Friday, July 31, 2015

July 2015 Wrap-Up

Here's a summary of my book-related activity for July. It was my first full month with no homework in over two years! It was wonderful to have more time to read, and to catch up on some blogging activities. I've already scheduled a few posts, and I'm hoping to write enough by the end of August to keep this blog active during the school year.

Books I read

Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds (new book)
The Boyfriend by R.L. Stine (TBR pile)
From Anna by Jean Little (library book)
Medusa Jones by Ross Collins (library book)
Winnipeg 1912 by Jim Blanchard (new book) (in progress)
The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler (TBR pile) (in progress)
Righteous Fury by Markus Heitz (new book) (in progress)
The Faceless One by Mark Onspaugh (NetGalley) (in progress)

Books I bought

Brewing Evil: A Witch is Born
by Carol Gardarsson
Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson
The Wooden Sea
by Jonathan Carroll

Dealing With Dragons
by Patricia C. Wrede
I Am a Taxi by
Deborah Ellis
Shatter Me by
Tahereh Mafi

Not a Drop to Drink
by Mindy McGinnis

Progress on challenges

I read 2 books for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge.

I read 1 book for the Diversity on the Shelf Challenge/Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge.

I read 1 book written by women.

I read 2 books written by Canadian authors.

Progress on my TBR pile: I added 7 books to my to read list and removed 6, so my pile increased by 1 this month.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Book of David by Anonymous

Title: The Book of David
Author: Anonymous
Publication Date: June 2014
Length: 272 pages

Following the tradition of Go Ask Alice, The Book of David is written as if it were the diary of David, a gay teen living in the American South.

When Jon moves to town, the attraction between him and David is immediate and undeniable. But David is in total denial, so he spends much of the book trying to figure out his identity, all while trying desperately to hide his attraction to Jon from his family and friends. Eventually the truth comes out, and each person in David's life makes it clear whether or not they really care about him.

David's story is painful to read. He lives in a town that is still very backwards and where he knows he won't be accepted. I don't know if there really are still places in the U.S. that are that bad, but certainly there are still people as bad as those who don't accept David. This book made my heart break for every kid who has to worry about coming out to those kinds of people.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was the woman-hating. Like, just because you aren't attracted to girls, doesn't mean you have to be a jerk about it, you know? I felt bad for Monica, dating a closeted gay guy who constantly gives her a hard time about not wanting to have sex with him.

But the budding relationship between David and Jon was sweet, and the characters who stand up for them are good enough people that the story has a happy side to it. Even though David's coming out has some pretty major consequences in his life, the story still ends with hope for a better future.

4 stars.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

High Summer Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up

This read-a-thon was exactly what I needed right now. Sometimes when you're used to being so busy, it can be hard to force yourself to relax and just enjoy some reading when you do have time. The High Summer Read-a-Thon this year came at just the right time to force me to chill out. :)

I didn't quite meet my goal of finishing three books, but I did come close. I read The Boyfriend by R.L. Stine (165 pages) and From Anna by Jean Little (205 pages) start to finish. Aside from that, I read an unknown number of pages of Righteous Fury by Markus Heitz and of Winnipeg 1912 by Jim Blanchard, both of which were already in progress before the read-a-thon started.

Thanks to Michelle for hosting these read-a-thons! I appreciated them more last week than ever before.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

High Summer Read-a-Thon Update Post - July 20-26, 2015

It's time for some lovely, relaxed reading time! I said when I signed up that my goal would be to read three books. As it happens, I'm in the middle of three books right now (which isn't my usual reading style, but just kind of happened): Righteous Fury by Markus Heitz (a novel), Winnipeg 1912 by Jim Blanchard (non-fiction), and The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler (short stories). I think I'll keep working on the books I'm already reading, but may also throw in a short book or two, like an R.L. Stine book, since those are my preferred read-a-thon fare.


July 20: I read a few pages of Righteous Fury by Markus Heitz before falling asleep. It was a busy day!

