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Gilroy's 2017 slice of life and reading thread

The Green Dragon

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Edited: Aug 8, 2017, 9:32am Top

So I'm making an attempt at year 2. First post or two will be the same, but I'm going to try something different. It's a more open thread, so I can post about things during the year a bit more. Plus each book will have a post, followed by a month summary of all reads. The posts about the books will update as I read. The notes also will go into the reviews. If books cross months, they don't get a new post for the new month...

Oh and goals (which may mean I fall on my reading face this year):
Total books read: 45 -- 30 audio, 12 physical, 3 ebooks
Current Counts:: 29 -- 18 audio, 9 physical, 2 ebooks

The current reads:

Audio - Watership Down by Richard Adams
Travel fiction - Going through list
Home Fiction - The Cat Who Wasn't There by Lilian Jackson Braun
Non-Fiction - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey (Work assigned)
E-book - Time Machine by H G Wells

Edited: Sep 20, 2017, 7:08am Top

Dud Books - Books I attempted to read and gave up:

>3 Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling
>76 Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
>121 Seeker by William Nicholson
The Secret Circle by L J Smith

Note on how I designate a dud book:
Unless the book is so horrid of prose/story/cliché that I can't get past the first few pages, I feel the need to give the author at least 50 pages or a third of the book, which ever I can make. This allows for initial bad openings and characters to grow enough. At that point, if I continue to struggle and can't get into the book, I'm done and it becomes a dud.

Edited: Jan 20, 2017, 10:01am Top

Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling

I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this book yet. Still early in the reading (page 25ish) and none of the characters grab me... except maybe the dog. It is a story about later parts of life and how things happen. Maybe it doesn't set because I'm not nearing that age range or something...

Definitely leaning toward a dud book on this one. A shame, the writing isn't bad, but the story line just isn't catching...

The book moves so slow, that it takes 46 pages to get the first chapter complete and frankly, not much happens until the last four pages. I just can't find the energy to keep reading.

Edited: Feb 16, 2017, 5:31am Top

The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan

- Like the start of most series, it has a slow beginning, as it tries to build the world and establish the boundaries. Not complaining, because there is enough action to make it worth continuing to read.
- I'm feeling like this entire story has been stretched out. It might have fit within a shorter book, but some of this is also the world building that has to happen. Which makes things all the more difficult to determine length.
- I'm close to the end and it feels like I'm going to be left staring over the edge of a cliff. I want books to resolve at least something. This feels like it might not...
- That final twist in the end -- WOW. Definitely didn't expect that.


Final Review
This is the start of a very interesting world. It's created internal tension, external tension, and the threat of problems due to its many character conflicts. The difficulty because the slow build of the story line to reach the point of moving at a decent pace. It isn't until you near the end that you see the need of the building the author did early on. The normal trope appears here: powerful magic user who didn't know gets sought for their new found power.

One gripe: Too many names ending with the similar end sound. Sonea, Tania, Dania... The characters might be different but the names blended together.

There was little question who the focus bad guy would be in the book. It was telegraphed, dropped in front of the reader. Sure, some red herrings were offered, but they didn't hold well enough to distract. The overarching plot bad guy, on the other hand, they were a surprise.

I'm saying this is a worthy start to a series and I'm interested to see where the author goes from here.

Edited: Feb 6, 2017, 7:51pm Top

Waiting Game: The Chronicles of Covent by J L Ficks and J E Dugue

-- When a character is made all powerful, the most feared, I expect a MAJOR fall within the first couple chapters. Three chapters in, no fall yet. This doesn't bode well.
-- Doing some research, I found out this is a converted RPG universe of the two writers from their high school days. This changes how you read this book some. It also hurts it. But I'm still reading, so that's a plus.
-- Character finally had fall in chapter 5. To me as a writer, this was too far in.
-- Character is too perfect, too Mary Sue ish. Reminds me a lot of a guy playing Dungeons and Dragons with a weighted set of dice...
-- Authors are bouncing between Third Person Limited and Third person Omniscient POVs, in many cases, going to the later for an irrelevant scene that the main character has supposedly passed already.
-- Looking over the book's table of contents, there are 20 pages of dreck after the actual story finishes. (Whoops! Just noticed this thing's page count is wrong. It counts one page for every two. So while it says the book ends at page 156, it's really page 312. And that makes it closer to 40 pages of dreck at the end of the book.)

Finished review:
There is a very good reason why many editors and agents say do NOT take your role playing world and try to convert it into a book almost direct from table to page. The in jokes don't translate, the characters are too Mary Sue, and frankly, most times, the best parts aren't that interesting. I hate to say it, but this book falls into that category of it needs major revisions to make it decent.

I did finish reading it, but that doesn't speak well of the book. It speaks poorly of me, willing to see how deep the rot actually went.

I can start with the overall poor writing. It lacked sentence variety in multiple places. The writers relied on spellcheck but didn't check to make sure the words they used actually made sense. Sections suffered from Information Dump Syndrome. We had a jumping point of view, from third person limited to omniscient and then back. There were points where the crawl through the muck of text made me shudder in pain. A good editor could have torn this book apart.

This doesn't even begin to address the issues with the plot, the characters, the cliches. I had no sympathy for the lead character. In fact, I begged the authors to kill him off. Multiple times. Minotaur, Sharlak (their shark people invention), even the two moron personal guards. The character never failed. I felt like I read a RPG game where the player kept rolling natural 20s. There was no three fails then a win, because there was never a fail. The character learned NOTHING. We had a deus ex machina early in the book with no explanation. Also early on, characters had one emotional reaction: Smug. There is so much more nuance to writing that that.

Just ... don't.

Jan 1, 2017, 12:50pm Top

Good luck with your reading this year - I'm already waiting to see how you get along with the Trudi Canavan as I have a number of her books on my TBR pile along with the one you're reading at the moment.

Jan 1, 2017, 1:13pm Top

Happy new year

Jan 1, 2017, 4:07pm Top

>7 hfglen: Thanks!

>6 Peace2: So far, it's reading well. It's taking a bit to really get rolling, but a lot of the world establishing work is hefty for what she has in mind, I suspect.

Jan 1, 2017, 6:59pm Top

Happy new year!

Jan 2, 2017, 6:43am Top

Looking forward to following your reading this year! I hope it is a good one for you in every way.

Jan 2, 2017, 7:19am Top

>1 gilroy: Best of luck with your reading (and life in general) for 2017.

For a moment I thought Decision to Come was the title of your non-fiction read. :o)

Jan 2, 2017, 7:41am Top

Happy new year! Starring your thread to follow along.

Jan 3, 2017, 11:06am Top

>9 lynnoconnacht: >10 Sakerfalcon: >11 clamairy: >12 imyril: Thanks!

So I have an interesting conundrum. I have a book in physical, ebook, and audible format. If I use all three formats to progress through the book, how do I count it for end of year? (Dratted Amazon and their "Ebook markdown if you bought the physical from us" deal.)

Edited: Jan 11, 2017, 7:18am Top

Midnight Marked by Chloe Neill

It's fun to return to the world of Merit and Ethan, two vampires from the Chicago houses in the Chicagoland Vampire series. The author knows how to add a laugh with her snark and play even in the face of danger. Of course, the vamps stumble across a dead body, that happens to be another supernatural, and now fingers are pointed, blame is passed... And I'm only on chapter 5!

Hadn't realized how much I missed the play and snark this author has with these characters. So sad she's ending the series after the next book.

Maybe this one thing explains why I love this series so much. They just detailed all that Merit and Ethan have gone through and summed it up into a simple truth. They were pushing forward through Fear. That hits very close to home...

Okay, I hate saying that there were two obvious things that were more or less telegraphed, if you know what to look for when reading. Reed's wife as the sorceress became obvious when you meet her in the garden. The not killing the bad guy is also a given. This isn't to say the book is bad. It's been the best of the series to date.

I'll be disappointed when the next one is completed...

Jan 3, 2017, 10:43pm Top

>13 gilroy: One. You only get one, unless you read them one right after the other, or bring a lot of cheese to the pub. Then we can talk. ;)

Jan 6, 2017, 10:07am Top

>13 gilroy: that's one way to make your stats tricky! Pick a favourite format? Expect it to happen again and next time add it to a different one? Buy some stilton?

Jan 7, 2017, 12:18pm Top

(click the photo for more) Been sneaking into the snow (and opening a window) to get some cool snow shots of my various bird friends at my feeder... This album will grow as I get more.

Jan 7, 2017, 12:38pm Top

>6 Peace2: I enjoy Trudi, but always feel that there's something missing from making them completely great, and I can never work out what that is. The worlds are well developed and feel real lasting places, the characters interact well and the plot is inventive without being too coincidence driven, which is all I ask from any book, but somehow there's a sparkle that's missing. Her re-naming of common animals is a persistent annoyance in that series. Try to spot the few times she/editor forgets and calls things horses etc.

