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2011 Individual Challenges > Marcy's Challenge

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message 1: by Marcy (new)


message 2: by Marcy (last edited Jan 08, 2011 12:03AM) (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 1. 01/02/11 A Play of Dux Moraud by Margaret Frazer
A medieval player in a troupe with a curiousity for mysteries is sent by his lord to investigate the wedding of one of his vassals. Enjoyable historical tale meets cozy mystery.

2. 01/03/11 Deal Breaker by Harlan Coban
A series I've heard great things about. Despite nasty subject matter, still a light and enjoyable read. I plan on working my way through the rest of the series.

3. 01/06/11 Gray Lady Down: The Decline and Fall of the New York Times by William McGowan
The sad decline and fall of the paper I grew up with and once respected.

Currently working through A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, but at almost 800 pages it will probably take some time. I've heard how great this series is, but I'm really findng it depressing. Every character I care about is currently getting screwed, mainly in horrible ways. I hope this gets better...


message 3: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 4. 01/08/11 Heidi Grows Up by Charles Tritten

I misplaced my PRS-650 (argh!) so I had to dig up a pbook to read. I had this laying around for some time. It is a continuation of the classic Heidi by Johanna Spryi. It is a nice story, but lacks much of the charm of the original. A quick easy read while I continue to search for my reader.


message 4: by JSWolf (new)

JSWolf | 22 comments I hope you find your 650. Losing mine would make me nuts and I'd be bothering everyone around me till I found it.


message 5: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments I misplaced my reader just as I was leaving to go out of town, so haven't had a chance to continue looking for it. I had to put everything on my iPad. It's great for night reading in the hotel room without disturbing everyone, but not so great for the day, both for being too heavy to carry around and hard to read in the sun.

But I did finish--

5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I don't know what to think of this book. It was so continually a downer and with no closure at the end I'm just left with a nagging sense of despair. Do I have to wade through 3 more long books as endlessly depressing to get to the end of this story? And do I really want to?


message 6: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments Marcy wrote: "5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I don't know what to think of this book. It was so continually a downer and with no closure at the end I'm just left with a nagging sense of despair. Do I have to wade through 3 more long books as endlessly depressing to get to the end of this story? And do I really want to?


This is a book that I have struggled with, too. I have purchased it (and given away) several times. I just can't get past the depression of the entire thing. I do know a few people who have enjoyed it, however. But you just reminded me I need to dump my copies of this and it's sequels into the book swap.


message 7: by Carrie (Care), Group Founder & Fearless Leader (new)

Carrie (Care) (care76) | 73 comments I also didn't really care for Game of Thrones. I like the idea and concept, and the characters, but I still had to force myself to finish it.

I am looking forward to the HBO series as they usually do a great job on book to tv adaptions, imho.

Have you tried The Eye of the World The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1) by Robert Jordan , the first Wheel of Time book? I adore the series, it has been my fav for over 14 years, but it is not for everybody. Some of the later books 8-10 are slower paced than the previous ones, but they pick back up again with 11-13. I personally love them all, but some people don't like all the descriptions.

I hope you find your reader when you get home! I don't know what I would do without mine. :(


message 8: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments I've never read any of the Wheel of Time books. I might give them a try as they do seem right up my genre alley. From what I've read, I should give book 10 a miss, however!


message 9: by Marcy (last edited Jan 14, 2011 08:46PM) (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 6. 01/12/11 Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

A nice light read, especially after slogging through A Game of Thrones. I enjoyed the story and the mystery even though I figured much of it out, which I usually don't.


message 10: by Carrie (Care), Group Founder & Fearless Leader (new)

Carrie (Care) (care76) | 73 comments Marcy wrote: "I've never read any of the Wheel of Time books. I might give them a try as they do seem right up my genre alley. From what I've read, I should give book 10 a miss, however!"

