Ani's Book Abyss

Ani's Book Abyss

I like to read. A lot.

Review
4 Stars
Quick Thoughts: Footsteps in the Dark
Footsteps in the Dark - Georgette Heyer

Footsteps in the Dark

by Georgette Heyer

 

 

Locals claim The Prior is haunted and refuse to put a single toe past the front door.  Left empty for years, and even their deceased uncle chose to live in a different house, far away from this particular property.  But the ramshackle old house, with its rambling charm is the perfect setting for a much-needed holiday for siblings Peter, Celia and Margaret, who have inherited it from their uncle.  It wasn't the lack of modern conveniences that made a summer spent at the ancient priory mansion such an unsettling experience.  It was the supposed ghost... or whatever was groaning in the cellars and roaming the countryside around Framley Village after dark.

But when a murder victim is discovered in the drafty Priory halls, the once unconcerned trio begins to fear that the ghostly rumors are true and they are not alone after all!  But traditionally ghosts don't commit murder.  And in this case, the things which go bump in the night are deadly.  With a killer on the loose, will they find themselves the next victims or will they uncover the true in time?  Does the key to the crime lie in the realm of the supernaturalr?  Or is the explanation much more down to earth with a more corporeal culprit of flesh and blood?



The premise for Footsteps in the Dark was definitely one that I was extremely excited about.  Even though I'm a scaredy cat, and don't really like scary stories, I get really giddy about haunted house stories, and a double whammy would be a haunted country house setting.

This is my second Georgette Heyer book, and while I didn't care for the first one I read of hers, Death in the Stocks, this book definitely made up for it.  By rights, it's not the best book in the world, and the investigative process was probably a bit questionable, but the characters were fun, even if the humor slipped into "tackily overdone" territory a few times.

And yet, I still found the bit of comical interactions rather appealing.  I DO wish that the women had more of a role in the investigation... and well, more of a role at all in the book--they seemed like background scenery, to be totally honest.

The romance was most definitely insta, which made it a little hard to take it seriously, especially since Margaret's love interest was more or less a creepy unknown who kept secrets when they first met.  I'd have been happier if their courtship didn't only consist of one walk together and a cryptic conversation in which Margaret is still unsure whether or not Michael Strange was a killer.

Nonetheless, the rest of the book was very enjoyable.  The few moments involving the Monk got appropriately creepy enough to maintain the haunted house atmosphere.  The side characters were also appropriately delightful as comic relief.

And so I'd definitely give Ms. Heyer my continued interest in her work.


***

Halloween Bingo 2019

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/quick-thoughts-footsteps-in-dark.html
Halloween Bingo 2019 | Update #1

 

Halloween Bingo 2019



So there's a nasty flu thing going around knocking out my co-workers, and apparently it had decided to make its way to me.  I started off being laid up in bed for a couple days, but even after feeling like maybe I was recovering, I've still been rather dizzy where the infection settled in my ears, so I spent the rest of the past week in a perpetual state of motion sick.

It has been an excruciatingly long week, and I haven't felt like doing anything at all, not even reading.  Sleep or staring off into space on the couch seemed to be my main recreations, and it wasn't until a couple days ago that I finally started feeling like maybe participating in life again.

So here's an overdue update for Halloween Bingo, of which I'm quite glad I've managed to finish anymore books at all.

Meanwhile, Red-Eyes Penni has returned to help me with my bingo game, as I was just too blegh to really feel like coming up with anything else fun.  We'll just return to a nice, tried and true marker that I, personally, really liked.

I've already made a lot of changes to my previously listed possible books, and I'm also going to determine a couple squares I'm definitely going to Transfigure, probably in the next update.  As for how I'm going to depict that in my graphics... we'll come up with something.  Now that I'm ready to human again, I might feel a bit more creative... maybe not.  We'll see.

I've just finished reading Footsteps in the Dark and Half-Off Ragnarok, and am planning reviews to go out soon in the next week.  I'm also hoping to be moving onto the next few books pretty quickly, as Ice and Lost Among the Living are both books by authors that I've always enjoyed, and will fly right through their books.

I'm super curious to jump into Truly Devious, which will actually be the second Young Adult book I will be reading for this game, which is more than I can say about most of the year already.  If I like it, there's a high possibility that I'll want to read the rest of the series... maybe for this game.

Happy reading and hope everyone's staying in good health.

 

 

Updated Marked Card:

 



Read: Red-Eyes Penni
Called: Green Square Outline

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

 

 

Up Next:

 

 

 

Books Read and Unallocated:


TBA

 

 

Squares/Books/Called Dates/Update Post Links:


Progress on my card:  3 squares called || 4 books read || 1 squares completed

 

Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
book
by

author
book
by

author
Dreamer's Pool
by

Juliet Marillier
book
by

author
book
by

author
 
~*~*~*~
 
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called: 9/13/19
Read: 9/11/19
Called:
Read:
book
by

author
book
by

author
book
by

author
Footsteps in the
Dark
by
Georgette Heyer
book
by

author
 
~*~*~*~
 
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
book
by

author
The Visitor
by

Amanda Stevens
book
by

author
Truly Devious
by

Maureen Johnson
book
by

author
 
~*~*~*~
 
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read: 9/14/19
Called: 9/1/19
Read:
Called:
Read: 9/1/19
Called: 9/4/19
Read:
Firelight
by

Kristen Callihan
Half-Off Ragnarok
by
Seanan McGuire
Lost Among the
Living
by

Simone St. James
The Sign of the
Four
by

Arthur Conan
Doyle
book
by

author
 
~*~*~*~
 
Called:
Read: 9/2/19
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
Called:
Read:
The Epic Crush
of Genie Lo
by

F.C. Yee
book
by

author
book
by

author
book
by

author
book
by

author
 

 

Daily Calls
 
Date Square Date Square
09/01 Ghost Stories 10/01  
09/02 Genre: Horror 10/02  
09/03 Creepy Crawlies 10/03  
09/04 Amateur Sleuth 10/04  
09/05 American Horror Story 10/05  
09/06 Dystopian Hellscape 10/06  
09/07 Fear Street 10/07  
09/08 Black Cat 10/08  
09/09 Relics and Curiosities 10/09  
09/10 A Grimm Tale 10/10  
09/11 Stranger Things 10/11  
09/12 Creepy Carnivals 10/12  
09/13 Country House Mystery 10/13  
09/14 Classic Horror 10/14  
09/15   10/15  
09/16   10/16  
09/17   10/17  
09/18   10/18  
09/19   10/19  
09/20   10/20  
09/21   10/21  
09/22   10/22  
09/23   10/23  
09/24   10/24  
09/25   10/25  
09/26   10/26  
09/27   10/27  
09/28   10/28  
09/29   10/29  
09/30   10/30  
    10/31  

 

 

Transfiguration Spell:

 



No Transfigurations used as of present.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/halloween-bingo-2019-update-1.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Long Rambling Thoughts: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo - Kevin F. Yee

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

by F. C. Yee
Book 1 of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

 

 

Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb.  You know, the type who wins.  When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.

But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged.  Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons.  While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.

Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries.  The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven.  But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.



I don't know what I was expecting when I went into this book, but it certainly was much more delightful and fun than I'd anticipated.  While the voice of Genie Lo's first person POV might have felt a bit immature, I sincerely appreciate all the humor and sarcasm--truth, there are some moments when the comical nonsense is overdone, but I'm not complaining, really.  As far as the story goes, at times I felt like I was watching/reading a cross between Inuyasha, Dogma, and various other modern adaptations of Journey to the West mashed together.  There might have even been a lot of American pop culture references, though I probably would have been MUCH more impressed had Yee included some Chinese pop culture references as well.

But seeing as we are looking through the eyes of uber millennial Chinese-American Genie Lo, I can kind of see the voice working.

While there have been a numerous amount of movie and television adaptations of Journey to the West or a simple Monkey King retelling, I think this is the first time I've stumbled across a book retelling based on the legend.  So, needless to say, I was very, very intrigued.

