Friday, April 25, 2014

Found a Few Books At the Library

Image of Renton
I sorta went to two libraries today, one in the morning and one in the evening. And I picked up books at both places. Luckily I believe there is an astronomical event coming up soon that will insert an extra six hours between "bedtime" and "lights out" for the next few weeks. Something to do with the alignments of the pyramids and Atlantis, or so I've been told. Cross your fingers that it's true! Anyway, of course that means I'll have time to read another months worth of books this week.  Right?

Phantom EyesThe Midnight TunnelThe Girls of Atomic City
The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery, Angie Frazier
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story the the Women Who Helped Win World War II, Denise Kiernan
Phantom Eyes, Scott Tracey
Garment of ShadowsThankless in DeathArchangel's Legion
Garment of Shadows, Laurie R. King
Thankless in Death, J.D. Robb
Archangel's Legion, Nalini Singh
The Quotient of Murder, Ada Madison

For the next stage in my Reading My Library Quest, I pulled books from each of the five shelves of children's mythology:
The Wise FoolEnglish Fairy TalesA Home in the SkyMichael Hague's Read-to-me Book of Fairy TalesOther Goose
  • Read-to-Me Book of Fairy Tales, Michael Hague
  • A Home in the Sky, Olivia Snowe
  • English Fairy Tales and More English Fairy Tales, ed. Donald Haase.
  • The Wise Fool: Fables From the Islamic World, Shahruck Husain & Micha Archer
  • Other Goose, J Otto Siebold
I luckily turned in a lot of books this week, so I still have *ONLY* 43 things out on my library cards, including ebooks. And some of those shouldn't even count because my kids make me check out all their stuff too because they are too wimpy to memorize their library card numbers.

I'll go share my Library Loot at the event co-hosted by Claire from the Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief where all the library addicts compare their treasures.

Book credits banked: Six.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Reading What I Want

Argh, I forgot to post this status report, so it's too late to sign in at Book Journey and Teach Mentor Texts. I'll still go look to see what everyone else was reading this week.

Anyway, on these days of beautiful spring sunshine, Easter baskets full of chocolate, and colorful eggs begging to be smashed together, I read:
  • Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, Chris Kluew
  • Poems To Learn By Heart, ed. Caroline Kennedy
  • When Molly Was a Harvey Girl, Frances M. Wood
  • 100 Cupboard, N.D. Wilson
  • Rose, Holly Webb
What am I currently reading? Quite a few things, I think. It's probably time to consolidate. I think I'm going to spend the rest of spring working on my TBR list. (Not my TBR bookcase, that's a different mental pile altogether.)
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman. AUDIO. She's on the run! And she will be again on Wednesday. I have to listen to everything twice, once with each kid.
  • The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau. AUDIO. Xan and I listen to it so we don't get ahead of Paulos with Mrs Pollifax. Except now I don't drive him as much so we're kinda in trouble.
  • Carter's Big Break, Brent Crawford. AUDIO for me to listen to when I'm alone. It's from the 2013 Best of the Best for teens list. I think I need to hook Xan on this to encourage me.
  • The Golden Leopard, Lynn Kerstan. Misunderstandings and lack of communication. However, not because the characters are idiots, but because one is threatened by spying assassins.
  • Heart of Steel, Meljean Brooks. She's broke now, so I'm guessing less money to spend on drugs and more enjoyment for me!
  • Perdition, Ann Aguirre. Gritty main character, with a heart of gold. Just what I like :-).
  • We Are Not Eaten By Yaks, C. Alexander London. My sympathies are completely with the kids. I'm even hoping they get some good reality TV to watch.
  • The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern. If I don't start caring about somebody in this book soon this will be a long long slog.
  • The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield, Jack Campbell. Although the writing is clunky, I like this author's characters and the story he tells, so I'll keep getting his books.
Reading intermittently, and deliberately slowly. These never change much:
  • Radio Fifth Grade, Gordon Korman. Transmission shenanigans with a powerful hair dryer.
  • Out to Canaan, Jan Karon. The good mayor is back in the lead.
  • A General Theory of Love, Thomas Lewis. 
  • The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens. 
  • How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, Orson Scott Card. How and where to try to sell the stuff you've written.
What's up next? Stuff from my Goodreads TBR list, I hope.

