Friday, October 12, 2018

The Unfortunate DNF ~ The Ape Who Guards the Balance (Amelia Peabody Mystery #10) by Elizabeth Peters

Back home in London and far away from the tombs of Egypt, The Ape Who Guards the Balance begins with Amelia Peabody and her rambunctious son, Ramses, amidst a Women’s Social and Political Union protest.  Fighting for women’s rights to vote, Amelia is willing to chain herself to the fence surrounding 10 Downing Street in a demonstration fueled by anti-women suffrage.  When the protest turns sour, and a collection of protesters storm the Member of Parliament’s home while in disguise, matters turn extra curious when said member and his staff are found tied in the home with all of the MP's Egyptian antiques stolen.  Amelia immediately identifies this as the signature work of The Master Criminal named Sethos.  However, Sethos was thought to be dead (if I'm not mistaken his "death" took place in book #7, The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog).  

Yet, apparently, it appears he’s alive and working his way through a new system of antiques thievery and racketing.  And, as always, working new tricks at seeking love-lost revenge toward Amelia and her family–beginning with an abduction attempt on Amelia herself.  Fortunately, things don’t go as Sethos has planned.  So Amelia and her family follow through with their departure to Egypt in search of a permit to dig at a much sought-after digging site.  Of course Sethos hangs closely to the family all the way to Egypt to further his shenanigans.  And there goes the first portion of the book’s plot…

… the second and third portion follows the stories of Amelia’s son, Ramses, and his best friend, David acquiring an ancient scroll of the dead from an antiques dealer.  Of course, this move attaches trouble linking back to Amelia’s problems with Sethos.  Then the third portion of storytelling follows Amelia’s adopted daughter Nefret.  She sets about trailing after the boys (Ramses and David), as well as finding herself confronting her own problems.  Or some mess.  I lost interest in both stories, really.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CHOP IT UP: Stalking Ivory (Jade del Cameron #2) by Suzanne Arruda

Former World War I ambulance driver, Jade del Cameron, is on her second assignment inside the wild expanse of Africa.  As a writer and photographer of the travel magazine, The Traveler, Jade, with the company of her best friend and best friend’s husband, set up camp in British East African to capture photographs of the surrounding elephant population.  Unfortunately, while on assignment, her and her pals run across the bodies of a poached herd of elephants, as well as the body of an askari man, a soldier of the King’s African Rifles.  Closer investigations reveal the solider was murdered while in defense of the herd–whose tusks were all removed and stolen.  It’s a crime that sets a blaze of determination for justice within Jade.  And it leads her into the secular realms of poachers, possible German axis powers in the African forests, caches of weaponry, and more murders.

Monday, October 8, 2018

5 Reading Slump Killers ("with" Cynthia Bailey)

Every reader goes through this mess: you’ve finished a book (outstanding or awful) and can’t decide what to read next.  Or if you even want to follow up your reading so shortly.  So you ponder over what's your mood looking like–in concerns to your next choice in a book.  And sometimes that pondering goes on a little too long.  Sometimes... your decision gets clouded.  

After finishing a book, I usually take a day or two off from reading.  Sometimes that day or two sticks around a little longer.  And three days is always too long.  Then it begins to sting when I have four bookshelves riddled with unread titles glaring at me wondering what the hell I‘m doing sitting around without a book in hand.  One shelf wants to be chosen.  One book desperately wants to be elected.  And I just sit there like a chump biting my lip and as indecisive as ever.  Something has blocked me from reading.  My mood?  Energy?  Maybe solicitude from my last book?  All I know is days are ticking by and I can't seem to find a dang thing I want to read and it's pissing me off.

It's a reading slump indeed. 

So I, like many book bloggers, decided to create another remedy post for readers who need to get through a reading slump.  And if one method listed doesn't work, another one always will.  So let's go!


Hell, I’ve learned long ago how throwing away and getting rid of old junk kills some spectrum of my anxiety.  There’s this sort of alleviating transference I get from donating old clothes; alongside tossing pay stubs, art supplies, and old birthday cards into trash bags.  Seriously, when miscellany leaves happiness circulates within the soul.  

So one method that often helps me pull out of a reading slump is getting my shelves organized.  By “getting organized” I mean going to a shelf to pull unread titles off to compile what I haven‘t read and how long its been hanging around–and deciding what should hang around.  Something about pulling unread books off, piling them up, and actually looking at them helps get me centered.  It’s revisiting titles long acquired that at one point I was excited.  That is until time and other books caused my enthusiasm to slip by, before deciding what's next for said title.  And, naturally, the benefit is I find myself donating piles of unread and clutter-clogging books after a change in interests.

