MickyFine Swashbuckles Through 2017: Second Voyage
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Who doesn't love the Dread Pirate Roberts?
I'm Micky, I'm 30, and despite the theme for my thread, I'm actually super law-abiding. :D I'm a collections librarian for the public library system in Edmonton and as a result I read a growing chunk of non-fiction as I select it for work every day. This year, I'm also on the team at work that selects the short list for the Alberta Reader's Choice Award (ARCA) so I'll be reading a lot of works by Alberta authors in the first half of the year. Outside of that my reading is a wide mix of genres but there's usually a healthy dose of YA, romance, fantasy, and historical fiction in the mix. In addition to books, I'm likely to discuss whatever I'm watching on TV, my cat, Smee, and occasional awesome life events on my thread. Posters and lurkers alike are welcome.
1. Devil Take the Hindmost - SG Wong
2. The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher
3. Shift - Kelly Shepherd
4. Devil in Winter - Lisa Kleypas
5. A Floating Phrase - Trent Portigal
6. Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor
7. Across the Floor - Natasha Deen
8. Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions & Heretics - Jason Porath
9. Crosstalk - Connie Willis
10. Scandal in Spring - Lisa Kleypas
11. A Wallflower Christmas - Lisa Kleypas
12. A Worthy Pursuit - Karen Witemeyer
13. The Secret Loves of Geek Girls - Hope Nicholson (ed.)
14. In My Wildest Dreams - Christina Dodd
15. Son of France - Todd Babiak
16. Love on the Mend - Karen Witemeyer
17. Mrs. Sherlock Holmes - Brad Ricca
18. The Husband Maneuver - Karen Witemeyer
19. The Book of Human Emotions - Tiffany Watt Smith
20. Kalyna - Pam Clark
21. How to Pick Up a Maid in Statue Square - Rea Tarvydas
22. A Murder Is Announced - Agatha Christie
23. Maybe This Time - Jennifer Snow
24. Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned: Enchanted Stories from the French Decadent Tradition - Gretchen Schultz & Lewis Seifert (ed.)
25. Shylock Is My Name - Howard Jacobson
26. Rodent - Lisa Lawrence
27. Snow White - Matt Phelan
28. Paper Teeth - Lauralyn Chow
29. Gatekeeper - Natasha Deen
30. Ticker - Lisa Mantchev
31. Worth the Wait - Karen Witemeyer
32. A Perilous Undertaking - Deanna Raybourn
33. Difficult Women - Roxane Gay
34. Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
35. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (re-read)
36. Mine Till Midnight - Lisa Kleypas
37. Mitzi Bytes - Kerry Clare
38. The Angry Tide - Winston Graham
39. Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely - Lisa TerKeurst
40. A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab
41. The 13 Clocks - James Thurber
42. Any Duchess Will Do - Tessa Dare
43. The Little Shop of Happy Ever After - Jenny Colgan
44. A Gathering of Shadows - V.E. Schwab
45. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
46. The Upside of Unrequited - Becky Albertalli
47. Fanning the Flames - Victoria Dahl
48. The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time - Keith Houston
49. The Marriage Bureau - Penrose Halson
50. The Circle - Dave Eggers
51. The Improbability of Love - Hannah Rothschild
52. No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering - Clara Bensen
53. In the Bleak Midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming
54. Overturned - Lamar Giles
55. Heartstone - Elle Katharine White
My rating system:
/ = Ran screaming in the other direction (aka did not finish)
* = Suffered through it for reasons I'm still not sure of
** = Had far more flaws than virtues
*** = A read I don't regret but could use some improvement
**** = A good, solid read that I might revisit
***** = Loved it beyond reason and will probably re-read in short order
You nearly killed me with that thread topper! There is nothing quite like young Cary Elwes.
I can see that having a dashing pirate atop your thread is going to be something of a magnet for some of our pals!
Happy new thread, Micky.
Happy new thread! And now you have me wanting to watch The Princess Bride.
Happy New Thread, Micky! Happy Sunday! I also just finished and enjoyed Norse Mythology. This guy can do no wrong.
Happy new thread, Micky!
I have loved The Dread Pirate Roberts for a long time. One of my first true loves, I think. *sigh*
So, Tomm and I finished that third Sherlock episode last night. I haven't formed a concrete opinion on Moriarty yet. Still mulling...
>10 msf59: Thanks, Mark! I'm a solid Gaiman fan although I have to admit I prefer the film adaptation of Stardust to his novel.
