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Reading check ins 2020 > Week 3 Check In

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message 1: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 842 comments Mod
Hi everyone!

Hope your years are off to good starts!

I'm tired of winter already, even though it's not been that bad. So hard to have energy and motivation when it's cold and grey and gets dark so early!

As a note, I'm going to announce the book for the next book club read on Monday. So vote if you haven't yet! There's a pretty clear winner so far, but I don't want to cut it short in case people were waiting.

This week I finished:

Every Heart a Doorway - finished it up so I could go on to the next one.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Counted for Read Harder's sci fi or fantasy novella. I really love this series. I always loved portal fiction, and it's really cool having a series exploring what happens to those kids when they find themselves back in the real world with no one believing their stories. This one focused on Jack and Jill and it was really fascinating.

Beneath the Sugar Sky - third book just because I had it and it's a good series. Unfortunately I don't have the rest, I'm waiting for the prices to go lower haha. Still good, although not as good as the first two. Introduced a new PoV character and I don't think enough information was given about her to make it clear why she was there or how she ties into the greater arc. But it's possible that will become apparent in one of the next two. I liked her fine, it just felt a little random.

The Starless Sea - Got this for Christmas, I admit i was kind of dancing around reading it. I love the Night Circus SO MUCH, i didn't know how anything could live up to it. I was so worried I'd read it and not like it at all or be disappointed, no matter how much I tried to go in fresh. And to be honest, it WAS a little disappointing. Nothing was WRONG with it, but it just didn't stir up the same magical feeling that Night Circus does. I think if I'd read this one first, I probably would have loved it. As it was I just liked it a lot. I 100% wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading it, and I know it's on the poll for the next group read. I know plenty of other people who love Night Circus and thought it was better, so it's probably just me. I'll still probably read it again, eventually, it's just not going on my "favorite books ever" list. Counting it for popsugar's book with a character in their 20s

Currently Reading: The Outlaw Demon Wails for the Hollows re-read.

QOTW:

We have a lot of new members, so how about another intro round?

I'm Sheri, a graphic/web designer who works at home. I'm married, have four cats, and too many hobbies. Just started a big cross stitch Harry Potter project designed by Stewart from the mothership. My favorite genres are Science Fiction and Fantasy, although I'm picky even within them. I tend to like urban fantasy or quirky stuff more than big sprawling hi fantasy, and same with sci fi. I prefer weirder small stories to big sprawling space wars and such. I do try to branch out a fair amount, it's partly why I do reading challenges to encourage it. How about everyone else?

Happy reading!


message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Pace (space1138) | 127 comments Still well below zero here. On the bright side, that means it's too cold to snow and too dry to have to scrape the car windshield in the morning.

Mostly done with The Saxon Shore, and have book 5 The Fort at River's Bend in the queue next. This is definitely the dragging midpoint of the series: lots of internal politics and hand wringing about warring local clans. It's still a really good read, just far more setting the stage and climate for the bigger series arc, than having much of a plot on its own.

QOTW-
I live just outside of Anchorage, Alaska and am a cataloging librarian. I'm just finishing a contract with a small natural sciences research library and am currently job hunting for something permanent. I've got a Husbot at home and a shihtzu named Malcolm.

My first loves, book-wise, are sci-fi and fantasy, and I particularly love a good long, sweeping epic. I like branching out from there, too and am on something of a slow burn micro-history kick. My favorite authors are JRR Tolkien and Brandon Sanderson. When I'm not reading books or cataloging books, I'm likely hard at work stitching about books, working on the same epic cross stitch that Sheri is.


message 3: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 234 comments We had some weirdly warm weather over the weekend, but it's back to winter now!

I finished two books in the past week. Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City, which I read for the other Goodreads group that I mod, was a ton of fun. It's fantasy meets historical fiction (loosely based on the fall of Constantinople but in an alternate world) meets heist movie all rolled into one with a snarky unreliable narrator. I've never read anything by K.J. Parker before and I'm so glad that the book club put him on my radar screen!

