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Humouress is here once more for 2019 (quarter 2)!

This is a continuation of the topic Humouress is here once more for 2019!.

This topic was continued by Humouress is here once more for 2019 (thread 3)!.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Jul 13, 11:20am Top

I'm Nina. I'm form England but living in tropical Singapore surrounded by guys - my husband (who tolerates my reading but is starting to make comments about my book acquisition habits), my two sons who are 15 years old and 10 years old (who also loves to read and to be read to) and their 2 year old golden retriever, Jasper.

I've introduced my 10 year old to LibraryThing; he's firelion and he's joined the Ranger's Apprentice group read.

I lean heavily towards fantasy (preferably high) with a smattering of sci-fi (space opera), mysteries (pre-war), young adult and juvenile fiction and school stories - or whatever else catches my fancy at the time. I'm trying to read books off my shelf, since my reading hasn't kept up with my acquisitions (anyone else have that problem?). I try (try) to review and rate all the books I read (which doesn't help my reading speed) and I don't put spoilers in (I hope). If you want to jump to a review, click on the relevant number in my monthly lists (>2, >3 & >4).

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

I am still trying to reach that elusive '75 books read in a year' target, for the tenth year. Maybe this year ....

78 Book Challenge 2018 thread 3

Green Dragon 2019 thread

Edited: Aug 12, 3:02am Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title

      20) Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George
  19) The Beautifull Cassandra by Jane Austen
  18) The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
      17) Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
      16) Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George
      15) Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Edited: Jul 7, 3:52am Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title

          14) Any Way the Wind Blows by Seanan McGuire
      13) The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  12) The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  11) The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
10) by Anne and Barbara Fienberg

Edited: Jul 4, 6:02am Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title



Nada :0(

Edited: Jul 17, 4:02am Top


19. 18. 17. 16. 15.

14. 12.



Edited: Jul 5, 7:41pm Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


      9) Dr. Eleventh originated by Roger Hargreaves
      8) Dr. Tenth originated by Roger Hargreaves
7) The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
      6) Dr. Ninth originated by Roger Hargreaves


nothing to report :0(

      5) The Ghostly Term at Trebizon by Anne Digby
      4) Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
  3) The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
2) Tashi and the Haunted House by Anna and Barbara Fienberg
  1) All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Edited: Apr 3, 11:28pm Top

The constellation:

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

Purple stars, from Robin's thread:


Unfortunately, the coloured stars I usually use come from an insecure website and no longer show on LibraryThing, so I'll have to hunt down another source.

Edited: Jul 7, 9:54am Top

Reading at home : The Eye of the World, Ship of Magic

‘Waiting for the boys to finish classes’ book : The Ruins of Gorlan

Bedtime reading :Tashi series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Kindle : Trebizon series

Downtime : Skulduggery Pleasant

Overdrive :

Book club The Raven Tower

online story

Edited: Apr 3, 2:54pm Top

Reading inspirations

Ongoing series:

The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper
Chronicles of the Cheysuli - Jennifer Roberson
Chronicles of the Kencyrath - P. C. Hodgell (group read, started January 2018)
Tashi - Anna Fienberg
The Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold (2014-2017 group read - savouring it before I run out of these glorious books)
**Farseer (group read starting March 2018)
***The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan (relaxed group read starting January 2019)
{Tor read https://www.tor.com/2018/02/20/reading-the-wheel-of-time-eye-of-the-world-part-1...

Planning to read with the kids:
A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snickett
Ranger's Apprentice - John Flanagan (group read starting January 2019)

Ooh, what about...

Miss Fisher mysteries
Vatta/Honor Harrington
*Ready Player One
Earthsea book 1

Edited: Jul 7, 4:10am Top

(Note to self: Trying to tidy up loose ends from last year )

Still hoping to do:

60) Dr. Thirteenth originated by Roger Hargreaves
54) The Thirteen Storey Tree House by Andy Griffiths
52) Crazy Rich Asians
49) To Ride a Rathorn by P. C. Hodgell
46) Dr. Twelfth originated by Roger Hargreaves
45) Dr. Eleventh originated by Roger Hargreaves

Edited: Apr 3, 3:16pm Top

Welcome in!

Apr 3, 2:47pm Top

Happy new one!

Apr 3, 2:55pm Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 3, 3:18pm Top

>12 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita!

>13 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

You're both quick off the blocks!

Apr 3, 3:52pm Top

Happy new thread, Nina. Love the blossoms!

Apr 3, 4:04pm Top

Happy new thread, Nina!

Nice to see your son joining LT, even adding a TIOLI challenge!

Apr 3, 4:46pm Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 3, 8:39pm Top

>15 MickyFine: Thanks Micky! Since it’s spring in other parts of the world and I finally seem to be having some success with orchids in my garden, I thought they would be nice.

Apr 3, 8:43pm Top

>16 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita!

He dictated his reviews of the first 4 Ranger’s Apprentice books to me and then I showed him the thread for the group read. You had mentioned the TIOLI challenge on there, so he wanted to know about it, so I showed him the April TIOLI thread and then he had to post a challenge. I hope he keeps the momentum going. :0)

Apr 3, 8:43pm Top

>17 quondame: Thanks Susan!

Apr 3, 9:30pm Top

Happy new thread, neighbour.

Great to see that your son has been introduced to the delights of LT. I'll go and seek him out soon.

Apr 3, 10:34pm Top

Hey, Nina, happy new thread! And good to see some activity here.

Apr 3, 11:51pm Top

Hi Nina!! Happy new thread.

Apr 4, 8:27am Top

>1 humouress: found and starred your new thread!

Apr 4, 1:11pm Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 4, 4:21pm Top

Happy New Thread, Nina!

Oh, I'll look for your thoughts on Raven Tower. That's one I'll probably read.

I hope you end up enjoying the Wheel of Time series.

Apr 4, 4:42pm Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 4, 5:45pm Top

>11 humouress: OoooOOooh, pretty!

Apr 6, 6:34am Top

Trusting that you'll have a splendid weekend, Nina.

Apr 8, 7:36pm Top

>8 humouress: I’ve finally managed to stumble my way into this group and find your thread. I don’t think I realized, or maybe I forgot, that you were reading both Hobb’s Elderlings series and Wheel of Time at the same time! Very ambitious, even if some of them are re-reads. :) Are you suffering from epic fantasy overload at all, or does it help that they're pretty different stories?

Apr 15, 5:39pm Top

>21 PaulCranswick: >29 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul.

Firelion’s reading is going strong, but he’s only 10 so I’m restricting his access to LT, per the rules. Plus I don’t need to encourage him to use screens any more than he already does.

The weekend was good, thanks. We took the opportunity of the school holidays to do a staycation in an Orchard Road in Singapore and my sister is stopping over in town on her way back to Australia; so I’m having fun catching up with her even though the boys have gone back to school.

Apr 15, 5:40pm Top

>22 ronincats: Thanks Roni.

But I think you jinxed it ... ;0)

Apr 15, 5:41pm Top

>23 Berly: Thank you, Kim!

Apr 15, 5:44pm Top

>24 fuzzi: Welcome over, fuzzi!

>25 curioussquared: Thank you Natalie!

Apr 15, 5:53pm Top

>26 jnwelch: Thanks Joe.

I’m having trouble getting hold of a copy of Raven Tower. I did see the hardback in the bookshop, but it was a bit exorbitant and I don’t really want hardbacks as they take up too much shelf space. I’m bummed that I missed a Kindle deal for $3 so I’m hanging on for a bit, hoping it will happen again. At the moment, it’s around USD10/ GBP10 instead of around $/£13 - so maybe I should just get it. What I read of the free sample looks good, though.

I enjoyed The Wheel of Time the first time, as far as I got, but my reading is still going slowly. I thought I might have more time to read over the school holidays but the opposite was true, especially since my sister stopped in Singapore on her way out and has stopped over again on her way back. I’m still enjoying the first book (told you it was going slowly) but this is about the fourth time I’m reading it so I suppose the suspense isn’t as .... um ... suspenseful.

Apr 15, 6:02pm Top

>27 foggidawn: Thanks foggi.

>28 Morphidae: Thanks Morphy. I hope you’re keeping well.

Edited: Apr 15, 6:10pm Top

>30 YouKneeK: Welcome over YouKneek!

Unfortunately, at the moment I’m not reading much at all so there’s not much danger of overload. I do tend to overload if I read too many of the same series consecutively so I usually spread books of the same series out but Hobb and Jordan have different styles and stories so I doubt that would be a problem for me with their books. Time commitment is an issue, though, obviously.

On the other hand, my husband has been binge-watching ‘Game of Thrones’ in preparation for the eighth series so - even though I’ve avoided the gory and senselessly tragic parts - that seems to have sorted out my fantasy fix. And thereby is probably contributing to my reading go-slow.

