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Reading Bifrost by Reading.bifrost@gmail.com - 2M ago

Welcome to another week of Top Ten Tuesday! TTT is a bookish meemee hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week bloggers are giving a topic and encouraged to list their very own top ten on that topic!

Last weeks TTT was Rainy Day Reads. While I don’t have specific books I read on rainy days, I usually have genres I like to read more.

This Weeks TTT is the FIRST books I reviewed. This blog’s FIVE YEAR anniversary is in May!! How has time passed??

Natural Elimination: The Cotesia Incident by Roman Tibensky

I started my blog off to help a friend, who in turn encouraged me to get back to writing. His book was the very first review on my blog and still one of my favorites! It’s a campy sci-fi with very interesting characters. Pick up a copy!

Purified by Brian Robert Smith

I’ve got to admit, I don’t remember much of this one, except it’s some kind of mad scientist. In my early blog years, I mostly reviewed indie books (something I’ve got to get back to).

The Warrior by Ty Patterson

This is a special co-ops kind of book; reminding me much of Tom Clancy books. Ty Patterson was another indie author I reviewed for, and now the book has a series and he was named USA Today Best Selling Author!

The Waiting Room by Alysha Kaye

This was a fun little indie read! A couple is reincarnated over and over and sent to a waiting room in the afterlife (a sort of limbo). Each time they wait on each other (sometimes years!) in the waiting room so they could be reincarnated together and find each other all over again.

Disconnect by Gillian Adams

With all the awesome indie books I’ve read, I’ve probably had even more… not so good books. Disconnect was a sci-fi short that had a major problem with trying to explain its way through the story instead of just letting it unfold.

Shadowcursed by Gelo R. Fleisher

I’m a sucker for non-traditional heroes or villains, and Shadowcursed entertained me with a middle-aged thief going through a mid-life crisis.

Blackout by Madeleine Henry

One thing about reading indie books; you never know if the author is going to finish the series. This series didn’t make it past the first book. It was an interesting take on dystopia when the genre was getting huge. Mix Hunger Games and social media and you can see the big picture.

The Chronological Man: The Monster in the Mist by Andrew Mayne

Andrew Mayne is a magician that also writes indie books! The Chronological Man is a very Doctor Who/ Sherlockian type book. Considering its a short book, it’s surprising how much he packed into the characters and story!

Warrior Lore by Ian Cumpstey

I couldn’t have ReadingBIFROST without a few Scandinavian folk tales. It’s a simple book that takes stories from ballads and translates them into English, which has been done plenty of times; but he does add a handy pronunciation key.

The Paradox Initiative by Alydia Rackham

I love, love, love this book! Jack was part of a time-travel project (against his will) and bumps into Kestrel. They end up on a galactic cruise with men after them. What I remember the most is they had to pay more on the cruise to disable the holographic pop-up ads that plagued the corridors.

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I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joannae Rendell
Series: System Divine #1
Published by Simon Pulse on March 26th 2019
Genres: Retellings, Science Fiction, Space, Young Adult
Pages: 592
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads

A thief. An officer. A guardian.

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.

Amazon

“‘What good would it do to send you back there? You’ll only escape again. I’ve chased you across Laterre. Hunted you down for far too long. You’ve evaded me one too many times, LeGrand.’ Limier clicked his neck to the side, and Alouette could swear she heard metal parts grinding. ‘I’m done chasing you. This is where the hunt ends.’”

There are a lot of similarities between the Les Miserables and Sky Without Stars, but enough of a change so you don’t feel like you’re just reading the same book in a different setting, which is a big leap forward when compared without retellings. Where Les Miserables seems more centered around Jean ValJean (LeGrand) and Javert (Limier), Sky Without Starts is more centered around Chatine (Eponine), Alouette (Cosette), and Marcellus (Marius).

In this book, the revolution hasn’t really started. It sets up all the characters’ pasts, they reveal secrets about themselves, and like pieces on a chess board, they’re put in position for the revolution to begin.

Chatine is the character that really makes the story take flight. Much like the Les Mis version of  Eponine, she’s hard and streetsmart. She definitely has a deep grey area when it comes to morals, but unlike her parents, she does seem to have a line that she won’t cross.

Marcellus is much like Marius in that I don’t care for him much. Maybe I have a thing against love-sick rich kids. I do have to give props to the authors for giving Marellus a deep back story with his father and grandfather.

I feel about Alouette much as I do Marcellus. She seems to have a stronger personality than I remember Cosette having in the book, and she’s more inquisitive instead of just accepting things as they are; but she also just has that love-sick personality that grates on my nerves.

