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text 2019-07-01 05:30
BL-opoly 2019 | Mid-game Update
@ Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

Ani's BL-opoly 2019 Summary Page

So it looks like we're about half-way into BL-opoly 2019!  A lot of activity has been on the BL feed, and a lot of books have been read.  And even while my own progress as far as number of books read, and amount of BL-opoly cash earned is quite stellar, I'm still not up to my usual speed.  But that's fine, because I've been having a lot of fun, especially coming up with ways to model my gaming partners.  And I'm sure everyone's been enjoying following the "Baby and Bear Saga" these past few weeks.

Well, if you thought two puppies were enough to keep us all busy, here's a third tossed in for good measure.


This is the "Good Morning" committee; now feed us all!

Again, excuse the lighting--apparently the stairs is not the best spot for photos.

Bear's big brother Yogi has come to stay with us for a few days, so the house is now swarming with doggies running amok...  Well... actually, Bear is really the only one getting in everybody's business.  Baby is his usual cranky self, trying to keep up with Bear, and Yogi kind of just goes off and does his own thing, i.e., sleeping.

Moving along, here's a bit of an update on the books I've read and for which squares I've read for since BL-opoly 2019 Day One.  I've finished 11 books, with a total page count of 3,658, earning me a total of $67, including passing Go three times.  I haven't yet landed in jail, visiting or otherwise, although now that I've said something I've probably jinxed myself.

With a couple exceptions, I've been mostly lucky enough to be able to choose from books I already own and have been needing to read.  I've even been able to finally knock out a bunch of books that have been collecting virtual dust in my Kindle library for forever, which coincidentally also helps me finish up two book series that needed finishing.

I feel like I'm making excellent progress!  And it feels damn good!  =D



Books and Squares


Roll #1 | The Silk Road
Hard Target by Pamela Clare (Cobra Elite #1)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

The first book for BL-opoly read, enjoyed, and happily devoured because, Pamela Clare!

How the book fits:  This book took place for at least 75% to 80% of the book in Afghanistan, which is one of the 40 countries listed as being along the Silk Road.

See my review below:
Thoughts: Hard Target




Roll #2 | Mountain Cabin 16
Tightrop by Amanda Quick (Burning Cove #3)
Rating:  3.0 Stars

Amanda Quick books are easy and fun to read, and typically follow a formula and romance that I find enjoyable.  Tightrope was no exception, though as I mention in my brief review, there may or may not have been too many characters to keep up with for my liking.

How the book fits:  Tightrope is a murder mystery and romantic suspense in one, so definitely fits the square quite well!

This book's review can be found in:  Packaged Thoughts June 2019: A Bunch of Book Rambles




Roll #3 | The Lake House 20
Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle (Rocky Mountain K9 Unit #1)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

Run to Ground could be cute at times, but it was also frustratingly open-ended with a lot of loose ends.  I mention as much in my short review (see link below).

How the book fits:  Obviously, I went with a book that had a dog on the cover.  This was easy to pick.

This review may also be found in:  Packaged Thoughts June 2019: A Bunch of Book Rambles




Roll #4 (Memorial Day Bonus) | The Summer Blockbuster 27
Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier (Saga of the Light Isles #1)
Rating:  2.5 Stars

I love Juliet Marillier, but I have to grudgingly admit that this wasn't one of my favorite of hers.  A little too deep, a little too predictable, and a little too cliche.  I think I like some of her later work more.  But Wolfskin DOES showcase some of the magical that is Juliet Marillier's writing.

How the book fits:  This book was the standard high fantasy adventure, with a hero who started the book out as a young boy, and who slowly grew into a hero as the book progressed, through his challenges and travels.

See my review:
Rambling Thoughts: Wolfskin




Roll #5 (Memorial Day Bonus) | European Vacation 35
A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby Mystery #3)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

I think I liked the previous book more, but this one had a little more romance, and maybe some unnecessary romantic angst.  Nevertheless, still a very enjoyable Lady Darby addition.

How the book fits:  All of the Lady Darby books have taken place in Scotland so far, and this one was no exception, and so definitely fits as a book set in Europe.

