Tag Archives: read-a-thon

Bout of Books Day 7

Day 7 (and total recap)

Completely unrelated to anything, I think it may be time to accept that I should not be in charge of cooking for myself. For supper today I fried some butter and put bread in it. (No, that is not a typo.) And then I ate instant pudding out of a mason jar. How pinterest am I, eh?

Time Devoted to Reading

Sunday’s time reading was about 2 or 3 hours, due to walking to the grocery store stealing all my hopes and dreams, so I probably devoted 13 – 15 hours to reading this week, total. Not too shabby.

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My Goals

So I successfully read 6 books, which came to a total of 2031pages. I am a fast reader, particularly when reading kids books, so that’s far from a personal best. But let’s face it, I’m still sick and working full time and cooking for myself (all things which exhaust me), so it could be worse. Plus I’m really happy with the books I did read. 😀

Books Read

In the Forests of the Night, Kersten Hamilton This book makes me super happy. It’s the sequel to Tyger Tyger, which draws very heavily on Celtic (particularly Irish) mythology. This one takes all the Celtic, and adds a fair bit of Catholic mythology as well. (Now, I was originally going to reference the Catholic theology, but there is very little of the sacred used, it’s just a catholic way of seeing the world.)

The plot continues from the first book and ramps everything up, but really I don’t think I’d care if this was just “the book where everyone deals with the PTSD from the last book”. I adore the characters in this book, and the dialogue is fabulous. I laughed out loud with remarkable frequency. (Side note: laughing in an empty house kinda sounds like you’re a gaspy rusting hinge. Not attractive.)

I think my ethnic background is strongly Scottish and English, but I’ve lived a fair bit of my life identifying home as Newfoundland, which is strongly Irish. The humour and the outlook of this book is so beautifully Irish, it’s one of those that feels like home.

Only with more terrible child-eating monsters and Jack the ripper instructing your homeroom on the benefits of sadism. That’s not exactly homey, I’ll admit.

Final Verdict on Bout of Books?

I’m doing it again, and I REALLY HOPE I’m not sick next time. I want energy! I want BOOKS.

Bout of Books Day 6

Day 6

Time Devoted to Reading

This is a long weekend, for me. I get monday off for Victoria Day. Every time I take a long weekend there is a day in there that is just lost, somehow. Don’t know where it went. That was today, for me. I looked up at what I thought was lunch time and it was 5 pm. (Well that explains why I was so hungry…) And at that point I sat down to read for 2-3 hours, (Okay I ate something and then I sat down to read) and the book I chose was truly PHENOMENAL, so it all worked out okay.

My Goals

I have now completed 5 ouf of 6 goal books. My original goal is complete, and the next one looks to be in sight. And with Saturday’s reading hitting 327 pages, I am now at 1736 pages for the week. That is not bad at all.

Books Read

The Princess Curse, Merrie HaskellSaturday’s reading is also on the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award ballot, and as much as yesterday’s reading just did not work for me, this one totally did.

You guys, I have a new auto-buy author. Merrie Haskell, I LOVE you.

This book has collected everything I love and tenderly layered it into a trifle. Let’s see, you’ve got:

  • Awkward Dad who is the worst at showing he loves you until he [SPOILERS] travels to the land of the dead and offers to burn down the world to get you back [END SPOILERS]
  • Folktale crossovers including 12 Dancing Princesses, Beauty and the Beast, and Hades and Persephone
  • A main character who has weighed her future options and wants to join a convent so she can be a herbalist instead of getting married.
  • Main character who posesses a difficult skill which is important to the story
  • Medieval people who feel both incredibly human and totally medieval; they believe in magic, the efficacy of praying over cures as you brew them, and marriage as contract, and the narrative doesn’t make fun of them for it.
  • No-nonsense, competent heroine with a sharp tongue.

Bonus points for showing the difference between a book based in “European-Type Fantasy Land” and a book which actually draws on European history and folklore.

Extra bonus points for this first line;

“Three days after my thirteenth birthday, Armas, the Executioner and Chief of Prisons, came for me while I ate breakfast.”