>11 scaifea: I didn't watch The Princess Bride until high school but I immediately adored it. As for Moriarty, he's probably one of my favourite villains ever just because of Andrew Scott's performance (and weirdly enough, I just rewatched the episode last night so everything is fresh). He's so charmingly unhinged in that final scene. If you're fence-sitting on your reaction, the second season should definitely cement your opinion of him one way or the other. :D
>12 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe. It's probably going to balance out to be a good weekend. I've got some spring allergies acting up that are waffling on whether they're going to turn into a cold but it's restraining itself to mild sniffles (with the aid of some Claritin) for now. But on the awesome side, I've got a mother-daughter date today with a group of friends and our moms to go see the new Beauty and the Beast and then go out for dinner.
>13 alcottacre: Thank you, Stasia. Hope it treats you well!
>14 MickyFine: I think there's definitely potential there with Moriarty, especially with how the two of them will play off one another. I'll let you know how it goes.
Happy new thread! I just watched The Princess Bride last night, actually.
Mine Till Midnight - Lisa Kleypas
Amelia Hathaway, a self-declared spinster at 26, is working hard to keep her elder brother, Leo, in check as he deals with his grief over the loss of his fiancee by drinking excessively and gambling the funds of his newly inherited title. At the same time, Amelia is also trying to ensure the safety of her three younger sisters. On one evening, attempting to retrieve Leo from one of his latest binges, Amelia encounters Cam Rohan, the half Roma manager of the most in-demand gambling club in London. While Amelia has no desire to find love again and Cam is entirely uninterested in committing to the lifestyle of non-Roma, the sparks that fly between them are too hot for either of them to deny.
As always, a very enjoyable historical romance from Kleypas. Amelia and Cam are equally charming characters and it was interesting to see Kleypas the realities of what a relationship between an upper-class British woman and a half-Roma man might actually look like. There was a mild paranormal element included in the novel that I wasn't expecting with Kleypas and that only sort of worked, thus dragging down the ratings a star. However, I was very pleased to see several characters from Kleypas' Wallflowers series crop up in this novel as well. I'll definitely be picking up the rest of the books in this series.
How was Beauty and the Beast? We're probably going to go at some point.
>21 jnwelch: I love it. This was my second viewing. But I'm also a die-hard fangirl for all things Beauty and the Beast. The animated film was the Disney movie I could watch on repeat as a kid and I've seen the stage production 4 times.
>23 aktakukac: Thanks, Rachel. It's a pretty good face to look at on a regular basis. :)
Happy new thread Micky! I see that the "swashbuckling" theme continues.... ;-)
>25 lkernagh: Oh yes. I'll be swashing and buckling for the whole year. ;)
Mitzi Bytes - Kerry Clare
Sarah Lundy's life looks pretty simple from the outside. Happily married to her husband with two rambunctious daughters and a circle of close friends she loves it appears uncomplicated. What no one knows is that Sarah is also Mitzi Bytes, the author of a long-running popular blog in which she recounts tales from her life with biting humour. But one day Sarah receives a threatening email from Jane Q who knows that Sarah is Mitzi and threatens to reveal all and potentially imperil the quiet life Sarah loves so much.
I picked up this novel as it was being billed as Harriet the Spy for grown-ups with a digital twist. And while it is that it's also so much more. Exploring marriage, motherhood, the power of female friendships, and the rather large question of whether it's ever possible to truly know another human being this novel really packs it in. Utterly enjoyable and solidly recommended.
I've been home sick the past couple days and have binge watched all of Galavant (and may have started watching it over again). Given my pirate-y theme thought I'd toss in the Galavant pirates around here.
>32 norabelle414: I also find it hysterical that Hugh Bonneville (who doesn't seem all that pirate-y generally) has played one on Doctor Who and on Galavant.
Sorry you've been sick! I loved the first season of Galavant, but haven't seen the second yet. Hope you feel better this weekend!
Feel better! I suspect I would enjoy Galavant, though I haven't tried it yet.
Get better soon Micky. Those pirates should cheer you up. And if not:
>39 ChelleBearss: Thank you, Chelle. It's shaping up to be good even with all the snow we're getting.
The Angry Tide - Winston Graham
In this seventh entry in the Poldark series, Ross begins to adjust to life as an MP, he and Demelza work to figure out where their marriage stands in the wake of Hugh Armitage's death, and Ross continues to feud via proxies with George Warleggan. In addition a major shake up in Morwenna Whitworth's life has ramifications for Drake Carne, Caroline and Dwight suffer a heartbreaking loss, and George and Elizabeth continue to grapple with George's insecurities and the effect they have on their marriage. All while an upstart named Buonaparte is shaking things up on the continent.
There are a lot of things going on in this novel but it felt like not much happened in the first half and I was dragging myself through reading it. Of course, as is typical with the Poldark novels, once things kick off they suck you in and make for compelling reading. While I predicted the big final event of the novel based on the blurb on the back cover, there were still several plot developments I didn't see coming. As always, I remain thoroughly invested in the lives of these characters and will continue to work my way through the remaining books.
Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin - Ann Patty
I wanted to like this memoir about Patty's quest to learn Latin after her early retirement but while the tales she weaves around her Latin classes are interesting enough, she goes into dense and confusing detail into the Latin lessons themselves. After skimming more paragraphs than I was reading, I am Pearl ruling this one. It may have greater appeal to anyone who has ever studied Latin but for me this one was a dud.
I don't think I told you, Micky - we saw Beauty and the Beast, and loved it.
>43 jnwelch: Glad to hear it, Joe. I thought it was super enjoyable. :D
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely - Lysa TerKeurst
While occasionally a bit too folksy in style, this Christian reflection on dealing with rejection in all of its many variations had some really profound thoughts to add to my experience that made this book a worthwhile read for me.
The Surgeon - Tess Gerritsen
I picked up this novel because I like the tv series that was adapted from the novels but was pretty disappointed. None of the strong female friendships that are what I love about the show are anywhere in evidence (in fact Isles doesn't even appear in this first novel). Instead all there is is a mediocre crime novel filled with flat characters and a mystery that I didn't care enough about to read to the end to find out the resolution.
A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab
Trying to summarize this one is a bit tricky. There's magicians, a thief, four cities that exist in different worlds but are all named London, a plot to alter the very nature of magic, and one truly fabulous coat. Suffice it to say if you like fantasy and any of those elements intrigue you, you should definitely pick up the novel. This is one of those cases where I like the book so much it's hard for me to talk coherently about it. I adored the book from the first page, fell in love with the characters and the worlds, and seriously, I desperately want Kell's coat.
The 13 Clocks - James Thurber
In a castle filled with clocks that no longer run lives the most evil Duke there's ever been with a princess whom he loves to torture by killing her various suitors. One day a threadbare minstrel comes to town who turns out to be a prince who might just foil the Duke's evil plots.
I added this book to The List after reading Neil Gaiman's The View from the Cheap Seats where he sung its praises. The book is charming and as a children's book it's not a painful read as an adult but my socks remained firmly on my feet when I had expected them to be knocked off. Possibly more enjoyable if you are a child or have a child to read it to.
Any Duchess Will Do - Tessa Dare
Pauline Simms has a hard but predictable life in Spindle Cove where she works as a barmaid in the local tavern and dreams of one day earning enough to get her sister and herself out from under her father's roof. Griffin York, the Duke of Hanford is desperately trying to get his mother to stop setting him up with eligible women she wants him to wed. When the Duchess drags her son to Spindle Cove to choose a young woman to turn into a duchess, Griff chooses Pauline in the hopes that his mother will finally give up. What neither Griff nor Pauline imagine is that two such different people might be a perfect match.
This book won me over from the opening page where Griff accidentally feels up his own mother's ankle. Griff is a complex hero with a delightful, meddling mother. Pauline is a strong, bright young woman who never loses sight of reality as difficult as it sometimes is. Funny, sweet, and tied up with a thoroughly happy ending, I highly recommend this historical romance to anyone who enjoys the genre.
>49 MickyFine: I feel the same about that book and that amazing coat! ;)
>54 katiekrug: I was thinking of popping by your thread to recommend it to you directly. Hopefully one of your libraries has it. :)
>55 leahbird: Such a great coat. I've got the second book sitting on my nightstand at home and I'm looking forward to Kell and Lila's further adventures. And getting more time with that coat. ;)
I see it's part of a series, but I get the impression the books don't need to be read in order?
>59 katiekrug: As with most romance novel series, not really. Unless you're super concerned about knowing that couples from previous novels got married. Shocking, I know. :P
Heh. Yup. I'm not usually concerned about order for romance. Not much chance of spoilers!
>53 MickyFine: I've added that one to my list at the library :-) I've read a couple of Dare's Castles Ever After books and loved them, but I haven't tried any of the Spindle Cove books yet. Clearly, I need to rectify that!
>62 archerygirl: This was my first Tessa Dare but I really enjoyed it and I'll definitely be hunting down some of her other titles.
>56 MickyFine: The second one didn't work for me as well as the first but it's still good. And it made me really desperate for the next book, A Conjuring of Light, which isn't available from my libraries in audio yet.
ETA: Oh, I lied! My podunk local library has it even when my big city and government libraries didn't. But I'm number 17 on the wait list now. ;(
The Little Shop of Happy Ever After - Jenny Colgan
When the local council closes the public library branch where Nina Redmond works in Birmingham, Nina isn't sure what she's going to do. Nina has only ever wanted to be a librarian and her favourite thing is to match readers with the perfect book. But then she runs across an ad for an old, massive van that's for sale and suddenly Nina is seriously contemplating pursuing her daydream of running a small mobile bookshop. The only catch is the van is in Scotland. Nina uproots her life and moves to the Highlands where she finds true community connections, the opportunity to connect readers with books, and the chance for a romance that takes place outside of the pages of a novel.
