Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge discussion

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2018 Weekly Checkins > Week 29: 7/12-7/19

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message 1: by Nadine (last edited Jul 19, 2018 05:08AM) (new)

Nadine Jones | 5607 comments Mod
Hey it's the middle of July!! Somehow I agreed to drive down to the Meadowlands (New Jersey) to see Taylor Swift this weekend with my daughter. So, that's what I've got planned. (And she says we're going to be listening to Taylor Swift on the drive down. What is this nonsense?? A long drive without an audiobook???) This wouldn't be so bad except I'm driving back down to NJ next weekend for vacation.


Admin stuff:

If anyone is interested in leading the discussions for monthly reads in August (The Night Circus), October (Hallowe'en Party, or December (Circe, let us know!




This week I finished 9 books, including 2 books for the Challenge, so I am now 47/50.

I've been on a graphic novel kick lately, I just binged four Hawkeye volumes, two of them last week and two this week:

Hawkeye, Volume 3: L.A. Woman (Matt Fraction) - this was all about Kate Bishop in LA, and did not have my two favorite ingredients: neither Clint Burton as Hawkeye nor art by David Aja were present in this volume.

Hawkeye, Volume 4: Rio Bravo (Matt Fraction) - great big massive love for this one. I could squee like a schoolgirl about this, but I'll spare you. I'll just say: I adore Clint Burton as drawn by David Aja and written by Matt Fraction.

Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke - I loved The Return of Zita the Spacegirl so much that I thought I should read Hatke's other series. This was fine but not amazing. If you read it, be sure to have the second volume handy, because this is just the first half of the story. That was disappointing, the three Zita books were each complete stories in their own right, as well as part of a continuing story arc. I felt like maybe Hatke's heart wasn't fully invested in Mighty Jack.


Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff- omg talk about squeeing!! I LOVED this!! And that was such a surprise to me, because I kind of hated the first 100 pages, but then it got soooo good. There were plot twists that surprised me! My inner teenager was delighted. I've got book #3 on hold at the library now, fingers crossed that I get it soon! I used this book for "book by two authors," although GR can't seem to get its act together and feature both authors in the book listings - you don't see Kristoff's name until you click on the book title, and even there, only Kaufman's photo and bio are featured. I am not usually a binge-type reader (Hawkeye was an exception!) but I can't wait to read the third book!

Five Equations That Changed the World by Michael Guillen - hahaha yeah I hated this. I'll say no more.

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey - somehow an alternative history double-crossing heist story set in 19th century Louisiana with a diverse crew was ... quite dull. At least it was short. I doubt I'll continue with this series.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - I had mixed feelings about this book, but I am glad I read (er, listened to) it. I used this for "book about my ancestry."

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle - another delightful collection of Holmes stories! I can't believe no one told me to read these years ago!

Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor - this was another delight! I kind of want to buy it for my daughter now, even though she hasn't read the rest of the series (yet?) I think she'll enjoy it.




Question of the Week

Recommend a less-well-known book (or books) that you loved.



I spent a good bit of time mulling this over, I tried to come up with just three to five books but I ended up with eight. I suck at coming up with a Top Five. My own criteria: less than 5000 ratings, a full-length fiction book I rated 5 stars, published in the last 30 years. Yes, I've raved about these titles before.

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones - wonderful grit-lit allegory about growing up on the fringes

The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka - fantastic new detective mystery series - everyone who loves mysteries should read this!

Lie Lay Lain by Bryn Greenwood - a quiet little book about figuring out who you are, from the author of the much more talked-about All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel - a quirky book about family and doing the right thing even if your family disagrees, from the author of Station Eleven

Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield - best zombie book I've ever read - if you like zombies, read this!

She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper - a gritty, crime-laden, kind of heart-breaking daddy/daughter relationship.


And the last two violate my own personal rules, but I still think MORE people should read them, so I have to mention them here:

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes - classic noir, why does everyone talk about Dashiell Hammett and not Chester Himes?

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho - yes this has more than 5000 ratings but i think it should have even more than it's got now, it was FANTASTIC and everyone who loves fantasy and fairies in Victorian England should read this!! Book #2 should be published next year!!


What started me thinking about this is a discussion over at Around the Year, and they talked about making a list so I got excited to create a list. Because, lists!! After a few days of discussion I couldn't stand the wait any more and created my own list:

Underrated Novels from the Last 30 Years
(I confined my list to full-length fiction books written for people ages ~13 and up, (more or less), no picture books or graphic novels or short stories or poetry. I also excluded books that are #2, #3, etc in a series that must be read in order. Feel free to add to my list!)

Of course right after I created my list the AtY group finally started their list, which is here:
ATY Group Members Recommendations

And I also just learned about an Instagram page dedicated to Underrated books that need more love (and I'm not sure if this link will work)
The Underrated Book Project


It's like "underrated books" are part of this week's zeitgeist!


message 2: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (patchworkbunny) | 1109 comments It's been so long since we had rain our dog had forgotten what it was when it rained for 30 seconds and she had to go outside to sniff the splodges on the ground. I'm assuming elsewhere in Britain is getting rain as no one seems worried about a drought yet.

I finished Hope Never Dies, which was a bit of silly fun about Joe Biden and Barack Obama solving a mystery. I've already done based on a real person but it would be a good quick read for anyone stuck on that.

I also listened to There There not for any challenges. It's the kind of literary fiction that doesn't worry itself too much about a plot so it wasn't really to my taste and it skipped onto the next character before I got invested in any of them.

I started listening to The Diviners today. I hadn't noticed how long it is, so I hope I get through it before my library loan runs out. Those who use Libby, if you have to return an audiobook and borrow it again later, does it keep your place? I suppose I can listen a bit at the weekend if I need to but generally audiobooks are just for my commute.

I'm currently reading Tarnished City, because I just realised the third book is out this month and I still hadn't read the second. Not for any prompts that I can think of.

It's definitely getting to the point where if I don't purposefully select a book for the challenge, it's not going to fit any remaining prompts.

QOTW:
OK now I understand where the under-appreciated lists came from that people on Twitter were eye-rolling over because they had lots of popular books on!

Books I regularly recommend that no one has heard of before include:

Diving Belles beautiful short story collection for fans of Cornwall and folklore.
The Machine near future sci-fi novel with themes of memory (very bleak).
The Thing Itself very clever book revolving round the Fermi paradox.
The City's Son (actually the whole Skyscraper trilogy is fantastic) a creative urban fantasy using elements of London in such a unique way.
Apocalypse Cow because who wouldn't want to read about zombie cows with a side-helping of political satire?


message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne Happy Thursday! 48 of 50 down! I might be finished by this time next week.
@Nadine – I’m so jealous! I am not a concert goer in general (unless you count summer pop series by the local symphony) but I think Taylor Swift would be fun!

Completed:
35.) Award winner - Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate was my favorite this week. It was split between 1939 and modern day. The story was told by two separate voices: Rill, a young girl, in 1939 Memphis, TN, wrenched from her family with her 4 siblings while her parents are at the hospital having twins, and dragged to an orphanage, and Avery, the daughter of a South Carolina Senator, who has a chance encounter with a woman at a nursing home, and with the help of a friend, uncovers some secrets. Charming!

Jackie's Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family by Kathy McKeon – let’s read the opposite side of A Season of Purgatory! (Kathy seemed to have some hero worship for her “Madam”.) I did love hearing about her childhood at the beginning of the book – Ireland in the 50s with no indoor plumbing or electricity!

Sanibel Flats by Randy Wayne White was a Florida and Central America based thriller about Mayan artifacts being illegally imported and sold in the US. It was an interesting read, over all, but very indicative of the macho 1990s.

Macramé Murderby Molly Cox Ryan – a quick cozy that so far isn’t as well written as its book jacket. That said, I didn’t immediately know who dun it!

Currently reading:
30.) Twins - The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield for my twins read. I’m doing the books on tape option and, while I think the book stands alone just fine, the narration by Lynne Redgrave is outstanding! I’m enthralled by her voice over as Vida Winters. Over all, I am loving this book!

The Shaman Sings by James D Ross – a southwestern US focused mystery written in the 90s.

QOTW - Lesser known recommendations
Books I’ve loved over the years include Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig about a boy travelling on his own, The Orphans of Race Point by Patry Francis, unrequited love in a Portuguese community in Provincetown, MA, and Selling the Lite of Heaven by Suzanne Strempek Shea, a book that hits a bit too close to home that I read before my life took a similar path. Truth can be stranger than fiction!


message 4: by SadieReadsAgain (last edited Jul 19, 2018 05:38AM) (new)

SadieReadsAgain (sadiestartsagain) | 767 comments Yay, check-in. I was hoping to have two books down this week, but one took a while to get warmed up so I'm behind where I'd hoped to be.

Still, 33/50 now (30/40, 3/10). I'm so chuffed with myself, I wasn't sure if I'd manage the challenge but now I think I'm going to do it!

This week's book was Brave New World, for prompt #31 mentioned in another book. I'll admit...I was a bit underwhelmed by this. I just found it a bit dry, and was left cold by the aspects Huxley chose to focus on of this incredible concept that he developed. Too much talk about no-strings sex (and that's all it is, talk...and not very sexy talk at that), not enough about how the world came to disregard procreation and instead make humans in factories. I wanted to delve deeper into the toxic consumerism, the lack of family connection...and instead got too much about who was having who. I know it's making a very important point about happiness and society and all that jazz, I totally got that. I just felt that there was so much untapped potential. Still, for its time this is a very impressive vision, and the story unfolded well to a really strong ending. I can see why it's a classic.


Recommend a less-well-known book (or books) that you loved.

Oh wow, I suck at recommending books. I can never remember why I loved a book, and I'm not a very good saleswoman! Plus I get quiet anxious about not wanting to recommend something which isn't a good fit for someone (similar to why I find gift giving quite stressful, I get panicked by the thought of getting a rubbish gift for someone). So anyway, I went to my favourites shelf and sorted it by number of ratings a picked these off the list of those which had less than 1,00 ratings:

Spin Cycle by Zoë Strachan - I really like this author, and this book is set in a laundrette in an area of Glasgow I know well so it really came alive for me. It's been years since I read it, but I did love the character of Siobhan, who imagines people's lives based on the contents of their dirty laundry!

