Ani's Book Abyss

Ani's Book Abyss

I like to read. A lot.

It's Monday! Plus a Halloween Bingo Update, Just Because... | 09/17/2018
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've been pretty out of touch over the weekend, because of a lot of family things.  My big brother just got engaged and had a party for it.  There was food involved and lots of the happy!

There was partying and fun had by all, and also an appetizer called Bacon Crack that involved maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Unfortunately there is no photo to speak of because I pretty much demolished said appetizer before I thought to take a picture.  We'll compensate another time when I can figure out how to make this appetizer and show it off.  All we need to know is: Yummy!

Meanwhile, this meant that I didn't really have a whole lot of time to read... although to be fair, I DID spend a good amount of free time NOT DOING A DARN THING AT ALL!  During that time, I tried to read one of my Halloween Bingo books, but kept getting distracted by the four month old Bichon Frise my brother brought up with him while he was in town.

Everyone, meet Bear:

 


And just because I can, here's a double whammy of cute.  Here's a pic of the only few seconds that Bear and Baby weren't getting on each other's nerves.

 


You're all welcome!  =D

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 


My 'books read' for last week looked pretty pathetic.  But that's mainly because I found myself starting a million books instead of finishing anything.  And also, life happens.

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog

 

As far as Halloween Bingo goes, I'd been wanting to update every week, maybe on Fridays or Saturdays.  But with the weekend being so busy, that didn't happen this past weekend, so everyone get's the all-purpose 'It's Monday!' update post instead.  And also, it wasn't like I had a lot of update to make, being as how I'm still only at two books read despite all the many squares on my card that have been called.

My plans have pretty much been a bit mussed up.  But never fear, I'm not really going hardcore reading challenge go-getter this year, so I'm going to just aim to finish all the books I'm planning to read for Halloween Bingo, whether or not I finish them all within the allotted Halloween Bingo time.

I will probably have two new reviews ready to post sometime this week: for The Liar's Club series, and for The Name of the Star.  Meanwhile, I'm hoping to finish up Dance of the Gods at least by tomorrow, then work on Get Well Soon.  I'll be reading The Color of Magic on and off, though I'm hearing great things about it, so it might suck me in.  I need to find time for The Big Over Easy, and more importantly, I also need to get start on Valley of Silence as soon as I finish Dance of the Gods, if only because I need to get it read before it auto-returns to the e-book library next week.

Then I'm going to see about my next Halloween Bingo update, probably to be posted this coming Saturday, on 9/22.

Not... too much... right?


And just for kicks, here's my table/card visual aid if anyone's interested.

 

Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called: 09/09/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called: 09/05/18
Read:  
Called: 09/03/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called: 09/17/18
Read:  
Called:
Read: 09/03/18
~*~*~*~
Called: 09/01/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called: 09/13/18
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called:
Read:  
Called: 09/11/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read: 09/06/18
Called: 09/07/18
Read:  
Halloween Bingo 2018
Ani's Book Abyss

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/its-monday-plus-halloween-bingo-update.html
Review
4 Stars
Thoughts: Lake Silence
Lake Silence - Anne Bishop

Lake Silence

by Anne Bishop
Book 5 of The Others

 

 

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–-vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly.  And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget...

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled.  Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world.  And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life.  But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–-one of the shapeshifting Others–-discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead.  The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim.  As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous-–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.



Lake Silence starts a new story arc in the world of The Others, and while as enjoyable and as endearing as the preceding five book story arc about Meg Corbin and her life as a mail sorter in the Lakeside community... it also doesn't escape my attention that this book regurgitates a lot of the same conflicts and plot points that took place in the five previous books of this series.  The story itself picks up after the global events of the Meg Corbin story arc, wherein a group of rebellious humans have decided that they can pull a fast one over on the Others without fear of retaliation, all along forgetting who the predators at the top of this food chain happen to be.

Lake Silence details a different story with a different set of characters, but the concept is exactly the same.  One girl becomes special to a group of Others in the village of Sproing, and they all band together to protect her when she becomes the target of more villainous, yet also ignorantly stupid humans who plan on breaking rules and pissing off Elders.  While it felt like a whole lot of plot happened in this book, the truth is, one simple plot point just got dragged out as a build-up to the newest global conflict that will probably take place in the following books after this one.

It's the exact same set-up as Written in Red had, but with a different set of characters.

What amuses me is that, no matter that I've already read this story, and seen those trees, and witnessed that gruesome killing... I'm still curiously drawn to this book, and very much enjoyed it.  Even though I had to put the book on hold about three months due to real life stuff and a massive reading slump of epic proportions, once I was able to check the book out from the library again and continued, I couldn't put it back down.

And the truth is, if I hadn't already read this story in the first five Others books, I think I would have absolutely given this a perfect 5-Star Rating.  To be honest, Lake Silence had more going for it than just the banal, everyday happenings of a mail sorter who just happens to show up and become special to a group of Others... JUST BECAUSE she is able to sort mail properly.

In fact, I like Vicki DeVine a lot more than I liked the ultimate Mary Sue who is Meg Corbin.  Vicki is just as strangely special and sometimes a bit flighty.  But she also shows a maturity that Meg did not have, mainly because of the basis of their character creations.  And Vicki has a much more interesting stream of conscience that sometimes borders on the nonsensical, yet also seems to ask the same questions we, as the readers, will sometimes ask when certain events of a book takes place.

But other than that, really, there wasn't much to Lake Silence.  The writing still proves kind of juvenile, even in the face of bloody, gory deaths and, and quite serious conspiratorial conflicts.

Am I going to continue reading these books?  Oh, most absolutely, I am!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/thoughts-lake-silence.html
Random Reading Updates: The Big Over Easy
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde

The Big Over Easy

by Jasper Fforde
Book 1 of Nursery Crimes

**Any subsequent updates I decide to make will be added to the top of each new re-post.**

 

Halloween Bingo 2018

 



Progress on 9/8/2018:  5 of 383 pages (1%)

Briggs drummed his fingers on the desk for a moment.

"Do you want to hear me play the trombone?"

"Might it be prejudicial to my career if I were to refuse?"

"It's a distinct possibility."

"Then I'd be delighted."


Okay, so call me immature, but for some reason, after reading this passage, the first thing I thought about was, "Wow, that escalated fast!"

Okay, so maybe my mind was in the gutter, and maybe I somehow connected trombone with some strange... euphemism... for other things.  After all, Mary Mary is interviewing for a new position with Briggs as her superior... and the whole trombone thing just kind of came out of nowhere.  O.o

Anyway, don't mind me.  Moving right along.

This is my first foray into Jasper Fforde, and I've heard and read a lot of great things about his Thursday Next books, of which are also on my TBR for some day.  So I'm kind of glad that this book was listed as an approved suggestion in the Halloween Bingo 2018 - Modern Noir reading list!  While I'm not very familiar with the 'noir' genre, I'm also not sure I was up for hardcore 'noir,' especially reading about what kinds of elements populate it.  And also because I might be remembering the chaos that was our 2017 Halloween Bingo buddy read for Classic Noir.

Anyway, off I go, starting a whole new book before finishing the other three!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/random-reading-updates-big-over-easy.html
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Update #1

 

 
 

I feel like I'm slacking, seeing so many with four plus books already read.  At least I've finished my second book and have started three new books for Bingo!  Of course, looking back now, I think I usually start Bingo this way anyway--with fewer books read, and several books started... and then all the books get finished at the same time nearing the middle of the game.

