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Quondame - A little old lady who reads a lot

This topic was continued by Quondame - 75 down and more to go (Page II).

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Apr 9, 8:32pm Top

I've read between 150 - 250 books per year for the last 10 years and probably since 2001 when I was laid off from my embedded software programming job. A dyslexic until puberty, I enjoyed being read to until about 11 when encounters with the SRA Reading Laboratory Kit woke a rare competitive streak in me and I zipped through the rainbow like a wind. My dad and I shared a taste for mysteries, SF and fantasy and I remember sneaking into the house very quietly on return from trips to the library so he would not impound my latest inter-library loan. I still read mostly F & SF with a sprinkling of mysteries, though I am also a fan of both Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Despite thousands of books, comics, and graphic novels at home, I still get most of my reading material from the 2 city and 1 county libraries close to me.

In the first part of 2018 I am looking forward to:

Ada Palmer - The Will to Battle
Ken Scholes - Hymn
Charles Stross - Dark State
Elizabeth Moon - Into the Fire
Elizabeth Bear - Stone Mad
Anne Bishop - Lake Silence
Patricia Briggs - Burn Bright
Steven Brust - Good Guys
Nancy Kress - If Tomorrow Comes

A bit later it seems -

Jo Walton - Poor Relations (Sept 2018)
Kate Elliott - The Dead Empire (Sept 2018)

And I am open to suggestions. Sue H

Dec 28, 2017, 9:26pm Top

Welcome! Nice list to start the year.

Dec 28, 2017, 10:09pm Top

May your year be filled with good reads!

Dec 29, 2017, 1:15am Top

How do I get the ># UserID link to show up on my replies?

Dec 29, 2017, 3:48am Top

Hi Susan! I am also a Susan, so I had to drop by :-)

To get the post numbers/names showing up in blue, just type > and then right next to it the number of the post you want to comment on. So > 3 but with no gap between them, in order to answer Lori: >3 thornton37814: It will show up when you post the message, or preview it.

Dec 29, 2017, 5:59am Top

I have a long list of Fantasy and Sci-fi books that I want to read, and I am guessing your thread is going to lengthen that list exponently :)

Have fun!

Dec 29, 2017, 12:39pm Top

>5 susanj67: Thanks!

Dec 29, 2017, 12:44pm Top

>6 aqeeliz: On The Mythic Café, with Charles de Lint & Company FB group I uploaded a list of members Favorite Women Fantasy writers which will keep me pretty busy. Many of those authors do SF as well if not mostly. There is only a very little SF that I don't consider fantasy anyway. Good Reading!

Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 6:38pm Top

I'm testing out a ticker here - it been a long time since I've used one of these!

Dec 31, 2017, 11:47am Top

Happy reading in 2018, Susan!

Dec 31, 2017, 12:25pm Top

Happy New Year! I wish you to read many good books in 2018.

Jan 1, 12:29am Top

Dropping off a
And wishing you

Jan 1, 4:13am Top

Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.

Jan 1, 2:51pm Top

The SRA Reading Lab - I haven't heard of that since 5th grade! Ah, fond memories of shooting my way through that. Glad it was a help.

And happy new year.

Jan 1, 3:08pm Top

Welcome to the group! There's a number of authors I've been meaning to read in your list in >1 quondame: so I will look forward to your thoughts on those.

Jan 1, 4:28pm Top

Hi Susan! I saw on the Introductions thread that you're an SFF reader. I read mostly SFF as well so I've got you starred and am looking forward to seeing what you read.

Edited: Jan 6, 3:30pm Top

My 1st finished book of the year is the second of a fantasy series

The Providence of Fire. , no particular challenge

>16 kgodey: I look forward to sharing titles & authors.

>10 FAMeulstee: >11 The_Hibernator: >12 ronincats: >13 PaulCranswick: Happy new year to you too! When I figure out how to include pictures I'll be dangerous!

>14 ffortsa: They made such a difference for me, mostly by giving me confidence in a new skill.

Jan 2, 1:40am Top

>17 quondame: How's the series?

Jan 2, 2:08am Top

>18 aqeeliz: If you like epic fantasy full of major perils it's pretty decent. Multiple viewpoints over a continent wide landscape without any really fun magic. I wouldn't recommend it to someone whose only big fantasy was Lord of the Rings, but to someone who has been through WoT & GoT.

Jan 2, 2:49am Top

>19 quondame: Thanks. I loved WoT, but gave up on ASoIAF after book three (I think), mainly due to how depressing the books are. Multiple viewpoints of all the varied things happening weren't an issue though.

Jan 2, 9:33am Top

Looks like a series I need to check out.

Edited: Jan 5, 7:32pm Top

Just finished Hex-Rated ★½, no particular challenge

Unless you are a dark magic fan who likes making fun of an attempt at a 1970 noirsh Los Angeles you really should avoid this. Oh yes, and a guy.

Edited: Jan 2, 4:53pm Top

>21 drneutron: Which epic fantasies are your favorites? This week mine are Crown of Stars and Glass Thorns and always LotR.

Jan 2, 4:53pm Top

>20 aqeeliz: ASoIaF isn't really to my taste, but it is well done and has much better character development than WoT, which is charmingly goofy but rarely convincing. I did think Brandon Sanderson made some of the character interactions more realistic, but felt it as a deviation from the way RJ probably would have proceeded.

Edited: Jan 2, 7:16pm Top

>17 quondame: I read and liked The Emperor's Blades and The Providence of Fire when they came out but I wasn't able to get into the third book. I'm not sure if it was just that I wasn't in the mood or if there was something about the third book that was different, I'll have to try it again at some point.

Jan 2, 7:36pm Top

>25 kgodey: I have The Last Mortal Bond checked out, but am avoiding jumping in, at least this week. I've noticed that in some moods nothing seems good, while in others I become fascinated with train wrecks, Hex-Rated is a case in point.

Edited: Jan 6, 3:29pm Top

I just finished Golden Age and Other Stories , no particular challenge

It was a pleasure! I really like the P&P re-telling of Dragons and Decorum. Vanishingly few authors have carried out satisfactory in-period retelling, but adding dragons into the mix somehow makes it work!

Edited: Jan 2, 11:22pm Top

>23 quondame: Besides LOTR, my favorite is Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn - starts with The Dragonbone Chair. Lately, Carol Berg and Jamison are faves too.

Jan 2, 11:38pm Top

Oooh, favorite epic fantasies other than LOTR! Also like Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, love the Paksennarion trilogy plus the five volume sequel by Elizabeth Moon, have to count Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series as one, Diane Duane's The Door Into... series, Susan Dexter's The Winter King's War series...I'm sure there are more but I've run out of steam off the top of my head.

Edited: Jan 2, 11:55pm Top

>28 drneutron: I read the Dragonbone Chair and sequels as they came out. Later I read a truly putrid Tad Williams story and have since not picked up anything of his. Carol Berg is one of my go to comfort reads. I don't know Jamison. The two N. K. Jemisin books I've read are set in a world I would not want to be in.

Edited: Jan 3, 12:01am Top

>29 ronincats: Paksenannrion is way up there and I enjoyed most of the sequels too. I'm ashamed that after reading Steven Brust's as they came out AND re-reading some of them, I never noticed what was really going on until Jo Walton whapped me upside the head in What Makes the Book So Great. I haven't kept up with Diane Duane though I remember the Door Into.. books fondly. I haven't tried (or have forgotten trying) Susan Dexter.

Jan 3, 9:51am Top

Here you are, Susan. Happy reading in 2018!

I love Carol Berg's Lighthouse duology. I'm told her other series are even grimmer, so I've not tried them.

I usually just reread Tolkien when I'm in the mood for a fantasy.

Jan 3, 1:56pm Top

>32 libraryperilous: I wouldn't say that Carol Berg's other series are grimmer, just that she is always rough on her protagonists, and she can be trusted not to pull a GRRM. After a decade of following the fellowship day by day - starting in September and ending in spring - I kind of Tolkien-ed out. And I would be distraught without Ursula Le Guin, Patricia McKillip, and Terry Pratchett, along with so many others.

Jan 4, 2:06am Top

I spent most of the day meta-booking - I entered books from one shelf of 1 of 4 paperback bookshelves. Abbey through Arnold with a pair of Asimovs. A very few of the title were duplicated because of Goodreads entries, and what's with the ISBN like numbers with a capital letter as the 4 character that seem unrecognizable. 1950s-1990s books almost all of them.

Jan 4, 2:44am Top

>33 quondame: "to pull a GRRM"


Jan 4, 11:32pm Top

OK, here is a challenge. If the 2nd shelf from the top on the leftmost bookcase had 83 books, how many books are on the wall, excluding the topmost shelf on each case for manga (I'll get to those later). My challenge is to get these dusty old books entered.

Edited: Jan 4, 11:51pm Top

Is that 7 X 4 shelves, or is there another shelf below the ones we can see?

I know how you feel. The year after I retired I finally stained and finished my paperback bookshelves, and catalogued all my mostly 60s, 70s and 80 books here, most of which didn't have ISPNs.

Jan 5, 1:09am Top

>37 ronincats: There is an 8th (actually 9th) shelf below, irregularly filled with books and brodarts and whatever we have to get off the floor when we clean the carpets (3 stupid dogs mean major chaos.) What neat shelves you have!

Jan 5, 1:02pm Top

>38 quondame: And that is because at that point I had just finished organizing and cataloguing them all as I reshelved them. Also, these shelves are specifically built for paperbacks so that I can squeeze more shelves in, and since they are my classics, I don't mess them up much. My newer paperbacks go back in another room (unless the author is already on these shelves) .
Okay, I'm going to say 2800 books, then.

And I see on Jim's thread that you have indeed found a very appropriate star!

Edited: Jan 6, 2:37am Top

>39 ronincats: I must have spent more time tracking down and figuring out how to load a star than reading or cataloging. But it will do for the year. I learned I am very poor at graphic editing with clumsy apps. The bookshelves in the study were also custom built for paperbacks, though I found out (re-learned) that the shelves can be moved. We had two rooms fitted with book shelves when we bought the house. We actually have rooms, not including the bathrooms, without any books. The family room has lots of DVDs, laser disks, lps, though.

