The second half of the year has begun, but the New Year’s resolutions of this pedometer geek are going well. The first resolution is to put steps on the pedometer (with a goal of 10,000 steps per day). July was a particularly good month for this pedometer geek in this regard. In fact, July’s total of 269,317 steps may be the highest since this pedometer geek has been keeping tracking of them on an Excel spreadsheet. The total averaged out to be 8,687 steps per day with ten of those days exceeding 10,000 steps. There were thirteen days with aerobic steps, which totaled 27,138 aerobic steps. Although a little more than 40,000 short of the goal of 310,000 steps, this pedometer geek can only continue to strive to one day reach it. In the meantime, however, I can take pride in the strides taken in July.
The other resolution, which is to read more books, continues as well. Added to this resolution are two http://www.bookcrossing.com challenges. The first is the yearlong pages-read challenge; the second is the quarterly SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge.
During the month, twelve books of various genres were completed. Out of the twelve, only one was nonfiction; however, the genre of novels varied between YA, fantasy, historical, romance, and mainstream novels. Several of the novels blurred genre lines, and two novels are considered classics. Four of the authors were new-to-me, and three of the books were read with one of my two e-readers. Overall, it was a diverse reading list.
In the pages-read challenge, there were 3,654 pages covered during the month, bringing the year-to-date total to 23,302 pages toward the goal of 35,000 pages. For statistical purposes, that is about 67%.
In the SIY challenge, sixteen books were chosen to be read through the end of September. Of the sixteen, five books were completed during the first month of this quarter’s challenge, leaving eleven to be completed by the end of September. This quarter’s books include a mixture of ARCs (Advanced Readers Copy), books given by other bookcrossers, and library books.
In July, the following books were read:
The Knight’s Wife by Nick Shamhart *
Lucky Everyday by Bapsy Jain
The Secret Circle: The Captive II/The Power by L.J. Smith
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan *
The Virgin’s Daughter by Laura Andersen
The Torrent by Simone Pond
The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck *
Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill *
Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep *
My Antonia by Willa Cather
The Headmistress (Shivers) by Tiffany Reisz
Per usual, it was a diverse set of reading material. From romance to historical fiction to classics, there was a little bit of everything. A few of the books (Pond’s The Torrent, Robuck’s The House of Hawthorne, and O’Neill’s Reluctantly Charmed) were extensively reviewed on my review site http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com, but the others will be briefly discussed.
Nick Shamhart’s The Knight’s Wife is a non-traditional romance. It is also a fantasy with a feisty heroine (Lady Gale) who takes care of her clumsy husband, the great Sir William, who is considered the hero of the kingdom of Thistledown. Protecting him from the monsters he defeats is just one of the many things she does that demonstrates the realities of love. With humor, this indie author looks at the romance from a different point of view, and it is a worthy read that will make the reader laugh and cry.
Lucky Everyday by Bapsy Jain was also reviewed on my other site in conjunction with its sequel, A Star Called Lucky.
The Secret Circle series by L.J. Smith is a paranormal YA series about a coven of young teen witches in New Salem, Massachusetts. I started reading this series, which began in The Initiation, in June, but it ended with a cliff-hanger in The Captive I. Captive II takes up where the first part ended, and then completes the main story in The Power. While there are others in the series, the three stories of The Initiation, The Captive, and The Power are complete as is.
Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth was the only nonfiction title read. Well researched from an academic standpoint, this book discusses what was going on during the first century of the common era. Aslan compares the various men including Jesus of Nazareth who claim to be the Messiah, and their fates. He discusses the political realities of the times. While some strict fundamentalists may not enjoy this book, a reader who is interested in the subject will find it fascinating.
Joseph Delaney’s The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch is a YA fantasy tale of a young boy who becomes apprenticed to the Spook, a man who deals with ghosts, ghasts, boggarts, and witches in the County in which he lives. Tom, the new apprentice, learns about witches firsthand as he struggles to defeat an evil witch. This novel is the first in a series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Chosen by my grandson from my local library, I had the pleasure of sharing it with him and then reading it after he returned home.
Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Willa Cather’s My Antonia were two classics, which I have never read. What can be said about two iconic novels that most people are familiar with? Not much. Well, having declared that I doubted I would ever read another Steinbeck after reading the rather depressing tale of The Grapes of Wrath, I was surprised to find that this story of Lennie and George was more to my liking even if the ending was sad and depressing. Cather’s, too, was interesting for the story of the immigrant experience and the lyrical descriptions of early Nebraska.
The Virgin’s Daughter by Laura Andersen is an alternative historical novel. Following up her The Boleyn King trilogy (of course it is a trilogy, but I digress) of the alternative history in which Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII have a son who lives and reigns as king, Andersen then turns her attention to the next Tudor monarch, Elizabeth. She writes of Elizabeth I’s and Philip of Spain’s daughter, Annabel. Like the previous alt-history tales, created characters live alongside figures from history, and the Tudor queen and her daughter are in peril with all the machinations from plots that include her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. Anyone who enjoys that period of history would find this book as fascinating as this reader.
Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep continues her Bigtime series about superheroes and ubervillains in the metropolis of Bigtime, New York, which began with Karma Girl. This one features Fiera, one of the Fearless Five superheroes, and Johnny Angel, a vigilante who rides around on a souped-up motorcycle. He is sometimes good, sometimes bad, and is the romantic hero to the hot Fiera. Together, and separately, they battle ubervillains Intelligal and Siren, who are, of course, out to take over Bigtime. These novels are always fun chick-lit reads, sprinkled with lots of humor, clever wordplay, and spicy romantic moments.
Last, but not least, is Tiffany Reisz’s new novella, The Headmaster. This paranormal romance is set in all-boys boarding school. After a nasty accident finds Gwen, a young woman, recuperating there, she convinces Headmaster Yorke to consider her for the recently empty English Literature teaching post. Mysterious circumstances occur throughout the story, and they are combined with a romance between the new teacher and the headmaster. Reisz tames down the sexual scenes in this story, but they are no less erotic than others she is known for such as The Original Sinners series.
Now, it’s back to reading and walking. Suggestions always welcomed.
- SIY books