Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

Now that the secret is out of the bag and you all know I’ve committed to yet another reading challenge, I feel comfortable telling you I’ve just finished book 2 of the Anne series, Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The Anne Read Along challenge is one that I heard about it from The Book Date, who heard about it from co-hosts Jackie at Death by Tsundoku and Jane at Greenish Bookshelf, the latter being its progenitor. The challenge suggests a book a month from May through December, so naturally I’m hopelessly behind and will likely experience some miraculous (read: obsessive) catch up toward the end.

If you’ve never read Anne of Green Gables you really ought to. It is an absolute classic, beautifully written, and a piece of history. Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in 1874 and published the first Anne book in 1908; this second volume was published in 1909. So if you’re looking for “a book 100 years or older,” these count, and since they’re public domain, you can also read them free via Project Gutenberg. If you’re around my age, you probably grew up on the Megan Follows movies. #meganfollowsismyanneshirley ❤

Anne of Green Gables is about a precocious orphan girl who gets adopted and learns what it is to have a home. Anne of Avonlea picks up the story as Anne has completed a teaching program and is now teaching the elementary school she once attended. She started the first book at age 11; this one opens with her at age 16. Her students, and readers, naturally, adore her. She and Marilla adopt a pair of twins, Davy and Dora. And Anne also makes friends with Miss Lavendar, Charlotta the Fourth, and little Stephen Irving. Anne’s life continues to be surrounded by the beautiful, provincial life of rural Prince Edward Island. And Anne continues to get into and out of several scrapes, though it’s clear that she has done and continues to do a lot of growing up.

Reading Challenges
Here we go for reading challenge updates:

Hashtags for the challenges that had them:
#popsugarreadingchallenge
#rockmytbr
#diversereads2017
#whatsinaname2017
#AnneReadAlong2017

So there’s book 2 of 8 completed for the Anne Read Along. How’s your reading going?
Love,
Jobe

Posted in Jobe Update, Reading Challenge

Reading Challenges Progress Report

[ // JANUARY // FEBRUARY // MARCH // APRIL // MAY // JUNE // JULY // AUGUST // ]

With August done our year is 2/3 finished with 1/3 to go. I’ve read 33 books so far.toptoptop

Challenge Completed Status
PopSugar 33 of 40 83% main
33 of 52 63% advanced
Audiobooks 1 100% bit level reached!
10 100% Byte level reached!
11 of 25 40% Megabyte
Pages 12,000 pages! 100% Bonsai level reached!
50% Shrub
Colors 9 of 9 colors! All 9 colors completed!
Reread 3 of 4 75% Déjà Vu
3 of 8 38% Feeling Nostalgic
Mount TBR 8 of 12 67% Pike’s Peak
8 of 24 33% Mount Blanc
Rock My TBR 8 of 12 67% completed
Diversity & Diversity 8 of 12 67% completed
Full House 23 of 25 92% completed
Books You Buy 12 of 41 29% Making Inroads
What’s in a Name  3 of 6 50% completed
Anne Read Along  1 of 8  13% completed

gayflagpennants#popsugarreadingchallenge #rockmytbr #diversereads2017
#whatsinaname2017 #AnneReadAlong2017

toptoptop

Non Fiction –> Free Space: Kindling by Angel Blackwood On TBR for 2+ years: Divergent by Veronica Roth More than 500 pages: Allegiant by Veronica Roth Page Turner: The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey Middle Grade book: Ash by Malinda Lo
2017 published: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan Published pre 2000: Autonomy and Rigid Character by David Shapiro UK/European author: Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker Back List book from fav author: White Night by Jim Butcher, book 9 Dresden Files Book from a list: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Award Winner: Abarat by Clive Barker Books about books: Lamb the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore Size word in title: Small Favor by Jim Butcher, book 10 in the Dresden Files Two Word Title: Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher, book 8 Dresden Files Debut book: Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Food on cover or title: ????? Cozy Mystery: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, book 7 in the Dresden Files Book from childhood: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery Diversity book: Lost Girls by Alan Moore, illustrated by Melinda Gebbie Australian/NZ author: ?????
Western: The Dark Tower comic series by Stephen King USA/Canadian author: Insurgent by Veronica Roth Not really for you: The Destroyer #46 Next of Kin by Warren Murphy Attractive cover: Tithe by Holly Black Borrowed: The Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell

gayflagpennants

How’s your reading going???

purch.png

Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

The Dark Tower comic book series by Stephen King

The Dark Tower. You’ve probably heard of them. The comics are based on the novels by Stephen King, and are “plotted by Robin Furth and scripted by Peter David” per the wiki entry. You may have heard the buzz about the new movie, which stars Idris Elba, which prefaces the upcoming series of the same star. That’s a lot going on for a book series that started in 1998, about 20 years ago. So far I have read the first complete arc of installments:

  1. The Dark Tower – The Gunslinger Born (240 pgs)
  2. The Dark Tower – The Long Road Home (160 pgs)
  3. The Dark Tower – Treachery (176 pgs)
  4. The Dark Tower – Fall of Gilead (208 pgs)
  5. The Dark Tower – Battle of Jericho Hill (144 pgs)

1001004005395707In the first book we get the first adventure of the young man Roland, and his two besties Bert and Alain, which make up a ka-tet, aka crew. We meet villains like Marten, Rhea, and the Big Coffin Hunters, and we hear about even more scary and notorious ones like John Farson and the Crimson King. Roland forgets the face of his father while he’s getting it on with his new honey, Susan. There’s some serious fighting over oil: one side wants it, the other doesn’t want them to have it. And don’t forget the super weird squid-tree-monster, called the thinny. The comics differ from the novels (I’ve been told) because they start his story chronologically, rather than looking back from “present day” with the older, more experienced Roland.

longroad1In book two Roland gets addicted to grapefruit, Sheemie shakes hands with electrocution, and a vicious pack of wolves threaten to eat Bert and Alain. B & A have to contend with Roland’s serious new sleep-walking problem, Sheemie very unexpectedly saves the day, and the Crimson King is the ugliest cousin. The ka-tet goes home to celebration because their town thought they were dead, and Roland is too weak to give up his grapefruit habit.

9780785135746_p0_v1_s260x420In book three the dads of the main characters go on a mission to thwart Farson. Lots of people die. There are several mentions of people having wives and infants or infants on the way. Aileen is the girl who wants to be treated like a boy, since, you know, sexism. She’s super badass (that’s her on the cover) and I’m rooting for her. There’s a super creepy nunnery where Roland’s mom is in deep trouble of her own making, Roland keeps getting haunted by Rhea and visions of his father’s future death until he decides to give up the grapefruit for good, and there’s a party with some dancing and riddles and killing. A spy is discovered, and Roland has some serious issues with famous last words.

Book four gets pretty brutal. Insidious traitors in the midst of Gilead’s greatest are Dark_Tower_The_Fall_of_Gilead_Vol_1_4everywhere, killing everyone, and then there’s a crazy war and basically everyone (else) dies. Kill the philosopher, kill the doctor, kill a pregnant lady’s unborn belly-kid, kill the faces of our fathers. This volume is not for the faint of stomach. There’s a poisoned book that wreaks havoc on Cort, Roland goes to jail, and Aileen (gods bless her) cuts her hair short to be one of the boys. Speaking of boys, a lot of the kids have to take up arms when the grown-ups are mostly slaughtered. A creature type is introduced, “slow mutants,” and I’m unsure if it means they move slowly or they’re slow in the head, but they’re icky looking. Oh yeah, and Sheemie sneaks into the city with his donkey and is reunited with Roland’s ka-tet.

90fcb3683f851774f3113141dd244cb2_xlBook four also marked a change in art style, one I didn’t prefer (eh, you can’t please everybody all the time). The first three books were done by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove working together; the fourth is Richard Isanove and Dean White. But I was in luck because book five is back to the first team.

The fifth and final book of this arc opens with a special earthquake called a beamquake, because it’s to do with the beams that originate from the tower. Roland and gang try to follow the tear in the earth back to the tower but now that the bad guys are in charge stuff like time and physics don’t work. They wander the wilderness for nine years (which is guess than 40, I guess) and they fight Farson’s forces as a small but determined resistance. Of course the band wouldn’t be complete without a traitor, which makes sense since the evil baddies are all about taking advantage of weaknesses like love and family and such. There’s an ambush and an attack and basically almost everybody dies, which we should’ve seen coming since it’s like 20 gunslingers vs. a kajillion baddies. Marten tries to play hide and seek with different skins but Roland’s dad didn’t raise no fool. Fin.

Reading Challenges
Here we go for reading challenge updates:

Hashtags for the challenges that had them:
#popsugarreadingchallenge
#rockmytbr
#diversereads2017
#whatsinaname2017
#AnneReadAlong2017

Comic books and Stephen King. What more could you ask for?
Love,
Jobe

Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

 

 

Usually there is a year of downtime in the universe of the series before the characters get into a new adventure of mischief. Ghost Story, by contrast, follows Changes by only moments, in a grand continuation. The readers follow the Ghost of the story as he attempts to solve his own murder, and he entreats the help of all of our usual suspects. I kept wracking my brain, wondering if the ghost is “really dead” or if there would be some time magic hijinks to just rewind the world for an “and then he woke up” effect. And I’m typing this before I’ve reached the end, specifically so I couldn’t accidentally give anything away about the resolution of the story. In addition to the excellent writing you’ve come to expect, spooky book 13 of the Dresden Files departs from the regular Harry-saves-the-day story and shows a lot of the other characters in their own right and/or coming into their own.