See my review:
Thoughts: A Grave Matter




Roll #6 | Mountain Cabin 18
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin (Tracers #13)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

I always look forward to the next Tracers book, and Stone Cold Heart is no exception.  Even in spite of Griffin's continued formulaic romances, I find these to be tried and true books that I don't mind coming back to.  At the very least, her crime thriller is typically quite gritty, sometimes bordering on the dark.  And the forensic aspect of this series is always a big plus!

How the book fits:  This book is set in Texas, which is listed as a state west of the Mississippi.

See my review:
Thoughts: Stone Cold Heart




Roll #7 | European Vacation 33
The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa (Haruhi Suzumiya #8)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

Another standard installation to the Haruhi Suzumiya series, both entertaining and strange and larger than life.

How the book fits:  I went for the "author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-O-N-D-O-N" part of the task.  Nagaru Tanigawa definitely fits the bill.

See my review:
Brief Thoughts: The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya




Roll #8 | School's Out For Summer 1
Going Rogue by Robin Benway (Also Known As #2)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

A great ending to the Also Known As duology, reminding me of why I liked the first book so much.

How the book fits:  This book is identified as YA.

See my review:
Brief Thoughts: Going Rogue




Roll #9 | Beach Week 10
Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant (Circle of Evil #1)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

With a few exceptions, this was a pretty good first book to a great serial killer trilogy by Kylie Brant.  The romance was a little hard to get into at first, but I think I liked how it was handled.  The crime thriller aspect was also great to follow, and the characters start growing on you after a while.

How the book fits:  This author's last name starts with 'B,' fitting the criteria for the author's first or last name beginning with any letter in B-E-A-C-H.

See my review:
Series Review: Circle of Evil (coming soon)




Roll #10 | Mountain Cabin 16
Touching Evil by Kylie Brant (Circle of Evil #2)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

I liked this second book a little bit more than the first, but that's probably because we've established the relationships and we're more familiar with all the characters.  But it didn't really give us much different than the first book except for some development in the romance.

How the book fits:  This book is considered romantic suspense / suspense genre.

See my review:
Series Review: Circle of Evil (coming soon)




Roll #11 | The Lake House 19
Facing Evil by Kylie Brant (Circle of Evil #3)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

A nice, well-rounded ending to Kylie Brant's Circle of Evil trilogy, though it doesn't escape my notice how over-powered our serial killer seems to be.  And I feel like we didn't need a third damsel in distress scenario... but overall, this was an enjoyable book, even if not a personal favorite.

How the book fits:  The author's first name starts with a 'K.'  Fits the criteria for the first or last name starting with any letter in the word L-A-K-E.

See my review:
Series Review: Circle of Evil (coming soon)



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/06/bl-opoly-2019-mid-game-update.html
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text 2019-06-30 05:32
Booklikes-opoly 2019 | Roll #12
@ Booklikes, the book blogging social platform


This BL-opoly update is brought to you by "Two Sleepy Puppers at the Top of the Stairs."


I'm not sure what they've been doing, but they look wiped!  And excuse the weird lighting.

Moving along...

For my previous roll, I read the last Circle of Evil book, Facing Evil, by Kylie Brant, which was 314 pages, gaining me $3 to add to my bank.  A rather mediocre read, but still enjoyable.  A series review will be forthcoming when the busy quiets down a little bit.

I ended up finishing this book mere minutes before midnight on 6/28, but being way too tired, I didn't actually roll until this morning (6/29) right before heading to work.  So I've spent most of my day during any dead time at work trying to choose a book.  After a long twelve-hour shift, and some other family stuff, I'm finally able to sit down and put together this update, though the truth is, I really ought to be heading to bed.

Ah well...

So here are the roll details:


I rolled a 6, which landed me on The Summer Blockbuster 25.


After climbing the walls, it looks like Monkey has worn himself out.  Silly Monkey.  So now Magnetic Mouse will be hosting the board in his place while Penni cheers on, and Keychain Puppy... sniffs Monkey's feet, for whatever reason.  Unfortunately, Magnetic Mouse doesn't have as many movable limbs as Monkey does, so Mousey is just going to... well, stick to the board and look important, I guess.