Edited: Jan 6, 3:28pm Top

I just finished The Mongrel Mage , 4th book of 2018, no specific challenge

It wasn't particularly absorbing, which is why I've been able to catalog a couple of shelves in between chapters.

Jan 5, 9:00pm Top

>34 quondame: I hadn't even looked at your join date. Welcome to LT!

>33 quondame: Hmm, now I'm intrigued by the idea of following the fellowship daily.

Edited: Jan 6, 3:31pm Top

I just finished Wakiki Garden (?), 5th book of 2018, TIOLI challenge Wiki - it even has wiki-wiki in the text!

This is a very thin volume of poetry, some in Hawaiian (with translation) with a couple of photos.

(?) unrated because I am unqualified to rate poetry unless it is truly bad or truly awesome.

Jan 6, 2:15am Top

Susan--Welcome! Happy New Year! Congrats on the new thread! Whew. That's a lot of excitement for one day. : ) I am trying to fit in a few more Sci-Fi this year so I'll be checking in.

Also, if you click on this link, the thread is How To Do Cool Stuff in Your Threads


Jan 6, 2:44am Top

Hi, Susan. Dropping a star.

Welcome, to LT and the 75'ers.

Kim has a great link >44 Berly:. I referred to it so often that I made my own summary of it so I didn't have to search through all the posts: https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/User:Rretzler

Jan 6, 2:48am Top

>44 Berly: I actually still have a few of my programming chops left from the days when I had a life and have done a fair amount with HTML. Nothing more modern though. I am happy I can still use some of my unix scripts on my Mac. But I'm not good with images and any software I had that was decent aged out about a decade ago.

Jan 6, 3:29am Top

>44 Berly: There's also The New How to do Fancy Things in Your Thread in the Green Dragon.

Are you using the LibraryThing app on your phone/ tablet? It catalogues books so much faster than manual entry, even using a CueCat - as long as you've got ISBN barcodes on your books.

Oh, er, hi Susan. I saw you're new and you also show up in my profile as recent additions with a large number of books similar to mine. Welcome to LT. :0)

Jan 6, 5:51am Top

Welcome, I read a fair few fantasy and SF novels myself, so I'll keep an eye on what you're reading.

Jan 6, 10:58am Top

There’s also a pretty good wiki page for how to do cool things. You can get to it from our group wiki, which is always linked on our group home page in the description header.

Edited: Jan 6, 3:32pm Top

>47 humouress: I'll check out the Green Dragon thread. I'm the sort of geek that used to hand code postscript before my brain burnt out from 80hr weeks. I used my iPhone for modern books, but it is hopeless with 50s-70s stuff. Mostly I'm on a full sized Mac. Thanks for the welcome! (Update: I found what I needed!)

>48 SandDune: Thanks!

>49 drneutron: I do read the manual after I've fallen flat on my face a few times. We'll see how bruised my nose gets before I give up or get it right this time.

Edited: Jan 7, 1:52am Top

I just finished a sixth book, Iron Angels , no particular challenge

This is a sub-urban fantasy, set in the dreary post-industrial decrepit north-west corner of Indiana, Chicago adjacent. A mix of FBI flavors and locals take on some Lovecraftian horrors.

Edited: Jan 7, 8:51am Top

>50 quondame: I know from experience; my kids helped me catalogue over 5,000 books at the club bilingual library where I used to volunteer and some of the books were fairly old. The app was introduced when we were about halfway through and things really speeded up. (When the club decided to close the library shortly after we'd completed the task, we were not happy bunnies) :0/

Jan 7, 1:18pm Top

I just finished a sixth book, Santa Baby , TIOLI #1

The fist story Hot Toy, was improbable fun. The other two were pornomances, and not particularly good ones.

Jan 7, 3:53pm Top

"pornomances". Heh. I *love* that term. 😂

Jan 7, 4:20pm Top

I just finished a seventh book, The Squirrel on the Train , no particular challenge.

A scent filled adventure narrated by Oberon, Atticus's Irish Wolf Hound. Who killed Atticus's doppelganger and were they out for Atticus? Are squirreles really out to get us or was Atticus joking

Jan 7, 6:34pm Top

>55 quondame: I'm not near far enough into the series for that one yet but it sounds like a lot of fun. Oberon is my favorite character in the Iron Druid Chronicles.

Jan 8, 1:26pm Top

I've finally managed to track down your thread, Susan, and your mention of the SRA Reading Lab in your opening post brought back so many fond memories for me! Like you, I was quite competitive about reading them all, even reading ones that weren't assigned.

I am also a fan of the Iron Druid series, though my library only offers some of the short stories so I haven't read the squirrel one. I just wish he'd hurry up and publish that last full-length novel!

Jan 8, 1:47pm Top

>57 rosalita: Welcome! I have really great libraries all around me and don't take nearly as much advantage of them as I should, though it's not for want of reading, that's for sure.

Jan 8, 10:38pm Top

I've got the half-stars for you over in my thread. Check them out, see if you like them, and if so, let me know what color you would prefer. I think I'm going to start a new business, customizing stars for the 75'ers! 😜

Jan 9, 10:14am Top

hello Susan. I look forward to seeing what you read.

What's the Mythic Cafe? (saw the de Lint mention - one of my favourite authors)

Jan 9, 1:42pm Top

>60 calm: Mythic Cafe is a FB group administered by MaryAnn Harris, de Lint's wife and most a sharing area for fabulous (as in relating to myth and fable) art. Occasionally there is a discussion about books. https://www.facebook.com/groups/114379772019551/

Jan 9, 1:48pm Top

Oh well I don't do Facebook. Looks like an interesting place to hang out if you do though.

Jan 9, 2:00pm Top

I just finished a eighth book, The Girl In the Tower , TIOLI #4i

My favorite book so far this year, this is in no way any let down from The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden's first novel. Vasya takes to the forest paths, medieval Russia being rather short on roads, passing a youth, intermittently aided by Morozoko. There she discovers capabilities and dangers, meets up with her brother the monk Sasha and the Grand Prince of Moscow, and finds more dangers and temptations among men than in the forest. She also learns again that the price for doing what she wants can be very high indeed and that she is not the only one who must pay.

The claustrophobia of the first volume is almost gone from this one, but always looms, particularly in the scenes in the Terem, most of which feature Olga, Vasya's older sister. The winter forest is very much a character in Vasya's travels, as is the city of Moscow when the Vasya arrives there still disguised as a boy, with the Grand Prince's party.

Jan 11, 12:16am Top

No more book updates until next week - tomorrow morning I'm abandoning my husband, daughter, and dogs to spend four glutenous days with a few score other crazies in the mountains east of Big Bear. No snow this year, so we can't just stick our wine in the drift outside the door and have it all chilled for dinner, but we'll make do. No phone reception is a bit of a strain, but well.

Jan 11, 4:27am Top

>64 quondame: Oooh! Have lots of fun!

Jan 13, 12:08am Top

>64 quondame: Have fun!

Jan 13, 12:21am Top

Well, I see you have conquered posting images and have taken to starring your reads!! 1/2s and all. ; )

Hope you have a great time with your fellow crazies. Sounds great.

Jan 15, 11:33pm Top

I'm back. I was able to pick up the bracelet made from a few of my tool charms that was composed and assembled by one of my friends.

I also read a lot, since I neglected to bring the fabric I needed to mend the pile of smocks I had packed.

Jan 16, 8:22am Top

THat's cool!

Jan 16, 12:38pm Top

Hi Susan - just wanted to let you know that I have set up a general group read thread for the Robin Hobb Realm of the Elderlings series if you're interested in joining us


>63 quondame: I really enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale so am looking forward to that one.

Jan 16, 11:54pm Top

What I read over my winter vacation:

# 9) The Martian Simulacra , LT Review Copy
#10) The Midnight Queen , no challenge
#11) Lady of Magic , no challenge

Today, finished just before it was overdue -

#12) The Last Mortal Bond , no challenge

Jan 16, 11:58pm Top

>68 quondame: Very cool. Hope you had a good trip.

Jan 17, 8:26am Top

>71 quondame: #9 looks interesting!

Jan 17, 1:15pm Top

>73 drneutron: Sort of gaslight fantasy, more in common with Girl Genius than 21st cent. Robert Downey Jr. SH. But not nearly as good as GG, which, sometimes, I love. Not recommended.

Jan 18, 12:59pm Top

#14) The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear , no challenge

Not a complete tale in itself, but the drawn out introduction to three groups, it is still full of incident and action. The characters are interesting if not unique, though the trans-genderd/shandah Rajni Sayeh's backstory is outside the usual, the plight of a widowed ruler in crisis is less so.

Jan 19, 4:19pm Top

#15) God Stalk by P.C. Hodgell , God Stalk read along

The lack of description of Jame's training by Penari and the disconnect when she is dancing foul my expectations of this genre. It's as if the people Jame will be leaving behind are glossed over and anything to do with her past is set to tease. The thread with Gorgo and his priest Loogan is a delight.

Jan 20, 2:16am Top

#16) Voyager in Night , re-read #1

A dream state novel with details. I never remember anything major about this story, though each time I'm impressed by the character reveals character development after death, it's been done before but usually with a surfeit of sentiment, not one of Cherryh's faults.

Jan 20, 2:19am Top

I feel over medicated for the cold I'm harboring, though I haven't had anything today - I am going to scarf down some nighttime gels again since I don't remember anything about last night, which is great when I'm not feeling well. No sign of a fever so far.

Jan 21, 12:14am Top

Hope you feel better ASAP. I enjoyed Godstalk enough that I want to read the second one sometime.

Jan 21, 12:23am Top

>79 Berly: I feel better today - tomorrow I have to sit outside most of the day and it is supposed to be cold, so we'll see how I'm doing in 24hrs. I'll probably read more in the series too - I think God Stalk suffers from trying to do too much with not quite enough experience to carry it off.

