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text 2018-11-01 08:15
24 Festive Tasks: The Seven Final Holidays

 

As explained in this year's Rules / Mode of Play post, we're going to reveal the seven final holidays included in the card and the respective book tasks early on, so as to allow enough time to complete these books. 

 

The final holidays and book tasks are:

 

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.

 

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

 

Christmas (December 25): Read any Christmas book.

 

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.

 

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

 

Hogswatch (December 32)*: Read anything by Terry Pratchett.

 

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.

 

The non-book tasks for these seven holidays will be revealed on December 16, which is when we'll also be opening the corresponding doors on the calendar.  (Hey, we want to keep some element of suspense at least for these ...)

 

* Discworld calendar.

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text 2017-12-25 16:00
Even More Festive Tasks and Books
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly
I Know I Am, But What Are You? - Samantha Bee
Dime Store Magic - Kelley Armstrong
[(Butterfly Swords)] [By (author) Jeannie Lin] published on (October, 2010) - Jeannie Lin
A Rose for Major Flint (Brides of Waterloo) - Louise Allen
Echoes in Death - J.D. Robb
Emma And The Outlaw - Linda Lael Miller

Square 15 - Newtonmas

Book: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (5 stars - HIGHLY RECOMMEND)

 

Task: I am appreciating the alchemy that Arizona Diet Green Tea, apple liqueur from a local vineyard, and Jack Daniels' Honey whiskey has on my spirit while I peruse my dashboard while the holiday dinner is prepped and cooking. No reason for the diet version of the tea other than I like it a little more than the original formula. Next glass I am going to substitute mead for the whiskey.

 

 

Square 12 - Festivus

Book: I Know What I Am, But What Are You? by Samatha Bee (3 stars)

Task: Perform the Airing of Grievances

 

The books chosen for this task all have something in common - hype for the series or author that elevated my expectations, and that in reading these books my expectations were not only met, but plummeted to their death in the most gruesome way. And yet I read these books all the way to the end in desperate hope that they would end better than the 90% of the story. I was wrong to hope.

 

1. Dime Store Magic by Kelly Armstrong

     Weak-ass witches, dumbass villains, and a plot centered on a 13 year old girl's first menses. I should have taken the DNF and just not read for that Halloween bingo square. I don't understand how this author is so popular in the paranormal romance sub-genre - the writing was as weak as the witches.

 

2. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

     Aka A Walking Tour of Tang Dynasty China. Horrible first book except that readers get a small taste of the MCs in the second book (which was great! seriously, skip the first book and just start with the second). The only thing the dumbass heroine knew how to do well was runaway. So. Much. Walking.

 

3. A Rose for Major Flint by Louise Allen

    The first two books, written by other authors, were wonderful so I got my hopes up that the final book in the trilogy would send the series out on a high note. It failed miserably. This was basically a Harlequin Presents dressed up in early 19th century clothing. I was very much looking forward to Major Flint's story, but by the end I wished I didn't bother starting the book. I was so bored for most of this book that I would put it down to do household chores. A shallow, self-absorbed, manipulative brat of a heroine that is a dime a dozen in Regency romance. But it's too late as she and Adam have intimate relations and now Adam feels he has to marry the twit. Adam should have left her on the battlefield, honestly. 

 

4. Echoes in Death by JD Robb

    It's at this point in the series (book #44) that I am ready for the series to be done. Just give Eve her captain bars and let her ride the desk until retirement. The ghost writing is so strong in this novel and nobody wants three books worth of damn house renovations. The side characters were out of character (*side-eyes Peabody*). I am also tired of the crimes in the series - seems like the plot lines are ripped from Law & Order: SVU, just raping and brutalizing women and children. Of course the killer is a serial rapist and murder with Mommy issues (well, technically, Auntie issues). 

 

5. Emma and the Outlaw by Linda Lael Miller

    Old skool romance that is just too crazy to make it a "so bad it's good". Originally published in 1991, I read a 2014 reprint that wasn't updated at all. Once the sex starts between Steven and Emma it doesn't stop. EVERY CHAPTER after Steven takes Emma's v-card in a field of daisies has at least one sex scene. Steven really likes Emma's breasts;  so much nipple sucking and licking. Seriously after a while, the sex scenes were just repetitive nonsense. And there is endless threats of rape and one attempted rape of the heroine. But it is the not so subtle racism in this book that made me want to throw my NOOK at the wall. Memo to publishers/authors: before reprinting old romances, revise/update/edit the fuck out some shit that you got away with earlier, for modern readers are going to red flag that shit. Between the racism and the constant verbal rape threats/real sexual assaults by Macon and Fulton on Emma, I started to become sick and couldn't wait for the book to end (I was curious about the killer's identity).

