MickyFine's 2018 Reading Adventures, Part the Second
This is a continuation of the topic MickyFine's 2018 Reading Adventures, Part the First.
This topic was continued by MickyFine's 2018 Reading Adventures, Part the Third.
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I'm Micky, 31, librarian and general reading nerd. I'm a collections librarian for the public library system in Edmonton and as a result I read a solid chunk of non-fiction as I select it for work every day. The rest of my reading is a wide mix of genres but there's usually a healthy dose of romance, fantasy, YA, and historical fiction in the mix. In addition to books, I'm likely to discuss life events (sometimes featuring The Fiancé), whatever I'm watching on TV, and my cat, Smee. Posters and lurkers alike are welcome.
1. Turtles All the Way Down - John Green
2. Kingdom Come - Mark Waid & Alex Cross
3. Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Seanan McGuire
4. Once Upon a Christmas Eve - Elizabeth Hoyt
5. The Trouble with Dukes - Grace Burrowes
6. Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor
7. Dunbar - Edward St. Aubyn
8. Dear Fahrenheit 451 - Annie Spence
9. Kill Shakespeare Volume 5: Past is Prologue: Juliet - Conor McCreery
10. The Miller's Dance - Winston Graham
11. The Vicar's Daughter - Josi S. Kilplack
12. Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension Vol. 1 - George Mann et. al.
13. Sandman: The Doll's House - Neil Gaiman
14. This Savage Song - Victoria Schwab
15. Too Scot to Handle - Grace Burrowes
16. Spare and Found Parts - Sarah Maria Griffin
17. Rich People Problems - Kevin Kwan
18. Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury
19. Batman: Hush Volume 1 - Jeph Loeb
20. Batman: Hush Volume 2 - Jeph Loeb
21. Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman
22. Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel - Jonathan Morris
23. Die on Your Feet - SG Wong
24. Love and the Art of War - Dinah Lee Küng
25. The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare
26. Three to Get Deadly - Janet Evanovich
27. Batman: Under the Red Hood - Judd Winick
28. Enchantment - Orson Scott Card
29. A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles
30. The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling
31. Get on Top: Of Your Pleasure, Sexuality & Wellness: A Vagina Revolution - Meika Hollender
32. A Night to Surrender - Tessa Dare
33. The Queen of the Tearling - Erika Johansen
34. The Reminders - Val Emmich
35. Green Arrow: Quiver - Kevin Smith
36. Shades of Milk and Honey - Mary Robinette Kowal
37. Sandman: Dream Country - Neil Gaiman
38. Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Who Is Oracle? - Julie Benson & Shawna Benson
39. Almost Midnight - Rainbow Rowell
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
My reading challenges for this year (besides reading at least 75 books):
1. Read one comic/graphic novel assigned by The Fiancé every month.
Success rate: 4/4
2. Read one book off my own shelves every month.
Success rate: 4/4
Spare and Found Parts - Sarah Maria Griffin
In a dystopian future where most technology has been abandoned due to it's causing massive conflict and pandemic, Nell Crane lives in the shadows of the legacies of her brilliant parents. A walking sign of her father's amazing inventiveness with her clockwork heart, Nell is determined to show the citizens of Black Water City that she is a genius in her own right. So when she finds a mannequin's hand washed up on the shore of the river it sparks Nell's imagination to wonder: what if she could build a person? One whose basis was the technology that has so long been banned? What would happen in the wake of such a creation?
This one ended up on The List from a list of steampunk novels recommended by GoodReads and on that count it utterly fails. One clockwork heart does not a steampunk novel make. What this is, is an interpretation of Frankenstein. However, it's execution is far from perfect. While the concept is decent and the dystopian world Griffin creates is mysterious and intriguing, the characters are where things wobble. It's never clear just why Nell is so terrible at relating to people in one moment and several chapters later is completely adept at it (and then yo-yos between those two extremes several more times). However, in true Frankenstein fashion, the creation is the most interesting character around. Hesitantly recommended for Frankenstein and dystopia fans.
I'M HERE I'M HERE I'M HERE! *dives headfirst onto the nearest armchair* Now I just need to catch up on your LAST thread, and we're aaaaaall good. :D
*twenty minutes later* Okay, I DID THE CATCHING UP.
1) You're getting married exactly 10 days after my sister. Yay September weddings!
2) I was JUST THINKING I should rewatch My Big Fat Greek Wedding! Such an iconic rom-com, I love it. I loaned my sister Something New by Lucy Knisley (still no touchstone!) so she'd know she wasn't alone if people started trying to muscle in on her planning, and if she had meltdowns along the way, and to reassure her that it's OKAY to do your own thing, you don't have to have a perfect checklist of traditional weddingy elements any more! :)
And Leap Year, oh maaan. Matthew Goode's terrible Irish accent, HA. For some reason the movie always reminds me a bit of Laws of Attraction - kick-ass redhead, British guy, driving around Ireland in a little car, etc etc.
3) Goofy proposals? Here's my sister's... She'd just got home from work and was in the bathroom, taking her makeup off, going to the loo etc. She had her work trousers still round her ankles, and being a lazy wench, instead of pulling them up and heading out she was all "Right, Imma just waddle into the bedroom like this, it'll save me a precious half a second getting changed." So she shuffles out the door, and her boyfriend's kneeling outside on the landing looking dead shifty, like "I want to ask you something..." Apparently she just stood there, staring down at him, pasty winter legs on display, feet stuck together in a clump of fabric, looking like she was taking part in some kind of Strip Sack Race, and yelled "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" And then they had a good laugh, she got changed, and she said yes. And that's the story of the most romantic (and dignified) proposal that ever was. :D
Happy New Thread, Micky! And Happy Sunday. It looks like I fell behind over here. I will try to do better. I hope you are surviving the winter.
Happy New Thread, Micky!
The image up top isn't showing up for me, but maybe it is for others.
Hope you're having a good weekend.
Happy new thread! Sorry Spare and Found Parts wasn't better. It sounds like one I'd be interested in.
Ahhh, I fell behind for just a couple of weeks and missed the original announcement about the Fiancé! Congratulations!!!
Hi Micky, and happy new thread!
>7 elliepotten: Ellie, LOL. That's a terrific story:)
Back to last thread, yes, we survived the Crazy Greek wedding, and will celebrate 25 years this April! Some legendary stories, though:)
Happy new thread Micky!
The premise for Spare and Found Parts sounds interesting and something up my alley. Too bad it wasn't more enjoyable.
>6 leahbird: Agreed, Leah. The cover is sooo pretty.
>7 elliepotten: 1) September weddings are awesome. 2) Leap Year always reminds me a bit of Chasing Liberty. They both have Matthew Goode chasing after a character named Anna while travelling all over the place. 3) LOL. That is a delightful proposal story, Ellie. Mine is of the "that's so sweet and romantic" school.
>8 msf59: Nice of you to drop by, Mark. Today is one of those weird winter days where we started off with a windchill of -32C (-25.6F) and it's just getting warmer all day and overnight. Forecasted high for tomorrow is 3C (37.4F).
>9 foggidawn: Thanks, Foggi.
>10 scaifea: Thanks, Amber.
>11 jnwelch: I've edited the link, Joe. Let me know if you can see it now.
>12 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul. It was a busy Sunday. See the life update below.
>13 drneutron: I know. It's always a bummer when the execution doesn't live up to the concept.
>14 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle!
>15 _Zoe_: Thanks so much, Zoë!
>16 AMQS: Thanks, Anne. Congrats on reaching your silver anniversary! Any big plans to celebrate?
>17 vancouverdeb: Sort of a yo-yo week, Deb. It's supposed to be warm tomorrow and then more normal winter for the rest of the week.
>18 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg.
>19 jolerie: I knew I'd snag your attention with the dystopia aspect, Valerie. :)
Wedding planning continues apace. I bought my dress yesterday, which was super exciting. It's beautiful and I'm so excited to wear it in 7 months. :D I'm also about to confirm our honeymoon to Fiji and Honolulu. Huzzah for a beach vacation! After work today we're looking at our likely reception venue and then meeting with our photographer to go over the contract and make plans for engagement photos. At some point soon we have to run out of the big and expensive things to do and I can do the fun, small things, yes? (Please lie).
