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richardderus eighth thread of 2018

This is a continuation of the topic richardderus seventh thread of 2018.

This topic was continued by richardderus ninth thread of 2018.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Apr 27, 2018, 11:02am Top

JC Leyendecker, The Arrow Collar Man Reading A Book

Edited: Dec 14, 2018, 8:25pm Top

If I ever meet this man, I am proposing marriage on the spot.

My 2018 Reviewing Goals

I'll shoot for 180 reviews written again this year. It was a doable target, but the reviews could be more exciting....

BookRiot's 2018 Read Harder "Challenge"

1. A book published posthumously
2. A book of true crime
3. A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance)
4. A comic written and illustrated by the same person—My Brother's Husband reviewed below.
5. A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia,
India, China, or South Africa)
6. A book about nature Guns, Germs, and Steel
7. A western
8. A comic written or illustrated by a person of color
9. A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
10. A romance novel by or about a person of color
11. A children’s classic published before 1980
12. A celebrity memoir
13. An Oprah Book Club selection
14. A book of social science Everybody Lies
15. A one-sitting book Voodoo Planet
16. The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series The Invisible Library
17. A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author
18. A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image
19. A book of genre fiction in translation Still Waters
20. A book with a cover you hate
21. A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author Widdershins
22. An essay anthology
23. A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
24. An assigned book you hated (or never finished)

My Reviews Are Here:
Reviews 1-25 are linked there.

Reviews 26-31 are linked here.

Reviews 32-39 are linked there.

Reviews 40-54 are linked over here.

Reviews 55-70 are linked over here.

71 Voodoo Planet was a super-fast read, kind of a mess, and waaay ahead of its time in post 26.

72 A Martian Odyssey is 84 years old, one forgives its foibles in post 31.

73 Date Night on Union Station is, well, ~meh~ minus in post 34.

74 And Then There Were None demonstrated why Dame Ags is still read in the year 5,000,000,000 (per Doctor Who) in post 57.

75 Fallow in the Whyborne & Griffin paranormal M/M romantic steampunk series makes me coo and purr in post 94.

76 Restraint is the fourth D/s mystery in a series I like for its accurate portrayal of the lifestyle in post 95.

Edited: Apr 27, 2018, 11:11am Top

I forgot to do my 2017 ANZAC Challenge because I'm just like that when it comes to challenges. So here it is again, since I need to get these books off the TBR!
Oooh, I just found the 2017 ANZAC Reading Challenge! It's October, so I'm going with a 12-entry choice, but I'm starting out with a big advantage: Text sent me a dozen books to blog about that I need to review this year for sure.

ANZAC Bingo 1x12
1) Read a book about love--I'm going with The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong because the love/hate relationship of these brothers is riveting.
2) Read a coming of age novel--Came Back to Show You I Could Fly by Robin Sloan a Text Classics entry that I've never heard of, which is exciting.
3) Read a historical fiction--Coming Rain by Stephen Daisley from Text, set in 1950s Outback Oz.
4) Read a book set on a Pacific Island--Pitcairn Pending by Kenneth Bain which it seems I'm the first person on LT to own. Hm.
5) Read a children's classic--The Fire-Raiser by Maurice Gee which you gifted me with on my 50th birthday Kerry!
6) Read a refugee story--The Road to Winter by Mark Smith is post-apocalyptic but the female lead is a "Siley" or asylum-seeker, so I think it fits.
7) Read a scifi novel--Dark Space and Darker Space by Lisa Henry, two very good gay-male led novels by Aussie romance powerhouse-cum-legend in that niche Henry. Excellent, if a small bit grim; together about 100,000 words and directly sequential, so I count them as one novel.
8) Read a book with a place name in the title--Potiki by Patricia Grace, another 50th birthday gift from Kerry whose 5-star review is here.
9) Read a bestseller--Reckoning: A Memoir is, I'm assured, an Aussie bestseller by Magda Szubanski about her Polish WWII spy father's life and how it impacts her to this day.
10) Read a black comedy/noir--Our Tiny, Useless Hearts by Toni Jordan combines comedy and suspense in approximately equal measure.
11) Read a debut novel--When the Sky Fell Apart by Caroline Lea is set on Jersey during WWII, written by a Jersey native who has, I gather, expatriated to Oz.
12) Read a book of short stories--Dead Americans by Ben Peek, these are thematically linked short stories and I really like Ben so I've *finally* reviewed this book! 4 stars

I'll edit this post to add links to reviews here on LT as they appear. Thanks to Kerry for making this challenge as I needed a spur to make me write the darned reviews already.

January 2018
God stalk group read with Roni—reviewed here.
The Odyssey translated by Robert Fitzgerald group read on Goodreads...I'll have to write a review of this wonderful poem soon.

February 2018
The Odyssey translated by Stanley Lombardo group read on Goodreads...eeeuuurrrgh this is a major challenge, reading the poem three times in a row!

March 2018
The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson group read on Goodreads...well by dawggie it's a damn good thing I read them all together. Now I need to make myself delve deep and do a real, in-depth review of all three together. *terror*

Apr 27, 2018, 11:02am Top

You may speak.

Apr 27, 2018, 11:14am Top

Happy new thread, Richard!

Apr 27, 2018, 11:17am Top

Happy new thread, Richard. I thought you were going to let the last one go to 311 to be samesies with Paul. Great topper pic.

Apr 27, 2018, 11:19am Top

Happy new thread, Richard! That is an excellent thread topper.

Apr 27, 2018, 11:37am Top

>5 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! You get the first-pace blue ribbon!

Apr 27, 2018, 11:39am Top

>6 Familyhistorian: Thank you, Meg! I'm back after a day of rest to heal from that unfun doctor visit. Paul copied me again? Color me unsurprised.

>7 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry, the Arrow Collar Man is one of my favorite ad campaigns because it positively celebrates unrepentant snootiness. Makes me nostalgic.

Apr 27, 2018, 11:40am Top

I'll just pop in to drop off some happy Friday smooches before this thing takes off like a freight train.

Apr 27, 2018, 11:50am Top

Happy new one!

Edited: Apr 27, 2018, 11:53am Top

Happy new thread, RD. Wonderful topper pic!

Have a "loverly" Friday.

*smooches* from your own Horrible

Apr 27, 2018, 12:30pm Top

>8 richardderus: Thank you, Richard, that is the third blue ribbon :-)
Three weeks ago I stashed away the ribbons etc from the dog shows from long ago, with two blue ribbons (won by Eoos and Ari) and a lot in other colors.

Apr 27, 2018, 12:39pm Top

I can manage to read through a whole thread with it is like this one, RD. Thirteen posts. Thanks.

Apr 27, 2018, 12:41pm Top

Happy new thread, Richard!

Edited: Apr 27, 2018, 12:46pm Top

I have the Wilson translation out of the library, and will read it as soon as I finish Madeline Miller's new Circe (which is going very well so far).

Apr 27, 2018, 12:50pm Top

Happy New Thread, Richard. What an artsy, decadent, beautiful topper!

Apr 27, 2018, 12:54pm Top

Happy new thread, BigDaddy! I was ever so happy to read your fabulous news on the last thread - so thrilled you are finally going to get the meds you need. Forward progress - a minor miracle these days.

Apr 27, 2018, 1:30pm Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 27, 2018, 1:58pm Top

Happy New Thread, Richard!

Nice job of escaping the thread police on the last one.

I finished Less: A Novel, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for the emphatic recommendation. Now I want to meet Arthur Less. No Carlos, please.

Apr 27, 2018, 2:27pm Top

Happy New Thread!

I like the Tattoo pic. My wife and I always talk about getting tattoos, but finding the right image is impossible. I think I'll have to add some sort of literary (not this image) to the idea bank, if I ever (yeah right) pull the trigger.

Regarding the Read Harder challenge you had listed. You could knock out 1 and 2, if you find a copy of I'll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara. She was Patton Oswald's wife and died before she could publish this book about the Golden State Killer, who the police just arrested a prime suspected for.

Apr 27, 2018, 3:12pm Top

>10 MickyFine: Thanks for stopping in, Micky.

>11 katiekrug: Happier now, Katie.

>12 karenmarie: *smooch*

Apr 27, 2018, 3:13pm Top

>13 FAMeulstee: That's always a sad day, Anita. A fresh blue ribbon can't hurt.

>14 weird_O: Heh! I aim to please, Bill.

>15 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!!

Apr 27, 2018, 3:15pm Top

>16 laytonwoman3rd: It's an eye-opener, Linda3rd, I hope a pleasant one for you.

>17 ronincats: Thanks. Ain't that the snake's garters, Roni?

>18 Crazymamie: Forward progress indeed, Mamie dearest, though at a *stunning* cost.

Apr 27, 2018, 3:18pm Top

>19 drneutron: Thank you, Jim!

>20 jnwelch: Appreciate the good wishes and the validation for Less: A Novel. Carlos was an annoying little puke, wasn't he? *yeesh*

>21 mahsdad: I so wish McNamara could've lived to see the suspect arrested. What a vindication of her obsessive research.

Apr 27, 2018, 5:09pm Top

Happy new thread, Richard, and what Mamie said, in >18 Crazymamie:!! Go, you!

Apr 27, 2018, 5:20pm Top

New thread greetings! Your last post on the old one was flabbergasting. The vampires are really out there and they have the zombies keeping them in power.

Apr 27, 2018, 7:33pm Top

>9 richardderus: Paul copied me again? Color me unsurprised. Ha, bit of the pot calling the kettle there, Richard?

Apr 27, 2018, 8:21pm Top

71 Voodoo Planet by Andre Norton

Rating: 3.5* of five

A novella really, and a weird cross between science fiction (space travel, other planets) and fantasy (magic, telepathy). A true old-fashioned one-sitting read.

Dane Thorsen, Free Trader of the ship Solar Queen, returns to your screens as a tag-along to Captain Jellico's eagerly anticipated vacation to Khatka. He has corresponded for some time with Asaki, a Ranger of very high status on Khatka, in his other-hatness of xenobiologist. Asaki has headed up the creation of a no-kill big game reserve on his homeworld, which happens to be in the same system as the Solar Queen's penalty planet of Xencho. (In Plague Ship, the Solar Queen was "sentenced" to spend two years as a mail carrying ship for one of the huge trading corporations, Combine.)

Since space travel takes extended amounts of time, all spacers have hobbies; Jellico, a long-time spacer, has become a renowned xenobiologist due to massive time to study and experiment aboard ship as well as freedom to explore many different planets as a trader. The Khatkans are descended of African Terran roots (they sound like Maasai to me) and happen to land their colony ships on a planet with very African climate and geography. Keep in mind this book was published in 1959 by a white librarian lady. This was some avant garde stuff!

Add in Grand Master Norton's already extant Negro (in the parlance of the times) characters, explicitly stated to be normal members of the Solar Queen and Spacers' Guild crews, and you have jaw-droppingly ahead of her time thinking evident here. Asaki is explicitly stated to be Jellico's equal. He is regularly deferred to by the Queen white and Asian crew members. There are 21st-century authors who don't do as well as Grand Master Norton does in this sixty-year-old tale.

The story, well, the story is the story and it's creaky. No notion of satellite mapping, no personal computing power, etc etc blah blah blah. The plot seems to be a bit, well, slapdash; are we fighting a sorceror, a crafty mind-gamer, an interplanetary smuggling ring, our PoV characters' personal nightmares? Sorta kinda alla the above. In just over 100pp, that is way too much to handle effectively.

But hellfire, y'all, it's not like stuff coming from mighty modern pens is perfect, and this lady was born 106 years ago, so what say we smile for the fun turns of phrase (particularly love her regular use of "Not so!" for the much less sparkly "No.") and the amazing inclusiveness of her vision? Let's carp less and crow's-foot some smile, hmm?

Apr 27, 2018, 8:51pm Top

>26 jessibud2: Hi Shelley! Thanks for the well-wishes. I'm excited to get this party started.

>27 quondame: Benisons back at'cha, Susan! I know, right!? That sheer volume of spondulix comin' at them...disgusting.

>28 Familyhistorian: I shall have you to know, madam, that Rank Has Its Privileges, and *I* am a 9-year veteran of this group and a 12-year veteran of this site. *flounces off*

Apr 28, 2018, 12:58pm Top

72 A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Rating: 3.5* of five

Wonderful to read an 84-year-old SFnal representation of *truly* alien consciousnesses, explicitly made to be so by the author. It was hokey to have a Mars setting, but 84 years ago not quite as hokey as it would be today.

Tweel's character is a hoot. I would love to meet this boop-snoot! And there's a twist at the end of the story that sums up humanity and colonialism right tidily. *sigh*

Apr 28, 2018, 4:23pm Top

My friend, I am so happy for you. I hope the meds kick ass.

Apr 28, 2018, 4:45pm Top

Happy new thread Dear Richard, and love the photos at the top of your thread.

Apr 29, 2018, 8:03am Top

73 Date Night on Union Station by E. M. Foner

Rating: 3* of five

Entertaining, I guess, but insubstantial. Perfect plane read, or vacation, or other distracted times because not much will demand your concentration and the words flow by while retaining your attention.

The Eternal Verity Generator is permanently stuck in the On position here: that little girls dream of weddings and adults are clueless and dating is flat-out awful are all trotted out. For my part that was a tiresome and ultimately deadening error. But the Stryx, the omnipotent AI aliens, are a cliche that was amusing and fairly well-handled here. An example of Stryx thinking:
It’s easy enough to measure job performance, but a person could be a highly professional worker and still feel no loyalty to humanity or to EarthCent. The lower salary for the executive-track positions helps filter out those who are just in it for the money.

