Ani's Book Abyss

Ani's Book Abyss

I like to read. A lot.

Review
2 Stars
Brief Thoughts: Midnight Exposure
Midnight Exposure - Melinda Leigh

Midnight Exposure

by Melinda Leigh
Book 1 of Midnight

 

 

Point, click, die.

When two hikers disappear, their hometown in Maine blames the blinding storms.  But the truth is far more sinister.  Unaware of the danger, tabloid photographer Jayne Sullivan follows an anonymous tip to find the most reclusive sculptor in the art world.  Instead, she finds sexy handyman Reed Kimball—and a small town full of fatal secrets.

Five years ago, Reed buried his homicide detective career along with his wife.  But when a hiker is found dead, the local police chief asks Reed for help.  Why was a Celtic coin found under the body?  And where is the second hiker?  Avoiding the media, Reed doesn’t need a murder, a missing person, or a nosy photographer.  Then Jayne is attacked, and her courage is his undoing.

Reed must risk everything to protect her - and find a cunning killer.



This book would have been more interesting without all the romantic angst, which, when the conclusion rolls around, seemed awfully moot, as none of the misunderstandings really affected anyone's feelings.  There was instalust, which quickly became instalove, and a couple who are unwilling to talk to each other, even though they are willing to sleep with each other, and think that they're in love.

At the very least our heroine wasn't TSTL, but that's little consolation for the fact that a whole bunch of other stuff in the book bugs the crap out of me.  Not least of all was the way too predictable murder mystery / crime thriller.  I most definitely saw the killer's identity from the beginning.

As I have a predisposition to give second chances to an author who didn't thoroughly annoy me--because this book was less frustrating than it was just formulaic and predictable--I will probably move onto the next book and see how that one works out.

Otherwise, pending my decision to continue or drop this series, I'll have to move onto my backup series for the Can You Read a Series in a Month? Challenge for this month.

Meanwhile, this book was also read for the 24 Festive Tasks, Door 18: Winter Solstice / Yuletide:
'Read any book that takes place in December; OR with ice or snow on the cover; OR that revolves around the (summer or winter) equinox; OR a collection of poetry by Hafez'.

This book takes place in December.

I'll come back and add the Door's graphic when it is officially revealed!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/brief-thoughts-midnight-exposure.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Thoughts: The Woman Left Behind
The Woman Left Behind - Linda Howard

The Woman Left Behind

by Linda Howard
Book 2 of GO-Team

 

 

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it.  She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC.  She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit.  The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun... or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina--who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice--making it through the rigors of training.  The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation.  In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates.  What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria.  While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives.  Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for.  He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.



The truth is that this book probably doesn't deserve more than 3 Stars.  It isn't the best outlined, and would even come across as fairly boring to anyone looking for an action-packed story where our heroine gets left behind, and needs to fend for herself until her team comes back for her.  But the summary blurb is a little bit misleading, frankly, and the action-packed part of the book really doesn't take place until well into the last half of the book.

The Woman Left Behind had tons of potential to be a great book, but it fell short of that by maybe spending too much time on Jina's day-to-day training life with the GO-Team she's been re-assigned to work with.  This part of the book, in itself, is already a little unbelievable, and requires a very high willingness to suspend disbelief.

By narrative, Jina ends up spending six months on physical training and drone training.  In the book, there are times where you want to get on with the story.  On the other hand, I can't find myself just blowing off that first half of the book she spends challenging herself and pushing herself to physical limits she never knew she had.  And I honestly loved the camaraderie built between her and a team of macho super paramilitary men who didn't think she was going to make it in the first place.

Color me contradictory--those six months she spends getting to know her knew teammates was truly loads of fun.  I love a character driven story, and I love great character interaction, and this book certainly had that in spades.  To others, it might come off dragged out and too banal for a romantic suspense, or military romance thriller.  And once again, the entire ordeal requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief anyway--because who in their right mind actually thinks its a great idea to take a bunch of chair-bound tech geeks and force them through high impact military precision training so that they can join these elite GO-Teams in dangerous operations?

I have a hard time believing that the higher ups couldn't have just transferred in some military personnel, already trained for battle, who also have great tech skills.

But moving along, because something about that entire training sequence sort of appealed to me anyway.

Yeah, I'm kind of wishy-washy in my opinions.

And speaking of the romance, for romance lovers, this book might also kind of fall to the wayside.

While we DO have a lovely couple to focus on, we unfortunately don't get to see much of the chemistry, or the romantic bond building between Jina and Levi.  And also, Levi sort of runs hot and cold, which helps him get categorized squarely on my asshole list.  I don't care that he also had some very good personality traits, he crossed a couple lines he shouldn't have crossed and that makes him an asshole.  The way that the romance was resolved made me a bit pissy.

On the other hand, I like how Jina's own self-revelation journey/conflict was concluded.  Somehow, it seems appropriate for her.

So without a whole lot of suspense and without a whole lot of romance, and without even a focal conflict, this book, instead, ends up becoming a sort of self-journey book for Jina, as an individual.  And it's a fairly thought-provoking journey that I thoroughly enjoyed.

And we'll just kindly side-step that strange, background villain subplot that lurked along the entire book, and took up precious book space every few chapters.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/thoughts-woman-left-behind.html
Review
4.5 Stars
Rambling, Rambling Thoughts: Midnight Blue-Light Special
Midnight Blue-Light Special - Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special

by Seanan McGuire
Book 2 of InCryptid

 

 

The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity--and humanity from them.  Enter Verity Price.  Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and when her work with the cryptid community took her to Manhattan, she thought she would finally be free to pursue competition-level dance in earnest.  It didn't quite work out that way...

But now, with the snake cult that was killing virgins all over Manhattan finally taken care of, Verity is ready to settle down for some serious ballroom dancing—until her on-again, off-again, semi-boyfriend Dominic De Luca, a member of the monster-hunting Covenant of St. George, informs her that the Covenant is on their way to assess the city's readiness for a cryptid purge.  With everything and everyone she loves on the line, there's no way Verity can take that lying down.

Alliances will be tested, allies will be questioned, lives will be lost, and the talking mice in Verity's apartment will immortalize everything as holy writ--assuming there's anyone left standing when all is said and done.  It's a midnight blue-light special, and the sale of the day is on betrayal, deceit...and carnage.



Midnight Blue-Light Special was, in a weird way, a bit tamer than Discount Armageddon--and when I say tamer, I really just mean that it didn't have as many scattered story lines buzzing around the main conflict.  While Discount Armageddon was a somewhat slow-paced, banal following of Verity's daily life in New York, finally focusing on a main conflict about halfway through the book, Midnight Blue-Light Special had a more focused plot driving the story and the characters from the beginning.

By all rights, the way in which Midnight was outlined and executed should have made me love the book much more than it's predecessor.  But for some strange reason, I didn't detect that giddiness I'd had from reading Discount Armageddon--I attribute that to the fact that my squee-ness from finding a shiny new series to obsess on kind of faded.

