#TheReadingQuest Sign Up

Hello everyone! My hiatus is still ongoing, although I am sorting out my life and things are looking much more positive at the moment. I won’t be posting much for the next couple of weeks because – drumroll – it’s Worldcon!!! And because things have to get back on track sometime, I am joining another reading challenge by the wonderfully creative Aentee from Read at Midnight. It will start on August 13th, just as Worldcon ends.

This challenge lasts for an entire month, so although I may be starting late, I will have enough time to catch up on all the books I neglected these last two months. As you may have guessed, although I pretty much stopped reading and reviewing, I have been busily buying new books the entire time and my TBR has reached heights that I would call seriously threatening.

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#DAreadathon Wrap-Up and Points

The DA Readathon is officially over and I have collected all my points as well as some thoughts about the experience.

da-readathon

The short of it is: I loved everything about this challenge. As a readathon, it was casual enough, it lasted two weeks, and there was very little pressure (unless you count my personal ambition to collect lots of house points for Ravenclaw). My favorite part  was probably the reading prompts which corresponded with spells from the Harry Potter universe, and the fact that this readathon encouraged people to read diverse books.  Not only were these prompts accompanied by lovely graphics, they also give the readathon a bit of structure. They also helped me choose books. If your TBR is as big as mine, picking a handful of books can be quite overwhelming. Most of all, though, every book I read because of this readathon, has been fantastic and I’m so glad I participated.

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First of all, let’s see how many House points I’ve collected for Ravenclaw:

dina-da-readathon4

Points for pages read:  101

  • Kissing the Witch: 228
  • Labyrinth Lost: 336
  • Six of Crows: 285
  • Borderline: 168

As you get one point for every 10 pages read, I added the “left-over” pages up until I reached another 10.
So for Kissing the Witch, I get 22 points, plus 8 left-over pages. For Labyrinth Lost I got 33 points, plus 6 pages. Those 6 added to the 8 pages from Kissing the Witch make 14 pages which got me another point (and 4 left-over pages). And so on. I hope I interpreted the rules correctly here. Otherwise, somebody let me know, please.

Points for books finished:  10

  • Emma Donoghue – Kissing the Witch
  • Zoraida Córdova – Labyrinth Lost

Points for reviews posted: 10

Points for social media: 5

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Now to the books I’ve read, started and didn’t get to:

I finished two books and reviewed both of them. They were both fantastic reads by new-to-me authors.

Emma Donoghue’s Kissing the Witch is a short story collection which retells well-known fairy tales, but with a lesbian twist. The connections between the stories may not have made a lot of sense but the stories themselves were wonderful, sometimes dark reads.

Zoraida Córdova’s Labyrinth Lost was just lovely all around. Lacking a bit in characterisation, the book had great world building, a bisexual protagonist, an intriguing magic system, and a wonderful depiction of family! I really loved it and can’t wait for the sequel.

I almost finished two more books. These are very, very different reads, but I fell in love with them equally.

I don’t think I need to say much about Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows as everybody except for me seems to have read it. I’m in the last third of that book and by now, I know this thieving crew well enough to be quite emotionally invested.

Mishell Baker’s Borderline, on the other hand, is something I usually wouldn’t read. It’s Urban Fantasy set in Hollywood, featuring a disabled, mentally ill protagonist who tried to kill herself. If I hadn’t read a ton of great reviews, I would have said that’s a bit much for one book. But it works beautifully. Millie’s Borderline Personality Disorder is always there, but it never gets “in the way” of the plot, if you know what I mean. This is not an “issue book” like they made you read in school. It’s a great mystery with an unusual Urban Fantasy world – in that I haven’t met any werewolves yet – and the protagonist’s voice is so wonderful, it’s hard to put the book down. I read about half of that book during the readathon.

Unfortunately, because work left me too tired to read on most days, here are the books I didn’t get to. But I am determined to just continue reading them as if the readathon was still going on, I just won’t award myself any House points. 🙂

  • Madeline Miller – Song of Achilles
    This book tells the love story between Achilles and Patroclus and I hear tissues are needed for reading this.
  • Nicola Griffith – Hild
    A historical fantasy featuring a kick-ass heroine? Sign me up. Also, I heard this is a slow, more character-driven book and while some people don’t like those, it’s totally my thing.
  • Siliva Moreno-Garcia – Signal to Noise
    I am so looking forward to this story, set in 80ies Mexico City. I heard it’s magical realism and there’s lots of music (thus the cover), and that sounds like it could be amazing!

Thanks to Read at Midnight for the amazing challenge. I hope you will host this readathon (or a similar one) again next year!

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#DAReadAThon

Hello, New Year! It’s nice to meet you. Let me welcome you by collecting lots of House Points for Ravenclaw during the Dumbledore’s Army Read-A-Thon (hosted by Read at Midnight).

Here’s my challenge ID card:

dina-da-readathon4

I particularly look forward to this read-a-thon because it promotes diverse books, it lasts for two whole weeks, and it gives us Potter nerds a chance to show our House pride. I have prepared a list of books to tackle for the challenge – each of them is matched with a spell from the Potter universe. More details about the books I chose to read, what spell they correspond with, and how I like them, below.

Let the reading begin!

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da-readathon-points

There are several ways to collect House points, the most obvious one of which is reading! Per 10 pages read, you gain your house 1 point and if you finish a book, that’s an additional 5 points. A review for the DA Readathon gets you another 5 points. But you can also collect points on social media by tweeting about current reads or giving book recommendations. The same goes for Instagram photos of your TBR or current #DAReadathon book.

