Monday, September 18, 2017

Fall Begins -- No More Shorts

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I spent most of the week transitioning out of committee work (woot!) and also being a tough parent, which is more unusual than you'd expect because my kids tend to be wonderful teens who do what they should without me wagging a tongue or lifting a finger. This week my tongue had to wag a bit ("weren't you going to?" "when were you planning to?" and "how do you intend to?"). Hopefully that's the last time I need to step up and be responsible!

The weather has cooled down and we even got some rain, so the world is acknowledging that summer is over. I had fun cooking with my niece, although we apparently need to work on our upper arm strength so that jars are not as intimidating. Or maybe I should switch to tomato sauce only in cans.

The fall out from summer reading is still here, but I'm slowing getting on top of things. Currently Reading is down to 30 books already, and I'm actively working on most of them. I supposed most people would try to finish one thing at a time, but I'm not most people. I'm only one people.

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 started and finished a YA book, finished a kidlit book, and read a bunch of picture books I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version. I feel my kidlit creds are safe this week.

This week I started:

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 7: Damage Per SecondThe Better Part of Valor (Confederation #2)

Ms Marvel Vol 7: Damage Per Second, G. Willow Wilson. I am keeping up with the Ms Marvels!

The Better Part of Valor, Tanya Huff. The second in a series personally recommended to me by my librarians. (They actually recommended the anthology of the first two books.)

Only two books! See, I'm not crazy. And I finished both of them, see --

I finished:

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 7: Damage Per SecondVanishing TimeThe Better Part of Valor (Confederation #2)Dragon Steel

Ms Marvel Vol 7: Damage Per Second, G. Willow Wilson. Fun, although a bit didactic. Ms Marvel faces the tough decision to not aid a blackmailing villain, even if it means her friend will suffer. And then she and her gaming guild go on a quest to make the internet nice.

Vanishing Time, Katharine Britton. This Reading My Library book is the story of a woman searching for a vanished son in South Carolina. I liked the writing and the individual scenes, but I found Cara too alien to really identify with; she's a devoted mom to her young son, the kind of woman who sniffs her kid's laundry when he goes off for a trip with his philandering dad. She's confused by visions and ghosts when lurching around South Carolina, so she decides to muddy the waters by drinking bourbon before driving off to an assignation with an old spirit woman. The people around her, while sympathetic, clearly think she's loony and I can't blame them. There's a romance set up with the controlling man who lies to her to protect her from her feelings, but no one else seems worried about that so maybe he is perfect for her. Also, Cara behaves horribly to her best friend, which bothered me. At the end she promises her friend (who is driving down from Massachusetts because Cara has made several very alarming phone calls) that she's coming home, but then decides to spend more time with the controlling man and once again leaves her poor friend waiting at the airport.

The Better Part of Valor, Tanya Huff. My librarians are awesome; this was exactly what I wanted. Military SF with little angst, fun ideas, and good triumphing after only a few sacrifices.

Dragon Steel, Laurence Yep. This seems almost familiar, but I think I am recognizing the author's style rather than the plot. I'm fairly sure that I read the first book a few decades ago, and I had no trouble jumping into this sequel with Shimmer and her human friend Thorne finding that the dragons are not as happy to welcome them back from exile as she had hoped. I like the standard format of adventure and character growth -- it reminds me of my childhood reading.

I started 2 and finished 4. By next summer I should have this reading pile under control!

Picture books:

The Inventors of LEGO® ToysRaybot and WeebotInside This Book: (are three books).Leave Me Alone!My Three Best Friends and Me, ZulayFloodwaters and Flames: The 1913 Disaster in Dayton, Ohio

The Inventors of Lego Toys, Erin Hagar. This Cybils NF finalist has a good balance between a biography of the people and a history of the company, with information given in compact bursts with engaging and appropriate illustrations.

Raybot and Weebot!, Adam F. Watkins. Thinly veiled parable of a pesky younger brother who really brings joy to the family is redeemed by energetic and appealing illustrations and the fun of living in a junkyard as a robot.

Inside This Book (are three books), Barney Saltzberg. As always I am a sucker for meta. The dwindling books show three different sibling personalities. The youngest has suspiciously good drawing skills but I will forgive a good dinosaur story much.

Leave Me Alone, Vera Brosgol. Grandma power with fun pictures and aliens. As a parent, I adore this story of an adult seeking peace, and children would go along for her repeated attempts to avoid helpful companions.

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay, Cari Best. Blind kid runs in school race after overcoming difficulties. The friends don't actually have that big a role in the book. It's cute enough.

Floodwaters and Flames, Lois Huey. This Cybils NF finalist gives an interesting tale of the Dayton Ohio flood, with clear stories told from a variety of viewpoints and photos illustrating each point. Captions indicate the difference between the image and the story, with clear lines showing where the information is coming from. Most people were chosen to show what was happening in various sections of town, although the inclusion of Orville Wright was clearly for his celebrity.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from SexMerely a MarriageThe Way Into Chaos (The Great Way #1)The Seventh Bride
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin OlympicsThe Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. FiggIndigoVinegar GirlCaptive Prince (Captive Prince, #1)
The Murder of Mary Russell (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #14)The Youngest Miss WardUnbound (Magic Ex Libris, #3)Hostage (The Change, #2)Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #8)
Virtues of War (Virtues of War, #1)Legend (Legend, #1)Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 14-15. Stepmom up on the ship is getting warnings of trouble.

