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Quondame - Susan's Still Reading (Page III)

This is a continuation of the topic Quondame - 75 down and more to go (Page II).

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Aug 1, 2:17am Top

Well, I'm going to finish recovering from Costume College and turning in my SCA Exchequer quarterly report then I'm going to read some more.

Edited: Aug 1, 9:40pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Aug 1, 8:50am Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 1, 12:04pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

Aug 1, 4:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

Aug 1, 9:01pm Top

referring to yr last thread:

I am pleased to see a new Jasper Fforde series

I LOVED The Long Price Quartet. Found it quite exceptional! I hope you do too by the end!

Aug 1, 9:02pm Top

Costume College looks amazing!

Aug 1, 10:51pm Top

I never knew that such a thing as Costume College exists. Wow!
I'm at the half-way point in *Long Price 4*. I loved the first two but haven't made it to the third yet. I will though!

Edited: Aug 2, 2:04am Top

Happy new one!

Edited: Aug 15, 5:35pm Top

#185) The Woman in the Woods

I really love John Connolly's writing and I like his characters. I'm less enamored of preventing-the-end-of-the-world plots and dark gods, so it's a bit of a trade off, and the nasty violence of the baddies I could also do without. I probably shouldn't have jumped straight from the first Charlie Parker book to this one, but it was checked out and due soon for an earlier challenge, so I started it and didn't feel lost, so I finished it.

Meets August TIOLI #7: Read a book where the letters of the title on the cover are all black or all white

#186) Red Waters Rising

The final book in the Devil's West Trilogy, this book really could have used a more defined threat/antagonist and resolution. And the city of Red Stick isn't nearly as well evoked as a setting as the open country and small towns of the Road. Even the Mudwater doesn't come across as strongly as it should. The book flowed well and the characters and their development is well done, but not the greatest conclusion to a fantasy series (although there will be more, at least in short form)

Meets August TIOLI #6. The Location, Location, Location Rolling Challenge!

Edited: Aug 15, 5:34pm Top

#187) The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

The writing, pacing, plotting and characters of this book are all good, but I couldn't even once buy into the lock step every body goes on to there nth life in as a whole aspect of the relived life core. If Harry is on life n when the other characters are on life k or s when Harry is at n+1 then it is k+1 and s+1 for the others. Also Clare's warning doesn't make sense to me in the context , though that is a secondary quibble. Since changes are possible, even though it is stated some things don't change, it is contradicted by the quicker ending of the world. Oh, and I don't prefer preventing-the-end-of-the-world plots.

This was a BB shot by Heather/souloftherose back in January

Meets August TIOLI #7: Read a book where the letters of the title on the cover are all black or all white

Aug 4, 8:11am Top

Happy new thread Susan.

Aug 4, 10:40pm Top

#188) Under the Vale

A couple of interesting stories. A couple which are only slightly related to Valdemar. An interesting history of magery leading up to the catastrophe and the technology of vales.

Re-read for August TIOLI #4: Read a book that contains the word "over" or "under" in the title

#189) The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Beautifully written tale of a literal walk across England from Knightsbridge to Berwick-upon-Tweed and an internal journey into the past of a haunted relationship. Harold Fry is an everyman whose tragedies and regrets are as individual as they are intense. He seeks atonement and finds humanity.

Read for August TIOLI #2: Read a book whose title suggests a journey

Aug 6, 12:40pm Top

#190) Pippi Longstockings

Some of Pippi's adventures I love, some I don't, but she is such an amazing creation and so different from what was expected.

Re-read for August TIOLI #8: Read a book first published in the decade of your birth

#191) Here Abide Monsters

Very dull. A young man getting away from his father and his manipulating step-mother offers to accompany a young woman who is taking party supplies to a friend's cabin by a route known for mysterious disappearances at widely spaced intervals. They find themselves in an alternate world with the geography of the Ohio they left behind but a wishy washy pseudo Celtic pseudo medieval fairy land beset with alien abductions via flying saucers with arbitrarily opposed flying cigars. Neither the fantasy nor the sf elements have roots or depth beyond kiddie TV and while interesting characters are set in place only the slightest play is given to all but one or two. I have enjoyed one or two clear mixtures of SF and mid-20th cent fantasy which have come much closer to working, but this is a flat fail.

