#FitReaders Check-In #26

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
  • This check-in is for June 22nd – 28th.  I don’t have much to say about this past week that I haven’t said for the past several, except I came down with a stomach bug over the weekend.  It’s still affecting me, so I’m probably not going to make my goal this week either.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Steps: 31,108/56,000
  • Miles: 12.78/21
  • Flights of stairs: 52/70
  • Active Minutes: 66/210
  • Total Money Donated: $9.98

Monday’s Minutes #26

Currently Reading:

  • The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs – a review book.
  • The Origins of the Modern World by Robert B. Marks
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, for the read-along.
  • Harry Potter and Philosophy
  • The River Between by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Fangirl Lies Origins Harry River

Finished: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, which I reviewed on Thursday.

Raven

Challenges:

S&S Bingo2update10

Total pages read for the week: 355

Total # of books for the year: 36.  My amount of reading has been slightly less than usual because I’ve been spending my time when I’m not working on school stuff, organizing my book life.  I completed tasks off my mental to-do list from creating a master TBR list to going through the ridiculous number of book blogs I follow to weed out the ones I’m no longer interested in for various reasons.  Many of my tasks are still works in progress, but I’m hoping to get everything done before I lose steam or life becomes too crazy to do anything that isn’t necessary.

Top Commenters: This week my Top Commenter was Shaina @ Shaina Reads.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday’s Sundries: Harry Potter

Harry Potter books giphy

Last year, I posted that I was going to re-read the Harry Potter series after I learned about Hogwarts Online.  I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and completed most of my First Year classes at Hogwarts, but life intervened as it always does, and I never got back to the world of Harry Potter…until now.

I found out on Thursday that Bloomsbury announced the next Harry Potter Book Night.  It will be on February 4th, 2016.  To “prepare”, I’ve decided that I’m going to finish re-reading the series by reading one book a month starting in July.  That means I’ll finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows in January.  Since I’ve already read the first book, I’ve got a small breather in my already jam-packed schedule.

Instead of doing a read-along and review for each book, I’m thinking of doing a series of discussion questions at the end of each month, and perhaps throw in an “Easter egg” or bit of trivia.  Regardless, I’ll only be posting one Harry Potter related thing a month since I realize that not everyone is a fan of the series (I’m looking at you Boyfriend).

I won’t be doing a link up just yet, but if you’d like to join me, leave a comment with a link to your blog, Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter.  Each month, you’ll have the opportunity to link up your Harry Potter related posts, and I’ll do my best to mention one, several, or all of them in the following months’ posts.  Who knows, by February 4th I might be able to do a giveaway for participants.

Friday’s Fairy Tales: Hansel and Gretel

HanselGretel Mary Beth Wilkes
Image: Mary Beth Wilkes

One of the many things I love about fairy tales, and stories in general, is that they reflect the reality of the time and place in which they were created.  The possible origins of Hansel and Gretel are varied.  Some say that it was a result of a famine in Europe during the early 14th century that led to an increase in disease, mass starvation, infanticide, child desertion, and possibly even cannibalism.  Others say it was due to the story of a baker during the 17th century, Katharina Schraderin, accused of witchcraft and burned to death in her own oven after she created a gingerbread cookie so delicious that another local baker got jealous.  As with most folk tales passed on from one person and place to another over time, it’s likely both had an influence on the story.

Though the origins of Hansel and Gretel are up for debate, what is known is that the Grimm brothers’ 1812 version, given to them by Dortchen Wild (who later became the wife of Wilhelm Grimm), isn’t the only one.  While it’s the one people are most familiar with, an earlier French version, titled “The Lost Children”, is a bit more horrific.  The “witch” is actually the Devil, who wants to bleed the children on a sawhorse.  They pretend not to know how to get on the sawhorse, so the Devil has his wife demonstrate. The children slit her throat, steal the Devil’s money, and run away.

If you’re looking for something more modern, and perhaps less gruesome, give one of the books below a try (all links are to Goodreads).

Review: The Raven Boys

Raven

  • Author: Maggie Stiefvater
  • ISBN: 9780545424929
  • Genre: Fantasy

Since June is Audiobook Month, audiobooks.com has been giving away a selected audiobook every day of the month to its members.  The Raven Boys was one of those books.

The Goodreads synopsis for The Raven Boys (click on the book cover) is what kept me from reading this book prior to audiobooks.com giving it away for free.  I assumed that it was the stereotypical YA story that centers on a romance and all that is ever different is the setting and the characters’ names.  While there’s nothing wrong with a good romance story, particularly one in which the characters’ relationship is met with an obstacle of some kind, there is much more to life than finding someone to fall in love with and I prefer my stories to reflect that.

However, The Raven Boys is so much more than what the synopsis makes it out to be.  Most of the story has very little to do with romance.  Instead, it’s more about magic and mythology and all the very real issues that teenagers deal with besides who they want to date.  All of the characters are struggling to find their place in the world, none of them is perfect, and they don’t always make the best decisions.  This isn’t an afterschool special, though.  I never got the sense that the author was trying to pass down some lesson about the consequences of making poor choices while having it all work out for the best in the end.  Rather, Maggie Stiefvater is showing a slice of reality through the lives of teenagers who could easily be you, me, or a high school friend while bringing to life a world filled with magic.