July 21: Because I felt like something new, I picked up The Boyfriend by R.L. Stine, which is the next book in his Point Horror novels that I've been reading. I read 59 pages of it. For a moment I actually thought I'd figured out the twist and was disappointed, but then I realised I was wrong! So I'm looking forward to the usual twist-out-of-nowhere that makes me love this series so much.

July 22: I read the rest of The Boyfriend (holy plot twists, R.L. Stine!), and then read a few pages of Righteous Fury.

July 23: I read From Anna by Jean Little, cover to cover, 211 pages. I picked this one up at the library while looking for some kids' books to review for Blanket Fort Reviews. I had no idea it would be so wonderful!

July 24: Not much time for reading today. Just a few pages of Righteous Fury I think. I've been falling asleep so quickly at night! Which is good, though not for my reading progress.

July 25: I started reading Medusa Jones by Ross Collins, which is a kids' book I got at the library. I read 39 pages of it.

July 26: I didn't get much reading in today. Just my usual few pages of Righteous Fury before bed.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds

Title: Century Rain
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Publication Date: 2004
Length: 530 pages

Century Rain starts off with two separate plots, which later come together. Verity Auger is an archaeologist, studying the remains of an Earth destroyed by the nanocaust. She is recruited for a secret mission, which takes her to what appears to be Earth in the 1950s. Meanwhile, in the 1950s, a detective/jazz musician named Floyd is investigating the murder of a seemingly innocent woman, Susan White, whom he suspects to be a spy. When Auger's and Floyd's interests in the case collide, they have to work together to solve the mystery, and maybe save the world.

Part space opera, part post-apocalyptic, part alternate history, part mystery, I must say this novel is unlike anything I've read before. I really enjoyed how the story started off, alternating chapters between Floyd and Auger, not telling you how the two stories were going to intertwine.

Closer to the end, when it got more into space opera territory, it did slow down a bit for me. A bit like a car chase, but in space, and spread out over multiple chapters. The ending was also a little open for my liking, leaving me wanting to know what happens to the characters next, but that's more a matter of personal taste. The main plot points are wrapped up.

Overall, I liked the story and the main characters. The post-apocalyptic elements were neat, with humanity having split into two factions based on acceptance of nanotechnology. While a few things bugged me, they were minor enough that my overall impression of the book is still positive, and I'd read other books by this author in the future.

4 stars.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

High Summer Read-a-Thon - July 20-26, 2015

This July and August are the first bit of time in two years when I haven't had homework. And I'm way behind on my reading so far this year because of the aforementioned homework. What does that mean? It's time for a read-a-thon!!!

Seasons of Reading hosts four of these week-long read-a-thons each year (one for each season). You should check them out!

My goal for the week is to read any three books.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge

It's time for the 9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge! I participated in the 6th and 7th challenges (not successfully) and missed the 8th. In that time, reading Canadian books has become a more important priority for me. The main obstacle is the huge number of American books I already have on my shelves, waiting to be read, but in the last year or so I've collected a fair few Canadian ones as well, so this challenge is doable without even doing any book shopping.

The challenge is to read 13 Canadian books between Canada Day this year (July 1) and Canada Day next year. I'll list the books below as I read them, and link to the reviews as I write them. I'm looking forward to reading some great Canadian books, and sharing them with you!
  1. From Anna by Jean Little
  2. A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett
  3. Secrets Found in Gimli by Diane Alexander
  4. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
  5. Winds of L'Acadie by Lois Donovan
  6. Stealing Nasreen by Farzana Doctor
  7. Room by Emma Donoghue
  8. No Humans Allowed (Women of the Otherworld #7) by Kelley Armstrong
  9. Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story by David Alexander Robertson
  10. The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
  11. Fairest of All (Whatever After #1) by Sarah Mlynowski
  12. Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen
  13. The Prairie Dog Conspiracy by Eric Wilson