My other read was Fool's Quest, also for the other book club, the fifteenth book in a 16-book series that we've been reading for a year and a half. I could. not. put. it. down. Robin Hobb's books are not for everyone - a lot of people complain that they move too slowly and there's not much action - but I've always been a fan of more character-driven fiction and am quite content for things to move slowly if the character relationships are interesting. I've been totally blown away by this whole series (the whole sequence is listed here if anyone is interested). It's composed of several trilogies and one quadrilogy (is that a word?) that alternate between two sets of characters, but now they are all converging and it's glorious. The first, third, and last trilogy are written in the first person with the same narrator, FitzChivalry Farseer, and it spans a whole lifetime so you see how he changes and grows. The other books are written in the third person with a wider range of POV characters, and they teach you more about the rest of the world outside of Fitz's narrow worldview. Now towards the end of this second-last book Fitz is meeting characters from the other "outer" series and it's immensely satisfying to see some of the threads starting to weave together. It's not light reading -- the books are long, intense, and can get very dark. But it's soooo good. Sorry to gush but seriously, soooo good. You HAVE to read them in order though.

Ahem. My kidbot and I have put Watership Down on pause for a while because he recently got A Hat Full of Sky as a gift and was antsy to start it - we read The Wee Free Men together a few months back and were both delighted by it. Can't go wrong with Terry Pratchett!

QOTW: I'm Michelle on the FB mothership, Shel here because that was always my internet handle. I live in the metro Boston area, teach 8th grade science, am mom to a third grader and a preschooler, and sing a cappella jazz semi-professionally. Fantasy is my favorite genre, SF a close second, I also love historical fiction, nonfiction science, memoirs, foodie books, and really any book that tells a good story with well-realized characters. Favorite author of all time is Guy Gavriel Kay. My reading slowed down quite a bit with the arrival of the kidbots but is finally starting to approach pre-kid levels although I'm not quiiiite there yet. I usually read between 75-80 books per year before the kiddos - last year I managed 66 so I felt good about that!


message 4: by Daniele (last edited Jan 16, 2020 11:36PM) (new)

Daniele Powell (danielepowell) | 161 comments Yeah, I'm over winter too. Past the holiday decor stage, I just hunker down and wait for spring.

Just one finish this week, and an obscure one at that: Just A Common Soldier (A Soldier Died Today) and Other Poems, which I used for the Slytherin/Bloody Baron prompt for a book of poetry. 6/60

I picked it up at the library since apparently, the author was living in my small suburb of 17k when he wrote the title poem back in the late 80s, so it will also count for local author prompts in other challenges I'm tracking. The poems felt dated, with repetitive themes, but then again, I'm not much of a poetry reader. The author was a long-time newspaper columnist, and I can definitely see that he has a way with words.

QOTW: Danièle here (Dann on FB), a French to English freelance translator who works from home. The boyfriend moved in just before Halloween. We are happily childfree and one cat currently graces our home. We're die-hard wrestling fans, and I've been a comic book nerd since before it was cool. I am currently rocking a long, floppy hot pink mohawk. I'm a 3-season runner and enjoy obstacle racing, even though I suck at them :)

My favourite authors include Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and David Eddings. I am a compulsive reading challenge tracker, which made me discover a fascination with memoirs. I average 75-80 books a year, I am the admin of the FoE reading challengers group and a co-organizer of the FoE book flood.


message 5: by Jo (new)

Jo Oehrlein | 9 comments Last week, I was in the middle of How it Feels to Float. I finished that one. It's about an Australian teen with mental illness, partly due to the death of her father many years earlier and complicated by an incident that leads to her getting isolated by her "friends" at school. Perhaps not surprisingly, she turns out to not be the most reliable narrator.

