Monday, April 25, 2016

Heat Wave

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Wow, it got hot this week! Apparently it's the first time in April we've had three 80+ (Fahrenheit) days, or maybe three days in a row, or something. Somehow we hit a record. Enough that I noticed that I don't really have any shorts that fit, which will be a bigger problem on my cruise this summer. I guess I have to go shopping. But then it started raining, so no rush on that looming chore.
First world problem, huh? Whine, whine, I have to go shopping before my vacation in the Caribbean.

On Thursday I went down to the Blood Center at the mall to donate, and was switched to platelets despite my delicious O- blood type, and then failed the iron check anyway. Mental note -- take my vitamins! I'll try again in a week or so. And on the weekend I participated in the April Dewey 24 Hour Readathon, which helped me finish up some books, although I got a chance to celebrate my youngest son's birthday before he went off to his dads house, so I was forced to take a few breaks. But it meant that I read a fair handful of books this week. I like Readathons; they are a chance to barricade myself inside a tower of books yet still feel like I'm being social and hanging out with people. Thank goodness for the internet.

The Book Date is collecting the roundups of what everyone is reading and talking about this week. I'll also look in with Teach Mentor Texts which does the same thing for kidlit, since I read a pile of that as well.

This week I finished nine books:

Tell the Wind and FireArchangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8)Child of the Ghosts (Ghosts, #1)The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)The Six (The Six #1)Devoted in Death (In Death, #41)Anna of ByzantiumDead Man Walking: The Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty That Sparked a National DebateTwin Spica vol. 07 (Twin Spica, # 7)

Tell the Wind and Fire, Sarah Rees Brennan. YA. Wow, she really pulled off the Tale of Two Cities retelling! At first I wasn't convinced by the main characters; Ethan especially seemed kind of shallow, but then the layers started coming off and their true motivations made everything make sense and mean twice as much. My son's main complaint was that it wasn't a trilogy -- he wants to see what happens in this world. I won an ARC for this, but lent it out for teens for prereading so it's already been released. Highly recommended.

Archangel's Enigma, Nalini Singh. This one was very silly, but in a fun way. The evil stuff (torture, body horror) is a bit dark for me, but the crazy creatures, sexual tension, and plotty mcplotface action keep me smiling.

Child of the Ghosts
, Jonathan Moeller. After a significant amount of death and trauma, our heroes save the day! This is a story of a wounded child growing into a killer assassin, facing off against a necromancer with hundreds of years of experience and a plan to rule the known world. I don't think I'll seek out the next book in the series, but if I had to read the sequel for some reason I wouldn't complain.

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemison. This is one of the Sword and Laser picks for this month (they had a vote, which had a tie). Wow, this is awesome, and I'm a very clueless reader. Just sayin'. This if my favorite book of the year so far. (finished during Readathon)

* The Six, Mark Alpert. A Cybils YA SF finalist. I decided this one would work for my "Boy Book" slot on my book bingo card. Fun, but things seemed to be mostly on the surface. (finished during Readathon)

* Devoted in Death, J.D. Robb. I read these in paperback, so I'm always a year behind. The bad guys were icky, but we didn't spend much time in their heads, and the victims we hung out with got rescued (that's pretty standard, actually). There wasn't much going on in the supporting cast (Truepenny got his detective badge) but Eve and Dallas got to spend time on their marriage. (finished during Readathon)

Anna of Byzantium, Tracy Barrett. I've had a bookmark in here for years, but I don't think I've touched it since the last readathon. I want to think Anna was actually cleverer and more ruthless -- in making her sympathetic they necessarily had to make her kinda stupid. But it gives a good sense of the morals and customs of this time period. (finished during Readathon)

Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean. I kept thinking I'd read this thoughtful book doing quiet moments before bed, when I could concentrate. But I never did. So I finally just picked it up. I appreciated how she learned from her naivety from her first meeting with a prisoner condemned to death, and what she did differently the next time. I thought she tried hard to represent the opinions of those who disagreed with her, but I was already mostly convinced before I picked the book up that the death penalty, particularly how it is practiced in the US, is awful, pointless, and cruel. (finished during Readathon)

* Twin Spica 7, Kou Yaginuma. Lots of stuff happened in this installment -- we find out about the rich girl's secret, all three girls bond over a training exercise, and the orphanage comes back up again. (read completely during Readathon)

* Books I started this week. Most books tend last for weeks on my lists, because I have this habit of reading dozens of things at once. But occasionally I keep focus for several days on end.

I started and am still reading more books:
Havoc (Dred Chronicles, #2)Harriet the Invincible (Hamster Princess, #1)Bone GapThe Flowers of Adonis
Havoc, by Ann Aguirre. This has been on my currently-reading list for months, but I only made it a few pages in so I just started over when I picked it up.  Set in the same universe (but I think a few centuries later?) as the Jax stories, it stars more damaged and overpowered people dealing with a horrific environment. I like the way we also switch back to get POVs from the mercenaries hired to kill them all.

Harriet the Invincible, Ursula Vernon. I talked the men in my Tuesday night movie/book club into reading this. So I deliberately put it down to finish on Tuesday. Also, I think I've got the youngest nibling interested, so we are share-reading it. I need to think of a movie to pair it with...