Your honeymoon sounds amazing!
Yup, you're almost out of expensive things! Especially if your reception venue has a package that basically deals with everything for you.
Wow, look at you! I should have hired you to plan my wedding - you're flying through the planning! Did you have any ideas of what you wanted your dress to look like before you found it? Don't forget the cake (if you're having one). That can be more of a major expense. I hope you'll have good weather for your engagement photos if you're having some taken outside.
Yay for being productive and checking stuff off the mighty to do list. :)
A well deserved honeymoon for when all the work is done. I will live vicariously through you..hehe
>23 MickyFine: You are making such great progress! I loved doing all the little things!
>24 _Zoe_: I'm so excited for our honeymoon. We're staying at a swish all-inclusive resort in Fiji (I only plan on getting married once so why not splash out a little?) and looking at pictures of it during this winter has been a delight. And huzzah for almost being out of expensive things. I was very pleased when talking with my photographer last night (who's also a friend) that she only needs a small deposit now and the balance on the day of. Huzzah for slightly less money going out this month. And my parents are very kindly paying for the reception so I don't have to worry about that expense (and happily venue does food, table settings, etc.).
>25 aktakukac: I'm an obsessive planner so with the help of some checklists from a planning guide my SiL loaned to me, I'm trying to stay on top of things. I knew some of the features I wanted in my wedding dress but the one I ended up picking isn't really similar to the designs I was pinning in advance of going shopping. Happily the cake is being made by a family friend so it shouldn't be crazy expensive (I hope). The Fiancé and I are tossing around some indoor ideas for engagement photos so weather may not be an issue. Of course, the photographer reminded us that really we could do the photos any time and any season between now and the wedding. :)
>26 jolerie: It's a good plan, Valerie.
>27 ChelleBearss: My mom is super crafty so she's already on top of tons of the little decorative things. Such a blessing.
>20 MickyFine: My sister is dreading the moment her wedding guests ask "Sooooo, how did he propoooooose?" I think they're already concocting a series of fun alternative stories to feed to random aunties and uncles. :D
She's also gone completely off-Pinterest with her dress, funnily enough. She had a bunch of ideas, mostly soft Grecian bridesmaid-y styles and knee-length fifties dresses - and she's ended up going for a princess dress. Not huge or super fussy or anything, but definitely Disney enough that I burst into tears as she twirled in front of the mirror! The dress lady was just nodding wisely. "If it makes you feel giddy inside and your face lights up when you step in front of the mirror for the first time, you know - that's the one!"
>23 MickyFine: Oooooh, how lovely! My dad's working in Fiji right now and he keeps SnapChatting me photos to make me jealous! *glowers* It's working... :P
>5 MickyFine: Oh no no no...three stars for a failed steampunk Frankenstein does not equal endorsement. *whew*
>29 elliepotten: I ended up waffling a bit between two dresses which were pretty different and my sister-in-law asked the very astute question of, "Which one makes you feel more bridal?" That helped me pick. :) We had freezing rain yesterday followed by a return to -12C (windchill of -20Cish) with blowing snow today so Fiji continues to look amazing.
>30 curioussquared: It's true. I don't mind unlikable characters as long as I can find them sympathetic (I've re-read Gone with the Wind a lot and Scarlett is often a terrible human being) but this one just didn't quite manage to jump that hurdle.
>31 richardderus: Yup. Safe from yet another BB, RDear. *smooch*
V.E. SCHWAB IS DOING A COMIC SERIES THAT'S A PREQUEL TO THE DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC TRILOGY!!!! I AM VERY EXCITED!!!!
>33 MickyFine: I'm not that sure that I really care a ton about what Maxim got up to but otherwise YAYAYAYAYAY!
"One clockwork heart does not a steampunk novel make." Uuugh, so true. And the premise was so promising! Skipping this one by.
I'm working with a bride right now to make a custom dress, so all of this is so real right now. But you're running right through! Well done!
>34 leahbird: >36 foggidawn: Hmm, I found the hints at Maxim's backstory in A Conjuring of Light pretty intriguing so I'm looking forward to that.
>35 Luxx: Excellent choice on skipping it, Luxx. Good luck with the custom wedding dress! That's a very cool project. I'm very grateful that my dress was off-the-rack so I don't have to worry about timelines for ordering it in. Now to just hope that the bridesmaid dresses my friends pick don't have crazy long timelines either. *fingers crossed*
Rich People Problems - Kevin Kwan
When Nicholas Young's grandmother, Su Yi, takes ill, the entire clan descends on Tyersall Park. However, concern for their matriarch is at the bottom of most of her relatives' priority lists. Instead all of them are fixated on getting into her good graces in the hopes of inspiring a last minute will change and inheriting the estate of Tyersall Park.
Kwan crafts yet another sprawling tale with the characters readers of this trilogy have come to know (and love or hate). While the central plot is well done and Kwan writes evocatively of the details of the lives of the insanely rich, I felt like character development was lacking a bit in this one. I also was dismayed that Rachel, who has always been the sort of sane, everyday access point to this world gets so very little page time. While she and Nick aren't the dramatic centre of these novels, they are its most sane heart (followed by Astrid). Highly enjoyable and definitely recommended for fans of the previous books but I felt it didn't quite match the standards of its predecessors.
Happy new thread, Micky!
>7 elliepotten: >29 elliepotten: ... and I'm sure your sister will be thrilled that you've shared her story with us ;0)
>23 MickyFine: >28 MickyFine: Fiji! We just went there, last month. Enjoy it; at the very least, go snorkelling - it's a-ma-zing (while I'm not a world snorkelling expert, I'm not a novice either).
>39 humouress: Thanks, Nina! I definitely want to go snorkelling when we go. I just hope they have snorkel masks that fit me. When I went snorkelling in Maui a few years ago I discovered that my small mouth (objectively small, as the dentist tells me it's small every time I visit) meant my jaw ached quite badly after using an adult-sized mouthpiece.
>40 richardderus: Well hurry up and read A Darker Shade of Magic and then you can share my jubilation, RDear. *smooch*
>41 mstrust: We're both super excited for it. And only 7 months and 2 days to wait before we leave. :)
Somehow I lost your thread, and engagement announcement! So happy new one, and congratulations respectively.
A honeymoon in Fiji sounds amazing and I'm not even a beach person. :)
>42 MickyFine: Don't worry, I'm sure they'll have smaller mouthpieces. My 9 year old snorkelled with us and loved it. We paired off, and I saw my first shark face to face! And that was because we were circling back to take another look at a ray.
>42 MickyFine: I would highly recommend buying yourself a full face snorkel mask if you had jaw pain. Not only will the view be better, not holding the snorkel in your mouth is A MASSIVE improvement! Even as a licensed scuba diver, I had never stopped having jaw pain until I switched to a full face mask.
>45 MickyFine: My sister loves turtles too, but we didn’t see any this time. I never expected to come face to face with a shark in my life and this was only a reef shark which is quite small, so it was a pleasant surprise.
>46 leahbird: I’ve never seen a full face mask. I know what you mean about jaw pain but I was lucky this time and didn’t have problems with my snorkel gear.
Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury
Beautiful prose recounting life in Green Town, Illinois during the summer of 1928.
>48 MickyFine: It is a lovely, lovely story, and I'm glad you liked it.
Schwab's books are on their way to me! Soon come.
Happy new thread. It sounds like the wedding planning is going very smoothly. And the honeymoon sounds fantastic! Good luck with all your planning!
Batman: Hush Volume 1 and Batman: Hush Volume 2 - Jeph Loeb
Comic assignment from The Fiancé for February
In the wake of a boy's kidnapping, Batman continues to come up against some of his regular foes, none of whom are acting quite like they normally would. A larger manipulative personality is obviously at work but can Batman figure out who it is without dying in the process.
