Lazy Sundays: Still Alive

Well, this week took a lot out of me.  I got even sicker and couldn’t get to the doctor so I was pretty desperate by about Wednesday.  Then overnight I suddenly started feeling better.  Maybe it was the good sleep I had that night or maybe this stupid cough has finally run its course but now it’s Sunday and I’m actually feeling like myself again.

So sorry for the disappearance again but I’m back!  And finally healthy!

How was your Sunday?

Lazy Sundays: Sick and Tired

Ugh, it’s one week later and I’m sicker than ever.  Last Sunday I spent all day with a fever and although my fever is gone, I’ve been coughing since Monday.  And it’s not getting any better.    Normally a cough wouldn’t be a problem for an adult, but my asthma makes every cough even more unpleasant.  And I can’t take any cough syrups since they exacerbate my asthma.  Ugh again.

So tomorrow it’s off to the nearest clinic for me.

Basically: I’m miserable, tired and cranky.  How has your week been?  (Hopefully significantly better than mine.)

Discussion: Pinterest and Blogging

I joined Pinterest just a few months ago in part because I noticed how many referrals I was getting from it.  (Not an insane amount, but a couple every day do add up over time.)  So I started creating various boards of varying levels of relevance to my blog and waited.  I was pleasantly surprised when my referrals from Pinterest went up, particularly from the cover images of books I reviewed that I later pinned.

So what I want to know now is this: If you’re a blogger and/or author, do you use Pinterest?  Has it driven any traffic to your blog?  Why or why not?

“pawan 2sadie” and More Weird Search Terms

Yes folks, it’s time for another weird search term round up.  And I’ve got some pretty funny/fascinating/bizarre ones to show you this time:

pawan 2sadie

yes i am bad u know


famous people with gastroparesis

am single i need a call

look of library book

the day after i killed myself

how long to read 100 pages of nursing text book

And the winner is:

how to write a mail review


Okay, so this week’s question is: What is a mail review?

Poll: How do you prefer to shop for books?

One of the interesting things I’ve found since online shopping became popular is that many people still want to browse in physical stores.  There’s a huge difference between seeing a few pictures and reading a product description and actually physically examining an object that’s in front of you.  This is particularly true when it comes to books, I’ve found.

Although I do order books online from time to time, they’re usually sequels or other books in a series by an author that I know.  If I’m looking for a good new read, I often want to go to a physical bookstore.  I love browsing up and down the aisles, pulling out books, talking to staff and fellow book lovers about books.  No matter how much companies like Amazon try to make online shopping like that, it will never be a substitute for me.  Actually being in a bookstore is definitely my preferred method of shopping.

Of course, I’m in a different situation from a lot of book bloggers because I don’t actually buy ebooks.  I get so many ebooks through NetGalley and directly from authors that I’ve never really felt the need to browse through the ebook sections of online retailers.  I know that that’s certainly not the case for many authors and bloggers out there.

So how do you prefer to shop for books?  (I know it’s not as simple as choosing online or in person but if you absolutely had to choose one method to shop for books, what would it be?)

Look What Just Arrived! (#19)


Wow, it’s been a while since I showed off my new books but then again I haven’t really bought many new books since Book Expo America.  However, now that I’m in the city and have full access to used book shops and Indigo’s great sales, I couldn’t resist.  So here’s what I picked up recently:

  • Parasite by Mira Grant
  • Spirit’s Chosen by Esther Friesner
  • The Girl Who Loved Camellias by Julie Kavanagh
  • The Queen’s Lover by Francine Du Plessis
  • The Iron King by Maurice Druon
  • Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland
  • Egyptian Mummies by G. Elliot Smith and Warren R. Dawson
  • The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives by Plutarch

Obviously, I’ve already read Parasite but when I saw that a hardcover copy was on sale for $8, I couldn’t resist.  I know that I will always prefer physical copies of books to ebooks, no matter how heavy physical copies are when I move house.  Spirit’s Chosen was an impulse buy because of the sale price but I’ve also heard good things about Esther Friesner and hope to learn more about the mythical Himiko, the woman who united Japan.  The Queen’s Lover was also an impulse buy.

The Girl Who Loved Camellias was a book that I had no idea existed but stumbled upon while I was browsing.  I love Verdi’s opera La Traviata so I’ve always been fascinated with the life of Marie Duplessis, the inspiration for Violetta.  When I saw the biography by Julie Kavanagh, I couldn’t resist.  The same is virtually true for The Iron King by Maurice Druon.  Sure, George R. R. Martin has endorsed it because it encompasses the Wars of the Roses (his historical inspiration for A Song of Ice and Fire) but what really cemented it for me was the blurb.  Tracing the Wars of the Roses all the way back to the reign of Philip the Fair is bold but from the excerpt I read, I think Maurice Druon can do it.  I’m very much looking forward to starting this book.