Apr 15, 8:31pm Top

>37 humouress: Haha, it sounds like you’re going to get your epic fantasy fix whether you like it or not, in one form or the other! :)

I haven’t watched the GOT TV series. I read the first two books several years ago and enjoyed them, but stopped when I realized the series wasn't likely to be finished anytime soon. I was stubbornly waiting for him to finish writing the books before I went any further with it in any format. Now that the TV series is almost done, I’ll probably go ahead and watch it after the last season finishes. Maybe not right away, but eventually. If I like it, I’ll read the books if/when he ever finishes them.

Apr 21, 4:05am Top

Happy Easter weekend, Nina.

Apr 21, 12:10pm Top

>38 YouKneeK: Hah! True.

I stopped reading GOT because of the violence, but the TV series is more gory, apparently (because I've been reading around the series to catch up on the important parts I've missed by being out of the room) even adding bits that aren't in the books. Of course, at season 8 where it's beyond the point of the published books, it's probably diverged even further.

Edited: Apr 21, 12:11pm Top

>39 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara; made me laugh. Happy Easter to you, too.

Unfortunately, it's been marred by the senseless violence in Sri Lanka, which is all over the news here.

Apr 21, 12:18pm Top

Well, folks, it looks like we may be heading for the States at the end of the year for a holiday. We're thinking that it will be mainly Hawai'i but we'll also spend a few days in Seattle since my husband has family there. We'll spend a day skiing since my poor, deprived ten year old 'has never seen snow'. Oddly, that's exactly what his brother said at a similar age, so we trekked the whole family down to Jindabyne (south of Canberra) about six years ago to go skiing.

Anyhoo - anyone for a Seattle meet-up in December? Or Hawai'i, even.

Edited: Apr 21, 3:22pm Top

Rather you than me with the skiing! Seriously though, trip sounds marvellous, hope you manage to squeeze in a meetup too. And bookshops in Seattle too?! I would like to visit there. Maybe one year in the future!

Apr 22, 10:50pm Top

Thanks Charlotte. I’ve only been skiing a couple of times (apart from trying dry slope skiing in England); these days it’ll be the getting up again that’ll be the issue. The things we do for our kids.

Bookshops - absolutely! This will be my first visit to Seattle though my husband has been before.

Apr 22, 10:55pm Top

On a sad note, my son just called to tell me that he found out that a friend of his was killed in the Sri Lankan bombings. He told me the boy’s sister used to come in to the club library where i volunteered as a librarian. Why do innocents have to be killed for these stupid causes?

Apr 22, 11:34pm Top

Hey, you're coming to my neck of the woods! December is always iffy with all the holidays and family commitments but I could probably squeeze in a meet-up. At the very least, I have LOTS of bookshop recommendations -- and recommendations for other things, too!

Apr 22, 11:50pm Top

>46 curioussquared: That would be wonderful, Natalie!

Unusually, my husband is booking tickets now instead of the week before we travel, so I should have some dates soon. We’re looking at just before Christmas day (we’ll travel after the boys’ school finishes for the year).

Apr 23, 10:10am Top

Hi, I thought I would 'delurk'. I saw on ronincats' thread @188 that you were liking garden tips and realized I hadn't actually ever posted here.

I've been reading some of the books you mentioned, for example Small Gods. I found many of the Discworld books didn't engage me as much, though TP is hilarious (Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you). Many people consume all his books, but I have to take them in sparsely. Tiffany Aching is one of my favourite characters.

I hope you enjoy the bookstores of Seattle. When we still lived in BC, we travelled there now and then until the Cdn$ lost so much ground vs USD. One of my favourite cities to visit is Portland OR. Not just Powell's bookstore but the Saturday market and the Hawthorne and Pearl Districts, too. And of course the All-American test gardens. I never saw them in June, but May was great ~ lots of rhododendrons and early species roses.

I'm off to review a book I just finished last night, Murder, Magic, and What we Wore.

Apr 24, 1:54am Top

Hi Sandy! Welcome over - or rather, thank you for delurking.

To be honest, I find Terry Pratchett funny in parts but not all the way through. So while I won't devour his books, I'll read them once in a while. I don't think I've read any of the Tiffany Aching ones.

Thanks for the good wishes re bookstores. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll get to Portland this time, although it sounds lovely (though we'll be in the US in winter); at the moment our proposed dates mean we'll only be in Seattle for about 4 or 5 days - with one day dedicated to snow.

I'll pop lumber over to your thread ... eventually.

Apr 24, 8:19am Top

...’scuse me while I duck. Our silly almost-resident bat swooped in and needed to find its way back out. Which it ought to know pretty well by now considering it’s been doing that almost every day for the past week.

Apr 24, 6:22pm Top

>45 humouress: So sorry for your son, Nina, so sad to loose a friend this way :'(
I don't know why either...

Apr 24, 8:21pm Top

>45 humouress: sorry to hear it. Too many young people are removed before they have a chance to make a difference in the world. :(

Apr 24, 10:08pm Top

>51 FAMeulstee: >52 fuzzi: Thanks Anita and fuzzi. It’s just so sad and senseless

He’s quite cut up about it. They played tennis together for years and teased each other about their rival football clubs. He said he had been going to text him about the match results on Thursday, but didn’t.

I remember the little girl was a bright young thing. She used to come into the club library, when it existed, to read and do her homework. She even asked if she could be a librarian but she was a bit too young at the time.

Apr 30, 1:12pm Top

I'm sorry about your son's friend. It's simply tragic. When I heard there was yet another bombing, I couldn't bring myself to read about it. So I know nothing other than there was one and where it was. It breaks my heart. Hugs to your son for me.

May 1, 11:26am Top

Thank you Morphy. It’s hard to believe.

There’s a book of condolences going to places that the family were well known in, like the kids’ school. It came to the club where we knew them from this weekend so we signed it. I think my son has finally got over the first shock of it. Thank you for your hugs for him.

May 1, 1:05pm Top

I still haven't managed to pick up my reading speed. This year is an exam year (IGCSEs) for my 15 year old; that may be contributing. He's not stressing, from all appearances, so I have to. I was beginning to feel the 'need to read' but then my wrist exploded in blisters and I didn't want contaminate my books.

So there I was, first not wanting to go to the doctor about a minor matter and then, as it got worse, dreading going. Then I started planning to put myself into quarantine so I didn't spread it to the rest of the family and wondering how I was to get the kids across the country for their various after school activities (my mind always expects the worst at times like this and obviously, it couldn't be fatal). Finally, I went to the doctor on Monday - and all it is is blisters from an allergy so it's not contagious. So maybe I can get back to reading now.

Looks like April was another zero count - although I did read a short story, so I think I'll add that to the list. It's not looking too hopeful for me getting to 75 this year either.

May 1, 4:54pm Top

Sorry about your wrist, Nina, and even more about you worrying over it. Must have been a big relief it is only allergy related, still annoying...

May 1, 11:41pm Top

Glad you discovered the wrist blisters weren't contagious and hope they are disappearing promptly with appropriate treatment, Nina!

May 6, 1:08am Top

Thanks Anita and Roni. The blisters have gone, finally, but I still have ugly red splotches on my wrist. At least I can look at it now without shuddering; it did look pretty yeuch and even put my teenager off his dinner (quite a feat, you must admit).

Edited: May 6, 1:23am Top

Calling all Kindle folks - I need your help please.

When I got my Kindle, the shop that sold it kindly help me set it up with two accounts linked to different e-mail addresses so I could buy from both the Amazon UK and US stores. I've also downloaded books from other sources, like Diane Duane's Young Wizards 8 book 'box' set.

I bought Ann Leckie's Raven Tower (to read for my Book Club) which is currently only selling in the UK store apparently (and in the physical bookshop here, the TPB is going for something like $36; a bit hefty for a book I didn't choose and, more to the point, too tall for my bookshelves). However, I'm currently signed in to my US account on my Kindle, so I need to switch over to download it. Unfortunately, the shop that sold it to me (a cute little corner shop type thingy) is out of contact and research on the internet suggests it may have permanently closed. :0(

I have a vague idea that I need to deregister from one account and reregister to the other, but I'm worried I'll lose my non-Amazon purchases.

I see that there is a family option that allows more than one e-mail account to be linked to a single Kindle. I'll have to research this further but I came across one article that said when the writer linked two different accounts when a new feature was offered, he later lost a heap of stuff with updates down the line. I'll see if I can dig that out again.

So - any suggestions? *bats eyelashes hopefully*

May 6, 8:15pm Top

>60 humouress: I wish I knew...I'm no help but you have my sympathy.

May 6, 8:57pm Top

Oh dear, I have no idea, but you might ask Suzanne (Chatterbox) as she maintains two accounts, one in UK as well.

