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text 2018-11-14 00:35
24 Festive Tasks | Door 5: Armistice / Veterans' Day



(November 11)




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: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/24-festive-tasks-door-5-armistice.html
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text 2018-11-13 22:45
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: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/24-festive-tasks-its-monday-style.html
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text 2018-11-13 22:30
Reading progress update: I've read 27%
Bird Box - Josh Malerman

and I wish I had some time off work coming to me! If I did, I would be curled up at home right now with my nose buried in this book until I was done!


I wanted to read this before the movie comes out. I think it's being released for a film festival first and then it's coming to Netflix, even though it's a Netflix movie.  Anyway, the film stars Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson among others and I know I'm going to be watching the night it's released because this book is something else so far.


After messing around for half an hour, I admit defeat and cannot figure out how to add the movie trailer here, so here's a link instead:



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review 2018-11-13 21:24
The Waste Lands / Stephen King
The Waste Lands - Stephen King,Ned Dameron

Roland, The Last Gunslinger, moves ever closer to The Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares—as he crosses a desert of damnation in a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own. With him are those he has drawn to this world: street-smart Eddie Dean and courageous wheelchair-bound Susannah.

Ahead of him are mind-rending revelations about who and what is driving him. Against him is arrayed a swelling legion of foes—both more and less than human....


The best book in this series so far for me.

I couldn’t help but notice, as I read this book, just how well-read Stephen King is. It would be tedious to list all the literary allusions (plus all the mentions of his own works) because there are just so many of them. But of course, you can’t miss one of the biggest references in the title—T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, not to mention Robert Browning’s Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came. I also couldn’t help but notice all of the LOTR similarities—as King wrote in his introduction, Tolkien’s work looms large in the imagination of all of those of us who read fantasy. And Jake, being run by Gasher through the ruined city of River Crossing, made me think of Merry & Pippin being driven by orcs.

Jake’s entry into the Gunslinger’s world, through The Mansion in New York, reminded me strongly of King’s The Shining, namely the pursuit of Danny Torrence on the grounds of the Overlook Hotel by the hedge animals. The malevolent Mansion and the haunted hotel were both very effective—King writes that kind of scenario really well.

Three books in, I’m finally feeling like the story is beginning to interest me. Hopefully the remaining books in the series won’t be quite such a tough row to hoe.

Book number 297 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2018-11-13 18:34
Review: A List of Cages
A List of Cages - Robin Roe

I received a copy from Netgalley.


Not something I would probably have picked myself, I got one of those pre approval emails from Netgalley for this one. Since I never get approved for anything by Disney Hyperion I jumped at the chance to try something they were offering.


Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book much.


Trigger warnings for extreme abuse – both physical and mental.


I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, I did skim a few reviews on Goodreads before-hand so I was aware of the subject matter. The novel deals with two different boys who were once friends, despite a few years age difference. Quiet and reserved Julian the younger boy, and off the wall Adam. Adam is bright, friendly handsome and very chatty. He has ADHD. Something that’s referenced throughout the novel.


Julian lives with his uncle and suffering terrible abuse he keeps hidden. He’s miserable at school, not doing well in his classes, and doesn’t talk to anyone. Adam is popular with lots of friends, not the best student, maybe. He finds himself reconnecting with Julian when he gets a job as an assistant to the school psychologist and has to collect students to go to their appointments – Julian is one of those students.


We learn that they spent some time living together some years ago after the sudden and unexpected deaths of Julian’s parents. Adam and his mom became Julian’s foster family. Until Julian’s uncle showed up.


The uncle is a monster. I can’t even go into the level of manipulative torture he inflicts. It’s gut wrenching and horrible to read. I just wanted to hug Julian and keep him safe. He finds solace in Adam and his friends, who include him as one of their own. And they all get involved and help when things start going south and they discover what’s going on at Julian’s home and try and remove him from it. Uncle is slipping and becoming more off balance and cruel.


One thing I really liked was the sense of friendship and togetherness of Adam and Julian and how Adam’s friends helped Julian fit in and open up again.


There was just something about this book that wasn’t working for me. And I think it mostly had to do with the fact that every adult in this book was a villain of some sort. The teachers were mean, Julian’s teachers seemed to single him out, the psychologist wouldn’t listen, the police when they were involved were bullies who wouldn’t help. Adam’s mom was portrayed as the only competent adult. She had some odd ideas about how to handle Adam’s ADHD – herbal remedies instead of proper medication?!? I know nothing about ADHD so I shouldn’t judge but that doesn’t sound right.


The novel had its moments, but I didn’t really enjoy it all that much.  The writing had some potential, so I would definitely read this author again.


Thank you Netgalley and Disney Hyperion for the pre-approval email.



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