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Norabelle414's Trilogy in Three Parts

This is a continuation of the topic Norabelle414's Trilogy in Two Parts.

This topic was continued by Norabelle414's Trilogy in Four Parts.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Jul 2, 2017, 2:54pm Top

(My new favorite reading spot, when it's not too hot out, is the roof of my building)

Hello and welcome to the section of the year when my thread title is not a funny joke! I'm Nora. I live in Washington DC. This is my EIGHTH YEAR of having my own thread in the 75ers group! I have not been reading that much for the past few years but I still love books. I also love:

animals - on the weekends I volunteer at Smithsonian's National Zoo
TV - scripted only, mostly science fiction and fantasy, especially anything based on a book
theater - I have season tickets to Arena Stage but I often go to shows elsewhere as well
podcasts - especially about books

You can find me on Twitter @ norabelle414

Edited: Jul 2, 2017, 2:44pm Top

A selection of books I have finished recently:

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan - 4.5/5 stars
Ms. Marvel, Vol 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona - 4.5/5
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - 5/5
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey - 3/5 stars
Camp So-and-So by Mary McCoy - 5/5 stars

Edited: Jul 2, 2017, 2:55pm Top

For Paul's use only, here is where you can find the books I've read this year: https://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=norabelle414&collection=430963&shelf=list&sort=stamp

Edited: Jul 4, 2017, 12:37pm Top

This week on Audiobooksync.com :

The theme is American Independence Day/"to be American" -

YA - My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson, read by Nick Podehl and Amy Rubinate (presumably available everywhere)
non-YA - American Night: The Ballad of Juan Jose by Richard Montoya, read by Richard Montoya, Keith Jefferson, Todd Nakagawa, Sean San Jose, Kimberly Scott, Herbert Siguenza, Tom Virtue, Libby West, and Caro Zeller (presumably available everywhere)

Some great picks this week, that represent not just stories about Americans but examining what it means to be American. The YA book is fiction, but based on the author's life, about Alaskan children in the 1960s who are removed from their parents and forced to attend a Catholic boarding school. The second audiobook is an audio production of a comedic play about a Mexican-American man studying for his US citizenship exam. He falls asleep and has crazy dreams about meeting various figures from American history. I'm not a fan of listening to audio productions of plays, but boy would I love to see this performed on stage!

Jul 2, 2017, 3:27pm Top

Happy new thread, Nora!

Jul 2, 2017, 4:24pm Top

Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow, The Chosen One, is excited to start his final year of the magical boarding school Watford, but he's also a little distracted. His nemesis/roommate Baz is nowhere to be found. Where is he?? Simon is obsessed with finding out. Meanwhile, The Insidious Humdrum is still creating magical dead-zones all over England. The Mage, head of the school and Simon's mentor, is fighting the Humdrum but also antagonizing the parents of his students by searching their property. Simon receives a very important message meant for Baz, and when Baz eventually turns up Simon is so relieved that he decides to put aside his rivalry and help Baz solve a decade-old mystery.

Simon and Baz are squishily cute. (is that a thing? well it is now). I thought the overall plot was kind of lackluster but I loved all of the characters and very much especially Simon and Baz.
This book is a Harry Potter pastiche with little improvements made here and there - diversity of characters, a more defined system of magic, and small logical corrections to the magical world. It's a spin-off from Rowell's previous book Fangirl, about a young woman who writes fanfic about Simon Snow. In the end, this book's appeal is also its greatest weakness - it cannot stand up on its own and can only exist in the shadow of Harry Potter. Prior knowledge of the Harry Potter world and the plot progression of its 7 books carry a lot of the weight of understanding Simon's first 7 years at school, which are just barely mentioned. My understanding of and empathy for Simon is entirely the result of my love for Harry Potter, and is not really earned by this book itself. This doesn't make it any less of a FUN book to read! I greatly enjoyed it, but I would never recommend it to someone who hasn't read Harry Potter over and over and over again.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Jul 2, 2017, 4:38pm Top

>5 PawsforThought: Thanks, Paws!

Jul 2, 2017, 4:58pm Top

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

In 1912, on the East Side of New York City, lives a Jewish family of a mother, a father, and five girls: Ella (the grown-up one), Henny (the troublemaker), Sarah (the logical one), Charlotte (the dreamer), and Gertie (the baby). The girls love candy, and books, and although they don't have much money they can always find ways to entertain each other.

This is the first in a series of really cute books that I read when I was little. The girls are all different and are really fun, and it's a great introduction to Jewish customs. Several Jewish holidays are described throughout the book, from the perspective of the extremely excited little girls. I think these appealed to me more than the Little House books and Anne of Green Gables books when I was a kid, because these girls lived in a city, like I did. I enjoyed this trip down memory lane, although there is not much more to appreciate here as an adult than as a kid.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Jul 2, 2017, 5:03pm Top

>8 norabelle414: Aw, that sounds like a sweet series of books. I would have loved to learn more about Jewish customs when I was a kid so I think they would have been right up my alley.

Jul 2, 2017, 5:05pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 2, 2017, 5:13pm Top

>9 PawsforThought: They are really sweet! It's a combo of learning about Jewish customs AND learning what life was like in 1912. I remember being fascinated that the girls could buy half a penny's worth of candy. It boggled my tiny brain.

I also loved the Betsy-Tacy and Tib books, which take place just a few years earlier but in Minnesota instead of NYC.

Jul 2, 2017, 5:13pm Top

>11 _Zoe_: Thanks Zoe!

Jul 2, 2017, 5:20pm Top

>12 norabelle414: Haha! Reminds me om when my parents talk about when they were kids and you could buy toffee for 1 öre (something like 1/1000th of a dollar). It boggled my mid as a kid, as a single chewing gum cost 50 öre when I was 7-8.

When I was little I loved a series of books written by the Swedish author Ann-Madeleine Gelotte who wrote a trilogy of books inspired by the childhoods of herself, her mother and her grandmother. The first (about her grandmother's childhood) described life in a small village in Lapland in the late 19th century; the second (about her mother) is about growing up in central Stockholm during the 1910s/1920s (that was my favourite) and the last one was about life in one of Stockholms suburbs during the middle of the 20th century.

Jul 2, 2017, 5:38pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 2, 2017, 5:47pm Top

>14 PawsforThought: I was more concerned about the logistics than the actual value. The penny is currently the smallest denomination so how would that work? (In the book they buy a half-penny's worth of one candy and a half-penny's worth of another, so they end up paying with a whole penny). I know the U.S. had half-penny coins in the past but I just looked it up and they stopped minting them in 1857.

>15 lycomayflower: Thanks, Laura!

Jul 2, 2017, 5:49pm Top

Happy new thread, Nora.

When I lived in Egypt in the 80s I used to love to read on the roof of my villa.

Jul 2, 2017, 5:50pm Top

>16 norabelle414: Yeah I get that. We've only had 50-öre coins in my lifetime (don't have any öre coins at all nowadays), so it was weird for me too.
That's pretty amazing about the minting ending in 1857, and still being used decades later.

Jul 2, 2017, 6:27pm Top

Happy new thread! The view looks great!

Jul 2, 2017, 6:46pm Top

Happy new one, Nora!

Jul 2, 2017, 7:43pm Top

Happy new thread!

Jul 3, 2017, 10:25am Top

>17 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul! I bet that was beautiful.

>18 PawsforThought: They didn't actually have any half-pennies in the book, they just bought half a cent's worth of one thing and half a cent's worth of another, and paid with one penny.

>19 drneutron: Hi Jim! Thanks!

>20 katiekrug: Thanks Katie!

>21 foggidawn: Thanks Foggi!

Jul 3, 2017, 1:00pm Top

Happy new thread! Looks like your roof top reading spot is pretty great!

Jul 3, 2017, 7:03pm Top

Happy new thread, Nora! Your rooftop spot looks awesome!

Glad to see you enjoyed Carry On and I agree you need to know both HP and Fangirl to really appreciate it. But it's fun for what it is.

Jul 4, 2017, 9:13am Top

Happy new thread, Nora!

Jul 5, 2017, 1:49am Top

Happy new thread Nora!

Jul 5, 2017, 10:55am Top

Thank you Chelle, Micky, Anita, and Leah!

Jul 5, 2017, 4:12pm Top

I don't remember if I've mentioned this much here but last year I started bullet journaling*. I used a random promotional notebook I had lying around for the first year, because I didn't want to spend money without knowing what I was doing. I ended up liking journaling a lot but I hated the notebook I used (it was 1/2in thick with a hard cover and the pages were too small and I only used about 1/2 of it for the whole year and the spine broke). I started a new notebook this January, a Moleskine that is taller with fewer pages and a soft cover and stitched spine. I looooove this new note book a lot. The year is halfway through and I'm about ready to start a second journal for the year which is pretty perfect. They come in 3-packs and they sell them at my local Target so my supply is plentiful.

One of the things I started doing this year was keeping a list in my bullet journal of books I come across that I want to read. I have previously kept lists like this in a wishlist collection on LT, a word processing document, a google docs spreadsheet, an Amazon wishlist, a list on my library's website, etc. but I really like keeping it on paper in my bullet journal. It's very satisfying to write out the titles by hand and check off the boxes when I either read the book or acquire a copy. I started the list fresh in January, not transferring over any books from any other list I had been keeping. Now it is time to start a new journal and I am debating whether I want to transfer the unchecked books from the current list or start over fresh again (I will keep my current journal handy in my apartment, I just won't carry it around with me).

To help shorten the list I went back to the top and started putting library holds on every book until I got to one that didn't have a waitlist. Now certainly all of the waitlist books will come up at the same time in about a week or two.


*bullet journaling is kind of a free-for-all type of notebook, where you start with a blank notebook and come up with a system that works for you to organize anything you might ever write down, like calendars, to-do lists, meeting notes, etc.

Jul 5, 2017, 4:22pm Top

Murphy's Law of library holds: they always all come in at once.

Jul 5, 2017, 5:30pm Top

>29 MickyFine: Never fails.

Jul 6, 2017, 9:21am Top

A question for librarians - what does it mean when my library's website says a copy of a book is "not holdable"?

Edited: Jul 6, 2017, 9:48am Top

>31 norabelle414: In my system, we have certain categories of materials that are not holdable. We have some hot bestsellers categorized as "Speed Readers," which only check out for seven days and which can't be placed on hold -- the idea is that there's the chance that those super-popular materials will be available sometimes to the casual browser. We also do this with all of our DVD new releases -- they check out for three days and are not holdable, so you just have to try your luck at coming to the library to get the movie you want. We also belong to a consortium, and have the ability to set some things so that they are not requestable to other libraries in the consortium, so they are not always going away to other parts of the state. I think we do this with new graphic novels, for instance.

ETA: Depending on how your system works, I suppose that could also mean it has some sort of weird status, like "damaged" or "mending," that might keep it out of commission for an unspecified amount of time.