 

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review 2017-11-26 14:33
Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us ★★☆☆☆
Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us - Allen Salkin,Jerry Stiller

This book may have more interest and/or meaning for fans of Seinfeld. I’ve never watched the show, so a significant amount of the content, discussing the introduction of Festivus to the general public on an episode of Seinfeld and the making of that episode, were of no interest to me at all. There was a little information attempting to paint Festivus as a celebration that predates even the ancient Romans – a spontaneous celebration about nothing in particular, or partying just for the sake of partying, and thumbing its nose at the intense preparations and expectations of traditional holiday celebrations like Christmas.

 

If so, an entire book about how to put on a Festivus celebration, complete with getting an aluminum pole (of no particular size or type), sending invitations, making party favors, and recipes for dishes and drinks, seems antithetical to the entire concept of a party that shuns party planning and social pressure to put on a show of celebration. Much of the book provides examples of ways that people have celebrated Festivus, with photos and essays. These were probably a lot more fun to engage in than to read about. The most interesting part of the book to me, and regrettably only lightly touched on, is the way Festivus has been used in the ongoing battle in the US over displays of religious holidays on public/government property.

 

As a guide for putting on your own Festivus in the style of Seinfeld, I suppose it’s a good one. For anyone who is not a Seinfeld fan  or interested in hosting a Seinfeld-style Festivus celebration, your life won’t be any the poorer for skipping this book.

 

This was the ebook version, borrowed from my public library. I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, as a Holiday Book Joker. I’ll be using it for square 12, Tasks for Festivus: Post your personal list of 3 Festivus Miracles –OR– post a picture of your Festivus pole (NOTHING pornographic, please!), –OR– Perform the Airing of Grievances:  name 5 books you’ve read this year that have disappointed you - tell us in tongue-lashing detail why and how they failed to live up to expectations.

 

 

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text SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-07 18:29
16 Tasks for the Festive Season - Task 12 - Festivus

The Airing of Grievances as performed by the Book Gods:

 

Book God 1: Look I just want to say, this is the price you readers pay to find that diamond in the rough. I don't feel bad for you. Who cares that you read a book where a young girl was slut shamed, where a plot made no sense, that you realized that every book now has the word "girl" in the title. 

 

Book God 2: Speak for yourself. Look, sometimes we can work miracles and you get "The Hate U Give" and other times you get "50 Shades of Grey." Tomato, tomahto. 

 

Book God 1: We told Obsidian Blue the rule was that she had to name 5 books that she actually finished that she disappointed her. No fair just throwing out DNFs. 

 

Book God 2: She maybe flipped us off. Okay, she totally did. 

 

Book 1

 

How to Change a Life

 

Book God 1: Oh yeah. I remember this one. There were two characters that were African American and Obsidian Blue felt as if the author had never met black people before in her life. And also thought it was kind of gross the main character was being portrayed as reasonable after it comes out that she is now sleeping with her friend's ex-husband. 

 

Book God 2: I would have kicked her ass. 

 

OB: What they said. Seriously though. I like/love most of Ballis's books. She incorporates very real characters for the most part and also includes recipes that have me craving all kinds of food while reading her books. I think that she had the opportunity to show how the best friends you have growing up are not the perfect fit when you are adults. I think she was heading that way for a bit, and then it turned into some weird/gross piling on of the character of Lynne for being work focused. I don't know if I can articulate this correctly, it just felt mean to me in a way. Did not enjoy and was very upset that I bought this one. 

 

Book 2

 

Zone One

 

 

Book God 1: Nah. 

 

Book God 2: Nope. 

 

OB: Forget you both! Seriously though. I don't understand how the man who wrote "The Underground Railroad" wrote this mess of a zombie novel. I kept comparing it to the "Girl With All the Gifts" and just did not enjoy it. I think the fact that Whitehead chose to tell this story in a non-linear way focusing on three specific days just didn't work. I liked the idea of the survivors of telling stories about their lives before the dead rose. I wish that Whitehead had worked more of that into his story. Other than that, this was just a lackluster read. 