Points for pages read:  101

  • Kissing the Witch: 228
  • Labyrinth Lost: 336
  • Six of Crows: 285
  • Borderline: 168

Points for books finished:  10

  • Emma Donoghue – Kissing the Witch
  • Zoraida Córdova – Labyrinth Lost

Points for reviews posted: 10

Points for social media: 5

POINTS EARNED FOR RAVENCLAW: 126

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dareadathon-expecto-patronum

My first book has been chosen and it is Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue. This means I’m starting my Dumbledore’s Army readathon with the Patronus charm.

This book retells all the most famous fairy tales with a lesbian twist. Because I have loved fairy tales for as long as I can think, I consider this topic one of personal significance. I’ve never read anything by Emma Donoghue before but, so far, I really like what she’s done with the Grimms’ tales.

kissing the witch

Each short story ends with one character asking a second one about how they came to be where they are. And then they tell their story. In that story, they, in turn, ask someone else about their past, and so it goes on and on. I already have some issues with how everything fits together (because it doesn’t) but the stories themselves are lovely! Sometimes, we read about the princesses, sometimes the villains, but the story, although familiar, is never quite what you’d expect.

January 1st: Because this is rather a short book, I managed to finish it on the first day of the readathon. I hope I’ll have a review up by next week. On to my next spell…

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dareadthon-lumos

My Lumos book is Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova and I cannot wait to get started. A lot of people had this book on their readathon TBR, so I guess we’ll all be sort of buddy reading it, which makes this even more fun.

labyrinth-lost

What convinced me to read this book next was the gorgeous cover and the fantastic map at the beginning. It looks dark and creepy and just like my kind of (under?)world – I just couldn’t resist. At 336 pages, this will take me a bit longer than my first book but I am super motivated to read all 7 books for the readathon.

January 2nd: Okay, so I totally love this! After only one chapter, I already feel at home in this family of brujas. The sisters are adorable and just like sisters should be. Fighting over favorite clothes, who gets to use the bathroom first, but a loving family nonetheless. I cannot wait to find out everything that’s going on here.

January 5th: I couldn’t read very much these last days because work is… well, work. It makes me fall asleep as soon as I see my bed. No time for reading. But tomorrow is a holiday so I’ll have the entire long weekend to catch up. Labyrinth Lost continues to be wonderful. In fact, it’s getting better and better. I love Alejandra, the protagonist (and her family!), and I also really, really enjoy the potential love interests. I see two characters with potential, either of them may become a romantic partner, or neither of them. But the not knowing makes this  a highly refreshing book.

Evening: Aaaaand I’m home from work and have officially started my weekend. I am starting to seriously love this book even though I only read a few pages on the train today.

January 8th: So, I’m almost done with this book (still loving it) but I didn’t have a lot of time to read any other DA readathon books. On the upside, I finally went to see Rogue One on Saturday and it was much better than I expected. Plus, I still have to finish reading Flashfall, which I started very late last year and which, although very exciting at first, has kind of run out of steam by now.
However, I’m pretty sure I’ll have a review of Labyrinth Lost up next week and hopefully finish the rest of my readathon books.

January 10th: I finished this book yesterday and although I saw one part of the ending coming, I loved it to bits. The feeling of family, the warmth of friendship, and watching Alex come of age was just beautiful. My review is now online!

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dareadathon-stupefy

 

I also couldn’t resist any longer and started Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I picked it because of the hype surrounding the duology and again, just two chapters in, I am so hooked I want to just stay home all week and read this book!

six-of-crows

January 2nd: I had only ever read the first Grisha book by Leigh Bardugo before but if Six of Crows continues to be as good as its first chapters, I believe I’ve been missing out. Holy shit, how can I like both Inej and Kaz so much after one short encounter?

January 5th: As much as I adore Labyrinth Lost, I think it’s time to switch it up a bit and continue this amazeballs book! I still don’t know what the plot is really going to be about but I adore the characters so far.

January 11th: This is so much fun. Kaz is gathering a crew for his big job and you’d think the introduction of each character would be boring but it’s not. Bardugo uses the time for world-building as well as showing us who these guys are. I already have trouble picking a favorite (I was just introduced to Matthias) but I adore the names used in this novel. Ketterdam, the Barrel, the Dregs… names and places aren’t just words here – they have meaning and they paint pictures in your head. So even if you don’t get a description of the Dregs, you still get the idea that it’s not a nice place, that it’s a dark underbelly sort of area of the city. Just because of its name. Well done, Leigh Bardugo!

January 14th: OMG, there is so much going on here! While I am excited to see how the group will get the job done, what I find infinitely more interesting is the relationships between the members of the group. First of all – Nina and Inej, the only two girls, are friends. I love it. I love how effortlessy normal they are, how they are nice to each other, care about each other. I just hope they don’t become part of a love triangle, but  so far I trust Leigh Bardugo.
Nina and Matthias also have a… weird thing going on. These two are totally in love, I am sure of it even though it was never stated. But he also wants to kill her? And she got him sent to prison? Talk about baggage. I finally have reading time, and it’s wonderful to dive into this world for an hour or two without interruptions.

January 15th: I’ve read more than half of this book but I don’t think I can finish it in time. Plus, during a Twitter chat, somebody massively spoiled part of the story and now I’m reading certain chapters thinking about nothing else but that spoiler. It’s like a big cloud of doom hanging over the book. However, the book is still fun, and I hope that spoiled one wasn’t the only twist that’s coming up.

