It's like a bad romance
My relationship with Booklikes is basically a bad romance at this point. It constantly lets me down, but every time I resolve to break it off for good, things get slightly better just long enough for me to decide to stay. Then, inevitably, the relationship returns to unhealthy, disappointing and frustrating patterns.
I am not sure how much more I can take.
I am so frustrated with Booklikes right now. I can't even really play Booklikes-opoly because of the slowdown. Ugh.
Booklikes-opoly 2020: updates
Novelty cards: race car
Beginning Balance: $20.00
5/25/2020: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (385 pages, +3.00): $23.00
5/29/2020: A Quiet Life in the Country by T.E. Kinsey (278 pages, +3.00) $26.00
6/2/2020: The Secret of the Old Mansion by Julie Campbell (263 pages, + 3.00) $29.00
6/16/2020: A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths (352 pages + 3.00) $32.00
Pass Go: $35.00
I got sidetracked and haven't rolled for over a week! I'm still listening to Becoming with the audiobook exception.
I passed GO, landing on:
3. Read a book set in a school or college, or that is considered a "classic," (using any criteria that you want) or that is frequently banned. Hmmmm. Not sure what I will pick for this square.
Reading progress update: I've listened 147 out of 1140 minutes.
I restarted this one - I previously only got about 60 minutes in. It's a total of 19 hours long, narrated by Michelle Obama herself. After 3 hours & 30 minutes, Michelle has started high school.
Her voice is delightful, and her childhood recollections were really wonderful. High enjoyment at this point!
Am I falling into a slump?
I'm struggling to read. I'm bored with work. I'm irritable. I'm obsessed with keeping up with the news.
Everything sucks right now.
Booklikes-opoly 2020: UPDATE
I'm pushing out a game update, because
Are you ready for it?
Well, here it is:
EVERY DAY IS A ROLL DAY
You can still only roll one time per day, but now, if you end up DNF'ing, or you don't like where you landed, or you just read really, really fast, you can roll
No matter what.
Reading progress update: I've read 15%.
Several years ago, my mom was addicted to this series by Susan Wiggs. It's set in a small town on Willow Lake, so it fits my current Booklikes-opoly prompt perfectly. The series alternates between winter and summer, so I picked this one because it's one of the summer books.
Susan Wiggs, Debbie Macomber & Robyn Carr all specialize in this sort of series - romances which feature one specific couple that is part of a small-town ecosystem, with each book focusing on one pairing. The first one I read was Macomber's Cedar Cove series, which I read for years, although I think I petered out around book 5 or 6.
I stumbled on Robyn Carr's Virgin River series when I bought a cheap omnibus for my kindle, in the early days. It was either the first 3 or 4 entries in the series, which has now been adapted for television. I ran out of steam on this one, too, but it's been adapted for a Netflix series that looks pretty entertaining.
The things that make these series charming are also the things that make them annoying. The small town setting is charming, but the books are universally centered around a couple finding love, as required by the genre conventions. Usually, they are white and heterosexual. They are frequently previously unlucky in love and can be a little bit older (widows, widowers, divorced parents, and single career women rethinking their lives are all staples)- these aren't the typical historical romance, where the female half of the coupling is usually very young. Like a Hallmark Christmas romance, this relentless centering of coupledom can become wearisome. They also aggressively tap into nostalgia for a small-town Americana that never really existed - and if it did exist, it was only available to a select (read: white, heterosexual, affluent) few.
What I like about them is the sense of community that they can demonstrate. They are basically soap operas, in book form, with long-form story telling. This intrigues me. They generally lack the moral complexity and dimension that would be required to make them really interesting, though. There is very little actual poverty - which you would find in a real small town. There is "picturesque" poverty - like the plucky, single mom who can't afford to buy her gorgeous teen daughter the newest and most popular fashions and has to scrape by, but always has soft, beautiful hair and a perfect teeth.
The problems featured in the books are usually easily resolved in one book - the stalker who follows the pretty new resident to town; the abusive ex-husband who needs to be dispatched by the hero; the angry step-child who just needs to be won over by the new, and better, companion, the financially troubled bakery that needs the marketing talents of the ad executive who has opened an office in town. Everyone is always very attractive. I can't help but wonder if a series that took a more complicated look at a small town would even sell, although I think I would be much more interested in that sort of thing.