 

Book 3

 

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

 

Book God 1: Okay, this one actually made me mad too.

 

Book God 2: Dear authors, don't make a character's rape into some weird character motivation for one of your other characters and have them acting as if it somehow affects them more. Did we learn nothing from that story-line on Games of Throne when Sansa's rape is somehow affecting Theon Greyjoy more? 

 

OB: I found issues with book #1, but honestly book #2 just did not work for me on any level. I think the biggest issue that I have said before when it comes to YA books is that when the publisher's think they have a hit on their hands seem to spur the author to put out sequels before they are ready. Or even put out more books than were planned.

 

"The Last of August" moved the setting to Germany and Cavallaro didn't even play that up at all in the book. 


The main characters of Charlotte and Jamie are just toxic together. I am not rooting for them to get together. Jamie in turns desires and hates Charlotte. She doesn't do what he wants her to and gets weirdly competitive with her about who will solve the case they are on now. It doesn't help matters that Charlotte is not as great as deductions as her so-called relative Sherlock is. 


The other characters are poorly developed and Charlotte's brother makes a fatal mistake that I can't even believe he would have made, but you know let's throw some drama in there. 

 

As the book gods have already said, we know that prior to the events in book #1, Charlotte was raped. I hope you enjoy Jamie making it all about him the entire time. Cause that didn't get annoying at all. 

 

Book 4

 

Echoes in Death (In Death, #44)

 

Book God 1: I don't know why she keeps reading this series.

 

Book God 2: At least she no longer buys the books and just borrows them via the library.


Book God 1: Still though, none of the characters are progressing that well based on the last few books. Peabody is a callous moron in this one. And we have the final act where Eve deduces a crime and is all surprise about it in the end to those she gathers. Who is she, Hercule Poirot?  

 

Book God 2: I also kind of hate that it's been like what, 10 books in a row and only three months have passed. Something like that. Get your timeline together Robb. 

 

OB: I should probably just quit this series. But this series has some of my favorite books which is why I keep persisting with it. I think at this point Robb should consider how to wrap things up with Eve Dallas and friends since all of the books have started to read a bit samey. It didn't help that Peabody was abducted by aliens and replaced with a person with no soul. Who stands around a dead body gushing about someone's shoes?

 

The other characters don't have much to do anymore besides sit around and tell Dallas how she is right in all things (see Dr. Mira). 

The writing got very repetitive and there were no surprises in this one at all. You can guess the guilty party earlier on since Robb doesn't provide any other viable suspects. 

 

Book 5

 

Well this was a hard one, but I finally went with this on. 

 

Maybe Someday (Maybe, #1)

 

Book God 1: Man, even I was disappointed with this one.

 

Book God 2: Why are New Adult romance books mostly about cheating/almost cheating and/or slut shaming? 

 

Book God 1: I don't know. It's weird. I also don't get how anyone reads a romance and is all yes main couple, cheat. Please cheat.

 

OB: UGHHHH. This one was so frustrating. I read one of Hoover's books last year, "It Ends With Us" and was so moved by it. I freaking even wrote it in for one of the Goodreads 2016 awards. And to go back and read this I just wonder if the same author wrote both books. 

 

"Maybe Someday" has a very thin plot contrivance to get two strangers (Sydney and Ridge) living together with two other people. Yes, cause Sydney has listened to Ridge play his guitar from his patio they somehow have a connection. Whatever.

 

Things get worse when Sydney and Ridge proceed to get all jealous about any one of the opposite sex paying the other attention. Did I mention that Ridge has a great girlfriend and it makes no sense at all why he is so drawn to Sydney?

 

I can't even discuss the terrible ending where Ridge's girlfriend rightfully dumps his ass and then he runs back to Sydney and she is all true love. 

 

Honorable mention: "All the Missing Girls"

 

Tasks for Festivus: Post your personal list of 3 Festivus Miracles –OR–

Post a picture of your Festivus pole (NOTHING pornographic, please!), –OR–

Perform the Airing of Grievances:  name 5 books you’ve read this year that have disappointed you - tell us in tongue-lashing detail why and how they failed to live up to expectations.

 

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