I quite enjoyed this story arc. Several awesome Batman villains make an appearance and there's some interesting relationship stuff going on with Catwoman. While I did figure out the villain far in advance, there were several twists I didn't see coming. Definitely a fun collection for both longtime Batman fans and those dipping their toes into the DCU.
Haha, I love how the Fiancé is broadening your reading horizons. So does he have to try books that you recommend as well?
With a long weekend here this past weekend, there was a fair chunk of movie watching going on.
I've been listening to old episodes of Talk from Superheroes where they discussed the reboot series of X-Men and it put me in the mood for this one. The special effects hold up surprisingly well but it's strange to see the cast so much younger.
Somehow The Fiancé had never seen this one. So I fixed that. Despite all of the TERRIBLE messages about sexuality and identity, I still love this movie.
She's the Man
I was in the mood for something fluffy to stave off the Monday (on a Tuesday) blues and this fit the bill precisely. Fun riff on Shakespeare with gender swapping, weirdly compelling soccer scenes, and Channing Tatum's abs. What more could you ask from a film?
Practical Magic - Alice Hoffman
Magical realism novel that follows the lives of sisters Sally and Gillian Owens. Full of beautiful prose and a gentle but tightly woven plot that pulls the reader along (I devoured the book in two days). The magic element is fantastical and yet somehow treated as an everyday and in no way unusual thing in the lives of these women. With lovely explorations of what it means to be family, the power that love holds over people, and the importance of accepting yourself, this is a highly enjoyable novel. Recommended for fans of magical realism and family dramas.
>59 jolerie: I don't know if I'll read The Rules of Magic. I quite enjoyed the first novel but I'm not sure what the sequel could add. And it's true, The Fiancé does love that I'm forever recommending things to read to him based on what I know he likes. He also doesn't mind that I will pick up holds for him. :)
>60 ChelleBearss: Give it a try, Chelle. As for the topper, it was one of the centrepiece ideas I was looking at on pinterest. We'll be doing something different but still bookish.
Doctor Who: Touched by an Angel - Jonathan Morris
Mark has never gotten over the loss of his wife, Rebecca, in a car accident in 2003. Shortly after a chance encounter with The Doctor, Amy, and Rory in 2011, Mark finds himself zapped seventeen years into his past by a Weeping Angel. The Doctor is completely baffled why the Weeping Angels have changed their usual habits and sent Mark back within his own lifetime. What he doesn't know is that just before Mark was sent into the past, he received a letter from his future self telling him that if he follows every step in the letter, he can save his wife from dying.
Obviously this one isn't going to have much appeal for those outside of the Doctor Who fandom, but for those of us who label themselves Whovians, there's plenty to enjoy. While Morris' characterizations aren't perfect, there are some lovely character moments for Mark as he observes his own past from the outside and deals with the grief over the loss of his wife. Morris also does some interesting things with the Weeping Angels that will intrigue fans of this particular Doctor Who villain. If it strikes your fancy, I suggest picking it up (presuming that you've watched at least through the end of season 5 of new Who).
Thanks to RDear for putting this one on my reading radar.
I quite liked Practical Magic (the novel) - but the film will always and forever be one of my favourites. The Ice Queen is my favourite Hoffman novel I think... I should reread that sometime! And speaking of films, some stellar movie watching going on there, yet more old favourites! My sister was kind of obsessed with She's the Man as a teenager, so we watched that one a LOT of an idle weekend. :)
>39 humouress: Haha, never fear... She's the earthiest bride imaginable - she's already telling EVERYONE the story, and showing her dress to literally anyone who isn't coming to the wedding, and shrugging off everyone else's questions, and generally being the least Bridezilla-like bride a sister could possibly hope for. I'm hoping she's not just saving it all up for one big nightmare meltdown the week before! ;)
>63 jnwelch: Glad to hear you enjoyed the follow-up novel, Joe.
>64 souloftherose: Hope you like it, Heather!
>65 elliepotten: While reading the book I came to the realization that I'm not sure I've ever seen all of Practical Magic. I've definitely seen parts but I'm not sure I've seen the whole thing.
Despite a pretty full weekend (this whole getting married thing has seriously reduced my number of hermit weekends), I did a bit of movie/tv watching.
When Harry Met Sally
A classic rom-com for a reason. The Fiancé had only seen that scene and was so delighted with the whole film. My favourite parts are the old married couples telling stories of how they met during act breaks. Even though I know they're actors, the stories are so sweet.
Galavant Season 1
Galavant has become one of those shows that The Fiancé and I watch at random whenever we feel like. After a full Sunday, we started watching the new adaptation of American Gods and made it about 3 minutes into the first episode before determining that it's way too gory for me (of those 3 minutes, I spent more than half flinching or hiding my face). So we watched a couple episodes of Galavant instead which was an excellent way to spend some time.
Good morning, Micky. Love the rewatch of those great movies - When Harry Met Sally never gets old for me. I loved watching it with the girls when they were old enough to appreciate it. I remember watching Grease with Callia when she was about the same age I was when I saw it, and I remember cringing! I think the terrible messages and sexual innuendo (or non-innuendo) went over my head when I was little, but it was interesting to watch with adult eyes. Still love it, though.
Practical Magic was the first Alice Hoffman book I read and the only one I loved. I loved it so much I read a few more and hated them all. Now she is an author I don't trust, though I know I am in the minority.
I recently scored Practical Magic on deep discount on my kindle -- I think I'll have to bump it up higher on the to read list! I also watched the film for the first time last year and really enjoyed it.
Yea, I can't do gore either, or horror for that matter.
Having a fiancé does indeed cramp the hermit lifestyle. Unless you marry another hermit, then you both enjoy the life together, alone..haha
I was a bit sad about the new adaptation of American Gods - I'd been looking forward to it, but also found it a bit much.
>68 humouress: So far yes. ;)
>69 AMQS: It's been great fun exposing The Fiancé to some of these movies. I've been watching Grease since I was 11 or so and I agree so much of the terrible messages and innuendo went over my head (thankfully). I'm not planning to rush off and read more Hoffman (there's a lot of other stuff in the reading pile) but I'll keep your opinion in mined.
>70 curioussquared: It's worth bumping up. Hope it's as enjoyable for you as the film.
>71 jolerie: The Fiancé enjoys having stay in days too (we spent all of Family Day lounging around in pajamas) but he's definitely added more things to my social calendar. And the wedding planning tasks add even more.
>72 evilmoose: Wimpy viewers unite! ;)
The teaser trailer for HBO's adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 has me very excited.
>77 BBGirl55: Hiya Bryony. Nice of you to pop by despite all the BBs lurking around here. ;)
Die on Your Feet - SG Wong
Lola Starke is less than enthused by her newest client's offer of employment tracking down his ex-addict roommate who has suddenly disappeared. Neither Lola nor her ghost, Aubrey, believe the story the client is feeding them. When Lola is coerced into taking another job for a former classmate who now works for the Gaming Commission, life gets even more complicated.
Noir supernatural mystery novel set in a fictional Hollywood-esque city in China. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. I picked up this first novel in the Lola Starke series because I had to read the second book last year for work and I wanted to see how the series started. Plus I was hoping that the first book would clarify some of the confusing points. It didn't. The story is enjoyable, don't get me wrong, but the author drops you into the world with insufficient details on the rules of the world for my tastes. While I don't regret the read, I don't feel invested enough to continue with the series.
Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.
Books read: 9 (23)
Books ditched: 0 (0)
Fiction: 9 (22)
Non-fiction: 0 (1)
Library: 6 (18)
Mine: 1 (2)
Borrowed elsewhere: 2 (3)
Re-reads: 0 (0)
Female authors: 4 (11)
Male authors: 5 (12)
Adult fiction: 8 (17)
YA fiction: 1 (5)
Children's fiction: 0 (0)
Pages: 2,660 (6,656)
Average rating: 3.4 (3.45)
Average time to read book: 3.3 days (3.05 days)
Favourite book(s): Practical Magic for being such a charming bit of magical realism.
