Posted in Community

2017 Dewey’s Readaton – Mid Challenge Update

Here we are, halfway through the readathon. I’m going much slower this year than I did last. But, any amount of reading is good reading and we’re not here to nitpick, right?

1. What are you reading right now? I’m still reading Hunting Prince Dracula but I took a break a little bit ago to read Saga, Vol. 7.
2. How many books have you read so far? Well, I finished Saga, so one.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Dinner. Dudes! We’re having carne asada fries. I haven’t had those in about 5 years.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Interruptions are the theme of the day. To be honest and quite frank, stopping every hour to do the mini-challenges have been my biggest distraction. Still, they’re lots of fun and bookish, so it’s all good.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Since this is my third year, there hasn’t really been anything that has surprised me. This is old hat.

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Posted in Community

2017 Dewey’s Readathon – First Thoughts

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So, I got off to a really rough start this morning. I started 1 1/2 hours late and then I had a hard time not closing my eyes on the couch. I need lots of caffeine and protein today, me thinks.

To start, the first hour mini challenge:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Navarre, FL
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Probably my first which is Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Chips and salsa.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! Aside from being an avid reader, I’ve recently taken up watercolor painting, drawing, and hand lettering. I live in Florida with my husband, two daughters, one dog, three cats, and a saltwater fish tank. The beach is my happy place.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? This is my third year (woot!). This year, I’m not using a tracker in my bullet journal. I tried that last year and only filled in the first hour, lol.

 

Posted in Community

2017 Dewey’s Readathon

There-is-no-friend-as-loyal-as-a-book-Ernest-Hemingway-book-quoteI’m prepped and ready to begin the readathon this year. This is my third year!!! I have a stack of graphic novels to break up the reading of longer books. New to me this year, I’ve included a few poetry books as well. I think I’m prepared with snacks as well, but I usually underestimate that end of things.

What I love about this marathon is that it keeps Dewey’s memory alive. I was not acquainted with her but only learned of her through the challenge, so I think the organizers and her friends should be applauded for efforts well-made. If I had a legacy after my passing, I would love for it to have something to do with books and literacy. I also love that I have an entire day of reading scheduled into my year and thus, I do so without the guilt of neglecting the non-reading world around me, lol.

Are you participating this year? Have you in years past? What do you love most about it?

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Grey Mask

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Title:  Grey Mask

Author:  Patricia Wentworth

Publisher:  Warner Books

Pages:  256

Genre:  Cozy Mystery

Setting:  UK

Source:    I purchased this novel for myself.

Publication Date:  November 1, 1986

Blurb:

After Charles was jilted at the altar by Margaret, he discovers that she is mixed up in a vicious kidnapping plot masterminded by a sinister figure in a grey mask. Charles turns to Miss Silver to uncover the strange truth behind Margaret’s complicity, and the identity of the terrifying and mysterious individual behind the grey mask.

What I Say:

I mentioned this book in a previous “What I’m Reading” post. I hesitated adding to those initial thoughts because honestly, my opinion didn’t change. At the time of that post, I still had more than half of the book to read. Again, I’ll say that the mystery part of the novel kept me guessing until the end. However, and without spoilers, I don’t think it was possible to have guessed the outcome prior to the ending because the author held back those revealing details.

Also, as I previously stated, this series of books is called “A Miss Silver Mystery”. I found it completely odd to name a series after a character who only appears in the book on a handful of pages and she was, at best, superfluous to the story. Yes, she aided in helping Charles solve the mystery of Grey Mask, however, the reader never gets to see how Miss Silver conducted her investigations. Seriously, I’ve never read a series of books where the title character was so underutilized.

In the end, I gave this two stars on Goodreads and have no intentions of reading any more books from this series despite other reviews. My review is definitely in the minority with this book having garnered an average of 3.74 stars on Goodreads, so maybe I am being overly critical. I stand by my opinions because, for me, the characters were forgettable and the world-building was flat. For a cozy mystery, this novel had little atmosphere.

 

2 Hearts

Posted in Weekly Reading

What I’m Reading Oct 4

So, I decided to get back to blogging and then came down with the flu. I missed all of the Banned Book Week activities, getting started with Dewey’s pre-readathon challenge, and National Coffee Day. Talk about a major bummer. The only good thing to come of being a walking zombie is getting unlimited reading time in, guilt-free, which means I was able to start a few books while being laid up.

MontstressFirst off, I started a new graphic novel, Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu and artist Sana Takeda. I’m only a couple pages in, so I haven’t formed an opinion yet. The artwork, however, is impressive and compelling. I thought this graphic novel would be a perfect accompaniment for this time of year. From Goodreads:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

grey mask Secondly, I began an eBook by Patricia Wentworth titled Grey Mask. It’s supposed to be a cozy mystery type of book. Set in London, post-war (I haven’t read any indications which war, but I’m assuming WWI. I could be wrong though. It’s really hard to tell from the context clues or lack thereof.) this is a tale of Charles, who has returned to his childhood home after being jilted by his fiance. His father has passed away and he’s returned home from abroad to claim his inheritance. Upon his arrival, he happens upon several uninvited guests in his house discussing some scheme or conspiracy. Deciding to remain hidden, Charles hires a lady detective, Miss Silver, to try and sort out the mystery on his own rather than go to the police.