The cover teases but the book doesn't deliver a cheesy smexy space romp. The verdict from me, all things considered, is:
~meh~ plus...go enjoy it if silly and slight is what you're in the mood for. Women are cautioned against expecting the tropes deployed to amuse very much.

Apr 29, 2018, 8:07am Top

>32 SomeGuyInVirginia: Thanks, Larry! It's a long road (18mos) and it will have some icky side effects but the idea that the condition's horrors could be reversed...! The damage, well, that's done so can't be helped. But not to incur more!!

*happy dance*

>33 johnsimpson: Hello there, John, so glad to see you! I'm glad the images made you smile. Hope all is well.

Apr 29, 2018, 8:45am Top

Yay new doc and Krystexxa!

Apr 29, 2018, 9:14am Top

>36 karenmarie: Heh, yeah that's me all righty alright.


Apr 29, 2018, 10:31am Top

Hoping your Sunday is full of fabulous, BigDaddy!

Edited: Nov 30, 2018, 9:02am Top

>38 Crazymamie: Oh myyyy
ohhh myyyyyyyy

Here's the coffee, what's your hurry?

Apr 29, 2018, 12:11pm Top

Oh, well, if you insist...*hands Richard a napkin and sits down*

Apr 29, 2018, 12:18pm Top

*smooch* It's so nice to be home.

Apr 29, 2018, 12:24pm Top

Agreed. *smooch back*

Apr 29, 2018, 1:11pm Top

Apr 29, 2018, 1:18pm Top

>43 ronincats: Not a stellar read for you either, eh Roni? I wasn't amused much of the time but kept going because I at least liked the Stryx.

Apr 29, 2018, 7:03pm Top

Boy, am I late to this particular party! Happy New Thread, RD. Sorry, for the delay. Big warm up finally coming this week. Just what we have been waiting for. And you will be glad to hear I have not given up on Happiness. It is still front and center.

I hope you had a good weekend, my friend.

Apr 29, 2018, 10:33pm Top

Happy new one RD.

Spare me a cup of that divine looking coffee would yer, dear fellow?

Apr 29, 2018, 11:27pm Top

Happy new one my prolific thread-maker friend!

Apr 30, 2018, 2:29am Top

>1 richardderus: I love how he casually fondles his lanyard! (I also love how that sounds saucy, but isn't.)

>2 richardderus: the man on whose arm the tattoo resides, or the man *in* the tattoo??!!

>8 richardderus: ooh, such a satiny finish! Such a lovely blue! I have jealousy issues. One day I shall be first.

For now I must away to my glass of dark beer, grateful in the knowledge that I finished my book yesterday in time to place it under the heading of April (and didn't have to carry it over).

Edited: Nov 30, 2018, 9:02am Top

Book porn!

Apr 30, 2018, 9:38am Top

'Morning, RichardDear!

>49 richardderus: Good light, books, warmth, comfy chair. Oh yeah. I wonder if those wall sconces are adequate for evening reading?

Apr 30, 2018, 9:39am Top

>45 msf59: Hi Mark! It was perfectly fine, my weekend, since Michelle Wolf called out and insulted some of the vilest, least worthy creatures in the US today.

>46 PaulCranswick: Of course, Paul, here you go:

Apr 30, 2018, 9:41am Top

>47 Berly: Howdy do, Berly-boo!

>48 LovingLit: Heh, that's a good one indeed.


Best pick up the pace, then, Miss Thing. Those ribbons aren't awarded for naught, you know.

Edited: Apr 30, 2018, 9:43am Top

>50 karenmarie: Hi Horrible! *smooch*

If you live in that house, Estrella the maid brings in the standing lamp for your dark-adapted eyes to read as soon as the sun sets.

Apr 30, 2018, 10:56am Top

Cheese Brioche French Toast

You know what day it is, so there MUST be bacon.

Apr 30, 2018, 11:00am Top

>54 Crazymamie: ...look away...what follows will NOT be pretty...

Apr 30, 2018, 11:01am Top

*covers eyes*

Apr 30, 2018, 4:10pm Top

74 And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Rating: 4.5* of five

Five stars for the original novel. Four stars for the 1945 film adaptation.

The changes rung on the novel's story are, well, puzzling; it's not really necessary to make the story work to change the names, though I understand the need to change the crimes a bit for delicate sensitive fleur movie audiences. The ending of the film wasn't anything like as effective as the book's ending and left me with a scowl. Experienced close together in time, the effect was magnified, I suppose but Really! This was awfully stupid, Director René Clair! To take all that lovely suspense and suspicion and wad it up, toss it out, render it nugatory.

At any rate, read the book first. It's way too good to muck up with good-not-great adaptations.

Apr 30, 2018, 4:21pm Top

Might I recommend instead the more recent miniseries adaptation starring Aidan Turner? Delightfully atmospheric and there may just be a few scenes where Turner wanders around in a towel and nothing else. ;)

Apr 30, 2018, 4:35pm Top

>58 MickyFine: *skedaddles to get betoweled Aidan Turner show*
*who cares what it is*

Apr 30, 2018, 5:14pm Top

Love the topper. Happy new one, Rdear.

Apr 30, 2018, 6:51pm Top

You're almost at 75. Let me congratulate you ahead of time since I'll be tied up with a conference the rest of the week and doubt I'll be making rounds until I get back in town.

Apr 30, 2018, 7:45pm Top

>60 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara! Sending transAtlantic hugs.

>61 thornton37814: Hi Lori! Happy to see you, and thank you for the good wishes.

May 1, 2018, 12:05am Top

Hello eighth-threader, you!!

May 1, 2018, 3:29am Top

Happy new thread! Well... new-ish...

May 1, 2018, 8:55am Top

Morning, BigDaddy! Too bad about the movie of And Then There Were None - one of my favorite Christie books. BUT, it sounds like I need to check out the miniseries. Off to see if I can find it.

May 1, 2018, 9:53am Top

Good morning, Rdear. Some coffee?

May 1, 2018, 11:44am Top

>63 Berly: Hey Berly-boo, how's by you? What a perfect Spring day it is here, 68° (20C) and sunshiney to beat the band.

>64 BekkaJo: Happy is the key word, Bekka, happy May Day!

May 1, 2018, 11:46am Top

>65 Crazymamie: Well, Mamie dearest, it was a good movie until the ending but it wasn't that great as an adaptation. I realize there really is no way to film the book's ending and make it work, but there had to be something better than just throwing away the whole plot's point in the last 0:01:30.

>66 Ameise1: Ooohhh yes thank you Barbara! I like that cup as well.

May 1, 2018, 12:01pm Top

May 1, 2018, 1:42pm Top


May 1, 2018, 2:55pm Top

>58 MickyFine: and >59 richardderus: Oh my. Just as yummy as Poldark.

May 1, 2018, 3:24pm Top

May 2, 2018, 10:25am Top

Books on trees! I wanna live on that planet.

May 2, 2018, 10:59am Top

Nothing to say, really, just thought I'd pop in for a hello!

May 2, 2018, 11:24am Top

May 2, 2018, 11:30am Top

May 2, 2018, 11:35am Top

And Then There Were None is our daughter's very favorite Agatha mystery, and certainly is one of mine. No adaptation is likely to live up to the book, seems to me, although I wouldn't mind seeing Spielberg take it on.

>70 richardderus: Man, that's food for thought, isn't it.

May 2, 2018, 9:14pm Top

>69 richardderus: Yup- I hear ya. I had 4x shots in a huge cup yesterday (yum), but today I only had 2x shots in a tiny cup so am expecting withdrawal. The relaxing peppermint and chamomile tea is good for hydration, but little else!

>70 richardderus: I can imagine a universe in which that is true! It certainly must feel that way to a large proportion of the world today...

May 3, 2018, 5:21pm Top

Caught up on the tail end of your previous thread and yay for your treatment plan. This is just excellent news!

>49 richardderus: I want to be in that chair right now.

May 3, 2018, 7:02pm Top

>49 richardderus: *drool* house goals...

>49 richardderus: *snort*

Happy new thread! Hope all is well with you. I'm back from dogsitting three crazy labs and am looking forward to getting some reading time this weekend.

Edited: May 4, 2018, 1:12pm Top

>73 richardderus: Oh my god they've hung all the books! What, they ran out of politicians and lawyers?!

May 4, 2018, 3:50am Top

>73 richardderus: Great place to be. Happy Friday, Rdear.

May 4, 2018, 8:36am Top

'Morning, RD! I hope you have a very nice day.

>75 richardderus: Heh heh.

It's a gorgeous Carolina morning. Ready for my second mug of coffee, then a bit of breakfast.....

May 4, 2018, 8:38am Top

Happy Friday, buddy. I hope all is going well in your part of the world.

May 4, 2018, 5:54pm Top

Guess I missed the start of this thread, so ... Happy new thread :)

May 5, 2018, 1:31pm Top

Happy Saturday! That's all I got. Well...and these:

May 5, 2018, 4:36pm Top

Book porn!

May 5, 2018, 6:10pm Top

>87 richardderus:. So want this

May 6, 2018, 1:24am Top

Happy Sunday Richard! Catching up and really hungry now after looking at all the food on the thread. At least I already had my first coffee of the day. Millet (I like that stuff) with cinnamon, raisins and cashews waiting for me and I got all the ingredients to bake some wholemeal (I like strange things) cinnamon blueberry scones later today, I hope the recipe works.

>87 richardderus: Now this is perfection!

May 6, 2018, 8:33am Top

>87 richardderus: Damn, i would never get through there!

Have a great Sunday, dear fellow.

May 6, 2018, 10:25am Top

Hi RD and happy Sunday to you!

>87 richardderus: Lovely hideaway. I'm not sure I could get into and out of it with my dignity intact, but fortunately my Retreat isn't up a ladder.

May 6, 2018, 11:00am Top

Yikes, I think my claustrophobia would kick into high gear.

May 6, 2018, 11:04am Top

>*7 I could get in OK, but probably not out. But if someone would just bring me a little food and water from time to time...

Edited: Dec 14, 2018, 8:23pm Top

75 Fallow by Jordan L. Hawk

Rating: 4.5* of five

The half star off is for the slithering jim-jams the Big Baddie in this one has given me. I am not sleeping for the foreseeable future. *convulsive shudder*

***next day***

As predicted, sleep was elusive after reading this frightfest. I haven't had that response to any other book in the series but this one Did Me In. The name, "the rust," gave me all the horror-movie shudders I could ever (not) want.

Excuse me I need to bleach my every body part and scrub my innards with Lysol.

The main thrust of this story is betrayal. The awfulness of experiencing betrayal is, by definition, that it's only one's intimates that can perpetrate it. Author Hawk was so deft in portraying the double-edged sword of betrayal in each leg of the multiple relationships that underwent it that I can only applaud. All of the betrayals were very real, as in understandable and organic to the relationships involved. No overwrought "because I am eeeeeeviiiiiillllll" emotionality; instead the betrayals (very much in the plural) are simply fallible humans failing to reach for love when confronted by conundrums in coping with unmet expectations.

Along with the Big Baddie *wracking shudder* we're treated to Whyborne's meditations on Widdershins' magical vortex and its role in his life. We're given a short burst of Persephone Whyborne. We're teased with an oncoming apocalyptic confrontation. We're left to ponder the role of pragmatism in Whyborne and Griffin's mutual fate as allies become scarce. In short, book 8 is one helluva ride and I had a damn good time ripping through it.

Except for "the rust" *nauseated convulsive shudder* that is.

May 7, 2018, 3:15pm Top

76 Restraint by A.J. Rose (touchstone's wrong)

Rating: 4* of five

One entire star off for twelve (12) instances of the w-verb.


Seriously. Using any out-of-the-ordinary word twelve times in your book should be a red flag for an author. What am I shorthanding here? Why does this particular word need to be in my book this many times? Y'all'd agree with me if it was "coddiwomple" or "absquatulate" you know you would. "Wink" *shudder* is just as uncommon a word in every other branch of fiction writing beyond MM romance.


The story here is what happens when Ben, our Dom, goes back to his childhood summer home with Gavin, his sub, to celebrate their honeymoon. It's a delightful idea, the men going to gorgeous Seattle for some smexytimes; but this isn't to be. The smexytimes are really not the point. And that's a wonderful thing.

Seriously! It is!

The relationship between partners in a D/s situation matures with the parties involved as it does in all long-term relationships. With that maturity comes the change of sex life. Not lessening. Not death. Just change. In Ben and Gavin's relationship, their routinizing of D/s doesn't require them to compulsively repeat the same acts. They move deeper into each others' cores and negotiate the introduction of far more intimate and demanding behaviors. It is very much one of my pleasures in reading this series to enjoy this evolution of the characters' interactions.

Being a series novel, there are cameos by characters we've met before; the fact that the entire DeGrassi clan is having Thanksgiving back in St. Louis without the men is played off well. And Gavin's call to a St. Louis source for some crucial help is answered, despite the risk to his helper.

I like the honesty I see about D/s relationships in the series. It's hard for Ben to give up control; it's hard for him to feel helpless or actually useless in any situation where his earthly treasure, Gavin, is threatened. Every good Dom knows that horrible reality and, if we're at all honest, the creeping fear that our treasured sub will realize "hey! I don't need him after all!" and walk away. Ah, the joys of anxiety! All humans suffer from it. And so very few of us do the simple, smart thing and open up to our most trusted, most beloved partners. How very much pain would be mitigated or even disappeared by this simple, monumental, impossible act!