May 8, 3:54am Top

>61 fuzzi: >62 ronincats: Thanks. It's good to have people on your side in times of frustration.

I'll try Suzanne, thanks Roni.

May 12, 1:24am Top

>60 humouress: technology! *runs a mile*
I hope you sort out your kindle woes.

May 12, 3:07pm Top

>60 humouress:, lauralkeet helped me work out some tech things. Maybe that's where you could get some help?

May 12, 4:19pm Top

You probably don't celebrate Mother's Day today but I wanted to say it anyway. Happy Mother's Day to a great mom!

May 14, 12:36am Top

>60 humouress: Thanks Megan.

>63 humouress: I PMed Suzanne and she gave me some clues. Her solution is two Kindles, so maybe eventually I'll do that. But maybe I'll see what lauralkeet has to say first, thanks Sandy.

Edited: May 14, 12:41am Top

>66 Morphidae: Thanks Morphy! Actually, Singapore does celebrate Mothers' Day on the same day as the US. I was taken out for high tea and came home stuffed (mainly the fault of the laksa, which I can never resist).

I did also drop hints on the UK Mothers' Day/ Mothering Sunday but no go. Can't be too greedy, I suppose :0)

I know Singapore and UK celebrate Fathers' Day on the same day as the US but Australia doesn't. Very confusing.

May 15, 9:27pm Top

I haven't hosted a series or an author for a while. I'd like to do so this summer, during a month when the most interested folk have the time to do at least the targeted book, which is only 200 pp. long. I'd like to expose as many people as possible to the works of James H. Schmitz, a science fiction author who wrote from the late '40s through the 1970s. He is best known for The Witches of Karres, but imho has written much better works. Here is my bookshelf.

Many of his works, especially his shorter ones, were very hard to find for quite a while, but in 2000 and 2001, Baen published almost all of his oeuvre in a collection of 6 books, seen to the right of the shelf above. The book I would like to feature is Demon Breed, also found in the Baen collection The Hub: Dangerous Territory. Schmitz is known for his kick-ass female protagonists long before they became the current ubiquitous status quo in his stories about Telzey Amberdon, Trigger Argee, and the hero of Demon Breed, Nile Etland.

See my thread for more info if interested!

May 27, 2:26am Top

Happy belated Mother's Day and I am so glad the blisters turned out to NOT be a big deal. Good luck with spring out the Kindle issues. I only know how to have multiple users on my US Amazon account.

May 27, 12:27pm Top

>68 humouress: Two days a year sounds quite reasonable to me! Glad you got taken out and treated.

May 31, 4:30pm Top

Jenn has posted a link for free online copies of all of Schmitz' work in those Baen compilations on the group read thread!

Jun 3, 12:57am Top

>70 Berly: Thanks for dropping by, Kim. I haven't been to visit you because my LT activity has dropped and your thread is one of those huge ones that have run away from me ('scuse mixed metaphors). Thank you for the Mothers' Day wishes and, of course, the same to you.

As for the Kindle issues, I might take a leaf out of Suzanne's book and get a second one. Hmm, let's see ... it must be Mothers' Day somewhere else in the world soon, right? ;0)

Jun 3, 1:01am Top

>71 charl08: Thanks Charlotte!

And maybe next year I should drop less subtle hints. :0)

Jun 3, 1:03am Top

>72 ronincats: Thanks Roni ... but I've already gone ahead and bought them (on my UK Kindle account). But maybe it'll cause a blip on the Amazon meter and boost awareness of his works.

Jun 8, 9:58pm Top

10) Tashi

Edited: Jun 26, 4:40am Top

11) The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

The Raven Tower is a tower (about four or five stories high) that was caused to be built by a god which chooses to manifest itself by inhabiting the body of a raven, which is known as its Instrument. It gains its power from the voluntary sacrifice of a man, who is known as the Lease, when each Instrument dies. In return for this future payment the Lease rules Iraden and controls the straits which allow passage from the Shoulder Sea to the greater ocean, thereby gaining access to immense wealth and power.

The Raven Tower, much like Leckie’s Imperial Radch series, skews perspectives - in this case being written in the second person. Yes, you read that correctly; I wondered myself when I first saw that. Before you draw back in horror, I find that Leckie makes it work well here.

The story is narrated by a god to the protagonist and interspersed with the god’s own story from the time it became aware of itself. It begins when it first became aware of ‘you’ as it narrates how ‘you’, a soldier, first came to Vastai (which is the city where the Raven Tower is located) accompanying Mawat, the Lease’s Heir in anticipation of the death of the Instrument and thereby the current Lease, then to await the hatching of the new Instrument. Instead of which 'you' discovered things that should not have been possible.

The god lives on a world that could be our own and remembers back to a time before there was life on the planet. Although it is content to remain in one place and watch the skies wheel above it, it sees the world change about it through geological ages. It sees other gods come and go although, as it doesn’t move much, it doesn’t make contact with many of them; it makes more contact with humans due to their migratory patterns.

It likes to watch the stars and ponder on the nature of things. At some point early humans recognised that it is a god and started making prayers and offerings to it. It realised that this is how gods accumulate power; further thought and experience has shown it how they can use and lose that power. Over time it began to be able to recognise people who can best communicate with it and so it recognised ‘you’ as 'you' came within his ken.

Leckie gives us the interesting perspective of a god with the patience of eons, for whom a geological age can pass in an eye blink (so to speak) while also giving us a human urgency in the chapters where it narrates the events it saw happening around 'you' which occur over a few days.

There is mystery interleaved with history which, while it didn’t have me rushing to find out whodunnit, did keep me fully engaged. And, for those like me who like things quirky,
there are some amusing moments ...

There are chapters but, rather than chapter numbers or headings, they are marked by silhouettes of a raven in various poses.


To be continued .......

Jun 9, 9:51am Top

>77 humouress: Oh dear, second person. It's all in the accusatory or hortatory cases, at least to me, and makes me feel as though I should be appealing to a judge for mercy. Certainly I appeal to SOMEone for surcease!

I hope you finally got your second Kindle! I have my old one handy for all the redeliverable-but-who-has-the-time stuff I've hoarded over the years.

Jun 9, 11:44am Top

Richard! You found me!

>78 richardderus: Actually, it's neither accusatory nor hortatory (I confess; I had to look that one up). Rather, it's the god recounting events to the protagonist. It's relieved by the sections where the god recalls its own history, which is told in the first person.

I haven't got my second Kindle yet. I had actually put myself on the list to borrow the e-book from the library but the wait list was a bit long and I was worried I wouldn't read it in time for the book club. Especially considering that I waited ages for the Amazon US to go back down to its sale price and then the Kindle version disappeared altogether and other book club members had got a substantial way through, if not finished completely. So the library book came through while I was dithering about how to access my UK section of my Kindle.

Unfortunately it expired today, so I can't go back and refer to things as I write. Looks like I'll have to work out the UK Kindle anyway! But I need to do that for Roni's Schmitz group read, so ...

Jun 9, 2:16pm Top

>79 humouress: Why yes, Nina dear, I've known where you were for some time but in your absence...well, what's there to say other than "howdy do buckaroo" and that wears thin, no?


That second Kindle's a life-saver. Really!

Jun 10, 8:51am Top

Good review of The Raven Tower, Nina. I liked her Imperial Radch series a lot; I just wasn't sure about this one. But it sounds well done.

Jun 23, 5:50pm Top

Returning to the fold.

>80 richardderus: It never wears thin, Richard, so feel free to visit more often.

>81 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. I liked it. We haven’t had our book club meeting to discuss it yet, so I don’t know what everyone else thought. Will report back when I find out.

Edited: Jun 23, 6:24pm Top

Just collating my notes on The Eye of the World; don’t mind me.

September 2013:
56) The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

Written at a time when the majority of fantasy novels were limited to around 250pages, this clocks in at 800+. Dense, rich. READ

Stands up to my third? Fourth? Reread. Love the detail, though others found in later books that it held up the story. Found the characters very relatable to.Suspenseful ride. Builds to a thrilling climax, which seems to be the grand finale, but (no spoilers, since we know it goes for another 12 books!) it is not THE end. keep an eye on those prophecies!

ETA: I've been putting off writing this review because I LOVE this book, and I wanted to do it justice; but of course, by putting it off, I've forgotten all the details of what I wanted to say. But what stays with me is how strongly this story is written, and it stands up to cherished memory (sadly, unlike some of my other favourites) even on this, my third? fourth? time of reading.

Jordan evokes a sense of isolation for the town of Emondsfield which lies on the border of civilisation, and the farms which lie beyond it. For all their hardiness, the Emondsfielders are caught off guard by the creatures of the legends that attack the town, and we flee with Rand and his companions with our hearts in our mouths, not knowing what unknown dangers we might face, and with only Moiraine Sedai and her taciturn warder, Lan, to guide and guard us. But the legends their mothers told to scare them may lie closer to the truth than they realised, with trollocs - unnatural fusions of man and beast - and Fades - faceless Halfmen who can walk through walls or disappear by turning sideways - hunting them down for unknown reasons.