I’m just short of halfway through the book and so far, it’s ok. The dialogue comes off as being written for a screenplay rather than a book so it’s different, but not hard to follow. The characters are a little one dimensional. I’m waiting to see if some development will occur as the story goes on. As for the mystery itself, I have no idea what’s going on, so I guess it’s a good one, lol. This is supposed to be the first book in the Miss Silver series, but it’s really hard to believe that an entire series is centered on Miss Silver whom we only see sporadically in the novel. She seems like a tertiary character rather than the main one. We’ll see, I guess.

Queens Lastly, I started Queens of the Conquest:  England’s Medieval Queens by Alison Weir. I am a huge fan of Weir’s and appreciate and respect her writing, opinions, and history that she imparts expertly about England’s monarchy. Her biography about Henry VIII was what started my journey into learning more about England’s history, which blossomed into learning about other nations and periods in history. Anyway, I’ve only just started this book and between being really tired and having to take notes on every page (because I can’t help myself), I’m only in the first chapter, lol. I’m enjoying it so far though and can’t wait to really get into the meat of it. Please click on the book’s title for a link to the Goodreads page. I didn’t want to include a lengthy description here.

How’d you bring in the month of October? Are you reading anything you’d recommend?

Posted in Industry News

Banned Books Week 2017

 

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It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I can’t ignore Banned Books Week.

So many of the top challenged books of 2016 are children’s and young adult books. Would I let my children read sexually explicit or violent books or books with excessive profanity (as determined by me)? No, because as a parent, it’s my job to parent my kids. I don’t leave this responsibility up to my neighbor, my congressman, or my local library. It’s my job.

Banning books is a suppression of first amendment rights. Challenging books based on your personal belief system is ignorant, presumptuous, and oppressive. I respect your right to have your own personal beliefs and ethics but don’t force them on me. That’s not your job.

There is one positive thing about banning/challenging books:  it raises awareness of topics that some people would prefer that society remains ignorant of like LGBT, growing up and maturing, what it means to be transgender, opposing viewpoints, sex education, and what some people believe to be excessive profanity or sexually explicit. Knowledge is power and understanding opposing viewpoints is to understand someone who isn’t exactly like you.

I welcome Banned Books Week every year and enjoy thinking about, looking at, and even rereading the banned/challenged books residing on my bookshelves and acquiring new books every year as well. I hope that by raising awareness and spotlighting these books every year that one mind, at least, is changed and encouraged to be more accepting and open.

Posted in Reading Roundup

January 2017 Wrap Up

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I have to admit, I didn’t have the best reading month in January. I only managed to finish five books. This was due in large part because I got stuck in The Fountain and wouldn’t let myself DNF it. Because I was struggling so badly with this book, I went several days without reading anything at all. Sadly, that wasn’t the only book that didn’t hold my attention this month. Here’s my list:

  1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. 374 pages. I loved this book. Cline is a genius world-builder. This was such an immersive experience reading this book, I didn’t want it to end. There were bits that were predictable (my husband and I debated about these) but I didn’t mind them and they didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book. So glad it was my first of 2017.
  2. Dark Matter by Black Crouch. 342 pages. This was another fabulous read for me. Again, Crouch is a great world-builder but he’s also a fantastic character developer (not that Cline isn’t but this really stuck out for me in Dark Matter.)
  3. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. 329 pages. This was the other book I struggled with in January. I wanted to love this book so much that I think I had too high expectations for it. Great premise but poor world building. Cogman drops us in this sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk-type world with very little explanation or back story. Maybe this gets better with subsequent books, which is why I still plan on reading book two in this series.
  4. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin. 400 pages. This was another novel that I really enjoyed reading. This is about Truman Capote, Babe Paley, and the rest of their NYC socialite group. I cannot say enough good things about this book. Benjamin really takes you into this time, the 1950s, and these people’s lives. This was a book that constantly had me researching aspects of it online because it’s such an intriguing story. The people were also fascinating and most of them, with the exception of Capote, I had never heard of prior to reading this book. I highly recommend it to historical fiction fans.
  5. The Fountain of St. James Court or, Portrait of an Old Woman by Sena Jeter Naslund. 448 pages. I very recently reviewed this book here on the blog so I won’t go into it again why this was my most painful read of January.

For five books, that is a total of 1893 pages and an average rating of 3.4 stars. 3.4 stars doesn’t sound too bad except for the fact that I am scarred by The Fountain!!! Just kidding and slightly exaggerating.

How did your January of reading measure up? Any duds? Any books you’d recommend? I only reviewed one of these books on my blog (linked above), but if you’d like a more in-depth review on any of the others, you’ve only to ask.