The Primroses Were Over

Ramblings regarding reading.

Professional Reader Challenge ParticipantReviews Published

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Uprooted - Naomi Novik

I am going to have to digest this a bit before I can even manage a review, I think. I was just...not really expecting it to get quite as dark as it did. It was lovely in the way only strangely dark stuff can manage. If I attempt anything more than this, I am going to get rambly and ridiculous, I can just tell, so we'll leave things there.

 

This was my "witches" square for the Halloween Bingo, though, and I am very pleased it was. 

Reading progress update: I've read 22%.

Uprooted - Naomi Novik

"They seemed almost themselves to anyone who didn't know them well, and you might spend half a day talking with one of them and never realize anything was wrong, until you found yourself taking up a knife and cutting off your own hand, putting out your own eyes, your own tongue, while they kept talking all the while, smiling, horrible."

 

Uh, okay, this just took a step into horrifying. Alright. I'm intrigued, book--carry on.

Ramblings Regarding August Reading

An Old-Fashioned Unicorn's Guide to Courtship - Sarah Rees Brennan World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal - Aaron Rosenberg, Christie Golden

Favorite book of the month: An Old-Fashioned Unicorn's Guide to Courtship by Sarah Rees Brennan, who is basically like magic for me all the time.

Longest in pagesWorld of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal by Aaron Rosenberg and Christie Golden, at 436 pages

 

Total books read: 14

Total pages read: 1,851

Re-reads: 1

Average pages per book: 132

Average pages per day: 59

  

Scores:

1: 0

2: 0

3: 13

4: 1

5: 0

Did not finish: 0

 

Average: 3.07

 

 

So this month was clearly "dark fantasy short story" month for some reason. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that I could read those in short burst on WoW loading screens. The fact that the longest book I read all month was World of Warcraft related is also connected to this, I'm quite sure. 

 

At any rate, it was a slow month. I will cheerfully read any short story Rosamund Hodge writes, though, and I enjoyed the crop of them I sucked down this month. Well-done short stories are a weakness of mine, and it's nice to find someone who manages them so consistently without them reading too similarly. 

 

September, though, is gearing up into a very solid reading month--the Halloween Bingo is going to be loads of fun, and I can't wait to scare myself senseless and watch everyone else doing so as well! 

 

How did everyone's August reading go? Anyone else super ready for weather where curling up with a good book in front of a fireplace will be valid? Who else is doing the Halloween Bingo? 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 32%.

Rosemary's Baby - Ira Levin, Otto Penzler

My "classic horror" choice, and I'm quite enjoying it so far. Things are getting eerie with the neighbors, and I'm intrigued. I've somehow managed to never see the film, and my general understanding of it is mostly "there is a baby at some point, and it is probably evil," so this should be fun. 

 

It's a very quick read, though. I double-checked how far I was for the update, thinking it was about 12%, and was rather surprised to see I was basically a third of the way through. 

An Extraordinary Haunting

An Extraordinary Haunting: Part One - Michael Christopher Carter

This wasn't terrible, but it felt quite a bit like a very early novel.

 

The author is clearly trying to find a voice, and he is starting to, but he hasn't quite managed yet and it makes the book feel a bit clunky. The subplots are awkwardly integrated and the shifts between different character viewpoints don't quite flow naturally. They're not bad, really, but they don't have the kind of polish needed to make them actually add something to the story. 

 

I'll be honest: I almost set this down several times in the first few pages. Neil starts as the type of rather awkward protagonist you occasionally see in horror movies/books--the loner who is somehow not really sympathetic. He does grow on you, admittedly, though part of that is because many of the other characters are particularly obnoxious. 

 

Plot-wise I was intrigued, however. I did see what was happening before the reveal (it was teased a little too long, personally), but it was not necessarily the normal way of handling a story like this, which was interesting. I wish the horror bits had been scarier, though. There are several scenes that are legitimately creepy in outline, but they don't get to the level of visceral detail that makes them terrify the reader. 

 

I'm interested enough to probably pick up the second part, and I do think the author is worth keeping an eye on, but this wasn't quite what I was hoping for. A chunk of that was just plain let-down, however: this could have been very good with a bit more polishing. The ideas are there, even the writing is not at all bad, it just needed a bit more to manage to be good. 

 

(This was my "Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses" read for the Halloween Bingo. I'll be mocking up the card for it later, once I figure out what I'm doing with that.)

Ramblings Regarding July Reading

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling, John Kerr Tiffany, Jack Thorne Ensnared - A.G. Howard

Favorite book of the monthHarry Potter and the Cursed Child 

Re-read that changed the rating: Splintered by A.G. Howard, which dropped from a four to a three, quite possibly due entirely to having to suffer through Jeb again.