Jan 7, 2017, 12:46pm Top

>17 gilroy: Lovely pics!

Jan 7, 2017, 2:04pm Top

>17 gilroy: Oooo, cardinals! I envy you them.

Jan 7, 2017, 2:26pm Top

>19 clamairy: Thank ye!

>20 MrsLee: They are the biggest pigs, up there with grackles and blue jays. I'm sure if it weren't for the blowing snow, the feeder would have emptied in an hour. :)

Jan 7, 2017, 5:02pm Top

>21 gilroy: I think the cardinals and the chickadees have an agreement with the squirrels and the mourning doves to eat as messily as possible, ti ensure maximum seed spillage on the ground.

Jan 7, 2017, 6:10pm Top

>22 Marissa_Doyle: Agreed! I had a mourning dove napping beneath the feeder when it was the only one there. In the middle of a fricking snow storm.

Jan 9, 2017, 8:45am Top

>17 gilroy: Beautiful pictures. I saw my first cardinal in August, '16 when I visited Boston.

Jan 9, 2017, 10:30am Top


Jan 9, 2017, 10:45am Top

>25 suitable1: Yes! Just gone a quarter past seven.

Jan 9, 2017, 10:54am Top

Jan 9, 2017, 10:55am Top

When I lived in NH, the place was dirty with them, but I haven't seen many. Maybe none. Bald eagles all over the place though. Have to try not to run them over sometimes.

Jan 9, 2017, 11:10am Top

>27 suitable1: But of course!

Jan 9, 2017, 12:15pm Top

>28 Bookmarque: I didn't realize you had lived in NH - what part? I was born in Nashua, and haven't moved too far from there over the years.

Now that I live in the woods I do see cardinals quite often - they are pretty, but aggressive. We had a nice little family of rose-breasted grosbeaks for awhile but the cardinals ran them off. Kitties like watching all the traffic at the birdfeeder anyway, except when the turkeys come by to pick up the spilled seed on the ground.

Jan 10, 2017, 8:11am Top

>17 gilroy: Lovely photo! I like to see what birds come to people's gardens in other parts of the world from me.

Edited: Jan 10, 2017, 8:35am Top

Hi D-H. Yup, I am a NH native. Grew up in Bedford, lived in different places when young, then in Londonderry for 18 years or so. Moved to northern Wisconsin in June 2015. Not much in the way of songbird activity as compared to NH, but more of everything else!

Jan 10, 2017, 9:30am Top

>17 gilroy: pretty! We do not have cardinals in Oregon. We do have robins. They have been hanging out in our backyard trees during all our snow. The kitties love it!

Jan 10, 2017, 7:12pm Top

>32 Bookmarque: Whew, northern Wisconsin. Are the winters colder than here? Do you get all that lake-effect weather? My dad retired to Minneapolis but he's insane and likes the cold.

Jan 10, 2017, 7:50pm Top

Yeah, I think it is a little colder, but it's not like I'm from Florida. lol

I live full time on the water and really like the area so it's not hardship. Although no one plowed our road until after we got almost all our snow. Maybe 7 inches. In NH people would be out for blood. Here it's normal for a dead end road and even on the state road they only plowed one lane. Bare pavement is for southerners. : )

Edited: Jan 20, 2017, 10:13am Top

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Braddbury

As I listen, I feel like this book could be joined with the world of 1984, since it is also about thought control. I found it interesting that firemen were now considered starters instead of preventers. The twists and turns this world created really do ring home with what is happening in this world now. Especially the addiction to visual entertainment.

Oh, Tim Robbins is an awesome reader! :)

Edited: Jan 11, 2017, 7:29am Top

>35 Bookmarque: I'm so a southerner. I like my bare pavement. Then again, the girlfriend has the all wheel drive. I don't. :)

>33 catzteach: Thanks! The robins vacated with the cold this year. They'd been sticking year round for a few years there... Now I have juncos, cardinals, blue jays, grackles, and mourning doves, with the occasional woodpecker and nuthatch thrown in.

>31 Sakerfalcon: I'm working toward a bird sanctuary for my yard, but I need more space, better squirrel protection, and a better camera. LOL

Edited: Jan 20, 2017, 10:16am Top

Spock vs Q Written by Cecilis Fannon
read by Leonard Nimoy and John de Lancie

Oh, this is a funny little bit. Just too short! The actual performance is like 45 minutes and the audio book has it played twice. Frustrating...

Though I love the snark and play between the logic and the emotion. The ability to twist one's view to work within one's need, whether they realize the manipulation or not.

Definitely fun. I loved it.

Jan 16, 2017, 7:43pm Top

>38 gilroy: I listened to that a few times, many years ago, and loved it. I listened to the sequel also, which I didn't like as much, but it was still fun.

I’m glad you enjoyed it!

Edited: Feb 1, 2017, 5:25am Top

The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson

-- I'm finding myself getting disorientated in a chapter relating to the character cleaning her father's house out. It goes from the neighbor, to the PC, to memory, to PC, to melded memory and PC, back to Memory... Confused.
-- Okay, the author short cut/cheat of having the chapter be what the character is reading... slows the story down. Frustrating when nothing is happening except a backstory dump.
-- The whole blending of memory with present day continues to disorient. Some dropped hints. Wonder if it would be any better if I was reading instead of listening...
-- You know, for the daughter of a detective, the main character locks too much onto one possible killer and tries to make the facts fit, rather than using the facts to find the killer. I've changed suspects twice now, at about the 60% finished point. She's really annoying me too.
-- Narrowed it to two suspects in my mind now. One just made himself moreso than the other. Might even have worked together, not sure.
-- This book could have been shorter with less details on subjects that are so completely irrelevant to the plot.
-- UGH. The last chapter is a flashback to a completely different character. It should have been dropped or made the prologue. Not the end. And the Epilogue should be the last chapter.

Jan 19, 2017, 2:17pm Top

>40 gilroy: I tried that one back in 2015 and ended up giving up on it without finishing.

Edited: Mar 25, 2017, 6:27am Top

Ask the Parrot by Richard Stark

Definite good thing at the start so far. It's book 23 in the series, but not having read the earlier books isn't throwing me off any. I can see the storyline now without having to backtrack. This I like.

This has been just a smooth, quick read. I'd call this a beach read because it goes so simply. No real stress to reading it.

For the first two thirds of this book, you've been reading pretty solidly in Parker's POV. Now, suddenly, the author is bouncing among character POV. Which means what's happening with the primary plot has suddenly disappeared, because many of the characters touched are periphery characters that have very little connection to the main plot thread.

I don't have a lot I'd label as a read once and get rid of it, but I think this one qualifies. Decent ending, maybe not as expected, but decent.

Feb 1, 2017, 5:40am Top

January Round up:
>3 gilroy: Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling
>14 gilroy: Midnight Marked by Chloe Neill
>36 gilroy: Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
>38 gilroy: Spock vs Q by Cecelis Fannon
>40 gilroy: The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson

Edited: Feb 3, 2017, 12:52pm Top

Brave New World By Aldous Huxley

Does it technically count as a reread if it's been almost 30 years since you've read a book?

The more I read these classics, the more I get the image of someone taking and stitching the various concepts together to form today's society.

"More Stitches means less Riches" -- I swear the modern disposable society is based on this phrase alone. But the need for consumption also reminds me a lot of the consumerist/capitalist view of must spend, Spend, SPEND that goes on as well.

Feb 1, 2017, 8:19am Top

>44 gilroy: Only if you were keeping a list 30 years ago ;-)

Feb 1, 2017, 8:19am Top

>44 gilroy: Speaking under correction, I would regard it as a re-read if you remember or can produce evidence (e.g. presence in your "read but unowned" collection) of a previous reading, regardless of age. Thus if I were mad enough to read Edwin Drood (would need to be certifiable to do so) I'd call it a re-read, even though I haven't touched the book since it was a set work for my matric, 50 years ago.

Edited: Feb 1, 2017, 8:22am Top

>46 hfglen: Sir, I call you out for pistols at dawn for such a malign comment about the Great Dickens!

Feb 1, 2017, 8:28am Top

>46 hfglen: So a book report from 10th grade counts?

Feb 1, 2017, 8:30am Top

>46 hfglen: Uh oh. I just picked up a copy of Edwin Drood at a library sale... what did you dislike about it?

I read some Dickens in grade school, and didn't enjoy it, but recently read Great Expectations and loved it - apparently the experience of the intervening years helped a lot. I'm hoping now to spend some quality time with more of his work.

Edited: Feb 1, 2017, 9:26am Top

>46 hfglen: I loved The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I particularly loved all the discussion about how Dickens might have finished it had he lived.

I read it in preparation for reading Drood by Dan Simmons. Simmons borrowed some of the characters from Dickens' book but the story was more about the relationship between Dickens and Wilkie Collins.

