Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Late and Doubled

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Summer is almost here, and the weather alternates between chilly and damp and dry and hot. Such is climate.

I held a foam sword party, and the guy with the swords forgot me and didn't turn up, which was awkward. Trying again next weekend.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading and I'm going to sign up. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed, and as I finished some kidlit books and a few picture books, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this fortnight:

AngeleyesThe Best ManThe Golden MeanTrickster's Choice (Daughter of the Lioness, #1) (two weeks ago)
The Coyote's Bicycle: The Untold Story of 7,000 Bicycles and the Rise of a Borderland EmpireYou (You, #1)Shadow's Seduction (Immortals After Dark, #17; The Dacians, #2)One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)Black Butler, Vol. 7 (Black Butler, #7)Pilot XTrial by Fire: A Riley Donovan MysteryThe Islands of Chaldea (last week)

Angeleyes, Michael Z Williamson. The latest book in the Freehold universe, with Angie (codenamed Angeleyes) as a contractor to a bunch of Freehold superspies during the war with the Evil Earth U.N. The libertarian crunchiness was spoiled a bit by the emphasis on Angie's sex drive, which came off a bit creepy.

The Best Man, Richard Peck. Cybils audio finalist. A lot of the characters seem to be mainly built on cliches of children's literature, with the clueless protagonist giving his companions an excuse to explain what is going on. But the narration is cheerful and I like Uncle Paul.

The Golden Mean, Annabel Lyon. The two timelines are both reaching pivot points -- Aristotle has met Plato, and Alexander has found battle.

* Trickster's Choice, Tamora Pierce. For my Friday book club. Good friends, good talks, although we didn't all reread this one for the meeting.

* The Coyote's Bicycle, Kendall Taylor. For the library's controversial books book club. The book itself wasn't all that controversial, but it was a springboard to a discussion of immigration policy.

You, Caroline Kepnes. This is a bonus book for the reading team I'm on, and it's creepy -- you are deeply immersed in the brain of an evil stalker guy as he attempts to take over the life of a rather stereotypical New York young adult / writer grad student.

Shadow's Seduction, Kresley Cole. The Vaginal Fantasy pick. A lot of sex. A tiny bit of plot.

* One Fell Sweep, Ilona Andrews. Best inn in Texas.

* Black Butler, Vol 7, Yana Toboso. I kept feeling a little lost as I was supposed to remember something from an earlier volume. Oops.

Pilot X, Tom Merritt. Merritt is the host of Sword & Laser, a podcast/book club I tend to follow along, and he wrote a book, so I'm reading it. It's fun with a lot of intelligent time travel bits; the ending wobbles a bit (the hint of romance is dragged in) but doesn't fall over.

* Trial By Fire, Norah McClintock. Girl sleuth rescues stalworth immigrant from hidebound rural prejudices. And arson.

* The Islands of Chaldea, Diana Wynne Jones & Ursula Jones. DWJ's younger sister pulled together an ending for this final, incomplete novel. Now I think I have absolutely run out of her books.

* Books I started and completed this fortnight

Picture Books (most read in the library while waiting for my kids to rendezvous):
Dinosaur Pirates!Peppa Pig and the Vegetable GardenThe Rhino Who Swallowed a StormEmily's New FriendCrouching TigerThe Good for Nothing Button

Dinosaur Pirates!, Penny Dale. For future smash up players. I liked that the dinosaurs are ungendered because I get sad when books have no girls.

Peppa Pig and the Vegetable Garden, Neville Astley. I like pigs. Not much more to say here, especially as I don't watch the associated TV show.

The Rhino That Swallowed a Storm, LeVar Burton. I see what the intention is, but it didn't really work for me. I am left with questions. Is the mom mouse from the framing story dead? How many animals died in the storm? Why did the scansion sometimes change? Did swallowing the storm bring relief to the refugees?

Emily's New Friend, Cindy Post Senning. Rather didactic. Two kids play nicely. The illustrations and text seem to indicate different ages; the pictures are school aged but the message is younger.

Crouching Tiger, Ying Chang Compestine. Kid learns tai chi and to respect his grandfather. The static illustrations aptly reflect the story.

The Good For Nothing Button, Cherise Harper. Fast story with broad emotions but little action. Would be fun to share read in a small group with a different bird's voice for each kid.

I started but didn't finish:

The Ghost BrideMidnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1)The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy DogEvery Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

The Ghost Bride, Yangsze Choo. It's starting slowly, which is not helping the hard deadline of the library ebook due date. The current Vaginal Fantasy book.

Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch. A re-read for me, but new for at least half of my Tuesday book club. A good excuse to watch Torchwood. 

The Inquisitor's Tale, Adam Gidwitz. So far I find the frame annoying, with the listener sticking in his oar between every story. I'm clearly not going to finish before the library version goes poof, so I've also requested the DVDs.

Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire. This has appeared on my NOOK; I forget when I bought it.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)Book Scavenger (Book Scavenger, #1)

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 4. Trade is not going so well for the rebuilding Liadens. Also, parenting techniques seem reminiscent of The Chosen in terms of refusing to communicate with one's teens.

Book Scavenger, 
Jennifer Bertman. The last of the 2015 Cybils! Two friends hunt for books, and I think for a particular book pretty soon. 

These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenKenilworthSammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. It's rude not to dress for a party with the Queen, but what can you do when your ex-girlfriend has set up shop in your rooms?