I also finished my re-read of Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce and went on to read the rest of that series, Emperor Mage and The Realms of the Gods. I like Emperor Mage a lot. It's a very Daine book -- she gets a warning from the Badger god and then gets some extra power she's never had before. There are boring-to-her negotiations going on, but she's there to heal the birds, which she does. Something bad happens and Daine gets really upset; things don't turn out well for other people, as a result of use of her new power. I like In the Realms of the Gods much less. There's a conflict between the gods and Chaos and Chaos is using humans to give her a better chance of winning. So, Daine and Numair are stuck in the realms of the gods most of the time, while their friends back on earth are fighting for their lives against the bad guys. Next up: the Kel books beginning with First Test

Since then, I read A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. This is a beauty and the beast re-telling with several twists. One is that the beast's servant kidnaps a girl (from current day to this fantasy kingdom) to see if she can fall in love with him. Two is that he's not a physical beast when she meets him. That takes months. Three is that this is a Groundhog Day kind of thing where he repeats the same 3 months over and over, but with a different girl (until she falls in love with him). I liked how she pushed him to "do something". He has magically available food -- he should feed people. He sees the potential problems; she knows that helping someone is better than helping no one.

I've started Honor Girl and The Novice. I'm a good ways into The Novice and don't know what to say about it. We're in a kingdom at war on two fronts. War is partly fought by mages who have demons. Someone gives our main character (a teenaged blacksmith apprentice) a book that has information on demon summoning and he is able to summon a demon and ends up at the military school. So, Harry Potter-ish? There's a nobles vs commoners thing going very much like pure blood wizards vs "mudbloods".

I've also, as usual, read a ton of picture books.

QOTW:
I live in Oklahoma City and work in IT, supporting the software that keeps our manufacturing plants across the globe operating (currently working with teams in Monterrey, Mexico; OKC, OK; Houston, TX; Monroe, NC; Columbia, KY; and Warren, MA) .

My husband and I have been married 28 years and are empty nesters.

I read a variety of things but particularly love YA Fantasy. I also re-read a good bit -- one and done isn't enough for books I really love.


message 6: by Dakota (new)

Dakota | 20 comments Omg, winter! I actually really like winter (I just don't like being cold), but we haven't had a lot of wintery weather and I'm sad about it. We've got just a little skiff of snow on the ground, and it's been colder (below 32 degrees F) for a couple of days, on and off... but nothing consistent. I would really love a steady temp around freezing and a nice big snow dump! My partner and I went up into the mountains last Saturday to go snowshoeing (had to go up that high to get snow) and it was so much fun. It was my first time, and I really want to go again.

I had a good week for reading, which was really nice!

First I finished Dodging Energy Vampires: An Empath's Guide to Evading Relationships That Drain You and Restoring Your Health and Power, which came in from my holds at the library and I wanted to get through it. I sort of straddle the line between "woo woo" and super practical, and I liked that this book also does that, backing up what seem like sort of "woo woo" claims with actual studies. Unfortunately, it didn't give a lot of practical tips on what to do about my particular situation, but she does warn this is a smorgasbord of techniques, not a road map.

After that I started and finished The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. This one has been on my list for a while, and has been enthusiastically recommended by people here and on the mothership, so I finally got it from the library. Oh. My. Goodness. I found the first few chapters a bit challenging to get into... it wasn't so much that I wasn't invested as that I found I had to *think* differently about the plot and let it unfold. Once I got into it, I was hooked and I went back and read the beginning again once I finished. That helped it make more sense.

After that I moved on to Percival's Planet, which I picked up for my Mom a while ago, but then read the first chapter of and kept until I could read it. Unfortunately this one didn't live up to the promise of the first couple of chapters. It's set in the 20s, and is a heavily fictionalized but research-based story about the search for Planet X. I found it interesting enough to keep reading and finish, but honestly I found it a little hard going at times. The dialogue is, I assume, period accurate, which is fine except it made understanding what they were actually saying bewildering at times. And I also found the descriptive text pretty overwritten. It's not that the phrases weren't lovely taken on their own—they were—it's just that when *everything* is written that way, I find myself wanting to skip ahead to get to the next bit of action. Bleh.