>49 Darth-Heather: I found it worthwhile. It is not long so I would suggest you take the plunge and make up your own mind about it. You will have finished it by the time hfglen and BookstoogeLT have finished their duel.

Feb 1, 2017, 9:52am Top

>50 pgmcc: I think I left my cane in the car, so yes, it will be some time before I arrive at the grounds. And I'm beginning to regret that whole "at dawn" thing.

So, hfglen, how about this? Crossword puzzles on the veranda with a nice brunch at the nicest hotel the town has to offer?

Feb 1, 2017, 9:59am Top

>49 Darth-Heather: Remember I did say (at least hint clearly in Seffican) that it was a school set work. That would be enough to kill almost anything.

>51 BookstoogeLT: Crosswords sounds great, but which one. I'll naturally go for the Mercury's, but suspect you may have a problem finding that.

Feb 1, 2017, 10:25am Top

>52 hfglen: I was thinking something more like Bubba's Big Book of Puzzles, or something :-D

Feb 1, 2017, 11:43am Top

>53 BookstoogeLT: I'm mightily releved you weren't thinking of the infamous ones in The Times or the Daily Telegraph.

Feb 1, 2017, 12:36pm Top

>52 hfglen: yeah, that would do it. I was fortunate to have some really decent reading assignments in those days, but I just wasn't ready to appreciate Dickens then.

Feb 1, 2017, 8:10pm Top

Not to hijack your thread even more gilroy, but it seems Dickens is just one of those love him or hate him authors. Personally I fall on the love side, but I can see how it would be torture for some.

I wish I hadn't missed the duel, though. :o(

Feb 1, 2017, 8:32pm Top

>56 clamairy: It was a splendid duels. Cruellers flying everywhere, tea and coffee pots being flung, canes swinging and reflecting the dazzling sun. It made me feel a live again.

No sacrifice is too great for my man Dickens...

Feb 1, 2017, 8:56pm Top

I attempted a few Dickens in school due to assignment. Couldn't muster my way past the first ten pages of any. Now Hawthorne and Edwards I got through well enough, even with their religious twists. Dickens... not so much.

Might put him on my attempt again list sometime soon.

Feb 1, 2017, 9:24pm Top

>57 BookstoogeLT: :o) I could have been your second and caught those crullers with my teeth...

>58 gilroy: I've only read three of his I think. Well three and a half if you count A Christmas Carol. Loved them, though. I really need to revisit him soon. And they are all FREE for the Kindle. ;o)

Feb 2, 2017, 5:13am Top

Feb 2, 2017, 5:26am Top

>57 BookstoogeLT: Really wish the first salvo hadn't been the cream filled ones, though. Guess the jelly filled would have been worse. They would have stained...

Feb 2, 2017, 6:10am Top

>61 gilroy: Jelly filled. That would just have been ungentlemanly!

Feb 2, 2017, 11:37am Top

>60 pgmcc: OOOOH! Well, I'm one of those cranky types that often prefers finishing my fiction before I hear detailed descriptions of what others have thought. So if I decide to read Bleak House I will most likely look at those posts afterwards.

Feb 7, 2017, 7:35am Top

Commentary: Okay, I'm failing to see what makes Melissa McCarthy so funny. The Superbowl Ad wasn't that great. She was terrible in Ghostbusters. And now the whole Sean Spicer/SNL sketch ... it was okay. Yes, almost perfect imitation, but not really FUNNY.

Feb 7, 2017, 8:06am Top

>64 gilroy: I've been holding off on watching the new GB, but with your comment, my "contrary" gene just kicked in and now I want to watch it.
Thanks a lot *wink*

Feb 7, 2017, 8:17am Top

>65 BookstoogeLT: Check my thread from last year. I have a review of the movie there. :)

Feb 7, 2017, 9:44am Top

>66 gilroy: Going to need a link. Digging through that many threads is a bit much...

Feb 7, 2017, 10:02am Top

>67 BookstoogeLT: If you look at this group's homepage, there is a link there to all of our reading threads. Just in case you ever run out of books to read. ;)

Feb 7, 2017, 10:53am Top

Feb 7, 2017, 11:17am Top

>69 gilroy: Thanks!

Edited: Mar 4, 2017, 7:08pm Top

The Forgotten Girls by Alexa Steele

- Interesting premise so far, linking a recent murder to an older one, to allow the author to give some town background. Work in a red herring as well.
- For an SVU detective, Bella gets easily annoyed or frustrated with a lot of people.
- I shouldn't read reviews when I'm reading a book, that I'm now convinced. I saw an objection and now I'm seeing the stereotypical characters that people assume are in these small rich towns, the treatment of the ones with less money, yeah. Really wish I'm waited on that review now...
- Much of Chapter 25 was a research and backstory dump that the reader really didn't need.
- Must be a symptom of new books or new writers. They forget there are more than a few emotions. Characters in this book get "frustrated" more than anything else. It's like there's happy, frustrated, mad. No other real emotional descriptions ...
- Felt like the author hung a lantern on the final suspect. It looked too obvious. The twist of her background, not enough early clues, too much last half reveals. Just poor plotting

Feb 7, 2017, 4:53pm Top

>64 gilroy: I think she's hilarious. I have no intention of watching the GB remake, however. That has nothing to do with who is in it. It just did not need to be remade, IMHO.

Feb 7, 2017, 5:28pm Top

>72 clamairy: I agree on the didn't need to be remade front. :)

Edited: Feb 12, 2017, 8:13am Top

Legends of the Ferengi Written by Ira Steven Behr
Read by Armin Shimmerman

Interesting, but just an expansion on the release of the book The Rules of Acquisition, adding anecdotes to the rules themselves. It had its amusing moments. But meh.

Feb 13, 2017, 8:38am Top

Spock vs Q: The Sequel Written by Cecilis Fannon
read by Leonard Nimoy and John de Lancie

Amusing, but not as good as the first. The whole body swapping thing just doesn't work with these two...

Edited: Feb 21, 2017, 4:58pm Top

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

- Starting to wonder if the good of Robin Hobb writing is in the actual reading. Second book where the audio is just not drawing me in. Shift in POV was not made obvious in the audio either.
- I noticed this the last time I tried a Robin Hobb book. Too much backstory is slowing down the opening to the point where I'm tempted to give up. Get on with the plot. PLEASE.
- Almost a third of the way in and it feels like the plot doesn't exist. This is just a collection of characters going about life. If the plot and pace don't pick up soon, I'm dropping this author as too verbose and not my cup of tea.
- Yeah, okay, change of mind. I'm done. I can take only so much, but an overbearing, abusive, controlling, self absorbed bastard like Kyle Haven is portrayed in this book, I can't take it. It links to too many bad memories, which means it isn't a good book to me.

Feb 13, 2017, 7:19pm Top

>75 gilroy: I felt like they were trying a little too hard to be funny in that one, and sometimes crossed the line into ridiculous instead. They were more subtle with the humor in the first one, for the most part at least, which worked better for me.

>76 gilroy: I really enjoyed that series, but I liked the Fitz trilogies better. I didn’t try any of them in audio, though.

Feb 15, 2017, 8:53am Top

I'm noticing there are two end points to the fantasy spectrum, which has people who love one end more than the other.

One end I'll call the Plot First end. Here, you get the details necessary to move the book forward. The cast tends to be limited to a small handful of players. You learn about the characters through the actions of the plot and the direct feel of the book. The amount of backstory or other world building details are limited to just what the story requires. These tend to be slimmer books or are limited to very short series/stand alones. (Drawing a blank on an immediate example here.)

The other end I'll call the Details First end. Here, every detail that could be crammed into the book to make it immersive is added. Backstory tends to be given in navel gazing moments by characters considering their situation. The cast tends to be huge and it can take chapters to move the plot forward even a step. There's almost a meandering aspect to the plot, just to make sure all the details get included. These tend toward the Epic Fantasy with extended series. My best example of this right now is the Wheel of Time Series from Robert Jordan (and at the end Brandon Sanderson).

While this is just an observation of what is written, I can honestly say I lean more toward the Plot First end. Too often I find myself fussing at a book "Would you get on with it already?", only to find that the plot is lost somewhere in the myriad details they writer thought the reader needed...

Feb 15, 2017, 8:56am Top

Would Asimov's Foundation Trilogy fit your Plot First?

Feb 15, 2017, 9:01am Top

Science fiction is a little different, but he leans more toward the plot first. Asimov had a better sense of balance in the writing than some of the more modern writers.

Edited: Feb 15, 2017, 9:05am Top

>80 gilroy: Yeah, trying to think of some fantasy that would fit the mold and nothing springs to mind...

Feb 15, 2017, 9:26am Top

>81 BookstoogeLT: Thinking on it, the Harry Potter series started rather solidly toward the Plot First end, then as it progressed, it slid toward the Details first. The last two I'd put across the center point. The Hero and the Crown felt like a good Plot First book.

