Monday, April 24, 2017

Happy Birthday To My Son

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
This week I am facing off with a cold (so far it's two out of three; we'll know tomorrow who ends up victorious), marched for SCIENCE, and celebrated my youngest's birthday. We made him a cake and took him out to dinner, since he apparently could not think of anything I cook that he likes. I will assume it was because the choices were so plentiful he was overwhelmed. I will assume that very hard.

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 my audio book qualifies, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this week:

Out of Abaton, Book 1: The Wooden PrinceThe Stolen Mackenzie Bride (MacKenzies & McBrides, #8)Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, #18)By Jove

The Wooden Prince (Out of Abaton #1), John Claude Bemis. This is a Cybils audio finalist, so I'm actually making miniscule progress on this year's choices. It's a fun audio book, especially if you have a Pinocchio background (I've read the book and seen the Disney film, although not recently). The narrator was flexible and fun, and the special effects kept things lively. Recommended.

The Stolen MacKenzie Bride
, Jennifer Ashley. I have finally conquered this shelf for my Reading My Library Quest. This is the third or fourth attempt. I didn't actually like it much (it's not a good romance when you spend the book rooting for them to get away from each other) but I was determined to finish it. The writing itself was fine and the history stuff was interesting; I suspect I'd like her books from earlier in this series, which are set about a hundred years later.

* Never Go Back, Lee Child. I rolled another die to select my next Jack Reacher book, and got the one that the movie I saw was mostly based on. It was fun enough, especially with the distraction of noticing the changes (New Orleans vs Los Angeles, how much time the kid spends with them, how much sex he has with the woman, the interaction with the cop who catches up to them, the conclusion) and how they worked with book vs movie. I won't mind reading another Reacher book, although I'm not in a hurry to do so.

By Jove, Marissa Doyle. Not a bad read, but it felt oddly old-fashioned, as if it were written about twenties years ago. Maybe people who read classics are always behind the times in terms of what they worry about? I got a bit impatient with the protagonist, both her whininess and her vacillation, as well as her willingness to accept blame for being raped, but not so much I didn't enjoy her final victory.

(* Books I started this week.)

I started but didn't finish:

NOTHING! I am attempting to finish up books instead of starting them because I signed up for another team-reading thing that starts May the Fourth (be with you). I'm team Revenge of the Sith.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)Boy, Snow, BirdWritten in Red (The Others, #1)City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)Reading and Learning to Read

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. I think we're near the end. The boy client is safe and Daniel has figured out how to find all the treasures. Then traffic let up and we got to school.

Boy, Snow, Bird Helen Oyeyemi. My reading-my-library audio. It looks like Arturo is here to stay, since we're meeting all his family. I like the book store crowd.

Written in Red, Anne Bishop. The alt Vaginal Fantasy book. I'm liking this better than the Falconer, because we get more viewpoints and the main character doesn't rejoice in the blood of others. Well. The supporting characters do, but they aren't supposed to be human and we are supposed to find that a bit off-putting.

City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett. I'm clearing off my currently-reading shelves! I got halfway through this before I got distracted, but now I'm concentrating. I forget who the good guys are; I think this is one of those murky books. I hope I'm old enough to handle that.

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen. Sammy is out to lunch with her annoying mother, who makes eyes at the mother of her nemesis, who shares her birthday.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. Where does vocabulary come from? How is it used?

I abandoned:

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)

The Falconer, Elizabeth May. Sorry, I found the narrator annoying, and the discussion over at Vaginal Fantasy indicated that all the annoying stuff was there to stay. She had me convinced she was a murderous psychopath and that the fairies she blindly hunted were mostly good guys, which I don't think was the author's intention. So her gloating, drug-addict like pleasure every time she slaughtered someone didn't make for a fun reading experience.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. Need to finish these up. I own the last one, so it keeps getting pushed behind due library books. Focus! (No change from last week)
  2. Cybils 2016! 3 / a lot. Finished my first audio. I have something checked out but haven't started it.
  3. Reading My Library: Now on disc 2 of Boy Snow Bird. Finished the Ashley romance, and can now return to the B shelf.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 15/51. Lots of duplicates. I'm regretting a little that I only record one book per state.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Oops -- Forgot It Was Monday

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
My tax year resolution is to keep this status post up to date, so I can see what I was reading and what things I was reading against each other. It's the first week of this resolution, and already I forgot. So, a day late, here is my reading for the week..