I still haven't quite decided how I'm going to mark my card, but I've got a bit of an idea forming... which is really to say, I saw some others' ways of marking their bingo cards, and I'm going to shamelessly borrow a bunch of ideas.

So this first update will have no marked card, just yet.  And before anyone wonders, no, it probably won't be anything fancy at all.  I'm just not feeling motivated enough to come up with anything fantastic, and have been playing with the idea of recycling what I did back in 2016, just using book covers to mark my card.  Honestly, I kind of like the way that looked, though I'll also have to come up with a "called" marker to go with it... or not.

Meanwhile, everyone can enjoy my "I spent a lot of time creating and recreating because I obviously had too much time on my hands and no respect for the concept of sleep" visual/card/table tracking thing... just scroll down.  On a side note, I decided to hunker down and figure out how to map a table using html rather than just creating one in word, doing a copy and paste, and hoping that everything copied over properly.  At least this time, having created this visual completely using html and uploaded pictures... I've got an easier script to work with.  The previous one just looked way too messy...

Ahem... moving along now.

 

 

Updated Marked Card:


Coming soon!

Called Square:  TBA
Read Square:  TBA
Called and Read Square:  TBA
Bingos:  TBA

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

FOR FOR FOR
OR    
   

 

 

Squares/Books/Called Dates/Update Post Links/Tentatives:


Basically I'm listing everything from called dates to read dates, to the covers of books I'm planning to read (or would like to read) for each square, in a new, fancy table/array/visual (whatever you want to call it) for everyone's perusal!

Progress:  4 squares called || 2 books read || 0 squares completed
(on my card only)

Squares called that I do not have:
TBA

Bingo Calls Thread
The Best and Worst of Halloween Bingo 2018
Report Your Bingos!

October Group Read | Discussion Thread -- Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

(links coming soon!)

 

 

Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called: 09/05/18
Read:  
Called: 09/03/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read: 09/03/18
~*~*~*~
Called: 09/01/18
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
~*~*~*~
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read:  
Called:
Read: 09/06/18
Called: 09/07/18
Read:  
Halloween Bingo 2018
Ani's Book Abyss



Here are also some books that I would love to read for Bingo, but I have not officially allocated to any particular square.

 

 



And these books I have already decided on specific squares, but I'm still kind of on the fence about them:

 

For these corresponding squares

 

For these corresponding squares

 

 

Wild Card Author:

 


I haven't decided which author to use as my Wild Card yet, but I've been considering using Nora Roberts, as she is a writer of a lot of crime thrillers, romantic suspense, and supernatural, including the Circle trilogy I've chosen for this year's bingo.

Other authors I'm also considering are: Susanna Kearsley, who writes Gothic with a bit of supernatural; Elizabeth Peters, who has a lot of cozy mysteries; or another obvious option, Agatha Christie!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/halloween-bingo-2018-update-1.html
Collective Reading Updates: Get Well Soon
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer   Wright

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them

by Jennifer Wright

 
 
**The most recent updates will be added to the top each re-post.**

Here is a cautionary **SPOILER WARNING**  just in case I have inadvertently given away anything significant to the story itself.  I will do my best not to mention any big spoilers, but I don't always check myself accordingly.
Buddy read at Booklikes - tags: n/a
Review for Get Well Soon | link coming soon

 

 



Progress on 9/6/18:  22% read

I'm kind of reading one plague a day, though I may not be updating daily.  However, at some point, I might just stop updating completely and just try to finish the book.

Meanwhile, I'm happy to say that the chapter on Smallpox has so far been the most interesting chapter to me, even if it's the one disease that I had already had some knowledge on.  Smallpox is something that is pretty much always covered in all biology or science courses in school, as it often times is the precursor for covering how vaccines came about, as well as the mention of Edward Jenner.

I feel like this chapter is the one in which Jennifer Wright is the least opinionated, and drops the fewest pop culture references (so far), and aside from her short detour in the beginning detailing the Spaniard invasion of the Americas, wiping out the Incan and Aztec civilizations, she pretty much kept to the disease itself, with descriptions of symptoms, the course of the disease, as well as the foray into variolation and vaccination.

Though truth, I found her description of DIC quite amusing--"blobby clots" indeed--as it seems a bit comical for a condition in which your body pretty much is triggered to use up all it's clotting factors, followed by excessive bleeding, which can't be staunched because your clotting factors are being used up, but those clotting factors keep being activated because your body is bleeding.  It's a vicious cycle, which ultimately leads to a person bleeding to death unless you can find the underlying trigger and fix it, while at the same time dumping outside blood products into the body to help keep it alive.

I've never personally been in the vicinity of a patient when this has happened, but I've been in the general direction doctors and nurses are yelling at when they need more blood, plasma, platelets, take your pick, to dump into their patient, STAT!  Truthfully, even as a behind the scenes medical personnel, it's a bit scary knowing that there is a person bleeding non-stop from an as-yet unknown cause.  We sometimes joke that DIC is basically a term for "I have no idea why, but this patient is bleeding from every possible orifice!"

Anyway, as far as this book goes, I think I'm likely to stick with it, with this new mindset, and hope that the rest of the chapters are a little more like this one.

 

 



Progress on 9/5/18:  16% read

I'm a little late on this update, but I'd been sitting on my thoughts about both the chapters on the Bubonic Plague and the Dancing Plague.

First of all, after adjusting my reading mindset a little bit, I found Jennifer Wright's writing style a little bit easier to understand--mind you, this doesn't mean that I like it, and in fact, I'm pretty sure I'm still not quite getting into it.  And after reading through other's updates, I think I might have pinpointed a couple reasons why I'm having trouble enjoying her writing style (among a couple other reasons I came up with myself).  Mainly, it's the fact that her telling is less to do with science and history, and more to do with speculation and opinion.

I appreciate that she DOES sprinkle each section with statistics and facts, little tidbits of information here and there that, like Whiskey mentioned, makes you want to run off and do your own research on the subject--because Wright doesn't exactly give you a lot to go on aside from those tidbits.

That being said, the chapter on the Bubonic Plague was actually quite riddled with information that made the reading of it a bit more interesting.  I can see what her goal is, directing our attentions to the general reactions of society back then, as well as how best to react if another pandemic were to surface--a sort of, learning from history, if you will.

I'm still finding her pop culture references a bit hard to grasp--someone else mentioned that the book could quickly become dated based on the specific references made.  This conversation then ended up pointing out that the references were also very American-centric.  While I don't mind pop culture references, nor the fact that the references are American-centric (I did grow up in America after all), I'm also going to be the first to admit that I've already glossed over several of them because I couldn't quite figure out the reason behind those references--the usage of some didn't click for me, even if I was familiar with some of the names.  (Just because I grew up in America, doesn't mean I paid attention to American pop culture.)

Meanwhile, I'm still finding the humor a bit lacking, and that might be my own personal opinion.  Rather than finding her tone amusing or sarcastic, I'm actually finding the timing of her humor and color commentary a bit awkward.  I'm sure others would find it inappropriate, considering the content of this book, but I have no problem with a bit of dark humor... if used properly, whether to help readers better relate with these tragic times, or just to bring a bit of lightheartedness into the telling of times that were quite devastating.  But on a personal level, I'm not feeling the humor... just some awkwardness.

