to understand all this stuff to get there, but the flow just felt off.


The Adam POV was awesome! It worked and was different, and was the perfect method to convey all the things that needed to be said.


And then the end was so lovely. Adam and Mercy are my OTP forever and ever. Up next, Night Broken! As soon as it comes out.

Reading progress update: I've read 32 out of 340 pages.

Frost Burned - Patricia Briggs

Already on the 'make me cry' shelf because it totally will. And I'm going to love every second of it.

River Marked

River Marked - Patricia Briggs

So good. SO. GOOD. UNNNFFFFFF. I can't even. This might be my favorite Mercy book yet. I am so stoked for Frost Burned. 


The series had started to peter out for me a bit after the last one, but this brought it roaring back. Also, major points for being able to picture the scenery exactly because I've camped there many a time (luckily didn't encounter any river beasties). 


The only thing I felt was lacking was a really good sex scene between Mercy and Adam. After the last several books with their near-perfect sexual tension, didn't we deserve that? Maybe. Maybe not. I might just have to go find some fanfiction.

Reading in bed?

Reblogged from Overdue:



Mercy Thompson: Homecoming

Mercy Thompson:  Homecoming - David Lawrence, Francis Tsai, Amelia Woo, Patricia Briggs

This was fun and quick. It's awesome to see some of my favorite werewolves and vampires come to life, and I look forward to more.

Currently reading

River Marked
Patricia Briggs
Under the Glacier
Magnus Magnusson, Halldór Laxness
Cascade Summer: My Adventure on Oregon's Pacific Crest Trail
Bob Welch