Monday, October 17, 2016

Reading Too Much

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I like books. And I need to stop reading a book a day for my Team Tapirs, because things like laundry and volunteer emails are falling by the wayside.

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 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:

Damsel in Distress (Daisy Dalrymple, #5)PegeenThe Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must DoThe Spirit Thief (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #1)
Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)The MarvelsBone Crossed (Mercy Thompson, #4)A Fashionable Indulgence (Society of Gentlemen, #1)H is for Hawk

Damsel in Distress, Carola Dunn. Daisy bring Alec down to meet her family, but the kidnapping of her old friend Philip's girl complicates the introductions. It's fun to see how he actually pops the question.

Pegeen, Hilda van Stockum. The happy ending did not come as a surprise, but how much I enjoyed the reconciliation between the big sister and the pesky girl did. I appreciated the chapter where little Peg works at being nice. I'll keep my eye out for more van Stockums; I like their clarity of vision and belief in the competency and importance of children.

The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater. The 4th (last?) book in the Raven Boys cycle. The book series works to its inevitable end, with death and rebirth inherent in all the foreshadowing. I like how different characters define kingship differently; some lose themselves in it while others gain themselves. My favorite characters is still The Grey Man.

* The Trouble With Boys, Peg Tyre. This was a hard book for me because I wanted to agree with many of her prescriptions but I had a fundamental problem with her basis. Tyre argues for schools that are more relevant to active children, that don't require kindergarteners to sit for reading lessons for hours without a recess, that accept more boisterous behavior and risk taking from higher level students. She seems to think that these are things that boys need, rather than things that many students, some of (most of?) whom happen to be male. Despite some lip service to the idea that differences between individuals are much vaster than differences between male and female students, she never looks back from the idea that boys need some things and girls need others. Even her example of having two sons so she knows about what boys need strikes me as supremely illogical. Wouldn't it make more sense to make unfounded generalizations if she had one active boy and one quiet girl? How does she know that her kids aren't showing a common family trait? Is her more active son more of a man then whichever one is quieter?

* The Spirit Thief, Rachel Aaron. Fun little story of a country that bans wizards, and then finds itself with a few too many. The magic system is innovative and gives a reason for our hero to be Special (TM) as well as for his companions to also be distinctive. No earthshattering emotional insights, but a quick and interesting read. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, although I expect things to deepen a bit.

* Iron Kissed, Patricia Briggs. I'm continueing my complete read of all things Briggs in preparation for seeing her at Foolscap in February. This is one of the squickier books in the series, because the magic the bad guys bring against her works on her consent rather than just being super strong and lethal. But Mercy's loyalty to her friends and lovers stays steadfast, and knowing that she survives makes it worthwhile.

* The Marvels, Brian Selznick. Another mix of gorgeous drawings and suspenseful text from the Calicott winning author was a great way to read a 600 page book for my Tapirs. I could not sink completely into the pages because I read it on my computer, which is not a great way to appreciate the pencil drawings, and because I was so indignant at the treatment of the main character by his parents, school, uncle and chance-met acquaintances that I was distracted from the stories within the story.

* Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs. Book 4 in the Mercy Thompson series gives a more convincing depiction of recovery from trauma than the last chapter of book 3 hinted at, which helps ground the story. I vaguely remember the next few books, so it was fun to pierce out the plotting of the vampire bosses even as Mercy had to suffer through the torture and problems they considered incidental to their plans. Mercy is a real hero, unwilling to let children come to harm or to let her friends sacrifice for her, although she is learning to accept help where she thinks it will do good.

* A Fashionable Indulgence, K.J. Charles. This is a non-magic series from this author, with men living in the political upheavals surrounding the time after the French revolutions. Our hero is plucked from poverty and groomed to inherit his father's wealth, but the old man is disgusted by his republican past and his father's politics. It takes a while to feel sympathy for Harry, since his immediate willingness to abandon his friends for a chance at money isn't the path of most romance heroes, but eventually he learns to balance his conscience with what he's willing to pay his grandfather.