Feb 15, 2017, 9:39am Top

>82 gilroy: which might explain why I really liked the first 3 HP books then hated each one progressively more...

Edited: Apr 16, 2017, 10:36am Top

Maze Runner by James Dashner

- I believe this is now my fourth young adult/teen dystopian novel. Some novels strive to give you details through flashbacks and such, others for you to discover. I prefer the former, but Maze Runner is feeling more like the latter.
- Fighting the urge to compare this to the Hunger Games, Divergent, and 5th Wave. So far, should I decide to rank them, HG is 1, Divergent is 3, with 5W and MR tying for 4th. I find no suitable 2nd.
- A lot of the first half of the book is set up. Kinda expected, but lengthy for my taste. Action was limited, even though the tension was ratcheting.
- I'm more than half way through the book now and they've detailed how ONE replacement word got selected. Klunk is another word for Poo, which is better than the actual word it could be. But they use Shank, Shuck, and a few others interchangeably and don't really explain why. They just do. And MC Thomas uses them almost from the beginning too. That part bugs me.
- Knew that twist was coming. When they find the Griever Hole, that's like showing a gun in the first act. It has to factor into the plot somehow. Though to be honest, the more the book goes on, the more Thomas bugs me, the more the "Above Average" kids seem rather dumb.
- I suspect Chuck really was Thomas's little brother.
- Somehow, I expected the ending.
- Not sure I am ready for book 2 just yet...

Feb 16, 2017, 7:28pm Top

>84 gilroy: What did you think of it? I was a bit disappointed, I expected to like it more and so still haven't got around to reading the next two (even though they're sitting on the TBR pile).

Feb 16, 2017, 11:12pm Top

>84 gilroy:>85 I did not think much of Maze Runner, but I persevered and read the next one. I really liked the second one. Was that The Scorch Trials? I felt like Maze Runner was like the first few chapters of a book and the second the middle of the book. I'll get around to reading others this summer, if not before.

Feb 17, 2017, 5:17am Top

>85 Peace2: I'm still getting started. Enjoyed the Trudi Canavan book, just put the next one on order.

I've heard mixed opinions of Maze Runner, so not sure what to expect. Trying to go in with an open mind. (Like I try with most movies.)

Feb 17, 2017, 6:55pm Top

>87 gilroy: Good to know about the Trudi Canavan and good luck with The Maze Runner - at some point I will get around to the others on the pile.

Feb 21, 2017, 5:19pm Top

Personal verdict: Robin Hobb may be one of the greatest writers ever. But if I can't get past the first third of the book without wondering what the hell was wrong with the editor or hating every character I come across, it won't matter. Cause I won't continue reading and I won't want to read any more.

Feb 21, 2017, 6:20pm Top

>89 gilroy: Well said!

I have not read any of Hobb's work, but I can empathise with a person's reaction to a book that is just not delivering a pleasant experience.

Feb 21, 2017, 6:45pm Top

>90 pgmcc: The book I was attempting had an overly aggressive, abusive, down right despicable character. Reminded me too much of past situations. He just killed the book for me. When he punched a 13 year old in the face, I was done.

Edited: Feb 24, 2017, 5:36am Top

I, Q by Peter David and John DeLancie

I'm a fan of Q and his ability to make everything overbearingly about himself, even when it isn't. Honestly, this book felt like it was missing something. Not just Q's lack of powers but the overall feel of the book wasn't right. It felt too serious. Maybe because this audio listed it as abridged (and I can't find the full book anywhere) they took out more of the humor to fit within the window they wanted.

I imagine the book is better, because it is whole. This abridged version left much to be desired.

Edited: Mar 1, 2017, 3:21pm Top

The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer

- Definitely an interesting alternate history/steam punk type world. The American Revolution failed and the Brits doubled down on ways to make things worse for the colonies as punishment. An underground resistance exists, which continues to fight the "Empire." But the children of the resistance are separate from the adults. This hasn't been explained yet...
- Oh Hail no! Don't you dare start that bloody love triangle crap. Well, going further, I can say the triangle may be crumbling because the point was broken... However...
- Hints that come to light, hope they resolve SOMETHING before I reach the end of the book, and that's very near now.

Mar 1, 2017, 3:20pm Top

February Round Up:
>5 gilroy: Waiting Game by Ficks and Dugue
>44 gilroy: Brave new World by Huxley
>74 gilroy: Legends of the Ferengi by Behr
>75 gilroy: Spock vs Q: The Sequel by Fannon
>4 gilroy: The Magician's Guild by Canavan
>76 gilroy: Ship of Magic by Hobb
>92 gilroy: I, Q (abridged) by David and de Lancie

Mar 1, 2017, 8:41pm Top

>94 gilroy: Lots of Next Gen stuff in there I see. :o)

(One of my brothers gave me the entire series for my birthday. I haven't started watching it yet. I wonder how much of it I've forgotten.)

Edited: Apr 3, 2017, 7:48am Top

>95 clamairy: I have Next Gen on my Netflix list to rewatch one of these days. I also have a DS9 novel on Mt TBR waiting for me. :)

Edited: Mar 8, 2017, 5:42am Top

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

- Very vague opening. Yes, you start with action, but you don't learn the main character's name or what she is until at least half way into the first chapter. Some details wait until the second chapter... Urgh.
- A very meh book so far. Not really taking a liking to any of the characters. The primary, Cat, is more whiny and annoying than enjoyable. Naive is an understatement, even for the first book of a series. The vamps are ... questionable. So far, the most interesting bit has been the ghosts.
- Okay, even I'm not so stupid as to take a drink from someone I don't know in an unknown bar when I'm by myself. What type of a naïve moron did this writer create?
- Trying to decide which is worse: Naïve or prudish. I think the main character doubled down on horrible by being both. *shudder*
- Yeah, could see that revelation coming. The girl is pushing the guy away so he says "Those words" to draw her back in. *sigh*
- Oh the cliche writing. If she brings out "all that and a bag of chips" I'm giving the book back.

Edited: Mar 8, 2017, 5:43am Top

Time Machine by H G Wells

- hadn't realized how SHORT this book is. The publisher cheated by tacking on pages for another author's book on the end. Doubt I'll read those.

Mar 11, 2017, 3:41pm Top

So the Friends of the Library has gotten two hefty donations from me now.
284 books last year. 208 books this year. And now my mom's entire inspirational collection (which I wasn't interested in) has been moved out of my house. YEAH!

Mar 11, 2017, 7:49pm Top

>99 gilroy: Ahh, good for you! You must feel so much better.

I'm going to have to do a similar purge of things I'll never read again and thing I haven't read yet and probably never will. (Many of which came from library sales to begin with. LOL)

Mar 12, 2017, 7:51am Top

>100 clamairy: the extra space from getting rid of those three large boxes is awesome. :)

Mar 12, 2017, 9:42am Top

>99 gilroy: Has the ISPCB been informed?

Mar 12, 2017, 1:16pm Top

>102 hfglen: They helped pack the boxes?

Edited: Mar 20, 2017, 8:15pm Top

Midnight Bites by Chloe Neill

Back to the world of Merit!

This is actually two novellas, one following Jeff Christopher and one following Ethan and Merit. Again I come across scenes where they could have faded to black, because it doesn't advance the story.

Mar 17, 2017, 7:24pm Top

So today, I can make the Big Announcement!


I asked today. The local ice storm threw off part of the plan, but it still worked, for what it needed.

We went into DC today, to check out the cherry blossoms. They were kinda not there. Too cold. Anyway... We walked from the Washington Monument to the Jefferson Memorial. Took a small pause just beyond the memorial, where we sat to rest and gaze across the water. She found a marble seat and I knelt next to her. When we were getting ready to leave, that's when I brought out the ring and asked. (When no one was really nearby. :) )

So yea! big news.

Mar 17, 2017, 7:43pm Top

>105 gilroy:
Yea, engagement!

Mar 17, 2017, 7:47pm Top

>105 gilroy: Many congratulations!

Mar 17, 2017, 8:24pm Top

Wow, great! Congratulations!

Mar 17, 2017, 9:02pm Top

>105 gilroy: Congrats!!! All the best to you both!

Mar 17, 2017, 9:27pm Top

Congratulations!!!! I've been holding my breath for months now, waiting for the big announcement. It's a relief to be able to breath again.

Mar 17, 2017, 9:44pm Top


Mar 18, 2017, 1:45am Top

>105 gilroy: My best wishes and congratulations go to the both of you.

Mar 18, 2017, 4:34am Top

>105 gilroy: Loads of happiness, now and for years (decades) to come!

Mar 18, 2017, 9:51am Top

>105 gilroy: May the joy of the moment be yours always. :)

Mar 18, 2017, 7:09pm Top

Thanks for all the cheers, my friends. Now comes the two next big things: Marriage and Combining libraries.

