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Humouress still resolving to read more in 2018 - thread 2

This is a continuation of the topic Humouress resolves to read more in 2018.

This topic was continued by Humouress may actually read more in 2018! - thread 3.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Apr 4, 4:36am Top

Most of you know me. I'm Nina. Once the dust from the December madness cleared, I've emerged into the New Year with newly minted 14 year old and 9 year old sons (they're both considerate enough to have their birthdays in the week before Christmas). Plus a husband (who had, up to now, tolerated my book acquisition habit - but now we're running out of shelf space) and our dog, Jasper, who is just under a year and a half in human terms which makes him 18 years in golden retriever years. (yay. two teenagers.) My 9 year old is much like I was at that age; he'll happily clear 2 books a day when he's got time. My 14 year old reads less, but surprisingly (to me) tends to pick non-fiction. True, it's usually footballer biographies and fast cars (should I be worried?) but still.

This is my 9th year with the 75ers, though I've never managed to read 75 books in a year in that time. I lean heavily towards fantasy (preferably high) with a smattering of sci-fi (space opera), mysteries (pre-war), young adult and juvenile fiction and school stories - or whatever else catches my fancy at the time. I'm trying to read books off my shelf, since my reading hasn't kept up with my acquisitions (anyone else have that problem?) and having just tidied up my kids' bookshelves, I think I'll start reading some off theirs, just to keep up (this morning, I was given an explanation of book 8 of Skulduggery Pleasant without knowing anything about the series or the characters).

I try (try) to review and rate all the books I read (which doesn't help my reading speed) and I don't put spoilers in (I hope). If you want to jump to a review, click on the relevant number in the lists (>4, >5 & >6).

I tend towards the lighter side of things (hence my screen name) - because if you look at the dark side ... but why would you want to? Life’s hard enough. I tend to lurk more than post on LT, but I'm around, so please don't feel shy about joining me and posting here.

... carrying over from 2017

Green Dragon thread

Edited: Aug 9, 1:51am Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


44) Dr. Tenth originated by Roger Hargreaves
43) Dr. Ninth originated by Roger Hargreaves
42) Dr. Eighth originated by Roger Hargreaves
  41) Seeker's Mask by P. C. Hodgell
  40) Dr. Seventh originated by Roger Hargreaves
      39) Dr. Sixth originated by Roger Hargreaves
      38) Dr. Fifth originated by Roger Hargreaves
      37) Dr. Fourth originated by Roger Hargreaves
      36) Dr. Third originated by Roger Hargreaves
  35) Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
      34) Dr. Second originated by Roger Hargreaves
      33) Dr. First originated by Roger Hargreaves
  32) Tashi and the Demons by Anna Fienberg & Barbara Fienberg
  31) Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb
  30) The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

Edited: Jun 28, 12:18pm Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


      29) The Invisible Library by Genevieve Colman
      28) The Magic in the Weaving by Tamora Pierce
      27) The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
          26) The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
  25) Tashi and the Baba Yaga by Anna & Barbara Fienberg

Edited: Jul 19, 7:50am Top


      24) The First Betrayal by Patricia Bray
  23) Dark of the Moon by P.C. Hodgell

Edited: Jul 19, 7:28am Top


          22) Dragonclaw by Kate Forsyth
  21) Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

Edited: Jul 31, 1:03am Top


31. 32.  35.

25.   26. 27. 28. 29.

23. 24.

21. 22.

Edited: Jun 8, 8:30pm Top

review posted/ rated/ written (link)/ read

/ / (#) / Title


  20) The Greenwitch by Susan Cooper
  19) The Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  18) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
      17) Little Miss Naughty by Roger Hargreaves
      16) Little Miss Bossy by Roger Hargreaves


      15) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  14) A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
      13) Summer Term at Trebizon by Anne Digby
  12) Stardust by Neil Gaiman
      11) The Talisman’s Trinket by P.C. Hodgell
      10) Second Term at Trebizon by Anne Digby
      9) First Term at Trebizon by Anne Digby


      8) Instructions by Neil Gaiman
          7) Little Miss Helpful by Roger Hargreaves
  6) God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell
          5) The Chronicles of Dragon: the Hero, the Sword and the Dragons by Craig Halloran
      4) More Trouble at Trebizon by Anne Digby
  3) Tashi and the Genie by Anna and Barbara Fienberg
  2) Tashi and the Ghosts by Anna and Barbara Fienberg
      1) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Edited: Jun 8, 8:29pm Top

The constellation:

  You have got to read this one!                          
  Really good; worth reading                                ​
      Good, but without that special 'something' for me  
       Very nice, but a few issues                                   ​
           An enjoyable book                                                   ​
           Um, okay. Has some redeeming qualities                  
                Writing is hard. I appreciate the work the author did    
               (haven't met one - yet)                                               ​
                     Dire                                                   ​                         
                     Rated only as a warning. Run away. Don't stop.               

Purple stars, from Robin's thread:

Edited: Jul 23, 6:51am Top

Reading at home :

‘Waiting for the boys to finish classes’ book : The Magic Thief

Bedtime reading :Tashi series, Little Miss series

Kindle : Trebizon series

Downtime : Skulduggery Pleasant

Overdrive :

Edited: Jun 8, 8:28pm Top

Reading inspirations

Ongoing series:

The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper
Chronicles of the Cheysuli - Jennifer Roberson
Chronicles of the Kencyrath - P. C. Hodgell (group read, started January 2018)
Tashi - Anna Fienberg
The Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold (2014-2017 group read - savouring it before I run out of these glorious books)
**Farseer (group read starting March 2018)

Ooh, what about...

Miss Fisher mysteries
*The Wheel of Time {Tor read https://www.tor.com/2018/02/20/reading-the-wheel-of-time-eye-of-the-world-part-1/?utm_source=exacttarget&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_term=tordotcom-tordotcomnewsletter&utm_content=na-readblog-blogpost&utm_campaign=9780765334336}
Vatta/Honor Harrington
*Ready Player One - before the film comes out!
Earthsea - for the February group read book 1

Apr 4, 4:34am Top

10 of 11

Apr 4, 4:34am Top

11 of 11

Apr 4, 8:48am Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 4, 9:17am Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 4, 10:34am Top

>13 drneutron: Thanks Jim! >14 foggidawn: Thanks foggi!

Welcome in.

Apr 4, 11:14am Top

Happy new thread, Nina!

>your last msg on your previous thread: sorry to read about your parents, family can be difficult to deal with...

Apr 4, 11:20am Top

Happy new one, Nina!

Apr 4, 3:42pm Top

I brought up my screen of starred threads and thought, huh? How did I get 17 behind on Nina's thread? Then I saw the reason.

Happy New Thread, Nina! And I love all the stars variations.

Apr 4, 5:47pm Top

>16 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita! Ah, it’s just that my dad gets grumpier and more exasperating every year. But he’s a continent away, so I just see it from a distance.

>17 Crazymamie: Thanks Mamie!

>18 ronincats: (I sneaked off.) Thanks Roni! Blame Robin for the stars :0)

Apr 4, 6:26pm Top

Happy New Thread, Nina!

I love those Vorkosigan books, too.

I just finished The Invisible Library, which Richard had recommended. Fun Library-based fantasy.

Apr 5, 3:42pm Top

Happy new thread Nina! The fog of sicknesses in my house is slowly dissolving...... Hopefully it won't take me forever to catch up. :)
How are the fantasy books treating you?

Apr 10, 7:51am Top

Sorry to be AWOL - LT was down over the weekend, so I started catching up on other stuff.

>20 jnwelch: Welcome Joe! I do have The Invisible Library and seeing it on Richard's thread might move it up the TBR pile.

>21 jolerie: Thanks Valerie! I'm glad you're all recovering now. Fantasy is treating me well, thank you.

I'm reading The Royal Assassin which was meant to be my March book for the group read, but I do always tend to stretch these series reads out. It's actually a re-read, so I can take time to understand things (like the Fool). You would think re-reads should go faster, but if there's a bit I remember that I'm apprehensive about reading, I tend to put it off and it can actually take longer; but most of the action I remember happened in the first book so this one is going quite quickly.

Apr 10, 7:53am Top

Royal Assassin notes to self:

Fitz is growing up and is wrapped up in being a teenager (no-one understands me).

A lot does happen, but slowly; but Hobb's details it well. Fitz helps shape the future from behind the throne. I'm starting to understand the Fool. A bit.

Apr 10, 9:45am Top

Not sure how I missed your new thread but I'll blame the LT gremlins anyway.

Happy new one, neighbour.

Apr 10, 9:49am Top

Happy Tuesday, Nina!

Edited: Apr 17, 11:59pm Top

21) Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

(Second of 16: Realm of the Elderlings series / Second of 3: Farseer Trilogy. Fantasy)

I think that my feelings about a story or a series, once I’ve read it, are still influenced by the cover art. This second book doesn't engender feelings as bleak as thinking about the first one does and Fitz, now with a recognised name, has many strands of his life woven through the castle of Buck Keep and the politics behind the throne. The first person narrative pulls you in and though the protagonist’s position keeps him on the outskirts, it also lets him, and us, in behind the scenes of governance. The writing and plot were exciting enough for me to buy for my own shelves the entire Realm of the Elderlings series.

The narrator tells us his life story as he looks back from some undefined later point in time with each chapter prefaced by an extract from the history of the Six Duchies which he is in the process of writing, or some other lore or writing relevant to the chapter.

Fitz, our narrator telling us of his mid teens at this point, returns from the Mountain Kingdom broken in body. He aids Verity, the King-in-Waiting, with the defence of the realm against the Red Ship raiders and helps the new Queen-in-Waiting settle into court life. At the same time he is frustrated that he is not allowed to counter Regal, the spoiled youngest son of King Shrewd and the only child of his second marriage to Queen Desire, in his play for the throne and watches helplessly as Regal fractures the Six Duchies between the coastal and inland territories.

There may not be intense action throughout the book although there are fights against the raiders and confrontations with Regal and his henchmen, but there is suspense and treachery to keep you on the edge of your seat. Although not your typical teenager, Fitz feels misunderstood and unable to completely confide in any one person. He feels that he carries the weight of the kingdom on his shoulders and no-one loves him; although we see throughout the book that lots of people love this orphan as a parent would and are willing to risk everything for him. And at some point, Fitz recognises his love for the Six Duchies and its people.

And Nighteyes! He is young and playful and a bit cocky and revelling in the joy of living and just being; he reminds me rather of our ditzy golden retriever. I did like his first interaction with the Heart of the Pack.
It is what we all are, Nighteyes smirked. Come, Heart of the Pack, speak to me. Will not we hunt well together?