And, finally, I also DO agree with one thing concerning the Dancing Plague, and that is that, I wish she could have also delved further into some more scientific, or medical details about it.  It might have helped if she'd elaborated on some of the other instances in history, rather than simply dropping a quick note about these other instances, and then moving on.  Comparing the Dancing Plague to the tragedies of killing fields in Khmer Rouge might have been in bad taste--as someone had pointed out, "apples and oranges."

 

 



Progress on 9/3/18:  6% read

I'm seeing that I'm kind of the minority in my enjoyment of this book so far.  To be fair, I've only just finished the chapter on the Antonine Plague, and I also happened to drift off a few times while reading this fairly short chapter.  So maybe I didn't really pick up on the content of this chapter, or maybe I'm not getting Jennifer Wright"s writing style all that well.

Her tendency to drop commentary using pop culture bugs me a little bit, because some of those random one-liners don't feel like they mesh well with the content.  I don't mind a little bit of dry humor, or sometimes even a slight comic addition in non-fictional books--in fact, it will usually help make things move along more smoothly.  But the timing of her humor seems a bit off, to me, personally.

Meanwhile, the chapter on the Antonine Plague seemed to meander outside the actual subject of the plague so frequently, and also so randomly, that I think that's where my attention ends up drifting.  There were tangents to do with the Roman soldiers and what they were wearing (which I thought was interesting, even if off-topic), to Commodus and his lustful activities (as well as speculation on his incestuous ways).  None of which necessarily contributed to the topic of the plague, though I see where Wright was trying to go with these extra tidbits of information.

I wish there had been a little bit more about the plague itself, rather than just constant emphasis on how this plague was the true culprit for the Roman Empire's fall.

Anyway, I'm hoping that my wavering attention span was just a fluke and that I start getting into the book more.  There are random facts here and there that are quite interesting, and I had even highlighted a couple quotes I found that I liked.

Otherwise, the entire chapter on the Antonine Plague honestly felt like reading one of my old research essays I'd slapped together, with an additional mishmash of extraneous information, in an effort to reach a specified page count.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/collective-reading-updates-get-well-soon.html
First Impression: The Name of the Star
The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star

by Maureen Johnson
Book 1 of Shades of London



Here is a cautionary **SPOILER WARNING**  just in case I have inadvertently given away anything significant to the story itself.  I will do my best not to mention any big spoilers, but I don't always check myself accordingly.
Review for The Name of the Star | link coming soon

 

 



Progress on 8/27/18:  61 of 372 pages (16%)

 

Some other facts I picked up:

Welsh is an actual, currently used language and our next-door neighbors Angela and Gaenor spoke it.  It sounds like Wizard.

[...]

England and Britain and the United Kingdom are not the same thing.  England is the country.  Britain is the island containing England, Scotland, and Wales.  The United Kingdom is the formal designation of England, Scotland, and Wales and Northern Ireland as a political entity.  If you mess this up, you will be corrected.  Repeatedly.

The English will play hockey in any weather.  Thunder, lightning, plague of locusts... nothing can stop the hockey.  Do not fight the hockey, for the hockey will win.



I don't know how on point these facts Rory picked up really are, but I have to admit that that last one made me chuckle and decide to write an update post.

I'm actually enjoying this book despite the fact that it's so far pretty mundane as far as stories go.  The book started with the discovery of a dead body and some bloody descriptions.  But then we jump right into Rory's narration, following her from Bénouville, Louisiana, to London.  I've read other YAs before where the main character who has to travel to a new place tends to be a bit pouty and a sour sport about her own situation; too closed-minded, ignorant, and entirely too arrogant and rude for her own good.  And usually always whining.

But I'm finding Rory's "fish out of water" experience kind of fun, if only because in spite of her ignorance, she's actually being a pretty good sport about being in a place she's unfamiliar with.  It probably helps that she DID choose to come to London to study abroad herself.  And it also helps that the tone of the narration is dry, a little sarcastic, and nonsensical in a way that I love.

Rory is just an ordinary girl with no "special snowflake" stats.  She knows she used to be popular when she lived in Bénouville, but now she understands that at Wexford, she is neither popular nor unpopular and "was just there."  She's finding the curriculum grueling and panics accordingly.  She keeps quiet when she doesn't have anything to say, but will quip something sarcastic if it strikes her mood.

The fact that she's not the sporty type endears her to me, and the fact that she admits this, and the book's narration also proves this, makes her all the more likable.  Because, for one, I'm not a sporty type either--give me a couch and a book any time of the day--and second, she doesn't magically become a sporty type and even dreads going to hockey.  Nothing is more annoying than someone proclaiming how un-sporty she is, only to become the best field hockey player on the first day, without having had any idea how to even play the sport in the first place.

Rory's first day of field hockey was spent sitting out because she forgot her mouth guard.  Her second day consisted of pouring rain, heavy goalie equipment, and the inability to move despite being yelled at by the teacher to block with her arms and legs.

Man, if I had to take a mandatory sports class regularly, I'd probably keel over and die pretty quickly.

Back to the story, I'm hoping that things pick up pretty soon, because so far we've mainly been following the copy-cat Ripper murders in the news.  I'm looking forward to the moment Rory gets involved and the supernatural stuff starts to happen--in fact, I think we just met one of our resident supernatural stuff a few pages ago without realizing it yet.  Just the way his introduction was written has "I'm significant to the story plot" written all over it.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/first-impression-name-of-star.html
It's Monday! Halloween Bingo Pre-Read is a Go! | 08/27/2018
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!



With Halloween Bingo around the corner, I'm trying to clear off my current reads, as well as a few other books I'd been meaning to finish reading, so that I can focus entirely on Halloween Bingo books.  Whether or not I will be successful is another matter, but there you have it.

To my utter surprise, however, I hadn't thought I'd be able to knock out so many books so quickly, and I'm sure it has a little to do with Moonlight's bingo "head start" announcement.  Within the weekend, I managed to finish all three of my current reads, of course two of them were books I'd already been reading and was already halfway finished with.

Still, I call it progress!

As for my Halloween Bingo pre-read, I've been shuffling books around, and after hitting the library this morning, I finally decided on The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson:

 


It's been a long time since I've read anything remotely YA, so I decided to go ahead and get started on this one and knock it out of my bingo first before I end up dragging it out.  I just haven't really been in a mood for YA, and I know I might end up letting the book sit there and fester if I've got a bunch of other books I'm more interested in.

I'm not saying that The Name of the Star won't be interesting, as I've seen a lot of great reviews for it, but when you're just not in the mood for something, you're just not in the mood for something.  So while I'm between reads, and before the official game begins, I'm going to give this book the chance it deserves.


Meanwhile, there's a lot going on in the personal life that may or may not interfere with the reading life... we'll take it day-by-day, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to black out my card like I've done the past two years I've participated!

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 



I actually just finished Lake Silence hours before posting this week's It's Monday!, but I'm including it as part of what I read last week anyway... because I can.

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog


I don't have a lot of planned reads for this coming week, if only because I'm loathe to start anything I may not finish before September.  I really want to just focus on my Halloween Bingo books, because at the reading rate I've been going on, if I get sidetracked, I may not be able to finish reading books for all 25 of my Halloween Bingo squares.  And I would love to continue blacking out my card, as per usual.

With Moonlight's 'Head Start' announcement, I've at least got one Halloween Bingo book I'm able to dive into pre-Bingo start, so that's a plus!