Jan 21, 1:24am Top

Are you shivering in the cold tomorrow for anything fun?

Jan 21, 1:46am Top

>81 Berly: An SCA event being put on by my local group. I'm the exchequer so I have to bring the cash box and supervise it. It's an archery tournament (two actually) and my husband is really into the archery.

Jan 21, 2:00am Top

Stay warm! Bring something hot in your thermos. Tell you hubby to go for the bullseye. I have tried archery a few times and it is fun and challenging, but just a little bit of wind and I'm off-target. In fact, all by myself, I'm off-target. LOL

Jan 21, 5:47pm Top

I've tried archery once or twice, and it strikes me that I could get into it once I can make time for it. We have and archery club not too far from here and I may try to join a class.

Jan 21, 10:09pm Top

My younger son is getting into archery too. We went to a Club Med in October (which the kids loved so much, we went back in December) and he would have done it every day if it hadn’t clashed with other things we wanted to do. He especially wanted to beat me in the daily family competitions. Not all that hard to do, really, though at this stage he’s got more enthusiasm than skill ;0)

Jan 21, 11:45pm Top

>84 drneutron: >85 humouress: My husband started archery after I got involved in the SCA and let him know about the local practice. Later, when he was again out of state he connected with an SCA group in IL and played the recorder with them. He's been back in CA for some years now and archery has entirely eclipsed music - I think it's at least as much the people in the activities as the activities themselves. I've always been a costume groupie, and the wealth of information and gorgeous dress has been a continual draw.

>83 Berly: The temperature was at least 10° higher than expected which made for lovely and much appreciated weather. Only occasional wind which is quite rare for that range. My sniffles are back though, so it's hot tea and all the comfies and a dragooned dachshund as a bed warmer.

Jan 23, 5:15pm Top

#17) Life During Wartime , I'm still looking for my central American war story

An impressionistic take on a drug saturated war somehow proxy for the conflict between two Panamanian families whose weapons are physic and material and whose troops are the ultimate burn outs. Full of violence and poetic descriptions, it trails off into the mist leaving the bodies behind.

Edited: Jan 25, 8:13pm Top

#18) A Season of Spells ,

I finally got back to this after attending to other books due to be returned to the library. It is the weakest of the trilogy, dragooning a whipped up Emperor of Gaul as the threat to give weight to the struggles of our protagonists. So much more could have been plotted with the various magics that threaten the characters, but are mostly just used once and left lying about.

Jan 26, 6:14pm Top

#19) Dark State,
#20) The Lost Plot,

Two books in long series featuring alternate realities with novel ways of moving from one to another. One very serious, hardly any fun to be had by characters and reader, and one playful and quirky. I vote for the one with the lighter touch!

Jan 29, 2:15pm Top

#21) The Will to Battle, , fits TIOLI #1

I'm ready to leave Terra Ignota, but the author still has at least one more book in the series. This book, like it's predecessors is interesting, well paced, well written and asks important questions. The characters are the most fascinating aspect of the novels for me and the combination of familiar and exotic motivations that animate them. But mostly I find little to like about them - they are so remote except in their basest urges. And there is the Deus In Machina, whose inexplicable attractiveness forms a center pole of character alignment.

Feb 1, 3:03pm Top

Archery! That would be a lot of fun. I've always admired people who are able to bow hunt. That actually takes some skill.

Feb 1, 5:21pm Top

>91 The_Hibernator: Exactly. First you have to convince target to stand still and stick a bullseye on its bum.

Feb 1, 6:41pm Top

>90 quondame: That one looks interesting... I love the cover!

Feb 1, 7:44pm Top

>93 drneutron: All of Ada Plamer's books are interesting - and mind bending. It's definitely Science Fiction, but the deity of another creation is a main character in previous books miracles were performed which are having consequences.

Feb 1, 8:02pm Top

#22) The Alexander Inheritance,

A brand new mega-cruise ship of Scandinavian Registry, US passengers, and mix of vastly international crew, find themselves transported from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean a couple of years after the death of Alexander the Great. The usual number of people are smart, heroic, ass hats, opportunists etc, as the the ship becomes an international college and safe city.

I finished this one on the due date, and am lucky that it was the only one I could not renew. My TBR pile continues to grow faster than I am working through it, for which I totally blame LT.

Feb 3, 10:58pm Top

#23) The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue,

It's already the 3rd and I have only finished 1 book this month. Granted I was out all day today at an SCA event and much of yesterday visiting a friend with a broken leg and I'm trying to re-arrange my sewing room while teaching my daughter to sew. Maybe the rest of my stack is shorter.....

Feb 3, 11:53pm Top

Hi, Sue! I have issues this year in getting to anybody's thread, but I'm happy to have stumbled across yours. I brightened up considerably as I read your experience with SRA reading labs........ I forced my high schoolers to use them in this county where the average 18 year-old graduates reading on about an 8th grade level. I do hope that one or two of them profited from our once-a-week exercise. (I used SRA's listening exercises with them too - a thing no other English teacher in our school was doing.)
Your scifi reading is a real find for me. I'm currently reading and not reading Ada Palmer's first. I like it, but I have other stuff going too.
A star for you, and I will return!

Feb 4, 2:03am Top

>97 LizzieD: HI Peggy, glad to meet you. I owe so much to my high school English teachers, in spite of them calling me by my sister's name every time they wanted me to quite down. One had extracted vocabulary from every SAT she'd administered and was relentless in drilling us for our first two years. I have read a few things other than F&FS, though when I would pick up my dad's von Clausewitz I was just faking my family out. I was lucky that reading was a thing in our house, though it didn't seem like it until it became easy for me.

Feb 11, 8:06am Top

SRA Reading Lab -- Oh my gosh. I used to fly through those. Wasn't purple the last one? I'd finish them up then I could read something else during SRA time. I was unusually motivated, not competitive, just couldn't help it. Total ADD kid, if I was into something I was like that. Not, and I was more or less in a daze staring out the window.

I've enjoyed so many series I think I need to start a "top ten series" in my lists.

Archery!~ Hope you didn't get too cold.

Feb 11, 3:16pm Top

>99 sibyx: The weather was perfect. Shortly after I posted I happened to ignite a controversy (figuratively I opened the door on a room full of gas while carrying an open flame) that ended up with my SCA Kingdom being written up for swastika displays in SPLC Hatewatch and a pagan newsletter that didn't bother to check facts. A couple of the main individuals involved were at the event and came over to assure me that they were in no way white supremacists and were only intending a historically accurate 6th century display. By two weeks later the 'Royals', one of whom spoke to me on the 21st, had stepped down, long term friendships were in tatters, people left the group, there were rumors of death threats, doxing, and a whole lot of vile language.
But at the event, my husband refused to compete because he had no interest in being the champion for that set of royals. A friend of our swept both archery tournaments and the arts completion. Life has not been boring.
I'd love to see your list of favorite stories. Mine would have to include Tolkein, Bujold, Wolfe, de Lint, C.P. Snow, Dunnett, and Tepper. I can count ten with those 7 authors, easy!
I think purple was the summit of SRA. I surely did lots of window staring in school. Or doodling on papers - when I failed to write my name on assignments they were generally credited correctly due to doodles.

Feb 13, 11:01am Top

Hope you're feeling better Susan.

My mother was a middle-school phys ed teacher and my aunt a college phys ed teacher. Between the two of them, they instilled a love of archery in me. We used to have a target in the backyard and a really great recurve bow, but it was stolen when I was in early HS, and we never replaced it. Several years ago, I purchased a target for our backyard and bought both boys recurve bows, but since we live in a well-populated suburb, the backyard is NOT the best place to learn archery. I keep thinking I'd like to get out there and practice since I would be more accurate, but I think the bows are too small for me.

Feb 13, 10:59pm Top

Back again to cheer for the purple! (I'm trying to imagine Lucy working through an SRA text.)
I also would include Tolkein, Bujold, Dunnett, and Tepper. I've loved Winston Graham for *Poldark* and Anthony Powell for *Dance to the Music of Time*, and Paul Scott for *Raj Quartet* (surely with the addition of Staying On, that counts as a series), and David Weber for Honor Harrington, and and and and and. I won't even start on mystery series. I'm sure I'm leaving out somebody vastly important, but it's time for bed.
>99 sibyx: That sounds like more interesting action than I could manage.

Feb 14, 1:22am Top

>102 LizzieD: I haven't read Anthony Powell, outgrew my attraction to Poldark and always felt Honor Harrington was just a guy without equipment. Elizabeth Moon for women warriors, on horse or in space!

Feb 14, 5:29pm Top

Happy Valentine's Day, Susan.

Edited: Feb 15, 11:11pm Top

>102 LizzieD: ACK! How could I have omitted C.J. Cherryh's *Foreigner* and *Union/Alliance* series????
>103 quondame: I don't think I'll ever outgrow Poldark. I love my Honor, but I really, really love Nimitz and the treecats. I'll agree that E. Moon is great, but I'm a chump for both the politics and the weaponry in Weber. I'll give you that he doesn't do much (!) with character development, but I don't care. That said, I'm several behind, nor have I finished rereading the early ones as I set out to do sometime back.

Feb 15, 11:59pm Top

>105 LizzieD: How could you indeed. But while I've read them each lots of times, they don't make my top 10. I also enjoy the Liaden books, but they seem self-indulgent to me. I'm frankly expecting turtle magic to fix Won Ton, I mean Win Ton or whatever.....
Poldark just became too soap opera for me, and the use of the word frock for a gown really gagged me after I got into historic costuming/recreation.

Edited: Feb 18, 12:00am Top

#24) The Alchemists of Loom,

#25) NEOGENESIS (Liaden Universe(r)),

#26) New York Fantastic: Fantasy Stories from the City that Never Sleeps,

I not only haven't been reading as much as I usually do - sewing, teaching sewing, re-arraigning sewing room, way too much FaceBook, and visiting a friend with a badly broken leg - I haven't been reporting on what I have been reading. No one's life will lack much without reading these though. If any of them really were absorbing I wouldn't have put them down so often.