Looks like you had a wonderful reading month! I need to grab Practical Magic at some point
>81 ChelleBearss: It was another respectable reading month. I'm impressed how many books I've been knocking out each month despite everything else going on. We'll see how the trend goes for the rest of the year.
Once again, elements align to prevent The Fiancé and I from having a weekend trip to the mountains. Last time the factor was illness and this time it's a major winter snowstorm. They're forecasting up to 25 cm (almost 10 inches) coming down between tonight and Sunday morning. So we'll be having a hermit weekend in town instead, I guess. Hopefully with some group reading time (how much do I love having a man in my life who enjoys just sitting close on the couch and reading our own books?
>85 MickyFine: There's going to be way less snow in the mountains than there is in Calgary, you should come :) (although snuggling at home reading doesn't sound so bad either I guess)
>86 evilmoose: The 4-5 hours of driving one way in a forecast that includes blowing snow left me less than enthused (especially since only I drive). So I decided to pass because QEII is bad enough in good road conditions. We'll do a mountains trip eventually - likely after the wedding and honeymoon.
>87 MickyFine: Ew, that's right, I forgot you'd have to come all along the QEII. Very good call!
Sorry your weekend plans got cancelled. Hopefully you can find something else fun to do this weekend!
>89 ChelleBearss: I'm sure we'll find something fun to do. As of right now we're still waiting for all the snow to show up. *shrug*
Death in Paradise Season 1
Netflix, first viewing
Fun mystery show (verging on criminal procedural) in a tropical setting. Ideal viewing for the middle of the winter if you want to look at beaches and palm trees around your murder mysteries. Filled with solid, sympathetic characters (except for maybe Richard's constant complaining about the heat and missing England's cool dampness - I mean, what?). I'll be watching the next season.
The forecast sounds like you are going to get more snow than we are...
Just be patient as I'm sure it's heading up north as we speak..haha
Sorry to hear about the canceled plans but I imagine the roads will be a nightmare with the snow and wind. Stay warm this weekend!
>92 jolerie: I just checked weather radar and it looks like it's just outside of town. We'll probably get the start of it this afternoon.
-9C and icy rainy ickness here...and it's all your fault. Somehow I know it.
Glad that Death in Paradise is doing well with y'all, though be aware that Kris Marshall takes Ben Miller's place in season 4.
I'm pleased that Book 22 was good, and you got me fair and square with Book 23. *sigh*
>91 MickyFine: (That’s the point.)
I love Death in Paradise! As you can imagine, I can empathise with both sides.
At the moment I’m stuck between seasons; I watched the first one and recorded the next two and the last couple are (or were) on BBC Player but I couldn’t find that middle one, even on Netflix.
>94 richardderus: Oi, you! That should be under spoiler alert! You’re as bad as my boys:
“Mum, haven’t you seen the episode yet where ...”
“No! Don’t tell me. You always spoil it for me.”
“Okay. But this happens and then that happens and...” proceeding to tell me the whole plot and threatening to continue with the rest of the series.
And that one, by the way, was one of their spoilers, with all the details.
>38 MickyFine: You took the words right out of my mouth for this book! It was just missing something. I'm interested to see the movie adaptation of the first one because the cast looks absolutely fantastic.
>94 richardderus: Definitely not my fault. It would be far, far colder if it was my fault. ;) I knew about the casting change and I'm interested to see what it will do to the show (but I have a strange soft spot for Colin, God of Sex).
I'll be interested to see what you make of the Lola Starke universe.
>95 humouress: You're living Death in Paradise, Nina! Minus the murder. I hope. ;)
>97 Miss_Moneypenny: I'm so excited for the film adaptation based solely on the cast.
Spent a chunk of the weekend hermiting while the snowstorm hit on Saturday (yay for a legit excuse to just hang out on the couch all day with The Fiancé!). Sunday was much more productive with errands and chores. However, did squeeze in two films.
It was The Fiancé's turn to pick a movie, he was in the mood for a Disney flick, and he hadn't seen this one. I'm pretty fond of it. Kenneth Branagh knows how to make a pretty movie.
Netflix, first viewing
I. Can't. Even. What is this movie? The concept seems cool (two worlds orbit the same sun in super closer proximity and have opposing gravity so objects from the one planet float when they travel to the other) until you think about it too hard (if objects from the one planet burn up if they're on the other planet too long, why don't the people? Why haven't these planets collided? Do these planets share an atmosphere? How many illegal substances were involved in the creation of this idea?). And while the visual effects are amazing, the solid cast has no plot or good dialogue to work with. If you're into cool visual effects, give it a whirl, but if you're looking for a sci-fi romance, skip it.
>99 MickyFine: That poster clearly says "Upsiden Moo" which sounds pretty accurate based on your description.
>98 MickyFine: I hope minus the murder, too! We do have the lizards, though not that bright emerald green. I think the garden lizards are cuter - but then, I object to the geckos not being house trained.
The two shows couldn't be more different is my guess...haha. Again the premise sounds like something I would love, but the execution leaves me wary....
>99 MickyFine: That's the best version of Cinderella, in my opinion. It's just so pretty and the explanation of her mom's command to "have courage and be kind" went a long way towards explaining her character and choices. Cinderella isn't my favorite fairy tale, but Branagh's version is truly lovely. Also, Cate Blanchett just kills it as the wicked stepmother.
>105 Miss_Moneypenny: I think my favourite version of Cinderella is Ever After with Drew Barrymore but this one is solid. But I'm totally with you on Cate Blanchett. And her costumes! So gorgeous!
Love and the Art of War - Dinah Lee Küng
London librarian Jane is aware that her life is falling apart. Enrolling in a course for repairing marriage or deciding on divorce, Jane accidentally walks into Professor Baldwin's course on The Art of War for management class instead. However, Baldwin convinces Jane that Sun Tzu may hold better advice for working to save Jane's relationship and gets her to stay. Learning the thirty-six stratagems, Jane suddenly finds herself applying the ancient Chinese battle wisdom to her career in a small branch library as well as her relationship with Joe, their daughter, Sammie, and Jane's retired actress mother, Lorraine.
This is a cute novel filled with small family drama, plenty of insights from Sun Tzu, and a great deal of character growth. While Jane is a bit too much of a stereotypical librarian to begin with (her abhorrence of any tech in her local library strikes me as a bit behind the times), her work plights are highly realistic for a British librarian. A delightful cast of characters are developed throughout the novel between Jane's home life and the small group in her class with Professor Baldwin. Charming and reminded me a bit of Sophie Kinsella novels.
LOVED Ever After! I agree that it's probably my favourite Cinderella adaptation too. :)
I'm giggling thinking about applying Sun Tzu's war tactics to marriage troubles.
My favorite Cinderella is the '90s made-for-TV one with Brandy and Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber and Whitney Houston and Bernadette Peters and Jason Alexander.
>109 norabelle414: That's one of my husband's favorite musicals ever. When we moved in together and were mingling our DVD collections, he turned bright red and tried to hide it from me before admitting how much he loves it XD
Micky, I think you just sent a BB my way. That sounds adorable.
>111 MickyFine: The weird thing is, it seems to me like no one cared at the time, but if Disney (or Broadway) did that now there would be such an uproar. That could just be my perception as an adult vs. a kid, I guess. Maybe there was an uproar but I didn't hear it.
Hi Micky! I've been away so long *shameful face* that I missed your fun news! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! Your photo is so cute and honeymoon plans sound wonderful! Hooray for warm weather and beautiful beaches!
I've been on a Galavant re-re-re-watch again myself, and I'm digging it more than ever. Really wish there were another season.
>113 LauraBrook: I'm just pleased to see you around, Laura! And thank you for the congratulations. :D
Galavant is so great to watch any time. I've lost count of how many times I've watched it since I tried it on Netflix around this time last year.
The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare
After returning from Waterloo heavily scarred, the Duke of Ashbury has no illusions about his appearance. He knows he's a monster. Especially after his fiancée breaks off their engagement. But Ashbury is still determined to find a bride so that he can sire an heir. When Emma Gladstone shows up on his doorstep demanding payment for the wedding dress Ashbury's fiancée never wore, Ashbury finds Emma to be exactly what he needs. Convincing Emma to accept his proposal for a marriage of convenience, neither of them are under any illusions; once they conceive they'll part ways. But as Ashbury and Emma spend time together they discover there may be more to their marriage than convenience.