Jul 6, 2017, 10:12am Top

>32 foggidawn: They have one copy of this (new release) book that is checked out but "not holdable" plus 3 copies on order. The checked out copy says it is due back on July 20 so the check-out period must be the full 3 weeks. Maybe they did not anticipate how popular it was going to be when they first ordered one copy and now they've set that one was "not holdable" while ordering additional copies. I guess the 45 of us on the waitlist just have to twiddle our thumbs for awhile!

Jul 6, 2017, 10:43am Top

>33 norabelle414: Yikes! Which book?

Jul 6, 2017, 11:07am Top

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. I'm unsurprised that it is so popular because everyone has been raving about it, but surprised that the library didn't anticipate it

Jul 6, 2017, 11:10am Top

>35 norabelle414: I think it's been a bigger hit than anticipated -- I will probably have to buy additional copies for my library, and I see on our distributor website that they have a lot of copies on order from the publisher.

Jul 11, 2017, 7:11am Top

Today is my TENTH Thingaversary!

Jul 11, 2017, 7:46am Top

Happy Thingaversary!

Jul 11, 2017, 7:49am Top

Happy Thingaversary! Will you be buying the traditional number of books for the occasion?

Jul 11, 2017, 8:11am Top

Happy thingaversary! The big one-oh! What are you buying to celebrate?

Jul 11, 2017, 8:59am Top

>38 bell7:, >39 foggidawn:, >40 PawsforThought: Thanks!

I had forgotten about the buying books part! I have been doing so well lately with not buying more books than I read so maybe I should refrain. On the other hand, it IS Amazon Prime Day so maybe I will mosey over there....

Jul 11, 2017, 9:56am Top

Happy 10th Thingaversary, Nora, I hope you can find some nice books :-)

Jul 11, 2017, 11:10am Top

>42 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita!


I forgot that Barnes & Noble has a sale on Marvel graphic novels this week - buy 2 get 1 free. So obviously I am buying 9.

Jul 11, 2017, 12:35pm Top

Happy Thingaversary, Nora! Enjoy all those graphic novels. I look forward to the final acquisitions list. :)

Jul 11, 2017, 1:14pm Top

Happy thingaversary!

Jul 11, 2017, 1:53pm Top

>43 norabelle414: Oh, great deal! Tell us what you get!

Jul 11, 2017, 5:58pm Top

Happy Thingaversary!!

Jul 12, 2017, 12:15pm Top

>44 MickyFine:, >45 drneutron:, >46 PawsforThought:, >47 ChelleBearss: Thanks guys! I will post what I got after I write some reviews!

Jul 12, 2017, 1:15pm Top

This week (but actually only until 10am tomorrow because I am late!) on Audiobooksync.com :

The theme is "Head and Heart" -

Rebuttal by Jyotsna Hariharan, read by Phoebe Strole, Michael Crouch, Nina Mehta, etc. (presumably available everywhere)
Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer, read by Will Lasley (presumably available everywhere)

Interesting choices. The first book is an audiodrama about two ambitious rival teenagers who end up on the same side of a debate team. It sounds pretty good if you like audiodramas. The second book is about an Australian boy living in the U.S. and dealing with depression after the death of his girlfriend. The interesting aspect of this book is that it was originally published online as fan-fiction about a member of an Australian boyband. I have a lot of questions about this but I'm not entirely sure how it works so I'll just leave it alone. The book has good reviews and if you're into this story you probably wouldn't even know.

Jul 12, 2017, 10:21pm Top

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Lady Georgiana might be 34th in line to the British Royal throne, but that doesn't mean she has any money. Her relatives are trying to marry her off to a fish-faced oaf of a Prince but Georgie runs away because it's 1930, dammit, and she can do what she wants! Well, she did NOT want a strange man to end up dead in her bathtub, but Georgie is a capable young woman and she'll deal with that, as well as how to make ends meet while maintaining her royal reputation.

Georgie is a very entertaining main character and I like her a lot. She struggles with tasks normally delegated to servants just enough to be amusing, but not nearly enough to feel like she's incompetent or spoiled. She's confident when it comes to situations she is familiar with, but can be shy or worried when trying something new. A good balance. This book has only a bit of mystery to it, and there is almost zero spying. It's mostly a story about Georgie getting used to being her own woman.

There was one thing that really bothered me about this book, though. Each chapter has a date at the beginning, like a diary entry or letter, but the writing is not in the least bit structured like a diary or letter. The dates are pretty unnecessary and only call attention to the book's imperfect sense of time. Sometimes more than a dozen plot points will happen all in the same day, and sometimes the book will jump forward 2 or 3 days with no mention of what Georgie did on those days. Additionally, most of the chapters end in a cliff-hanger style, so the beginning of the next chapter takes place immediately after the end of the previous chapters. Most of the time jumps are mid-chapter, which makes the chapter dates useless. I would not have noticed nor cared about any of this if there weren't dates at the beginning of the chapters, but since there were it was very jarring.

But I did enjoy the character a LOT and the writing is really great. I might pick up a few more books in this series, but I really hope they stop having dates at the beginning of the chapters.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Edited: Jul 12, 2017, 11:15pm Top

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book One by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze

The African country of Wakanda, home to the world's only vibranium mines, is in turmoil after several humanitarian crises and the death of its queen. T'Challa, the Queen's brother, the King of Wakanda, and thus also known as Black Panther, returns from his work as a member of The Avengers to bring stability and peace to his home. But between suicide bombers, a sorceress who spreads hate, and possible treason within his own family, peace will not come easy for T'Challa or Wakanda.

The artwork in this is so gorgeous. The juxtaposition between nature and African culture and the futuristic and other-worldly technology is fantastic. I could look at these pictures all day. Here's page 5:

Black Panther is an extremely interesting superhero not just because he is so ingrained in African culture, but also because he has no secret identity. Black Panther is the hereditary role taken on by the leader of Wakanda, and everyone knows that he and T'Challa are one and the same. It's a very different dynamic from other superheroes.

While this is an excellent story, it's not where I wish I had started reading Black Panther. While this is technically the beginning of a new story, there was a lot of background that I didn't quite get. I plan to read some Black Panther that takes place before he joins the Avengers, and come back to this series later.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

Note: This volume contains Black Panther (2016) issues #1-4, and also Fantastic Four #52, which was released in 1961 and was the first ever appearance of Black Panther. It is very different, of course, but it is a product of its time and shows how far we have come. Here's page 10:

Jul 13, 2017, 12:45pm Top

>50 norabelle414: That one sounds cute. I think I'll wait to see how you like the next couple books in the series before I add it to The List though. :)

Jul 13, 2017, 2:30pm Top

>52 MickyFine: You'll get very old waiting! There are so many books and so little time. I say you should go for it, I think you'd like it.

Katherine Kellgren does the audiobook for the "Royal Spyness" series, and if I could I would listen to them all in a heartbeat. But none of the FOUR libraries I am a member of have the audiobooks in OverDrive. *grumble grumble*

Jul 13, 2017, 2:57pm Top

>53 norabelle414: Do any of them have the suggest for purchase option available somewhere in their catalogue? You could try and get one of them to buy them...

Edited: Jul 29, 2017, 7:39pm Top

>54 MickyFine: They do, but I don't know if you can specify that you want it on OverDrive (or if they will consider the purchase since they already have the book in other formats). I'll investigate.

Jul 13, 2017, 3:47pm Top

>55 norabelle414: I feel like most libraries would let you make a note about preferred format. But I guess you'll find out. :)

Jul 14, 2017, 1:27pm Top

>54 MickyFine: I've had decent luck requesting items for purchase through Overdrive. Unless I'm missing some that were purchase as hard copies (because I honestly never thought of that) they have all been up on Overdrive once they came through. And I was usually automatically the first hold!

Jul 14, 2017, 1:39pm Top

>57 leahbird: My library requires customers to note what format they want a title in (print, downloadable audiobook, etc.) but not all libraries do things the same way.

Jul 14, 2017, 1:41pm Top

>58 MickyFine: Interesting. The four I have membership with have never done that on Overdrive, but they do if you request something in person or on their websites.

Edited: Jul 14, 2017, 3:43pm Top

I looked at the request form and it does have a place to specify "eAudiobook", but not a place to specify that I want it on OverDrive and NOT Hoopla.

ETA: It looks like the audiobooks for the Royal Spyness series are all produced by Audible Studios and thus are only available through Audible/Amazon. Booooooo

Jul 14, 2017, 6:34pm Top

>60 norabelle414: Libraries have no control over content in hoopla FYI, so unless your library has RBDigital (formerly OneClick audiobooks) the only place they can select eAudiobooks is in Overdrive.

And ugh for audible audiobooks.

Jul 14, 2017, 11:01pm Top

I could have sworn I finished this book last year, but when I picked it up to put it away, it turns out I had a few more chapters left and I never wrote a review.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Patricia and Laurence don't fit in very well at their elementary school or get along with their parents, but that's about where their similarities end. Patricia talks to birds and grows up to attend magic school and become a witch. Laurence tinkers with computers and builds tiny gadgets and eventually world-altering machines. Throughout their lives they are frequently drawn toward each other, by either magic or technology, and then violently ripped apart. Together, they might destroy mankind, but only they together can save it.

This is a really fascinating story about the discord between magic and technology - between fantasy and science fiction. I really enjoyed reading it, and it gave me a lot to think about. Charlie Jane Anders' experience as a writer of short fiction really shows. The writing is fantastic but the plot feels more like a long series of events than a structured novel, and there's little character growth and almost no dialog. The book is a slim 315 pages, which is a good thing, but everything just seemed to move so fast - my biggest problem with this book was that I liked it and wish it had slowed down so I could savor it more. It felt like it could actually be about 12 books.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

Jul 14, 2017, 11:05pm Top

>61 MickyFine: Or Cloud Library (owned by Bibliotheca, formerly owned by 3M). But I was going to say the same thing about not having control over Hoopla content.

Jul 14, 2017, 11:26pm Top

>63 foggidawn: And we resent hoopla for it everyday (or at least I do). :P

Jul 14, 2017, 11:31pm Top

I don't understand Hoopla at all. When my librarian mother first explained it to me, it sounded great, like all the books would just be available without waitlists. But then it arrived at my library, and the selection is actually tiny. Also, it has an overly high proportion of SparkNotes type things (even for current fiction?). What determines which books are there?

Edited: Jul 14, 2017, 11:43pm Top

>65 _Zoe_: There are a couple factors that affect content in hoopla. First is the country you're in as hoopla licenses different material for different countries (like Netflix). The next is any price caps your library sets. Each download costs your library a set price and the library can set a max cost per download they'll allow (e.g. $3.99/ download). The lower the cap, the less high quality content you'll see. I believe libraries can also limit what formats they get so as audiobooks are often the most price-y they may just hide all audiobooks from their customers. Sounds like your library might have their price cap set low which is why the content you see isn't great.

Jul 15, 2017, 9:06am Top

>65 _Zoe_: Thank you! That information about the price levels explains everything. They must have chosen a low price point, which is why they didn't actually have any of the books I was looking for. I kept looking for new and popular books that are presumably more expensive. Hopefully they'll increase it if they see that people aren't borrowing as much as they expected.