Feb 18, 9:04pm Top

A shame that the Kova book wasn’t better - it looks like the kind of thing I’d enjoy.

Feb 18, 10:02pm Top

Great to see that you have taken to the group like a duck to water, Susan.

Enjoy what little is left of your Sunday.

Feb 18, 10:07pm Top

>108 drneutron: I'm not really into the dark heroine (or tortured dark protagonist of any gender) style narrative and The Alchemists of Loom wasn't bad, though I almost put it down in the first chapter, it got better for me when it wasn't Ari's pov.

Edited: Feb 22, 4:22pm Top

#27) 1636: THE VATICAN SANCTIONS (Ring of Fire),

#28) Into the Fire (Vatta's Peace),

A sick dog, a fever of my own and the continuing saga of sewing room reorganization, frosted with clean up from my daughter's LARP weekend, ate into my reading time, but a totally mediocre book (#27) did not help.

Feb 22, 8:58pm Top

Well, I was not being nearly so clever as I thought! I was following other group members' threads, but only looking at those threads on which I had commented. Which I neglected to do on some continuation threads so I've been so out of it all! I also figured others must be doing the same, which account for so many 'Congratulations on your new thread' posts that a new thread is required in 1/4th the time. Will it never end?

Feb 22, 10:04pm Top

I follow threads by starring them rather than commenting, which automatically follows the continuation, so that works for me. I am waiting for Into the Fire--it is still listed as being on order at my library, and I am third in line. I won't buy these (at least not in hardback, unlike the Paksennarion books), but do like to read library copies.

Feb 22, 10:38pm Top

I have to say that the Vatta books have been not my favorite Moons. I've sort of let the series go.
I also star - and then see that I'm behind by 150 posts on almost every thread. Arrrgh.
Hope you'll wake up better in the morning!

Feb 23, 1:04am Top

>113 ronincats: >114 LizzieD: The Paksenarion series is certainly my favorite of Moon's, though I read the Herris Serrano books much earlier. I think these last two Vatta books are better than any but the first of the Vatta's war books. I do star, but after I noticed the 'Your Posts' option I lost some of the continuation threads by not checking the starred threads. There is a lot to catch up.

Feb 23, 5:21am Top

>112 quondame: Guilty (on both counts).

Feb 23, 10:16pm Top

#29) The Cruel Prince,

This is my first novel by Holly Black and was certainly worth reading. I felt somewhat distant from the characters, but they were interesting and the action was well paced and both fulfilled and defied expectations.

Feb 25, 6:33pm Top

Mike, Becky and I went to see Black Panther early today. It was beautiful and the actors are amazingly attractive. Fast action, interesting characters and totally predictable plot.

Feb 25, 11:54pm Top

#30) Binti: The Night Masquerade,

The interesting well written conclusion to the Binti series, I still have significant reservations about this and in fact, the entire series.

Feb 27, 1:06pm Top

#31) The White Spell (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms),

If you liked previous volumes this one is just fine, full of old friends and strange magic, a bit light on plot and silly as to character.

Edited: Mar 1, 2:17pm Top

From a 2013 Kickstarter I just got a new, book related doll The Scary Godmother - The level of detail is pretty amazing! But the bags have ribbons, not chains.

Mar 1, 7:21pm Top

#32) Bring up the Bodies,

A calculated retelling of the fall of Anne Boleyn. An excellent book that I didn't enjoy all that much!

Mar 2, 6:41pm Top

Since I find it a hassle to search for the month's TIOLI challenge Wiki - March Page 1

Mar 3, 12:45am Top

#33) Starlings,

A collection of small delights. I can even read the poetry with only the occasional lapse of attention and mind clouds. Each pieces is rather individual, but there are mythic elements clearly on display. The only jarring notes for me were that one character didn't like Dick Frances (was this meant to say something negative about the character, or could it be possible that Jo Walton is not also a great fan of Dick Francis?) and one story was a retelling of a joke I've told many times, but with a ham instead of a roast and a plate instead of an oven. Retell a myth, no issue, all the best authors do - retell a joke I've made my own and I feel it!

Mar 4, 11:06am Top

>118 quondame: Glad to see that you enjoyed Black Panther. I thought it was very well done and is probably one of my favorite Marvel movies.

>120 quondame: What are your reservations about the Binti series? I recently purchased the first one, but haven't started it yet.

Mar 4, 4:43pm Top

>125 rretzler: The Binti stories are well told and interesting, but I did not find them very original - there are many, many similar super-girl compelled by ambition, or other pressures, to leave restrictive family. So that's one. The second is that the very short volumes were sold as books, not short stories or at most novelettes. The third is the way death is used/abused in the story line.

Mar 4, 7:40pm Top

>127 rretzler: Very good points, Susan. I did note when I purchased the first that it was little more than a short story, but I figured it was because it was an intro to the series and that the rest would be longer. If I continue with the series, I guess I'll probably get them from the library then.

Mar 6, 9:42pm Top

#34) Mad Hatters and March Hares,

I did not enjoy this. Only a few of the authors make even slight nods to the 19th century nonsense and intelligent, sly subversiveness of the originals. This reads like dark urban fantasy verging into horror. Sort of tales of wonder-why land.I am going to bury myself in a comfort read now.

Mar 6, 10:39pm Top

Hope your book is truly comforting.
I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy *Bring Bodies* more. I'm in awe and waiting impatiently for the next one.

Mar 7, 1:04am Top

I still want to go see the Black Panther. You are certainly cranking out the books!

Mar 7, 3:33pm Top

>129 LizzieD: I was probably just not in the mood for the 'in the present' style of it. The characters and events never loose their interest and though I can't look forward to the conclusion of Cromwell's story, I also hope to enjoy the sequel.

>130 Berly: Whoa, for me this is a slow year - although I've a large hold queues at local libraries, so maybe I'll get back up to speed - then again there is more sewing room organizing to complete and I should turn a significant portion of the stash into clothing and garb!

Edited: Mar 7, 5:41pm Top

My latest Kickstarter supporter for Girl Genius medal arrived today!




I received the bronze one.

Mar 7, 9:26pm Top

>132 quondame: Those are so cool!

Edited: Mar 8, 3:12pm Top

#34) Trade Secret,

A comfort re-read, this is one of the iBooks I carry around and read when I'm waiting around with no one to chat with - like my husband and daughter are with me at a restaurant and are glued to their mobiles. I have mixed feelings about most of the Liaden Universe stories with the wild mix of romanticism, space opera, and supernatural mental powers. This one is at least free of fix-anything clutch turtles and looming intelligent trees.

Mar 9, 11:17am Top

#35) Wake of Vultures,

If you liked The Thirteenth Child but thought maybe it didn't have enough bite and like the grit of Silver on the Road, Wake of Vultures delivers just about all the bite and grit the arid west can encompass with a mix of monsters I recognize from Europe and the American continent. I haven't detected elements of African or Asian bestiaries, but I think the main character may remedy the African lapse in future adventures.
This is plotted as an escape from the intolerable into the mostly incredible quest, with race and gender issues. Well written and excellently paced, the heroine as pretty much used up being underestimated as weapon against really bad antagonists.

Mar 10, 9:06am Top

>100 quondame: Golly, what a dust-up with your archery group!

If you spy around on my home page, I have made categories of "Top Ten" for this and that and the other. (Many of them far exceed the number ten!) I really should change the name to Worthwhile or something else, but it amuses me to leave the lists the way they are. There are many many other series that didn't make this list that I think are well worth reading--I know which ones they are because they are the ones I remember, years later.

>102 LizzieD: Important word shift would be "work" I enjoyed the SRA challenge so much if was just fun.

Mar 10, 12:09pm Top

>136 sibyx: I like the worthwhile designation - and any number is so arbitrary. A book can be worthwhile for so many reasons, the main one being that I enjoyed spending my time reading it!

Mar 10, 12:31pm Top

#35) No Time to Spare,

I love spending time with Ursula K. Le Guin's writing and ideas. This book is full of short pieces, blog posts, about her thoughts and the incidents in the last few years of her life. Her refusal to accept what passes for truths in American so-called ideology can be refreshing and/or disturbing. Just approaching 70 I too feel I have no spare time.

Mar 10, 3:02pm Top

It's been just over an hour since I left home in the rain, stopped at 3 libraries (2 city, 1 county), my favorite Italian Deli and an ATM and now I'm home and dry again. I love LA!

Mar 11, 12:54pm Top

>139 quondame: Eh? I couldn’t even cover one library in an hour let alone travel between three.

Mar 11, 2:31pm Top

>140 humouress: One is within a mile, one within 3 and the other is less than 10 min away on the freeway and near the deli. While I live in city, it is in a sort of cul-de-sac neighborhood unknown to those driving by on the freeway less than a mile away (but shielded by a hill from most of the noise) On a bad day it takes me less than 5 min to get on the freeway, though after that I'm as subject to traffic as anyone else, so I time my excursions if I can.

Mar 11, 2:40pm Top

#36) Future Visions,

Stories centered around technology, well enough written, but the only one I remember had a troubled, loss torn man as a central figure, so while I like good science in my SF, it's not what creates a memorable experience for me. I also remember a bit of Ann Leckie's story, but I just read it yesterday and it was more a linguistic adventure than pure tech.

Mar 11, 5:59pm Top

#37) The Girl With Silver Eyes,

This had a flip side of Village of the Damned run up, with a sudden, now I have friends ending. As I really didn't like VotD and the environments Katie endures are so hostile, I wasn't really enjoying this much, then it ended. If I'd read a review or so I would have known it wasn't an adult novel nor quite what is now going as YA - high body count ending in cuddles - so I was reading it as an adult novel about a young girl, which it pretty much is until the last couple of chapters.

Edited: Mar 12, 3:49pm Top

I'm sorry your reads lately have been less than stellar. I have fallen in that trap of not realizing a book is meant to be YA and felt afterward that if I had known I could have adjusted my expectations accordingly and probably enjoyed the book more.

