Thursday, January 4, 2018

Decelerate Blue by Adam Rapp

Title: Decelerate Blue
Author: Adam Rapp
Illustrator: Mike Cavallaro
Length: 199 pages
Published: February 2017

In this dystopian world, life has become so accelerated that the focus of everything is on speed and efficiency. In speech, contractions are mandatory, adverbs are discouraged, and when you finish speaking you say "Go." Cool things are called "hyper" and movies are 14 minutes long. Angela discovers a resistance movement underground, where people are trying to slow down by never using contractions, sitting and reading, and lowering their heart rates. There's a bit of a young love story in there too.

I think this is a great concept for a dystopia, but while I enjoyed this graphic novel I feel like a novel might have done a better job of exploring the world a bit more. Lots of aspects of the world are hinted at but never explained, like how everyone talks about "guaranteeing their Guarantees" and people say "Go, Guarantee, Go!" to each other. What is the Guarantee Committee? What is the Database? These questions are never answered. The dystopian feel was good, but in my opinion a good dystopia has details.

The same is true of character development. I wanted to get to know the characters more (except the surprisingly many unpleasant characters in the underground; what's up with that?). Also, the plot goes at a good pace but then suddenly all the big stuff happens and the book is over!

So ultimately, I enjoyed this book, but I wanted MORE of everything.

Oh, also, the underground deciding to all take drugs together at the same time without really getting a chance to even see the effects of it made them seem a little less like a resistance and a little more like a cult. So that was a strange direction for them to take.

3 stars.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 Alphabet Soup Challenge

I have been doing the Alphabet Soup Challenge or one of its predecessors every year that I've been a book blogger, and I have NEVER finished it! I came pretty close in 2017, missing only K, L, X, Y, and Z. It's not even that I don't have books for those letters! It's just that I wait until too late in the year to start worrying about filling in the gaps! Anywho, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

I'll list the books I read for this challenge below.

B: A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy
D: Decelerate Blue by Adam Rapp and Mike Cavallaro
G: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2018 Mount TBR Reading Challenge

For the 7th year running, I will be participating in the Mount TBR Reading Challenge! I'm starting with the first level again: Pike's Peak: read 12 books from your TBR pile. I just barely managed 12 in 2017 because of my serious library book problem. Hopefully this year I can do better, and maybe even bump my level up to Mount Blanc before the year is through! I have 928 books on my physical TBR pile right now. Let's bring that number down a bit in 2018!

I will list the books I read for this challenge below.
  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Read-a-Thon hours 23 and 24: 5:00 - 7:00

Reading right now: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Pages read in the last two hours: 152

Total pages: 1144

Books finished: 7 (see list in survey below)

Snacks: Another orange and the last little bit of my Monster.

Status report: 1144 pages! Not half bad! And I even started the last book on my pile (even if I only got 14 pages into it). I consider this read-a-thon a success. And it was fun, of course!

End of Event Survey

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 18. There was definitely dozing.
2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read! The Reunion (Animorphs #30) by K.A. Applegate; Saga, vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples; The Overnight (Fear Street #3) by R.L. Stine; Vampire Knight, vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino; Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor; Saga, vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples; and Jughead, vol. 1 by Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson. I also read 14 pages of Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners? Saga! I feel like I could do a whole read-a-thon just reading that series!
4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile? I can't think of anything not already being done!
5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep? I'll definitely continue to participate in every read-a-thon, though I'm not likely to be able to help prep.

Read-a-Thon hours 21 and 22: 3:00 - 5:00

Reading right now:Jughead, vol. 1 by Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson

Pages read in the last two hours: 122

Total pages: 992

Books finished: The Reunion (Animorphs #30) by K.A. Applegate; Saga, vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples; The Overnight (Fear Street #3) by R.L. Stine; Vampire Knight, vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino; Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor; Saga, vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Snacks: Still working on my energy drink, and a mandarin orange.

Status report:I finally got around to doing the 10 Years in 10 Books mini-challenge. See my list here! Please enjoy it because I spent way too much reading time on it! Still, not a bad page count thanks to finishing a volume of Saga and then moving on to Jughead. I'm sure I'll finish Jughead in the last two hours, and hopefully even get a start on Wondrous Strange.

