Ani's Book Abyss

Ani's Book Abyss

I like to read. A lot.

It's Monday! What are you reading? | 2/18/2019
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!



I think this was a good week for reading, and I'm happy that I managed to finish The Ebony Swan.  Meanwhile, I managed to get some other things done in real life as well, but that's not important.  Otherwise, it's been a pretty slow week for anything else.

In other news, the pup and the not-quite-pup look like they're pretty tuckered out.  Playing hard and sleeping hard and eating all the time.  It's tough being a dog.

 

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog


I'm trying to stick to my reading schedule for the sake of reading challenges, but I'm at a point where I'm kind of feeling the need to read a romantic suspense involving guns and explosions.  I know, that sounds weird, but I had that thought sometime during the moment right before waking up and after coming out of a strange dream about a romantic suspense.

I don't claim to understand my own moods.

So at some point this month, I might spontaneously insert a random romantic suspense into my schedule.  The problem is that I haven't quite decided which book I want to read for a random romantic suspense... despite the fact that Amanda Quick books are also considered romantic suspense, if you really think about it.  And technically, Phyllis A. Whitney and Mary Stewart are romantic suspense, too.  But as I'd mentioned, I'm kind of wanting guns and explosions, so I need something military or crime thriller or something...

I'm weird like that.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-2182019.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Some Ramblings: King of Scars
King of Scars - Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars

by Leigh Bardugo
Book 1 of Nikolai Duology

 

 

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible.  No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way.  Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built.  With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him.  He will risk everything to save his country and himself.  But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.



It feels like it's been ages since I read the Grisha trilogy, and, as others might have pointed out, a reread of Bardugo's debut trilogy might have been beneficial.  I remember some details, but not others, and it might have been the reliance of back story knowledge that had me feeling like this book was a bit hard to get into in the beginning.  It probably also didn't help that there were a lot of POVs, even though we really just switched between three main ones--Nina, Nikolai, and Zoya.

And in truth, I feel like Bardugo handled the multiple POVs and the multiple story lines A LOT better in the Six of Crows duology (which had been known as The Dregs duology at some point, and is now going to get a third book apparently which has caused me to feel completely flustered, because that's all I can think of now, so the rest of this review is sort of a blur.)  The truth is, because of the connection between these two series, it was hard NOT to make those comparisons, which might have been a bit unfair to this book.  I found myself wondering if any of the other Dregs would make an appearance, and whenever Nina's POVs swung around, I wondered if she'd run into Inej or Kaz, or whether they'd suddenly pop up to help her with her missions... as awkwardly dropped as those instances would have been.

But enough of the Six of Crows versus Nikolai comparisons, because this book is quite obviously a sequel series to the Grisha trilogy.  So, to start, I DO highly recommend reading that trilogy before jumping into this one.  I even highly recommend reading the Six of Crows duology first as well.

Because while this book COULD stand on its own in some ways, I feel like there were too many references to previous books that could cause fleeting moments of "I wonder what that was about?"

Back to this book...

As I had already mentioned, I had found the beginning a bit slow to get into--dragged a little bit, even.  And despite the fact that every tangent seems to have its significance, the book still feels like it tried to cram too much material into one book... and yet there were a lot of moments where I just wanted to get on with the story.

It's conflicting, because it's not like I didn't like this book.  In fact, I very much enjoyed it, because aside from the story's outline and presentation itself, Bardugo has a way with words and creation that really just draws you right in.  Bardugo's Grishaverse is a wonderfully crafted place, and I've always loved how intricate all the details of her world are presented, how you can pluck any character out of the world and there can be a whole story to tell.  Even background characters have their significance and aren't just there for filler.

King of Scars is a book I've been looking forward to ever since it's announcement because it boasts two characters I came to love from previous series.  While I was never in the Nikolai/Alina camp, I always found Nikolai charming and fun to follow as a side character to Alina's journey.  And while I had started off Six of Crows not quite feeling Nina as a character, I slowly grew to love her as the books progressed.  Finally, as mentioned already, I just love Bardugo's Grishaverse!

King of Scars ended up being enjoyable and entertaining, but maybe I was over-hyping myself, or I was just expecting so much more, but I couldn't seem to relate with any of the characters, or find myself caring a whole lot.  Nikolai doesn't come off as charming as I remember, even though an inkling of that charm kind of hung in the background.  Nina's story was a bit rocky to begin with, got a little bit better, but then I feel like it sort of lost direction at some point.

In contrast, I found that I DID really like Zoya and really appreciate the glimpse into her history.  I honestly don't remember much about Zoya from the Grisha trilogy, except as maybe the "mean girl" Alina had to steer clear of.  The focus on her as a main character made her so much more fleshed out; and maybe because I didn't have any strong feelings for or against her previously, it was easy to kind of accept her as a new character altogether.  But that doesn't mean that I really felt any strong feelings for or against her in this book either.  I liked her, but not in that "I've got a new favorite character" type of giddiness.

Anyway, in the end, the book DID suck me right in as all the conflicts started coming to a head.  I really like the new twist to Grisha powers and hope to see it expounded on in the next book.  I never really expected this book to be a romance, and just as well, the whispers of the romances were a bit lacking in chemistry, as well as in credibility--this is something else that I'm hoping will be developed a bit more if we're going to pursue this line.

Also... are we going to see any other old favorites in the next book?  Inej?  Kaz?  Jesper?  Yes, please?  =P

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/some-ramblings-king-of-scars.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Brief Rambling: Equal Rites
Equal Rites - Terry Pratchett

Equal Rites

by Terry Pratchett
Book 3 of Discworld | Book 1 of Witches

 

 

On Discworld, a dying wizard tries to pass on his powers to an eighth son of an eighth son, who is just at that moment being born.  The fact that the son is actually a daughter is discovered just a little too late.  The town witch insists on turning the baby into a perfectly normal witch, thus mending the magical damage of the wizard's mistake.  But now the young girl will be forced to penetrate the inner sanctum of the Unseen University--and attempt to save the world with one well-placed kick in some enchanted shins!



This is the weirdest book ever, even if not the weirdest book I've ever read (that award goes to Alice in Wonderland).  The book itself took a little time to get into, but the characters start to readily grow on you.  And I've found a nice appreciation for Sir Terry's odd, meandering descriptors for almost everything that is written about.  (I believe I've seen people call them Pratchett-isms?)

Meanwhile, the second half of the book was much more interesting than the first half, even if I still don't have quite the idea what the story was actually about.  There were a lot of clever play on words and some rather thought-provoking instances that probably only really make sense in the context or philosophy of Discworld, though could be applied to the real world if you really think about it.  (More Pratchett-isms?)

Meanwhile, I found Granny Weatherwax rather charming and fun, in spite of her gruff ways.  And the librarian is surprisingly amusing, and now I'm wondering if he gets his own book at any point.  I've grown rather fond of the wizard turned orangutan, who somehow manages to infuse a whole bunch of meaning into a simple, "Ook."

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/brief-rambling-equal-rites.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Rambling Thoughts: Part Time Cowboy
Part Time Cowboy - Maisey Yates

Part Time Cowboy

by Maisey Yates
Book 1 of Copper Ridge

 

 

A one-time bad girl comes home to small-town Oregon in the first in a sexy, heartfelt new series from USA TODAY bestselling author Maisey Yates…

Sadie Miller isn't expecting any welcome-home parades on her return to Copper Ridge.  Least of all from part-time rancher, full-time lawman Eli Garrett.  The straight-laced, impossibly hot deputy sheriff glares at her like she's the same teenage hoodlum who fled town ten years ago.  But running from her demons has brought Sadie full circle, ready to make a commitment at last.  Not to a man, but to a B and B.  On Garrett land.  Okay, so her plan has a tiny flaw…

Eli works too hard to let a blonde ball of trouble mess up his town.  But keeping an eye on Sadie makes it tough to keep his hands off her.  And if she's so wrong for him, why does being with her feel so right?



Bear with me here, because this rambling is going to get very bipolar.  And before we start thinking that I completely despised this book after the next three paragraphs, the truth is, the book somehow managed to win me over.

I considered dropping this book after Eli was introduced.  Eli was introduced in the first chapter.  And I already didn't like him.

There's broody, and then there's douche-nozzle, and in my honest opinion at that time, Eli landed very clearly in the latter.  He wasn't just broody, and even calling him "straight-laced" or "no-nonsense" was probably way too nice (and misleading) a descriptor.  Eli was just a jack ass--an arrogant, judgmental jackass... who also plays at double standards.

Meanwhile, Sadie isn't the best heroine in the world either.  She had a penchant for being reckless and seemed to have trouble respecting boundaries.  However, Eli's reactions to her actions were overly intense and extreme.  If he didn't like what she was doing, he could have just said so without resorting to insulting her person, or referring back to her wild child days.  But the moment that Sadie set foot back in Copper Ridge, Eli was already bound and determined to judge her by the one incident of her trouble youthful shenanigans, immediately seeing the worst in all of her actions, certain that she was in town to cause trouble and, gasp, gasp, cost him his run for town sheriff!

But here's the kicker... Eli admits that he only wants to be town sheriff to satisfy his need to be a control freak and run things his way.  He's not in it for the people; he doesn't even seem to like the people, despite what he claims.  He wants everyone to stay off of his property and leave him alone and stop talking to him about community events...  Or so it seemed.

My first thoughts after reading about a third of the book was that this book had a lot of potential for a cute, contemporary romance.  It had the all-too-familiar and pretty well liked "Bickering Couples" trope--this is something that sometimes draws my attention.  You've got a straight-laced cowboy slash small town sheriff, versus a free-spirited, devil-may-care wanderer...  (Sawyer and Chloe?  Though not an exact replica, I'll give you.)  And that cover is super, super cute, and just oozes "Cute Contemporary Romance" to the max!

But the bickering between Sadie and Eli got pretty old, pretty fast, and started turning into a verbal display of juvenile hair-pulling between the two.  Their arguments were eye-roll inducing, and a lot of times I felt like the two were arguing like teenagers just for the sake of arguing like teenagers.  There was childish taunting, with the occasional extension of an olive branch by one side, only to be shot down when the other party just decides to be insulting about it.  And usually it was Eli being insulting in his judgmental, holier-than-thou way.

By this time, still only about a third of the way into the book, I was dead set on being annoyed with both story and characters.  I'd thought to drop it and the series, but I kept on with it if only because I wanted to see how this relationship imploded in on itself.  Whether or not Eli stopped being so arrogant and judgmental.  Whether Sadie stopped being so childish.  And also, I did find myself liking Connor and Kate, the other two Garrett siblings, in spite of their brother's character flaws.  Connor at least displayed a sense of humor, and Kate is just a nice, normal young woman who knows how to interact with people without being a jerk.

Incredible thing of all things...  This book somehow managed to win me over and I'm not even sure when or how it happened.  Like I said, I was set on being annoyed with it and was sitting firmly in a 2-Star rating.  The next thing I know, I'm plowing through the rest of the book, unable to put it down.

The "Bickering Couple" morphed into a more agreeable "Friends With Benefits."  And while their bickering still felt kind of juvenile, the banter was MUCH more akin to fun and flirty rather than childish taunting and pulling of hair.  You start learning more about both Sadie and Eli, and it was as if each of their characters made massive personality developments you didn't really see coming.  And yet, at the same time, that transition wasn't all that jarring.

You learn that Eli is quite aware of how controlling and judgmental he is, and that he has his reasons.  I'm not saying that his reasons give him a right to be insulting to random people, but it's more understandable from his perspective, why he's so uptight.  But because he's also a caring and good man, I'm guessing it was just easier to accept that his arrogant front was more of an exterior defense mechanism--a public persona as a part of his campaign running for town sheriff.  And what made it so much easier to start liking him was that he starts to curb his judgmental, holier-than-thou attitudes, and lessen his controlling tendencies.

And he admits that he was wrong for insulting Sadie's lifestyle without understanding the history behind her need to wander.

Meanwhile, Sadie also drops her childish taunting; though if I were to nitpick, her development was less prominent than Eli's, probably because I didn't really have much a problem with Sadie in the first place.

In the end, this couple just kind of worked.  They clicked and that chemistry just started sparking.

The romantic development was MUCH more credible as the two started getting to know each other.

I would have liked for some of the more serious issues to be addressed a bit more properly.  Both Sadie and Eli come from rather broken families, and their histories shape the type of person they started off the book as, as well as continues to influence their actions throughout the story.  I'm not sure if they were truly handled all that well, or if we just pulled a "Jill Shalvis" and cloaked the resolution under a "love cures all" machination.  The truth is, I got so caught up in those last few chapters and the resolution of the romance that I didn't really notice... aside from the whole Alison episode with her abusive husband and how that incident seemed to resolve itself way too easily for my liking.

But the kicker is that these issues are also left pretty open-ended, as if there were room for more exploration, off-the-page.  At least that's what it felt like to me.

So yeah...  This book totally screwed around with my review, because I couldn't think of the best way to talk about how annoyed I was by this book... and yet at the same time, how much I ended up enjoying it, without this whole post becoming a messy rambling.  In a way, I'm glad I stuck with it.  However, the first third of the book probably could have benefited from having a less intensely judgmental and arrogant hero, and better outlined bickering... and maybe not have the couple have sex against a wall while they still dislike each other?

Maybe it's my own lack of reference or experience, but if a guy is nothing but insulting, rude, and judgmental towards me within the first couple meetings, I don't really find that much of a turn on.  Insulting my lifestyle doesn't really add points either.  Although I DID find it amusing that the two of them decided to start learning to get along after setting up their Friends With Benefits plan...  I suppose if they're going to sleep with each other, it would help them to actually try to like each other.

Will I read the next book?  Yeah, probably.  I'm not going to rush out and get it immediately, but this is definitely a series I'm interested in following, and Maisey Yates' writing is pretty solid.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/rambling-thoughts-part-time-cowboy.html
It's Monday! What are you reading? | 2/11/2019
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!



Hmm... I didn't finish all the books I'd been hoping to finish, but that's to be expected when you get distracted so easily.  But whatevs, I'm stumbling along quite nicely, in my honest opinion.  And I expect that I'll be finishing up King of Scars pretty soon, then I'll end up zooming through the rest of the books I have "on my schedule."

Meanwhile, here's another fur baby update to brighten everyone's day!

 


Baby's got himself a new housemate this month as my brother and his fiance have need of a dog-sitter for the coming weeks.  The two of them will be flying out of town, both respectively, for the work, and so we decided to host one of their fur babies at our home.

This is Yogi in the background, whom I don't know if everyone has had the chance to meet in the past.  He's only about two years old, but already quite mature for his age.  He has the tendency to crawl into people's laps to take his naps, though, something that Baby has never done before.  He's Bear's older brother--the latter of which will not be staying with us.  My brother's fiance left Bear with her sister for reasons.

So our spoiled little Baby is now learning to get over his jealousies of having another doggy around.  He's coming around, and he remembers Yogi from the last time we visited my brother, so it's been quite fine so far.  Except for the fact that they both keep trying to eat each other's food...

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog


I'm actually not flying through King of Scars as quickly as I thought I would, but I'm thinking I'll have it finished this week, at the latest.  Meanwhile, I'm making my way slowly through The Ebony Swan.  And then, obviously, I'd like to get to the rest of my Reading Assignment books this month, so that will be my focus next.

I have a couple reviews prepped for the next couple days, but otherwise, I'm just going to focus on reading (as per usual).

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-2112019.html
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | 2/4/19
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!



This week's 'It's Monday!' is brought to you by Static Baby:

 

I was told you have something for me!


And now onto our regularly scheduled meme!

I know I'd already included Mr. Ridley in the previous 'It's Monday!' post, but I technically didn't finish reading it until last week, which effectively puts it into this Monday's update.  So here it is again in a more official capacity... just so I could plump up my post a bit more.

In other news, it's another new year, the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Pig!  The official first day of the New Year will be February 5, but due to time constraints, my family decided to do our socializing a little early.  Lots of things going on in the real life world, with family visits, lots of food, and lucky red money packets.  Reading, obviously comes to a bit of a standstill during family gatherings, but I'm still hoping to get a couple books read.

I had intended to finish Part Time Cowboy before the weekend was over, but that didn't really happen.  But never fear, it's quite a breeze to read through, so even though it's been a bumpy one, I'll finish it soon and have a review out.  In addition, I think I'm finally going to call it quits with The Disappearing Spoon.  I'm just not feeling this book, and I've been eyeing other books I'm itching to read, so I'm putting myself out of my misery and moving on.

Meanwhile, my brother and his fiance brought their fur kids up to visit, so here's a reintroduction to Bear, all grown up, but still looking (and acting) like the little baby doggy that he is!

 

Just chillin' on the coffee table... don't mind me.

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 

 

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog


Really, the only activities I have planned would be book reviews... not-quite-galore.  Hopefully I'll have the Vanza series finished soon--two books left--followed by a series review.

Also, as you can see, I had HAD a plan for February, but the truth is, I couldn't just let King of Scars sit there and NOT start into it.  I was hoping to give some attention to Equal Rites first, but Leigh Bardugo, and Grisha-verse, and Nikolai, and... well... it can't be helped, ya know.

Otherwise... not a whole lot else going on, really, so I leave everyone with this last photo.

 


These two are actually getting along a lot better than they did last time.  And Baby learned to play nice by sharing all of his toys... which ended up being strewn across the living room as Bear couldn't decide which one he wanted to play with most.  Le sigh...

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-2419.html
Starting: King of Scars!
King of Scars - Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars

by Leigh Bardugo
Book 1 of Nikolai Duology

Let's do this!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/starting-king-of-scars.html
Review
3 Stars
Brief Thoughts: The Neverending Story
The Neverending Story - Michael Ende, Gerard Doyle

The Neverending Story

by Michael Ende
audio book narrated by Gerard Doyle

 

 

The story begins with a lonely boy named Bastian and the strange book that draws him into the beautiful but doomed world of Fantastica. Only a human can save this enchanted place by giving its ruler, the Childlike Empress, a new name. But the journey to her tower leads through lands of dragons, giants, monsters, and magic and once Bastian begins his quest, he may never return. As he is drawn deeper into Fantastica, he must find the courage to face unspeakable foes and the mysteries of his own heart.

Readers, too, can travel to the wondrous, unforgettable world of Fantastica if they will just turn the page...



I honestly don't think I'm the type to openly trample all over people's favorite childhood classics, but this is probably the second or third one I've read that I just wasn't feeling.  The book was fascinating in it's own way, but to be completely honest, I was pretty bored through most of the story.  I'm suspecting that this book might have been better experienced in print.  I noticed that an illustrator is listed, so out of curiosity, did some Google research.  While I'm not entirely sure which illustrations depicted are from the print book and which ones aren't (or if there are illustrations in the print book at all), I still feel like those visuals would have been a wonderful addition to this book's reading experience.

It wasn't that this was a bad story or anything, but it definitely wasn't as adventurous or exciting as I'd been expecting, being a fantastical tale of the standard boy hero and his journey in both vanquishing evil as well as self-revelation.  There's a pretty nice message in there somewhere that I'm sure I might have found once or twice.

But in the end, this book didn't really speak to me.  Maybe had I been much younger, I might have found this book much more interesting.  Maybe.  I want to say that it's possible I'm too far removed from my childhood years to really give this book a fair chance, but it's not like I haven't read and loved childrens or young adult stories as an adult with a great amount of enjoyment.

As far as characters and story goes, the formula is rather standard and predictable; although while the first half of the book was set up well, despite how long it took for me to get into it, the second half of the book was where the entire story kind of starts falling apart.  Forgive me for the blasphemy, but I honestly feel like that second half didn't need to be so long.  So much could have been left out and still had an agreeable conclusion to the book, and some side tangents didn't really feel as if they contributed much.

If I wanted to be honest, even as the second half of the story progressed, I wasn't entirely sure I knew what was going on.  And as the book came to an end, I still had no idea what was going on... and was quite eager to have this book over with.

Even so, the story itself had it's interesting points.

So I'm probably just going to chalk this up to being a book that's really not for me.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/brief-thoughts-neverending-story.html
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- January 2019

While I would have liked for the month to reflect how fired up I was to start in on Reading Challenges and the like... well, let's say I've been easily distracted lately.  And also, sometimes one or two books that kind of drag can really affect your entire month's worth of reading.  But that's okay, because I have better hopes for February.

That is not to say that January wasn't good.  While I usually average about 14 books a month (two or three years ago), my current total of 8 books really is much better than my usual January totals.  I always begin the year in a slight slump, but this January actually proved to be quite productive.

I've started off the year with four new series, two of which I'm loving, one I'm on the fence about, and the last of which I may or may not finish the partner book in the duology for.  We'll see.  I have participated in two readathons, and also made a pact with myself to continue posting those 'It's Monday!' meme updates so as to remain as active as I'd like to be on the blog-o-sphere.

All-in-all, I'd call the first month in 2019 a good one!

 

 

January Reads

 

 

 

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

 

None this month!  Yay!

 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

 

January Reading Stats

 

Total works read:  8

  • 7 print/e-book novels
  • 1 audio books


Average rating: 3.19 Stars

  • Highest Rated:  Mr. Ridley by Delilah Marvelle // 4.5 Stars
  • Lowest Rated:  Lost Island by Phyllis A. Whitney // 2.0 Stars


Series I started reading:

  • Lady Darby by Anna Lee Huber
  • Vanza by Amanda Quick
  • Lairds' Fiancées by Julie Garwood
  • Mr. Ridley by Delilah Marvelle

 

Series I completed:

  • None this month.

 

Series I have made progress on:

  • Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith


Favorite reads:  Books for the month of January tended towards the "meh," with only two books I can assuredly point to as being in my favorites for the month.  Between Anna Lee Huber's The Anatomist's Wife, and Delilah Marvelle's Mr. Ridley, I've found two new authors to keep an eye on, and two new series I'm interested in following (even though Marvelle's series is only a trilogy, it seems).  Meanwhile, I probably would give a brief mention to Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a J.K. Rowling), but I technically didn't finish the book until January was over--I was thinking I'd fudge and call it a January read even if it took me a few minutes past midnight... but I didn't finish reading Lethal White until well after midnight (thus resulting in a lack of proper sleep for my day...).

Disappointing reads:  I'm going to lump both the Phyllis Whitney and the Julie Garwood together into this section, as terrible as that may be.  I don't go into books expecting not to like them, so it's usually quite a downer when books I'm looking forward to end up being unlikable, despite the fact that I can tell the author must have better work.  With Julie Garwood, I have enjoyed her books before.  With Phyllis Whitney, I obviously need to find a different book by her to make up for this one.  Either way, neither book really did anything for me.

 

 

Reviews & Notable Posts

 

Reviews Written

 

Memes

 

Other Posts

 

 

Coming Up In February

 

Tentative TBR

 

 

 

Other Stuff

It's a new month for the 2019 Reading Challenge, and we're doing quite well so far, with full marks for January.  I'm hoping to keep this up, and with two of my favorite romance authors dominating February's "assignment list," I'm pretty optimistic.  Meanwhile, no other little challenges are requesting my attention as we won't be participating in another readathon for another few months.  I have two more library books that need to be read so I can turn them in, and after the Reading Assignment books... well, I'm not entirely sure what else I'm going to read...

But what am I doing talking as if I have all the time in the world.  With six Reading Assignment books, one Discworld book, two library books, and one more "I need to read this right now!" book, I've kind of got my reading month full.

Meanwhile, I'm also playing with a new idea to include another section in my monthly wrap ups for reading challenge updates...  This may or may not even go into affect.  We'll see.

 

 

Previous Wrap-Ups 

Past Monthly Reading Wrap Ups (2016 / 2017 / 2018)
See Also: 2015 Reading Wrap-Up posts (scroll to bottom of page)

(updated as year progresses by month)
January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/02/monthly-reading-wrap-up-january-2019.html
Review
4.5 Stars
Thoughts: Mr. Ridley
Mr. Ridley - Delilah Marvelle

Mr. Ridley

by Delilah Marvelle
Book 1 of The Whipping Society

 

LEATHER.  CIGARS.  ROPE.  COCA.  SEX.
Meet Mr. Ridley.
BOOK 1 of 3, all roped together by one man and one woman bent on twisted passion: making the other writhe.

LONDON, ENGLAND - 1830
Criminals fear the iron fist of justice he delivers.  Scotland Yard will do anything to get their hands on his mind.  Whilst women?  They crawl in the hope of becoming his.  But only one woman is about to hold his career and his body and his mind hostage.

Jemdanee (Kumar) Lillian Watkins is a botanical savant from India who ends up getting arrested for a crime she didn't commit.  Only one man believes her: Mr. Ridley.  Drawn to him and the rope he knots in her presence, she quickly realizes this regimented dark hero hides nothing but his passion.

Themes include Dark humor, BDSM, mystery, and romance.



This book is definitely a breath of fresh air in comparison to the historical romances I'm used to reading.  In truth, it's not the best written book in the world and could benefit from a bit more editing, but you soon forget that there are any quibbles and flaws in the face of how much fun it is to follow the interactions between Jemdanee and Mr. Ridley.  This couple is brilliant together, and even as some of the dialogue can be a bit incredible and tacky, the banter is to die for!

While I love that Jemdanee is a gem of a heroine--sunny disposition even in the face of everything that's happened to her, and a smart tongue that makes you smile--I honestly feel like it's Mr. Ridley that stood out for me more.  I'm so used to the broody, mysterious alpha heroes.  And in a way, that's what Mr. Ridley is, except that he's so much more.  To be honest, his fatalism got a little frustrating at times, but his blunt, straight-forward actions and mannerisms just made him a bit more refreshing than the typical historical hero.

Don't get me wrong--I loved Jemdanee as well.  She's basically everything I love about strong heroines with a level head on her shoulders, a heart of gold, with appropriate flaws, as well as some girlishly adorable quirks.  She's young, but sometimes you forget how young she is because of how mature and worldly she acts.

Meanwhile, I wish there had been a bit more about the murder mystery, and I wish we could have seen more of Jemdanee using her botanical savant skills for the investigation.  But it's quite apparent that this book was more about the slow developing lust and romance between our main couple.  There was also a heavy emphasis on the BDSM proclivities of our hero, but the theme is fairly underplayed compared to other romances I've read (and I honestly haven't read many) with this theme.

And to be fair, I'm not as interested in BDSM as much as others may be, so the honest truth is, I probably wouldn't have picked up this book anytime soon based on the summary, if not for some of the high praise, and lots of interesting quotes, I saw from a trusted reviewer I follow (a quick shout out to Whiskey and her Romancies for 2018, which is where I made the decision to read this book!).  Even if this book really does come off more BDSM-lite.

I'm quite glad this book caught my attention in this fashion, though, because in the end, it's the interactions between Jemdanee and Mr. Ridley that really made me fall for it.

This is my first favorite read of 2019, with hopefully more to come, and a good outlook for the rest of the year!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/thoughts-mr-ridley.html
24in48 January 2019 Readathon: Wrap Up

 

... with an 'It's Monday!' twist!!

 



My reading progress over the past week had been quite pathetic, and the truth is that I did most of my reading over the weekend during the 24in48 readathon.  So, with my determination to try and do a weekly update on my reading life via the 'It's Monday!' meme, I present a joint post this time, which is much more fitting... and also serves my laziness in creating only the one post for two updates together!

Anyway...

After my last update a little before midnight on Saturday/Sunday, I crashed to a sleep and didn't wake up until around nine or so, Sunday morning, and completely missed my Hour Thirty Two Update.  After piddling around for a bit and getting ready for the day, I decided to just make the most of my morning and hope to have some progress by Hour Forty...

Well, then my brother and his wife asked if I wanted to join them for lunch.  And me, being a food fanatic, decided that that would be an excellent idea.  Following, I spent a good chunk of the afternoon hanging out with him, mostly helping him assemble a newly bought exercise machine.

As the day wore on, I figured I'd finally get some time to do some reading...

Which also didn't happen due to other family socializing that was calling my attention.

As is per usual during a readathon, I let myself be distracted.  But oh well, it's the thought that counts and I still think I did quite well for all the progress I made on Saturday, but didn't make on Sunday.  I spent that last two hours of my Sunday night diving head first back into Mr. Ridley and almost lost track of the time spent reading that I was tracking for the rest of 24in48.  Then I proceeded to continue reading the book after midnight until I realized that, maybe I needed to get to sleep if I wanted to be bright and shiny for Monday at work.

We all need to be bright and shiny for Monday at work, otherwise it just feels like a bad omen for the rest of the week.

Moving right along...

My totals for 24in48 are as follows:

  • Total Time Spent Reading:  7:33:15
  • Total Pages Read:  415
  • Total Minutes Listened To:  57
  • Total Books Read:  0

 

So I finished no books over the readathon weekend, which in turn means that I managed to finish no books at all the entire week leading up to readathon weekend.  This 'It's Monday!' post now ends up fairly lackluster indeed.

But no fear, as I'd already stated, I think I made very good progress over the weekend anyway.  Meanwhile, this post was supposed to go up earlier, but I ended up caught in Mr. Ridley, flying through the rest of the book and finishing it, and now stuck in a hangover of FEELS.  I am DEFINITELY getting the next book, and sort of wish that the third book was already published so there would be no waiting.

Following, I'm going to jump back into Lethal White next, and maybe give The Disappearing Spoon a couple chapters each day until I finish it.  Being that Lethal White is an e-book borrow and is due back by the first of February before it cycles back into a long hold/wait list, I'm actually more determined to get it read before it gets auto turned in... which then I will have to probably wait another two or three months before I can check it out again.

Following, I only have around two and a half hours of The Neverending Story to finish, so I will also be getting back to that book as well, with the hopes that I can make full marks on my Reading Assignment Challenge for January.

 

 

Books Read

 


I didn't actually finish reading Mr. Ridley in time to count it for either books read last week nor 24in48, but I'd like to acknowledge it as read anyway since this post is going up later than I'd intended.

 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

 

What's Next

 


Obviously I'm not going to be getting to all of these books in the next week.  But February is rolling around the corner, and that begins a new round of Amanda Quick books and Historical books.  Being that I don't know which book I'd like to start first (I will probably employ a monkey post-it random book draw again), I'm just listing all the books I'm planning on getting to soon.

February also marks the beginning of the next Discworld read, so I AM going to try to start Equal Rites when February starts.  I'm also itching to get my hands on The Devil is French, all the while knowing that the last book won't be released for a while and that I can't just jump right into it... so I'm going to try to restrain myself.

But that's okay.  I can always find joy in Amanda Quick books, and I will also be reading Pamela Clare's Blakewell/Kenleigh Family trilogy for Professor Genre's Reading Assignment in February.  And I've always enjoyed Pamela Clare, even if they were usually contemporary, so now I'll get to see how well I like her historical books.

But before any of that, I've still got three books to finish...

Until the next readathon, folks!  =D

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/24in48-january-2019-readathon-wrap-up.html
24in48 January 2019 Readathon: Hour Twenty Four Update

 

A little less than an hour until midnight, but here's my update anyway.

 

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.



So I had thought to maybe read until about 30% or so of Lethal White, then moving onto Mr. Ridley, figuring it would give me a chance to finish reading at least one book this weekend.  As much as I hate to admit it, Lethal White is super long and the chances of finishing the whole thing before the readathon is over doesn't seem like a probably feat for me.

HOWEVER, the book just keeps getting better and better, and the next thing I know, I'm already halfway through it, so I'm kind of determined to see myself to the end before I move onto another book.  Really, did I expect otherwise?

Of course, between the two dysfunctional romantic relationships going on in the book, though, I AM sort of craving a more HEA guaranteed story... as much as I'm enjoying this quietly thought-provoking crime novel, I'm still not digging the wisps of romance surfacing between Robin and Strike, especially when the two seem bound and determined not to communicate with each other properly on a personal level.  Though since they still work so well together investigating murders and searching out dark secrets, I still love them as partners in crime fighting.

Running totals:
-- Time spent reading:  5:47:52
-- Pages read:  190
-- Minutes listened to:  57
-- Books finished:  0

I feel like I've read more pages than that, but I suppose I didn't really.  Surely, when I finish Lethal White, my numbers will be drastically more impressive.

 

 

Books Read


As of this update, I have not finished reading any books.

 

 

Currently Reading

 


The Neverending Story by Michael Ende // narrated by Gerard Doyle
822 minutes / 559 minutes listened to pre-readathon
Progress:  616 minutes listened to
-- 0 minutes listened to @ Hour 8
-- 57 minutes listened to @ Hour 16
-- 0 minutes listened to @ Hour 24

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
656 pages / 92 pages read pre-readathon
Progress:  282 pages read
-- 33 pages read @ Hour 8
-- 6 pages read @ Hour 16
-- 151 pages read @ Hour 24

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
346 pages / 114 pages read pre-readathon
Progress:  114 pages read
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 8
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 16
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 24

Mr. Ridley by Delilah Marvelle
282 pages / 56 pages read pre-readathon
Progress:  56 pages read
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 8
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 16
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 24

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/24in48-january-2019-readathon-hour_12.html
24in48 January 2019 Readathon: Hour Sixteen Update

 

Been less than productive, but still made some reading headway!

 

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.



I spent most of the morning playing Wordscapes on my phone, somehow managing to waste away about an hour and a half of my time that could have been spent reading.  But oh well... the heart wants what the heart wants.

I finally deigned to crawl out of bed a little before noon (thank goodness for weekends off), in which I got myself ready for the day, then spent some more time surfing the internet... and somehow managing to buy $20 worth of Kindle books just for a $5 credit towards my account (deal lasts until 1/28, I think).  Following, I went out to lunch with my Dad, then hung out with my parents for a little while before slinking back to my reading "duties."

It's funny how one always laments not having enough time to read... and yet, given a whole weekend off, with plans and a readathon... I end up looking for other things to do.  I'm not sure how my mind works, but I'm only slightly miffed by my own procrastination.  Every time 24in48 rolls around, I vow to spend at least ten or twelve hours the first day reading so that I have a fighting chance of reaching twenty-four hours of reading by the next day...  But every time, I end up getting distracted and only get about four hours of reading done.  By then, I have no chance of reaching that twenty-four hour goal.

Aw well...  It's all in the fun spirit of the game anyway.

Of course, while I was doing laundry and splurging on books, I let my audio book play in the background (stuff in Fantastica is getting a bit sticky!).  So at least I've made a little bit more progress.  I've even read another chapter of Lethal White, which used nine minutes of my time only.

As far as stats go, I spent about another hour reading (1:06:46 hours, to be exact, give or take a few seconds).

Running totals:
-- Time spent reading:  1:59:35
-- Pages read:  39
-- Minutes listened to:  57
-- Books finished:  0

If I can stop being distracted, I hope I can at least get another four or six hours of reading done.  At the least, I'm kind of hoping to make some more progress into Lethal White as well as getting back to Mr. Ridley.  But as First World Bookish Problems go, I can't read both books at the same time, so I'm going to have to find a comfy compromise somewhere.  Maybe getting to 30% of Lethal White then jumping back into Mr. Ridley... or jumping back into Mr. Ridley, breezing through it (since it's a pretty short book in comparison), then getting back to Lethal White.

Decisions, decisions...

 

 

Books Read


As of this update, I have not finished reading any books.

 

 

Currently Reading

 


The Neverending Story by Michael Ende // narrated by Gerard Doyle
822 minutes / 559 minutes listened to pre-readathon
Progress:  616 minutes listened to
-- 0 minutes listened to @ Hour 8
-- 57 minutes listened to @ Hour 16

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
656 pages / 92 pages read pre-readathon
Progress:  131 pages read
-- 33 pages read @ Hour 8
-- 6 pages read @ Hour 16

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
346 pages / 114 pages read pre-readathon
Progress:  114 pages read
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 8
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 16

Mr. Ridley by Delilah Marvelle
282 pages / 56 pages read pre-readathon
Progress:  56 pages read
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 8
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 16

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/24in48-january-2019-readathon-hour_26.html
24in48 January 2019 Readathon: Hour Eight Update

 

... for real this time!

 

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.



I have conveniently scheduled this update to go up at Hour 8 of the 24in48 readathon, if only because I stayed up way later than I had anticipated, doing such things as reading, watching YouTube videos, reading news articles, and playing mobile games.  Knowing full well that I was ready to crash and that I wouldn't be awake by 8:00 A.M. to post this much coveted (coveted by me, really) update, I'd decided to just finalize and schedule it for posting, then go to sleep.

In the past, I would plan for updates to go up at 8 hour intervals, but my plans are always foiled.  I'm determined to have an Hour 8 update this year!  (My rationale... there is none.  So don't mind me.)

Meanwhile, I had meant to read from Mr. Ridley, but ended up immersed in chapters of Lethal White instead, reading about 33 pages (~5%) of the book in around 53 minutes.  In the grander scheme of things, I'm sure that doesn't sound like a whole lot, but the book is 656 pages long (Kindle edition), so I feel like I've made a bit of progress.

Once again, I'm tracking my hours read with a stopwatch this time around, so the exact time I spent reading, give or take a few seconds, was 52:48:59.

Now that I've had my Hour 8 Update, I will strive for an Hour 16 Update... maybe.  Again, my stubborn determination makes sense to no one... probably not even me.

Happy reading everyone!

 

 

Books Read


As of this update, I have not finished reading any books.

 

 

Currently Reading

 


The Neverending Story by Michael Ende // narrated by Gerard Doyle
822 minutes / 559 minutes listened to pre-readathon
Progress:  559 minutes listened to
-- 0 minutes listened to @ Hour 8

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
656 pages / 92 pages read pre-readathon
Progress:  125 pages read
-- 33 pages read @ Hour 8

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
346 pages / 114 pages read pre-readathon
Progress:  114 pages read
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 8

Mr. Ridley by Delilah Marvelle
282 pages / 56 pages read pre-readathon
Progress:  56 pages read
-- 0 pages read @ Hour 8

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/24in48-january-2019-readathon-hour.html
Read-a-thon: 24in48 July 2018 Starts Now!

 

... or rather, in a little less than an hour, but we're counting down!

 

Beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, readers read for 24 hours out of that 48 hour period.  You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, 4 hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six 4 hour sessions with 4 hour breaks in between; whatever you’d like.



I've been sadly absent and distracted this week... nothing serious, just kind of got myself hooked into one of those addictive mobile games.  -_-  The only reading goodness that came out of that was that it gave me a reason to spend time on my ongoing audio book, The Neverending Story.  Given that I usually have about three books going (one audio, one e-book, and one hard copy), the only time I spend listening to an audio book is during my drive to and from work, or if I'm doing some multi-tasking in which I cannot actually focus on reading text.

So I managed to get pretty far in The Neverending Story, which is still a bit flat for me, but is proving to at least have some interesting adventuring going on, even if some of it seems a bit dragged out.  But I only have about three hours of this thirteen hour book left, so I DO feel like I've made SOME progress this week.

On that note...

At the stroke of midnight...!

I shall stay awake and read for at least two hours... or at least I'll try.  And then I shall wake up in the morning and post an update about it around 8:00 A.M.  At least I'd like to think I will.  We'll see.

As of current, I'm still reading these books:

 


Realistically, my goal would be to finish the above books.  How I can even think about other hopeful reads is a bit of a reach.  HOWEVER, on the off-chance that I figure out a loophole around our space/time continuum, I would really like to get to the following other books.

Readathon Hopefuls:

 


What is everyone else reading this weekend?

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/read-thon-24in48-july-2018-starts-now.html
It's Monday! What are you reading? | 1/21/2019
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!



I haven't done an official 'It's Monday!' post in a long time and just felt like throwing one out there!

Meanwhile, as I'd mentioned in my 24in48 announcement update, I decided to employ a handy book draw method using my lovely monkey post-its once more!  But this time I made it simpler--all I did was write down the titles of five different historical novels, fold the post-its up, then gathered them in my hands, did a bit of a shaking mix up, tossed them on my desk, turned my head to the side, and randomly selected one.  (Sorry, no photos this time 'cause I got super lazy.)

This method typically does not work all that well, because I rarely feel in the mood to read the first selection I get... probably because there was already a particular book I sorta, kinda, wanted to read, but I somehow convinced myself to let the odds of random book draw decide for me amidst a few other books I also want to read.  So then I always end up drawing again.  -_-  And again...

HOWEVER, apparently my mind and the fates have aligned on this occasion.  I ended up choosing Mr. Ridley by Delilah Marvelle from a selection of five, with only one other book being one I actually wanted to read at this time besides Mr. Ridley.  So I'm quite content.

 


Truth is, it was really a choice between the anthology Rogues Rush In and Mr. Ridley, so maybe I should have just flipped a coin or something...

Anyway, moving along to my week in reading...

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog

 

With 24in48 coming up, as well as my sluggish reading as of late, I'm really only seeing that I'll be more active over the readathon weekend.  Unless I finish another book between now and then, there probably won't be another review coming out.  There may or may not be an update for The Disappearing Spoon, just as a general "How are things going?" for The Flat Book Society... or maybe even an update if I stumble upon interesting quotes for either of the other two books.

The only reason I haven't started reading Mr. Ridley yet is mainly because I wanted to focus on The Disappearing Spoon and Lethal White over the weekend.  Now that I've made more progress with them, at least with The Disappearing Spoon, I might go ahead and jump into Mr. Ridley.  As for The Neverending Story... that one's kind of slow going, but I'll take some time at some point to do some mind-numbing activity as I listen to it.

Otherwise, I'm foreseeing a rather quiet blogging week, really.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-1212019.html

currently reading

Progress: 23/284pages
Progress: 15%