Noisy Deadlines

Books

1. Deal with the Devil (Mercenary Librarians #1) by Kit Rocha: I gotta say the series’ name combining the words “Mercenary” and “Librarians” was what attracted me to this book. And I enjoyed it! Strong female characters, information brokers who just want to help people, near-future post-apocalyptic setting, super soldiers against the power of corporations, augmented humans,  librarians, mercenaries, and romance. The characters grew on me, the plot was intriguing, enough, and the romance was NOT the usual  “alpha male” dynamic. It made me want to read the next in the series.

2. Ancestral Night (White Space #1) by Elizabeth Bear: This book starts with space opera feels, then turns into a more introspective narrative inside the main character’s head. It’s a far-future society, people have implants that can record memories, search for information and communicate with each other. There are spaceships AI’s who can be citizens, implants that can regulate hormones on the fly and enhance or avoid certain feelings, alien technology, a problematic cult, personal trauma discussions, humans enhanced to live in low gravity, and pirates. There is a lot going on! Did I mention space alien giant whales and a mantis cop? Also, there are discussions about social freedom versus social responsibility. The pace of the book was uneven, and it felt super slow in some parts.

3. Still Life (Chief Inspector Gamache #1) by Louise Penny: I wanted to get more into mysteries, and this was a good start. This is the first book in the series, and I wanted to read it mostly because the story location is a small fictional town in the Eastern Townships region in Quebec. The detective, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, is a lovable character: he is kind and smart, but also firm when needed. I wasn’t sure who the murderer was until it was revealed. This book is very sensible as well, and we get to know what the characters are thinking and feeling, making them believable. I just wanted to hang out in the local B&B (brunch and breakfast) with them someday!

4. White Night (The Dresden Files #9) by Jim Butcher: Nice page-turner, with vampire courts conflicts, lots of ghouls, Harry Dresden working together with more allies (so it’s not himself alone against the bad guys) and a lot is happening in this book.

5. Unwinding Anxiety by Judson Brewer: This book discusses how anxiety can become a habit we barely notice and suggests some ways we can get out of the loop. I enjoyed it because it focuses a lot on mindfulness practices, and how they can help in the process of noticing the anxiety habit. My main takeaways were: mindfulness meditation is an excellent practice to notice what is going on, loving-kindness meditation helps with resilience and well-being, and it reminded me to not fall into the “Why am I having these thoughts” question loop. It doesn’t matter why thoughts are happening, what matters is how we react to them.

#readinglist #books #reading

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Happy New Year! 🎉

Every year I look back at my reading list and think about my reader goals. I don’t have any specific genre or theme I want to focus on now. For 2023 I want to tackle my TBR digital pile.

I have 106 unread books that are already loaded in my e-reader. I quickly looked at the list and I’ve chosen 37 that I’d like to get through in 2023.

I have some series I want to continue reading:

  1. A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) by Becky Chambers

  2. Aurora Blazing (Consortium Rebellion #2) by Jessie Mihalik

  3. The Ghost Brigades (Old Man’s War, #2) by John Scalzi

  4. Wanderlust (Sirantha Jax #2) by Ann Aguirre

  5. Planetfall (Planetfall #1) by Emma Newman

  6. Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4) by Emma Newman

  7. Persepolis Rising (The Expanse #7) by James S.A. Corey

New series and books that have been on my radar:

  1. Poison or Protect (Delightfully Deadly #1) by Gail Carriger

  2. Ambush or Adore (Delightfully Deadly #3) by Gail Carriger

  3. Defy or Defend (Delightfully Deadly #2) by Gail Carriger

  4. Between Two Thorns (The Split Worlds #1) by Emma Newman

  5. Any Other Name (The Split Worlds #2) by Emma Newman

  6. Arsene Lupin, gentleman cambrioleur (Arsene Lupin #1) by Maurice Leblanc

  7. Children of Time (Children of Time #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky

  8. Deal with the Devil (Mercenary Librarians #1) by Kit Rocha

  9. Diving into the Wreck (Diving Universe #1) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

  10. Fire Logic (Elemental Logic #1) by Laurie J. Marks

  11. Lock In (Lock In #1) by John Scalzi

  12. Nightfall (Blood Magic #1) by L.H. Cosway

  13. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

  14. Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy #1) by Tade Thompson

  15. The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield

  16. The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken (The Scarred Earth Saga #1 )

  17. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

  18. The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

  19. The Rogue of Fifth Avenue by Joanna Shupe

  20. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

  21. The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

  22. The Cold Between (Central Corps #1) by Elizabeth Bonesteel

Non-fiction books:

  1. Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed by Ben R. Rich

  2. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn

  3. How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley

  4. How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

  5. In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan

  6. The Science of Time Travel by Elizabeth Howell

  7. Power of Fun by Catherine Price

  8. The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara

I will have at least 12 more books that are going to be picked for my local Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Club and I’m sure I’ll have more books added to this list. This is a starting point, in case I run out of ideas!

Happy reading in 2023!

#Books #Booklist #ReaderGoals

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Under One Roof (The STEMinist Novellas #1) by Ali Hazelwood, 112p: Another funny and lighthearted romance with engineers/women in STEM!

  2. The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura #1) by Martha Wells, 278p: Shape-shifting flying lizard-draconian type beings (Raskura), mysterious magic, an outcast story, and an evil enemy. This one didn't grab me that much, maybe it was the writing style or the fact that I didn't really like the main character? This was the first fantasy novel I read by Martha Wells, and now I know I prefer her sci-fi books better. I won't continue reading this series.

  3. Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood, 354p: Full of cool science references, like Marie Curie and NASA, with engineers, astronauts, and neuroscientists. I don't where else a romance novel has all these elements together, and that's why I love this author's books with STEM-inspired themes.

  4. Book Lovers by Emily Henry, 377: I usually read romance with fantasy or sci-fi elements so I'm kinda new to the contemporary romance genre. This book was such a delightful vacation read: small town, people who love books, people who work in the publishing industry, and an unconventional romance storyline. It turns upside down some normal romance tropes, and I was surprised by the ending. It was the perfect read while I was recovering from COVID-19.

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a Write.as account or email me


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. After Atlas (Planetfall #2) by Emma Newman, 384p: I was blown away, this book is unputdownable! So good! It’s a sci-fi thriller with a murder investigation along with a mysterious cult, global politics, and the issue of the asymmetric power of big corporations. It was the first book I read from this author, and now I want to read all her books!

  2. Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle #1) by C.L. Polk, 318p: It starts with a murder mystery in this Second World War Britain setting. it has magic, people biking everywhere, queer romance, and the main character just wanting to help people and be independent.

  3. Babylon's Ashes (The Expanse #6) by James S.A. Corey, 538p: Not my favorite of the series. Each chapter is one-character POV, and I didn't enjoy that in this one we get way more POVs, other than the core main characters. I particularly didn't enjoy the chapters with Marco Inaros and his son. They are not on my list of likable characters (for obvious reasons if you know the series) and there were maybe too many of those chapters. Anyway, I want to continue reading the series, it seems the plot will continue in a different direction, and that's promising!

  4. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot #2) by Becky Chambers, 152p: This book warmed my heart! Such a delightful, calm, compassionate read. Everybody is so nice in this world, I like that they say to each other: “no pressure, take your time, do what feels good, and I will help you”. I need more books like that! Can’t wait for the next in the series.

#readinglist #books #reading

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

List:

  1. The Books of Magic by Scott Hampton, John Bolton, Charles Vess, Paul Johnson, Roger Zelazny, Neil Gaiman, 200p: It was okay as a graphic novel. It introduces the main character, Timothy Hunter, to the world of magic, but doesn’t go beyond that. I missed some more character focus and that probably happens in the next volumes.

  2. Seal of the Worm (Shadows of the Apt #10) by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 642p: This is the last book of the series, and it is impressive how the author manages to link everything together. The series has memorable characters, and I created a kind of emotional connection to them throughout the 10 books. It's epic, complex, and heavy on worldbuilding but also excellent in character-building. This was probably the longest fantasy series I finished reading, and I enjoyed that it is a unique world, getting away from the typical European-centric fantasy. A satisfying end for this series.