* H Is for Hawk, Helen McDonald. This is a very interesting memoir, which tells the story of how the author reacted to her father's unexpected death by raising a goshawk and rereading T.H. White's book about doing the same thing, only badly. She mediates her grief by subsuming herself into the hawk's world, isolating herself from the too-painful world of humanity, but never able to escape completely because she's responsible for Mabel's (the hawk's) care. And meanwhile she compulsively rereads White's description of his time with a goshawk and she understands how he used that experience to deal with his problems, and eventually draws parallels to how Mabel is helping her handle her own. A gem of a book.

(* Books I started this week.)

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)Memory Man (Amos Decker, #1)Once a Rancher (The Carsons of Mustang Creek, #1)Trial and Temptation (Mandrake Company, #2)Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #1)

The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu. I really like who ibooks handles footnotes. It's even better than having bookmarks in a print copy and flipping around.

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. The political situation is laid out for us. Adele knows where to focus her information gathering.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. Aunts may be almost as scary as living deities.

Memory Man, David Baldacci. My second attempt at a book from this library shelf as part of my Reading My Library Quest. I don't really expect a lot of characterization in this genre, but making the main character emotionally handicapped by a brain injury may be taking things too far.

Once a Rancher, Linda Lael Miller. I chose this next audio Reading My Library book based on its location -- Wyoming. Time for the characters to get it on -- it's the end of their second date, so it's not like they are rushing anything.

Trial and Temptation, Ruby Lionsdrake (Lindsay Buroker).  So far I really like the very different viewpoints of the hero and heroine, and I'm surprised by how sympathetic I find him.

Dark Witch, Nora Roberts. I'm finally making progress on this old Vaginal Fantasy alt pick.

2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 43 out of 82. No change, although I have the last middle grade sitting on my bedside table.
  2. Reading My Library: Still working on Once a Rancher and Memory Man. 
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 39/51.  I'm working on Wyoming. I need the Dakotas, Utah, and Arkansas, among others.
  4. Full House Challenge:  25/25!
  5. Library Challenge: I'm at 212.  Thanks, library!
  6. Diversity Challenge 2016: 12/12. 11/12. Poetry is the tricky one. In October I'll looking at how many Native Americans appear in my books. Mercy Thompson is half Blackfoot, so that is upping my numbers: 4 books with American Indians, with 3 books identifying the tribe.
  7. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  50.  Time to make my shelves my BFF. Looking first to my shelves to handle Tapir problems.
  8. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 19/20.  Still need a Pulitzer.
  9. Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016: 12/12!
  10. Surprise Me Challenge:  Read the September book: The Trouble With Boys.
  11. Flash Bingo:  Summer still needs a book about books, and an Australian book. I'm setting up the Autumn books now.
  12. Literary Exploration Challenge: 12/12. Now I'll work on the 36 challenge -- 33/36

Books For the Fall

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I like books.

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 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:
Dead in the Water (Daisy Da...Bet MeSheer Folly (Daisy Dalrymple, #18)A Mourning Wedding (Daisy Dalrymple, #13)Nursing Homes Are MurderThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)The Adventures of Young Jos...Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits


Dead in the Water, Carola Dunn.  Daisy and Alec are feeling out their more solid relationship, while she works on her articles and he works on a murder case. She helps him out a bit more than he'd like, and he feels the burden of her comfort among the aristocrats that will never quite accept him.  This is a very fun way to get a sense of the times (I hope Dunn knows her stuff, because it feels so real I'm accepting it!).

* Bet Me, Jennifer Cruisie. Our Tuesday night pick, pushed by me because I remember liking it and it's among my sister's favorite. Also it's frothy and snarky, which is a welcome relief after the heavier stuff we've been wading through, filled with angst and murder and darkness. I think we're going for urban fantasy next, which will be another comfortable read.