They find friends, too, and allies along the way, and fight a desperate battle. The book ends with a fairly satisfying conclusion, rather than a cliff-hanger. Until we read the epilogue, and remember that this book was originally written as the first part of a trilogy.

Absolutely recommended.

Litsy notes:
1. Choice made. Re-reading this for the LibraryThing group read of the series and am up to chapter 3.
I like the way all the references are tightly local; anyone suspicious is like a Taren Ferry man - Taren Ferry being a day’s journey or so away. Or, since the Coplins are a family of ne’er do wells, any foolish talk is ‘like Coplin talk’.

While I do like the cover, there are some details that are wrong; Moiraine should have dark hair, unbraided, hanging in soft ringlets and the girl in the background (whether Nynaeve or Egwene) should have dark hair, braided. And Moiraine’s horse should be a lot taller.

2. ‘...legend fades to myth ...’ Up to Ch 12: Rand, Mat, Perrin and Egwene have no choice but to leave the Two Rivers in the dead of night in the middle of the coldest winter they’ve known, in fog and with only two strangers out of legend to protect them - assuming they can be trusted. The boys have explored further than most people they know, but this is the furthest they’ve ever been and only Egwene has wanted to adventure beyond the Two Rivers.

3. Getting back to reading ‘The Eye of the World’ (about a third of the way through).

There are ominous dreams, myths turn out to be real and insidious Dark Friends can reach you, even when you think you are safe. It makes me feel uneasy for the fate of our heroes and heroines.


One of the things that I love about this series is the detail. I know a lot of people complained about it, because it slows down the narrative, but for me it adds to the richness. Though we probably don’t see it but the once, the inn’s cat has a name (Scratch) which gives it weight and presence.

And I like the interactions between people.
“Her name is Moiraine,” Ewin said ... “The Wisdom may not like her, but I do.”
“What makes you think Nynaeve dislikes her?” Rand said.
“She asked the Wisdom for directions this morning,” Ewin said, “and called her ‘child.’”
(Funnier once you’ve met Nynaeve.)

It was taking me longer to get into the story this time because whenever the characters said ‘those are just things out of a gleeman’s story’ I would think ‘wait till you find out what happens’ but now I’m hooked.

I remember being scared for the characters at the beginning of the story (I’m only 10 chapters in now) when I first read it and I think the bleak, wintry setting helped maintain the tension (hah - I’m sure a lot of folks in the US can relate to the unusually cold weather).

Rand, Mat and Perrin must be about 20 years old with Egwene a couple of years younger and Nynaeve a couple of years older. I must have been in my early twenties the first time I read it and, of course, fantasy was a very different landscape in those days. I’m re-reading this with feelings a mix between nostalgia and pragmatism.

One way in which fantasy has changed was that it was traditional to have a trilogy and this book was intended as the first in a trilogy, so I found that a lot of events took place in this book - and then the trilogy became fourteen books.

Jun 24, 1:51am Top

>83 humouress: Though it's cold, Beltane is in the spring.

Jun 25, 6:44am Top

>84 quondame: Thank you; I should have checked.

Though I'm a warm weather person, so I don't consider that spring has sprung until I see leaf buds fuzzing the trees - whatever the official dates for Spring are. :0)

Edited: Jun 26, 5:18am Top

12) The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

(First of 14: The Wheel of Time series. Fantasy, epic fantasy)

This must be at least my fourth time of reading this book and I have set up a 2019 group read (https://www.librarything.com/topic/302886) in the hopes that I will actually manage to complete the series. I first discovered The Wheel of Time quite early in the series, loved it and started collecting the books for my own shelves. Of course, I soon caught up with Jordan and would wait impatiently for him to release the next book, though it didn't help to find that he knew exactly what the last scene of the whole series would be... and I wanted to know, too! But it was one of those series that I didn't want to end, so I was quite happy when a planned trilogy turned into a long running serial and I didn't mind the extended descriptions of people's clothes.

The trilogy had turned into ten books when we heard the news that Jordan was mortally ill. Thankfully, Brandon Sanderson took up the reins and finished the series - by which time I had forgotten all the storylines. So - with a warning to first time readers to not leave it too long between books - here we go again from the beginning.

The prologue shows us a time long, long past when the world was broken and then the story begins by introducing us to Rand and Tam al'Thor, who are making a delivery to town, walking from their farm through woods that are clinging to winter while they keep a nervous eye out for wolves, which have been more numerous and bold this year.

Jordan evokes a sense of isolation for the town of Emondsfield which lies on the border of civilisation, and the farms which lie beyond it. For all their hardiness, the Emondsfielders are caught off guard by creatures out of legend that attack the town, and we flee with Rand and his companions with our hearts in our mouths, not knowing what unknown dangers we might face, and with only Moiraine Sedai and her taciturn warder, Lan, to guide and guard us. But the legends their mothers told to scare them may lie closer to the truth than they realised, with trollocs - unnatural fusions of man and beast - and Fades - faceless Halfmen who can walk through walls or disappear by turning sideways - hunting them for unknown reasons. And they have dreams which seem more real than when they are awake and which imply that they are very important to the fate of the world.

Although they find friends and allies along the way there is always a sense of threat, of not knowing why they are being hunted and whether they can absolutely trust the people around them. And if they return home, they will carry the danger back to the people they love.

The book ends with a fairly satisfying conclusion, rather than a cliff-hanger - until we read the epilogue, and remember that this book was originally written as the first part of a trilogy.

As others in the group read realised, there are a lot of parallels with many classics of fantasy - innumerable Arthurian references, similarities to Lord of the Rings and so on - which Jordan made intentionally so readers would be familiar with the narrative. (But don't waste time trying to fit the characters to the stories which belong to those with similar names from the Camelot tales because they generally don't bear more than a passing resemblance, in my experience.)

I like the way all the references are tightly local; anyone suspicious is like a Taren Ferry man - Taren Ferry being a day’s journey or so away. Or, since the Coplins are a family of ne’er do wells, any foolish talk is ‘like Coplin talk’. Rand and his friends have explored further than most people they know, but now they go as far as Taren Ferry and much, much further into the unknown world. There is a lot thrown at them - and thereby at us - much of it out of legend, so we discover the outside world along with them.

I like the world building and the small details that are included which flesh it out; though we probably don’t see it but the once, the inn’s cat has a name (Scratch) which gives it weight and presence. And I like the interactions between people.
“Her name is Moiraine,” Ewin said ... “The Wisdom may not like her, but I do.”
“What makes you think Nynaeve dislikes her?” Rand said.
“She asked the Wisdom for directions this morning,” Ewin said, “and called her ‘child.’”

(Funnier once you’ve met Nynaeve.)

I thought the ending was a bit rushed but, as I said before, it was planned as the first book of a trilogy. This book was first published in 1990 at a time when most fantasy books were limited to around 250 pages and series were usually trilogies; this one runs to almost 800 pages but it is dense and rich and very well worth reading. It builds and holds the tension and even though I have read it so many times before, I found myself sitting up anxiously.

5 stars

Jun 26, 7:11am Top

>86 humouress: Good review, Nina, makes very clear why you love the series.

Jun 26, 8:21am Top

Thanks Anita!

Edited: Jun 26, 8:45am Top




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Jun 26, 8:11pm Top

>86 humouress: Five full stars! I bounced off that read some 20 years ago. My daughter loved it, so I tried, but my antibodies were too strong in attacking its classical elements.

Enjoy your re-reading!

Jun 26, 11:11pm Top

Hi again. So glad you are enjoying your re-read of the series. Happiness!!

Jun 27, 1:26pm Top

>90 richardderus: Omigosh, has it been 20 years? Longer, even, but I’ve re-read it so many times over those years. Thanks for dropping by Richard.

>91 Berly: Thanks, Kim!

I’m dropping in and out of LT a bit erratically. I thought I should work on one of my many unfinished ongoing projects, namely painting murals on my kids’ bedroom walls. It’s an odd shaped room with 7 walls (a smaller rectangle abutting a larger rectangle). Despite my artistic talents, they’re working out quite well. I’m taking a small break before painting the Milky Way.

Edited: Jun 27, 2:22pm Top

13) The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen


This is the third book of the Ascendance trilogy with events following on soon after those in the second book, much as that follows months after the events in the first book.