That isn't to say that I didn't immensely love Midnight.  It just means that I'm now aware that there may have been some glaring foibles in Discount that I purposefully ignored because I was enjoying it so much.  In truth, Midnight is, indeed the better book, although I would have loved to see more of a presence from our main love interest, Dominic De Luca, who seemed to sort of fade into the background for a certain period of time.

On the other hand, you get to see more from the cast of cryptids whom Verity is always around, and I love how quickly they all band together to help Verity when she gets into a jam.  As the resident cryptozoologist cum cryptid hunter in Manhattan, you always saw a wariness coming from some of these humanoid cryptids, all wondering if Verity will suddenly change her credo and start slashing away at every non-human she comes across.  So I loved that that wariness sort of slips away as soon as the city is threatened by a purging from the Covenant, and Verity has now got a group of cryptids ready to defend their community as well as their cryptozoologist.

I liked seeing more of the cryptids as more than just background decoration in Verity's world.  In fact, from the beginning of this series, the cryptids were always a close second set of main characters through Verity's eyes.  I liked that Kitty comes more to the forefront, and you can see how conniving she can be, even if for her own bogeyman-like, moralistic reasons--she certainly wasn't like her jackass of an uncle from the first book.  I like that Sarah, and even Istas, was given a bigger role in this book than just sidekick to Verity's missions.

Sarah wasn't really a personal favorite of mine, but she certainly had much more depth than we are likely to give her credit for when she goes to work trying to help Verity out of trouble.  She's got an inner struggle that is quite illuminating considering her line of cryptid species--she's a Cuckoo, described as a telepathic bug-like creature who looks human, but is far from being human.  Cuckoos are also described as being sociopaths from birth, wherein their seemingly one and only goal in life is to use their telepathic abilities to manipulate others (specifically humans) into giving them everything they own, and then leaving said human in ruination, especially financially.  Cuckoos don't eat human flesh, but they DO ruin human lives.

So it's kind of interesting to watch Sarah continuously be embarrassed of her own species, showing a very distinct exception as a member of her kind.  At the same time, she doesn't necessarily restrict the use of her Cuckoo abilities just because she could potentially be a dangerous creature.  Her pleasures in life are quite harmless if you overlook the fact that she still has the innate ability to make fancy hotels let her stay in their nicest, grandest suites for free.  Otherwise, she enjoys reading comic books, spending time with Verity, going to college math classes, and chatting with her long-time crush, Artie, online almost every evening.

Meanwhile, we also get a quick glimpse, if superficial, at Istas, the waheela--a bear-dog therianthrope with a tendency towards violence and lacy Goth-Lolita costumes.  It's both cute and strangely creepy at the same time, especially when Istas lets out her various one-liners, often involving the approval of violent carnage being involved.  It's fascinating following her line of logic as well, because in spite of her carnage-happy declarations, a lot of what she says has a simplistic logic to it, especially when concerning who to rip the head off of, or who NOT to rip the head off of.

And now I'm rambling again, so it's entirely possible I was lying about not being giddy about this book.  I absolutely loved it, and I'm guessing that getting a chance to give it a quick analytic write-up is doing much more to make me want to read more.

I would absolutely love to come back to this world anytime!  And sort of lament the fact that the next two books will be more focused on Alex Price, Verity's older brother.  I mean, I love the little tidbits we get about her family every so often, and I've been wanting a family reunion since she first mentioned her grandmother's spelunking through Hell, or other dimensions and worlds in search of her missing grandfather.  I mean, how often do you get to call home and be told that Mom is spelunking Hell with Grandma?

But I have nothing against Alex Price, despite the fact that I would have liked to have had more interaction between him and Verity before being dropped in his realm.  I guess, being that I've fallen quite in love with Verity and her world (and her colony of Aeslin mice), I just want to hang out for a bit longer with her and the Manhattan community of cryptids.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/rambling-rambling-thoughts-midnight.html
24 Festive Tasks | Door 5: Armistice / Veterans' Day

 

 

(November 11)

 

 

Updates


11/13/2018:  Completed Tasks 1 and 3.  Updated Book Task for possible books to read.

 

 

Task 1


Using book covers (real or virtual), create a close approximation of your country’s flag (either of residence or birth), OR a close approximation of a poppy.  Take a pic of your efforts and post.
-- COMPLETED 11/13/2018 --

 

"Hi!  I'm the Penni Book Cover Poppy!"


I think I got it right...  And Monkey's trying to help as well... somehow...

 

 

Task 2


Make an offer of peace (letter, gift, whatever) to a book character who has particularly annoyed you this year.
-- SKIPPING this one --

 

 

Task 3


Tell us: What author’s books would you consider yourself a veteran of (i.e., by which author have you read particularly many books – or maybe even all of them)?
-- COMPLETED 11/13/2018 --

 

 


I don't know if I'd consider myself a veteran of any author's books, but according to my reading lists and shelves, it seems like Jayne Ann Krentz (including her historical and futuristic alter egos, Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, respectively) is the author of whom I've read the most works.  I give a lot of this accomplishment to the previous two years when my main mission was to finish reading the Arcane Society and Harmony series, which both series together have a total of 23 books combined.  On the side, I've been happily inhaling Amanda Quick books.  And this year, I had made a goal to read at least 12 Jayne Ann Krentz books--a number I actually ended up doubling during that time frame when I was trying to climb out of my reading slump.

A close second (though not all that close) is Jill Shalvis--according to my lists, I've read about 32 of her works, including novellas and short stories as well.

I'm also going to give a quick shout out to Laura Griffin and Cindy Gerard, both of whom I've been devouring books by since I first discovered them.  I've probably read all of Cindy Gerard's romantic suspense books, and I've read all but a couple of Laura Griffin's work.

 

 

Task 4


Treat yourself to a slice of poppy seed cake and post a photo. If you want to make it yourself, try out this recipe: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/poppy-seed-cake/ … or this one: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1629633/lemon-and-poppy-seed-cake
-- Also SKIPPING this one --

I'm not feeling up for poppy seed cake.

 

 

Book Task


Read any book involving wars, battles, where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover.


These are the books I'm considering.

 

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/24-festive-tasks-door-5-armistice.html
24 Festive Tasks | It's Monday! Style - Random Book Update #1



Or rather, it's actually Tuesday... but whatevs...

I'd planned on having this posted on Monday, but time got away from me, so here we are.  Eh...

And because I'm super excited about fully participating in this game... well, in a laid back manner, of course... I've spent a few days formatting update posts, my tracking tables, and my card markers.  I seem to enjoy updating in bulk lately, so here's a brief glimpse of my book plans as well as what I've already finished reading, and what I'm currently reading for 24 Festive Tasks!

 


This can be a sort of 24 Festive Tasks -- "It's Monday! What are you reading?" style!  Except that it's Tuesday...

 

 

Finished Reading

 

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
by Steve Brusatte

Read for Door 22: New Year's Eve (December 31)
"Read a book about endings, new starts, or books where things go BOOM!"

It took a lot of patience and perseverance, but I've finished this book..

