The Terror by Dan Simmons, Read by John Lee

The TerrorThe Terror by Dan Simmons
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that this book would have waited from being finished in February to being reviewed in July even had my year not been inhumanely busy. Despite the disgustingly hot weather, I have goose bumps thinking about it.

The Terror is taken from the name one half of a pair of ships sent on an Arctic expedition at some point when reinforcement technology for ice breaking ships still involved the types of wood used in conjunction with some iron. Near the beginning a character thinks to himself that the number of awards given to the returning commanders of these expeditions seems to be higher the more lives are lost. I’m inclined to agree.

This book was dark, dirty, and above all cold. To steal from the inimitable karen’s review, “oh my god, let me never get scurvy.” There are many things I could add to that list. I have no idea how realistic it may be, but the descriptions of the conditions experienced by the people on those ships make me wish I could forget hearing them.

Sadly, I feel the same way about much of the element of this book that throws it into the fantasy heap. It somehow went from a scary thing that could have been made frightening to a rather campy and eventually lame rehashing of a mythology that I suspect is nowhere near as simplistic as it seems. The last 10 or so chapters could have been left off the book. More HMS Terror and less of the Terror would have made this a far better book.

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Better Book Titles

Better Book Titles may be my new favorite place on the internet. This is a large part of that. It is by far the better title.

Better Book Titles - I Want My Hat Back

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Friday Favorites: Pesto Focaccia Pizza from BudgetBytes


Pesto Focaccia Pizza

Like the author of this post, I love pizza. I also love the no knead focaccia recipe on which this particular pizza is based. I think my next variation will be red sauce with mozzarella, prosciutto, and basil. Mmm!

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files #2)

Fool Moon (The Dresden Files, #2)Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
I enjoyed Fool Moon more than I did Storm Front, which I definitely enjoyed. Harry was still stupidly overprotective of other people in a way which put them in more danger than they would have been otherwise, but at least there was less “omg, the wimmenz, they need protecting and coddling” bullshit. I also found the story more interesting. Where the first book bounced around in a way that I found confusing at times, the pace of the second was pretty good. The audio is also great. I recommend listening to these. I’m looking forward to the next one!

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Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #13: Standalone)

Small Gods (Discworld, #13)Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
I don’t even know how to express just how much I loved Small Gods. I really, really, really enjoyed reading this. Sure, that may have been because my boyfriend’s great love of turtles has rubbed off on me. It may have been a devious glee at the thought of a petulant little god who never considered that he should do anything for his believers. The great library and the hilarious stereotype of the philosophers in Ephebe certainly didn’t hurt. Nor did the penguin. Or the history monk. Vorbis was creepy as hell, which added a slight touch of reality. Seriously, go read this. Now. Go!

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Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I have had pretty good luck with the recipes I have tried from Vegetarian Times. This, however, was a dud. My poor boyfriend had the worst of it, since he fixed them. It was a time consuming process, in addition to the hour and a half bake time. The results weren’t worth it. They were remarkably bland. There was no cohesion within the peppers. As for what it was like when I reheated it the next day? Not a pleasant experience. I will not be making this again.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (Harry Potter #7)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was better than Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Coming from me, that pretty much falls into the “damning with faint praise” category. There were some parts of this book I really enjoyed, especially some of the character development with the Weasley kids. Overall though…well, if you don’t mind obscenities or spoilers, my complete thoughts are in the rant below.
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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling (Harry Potter #6)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince  (Harry Potter, #6)Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
*jaw-cracking yawn*

I was seriously disappointed by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Nothing happened. Well, until the very end, but even then, it wasn’t enough to save my overall impression of the book from being primarily that it was boring. They get a new professor, Dumbledore is all cagey with Harry, Snape is an asshole, Harry is an idiot, blah, blah, blah. Yes, I know there actually was a lot that took place in the book, but it still felt largely like it wasn’t there for anything other than setting up the last book.

Did I mention that it was boring?


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Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (Harry Potter #5)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  (Harry Potter, #5)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Good lord, I’ve not reviewed a single book I’ve read this year & it’s already February. *deep breath* Here goes…
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Review: Pear-Pecan Muffins

Pear-Walnut Muffins

Pear-Walnut Muffins

As you can see from the discre pancy in the post and recipe titles, I substituted pecans for the walnuts and was lazy so they weren’t toasted. I don’t know how much difference that made, but I can assure you these muffins were absolutely wonderful. They stayed moist and light, even the one that was left the next day. My only regret is that I didn’t make a double recipe. I’ll definitely be doing that next time.