Wednesday, May 22, 2019

2019 Reading Assignment Challenge | Spring Semester Report Card

Michelle and Berls @ Because Reading

So apparently I'm completely incapable of reading rules properly, because I had myself convinced that the Spring Semester Reading Assignment lasted through to the end of May.  But if I'd stopped to look at the above logo... well, as you an see, the Spring Semester apparently ended on May 1.  And so I had planned an entire extra month of required reads to get through.  le sigh...

Since that is the case, and since I'm really almost done with what I thought were my required May Reading Assignment books, I'm just going to push through and finish the last Amanda Quick book, and pretend that the Spring Semester lasts through to the end of May.

At least I've read the Summer Semester rules more properly to find that we're only doing June 1 to August 1.

Anyway, now onto my grading...  Even though I'm still going to read for May, I'm only going to count grading for the first four months.  Mainly because I'm quite confident I'll finish the Amanda Quick book pretty quickly, and also because I can.

I don't mind that I missed submitting my report card, but I'm going to list out my grades and the points I earned for each course anyway.

My Grades:

Professor AuthorLuv - Intermediate Class (credits: 2):
Grade = A -- I read all my required books for all the months!
Points Earned = 5

Professor Genre - Advanced Class (credits: 3):
Grade = A -- I read all my required books for all the months!
Points Earned = 6

Professor Mix-It-Up - Beginner's Class (credits: 1):
Grade = B -- I missed reading all required books for one of the months.
Points Earned = 3

Professor AuthorLuv - Intermediate (credits: 2):

Author:  Amanda Quick // 2 books per month // 10 books total
Progress:  9/10 books read

1.  With This Ring | Read 1/11/19
2.  I Thee Wed | Read 1/18/19

3.  Wicked Widow | Read 2/15/19
4.  Lie By Moonlight | Read 2/20/19

5.  Slightly Shady | Read 3/16/19
6.  Don't Look Back | Read 3/31/19

7.  Late for the Wedding | Read 4/5/19
8.  Dangerous | Read 4/30/19

9.  Seduction | Read 5/15/19
10.  Tightrope | TBR

Professor Genre - Advanced (credits: 3):

Genre:  Historical Fiction // 3 books per month // 15 books total
Progress: 15/15 books read

1.  The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber | Read 1/8/19
2.  The Bride by Julie Garwood | Read 1/14/19
3.  Mr. Ridley by Delilah Marvelle | Read 1/28/19

4.  Sweet Release by Pamela Clare | Read 2/22/19
5.  Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare | Read 2/24/19
6.  Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare | Read 2/28/19

7.  The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin | Read 3/19/19
8.  Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson | Read 3/24/19
9.  A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray | Read 3/30/19

10.  A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn | Read 4/8/19
11.  Indigo by Beverly Jenkins | Read 4/26/19
12.  The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy | Read 4/28/19

13.  An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James | Read 5/5/19
14.  The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James | Read 5/12/19
15.  Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber | Read 5/19/19

Professor Mix-It-Up - Beginner (credits: 1):

Pre-chosen List (see below) // 1 book per month // 5 books total
Progress: 4/5 books read

1.  The Neverending Story by Michael Ende | Read 1/29/19
2.  Part Time Cowboy by Maisey Yates | Read 2/7/19
3.  Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld | Read 3/12/19
4.   I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong | Missed
5.  The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie | Read 5/19/19

Final Thoughts: The Bone Woman

The Bone Woman

by Clea Koff

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

In the spring of 1994, Rwanda was the scene of the first acts since World War II to be legally defined as genocide.  Two years later, Clea Koff, a twenty-three-year-old forensic anthropologist analyzing prehistoric skeletons in the safe confines of Berkeley, California, was one of sixteen scientists chosen by the UN International Criminal Tribunal to go to Rwanda to unearth the physical evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity.  The Bone Woman is Koff’s riveting, deeply personal account of that mission and the six subsequent missions she undertook—to Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo—on behalf of the UN.

In order to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity, the UN needs to know the answer to one question: Are the bodies those of noncombatants?  To answer this, one must learn who the victims were, and how they were killed.  Only one group of specialists in the world can make both those determinations: forensic anthropologists, trained to identify otherwise unidentifiable human remains by analyzing their skeletons.  Forensic anthropologists unlock the stories of people’s lives, as well as of their last moments.