There were two things that happened during my reading experience. First, the audiobook that I checked out from the library was narrated by someone other than James Marsters. WHAT?!?!?!? I just could not get over it and I could not get into it! This wasn’t my narrator! You can’t just have someone narrate TWELVE WHOLE BOOKS and then switch. It’s too jarring! Too traumatic! When I searched the web, I found I was not the only one who’d complained. In fact, poor audiobook performer John Glover, whose only crime was not being James Marsters, was the new most hated man on the internet since Jaqen H’gar changed faces on Season 2 of Game of Thrones. (Poor guy.) 30 MOST SHOCKING MOMENTS IN GAME OF THRONES 17. CHANGING FACE

Well I only made it through a disc and a half before I decided I just couldn’t do it, I signed up for a free trial of Audible and listened to it to completion on my phone. (I’ve also been tinkering with ebooks in my iPhone’s Kindle app, so maybe there’s hope for me yet.) The other thing that occurred during my read (and this figuratively never happens) is that I cried. Not gonna lie. The first time Harry and Molly talk, I just couldn’t take it. Now I don’t know if that’s because it was audio instead paper, whether it was because I had earphones in instead of car stereo. All I know is that that scene hit me hard.

qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq

Reading Challenges
Here we go for reading challenge updates:

Hashtags for the challenges that had them:
#popsugarreadingchallenge
#rockmytbr
#diversereads2017
#whatsinaname2017
#AnneReadAlong2017

So there’s my August atm, how’s yours?
Love,
Jobe

Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Okay, I didn’t want anyone to know I was reading Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery until I had at least the first one done. (I thought they would go much faster but alas!) The reason I didn’t want anyone to know is because… I might have just signed up for another book challenge. *covers face* I know, I know, that’s crazy talk, right?! But I just couldn’t help myself when I saw it, and I’ve had the series on my shelf since I got them at a used book store last summer. Anyway, the Anne Challenge. I heard about it from The Book Date, who heard about it from co-hosts Jackie at Death by Tsundoku and Jane at Greenish Bookshelf, the latter its progenitor. The challenge suggests a book a month from May through December, so by the end of August (if I can catch up) I should be finished with book 4 of 8. You know I’ll keep you posted!!!

If you’ve never read Anne of Green Gables before you really must. It is an absolute classic, beautifully written, and a piece of North America’s (Canada’s) history. Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in 1874 and published the first Anne book in 1908!!! So if you’re looking for “a book 100 years or older,” this one certainly counts, and since it’s public domain, you can also read it free via Project Gutenberg. If you’re around my age, you might’ve grown up on the books and the Megan Follows movies; a new movie was put out in 2016 and you can check out more about it online here thanks to PBS. And if you’re planning a vacation, why not visit Prince Edward Island, (complete with an Anne Museum) home to Montgomery’s lovable characters! Anne is a global phenomenon—I remember one of my host-sisters reading a translation of the first book while I was in Japan! But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just ask Margaret Atwood.

All hype aside, Anne of Green Gables is about a precocious, talkative orphan girl who has never been loved or had a home, but despite these setbacks, has a huge heart and an even bigger imagination. She gets adopted by accident—they wanted a boy—but is given the chance to thrive with Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert, an old pair of siblings who never married and now run the family home and farm together. Sharing this humble abode, Anne is raised with kindness, love, and patience (long-suffering), surrounded by beautiful landscape on all sides. Anne makes friends and enemies, goes to school, and gets into all kinds of trouble. Despite it all, she manages to come out on top, spirits never crushed for long, even in “the depths of despair.”

Reading Challenges
Here we go for reading challenge updates:

Hashtags for the challenges that had them:
#popsugarreadingchallenge
#rockmytbr
#diversereads2017
#whatsinaname2017
and the newest addition #AnneReadAlong2017

So there’s my big secret revealed, are you terribly cross with me?
Love,
Jobe

Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore

Well, it’s really frustrating to have to re-write a post you already wrote once, but I love you guys, so, here. I read Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore and I was pleasantly surprised by the rich authenticity of the time period, place setting, and religious customs depicted in Moore’s cheeky fiction. While the text is undeniably sacrilegious, as well as rife with cursing and bestiality jokes, I’d like to think that a Christian with a sense of humor might grudgingly acknowledge how respectfully Moore treats the actual character of Jesus, in his book called Joshua. Here is a sinless being who yet somehow maintains being a mostly normal kid. And then in the teen years, Josh remains a sinless teen, his lifestyle portrayed in sharp relief against Biff the sinner, who I’d go so far as to say represents most of us.