Be warned: reading this novel may leave you with a serious desire to leave your life behind and move to Scotland. Sweet, charming, and a delight for any bookish reader, this is a lovely gentle read. While very little of the plot is surprising, it's a wonderfully cozy read to indulge in. My only quibble is that as a librarian around my own age, Nina's abhorrence about anything other than books in the library is a little weird. Even the most bookish librarians in my age group (of which I would number myself) have accepted the realities of computers, other media and formats (DVDs, video games, audiobooks, etc) and digital technology in public libraries. But maybe it's a cultural difference between North America and the UK. *shrug* That minor concern aside, I do recommend this read to anyone who likes a cozy, bookish, light romance.
I want to read that one! It was published in the US as The Bookshop on the Corner - just FYI for anyone else looking for it over here...
Hi, Micky! Looks like I have not been by in awhile. Bad Mark? Hope you are doing well and I hope those books are treating you fine.
>30 MickyFine: Adding that one to the Black Hole. Thanks for the recommendation, Micky!
>43 jnwelch: I read that earlier this year and loved it! Colgan writes lovely gentle reads that are perfect when I need a bit of a comfort reading pick-me-up.
I agree that Nina's abhorrence for anything non-book in a library rang a little odd, but then again, every time I go back to England I notice how far behind my old local library is compared to my library here in Canada. My mum complains about it a lot, too, mostly because it means their digital book catalogue is woeful. She has a library membership here and keeps using it for digital when she's in the UK because the service there is so awful. I hope other counties are better at this stuff! Then again, with all the budget cuts, they probably can't afford to be :-( There is a strong trend towards the idea of books being the last thing you'd find in a library, because the budget cuts mean they need to justify having a library at all and thus expand their services, so maybe Nina isn't completely off-base.
Did I make any sense at all there?
>75 archerygirl: Lots of sense. I know it's very tough over in library land in the UK - the closures and constant replacement of trained library staff with volunteers is enough to make anyone angry. I was just surprised Nina (who is my contemporary) wouldn't have any experience dealing with tech and other services in a public library, or at bare minimum have been exposed to it during her library school training even if it didn't appear in her local library branch.
>49 MickyFine: Yes to Kel's coat. I need to continue on with that series.
>77 rosylibrarian: Right? I'm about a quarter of the way through the second book and enjoying it thoroughly.
Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.
Books read: 8 (43)
Books ditched: 2 (8)
Fiction: 7 (34)
Non-fiction: 1 (9)
Library: 8 (31)
Mine: 0 (1)
Borrowed elsewhere: 0 (11)
Re-reads: 0 (1)
Female authors: 6 (33)
Male authors: 2 (11)
Adult fiction: 7 (29)
YA fiction: 0 (4)
Children's fiction: 1 (2)
Pages: 2,894 (12,885)
Average rating: 3.6 (3.59)
Average time to read book: 3.1 days (2.74 days)
Favourite book(s): There were several reads I really liked this month but I'll give the prize to A Darker Shade of Magic for being so awesome.
A Gathering of Shadows - V.E. Schwab
Note that this review will contain spoilers for A Darker Shade of Magic
Four months after Lila walked away from Kell near the docks of Red London to hunt down her own adventure in a world completely new to her, she is about to return to the city. Having spent four months at sea Lila has begun to hone her magic wielding skills and the allure of the grand international magic dueling competition, the Essen Tasch is too great a temptation for Lila to resist. Meanwhile, Kell and Rhy are grappling with the realities of the bond created between them when Kell saved Rhy's life as they prepare for the tournament. And in White London a change is occurring that will threaten more than just that world.
I loved this second book in the Shades of Magic just as much as the first novel. The characters, world(s), and magic system remain fascinating and Schwab creates a truly entertaining magic tournament (and a much better one for spectating *looks pointedly at JK*). I'm so attached to the characters at this point that even if the plot were a little wobbly, I probably wouldn't care. However, be warned that this novel does end with a cliffhanger so you may want to have the third book at hand rather than having to wait for the holds queue like I do. Highly recommended once you've read the first book.
>80 MickyFine: I must start that series.
Have a great weekend, Micky.
>80 MickyFine: I read it last year and there was much gnashing of teeth at that cliffhanger! Must put the sequel on my hold list at the library pronto...
>83 archerygirl: Good plan. I've currently got holds on both the ebook and print copy and will happily read whichever one comes in first. :)
This Buzzfeed quiz is pretty fun. Tell it what kind of cup of coffee you'd make and it'll suggest your next read. I don't drink coffee at all but after making up some stuff based on the faux coffee I typically drink it suggested Difficult Women to me, which I've already read, so not terrible recommendations at least. I'd love to hear what the results are like for actual coffee drinkers.