  3. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn, 280p: It is always nice to read about mindfulness. This book can be read slowly, one chapter at a time because it's a collection of essays on mindfulness meditation and how it can be integrated into our daily lives, in our most mundane activities.

  4. Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carriger, 357p: This was fun and silly. There is a dirigible named the Spotted Custard that is painted to look like a black and red ladybug. There are people riding wolves. There are new supernatural beings introduced, other than werewolves and vampires. I liked the main group dynamic on board of the Spotted Custard (Rue, Quesnel, Prim and Percy). I'm not sure about the Indian cultural references, I'm afraid they were inaccurate and maybe even offensive to Indian natives. Overall fun, but not to be taken seriously.

  5. A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot #1) by Becky Chambers, 147p: This novella felt like a warm embrace. It's cozy, cute, and light. A traveling tea monk exploring the world comes in contact with one of the few conscious robots left in their world. Robots were long forgotten by humanity, having fled to the wilderness to live their own lives. I loved the discussions about life’s purpose, animals, and consciousness. It made me want to continue reading the next one.

  6. BONUS: Replaceables – Short Story by Ithaka O., 19p: This short story was gifted to me by a fellow reader of this blog and I’m so grateful! A touching story about friendship, love, and death. About caring, about letting go, and also cherishing what is gone. It soothed me during a difficult time. The author’s page can be found here.

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a Write.as account or email me


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken, 478p: It was an interesting premise overall, with posthumanism discussions and creepy religions. Lots going on here: complex worldbuilding. creative and unusual hard sci-fi concepts and bioengineering of specialized human sub-species. There are different post-human beings that were heavily genetically modified, like Homo Quantus, who are able to make astounding leaps of intellectual analysis by stepping away from their individuality, Homo eridanus (The Mongrels): engineered people adapted to live on the deep-sea floor and the creepiest of all, Homo pupa (The Puppets): a type of slave species who were genetically modified to experience awe under pheromonal cues of their masters. I gotta say some of the quantum philosophical passages about faith, existence, and quantum calculations were boring to me. The part about Homo pupa and their blind worshipping was super disturbing, exploring the worst part of blind faith fanaticism.

  2. Midnight Riot (Rivers of London #1) by Ben Aaronovitch, 298p: Cool urban fantasy set up in London. It's got the Dresden Files vibe. It's full of British slang, which was not familiar to me. I'm not knowledgeable in London geography so I must have missed tons of references. It was still a nice read for me, but I guess I was discouraged to go on with the series because it seemed very niche and more interesting for people who know London culture.

  3. Stuck with You (The STEMinist Novellas, #2) by Ali Hazelwood, 127p: A quick and fun enemy to lovers trope, but with engineers!

  4. Timeless (Parasol Protectorate, #5) by Gail Carriger, 407p: This was probably my favorite book of the series, with a satisfactory ending. I love the writing style of these books, there is a lightness to it that makes me smile all the time. This one has dirigibles, a boat trip, balloon trips, a cute metanatural baby (Prudence), children traveling with their parents, Egypt ancient mysteries, and adorable supernatural beings. (vampires and werewolves). It's witty and sensible and classy. It was a true feel-good read. And I felt compelled to continue reading the next series (The Custard Protocol) that focuses on Prudence as a grown-up lady.

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a Write.as account or email me


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall, 340p: I enjoyed this Sherlock Holmes fantasy twist. I loved when the narrator breaks the fourth wall to apologize and tries to conceal the offending language spoken by some characters. It's a crazy world, different dimensions exist, time travel is possible, there are transgender and pansexual characters, humor, and hints of Lovecraftian/Gothic/Vampire-ish atmospheres.