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da-readathon-expelliarmus

Because I can’t ever read just one book at a time, I had to start with my next Hogwarts spell right after finishing the last book and while still reading Six of Crows. Because that book is so immersive, I wanted something with a completely different world and tone, where I couldn’t possible mix up the stories in my brain. And here it is:

borderline

From what I’ve heard of this novel – and I have only heard good things – the protagonist has a failed suicide attempt in her past, lost both legs, and has Borderline Personality Disorder. If that doesn’t sound intriguing, I don’t know what does. And after reading the first few pages, I am already in love with the voice. Plus, I read about disabled characters so rarely, it’s about time to expand my horizons. Let’s get our Expelliarmus on, right?

January 11th: I read the first few chapters before bed yesterday and I am so surprised. Urban Fantasy is usually not my thing, because I just can’t read about another snarky, yet super sexy and capable, fighting machine heroine anymore who solves crimes with werewolves and vampires. But this? This is awesome! I can safely say I have never read about a character like Millie and although we have nothing in common, I love reading about her.

January 14th: This is a fantastic book! I only wish I’d had more energy during the last few days to actually read. Now that the weekend is finally here, I’ll need to get my butt in gear and catch up a little. I love Millie’s narration, I find the world fascinating, but I was so exhausted after work every day of the week that I only read a chapter or two before bed.

As much as this is a page-turner, I’ve been spending most of my time with Six of Crows, so I only read about a third of Borderline. Another book I won’t be able to finish during the readathon. But not only do I look forward to reading the rest of it, I am already eyeing the sequel which will come out this year.

January 15th: I’m a bit confused about the rules of the readathon. If today is still included in the challenge, I might just have a shot at finishing another book. Wish me luck!

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Let’s start 2017 with a Read-a-thon – #DAReadAThon Sign-Up Post

I haven’t posted very much lately because all my time is taken up by catching up on all those unread books and, you know, the usual Christmas madness. And while I am pretty sure I’ll have to admit defeat by the end of the month (so many challenges unfinished), I intend to start the new year with a bang and read-a-thon right into 2017!

When I found this awesome challenge hosted by Aentee at Read at Midnight I knew I had to join.

The Dumbledore’s Army Read-a-Thon

Here’s what you need to know:

  • it runs from January 1st through January 15th 2017
  • it gives you great prompts on how to choose your books (more on that below)
    • the prompts are inspired by Harry Potter spells, which is so awesome!
  • it promotes the reading of diverse books
  • you can collect points for your Hogwarts house!!! (gamification works on me, I guess)
    • you get points for reading and for interacting with others on social media

And here’s my official sign-up card and a list of books I’m going to read for the seven prompts.

dina da-readathon

Choosing the books was super difficult because I want to read All The Things but I think I’ve got a pretty good lineup here. In case you’re participating and still looking for a good book to read, I added descriptions from Goodreads.dareadathon-stupefy

I think it’s safe to say that Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows has taken the internet by storm. When people wouldn’t stop posting about it and its sequel, I knew I had to have those books. The duology is sitting on my shelf, looking all pretty, and eagerly awaiting January. As far as I know, it features characters suffering from PTSD.

six-of-crows

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

da-readathon-protego

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by a Mexicon author or set in Mexico and Siliva Moreno-Garcia’s Signal to Noise has been on my radar ever since it came out. Mexico City, music, the 80ies! What’s not to look forward to? Plus, look at that new cover with its incredible Stranger Things vibe… it’s the font, I know, but it totally makes me want to pick it up right now and read it.

A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City.
Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends — Sebastian and Daniela — and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love…
Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?

da-readathon-expelliarmus

The marginalised group that I almost never read about is characters with disabilities. I thought about two different books to choose for this prompt (Corinne Duyvis – On the Edge of Gone and Mishell Baker – Borderline) but in the end, I am going with Borderline because my gut tells me to and because I really meant to read this book in 2016 and never got around to it.

borderline

A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.
For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she’ll have to smooth-talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown. But stronger forces than just her inner demons are sabotaging her progress, and if she fails to unravel the conspiracy behind the noble’s disappearance, not only will she be out on the streets, but the shattering of a centuries-old peace could spark an all-out war between worlds.
No pressure.

da-readathon-reducto

My initial idea was to finally read something by Kameron Hurley but then I decided to go with another book that I’ve owned since it was published and that I desperately want to read. So my pick is Hild by Nicola Griffith.

hild

A brilliant, lush, sweeping historical novel about the rise of the most powerful woman of the Middle Ages: Hild.
Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief.
Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world—of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next—that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable—until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future.
Hild is a young woman at the heart of the violence, subtlety, and mysticism of the early medieval age—all of it brilliantly and accurately evoked by Nicola Griffith’s luminous prose. Recalling such feats of historical fiction as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, Hild brings a beautiful, brutal world—and one of its most fascinating, pivotal figures, the girl who would become St. Hilda of Whitby—to vivid, absorbing life.

dareadathon-impedimenta

This prompt is screaming for Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, a book telling the love story between Achilles and Patroclus. I bought this when it was new but even though the book is pretty slim, I always felt a little daunted. Now it’s time to finally read it.