But such are the musings of one with no dog in this fight anymore. In common with all readers, I use books to teach me the truths I refused to accept from reality. Reading all four books in this series makes me long for a second chance to be young...as do all the other books I read. A joyous ache, a happy poignance, a learnèd innocence. How I pity those who aren't fellow addicts.

May 7, 2018, 5:36pm Top

>94 richardderus: Congratulations on reaching 75, Richard dear!!

May 7, 2018, 6:14pm Top

77 In the Forest of Harm by Sallie Bissell

DNF 28pp

Three winks in 28pp. That plus the Internet Archive "loan" being for 14 days, plus requiring Adobe Digital Editions software that can't be installed on my Chromebook, plus the nyah-nyah-nyah of not providing a Kindle edition, all combines to make this a big ol' DNF.

Edited: May 7, 2018, 7:06pm Top

Congrats on hitting our magic number, RD! Hope life is treating you well and you are feeling fine.

Our weather has been fantastic. I hope you are enjoying the same.

May 7, 2018, 8:47pm Top

>95 richardderus: So like twinkling eyes in straight romances? I find I don't appreciate some authors enough for not succumbing to repeating vocabulary.

May 8, 2018, 3:10am Top

Adding a cheer for 75!

Hope all is well over your end of the world.

May 8, 2018, 5:01am Top

Congrats on reaching 75, Rdear.

May 8, 2018, 7:50am Top

Yay for 75, RD!

>94 richardderus: Well, I'm glad I am only drinking coffee right now and not eating breakfast too. Those pics would put me right off it.

*smooches* from your own Horrible

May 8, 2018, 9:10am Top


May 8, 2018, 9:43am Top

75, eh? Way to go!

May 8, 2018, 11:13am Top

Only 75? Slacker!.

Ha, just kidding, but someone had to be a contrarian around here right?

Congrats, hopefully I'll get there by the end of the year.

May 8, 2018, 1:40pm Top

Felicitations on reaching the magic number, RDear!

May 8, 2018, 5:31pm Top

Book porn!

May 8, 2018, 7:57pm Top

>109 A whole new meaning to standing in the corner.

May 9, 2018, 6:40pm Top

Sometimes work has its pleasures. This morning I walked in the door and one of the student employees was sitting at the front desk READING A BOOK! I asked what book and it was Mr. Lemoncello's Library. We talked about it and why she had picked that book to read. (She liked the cover with all the game playing pieces on the front cover, and the idea of games in general.) Later, she came to my area of the library to return the book to the shelf and pick up the sequel. We ended up talking about it the book again and this time I looked at the author. For some reason the name of Chris Grabenstein caught my attention, and I just thought I knew that name from somewhere. I told the student that I thought he had written a couple of mysteries set in an amusement park on the Jersey Shore. Looked on Amazon - and doggone - I was right. He of Mr. Lemoncello fame is the author of Whack-A-Mole, et all. And I first heard about that series from you and your thread years ago. I purchased two of those books but I haven't read them yet. Now I will have to get cracking on them.

It is nice to know that an unknown author you championed ten years ago, is still writing, and writing good stuff for all ages of readers.

May 9, 2018, 10:50pm Top

We hit the 75 book mark at almost exactly the same time! Congrats a little belatedly--I've been under the weather the last week and not commenting on threads because I was in bed using my tablet.

May 10, 2018, 12:22am Top

>107 richardderus: That could be my house someday...! My kind of decorating. : ) Congrats on the 75 already. Smooch.

May 10, 2018, 8:53am Top

78 The Case is Closed by Patricia Wentworth (touchstones on strike at the time of posting)

Rating: 3.5* of five

Sexist, silly, and slow.

Trust in me all in all, or trust me not at all, folks, this offers the modern reader mysteries few of the pleasures we presently expect. The pace is killed dead as a rock by the documents the author plops right in the beginning, and later the documentary urge is revived right at the end. It's deadly dull because it goes on too long. It works to get dreary information fed to you, the reader, but wowee toledo does it bog the pace down.

The author relies quite heavily on coincidence as well as Death by Documents. The number of fortuitous encounters between Miss Hilary Carew and Mrs Mercer! Gracious goodness me, the way they practically bounce off each other like billiard balls you'd think England was some teeny-tiny little island or something! I live on a quite small barrier island off the south shore of a bigger island and I don't coincidentally run into people I absolutely *must* encounter above once a week. /sarcasm

The sexism is really surprising. Miss Hilary Carew wants her big, dashing Captain Henry Cunningham to Save Her from Them! This despite the fact that she does a damned good job of saving herself, thank you kindly, and Henry shows up only when muscle is genuinely required. Dishrag Mercer lives in terror of her abusive husband, who never lifts a finger against her just utters horrifying threats and brandishes a knife there's no evidence whatsoever that he knows how to use. When unwelcome guests invade her home, Mrs Marion Grey simply doesn't throw them out, she endures and endures and then finally, when Miss Hilary Carew her cousin as well as roommate arrives, she simply retires to her room in a State of Nerves. The lower-class women are dimwits and cry positive rivers of annoying, soppy tears. That sexism is there at all is the surprise, since none of the women really need the men to solve their problems. Miss Maud Hephzibah Silver least of all, of course.

And there's the other latter-day reader's lament. Where the hell does Miss Silver (casually dismissed for being a woman more than once) keep herself? She appears at convenient moments with convenient facts. Outside that, the twenty-first century reader's expectations of becoming intimate with our sleuth is an unmet need. We don't see Miss Silver do diddly in the way of detecting or even walking around, she just seems to use Floo Powder and apparates onto the scene of whatever action she can best bring to a screeching halt as she omnisciently moves the dramatis personae into the proper configuration for the ending to occur.

Since I've kvetched this little opus into the weeds, why did I give it three and a half stars? Because it's a surprisingly astute and subtle indictment of the annoying tropes it deploys. Miss Silver, Miss Carew and company aren't dishrags the way the poor women are. There are several quite formidable housekeepers and chambermaids. The latter is the one who asks the question that is at the heart of the (not terribly challenging) mystery. The author, a redoubtable soul in her own right, seems to me to be draping the fig-leaf of sexist silliness onto her competent women. She was sixty the year this book was published...1937...and seems to me to be sighing somewhat impatiently at the continued necessity to pretend that women are silly little chits without the ability to Think in their scatterbrains.

Happen I agree, Ma Wentworth.

May 10, 2018, 9:08am Top

'Morning, RD! *smooch*

May 10, 2018, 5:26pm Top

Fun review of The Case is Closed, Richard, although I'll take your advice and avoid this sexist, silly and slow book. I do like how Wentworth used Harry Potter tactics with Miss Silver before we even knew there was an HP. :-)

May 10, 2018, 8:47pm Top

Congrats on sweeping past 75!

May 10, 2018, 9:34pm Top

79 The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron

Rating: 4* of five

It's just not possible to recapture a read from 1969. I was not old enough to know or care about some of the science parts being really, really improbable...nay, impossible...as we had just been to the Moon and had recently landed a probe on Mars that put paid to even the dream of a Universe like the one Author Cameron created.

I loved revisiting Dave Topman and Chuck Masterson's flight to the impossible, tiny planet Basidium, all of 50,000 miles away. Their home-made rocket that traveled 25,000 miles an hour. Their bags od groceries to eat on the way there and back...two hours each way...two hours on Basidium, where they somehow spoke the language of the Mushroom People and solved a mystery that confounded the adult Mushroom People...the chicken that saved the day....

Nope, too old to get back there, but it was some good fun peeking back at the boyhood adventure that didn't have to make sense because what the hell actually does when you're eight or nine? It's starting to, but not quite yet does, blessedly.

I would give this to a six-year-old and read it with her. Maybe a slightly slow seven-year-old. No older than that, in today's world, and I'm not all the way sure it's even a good idea because gender roles and sex stereotyping are at the core of the story. So maybe, if like me you read it in your tinyhood, you'll smile and enjoy and keep out of reach of children.

May 11, 2018, 12:25am Top

>87 richardderus: I would hide there from the kids, and let them *fight to the death* (which I am convinced is their main goal in life) while I'm in my sound-proofed book-nook. Which surely has natural light, from a window placed to the left.

>116 richardderus: a great nostalgia read for you! Some of those oldies are a shocker with their gender stereotyping!

May 11, 2018, 8:01am Top

Catching up and really thrilled about your medical news. So happy for you!

Isn't Andre N. something?

Edited: May 26, 2018, 4:24pm Top

Congrats on 75 and beyond! Hope you have a wonderful weekend

May 12, 2018, 2:59pm Top

80 The 13th Hex by Jordan L. Hawk

Rating: 3.5* of five

A perfectly fine story. I like Rook a lot, but am less enamored of Dominic Kopecky. I just wanted a toe-dip into the world of the series before committing myself to it. This short tale was enough to allow me to get the sense of what Author Hawk was planning...a New York City imbued with magical energy that expresses itself via pseudoscientific means...to see if this could keep my soap-opera lovin' story-slurpin' soul from parching into dust. I mean, Whyborne & Griffin is only one more novel from being complete on my reader radar! I need sudsy sweet seriesness! Now!!

Three winks in under 40pp means one entire star off.

May 12, 2018, 8:11pm Top

81 Lonesome Road by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: 3.5* of five

Much more modern in that Miss Silver is quite the force in moving the story. Much more Golden Age in that The Ladies are Ever So Ladylike and one silly chit of a slip of a girl gets all twisted up and confused by A Big Bad Man. Also irritating is the fact that it takes a man to sort out Miss Rachel Treherne, a quite redoubtable party until it comes to her ghastly family and their disgusting behavior.

Well, autres temps autres moeurs, don't you know, and in the end the right couples are coupled with the Big Baddie most satisfactorily served a comeuppance. If Miss Silver is ever silver screened, this entry in the series will be loaded with a lesbian subplot that is absolutely accurate...right there for anyone with ~2 eyes to see. Dunno that it'll make diddly squat difference. You either like this book or you don't, but forevermore don't read on because the final formula is fixed with this book and the next 25-plus don't vary it.

I also liked a lot that Miss Silver came to Miss Rachel Treherne's attention via Hilary Cunningham, née Carew. I don't recall if this little easter egg is repeated, but I hope so.

May 15, 2018, 7:43am Top

Hi RD and a joyous Tuesday to you.

Edited: May 15, 2018, 11:06pm Top

A couple of episodes in Draft No. 4 by John McPhee slithered through my mind as I perused the postings here.

You crabbed about an author using the word "wink" a dozen times in a book. McPhee reports that he's used a text editing program called Kedit most of his professional life. I didn't follow everything about it, but he would routinely use it to sort through a manuscript to accumulate a tally of words used and the frequency of use. He would have seen those 12 winks and dispatched most of them.

The other thing is hitting 75 books before the year's half done. (I'm not halfway to 75.) When Robert Gottlieb was editing The New Yorker, McPhee said, he turned in an 80,000-word ms late in the afternoon. The following morning, early, Gottlieb phoned McPhee to schedule a conference. When the two sat down later that morning, McPhee learned that Gottlieb had in fact read all 80,000 words overnight. He had details to discuss.

That's the way you seem to read, RD. I for one am in awe of you and the entire cohort of folks that have methodically ripped through 75 books in less than five months.

May 15, 2018, 11:38pm Top

>107 richardderus: Love the book porn, dear fellow - very eclectic.

I am a little energised here with the end to UMNO's (United Malay National Organisation) 61 year rule of the country. Long overdue if it means the end to race based politics. The Kleptocrat who was running the country and his ugly wife are almost certainly going to jail.

May 16, 2018, 1:56am Top

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet!! I loved that book. Although after reading your review, I am not sure it would even read a 4 on re-read. Maybe I'll just stick with the memories.

Wednesday smooches. : )

Edited: May 16, 2018, 4:02am Top

Just dropping in to say hi...


May 18, 2018, 8:17am Top

So today's the day. I go for my first infusion of Krystexxa in about an hour, and it will take basically all day. Hoping this

turns to this

in the next 18mos.

May 18, 2018, 8:21am Top

Best wishes, darling Richard! Sending anti-gout mojo to you. *smooch*

May 18, 2018, 8:29am Top

I hope all goes well with you today and in the months to come.

May 18, 2018, 8:57am Top

Good luck with the Krystexxa, Richard. How long before it starts taking effect?

We watched the first episode of Altered Carbon last night on Netflix. So far, so good. Did you try this one?

May 18, 2018, 10:37am Top

Good luck!! I hope it kicks in ASAP. Smooches.

May 18, 2018, 12:59pm Top

Can my existence ever be easy? No. I got to my appointment, went into the lobby where Annette the receptionist ignore me until 20 past 11. Then there was much scurrying around. I saw the doc at 11:40.

He had forgotten to order a blood test whose results, if positive, could have put me at risk of death had they infused Krystexxa into me.

So May 31st is my first infusion. And I've spent over two hours in a lot of pain to accomplish nothing. Especially galling since I faxed the bloodwork to the office 10 days ago. Someone didn't show it to the doctor, Annette. And guess what I called them three days ago to make sure I was all set, and ANNETTE assured me I was. Pattern emerging?

May 18, 2018, 1:37pm Top

Crap. I'm so sorry to hear it, Richard. It doesn't get any more frustrating than that. You did every thing right, and they still fumbled.

May 18, 2018, 3:16pm Top

Well, S--T!!*@#*!

May 18, 2018, 3:17pm Top

>132 richardderus: I hope the blood test clears you for treatment. May it not be a pattern.

