Friday, January 29, 2016

9:120 Our Town by Thorton Wilder

School re-read.  Here's what I said about it last time

A play in 3 acts. It takes us back in time to 1901 in a small town in New Hampshire. It's a simple play designed to show how simple life can be and at the end, that it's wasted on the living who spend too much time running around and not taking the time to appreciate everything around them.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.  It's simplistic with simple characters and a simple plot but it's also timeless because it doesn't have a lot of specific complications.  It's a small tale of people growing up, getting married, and dying.  It's life going on and doing the same thing over and over again.

Page count: 181p/2,940p ytd/253,235p lifetime

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

8:120 Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

It's the year 1986 in an alternate reality. One in which man has colonized many of the planets of the solar system but motion pictures are still almost entirely silent. Severin Unk has been in front of the camera almost since birth.  As the daughter of the famous director, Percival Unk, that was no surprise. Nor was it a surprise when she went on to act and then direct her own movies as well but she went to extremes to make movies as different from her father's as could be, including almost all talkies. Her latest is a sort-of documentary about a village on Venus that has disappeared except for one lone boy who just walks in circles where it once was but no one knew that it would be the last time anyone saw her.  Now her disappearance is all people can remember and only that little boy, now grown-up may know what happened to her.

I had a really hard time getting into this one.  It jumps around a lot and there are a lot of times when it breaks off on entirely different tangents which really bugs the crap out of me.  It wasn't until about 60% of the way through that I was able to actually get into it but even then, I never really cared or connected with any of the characters as none of them were particularly likable to me. Even once I was able to get into it a bit, I still found myself getting constantly sidetracked or distracted with just about anything else that came along. It's like my brain just simply could not handle reading it for more than short periods at a time.  I've read another book by this author and did not have this same type of reaction so I think it was really just something about the style of this book which did not work for me.

Page count: 352p/2,759p ytd/253,054p lifetime

Monday, January 25, 2016

7:120 The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

The classic tales of the Jungle's of India and some of their inhabitants including Mowgli, the man-cub who was raised by wolves.  There are also tales of the elephants, the white seal, the mongoose, and others.  The tales are richly told and were engaging both to me and my 9yr old son but there is much to think about within each one as well and how much we humans can learn from the Laws of the Jungle.

Page count: 140p/2,407p ytd/252,702p lifetime

Sunday, January 24, 2016

6:120 Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

It's summer between Aristotle's junior and senior year and he can't figure out what to do with himself.  He's bored so decides to head to the swimming pool even though he can't swim.  There he meets Dante who volunteers to teach him to swim. Dante who seems to be the complete opposite of himself. Dante who is self-assured, calm, has a great relationship with his parents, saves animals, hates shoes, thinks deep thoughts, draws, and reads poetry. Aristotle does none of these things being withdrawn, taciturn, and thinking mostly of his imprisoned brother whom nobody talks about except to tell him not to end up like that.

Then Dante happens and Aristotle finds himself with a best friend without ever really knowing how it happened.  When Dante leaves for the school year with his parents, Aristotle is left trying to figure out his life without Dante and realizing it doesn't really add up.  He finds his voice in some respects but it isn't until Dante comes back that he truly learns some of the secrets of the universe.

A lovely tale of growing up and discovery.  Simple written but more powerful for that as we are in the mind of an angry and disillusioned teenager struggling to know himself and his place in the universe.

Page count: 359p/2,267p ytd/252,562p lifetime

Thursday, January 21, 2016

5:120 Fury's Kiss by Karen Chance

The 3rd book in the Midnight's Daughter series.  Dory has been continuing her work for the Senate, now as part of the task force looking into the portals that are bringing things in illegally from Faerie.  During her investigation however, her partner was killed and she blacked out.  Now the Senate needs to know what she saw and Mircea tells her the truth that he separated her vampire self to save her mind when she was young but the barrier is breaking down and her vampire half is very strong.  Now they must find a way to meld things together or Dory could be lost to Dorina forever. Add in the original mystery and the new zombie vampires that are attacking the Senate's offices and pretty much everything is going to hell in a handbasket for Dory.

There was so much going on in this book that it was absolutely insane and almost impossible to put down because I kept wanting to know where things were going from there.  I've seen many people say that they prefer the Dory books to the Cassie Palmer ones and now that I've read them I can see why.  Dory is just so freaking kicka$$.  Unfortunately it's been a few years since the last one and there is still no word as to when the next one will be coming out.

Page count: 536p/1,908p ytd/252,203p lifetime

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

4:120 These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

My post from 2011:
A simply lovely story detailing the courtship of Almanzo and Laura as well as Laura's growing up.  You see the steady, innocent affection shared by both of them and enjoy the quiet but sure way their relationship grows.  It was lovely to read a book where things were basically happy and good for all after everything we've seen the family go through. To know that their goodness and faith have brought them through to such a good helps to restore faith in the universe.