Read for August TIOLI #12: Read a book with a multiple word title, with words of increasing length

Aug 6, 4:05pm Top

#191) The Witches

A recently orphaned boy and his beloved old Norwegian grandmother take on the witches convention of England and the Grand High Witch of all the World, in a sweet, sad story.

Read for August TIOLI #11: Read a book found through a tag mash of humor and one of the following: mystery/horror/science fiction/fantasy

Edited: Aug 6, 4:39pm Top

#191) Masha and the Bear: The Girl Who Called Wolf

A retelling of the boy who cried wolf with Masha on the cell phone. She should have been eaten, but, hey, kid's reader.

Read for August TIOLI #18: Read a Book that Includes a Bear, real or fictitious, in its Title or Plot

Aug 7, 4:34pm Top

Oh you got me with the Harold Fry!

Edited: Aug 15, 5:34pm Top

#192) The Black Echo

I couldn't get much of a fix on the character of Harry Bosch in this book, though I was pleased not to be offered yet another snarking detective who can't help but offend every one he encounters. The pacing and plot are somewhat jerky, but I appreciated that when Harry is questioning something that he has observed it is always important to the solution of the mystery. Some of the characters are interesting, some seem dashed off. The strangeness of having the city I've lived in for 50 years both correctly and incorrectly described interfered a bit with my absorption in the book - I've lived in Hollywood, Mid-town, Santa Monica and worked in the valley, downtown and Westwood, and only the scenes up by the reservoir were in unfamiliar territory.

Acquired for August TIOLI #1: Read a local book
Meets August TIOLI #1: Read a book whose ISBN contains a sequence of a three-in-a-row number

#193) The Moon Lady

I read this to my daughter years ago and didn't pause to spend time with the elaborately realistic and fantastically detailed pictures on each page of the central story of a young girls adventures on the Autumn Moon festival.

Read for August TIOLI #6. The Location, Location, Location Rolling Challenge!

Edited: Aug 8, 12:30pm Top

#194) The Mouse that Snored

A sweet, strange, silly short picture book.

Read for August TIOLI #9: Read a book where the first word rhymes with the last word of the previous title

Edited: Aug 9, 5:32pm Top

#196) Seabiscuit: An American Legend

An interesting account of the men who made Seabiscuit a focus of their lives and talents from 1937 to 1940 and the phenomenon that was made of him and his career. Laura Hillenbrand writes spectacularly unindulgent race scenes from the jockey's viewpoint in which calculation and intensity are perfectly balanced with the flow. The majority of the narrative is not race scenes and the flow is roughened by staying much further on the calculated side rather than the impassioned one. A good book about a great horse.

Read for August TIOLI #5: Read a book about a sports star, name the sport and star if not obvious from the title

Edited: Aug 11, 9:18pm Top

#197) A Year in Van Nuys

Amusing, wry account of herself and her life, companions, and efforts with all her brutally iconoclastic viewpoint, it does come across a as a bit scraped together so as to pile up enough material to call it a book.

Read for August TIOLI #10. Read a local book (Los Angeles)

Aug 11, 9:29pm Top

#198) The Sudden Appearance of Hope

Another exploration trough a preposterous what if, this one being what if there a very few individuals whose personal interactions with others are erased from memory withing a minute such a person being out of sight - literally out of sight, never was in mind. Issues of who you are if you are free of others expectations and recollection and of the horrendous noise and cost of individual and societal expectations. The plot involves an app that tells you how to become perfect and incentivizes by awarding rewards base on points acquired by approved behaviors and purchases. It has the highest scorers literally erasing themselves to become the app's version of perfect. Some interesting characters, never quite believable situations, moved OK, but dragged a bit, it could have been tightened up.