song-of-achilles

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

dareadathon-expecto-patronum

Whew! This is a hard one. Since I don’t want to get too personal here, I chose a book that encompasses my childhood and there is nothing that screams “Dina’s childhood” more than fairy tales. If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ll know about my slight obsession with this type of story. Finding a fairy tale retelling that also features diverse characters is a always worth a little victory dance. To mix things up, I’m going for a story collection instead of a novel: Emma Donoghue – Kissing the Witch

kissing the witch

Thirteen tales are unspun from the deeply familiar, and woven anew into a collection of fairy tales that wind back through time. Acclaimed Irish author Emma Donoghue reveals heroines young and old in unexpected alliances–sometimes treacherous, sometimes erotic, but always courageous. Told with luminous voices that shimmer with sensuality and truth, these age-old characters shed their antiquated cloaks to travel a seductive new landscape, radiantly transformed. Cinderella forsakes the handsome prince and runs off with the fairy godmother; Beauty discovers the Beast behind the mask is not so very different from the face she sees in the mirror; Snow White is awakened from slumber by the bittersweet fruit of an unnamed desire. Acclaimed writer Emma Donoghue spins new tales out of old in a magical web of thirteen interconnected stories about power and transformation and choosing one’s own path in the world. In these fairy tales, women young and old tell their own stories of love and hate, honor and revenge, passion and deception. Using the intricate patterns and oral rhythms of traditional fairy tales, Emma Donoghue wraps age-old characters in a dazzling new skin.

dareadthon-lumos

I browsed through other participants’ TBRs for this challenge to find recommendations for books I haven’t thought of myself, and I came across this post. Isabella is going to read Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova and now, so am I. Thanks for helping me pick my last book for the read-a-thon. I am super excited to start reading.

labyrinth-lost

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.
The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…
Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.

I can’t wait to get started and dive into all these wonderful books. And if I can win some house points for Ravenclaw in the process, that makes it all the better.

What about you? Are you going to participate? If yes, what house are you reading for. I’ve seen some Slytherin and Hufflepuff sign-ups so far as well as a few fellow Ravenclaws, but surprisingly no Gryffindors yet.

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Bout of Books 16 – Updates

I’ve had all levels of success with the Bout of Books read-a-thon but even when I barely finish one book, I still enjoy this event so much that I can’t resist joining in. The Twitter chats are epic, the challenges a lot of fun, there are always new people to meet and blogs to follow. How could I say no to that?

bout of books banner

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Since I boasted about sticking to my goals and reading only the books I picked yesterday, I hope I won’t get distracted by all the new books on my shelves. My read-a-thon books are all choices I think I will love, so sticking to them shouldn’t be a problem. Now it’s all about reading as much as I can. May the read-a-thon begin!


MONDAY

Total books read: 
Total pages read:
 ~ 250
Pages read today: ~ 250
Books finished: 
Books I’m reading:

  • V.E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows
  • Bill Willingham – Fables Deluxe Edition: Volume 11

Notes:

I read last night before going to sleep and I’m counting that towards my pages for today (just because :)). The first 200 pages of Fables were pretty good, although it took me a while to remember all the things that happened previously. Still, I love seeing where this idea of fairy tale characters living in the real world has gone. After many, many issues, this is a whole new universe full of fairy tale awesome.

I’m now past the halfway point of A Gathering of Shadows and the plot is still slowly meandering. We’re building up to the big magic tournament but, so far, very little has actually happened. I enjoy reading about these characters but I’d seriously like stuff to happen soon.


TUESDAY

Total books read: 
Total pages read:
 ~ 373
Pages read today: ~ 123
Books finished:  0
Books I’m reading:

  • V.E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows
  • Bill Willingham – Fables Deluxe Edition: Volume 11

Notes:

What a stressful day! I was at work rathr long today and I’m afraid Wednesday will be the same. But, I managed to read Fables in the morning with my coffee and A Gathering of Shadows before sleep again.

In Fables, I am currently in the middle of a flashback about Snow White and Rose Red, which is fantastic. I feel like a child again, reading this old tale. And, to my delight, A Gathering of Shadows finally found its footing, the magical tournament has started and it is not very exciting. Taking more than half of a book to catch up and remind the readers of what happened previously is a bit long, mind you, but now that the action has begun, I’m quite happy.

I had no time for challenges today and if the week continues the way it started, I think I’ll have to postpone all challenges to the weekend.


WEDNESDAY

Total books read: 
Total pages read:
 ~ 425
Pages read today: ~ 52
Books finished: 
Books I’m reading:

  • V.E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows

Notes:

Today was an exhausting day at work. I got home later than planned and was too tired to read much. I mostly focused on A Gathering of Shadows because it got really good and I can’t stop reading.


THURSDAY

Total books read: 
Total pages read:
 ~ 437
Pages read today: ~ 12
Books finished: 
Books I’m reading:

  • V.E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows
  • Bill Willingham – Fables Deluxe Edition: Volume 11

Notes:

Another even more exhausting day at work. I am totally beat. I’ll crawl to the couch, fall down on it, and hope I can stay awake long enough to read a few pages. I have already started The Raven King on audiobook but I’m much too tired to concentrate properly. So I’ll definitely be doing most of my reading on the weekend. At my current pace, I’ll have a lot to catch up on.


FRIDAY

Total books read: 
Total pages read:
 ~ 594
Pages read today: ~ 157
Books finished: 
Books I’m reading:

  • V.E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows
  • Bill Willingham – Fables Deluxe Edition: Volume 11
  • Bill Willingham – Jack of Fables: The End (Volume 9)

Notes:

So yesterday, I read almost nothing. That sucks but I am really happy I got that sleep. It was desperately needed. Today is Friday, however (yay!) and if nothing bad happens at work – fingers crossed – then I can leave earlier and finally start into the weekend with some reading.

