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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 01:16
Reading progress update: I've read 10 out of 335 pages.
My Own Words - Wendy W. Williams,Mary Elizabeth Hartnett,Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth spent her early married years here in Oklahoma! I am already impressed. 


Not that I wasn't anyway, but you get what I mean.

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review 2018-11-11 05:34
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!



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text 2018-11-11 05:07
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: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/dnf-ing-this-one-littlest-cowboy.html
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