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text 2019-01-16 05:34
First Impression: The Disappearing Spoon
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean

The Disappearing Spoon

by Sam Kean

Progress:  31 of 346 pages (9%)

Admittedly, Chemistry was probably my worst subject in school (both high school and college).  So why I decided that I'd just casually join in on this month's Flat Book Society read is beyond me.  Maybe I just thought that, not being a required read for some class, I'd be able to enjoy it more... or at least not fret as much about what I'm understanding.

And really, the only thing that I've gotten out of this book so far is that the outlining is atrocious.  Don't get me wrong, the writing isn't terrible, and the subject matter has lots of potential--some of the information is actually pretty interesting.  And when I actually understand one of the paragraphs after deciphering all the chemistry jargon, I think I might have learned something new.

Not that that's helpful, because I promptly turn around and forget what I've just learned.  It probably doesn't help that the organization of the telling feels pretty scattered.  The author jumps from one thing to another, and then back so quickly that I'm at a point where I just quietly move on because I'm embarrassed to admit that I had no idea what he was trying to present.

There is SO MUCH jargon.  This does not feel like a science book for casual readers who enjoy fun science.  This feels like a lot of chemical name-dropping.

Meanwhile, I had fallen asleep twice reading just the introduction.  And we hadn't gotten to the elements yet.  Not really.  And I'm not sure who's fault that is--mine or the book's.  Maybe I just don't have the capacity to follow the content?

I'm probably going to give this book a few more chapters to see how well I fare.  I mean, I took chemistry classes and I work in a hospital lab.  Some of this stuff HAS to make sense at some point, right?  No matter that I really wasn't all that great at chemistry, mind you.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/first-impression-disappearing-spoon.html
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review 2019-01-15 19:49
Rambling Thoughts: The Bride
The Bride - Julie Garwood

The Bride

by Julie Garwood
Book 1 of Lairds' Fiancées



By edict of the king, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie, youngest daughter of Baron Jamison...a feisty, violet-eyed beauty. Alec ached to touch her, to tame her, to possess her...forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this highland barbarian.

He was everything her heart warned against—an arrogant scoundrel whose rough good looks spoke of savage pleasures. And thought Kincaid's scorching kisses fired her blood, she brazenly resisted him...until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills, and something far more dangerous than desire threatened to conquer her senses...

Because there's an almost ridiculously comedic vibe to Julie Garwood's writing style, I couldn't find it in me to give this book less than a very average rating of 2.5 Stars.  I remember coming across a review while perusing Historical Romance novels that described this book as rather shallow and really only good for the "lols", but not much else.  And I feel like it's pretty spot on.

Mind you, I went back and forth on my like and dislike of everything in this book, starting with the 'Angelic Mary Sue' character of Jamie Jamison, to the arrogant and always angry, yet has a heart of gold hero, Alec Kincaid.  The book also didn't lend itself any help when I came to the realization of what Medieval Romance and Highlander Romance entailed...  I mean, it wasn't like it totally slipped my mind just how terrible women were treated during that era in history, but I guess it sort of DID slip my mind, if that makes any sense.

The forced marriages, the forced consummation of the marriages, the fact that women were treated like property...  There were more than one reference implying that women were no better than sheep or horses, and one of the lairds even got more offended his horse had been abused by our heroine, screaming about how "It's one thing to insult the wife, but, oh no, you did NOT just slap my horse!"

I fully admit it--I needed to adjust my mindset.  I know history was never kind to women.  I've admitted this before when I was reading a Chinese historical by Jeannie Lin.  I get it.  But I don't have to like it.  Maybe that's why I tend to lean more towards historical fiction where the women (and sometimes the men) are maybe too modern for their era.  Maybe it's not as historically accurate, but it doesn't turn me all ragey.

Except that I'm of the impression that things can still be handled MUCH better.  Which, in a way, Julie Garwood kind of manages to do... sort of... maybe... I don't know.

Because, as I'd stated earlier, there's a strange comedic charm to Julie Garwood's writing style, which, when you set aside everything I didn't like about this book, kind of shines through rather well.  There were moments when I thought the book was definitely getting a little bit better.  There were moments when I did find it in myself to give a light chuckle.

But those moments are so random and so out-shined by the things I didn't like.

I would say that Jamie was the most cliched Mary Sue I've ever read about, but that wouldn't be true, because I've encountered worse.  But she's definitely a top ten contender.  I mean, basically Jamie is everything from self-sacrificing, to hard working, to beautiful, to kind, to forgiving, to knowing how to ride a horse bareback, being able to heal, having the ability to make everyone fall in love with her, and also manages to run around saving children from rampant wild boar.  She can also, apparently, shoot an arrow dead center at a target from miles away, as well as throw a dagger with super human accuracy.

Did I also mention that she's angelic and beautiful?  Even though SHE doesn't think she's beautiful... and deliberately fishes for compliments on at least two occasions.

The one and ONLY flaw that Garwood gives her is that she has a terrible sense of direction.