Bout of Books Day 5

Day 5

Oh Friday. The traditional evening of productivity.

Wait, no, that’s not right at all. Friday is the evening for couch-cocooning and eating cookies from the bag while staring at a blank wall.

The club can't handle Twilight

Correct

Time Devoted to Reading

I’m sure I spent time reading. I’m sure I spent time eating, too. But somehow it’s all a halogen-lit blur in my memory. Friday is usually the day when my brain stutters, turns over, and dies, and this week was COMPLETELY TYPICAL in that way. At least I didn’t leave my shoes at work, like I did one time last summer.

All of this to say that I remember the story I read, but I can’t tell you if I read it walking down the road, standing in the kitchen, sprawled on the floor, or sitting in the shower. (Note: Book does not appear to have been immersed. Probably was not read in the shower.)

My Goals

I’ve read 4 books of 6, a total of 1409 pages. This sounds really impressive, until I remember that I’m not doing academic reading any more. I’m reading things which WANT to be read instead of text you have you prove yourself against in battle. And my word count is higher. Funny how that works!

Books Read

The Spy Princess, Sherwood SmithFriday I read The Spy Princess, which was not quite the book for me. It covers a fantasy land in the throes of revolution, and some kids who are instrumental in both starting and ending the crisis.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve read very few book for children about revolts, and quite a few for adults, both fiction and nonfiction. So I was reading in fear, expecting appalling things to show up on the next page. The torture, slow executions, inhuman behaviour etc. never happened directly to the characters, but the mentions of things happening off the edge of the page made me more and more sure bad things were going to happen in the next paragraph.

Basically, the experience was like reading an American Girl story, sure it was going to turn into The Lies Of Locke Lamora at any moment. (And I read Lies of Locke Lamora when I was in South-East Asia, learning about the massacres of students and protesters that have happened within living memory, so that book has a particularly terrifying real quality in my imagination.)

Anyways, now I’ve explained why the book didn’t work for me, it’s up for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for children’s literature, so it obviously worked for other people.

And I'll just leave now.

And I’ll just leave now.

Bout Of Books Day 4

Day 4

A word to the wise: if your milk has the consistency of yogurt, don’t try to make tea with it. Even if it still tastes okay, the bottom of your mug will develop a fascinating gritty texture. Which is exactly what you want to surprise you when you drink half a mug at once right before bed. I know I do.

Time Devoted to Reading

I had the concentration of a tumbleweed and got beat up by a hail storm, and I STILL managed to read for 2 hours.

Boom, success.

My Goals

Three books read out of 6, baby! That’s 1023 pages!

Books Read
Rip Tide, Kat Falls Today I finished Rip Tide, which was EXCELLENT. This one is a sequel to Dark Life, (which I read and loved a few years ago), and the characters, conflicts and tone have all matured since then. While the first one felt a lot like a pioneer narrative, man against a single threat (which makes sense as the characters are undersea pioneers…) this one connects into a wider world with power imbalances a spear gun can’t necessarily solve.

There’s a very interesting running theme of who the bad guys are not being a simple question, and at one point this even implicates the main character.

Also there was a gladiatorial crocodile-human match. And sunscreen application as an art form. So you know I’m all over that.

Bout of Books Day 3

Day 3

Well, Wednesday’s scores would not qualify me for the Olympic reading team. I managed all of 35 pages before my brain said NOPE THIS IS TOO TAXING and instructed me to refresh facebook instead. All evening.

Time Devoted To Reading

Well, technically 4 hours, but in the same way that you spend the whole day technically “studying in the library” and later you don’t know what happened, but you don’t have any notes and your tumblr queue is exceptionally well curated. Probably about 20 minutes actual time reading.

My Goals

I have now read a total of 744 pages. And in a fit of hubris, I added another book to my total goal, so now I have read 2.01 books of my goal 6.

I feel so awkward

Books Read

Rip Tide, Kat FallsOn the PLUS SIDE, the book I started reading is really awesome.