This book fulfills all the parts of this task, really, with the beginning and ending of the dinosaur era, as well as the author's chapter on a comet being the cause of dinosaur extinction--things go BOOM!

 

 


The above two are books I've already finished reading within the duration of 24 Festive Tasks, and I'm just waiting to see where best to insert them.  As I will mention below in the Diwali Book Task, The Woman Left Behind fits as a "latest in a series."  Meanwhile, a little birdie might have told me that Midnight Blue-Light Special will fit in a later task... and now I sort of see the task in which it could fit within the ones already revealed.  So again, I'm just going to let it sit here, completed read, for now and see where else I might put it.

 

 

Currently Reading

 

Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park #1)
by Michael Crichton
audio book narrated by Scott Brick

Reading for Door 1: Dia de los Muertos (November 1)
"Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico."

A book that recently popped into mind was Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park.  Crichton was an author I always looked forward to reading during my high school years, and even though I haven't read all of his books yet, I feel like I've made a good sized dent in the list.

This book will fulfill the "re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author" portion of the task.  It could even count as "a book from a finished (dead) series."

 

 

Midnight Exposure (Midnight #1)
by Melinda Leigh

Reading for Door 18: Winter Solstice / Yuletide (December 21)
"Read any book that takes place in December OR with ice or snow on the cover OR that revolves around the (summer or winter) equinox OR a collection of poetry by Hafez."

I hadn't really had a book selected for this door yet, but I started Midnight Exposure and found that the setting is in December, which will at least fulfill the first part of the book task: "any book that takes place in December."  I'm reading this book for another challenge anyway, so I can knock out two challenges at a time.  Yay!

 

 

Planning to Read

 

How the Dukes Stole Christmas (anthology)
stories by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe

Planning to read for Door 20: Christmas (December 25)
"Read any Christmas book."

I saw an anthology with Tessa Dare as one of the authors and decided to go for it.  A book about how the Dukes stole Christmas seems to fit the bill for this door's book task, I think!  =D

 

 

 

The Light Fantastic (Discworld #2 / Rincewind #2)
by Terry Pratchett

Planning to read for Door 23: Hogswatch (December 32)
"Read anything by Terry Pratchett."

Whelp, this one was an obvious choice.  The second book in the Discworld series, as well as the next Discworld Book Club read, of which will start in December.  Looking forward to it!

 

 

 

 

Still Undecided


I'm still considering books for the following Door Book Tasks, if only because I've got several other books on my reading itinerary at the moment, so these aren't really a priority or anything.  But there are books that can be considered for these Doors, and thinking out loud (or in blog form, more like) tends to help me make decisions.  Of course, in some instances, I've got more than one book that will fit a Book Task, so I don't want to make any definite decisions yet.


Guy Fawkes Night (November 5):  Set in the UK, political thrillers, involving any monarchy or revolution; books about arson or related to burning.

I'm considering The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy for this one, but I also have a couple crime thrillers involving arson I could use, like Nora Robert's Chasing Fire.  So this one is still undecided.

 



Melbourne Cup Day (November 6):  About horses or a horse on the cover.  Books with roses on the cover or about gardening; anything set in Australia.

A book with roses on the cover or horses on the cover shouldn't be hard to find.  I DO have one book that takes place in Austrailia, but it was a Kindle freebie that I never really felt in the mood to read.  On the other hand, I also have a Susanna Kearsley audio book that would fit here as well.  The truth is, it's a big possibility I'll just read (or rather, listen to) The Rose Garden.

 



Diwali (November 7):  Read a book with candles on the cover or the word “candle” or “light” in the title; OR a book that is the latest in a series; OR set in India; OR any non-fiction book that is ‘illuminating’ (Diwali is Sanskrit for light/knowledge and row, line or series)

This seems to be a book task with many, many more options.  Aside from the books listed below (where there's a duplicate), I've also got a book listed above, Midnight Blue-Light Special, that I've already finished reading.  But as I'd already stated in my 'Diwali' main page update post, there are three particular books I'm looking to read:

 


I really will just read all three of these books anyway, then decide where to insert them, with the hope that these books may qualify for any future, as yet revealed Door's Book Task.


Armistice Day (November 11):  Read any book involving wars, battles, where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover.

I think I've got several books that may work for this one.  Obviously, as a romance reader, I've considered those infamous military romances.  However, going through the list of books I already own, I've found a few books that might do it.

 


I've got at least two military romances, Cover of Darkness by Kaylea Cross, the second in a series.  Next is Behind Enemy Lines by Cindy Dees, the first book in a series.

Then there are two fantasy novels, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, and His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (both audio books narrated by two narrators I love!).  Both of these books involve a war during an alternate reality in history.  These count, right?


Festivus (December 23):  Read any comedy, parody, or satire.

Still searching...


Kwanzaa (December 26 - January 1):  Read a book set in Africa or the Caribbean OR by an African, Caribbean, or African-American author OR a book with a green, red, or black cover.

Epiphany (January 6):  Read a book with three main characters OR a book about traveling on a journey to a faraway place OR a book that’s part of a trilogy OR with a star on the cover OR with the word “twelve” or “night” in the title OR or concerning kings or spices.

I'm wanting to read Juliet Marillier's Blackthorn & Grim series.  I can read Dreamer's Pool for the Epiphany Book Task, "a book that's part of a trilogy" and then continue on with Tower of Thorns or even Den of Wolves for the Kwanzaa Book Task, "a book with a green, red, or black cover."  Then I can slip the other book into another Book Task if it qualifies.

 

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/24-festive-tasks-its-monday-style.html
Review
2.5 Stars
That's a Wrap: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Stephen Brusatte

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

A New History of a Lost World
by Steve Brusatte

 

 

The dinosaurs.  Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished.  Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries.  Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before.

In this captivating narrative (enlivened with more than seventy original illustrations and photographs), Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field—naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork—masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy.  Captivating and revelatory, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a book for the ages.

Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers—themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period—into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more.  This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged.  The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.”

Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research—which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”—and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.

An electrifying scientific history that unearths the dinosaurs’ epic saga, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will be a definitive and treasured account for decades to come.



This is one of those books that could have been cut down in size readily if we edited out a lot of the details of personal facts.  The author tended towards rambling when he starts talking about his own trips to different countries, his own achievements, and his discoveries.  He also gives more personal background information about a lot of his colleagues than I really cared to know about, and made general, sweeping declarations about how someone was "the single most important contributor to such and such" which made me feel kind of wary.

He also liked to remind the reader that he's a very, very outstanding paleontologist, and that he's worked with lots of great paleontologists, and that he, alone, has made several discoveries, none of which he actually gives names to.  Repeatedly.

There was a lot of repetition of information, bogged down with details as well.

There's a particular part of one of the chapters that kind of stood out to me, because he spends about five or six pages describing the shifting of lands that started breaking apart the super-continent of Pangaea.  He describes volcanic activity and lava flow, and how it was what had caused the first mass extinction pre-dinosaur domination.  This particular fact was talked about, repeatedly in those few pages.  Those first few paragraphs had already told me what I needed to know about the end of the Triassic period.  But he went on as if he thought he hadn't already given me enough information to understand the global significance of this event.  It got to a point where I forgot that there was another point to this particular chapter.