Yeah, even I don't rate that one too high. I still like it, but I don't love it like the others.


message 11: by Marcy (last edited Jan 16, 2011 08:13PM) (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 7. 01/14/11 A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

I must be a glutton for punishment as I decided to try the second book in the series. For anyone who has read this, is there ever an ending? 1000 more depressing pages with still no payoff.

As an aside I can't image how this series could ever be successfully made into a TV series. There are so many stories going on, and each chapter just pours on the horrors (and often blood and gore). And if the show is as depressing as the books I have no interest.

I think I'll have to go for Heidi's Children now. I'm sure it's cheesy but I want something short, simple and with an ending!


message 12: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 8. 01/15/11 Heidi's Children by Charles Tritten

Another mistake—200 pages of drivel. Much worse than even Heidi Grows Up. I've read Heidi by Johanna Spyri as an adult several times and enjoyed it. These two "sequels" are just silly. In particular, Heidi's Children is quite unbelievable and based entirely on an improbable coincidence. Some juvenile books should be left to children.

It is a beautiful illustrated hardback I bought secondhand for about $1. A shame the story was so lame. They just don't print books that way anymore.


message 13: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments I joined a group here, http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/3... and almost everyone in the group loves A Game of Thrones (I didn't).


message 14: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 9. 01/16/11 Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball

I've read most of Anne McCaffrey's books but never tried this series. I don't know if I'm still being dragged down by A Game of Thrones but I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. It started off really great but seemed to wind down and end with a whimper. The writing just didn't have me enthralled and I read it just to finish it. Perhaps the sequels in the series will make me fonder of it, as I plan to read them all.


message 15: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 10. 01/17/11 Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block

I really enjoyed this mystery about Bernie Rhodenbarr, a burglar caught in the act of burgling but then accused of a much worse crime. It had a slow start but had me hooked after the first quarter.

It was funny to read a book written in the 70s, and see how different things are. A key plot point involved identifying a bit actor in a movie Bernie sees on TV. The rigmarole he has to go through to get the actor's name involves calling the local television station, then calling the studio in LA that made the movie and having someone have to go look up a cast list. The whole time I'm laughing, since I could have the info in 15 seconds via imdb. I didn't miss the internet growing up in the 70s, but I sure don't know what I'd do without it today!


message 16: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments Marcy wrote: "9. 01/16/11 Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball

I've read most of Anne McCaffrey's books but never tried this series. I don't know if I'm still being dragged..."


Thanks for the heads up. I started reading the Dragons of Pern series a while ago. I couldn't get up the interest to complete the series, even though I loved all things Valdemar. *shrug* I gave Acorna some thought but hadn't bought the book yet.


message 17: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "Marcy wrote: "9. 01/16/11 Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball

I've read most of Anne McCaffrey's books but never tried this series. I don't know if I'm sti..."


Anne McCaffrey makes me crazy at times. She writes some great series but they all fall apart eventually in a bad way. Sometimes within the same book, Sassinak for example. The first 2/3 of Sassinak is one of the best books I've ever read. And the last 1/3 is the most confusing drivel ever. The only other book I can recall starting out so amazing and ending as such crap is The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein.

I enjoyed the early Pern stuff, but by the late 80s the series had taken the dive and I stopped reading. I liked the first couple of Tower and the Hive books, but again stopped as the quality drained away. I did enjoy all of the Crystal Singer and Brain & Brawn books, although I always liked The Ship Who Searched by far the best.


message 18: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments Found my PRS-650!!! Yeah!


message 19: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments Marcy wrote: "MrsJoseph wrote: "Marcy wrote: "9. 01/16/11 Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball

I've read most of Anne McCaffrey's books but never tried this series. I don't..."


Ooh, that's my pet peeve with her, too! I loved the early Brain & Brawn series (The Ship who Searched is my favorite, too) but I absolutely HATED The City Who Fought and The Ship Who Saved the Worlds. It just collapsed :(


message 20: by Marcy (last edited Jan 19, 2011 08:35PM) (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 11. 01/19/11 Acorna's Quest by Anne McCaffrey

Another McCaffrey book I'm torn about. Some parts were brilliant and engrossing and others were...not. In particular all of the attempted humor, especially among the Linyarii, was totally lame and made me want to cringe.

