Weekly Reading Update 10/14-10/20

Four books finished again this week! These are mostly books I was nearly to the end of at last week’s update, so at one point I thought I might finish five or six books this week, but then I started splitting my time between too many books…

I got far enough on the Dewey’s Pre-Readathon Challenge to make an effort to finish, but one of the prompts is to read at least 75% of a book outside–not easy when it’s getting colder out, you live in an apartment, and most of your reading time is in the evening! Thankfully, we do have a little fire escape stairway off the back of our apartment, and I can sneak a few minutes of outside reading into my afternoons, and huddle up for a chilly evening reading out there too. It does mean I need a different book to read during comfy, warm, inside reading sessions though.

Finished Reading:

How to Astronaut: Recommended for all space nerds, or anyone who’s ever wondered about how to use the bathroom in space.

Princess of the Damned: I went in cautiously, but despite the creepy premise, this wasn’t really horror, and I quite enjoyed the adventure/romance story!

Warlord of Mars: Finally got to a satisfying ending! I plan to continue the series eventually, but I’m taking a short break now that the unresolved plot points aren’t hanging over my head any more.

Firefly: Big Damn Hero: This book was slow to grow on me, but in the end, I’d recommend it for Firefly fans, especially as there’s some back story for a couple characters that builds on what we learned in the show.

Currently Reading:
Susie: the Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, Wife of Charles H. Spurgeon: As much as I like the content of this book, it finally dawned on me that I don’t really like the writing style. My progress will likely continue to be slow because of that.

The Professor: The last Charlotte Bronte I have to attempt reading, and while I’m enjoying this more than Shirley, I’m confident that Jane Eyre is going to remain my favorite of her books.

The Cuckoo’s Calling: My current audio book. Detective fiction isn’t my favorite genre, but Cormoran Strike is very slightly likeable, which makes him worlds above most detectives of the genre. I think it’s just a really good narrator holding my interest for the most part.

Stepsister: An interesting story for sure. Sometimes the blatant feminism is annoying, but other times it overlaps with a worldview I agree with (e.g. women can be good at math, being pretty is terrible life goal). I think how it ends will determine how much I liked the whole story.

Weekly Reading Update 10/7-10/13

Once again I have some shorter reads making my totals look more impressive than they really are–four finished this week! 🙂

Finished Reading:
The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place: A very enjoyable installment in the Flavia mysteries. Only one more left I haven’t read…

Lethargy: A short but fun Princess and the Pea retelling. (Free on Kindle!)

Horrid: I probably should have known better than a read horror novel, even YA horror. I even liked most of the novel–it just also creeped me out and had an ending I hated.

Fire in the Blood: This might be the first kindle book I’ve ever purchased at full price to read immediately. Normally I buy them discounted and stash them away for later/never. I’m really loving this author though, and this fantasy novella trilogy in particular has been fun.

Currently Reading:
How to Astronaut: My non-fiction mood is coming back, and I’m almost to the end of this book!

Warlord of Mars:  Continuing bedtime audio pulp adventures.

Firefly: Big Damn Hero: This book is really slowing me down. I like it *just* enough not to want to DNF, but not enough to make me want to spend large chunks of time reading it. Not sure why I’m not loving it either, as it seems pretty good…

Out of the Wild Night: I don’t mind when stories make a point, but the point should flow naturally from a good story, and this felt like the story was being built around a point.

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Weekly Reading Update 9/30-10/6

On paper this looks like an awesome reading week, with five books finished! In reality one was an audio book I’d nearly finished last week, and two were very short, but I did still have a good reading groove this week.

I’m also working through my stack of library books at a good clip (helped along by 2 DNF’s…), though that’s paused now because I felt an urgent need to read the next book in a series after one of them (thank you digital library loans for making this possible!) and another book I’m really hoping to get too soon is also a digital library loan.

Finished Reading:

The Gods of Mars: A fun pulp adventure, with an ending that made me decide to continue the series immediately with the next audio book. (Librivox even had the same narrator doing a version of the next in the series. Yay!)