I got The Hate U Give too! I need to email these results to my library because I've been trying to get that book for ages but I'm only at #15 on the wait list.
Haha! I sometimes wish there was a "send to library" button on various websites (just like there are button for sharing on FB, Pinterest and the like). Would be very convenient.
>86 katiekrug: Rather prescient. :)
>87 PawsforThought: I've been seeing good things about that one.
>88 norabelle414: #15 isn't so bad. I put a hold on The Handmaid's Tale because I want to read it before I watch the series (I know, I know, I'm a bad Canadian reader for not having read it already) and I'm #158.
(I searched for "shocked Canadian gif" and this is what I got)
>85 MickyFine: I also got Difficult Women. I tried it twice with a few different answers the second time. My choices were pretty basic and simple, so I don't know what's so difficult about that ;)
>93 aktakukac: It's a great collection of short stories. I really enjoyed it when I read it earlier this year.
>96 MickyFine: Hi Lori! So far that trilogy has been 5 star reads all across the board. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the final book. *silently urges holds queue to move faster*
Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
Largely a WWII novel set on the Greek island of Cephalonia during the occupation by the Italians told from a wide variety of perspectives but largely orbiting the lives of Pelagia, a local girl, and the charming Italian Captain Antonio Corelli who comes to the island as part of the occupying forces. I picked up this novel after seeing the film as amidst the terrible accents and overstrung moments of the adaptation I saw the great narrative possibilities of the source material. And while it took some getting into, the novel does deliver. Getting through the initial chapters which are densely written and filled with five dollar words there is a beautiful narrative of life on a small, old island which is completely shattered by war and modernity. Worth picking up if you like historical fiction set during WWII or liked the film and wished for a version without Nicholas Cage's abominable Italian accent.
Hello! I took the buzzfeed quiz and got Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a fantasy, as it says I need "a break from reality". Well that sounds pretty spot on, although I've never heard of the book before.
>98 Heather19: Glad to see you found a recommendation that intrigued you.
>101 swynn: I'm pretty sure it was your review of the first book that made me put it on The List, so thanks!
The Upside of Unrequited - Becky Albertalli
Molly has had 26 crushes but has never been kissed. And isn't really sure how people actually get to the kissing part of a relationship anyway. Her twin sister, Cassie, doesn't have that problem as is obvious by the string of girls she's made out with. But during the summer before senior year Cassie makes it her project to get Molly some kissage and Molly tries to really put herself out there for the first time ever.
This YA romance is super cute on a lot of levels. Molly is sweet and her feelings of being left out of the knowledge of how you go from liking someone to telling them you like them is pretty relatable. The book should also get an awesome award for its fantastic representation of LGBTQ characters. Fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jennifer E. Smith should definitely give this one a whirl.
>97 MickyFine: I agree entirely with your view of Captain Corelli. Very good book but didn't you think that the ending in the movie was better than the one in the book?
Have a great weekend, Micky.
"The Upside of Unrequited", huh? That sounds interesting, and I do love YA books. Might have to put that on my wishlist. Glad you liked it!
>106 Heather19: It's definitely a solid YA read. Hope you enjoy it when you get around to it. :)
Fanning the Flames - Victoria Dahl
I picked up this romance novella because I wanted something I could finish in the hour or so before I went to sleep as I failed to actually crack open the book I meant to start reading this weekend and I've got a bunch of library holds incoming. A fast read on the smuttier side, it was refreshing to find a romance where the leads are in their 40s. Also, as a librarian myself, I now kind of want to work in a library attached to a fire hall. You know, for safety reasons. ;)
Why hello there.....
My local library is not technically 'attached' to the fire station, but they share a parking lot. You should move here!
>109 norabelle414: As tempting as that is, I think I'll stay on this side of the border for now. ;)
The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time - Keith Houston
If you enjoy book history and/or discussions of the book as object, you should definitely pick up this book. Divided into four sections (the page, the text, illustrations, and form), Houston explores the history of the book from its early roots to its current form. He covers thousands of years of history with thoroughly enjoyable writing and occasional dashes of humour that had me laughing out loud. The book is also a gorgeous object on its own (I highly recommend picking this one up in hardcover), with lovely high quality paper and, as evidenced from the annotations on the cover, it also highlights the technical terms for the content in a fun way. Solidly recommended if you enjoy the subject.
It's a long weekend here (Victoria Day) and I had 3 highly anticipated holds come in during the week. I'm thinking of trying to read a book a day but it won't be a hard goal. I've got some other stuff to do and 4 DVDs out from the library as well so I'll read what I read and we'll see. :)
>112 MickyFine: Sounds like the perfect weekend to me! Hope it's been good so far and you've got just as much reading as you felt like done.