Hobb writes well and makes you care about the characters. The first person point of view leaves you feeling as frustrated as Fitz that you can only see and act so far or are prevented by vows or circumstances from moving to better protect the kingdom.

I picked this book up to re-read for the group read of the entire series (https://www.librarything.com/topic/283714#6419124 and http://www.librarything.com/topic/287725) and I found it as readable as I did the first time. This book doesn't end on a cliff-hanger, but it does leave you wanting to find out what happens to Fitz and his Six Duchies and to various characters off-screen (by this point) who may or may not be in danger.

I am paying more attention to the Fool on this re-read and starting to understand his place in the series.

4.5/5 stars

Apr 14, 10:25am Top

>24 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Thank you.

>25 Crazymamie: Thank you Mamie. At this point I'll wish you happy weekend!

Apr 15, 11:25pm Top

I’m planning a visit to Sydney next month and thinking of raiding Galaxy bookshop, behind QVB. Unfortunately, every time I go, the SF & F section seems to get smaller (and not as a result of my depredations). There aren’t that many specialist SF&F bookshops in the world as it is :0( Hopefully, I’ll get to raid some libraries too.

Edited: Apr 22, 1:49am Top

I am partway through Dragonclaw, which I am reading for my TIOLI challenge for spring cleaning books off my shelves. I initially bought it many years ago on holiday when I was desperate for something to read and this was all I could find in the fantasy genre in the nearest bookshop. Being a completist, I bought the next two books in the series, but I gave up at that point.

All the characters speak in Scottish brogue, and being a conscientious reader, the first time I read it I tried to hear them that way in my head but I found it really slowed me down until I just read it straight.

The story starts just before Isabeau's sixteenth birthday and she is excited as she suspects that she is about to be tested for the One Power by her guardian, the wood witch Meghan - also known as Meghan of the Beasts for her ability to talk to animals. Her birth was at the height of the appearance of the red comet, which appears every eight years in the skies of Eileanan which seems to be an island on a world that humans have crossed to but which was inhabited already by fairy creatures, some of whom look like variations of humans.

We learn that sixteen years ago the then respected witches of Eileanan were destroyed by Maya the Unknown, a sorceress who appeared from nowhere and married the Righ (king) and who has since persecuted any person or being with magic. Now, Meghan and her remaining fellow witches have decided that the simmering rebellion should move into action.

The story is dragging a bit for me and some of the details don't ring true. For instance, when Meghan's hidden valley is attacked by Maya's soldiers, she calls animals to aid in her defence and they are slaughtered mercilessly although later, Meghan refuses to wear furs to keep warm because they came from animals that were killed for their meat and hides. There is a torture scene of a young girl that goes as you'd expect (short of actual rape) until she manages to escape suddenly; I had completely wiped that from my memory, so it was an unpleasant surprise.

Well, I'm just over halfway through, so I'll keep going. The covers are gorgeous, though; must look up the artist.

ETA : cover illustration by Neal Armstrong

Apr 18, 1:22pm Top

>29 humouress: This has been in my tbr pile for ages. No sequels there, though. I'll wait until you get to the end and review it to decide if it is worth my time reading it or not.

Apr 20, 3:20am Top

>26 humouress: nice!

>29 humouress: Dragonclaw I think isn't for me, I hope it comes to life for you soon!

Apr 20, 11:37pm Top

It's still April, so it's not too late to say Happy New Thread! Is it? : )

Apr 21, 7:50am Top

I won't try to spring clean the books off my shelves, Nina, as I would probably need 50 springs to achieve it and I may not be given so many.

Have a splendid weekend, Neighbour. xx

Apr 21, 11:56am Top

>30 ronincats: Hi Roni. I’m reading it with the specific intention of clearing it and the other two books off my shelves to make space, which is something new for me! I’m not finding it as annoying as I remembered it to be and I’m hoping I don’t end up changing my mind and keeping them. But there was one character I really wanted to shake some sense into last time though she hasn’t featured much yet, as far as I’ve read.

I think you ought to read it for yourself and decide :0)

Apr 21, 12:00pm Top

>31 LovingLit: Thank you Megan!

To be honest, Dragonclaw wasn’t a hit for me the first time I read it, but I feel bad putting anyone off reading a book. I think it is well plotted, but the fine details are where it falls down.

Apr 21, 12:02pm Top

>32 Berly: Never too late, Kim! My threads don’t move as fast as yours, so I think I’ll be billeted here for at least the quarter, anyway. Thank you!

Apr 21, 12:04pm Top

>33 PaulCranswick: Be optimistic Paul; you may get more than 50 :0)

You read fast enough - it’s just that you acquire them at a higher rate.

Apr 21, 1:32pm Top

So, thanks to other LTers, I've joined Book Crossing (as humouress), should I ever be able to let go of any books. But this takes me one step closer.

I also attempted to join Litsy, but that is an app and only available for mobile devices, so that will have to wait until I'm on my phone, rather than my computer.

Apr 22, 2:09am Top

So I’ve joined Litsy! Also as humouress, but I’m a little confused as to how to post something. For instance, if I want to post >29 humouress: above, it’s not a full review yet. I’m not sure what ‘blurb’ means, so should it go there or not? And I haven’t found the help button yet. Hmm... I’ll have to work on it I suppose.

Apr 22, 4:00am Top

>I've joined Litsy too, as SandDune. I take 'blurb' to mean anything else you want to say about a book that isn't a review or a quote.

Apr 22, 4:36am Top

>40 SandDune: Thanks Rhian! I got a notification from Litsy and am now following you - I think. I’m still working out the navigation over there.

I suppose I’ll put it in ‘blurb’ then.

Apr 30, 5:33pm Top

Most of what you want to post will be blurbs, unless you want to post an actual review. Then you press review. I usually press "blurb," tag a book at the top, insert an image with "add image" (optional), and then write the blurb.

I'll follow you, though I'm not that active on Litsy.

Edited: May 5, 5:51pm Top

Well, I managed to read all of two books in April. I'll review Dragonclaw sometime, in addition to >29 humouress:.

I've started Dark of the Moon, the second book of The God Stalker Chronicles with Jame of the Kencyrath and actually, it's quite funny in parts. After a battle against supernatural creatures during which her companion, Marc, has been lost, Jame is on trial by the Arrin-ken of the Kencyrath for her soul when she is interrupted:

Jame stared at the great cat. She must say something - yes, no - but her mind had gone completely blank.

Then there was a sound behind her. A hand came up over the edge of the crevasse and fumbled for a hold. Before the other one could appear, clutching a double headed war-axe, Jame was on her knees grabbing for Marc's sleeve.

"Sorry it took me so long," he said apologetically, hauling himself up. "I heard you call, but I'd just landed on a scrap of a ledge down there and had the breath knocked out of me. Then it rained fire. Then a wyrsa fell on me - or at least I think it was a wyrsa. But what's happened here?"

I love Marc. He's not intentionally funny, but he's so placid and easy going, not much ruffles his equanimity. That was his version of the last hour or so of intense life-and-death fighting.

Edited: May 6, 1:39am Top

I am just over halfway through Dark of the Moon and really enjoying it. While it’s not completely unputdownable, it is one I want to get back to as soon as possible and I’m getting through it at a decent rate, for me. My omnibus issue of The God Stalker Chronicles has God Stalk ending with three appendices, one of which explains the Kencyrath (which would have completely diffused that wonderful tension of the first chapter, if it had appeared at the beginning, not to mention changing the atmosphere of the whole of the rest of the book).

Almost the same thing appears as a prologue at the beginning of Dark of the Moon with additional information that provides the essentials of the first book. Could you read the second book as a stand-alone? Probably. Half the story belongs to Torisen Black Lord, whom we meet for the first time. You would miss out on Jame’s half forgotten back story, not to mention some Kencyrath history and legends (and the fascinating city of Tai-Tastigon) but the second book doesn’t depend on the first unless you’re going to read the whole series, in which case you do need to follow the convoluted path.

There are hints that maybe Rathillien will be the last world in the chain of creation for the Kencyrath to defend, whether their Three-Faced god intended it or not - but as this is only the second book in a series (of -at the moment - 8 books) which has not yet been finished, we don’t have to worry about that yet.

ETA : But, wow, does she drag us the length of Rathillien in this one.

May 6, 6:16am Top

God stalkers and dragon claws.........I am a bit lost, but will plough on and wish you a splendid Sunday, Nina. xx

Edited: Jun 9, 8:34am Top

22) Dragonclaw by Kate Forsyth

(First of 6 : Witches of Eileanan series. Fantasy)

The story starts just before Isabeau's sixteenth birthday and she is excited as she suspects that she is about to be tested for the One Power by her guardian, the wood witch Meghan - also known as Meghan of the Beasts for her ability to talk to animals. Isabeau's birth was at the height of the appearance of the red comet, which appears every eight years in the skies of Eileanan - which seems to be an island on a world that humans have crossed to but which was inhabited already by fairy creatures, some of whom look like variations of humans.

We learn that sixteen years ago the then respected witches of Eileanan were destroyed by Maya the Unknown, a sorceress who appeared from nowhere and married the Righ (king) and who has since persecuted any person or being with magic. Now, Meghan and her remaining fellow witches have decided that the simmering rebellion should move into action to overthrow Maya and return the rule of the country to the human royal family. As Meghan and Isabeau make their separate journeys through the lands, we meet through them other characters, both human and uihle-beast (fairy).

Dragonclaw refers to the mountain that dominates the landscape.

The story dragged a bit for me and some of the details didn't ring true. For instance, when Meghan's hidden valley is attacked by Maya's soldiers, she calls animals to aid in her defence and they are slaughtered mercilessly although later, Meghan refuses to wear furs to keep warm because they came from animals that were killed for their meat and hides. There is a torture scene of a young girl that goes as you'd expect (short of actual rape) until she manages to escape suddenly; I had completely wiped that from my memory, so it was an unpleasant surprise.

All the characters speak in Scottish brogue, and being a conscientious reader, the first time I read it I tried to hear them that way in my head but I found it really slowed me down (not to mention being irritating when concentrated like that) until I just read it straight.

I did think, though Maya's people were cast as the villains, that they have a cause; they were the original inhabitants of the planet but were pushed out of their traditional lands when the humans arrived and Maya herself acts as a pawn, hoping to win approbation. I wonder if the author will show us more of their viewpoint in future books.

The cover illustration by Neal Armstrong is gorgeous.

3 stars

May 10, 12:39am Top

Just keeping current here! Which is more than I can say for Litsy. I have signed up and then done...absolutely nothing! LOL. Need more time in the day...

; )

May 13, 4:06pm Top

>42 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel. Thanks for the Litsy tips. I’ll have to look into tagging books, I think; I didn’t know you could/ should do that.