Aaaand I’m back on track. I’ve read the next big chapter in Fables, dealing with Rose Red and her past. Rose Red and Snow White were enemies when the series started but only now did I find out just exactly what happened between them. It was a beautiful, sad, disturbing tale that only made Red feel more real. A Gathering of Shadows is also taking its toll. My blood pressure suffered a lot this morning on the commute. This magical tournament that’s finally started is really something. Every scene is so thrilling that I keep holding my breath (not a good idea), so I’m saving the next chapters for later this evening. But I’m confident that I’ll finish these two books – the comic and the current novel – during the read-a-thon. The Raven King also shouldn’t be a problem and I hope to fit Helen Oyeyemi’s collection in there somewhere.


SATURDAY

Total books read:  0
Total pages read:
 ~ 727
Pages read today: ~ 130
Books finished: 
Books I’m reading:

  • Bill Willingham – Jack of Fables: The End (Volume 9)
  • V.E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows

Notes:

Good morning! While our breakfast was frying in the pan, I continued reading, because hey, only two days left in this read-a-thon. Now it’s time to eat, and then I’ll be off into the world of Fables and Fulminate Blades and Dragonslaying once more.

So, I still haven’t finished a book but I’m getting to the end of most of them. Jack and his comic continues to be hilarious and I kind of don’t want his spin-off comics to end. But I am also so very curious how the entire Fables series will end.


SUNDAY

Total books read:  2
Total pages read:
 ~ 917
Pages read today: ~ 190
Books finished: 

  • Bill Willingham – Jack of Fables: The End
  • Bill Willingham – Fables, the Deluxe Edition: Volume 11

Books I’m reading:

  • V. E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows
  • Helen Oyeyemi – What is Not Yours is Not Yours

Notes:

Alright, I have finally finished both the last instalment in the Jack of Fables series (which ended… Shakespearan) and the Deluxe Edition of Fables Volume 11. I particularly loved that, after the story, the creators answered fan questions with little comics. In this case, the questions came from celebrity fans and were all things I’d wanted to know as well. Lots of points for this bonus content, I really enjoyed it.

Now back to V. E. Schwab and on to the first story in Helen Oyeyemi’s collection. It’s already Sunday but well, I gotta get started sometime.

Aaaand this concludes the read-a-thon. As expected, work makes it hard to read a lot. But I did catch up on my current book (almost finished), am in the middle of The Raven King audiobook and finished two graphic novels. That’s not a lot, but it is something. On to the next one!

 

Bout of Books 16 – Goals and Books

Bout of Books It’s time for Bout of Books and I am so ready to catch up on my reading. I did pretty well during the first few months of the year but what with my inability to say no to a challenge, I do have a lot of books to finish.

Seeing as I was all big-mouthed and said I would decide on the books to read and then stick to that plan, here are my goals and the books I’ve picked:

  • Read one comic book/graphic novel
  • Finish whichever current book I’m reading
  • Finish one other book that is part of a reading challenge
  • Start listening to one new audiobook

My graphic novel of choice is Fables: The Deluxe Edition Volume 11. I’m still enjoying the Fables series a lot, although I’ve noticed that the deluxe collected volumes got bigger and bigger. This volume is almost 450 pages thick. PLUS, in order to read all of this graphic novel, I need to take a quick side-trip into the Jack of Fables comics. That’s another 200 to 300 pages. And yes, there are pictures and all that but Fables can be pretty dense stories. Anyway, I look forward to catching up.

The audiobook is easy to pick. It will be The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. Although I ordered the hardcover to sit on my shelf next to all the other beautiful Raven Cycle books, I also got myself the audiobook version which I’ve been kind of avoiding because I don’t want the series to end.

My current read – and I don’t understand why I took such a long break from the book – is A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. I loved the first book A Darker Shade of Magic, but this one took a long time to get started and I guess I just wasn’t in the right mood. But it’s really time to pick it up again and finish it.

Aaaaaaand for my last goal, I will pick a book that is part of one of my reading challenges. There is a lot to choose from, mind you, because I’m an idiot who thinks she can read a billion books a year. But I’ve narrowed it down to a challenge (reading more authors of color) and even a book: Helen Oyeyemi – What is Not Yours is Not Yours. I’ve read two of Oyeyemi’s books and I adore her style. Maybe I should have tried an author that is new to me, but for this read-a-thon, I thought a collection of short fiction would be better because I can read one story per evening or ideally even a story per train ride to and from work.

The big post of pages/books read and mini-challenges and other stuff will be posted tomorrow. By the way, there’s still time to join the read-a-thon if you feel like it. Just go here and sign up.

Bout of Books 16 – Sign-Up

I’m doing it again.  The Bout of Books read-a-thon is one of the most fun things a reader can do on the internet. This time, it falls on a regular work week for me, so I won’t be reading thousands of pages. But catching up a little on challenges, reading a sequel or two, and a comic book for good measure – that sounds perfectly doable.

Bout of Books

 

Don’t know what the hell I’m talking about? Here’s some info:

 

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

 

I’m even going to set myself some loose goals right away. The weekend before the read-a-thon I’ll pick which books exactly I’m going to read and (trying a new thing here) I will actually only read those books and not be distracted by shiny covers or cool stuff my friends recommend. For one week, I will stick to a plan. Booyah!

 

So. Goals.
  • Read one comic book/graphic novel
  • Finish whichever current book I’m reading
  • Finish one other book that is part of a reading challenge
  • Start listening to one new audiobook

That’s pretty ambitious for a 40 hour work week during which I also have to feed myself, spend time with my boyfriend, and watch at least the most necessary amount of TV. But I’m excited and motivated and look forward to the Twitter chats.

