Mount TBR 2013 Reading Challenge discussion

31 views
Level 2: Mount Blanc (24 Books) > Julia takes on Mt Blanc

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Julia (last edited Dec 31, 2013 04:17PM) (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments Like a glutton for punishment, I return to the fold. I managed Pike's Peak for 2012, so I'd like to challenge myself further with Mt Blanc. I always wanted to visit the Alps... No list as of yet, although I have some likely suspects lined up.

So far:
1. Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti
2. Showtime by Narrelle Harris
3. Lost in Time by Melissa De La Cruz
4. The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots by Margaret Swain
5. Persuasion by Jane Austen
6. The Katerina Trilogy: Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
7. Thus was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell
8. Birth of the Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom
9. Lost Things by Jo Graham and Melissa Scott
10. Pluto volume 7
11. Pluto volume 8
12. Phoenix Rising by Tee Morris & Philippa Ballantine
13. Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart: The Perils of Marriage by Anka Mulhstein
14. The Shortest Way to Hades by Sarah Cauldwell
15. The Sirens Sang of Murder by Sarah Cauldwell


message 2: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 1. Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti - One of Twelfth Planet Press' Twelve Planets collections, an Australian sf/fantasy publisher, this set of short stories deals with super powers. Very creepy power sets and twisted perspective on what power does to people.


message 3: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 2. Showtime by Narrelle Harris - another Twelve Planets collection, this one combines familiar vampires, ghosts, zombies with family interactions. Love the way the author twisted around my expectations.


message 4: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 3. Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz: Book #7 of the Blue Bloods vampire series. Like the previous book, the POV/storyline alternated for each chapter. Wasn't as jarring as the previous one. Sets up the last book pretty well. Only wish I didn't have the Wolf Pact/ Witches of East End side books to read as well.

Added seven books to my TBR pile since January 1st, but I've already read three. Not quite parity... I suspect it'll fall apart as the year progresses.


message 5: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 4. The Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots: Another short one to clear off the TBR list. I think I acquired this at a needlework shop, but don't remember where or when. Fascinating discussion of Mary's needlework and how it was part of her life. We tend to think of her as silly/impetuous and yet she managed to pick her designs with barbed double meanings. Would have preferred more color plates to appreciate the details.

And... yeah. The predicted parity has fallen apart badly in February with a ton of new releases and Kindle sales. *sighs* I'll just be over here under the pile of books.


message 6: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 5. Persuasion by Jane Austen. I started this for a read-a-long but had such a hard time getting into it initially. It was my first Austen and I'm not sure if it was the best choice. I was won over though, especially at the end reading Wentworth's letter. Also the first book for my Classics Club list so I feel like I'm doubly accomplished.


message 7: by Diane (new)

Diane Will (inver) | 38 comments Shame there wasn't more to look at in Mary Queen of Scots needlework Julia. That would have been lovely to see.


message 8: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments It was extremely frustrating to grasp the scope involved. One particular piece stood out for me -- Swain described this valance based on woodcuts of the period with Europa and the bull in bright yellow. The book only showed a small piece of it in black and white, but I looked it up on the Met's website. Even her description didn't show just how bright and long the piece was.


message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane Will (inver) | 38 comments Wow, they did some fantastic embroidery way back then didn't they.


message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 13, 2013 06:39PM) (new)

Oooh! Too bad there weren't color plates in the book. I just picked up Jean Plaidy's Royal Road to Fotheringhay (historical fiction about Mary, Queen of Scots) and that would have been a great companion piece! Oh, well...


message 11: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments The book did contain *some* color plates, Tanya, only eight pages worth, just not as many as I would have liked for appreciating the needlework involved. I've never gotten into Jean Plaidy's books, oddly enough, for all that I love historical fiction.


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 13, 2013 07:25PM) (new)

Julia wrote: "The book did contain *some* color plates, Tanya, only eight pages worth, just not as many as I would have liked for appreciating the needlework involved. I've never gotten into Jean Plaidy's books, , oddly enough, for all that I love historical fiction. "

This is my first Jean Plaidy book, though I seem to recall having read some of Victoria Holt gothic novels when I was in high school! I'm only a few chapters in, and to me it's interesting in that it reflects a certain style of historical fiction writing style of the mid-century. I'm reminded of Thomas B. Costain's writing: There's no lack of plotting or structure, but the lack of emotional engagement or depth is disconcerting to the 21st century reader who has been exposed to the lush writing of Margaret George for instance (c.f. Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles.) There 's a follow-up to Royal Road to Fotheringhay, but I'll probably pass.