>45 PaulCranswick: Thanks for the weekend wishes, Paul. My apologies for being a week lat in returning them. I know fantasy is not your thing, but I thought we’d convinced you to dip a toe (claw?) in.

>47 Berly: I don’t seem to be keeping very current here, either Kim. I’ve only posted a couple of blurbs on Litsy. It’ll take a while before it becomes a regular habit - if I remember to keep it up in the meantime.

May 13, 4:16pm Top

Well, folks, it looks like I’m on a general go-slow on the reading front. I had so much fun with Dark of the Moon that I don’t want to move on to the next universe. We’re trying to get number one son more focused on his studies, which include Food & Nutrition for which he will have to prepare a meal which he will be assessed on, so I’m trying to introduce him to the concept of cooking more than burgers or fried eggs, so life is keeping me busy. I am planning a trip Down Under next week, when I’ll fly back with my sister - it’s been a while since we’ve travelled together. There will of course be the compulsory bookshop and (physical) library raids.

Since Singapore celebrates a different Mothers’ Day from th UK, I would like to wish all mums a very happy Mothers’ Day (again).

Edited: Jun 4, 4:06am Top

23) I’ve finished Dark of the Moon for the group read. Since I reviewed it the first time I read it, I’ll just copy it over and add a few more details.

(Omnibus 1: first two of 6: Chronicles of the Kencyrath series. High fantasy)
(Re-read. LT group read)

2 - Dark of the Moon

This, book two of the Chronicles of the Kencyrath, forms the second half of the omnibus, The God Stalker Chronicles.

Jame, having fulfilled her obligations in Tai-Tastigon, can now leave for the Riverlands of the Kencyrath together with Marc, another Kencyr, and her blind golden ounce, Jorin. However, circumstances dictate that they leave precipitately and they have to cross the deadly pass over the Ebonbane mountains in the teeth of winter, which no-one has even attempted before.

Meanwhile, Jame's twin brother Tori, whom she is desperately seeking to hand over the hereditary ring and sword of their father, has problems of his own. In spite of missing these artefacts, he has been accepted as Highlord of the Kencyrath and has administered them peaceably, although some of the Highborn lords have their own agenda. Now the Kencyrarth have received word that the Hoard which endlessly circles the Southern Waste has broken the circle and is heading for the Riverlands, so he must first convince the lords to march against them, and then lead the badly outnumbered Kencyr Host into battle.

The pieces of the missing years of Jame's past start to fall into place as changers, those high Kencyr turned to evil by the fallen Master of Knorth, appear outside Perimal Darkling hunting Jame and involving themselves in the matters of the Kencyr.

The strength of Perimal Darkling on Rathillien is growing. If the thin crescent doesn't rise after the dark of the moon, the Kencyr will know that the moon has been swallowed and this world, too, has finally fallen.

I enjoyed this book as much as the first. Though the detail and richness might have been a bit less intense than in God Stalk (but this could just be that the vivid personality of the city of Tai-Tastigon was - necessarily - missing), the action was fast-paced, with Jame, Tori and their friends leaping from one fraught situation to the next as they battled unknown enemies. I liked the quirks of fantasy, such as a tree whose leaves swarmed to more temperate climes for the winter, and the humorous touches of the first book are still present. For example, after a battle against supernatural creatures during which her companion, Marc, has been lost, Jame is on trial by the Arrin-ken of the Kencyrath for her soul when she is interrupted:
Jame stared at the great cat. She must say something - yes, no - but her mind had gone completely blank.

Then there was a sound behind her. A hand came up over the edge of the crevasse and fumbled for a hold. Before the other one could appear, clutching a double headed war-axe, Jame was on her knees grabbing for Marc's sleeve.

"Sorry it took me so long," he said apologetically, hauling himself up. "I heard you call, but I'd just landed on a scrap of a ledge down there and had the breath knocked out of me. Then it rained fire. Then a wyrsa fell on me - or at least I think it was a wyrsa. But what's happened here?"

I love Marc. He's not intentionally funny, but he's so placid and easy going, not much ruffles his equanimity. This was his summary dismissal of the last hour or so of intense life-and-death fighting.

And this one tickled me:
When Torisen had invited all the High Council to dinner tonight, Caineron had sent back word that he was indisposed.
"Not feeling quite in touch with things yet," his randon commander Sheth Sharp-Tongue had added with a sardonic smile.

It's not a big part of the story, by any means, but I found it funny. You'll have to read to the end of the book to find out why ;0)

Four and a half stars. Looking forward to the next book. Updating to five stars; this book definitely deserves it.

Five stars overall for the omnibus.

May 16, 9:09am Top

Great review! I really have to get to this one. Happy belated Mother's Day and good luck with the cooking. : )

May 16, 1:29pm Top

>51 Berly: Thank you Kim! And yes, you should read this book. I really enjoyed it (can you tell?).

May 16, 7:13pm Top

>50 humouress: Don't forget to copy this over to the Kencyrath thread too!!

May 26, 11:59am Top

>53 ronincats: Thanks Roni; I will do.

Life has been a bit busy recently. My sister stopped over in Singapore for a few days, during which we indulged in things like shopping and high tea. My eldest had to submit a cake for the Biggest Morning Tea cake competition as part of his Food and Nutrition assessment, for which he won third place! I think the assessment counts towards his final mark, so that should help things. We coached him through a practice run last weekend and then he made the actual cake by himself. Not bad for his first go.

I flew back to Sydney with my sis, so my internet surfing and my reading is rather curtailed at the moment. Yesterday we dropped in on our parents, who are planning on moving house and I discovered they’re more technologically advanced than I am. There my mum was, chatting to her Google mini and my dad talking loudly to his car navigation system. Of course, I have the boys and the dog - but they’re rather more unresponsive.

I’m hoping to be able to raid the libraries soon (finally!) and that I’ll have time to read the books I borrow, too.

May 31, 1:36pm Top

Update: I finally managed to get to the libraries, but it looks like I won’t even have time to finish one book :0( But I did manage to visit Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney - more of which later.

May 31, 10:31pm Top

Book store visits are always good!

Jun 1, 6:36am Top

>55 humouress: I hope you found some good books in the bookshop, Nina!

Jun 3, 6:14am Top

>56 ronincats: >57 FAMeulstee: Thanks Roni and Anita! I am back in Singapore and happy to complain about the heat and humidity instead of the cold. Winter in Sydney is a very different animal from winter in London; it can get to 25°C if it’s sunny when you’re outside (which would be approaching heat wave status in a London summer) but if it’s cloudy and windy, the houses aren’t built to retain heat and I don’t do well with cold. I haven’t unpacked my suitcases fully as my husband needed the space to pack for his trip, but I’ll let you know what I got when I do.

I was hoping that the library visits would boost my reading numbers, but it seems to have made no difference :0( Although I borrowed The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (amongst others) which has been getting good reviews on LT, I didn’t manage to read more than two chapters

Edited: Jun 4, 3:54am Top

I can’t believe I only finished two books in May! I didn’t review First Betrayal before I left, so I’ll have to write it from memory.

I did manage the two chapters mentioned above and I’m also halfway through The Orphan Queen.

ETA: I just had a look at my 2017 thread, and it looks like I didn't post anything after September. Hmm, I didn't have any earth-shattering life changes, just the usual busyness with the kids and all. I hadn't realised I was quite so absent from LT!

Edited: Jun 9, 11:53am Top

24) The First Betrayal by Patricia Bray

{First of 3: The Chronicles of Josan. Fantasy}

The priest, brother Josan, keeps a lighthouse at the far extreme of the Ikarian empire. He knows that he has suffered a great illness and is lucky to have recovered, if slowly, and be able to perform even these simple duties.

Lady Ysobel Flordelis is a merchant trader for her house. She has ambitions to found her own house and has risen far and fast. Although she would much rather be manning the deck of one of her own ships, she is the new Seddonian trade liaison to Ikaria. When she is shipwrecked on Josan's island en route to her new post, events are set in motion that start to waken memories and cause Josan to leave the lighthouse and travel across Ikaria towards the capital of Karystos in search of answers.

The book is written well enough, although it got off to a slow start before it began to get interesting around chapter 6 and about halfway through I did wonder where the plot was taking us as the focus seemed to be on a rebellion that not many people were actually interested in. There was an interesting plot twist that manifested about three quarters of the way through that I really hadn't anticipated. It feels as though this book is a set up for ones to follow, and it would be interesting to see where they go.

I think (though it's been a couple of weeks between finishing this and writing the review) that this is a 3.5 stars

ETA: notes from my Litsy entires:

I am a bit puzzled, though. Lady Ysobel, the Seddonian trade liaison to Ikaria, is on a secret mission to reignite the failed revolution of 5 years prior to the beginning of the story in spite of the fact that no one else seems interested and the given reason is that it would keep Ikaria too busy to threaten Seddonia’s position as masters of the sea. This book has been on my TBR pile for so long, I’m going to have difficulty finding the next book!

Jun 5, 4:07pm Top

You mentioned on my thread that you hadn't heard of the Detective Inspector Chen series by Liz Williams, set right in your own Singapore. Well, not exactly your Singapore, it's Singapore 3. I'd really recommend that you read the first book, Snake Agent, and if you love it (and you will) proceed on from there.

Jun 5, 4:59pm Top

Thanks Roni. I’ll look out for it.

Edited: Jul 19, 12:22pm Top

25) Tashi and the Baba Yaga by Anna & Barbara Fienberg

(9th and 10th of 32:Tashi series. Fantasy, children's)


When Baba Yaga blows into town, Tashi has to use his quick wits and his genius for making friends to escape from her chicken-legged hut.


One day, all the chickens in town disappear and no one has eggs for breakfast, so Tashi sets out to find some. A tale of market forces.

This was my original review:

9 - Tashi and the Baba Yaga

Jack's dad is in bed with a cold, but perks up when Jack starts another Tashi story, of the time when Tashi went to investigate when strong winds blew Baba Yaga's house into town, and got invited in for Boy-Baked-In-A-Pie. Do you remember your Russian folklore? (And did you notice there's a house that looks like it came from Tashi's hometown outside Jack's window?)

10 - Gone!

Dad gets out of bed to hear Tashi tell this one, of the time when all the chickens in the village disappeared. Tashi suspected the wicked Baron (he whose treasure was guarded by white tigers); but there's a River Pirate involved as well.

Loving the illustrations; the gates to the Baron's house look just like him! And the stories are simply, but well, written.

Averging out: 4.5 stars

Edited: Jun 24, 1:45pm Top

26) The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

(First of 2: The Orphan Queen duology. Fantasy)

Wilhelmina was dispossessed of her kingdom as a child in the One Night War, when both her parents were killed in front of her by forces from the Indigo Kingdom. Since then, Aecor has been ruled by the Indigo Kingdom but the Ospreys plan to get it back. The Ospreys are a group of children of Aecor nobles who were taken to the Indigo Kingdom nine years ago but escaped from their orphanage to band together and work to take back Aecor. Recently, however, they have had to avoid the vigilante, Black Knife, who keeps his identity hidden beneath a mask. But Wil has her secrets, too.