If you want to join the fun, there’s still time until  May 10th to sign-up. Trust me, you do not want to miss it.

Bout of Books 14.0 – Updates

Bout of Books is here and I am in desperate need of it. My reading challenges are nowhere near finished, I’m drowning in review copies, and I feel like I’m still missing out on all the new books coming out this year. This post is where I’ll keep track of how the read-a-thon is going for me, what I’m reading, the challenges I’m participating in, and so on. Maybe I’ll add a special bonus bullet point for how ungodly hot it is outside…

bout of books banner

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Let’s get started! I have a lot of books to get through.


OVERALL STATS

Books read:
Terry Pratchett – Soul Music
Bill Willingham – Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 10
Fran Wilde – Updraft
Pages read: ~  715
Challenges: 3
Twitter chats:

 


MONDAY

Total books read:  0
Total pages read:
~ 165
Pages read today: ~ 165
Challenges: Fictional World Travel
Books I’m reading:

  • Fran Wilde – Updraft
  • Terry Pratchett – Soul Music

Notes:

I had started both Updraft and Soul Music before the read-a-thon so finishing those two shouldn’t take too long.
Updraft is a gripping and fast read, although I do think it’s getting a bit silly. I have enormous trouble suspending my disbelief about the world-building and at the same time appreciate the original ideas. A city in the sky, people living on structures of growing bone, flying around with attachable wings… it sounds really good but you really can’t think about it too much or it all falls apart.

Also: IT’S BEEN RAINING ALL NIGHT! Ladies and gentlemen, we have weather again. The days of blazing heat and sleepless nights seem to be over. For someone who’s normally always cold, I now know that 38°C is just too damn hot.


TUESDAY

Total books read: 
Total pages read:
~
Pages read today: I don’t know, 5?
Books I’m reading:

  • Fran Wilde – Updraft
  • Terry Pratchett – Soul Music

Notes:

I couldn’t sleep at all last night and feel like a cast member of The Walking Dead (not one of the ones with speaking parts, mind you).  Thanks to my spontaneous insomnia, I almost finished my Terry Pratchett book, however. A few more pages today, and a review shall follow soon. Soul Music was fun, funny, and – as every Death novel – a little bit heartbreaking.

Updraft is also getting more and more interesting. I still have trouble with the world-building but it’s gotten better. I generally dislike when an entire society of people doesn’t question the status quo, but Fran Wilde took care that there are people who wonder what those in power plan and if it’s really for the greater good. I officially want to know All The Secrets!

This turned out to be one of the worst work days ever. I was completely sleep-deprived and several shots of coffee didn’t really help. Even on enough sleep, this would have been a horrible day. Instead of reading, I went shopping with a friend (which was wonderful!), ordered food, and went straight to bed. Better luck tomorrow, I hope.


WEDNESDAY

Total books read:  1
Total pages read:
 ~ 210
Pages read today: ~ 40
Books finished:  Terry Pratchett – Soul Music
Books I’m reading:

  • Fran Wilde – Updraft

Notes:

Still trying to catch up on sleep, so not much reading today. Audiobooks, however, worked beautifully – although I had to go back and re-listen a lot because I fell asleep pretty randomly. I am now starting to put all my hope into the weekend as I suspect the rest of my work week will be just as awful.


THURSDAY

Total books read:  1
Total pages read:
~ 225
Pages read today: ~ 15
Challenges: Four Seasons in Book Covers
Books I’m reading:

  • Fran Wilde – Updraft

Notes:

The tired overcame me again. I’m putting all my money on the weekend now. Now time to read during the week, and if I did have time, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t. I may start another audiobook tonight…


FRIDAY

Total books read:  2
Total pages read:
~ 609
Pages read today: ~ 384
Books finished: Bill Willingham – Fables Deluxe, Vol. 10
Books I’m reading:

  • Fran Wilde – Updraft

Notes:

IT’S FRIDAY!!! Thank the gods for weekends. I finally had some time to just sit down and curl up with my book. Updraft will be finished today and I’m not sure yet what book I’ll start next. There are so many that look intriguing…

I also noticed I completely forgot to mention that I read Fables: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 10. Spread out over the week, I nibbled at this comic book every day. I’ll put that one in today’s stats, but please note that I’m not made of magic and couldn’t actually read that much in a day. 🙂


SATURDAY

Total books read:  3
Total pages read:
~ 715
Pages read today: ~ 106
Books finished: Fran Wilde – Updraft
Challenges:
Road Trip Challenge
Books I’m reading:

  • Rosamund Hodge – Gilded Ashes

Notes:

I slept all morning (seriously, I properly got up around 1pm) and finally, I feel rested. I finished Updraft and must now dive into my huge TBR pile to find my next read. Reviews of all books read during this week will follow of course. But only next week when I’ve had time to mull them over a bit.

Alright, I’ve made my decision. I picked a very short book because then I might squeeze another one in tomorrow. After reading the first paragraph of Gilded Ashes, I knew I had to continue. Cinderella retold in the Cruel Beauty universe? That sounds awesome. And the first chapter already offers up plenty of spins on the Grimms’ tale. Yes, I am happy with this. Now, let’s read.


SUNDAY

Total books read:  4
Total pages read:
~ 826
Pages read today: ~ 111
Books finished: Rosamund Hodge – Gilded Ashes
Books I’m reading:

  • ??

