Bingo Dog ūüźē Challenge

Over at LibraryThing.com we have a reading challenge for the new year.¬† This is the first time I’ve taken part but it looks like fun. Here’s the list:

Bingo DOG categories: 6/25

1. Title contains a person‚Äôs rank, real or fictional –¬†The Way of Kings
2. Story involves travel
3. A long-time TBR/TBR the longest
4. Poetry or plays
5. New-to-you author
6. Autobiography/memoir
7. Book with a beautiful cover (in your opinion)¬†The Shape Changer’s Wife
8. Book that fits at least 2 KIT’s/CAT’s
9. Related to the Pacific Ocean
10. Title contains something you would see in the sky
11. Book bought in 2017 that hasn’t been read yet
12. Number in the title
13. Book that is humorous Food: A Love Story
14. Book on the 1001 list
15. LGBT central character Magpie Murders
16. Book set during a holiday
17. Fat book – 500 plus pages –¬†Words of Radiance
18. X somewhere in the title
19. Money in the title – any form of currency, type of payment, etc…
20. Book published in 2018
21. Relative name in the title (aunt, niece, etc…)
22. Originally in a different language
23. Published more than 100 years ago North and South
24. Title contains name of a famous person, real or fictional
25. Read a CAT (middle square)

 

The KITS and CATS are for category or smaller monthly challenges. There’s an Alphabet challenge, a SFF challenge, etc. I don’t know if I’ll get black out, but I’m going to try.

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Read-a-Thin November 2017

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I heard of this from Kathy@Books&Munches. I’ve been looking for a

An important part is that I can’t buy any new books to count for the challenge, and I’m assuming no new library books except for the one challenge.

THE CHALLENGES


1. Read a 2017 release

2. Read a diverse book – Paving a New Road, Jewish character and subplot

3. Read a book that is related to your favorite emoji

4. Read a book with a fall themed cover

5. Start and finish a series

6. Read a book in 24 hours

7. Read a new to you author – Dissolution by CJ Sansom

8. Buddy read a book

9. Read a horror/thriller

10. Read a book outside of your favorite genre

11. Read an eBook

12. Listen to an audiobook of a book you own

13. Read a book that counts toward another readathon

14. Read a book that is due back to the library the soonest РAge of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

15. Read a book you ended up putting down previously

16. Read a book you got from a subscription box

17. Read a book you got for free (gift, ARC, giveaway, etc) – Paving the New Road by Sulari Gentill (free from NetGalley)

18. Read 4 books (At least 8 challenges)

Challenge reading

Hey, so I’ve been thinking about my 2018 Reading Challenge and I’m really excited about it. I’ve decided to do a Crime theme. It’s a category challenge, and I have 10 categories. Here’s what I’ve got.

Cold cases – book that have been on the shelf too long
First Timers – new books
Repeat offenders – rereads
Serials – books in a series
Isolated occurrence – stand alone titles
Minor infractions – YA and kids books
Eyewitness accounts – nonfiction books
Advance warning – ARCs
Most Wanted – best books of the year
Petty crime – boring and DNF

I’ve got a few titles in mind, but my biggest goal is clearing out some of my TBR books here and at the library.

But that’s got me wondering – since I’m in a little bit of a reading slump, maybe I need a short challenge for 2017. Something that would be really fun. I need some ideas? Any suggestions? We’ve only got 2 months, just about, left in the year, so I need something little. Hm. I’ll have to think about it.

2018 Category Challenge

I don’t know how many of you are over at LibraryThing, but it’s a great site. I’ve been on there for several years now. I love the forums and groups.

One of the groups is The 2018 Category Challenge. The idea is to organize your reading by themes and then share with everyone what you thonk. They have a lot of mini-challenges, group reads and so on.

I’ve decided to join in and I have my categories.

  • Cold cases – book that have been On the shelf too long 
  • First Timers – new books

     

  • Repeat offenders – rereads

     

  • Serials – books in a series

     

  • Isolated occurrence – stand alone titles

     

  • Minor infractions – YA and kids books

     

  • Eyewitness accounts – nonfiction books

     

  • Advance warning – ARCs

     

  • Most Wanted – best books of the year

     

  • Petty crime – boring and DNF

If you want to join in, my thread is here. I’ll still post most of my reviews here though.

Have you started thinking about next year yet? What are your plans?

September Wrap-Up

September is over! I’m so glad summer is over! I feel like this year has flown by. It’s definitely been a better year than last year for me. And this was a pretty good month, for reading and other stuff. Here’s a look at what I read this month, and best of each category.

Audiobooks

It has been the year of the audiobook for me! And this month was no exception.

  • Frogkisser by Garth Nix – 4 stars, review here
  • Newt’s Emerald, also by Garth Nix – 4 stars, review here
  • The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – 5 stars!!!
  • American Colonies by Alan Taylor – 3.4 stars, review here
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – 5 stars, review here
  • Entwined by Heather Dixon – 4.2 stars
  • The Sans Pareil Mystery by Karen Charlton – 4 stars, review here

Lots of great choices this time. I actually have 2 books with 5 star ratings, and I’m torn between the two. TQOA was a reread, but AMCO was new to me. Still, I love Eugenides the Thief so much, I have to give the award to that one.