Cleaned Out by Annie Ernaux - another I read years ago, when I was looking for books which dealt with abortion. It's basically about a young woman analysing how her life has brought her to the place where she ends up having a back-alley abortion. I've always meant to read more of her stuff, but as she's a French author it's not easy to get translations.

Everything You Need by A.L. Kennedy - zomg I love this author, and this is probably my favourite book of her's I've read. It's a weird story of an estranged father and daughter on a writers retreat island where everyone has issues. She doesn't know he's her dad, he can't tell her. It's beautiful, ugly, insightful and funny...loved it.

Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson - I am gobsmacked this classic has so few ratings. I fell in love with Bobby, and his heartbreaking story - I've never read something where the character was so well crafted and who attached themselves so deeply to the reader without a single word spoken or thought shared. I could practically hear his little feet padding about and the slap of his ears as he shook himself (he's a dog, if you don't know!). And the story is so richly told, such a simple tale, but one that will never get old.

Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne - this starts with the 7/7 bombings in London, but is the story of a Sri Lankan woman who was forced to leave her idyllic childhood behind and move to England. I learned so much from this book, and I thought it was utterly beautiful. I really want to visit Sri Lanka!


This has been such a nice walk through books I'd kind of forgotten I loved!


message 5: by Kenya (new)

Kenya Starflight | 619 comments I finished the challenge this week! Whoo!

Having some difficulties at the moment trying to decide whether or not to cancel a vacation later this year... Long story short, I feel guilty going on vacation when my roommate (who also happens to be a relative) can't afford to go, and she's been laying on a guilt trip for me to cancel. But this is the one time a year I get to do something for myself so... argh. I dunno.

Books I read this week:

Lovecraft Country -- for the "book recommended by someone else taking the PopSugar challenge." Ironic, yet strangely fitting, that the author would use the cosmic horrors of HP Lovecraft's works to explore the much more mundane horrors of Jim Crow racism in the 1950s.

The Ice Dragon -- not for the challenge. A kids' book written by George R. R. Martin? My first thought was "who dies?" XD But it was surprisingly charming and, while bittersweet, very enjoyable.

Taran Wanderer -- not for the challenge. Plugging away at the Prydian Chronicles books, and still enjoying them.

DNF:

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space -- While I was curious to learn more about astronomy from one of the world's most famous astronomers, the fact that the first several chapters of the book feel like one long bashing of religion in general annoyed me. I don't mind reading about others' viewpoints, but after awhile I just wanted to scream "I get it, move on!"

Currently Reading:

The Lady's Slipper
The Arrivals
And still chipping away at Lovecraft...

QOTW

Well, most anything by Catherynne M. Valente -- she's most famous for her Space Opera and "Fairyland" books at the moment, but she has many other beautiful and fantastic books -- her "Orphan Tales" series, Palimpsest, The Refrigerator Monologues...

Books not by Valente would have to include:

Wolf in White Van -- An unconventional but fascinating look at a disfigured man who's become a recluse running a mail-order role-playing game... and a tragedy that has him re-examining his turbulent past. Chilling but enthralling.

The Night Ocean -- A woman goes off in search of her missing husband, who's been drawn into a conspiracy revolving around a famed but controversial author. Needs some patience to get into (or at least I did), but the layers upon layers of subterfuge and intrigue were fascinating.

The 27th Day -- Old-school, Cold-War-era sci-fi that gives five random people around the world -- an American reporter, an English student, a German professor, a Soviet soldier, and a Chinese peasant -- an alien artifact that could destroy the world.


message 6: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (r_y_feig) | 9 comments I will also be going to the Taylor Swift concert this weekend in NJ (Sunday), but sadly, I can't say that I have a daughter wanting to go. I'm in my 30s and dragging my husband with me (he's a good sport).

Books I Read This Week:
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal (not for this challenge though it works for Celebrity Book Club). I'm a little torn with this novel; while I enjoyed the premise and learned a lot about the Sikh culture and community, Nikki thoroughly annoyed me (however, it could be that I've just gotten old and find it harder to relate to relate to the 'cool cats').

The Plea by Steve Cavanagh (also not for this challenge). Generally I like reading thrillers and murder/mysteries during the winter, but I've read Cavanagh's previous novel and enjoyed it, so was excited when I saw this one at the library. This is definitely a quick read, and while I think his storytelling ability is better than James Patterson's, he reminds me of Patterson's ability to end each chapter on a hook, making you want to read just one more chapter. The plot is a bit over-the-top, but an enjoyable read.


message 7: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 5607 comments Mod
Ellie wrote: "OK now I understand where the under-appreciated lists came from that people on Twitter were eye-rolling over because they had lots of popular books on! ..."

Oh I haven't seen this and you've got me curious! We must follow different social circles on Twitter. Which one is the source of eyerolls?


message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather (heatherbowman) | 710 comments I've had a pretty fun reading week. I haven't ventured out into the heat much so I finished more books than usual. I need to find a new audiobook, but I have no idea what I want to listen to next.

Finished
Station Eleven (a book you borrowed or received as a gift) - This book was amazing! I'd been aware of the book for awhile, but decided to read it after seeing a lot of praise for it in these check-in posts. I love stories about how characters' lives intersect, even if they're not aware of it. This was the perfect book for me.

The Lovely Bones (a bestseller the year you graduated high school) - Some friends read this back in 2002 when we were seniors in high school and didn't like it. I can see why. I didn't care for the story, but it was written well so I got through with minimal pain.

How to Fall In Love with a Man Who Lives in a Bush (favorite prompt - an audiobook) - Oh, boy. This was supposed to be a quirky rom com, but it sounds more like a nightmare to me. The love interest, Ben, is homeless when Julia meets him and they fall in love. Sounds unique, right? Well, the love interest has no redeeming qualities. Ben is childish, pushy, and aggressive. He criticizes and tries to change every opinion and aspect of her life. I really didn't like him or this book.

Reading
The Royal We - It's basically British royals fanfiction and I'm loving it.

Nightfall - Whenever I start to miss Stargate, I read a tie-in novel. I'm only a couple chapters in. The set-up was pretty good.

QOTW
These are the underrated books I always recommend.

The Sage of Waterloo: A Tale - 208 ratings - It's a crime this book isn't more popular. It's the story of the Waterloo battlefield narrated by a rabbit. It's philosophical and poignant.

Beside a Burning Sea - 1,769 ratings - This is my favorite World War II novel. A US Navy medical ship carrying injured Japanese prisoners of war is attacked and sinks off the coast of an uninhabited island. One of the prisoners, Akira, is a teacher and poet. At the start of each chapter is a haiku he writes for Annie, an American nurse, as they fall in love.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night - 1,511 ratings - This book is hard to find, but it's worth the search. This is a collection of fantasy and magic realism stories that I read for the challenge this year.


message 9: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 5607 comments Mod
Rochelle wrote: "I will also be going to the Taylor Swift concert this weekend in NJ (Sunday), but sadly, I can't say that I have a daughter wanting to go. I'm in my 30s and dragging my husband with me (he's a good..."

What a coincidence!! So, maybe you know (because my FB friends are letting me down on this): what is the deal with parking at the Meadowlands? Can I just pay when I get to the lot, or do I need to buy a pass from Ticketmaster in advance? I have found conflicting info online; I'm hoping the Ticketmaster nonsense is just for football games.


message 10: by Brooke (new)

Brooke | 273 comments Hi everyone! It is oppressively hot in Texas this week, and the heat is expected to continue for another week. Usually extreme weather like this allows for a lot of reading time, but I found out 2 days ago that my dad is coming to visit later today until Sunday and my brother & his family are coming for the weekend. Unless the heat tires everyone out early I won't be reading much for the next few days.

I read 1 more book this week for Popsugar, so I’m now at 41/52 for the challenge. I an see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Books I finished:
For Popsugar
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan for favorite prompt from 2017 (40), the first book in a new-to-me the series. I liked this and look forward to seeing the movie, but I must say the book made me irrationally angry at times! The wealth in Singapore is so over the top, and the way many of the characters in this book were so shallow and snobby that it was a turnoff at times. Aside from that this was funny and cute. I plan to continue the series at some point this summer.


For other challenges
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. This isn’t my usual genre, and I was leery to read it due to all of the hype and rave reviews, but I liked it. I’m not sure how to describe it without giving spoilers, so all I’ll say is that this explores the road not taken in a really sci-fi way.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. This is a dystopian/sci-fi novel where the majority of humankind was killed by a plague. The main character Jimmy, who is now known as Snowman, is struggling to survive while also mourning his best friends. It goes back and forth between present day and stories of Jimmy’s past. Atwood does an amazing job of painting a scary yet realistic vision of the future. I didn’t realize this was a trilogy, so at some point I will have to read the next installment.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I loved the personal growth Eleanor experienced as the story unfolded. It was a tad slow at times, but for the most part I really enjoyed listening to this one.

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris, #2 in the Midnight, Texas trilogy/series. I read the first book a few weeks ago, and this continues with all of the same characters. Day Shift starts right in on action, whereas the first book was very slow at the start as characters were introduced. This was better than the first story, but I’m not in a major rush to read the next book. Oh! One fun thing about this book was the mention of Sookie Stackhouse and a couple of other characters from that series. I do like it when authors blend their stories/series.

I am currently reading:
The Power by Naomi Alderman
The Secret, Book and Scone Society by Ellery Adams
The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly

QOTW: I am going to have to think about this one. I am terrible at remembering the lesser known books, probably because I never encounter them again on blogs or in conversation with other readers.


message 11: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (patchworkbunny) | 1109 comments Nadine wrote: "Oh I haven't seen this and you've got me curious! We must follow different social circles on Twitter. Which one is the source of eyerolls?"

There were quite a few YA series mentioned, Caraval, Cassandra Clare's books and the Lunar Chronicles. I am usually only on when the UK publishing world is active but I think a bit of US book Twitter filtered in yesterday. There always seems to be something going on I'm not aware of.


message 12: by Jen (new)

Jen (jentrewren) | 777 comments Ellie wrote: "It's been so long since we had rain our dog had forgotten what it was when it rained for 30 seconds and she had to go outside to sniff the splodges on the ground. I'm assuming elsewhere in Britain ..."

