Friday, December 30, 2016

Top 5 Reads of 2016!

I do a lot of reading and rereading -- this year I'm at 97 books read, and a very solid portion of those are rereads from years past (I'm in the middle of a huge Animorphs reread sooo.) But for THIS post, I'm going to just focus on the books that were new to me this year. If I have time, I'll put together another with my Top Five ReReads but -- that will wait for another day, or maybe even the new year! I'm also going to be assembling a top Hist Fic reads list for that other Amalia, so I'm excluding those from this particular list as well.

Top five NEW reads of 2016


Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (Vorkosigan Saga, #16)
1) Gentlmen Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Cordelia is one of my most favorite literary characters -- and as far as sci fi characters go, she's right up there with Princess Leia, so of course I was beyond stoked when I heard that at long last, Cordelia was going to be center stage again in this Vorkosigan Saga installment. And my friends, I was not disappointed. Cordelia is presented in all her Betan glory and I absolutely adored every page. (I think I'll always love Cordelia more than Miles, though, so if you're in it for Miles and not Cordelia, you might not enjoy this one quite so much. Also if you have strong feelings about the nature of Aral and Cordelia's relationship across all those years... well. Prepare yourself. You might be in for a shock.)


Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) 2) Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Look, I'll be honest with you -- I think this duology is better than the Grisha Trilogy. By like, a lot. I mean I enjoyed the Grisha Trilogy but, I LOVED these two books, and that was even going into book one as a skeptic. I also think this book could just as easily have been adult fantasy rather than YA. For sure it's upper YA/Crossover YA/New Adult, at the least. And this second book? It was everything I wanted it to be, with one small storytelling-decision exception. It was a super fitting end to what was a super thrilling adventure and even if, like me, Fantasy Heist Novel isn't something you'd normally be into, you should still give this a shot!


Keeping Time (Servants of Fate, #3) 3) Keeping Time by Wendy Sparrow

I am a HUGE fan of Stealing Time, the first in this series, so when the opportunity to advance read and blurb came to me for the sequels, I jumped on it. This third installment with Ruin and Phoebe was my favorite of the two new novellas released this year, and the way Sparrow captures that awkward and uncomfortable (but also TOO comfortable) space of intimacy between best friends who are afraid to take the next step and make it into something more is perfection. Even better -- this series takes place basically for the full length of the winter holiday season, ending on New Year's Eve, so you can still make it your holiday romance of the season!! (I believe there's even a box set, which I would totally recommend -- personally, I picked all three of them up in paperback to have and hold forever.)


A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2) 4) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I thought I knew what this book was going to be. I was anticipating a certain amount of annoyance with that direction. And then I started reading, and the deeper I got, the more wrong I was about everything I'd thought. This was one of those could-not-put-it-down reads, and I think it's even better than the first book in the series. But I'm not sure it could be as good as it is WITHOUT the foundation of that first book, either, even though for some people I can see how the first book might be unsatisfying. If you read book one and gave it the side-eye -- I think book two will be a different experience for you, for sure. First couple of chapters excluded. Trust me -- just keep reading.


New Pompeii5) New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey

First: choosing my 5th book for this list was tough, but after scrolling up and down and up and down my list of books read, I think this one has to be it. I picked this up on a whim at the bookstore and I don't know what I had really high hopes for it at the time -- I always worry about books that present ancient peoples alongside modern characters. But. Godfrey definitely did not shy away from giving the Ancient Romans their due. They scheme and plot and manipulate as skillfully as one could hope, and although I would've liked a little more grounding of the world we begin in to make the alternate timeline glimpses more meaningful, that's not going to stop me from getting my hands on book two, and it didn't stop me from enjoying the read!


Honorable Mentions:

Hunter and Elite by Mercedes Lackey
Age of Heroes by James Lovegrove (Almost entirely because Theseus!)
Hercules: Still Going Strong by Dan Abnett (graphic novel -- but it is SO GOOD.)
and Sabriel by Garth Nix

If you want to see the complete list of all the books I've read this year -- klikk klikk!

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

4th Annual #NameThatButt Finale Reveal!

Thanks so much for playing #NAMEthatBUTT with me this year!

Our Double Butt Finale Butts are...

Bacchus and Ariadne!


And our Winner is...

Faithlessone!

Email me at amaliatdillin(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your prize!


Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

4th Annual #NAMEthatBUTT: Round 4 FINALE!

Because even the shortest season of #NAMEthatBUTT deserves a double butt finale -- let's do this thing!

TWO BUTTS -- you must identify BOTH correctly (ie: image 1 is named x and image 2 is named y) to get your full 5 points for NAMING. An additional 5 points for title of the piece and artist will be available, naturally, also.

Rules are available for your reference HERE. But remember this is the FINAL round and as such I am leaving it open until NEXT WEEK -- the FINAL REVEAL will be December 6th. So I'll give you guys a full week to get your last guesses in for the final butt AND you'll have one more full week from today to cash in on the bonus #NAMEthatBOOK rounds on blog.amaliacarosella.com, which close with the final reveal of the final butt. 

There will be no bonus #NAMEthatBOOK this week.

BUTT ONE:

BUTT TWO:

Clues:

  • One of these butts is a Cretan. Not to be confused with a Cretin. 
  • Indeed, there was nothing cretinous about said butt -- it was seemingly fine and generous, if perhaps, from some perspectives, disloyal and treacherous. 
  • The other of these butts is rather fond of Drama, which might account for the third act rescue of the former butt -- too much patronage of the theater.
  • Cheetahs, Tigers, and Panthers, along with a leopard skin are associated with the non-Cretan butt above. (I told you, dramatic!)

Drop your guesses in the comments and lets name a #NAMEthatBUTT Champion for Season 4!


Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Saturday, November 19, 2016

4th Annual #NAMEthatBUTT: Round 2&3 Reveal! ONLY ONE ROUND LEFT.

So.
I'm a day late on this because life. But here are the owners of our last two buttacular rounds!

ROUND 2:
MARS


ROUND 3:
NEPTUNE


Both carved by Sansovino! 


And for the bonus -- 
The Giants' Staircase
(Scala dei Giganti)


Credit for these images once again goes to my parents, to whom I owe a huge debt for this year's season -- please don't reuse without permission!

And next week is Thanksgiving in the USofA, so I know half of my players are going to be busy with family -- and I will be too! -- but also participation this year has been on the low side, probably for a variety of factors political and otherwise, and which are maybe partially my own fault for starting the season so late! The end result is that there will be only ONE more round of #NAMEthatBUTT this year, and it will take place the week following Thanksgiving.

The FINAL BUTT will go up on November 29 and the FINAL REVEAL will be December 6th. So I'll give you guys a full week to get your last guesses in for the final butt AND you'll have 2+ weeks from today to cash in on the bonus #NAMEthatBOOK rounds on blog.amaliacarosella.com, which close with the final reveal of the final butt.

On the plus side this means I'll have plenty of butts still in reserve for next year's season -- and I can't wait to play with you again in 2017!

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
Amazon | Barnes&Noble