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 read a couple of kidlit books, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this week:
The Enemy (Jack Reacher, #8)Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure (An Aunt Dimity Mystery #21)A Week in the WoodsSummer in Orcus

The Enemy, Lee Child. This book was a surprising amount of fun, and those of us in book club who bothered to read it were quite pleased. I did object to the end, where Reacher sacrifices himself to protect the reputation of a marine who was a poor innocent who had the misfortune to be gay. Apparently the small detail that the man also casually beat up women wasn't worth remembering, despite the fact that the thing that tripped Reacher up was that he didn't hesitate to beat up the guy who he had *thought* beat up the woman. When he realizes it was someone in the army, well, then she probably had it coming. But besides that, we felt lucky that we had accidently skipped to the chronological first book (#8 in the series) where the author had a firmer grasp on narrative and character.

* Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure, Nancy Atherton. I was just wishing for a book without conflict this week, and then I picked up the latest Aunt Dimity and it fit the bill perfectly. This was was sunny and pleasant all the way through. The children were cute and convenient, strangers were quirky and accommodating, and everything came up roses all the time. The closest thing to gloom was that the characters would occasionally muse that something not perfect might happen, but then of course the imperfections never appeared and life continued along harmoniously. Also, our heroine Lori probably has the most important Anglo-Saxon archeological find of this century in her backyard, but she doesn't tell anyone because she likes a quiet life.

* A Week in the Woods, Andrew Clements. I've read this before, but not for probably over ten years. I vaguely remember Mark, the rich kid who is lonely in his new town, but on this rereading I was much more interested in the teacher who misjudges him, and even more so in the rarely mentioned mom who is concentrating on her career while Mark is home with the housekeeper and her spouse, and who compensates for her absence by being a bit overprotective. I was very interested in my changing reactions; the kids in my book club were mostly interested in the question of whether teachers are expected to be fair.

Summer in Orcus, T. Kingfisher. Ursula Vernon has been publishing this serially (I'm a Patreon) and finished at the end of last year, but she had got ahead of me because I was enjoying savoring it. It's a kidlit portal fantasy with a girl who is brave and determined but utterly without super powers, and yet she still manages to do a lot and to acquire many good and loyal friends. It's a great weaving of myths and fairy tale stories and tropes with a solid emotional core.

(* Books I started this week.)

I started but didn't finish:
The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)Written in Red (The Others, #1)

The Falconer, Elizabeth May. This is the current Vaginal Fantasy pick, and I'm finding it a bit of a slog. An emotional teen has dedicated her life to killing fairies after the murder of her mother; we see her behaving badly at a ball as she continually sneaks off to kill stuff. I'm afraid she's coming off more as a psychopath than a righteous vigilante; I know she thinks all fairies are evil and deserve to die in a fire but I have no reason to believe her. Hints of steampunk inventions all about would be more fun if I didn't have a slight distaste for that genre.

Written in Red, Anne Bishop. The alt Vaginal Fantasy book. Obviously I ordered and obtained both of these almost simultaneously because they are both coming due this month. I'm slow starting the Bishop because I wasn't too enthusiastic about her earlier works, and I find the "American Indians don't exist" premise a bit off-putting. But I'll give it a try.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)By JoveThe Stolen Mackenzie Bride (MacKenzies & McBrides, #8)The Span of Empire (Jao #3)Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Boy, Snow, BirdRaven's Shadow (Raven, #1)Out of Abaton, Book 1: The Wooden Prince

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. We only got a few more minutes in, but things are looking good for their client in terms of life-expectancy.

By Jove, Marissa Doyle. The men are rather annoying, but if they are supposed to be Greek or Roman deities, I guess that makes sense. It's a bit slow moving for a romance, actually.

The Stolen MacKenzie Bride, Jennifer Ashley. This is my next text Reading-My-Library quest book, and I'm really not enjoying it. Still. He's still annoying and I don't want her near him, and reading from the back they are all going to be idiots for Prince Charles.

The Span of Empire, Eric Flint & David Carrico. So far it's delivering what I expect, although we're still in the process of delineating the main characters and info-dumping back story. They have managed to annoy the crazy-evil aliens, so that's a good start in the plot direction.

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. They are close to the actual heist location, but keep pausing to get some more angsty background about the horrors these children march through on their way to their current personalities. I can only take a few childhood horrors before needing to switch to something else, but it's a good book.

Boy, Snow, Bird Helen Oyeyemi. My reading-my-library audio. I appreciate the independence and individuality of the main character, although I'm not sure about the Arturo fellow she keeps seeing.

Raven's Shadow, Patricia Briggs. This is an earlier work, before she went into urban fantasy. I like it, but I own it so I tend to read the things that are due to the library. However, the characters just figured out a major plot point, so I expect they will start getting stuff done, encouraging me to read on.