I always wonder in these multi-author books that are so uneven if it is that different authors are writing different parts.


message 21: by JSWolf (new)

JSWolf | 22 comments I plan on reading the entire Dragonrider series. I've read some of it so far. So some will be a reread and some not.


message 22: by JSWolf (new)

JSWolf | 22 comments Marcy wrote: "Found my PRS-650!!! Yeah!"

Where did you find it? And congrats on finding it.


message 23: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments JSWolf wrote: "Marcy wrote: "Found my PRS-650!!! Yeah!"

Where did you find it? And congrats on finding it."


In the laundry basket, underneath all the clean laundry I didn't have time to fold before I left on vacation...


message 24: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 12. 01/22/11 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I'm probably the last person in the world to read this, but finally got around to it. I bought it with a couple hundred dollars worth of other books during the 12/09 amazing Fictionwise sale, the last good time at FW before the great decline.

This is the first book I've read in 2011 that had me totally engrossed. I hated to leave for work because I couldn't read another chapter. If not for the toddler alarm that has no snooze button I would have stayed up all night one night to read it.

Excellent thriller.


message 25: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments Oh wow! I've heard a lot about this series but it's not my normal thing...


message 26: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "Oh wow! I've heard a lot about this series but it's not my normal thing..."

It does have some disturbing parts, so if you're bothered by fictional violence, especially against women you won't enjoy it. But it's a great story.


message 27: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments Marcy wrote: "MrsJoseph wrote: "Oh wow! I've heard a lot about this series but it's not my normal thing..."

It does have some disturbing parts, so if you're bothered by fictional violence, especially against w..."


Hmmm, I am a little peturbed by violence against women, I may let the books pass. I was thinking about the fact that I rarely read popular fiction (of almost any genre). I've avoided the Twilight series like the plague and only read The Da Vinci Code because someone started reading it to me.


message 28: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "Marcy wrote: "MrsJoseph wrote: "Oh wow! I've heard a lot about this series but it's not my normal thing..."

It does have some disturbing parts, so if you're bothered by fictional violence, espe..."



Oddly I found it much less disturbing than A Game of Thrones despite some heinous acts. Except for two scenes, the violence is done to characters that we don't know and mainly years in the past. I think that layer of separation made it much easier to bear.


message 29: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments Ahh, but I DNF AGoT. I gave it away. Twice. :)


message 30: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "Ahh, but I DNF AGoT. I gave it away. Twice. :)"

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was much easier to read than AGoT. Larsson kept you a step removed from most of the violence so it wasn't as wrenching as the violence in AGoT. For example a character learns about a horrific murder that took place 40 years prior. But it's just a past event that happened to a character we don't know. In AGoT all the violence was to characters that you are intimate with which makes it somehow much worse.


message 31: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 13. 01/24/11 Sanctuary by Faye Kellerman

This is the seventh installment in Kellerman's Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series. I have enjoyed all the prior books and this one was no exception. It was a very gripping story marred only by what I thought was a too pat way in which Decker solves the mystery. Despite that I enjoyed it very much.


message 32: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments Marcy wrote: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was much easier to read than AGoT. Larsson kept you a step removed from most of the violence so it wasn't as wrenching as the violence in AGoT. For example a character learns about a horrific murder that took place 40 years prior. But it's just a past event that happened to a character we don't know. In AGoT all the violence was to characters that you are intimate with which makes it somehow much worse."


That makes me feel a lot better. I love my Fantasy Aficionado group but there is almost no way I'll ever read that series. I don't need that much reality in my fantasy. :)


message 33: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 14. A Play of Knaves by Margaret Frazer

This is #3 in the Joliffe series. This time it's Lady Lovell who sends the players to investigate rumors of something awry in the domain of her friend the abbess. As usual Joliffe and company ferret out the problem and solve a murder or two.