For anyone not familiar with this tale, Journey to the West follows the adventures of a Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who is tasked by the heavens and his king to travel west in search of a set of holy scriptures, which is said to be crucial in helping to alleviate the world of suffering.  His disciples include the infamous Monkey King, Sun Wukong; the Piggy Demon, Zhu Bajie; the River Demon, Sha Wujing; and Xuanzang's white horse, previously an exiled dragon prince.  As the tale goes, each of Xuanzang's disciples has been selected for this journey by the Siddhartha Buddha because they each have terrible sins to atone for, and therefore must guard Xuanzang on his journey.  Along the way, the five monks go through a lot of trials and tribulations, testing their resolve and determination.

It's actually a really, really long tale, but one of the most well-known legends in China.

Getting back to this book, Epic Crush was written in a chaotic fashion, but it still managed to draw me in, especially since Genie, her friends, and her mother were portrayed in a way that I really could relate with.  Genie is a very American, Chinese-American teenager living in modern-day America, under the close scrutiny of her very traditional Chinese mother.  We get to see glimpses of the affect culture has on Genie and her mother amidst their behavior towards one another, from the high expectations and immense pressure that Genie's mother puts on her, and Genie's latent need to seek approval and acceptance from her strict mother even in spite of her more independent, gruff personality.

Of course, heart-rending, heart-warming, self-revelation journey about a teenage girl, this book is not.

Because this book is more about Genie's destined path in life based on who she was in a previous life.  Basically, as Genie herself finds out, the fate of of the Bay Area is in her hands alongside that of a strange kid claiming to be the great Monkey King of old Chinese mythological lore.  Demons have been loosed from the Eighteen Levels of Hell, and the gods have decided that it's up to Genie and her Monkey King partner, Quentin Sun, to take care of the problem.

So... in a way, this book is sort of a hero's journey, following Genie as she relearns her magical abilities from her previous life of fighting evil demons.  Truth... I was quite floored by just exactly who Genie was in her previous life and chuckled my ass off.  Sorry Genie--you're a wonderful character, but that plot twist was gold!

Meanwhile, this book touches upon so many tangents that I'm not entirely certain we get a clear focus on any of the significant conflicts at all.  And the ending, truth be told, might have been a little rushed, and very deux ex machina... if only because this is, after all, a book based on Chinese mythology, and the gods and goddesses tend to have a hand in everything, while they torture the poor characters who are stuck on Earth who have to do their bidding.  In other words, the gods and goddess want the Earthly beings to take care of themselves, but they aren't above interfering to get the job done if the need arises... and only when they feel inclined to do so, which is usually whenever a story plot backs itself into a corner and needs divine intervention that had been denied for the past forty-nine episodes of a series, or two and a half hours of movie, or three hundred pages of book.

Le sigh...

One thing that I already knew about Chinese mythology and their gods... a lot of times, they act even more human than we expect them to, seeing as there's equal opportunity corruption, shirking of duties, irrational expectations, and childish behaviors.  In Chinese mythology and religion, gods, goddesses, and even Buddha are not infallible after all, and, as this book shows, can all be kinda douche-y.

Anyway, a few quibbles stood out to me, but might just be my own personal bias or whatever.

For instance, I had a hard time believing that Genie had no idea who the Monkey King is.  Maybe it's a generational thing, or maybe it's a Westernized upbringing.  But Journey to the West and the Monkey King is such a widely told legend in China, and there have been adaptation after adaptation, both old school and modernized, that it's hard to believe that Genie had never even heard of him.  Even my youngest brother, who has the least Chinese knowledge in my family, understands references to the Monkey King, even if he doesn't know the story or the details.

I would have expected Genie to at least be familiar with the name even if not familiar with the legend.  As Quentin puts it, it would be like American teens NOT knowing who Batman is... although I probably wouldn't have used that kind of comparison--Batman and the Monkey King are both two very different kinds of characters.

But I suppose if she never took any interest in her own culture, that might be possible.

The other quibble I might nitpick is how all the Chinese gods, goddesses, and even the demons all speak colloquial English without fail.  I might overlook that, because maybe our author just didn't want to go through the whole "he said in Chinese" narration--I understand that sometimes that can get a bit tedious.  Or maybe it's an unofficial understanding that the gods and goddesses just know how to blend into whatever setting they land in, whether it be ancient historical China, or modern day Bay Area California.  And so they somehow know how to speak flawless English with all the right slang and using all the most up-to-date references and such.  Who knows?

But being that Genie spends a good chapter ruminating about Quentin's perfect handle of the English language, I guess I'd have thought that she'd make note of whether someone was speaking English or Chinese at the time.  Or the fact that all of the very Chinese gods, goddesses, and demons spoke modern-day American English.

On the other hand, I DID like the random thrown in Chinese phrases, denoted in italics.  And for those Asians out there who are interested, apparently the Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin chooses to make her random exclamations in Cantonese instead of Mandarin, unlike the other Chinese characters in this book.  Just pay attention, if you understand Chinese or Cantonese, you'll note the pronunciations and romanizations are different.

My final quibble with this book is the extreme romanticizing of the Monkey King, Sun Wukong.  While I like the idea of a the Monkey King posing as a high school boy to implore Genie to help him with his demon hunting, I'm having a hard time reconciling the Monkey King I'm familiar with from the tales, the movies, the television series, with the immature teenage romantic depicted in this book.  In fact, I'm not even entire sure that romance was really necessary in this book (and I'm a hopeless romantic who reads romance like I breath air).

The Monkey King is a self-important, egotistical, arrogant being who loves himself, and loves his little monkey followers, loves his monk master and monk siblings, and loves his Goddess of Mercy... but not in a romantic sort of way.  Sun Wukong loves those he considers his or his family, but romance has always been beyond him, and as a monk in training, romance is even a strictly forbidden emotion.  In Buddhist teachings, human emotion oft times leads to suffering, and the only way to achieve Nirvana is to completely dispel all human emotion from one's being.

This means that the Monkey King, his monk siblings, and his master, aside from setting off to obtain the Holy Scriptures from the West, are also on a journey to obtain the highest level of monk-hood.

I'm not saying that the Monkey King would be completely immune to human emotion, and in fact, the whole point of the journey is to obtain that higher state of being.  So there will be trials and tribulations that test his ability to reach that higher level of Nirvana.

The impression I get from this story is that the Journey to the West adventure has already come and gone, and it's been centuries since.  I would have thought the Monkey King would be a little wiser than a teenage boy and show more maturity.  Yes.  The Monkey King was always a jokester and troublemaker, but his actions were always explained away by his lack of understanding about society's expectations, as well as the rules and regulations of the Earthly and Heavenly worlds, or even Hell.

But by this time in his life, after centuries... I wouldn't have expected him to so readily develop feelings for a teenage girl, even if she were the reincarnation of one of his best demon fighting partners.  Even if, setting aside the age difference, I wouldn't have expected the legendary Monkey King to be acting like an immature teenager at all, especially after the journey he went through with his monk master and monk siblings to reach that higher level of monk-hood.

Epic Crush aside, this is actually one of the hardest concepts for me to get behind--a supernatural being who has lived for hundreds or thousands of years, who's seen and experienced so much, showing up in a YA novel, acting like an immature child, and romancing main teenage hero/heroine, who, by the way, could very well pass for a great-great-great-great, many times great, grandchild... at best.  I don't care that you still look like a sixteen year old boy or a sixteen year old girl... you're not, so don't act like one.  It's hard to get behind, which is one of the biggest quibbles I have with this book.

Of course, my familiarity and impression of the Monkey King is obviously a personal opinion.  And over the years, the entire Journey to the West and the Monkey King stories have been recreated in rather romanticized ways in different, more modern movies.  And, spoiler alert, in the end, there has always been a rather bittersweet ending to those romanticized notions.

Anyway, that's kind of my two-cents... or twenty, seeing as how I've rambled on.