MG Science Fiction undersea adventures feat. devil squid, dangerous government agents, kidnappers, awkward romance (the best kind), sharks, submarines and mysterious murders. You know, the usual basic EXCELLENT.

Bout of Books Day 2

Day 2

I was going to write this last night and then I went to bed early and stared glassily at the ceiling for an hour. Excellent.

Time devoted to reading

This was probably about 3 hours. For reasons involving the shocking number of cookies I ate yesterday, I was easily distracted. But I managed to wrestle my focus back to my book and finish, triumphant!

My goals
I am now at 2 books read of my 5 book goal.

(With today’s reading being 316 pages, I’ve read a total of 709 pages.)

Success baby

Books read
Prophecy, Ellen Oh This time I read Prophecy, about a girl known as the Demon-Killer in a land very much like ancient Korea. Except for the demons, of course. 😀

I’d say this one is very much on the edge between middle grade and YA. Romance isn’t as big of an issue, for example. The writing is a bit clunky, so if you’re an English major, fair warning , this one may not be for you. The setting, though, is lovely, and always feels believably like Asia, not Europe with more dumplings.

Bout Of Books Day 1

Day 1

It turns out that May 13-19 is Children’s Book Week, so my choice of books is not only excellent, it’s also appropriate. Whew, I’m woozy with tiredness and listening to Carly Rae Jepson to keep myself awake, but I know if I don’t recap now, it’ll never happen. ONWARDS INTO THE RECAP.

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This gif has nothing to do with anything, I just love it.

Time Devoted to Reading

Which is to say– did I get my school work done? YES I DID. Kinda.

I didn’t complete it so much as accept that I had failed to complete and was just dragging out the failure longer. The only thing left to do was turn in an incomplete paper so I didn’t get an incomplete course. And I feel pretty worthless about that. BUT, academic failure notwithstanding, I’m free now. Oh freedom, I don’t have any idea how to deal with you any more, and you look so good.

I read for about two hours this evening, while folding myself into progressively more absurd shapes on the couch. It was glorious.

My Goals

Read five books by the end of the readathon: 1/5 complete. A total of 393 pages.

exquisite cat

Books Read

Stolen Magic, Stephanie BurgisStolen Magic, by Stephanie Burgis. Book three in the Kat, Incorrigible series, and hopefully not the last!

I love this series, and I think this is the best book yet. If you’re looking for a wonderful middle grade fantasy, may I point you to this one featuring clever, stubborn heroines, a loyal family that is always there for each other, and regency-era peril involving social drama and smugglers?

I have the brain of a custard right now, so I’m not going to write a full review for this one. That comes later. Right now I’m just going to say that I really appreciated all the little touches in this one which don’t come up when you describe the plot, but which affect the reading so much, like Kat starting to realize how hard her brother’s life must have been for years when he was thrown into boarding school and Oxford as a poor old boy. And how Kat is strongly powered, but it’s not her innate magical power which saves the day, it’s her quick wit, her courage, and her loyalty to her family which pulls her through. And Kat’s FEELS about her mother, sisters and stepmama, which ring so true.

Being 13 is a horrible age, but it’s also an age where you start to see your future looming on the horizeon. And Kat’s future is going to be so bright. I want to go along with her for it.

*throws hat into the ring*

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

This is my first time participating in Bout of Books, but how better to celebrate my re-entry into the reading world than a week-long read-a-thon? THERE IS NO BETTER WAY. Thank you. You are correct.

Time Devoted to Reading

Well, you see, I can’t start reading until I’m finished with my (late) school work. I’m TRYING, but my brain is just so mushed. So I will devote ALL my time, once I have time again. Hopefully my time will begin Monday morning, but I can’t, with a good conscience, promise anything at all. Possibly I’ll be staggering to the close of an essay on Friday evening, and only be able to read then.

*shudders in horror*

My Goals

5 books read would make me VERY happy. Both because I would get to read 5 books, and because I would, as mentioned above, be done with my school work early in the week. OH BLESSED DAY COME QUICKLY.