The Wooden Prince (Out of Abaton #1), John Claude Bemis. This is a Cybils audio finalist, but I couldn't read it for a long time because first the library called it home, and then I switched cars with my sister and couldn't plug my phone into the audio system. But my car came home to me and I took a road trip to Oregon, so I've almost completed this retelling of Pinocchio with steampunk alchemists and magical fairies serving their immortal lord. It's fun to have the extra sound effects and music to the story; it feels more like a performance.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. Need to finish these up. I own the last one, so it keeps getting pushed behind due library books. Focus! (No change from last week)
  2. Cybils 2016! 2/ a lot. Very close to finishing my first audio, which will bring me up to THREE!
  3. Reading My Library: Still on disc 1 of Boy Snow Bird. I still don't like the Ashley romance from the paper section of the library.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 13/51. Andrew Clements clearly set his book in New Hampshire -- thanks, Mr Author!

Monday, April 10, 2017

What I Did Instead of My Taxes

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
This year I've barely been reading at all. Even my picture book consumption is down. So I'm practicing binge-watching TV (currently watching Great British Baking Show). Maybe I'll find a new hobby. But in the interests of future me, I'll remind myself of what I was reading this week.

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 read a couple of YA, I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My completed books for this week:

Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School, #4)Passing StrangeLeague of Dragons (Temeraire, #9)Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous

Manners and Mutity, Gail Carriger. The final book in the YA series has the same syncopated rhythm, with our heroine wavering between farce and real emotions. We learn secrets about some old friends, which I would appreciate more if I had read the books closer together so I could remember all the bits that were hints. Now that I'm old and forgetful, I had to be reminded that Soap had been werewolfed at the end of the previous story, which now I recall was a major event. Fun and frothy, with a bit of real emotion weaving through.

* Passing Strange, Ellen Klages. I've met and talked with Klages, which is a great way to keep me buying books, and with Klages I'm never disappointed. I've loved her short stories and her children's books; there's always a through-line of emotional realism and respect for characters in all her varied writing. I think this started as an online novella for Tor, but I read it as a printed novel from the library; I highly recommend it for it's delicate romance and peek into a bit of San Francisco history, with a bonus touch of magic and sabotage for extra flavor.

League of Dragons, Naomi Novak. I confess that I didn't race to read this book; the Temaraire series had seemed to be morphing into a bit of a travelogue -- interesting enough but lacking in narrative cohesion. And I loathed the amnesia subplot in a recent book. But I grabbed it in audio book for my Reading-My-Library quest (and luckily also picked up a paperback copy since Disc 6 was unreadable) and this conclusion worked really well, finally incorporating some actual character growth that resulted in different choices by the dragon and his captain. Several scenes were laugh-out-loud delightful, and I only occasionally wanted to pour a bucket of cold water over Laurence's head.

(george), E.L. Konigsburg. I remember liking this as a child, so I grabbed a copy when I saw it somewhere (book swap? used book store? no idea) and finally got around to rereading it. I vividly remembered that it was about a bright boy who had another personality inside him that adults didn't believe in, but as an adult *I* wasn't sure I believed in George either! It was really interesting to read it from the opposite perspective, where instead of rooting along with a smart kid being misunderstood by bumbling adults, I also sympathised with (some of) the adults who sincerely cared about him.

Super Famous: Ms Marvel Vol 5, G. Willow Wilson. Evil people put up a billboard of Ms Marvel promoting them, and now everyone hates her. Because the world is stupid. This is believable (hello, President Trump) but not fun reading. Also, she's having problems jugging her Avengers work with her school work. I confess that as the balance shifts from defeating evil doers to dealing with regular people I get a bit bored, so I hope we get more action and less teen drama in the next few.

(* Books I started this week.)

I started but didn't finish:
The Span of Empire (Jao #3)Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)The Enemy (Jack Reacher, #8)Boy, Snow, Bird

The Span of Empire, Eric Flint & David Carrico. The Tuesday book club is reading the first of this series, which I read and liked and which is available from the Baen Free Library. I hadn't realized that the death of Eric's co-author was the reason for the delay until I heard about the new book on the Baen podcast. Also I only vaguely remember the second book. I'm expecting long descriptions of weapons, fairly repetitive characters, and a victorious ending that is good fun along the way.

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. This is the book for next month's book club, which the library surprised me with a few weeks early (it had a lengthy hold list, which is why it's next month's book). It's a YA heist book that I would enjoy more if I weren't so squeamish about child pain involving teens 16-18 (my children's ages) and the enormous heaps of tragic backstory and current physical and emotional trauma the author delights in heaping on them. I would have loved it at any other time, though, and I've already recommended it to said offspring.

The Enemy, Lee Child. This is the book for THIS month's book club, which meets this Friday. It's a Jack Reacher story, and from the first chapter it may chronologically be the first book. It's set in North Carolina, which means it might also be the setting for the book by Diane Capri about the search for Jack Reacher, which I read before any actual Jack Reacher books. We'll see what dim memories it illuminates.