They really bash the pollies in World War Moo..... Not as good as Apocalypse Cow in my opinion but still a bit/lot crazy.


message 13: by Brittany (last edited Jul 19, 2018 07:15AM) (new)

Brittany | 182 comments Hi All!

So my husband was off on a conference again this past week so I was pretty much home alone the entire time. Every time this happens I figure I'll read non-stop but I usually end up binging TV instead. This week I found The Closer is on Amazon and so I decided to put it on while I cleaned...well no cleaning happened and I'm on season 6 now. I still managed to finish 3 books (1 physical, 2 audio).

So a week ago I picked up Me Before You at the library because so many people have talked about it. I wasn't sure exactly what the story was but I had just enough info to be partially right and WAY wrong. I kind of grudgingly read through this but about halfway in got pretty into it and naturally cried while reading it. This one had some topics which aren't triggering but hit close to home and I wasn't expecting it so it made me a little uncomfortable. I don't think I liked it enough to read the sequels though but if the next one fulfills a challenge prompt for next year I'll read it then.

On audio, I listened to The Kiss Quotient which is an Own Voices book about a woman with Asperger's who hires an escort to basically teach her how to have better sex so that she is more comfortable having it with other people. I had zero idea what this book was about before I picked it up but it popped up on Hoopla and I recognized the cover as it's popped up on my Goodreads feed a few times last week. The cover screams chick-lit which is what I was going for this week. Well, I was sad to say that I really didn't care for it. I actually really loved the concept but the author just made some poor plot choices which didn't work for me. I still whole-heartedly recommend this as it actually has fantastic ratings and I was clearly in the minority with my feelings on this book.

And yesterday I listened to We Should All Be Feminists. I keep getting surprised by how short Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's non-fiction books are. I keep getting the audiobooks and get ready to settle down into a few hours on this topic and then I realize the audiobook is only 45 minutes long as the book is only 52 pages. I still think this was a great book, especially if you are new to the concept or maybe haven't thought about it much. It wasn't really groundbreaking for me as this year I've put a focus on reading a lot of books on this topic. One thing I do like about Chimamanda's books is that she puts in her perspective of feminism as she experienced it in Nigeria which for me was very interesting having not really been exposed to anything regarding Nigerian culture.

QOTW

I wish I hadn't had my reading drought over the past few years as most of the books that are fresh in my mind are all recommended and pretty popular. Still the one that jumped to mind is the Heartstrikers series which is available on Kindle Unlimited for free. It's a five book series and doesn't quite fit the question as the first book actually has 7,000 reviews but it's the only thing that has come to mind so far. I keep trying to write something to explain it but I really haven't found how to explain it without it sounding dumb so here is the first book's description on GR:

As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don’t cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn't fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience.

Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ--a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit--Julius has one month to prove that he can be a ruthless dragon or kiss his true shape goodbye forever. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are considered monsters to be exterminated, he’s going to need some serious help to survive this test.

He only hopes humans are more trustworthy than dragons...


Honestly, I thought it was going to be pretty bad and had only put it on because I just needed something that wasn't heavy but I found myself actually charmed by the story and eager to read more of it. Some of it is predictable but at the same time, I think the author does a good job of making it so that you don't quite know what Julius is going to do or at least what the response to it will be. I would not recommend it for those of you who prefer prose and thought-provoking stories.


message 14: by Dani (new)

Dani Weyand | 289 comments Hello from Columbus! I could have gotten a lot more reading done but I got sucked up into watching The Staircase and catching up on My Favorite Murder episodes.

Maine a July goodreads challenge pick. It was an interesting read about a dysfunctional family. The book visited the characters’ pasts to give context to their current relationships. It was interesting/funny that each viewpoint made you sympathize with that one character, and not like the others so by the end you just kind of don’t like everyone but feel sorry for them at the same time. I also like how catholicism was treated as just a normal character trait and not some quirky, weird thing to be into. I don’t really like Christian fiction because I feel like I’m being pandered to, but I also get mildly irritated with faith, especially catholicism, is so often viewed as a flaw in a lot of modern fiction I read. Can’t a girl get a happy medium?

I, Eliza Hamilton for the goodreads challenge as well. We’re supposed to read a book about our countries founding fathers and I figured this was good enough. I guess this topic is a lot less stuffy when it’s fiction and not from a male’s point of view. I guess I ultimately get bored with the founding fathers/war/important men in history genre and the reason can be summed up with three simple words: “why are men?” Why. Why was dueling for honor ever a thing. If I were ever in a position where I’d have to pick between my honor, that’d potentially lead to my death and my actual spouse and children: I’m picking my family, how is that even an option. I don’t understand men lol. This rant has been brought to you by the story of Alexander Hamilton (that I’m sure you’re already familiar with).
Anyhow, the book was really able to hold my attention and tugged at my heart.

Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans hallmark channel movie in book form. It’s very predictable: big city career woman goes back to her small town roots to wrap up some family business, meets old friends, rediscovers joy in simple small town life, two dashing and charming men fighting for her love, etc. Not bad, not interesting, mercifully fast paced and relatively short. The summer reading challenge had a lot of spots for your typical beach reads so I decided to give some a go. This was my first and was pretty underwhelming but tolerable. I might actually read the next book in the series to see how the story progresses.

Qotw:
The Polish Boxer a really beautiful set of short nonfiction stories by a Guatemalan author. I think this is one of his only books translated into English and that’s a shame.
We, the Drowned an epic tale of Danish across several generations. I feel like this was a best seller but I never hear anyone mention it.
The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing There’s a small indie publisher in Columbus that put this book out. It’s a mysterious kinda creepy book about a reporter looking into lost films and the man who destroyed them.


message 15: by Stacey (last edited Jul 19, 2018 08:02AM) (new)

Stacey | 403 comments Happy Thursday! Did last week fly by for anyone else?!?

Currently at 32/52 for the PS challenge! :) I slacked a little bit on my reading this week as my sister & brother in law are visiting!


Read This Week
2 Non-Challenge + 1 Challenge = 3 Total

The Heir (#4) by Kiera Cass ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- I expected to love this less since book 4 starts a new story line with book 1-3's protagonists' daughter but I was pleasantly surprised!

The Crown (#5) by Kiera Cass⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng - 32) A Book from a celebrity book club (Reese Witherspoon's). ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Personally, I don't understand the hype surrounding this book. I have no idea why this is classified as an adult book, in some ways it's more immature than 99% of the YA material I read! If the whole Mirabelle/May Ling plot wasn't included in this book it would be nothing more than teenage friend/family drama. It is one that is more about character development and the thin plot is very predictable, so I personally found it boring and hard to binge which was a bit problematic since I was on a tight deadline (it's my sister's book and she is taking it home with her when she goes so that she can also lend it to her sister-in-law). I also found the ending to be very unsatisfactory, leaving the reader with several loose ends.


Currently Reading

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay - 47) A Book by an Author with the same First or Last name as you.
So far I'm pleasantly surprised by this book. I wasn't captivated at first, but the more I read the more I like it. It's reminding me of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings & Game of Thrones in its' own ways. :)

Who Killed the Avro Arrow? by Chris Gainor - 48) A Microhistory (progressing slowly, doing a chapter or 2 a day)

QOTW

I should have a lot to say here however I didn't start using GR until 2018 and never tracked my reads/ratings before that and I have a bit of a terrible memory when it comes to underrated books because I don't see them/hear about them anymore!

Fiction books I rated ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ with less than 5,000 ratings on GR:

Modern Monsters by Kelley York - I read this in 2018 for alliteration in the title. I had never read anything that portrayed romance in quite the way that this author does here and the story really grabbed me even though I was able to predict it (but I don't know that everyone would). This book at times had me thrilled and at other times had me in tears which I can't say is true of very many that I read!

My 12 year old self LOVED this trilogy back in the day! The Sky Is Falling (Guests of War #1) by Kit Pearson


message 16: by Jen (new)

Jen (jentrewren) | 777 comments Another crazy week in the top end.....
Monday I got a call from the principal (it is the last of our 3 week mid year break) to say I won't be teaching y8 and y9 science as expected and like last semester (and already planned for and as the students were expecting) as the chem teacher had quit..... I now have the y10 extension class who are doing a year 11 course early for science and PLP and y11 psychology and Chem and y12 psychology and Chem. Needless to say a busy week getting my head around the new chem course which has come in since I last taught it (y12 2009 and y11 2014) and probably several more busy weeks figuring out where the kids are up to and getting the y12s sorted for their final exam in early November (our equivalent of A-level). Mother has been visiting for the whole 3 week break which is lovely but makes getting stuff done hard. I do finally have curtain rails, curtains and bookshelves (however even though I bought the big 6 shelf ones 7 are not enough and I have no more room, FB friends said get rid of some books.....they don't understand). Irrigation system and Chemistry will be the new tasks and I doubt my reading rate will pick up much till after November.

Competed 3 books.
Pearson Science Year 8 (for planning the y8 course I thought I was teaching)
Pearson Science Year 9 (planning for the Year 9 course I thought I was teaching)

My Sister Rosa to fit book being read by a stranger but would also have worked for twins or LGBTQ+ which I had already filled.
Good but not great and certainly disturbing. Rosa really is the spawn of Satan.

Currently reading;
lots of Chem paperwork and new revision guides.

QOTW;
Breathing Under Water by Sophie Hardcastle only has 648 ratings and it is one of those books that you don't expect to hit you hard but it does and it stays with you for ages after you finish it. Have tissues handy! I can't grasp how so few people have read this one or perhaps I am just odd.
For a good laugh Apocalypse Cow which only has 1776 ratings. I loved it because it was a new way to point out what we (humans) are feeding our farm animals could have dire consequences (though hopefully not that dire) without a lecture in sight and with a lot of hilarious (sometimes yucky) scenarios. Sadly the sequel World War Moo did not measure up in my opinion.


message 17: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 427 comments Hey! A cery productive reading week for me. I've finished one book and will finish two more in the next few days including one I've been working on since the beginning of June! Currently at 27/50.

