Book Updates

Tangled Webs
The Invisible Ring
The Shadow Queen
Shalador’s Lady
Twilight’s Dawn

Anne Bishop

These five books are all follow ups to the Black Jewels trilogy. And I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed them! I’m impressed with the author’s ability to keep a character and world alive and thriving and growing through so many books. Three of these books (The Invisible Ring, The Shadow Queen, and Shalador’s Lady) only incidentally follow the main characters of the original books, but they are still involved while we focus on other, new characters. Twilight’s Dawn is another compilation of four short stories, and the rest are novels. Overall, these are great books: captivating and full of interesting characters and problems. I was pulled in for all of them. However, they are no original series or Dreams Made Flesh. Those four books are the must-reads. If you enjoy those, then you’ll enjoy these. They’re better than the vast majority of fantasy books out there, and if they weren’t connected to one of, in my opinion, the best series ever written, I’d probably have given them even higher marks. My expectations just started at the top, which made them pretty impossible to meet.

The one little annoyance I had with these books was that, to create new problems or expand on her world, Bishop would sometimes introduce totally new concepts. It is explained how these never came up in previous books a little bit, but some of these creations were so big I had a hard time believing it would never have been mentioned before. She is absolutely consistent, there aren’t contradictions in her books at all, but sometimes it felt a little like, “Wait…why haven’t I heard of this before?” That is a minor annoyance, though, I thought she did a great job for the most part, and I must admit, the new concepts were interesting!

Also, fair warning. The last short story  of the last book, Twilight’s Dawn, at the end of this massive series will completely rock your world. Especially if you like happy endings. It’s not that it’s not happy, it’s just not…right. I didn’t want to think about it! It was a tough place to be, and while everyone’s response was right on, it was almost harder because I didn’t want to think about it and she made it feel so real! Very hard to read, still leaves me with a feeling of WHAT?!?!?! all these months later.

Beyond the Hanging Wall

Sara Douglas

I thought I hadn’t read this book when I picked it up out of my home library…and I couldn’t remember that I had until tens of pages in. That says a lot.

It’s good. It pulls me in when I first start. And then progressively, it loses me. The fantasy aspect gets a little too big and weird for me, and the transition isn’t smooth enough. I just don’t quite buy it, and it leaves me staring with a brow raised going, “…really?”

It’s a light read. Not bad. But I just can’t say I recommend it.

Elantris

Brandon Sanderson

This is the first book since I read the original Black Jewels trilogy where I was sucked. in. Neglecting my family kind of sucked in. Really, really enjoyed Sanderson’s storytelling, and I now am really looking forward to reading his other books.

However. That being said, again, I found the ending somewhat disappointing. Nothing specific about it, it just seemed a little too pat.

In this book there we are taken to a country with a young bride as she crosses the sea to meet her new groom. This country includes the walled city of Elantris, formerly where godlike people lived after they went through a transformation that allowed them to wield amazing powers, now where people who have undergone the transformation are thrown in and locked. About 10 years ago, the transformation stopped turning people into powerful super-beings, and instead turned them into wrecks of their former selves. Once she arrives she finds herself surrounded by political intrigue, automatically married to a husband now considered dead, since on her trip he was taken by the change and thrown into Elantris. We follow her struggle for knowledge, power and acceptance outside of Elantris, and her husband’s struggle to find a new purpose inside Elantris. The characters are strong, and the reader tries to follow along and figure out how everything can turn out right, or in what way it will end up wrong.

Would I recommend it? Yeah, it’s a good read. Especially since most people don’t get as hung up on endings as me. It is a good, solid, enjoyable book. The ending just wasn’t exactly my cup ‘o’ tea.

Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: A Complete Guide

Penny Simkin, April Bolding, Ann Keppler and Janelle Durham


If you are pregnant, read this book! It is fabulous. Seriously. So. Good.

A few months ago when the baby crazies got strong, I went to get a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Luckily, I read the reviews first. The attitude in it seems very negative, very focused on all that can go wrong, very flippant about such outcomes, and very do whatever the doctor says, and very full of incorrect information. (Note, I haven’t read it, but I have heard this a LOT since by those who are into births that are more than just going in and letting the doctor run the show. Not that there’s anything wrong that that, but it is not what I want) Not what I was looking for.  Not reassuring. Feeding into our country’s culture of fear surrounding childbirth. Some of the reviewers mentioned this book as a better alternative, so I went and picked it up.

So very, very glad I did!

This book covers basically everything you’d want to know about childbirth. It includes discussions of things that can go wrong, along with pain management options, complications, and more. But it does it without trying to scare you. It treats tough topics more like it’s equipping you with information, so that you can go forward and do the best you can. And I appreciated that.

It has a lot of fabulous information. And unlike the book I’m reading now, it includes a real section on how to pick a healthcare provider that you will feel comfortable with, whatever kind of birth you want to have. I mean, heck, it opens with a short chapter on how pregnancy and birth is a momentous occasion! This book seems interested in your emotional well-being, not just your physical, which I appreciate. There are chapters on changes during pregnancy in mom and baby, exercising and eating well during pregnancy, possible complications, the stages of labor, the multitude of options during childbirth, cesarean birth, and even information on recovery after and how to care for a new baby. And while this book is clearly written by those who tend to lean towards more natural births, I really don’t feel it is demeaning or belittling of other options. The chapter on c-sections is fair and informative, there is no snarky undertone or dismissive voice.

If I could only have and read one book on pregnancy, I would choose this one. And if any of my friends get pregnant in the future, I would highly recommend this book to them, if not give it as a gift. So. Good. Highly recommended.

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