Tessa Dare has become one of my favourite historical romance writers very quickly. This novel is just so delightful. Filled with humour, sweetness, charm, and some steamy scenes, the book exceeds all of the expectations I hold when picking up a book in this genre. Highly recommended for those who enjoy the genre.
Also, the dedication of this one is just made me laugh:
>115 MickyFine: - Oh, that sounds right up my alley. Off to check the library!
And that dedication is wonderful!
ETA: It was available from the library so it's not on my Kindle, all ready for my trip next week. Thanks, Micky!
>115 MickyFine: I love the dedication :) Micky, one day you'll convince me to read a romance book, I swear. You've gotten close to tempting me on several occasions.
I wander away for two months and miss all the news. Congratulations on your engagement!
>91 MickyFine: Death in Paradise has been my winter treat for the last couple of years. It cheers me right up when everything outside is grey and miserable. I'm watching S4 right now and loving it still :-)
I've been saving The Duchess Deal for a treat. Maybe I need to indulge soon? Tessa Dare is fantastic.
>119 scaifea: >120 ChelleBearss: I immediately screen capped it and shared on social media because it was so awesome.
>121 archerygirl: Thanks, Kathy! I will be going back to Death in Paradise but I'm watching the new season of Jessica Jones first. This was my second Tessa Dare novel and I already adore her stuff. I also love that she's a former librarian. I've noticed that a couple of my favourite authors are (Stephanie Perkins is another who comes to mind immediately).
LOL. What a considerate dedication. Hopefully the dad heeded the warning. ;)
>122 MickyFine: It seems like a fair few good writers coming from librarianing :-) I highly recommend Dare's Castles Ever After series, they're just gorgeous. I didn't love her earliest books, but they're pretty good and she does seem to keep getting better with each book.
Three to Get Deadly - Janet Evanovich
Stephanie Plum is less than thrilled when her cousin hands Stephanie her latest bounty hunting assignment: bring in Uncle Mo, the well-beloved proprietor of her neighbourhood's local candy and ice cream shop. She's even less thrilled when it turns out that Uncle Mo is not the easy collar he appeared to be and instead appears to have left town. While Stephanie works to hunt down Mo she finds herself in the unfortunate position of discovering the murdered bodies of several drug dealers, figuring out just what's going on between her and police detective, Joe Morelli, and fighting the urge to eat yet another doughnut that will just end up on her thighs.
Pure fluff from start to finish, there's something very satisfying about working your way through a Stephanie Plum novel. While I had largely figured out the mystery well in advance of Stephanie, there's still plenty of fun to be had with these characters. Like many readers of this series, I'm a big fan of Grandma Mazur and her hijinks and would pick up the books just for her. A solid entry in the series and I look forward to following Stephanie's adventures in the (many) books to come.
Happy Saturday, Micky. Finally paying a visit. Sorry, for the delay. I see that books are being read and this makes me happy. I hope you are doing well and springtime is right around the corner.
Happy Sunday, Micky!
I don't think I've ever read a Stephanie Plum book.
I haven’t read any Stephanie Plum yet, either, but I know a lot of people who enjoy them.
>127 msf59: Hiya Mark! Thanks for popping by. Spring doesn't really hit our neck of the woods in earnest until April. It's been warm and melty the past few days but there's still snow in the long range forecast.
>128 ChelleBearss: >129 foggidawn: They're enjoyable, fluffy mysteries. However, be warned that as the early novels were published in the 90s, they feel a bit dated.
Weekends are for movies. I watched a few this time around.
Father of the Bride
I've been fond of this movie since I was a kid and it was on TV at least once a year. Being in the process of planning a wedding of my own now, I sympathize with Steve Martin's eye-popping reactions ($250 a head?! Over 500 guests?!). It remains sweet and funny regardless of its increasing age.
Theatre, first viewing
I enjoyed it just as much as expected to based on the hype.
Another one off the list of films to watch together that The Fiancé and I made back when we first started dating. Despite my warning that this film makes my dad cry, The Fiancé still wasn't quite prepared for the ending. I love all of Rachel McAdams 1940s costumes and Ryan Gosling is so adorably young in this one. A good one to pick if you're in the mood for a cathartic cry.
The Map of Time - Félix J. Palma
According to the book flap, this book sees H.G. Wells investigating crimes in Victorian London that brings reality and fiction crashing together, mashing up Dracula, The Time Machine, and other Victorian era fiction. I Pearl Ruled this one before it even got there. In those first fifty pages all I got was an upper class man "falling in love" (I find this highly dubious when someone is being paid and there's such a serious power imbalance) with one of the Whitechapel prostitutes prior to her being murdered by Jack the Ripper. While the writing was beautiful, the story did nothing to pull me in so I'm taking my reading time elsewhere.
>132 MickyFine: That one didn't live up to its potential. I think it failed to draw a lot of people in. We had it on the leased books program, thinking it would do really well, but the people who tried it pretty much said similar things to you.
I watched Ever After on TV this weekend as I was channel surfing and it just happened to be on. So good!
Oh no! I have The Map of Time and the subsequent books on my TBR mountain...
And I watched "Moonstruck" this weekend. Yep, never saw it before because I'm not the rom-com type, but I really liked it.
>131 MickyFine: Hey, you watched it. I'm glad you liked Black Panther! :) Sorry I'm so behind.
>133 thornton37814: It's an extra bummer because that cover is SO gorgeous.
>134 jolerie: Yay for Ever After! It's one of those movies that after I finish watching it, I could immediately watch it again. Maybe you'll like The Map of Time more than me.
>135 mstrust: I am the rom-com type but I have to admit I've never watched Moonstruck.
>136 saras.library: Hey Sara! No worries. Pop by whenever you like. You're always welcome.
Batman: Under the Red Hood - Judd Winick
When a new player, the Red Hood, moves into Gotham and begins taking on the Black Mask, Batman must determine exactly which side he fits on. As Batman engages with Red Hood he finds that there's something eerily familiar about him. But the explanation is impossible. Or so Batman thinks.
Solid plot for this one although the writing in the first few comics feels a bit stilted. However, the story is strong enough to overlook this small flaw. A fun exploration of Batman's back story and the larger Batman mythology. Art in this one is solid but not super exciting. A solid volume to pick up after reading Batman: Hush.
Hey, you made it to 50pp in The Map of Time...I'm, umm, impressed/repulsed/worried...I didn't make it anywhere near as far, barely finishing the Kindle sample before consigning it and its creator to Sheol.
>140 ChelleBearss: Things continue to be ticked off the to-do list within the recommended timeline so I'm happy. Now if I could just get the hairstylist to actually give me a quote so I can figure out if I want to use her and her friend who does makeup, that would be great.
>141 richardderus: I did consider ditching it earlier but I gave it the full 50 pages in the hopes that the narrative would move forward before then.
I watched the first three episodes of Galavant last night -- I had never heard of it before your thread. So fun!
I miss Galavant so much. If I didn't have a million other shows to watch I would re-watch it right now.
I keep accidentally catching individual episodes, but then they’re out of context and I get a bit lost. Maybe one day ...
This past weekend's viewing:
The Fiancé's, first viewing
The Fiancé is a HUGE DC nerd so it was inevitable that I'd have to watch this at least once. It's far better than Batman v. Superman but a significant comedown from Wonder Woman. And the CGI removal of Henry Cavill's mustache is as weird as you've heard.
Hairspray is one of my favourite, feel-good musicals. The songs are so happy, the entire movie is just gorgeous, and it's hard to beat that ending.
Enchantment - Orson Scott Card
Ivan Smolek has spent his entire life with a fascination with his memory of seeing what looked like a sleeping woman in the woods in Ukraine right before he and his parents fled to America. When Ivan returns to Ukraine as an adult to do research for his doctoral dissertation, he can't help but return to the spot where he found her. Suddenly Ivan finds himself as part of the tale of Sleeping Beauty, only the evil witch is Baba Yaga and she could care less about whom she harms in her quest to conquer.