The Marriage Bureau - Penrose Halson
In late 1938, Heather Jenner and her friend, Mary Oliver decided to open a business that had never been done in London before: a marriage bureau. Matchmaking clients of all classes, occupations, and backgrounds, Heather and Mary began with no idea of how popular their service would be, the wide variety of people they'd see and stories they'd hear, or the way it would alter their experience of the war years. Halson's recounting of the first decade of the marriage bureau (1939-1949ish) is fantastic filled with tales of fascinating individuals, frequent humour, occasional heartbreak, and, of course, lots of happy endings. I got particular delight out of the appendix which highlights some of the more delightful requests from both male and female clients about traits they wanted in a partner. Highly recommended, particularly to fans of Downton Abbey and/or Call the Midwife.
>115 PawsforThought: It's a been a great weekend so far, Paws, and I'm doing exactly as much reading as I want. And amazingly for Victoria Day weekend, it's been gorgeously sunny and pretty warm (it's a standing joke around here that we get a last spring snowstorm more often than not on May long weekend :P). I wandered around the Legislature grounds yesterday afternoon for a bit and amongst other sights snapped a picture of these gorgeous tulips.
>116 msf59: Thanks, Mark! It's been pretty great so far.
>111 MickyFine: BB! Only, I went to add that to the Swamp only to find it was already there. I ought to fish that one out soon...
>118 MickyFine: Sounds like a great weekend, Micky! We've had amazing weather, too. First proper summer heat of the year, and clear blue skies. I've been reading and got a bit of a tan.
Hi, Micky. Thumb from me for your enticing review of A Darker Shade of Magic.
Hi Micky! The Marriage Bureau is going on the list, and the tulips are lovey!
Hi Micky! Just dropping by to catch up (finally). I got hit by a few BBs as I whizzed through Darker Shade of Magic looks good, for one. I'll have to come back again soon and look for more titles.
>119 swynn: It's worth moving further up in the pile, for sure.
>120 PawsforThought: It continued to be gorgeous the whole long weekend. However, I woke up Sunday with the beginnings of a cold so I spent the rest of the weekend babying myself and hung out on the couch. And now we're getting warnings for some seriously miserable weather (heavy rains, strong winds, etc) starting Tuesday night.
>121 jnwelch: Aww. Thanks, Joe!
>122 aktakukac: Yay! I'm surprised at how little notice The Marriage Bureau is getting right now but according to the jacket blurb there's likely an adaptation coming soonish so it'll probably surge in popularity if that happens.
>123 humouress: Hi Nina! Always happy to share the BBs.
>124 MickyFine: Aw, no! Typical. It almost never fails that when we have a long weekend or the weather's supposed to be nice, I get a bad cold or something, and spend the time fairly miserable. I got lucky this weekend and stayed healthy. Sorry you weren't as lucky.
On the other hand, terrible weather *is* perfect for reading and TV marathons...
>125 PawsforThought: This is true but right now the cold remedies I'm taking are good enough to keep the cold in check and let me go to work. So it'll be me and my wellies on the walk to work tomorrow in all likelihood. :)
The Circle - Dave Eggers
OK, that's it. The next time someone I trust tells me they didn't like a book I'm going to listen to them and just skip it. I spent probably the last 200 pages of this one hate reading and I have no one to blame but myself because I was warned.
The premise is relatively simple: Mae goes to work for a large technology company, everything seems utopian initially, and then slowly the reader realizes that things are actually really terrible. My reading experience was pretty much the same: everything started off well and compelling and then it went downhill. The reading constantly feels breakneck and exhausting as there are no chapters just occasional hard enters between sections. The novel is an exploration of what happens when we willingly give up our privacy for the easier life provided by technology that collects more information than it needs. Which is fine. Working in the field I do, I'm a huge privacy advocate. But 200ish pages in the point has been made and there's no end in sight. Our central character Mae never really comes across as a person and is just a stick figure to hang millennial stereotypes on. Also, if you like having a metaphor built up and then being beaten over the head with it for 40 pages this is the book for you *glares loathingly at the stupid shark metaphor*. Not recommended.
Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.
Books read: 7 (50)
Books ditched: 0 (8)
Fiction: 5 (39)
Non-fiction: 2 (11)
Library: 7 (38)
Mine: 0 (1)
Borrowed elsewhere: 0 (11)
Re-reads: 0 (1)
Female authors: 4 (37)
Male authors: 3 (14)
Adult fiction: 4 (33)
YA fiction: 1 (5)
Children's fiction: 0 (2)
Pages: 2,792 (15,677)
Average rating: 3.7 (3.65)
Average time to read book: 4.1 days (3.42 days)
Favourite book(s): Definitely A Gathering of Shadows because the Shades of Magic continues to blow me away.
>131 MickyFine: It's nice to be seen. :) Actually, I've kind of forgotten about my thread, but I do add items I've read/watched/listened to to my catalog. Maybe one day I'll get serious about my reading again.