* Sheer Folly, Carola Dunn. Daisy and Lucy are collaborating on a book and make a journey to see a rebuilt folly owned by a plumbing magnate. It's fun to see the two friends working together, not just on their project but also needling a rude lord ordering them about (Daisy offering to drive his car if he'll point out which pedal is the brake was priceless). The crime is unexpectedly dramatic, but the tensions between the changing classes are what makes the story so fun.

* A Mourning Wedding, Carola Dunn. Daisy is now expecting a baby (HA! Twins are in your future, my dear!) and she's down for her friend's wedding. This would have had some unwanted tension for me (I'm reading these books for sheer escape, not drama), but luckily I've read books set in the future so I was not concerned when shenanigans broke up the engagement on the eve of the (postponed for murder) ceremony.  I tested my theory about how to spot the bad guy and was proven correct, but I still have fun watching Alec question people and Daisy wrinkle out interesting confessions.

* Nursing Homes are Murder, Mike Befeler. A Reading My Library pick that got jumped up the queue because of the mountains on the cover. This is from a series about an octogenarian with severe memory problems (he forgets everything between sleeps) who somehow is used by the Hawaiian police to go undercover at a nursing home where an incredibly dumb crook is attacking the inmates. He amuses himself with terrible puns and jokes about his memory, which he shores up with elaborate journal entries. It would have worked better as a novella; the ridiculous premise keeps the mystery from having any tension after a few page turns.

* The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley. My Friday night book club pick was a blatant excuse to have pie for dinner, and well worth it. The book itself provided enough discussion room, with comments on the society mores at the time, how realistic the child's behavior was in terms of competency, lack of concern about the family's impending bankruptcy, and sisterly relations. I wouldn't mind reading more by this author, although I doubt I'll seek them out.

Under the Same Stars, Dean Hughes.  Ten year old Joseph Williams goes to Missouri with his family and other Mormon converts. Joseph adores and admires Prophet Joseph Smith, but he also wants to fit in, not be pointed out either as Mormon by outsiders or as tapped for greatness by fellow followers of Mr Smith. He wrestles with this as tensions between his community and the locals of Missouri rise -- prejudice against the new religion and resentment of the large group of immigrants who could tilt the electoral balance against slavery mean hatred and eventual brutal violence that threaten Joseph's family.

Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson. This husband and wife team produced a few elemental short story books, usually alternating places. Dickinson was better at keeping his stories short -- I know McKinley accidentally wrote two novels trying to finish the Fire book and the Pegasus series was also supposed to be a story for Air. These water stories are powerful and interesting -- Dickinson looks at religions and cultures and is willing to inflict permanent losses on his characters and people; McKinley is more about romance and decency, and I finally know who that last person in the fountain of Damar is! I'm glad I finally got around to reading these, even knowing there won't be any more.

(* Books I started this week.)

I found some picture books to read at the library:

A Bean, a Stalk and a Boy Named JackYoung Charlotte, FilmmakerTommy Can't Stop!Do Princesses Have Best Friends Forever?

A Bean, a Stalk, and a Boy Named Jack, William Joyce. A little too pat but I can see having fun reading it aloud. The pictures were lively and detailed enough to be interesting on repeat visits, and the combination of a known story with good-hearted twists would be appreciated by the sophisticated pre-schooler.

Young Charlotte, Film-maker, Frank Viva. This book, like Charlotte, is very proud of itself and it's icon-breaking willingness to go its own way. It has a lot of fun with black and white images, and letting shadows shape figures, and morphing from plebeian colors into the more sophisticated monochromes preferred by the hero. Again I think it would work well as a read-aloud.