Read for August TIOLI #14. Read a second book by an author whom you've read for the first time this year

Aug 11, 9:48pm Top

Goodness! You are a fast reader...what, like a book a day? Jealous!!! You've read a couple of old favorites recently: Pippi Longstocking and The Witches. What would you say are your top 5 picks so far this year?

Aug 12, 12:21am Top

>23 Berly: These are among my favorites of the books I first read this year:
The Girl in the Tower
The Will to Battle
Wake of Vultures
Artificial Condition
The Electric Woman

I have very little energy for anything more active than reading, and a good deal of time. Also 3 great library systems and lots of books at home.

Aug 12, 5:05am Top

>24 quondame: And I am familiar with exactly none of those!! LOL I will have to look them up to see what they are about and go from there. Thanks for listing them!

Aug 12, 10:50pm Top

>25 Berly: 4 F&SF, 3 are sequels. The Electric Woman is non-fiction autobiographical and takes place within 1 year.

Aug 12, 11:10pm Top

#199) Otto of the Silver Hand

A Medieval story about a young boy caught up in a murderous feud after being raised in a monastery. It all about the pictures really. They are something, the knights and men at arms in particular. The older women seem to mix later 15th cent style elements and the final young maid looks to be wearing an artistic reform tea gown.

I first read this in my early teens as I hunted down everything Howard Pyle had written just to fall into his wonderfully detailed medieval world. No surprise that I'm in the SCA, just that it took me so long to join.

Read for August TIOLI #19: Read a book set in a country that mirrors where your dog (or other pet) originated

Aug 12, 11:28pm Top

#200) Summon the Keeper

Amusing visit with a Keeper whose job as a young high level magic practitioner is to visit hot spots - where hell breaks loose or in or seeps a bit - to fix them as she faces the possibility at being 'stuck' as a permanent guardian on a complex spell locked hell gate and has to deal with an obscurely attractive ghost and a 20 year old good guy hunk - who cleans and cooks and fixes things.

Read for August TIOLI #1: Read a book whose ISBN contains a sequence of a three-in-a-row number

Aug 13, 2:47pm Top

#200) Out of Time's Abyss

Once you reach a certain age the improbability of the wonders being described are too much for absorbed reading to be possible. I think that age is way less than 13 for this adventure tale written 100 years ago and full or such gems as "but don't worry little girl;" to a woman who proves to be quite capable though of course idiot enough to love him devotedly and be the perfect supportive companion. The incidents of this book are crammed into less than 120 pages and would fill 500 in a modern novelization, but you can go far fast if your characters aren't packing any character. Of course ERB could write and the book is readable, but why?

Read for August TIOLI #16: Read a book whose title ends with a doubled letter

Aug 13, 2:58pm Top

On Sunday I sat gate at a medieval cooking completion, Cast Iron Chef, with my friend Ruan on the left - the day though warm and on the moist side for Southern California was cooler than we had a right to expect and enlivened by light breezes. Once gate shut down I read Otto of the Silver Hand, the perfect accompaniment to a medieval feast -delicious!

Edited: Aug 14, 3:30pm Top

#201) Color Blind

Interesting characters, competent writing, good flow, elaborate thriller mystery serial murder plot, and I didn't like it. Too elaborate, too nasty, too personal for my taste. The fashion for involved detecting protagonists is way played out. And the synesthesia aspects didn't come off as valid to me.

Read for August TIOLI #15: Read a book with a significant connection to the concept of neurodiversity

Aug 14, 3:36pm Top

#202) Life: In Hollywood

Little essays on Hollywood, history, families, stars, couples, Oscars. The photos really aren't all that compelling - other than the titles and although the racism is brought up, sexism is not even hinted at. Blacklisting is folded into the article on High Noon, the only movie to get spotlighted. If you are interested in Hollywood, you know far more than this book can tell you and have seen better images.