Entertaining medieval cozy.


message 34: by Marcy (last edited Jan 31, 2011 02:27PM) (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 15. 01/31/11 The Last Camel Died at Noon by Elizabeth Peters

Number 6 in the Amelia Peabody series. I found this story a bit disappointing as the storyline really strained my credulity past the breaking point. I really enjoyed the other 5 entries I've read much more than this one.


message 35: by Marcy (last edited Feb 03, 2011 06:26PM) (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 16. 02/02/11 The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog by Elizabeth Peters

Another disappointing installment in the Amelia Peabody series. I'm going to lay off these a bit and hope the next few pick up again.


message 36: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 17. 02/04/11 Overthrowing Heaven by Mark L. Van Name

The third installment in the Jon & Lobo series. Another good read and we learn more about Lobo's past. Also a nice twist in the ending that surprised me. And a not so nice twist as well.


message 37: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments -- 02/06/11 Sentence of Marriage by Shayne Parkinson

I've given up on this one, at least temporarily. It got good reviews on both Smashwords and Mobileread, but I've found it to be totally trite with the textbook wicked stepmother and oblivious father. Perhaps it gets better later on, but I can't bear any more right now.


message 38: by Marcy (last edited Feb 07, 2011 10:26PM) (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 18. 02/07/11 Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement by Irene Spencer

I don't know why I'm fascinated by this story, but this is the third book I've read about the LeBaron clan. The first was Irene Spencer's Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife which told the story of her life of neglect and drudgery as a polygamist's wife. The second was His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy by Susan Schmidt, a telling of the same story but from the view of one of Irene's sister wives.

This book gave full details of the insanity rampant through the LeBaron family, that Irene Spencer left out of Shattered Dreams. This is a true case of reality being more than any fiction. Disturbing yet compelling reading.


message 39: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments I've always wondered about polygamy. I've never felt the inclination but it is a reoccuring theme in historical romance books (harems). I wonder/ed why it seemed to work there but not in other situations.


message 40: by Patricia (last edited Feb 08, 2011 02:36PM) (new)

Patricia (pg4003) Marcy wrote: "18. 02/07/11 Cult Insanity: A Memoir of Polygamy, Prophets, and Blood Atonement by Irene Spencer

I don't know why I'm fascinated by this story, but this is the third book I've read ..."


Marcy, I've read the 2 books you mentioned, I'll have to check out the first one (Cult Insanity), haven't read that one. I've read lots of books about polygamy, it fascinates me, how they feel that life they lead is 'normal'.

ETA: I just looked up this book on Amazon, the Kindle version is $11.99! That's more than I'm willing to pay unless it's Stephen King or someone like that.


message 41: by Marcy (last edited Feb 08, 2011 02:54PM) (new)

Marcy | 67 comments ETA: I just looked up this book on Amazon, the Kindle version is $11.99! That's more than I'm willing to pay unless it's Stephen King or someone like that.

I won't pay that either, but I got a bunch of the Barnes and Noble groupons—$20 gift certificate for $10. So I bought it from there, because I felt $6 was okay. It is an "agency" book so won't be discounted anywhere.

Cult Insanity isn't Irene's personal story, but the story of the LeBaron group as a whole. If you read only that one you wouldn't realize the grinding poverty she lived in as well as the burden of having to share your husband with a bunch of other wives.

I have Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall in my TBR list, although I don't remember where I got it. I think it was from a past Fictionwise sale.

I would also like to read Daughters of Zion: A Family's Conversion to Polygamy by Kim Taylor which is another view of the LeBaron story, but it is only available from amazon, not B&N or Sony. I have gift balances that I bought cheaply from both those sites.


message 42: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "I've always wondered about polygamy. I've never felt the inclination but it is a reoccuring theme in historical romance books (harems). I wonder/ed why it seemed to work there but not in other si..."

It's glamorized in historical romance. In the real world it's typically a road to poverty and abuse for the women. Even the polygamy I saw in Africa, where it is accepted and commonplace (among the Maasai) involved the women and children doing all the work and giving all the money to the men.