message 13: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 6. Katerina Trilogy: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges: YA series set in late imperial Russian period of 19th century where magic and faerie and vampires exist openly. The descriptions of court life and the etiquette and intrigue were wonderful and made me want to read more about the period. I can see the arguments about the slow developing plot though.


message 14: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments Oh dear. So much for gaining ground on the TBR. The library book sale is at the end of month and the Turning the Page/Carpe Librum sale just opened. I am categorically doomed.


message 15: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 7. Thus was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Cauldwell. Delightful British mystery told heavily in epistolary style. The gimmick of the books are that the gender of the narrator Professor Hilary Tamar is never specified in any of the four Cauldwell books. I'm undecided what I think about that.

Had been feeling very depressed about my chances at finishing Mt Blanc this year. But I have a few TBR books halfway done. I just have to stop looking at the new ones right? Right? I may dip into the GN/manga side of my TBR shelves. They'll go a lot faster, much as I wanted this challenge to focus on "proper" books.


message 16: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 8. Birth of a Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom. Fascinating feminist discussion on the chess queen's background. Originally she wasn't even on the board and when she was added was the weakest piece, rather than the all-powerful. Loved seeing the different chess pieces in the plates/illustrations and meeting the different medieval queens that may or may not have inspired the chess queen's rise.


message 17: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 9. Lost Things by Jo Graham and Melissa Scott. Historical fantasy set in 1929 filled with aviation and airships but also archaeology and magic. Lake Nemi is being drained to discover Caligula's ships, but do they set something far worse loose on the world? And how do four people stop it before it causes even more damage?


message 18: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 10 & 11. Pluto volume 7 and volume 8: Like last year, I hadn't intended to included GN/manga, but I'm behind a little and I have my share of series I've meant to finish off. Pluto was a good example. Naoki Urasawa adapted Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy's "Greatest Robot of Earth" sequence, modernizing it for our times. But the focus was shifted to Gesicht, the robot detective, so a massive chunk of the series reads more like a police procedural, set against a world where robots live side by side with humans with all the problems and hate you can imagine. The parts that make me twitch a little are the world building allusions to the Iraq War and a certain American president. Urasawa takes pains to show us what else the Greatest Robots were besides killing machines, so their fates are... painful to say the least.


message 19: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 12. Phoenix Rising by Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine. Finally finished this late last night. I had tried to read this before and was underwhelmed so I tried again in a different format. I think it helped listening to author interviews to understand what they were going for -- a steampunk version of TV Avengers John Steed and Emma Peel. I did like that the gadgets has uses rather than just "ooh, look at the steampunky stuff!" style used by other writers. And while the the secret society was suitably distasteful, there was something about the descriptions of the back half of the book that didn't quite match the tone of the earlier part. Curious about the second book, but may be awhile before I get it considering my lonnng TBR list.

One book aware from seeing Pike's Peak -- unfortunately I have 12 more to go!


message 20: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 13.Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart: The Perils of Marriage by Anka Mulhstein. A double biography of Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots with a heavy focus on how the queens and cousins approached marriage and romance in distinctly different ways. Where Mary allowed her passions to rule her in two of her marriages, Elizabeth was circumspect and cautious. Elizabeth I had seen what happened to her mother Anne Boleyn when she fell out of favor and she saw how her sister Mary Tudor fared with a foreign husband/king. Elizabeth also seemed more in tune with her subjects' and ministers' wishes than Mary. Mary may have had charm, but Elizabeth knew how to wield it. Elizabeth also never let her emotions hold sway, which is evident with her relationship with brash young Essex. He thinks he can just win her over with a few choice words, but she's not fooled.


message 21: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 14. The Shortest Way to Hades by Sarah Cauldwell. The second book in the Hilary Tamar series was easily as delightful as the first one. The only thing that really confused me was the cricket match in one match; the sport has never made sense to me. I am a little sad knowing there are only two books left in this series with the author's death.

Ten books left in Mt Blanc and three months left. Not sure if I can pull this off...


message 22: by Julia (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments FYI, I created a pinterest board with the covers from my challenge.


message 23: by Julia (last edited Dec 31, 2013 04:19PM) (new)

Julia (mizzelle) | 46 comments 15. The Sirens Sang of Murder by Sarah Cauldwell. I just finished the third book in the Hilary Tamar series tonight.

Alas I will not reach the peak of Mt Blanc.


back to top