Radialloy: Just okay.

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d: Five stars. It was going to be four for just another fun Flavia adventure, but the ending got me.

Rose of the Oath: Not my most favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling, but an interesting and different take on the story.

Fantastic Mr Fox: Meh. It was an amusing little story, but very much the ‘wildlife good, farmers bad’ kind of thing.

Currently Reading:

Susie: the Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, Wife of Charles H. Spurgeon: I think I’m just having trouble with non-fiction right now, and I hate to waste such a good book on a time when I can’t concentrate on it properly…

How to Astronaut: Ditto above on non-fiction. You know it’s bad when I can’t even concentrate on brief, humorous comments on being an astronaut!

Warlord of Mars: My bedtime audio. I may just go straight through the rest of the series, as long as the good narrator holds out on Librivox.

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place: It’s a good time to my life just binge the rest of a favorite series, I think…


The Best We Could Do: I knew this would be a difficult book, but it was the wrong kind of difficult for me right now–to much family drama and tension.

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge: Loved the premise but found the main character boring.

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The Gods of Mars

Silver Valkyrie: Adventure is not lacking! (Though, some parts of the adventure are more interesting and exciting than others.)

Princess Raqpunzel: There’s definitely a thread of epic romance in this book, but (to put it in spoiler free generalities) it is mostly frustrating rather than satisfying. (I remember enjoying the romance in the first book back when I read it, and I’m hoping the rest of series continues more in that vein.)

Hammer of Justice: I love the ultra-noble heroes of pulp adventure. Despite the ridiculous situations and number of beautiful women the author throws at him, John Carter stays committed to doing the right things and focused on finding his wife (‘the princess’ as he always refers to her).

There is an awkward stretch and a few possibly racist comments when the ‘black’ tribe is first introduced, but it quickly settles into just being one of the factions on Mars, along with the greens, reds and whites.

Content Warning:

(This is accurate to the best of my recollection, but always has a chance of being incomplete.)

Violence: A lot of fighting with swords and fists, along with a fair amount of death. Little to no description of blood or injuries.

Language: Mild to none.

Sex/Nudity:  None. A couple of women do flirt or throw themselves at the main character despite knowing that he’s already married, but he never sways from commitment to his wife.

Other: Possibly racist comments as mentioned above. A number of references to cannibalism. The main plot deals with exposing false gods who are worshiped by nearly all the people of Mars.

Summary: Recommended for those who enjoy pulp adventure, complete with ridiculous situations and an epic romance that takes a back seat to lots of fighting.

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September Reading Challenge Update and Plans for October


Modern Mrs Darcy:

No progress.

Silver Valkyrie: 

A book related to alcohol or Prohibition:  The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires

(Technically, I finished this at the very end of August, but didn’t realize until this month that it could fill this prompt. Also, last prompt so the challenge is complete! Woo hoo!)

Back to the Classics:

No Progress.

The Unread Shelf:

Starting total: 291

Read: 6

Unshelved: 4

Acquired: 8

Ending total: 289

September Prompt: A book you’ve owned so long you forgot where/why you got it: Seraphina

Purge the Pile 2020 (Goodreads ‘Lost Challenges Group’ Challenge): 

September: Read a book by an author whose last initial is in the first half of the alphabet (A-L): Seraphina

May: book with a bare chest on the cover: The Gods of Mars (Finally read this one! Except I listened to it on Librivox, so it had a different cover, but I’m still counting. it. 🙂 )

BINGO (Goodreads ‘Lost Challenges Group’ Challenge):

Education of a Wandering Man


I only completed one prompt, but it was a ‘golden prompt’ which automatically counts as a Bingo:

Most want to read by an author of color: Gifted Hands

 Hunger Games Readathon

Completed! (Since this one is complicated I thought it would helpful to just point out at the top that I did complete it so you don’t have to try to figure that out yourself. 🙂 )

Using one book for multiple prompts is specifically allowed in this challenge. (But I managed to only double up for ONE book–I was aiming to read a book for each prompt, but it wasn’t that kind of month.)