ETA: Oh, let’s try 6 books. Life’s nothing without a little hubris!

Books to Read

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Updates

I’ll be posting individual blog posts, because I’m just that way, but I’ll link them back to here.

Monday, Day 1

Tuesday, Day 2

Wednesday, Day 3

Thursday, Day 4

Friday, Day 5

Saturday, Day 6

Sunday, Day 7

Unnatural Death, Dorothy L. Sayers

“Ohmigod. Damn. Double rainbow. So intense.”

I presume you’ve seen the video. You know, the guy who’s crying over the rainbow? That is just about the emotional reaction I had to this book. It’s so beautiful… What does it mean?

Ahem.

I used to read mysteries with obsessive, almost irrational hunger. Then I moved into reading Fantasy and writing SF, but that’s another story. What I am talking about is Mysteries.

I’ve read a lot of them.

Until the read-a-thon, I had never read a Lord Peter Whimsey mystery.

This is a criminaloversight. Which I will fix as soon as possible. (Hint: Christmas is coming. The goose getting fat. Please to put a book in the ageless woman’s hat.)

So yes, the book.

It is the third in the series, but I read it with minimal confusion as to who was who. You just dive right into post-war London and environs. Where Lord Peter, who quotes EVERYTHING, is wandering around looking useless and being a genius, his butler is being AWESOME, (seriously, I think the man only had one scene, but I had to do my delighted dance and read it aloud,) the police are being SRYS BYSNS, and the spinster writer who he employs to spy for him, whose name I have forgotten because I thought of her as Maureen Johnson, is off being Catholic and hardcore. (Seriously, it was like a Maureen Johnson cameo. Only written 80 years before mj became the darling of Twitter. TIME TRAVEL?) And there were Lawyers, being delighted and fascinated by words in laws. I like words, so this pleased me. Also, there are a lot of LADIES doing THINGS in this book. Being one myself, I approve of them becoming more than Damsels in Distress or Moral Compasses in stories. And here they were, being Evil, and Stupid, and Clever, and Moral, and Rebellious, and Good, and all sorts of lovely things. (Hint: Christmas is coming.)

The actual murder was delightfully clever, to start. You see, they weren’t actually sure that it WAS a murder until the end of the book. It was only a terribly convenient death, with some suspicious circumstances. But when they started investigating, other people started dying mysteriously too. By the end of the book, the murderer was getting quite sloppy. But we still weren’t sure HOW people were dying until the end.

So yes. I want marry Lord Peter. I gave it four stars out of five. No big deal.

Star Wars: 501st, Karen Traviss

I said I would review everything I read for the read-a-thon. But next year I’m not going to do that, because when that is just not fair to the book. I mean, I barely remember this one. I started reading it at about three in the morning? And most of the book I spent my time propping my eyes open and muttering “where are the EXPLOSIONS?” at the page. (Hint: there were not as many explosions as I’d like.)

The idea behind the book, as best as I can figure out, is that Order 66 ended, and millions of nerds cried out and said, BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? They were given this book to silence them. The issue with that, is that I do believe that Order 66 finished off all the plot threads quite nicely. I mean yes, there were things hanging, but they were aesthetically pleasing things. In a terrible way.

I mean yes, there were people killed and others were left in terrible no-win situations. But the story WORKED. That was a good ending point. Now in this book, most of the text is spent on people thinking about the meaning of things, from a religious, moral or ethical perspective. Which might be fine, I was just OUT OF IT when I read the book, (and now when I’m writing this. Symmetry! Hah!)

When I pick up a book with Storm Troopers on the front, I want a heavy dose of action and plot. Regrettably for that idea, Ms. Traviss has spent much of the previous series writing the Imperial Commandos to be darn near indestructible genius demi-gods. So just breaking a few people out of triple zero isn’t such a much. So just to fill up the PAGE COUNT, you need the endless soul-searching. So maybe more flaws would have been good? Or less of a stupid enemy? I dunno. I gave it two stars out of five. I shan’t worry about the characters any more.