Since September starts at the end of the week, I'm hoping to start reading Morrigan's Cross, as well as finish off the rest of the Liar's Club series.  And once I've got the Liar's Club series out of the way, then I guess I'm free to dive into all of my Halloween Bingo books without any other reservations!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/its-monday-halloween-bingo-pre-read-is.html
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Take Your Head Start!
(link above leads to the announcement!)



So I would be lying if I said I didn't see this one coming.  =D  While I've got a couple other books I'm trying to finish reading before the official game was set to begin next Saturday, I'm actually quite ecstatic, as always, whenever our game hosts throw a couple plot twists in our direction.

Now the real question turns out to be:  What book will I choose to start the game with?

 


I honestly got a little excited thinking that I could totally start squeezing in The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley, which I will be reading for the Gothic square.  I have it as an Audible, and since it usually takes me a bit more time to finish audio books than other books formats (e-books typically average 3 to 4 days if I'm getting into said book), I was going to start this one.  It's not like I couldn't finish this 11 hour audio book in two months, but a little extra padding wasn't going to hurt, and I wasn't going to be able to start immediately on September 1 anyway due to travel plans for that weekend.

But then I got that: "Oh noes!  I can't!"  I had already chosen The Splendour Falls as the book I will be reading in September for my Reading Assignment Challenge.  Drat.

Ah well.  I'm not one to break rules, so that brings us to the other options I'm narrowing myself down to.  The following are all library book borrows (which I have a lot of for this year's bingo), so I want to knock one of these out first.  The question is... which one?

 


I'm determined to finish at least one of the books I've already started this month today, so I'm going to spend time doing that.  THEN, I shall jump into one of the above books, giving myself a few more hours to decide what I want to start with for Halloween Bingo!

I'm totally ready to roll!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/halloween-bingo-2018-take-your-head.html
Halloween Bingo Randomness

I think I just spent way too much time working out how I'm going to track my Halloween Bingo calls and books read... and I'm not even sure if it'll work out the way I want it to.  I went back and forth between the table I used last year, to just making a bullet point list, to playing with a new idea that you can see below.  It's sort of a table slash card that I wasted hours working on just to get the dimensions right, only to realize that I might have made things more complicated than necessary.

 

I may or may not actually use it.  -_-  And really, I need to be thinking about what marker to put on my actual Bingo card rather than playing with tables and html.

 

 

But anyway, here's another (different) look at the books I've chosen for my squares!  A couple new changes have been made.

 

So yes, September needs to arrive soon so I can quit wasting time outlining and formatting update posts, and start reading all the books I'm actually very much looking forward to reading.

 

Really, I just need to step away from my computer for a couple days and finish reading a couple other books.

 

 

Called:  9/1/18
Read:   9/1/18
Called:  
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Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/halloween-bingo-randomness.html
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Ani's Tentative Reading List!

First of all, a great thanks to Moonlight and Obsidian for once again hosting this year's Halloween Bingo, and thank you to Moonlight for the wonderful works she's done with all of our bingo cards.  Also, thanks to all the readers in the Booklikes community, because just reading through the hype and anticipation and all the tentative reading lists for Halloween Bingo is really helping me break out of my blogging slump.

 

I want to start participating again, even if at a different pace than I used to.

 

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2018



I didn't think that I'd be participating in any reading games this year.  With the massive reading slump I had had since the beginning of the year, the last thing I wanted to do was restrict myself to reading based on any challenge.

But I have participated in Halloween Bingo since it's inception in 2016, and with the new categories, as well as a new game twist, I couldn't help but join in.  On top of that, my reading slump IS, kind of, sort of lifting.  So to all of my reading buddies and friends at Booklikes:

I'm back!!!  Let the Halloween Bingo game begin!


I don't want to get too carried away assigning books, but here are a few books that I would like to read for Halloween Bingo, some of which fit a few different squares.  Other book possibilities for the squares on my card follow after these two series.

 


The Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts --
After reading the summaries for each of these books, I have come to the conclusion that they all fit into at least six of the thirty-one different Halloween Bingo categories.  The villain is a vampire, the hero of the first book is a sorcerer, the hero of the second book is a shifter, the hero of the last book is a vampire... so there are elements of the paranormal/supernatural involved.  Nora Roberts is a well-known romantic suspense author...

I'm super stoked!

Possible squares:

  • Spellbound
  • Dead Lands
  • Shifters
  • Supernatural
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Terrifying Women

 

 


Harper Connelly by Charlaine Harris --
I've been looking for a reason to read this series, and I admit that I was kind of looking forward to sliding these books into Halloween Bingo at some point.  These books don't fit as many squares as the above series, but they still fit some.

Possible squares:

  • Southern Gothic
  • Supernatural
  • Cozy Mystery
  • Terrifying Women
  • Terror in a Small Town -- counts for at least two of the books

 

 

The Squares on Ani's Card:

 

 

Ghost Stories:  Undecided
-- I'm considering one of many of the Simone St. James books, as there are several, all about ghosts and hauntings.  But I haven't quite decided yet.  But the chances are high that I will probably just read one of the books I already own, Ghost Horse by Patricia Rosemoor, which is a book I've also got lined up to read for my Reading Assignment challenge this year.

Possible books:  An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James; Silence of the Dead by Simone St. James; The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James; Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James; Ghost Horse by Patricia Rosemoor

 

 


 

 

Diverse Voices:  Undecided
-- The first author I thought of off the top of my head was Sherry Thomas, if only because I still have her A Study in Scarlet Women sitting on my Kindle, unread.  It's probably time to get it read, but I'm leaving this square open for now in case I come across something else I may want to read.

Possible books:  A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas; A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas; The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

 

 


 

 

Terror in a Small Town:  Undecided
-- I have several possibilities for this category, a couple that are unread books on my Kindle, and a few that are books I'll need to check out from the library.  I'm still trying to decide in which direction I want to go.  I'll probably end up letting my mood decide for me what to read.

Possible books:  The Innocent by Amanda Stevens; Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh; Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris; Real Murders by Charlaine Harris; Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts; Hold Back the Dark by Kay Hooper; The Obsession by Nora Roberts

 

 


 

 

Southern Gothic:  Sick of Shadows by Sharyn McCrumb
-- I had considered reading If I Ever Return, Pretty Peggy-O, also by Sharyn McCrumb, but due to availability, I decided on Sick of Shadows instead.  I've read the reviews and noted that Sick of Shadows is not her best work, but that the series DOES get better with each book, so I will keep that in mind while I read it.  It's possible I may decide to read the next book in the series and try to insert it somewhere on my card.

Other possibilities:  Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen; Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris; Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

 

 


 

 

Shifters:  Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts
-- Lake Silence by Anne Bishop would be my other choice, but I'm still on a wait list to check out said book from the library, and the wait list is very, very long.  The chances of getting Lake Silence in time for Halloween Bingo does not have a very good outlook.  On the other hand, Dance of the Gods is very much available right now, and I'm crossing my fingers in hopes that it will still be available by the time Halloween Bingo starts up.

Because I can only check out an e-book for 21 days, max, I don't want to check it out too early.  Although, I could just run to the library and find a paperback, I'm sure--then renew the heck out of it.

Other possibilities:  Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater; Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler; In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler; Bodyguard Bear by Zoe Chant

 

 


 

 

Cozy Mysteries:  Undecided
-- This is a very broad category and I have a lot of books I want to read for it.  I recently purchased some Audible books by Elizabeth Peters, and I even own Crocodile on the Sandbank in paperback, a book I bought at a library sale a long time ago.  But I'm also considering the Harper Connelly series listed above as well.  And then there are a lot of other cozy mysteries I'd been wanting to read for a long time.

