Reading Challenge (kind of) CRUSHED

Alright, it’s Wednesday.

Yesterday, I kicked off my reading challenge (5 books in 7 days) with The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner, and for the last 200 pages, I’ve basically just been going UGH EUGENIDES.  My friend, Alex, was the one to turn me onto these books after I kept picking up The Thief over and over mostly because of the gorgeous title.  When she saw that I owned it, she sent me several READ IT RIGHT NOW OR ELSE texts until I finally started it and then bought the other four while I was reading the first one in a wild frenzy.  It’s SO GOOD.  I saw someone use Kaz Brekker and Eugenides in the same sentence the other day and yup.  Yuppity yup yup.

Seriously, Eugenides might be one of my favorite characters in literature.  He’s just such a smartass, and he’s always got something tricky up his sleeve, LIKE KAZ.  It should also be noted that I’ve been occasionally firing off texts to Alex with no context at all, sometimes just with quotes, and mostly just OH MY GOD THERE HE GOES AGAIN.

I also started reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman today, and I can confidently say that I’ll have it finished either tomorrow.  So far, it’s a super easy read, and I hate admitting this out loud, but not at all what I was expecting from this prolific writer.  This is the first thing I’ve ever read by him (not true I read Coraline, so just the first adult thing), and even if I don’t end up loving it (I like it just fine, but there’s a very large gap between liking and loving), I’m still going to read more by him.

Happy Thor’s Day!

Fun fact: did you know the days of the week come from different Norse gods, just like the months do?  I kind of vaguely knew this (meaning that I knew Thor’s Day was a thing), but I didn’t know the other days of the week were like that, too.  I actually got pretty far into Norse Mythology yesterday, and it’s still okay.  It’s just kind of weird.  Like, the writing is really strange.  I almost feel like Gaiman is orating the story to me, not that I’m reading something written down.  And I know that they’re oral traditions passed down, but I’ve read a pretty massive Norse myths anthology before, and so far, I think I liked that one better, and it wasn’t story-like like this one is, just facts.  (If you’re curious, it’s Myths of the Norsemen by Hélène A. Guerber.)  It’s not bad, it’s just average.  I kind of shrug my shoulders a lot while reading it.


Megan Whalen Turner | The Queen of Attolia - bridal intimates, all about lingerie, intimates bras store *ad

Like wow, okay, I came in here ready to love Eugenides all over again, AND HELLO ATTOLIA.  I was not expecting that.  Don’t get me wrong, Gen was awesome.  He was a little punk ass kid all over again, and then he got a little crazy and unpredictable, and it was GREAT, but Attolia???  GUYS.  My love for her came out of nowhere.  It came out of this ^^^ passage, actually.  Because damn.  Way to plot twist the heck out of us, Turner.

Predictably, after I finished binge-reading this last night, I immediately popped on over to my Saints: the bastards Pinterest board and started revamping my queen in that world a little bit.  Just a little.  (Translation: a lot.)  I couldn’t help myself!  Attolia was such a conniving evil person who suddenly had depth and faults and sad things, and I just fell apart.  Who woulda thunk it, give your character three dimensions instead of one, and woah, everyone loves her.  It was great.  I loved every second of it.

Today, my goals are to finish Norse Mythology and maybe, just maybe, start and finish The Bone Sparrow.  It’s only 228 pages, and it’s middle reader, meaning I’ll be able to read it faster than normal, so fingers crossed.  I am seeing Jason Mraz in concert tonight, though, so we’ll see if it actually happens.

But!  Tomorrow, the one thing I had scheduled to do is no longer happening, so now the only thing I have tomorrow is yoga once maybe twice, getting my eyebrows done, and helping my mom get ready to go on vacation to VT since we’re literally going to be in the middle of nowhere.

Image result for doctor who in the middle of nowhere gif

come on you had to be expecting that

I’ve started (HA STARTED LIKE I EVER STOPPED) watching Merlin again, and I was in season four last time I took a break, and while I love the first two seasons a lot, the later ones are my favorite.  I just enjoy Arthur and Merlin already being friends and depending on each other.  Which, speaking of, I’ve got this Arthurian romance anthology that I’ve kind of been thinking about (no one’s surprised by this), so maybe that’ll pop up soon.

Man, Thor is dumb.  Like, I knew this.  That’s how Thor is in Norse mythology.  He’s big and he’s blonde and he’s not the brightest bulb.  He also just randomly kills giants because he feels like it.  He’s such a bully.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, Loki is WAY worse, but man, Thor sucks.

So, I’ve finished Norse Mythology, and here’s my takeaway:

I’ll just stick with Marvel’s Thor.

Okay, so Friday.

This has been the most chaotic day of my life.  Like.  I’m surprised I haven’t cried yet, though there was so much adrenaline going through me earlier, I probably just don’t have the energy for it.