1361182242_gabrielThe book opens with an angel of God raising Biff (or Levi, who is called Biff) from the dead, with the holy mission of writing out the story of Joshua’s first thirty years. Those familiar with the more traditional Biblical text will recognize Josh’s time with the temple priests around age 12, discussion of the three wise men present at his birth, and the depiction of the end of Joshua’s life, the focus of the opening four books or so of the New Testament. But we readers here get to encounter a sweet, guileless Joshua and his lying pal Biff who mostly keeps them out of trouble, and some of Josh’s earliest miracles (think regular miracles, but with training wheels) as he tries to figure things out. We encounter his baptism-obsessed cousin John. There’s even an endearing Roman solider character who befriends Josh and Biff and looks out for them. Our pair of good Jewish boys is rounded into a trio with the addition of a little kid Maggie, short for Mary of the Magdalene.

sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssWhat makes up the bulk of the novel, however, is Moore’s invented adventures of Joshua and Biff travelling East in pursuit of wisdom and how to be a Messiah, picking up knowledge about everything from Bodhisattvas to yoga to Kali along the way. Joshua learns philosophies from Buddhism, Taoism, Confuscianism. Moore even includes a number of moments where Joshua says something to the effect of, “Oh, that’s good, I’m gonna remember that,” as little origin stories for some of his most familiar sentiments, like the “do unto others” adage. Joshua and his loyal sidekick Biff pursue each of the three wise men in turn, studying in luxury here, ascetically there. Then, equipped with the knowledge of the East as well as the West, Josh and Biff make it back home just in time to pick up the more familiar stories of disciples, preaching on the mountain, water to wine, loaves and fishes. For anyone not offended by some pretty cheeky banter, Moore’s comedic depiction is a fun one.

20155658_10155591840405452_6760688062514265129_nThis is the first time I’d read a book for a book club, so that was an interesting aspect of the reading experience, too. Let me just say, there is no book that is not made better by Vino’s pizza! Word Virus is the club, sponsored through the library, and it was neat to meet new and different people with just this one book in common. I am told that readers familiar with Moore’s work will recognize an angel named Raziel and a demon named Catch from previous works. Reading this novel definitely made me curious to revisit the original texts of my Pentecostal upbringing, as well as the much more serious but just as loving novel, Christ the Lord by Anne Rice.

Reading Challenges
Here we go for reading challenge updates:

  • PopSugar 2017 reading challenge No. 31 A book with a main character who is a different ethnicity than you. This Christian writer states, “Jesus of Nazareth likely had a darker complexion than we imagine, not unlike the olive skin common among Middle Easterners today. ” And Wiki reports that “Most scholars believe that Jesus would have been similar in appearance to the modern inhabitants of the Middle East, due to the Bible (and other historical accounts) referring to him as a Galilean Israelite.” #blackjesus y’all. And while I’m at it #blacksanta too.
  • Book Dragon’s Lair Audiobook challenge Nope.
  • Book Dragon’s Lair Pages Read challenge This 464 pgs brings me to 7,737 pgs for the year so far.
  • Read It Again, Sam Nope.
  • My Reader’s Block Mount To Be Read (TBR) and Rock My TBR challenge Nope.
  • For the Diverse Reads challenge (here and here) Nope, but I’m reading that one now.
  • The Book Date Full House challenge Dang. This is the first title I wasn’t able to fit easily into a category.  I knew it would happen eventually but I was surprised how upset it made me feel: somehow I thought everything would just naturally fall into place until the challenge was completed! And only then would I happen to read books that didn’t fit these categories! But then I remembered that everybody gets one free space, so I’m using this for that. Yay!
  • The Book Date Read the Books You Buy challenge Yes, and this puts me at 10 read of 25 bought, or 40%, which is likely the closest to the next category, “Moderately Successful” (which starts at 41%) as I’ll get. I just can’t turn up a chance to buy books! They’re too wonderful! What if the apocalypse happens and the books we own in our homes are all that’s left of the world’s literature!
  • The Worm Hole’s What’s In A Name challenge Nope.