Jul 15, 2017, 11:28am Top

>67 _Zoe_: Honestly, they might never increase the cap. My library is currently looking at dropping our cap because we're blowing large amounts of money on hoopla, which is only being used by a small percentage of our customer base. The cost per use model can add up VERY quickly.

Jul 15, 2017, 6:39pm Top

>68 MickyFine: How many books are people allowed to borrow each month? My library has it capped at three, and I'd honestly rather have it go down to just one book that I really want to read.

Jul 15, 2017, 8:06pm Top

>69 _Zoe_: My current library has an 8 per month cap, and the one I used to work at is 12 (guess which login I still use -- even though I rarely borrow more than two or three things a month). I've never been the one dealing with the Hoopla contract, so I didn't know about the per-item price cap option, but that makes a lot of sense. Hoopla is not great for books in general; I think most of our patrons use it primarily for music.

Jul 15, 2017, 9:38pm Top

>69 _Zoe_: I should also note that a lot of content in hoopla isn't super new. They typically license publishers' back catalogues. So the shiniest titles you're looking for might not be there even if the library raised the price cap.

Jul 16, 2017, 11:12pm Top

Simon vs. The Homo sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon Spier has not told anyone that he's gay. He knows everyone will still love him, but it's just not fair that he has to "come out" and straight people don't. The only person who knows is Simon's secret pen pal - a boy in Simon's grade who he emails with every day and knows only as "Blue". They confide in each other despite - or because of - not knowing who the other one is. But their relationship is in danger when someone finds out and threatens Simon with exposure. Will Simon give into blackmail, or let someone else take away his freedom to come out on his own terms?

Simon is great. Simon's family is great. His friends are great. The reveal of Blue's identity was perfect. As with the best YA books, there's a theme of not knowing who the people around you really are. Simon has a part of his life that he keeps from everyone else, but at the same time he doesn't know his classmates well enough to tell which one is Blue. As usual I had a few logistical problems (which probably mostly stem from the fact that I don't understand Tumblr) but the good writing and delightful story more than compensated.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

Edited: Jul 17, 2017, 9:42am Top

I'm caught up on all of my reviews, but now I'm not really feeling like reading any of the books I have around. I've made the most progress in The Soul of an Octopus and am really enjoying it, but that's my purse book. I started reading The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin, which I have checked out from the library, but it hasn't hooked me. I also started Clockwork Prince, the second book in Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters prequel series, because I keep forgetting that I have had it borrowed from a friend for like years. But that's not hooking me either. I also have Lumberjanes, Vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy checked out from the library and I'm sure I will enjoy that. So I'll stick to octopuses and graphic novels for now, in hopes that I won't fall back into my reading drought of the past few years.


The graphic novels I bought for my Thingaversary have technically arrived, though I have not picked up the package from the office yet. I bought:
Black Panther by Christopher Priest: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 by Christopher Priest
Thor, Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol 1: BFF by Amy Reeder
Spider-Gwen, Vol 1: Greater Power by Jason Latour
Ms. Marvel, Vol 2: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson
Runaways, Vol. 1: Pride and Joy by Brian K. Vaughn
Jessica Jones: Alias, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis
Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Vol. 1: Hooked On A Feline by Kate Leth

I also bought A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro last week because it was on sale at Target. And I pre-ordered Cinderella Necromancer by our very own Faith.

Happy Thingaversary to me!

Jul 17, 2017, 9:52am Top

>72 norabelle414: Well, that's a book bullet. I'd heard of the book before but for some reason never really bothered to read a description.

Does your purse book always have to stay in your purse? I don't think I'd have the restraint to hold off on reading a book that I was enjoying just because it was the practical thing to do.

Jul 17, 2017, 11:21am Top

>74 _Zoe_: It has a dumb name, imo. But it's a book that benefits from not knowing too much about it, so I say jump right in. Especially before adverts start coming out for the movie (coming March 2018) because they will certainly spoil the reveal of who Simon's pen pal is.

On a somewhat related note, I've changed my mind about When Dimple Met Rishi and I think I will read it because the last few books I've read have reminded me that I can overlook logical problems when the book is enjoyable enough to read.

The main point of having a purse book is not that the purse book cannot come out of the purse, it's that the purse cannot ever not have a book in it because then I might accidentally leave the house without a book. I am enjoying reading The Soul of an Octopus, but it's not absorbing so if I had it around the house I probably would not pick it up as often. It's perfect as a purse book also because it's not too large for my purse, it's a book that I own so I don't worry about it getting damaged, and it doesn't have much of a narrative so I'm fine reading it in small doses and getting interrupted.

Jul 17, 2017, 11:51am Top

>75 norabelle414: I think the name is why I never looked at it. That's a good point about the potential spoilers associated with the movie, so I'll try to read it soon.

When Dimple Met Rishi is definitely an enjoyable enough read; I appreciated the flow of the writing even as certain aspects of the plot drove me crazy.

And that makes sense about the purse book. I was once forced to read on my phone in desperation when I forgot a book, and it really wasn't pleasant.

Jul 17, 2017, 1:58pm Top

I haven't done a TV Update in awhile, so here you go:

GLOW (Netflix) - a period show about the creation of a 1980s women's wrestling tv show. A bunch of misfit women live together and train to be professional wrestlers on a low-budget tv show. This show is hilarious and sweet and I loved it so much that I had to restrict myself to one episode per day. It's just too perfect and I can't recommend it enough.

The Bold Type (Freeform) - three young women who are best friends and work at Scarlet, a Cosmopolitan-type magazine. One of the women always assumed she was straight but might be falling in love with a woman, the second has a complicated family life and needs to make practical choices (but is also sleeping with someone she shouldn't), and the third has a new job as a writer but needs a confidence boost. It's a very sex-positive and joyful show. Especially wonderful is the head of the magazine, who is NOT a Miranda Priestly-type but instead is very supportive of everyone. I *really loved* the first two episodes. While it might not be for everyone, it is definitely for me.

Younger (season 4, TV Land) - due to some kind of TV issue I can now watch this show on demand despite not receiving the channel. So I'm up-to-date! The plot feels like it's lagging a bit right now, but I can't tell if it just seems that way because I'm used to binging it.

Grantchester (PBS) - I dislike Amanda a little less now, but still don't like her. Thank goodness for Leonard (and Dickens) because I currently dislike almost everyone else on the show. Which is not to say I don't love the show! The mysteries are always good. Spoilers for last night's episode: I want to give both Leonard and Mrs. Maguire a big ole hug. What a hard episode for them. And I'm very glad that Geordie and Margaret got found out because I'm effing tired of them!

Will (TNT) - The life of young, hot Will Shakespeare, freshly arrived in London. This show is not good but it is pretty to look at and gives you weird moments like a bar full of drunks singing a current pop song as if it were an Elizabethan drinking song. As with many semi-truthful historical shows, (like last year's Houdini & Doyle,) it's in a sticky situation with regard to Will's wife. The only options are: 1) pretend Will was not married at this point in his life, 2) he has a wife and cheats on her, or 3) he has a wife and does not cheat on her. His wife was shown at the very start (he left her behind in Stratford) but the show has not quite decided if it's going route 2 or 3. Will has the hots for his patron's daughter but informs her that he is married. However, young hot Christopher Marlowe has the hots for Will and he won't be as easily dissuaded.

Jul 17, 2017, 5:47pm Top

But but but.... No DOCTOR WHO talk?!?! That's all I want to talk about at this very moment and no one around me cares. Internet friends, you are my only hope!

Jul 17, 2017, 6:03pm Top

>78 leahbird: Of course, of course. Very exciting. I like my Doctors on the older side but I *love* Jodie Whittaker on Broadchurch and that episode of Black Mirror so I have no doubt she's up to the task

Jul 18, 2017, 10:12am Top

>78 leahbird: I think it's exciting, but I am way behind on Doctor Who and need to catch up before the new episodes come out. I'll definitely be interested to see what she does with the character, though I have to admit that I'm not familiar with Whittaker's other work.

Edited: Jul 19, 2017, 1:06pm Top

This week (I am late again!) on Audiobooksync.com :

The theme is "Food" -

YA - Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall, read by Tara Sands (presumably available everywhere)
Non-YA - The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor by Mark Schatzker, read by Chris Patton (presumably available everywhere)

The first book this week is about an overweight teenager who has a complicated relationship with her family and with food. She is bullied at school until she makes friends with someone who helps her see herself differently. The second book is non-fiction about the proliferation of artificial flavorings in modern food and how they are changing the way that humans eat.

Jul 19, 2017, 9:55pm Top

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, edited by Shannon Watters, illustrated by Brooke Allen

Five girls - April, Jo, Mal, Molly, and Ripley - are very excited and proud to be attending Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types this summer, but that doesn't mean they're going to follow the rules! They intend to behave, but they keep running into three-eyed monsters and sassy yetis and getting mysterious messages. How can they say no?

The world-building here is SO enjoyable. Every girl is unique but familiar. Everyone is completely supportive of each other, even the camp counselor who originally doesn't believe in the monsters, and the camp director. My favorite part is that the girls all "curse" with the names of famous women. The artwork is GREAT, very cartoonish and fun. Each character is obviously very well thought out with regard to clothing and personality and body shape and physicality. Even when different artists are illustrating it's still easy to tell who is who. Here's page 10:

The plot does leave a tad to be desired. There's no real introduction - you just jump right in with the girls on an adventure - and not much of a conclusion. I was surprised when I turned a page and there was only artwork left, not more story. I'm on to the next volume immediately!

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Jul 20, 2017, 7:00am Top

I love the Lumberjanes! The dialogue is quick and clever and the characters are so instantly lovable, I think.

Jul 20, 2017, 9:01am Top

>83 scaifea: Definitely! I didn't even notice that there was no real introduction to the world until I was trying to write my review and thought "hey wait a minute, how did this start??"

Jul 20, 2017, 9:06am Top

>82 norabelle414: Ooo, Lumberjanes. Such love for those.

Jul 20, 2017, 11:08am Top

>85 lycomayflower: I'm so glad I started reading them!

Jul 20, 2017, 11:45am Top

This week on Audiobooksync.com :

The theme is "truth-telling fantasies" -

Gone by Michael Grant, read by Kyle McCarley (US and Canada)
The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth, read by Mark Turetsky (North America and Philippines)

"Gone" is the first in a series of books in which all of the adults on Earth disappear, along with most technology, and the remaining children start to mutate. "The One Safe Place" is about a boy who is orphaned and living on the streets, but hears rumors of a wonderful home for abandoned children such as himself, where he can have everything he dreams of. Both books are high-concept YA dystopia, which could be very bad or very good. Michael Grant has some serious YA cred and this is his most popular book.

Jul 20, 2017, 12:39pm Top

I loved Nimona and really have been meaning to get around to Lumberjanes. It would probably help if I stuck a volume on The List. So off I go to do so. Thanks for the nudge.

Jul 21, 2017, 9:39am Top

>88 MickyFine: You're welcome! I hope it comes up in the rotation soon.