In Cult Insanity, a telling part was Irene overhearing a conversation between her husband and his brother Joel, the head of their group. Her husband is complaining that one of his wives is always threatening to leave and has left a few times although she did come back and he wants to know what to do. Joel tells him to keep her pregnant and eventually she'll have too many children to be able to leave.

Happily the wife he was talking about was Susan, author of the above mentioned His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy who did eventually leave for good.


message 43: by Marcy (last edited Feb 09, 2011 10:55AM) (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 19. 02/09/11 Just Don't Fall by Josh Sundquist

I think I'm getting very critical, but I found this autobiography a disappointment. I enjoyed the first half but the second half just fell flat and seemed to ramble all over the place. And the ending just left me saying, "Huh?". I literally got to the acknowledgement page and thought I had accidentally paged past the last chapter and went searching for it, only to discover I had read the whole thing.


message 44: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, Resident Book Pusher (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 3289 comments Marcy wrote: It's glamorized in historical romance. In the real world it's typically a road to poverty and abuse for the women. Even the polygamy I saw in Africa, where it is accepted and commonplace (among the Maasai) involved the women and children doing all the work and giving all the money to the men."

That sounds right and what I assumed. I wonder why women writers try so hard to romanticize something that has abused women for centuries? That seems more than a little counter-productive. I read my first full romance novel in middle school - it was a harem based book. I can't help but to think that some women (not raised in polygamy) have some notion that it is like the books they read as children.


message 45: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 20. 02/09/11 Time for the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein

I picked up a bunch of the $20 B&N gift certificates for $10 groupons that were available this week. I was browsing B&N to figure out what to buy because they expire quickly and was shocked to discover a Heinlein book I'd never read. I gobbled these down during my childhood and would save my allowance to buy the paperbacks. I searched them out everywhere I could get to — the B. Dalton that was in walking distance, the library, and the used bookstore I'd beg my Mom to drive me to whenever I had spare money.

This was a typical Heinlein juvenile. It sort of was a combo of Starman Jones and The Door into Summer. I found this to be one of his weaker books and found the ending a bit bizarre.


message 46: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 21. 02/11/11 Fellowship of Fear by Aaron Elkins

Number one in the Gideon Oliver series. Super-dated with cold war era Russian spies and a seriously 70s attitude towards women (even though first published in 1982). Also strains at the credulity in many places. Yet a sort of fun read and I will try further items in the series to see if it matures.


message 47: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 22. 02/15/11 Swords and Deviltry by Fritz Leiber

Book #1 of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. I'm not sure what I thought of this. It had a very "A Game of Thrones" feel. It wasn't as gut-wrenching and drawn out as GoT but the events were still pretty awful for the protagonists. At least this book did have closure of a sorts.

I will try the next book in the series to see if things pick up.


message 48: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 23. 02/15/11 Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama's Attack on Our Borders, Economy, and Security by Michael Savage

I've read this book over the past few weeks. It raises my blood pressure so much I can only read a chapter at a time, in between other books I'm reading. I'm happy I finished it, but yet I'm not totally happy I read it. It makes me despair for the future my son will live in.


message 49: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 24. 02/18/11 A Play of Lords by Margaret Frazer

Joliffe series #4. It's the Autumn of 1435 and things aren't going well in London. There's unease with the French and the Duke of Burgundy. Joliffe's keen eye gets him embroiled in the political machinations of various Lords.

This was an odd installment in this series. It was less a cozy and more a sort of historical 15th century political intrigue novel.


message 50: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 67 comments 25. 02/20/11 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A strange book. I'm not sure what I thought about it. I found Death's (the narrator) constant intrusion into the story irritating.

Even though this was a hefty book at 600+ pages, I see why it was classified as teen literature. For a story about the Holocaust and Germany during WWII I wasn't very emotional about it, despite being Jewish and having family that were murdered in Hungary during the Holocaust. A Game of Thrones disturbed me much more and was set in a fictional world that I have no connection to.


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