I may have to book a book roulette into play for this one... or just read based on my mood.

Possible books:  Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters; Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris; Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates; It Takes a Witch by Heather Blake; A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley; Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

 

 


 

 

Cryptozoologist:  Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire
-- I honestly have already decided that this will be the book for this square.  Ever since reading the description, I got very curious--a family of cryptozoologists, studying the monsters of the world and protecting them from humanity.  Now I only hope it will be available at the library when I'm ready to read it for Halloween Bingo.

And I also hope that I have better luck with this urban fantasy series than I've had with other urban fantasy books in the past.

Other possibility:  The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling) XD

 

 


 

 

Genre: Suspense:  Undecided
-- This is also a broad category for me since I read a lot of crime thrillers and romantic suspense.  So I'm leaving it open for the time being, though I have a massive list of romantic suspense I could use for this category.

Possible books:  Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz; Ghost Horse by Patricia Rosemoor; Irresistible Force by D.D. Ayers; The Black Opal by Victoria Holt; Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh; Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant; Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin; In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler; Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler

 

 


 

 

Creepy Carnivals:  Undecided
-- I honestly considered requesting to exclude this category from my card, but since we could only exclude three, I went back and forth before deciding which squares I really DIDN'T want to include.  Between this one and 'Fear the Drowning Deep' somehow I convinced myself that I'd have a better chance of finding a book for this square... Now I"m not so sure.

So there is a high possibility that this square will be a Wild Card author square, or I could use the Buddy Read starting in October to fill this one.

Possible books:  Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 

 


 

 

Spellbound:  Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts
-- The first book in the Circle trilogy by Nora Roberts features a sorcerer as the main hero, so this was the first square I thought of.  Well, it was either this one, or Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts, the first book in her Three Sisters Island trilogy, which I believe is a series about three women who are witches.

Other possibilities:  Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates; A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness; Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett; Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts

 

 


 

 

Classic Horror:  The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins
-- I'm not sure what I actually wanted to read, but after I found that I had this in my Kindle, I'm kind of looking forward to it.  I also own a large collection of Edgar Allan Poe works, which would all also qualify for this square (and with shorter stories too, in case I can't keep up with my reading).

Other possibilities:  The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe; The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins

 

 


 

 

Murder Most Foul:  Undecided
-- This category is just as broad as the 'Suspense' category and the 'Cozy Mystery' category.  I'm not making a decision yet, but I know I have tons of books to choose from.

Possible books:  Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh; Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin; Real Murders by Charlaine Harris; Hold Back the Dark by Kay Hooper; The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber; This Side of Murder by Ann Lee Huber; Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick; A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

 

 


 

 

Creepy Raven Free Space:  Undecided
-- I'm leaving this one open for anything just because...


 

 

 

 


 

 

Relics and Curiosities:  Undecided
-- The Key trilogy by Nora Roberts would definitely fit, but I don't know if I want to do a Nora Roberts flood for Halloween Bingo since I'm already reading one trilogy by her.  (Hint:  It's entirely possible that I will choose her romantic suspense or supernatural books as my two wild card books, so there will probably be a Nora Roberts takeover on my card).

For my own sake, I'm going to insert the link to the Halloween Bingo reading list for this category here--Halloween Bingo 2018 - Relics and Curiosities--and keep checking it until I find something I'm interested in reading.

 

 


 

 

Modern Noir:  Undecided
-- I considered requesting this category as one of my three exclusions.  But I decided that I should be able to find at least one book for this category I might enjoy.  We had fun with the Classic Noir group read last year, even if I didn't enjoy the book.  But that's neither here nor there.

I happened across Murder by Death's Halloween Bingo reading list and saw that she has listed a book by Jasper Fforde as her choice for Modern Noir--The Fourth Bear.  Upon further searching, I found that it is the second book in a series; the first book is called The Big Over Easy, and there is indeed a noir tag in the GR top shelves page of this book.

I'm not entirely familiar with 'Noir,' but I'm definitely interested in reading these books.  It is also available through my library's e-book collection.

Possible books:  The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde; In the Woods by Tana French; Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg

 

 


 

 

Romantic Suspense:  Undecided
-- Like the 'Murder Most Foul' and 'Genre: Suspense' categories, I'm leaving this one open while I work on the others.  More than likely, I'll end up reading Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Possible books:  Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz; Ghost Horse by Patricia Rosemoor; Irresistible Force by D.D. Ayers; The Black Opal by Victoria Holt; Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh; Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant; Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin; In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler; Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler

 

 


 

 

Darkest London:  Undecided
-- I think I ended up picking an Amanda Quick book last minute, so those are always good possibilities for this category.  Otherwise, I haven't decided what I want to read yet.

Possible books:  A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas; Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick: Slightly Shady by Amanda Quick; The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson; Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick; The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber

 

 


 

 

13:  Undecided
-- I'm not sure what to read for this category, though I'm thinking of just picking up anything that might be on the Halloween Bingo suggestions reading list for 13.  I have one possible book, Nora Roberts's Year One, but seeing as it's the first book in a trilogy, and I'm loathe to start a series that I can't finish in a timely manner (the second book comes out in December this year, and the third book will probably be out next year about the same time) I will probably not touch it.  It has a raven on the cover and would be perfect for this square.

This square might end up as a Wild Card author book.

 

 


 

 

Deadlands:  Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts
-- The last book in the Circle trilogy would go great in this spot, since the main hero is a vampire AND the main villain is a vampire.

As an aside, every year I tell myself that I don't have a vampire book to read, and every year I find a reason to keep this particular square.  It's kind of interesting how things turn out.

Other possibilities:  Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

 

 


 

 

A Grimm Tale:  Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
-- I'm on a couple wait lists for the library copies right now, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping I'll get this one picked up at some point in the next three months.  Otherwise, I'm sure there are other books I can insert into this square.

Other possibilities:  Beauty by Robin McKinley; The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden; Heartless by Marissa Meyer

 

 


 

 

Gothic:  The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley
-- I almost forgot about this category, but after going through my books, I found a Susanna Kearsley audio book I already own.  Definitely going to get used for this square.

Other possibilities:  This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart; The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins; Window on the Square by Phyllis A. Whitney; The House of a Thousand Lanterns by Victoria Holt; The Black Opal by Victoria Holt

 

 


 

 

Terrifying Women:  Undecided
-- Obviously another free space for me.  We'll keep our options open.

Possible books:  Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters; Real Murders by Charlaine Harris; The Key of Light by Nora Roberts; Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts; Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts; A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas; Slightly Shady by Amanda Quick; Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick; Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh; Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant; Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin; Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz... and many, many more...

 

 


 

 

Doomsday:  The Last Policeman by Ben Winters
-- I've been looking for a chance to read The Last Policeman series ever since my BFF read it and told me she loved it.  I've heard good things about it as well.  So we'll get to see what this is all about!

Other possibilities:  Good Omens by Neilg Gaiman & Terry Pratchett; Year One by Nora Roberts; The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau; The Stand by Stephen King; Pines by Blake Crouch

 

 


 

 

Baker Street Irregulars:  The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
-- I had a couple other books in mind for this square, but the one I'm going to go with just sounds interesting to me at the moment.  Chances of switching it out are 50/50, because I don't know when the last time was that I read something YA or Childrens.