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Graphic Novels

Only one this time, Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon. Only rating it 3 stars, although it got higher marks from other folks. Still, I’m glad I read it. Review here.

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ARCS and Review Books

Two finished this month, and I didn’t like either one.

  • Trust in Axion by Bruce Meyer, 1.5 stars, review here
  • Darkwater: Xenkur Chonricles by DW Johnson, 1 star, review here

 

Challenges

This month was my Off the Shelf Challenge, to clear out some of my TBR books around the house and off my Kindle queue. I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped – those darn library books were just so tempting. (Maybe if I actually stayed out of the library it would have helped, right?)

  • Passage by Connie Willis, 4.3 stars
  • Enchanted by KM Shea, 4 stars
  • The Dragon Man by Garry Disher, 2.2 stars, review here
  • The Pierced Heart by Lynn Shepherd, DNF
  • Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen by Bill Crider, 3.75 stars, review here
  • Something New by PG Wodehouse, 3.5 stars

Not bad, but not great. Still, the winner was Passage, solid sci-fi by the master. I haven’t done a review yet, but it was really good.

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Library Books

Yeah, I meant to stay out of the library all together, but I sneaked in at the end of August and didn’t get around to reading the books until this month, so here they are.

  • Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews, 3.5 stars
  • Die Like an Eagle, also by Donna Andrews, 3.3 stars

It doesn’t matter much, here, but I liked the Halloween setting of the first book slightly better than the second. Still, both are recommended if you like funny mysteries. Reviews here.

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So that was my month in books! I’m currently STILL reading The Queens of the Conquest (it’s going to kill me!), plus Nation by Terry Pratchett on audio, and a fantasy/myth anthology. No definite plans for October other than maybe some spooky fare. We’ll see. What was your favorite book this month?

Australian Police Mystery

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Title: The Dragon Man, DI Challis #1

Author: Garry Disher

Setting: Australia present day

Off the Shelf challenge

Meet Hal Challis, Detective for the Mornington Peninsula police force in Southeast Australia, in the first investigation in this prize-winning crime series

“A serial killer is on the loose in a small coastal town near Melbourne, Australia. Detective Inspector Hal Challis and his team must apprehend him before he strikes again. But first, Challis has to contend with the editor of a local newspaper who undermines his investigation at every turn, and with his wife, who attempts to resurrect their marriage through long-distance phone calls from a sanitarium, where she has been committed for the past eight years for attempted murder‚ÄĒhis.”

The police procedural is a name for a type of mystery which is pretty much like the name implies – it centers around a group of police officers and one or more crimes they are trying to solve. Generally there’s one central case and a few others minor ones. Depending on the writer, there’s also some stuff about the officers, about their home lives, their relationships, their backgrounds. It’s like Law & Order or NCIS.

Normally I like police procedurals. I’ve read a lot of them, set throughout the 20th century up until modern ones. My favorite authors tend to be out of print, but there are some writers who are still producing first class books.

This one was not one of them.

I see that it won quite a few awards and has all kinds of blurbs on the back. What can I say? I was not impressed. It wasn’t that I hated all the characters. DI Hal Challis, the MC, is interesting with quite the back story.

It’s just that I got bored. I thought this was about a serial killer, but the writer wound up spending so much time on other crimes, on the personal lives of the police officers, on accusations of police misconduct, that the serial killer case got lost. I think if I had been in a different mood, I might have enjoyed it more.

I did like the setting. I don’t read much Australian fiction, so it was nice to get out of my comfort zone and see what else is out there. So that part did work for me.

Overall, I don’t know if I’d recommend this one or not. Maybe if you want to try a police novel and are looking for an unusual one, you could give it a try. Also, it’s the first in the series, although it doesn’t necessarily read that way, and it’s possible the series gets better as it goes. Unfortunately, I don’t think I could find any more by this author if I wanted to. And I guess that’s OK. I think I’ll just call it quits here and move on. 2.6/5 stars

Trigger Warning: sexual violence

 

 

Update on Book Riot Challenge

*1. Read a book about sports. Done! Psmith in the City, cricket. by P G Wodehouse.

*2. Read a debut novel. Done! Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

*3. Read a book about books. Done! End of Chapter, mystery about publishing company.

4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author. ‚Äď still looking!

5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative. A Hope More Powerful than the Sea

*6. Read an all-ages comic. Done! American Born Chinese

*7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950. Done! Cakes and Ale, published 1930

*8. Read a travel memoir. Done! Three Singles to Adventure, to Guyana.