Nonetheless, this was a rather fun read and I may or may not continue with the next book.  I DID enjoy Genie Lo as an individual, though she's a lot more prone to violence than I'd have expected.  And I also hoped to see more of her friendship with best friend, Yunie, just because we see so few positive female relationships emphasized on.

I would recommend this book for fun, or if you're interested in Chinese mythology.  But I wouldn't go by Genie's snarky retelling of the Monkey King's tale, if I want to be honest.  It's not a terrible one and touches upon all the most important events that happen to Sun Wukong before the events of Journey to the West, but her rendition might be a bit more comical than it needed to be.

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2019

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/long-rambling-thoughts-epic-crush-of.html
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- August 2019

August felt like it started off pretty strong with the end of Booklikes-opoly, but I think things tapered off as the anticipation for Halloween Bingo 2019 started building up.  I had wanted to insert another book after finishing Death in the Stocks... but didn't want to be stuck trying to finish a non-Halloween Bingo book when Halloween Bingo officially started.

So instead, I spent my time watching YouTube videos, creating new planner layouts for the rest of the year, and taking up habit tracking as a new thing.  If anyone is curious about what I've been up to, I blogged about it in my Bout of Books 26 Wrap Up post.  There are photos involved and other links as well.

Meanwhile, now that September has started, so has Halloween Bingo 2019, and I'm pumped and already ecstatic about having finished two books already.  I hope I can keep up this pacing, but I'm sure my reading will be sporadic.  But no worries, there are a lot of books I'm really looking forward to reading, so I'm optimistic!

 

 

August Reads

 

 

 

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

 

None this month!  Yay!

 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

 

August Reading Stats

 

Total works read: 7

  • 4 print/e-book novels
  • 1 audio books
  • 2 novellas


Average rating: 3.14 Stars

  • Highest Rated:  3 books // 3.5 Stars
    • (1) Lethal Lifestyles by LynDee Walker
    • (2) Necessary Force by D.D. Ayres
    • (3) Open Season by Linda Howard
  • Lowest Rated:  Storm Front by Jim Butcher // 2.5 Stars


Series I started reading:

  • The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  • Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemmingway by Georgette Heyer

 

Series I completed:

  • None

 

Series I have made progress on:

  • Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller by LynDee Walker

 

 

Reviews & Notable Posts

 

Reviews Written

 

Memes

  • Did not meme this month!

 

Other Posts

 

 

Coming Up In September

 

Tentative TBR

 

 

 

Other Stuff

So I'm going to try to keep up with my Halloween Bingo updates as well as I can, but the main goal will just be to read and review.  I've been working on setting up how my tracking page will look, but I think I might end up falling back on some old, tried and true stuff I've used before.

Meanwhile, there should be another review coming up soon, and I'm also still going to do a mid-Bingo summary as well as an end-of-Bingo summary in October.  Otherwise, I don't really have a whole lot of plans for the next two months outside of reading, reading, and reading some more!  =D

 

 

2019 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/2019/09/monthly-reading-wrap-up-august-2019.html
Review
3 Stars
Brief Thoughts: Death in the Stocks
Death in the Stocks - Georgette Heyer

Death in the Stocks

by Georgette Heyer
Book 1 of Inspectors Hannasyde & Hemmingway

 

 

A Moonlit Night, a Sleeping Village, and an Unaccountable Murder...

In the dead of the night, a man in an evening dress is found murdered, locked in the stocks on the village green.  Unfortunately for Superintendent Hannasyde, the deceased is Andrew Vereker, a man hated by nearly everyone, especially his odd and unhelpful family members.  The Verekers are as eccentric as they are corrupt, and it will take all Hannasyde's skill at detection to determine who's telling the truth, and who is pointing him in the wrong direction.  The question is: who in this family is clever enough to get away with murder?



I don't know what to say about this one.  I enjoyed it and found the mystery interesting.  The writing was excellent and gave the book a nice British mystery vibe... if that makes any sense.  But the characters were all terrible people and I had a really hard time relating to them.  And it wasn't like they were monstrous people or anything... they were just all very unlikable characters.

The suspects were all jokey and flippant about their own situations.  Witnesses were belligerent and rude.  The entire Vereker family were entitled, spoiled, and over dramatic.  The one character I ended up even liking ended up being the culprit.

And then there was a strange attempt at a romance, which... I'm not familiar with Georgette Heyer and this is the first book I've read of hers...  But are all of her romances as detached, instantaneous, and barely significant as this?

Anyway, I was considering the next book in this series for Halloween Bingo 2019, so it'll give me another look at Georgette Heyer's writing.  On the other hand, while I had a lot of things to complain about, the writing was rather fun to follow and the book was just so that I couldn't really look away and never really felt the need to stop reading.

So I was entertained even if I didn't like the characters.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/brief-thoughts-death-in-stocks.html
It's Sunday! And Halloween Bingo Begins!!



I haven't quite decided on a tracking system yet, and am working out the details in my tables, so this is a little kick off update for Halloween Bingo 2019!  Just to let everyone know that I've already finished my first book and am now moving onto my next ones!  I've been anticipating starting books all week that I didn't even have it in my to try squeezing in one more book before the end of August.

And so I spent my time watching random YouTube videos and doing some more planning for Halloween Bingo.  It was pretty calming, truth be told.

 

 

What I Have Finished

 


I started off Halloween Bingo with a Locked Room Mystery by listening to the audio of The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle, which was part of the Complete Sherlock Holmes collection, narrated by Simon Vance.  I probably could have benefited from starting a different book, since this was only a three hour audio... and I realized I'd have finished it way before Halloween Bingo starting date, so I had to take my time.  I finished the last chapter this morning so I could count it towards the game.

It was an interesting listen, but I can't say that I enjoyed it as much as the other, few, Sherlock Holmes mysteries I've read so far.  There didn't seem much of a plot twist or mystery, and I was somewhat taken aback by the way that the Indians were portrayed... although I probably shouldn't have been surprised by that considering the time period this book was written.

And then there was romance... seemingly of the insta-variety, but I'll take it.  It was cute, in a way.  Almost.  If only because it irritated Holmes, and that made me giggle.

I may or may not review this book... or just leave it at this.  At this point, I'm just giving the book a 3-Star rating and moving on.

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 


I had originally wanted to read the next book of Inspector Hannasyde and Hemmingway by Georgette Heyer, Behold, Here's Poison! for the Country House Mystery, but I changed my mind.  A mystery involving a haunted country house seemed like it'd be much more fun.  And even though I'd found Death in the Stocks a bit unappealing, I'm only one chapter into Footsteps in the Dark and am already enjoying myself, so I'm glad I made that last minute decision.

I have also started reading The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee, and have not yet formed an opinion of it.  I'm so far removed from young adult books that it sometimes takes me a little bit to really get into one, but the premise of this one seems interesting enough, involving Monkey Kings and demons and a high school girl being initiated into saving the world from said demons... or at least that's the impression I got from the summary, so I'm game!

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 


These are the books I'm considering next, with pre-chosen squares for them as well... except for Fool Moon.  Since I didn't really enjoy Storm Front... and am now kicking myself that I didn't save it for the Dark and Stormy Night square, because there's a scene that involves a dark and stormy night, I'm having second thoughts about listening to Fool Moon.  I'll make a decision at some point, but audio books tend to be a little easier for me to follow if I'm not sure if I'll like the book or not, so I might just jump into it.

I'll be reading Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire and Firelight by Kristen Callihan for the following squares, and very much looking forward to both books.

 


And obviously, Fool Moon by Jim Butcher will be for:

 


Happy Halloween Bingo everyone!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/09/its-sunday-and-halloween-bingo-begins.html
Review
2.5 Stars
Thoughts: Storm Front
Storm Front  - Jim Butcher, James Marsters

Storm Front

by Jim Butcher
audio book narrated by James Marsters
Book 1 of The Dresden Files

 

 

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations.  Consulting. Advice.  Reasonable Rates.  No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does.  Well, technically, he's the only at what he does.  So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers.  For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don't play well with humans.  That's where Harry comes in.  Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever.  There's just one problem.  Business, to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs.  But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it.  And now that mage knows Harry's name.  And that's when things start to get interesting.