Meanwhile, the threat of wraith is growing from the west. Wraith seems to be a by-product of the use of too much magic which corrupts the land and mutates lifeforms. Magic, which used to sustain technology, is now banned throughout the kingdoms in an attempt to stop the growth of wraith but it still advances and has covered the kingdom of Liadia. Now, only the Indigo Kingdom stands between it and Aecor.

Meadows seems to use 'wraith' as a metaphor, at least for most of the book, for the pollution of our world - until near the end of the book, when it reveals its magical nature.

Some details are beautifully observed but there are some improbable plot flaws (well, I'll grant you this is fantasy). I would say this book is a YA novel (which is divided into three parts) but I would put it towards the older end of the range as it does involve romantic relationships.

While the improbabilities did distract me (a supposed refugee duchess from Liadia being allowed to order, on her host monarch’s budget, a ball gown that rivals the crown prince’s fiancée’s dress, for instance) I did enjoy the story and am curious as to what happens next.

3.5 stars? 3? I'll go with 3***

Jun 8, 8:59pm Top

Well, May was a slow reading month, too, due to my sister staying with us for a few days, so I had some girl-time. Then I went back to Sydney with her (where her dog is a girl). I thought I would be able to read lots of library books there but getting to the libraries in the first place was a hassle and then I never had time to read the books I did borrow :0(

I’ve worked out that if I manage to read 12 books (only10 more!) this month, I’ll be back on track. Mind you, that would be quite a feat, considering I’ve only managed two books per month recently. Ah well; onward and upward as they say.

Jun 8, 10:14pm Top

I hope June is a more stellar reading month, Nina.

I will in future blame family members when my reading slows!

Have a great weekend.

Jun 8, 10:42pm Top

>66 PaulCranswick: Oh, absolutely. Though I think your reading is in no danger.

Thanks Paul!

Jun 9, 6:32am Top

>65 humouress: Numbers are just numbers, Nina, I will be cheering anyway. Most important is you enjoy your reading!

Jun 10, 1:54am Top

>68 FAMeulstee: Very true. Thank you, Ms Double Sweep. ;0)

Edited: Jun 11, 3:43am Top

I’ve created a new book nook for myself

Jun 12, 4:42pm Top

I love the purple stars! And the multi-colored stars!

And your reading nook looks really delightful.

For one of my reading challenges, I need to read a book set on another planet (besides Earth, I think that means). Your thread may be the right place for me to find that read when I get to it.

Jun 13, 9:48am Top

>71 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen!

I read more fantasy than SF but I’m sure it still counts (Rathillien for instance). What about alternative Earths though?

Edited: Jun 26, 2:37pm Top

27) The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

(First of 2: The Orphan Queen duology. Fantasy)

This is the immediate sequel to Orphan Queen with events starting seconds after the cliff-hanger ending of the first book.

Wilhelmina Korte is the rightful heir, she feels, to the kingdom of Aecor which is now ruled over as a conquered territory by the Indigo Kingdom. In the first book of this duology she infiltrated the palace and tangled with the vigilante, Black Knife. At the heart of the politics of this world is ‘wraith’, a toxic by-product of magic, which is indiscriminately destroying lands and is currently advancing on the Indigo Kingdom.

Wilhelmina is a little bit more proactive in this book than the previous one, journeying into wraith-affected territory to see if she can find something that will halt or reverse the advance of wraith and she returns to Aecor to see how she can help her long-lost country from within. In the process she finds that her views on Aecor and the Indigo Kingdom have changed and she both gains new allies and loses old ones. Wil does continue her interactions with the mysterious Black Knife which are fun (if a little far-fetched).

I felt that, though the action continues straight on from Orphan Queen, this book was better written - though it may be that the forbidden romance hook got me. I kept reading because I wanted to find out what happened there, as well as with Aecor and wraith.

I like the strong friendships and loyalties (unusually between same sexes as well as opposite sexes, which keep the series balanced) that Meadows depicts and also the calligraphy details; apparently she went so far as to learn calligraphy as research for this duology. I did find it frustrating, as a reader, that Wil didn’t use communication better; she could have got more information about wraith from Chrysalis and I wondered why she didn’t keep the enchantment on the 'entangled' books rather than shutting down those sources.

The solution to the problem of wraith was rather unexpected and I'm not quite sure how it really worked (one of those things that it’s best not to examine too closely, maybe). It does seem that wraith has not been conquered, and possibly there are more stories to come from other countries in this world. Wilhelmina’s story, though, has been satisfactorily resolved by the end of this book.

There are four prequel novellas, set two years before Orphan Queen, which tell Tobiah's story; maybe I'll look out for those to read.

3.5 stars? 4? I'll give it 3.5 ****

Edited: Jun 25, 1:15pm Top

So. Recent book hauls, as promised.

On my recent trip to Sydney, I raided Galaxy (Abbey's) Bookshop. I had planned to spend the whole day in the city, but my sister and I ended up catching up with our parents for lunch before we took the bus in. So by the time I did everything else I wanted to do, saving the bookshop visit for last, because I suspected I'd end up lugging quite a bit back, there was only half an hour before they closed. AND they had a sale on! So I whizzed through the sales racks and then shot through the aisles as well, picking up as discriminately as I could at speed.

This is what I ended up with:

Korval's Game
Crystal Variation in the Liaden series
Vorkosigan Companion - I didn't have time to find out what it was, specifically, but Vorkosigan!
Banner of the Damned to go with the Inda series I read last year.

and two sale books at A$5
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man to get the kids started on Alanna, though I couldn't find any other books in the series on my run through. (i notice that the title has changed from The Girl Who Rides Like a Man since I first read it.)
The Door in the Hedge

I also ended up with Angel's Blood somehow, which is not something I'd have picked up. My guess is that the sales lady accidentally added it to my bag from her piles on her desk. As long as she didn't swap it out for something that I did pick up; though it doesn't seem to be on the receipt. If I’d had time, I would have gone back and returned it - or maybe they were giving them away as freebies. It had a sale sticker on it, too.

Jun 17, 12:57pm Top

And on my desk (hey, don't blame me, they just 'appeared') and awaiting shelving (but where? Where?) are:

The Shadow Throne
Home Comforts
200 Slow Cooker Recipes
The Foundling
Blood of Dragons
The Fifth Season
The Dog Listener
Bakes & Cakes
Dragons of Crumbling Castle
Great Recipes Kids Can Cook

Hmm; I was thrilled when my husband gave me 3 whole floor to ceiling bookshelves when we moved into this house and I was happy that he didn't steer me in the opposite direction (like my family did) whenever we approached the vicinity of a bookshop. But now I'm wondering ... is he letting physical limits curb my book spending?... ;0)

Jun 17, 5:20pm Top

>75 humouress: I am sure you find a place for them, Nina, or maybe you need a 4th?
is he letting physical limits curb my book spending? No, that would be impossible....

Jun 17, 11:45pm Top

Books!! Love Robin McKinley! The Vorkosigan Companion is commentary and essays, not the same as stories but good filler. Liaden!! And welcome home, Nina!

Jun 18, 1:13am Top

I want the book nook! And very nice book haul. : )

Edited: Jun 18, 11:53pm Top

>76 FAMeulstee: A fourth book shelf, Anita? I like it. Although then, I'd need to find floor space for said shelf ... Something to think about. Do you think he'd notice another shelf? He's a guy, after all ;0)

I noticed on your thread, you're having similar problems. Though you are brave enough to cull, which I'm not.

Jun 18, 11:52pm Top

>77 ronincats: Thanks, Roni!

I love McKinley's Damar stories and have been waiting for forever for more. But so, I hear, has the author.

Vorkosigan is Vorkosigan. I did have a quick peek inside and I think it'll be a nice one to read when I'm in the mood for research and not fantasy.

As for Liaden, I'm pretty sure you're one of those who've really been pushing this series. Now I have the first (in chronological order), I can make a proper start on them. I've learned from experience that if I read a series out of order, I get annoyed that I don't know what's going on. And then if I go back to the first book, the suspense is killed because I already know that so and so must have survived or such and such happened. So now, no excuses!

Jun 18, 11:56pm Top

>78 Berly: Thanks Kim!

Since we moved in (about 10 years ago), that window shelf (and another one on the other wall) has ended up being used for all the things I 'can't get to right now, but will tonight... or sometime' and it's being annoying my husband for a while. So I thought if I cleared the whole thing and put a Thai cushion bed on it, it would stay cleared and I'd have somewhere to read. So far, it's sort of working...

Jun 18, 11:59pm Top

>80 humouress: Well, except that I really recommend publication order for the Liaden series. But if it gets you moving on this series, by all means!

Edited: Jun 19, 10:40am Top

>82 ronincats: Oh phooey!

ETA: out of curiosity, why do you recommend publication order over chronological order?

Jun 20, 1:53am Top

I'm currently spending time over on the cataloguing side of LT, entering books and doing some housekeeping (adding labels and so on). According to my humouress catalogue, I have 340 books on my TBR pile. Maybe I ought to stop buying books.

*sigh* I'll have to read faster than 75 books a year to read them all.

Jun 20, 11:07am Top

Hi, Nina. I love to see talk of Vorkosigan and Liaden. :-)

Jun 20, 5:48pm Top

>83 humouress: In this case, it's because we find out about the characters in these two books enough to be vitally interested in them and their influence on the Liaden universe after we are immersed in that world and see the results. By getting to know Val Con and Shan and their clan in the here and now, so to speak, we are more motivated to learn about the previous generation (in Local Custom and Scout's Progress) and about the whole Liaden culture in the Crystal Variation books. They mean a lot more, they have a lot more resonance, you see where things fit in. I'd read the original 5 books first, before Crystal Variation, at least.

It matters more with some series than others. With the Vorkosigan books, it really doesn't matter too much as long as you read Shards of Honor before Barrayar and Mirror Dance before Memory, but I definitely go with chronological order on rereads. With Brust's Vlad Taltos Jhereg series, again, publication order at least the first time through. Too many spoilers otherwise. One where I can't make up my mind is Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles. She wrote the last book first and since I was reading them as they came out, that's the one I read first and I really enjoyed not knowing what was going on and finding out along with the protagonist. And then she wrote the three books prior explaining how it got to that point and I love those too, but they take all the elements of surprise out of the final book that I really enjoyed.