Tommy Can't Stop, Tim Federly. As an adult, I found Tommy annoying and self-centered, and didn't have much sympathy for the way he let his love of continual motion destroy the happiness and belongings of those around him. I suspect kids would not worry about this as much, instead enjoying the energetic illustrations that encourage Tommy in his various over-exuberate gaits, which turn out to be the precursors of immediate talent on the dance floor. I just hope his sister gets a chance to have some time to herself now that she just has to gush over his success, not endlessly clean up his messes.

Do Princesses Have Best Friends Forever?, Carmela Coyle. I think this is part of a series, where girls who dress up call themselves princesses but then go on to have an ordinary day, in this case a play date complete with little brother and a trip to the zoo. It seems rather inoffensive, perhaps on the dull side but kids do like stories that feel like they could have lived them, and this certainly qualifies. It comes with a set of friendship bracelets which were still intact in the library's copy, showing either that kids in my neighborhood are very honest or that I'm the first to turn the pages, I'm not sure which.

This week I started and am still reading a few more books:

Trial and Temptation (Mandrake Company, #2)Damsel in Distress (Daisy Dalrymple, #5)The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)

Trial and Temptation, Ruby Lionsdrake (Lindsay Buroker). The next in her space romance series, so I'm hoping for snarky protagonists, intelligent but clueless lovers, and lots of clever plot shenanigans.

Damsel in Distress, Carola Dunn. Daisy bring Alec down to meet her family, but the kidnapping of her old friend Philip's girl complicates the introductions. It's fun to see how he actually pops the question.

The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater. The 4th (last?) book in the Raven Boys cycle. I'm hoping that Gansey somehow lives, and that Blue gets a good path forward. I'm fairly sure I'll get that second, but I'm a little nervous about the first. The instant Gansey appeared it was with a big foreshadowing death prediction over his head.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)PegeenIron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)Memory Man (Amos Decker, #1)Once a Rancher (The Carsons of Mustang Creek, #1)

The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu. Back to the game, which involves strange things happening and people failing to figure them out and everyone dying.

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. Lining up more backstory which I hope will pay off soon. Luckily the characters are fun to hang out with.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. Proof positive that a god still lives! Curious and curiouser.

Pegeen, Hilda van Stockum. This is the part of the book where the little girl makes mistakes and grows from them. I hate that part, so I'm dragging my feet over it.

Iron Kissed, Patricia Briggs. I've reached the part where Zee gets arrested. Maybe I'll try reading from the back in.

Memory Man, David Baldacci. My second attempt at a book from this library shelf as part of my Reading My Library Quest. So far I've gotten a good bite out of the book. Hmm, our memory man is so good at figuring things out that the FBI are looking very suspiciously at him.

Once a Rancher, Linda Lael Miller. I chose this next audio Reading My Library book based on its location -- Wyoming. It's a cowboy romance, and I find the names hilarious: Slater, Drake (isn't that a duck?), and Mace (the weapon? the spray?). Actually I've sneaked in a Daisy Dalrymple so I only listen everyone once in a while.

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. I admit I haven't made much progress with all the Tapir reading I've been doing.


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.
Kenilworth, Walter Scott.
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: 43 out of 82. Well, I would be in good shape if I ever read any of these...
  2. Reading My Library: Still working on Once a Ranger and Memory Man. Snuck in Nursing Homes are Murder during the week.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 39/51. Picked up Hawaii. I'm working on Wyoming. I need the Dakotas, Utah, and Arkansas, among others.
  4. Full House Challenge:  25/25!
  5. Library Challenge: I'm at 208.  Thanks, library!
  6. Diversity Challenge 2016: 12/12. 11/12. Poetry is the tricky one. In October I'll looking at how many Native Americans appear in my books. So far, still none, but then I've been reading a lot of British detective stories.
  7. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  48.  Time to make my shelves my BFF. Looking first to my shelves to handle Tapir problems.
  8. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 19/20.  Still need a Pulitzer.
  9. Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016: 12/12!
  10. Surprise Me Challenge:  I keep almost reading Positively. Picked the October book.
  11. Flash Bingo:  Summer still needs a book about books, and an Australian book. I'm setting up the Autumn books now.
  12. Literary Exploration Challenge: 12/12. Now I'll work on the 36 challenge -- 33/36

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Autumn Bingo!