Magic - it can get a guy killed.



So well, apparently I'm one of few who wasn't immediately enamored of this book/series.  And strangely, I'm not sure if it was the book itself or my own personal habit of not getting along with urban fantasies.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book enough--it was easy to listen to on audio, and there were some parts that were interesting to an extent.  And it's not like I purposefully go into any book, ever, planning not to like it.  In fact, I was excited about listening to this book because I'd seen so many great reviews about the series.

Unfortunately, history has shown that I somehow just don't really get into urban fantasy very well.  I try, because I've always been interested in urban fantasy, and all of the series sound like something that I would love to follow... but so far, there's only really been one or two series I've found that I like.

Ultimately, there was more about this book that didn't really hook me in the way I'd been expecting to be hooked, based on all the squee and high star ratings I'd been seeing all over the place.  Of course, I know better by now that I don't always have to like what everyone else does, so no big deal.  It's entirely possible I'd over-hyped myself.  And maybe things get better as the series progresses.

As far as the story goes, the mystery itself was intriguing, and the entire concept of a wizard private investigator had loads of potential.  Harry Dresden had his appeal, but I think that he maybe sometimes went a bit overboard with the snark... and that maybe he's a bit of a doormat compared to pretty much EVERYONE in this whole book.

I had a hard time seeing the close friendship between Harry and his Chicago P.D. connection, Karrin Murphy.  In fact, the two of them seemed like master and slave, going by the way they interacted with one another.  I understand that Harry wanted to remain on good terms with Murphy so he could continue to consult with the police through her, but there comes a time in life when one can only let another harass, insult, and bully him so much before maybe drawing a line somewhere. 

As friends, Murphy seems to readily beat and threaten Harry without a care for him when he tells her that he can't help her with the murder investigation they way she wants him to help.  I mean, would it kill her to just listen to Harry's reasons as to why he probably shouldn't go and research how to use magic to explode someone's heart?

As business associates, Murphy seems to have little respect for the help that she requests from Harry.  He'd give her a bit of information, and all she tells him is, "That's not good enough, Harry."  And when he requests some information that could potentially help him figure out what he's dealing with, she refuses to tell him anything.  Ya'know, cause that's reasonable somehow.

Of course, it probably also doesn't help that Harry keeps his secrets as well.  As much as I'd like to argue that Harry needs to be allowed to explain to Karrin why he can't do certain things... well, he doesn't exactly try very hard.  It's kind of martyr-ish, in a way.  And the annoying kind at that.

I keep listening to him get abused and insulted and bowled over by everyone in the book.  I keep seeing him get angry, outraged, even... and then he just moves on without setting people right about mistaken ideas or whatnot.  He mopes about how alone he feels and how no one understands the difficulties of his position... but doesn't bother telling anyone why.  And even dismisses all of their behaviors as just not really knowing or understanding.  Kind of a, "It's not their fault they didn't know this about me..." type of ordeal.

Well, Harry... TALK TO THEM!

The rest of the book was kind of a play on cliches, as Harry's life (and this book) is surrounded by sexy women who are attracted to him despite his social awkwardness, and self-proclaimed "terrible luck with women".  There is not ONE character in this whole book, except maybe Bob the magic skull, whom I actually really liked--everyone is either rude or just plain mean.  Even the EMTs who make a brief appearance are assholes.  Seems like Harry, flaws and all, is the only person in this book who acts rational... until he doesn't.

Are there no good, nice people in the "Harry Dresden" world?  Is it a given that all people in urban fantasies have to act like jackasses?  Because I seem to keep coming across this kind of thing.

Maybe I just don't read the right urban fantasies--though, as I'd stated earlier, there IS one particular series I'm hooked to.  But others seem to only appeal to me long enough to read just the first book.  This is probably my own problem.

Anyway...  I'm considering hopping into the next book anyway, just to see if the rest of the series will hook me enough to keep me going.  I'm not out to flambe a series I don't like.  I'm genuinely hoping I'll get hooked.  So... we'll see, I guess.

On a side note, the audio narrated by James Masters was quite good.  He's not the best narrator in the world--there was a LOT of huge breaths being taken and a LOT of sighing going on that kind got a bit irritating after awhile.  But Marsters seems to give Harry that snarky, dry sarcasm that's scattered all over the book.  He doesn't exactly manage the rest of the characters all that well, but the audio book made it easy to follow the story.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/thoughts-storm-front.html
Halloween Bingo 2019 | This Week's Early Start!

 

Halloween Bingo 2019



IMoonlight has kicked off Halloween bingo with an early start week rather than just on August 31!.  We can start reading one book this week, and as long as doesn't get finished until September 1, it'll count towards Halloween Bingo!

After a brief consideration, I decided that I would start with The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle for the Locked Room Mystery square.  It is a three hour audio book, but I tend to take a long time with audio books, and if I only listen to it during my drive to and from work, the chances of finishing it before September 1 rolls around will be less than if I started reading one of my other books.

I had briefly considered starting one of my hard cover or paperback books, but just went for the audio book.  Decision made.

 


I already started listening to The Sign of the Four from The Complete Sherlock Holmes audio book collection from Brilliance Audio, narrated by Simon Vance.  It's been a long time since I've listened to a Simon Vance narration!  =D  I'm very much enjoying his portrayal of Sherlock--a nice touch of arrogance for the famous detective tells you exactly who's speaking without it being said.

Following are the books I'm considering next.

The plan is to try and read all the books I need to pick up from the library first, since those will be the least accessible to me, especially if they're not quite available for borrow yet.

 


I will more than likely start off with Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire on September 1--I do miss me some Aeslin mice.  And then from there, it'll be a guessing game... although the chances that I'll roll into The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee is pretty big.  I'd like to read Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson for the Baker Street Irregulars square or the Sleepy Hollow square; unfortunately, it's a wait list for now, so I'll see if it becomes available soon.  If not, I DO have a backup.

 


Meanwhile, a couple books that I'd like to add into the mix are Firelight by Kristen Callihan and A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber.  I own both of these books and can read them whenever, but if I get into the mood, I'll just go for it.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/halloween-bingo-2019-this-weeks-early.html
Bout of Books 26 Wrap Up
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, Aug 19th and runs through Sunday, Aug 25th in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure.   There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team



I have been frightfully lazy in the bookish world lately.  Of course, being frightfully lazy still managed to finish me two books for the week of Bout of Books 26.  Except that I'd started both of those books way before the readathon even started.

So I took lazy and laid back to another level.  After finishing my Storm Front audio book, I took my sweet time, reading a chapter or two of Death in the Stocks a day until I finished it.

It was... actually kind of nice to not think about blogging or reviewing for a while.

With Halloween Bingo coming up in less than a week, I know I'll be doing a lot of updates and trying to keep up with my reading.  As much as I want to take it easy and not stress myself over my Halloween Bingo reading list, I have an obsessive streak that won't let me just take it one book at a time.  I've already made plans and have an idea what direction I'll be going with my books.


In the meantime, I've been spending more time than anything watching YouTube videos about bullet journaling.  I came across an interesting post about habit trackers, and then spiraled into bullet journal layouts, ideas, and more and more articles and videos.

For anyone unfamiliar with this, there are some nice YouTube tutorials for how to manage your daily tasks and future tasks, and just about anything using a bullet journal format.  The ones I've been watching are the ones by YouTuber AmandaRachLee, and here's her bullet journal playlist.

Of course, as I'd told my BFF the other day, I don't have the patience to sit there and hand draw out calendars, journal layouts for different weekly spreads, shopping list set ups, etc...  As pretty as a lot of those spreads look, and as much as I love to doodle, I'm not really that artistic... and also, I'd probably give up bullet journaling pretty soon, getting super tired of redrawing layouts each month.