Jul 21, 2017, 10:44am Top

Oooh, mystery coming soon. I'm in total suspense. :D

Jul 21, 2017, 1:07pm Top

>91 MickyFine: Me too, since I have no idea what I'm going to read soon

Jul 21, 2017, 1:25pm Top

>92 norabelle414: Dangerous words to say to a librarian. ;)

Jul 22, 2017, 11:27pm Top

Yay Lumberjanes!!

Jul 27, 2017, 5:06pm Top

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery

Science writer Sy Montgomery develops a relationship with the New England Aquarium in order to study the intelligence of one of the most mysterious animals on Earth - the octopus. She interacts with several different octopuses at the aquarium, and goes on scuba diving trips to try to find octopuses in the wild. She learns how smart they are, and how they have distinct personalities, and how they relate and compare to the other animals in the aquarium.

There are so many things to think about regarding octopuses. How did they get so smart when they are almost entirely solitary? Do they have one central decision-making brain, or does each arm (filled with far more neurons than their head) act independently? What do they think about humans? Any story about octopuses is also a story about death. Despite their mind-boggling intelligence, even the longest-lived octopuses only live about 5 years. How does losing such an intelligent and charismatic animal affect the people who care for them every day? Before they die, most octopuses go senile. Are they aware of what's happening to them? How would octopuses compare to humans if they had similar lifespans?

As a zoo volunteer myself, I was a little annoyed at the level of access Montgomery was afforded. Not just to the octopus themselves but also to hardworking aquarium employees and octopus experts. The employees and many of the volunteers mentioned in the book work full time and have been at the aquarium for ages, but Montgomery just waltzes in every Wednesday morning to pet the octopus and pick the brain of the experts.

This is a light and readable book mixing science, philosophy, and lovable characters. And the humans are good too.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

Jul 28, 2017, 1:46pm Top

>95 norabelle414: Nice review. Thumbed.

Jul 29, 2017, 11:31am Top

Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, edited by Shannon Watters, illustrated by Brooke Allen and Maarta Laiho

April, Jo, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are back at the campgrounds and trying to have a normal summer. But they still keep getting attacked by three-eyed monsters! During a particularly fierce game of Capture the Flag, the girls discover that one of their fellow campers is not who they thought she was. And one of their own group is not who they thought she was! And they finally uncover the secret of the three-eyed monsters and how to defeat them.

More of the same as the first volume, which is great! Here's page 17:

The best part is that the plot from the first volume is completely resolved! The girls are ready to have many more adventures in subsequent volumes, but this story has ended.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

This volume also contains a preview of Giant Days by John Allison, a comic from the same publisher about 3 women who meet at college and become friends. It was pretty good too. Here's the first page:

Jul 29, 2017, 6:51pm Top

It's been awhile since I've gotten to write a scathing review! I wasn't planning to write much about this book but the more I think about it the less I like it.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby is a recently-widowed mouse living on a human's farm with her 4 children. When one of her children gets sick, she must ask the colony of strange rats living nearby for help. She learns that they are superintelligent rats that escaped from someplace called "Nimh" and are trying to make a life for themselves.

I know this is an award-winning classic, but I was completely underwhelmed. There were innumerable errors in logic in the book, everything from Mrs. Frisby experiencing several summers and winters (mice live 1-2 years) and having 4 children of different ages (mice have litters) who also remember summer and winter (mice are full grown at 4 weeks) to problems with the overall philosophy of the book.

The rats are striving to live a life without stealing from humans, but that is entirely based on the premise that there's no such thing as rats that don't steal from humans, which just is not true. Nicodemus says "We discovered early on that in order to stop stealing we would, for awhile, have to steal more than ever," referring to taking seeds and equipment from the farmer so that they could take it into the forest to start their new life. Um, why? All kinds of animals live in the forest without stealing from humans. And if the rats really wanted to they could just cultivate the plants they find in the forest, there's no reason to take a bunch of oats and tools with them if they are so worried about stealing.

This anti-laziness (where laziness = stealing) philosophy is pushed hard. In particular, Nicodemus tells two stories to prove his point. The first is about a woman who is the first in her town to get a vacuum cleaner. All the other women are jealous that her floor is so clean so they get vacuum cleaners too. The demand for vacuums leads the vacuum company to build a factory in the town and the pollution expelled by the factory makes the air so dirty that the women can never vacuum their floors as clean as they were before they had vacuums. This story is vague enough that it doesn't matter if it's true or not, but what is the point of it? The second story is from a science book that Nicodemus read, which stated that rodents were once the most civilized animals on earth, but their lives were too easy and they got lazy and stopped progressing. Then monkeys, whose lives were tougher, came out of the trees and drove away the rodents and evolved into humans. This story just doesn't make any sense. Why would rodents lives be any easier than monkeys/humans? The anti-laziness philosophy seems to be much of the point of the book, when simply stating that the rats needed to move away from humans so that they wouldn't get caught by NIMH scientists would have been much more effective, and the plot would have been the same.

Mrs. Frisby doesn't seem any less smart than the rats, nor did she ever notice that she was significantly less smart than her husband. Most of what the rats know they learned from reading books, and Mrs. Frisby can read. She overhears several complex human conversations and has no trouble understanding any of them. What, exactly, is supposed to make the rats so special? Also, if the rats are so smart and read so many non-fiction books, including two sets of encyclopedias, how did they never find out what "NIMH" meant?

There's some sexism here as well. Jonathan Frisby was out planning and scheming with the rats every day and never told his wife he knew them, but we don't even know Mrs. Frisby's first name. She's only referred to as "Mrs. Frisby" and "Mrs. Jonathan Frisby", despite the fact that she's the main character. The book explicitly states that Mrs. Frisby's female children cry while her male children just "look sad". While it is mentioned that some of the NIMH rats are female, the only ones who have any action or have names are male.

If you enjoy books about small animals talking and acting like humans, you'd be much better off with A Cricket in Times Square, Redwall, Watership Down, or The Borrowers (technically tiny humans but same premise) which all make way more sense than this.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ♥ (2.5/5)

Edited: Jul 31, 2017, 3:47pm Top

This week on Audiobooksync.com :

The theme is "on the move" -

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, read by a full cast (US and Canada)
Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott, read by Amy Rubinate (US, Canada, and Philippines)

Two historical fantasies this week (why they couldn't use that as the theme I have no idea). The first is an alternate history in which hot air balloons became our primary transportation instead of airplanes. The second is a Cinderella retelling set in a feudal-Japan-inspired fantasy world.

Jul 31, 2017, 11:34pm Top

I had set aside most of the day on Saturday to read, but once I got started with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and realized I didn't like it, I knew if I put it down I wouldn't pick it back up again. So I finished it in one day and didn't read much else. The weekend before last I read several hundred pages of Ashes to Fire while I was bumming around Philadelphia for a few hours so I'm pretty close to finished. Ashes to Fire is my current purse book, now that I'm done with octopuses.

Currently checked out from the library:
Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max - finished
Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan - finished (review coming soon)
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire - started this afternoon
Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time
Lumberjanes, Vol. 5: Band Together
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston

Also currently reading:
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Ashes to Fire by Emily B. Martin

Aug 1, 2017, 10:21am Top

Looks like you've got some excellent reads on deck. :)

Edited: Aug 1, 2017, 5:14pm Top

Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, illustrated by Carolyn Nowak and Maarta Laiho

Jo, April, and Ripley try to do the most boring things they can to earn Lumberjanes badges. Meanwhile, Mal and Molly are on a date when the Bear Woman shows up and things go very, very awry.

The first issue in this volume (issue 9 of the series overall) is a cute standalone where each girl (including Jen) tells a scary story. What they all find scary is VERY different! I'm not posting pages of this series anymore because I think you get the idea! The art is very good and fun. Each volume is better than the last. I enjoyed learning a bit more about the girls; I think this is the first time any of them has mentioned anything about their lives outside of camp. I also enjoyed that this is a self-contained story, and I'm ready for the next volume!

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Aug 1, 2017, 5:53pm Top

>102 norabelle414: You're really enticing me with these Lumberjanes reviews. I'm going to have to get my hands on them soon.

Aug 1, 2017, 5:57pm Top

>103 PawsforThought: I was thinking that too! And I don't even like graphic novels that much.

Aug 5, 2017, 10:53pm Top

>102 norabelle414: Go Lumberjanes! I must look out for them as they do look fun.

Great to see you posting much more again, Nora. Have a lovely weekend.

Edited: Aug 6, 2017, 8:46pm Top

>105 PaulCranswick: Thank you Paul! It is good to be posting more.


Speaking of which, I finished FOUR books today! Reviews trickling in soon.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson
Ashes to Fire by Emily B. Martin
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston

Checked out from the library:
Lumberjanes, Vol. 5: Band Together
Lumberjanes, Vol. 6: Sink or Swim
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand

Other coming soon:
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson
Jingo by Terry Pratchett

Aug 7, 2017, 1:52pm Top

4 books! That's amazing!

Edited: Aug 7, 2017, 4:09pm Top

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Eleanor West runs a boarding school for children who have visited other worlds, returned to our world, and long to go back again. Nancy is a new student, recently returned from a world of the dead. She's barely been at school a week, and barely made friends, when one of her classmates is brutally murdered. Most other students assume Nancy is to blame, since her world is so different from their lands of rainbows and kittens.

What an emotional wallop for such a slim book! Every student and teacher is fully realized and deeply empathetic. I can see how the worlds they traveled to shaped them, and feel their pain at being both rejected by the real world and unable to return to their others. It's beautifully written story about characters, despite also being a murder mystery. The only flaw in this book is that I wanted so much more. Luckily there are more books in the series. Highly recommended to anyone who likes fantasy that collides with our world.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Aug 7, 2017, 4:15pm Top

>108 norabelle414: Oh, you got me with that one. I'd heard of that book, but never actually read a summary before.

Aug 7, 2017, 8:26pm Top

Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters, illustrated by Brooke A. Allen and Maarta Laiho

Jen gets lost in a snowstorm (yes, in the middle of summer). While the Lumberjanes are searching for her, Jo feels threatened by a newcomer to their group - a BOY from the boys camp (and his super adorable kitten). Jen is rescued by a stranger who really understands her, and she learns more secrets of the camp. Rosie comes to everyone's rescue, but the camp is in danger once more! The Lumberjanes head out to save the day, and as Mal says, "This terrifying decision seems pretty on brand for us."

This series has amazing pacing! Each volume has the perfect amount of stand-alone story and teasing bits of the secrets of the camp without giving away too much. And awesome monsters! This volume is a bit more Rosie- and Jen-centric, but I did like the addition of Bernard to the group.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Aug 7, 2017, 10:06pm Top

>108 norabelle414: You got me with that one too.

Edited: Aug 7, 2017, 11:15pm Top

(This book is the sequel to Woodwalker, which I read last year and loved, but I've tried to minimize spoilers in the below review. Also I am friends with the author but she did not give me a copy or ask me to write a review.)

