Blog Hops and Other Memes

It’s Monday, What are You Reading?

mondayIt’s Monday! is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

We are back from our vacation to Australia, and after about a week of working and trying to sleep, the husband and I finally feel like we’ve shaken the jet lag.

The question I keep getting is, “was Australia amazing?” and the answer is yes!  Our three weeks, despite some weather difficulties, was a wonderful mix of history and culture, wildlife, gorgeous scenery, wine-tasting, and just enjoying the Aussie way of life.  I have to say, what made the biggest impression on me was how nice and easy-going all the Australians were.  This was probably the least stressful trip we’ve ever taken (except for how expensive everything was).

We have 1300 (!) photos to go through, so here are just a few taken in or near Sydney.  I admit the animal shots were taken at a great little animal park, but we have lots of other in-the-wild shots, including sea lions, emus, wallabies, echidnas (echidnae?), and even a crocodile and a tree python.

P1000188 P1000283 P1000289 P1000064 P1000315As for reading, I expected to read a lot, considering we had two 30-hour trips and four short flights within Australia.  Thankfully I loaded up on books, and reading, as always, was part of the fun of travel.

My favorite reads on this trip: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, A Blade of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn, and a review request from author Michelle Granas called Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law (not my favorite title but an excellent book).

My husband and I co-read Red Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer, which was good on action but weak on character.  Similarly “okay” was Naomi Novik’s latest, Blood of Tyrants.  And I didn’t like Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, which I read on the return home.

These reviews and a few more are coming soon!  In the meantime, I’ve turned my attention to a longer, weightier novel, Daniel Deronda by George Eliot.  George Eliot isn’t a good plane read, but now that I’m home I can sink my teeth into something heavier.

So Happy Monday!  What are you reading?

20 thoughts on “It’s Monday, What are You Reading?

  1. Ahhhh! Those penguin thingies are the cutest things EVER! Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing all of them. It sounds like you had a great vacation 🙂

    I loved Bernadette. I don’t know if I was in a particularly great mood when I read it or what, but I laughed my way all the way through. Eleanor & Park was great as well.

    I hope you have a great week, happy reading!

  2. I am sorry you found The Mad Scientist’s Daughter disappointing. I have read a couple of her books and enjoyed them. I can’t wait to see more of your Australia pictures. I have always wanted to go there. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    • Thanks for visiting! I wonder if I might like her fantasy books better. The main character of Mad Scientist’s Daughter was just too selfish for me. I can’t like a book when I don’t like its main character.

  3. Wow A Blade of Summer Grass sounds amazing!!!

    I am so jealous of your trip! Lol. I was just talking today about going there – my friend student taught in Australia, and ended up meeting a girl and getting married then moving there. So awesome. I just miss them both!!

    Your pictures are awesome, I love the animal pics!

    • Blade of Summer Grass is a perfect travel read, it’s fluffy and romantic but in a very interesting setting. Deanna Raybourn’s books are great if you haven’t read her. Hope you get to Australia to visit your friend!

  4. more penguins! more photos!!!

    I’m plowing through my Hugo voting packet. Read most of the short stories and novelettes, now onto novellas. I’m loving the Ken Liu and Aliette deBodard stuff the most so far.

  5. You had it right, it’s “echidnas” 🙂

    So happy that you loved Australia; naturally, I’m biased. 😀 And I’m thrilled you took the trip to the gorgeous Blue Mountains and saw the Three Sisters – I have that same photo except I was lucky enough to get there for sunset and when the sun hits the rocks they glow like gold. Very beautiful. Ugh I can’t wait to get back!

    I keep hearing about Where’d You Go, Bernadette? but the premise hasn’t grabbed me – is it really that good and would I like it do you think?

    • Shannon, you may be the only person here that knows what an echidna is! I absolutely loved Where’d You Go, it’s snarky and clever but beyond that I really felt for the characters of Bernadette and her daughter. I think Bernadette will turn some people off, she’s one of those high-anxiety types, maybe closer to OCD or Aspergers, but I really sympathized with her efforts to get along with the rest of the world.

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