Mar 12, 3:48pm Top

>144 rosalita: Exactly! I have a 6 book physical stack that has to be returned to the library by Mar 31, and several more on hold or eBook, so I'm hoping one of those goes 4 Star or plus for me!

Mar 12, 6:46pm Top

#38) The Dreamer's Song,

Perfectly readable, we are spending more time with the mismatched Acair of Ceangail and Léirsinn of Sàraichte, who only slightly advance their relationship, Most of the book is more visits with interesting acquaintance, with all the real developments packed into the final chapters. No pain, but not much gain.

Mar 12, 8:13pm Top

>128 quondame: Our book club is reading that. Overall, I've been underwhelmed too, although I'd probably give it a solid 3 at the moment.

Mar 12, 8:47pm Top

>147 thornton37814: Well, I'm starting The Stone Sky so I'm expecting substance ahead! I love fluff, fluff light is not satisfying. I think Kurland just wasn't interested in dealing with what might be substantial issues of finding redemption after the wilful commission of abhorrent acts.

Mar 13, 11:30pm Top

How could I have not read Emergence by C.J. Cherryh!

1) I didn't catch it on Locus Forthcoming books
2) I didn't actually read the C.J. Cherry FB page event though I thought I had!

Well, my library of 1st choice has it available, so I will be picking it up soon. It does look like another how deep in trouble can we bury Bren plot though.

Mar 14, 7:08pm Top

Hooray for more Foreigner!

Mar 16, 1:36pm Top

#39) The Stone Sky,

I enjoyed the characters this second read, the ideas came across better though more heavy handed. This is a heavy book and I don't like the dystopian setting any more than ever. Jemisin may refer to pleasure but we almost never are in a characters head when they experience it.

I'm not sure why I continued reading this after I realized I had already finished it in October. It took more time than most first reads as I felt no urgency to get back into it, but that allowed me to get a better feel for what was being said. Still, I'm off to, hopefully enjoy, newer reads, though Ken Scholes hasn't been a bag of laughs these last volumes.

Edited: Mar 17, 10:25pm Top

#40) Hymn

Now I know why this book was carried by only one of my 3 goto libraries. It was only occasionally painful to read, Ken Scholes tendency to repeat phrases as if there is one and only one way something can be told was a constant ache, and the contrived final conflict with Amylé and the cop-out by which Rudolpho is saved from dealing with Orius-gone-bad were definite minus-es but the worst was wading through the multiple maudlin endings. Usually I like to get a a few paragraphs of resolution for each of the narrative threads, but these were so syrupy that I could hardly swim to the end.

Mar 17, 10:34pm Top

The traditional treat for post-tax accountant visits is a Jewish deli lunch, which I thoroughly enjoyed even though the tax appointment was rather less painful than usual and the refunds will somewhat more than cover the cost of preparation. I was concerned because 2017 was the first year we withdrew from 401K to meet expenses - a new car on no job will do that - and I hadn't been quite as frugal with the excess from the withdrawal as I assured myself I would be at the time. Now it's back to cleaning up after the great sewing room re-org - I keep finding troves of patterns that didn't get sorted into the boxes in the garage, but they are getting smaller and smaller.

Mar 18, 1:01pm Top

>149 quondame: I've had Foreigner in my TBR pile for ages but I'm quite nervous about starting a 14 book (and growing) series. One of these days...

Mar 18, 1:30pm Top

>154 souloftherose: The Foreigner series does have ups and downs, but there is a pull over ever three books to stop and rest, and they have always been quick reads for me when I need a clearly competent and intelligent author to read.

Mar 18, 6:59pm Top

>154 souloftherose: >155 quondame: I totally concur! The good thing is that you can read them in sets of three -- I read three a year and it has been very satisfying. FYI she's up to 19 in the series!

Mar 18, 9:39pm Top

Today was another food oriented day as I attended the Cooking Guild meeting of our local SCA group.

I made an early trip to a nearby Farmer's Market to pick up ingredients for a salad - dandelion greens, radishes, and spring onions served with a honey/verjuice/olive oil dressing.

Also on the plate are stuffed eggs, oat cakes with preserves, Brussel sprouts. Not shown are a fabulous fresh pea soup and a strawberry pudding - made with almond milk and wine.

Mar 19, 12:26pm Top

#41) Emergence

A good solid chapter of the Foreigner series, the real meat of this volume is Cajeiri's maturation as Atevi, not quite the same notes as the human coming of age we are used to. The young heir to the Aiji interest focuses on the individuals around him, their interactions, and the implications of their decisions and he internalizes the restrictions placed on him because of his position. His adaption to his limited agency and his capabilities within it make for interesting reading if you don't require your central character to be constantly within the cross hairs, though some risk is present. Bren is visited from time to time, also dealing with frustration, in his case from the very limited data channel between him and the main land where he knows something is going on. He sees a bit of action at the end, but it doesn't seem consequential.

Mar 19, 2:07pm Top

>157 quondame: Looks nice!

Mar 19, 3:42pm Top

>159 drneutron: These dishes were good, but the spring pease pottage and the strawberry pudding were the ones to that really were good eats.

Mar 20, 12:55am Top

#42) Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach

Two octogenarians and a twenty-something pursue and win a contract to time travel from a post-apocolyptic 23rd century to 2024 BC to do an environmental study the ancient Tigris & Euphrates region as a baseline to its reconstruction. The world building and characters were engrossing, the writing didn't annoy me, and the incidents and action were well handled. I found the bad guy just too bad and not that interesting, but his role and character did fit. But the set up didn't make sense to me - why pick that time period, when there was no reason given for not going earlier? It isn't as if the region could be restored to any specific time period or the rivers to any previous flow channels. But the inter-generational reveals are the heart of the book and they were what I hope Kelly Robson deals with in future stories.

Mar 20, 5:19am Top

>155 quondame:, >156 sibyx: That's good to know - thank you! Sets of three sounds like the way to go then (and yowzer, 19 books!).

>161 quondame: Oh, that sounds fun. I think I've enjoyed some of Robson's short stories before so will add that to the list.

Mar 20, 9:03pm Top

#43) GoodGuys

This book is not a sequel! I had to check because I wasn't comfortable reading it until I was sure.

A fun cookie of a book with seriously dark chips. Two organizations of magic users with somewhat different ethics are involved in a series of murders one investigating one as victims - or is it so clear cut?
Medical biller, PI wanna be, with all the skills but not the title, Donovan Longfellow with magic practitioner Marci Sullivan and martial artist Susan Kouris are getting into increasingly risky situations as they investigate the (implausibly) unbroken chain of murders. The characters were good, the writing smooth and appropriate, the action moved well and logically except for the perfect detection of the murders in the very timely fashion with little to support such omnipotent efficiency.

Mar 22, 12:56am Top

#44) Girl Genius: The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne Volume 1: The Beast of the Rails

I enjoyed this rather more than my online sampling of pages Second Journeys lead me to believe I would. I certainly hadn't read and|or remembered enough to get much of an idea of the action in this part of the story and I'm hoping that the case for the Paris section I've just started. Lots of humor and wonderful little background bits.

Edited: Mar 22, 12:57am Top

#45) Omens

This was a really absorbing read. Yes, the girl with extra abilities meets and works with the attractive emotionally unavailable man and an attractive rogue, so many of the elements are so so familiar, and yet they work almost as if this is a first pass through them as our woman in distress has a rather unusual set of parental problems that trigger the plot. I wasn't totally charmed by Cainsville, perhaps because the architectural details didn't speak to me and the gargoyles were just too cute - I like gargoyles to eat pigeons I guess, not show up and vanish coyly. Also, I'd like to see Italian or Croatian fae, the Celtic crud is way way overdone in urban fantasy.

Mar 24, 12:58am Top

#46) Girl Genius: The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne Volume 2: City of Lightning

Amusing enough, but not a whole lot happens and Paris isn't that visually interesting as a backdrop.

Mar 24, 1:00am Top

#47) Dark of the Moon

Much easier to read and follow than God Stalk it was less interesting and fairly similar to the other fantasy of its time. I don't like nasty dudes being political as a form of entertainment, and though some of the landscape and characters have the potential to interest there were too much of the former and too many of the latter to get any real feel for them. And a couple times just to show how clever she is Hodgell put words in the mouths of her characters that didn't really suit them.

Mar 24, 5:12am Top

Interesting mix.

>165 quondame: Do Italy and Croatia have fairies? I feel uncomfortable reading about them in modern fantasies when I haven’t run across them in their parent mythologies.

>167 quondame: I’m sorry this didn’t work for you. I still have to get to my re-read of it, but I really loved God Stalk and Tai-Tastigon.

Mar 24, 6:56am Top

I definitely enjoyed Godstalk enough to give the next one a try, but now I am not as excited by the prospect. Two and a half stars is not a good sign. Hmmmm....

Mar 24, 4:10pm Top

>168 humouress: I don't know much at all about European Mediterranean folklore or Balkan, but I do know I really do not need to see another red haired green eyed Celtic miss or lad with the sight or explore Seelie and Unseelie court politics for the rest of my life. It's one reason I welcome Katherine Arden Russian adventures. I expect gnarly from the Balkan and sensual from Italy, but I'd love to be surprised. I used to love the Tales from a {} Grandmother books, but though I don't really remember them I have the feeling that they collected more of the familiar than the unique.

I thought Tai-Tastigon was a great creation and there are echos of the creativity, but Dark passes through a lot of territory and settles nowhere.

>169 Berly: I tend to rate about lower than what seems to be average when I don't absolutely hate a book - Or think it is the best thing ever!

Mar 24, 11:06pm Top

#48) The Incrementalists

I read this four years ago but only the barest hints of familiarity occurred to me as I read it. It is interesting, moves well, and except for having a very familiar feeling man as one of two central/pov characters. Male first person narrators like Phil are often guys too good to be true, no flashes of irrational anger, little evidence of self-contentedness, or overly controlling, never lazy, and they don't crack their knuckles. Just this guy you know, good looking, good in bed, has his partner's, not to mention the world's, best interest always in mind. OK, rant over, Phil and Ren are smart and likable, somewhat vulnerable, and this book has done some grappling with the issues of serial immortality. The side guys, Jimmy, Ramon, Oskar and Matsu are intriguingly drawn, but the women Celeste and Irina are not fondly rendered, and while granted, they are sort of the villains of the piece, there could be some more sympathy at least for Irina. So the cast was rather male heavy.

