Monday, July 16, 2018

ARC Review: Competence by Gail Carriger

Competence by Gail Carriger
Competence (The Custard Protocol #3)
By Gail Carriger
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Publication Date: July 17, 2018

To Sum It Up: The Spotted Custard is off on another adventure, this time in search of vampires in Peru. The airship’s crew must first, however, solve the rather pesky problem of a helium leak. It’s up to the Spotted Custard’s always dependable purser Primrose Tunstell to help find a way to save the day. Meanwhile, back on board the airship, Prim’s twin Percy just wants to be left alone with his books instead of dealing with the mayhem that typically follows wherever the Spotted Custard goes.

Review: It’s been a while since we last checked in with the motley crew of the Spotted Custard, but the newest installment in Gail Carriger’s The Custard Protocol series was absolutely worth the wait! I didn’t realize how much I missed this group of adorably quirky characters until I started reading Competence.

The title is very fitting here, as the novel focuses on Primrose Tunstell, probably the most reliable member of Captain Prudence Akeldama’s crew. Prim is practical where Rue is whimsical, and so the two best friends balance each other out very well. Prim is also like a mother to practically everyone on the airship, and you truly get the sense that the crew is one big family. It wouldn’t be a family without some dysfunction, of course, but even with so many different personalities on board that are often at odds with one another, they’re at odds in an endearing way.

Competence also puts Prim’s brother, Percy, in the spotlight. The Tunstell twins could not be any less identical, with Prim the epitome of etiquette and Percy happiest in the company of his books. I have to say, I found Percy’s pedantry and aversion to human interaction quite amusing. There were many laugh out loud moments involving just about everybody aboard the Spotted Custard, and the riotous humor is one of the reasons why I love Gail Carriger’s books so much. She has such a knack for writing witty phrases. The banter between the characters is especially scintillating.

While there is a story line centered around a hive of endangered vampires in the Andes, the novel belongs to Prim as she tries to sort out where her heart seems to be leading her versus what society expects of her regarding marriage and family. Fortunately for Prim, she’s surrounded by a family that loves her for whoever she is and will always welcome her home on board the Spotted Custard.

I can’t rave enough about how brilliantly the characters in this series have grown. They’re the backbone of the books, and Competence was another delightful escapade with this lovable bunch.

All in All: Competence was such a fun read! Prim’s character development is the standout here. The view from Percy’s perspective is also a blast. The ending sets up the final Custard Protocol book perfectly, and I eagerly await its release!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Book Loot (32)

Even though I've been barely reading, as painfully chronicled in my mid-year rewind post, lol, I've somehow managed to accumulate new books. I went a little 1-click happy with some eBook deals, and I also had some Amazon rewards points to use.

I read a sample of My Plain Jane through the Epic Reads newsletter and HAD to get it, even though I still have to read The Lady Janies' previous collaboration, My Lady Jane.

In a rare venture outside of fiction, I've recently added not one but TWO nonfiction titles to my shelves. I'm a Simpsons fangirl, so Springfield Confidential is a must-read. Having grown up reading the Little House books and watching the TV show, I'm very eager to read Caroline Fraser's Prairie Fires, which I'd seen some rave reviews for.

For Review:

Competence by Gail Carriger
Many thanks to Gail Carriger!


The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
I absolutely LOVE the cover for this!


My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, & Brodi Ashton
Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons by Mike Reiss with Matthew Klickstein
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

Monday, July 9, 2018

2018 Mid-Year Rewind

At very long last, I've gotten around to writing my mid-year rewind post! Not that there's much to look back on—eek!

So far, 2018 has been a year of lots of intent to read/blog but almost no actual reading/blogging. I can barely stand to look at my Goodreads reading challenge progress because there's barely been any progress.

A few months ago, what I thought was a really bad reading/blogging slump was starting to turn into an overall life slump. Not only did I have zero motivation to pick up a book or write a blog post, but I had zero or almost no motivation to do any things that I once enjoyed. That raised a pretty big red flag, and it was time to seek some help.

Going to the doctor gives me extreme anxiety, but I was more frustrated with how I felt and how I was living—or not really living—than I was fearful of the doctor's visit. I ended up being diagnosed with hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, of which one of the symptoms is depression. Another is feeling tired, which I absolutely was almost all of the time. Most nights I was falling asleep on the couch the minute I sat down, so forget about trying to read a few pages. Being exhausted didn't strike me as odd, though. I figured it was just part of getting older, allergy-related, etc.

I've been taking medication for about a month now, and while I've been slowly finding enjoyment in reading again, I haven't yet noticed a significant improvement in my energy level. From what I've researched, it can take some time 1) for the medication to take full effect and 2) to find the optimal dosage. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very patient with . . . being a patient, lol, and remaining calm in the face of being at the mercy of how I feel day-to-day has been a huge challenge.

I've really, really missed hanging out in the book blogosphere and am trying to pop in whenever I can. I hope you've all been enjoying some great books this year and that you have a fantastic rest of 2018! ♥

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