I read this one on a friend's recommendation and it ended up being not quite as awesome as I had hoped knowing the kind of books she often puts on my radar. As a novel that plays with fairy tale tropes, this is pretty enjoyable and it's nice to see a Ukrainian/Russian twist on these tales. However, reflecting on the book, I could definitely tell that this book was written by a man in the early 90s. While the male characters are given a greater range of characteristics, the three major female characters fall into basic archetypes and never really stretch beyond it. Plus,
>151 MickyFine: I read that one years ago and the fact that I don't really remember what it was about is telling...haha
>150 MickyFine: Oh, I love Hairspray! I can't get your pictures to come up- did you watch the newer one or the one from 1988? I've only seen the newer one but it is an all-around great show. (and now I'm singing about Baltimore, lol)
Speeding along with the wedding plans, I see! A makeup person and hairstylist to be checked out. I confess I just went to my regular stylist for my wedding , and went home a re- did the whole thing, owing to my curly hair. ( Which is fairly well straighted out in the picture I posted) . But for my son's wedding 2 1/2 year ago,we stayed in downtown Vancouver for two nights . I boldly made an appointment at a " Blow Dry Bar" for my hair, pre-wedding . The young woman did an amazing job with my hair, given that I had never met her before. But I guess that is their thing.
>152 jolerie: I don't hold that against books normally, Valerie. I often have a terrible memory for plots, which makes re-reading a joy.
>153 jennyifer24: It was the newer Hairspray, Jenny. I have to admit I haven't watched the original either.
>154 vancouverdeb: I'm pretty close to finalizing my hair and makeup people. Because I'm getting married on a Sunday going to my usual salon isn't an option. I'll, of course, be doing trials in advance of the wedding so that I have chance to confirm that what I want is what will actually happen on the big day. :)
I saw the weather report this morning and instantly thought of you! Stay safe and warm and hopefully it's not as bad as they forecast it to be...the few times you hope the meteorologist gets it all wrong. ;)
>156 jolerie: As of right now the snow has yet to arrive. The worst of it is supposed to be overnight so we'll see how white the world is when I wake up tomorrow morning. I walk to work so at least it won't play havoc with my commute.
>157 Luxx: Practical Magic might just be your jam too. I think it ticks a few of the Luxx interest boxes. Just caught up on your thread and it sounds like life is fabulous with you as well.
Wedding planning continues to go smoothly. I hit the library book sale last weekend to buy books for our centrepieces as you could fill a box for $10 - it is a weird experience to comb through books looking just at the colour of the binding. This week I've booked the florist for doing the bouquets (we're using paper flowers for the boutonnieres for the guys and for centrepieces) as well as the hair stylist and make-up artist. The next big project will be prepping for sending out invitations, which my mom is in the process of making.
I'm looking forward to the bit of downtime I'll get with The Fiancé this weekend. While we'll have a full Saturday with church and a close family friend's birthday party, tonight should be mellow and low-key and hopefully much of Sunday will be too.
I think the invitations were one of my favorite parts of wedding planning. I loved picking them out and customizing them.
Have a great weekend, Micky!
How bad was it for you guys?
We got a light dusting but that's about it. The sun is out and I'm hoping it drys up all that brown stuff now piled on the side of the road.
Wedding planning sounds like it is coming along nicely. So exciting!
>162 katiekrug: Maybe at some point I'll share a picture of the invitations my mom is making. They're beautiful.
>163 jolerie: Not crazy bad. We probably got less than the forecasted 5 cm they threatened us with (at least where I live). It's snow that's on the point of slush so it was a bit slick in spots this morning but I'm hoping the wind will have a bit of a Chinook effect and everything will dry up by the time I go home.
>161 MickyFine: Glad to see that wedding planning is going well! Hope you will share some photos when the time comes :)
Enjoy your relaxing weekend!
>150 MickyFine: I hadn’t heard about the moustache; I’ll have to look out for it’s non-appearance next time.
>151 MickyFine: To be honest, Card isn’t one of my favourite authors, but that’s also to do with something I read about him on a personal level.
>155 MickyFine: Could you get someone from your usual place to help you on the day, as a loyal customer?
>161 MickyFine: Your centrepieces and invitations sound like fun! I’d love to see pictures. Sounds like you’ve got everything in hand.
Glad to hear the wedding planning continues to go well. I imagine going through a library sale looking at color would be a rather strange experience ;)
>165 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle!
>166 humouress: None of the staff at my salon travel to do hair/make-up. I checked. :(
>167 bell7: It was weird. However, because it was a box sale and we had room, I did stick a few DVDs in there as well.
>168 vancouverdeb: I'm hopeful that they'll turn out nicely, Deb.
This weekend's viewing:
Having just picked this one up after it's release, The Fiancé wanted to watch it this weekend. It's definitely the funniest of the Thor movies and Cate Blanchett is such a kick-ass villain.
The Mindy Project, Season 1
Netflix, first viewing
I know I'm way behind here but this show is so delightful. While Mindy's character isn't always the most sane human being, she remains charming and endearing. While the big relationship arc is pretty obvious from the first episode, it's still highly enjoyable to watch. And any character who shares my love for rom coms is going to get some affection.
Hi Micky! Glad to see all the wedding planning is progressing on schedule! We used old books for some of the centerpieces and decorations at our wedding. It was soooo beautiful, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, we didn't get many pictures of the reception hall or decorations. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOMEONE TAKE TONS OF PICTURES OF THAT STUFF!! I seriously wanted to yell at my photographers when I saw the pictures they took. Ugh. Anyway, best of luck with continued planning and decision making :)
A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles
In 1922, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol hotel in Moscow for being an unrepentant aristocrat. The novel follows his life over several decades as he discovers all kinds of adventures, both large and small, within a small but infinite world.
I fell in love with this book from the opening pages with Count Rostov's almost sassy responses to the committee interviewing him and determining his fate. And then the novel begins to unfold and it is beautiful. The prose and characters are ones that are so easy to spend time with and once again I am utterly charmed by the worlds that Towles can create. So very highly recommended.
>172 MickyFine: Ouch, you got me! Finding a pen and writing this on my paper TBR list right away.
>172 MickyFine: Would have got me too, but I’m hiding behind my fantasy stacks.
>172 MickyFine: - This was already on my list, but it's movin' on up.....
>172 MickyFine: Echoing others -- I was aware of this one, but might have to see if I can get my hands on it sooner rather than later :)
>172 MickyFine: great review! I think I already own this one (how sad is it that I’m not sure!)
Glad to see I could hit so many with such a brief review. I hope each of you enjoy it. :)
Another viewing update:
Arrow, Season 2
The Fiancé's, first viewing
It's taken way longer than anticipated but we finally finished watching this season of Arrow. It was a pretty solid season and while I predicted many of the twists, it was still enjoyable. However,
The Tales of Beedle the Bard - J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling's attempt at writing fairy tales within the wizarding world is a bit of a mixed bag. While the tales themselves are wonderful, the "annotations" from "Dumbledore" are a bit more uneven. Given the introduction, which tries to create a world in which the collection has been translated and edited by Hermione, it becomes difficult to suspend disbelief that Dumbledore that would include some of the details that appear in his annotations. Particularly given how secretive the character typically is and given where the Harry Potter universe is headed
>181 norabelle414: Right?! However, I'm excited that we can now dive into Flash. Because I am so keen for some time-traveling superhero hijinks. ;)
>182 MickyFine: Yay! A decent amount of Felicity in the first season of The Flash, if I recall correctly.