And in my personal opinion, I also find her extremely clueless and easily distracted.  The fact that her common sense and her comprehensive skills were drastically diminished after her first sexual intercourse encounter did not escape my notice.  And why is it that so many stories MUST turn so many women into idiots after they fall in love or have sex?  Those first two or three chapters had a rather agreeably sensible and intelligent Jamie, to be honest.  Then her thinking capacity dwindles as the book progresses.

And somehow her fragile emotions kept being brought up again and again.  So now, aside from being a Mary Sue, she's also a speshul snowflake with thin skin and easily disturbed emotions?  Or are the men just treating her like a baby, because it kind of seems more that way, really.  If it's one thing I've noted about Jamie, it's that she doesn't have as sensitive and easy to hurt feelings as every one of the men are making her out to have.  Men are strange...

I could probably go back through and count how many times someone states that he doesn't want her sensitive feelings to be hurt, and so doesn't bother telling her the truth about a lot of things.  Especially about the fact that her life is in danger and someone's trying to kill her.  THAT NEVER WORKS IN ANY PLOT!  If someone was trying to kill me, I would like to know so that I can take the proper precautions, ya know?  Rather than cluelessly stumbling into a freakin' bear cave 'cause no one wanted to scare me with the knowledge of it's being there.

Just sayin'.

Meanwhile, I only have one thing to say about Alec.  He's arrogant, annoying, violent, and has no sense of personal boundaries.  He's apparently super sensitive to Jamie's feelings and understands that when she says "no," she actually means "yes."  Oooh... Heaven help me from arrogant fools.  That stuff might have been fly during the 1100s in Scotland, but I'm kicking shins, calling 911, and running if I ever run into anyone like that in my lifetime.

On a side note, I think I'm going to give it some time before coming back to the second book in this duology, The Wedding... if at all.  It was written a few years after this first book, so maybe there's been some... difference in ideals?  I get that The Bride is considered a classic romance of some sort, but it looks like I'm destined to be a dissenter on this one.  Oh well, you can't please everyone, I guess.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/rambling-thoughts-bride.html
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review 2019-01-15 19:28
Some Thoughts: Lost Island
Lost Island - Phyllis A. Whitney

Lost Island

by Phyllis A. Whitney



Lacey, Elise, and Giles.  They grew up together on a mist-shrouded island off the Georgia coast.  Long ago, and without Giles's ever knowing it, Lacey gave birth to his son.  But Elise, the beautiful, domineering one, got Giles.  She got Lacey's child, too, to bring up as her own.

Lacey has tried hard to forget.  But in ten years she hasn't been able to.  So she's going back.  To see her son.  To confront Elise.  To exorcise the spell of the island - and of Giles.  Or perhaps to be trapped by them forever....

One star is the for the writing and the other star is for the atmosphere.  But otherwise, I can't bring myself to understand what was even going on in this entire tale of chaos.  It felt like a daytime soap, with birth secrets, dysfunctional family dynamics, and characters soaked in amorality.  The heroine was a clueless pushover who couldn't seem to figure out how to stand up for herself NOR fight for her life, and her antagonist really had way too much power, with everyone letting her get away with every misdeed.

The little boy seemed too old for his age, and none of the men really stood out aside from spending all of their time brooding and acting self-righteous.

I've been interested in Phyllis A. Whitney for some time now, after seeing her name surface in discussions of Gothic romance or romantic suspense.  I'm thinking that this book was probably NOT the best one to start with, but it happened to be one I came across at the library one day.

In all honesty, the fact that I DID get drawn into it in spite of the convoluted plot and dysfunctional character dynamics is a feat in itself.  So this isn't an entirely terrible book, and a younger Ani might have actually enjoyed it more a long time ago.

Here's a quote that I particularly liked, though, for whatever reason.  The writing, as I've mentioned, was probably one of the best things going for this book.


The smell of the ocean is something one never forgets.  I breathed it deeply as the wind came whipping into my face, tossing my hair.  The tide was part-way out and the sound of surf rushing in over the low shore summoned me to follow it.  I walked toward the sea wall.

And this particular paragraph managed to draw me into the book...



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/some-thoughts-lost-island.html
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text 2019-01-14 18:47
Random Bookish Update: The Disappearing Spoon and Penguins in the Library!
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean

My library hold for the Flat Book Society read this month alerted me some time last week, but due to schedule constraints, I hadn't had time to pick up the book until today.  After browsing for a little while and not finding anything else I wanted to check out--which is probably a good thing since I've got what feels like a million books on my plate right now anyway--I headed out of the library....

... only to turn right back around when I spotted their display by the entrance.





Oh my, SO MANY PENGUINS!  Aren't they all so cute?!

Needless to say, I got super giddy and excited.  If we haven't already figured it out yet, I have an immense love for penguins.  I mean, I love animals, in particular (monkeys, pandas, mice, dogs...  Dino Baby! Rawr!).  I've used any number of these for many a blog post and reading games.

Heck, Peek-a-Boo Penni Penguin, alongside Magnetic Monkey, has sort of become my bookish/game mascot.