I'm tempted to count the many times he described Tyrannosaurus Rex's body shape and structure, specifically emphasizing the creature's puny, pathetic arms--I think there might have been at least six instances... within a couple pages.  I think I get it.  And I figure I already knew this information without it being harked upon.  And I feel like maybe we should think about T-Rex's feelings when you keep insulting his itty-bitty arms, because that's just rude.  It took him an entire chapter of emphasizing those tiny arms on this enormous apex predator before getting to the point: Why the tyrannosaur still had said small arms anyway?

The rest of the chapter wasn't actually bad, truth be told, if he'd have just stuck with the science.  Instead, he tried to be dramatic, opening the chapter with a tacky introduction, seen through the eyes of a triceratops, describing the T-Rex attack of several hadrosaurs.  It seemed highly unnecessary.  As did many of his other dramatic introductory scenes to a couple other chapters in the book.

Not all of this book is so terrible, however.  If it's one thing I could deduce while reading this book, it was that our author is, indeed, knowledgeable and passionate about his career and the study of dinosaurs.  There were a few fun new facts I, personally, learned about dinosaurs.  And if he was so inclined to go further into some evolutionary studies, I'd be interested.  He certainly touched on evolution several times.  And you even get a pretty good look at the timeline of the pre-dinosaur era, the rise of the dinosaurs, their evolution over millions of years, and then the final fall of their dominance on Earth.

I didn't need a dramatic telling of the "dinosaur outside his window" to know about the "birds are dinosaurs" tidbit.  It's one of the things they teach in a basic science course, y'know.  And his exclamation is a bit oversimplified anyway.  I did, however, appreciate that he then went into the journey that paleontologists went through to finally make and prove the connection between dinosaurs and birds, though.  But his declaration seemed a bit out of tone and unnecessary in light of the fact that, as I already said, this is something you learn in a basic science or biology course about evolution.

And, in a nutshell, evolution is so much more complicated than a simple declaration that "birds are dinosaurs."

This book could have actually been quite informational (and it was, in a way), and it could have been much more interesting to read.  But there was too much non-dinosaur story telling involved, which really just managed to make me impatient with the book.  It certainly could have used a good edit to cut out unnecessary information.

 




This book was read for the Flat Book Society as well as 24 Festive Tasks, for the New Year's Eve Book Task.

 

The Flat Book Society


And since we don't really have a graphic for the New Year's Eve door yet, I give you a brief reintroduction to Dino Baby!  Rawr!

I am the true apex predator!
I dominate all of your squee's!

 

 

DNF-ing This One: The Littlest Cowboy
The Littlest Cowboy (The Texas Brands Book 1) - Maggie Shayne

The Littlest Cowboy

by Maggie Shayne
Book 1 of The Texas Brands

Rating:  No Rating
Progress:  7% into book

 

 

Baby on his Doorstep!  Sheriff Garrett Brand has raised his entire brood of siblings single-handedly, and he’s done his best to teach them some values, to mold them into honorable, responsible, and trustworthy human beings.  So when a baby lands on the doorstep of the Texas Brand, his first question is which younger brother is in for a butt-kicking?  But the little fellow isn't named after Ben, or Wes, or Adam, or Elliot.  The little feller is named after him – Garrett Ethan Brand–according to the note his mama left behind.

He’s still racking his brain to figure it all out, when a woman shows up at the ranch in the dead of night, spitting, fighting mad, and accusing Garrett of murdering her sister and stealing the baby!

Chelsea is confused, heartbroken, and too mad to think straight, and the same trouble that found her poor sister is right on her tail.  But of all the places she and the baby could've wound up, Garrett thinks this ranch is the best one.

Because this is one family that knows how to pull together and trouble doesn't stand a chance against The Brands of Texas.



I had a bad feeling about this book after reading the first chapter.  On a whim, I started skimming the rest of the book and found that I probably wouldn't like what came next.  From the short snippets I read here and there, we've got a bunch of cavemen-like alphas, and one irrational TSTL heroine.  There's also a lot of telling instead of showing.

There was one particular scene I decided to read, somewhere mid-book where we find out that there's a very dangerous man out there trying to find the heroine and her baby nephew.  A very dangerous man who might have killed her sister.  A very dangerous man who has resources and other dangerous men working for him.  So what does she do?  She decides that she's just going to go straight home where she lives, all by her lonesome, with a child in tow... where said very dangerous man already knows how to find her, and can just waltz up to her home and snatch the baby... maybe killing her while he's at it.

To be fair, to her, however, at some point in the book, the men all decide together that they need not tell the womenfolk just HOW dangerous this very dangerous man truly is.  They don't need to know.  No need to worry the fragile hearts of the little ladies, right?

......

There's entirely too much testosterone going on in this book for me.  Since when is NOT telling someone how much danger she (or even he) is in a good idea?  Ever?

I've read a lot of crap books lately.  I'm too tired to put up with another one.

I loved Maggie Shayne's Brown and de Luca series and have been hoping for another great from her.  But I suppose sometimes you just cut your losses where you can.  This is an earlier Maggie Shayne work, though, so maybe I should stick with her newer stuff.

I picked this book as one of my Reading Assignment Challenge books, and just as well, it was a Kindle freebie.  So I'm glad I got this book out of the way.

Moving on to something else now!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/dnf-ing-this-one-littlest-cowboy.html
24 Festive Tasks | Update #1
 


I might have been really active with the activities and tasks this game around, but somehow I've been neglecting to actually post an overall main update of my game play.

So here it is, with Monkeys and Penni, and tables and colors, and Oh My!

My participation has been much more regular than I'd been expecting myself, and I think I can attribute it to the fact that the tasks are rolling out one door at a time.  Somehow, I'm not thinking about multiple squares or multiple doors at the same time.  Whatever it is, it's working for me!

 

 

The Festive Card:

 

 

Peek-a-Boo Penni Claus = Completed Book Task
Magnetic "Elfin" Monkey = Completed Non-Book Tasks

 

 

My Progress:


Overall Total Points Earned:  11
Books Read:  1
Tasks Completed:  10

Current Tasks:

  • Door 1 | Dia de los Muertos Book Task -- Reread of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  • Door 18 | Winter Solstice / Yuletide Book Task -- Reading Midnight Exposure by Melinda Leigh


**For my own sanity purposes, I will link the main post for each door at the top of each table.  All tasks listed under 'My Activity' will more than likely be found at the main post; otherwise, the link will be included for that particular task if a separate post is published outside of the main post, such as book reviews.  Thanks!**

 