Notes:

The Hugo Awards are over and I am so happy! My favorite novel (The Goblin Emperor) didn’t win but in almost all other categories, my number one votes got the rocket. The discussions on Twitter are ugly (and the Puppies’ conspiracy theories more and more out of this world) but I don’t care. I’m already making a list of great books to nominate next year and I hope that all the new voters will do the same and nominate their favorites. I want to read some good stuff again next year!

Back to the read-a-thon though, Gilded Ashes by Rosamunde Hodge was a lot of fun. The romance started developing slowly, then took an insta-love turn, but it did some really amazing thing with the female characters. Maia and her stepsisters have more layers than you’d expect from a 100-page story based on a fairy tale. I am impressed.

Now back to the TBR pile for my next read. There’s so much stuff that looks amazing.

Bout of Books 14.0 – Let’s do this… again

It feels like the last Bout of Books read-a-thon just happened last week – where has all this time gone?  Since this is the only read-a-thon that I’m able to participate in without massive amounts of sleep deprivation or having to quit my job, I’m joining again. I’ve got some review copies lying around that need to be read anyway.

Bout of Books
As always, for the unintiated, here’s what Bout of Books is all about:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Reading goals:

I wasn’t very ambitious last time because it’s difficult to read a lot during a work week. But then I did better than expected, so I’ll up my game this time. If I manage to read 100 pages every day, I’ll be more than happy.

  • Finish current book
    • whatever is current at the time
  • Read 3 books
    • Fran Wilde – Updraft
    • Elizabeth Bear – Karen Memory
    • N.K. Jemisin – The Fifth Season
  • Listen to 1 audiobook
    • Terry Pratchett – Soul Music
  • Participate in 1 Twitter chat
  • Continue (or finish) reading:
    • Stephen King – Wolves of the Calla (57% read)

There are many other books I feel like reading now, but the read-a-thon is still a few weeks away. The main goals will remain, but I may change around the books I plan to read, especially because I don’t know how much longer I can stay away from them. But I will try to focus on review copies or books that I want to read for next year’s Hugo nominations.
For my one audiobook, I figured I can’t go wrong with Pratchett. And Stephen King’s Dark Tower has been dreadfully neglected by me for a while now. I don’t have the ambition to finish this book but reading a few chapters to get back into it is doable.

Apart from reading these awesome books, I look forward to the challenges (something with covers, please something with covers) and the epic twitter chats as well as meeting tons of other book bloggers and booktubers. I’ll probably use the next few weeks to rearrange my list above, change my goals a billion times, pick a whole set of completely different books to read, discard that idea and go back to my original goals. It’s fun to be a book nerd sometimes…

Bout of Books 13.0 – Updates

It’s time! Bout of Books 13 has officially started and this is where I’ll track my progress of books and pages read. Any reviews I manage to write will of course get their own post, but general ramblings during the read-a-thon will end up here. I’ll also link to challenges and other people’s posts that I find interesting.

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team


Monday

Total books read:  1
Total pages read:
~150
Pages read today: ~150
Books finished: Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët – Jolies ténèbres (Beautiful Darkness)

Books I’m reading:

  • Malinda Lo – Ash I’ve been dragging this retelling of Cinderella along with me for a while. It could be a good story, if only the writing weren’t so boring and the fairy tale aspects so lacking. A very disappointed review is bubbling up inside of me, so prepare yourselves.
  • Mervyn Peake – Titus Groan This, on the other hand, is a literary feast! The characters are bizarre and I love discovering all the nooks and crannies of castle Gormenghast with them. This is one of those books that doesn’t live off plot or working towards an ending.

Notes:

Ah Mondays, how you make me think of Garfield… I didn’t have a lot of time today and I totally ignored my reading plans. When the French graphic novel Jolies ténèbres was waiting for me in my mailbox, it was difficult to hold back – so I didn’t. I’ll post my thoughts sometime this weeks (spoiler: it was brilliant!).
Malinda Lo’s book is still like wading through mud but at least I’m almost finished. Why on earth it’s called a “Cinderella retelling” is beyond me. All the aspects of the fairy tale are thrown in willy-nilly, they have no impact on the wider plot, and honestly just get in the way of a story that would otherwise have had potential. Meh.


 Tuesday

Total books read: 2
Total pages read: ~ 215
Pages read today: ~ 65
Books finished: Malinda Lo – Ash

Books I’m reading:

  • Mervyn Peake – Titus Groan
  • Brandon Sanderson – Elantris (audiobook)
  • Catherynne M. Valente – The Boy Who Lost Fairyland

Notes:

Malinda Lo’s Ash did not get better at all. I finished it but it got more and more annoying towards the end. My review will be up the day after tomorrow. Castle Gormenghast is still a blast to explore even though it’s a slow read with words to be savored, not devoured quickly. And Sanderson’s Elantris continues to entertain me, although I don’t know if it’s because the Graphic Audio version was recorded with a full cast, or because the story finally got interesting. As usual, I have a small theory about an upcoming revelation, but then again, Sanderson has always managed to fool me so far and my guesses are usually way off.

For a regular work day (and an emotionally straining one, at that) I was fairly motivated this evening. My review for Beautiful Darkness is up and my TBR pile is looking slightly less mountainous.


Wednesday

Total books read: 2
Total pages read:
~ 290
Pages read today: ~75

Books I’m reading:

  • Brandon Sanderson – Elantris

Notes:

As expected, I didn’t read a lot on Wednesday because I had dinner with some friends and was too tired for an extended reading session afterwards. But I’m back in the game with Thursday being a holiday. Come at me, TBR, I’m ready for you!