I read as contestant from District 10, so according to the rules, I was able to automatically eliminate the prompts from that District.

Based on my reading eight books from The Reaping (pre-readathon challenges) I had these bonuses:

Reaping: replace a prompt with randomly selected TBR book
(used) Mockingjay Pin: replace a prompt with predicted 5 star read or loved re-read
(used) Cornucopia: eliminate 10 prompts
(used) 2 basic weapons: knife-eliminate one prompt of your choosing and spear-eliminate two prompts from one district
2 gifts from this list: (swap in for chosen prompts)

water: blue on the cover
food: a book in a genre you enjoy
medicine: a book about someone with an illness
blanket: book that makes you feel warm and cozy
matches: red on the cover

District 1:
“Career Tributes”: A book that is from a bestselling author: (eliminated by use of Cornucopia)
“Luxury”: A book that was made into a movie: Coraline

District 2:
“Peacekeeper”: Read a book that is set during a war or
(eliminated by use of the Cornucopia)
“Cato – the real battle of the Games”: Read a book with 400+
 (eliminated by use of knife)

District 3:
“Technology”: Listen to an audiobook or read an ebook: Seraphina
“Electrical lights”: Read a book with a white cover: Fortunately, the Milk

District 4:
“Fishing”: A Book including a setting by the sea (or some kind
of water):
 (eliminated by use of Cornucopia)
“Trident”: Greek Mythology! (eliminated by use of Cornucopia)

District 5:
“Power”: Read a book by author of color:  Gifted Hands
“Foxface”: read a book with an animal with a snout on the
cover: The Cricket in Times Square

District 6:
“Titus (raging beast tribute)”: Read a book that includes an
 (eliminated by use of Cornucopia)
“Transportation”: Read a book that includes travelling: (eliminated by use of Cornucopia)

District 7:
“Lumberjack”: Read a physical book: The Cricket in Times Square
“Axe”: Read a Crime/Thriller: The Supernatural Enhancements

District 8:
“Dressmaker”: A book that has a dust jacket (eliminated by use of spear)
“Textiles”: A book with a beautiful cover (eliminated by use of spear)

District 9:
Fresh Crops” A book published this year: (replaced by Mockingjay Pin bonus): re-read a favorite: Northanger Abbey
“Farmer”: A book set on the countryside (not an urban setting): (eliminated by use of Cornucopia)

District 10: (automatically eliminated)
“Livestock”: A book including animals or a mythical creature:
“Breeder”: Read a sequel

District 11:
“Rue”: A Short Story, Novella or Short Story Collection (eliminated by use of Cornucopia)
“Thresh”: Read a book with a one word title (eliminated by use of Cornucopia)

District 12:
“Star-crossed Lovers”: Read a Book Featuring Star Crossed
 (eliminated by use of Cornucopia)
“Where you can starve to death in safety”: Read a book under
200 pages: Twelve Days of Faery

October Plans:

(I’m not adding any extra monthly readathons this time, just the regular ongoing ones–I need more space for mood reading in my life! I am considering a 2020 themed readathon in November though–think prompts like ‘toilet paper’ and ‘masks’–so let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in.)

Modern Mrs Darcy:

A book nominated for an award in 2020: Ten Thousand Doors of January

Silver Valkyrie: 


Back to the Classics:

Classic by a woman author: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

The Unread Shelf:

Starting total: 291

October Prompt: A book that scares you – in content or length: Princess of the Damned

Purge the Pile 2020 (Goodreads ‘Lost Challenges Group’ Challenge): 

October: Read a book with a tree on the cover: Polgara the Sorceress

BINGO (Goodreads ‘Lost Challenges Group’ Challenge):

Princess of the Damned

(Edit: Okay, I guess I’m adding ONE monthly reading challenge. 🙂 I’m doing minimal planning for it though, and just seeing what I can naturally fill in, or picking a prompt to read for when I feel like it.)