Harmful to Minors, Judith Levine. No one really knows what children experience sexually, so laws are based on what adults are comfortable admitting. This can cause problems when reality intrudes.

Merely a Marriage, Jo Beverley.  Decent tall dudes are in short supply (ha ha -- see what I did there?). And the attraction to her True Love remains inconveniently strong.

The Way Into Chaos, Harry Connolly. OK, I did not see that coming. Good job, Connolly. And I like this Tyr.

The Seventh Bride, T. Kingfisher. I'm almost done -- it's the wedding scene.

The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown. Lots of detail on Joe's background, with some jumps forward to how that affects his rowing.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, Rodman Philbrick. I like the Quaker guy and his Underground Railroad station; I hope Homer can talk himself back into safety.

Indigo, a lot of people. OK, stuff is escalating.

Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler. Tyler has not started to redeem Pyotr yet, so I hope this starts soon.

Captive Prince, C.S. Pacat. Our princes are not getting along.

The Murder of Mary Russell, Laurie R. King. Why love is a bad reason to do anything.

The Youngest Miss Ward, Joan Aiken. A snow storm gives Harriett a nice few days, which are probably the only bright spot for the next few years.

Unbound, Jim Hines. I don't really understand the puzzle, but I figure that's Isaac's job.

Hostage, Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown. A kidnapping does explain the title of the book.

Someplace to Be Fying, Charles de Lint. There's a murder mystery, and there's mythical bird creatures. The former is fine, but the latter is what grabs my interest.

Virtues of War
, Bennett Coles. I'm still stuck on the war atrocities. There's also an annoying ambitious and unscrupulous officer, but the war atrocities seem a bigger deal.

Legend, Marie Lu. The meet-cute is about to explode.

Flame in the Mist, Renee Ahdieh. I am not reading this sibling relationship as healthy, and I think the sister is in over her head. Not her fault; she has a serious training deficit.

Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone. Is this going to be grim-dark? I can only handle one book with war atrocities at a time. Luckily I'm not supposed to read this fast since it's for my Tuesday club.

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

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

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott. The queen resents it if you don't dress up for her visit, and a feeble excuse like being locked away from your clothes won't fly.

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

The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens.

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox. I don't actually worry about the math. I remember learning it once and I trust past me'd understanding.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2016!   21/ 107-ish. I am working on the nonfiction picture books, but I seemed to have misplaced one. Which is impressive considering it's a giant picture book.
  2. Reading My Library:  Finished Vanishing Time but haven't found Out of Range which is getting concerning. Could I have left it in the taxi?
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 29/51. Vanishing Time gave me South Carolina. Working on Maryland. The Figg book is still in Maine, but I'm only about 1/3 of the way through.

Monday, September 11, 2017

New School Year

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
School is back in, and the junior is glum about it. At least he got a small break when the construction crew set the roof to smoking and the kids home for an early weekend.

I'm declared my summer reading project over, so now I'll insist on finishing two books before I let myself start another one. Currently Reading is down to 32 books already, and I'm actively working on most of them.

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 started several kidlit books (and finished one YA),  I'll check in with either Teach Mentor Text or UnLeashing Readers for their version. After all, I started 3 kid or YA books and finished one.

This week I started:

Vanishing TimeFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible ThingsDragon SteelThree Parts Dead (Craft Sequence, #1)

Vanishing Time, Katharine Britton. My next book in my Reading My Library Quest.

Flame in the Mist, Renee Ahdieh. Recommended by a reading group.

Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson. My book club picked her first book, but I wanted something new.

Dragon Steel, Laurence Yep. From my shelves from long ago.

Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone. For my Tuesday book club.

Only five books started. Sanity is slowly descending.

I finished:

The Sunbird (The Lion Hunters, #3)The Goldfish BoyBlack Butler, Vol. 9 (Black Butler, #9)Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible ThingsLabyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)Under the EggBlack Tide RisingThe Valiant (The Valiant, #1)

The Sunbird, Elizabeth Wein. Stayed strong to the end, with Telemakos suffering a lot, and reacting to that in a believable way. He's determined to be brave, but he's still a child.

The Goldfish Boy, Lisa Thompson. Happy endings all around, except for the child-snatching couple, who will probably get probation. The resolution was a bit pat for the OCD boy, but I was glad enough to see him start toward recovery that I am not arguing.

Black Butler 9, Yana Toboso. Now we see why the cover of the next book features a different butler. I don't believe it, though. It must be a trick! I've ordered 10, so at least it kept me reading.

Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson. I enjoyed this as much as Let's Pretend This Never Happened, and my book club was also pleased. Some read only the first, others read both, so we all had fun talking about it and celebrating a member's birthday.