  2. War Master's Gate by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 737p: This was a long book, I have to say the first half dragged a little. It's a plot-heavy book, with high stakes, several characters die because of the war. There were some powerful scenes related to war decisions that seemed uncomfortably to reality. I was more interested in what was going on in the forest with Che and Seda, the major mystery of this whole series. It ends in a cliffhanger to the last book of the series.

  3. Heartless by Gail Carriger, 400p: This series is so much fun, I'm glad I got back to it. Delightful language, lots of action and tea drinking, a giant mechanical octopus, zombie porcupines mixed with vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and a mystery. Also, a pregnant protagonist is not really common in steampunk/paranormal novels. It's classy and fun! I will read the next one in the series.

  4. Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman, 224p: Down-to-earth productivity discussion, made me think about my limited existence and ponder what's really essential in our lives. There's a lot about acceptance and being patient. The overall message is to take it slow and enjoy the ride. Good reflections.

  5. The Acid Watcher Diet by Jonathan E. Aviv, 293p: I liked the diet approach of this book. I've had acid reflux for years and have adopted lifestyle changes and tweaks to my diet to counteract it. It never worked 100%, and this book was eye-opening in terms of suggesting additional changes to my diet and eating habits that are truly beneficial. I'm still in the first 28-day healing phase (the most restrictive diet) and I'm seeing improvement in my symptoms. The book is very accessible, there are recipes, comprehensive meal plan suggestions, and lists of foods that are recommended so we can come up with our meal plan as well. The recipes are easy to follow and they matched my diet preferences. It has very good advice not only for acid reflux but for lifelong health.

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a Write.as account or email me


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

It’s summer, so I focused on some light reads that were on my TBR pile. The Starlight's Shadow series was my favorite. I was a bit disappointed with “A Discovery of Witches” and “Architects of Memory”. And “Strange Love” was not exactly what I expected, but at least it had some originality.

  1. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls #1) by Deborah Harkness, 579p: It started well, but then it seemed the story dragged on and on and on... I liked the yoga class with witches, vampires, and demons. There was a lot of world-building info dump that threw me off the plot. Some characters are vampires who lived for centuries, so there was too much background story delivered all at once. I can see it was well researched, mentioning old editions of Bibles, the works of Galileo, Isaac Newton and Darwin, for example. The writing just didn't flow well for me, I wasn't invested enough in the characters to want to follow them through the next two books.

  2. Architects of Memory (The Memory War #1) by Karen Osborne, 336p: It started okay but then some ideas felt underdeveloped and it was not clear how the alien technology worked and what was really going on with the characters' hallucinations. The writing style didn't attract me too much and I thought there was the overuse of metaphors to describe things. I was confused by some terms used to name objects, sometimes I found there was not enough context to understand what that object was. The ending was very abrupt and to be honest, I still quite didn't get it. I don't feel compelled to continue reading the next book.

  3. Hunt the Stars (Starlight's Shadow #1) by Jessie Mihalik, 419p: Romancy sci-fi (enemies to lovers trope) with nice world-building and engaging characters: a perfect summer read. Humans and Valoffs (old-time enemies) managing to work together in a spaceship, sharing meals, watching TV series, cooking, cleaning and trying to be nice to each other. Valoffs are human-like aliens with telepathy and telekinesis powers. Truly enjoyed the ride, and I jumped to the next book of the series right away.

  4. Eclipse the Moon (Starlight's Shadow #2) by Jessie Mihalik, 440p: The story continues with a different POV, focusing on the hacker Kee and the weapons specialist Varro, who is super powerful. They are on an espionage mission on a space station, so lots of hacking security cameras and stealth are happening. I had fun, another light summer read.

  5. Strange Love (Galactic Love #1) by Ann Aguirre, 306p: “Strange” is the best word to describe this book. It’s light in tone, there’s a talking dog, and the male character is gentle and kind with none of the possessive alpha male behavior common to the alien-in-search-of-a-mate romance trope. The plot revolves around this alien competition or contest (“The Hunger Games” style), in which people participate to win the right to mate in this alien world. A human female is accidentally “abducted” from Earth and ends up on a different planet where this contest is starting. Warning: sexy times were a lit bit cringy because the alien had totally different anatomy, so, yeah, very weird.

