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My boyfriend and I recently acquired new furniture after 3 years of terrible furniture. My mother-in-law is moving to Arizona so we inherited some of her stuff.

Among these things is an end table that matches our new, very lovely coffee table. Prior to having the end table I had books I was reading or getting ready to read scattered in piles around my house. Since acquiring the table, they have all moved to one glorious place of chaos.

Which inspired an idea I could do monthly or bi-monthly called “What’s in my queue?” Which will be the top ten books sitting on my coffee table. (I currently have 33 including a couple on my Kindle) After I list what I have here, I will review the books throughout the month as I get to them. (Probably will not get to 10 per month but I’ll always have something to write about)

These books are in no particular order and I likely won’t read them in the order that I write about them (though if I get stumped as to what to pick next I could always move down the list)

I am also going to make it a goal to not repeat authors on my list. For example, I have 3 Terry Pratchett books waiting for me but only one will be featured per post.

With that, I introduce the very first “What’s In My Queue” segment
(cue gameshow music)

1) Wizard’s First Rule-Terry Goodkind

Brief Synopsis(From the back cover) “In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher’s forest sanctuary seeking help…and more. His world, his very beliefs are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.’
‘In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword–to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed…or that their time has run out.’
‘This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend”

I have had this book sitting on my shelf since the early 2000’s. Every time I am looking for a new book to read, it goes into my pile before eventually migrating back to the shelf from whence it came. (Lord of the Rings joke…get it…get it…All right moving on) I don’t know why it has taken me so long to read. Actually that’s not true. The reason is because it is a fourteen book series with two spin off books that were recently released and another on the way. It’s such a commitment and guys…I have 33 other books to read just on my table! Lets not count the number that haven’t migrated off of my shelf yet. I don’t need to add 17 more to it! That being said, I did recently start it and I am enjoying it. It is a fantasy book with all of it’s fantasy tropes in tact. It’s well written and interesting, if slow. I’m about 25% through it and I am looking forward to finishing it.

I finally picked it up and started it because my dad has read it for years and he periodically re-reads them(He’s the reason I bought the first one to begin with) and, when I was thinking about it, a girl I was working with at the time had started the series and loved it. She was so enthusiastic that I had to start reading it.

2) Dodger-Terry Pratchett
Brief Synopsis(from the back cover): “Dodger is a tosher- a sewer scavenger living in the squalor of Victorian London. Everyone who is nobody knows him. Anybody who is anybody doesn’t. He used to know his own future; it involved a lot of brick-lined tunnels and plenty of filth. But when Dodger rescues a young girl from a beating, meets Charles Dickns, and encounters Sweeney Todd, things start to get really messy.’
‘Now everyone who is anyone wants to get their hands on Dodger…”

I have a thing for author’s named Terry. This was not something I realized about myself until I realized how many of the books on my reading table were by authors named Terry. Terry Pratchett, Goodkind and Brooks being prominently featured.

I adore Pratchett’s “Discworld” series more than I can possibly express. It makes me so very happy. It’s dry and you really have to like English humor but it’s amazing. I have read the Rincewind Saga in it’s entirety and am now working my way through the Death Saga. I love his stand alone discworld novels equally, by the way. I recommend “Small Gods” for everybody.

I also thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed “Good Omens” By Pratchett and Gaiman.

But I wanted to give something not Discworld or Gaiman related a try. He has a sci-fi series that I will eventually buy and then read but for now I wanted to stick to humor.

I was in Powell’s on my trip to Oregon(you lucky Oregonians and your amazing bookstores) It’s gorgeous. A book lovers dream. If you get a chance, take a trip to Portland just to see their five story, one city block wide bookstore that is only one of several Powell’s in the state. It’s not even the only Powell’s in the city.

Anyway, I was in Powell’s and went looking for Terry Pratchett because…you know. Dodger caught my eye. It sounded funny and was not Discworld related so I picked it up. Here’s hoping I love it as much as his other books.

