Reading Update #27?

SGF Reading

Reading Update: Today is Thursday, July 10. It is hard to remember to blog during summer break, especially when I am prepping for and teaching summer school, and also doing a bundle of other things… oops. But here I am. As of today, I’ve read 67 books toward my goal of 100 for 2014.

Since last time, I’ve read the following eight books:


Not so very much to say about Corduroy and Pooh Loves unless you’re reading to a toddler…

The Assassin’s Blade is a collection of prequel novellas in the Throne of Glass series. I was expecting them to be dreadful, but they were pretty good, and made me all the more eager for the next book to get published.

Graceling is one of those books that had been recommended to me several times by various friends. It focuses on a young woman who has the Grace (think Xanthian Talent, or superpower) of near invincibility. She’s a powerful fighter and nothing seems able to hurt her. In rapid succession she rebels against her king, rejects her suitor, chops off her hair, falls in love, and runs off on an adventure. It was interesting enough that I read it very quickly, and would like to read the other two books in the series so far, but I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. It felt thin, and I feel like other books have done the same basic story better.

Shadow and Bone is the first in yet another YA fantasy trilogy, this one taking place in a fantastical Russia-ish land. Its protagonist is a orphaned girl conscripted into her country’s military, who discovers an unrealized magical power when she and her beloved friend are attacked. From there she is swept up into a world of glamour and intrigue — and betrayal. I thought this was really well done; I actually cared about the characters, even though they were written in simpler strokes for younger readers. For the first 3/4 of the book I felt it was a pretty great middle grade fantasy in the Narnia vein; later, some more adult situations complicate things, and the very end of the book felt quite rushed and thrown together. Altogether, I quite enjoyed this one and am anxious to read the next book.

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series was recommended to me by J, and I’d heard a lot of positive chatter from other sources. Here is a place where the hype was right! SUCH a good story. Karou is an eccentric art student in Prague, but of course this is one of those classic “quirky character is more than s/he appears to be and is in fact a messiah figure” tales. The character writing is fantastic, and the complicated moral ground and romantic subplot make this sophisticated enough for adults.

Currently Reading/Looking Ahead: I picked up The Season last night but I’m not impressed. May go by my library this afternoon and pick up Siege and Storm. As long as I’m catching up with my MG/YA collection I probably ought to pick up some realistic fiction, but I’m just not in the mood right now.

Reading Update #17

SGF Reading

Reading Update: Today is Monday, April 28. As of today I have read 40 books and am beginning to give serious consideration to the idea of increasing my 2014 goal. I’m a little surprised at how much time I’m having to read, and wondering if that will hold up once summer starts and carpooling ends!

Since last week, I read The Shadow Throne and The Dead Zone. I might would have read another book, but what would have been the chances of finding a third book with a rhyming title?


Like I said last week, I’m not going to talk about The Shadow Throne just yet because a full review is on its way.

The Dead Zone was really good, and I’m a little surprised that I hadn’t read it before — but grateful, because it was nice to read it now. It’s a shorter novel, and didn’t take any great effort to read, but definitely falls on the Good Books end of the Stephen King spectrum. The protagonist was one of my favorites that he’s written; the poor guy had a real live tragic hero storyline to navigate, and grappled with an incomprehensible decision in a very human way. The supporting characters all rang true, and the book’s premise was believable enough that I can’t in good conscience categorize The Dead Zone as horror. It falls more in the genres of science fiction and thriller. If there is horror in this book, it is the horror of a good man being put into a position where he must make the choice between sacrificing or saving himself. Definitely a recommendable book.

Currently Reading: After reading The Dead Zone I wondered what other King novels I had lying around unread. I can’t quite bring myself to finish the Dark Tower series right now (I’m right at the point where Susanna is going to have her baby, and I just dread what’s coming now that I’ve got a little one of my own) but I realized that I had an unread copy of Just After Sunset on my bookcase. I’ve read the first few stories and… well, it’s not the best. But I’ll probably finish it up. I’m also picking at Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, which is interesting and readable, but it’s on a 14-day checkout from the library and my brain is too full of snot for nonfiction, so wish me luck on finishing it up in time.