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico. Current Read:
'Jurassic Park' by Michael Crichton
TBA
Task 1 Write a silly poem or limerick poking fun at the fiction character of your choice. -- SKIP-- I don't poem... XX
Task 2 Share your favorite gravestone epitaph (you know you have one). Posted Activity:
Two epitaphs found - one with Kay's fudge recipe
11/04/2018
Task 3 Create an altar (either digital or physical) for your favorite book, series, or book character, and post a picture of it. Inclusion of book cover encouraged. Work in Progress
(coming soon)
TBA
Task 4 If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to your favorite dish and share a photo of it. Posted Activity:
Tamales at home for lunch!
11/10/2018

 


 

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Set in the UK, political thrillers, involving any monarchy or revolution; books about arson or related to burning. Possible Reads:
-- 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
-- 'Chasing Fire' by Nora Roberts
TBA
Task 1 Burn a book in effigy. Not that anyone of us would do such a thing, but if you HAD to, which book would be the one you’d sacrifice to the flames (gleefully or not)? Posted Activity:
Chose book: 'The Iron Daughter' by Julie Kagawa
11/05/2018
Task 2 List your top 3 treasonous crimes against books. Not ones you’ve committed, but the ones you think are the worst. Posted Activity:
1) Burning; 2) Defacing; 3) Borrowing and not returning, or returning damaged
11/05/2018
Task 3 Share your favorite / most memorable BBQ recollections or recipe, or your favorite recipe for food “flambé” (i.e., doused with alcohol which is then set aflame and allowed to burn off). Posted Activity:
Korean BBQ for the wins!
11/05/2018
Task 4 Find 5 uses of the word “gunpowder” in book titles in contexts other than for blowing up things or shooting people (e.g., Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs = tea). -- Will probably SKIP this one --  XX

 


 

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book About horses or a horse on the cover. Books with roses on the cover or about gardening; anything set in Australia. Possible Reads:
TBA
TBA
Task 1 Pick your ponies! MbD will post the horses scheduled to race as soon as they’re released; everyone picks the three they think will finish (in any order). Finished Activity:
Horses chosen / Winners announced / no bonus points
11/06/2018
Task 2 Cup day is all about the hats. Post a picture of your favorite hat, whether it’s one you own or not. Posted Activity:
My cadet hat and my 'This is my happy face' hat!
11/06/2018
Task 3 The coloring of the “horse of a different color” in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz was created by rubbing the horse’s fur with jello. What’s the weirdest use of jello you’ve ever come across? Posted Activity:
Jello as hair dye.  A short memory from high school
11/09/2018
Task 4 Have you ever been to or participated in a competition involving horses (racing, jumping, dressage, whatever)? Tell us about it. Photos welcome, too! Posted Activity:
My first horse track racing experience in Dallas!
11/06/2018

 


 

Door 4:  Diwali (November 7)
Total Points Earned:  1

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Read a book with candles on the cover or the word “candle” or “light” in the title; OR a book that is the latest in a series; OR set in India; OR any non-fiction book that is ‘illuminating’ (Diwali is Sanskrit for light/knowledge and row, line or series) Possible Read:
-- 'The Woman Left Behind' by Linda Howard
-- 'The Governess Game' by Tessa Dare
-- 'Dim Sum of All Fears' by Vivien Chien
TBA
Task 1 Share a picture of your favorite light display. Work in Progress
(possible skip / still considering)
TBA
Task 2 Cleaning is a big part of this holiday; choose one of your shelves, real or virtual, and tidy / organise it.  Give us the before and after photos. OR Tidy up 5 of the books on your BookLikes shelves by adding the CORRECT cover, and/or any other missing information.  (If in doubt, see here: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/1782687/state-of-the-database-booklikes-database-halloween-bingo-and-a-mini-rant-with-pictures). -- Probably going to SKIP this one -- XX
Task 3 Eating sweets is also a big part of Diwali. Either select a recipe for a traditional sweet, or make a family favorite and share a picture with us. Possible Activity:
One of our culture's many sweet soups... maybe.
TBA
Task 4 During Diwali, people pray to the goddess Lakhshmi, who is typically depicted as a beautiful young woman holding a lotus flower.  Find 5 books on your shelves (either physical or virtual) whose covers show a young woman holding a flower and share their cover images. Posted Activity:
Five books with young women holding flower; found with some difficulty, but successful!
11/08/2018

 


 

Door 5:  TBA (TBA)
Total Points Earned:  0

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book TBA Possible Reads:
TBA
TBA
Task 1 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 2 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 3 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 4 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA

 


 

Door 6:  TBA (TBA)
Total Points Earned:  0

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book TBA Possible Reads:
TBA
TBA
Task 1 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 2 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 3 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 4 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA

 


 

Door 18:  Winter Solstice / Yuletide (December 21)
Total Points Earned:  0

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Read any book that takes place in December; OR with ice or snow on the cover; OR that revolves around the (summer or winter) equinox; OR a collection of poetry by Hafez Current Read:
'Midnight Exposure' by Melinda Leigh
TBA
Task 1 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 2 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 3 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 4 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA

 


 

Door 19:  Festivus (December 23)
Total Points Earned:  0

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Read any comedy, parody, or satire Possible Reads:
TBA
TBA
Task 1 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 2 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 3 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 4 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA

 


 

Door 20:  Christmas (December 25)
Total Points Earned:  0

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Read any Christmas book. Planned Read:
'How the Dukes Stole Christmas' anthology
TBA
Task 1 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 2 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 3 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 4 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA

 


 

Door 21:  Kwanzaa (December 26 - January 1)
Total Points Earned:  0

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Read a book set in Africa or the Caribbean; OR by an African, Caribbean, or African-American author; OR a book with a green, red, or black cover. Possible Reads:
-- 'Tower of Thorns' by Juliet Marillier
-- 'Den of Wolves' by Juliet Marillier
TBA
Task 1 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 2 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 3 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 4 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA

 


 

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Read a book about endings, new starts, or books where things go BOOM! Read/pending review:
'The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs' by Steve Brusatte
11/06/2018
Task 1 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 2 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 3 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 4 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA

 


 

Door 23:  Hogswatch (December 32)
Total Points Earned:  0

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Read anything by Terry Pratchett Planned Read:
'The Light Fantastic' by Terry Pratchett
TBA
Task 1 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 2 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 3 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 4 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA

 


 

Door 24:  Epiphany (January 6)
Total Points Earned:  0

 

Task My Activity /
Link to Post
Date
Completed
Book Read a book with three main characters; OR a book about traveling on a journey to a faraway place; OR a book that's part of a trilogy; OR with a star on the cover; OR with the word "twelve" or "night" in the title; OR concerning kings or spices Possible Read:
'Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier
TBA
Task 1 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 2 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 3 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA
Task 4 TBA Possible Activities:
TBA
TBA

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/24-festive-tasks-update-1.html
24 Festive Tasks | Door 1: Día de los Muertos
The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season

 

 

(November 1)

 

 

Updates


on 11/10/2018
Completed Task 4 - Treat yourself to some Mexican food!  Also updated the Book Task to reflect my chosen book.

on 11/04/2018
I'm stealing ideas.  I like this idea of just reserving a post per square and filling in the deets as each task is completed, so I'm going to do the same.  Meanwhile, I will also keep a separate tracking post linking to each of these Door/Square posts.  I'll link to another separate post from these individual Door/Square posts if a task merits its own independent post.

