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Reading Check In 2019 > Week 15 Check In

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message 1: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 876 comments Mod
Hi everyone!

Just a reminder, the book club is reading Onyx and Ivory. Stephanie has set up a pre-reading discussion thread for those who want to comment. Once she finishes, she'll put up additional threads for discussion by chunks of the book. Thanks again for setting that up, Stephanie!

This week has been hectic for me, lots of stuff going on with our house addition. HVAC/Electrical going in, stuff is torn up everywhere and lots of noise.

This week I finished;

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking - this was my book about a hobby. I loved it! I never know how to figure out how to modify recipes. This shows how to build a recipe from scratch based on the basic ratio to get a cookie vs a cake, stuff like that.

White Night - audio book re-read

The City of Brass - popsugar debut novel, ATY speculative fiction. I wanted to like this more than i did, it was just ok. There were a lot of complicated politics and I don't think i ever really got what the difference between the sides were or quite how the different houses fell. I don't really like having to keep track of political sides when I'm trying to read fantasy.

Attachments - popsugar book that makes me nostalgic. I didn't actually feel terribly nostalgic, it was set in 99 during the y2k nonsense. It was more "oh ir emember that" than any real actual feelings of nostalgia. but whatever, i'm counting it! it was a fun easy read, although I didn't really like how it resolved.

Currently reading:

Lincoln in the Bardo - listening to this for my books & brew. This feels like the sort of thing where the author was trying really hard to be avaunt guard or something, which isn't really what I need in a book. There's 166 narrators, most in it just for a line or two. The plot's alright, but it keeps being interrupted with long lists of quotes, each read by a different narrator, and apparently some are legit quotes and others are totally made up. I don't really see the point. Sure Lincoln was real, and he lost a son but I don't need to know what other people thought about the party thrown the night the son died to get the story from it. It just makes it disjointed and confusing and hard to get into. I feel bad, this is the third book in a row i'm just not feeling. Ah well. I'll count it for popsugar's ghost story, and ATY book featuring a historical figure.

Rebecca - this is my book with a wedding for popsugar, and a book that won a national book award for ATY. I'm liking it so far, not too far into it yet.


borrowing from Popsugar this week: If you could go on an all-expenses paid trip to a location from a book, where would you go?

Keeping it in the real world for now, I'd probably go for Japan. I hit London a couple years ago which a ton of books are set and I loved it. But Japan is expensive, and it's so different from here I have trouble even visualizing it in my head. would love to see it!

message 2: by Jen (last edited Apr 22, 2019 02:11PM) (new)

Jen (piratenami) | 216 comments Last week was busy one for me, too! We flew to Chicago early last week for Star Wars Celebration, and spent six nights there. The trip was somewhat hectic and didn't lend itself to much reading time.

I finished up Siege and Storm just before we left. I'm looking forward to reading Ruin and Rising next, and then the follow up book that she just released.

I also managed to polish off one book on each flight.

On the way to Chicago, I read a very funny contemporary romance/romantic comedy: Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating. I really loved this book. The heroine kind of reminds me of a real-world version of one my fantasy story characters. She's a little bit crazy, all herself, and totally someone I would love to have as a RL friends.

On the way home, I read another historical romance: The Heiress Effect. I love Courtney Milan's writing. She has a way of making her characters strong and well-rounded and flawed, and really having them come alive on the page.

I am currently in a Star Wars mood after going to Celebration, so I have also queued up Phasma to read, after meeting the author at the convention.

I'm still waiting on Onyx and Ivory from the library but hoping to get it soon.

QOTW: This is an interesting one!

Real world: I'm with you, Sheri: definitely Japan. I have always wanted to visit, it's kind of a "bucket list" trip for me.

Fictional world: It's probably cheating to say one of my own.... I mean, I would love to visit someplace in the Star Wars universe for sure. One of the nicer places, not the seedier spots. ;)

message 3: by Sarah (last edited Apr 18, 2019 04:10PM) (new)

Sarah Pace (space1138) | 127 comments Finally had a normal reading week again! I'm still 2nd in line for my library systems only copy of Onyx and Ivory, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to get that started. Hopefully there are fast readers in line ahead of me!

Lord of Chaos is finished. I've read this whole series before, but it's been almost 10 years, so there a bunch that I've forgotten completely, or knew it was coming, but forgot when. It's really been fun to revisit this world.