Jun 21, 5:35pm Top

>85 jnwelch: You know me, Joe. All about the book talk :0)

Jun 21, 5:43pm Top

>86 ronincats: Umm. Well, I have read Agent of Change and I have it somewhere as an e-book and I’ve got Conflict of Honor in Dragon Variation but for some reason, it’s really hard to find Liaden books on this side of the world. Maybe I should just save shelf space and get the whole series as e-books.

Hmm; I have the boxed set of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles; maybe I’ll try reading it in publication order. I’ve read it in chronological order and I think the last book didn’t seem to fit snugly. Worth having a look at that again.

Jun 21, 10:07pm Top

>88 humouress: If you start with Agent of Change and Conflict of Honor first, Nina, then you'll have the basics and can read the others if you want. It's just that Carpe Diem wraps up those two books and then Plan B introduces the Xtrang, which has implications for the Crystal Variations books. But read those two before you read Local Custom and Scout's Progress in Dragon Variation, IMHO.

Always fun to read The Enchanted Forest Chronicles in whatever order, but for a reread, it would definitely be worth a try to read Talking to Dragons first. I used to go into 6th grade classrooms for Read Across America Day and read the first chapter and give the class the boxed set, telling them they could start at either end.

Jun 22, 10:24am Top

>70 humouress: I love your book nook!

Jun 22, 11:53am Top

>89 ronincats: I’m confused now. :0)

But as you are the go-to SF expert, I will go against my better instincts and read them in publication order. When my TBR permits.

Jun 22, 11:54am Top

>90 eclecticdodo: Thank you *blushes*

Edited: Jun 26, 2:39pm Top

28) The Magic in the Weaving by Tamora Pierce

(First of 8: Winding Circle series / First of 4: Circle of Magic series. Fantasy)

Gentle tale of children discovering mage powers

I see that this is also called Sandry’s Book although it doesn’t seem to me to be hers any more than any of the other three children who have all been sought out by the mage Niko and given shelter at Winding Circle Temple. Sandry, who has lost her family in the plague, is interested in weaving though this is considered below one of her noble birth; dark-skinned Daja has also lost her family but in a shipwreck - she is fascinated by metalwork which is anathema to Trader-born like her; street-kid Briar has an affinity for plants and they seem to love him, too; and red-headed Tris has been given up by her family because the weather seems to behave strangely around her.

They are all given a new home at Winding Circle and gradually come to realise that there is magic in the things that they love and that they are mages. Not really a spoiler because there are some fairly broad hints dropped from the beginning for the readers and the title spells it out, rather.

Despite their rough beginnings, they learn to work together and with their new community as well as with nature and natural laws as they learn how to control their newly discovered powers. Niko seems to have gathered them for a reason but we are not really told why in this book; it's something to look forward to finding out in the following books.

A gently paced story, suitable for juvenile readers which promotes the idea of working in harmony.


Edited: Jun 28, 12:17pm Top

29) The Invisible Library by Genevieve Colman

(First of 5?: Invisible Library series. Fantasy/ alternative worlds)

Intriguing premise of alternate worlds connected via the Library.

What if alternative universes do exist? And each alternative Earth differs by how much it runs on magic and/ or technology and all points between. So what would link the different versions? Well, their unique literature which the Invisible Library collects and which thereby strengthens the worlds' links to the Library.

The Invisible Library
... wasn't about a higher mission to save worlds.It was about finding unique works of fiction, and saving them in a place outside of time and space. ... And if there were rumours that the Library did have a deeper purpose - well ...
Irene is sealed to the Library and, while she would love nothing better than to get lost in her favourite books or pursue her research, as a junior Librarian she is periodically sent out on missions to acquire books from alternative universes. We first meet her as she is about to complete one such mission.

When she returns to the Library, instead of getting a well-earned break, she is sent out on another mission, this time with an intern called Kai in tow. They travel to an alternative London which corresponds to Victorian times but where Fae, vampires and werewolves as well as airships and a Holmesian detective (known as Lord Vale in this incarnation) are part of everyday life. Suddenly, what should have been a simple extraction turns into something more dangerous as the book is missing and a rogue Librarian (not to mention cyborg alligators) enters the mix.

I quite enjoyed this romp through an alternative London, chaos-touched though it may be. This is the first book in the series, with the ending hinting at further adventures - which I am planning to go on. I am reliably informed that the series gets better as it goes along.


Edited: Jun 25, 12:21am Top

England 6 Panama 1

I'll savour any win we get.

It was nice to see the Panamanians continue to celebrate their first ever World Cup goal; this is the first time they've played in the World Cup and their second game of the tournament.

Jul 2, 7:13am Top

Love your new book nook!

Jul 2, 11:13am Top

Thanks Rachel!

I’ve noticed you whizzing around the threads recently. I hope life is treating you well.

Jul 2, 7:15pm Top

>94 humouress: An interworld library? It doesn't get much better than that! Unless there are vampires and werewolves and London is involved...yay!

Edited: Jul 3, 3:54am Top

>98 Berly: I think you might like that one then, Kim. ;0)

Jul 3, 3:56am Top

In other news, my husband has promised me a birthday trip (sans kids) to London in October. I foresee a few book raids in my future and (like Anita) some book ambushes.

Jul 3, 7:50am Top

And also; they’ve found the Thai football team, which was lost in flooded caves, alive. It’s not so far from here and the kids are the same ages as the team my older son plays in plus he has friends in the area (not that we know any of these particular boys).

It’s such good news that they’re safe. Now the issue is getting them out safely through pitch black, flooded, muddy tunnels.

Edited: Jul 3, 10:01am Top

>101 humouress: I can't believe they found them and they are alive! That is great news.

>100 humouress: Also, I like the way your husband thinks.

Jul 3, 10:22am Top

>102 Berly: Me too :0)

Edited: Jul 4, 3:56am Top

England through to the World Cup quarter finals after beating Columbia in a penalty shoot out. I need a few days to recover after watching that match.

I finished reading The False Prince after that (even though the match finished at about 5am) to calm my nerves. I picked it up because I wanted a quick read to finish my June reading as we went into Malaysia for the weekend at Legoland and I knew I wouldn't get much chance to read. It ended up being my first book for July instead.

ETA: it looks like I'll have to up my reading speed one and a half times if I'm to make it to 75 this year.

Edited: Jul 30, 3:20pm Top

30) The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

(First of 3 Ascendance trilogy. Fantasy, YA)

A minor nobleman of Carthya, Bevan Conner, searches through the orphanages of Carthya collecting fourteen year old boys; his mission, to save the kingdom by grooming one of them to impersonate the long-lost Prince Jaron to take the throne and avoid impending war. The four boys he chooses are Latamer, Roden, Tobias and Sage. The story is told in the first person from Sage's point of view; he is rather a rebel and resists conforming to Conner’s plan. And though Sage constantly bucks against Conner's control, he is always ready with a clever answer.
I snorted. Conner turned to me. "You don't believe it's possible?"
"Just because it's possible doesn't mean it's wise."
With arched eyebrows, Conner said, "And you claim to have this wisdom?"
"I claim to have nothing, sir."
Four years ago at age ten, Prince Jaron was sent overseas to strengthen ties between the kingdoms of Carthya and Bymar. His ship was attacked by pirates and all on board were lost at sea. However, his body was never found and Conner plans to use this fact to pretend that he has found Jaron now. He has two weeks to groom the boys to find the best fit for the missing prince.

Nicely written and tightly plotted with an unexpected twist at the end. Actually I confess; this was a re-read for me. The book still read well both ways, even knowing the ending; in fact I could appreciate it from a different perspective.

I like this book; I first read it as a library book and consequently bought the series for my own shelves. It might not be earth-shattering but it is very enjoyable and stands up well to re-reading. I didn’t understand some of Sage’s motives in pushing Conner to his limits, as much as the teenager admitted that he himself didn’t either - but haven’t we all been there?
"Why didn't you tell Conner you'd lie for him, Sage? He stood right there and said he'd make you his prince. All you had to do was say you would lie."
I set my jaw forward, but said nothing. Even if I were inclined to explain myself, which I wasn't, I had no answer to give him.
I appreciated the boys, who are about the same age as my two currently are (though the characters behave a bit older) but that also made the twist a bit heartbreaking. Similarly, I liked the detail about the relationship between the brothers Darius and Jaron.
It never occurred to Jaron that Darius loved him. Protected him so that he could have the life Darius never could.
Adventure, suspense and a touch of heartbreak. Worth reading. And re-reading.

4.5 ******

... got to go. Mum's taxi service has a demanding customer. Back later ...

Edited: Jul 7, 5:53am Top

Edited: Jul 7, 5:52am Top

Best of luck tonight, boys. Just play the Beautiful Game.

Jul 7, 12:31pm Top

Oh, yes. 2-0

Jul 7, 3:54pm Top

>100 humouress: Yes, watch out for book ambushes, Nina! ;-)

>108 humouress: Congratulations, up to the next round!

Jul 7, 5:31pm Top

>109 FAMeulstee: 1- ... or not :0)

2- Thank you. It wasn’t quite as nerve racking as I’d feared it would be.

Jul 7, 8:23pm Top

Love the book review and the cartoon and the score. : )

Jul 8, 2:02am Top

>111 Berly: Thank you!

I'm quite happy about the score. We stayed up late watching both matches (well, my younger son only caught the England match) so we slept in this morning. The next matches are on weekdays, which means my husband will be a bit groggy at work the next day (I'm sure he won't be the only one) but fortunately the boys are on holiday.

As for the cartoon, I suspect you've been there, done that. And I just have to finish off the review, though it's mostly done.

Jul 9, 7:47am Top

>101 humouress: >102 Berly: Good news, or at least half. They’ve managed to get four of the boys out of the cave alive and well. Unfortunately, one of the Thai divers didn’t make it after delivering supplies. They’re trying to get the rest of the kids out as soon as possible because the heavy rains are continuing.

Jul 9, 4:18pm Top

>70 humouress: is that your actual book reading spot? Cool!!

>95 humouress: I haven't been watching the World Cup, but I remember one WC when NZ remained undefeated and got through 2 stages. We drew and got knocked out on points. For us it felt so like a victory :)

Jul 10, 10:43am Top

>114 LovingLit: Yes, If I read in the daytime at home. Thank you.

Jul 11, 11:07pm Top

Looks like I’ve been neglecting my thread for a bit. The good news is that all the boys in the Thai football team have been safely rescued (though they’re not going to be fit to travel to the World Cup final, to which they’ve been invited) and the team of divers that stayed with them since they were found and the Australian doctor are also out.

The not so good news is that England lost to Croatia in the semi finals last night. My boys are heartbroken. But I think our team did very well and hopefully will take this experience and go all the way in the next World Cup.

Edited: Jul 12, 12:11am Top

>116 humouress: But oh! How I wish ...