Finished
The book I finished was The Magpies, unfortunately this was another disappointment for me. It was supposed to be a horror/thriller but it wasn't very scary and there were absolutely no twists!

Currently reading

The Cartel - Nearly at the end of this and it's really getting exciting
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit - I will no doubt be gushing about this in next week's check in. What a fantastic book. I want Jeanette Winterson to be my friend!

QOTW

I like Nadine's criteria for this but I am also going to recommend 4 star books because I am quite picky with my 5 stars. I've also excluded children's books because I've gone back and rated them with nostalgia.

Fires of the Faithful - A really fun fantasy with some interesting themes about religion and magic caused by music! (385 reviews)

Anything from the Anna Fekete series by Kati Hiekkapelto (but The Defenceless is my favourite) - Nordic noir with a social conscious, it explores immigration and racism whilst also solving murders! (385-953 reviews)

Divided Kingdom - Basically the same idea as Divergent but done better without teen angst! (941 reviews)

The Drowning Guard: A Novel of the Ottoman Empire - A fun historical fiction with an awesome female anti-hero (2,123 reviews)

Hood - Heartbreaking tragic LGBT romance (2,161 reviews)

Anything by Lesley Pearse's historical fiction novels about amazing women that face the odds. My favourites are Remember Me (about a girl transported to early Australia) and Belle (about a girl growing up in a brothel who is kidnapped)

The Crying Tree - About capital punishment and forgiveness, had me in tears! (3,497 reviews)

The Accursed King's series by Maurice Druon - Medieval historical fiction about French royalty, inspired George R.R. Martin

The Night Guest - Creepy thriller with a mature protagonist (4,628 reviews)

The Glorious Heresies - This won the Woman's Prize for Fiction (I think it was the Bailey's prize at the time) so I'm surprised that it has so few reviews. A great gritty story with some despicable characters. If you think Ireland is all rolling hills and leprechauns you need to read this!


message 18: by Heather (new)

Heather (heathergrace) | 94 comments Good morning! I went on a YA kick last weekend and it was totally fantastic because I was finishing a book that WRECKED me in between those light reads.

Finished:
Us Against You and holy crap why can Fredrik Backman so perfectly encapsulate humanity in a book about a small town and hockey. I used this for a book about a problem facing society because it covers so many universal issues... rape culture, homophobia, violence... ugh. I cried.

Alex, Approximately for light YA read #1. The twist is no secret going in but it doesn't matter because these characters were so, so fun to be with.

Now a Major Motion Picture for light YA read #2. I don't even remember where I heard about this book but I had it in my library basket for about a month and picked it up and read it in one day. It was charming and enjoyable.

I Knew You Were Trouble has been on my Kindle for a couple of months and even though I keep telling myself I'm sick of Lauren Layne there's something therapeutic about her romance formulas. I'm also doing the Ripped Bodice Summer Romance Bingo so I keep hoping to find a challenge item buried in some of these books that are stacked on my ereader.

Currently reading:
A Million Worlds with You to finish out a trilogy I STARTED because of the challenge way back in 2016!! I realized the third one could totally count as cyberpunk because some of the parallel universes have extremely advanced tech and are dystopian. Listening to audio but I also have had the library book checked out for literally more than a year (just keep renewing...)

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death which I set down two weeks ago but have picked back up. It's a decent collection of short mysteries and really makes me want to watch the television show again.

QOTW:
I really love Lauren Willig and feel like she doesn't get talked about enough. The Pink Carnation series is so fun and she builds a great world and her standalone historical mysteries are also fantastic.


message 19: by AF (last edited Jul 19, 2018 08:12AM) (new)

AF | 319 comments I finished two books this week.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury- I loved the premise of it. And I loved that it was written in the 50's but it was written about the future. The idea of what he thought the future will be like is fascinating! This was for my allegory prompt.

I also finished The Martian by Andy Weir. I loved this book. Sometimes it got a bit technical, but the spurts of humor had me laughing aloud many, many times. I can't wait to finally see the movie. This was for the takes places on a different planet prompt.

Next up: Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by Mike Dash for my microhistory prompt. I bought it to read but plan to give it to my father, who is Dutch.

QotW:
I loved The Red Heart by James Alexander Thom, which my mom recommended to me for the 2016 challenge. I couldn't find it at my library which is very unusual. I bought the book then donated to my libray when I finished reading. On GoodReads it only has 1036 ratings. Everyone should read this book.


message 21: by Ali (new)

Ali (aliciaclare) | 153 comments Happy Thursday! I have a dear friend coming for the weekend today, so I'm so excited to spend time with her. It will also mean I probably won't get a lot of reading done next week.

I finished 2 books this week, neither of which counted towards my challenge, but would be great for others as they would fulfill a couple challenges that I'd already done.

First was If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, which was an own-voices YA novel about a trans girl. I really liked this, although it lagged a bit in the middle and the romantic interest wasn't particularly swoonworthy to me. This is the 4th book this year I've read by a trans author, and I'm looking forward to reading a lot more!

Then was We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, and boy did this book hit me where it hurt. I absolutely sobbed at one point while reading. It's a little tiny thing so it doesn't take long to read but man it made an impact on me.

Currently reading: Hello Stranger. I took a pause on The Kite Runner while I wait for the ebook since I din't like the audiobook. I'm also planning on picking up Warcross, which will probably be my cyberpunk read, and Unmasked by the Marquess.

QOTW: I mentioned last week The Knife of Never Letting Go, which this and the whole trilogy is REALLY underrated for me. I also love The Queen's Thief series by Megan Turner Whalen. Additionally, Melina Marchetta is SO GOOD, and I feel like isn't talked about that much, but her YA is so incredibly excellent.


message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (seejessread) | 239 comments Hello from Vegas. I'm starting to catch up from my lull. Still a little slow but moving forward.

27/52

Currently Reading

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1) by Veronica Roth
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1) by Roald Dahl
Actions The Actors' Thesaurus by Marina Caldarone
The Acting Bible The Complete Resource for Aspiring Actors by Michael Powell

Finished Reading
Quiche Isn't Sexy A Play in One Act by Gabriel Davis
Not for Challenge
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
#17. Borrowed or Gifted

Question of the Week

Recommend a less-well-known book (or books) that you loved

Less well known is fairly vague so if you feel like I'm failing, I apologize.
The Smell of Other People's Houses was one of my favorite books I read last year. It is a multiple perspective novel about some kids on Alaska in the 70's. I found it incredibly moving.
The Water Wars and Empty are both dystopian young adult books that I think should be more prevalent. They are far more likely to occur than things like the maze runner or hunger games.
I don't hear people talking about Neal Shusterman enough. He is in the 5 digits on reviews but I think he should be WAY more mainstream. He is amazing. The skinjacker chronicles is my favorite.


message 23: by Chinook (new)

Chinook | 731 comments It’s been a weird week for me. I’ve never met my husband’s family- we met in Korea and moved to Colorado when I was pregnant. We’ve had tiny babies and/or I’ve been pregnant the whole time so we haven’t made the two day road trip. His mother visited while I was having Maddie to take care of Kait, but I wasn’t released from the hospital until after she left, so we really only met two or three times very briefly. So, I don’t know any of these people but they are relatives of a sort. My FIL is in the hospital with a massive post-surgical infection and collapsed lung. My BIL was in a huge car crash - he’s fine but the car is totaled. And my husband’s grandmother is in a cardiac ICU with a DNR signed. So it’s all very stressful but also strange because again, I’ve never met a single one of these people.

Plus, at the same time we are trying to massively downsize in advance of a move and a visit from my family. I’m thankful for audiobooks!

The Swallow: A Ghost Story - I needed a scary book for the Goodreads summer challenge, so I typed in ghosts on Overdrive and when this came up set in Toronto, I figured I’d give it a shot. For a middle grade novel, it’s not too bad at all, and I think when I was the age of the target audience I would have really liked it.

White Teeth - this was most of my reading in the past week - it’s a good twenty or so hours as an audiobook. I read it over a decade ago in Hong Kong but didn’t really remember anything about it so I listened again. It was my debut novel for ATY.

Angel Catbird, Volume 2: To Castle Catula - I think I liked this one more than the first. It’s a funny romp of a comic, with lots of literary and historical references as you go.

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy - this was a somewhat healing audiobook for me to listen to, as I had difficult pregnancies and my second daughter ended up as an emergency c-section and in the NICU for a time. I think she hits the nail on the head by saying that women need care during pregnancy and early motherhood that they are not getting. I did think that she should have been more critical of the studies around breastfeeding- they aren’t terribly well researched and she doesn’t really point that out. But I learned quite a bit and cried a bunch. Plus it pointed me towards Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag, which I’m eager to read soon. I slotted this into the summer reading challenge as a book by a person of colour.

I finished up Like a Mother as I nursed Maddie to sleep last night and was too tired to start anything new. I think my next audiobook will be Dune and I have a few graphic novels on loan from the library, so likely I’ll plow through those this week.

QOTW: I’m going to break some of Nadine’s rules here, mostly because I love non-fiction and so I’m going to include them anyway! I did skip middle grade and children’s books because I’m sure those aren’t rated as often in a large part because kids aren’t as likely to be on Goodreads - though, I have no idea why Franny K Stein doesn’t get more love - that series is excellent.

Bell Hooks: Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center - I guess I’m not surprised a book on theory gets few ratings, but Feminism for Everybody is also surprisingly low. I really feel that this author should get more reads!

Forty Signs of Rain - I loved this series in general because I’m really into climate change and apacolypses, and that’s what it’s about. It’s focused around DC and government science agencies trying to fix a coming crisis.

Herding Cats - I really love these comics and I was surprised to have it come up as a low number of ratings!

Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism - I suppose this one isn’t a surprise because it’s a collection of columns she wrote for a newspaper and some of them are rather dated as a result. It’s possible instead of reading this you should just go and read something else by her, but I was really into her voice.

Hominids - so, this one has just over 10,000 ratings but the second two books in the trilogy have less than 5,000. I love this series! A scientist manages to open a way into a parallel universe where Neanderthals were the ones who went on to be the dominant hominid.