First task up for completion is Task 2 - Sharing an epitaph.

 

 

Task 1


Write a silly poem or limerick poking fun at the fiction character of your choice.
-- SKIP --

I don't poem or limerick, so more than likely skipping this one.

 

 

Task 2


Share your favorite gravestone epitaph (you know you have one).
-- COMPLETED 11/04/2018 --

I actually don't have a favorite gravestone epitaph--at least none that immediately come to mind.  But in light of the festive activities, I decided to do a little Google search and came up with a couple that stood out to me.

 

"I HAVE SO MANY
MEMORIES,
MEMORIES I MUST
KEEP.
FOREVER THEY'LL
BE WITH ME,
EVEN WHILE I
SLEEP."
-- Lloyd "Billy" Andrews

 


Apparently that second epitaph is inscribed on the grave marker of one Wade Huff Andrews.  You can see different angles of the tombstone at the memorial page I found, linked above.

 

 

Task 3


Create an altar (either digital or physical) for your favorite book, series, or book character, and post a picture of it. Inclusion of book cover encouraged.
-- IN PROGRESS / UNDER CONSIDERATION --

It's hard to find a single favorite book or series out of so many I personally love, so this one is under consideration at the moment.

 

 

Task 4


If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to your favorite dish and share a photo of it.
-- COMPLETED 11/10/2018 --

I have a hankering for tamales...

And so, the first thing I thought to do on my first free weekend since the game began, was get myself some tamales!

To be totally honest, Mexican food isn't exactly my go to type of food.  I like tacos and chips and salsa.  I like queso... a lot, even though I shouldn't be indulging too much in anything that creamy.

Tamales, though, are my utmost favorite of Mexican food, thus far in life.  I first encountered them when a relative made them for us, and something about that corn dough and the juicy meats wrapped within just really hits all the right spots.  It helps that I have a thing for corn (cheesy corn casserole is one of the best things I know how to make... among the very few dishes I know how to make...).

Tamales, unfortunately, I DO NOT know how to make.  And thus, it's either restaurant, or store bought, and I had picked up a package of tamales a few days ago thinking I might just heat a few up for my task.  Of course, I DID also consider, briefly, just running out to a restaurant and enjoying myself.

But I'm glad I picked up a package of these, because wanting tamales for lunch today, I did not feel like leaving the house, on account of it's very, very cold out today.

 

 

The above picture shows the tamales before I remove the corn husk wrap.  Also before microwaving them.  The below picture shows my attempt at putting together a fancy luncheon meal with a side of salsa and avocado.

 


These aren't the best of pictures, nor the best placement on a dish for any wonderful aesthetic appeal.  I had considered making the entire thing look pretty, but after I plunked my side dish of avocado down, and tried to add sour cream... well, the entire thing sort of fell apart.  I tried not to cover up the entire tamale with the cheese, to show what it looks like unwrapped, though.

And yes, I enjoyed myself a lot!

 

 

Book Task


Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico.
-- IN PROGRESS --

One possible book is Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, probably because of our Flat Book Society read this month.

 


I am currently reading, or rather listening to, the audio book of Jurassic Park, written by Michael Crichton, narrated by Scott Brick.  This will fit the "re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author" part of this task.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/24-festive-tasks-door-1-dia-de-los.html
Another Random Reading Update: Midnight Blue-Light Special
Midnight Blue-Light Special - Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special

by Seanan McGuire
Book 2 of InCryptid

Progress:  232 of 328 pages read (71%)

 

There was a moment of silence before Istas said, "I was unaware the telepathic girl possessed a temper.   This is pleasing.   Temperamental people are more likely to participate in carnage."

"Sweetie, what have we talked about?" asked Ryan.

Now it was Istas' turn to sigh.  "Humans are discomforted by excessive discussion of their squishy interiors."

"Which means...?"

"No referencing carnage more than once in a single conversation."



I snort-chuckled!  Istas is fast becoming me next favorite cryptid in this book, the first being the colony of Aeslin mice who live with Verity.  A waheela (bear-dog therianthrope) who's human form is petite and Goth-Lolita, with a thirst for violence and carnage!

Why isn't she also on the cover of this book?  XD

And also, I'm glad she's on Verity's side, and on friendly terms.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/another-random-reading-update-midnight.html
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- October 2018

Well, here's the last of my October (and in connection, Halloween Bingo) posts rolling out, days later than I would normally post each month.  My wrap up for October, in a nutshell...

My goal for the month of October... was pretty much trying to finish as many Halloween Bingo squares as I could.  In other words, I needed to completely double the number of books I'd be reading in October than I managed in September.  How did I do?

As we already saw from my Halloween Bingo Wrap Up, I think I did quite well.  Much better than I'd been expecting, in fact.

 

 

October Reads

 

 

 

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

 

On Hold

 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

 

October Reading Stats

 

Total works read: 17

  • 15 print/e-book novels
  • 1 audio books
  • 1 short stories


Average rating: 3.50 Stars

  • Highest Rated:  Discount Armageddon // 4.5 Stars
  • Lowest Rated:  3 books // 2.5Stars
    • (1) Sick of Shadows by Sharyn McCrumb
    • (2) Secret Admirer by Cynthia Eden
    • (3) Ghost Horse by Patricia Rosemoor


Series I started reading:

  • Discworld by Terry Pratchett
  • Elizabeth MacPherson by Sharyn McCrumb
  • Nursery Crimes by Jasper Fforde
  • A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller by LynDee Walker
  • InCryptids by Seanan McGuire
  • Wolfe Security by Laura Griffin
  • A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien

 

Series I completed:

  • None

 

Series I have made progress on:

  • Cutler, Sutter & Salinas


Favorite reads:  I squee'd about Discount Armageddon, so we know that that was definitely my favorite read for the month of October.  I squee'd bad!  In other news, I also quite enjoyed The Big Over Easy, the three Nichelle Clarke cozies, and the newest Laura Griffin book, Desperate Girls.  Then there's Jayne Ann Krentz (also Amanda Quick), who is always a delight!

Disappointing reads:  I want to say that my biggest disappointment for the month of October was a tie between Secret Admirer or Spinning Silver.  While I wasn't exactly that bummed by Secret Admirer's less than on par writing, I was much, MUCH more disappointed that Spinning Silver didn't live up to the expectations I held based on how much I'd loved Novik's previous retelling, Uprooted.  But that could just be my own personal issues.

 

 

Reviews & Notable Posts

 

Reviews Written

 

Memes

  • Did not Meme this month!

 

Other Posts

 

 

Coming Up In November

 

Tentative TBR

 

 

 

Other Stuff

Obviously the beginning of The 24 Festive Tasks reading game has already bitten my excitement.  I'm already drafting many, many posts for updates, tracking, and book reviews.  I've already started looking for books for the Book Tasks already revealed, and I'm making plans for Non-book Tasks.  Where I might have slacked a bit in previous years, I'm actually feeling quite motivated this year!

