The Monday Agenda 6/10/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris: Finished! My review is here.

Doll Bones by Holly Black: Finished! My review is here.

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan: Started over the weekend; about half-way through. I’m intrigued, but withholding judgment until I see where it’s going.

Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis: Another Narnia book goes in the “finished” column! My son and I finished this one a few days ago — and like the rest of the series, it’s great!

Fresh Catch:

No new books this past week — can that be true? I did buy one new book from Amazon — but when it arrived, it had some ugly sticker marks and residue on the cover, so I returned it… and realized I didn’t want it all that badly after all. So, in my mind, it’s like I saved money! (Technically, that would be a no, but hey, whatever works…)

Also in the Amazon fail department, a book I’d preordered ages ago was supposed to arrive on Thursday — and then got delayed until this coming week. Bummer.

I did get approved for a few review copies via NetGalley, but I’ll wait to discuss those until I’m ready to start each one.

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

I’ll be wrapping up the rest of Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan in the next day or so.

After that, I’m looking forward to reading The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay.

And if there’s time, I’ll continue working my way through my stack of library books, starting with Fathomless by Jackson Pearce and This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.boy1

The kiddo and I have gotten our Narnia reading order slightly messed up — going neither by publication date nor by story chronology — but that’s okay, we’re enjoying it all anyway. We’re now a few chapters into The Horse and His Boy. And after that? Only three to go!

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

The Monday Agenda 6/3/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: Finished previous week, reviewed this past week. Amazing book. My review is here.

Tempest Reborn by Nicole Peeler: Done! I laughed and cried my way through the final book in the Jane True series. My review is here.

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris: Finally started, will continue this week.

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks: Done! My review of this graphic novel is here.

Read but not reviewed: I read the first three volumes in the graphic novel series Morning Glories — and will not be reading any further. I found the plot confusing, scattered, sadistic, and not terribly engaging. I continued reading the series beyond volume 1 only to see if the storyline would become clearer or if my impression of the books would improve. Neither happened.

Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis. My son and I are continuing our Narnia read-aloud, and enjoying it very much.

Fresh Catch:

My book haul this week is a bit more modest than last week. I bought one new book, picked up used copies of three books that I’d already read but didn’t own, and added an ARC to my list of upcoming reads:

Fair Coin (Coin, #1)Cinderella, Vol. 1: From Fabletown With LoveThe DovekeepersDelirium (Delirium, #1)The Sea of Tranquility

And then on Thursday, I went to a lovely book event and got my copy of this book signed by the author:

The River of No Return

I know I’ve raved about this book several times already, but seriously — I loved it! Check it out. (My review is here)

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

I’ve just gotten started with Dead Ever After, the final entry in Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series.

Next, I have a few library books waiting for some attention. I plan to read Doll Bones by Holly Black next, and then Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan.boy1

The kiddo and I should be finished with Prince Caspian in the next couple of days, and I’m assuming that he’ll want to keep plowing ahead with our Narnia read. Not that I’m complaining! Besides being tremendously fun, I feel like I’m finally filling in a gap in my childhood reading history.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

The Monday agenda 5/27/2013

MondayAgendaNot a lofty, ambitious to-be-read list consisting of 100+ book titles. Just a simple plan for the upcoming week — what I’m reading now, what I plan to read next, and what I’m hoping to squeeze in among the nooks and crannies.

How did I do with last week’s agenda?

The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig: Although I read it the previous week, I just wrote a review this past week. Click here to see what I thought.

Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley. Read but didn’t review. While parts of Amity and Sorrow — a story about a mother and two daughters trying to rebuild their lives after escaping a polygamous fundamentalist cult — were interesting to read, overall I found the book didn’t hold my attention very well. In the end, rather than write a not-very-positive review, I opted not to review it at all.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey: Just finished. One word review: Wow. I’ll be writing an actual review shortly. Don’t miss this intense book about an alien invasion.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. My son and I finished our read-aloud of the 2nd book in the Narnia world this week, and are happily continuing with #3.

Fresh Catch:

A big haul this week — five library books plus a review copy of the upcoming new release in the captivating Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer:

This Is What Happy Looks LikeDoll BonesFathomless (Fairytale Retellings, #3)InvisibilityDead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse, #13)The Shade of the Moon (The Last Survivors, #4)

And in graphic novels, a couple of new ones from the library, plus I picked up a copy of a Fables-related title which I’d previously read but didn’t own:

Friends with BoysMorning Glories, Vol. 1: For a Better FutureCinderella, Vol. 2: Fables are Forever

What’s on my reading agenda for the coming week?

I’m planning to start with the graphic novels: Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks (recommended to me by my amazing daughter!), and then volumes 1 – 3 of Morning Glories, which I’ve been wanting to try.

The sixth and final book in the terrific Jane True series by Nicole Peeler comes out this week! I intend to re-read book 5, Tempest’s Fury, and then jump right into Tempest Reborn the second it arrives.

After that, I’ll hit the new (and last) Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead Ever After, which finally arrived at the library this week.boohide3

The kiddo and I just started Prince Caspian last night. These Narnia books are fun but fast, so I’d imagine that we’ll polish this one off before the end of the week.

So many book, so little time…

That’s my agenda. What’s yours? Add your comments to share your bookish agenda for the week.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters

For me, frustrating characters tend to fall into a few broad categories. Those who make bad choices, especially when they should know better. Those who chase after things or people they can never have. Those who bring on catastrophe through a failure to communicate. Those who refuse to recognize happiness when it’s staring them right in the face.