The world building in this book is amazing! Laterre the planet where the story takes place. It’s widely influenced by French culture, but spun so there’s no doubt you’re in a sci-fi setting. There are three suns in the sky that no one has seen for years due to thick grey clouds, making the setting even more dark and dismal.

There are three estates (and classes); the first estate consists of the monarchs, the second is the government, and the third is the workers. Most of this book takes place in the third estate where the conditions are deplorable. Luckily for them, once a year The Ascension allows one worker to move up in class. Workers accumulate points for going to their jobs. The more points, the more chances they have in being chosen at The Ascension. Hard workers, like Chatine’s sister, strive to be that one lucky person, while Chatine herself sees it as a fantasy.

The second estate governs and policies the third; police being composed of large robots with tasers, and beings such as Inspector Limier, who is some sort of cyborg. I loved this addition because it gives Limier a stoic personality, but it also hints that the character may not have human feelings and was designed that way to better do his job.

For those that only watched the Les Mis musical, there are a few easter-eggs that you won’t quite understand that the book-readers will drool over. In Hugo’s book, Eponine has three brothers one being Gavroche, the little boy of the barricades, and a sister, Azelma. The musical tends to skip that information, but Sky Without Stars gives Eponine (or at least her dopple in this book) her sister and at least one brother back.

Though most of the readers are probably going to be picking up Sky Without Stars because of their interest in Les Mis, you don’t have to be a fan in order to enjoy this story. Overall, I can’t wait to get the next book not only to see the differences in the story compared to Hugo’s original work but to also keep following this space opera on its own.

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Reading Bifrost by Reading.bifrost@gmail.com - 2M ago

Welcome to another week of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. TTT is a bookish meemmee in which each week bloggers are given a topic and encouraged to list their very own top ten on that topic!

This weeks TTT is Rainy Day Reads. I have to admit that I’m not very picky on books based on seasonal/weather stuff. I don’t care for reading holiday based books around said holiday or books based on beaches during the summer. BUT, there’s something about a gloomy, rainy day that begs for familiarity and a bit of darkness.

Shakespearian Tragedies ‘Here lies a wretched corpse, of wretched soul bereft;
Seek not my name. A plague consume you wicked caitiffs left!
Here lie I, Timon, who alive all living men did hate.
Pass by and curse thy fill, but pass, and stay not here thy gait.’
(Alcibiades, Act 5, Scene 4)

The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, Complete Tales and Poems

Re-reading Favorites “Of course she had read this work many times before, but there were certain parts to which she passionately returned: so cool, so elegant, so beautiful, so terrible. As she read tears began to stream down her face.” 
― Iris Murdoch, The Green Knight

Fantasy Books “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien
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Reading Bifrost by Reading.bifrost@gmail.com - 2M ago

Windigo By Louise Erdrich
You knew I was coming for you, little one,
when the kettle jumped into the fire.
Towels flapped on the hooks,
and the dog crept off, groaning,
to the deepest part of the woods.
In the hackles of dry brush a thin laughter started up.
Mother scolded the food warm and smooth in the pot
and called you to eat.
But I spoke in the cold trees:
New one, I have come for you, child hide and lie still. 
The sumac pushed sour red cones through the air.
Copper burned in the raw wood.
You saw me drag toward you.
Oh touch me, I murmured, and licked the soles of your feet.
You dug your hands into my pale, melting fur.
I stole you off, a huge thing in my bristling armor.
Steam rolled from my wintry arms, each leaf shivered
from the bushes we passed
until they stood, naked, spread like the cleaned spines of fish.
Then your warm hands hummed over and shoveled themselves full
of the ice and the snow. I would darken and spill
all night running, until at last morning broke the cold earth
and I carried you home,
a river shaking in the sun.

Jacklight by Louise Erdrich 

Poems explore the nature of love, faith, and courage and portray the experiences of a wife in a small town

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In Memoriam, JB by Fay Zwicky

You’re leaving us
the things you found (we found) so hard
to speak about-the books, the films,
the high beam on your car, political shenanigans
that split us wide apart, the things we never
could agree upon, you on the right,
me on the left.

I will recall the night before the Iraq invasion
shouting at you over quaking scallopini at Valdarno’s
tears streaming down my face, specs all misted over-
can’t you see?
can’t you see?
Why won’t you see?

And you, polite, calm infuriatingly right,
the tactful English gentleman confronting
the unruly desperate Australian virago.
What’s the matter with the woman?