Pretty Deadly Reviews hosts seasonal Bingo Challenges, where you only have a few months to get as many Bingos as possible. I tried the Spring and Summer ones and had a lot of fun (and many BINGOs!), so I'm back for the Autumn Challenge!  For this challenge, the books must be read by November 30th.


OK, I can't get the picture to show up, so we'll just go text based here.

I'll draw my ASCII bingo square to keep track:

X X X X X
X X X X X
X X X X X
X X X X X
X X X X O    BINGO! BINGO! BINGO! BINGO! BINGO! BINGO! BINGO!


Standalone Book: 
  • Bet Me, Jennifer Cruisie 10/11/16
Back List
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley 10/14/16
Multi POV
  • The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater 10/18/16
Killers
  • Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs 10/22/16
Suspense
  • Anthem for Doomed Youth, Carola Dunn 10/30/16
***********

Animal on Cover
  • H Is For Hawk, Helen McDonald 10/23/16
Sea Creatures
  • Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, Robin McKinley & Peter Dickinson (10/16/16)
Green Cover
  • A Gentleman's Position, K.J. Charles 11/2/16
Revenge
  • Sheer Folly, Carola Dunn 10/12/16
Rec'd to You
  • The Marvels, Brian Selznick 10/22/16
***************
Purple Cover– 
  • Cross Your Heart, Michele Bardsley 11/26/16 
Horror/Paranormal
  • Home Improvement, ed. Charlaine Harris & Toni Kelner 11/1/16
Free
  • A Mourning Wedding, Carola Dunn 10/13/16
Illustrated 
  • Pegeen, Hilda von Stockum 10/17/16
American History
  • Under the Same Stars, Dean Hughes 10/16/16
***************
Dragons
  • Dragonsinger, Anne McCaffrey 10/27/16
Friendship
  • Iron Kissed, Patricia Briggs 10/21/16
Retelling
  • Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children: Graphic Novel, Ransom Riggs 11/17/16
Black Cover
  • Branded by the Pink Triangle, Ken Setterington 10/28/31
Weapon on Cover
  • Nine Princes in Amber, Roger Zelazny 10/29/16
***************
Fall Release
  • Dark Witch, Nora Roberts 10/24/16
Creepy Cover
  • Mistletoe and Murder, Carola Dunn 11/3/16
Short Story
  • Feast of Stephen, K.J. Charles 11/3/16
Graphic Novel
  • Twin Spica 11, Kou Yaginuma 11/7/16
College

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Struck Down

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
This weekend was GeekGirlCon, a place to celebrate all things geeky and the women who enjoy and create it.  I talked my older son into coming along and we had a good time. He wanted to attend some sessions about women in D&D groups, since he runs a few and wanted to make sure they were as accessible to girls as possible. The only firm takeaway was that all-women gaming groups are often great, but that didn't really help him with his campaigns, though.

It was nice to have him along not only because he's an interesting companion, but also because he's a city boy with a casual mastery of the bus system. I'm always convinced I'm going to somehow leap on the wrong bus and find myself in Kansas. Which is obvious unlikely because few of our metro lines venture over the mountains, but irrational fears don't both about details like that.  A more realistic worry is that I'll be reading and miss my stop, but apparently that also was not a concern. X only made fun of me a little, because the bus we rode started and ended at our respective destinations, so it would have required a lot of work to do it wrong.

Then I woke up sick on Sunday so we skipped the second day. Curse these mortal bonds! He had already decided to stay home and work on college essays and homework, although when I woke up between naps to evade my symptoms I mostly heard the kids having fun. Turns out they never even noticed the lump that was me beneath the cats sleeping on top (it was their idea of a fun day -- human warming bottle stays on comfortable bed all day!)

