Thursday, July 11, 2019

Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- June 2019

Hi everyone!

So I've been absent for long enough that I feel like I've been slacking off in my blogging life.  But things have been super busy around Chez Puppy House in the past week or so.  For the week of Fourth of July, while I was able to toss in a post about my bonus BLopoly rolls, I haven't really had much to do with reading.

My big brother's wedding happened this past weekend, and the days leading up to it were full of LOTS of last minute preparations.  My brother and sister-in-law have expressed a wish not to have any of their photos shared outside of family and friends, so I won't be posting any of those.  But doggies and non-human subjects are all fair game...  Thus, the above picture is just of how the wedding gift trays, the wedding candles and incense, and the roast pig (on the far left that you can't really see) was set up.

As part of the tradition, these are the gifts we took to the bride's home, wherein they then split the gifts in half and return half to us.  We then commence with a brief tea ceremony of toasting her parents as they let their daughter be married off, then we bring the bride home wherein another tea ceremony happens with toasting tea to the groom's parents, as they welcome a new daughter into the family.

Ahh... traditions, they are interesting to learn about as they happen, though this isn't the first Vietnamese/Chinese wedding we've had in recent years.  Two years ago at about the same time, my younger brother was married and a lot of the same things happened.

But anyway... back to the wedding prep chaos... my sister-in-law wanted to build her own bouquets, boutineers, and flower display decorations in order to save on money.  So we spent a few hours just messing around with that a couple days before the wedding.  There were tons of flowers to play with, and I'd say that the results were quite beautiful.  My sister-in-law is a woman of many resources.

Meanwhile, my brother wanted the introduction of the wedding party at the evening dinner reception to be unique, so they also spent some time practicing a choreographed dance, lasting the first minute or so of the Korean pop song, Boy With Luv by BTS.  I've linked the official BTS dance practice video if anyone is curious as to how the dance was supposed to look.

In actuality, they only made it about fifteen seconds into the dance moves, then ended up doing a freestyle to their seats, which was also fun.  But the most important part was that they had a lot of fun, even if their end result was still kind of messy.  I'm not sure anyone at the reception really noticed anyway.

Meanwhile, my job during the entirety of the day, aside from playing personal family photographer during the tea ceremony in the morning, was dog-sitting.

The pups had free reign of the house for a little bit during the early morning.  Meanwhile, Yogi and Bear were put into their spiffy wedding attire, as the puppers belonging to the bride and groom, to celebrate with them.

Here's Yogi in his cute little doggie tux, as he makes himself comfortable in my cousin's lap.

And here's Bear in a formal suit with bow-tie.  Please excuse the photo as Bear was moving his head in the way of my camera and I couldn't get a better pic afterwards either.

And if anyone is wondering, Baby didn't have a suit since he wasn't really part of the wedding.  Meanwhile, Yogi and Bear were allowed to come out to the dinner reception venue and be in parts of the reception with their human parents.

The wedding went smoothly, lasting all day, with tired feet, happy people, yummy food, and lots of drinking...

The days following after the wedding really was just a recovery phase for most of us who either had too much fun, or were achy and sore from the long festivities of the day as well as the clean-up afterwards.

And then, in my own little reading world, I kind of couldn't get back into reading or blogging for a another couple days, which is why this monthly wrap up is about two weeks late.  Whether my mind was just distracted, or exhausted, I don't know, but I just haven't been into anything bookish in days.

However, I'm hoping that I'm moving back into my bookish world now, and we're picking up where I last left off with the Fourth of July bonus rolls, and the regular roll I had been reading for before that.  Yeah, I'm seriously behind in my reading.  But I'm also stubborn enough to finish reading for all the squares I've landed on before moving forward.

So as a fair warning, I'll probably be AWOL for another duration of time while I try to catch up on my reading.  There may or may not be a review or two posted as we move forward.

Thanks for reading my rambles, everyone!  Now onto the bookish part of this post!

June Reads

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

None this month!  Yay!

Currently Reading

June Reading Stats

Total works read: 8
  • 8 print/e-book novels

Average rating: 3.44 Stars
  • Highest Rated:  7 books // 3.5 Stars
    • I am not going to list all of the books rated 3.5 Stars, since I only had one other rating this month, with the below listed book the only one NOT 3.5 Stars.
  • Lowest Rated:  Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier // 3.0 Stars

Series I started reading:
  • Saga of the Light Isles by Juliet Marillier
Series I completed:
  • Also Known As by Robin Benway
  • Circle of Evil by Kylie Brant
Series I have made progress on:
  • Lady Darby Mystery by Anna Lee Huber
  • Tracers by Laura Griffin
  • Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa

Favorite reads:  As I mentioned above, 7 out of the 8 books I read in June had a rating of 3.5 Stars.  This is a fairly mediocre rating for me, but if I had to choose one or two books that were my favorite, they would probably be either Going Rogue by Robin Benway, or Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin.