Jul 12, 4:40am Top


New to here and saw mention of the Australian in the rescue team. I think I heard on the radio that when he was out, they had to break the news to him that his father had suddenly and unexpectedly died. Very sad.

I havent read all your notes or replies but I thought I would mention 2 books that are both humorous and could be read quickly - and your 9 year old may enjoy as well.

The Stone Cage by Nicholas Stuart Gray
A retelling of Repunzel but for older children. Told by the cat and raven of the witch. I loved this. I so want someone to make the movie...

The other is
No Bed For Bacon by Caryl Brahms & S J Simon.
This is the book you get if you put all the bits of ElizabethanTudor history that everyone knows, (the idea behind 1066 and All That), and get these 2 wits to embroider the story. You will also see how much of Shakespeare In Love owes to this book. I read that it was denied at the time...

Edited: Jul 12, 12:37pm Top

>118 roomsofbooks: Hello and welcome to LibraryThing!

Yes, I read that too, about his father. The whole thing was stressful on the rescuers’ families too.

Thank you for the book suggestions. I’ll keep an eye out for them; I especially like the sound of the second one.

Did you realise that you can create a link (touchstone) back to the book page on LibraryThing by using the square brackets ?

Comme ça:
The Stone Cage
No Bed for Bacon

Jul 12, 7:19pm Top

Thank you for the welcome.

I am so close to totally computer illiterate that I just label myself so.

If I use the square brackets will it always link to a book?

Don't write off The Stone Cage as just Repunzel.

The witch is incompetent, there is a Scottish wizard, the cat is cynical and funny but hides a terrible secret - he's actually a softie with a broken heart. All the bits of Repunzel you remember are woven into a bigger story and I have often shed a tear at the end, even tho I know it is coming. It's not a sad ending - but moving - and about loyalty and kindness.

eg The witch decides to decorate the nursery for the expected baby and magics up curtains that even she has to admit are not going to succeed, so they are dragged down the garden and chucked on the compost heap
Only Madam hasn't turned the spell off properly, so the curtains occasionally belch another yard or two of new length as they become more mouldy and foul.

It is a great joy of a book to me.

Jul 12, 8:30pm Top

>120 roomsofbooks: Welcome to LT!! Here's a link which will show you how to do lots of cool things here, including the square brackets. ; )


Edited: Jul 13, 12:07am Top

Thank you for welcome

I hope I can follow instructions

I often find I need instructions for instructions and have been scared off looking for help online as one site I went to I am sure gave me a virus or something

While I have the book near me, if anyone liked Call The Midwife have a look for

Bread, Jam and a Borrowed Pram by Dot May Dunn

She also wrote Twelve Babies on a Bike but I haven't read that.

Possibly a little bleaker than Call The Midwife but very similar

Young nurse working as a health visitor late 50s/60s

I thought I would be very sophisticated and do the square brackets but can't find them on the phone. I thought they would be next to the normal brackets on the phone but they aren't.

I found them and took opportunity to edit...

Edited: Jul 13, 5:53am Top

>122 roomsofbooks: I say this with great reluctance because I'm enjoying your posts on my thread, but you might want to start a thread - or several threads - of your own. You're welcome to stay here and ask questions but my 9 year old is convinced I'm a technology dinosaur and you have, unfortunately for you, picked one of the slower moving threads. :0)

Pick a group, or several, by going to the 'Groups' tab at the top and looking at groups that interest you. You can stick with the 75ers, which is a very active group; you don't have to read 75 books in a year to be a member. In all the years (8?) I've been a member, I haven't managed - but shhh! Then click on 'Post a new topic', give it a title we can find you by, and off you go! Just know that you can't go back and change the title later (except in the first couple of minutes or so).

Also, >122 roomsofbooks: very sophisticated ;0)

Jul 13, 7:14pm Top

Bit daunted to start anything.

Tho I have been hunting for anyone with a thread? on my major passion - and hence, books, on WW2 - mainly Allied Air Forces and Bomber Command in particular.

My major hobby is researching lads who died in Bomber Command, WW2

But since I arrived, I have mostly been talking about a few beloved kids books that I mourn arent as loved as Harry Potter.

Jul 13, 8:41pm Top

>124 roomsofbooks: Welcome! Here are some links you may want to check out:

Threadbook - directory of member threads

Group Wiki - where we keep all our important threads

I hope you'll consider starting a thread and joining in the fun!

Jul 14, 1:07am Top

>124 roomsofbooks: Have you looked at the History group? http://www.librarything.com/groups/historicalfiction

And I suspect you might be able to help out in the Name That Book forum :0)

As Doc says, join us and start your own thread. I’ll be sad to lose you, but if you let me know when your thread is up, I’ll come and visit you.

>125 drneutron: Hi Jim!

Jul 14, 3:04am Top

Happy weekend, Nina. I suppose you'll watch the game tonight. Good luck.

Jul 14, 3:27am Top

Thank you Barbara. Yes, we’ll be watching. Tomorrow night, too - even though England won’t be there :0/

Jul 14, 4:30am Top

>126 humouress: i rarely go near historical fiction - apart from a rarish Austen/Bronte visit or I guess, even PG Wodehouse now... and I adore the Lucia novels... Evelyn Waugh... Nancy Mitford...

Even Agatha Christie is now 'period'

So many overlaps...

I HAVE read them in the past and I do keep buying opshop WW2 novels that are popping up these days, if there is mention of air force, tho I get cross with myself and usually read a few chapters and then check who dies at the end...

I remember devouring Georgette Heyer as a teenager... I still have them, including some of the hard to get ones... but now I feel I don't have many years left and I find so many non fiction stories are AS thrilling or MORE thrilling than fiction and leave me constantly overwhelmed at the real stories of lives and times past.

Tho I can't resist the occasional Brit or Oz detective novel, as my veg out, guilty peasure...

I can't resist a temptation in any category, really 😁

I just keep telling myself I can - and when I can actually stick to a limit on my book categories, I'll work on the diet that starts tomorrow...

Jul 14, 5:09am Top

>129 roomsofbooks: You must be a bookaholic; you should be on LibraryThing! ;0)

Would The Drones Club (group) be of any interest to you?

Edited: Jul 14, 5:37am Top

I would be very broke if I sold books

I would constantly be snatching back books at point of sale and muttering
"I've changed my mind. That should be in my private library... Leave your name and if I get another copy you can have the lesser one....".

I have just spotted another book of possible interest- - tho I know many will know it - but these books are great to get you enthusiastic about your TBRs and it's nice to play SNAP with a person you know about... and it's joyful to share books and discover new must reads...

Howards End is on the Landing A year of reading from home

by Susan Hill

I don't know what has happened. I used the square brackets on the book and I know it is listed here. I checked

Jul 14, 5:43am Top

Oooh yes! Thank you SO much!!!

The Drones Club is very me...

Is there a Lucia/Mapp club as well?

Wodehouse had a pile of rescue dogs and cats and when his wife died, most of his estate went to an animal rescue.

Edited: Jul 14, 6:06am Top

>132 roomsofbooks: You’re welcome.

I inherited a thing for Wodehouse, but I’ve not read Mapp & Lucia. Try using the LT search at the top right of the screen (which will give you book results) and clicking on ‘Groups’ in the box on the left, which will show you any groups.

ETA (edited to add): I hadn’t realised PG did animal rescue. Though given his fondness for the Empress of Blandings, it shouldn’t be a surprise...

Jul 14, 11:38am Top

Hi Nina! Hopefully you are having a great weekend.

Jul 14, 1:29pm Top

The Benson Lucia books are bliss

I can't recall an earlier fictional reference to a combover.

'Young Georgie' had to check which way the wind was blowing, to decide which way to walk to the shops...

Jul 14, 2:03pm Top

Sorry to read your boys were so sad about the football. My office was very relaxed about the whole thing, probably helped by a colleague's son getting Croatia in the sweepstake!

Jul 14, 2:50pm Top

Hi Nina! Hope you enjoy the sports this weekend. And the books! Mustn't forget the books!

Edited: Jul 14, 5:31pm Top

>135 roomsofbooks: Oh, no! I think you’ve got me with a book bullet! I hadn’t heard enough about them to realise they’re humorous. Why didn’t you tell me before?

Jul 14, 5:20pm Top

>136 charl08: Thank you for the sympathy. My 14 year old can be surprisingly sensitive; fortunately he wasn’t quite so upset about the play off tonight.

On the other hand, his voice is at that stage that it can be quite deafening when he’s enthusiastic!

Jul 14, 5:30pm Top

>137 Berly: Thanks Kim!

I thought England played better in the play off than they did in the semi final, but Belgium were very fluid, especially when they counter attacked. That second goal was beautifully played, and is what England need to learn to do. I’m afraid I was caught napping as much as England were for the first goal and it didn’t register as well, but that looked good, too. England still need to have more confidence in front of the goal while playing rather than relying on setting up set pieces. We did make two or three good shots but they didn’t have enough power behind them. But I think they did learn lessons from the previous matches ... so bring on 2022!

So, my husband not being the sports addict that my dad is, we haven’t been watching Wimbledon, but I did see the highlights of the first semi-final. It went to, what?, 49 games?! Apparently the second longest Wimbledon match and Isner also holds the record for the longest. I only saw some of the highlights of yesterday’s play for the other semi, but that looked hard-fought too.

And books. Of course books! I’m working me way through Assassin’s Quest (falling behind on the group read) and am about halfway through, when not being interrupted by football.

Jul 14, 5:52pm Top

>134 The_Hibernator: Oh sorry Rachel. I thought I’d already replied to your post.

The weekend has been fairly relaxed but we’re still watching the football. We watched England play their last match of this World Cup, which had me coaching from our bedroom. Tomorrow we’ll watch the final, which at least I can watch impartially.

Edited: Jul 14, 8:17pm Top

>138 humouress: I've only been here a couple of days!

They are Jane Austen in the 20s 30s with middle aged people of independent means, living in a perfect little village and desperate to find excitements and Lucia is normally social queen but after the first book introducing her, she moves from one village to another and squares up to a much meatier, dirtier fighter, Miss Mapp.

The characters were taken up by various modern authors, tho I haven't read/found any. I'm told Tom Holt did a great job - not quite perfect...

Fred died in 42, I think

There is a tv series from the 80s? with Georgie played by Nigel Hawthorne and Lucia by Josephine McEwan? and Miss Mapp played by Prunella Scales and a modern redo starring Miranda Richardson? as Miss Mapp. Not nearly as good - but in desperation...

They are one of the GREAT contributions to the English novel.

Georgie is repressed gay, tho of course, it is never said.

He is referred to as YOUNG Georgie tho over 40, because he is the youngest member of the group and if HE is middle aged... HORRORS in mentioning others!