Bone Gap, Laura Ruby. The next Cybils finalist on my list.

The Flowers of Adonis, Rosemary Sutcliff. I'm reading this on my Kindle app as I have somehow acquired it. So much of my mental ancient Greece was set by Sutcliff; it will be interesting to see if she holds up to my aged self.

To distract myself and keep my hands off all the lovely books at the library, I sat and read a few picture books while waiting for my son's bus to arrive from the city:
Help! We Need a Title!June 29, 1999Something ExtraordinaryMarilyn's MonsterFrankencrayonThe Princess Knight

Help! We Need a Title, Hervet Tullet. This didn't quite work for me, although some of the pages would be fun (BOO!).

June 29, 1999, David Wiesner. I loved this depiction of a science project and data analysis.

Something Extraordinary, Ben Clampton. Cute but I don't see it grabbing my kids.

Marilyn's Monster, Michelle Knudson. I loved the conceit and the execution and the pictures.

Frankencrayon, Michael Hall. A great meta-book with several twists, a few of which my teenaged son did not predict when I forced him to read it. Recommended for kids with a sense of humor.

The Princess Knight, Cornelia Funke. A solid entry in the Paper-Bag Princess genre.

Bookmarks moved in several books. This seems like a more manageable set to me:
Under a Graveyard Sky (Black Tide Rising, #1)CruxBlake: or; The Huts of AmericaSisterlandUnnatural Causes (Adam Dalgliesh, #3)A Spool of Blue Thread

Under a Graveyard Sky, John Ringo.  Our heroes work to clear the cruise ship. We are taking notes since we will be on a cruise ship this summer.

Crux, Ramez Naam. I think the good guy just got captured by some of the bad guys.

Blake, or the Huts of America, Martin Delaney. This is the first book on Nisi Shawl's Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction. Our hero wander about the slave lands, laying the groundwork for his master scheme.

Sisterland, Curtis Sittenfeld. My next Reading My Library pick. Not my cup of tea, really. Our hero is an idiot. This makes it hard for me to sympathize with her.

Unnatural Causes, P.D. James. My next audio book for my Reading My Library Quest. I've read this before, but decades ago. Wow, homosexuality was strange back then.

A Spool of Blue Thread, Anne Tyler. I started my next Reading My Library Quest book because I wasn't enjoying Sisterland. Tyler I can trust to entertain me.

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)Midnight Crossroad (Midnigh...The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning, #1)KenilworthReading and Learning to Read

A Traitor To Memory, Elizabeth George.
Awakening to the Sacred, Lama Surya Das. Prayer for every occasion and petitioner.
Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris.
Emerald Atlas, John Stephens.
Kenilworth, Walter Scott. Our hero acquires a henchman.
Reading and Learning To Read, Jo Vacca.

2016 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils 2015:  21 out of 82. Knocked off another YA Fantasy.
  2. Reading My Library:  Reading Sisterland. Not enjoying it. Also reading A Spool of Blue Thread, which I am enjoying. Started disc 4 of 8 of Unnatural Causes.
  3. Where Am I Reading?: 21/50.  A Spool of Blue Thread is set in Maryland.  The Six mostly happens in Colorado -- woot!
  4. Full House Challenge: 21/25.   I set up the card again.
  5. Library Challenge: I'm at 74. I do love me a good public library.
  6. Diversity Challenge 2016: Kidlit: 10/12. No change. Adult lit: 7/12. I count The Fifth Season for the biracial protagonist spot, but it seems odd to use mixed race on a non-Earth planet.  Tracking sexuality this month; so far I read mostly books about straight people ( straight,  bisexual). It's not quite that bad -- there are many supporting characters on the rainbow, but I don't count them. 18 Straight, 1 LGBTQ. If the authors mention a spouse or partner on their web page, I guess their orientation:  straight,  gay/lesbian but I don't see how I'll recognize anything else. 3 Straight, 3 LG. 
  7. Shelf Love Challenge 2016:  14! Half of my Readathon reading was deliberately from my shelves.
  8. Grown-Up Reading Challenge 2016: 16/20. No change.
  9. Eclectic Reader Challenge 2016: 8/12. I'm going to have to seek the rest out, I think.
  10. Surprise Me Challenge: My April book arrived from the library: The Year of Living Dangerously. Now I just have to read it.
  11. Flash Bingo: Six Bingos!
  12. Literary Exploration Challenge: 10/12. I'm stuck on horror and classics. I'm not sure I'll recognize horror -- how gross is something before it counts?


Lindsey said...

I'm so impressed that you went to donate blood in the first place. I have the best intentions whenever I see a blood drive, but I inevitably forget!

I'm glad you had a great readathon. It's tough to juggle with kiddos, but we parents still get some great reading done. :)

kmitcham said...

I finished the book club book. Very cute stuff.

Beth said...

Always good when you don't hate a book I picked.

My kids are of an age where they are more a help than a hindrance, but birthdays take commemorating.

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

I'm loving the image of barricading one's self with books during a read-a-thon. Fun! :)
Enjoy Bone Gap.