Monday, August 1, 2016

Splendid Vacations, Or Why My Family Is the Best

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Well, I missed last week, but I have a good excuse. Before my kids got over their jet lag from their European vacation with their dad, I dragged them off for a cruise with my extended family. 19 of us -- cousins, aunts, grandparents, in-laws, everyone we could round up, booked a trip through the Caribbean together. It was glorious.

I refused to buy internet for the trip, so we did have some trouble hooking up with the rest, but it meant I had to focus on the world around me, which was filled with lovely people, delightful scenery, and exciting opportunities. I tried surfing on the boat's water slide; I zip lined through the trees of Roatan in Honduras, I lost a shuffleboard match with my mother, and I spilled beer on the beaches of Mexico. I had chances to see family members I see too rarely, and I had chances to curl up with a book in spots overlooking refreshing views of sea, sun, and beauty. It was amazing.

And then I descended on the home of my best friend since second grade and we spent two days lounging about before going out for supper and a bookstore (or a candy store). Well, I lounged -- she ended up having to work. But her industry made my slothfulness more delicious somehow. Pure delight. Best vacation ever. I even managed to finish a few books, which is good because my WOBBLE reading team is still going strong.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, 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 that is a particular interest of mine, I check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My pile of books for this week:

Cruel MiraclesIslands of Rage & Hope (Black Tide Rising, #3)Friendly GablesCastaway PlanetStar Nomad (Fallen Empire, #1)Bad Blood (Kate Shugak #20)WHISPER OF MAGICThe Thirteenth UnicornPenric and the ShamanFunny In Farsi: A Memoir Of Growing Up Iranian In America

Cruel Miracles, Orson Scott Card. I think I read these short stories decades ago as part of a giant anthology, but the details have faded. I've been interested in religion in science fiction stories, so these fit that itch very nicely.

Islands of Rage and Hope, John Ringo. Except for the scene at the beginning which was apparently written as a dare ("invent a situation where it's acceptable for a 12 year old girl has sex with a 17 year old boy!") and which had no connection or relevance to the rest of the book at all, it was another romp through a zombie invested future. I liked reading them as research for my Caribbean cruise; this one had more shore excursions and then a final detour to England to rescue Prince Harry.

Friendly Gables, Hilda van Stockum. A fun story about a large Catholic family adjusting to a strict nurse helping their mother recover from the birth of twins. Along the way they convince a Canadian boy that not all Americans are scoundrels. Take that, PEI folks! Now I need to find the first of the series.

Castaway Planet, Eric Flint & Ryk Spoor. Swiss Family Robinson in SPACE! Just what it says on the tin. I think they switched Jack & Ernest, though.

Star Nomad, Lindsay Buroker. Fun and inventive space romp with a captain assembling her varied crew. Promising start to a series and vintage Buroker.

Bad Blood, Dana Stabenow. A detective and a police officer hope their differing approaches to crime solving won't damage their relationship as murder sweeps through a small Alaskan village. The setting was a huge asset as I hadn't read the previous 19 books so some characterization seemed sketchy.

Whisper of Magic, Patricia Rice. I found the setting a bit unsteady, although the light touch and energetic characters hid that somewhat in this magical regency romance. There was a dearth of communication between our protagonists.

The Thirteenth Unicorn, W.D. Newman. I wish all the characters had been boys, because then I wouldn't have noticed the gender stereotypes as much. Other than that, this was a fun portal fantasy about a plucky boy and his athletic sister, whose athleticism is mentioned in the first chapter but never really evidenced in the plot (well, she can out sprint him occasionally).

Penric and the Shaman, Lois McMaster Bujold. Penric has settled into his demonic possession and can now use his talents for detection. The tone is familiar as is the emphasis on science and deduction, which is fun to see in a world with demons.

Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh Dumas. Life as an Iranian immigrant before and after the hostage crisis, and with a wide and colorful cast of relatives. I'm not sure Firoozeh and I would get along in real life, but it was fun hearing about her adventures navigating elementary school without English and high school without resources.

and last week:

Only Enchanting (The Survivors' Club, #4)Counterpunch (Belonging, #2)Heat of the Night (Dream Guardians, #2)Prey for a Miracle (Sister Agatha, #3)Born of Fury (The League, #6)America: Imagine a World Without Her

Only Enchanting, Mary Balough. I lost this book on the cruise, and it was a library book! Only sad part of the whole vacation.
Counterpunch, Aleksandr Voinov. Odd little M/M romance book that I read for the boxing content.
Heat of the Night,  Sylvia Day. This completely did not work for me, I hope because it was the middle of the series. Many people have recommended this author, but I do not recommend this book.
Prey For a Miracle, Aimee Thurlo. A nun uses her journalism background to solve mysteries while the convent she lives at struggles for funding. I appreciated the Catholic flavor to this story that allowed but did not require miracles to work.
Born of Fury, Sherrilyn Kenyon. Strong men, stronger women, and a willingness to forget plot points that become inconvenient as the story surges on make this a fun beach read. The sex was actually a bit tedious, and the cute kids cloying, but the combat was fun.
America: Imagine a World Without Her, Denesh D'Souza. This was not a persuasive argument for conservatives. One chapter extolled the wonders of conservative America's willingness to invest in Europe and Japan through the Marshall Plan, the next condemned the horrors of liberal America's inclination to throw money away by giving aid to countries in Africa or other boring places. Breaking treaties with American Indians is fine because the land wasn't even theirs a few thousand years ago.  Obama is bad because reasons.

I started and am still reading more books:

The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1)The Crocodile's Last Embrace (Jade del Cameron Mysteries, #6)Changes (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles, #3)Find MeA Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

The Blackthorn Key, Kevin Sands. The next Cybils book, set in the 1600s.
The Crocodile's Last Embrace, Suzanne Arruda. The next Reading My Library book, set in Kenya (I think).
Changes, Mercedes Lackey. The next Reading My Library audio, after I ran out of time with the Kinsolver.
Find Me, Rosie O'Donnell. My reading team needs books with author names starting with the letter "O."
A Court of Thorns and Roses, Susan Maas. I'd better hurry up and finish the August pick for my Vaginal Fantasy meet up. I still haven't gotten the main.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Flowers of AdonisFlight Behavior

The Flowers of Adonis, Rosemary Sutcliff. The house of cards is tumbling.

Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver. Reading My Library Quest audio book, set in Tennessee. Horrors -- the library wants it back, right after the TV appearance that puts the fox in among the chickens. I'll put in a bookmark (disc 7, track 10) and try to hear the next one quickly and then reloot this book.

The next few books I'm not really reading, just dipping into between the books I'm trying to finish so that I can pretend that I'm going to read the books on my bookcases.


A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)KenilworthSammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to ReadThe Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen

A Traitor To Memory, Elizabeth George.
Emerald Atlas, John Stephens. The big sister has a terrible idea.
Kenilworth, Walter Scott. The lady flees although we aren't sure who pursueth.
Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.
The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca.

2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 34 out of 82. I've started The Blackthorn Key.
  2. Reading My Library:  I'm on disc 7 of many of Flight Behavior and the library called it home! So I started Mercedes Lackey's Changes. Also reading The Crocodile's Last Embrace.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 37/51. Picked up South Carolina, Connecticut, and Alaska. Woot!
  4. Full House Challenge:  25/25!
  5. Library Challenge: I'm at 142. 
  6. Diversity Challenge 2016: 12/12. 10/12. Got the autistic book. Poetry may be harder. Started tracking religion for August. If the author makes it clear somewhere, I'll put that, otherwise what the characters mention about themselves.
  7. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  30. I made my goal!
  8. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 18/20. Need banned book and a Pulizer.
  9. Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016: 11/12. Grabbed the immigrant experience but need a debut in 2016.
  10. Surprise Me Challenge:  Ooh, time to pick the August book! Wait, I did that early and already read it. Okay, time to go back to the January book!
  11. Flash Bingo: Summer time! New bingo card! Stuck on the last few squares!
  12. Literary Exploration Challenge: 12/12. Now I'll work on the 36 challenge -- 30/36

1 comment:

David McClendon said...

Wow, it sounds like you have a lot of books to read and that you have read. Very good descriptions of the books, too.