Boy, Snow, Bird Helen Oyeyemi. This has been on my to-read list for three years, so when I saw it on the next shelf of audio books in my library I picked it up. So far I like the narrator and her understated New York accent, and I think I can make it through eight CDs.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)By JoveThe Stolen Mackenzie Bride (MacKenzies & McBrides, #8)Summer in Orcus

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. They are rescuing their client, the son of a master spy, after he got himself kidnapped by the first captain he talked to before his mother took over his affairs. More proof she had a good idea what she was doing. The short women of the crew have a chance to show their stuff, as they are the non-intimidating staff sent to negotiate with the under-smart criminals.

By Jove, Marissa Doyle. I can't remember how I got this book, although I think it was a give-away, but now I need a book about a Greek God, and I think these people consider themselves both. It's a slightly old-fashioned sort of romance, but so far I'm enjoying it.

The Stolen MacKenzie Bride, Jennifer Ashley. This is my next text Reading-My-Library quest book, and I'm really not enjoying it. In fact, I've started reading from the back when reading normally gets too annoying. This shelf has been a real bear -- this is the third or fourth book I've started and I'm determined to finish this one but I really dislike the romance hero, who starts off by bullying the heroine which of course intrigues her (ick). He falls in love across the room (ick) and she can't resist his animal magnitism (ick). Basically it's all the things that made me avoid romances for years. Spoiler -- it will end with most of the family miraculously surviving the battle that kills 90% of people without special author protection and then they apparently go on to have kids who show up in romances that have already been written.

Summer in Orcus, T. Kingfisher. I've been reading this as long as Kingfisher has been writing it (it was a patreon funded work-in-progress) but it turns out she writes faster than I remembered to check, and also I've been savoring it. Very interesting kids book that plays with convention and with clear, vivid images and a strong central character.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 81 out of 82. Need to finish these up. I own the last one, so it keeps getting pushed behind due library books. Focus!
  2. Cybils 2016! 2/ a lot. Still haven't counted, but I managed, almost by accident, to read two: Super Famous: Ms Marvel 5 and Every Falling Star, a non fiction. I've got another non-fiction that my Tuesday book club will be reading, so that will be three books!
  3. Reading My Library: I gave up on A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea as too grim and managed to listen to the entire League of Dragons and started Boy Snow Bird. I finshed the Jo Beverley book and am wrestling with the much less enjoyable Ashley romance.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 12/51. Starting over! Already behind! This year I'm just recording the first book I read in each state or country, and not bothering with a map. I think I like the detail better, but experiments are the staff of life!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bit of a Nightmare Now

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I am not happy with my country. Go Marchers!

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 read a few of those (surprisingly few, actually), I check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version.

My pile of books for this week:

Dragon Bones (Hurog, #1)The Dungeoneers (Dungeoneers, #1)Dragon Blood (Hurog, #2)

* Dragon Bones, Patricia Briggs. These books are where the "Hurog" in her blogsite comes from, and they are also fun fantasy books with an interesting protagonist

Dungeoneers, John David Anderson. Another of last year's Cybils books! This is a fun meta book about playing D&D, although a bit long for its conceit. The sophomore is willing to try it out, so that's a good sign.

* Dragon Blood, Patricia Briggs. The second Hurog book is even better than the first, as the stakes are raised and the protagonist is more self aware.

(* Books I started this week.)


I started but didn't finish:
Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, #2)

Hunting Grounds, Patricia Briggs.

Bookmarks moved in several books:

The Sea Without a Shore (Lt. Leary, #10)A Teaspoon of Earth and SeaA Shocking Delight (Company of Rogues, #15)

The Sea Without a Shore, David Drake. And there's a battle, and we get some fancy flying from Daniel, but Adele and the new ensign must fend for themselves in the big city.

A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, Dina Nayeri. This is my Reading My Library audio. Things came to a screeching halt when the protagonist was caught maybe kissing a boy, which is a big deal in Iran. I was nervous so I only listened to a wee bit at a time. Now she's been hurriedly married to an old rich guy so I guess her life is picking up? Or collapsing in ruins, one or the other.

A Shocking Delight, Jo Beverley. I like the characters -- the businessman's daughter tossed into the aristocracy of her mother's family, the reluctant aristocrat who can't seem to get out of the smuggling business, but I'm finding their attempts to meet in the middle rather dull.

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. Kate's sister has a better instinctive understanding of bad guys. Too young to be socialized out of it, I guess.
Kenilworth, Walter Scott.
Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen, Wendelin Van Draanen.
The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca.


2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015: 77 out of 82. Need to finish these up.
  2. Cybils 2016! 0/ a lot. I haven't even counted. I've read none of them.
  3. Reading My Library: Slowly listening to A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea (the library will want it back next week and I'm barely halfway done) and am partway through a Jo Beverley book.
  4. Where Am I Reading?: 2/51. Starting over!