Firefly: The Magnificent Nine - I was sooo disappointed by this one! It was good, but not wonderful like the first in the Firefly novel series was. It was a fun story (Jayne's ex girlfriend shows up, how could it not be????), but the author spent way too much time explaining everything in narrative form, rather than using his characters. Additionally, his constant use of current-era historical references and colloquiums, as well as the continual name dropping of references to the events in the original show got to be a bit grating. This is one of my pet peeves in science fiction, when history stops at the second decade of the 21st century, and nothing notable evidently happens after that for hundreds of years, until the setting of the story. You are an author, make up some "future" history to refer back to!

GADSBY: Not an 'E'-book - I've wanted to read this one forever. It's a 50,000 word novel that does not ever use the letter e. The author's introduction alone is worth the read- his process and all the people who bluntly told him it was impossible, recounted with a surprising amount of snark for the 1930s. The story itself is saccharin-sentimental and really boring, and it is very much a product of the gender roles and expectations of the 1930s. However, the verbal gymnastics that Wright goes through are every bit as impressive as you would hope- definitely worth the read just to see it in action. And also definitely worth the $.99 price tag on Kindle for the delightfully ironic "e-book" version.

Ella Minnow Pea - Another book where we're missing letters, but this time cumulatively. I really enjoyed this, and there was so much going on under the story for the reader to... well... read into. The verbal workarounds weren't quite as impressive as in Gadsby, but it was still amazing from a technical standpoint. After a bunch of recent postings on the Mothership, I will admit to being quite disappointed that no black sphinxes were involved in any point in this story (hope that's not a spoiler). I definitely agree that this would still be a fabulous book club pick for sometime in the future.

Started A Crown of Swords. Wheel of Time #7, here we go!

QOTW- I always struggle with this question (and its cousin: "what would would you want to live in?"), especially where genres are concerned. Who are you in the new world, and how do you fit in? If you are visiting, are you just observing, outside of events? When in the arc of the world's story do you land? Do you get a say in either? Is it just plain muggle me dropped into Hogwarts as I am, or am I dropped in in-context with all due wizarding abilities included?

message 4: by Alexa (new)

Alexa | 40 comments So I’m partway through Onyx and Ivory and am worried that the author isn’t going to finish the book with a satisfying ending. I’m not adverse to having a storyline that covers multiple novels, but I prefer to have a good stopping point and not a complete cliffhanger. Has anyone finished and can you let me know if the ending is okay or if I have to get book two to feel satisfied?

message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan LoVerso | 291 comments This week I only finished up one book. I finished my BookFlood book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. I really enjoyed it. I appreciate that the author had a tight book where topics were not repeated (an issue I've had in other non-fiction books). This was a fun read. I will pass it on to my daughter and trade for her BookFlood book when I next see her.

I'm waiting for Onyx and Ivory to arrive. The inter-library loan said it was "in transit" yesterday so I expect it any moment, so I'm not starting anything else in the meantime.

However, I love all the people commenting now! My TBR list here on GR is ever growing.

message 6: by Jinglebat (new)

Jinglebat | 2 comments Alexa wrote: "So I’m partway through Onyx and Ivory and am worried that the author isn’t going to finish the book with a satisfying ending. I’m not adverse to having a storyline that covers multiple novels, but ..."

I just finished it. I liked it. I'm being vague here because spoilers but I was good with the ending but it obvious thats theres more to come. It's a good stopping point tho

message 7: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 207 comments Mod
Hello All,

Not much reading on my end since I last checked in a couple of weeks ago. Last weekend, my eReader died and I'm still waiting on the replacement. I had downloaded a copy of Onyx and Ivory from the library, but the reader went before I could start the book. I had to get to the physical library to get a copy instead, which I wasn't able to do until Wednesday. I'm happy to report, however, that I'm 60% through O&I and was finally able to get discussion questions up for the first half of the book this morning. Have at it! I've got more long Easter-weekend car time coming tomorrow, so hopefully I can finish the book and the group questions in the next few days. Sorry for everyone who has been able to read ahead an has been waiting for the discussions to go up!

Before my reader died, I was almost done The Shadow of What Was Lost. I've been complaining about how awful this book is for a while now, so no need to continue with that (other to say it never did improve!), but it's worth noting that when my eReader broke, it froze on the cover of this book. Hmmmm.

I also had started reading The Saturday Night Ghost Club, which was a library check out that I had to wait a while for. My loan is expired now, so it will be a while before I can get back finishing it (back on the hold list for me!), but I was really enjoying it and look forward to getting back to it.

Sarah--thanks for the review of GADSBY--I added it to my TBR list. It sounds so interesting!