Read for August TIOLI #17: Read a book with a 3-word-title which is an airport abbreviation (rolling challenge, travelling east)

Aug 14, 8:54pm Top

Lovely photo of you and your friend on a beautiful day!

Edited: Aug 15, 4:43pm Top

#202) A Betrayal in Winter

Years later in the far north Maati and Otah Machi encounter each other again due to the secession conflict at Machi which requires Otah's death if anyone in his family knows he is alive. The new characters are interesting, but knowing who has 'framed' Otah for the brother's death that sets the plot going seems to take something from the story, which dragged a bit for me.

Meets August TIOLI #3: Read a book where the author’s last name starts with a vowel

Aug 15, 4:59pm Top

#203) Pretzel

Cute. As a dachshund owner though this book produces anxiety! I worry for little Pretzel!

Read for August TIOLI #13: Read a book that pairs well with a drink

Aug 15, 10:46pm Top

#204) Rogue Protocol

A good solid episode in the series of short novels featuring the SecUnit with a deactivated governor who would prefer to use its freedom to watch media dramas and dislikes eye-contact. Trying to remain undetected while collecting data for the case against Grey it is noticed and suborns the perky human form unit Miki. Miki is deliberately annoying, and that doesn't count as a strength in the narrative. Some characterization, but the action is quite fast and thick and flow very well, but a rather large amount has to do with one AI taking over others, so secondary characters don't have any play.

Meets August TIOLI #12: Read a book with a multiple word title, with words of increasing length

Edited: Aug 22, 6:09pm Top

#205) Spinning Silver

Three young women make decisions for themselves, take on forces within and beyond their world and save a kingdom. Responsibility, pride, survival, agency drive the young women, each with different situations and characters. Their roles limit their vision but not their drive and they eventually see past first assumptions. The plot spirals outward from Miryem's decision to take on the responsibility of money lending that her father is too kindhearted to pursue and catches up Wanda, who welcomes any way of escaping the abuses of her drunken father or being sold away as a wife and when Miryam is required to turn Staryk silver to gold, Irina, the local duke's daughter is caught up with her father's designs to use the Staryk silver jewelry to captivate the Tsar. So many of the plots work but the results are not always according to plan. There are at least 6 viewpoint characters, and figuring out which sometimes pulled me out of the story, but not for long.

Meets August TIOLI #13: Read a book that pairs well with a drink

Edited: Aug 17, 7:26pm Top

March 2019 - If you know the series you are waiting for this! If you don't read unfinished series, you will be in for a treat!

Return of the Thief

Aug 18, 11:12am Top

Hmmm I note I wishlisted the first one, must get busy ordering one or finding the first one at a library to try out!!!

Edited: Aug 22, 6:09pm Top

#206) The Skaar Invasion

Another not very exciting episode. Terry Brooks has added little unnecessary descriptions about the characters of characters that have already demonstrated what they are. And we are treated to another cliffhanger.

Meets August TIOLI #12: Read a book with a multiple word title, with words of increasing length

Edited: Aug 22, 6:09pm Top

#207) The Black Ice

Harry Bosch navigates his way through three murders and the limits placed upon him by his department to find the connections to the drug black ice and the paired border towns Calexico and Mexicali. Dealing with the past and its injustices is a theme as is loneliness and living within organizations, but I still haven't much of a feel for Bosch's character yet. The story and the settings are very interesting in a dark way and the pacing is excellent.

Meets August TIOLI #7: Read a book where the letters of the title on the cover are all black or all white

Edited: Aug 22, 6:09pm Top

#208) Everybody is Different

I can't rate this because I don't have any autistic family members, though it's arguable that all but one of us is on the Asperger's scale, the exception having had other issues entirely. The content seems valid and except for one major issue would be well presented - but the constant beat of -brother or sister-, -he or she-, -his or hers-, -him or her-, -himself or herself- just got more or more grating. It all reduced to he, his, him, himself and thus lost the point. Maybe it would have worked better as a double thick - one side being all male the other all female. The information seems good and at about the right level of detail for 8-12.

