Many of you have probably heard of the Biannual Bibliothon, a bi-yearly readathon (one in the winter, one in the summer) that hosts reading challenges to complete. This year’s readathon took place Saturday July 14th – Friday July 20th, with the live show on Saturday, July 21st.
The challenges! *
- Read the group read: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
- Read a book from someone else’s TBR: A Thousand Perfect Notes by CG Drews
- Read the first chapter of three books, then pick one: (1) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, (2) The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, and (3) Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody.
- Read a book from your TBR for over a year: Guild Hunter Short Stories by Nalini Singh
- Read a predicted five-star read: Vicious by VE Schwab
- Read an #ownvoices book, different from your own: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
- Read the last book you bought: Geekerella by Ashley Poston
* subject to change based on my mood and reading whims
So today, I completed challenge #6 and read When Dimple Met Rishi, an #ownvoices about an Indian-American girl struggling to marry her Indian cultures and family with her American surroundings and personality.
Going in, I knew that Dimple was an Indian-American, struggling to mesh her two cultures together. A journey not made easy by her marriage-and-beauty-obsessed mother. That was pretty much the extent of it, except for the fact that I knew everybody LOVED it. What I didn’t know, was about the summer camp, the awkwardness, the enemies-to-friends-to-dating trope, or the summer camp.
I may not have known much about it going in, but I had I known that there was a summer camp, hell if I wouldn’t have read this sooner! There’s not much I love more than a summer camp romance… unless the summer camp is also inhabited by a paranormal species.
I suppose a should give a disclaimer. This isn’t a summer camp with canoes, lakes, swim suits and clandestine kisses behind the pool house. This “summer camp” is a geek camp called Insomnia Con, where high school graduate web coders flock to San Francisco in order to enter a contest to win the funds to market their self-made app. It’s a contest, and Dimple was in it to win. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t also adorable romance moments!!
I have a busy day tomorrow, so cross your fingers that I actually get to do some reading!!
Yeah … today was not that much of a reading day, to be honest. All I had time to read was the first chapters of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody. Here are my thoughts …
THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS – Yeah, I had the same reaction to the first chapter (25 pages) of this book that I had when I tried to read this three years ago … yuck! People used to rave about this series, and I used to see the funniest quotes that were from these books and I kept trying to read it, but it was a struggle to get back the first couple of pages. To be blunt, the first couple of pages are so hard to get past, because it’s all about a Princess (who was awarded the first godstone in a century – don’t know what that means yet) who is stuffing her face in pastries after a wedding dress fitting because she looked like a sausage and buttons popped out because she was so fat. Whining about fatness, about her dad just trying to get rid of her and her sister hating her … totally whine fest. Now I totally believe that this series gets better … after … but it’s just so hard to get past the first part. And if I have to force myself to get through it, it’s not worth it. NEXT
ATTACHMENTS – The first chapter was only three pages of email exchange, so I read the second as well. Basically, it’s Rainbow Rowell classic and totally made for readathons!! So the general premise is that Lincoln is the office’s “Internet Security Officer,” which basically means that he reads everyone’s emails and writes up a report every time someone forwards a dirty joke. But theses two office ladies, Beth and Jennifer, have the most hilarious conversations, and Lincoln finds himself intrigued. By the time he figures out that he’s fallen in love with Beth … and I’m leaving you there, because that’s all I know from my two chapters and the back cover. Totally cute!!! Totally readathon-able!!! It’s only 321 pages, hell I could read that tonight. It seems like a fairly quick, sweet read.
ACE OF SHADES – Ok … so I may have been dead set on reading Attachments for this readathon, but AoS is damn good, too. I accidentally read three chapters rather than one, so I’m going to say that this is my choice! Although Attachments was really good, too. I may have to swap out my TBR and put Attachments somewhere instead. But back to AoS. Basically, without giving too much away, the prissy main character, Enne (whose name is pronounced “N,” I think) travels to the Sin City to find her mother. Who is probably dead. This isn’t the Las Vegas “Sin City,” either. This is straight from Six of Crows, thievery, murder, prostitution and gambling. So!! Many!! Schemes!! Cons!! and general illegalities!! Her search leads her to a 17-year-old gang leader named Levi … and things happen. I’m getting Six of Crows feels, and I’m definitely here for it! I shall continue for the next 408 pages.