He has got away from amorous ladies by confessing that he lost his heart to happily married Lucia and could never love another.* He rather likes this effect of being seen to be true devoted love held in check, due to his honour and Lucia rather likes being chastely worshipped. They adore each other's company. Lucia becomes widowed later and causes panic in Georgie.

Georgie is sick about once a month, when not even Bestie Lucia can be allowed to visit him at home. This is because he has the hairdresser in, to tint his ginger hair. Everyone knows but nobody would dream of bursting his bubble...

Georgie also has a toupe

*He occasionally looks sad and longingly at her and occasionally sighs, which seems to do the trick, as everyone knows of his devotion...

Edited: Jul 15, 11:45pm Top

Hi Nina!

I love the reading nook - I hope it's still working out as intended.
And I'm so sorry about England's losses in the WC - of course, the U.S. didn't even make it to Russia....

I keep thinking I should join the Robin Hobb group read, but I'm worried the books are too dark. What do you think?

Jul 16, 12:48am Top

>143 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks for the sympathy, Dejah. The nook is working out; it may get more use once the kids go back to school next week.

I think the Farseer books are intense rather than dark, though our hero, Fitz, does get beaten up a lot and goes through a lot of pain. I just read a passage where he was complaining that he was pointed in a direction by the royal family and told which man to assassinate but, even though the titles all say ‘Assassin’, I can’t think of any specific examples of him actually assassinating anyone. I think the books are very well written and it’s worth you giving the first one a go, at least.

You could visit the group read threads (link at my post >10 humouress:) and see what other people think.

Jul 18, 1:13pm Top

I thought my reading speed had improved - at least it went up in June - but I'm still reading my second book for this month. Of course, Assassin's Quest is a bit of a door-stopper (at least for me) but I thought I'd been making solid progress with it. I am really enjoying it, but though I've been giving it a lot of attention, maybe it's in smaller doses than I'd realised.

Edited: Jul 28, 7:15am Top

31) Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb

(Third of 16: Realm of the Elderlings series / Third of 3: Farseer Trilogy. Fantasy)

We pick up the story of this final instalment in the (first) trilogy as Fitz is beginning to recover from his illness.

This time, Fitz travels into the Mountains again and goes beyond Jhaampe on a quest to find Verity (who has been lost on his quest to find the Elderlings), racing both Regal with his corrupted coterie and the Red Ship ravagers. The Fool insists that Fitz is the catalyst on whom world shattering events turn, either for good in this cycle or for evil for the final time and the Red Ships are just the beginning of an insidious evil that will sweep the entire world. Fitz picks up some new companions; the irascible old woman, Kettle, who has secrets of her own and the minstrel Starling, who wants to write a song that she will be remembered for and has noticed that things happen around Fitz.

We learn a bit more of Skill on this journey and come to understand how deficient Fitz's knowledge about it is. We also learn a bit more about Wit and the Old Blood and the reason that Burrich is so opposed to Fitz using it. And, through Kettle as much as the Fool, we find out a little bit more about the Fool and his prophecies.

There are hidden gems of humour, quite apart from the Fool's banter, that you might only glimpse on a second read-through, because the first time you're so focused on wanting to find out what is happening.
'To my Wit-sense, these trees had a ghostly life that was almost animal, as if they had acquired some awareness simply by virtue of their age. But it was an awareness of the greater world of light and moisture, soil and air. They regarded our passage not at all, and by afternoon I felt no more significant than an ant. I had never thought to be disdained by a tree.'
I love the way Nighteyes, the big wolf, falls over when his ears are scratched; it puts me in mind of our (much less fierce) golden retriever and lends a touch of lightness to the proceedings. I appreciate the way Hobb brings out the humaness depth of a variety of different, and different types of, relationships - Fitz and his wolf, Verity and Kettricken, Chade or Burrich and Fitz - in the course of the story. Fitz has been oblivious in the past, but now recognises his love, at least, for them. He's beginning to mature at last.

I like Hobb's world building and the way she goes into detail about the economic history and geography of the land that Fitz travels through; this time of the inland duchies and its relationship with the Mountain Kingdom or in the past books, about the coastal duchies and the Red Ship raids. It gives the whole trilogy a depth and reality.

Hobb puts Fitz through a lot, especially considering that at this point he is only in his mid to late teens. And he still has a lot of growing up to do:
I accepted their ridicule by sulking manfully. They ignored that, too.
This book covers the next one and a half years following Royal Assassin - though the last few months wrap up the story and are told briefly. Assassin's Quest grabs you and pulls you in as fast as the first two. Hobb skilfully builds the mystery and the magic and the tension as we slowly (frustratingly slowly - in a good way) discover pieces of the jigsaw along with Fitz.

Intense. Chews you up and spits you out, satisfied, at the end. Worth the journey.

5 stars

Edited: Jul 21, 7:58am Top

32) Tashi and the Demons by Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg

(11th and 12th of 32:Tashi series. Fantasy, children's)


11 - Tashi and the Demons

Tashi rescues a princess who has been kidnapped by demons; but then they catch Tashi. Can he trick his way out of their clutches?

12 - The Magic Bell

Tashi's village had a magic bell from time immemorial that tolled warnings when danger threatened, and had saved the villagers more than once. But the River Pirate returns in search of Tashi, and steals it. Tashi has to go after him and rescue the bell.

Bedtime reading to my youngest. He's read them himself, but he likes them being read to him in the semi-dark while he's relaxing in bed tangled in the covers.

I must confess 'three large ladies sat on him' made me giggle. Un-PC of me, I suspect.

Averaging, 4.5 stars

Jul 20, 3:56am Top

Happy Friday, Nina.

Edited: Jul 20, 5:26pm Top

Thanks Barbara! We went to Books Kinokuniya today because I thought they had a sale on. And they did - just not at the branch we went to. But my youngest picked up the Mr. Men Dr. Who books - for me, he said.

Can you match the Doctors?

In other news, the wheels of my bookcases needed replacing (we have compressor-style shelves of 4 behind, along the wall, and 3 that can slide in front of them) so I had to empty them out. It’ll give me a chance to dust them off and try and reorganise them to see if I can eke out a bit more space. I haven’t been shelving recent additions because it meant moving a lot of books from shelf to shelf to create enough space for them. So I’ll have enough to occupy me when the boys go back to school next week.

Jul 21, 6:54am Top

I'm sitting at my computer facing the houses opposite with the jungle behind them (well, the strip that separates us from the expressway and I can see the branches dipping with sudden weight; maybe it's monkeys or maybe it's squirrels. I can see squirrels running about the trunks but I did catch sight of one long grey tail in mid-air.

Jul 21, 7:13am Top

Oh, you have to live in an interesting place. Yeeks, rearranging so many books really takes time. I wish you the best of luck.

Jul 21, 5:45pm Top

>149 humouress: Good luck reorganising your shelves, Nina, some pictures before and after?

Edited: Jul 22, 4:02am Top

This is a photo I took just over a year ago; there’s a bit less space these days! This is the first cupboard. You can just see the door of the second on the right, and on the left is actually one of the bookcases in the back row.

The books are in order, except for the newest lot, so there shouldn’t be too much rearranging. But they are a bit dusty; I’ve covered them to try to protect against humidity and the plastic seems to attract dust (static) so I’ll have to clean each book before reshelving it. And I want to try to leave enough space on the shelves for future acquisitions - while keeping series together, which will be an exercise in mental gymnastics I think.

Jul 22, 4:59am Top

>153 humouress: Crumbs, that looks like it will be quite a project if you are cleaning each one... Do love to see a shelfie (although mine are so mixed up, would want to have a sort out before even attempting a 'before' shot!)

Jul 22, 5:57am Top

>154 charl08: It will be, but it needs to be done and it’s a good opportunity. It’ll remind me of what I’ve got on my shelves, anyway. :0)

Jul 22, 8:34am Top

>153 humouress: Thanks, Nina, looking good!

>155 humouress: remind me of what I’ve got on my shelves That is always the fun part :-)

Edited: Aug 9, 1:08am Top

33) Dr. First originated by Roger Hargreaves

(First of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


Doctor Who (in his first incarnation) and his granddaughter Susan are forced to land on Earth - not his favourite planet - when the TARDIS gives trouble. He meets unsavoury aliens (hippies) as well as Cybermen, who are not there as tourists.

The Doctor’s first incarnation seems quite upper class. And irritable.

Fun. Especially good for fans of Mr. Men and/ or Dr. Who. Or London in the ‘70s.

4 stars

Edited: Aug 9, 1:18am Top

34) Dr. Second originated by Roger Hargreaves

(Second of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


I was delighted with the concept of the Dr. Who incarnations as Mr. Men, so my nine year old bought them all for me. And for him.

Dr. Who, Vicky and Jamie land in a museum. Where they are attacked by Yetis.

Dr. Who’s second incarnation seems more Puckish and is defensive of his TARDIS. According to Wikipedia, most of the original TV episodes with the Yetis (Abominable Snowmen) are missing; but I have a feeling they didn't end quite like this! Oh, my giddy aunt.

3.5 stars

Edited: Jul 23, 6:42am Top

35) Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

(Stand alone. Fantasy)

A sweet, light-hearted story that evokes the halcyon days of your childhood summers. This book is easy to read as well as compelling (I sat up all night with it) and is about Corie, a village girl with a noble father who grows up with her grandmother, learning to be a wood witch and wise woman (a respected profession). When she was eight, her father having died, her uncle arranged with her grandmother to take her to spend every summer with her half sister Elisandra, who has been betrothed for almost all her life to prince Bryan. We first meet Corie during the summer that she is fourteen, while Bryan is a couple of years older and Elisandra three years older than her, as well as some of their other constant companions.
However, when I learned who my traveling companions were to be, I stopped complaining and began dreaming. Bryan of Auburn was everything a young prince should be: handsome, fiery, reckless, and barely sixteen. Not destined to take the crown for another four years, he still had the charisma, panache, and arrogance of royalty, and not a girl within a hundred miles of the castle did not love him with all her heart. I did, even though I knew he was not for me: He was betrothed to my sister Elisandra, whom he would wed the year he turned twenty.
But when we meet Bryan a couple of pages later, he seems spoiled and arrogant, though Corie still thinks he's wonderful.

Although it is written in the first person - so the reader automatically empathises with the narrator - Corie (Lady Coriel) is a very likeable character. She makes friends easily (unless she perceives a rival either to herself or her sister) with everyone, be they from her home village or guardsmen at the castle; though she finds nobles with their political machinations harder to get along with. It is fun watching her grow up over the three or four years of the book and seeing the sisters' deep love for each other. She, like every other girl at Castle Auburn, is infatuated with Bryan but she gets jealous for her sister if he seems to find other ladies attractive. And though she thinks her sister is the most beautiful of the ladies and people tell her she looks more like Elisandra every time she returns to the castle, she never thinks of her own looks.