3)The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
Brief synopsis(written by me) A.J Jacobs was raised in a secular family but had become increasingly curious over the relevance of faith in the modern world. After his year writing “Know-It-All”, A.J Jacobs decides to throw himself entirely into the Bible. Following every rule and guideline laid down in the Bible. From the 10 commandments, Be Fruitful and Multiply to the lesser known play a 10 string harp and Stone Adulterers along with hundreds of others. He will immerse himself in prayer, tend sheep in the Israeli Deserts and dance with Hasidic Jews among with other hilarious adventures that will make you see history’s most influential book with new eyes.

I am among the least religious people you will ever meet without being a full on Atheist. My view on the Bible is that it is a wonderful fairy tale with stories intended to scare children into behaving just like we tell them stories of the boogie man or the one armed man (if you are an older brother looking to terrify his little sisters…yeah…I’m looking at you) I do not, in any way shape or form see the Bible as a literal book or as a book that should be the basis for deciding laws.

I bought this because the worst thing for me about some (yes…some) religious people is that they pick and choose what they want to read from the book and ignore the rest because it’s outdated. There are so many rules that the Bible lays down that most people who claim to follow the Bible literally completely ignore.

So this book intrigues me and I look forward to seeing what I learn from it. Or at least laughing as he gets mistaken for ZZ Top as his beard grows long and unruly.

4) Allegiant-Veronica Roth
Brief Synopsis(From Inside Cover)” The faction based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered-fractured by violence and and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties,and painful memories’
‘But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature- and of herself-while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.”

I read the other two books in about a week after the second one came out. Loved the first one. Thought it was great. I picked them up because they were compared to the Hunger Games which I had liked relatively well and a woman I was working with at Big 5 said she loved them and couldn’t wait for the third to come out.

I was not such a huge fan of the second one. I thought it was all right and was intrigued enough to get through it quickly. But I felt that Veronica Roth fell victim to a classic problem a lot of authors seem to struggle with when their main character is a girl who falls in love.

Tris spent the majority of the second book curled up in a ball crying over her boyfriend. Which annoyed the hell out of me. In Divergent she is strong and she is smart and she is capable and she doesn’t need anyone. She turns away from her family, which was immensely difficult for her but she handles it well. In the second she loses everything that makes her Tris for me.

Insurgent ends on a cliff hanger that you see coming the entire book but that is still exciting and interesting. Veronica Roth has set herself up to do some amazing things with this book. I really hope she has re-found Tris’s voice and delivered the ending I believe she is capable of giving.

5) Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Brief Synopsis(From Inside Cover)- “Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary people extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.’
‘Epics are no friends of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man, you must crush his will.’
‘Now, in what was once Chicago, an astonishingly powerful Epic named Steelheart has installed himself as emperor. Steelheart possesses the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said that no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, and no fire can burn him. He is invincible. Nobody fights back…nobody but the Reckoners.’
‘A shadowy group of ordinary humans, the Reckoners spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses and then assassinating them. And David wants in.’
‘When Steelheart came to Chicago, he killed David’s Father. For years, like the Reckoners, David has been studying, and planning, and he has something they need. Not an object, but experience.
‘He has seen Steelheart bleed’
‘And he wants revenge”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fan of Sanderson. I went through a phase recently where I read everything by Sanderson I could get my hands on. So it might surprise some people when I tell you I am actually skeptical on this one.

It sounds a great deal like Sanderson mashed up two of his previous books -“Elantris” and “Warbreaker” and put them into a semi YA fantasy book.

That being said, I liked Warbreaker and Elantris was intriguing but it didn’t keep me interested long enough to get past the halfway point despite the face that I was interested in the plot (Elantris will likely be featured on a future episode of “What’s In My Queue”)

I am looking forward to reading it, but I approach it with cautious optimism.