Did I mention I'm marrying a librarian? :) Okay a children's librarian, but still...

Mar 20, 2017, 9:36am Top

>105 gilroy: Congratulations! I'm so happy for you both! And she's a librarian too, how cool.

Edited: May 10, 2017, 7:24am Top

Kahless by Michael Jan Friedman

Even though the audio book says it's unabridged, it feels so short (only 3 hours) compared to full length books in audio for other companies. Yet this is what Simon and Schuster has done. The shortening and the narrator have thoroughly unimpressed me to this point. I think this would have been much better if Michael Dorn had read it.

Edited: Apr 7, 2017, 9:18am Top

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

For a motivational book, this is a very DRY read. Plus half his babbling is examples which could be trimmed. The first habit can be learned in part by talking to a therapist, or any good linguist.

Mar 23, 2017, 6:51am Top

Congratulations. I am only catching the news now. Wonderful news. All the very best for the future.

Mar 24, 2017, 5:48am Top

>119 pgmcc: Thanks!

Edited: May 10, 2017, 1:33pm Top

Seeker by William Nicholson

First thought: I don't care for the personal descriptors in place of names. Two chapters and I have "Seeker of Truth", "Blaze of Justice", and "Goatboy" for names.

What does this guy listen to for some of these? Since when is FLOP a good description of a paper hitting a desk? I can vaguely see bump for a monastery bell, but it still suggests something muted to me. Just doesn't feel right for the world he's building.

Chapter 7 should have been chapter one. Of the first 8 chapters I've read, it should have been condensed to 3 because there is too much backstory slowing the pace. Too much unnecessary background. PICK UP THE BLASTED PACE! Goatboy finally got a name. Again, took to Chapter 8.

Reading this reminds me a lot of reading a script, though with attempts to fill in details between the dialog and scene/set descriptions. The paragraphs of description read like someone trying to describe a play set up. Just not wonderful prose. Doesn't really fulfill the full details of what the reader sees either.

I made it half way, then the suspension of disbelief just died a horrible, painful death and I can't continue. It's just too absurd and outlandish, even for a fantasy.

Mar 27, 2017, 6:10am Top

>115 gilroy: Ohhhh, combining libraries. I recommend some pre-marital counseling before AND after that.


Mar 27, 2017, 10:17am Top

>122 BookstoogeLT: We both have first edition Harry Potter... Who gets rid of their set?!?!? LOL

Mar 27, 2017, 12:41pm Top

Keep'em both. You can keep one set for collectible'ness and the other for reading when/if any kiddos come along...

Mar 27, 2017, 3:04pm Top

>123 gilroy: Neither of you. Listen to >124 BookstoogeLT:. :o)

So, I noticed you popped the question on 3/17. Is your intended also of Irish heritage?

Mar 27, 2017, 3:14pm Top

>125 clamairy: Maybe a quarter, I think? I admit we've not discussed it that deeply.

I did joke I should have gotten an emerald since I asked her on St Patty's day. She said she has nothing that the green would go with in her wardrobe. So the amethyst I got her worked better over the long run.

Mar 27, 2017, 6:08pm Top

>121 gilroy: I have that one on the pile - I struggled to make it to the end of The Wind Singer trilogy (which I liked at the outset) so it keeps slipping further and further down the pile, so I shall watch with interest to see your opinion as you progress.

Mar 28, 2017, 12:07pm Top

>126 gilroy: Amethysts are lovely. Did you guys set a date yet?

Mar 28, 2017, 1:04pm Top

>128 clamairy: Nope. Still a vague goal of spring/summer 2018.

Mar 29, 2017, 7:43am Top

So went with the fiancé (still feels weird to type that) to see Beauty and the Beast last night. Absolutely well made movie. The CGI and the acting are good. Didn't know Emma Watson could sing! Some of the voice actors for the CGI items will surprise you when you see who they are...

The sad part I'm seeing -- I'd say ironic, but we're well past that -- is so many people are reacting to the movie exactly as the moral of the story says NOT to. People are judging the movie based on the rumors (of gay moments in the movie) and the outside visuals (interracial couples) rather than just seeing the movie. The movie is about seeing past all that to see the true positives within.

To be perfectly honest, the whole LeFou is gay kerfluffle is overblown. It's TAME in the movie by comparison.

It's the same as don't judge a book by its cover. Don't judge a movie by the hype. See it and decide for yourself.

Mar 30, 2017, 10:00am Top

>130 gilroy: I absolutely agree with you. A delightful film with many wonderful character developments and moments. I have seen it twice now, and both times, at the end the whole theater broke out in applause! That just doesn't happen in our little town. Our little rural cowboy town.

As usual, the kerfluffle is just that. I hope it makes more people want to see the "controversial" movie. LeFou was one of my favorites in terms of character growth. I had to see it a second time after I found out who the voice actors were. :)

Apr 3, 2017, 7:52am Top

March Round up:
>93 gilroy: Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer
>71 gilroy: Forgotten Girls by Alexandra Steele
>97 gilroy: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
>104 gilroy: Midnight Bites by Chloe Neill
>117 gilroy: Kahless by Michael Jan Friedman
>42 gilroy: Ask the Parrot by Richard Stark

Edited: May 2, 2017, 8:26am Top

Glory Road by Robert A Heinlein
Read by Bronson Pinchot

-- So far, first chapter was backstory. Start of second chapter, backstory. *sigh* Interesting, but no motion with the described story yet.
-- Took to Chapter 3 to get started on the described plot on the cover flap.
-- Okay, so male centric writing as usual for the old masters. Woman hires man to be Hero, even though she is capable of doing the deeds herself, because she needs someone to sing songs of praise about to other men...

Do to my Kindle breaking, I never got a chance to finish this book. May get back to it.

May 2, 2017, 8:33am Top

So I decided to run a larf of an experiment the other day.

On Facebook, I asked if anyone was ordained in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to perform weddings. It was meant as a joke, cause dinner was spaghetti. I had some people who offered their services as being ordained to perform marriages. One or two even played along with the joke of becoming a Pastafarian...

First family reaction (that was posted) came 9 hours after the initial post. I expected my family to post against it. Instead it was hers. But they were just trying to verify what to plan. Colanders for the entire family gathering or not...

I admit it was a test to see how family reacted. Just surprised what I got. :)

May 2, 2017, 11:24am Top

>134 gilroy: That's awesome. :o)

May 2, 2017, 1:04pm Top

Oh, small correction: Those offering services were not of the CFSM, save one reference to someone who was.

And to me, this seemed like such a small wave, but knowing some of my family... It is the equivalent of a tsunami, because it isn't the conservative path of ... Not finishing that thought out, because I have so many negative terms that I just want to release and walk away from it all.

May 3, 2017, 10:35am Top


Star Wars Puns are coming...

May 3, 2017, 1:23pm Top

>137 gilroy: Yes! Big day tomorrow.

May 3, 2017, 2:14pm Top

>138 pgmcc: yes! I have various selections from the soundtracks cued up and ready to inflict on my co-workers ALL DAY. They especially love when I turn up the volume during the Imperial March.

May 3, 2017, 2:16pm Top

>139 Darth-Heather: The Imperial March is saved only for the entry of certain managers around here, myself... Including our CEO... ;)

May 3, 2017, 2:34pm Top

>140 gilroy: I would play it on my own entry if I could make that work . I at least sing along with it...

May 7, 2017, 7:21am Top

>141 Darth-Heather: My entry would be done to Peter's theme from Peter and the Wolf.

Edited: May 24, 2017, 9:53pm Top

Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher

- Hadn't realized how much I missed Harry until I started reading this book. As usual, good pace, good start, intriguing story line from page one.
- I'm chuckling a little because the description of Murphy could almost be the description of my fiance. :)
- Wait. Michael asked Harry to do WHAT? Does he not know it isn't safe to come between mother bear and cub? He is married to Charity after all.
- Suspect I see where this is going. Splattercon!!! (awesome name for a horror con, by the way) has someone using dark magic to make a name for itself, since it's a first year con. Suspect it is Molly, boyfriend, or whoever it was that wanted to talk to Molly. ETA: Ah, looks like I might be wrong.
- Much as I hate to say it, Bob and Lasciel have a point. Harry is never going to get laid. And with his description of Molly... Um, yeah. Charity probably overreacted, but what mother bear is going to stop and listen when she thinks cub is in danger... Sorry. Gotta side with the lascivious skull on this one.
- At least Harry and Murphy cleared some of the tension... only to make more tension. Hilts and Blades, Goddess of the Holy might. The tension could find the bad guy!
- One thing I like about Jim Butcher and his writing is the sudden appearance of a twist you couldn't ever consider appearing. Charity has magic? WHOA! I'm into the final chapters and am having trouble putting this book down... (Which may be good because we're listening to White Knight for our drive to Georgia during Memorial Day Weekend!)
- Harry, regarding Charity, repeat after me. "Let's not REALLY piss this woman off."
- Good ending. so much so I couldn't put it down. Loved a lot of things about this book...