Wild Embers - another cheat because this is actually a book of poetry. Thing is, I don’t really like poetry. I don’t get poetry. But this was amazing and I loved it!

Revival Deluxe Collection Volume 1 - Not all of this 8 volume graphic novel series got five stars from me, but I think three of them did and the rest were all fours. It’s about a small town where one day everyone who dies that day comes back to life. It’s about what happens when people are cooped up together, facing the unknown as much as about the zombie aspect.

Rite of Passage, Eva, Millicent Min, Girl Genius - so these are all YA or maybe even middle grade, but I loved them all so much! So here they are. Rite of Passage is set in space and each child born on the ship has to survive being dropped on a planet when they hit maturity. There was a lot of philosophical discussion and I loved it all so much I considered stealing it from the school library and claiming I’d lost it. Eva is about a girl whose brain is put into one of a chimpanzee after an accident and how she learns to live with her new life. And Millicent Min is just so good - this one I read as an adult and still loved.

A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924 - This is a huge book, so I suppose I understand why it isn’t read that often. But it’s really, really good.

The Speckled Monster: A Historical Tale of Battling Smallpox - I am obsessed with tales of disease, fictional and non-fictional. This one is really good.

Forever a Stranger and Other Stories - this book is so hard to find it’s $150 or something used on amazon and my ILL came from three states away. Turns out, it’s been republished as an ebook under another name and I could have gotten a copy with the click of a mouse. Sigh. Anyway, it’s really good. It talking about the Dutch East Indies and the title story is about two boys who grow up as friends, one Dutch and one Indonesian and how their lives grow apart because of their race.

Children of the New World - This is a series of short stories all set in the near future, looking at how technology may affect our lives. I really loved it.

Economix: How and Why Our Economy Works (and Doesn't Work), in Words and Pictures - a great graphic novel, recommended to me by a librarian friend.

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali - this tells the story of the Rawandan genocide that was later made into a movie. There are other non-fiction books that talk about what they feel this fictional account got right and wrong as well. I came across it at the Edinburgh Book Festival at a panel talking about the ethics and responsibilities of fictionalizing recent true life traumatic events.

Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America and The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks - Both of these are great if you like animals, scientists and some memoir musings of the authors as they learn about various animals and how they are studied.

The Hangman's Replacement: Sprout of Disruption - this was a self-published book I was given for free and I think sadly the next is still not out (and maybe won’t be? No idea!) but I found it really fascinating and bizarre and unique.

My Life in Middlemarch - I should really go and read Middlemarch soon! Not for those who don’t like spoilers. Great if you love reading about books and people who love them.

Klee Wyck - fascinating historical account.

Intuition - This is about a scientist working on the cure for cancer. It’s really interesting because I feel like there are fewer books with female scientists as their focus than I’d like to read.

Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age - are you interested in things like copyright and technology and how creators are going to get paid as their industries change? This book is an interesting discussion of the issues.

What You Should Know About Politics . . . But Don't: A Nonpartisan Guide to the Issues That Matter - I can see that this book is going to have really limited time in which to get ratings because it focuses on issues leading up to an election. But if she updates it for the next one, I’ll read it if I can get a copy. It’s a more considered look at the issues than following the news and I learned a lot as a non-American.

DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 1: Enlisted - I’m surprised this isn’t more popular! If you are interested in reading about female superheroes but don’t have the background, you can jump right into this series.

Ricochet: Two Women War Reporters and a Friendship Under Fire - this was published by a small press, which may explain a lot, but it’s really quite wonderful and taught me a lot I didn’t know.

The Worrier's Guide to Life - this is one of those books where I’d seen several of the comics already as Facebook shares. It’s funny.

Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls - I can sort of see that this has a bit of a limited audience, but I think it would also be good for anyone newly finding out that a friend or family member is out.

Wayward, Vol. 1: String Theory - great little graphic novel about a girl finding out about her powers.

Planetfall - A colony has gone to a planet because they think they will find god there. Things went wrong and we slowly find out how and why. The world building, both how the colony lived and the hints at what went wrong down on Earth, is great. Also probably the best fictional portrayal of mental illness I’ve ever come across.

Paradise of the Blind- This is about the aftermath of the Vietnam War and about a girl sent to be an overseas worker in Russia. It’s probably the best book I’ll read this year.

Excellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World - I thought this was a really good look into the lives of Arab women, a group that we in the West really don’t know much about.

Indian Horse, Sweetness in the Belly, The Mandibles: A Family, 2029–2047, and Snowdrops - all of these were over 5,000 ratings but under 10,000 and I think they all deserve way more readers. Indian Horse looks at hockey and the residential schools in Canada and was deeply moving. Sweetness in the Belly follows an English girl raised in Islam in Africa. The Mandibles is the story of how a family survive an economically driven apocalypse. Snowdrops is about a murder in Russia.

Newer books like Heart Berries: A Memoir, Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, Imagine Wanting Only This, Dread Nation, Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, Pashmina I assume will find their readers in time, but I was surprised they weren’t more popular- especially Eloquent Rage.


message 24: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 5607 comments Mod
Oh everyone can feel free to "break" my rules! Those were just the criteria I used to narrow down my own list.


message 25: by Anabell (new)

Anabell | 352 comments Greetings from a very hot Denmark! I look so much forward to rain... I might start reading books about rain-dance if they exist..

I am currently at 40/52.

I finished for popsugar reading challenge:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

I finished for other challenges:
Sweet Filthy Boy
Dirty Rowdy Thing

Currently reading:
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
Dark Wild Night
Beautiful Disaster

Hoping to start The Lies of Locke Lamora soon after having it recommended in this group.


message 26: by Lindi (new)

Lindi (lindimarie) Hey guys! It seems like I haven't checked in in forever. I've been on such a reading kick lately though, which is unusual for me this time of year.

Nadine, I saw Taylor in Seattle in May and her show was AMAZING. Seriously!!

Finished:

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux for a book made into a movie you've already seen. For whatever reason, this took me forever to read. However much I missed the musical components of the play and movie, I loved getting to see Christine and Raoul's relationship develop more on page.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi for a book about death or grief. Paul is such a beautiful storyteller and talented surgeon. I'm terribly sad the book community didn't get more books from this incredible man.

Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic by J.K. Rowling. As a lifelong fan, it's always fun reading snippets about this series that you have never heard before. Mostly this focuses on Hogwarts and the different subjects taught, but this also includes original drafts and handwritten notes.

Currently Reading:

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I read a chapter or two earlier this year but put it on the back burner to focus on other things. I just started back up the other night and I haven't been able to put it down! Hannah is such an incredible storyteller.

Question of the Week:

This is troubling, because I really can't think of anything I've read recently that would constitute as less-well-known!


message 27: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Oertel | 725 comments Checking in for two weeks since I missed last week...

I finished Hooked: How Leaders Connect, Engage and Inspire with Storytelling for a book club at work. It was decent, but nothing too new or life-changing.

I listened to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which was good, but I couldn't follow it as easily on audio. It was a good segway into The Nightingale though, which was also about WWII and definitely held my attention. I enjoyed the strong female characters in that one.

I listened to Interpreter of Maladies which had its moments, but I sometimes struggle with short stories, since it seems like it switches to the next one as soon as I'm getting more interested in the characters of the previous one.

I also listened to Eleanor & Park. I appreciated the life struggles that accompanied the love story, which made it more realistic and thought-provoking compared to most teenage love dramas. The ending wasn't quite what I hoped for though.

I tried Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure for the micro history prompt, and it was ok... I've only watched a few seasons of the show over the years (and it's been about three years since I've seen one) so I got lost in some of the discussion of specific characters. The author brought up a few good points/questions though.

I listened to When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times to help me get through a difficult medical situation I'm experiencing, and I did find it helpful. I wish there were more to it, but I would still recommend it to those going through a hard time.

I read Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform which had some good points and things for me to incorporate into my advocacy work, but there were a few things I disagreed with.

I finished The Other Einstein which was very similar to The Paris Wife, but I enjoyed it more since I felt like this book's main character had more to connect with and admire. I'm really surprised these books aren't by the same author since they're so similar. Beware, they will make you loathe Hemingway and Albert Einstein and fear that having a selfish man's baby will ruin your life. ;)

I'm currently listening to Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life after seeing Jenna at a recent conference and being pleasantly surprised by everything she said. While I wish her father had never been president, I think the book is a good way of humanizing a family that many have such strong feelings against. I feel like she has a similar relationship with her father that I do with mine, which is heartwarming to read about.

I'm also finishing up Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements for a justice group book club, and I just started Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics for work.

I'm at 45/50 for the challenge and 97 books read this year!

QOTW:
Nothing came to mind right away, but after checking my five-star ratings, I found:
The Tea-Olive Bird-Watching Society and The Collection of Heng Souk. Most of the other fiction I've loved has been more popular it looks like.


message 28: by Christine (new)

Christine McCann | 462 comments Last week I challenged myself not to buy any new books until I read the 40 TBRs I already own. And I've only bought three books since then - so, success! ;)

(In my defense, I already had the audio book of Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy and I had to buy the Kindle versions of the last two, because I was addicted and also sometimes they're hard to follow without using my eyeballs! And Dread Nation was on sale for $1.99.)

So yeah, I finished Authority and while it was less magical than Book 1, I enjoyed the extreme weirdness of it. I think I liked Grace more than Control, so that probably detracted a little from my engagement! Still, I'm all in on Acceptance!

QOTW

Ooh, I like this question! My tastes are not super popular, so I definitely have some:

What the Hell Did I Just Read - bizarre fiction with both (somehow) plenty of rude humor and a soupcon of existential philosophy
Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror - not strictly written for adults, but very suitable to grownups who like weird fiction and spooky stories
The Naming of the Beasts - WHY is Harry Dresden so popular while Felix Castor gets no love? These are the superior magical-noir-detective books IMHO
American Elsewhere - this is very strange. In fact, it bears a likeness to The Southern Reach in some ways. Only mashed up with Pleasantville, sort of. And set in the southwest.


message 29: by Johanna (new)

Johanna Ellwood (jpellwood) | 230 comments 37/52

Finished two books this week:

Completed Prompts
A book about or set on Halloween: I know Hallowe'en Party was chosen for the October read but I had just gotten it from the library. Like all Agatha Christie books, this didn't go the direction I was expecting and kept me guessing up to the end.