May 18, 2018, 3:21pm Top

Ah, sorry, Richard. Incompetence reigns supreme there, I guess.

I can't imagine they wouldn't have ordered the test before even trying to set up the Krystexxa infusions..... duh.

May 20, 2018, 10:04am Top

Book porn!

May 20, 2018, 10:05am Top

Yet more book porn!

May 20, 2018, 10:38am Top

>137 richardderus: - For me. >138 richardderus: - Scares me a bit...

Hope this coming week is better for you, than last, Richard

May 20, 2018, 1:56pm Top

>138 richardderus: Much tidier looking than the house of my friends who receive review copies. The keep their bunny in the back bathroom so it doesn't get a chance to nibble books.

May 20, 2018, 3:05pm Top

>127 richardderus: I hope so too, my friend. And not just because you'll be turned into an 18 year old Bob Mizer hunk- a remarkable injection indeed.

>128 karenmarie: Yes! Anti-gout mojo!

May 20, 2018, 4:01pm Top

Best book porn of the month!

May 20, 2018, 6:41pm Top

>132 richardderus: Annette has a lot to answer for! What a huge hassle....grrrrr. >142 richardderus: makes this world a better place, and everyone should have one. :)

May 20, 2018, 8:22pm Top

It seems to me that the incompetence at doctor’s offices is increasing. I have had to run interference for my mother on more than one occasion. For instance, the doctor told her that she could drive short distances. Out in Kansas 30 miles is short distances. The doctor never bothered to ask her where she lived and assumed that she lived in Lincoln Nebraska where a grocery store is within a few blocks of most people living there. Where my mother lives the nearest grocery store is 30 miles. She was taking new medication that results in a significant number of patients having seizures, so until patients know how they are going to react to the medication they are only to drive short distances. You would think that a doctor in Lincoln, being in a great metropolitan area, would know that half of his patients come from small towns in the hinterlands and be more specific with instructions. This same doctor assumed that my mother had a cell phone and his office got angry with her when she kept hanging up while they were giving her instructions about how to phone in the results of her readouts. She had to hang up in order to attach the phone to the machine. It went on and on like that because of the dumb assumptions they were making.

I am sorry to learn that even though you tried to be proactive they weren’t.

May 20, 2018, 8:50pm Top

Belatedly catching up with your thread, Richard. Congrats on reaching and passing 75. Your flounce got me even though it was delayed on my part. *grin* So much book porn - nice to drool over. Hang in there.

May 21, 2018, 10:53am Top

82 Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

Rating: 4* of five

One entire star off for four uses of the dreadful, icky, overused-in-MM-romances w-verb. It's lazy and it's bad writing.

The story itself sparkles and fizzes with excitement. The murder Robby witnesses in New York City is chilling and makes his terror and his addlepated decision to run away make perfect sense. I'd be terrified and addled as well! Robby's wagon train trip west isn't very detailed but it's got the sense of urgency that a more thorough explanation wouldn't serve. And the real Rowena Fairchild is a major pill, despite her perfect depiction:
She was statuesque, well-bred, and finely dressed. She had light-brown hair that flirted with the idea of being red and a starry sky’s worth of freckles on her nose and cheeks.

Oh my. I can see her. I've known ladies who fit this description to a T. Author Easton makes them appear before my mind's eye.

The way Robby and Trace Crabtree get entangled on Rowena/Robby's arrival in Santa Fe is farcical fun. I loved that they knew right off the other was attracted to their real selves. It makes the sexual tension so much more delicious, like Jack Lemmon finding out Joe E. Brown knew he was in drag all along in Some Like It Hot.

The Crabtree family secret was a little out of left field, but made me laugh out loud when it was discovered by a stunned Robby. Their antics were just so innocent to cause all the angst they did, but I could believe them in this context. I sure as hell would laugh at the Crabtrees for doing what they do.

Robby's ability to talk Pa-Pa Crabtree around in no time flat was a little bit of a stretch but I could see the dramatic need. I know Robby would've talked anyone around in the end, so I went with it. I loved the way Robby dug out the big family secret and made the whole troop of men confront their fears and pain without judgment. That was a lovely touch.

The events leading to the ending had me clenched in tense anticipation and I was saved from nervous collapse by the fact that this is a happily-ever-after genre. I do declare I'd've been prostrated if it wasn't. I was gnawing my knuckles for the last 20% of the book! The tension was skillfully ratcheted up and the stakes as high as they get for everyone. Trace shines in his focused obsessive need to fix what's broken throughout the book. The others' reactions to Trace and Robby after the game is revealed are...well...I don't know, maybe some more conversations around the subject? I was a little left out, it seemed, of the consequences of Robby's deception to the Crabtrees, with the exception of Clovis the defrauded groom.

Also...1860 was President Buchanan's term in office. I think the year is more like 1875 or Trace wouldn't have joined the army as a sharpshooter. Either he fought in the Civil War or at the tail end of it joined up and fought in the Plains Wars against the Comanche or Apache that hotted up around 1867. "President Hayes" is mentioned, making the earliest date for the story 1877; all in all, I think 1880 works, and that'd also explain the railroad fever mentioned at the end of the story.

As an experience of storytelling, this was a solid hit for me. I need to escape reality right now. I make no bones about it. Serious and weighty things are happening in the bigger world and in my own stretch of it. My reading needs to soothe me, not challenge me. And this story was just what the escapist ordered.

May 22, 2018, 9:29am Top

Sorry to see your doctor appointment was disappointing. Hope things go smoothly at the next and that you get some relief soon!

May 22, 2018, 10:22am Top

'Morning, RD!

>142 richardderus: Lovely. I'm envious.

*smooches* from your own Horrible

May 22, 2018, 10:53am Top

Grrr on the idiots at the doctor's office!! And I am sure no real remorse either. I am so sorry. Not only did you NOT get your treatment, but the emotional disappointment....let's not go with a trend here, but a bad one-off. Rooting for the 31st!!

>142 richardderus: Thanks. I needed that.

May 22, 2018, 11:58am Top

Well hello there . . .
It's been far too long since I checked in here.

Congrats on reaching 75!

So annoying about the missing blood test and delay on the infusion.
Annette - Pfft!!

I'm currently reading A Trail Through Time and listening to Good Omens so all is fabulous in my reading life right now.

May 22, 2018, 5:39pm Top

84 A Second Harvest by Eli Easton

Rating: 4.5* of five

Only two instances of the loathsome w-verb. Both gratuitous and unnecessary, of course.

An enormously resonant story for my elderly self. I knew and tricked with these men most of my life. Had one terrible relationship with one of them, a horrible, painful experience of being the agony and the release from it at the same time. He died of liver cancer after over two decades of alcohol abuse, and a few months later I moved to New York City.

So David's story, his wretchedness, moved me deeply. Christie's part I lived in reverse...after getting to Paradise I was a busy, busy boy for a few years. Over a decade, in fact, and I adored all but the last 18 months. When my life unravels, it does the job with verve and gusto. Anyway, Christie deciding to move to Auntie's place made perfect sense to me...I ran back to Austin...and his ultimate fate there mirrored my own, if mine was less painful.

I left Austin because, after one night of gay-barring, I was followed home by two tradies (google it) who'd been somewhat unsettlingly focused on me. The truck they drove had a gun rack.

It wasn't empty.

Nothing happened.

I don't care. I am never, ever again in all my life going to live in a place where guns are anything other than tightly regulated. I'm also deeply averse to going west of the Hudson or north of the Bronx. When home doesn't want you, it's not home, so here I stay.

This book made all the same feelings as I felt then come roaring back, strong as ever, nauseating as ever. The highest function of storytelling is catharsis, it's why myths are evergreen and stage/screen drama has such a tenacious hold on human psyches. Author Easton has, in each of her stories I've read, given me a safe catharsis, a world built to experience and survive the strong negative emotions parts of her tale evokes. It takes skill to do this well. It requires convincing your readers that this *is* a world, this space is in fact telling truths to your emotional core. That takes talent and courage, which Author Easton has and uses for our benefit.

And here I was looking for a light, fun read. Haw. Instead I got a deep and thorough dose of spiritual salts. And, mirabile dictu, was made to enjoy it.

Congratulations, Eli Easton, and to you readers not squicked out by gay men making love to each other, this is a fine and satisfying read.

May 23, 2018, 3:02am Top

Morning Richard - hope you are well - ineffectual doctors aside!

May 23, 2018, 7:59am Top

'Morning, RD!

>151 richardderus: Wonderful, revealing, book-bullet-y review.


May 23, 2018, 5:01pm Top

85 Galactic Derelict by Andre Norton

Rating: 4* of five

What a fun way to recapture the thrills of youth this proved to be. I'm as cynical an old party as you'll ever meet. When I'm reading Grand Master Norton's SF from the 1950s, I'm back in a more hopeful time and I'm given a reason to think that the future will be better than the past.

Haw. Haw haw.

Especially grim "fun" since this series of books takes place in the 21st century. There are comparatively few ways I feel the world is better now than in 1959. For one thing, look at these dreary ugly eat-your-overboiled-spinach cars we've got! Look at the food we eat, how much of our budget is eaten by the simple act of eating a healthy diet and sleeping indoors.

Well. No matter. Visiting the past's view of the present is a hoot, so long as one belts down the reality inside a sturdy cage. I'm excited with Ross Murdock and newly met Travis Fox accompanying Dr. Ashe to alien worlds, escaping the stinky, hazardous alien monsters, using their McGyver-esque sense of engineering solutions to problems their entire species has never faced! And doing it without so much as batting a racist eyelash. No one makes any sort of comparison to Apache Travis's heritage that's in any way belittling.

What a refreshing thing that is in 2018's poisonous racist climate. How much I wish this was the default attitude in my 21st century; alternatively, I'd like to refugee over to Grand Master Norton's 21st century, please. With special reference to a ride in the globe that takes the men to the alien worlds, since it has those uberspiffing bunks with the magical heal-all jelly!!

99¢ on Kindle. Blow yourself to a nostalgic trip back to the future.

May 24, 2018, 2:43am Top

>154 richardderus: Thank you for my morning chuckle :)

May 24, 2018, 1:31pm Top

>154 richardderus: I remember reading this for the first time--I was either 13 or 14. I was literally on the edge of my seat with worrying if they would get back to the ship in time! Of course, I have the complete collection of Andre Nortons in dead tree books, starting from the 60's publications on. She wasn't perfect, but she was a whole lot of fun.

May 25, 2018, 10:36pm Top

Hi, Richard!

Incompetence among medical office staff is frustrating in the extreme. I hope they get their act together.

May 26, 2018, 10:51am Top

Morning Richard (well, it's morning here). I hope your escape into fiction continues to go well.

May 26, 2018, 2:32pm Top

Sorry everybody, the wifi's out at my facility. I'm in the library today for as long as I can bear to sit...which is about 5 minutes less than I've been sitting already. If I missed you birthday I apologize; if you got married or something, congratulations; if you shared something hilarious about hating 45, hahaha; all others, see you as soon as I can.

May 26, 2018, 2:47pm Top

Insult atop injury. Hope both your health and your wifi improve ASAP.

May 26, 2018, 3:18pm Top

Richard, I've never read better reviews by someone who didn't do it for a living. Even then they aren't really better than yours.
I'm in awe of you.

Your relief at the doc's will be so much sweeter now, my friend.

May 26, 2018, 6:55pm Top

Hi, Richard. As Bill said, insult on top of injury. So sorry to hear about your misadventures at the doctor's due to his staffs' incompetence. Not the way to run a medical clinic. May 31 can't come to soon for you, I am sure. Till then, I hope your reading takes your mind off the pain.

Loving all the book porn upthread.

May 27, 2018, 4:16pm Top

Hello Richard Dear friend, hope you are well my friend and that you are having a good weekend. Both Karen and I send love and hugs to you.

May 27, 2018, 7:12pm Top

Ugh, how frustrating! Hope May 31 comes fast for you and brings you much-needed relief.

May 28, 2018, 9:40am Top

86 The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt

Rating: 3* of five

I enjoyed it. Lesbian sex scene averted, blessedly, so I had no need to flee screaming. I never heard of a "demisexual" before, so my education continues.

One instance of the dreadful pollutant w-verb on p244. I damn near unswallowed on the page. But to be fair to the writer, both characters (sender and recipient) were in imminent danger of death when the heinous abuse of my eyestalks took place, so I don't doubt but what he was under some significant existential stress.

The characters, Captain Callie and Xenobiologist Elena anyway, are all as well made as one could wish. Lantern the Liar, of an alien race called "the Liars", was less three-dimensional but that's not really surprising or remediable for a character whose backstory is related late in the game via infodump. Lantern is positioned now to be a regular in future books, and she and her race and her religious order are fascinating to me, so patience is a must in reading this first volume.

The master aliens are creepy and xenocidal, and their tech is to die for (haw). The slave-alien Liars have been making hay off selling the said tech to humans for a good while. They've sold more than trinkets and trash to humanity, though it's all come on one Bill of Goods. The Liars have told their customers, who despite knowing the species' tendency to prevaricate whenever they feel like it, that the amazing permanent wormholes the Liars let them use to get to twenty-nine different star systems that humanity is allowed to colonize and the big dumb schmucks bought it!

The truth is, needless to say, a lot more nuanced. And a lot scarier: The tech the Liars are selling turns out to have been developed by a race that's so evil that the Liars are terrified of them returning one day. After all, the Liars are their genetically engineered slaves.