This is a long post and I'm just rambling now. I'm not sure if I'm going to finish this book or not.
Reading progress update: I've read 58%.
This is really delightful! Thanks to Mike for his review, that caused me to pull it out of the dark recesses of my kindle library.
Booklikes-opoly 2019 - the real estate spaces
Here we go, people!
School's Out for Summer - spaces 1, 3, & 4
The Stay-Cation - spaces 6, 7 & 9
Beach Week - spaces 10, 11 & 13
Mountain Cabin - spaces 15, 16 & 18
At the Lake House - spaces 19, 20 & 22
Summer Blockbuster - spaces 25 & 27
Summer Romance - spaces 28 & 30
European Vacation - spaces 33, 35 & 36
Booklikes-opoly 2019 - the Rules
Basic Rules & FAQ
* Players keep track of their own game board and banks, in whatever manner you think will help you. Some players use a single update post, some use a spreadsheet, some download the game board and print if off and keep track of it that way.
* Every player leaves the Start space with $20.00 in their bank. Every time you pass the "Start" square, you make $5.00
* Dice rolls are based on the honor system. You can either roll virtual dice or you can roll real dice at home. Like in Monopoly, we roll 2 six-sided die!
* What happens with doubles? You get to read two books - if you want. If you roll a double, move to that space and decide if you are going to read for it. Roll again, and move to your next space. You are free to do any one of the following four possibilities: read books for both spaces; read the book for the first space and skip the second; read the book for the second space and skip the first; skip both, wait until your roll day comes back up and roll again.
* Virtual dollars are awarded based on the page length of the qualifying book, as follows:
0 to 100 pages: $1.00
101 to 200 pages: $2.00
201 to 400 pages: $3.00
401 to 800 pages: $5.00
over 801 pages: $10.00
*Players can roll no more frequently than every other day. Players keep track of their own roll days. If you roll on a Tuesday, you don't roll again until Thursday. We calculate this is days, not hours, so you can roll at 11:59 on Tuesday and 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, and even though there are only 24 hours and 2 minutes between your rolls, you've rolled every other day.
Playing through a space
*Like in monopoly, you can play through a space without reading a book to fill the task, the only rule is that you have to wait for your the next roll date to move. However, if you choose to read for a space, you can't move until you finish the book and bank your payout. There are a few exceptions to this rule:
1. when you roll doubles.
2. audiobook exception below
3. if the game master (that would be me) gives you extra rolls.
*Audiobooks can be used for all game play. Base the value of the audiobook on one of the print editions.
*The audiobook exception: audiobook listeners may have one audiobook in progress while they continue moving around the board. You don't bank your payout until you finish listening.
*DNF's are allowed. You can count the # of pages read to get your payout - so if you read 120 pages before DNF'ing, you get $2.00 for your bank. The only caveat is that you have to read 10% of the book to get any payout.
*Game play will start on June 1 MAY 20TH and end on August 10, which gives me a couple of weeks to get ready for Halloween Bingo 2019.
*Special events and holidays: keep an eye on my blog! I will frequently offer extra rolls for holidays like the 4th of July, or other special events like Bout of Books.
In addition, I reserve the right to mess with you all! I can add features or change the rules at literally any time, so you need to keep an eye on this space!
*I will set up a Q&A thread in the Bingo group. Please post questions in that thread!
*Where a task refers to genres, you can use any source for determining genres, including GR, book lists, Librarything tags, and your common sense. If you are not sure if a book will fit a certain genre, you can post the question in Q&A.
*On the final day of game play, players must submit the value of their bank accounts to be considered for the acclaim and honor that being a BL-opoly winner brings!
Low-Key Booklikes-opoly in June & July
I was looking back over last year's Booklikes-opoly game on the Bingo group and I'm struck at how nostalgic the travel theme feels, from just a year ago. Which made me realize that I'm looking down the barrel of a long, hot summer with nothing but armchair travel to sustain me.
Which made me think:
Why not play it again?
I was a lousy host for Snakes & Ladders, and I can't really promise to do much better for a summer tiime game of BL-opoly, but I'm going to play it - low key, no stress - as long as BL sticks around and lets me.