Labyrinth Lost, Zoraida Cordova. Cybils finalist. I think having my kids in their late teens makes me more impatient with YA books starring protagonists between 16-20. My little snowflakes are not so foolish. The love triangle was resolved satisfactorily, and the bad boy shown the door even when he tried to make restitution.

Under the Egg, Laura Marx Fitzgerald. The mystery and the child characters were fun, although as an adult I am appalled at the mother's neglect. Even the grandfather must have heard about wills and insurance! But kids books are better with independent kids, so hurrah for this householding teen.

Black Tide Rising, ed. John Ringo & someone else. Ringo's second story was basically an extended OH JOHN RINGO, NO!, so that was satisfying. I also liked how Williamson's story was a blatant wish-fulfillment -- you'll be sorry you laughed at my hoarding guns when the ZOMBIES ARRIVE. As stories, I liked Mike Massa's "Battle of the BERTs," Eric Flint's "Up on the Roof" and Sarah Hoyt's "Do No Harm." Kacy Ezell and John Scalzi/Dave Klecha also had enjoyable entries.

The Valiant, Lesley Livingston. The main character fits the stereotype for a bullying jock. She attacks as a first plan, grabs at any cute boy see meets, and drinks to excess whenever it would be inconvenient. Luckily the author likes her so she wins in the end.

I started 5 and finished 8. By next summer I should have this reading pile under control!

Picture books:

T-Veg: The Story of a Carrot-Crunching DinosaurFinding Monkey MoonMasters of Disguise: Amazing Animal TrickstersWill's Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk

T-Veg: The Story of a Carrot-Crunching Dinosaur, Smriti Prasadam-Halls. Fun colors and lively rhyming text. The story was fun and I can see reading it aloud. I was a bit distracted by ridiculous scientific scruples since not all carnivores can safely eat vegetarian diets, particularly cats and dogs but since we don't know if that is true for t. Rex I don't even know why this occurred to me.

Finding Monkey Moon, Elizabeth Pulford. Lovely and sweet. Calm pictures to balance the rising tension and then a good resolution. Looks like a great bedtime book.

Masters of Disguise, Rebecca Johnson. Cybils nonfiction with lots of fun pictures and interesting facts.

Will's Words, Jane Sutcliffe. I liked reading the descriptions of the theater and the explanations of words Shakespeare helped put into English, but I'm not sure if non-Shakespeare fans would pick this up.

Bookmarks moved in:

Alliance of Equals (Liaden Universe, #19)Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from SexMerely a MarriageThe Way Into Chaos (The Great Way #1)The Seventh Bride
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin OlympicsThe Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. FiggIndigoVinegar GirlCaptive Prince (Captive Prince, #1)
The Murder of Mary Russell (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #14)The Youngest Miss WardUnbound (Magic Ex Libris, #3)Hostage (The Change, #2)Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #8)
Virtues of War (Virtues of War, #1)Legend (Legend, #1)

Alliance of Equals, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Part 14. Poor Padi, her trade did well but the bad guys ruin everything.

Harmful to Minors, Judith Levine. Actually, pretending only deviant children notice their genitals can have profoundly bad results, especially when social services gets involved.

Merely a Marriage, Jo Beverley.  Our heroine continues her man-quest; only tall dudes may apply.

The Way Into Chaos, Harry Connolly. Bad stuff continues to happen, even when the party splits.

The Seventh Bride, T. Kingfisher. We know see where the title of the book comes from, and the evil quests begin.

The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown. I like the build up -- we see the backgrounds of what will be the main players, and also a peek into the arena in Germany.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, Rodman Philbrick. Boy that boy likes to grow a whopper.

Indigo, a lot of people. Things get bloody. And confusing. Memories seem patchy.

Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler. Beatrice does not seem prickly enough. What's with this crush at the preschool?

Captive Prince, C.S. Pacat. The society is sure decadent.

The Murder of Mary Russell, Laurie R. King. Lots of backstory of Clarissa Hudson, who apparently was a bit of a sharpie in her youth.

The Youngest Miss Ward, Joan Aiken. OK, the youngest Miss Ward will grow up to be Fanny's aunt, so I'm clear on the genealogy. So far she seems a good girl.

Unbound
, Jim Hines. Having an idea should be different from executing that idea, particularly if it's a very bad idea. This concept has not yet made it through our hero's mind.

Hostage, Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown. I think we've re-established the characters and where they are emotionally, so time to start the action!

Someplace to Be Fying, Charles de Lint. Luckily I remember what's going on, even after a years hiatus.

Virtues of War
, Bennett Coles. OK, the war atrocities have put me off. If she's the main character there will be redeeming to be done.

Legend, Marie Lu. So far I'm enjoying the perspective from both protagonists.

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)The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)Reading and Learning to Read

The Quantum Universe, Brian Cox. Tell me about Planc's constant.

Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott.

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

The Emerald Atlas, John Stephens.

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

2017 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2016! 19 / a lot. I finished Labyrinth Lost and started on the picture books the library sent me.
  2. Reading My Library:  Finished Out of Range and then promptly lost it. Oops. I've started Vanishing Time.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 28/51. Working on Maryland and South Carolina. The Figg book is starting in Maine, so now I'm hoping it stays there.