I should warn that I had a 12-hour shift today. Thus, reading was nearly non-existent except for on my breaks and before bed. And I also talked to my best friend on the phone for an hour-and-a-half, so that didn’t help either. Who knew Hippo’s eating watermelons was so entertaining? It’s like what I picture happening if my dog ate a balloon.
I am around 3/4 of the way through Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody and am definitely enjoying the ride. I mentioned above the intense Six of Crows vibes I was getting from it, and then the words to “There is … a house … in Sinnn City. They caaaaaall, the riiiiiii-sing suuun,” (i.e., the song “The Rising Sun,” except one of the covers uses “Sin City” instead of New Orleans) kept popping in my brain while I was reading it. Just now, I noticed Cinda Williams Chima’s blurb on the front cover “‘House of the Rising Sun’ meets Six of Crows,” and my mind is basically blown with same-ness. The perfect blurb!!
10/10 recommend this book so far. One of my favorite quotes that I just read:
“Her guidebook had been wrong about one thing: the most dangerous part of the City of Sin wasn’t the beckoning of the card tables or the threat of the gangs. It was the allure of Levi Glaisyer’s roguish smile.”
I am a fan of Levi.
I am also fascinated with the “talents” in this book! So everyone has a blood talent and a split talent, basically the dominant and recessive talents you inherit respectively from your parents. So someone’s blood (“dominant”) talent could be a lie-detecting talent inherited from one parent, and the split (“recessive,” although that’s not actually the right word for it. It’s not repressed, it’s just weaker) talent could be dancing, or something.
This is so exciting!! I’m right at the “revealing of secrets” stage of the book, and am caught in suspenders! Cannot wait to see what happens next, it’s so suspenseful. Go away so I can read before I sleep! The suspense better slouch off a little, or I may not sleep at all in order to finish.
“I am not scary,” Enne grumbled. “I’m elegant. And charming.”
“You can be all three,” he conceded, and Enne decided that was satisfactory.
Quick Update: It’s 1am and I just finished Ace of Spades!!!!! Number 1: THIS IS A SERIES?????!! I was not informed of potential cliffhanger-y-ness!!!! Number 2: omg so good whyyyyyyy wheerrre is book two, I beg of you @ Amanda Foody?? Now I better go to bed for my endless shift tomorrow, bet I’m sure to dream of pistols, broken dreams and roguish smiles :))
I should warn that I also had a 12-hour shift today. I read on my breaks, and before bed. Be thankful I found time to write this up. So ready for my day off tomorrow!
I started Geekerella by Ashley Poston for Challenge #7: Read the last book you bought. Since I went to Half-Priced Books and picked this up on Sunday specifically for this challenge … I’m so hyped for this. At the time I’m writing this, it’s 10:20pm, I just got home from work and I’ve read only 122 pages thus far. But I’m definitely enjoying it!! It’s reminding me a lot of Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram, which I also enjoyed and 10/10 recommend.
Basically, it’s just a very lighthearted read. Something my heart needs after the intense gothic-ness of Ace of Spades. The general premise is that there’s a girl named Elle Wittimer, and she is a definite fangirl of Starfield. Her father, who also loved the series, was killed in a car accident shortly after marrying Elle’s stepmonster and inheriting two twin step-sisters. Hence the “-erella” part of the title.
Then there’s Darien Freedman, an actor who is playing the main character in the reboot of Starfield. Elle’s not happy about his nomination to ruin (she’s sure) her baby, and Darien, who is also a fanboy, is terrified of letting the fandom down. There’s a contest, an anonymous text string (spurring one of my favorite tropes, “electronic love,” as I call it) and general cuteness.
It’s very geeky and I LOVE IT.
Update: I finished at 12am :)) It got geekier and nerdier and I couldn’t have related more. Well, I could’ve, had I had a smoking’ hottie running after me with a glass slipper. But that’s besides my bitter point.