I thought that I would have to pull a novelty card for this square, since I couldn't really think of a book I wanted to read that had been made into a movie or television series.  I had briefly considered listening to The Lost World by Michael Crichton, but I'm not sure I'm in the mood for a reread...

However, it turns out I DO have a few options that I'm considering, after spending most of the day doing some searching.  In fact, all of the below books I've listed, I'm truly interested in reading, and hadn't realized that they were adapted into film and/or television.


I guess that Nora Roberts had had some of her books adapted into Lifetime movies (none of which I've seen), and I'm always up for a Nora Roberts book.  Sanctuary is one of those books adapted to a movie, and also a paperback I already own that's been sitting on my shelf for some time.  It ends at 435 pages, which will get me a $5 reward if I choose to read it.  In truth, I had actually been more interested in either Blue Smoke or Carolina Moon, but neither of those two books are immediately available to me without either spending some money, or running to the library on Monday (since I'm working past the library's open hours this weekend), and I don't want to wait until Monday to choose a book.

A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters, has been adapted into a television series, back in 1994.  I've been considering this book for some time as well, and have heard great things about it.  This book, however, is only 199 pages, which is like, two pages shy of the $3 mark.  Amazon notes the book at 213 pages, but other sources are all listing the paperback versions at either 199 or 197.  I want to read it, but I'm also miffed that after finishing this book, I will only earn $2, when it's so close to the next cash level.

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood is also a series that's been adapted into a television series, called Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  This book presents at 185 pages, so would only be $2.

Mindhunter by John Douglas is a true crime book that I've been meaning to read for a long time, and which has been sitting on my bookshelf for a few years.  Apparently, there's a Netflix series based on this book that I didn't know about.  Mindhunter is 384 pages, which would be $3 if I choose to read it.

Well... decisions, decisions... what shall I do?



Novelty Cards Currently In My Pocket



My Progress

Current Bank:  $67
Prison Library Donation:  0 pages
Books Read:  11
Pages Read:  3,658

Table notes:
*Dates link to corresponding dice roll updates / other links for related activities included.
*Book titles link to reviews if written.
*Page/Cash values in parentheses are still pending reads/ not yet cashed out.


(Roll #)
Dice Roll Space/Prompt Book Title / Author Pages Cash
5/20 Game Start $20
#1 5 The Silk Road:
Read a book set in any of the 40 countries along Silk Road, or by an author from any of those countries.
Hard Target by Pamela Clare 261 $3
#2a 8 Novelty Card Robot -- save for later
(Create a numbered list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you)
n/a n/a n/a
#2b 4 Mountain Cabin 16:
Read a book that is considered mystery/suspense genre, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N.
Tightrope by Amanda Quick 320 $3
5/25 See Also: Roll #3 and Memorial Day Bonus Roll Activities
#3 5 The Lake House 20:
Read a book that features a dog or which has a dog on the cover; or that is set in an area known for its lakes or on a fictional lake.
Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle 312 $3
  Memorial Day Bonus Rolls
#4 7 The Summer Blockbuster 27:
Read a book that features a hero's journey or is a Bildungsroman (coming of age tale); or that has a word related to space in the title (i.e., star, planet, rocket).
Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier 516 $5
#5 9 European Vacation 35:
Read a book set in Europe; or that was written by an author who was born in Europe; or that involves travel by boat or that has a picture of a ship on the cover.
A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber 433 $5
#6a 10 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
Novelty Card Race Car -- save for later
(Race around the game board to the space of your choosing and read!)
n/a n/a n/a
#6b 11 Mountain Cabin 18:
Read a book that is set west of the Mississippi in the USA, or that was written by an author who comes from that region, or that is considered part of the Western genre.
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin 357 $3
#7a 7 BL Square:  Spin the Wheel Decide n/a n/a n/a
Wheel Decide:  Take one extra roll n/a n/a n/a
#7b 10 European Vacation 33:
Read a book set in the UK, or that was written by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-O-N-D-O-N.
The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa 212 $3
#8 5 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
School's Out For Summer 1:
Read a book that appears on any school related "summer reading list," or that is identified as YA or MG
Going Rogue by Robin Benway 321 $3
#9 10 Beach Week 10:
Read a book that appears on any beach reads list, or a book whose author's first or last name begins with any letter in B-E-A-C-H.
 Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant 324   $3
#10 6 Mountain Cabin 16:
Read a book that is considered mystery/suspense genre, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N.
Touching Evil by Kylie Brant (288) ($3)
#11 4 The Lake House 19:
Read a book with a cover that is more than 50 percent blue, or by an author whose first or last name starts with any letter in the word L-A-K-E.
Facing Evil by Kylie Brant (314) ($3)
#12 6 The Summer Blockbuster 25:
Read a book (or a book in a series) that has been adapted for film or television.




Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/06/booklikes-opoly-2019-roll-12.html
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text 2019-06-28 17:36
Read-a-thon: 24 in 48! July 2019 | Ani's Plans!

So here is the basic gist of this read-a-thon as copied from the 24 in 48 Readathon site:

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

This summer's July 2019 24in48 Readathon will be the weekend of July 20-21.  Once again, I will be off from work that weekend and hopefully able to fulfill my one biggest goal (which I never even come close to, but whatevs, I read) of reading for 24 hours.  This will probably mean that I'll get sidetracked by family socializing, a road trip, a dinner date with friends, television, or all of the above.

But I persist, because I'm stubborn!

With the Booklikes-opoly 2019 game ongoing, I don't have a reading list.  We will read what the BL-opoly Dice Roll Gods grant us.  And we don't care what we read, because we will be reading and that is all that is necessary to please us!


But just in case it comes up, here are the books that I would most probably try to insert into the game if the right squares pop up for them... just a plethora of books that I own that need to be read.


Not too much to cram into one weekend, right?  In hopes of whittling down my digital and physical book shelves, I'm actually trying very had NOT to go to the library as an option this summer if I can help it.  Except for the fact that I've already listed three books above that would be library check-outs...

Le sigh...

Happy reading everyone!



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/06/read-thon-24-in-48-july-2019-anis-plans.html
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review 2019-06-28 06:50
Some Thoughts: Going Rogue
Going Rogue - Robin Benway

Going Rogue

by Robin Benway
Book 2 of Also Known As



Being permanently based in a local New York City high school as an undercover operative has its moments, good and bad, for 16-year-old safe-cracker Maggie Silver.

Pros: More quality time with her former mark-turned-boyfriend Jesse Oliver and insanely cool best friend, Roux.  Getting to spend quality time with her semi-retired and international spy honorary uncle, Angelo.

Cons: High school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations.

But when Maggie's parents are falsely accused of stealing priceless gold coins, Maggie uses her safe-cracking skills to try and clear their names.

Too bad it only serves to put her and everyone she loves in danger.  Maggie and her "new team" flee to Paris where they must come up with a plan to defeat their former allies.

I read the first book in this short series nearly four years ago, I think, and absolutely loved it.  Why I didn't continue on with the second book, I'm not entirely sure.  Could just be that I'd started growing out of YA books and didn't care enough.  And so it took some time for me to recall events from the previous book enough not to feel confused at certain references to the previous book, but our author, quite excellently, offers up some explanations for anything I might have forgotten since our last encounter with these characters.

Going Rogue was just as fun and delightful as the previous book, with a fast-paced espionage plot, a little bit of romance, and some fun, bantering humor between all the characters.

Of course, my main complaint about this book might have been the fact that we maybe went a little overboard with the joke-y behavior.  There were several conversations that I had trouble taking seriously--which needed to be taken seriously--because Maggie and Roux and Jesse were making light of the whole situation by throwing jokes out left and right.  I mean, I love characters with a great sense of humor, and I loved some of the one-liners that were presented.  But at some point, maybe less is more, and jokes strewn about in moderation might have had a better impact on the story's overall presentation.

And then there were maybe some moments at the end of the book that felt a little too deliberate in how the conclusion was tied up.  Everything felt almost too convenient, and our main villain was merely a name in the background until the end of the book.  Things felt rushed.