QOTW: Probably New Zealand bc it's so far away and also fairly expensive. I've wanted to go there ever since I read Once Were Warriors in an undergrad Post-colonial fiction course (cough, late 1990s, cough cough). We had a speaker come in who had recently visited there, and as part of his presentation, he showed us pictures of the place. I was sold on the landscape alone. If it was a fictional place, probably Valinor in the time of the two trees. I'd also settle for Lothlorien.

message 8: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Klinich | 138 comments Alexa wrote: "So I’m partway through Onyx and Ivory and am worried that the author isn’t going to finish the book with a satisfying ending. I’m not adverse to having a storyline that covers multiple novels, but ..."

I HATE when authors leave you hanging. The ending was acceptable if not quite fully satisfying; some authors do it better but many others are worse. I did like it and will read the next one but not right away.

message 9: by Megan (new)

Megan | 236 comments I love the variety that everyone is reading right now - I've picked up some great suggestions for my TBR from your posts! I was sick last week, so I did quite a bit of reading - after having pretty skimpy updates the last couple times, I'm glad to have more to share!

***Begin FINAL mention of NSFJG book***

Shortly after my last update, I finally finished Faggots for IRL book club #3. Those who have been following along may recall that I was quite skeptical at the beginning about whether I would be able to bring myself to finish, due to the graphic content - but I'm so glad I did! It is definitely a book for ADULTS - but if you can make it through, you get an amazing understanding of how gay men in the 1970's and early 1980's developed a hedonistic culture as a result of being dehumanized by the broader society, and it really gets you thinking about the other times and places that has happened with various minority groups. So this is definitely not one to give to your 8th grader, but I really do recommend it for anyone who has lived long enough to wonder why some people don't seem to treat their bodies and hearts with more self-respect.

***End of NSFJG section***

I followed that one with a complete departure to the other end of the literary spectrum for IRL book club #1 - The Crowns of Croswald. A member of the book club was able to get a set of copies for all of us from the author, so we were all excited to get a free book! The story is very reminiscent of Harry Potter, but with a more dreamy, old-school fantasy style of writing. It seems to be the author's first book, so there are some pacing and plot issues that I suspect stem from a lack of experience, but her writing is very good and I will definitely seek out the second book in the series to see where the story goes and if some of the issues are cleared up with one under her belt.

After that, I read Onyx and Ivory, which I LOVED! I will save more thorough discussion for the appropriate threads, but to answer the question above about the ending, I thought it struck a perfect balance between resolving some questions specific to this book and leaving a bigger story ongoing for a series. As a side note, I just heard on the radio yesterday that Mindee Arnett will be at the Ohioana Book Festival this coming Saturday, which is free to attend, so I'm going to try to stop over there to meet her at some point. If anyone else is in or near Central Ohio and plans to go, let me know!

I then took a break from all of the fantasy with The Vacationers. I had read one of the author's other books with an IRL book club a couple years ago, so this one had been on my list since then. There are no surprises, but it is well-written and relaxing, so it was perfect for the worst of last week's illness. It would probably also be a great beach read, if anyone's starting to think about those yet!

Back into the fantasy world, I then read The Queen of Ieflaria. I had stumbled upon this author on Twitter last fall on a day that was memorable for other reasons, and immediately added the book to my list. It took me this long to get to it, but it was worth the wait - it is a very quick read, but an adorable and G-rated romance between two princesses. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy, then definitely add this one to your list!

The next one I read was one that I don't recall how or why I ended up with on my Kindle, but I'm so glad I did - Uncommon Animals: Omnibus Edition. It is a beautiful story about finding your family set in the real world, but with werewolves and monster hunters. It has elements of many familiar stories, but woven together in a really original and wonderful way. I really can't recommend it highly enough!

Currently, I'm reading Daughter of the Sun, because I couldn't wait to get back to Effie Calvin's world. If I sold you on The Queen of Ieflaria above and you rush out to get them both like I did, be aware that this is not really a "sequel" in the sense of continuing the story of the first book - it is set in the same reality, but so far there are no characters that have appeared in the first story. I'm still loving it, though, and I suspect that all of these ladies will meet up in a future installment of the series (these two are the only ones out so far).

QOTW: Of the books I read this week, the setting I'd like to visit most is Croswald - if you visit D.E. Night's website and see the artwork there, you'll probably want to go, too. Overall, though, a nice little town from a cozy mystery sounds nice right now - although I'm such a city dweller that I would probably go stir crazy fairly quickly, I love the idea of settling in at Aunt Dimity's house or something like that. :)

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