Other possibilities:  The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene; Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor; Going Rogue by Robin Benway

 

 


 

 

New Release:  Undecided
-- This is a very broad category, but I have two different books I'm considering:  Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin, which is a mystery and romantic suspense; or Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz, also a mystery and romantic suspense.  Both books were published in 2018.  I'm leaving this category open, though because there are so many other possibilities, and my tendency to change my mind is pretty high.

Other possibilities:  The Broken Girls by Simone St. James; Lake Silence by Anne Bishop; City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/halloween-bingo-2018-anis-tentative.html
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | 2/26/18
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 have been so lazy this week in my reading life!  I wish I could blame it on work or family or whatever else that's going on in real life, but the truth is that, it's all just me.

As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes you DO need a break from the things that you love.  And it's not even because I'm reading anything that I'm not enjoying.  I've just been finding other things I got more interested in doing.

Yeah, I know.  The blasphemy of it all!

Anyway...

Meanwhile, the weekend could have made up for my lack of reading... but lots of activity made it a bit impossible, so I can kind of blame family stuff for the lack of reading over the weekend.  Unfortunately, that doesn't really explain the rest of the week.

My brother's birthday was on Saturday, so the family decided to take a road trip to visit him and celebrate.  A three hour trip later, and we all joined together for a late lunch wherein I tried NOT to eat too much since my brother had said something about sushi for dinner.  We actually didn't get into KC until later than we'd expected, and then ended up waiting a good thirty minutes to an hour before lunch was served.

 


We went to a bar and grill called The Yard House, where they had a LOT of beers on tap to choose from.  There was a room, or rather a whole hallway, of beer kegs by the entrance for the pleasure of viewing, and they were all connected to the bar via lines running along the ceiling inside metal box tunnels.  And while I'm not really a big fan of beer, I've found myself drawn to the more roasty ones lately.  So I got myself the Boulder Shake Chocolate Porter.  My youngest brother had wanted to order something called a Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, but they were out of that--so sad, because it actually sounded kind of tasty, and I was going to try to steal a sip from my brother.

Anyway, as you can see from the photos above, my meal included two appetizers: a Korean BBQ boneless wing platter, and some pork lumpia.  The boneless wings really just tasted more like a spicy sweet and sour chicken with a slight hint of Korean BBQ, and came with a weird sauce that may or may not have been some sort of mustardy mayo... maybe.  And the pork lumpia wasn't really much to write home about.  They were good, but the real star of the entire show was the creamy truffle dipping sauce that my pork lumpia appetizer came with.  It came with a sweet chili sauce as well, but really, who cared about that one in the face of that creamy truffle sauce that tasted all sorts of wonderful, so much so that I started dipping my brother's fries in it just to use it all up, then requested another ramekin for the rest of the fries on my parents' meal?

I was fawning over it so much that everyone at the table just started making fun of me, and my mom even looked up a recipe only to find out how expensive a bottle of truffle oil was.

I don't have more pictures, if only because this KC road trip isn't something new for us--we visit on a regular basis.  Even sushi dinner is quite typical... and also I didn't really enjoy the sushi dinner that night as much as I did my appetizer lunch.  Which is sad because I love sushi, but this place my brother took us to wasn't that great, in my opinion.

All-in-all, it was a nice weekend trip, and I look forward to another one.  I've been wanting to check out the Brazilian steakhouse in KC, called Fogo de Chão; my family just needs to psychologically prepare themselves for the onslaught of all you can eat meat, apparently.

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog


I've got two series reviews ready to push out as soon as I finish reading the last of Jill Shalvis's Animal Magnetism and Kylie Brant's Tremaine Traditions.  They'll be out at some point the week after, if not this week.  Meanwhile, with March coming around the corner, I get to pick another Reading Assignment book, and I chose Kylie Brant's Pretty Girls Dancing, which I've been wanting to read since the beginning of the year when it came out.

Meanwhile, I've got one review I'm going to give a quick edit to, and then it'll get posted either today or tomorrow.

That's pretty much it for now.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/02/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-22518.html
It's Monday! Happy Year of the Dog! | 2/18/2018
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!



First of all, Happy Year of the Dog to everyone out there!

The lunar calendar made it's round to the new year on Friday, and obviously Baby approves of the occasion, as it is going to be the Year of Baby!  Or, well... you know...

 


The weekend was kind of filled with a bit of fun and festivities, although not as much as we used to have when I was younger.  With everyone busy, busy, busy these days, it's hard to find a good time to get together for much.  At the very least, our immediate household did our thing with yummy, traditional feast food that always seems to grace the table whenever we celebrate anything!

There is always roast duck, roast pork, a lovely seafood soup, the big pot of tofu and veggie stir-fry, and various other savory dishes of the seafood variety (or not).  And then to top it all off, we have our steamed white rice that was cooked with the very flavorful Chinese sausage--with all of that sausage oil being dripped into the rice, it gives it a delicious touch.

Everyone, this food is not for the light of heart.  We Chinese love to eat flavorful and savory... and apparently we also love to eat oily and anything that will probably give us high cholesterol.

But, hey!  It's just so, so yummy!

I suppose the diet will finally start after this last holiday is over... *crosses fingers*

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 


Meanwhile, in bookish news, I've been slacking on my reading, which makes me extremely glad that I hadn't truly made a lot of reading challenge commitments.  I started reading two books this week, but didn't finish Cold Image until just this morning, in the wee hours a little after midnight.  It took longer than it should have, for many reasons...

Cold Image is bite-sized, and I typically would have flown right through it like it was nothing, being a romantic suspense with a lot of factors I liked, and a premise that was quite promising.  But time got away from me... and the book wasn't what I'd expected from Leslie Kelly after reading others of her works, and I was sadly disappointed.  There will be a review to come at some point.


Aside from getting sucked into an online multiplayer RPG with my brothers, I've also been indulging in a YouTube vlog called 'Strictly Dumpling.'  The host of this vlog introduces you to a lot of wonderful cuisines in places such as New York, San Francisco, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and most recently Vietnam.  And if it's one thing I love just as much as books, it's food, and Mikey Chen, the host of this vlog, does a wonderful job of showing us great places to visit and eat.

His focus is on Asian cuisine, which was how his vlog started off in the beginning, but I like that he's trying to branch out as well, as there is a food vacation tour of Peru as well.  I mainly have been loving this YouTube channel because this guy is strangely funny, with weird descriptions and analogies that sometimes make no sense.

Meanwhile, I don't always agree with a lot of his opinions pertaining to Chinese food, but I still love the way he presents them at his channel.  If anyone is interested, hop on over and watch a few if you like.  I highly recommend his most recent Vietnam vacation, as he features a lot of really awesome looking food for uber wonderfully affordable prices... well, after the plane ticket, I suppose.


Anyway... now back to our not-so-regularly scheduled bookish news...

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 


Meanwhile, I have a feeling I might have started loving All I Want because of our heroine, Zoe, but I tend to forget that Jill Shalvis is best taken in small doses.  As I had already finished listening to two other books in this series... I think I might be a bit Jill Shalvis-ed out.  I'm going to go ahead and continue listening to this book, as it is also narrated by one of my favorite audio book voices, and it's not like things are getting too tedious.  There are just always some Jill Shalvis elements that I will find a bit... repetitive, as well as frustrating.

On the other hand, I also started reading the third Tremaine Traditions book by Kylie Brant, Truth or Lies, and am immensely enjoying, having already breezed through the first quarter of the book.  The main hero, however, is annoying the heck out of me, and I'm hoping some development will come about rather than our heroine falling for him just because he's supposed to be badass.  She's smarter than that, and if it's one thing Kylie Brant is good at, it's writing smart heroines who aren't always losing their panties just because a man has a smoldering gaze.