The threat of war has hung over the landlocked country of Carthya since the previous king’s reign. King Jaron has been making preparations ever since he came to the throne and now it is upon them. Things look desperate for Carthya with her troops outnumbered and enemies approaching from all sides but that is when Jaron is at his best. Jaron has always been clever, mischievous, impulsive and a little reckless but has always managed to pull off his daring plans. How is he going to manage this time, though, especially when his friends’ lives are put in danger?

I like Jaron; he cares for his friends and his people though I find his habit of running headlong into danger to rescue them, as though he couldn’t command anyone else to and against advice, a little disconcerting. He always claims to have a plan even when he doesn’t actually have one - but sometimes that’s a double bluff. He seems to be an eternal optimist and is willing to go through physical pain to pull off his plans. Sometimes I did find the coincidences in the plot a little too fortuitous despite his forward thinking.

On the whole, the plotting was well done and this is a nicely written children’s book. I like the way politics and strategy shows through in Jaron’s duty to his country and his forward planning. I must confess that there was an event that was foreshadowed that I could see going badly but it was handled quite well in the end. All the loose ends were tied up - but perhaps a little too neatly.

4 stars ****

Jun 27, 2:54pm Top

>93 humouress: That sounds like a really good read.

Have fun with the murals!

Edited: Jul 7, 7:19am Top

15) Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George


(First of 5: Castle Glower series. Fantasy, children's)

Castle Glower is semi-sentient to the extent it decides who the next ruler of the land of Sleyne will be. Sometimes it gets bored and adds new rooms, usually on Tuesdays, and the route between any two places inside the castle isn't always the same. Eleven year old Celie is the youngest of King Glower's children and she loves the castle; she is mapping the rooms in the castle so other people will be able to find their way around more easily.
And when little Celie was sick, and the Castle filled her room with flowers, King Glower agreed with it. Everybody loved Celie, the fourth and most delightful of the royal children.
Celie is the protagonist of the story (narrated in the third person) as the king and queen disappear while away on a journey and hostile forces try to take over the Castle.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. There are some delightfully silly moments, such as the room with the bouncy floor that can only be reached through a fireplace which would appeal to children, although as an adult I might question some of the political decisions in the story. I did like the relationship between Celie and her siblings, which felt natural, and I liked the way people were thoughtful - obviously the Castle approved of them, too, because it made their rooms bigger and better furnished. The bad guys are maybe a little one dimensional, but that didn't detract from a children's book that was quick and easy to read.

4 stars

Jul 2, 2:24am Top

>94 richardderus: It was a fun read, thanks Richard. It was a nice way to round off the trilogy although I enjoyed the first two more.

The murals proceed apace. I'll see if I can post a picture at some point. I've started the Milky Way but it needs more work on it to make it look more galaxy-like.

Jul 2, 2:26am Top

Darn; I was hoping to have one thread per quarter but I've slowed down this quarter. Obviously my reading speed isn't helping things. I'll just have to keep going until the continuation link pops up. And hope my reading mojo finally kicks in...

Jul 2, 1:05pm Top

>14 humouress: This one is on my list! I'm reading my second George right now, Dragon Flight, and loving it. She is delightfully whimsical -- so far my favorite part of her books is the dragon who hoards dogs.

Jul 2, 3:54pm Top

>95 humouress: I've quite enjoyed several of George's teen books so I'm not surprised her children's books are fun too.

Jul 2, 6:26pm Top

>97 humouress:, I'm in sympathy about the disappearance of the reading mojo. It's like I flamed out over some challenging books and then didn't have anything interesting to say on Talk. So I've neither read much nor chattered.

I'm continuing with Two Dianas in Somaliland by Agnes Herbert again, which is an 1890's-1905 sort of tale of intrepid British women on safari. It is interesting but I seem to need fantasy and escapism at the moment, so last night I spelled it off with April Lady which is a re-read for me. It was very relaxing and a good prelude to sleeping.

Jul 3, 4:21am Top

>98 curioussquared: I read Dragon Slippers and Dragon Flight a while ago, which is why I purchased her Castle Glower series on my Kindle. It is fun; I've just read the second book and will review it soon (hopefully).

Edited: Jul 3, 4:26am Top

>99 MickyFine: Oh yes; I've also read her Twelve Dancing Princesses series, which was fun.

Edited: Jul 3, 4:28am Top

>100 SandyAMcPherson: You seemed to be doing well when I visited your thread earlier. :0)

I'm intrigued by Two Dianas...; worth looking for, do you think?

Edited: Jul 17, 3:58am Top

16) Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George


(Second of 5: Castle Glower series. Fantasy, children's)

This book follows on a year after Tuesdays at the Castle and once again focusses on Princess Celie's adventures. You could read this second book without having read the first but it does contain spoilers for the ending so you probably shouldn't read them the wrong way around. And word of warning; while the first book can be read as a stand-alone, the second ends on a kind of cliff-hanger.

Twelve year old Princess Celie feels there is something strange going on with the Castle. For starters, even though it's Wednesday not Tuesday (its usual day for adding new rooms), the Castle has added a new tower. But no one except Celie has discovered it and the Castle won't let her show it to anyone else. There's a big orange egg at the top of the tower, which it won't let her talk about either.

What animal is inside and what is she going to do with it once it hatches? And why is the Castle growing so many extra rooms suddenly? The new Royal Wizard, asks one of his colleagues from the wizard academy to come to the Castle to help him investigate - but Wizard Arkwright is not the one he was expecting though he seems to know a lot about the Castle and keeps popping up unexpectedly when Celie is trying to do her own research.

Fun, although maybe not quite as flippant as Tuesdays at the Castle. I didn't appreciate Celie screaming quite so much; while she was genuinely startled in most of those instances, a different verb might not have conveyed connotations of a hysterical female - which Celie most definitely isn't. I did like finding out about the history of the Castle; some of the new rooms added this time beg the question of what happens to them when they are not at the Castle with the Glower family and Celie and her siblings start to dig out some strangely obscure answers. There were some amusing moments that made me giggle, for instance Rolf's curse
'- By my aunt's hairy toes!'
or Celie's 'puppy' training woes (I can empathise)
...she'd told Rufus all about it while he gazed at her with golden eyes and lovingly chewed the hem of her gown.
The ending sets up the third book to start with the main characters we read about in the first book. We shall see what happens ... soon.


Edited: Jul 3, 2:08pm Top

>103 humouress: It's a very niche book that might not be everyone's 'cup of tea'. The writing style is a bit dated and the restraints that were evident in managing the trip occasionally irked me, but then the women were already on the cutting edge of "acceptable female behaviour" for the day!

The genre of unconventional activity in such repressive times appeals to me because it would take great courage and some mentoring to undertake the travels she and her cousin made in their adventurous destinations. Agnes Herbert was raised in the class-ridden, strict Victorian society and like some other intrepid British women, had the means to explore, and travel anyway. I liked their determination to take charge of their own lives.

Finding a copy of "Two Dianas" might be successful, since it has been reprinted in recent times (I can see it on Amazon.ca). My copy is a 2nd Edition of The Bodley Head imprint, 1908. The photographs are okay in this edition but if the modern reprint just auto-scanned an old copy, they would be rather poor.

If you read the book, do be sure to post a review so we can compare impressions. I'm interested in how this early feminism strikes others.

Jul 3, 11:44pm Top

>104 humouress: Oh now, that's dirty pool for the author to do the cliffhangering only beginning on book 2. Begin as you mean to go on, Mama said, and I agree.

Happy Friday! (I think...it's Thursday here...)

Jul 4, 1:11am Top

>105 SandyAMcPherson: Fantasy is my usual genre but I've also been known to read colonial era type books. Growing up, I vaguely recall reading a series about (possibly) a British explorer in Africa - which I wouldn't mind having a look at again, if only I could remember more details which would help me find it.

I've just pulled The Blue Sword off my shelves which would fit into both categories.

Getting hold of a copy of Two Dianas will be harder in Singapore unless there's an e-copy somewhere. The one and only time I bought a non-e-book from Amazon (back in the early 90s), I ended up with a used copy which kind of shocked me because I hadn't realised they sold both new and used. (I'm a bit OCD about my books and I like them brand new.) Once bitten, twice shy as they say :0)

Jul 4, 1:16am Top

>106 richardderus: Thanks Richard. But please don't do that to me (puff, pant, sigh of relief); it is still Thursday here (I had to check) and just past 1pm as I type.

Fortunately, I do have the next book in the series; I bought them all on Kindle. They're quick and easy to snap up so I'm hoping they'll kick start my reading mojo again.

Jul 4, 6:16am Top

Hey ho; here we are just over halfway through the year and I'm barely a fifth of the way into my 75. I may not make it this year - either.

Edited: Jul 17, 6:40am Top

17) Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George


{Third of 5: Castle Glower series. Fantasy, children's}

Sailing straight on from the cliff-hanger in Wednesdays in the Tower, twelve year old Princess Celie together with her older siblings Rolf and Lilah plus a couple of other important people are caught in part of the Castle that has transported them to another world. Here they discover people and animals from the Castle's past and start to piece together the long history of the Castle. If they can trust the person telling them that history.