True grief is tongueless (as I once said
in an earlier poem about lost love).
I still believe it.
We never learn, dear John.
We’ve grown up like a pack of frightened kids
standing in the corners of the world,
graduates of the school of inhibition, cum laude,
wary of weapons of mass destruction,
the biggest of which is death.

We’re learning…
We feared that love was not enough.
You doubted your own goodness.
We never did. But now are left
to linger guilty in your debt.

We only ever yield to love
when someone’s dead or gone.

‘I hope you see in these poems what I see: order and rebellion, ardour and irony, beauty and abjection and everything in between.’ —Sarah Holland-Batt

For The Best Australian Poems 2017, award-winning poet and critic Sarah Holland-Batt has assembled a brilliant set of voices, styles and moods. Subjects include everything from a plague of bogong moths invading Parliament House to the after-effects of the nuclear tests at Maralinga. In their wit and empathy, their solace and provocation, these poems will stay with the reader long after the moment of reading.

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Welcome to another week of Top Ten Tuesday! TTT is a bookish meemee hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week bloggers are given a topic and encouraged to give their very own top ten on that topic!

Last week’s TTT was Characters I’d Like to Switch Places With. This week’s TTT is Standalone Books That Need a Sequel! As we learn from To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s never too late for a book to gain a sequel!

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

There has been rumors of a sequel of this book for years. I’ve been ready and waiting, but each passing expected date has sadly come and gone. My hope is dwindling.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

You can pry this book from my cold dead fingers. I loved it! It might be breaking the rules of TTT a bit, but I’m looking for more of a prequel than a sequel for this book.

Monsters All the Way Down by Ryan McSwain 

This is one of those indie books I am so glad I decided to pick up. It’s gruesome and strange and perfect for my personality. I think it left enough open for a sequel to happen.

The Morganville Vampires  by Rachel Caine

I’m not usually one to want spin-offs to sequels (okay, I am, but Mortal Instruments killed that for me), but I really, really want a prequel to this series! But not just any prequel, one that focuses on Myrnin. For those who haven’t read the series, Myrnin is a vampiric mad scientist that wears too-bright clothes that don’t match and fanged bunny slippers.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

This is one that has been a loooong time in need of a sequel. What happened to the brothers? Did Soda ever get married? Did Pony start college? Still with Cherry? Did they all fall into the trap of where they live and still brawl like greasers? Soooo much to know!

A Small Charred Face by Kazuki Sakuraba

Chinese/Japanese vampires. The story revolves around two vampires raising a human boy together and a couple of spin-off short stories. I fell head over heels for this book and its characters! And again, I’d much rather have a prequel with this book, centering around the vampires Mustah and Yoji. A short story tells a little about Yoji, but having a story where Mustah and Yoji first met would be awesome.

Duplicity by N.K. Traver

This one fell way off the radar. It has an ending that’s sorta left open, sorta closed; like the author left room for a sequel in case he decided to write one but wasn’t so sure.

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Reading Bifrost by Reading.bifrost@gmail.com - 3M ago

“Tap Out”

We were vicious. Swollen cheekbones, bruised jaws.
Forearms chafed raw and weeping. The Boston
Crab. The Texas Cloverleaf. The Cross-
Face Chicken Wing. One time, Ant wrenched
my shoulder so hard I couldn’t lift my arm
for a week. Another time, Mike’s brother Daryl tried
a front-flip slam off the back steps, landed
face-first in the dirt. Wrist bone shot clear
through the skin and gleaming. Mike’s dad worked
second shift at Pratt, so if we were loud he’d holler
out the bedroom window, but there was nothing
he could do to punish us we weren’t already doing
to each other. And we knew it. Like that time
Daryl showed us his pistol, a .22 he lifted
from a friend’s house. We passed it around,
weighing it in our palms. It was heavier
than it looked, but it felt good. He put the barrel
in his mouth and when we jumped up
he laughed and laughed. Priceless! he said red-faced
and gasping. You pussies almost wet your pants!
We learned new moves, new ways to shock the body
into miracles of pain. The Figure-Four Lock.
The Vise Grip. Every muscle trembling.
The Tarantula[…]”

Excerpt From: Edgar Kunz. “Tap Out.”

Tap Out: Poems by Edgar Kunz 

Approach these poems as short stories, plainspoken lyric essays, controlled arcs of a bildungsroman, then again as narrative verse. Tap Out, Edgar Kunz’s debut collection, reckons with his working‑poor heritage. Within are poignant, troubling portraits of blue‑collar lives, mental health in contemporary America, and what is conveyed and passed on through touch and words―violent, or simply absent.