Longest in pagesEnsnared by A.J. Howard at 420 pages (ouch)

 

Total books ingested: 26

Re-reads/listens: 7

 

Total books read: 25

Total pages read: 6548

Average pages per book: 261

Average pages per day: 211

 

Audiobooks ingested: 1 (I have been lousy about this lately)

Minutes spent listening: 734

Average minutes per day: 23

 

Scores:

1: 0

2: 3

3: 18

4: 5

5: 0

Did not finish: 0

 

Average: 3.07, so about average.

 

I want to start this by saying that this month was a strange month, but since it actually did not differ greatly from the few months proceeding it, I'm a little concerned that this is actually the new normal. :x

 

I may possibly have pulled the "reviews written" section because if I actually calculated it, this post was going to be even later than it already is out of sorrow. My bad, guys; I've been remarkably lazy lately, and I genuinely need to find a new groove for things before I fall off the boat completely (Metaphor mixed, messy, and probably unnecessary--a sure sign I am not writing enough. Yeesh.)

 

At any rate, I did generally enjoy what I read this month, so there is that! I picked up some rather quirky stuff, which was interesting. David Sedaris is rather alarmingly hilarious, and the Origami Yoda series, which I picked up on a whim because it was on the shelf in my favorite coffee shop, was utterly adorable. Both are what I'd consider "rather unlike me" in terms of taste, which probably sums up my month pretty well.

 

I did finally finish the Splintered series, and I'm thinking of figuring out how many other series I have unfinished (A list, perhaps? Or even--gasp!--a challenge?) and actually sitting down to finish them. I can't quite explain my tendency to let them sit for so long, even when I own the entire series. I'm extraordinarily easily distracted (and finishing things is sometimes sad) in terms of books, though, which probably has quite a bit to do with it.

 

On re-evaluating my reading goal for the year, I have a confession to make: I'm not going to make it. x_x I hate admitting it, but there it is. When I started this year, I was in a rather different place and doing an awful lot more reading (and an awful lot less other things) than I am now, and maintaining a book a day seemed quite feasible (I was running ahead for the entirety of January), but while I'm certainly reading every day, and even reading books every day (the Battlenet forums don't quite count, I know, but WoW addiction is real, guys), I'm not finishing something every day. So I'll be dropping that back down to a more manageable 300 (yes, I'm aware that is still a moderately insane number. I am comfortable with moderate insanity) in the hopes that not feeling behind all the time will remind me to actually login and post things again.

 

This was alarmingly rambling, even for my rambling tag. How did everyone else's July go, though? Does anyone else leave series unfinished? How are reading challenges going? Read anything amazing? Did everyone else accidentally devour Cursed Child the day of release while imbibing way too much coffee?

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.

The Turn of the Story - Sarah Rees Brennan

Apparently this is not just a short story. This is very long and has many adventures and I may or may not be up all night reading this. I'm startlingly okay with this, really. Wish me luck?

Reading progress update: I've read 33%.

The Turn of the Story - Sarah Rees Brennan

“Oh no,” Elliot moaned, and sat down heavily on his bunk bed. “This is magic Sparta.”

 

This is ridiculously fun, actually. I get the feeling I'm going to get to the end of this story and be miffed this isn't an entire series. Elliot is utterly fantastic. 

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

Before the Snow: A Stealing Snow Novella - Danielle  Paige

The idea of memory and lost memories that connects these fairy tales is interesting.

 

Also, this is adorable, and despite feeling moderately burned by the last Dorothy Must Die book, I'm probably going to suck this new series down as well.

Whitefern

Whitefern (The Audrina Series Book 2) - V.C. Andrews

Being a V.C. Andrews junkie in my darker moments, I couldn't quite resist this when I saw it on Netgalley. If you've ever read a V.C. Andrews book (or at least one released under her name), you can probably make a good guess on how reading this went, and you'd be remarkably right in almost everything you guessed. It was compulsively readable, but a bit obvious.

 

Some of that is due to the fact that I've read quite a few of these books, honestly. However, there's generally at least one shocking bit of a twist that I didn't see coming, and one of my issues with this in particular was that I had everything laid out pretty early on in the story and was just waiting for the twists. I don't know if that says something terrifying about my mind (it may), but a level of experience with the genre is likely to net others the same result.

 

My Sweet Audrina (to which this is a sequel) was one of the stronger Andrews books, I always felt, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the character arcs taken in this. Of course, you can't have a novel of this type without some character growth (degeneration?) to give you new villains, but I guess I was hoping for more expansion in the cast than I got.

 

Audrina continues to be much of the same, and sometimes it is rough to read her because of that--she shows signs of fire occasionally, but she's manipulated and blind throughout. Not necessarily a critique of the book, given she's an established character and she hasn't changed, but it did make things harder now that she is older.