Meanwhile, they seem to be entangled in a foreign political situation when all they want to do is get home to their family.

(Side note; although I like the way the series uses consecutive days of the week I’m not sure that the title fits this time, though I can see how it was derived.)

This book is a bit more serious than the preceding two in that I feel it deals a bit more with the characters rather than just the story and we start to see them in a different light. The king and queen, who were absent in the first book and were more secondary actors in the second, also start to become real people. I like the family interactions; the relationship between the four siblings has always been a strength of the series and it's easy to see the age differences between them. And it's nice to see how much their parents care about them; at the end of the adventure when they finally get home (not really a spoiler because this is not, after all, a tragedy):
‘What is it, Celia-delia?’ King Glower almost tripped over Rufus trying to get to her.
It also deals with emotions such as really wanting something but having to put on a brave face on when someone else gets it.

Still fun and easy to read.
‘Insufferable man,’ King Glower said. ‘I’m glad to hear he’s a traitor. Now I can justify my dislike of him.’
And while there's no cliff-hanger ending this time, there is a hint as to what adventure we'll be going on next.


Edited: Jul 7, 9:51am Top

14) Any Way the Wind Blows by Seannan McGuire


{Short story, stand alone. Fantasy}

A short story commemorating the move of Tor.com away from the Flatiron Building in New York:

The unnamed Captain of an airship (nicknamed Stubby and which looks, in the accompanying illustration, remarkably like the Tor logo) sailing between parallel Earths and mapping them visits our Earth and meets the folks at Tor.com - who are, of course, delighted to meet people who could be straight out of the stories they publish.

The story is narrated in the first person by the Captain and for some reason, I identified them as female. Although, given that there are green skinned and even multi-headed crew members picked up from different parallels, they/ it could be any gender or race.

I like the tasty metaphor that McGuire uses for the parallel worlds:
First, it’s basically a sheet of baklava that hasn’t been cut. Layer upon layer of reality, all resting lightly atop one another, all sweet and delicious and ready to be devoured. And trust me when I say there are things out there that are totally into the concept of devouring existence as we know it, one crunchy, nut-filled bite at a time. Worlds that aren’t watched have a tendency to blink into nothingness and be forgotten, filling the belly of some cosmic terror, creating yet another hole in the pastry. When a world gets eaten and a hole opens up, it’s easier for the baklava-eaters to shove their nasty little hands in and pry more pieces loose.
And I have to agree that when we read about or watch human vs alien interaction, it tends to be
If one world opens a window on another, they view themselves as peaceful explorers. If a world has a window opened on it, they view the people on the other side as hostile invaders.
So it's nice to read a story from the 'alien' point of view.

The Tor.com characters, while not named either, are obviously based on real people but I felt at a disadvantage not knowing who they are. I'm sure they must be well chuffed to see themselves on the other side of the book cover.

A delicious vignette featuring a glimpse at another version of our world.

3 stars

Jul 9, 3:06am Top

Life is fairly good at the moment. I've had a stream of visitors coming through Singapore, even if most of them didn't stay with me.

My cousin came over with my aunt, who doesn't travel much and hadn't visited Singapore since just after I got married. Then one of my (distant) cousins came over from London and we went sight-seeing. A couple of my husband's cousins from different parts of the world happened to be in Singapore at the same time, so we caught up for dinner (that was an adventure; my hubby picked a restaurant overlooking the Padang, not realising that there was a National Day parade rehearsal there that night. Not only were the roads blocked off for traffic and the nearest car parks closed, the streets around the building were cordoned off to pedestrians so the tanks could roll in. We had to walk around all the blocks and backtrack a bit, as well as being questioned by soldiers as to where we were heading).

Then my sister was in town for work and she spent a couple of days with us afterwards. We got to do sisterly things like go for a spa and go shopping. Now my mum's here to spend time with her grandsons while they're on holiday and my dad will be joining us soon, too.

I got my mum to coach me through some of her best dishes yesterday and it turned out deliciously (ie tasting just-like-mum's-that-I-grew-up-with). Of course, that may have been due to her last-minute tweaks but I'm quite chuffed.

But the upshot of all this is that I've been eating more and indulgently so last night I was about 4kg above my usual weight. Considering I was overweight (and planning to lose weight ... sometime soon) that's not good news.

As I'll be hitting my half-century later this year, my husband was kind enough to give me an early birthday present in the form of a head to toe health check up. The doctor called to say that it's all clear except that my cholesterol is a bit high - so I had to explain we've been 'entertaining'.

Jul 9, 7:14am Top

I've picked up The Blue Sword which I expected would be a quick read; it's a children's book (Newbery Honour) and my edition is 275 pages long. But I'm reading it slowly and savouring it. I've been here before and I'm not rushing forward to find the adventure. I'm enjoying the way it was written.

Harry has had to move from Home (England) to Istan/ Ihistan (Afghanistan?) which is at the northern boundary of Daria (India). She doesn't fit in although she tries to and it's not because McKinley takes the modern/ easy route of other people being mean to her; everyone is welcoming and the two most popular girls are open hearted. It's just that she is out of her element.

I'm finding that it resonates with me, which I think is the way McKinley writes although it could be that I grew up in a similar environment, relocating from sub-Sahara to England. So I understand the desert, I love the woods Harry left behind and I empathise with the slightly dislocated feeling she has.

The Damar books have always been on my favourites list and so far, this re-read isn't disappointing.

Jul 9, 8:49am Top

>113 humouress: I've been wanting to reread the Damar books lately.

Jul 9, 10:09am Top

>113 humouress: The Blue Sword is one of my all-time favourite fantasies.

BTW, that poll gadget you put on my thread is really brill. Thanks! How do you add one of those?

Jul 9, 11:55am Top

>114 foggidawn: Go for it! I may be inspired to pull out The Hero and the Crown after this.

Jul 9, 11:55am Top

>115 SandyAMcPherson: Same here :0)

I’ll pop over to your thread in a sec ...

Jul 9, 12:15pm Top

Ahhh, The Blue Sword! Always a favorite! McKinley is so good at getting inside people's heads. I just reread Sunshine, where she does that so well.

Jul 9, 12:51pm Top

Hi Nina! Good luck with the 4-kilo loss, on top of the regular program. I lost 50kg once. I needed to, obvs, but it was a rough year.

Edited: Jul 9, 12:57pm Top

>118 ronincats: Hi Roni! I haven’t read Sunshine although I do have a couple of other McKinleys on my shelves. I haven’t read those, though, because I’m scared they won’t live up to her Damar books.

Jul 9, 1:04pm Top

>119 richardderus: Thanks Richard. I managed 8 kilos one year with a lot of conscientious effort but that was when we were in Sydney and my husband wasn’t around much. It’s his stated duty to forage for the family and his motto is ‘No one will ever go hungry in our house’ - and it shows.

And, for all that he was a sportsman in his school days, he’s always quick to offer us excuses for the kids or myself to get out of doing any exercise.

I do have a plan. First, though, I have to overcome my natural inertia ...

Edited: Jul 17, 3:29am Top

from >113 humouress:: I've picked up The Blue Sword which I expected would be a quick read; it's a children's book (Newbery Honour) and my edition is 275 pages long. But I'm reading it slowly and savouring it. I've been here before and I'm not rushing forward to find the adventure. I'm enjoying the way it was written.

Harry has had to move from Home (England) to Istan/ Ihistan (Afghanistan?) which is at the northern boundary of Daria (India). She doesn't fit in although she tries to and it's not because McKinley takes the modern/ easy route of other people being mean to her; everyone is welcoming and the two most popular girls are open hearted. It's just that she is out of her element.

I'm finding that it resonates with me, which I think is the way McKinley writes although it could be that I grew up in a similar environment, relocating from sub-Sahara to England. So I understand the desert, I love the woods Harry left behind and I empathise with the slightly dislocated feeling she has.

The Damar books have always been on my favourites list and so far, this re-read isn't disappointing.

18) The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

{First of 2: Damar series. Children's, fantasy, adventure}

This Newbery Honour children's book, although published in 1983, is set in a parallel universe in what could be Queen Victoria's empire in our world. The writing is a little formal and gives it the feel of having been written in colonial times, although it is still extremely readable.

I was always predisposed to like this book because (although crippled by inordinate shyness) I always wanted to ride a horse and wield a sword and have adventures and Harry gets to do all these. And then when I first read it, it was so well written that it's been on my favourites list ever since.