Disappointing reads:  Obviously as the only book rated 3.0 Stars in June, Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier was the lowest rated book as well as the book I was quite unimpressed and disappointed in.

Reviews & Notable Posts

Reviews Written


  • Did not meme this month!

Other Posts

Coming Up In July

Tentative TBR

Other Stuff

So hopefully the rest of the month won't simply be about me catching up on books that I'd intended to have finished more towards the beginning of July.  Unfortunately, I feel like that's probably what's going to happen if I don't get my act together.  The above books I've listed as my tentative reads include the next Haruhi Suzumiya book which I hope to insert at some point in the month, as well as Sourcery by Terry Pratchett, a book I'm overdue to have read along with the Discworld book club.  But I'm just going to take things at my own pace and enjoy.

Meanwhile, the other four books are the ones I've chosen to fulfill the BLopoly Fourth of July bonus rolls.  So as soon as I finish my current reads, I'm going to move into Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, then Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James, Sharp Edges by Jayne Ann Krentz, and Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin.  Although I probably won't be finishing them in that order, since all but one are books I own.  I just checked out Silence for the Dead via e-book library and might focus on that one first.

2019 Wrap-Ups 

Past Monthly Reading Wrap Ups (2016 / 2017 / 2018)
See Also: 2015 Reading Wrap-Up posts (scroll to bottom of page)

(updated as year progresses by month)
January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Booklikes-opoly 2019 | July 4th Bonus Rolls!

@ Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

In celebration of the 4th of July, Moonlight has thrown in another chance at extra rolls for us!  Yay!  This book is going up on 7/3, but that's because I took my rolls at the tail end of 7/2, right before midnight.  Not that it matters, because it will definitely take me more than two days to read all the books coming out of these extra rolls anyway.

I'm still reading for my previous roll (I ended up choosing A Morbid Taste for Bones), and since it's been kind of busy, it's taking me longer to read than it probably should.  Coupled with all the extra rolls, it looks like I've got some heavy reading ahead of me.

My first bonus roll (Roll #13a), ended up being a doubles roll of snake eyes, which takes me two spaces forward to The Summer Blockbuster 27.

Oh look, Monkey's up and moving again!  Yay!

With a doubles roll, I'm rolling again as part of the first bonus (Roll #13b), and ended up with an 8.  This moved me to the Question Square: When? (34).  And since it's a little hard to read in the photo above, the square reads: "Read a book that is time travel or historical fiction or a book with the word "when" in the title."

And... what is Monkey doing?  Where are you trying to go, buddy?  You're startling Penni...

My next bonus roll (Roll #14) is a 5, which brings us to another Question Square: Who? (2), while passing Go and collecting another $5 in the process.  Again, the pic is a little hard to read:  "Read a mystery or detective story, or a book with the word "who" in the title."

Um...  I don't know about this...

My third and last bonus roll (Roll #15) was a 7 and took us to The Stay-cation 9... which actually shows as a number 8 in the graphic, but we'll pretend that it's a 9 since it's a 9 on the board.

Alrighty then, Monkey.  I think you've made your point.  Whatever that may be.  (Climbing the walls again?  This time in reverse?)  At least Penni doesn't look too worried anymore... as if she ever looks anything but excited.

So... being that this post is already pretty long, and because it's pretty late and I'm getting kind of sleepy...  I'm going to take a bit of time to think on my book selections.  My only lament is that I don't think the Flat Book Society read for this month will fit any of the squares.  And also I'm not really enamored with The Summer Blockbuster 27--I had my issues with that square the last time.

So there's a possibility I might skip at least that first square I landed on.  I will probably go ahead and read for When? and Who? and The Stay-cation 9, all three of which have a wide variety of choices I can pick from.

Stay tuned!

Novelty Cards Currently In My Pocket

My Progress

Current Bank:  $72
Bail Fund Donation:  0 pages || in table: remain in parentheses in (italics and red)
Books Read:  11
Pages Read:  3,658

Table notes:
*Dates link to corresponding dice roll updates / other links for related activities included.
*Book titles link to reviews if written.
*Page/Cash values in parentheses are still pending reads/ not yet cashed out.
*Doubles rolls are depicted as such (dbls) under the dice roll number.