Mar 25, 10:18pm Top

#49) Eligible

I don't read much romantic fiction these days, but I heard about this modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice during an interview of Curtis Sittenfeld on NPR, and am a Jane Austen fan, and this seemed like I might not totally hate it.
Well, I didn't hate it. Aside from spending way too much time setting up the parallels and differences of 2013 Bennetts and 1813 Bennetts, the book flowed pretty well and the retelling had enough differences to maintain interest. My favorite character was Cincinnati.

Mar 26, 8:57am Top

It's odd isn't it how some fantasy/sf just falls right out of one's head and others don't. I do take that as a measure of it having a "something". It can be surprising too. The R.A. MacAvoy's are really sticking in my mind, I didn't expect that -- but it is great world-building and original.

I'm rereading some McKillip right now. Really enjoying it! I love the brevity of the older books!

Mar 26, 12:38pm Top

>173 sibyx: R.A. MacAvoy is such an astounding author. Pieces of the Damiano series have stuck with me for decades, and and Tea with a Black Dragon changed the basics of modern dragon lore in a huge way. But my favorite is The Belly of the Wolf I think because I remember more of it than any of the others. It is true, so many modern books seem to be blown up, mostly by adding character viewpoints which often allow for plot slippages.

Mar 26, 2:13pm Top

#50) Girl Genius: The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne Volume 3: The Incorruptible Library

Stuff happens. I found the artwork tended more monochromatic that I enjoy, red tones in Mechanicsburg undergaround and blues in Pairs underground until the Library, which had some interesting backdrops. Also I liked Füst and wanted more of him, but really can you expect an artist to fit a giant brown bear into more than a few frames? All the different figures in brass bikinis are, um, interesting!?!

Mar 27, 7:37pm Top

#51) Runaway

I read this because a story from it, Tricks, was mentioned in the NPR interview of Curtis Sittenfeld as being devastating. And it was, but I didn't quite believe in it's devastation. I can find notes of her young, middle aged and old women in myself, aspects that I bore at one time, or from time to time. But that's just my problem with the stories. Not that the notes aren't true, but that they are so completely sorted out. And that it is the outliers in the range that are acted upon with and inevitable thoughtlessness. I can't grok the thoughtlessness either. Thought can be entirely in-error, or based on error, but I've never known it to be absent.

Three of these stories feature Juliet who I didn't much like as a central character. Two stories early in her life and one much later, which was for me, also the mother of one and only one daughter, would have been utterly devastating if I could have believed in Juliet and Penelope. It was still heartbreaking.

Mar 28, 5:47pm Top

#52) Conspiracy of Ravens

The Nettie has become Rhett, and has found his animal form even if he still has problems with his human one. Flying near mindless above the desert he encounters the donkey/Irish man Earl, which brings his human form back. Earl has escaped from a horrendous mining camp where monsters like him are forced to work and subject to having digits and limbs harvested by the camp owner. The rest of the book moves swiftly enough as Rhett collects a small posse in which Sam is the only non-monster and continues to take care of the problem railway camp. Not the stunner of the first book, but good, interesting, well written and some sense of fun for the characters.

Edited: Mar 29, 10:07pm Top

#53) The Ivy Tree

This was a 2017/2018 BB, but I cannot locate who shot it. Maybe familyhistorian? that's the only touchstone on record recently.

Mary Stewart does a masterful roll out of a completely over-the-top set up for a gothic tale. Almost any fact about the story would be a spoiler. There is danger, death, love, betrayal, but it just is too much of an artistic pile to have much heart. Any character with too many paragraphs came off the worse for it, including the narrator to my mind. Only one actual villain, but since that role is claimed pretty thoroughly early on it's mostly just watching unlikely puppets move through the shadows.

Mar 29, 10:06pm Top

>171 quondame: I am trying to decide whether to reread this before starting the new one. Like you, I read it four years ago when it came out.

Mar 30, 6:39pm Top

#54) Silence

Emma is a high school student coping with the recent death of her boyfriend Nathan and prior death her father. She has an unusual group of mutually caring friends. A graveyard encounter with a fellow student and an aged spirit catapults her into a very dangerous world where she can see and interact with the dead and others who can do not mean her well. The characters are much better than almost all of the teen-girl with extras I've read and the body count, while not negligible, doesn't require a mass grave. The action is swift and steady, the dog realistic, and the plotting excellent. The friend group is a bit too good to be true, but it was part of who Emma was that she would have good, true friends. A bit dark and completely lacking in magic-as-fun for my taste.

Mar 30, 6:41pm Top

>179 ronincats: I'd remembered so little of it that I would have, an may yet be, disoriented starting a sequel.

Mar 30, 9:29pm Top

>181 quondame: I'd probably better at least skim it then.
>180 quondame: That one is here in the TBR pile, based on my love for her Elantra series.

Mar 30, 9:55pm Top

>182 ronincats: I've only read short stories by Michelle Sagara, but she placed high on the favorite female fantasy author list and I think she's been mentioned in this group quite recently. I don't know who to credit for the BB, though.

Mar 30, 11:16pm Top

You really put them away, Susan! I got a reciprocal BB in the form of *Gods, Monsters, etc* and have a copy of the Sittenfeld on Kindle. Her Prep has stayed with me long enough to make me interested, and I'm also a *P&P* fanatic - even to the point of reading Elizabeth Aston's extension of the characters. (I don't recommend those except to hopeless Jane-lovers like me who will try almost anything). Otherwise, I'm always happily surprised by how well Mary Stewart could write. I don't know why it should be so, but there it is. And, much as I wanted to love God Stalk, I just couldn't.

Mar 31, 9:10pm Top

#55) Queen of Blood

Her control of the ubiquitous and dangerous spirits manifested when Dalaina's village was attacked, but at 10 she was only able to save her immediate family, and was discouraged from trying to become a candidate for Queen and settle as a village hedge-witch. But her younger sister Arin insisted she was more and she is enrolled in the Northeast academy - as its least talented student.

This book follows the less common of the girl with talents goes far story-line in that Dalania's talents are of application, cooperation, adaptation, and leadership rather than being the 'technical' standout.

The writing is decent if not perfect, though perhaps it is my aged self that expects older conventions, the plot works well though there seem to small skips were I would expect development, and telling rather than showing occurs even if it is not overwhelming.

A solid fantasy world that is interesting and well shown is really the highlight for me, and I will continue this series.

Mar 31, 9:30pm Top

Ah, another I picked up this month for the tbr pile.

Edited: Apr 1, 7:51pm Top

#56) Visions

This is the strong sequel to Omens in which Olivia and the reader get to know the (too good to be true) Ricky, and learn more about Gabriel and Cainsville. The plot is the weakest part of the story, being a complete lesson in what horrendous extremes (some) fae will go to focus attention where they want it.

Apr 1, 9:25pm Top

The Armstrong's are becoming more and more tempting . . . you and Peggy enjoying them is too much for me.

Apr 2, 8:02pm Top

#56) Savage Thunder

OK, it's readable, but really why bother. This book is pure cotton candy fantasy with no basis in any 19th century England or America. Cardboard characters take their time about getting together but screw their way from Santa Fe to Cheyenne, with a crudely painted wild west backdrop, and only the spectacular outrageousness of this story gives it any distinction.

This book was called out by Curtis Sittenfeld on an NPR interview as an introduction to the romance genre, and I can sort of see why - really there is no content but titillation with a bit of female independence/dependence thrown in so as not to fall too fast down the old helpless-heroine-waiting-to-be-rescued+fucked drain. Bodices literally ripped!

Apr 3, 10:13pm Top

#57) Malice of Crows

Another solid volume of The Shadow this one starts were Conspiracy of Ravens ends and has a pretty high body count as Rhett and his posse make their way back to the Las Moras Ranger station and then to San Anton where they find they necromancer Trevisan in interesting circumstances. Along the way they pick up an unusual nun, Inés, as well as encountering other interesting monsters and a human of some importance as well. The god Buck turns up handily, but not with quite the same impact and Rhett is introduced to a deity to whom he can relate. I like her style.

Edited: Apr 4, 1:32pm Top

#57) Stone Mad

An interesting enough tale, Karen and Priya tangle with an odd mix of spiritualists, illusionists, a supernatural problem, and their own definitions of themselves and their relationship. Much more cosy than I was expecting from my second encounter with Karen Memory. While the entities outside the relationship drive the action, and not always in the way I expected, they didn't seem very involving. The relationship stuff was well stated, but what resolution there was didn't quite hit the real bullseye. I really loved the corset action!

Apr 5, 12:17pm Top

#58) Burn Bright

Good solid story telling, characters that are interesting to read about, significant body count and a couple of unexpected twists. For a book which uses the term PTSD the examples are not at all what I would think of as realistic, but, well, werewolves.

Apr 6, 12:59pm Top

#59) If Tomorrow Comes

If Tomorrow Comes is written well, has good flow and the characters are really quite good. But while the over all plot isn't bad, in detail it is a mix of everything going wrong, complete gimmicky set ups and by the skin of their teeth survivals. Disbelief requires suspenders and belts to get through, and even both can't really hold. Arriving years late on a time critical mission, blown out of space, crash landing on a bombed planet, most of those who reach the planet get through gut reforesting, lack of almost all expected resources, three separate violent group actions by local residents, paranoid drugged misleadership by military command, survivalist kidnappings, not to mention plague and counter plague. Oh, I left out the ectopic pregnancy because there is after all only one, and the wounds and concussions, because not everybody gets one. And there is more. Nancy Kress has added a surprise set up for the survivors which may have an interesting impact on those who eventually make it back to earth.