Harry (Angharad) Crewe has had to move from Home (England) to Istan/ Ihistan (Afghanistan?) which is at the northern boundary of Daria (India). (McKinley based the landscape of the Damar books on Kipling's British India.) She doesn't fit in although she tries to and it's not because McKinley takes the modern/ easy route of other people being mean to her; everyone is welcoming and the two most popular girls are
the admitted beauties of the station; the entire 4th Cavalry, stationed at the General Mundy, were in love with them. But they were also cheerful and open-hearted, and she was fond of them.
It's just that she is out of her element; she's always been a little bit more adventurous at home than is quite acceptable by society and now she has to be on her best behaviour and she has the added handicap of being too tall for most men to dance with. Though the local natives are friendly and adapt to the conquering Homelanders, the Hill-folk who live in the mountains just to the north of Istan have a certain mystique and it may be there that Harry finds her place.

I like the way McKinley outlines people's emotions and also gives the animals personalities without using anthropomorphism. For example, Tsornin (translated to Sungold in Homelander speech), her warhorse
took her lessons afoot very badly, and would lace back his years and stamp, and circle her and Mathin till they had to yell at him to go away.
Or (Narknon is the large hunting-cat that has adopted Harry)
There was a friendship between the horse and the hunting-cat now, and they would chase one another around the obstacles of the practice field, Narknon's tail lashing and Sungold with his ears back in mock fury. Once the big cat had hidden behind one of the grassy banks, where Harry and Sungold could not see her; and as they rode by she leaped out at them, sailing clean over Sungold and Harry on his back. Harry ducked and Sungold swerved; and Narknon circled and came back to them with her ears back and her whiskers trembling in what was obviously a cat laugh.
I love the little touches in the last chapter, the way it wraps up all the loose ends into a happy ending, especially Lady Amelia and Sir Charles.
she was astonished when little Lady Amelia climbed or fell off her horse just in front of her, said, ‘Harry, my dear why did you never send us any word?’ burst into tears, and threw her arms around her former houseguest
Describing a small girl visiting the City for the first time:
- including Rilly, who was beside herself with excitement, and her mother, who was beside herself with Rilly -
Although I identified with Harry when I first read The Blue Sword however many decades ago, I now think she's awkward rather than shy and a lot more resilient than me; I would be rather more angry/ terrified if I woke up to find I'd been abducted in the middle of the night and a lot less compliant than she was. Of course, this is a children's book and she has youth on her side. Other reviews remind me that some events may move a bit faster than they would for you or me but given the richness of the writing, the magic of Damar and that this book is less than 300 pages long, I am more than inclined to overlook a minor niggle.

Still, and always, a five star book.


Edited: Jul 13, 4:46am Top

Good luck with the inertia! I got out for a "proper" walk last weekend (more than an hour) and couldn't believe how much better I felt - but have to convince myself each time it's a good idea!

>122 humouress: Never heard of this series, and yet sounds like something I would have lapped up if I'd seen it in the library at the right age. Do you think it would be strong enough to read without the lovely memories of enjoying it as a kid?

Jul 13, 3:35am Top

>122 humouress: Thanks Charlotte. The boys are on holidays for another week and my dad comes in in a couple of days so I can have company on my walks. If only I can get myself organised (it either has to be early morning or in the evenings because of the heat). Of course, I'll have to get them over their inertia too ...

You caught me in the middle of my review and I still have a lot more to add. But I do think it would hold up well. I didn't read it as a child myself; more likely in my teens or twenties but both books (The Hero and the Crown is the prequel) are on my favourites list and both are Newbery Honour books.

Edited: Jul 14, 7:58am Top

19) The Beautifull Cassandra by Jane Austen

{Humour, stand alone}

With artwork by Leon Steinmetz

I just finished a Jane Austen novel in ... five minutes!

Written when she was twelve years old, it is dedicated (somewhat tongue in cheek) to Miss Austen - her only sister, Cassandra.
When Cassandra had attained her 16th year, she was lovely & amiable & chancing to fall in love with an elegant Bonnet ...
(not 'Bachelor' as I was expecting). The subtitle of the book is A Novel in Twelve Chapters and it consists of twelve chapters of only a sentence or two each; in fact, the dedication is probably longer than any of them.

I can just imagine a cheeky twelve year old girl writing about her sister's imagined (I assume) adventures in London. Although it is considered part of her juvenilia the famous Austen humour is already there.
Her father was of noble Birth, being the near relation of the Dutchess of --'s Butler.
Gently humourous. However short it is and however young she was, it is classic Austen.

Note: this novel contains only this story and is not a compilation with other Austen juvenilia. Each chapter is illustrated with a full page brush and ink sketch by Leon Steinmetz. I love the one at the end, of the maternal hug.

5 stars

Jul 13, 10:27am Top

>125 humouress: Ha! Someone had a marketing-genius moment. Austen's worst book, Lady Susan, is still better than many an imitator's efforts...there's a market for even her juvenilia, then!

Happy week ahead.

Edited: Jul 13, 11:05am Top

>126 richardderus: Thank you!

Actually, I liked Lady Susan; wickedly funny. I'd think it'd be right up your street. For some reason.

Jul 13, 3:50pm Top

>126 richardderus:, >127 humouress: I LOVED Lady Susan. Wickedly funny is right. To me, it deserves to be more widely read.

I have her Juvenalia, which is a bit of a whopper volume. I'm looking for the right time to take it on.

Jul 13, 4:58pm Top

>95 humouress: book bullet!!!!!

Jul 13, 10:54pm Top

Hi neighbour!

Trust that you'll have a great Sunday, Nina.

Edited: Jul 14, 4:35am Top

>128 jnwelch: Hi Joe! Good to see you here. I'll have to find my way back to the latest iteration of the Cafè. I can't keep up with all the moves.

Lady Susan had me gasping in delighted outrage when I read it. It's one of my 'read but unowned'; I'll have to rectify that and buy it for my shelves.

The Beautifull Cassandra is the first of Austen's juvenilia that I've read, so I look forward to hearing your opinion of the rest of the works.

Jul 14, 4:36am Top

>129 fuzzi: Woo hoo!

Jessica Day George is the author of the Dragon Slippers series too, which is also fun.

Jul 14, 4:38am Top

>130 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! We're having a fairly relaxed family Sunday with my mum here.

I have the same problem with your thread as I have with Joe's. I'll have to go looking for everyone soon.

Jul 14, 5:51am Top

>133 humouress: Nay Nina! My thread is moving at a relative snail's pace this year.

Jul 14, 2:53pm Top

OMG!! What an absolutely tense STUNNER the ODI World Cup final turned out to be.

Jul 18, 2:37am Top

A couple of quotes I made a note of on Litsy for The Blue Sword:

pg 9: ‘She had always suffered from a vague restlessness, a longing for adventure that she told herself severely was the result of reading too many novels when she was a small child.‘

I can empathise with Harry; I desperately wanted to have the same adventures I read about when I was young. And even when I was not so young.

And this one about the woods she grew up near. I like the way it evokes the peace and timelessness that a good stretch of woodlands gives me.

pg 20: ‘Its twisted shadows had always been welcome to her; when she grew older she liked the feeling of great age that the forest gave her, of age and of a vast complicated life that had nothing to do with her and that she need not try to decipher.‘

Edited: Jul 18, 4:45am Top

Just logged Muse of Nightmares which I asked my husband to bring back for me from London (ain't he sweet?).

Also Urn Burial, Raisins and Almonds and Death Before Wicket, which fill the gap on my shelves in the Phryne Fisher series. I web ordered them and got my dad to bring them over from Sydney. The cost of post into Singapore seems to be prohibitive now; the few websites I'm willing to order from don't even seem to have Singapore on their drop down lists even though they've delivered to me when I last ordered (a few years ago).

So. My dad's here now, too. When we went to pick him up at the airport, at around midnight, we couldn't see him and then when we finally spotted him, he disappeared again. Unfortunately his suitcase hadn't arrived; but it came over the next day. And the boys have three more days of holidays. Half way through, they both claimed to be looking forward to going back to school. Good news, if it still holds.

Jul 18, 10:42am Top

Enjoy your visit with your Dad and good luck getting the boys back into the school groove. :)

Jul 18, 10:48am Top

>138 MickyFine: Thanks Micky!

My mum arrived two weeks ago, to spend time with her grandkids, but my dad can't seem to survive without her so he came along too.

Jul 18, 2:04pm Top

I need to read The Blue Sword sometime. It keeps popping up and sounds like something I'd like. The Castle Glower books look fun too. I hope you enjoy your time with your family!

Edited: Jul 21, 5:00pm Top

>140 antqueen: Yes, you do need to read The Blue Sword! And I think you’ll enjoy the Castle Glower series as much as you’ve enjoyed the Wings of Fire series you’ve been reading.