On the other hand, I'm more of a spreadsheet person.  I use spreadsheets a lot to track a lot of things.  In fact, I'm more willing to spend hours stuck in detailing and formatting a spreadsheet form for my planners.  Because I can make subtle changes to the forms without starting completely over, and if I mess up, I can use the handy 'undo' button.  I can copy and paste these forms for future use for other things.  It just seems easier.  And also, I'd get straighter lines using a spreadsheet than trying to draw them on my own, really...

So rather than getting into bullet journaling, I decided to take some ideas and incorporate them into some of the weekly planner layouts and monthly calendars I'd already been using regularly.

And then, going a step further, I decided to take the Habit Tracker idea to help make myself accountable for things I'd like to get used to doing routinely.

 


The photo's lighting is a bit dark, but the gist of it is that I've got a lot of activities on the left that I'm wanting to do on a daily (or at least a routine) basis, and the days of the month are along the top.  I have the form spread split into three specific sections, 'A.M.', 'P.M.' and 'Exercise.'  Exercise is the biggest habit I'd like to make myself get into more routinely.

Each day, when I do the activity, I color in a box.  Or in the case of the bottom 'Exercise' section, I'm simply writing in numbers, such as how much time I'm spending on the elliptical, or how many reps and sets of a certain exercise I did.

Since I didn't start the tracker until a few days ago, I decided to mark off the entire first part of August... and while at first I was just going to put a big 'X' through all that space... I just started doodling lines and the next thing I new, I had diamond patterns going on.

The entire form was created on my computer with Google Sheets, so as you can see there's a whole block where I merged a bunch of boxes so I could add a message for the weekend pertaining to the exercise activities... basically that I wasn't going to start the exercise stuff while working twelve hour shifts this weekend.  I figured that was reasonable enough.

 


And this is my Habit Tracker I went ahead and set up for September and printed out.  I didn't think I was going to do a lot of decorating aside from drawing in a header... but I was thinking about trees and leaves, then looked up some tree doodles, intending on just adding two trees in the bottom corners... and then ended up filling the entirety of the bottom of the sheet with tree doodles...

And yes, I realize now as I'm typing this that the bottom of the sheet got cut off on the photo.  But I'm too lazy to go back and re-upload a new picture, so everyone will just have to use their imaginations.

 


Finally, here's my typical layout for a monthly calendar.  It's a blurred picture, but the green boxes I have pre-inserted in Google Sheets and have my work schedule.  There are about five lines for each day for tasks and other planning activities.  Then there's a side bar for weekly to-dos that I don't have specific dates for.

To spiffy things up, I decided to draw some leaves around the 'September', which doesn't show very well.  And then added some grass and a tree.  That was about when I hit the extent of my artistic abilities and called it a night.

This is what I'd been up to for the past few days when I probably could have read another book.  But, hey, this was a pretty fun and relaxing activity.


Anyway...

Enough about my side activities (soon I'll probably end up pulling out some old Mandala books and spend hours coloring).

As far as bookish stuff goes, as I'd stated earlier, I finished two books for Bout of Books 26, both of which were already about half read when I started the week.  In total, I read 189 pages of Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer, and finished listening to the last 265 minutes of  Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

This wasn't the progress I'd hoped for, but it was what I'd expected.


Oh, and while I'm at it, guys...

 


Bear's back!  It's hard to tell if Baby's all that happy with that...

 

 

Books Finished During Bout of Books

 

 

 

What's Hopefully Up Next


I don't really know what I'll be reading next in this week before Halloween Bingo starts.  I might rush through a romantic suspense if I feel like it... or I might just keep watching bullet journaling videos.  Who knows?

So I don't really want to list any tentative reads at this point since I'm not really in that mind set.

So this was probably the most un-readathon related update post I've ever written.  But oh well.  It's my blog and I'll talk about what I want to, right?  =D

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/bout-of-books-26-wrap-up.html
Bout of Books 26 - Starting Post
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, Aug 19th and runs through Sunday, Aug 25th in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure.   There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team



Bout of Books 26 started today, but I didn't really get much of a chance to read, so not much of an update.  While I wanted to update everyday, I'm not sure that's actually going to happen, so I'm changing one of my initial goals to just updating whenever I finish a book... maybe.

I'm fairly certain that, at the pace I've been going, I'm not really going to make my reading goals of wanting to read 3 books this week.  But we'll see how it goes.  If I manage, then I'll be quite satisfied.  I'm hoping to jump into some books I've been meaning to read, that are already on my shelves.  Hopefully, I'll get to them and get some good read in this week.

Happy Reading Week to everyone!

 

 

Main Goals


I only have three simple goals for this August 2019 Bout of Books Readathon

1) Post regular updates, daily... or every other day, maybe.  Update with each finished book.
2) Read at least 3 books.
3) Read books already owned.  (After finishing the Georgette Heyer book).

 

 

Books I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

Read-a-thon Hopefuls

 



I'm going to try to have as much fun as I can.  If anyone else is interested in joining the read-a-thon, the badge at the top of this post will take you to the Bout of Books official website.  The link under the picture takes you directly to the sign-up post.

Let's all have some fun for this week of a read-a-thon!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/bout-of-books-26-starting-post.html
Review
3 Stars
Brief Thoughts: Ember
Ember - Kristen Callihan

Ember

by Kristen Callihan
Darkest London #0.5 (novella)

 

 

Prequel to Firelight.

After a fire consumes the Ellis family fortune, the beautiful and resourceful Miranda finds herself faced with an impossible dilemma: enter a life of petty crime or watch her family succumb to poverty.  But once her fiancé learns of her descent into danger—and of the strange, new powers she's discovered—saving her family may come at the high price of her heart.

When Lord Benjamin Archer's one chance for redemption is destroyed by corrupt London antiquarian Hector Ellis, he vows to take what Ellis values most—his daughter Miranda.  Forced to hide his face behind masks, Archer travels the world hoping to escape the curse that plagues him so that he can finally claim his prize.

But once Archer returns home to London, will it be revenge he seeks?  Or will the flame-haired beauty ignite new, undeniable desires?



In preparation for Halloween Bingo 2019, I'm reading a few books and novellas that are either the first book or, in this case, a prequel to a book I want to read for the game.  I figured, what better book to read for the Darkest London square than a book from a series titled Darkest London, which follows a girl with a supernatural gift for creating fire?  Apparently, there's also a mystery involved in said book so I'm super excited to read it.

And so, I decided to go ahead and read Ember, which is the prequel novella to Firelight (the first book in the series), and found it intriguing enough to keep me hooked, even if the outline of the novella itself was a bit chaotic.  I'm also not sure that the novella did much for me as a story if it weren't attached to a book I'm interested in reading, and which has gotten enough positive critique for me to want to keep moving forward.

For a little while, I was having trouble following the novella's story's events, especially with the hopping timelines that didn't seem to have any reasoning behind them.  The brief tangents following Archer were pretty confusing, and didn't feel like they contributed much to the story.  I DID find that I liked Miranda, but that was the extent of how I felt about all the characters.  I didn't much care for Miranda's at-present lover nor her father.  And I'm not certain I saw how Miranda's and Archer's tangents fit together.

Maybe it'll all make sense in Firelight, since the novella is supposed to give more of an insight into the first book of the series, according to a lot of reviews I'd skimmed out of curiosity.  So I decided to get it read.  So rather than being a historical romance with a paranormal twist, the conclusion of Ember was rather open-ended and bittersweet.  There's so much unresolved conflict going on in Miranda's life that I'm tempted to just hop right into the book to get at a possible Happily Ever After... or at least a more satisfying resolution for her.

After all, there are still more books in this series I can read for the Darkest London square, right?  The series is seven books long, and any of them would fit the square... and then some!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/brief-thoughts-ember.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Quick Thoughts: Lethal Lifestyles
Lethal Lifestyles - LynDee Walker

Lethal Lifestyles

by LynDee Walker
Book 6 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller

 

 

The groom is the prime suspect in a murder at his own rehearsal dinner.  Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke doesn't believe he's the killer—but now it's up to her to find out who is.