Koff’s unflinching account of her years with the UN—what she saw, how it affected her, who was prosecuted based on evidence she found, what she learned about the world—is alternately gripping, frightening, and miraculously hopeful.  Readers join Koff as she comes face-to-face with the realities of genocide: nearly five hundred bodies exhumed from a single grave in Kibuye, Rwanda; the wire-bound wrists of Srebrenica massacre victims uncovered in Bosnia; the disinterment of the body of a young man in southwestern Kosovo as his grandfather looks on in silence.

Yet even as she recounts the hellish working conditions, the tangled bureaucracy of the UN, and the heartbreak of survivors, Koff imbues her story with purpose, humanity, and an unfailing sense of justice.  This is a book only Clea Koff could have written, charting her journey from wide-eyed innocent to soul-weary veteran across geography synonymous with some of the worst crimes of the twentieth century.  A tale of science in the service of human rights, The Bone Woman is, even more profoundly, a story of hope and enduring moral principles.

I ended up skipping the rest of the status updates I'd initially planned, if only because I ended up just reading the book and enjoying myself leisurely.  Aside from that, I found I couldn't really find anything thoughtful to add to discussion anyway, outside of highlighting three or four passages in each of the books's parts that stood out to me.  If I were going to do that, then I might as well just tell everyone to just read the book.  After all, despite a few moments where I felt the book dragged a little, I feel like The Bone Woman is a very worthwhile read.

There is a lot more detail in the first parts devoted to the Rwandan genocide, and the latter parts of Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo were more heavy in detailing site management, with more anthropological findings (which I DID actually enjoy reading about).  There were moments where I thought that the author maybe should have chosen not to harp on mean teammates and team disharmony, too much.  Mentioning it once or twice was fine, and I can only imagine just how stressed and emotionally taxed everyone on these missions were becoming.  But after a while, it just started sounding like complaining, and kind of distracted from the bigger picture of the book.

As I've already mentioned, I don't have a lot to say about this book, and will gladly direct anyone to Themis-Athena's book updates, that give a lot of extra information, as complementary reading to this book, on each of the mentioned missions that Koff was involved in.  In truth, this is probably one of those books that I would have read and simply stated that it was compelling and thought-provoking, and left it at that.  I'm no good at reviewing these kinds of books anyway, the kind where you liked it, but didn't really love it, but still feel like it's a book you'd highly recommend to others.

So that's what I will do.  I've always found nonfictional works a bit more difficult to read, but The Bone Woman never felt like a chore to me.  So overall, I found that I quite enjoyed the book and found it quite inspiring.

Meanwhile, with her permission, I've included the links to Themis-Athena's reading updates, and her review below.  I highly recommend reading these, as they really add to the reading experience of The Bone Woman.

79 of 277 | 112 of 277 | 157 of 277 | 194 of 277 | 256 of 277 | Review

Booklikes-opoly 2019 | Roll #2 & #3

@ Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

So my very first BL-opoly book didn't take long to finish, and the truth is, it usually doesn't take me long to finish reading any Pamela Clare books.  I started reading immediately after midnight on Monday (5/20), intending to just read a chapter or two, then go to sleep, but the next thing I know, I'm 50% done with the book.  I went to work cranky the next morning (because I made myself stop reading, and because of lack of sleep).

Anyway, to recap, I read Hard Target by Pamela Clare for The Silk Road.  It fulfills the square being a book primarily set in Afghanistan, which is listed as one of the 40 countries along Silk Road.  And going by how quickly I finished the book, I think it's safe to say I really enjoyed it.  Make no mistake though, it wasn't the best book in the world, but Pamela Clare has a way with her stories.

Hard Target is 261 pages, which gave me a cash equivalent of $3, bringing my current Bank Total to $23.

Let's move onto the next roll.

I decided to go back to my dice roller app, as it was easier to just screen capture... and also Penni was otherwise distracted... because she's easily distracted by things...

My next roll was an 8 which (Yay!) moved me onto the Novelty Square: Robot.  According to the game play rules, I get to pocket this card, save it for later, and roll again!  I'm feeling lucky!

So now we move Teddy bear to the appropriate square and...  Hmm... it's looking a little quiet here, guys.  This makes me a bit nervous, seeing both Monkey and Penni... just hanging out... well, let's move on for now.  Maybe they over-did their excitement from all the pre-game hype.

My extra roll gets me a 4, which moves Teddy Bear Game Piece to Mountain Cabin 16.  And I'm totally excited about this one, because I've got the perfect book for the square.