Get on Top: Of Your Pleasure, Sexuality & Wellness: A Vagina Revolution - Meika Hollender
From the founder of the Get On Top movement for sexual health awareness and cofounder of Sustain (all-natural sexual wellness products) comes this book that covers all the basics of sexual health for women, targeted specifically at women in the 18-35 age range. Written in a casual style, Hollender (with medical consultants) covers the basics of anatomy, periods, masturbation, birth control, STIs, and sex. While most of the content here was already familiar to me, it's a good refresher. I could also see this as being a useful jumping off point for discussing sex and sexuality with your teen. However, note that due to Hollender's background working with Sustain (an off-shoot of Seventh Generation products) there are sections that focus heavily on her areas of concern (i.e. avoiding products that use certain chemicals). It's also worth noting that if you're looking for a specific how-to guide on masturbation or sex positions, this is not the book you're looking for.
Stopping by to get caught up with all the book reading, movie watching and wedding planning!
Happy Easter, Micky!
>185 MickyFine: Book 31...I am *so* glad this kind of information is both readily available and well presented. I was amazed that the gay male market is represented in this area nowadays (The Ass Book is its fully self-explanatory and self-selecting audience title). Whatever one's anatomical interests, there needs to be a source of clear and non-clinical information on what's going on with one's sexual bits.
>186 souloftherose: It was a very good weekend. Thanks, Heather! Hopefully you find it on shelf at the library soon!
>187 lkernagh: Thanks for visiting, Lori! Hope you had a nice Easter!
>188 ChelleBearss: It was very good, Chelle. Still enjoying it today! :)
>189 richardderus: There's been a larger number of these types of titles coming out in the last few years and it's great for me to see as the librarian who orders them for work. It's also great that so many of them are available as ebooks so that no one has to suffer the potential embarrassment that might come from borrowing a title like this. :)
I was hoping to finish one more book before the end of March but my busy days were in the first part of Easter weekend so I'll be doing my monthly summary shortly.
Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.
Books read: 8 (31)
Books ditched: 1 (1)
Fiction: 7 (29)
Non-fiction: 1 (2)
Library: 6 (24)
Mine: 1 (3)
Borrowed elsewhere: 1 (4)
Re-reads: 0 (0)
Female authors: 5 (16)
Male authors: 3 (15)
Adult fiction: 6 (23)
YA fiction: 0 (5)
Children's fiction: 1 (1)
Pages: 2,722 (9,378)
Average rating: 3.5 (3.48)
Average time to read book: 3.8 days (3.43 days)
Favourite book(s): A Gentleman in Moscow because it charmed me from the opening page.
After doing pre-marital counseling on Friday and church and family dinner on Saturday, The Fiancé and I had a phenomenally lazy Easter Sunday and spent most of the day on the couch watching movies. We knocked out the following:
I quote or reference this movie frequently so he wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And now he knows why nobody puts Baby in a corner.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
A rewatch in prep for the next film viewing.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
First home viewing. I found it way less stressful than I did in theatres - it helps knowing everything that will happen. There are way more plot holes in this one but it's still fun viewing.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Yet another of the "how did you get through childhood without seeing this one?" films that I had to make The Fiancé watch. He was entranced by the utter bizarreness of this film and now understands why I'm convinced The Child-catcher is the most terrifying villain in all children's films.
"You're my little choochie-face" is one of my favorite go-to stealth insults.
>192 MickyFine: I missed that one the first go-round. I remember all the other kids talking about it. I'm not sure if it was before we got cable and had access to an ABC affiliate or if it was because of something at church that I missed it. I did, of course, eventually see it.
And I've knocked out another season of TV
The Librarians, Season 3
Library, first viewing
While not quite as strong as the previous two seasons, this one remains enjoyable. Shout out to the episode that includes both Sean Astin and Felicia Day!
>196 MickyFine: I just couldn't stop wanting that show to be Warehouse 13. I really liked the 3 Librarians but Rebecca Romijn was never believable to me and the plots didn't hold me in.
>197 leahbird: I'd watched the movies so I knew what to expect going into it. It's definitely not awesome television but it's fluffy and enjoyable.
>170 MickyFine: I'll keep your Thor review in mind. It's still sitting next to our TV, but... *thinking up excuses* Eventually! I promise. ;) I do like Cate Blanchett.
>179 MickyFine: My fiancee really loves that show, too. I just couldn't get through episode 1 in season 1 when he cheats on his girlfriend. Should I give it another go?
>185 MickyFine: Looks awesome, but I'm outside the age group. *pouts* Oh well, nice read! :) I put a book request in for it.
>189 richardderus: I am not the intended audience, but that is an awesome cover! :)
>192 MickyFine: *applause for Dirty Dancing*
A Night to Surrender - Tessa Dare
Susanna Finch has worked to make her home village of Spindle Cove a safe haven for those ladies who don't quite fit into society. Of course, one of the many selling points for those ladies is that there are very few men in Spindle Cove. Until the arrival of Lieutenant Colonel Bramwell who has come to convince Susanna's father to use his influence to have Bram sent back to the war against Napoleon after taking a bullet to the knee. When Susanna's father tasks Bram with setting up a local militia everyone is dismayed. Particularly when Bram and Susanna discover that beneath all their verbal sparring lies a deep attraction.
While there were definitely some very cute moments in this one, the novel was a bit of a dud for me as Bram is a super duper alpha male personality. I kept hoping that at some point during the novel he would learn that being a man didn't require being such a domineering personality all the time but it never happened. While this type of hero might have an appeal for some readers, he didn't work for me. That said, Susanna was lovely and almost as strong a personality but some of their interactions left me a bit squidgy. Not a Tessa Dare I'd recommend, but there are several others I would so don't skip this author based on this title.
>203 norabelle414: Which is particularly funny because over the course of the novel they never have sex in a bed (or even indoors).
>204 MickyFine: Is it explicitly stated that she is *not* half-person, half-bed? That would explain why she doesn't fit into society.
>205 norabelle414: LOL. There's a great deal of exploration of her anatomy and not once does it come up that she has a bed sticking out somewhere, so I don't think that's what's happening on the cover. Although now I want to read that as a novel.
>207 norabelle414: Oh my. Ok, I don't actually want to read that novel but I'm amused that it does exist in the universe already.
>207 norabelle414: I don't know if he has one about a half-human, half-bed but that seems right up his alley
I'm assuming the Spring has decided to skip you guys over too? We are still expecting snow this week?!?! Come on now.......I want to bust out my birkenstocks!
>210 jolerie: Oh yes. Skiffs of snow every other day and it's been cold the last week or so (and it's supposed to continue for a bit yet). Low tonight of -20C.
"Favourite book(s): A Gentleman in Moscow because it charmed me from the opening page." So glad, to hear that. The Count continues to enchant and make new friends.
Happy Thursday, Micky. I like your little movie marathon. I should check out The Librarians. I know a few pals of mine have enjoyed it.
Sorry, to hear about the frigid weather. More snuggle time, right?
I just heard the film version of A Gentleman in Moscow will star Kenneth Branagh. I haven't read the book yet, so have no opinion on the casting...
My patrons have been telling me good things about A Gentleman in Moscow but since you gave it 5 stars I may just have to add it to the TBR list now.
>212 msf59: Hi Mark! I've found The Librarians is sort of a cheesy mix of Indiana Jones with something like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There will probably be some snuggle time this weekend as the cold weather is supposed to continue.
>213 katiekrug: I read that this week also and I am very excited by the prospect. Partially because I think he's a good fit for the part and partially because I just love Kenneth Branagh.
>214 bell7: Give it a try, Mary. It's pretty great!
>201 MickyFine: Ok, you twisted my arm. ;) I'll give Arrow a second go. Thanks! :) And I'll keep an eye out for Felicity.
>203 norabelle414: That is such a relief! Thank you, Nora. :) It's hard to like a main character when they have no moral compass. *just realized I love Dexter and Hannibal* My logic is so flawed. :D Kill people? Sure, great! Cheat on your girl? You are the devil.
>207 norabelle414: Omg that made my day! ×D
Weekend was mellow but only 1 film to report:
Battle of the Sexes
Library, first viewing
This a solid based on a true story film. Emma Stone knocks it out of the park, as usual. The sexism will drive you crazy but the film is worth watching despite the blood pressure increase. However, if you want the end of the film to be a surprise (if you're not familiar with the details already) avoid checking Wikipedia on the real facts until afterwards.