Read for August TIOLI #15: Read a book with a significant connection to the concept of neurodiversity

Aug 20, 6:24am Top

>37 quondame: I just finished Spinning Silver and I noticed you didn't put it in a TIOLI challenge. If you want a shared read I put it in Challenge 13 - pairs with a drink. Tea with cherries, not something I had come across before but the characters seem to enjoy it :)

Aug 20, 12:06pm Top

>43 calm: Thank you! I rather enjoyed the expanding scope of Miryem's challenges.

Aug 20, 12:20pm Top

It was a good book with some very interesting challenges for all the characters and for the reader with the shifting POV's

Edited: Aug 22, 6:09pm Top

#209) Best to Laugh

Somewhat amusing, the straightforward story of young Candy Pekkala's going to Hollywood, making friends at Petyon Hall apartments and at her temp job and gaining successes as a stand up comedian. Not screamingly funny. Candy and most of the rest of the characters are so nice and there is just enough diversity - Candy is half-Korean, but lost her mother early - and there is a black lesbian is about it - that it doesn't qualify as a white wash, but other than using the scarcity of women comics as a punch line, nothing is gone into. It reads like a set up for a series of wacky Hollywood 20 somethings in the late 70s early 80s, but not one I'd watch.

Read for August TIOLI #10. Read a local book (Los Angeles)

Aug 20, 10:47pm Top

>40 quondame: I must confess, I gave up on Brooks about 20 years ago.
>38 quondame: I am waiting!

Aug 21, 2:05am Top

>47 ronincats: Every now and then Terry comes up with something better than his average - some of which came after the superior The Word and The Void series which may be the last ones of his you read as they came out about 20 years ago. I think Landover was the first of his I read, and I think I read The Sword of Shannara because it had become fantasy canon.

Edited: Aug 22, 6:10pm Top

#210) Sword of Fire and Sea

This book is readable, but littered with misused words and devoid of any connection between the characters and between the characters and this reader. The plot is a bunch of arbitrary encounters and there are multiple contradictions - 3 griffons can carry 3 people in a craft with light supplies but one griffon can't carry one person is an example. It's like a tone-deaf imitation of Robin Hobbs in a Mercedes Lackey world.

Read for August TIOLI #9: Read a book where the first word rhymes with the last word of the previous title

Edited: Aug 22, 6:10pm Top

#211) The Tea Master and the Detective

Cute Holmes meets Watson in space where Holmes is a woman with a past currently balancing chemical enhancements and Watson is a decommissioned brain ship with deep space trauma. Interesting and readable, but could we even suspect a Holmes character of truly nefarious dealings?

Meets August TIOLI #13: Read a book that pairs well with a drink

Edited: Aug 31, 4:09pm Top

#212) Imajica

Though the back blurb and intro give Judith a last name, I found it nowhere in the text while multiple names are bestowed on the male characters. For all the anti-toxic-male thread that develops in this work, the gaze is unrelentingly male. Most of the huge size is dribbled away in dialog between characters that only minimally interested me. There are wanderings, but of any wonders encountered, it is mostly the monsters that are reported, though I did like the watery Yzordderrex scenes. I found the blasphemies bland and the debaucheries commonplace and the whole work of more value as fertilizer for what other authors have grown from its substance than for itself.

Meets August TIOLI #6. The Location, Location, Location Rolling Challenge!

Aug 28, 3:17pm Top

#213) The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump

A semi-serious adventure up and down the LA basin and SF valley from Long Beach to Chatsworth in an alternate 1990s where magic is used instead of most technology and carpets on flyways are the means of transportation. Heavy, very heavy on the puns which along with the sly renaming of local features is the basis of the humor, as the actual story is a possible end of the world as they know it as seen from the point of view of the EPA (Environmental Perfection Agency) agent. The gods are real and you'd better hope yours can protect you.