May 7, 2017, 9:59am Top

>143 gilroy: "Tiny, but Fierce" That is Sasha's description of Murphy. My favorite. :)

May 7, 2017, 10:46am Top

>144 MrsLee: "A rose petal over five feet, blonde hair, blue eyes." That describes my fiance very well. The fact that she took Tae Kwon Do for many years also helps fit the fierce description. (I've already said on a few occasions "Let's not REALLY piss this woman off.")

May 8, 2017, 4:05pm Top

>142 gilroy: i love that idea!

Edited: Jun 1, 2017, 5:08am Top

Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

I remember reading a Miles book MANY years ago, but not really tried recently, so this will be my first foray into the world in over two decades. :)

- First chapter, quick, to the point, establish plot. So far so good.
- Second chapter, establish base issue. Also begin showing internal conflicts among supposed allies. Shaping up well so far. Good motion.
- This feels like it's more mystery in outer space than just a straight plot, which is fine with me. I'm enjoying that part, though the politics aren't my favorite. Seems that's the standard way warriors in the future leave their military careers, go into politics...

May 17, 2017, 8:06am Top

Logic I can't quite grasp:

- For many things, if you ignore it, the thing withers and dies on its own. True of plants and many human interactions.
- If you hang a beacon on something, the thing grows. If you bring attention to an event, it grows.

So is this reverse psychology for the book banners and protesters against 21st century ideals? We're going to make a huge ruckus over something like we hate it, BECAUSE we want it to grow?
It makes absolutely no sense to me...

May 17, 2017, 9:54am Top

>148 gilroy: Well, I don't think the analogy always holds true. For things like cancer, or other hidden diseases, if you ignore them, they don't go away, they grow, fester and destroy.

Finding the balance in life is a tricky business. Soldier on! :)

May 17, 2017, 1:04pm Top

>149 MrsLee: I think I'm more concerned with the disease analogy than I should be. Because human interaction isn't a disease. It's more like a plant. You ignore a plant, it dies. You water it, give it light, treat it with some attention, then it grows.

For book banning purposes, it appears that people are treating the book as a disease, rather than a human interaction.

I imagine if Lolita was left to its own devices, it would have disappeared on its own accord. Instead, people shone a light on it, brought it to the fore. Now people were more curious about it, more people were drawn to read it, just to find out why someone wanted it banned.

(All this is stemming from an event at my local library that Ultra Conservatives want stopped because it is against their beliefs. And they are treating it with this huge protest, etc. Which is drawing more people to it.)

May 17, 2017, 3:06pm Top

>150 gilroy: Ugh. :o( Well, they will end up delivering a lot of free publicity to this book, and most likely increasing its sales and the author's readership. So there's a silver lining to that ugly illogical cloud.

May 18, 2017, 5:01am Top

>150 gilroy: >151 clamairy: This exactly echoes the way things were in South Africa in the '80s. Writers, singers etc. would almost go out of their way to get their works "banned in the Republic" or from the SABC, in order to gain publicity and boost sales. One of the best ways to revive a failing stage show in Johannesburg was to get it banned and transfer to Sun City (160 km / 100 miles away, in the "independent homeland" of Bophuthatswana).

May 18, 2017, 10:08am Top

I've begun to suspect lately that big movies leak bits about controversial subjects in their films (even if evidence of it is very slim) for precisely that purpose!

Human nature is a funny duck. Says one who has read many banned books just to see what the fuss was, and been disappointed over the kerfuffle of a non-controversy.

May 20, 2017, 6:48pm Top

So as a followup to the event I've been talking about:

It takes place tomorrow, May 21. The local sheriff is involved in helping with security. Apparently the protesting group didn't think they'd get enough local people out so they have been sending flyers and notices UP AND DOWN THE US EAST COAST. And a library censorship group known as SafeLibrary has said they'll sue the library if the event takes place as planned.

The library is in Maryland
The SafeLibrary group is out of New Jersey...

Edited: May 20, 2017, 8:58pm Top

Sweet cheeses!
Keep us in the loop.

ETA: I did some searching and found what you're talking about. :o(
Hope all goes as smoothly as possible.

May 21, 2017, 6:15am Top

>155 clamairy: What makes it sad is I probably wouldn't care near as much, except that the fiance is smack dab in the middle of the controversy, being one of the library admin. She's been stressed for months... And usually the library is one of her happy places.

May 21, 2017, 12:19pm Top

I hope the event goes off without incident. I checked it out on Google, too.

May 21, 2017, 6:06pm Top

You know, I don't think I've shaken as many cop's hands as I did today. Walked to the library for an audio book (okay, I admit, and to witness the train wreck) and found a rather quiet day. Some regulars stayed away due to the hubbub. Others did as I did. Just came to see the fuss.

Protesters claimed they wouldn't come on library property because they didn't want to be the need for the police presence. (four uniforms and four plain clothes. All an awesome group of people.) And yet they still had one of their group arrested for disturbing the peace. They tried to argue about being allowed to take photographs of the presentation, however, the library policy actually states not allowed unless you are part of the event staff. The poor director, I hope he gets a good night's sleep, now that this debacle is over.

The counter protest proved three times as large. (Mind you, Protesters was like 10. So 3 times isn't hard to do. :) ) They were smiling, happy, talkative group. Making me consider joining up. From what I understood, a very smooth event. Just a few troublemakers.

May 21, 2017, 11:34pm Top

Well, I'm glad that went better than expected.

May 22, 2017, 9:08am Top

>158 gilroy: What a relief that the protest turned out to be smaller than expected. I hope your fiancée can relax now and enjoy her job again, and the rest of the staff too. No-one needs hassle like that.

Edited: May 29, 2017, 11:17am Top

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

This book definitely isn't my usual fare. Sometimes, however, long car rides call for literary exploration. I'm glad I did.

This is a unique tale, told as journal entries from our intrepid chef during his capture at the hands of the Mad Captain Mabbot. One of my bigger chuckles came at the expense of the favored pet: Mabbot's Rabbit.

It deals with historical times during the opium trade, running things from China and the East to England and the west. It also shows the ruthlessness some businessmen's dealings showed during that time.

It's a fun little romp, but definitely not a brain chewer. The food descriptions go a little overboard, so to speak, but since we have a chef main character, I suppose that stays in the right POV.

For a fun read, I'd pick this one up.

Edited: Jun 16, 2017, 8:13am Top

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

- Liking the establishment of character in the first two chapters, plus revealing at least one antagonist. Unique world so far...
- Interesting that the character was built one way and we're watching her grow as her radio show grows.
- So I'm more than half way through the book and the plot is ... diffuse. I'm honestly having trouble finding anything more than her internal struggles. Pack politics seems rather understated, all things considered. The radio show, which was the big plot device, has fallen to a lesser position. And what's with Cormac the bounty hunter and our happy little wolf going vixen on him ? The addition of the vamps seems like an editorial suggestion of "if you have any super, you have to have them all."
- I liked how Kitty was growing a backbone, don't like this constant wishy washy thing she's doing. Grrr.
- I'm having trouble now, as I near the end of the book. The plot has just gone so diffuse that it's hard to track, to know if there is a satisfying outcome. The characters are good. The world interesting. The plot... hard to find. It wavers in and out.
- Again I come across, details placed too late in the book to make them not seem like OMG REALLY type reveals. You didn't get a full sense of Meg's animosity until past the half way point. Or even hints of her duplicitous nature. This doesn't work well when one wants to point the finger as the first book's main protagonist.

Jun 1, 2017, 8:17am Top

>162 gilroy: I was surprised how much I enjoyed Kitty and the midnight hour. It has a lot of the usual UF tropes but used them well.

Jun 1, 2017, 8:23am Top

>163 Sakerfalcon: It was one of a few series recommended to me when I mentioned how much I enjoyed Dresden. So far, the other two series have disappointed, but this one looks like I might enjoy it.

Jun 16, 2017, 7:44pm Top

Okay now which book from the to read pile is next?

James Patterson
Cassandra Clare
J A Jance
Lillian Jackson Braun
Elizabeth Moon

Jun 16, 2017, 7:48pm Top

I rolled a d20. It says JA Jance...

Jun 16, 2017, 7:55pm Top

I've never read any but Lillian Jackson Braun, so I cast my vote for Clare because of the name.

Edited: Aug 6, 2017, 5:30pm Top

1st to die by James Patterson

Picked by popular vote (Facebook and here 4 to 1 to 1) and because if I find him unpalatable, I have a large stack of books to go.