The Queen of the Tearling - Erika Johansen
Kelsea Glynn has spent most of her childhood in hiding with her foster parents, knowing that on the day she turns nineteen she'll ascend to the throne and likely be assassinated shortly afterwards. When the day arrives, Kelsea sets off on a journey to her nation's capital where she attempts to overset the corruption that has taken root. But in her efforts to make her country a better place, she'll provoke larger forces that will threaten her entire nation.
A solidly excellent fantasy novel from the offset, I was immediately drawn into Kelsea's world. Kelsea is a compelling protagonist and the world Johansen builds for her is fascinating (particularly as it appears to be set in a world where our present is at least a century in this world's past). With political machinations and plenty of action, this narrative pulls you along at a solid clip that makes its heft fly by. Recommended if you enjoy adventurous, kingdom-based fantasy, with mild doses of magic and social justice.
I'm not sure who to credit for putting this one on The List. I suspect Foggi, but I'm not certain.
>221 MickyFine: I think Nora put it on my radar. But the audiobook was read by Katherine Kellgren who we all love so much so it really could have been a number of culprits. Sadly, she doesn't read the other 2 in the series.
>221 MickyFine: Possibly not me, as I didn't really love the book. I had some problems with the plot that even Kellgren's excellent narration couldn't overcome.
It was probably me! I liked the first one on audio (due to Katherine Kellgren). I started listening to the second one, not narrated by Kellgren but otherwise fine, but it consists of a lot of flashbacks which I don't like in audiobooks. I went out and bought a paper copy immediately and .... never finished it. I should really do that.
Well, then thanks, Nora! :) I've added the second book to The List so we'll see whether you get to it before me or not.
The Reminders - Val Emmich
Gavin Winters, television star, is reeling in the wake of the sudden death of his long-term boyfriend, Sydney. When he gets drunk one evening and starts a massive bonfire to rid himself of all reminders of Sydney, one of his neighbours records footage of him and sells it to one of the news networks. When old friends of Gavin and Sydney's invite Gavin to come stay with them in Jersey City for a while, Gavin agrees. And there he finally meets his friends' daughter, Joan. Joan is ten years old and the youngest person to have Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. She remembers every detail of every day of her life from about the age of two onwards. When Gavin discovers that Joan has memories of Sydney he agrees to her deal of helping her write a song for a contest in exchange for hearing her memories of Sydney. But in the process of hearing Joan's memories he learns that Sydney was keeping secrets and Gavin now has to figure out whether he ever really knew the man he considered the love of his life.
While well-written and with an intriguing plot that really focuses on exploring the two characters of Gavin and Joan, I finished this book with the same feeling of "meh" that had me considering Pearl ruling this book initially. There's nothing wrong with the book and I think for the right reader this could be a fantastic read. I also think there's some interesting themes that would make this a great book club title selection, especially with the alternating perspectives between Gavin and Joan. But this book just didn't impress me the way it seemed to want to. Hesitantly recommended if the summary strikes your fancy.
You almost have me convinced that I need to see "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" if only to see what you're talking about with "You're my little choochie-face". Have a great weekend, Micky, and I hope your spring shows up soon.
>229 Familyhistorian: Dick Van Dyke's inexhaustible charm alone makes it worth watching, trust me. :)
Green Arrow: Quiver - Kevin Smith
When Green Arrow suddenly reappears on the scene in Star City everyone is dumbfounded. The man is supposed to be dead. It becomes even more baffling when those nearest to him realize that he's missing nearly a decade of his life. How is Oliver back and why? It's going to take the combined efforts of most of the Justice League to figure it out.
It's a solid comic arc for Green Arrow with an interesting choice for the "return from the dead" plotline. The plotting was solid and the male character development was solid. The characterization of the women had me less impressed - Black Canary blaming her emotional state on PMS felt so very 90s. If you're a Green Arrow fan, it's definitely worth reading but it may be helpful to know the larger DCU before tackling this one - or have a big DC fan on-call to answer any questions that arise.
>231 MickyFine: Wow, I knew Kevin Smith loved comic books but I didn't know he'd written any major ones!
Shades of Milk and Honey - Mary Robinette Kowal
Jane is the eldest of two sisters but unlike her sister, Melody, Jane does not have the looks to attract the attentions of the men of the neighbourhood. All Jane possesses is a sharp mind and a significant skill for the arts of glamour - the refined form of magic that many elegant young ladies pursue. When several new gentleman arrive in the neighbourhood, Jane finds herself the recipient of several confidences from other young ladies of the neighbourhood and newly entranced by the highly-reputed Mr. Vincent who is a glamourist of the first order.
It's a Jane Austen-esque novel with magic and it's awesome! I don't know why it took me so long to pick up this series but I was utterly entranced from the first page. I devoured the entire novel in an afternoon and I'll definitely be picking up the second novel sooner rather than later.
>234 MickyFine: That sounds like something I'd enjoy. Adding it to my wish list :)
Sandman: Dream Country - Neil Gaiman
This third volume of Sandman comics didn't really make much of an impact for me. All of the tales are pretty dark and while I enjoy any appearance from Death, her presence in only one story included in this collection didn't nudge up my appreciation for it. Definitely an entry you could skip if you're not a completist. I hear rumours there's better things waiting for you in other volumes.
I forgot to post my weekend viewing on Monday.
I snagged this at the recent library book sale and I'm pleased to finally have this in my personal collection. Everyone is pretty/handsome/cute and it's fun to see the evolution of Ryan Reynolds' character. I will also say that the film holds up to multiple viewings even knowing the resolution to the romance mystery.
>239 MickyFine: - I watched that one for the first time recently, and it was cute. The Wayne liked it more than I did, which I found hysterically funny...
>234 MickyFine: That could be a BB if I run across it. (mixed metaphors there, I think)
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Who Is Oracle? - Julie Benson & Shawna Benson
Barbara Gordon has returned to Gotham as Batgirl only to discover that someone is using her former online persona of Oracle to sell information to members of the Mafia. Teaming up with Black Canary and reuniting the Birds of Prey Barbara attempts to figure out who Oracle could be. In the process, Batgirl and Black Canary encounter the Huntress who is on her own quest of revenge against the mafia families of Gotham.
Yay for women-centred comics! There was a solid character arc for all three women in this collection with a good central mystery and plenty of fun fight sequences. The art in this one didn't knock my socks off but I did appreciate that there weren't any ridiculous depictions of our central female characters. If you're going to give Batgirl a try, this is a solid entry point.
>243 swynn: I think for the right reader, it really could work. I just wasn't that reader unfortunately. And very cool that you met Mary Robinette Kowal!
Boundaries in Marriage - Henry Cloud & John Townsend
A Christian self-help book about the importance of boundaries in a marriage relationship. The ideas in the section I read were decent but this was a case of writing style not working for this reader. The examples that the authors use of clients they've counseled include dialogue that just sounds stilted and obviously coming from a therapist and they just set my teeth on edge. I also found that the book was far more targeted at people already married (and potentially dealing with challenges) than those preparing for marriage. Definitely a case of YMMV.
Almost Midnight - Rainbow Rowell
Collection of two short stories from Rainbow Rowell. The first, which initally appeared in My True Love Gave to Me, follows two friends over several years as they spend New Year's Eve together at a friend's annual party. The second, a World Book day title, spends time with Elena who decides to camp out for the several days before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and meets a cute boy in line.
I love Rainbow Rowell and I loved both of these stories. I'll definitely be ordering my own copy of this small volume, which includes very cute illustrations from Simini Blocker. Highly recommended.
I forgot to mention that back in March I won one of the ER copies of the latest string of L.M. Montgomery books that have been released by Tundra books with the gorgeous artwork by Elly Mackay. My copy of Mistress Pat arrived yesterday and it's just beautiful. I think I'm going to have to slowly acquire all of Montgomery's bibliography with these covers because they're just so gorgeous.
This topic was continued by MickyFine's 2018 Reading Adventures, Part the Third.
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