Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Wizard's Promise

From Amazon:
Hanna has spent her life hearing about the adventures of her namesake Ananna, the lady pirate, and assassin Naji. She dreams of the same adventures, but little does she know she is about to tumble into one of her own. Hanna is apprenticed to a taciturn fisherman called Kolur, and, during a day of storms and darkness, are swept wildly off course.
In this strange new land, Kolur hires a stranger to join the crew and, rather than heading home, sets a course for the dangerous island of Jadanvar. As Hanna meets a secretive merboy, and learns that Kolur has a deadly past, she soon realises that wishing for adventures is a dangerous game - because those wishes might come true.

My Thoughts:
First of all-I love this cover so so much.

I also really enjoyed Clarke's other series? duology? starting with The Assassin's Curse (read 2012, sequel read in 2013). This takes place in the same universe and stars the daughter of someone who knew the protagonist in that series.

Anyways. The Wizard's Promise is about a young potential Wind Witch who is also a fisherman's apprentice who is whisked away on an adventure when her master finds it necessary to storm an old lover's wedding and stop her from marrying a villain. Of course, in this book, they haven't yet made it that far. In fact this book mostly focuses on the trials of sailing so far north, and the falling out between Kolur and Hanna before she ultimately decides to help him in his quest in addition to a powerful witch and the North Wind. Needless to say, I am eagerly anticipating the follow up.

Rating: ***1/2

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Adjacent

From Amazon
In the near future, Tibor Tarent, a freelance photographer, is recalled from Anatolia to Britain when his wife, an aid worker, is killed—annihilated by a terrifying weapon that reduces its target to a triangular patch of scorched earth.

A century earlier, Tommy Trent, a stage magician, is sent to the Western Front on a secret mission to render British reconnaissance aircraft invisible to the enemy.

Present day. A theoretical physicist develops a new method of diverting matter, a discovery with devastating consequences that will resonate through time.

My Thoughts:
To be honest, I have no idea what happened in this book. I mean. I can give you details and what superficially happened. But I don't know what's going on. Are all the storylines echos of a single event? Multiverses? Retellings of the same event? With that said, while frustrating, I really enjoyed The Adjacent. Don't know what's happening-but it was an enjoyable and puzzling experience. There are also more storylines than the summary indicates...and the Tommy Trent one is a rather small part though magic is a common thread-as is flying-as is photography.

Rating: ****

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Master Magician (The Paper Magician Series)

From Amazon:
Throughout her studies, Ceony Twill has harbored a secret, one she’s kept from even her mentor, Emery Thane. She’s discovered how to practice forms of magic other than her own—an ability long thought impossible.
While all seems set for Ceony to complete her apprenticeship and pass her upcoming final magician’s exam, life quickly becomes complicated. To avoid favoritism, Emery sends her to another paper magician for testing, a Folder who despises Emery and cares even less for his apprentice. To make matters worse, a murderous criminal from Ceony’s past escapes imprisonment. Now she must track the power-hungry convict across England before he can take his revenge. With her life and loved ones hanging in the balance, Ceony must face a criminal who wields the one magic that she does not, and it may prove more powerful than all her skills combined.
The whimsical and captivating follow-up to The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician, The Master Magician will enchant readers of all ages.

My Thoughts:
This is the final book in a trilogy. A short book, a mere 200 or so pages. But it is packed with adventure, tension, and a satisfying conclusion!  Our protagonist Ceony is finally preparing to take her exam to become a Magician (in Folding naturally), after two years of apprenticeship and two novels. Unfortunately a criminal who has already made attempts on her life escapes en route to his execution and causes a bit of an obsession for Ceony. While she should be preparing for her exam, she instead seeks out this murderer multiple times and dabbles in non-Folding magics that should be forbidden to her. Sounds exciting, right? All in all, an enjoyable conclusion to a great (middle grade?) trilogy! I will definitely pick up Holmberg's newest book once it goes on sale since she can clearly write some enjoyable and easy young adult (?) fantasy!

Rating: ***

Sunday, January 3, 2016

No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness

Amazon says:
Selected as the #1 book in diet/exercise for 2015 by USA Best Book Awards.
We start out with the best intentions. We're going to exercise more and get in shape! Then five days a week at the gym turns into two... then becomes none. We hit the snooze button and skip the morning run.
We really do want to be healthy and fit, but we're over whelmed and overextended—and exercise feels like another chore to complete. Is it any wonder we don't stick with it?
Behavior expert Michelle Segar has devoted her career to the science of motivation. In No Sweat, she reveals that while "better health" or "weight loss" sound like strong incentives, human beings are hardwired to choose immediate gratification over delayed benefits. In other words, we're not going to exercise unless it makes us happy right now.
So what's the solution? To achieve lasting fitness, we have to change our minds—before we can change our bodies. In No Sweat, Segar shows us how. Translating twenty years of research on exercise and motivation into a simple four-point program, she helps readers broaden their definition of exercise, find pleasure in physical activity, and discover realistic ways to fit it into their lives. Activities we enjoy, we repeat—making this evidence-based system more sustainable in the long run than a regimen of intense workouts. Even if we don't sweat, we really benefit.
The success of the clients Segar has coached testifies to the power of her program. Their stories punctuate the book, entertaining and emboldening readers to break the cycle of exercise failure once and for all. Getting in shape has never been so easy—or so much fun. 

My Thoughts:
  While the many conclusions of this book seem rather intuitive and maybe even obvious, I did enjoy the emphasis on Meaning and Permission when it comes to fitness and self-care. Segar emphasizes low-impact, informal, and joyful movement in small increments for a lifetime-arguing that it still adds up to more than a few weeks of high-intensity followed by a lifetime of inactivity, burnout, and guilt. Which is probably true, and I'm sure resonates with most people. I'm the asshole who likes high-intensity, highly structured workouts so this didn't really appeal to me and I admit it made me realize a silly bias....because that just didn't seem like "real exercise." This type of misconception or socialized expectation of what exercise should look like is a large part of Segar's discussion on basically overthrowing our societal and personal paradigms of what constitutes "real" fitness and what we "should" be doing versus what would bring us joy, fuel our lives, and improve our relationships with ourselves and others. I want to keep this review short (so I can keep up the habit of reviewing...definitely in line with Segar's philosphy!) but I did enjoy this bit of fitness motivation and do intend to incorporate her process into my own life!

Rating (Nonfiction): ***

2016 Goals

1. 120 books!
2. At least 12 non-fiction! Doesn't have to be academic-could be makeup or self-help or whatever!
3. At least a cursory review of each!
5. Have fun!