Hashtags for the challenges that had them:
#popsugarreadingchallenge
#rockmytbr
#diversereads2017
#whatsinaname2017

Got any fun plans for the upcoming weekend?
Love,

Jobe

Posted in Jobe Update, Reading Challenge, Reviews

Reading Challenges Progress Report

With the end of June our 2017 reading year is officially half over! I’ve read 18 books so far this year, with piles of TBR and just bought stacking up everywhere (of course).

PopSugar #popsugarreadingchallenge Full List

No. 4 An audiobook Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
No. 10 cat on cover Abarat by Clive Barker
No. 11 pseudonym The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey
No. 15 subtitle Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker (Abarat book 2)
No. 17 mythical creature Tithe by Holly Black
No. 39 first book in series you haven’t read yet Divergent by Veronica Roth
No. 35 set in a hotel Lost Girls by Alan Moore, illustrated by Melinda Gebbie
No. 29 unreliable narrator Dead Beat by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files book 7)
No. 28 a novel set during war time Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Divergent book 2)
No. 13 a book by or about a person who has a disability Cinder by Marissa Meyer
No. 14 a book involving travel Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent book 3)
No. 47 a book with an eccentric character Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files book 8)
No. 51 a book about a difficult topic Autonomy and Rigid Character by David Shapiro
No. 17 mythical creature White Night (Dresden Files book 9)
No. 46 genre you’ve never heard of (“men’s adventure”) The Destroyer #46: Next of Kin by Warren Murphy
No. 16 book published in 2017 Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
No. 27 a book with a title that’s a character’s name Ash by Malinda Lo
No. 52 a book based on mythology Small Favor by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files book 10)

 

Challenge Completed Status
PopSugar 18 45% main
35% advanced
Audiobooks 7 70% Byte
28% Megabyte
Pages 6,920 58% Bonsai
29% Shrub
Colors 9 of 9 100% completed!
Reread 2 50% Déjà Vu
25% Feeling Nostalgic
TBR 6 50% Pike’s Peak
25% Mount Blanc
Rock My TBR 6 50% completed
Diversity 6 50% completed
Full House 18 72% completed
Books You Buy 8 35% Making Inroads
Memoirs 0 of 25 Dropping out
What’s in a Name 3 50% completed

Book Dragon’s Lair Audiobooks 7 books
Book Dragon’s Lair Pages Read 6,920 pgs

My Reader’s Block Colors & Read it again, Sam Colors Challenge is completed. 2 of my books count as re-reads.
My Reader’s Block TBR Pile 6 books, half way to Pike’s Peak.

The YA Book Traveler Rock My TBR #ROCKMYTBR   6 books

Diverse Reads from Read Sleep Repeat and Chasing Faerytales #DiverseReads2017   6 of 12, right on schedule.

Book Date Full House 18 of 25

Non Fiction On TBR for 2+ years: Divergent by Veronica Roth More than 500 pages: Allegiant by Veronica Roth Page Turner: The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey Middle Grade book: Ash by Malinda Lo
2017 published: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan Published pre 2000: Autonomy and Rigid Character by David Shapiro UK/European author: Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker Back List book from fav author: White Night by Jim Butcher book 9 Dresden Files Book from a list: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Award Winner: Abarat by Clive Barker Books about books Size word in title: Small Favor by Jim Butcher book 10 Dresden Files Two Word Title: Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher book 8 Dresden Files Debut book: Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Food on cover or title Cozy Mystery: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher, book 7 in the Dresden Files Book from childhood Diversity book: Lost Girls by Alan Moore, illustrated by Melinda Gebbie Australian/NZ author
Western USA/Canadian author: Insurgent by Veronica Roth Not really for you: The Destroyer #46 Next of Kin by Warren Murphy Attractive cover: Tithe by Holly Black Borrowed

purch
Book Date Read What You Buy 8 of 23 or 35%, which keeps me in the Making Inroads category. This is the hardest challenge to make progress on because I can’t stop buying books, so even when I’m reading books I’ve bought I’m still just keeping afloat in the lowest categories. I decided that if I buy a book after I’ve read it—but in the same year—then I can count it as bought and read. That’s fair, right? Possibly the most fun aside from buying the books and reading them has been organizing all my purchases with a shelf on 50bookpledge.ca.

The Cutest Blog on the Block Memoirs ZERO! I agreed that if I hadn’t read any memoirs by the midway point then I would drop this challenge. Sad to say goodbye but I wasn’t doing it justice. Memoirs just wasn’t in the cards for me this year.

The Worm Hole What’s In a Name #whatsinaname2017   3 of 6
Halfway through the year and halfway through the challenge. Pretty good since I have yet to choose a title based on one of these categories specifically (which I imagine I will have to do before the year is up.) Are you having better luck than I am?

Readers Forever,

Jobe