It’s my day off work!! Hall-ah :) But it’s also time to get down to business. *cue Mulan gif* Because I have three days left and four books to get through!! kinda…. since my week became busier than I intended (as always during readathon week), I made an executive decision. For challenge #4, book that’s been on your TBR for over a year, I intended to read They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Which I am still going to read this summer, for sure *fingers crossed*. Since my time is short (and getting shorter, due to my niece and nephew now spending the night), I’m instead going to read all of the Guild Hunter short stories that I haven’t read yet, instead.
If none of you have experienced the Nalini Singh magic (shame on you), that’s now your #1 priority. But she also writes short stories all the time! There’s one in every monthly newsletter (mostly) and others, besides. So I picked five out of the ten that I haven’t read yet.
- Weapons Training (#2.5)
- Zoe’s Workshop (#6.5)
- Sip of Eternity (#6.9)
- A Small Fairy Tale (#7.2)
- Fairy Balloons (#7.3)
They were really fun! While I haven’t fully finished the series yet (I’m on #7 out of soon-to-be 11), it’s always enjoyable to go back into the world and see snapshots and peer into scenes of their everyday life. Or see nuances of their relationships that I’ve never seen before. How they met … with their child … a new character … whatever it may be, it recaptured my heart! Hopefully I will have time to read #7, Archangel’s Shadows soon!!
After reading those, I got started on Challenge #5, to read a predicted five-star read with Vicious by V.E. Schwab! So far, I’m a little over 100 pages into it, and I’m intrigued. I’m getting definite Frankenstein vibes!
We took my niece and nephew to our local Cedar Fair amusement park for a few hours today before we took them home, and I just finally finished Vicious by VE Schwab. This means that I have a little under 32 hours to read The Wicked Deep and A Thousand Perfect Notes!! I’m excited for the challenge.
Now about Vicious … wow, was that book named correctly, or what?! This was riveting revenge thriller (I think Eli would be proud of my alliteration) that was very dark, twisty, daring and – you guessed it – vicious! It went back and forth from ten years ago to present day, and while I’m not usually a fan of pendulous narratives like that, it worked quite well for the story, as most of the motive and much of the actual events happened in the past.
It was also very fresh to read a non-romantic book. The book itself was refreshing, actually. I went into not really knowing anything about it, other than the fact that it is a V.E. Schwab book, and very well received. I read the back cover right before I started it, and that was the extent of my knowledge, which I think really added to my reading experience, so I’m not going to say much on the plot. Going in blind was definitely the right choice for me. I will say, that my Frankenstein vibes at the very beginning were quite spot on! Except the characterization was sooo much better. (Sidenote: This is not a Frankenstein retelling. Hence the word “vibes.”)
I am a major fan of villainous books, and Vicious did not disappoint. V.E. Schwab has never been one to have static, archetypical characters, which is also refreshing, and I found myself fascinated by the merciless Victor and Eli with his God-complex. Their characterizations were as much fun to explore as the plot itself, and 10/10 made the story.
After Vicious, trying to stay on top of this challenge, I’m turning a 180 and reading A Thousand Perfect Notes by one of my favorite bloggers, Paperfury!! (I’ve been jealous of her blog name for years now.) It’s been a struggle not to read it before now, but I’m excited to dive in!
Update at 1am: Hello. I am a mess of sobs and broken-heartedness. Suffice to say, I just finished A Thousand Perfect Notes. Which was … well the fact that I’m a sobbing mess should lay testament to the story and how much I freaking loved it!! It’s 1am, and my eyes are heavy with heartbreak, much like this book, so I’m not going to go too in-depth here. But hoooooly shiiit.
Beck was just a sweet little cinnamon roll and I just want to grab a couple of August’s dogs (as well as my own) and cuddle with him on the couch. Perhaps we can have ourselves a cry party. Apparently those are a thing, and if anyone needs one, it’s Beck. And August was so much fun!! Far from the archetypical “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” which I didn’t really think she was, she
lived and breathed frolicked barefoot across the pages with so much life.