Thursday

Total books read: 3
Total pages read:
~ 529
Pages read today:  ~ 239
Books finished: Brandon Sanderson – Elantris (review coming on Monday)
Challenges: From Modern to Classic

The challenge:
Share one book that you believe will be considered a classic in 100 years time. Simple? I do have a few caveats, the book must have been published in or after 2005 and you need to provide two reasons for why this book will be a classic.

My answer:
I’m going for Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels – they are already considered classics of their genre but I believe they will endure the test of time. The first reason is that Pratchett has enjoyed enormous amounts of success during his lifetime. Even people who don’t read may have heard his name or heard of Discworld. The second reason is that his books (not all of them, mind you, but especially the later ones) speak universal truths. People who dismiss Discworld for being fantasy have clearly never picked up a Discworld book. They deal with themes that everyone can relation to, they do so with a witty sense of humor, and they have already proved how well they hold up on a re-read. So yeah, skipping the easiest answer (which is Harry Potter), I’m fairly certain Sir Terry will still be read in 100 years time.

Books I’m reading:

  • Catherynne M. Valente – The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
  • Brandon Sanderson – Elantris

Notes:

Gaaaah, I love Cat Valente so much! She writes the most beautiful books that burrow their way into my heart and make themselves at home. I know exactly how Hawthorn the Troll feels at the “Normal” school. Children with “too much imagination” are cast out, treated like there’s something wrong with them by teachers. They try to stifle Hawthorn’s imagination like it’s a bad thing. I feel so much for the poor boy who wants nothing more than for a little magic to appear. We are the same, Hawthorn.

Brandon Sanderson definitely got better with time. Elantris isn’t bad, I just feel that it tries to do too many things at once and therefore lacks focus on most of its aspects. Religions clashing, a revolution brewing, a princess manipulating her merry way around court, a fallen prince trying to build a new civilazation. Oh yes, and magic. Did I mention magic? These themes are explored a little bit but eventually need to make way for the next. I would have preferred a tighter focus. And, by the gods, better names!


Friday

Total books read: 3
Total pages read:
~ 549
Pages read today: ~ 20
Challenges: Cover Color Challenge

As much as we like to tell ourselves that covers don’t matter, we all know that we’ve bought books solely on cover appeal, that we’ve paid more for a certain edition with the prettier cover and so on. I have no trouble admitting that I’m a sucker for a nice cover. And when the colors go together, things are good. Here’s my entry for the cover color challenge:

And because I like both blue and red, here’s another one:

And while I’m at it…

But that’s really enough for today’s challenge. I must admit, it was harder than expected, not because I couldn’t find any books but because I found too many! Picking only four per color is cruel, so I went with six.

Books I’m reading:

  • Catherynne M. Valente – The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
  • Mervyn Peake – Titus Groan

Notes:

It’s the day between a holiday and a weekend – guess who has to work today? Other than the challenge, I didn’t do much today for the readathon. I was so very tired in the evening that all I could do was fall onto the couch and be lazy. I hope Saturday will be more productive.


Saturday

Total books read: 3
Total pages read: ~ 649
Pages read today: ~ 100
Challenges:
Twitter chat!

It’s not a challenge (unless you have really slow internet) but I loooove these twitter chats. They are crazy and messy and everybody speaks at once but you still want to follow every conversation. It’s so much fun that I’ll gladly spend an hour hitting the refresh-button over and over again. Thanks to Kelly for hosting today’s chat, I had a blast!

Books I’m reading:

  • Theodora Goss – In the Forest of Forgetting
  • Catherynne M. Valente – The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
  • Mervyn Peake – Titus Groan

Notes:

Here’s the thing. I adore Cat Valente and I love the latest Fairyland book – but perhaps I love it so much that, in order to draw it out, I keep starting other books “on the side”. You know what I mean. I’m perfectly happy to read only The Boy Who Lost Fairyland all weekend but then I will be out of Fairyland books. So I started Theodora Goss’ short story collection, because reading one story before bed works even when my brain is tired, and because hey – fairy tales and myths. It also came recommended by Cat Valente, so there you go.
I did crack in the evening and crawled into bed with the Fairyland book. September even showed up!! Now it’s Castle Gormenghast that’s being left behind. I guess there are worse things than reading three very good books at the same time.


Sunday

Total books read: 3
Total pages read:
~ 800
Pages read today: ~151
Challenges:

Books I’m reading:

  • Catherynne M. Valente – The Boy Who Lost Fairyland
  • Theodora Goss – In the Forest of Forgetting

Notes:

I almost finished the Fairyland book. “Almost” because I wanted to keep a few chapters for next week. It’s going to be almost a year before the next volume comes out and drawing out the experience even for a few days seems like a good idea.
I’m also completely taken with Theodora Goss’ story collection. The titular story “In the Forest of Forgetting” was a beautiful, devastating metaphor for going through cancer treatments, there was a story about an artist who literally brings out the best in people, and one about a wish gone terribly wrong. The language is lyrical, experimental, and totally up my alley.
In the spirit of catching up on halfway-finished books, I also read a chapter in Titus Groan but this is not a good book to read when you’re already tired. It needs full concentration.

I’ll post a separate wrap-up of the read-a-thon but generally speaking, I declare this a success! I read great books, discvered new blogs to follow, had a wagonload of fun during the twitter chat, and caught up on some reading challenges. Yay!