Okay, yeah, this is more like it.  I suppose I was too quick to assume that things had calmed down on the live board so quickly.  Though at least Monkey's being helpful by holding Teddy Bear in place... and, what is that you're wearing on your head Penni?  Is that Teddy's paper boat?  He's going to want that back, you know?


Moving along...

Oh yeah!  I'm finally getting to Tightrope by Amanda Quick.  It took awhile for my library to pick up this book in e-book format, and then when they did, I checked it out, and was wondering if I'd have to read this book outside of the BL-opoly game just to get it read before I needed to turn it in.  But now, I can just read it and let it count for the game!  Lucky!

Tightrope is tagged mystery and suspense, and most of the more recent Amanda Quick books are all typically a mix of historical mystery, romance, and suspense, this one included.  Tightrope is 320 pages, which will give me a $3 addition to my Bank Total upon completion.

I'm so ready to get going with this one!

Novelty Cards Currently In My Pocket

My Progress

Current Bank:  $23
Prison Library Donation:  0 pages
Books Read:  1

(Roll #)
Dice Roll Space/Prompt Book Title / Author Pages Cash
5/20 Game Start $20
5/20 (#1) 5 The Silk Road:
Read a book set in any of the 40 countries along Silk Road, or by an author from any of those countries.
Hard Target by Pamela Clare 261 $3
5/22 (#2) 8 Novelty Card Robot -- save for later
(Create a numbered list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you)
n/a n/a n/a
5/22 (#3) 4 Mountain Cabin 16:
Read a book that is considered mystery/suspense genre, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N.
Tightrope by Amanda Quick 320 $3

Monday, May 20, 2019

Bout of Books 25: Wrap Up!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure.   There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 25 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team

I'm going to have this post double as an 'It's Monday!' meme, if only because I don't think I've done one in a while.

Bout of Books this time around, I feel has been a resounding success for me, and mainly I'm just super happy that reached all the goals I set out to reach.

1) Read 3 books.  Check!
2) Update daily.  Check!
Bonus Goal:  Read for 2 to 5 hours daily...  Okay, so I didn't exactly reach this goal, but I spent six hours reading this last day of the BoB readathon, so if I average the time I spent reading, it all evens out.

Best of all, I actually finished 5 books!  Two more books than I set out to read.  Yay!  True, at least two of the books were already half finished at the beginning of the readathon, but still--Yay!

In the meantime, I've also been able to catch up on some reviewing and some reading game update posts.  All-in-all, I feel like I've had a fabulous reading and blogging week!  With a new reading game starting up on the BookLikes platform, BookLikes-opoly, I'm pumped to keep up my reading pace!

Cheers, all!

Books Finished During Bout of Books

Overall Running Totals

Overall Weekly Running Total
# Pages Read:  1153 pages
# Minutes Listened:  299 minutes
# Books Read:  5 books

Monday, May 13
# Pages Read:  184 pages
# Minutes Listened:  47 minutes
# Books Read:  1 book
-- Finished Ever Strange by Alisa Woods | read 149 pages

Tuesday, May 14
# Pages Read:  273 pages
# Minutes Listened:  46 minutes
# Books Read:  0 books

Wednesday, May 15
# Pages Read:  191 pages
# Minutes Listened:  48 minutes
# Books Read: 1 book
-- Finished Seduction by Amanda Quick | read 354 pages

Thursday, May 16
# Pages Read:  34 pages
# Minutes Listened:  46 minutes
# Books Read:  0 books

Friday, May 17
# Pages Read:  106 pages
# Minutes Listened:  50 minutes
# Books Read:  1 book
-- Finished The Bone Woman by Clea Koff | read 166 pages

Saturday, May 18
# Pages Read:  96 pages
# Minutes Listened:  0 minutes
# Books Read:  0 books

Sunday, May 19
# Pages Read:  269 pages
# Minutes Listened:  62 minutes
# Books Read:  2 books
-- Finished Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber | read 384 pages
-- Finished The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie | listened to 299 minutes

Currently Reading

What's Hopefully Up Next

With the starting of BL-opoly, I don't quite have a tentative reading list for the coming weeks, probably even months, as my each next roll for the game will dictate what book I will be reading.  The only books I know for sure about are the above two:  Hard Target, because it will be my first book for BL-opoly, and Tightrope, because I still have one more Amanda Quick book to read before the end of the month.

Otherwise, let the BL-opoly dice roll gods decide for me!