Apr 6, 9:04pm Top

#60) Deceptions

I spent most of the day comfortably absorbed in Deceptions. Although I can't do a complete buy in to Ricky the character, he is at least as good as all the strong supportive werewolf main squeezes in the Urban fantasy canon. The connection of plot, character, pacing, and settings comes of just as strong as in the two earlier Cainsville novels though with a decided dearth of Cainsville. We spend a lot more time in Gabriel's head than heretofore and it is not a comfortable place, no surprise.

Apr 6, 11:27pm Top

Now that's a surprise. You liked Cainsville 3 a half star more than I did. I'm barely into #4, and so far, I'm liking it better than 3. We'll see. And Ricky is really just a bit too perfect, but I have to like him even if I remain solidly in the Gabriel camp.
Hmmm. Nancy Kress. I had forgotten her since I didn't finish the *Sleepless* trilogy. I liked them O.K. though.

Apr 6, 11:30pm Top

60 books already Susan is mightily impressive.

Have a great weekend.

Apr 6, 11:33pm Top

>196 LizzieD: Maybe I was just starved for something that kept me reading and not thinking of what was annoying me about the book. After some of what I've read lately I just want to pull the book around me and line in it til it's done.

Apr 6, 11:34pm Top

>197 PaulCranswick: Thanks! Being retired with few responsibilities and those easily ignored does have advantages.

Apr 6, 11:44pm Top

>199 quondame: I always thought that I would never retire but, looking at my over 4,000 unread books at home, I think I ought to start planning for it!

Apr 7, 12:03am Top

>200 PaulCranswick: Sometime I'll get back to cataloging the books we have, but since I don't buy fiction unless I'm going to read it pretty much straight away, I've never had much of a literal TBR pile. Having 3 library systems I hit within less than an hour for all three makes it easy to resist purchases. Unless they are $1-$2 on Amazon. The non-fiction I buy is tends heavily toward craft or illustrative, rather than biographical, historical, or scientific, so not much actual reading involved.

Have a good weekend yourself.

Edited: Apr 9, 12:36pm Top

So two days without LT. Harsh. I was trying to look up books for a discussion and it wasn't happening. How quickly we become addicted.

#61) Jane Steel

Jane Steel redeems up to 500 inferior tributes to or derivatives of Jane Eyre. A delightful combination of elements of Jane Eyre and modern tough-but-tender adventuress heroine driven fiction, it feeds those of us who have been reading about ever spunkier girls and young women over the decades. We are brought back to Jane Eyre with a quote at the beginning of each chapter and sometimes the reflections on JE by our heroine current Jane who is subjected to and fights back against just enough brutality before she, like Sarah Carew, finds an oriental sourced refuge. I was relieved that Lyndsay Faye does not feel the need to devote many chapters to the school and London hardships our heroine endures, hitting just enough notes to let us fill in from copious prior perusal of mid-Victorian melodrama/romance. Once we reach the destination both expected and unexpected encounters combine in a very satisfactory manner to give our Jane her new improved life.

#62) The Listening Cure

I am closely related to the authors, which, in fact that is the only reason I own this book. Chris is a very observant person who really does understand what makes people tick and the book is clearly in her familiar voice. That voice struck me as unusual for a book discussing alternative treatments for medical problems, but I haven't read much at all in that area. The straightforwardness of the cases she discusses and the seeming quickness of the symptom release seem vastly unlikely, but I assume are somewhat more illustrative than realistic. As for the advice, it seems reasonable and unlikely to do any harm, except the screaming - screaming really tears up my throat.

Edited: Apr 10, 12:23pm Top

#63) Dinosaurs Before Dark

Super lite small kid's book. Impulsive, intuitive girl, careful self-conscious older brother. Read strictly for the April TIOLI #12 because I have(had) no books in common with gabriel243.

Edited: Sep 15, 11:42pm Top

Reading with my dogs. When I'm not reading, on FB & LT, I obsess about colorful clothing and what's for dinner.
Some of my husband's comic book reprints in the background, and my weaving beyond my feet.

Apr 9, 9:19pm Top

Nice chair! Looks like a comfy spot.

Edited: Apr 9, 11:18pm Top

Ah, yes! PICTURE OF A HAPPY WOMAN And your dog has our Tricks's markings. She was Dog #1 almost 50 years ago!

ETA: I'm enjoying #4 more than #3!

Apr 10, 11:09am Top

>204 quondame: You look very cozy indeed!

Apr 10, 12:24pm Top

>205 drneutron: >207 rosalita: Yes, it is very comfortable, but alas, near the end of its life.

>206 LizzieD: I love the black and tan markings, and in the 70's my parents kept several of them, including mine who set up such a howl when I left her alone in my apt. during the day that I was almost evicted. Our 3 most recent ones were red and acquired through rescue where B&T is rare. The two pictured are also rescued, but so badly behaved it was no wonder.

#64) The Thousand Names

I read this book in 2013 and remembered only a whiff of 1 non-essential side discussion. Which is why, fresh from reading it I cannot give it more than where if I had reviewed it in 2013 I might have ranked it as high as but is more likely. While some scenes are absorbing and Wexler keeps the battles fairly brief, I was too often wanting the current bit to finish up to get to the more interesting stuff. The characters aren't bad, but not quite top notch, the most interesting being Colonel Janus. Winter, the woman in disguise as a soldier never convinces me, but isn't otherwise annoying.

Edited: Apr 12, 8:43pm Top

#65) Scourged

If you liked A Memory of Light you may like Scourged. While there are episodes that aren't sequences of blow-by-blow, this is all about the conflicts. In Sweden the main battle rages, In Taiwan, the Alps, Poland and Peru are other conflicts and damage control. Atticus orchestrates saving Ireland from the World Serpent before heading for the main show, Owen mostly moves about dealing with whatever problems are thrown his way while Granuaile works at figuring out why she is in Taiwan fighting the Yama Kings. Though the stakes are supposedly all in, I never felt it, at all. Episodic rotation of viewpoints didn't help involvement and I've never felt anyone was doing more than reporting. I rather liked Sun Wukong and Slowmonomobrodolie is delightful, my favorite Hearne character ever.

Apr 12, 9:00pm Top

#66) Six Wakes

This is an intriguing book, a closed room mystery where the victims and murderers don't remember recent decades as they all wake up 25 years into a space flight in new clones with old memories, with their previous bodies floating about them. It seems that everything that could go wrong is - the food synthesizer only produces hemlock, the AI is down and the logs are lost, the ship is off course, and they find a prior clone of the captain in a coma in the medical bay. As the six were criminals who undertook to crew the colony flight as a way to completely bury their pasts none of them are happy to share what motives might have lead to the blood bath. The use and implications of the cloning and mind-mapping technologies are the real stars of this book - I didn't really get a feel for any of the characters as people rather than as collections of capabilities and issues. The writing is good, and the plot moves almost quickly enough. Because of all the so-similar backstory material included it did drag a bit from time to time. I liked and admire this book, but do not love it.

Apr 12, 10:24pm Top

>202 quondame: Well, I ordered Jane Steele from the library as soon as I read your review, and it is on the way to my local branch.
>204 quondame: What a great chair! What do you weave? Do you have a floor loom or a table loom? How many heddles?
>209 quondame: Finally saw online today that our library has ordered this, after I put in a request yesterday. I'm second in line when it gets here. I also have liked the books less since they moved to the revolving viewpoints. Reading the short stories last week, the violence really stood out due to the format. The stories fill in some back story and are interesting but not exciting. Scourged is supposed to be the final book, right? I do want to complete the series.
>210 quondame: This has been on my wishlist since Peggy recommended it, and the library has it. It's on my For Later list on the website--I have too much to get out of the way first to read it right now.

Apr 13, 10:07pm Top

>211 ronincats: I do mostly tablet weaving. I have 3 box looms of different formats, but all for bands, 2 of which have rigid heddles and one which I use for TW, along with several of the peg looms commonly called inkle looms, and I have converted some metro shelving to a warp weighted TW loom.

Scourged really is a final volume of the saga. It's wasn't a painful read, just not absorbing or very interesting.

Apr 13, 10:18pm Top

#67) The Skill of our Hands

This is the kind of highly political book I can enjoy, because the politics are completely rooted in who the characters are and the choices they make. It is also a well plotted story with excellent flow not impeded at all for me by Oskar's constant inserts. I found Oskar the most interesting character in a large cast with some not too shabby newcomers to the Incrementalists. In Tuscon, Phil is fatally shot while trying to find out about actions against the increasingly militarized police. Who shot him and who will be his new second, and what Ren's relationship to the whole of the Incrementalists will be now that she must function at least for a while without Phil. Past mistakes haunt, illuminate, and limit the reactions of the Incrementalists who come to Tucson to support Ren.

Edited: Apr 13, 10:28pm Top

The wind blew down some trees somewhere nearby thus resulting in 20 hrs of blackout. This is a real problem for CPAP users. Fortunately our camping supplies include a Yeti1000 and it was charged, so we got through the night. I wanted to charge it using the solar panels this afternoon, but couldn't take it downstairs myself and my awful daughter insisted on charging her phone and backup batteries, by which time there wasn't much sun left. I'm hoping we don't need it again, although I have a set of smaller batteries that work with my CPAP, charging now. Mike had to run out to get a replacement cord so we can charge up the Yeti again, though where the original is is a good question as it had to come home for him to have charged the Yeti since the last camping trip.

Apr 14, 1:49pm Top

#68) Betrayals

This one moves. The relationships between Olivia, Gabriel, and Ricky continue to develop and deepen as more background is made available or absorbed but the narrative moves smoothly while the characters are borne along on the flow with only occasional eddies for them to catch their breath or figure out what has just happened. Ricky has been clumsily set up as a murder suspect and finding out what has really happened leads to a new type of fae and erstwhile fae defenders. The body count starts at 3 and rises, but not to blood bath levels. Gabriel gets to display his strengths and limitations. Ricky remains to good to be true, but some justification for that is offered.