Ashes to Fire by Emily B. Martin

Mona Alastaire, queen of Lumen Lake, has only recently wrestled her kingdom back from King Celeno, Seventh King of Alcoro and neighboring despot, when she receives a dispatch. Celeno would like to parlay with her in Cyprien, an adjacent kingdom conquered by Alcoro decades ago. Against her gut instinct, Mona travels to Cyprien to negotiate - because the possibility of peace for her kingdom is worth the risk. Negotiations are going poorly when Mona's boat is attacked - but not by Alcoro. It turns out that occupied Cyprien is not as docile as Celeno thinks they are. Mona and Queen Gemma, Celeno's wife, are kidnapped by Rou and Lyle Roubideaux, representatives of the Cypri resistance government, to use as leverage for their country's freedom. Mona is relieved to have Cypri folk on her side, and befriends the men as they travel through the swamps toward the capitol. But dealing with Gemma and suing for peace will take every diplomatic bone in Mona's body, because Celeno is not a reasonable man.

While Woodwalker was a good book, this sequel is phenomenal. The countries and cultures are exquisitely well-thought out, from clothing to recreation to government. No character is perfect, they all argue with each other and make mistakes but learn from them. The political intrigue and diplomacy are neither overly-simplified nor confusing. Despite the fact that it's a fairly introspective book, and on the long side, once I got started I couldn't stop turning the pages. I loved learning more about Mona's and the Roubideaux's cultures. I loved the shift in point-of-view from Mae (in the previous book) to Mona, and I can't wait for the next book which I think is going to be about Gemma.

The author illustrated the cover herself, and you can find lots more illustrations to go along with the book on her website.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Edited: Aug 15, 2017, 9:30am Top

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston

Hermione Winters knows that her life is going to change. It's the summer before her last year of high school, and the beginning of her last ever cheerleading camp. Cheerleading is everything to her and her best friend Polly - spirit, friendship, trust, adrenaline - but this will be the last year. She expects that. What she doesn't expect is drugs in her drink at the end-of-camp dance, and a boy leading her outside, and waking up the next day in the hospital. Now she'll spend her last year of high school waiting - waiting to see if she's pregnant, waiting for DNA tests to come back, waiting for people to treat her normally again, waiting to feel normal again.

This book is inspired by Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, but not really an adaptation or retelling. For a book about such serious problems, it's actually pretty positive. It's much more focused on friendship than romance. Hermione has a good relationship with her family and supportive friends, so this isn't the most realistic story. But this isn't really a cautionary tale or melodrama, it's a story about the process of recovery and friendship. It's very emotional but quite cathartic and I liked the characters and enjoyed reading it. The book is specifically Canadian and I spent a lot of time Googling locations, but I enjoy that kind of thing so I didn't mind at all. Highly recommended if you're looking for a positive book about rape recovery, or if you like YA friendship.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Aug 8, 2017, 10:40pm Top

>109 foggidawn:, >111 MickyFine: Yay, both of you go read it! You'll like it a lot.

Aug 8, 2017, 11:12pm Top

I rewarded myself for all the great reading and reviewing I've been doing lately by buying a couple books! From my library's book sale shelf I picked up a very nice, possibly never read, paperback copy of Austenland by Shannon Hale, which I have read before but did not own. I also bought a hardback, minus the dust jacket, of To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han, which is funny because there are 10 people on the waiting list to borrow that book from this same library.

I also borrowed Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly from the library. And I bought a few books to give to a friend but those don't count!

Aug 9, 2017, 9:33am Top

Yay for lots of great reading lately!

Aug 9, 2017, 11:02am Top

Happy to see you've had so many 5 star reads lately. :)

Edited: Aug 11, 2017, 10:11am Top

Lumberjanes, Vol. 5: Band Together by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Kat Leyh, illustrated by Brooke A. Allen, Carolyn Nowak, Maarta Laiho, and Aubrey Aiese

The first issue in this volume (issue #17 overall) takes us back to the beginning of camp. We see all of the girls arriving with their parents, and meeting each other. And meeting Jen for the first time! We learn how Ridley got the blue streak in her hair and how Molly got her "hat". It was really sweet and wonderful and a fitting end to Noelle Stevenson's tenure co-writing the series.

The rest of the volume (issues #18-20) was co-written by Kat Leyh. The girls meet some mermaids who are having rock band troubles, and April vows to fix their friendship and get the band back together. Possibly to the detriment of her own friendships.

This section is fine. It is what I was expecting before I started reading the first volume. But it's missing a little something compared to the previous volumes. The story is very April-centric instead of including all of the girls. There is no connection to the overall mystery of the camp except a brief mention that the girls are glad the snowstorm is over. Usually it feels like a million things are happening at once and the plot speeds along, but these three issues felt like almost nothing happened. There are very few background jokes. The interstitial excerpts from the (purposely boring) Lumberjanes guidebooks used to be cut off mid-sentence, but now they end at a complete paragraph. These may seem like small, inconsequential things, but it was the small things that made Lumberjanes such a joy to read. I enjoyed the story, and I fully intend to continue reading the series, but a little bit of magic was missing.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Aug 14, 2017, 1:25pm Top

>119 norabelle414: Thank you Paul!


This weekend I went on a day trip to Wilmington, DE with my mom and her fiance. We visited Fort Christina Park, site of the first Swedish colony in the new world (1638) and saw a replica of the first Swedish ship to land there. We visited the Brandywine Park Zoo, a small but accredited zoo with Andean condors, red pandas, bald eagles, etc. Lastly we visited the Delaware Art Museum, which turned out to be largely focused on the work of Howard Pyle, famous illustrator of fairy tales and other books in the 1870s to 1900s. It was so wonderful! In some cases he painted full-size, spectacular paintings which were shrunk down and copied for the books. I highly, highly recommend it if you're in the area. They also have lots of first-edition copies of the books he illustrated, for browsing.

I read all day on Sunday. Although I didn't finish anything, I read about 300 pages of My Lady Jane, 50 pages of Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness and a chapter and a half of 'All the Real Indians Died Off': and 20 Other Myths about Native Americans. The latter is an LTER book which I have been struggling with for awhile because I found chapter 2 to be very off-putting and difficult. But I took some notes and powered through it this time and it should be easier from now on.

Aug 14, 2017, 1:28pm Top

>120 MickyFine: That's some awesome progress, Nora! I finished a book Friday night (technically early Saturday morning) and then only got in 2 chapters for the rest of the weekend. And I'm not sure next weekend will be much better as my calendar is filling up again.

Aug 14, 2017, 1:59pm Top

>121 norabelle414: Thanks! I have been trying a thing where any day that I don't have to go somewhere in the morning, I get up and get out of bed and make coffee and sit in my reading chair and read read read read until I am too distracted and then I get up and turn on the TV or computer or whatever. It's working great! Sometimes I just read from 8am to 10am or so, but the past few weekends it's been much longer. It works much better than my previous method of staying in bed in the morning and reading, or trying to drum up the will power to turn off the TV or computer once I've started.

I've also tried to go read on the roof several times in the last week but every time I do it starts to drizzle just a little bit! So rude.

Aug 14, 2017, 4:19pm Top

>122 MickyFine: Weather is rude. Last night we got a thunderstorm so I opened windows to cool off the apartment. Except smoke had blown in with the storm (from the forest fires in British Columbia) so I had to close the windows again. Grumble.

Glad your plan is working so well for you! I haven't had a weekend without plans in it for a while but maybe when I do I'll give it a whirl. :)

Aug 15, 2017, 10:09am Top

>123 norabelle414: It's been unusually cool here for August, for the past couple weeks. Which would be great for turning off the A/C and opening the windows, except that it's also VERY VERY humid. There's something so wrong with having the A/C on when it's only 82 degrees out, but if I don't I feel like I'm going to suffocate.


I was reading back through my thread and noticed that I forgot to mention in my review of Exit, Pursued by a Bear that it is inspired by Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, but is not a retelling or adaptation. So I've revised my review a bit.

Yesterday I returned a book to the library and checked out a rack of free books, where I picked up a copy of The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend. I saw the movie a couple years ago and enjoyed it.


Currently Reading
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness by Nathanael Johnson (purse book)
'All the Real Indians Died Off': and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Checked out from the library:
Lumberjanes, Vol. 6: Sink or Swim
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Other coming soon:
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Catwings by Ursula K. LeGuin
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson

Aug 15, 2017, 10:35am Top

>124 MickyFine: I am glad I live somewhere with relatively low humidity. Although every time I visit somewhere humid my curly hair gets really awesome. If I could somehow get a humid zone just around my hair and nowhere else, that would be great. :P

I look forward to seeing what you think of Upside of Unrequited. I quite liked it but I haven't read any of Albertalli's other novels so I had nothing to which to compare it.

Aug 15, 2017, 11:23am Top

>125 norabelle414: It's always humid here so I'm pretty used to it. Though last week it was so humid that my hair *almost* looked like it had volume.

Albertalli is a new author and has only written two books, so you're not far behind! Although I think she's almost done with her 3rd and thinking about her 4th.

Aug 15, 2017, 12:18pm Top

Your reading strategy sounds great! I've definitely found that the key to productivity is getting started before using the internet.

>126 _Zoe_: Albertalli actually said on Twitter recently that she had finished the first draft of her fourth novel! The third one is coming out in April.

Aug 15, 2017, 1:08pm Top

>127 norabelle414: "Getting started before using the internet" is a huge help! But I've also found that the getting out of bed part is important for me. Reading in bed in the morning makes me antsy to get out of bed and do something else, whereas if I get up and move to a chair I am more able to focus.

I also like to tweet out a picture of my stack of books at the beginning of the morning, so here is this weekend's pic:

Aug 15, 2017, 1:31pm Top

>128 MickyFine: I like your mug!

Aug 15, 2017, 2:14pm Top

>129 norabelle414: Thanks! It's from IKEA.


Last Friday some people on the internet were making bingo cards with their TBR lists, so I made a couple of my own. This computer-generated one is books already in my possession (owned or borrowed):

And this one I drew myself is books I don't own (there is some overlap between the two):

The idea is that you cross off (or stamp) books as you read them, and when you get BINGO you reward yourself. I haven't decided what I'll reward myself with yet. Maybe making more bingo cards??

Aug 15, 2017, 2:23pm Top


Aug 15, 2017, 2:26pm Top

>130 MickyFine: Looks great! We had bingo cards in the Category challenge a few years ago (I think they still have them, but I'm not in the CC group anymore. It was a lot of fun to play.

Aug 15, 2017, 7:45pm Top

I like the Bingo card idea. My library had one with categories for Summer Reading, which was kind of fun, but TBR books is also good. Maybe I'll do that with my long-unread TBRs next year. Of course, I'd probably end up rewarding myself with more books...

Aug 15, 2017, 9:05pm Top

>125 norabelle414: As someone with curls who lives in a humid fish bowl, the benefit of extra curl is quickly passed up by the insane amount of frizz. The whole top layer of my hair is just a permanent net of frizz. The curls underneath are pretty awesome but you can hardly see them through the old lady bubble of hair.

Aug 16, 2017, 2:32am Top

>133 leahbird: How else would you reward yourself? Surely there is no other way one could be rewarded for having read books than with more books. ;)

Aug 17, 2017, 1:11pm Top

>133 leahbird:, >135 norabelle414: I think rewarding yourself with books is the point, but I buy most of my books through serendipity so I'll reward myself some other way.