*9. Read a book you’ve read before. Done! Murder Over Easy, read first in 2007

10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location. ‚Äď Desert Solitaire, Utah

*11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location. Done! The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds, Malaysia/China

*12. Read a fantasy novel. Done! The Spirit Thief by Rachel Bach

*13. Read a nonfiction book about technology. Рcurrently reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, about medicine and cell therapy

*14. Read a book about war. Done! Valiant Ambition, about American Revolution

*15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+. Done! Last Seen Leaving, by Caleb Roehrig

*16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.  Done! Animal Farm, by George Orwell

17. Read a classic by an author of color. ‚Äď Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley or Native Son by Richard Wright

18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead. ‚Äď either Spider Woman or Daughters of the Dragon

*19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey Done! The House of the Scorpion

*20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel (From Sarah MacLean) Done! Also Last Seen Leaving

*21. Read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay) Done! Future Worlds, A Science Fiction Anthology, published by Future World Publishing

*22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng)  Done! Miss Marple by Agatha Christie

23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan) Beowulf

*24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi) Done! Black Panther, Number 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates

How about you folks? Is anyone else doing this challenge? If you are, what books have you read for the challenge? What do you have left?

Book Riot Challenge – Read Harder

rhc_cover_pinterestIt’s been a while since I updated my Book Riot Challenge, so I decided it was time to let you all know how I’m doing. It looks like I’m about on schedule for the year, since we’re in May and I’ve completed 18/24 so far.

*1. Read a book about sports. Done! Psmith in the City, cricket. by P G Wodehouse.

*2. Read a debut novel. Done! Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

*3. Read a book about books. Done! End of Chapter by Nicholas Blake, mystery about publishing company.

4. Read a book set in Central or South America, written by a Central or South American author. – still looking!

5. Read a book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative. A Hope More Powerful than the Sea

*6. Read an all-ages comic. Done! American Born Chinese

*7. Read a book published between 1900 and 1950. Done! Cakes and Ale, published 1930

*8. Read a travel memoir. Done! Three Singles to Adventure, to Guyana.

*9. Read a book you’ve read before. Done! Murder Over Easy, read first in 2007

10. Read a book that is set within 100 miles of your location. – Desert Solitaire, Utah

*11. Read a book that is set more than 5000 miles from your location. Done! The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds, Malaysia/China

*12. Read a fantasy novel. Done! The Spirit Thief by Rachel Bach

13. Read a nonfiction book about technology. Unstoppable by Bill Nye

*14. Read a book about war. Done! Valiant Ambition, about American Revolution

*15. Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+. Done! Last Seen Leaving, by Caleb Roehrig

*16. Read a book that has been banned or frequently challenged in your country.  Done! Animal Farm, by George Orwell

*17. Read a classic by an author of color.  Done! The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray by Walter Mosley

18. Read a superhero comic with a female lead. – either Spider Woman or Daughters of the Dragon

*19. Read a book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey (From Daniel José Older) Done! Also The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray

*20. Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel (From Sarah MacLean) Done! Also Last Seen Leaving

*21. Read a book published by a micropress. (From Roxane Gay) Done! Future Worlds, A Science Fiction Anthology, published by Future World Publishing

*22. Read a collection of stories by a woman. (From Celeste Ng)  Done! Miss Marple by Agatha Christie

23. Read a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love. (From Ausma Zehanat Khan) Beowulf

*24. Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color. (From Jacqueline Koyanagi) Done! Black Panther, Number 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Book Review: Ashes

Title: Ashes (Book 3, Seeds of America) 

Author: Laurie Halse Andersen

Setting: Virginia 1780-1781, including the Battle of Yorktown

Escaped slaves Isabel and Curzon have been looking for Isabel’s sister for years, and they finally have an idea where she is. Unfortunately, Ruth isn’t as excited to see them, and they’re stuck in the path of a battle. They could ask the Americans for help, but Isabel is still bitter about the way the so-called Patriots have been treating escaped slaves. Curzon doesn’t like it either, but¬†he doesn’t trust the English even less than the Americans.

And that is the central point of this book Рfor a war of independence, people of color were never treated with equality or fairness. Huge numbers of Blacks fought in the war, and many of them were former and current slaves. But you never hear the story of these soldiers.

Washington, Jefferson, and other American heroes were all slave owners. Both chased down slaves who had escaped during the war and brought them back. At least Washington freed his slaves in his will and has never been accused of fathering any children with them, so I’d say he sort of tried to the right thing. But Jefferson is different story.

Back to the story¬†– Isabel has no interest in getting involved in the war, so¬†she is trying to find a safe place to wait it out. She hopes to go back to Rhode Island and buy her own farm there, one where she can live with her sister in peace. But her sister won’t even speak to her and the only way to get to Rhode Island is to survive the fighting right now. Curzon’s loyalty to the American cause drives a wedge between the friends and Isabel has no one to rely on but herself.

This is a great series. With the popularity of Hamilton, books set in the 18th century are really hot right now. I won’t say that I liked it as well as Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, but it is really good. Recommended for any teen.

Update on Women’s History Challenge

I have not done very well with this challenge. For one thing, I can’t find many women’s history books that really sound interesting. And for another, one of the ones I was looking forward to, turned out to be a dud. I finally finished a YA book that I’m going to count, Ashes by Laurie Halse Andersen. (review to come)

Basically I’ve been busy reading other stuff. But I do have Kepler’s Witch and Passionate Minds to read as well and the month’s not over yet! What are you reading?