Apr 15, 2:17pm Top

#69) Rituals

Talk about bad mothers, it's hard to imagine worse than Seanna, Gabriel's druggie abusive, absent, but the story behind that is a huge darkness of sluagh manipulations. Lots of great bits in this fast moving complex story, but I remained totally unclear as to what Liv's exact choices were - how in any sense she could choose the sluagh other than becoming evil in a way that just wasn't her, how her choosing one or the other of Tylwyth Teg or Cŵn Annwn would benefit the sluagh considering all the efforts they are revealed to gone to to get to the point where she has to make one. Could the sluagh be trying to corrupt one or both of the champions as a result of Liv's choice? The revealed details of the original Arawn's actions are the most interesting bits, but that really just gets us back to the original 'those two guys were real twits, our new guy are actually improvements'. I was expecting the final choice to be one whereby Tylwyth Teg and Cŵn Annwn were more unified and could both be part of a more enriched realm as a sort of re-unified entity, and thus my disappointed expectation re-enforce the confused view of the book's thrust. Oh, and Liv's adoptive mother and her whole previous life have entirely been dropped for the last two volumes, leaving a sort of hollowness behind her character.

Apr 16, 5:55pm Top

>209 quondame: I'm on the wait list for Scourged but went ahead and read your review anyway since I don't feel like there's much you could spoil for me. I'm sorry to hear it's another split narrative type of story; I just don't think Hearne channels either Owen or Granuaile's voices as well as he does Atticus (and Oberon, of course). Oh, well. The first few books were pretty terrific, so I'll stick to those when I do a re-read eventually.

>214 quondame: So sorry to hear about your power outage and the charging situation. I hope you were able to sort it all out and hopefully you have lights and heat again now?

Apr 16, 7:12pm Top

>217 rosalita: Thanks for your concern, the power was out a total of 21 hrs just from a wind storm. There was a very short loss a full day later, but that was mid afternoon and not an issue.

Apr 16, 7:45pm Top

So glad to hear it! Although 21 hours without power is entirely too much when it's this cold.

Apr 17, 12:57am Top

>219 rosalita: I spoke too soon! It was out again for three hours this evening! But so were we, after the first 30min.

Edited: Apr 17, 6:01pm Top

#70) The Collapsing Empire

This is about as much fun as you can have at the end of civilization as they know it. Humanity is distributed among a set of stars connected by routes through the Flow. Almost everyone, billions of people over hundreds of systems, live in huge space stations under the rule of the Interdependency ruled from Xi'an where the imperial residency of the Wu Emperox heads the government. A new young Emperox, who was never trained or intended for the position has just taken over after her father's death. In all of the Interdependancy there is only one habitable planet, End, at the farthest reaches of the Flow and it is in the throws of a rebellion unprecedented even for End which has one at least every decade. Nor is the trouble on End the end, because the Flow has become unreliable.
The story is fast moving and fun to read, some of the women characters colorful if not quite credible, the men sort of just place holders. I could not buy into the 'only one planet' set up. Or the idea that the Emperox didn't have someone tracking all research into the Flow much more carefully.

Apr 17, 5:45am Top

>220 quondame: Oh dear! Strong winds sure play havoc with electrical wires. Here's hoping it's back on for good.

Edited: Apr 17, 6:04pm Top

#71) Lost Souls

Too much use of forced misunderstandings and Patrick being too concerned for my taste. Yes, it somewhat explains Gabriel's change of behavior, but no, it didn't work for me.

Edited: Apr 18, 12:31am Top

#72) The Last Hero

The illustration is fabulous. Although the loin wear of Cohen the Barbarian and Carrot are distractingly uncomfortable looking. The story is silly Prachett, but the points are there with some screamingly funny bits.

This book was specifically added to my reading list for TIOLI April Challenge #14 as Terry Pratchett was born in April.

Apr 18, 2:17pm Top

>224 quondame: That one is so much fun, Susan.

Apr 19, 1:05pm Top

#73) The Reluctant Queen

This book just didn't have what I like in a fantasy - a way to connect to the wonders of the imagined world through characters that maintain positive connections to the unusual aspects of the world. Also the pacing just didn't hit the marks. The reluctant queen is the only character actually given development, much of the rest of them being holdovers from The Queen of Blood, a much better read. It is as if, backing up to start The Queens of Renthia with The Queen of Blood, Sarah Beth Durst stripped all the fun parts - riding the wires, school days and friendships, out of this book and left the awkward gaps, grim determination and family dysfunction.

Edited: Apr 19, 11:19pm Top

#74) Exit West

So not really SF, a story about two young middle easterners, Saeed who might have been perfectly happy if insurrection hadn't torn his world apart is attracted to Nadia who has already torn herself away from her family and had the insurrection not come would be unlikely to find more than a perilous security. They buy their way though a door to Mykonos and attach to the large refugee settlement there before finding a second door to London and later to Marin on the Pacific coast. The changes to the world made by the strange doors which form teleport connections all over the globe and the migrations they make possible, seem to bring the world to the brink of disaster, but somehow the world backs off and a new normal settles in as Saeed and Nadia grow more distant from each other. Nadia seems to expand and grow facing different people and challenges and Saeed becomes more aware of his lack of power and connects back through his faith to his past. At intervals there are 1-2 page bits of the effect these doors have on other lives. There is a gentle brutality to the way the story is told that kept me floating above, rather than engaged in, it.

Apr 22, 2:38pm Top

#75) Dodger

Take It or Leave It Challenge - April 2018 #15 for a sweep!

75th Book for 2018

A fanciful historical featuring the tosher (sewer rat) Dodger, his rescue of a friendless girl unfortunately married to a continental prince whose father wants her out of the way. Dodger almost immediately encounters Dickens and his friend Henry Mayhew and later other pillars of Victorian liberalism and sundry fictional ones such as Sweeney Todd (lacking Mrs Lovett & meat pies) Adventures above and below the streets of London occur with equal implausibility. Pratchett's light shines, as 19th century London is clearly dear to him, but not with the same un-fogged brilliance as in Ankh-Morpork.

Edited: Apr 23, 1:27pm Top

#76) Updraft

Secrets surround Kirit, ambitious to fly with her trader mother from tower to tower, but an attack by a skymouth and her unexpected survival bring her to the attention of a Singer from Spire causes a complete change not only in her plans, but in her knowledge of herself. Most of the elements are common for the youth against a corrupted system except perhaps the ambiguity of some of those who support her.
What is bizarre is the setting which the reader senses as some great world sized beast growing towers like hairs with the occasional spire as center variation, with humans and monsters like bacteria and mites, but that the characters live in like fish in water, without even wondering about it, not even in hints of origin story.

This was a ricochet BB from ronincats' review of the sequels back in her first thread.

Apr 23, 6:21pm Top

Look at you -- already over 75!!! Congrats. : )

Apr 23, 9:19pm Top

Congrats on blowing past the 75 book mark, Susan! I agree about Dodger, but it was definitely fun. And thought the world-building was possibly the strongest thing about Updraft. Book 2 ends with some real surprises about the environment and resolving those is probably the only reason I will read book 3.

Apr 24, 12:36pm Top

>230 Berly: >231 ronincats: Thanks! Updraft falls into the characters dependent on single strengths category for me, but is otherwise interesting enough for me to continue the series.

Apr 24, 12:56pm Top

#77) City of Bohane

In this not too far future, Bohane is a dark place fueled by dark hopes. An initial first person plural narration, occasionally renewed and eventually sourced to a specific individual, distances the reader from the stew of grubby ambitions. The language is the vast bulk of the value of this book. Where most modern language provides a dirt path that you can travel at your own comfortable pace, Kevin Barry's is made up of sharp word rocks, each requiring attention to be assembled into a sentence for the next step. The meaning isn't unexpected, but won't be assumed. There are many descriptions of clothing, but they are inset with all the flow of footnotes, and completely stripped of fun or passion which could conceivably add the flavor of creativity to the lives depicted.

City of Bohane was reviewed earlier by SandDune with accurate caveats, so I acknowledge I made a target of myself & no complaints.

Apr 24, 1:09pm Top

>77 quondame: Kevin Barry's is made up of sharp word rocks, each requiring attention to be assembled into a sentence for the next step. That’s such a good way of putting it!

Apr 24, 7:17pm Top

#77) The Battersea Barricades

A reminiscence with some details and some fog about the pivotal confrontation in the back sotry St. Mary's Britain. Three of the grand old ladies of St. Mary were there and tell all (that they can recall). No recording of history in contemporary time takes place.

I was reminded of Night Watch.

Edited: Apr 25, 1:18pm Top

>228 quondame: Belated congratulations on reaching 75 and your TIOLI sweep, Susan!

Apr 26, 1:03am Top

Hi, Susan! I'm not in the 75 Book Challenge this year (though I have been a few years ago), I'm in Club Read, here.

We do seem to have similar tastes, though not identical. Including the SCA! See you around.

Apr 26, 10:36am Top

Oh, just saw that you broke through the goal! Congrats!

Apr 26, 4:11pm Top

#78) Seeker's Mask

Jame is left with the Matriarchs and her twin's unwelcome term consort and all does not, as could have been predicted, go smoothly. An attack by assassins sets off the story which has people and buildings flowing hither and thither on the weirding fogs. The strange and incongruous is much more smoothly handled in this third volume though some of the important bits still have to be dug up for this reader with a tendency to skim, The humor has improved though it sometimes seems sitcom, yes we know it's going to happen, slapstick.

Edited: Apr 27, 5:46pm Top

#79) To Ride a Rathorn

Jame arrives at Tentir for randon training amidst the chaos left by the recent earthquakes and weirdings, and proceeds on a now familiar path of near disasters and pratfalls to survive whatever is thrown at her and whatever she is thrown at. She bores down through another layer of secrets of gods and men, revealing other obfuscating layers. And, in best boarding school/military academy tale tradition makes interesting new connections.

This book is the first actual page turner of the series for me, and though I enjoyed reading it more, the humor has the more canned self-conscious quality that really gets to a annoy me about some series, and seems to come to close to, but not an outgrowth from, the really heavy material.

This topic was continued by Quondame - 75 down and more to go (Page II).

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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