Dewey’s Pre-Readathon Challenge

  1. Read a “long” book (over 500 pages)
  2. Read a “short” book (under 250 pages)
  3. Pick 5 of your favorite genres and enter them in a randomizer. Read a book in that genre
  4. Read a “spooky” book (your own definition of spooky is fine)
  5. Read a book that is 75% one color on the cover.
  6. Read a book that was published in the last 18 months
  7. Read a book that was published more than 100 years ago
  8. Read a book set in the Fall or with a cover that looks like it is Fall (leaves changing, etc)
  9. Read a book set in the Spring or with a cover that looks like it is Spring (trees blooming, etc)
  10. Read at least 75% of a book when it’s dark outside
  11. Read at least 75% of a book outside
  12. Read a book with an animal (real or made up) on the cover
  13. Read a book with a main character or author whose first name starts with the same letter as your first name.
  14. Take five books you really want to read and put them in a randomizer and read whichever one is chosen.
  15. Read a book that is set in a location you wish you could visit or live in. This location can be real or imaginary.

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Weekly Reading Update 9/23-9/29

I have an impressive four books finished this week, though two of them were quite short, and one I’d already read most of the previous week. Still, I feel like I got in a lot more reading time this weekend than I have in a while.

Also, I finally got to go to the library, after making do for quite a while with *just* my limited physical library, my fairly extensive kindle library, and digital library loans. (Isn’t my life rough?) Anyway, I was quite excited to go to the library in person, and checked out more books than I needed, which is even more fun than checking out a reasonable number of books.

Finished Reading:

Northanger Abbey:  Reread. Still five stars, and highly recommended.

The Supernatural Enhancements: This was fun and intriguing. Reminded me a bit in feel of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I found it’s treatment of ghosts and such rather intriguing, though, as always with a non-Christian author, a bit lacking in the end.

Fortunately, the Milk: A really fun children’s story!

Twelve Days of Faery: That’s two books by this author that I’ve loved now! A short, sweet adventure with a strong fairy tale feel.

Currently Reading:
Susie: the Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, Wife of Charles H. Spurgeon: I didn’t have the concentration to get much further on this one Sunday…

How to Astronaut: Still enjoying this as a kind of ‘palate cleanser’, since the brief chapters make it easy to pick up and put down.

The Gods of Mars: Audio. Sometimes I’m very amused at the pulp adventure nature of the story, but overall it’s still fun.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: Still finding this a difficult read right now, but don’t want to give up on it entirely.

Radialloy: Shaping up to be a two-and-a-half star read, aka, it’s not great, but has piqued my interest just enough that I want to know the ending. I enjoyed a short story by this author, but DNF’d another of her books, so I think this will be my last try of her work.

The Dragon’s Tooth: Temporary DNF, just not the right time for this book.

A Curious Beginning: I’ve been meaning to try this series for quite a while now, and heard great things about it, but I took a strong dislike to the main character within the first chapter, so I guess it’s not for me. (At this point in my life it would take quite a lot for me to friends with anyone, real or fictional, who said they’d rather have the plague than be a mother…)

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Weekly Reading Update 9/16-9/22

I finished two books this week. They were both short, middle grade reads, but I enjoyed them both, so they totally count. 🙂

I was feeling a little burned out on my reading challenges and planned books, so after that I set aside everything for a re-read of my favorite Jane Austen book. Even that is going slowly, but I am enjoying it (except I’d forgotten how many uncomfortable social scenes there are!).

Finished Reading:

The Cricket in Times Square: I posted a full review here, but the short version is I enjoyed it as nostalgia re-read but it doesn’t quite qualify as an adult favorite.

Coraline: I was looking for a fall ambiance read and finally knocked this off my TBR. Enjoyable, not sure why it didn’t creep me out as much as it seems to most readers, especially since I normally have a low tolerance for creepiness.

Currently Reading:

How to Astronaut: Very much enjoying these snippets of personal impressions and experiences related to space travel. It might a bit slow to finish though, as I’m starting to just pick it up and read one or two of the short chapters at a time, almost as a palate cleanser.