I'm still reading more than I should because of my dedication to my reading Team Tapirs, but we've just started the final event so soon I should become responsible again.

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 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:

Scotsman of My Dreams (MacIain, #2)Summer Garden MurderLast SummerRomancing the Duke (Castles Ever After, #1)Song of the SparrowOnce a Soldier (Rogues Redeemed, #1)
Law of the Desert BornRequiem for a Mezzo (Daisy Dalrymple, #3)Faro's DaughterLittle PlumTerrorist: Gavrilo Princip, the Assassin Who Ignited World War IDeath at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1)

Scotsman of My Dreams, Karen Ranney. Not the fault of this book, but this was the fourth one this month with a blind hero, so I felt a bit tired. It was the culmination of a solo title chain I did for my Team Tapirs that was completely built around my desire to read Murder on the Flying Scotsman. The pieces of this romance were all right -- independent woman, arrogant aristocrat brought low by injury, the mystery of the murdering brother, but they didn't all gel. Once again it was too long for its premise, a problem I often have with 300 page romances. 200-250 pages is my sweet spot.

Summer Garden Murder, Ann Ripley. (Title chain!) I spent the entire book wondering why the characters never called a lawyer. She almost has a nervous breakdown because she is so scared of being arrested when bodies keep turning up in her yard, but somehow it never occurs to her, or her high-powered government husband, or her urban-studies daughter, or anyone around her, that a lawyer would be handy. My suspension of disbelief never recovered. The mystery was solved by accident. I didn't really engage with any of the characters, main or side, so it was not a successful entry into the middle of this series.

Last Summer, Holly Chamberlain. Careful description of two families who almost lose each other over bullying. I like how no one was demonized -- the overreaction of the bullied girl's mother rings true as does the reason the best friend made the mistake of betraying her neighbor. There wasn't much tension as the story started near the end and wove details of the culminating incident through the story, so it was obviously a record of the families coming back together. It definitely made single child families look vulnerable, but I suspect any family the overprotective mom had would be fragile.

Romancing the Duke, Tessa Dare. Fun, but a bit too long for the silliness. This was the Vaginal Fantasy pick for September. It was a cracky historical romance with cosplaying 19th century English nobs roaming around the country and a reluctantly romantic heroine caught in the story. And another blind hero!  I enjoyed it but wished it had been a 100 pages shorter.

* Song of the Sparrow, Lisa Ann Spandell.  This poor book suffered tremendously by the fact that I read Nicola Griffith's Hild earlier this year. In comparison, this seemed a time-slip book about an eleven year old girl who wakes up in a teenaged body in Britain with a proto-King Arthur's army. And it's written in verse form, which I hate, and it definitely feels like "hit return a lot" rather than "speaks in poetry". About 2/3 of the way in, I arbitrarily decided that the main character was indeed 11, not 17, and then I liked her a lot more as her decisions made sense for a naive child while they would be idiotic in a near-adult.

Once a Soldier, Mary Jo Putney. The people sure do talk a lot, which is usual in Putney's books. I liked the vivid setting (the place, if not the period), and the competency of the women. Usually Putney's characters work through problems, but in this case they simply leapfrogged them  -- the heroine had legitimate worries about marriage but a sudden catastrophe made her disregard them, and then they magically disappeared. So the conflict was weak but the setting was pleasant.

* Law of the Desert Born, Louis L'Amour. Small stories about the west, which went down easily since I just watched The Magnificent Seven (both the old one and the new release). The movie's gorgeous scenery made it easier to visualize the rough country the various heroes went through. The late story about a man digging gold from a collapsing structure was really well done.

Requiem For a Mezzo, Carola Dunn. A fun early book, with Alec and Daisy dating and feeling unsure of each other. I'm still enjoying jumping around in this series, so I can see how early pieces show up in later books.  The mysteries are unobjectionable, especially since they often have a final stinger at the end.

* Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer.  This is a wonderful opera of a book -- grand gestures, absurd situations, vividly colored but utterly flimsy scenery. Explaining the plot to my son was a special pleasure, especially his incredulity that I considered the engagement of the main characters at the conclusion of the book to be "a happy ever after" when clearly they would be utterly miserable together. I told him that they were soap bubble people who pop when you close the covers.

* Little Plum, Rumer Godden. This children's book, older than am I, tells the story of a young girl who carelessly bullies the over-protective girl next door. I found it a realistic depiction of how self-centered children can be, being so wrapped up in their own worlds that they don't peer out to see how they are affecting other children. Once Belinda must confront her actions, she desperately wants to put things right, and Godden gives her the opportunity. I also liked the sheer competence displayed by all the children, from Belinda's acrobatics to her brother's carpentry and her cousin's dollwork.

* Terrorist: Gavrilo Princip, The Assassin Who Ignited World War I. Henrik Wehr.  The last Cybils YA Graphic Novel. A very strong field this year!

* Death at Wentwater Court, Carola Dunn. The first in the series, with Daisy and Alec meeting and solving a case involving a murdered scoundrel and the family he disrupts first with his presence, and then with his absence. I liked the ending, with Daisy and Alec in opposition over her management of justice.

(* Books I started this week.)

This week I started and am still reading a few more books:

Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)Memory Man (Amos Decker, #1)Once a Rancher (The Carsons of Mustang Creek, #1)

Iron Kissed, Patricia Briggs. I'm rereading all of the Briggs books in anticipation of meeting her next February. This is a tough one, since Mercy will get hurt very badly. This happens a lot, actually, because as she complains sometimes, she's definitely at a disadvantage hanging with werewolves and other superstrong types, but the nature of the attack in this one is very emotional.

Memory Man, David Baldacci. My second attempt at a book from this library shelf as part of my Reading My Library Quest. So far I've gotten a good bite out of the book. The memory stuff is indeed very cool.

Once a Rancher, Linda Lael Miller. I chose this next audio Reading My Library book based on its location -- Wyoming. It's a cowboy romance, and I find the names hilarious: Slater, Drake (isn't that a duck?), and Mace (the weapon? the spray?).

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)Pegeen

The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu. The cop has ideas of how to deal with the abnormalities, and clearly they can't be worse than what the scientists are doing.

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. Our intrepid characters are wandering around the space port.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. Murder and mayhem are good!

Pegeen, Hilda van Stockum. This is the part of the book where the little girl makes mistakes and grows from them. I hate that part, so I'm dragging my feet over it.

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. I admit I haven't made much progress with all the Tapir reading I've been doing.


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.
Kenilworth, Walter Scott.
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: 43 out of 82. I finished YA Graphic Novels. It looks like I'm way behind, but I'm really in fairly good shape since the ones left are mostly very short.
  2. Reading My Library: Working on Once a Ranger and Memory Man. 
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 38/51. I am officially way behind! I am supposed to be just about done at the end of this month. 
  4. Full House Challenge:  25/25!
  5. Library Challenge: I'm at 203.  Glad to see this one is still moving.
  6. Diversity Challenge 2016: 12/12. 11/12. Poetry is the tricky one. In October I'll looking at how many Native Americans appear in my books. So far, still none, but then I've been reading a lot of British detective stories.
  7. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  46.  Time to make my shelves my BFF. I did acquire a few new books, but most of them were for collection purposes.
  8. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 19/20.  Still need a Pulitzer.
  9. Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016: 12/12!
  10. Surprise Me Challenge:  I keep almost reading Positively. Picked the October book.
  11. Flash Bingo: I still need need a book about books, and an Australian book. It's really too late -- I should be halfway through the Autumn book.
  12. Literary Exploration Challenge: 12/12. Now I'll work on the 36 challenge -- 33/36