Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

February 22

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Micro Read-a-Thon Update, Reviews in Queue, and the Week Ahead

by Ann-Katrina

The weekend is over. And it flew by. I barely had a chance to savor it. But, let’s not dwell on that, otherwise I might start twirling around really fast in an effort to time travel and that definitely wouldn’t be pretty.

Sunday was supposed to be dedicated to a mini read-a-thon, but due to some improper planning on my part (and lack of sleep the night before), it was transformed into a micro read-a-thon—two books and four short stories in six hours. I just missed the mark…by about four miles.

I did manage to finish one book (Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt) and get three quarters of the way through another (The Devouring by Simon Holt)—keep reading for some book notes. I also learned that I read much slower when I’m tired.*

Reviews in Queue

There are so many books around here begging to be reviewed, but I’ve been putting it off. I’m not sure why. Maybe there’s a mental block. Maybe it has something to do with the changes to the review system.** In any event, here are a few waiting for their moment on the chopping block:

Topless ProphetTopless Prophet by Alan Markovitz (with Thomas Stevens)

Before you read the title, see the cover image, and scoff, let me first explain the reason for requesting the book. I enjoy books on business and success—when they’re well done. If you can weave that valuable knowledge into an entertaining memoir, all the better. Plus, I enjoy a hint of risqué. And that’s precisely what Topless Prophet is.

It’s not as smut-filled as one might assume at first glance and deals more with Markovitz’s life growing up and entering the adult entertainment business, plus it dispenses some excellent advice (and inspiration) which could be applied in almost any situation. It’s also an interesting look behind the scenes of a high class strip club.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie BabbittTuck Everlasting

When I finished this book, I wondered why I hadn’t read it much sooner. I was also left in awe at how quickly it floated by.

This book was a much faster read than I’d anticipated, but it has so much to offer. Words fail me.

It’s one book that I can squarely recommend for both children and adults. For the child, there’s an entertaining story about a girl who’s tired of the status quo and ends up on an adventure with a peculiar immortal family and learning about life in the process, and there’s a heavier message for the adults.

The question posed on the front cover is no joke: What if you could live forever?

The DevouringThe Devouring by Simon Holt

When I first read the description at Amazon, I thought it sounded sufficiently interesting. Then I read a few reviews and they all had something in common: they said the book was frightening. Still, I didn’t believe them. I’ve read (and watched) so much horror and thriller and blood-soaked thrasher stories that they rarely phase me anymore. Then I began reading…

…and it is frightening.

It’s not your traditional frightening. Nothing seems overtly out of place until you realize the cold air you feel blowing across your arms and legs is not natural or that the smell of carnival popcorn doesn’t belong in your bedroom or the woman sitting on the bed is not actually your long-gone mother. Or that your soul has been replaced by something dark and no one around you knows. It’s a slow chill that snakes through you until you’re numb. That’s the kind of frightening it is.

It’s not without its clichés, but I still can’t wait to finish this one.

The Week Ahead

I don’t often publish “week ahead” posts, but I figure: I’m here, I’m typing, so why not?

Since embarking on this little reading experiment, I had to put aside Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson—of which I’m halfway finished and it rocks—so I’ll probably finish that up this week, then move on to something weightier; Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh (which I snagged thanks to a recommendation by Sravana) or Bird in Hand by Christina Baker Kline perhaps.

Suite ScarlettMrs. KimbleBird in Hand

After that, I’m sure I’ll want to move on to something light and carefree, or maybe some non-fiction. Goody Hall by Natalie Babbitt, Mister Monday by Garth Nix, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot are good candidates.

Goody HallMister MondayThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Since I tend to be a moody reader, we’ll have to wait and see to be certain.


*I decided to use a track timer while reading. At the end of each chapter, I pressed the ‘Lap’ button. It was interesting to see bottlenecks or fluctuations based on my posture or overall alertness.

**After an unscientific survey performed a while back, I’ve decided to break my reviews up into two parts posted separately. One part will be the summary and vocab words (I originally planned to do vocab, but never actually did it) and the second part will be my thoughts on the book.

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February 21

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TSS: Micro Read-a-Thon (FKA Mini Read-a-Thon) Book Pool

by Ann-Katrina

After a late start to the day, I’ve been forced to reconsider my mini read-a-thon. Rather than cancel or postpone it altogether, I’ve decided to shorten it. Instead of twelve hours of straight reading, it will be six, which should leave me enough time to accomplish all the other tasks around here that need to get done. :)

Chopping the timeframe in half means that I also have to reconsider how many books I’ll be able to pack away. Now, I’m down to reading two books and four short stories. It seems like a fair compromise.

Since I decided to keep the four various categories from which to choose, the book pool will seem rather broad.

Tuck EverlastingwtfThe DevouringMister MondayThirteen Reasons WhyGothic! Teen Original Dark TalesMoonlight & VinesProm Nights From Hell

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt • wtf by Peter Lerangis • The Devouring by Simon Holt • Mister Monday by Garth Nix • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher • Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales by Various Authors • Moonlight & Vines by Charles de Lint • Prom Nights From Hell by Various Authors

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February 18

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Plotting a Mini Read-a-Thon

by Ann-Katrina

Last year’s Read-a-Thon was my first ever and I’m not completely ashamed to admit that I didn’t do so well, only a little. So, I’ve decided to get some practice in before the next one. And this Sunday seems like the perfect day to do it.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve not had as much time to read as I would have liked and the time I did spend reading was spent reading non-fiction and memoirs. Granted, I do enjoy non-fiction and memoirs quite a bit, but everything in moderation, right?

Come Sunday at 9am, I will be reading from a selection of fiction titles. The goal is to read at least four books (horror, literary, fantasy, chick lit—mixin’ it up so I won’t get bored) and at least two short stories in a twelve hour period. I’ll take a break every three hours to update the blog on my progress and post some book notes.

Now that I’ve put it down in writing, it seems completely doable. I hope. Wish me luck, and company is always welcome if you want to participate too.

(I hope when I’m done this time around, the Sunday Sketch will display a bit more effort than the last one.)

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