(Roll #)
Dice Roll Space/Prompt Book Title / Author Pages Cash
5/20 Game Start $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
#2a 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
#2b 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
5/25 See Also: Roll #3 and Memorial Day Bonus Roll Activities
#3 5 The Lake House 20:
Read a book that features a dog or which has a dog on the cover; or that is set in an area known for its lakes or on a fictional lake.
Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle312$3
Memorial Day Bonus Rolls
#4 7 The Summer Blockbuster 27:
Read a book that features a hero's journey or is a Bildungsroman (coming of age tale); or that has a word related to space in the title (i.e., star, planet, rocket).
Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier 516 $5
#5 9 European Vacation 35:
Read a book set in Europe; or that was written by an author who was born in Europe; or that involves travel by boat or that has a picture of a ship on the cover.
A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber 433 $5
#6a 10 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
Novelty Card Race Car -- save for later
(Race around the game board to the space of your choosing and read!)
n/a n/a n/a
#6b 11 Mountain Cabin 18:
Read a book that is set west of the Mississippi in the USA, or that was written by an author who comes from that region, or that is considered part of the Western genre.
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin 357 $3
#7a 7 BL Square:  Spin the Wheel Decide n/a n/a n/a
Wheel Decide:  Take one extra roll n/a n/a n/a
#7b 10 European Vacation 33:
Read a book set in the UK, or that was written by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-O-N-D-O-N.
The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa 212 $3
#8 5 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
School's Out For Summer 1:
Read a book that appears on any school related "summer reading list," or that is identified as YA or MG
Going Rogue by Robin Benway 321 $3
#9 10 Beach Week 10:
Read a book that appears on any beach reads list, or a book whose author's first or last name begins with any letter in B-E-A-C-H.
Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant 324 $3
#10 6 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.
Touching Evil by Kylie Brant 288 $3
#11 4 The Lake House 19:
Read a book with a cover that is more than 50 percent blue, or by an author whose first or last name starts with any letter in the word L-A-K-E.
Facing Evil by Kylie Brant 314 $3
#12 6 The Summer Blockbuster 25:
Read a book (or a book in a series) that has been adapted for film or television.
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (199) ($2)
7/2 July 4th Bonus Rolls
#13a 2
The Summer Blockbuster 27:
Read a book that features a hero's journey or is a Bildungsroman (coming of age tale); or that has a word related to space in the title (i.e., star, planet, rocket).

#13b 8 When? (34):
Read a book that is time travel or historical fiction, or a book with the word "when" in the title.

#14 5 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
Who? (2):
Read a mystery or detective story, or a book with the word "who" in the title.

#15 7 The Stay-cation 9:
Read a book that includes a visit to a museum, a concert, a library or a park, or that the author's name begins with one of the letters in R-E-L-A-X.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

BL-opoly 2019 | Mid-game Update

@ Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

Ani's BL-opoly 2019 Summary Page

So it looks like we're about half-way into BL-opoly 2019!  A lot of activity has been on the BL feed, and a lot of books have been read.  And even while my own progress as far as number of books read, and amount of BL-opoly cash earned is quite stellar, I'm still not up to my usual speed.  But that's fine, because I've been having a lot of fun, especially coming up with ways to model my gaming partners.  And I'm sure everyone's been enjoying following the "Baby and Bear Saga" these past few weeks.

Well, if you thought two puppies were enough to keep us all busy, here's a third tossed in for good measure.

This is the "Good Morning" committee; now feed us all!

Again, excuse the lighting--apparently the stairs is not the best spot for photos.

Bear's big brother Yogi has come to stay with us for a few days, so the house is now swarming with doggies running amok...  Well... actually, Bear is really the only one getting in everybody's business.  Baby is his usual cranky self, trying to keep up with Bear, and Yogi kind of just goes off and does his own thing, i.e., sleeping.

Moving along, here's a bit of an update on the books I've read and for which squares I've read for since BL-opoly 2019 Day One.  I've finished 11 books, with a total page count of 3,658, earning me a total of $67, including passing Go three times.  I haven't yet landed in jail, visiting or otherwise, although now that I've said something I've probably jinxed myself.

With a couple exceptions, I've been mostly lucky enough to be able to choose from books I already own and have been needing to read.  I've even been able to finally knock out a bunch of books that have been collecting virtual dust in my Kindle library for forever, which coincidentally also helps me finish up two book series that needed finishing.

I feel like I'm making excellent progress!  And it feels damn good!  =D

Books and Squares

Roll #1 | The Silk Road
Hard Target by Pamela Clare (Cobra Elite #1)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

The first book for BL-opoly read, enjoyed, and happily devoured because, Pamela Clare!

How the book fits:  This book took place for at least 75% to 80% of the book in Afghanistan, which is one of the 40 countries listed as being along the Silk Road.