Meanwhile, back to the Flat Book Society pick, The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean, the official book club read starts tomorrow, but I might go ahead and jump in if I get a chance, just to get a head start, as well as get an idea how I want to divide out parts for when to read.

Because I've finished a couple other books I've been reading, I'm at least not juggling too many current reads at the moment.  I'm listening to The Neverending Story on audio book, which is a pretty slow process right now as I'm really only listening to it during commutes, or if I need to multi-task.  I just started Amanda Quick's I Thee Wed, my second Reading Assignment book for Professor AuthorLuv's course.  I also started the fourth Cormoran Strike installment a couple days ago and am letting myself move through this one slowly, as has always been the case with previous Cormorant Strike novels.

Not too much to handle, right?



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/random-bookish-update-disappearing.html
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text 2019-01-14 15:04
Bout of Books 24 Wrap Up!
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 7th and runs through Sunday, January 13th in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure.   There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 24 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team

This weekend I was in full on reading mode and managed to finish Lost Island as well as make a huge dent in The Bride... as much as I had trouble reading both books.  No... I take that back.  The books were easy to read, easy enough to fly right through.  But both books... ugh.  Reviews will be coming soon as I mull over how to present them.

Anyway, I'm including The Bride in my 'Books Read' section because I really AM finished reading it, even if I technically didn't finish it until a couple hours after midnight.  It just also makes my stats look nicer!  =D

So, as far as totals go:
1)  I read four books (even if only three to completion)
2)  I read a total of 1141 pages
3)  I listened to 50 minutes of audio book

I probably could have clocked more minutes from The Neverending Story this past week, but I just wasn't quite feeling like audio book, which is a shame, cause then I'd be further along in the book, and my "number of minutes listened to" would be a little more impressive.  As it stands, I still have about eleven hours of the audio to finish before the end of the month.

In truth, aside from not really updating regularly as I'd wanted to, I would actually call this time's Bout of Books a smashing success!  I reached my goals of reading at least three books, and I'm pretty certain I managed to clock at least two hours of reading each day.  The weekend saw me pretty much doing nothing BUT reading, especially on Sunday.

AND I discovered a new author I will be following.




Books Read


The Anatomist's Wife
by Anna Lee Huber
386 pages / 89 pages read pre-readathon /
297  pages read during readathon
Progress:  Completed on Tuesday, 01/08/2019
-- 132 pages read on Monday, 01/07/2019
-- 148 pages read on Tuesday, 01/08/2019



With This Ring
by Amanda Quick
384 pages / 46 pages read pre-readathon /
338 pages read during readathon
Progress:  Completed on Friday, 01/11/2019
-- 0 pages read on Monday, 01/07/2019
-- 12 pages read on Tuesday, 01/08/2019
-- 46 pages read on Wednesday, 01/09/2019
-- 23 pages read on Thursday, 01/10/2019
-- 259 pages read on Friday, 01/11/2019



Lost Island
by Phyllis A. Whitness
250 pages / 30 pages read pre-readathon
220 pages read during readathon
Progress:  Completed on Saturday, 01/12/2019
-- 0 pages read on Monday, 01/07/2019
-- 0 pages read on Tuesday, 01/08/2019
-- 0 pages read on Wednesday, 01/09/2019
-- 0 pages read on Thursday, 01/10/2019
-- 30 pages read on Friday, 01/11/2019
-- 59 pages read on Saturday, 01/12/2019
-- 131 pages read on Sunday, 01/13/2019



The Bride
by Julie Garwood
388 pages / 0 pages read pre-readathon
268 pages read during readathon
Progress:  Completed on 01/14/2019
-- 47 pages read on Friday, 01/11/2019
-- 0 pages read on Saturday, 01/12/2019
-- 221 pages read on Sunday, 01/13/2019







Books I'm Currently Reading


The Neverending Story
by Michael Ende | narrated by Gerard Doyle
822 minutes / 89 minutes listened to pre-readathon
Progress:  89 of 822 minutes listened to
-- 0 minutes listened to on Monday, 01/07/2019
-- 0 minutes listened to on Tuesday, 01/08/2019
-- 0 minutes listened to on Wednesday, 01/09/2019
-- 0 minutes listened to on Thursday, 01/10/2019
-- 0 minutes listened to on Friday, 01/11/2019
-- 0 minutes listened to on Saturday, 01/12/2019
-- 50 minutes listened to on Sunday, 01/13/2019



Lethal White
by Robert Galbraith
656 pages / 0 pages read pre-readathon
Progress: 33 of 656 pages read
-- 33 pages read on Friday, 01/11/2019
-- 0 pages read on Saturday, 01/12/2019
-- 0 pages read on Sunday, 01/13/2019








Read-a-thon Hopefuls I Didn't Get To


I'm going to try to have as much fun as I can.  If anyone else is interested in joining the read-a-thon, the badge at the top of this post will take you to the Bout of Books official website.  The link under the picture takes you directly to the sign-up post. Let's all have some fun for this week of a read-a-thon!



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/01/bout-of-books-24-wrap-up.html
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