You know, I’ve been a fan of PaperFury’s blog for a little over a year now, and I can say that, without fail, she always makes me laugh and crave cake. So I knew she could blog, and she does have an imaginative way with words. But shit if I knew she could write. Especially like that! It’s not even the writing style that I’m coo-ing over, although I very much enjoyed it. It was the characters. They were so, completely dynamic that they blew me across the page. I crawled into bed around 10:10pm, just planning to start a few chapters and sleep for my busy day tomorrow. But shit if August and Beck and Joey and even the Maestro didn’t unfold from the pages and start walking around in front of my eyes, captivating me.
In 275 pages, Cait had run me through the emotional gamut and kept my eyes glued to the pages. All without her trademark hilarity and dragon-fetish. Although she just had to mention cake. It wouldn’t be Cait if she didn’t mention cake at some point. Shoot, she overrode all my sleeping intentions – which is no small feat. *bows*
Hello, hello! This is Kat, coming to you live from a very sleep-deprived (for me anyway) road trip!! In honor of my birthday next week (in exactly eight days), my parents are whisking me off to an unknown place to do unknown things for the afternoon and night and next morning before returning home. I know nothing, except that I was assured plenty of car-reading-time to finish The Wicked Deep (and this readathon) and that we’re not going to Canada.
Road trip day!
*that was what I wrote earlier. What really happened, was I got four pages into The Wicked Deep (it was good)and said, “I’m not really in the mood for this” and reread one of my favorite books, Soaring by Kristen Ashley, instead. Go me! This is still as far as I’ve gone in the Biannual Bibliothon ever, so thank you for joining me on this ride :)
I have to say, my favorite thing about this readathon wasn’t the challenges, the shopping, the stress or even all the reading. It was the variety of the books that I picked out. The Biannual Bibliothon wasn’t tailored this way, the challenges vague enough that I could have picked whatever I wanted, of whatever genre’s I pleased, but it’s something that I made a conscious choice to do. I’m a huge mood reader, which means doing TBRs is usually a useless exercise for me. I get stuck in high-fantasy ruts, Nalini Singh highs and romantic rereads, and I wanted to make sure that I was giving myself an eclectic mix of reads for the week.
- The Wicked Deep, chock full of bewitchment and general witchery (if I’d read it)
- A Thousand Perfect Notes which had sooo much angst and abuse and hilarity and cake – loved all the angsty emotions and the dynamic characters
- Ace of Shades, a grimy read of schemes and murder, set of the streets of the City of Sin
- The Guild Hunter Short Stories were all snapshots of life from beloved couples, giving me the chance to explore Singh’s beloved GH universe
- When Dimple Met Rishi was an enjoyable summer camp read with culture-identity and filled with Dimple’s stubborn independence
- Vicious was, well, vicious and merciless and dark and the villainy faintly seeps from the pages as you pick it up :)
- Geekerella was a delightfully nerdy read about love and fairytale romances with a modern twist.
Not to say that it didn’t change – it definitely did. Vicious was added last minute, They Both Die at the End was removed and I picked up Geekerella up on the second day of readathon. Archangel’s Shadow was replaced by short stories and Truly, the only books that stayed on this list were A Thousand Perfect Notes and The Wicked Deep.
Mostly, however, I’m happy that this readathon got me back in my community. I always have to step back during the school year from the ARC requests and the blog posts, the photo shoots and the sheer amount of time spent reading, and usually summer is when I catch up with all that, drafting some things ahead of time, and getting content ready to be used year-round, even if it will need to be freshened up when the time comes. But this summer has been so extraordinarily busy.
As well as working a little over 50 hours a week, sometimes just under, I am a senior in high school looking forward to college, the editor-in-chief of my schools newsmagazine (producing an 80 paged magazine every month-and-a-half is a lot of work, guys) and I’m reading whenever I can. The blog has had to take a back seat this year, and I’m glad to be back for the rest of the summer, at the very least :)
Did you participate in the Biannual Bibliothon this summer? How far did you get? What did you read? What were your favorite books from the readathon? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!