Sunday, September 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Last week, I managed to finish two books. For me, that's pretty good, since it can take me several weeks just to read one, at my usual snail's pace. Gotta pick up that pace, though — my GoodReads home page tells me I'm eight books behind, in my effort to read fifty books this year. Yikes!

What I read last week:

Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch

Tainted Tokay, by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen

What I'm reading this week:


What I should be reading, soon-ish:

Cruel Beautiful World, by Caroline Leavitt


What about you? Do you set yourself a goal for number of books read during the year? Or do you just take 'em as they come?

Oh, and is it just me, or does it seem September has slipped by even faster than usual, this year? I mean, it's almost October already!!!



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Book Beginnings: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd


Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce Mystery #8), by Alan Bradley (Delacorte Press, September 2016). These are the book's opening lines:
The winter rain slashes at my face like icy razor blades, but I don't care. I dig my chin deep into the collar of my mackintosh, put my head down, and push on against the buffeting of the furious wind. 
I am cycling madly towards the village of Bishop's Lacey, fleeing hordes of Hell's hobgoblins.

My Thoughts:

First thought — so nice to have another visit with Flavia! Also, so glad to see we're back in England for this one. In the previous book (As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust, number seven in the series), Flavia had been exiled to Canada to attend her mother's old alma mater. I enjoyed that book, but I missed Bishop's Lacey and Gladys (Flavia's trusty bike), and all the slightly bizarre goings-on at Buckshaw, the family estate. It's great to be back home! I'm really looking forward to getting started on this one.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


Booking Through Thursday: Location etc.

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is about literary location:
In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. But how about books? Does where a book is set affect your reading choices? Are you more or less likely to read books set in places you know or love?
This one made me think a bit. I guess I am more likely to choose books set in places I love (England, Paris, the Big Apple). But some of my favorite reads are set in foreign lands I've only visited in those books. And many faves are set in totally non-existent, imaginary places. So I suppose I'd have to say location really doesn't matter much when I'm choosing something to read.

I do, though, have a problem with books set in Texas. For some reason, even though I was born in Texas, live in Texas, and dearly love my home state, I find I have trouble enjoying books set here. Not that I dislike reading books set in Texas: I love just about anything by Larry McMurtry, and Edna Ferber's Giant is one of my all-time favorites. I think it may just be that I expect more from books set in Texas, since I know the state so well.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Vanishment


This week my teaser lines come from The Vanishment, by Jonathan Aycliffe, a haunted house tale that I'm thoroughly enjoying at the moment. In this snippet, our protagonist Peter Clare has been getting some writing done in the cottage by the sea he and his wife Sarah have rented for the summer.
By the time I put the pen down, it was midafternoon and I had written half a dozen pages. I reread them and was pleased to find the results better than I had expected. The best thing I had written in ages. The real thing for once.
At that moment Sarah woke up screaming.
(from p.18)
Reading this one for the R.I.P./XI challenge, and it's really got me hooked — perfect for this time of year, with autumn and Halloween approaching. Actually though, I took it to Hawaii with me last week, and it was perfect for reading on the beach or at the pool, too!




Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Jenn at Books and a Beat. If you'd like to read more teasers, or take part yourself, just head on over to her blog.

And please feel free to leave me a link to your Teaser Tuesday post in your comment here.


Sunday, September 04, 2016

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril (RIP) XI

Artwork by Abigail Larson
It's that time of year again. Autumn is fast approaching, and over at Stainless Steel Droppings, Carl is once again hosting his annual celebration of things spooky and mysterious -- the RIP (for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril) reading event/challenge, running from September 1 to October 31.

The announcement almost got past me this year -- I've been so busy with vacation plans, I haven't been engaging in my usual end of August/beginning of September behavior of compulsively checking Carl's website, in eager anticipation. Hard to believe this is the eleventh year for RIP, and the ninth time I've participated. It's definitely one of my favorite bookish happenings.

To read all about the rules and guidelines for RIP/XI (there aren't many), just head on over to the challenge announcement post (HERE). There are several levels of possible participation in peril (don't you love alliteration); as usual, I'm going with Peril the First -- read four books of any length, from any of the challenge categories (Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Gothic, Horror, Dark Fantasy). These are my favorite literary genres, so it really isn't much of a challenge for me -- just lots of fun. Also again this year, I'll be signing up for Peril on the Screen and I might even give Peril of the Short Story a go, as well.

During the two months of the challenge, I'll be tracking my progress and keeping all my lists over on my challenge blog (HERE). I don't really have a set list of books to read, but these are a few I'm considering:
  • Beyond the Ice Limit, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Fourth and most recent book in their Gideon Crew series. Although maybe I should start with one of the earlier books in the line-up. 
  • Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch. His latest sci-fi thriller -- I've just started this and it's keeping me reading into the wee hours.
  • Devil Sent the Rain, by Lisa Turner. Second book featuring hard-boiled Detective Billy Able. Supposed to be a "dark Southern mystery" about the murder of a Memphis socialite, and the scandals her death reveals. 
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. So much talk about this one -- I'm probably the last person on earth to read it.
  • Lovecraft Unbound, edited by Ellen Datlow. Short stories in the Lovecraft tradition by twenty of today's prominent writers of dark fantasy and horror fiction. I'm not a huge Lovecraft fan, but this sounds intriguing.
  • When the Music's Over, by Peter Robinson. Number 23 in the Inspector Banks series, with Banks now promoted to Detective Superintendent.
I could go on. But I won't -- gotta get reading!


Sunday, August 28, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"Tatyana" by Elena Samokysh-Sudovskaya

I have not finished a single book this month. I'm not really sure how August has gotten by me so fast, but it has. I had a stack of books I planned to read this month, but they're all still right there in the stack!

At the top of said stack:


Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch

After that, another book I planned for August:



And after that, it'll probably be September! This year just keeps zipping right along.




It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. If you want to let the world know what you're going to be reading this week, head on over to her blog and leave your link. It's also a great way to discover new books and new blogs.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Hugo Awards for 2016

The 2016 Hugo Awards were presented this weekend, at MidAmeriCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention. Here's the list of winners:

  • Best Novel: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Best Novella: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
  • Best Novelette: "Folding Beijing" by Hao Jingfang, translated by Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan.-Feb. 2015)
  • Best Short Story: "Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)
  • Best Graphic Story: The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott
  • Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): Jessica Jones: "AKA Smile," written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer
  • Best Editor—Short Form: Ellen Datlow
  • Best Editor—Long Form: Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Best Professional Artist: Abigail Larson
  • Best Semiprozine: Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
  • Best Fanzine: File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
  • Best Fan Writer: Mike Glyer
  • Best Fan Artist: Steve Stiles

I don't read as much sci-fi as I once did, but I still enjoy the genre. And several of these titles look interesting enough for me to add them to my "must take a look" list. I did recently acquire one of the "Best of the Year" books edited by Ellen Datlow, but it was her horror series rather than the SF. And I've seen The Martian — excellent movie!

You can see the full line-up of nominees and list of winners on the Hugo Awards website.