Now, since it's early morning, I've stayed up all night, AND I recently started taking tap classes, this hour's video is Good Morning from Singin' in the Rain. Enjoy!

10 Year in 10 Books Mini-Challenge

For the 10 Year in 10 Books Mini-Challenge, here are my book recommendations published each year since 2007! (And yes, I've actually read a book published in each of those years! I wasn't sure if that would be the case but Goodreads says yes!)

2007: Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favourite authors, and he just happens to be from my city, Winnipeg! So of course I'm gonna take this opportunity to spread the word. Note: This book is way more YA-ish than any of his others so if that's not your thing, all his other books are excellent historical fantasy. But if you don't mind a hint of YA, I personally loved this one.

2008: The Widows of Hamilton House by Christina Penner

Wow, were there ever a lot of good books to choose from in 2008! But ultimately another Winnipeg author wins out! (What can I say? We have good writers.) Christina Penner was actually one of my computer science professors in university, and turns out to be a woman of many talents. This book is really excellent. And, the book is based on the actual history of a haunted house in Winnipeg!

2009: Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires

Maybe an odd choice, but there wasn't an obvious choice for this year and this really is the start of a great series! Also, Canadian! It's about a cat who thinks the house is a spaceship, bugs are aliens, and he has to protect his humans from alien threats. What's not to love?

2010: Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die edited by Ryan North

First, a side note: have you ever read Dinosaur Comics? If not, go check it out because it's amazing. Anyway the writer of that webcomic is the editor of this book, which is a collection of short stories based on the concept of a machine that, with a quick blood test, can tell you how you'll die. They are extremely varied and pretty much all wonderful. There's also a second book which I haven't read yet but keep meaning to!

2011: MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche

Just when I thought I'd make a completely Canadian list! Oh well. This book legitimately changed my life. If you're an adult who's struggling with the question of how to make friends (and, better yet, best friends), I highly recommend this book. And even if that's not a problem you have, but you just enjoy funny/heartwarming memoirs, then I still recommend it!

2012: The Mine (Northwest Passage #1) by John A. Heldt

This year was really tough to choose! There were a lot of really, really good books published in 2012! This one is the first in a series of time travel stories (some closely related, some loosely) with real heart.

2013: The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh

Still looking for a good horror novel to round out your October selections? The Faceless One is scary, but also satisfyingly different. The story makes use of Tlingit mythology, and the main characters are an old Tlingit man and an old black man who became friends in a retirement home and team up to save the world from an ancient evil. Love!

2014: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

Before I even read Room, my first Emma Donoghue book was Frog Music, a historical fiction set in 1876 San Francisco. Great characters, great plot... just read it!

2015: Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

This middle grade novel about a girl who poses as a wicked witch in order to take possession of Castle Hangnail is seriously delightful. I particularly recommend the audiobook.

2016: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard

Faeries (the scary kind). A prestigious artists' retreat. Two sisters from an abusive home, each practicing their art, unexpectedly in competition with each other. Super beautiful writing! Are you convinced yet?

2017: Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

So far I've only read one book published in 2017, but as it happens, I loved it. This is a middle grade novel about a girl who starts to realise she has feelings for another girl, all while the school is preparing to put on Romeo and Juliet as the school play. Very sweet.

Read-a-Thon hours 19 and 20: 1:00 - 3:00

Reading right now: Saga, vol. 6, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Pages read in the last two hours: 104

Total pages: 870

Books finished: The Reunion (Animorphs #30) by K.A. Applegate; Saga, vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples; The Overnight (Fear Street #3) by R.L. Stine; Vampire Knight, vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino; Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Snacks: Some of my Monster drink, and a banana.

Status report: Monster to the rescue!! Also Saga. That probably played a big role as well. Even though Binti is pretty short and super good I was fighting sleep big time with that one. Now I'm fairly wide-awake again! So far I've been alternating between graphic novels and regular novels, but I think after Saga I might read my other graphic novel, Jughead, vol. 1, because then at least I know I'll get 7 of my 8 books finished! Then we'll see how much of Wondrous Strange I can read with the time remaining.

And of course my 3:00 am video choice is 3AM by Matchbox Twenty, because it always is. :)