2014 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils: 38/77. Finished the Elementary Graphic Novels, working on poetry, and Elementary Speculative Fiction.
  2. Where Am I Reading? 20/51. Checked off California, Delaware, and Virginia. My current reads are duplicates, though.
  3. Alphabetically Inclined: 14/26. No change.
  4. What's In a Name?: 4/7. Still need weather, school subject, and shape. I saw some library books that would plug these holes, but the Triple Dog Dare kept my hands off of them.
  5. Book Bingo: 20 Squares. Still need a mystery, a lot of  New Releases, and a few more TBR.
  6. Gentle Spectrum Challenge: 5/10, 7/10. The Harbor scored me a point.
  7. Small Fry Safari: 4/8. No change. Still need furniture, time, pairs, and something precious.
  8. PoC Speculative Fiction 1/5: No change.
  9. Best of the Best 2012: 51/25.  I've started listening to the next audio, and the next book is in my reading bag.
  10. Reading My Library:  Finished Maryrose Wood's book.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Unleashed At the Library

Image of Renton
badge-4Farewell Triple Dog Dare, Goodbye library restraint. I can now check out all I want, with only the limitations that I have just one life to give to my reading addiction. And only so many hours in a day.

Lalalalalala. I need all the books!

I've actually been to the library twice, and I also managed to purchase a few books. But I am a responsible adult and would never bite off more than my eyes can chew. Does that metaphor work?
Perilous ShieldWhen Thunder ComesRoseThe Gilda Stories
Jack Campbell's The Lost Stars has been out for months, but that pesky challenge kept it from me. No longer! Cybils speaking, I actually got two copies of When Thunder Comes, a paper version and an audio version. Since it's poetry, I want to get a sense of how it sounds. I also grabbed the Cybils SF pick Rose in paper and ebook formats, and have passed on the paper copy to Alexander. I don't even remember why I wanted The Gilda Stories, but something made me put it on my library wish-list, so I demanded it.
GrimMrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong BuddhaWhat the Heart Knows
Another book from my library wish-list is Grim, but there's no surprise that a book of fairy tale retellings is there. I also got the next Mrs. Pollifax, and another book of Cybil's finalist for poetry, What  the Heart Knows.  I know Joyce Sidman more for her science poems, but this looks interesting. Finally, someone mentioned a Rosemary Sutcliff I somehow missed, Blue Remembered Hills. The library has no image for it, though.

Midnight RiotJinxThe Unsung HeroJoey Pigza Loses Control

Digitally, I amassed Jack Gantos's Joey Pigza Loses Control is for my elementary book club, and Alexander will be whipping up a pile of cookies for them tomorrow night while I read it. I am now officially into Ben Aaronovitch's police urban fantasies, so I'll start reading the first one, Midnight Riot. Thanks, Outside of a Book! Jinx is another Cybils choice, and The Unsung Hero is for a Goodreads challenge.

This means I now have *ONLY* 43 things out on my library cards, including ebooks. And an embarrassing number of htem are duplicates --I get the paper copy because paper is beautiful and also download the ebook version because NOOKS are lightweight.  Somehow I keep it straight although even Amazon hasn't mastered technology that keeps my movie ticket bookmarks synched to my reader. 

I'll go share my Library Loot at the event co-hosted by Claire from the Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief where all the library addicts compare their treasures.

Book credits banked: Twelve. Well, minus six, so six.
Perdition, Ann Aguirre
Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch
Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (twice!)
Balanced on a Blade's Edge, Lindsay Buroker
Night Broken, Patricia Briggs
Blood and Betrayal, Linday Buroker

 (Usually I reward myself by buying a book if my library total is less than my age, but since I can't actually buy anything right now I'm counting up these credits.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Geek and Sundry Romance Books

Vaginal Fantasy HangoutAlthough I don't get television (no cable, no antennae), I do watch a few channels on my computer. I stumbled into Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy bookclub, which she then rolled into your Geek & Sundry channel (home of Table Top and other fine programming). Each month she and her three friends drink booze and discuss a book or two, with the books involving a female protagonist, usually some romance, and usually a fantasy or other genre classification. There's a goodreads group associated with it, and also local meetups around the world, although I haven't made it to any of those yet.

A Kiss at MidnightThis month they are reading Daughter of the Forest (main selection) and Deerskin (alt book). Deerskin by Robin McKinley is a powerful and haunting book that I've read several times already, and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier was my real life book club's selection about a year ago, and I didn't feel like rereading either of those this month. But then they tossed in an alt-alt-selection for people who didn't want to deal with the serious themes of the first two choices, and I was in for A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James. (The theme this month was fairy tale retellings.)

I had a lot of fun with this retelling of Cinderella -- I liked the sly humor of the main character, I liked her contempt for but gentle treatment of the annoying lap dogs she gets stuck with, I liked her banter with the Prince character. The plot was silly, but since it was based on the fairy tale there was no real hope for any surprises there. The sex scenes were also fairly silly, although most of the time even the characters themselves were aware of that. (The final one, where they Reveal All, worked amazingly well for its plot advancement.) But for a light read it was just what I wanted, and definitely more fitting to my moods this month that the more emotionally real and powerful but depressing actual books for the club.