#readinglist #books #reading

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files # 8) by Jim Butcher, 496p: We get to know a lot more about Molly, Charity, and Murphy, who are all strong and bad-ass female characters and are given more space in this book. I thought this one was a little bit more self-contained with less overwhelming magic battles, and more character development, which was good. And Dresden apparently gets an apprentice, cool!

  2. Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention- and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari, 368p: There is so much information in this book! The author explores various sides of the topics covered, citing scientific research and interviews. Some topics discussed: the importance of mind wandering, how slowness and mindfulness activities nurture attention, that reading a book is the simplest form of experiencing the flow state, and how the Internet is training us to read information by skipping and jumping from one thing to another, instead of reading in a linear and focused fashion. He also covers some of the debates and controversies around the increase in ADHD diagnoses, what is going on with social media, the importance of sleep, the idea of perpetual economic growth and how it affects our worldview, and some ideas on why we can't focus enough on the climate crisis challenges today. Excellent read, it doesn't try to find a single magical solution. Our ability to focus is complex and it is entangled with technology, mental health, our environment, our economy and our culture.

  3. The Getting Things Done Workbook: 10 Moves to Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, 224p [RE-READ]

  4. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, 356p: I didn't know I liked contemporary romcom novels about women in STEM and academia, and yeap, I do! This was fun and light-hearted! Just what I needed to get out of a sudden book slump at the end of the month. I empathized with the characters, their academic struggles, and their self-doubts. The romance was adorable, I just wanted a happy ending for all the characters!

#readinglist #books #reading

Thoughts? Discuss... if you have a Write.as account or email me


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

One thing I’m learning is that it is OKAY to stop reading a book. I can just abandon it and move on with no guilty feelings.

I did just that today. I usually try my best to finish a book even when I’m not enjoying it too much because I have hope it will get better eventually or I’ll learn something by the end of it. A book can have ups and downs and that’s okay.

I’m finding that if after reading 20-30% of the book and it is not grabbing me, it’s time to let go. I’ve always found it hard to give up on a book, after all, I’ve invested hours into it, and giving up seems weak.

Now I have more awareness of the signs showing me it’s time to let go:

  • I’m not reaching for the book at every given opportunity. When I’m into a book, I’ll read it during lunch break, breakfast, before bed, while waiting in line, or during any downtime when I’m not working. If reading the book feels like a chore, then it’s best to let go.
  • I can’t relate to the characters and their motivations. I like to have enjoyable characters, even if they are villains. This is subjective. Sometimes I don’t care about the main character because of “reasons”. It’s like a gut instinct, if they don’t click with me, I’m not engaged.
  • I’m not enjoying the tone/theme. I’m getting more sensitive about some themes in fiction. Too much gore and violence can throw me off. Some trigger warnings for me: child abuse, gore, body horror, sexism, racism, and physical abuse.
  • I give the book a chance (read at least 20-30%) and I feel it’s not the right time to read it. If after a few chapters I still do not feel like I’m in the right place emotionally or mentally to finish it, it’s time to stop reading it.

The book in question today is Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. I read 20% of it, roughly 8 chapters in total. It is a pick for my local Book Club and I’ve heard great things about it. It is a fantasy set in an alt pre-Columbian American world with magic and old prophecies. The setting is dark from what I could gather and the very first chapter threw me off with a brutal scene involving a child. I couldn’t get past that. Later on, we are introduced to a great character, a strong female ship captain whom I loved! But the story is told from 4 different characters’ viewpoints, and I didn’t enjoy the other three POVs.

Anyway, it’s time to move on. Maybe I’ll pick it up later, but there are so many other books I want to read that I’ve decided to put Black Sun on the back burner. Deep inside I still feel bad about it, it’s one of those situations where “I wanted to have enjoyed it”. Well, I’m sorry, it didn’t work out this time.

In Bookwyrm there’s a shelf for “Stopped Reading” and I added a comment so that in the future I know why I stopped reading it.

#reading #books #journal

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.