I also read The Light of the Fireflies which I had gotten as a Kindle pick. It doesn't fit into any of my remaining prompts. This was a creepy read. That had me confused for quite a while, but everything got answered in the end.

On my nightstand:

Almost done with Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. This was under a librarian pick at the library. It is so funny and unbelievable. I keep laughing and reading parts out loud to my family.

Also started At Home in Mitford for my pick by a local author. I'm not too far into it, but so far it is an enjoyable book.

QOTW:
Probably my favorite book ever is The Vanishing Point by Mary Sharratt. If you like historical fiction, read, read, read this book! Everyone I have recommended it to has also loved it!


message 30: by Rochelle (new)

Rochelle (r_y_feig) | 9 comments Nadine wrote: "Rochelle wrote: "I will also be going to the Taylor Swift concert this weekend in NJ (Sunday), but sadly, I can't say that I have a daughter wanting to go. I'm in my 30s and dragging my husband wit..."

Sorry-can't help! I am taking the train to the Stadium.


message 31: by Tara (new)

Tara Nichols (tarajoy90) | 167 comments I finished 4 books this week (just one for the challenge), and I'm working on another 2, so it's been a great week!

Finished
Less (book being read by a stranger in a public place) This is the story of Arthur Less as he travels around the world running from his pain and on the eve of his 50th birthday. It is very well written and surprisingly charming and heart-warming.

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness This was an uncomfortable read for me, and I'm so glad I read it. I see myself as a pretty "woke" white person, but there was a lot in here that Brown talked about that was really convicting for me. There's still a lot of work for me to do. It was a great book and a quick read and I highly recommend it.

Charlotte's Web I was inspired after reading The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids to spend our summer mornings reading to my kids (ages 4 and 7) over breakfast, and this was the book I chose. I probably read it as a kid, but I remembered almost nothing. Well - we finished it this morning, and my 7-year-old and I were, quite literally, "crying in our cheerios" at the end. It was so good though.

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery When I visited my old college friend last month, I learned that her and her husband are enneagram junkies. We started trying to type myself and my husband while we were there, but didn't quite get it, so I picked up this book from the library, and now I KNOW that I'm a 1. If you're at all interested in the enneagram, this is a great place to start as it's really readable and the authors explain each type really well.

Challenge Progress
46/52 completed (37/42 regular, 9/10 advanced)

Currently Reading
The Woman in White (alliteration in the title) I do love me a good Victorian novel. This is my first Wilkie Collins, and so far I'm really enjoying it.

City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York (book tied to my ancestry)

QOTW
I really loved two historical fiction novels by author Bo Caldwell: The Distant Land of My Father and City of Tranquil Light. Really well written with interesting characters and a strong sense of place.

I read one book that came out this year that I absolutely loved and was sure would be a big hit, but it hasn't really seemed to gain much traction, so I'll plug it here: Everything is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss. It's written by Stephanie Wittels, the sister of Parks and Rec writer Harris Wittels who died of a heroin overdose. It's just really beautiful and sad yet still hopeful and I wish more people would read it.

Last one, I have to also plug my good friend's book, Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame and Rebuilding Your Soul. Aubrey was my college roommate and she is an extraordinary human being and a talented writer. She also has a new book coming out early next year about lament and I can't wait to read it!


message 32: by Theresa (last edited Jul 19, 2018 12:05PM) (new)

Theresa | 1660 comments Nadine wrote: "A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes - classic noir, why does everyone talk about Dashiell Hammett and not Chester Himes?."

A friend of mine took a NY Noir class here in NYC at the Center for Fiction and absolutely raves about this book! It's been on my TBR for a while and I now will move it much farther up the pile.


message 33: by Chandie (new)

Chandie (chandies) | 248 comments This was a good reading week for me. I really enjoyed everything I read. And I really am going to sit down with the prompts soon and go through my read books and figure out where they go or they may not go anywhere.

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. Sci-fi about planets and man-made habitats that are connected by the stream. Scalzi is rec’d a lot by one of the Book Riot podcasts I listen to and I finally decided to pick one up. I’m not a big sci-fi fan but I really enjoyed this the only drawback is that the second one isn’t out yet.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan. It totally was not what I thought it was going to be but I enjoyed the ride.

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Crazy Rich Asians but it was still well worth the read. I can’t wait for the movie based on the first book to come out.

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman. Enjoyed it but found it sad or maybe bittersweet.

QOTW:

Ooof. This is a tough one. I went through the books I loved and picked the two that had less than 25,000 ratings because apparently I only love books that a lot of people have already rated.

Everyone’s a aliebn when ur a aliebn too by Jomny Sun. It’s a weird combination of graphic novel, self-help/philosophy book and I adored it.

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall. It’s a love story that is described from multiple points of view (the two main characters, a bus driver, a professor, a bench and a squirrel). I know it sounds kind of twee but it works so well and I loved it.


message 34: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 1660 comments Kenya wrote: "I finished the challenge this week! Whoo!

Having some difficulties at the moment trying to decide whether or not to cancel a vacation later this year... Long story short, I feel guilty going on va..."


Congratulations, Kenya!

And I say go on your vacation. It's your vacation, and no one, not even a relative, should have a say in what you do and where you go and how you spend your hard earned money.


message 35: by Amanda (new)

Amanda McGough | 25 comments This week I knocked out two books making me 22/40.

Finished
Crazy Rich Asians for "a book set in a country that fascinates you". Overall I enjoyed this book as a light,summer read. Major props to Kwan for knowing how to decorate a world, he clearly is familiar with the world in the book. I will say I wasn't invested in the "main" characters so much as I was Nick's cousin Astrid.

Six of Crows for "a book involving a heist" which I chose thanks to this goodreads group! I enjoyed this book and read it in about 3 days. The story is fast paced, exciting, and the characters are fun to read. I know it's categorized as YF which kind of surprised based on the subjects touched on in it; like brothels and murder.

QOTW> This is so hard! I haven't read a ton of lesser known books yet. Most of my TBR comes from books I heard of during my English courses at university but couldn't get to at the time.


message 36: by Theresa (last edited Jul 19, 2018 01:24PM) (new)

Theresa | 1660 comments Hi everyone! I'm back home in NYC after a wonderful vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico! We were on the go all the time so no real reading happened - the only finish was mostly read since my return.

Before talking books, I just want to mention again to those planning to participate in the September read/discussion of Hamilton: The Revolution, you should absolutely try to read the print or ebook versions, not listen just to audiobook. It has a very unique format, tons of annotations of the 'book' of the play, gorgeous illustrations and photos throughout that are key to the reading experience. I also recommend listening to the cast album while reading as the performances and music itself are discussed in depth - one of the group members mentioned it's available for free to Amazon Prime members? I know I kept listening to the songs as they were being discussed in the book.

Back to discussing my current reading! I'm still at 40/50 challenge books. Only finish this past week was for fun not challenge: Murder in Madrid: Reality of Illusion - Set in 1976, but involving a murder that occurred around 1904 when New Mexico was still a lawless territory and the coal mines were fully functioning, this gets a mixed review. The actual story was quite enjoyable and even compelling, but oh man did this book need a good editor! And a good proof reader (everyone knows it's MISS Marple, not MRS. Marple! One of the characters is occasionally referred to as Mrs. Marple ... ugh). Way too much telegraphing of the end of the book from the beginning, but oddly it really did not diminish by much my enjoyment of the story. Strong sense of place -- set mostly in Madrid, New Mexico which is an old mining town near Santa Fe, NM (now you see why I was reading it!) and environs.

Currently reading:

Camino Island - my book seen being read in public. I really scored with this one, I think! I struck up a conversation with a woman reading this book in the cafe area at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe (for those unfamiliar, thanks to the financial support and overall encouragement of local resident George RR Martin, this immersive interactive suitable for all ages art center in Santa Fe was opened in the last couple of years and is not to be missed! www.meowwolf.com). Until I saw her reading this book, the only books I was spotting anywhere over the last few months were really weird or self-help or I'd read them already. So far it is classic Grisham, easy and fun, and if anyone needs a heist, this qualifies!

Now I need to confess that I did some serious George RR Martin fangirling while in Santa Fe. I drove by his house - twice! - he's easily found in a google maps search and the castle mailbox and vanity plates on his car are dead give-aways. Also ate at his favorite restaurant in Santa Fe - Maria's Mexican Kitchen. Checked out the Jean Cocteau Cinema which he owns and frequents. And of course, thoroughly enjoyed experiencing Meow Wolf -- a highlight of my trip. No, I did not get to see GRRM himself -- seems he was here in NYC while I was in Santa Fe...sigh. Oh, and in case you are wondering, GRRM is only a few years older than I am. You can be a serious fangirl at any age!

QOTW: I'm going to mention books I often recommend that either have gone out of style or just have not caught on:

The Sherwood Ring - one of only 2 books written by this author published in the 1950s, it is essentially a ghost story set in a house just outside NYC around late 1940s involving a group of ghosts from the revolutionary war. Probably would be considered YA today.

Charlotte Sometimes - Charlotte goes to sleep in a bed her first night at boarding school, and wakes up the next day 40 years earlier! Another YA/children's book.

Any mystery by Edmund Crispin, but especially the series featuring Gervase Fen, an Oxford professor. Any mystery by Elizabeth Daly, especially those featuring rare book dealer Henry Gamadge. Most of these are finally available again in ebook!

Deadly Safari - you can taste and smell being on an African safari! The second in the series, Elephants' Graveyard, also excellent. Now available in ebook.

Two favorite cozies - Rest You Merry and The Family Vault, both by Charlotte MacLeod and both funny and full of colorful characters.

Sue Henry's Murder on the Iditarod Trail - you feel like you are in the race in Alaska.

Georgette Heyer is underappreciated IMHO. My personal favorites are Frederica and Venetia.

I also endorse Lauren Willig's books - delightful!

Any of Patrick Dennis' work as well as Ben Elton and Edward Streeter - witty, funny, no one writes like this any more.

The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal by Lily Koppel - a flapper era diary found in a dumpster leads to a glimpse into the life of a young woman in NYC.