When Nichelle Clarke is invited to be the maid of honor in her friends' Virginia vineyard wedding, she looks forward to the celebration.  The storybook ceremony has been planned to the tiniest detail, and the rehearsal dinner is going off without a hitch.

Until a dead body is found in a barrel of award-winning Riesling.

But when the dust settles, the corpse is no longer Nichelle's biggest worry.  There is a growing list of evidence pointing to her friend the groom as the killer.  Nichelle doesn't buy it, but finds herself the lone skeptic.

Wading through skeletons of past love and loss, Nichelle sets out to prove the groom's innocence.  But the journey forces her to face hard truths about how well she really knows her closest friends.

Can Nichelle track down the truth in time to save her friend from life in prison--or worse?  Assuming he is innocent, who is the real killer?  And more importantly, will they strike again?



I'm having a hard time deciding how to feel about this book.  On the one hand, this was an exciting, fast-paced read where the action just keeps the story moving forward.  On the other hand, you once again get Nichelle spending a lot of her time racing against the clock, the upper administration, her rivals, and now other mysterious higher powers, to find the truth in a murder mystery.  And once again, law enforcement is conveniently absent with no power to do any true investigating.

While I love that Nichelle is such a strong, resourceful heroine, I'm also exhausted after reading this book (and not only because I kept at it when I probably should have been sleeping).  There was SO MUCH going on in this book, and so much going on in Nichelle's life already, that I'm frankly kind of getting tired of the constant upward battle that she's facing off with with her weasel-y publisher.  And while I understand that the rivalries are fierce and probably necessary between her and other ambitious reporters, sometimes the battles get a little too catty for my liking... and maybe too repetitive.

BUT, on the other hand, I really DID enjoy the mystery in this book; sans all the office drama, I think I would have really loved all the action, the investigation, and all the strange twists that were thrown in.  I also loved that Nichelle and Kyle could team up and investigate the case together without romance or hurt feelings getting in the way--they DO make a pretty good team.

Unfortunately, speaking of the romance, I'm STILL not feeling Joey, the mysterious mafia love interest, now serious significant other.  I just don't see enough of him and don't know enough of him to care about this love story.  It's been six books into the series, and Joey is really taking the tall, dark, mysterious, and handsome love interest trope to a new level.  At some point, I feel like we need to start getting to know Joey more if I'm to believe that Nichelle and Joey are having a serious relationship outside of physical attraction.  And because of that, I'm actually warming up to Kyle a little bit more... even if I still like Nichelle's co-worker Grant Parker more.

At least we get to see Kyle on a more personal level and we're getting to know him better with each book.  His cockiness is also starting to grow on me, even if his over-protective streak is a bit tiring.

Apparently I'm hard to please.

As far as the series itself goes, I'm still very much enjoying it, so I'll definitely continue reading, even if I'm not planning on jumping into the very next book right away.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly 2019


Roll #20:
Square: The Stay-cation 6 | Read a book set in your home town, state, or country, or that you checked out of your local library, or that has been on your (physical) bookshelves since last summer.

How it fits:  This book takes place in my home country (U.S.A.)
Page Count: 372
Cash: $3

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/quick-thoughts-lethal-lifestyles.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Brief Thoughts: Madam, Will You Talk?
Madam, Will You Talk? - Mary Stewart

Madam, Will You Talk?

by Mary Stewart

 

 

Widowed Charity Selborne had been greatly looking forward to her driving holiday through France with her old friend Louise - long, leisurely days under the hot sun, enjoying the beauty of the parched Provencal landscape.  But when Charity arrived at their hotel in the picturesque French town of Avignon, she had no way of knowing that she was to become the principal player in the last act of a strange and brutal tragedy.  Most of it had already been played.  There had been love--and lust--and revenge and fear and murder.

Very soon her dreams turn into a nightmare, when by befriending a terrified boy and catching the attention of his enigmatic, possibly murderous father, Charity has inadvertently placed herself center stage. She becomes enmeshed in the schemes of a gang of murderers.  And now the killer, with blood enough on his hands, is waiting in the wings.



Well, this isn't my favorite of the Mary Stewart books I've read so far, but I'll give a kudos for the strong start it had, although the book was punctuated by a lot of banal moments, some of which were quite idyllic, but others of which were just a little draggy.

The truth is, I really liked Charity a lot, because she comes off strong and flawed, all at the same time, which is what makes her an interesting character.  More so, I was really, really getting into the book as the danger and the conflict began to pick up.  And even as I started to find the rest of the mystery quite predictable, I still got drawn into the story and the atmosphere.

But then the instalove happened, and I found myself a bit jarred out of the book.  I guess after following Charity's high speed chases, her escaping from Richard, the man she believed to be an evil murderer... I hadn't really expected the sudden turn of events that happened mid-book.  The insta-attraction might have been believable to an extent, but the sudden declarations of love kind of threw me.

The second half of the book then proceeded to spin further out of control, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about the chaotic conclusion to the mystery and the thriller itself.  Everything kind of all happens at once to bring all the tangents to a head, and yet I kind of felt like the ending was a bit unsatisfying.

Nonetheless, this was exciting enough to keep me hooked until the end.

On a side note, was it just me, or was there an extremely unhealthy and unbelievable amount of smoking throughout this book?  Or was it just the time period?


***

 

Booklikes-opoly 2019


Roll #18:
Square: Robot Card | Create a number list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you.

Note:  Used in place of Beach Week 13.  See post for the numbered list.
Page Count:  372
Cash:  $3

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/brief-thoughts-madam-will-you-talk.html
Halloween Bingo 2019 | Ani's Tentative Reading List!

 

Halloween Bingo 2019



I'm super happy and have been anticipating my card for weeks ever since the first stirrings of Halloween Bingo 2019 news started presenting.  And lookie!  Not a lick of horror to be found!  =D  And I know this is Halloween Bingo, and I should maybe step outside of my comfort zone a little bit, but the truth is, I'm not feeling the desire to step too far outside of my comfort zone these days, so this is perfect!

I wasn't really going to create a tentative reading list, if only because I didn't want to lock myself down into any particular books.  But on the other hand, I DID want to give myself a little bit of direction, specifically as to what to start reading when the game starts.  So I started making a list of books I wanted to read that would fit my card, and the next thing I know, I've already picked books for some of my squares.

On the other hand, most of my squares are fairly broad, which gives me a lot of wiggle room to work with, such as Romantic Suspense, Genre: Suspense, Genre: Mystery, Amateur Sleuth...  I've got tons of book options that will fit these squares.

Some other squares, I've got an idea of what I'd like to read for already, which I'll list below.  But a few of the squares will require some thought such as Country House Mystery, Locked Room Mystery, and the more specific It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, In the Dark Dark Woods, Full Moon, or Sleepy Hollow.  Looks like I'll be combing some lists... although I'm not above using those freebie Transfiguration Cards we're being given.

In terms of books I'd like to read, I'm quite determined to catch up with the Lady Darby Mystery series, which I've already read up to book three of.

 


Lady Darby Mystery series by Anna Lee Huber --
As a historical mystery series, these books fit a few of the squares on my card such as Genre: Mystery or Amateur SleuthA Study in Death will fit Paint It Black... though unfortunately I don't think any of these books take place in London for Darkest London... drat.  I might be able to make a bid for Romantic Suspense and/or Genre: Suspense.  Otherwise, we have the  broadest squares to play with--Read By Flashlight or Candlelight and Poe Raven Free Space.

Anyway, I'm kind of stealing a bit of Themis-Athena's format in creating my tentative reading list.  So let's move forward.

 

 

The Squares on Ani's Card:

 

 

Paint It Black:
-- There are a lot of possibilities for this square, but some of the covers I'd considered I'm not sure if they really qualify as black--they're dark, but not quite black.  But no matter, I have one specific book that will definitely fit.  Mostly, I was looking at books that I already own, though of course, other books I don't actually own got slipped in...