Busy Busy Busy

I zipped off to Houston for an unexpected Spring Break, where I managed not to do any blogging. Oops. So this is my catch-up post as to what I've been reading for the past few weeks, and it's not tax books!
  • Long May She Reign, Ellen Emerson White
  • A Kiss at Midnight, Eloise James
  • Horde, Ann Aguirre
  • The Water Castle, Megan Frazer Blackmore
  • Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch
  • The Floating Circus, Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
  • Balanced on the Blade's Edge, Lindsay Buroker
  • Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station, Dorothy Gilman
  • Night Broken, Patricia Briggs
  • One Week Girlfriend, Monica Murphy
  • War for the Oaks, Emma Bull
  • Final Sail, Elaine Viets
Also some picture books:
  • The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt. I had the best reading experience for this -- it was read to me by a preschooler who had learned every word.
  • Disney Frozen Magical Story. With the same preschooler. Now I can see the movie!
What am I currently reading?
  • Poems to Learn By Heart, Caroline Kennedy (ed.). This is a Cybils poetry book. I already had some of these memorized, so that's a good sign.
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, Dorothy Gilman. AUDIO. Poor kids went nowhere in my car last week, so they are languishing.
  • The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau. AUDIO. This is the March Sword and Laser Kids book. Xan and I listen to it so we don't get ahead of Paulos with Mrs Pollifax.
  • Carter's Big Break, Brent Crawford. AUDIO for me to listen to when I'm alone. It's from the 2013 Best of the Best for teens list.
  • The Golden Leopard, Lynn Kerstan. A book that's been waiting on my NOOK. Not much romance yet, but it looks promising.
  • Heart of Steel, Meljean Brooks. I started this on the plane, but the main character's drug use is off-putting.
  • Rose, Holly Webb. NOOK. A Cybils SF pick. 
  • Perdition, Ann Aguirre. I like her.
  • We Are Not Eaten By Yaks, C. Alexander London. My kids both already read this! Humph.
  • The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern. I think I will be glad when I have read this, although it's not really my cup of tea.
  • When Molly Was a Harvey Girl, Frances Wood. RML book that is due tomorrow. I put it down somewhere last night.
  • 100 Cupboards, Nathan Wilson. Another RML book due tomorrow -- I started it when Molly went AWOL. I don't have time for my foolish ways!
Reading intermittently, and deliberately slowly. These never change much:
  • Radio Fifth Grade, Gordon Korman. 
  • Out to Canaan, Jan Karon. 
  • A General Theory of Love, Thomas Lewis. 
  • The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens. 
  • How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, Orson Scott Card. 
2014 Challenge Progress:
  1. TBR Triple Dog Dare: 22 +3. Success! I made it! Hooray!
  2. Cybils: 40/77.  Got the last picture book from the library, read some poetry, and finished one SF while starting another.
  3. Where Am I Reading? 22/51. Ohio and Florida are there, and I'm currently reading a Kansas and a New Mexico.
  4. Alphabetically Inclined: 15/26. Got the O.
  5. What's In a Name?: 5/7. Edge is a shape, right?
  6. Book Bingo: 22 Squares. Got the mystery. Need 7 more new releases and a few TBR.
  7. Gentle Spectrum Challenge: 5/10, 9/10. I'm rocking the category section.
  8. Small Fry Safari: 5/8. No change. Still need furniture, pairs, and something precious.
  9. PoC Speculative Fiction 3/5: Both Broken Homes and Water Castle qualify!
  10. Best of the Best 2012: 51/25.  No change. I'm inching through Carter's Big Break on audio and not enjoying The Night Circus much in print.
  11. Reading My Library:  Finished one more, currently reading two more. All are due back on Thursday.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fun On a Rainy Day

steampunk romance coverToday has been stressful in a lot of ways, so I was glad to have the chance to relax into Lindsay Buroker's new book, Balanced on a Blade's Edge. I'm still working my way through Buroker's backlist after my book club read The Emperor's Edge last year as part of our ebook experiment (hey, go try it, that one's free). She writes fun steampunk books with romance in the background -- they aren't really romances although that's clearly an important part of the characters' lives.

This new book was a bit of an experiment; Buroker apparently had a fun idea when she was surprised by a few weeks of free time, so she converted her ideas into a book at full speed. So this one is fairly short -- about 200 pages, and also fairly direct -- we have the two strands of the main character and don't bother to dive into long flashbacks or twists along the way. But it also has Buroker's strengths -- fun dialogue, both internal and external, interesting, slightly flawed characters that I enjoy cheering on, and a vibrant setting that never overwhelms the story. Oh, and characters with a good bit of common sense, a characteristic that I may add as one of my favorite story element. Especially as I like a lot of genre stuff, where authors sometimes feel like throwing out common sense really liberates the story.

Anyway, this book has flying machines, different flying machines, magical owls, a snarky magic sword, a few call backs to Bujold (I don't know if the author meant them, but when you exile an intelligent military guy in an frozen outpost, I go there), powerful light bulbs, and a perfect book for an airplane ride. Too bad I liked it so much I finished it the day before my trip.