This method allows me to focus on the now.  Not the then and not the later.  We hate to admit it, but there is a level of anxiety and agitation we get from being book lovers who simply can't read and take every book with us throughout life.  Heck, I would even equate books to friendships: they have their seasons, chile.  And only the most trustworthy, loyal and respectful can stay.  Oh, and enriching.  Never keep something around that doesn't enrich your life.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Who Rants About Books?

Ranting.  Book rants.

First, I don't have one of those fantastic and lengthy and hyper-intelligent thoughtful essays on the above subject.  Nope, I just say what I have to say and keep it pushing.

Nonetheless, I think (I use the word “think” as a “benefit of the doubt”) I’ve been accused of book ranting.  And you know what?  I care to address it and get my feelings off my chest.  And you know what else?  I never really see me sharing my less than favorable opinions about a particular book as ranting, emotions in check or otherwise.  What I see and feel is passion.  Passion for my love of stories, reading, and finding life in books.  It's a passion that stretches whether I find enthusiasm and joy in a story, or find frustration when my needs as a reader are not meant by its end.  I see it as me spending either my time or money (or both) on a book and having the ability to express those feelings a disappointing story has left me with.  I see it as opening up an honest dialogue about a book; to form both a place where those who felt the same can freely share in my feelings and a place for those who felt opposite can change it.

Ultimately, when I am disappointed enough in a book, I have to speak on it however which way it's delivered.  Though don't get it twisted because I do not insult the author themselves.  I'm careful of that because I know my ass probably couldn't write anything better.  Nonetheless, getting my feelings out is a part my personality in general.  One can only hold so much in at a time.

Anyway, one interesting thing I've noticed is when you're accused of ranting about a book, it's usually coming from a reader who loves book/author and is just salty and up in his or her feelings because somebody dared dim the lights from over his or her darling.  But my thing is if you feel some type of way about someone's difference of opinion... start a dialogue.  We're talking about a books after all.

Either way, chile.  At the end of the day, I said what I said.  And mean what I say.  Makes me no difference because tomorrow I'm going to have something else to say about another book with my voice and on my platform.

So how you doing, sis?  

Monday, October 1, 2018

Book Raiding Reading TBR

I only read two books in September.  One was–undoubtedly–the latest J. D. Robb release, Leverage in Death.  The other was Tracy Clark’s Broken Places–which I wrapped on the 11th of the month.  And that’s it.  Nothing read since the 11th.  And that’s mainly because Shadow of the Tomb Raider came out the following day and it has consumed my life.  Both in good–considering I’m a long-time fan and veteran of the Croft–and wrong ways.  Nonetheless, a game such as this pulled me entirely away from my first passion: books.  However, I’ve already read about 60 books this year, so I think it’s okay for me to take it easy from here on out if I choose to.

But I just can’t do it like that.  I have to read.  I MUST be reading.  I covet and crave books.  Even when I’m not actively reading a book, I’m pausing to touch a book and rifle through the pages just for comfort.

So I decided to make myself an Book Raiding TBR.  I choose unread books from my shelves that’ll cover 5 areas that I love most about the Tomb Raider series (both old and rebooted).  One: Crafty Female Lead.  Two: Sprinkles of Mythology.  Three: Survival Adventures.  Four: Ancient Musty Tombs.  Five: History and Relics.  This TBR will work.  And it will stick.  And it will bring me back to reading daily.

On a photography assignment in the northern territory of Mount Marsabit, American adventuress Jade del Cameron and her friends hope to film the area's colossal elephants. Instead, they discover the mutilated remains of four elephants and a man. Although the authorities suspect Abyssinian poachers and raiders in search of ivory and slaves, Jade has her own suspicions. Could it have been Harry Hascombe, her nemesis and unremitting suitor? Soon the Kikuyu boy accompanying her is captured by slave traders. Ultimately, it will take all of Jade's mettle to rescue her guide from slave traders, protect the animals, and expose another kind of beast.
As of today (October 1st) I’m already 140 pages away from the end of the first book on my Book Raiding TBR, Stalking Ivory by Suzanne Arruda.  Last time I read a book in this series was as far back as 2014.  More or less moved by that entry [Mark of the Lion], I haven’t picked up anything by this author since.  However, last year I did purchase the following three books for potential future reading.  And here I am finally jumping back into African safaris during the 1920’s with Arruda’s bold and sharp war vet (does being a nurse in WWI count as a vet?) turned photographer Jade Del Cameron.  Though Arruda’s plotting often comes across as “random” and “rash,” I’m having fun.  I can definitely see this series sticking around after all.

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