Most Likely
A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber
The Black Opal by Victoria Holt

Other Possible Books
The Black Tower by Louis Bayard
India Black by Carol Carr
Broken by Cynthia Eden
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

 

 


 

 

Halloween:
-- This square was a little harder for me to find a book for.  I had considered using a Transfiguration spell for this, but found at least one book I can read.  And I'm actually kind of excited for it.

 

 



Most Likely
A Night in Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny

Other Possible Books
None...

 

 


 

 

In the Dark, Dark Woods:
-- I didn't really do much of a search for books to read for this square, but I have a few possibilities, as well as one particular book I will most likely read after asking about it in the FAQ and getting the go ahead.

 

 



Most Likely
Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier

Other Possible Books
In the Woods by Tana French
Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

 

 


 

 

Spellbound:
-- Obviously, there are a lot of books I can think of that will work really well for this square, with a few cozy mysteries about witches that came to mind.  But then I remembered that I'm a tad behind in my Discworld reading, and so decided that the best book would be one about wizards... or in this case, a sourcerer!

 


Most Likely
Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Other Possible Books
It Takes a Witch by Heather Blake
Mercy Strange by Alisa Woods
Boundary Crossed by Melissa F. Olson

 

 


 

International Woman of Mystery:
-- After a bit of clarification, I decided that I had a lot more possibilities than I had considered previously.  I'm not really going to make any sticking decisions on books, so I'm leaving this square blank for the time being.  I will be reading books written by authors not from or currently residing in the U.S.

 


Mostly Likely
Undecided

All Possible Authors
Tana French
Emmuska Orczy
Agatha Christie
Mary Stewart
Georgette Heyer
Zen Cho
Rin Chupeco
Juliet Marillier

 

 


 

 

Read by Flashlight or Candlelight:
-- Like the previous square, I'm not going to lock in any particular book and just mood read for this one.  But I'm definitely going to read either a hard cover or paperback for this square.  It would feel a bit... pointless to read one of my e-books, on my back-lit Paperwhite, by candlelight.  But there are some books I'm considering based on the kind of book and the kind of mood that reading by candlelight will set.

 
Most Likely
Undecided

Possible Books
The Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
I'll Be Watching You by Andrea Kane
The Black Opal by Victoria Holt
Kill and Tell by Linda Howard
Shadow Woman by Linda Howard
The Devil's Footprints by Amanda Stevens

 

 


 

 

Sleepy Hollow:
-- This took some research, but I managed to find some possible books.  I'm not going to make a decision yet, because only one of the books I'm considering is one that I already own.  The others, I'll need to acquire somehow, more than likely from the library, and just hope that the book is available when the game starts.

 


Most Likely
Undecided

Possible Books
The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (Vermont)
It Takes a Witch by Heather Black (Massachusetts)
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Connecticut)
The Cabin by Carla Neggers (Massachusetts)
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (Vermont)
The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson (Massachusetts)

 

 


 

 

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night:
-- Honestly, I've got nothing for this square.  I've gone through the linked book list and nothing really stands out to me, but I'll probably comb the list again in a couple weeks and see if anything looks good at that time.  It's entirely possible that I'll just use a Transfiguration spell.  There is one particular book I'm considering if I can get access to it from the library when the time comes.

Possible Books
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

 

 


 

 

Country House Mystery:
-- There are so many possibilities for this square, but the book I'm most interested in happens to be part of a series, and the second book in a series, at that.  So at present, I'm reading the first book of said series so that I can read that book for this square.

 

 


Most Likely
Behold, Here's Poison by Georgette Heyer

Other Possible Books
Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer
Dead Man's Island by Caryolyn G. Hart
Cover Her Face by P.D. James

 

 


 

 

Modern Noir:
-- I read The Big Over Easy for this square last year, so I'm considering reading the second book in that series.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I'm feeling in the mood for Noir at all, and so it's possible I'll use a Transfiguration spell on this square.  But we'll see.  I've only got three spells to use, so I need to consider carefully.


Possible Books
The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
The Bat by Jo Nesbo
In the Woods by Tana French
The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

 

 


 

 

Gothic:
-- This is another broad category that I've got a lot of possibilities for.  For certain, I'd like to read something by Barbara Michaels or Mary Stewart.  Unfortunately, I have no idea what I want to read, as I have a lot of Mary Stewart books on my owned book shelves, but I'd have to acquire a Barbara Michaels book.  I've also got one more Victoria Holt book on my owned shelves that needs to be read... and then there are some other authors with loads of possibilities...

Possible Books
This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart
Witch by Barbara Michaels
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart
The Sea King's Daughter by Barbara Michaels
Wait for What Will Come by Barbara Michaels
Secrets on the Mist by Anna Lee Huber

 

 


 

 

Grave or Graveyard:
-- The last time we had this square, I read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman... and it'll be quite hard to top that book, truth be told.  And really, I don't have a lot of possibilities.

 

 

 


Possible Books
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris
The Visitor by Amanda Stevens

 

 


 

 

Poe Raven Free Space:
-- This square is my "I want to read this book, but I don't know where to put it" free space.  It'll probably get filled last unless I manage to make some concrete decisions on the rest of the squares.  More than likely, I'll slide a romantic suspense in here... or one of the Lady Darby Mystery books.  Or maybe one of the InCryptids books...  I just really don't know why I'm even including this square in this post...

 

 


 

 

Baker Street Irregulars:
-- I read The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson for this square last year.  I'm considering reading the next book in the series... although I've also got another possible pick in Gail Carriger's Finishing School series, which I believe to be a mystery, but I could be wrong.  I don't read a whole lot of YA books these days, but I'll be damned if I use the Transfiguration spell on this square without at least trying to find something I'd like to read.

Possible Books
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

 

 


 

 

Genre: Suspense:
-- Another freebie space for me.  I'll throw in whatever I can't fit anywhere else.  I'm most interested in getting a romantic suspense read, so that's probably what's going to happen.  There's a slew of these in my Kindle library as well as my physical shelves that I'll probably choose from.  Although I'm also interested in reading something by Nora Roberts or Jayne Ann Krentz.

All the Possible Books!!
Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts
Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts
Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
Hidden Talents by Jayne Ann Krentz
Silver Linings by Jayne Ann Krentz
Eye of the Beholder by Jayne Ann Krentz
Shadow Woman by Linda Howard
Ice by Linda Howard
Close Up and Dangerous by Linda Howard
This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart
The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart
I'll Be Watching You by Andrea Kane
Broken by Cynthia Eden
Ricochet by Jessica Andersen

 

 


 

 

Darkest London:
-- I'm mostly looking at either Amanda Quick or Sherry Thomas, although not all of their books take place in London.  There are other books I'm interested in, so I'm not locking in any particular book.

 

 

 


Possible Books
A Study in Scarlet by Sherry Thomas
A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas
Affair by Amanda Quick
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

 

 


 

 

Monsters:
-- I've been meaning to read the rest of the InCryptids series and any of those books will fit into this spot.  I've already made a decision, if you want to know the truth, so if this book ends up unavailable... well, I may cry.  I'll think about some back-ups.

 

 


Most Likely
Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire

Other Possible Books
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling)
Bodyguard Bear by Zoe Chant
Wildfire Griffin by Zoe Chant
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

 

 


 

 

Ghost Stories:
--  Probably something by Simone St. James.  I've got two books left of hers to read, but only one of them, I think, is actually a ghost story.  So I'm hoping to get a hold of it and get started when September rolls around.  Otherwise, I think I have a few other possibilities.

 

 


Most Likely
Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James

Other Possible Books
Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer
Haunted by Heather Graham
Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
Witch by Barbara Michaels
The Crying Child by Barbara Michaels

 

 


 

 

Locked Room Mystery:
-- I think Halloween Bingo is a great time to read certain books that aren't part of my usual repertoire of reading.  And I think I've had my set of Sherlock Holmes books on audible, narrated by the awesome Simon Vance, for much too long without having touched them.  It's time...