What's interesting this time around is the difference in the boys' reactions. When I read this to my 3rd son 4+yrs ago, he was interested in how the relationship grew and what it meant long-term for Laura.  Reading this to my 4th son now, he would do nothing but roll his eyes at all relationship stuff and wanted nothing to do with any of the questions or activities that dealt with growing relationships.  He has enjoyed the rest of the series and I'm sure he'll like Farmer Boy which we are doing next but it will be interesting to see how he is with The First Four Years.  I'm expecting a lot of eye-rolling with that one too.

Page count: 289p/1,372p ytd/251,667p lifetime

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

3:120 Indexing:Reflections by Seanan McGuire

The sequel to Indexing. Mother 'Birdy' Hubbard may have been stopped but she was also locked away in the secure prison for Fairy Tales where she is able to continue to spin her tale and those of the people around her.  Henry is even more danger though because when she goes to get help from her fellow Snow Whites in the Whiteout Woods, someone is there waiting for her with every intention of taking over her body and leaving her stranded where her Tale wants her.  Now this impostor is leading Henry's team straight into danger with the express purpose of getting Sloane away from them and trying to change her story so they can use her for their side.  The one thing Birdy and her friends forgot to account for though was just how stubborn both Sloane and Henry can be.

This was another serial story where we got a new chapter every two weeks so most chapters left off with some sort of cliffhanger.  I tried a few times not to read the new one right away but I was never able to put it off for long as I needed to know what happened NOW!  The twisted fairy tales that these become is as sweet as apple pie and I hope Ms. McGuire plays more in this universe.

Page count: 325p/1,083p/251,378p

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2:120 Wings of Fire: Winter Turning by Tui T. Sutherland

The 7th book in the Wings of Fire series, 2nd in the Jade Mountain series.  Winter has always been a disappointment to his family.  He has never excelled at the things the Icewings care about and thus has never raised high enough in the rankings to the determent of all of them. When he returns from a trip without his brother, Hailstorm, who was captured by Skywings that was bad enough to put him last in the rankings but when news of Hailstorm's death reached them, it was decided he would be better someplace, any place, else.  So thus he was sent to Jade Mountain where he found the last thing he was looking for, friends who accepted him as he was and not based on the Icewing rankings.  When his sister, Icicle, tries to kill the Dragonets of Prophecy, he knows he must stop her and is determined to do so no matter the cost but he never dreamed he would be doing so with a Nightwing, a Sandwing, and a Rainwing at his side.

I'm personally finding it nice to learn more about the other tribes but I'm less engaged by the current story and it's characters.  I'm glad to be caught up now so I have a chance to read some other things before my son gets the new one that just came out and he bugs me to read that one too.  I will read it and hope that things get better.  This one wasn't bad, just a bit slow and a bit repetitive in the internal monologue.

Page Count: 336p/758p ytd/251,053p lifetime

Monday, January 4, 2016

1:120 Death's Mistress by Karen Chance

The 2nd book in the Dorina Basarab series.  Dory's roommate Claire has returned from Fairie due to threats against her son and the rune of power that should be his having been stolen. The Senate has Dory under contract and this time, she's to bring back the vampire's head but not kill him.  However, Louis-Cesare is not only after Ray as well but trying to get his progeny, Christine, back.  All trails lead back to the Senator who has Christine but when he turns up dead, things start getting a lot more complicated with Louis-Cesare's bid to leave the European Senate to compete for a spot in the North American Senate but there is so much more going on than anyone realizes.

This one goes all over the place and it's hard to put down because then it's a jigsaw puzzle trying to put it all back together again.  Everything does fit perfectly at the end but it's a wild ride getting there.

Page count: 422p/422p ytd/250,717p lifetime

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Recap and 2016 Goals

Another year of high hopes in reading and I felt like I did well for most of the year but towards the end, things slipped away from me.  I more than made my goal of 120 books read with reading 141 but made a miscalculation so I only read 39 of 40 new authors and ran out of time so only got 35,379 pages out of a hoped for 40,000 pages.  I keep falling short on that one and realized the only year I made that goal I read a lot of comic books so that may have had something to do with making it.  LOL

With the close of my favorite local bookstore in July, my book buying went down after that so I did end up with a slight decrease to my to read pile.  At the beginning of 2015, Goodreads said 1329 and Shelfari had 1328. Now at the start of 2016, Goodreads shows 1325 and Shelfari held steady at 1328 (still not sure why that is).  My big hurrah for the year was hitting the 1/4 mark of my lifetime pages read as I ended the year with 250,295 pages read since I started keeping count back in 2009.

For this year, I'm keeping my goals basically the same. I want to read at least 120 books (hoping for more but there are some big ones in there that I know will be getting read for school so...), 40 new authors, and I'm going for 40,000 pages again.  I also want to get caught up with Elfquest (unfortunately that one is a hard one to actually put into the stats since I don't read it in big volume form) and a few other series (haven't decided which ones yet though LOL).  I'm also hoping to again see my to read pile at least not grow too much.

If you have reading goals and want to post them, I'd love to hear about them!