Sunday, September 7, 2014

NQAC: Biweekly Update #2, with Travel the World In Books RAT Update

So, I actually had an idea for my Confessions this week (several, in fact), but due to my commitment to reading five books from countries besides my own for the Travel the World in Books Readathon, I'm more focused on reading (and/or bawling my eyes out reading Loung Ung's memoir). My true confessions will have to wait- my eyes aren't dry enough yet.

Travel the World In Books Readathon Mid-Challenge Update:

Goals: Read 5 Books and critique 2 of them (I may end up critiquing ALL of them).
I've already finished two books and two critiques (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and The Samurai's Garden) and I'm halfway through another challenge book (First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers from my invisible-pile), so I'm doing pretty well.
Total Pages Read: Roughly 648
My Map Challenge
I participated in some of the Facebook chat and commented on the Introduce Yourself (Day 1-2) on Mom's Small Victories. I also commented on Global Reading Exposure (Girl XOXO.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):
The Shore of Women by Pamela Sargent: a feminist postnuclear love story. (the-invisible-pile)

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes: a mystery/urban fantasy set in Johannesburg, South Africa. (the-invisible-pile)

Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin: a historical (WWII) love story about lovers running from the Nazis. (the-invisible-pile)

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer #3) by Brent Weeks: a continuation of the Lightbringer series (epic fantasy). I was so glad when I saw it was available as a Kindle book (despite the Hachette/Amazon feud) because it hadn't been available for pre-order. I wouldn't have been able to pick it up for several weeks if it hadn't been available for Kindle. (the-invisible-pile)


I finally won something in a giveaway! I received a signed copy of Enchanted Heart by Mindy Ruiz with a swag pack, after weeks of thinking I hallucinated the email that told me I won. The package had a hole in the bottom, but it appears nothing was lost.

And then, shortly after hearing about that, I won a pdf copy of War Kids by H.J. Lawson!

Although I'm usually not into YA, these books looked good enough for me to want to enter the giveaways. For a while there, I thought the giveaways on blogs might not be legit, but considering I only use free entries for most giveaways I enter, I think everyone has at least a chance of winning. Just keep clicking.

Currently Reading (Travel the World in Books Edition):
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung (45%). This is an incredibly compelling and an incredibly sad book about the Cambodian genocide told through the eyes and imagination of a young girl. This is an autobiography/memoir, so it's tough to know this is what the author experienced- I just got past her family photos section, which is one of the more difficult parts of the book to look at. Fiction is so much easier to digest because you know the things described may have not even happened- with nonfiction you have to face actual facts.

Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong (page 51 of 272). This book is also sad because although it's not nonfiction, it comes from the author's experience of living in Communist Vietnam. Originally, the government encouraged her and other writers to write critically about it- until this novel was published, and was subsequently banned. This is also the first novel from Vietnam ever to be published in the U.S.. Although it is about Vietnam, it's set in Moscow, Russia.

The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley (page 11 of 608). I plan on returning to this one when I have most of my five goal books read- I was only 11 pages in and having to write down names, despite the book having a name index up front. What can I say- small books are so much easier to devour without having to search for names again every 11 pages.

Finished These Books:
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. It was pretty good, but I had higher expectations of it because my childhood friend recommended it to me. I liked it better than the other Lisa See I've read: Shanghai Girls.
The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. I found my new favorite small and powerful book! This was so close to getting five stars, but I wanted a little more closure after cheering on my new favorite heroes.
Highland Surrender by Tracy Brogan. My weak attempts at finding an ideal historical (or other genre) romance have beared few fruit. I keep waiting for another Honor's Splendour or The Duke's Holiday to magically appear in my suggestions, but really... I'm tired of romance authors writing the same old heroes (i.e. he-men and alpha males, whom I generally can't stand) with similar plots. I should really write my own- I know what I like. Seriously, some of the relationships in romance books border on abusive- not so much this one, but too many others for my liking.

In the Blogosphere:
  Book Blogs:
   Book Reviews:
    Debt Inheritance by Pepper Winters (Way Too Hot Books) With choice swear words ;)
    Innocent Assassins by Pema Donyo (Fangirling Misses)
    Crane by Stacey Rourke (Innocent Smiley)
    Endless List of Reasons Why I Prefer Reading in English #1 (craving books)
    Alexandra Adornetto and the Importance of Author-Consumer PR (Bibliodaze)
    Why You Should Give Poetry a Chance (It's All in Your Head)
  Fashion and Lifestyle:
    Open Air Museum - The Bushwick Collective (Blonde Tigers) 7th photo down- those boots!
    The Happiness Project: Day 8 (Bearika Rose)
    Everything I Need To Know in Life I Learned From My Dog (Simple Capacity)

In My Life:
I went camping for a night Labor Day Weekend, and I was glad we'd brought the truck (with truck-bed cover) because it rained- all night long. My mother and I had planned on sleeping in the truck, but usually we'd tent it. Torrie, the wolfie dog, is very afraid of rain/storms because the people who had her before us had kept her outside during them, so it was a long night of trying to make her calm despite the storm for me.

One of the beautiful vistas I took coming back home:

The area is south of Twin Falls (around Rock Creek) in beauteous Idaho. I would call these America's castles.

How was your Labor Day Weekend? Anyone win anything in giveaways lately? Anyone else doing well with their Travel the World in Books Readathon goals?


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah, it came up as a Kindle Daily Deal about a week ago, and I couldn't resist. It seems 90% of urban fantasies are set in the U.S. or U.K. anymore, so to find one set in South Africa is rare.

  2. Snow Flower is one of my favorite books, too bad it didn't live up to your expectations. My friend recommended it to me too. I want to read The Samurai's Garden based on your review. You are doing so great in this readathon, definitely read more than I have! Hope you can join us for the Twitter chat tonight, 9-10pm EST.

    1. Well, for me if a book gets three stars (in Snow Flower's case 3.5), that's a pretty good rating- I'm very picky with my books. They have to give me major emotions and/or make me want to root the character on for it to get four or more.
      The Samurai's Garden was entirely unexpected for me- I assumed it would be simply good (especially since it's so short and cut up into small sections), but it proved me wrong, and now I highly recommend it.
      Thanks for stopping by and reminding me about the Twitter chat!
      ~Litha Nelle


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