Murphy's Law of Library Holds has proved itself yet again, as 3 books I've had on hold came available today while I have 4 others already checked out. I think I'll wait until I finish My Lady Jane to pick them up, probably Saturday.

Aug 17, 2017, 1:51pm Top

>136 MickyFine: Murphy's Law of Library Holds is the worst.

Aug 18, 2017, 10:30am Top

37. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

King Edward VI of England is 15 years old and he's dying. Before his death, he bypasses both his half-sisters (Mary and Elizabeth) and appoints his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, as his successor. Mary is extremely displeased, assembles an army, and deposes Jane after only 9 days on the throne. Also, Jane is married to a man who turns into a horse during the day, Jane & Edward's grandmother Elizabeth of York can turn into a skunk at will, and Edward is not actually dead. Mary despises E∂ians, people who can turn into animals, and wants to burn them all at the stake which is why Edward didn't want her on the throne.

This book is very entertaining and fun, but don't look for it to make a lot of sense. The whole "Verities vs. E∂ians" as a stand-in for Catholics vs. protestants concept does not hold water. Protestantism was a progressive movement, while E∂ian-ism is somewhere between a random occurrence and an inherited genetic trait. Plus, almost everyone in the entire book ends up being an E∂ian in the end (but they don't make a point of that). Lady Jane Grey is a great and sympathetic character, who loves books and is very capable. Lord Gifford "G" Dudley and Edward are less engaging but still interesting. The writing is nothing special except that it's funny, with frequent asides from the authors and recurring jokes. Characters frequently quote things that are not yet in existence, like Shakespeare and Austen, which was funny at first but got old. The authors did a great job of integrating their fantasy with the actual historical events; because major points of history were retained, you could almost believe that it really happened but we just don't have any evidence.

Recommended if you like goofy historical fantasy that doesn't take itself seriously, at all.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Aug 18, 2017, 11:52am Top

>138 MickyFine: My brain kind of exploded over that book summary. Suffice to say I won't be picking it up. But I'm glad you enjoyed. :)

Aug 18, 2017, 3:24pm Top

>139 norabelle414: I had very high expectations when I first heard about it ("historical fantasy about Lady Jane Grey") and then my expectations went way down when I read the actual description ("Lady Jane Grey is married to a guy who is a horse during the day and a man at night") which ended up working in my favor because it's a fun read.

Aug 22, 2017, 9:36am Top

Not a lot of reading done this weekend, even though I set aside a chunk of time. I'm about 100 pages into Amberlough, which is very good but complicated and political and I have been taking notes to make it easier to get into (mostly just character names and what they do and how they're related). I read a few chapters in Unseen City, my current purse book, about squirrels and bird language. I also started The Upside of Unrequited.

Checked out from the library:
Lumberjanes, Vol. 6: Sink or Swim
Something must be done about Prince Edward County : a family, a Virginia town, a civil rights battle by Kristen Green
Public Relations by Katie Heany and Arianna Rebolini
A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee

(I've frozen *all* of my other library holds because this is just too many books!)

Other coming soon:
Catwings by Ursula K. LeGuin
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson

Aug 22, 2017, 9:45am Top

>141 PawsforThought: Aw, your reading corner looks so cozy!

Aug 22, 2017, 11:44am Top

>141 PawsforThought: And again with the awesome mug!

Aug 25, 2017, 2:40pm Top

I hadn't seen the one on Mass Ave on maps, but it's definitely closer to where we want to be. Let's plan on meeting there.

And for everybody else who visits here:

A few of us are planning a meet up for Saturday, September 2, for breakfast prior to the National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Please join us at 8:15 AM or so at Le Pain Quotidien, 433 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC! I'll be there until 9:15-9:30 before heading to the Convention Center for the book fest.

Edited: Aug 27, 2017, 8:35pm Top

>128 MickyFine: I LOVE your tea cup!

Aug 28, 2017, 4:05pm Top

38. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Molly Peskin-Suso has had a lot of crushes, but has never even held hands with a boy. She’s surrounded by love – her moms are getting married, her best friend moved to Atlanta and got a boyfriend, her other best friend has a long-term boyfriend, and now even Molly’s twin sister Cassie is in love with a girl they met at a concert. When will it be Molly’s turn?

A little underwhelming. There’s nothing wrong with this book but it wasn’t very surprising and I didn’t feel like it had much else to say. I was kind of expecting a profound lesson about fully participating in society instead of watching it passively via a crush, but no. (They didn’t even discuss the fact that one of the crushes on Molly’s list is Lin-Manuel Miranda, a 35yo man she’s never met…that’s a little different than a cute boy at summer camp.) Even any points that could be made about how Molly feels about her weight seemed to fall flat. I enjoyed all of the characters but I found Molly to be kind of annoying at times. It was weird how judgmental Molly was of Reid being a “nerd” when she openly states that she has a crush on Lin-Manuel Miranda? All Reid does is wear two LOTR shirts and a Game of Thrones shirt, which is not at all nerdy by current standards. All of the bits about DC/Bethesda/Tacoma Park were overly detailed and annoying. (I also find people from Tacoma Park kind of annoying in real life so that does not help.) It was a fine book overall and I enjoyed reading it but it wasn’t special like Simon vs.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Edited: Aug 28, 2017, 7:18pm Top

39. Lumberjanes, Vol. 6: Sink or Swim by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh, illustrated by Carey Pietsch and Maarta Laiho

The Lumberjanes get a new counselor to teach them knots – Seafarin’ Karen! (the rhyming is important). She’s stranded as a landlubber because some selkies stole her boat…but also she has a deep dark secret! The girls help her get her boat back, which of course involves portals, dinos, etc. etc.

Back to business! Although still not quite as good since the departure of Noelle Stevenson, this volume rectifies a few of the problems I had with Volume 5. April spends a bit of time apologizing for how she shut out the other girls during the mermaid debacle, and I can’t help but think that’s purposely meta. The girls are more evenly distributed here, with each one contributing to the solution to their problem. The story is also once again connected to the Bear Woman and the overall mythology of the camp. I enjoyed the new counselor, but I’m also fine with her leaving at the end of the volume, Defense-Against-the-Dark-Arts-teacher-style.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

Aug 28, 2017, 10:41pm Top

40. Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini

Rose Reed is very good at her job in public relations, but she's still surprised when an impromptu client meeting results in her becoming the personal publicist for Archie Fox, the sexy young British pop star (definitely not Harry Styles *wink wink*). Mostly it involves elaborate arrangements for spontaneous-looking dates with an up-and-coming songstress, but the job will also entail spending a lot of time in close quarters with one of the world's most famous heartthrobs. What could go wrong?

This book is so cheesy but so fun. The characters are great and the writing is absorbing and very funny. Two times (in the two days it took me to read the book) I missed my bus stop because I was too into reading. Rose is a well-rounded and relatable main character - I especially appreciated that she is super into one nerdy thing (The X-Files) but that doesn't mean she's super into every other thing that could be considered nerdy (the way it works in real life!). Rose and Archie's budding relationship is way too convenient to be realistic, of course, but that's part of the charm. My cynical side was sated by reading about the PR machine and fake celebrity relationships, and the logistics of navigating around a city as an international celebrity. The authors did a little work to separate this "not Harry Styles" from the real one, but not a lot. A few mentions of One Direction made it through editing, to my amusement. Very cute and I highly recommend it if you're into this sort of book, or if you're a fan of Harry Styles of course.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Aug 29, 2017, 10:02am Top

>142 MickyFine:, >143 drneutron:, >145 norabelle414: Thanks Paws, Micky, and Chelle!

>144 ChelleBearss: Great! See you there on Saturday!

Aug 29, 2017, 11:01am Top

Currently Reading:
Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness by Nathanael Johnson (purse book)
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
'All the Real Indians Died Off': and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Others checked out from the library:
Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini (finished, see above)
Something must be done about Prince Edward County : a family, a Virginia town, a civil rights battle by Kristen Green
A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee

Others coming soon:
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Catwings by Ursula K. LeGuin

Aug 29, 2017, 11:50am Top

>146 norabelle414: Sorry to see you didn't enjoy that one as much as I did. I think it worked in my favour that I haven't read Albertalli's first book so I had no expectations going in.

>147 norabelle414: The first volume of Lumberjanes is next in line after my current read. Yay!

>150 MickyFine: Ooooh, A Spy in the House. I really hope you like that one as I was a big fan of that series.

Aug 29, 2017, 12:06pm Top

>151 norabelle414: Yeah it was not at all bad, just a matter of expectations.
Yay Lumberjanes!
I am very excited for A Spy in the House!

Aug 30, 2017, 8:48pm Top

Nora, I'm so totally behind, and as I kept browsing your threads, I kept thinking, "Oh, I would have said this....or that." But now the timing is too late. Sigh. Anyways, I hope you're doing well. It looks like you've been reading a ton this year!

Aug 30, 2017, 9:13pm Top

>153 norabelle414: It's never too late to comment! I do that all the time.

Edited: Sep 5, 2017, 11:43am Top

This weekend I went to the National Book Festival, my 7th time attending in the last 8 years (last year I didn't go). I had breakfast beforehand with drneutron and his wife and omargosh , another LTer I see mostly in the Combiners! and Talk About Librarything groups. We were supposed to have more people but it was cool and rainy and some people stayed home.

As I've mentioned previously, the festival is way less fun for me since it moved indoors to the Washington Convention Center (it used to be held outdoors on the National Mall). But this year was a vast improvement over the last time I attended, in 2015. I don't know how many of these changes were made this year and how many were made last year, but the rooms were larger, better lit and audio-ed, and the children's presentations were a little separated from the rest of the festival. The most popular authors were in a much larger "main stage" room, regardless of genre (though I didn't attend any of those presentations so I don't know how well that went).

I saw the following authors:
Sabaa Tahir - I saw her two years ago when her first book had just come out, and this year her third book is coming out soon. She's very amiable and has a lot of good things to say about failure.
While waiting for another author, I saw the last few minutes of Sidney Blumenthal talking about his new biography of Abraham Lincoln and it was super boring
Margot Lee Shetterly - great, and very insightful. I didn't know much about her despite seeing and enjoying the movie Hidden Figures.
M. T. Anderson - he was HILARIOUS and by far my favorite author of the day, despite the fact that I've never read any of his books
While waiting for another author, I saw Megan Abbott who I am not at all familiar with. She seems really cool and I might pick up a book of hers even though they are contemporary mystery which is not really my thing.
John Scalzi - didn't have a prepared presentation but read two extremely funny short stories and then answered a ton of questions. He was very entertaining.
While waiting for another author, I saw about half of a presentation by Tanya Lee Stone about "Girl Rising", a documentary and subsequent non-fiction book about providing education to impoverished girls across the world. It was interesting to see the pictures and stories of girls whose lives have been changed by getting education, but I'm not sure what the point was.
And the grand finale, (for me personally, not for the whole festival) - Angie Thomas! She was great and had very interesting and insightful things to say despite the fact that her interviewer was not very good. The audience members asked very good questions even if the interviewer did not.