Meanwhile, the other challenge I'm participating in will be in the works soon, as soon as I get a few other books finished.  Reading the entire series of Melinda Leigh's Midnight series for the 'Can You Read a Series in a Month?' challenge should be a pretty easy breeze... I hope.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for many other 24 Festive Tasks updates!

 

 

2018 Wrap-Ups 

Past Monthly Reading Wrap Ups (2016 / 2017)
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/2018/11/monthly-reading-wrap-up-october-2018.html
Random Reading Update: Midnight Blue-Light Special
Midnight Blue-Light Special - Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special

by Seanan McGuire
Book 2 of InCryptid

Progress:  37 of 328 pages read (11%)

 

"HAIL!  HAIL!  HAIL THE HOMECOMING OF THE ARBOREAL PRIESTESS!"

"Yea, guys," I said, dropping my bag on the little table that was meant to hold the mail.  "I'm home.  Dominic's here, too, so could you maybe chill out for a while?"

"HAIL!" shouted the mice, overcome with ecstasy at the idea of having two humans they could cheer at.  "HAIL THE VISITATION OF THE GOD OF QUESTIONABLE MOTIVATIONS!"



hehe  Oh my God!  This made me snicker so badly!  Gotta love the mice!

It hasn't been long since I finished the first book, but I've missed this world.  =D

 

 

24 Festive Tasks | Door 3: Melbourne Cup Day
The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season

 

 

 

 

Updates


on 11/06/2018
Ahh... two down!  I'm already doing MUCH better than I did last year.  And I've only really finished reading one book for a different task!  =D

 

 

Task 1


Pick your ponies! MbD will post the horses scheduled to race as soon as they’re released; everyone picks the three they think will finish (in any order).

So here is the link to MbD's Melbourne Cup Day announcement; also where to choose your horses!


24 Festive Tasks: Door 3 ... Wait! What Happened to Door 2?

In light of the fact that the door wasn't to be revealed until the day of the race, we were given a sneak peak of this first task in order to be able to choose our horses ahead of time.  And so here are the horses I had chosen for this task with hopes that I have better luck than... well... any time, really.

Horses chosen: 1) Sound Check / 2) Zacada / 3) Rostropovich

These choices were based on a very scientifically complex strategy of "Eenie Meenie Miney Moe" and "This like the sound of this name!"

Here is the final winning line-up of the race itself:
24 Tasks of the Festive Season: Melbourne Cup Day RESULTS

Winning horses:  1st - Cross Counter / 2nd - Marmelo / 3rd - A Prince of Arran

So... drat.  No points were earned by yours truly this round.

 

 

Task 2


Cup day is all about the hats.  Post a picture of your favorite hat, whether it’s one you own or not.
-- 11/06/2018

I don't really like to wear hats if only because I always get a gnarly case of hat hair that I can never fix--so it's either wear the hat always until I get a chance to see a mirror and a brush, or wear no hats.  Of course, you always want the things you can't have, so I DO have a couple hats that I love, even if I never find a chance to wear them.

 

Well, hello there Penni!  Trying to wear my hat, are you?


I got the black one at a Japanese general store in Dallas called Daiso, where they sell everything for pretty much under $5.  It's a little hard to tell, but it's a cadet style hat rather than a baseball cap.  I liked it a lot, wore it out twice, and it's been sitting on Blue Bear's head ever since we got home from our vacation in May.

The other hat I got at Disney World and instantly fell in love with it, if only because I immediately took to the "This is my happy face" quote.  XD

 

 

Task 3


The coloring of the “horse of a different color” in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz was created by rubbing the horse’s fur with jello.  What’s the weirdest use of jello you’ve ever come across?

I can't say I've ever come across anything like this before, so I might just have to skip this task... though now I'm tempted to do a quick Google search for weirdest uses for jello...

 

 

Task 4


Have you ever been to or participated in a competition involving horses (racing, jumping, dressage, whatever)?  Tell us about it.  Photos welcome, too!
-- 11/06/2018

Unfortunately, I don't really have any good pictures, but I went to a horse track for the very first time in May this year when my parents, brothers, and I visited my elder brother in Dallas!  Yay for completing tasks without realizing it!

These are the best pictures I was able to get though.

 

 


We weren't in the best spot, but it was still an interesting experience.  We won a couple dollars and lost a lot more, and I learned a bunch of new terms... that I promptly forgot about what it means for different combinations of horses to win.  I'm recalling terminology like 'Trifecta' and 'Exacta'; and that 'Show' just means the horse you chose to 'Show' places at all?  Goodness, I should have been taking better notes.

But it's the fun that counts, right?

 

 

Book Task


About horses or a horse on the cover.  Books with roses on the cover or about gardening; anything set in Australia.

TBA

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/24-festive-tasks-door-3-melbourne-cup.html
24 Festive Tasks | Door 2: Guy Fawkes Night
The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season

 

 

 

 

Updates


on 11/05/2018
Three tasks down in one go!  This is definitely a first for me.  In past years, I believe all I did was slack off and try to finish reading books.  hehe

 

Task 1


Burn a book in effigy. Not that anyone of us would do such a thing, but if you HAD to, which book would be the one you’d sacrifice to the flames (gleefully or not)?
--11/05/2018

If I had to choose one I'd sacrifice, I've read a lot of books that probably should never have existed, but there are at least two books in my recollection that I had felt the need to toss across the room during the reading of it, or pound against my own forehead due to sheer frustration.

But I will choose this one:

 


This was not a terrible series, but it definitely could have done without this second book, and erased all the stupid, stupid, stupid things that the main heroine ends up doing to completely screw all the development she'd almost had at the end of the first book.

 

 

Task 2


List your top 3 treasonous crimes against books. Not ones you’ve committed, but the ones you think are the worst.
-- 11/05/2018

I'm sure I can come up with a lot more crimes against books than three, but here are the ones that stand out most to me at this point.  And apparently, they're pretty in line with almost everyone else's I happened to glimpse already.

1) Burning books, because, WTF?

2) Defacing or damaging book in any purposeful way.  I especially do not, DO NOT like it when people take perfectly good books to create book art with--it's one of my biggest pet peeves, no matter HOW creative it looks.

3) Borrowing a book and either returning it damaged, or not returning it at all.  It also makes me tick when someone borrows a book, but sets it aside and keeps telling me that they haven't had time to get to it yet--it's not a big, big crime, but it DOES make me side-eye you every other time you want to borrow a book, and yet you haven't read the one I've already lent out.

 

Task 3


Share your favorite / most memorable BBQ recollections or recipe, or your favorite recipe for food “flambé” (i.e., doused with alcohol which is then set aflame and allowed to burn off).
-- 11/05/2018

So I don't know if this would be stretching the BBQ task, so if it is, I can always find something else to post.  But technically it's still grilling meat over a gas grill...

My family and I love going to Korean BBQ!  When our city first got a Korean barbecue restaurant, I was quite ecstatic, because my brothers had tried it before on a trip to Dallas (yes, without me because I couldn't go).  I went with my parents first and we really enjoyed the experience.  It was fun, and everything tastes delicious--what more can you ask for?

