A Brief Announcement

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet around here for the past few months.  After years of posting three times a week, this slid down to two, then eventually to one or even less.  Like many (most?) people, 2020 was a very strange year for me, and living through a pandemic definitely affected my creativity and engagement with a number of aspects of life, including this blog.

Additionally, I had another, much more positive distraction, as I got pregnant last summer!  My baby was born at the beginning of March, and is a healthy, adorable, very distracting new part of my life.

All pregnancy, I hoped I might find the time and the energy to come back to more regular blogging.  Now that I have a newborn, I’m accepting the inevitable.  I’m not closing down this blog, and I still intend to be here more regularly some time in the future – but I am stepping away officially for the next while as I adjust to the new normal in my life.

Thank you for ALL the wonderful support over the past ten years, and I expect to be “seeing” you again soon – perhaps with some new ideas and new features, as I create a new normal for Tales of the Marvelous too! ❤

2020 Reading Round-Up

We are (finally!) at the beginning of 2021, making it time to look back at the best, the worst and the sometimes weird of my 2020 reading. I read 134 books this year, including finally picking up a lot of very good ones that had been languishing on my To Be Read list for years – and a few that turned out to be terrible too!

1) Best of…
I’ve been splitting my “Best of” books for the past several years, so that I can highlight the ones that were best in very specific ways.

1A) Best Premise: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows – I loved this concept of a society where everyone reincarnates and remembers their past lives.  So fascinating to explore what that makes the world look like.  The sequel went some odder directions, but I’ll probably pick up the third one eventually.

1B) Best World Building: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – I thoroughly enjoyed this sci fi adventure.  The characters and plot were good, but I especially liked the world (galaxy) they were in.  A little bit Star Trek (a galactic alliance of species), a little bit Star Wars (those species are really, really different from each other), and quite a bit Firefly (a ragamuffin crew with a Wild West feel), it still felt totally unique.  Humans aren’t very important in the galaxy, there’s a lot of exploration of the very different alien cultures, and by and large everyone is really accepting of those differences.  Very cool place to explore.

1C) Best Romance: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I’m not usually a fan of love triangles, but I really enjoyed this one.  I liked how the heroine’s character was explored through her choice between the two men, and her romance with each was convincing and powerful – but I was still happy with how it wound up!

1D) Best Hero: Elliott from In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan – This was a wonderful, satirical take on magical school stories, and the hero, Elliott, was everything I wanted him to be: sarcastic, irritable, bad-tempered but totally on the ball.  Doesn’t sound appealing, but he was wonderful!  He brings a backpack stuffed with pens and highlighters to magic school (complaining loudly about quill pens) and has serious questions about why fourteen year olds are being sent into battles.  He’s awesome. Continue reading “2020 Reading Round-Up”

2020 Reading Challenges – End of Year Update

Welcome to 2021!  The start of a new year means time to look back at my reading from 2020.  It was a very strange year…but at least my reading went well!  My overarching goal was to read more, aiming for 125 books.  I passed that goal, with a total 134 books.  I guess staying home for most of the year was at least good for reading!

Here are my monthly totals:

January: 14 books
February: 11 books
March: 7 books
April: 12 books
May: 9 books
June: 9 books
July: 11 books
August: 14 books
September: 10 books
October: 15 books
November: 10 books
December: 12 books

Now onto the specific challenges…

The Phantom of the Opera Reading & Viewing Challenge
Host: Tales of the Marvelous
Goal: Lon Chaney Level

I posted the update for this challenge yesterday (share your updates if you have them!)  I met my goal, reading one book, watching one filmed play, and watching one movie.

Continue reading “2020 Reading Challenges – End of Year Update”

Friday Face-Off: In the Jungle

FFO.jpg

It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: None of the Jungle People like being disturbed.

With this theme, I immediately thought of a recent biography I read of Henry Stanley, African explorer of “Dr. Livingstone, I presume” fame – although, alas for disillusion, he probably didn’t really say his most famous quote.  That was part of the fascination of the biography though, exploring how and why Stanley fictionalized parts of his very extraordinary life.  Much of the excitement took place in the jungles, and while some were friendly, many were not.  There are only a few different covers for the book.

As a cover study I find this rather interesting, in that all three covers did variations on design using the same image.  It’s interesting to see how different things can be done with the same base.  My favorite is the first one.  It’s the easiest title to read, and I like how it focuses in on Stanley – which represents the focus of the book well!

2020 Reading Challenges – Three-Quarters Update

Welcome to another reading update from the very weird 2020!  I hope you are staying safe and well, and enjoying many great books.  I’m still staying home and reading a lot.  That’s good for my overarching goal of the year, to read more, aiming for 125 books.  I’m at 104 books so far, putting me well on target.

Here’s my monthly totals:

January: 14 books
February: 11 books
March: 7 books
April: 12 books
May: 9 books
June: 9 books
July: 11 books
August: 14 books
September: 10 books
October: 7 books (so far)

Now onto the specific challenges…

The Phantom of the Opera Reading & Viewing Challenge
Host: Tales of the Marvelous
Goal: Lon Chaney Level

I posted the update for this challenge last week (share your updates if you have them!) and I’m on track for my goal.  Just to need to watch a Phantom movie still…

Continue reading “2020 Reading Challenges – Three-Quarters Update”