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans On the Blog


As you can see above, I'm hoping to finish the rest of Kylie Brant's Tremaine Traditions, hopefully all this week, or at least by next week.  In which case, I'll have a full series review ready to publish at some point.  Following, I'm interested in continuing on with my Author Love challenge and hit another Jayne Ann Krentz book, or two.  Light in Shadow and Truth or Dare are books in a duology called Whispering Springs, and I'm looking forward to it... also I've checked out the second book from the library, so it needs to get read.

The blog has been sadly quiet lately, but with all the holiday "festivities" over, I'm hoping on getting some more posts planned and ready to go.  Maybe I'll be able to start some more books and have more reviews ready.  Maybe I'll just work on transferring more previously written reviews to Ani's Book Abyss.  Or maybe I'll just start filling out weekly memes again, just to have something to blog about.

I've already started drafting a few future posts, and am trying to figure out where to go from there.

Either way, like I keep promising, I really want to start being more active once again.  It feels oddly depressing to be away from the blogging community for so long just because I can't think of anything to write about.  And a lot of the time, I'm really just lurking, reading posts and commenting randomly.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/02/its-monday-happy-year-of-dog-2182018.html
Review
3 Stars
Thoughts: That's Amore!
That's Amore!: Meet the ParentsI Do, Don't I?There Goes the Groom - Tori Carrington, Janelle Denison, Leslie Kelly

That's Amore! -- anthology
Authors include: Janelle Denison, Tori Carrington, and Leslie Kelly
Book 2 of Santori Stories

Average Rating:  3.1 Stars
(Includes personal rating:  3.0 Stars)

 

 

It's way too late to elope....

Meet the Parents by Janelle Denison

Like all dutiful Hawaiian daughters, Leila Malekala is expected to marry a Hawaiian groom handpicked by her parents.  But guess what, Mom and Dad?  Leila has wedding plans of her own.  The groom is California bad boy Jason Crofton... and the bride is pregnant.

I Do, Don't I? by Tori Carrington

Efi Panayotopoulou is about to marry her childhood sweetheart Nick Constantino.  Everything should be perfect.  But their families seem hell-bent on turning the wedding into a farce-or Greek tragedy.  And Efi is about a baklava flake away from running off... without her groom.

There Goes the Groom by Leslie Kelly

Luke Santori is engaged to "a nice Italian girl" from his Chicago neighborhood.  But wedding plans get tossed-like unbaked dough at his family's pizzeria-when Luke falls for blond-haired, blue-eyed Rachel Grant... the dressmaker designing his fiancee's bridal gown.



I'm really not a fan of the romantic Valentine's holiday, but I'm also a hopeless romantic and love to love some sweet, fluffy contemporary romances.  What better way to celebrate the holiday than an anthology of contemporary romances called That's Amore! that is based around three wedding novellas.  One of which was written by an author I like!


Meet the Parents by Janelle Denison
Rating:  3.5 Stars

This novella was cute, and I found a lot of the Hawaiian traditions quite interesting as well.  I liked that there wasn't a whole lot of angst in this sweet love story, even if there was a bit of a conflict involving the groom-to-be and his in-laws.  I wish I could say that I found Leila's parents a bit frustrating in their disapproval of her chosen husband... but the truth is, it doesn't surprise me, because I've seen more than my fair share of the same behavior among my own Asian relatives.

It's tiring, and yes, also frustrating.  But something that happens.  But we get a Happily Ever After in this novella, which is what counts.  That's probably more than I can say for other stories I've seen with the same, stubborn types of parental units who are more concerned with tradition than seeing how happy their children are.

A nice little read.  And while I'm a little reluctant to say that it was also a little boring... well, it kind of was.


I Do, Don't I? by Tori Carrington
Rating:  2.5 Stars

This novella was really full of crazy.  And while I loved seeing all the Greek wedding traditions, and reading about the loud, raucous actions of all of Efi's and Nick's relatives, and just overall witnessing a week full of partying and celebration... I couldn't help but feel extremely frustrated with both sides of the family.  This is why a lot of couples end up eloping...

And then maybe I was a bit frustrated with Nick as well.  It probably didn't help that we mostly followed Efi's point of view up until one small scene at the end of the novella.  I honestly would have liked to have seen more of the entire affair from Nick's point of view.  Because without his side of things, the story just felt like Efi was bearing all the stress of the wedding planning and the family crazy... while Nick just skated by and waited to get married.

Nonetheless, this story was a fun one, even if a little over-laden with angst, conflict, and made-for-television antics.

I would have liked to have seen a show down between Efi and Aphrodite, though I suppose it wouldn't really have been in good humor.  I would have liked to see more mature understanding from Nick--the fact that he seemed to be oblivious to everything, including cousin Aphrodite's attempts to seduce him made me cringe a little bit.  The fact that Nick had even entertained thoughts of doing anything with Aphrodite at all made me a little wary of how this marriage will be going forward; especially when Efi's confrontation didn't even seem to get through to his thick, ignorant head.

The fact that Nick has no idea that Efi had dreams of her own that shouldn't have been impeded by wedding vows felt a little immature.  In fact, neither of the two seemed to know what the other wanted, or had been expecting out of this marriage at all.  It got to a point where I was wondering if they were just getting married because it was expected for the two high school sweethearts--that they were in love with the idea of being in love and getting married, more than they were in love with each other.

Anyway... fun as fun was, this story turned out more like a family affair of crazy rather than a sweet romance.  It certainly DOES bring a realistic tone to all the crazy events that usually lead up to a wedding day.  Especially when family and relatives tend to get a little too involved.


There Goes the Groom by Leslie Kelly
Rating:  3.5 Stars

The premise of this novella could have gone in all sorts of bad directions--with an engaged man and his fiancee's dressmaker falling for one another, this could have been a disaster.  Fortunately, our lovely author managed to handle the events quite well, and we simply end up with a case of two people marrying for the wrong reasons.  Our hero sort of works through his own issues with the help of the heroine, as well as his brothers.

Simply put, this novella was a sweet one.

One of the things I DID NOT appreciate were the little comments here and there from our heroine that came off a little judgmental about random people in the story.  Some of those comments, honestly, I felt were uncalled for.

Meanwhile, this story also made me want a pizza...

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/02/thoughts-thats-amore.html
Review
4.5 Stars
Thoughts: A Treacherous Curse
A Treacherous Curse - Deanna Raybourn

A Treacherous Curse
by Deanna Raybourn
Book 3 of Veronica Speedwell

 

 

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker.

His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess.  This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past.

Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .



This third, newest installment of Veronica Speedwell was as magnificent as the previous two books in the series; and, dare I say, maybe even better paced and better outlined than the previous two books as well.  After having read Deanna Raybourn's Julia Grey series, I had found that she often will take her sweet time getting to the heart of the story's mystery or conflict.  The same had happened with the first Veronica Speedwell book, A Curious Beginning.  The previous books in this series, A Perilous Undertaking stepped up the pacing a bit and came out quite enjoyable, with only a few too deliberate instances of dialogue that might have bugged me a little bit.