Backing up, I went to two classes at Barefoot Yoga Shala this morning.  Carolyn was teaching, and it’s been so long since I got to take class with her that I stayed for both.  I listened to Jason Mraz on the way home, and everything was great.  When I pulled into my spot in front of the house, I noticed my car was making a funky clunking sound, like a toy-car being wound up.  A few years ago, a similar noise happened, and it turned out there was a leak in my power steering cables, and I’d leaked all of the fluid out on the drive up to Bangor, ME.  I got the cables temporarily fixed with a patch, and then brought it into my mechanic in MA.  They told me it would be okay for now, but that I would need to replace it eventually and they’d tell me when it needed fixing.  Great.

So, today I popped my hood, opened up the power steering fluid cylinder, and could almost see the bottom of it.  This is just superb timing considering I’m driving up to VT tomorrow, so I call Direct Tire, ask them if they can just fill it with fluid today and then I’ll get the cables replaced when I get back.  They say sure, you’ll probably be fine going up and back since it’s just straight highway.

Not fine.  So not at all fine.

I’m at a red light on a hill facing a minor highway when my car makes a popping noise, the clunking noise stops, and my battery light comes on.  I call my dad quickly to ask him if I’m safe to drive, but the light turns green, and as I start going forward, I realize I can’t turn my wheel at all.  I have no steering.  I tell him, “Oh, shit, I think I’m about to crash, hang on” put down the phone, put on my hazards, and quietly coast to the side of the road.

I’d like to point out that when someone is going very slow with their hazards on and nearly hits the sidewalk, you probably shouldn’t honk at them.  Something is very obviously going wrong, you bunch of assholes on 114 that made me feel even worse today.  I pick the phone back up, he tells me to call Direct Tire to see if it’s safe, and I can literally see them from where I am.  It’s just straight driving.  They tell me since I’m just literally going straight and the only turn I have to make is into the parking lot, I should be okay.  It’s two minutes tops of driving, but I almost hit the meridian pulling into the lot.  I get out of the car, and one of the mechanics comes out, opens my hood, and goes, “Oh shit.  You’re going to want to sit down.”  Before he, no lie, pulls my alternator belt straight out of my car.

Uhhhh???  It’s not supposed to do that???

Turns out that everything was vibrating so bad while I was trying to steer with no power steering fluid that a screw was popped loose, part of the alternator bent to the side, and the belt came right off.  $740 later, and my car is fixed, and I am not going to be buying books for some time.

When I got home, all I wanted to do was turn on my AC, convince the girls to come in out of the heat (Grace is lying at my feet right now), and just finish reading The Bone Sparrow.  This was probably not the best book to be reading because now I have actually cried a lot because damn it’s sad and so good.  Like, good lord.  It was basically a middle reader Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and I am going to be eternally upset about it, and it was so well written.

I’m not sure what I want to read next.  I want to start another book today, but I’m so exhausted from everything else today.  Thank heck they were able to fix it.  Thank god I wasn’t hurt!  Someone was definitely watching out for me today.  I’m thinking about either When My Heart Joins the Thousand, Ace of Shades, or The Unbound.  Or The Glass Magician.  Ugh, I don’t know.  Picking the next book to read is always my least favorite thing in the world to do.  I want to read all of them at once.

I totally missed blogging on Saturday.

It was a long day, so I think I’m forgiven, particularly because I was still able to sneak in some reading.  After teaching both of my yoga classes Saturday morning, I finished packing and then drove up to Vermont.  It was 3 hours long, and I had several Sleeping at Last podcasts to catch up on, so that’s how I spent my drive.  If you haven’t heard of Sleeping at Last, here is his YouTube channel.  Please go fall in love with Ryan’s music immediately.  No, this is not reading-related, but it is 100000% writing-related because I listen to his music constantly.  (I have it playing right now.)  I was able to listen to the podcast for Enneagram 4 & the new birth of a planet one, and I’ll be doing Enneagram 5 & 6 on the way back on Tuesday, which means I’ll finally be caught up!  I used to listen to his podcasts on my 50-minute commute from Medford to Peabody, but now my commute is 20 minutes max on a bad day, and I love listening to them while I drive, so I never have time anymore.

Saturday was a big day in VT, too.  Everyone was arriving at the same time, and we had a huge spaghetti & meatballs feast after everyone had settled in and explored the property.  And by everyone, I mean 12 people.  We played in the river, which Maverick (black lab & pitbull mix, around 65 lbs, 5 years old) absolutely lost his mind in the river.  He just ran right in and was swimming laps until he was wobbling on the way out.  I also brought Penelope (toy Australian shepherd, probably 11 lbs now, almost 2 years old) into the river to see if she could swim, and while she didn’t hate it, she didn’t particularly love it, either.

After the feast, I went up into my loft bedroom (this house is seriously insane), and read the first 100 or so pages of Ace of Shades.  I spent a solid five minutes going back and forth (and back and forth) over what to read next, but I keep eyeing this book, so it was time to give it a go.  I’ll give my real-time impressions in a second for today (Sunday), but I started off really enjoying this!  The tagline is “‘House of the Rising Sun’ meets Six of Crows“, and if that’s not directly up my alley, I’m not sure what is.

pinterest: bellaxlovee ✧☾

Seriously, though, the aesthetic for this book is MY JAM.

It’s Sunday, and I need a vacation from my vacation.