 

 


Most Likely
The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Other Possible Books
Cover Her Face by P.D. James
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

 

 


 

 

Amateur Sleuth:
-- Since I'm on a mission to catch up with the Lady Darby Mystery series, I might just read one of those books for this square.  As neither Kiera Darby nor her love interest are considered law enforcement, this will work.  But if I'm not in the mood, there are plenty of other books I can read.  Since I'll be reading A Study in Death (yes I'd already decided) for the Paint It Black square, then I'll reserve the next book for this square.

Most Likely
As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber

Other Possible Books
A Brush With Shadows by Anna Lee Huber
An Artless Demise by Anna Lee Huber
Deadly Politics by LynDee Walker
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas
Broken by Cynthia Eden
The Daydreamer Detective by S.J. Pajonas

 

 


 

 

Diverse Voices:
-- After a bit of a search, I actually ended up finding one particular book that I'm pretty excited to read amidst a list of some other books I added to my TBR.  And while it's a young adult book, the summary caught me and I'm super interested in the modern day tale involving the legendary Monkey King of Chinese mythological fame!  And then something about battling demons and stuff...

Most Likely
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

Other Possible Books
Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

 

 


 

 

Romantic Suspense:
-- Because this square is like free cake for me.  This list could go on forever, so I'm just going to give myself a few top pick possibilities.  Although I DO have a desire to stick to more crime thrillers and murder mysteries... in other words, no survival, on the run stuff, or military romances... unless there's a murder mystery involved.

 


Possible Books:  See book list for Genre: Suspense above.

 

 


 

 

Magical Realism:
-- I'm thinking something by Sarah Addison Allen or Neil Gaiman.  I think there might even be a Maggie Stiefvater book that will work in here if she's published anything new lately...  But this is another square I'm not feeling, so a Transfiguration spell will more than likely get used.

 

 


Possible Books
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

 

 


 

 

Genre: Mystery:
-- This is another freebie space for me since I've been really into crime thrillers since forever.  I've also been dabbling in classic mysteries and historical mysteries.  And a lot of the romantic suspense I read are also crime thrillers and murder mysteries.  Then there are the cozy mysteries I could also choose from.  For the most part, I'll probably try to stick to the Lady Darby Mystery books just to catch up with the series.  Since I've already set two other Lady Darby books for two other squares, then I'll temporarily set the next book in the series for this square.

Most Likely
A Brush With Shadows by Anna Lee Huber

Other Possible Books
An Artless Demise by Anna Lee Huber
A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
Murder Lo Mein by Vivien Chien
Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts
Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts
I'll Be Watching You by Andrea Kane
Shadow Woman by Linda Howard
The First Victim by J.B. Lynn
Cold Dark Places by Kylie Brant
Deadly Politics by LynDee Walker

 

 


 

 

Full Moon:
-- I did a bit of research for this square and even started listening to the audio book of Storm Front by Jim Butcher just to prep for the next book, Fool Moon when the game officially starts.  Which pretty much means that I've listed a lot of books, but I'm already set on one particular book.

 



Most Likely
Fool Moon by Jim Butcher

Other Possible Books
Feather on the Moon by Phyllis Whitney
Omens by Kelly Armstrong
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Street of the Five Moons by Elizabeth Peters
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

 

 

The Transfiguration Spell

 


The card speaks for itself, but I'm so glad we have this option this year.  But I'm not going to make any sticking decisions yet on what cards I want to transfigure, because as the month wears on, my reading mood might change, and I will either want to transfigure a different square, or end up finding a book for a square I can't find a book for at present.

But at this point in time, the squares I'm most likely to use my Transfiguration Spells on are the following three:

 


And then the squares I would end up choosing as replacements:

 


I'm of the mind to go ahead and transfigure one of my squares to Cryptozoologist just so I can include another InCriptids book into the game.  And the Murder Most Foul and Serial/Spree Killer, and Supernatural squares are broad enough in definition that I'd have tons of books I can use for them if it comes to that.  Dark Academia and Truly Terrifying are my favorite of the new squares added this year, so I'm considering finding a book for them and adding them to the game.

So many decisions to make, but with only three Transfiguration Spells, I don't want to make too many changes at the moment.  So this post is super huge with lists of books and possibilities.  Although at least I've got a little bit of direction so that I have a sort of idea what book I'll be starting two weeks from now.

 

 

Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- July 2019

Whelp!  This is probably THE latest I'd ever posted a wrap up for the previous month.  Time went by and I just got plain lazy about everything.  I could feel myself going into a bit of a slump, so I let myself go for a bit, not really forcing myself to really read unless I was feeling it.  In the meantime, I'm slowly catching up with some of my posts, and slowly catching up with some of my reads, and especially prepping for Halloween Bingo, to start in two weeks.

July came and went pretty quickly, and I think I read as many books as I'd expected, considering how busy the beginning of the month turned out to be.  With weddings and puppies and all sorts of family stuff happening... I know I kind of let myself drift a bit on the reading front.

But no matter, we read a lot of great books, none of which I truly disliked, even if there weren't any that really stood out to me.  All-in-all, the month was a great one.

 

 

July Reads

 

 

 

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

 

None this month!  Yay!

 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

 

July Reading Stats

 

Total works read:  8

  • 8 print/e-book novels


Average rating: 3.56 Stars

  • Highest Rated:  2 books // 4.0 Stars
    • (1) Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin
    • (2) Cover Shot by LynDee Walker
  • Lowest Rated:  A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters // 3.0 Stars


Series I started reading:

  • The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters
  • DC Icons by various authors

 

Series I completed:

  • None

 

Series I have made progress on:

  • Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller by LynDee Walker
  • Wolfe Security by Laura Griffin

 

 

Reviews & Notable Posts

 

Reviews Written

 

Memes

  • Did not meme this month!

 

Other Posts

 

 

Coming Up In August

 

Tentative TBR

 

 

Other Stuff

I'm hoping that with fewer social obligations, I'll be able to get some more reading done for the month of August.  But I'm also relaxing myself a bit so I don't feel overwhelmed as Halloween Bingo rolls around.  After half the month has gone by already, and I've only really finished reading a couple books, I'm just going to go the rest of the month without really making myself read anything unless I really want to.  A short hiatus feels like it's in order while there aren't any reading games going on for me to try to keep up with.

With Halloween Bingo looming in the near distance, there are some books that I'm not sure will fit in with the game, so I'm kind of wanting to get them read if I can get to them before September.  And well, will you lookie at that--it looks like I'm still in the mood for some historicals despite the fact that I'd read so much the first part of the year.

I don't know if I'll actually read all those books I've listed, but it'll give me a list to start with if I'm looking for a random book to pick up, especially for the Bout of Books readathon coming up in the next week.  And obviously blogging might be at a minimal this month, as well.

 

 

2019 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/2019/08/monthly-reading-wrap-up-july-2019.html
Read-a-thon: Bout of Books 26
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, Aug 19th and runs through Sunday, Aug 25th in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure.   There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team



Time flies and it's time for another readathon again in a couple days.  I'm not certain how many books I'll actually read for this one, so going to participate just for kicks.  After all, it's a great way to motivate myself to get some reading done.

Once again, I'll be keeping my goals simple and straight forward.  I'm hoping to to be able to post an update daily (though we'll probably just play by ear on that count), I'm hoping to read at least three books for the week, and I WANT to ONLY read books from already owned TBR shelves.  Unfortunately, I'm also currently reading a library check-out, which I might still be reading by the time Monday rolls around.  But after that, I'm planning on picking an already owned book for the rest of the week.

Unlike in the past, I'm not going to list any tentative books I'm planning on reading.  I might just do a book draw or something.

 

 

Goals


This BoB, I'm reiterating the same goals I had for the last one:
1) Post regular updates, daily... or every other day, maybe.
2) Read at least 3 books.
3) Read books already owned.

Wish me luck!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/read-thon-bout-of-books-26.html

currently reading

Progress: 6/318pages
Progress: 37%
Mercy Strange - Alisa Woods
Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson