Sunday, June 10, 2012

The final countdown

So, here it is.  The last post of MotherReader's 48-Hour Book Challenge.  I've been a little slackerish on the posts, I know, but when I come home from dancing, I wanted to read more than write, so there it is.  Our first performance went well enough, but there was enough technical difficulties to hope that today's will be better.  At least I didn't fall flat on my face (except when I was supposed to have).  All my friends came yesterday, so there should hopefully be less stress today.  Phew!

But, back to reading!

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

When I was in Europe, I took an overnight train from Nice to Paris.  In my cabin was a girl name Christine who was traveling alone.  I was with my friend Sarah.  We departed each other in Paris and never expected to see each other again.  Not 24 hours later, we ran into each other again at Notre Dame Cathedral.  Isn't that strange to meet a girl twice in one day (and she was going to St Andrews at the time so got to meet Prince William, how smashing!)  In The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, two people meet at an airport and spend a magical day together.  Magical?  Okay, maybe not.  One is going to a wedding for her father and her new stepmother whom she has never met.  The other is going where?  Well, I won't tell because that would be kind of spoilerish.

Pages: 236

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

The newest of the Temeraire series.  A book of alternate early 19th century with dragons.  My friends are all aflame about this series (they have a strong love of Patrick O'Brian, one which I don't quite share with them).  But, sometimes, it is easier to drink the kool-aid in order to understand what they are all talking about.  My friend loaned me her copy of the newest book and I figured this was as good of a time to read it as any.  This time Temeraire and his captain Laurence are reinstated into the British Air Corps (the last book they were transported to Australia for not following orders) and are ordered to Brazil in hopes to negotiate a treaty there.  Unfortunately, as things do, the ship they are using to transport themselves, their crew, and two other dragons sinks due to an unfortunate carousing event thanks to less then awesome sailors, grog, and a fire.  Whoops!  They are left in the middle of the ocean with nothing to do but fly.  And, the distance is too great.  So when they finally spy a ship and land on it, they become French captives.  Yay!  And, the series of misfortunes just grows from there.  Kind of a long, depressing read, really.  Maybe not the best choice for the read-a-thon.

Pages: 323

Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman

I saw a really fabulous play this spring in a tiny, tiny theatre (Constellation Theatre in Washington, DC).  The action takes place in a pool of water as the characters reenact some of Ovid's myths.  Seriously, it turned out to be a thing of beauty and I just knew I had to get my hands on a script to recreate in my head some of the scenes.  Because some of the stories made me want to cry.  I guess I'm finally turning into that sappy love-sick teenager that I am so not.  But, the story of Ceyx and Alcyone, check.  Orpheus and Eurydice (told by both Ovid and Rilke), check.  Eros and Psyche, check.  And then the conclusion, "Let me die the moment my love dies.  Let me not outlive my own capacity to love.  Let me die still loving, and so, never die."  More engaging on stage, yes, but still a worthwhile read.  Now I need to go and explore Ovid's Metamorphoses in depth.

Pages: 86

And, still reading...

Perception by Kim Harrington

I was a fan of Harrington's Clarity so of course I had to read the sequel when it came out.  Which I am currently doing.  But, I'm not that far enough in it to give it a fair review, so I'm just going to mention that so far I'm enjoying it and eagerly anticipating really getting into the mystery soon.

Pages: 52

Thus, I come to the conclusion of my reading challenge.  I need to spruce up these reviews a bit better (especially add some pictures), but this will do for now.  I hope.

Pages read: 1625
Hours reading: 23 hours 45 minutes
Blogging/socializing: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total: 25 hours 30 minutes
Donating to RIF: $25

I am well pleased, looking at my total.  I was shooting for 20 hours and passed that.  Hurrah!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

::Yawn:: And I didn't even stay up all night!

Well, good morning, sunshine!  I feel quite like I've been through a war, and really ought not to be up at all.  Yet, I have been.  Up and reading for the last hour.  And after going to bed at three in the morning.  Partially because my rehearsal went until just about 2 o'clock and also because I was just determined to finish my book.  Success!

But, going back to yesterday...

The Haunted Schoolhouse by Sally Watson

The story was one that the author apparently first wrote this novel when she was in college, but it was only published (independently) a few years ago.  This one doesn't seem to follow any ancestors of her other books, and is set in northern California in the late 19th century.  It was based on a story of a haunted schoolhouse the author heard while in college.  And features four ginger Scottish lads with accents to boot.  She had me at ginger.  The main character, Emily, was recently orphaned and so was brought to Alderpoint, California to live with her aunt and uncle.  And as she is the only age appropriate educated woman around, she is told that she will be the new teacher.  Unfortunately for her, she not only has the second sight, but the school knows this and shortly after starting her teaching career, a presence is made known at the school.  It starts off as being friendly, though with the appearance of Dawn, a new student, the activity grows more frightening with each passing day.  Of course, the ghost only performs for the students and not the adults who come to witness the spectacle.  This was a fun, if slight read.  I did easily guess the truth about Dawn from the beginning of her appearance at the schoolhouse.  And of course, I grew to love Ian and Robbie the most.  The only thing that got a bit confusing was there was a lack of editing at some points (like when Dawn was referred to as Lark).