The story focusses on Corie growing up and because we see things through her eyes, they have a more innocent cast. There are not many parents in evidence, thought there are authority figures, mainly Greta, Elisandra's mother, and the Lord Regent Matthew, Bryan's uncle. I do feel a bit sorry for Greta, having to attempt to turn her husband's illegitimate tomboy into a highly marriageable lady in the face of Corie's disinclination but Corie does mature as she gets older.

But it's not just about Corie growing up and having adventurous, pampered summers. There is a dark note introduced with the captivity of aliora, a humanoid fey race, but Corie's youth and naiveté keep it from being too dark. And as she gets older she perforce moves in more political circles, at the castle which holds the governance of the kingdom.

I first borrowed this from the library many years ago in New York and bought it for myself when I spotted it in a bookshop because I enjoyed it so much. But it was sealed in plastic, so I have been saving it to re-read until now.

A light fantasy adventure romance, similar to Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel duology. But I do have to say that the blurb on the back of my ACE edition has got completely the wrong spin on things.

4.5 stars

Jul 23, 3:15am Top

Knock, Knock!

Who's there?


Doctor who?

How did you know my name?

Jul 24, 12:04am Top

>159 humouress: Nina, how wonderful that you're a fan of Summers at Castle Auburn, too! I've reread it several times - I always enjoy it.

And talk about having the wrong spin on things - well, I came across something a few years ago that I think you'll... appreciate. There's a Publishers Weekly review of Summers at Castle Auburn. It's generally positive, but very near the end comes this sentence:

What makes Bryan change is never explored fully, just as his constant bad-boy image is never explained.

I remember reading that the first time and thinking Bryan doesn't change -- did the reviewer actually read the book? Is s/he under the impression that the Prince at the beginning of the book is the Prince at the end of the book?

I may be misreading the review, but it wouldn't be the first time that I've questioned if a reviewer (or the blurb writer for the cover) has actually read the book......

Edited: Aug 9, 1:30am Top

36) Dr. Third originated by Roger Hargreaves

(Third of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


The Doctor is on a mission in Bessie, his special yellow car, and in a terrific hurry. But then he has to help Mike Yates.

And Liz Shaw.

And Jo Grant.

And then the Ice Warriors with their sonic disrupters turn up!

Will the Doctor be able to complete his mission on time?...

I like that last picture with the Ice Warrior smiling triumphantly.

4 stars

Edited: Aug 9, 1:18am Top

37) Dr. Fourth originated by Roger Hargreaves

(Fourth of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


The fourth Doctor with his eternal scarf, as portrayed by Tom Baker, was my first Doctor, (as it were).

The Doctor and Sarah Jane are running away. Again. This time it’s from Daleks who want to ex-ter-mi-nate them.

Jelly babies have their uses. So does being a Time Lord.

3.5 stars

Jul 28, 3:14am Top

>161 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks Dejah. This is only the second time I've read it because, as I said, I've been saving it but I remembered that I enjoyed it so much the first time - so I suppose I'm a long-time fan, too.

I'm pretty sure that I understand Bryan's character from beginning to end although this time I didn't find some aspects quite as horrifying as they should have been. I suspect all that doom and gloom on the back served some purpose; I was more on edge the first time I read it.

And at the end ... I should have found that more sinister. I'm a bit worried that I didn't :0) but, given the narrator ...

Edited: Aug 9, 1:19am Top

(oops - missed one!)
(ETA: okay - shuffled them around)

38) Dr. Fifth originated by Roger Hargreaves

(Fifth of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


The Doctor is feeling peckish but there’s no food in the ‘fridge so he decides to pop down to Earth to restock, along with Nyssa, Adric and Tegan. Unfortunately, Cybermen are shopping in the same supermarket. And so is a strangely familiar little old lady. Fortunately, the Doctor has his trusty sonic screwdriver handy.

I like the way many of the Doctor’s companions are included in different books in the series.

3.5 stars

Edited: Aug 9, 1:19am Top

39) Dr. Sixth originated by Roger Hargreaves

(Sixth of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


The Doctor - who, in this incarnation, likes using long words in long sentences and is very passionate - and Peri are forced to land on the Blue Planet when time becomes twisted, where they encounter the Rani, a fellow Time Lord. Or rather, Time Lady.

4 stars

Edited: Aug 9, 1:19am Top

40) Dr. Seventh originated by Roger Hargreaves

(Seventh of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


The Doctor and Ace are on a walk in the woods, which she finds boring until they run into the Cheetah People. And their old foe, the Master. Ace has her trusty stick of dynamite but the Doctor prefers a carefully thought out plan and a bit of magic.

4.5 stars

Edited: Jul 31, 1:29am Top

41) Seeker's Bane by P.C. Hodgell


1- Seeker's Mask

(Third of 9(?):Chronicles of the Kencyrath. Fantasy, high fantasy)

I’m thoroughly enjoying returning to Jame’s exploits on Rathillien.

With the Knorth (K-north) family in decline, Jame - as the last surviving female of the line - is sent to Gothregor, her twin brother Tori's fortress, and is there secluded in the Women's World to learn how to behave as a proper Highborn Kencyr lady and await her disposition by whatever lord choses to squabble over her in their manoeuvring for power. Highborn ladies are required by custom to wear a mask at all times, which makes Jame feel like she's playing the Kencyr version of the childhood game of hide and seek. But her disruptive destiny finds her even there and follows her as she journeys up and down (and up) the Riverland, discovering more about her heritage, the powers of the world of Rathillien and the position of the Kencyr within it. She also learns the difference between custom and law, having joined Kencyr society for the first time - given her unconventional childhood in the Haunted Lands.

Although people who want power are jealous of Jame's position as sister to the high lord and people with power recognise that she is dangerous because of the unknown power within her, she walks the knife edge of her honour which draws others to help her in times of need.

I like the way Hodgell writes. She has a quirky humour that links things in unexpected ways. Arboreal drift, for instance; at first, I thought Hodgell was describing a tree growing right down by the river’s edge:
A scurfy little pine was using these fissures to cross the rock, its gnarled roots probing blindly ahead with the concentration of a mountaineer negotiating a sheer cliff-face. It looked like the desperate sort of shrub that finds itself seeded in shade, on the thinnest of soil, which now was using the first chance offered to escape. At the rock’s edge it paused, roots like many jointed, arthritic toes flexing stiffly in the air; then it toppled over into the stream and was swept away, tumbling crown over root.

It occurred to Jame that she had just witnessed her first case of arboreal drift.
We're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! Then there is weirding, the banks of fog that can transport the unwary miles from where they were if they happen to walk into a patch - or that the experienced can use to weird-walk from one place to another. Of course, the eccentric scholars of Mount Alban have been waiting for a major weirding that will carry their whole college to ... goodness knows where.
They heard his voice, first in the passageway, then in some echoing open space beyond, shouting:
“We’re adrift, everybody, we’re adrift! Hurray!”
I think this series will bear re-reading soon, so I can focus on the details and nuances now that I've read full-tilt just to find out what happens next!

I think I ought to point out that there is a story arc in this series and you (probably) do have to read the books in order to understand what's happening.

I like the cover (Seeker's Bane published by Baen), except for the way that illustrator Caldwell has depicted Jame herself. He’s made her rather busty when it has been pointed out that we are constantly told she is ‘boyishly slim’ and she looks like she’s in her thirties as opposed to her teens. :0(


Jul 28, 6:17am Top

Phew! I seem to have passed the halfway mark for my 75 book total for the year - and only (just under) a month behind. Could this be the year? Not if I have more months like May and April.

Edited: Jul 28, 11:57am Top

Oh, I loved Summers at Castle Auburn but have only read it once because it was in the box of books that UPS lost when my sister sent it back to me (and Coraline too, among others), when it was actually on the delivery truck here in town no less! And I've never picked up another copy. Very nice review.

And yes, that's what keeps me coming back to Hodgell, that quirky humour. Glad you enjoyed Jame's disastrous intro to Women's World.

ETA I was thinking that Summers at Castle Auburn would be a good one to have on my Kindle, but the cost is the same as for the paperback ($7.99) and the library has four copies, so I may hold off. Perhaps my favorite Shinn is Wrapt in Crystal, an outstanding science fiction mystery. The other one in that category (other than Asimov's Caves of Steel) is Lee Killough's Deadly Silents.

Edited: Jul 28, 7:18pm Top

>170 ronincats: Thanks Roni! That’s a shame that they lost your books :0( Even with all the tracking systems?

And oh I say! Hitting me with book bullets on my own thread? Is nowhere safe?

Edited: Aug 9, 1:20am Top

42) Dr. Eighth originated by Roger Hargreaves

(Eighth of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


The Doctor has to save the crew of a spaceship that is about to self-destruct. Afterwards, they retire to a beach on Earth for a well-deserved holiday - but then the Doctor finds himself in the middle of an alien family squabble between Silurians and Sea Devils.

Both my 14 year old and 9 year old sons really liked this one, especially the unhelpful computer.

5 stars

Jul 29, 4:42pm Top

>170 ronincats: I'm so sorry you lost your copy of Summers at Castle Auburn, not to mention the other books!

Nina, I agree with Roni that Wrapt in Crystal , although very different from Summers at Castle Auburn, is an excellent book - I've read it several times, too.

As for Deadly Silents, Roni, my library system doesn't have it and it's not available on Kindle! I'll have to check with my local used bookstore chain.....

Jul 29, 5:07pm Top

Et tu, Dejah? Another BB for the same book. Ah, well; I suppose you’re just returning the favour for my Castle Auburn BB. :0)

Jul 29, 8:08pm Top

>173 Dejah_Thoris: It's an older book, Dejah. But you still can find it used. Before Lee Killough turned to writing vampire stories, she wrote half a dozed truly excellent science fiction books back in the early 80s.

>174 humouress: Goes with the territory, Nina!

Edited: Aug 9, 1:13am Top

43) Dr. Ninth originated by Roger Hargreaves

(Ninth of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


Edited: Aug 9, 1:13am Top

44) Dr. Tenth originated by Roger Hargreaves

(Tenth of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)


Aug 4, 1:32pm Top

Continuing on here

Aug 7, 2:18am Top

I do love the doctor who covers as Mr Men you're posting here! What a fun idea.

Aug 15, 11:28am Top

>179 charl08: Why thank you! Oh - you meant the Mr. Dr.s Yes, they are fun. My kids enjoyed them, even though I doubt they even know about Dr. Who. They grew up on the Mr. Men and Little Misses, though, so I think they appreciated the chance to revisit that world.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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