 

Over all I rather enjoyed this, and I'm glad I picked it up. As a heads up to anyone interested, definitely read My Sweet Audrina first if you intend to read it at all--like many sequels, this spoilers basically all the twists and plot points of the first, and missing those will be missing quite a bit of the fun.

 

This book was provided to me for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Reading progress update: I've read 33%.

The Lightning Thief  - Rick Riordan

"Poseidon," said Chiron. "Earthshaker, Stormbringer, Father of Horses. Hail, Perseus Jackson, Son of the Sea God."

 

I am a huge sucker for this sort of thing, but gee whiz don't I tear up every single time. I really love these books.

Reading progress update: I've read 33%.

Bite Club (The Morganville Vampires, #10) - Rachel Caine

Shane is bothering me. I've never been super excited about him (except that Claire is), but being in his head generally makes me like someone more, not less. What I'm getting is a whole lot of whingeing about comparatively stupid stuff, given the town they live in (the town he grew up in.)

 

Maybe I'm just cranky?

North American Lake Monsters

North American Lake Monsters - Nathan Ballingrud

Despite sometimes quite lovely prose, this collection suffered from both of my pet peeves in a horror story collection: I was not scared, and there were no clear endings.

 

I fully admit that my expectations for horror were rather remarkably high going in. The first time I saw this on a list of "scariest" books, I tossed it on my Goodreads TBR list. The second time, I hopped on over the to library's website and, noting they didn't own it, asked that they consider getting it from Overdrive. I do love being scared, so anything that was hitting multiple "scariest" lists seemed like a fantastic idea, and done, well, short horror stories can be utterly fantastic and breathtakingly terrifying.

 

I was not scared once. 

 

I set myself up for fear when starting them. I waited until evening. I read them in the dark. I was creeping myself out just opening the book on my Kindle. Every sound was questionable, every hint of a shadow I saw out of the corner of my eye was something I needed to look at immediately or not at all. 

 

I think I actively became less scared while reading this collection. 

 

This was not helped by the lack of actual endings on the stories. 

 

Now, full disclosure here: this is a pet peeve of mine. I am really particular about any kind of "open" ending, especially on a short story. If it's done well, it is a beautiful thing. If not...there's really very little that is more likely to completely ruin a story for me. 

 

I don't think I felt a single one of these stories actually "ended." They stopped, obviously, but where and how the stopping happened was not satisfying in any way. Even the stories I was starting to enjoy ended abruptly and inadequately. I ended up wondering why the story had even been told, and I've never found that fun. 

Our Love Grows

Our Love Grows - Anna Pignataro

The illustrations in this were absolutely beautiful, and this was a rather adorable book.

 

It reminded me quite a bit of Guess How Much I Love You, with a dash of The Runaway Bunny as well. Little Pip the panda wants, as most children do at some point, to grow up, and his mother explains to him that he is already growing, illustrating it with examples of things found in nature and finishing up with the promise that her love has grown as well. 

 

The rhymes work well and the whole book comes together sweetly. It's probably something I would have wanted read to me over and over as a child. 

 

This book was provided to me for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Sand Prince

The Sand Prince (The Demon Door Book 1) - Kim Marc Alexander We Eling

This might have read a little better if the synopsis had been about more than the last quarter of the book.

 

A chunk of the problem is how very very slowly it starts. We get an absolutely massive amount of backstory that was somehow not terribly interesting since we as yet had no real stake in the universe. In practice, the plot of the story picks up somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of the way through the book, and that just felt way too late to really redeem things. 

 

Rhuun is a bit woe-is-me and given how much time I spent growing up with him I really feel I ought to have been more invested. The other characters never really made much of an impact on me. Most of them were vaguely annoying, but in that disconnected way you get when characters don't have enough "character" to even anger you. 

 

In the end, I felt like the first several hundred pages were set-up for the ending (which was admittedly solid) and the next book. I do like slow-burn stories, but I need to be more interested and more connected on my way to the main plot. This dragged badly and was rather dry to boot, and although it picked up in speed and intrigue towards the end, I doubt I'll be picking up the next in the series. 

 

This book was provided to me for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Reading progress update: I've read 8%.

Siege and Storm  - Leigh Bardugo, Lauren Fortgang

Are we getting another love interest, here? I'm not sure how I feel about this. Though this guy has sort of a pirate-feeling and is amusing to boot, so at least I'll enjoy having him around. 

Currently reading

The Turn of the Story by Sarah Rees Brennan
Progress: 10%
The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive) by Brandon Sanderson
It by Stephen King
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Other Side of Normal: How Biology Is Providing the Clues to Unlock the Secrets of Normal and Abnormal Behavior by Jordan Smoller
Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Book 1 of the Millennium Trilogy (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) by Stieg Larsson
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Evergreen (Werner Family Saga) by Belva Plain