Pages: 85

Illuminated by Erica Orloff

Wait?.  This one has ghosts too?  Um, yes.  Or at least ghostly dreams.  Heloise and Abelard, two names from history that have come to symbolize love, much like Romeo and Juliet.  And also equally doomed.  When Callie's uncle Harry discovers that a Book of Hours recently brought to his auction house is actually a palimpsest which is basically a manuscript that had been written on and then cleaned off to be written on again.  Under a certain light, the words from the previous book could be read and soon Callie and hottie August are on the trail to discover the history of the manuscript and who the author of the journal might have been.  This propels them as far as France.  Callie and August's love burns as brightly as Heloise and Abelard.  Can the two find out the truth of the manuscript and reach a happier conclusion in their own relationship then that of the epic lovers?  This was a slight, but enjoyable book.  A lot of time these books tend to jump back and forth between the present and the past, so it was a nice change to be in the present (except for those few dream sequences when H&A were attempting to "tell" them something).  And, I always like history and books.

Pages: 244

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Rich girl turned recessionista Corinne had great plans of attending a private boarding school and hooking up with a hot upperclassman she met during her visit.  Instead, her father lost his job and she is being shuttled off to Texas to live with her mother's grandparents.  Grandparents she has only met a few times and never in Texas.  At the beginning of the story, Corinne promises us that we will most likely hate her, but that maybe with patience and time will will grow to like her.  And, that was a promise kept.  I have to admit, that I can never understand the rich.  They do do things differently.  When we meet Corinne, she is on one of her many shopping sprees, which she does with alarming frequency and with quite the spendy budget.  That all changes and by the end of the book, she can appreciate that $24.99 dress and drug store make-up can be just as fashionable and that is more about the girl wearing these items than the items themselves.  And, even while you are disliking Corinne for the way she is hating on Texas at large and Broken Spoke in particular, you see that some of the town's residents are also not as perfect in their thinking.  Even Corinne's new friend Kitsy admits that she was only interested in being friends with Corinne at the beginning because she was from NYC, a place that Kitsy dreams about.  I am left with only one question at the end, what is Bubby's full name?  Was it there and I somehow skimmed right over it?  Or do we never learn it?  Still, he was so obviously a better choice over Rider who was clearly using her (though I, for some reason, thought that was also going to use her model-like brother in that cornflower photo shoot he took of him-maybe an album cover? but, that never transpired).

I'm leaving you with this quote from the beginning.  Because, like Candide, I favor optimism and believe that even when things look seemingly bad, generally something good can come of it.

And just think, somewhere right now a butterfly might be flapping its wings and altering your future in some peculiar, yet beautiful way.

Pages: 291

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Hartley is having the worst day of her life.  First she finds out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her with the queen of chastity (who is not sounding so pure here) and when she goes to confront him (by sneaking into his house through his window), she discovers the dead body of said queen (Courtney Cline) stuffed inside his closet.  Josh, her boyfriend, sneaks into her room the night of the murder and pleads with her to help him out.  Hartley doesn't believe her now ex-boyfriend Josh did it, though the police are doing their best to track him down to arrest him.  She agrees to help him out by discovering the truth.  The novel follows the misadventures of one girl turned sleuth as she attempts to discover who the murderer is, before she herself is killed in the process.  She is aided by her best friend, Sam, and "bad boy" Chase (who is also the editor of the school paper who is willing to help out if only to get an exclusive).  There is a little tension between the two, but it isn't explored all that much.  After a bit of prodding, another girl turns up dead, this one a "princess" of chastity and one of the best friends of Courtney.  As Hartley closes in on the killer, will she be the next victim?  This was a fun read, and so I will be hunting down her next adventure (there was a brief preview of it in my copy of the book-well, rather the library's book).  My one big complaint?  So many of the girl characters had boy-type names, well, I admit in my tiredness, I was getting a bit confused!

Pages: 308

Okay, it has taken me like an hour to write this up.  That is just sad.  I am going to take a break from writing and go back to my reading.

Total pages: 928
Hours reading: 12 hours 30 minutes
Hours blogging 1 hour 15 minutes

Friday, June 8, 2012

Checking in, the abridged version.

I'm late, late, late!  I was supposed to have been to the theatre between 2 and 3, but got so involved in my last book that I didn't want to leave until I was done.  So, I'm sorry to say, there will be no reviews at the moment, but I will let you in on what I've read so far.

Over the course of six hours reading time, I have gotten through:

The Haunted Schoolhouse by Sally Watson - she always wins me over with ginger boys with Scottish accents.
Illuminated by Erica Orloff
Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley - which, in some way, reminded me of the "So Charmed" novels by Jenny B. Jones.

But, more on those after I get home, whenever that will be.  My only saving grace at the moment is that I don't believe my first rehearsal time is until 4, when the baby crocs take the stage.  The show is Peter Pan and I am playing Smee, a mermaid, and fairy dust.  I finally have a named role!  This is a big deal.

More later.

So, six hours reading.  15 minutes blogging.  15 minutes of attempting to find all of my costume pieces.  And, I'm off!

Starting Line 2012

"We are about to brave the storm in a skiff made of paper, and how it will end, God only knows." -1776

So, once more into the breach I go with MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Reading Challenge.  This year, however, I do know that I am not going for all 48 hours.  I actually have my dance recital this weekend, so I figure I'll be lucky if I break the 20 hour mark.  Still, I have a stack of books to read (though not as large as I had hoped due to an unfortunate incident of not being able to attend BookExpo this week).

So, I started blogging this at 8:30, and will conclude my reading at 8:30 Sunday morning.

And, go...

Starting with another Sally Watson, as tradition dictates.  Except, I've nearly run out of them!  Oh horrors!  And no new Cat Royal book this year, either.

(Oh, to go back to last year's starting post comment about Backstreet Boys, I was at the dance studio the other night and there were two girls talking about this band N*Sync, who they thought was from the 90s but weren't quite sure.  It's not like anyone had ever heard about them.  Wow, did I feel old at that point!)