Congrats on all your progress so far! As always, I'm super impressed.
The Improbability of Love - Hannah Rothschild
Beginning with the night of the auction of the painting The Improbability of Love, a lost masterpiece from the 18th century, this novel then skips back six months to when the painting is first found by an amateur chef, Annie. It then tracks the lives of all those at the auction as well as Annie (with occasional interjections from the painting itself) up to the night of the auction as intrigues, romances, and mysteries arise.
I honestly don't remember how this one ended up on The List so I'm not sure what struck my fancy about it in the first place. The writing is well done, the characters are well-rounded and believable, and the exploration of the art world and how we value art is artfully done. And yet despite the fact that I can't find any flaws with the novel, this one wasn't quite a hit with me. It might just be that it took me longer than it normally would to finish a novel of this length that has brought down my rating on this one. If the description strikes your fancy I'd say give this one a whirl but I can't emphatically recommend it based on my reading experience.
Hi Micky! It looks like you've had a couple mediocre to sucky books in the past couple of weeks. I hope your next book is better!
>136 The_Hibernator: Thanks, Rachel. My current read, which I'm hoping to finish today, has been really good so my string of mediocre to bad books is finally broken. Huzzah!
No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering - Clara Bensen
In the wake of a mental breakdown, Clara Bensen had just started rejoining the world when she decided to sign up for OKCupid on a lark. Through the website, she met Jeff, a college professor with an adventurous and spontaneous streak. A month into their relationship Clara agrees to join Jeff on a three-week, 8 country trip to Europe. The only condition: neither of them would bring any luggage.
This memoir is utterly engaging from the first page. Blending gorgeous travel writing with the tale of her unconventional romance with Jeff and reflections on her mental health journey, there's a lot of compelling reading here. While I could never imagine undertaking a trip with a single outfit and the contents of a small purse, it was utterly fascinating to explore such a trip. Highly recommended for both fans of travel memoirs as well as dating/relationship memoirs.
>138 MickyFine: - That one sounds like fun, Micky. And my library system has it!
>139 katiekrug: Woot! It is a lot of fun, Katie. I was surprised at how few collections it was in here on LT when I added it. I hope you like it.
>141 ChelleBearss: Hi Chelle! Glad it looks like lots of reading from the outside. It feels like I've been moving through books slowly lately.
In the Bleak Midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming
When the new Episcopalian priest in Millers Kill, Clare Fergusson, discovers a baby left in a box on the steps of her church she has no idea of the drama that will unfold afterward. When the baby's mother is found murdered days later, Clare and local police chief Russ Van Alstyne find themselves trying to determine who in their small community could possibly be responsible. As Christmas approaches, the bodies and murder attempts begin to pile up and it quickly becomes clear this small town may not be as quiet as it seems.
This book ended up on The List after reading about it in a reader's advisory article in Library Journal - the same list that led to my discovery of the excellent Lady Julia Grey books. Sadly, this book was not such a hit with me. For a cozy mystery, I didn't feel as pulled into the narrative as I would have expected. The characters are well-drawn but the plot moves on a little too slowly. Also, I definitely rolled my eyes when the single black character to appear in the book was named Ebony. I mean, really? Even for 2002 that seems... unfortunate. I think this book (and the rest of the series) could definitely be a hit for some readers around here, but it just didn't work for me.
Sorry to see your latest read wasn't up to snuff. Have you tried the Aunt Dimity cozy mysteries?
>144 ChelleBearss: I haven't done Aunt Dimity but I do have several other cozy mystery series that I regularly visit. :)
Seeing as I've posted about this on Facebook, I figured I should also share it over here. As I've mentioned around here a few times over the past year, I did have a subscription to eHarmony and had been dating more actively since last summer. Hysterically, a couple weeks before my subscription expired my best friend (and her husband) set me up with her husband's friend/co-worker. After almost a year of none of the eHarmony guys really working out, this one stuck. So I might occasionally make references to The Boyfriend now. :D
And because this is LT and I know some of you will ask, yes he is a reader. Not quite as hard core as me but a reader nonetheless. He's currently reading Norse Mythology on my recommendation and really liking it. Meanwhile, he's loaned me his copy of Ready Player One because he's of the opinion I should definitely read it. So that one will show up around here a couple books from now.
Thus endeth the life update.
Congrats on The Boyfriend! Glad he's a reader. And since he got you reading RPO, he's welcome on my thread anytime. :)
OK, here's my only comment. DON'T be put off if you don't like the same things. My wife and I read completely differently but we get along just fine (now that we're used to the fact that making reading suggestions for the other is completely pointless). But I suspect you're mature enough to have the superficial difference thing figured out, and it sounds like this might not be a problem anyway ...