All presentations from the National Book Festival will be available on the Library of Congress website in a few months.

On the downside, there were no official posters given out this year, for the first time ever. I also suspect that attendance was down (although I have no data on that). I browsed the book-buying tent but decided against purchasing anything. Most of the books were hardcovers, of which I am not a fan, and I am doing quite well at checking books out from the library lately.

Sep 5, 2017, 4:56pm Top

>155 MickyFine: Sounds like it was largely a good outing, Nora. Glad you had a decent time. :)

Sep 5, 2017, 7:08pm Top

>155 MickyFine: Sounds like a great time, Nora! I ended up going to the US Open this year and the festival didn't work great with my work schedule, but of course would love to go again if/when it works out. I'll have to put Sabaa Tahir's latest book on hold, thanks for the head's up!

Sep 6, 2017, 10:34am Top

>156 bell7:, >157 norabelle414: Thanks guys! It was a good day, due largely to my low expectations :-)

Sep 6, 2017, 10:53am Top

Last weekend I finished Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness. It was okay, but not great. I started reading A Wrinkle in Time: the Graphic Novel by Hope Larson under the expectation that I would love it ..... but I don't! I'm still reading it but I didn't zip through it as I was expecting to. I'm a little more than halfway finished with Amberlough and a little less than halfway finished with Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County.

At the library yesterday I bought two books (both of which I already own) - a paperback copy of Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan (will replace a very large hardcover copy) and Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (because I can't ever resist buying a Fforde book)

Currently Reading:
Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness by Nathanael Johnson (finished, review coming soon)
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
Something must be done about Prince Edward County : a family, a Virginia town, a civil rights battle by Kristen Green (purse book)
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson
'All the Real Indians Died Off': and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Others checked out from the library:
A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee
A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Others coming soon:
Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Vol. 1: Hooked on a Feline by Kate Leth
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Currently Watching:
The Tick (2017)
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later
Marvel's The Defenders
The Good Place (rewatch)
Halt and Catch Fire
The Bold Type
Midnight, Texas

Sep 6, 2017, 3:15pm Top

>159 MickyFine: I look forward to your thoughts on The DUFF. I liked the film but haven't tried the book.

Sep 6, 2017, 4:01pm Top

>160 norabelle414: I enjoyed the film too, but I don't think I would have picked up the book if it wasn't free. From skimming, it seems a bit edgier than the film so I'm looking forward to seeing the differences.

Sep 6, 2017, 4:19pm Top

>161 MickyFine: That sounds about like my reaction (film enjoyable, no strong desire to pick up book). But maybe you'll change my mind. :)

Edited: Sep 6, 2017, 4:36pm Top

>160 norabelle414: I DNF'd the book -- just didn't care for it.

Sep 6, 2017, 9:28pm Top

Hi, Nora. Stopping by to get caught up. Just noticed that you reread All of a Kind Family - I loved that series when I was little and read the 1st one to my boys a few years ago. I'm about due for a reread of the series. I notice that you've been watching Grantchester too. Have you read the books? I've enjoyed all of them, but they are very different from the show.

Sep 7, 2017, 11:35am Top

>163 rretzler: I don't know if I will like it either, but thankfully it was free!

>164 norabelle414: Hi Robin! I'm glad to find someone else who loved All-of-a-Kind Family! I definitely want to keep re-reading the series.
I haven't read any of the Grantchester novels. I'm much more of a fan of watching mystery TV shows than reading mystery books! I don't know why.

Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 4:38pm Top

41. Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails, & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness by Nathanael Johnson

When the author’s daughter first learned to talk, she would ask him about the world around them when they went on walks. “What’s this? What’s that?” Johnson realized he didn’t know much more than “This is a tree” or “That is a bird”, and so he set out on a quest to learn about the nature surrounding their urban home in San Francisco. He focused on things that residents tend to overlook as they bustle from place to place such as pigeons, snails, weeds, ginkgoes, and vultures.

A good book to whet your appetite for learning more about the world around us, but nothing close to an actual guide to urban wildlife. There was a good selection of plants and animals, and I learned interesting facts about all of them. But a lot of these things I already knew, as someone who was already interested in examining the world around me. While I understand that his daughter’s curiosity was Johnson’s gateway to his own curiosity, I think the parenting aspect of the book was played up too much. This book is interesting enough if you’d like to get started learning about urban wildlife (and it has an extensive bibliography!), but please don’t wait until you have a child to pay attention to nature!

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (4/5)

Sep 7, 2017, 11:58am Top

>166 MickyFine: Nice review!

Sep 7, 2017, 2:13pm Top

>166 MickyFine: It has a really pretty cover.

Edited: Sep 7, 2017, 4:50pm Top

>167 foggidawn: Thanks! I'll post it on the book page when I get home from work.
>168 norabelle414: It's a beautiful cover by illustrator Jamey Christoph! And it looks even better in person. I'm glad I bought my own copy.

Sep 7, 2017, 5:17pm Top

I have a TON of travel coming up soon, which is probably going to vastly change my reading habits, but who knows in which direction!

11-14 September - work trip to New London, Connecticut
21-24 September - my mom is getting married in Milwaukee, WI
15-18 October - work trip to San Diego, CA
28-30 October - best friend's baby shower in Columbia, SC
5-8 November - work trip to San Antonio, TX
8-12 November - possibly visiting friends and family in Houston and Austin, TX?
Sometime in December, TBD - work trip to Dayton, OH

Tentative upcoming plans:
January - work trip to Palm Springs, CA
February - work trip to Pensacola, FL
March - work trip to Jacksonville, NC
April - work trip to Jacksonville, FL
(hopefully some of these will get cancelled)

I've put down a deposit on a cruise to Alaska in June of next year
And my dad wants to go on a cruise of the Danube next September


Sep 7, 2017, 8:36pm Top

Yay, cruise!

Sep 7, 2017, 9:34pm Top

>170 _Zoe_: Wow, that's a lot of travel! And none of it particularly near me, alas. (Dayton is way on the other end of the state from me.)

Sep 8, 2017, 10:49am Top

>170 _Zoe_: That is a lot of travel coming up for you. I've heard great things about Alaskan cruises, I'm sure you'll have a great time. :)

Sep 8, 2017, 10:55am Top

>173 _Zoe_: You should come too!

Sep 8, 2017, 11:54am Top

>174 MickyFine: As tempting as an LT cruise would be, I may need my vacation days for something else next year.

Sep 8, 2017, 2:28pm Top

>166 MickyFine: What an interesting idea for a book. I would have to research some things in our life for when the girls start asking!

>170 _Zoe_: You have LOTS of travels coming up! That's awesome

Sep 8, 2017, 4:59pm Top

Ho;y crap, are you ever going to be home? 😀

Sep 10, 2017, 10:28pm Top

>170 _Zoe_:, >177 norabelle414: I know, right. I'm exhausted just looking at it.

>173 _Zoe_: Thanks Micky!

>176 drneutron: It is a good idea. There are lots of sections where the author learns things with his daughter, like looking at ants through a magnifying glass together.

Edited: Sep 10, 2017, 10:51pm Top

42. Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson

Hope Larson adapts and illustrates the classic novel. Three kids travel through time and space to save their physicist father from a fascist planet, meeting angels and beasts along the way.

A Wrinkle in Time is a marvelous book, but I found this graphic novel adaptation underwhelming. The artwork is fine, but for me a lot of the things I love about the story are not things that can be drawn on a piece of paper. I didn't get the same feeling that reading the novel gives me, especially at the beginning when we are first meeting the Murrays and Calvin. It's worth reading for fun but not nearly as magical as the novel.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (3.5/5)

Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 11:29am Top

>179 MickyFine: I read A Wrinkle in Time maybe 5 or 6 years ago and can remember almost nothing about the plot. Le sigh. Trying to decide if I should re-read it before the film comes out. Sorry to hear the graphic novel was lackluster.

Edited: Sep 11, 2017, 12:26pm Top

>180 foggidawn: That might be ideal, actually -- you can say you read the book before seeing the movie, but you won't be bothered by the inevitable inconsistencies between the two! Win-win! ;-)

Sep 11, 2017, 12:45pm Top

>181 MickyFine: This is true. I went to see a movie yesterday with my mom and the trailer for Wrinkle in Time was played before it. It does look pretty impressive visually, if nothing else.

Sep 11, 2017, 12:49pm Top

>180 foggidawn:, >181 MickyFine: My plan is actually to read this graphic novel instead of re-reading the actual novel before the movie comes out. It was enough to refresh my memory of the plot but because it didn't give me all the warm fuzzies that the novel does, I won't be as disappointed (hopefully?).

One of my problems with the graphic novel was that it didn't feel grand and magical enough (especially being in only 3 colors) and I'm sure the movie will swing hard in the other direction. I think it's a good balance.

Sep 15, 2017, 12:14pm Top

I'm back from my first trip. I didn't finish any books (this was a work trip so I didn't really expect to) but I did read a big chunk of Amberlough. Connecticut was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, I ate lots of good food (lobster rolls), and all the work stuff went smoothly.

I'm a little behind on TV (but not much because there isn't much on) but I recently watched:
Con Man - season 1
The Deuce - series premiere
The Orville - series premiere
Fear the Walking Dead - mid-season premiere
You're the Worst - season premiere
The Bold Type - season finale

Sep 15, 2017, 1:23pm Top

Decent TV progress, Nora.

I was off sick from work for the last two days and finally cleared the final season of Orphan Black off the PVR. The Boyfriend and I have been doing a fandom exchange so when we're at my place we watch Doctor Who (his first pass through it) and at his place we watch Arrow (eventually expanding to the rest of the DCU - my first exposure). It works great except I'm perpetually behind on live TV. It doesn't help that I'll be on vacation right during premiere season either. :P

Sep 15, 2017, 1:50pm Top

>185 norabelle414: Orphan Black series finale! So perfect. Tatiana Maslany was on "Talking with Chris Hardwick" a couple weeks ago and she was so delightful. I can't wait for her to do more stuff.

That's a cute idea! I can't wait until you get to the other shows! Do you know what watch order you're going to follow? Have you watched Constantine (the 2014 NBC show)? The main character has a cameo in Arrow season 4. If I didn't have so much new TV to watch I would totally do a binge-rewatch of the CW-DCU.

Have you watched The Baroness Von Sketch Show? It's an all-female Canadian sketch show that just started airing in the U.S. (on some random little obscure channel) and I really, really love it.

Sep 15, 2017, 2:44pm Top

>184 MickyFine: Mmmmmm Lobster rolls!! I haven't had one in years.

Edited: Sep 15, 2017, 3:10pm Top

Watched The Orville last night - we though it was mostly meh with potential. Will continue watching to see what develops. What did you think?

Sep 15, 2017, 3:28pm Top

>187 drneutron: They were so good!

>188 norabelle414: Knowing Seth McFarlane can be terrible (sexist, racist, otherwise bigoted), I had very low expectations. It was fine. I'll watch a few more episodes before I decide what I think. I hope Adrianne Palicki's role improves, because she was great on Agents of SHIELD and deserves better.