Okay, hear me out, because I know this sounds ungrateful, and I’m not, I swear.  This vacation is amazing, and I’m so in awe of the house and the land and holy mother of something I want to move to Vermont, but I have been nonstop for so long now, and I’m exhausted.  These months of July and August are insane.  So far, I’ve had Peter Pan at NSMT, I subbed for Jacalynn on a Saturday, which meant I was teaching a triple and nearly fell over, had an entire day of Kids Yoga, the Panic! at the Disco concert, Erin’s bachelorette party, the Jason Mraz concert, and now this vacation to Vermont.  Coming up, I have Erin’s wedding, the All Time Low concert, and my mom’s birthday.  I’m so happy that I’m able to be part of all these things, but I need a break.  Like, a sit in my bed with lots of tea and crystals and candles, snuggle with my cats for a full weekend, read all the books kind of break.  I also need time to write again.  I’ve written a little of Saints at sea here and there, but I just don’t have time to both read and write right now, and I don’t really have the head space to write, so I’ve opted to just read.  When August is done, I’m going to take a big, deep breath and disappear for a few weeks.  (Not literally, just a social break.)

But today has been good for reading!  This morning, I made my tea, grabbed Ace of Shades, and went outside to the wooden swing that’s attached to the lower level.  I read about 70 pages while the sun rose, and then, when it was getting a little too hot, went back up to the loft, and polished off another 30.  We went to some waterfalls to play today, and then 4 of the 12 were leaving.  We had a much quieter dinner, I absolutely annihilated everyone at Monopoly, and now I’m back in bed with Ace of Shades.  I’m hoping to get a huge chunk of it read tonight.  I’m not quite halfway yet, so I’d like to get there and then a little beyond.  I only have two books left of the challenge, but this one is a solid 400 pages, and then I have to read another after it.

I’m still really, really enjoying it, and while I’ll definitely buy the sequel when it comes out, I have found the writing a little lacking.  I like to be kept in the dark a little (Chelsea, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry that it seems I also do this in my writing, but to an extreme, haha), and everyone is just spelled out right away for the reader, so it’s bumming me out just a tiny bit.  But I do love it a lot!  The characters are so interesting, the world is absolutely fascinating, and it’s very well-written.  Not quite Crows material, though, in terms of morally ambiguous characters.  All of Foody’s characters are such sweethearts.

I’m about a book and a half away from rereading the Crows duology.


Oh my gosh, I only have ONE DAY LEFT.

And I didn’t read a single page today.  Uh oh.  This means I have to read 200 pages of Ace of Shades tomorrow and a whole other book if I want to complete this challenge, not to mention drive 3 hours home from VT and teach two one-hour yoga classes at night.  I may end up only reading four books.

It’s Tuesday, the last day of the challenge!

You know, I have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself whether or not I manage to finish a book and a half throughout the rest of this day.  It was only a few years ago that the mere idea of reading five books in seven days wouldn’t even be kind of possible.  Not even that, but I couldn’t imagine trying to read 100 books in a year a few years ago, but I’m four books ahead right now.  So really, even if I only get four books done by the end of the day, I’m pleased.

Alright, so it’s actually Wednesday now as I’m finishing up this blog, but I stayed up until 11PM last night finishing Ace of Shades and then didn’t want to stay up longer blogging, but I did finish it!  And it was freaking awesome.  I’ve already preordered the sequel, which doesn’t come out until April, UGH.  2019 is going to be insane for books.

I ended up reading a little under 200 pages last night to wrap up this challenge, and while I’m bummed that I didn’t actually get all 5 read in 7 days, I’m pretty impressed at 4.  Of course, none of them were books on my August TBR, but whateverrrrr.  I’m planning on August being hella wild for book-reading.  And September?  Forget about it.  I’ll be reading so much, Goodreads will just be like AHHHHHH WHAT’S GOING ON.  Let’s be real, Goodreads is already like that.  I’m four books ahead of my goal, bringing me up to 64 books so far this year!  That’s crazy.  I’m so pleased.

This was a fun little challenge, and I hoped you enjoyed following along on this daily blog for it.  Until next time, happy reading!

Yep that's how it is. Unless your broke, then you cry while reading the same book over and over again-

4 responses to “Reading Challenge (kind of) CRUSHED”

  1. Chelsea D.G. Bartlett Avatar

    Haha, I loved my little shout out in here! Honestly I’d say I’m more like you in that regard — I hate for characters to be too cut-and-dry or too on-the-nose. It’s just that we have to find the right balance, and you and I both definitely err on the side of subtlety!


    1. marydrover Avatar

      Haha, totally! I keep trying to remind myself that less is not actually more in the case of writing.


  2. August Reads – Mary Drover Avatar

    […] Also, the first four books in this post were kind of live-blogged during a reading challenge I did at the beginning of the month, which can be found here. […]


  3. Penguin Teen’s #fallintofantasy 4 books in 8 days readathon! – Mary Drover Avatar

    […] fantasy.  All of those things are up my alley, so I’m definitely participating.  Like my last readathon, I will be live-blogging while I read.  And this is my TBR for this […]


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