So, in a way, it's become one of our family's go-to places... even though my dad always complains about the pricing.

 

 


I love everything about it:  Tasty meats marinated in yummy spicy bean paste, or Korean BBQ sauces; side dishes of kimcheed veggies to wet the appetite as you wait for things to cook; and savory sauces to accompany your meats or rice for an extra oomph of taste!  There's even an alternate menu of other pretty awesome dishes if tons of meat isn't your thing that night.

 


Isn't it all so pretty?

 

Task 4


Find 5 uses of the word “gunpowder” in book titles in contexts other than for blowing up things or shooting people (e.g., Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs = tea).

This one may require some research and consideration...

 

Book Task


Set in the UK, political thrillers, involving any monarchy or revolution; books about arson or related to burning.

TBA

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/24-festive-tasks-door-2-guy-fawkes-night.html
Starting: Jurassic Park - audio book version!
Jurassic Park - Michael Crichton, Scott Brick

Jurassic Park

by Michael Crichton
narrated by Scott Brick
Book 1 of Jurassic Park


Progress:  31 of 910 minutes listened to


So the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of "rereading" Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  Jurassic Park is really one of those old favorites you will always think back on fondly of, if only because it was such a novelty of a movie and book back in the day.

I don't often reread books, especially books I loved when I was younger.  I'm deathly afraid of finding out how much my tastes have changed and how much I DON'T like certain elements of a once favorite read.

But with the reading of our Flat Book Society book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte, my mind started wandering to Jurassic Park, both the movie and the book.  Then I recalled one of the 24 Festive Tasks' Book Tasks for 'Dia de los Muertos':  "Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico."

The next thing I know, I'm thinking it might be a great idea to add Jurassic Park (or maybe another old Michael Crichton favorite) to a list of possible books for this square.  "Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author."  It fits perfectly!

Then I decided to just go for it!

I will be listening to the audio book version, narrated by Scott Brick.

And crossing my fingers that I enjoy this book as much as I did so many years ago.

 

 

24 Festive Tasks



Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/starting-jurassic-park-audio-book.html
Halloween Bingo 2018 | That's a Wrap!

This post is definitely a couple days late, but I had my reasons, so I'm rolling out all the final Halloween Bingo reviews and updates and have hopefully caught up with myself now.  As I'd stated in a previous update post, I tried to remain off the grid for a while in an attempt to finish the rest of my Halloween Bingo books.

Frankly, I'd stopped counting Bingos the week prior to the end of the game.  My main goal was finishing reading books.

I managed to finish one last Halloween Bingo book, The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins, about four hours after midnight, November 1st.  It may not count towards Halloween Bingo in terms of timeline, but I count it as a personal success.  Honestly, I could have ditched both The Haunted Hotel and Midnight Blue-Light Special, and inserted two short stories by Edgar Allan Poe to finish with a Blackout.  I have a volume sitting on my bookshelf with randomly bookmarked stories I'm interested in.  And his books would be able to fill the 'Classic Horror' square AND the 'Creepy Raven Free Space' just fine.

But I was stubbornly refusing to give up on The Haunted Hotel... which I managed NOT to finish before October came to an end, mainly because I'd been so exhausted from the past few evenings at work that I kind of just passed out after dinner and slept through until I suddenly awakened at 2:30 A.M. on November 1st and decided to just read.

 

le sigh... even the best laid plans have other plans in mind...


But moving right along...

I cannot stop expressing how much I love these reading games at Booklikes, which have, more than once, brought me out of a full reading slump.  This year my reading slump was probably the worst it's been in a very long time, starting up sometime in February... and continuing on until June when I tried to marathon Jayne Ann Krentz books... and then dipping again until right before Halloween Bingo started up.

 


So once again, a big thank you to Moonlight and Obsidian!  I'm prepping myself for Halloween Bingo 2019 already!

While September was still a slow month for me, in terms of average books read (as well as quality), October was a month of wonders as I pretty much increased my number of books read times two.

September:  8 books read
October:  17 books read

Meanwhile, I also discovered a few new authors I'd love to continue reading from!  In my book, that is one of the biggest pluses about Halloween Bingo--discovering new-to-me authors, and lots of new books to add to that ever-growing TBR!

In a nutshell, I decided to wrap up this post with some stats as well as The Good, The Bad, and The Meh--books I liked or loved, books that were sorely disappointing, and books that were just okay.

 

 

The Card

 


Nothing really changed from the last time I updated.  Since I technically didn't finish reading The Haunted Hotel before the end of the game, I didn't earn that one last Bingo in the first column.  It wouldn't have made much of a difference since without that middle square being read (which should have been the easiest one to finish), I'm short four Bingos and one Blackout.

But no matter!

I've got 23 books read and 23 squares completed with 7 total Bingos to appease me!

 

 

The Good

 

 


As I'd already stated, I discovered a lot of new authors I'm very interested in continuing to read from.  While there were some pretty disappointing books these past two months, there were fortunately more than enough enjoyable ones to make up for it.

I found an author that made me super giddy to continue reading in Seanan McGuire's Discount Armageddon.  I found a strong, intriguing, fast-paced cozy mystery with LynDee Walker's Nichelle Clarke series--three books of which I read for Halloween Bingo.  Jasper Fforde is an author I've always had my eye on, and after reading The Big Over Easy, I will definitely be picking up more books by him.  I enjoyed The Name of the Star much more than I'd expected.

Then there were my typical go to authors: Laura Griffin and Jayne Ann Krentz.  Finally, Barbara Michaels is an author I'm still following since I started reading her in last year's Halloween Bingo.

 

 

The Bad

 


I think, in terms of quality of books read, September's reads were the more disappointing ones.  I'd been looking forward to Nora Roberts' Circle trilogy, if only because I like her Romantic Suspense books, and because all three books potentially fit several possible squares on the Bingo Card.  Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into them and they felt repetitive.  How I finished them was a bit of a miracle in itself.

Same goes for Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright, in that I think I probably would have abandoned it if not for it being a Flat Book Society read that I stubbornly wanted to finish.  The Splendour Falls was only easy to finish because I listened to it as an audio book during my drives to work and back.  Secret Admirer's only good point was that it was a quick, bite-sized read.

 

 

The Meh

 


These books were neither excitingly awesome, nor were they really terrible.  My favorite of these might actually be Spinning Silver, if only because the writing is wonderful.  But the drag of the story, and the chaos of the multiple first person POVs kind of played a disadvantage to it, so I couldn't quite love it, even if I didn't dislike it.

 

 

The "I Don't Know Where to Put This One"


Because I'm still reeling from the ending weeks later and still cannot say whether or not I liked it... for reasons.

 

 


Yeah... I don't know how to feel about this one.  I still feel kind of blindsided, but I'm not sure whether it was a GOOD feeling of being blindsided (if that even exists), or a bad way...

 

 

currently reading

Progress: 204/910minutes
Progress: 43/291pages
Midnight Sacrifice - Melinda Leigh