A Treacherous Curse got right to the point of the mystery, and might have even cut back down on some of the unnecessary declarations of Veronica's openness about her own sexual awareness.  It was still there, though; it seems that the books cannot pass without reminding the reader several times how modern Veronica is, by over-emphasizing her not-so-with-the-times behavior.  I don't mind knowing that Veronica is so open and forward-thinking; and I absolutely love that she's not a doormat, and will not allow for anyone to beat her down.

But I really don't need to be reminded of it on such a regularly scheduled basis.

As for the mystery, I think I particularly liked this one because of its tie-ins with archaeology, with an emphasis in Egyptology.  These things have always been fascinating to me, and I found the exchanges between Veronica, Stoker, and the people they were interviewing quite interesting.  There were many red herrings to contend with, and when you think you might have figured out what was going on... well, I got proven wrong once, at the very least concerning John de Morgan's disappearance.

Meanwhile, I love the strong emphasis on Veronica and Stoker's friendship, which borders on the romantic, yet not romantic.  They have a wonderful bond, which is quite intimate considering the fact that neither of the two are even remotely ready to start falling in love with each other.  And truth be told, while I'm a hopeless romantic, I'm kind of enjoying the two of them just being partners-in-crime, and am a little wary of the moment when, or even if, they decide to step their relationship up to a more steamy, romantic one.

What I think I'm loving the most is that Veronica and Stoker have a great understanding of one another.  And that no matter how terribly Veronica pisses Stoker off, or vice versa, the two of them still partner up and continue on their friendship, putting their conflict on hold until they find the time to deal with it.  I love that they actually talk to each other, and communicate their feelings.  I know that there were still a lot of secrets that the two of them are keeping from each other, but I love that they understand that about the other, and no one is pushing for a tell-all session.

Meanwhile, I also love that the two of them are so fiercely protective of each other.  It's a great friendship, even if it's sometimes a little lacking in chemistry.

I think I also liked that this book centered so much on Stoker and what had happened to him during his back story of tragic happening.  We've already had a little bit of Veronica's tale, so I'm very appreciative that we get to see some of Stoker's past--we've gotten so little of it, save for the obvious animosity he holds towards his brothers and his family.

Anyway...

I really look forward to the next installment, and to be honest, I don't know what to expect, and I'm not even sure what I want to expect.  I think I'm just going to be ecstatic to get a little more of the Veronica and Stoker banter.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/02/thoughts-treacherous-curse.html
Review
4 Stars
Quick Thoughts: Illusion Town
Illusion Town (Illusion Town Novel, An) - Jayne Castle

Illusion Town
by Jayne Castle
Book 13 of Harmony

 

 

A new adventure begins on Harmony…

With its opulent casinos and hotels, the desert city of Illusion Town is totally unique -- and will take you on a thrill ride you’ll never forget.

Hannah West isn’t the first woman to wake up in Illusion Town married to a man she barely knows, but she has no memory of the ceremony at all.  For that matter, neither does Elias Coppersmith, her new husband.  All either can remember is that they were on the run…

With Hannah’s dubious background and shaky para-psych profile, she could have done much worse.  The cooly competent mining heir arouses her curiosity -- as well as other parts of her mind and body.  And even her dust bunny likes him.

But a honeymoon spent retracing their footsteps leads Hannah and Elias into the twisting underground catacombs, where secrets from both their pasts will come to light -- and where the energy of their clashing auras will grow hot enough to burn…



Somehow, Illusion Town ended up feeling more present-day-earth-like... if that makes any sense.  The Harmony books are set in a futuristic world, on a planet in outer space with aliens and such.  And the past few Harmony books in the Rainshadow sub-series had started feeling less futuristic-spacey until about three books in, when the catacombs came back into the game.

And now Illusion Town comes around, with it's Vegas-like setting, a few references to the Arcane Society, and maybe a few instances of catacombs, and we stop feeling like Harmony once again.  If not for the presence of Virgil, the dust bunny, and the random mentions of the aliens and their catacombs, this could have been any random paranormal romantic suspense book in a present day Vegas-like city.

But really, that was my only quibble.

I liked the whole memory loss schtick, as awkward as the whole scenario was carried out.  Truthfully, it could have been executed a little bit better, but it wasn't terrible.  Watching Hannah and Elias piece their way backwards from a post psi-burn memory loss that somehow led to a Marriage of Convenience with no recollection of how they got there, waking up in a seedy motel together was interesting.  Even if the twisty reveals could have been handled a little less deliberately.

Meanwhile, another tie-in to the Arcane Society was also quite nice.  I liked having a dreamlight talent brought back to the forefront and found Hannah's dream walking skill an interesting one, though I would have liked a more in-depth look at it.  A lot of the story and the character biographies of both our hero and heroine felt a bit glossed over.  The developing bond and romance was sweet, even if not as steamy as I would have liked.

Again, I wished there could have been more of our dust bunny companion, but Virgil felt a bit left out.

Nonetheless, this is still a wonderful Jayne Castle slash Jayne Ann Krentz at her formulaic best, and I absolutely am looking forward to more in the Harmony series!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/02/quick-thoughts-illusion-town.html
Review
4 Stars
Quick Thoughts: Siren's Call
Siren's Call - Jayne Castle

Siren's Call
by Jayne Castle
Book 12 of Harmony
-- Book 4 of Rainshadow

 

 

In the mysterious world of Harmony, there are places filled with unexplored marvels.  But Rainshadow Island isn’t about to give up its secrets…

In the alien catacombs of Rainshadow, there are creatures whose compelling songs lure the unwary to their death.  That’s why Rafe Coppersmith, hired to clear out the catacombs for exploration, needs a music talent.  He knows the perfect one, but she probably doesn’t want anything do with him...

Ella Morgan had once fallen hard and fast for Rafe, but then he disappeared for months…and he’s not about to tell her why.  Ella, too, has secrets that only her dust bunny knows.  She’s not just a music talent, she’s a Siren: a paranormal singer capable of singing men to sleep—or to their deaths.

But once on Rainshadow, Rafe and Ella will learn that surrendering to passion doesn’t come without risks—and fighting fire with fire only adds to the flame…



This book was entirely enjoyable and entirely Jayne Ann Krentz, with her usual formulaic romance, and standard great characters.  I'm not complaining, but it DOES end up becoming a tad bit forgettable when the stories are always the same, even with a new adventure, a new addition to the ongoing series' conflict, and new developments with the overall Harmony world.

For this particular installment, I DID really like the entire Siren aspect of Ella's paranormal abilities, and enjoyed the references to "Old World" mythologies, as the characters like to put it.  I like knowing what kinds of abilities our characters possess, so even if the explanations seem a bit far-fetched, it's interesting to know that Ella's musical talent also resonates with glass and can make it... melt.

Rafe's abilities were a bit confusing, although knowing that he's lost his own, original abilities and is stuck in a psi-fever was an interesting twist.

I still love the atmosphere and the creativity of Rainshadow Island, as well as the newly discovered catacombs there.  The creation of Wonderland was quite interesting--kind of like a futuristic, alien Jurassic Park, frozen in time, and completely blue.

And then, once again, I would definitely like to see more of the dust bunnies.  While the previous installment had a wonderful appearance by our dust bunnies, I feel like this one was kind of lacking.  I mean, Lorelei was great with her powdered donut obsession, and her attachment to a wedding veil with sparkly crystals.  But she didn't really get a whole lot of story other than that, to be honest.

Nonetheless, this was still a wonderfully enjoyable paranormal, romantic suspense written by a wonderful author!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/02/quick-thoughts-sirens-call.html

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