Okay, yeah, it's all very Flash Gordon versus Ming the Merciless, but it's fun and it's got humor and heart, so I'm in for one more read before I decide its fate at my readerly hands. Far from the worst I've read, not the best either, and the author's willingness to take the slow road out to a higher vantage point is in his favor. Can't *quite* get to another half-star, but it's not because the story is bad but because it's been good for the past hundred years.

May 28, 2018, 9:48am Top

Hello, RD!

I hope you get wifi back at your facility pronto. It's such a blank feeling to NOT have wifi now that we are all so spoiled.


May 28, 2018, 11:27am Top

87 The Ornamental Hermit by Olivier Bosman

Pearl Ruled @ 45%

Don't care to know if my conjecture as to the crime's resolution is correct. Tedious, lumpen prose and dreary characters make me sneeze and itch. I don't like you, book. I can't get invested in you because you don't do anything to entice me in, or beguile me into supine acceptance of your heaviness.

It's not me, it's you. I do like your premise so I won't give you a single star.

Edited: May 28, 2018, 4:23pm Top

88 The Other Teddy Roosevelts by Mike Resnick

Rating: 3.5* of five

Not bad. If you've read any SFnal anthology since the middle 1980s (earlier, actually, but I'm too lazy to go look up his first appearance in print) you've read some Resnick. I'm no big fan of his pedestrian writing, but I'm a BIG fan of TR.

Red Whitechapel puts TR at the centre (cause it's in Lunnon I misspelled center, see?) of the Jack the Ripper hunt. Resnick even says he wrote this to get some attention for a theory he proposed in a non-fiction article published in the 1970s regarding his (quite plausible and eminently sensible) idea of who and what the real Ripper was. Wasn't much impressed by the fictionalization. 3 stars

Two Hunters in Manhattan was a real eye-roller, TR making the acquaintance of an ancient Greek vampire who, inexplicably, pays no slightest attention to TR's request for assistance in specific ways but instead whimsically decides to do it his own way. Who knows, maybe that comes with having blues eyes, black hair. 2 stars

The Roosevelt Dispatches puts Teddy in Cuba and has has him meet the Martians from Wells' The War of the Worlds. Okay. 3 stars

Bully! got the otherwhen versions of TR rolling in Resnick's creative world. Nominated for the big awards. I enjoyed this one. 3.5 stars

The Bull Moose at Bay is the most intriguing story to me...how TR got to where he is at the beginning of the tale is deeply satisfying, the place where the tale takes off is spot-on, and the ending is also satisfying. My quibble is why be coy about the identities of the guests? Still, hands-down my favorite. 4 stars

Over There was depressing and unlikely. TR was too full fledged a politician to fall for what happened to him; the ending was inevitable and seen clearly from the beginning. 2 stars

The Light that Blinds, the Claws that Catch is unmemorable and uninteresting. 3 stars because it's competently written.

May 28, 2018, 5:14pm Top

89 Undertow by Jordan L. Hawk

Rating: 4* of five

I completely forgot to write this review. Oops.

I liked seeing Maggie Parkhurst get some at last! Go Maggie, blow down that closet door and grab what you want. Especially since what you want wants you right back.

I like this series so much and wish we lived in an Iridium Age of Screen SF instead of merely a Platinum Age. We'd see this series of books on our screens in a blink. So much lovely backstory, so much exciting action...this shorter entry included, and with the added bonus of more facetime for Persephone. I love Persephone.

And since I've now read the first few chapters of Draakenwood, faithless to my self-promise to savor slowly the last unread moments of the series, this spoiler becomes relevant: Niles Whyborne's opinion of Persephone, expressed in the next book, is spot on!

May 28, 2018, 5:38pm Top

90 Tender Mercies by Eli Easton

Rating: 4* of five

It isn't up to the standard set by A Second Harvest, but it's a good, solid, enjoyable novel of the harrowing, horrible things religion makes people do to each other. Any accidental good the religious might do will never erase the hateful and damaging effects the institution of religion has had on billions and billions of people yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

So why read it? Because men like Samuel escape from the horrible, vicious, vile torturers that victimize them in fiction, and even receive healing after they get themselves away from the poison that is gawd. It doesn't happen near often enough in real life. Look at the devastating statistics on teenaged suicide if you doubt me; look at the trans and lesbian and gay people whose lives are ended or who end their own lives out of despair; in each and every case, religion bears the blame and the religious, one and all, irrespective of personal involvement, are eternally stained with the blood of the innocents they passively allowed or actively wished (aloud, silently, in prayer, whatever) to suffer.

If I've been unclear, I oppose your right to be religious on the same grounds that I oppose someone's right to be racist or Republican: Only bad things happen when y'all get to express those hateful ideas. Stop it.

May 30, 2018, 1:15pm Top

Hey RD, hope all is well, and the wifi is back in working order.

I thought of you when I heard that Amazon was going to pickup the Expanse. We haven't watched any of it yet, but my son is loving the books. Got to get to them, myself. Bad Jeff.

May 30, 2018, 3:43pm Top

"Tooooooomorrow, tomorrow...I hope for good things tomorrow....it's only a DAY (or less) awaaaay..."

May 31, 2018, 10:42am Top

Thinking of you today and hoping that the treatments get done and do their thing with positive results.

May 31, 2018, 8:34pm Top

First infusion: Accomplished. Slept the day away, still tired. Steroids + Benadryl = sleepy me.

May 31, 2018, 8:53pm Top

*smooch* Delighted to hear that you actually managed to get the infusion today.

May 31, 2018, 8:54pm Top

Great news. Sleep well!

May 31, 2018, 9:31pm Top

>174 richardderus: Hooray! Now may it do its magic, please.

May 31, 2018, 9:33pm Top

So happy for you, Richard!

May 31, 2018, 9:42pm Top

>174 richardderus: May you wake to improvements!

Jun 1, 2018, 3:51am Top

Huzzah! Glad it finally got done - or at least the first one. How many will it need? Or is this an ongoing thing? Sorry - I suspect you may have said before but I am currently a bear of very little brain indeed.

Jun 1, 2018, 8:05am Top

I hope it helps!

Jun 1, 2018, 9:13am Top

It's a drain on your system to get loaded with toxins...and that is what I was prepared for in theory...but WOW was I whupped. Slept 16 hours! I'm WIDE AWAKE NOW

The infusions will be every other week for the next ~18mos. The first is always the toughest. The next one, on 14 June, will probably be the first one which will cause a gout attack...blood uric acid of 0 = attack, and that's how the drug gets the crystals out. Oh whee. But at least it's an attack to REMOVE the damn things instead of build them up.

Jun 1, 2018, 9:25am Top

'Morning, RD!

Congrats on starting the Krystexxa. 16 hours of sleep, wow.

*smooches* from your own Horrible

Jun 1, 2018, 10:51am Top

Teach your sons to love reading. They will always love you for doing it.

Jun 1, 2018, 1:07pm Top

>184 richardderus: - Daughters, too. :-)

Beautiful picture

Jun 2, 2018, 3:53am Top

>184 richardderus: Check. Love how much of a bookworm my boy is. Though the other day he asked me if he was boring because he reads so much (kids at school had been mean) - there were lots of cuddles and he was very firmly told that reading is the opposite of boring and that it was wonderful that he read so much.

Hope you are feeling a bit more settled and have a fab weekend.

Jun 2, 2018, 6:45am Top

Morning, RD! Happy Saturday. I have missed seeing you around. Sorry, to hear about the continuing health issues. Poor guy. I hope things start to look up for you.

I don't remember for sure, if you recommended Whispers in Dust and Bone, but I know you loved it and I recently enjoyed it too. I really like his laid back style and the way he links his stories. I also just started Less: A Novel and I like it too.

Jun 2, 2018, 7:54am Top

Hooray! I am so glad that your treatments have AT LAST begun.

Jun 2, 2018, 8:04am Top

Glad to hear the treatments have begun! Here's hoping they are successful and get a little easier as you go along. Weekend *smooches*

Jun 2, 2018, 9:04am Top

Hope you are feeling well after your first treatment! xo

Jun 2, 2018, 9:11pm Top

>2 richardderus: That is indeed quite a tattoo!

Just catching up, see that you are starting treatment. I'm glad the first one is out of the way and so hopeful that it is successful. Pain be gone!

sending smooches your way!

Jun 2, 2018, 10:03pm Top

The second part of the cure doesn't sound pleasant but if it is doing good it will, hopefully, make it a more pleasant pain. Wishing you the best so much that I can almost overlook what you wrote about "centre" in >168 richardderus:.

Jun 5, 2018, 5:27am Top

Hope all is okay and you aren't feeling too horrible. Missing you round here!

Jun 5, 2018, 11:04am Top

91 For Love and Glory by Poul Anderson

Pearl Ruled @ page 60

Nope. Not even a little bit sorry to see you go, book. Poul Anderson standard writing, and that's neither praise nor blame. Plot better than average; but there's no there there. Frankly it's just dull and I am way too old to slog through average to dull prose unless I'm being paid.

No one's paying me. Bye now!

Jun 5, 2018, 11:13am Top

Poul Anderson was such a writing factory - a true son of the pulps.

When's he's good he's readable - when he's bad he's not.

Stopping by to wish you well with the new treatment - I have been reported by my doctor with "a touch of gout" in my left great toe, and have been put on dietary restrictions and Bitter Cherry Juice extract.

Our good thoughts are wish you, cowboy. My left great toe says "Hi!"

Jun 5, 2018, 7:40pm Top

Book porn!

Jun 5, 2018, 7:54pm Top

>196 richardderus: A dream book room!

Jun 7, 2018, 9:44am Top

...words fail me...

Jun 7, 2018, 9:55am Top

>198 richardderus: - I saw this on FB and laughed my arse off :)

Jun 7, 2018, 11:15am Top

>198 richardderus: Would that it were true.

Jun 7, 2018, 5:02pm Top

>198 richardderus:, >199 katiekrug:, >200 laytonwoman3rd: - At the risk of revealing my ignorance, can you translate for those of us non-Americans who use different currency?

Jun 7, 2018, 5:41pm Top

>201 jessibud2: The photo on our $5.00 bill shown above is of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. The President, of course, does not live there.

Edited: Jun 7, 2018, 5:42pm Top

>201 jessibud2: - Shelley, that's the Lincoln Memorial on the $5 bill, and whoever stamped it appears to have mistaken it for the White House. :)

Oops, cross-posted with Linda!

Jun 7, 2018, 5:42pm Top

>202 laytonwoman3rd: - Thanks, Linda. I bet he thinks he owns it, though. Snerk

Edited: Jun 7, 2018, 5:44pm Top

>204 jessibud2: Yeah...I almost said that very thing!

>203 katiekrug: You and me, Katie...wavelengths and all that!

Jun 7, 2018, 5:46pm Top

>203 katiekrug: - Thanks, Katie! :-)

We are having our own election here in Ontario here today, with a distinct possibility of our own version of trump getting in. Heaven help us. At least it's only provincial and not federal.

Jun 7, 2018, 7:01pm Top

I do have to say that I was surprised by the Alabama primary. This state is not known to be progressive and there were 70 (yes, count em) 70 women running for national, State, and local civic offices. It was a record breaker here, and as a result there was great interest in the primary with a higher than normal primary voter turn-out.

Glamour magazine even did a photo shoot and article about these women.

You go girls!

Jun 8, 2018, 1:00am Top

>196 richardderus: Oh, gorgeous! I hope there's a bed in the end we can't see - then it would be perfect, no need to go anywhere (ok, bathroom and kitchen. That's it).

>194 richardderus: There are a select few Poul Anderson books I enjoy (though I can't think what they are at the moment). A good many, which other people love, I can't stand - the whole Polysotechnic (sp?) League, and all the Flandrys, drive me nuts. Not one of my favorite authors.

Edited: Jun 9, 2018, 9:44am Top

>196 richardderus:. Hard core book porn!

Holy cow, can you imagine being up there with it raining? Or snowing! I love snow, it's like magic.

Edited: Jun 9, 2018, 9:18am Top

Hi RD!

>198 richardderus: The stupidity of drumpfsters knows no bounds.

*smooches* from your own Horrible

Jun 9, 2018, 9:48am Top

>198 richardderus: Maybe the Illuminati has a secret chamber behind the Lincoln statue?

Jun 9, 2018, 10:00am Top

92 Crime On My Hands by George Sanders

Real Rating: 3.5* of five

There is nothing new under the sun. The George Sanders of this book is an actor playing a part; the author George Sanders is that actor in real life, writing with ghostwriter author:Craig Rice|263980, thus proving that speaking words written by others is a powerful draw to actors.

Ms. Rice had quite a career in Golden Age Hollywood. Sanders did, too. Many excellent movies; many dreary ones too. No career is without low points. But the Sanders of this novel isn't low, he's rising in a rare starring turn. That's what he has longed for while he racked up thousands of hours playing detectives in popular but unrewarding serials (today he'd be a TV star). So now he's got it, what happens but there's a murder commited in front of him! And it's not the last!

How "Sanders" solves the crime is nice and twisty, thanks to Craig Rice. It was a pleasant read, it felt warmly nostalgic in its tone (Sanders-the-narrator giving a behind the scenes tour of a location shoot), and the proceedings are wrapped up with a resounding bang.

Rainy weekend? Here's you a pacey, twisty, attention-holding read.

Edited: Jun 10, 2018, 10:47am Top

Hi Richard. Good to see you finally got your dose from the fountain of youth after all the delay. I hope the treatment goes well.

>184 richardderus: My youngest is as bad a bookworm as I ever was. Now I know what my parents went through *sigh*

Miss me?