I'm going to run my game from today through July 31st, which will give me plenty of time to gear up for Halloween Bingo - I need to be in top form for the flagship game of Booklikes.
My total bank ended at $127.00 last year, so my goal for this year is to try to exceed that number!
If anyone wants to join me, you can find the game board & rules on the bingo group!
Holy Hell, Batman, Holy Island is Terrible
Wow and not in a good way. No stars.
I picked this up because I was hoping for something along the lines of the Jackman and Evans series by Joy Ellis, or the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves. The plot summary looked promising, and the setting, an island off the coast of Northumberland, was right up my proverbial alley. I checked it out for free from the KU.
I can take a fair amount of unreality in my mystery fiction, but this book absolutely beggared belief. Without spoiling it too deeply, the notion that an island of two hundred people could harbor a large pagan cult led by a homicidal psychopath who is also one of the most prominent citizens of the community is just too much.
Add on top of that one of the shallowest and most unbelievable cases of instalove between the very handsome DCI Ryan and the very beautiful Anna and it was just ugh.
And don't even get me started on the end.
I mean, thank the homicidal pagan cult god that I didn't pay anything for this piece of nonsense. So, yeah, I won't be reading on with the series.
Lefty - no, Letty - by Clare Darcy
This is my third Clare Darcy in 24 hours; a triple-header, so to speak. Having ripped through three of them, I am ready to move on for a while. Darcy - and trad regencies in general - have a formula to them that they adapted from Georgette Heyer, but without her depth of characterization.
I'm sure that I will, eventually, read the whole lot of the digital editions, since they are free through the KU library. These are books for a rainy day, when I want nothing more demanding than a bit of froth.
This one does have some digitizing errors, including, occasionally and unfortunately, rendering the heroine's name, Letty, as Lefty, which is both hilarious and pulls me right out of the story.
Lydia by Clare Darcy
I first read Clare Darcy when I was probably 14 years old - I snagged it off my mother's bookshelf, along with Georgette Heyer. She had an omnibus edition that included Cecily, Georgiana and Cecily. I basically read it into tatters.
When authors like Heyer and Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney started showing up on kindle with huge backlists, I remembered the omnibus and wondered if any of the books in it had been reprinted. After a fair amount of bookish detective work, I figured out that it had to have been Clare Darcy. When I started checking for her backlist, in probably 2014 or so, there was nothing there.
Nonetheless, I persevered, and every year or so I would search the amazon store to see if they had shown up. And this morning, when I looked again, there they were, all available through the KU library. I downloaded Lydia and settled in.
This is a quick read - I probably tore through it in 90 minutes or so. The word that most readily leaps to mind to describe it is "adorable." It is light-hearted and sweet and funny. Lydia is a hoot, the true heir to Heyer's Grand Sophy. Darcy isn't as good as Heyer, but she is good.
I just don't know which one to read next.
For readers of the trad regency, kindle unlimited presents...
So, back when I was a teen, I would raid my parent's bookshelves. This was a long time ago - many of you will remember this time - when "YA literature" was barely a thing and once a bookish girl finished reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, it was pretty much time to move into the "adult" section.
This was also well before "romance" became occasionally synonymous with "porn," and Katlhleen Woodiwiss was considered racy. There were many, many euphemisms for sex and penises, many of which involved comparisons to blades and tools. Mostly, it was Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer and Phyllis Whitney.
Or, as I like to call it, my reading youth.
Anyway, one of the books that I read to tatters was an omnibus by a writer named Clare Darcy, which contained three of her novels. I remember that one of them was definitely titled Lydia, and I believe that the other two were Cecily and Georgiana.
I'm 95% sure that this is the book.
This was my gateway to Jane Austen. My go-to along with Georgette Heyer. And every once in a while, I would check in on Amazon to see if anyone had reprinted Darcy's books for the kindle. One of those check-ins happened this morning.
And I found this:
This is just a sampling - it looks like the entire backlist has been reprinted, and they are all available in the KU library. My mom pays for us to have a membership, so I'm pretty sure I know what I'm doing this weekend - revisiting the London regency trio to see how they hold up!