Last on the list is Garden Spells, which I started last night after finishing Percival's Planet, and only intended to read a chapter of, but then I ended up finishing it. It's a sweet, light little book, and I'd rate the tone/seriousness somewhere around the level of Sophie Kinsella's novels. (I like Kinsella, that's not an insult.) Garden Spells did have a lot of similarities to the Practical Magic movie... I like Alice Hoffman but haven't actually read that specific book, so can't say if the movie changed a lot of elements or not. So I found that a little redundant, but it wasn't enough for me to put it down, obviously. It's a nice light read, nothing really horrible happens and if you're looking for a brain-break but without a heavy dose of heavy breathing and bosom heaving, this would be it.

QOTW: So, I'm Dakota, here and in the mothership, and I live in Missoula, MT with two kids (9 & 6), my partner, and 4 cats. I work from home as a copy/grant writer, with a side of editing. My other activities include sewing, crocheting, general crafting, gardening, reading, and yelling at my cats. (We have the Worst cat, the Best Worst Cat, the Worst Best Cat, and the Worstest Cat. Those aren't their actual names. Yes, I know, we get them confused too.) My original staple genres were fantasy & sci-fi, but like Sheri, I prefer more original stories to space wars and endless High Elves. Now I'm sort of jaded and it takes something really original (like Jemisin) or funny to get my attention. I started seriously branching out into other types of fiction in my late 20s. In the last five years or so I've also been reading a lot of non-fiction—business books and things along the line of "finding" yourself, like the emotional vampire book or Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live. I have no idea how many books I read in a year, all I know is that I read pretty fast when I do read, so part of my challenge to myself this year is just basic tracking!

I just love reading everyone's updates. It's so nice to have a book-focused piece of the original group!


message 7: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 842 comments Mod
Oh I love NK Jemisin so much! Fifth Season took a bit for me to get into, like you. but i thought Obsidian Gate and The Stone Sky were just absolutely phenomenal. There's a reason she's the first author to win 3 Hugos in consecutive years for every book in a series!

I also read Garden Spells a while back, it was cute! I also read the Practical Magic book, I didn't like it as much as the movie. There was a lot more focus on the kids in the book, i liked the focus remaining on the sisters. But there were a fair amount of similarities.


message 8: by Jen (last edited Jan 17, 2020 08:52PM) (new)

Jen (piratenami) | 198 comments Hi, everyone!

Last week I finished The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, which I loved. This was a lyrical, beautifully written, sympathetic portrait of Achilles through the eyes of Patroclus, his constant companion and lover, from boyhood up until through the end of the Trojan War. Its hard to say "spoilers" when it's based on mythology that most people know at least a little of, but I will say I loved how she handled the ending of the story. I think I was predisposed to love it, though, because I've been interested in Greek mythology since I was a little kid. I'm counting this toward my bildungsroman prompt at Popsugar.

I also read a bunch of manga this week: Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 21, O Maidens in Your Savage Season 4, Takane & Hana, Vol. 12, Queen's Quality, Vol. 8, and Star Wars: Lost Stars, Vol. 3.

I'm currently reading Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I'm loving it so far! It's a larger book, but it's a fast read and I feel like I'm flying through it so far. I'm torn about whether I should use it for the book by a woman of color, or book by an author in their 20s, since it would fit both. I feel like the author in their 20s might be the more difficult prompt to fill. (Maybe if I can get the sequel from the library this year, too....)