Jun 13, 2018, 2:11pm Top

Yay for finally getting the first infusion therapy done. The second one sounds like it's going to be rough. Good luck.

>196 richardderus: Oh I want to be there!!

Jun 13, 2018, 6:19pm Top

Things I Wish Young Me Had Believed:
1. They do mean it, and it is about you.
2. The worst thing they say or do is the most honest they will ever be with you.
3. Kindness is a ruse. The knife is still in their hand.
4. The nastier the gossip, the more they hope it's true.
5. And all of the above applies equally to you.

Jun 13, 2018, 8:57pm Top

>215 richardderus: True, but not the whole truth. I have said very nasty things on occasion, but probably didn't really believe them and very much regretted having said them and have taught myself to do better. And I am no paragon, just a grouchy old woman who very much hopes there really are nicer people out there. There are certainly better behaved ones. I can't quibble with the 4. The nastier the gossip, the more tasty.

Jun 14, 2018, 12:18pm Top

Memo to my immune system: Attack harmful invades not powerful treatments.

Jun 14, 2018, 2:35pm Top


Jun 14, 2018, 4:32pm Top

93 Coffin, Scarcely Used by Colin Watson

Rating: 4.5* of five, rounded up because beguiling deliciousness deserves it

Beguiling. Delicious. Simple, slightly musty words piled in attractive and pleasing patterns. Observations worthy of a PET scanner. Purbright, our PoV person, is unquestionably the smartest man in the room. Especially among the constabulary, peopled with deeply ordinary and stoutly determined men (only one woman on that side of the fence, quite a minor character but a pleasure to meet indeed). The Chief Constable is a fatuous old party, someone one would expect to meet at Dunder Mifflin's board luncheon. Although...well...wait for the very, very end of the book. Heh.

The baddies are simply scintillating in their utter, stolid salt-of-the-earth dullness. You know these types, upstanding citizens with mortgages, wood-burning fireplaces, golf bats or cricket clubs or whatever those mildly athletic things are called. Their identities are not in the least mysterious, and Purbright quite clearly suspects them from page one. No one is in doubt about their guilt, only their motive and means. It's entirely enough fun for the reader to follow Purbright and his chief henchman Love around the respectable town of Flaxborough as they circle their nervous prey. Flaxborough...not quite as addictive as Three Pines, but very close.

Don't kid yourself, a slower pace and a lower body count do not a boring book make. If you like that rape/torture tattooed woman's tales, then yes, this isn't a good fit for your reading; but if you're okay with less vividly detailed violence supplanted by snark, innuendo, and a comically old-fashioned means of making illicit money, here's you a rainy Sunday book.

Jun 14, 2018, 7:06pm Top

>215 richardderus: Nah. Don’t believe any of that.

>217 richardderus: I hope this doesn’t mean the treatment isn’t taking?

Jun 14, 2018, 7:09pm Top

>219 richardderus: Sounds like a good 'un!

Jun 16, 2018, 4:31pm Top

Hope you are resting well and the crystals have disappeared.

Jun 16, 2018, 4:39pm Top

Just saw this on Twitter and fell out of my chair laughing.

Jun 16, 2018, 4:46pm Top

Oh my, thanks everyone who visited. It's been a rough time.

The Krystexxa treatment is rough on my body. Plenty of tiredness and pains. Most frustratingly of all, I AM PRODUCING ANTIBODIES to the treatment and apparently began to do so during the treatment itself.

Methotrexate wasn't the first choice of immunosuppressant, instead it's azathioprine. One course of treatment, then back to the doc on the 28th for another infusion.

Jun 16, 2018, 5:56pm Top

Geez, my daughter takes Methotrexate for advancing RA - hope azathioprine has fewer immuno side effects
and you will soon be out of pain.

Edited: Jun 16, 2018, 6:39pm Top

^I have been keeping my eyes peeled for any RD sightings but have come up short. I thought I better stop by and see what is happening. I wish your news was better, my friend. Sorry, to hear that these treatments are falling short. I hope things begin to improve. Hugs to my pal.

Jun 17, 2018, 7:08am Top

Darling, RD, so sorry to hear about your reaction to Krystexxa. Sending gentle hugs and general make-it-better whammies to you.

*smooch* from your own Horrible

Jun 17, 2018, 3:52pm Top

Hi Ricardo--I am sorry the infusion is off to a rough start. Hope they sort things out for you. Sending big hugs. And lots of zzzzzzzzzz's.

Jun 17, 2018, 5:33pm Top

Richard dear, I am sorry to read your body doesn't welcome the gout treatment.

Jun 17, 2018, 11:49pm Top

*smooches* Hope your body learns to tolerate the treatment!

Jun 18, 2018, 3:38pm Top

94 Bump in the Night by Colin Watson

Real Rating: 4.75* of five

It feels puling somehow to knock off a quarter star rating this quiet procedural that bears the same copyright date that I do. My weak little bleat of dissatisfaction is that I despise Larch and missed Purbright, who is nowhere to be found in the entire first half of the book.

But it's again an old-fashioned tale of morality and punitive cruelty, more so than the first Flaxborough outing. The central mystery is not, as one expects from Watson, the one he's assigned to solve on the down-low. When he does solve the central mystery, we're entirely justified to feel an impressed irkedness with Author Watson for so deftly connecting expectations and reality via quantum emotional metaphysics.

I'm so glad to be rediscovering these witty, wise forensic excursions into human nature's eternal turdibity. The great oceans of feeling that we're always immersed in do not give themselves readily to superficial knowledge; the urge to view surfaces as representative of entireties is one of humanity's most egregious idiocies. To look but not see is a cliche for a reason. To see but not understand is the same. This is, I think, a principal pleasure to be had from series-mystery reading: The sleuth, our avatar in story space, is always the one who either reaches or catalyzes the solution, and sees or causes Justice to Be Done. Thus is ma'at preserved.

It is small wonder to me that we, as a culture, love these stories so very much. Books, television series, comic books all tell us the same satisfying tale, that there IS Justice and it IS done and even when the suspended particulate matter in our emotional waters is the fecal material that's flowed downhill the originators can be found, blamed, and punished.

It's an addictive fiction. It's an enjoyable denial mechanism. And this one is especially delicious.

Jun 18, 2018, 3:42pm Top

Okay, if you're reading this, faGawdSake send good luck whammys!!

Azathiothingummy has some side effects, and it seems I'm going to develop one of the bad ones. My right hand's little and ring fingers are going numb. That's one of the ones you stop taking the drug and call the doc immediately you notice it. Now I'm waiting for a return call.

I'm starting to think I'd be well advised to abandon this treatment. *heavy, heavy sigh*

Jun 18, 2018, 5:04pm Top

>224 richardderus: that is crap. Im sorry to hear it.

>223 richardderus: That is hilarious, and as someone who is sometimes accused of "doing the cat's bum" look, I believe his is the most realistic. Ever.

>232 richardderus: what? Worse news even!!?!?!? I just squinted my eyes and sent good luck to you via laser.

Jun 18, 2018, 5:14pm Top

Good luck whammies are coming your way!

Have you ever read the Brit mysteries by Guy Cullingford (Constance Dowdy when she's at home)? I just finished If Wishes Were Hearses and enjoyed it. Sort of like bitchy Ruth Rendell.

Jun 18, 2018, 5:27pm Top

>232 richardderus: Did they call? Did they call? How I hate waiting for those call-backs, be it the lab or the window-washer or whomsoever. You'd think if it's a dire reaction you need "STOP TAKING AND CALL IMMEDIATELY" that there'd be some way to get an immediate consultation. Hmmph.

Jun 18, 2018, 5:29pm Top

I am sending now all positive that I can, Richard dear!

Jun 18, 2018, 6:30pm Top

>232 richardderus:

Is there no way surgery can remove the crystals?

I hope the side effect turns out to be one of the minor ones and you can proceed.

Jun 18, 2018, 7:58pm Top

I am in no way medical or spiritual, so I have no advice to offer. I just hope you will prevail. Fight on! (Oh, I guess that's advice, isn't it.)

Jun 18, 2018, 8:58pm Top

Sending positive, bright light mojo and lots of it!! WHAMMO!!

Jun 18, 2018, 11:38pm Top

Wishing you luck with your medication, Richard, and hoping you just bumped your funny bone. Other than the numb fingers, has the medication had any (good) effect?

Jun 19, 2018, 2:40am Top

Hope things are better and they've called back - sending much love and keeping fingers crossed it's just a bump in the road.

Jun 19, 2018, 7:36am Top

Sending good luck whammies in addition to make-it-better whammies! I hope your doctor's office called back quickly.


Jun 19, 2018, 9:18am Top

What they said!

Jun 22, 2018, 6:52pm Top

Good luck whammys were, as hoped, successful. Azathingummy was shown NOT to be the problem. So took the ext course, no (thingummy-caused) problem. Yay!!

Allergies ahead of storm = benadryl = nap. Long dream about being gene edited by a chatty Borg while within the first Ring from the Expanse, help up by Bobbie Draper. The Borg lady was talking my ear off about Media Studies being a growth area.

Also, Octavia E. Butler is god.

Jun 22, 2018, 7:04pm Top

>244 richardderus: Yay indeed, Richard, I am so happy to see good news here!

Jun 22, 2018, 7:15pm Top

>244 richardderus: Great news. And yes, she is.

Jun 22, 2018, 9:24pm Top

woo woo! Good news. So you’ll be up and running marathons in no time?

Jun 22, 2018, 9:54pm Top

Glad you can continue your treatment...wish it wasn't such a bear to tolerate.

Jun 23, 2018, 9:12am Top

Keep channeling Octavia!

Jun 23, 2018, 11:58am Top

Good to hear better news on the health front, Richard?

Had you seen this, from yesterday: https://www.google.com/doodles/octavia-e-butlers-71st-birthday

Jun 24, 2018, 7:40pm Top

95 Lonelyheart 4122 by Colin Watson

Rating: 4.5* of five

Oh, Miss Teatime! What a devilishly well-drawn character you are. Purbright and Love, Flaxborough's finest, are wonderfully vivid characters but no one's a patch on you, Miss Teatime. What piquancy, what joie de vivre you bring as soon as you enter the stage. It is nothing short of a blast to be in your company.

Flaxborough's delights await you, series mystery fans. Come revel in quiet Englishness as nasty murderous evil grins out from the stolid stodginess of its borovian countenances. In fact, start here. You're missing nothing terribly important, in truth, and this book is simply wonderful.

Jun 24, 2018, 7:42pm Top

Hello all! Thanks for the well-wishes. I'm enduring the next course of the azathioprine. It really knocks me flat. I sleep more than I do anything else!


Jun 25, 2018, 5:22pm Top

Good to read that all the good luck whammys were successful. Hope the next infusion is more successful.

Jun 26, 2018, 12:20pm Top

96 Danger Point (aka In the Balance) by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: 2.5* of five

That was a very drab entry into the series. Miss Silver was stitched onto an existing thriller...no real mystery about whodunit or why...like rickrack onto an old blouse.

Jeesh. Pobody's nerfect, and every series has its saggy moments, but this was flat-out dull. And the gallons of dreadful Victorian verse spewing from so many orifices...! The mustachio-twirling villain, the airheaded drip of a woman without the oomph even to try something to save her own damned life! Why I finished it, I can't really say, but it was by dint of a good amount of skimming that I came to the other side of these turbid waters with only minor scrapes and bruises from floundering in the shallow, rock-strewn waters.

That metaphor will make sense IF you ever read the book. Strictly for completist series readers hooked on Miss Silver.

Jun 27, 2018, 11:52am Top

97 The Chinese Shawl by Patricia Wentworth

Rating: 4* of five

What a complete and utter pleasure to read this fifth entry in the long-running series, especially after the ghastliness of the fourth. Took about four hours to get sucked in, bash the touchscreen of my Kindle in a fever of impatience to see if I was right about the perp (missed it), and bask in the glow of Miss Silver as she first came to my attention.

The real reason series readers read the series is to visit with old friends. Miss Silver, to this point, hasn't been a solid character in the stories. She's developed the mannerisms (that effin' cough) by now, and Author Wentworth now begins to fill in the character that will carry the books through more than 20 entries to come.

If you're just starting to think about reading these books, I'd recommend starting here. Miss Silver is finally herself, not merely a collection of tics and crotchets. Nothing from earlier books, nothing of significance, is needed to appreciate the storytelling voice and the newly developed manner of Miss Silver being in the picture from the start, as it is in more modern series mysteries.

Now about that storytelling voice...I've been schooled recently on how very unladylike it is of me to express disapprobation of female storytellers' failings as I see them. I will herewith attempt to make my distastefully male grunts of dissatisfaction and displeasure into a more lady-friendly tone.

Author Wentworth is a person of a particular time, one in which ladies were either hard and evil or soft and good. Women, that is to say the serving class female, could be both hard and good (or soft and evil, which is far far more common {pun intended} for them to be) but only because theirs was a, well, a tougher row to hoe than a lady's was. So ladies were always attempting to marry or kill someone of either, often both, genders. Coupling up is de rigueur in a Miss Silver mystery. The sleuth is a former governess and therefore is hard and good, and frequently acts as a distressed, helpless, lovely young lady's proxy in the scuffling conflicts of quotidian battles to secure her money and her man.

This is jarring to my sensibilities. I don't think it makes the books unreadable, as do some other bygone horrors like racism and homophobia; but I am not a woman and I don't know what would make a story unreadable to one. As Author Wentworth began her career as a 1920s romance novelist of the Mills & Boon/Harlequin school I am inclined to roll my eyes and pass on by the ridiculous guff. There are countervailing pleasures in this read. Ma'at is maintained here by the perp being caught, the lovers being united, the benefits of class and cash being ladled into the bowls of the Best Sort, Our Kind of People.