I’m having fun with my family, thank you. The boys go back to school tomorrow so it’ll be up to me to keep my parents entertained; up to now, I’ve left it to their grandkids to do. :0)

Edited: Jul 28, 11:57pm Top

20) Fridays with the Wizards by Jessica Day George

A wicked wizard that the Castle Glower folk took prisoner has escaped and is lose within the walls of the Castle. In the meantime, twelve year old Celie discovers more about her newly completed, beloved Castle and King Glower decides to build a ship, even though their country, Sleyne, doesn’t have a coast. And all their family and friends continue to join in with their adventures.

Explores emotions, such as maintaining your dignity when things don’t go your way.

Although the main protagonist of this series is eleven to twelve years old and is the youngest of the siblings, I would say the books work for eight year olds and upwards.


Jul 21, 6:50pm Top

>142 humouress: such as maintaining your dignity when things don’t go your way
Hello Amazon? Please send a case of Fridays with the Wizards to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue...yes, I'll hold...that's 48 copies? Make it two cases...what? no charge? I agree, the matter's too urgent to quibble, thanks and bye

Jul 21, 11:20pm Top

The Blue Sword is definitely a favorite of mine, and subject to multiple rereads for me as well!

Jul 25, 6:30pm Top

>143 richardderus: there are plenty of people having temper tantrums right now due to things not going their way in November 2016, but not anyone currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I'd suggest those books be delivered to the House of Representatives, in care of Hon. N. Pelosi, M. Waters, etcetera.

Jul 28, 5:23am Top

>143 richardderus: I came over to add that the target audience for the series would be about 8 years and upwards. Not too advanced, do you think?

>143 richardderus: >145 fuzzi: We may need a case for No. 10 Downing Street soon, when they get further into Brexit negotiations. Or not.

Jul 28, 5:26am Top

>144 ronincats: I remember that you're a fan, Roni.

I'm still hoping that McKinley will add more books to the Damar universe (directly). I'm curious, for instance, about Aerin's mother and Harry's great grandmother.

Jul 28, 8:39am Top

>147 humouress: That would be amazing! But really, any new book from McKinley would be welcome at this point.

Jul 28, 9:32am Top

>146 humouress: Permaybehaps a leetle bit too sophisticated.

Jul 28, 11:53pm Top

>148 foggidawn: I confess, I haven't read much else (and, actually, nothing for a long while) by Robin McKinley for fear it wouldn't hold up to the Damar books. I do have one more on my shelves though; maybe I should read that.

Edited: Jul 28, 11:55pm Top

>149 richardderus: :0)

Looks like No 10 is planning on going straight past 'Brexit tantrums' to 'sulk'.

Aug 4, 1:31am Top

>151 humouress: Even from this tropical remove the Brexit saga is tiring. I just wish we'd get on with it and take the bitter medicine on the road to a "better" future - I say better because nothing can be worse than this stasis. I don't like the Brexiteers, I dislike most of the remainers who cannot accept losing a vote Cameron was daft enough to put up and I cannot abide those smug and devilish European Commissioners who nobody voted for and patently we didn't want.

Have a great Sunday, Nina.

Aug 4, 3:02am Top

Thanks Paul. I don’t have to worry too much about Brexit at this distance and can listen to the frustrations with some detachment.

I shall dwell on more pleasant matters; Books K (in Singapore at least) will be having a 25% sale next week, which is a deeper discount than usual. Can I tempt you to this side of the causeway?

Aug 4, 3:46am Top

>153 humouress: I wish I could make it! Let's see if the heaven's suddenly smile on me financially.

Edited: Aug 4, 7:01am Top

>154 PaulCranswick: That would be nice (in both senses). But, otherwise, isn't your haven in the Petronas towers also having a sale? I believe it's to do with National Day and with how long Kinokuniya has been in business.

Edited: Aug 4, 9:55am Top

Omigosh! Apparently, yesterday was my 11th Thingaversary and I almost missed it!

Good thing there's a sale coming up. Now, which eleven twelve books should I get?....

Aug 4, 6:09pm Top

>156 humouress: Belated Happy Thingaversary, Nina!
I see 8 books on your wishlist, and I am sure you can manage to add 4 more :-)

Aug 4, 6:43pm Top

Happy Thingaversary, Nina! Choose exuberantly!

Aug 4, 8:49pm Top

How is Firelion enjoying LT? Is he still around?

Aug 5, 11:23am Top

>157 richardderus: Have you been spying on me Richard?

>158 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita! I’m sure I’ll manage it somehow. :0)

>159 ronincats: Thanks Roni! Will do.

>160 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel! Firelion is too busy reading. He did set a TIOLI challenge a couple of months ago and he asked how it went but he’s taking a break from LT. He’s part way through the Ranger’s Apprentice and Harry Potter series amongst others, at the moment.

Aug 5, 2:49pm Top

Happy thingaversary! What did you get?!

Edited: Aug 11, 12:25pm Top

>162 charl08: Thanks Charlotte! I raided the sale on Friday and took Firelion along - although, oddly, he preferred sitting in front of the television. We have two holidays back to back - Friday, for National Day, and Monday, for Hari Raya - and he seems to have decided that binge watching is the way to go. I expected his love of books would have him agreeing with alacrity when I invited him (even though I threatened not to take him until he tidied up his existing books).

I will scan the books in, in a bit. Unfortunately the gaps that I want to fill are in series that are no longer available (here). I did try to take advantage of foreknowledge and order a couple of them, but a) they weren't available and b) if they had been, they would have only arrived a couple of weeks later.

I'm always reluctant to try a new series/ author (even if they are LT recommended) unless I've had a chance to borrow their books from the library. But the library here frustrates me and I can't find the books I want on Overdrive very often.

Nevertheless, I did pick up The Bear and the Nightingale.

Edited: Aug 12, 3:04am Top

21) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

To be honest, this one didn't grab me but it did keep me reading.

It bears some similarities to The Lies of Locke Lamora in that it involves gangs in a port town though it is possibly not quite as dark. Still, there were some disturbingly grisly details that I wouldn't want my children reading so I wouldn't label it as YA.

Kaz Brekker (whose moniker is 'Dirtyhands') is second in command of the Dregs, a gang in the city of Ketterdam in the country of Kerch (based on the Netherlands). He runs The Crow Club, a gambling den designed to fleece sailors coming into the harbour of their money. A rich merchant offers him a fortune to rescue an asset from the Ice Court in Fjerland (Scandinavia) and so he gathers a crew of six to help him. Hence 'Six of Crows'.

The book's strength is that it is character driven. Each chapter is named for one of the six and is told from that character's distinct point of view. The point at which I became more invested was, once they had set off on their journey, when we learned each character's background and reason for being associated with the Dregs.

Kaz is a native of Kerch and is something of an anti-hero, being driven by a thirst for revenge.

Inej is a dark-skinned Suli (Romany) and is also known as the Wraith due to her acrobatic talents and ability to go anywhere undetected.





This book is the first part of a stand alone duology within the Grishaverse. It does not end on a cliff hanger but wraps up the story-line somewhat and then shows a new direction that the second book will take. I have already bought it and will be continuing with the story at some point.

3.5*** stars

I'll polish this review in the next thread, for August ...

Aug 11, 1:13pm Top

>164 humouress: That series and author has near-cultish standing in the YA world. I wonder why, given your hesitancy to show the books to your own kids.

Anyway, happy it was as good a read as it was. Looking forward to a pilf-list! Good reading ahead.

Aug 12, 2:20am Top

>165 richardderus: Well, it was recommended to our book club by a member (ooh, we have members!) who has read the series, so it was new to me. Most of it could pass, but it's a bit dark in many parts; the protagonists are mostly teenagers who are part of a criminal gang in a seedy part of town and so associate with criminals and they steal and deal out violence.

It would work as YA with emphasis on the 'adult' but my 10 year old is graduating into that (vaguely defined) category. Rick Riordan's books, for example, can fall into it, right? There was a part where an eyeball was removed and (while he would probably relish it to be honest) it was a 'No, thank you' for me. Though, true, I wouldn't classify my baby as a YA but his brother is only a year or two off the ages of the characters in the book.

I shall amend review accordingly ... on thread 3 (once I've created it).

Aug 12, 12:28pm Top

>166 humouress: I'd probably recommend Bardugo's books for ages 16+. I do think her other series in the Grishaverse was a little tamer than Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.

Granted, even though I say I'd recommend it for 16+, these are totally the kinds of books I would have found at the library and devoured ages 12-15. My parents didn't really keep a close eye on what I was reading.

Aug 12, 1:10pm Top

>167 curioussquared: I agree on the 16+. And my 10 year old would most likely do what you did; he's been enjoying the Skulduggery Pleasant series where the main character is a skeleton. I've been meaning to read it to see exactly what he's into, but it's probably too late - since he's up to date with it, as far as it's been published.

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