QOTW:

I'm Jen, a front-end web developer. I live in the Seattle area of the US with my partner. We don't currently have any pets due to our weird living arrangements (living with partner's mom who is not a pet person). Someday I would love to have cats and dogs again. I was born and raised in New York City, and still love my hometown. I am also a writer, although nothing is published. (Yet? *fingers crossed*)

I read a little bit of everything, and I've always been a voracious reader. I grew up loving fantasy and sci-fi, thanks to Greek mythology and Star Wars, respectively. My very first book love was The Hero and the Crown. I used to read it over and over again, and I still have that beat-up copy, which I think I got in the third or fourth grade. I was subsequently introduced to Mercedes Lackey by a friend at school, and that was that.
My favorite authors vary wildly, but currently include Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant, T. Kingfisher, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jim Butcher, and Leigh Bardugo.
(I'm not a Tolkien fan; please don't kill me. *hides*)

Within the last ten years or so, I've branched out into reading more broadly, including romance, mystery, thrillers, and a little bit of literary fiction. Honestly, the only genre I don't really like much is horror, but even that I will read if I trust the author or I'm reading with a group. I'm not much of a nonfiction reader; I will read some if the subject matter interests me or the author has an enjoyable voice in their writing.

I usually set my reading goals at 50 books a year and blow past that. Last year, including comics and manga, I was over 100, and I'm hoping I can repeat that.


message 9: by Megan (new)

Megan | 236 comments We haven't had much winter here - it was 71 last weekend, which is really not a good sign for the climate!

At last check-in, I was readingMaybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, for my online alumni book club. I finished it, much to my relief. It was 100% not my jam in just about every possible way, and I never would have read it outside of the book club. It was, on some level, interesting to read the thoughts of someone whose outlook on life appears to differ from mine in almost every area - but "thoughts" seems a bit too charitable for the tone of the book. If you like secular self-help books and also 90's sitcoms (where every character is a "type" and each episode is self-contained), this might just be the book for you.

On a much more positive note, I was then able to move on to The Starless Sea, which I'd pre-ordered an autographed copy of but was waiting until IRL Book Club #1 started it to read it. I agree with Sheri that it didn't quite match Night Circus in the plot, but I thought the world-building was just as good, if not better, which fits with the theme of the book. It's so meta that I can see it becoming one that's picked apart in school for many people, which would be a shame. I loved the references to other books sprinkled throughout, and I wish I knew as much about video games, since I probably missed some references on that subject. I'm really looking forward to the book club discussion of this one, since I suspect there will be a variety of opinions.

I'm currently reading The Deal of a Lifetime, which is really more of a short story. I just wanted something quick to read while I was waiting for something last night, and thought I would be able to finish it in one sitting but the waiting lasted less long than I expected (always a nice surprise!) It's the same type of schmaltz as all of Fredrik Backman's writing, which isn't really my thing, but I heard from multiple people that this one was cute, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

QOTW: As my name suggests, I'm Megan, and I live in Columbus, Ohio. I'm married, no kids or pets (although we've had cats in the past), and I work for the state of Ohio in a non-technical IT job. I organize crafting events for charity, and try to work on my own card-making and scrapbooking projects from time to time. We go to Disney Parks and cruise ships way too often for people who hate heat and live in Ohio, but my hope that the next Star Wars trilogy will consist of Finn and Poe's rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception keeps drawing us back. I'm in three IRL book clubs, two with different groups of friends and one with an Ohio State alumni group, and I also participate in a different online Ohio State alumni book club. I obviously enjoy talking about books, and I like the variety that comes along with having somewhat required reading. When left to my own devices, I tend to read mysteries, light scifi and fantasy, and YA. Favorite authors include Ben Aaronovitch, Jasper Fforde, Deanna Raybourn, Erin Morgenstern, Mollie Cox Bryan, and others along those lines.


message 10: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 234 comments I have LOVED everything I've read by N.K. Jemisin but haven't read The Fifth Season yet! I do have it on my kindle for when the right mood strikes!


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan LoVerso | 265 comments This week I did not get to listen to my audiobook at all, so that is still in progress.

I put aside Math with Bad Drawings because I finished a major section (3 of 5) at the exact same time two library books on hold became available. Since I own this book, I'll pick it up next time I need something from home and will be at the beginning of something new.

Of the two books from the library, I am now reading Me. I think this will be a fairly fast read. I love EJ. His concert that I attended is one of my top 6 ever (I've been a lot of rock concerts. There are the top-tier 6 and then all the rest.) The book itself just kind of jumps right in to his life in middle childhood. The writing is interesting because he uses a lot of UK English slang and sometimes I'm not entirely sure what he is talking about! But it is good none-the-less. His partnership with Bernie Taupin came about so randomly but what a team they made. Anyway, looking forward to continuing this.

QOTW:Hi, I'm Sue, but go by Susan here and on FB. I and my husband are both software engineers, married almost 33 years. I have worked at home, remotely, for 21 years. We have 3 adult 20-something children and are empty nesters. Our youngest is a senior in college. We live in Massachusetts.

My personal passions are circus arts. I take classes in flying trapeze, handstands and lyra (steel hoop, a circus aerial art) on a weekly basis. I also sometimes do partner acrobatics but those classes are more sporadically offered. In the winter we also downhill ski in Maine where we own a quarter-share at a ski resort so we go every 4 weeks.


message 12: by Samantha (new)

Samantha MacMillan This week I finished The Disappearing Spoon which was overall quite interesting. I'm not sure how much I've retained, but I do feel like it prodded some parts of my brain back into action. I also read The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I enjoyed it more than I expected based on some reviews I had seen. I feel like it answered some questions left by the first book and created new ones, so par for the course.

QOTW: I'm Sam but use Samantha online. I've been in FoE for a few years but just joined this group in the past little bit. I'm a stay at home, homeschooling mom to 3 busy boys 6 and under. I read a bunch in attempts to maintain my sanity. I usually gravitate to historical fiction but try to read more broadly as of the past few years. I have found I enjoy science books, memoirs, and a smattering of other things more and more.


message 13: by Kathy (last edited Jan 18, 2020 05:17PM) (new)

Kathy Klinich | 123 comments This week I finished An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, which was a recommendation for a short book I got from FoE, and I enjoyed enough to reserve another book by the author. I also finished the second book in the Lost Sentinel series that has witches, vampires, werewolves in modern setting. The first was a free kindle book, and while I thought it might be racier than I usually read, they've caught my interest enough that I'll keep going.
I am also reading The Starless Sea which I had reserved at the library awhile ago. After comments here, I am trying to read it independently, and enjoying so far. It's one of those books where I sometimes pause to admire a turn of phrase (same was true of NK Jemison).
I live in Ann Arbor and do automotive safety research at UM. Live with husbot, and have 16, 18, 21bots. I garden, sew, quilt, craft, Sporcle, and travel for fun. I read mysteries for most of my 20s and 30s, and branched out a bit into fantasy with Harry Potter and some of the other stuff I read with kidbots. Expanded my fantasy and science fiction reading mostly with recommendations from here, FoE, and Jen Yates. I've been in a real life book club for about 2 years and it has nudged me into reading more regular and non-fiction than I would usually choose; I am the biggest "genre" reader and have suggested Scalzi and Carriger (two of my favorites) for my picks so far. I like books that have a plot, are funny, not too epic, not too many madeup words, and not too much talking about their feelings. I don't enjoy books (or movies) where everyone is miserable-I've termed this my "Les Mis" factor. I can see why others like them but not for me.


message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy | 5 comments I finished The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks, only to discover that neither of the two libraries I borrow from through Libby/Overdrive have the next book in the series. And neither lets you do interlibrary loan for audiobooks. My reading budget is $0, so who knows when I will get to finish the series, but I am LOVING it so far. I wasnt really expecting to be able to read the most recent book (5 of 5)yet, as it just came out last year but I am surprised that they dont have book 4 either as it came out in 2016.

I started Haunted by Chuck Palaniuk (of Fight Club fame) and ended up returning it early. I have a hard time with this as I have only recently decided that I don't HAVE to finish every book I start and it's still difficult to drop a book. Haunted gets a LOT of hate online as being "gruesome" and "disgusting" so I was prepared for that, but I just didnt like it. I reserved it after seeing a list of books that readers found surprising and stayed with them long after they finished reading. I still feel a little bad but I'm trying to get better about reading for pleasure and not reading to finish.

My current book is Rule by Ellen Goodlett. A fantasy with notes of Pretty Little Liars which is not a show I have ever watched but thats what the blurb said so I'm going with it. A dying king is forced to recognize his 3 illegitimate teenage daughters after his son and only heir is killed. But all three girls are from different parts of the kingdom, have different ideas about ruling, and have big secrets and they are all being blackmailed by someone who wants all three of them to disappear. Its not my usual fare but its a standalone and things are rough at home right now so I needed something simple I could escape into. I borrowed it after I clicked "available audiobooks, fantasy, random" and it was the first book I hadn't read yet. I have an idea who the blackmailer might be, but it looks like the book is suddenly trying to cast a shadow on that person so I'm guessing it might be a red herring. I also have a long shot guess but I have nothing to back it up because it doesnt really make any sense so we'll see.

QOTW: Hi! I'm Amy! 35, I live in NE Texas with my boyfriend and our recently rescued senior pit bull Agnes. I am a fantasy junkie and have been my entire life. As a kid it was Tolkein, dragons, wizards, and Pern. Now I'm open to anything and everything with fantasy elements including high fantasy, magical realism, dystopian, etc. I also read a lot of horror and the occasional suspense, thriller, or mystery but only if they come with a recommendation from someone I trust. I bounce around between adult and young adult but don't typically venture down to middle grade. I am almost purely an audio book consumer at this point in my life and my favorite feeling in the world is finding a new-to-me, good series, with 3+ books. I tend to be picky about books but I stopped apologizing for it a long time ago.


message 15: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jenniferle) | 26 comments Winter. Let me tell you about winter here. We currently have a foot or more of snow outside our front door (and all through our property). It’s beautiful as long as I can be inside. But tomorrow we have to un-cocoon and I don’t want to deal with it.

It does make for excellent reading weather, though. This week I continued my now multi-year reading of Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. It’s really good. I just had to put it on hold for a while to read anything else because it’s just. so. long. But I’m nearing the end, and it’s picking back up, so I hope to finish it very soon.

I finished Brandon Sanderson’s Starsight (Skyward #2). It was really good, and I’m eagerly awaiting #3.

I also re-read The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson. I love her books, and this series is wonderful. I introduced my nieces 13 and 16) to Johnson with Truly Devious, the first one the series, for our little book club a few months ago. The younger niece loved it so much I bought her her own copy of Truly Devious along with The Vanishing Stair for Christmas. The final piece of her present is The Hand on the Wall, which will be out next week (and the reason for my re-read).

QOTW: I am Jennifer on the mothership also. I am currently a stay-at-home mom, although now that both kids are in school all day (2nd grade and kindergarten), I am looking into getting back into some possible part-time contract or freelance work. I have been a hard-core avid reader of anything I can get my hands on since I was a very small kid. My favorite genres are sci-fI, fantasy and suspense / mystery. I am trying to broaden my horizons a bit with some non-fiction, but I have trouble keeping that resolve because I have so many books in my physical TBR stack already. My favorite author is Christopher Moore, but I’m also partial to Maureen Johnson and John Scalzi.