Socially regressive it might be, well it certainly is if I'm even somewhat honest, but a pleasure it also is. Seeing the patterns we've grown up treading upheld is a validation of our conditioning. It's a good thing for society when someone so far outside the norm as to be a murderer is prevented from killing again. In this case, the murderer kills twice; the second murder is one of those where the reader is expected to murmur "well, shame on them but really asking for it means no complaining when one gets it," and pass on.

So that, dear reader, is what I most want you to know before launching your good self onto these placidly stormy waters.

I do hope that was better than my raw and honest responses have proven to be.

Jun 27, 2018, 12:07pm Top

Thanks for the reviews, Richard. Sorry #4 was a bit of a dud, but I'm glad to have the tip for #5 as a starter. Adding it to the WL.

Jun 28, 2018, 5:34am Top

Feeling better?

Jun 28, 2018, 5:54pm Top

RIP Harlan Ellison. Only 84 miserable years on this Hellmouth.

One of the curmudgeonliest souls ever to snark at sentimentality, conformism, and poltroonery. My hero!

Jun 28, 2018, 5:57pm Top

Hi Joe and Nina! Couldn't be infused today, still too many antibodies (my immune system is one tough bastard, to quote the doc), so more misery pills DAILY until I can go be made to suffer the pain of being cured. Sort of cured. Made hugely better.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

Jun 28, 2018, 6:20pm Top

Oh, too bad about Harlan Ellison. He was a hero of mine, too. Dangerous Visions and A Boy and His Dog and so many others were standouts in my youth.

I'm sorry your bastardly immune system doesn't want you to be infused right now. "Made hugely better" sure sounds good. Can't wait until you get to chortle in your joy.

Jun 28, 2018, 6:28pm Top

>259 richardderus: Well that's annoying.

Jun 28, 2018, 7:10pm Top

>258 richardderus: Harlan's death is really going to hit hard here among Los Angeles science fiction fandom, among whom I have spent most of my adult life. Everyone has at least one Harlan story, from his Hobbit door to his window seat writing to mine about how an artist refused to sell me a 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman' piece of art because she intended it as a gift for him (it had a bid ticket in the art show) I hope he appreciated it, it was delightful.

Jun 28, 2018, 7:13pm Top

>259 richardderus: my immune system is one tough bastard, to quote the doc
If only you could talk it around...you know, "immune system, puh-LEASE, just chill a bit (but not too much cos, you know, I still need to not get stuff)"

Jun 29, 2018, 1:32am Top

I love your reviews--they are just so great! Could you please just write mine for me? I'll send you the titles, okay? : )

Glad you can continue the treatment once your immune system settles down. Phew.

Big hugs.

Jun 29, 2018, 5:03am Top

>259 richardderus: Hope your immune system sorts itself out soon.

>260 jnwelch: Joe, trying to imagine Richard ‘chortling in joy’ has me stymied.

Jun 29, 2018, 8:10am Top

>265 humouress: :-) Can't wait!

Jun 29, 2018, 3:03pm Top

98 I Met A Traveller in an Antique Land by Connie Willis

Rating: A solid, sincere 4* of five

I encountered this tale in a Kindle-sale email and thought, "I've never heard of this one! Off I go to see..." and of course I *have* read it as I recalled as soon as I ogled the terrible cover. I bought it, it was a whoppin' 99¢ and even *I* can blow a buck, to re-experience the story.

If Jim existed in real life, and his blog...Gone For Good...was a real blog, I'd be all over it. The idea of a blog based on the argument that losing obsolescent things/processes/products is a Good Thing (in the old-fashioned Martha Stewart sense) stirs my Old Testamentness and makes me long for someone to bash into the dust with the Absolute Rightness of my refutations.

Jim is taught the error of his ways in this brief novella, and in a satisfying manner. I would sell your mother, dear reader, into a life of horrifying cruel servitude to be admitted to Ozymandias's Books. (My own mother is dead, therefore unsuited to the purpose of exchanging things of value. Otherwise, well, bye Mama.) Connie Willis has written two books I've liked, this one and Inside Job; I think she's got some good story ideas but was turned off by her too-frequently arch storytelling voice. (See To Say Nothing of the Dog for the apotheosis of this issue; I was panther-screeching outraged by the thing.)

So understand this about my four-star rating of this tale: It is like a narwhal, real but so freaky to see in actual factual reality that it could spawn myths of unicorn-mermaid hybrids.

Jun 29, 2018, 3:17pm Top

re Harlan Ellison's death, Joe and Susan: He was a pillar of the field for a long time, and his...colorful...personality cannot be replaced. It made him mildly unpleasant to deal with&Mdash;I had to on two occasions and was abraded each time&Mdash;but it flavored his fiction in delicious ways.

re immune system, Juli and Megan and Nina and Kimmers (wasn't there a movie called that once upon a time?), it's annoying in the current circumstances for sure. It's also comforting really, because I don't get *ILL* too often and that's down to my tough-bastard immune system. Mostly I get colds nowadays, and that's because I can't get a decent amount of exercise. Flu and bronchitis and shingles, etc etc ad oucheam, aren't and haven't been troubling me despite their prevalence among my fellow inmates. Go immune system! In all senses construable from that phrase, oddly enough.

re my alleged Saturnine disposition, I showed that to the Young Gentleman Caller and, while his exact words are not suitable for public sharing, the burden of his retort was "I beg to differ."

I have omitted the details in the interest of maintaining proper internet etiquette.

Jun 29, 2018, 3:37pm Top

You always were a polite one. : )

Jul 1, 2018, 12:02pm Top

99 Miss Silver Deals with Death by Patricia Wentworth

Real Rating: 3.75* of five

I wouldn't call this the foremost entry in the Miss Silver canon. It's perfectly fine. I wasn't irked by the sexism and the questionable lapses in fair play, but I was aware of them. Setting a frame of reference for old books...this one is 75 years old!...is de rigueur for modern readers. Patricia Wentworth began her writing career in the category-romance field, as we'd say today, so that attitude pervades her later, and far better, series-mystery output.

Still...Meade Underwood, the female romanticist, and her Giles are awkwardly dropped when Miss Silver begins her delvings into the lives of the twenty or so inhabitants of Vandeleur House. Their story would strain credulity outside a TV soap opera today, with its amnesia, its coincidences, its magic peen (it's an MM romance-fiction term, succinct, judgmental, and wonderfully apt, for Meeting Mr. Right and Melting Into His...Arms or, as I call it, lazy lazy lazy writing). It's a formula, an evergreen one, but really now Author Wentworth you are far too skilled a writer to resort to suchlike tomfoolery!

But this read is a decent one, the usual apposite descriptions and pithy aperçus abounding, and characters made so real you can see their shadows by your reading-light. For those reasons it's a worthy read. But the killer's identity is, in my never-humble opinion, a bit too left field for this to be an excellent mystery despite the denouement being damned near identical to the author's own notes. (I'm morally certain of this but cannot prove it.)

A pleasure read. A pleasure to read. Pleasurable reading.

Jul 1, 2018, 2:56pm Top

R--I picked up Less at Powell's yesterday after I saw it in Joe and Debbi's pile. They said you talked them into it! So thanks. ; )

Jul 1, 2018, 7:23pm Top

Oh goody good good! I can't wait to hear what y'all think of it. One of the most deserving Pulitzer winners in this century.

Jul 2, 2018, 11:44am Top

100 Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk

Real Rating: 4.75* of five

Tom the Hexbreaker = Yes. Big, solid, muscular gay boys are always welcome in my world, fictional or factual.

Cicero the Familiar = ...
...he's a C-A-T and I ***HATE*** those creatures. The make me sneeze. They have TOXIC SPIT faGawdsake. Their dander, designed by them in conjunction with their lord and master Satan, is so irritating that it causes acute irritation in human mucus membranes.

And I still gave the book almost 5 stars. That, laddies and gentlewomen, is nothing short of astounding. I have lived in or near Manhattan since the 1980s, and visited the city fairly often after my first taste of it in my long-ago childhood (before they started digging the basement of the Twin Towers, that's how long ago it was). This is my home, this is the place I want to be. So yes, I'm inclined to give stories set here a big head start into my good graces.

I'm also a history buff. In the post-book note left by Author Hawk, I was pleased but unsurprised to see they acknowledged Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890-1940 as one of their sources. I got this book in the 1990s and have read and re-read it a few times as research and as pleasure reading. The gay male culture of New York has always been the gold standard in this country. I was eager to learn about it then, and happy to see it used so very well in this series of books.

Most of my happy croons are reserved for the alternate history of this New York, part of a world where magic is real and imperfectly understood as well as unscrupulously used thus necessitating an entire branch of law enforcement dedicated to detecting and preventing malefactors from taking unfair advantage of its gifts.

The plight of the unbonded familiar is a strong theme in this first novel of the series. It's clear that the familiars, those whose abilities create the magic channeled by witches, are the downtrodden second-class magical citizens. Cicero the cat-shifter is a survivor of an abusive unbonded past. It informs his every waking moment. It's also obvious that most witch/familiar bonds are same-sex; this makes the gayness quotient of the world quite high, an agreeable development from my PoV. That there is still homophobia out there is depressingly inevitable, human beings being what they are.

The events of this book bring the politics of the creation of New York City from the independent cities of Brooklyn, Manhattan, the County of Queens, and the Bronx to bear on the lives of the characters, and in that teaches each of them what it means not to fit into any corner of society. There are competing factions attempting to redress the very real wrongs of the place and time, but in ways that wouldn't lead to a better world only a replacement of those at the top with themselves.

It seems revolutions never do what they are supposed to do.

But Tom and Cicero are there, ably assisted by Dominick and Rook from The 13th Hex and joined by the next book's MC Dr. Yates, to make sure the body count is kept to a minimum and the worst excesses of evil are prevented from making the city a shambles. This is what I like about Author Hawk's books: The stakes are high, the issues are drawn from reality, the resolutions are based in the logic of the world created and include the requisite Happily Ever After for the main characters.

In this series, the magical system is wonderfully presented, the alternate timeline is sketched in with intriguing spaces left to be filled by future events' historical roots, and PoV characters from previous books will appear in supporting roles. I very much like this method of world-building as it lets me feel I am discovering something instead of arriving at a destination in time, conclusions in hand, to watch events unfold.

The sexual reality of the setting is probably going to put hetero readers off their feed. If men sexin' up other men makes you squeamish, seek elsewhere for your entertainment reads. If it doesn't, then here's you a terrific new series to enjoy.

Jul 4, 2018, 10:56am Top

May the 4th be with you!

Jul 8, 2018, 11:39am Top

101 The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

Real Rating: 3.75* of five

An interdimensional Library, located outside the reach of Time's Arrow, hires minions to acquire by fair means or foul certain texts out there in the Multiverse for safekeeping or sequestration within its eternity-defining and -defying walls.

The idea of this series is compulsively readable to me. The experience of reading Author Cogman's thoughts about books, reading, stories and their effects and affects is addictive. But this second entry into the series suffers from a common sophomore slump in high-concept book series: The established characters have to get from one set-piece to the next somehow, and when the whole point of the story is that the core group is separated by Vast, Malign Forces, the danger of the story devolving into something that closely resembles the ghastly experience of staring into a fishtank at a rodent desperately clawing for freedom on a squeaking wheel while never making an inch of headway is very real.

Irene the Librarian (Here’s to being a secret agent of an interdimensional Library! she thinks at a crucial juncture, to my jealous loathing) runs from pillar to post attempting to save her friend/student/lust object Kai the dragon, assisted and hindered by their mutual friend Vale the detective from an alternate steampunk London. That particular alternate is the one that was introduced in the first book, The Invisible Library, which also introduced the Fae (beings of chaos) and the aforementioned dragons (beings of order). Humans fit somewhere on the fringes, the vast horde of us existing as bit players in the dramatic tales of the Fae or obedient supernumeraries in the operas of the dragons.

Except, of course, for the Librarians. The Library is a human institution that, in some kinda way, allows us mere mortals access to the Great Game played between the ancient enemies across the many, infinitely numerous in fact, alternate Earths. Since the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics is eminently sensible to me, agreeing with my innate sense of the Universe's functioning, I totally buy in to stories with multiverses. This particular one has another thing I intuitively recognize as necessary, beings who walk among the multiverse's reality the way we walk among the many worlds in a forest without too much bother as to whose nest/food source/war we interrupt/alter/destroy.

Author Cogman endows these creatures with familiar attributes by making use of the fairy/fae label and the dragon label. These bits of shorthand are most useful. What is less appealing to me is the eternal barely-undeclared war between these camps. The idea of the multiverse as a continuum of highly ordered worlds to highly chaotic worlds again suits my perception of the reality of existence being a set of interlocking continua. But the Grand Conflict of Order and Chaos isn't that simple once humans get their little hineys off the chess board and into the ranks of players. There is no three-person chess, and there is no element of chance in chess; thus the multiverse is transformed into a game of Risk. (I think that damned game has ended more friendships than anything except sexual jealousy.)

And that's where the problems with this tale begin. Alliances form along predictable lines. They're never seriously challenged. In Risk, alliance shift and bonds rupture; here, the end game is the same as the initial conditions, the same players in the same configuration, and somehow a mere human (and a girl human at that!) has averted a Great War by talking.

