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text 2018-08-28 05:16
First Impression: The Name of the Star
The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson

The Name of the Star

by Maureen Johnson
Book 1 of Shades of London

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



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


Some other facts I picked up:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/first-impression-name-of-star.html
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text 2018-08-27 23:25
It's Monday! Halloween Bingo Pre-Read is a Go! | 08/27/2018
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!

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

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

Still, I call it progress!

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


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

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

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



What I Read Last Week


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



What I'm Currently Reading




What I'm Planning to Read Next




Other Plans On the Blog

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

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

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



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/its-monday-halloween-bingo-pre-read-is.html
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text 2018-08-25 21:21
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Take Your Head Start!
(link above leads to the announcement!)

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

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


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

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

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


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

I'm totally ready to roll!



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/halloween-bingo-2018-take-your-head.html
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text 2018-08-19 03:41
Halloween Bingo Randomness

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


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



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


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


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



Called:  9/1/18
Read:   9/1/18


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/halloween-bingo-randomness.html
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text 2018-08-11 04:42
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Ani's Tentative Reading List!

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


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




Halloween Bingo 2018

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

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

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

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


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

I'm super stoked!

Possible squares:

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



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

Possible squares:

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



The Squares on Ani's Card:



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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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

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





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

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

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





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

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

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





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

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





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

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

Possible books:  Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern





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

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





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

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





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

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





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







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

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





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

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

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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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

Other possibilities:  Lake Silence by Anne Bishop





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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/08/halloween-bingo-2018-anis-tentative.html
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