6) Til We Have Faces-C.S. Lewis
Brief Synopsis(from back cover)-“Haunted by the myth of Cupid and Psyche throughout his life, C.S. Lewis wrote this, his last, extraordinary novel, to retell their story through the gaze of Psyche’s sister, Orual. Disfigured and embittered, Orual loves her younger sister to a fault and suffers deeply when she is sent away to Cupid, the God of the Mountain. Psyche is forbidden to look upon the god’s face, but is persuaded by her sister to do so; she is banished for her betrayal. Orual is left alone to grow in power but never in love, to wonder at the silce of the gods. Only at the end of her life, in visions of her lost beloved sister, will she hear an answer”

The Cupid and Psyche myth is one of the first stories I read as a child. I remember vividly talking to my mother about her love of Greek Mythology when she reaches up to one of our very tall(compared to short, five year old me) and brings down an Arizona sand colored book with a lovely dust jacket depicting a woman with gold hair. It was Cupid and Psyche and I loved it.

Fast forward nearly two decades and I was at Sirens in Washington looking at books I should not have been buying when this caught my eye. First, that it was by C.S. Lewis and second that the subtitle to the book was “A Novel of Cupid and Psyche” What sealed it for me was the quote on the back “I saw well why the Gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer…why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face til we have faces”

I was so struck by that, especially coming from “Mere Christianity”‘s Lewis. I listened to a paper on the book after buying it which really cemented my excitement for this book.

“Til We Have Faces” is a book about not only the lies we tell others, but about the lies we tell ourselves to feel justified. Looking back at her life at the end, Orual reflects on her bitterness and the things she has done for both good reasons and terrible.

7) His Dark Materials Trilogy-Phillip Pullman
Brief Synopsis of Book One (from amazon.com)”Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jodan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle. “

Amazingly, I have not read a single one of these three. I know I should. I know they’re supposed to be amazing. Yet, they always come off my shelf and then go back like “Wizard’s First Rule”

I think when I tried to read them before I wasn’t ready for them. I wasn’t in a place where I could delve into fantasy of this sort easily. I think I can now though. I’ve also never seen the movie so I really don’t know much about what I am getting into.

I don’t remember what prompted me to buy this omnibus. I think it was just calling my name, as books do, and I listened.

8)Cold Magic-Kate Elliot
Brief Synopsis (from back cover) “Cat Barahal was the only survivor of the flood that took her parents. Raised by her extended family, she and her cousin, Bee, are unaware of the dangers that threaten them both. It is the dawn of a new age, but ancient powers still hold sway.’
‘Now, betrayed by her family and forced to marry a powerful cold mage, Cat will be drawn into a labyrinth of politics. There she will learn the full ruthlnessness of their rule. What do the cold mages want from her? And who will help Cat in her struggle against them.”

I’m going to be completely honest here, I did not really pick this up of my own volition. If a friend whom I trust a great deal had not assured me of it’s quality and had it not been talked about with such fervor at Sirens and had I not met Kate Elliot and thought she seemed like a really nice person, I would not have picked up this book. I still don’t know that I am sold on it 100%. Mostly, I think, I am worried that this is going to fall prey to the same issue so many YA/Adult Fantasy novels fall into when they have a female lead.

I’m afraid the powerful strong female lead is going to curl into a ball and cry for a whole book after she is awesome in the first book. It happened in Hunger Games, it happened in the Divergent Series. Even Sanderson did it in the second book and a half of the Mistborn series. So I’m cautiously optimistic about this one as well. But I am optimistic.

9) The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol 1 by Diana Wynne Jones
Brief Synopsis(from back cover) “The Chants are a family strong in magic, but neither Christopher nor Cat can work even the simplest of spells. So how can they hope to thwart the schemes of an avaricious enchanter and a ruthless young witch-schemes that could destroy all the worlds of Chrestomanci?”

I have read this one before. There are 3 volumes, each with two books inside. I read volume 1 and volume 2 soooo very many years ago. I was in probably fifth or sixth grade last time I read these.

On a whim not too long ago, I searched for Diana Wynne Jones and discovered a 3rd Chrestomanci Volume. I was very excited. I love these books and still remember the stories and some of the imagery she describes still haunts me despite how long ago I read them.

I’ve decided to re-read volumes 1 and 2 before venturing into the 3rd so I can become re-acquainted with the worlds. I’ve thought endlessly about picking up the books again after that first read but I could never really justify it. I’m ALWAYS buying new books and always have STACKS of books I am working my way through. How can I take the time to read a book I’ve already read when all of these books are clamoring for my attention.

Well…that excuse has arisen and I am taking it thank you very much.

10) Running With the Demon (the Word and the Void bk 1)-Terry Brooks
Brief Synopsis(from amazon.com) “On the hottest Fourth of July weekend in decades, two men have come to Hopewell, Illinois, site of a lengthy, bitter steel strike. One is a demon, dark servant of the Void, who will use the anger and frustration of the community to attain a terrible secret goal. The other is John Ross, a Knight of the Word, a man who, while he sleeps, lives in the hell the world will become if he fails to change its course on waking. Ross has been given the ability to see the future. But does he have the power to change it?’
‘At stake is the soul of a fourteen-year-old girl mysteriously linked to both men. And the lives of the people of Hopewell. And the future of the country. This Fourth of July, while friends and families picnic in Sinnissippi Park and fireworks explode in celebration of freedom and independence, the fate of Humanity will be decided . . .”

I was tickled just absolutely pink to find this trilogy because I have been looking for it for more than a decade.

I read the first book when I was in later Elementary school. Probably sixth grade, maybe fifth. I loved the first book. I wrote down the title so I could look and see if there were more. I made a mental note of the author so I could look him up if I forgot the title.

Well…I lost the title and forgot the authors name. The only thing I could really think to describe it was that it had demons and one of the demons that was described reminded me of the Heartless from Kingdom Hearts. Not a whole lot to go on.

A few times a year over the years I would do a Google search, an Amazon search and/or a Barnes&Noble/Borders search. Nothing. Do you know how many books with demon in the title there are? A lot. A lot. Just searching for this book to get the synopsis brought up so many books(Demon erotica is a thing. Did you know that? I didn’t know that)

Alas…it seemed to search was pointless.

Then, a few weeks ago, my father-in-law was down to fix Sam’s car which had been having issues and we were trying to get ready to drive to Oregon. Robert is a mechanic and offered to drive the four hours down from Round Mountain where he lives to help us out. I love my father-in-law, but I digress.

Anyway, I was talking to his wife about books. She loves to read as much as I do and she and I always geek out when they are in town.

She’s a big Terry Brooks fan. All I really knew about him was Sword of Shannara and Magic Kingdom of Landover. She recommended I look into the Word and the Void series because it’s her favorite and so I did.

I got really excited when I looked it up. I was like “is this the book…this can’t be the book…” after reading one of the summaries so I downloaded a sample to my kindle. The book seemed awfully familiar but I still just couldn’t be sure. So I chanced some spoilers and looked at Wikipedia.

One of the first things they mention are the demons that look the heartless.

I screamed like a Twilight fangirl meeting Robert Pattinson. Only for a much better reason. I was alone so it was far less embarrassing than it could have been. I texted Sam and I texted Blanca(who recommended them to me) I even posted about it on Facebook I was so stoked.

So I guess I’ll read this book. If I have to. I guess. 😉

Honorable mention books:
Artemis FowL-Eoin Colfer
Moving Pictures-Terry Pratchett
The Time Traveller’s Wife-Audrey Niffenegger.

I’m more than 3/4 done with the above honorable mentions so I didn’t feel they belonged in my list. I probably won’t write reviews for two of those three. I may write about Artemis Fowl. I’ve read it many times and I feel it is underrated and more people should know about it, and Eoin Colfer in general.

And that’s my first ten books from “What’s in My Queue” I hope you enjoyed it. I will get back to you with reviews as soon as I finish any of the books on this list and probably when I finish books that were not on this list.

If you liked this or there is something you would like to see featured here, let me know in the comments.

And don’t forget to follow to get updates from me weekly!

-M-

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