Somewhat ironically, the expedition part of the plot would actually be a decent Star Trek plot. (Ironic because everyone is so worried about Star Trek: Discovery)

Sep 16, 2017, 10:48am Top

>186 ChelleBearss: I think we're going to do air date order. I've got some websites bookmarked for when we eventually expand out.

I have not watched the sketch show but I saw lots of commercials for it as it aired on CBC up here (the Canadian equivalent of BBC).

Sep 19, 2017, 6:38pm Top

I'm packing for my next trip, which starts Thursday evening. Books accompanying me:

Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
A Spy in the House
Either If We Were Villains or An Extraordinary Union, both of which I checked out of the library today.

I finished Amberlough over the weekend and it was fantastic but I haven't written a review yet. It's a very difficult plot to condense into a few sentences!

Sep 24, 2017, 2:50pm Top

Just stopping by to say HI NORA!! Looks like you've been getting lots of reading done this year. The Soul of the Octopus is definitely on my "I want to read that sometime, eventually" list. :)

Sep 26, 2017, 8:44pm Top

43. Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

Cyril DePaul is an intelligence agent in Amberlough City (capital of Amberlough, the richest state in the region of Gedda), currently focused on the upcoming election in the neighboring state of Nuesklend. The fascist "One State Party" (also called OSP or Ospies) are gaining power, and Cyril is sent to spy in Nuesklend to uncover who is bankrolling them and how they are manipulating elections. The Ospies are defined by brutal law enforcement tactics, teetotaling, and religious fundamentalism to include the persecution of homosexual activity. Cyril has an unspoken understand with his boyfriend, Ari - Ari pretends he doesn't know Cyril works for the police, and Cyril pretends he doesn't know that Ari is a smuggler and drug runner. Cyril simply enjoys Ari's company, including watching his shows at the Bumble Bee Cabaret. Ari performs with a colorful cast of characters including the club's gruff owner Malcolm, various singers and musicians, and the beautiful star dancer Cordelia Lehane, who uses her mistaken reputation as a brainless sex-pot to her advantage. When Cyril's mission goes sideways, he makes a terrible choice to save the love of his life - by putting everyone else in danger.

What a gorgeous first novel! A difficult but rewarding read which reminded me of a dozen other good books like The Diviners, the Song of Ice and Fire series, Woodwalker, 1984, and a delicious spy novel. The 1920s/30s-era language and slang, especially, made the book difficult to get into but once I did I forgot what time I'm actually living in. One thing I especially think sets it apart from other spy novels or dystopias is that the story is told from the points of view of three main characters (Cyril, Ari, and Cordelia) who are all on the same side. It was a good choice because while Cyril is sympathetic, he made some bad choices and I wouldn't want to spend too much time in his head. I had to take notes to keep the plot and characters straight, but it was TOTALLY worth it. The story is complex, the politics intriguing, the characters beautiful, the writing immersive, and the plot eerily prescient. Highly, highly recommended!

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Sep 26, 2017, 8:45pm Top

44. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Henry "Monty" Montague is thrilled to be going on his very own Grand Tour of Europe - WITHOUT his father and WITH his best friend Percy (and also his little sister might be going but whatever). He plans to stay out all night, drink, chase after handsome men and women, and hopelessly pine for Percy. But Monty's wanten ways and lack of a filter have always gotten him in trouble at home and at school, and Europe is no exception. He makes one little mistake and now he's being by a French duke over half the continent! He'll need to use wiles he didn't know he had to get through this, and meanwhile discover who he is, what he wants from life, and possibly the biggest discovery of all - his sister might be cool?!?

This book was cute and I liked it, but it's very similar to Gail Carriger books and I think those are slightly better. But this is the author's first novel! It was very fun to read and I look forward to more of her work.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (4.5/5)

Sep 26, 2017, 11:49pm Top

>193 norabelle414: That one sounds quite good and it looks like a sequel is due out in May!

Sep 27, 2017, 8:47am Top

>195 norabelle414: Yes, thankfully! By the time I was finished I was dying for more. It wasn't marketed as a series at all so I immediately had to look up and see if there would be another.

Sep 27, 2017, 9:03am Top

Quick minor complaint about my library - they redid their website and catalog system and now any ebooks/audiobooks that I check out from OverDrive are included in my list of Checked Out Items and it drives me BONKERS. It says I have ELEVEN books checked out which sends me into a panic because I only know where 6 of them are! The other 5 are audiobooks.

Sep 27, 2017, 9:40am Top

Yep, our library started doing the same thing. Same reaction. 😀

Sep 27, 2017, 9:56am Top

>198 norabelle414: Well, I'm glad it's not just me, I guess!

Sep 27, 2017, 8:59pm Top

>197 drneutron: huh, that's so weird. I'm going to have watch and see if mine will do that too, as it would drive me slightly batty. Do they show all the holds together too?

Sep 27, 2017, 10:33pm Top

>200 norabelle414: Yep. I'm okay with that one because I don't pay much attention to my holds until they're ready (also, I have over a dozen frozen holds because I'm the worst), but the "Checked Out Items" page is primarily how I remember what books I have at home and when they are due so I'm on there almost every day.

Sep 28, 2017, 8:19am Top

>201 bell7: (also, I have a dozen frozen holds because I'm the worst)

Um... I currently have 19 holds (out of 20 allowed) and only 4 of them are active.

That would completely irritate me on the Checked Out list, though, I definitely hope that doesn't change for us anytime soon.

Sep 29, 2017, 6:08pm Top

Is your library running bibliocommons for its catalogue interface? That's what ours is and I mostly don't mind the integration but we've had it a while.

Sep 29, 2017, 6:45pm Top

>203 norabelle414: I'm not sure? The URL says "libcat"

Oct 1, 2017, 2:06pm Top

>204 MickyFine: Not bibliocommons then. They put their name in the web address.

Oct 2, 2017, 11:34am Top

Having so many books checked out from the library at once is coming back to bite me so I will have to step up my reading game. First priority for reading is If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio, which is due on Oct 10 and has a hold list. I started yesterday and it's FANTASTIC. Next is A Spy in the House, which is due on Oct 15 and has no hold list, but I have exhausted all of my renewals and there are only 2 copies in the system which are both checked out. I started it last weekend and it's okay. Third is Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County, which is due on Oct 15, has no holds list, and there are 6 other copies available, but I have exhausted all of my renewals. I have been reading it for awhile, but it's hard to read a lot at once because it's so infuriating (the subject matter, not the writing). Least priority is An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole, which is due on Oct 10 but is renewable.

Oct 2, 2017, 3:49pm Top

>206 MickyFine: This sounds so familiar. Good luck reading all the things!

Oct 6, 2017, 8:30pm Top

45. If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

Alexander, Filippa, James, Meredith, Oliver, Richard, and Wren are fourth-year theater students at a prestigious arts conservatory. Here, they breathe, eat, drink, live, and die Shakespeare, non-stop. Living together and acting against each other for so long, they know every inch of each other's soul. But they're also professional liars, so when Richard, the boisterous, violent, bully of the group, is found dead in the lake, they know not whodunit.

This utterly devastating novel is an amalgamation of pretty much every bit of Shakespeare's tragedies. It's filled with love and betrayal and madness and murder and guilt and ghosts and spots that won't come out. The several plays that the students put on throughout the year merge with reality so you sometimes can't tell what's real and what's not.... and neither can the characters. If you love Shakespeare this is really and truly perfect.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ (5/5)

Oct 6, 2017, 8:57pm Top

>208 foggidawn: Ooh, sounds right up my alley! I'll make note for next time I'm in the mood for a mystery.

Oct 6, 2017, 11:45pm Top

Oct 7, 2017, 9:08am Top

>208 foggidawn: Sounds interesting! Onto the Wishlist :)

Oct 7, 2017, 10:46am Top

>208 foggidawn: Duly adding it to The List

Oct 8, 2017, 2:21pm Top

Yup, sounds like a good’un!

Oct 12, 2017, 3:01pm Top

>209 MickyFine:, >210 ChelleBearss:, >211 bell7:, >212 drneutron:, >213 norabelle414: Yay! I'm so glad!


>206 MickyFine: This plan did not work out. I finished "If We Were Villains", of course, and renewed "An Extraordinary Union", but "A Spy In the House" and "Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County" are both going back to the library unfinished on Saturday. Then I'm probably going to lay off the library books for a little while because I'll be out of town a lot between now and mid-November.
Aside from "An Extraordinary Union" I also have The Walking Dead, Volume 28: A Certain Doom checked out, and I have two holds which can't be frozen because I am next in line. Then I'll have to read my OWN BOOKS!!! Quelle horreur.

Oct 12, 2017, 3:19pm Top

>214 MickyFine: Or borrow library ebooks. :P

Oct 12, 2017, 3:42pm Top

>215 norabelle414: I read books to give my eyes a break from looking at a computer screen all day! I'd have to find another hobby to give my eyes a break from reading ebooks.

Oct 12, 2017, 4:03pm Top

>216 MickyFine: Well you do knit... ;) Sorry, I'm feeling cheeky today apparently.

Oct 14, 2017, 8:33am Top

46. The Murders in the Rue Morgue (Short Story) by Edgar Allan Poe, read by David Case

Two women are found murdered in a locked apartment in Paris, and none of the witnesses can agree on what they heard. A man named Auguste Dupin examines each clue methodically, and comes up with a most unusual solution to the mystery.

This is often credited with being the first detective story. The first section of the book is devoted to Dupin explaining how he uses deductive reasoning (at the time called ratiocination) to figure things out, and it's very tedious. The recounting of the crime scene and accompanying investigation are somewhat interesting. However, I think the solution is a bit too convenient and I don't think there's any way Dupin could actually have deduced it. Plus, if the sailor saw his orangutan murder two people, and then he ran away from the crime scene, why would he answer an advertisement asking if anyone had lost an orangutan?? I do find it interesting that the sailor is not held responsible for the orangutan's actions, though. That certainly would not be the case today. This is an important story to understand the history of the detective genre, but it's not actually that enjoyable to read.

I listened to the audiobook read by David Case. I'm not sure if it was the audio quality or the narrator's voice, but I didn't care for it. I was considering listening to more of the stories in this audio collection but I think I'll pass.

Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ♥ (3.5/5)

Oct 21, 2017, 2:50pm Top

It's library book sale season! This year I went to the BIG local book sale at the main branch of my county library system. I picked up the following:

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl
Hild by Nicola Griffith
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Oct 21, 2017, 4:01pm Top

Nice haul!

Oct 22, 2017, 12:34am Top

>219 _Zoe_: Yay for A Darker Shade of Magic! Excellent choice!

Oct 22, 2017, 1:58pm Top

>220 MickyFine:, >221 norabelle414: Thanks! This book sale is much larger than my usual, but also more expensive. Thus, I bought fewer books but they are higher quality :-) It was $14 for those 6 books (3 hardcover and 3 paperback) which is still not bad.

Oct 22, 2017, 7:54pm Top

>222 MickyFine: $14 for 6 books is definitely a steal!

This topic was continued by Norabelle414's Trilogy in Four Parts.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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