See my review below:
Thoughts: Hard Target

Roll #2 | Mountain Cabin 16
Tightrop by Amanda Quick (Burning Cove #3)
Rating:  3.0 Stars

Amanda Quick books are easy and fun to read, and typically follow a formula and romance that I find enjoyable.  Tightrope was no exception, though as I mention in my brief review, there may or may not have been too many characters to keep up with for my liking.

How the book fits:  Tightrope is a murder mystery and romantic suspense in one, so definitely fits the square quite well!

This book's review can be found in:  Packaged Thoughts June 2019: A Bunch of Book Rambles

Roll #3 | The Lake House 20
Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle (Rocky Mountain K9 Unit #1)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

Run to Ground could be cute at times, but it was also frustratingly open-ended with a lot of loose ends.  I mention as much in my short review (see link below).

How the book fits:  Obviously, I went with a book that had a dog on the cover.  This was easy to pick.

This review may also be found in:  Packaged Thoughts June 2019: A Bunch of Book Rambles

Roll #4 (Memorial Day Bonus) | The Summer Blockbuster 27
Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier (Saga of the Light Isles #1)
Rating:  2.5 Stars

I love Juliet Marillier, but I have to grudgingly admit that this wasn't one of my favorite of hers.  A little too deep, a little too predictable, and a little too cliche.  I think I like some of her later work more.  But Wolfskin DOES showcase some of the magical that is Juliet Marillier's writing.

How the book fits:  This book was the standard high fantasy adventure, with a hero who started the book out as a young boy, and who slowly grew into a hero as the book progressed, through his challenges and travels.

See my review:
Rambling Thoughts: Wolfskin

Roll #5 (Memorial Day Bonus) | European Vacation 35
A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber (Lady Darby Mystery #3)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

I think I liked the previous book more, but this one had a little more romance, and maybe some unnecessary romantic angst.  Nevertheless, still a very enjoyable Lady Darby addition.

How the book fits:  All of the Lady Darby books have taken place in Scotland so far, and this one was no exception, and so definitely fits as a book set in Europe.

See my review:
Thoughts: A Grave Matter

Roll #6 | Mountain Cabin 18
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin (Tracers #13)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

I always look forward to the next Tracers book, and Stone Cold Heart is no exception.  Even in spite of Griffin's continued formulaic romances, I find these to be tried and true books that I don't mind coming back to.  At the very least, her crime thriller is typically quite gritty, sometimes bordering on the dark.  And the forensic aspect of this series is always a big plus!

How the book fits:  This book is set in Texas, which is listed as a state west of the Mississippi.

See my review:
Thoughts: Stone Cold Heart

Roll #7 | European Vacation 33
The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa (Haruhi Suzumiya #8)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

Another standard installation to the Haruhi Suzumiya series, both entertaining and strange and larger than life.

How the book fits:  I went for the "author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-O-N-D-O-N" part of the task.  Nagaru Tanigawa definitely fits the bill.

See my review:
Brief Thoughts: The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya

Roll #8 | School's Out For Summer 1
Going Rogue by Robin Benway (Also Known As #2)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

A great ending to the Also Known As duology, reminding me of why I liked the first book so much.

How the book fits:  This book is identified as YA.

See my review:
Brief Thoughts: Going Rogue

Roll #9 | Beach Week 10
Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant (Circle of Evil #1)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

With a few exceptions, this was a pretty good first book to a great serial killer trilogy by Kylie Brant.  The romance was a little hard to get into at first, but I think I liked how it was handled.  The crime thriller aspect was also great to follow, and the characters start growing on you after a while.

How the book fits:  This author's last name starts with 'B,' fitting the criteria for the author's first or last name beginning with any letter in B-E-A-C-H.

See my review:
Series Review: Circle of Evil (coming soon)

Roll #10 | Mountain Cabin 16
Touching Evil by Kylie Brant (Circle of Evil #2)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

I liked this second book a little bit more than the first, but that's probably because we've established the relationships and we're more familiar with all the characters.  But it didn't really give us much different than the first book except for some development in the romance.

How the book fits:  This book is considered romantic suspense / suspense genre.

See my review:
Series Review: Circle of Evil (coming soon)

Roll #11 | The Lake House 19
Facing Evil by Kylie Brant (Circle of Evil #3)
Rating:  3.5 Stars

A nice, well-rounded ending to Kylie Brant's Circle of Evil trilogy, though it doesn't escape my notice how over-powered our serial killer seems to be.  And I feel like we didn't need a third damsel in distress scenario... but overall, this was an enjoyable book, even if not a personal favorite.

How the book fits:  The author's first name starts with a 'K.'  Fits the criteria for the first or last name starting with any letter in the word L-A-K-E.

See my review:
Series Review: Circle of Evil (coming soon)