Recent Reads

Hey! Yes, it’s been awhile. Life kind of got hectic there for a bit. I’ve still been reading, though, never fear. Here’s what I’ve gotten into lately:

Within the Sanctuary of WingsWithin the Sanctuary of Wings (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #5) by Marie Brennan.
This is the final book in the wonderful Lady Trent series, and it did not disappoint. She visits another remote locale chasing after a legend, and makes another discovery regarding dragons – the biggest one yet by far. It had just the right blend of adventure, honestly human moments, and Lady Trent’s signature acerbic commentary. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found it a satisfying end to the series. I am a little sad it’s over now, but it went out with a bang. If you’ve loved the other books in this series, have no fears with this final chapter. If you haven’t read the other books, pick up the first one now!
4/5 stars.
 

station elevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
Disaster strikes. The human population is decimated. Governments and infrastructure collapse. Chaos and survivalism rule. But some find that survival alone is not enough. Enter The Travelling Symphony, a group of itinerant actors and musicians who make their way in this post-apocalyptic world by playing classical music and performing Shakespeare. The story jumps around between different time frames and characters, but they all weave together. I loved this book. The writing is so good, and the story draws you in. You have moments of humanity at its worst (violence and cults and bullshit), juxtaposed against humanity at its finest. You get the before and after of civilization, and the joy as a reader of picking up on the little pieces that tie the parts together. It’s so good. And it’s a standalone novel, so you have no excuse not to try it.
4.5/5 stars.
 

A Gentleman in MoscowA Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.
This was a book club read that I probably wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, and that would’ve been a shame, as this was a really entertaining read. Count Alexander Rostov, for crimes of his lineage balanced against action for the revolution, is sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest at Moscow’s eminent Metropol hotel. There begins a decades-long adventure within its walls. The cast of characters is brilliant, Rostov’s narrative wit is perfect, and the backdrop of those tumultuous years of Russian history was an interesting change from my normal sci-fi/fantasy fare. It’s not a quick-paced story by any means. But it is a humorous, and heartbreaking, and satisfying one. Highly recommend.
4/5 stars.
 

Cousins O'Dwyer TrilogyThe Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts.
Yes, that Nora Roberts. This series is her attempt at marrying modern day fantasy with Celtic/Irish tradition and her usual romance. With mixed results. I think the idea at the core of this series is good. An evil sorcerer, a good witch, a bloodline tasked with finishing the job centuries later. The cast of characters was fine, if predictable in how they would pair up. There were some good moments that were particularly funny or touching. But overall these books suffered from a slow pace, and a surfeit of telling not showing. There is way more talking about what the characters are going to do then there is the characters actually doing it. Notice that didn’t stop me from reading all 3 books, though, so take from that what you will. If you want an easy, mindless read with a touch o’ the Irish, maybe give book 1 a try.
3/5 stars.
 

Yeah, I’ve been all over the place with books lately! Next up on my list is a Civil War romance, some Norse mythology, and a modern-day YA.

What have you been reading lately?
 

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Get Your Irish On

Clover Products for St. Patrick's Day

Exactly a month from today, St. Patrick’s Day will be upon us. If you’re in search of decor for yourself or your home, I’ve got you covered. Check out some of the oh-so-Irish-colored four-leaf clover products I have in the shop: Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 Yes, your eyes did not deceive you. If you want a smaller 5×7 or larger 8×10 clover print, you can completely customize the colors – paper color AND ink color! And I know I’m biased, but I think the shirts are a great way […]

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March Pretties

Monthly jewelry round-up time! Etsy gets a lot of crap from outside the handmade community for allowing sellers that sell crap, and there certainly is some of that. But there are also so many true artisan crafters with quality products. It’s part of why I do these round-ups (focusing on jewelry because I like jewelry). This month I’ve got two for you. The first is the typical month-themed collection, with March’s birthstones (aquamarine and bloodstone), flower (daffodil), and zodiacs (Pisces and Aries). The second, one day late, is an Irish-themed collection in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Which in reality […]

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An Emerald Evening

  This is where we went out to eat last night. I know, right? How cute is this place? It’s The Emerald Restaurant, a genuine Irish-family-run restaurant out in west Austin. And it is amazing. Aside from the obvious Irish cottage setting, they have lace tablecloths and curtains, fine china in a clover patter, candlelight, and a variety of Irish tunes playing softly – instant romantic atmosphere. This was the second time we’d been. I’d go more often, but it’s definitely on the pricey side, so best for special occasions unless you get lucky and snag the Groupon for it […]

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Book Review: The Summer Country

The Summer Country By James A. Hetley This was yet another random pick from the New Fiction section at the library. Generally I love a good modern-day crosses paths with Irish Fae-lands story, but in this case I did not. The main female character was an idiot, all the other characters were flat and unconvincing, and the ‘love’ story had no depth or believability. And while I don’t need my fantasy to be clean and prim, not by a longshot, this was unnecessarily brutal in parts, in ways that didn’t serve the story. I kept reading because I hoped the […]

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