This book is exactly the kind that I’m always on the lookout for; the kind that says magic exists alongside all the things we take for granted as being real, and as with everything else, it is neither wholly  benevolent nor truly evil.  It is also the kind that is full of complex characters who live lives that are never cut and dry, and it is the kind of Fantasy story that reflects reality more clearly than Literary Fiction ever could.  I’m looking forward to reading the next “Raven Cycle” book, The Dream Thieves.

#FitReaders Check-In #25

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
  • This check-in is for June 15th – 21st.  I got out and walked every day, but I didn’t come anywhere close to getting 8K steps any day of the week.  The weather, studying for my midterm exam, and being busy with other things all added up to me not making it to the gym or Hot Yoga, but I deliberately walked as much as I could.  I suppose that’s the important thing, right?
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Steps: 30,588/56,000
  • Miles: 12.57/21
  • Flights of stairs: 55/70
  • Active Minutes: 63/210
  • Total Money Donated: $8.92

Monday’s Minutes #25

Currently Reading:

  • The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs – a review book.
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Origins of the Modern World by Robert B. Marks
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, for the read-along.
  • Harry Potter and Philosophy

Fangirl Raven Lies Origins Harry

Finished: The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, which I reviewed on Thursday.

Fiery

Challenges:

S&S Bingo2update10

Total pages read for the week: 473

Total # of books for the year: 35.  I finally finished The Fiery Cross!  I started it back in February, and while that’s not the longest it’s ever taken me to finish a book, it’s the longest I’ve spent getting through an Outlander book.  Life and college are to blame since, as with the previous books in the series, The Fiery Cross was fantastic.

Top Commenters: This week my Top Commenter was Shaina @ Shaina Reads.

What are you reading this week?

Mini-Review: The Fiery Cross

Fiery

  • Author: Diana Gabaldon

I bought The Fiery Cross a couple years ago. I was introduced to Outlander through my book club, and when I finished it, I bought Dragonfly in Amber.  When I finished it, very late on a school night, I immediately bought and began reading the ebook version of Voyager.  To save money and avoid anymore 1 am ebook purchases, I went on a quest to find the rest of the books in the series in used bookstores.  While I did manage to find them, life and other books got in the way of reading them.  I read The Drums of Autumn about a year and a half ago but didn’t start The Fiery Cross until this February.

While I spent more time getting through this book than any other in the series, that’s not because of the book itself or the fact that it could be a doorstop.  I’ve been reading brick-sized books since I was 12 and I love this series.  I’m attached to the characters to a degree I haven’t experienced since I read Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles”.  This is the book I wanted to read instead of so many other books this year, but I signed up for several reading challenges, and it only qualifies for one of them.  When I found myself in the kind of stubborn mood that made me refuse to read anything I “should” read, I finished the remaining 400 pages within a couple days.  There were several tension-filled on the edge of the couch moments in those pages, and a couple of them made me shed tears of relief after everything worked out.  I can’t wait until I have the time to start A Breath of Snow and Ashes!

#FitReaders Check-In#24

Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
  • This check-in is for June 8th – 14th.  After a couple mini-crises kept me from getting my steps at the beginning of the week, I said the hell with it and stopped actively trying to meet my goal.  I also wanted to read The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon during my free time more than I wanted to do anything else.  While I would usually take my book with me to read on the treadmill, The Fiery Cross is a brick of a mass market paperback that would have been uncomfortable to hold while walking.  It also would have gotten destroyed from sweat.
  • I’ve decided to put my goals next to what I accomplished in the hopes that it will help motivate me a bit more.
  • If you’d like to add me as a friend on FitBit, you can find me HERE.
  • Steps: 36,077/56,000
  • Miles: 14.82/21
  • Flights of stairs: 62/70
  • Active Minutes: 148/210
  • Total Money Donated: $7.79

Monday’s Minutes #24

Currently Reading:

  • The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs – a review book.
  • The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Origins of the Modern World by Robert B. Marks
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, for the read-along.

Fangirl Fiery Lies Origins

Finished: Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Legacy

Challenges:

S&S Bingo2update10

Total pages read for the week: 648

Total # of books for the year: 34.  My reading has been moody this past week, and I’m sure that’s because of all the required reading I have for my college class (in addition to the textbook).  As interesting as that assigned reading is, it’s not for fun.  So, when I get time to read anything else, the last thing I want to do is read something that I “should” or “have to” read.  That meant that, though I didn’t list it as a current read, I dipped into The Outlandish Companion, Vol. 1 by Diana Gabaldon for more than just checking on something or someone.  It also meant that I started, and then put aside, Jurassic Park by Micheal Crichton when I was in a crappy mood but was back to “normal” by the next day.  I didn’t list that as a current read either since I have no idea when I’ll get around to reading more of it, and by then, I might have to start over.

What are you reading this week?