The Gods of Mars: Librivox audiobook. The pacing has been a little inconsistent, but it’s starting to pick up again. The epitome of pulp adventure.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: Also likely to be a slow read, as despite seeming very good, it seems heavy and difficult.

Northanger Abbey: The re-read of a favorite I mentioned above. It’s going on my personal ‘essential reading’ list with this re-read. I’d decided being a personal favorite wasn’t a good enough reason to put it on the list, but I’m realizing it also has (implied) great life advice about what kinds of friends you choose.

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The Cricket in Times Square

Silver Valkyrie: For a cricket–or a middle grade reader–living in a subway station in New York is pretty adventurous. As an adult, the book was amusing, but not especially exciting.

Princess Raqpunzel: As a child I found this story very emotional, especially the ending. I do still appreciate the friendships and the family dynamics in this story, just with less emotional investment.

Hammer of Justice: This seems like a great story for small children. The characters have flaws, but come through when needed, and always take responsibility for the (numerous) accidental damages they cause.

Content Warning:

(This is accurate to the best of my recollection, but always has a chance of being incomplete.)

Violence: None. There is some danger where the characters are in fear for their lives, but no injuries.

Language: None that I noticed.

Sex/Nudity:  None.

Other: One character is greedy, though as mentioned above, he always shares what he has when it’s really needed. There is mention of crickets being lucky, and the story is told of the Chinese legend of how crickets were created, which includes mention of their gods.

Summary: I loved this one as a child, and though it’s less magical as an adult, it was still an enjoyable experience.

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Weekly Reading Update 9/9-9/15

Two books finished this week, and between that and one DNF, I had a moment last night where I had almost nothing that I was actively reading! (I only had a few audiobooks that are different kinds of flux, and a Sunday afternoon read.) But not to worry, I started three new books since then. 🙂

Finished Reading:
Seraphina: I really enjoyed this except for the romantic-feelings-toward-someone-who’s-already-taken part of the book. In the end, there was at least a strong attempt to deal with that an honorable way, so I decided it’s worth reading the next book, despite few aspects of all that I didn’t like as much.

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story: A strong five stars, and highly recommended as a read for everyone.

Currently Reading:
Susie: the Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, Wife of Charles H. Spurgeon: Finally had a quiet enough Sunday to get through another section of my current Sunday afternoon book! Still good.

How to Astronaut: I’m only a few short chapters into this nonfiction ARC, but it’s enjoyable and informative so far. (Okay, I haven’t learned a LOT, but that’s only because I’m already a bit of space nerd. Looking forward to later chapters that get into less basic topics though!)

The Gods of Mars: I’ve been meaning to get back to the Barsoom series for ages, and finally started it as audio through Librivox.

The Cricket in Times Square: I remember loving this book as a kid, but almost nothing else about it except for maybe the ending feeling really sad to me? I don’t think it has an actual sad ending though, or I never would have loved and re-re-read it at the time, so I’m interested to see what it’s like as an adult.

Shirley: I feel a bit bad about giving up on one of the few remaining works of the Bronte sisters I haven’t read yet, especially when I didn’t hate it. But it bored me enough that it was really slowing down my reading, and I was avoiding picking it up most of the time, which is a definite sign of time to DNF for me.

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Weekly Reading Update 9/2-9/8

Only one book finished because it was a crazy week. Since I’m now very tired after my crazy week, maybe I’ll take some extra rest and reading time soon… Or maybe I’ll just nap instead of reading. 🙂

Finished Reading:
Education of a Wandering Man: Finally finished! Though it was a slower read for me, I enjoyed it, and would highly recommend it for anyone interested in the Old West, the theory of education, or writing.

Currently Reading:
Seraphina: About halfway through and really enjoying this take on dragons, which remind me of Vulcans from Star Trek. Waiting to see if I end up hating where the plot and characters go though…

The Dragon’s Tooth: This was our road trip audio book, but for some reason we didn’t even start it until most of the way through the trip, so we didn’t get very far. I enjoyed what I heard, but I may need to find a copy to read on my own, unless Colton is really hooked on it and will be motivated to keep listening.

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