-- I'm surprised how short the early chapters are, because we barely get any details before we get a chapter break.
-- With as short as the chapters are, the flipping POV are rather distracting. Not sure the draw yet, since I haven't found a single sympathetic character... expect maybe the two dead ones.
-- Definitely seeing why these books are read once then discard. Really don't care for the flipping point of view every five pages. Especially since one of the points of view is the antagonist.
-- Really not liking/trusting this reporter. She sounds like she's done her research enough to know the right buttons to push to know our inspector and get her to trust her. That's a red flag to me this early in the book.
-- The author gave the main character a disease that is, in the end, fatal. Not really a smart fatal flaw when looking at an extended series. Honestly, not smart writing at all... since it could potentially kill the character by book's end.
-- Early in the book, we were given a few chapters from the killer's point of view. Not seen those in a while. Starting to think those shouldn't be included. The author changed the name of the killer, or else is setting someone up as a look alike to the killer. Either way, the early chapters are creating confusion, not being red herrings.
-- I realize this is the first book of the series, and a lot of this is establishing the characters, but dang. He's stretching things out without actual investigation happening. The cops are doing more command and talk among themselves than they are pounding the beat finding answers.
-- Okay, thoroughly not impressed. The actual killer came out of no where, without enough hints dropped early on. Some things that should be stretched were written as one sentence, whereas things that should be a couple sentences rated... a full chapter. HOW is this guy such a big deal writer?

Edited: Jul 6, 2017, 11:49am Top

Desert Heat by J A Jance

So with me moving the digital library reader back to my old tablet, I'm back to audio books. Read book 3 of this series, figured I'd go back to book 1 and see what I've missed so far...

-- I'm having to give the author a little benefit of the doubt, this being the first in a long running series from years ago. Need to establish the base arc and all that. But it's moving so SLOWLY. It's feeling like I'm climbing toward a cliff.
-- I'm leaning toward three culprits right now, which may just be collusion with the known guy that's already been made prominent.
-- Angie Kellogg is a touch of an unintelligent twit if she thinks Tony has no contacts anywhere. She may have caught a ride with one.
-- I hate when I guess the culprit early in the book. Too predictable...
-- Sadly, I thought the first one of this series I read, book 3, was decent. Maybe because I'm back reading, this isn't settling as well. I'll try book 2, and determine if I keep going or if I can eliminate books from my TBR stack.

Jun 27, 2017, 4:43pm Top

>169 gilroy: Tablet not working?

Jun 27, 2017, 6:40pm Top

>170 BookstoogeLT: Kindle fell down, shattered screen. So I had to backtrack to my Samsung Tab 3, which has less memory and is a slower device. Still works, but it had been more my writing notes device once I got the Kindle.

Jun 27, 2017, 7:01pm Top

>170 BookstoogeLT: Ouch! I feel your pain...

Jun 28, 2017, 7:46pm Top

For the last few weeks, I've been struggling with my smartphone. Wireless connections that didn't happen. Random resets. Overall bad performance.

So I went to see what could be done to fix the bloody thing. Um, that would be my first mistake.

Because of what was going wrong, I was told the phone was dying. Battery replacement alone was $40, but the other repairs made it worth updating the phone. (Okay, so I was still using a Samsung Galaxy S4. It had been good to me!)

My original plan had been the S6 or the S7. I'd even considered springing for the Edge. Slick sales guy convinced me to go get the S8. So far, I'm okay, not complaining.

They asked me about a plan change. I SAID NO.
They changed my bloody plan anyway.

So now the plan will have to change again, when the fiance joins the plan.
Besides, I have enough trouble burning through 2 GB of data. How am I going to burn through 5?!?

Edited: Jun 28, 2017, 10:14pm Top

You have my sympathies. I got 39 months out of my S4, and it's still in heavy use in its 'second life' as I access my Amazon Music through it. It's hooked up to my surround sound on the first floor. The only thing that was failing was the battery. (And that was because I was using it to play Pokemon Go too much.)

I hope you get all of your plan issues straightened out. I think you'll be happy with the phone. My daughter got the 8 last month and she loves it. ( I have the 7, and I am also very happy with it.)

Jun 29, 2017, 4:54am Top

>174 clamairy: Wasn't the S7 the one that was inclined to catch fire randomly?

Edited: Jun 29, 2017, 7:25am Top

>175 hfglen: No. That was the Note.

Jun 29, 2017, 8:46am Top

>174 clamairy: Traded my broke phone in for the extra $35 off my new phone. :)
They kept trying to sell me a new tablet, even as I worked with my present tablet right in front of them. I had to say no ... five times for that one.

The thing about the plan is really more I said no and they changed it anyway. I had a multi line plan, prepped to have fiancé move onto my cell plan since I had a better deal than hers. They switched me to a single phone plan. My objections to the data was a personal side but still relevant.

Thanks for reminding me, I have to go deauthorize the old phone from the amazon account.

Edited: Jun 29, 2017, 2:10pm Top

Funny - I was having major problems with my S4 last week too, but in the end all it needed was a new SIM card. Almost got a new S7, though. The SIM card saved me about $800.

>177 gilroy: - if you said no to the new plan, you should go back and ask them to change it, if it what they gave you wasn't what you wanted.

Jun 29, 2017, 2:07pm Top

>176 clamairy: Phew! At least that's one way we won't have Dragoneers turning unintentionally into fiery Dragons.

Jul 1, 2017, 12:39pm Top

Store manager got back to me today. Apparently, in Verizon vernacular, a customer saying "No" is an understanding of "YES, PLEASE"

I lost track of the number of times I said no that day. Vehemently said no.

Edited: Jul 1, 2017, 1:52pm Top

It's probably like Wells Fargo where they fire their employees if they don't meet a quota so they're going to sell you a plan whether you want one or not.

Jul 3, 2017, 1:36pm Top

I've slacked on my round up posts for each month. So here we go:

>84 gilroy: Maze Runner by James Dashner

>121 gilroy: Seeker by William Nicholson
>143 gilroy: Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
>161 gilroy: Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

>147 gilroy: Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold
>162 gilroy: Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

Jul 4, 2017, 6:04pm Top

Wishing all who read my thread in the American Colonies a Happy Treason Day. (Ungrateful colonists, you. :) )

Two things on my mind today:
I continue my tradition since 1996 -- Had to watch the original Independence Day with Will Smith. The cheese was worth it.

Also, fiance and I went to see Wonder Woman in the theater. SO worth it. Amazing movie. My only comment so far is WHOA!

Jul 4, 2017, 7:00pm Top

>183 gilroy: Love the original one. Haven't worked up the courage to watch the recent sequel, as I've heard nothing but bad about it.

Jul 4, 2017, 7:18pm Top

>183 gilroy: that's a great movie! And I thoroughly enjoyed Wonder Woman.

Jul 4, 2017, 8:18pm Top

My husband and I have watched Independence Day every 4th of July since it came out. Well except for 2015 when we were in Belgium. I love it for its awfulness.

Is that glass bulletproof?
No, sir!

Edited: Jul 17, 2017, 7:24am Top

Tombstone Courage by J A Jance

-- This one picks up a few months after the original. There's been a definable shift to the characters due to events in the first book, which is good. Hints are given that multiple plots abound in this book, but none are advancing well right now. But I'm only like two chapters in. :)
-- The author keeps pointing to some very obvious non-culprits to try to throw you off. So not working for me. I have my suspicions. Harold killed Burton's father for diddling Holly, Harold's daughter. Now, Amy the therapist killed Harold to keep him quiet because he was going to tell Holly everything, and it would ruin her scam to get the money and land.

Jul 6, 2017, 7:15pm Top

I remember taking my boys to see Independence Day in the theaters the year it opens. I think one son still watches it every year as a favorite film.

Jul 7, 2017, 6:07pm Top

>188 jillmwo: Independence Day is the movie we owe gratitude to for coining the expression, "Plausible Deniability".

Jul 7, 2017, 6:13pm Top

>189 pgmcc: I can remember that phrase from long before that movie and Wikipedia traces it back to the 70s where it was used in the Church commission investigations of the CIA.

And anyone who thinks that a computer virus written on Earth has any chance of infecting an alien computer knows nothing of how computers work.

Jul 7, 2017, 8:30pm Top

>190 jjwilson61: Yeah, but it's fun, so knowledge about computers isn't necessary :-)

Edited: Dec 21, 2017, 3:05pm Top

Throw Out Fifty Things by Gail Blanke (Abridged)

Picked this up to work on self some. You might note a theme with these books, somewhere...

-- Some of this is reading like common sense. Things that don't fit who you are can go. If you know you aren't going to fix it, chuck it. If you hesitate on keeping it, chuck it.
-- She's doing some name dropping of her favorite sites/sponsors through this book. Keeping that in mind...
-- I like that she included the mental/psychological in addition to the physical, though she details the same thing twice, just words it differently.

Jul 19, 2017, 6:41am Top

>192 gilroy: Well, as long as you don't throw out 51 things! :-D

You trying to simply declutter or going for a more minimal lifestyle?