Um, no. This is a series set in a multiverse that requires conflict to exist. That's not served by this resolution to this book's peripatetic-but-pointless dashings from pillar to post. This is a significant letdown in a series so fascinatingly conceived.

All that aside, I felt completely and utterly Understood by Author Cogman when I read this:
"...People want stories. You should know that more than anybody. They want their lives to have meaning. They want to be part of something greater than themselves. Even you, Miss Winters, want to be a heroic Librarian—don’t you? And if you’re going to say that people need to have the freedom to be unhappy, something that’s forced on them whether they like it or not, I would question your motivation.” She paused for a single deadly second. “Most people don’t want a brave new world. They want the story that they know.”

And that's why I'll buy the next book, and the next, and the one after that. I'm down for rough bits if the smooth is this far into my own personal story.

Jul 8, 2018, 12:53pm Top

Nice review - if it's any comfort, I thought the third book was back to the high quality of the first.

Jul 8, 2018, 4:17pm Top

I've got Masked City home from the library, and hope to get into it soon. I probably became aware of the series from you (thank you very much!). I'm sorry you didn't like the second as much as the first, but that's good news from the dr about the third book!

Karen O.

p.s. you sound as if you're doing better physically? That's great news!

Edited: Jul 8, 2018, 8:07pm Top

I am reading book three of the Machineries of Empire series by Yoon Ha Lee and enjoying every minute of his innovative speculative fiction universe. Have you read any of these books? I think they would be right up your alley and it appears that the last book in this series will end with a bang.

Check out the author’s web site to get an idea of what he writes.

A colleague and I (at our library) had a discussion and he laughed when I told him that to use the term Sci/Fi was old hat. The new term is speculative fiction. He thought that was too academic and Sci/Fi described it perfectly well.

Like your other readers I hope you are doing well and improving physically.

Jul 12, 2018, 8:56pm Top

So, no go on Krystexxa for me. Three weeks of immunosuppressive drugs didn't prevent the stuff from causing a *very*painful* allergic reaction. Another drug that works on similar pathways is coming out in a year or two, but my doc said I might just maybe get into a clinical trial. He's working on it for me.

Jul 12, 2018, 8:58pm Top

>279 richardderus: Oh, drat, that's too bad! I hope you can get into a clinical trial--I like the sound of your doc.

Jul 12, 2018, 10:11pm Top

I'm sorry, RD, I was hoping it would work for you.

Jul 12, 2018, 11:09pm Top

>279 richardderus: Nuts. Sorry to hear that Richard.

Jul 13, 2018, 1:20am Top

>279 richardderus: Bummer. I hope the clinical trial path works for you.

Jul 13, 2018, 1:23am Top

You seriously need to catch a break on all this stuff...and soon! I hope you get in on the clinical trials.

Edited: Jul 13, 2018, 10:55am Top

>279 richardderus: Oh really? I thought it was kind of working out. :0(

Best of luck getting on the trials.

Jul 13, 2018, 9:50am Top

Sorry that avenue of treatment went nowhere good for you, Richard. Better luck with the clinical trial...at least if you get into that you'll be part of the solution, win or lose.

Jul 13, 2018, 12:04pm Top

Richard - sure wish this one had worked and hope that something good is recommended for NOW.

Jul 13, 2018, 12:41pm Top

Adding my sympathy, buddy. I hope the clinical trial works out.

Jul 13, 2018, 8:21pm Top

^ Me too.

Jul 13, 2018, 11:57pm Top

>268 richardderus: I appreciate your proper internet etiquette :)

>279 richardderus: another setback!? One you will come bounce back from, I know it. Although, it must be incredibly trying for you. I am sorry to hear it.

Edited: Jul 17, 2018, 7:49am Top

I'm so sorry, (((((Richard)))))! Just deleted a couple of unhelpful swear words, instead sending good luck wishes re the clinical trial

Jul 17, 2018, 10:16am Top

Hi RD! I'm back from the wilds of Montana with a box of books already delivered and three more on the way.

I am so sorry that the Kryxtexxa didn't work for you and hope you can get into the clinical trial.

I didn't read Harlan Ellison's SF (although A Boy and His Dog rings a bell), but loved and still have The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat on my shelves. I dip into them occasionally.


Jul 17, 2018, 3:01pm Top

Sorry the Krystexxa is a no go. So disappointing. Hope you can get into the clinical trial for the new drug but sorry for another delay in any kind of relief.

Jul 18, 2018, 7:12pm Top

102 The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles

Rating: 4.5* of five

Yep. Big winner, this book. Big. Liked everything about it. Yeup. Everything.

I'll come back for a normal, articulate review soon (written 2 July!).


Careless of me to lose sight of this really very enjoyable tale. The problems I still have with books featuring majgickq are lessened when, like Author Charles, one goes to the trouble of thinking the actions and reactions necessary to make the manipulation of the world work consistently. The Magpie Lord, ancestor of Lord Crane, our main character, is never explicitly described nor is his codification of majgickq's workings explored. I nevertheless was convinced by the fussiness and sticklerishness of Day, the judiciary of magical crimes hired to deal with the Magpie Lord's various magical issues, that the system of this world was well thought out and believable enough for me to move on.

And move on I did. I enjoyed the sexual heat between the men. I approved of the sheer unbothered indifference of Lord Crane to social disapprobation. Day's history with Crane's family lends this story a lovely enemies-to-frenemies-to-lovers dynamic that more often than not works well for me. It affords me the opportunity to size up characters in their rounded, 3-D being, which is an index of how well I will respond to a given author's thought processes.

Author Charles, in this outing, comes through my maze of mishegas and misanthropy with nary a hair out of place. Another series to follow with eager gratitude for the pleasures I am confident I will receive.

PS it's a laugh riot on top (!) of everything else.

Jul 18, 2018, 7:18pm Top

Hi everybody! That's been a craptastic passage, that allergic reaction, with a couple aftershocks. Seems to be better now. My next appointment is 24 July and I am not expecting a lot from it. More of a check-in, a nudge to the doc's elbow about the trial, and to see what the insurance repercussions (if any) are from my sudden departure from treatment.

So now I'm well enough to tackle some tree book reads!! I am *beyond* excited that my hands will endure for more than 10min and, if properly propped up, as much as an hour at a stretch!! I really do appreciate the Kindle, I know in time I will be 100% dependent on it or its tech successor, but I am just, sort of, I guess *happier* when words on paper pass before my eyes.

Jul 18, 2018, 9:41pm Top

>295 richardderus: I'm glad that your hands are improved enough to hold books for long enough to enjoy them. One thing that helped a reader in some difficulty was a small (Styrofoam) bean bag 2.5'x1.5' to support the upper arms, sort of a truncated football shape.

Edited: Aug 2, 2018, 1:32pm Top

>296 quondame: Oh, yes.

I was going to suggest a book seat, one of which was gifted to me. (No, you can't have mine. But you can admire it on my profile picture.)

Jul 19, 2018, 8:43pm Top

I'm relieved that your hands are better, Richard, but very sorry that the new medication didn't work for you.

Jul 20, 2018, 5:37am Top

>295 richardderus: mmmm, paper books :)
PS It's me, Megan of the lands down under.

Jul 20, 2018, 10:07am Top

*smooch* from your own Horrible

Jul 20, 2018, 11:13am Top

Good to hear your hands are better.

Jul 22, 2018, 11:46am Top

*smooch* and happy Sunday.

Jul 22, 2018, 3:40pm Top

Hello Richard dear friend, slowly getting back around the threads and hope you are having a good weekend. Sending love and hugs dear Richard.

Jul 28, 2018, 5:32am Top

just *waving*

Aug 2, 2018, 10:58am Top

Sorry to see your meds didn't work. Glad to see you are finding a bit of relief in your hands now.

>295 richardderus: I completely understand about the kindle vs tree books. I love the ease of my Kobo and borrowing ebooks on a whim, but I don't think I will ever stop buying paper books. They just feel nicer to hold. I am taking a vacation later this month and am debating whether to take a real book with me or just my Kobo.

Aug 3, 2018, 7:10pm Top

Sorry to hear that the drug you hoped to improve your health didn't work for you, Richard. Hopefully you will be accepted for the clinical trial. I'm with you on the preference for paper books. I hope some of those options up thread work for you. You have a powerful reach with your BBs. You got me with one on someone else's thread. I am deep into Design for Dying and enjoying it.

Aug 4, 2018, 1:45pm Top

Checking in, RD. How are things going?

Aug 9, 2018, 1:52am Top

Hey there! Come out and play. OR snark. You choose. : )

Aug 12, 2018, 10:47pm Top

This silence is not a good thing.

Aug 12, 2018, 11:38pm Top

Ricardo--I just finished The Soul of an Octopus, and, of course, I thought of you. : )

Aug 14, 2018, 2:14pm Top

Gentle hugs and *smooches*, darling Richard, from your own Horrible.

Edited: Aug 19, 2018, 3:31pm Top

Richard is spending most of his time on Twitter...and his Blog

Aug 20, 2018, 9:39am Top

Missing you RD.

Aug 20, 2018, 5:36pm Top

Ahem....where art thou? Come back!!

Aug 22, 2018, 11:50am Top


Sep 1, 2018, 3:52pm Top


Sep 14, 2018, 8:09pm Top

No one is wishing Richard a Happy Birthday......what's up with that?

Sep 16, 2018, 12:57am Top

Is it his birthday? I'm not good with these things.

Happy Birthday Richard!

Sep 16, 2018, 1:02pm Top

Hi - new person here so have no idea when anyone's birthday is unless they post an alert.

Sure hope that Richard is enjoying a Birthday Week!

Sep 16, 2018, 8:12pm Top

Happy Birthday Richard. I hope you enjoy your latest Charles the Dick book! Snicker, snicker.

Sep 21, 2018, 6:13am Top

Happy September birthday, RD!


Sep 23, 2018, 8:20pm Top

I'm no good with birthdays, so sending very late birthday wishes!

Sep 26, 2018, 8:30am Top

Sending more belated Happy Birthday wishes, (((((Richard)))))

Oct 3, 2018, 9:13am Top

Hope everything's going okay, RD. You're missed!

Oct 3, 2018, 9:40am Top

I'm thinking of you, RD. *smooches*

Oct 14, 2018, 7:50pm Top

Richard is spending his time on GOODREADS...the website

Edited: Oct 15, 2018, 1:28am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Oct 15, 2018, 3:05pm Top

Hello Richard dear friend, hope you had a good weekend.

Oct 17, 2018, 11:15am Top

Miss you buddy

Oct 27, 2018, 8:06pm Top

Driving by and honking the horn and waving at Richard

Edited: Oct 28, 2018, 12:01pm Top

>326 TheWorstOffender: *gasp of horror* Should we be talking to him then?

>330 magicians_nephew: Oi, mate! Not at this time of the day, thanks.

Nov 6, 2018, 4:00pm Top

Heavens. It's been a minute, hasn't it. I'm amazed how fast I can break a habit!

I was uberbusy for a while working (research, phone bank) on an old friend's (unsuccessful) primary campaign. No clinical trial for me, the drug in question is too close to final approval and they don't need to risk someone like me bustin' their curve. I'm not happy about it but I've had to add prednisone to my daily regimen in order to combat nasty swelling. Also my right knee is problematic, so daily applications of Silvadene and irrigation of open places are...well, you can imagine how *special* it all is.

I send hugs to all and hope things are good in your threads. I'll get around for visits this week.

Nov 6, 2018, 4:35pm Top

RICHARD! So good to see a message :-D

Sorry you didn't get into the clinical trial. Any chance to try it when it is approved?

Nov 6, 2018, 5:44pm Top

Good to have you back among us, Richard. And it sounds as though there has been ample cause for your absence. Wish the outcomes had been better for both your friend's campaign and your corporeal self. Hope your spirit has not suffered inordinately.

Nov 6, 2018, 10:17pm Top

>332 richardderus: well helloooooo there. Welcome home (back, whatever).

Sorry ti hear about your special daily medical routines....hassles abound in that regard, I suppose. Maybe do some astral travel while anointing yourself? I know, grasping at straws.....the crux of it is, go well, RD :)

Nov 7, 2018, 12:30am Top

Ricardo!! Love seeing you back here. Hope it is a trend. Sorry that the trail drug was not a good deal for you. Prednisone...again?!?! I have had my fair share this year and I have a love/hate relationship with it. Sending you lots and LOTS of hugs. : )

Nov 7, 2018, 1:14am Top

Welcome back, Richard. Good to see you here with a relatively benign reason for being absent. (I wanted to get this on here before you change over to a new thread.)

Nov 7, 2018, 6:42am Top

Welcome back!

Nov 7, 2018, 7:16am Top


Nov 7, 2018, 9:18am Top

Great you are safely back, with hope for quick help with health, and looking forward to contributions on all threads!

Nov 7, 2018, 10:58am Top

>332 richardderus: It has been awhile indeed. Nice to see you.

Nov 7, 2018, 12:52pm Top

Well, hello Dolly.

Nov 7, 2018, 12:55pm Top

New thread time perhaps? : )

Nov 7, 2018, 6:20pm Top

You’re back!

Nov 7, 2018, 6:57pm Top

Great to see you check in, RD! You have been missed.

Nov 8, 2018, 2:07am Top

Glad you could make it back, RD. Tho I've seen you around FB, I miss you over here.

Nov 8, 2018, 8:02pm Top

I *really* need to re-thread now, this one's fat as a tick and almost as weird-looking. Watch this space. Further announcements as events warrant.

This topic was continued by richardderus ninth thread of 2018.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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