So which fictional characters deserve a good shake? Who do I want to slap some sense into? Or at least treat to a very stern lecture?

1) Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie, have you not noticed how many times you’ve almost died? Did you ever think that maybe you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd? People — like Sookie — who consistently put themselves into dangerous situations, fully aware that they’re doing it but doing it anyway, are incredibly frustrating to read about. Plus, Sookie spends way too much time on her beauty routines, and I just don’t have time (or interest) enough to keep reading about her showers, her leg-shaving, and her hair style choices.

2) Scarlett O’Hara. Okay, how could you possibly pick boring old Ashley Wilkes over roguish Rhett Butler? It’s frustrating when a character is so completely deluded about what she really wants and needs. As Rhett tells her:

… you’re such a child, Scarlett. A child crying for the moon. What would a child do with the moon if it got it? And what would you do with Ashley? Yes, I’m sorry for you — sorry to see you throwing away happiness with both hands and reaching out for something that would never make you happy.

But no. Scarlett just will not see what’s right in front of her eyes, and must continually chase after a man so absolutely wrong for her. Wake up!

3) Marianne Dashwood. The embodiment of “sensibility” in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Marianne is ruled by her emotions, which might not be altogether terrible if she also had a shred of judgment. Of course Willoughby turns out to be a cad! For goodness sake, pull yourself together, Marianne. No man is worth that kind of fuss… and oh, by the way, that Colonel Brandon seems like a nice fellow.

4 & 5) Roger Mackenzie and Brianna Randall. Pretty much everything that happens to these two characters in The Drums of Autumn (book #4 in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series) could have been avoided if they had just communicated with one another. Each one withholds key pieces of information, so that the other acts rashly and without knowledge of important facts. And each ends up in awful, devastating danger as a result. Granted, if they’d been straight with each other in the first place, we’d end up missing about half of the plot of this book — but still, talk about frustrating! Secrets and deceptions may make dramatic plot devices, but it drives me crazy when good, strong, otherwise honorable and admirable characters fail to communicate on such a basic level.

RS pic6) Robb Stark. So you wanna be a king? You could start by growing up a bit! I’m sorry if you don’t like your arranged marriage, but entire alliances rest upon the deals made in your name. Falling in love is not a good enough excuse for alienating an important ally — not in a world where several different armies want nothing more than your head on a pike. Oh, Robb.

7 & 8) Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele. Men who want to be in charge of your every move are not being romantic. They’re being controlling. Showing up in your bedroom uninvited to watch you sleep is not sweet. It’s creepy. Enough said. [Note: I am not a Twilight-hater. I enjoyed the books. I liked the Fifty Shades books too. But that doesn’t change the fact that these two characters make really poor choices.]

9) Lord Conall Maccon. I love Conall (alpha male of the Woolsey Pack in Gail Carriger’s wonderful Parasol Protectorate series). But his behavior in book 2, Changeless, is beyond frustrating. I won’t spoil what happens (go out and read the books!), but suffice it to way that when faced with a surprising development, hot-headed Conall jumps to the worst possible conclusion, with not a shred of reasonable evidence to back it up, and behaves abominably. Stupid, stupid man.

10) Working on a list of frustrating characters ended up frustrating me! I know there have been countless times when I’ve wanted to throw a book across the room due to some character’s stupid decisions or actions. But now that I have to actually come up with a list? I keep getting stuck. I polled some of my friends, added in a few more of my own, and so instead of just one #10, I’ll skip straight to:

Most Frustrating Characters: Honorable Mention

  • Romeo and Juliet: Wait a few minutes before doing anything rash, okay? Stop assuming your beloved is dead. Check for a pulse, perhaps.
  • Hamlet: Just make a decision already.
  • Ophelia: Oh honey, no man is worth it.
  • Nathan Price (The Poisonwood Bible) and Pa Ingalls (Little House books): Religious fervor and manifest destiny are no excuse for dragging your family off to dangerous places. Feeling a higher calling is no justification for poor parenting.
  • The Cat In The Hat: Talk about overstaying your welcome. And geez, would it kill you to clean up a bit?

Book Review: Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12)

Book Review: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Oh, Sookie. I think it’s time to say good-bye. Twelve books in, the Southern Vampire series has run its course and then some.

Things I know after reading Deadlocked:

– where Sookie shops for groceries
– how she likes to dry her hair
– whether or not she shaves her legs each day
– how much thought she puts into what she wears
– how she makes sweet potato pie
– that she applies make-up more heavily on days when she’s feeling down…

I could go on and on… which is what Charlaine Harris does in this book. Endless, endless detail about the minutiae of Sookie’s life. If only we were spared even a few of her countless showers, this book would have been a lot shorter.

Not to say that there aren’t plot developments — but not really enough of them, or ones weighty enough to sustain an entire novel. Clearly, the author is trying to spin out the story until we get the final book in 2013. However, I do feel that Deadlocked, with a bit of pruning and editing, could have encompassed a good wrap-up and spared us the year of waiting we’ll now have until the next book comes out.

So what do we get? A mystery that’s not very mysterious, a bunch of werewolf drama, fae intrigue and plotting, a random phone call from an ex-lover, and some very slow-moving changes in Sookie and Eric’s relationship. That’s about it. If I understand the end correctly (and I think I do), then the stage is set for what I’ve believed for some time will be the series finale and Sookie’s happily ever after. I won’t go into detail, because that would be a bit spoilerific. I guess I’ll have to wait a year to find out if I’m right.

Sookie, it’s been a fun ride, but I won’t be sorry to see your story brought to a conclusion, at long last. It’s really time.