C.A. Belmond's series featuring Penny Nichols. Contemporary but with a vintage feel -- Penny inherits a fortune from an aunt and her adventures begin.

Any works by Nikos Kazantzakis but especially Zorba the Greek.

Any books by the Dumas, pere et fils. Rattling good adventures!

Barbara Kingsolver's - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life - going local and sustainable - one family's true story.

City of Darkness, City of Light by Marge Piercy - French Revolution told from various female POVs.

Brilliant new books that I think are being overlooked:
The Sellout- satire about race in America. Brilliant. Makes most of us uncomfortable.
The Book of Emma Reyes - South American artist, friend of Gabriel Garcia Lorca and others, virtually unknown.
Call Me Zebra - what it means to be a refugee rather than an immigrant - and she's funny as can be, and a challenging read.
Speak No Evil - racial profiling, sexual identity and privilege in America.


message 37: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1508 comments It's been a crazy day (and week!) here so I completely forgot it was check-in day! Thank goodness it was Nadine's week to open the thread ;)

I haven't finished any books this week.

Currently reading:

Seven Stones to Stand or Fall by Diana Gabaldon. This is a compilation of 7 novellas from the Outlander universe. I have read 3 of the 7 individually so I'm ok with counting it in the challenge (less than 50% so it's not a reread). I don't love the Lord John stories as much as the others. I like him as a character, just not the plots of his more military based stories.
It's coming along though. More than halfway done!

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin. Nashville high society. An exclusive prep school. And a controversial photo of a financial aid, half-Brazilian female student taken by a wealthy male student is getting passed around like wildfire through the school after she passes out at a party. The fallout from that continues...

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I am so excited to read book 2 in this series! I really need to get a long binge read to properly dive into the dark faerie world. Hopefully this weekend!

QOTW

This is a great question! It's up to us to help promote those gems that no one is talking about!

1. Legacy by Linda Govik. Emily Bradley, an orphan born in a brothel in a small English town in 1784, flees after her first forced encounter with a client, Lord Charles Stanford. Five years later, Lord Charles tracks her down and forces her into marriage in order to manipulate her and their son to secure his legacy. Emily must deny everything she is and loves, her art and her country life, to keep the truth from his aristocratic family and avoid stirring Lord Charles’ volatile and destructive temper.

When offered a commission to paint a portrait of Empress Joséphine Bonaparte at the Royal French Court, Emily finally sees a chance to break free from her miserable life - but it means forming an alliance with the enemy of England, potentially exposing her secrets and losing her son.

Emily is now forced to make the hardest choice of her life, a choice where her fate, dreams and future, hang in the balance...

2. A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff. Phoebe Sanders runs her own vintage dress shop. But while she stitches and repairs couture suits and glorious dresses, there is something in Phoebe's own past that she cannot restore, and which is stopping her searching for love. (Love it for the description of all t the vintage clothes if nothing else!!)

I may be back with more later once I have time to think on it.


message 38: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 726 comments Hello everyone!

This week I finished:

Butterflies in November - my book set in a country that fascinates me. This was alright, kind of a weird and rambling story.

The Time Traders - book from a female author using a male pseudonym. I'd always seen Andre Norton in the sci-fi section but never got around to reading any of her books. I also hadn't realized it was a female author until i was trying to find a book for this prompt. I tried twice with Middlemarch and just can't get through it. I liked it ok, it was a little generic dude sci fi for me, for all that it's a woman writing. It was the only series that my library had of hers digitally, so it's what I went with. Maybe I'd like something else of hers better.

Summer Knight - not for a challenge, i've just been re-reading the series via audiobook. James Marsters is so good, I was cracking up at his fairy voices for Toot Toot and the rest.

All the Birds in the Sky - ATY's book involving air. I really loved this! It was a cool meld of magic and super science. I really like sci-fi/fantasy crossover books, it's fun.

Currently Reading:

The Waking Land - Will be my read harder book about nature. Sure it's fantasy, but it's nature magic so i'm counting it!

A Man Called Ove - listening to the audiobook, will be my book I meant to read last year. I don't really do TBR lists or plan my challenges in advance, but I did want to read it after seeing so many people reading and loving it, and i've liked some of his other books. I sort of did mean to get to it last year but didn't so it works.

QOTW:

I haven't read a ton of lesser known books that I still rated 5 star, but there are a few I found.

Biting the Sun - I've always loved this book since I was a kid. It's a sort of interesting take of utopia that is a dystopia under the service. The narrator is trying to find something to make their life meaningful in a society where people don't really have to DO anything, but also essentially live forever.

Midnight at the Electric - I picked this up on a bookperk deal, i ended up liking it way more than I expected. It has three storylines that all twine together, it was an interesting way to write a story.

Synners - I read a lot of sci-fi and I love cyberpunk, but I somehow never found Pat Cardigan until recently. She was writing at the same time as Gibson, but never really got the same recognition. I really enjoyed this one, and I intend to read more of her work.


message 39: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sezziy) | 833 comments Hi everyone. The sunny weather continues but the humidity is just horrendous. A nice thunderstorm to break it up wouldn't go amiss.

This week I finished The Time Machine. At the end of my copy (well, the library's copy) was a anonymous review from when it was originally published basically saying how wrong H G Wells was about how the future would pan out. I think I enjoyed that even more than the actual book!

Currently reading: Tarzan of the Apes (sorry Nadine lol)

Also reading Victory of Eagles. For some reason everything I want to read at the moment has an animal in the title, even though I've already fulfilled that prompt!

QOTW: Had a quick look at my read list but I think Goodreads is having a moment because it reckons Ballet Shoes has zero ratings, even though I can see I've rated it and I am sure thousands of others have too. Hmmmmmm...not sure I believe Goodreads right now. I have a bunch of other Noel Streatfeild books that fit the bill though.

Other than that I'll second the recommendation for Sorcerer to the Crown. It was my absolute favourite read of 2016. Go read it! (You know, if you want to)

I read a lot of fairy tale re-tellings which all seem to have a low number of ratings. Poison, Once Upon a Dream, A Thousand Nights and Spinning Thorns stand out as favourites (especially that last one!)

I'd recommend Half Brother to anyone who wants to sob their hearts out.

I'm suprised how few votes The Brief History of the Dead has. I feel like it was everywhere a few years ago.

Random classics: Ruth, The Easter Parade, Jane of Lantern Hill and The Red House Mystery

Ooooo and Mars Evacuees. From the cover, I thought it would be a run of the mill, fluffy YA that would kill some time but it was actually a really engaging middle grade book which I loved.


message 40: by Cendaquenta (last edited Jul 19, 2018 03:36PM) (new)

Cendaquenta | 689 comments Hm, 3 books again this week. Seems to be becoming the average.

Rosemary and Rue - prompts: Reading Women Challenge #21, "a book inspired by a fairytale" - Wasn't as blown away by this as I usually am by McGuire's books, but I think this is an earlier work, so that's to be expected. Still enjoyed it greatly and plan to continue with the series.

The Black Tides of Heaven - prompts: Biannual Bibliothon "OwnVoices", Colour Challenge "colour in the title", Summer Reading Challenge "Diversify Yourself" (read a book by an author of colour) - This was awesome and I need the other Tensorate books now pls. I didn't expect a novella to pack so much of a punch - it feels like a far longer book. It has a fully fleshed-out world, a whole cast of great characters, a charming love story, a really interesting magic system - oh, and some velociraptors and mythological creatures kicking around too, just for flavour.

The Little Stranger - prompts: Read Harder Challenge #21 (a mystery by a PoC or LGBTQ+ author), Summer Reading Challenge "The Book is Always Better", Biannual Bibliothon "try a chapter" - I'm just going to say, don't watch the trailer for the adaptation before reading this. It's not The Woman in Black. It's a "is it supernatural, is it not" kind of mystery in a crumbling old mansion just post-World-War-2. A real pageturner. Now that I've finally discovered Sarah Waters, I can't stop reading her!

Currently reading:
The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm - Dipping in and out of this. So far haven't discovered many tales that I wasn't aware of. The illustrations are gorgeous though.

Lud-In-The-Mist - This is a bit like Stardust, but all about the bit of the human world that brushes against Fairyland and is in deep deep denial about it. It's really interesting and I love Hope Mirrlees' writing, she's got a rather Tolkienesque way with words.

QotW: Recommend a less-well-known book (or books) that you loved.

... *drops a mountain of books onto Popsugarers* (I am so sorry, I'm about to write another War and Peace down here.)

Authors:

Kit de Waal (author of My Name is Leon and The Trick to Time) - Have your heartstrings torn apart thoroughly but ever-so-gently.

Sarah Moss - The Tidal Zone got a bit of hype a year or two ago, and it's great, but I particularly love her loose trilogy comprised of Night Waking, Bodies of Light and Signs for Lost Children. Night Waking is rather one of those Frightfully Middle-Class kind of books but it provides all the set-up for the other two which are a great story of womanhood in the 19th century, touching on education, independence, psychological abuse, mental health and the state of the medical profession at that time - the main character is one of the first ever female doctors in Britain.

N.K. Jemisin's books other than the Broken Earth trilogy - I won't deny that Broken Earth is definitely her best work but there is so much awesomeness and beautiful imagery and worldbuilding in the others. Especially the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms series. Did someone say "floating palace" and "imprisoned gods"?

Seanan McGuire's books other than the Wayward Children series (you should read them too, but they're not "underrated"). Seanan is a serious contender for my favourite author at the moment. She does whimsy, she does urban fantasy, she does horror, she does secret-agent stories, all wrapped up in beautiful writing and nerdiness and diversity/representation so well-done it makes me kinda want to cry. I ❤ her. She shall have her own shelf in my library.

Individual books:

The Seeing Stone - This was one of my first introductions to Arthurian mythos and it means a lot to me. A 12th-century teenager named Arthur is given a chunk of obsidian in which he starts to catch glimpses of the Arthur of legend, and soon realizes that their lives seem to parallel each other.

Ammonite - An anthropologist is sent to study a world on which, due to a virus, only women can survive - and yet the population has somehow been thriving and reproducing for hundreds of years. It's a fascinating book.

Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary - A biography of an amazing woman everyone should know. Also lots of insight into the British Empire and just what hijinks the suffragettes got up to that you don't often hear about - a stolen blimp raining pro-suffrage leaflets over London, for example.

The Haunting of Henry Twist - It's a travesty that this doesn't even have 200 ratings. One of my favourite books of last month. Great historical fiction about 1920s London, featuring loss, love, jealousy, parties with the Bright Young Things, the perils of being in a same-sex relationship at that time in history, the fallout from the First World War, single fatherhood and building an atypical family when that just Wasn't Supposed to Be... it's amazing.

The Gloaming - Do you like:
- mermaids
- big old houses
- remote Scottish islands
- a touch of magical realism
- the sea as a character, threatening and loving by turns
- learning Scots words

... Don't be silly, yes you do. Read Kirsty Logan. Please.


message 41: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Hello everyone! Sunny weather and humidity continues in South Dakota. We finally got our air conditioner fixed, 94 degrees in the house was brutal. Fans just circulated hot air.

I have been hanging out in the basement where it is cooler. It was a good reading week for me.

I finished Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea for the book set at sea prompt
I also finished Star Bridge. It was a good story from the golden age of science fiction. It is a book that has two authors.

This week I will be reading 4:50 From Paddington. Checks off the time prompt
The Exploits of Arsène Lupin. Finally found a book for the heist prompt.


QOTW:

This is a hard question because I read a lot of classics. Last year I read To Dance with the White Dog by Terry Kay. Great story especially if you have parents or grandparents that are aging. It is written from the viewpoint of an 80 year old man.


message 42: by Cornerofmadness (new)

Cornerofmadness | 397 comments Another slow reading week. I did finish one prompt A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get to. I read Nine Lives by Wendy Corsi Staub. It was a mystery set in Lily Dale, the mother city to Cassadaga, the spiritualist village I used to live in. I enjoyed it.

I also read Death of an Unsung Hero by Tessa Arlen , a WWI mystery that was also quite good.

QOTW Ooo I like this one and yet at the same time it's so hard to answer, there are so many.

For cozy mystery lovers you can try The Dying Tideby Nancy Kreml

Fr rom-com I can rec Storm Chaser by Mark R. Hunter

For LGBT thriller, how about Unspeakable Words by Sarah Madison


For LGBT superheroes Hearts of Darkness by Andrea Speed

For LGBT urban fantasy Kept Tears by Jana Denardo

Pirates! The Bloody Black Flag: A Spider John Mystery by Steve Goble


message 43: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 5607 comments Mod
Sarah wrote: "Currently reading: Tarzan of the Apes (sorry Nadine lol)..."

LOL you will suffer!!! If you figure out what "Oh Gaberelle!" means, let me know.


message 44: by Johanne (last edited Jul 19, 2018 04:15PM) (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1301 comments Middle of the night here.

I'm currently sorting out my/our books and putting them back on new shelves. Books are reemerging...
I'm thinking I could more or less do the challenge with books I own but haven't read. There are also a lot I have read that I now want to reread. I'm estimating we have around 1-2000 books inc picture books and comics. I dread the day I may have to move somewhere smaller...
Saturday we are visiting my father and his wife in another part of Denmark for some days. They just moved to a smaller house (I took over some of their books...), it's really close to the beach and the hot weather seems to continue. I thought I would definitely be finished with the Big Book Project then, but now I'm thinking not. Oh well, it'll still be there when we return.

This week I finished Solar by a Danish author. It's his novel debut, he's written some poems before that I rather like, and a rough translation of some of the blurb goes like this: "It is a desperate, dystopian generation novel, a hallucinated roadtrip and a space travel inside the reptile brain." I thought that sounded really cool, but that's not what I got. At all. Some passages were okay, but all in all it struck me as pretentious, self-centered, 'I'm writing an interesting experimental novel, because that's required of a young author like me' book. And it felt very fragmented, like two or three different books glued together. It gets mixed reviews, some love it, some hate it. Using it for 'book with an ugly cover' Solar by Theis Ørntoft the colour is more diarrhea than yellowish on the actual cover. I think it looks like an 80's sci-fi cover. But it's not.

Currently reading:
A Short History of Drunkenness, I needed something completely different after that ordeal.

I'll get back to qotw. I's an excellent question that makes me add to my evergrowing tbr. I like the paradox in making lists of not well known books, so people can get to know them. What happens to the list then?


message 45: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Jones | 5607 comments Mod
Johanne wrote: "I like the paradox in making lists of not well known books, so people can get to know them. What happens to the list then? ..."


hahahaha! I like the way you think, because I though of that too!!! I guess the list gets reorganized then :-) A happy problem for all of those deserving authors & books!


message 46: by Johanne (last edited Jul 19, 2018 04:41PM) (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1301 comments Alright qotw:
A bit difficult for me to answer since I read a lot of children's and YA books, and they're either by Danish authors and mostly not translated and therefore very niche here on GR, fx this one Djævelens lærling that is very wellknown fantasy in the circles I move, but only has 1.400 ratings. Or they're translated from another language to Danish, or traveled the borders in English, and this mainly happens with wellknown books. I'm also reading my way through a complete Danish translation of 1001 nights that has 1 rating on GR: Tusind og én nat.

Apart from those rarities, I think Bone Gap deserves a lot more attention than it gets.
Also this twisted fairytale retelling with beautiful illustrations: Tinder
And We Need New Names, a beautifully written story of the detour of Zimbabwe, following a bunch of kids. It actually has some similarities in the theme to Americanah, but I liked this one better.


Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) | 895 comments I'm checking in much later than normal for me as today was most convenient for running errands this week, so I was busy or tired most of the day, plus every time I had time to catch up on the thread I ended up browsing a bunch of QOTW recommendations. :-)

I started a 3 month Kindle Unlimited subscription this week because there was such a good deal running for Amazon's Prime Day. (99 cents for 3 months for Prime members who are not currently already subscribed to KU.) So, I'm getting distracted from finishing the challenge again...

Finished Reading:
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet This book slowly grew on me as I read it from "okay, this is kind of nice" to "That was really quite lovely". Read for decade I was born in, though the 80s part really had less of a distinctive feel.

Tin Men Sequel to the book I read for time travel. I thought this one was just as good as the first one.

A Straw Man Third book in the same time travel series, but for some reason I didn't enjoy this one as much. Just less connected with the characters and their life issues, I guess, plus I felt like the main point of the previous books was (view spoiler), and most of this book felt like it was arguing against that.

Under the Rainbow A companion novella to the series, which continues my streak of disliking villian/anti-hero perspective books.

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better I enjoyed this book, and it was somewhat thought provoking as to how I can better handle my own goal setting, but especially helpful in better understanding other people.

The Legend of Annie Murphy Revisiting a series I enjoyed in my early teens, though I hadn't read this specific book, so the time travel caught me off guard. I enjoyed it pretty well, and might read a few more from this series this year.

Currently Reading:
Artemis Didn't have a lot of time to listen to this audiobook with my husband, but am looking forward to getting back to it.

How the Irish Saved Civilization Read a bit more of this one (for country that fascinates you) and started The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo (for book with your favorite color) but mostly was having trouble concentrating on non-fiction most of the past week. Migraine, flare ups of fatigue, etc--hopefully whatever's going on with my health will get better again soon.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Started this audio book because it was immediately available to listen to on Overdrive. The most interesting part so far is how familiar some of the descriptions of how Elon's brain works sound compared to info from NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.

Quest for a Maid For book related to your ancestry.

DNF:
I'm getting pickier about what I feel like is worth spending my reading time on. Both of these might have been two and a half to three star reads:

Princesses Don't Get Fat
Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors: A Duck & Cover Adventure

I didn't hate them, they just didn't grab my interest, and I felt like it was taking effort to keep reading them instead of wanting to finish them.

One Thousand Tears Similar reasons to the other two, but this one I actually thought the writing was on the inferior side. Only would have been worth finishing if I were really fascinated by mermaids, which I'm apparently not.

QOTW:
Okay, I read quite a lot of obscure books so I'm going to sort these by category. I like Nadine's two rules of 5 star ratings and less that 5,000 reviews, but am not restricting by time of publication at all. (Sorry for the huge list!)

Children's:
The Bridge

Mark Tidd in Business

YA:
Laddie: A True Blue Story

Michael O, Halloran

The Hawk and the Dove

Magnus

Abandoned

The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of Rumpelstiltskin

YA fantasy:
Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales (free kindle book)

A Dance of Silver and Shadow: A Retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Pendragon's Heir

Followed by Frost

Bird

Nonfiction:
(Christian)
Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands (I've mentioned this one before--it is from a Christian perspective, but is about the only book I know of that tackles both productivity and self care.)

Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love

What I Learned Lying Down

The Gospel Comes with a House Key

The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection

Undone: A Story of Making Peace With an Unexpected Life

Persuasions: A Dream of Reason Meeting Unbelief

A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty

Miniatures and Morals: The Christian Novels of Jane Austen

A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love

In My Father's House

Rearing Faithful Children: Handbook for Biblical Discipline

Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity

(Math/History)

Five Equations That Changed the World

The White Rose

(General/Misc)
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient - Powered by the Science of Games

Things I Learned From Knitting

Poetry
Breath Marks: Haiku to Read in the Dark


Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) | 895 comments Nadine wrote: "Five Equations That Changed the World by Michael Guillen - hahaha yeah I hated this. I'll say no more.."

With as many books that you've hated and I've loved I'm starting to think I should read ALL the books you don't like. :-)


Raquel (Silver Valkyrie Reads) | 895 comments Theresa wrote: "Kenya wrote: "I finished the challenge this week! Whoo!

Having some difficulties at the moment trying to decide whether or not to cancel a vacation later this year... Long story short, I feel guil..."


I completely agree with Theresa on this! Unless there's some context I'm missing, I don't see it how it hurts your roommate at all, or makes her lack of vacation any worse, for you to go on your vacation. It seems like her own choice to be bothered by it.


message 50: by Johanne (new)

Johanne *the biblionaut* | 1301 comments Yes Nadine, the lists will probably be rearranged, but still a beautiful paradox :)


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