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. I finished the first 100 pages of the last one!
  2. Cybils 2016! 6 / a lot. Finished The Best Man. Started The Inquisitor's Tale and checked out Illuminae.
  3. Reading My Library: Picked up final two books for the B bookcase.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 23/51. Picked up Texas (One Fell Sweep) and Illinois (Best Man).

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Late Again

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Nothing much to report. School inches towards the end, which includes a high school graduation, the weather wavers between lovely and hot, and summer plans have not yet been made, because apparently I'm incapable of looking into the future.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading and I'm going to sign up. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed, and as I finished some kidlit books and a few picture books, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this week:

Maplecroft (The Borden Dispatches, #1)The Innocent (Will Robie, #1)Snow Hunters

Maplecroft, Cherie Priest. Well, not *everybody* died, but a lot of friendships are broken, and I still don't know if Emma sent out the original evil package by accident, out of malice, or because she was corrupted. But satisfying. The doctor performed particularly well.

The Innocent, David Baldacci. I was plugging along until I hit about chapter 50, and then I raced through the next 50 pages. I don't think the plot holds up to examination, but I liked the man/kid interactions, and that I spotted the assassin (who had basically no motive, so was easier to spot from a Doylist rather than Watsonian perspective) before our Hero. I think I'll read more Baldacci. Oh, and it turns out I needed D.C. anyway.

* Snow Hunters, Paul Yoon. I picked this up from the Asian authors display at the library, although I think by the time I got to it they had moved onto something else. It was a quiet story of a slowly recovering man, surrounded by kind people he didn't really understand and who didn't seem that real to me either, but I appreciated the compassion the filled the world with.

* Books I started and completed this week

Picture Books (most read in the library while waiting for my kids to rendezvous):
Red: A Crayon's StoryVirginia WolfThe Boy Who Didn't Believe in SpringMoo!
Happy Birthday HamsterThe Uncorker of Ocean BottlesDad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and StepfathersSpace Boy and the Space Pirate

Red: A Crayon's Story, Michael Hall. Hip and self referential. A mislabeled crayon's story, told by a pencil, and with many nods to the identity crises of today's youth. And older people, I guess.

Virginia Wolf, Kyo Maclear. As I read this, I kept thinking I was missing literary references. Without them the story is fine but not brilliant, but lacking them I felt distracted from the emotional plotline.

The Boy Who Didn't Believe in Spring, Lucille Clifton. This book had drama and daring -- the boys cross the street! It had moral ambiguity and the courage to change one's mind. It's almost historical (from the 1970's) but still feels fresh to me.

Moo!, David LaRochelle. Single word picture book that would be a blast to read with a smart toddler or preschooler. The naughty pleasure of car theft, the thrill of fast driving, and the agony of the crash, and then the attempt to shift the blame would all amuse small kids and their readers.

Happy Birthday, Hamster, Cynthia Lord. I didn't like getting directly questioned but kids probably do. Definitely aimed at children but not in a bad way.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, Michelle Cuevas. Delicate illustrations set a mood, but I was unsympathetic with the gormless protagonist.

Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers, Kelly Bennett. Two dads can be fun even when they are in a divorce story rather than a gay family story.

Space Boy and the Space Pirate, Dian Curtis Regan. A story of unkindness told by the utterly unreflective main perpetrator, showing how casual self-centeredness, aided by childish misogyny, keeps friendships from forming.

I started but didn't finish:

Pilot XYou (You, #1)Book Scavenger (Book Scavenger, #1)Shadow's Seduction (Immortals After Dark, #17; The Dacians, #2)Angeleyes

Pilot X, Tom Merritt. Merritt is the host of Sword & Laser, a podcast/book club I tend to follow along, and he wrote a book, so I'm reading it. So far it's fun with a lot of intelligent time travel bits.

You, Caroline Kepnes. This is a bonus book for the reading team I'm on, and it's creepy -- you are deeply immersed in the brain of an evil stalker guy as he attempts to take over the life of a rather stereotypical New York young adult / writer grad student.

Book Scavenger, Jennifer Bertman. The last of the 2015 Cybils! Two friends hunt for books, and I think for a particular book pretty soon. 

Shadow's Seduction, Kresley Cole. The Vaginal Fantasy pick.

Angeleyes, Michael Z Williamson. The latest book in the Freehold universe, with Angie (codenamed Angeleyes) as a contractor to a bunch of Freehold superspies during the war with the Evil Earth U.N. The libertarian crunchiness was spoiled a bit by the emphasis on Angie's sex drive, which came off a bit creepy.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)The Best ManThe Golden Mean

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 4. Trade is not going so well for the rebuilding Liadens.

The Best Man, Richard Peck. (Disc 3/4) Cybils audio finalist. A lot of the characters seem to be mainly built on cliches of children's literature, with the clueless protagonist giving his companions an excuse to explain what is going on. But the narration is cheerful and I like Uncle Paul.

The Golden Mean, Annabel Lyon. The two timelines are both reaching pivot points -- Aristotle has met Plato, and Alexander has found battle.

These I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does HappenKenilworthSammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. It's rude not to dress for a party with the Queen, but what can you do when your ex-girlfriend has set up shop in your rooms?

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. I started the last one!
  2. Cybils 2016! 6 / a lot. Halfway through The Best Man. Picked up the next book from library.
  3. Reading My Library: Picked up final two books for the B bookcase.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 21/51. D.C. counts!