Yet Kunz’s verses are unsentimental, visceral, sprawling between oxys and Bitcoin, crossing the country restlessly. They grapple with the shame and guilt of choosing to leave the culture Kunz was born and raised in, the identity crises caused by class mobility. They pull the reader close, alternating fierce whispers and proud shouts about what working hands are capable of and the different ways a mind and body can leave a life they can no longer endure. This hungry new voice asks: after you make the choice to leave, what is left behind, what can you make of it, and at what cost?

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Reading Bifrost by Reading.bifrost@gmail.com - 3M ago
Evermore by Sara Holland
Series: Everless #2
Also in this series: Everless
Also by this author: Everless
Published by Harper Teen on December 31st 2018
Genres: Fantasy, YA Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

Amazon

“…people never realize how many secrets a book can contain.”

Here we are with book two of the Everless series. The first book I only gave two stars, but I was so caught up in the plot that I decided to read Evermore, anyway. Sadly it seems the sequel followed the same steps as the first book.

Jules’ character did stand out more in this book than the first, but it must have been a trade-out for Liam’s personality. In Everless Liam was the only character that really had personality to me. In Evermore, he’s just as flat as the rest.

Then enters a new guy. Elias is a friend from another country that Liam went to school with  that helps Jules and Laim. Now, he’s the character that needs to have more presence in the book. Where this book’s Liam is stuffy and overbearing, Elias is charming and sarcastic. I’m usually not one for love triangles, especially when characters have more important things to worry about, but there was too much potential and opportunities for Elias and Jules to have a little fling and throw a wrench in the relationships between Elias/Laim, and Laim/Jules.

You would think after the big villain reveal at the end of the first book, the second book would have more of the villain plotting and well, being evil. But after the first quarter of the book, Caro just kind of fades into the background again. Which is really a shame; she had so much potential of being a great antagonist at the end of the last book.

The first quarter of the book is interesting and fast paced with action. However, in the rest of the book the main plot is put on a back burner in favor of Jules’ internal monologs. Most of the book consists of her giving herself pep talks or running through the same ideas over and over to herself. This is where that little Elias/Jules wrench would have worked.

Most of what you read in the book is Jules chasing a weapon that can kill Caro by forcing herself to remember her past. We learned in the first book that she has 12 lives, one for each of the heart-stones she was forced to eat. But the only past life that we really see is her first life. Again, so many missed opportunities.

Overall, will I continue the series? Probably. I’ve already invested too much to leave it hanging over my head. Would I recommend the book? Mm… probably not. It’s too underwhelming and too long (or seemingly long) for just a good quick read.

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Hello and welcome back to another week of Top Ten Tuesday! TTT is a bookish meemee hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week bloggers are given a topic and encouraged to list their very own top ten on that topic!

Last week’s TTT was for the travel bugs, Places Mentioned in Books That I’d Like to Visit. This week’s TTT is Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With. I know a lot of characters that I do NOT want to switch places with, but who do I WANT to switch with? Hmm.

Kate Bishop (The other Hawkguy)

If you’ve been on my blog, you know that Hawkeye is my fave of all time. BUT, when Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye came out, KATE BISHOP. She’s sassy and edgy and doesn’t accept being just a sidekick.

Eliza

I had many problems with this book, but I loved the characters. That, and making my own web-comic like Eliza would be awesome! >.<

Abby

She’s not a superhero, but her brother and her love interest are (sort of). Being buddy, buddy with superheroes sounds amazinggg.

Abigail Rook

I miss this series! T.T  BUT he’s writing another series coming out this year!

Abigail has two of my faves mixed up in one; Sherlockian mysteries and supernatural creatures! That, and I really, really want to meet Jackaby.

Wataru & Bastian

Both boys are having family problems in the real world, and are pulled into worlds of fantasy and given quests, making strange friends along the way.

Fantasy world? Flying luck dragon? Yes, please!

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Love and Death
by Sarojini Naidu

I dreamed my love had set thy spirit free,
Enfranchised thee from Fate’s o’ermastering power,
And girt thy being with a scatheless dower
Of rich and joyous immortality;
Of Love, I dreamed my soul had ransomed thee,
In thy lone, dread, incalculable hour
From those pale hands at which all mortals cower,
And conquered Death by Love, like Savitri.
When I awoke, alas, my love was vain
E’en to annul one throe of destined pain,
Or by one heart-beat to prolong thy breath;
O Love, alas, that love could not assuage
The burden of thy human heritage,
Or save thee from the swift decrees of Death.

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