Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Teaser Tuesdays: Flora and Ulysses


This week my teaser lines come from the 2014 Newbery Medal winner, Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo -- one of the books I'm planning to read for the 2016 Newbery Reading Challenge. This snippet is from page 82 of the hardback edition:
Ulysses sat up straighter in his Bootsie Boots shoe box. He looked at Tootie. He nodded.
"I was moved by your poetry," said Tootie to the squirrel.
I don't really know what's going on there -- I haven't actually read any of the book yet. But I love the idea of a squirrel poet.

I've been in a bit of a reading "slump" since the beginning of this year. Well, actually more than a bit -- only finished two books in January, and haven't been able to settle down and do any reading at all in February. But I've found that reading children's books is usually a very good way to get myself going again. So, I have high hopes for the rest of the month.



Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm. 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.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Book Beginnings: Dreaming Spies


Dreaming Spies (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Mysteries #13), by Laurie R. King (Bantam, 2015). These are the book's opening lines:
"It's a rock, Holmes."
Sherlock Holmes raised his tea-cup to his lips. He swallowed absently, then glanced down in surprise, as if the homecoming drink had brought to mind the face of a long-forgotten friend. "Is it the water from our well that makes Mrs Hudson's tea so distinctive," he mused, "or the milk from Mrs Philpott's cows?"
My lack of reply had no effect on his pursuit of the idea.
Initial Thoughts:

I'm a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, so I had mixed emotions about a new series of novels using him as a character -- generally dubious about the enterprise, even though glad to see him back. That opening seemed intriguing if not terribly exciting; at least it didn't turn me off. And after a few more chapters, I'm still reading, but it's been slow-going. I think the problem might just be that, once again, I've jumped into the middle of a long-running series without having read any of the earlier books. I know that's usually a mistake, and I really should STOP doing it. But, anyway ... I'm hoping things will improve as the book and I go on together.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. 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.


Monday, January 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

So, Monday. And almost the end of January. How did that happen?

Most years, I get through at least half a dozen books in January. But for some reason, I'm having a hard time getting started this year. So far in 2016, I've finished two books:

by Nina de Gramont
(Algonquin Books, September 2015)

(A Mrs. Malory Mystery)
by Hazel Holt (2001)

I enjoyed both of them, and I've got reviews in the works, but they're not quite ready for posting yet. This week, definitely.

And right now, I've got two books started. One e-book:

by Charles Lambert
(Scribner, January 2016)

...and one paper:

by Laurie R. King
(Bantam, paperback edition, October 2015)

The Laurie King book is an Early Reviewer book from Library Thing that I've had since last October. (!!!???) Yes, I've really got some catching up to do!

But right now, I'm going to be catching up on what everybody else is reading.



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, January 14, 2016

Book Beginnings: The Children's Home


The Children's Home, by Charles Lambert (Scribner, January 5, 2016). These are the first two sentences of Chapter One:
The children began to arrive soon after Engel came to the house. It was Engel who found the first one, an infant girl, in a basket, with a bundle of neatly folded, freshly washed clothes.

My Thoughts:

I do like those opening lines -- a little eerie, a little Dickensian. That opening passage is what attracted me to the book in the first place. I'm about a quarter of the way through and, though it's not exactly what I expected, I'm enjoying it so far. Well, maybe "enjoying" isn't quite the right word. But it's keeping me curious about what's going to happen next. Which, I suppose, is nearly the same thing.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. 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.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

2016 Back to the Classics Reading Challenge


Hosted by: Karen K @ Books and Chocolate
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2016

This is a very popular reading challenge, but this will be my first time to participate. At first glance, I thought it looked a little too restrictive, and I don't usually do too well with those challenges. And twelve books is quite a lot of books to commit to, for me. But when I realized I won't have to read that many books to join in, I took another look and was hooked. Especially since I believe it's really going to help with my effort to read more of the books I already own -- or books that have been on my TBR list for eons.

The idea of the challenge is to read 12 "classic" books, from 12 different categories. (However, you do not have to read 12 books to participate in this challenge.)
  • Complete six categories, and you get one entry in the prize drawing
  • Complete nine categories, and you get two entries in the drawing
  • Complete all twelve categories, and you get three entries in the drawing
Participants choose books from these categories:
  1. A 19th Century Classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.
  2. A 20th Century Classic - any book published between 1900 and 1966. All books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.
  3. A classic by a woman author.
  4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. You can read the book in your language or the original language.
  5. A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.
  6. An adventure classic - can be fiction or non-fiction. Children's classics like Treasure Island are acceptable in this category.
  7. A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984; children's classics (like The Hobbit) are acceptable in this category also.
  8. A classic detective novel. Must include a detective, amateur or professional. 
  9. A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples: Bleak House, Main Street, or The Vicar of Wakefield.
  10. A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.
  11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college). 
  12. A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children's stories are acceptable in this category also.
For the rest of the rules and info, see the challenge announcement/sign-up page (HERE).

I'll probably be reading six books -- might not be able to handle more than that. I'm not sure which categories I'll be choosing, so I don't have a set list for the challenge yet; but I've got a bunch of ideas. During the year, I'll be tracking my progress over on my challenge blog (HERE).

Friday, January 08, 2016

Book Beginnings: Lilies That Fester

Or, by its American title, Mrs. Malory and the Lilies That Fester, by Hazel Holt (first published by Macmillan, 2000).
Signet paperback edition, 2001
This is the book's opening passage:
'Are you sure you don't mind?' Rosemary asked.
'No, of course not,' I said.
'Only I've got this wretched cold and even if I felt well enough to go myself I wouldn't want to give it to her.'
'No, really, it's fine.'
'And Jilly and Roger are away and Jack has this meeting of the CPRE...'
'Rosemary,' I said, 'it's all right. I don't mind in the least. I was going myself anyway.'
My Thoughts:

I know some of you are thinking "BOR-ING!" But when I read that, I just think: Another Mrs. Malory mystery. I love it.

I've read almost the whole series now (21 books, this is number 11), but somehow managed to overlook this one even though it comes right in the middle. And this opening bit is so typically Sheila Malory, with many of the things I've come to love about the books -- the first-person narration, the chatty relationship between Sheila and her oldest friend Rosemary, and the way Sheila is always volunteering to take on good deeds at the drop of a hat. Those good deeds usually lead to a murder, of course...but then, there wouldn't be a book if they didn't.

I've loved all the Sheila Malory books, and as their author Hazel Holt died this past November, I decided to choose one of the series as my first read of the year. Also hoping to finish up the series this year -- I only have a few more to read. So I'm really looking forward to this one.



Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. 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.


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

2016 Women Challenge


Hosted by: Peek a Book!
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2016

This challenge encourages us to read more books, of any kind, written by women authors. Since that's one of my reading goals for 2016, this seems like the perfect challenge. There aren't many rules: anyone can join, and you don't need a blog to participate; all formats are allowed, and re-reads are OK, too.

There are four levels to choose from:
  • Level 1: BABY GIRL - read 5 books written by a woman author
  • Level 2: GIRLS POWER - read 6 to 15 books written by a woman author
  • Level 3: SUPER GIRL - read 16 to 20 books written by a woman author
  • Level 4: WONDER WOMAN - read 20+ books written by a woman author

I'm going for Level 3 ( Super Girl ), and I'll be tracking my progress over on my challenge blog (HERE), and on this post, if I can remember:
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