>146 MickyFine: Congrats on the boyfriend, Micky! Good to know he's a reader (and based off the titles you mentioned, one with good taste to boot!)
Thanks for all the congrats, Jim, Steve, Paws, Zoe, Chelle, Nina, and Amber. We're pretty happy and he survived meeting my parents and brother's family yesterday so things are generally good. :)
>148 scvlad: This is good advice. Thanks, Steve! :)
>146 MickyFine: I'm so happy for you, Micky!! *throws confetti* :)
Happy Friday, Micky! Congrats on the new beau! Hope everything else is going well too, along with those current reads.
Overturned - Lamar Giles
At sixteen years old, Nikki Tate hasn't had it easy for years. The daughter of Nathan Tate, famous poker player and former death row prisoner, she's spent the years her father was in prison helping her mother to keep the family's Las Vegas casino afloat. But just after Nikki's dad is released and it looks like Nikki might finally be able to focus on her life for once, everything falls apart and Nikki is left trying to find out why without losing her life in the process.
This is a solid YA mystery novel. On the grittier side of the spectrum, it delves into the realities of living in Las Vegas as a teen. Nikki is a complex character who is fascinating to follow through this world as she works to solve the central mystery of the novel. She's surrounded by a cast of well-developed supporting characters, which make the world believable. While I was a couple steps ahead of the whodunit, it was still an enjoyable mystery. Also if you're doing a diverse books challenge this one is an excellent option as Nikki is African American. Overall, a fast-paced read with a mildly gritty edge.
Rating : ****
Congrats on the life update! And you got me with The Upside of Unrequited. My library doesn't have it (yet) but it seems like one they *should* have, so I've put in a request :-) They're generally pretty great about getting books so hopefully I'll get to read it *and* our library's stock will have more LGBTQ rep. Win win!
>165 aktakukac: It is pretty exciting, Rachel. We're pretty happy about it anyway.
Yay for No Baggage! It's a great summer read, especially if you want a vicarious vacation. If you read Overturned I'll be interested to see your point of view on it as someone who works more in the YA side of things. :)
Heartstone - Elle Katharine White
It's a Pride and Prejudice retelling with dragons! Now before that single sentence makes you say, "Umm, no thanks, I don't do dragon books," let me just point out that normally neither do I but this one charmed me enough to put a Staff Picks sticker on it before I returned it to the library where I work. In this version, Aliza Bentaine lives in a small community being threatened by gryphons. When the lord of the manor calls in a group of Riders to rid the neighbourhood of the plight, amongst them is Alastair Daired and his dragon Akarra. Translating the classic plot of P&P to a fantasy setting is a unique approach and it's as much fun to see how White renames characters, reinterprets them mildly in some cases to better fit the setting, and adds in a ripping climax to the novel without moving so far from the source material to bother this die hard Janeite. Recommended if you enjoy a P&P retelling, regardless of your general fondness for dragon books.
>167 MickyFine: - It's a Pride and Prejudice retelling with dragons! Talk about a perfect sentence to catch my attention! ;-)
Hi Micky! Glad to hear that you've found yourself a reader. That's great. I've had no luck at all with eHarmony. Met one guy, and that's it. All my matches are super-duper religious - to the level of being too conservative politically for me. I'm not sure how that happened. Not that I mind religious people, but I'm talking church every day sort of things.
POF and Tinder have worked much better for me. Especially POF. Though, of course, I've had no luck with any of them sticking, lol.
Wow. Book 54 sure does look interesting!
>168 lkernagh: Glad that caught your eye, Lori. :)
>169 humouress: Enjoy!
>170 The_Hibernator: A lot of my matches on eHarmony were super outdoorsy, which I am decidedly not. I didn't attempt POF or Tinder mostly because I didn't want to deal with all the trolls looking for hook ups, which is not at all what I'm looking for.
Overturned was good. If it intrigues you even a little, I say give it a whirl.
>167 MickyFine: You got me with P&P with dragons! It's gone on my library list :-)
Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.
Books read: 5 (55)
Books ditched: 0 (8)
Fiction: 4 (43)
Non-fiction: 1 (12)
Library: 5 (43)
Mine: 0 (1)
Borrowed elsewhere: 0 (11)
Re-reads: 0 (1)
Female authors: 4 (41)
Male authors: 1 (15)
Adult fiction: 3 (36)
YA fiction: 1 (6)
Children's fiction: 0 (2)
Average rating: 3.6 (3.63)
Average time to read book: 5 days (4.21 days)
Favourite book(s): Heartstone was a very fun reimagining of Pride and Prejudice so I'll give it the prize this month.
And with that, I'm wrapping up this thread for the quarter and moving on to new digs. Follow the link below to sail on to new waters!
This topic was continued by MickyFine Swashbuckles Through 2017: Third Voyage.
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