Looking Ahead: I am still planning to read Made in the U.S.A. but I just haven’t been in a realistic fiction mood (probably because I have a cold). I’m also looking forward to reading the laughably titled Red, White, and Blood, which is the third book in Christopher Farnsworth’s Nathaniel Cade series. If you’re looking for a highly readable, cinema-ready series about a vampire who ends up on the POTUS’s Secret Service detail, then look no further.


Reading Update #10

SGF Reading



Reading Update: It is Monday, March 10, and as of today I have read 22 books toward my goal of 52. Yep — one book in a whole week, and it was a graphic novel (Saints). I am On A Roll.

So. Saints.


Saints is the second act (companion piece? flip side of the coin?) of Boxers, which I’d read and commented on last week. Ultimately, I was disappointed by Saints; it was noticeably shorter and, IMHO, lesser than its other half. My perspective of self, faith, history, etc., was challenged by the first book, but the second merely seemed like a story. I wanted to be shaken up all over again, y’know? Sooooo… final verdict is, definitely read these. But read them back-to-back, without a delay in between, and don’t expect Saints to be as devastating and groundbreaking as Boxers. Everyone needs to read BoxersSaints — well, it probably didn’t need to be written, honestly. Boxers would be just about as good without it. But that’s just my opinion, and I know it won’t be shared by a lot of readers/reviewers, so take it or leave it.

Currently Reading: Last week I got less reading accomplished because I was setting up and running a used book sale in our library, which made for a great deal of dangerous temptations for the impulsive book-collector. I bought a lot of fascinating looking books.

Of those, I’ve started reading City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte and Paul is Undead: The British Zombie Invasion by Alan Goldsher. Strictly speaking, I am not loving either one — but I’m reading them, and that counts for something.

Looking Ahead: A sampling of the intriguing orphaned books I’ve adopted and may be picking up in the near future:

click to embiggen

click to embiggen

Tuesday! Reading!

SGF Reading

Reading Update: It is Tuesday, February 18, and as of today I have read 15 books toward my goal of 52. Yesterday was a holiday, and I didn’t think about doing my WAYRWWWAYR post, so here you go, one day late.

Since last Monday, I’ve read one baby-book-with-a-plot (I Love You, Every Little Bit) and one grown up book (Kiss the Dead).

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I’m not sure I could have picked two more different books to put side-by-side there. I Love You, Every Little Bit is a rhyming baby book with cute animal pictures. Each page contains a couplet describing the parent’s love for his/her baby. It’s very sweet.

Kiss the Dead is book #21 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. I am left with several questions after reading this book. The first is, can they change the name of the series? Anita hasn’t really been a vampire hunter for several books. Second: Does the author even have an editor anymore, or does she just send her drafts directly to the printer? Entire swaths of plot, dialogue, and exposition are repeated, sometimes word-for-word, and characters sometimes change names mid-paragraph. Third: What is it about these books that I like so much? Because I have to confess that I love the Anita Blake books the way you love a favorite old sweatshirt or your most cherished comfort food. I can snuggle right into one even though I know how dreadful they are — in fact, I can even re-read them, again and again, despite their awfulness. The thing is, they used to be pretty awesome. But then the author decided to use the series as a vehicle for her multi-volume treatise on sexual exploration, and since then, all bets have been off. This most recent book had about twenty pages of the old action-based plot that originally made me fall for the series. Within the thin frame of that plot, there were conversations that seemed to stretch for hundreds of pages about the nature of romantic love and of policework, followed by back-to-back rough sex scenes relentlessly filling pretty much every page of the second half of the book. I just don’t even know any more. Of course, this brings me to question #4: When does book 22 come out in paperback? Because understand it or not, ashamed or not, I know I have to read it………

Currently Reading: I’m currently reading Orange is the New Black and need to wedge Zombie Baseball Beatdown in there soon.

Looking Ahead: Right now, all I really want to look at is the inside of my eyelids. Lots of books I’d like to read, I’m sure, but I’m too tired to think of any of them at this moment.