But all-in-all, the book was enjoyable.  The kids were maybe a little over-dramatic in some of their actions and behaviors and dialogue, but they're teenagers, so I'll cut them some slack.

On a side note, I had also acquired the audio book version of both the first and second books, narrated by Robin Benway.  But I decided to nix the idea of listening to the audio book when I remembered that Benway is not exactly the best narrator in the world--no inflections, no voice changes to depict a different character's dialogue--no matter that she's narrating her own book.



Booklikes-opoly 2019

Roll #8:
Square: School's Out For Summer | Read a book that appears on any school related "summer reading list," or that is identified as YA or MG.

How it fits:  This book is identified as YA.
Page Count:  321
Cash:  $3




Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/06/some-thoughts-going-rogue.html
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review 2019-06-28 06:01
Quick Thoughts: The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya
The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya - Chris Pai,Nagaru Tanigawa,Noizi Ito

The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya

by Nagaru Tanigawa
Book 8 of Haruhi Suzumiya



Two stories continue the adventure in Volume 8 of the Haruhi Suzumiya series.

Editor-in-Chief, Straight Ahead!
Since the beginning of the year, the SOS Brigade has been masking as the Literature Club to be recognized as an official high school organization.  But when the new student council president threatens to disband the group, the members must write a collection of literature.  Naturally, Haruhi assume the role of editor-in-chief and leads the team to publication with hilarious results.

Wandering Shadow
From writers to detectives, the SOS Brigade does it all.  When fellow classmate Sanaka comes to the club seeking help, the team (well, Haruhi) is up to the task.  A well-trodden popular park path has suddenly begun to terrify the neighborhood dogs, and Haruhi suspects that its being haunted by animal spirits.  It looks like the SOS Brigade is about to perform its first first canine exorcism!

Normally, I would review each short story on it's own, give it a rating, and then calculate an average when I read anthologies.  But this time I just didn't feel like it.

The Indignation is just a continuation of the Haruhi Suzumiya adventures with her SOS Brigade, told through the snarky tone of our main narrator Kyon.  It's no different than previous books in the series, with both a strangeness to it that really makes you think, and a larger than life feel that makes you shudder a bit.

The first short story had my expectations up, as I looked forward to seeing what kind of stories each member of the SOS Brigade would come up with, but my expectations were a little deflated.  Specifically, I was looking forward to getting to the end of Kyon's "love story" because the characters hinted that there was a bit of mystery embedded... something that I didn't catch while I was reading it.  And unfortunately, I kind of feel like Kyon's story conclusion was a bit disappointing, almost anticlimactic--basically, I didn't quite understand why everyone was so in awe of it.

Nagato's very short stories were all kind of creepy in a Nagato-esque way, and also pretty thought-provoking.  Asahina's short fairy tale was just cute, illustrations and all.  And here's a spoiler:  You don't get to read any of the other stories the brigade puts together, which is a bit disappointing.  I would have at least liked to have read something of the story submitted by Tsuruya which was supposedly so hilarious that it was making everyone laugh like crazy.

So while I DID like the first short, Editor-in-Chief, Straight Ahead!, I was a bit deflated when some of the building up of my expectations wasn't met.  That's probably my fault.

The second short story, Wandering Shadow sounds like it has a very promising premise... but also fell kind of short.  In fact, I found it kind of boring.

Nonetheless, there was a lot of Kyon contemplating certain scenarios in life, which points to a nice improved development of his character from the lazy high school boy he'd been from the first book.  There are bits of continuation of some background, ongoing story with references back to previous books, and the overall mission to study Haruhi Suzumiya by our time traveler, esper, and alien, and the continued need to keep her content.

Overall, a nice book to waste away some time if you're a fan of this series already.



Booklikes-opoly 2019

Roll #7:
Square: European Vacation 33 | Read a book set i nthe UK, or that was written by an author whose first or last name begins with any letters in the word L-O-N-D-O-N.

How it fits:  Author's name starts with an 'N.'
Page Count:  212
Cash:  $3




Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/06/quick-thoughts-indignation-of-haruhi.html
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