Egyptian Mummies and Plutarch’s book were very, very cheap in the used bookstore so I couldn’t resist.  As you guys know, I’m obsessive when it comes to ancient Egypt.  But I’m also starting to branch out into more Greek history so a primary source like Plutarch is just the thing I need right now.

Rubicon is one of those books I stumbled across in the used bookstore and snapped up immediately because I love almost anything to do with the late Roman Republic and the early Imperial period.  It’s also going to be a helpful resource for next week’s upcoming monster of an article.  Stay tuned for that if you love Roman history and/or overanalyzing television shows!

So, what do you think of my haul?  See anything you like?

Queen of the Deep by Kay Kenyon

Queen of the Deep by Kay Kenyon(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

On the streets of New York, Jane Gray meets an intriguing man who claims to be the impossible: an imaginary playmate from her childhood: Prince Starling. Determined to know the truth, Jane tracks him into another realm.

This is the world of the Palazzo, a magical ship which is both a colossal steam vessel and a Renaissance kingdom. Ruling over its denizens–both human and otherwise–is an exotic and dangerous queen. Jane must find her way home, but the path is hopelessly lost.

Promising romance, the enigmatic Prince Starling and big-hearted crime lord Niccolo vie for Jane’s heart. But she has her eye on the pilot house. Who–or what–guides the Palazzo, and what is the urgent secret of its endless voyage? As a shocking destination looms into view, Jane must choose both a lover and a ship’s course, one that may avoid the end of all things.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

First off, don’t let the perceived love triangle in the blurb fool you.  Queen of the Deep is a magnificent story where a stereotypical love triangle really, really isn’t all that it appears to be.  And that really goes for the whole book: when you think you’re certain of one aspect of the world Kay Kenyon has created, you find your assumptions are wrong.  It’s a really amazing book in that respect.

Obviously, what I loved about Queen of the Deep is the world-building.  At first it seems like Kenyon went for the whole ‘met mysterious man at a young age, meets him later and is attracted to him’ trope but as I hinted, that’s really not the case.  And when Jane Gray ventures from New York city to the floating world of the Palazzo, very little is as it seems.  Kenyon leaves tiny hints for clever readers to pick up on, but for the most part I was so entranced by her writing style that I didn’t notice all of the little hints until the various plot twists actually happened.  Then it made sense why the Queen of the Palazzo, Diamonde was so interested in Jane and why Prince Starling saved Jane’s life, etc.

The Palazzo is a magical Renaissance-inspired floating ship that no one on board thinks is a ship.  When Jane arrives on it, she’s warned not to mention that she can see over the side of the ship into the water because no one else can and they’ll think she’s crazy.  While this is very odd, the reasons for why Jane can see it are absolutely fascinating.  I can’t really go too much in depth about the Palazzo without spoiling so many of the amazing plot twists, but let’s just say that the ship (much like the characters) isn’t all that it appears to be.  It will certainly surprise you throughout the story, particularly at the end.

Jane is a very interesting character.  Normally aspiring actresses are so stereotypical but Jane really transcends the usual clichés.  She’s broke but she works a second job and actually studies her craft rather than whining about not getting any parts.  She goes to auditions and tries hard which actally serves her quite well when she finds herself on board the Palazzo and must start her life from scratch again.  In the beginning Jane can be a bit blind to the motivations of those around her but she definitely shifts her worldview as she learns that sometimes the obvious villains are actually on her side and that apparently kind people can be cruel.  She really does grow as a person throughout the story and because of that, the ending was very satisfying.

The only possible downside to this book is that it’s not exactly fast-paced.  It’s very interesting and Kenyon’s writing style is absolutely enchanting but if you’re looking for a thriller, this isn’t the book for you.  I had a bit of a hard time getting oriented when Jane came on board the Palazzo but in the end I actually enjoyed the confusion because I got to learn along with Jane rather than knowing more than her and getting frustrated at her perceived incompetence.  Really, this is just a fascinating book with plenty of plot twists and great writing.  You don’t need an extremely fast-paced plot for a book like this.

If you enjoy fantasy and are interested in trying something new for a change, Queen of the Deep is definitely the book for you.  It will surprise you, as it certainly surprised me.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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