message 16: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (midwinter) | 52 comments Hi everyone -
I'm usually juggling several books, but this week I only had one on my plate - Vamped. I picked this up at a local used book store several years ago because it looked like a fun urban fantasy romp, and the cover art was intriguing (it looks like a kid's juice box, but is obviously blood). It started out a bit rough, and I wasn't sure I was going to like the author or the narrator's voice, but a few chapters in and I was hooked. This is *not* a typical urban fantasy book. Instead, it's an intriguing look at the daily life of a vampire in a world where almost all humans are vamped. Without giving away too much, this is the basic plot: An 80-something year old vamp who's been of the fanged pursuasion since WWII is suffering from an undead case of ennui and is ready to off himself. Instead, he finds himself becoming caretaker to a feisty young un-vamped girl. The book chronicles both his experiences in parenting, and his inner monologue reflecting on how he got to this point in his life. It's at turns funny, thought-provoking, gruesome, and endearing. Near the end, one of the characters makes a comment about wanting life to turn out like a Shakespeare comedy, and the author very nearly achieves that. I like a happy ending, and this definitely had a "happy for now," so I'll consider that a win. If anyone here would like to read it, let me know. I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on it! I used to run a lot of "bookrings" on bookcrossing.com (where people sign up to participate, and each reader agrees to mail the book to the next person on the list when they're finished). If there's enough interest, I'll happily set up a bookring :)

QOTW: I'm an editor for a nonprofit in Arizona, and my team mostly works from home (yay, working in my PJs!). I have two crazy cats, and my elderly mom lives with me, so it can be a bit hectic sometimes. My strongest literary love is urban fantasy, but I'll read almost anything you put in front of me. I've dabbled in just about every genre, and while I adore fantasy and SF, I get easily bored by epic stories. It took me 27 years to get through the first Lord of the Rings book, and the rest of the series was like pulling teeth (but I had to see what all the hype was about). I try to read a balanced mix of fiction and nonfiction, but am not too strict about it, and let my reading be dictated by what sounds good at the moment. My favorite authors are William Gibson, Christopher Moore, John Scalzi, and Richard Kadrey.


message 17: by CJ (new)

CJ I've not got much of a book update. Still plodding through Plato, although I've finished the first dialogue of five and I'm half way through the second.
Still reading Amberlough. One of the few things I really dislike with ebooks is the ease of flicking back to a map, because I think that would help me out with this one.

I finally got my new bookcase up on Saturday! It was far harder than it should have been.

QOTW: I'm CJ/Caroline, I'm from the UK. I live in the countryside with my parents.
I read a little of a bit of a range of things. A lot of sci-fi and/or fantasty, some history, some mystery, some classics, and a bit of academic writing. Academic stuff in the history field, potentially with a gender or religious slant. I like my fiction books with a bit of humour, and really appreciate sarcasm. I take recs from friends, read mostly adult fiction with a bit of YA thrown in when it's suggested to me. Rarely younger than that.


message 18: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (midwinter) | 52 comments CJ - have you read any of the Sandman Slim books by Richard Kadrey? They're dark and snarky (in the best way), with bits of religious arcana thrown in.


message 19: by Shel (new)

Shel (shel99) | 234 comments Kristi wrote: "CJ - have you read any of the Sandman Slim books by Richard Kadrey? They're dark and snarky (in the best way), with bits of religious arcana thrown in."

You know, I've had the first book of that loaded on my kindle for the longest time and have never picked it up...I should!


message 20: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 842 comments Mod
Oh i read the first Sandman Slim a while ago, forgot to ever go back and read more. I should do that!

Also Iron Druid is fun, urban fantasy, plenty of snark and geek references.

Also the Twenty Sided Sorceress books are all pretty short, and fun for a break. Lots of geek humor.


message 21: by CJ (new)

CJ Kristi, Sheri: I haven't read any of those things. I'll add them to my recs list for when I'm a bit further through the TBR shelf. They sound good!


message 22: by Dakota (new)

Dakota | 20 comments Megan wrote: "We haven't had much winter here - it was 71 last weekend, which is really not a good sign for the climate!

At last check-in, I was reading[book:Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her T..."


I'm so glad that you posted your review of this! I have been tempted by it (it's making the rounds in my friend circles as a recommendation), but based on your description, it's not my cup of tea at all!


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