Jul 19, 2017, 7:08am Top

>193 BookstoogeLT: A little of both, probably. Plus, trying to move fiancé in with me soon, so need to make sure I have space for both of us. :)

Edited: Jul 29, 2017, 7:29am Top

Oh! That reminds me. We're one step closer to setting date and time. We FINALLY got a response back from our first venue choice.

They won't think outside the box. Period.

So we are going with second choice, where the room will be more cramped, but they are much more open and willing to work with us.

ETA: So a sit down discussion between the bride and groom last night produced the important information everyone is dying to know. WE HAVE A DATE!

April 28, 2018

So 8 months to plan and create the décor and everything else for the wedding. I think we can do that, since the caterer is part of the package we're getting. We just need to find the baker for the allergen free cake. :)

ETA2: We had to move the wedding back a week. Turns out the weekend we usually chose is the regular opening weekend of the local Tiki Bar, which overwhelms where we plan to hold the wedding. More drunken idiots above known family and friends were against our better judgement. :)

Edited: Aug 1, 2017, 9:25pm Top

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

-- I'm liking the uniqueness of this world so far. Magic users are all called Witches, regardless of gender. Daimons are demons, as near as I can tell. Then there are humans. We've not really faced any humans in this story so far, just Witches and Daimons.
-- We have a gladiatorial bout as in Roman, with the mob celebrating death. No surprise. Two main characters are part. Third character has a secret. Evil relatives. Hints and suggestions. I'm drawn in to listening.
-- Picked this up in part because I wanted to see how good James Marsters does as a reader before spending money to get Harry Dresden in audio. After the snippet from Dresden and listening to this, OH WOW he does well. While the voice does subtle shifts for various characters, he definitely does characterization as he goes. It's amazing.
-- Not real sure this is within my normal genre, but stretching my reading wings is a good thing for the sake of learning new techniques.
-- I always start to worry when a book has this great build, detailed plot, but as I near the end, there is no obvious ending in sight.
-- GAH! It ends on a cliff hanger! Where's the rest of the book? Where's the series! Don't leave me hanging like that!

Edited: Aug 17, 2017, 6:27am Top

Watership down by Richard Adams

-- Okay, so we're talking adventurous rabbits here. Anthropomorphized rabbits. I'm good with this. For the recommended age group, this makes sense. The outliers, the runts, the disgruntled leave the burrow for brighter pasture.
-- Not sure I care for Big Wig. Too pushy. Dandelion and Silver are okay. Feel sorry for Pipkin and Fiver(Fifer? Audio makes it hard to understand the name. ) Hazel definitely seems out of his element, though at the same time, he's been tapped as lead.
-- The first series of trials, I can understand. The new rabbit burrow, not sure I trust it. Probably stay outside like the one with the gift. Wouldn't be sure I'd stick around after the first time the one I trusted told me I was going loonie.
-- I'm not drawn into the story yet. It's unique. Interesting. Not something I'd have trouble putting down. Maybe because I'm an adult and it's a kids story.
-- In a way, I can understand why people might feel this is such a great story. The writer developed a mythology, a religion, and a language, rather like Tolkien did. To me, some of the myth asides are taking away from the actual story.
-- Maybe this is just the narrator for the audio version I'm listening to, but why does the seagull have a Norwegian accent? And why is the mouse Italian?
-- Wow this is a bloody book. He didn't hold back on the way of rabbits and fighting.

Aug 1, 2017, 9:40pm Top

Edited: Aug 3, 2017, 9:20pm Top

>197 gilroy: And? You hated it? You loved it? What?

Aug 4, 2017, 5:50am Top

>199 clamairy: Just started it. No notes yet because I'm only a little ways in.

Edited: Sep 5, 2017, 3:28pm Top

The Cat Who Wasn't There by Lilian Jackson Braun

-- Having trouble even getting into this book. I read a few pages, feel like nothing's happening, put it down, and ignore it. Suspect I'm going to dud this one soon...
-- I was told I should be able to pick up any of these Cat Who books and understand what's going on without reading the previous. Um, not entirely true. This book doesn't really introduce characters and if I hadn't known the two main cat who's were Siamese, I'd be completely lost.

Edited: Aug 11, 2017, 7:48am Top

Just because I think this is cool, I feel the need to share:

There is going to be a TEDx event near my home! (YEAH!) And I signed up to volunteer. (Am I nuts? Well, free entry to a TED event, so maybe not. :) )

For those unsure of what I speak: www.ted.com
ETA: Got the link for the local event. www.tedxleonardtown.com

Aug 10, 2017, 5:28pm Top

>202 gilroy: Nice! I hope you have a lot of fun...

Aug 10, 2017, 7:00pm Top

>202 gilroy: I'm really rather envious! That should be a really interesting event.

Aug 11, 2017, 7:18am Top

>202 gilroy: TED events are great. I have never been to one but have watched many TED talks on YouTube. TEDx has become a regular annual event in Dublin and it is always sold out rapidly.

I hope you enjoy it.

Aug 11, 2017, 1:57pm Top

>202 gilroy: we had TED talks here a while ago. I was too busy to partake of them.

Aug 16, 2017, 2:37pm Top

One step closer to the thing being overly real. We went shopping for the wedding "bling" yesterday. We came in quite well within budget. I got a tungsten band and she got a nice piece that works with the engagement band...

Aug 16, 2017, 2:57pm Top

>207 gilroy: Exciting stuff! All the very best.

Aug 16, 2017, 6:23pm Top

Well, here you are! Hi, Gilroy, thanks for giving me the link to your thread.

First order of business, I see congratulations are in order! How exciting! I'm so happy for you and your fiance!

>197 gilroy: I see you're listening to Watership Down and have read your thoughts on it. I admit that, although I am most definitely an adult*, it is one of my favorite listens, but I can see how the audio version might be a it difficult first time around. I read it in print decades ago (I still have the paperback on my shelves, not that I'll ever read it in print again but I just like to look at it sometimes and remember) and also listen and relisten to the audio every few years. I don't have a problem with the anthropomorphizing of the rabbits, though I vaguely recall thinking it was weird when I first started reading it. Anyway, I hope it's gotten better for you.

*So old an adult, in fact, that I may have entered my second childhood.

Edited: Sep 12, 2017, 6:32am Top

Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu

-- Maybe it's because it's a Chinese novel, translated to English, but this has been a very dry read so far. Very little action, from a Western idea, and lots of background. And we covered three chapters of a character that we're now going away from...
-- Physics. Theoretical Physics. It's what the entire book is going to be about. And so far, very dry text, which, again, may be the translation.
-- Continues to be a dry book. We finally got a connection between the beginning and the latest character. The debate is on whether I let it return September 7 and not keep trying or check it out again to keep reading.
-- I got beyond half way. The in book game seemed like the more interesting storyline than most of the rest. There was too much a feel of a physics textbook than a novel to this book. A lot of explanation, exposition, telling, very limited showing, action. VERY slow moving book. Now debating getting it out for the last half (I was at 8 hours of 15 on the audio book.)
-- The more I think about it, the more it feels like the author tried to take the popular concepts of popular books and merge them into one book. There is a stretch of reading off redacted documents aka World War Z. There is a game of survival like Hunger Games. There is the whole mystery to solve thing. There's the aliens that never appear.
-- This book is so disjointed, it's ridiculous. I want to rearrange chapters, maybe alternate some of the alien chapters with the earth chapters. Something. Going through two thirds of the book from the Earth perspective, then the last third with the alien perspective is ... no. UGH! How did this book win awards? Concept?

Aug 17, 2017, 7:28pm Top

>207 gilroy: As pgmcc notes, the excitement must be building!!

Aug 20, 2017, 9:51am Top

>209 Storeetllr: Thanks for the congrats. Honestly, the book wasn't bad, but it won't be on my reread list any time soon. :)

>208 pgmcc: , >211 jillmwo: Exciting is one word. The blocks of ice around my feet are growing with each step. Panic, overthinking, worry, HAPPY, and anticipation also fall into the list. :)

Aug 20, 2017, 10:23am Top

So when is the TED talk? The cold feet are about the wedding and not the TED event, correct? ;o)

Aug 20, 2017, 12:51pm Top

>213 clamairy: The TED talk is September 9.

Yes, the cold feet is because of the wedding. :)

Aug 21, 2017, 12:17am Top

>214 gilroy:, No worries, after the wedding, when your feet are cold, you just put them against your spouse's back or between their legs. Warms them up a treat.

Aug 21, 2017, 9:56am Top

I would be highly amused if, during the full eclipse, someone in a crowded viewing area were to yell out:

"I looked at the trap, Ray!"

Aug 27, 2017, 7:14pm Top

I think it's time to go to a new thread (OMG! NEVER thought I'd get there...)

Group: The Green Dragon

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