Read for August TIOLI #10. Read a local book (Los Angeles)

Edited: Aug 30, 2:13pm Top

#214) An Autumn War

Not a happy book. The characters are good, the plot moves straightforwardly if a bit of a plod, but the wonder of a strange world is mostly lacking and the viewpoint is split between the Galt general who is determined to destroy a culture he sees as dangerously corrupt and the Khai Machi, Otah of the earlier books, who shares his belief but whose role is to preserve all he can of his people and culture. As an intellectual construct this is excellent. As a story, it isn't for me.

Meets August TIOLI #3: Read a book where the author’s last name starts with a vowel

Aug 31, 2:28am Top

#215) Record of a Spaceborn Few

About as absorbing an fast moving as a novel with 6 viewpoints can get. This is an exploration of the changing culture that developed on the generation ships that were the final flight of humans from a devastated earth. 4 of the narrators are local, a grandmother, a mother, a caretaker for the dead, and a teenage boy, one is an alien essentially blogging it's visit, and the third is an immigrant looking for something new. The slight connection to earlier books is Wayfarer Captain's sister Tessa. The characters are interesting and well developed and the conflicts do not seem at all artificial. I wasn't really into the teenage angst bits, but they support the the work in it's entirety.

Meets August TIOLI #6. The Location, Location, Location Rolling Challenge!

Edited: Aug 31, 4:24pm Top

Who knew you could read books on YouTube - well have books read to you, but if Audio books count so should audiovisual books!

Seeking to get Imajica qualified on August TIOLI #6 I watched/read first an Australian kids book (actually two, but the first while featuring a Wombat had almost not Australia in it) only to find that that slot had been filled so I searched and found:


About Emperor penguins, Adele penguins and Weddell seals - enemies are Saokuas, Leopard seals and humans.

Watched for August TIOLI #6. The Location, Location, Location Rolling Challenge!

Sep 1, 3:26pm Top

#216) Dark Hollow

Charlie Parker, known as Bird, is literally haunted by the ghosts of murder victims, including his own wife and daughter. A serial murderer who was active more than 30 years earlier while Charlie's grandfather was still an active policeman, haunts the his search for Billy Purdue, a violent young man, the husband of his client, who has money the mob wants and is being searched for by the police for the murder of that young woman and her son. The characters and the mood of winter Maine are the main positives of Dark Hollow, and the brisk pace of the book. More than one nasty serial killers shows up, including Bird's friend Louis, the hitman of bad dudes. The elements of this story are well integrated in comparison to Every Dead Thing.

Meets September TIOLI #11: Read a book with a full name (first name and family name) at the first page

Edited: Sep 4, 12:07am Top

#217) Last Song Before Night

Echos from everywhere, or at least half a dozen things I’ve read in the not too too distant past. Like Glass Thorns it involves musicians/entertainers, but these are poet sorcerers. And another all boys’ club, but the woman is further along in trying to break it.
180902 Re-read because I remembered nothing when I opened the sequel. This really is a bit of a hot mess - sequences and locations jump about, and although the evil villain and self serving baddies are pretty clear, the nature of enchantment is much less so.

Meets September TIOLI #10: Read a book with a city pictured, diagrammed, or silhouetted on the cover

Edited: Sep 4, 9:34am Top

#218) Don't Let Go

Compact and intense, this search for answers to multiple deaths, both 15 years before and during the story's present, keeps twisting through to difficult truths. The abrupt end leaves a few significant questions as to the lead character's future, though the mysteries are dispelled. Good characters and relentless pace.

Read For September TIOLI #3: Read a book you MUST read

Sep 4, 1:07am Top

I think you must read a book a day!! I do enjoy Harlan Coben--Thanks.

Sep 6, 2:12am Top

>59 Berly: More often than not. Today, not though.

Sep 6, 2:23am Top

#219) Iron Sunrise

Good modern space opera with imperiled worlds, dark agents, fascist baddies, spunky girl, newsman with a past, all moving top speed with a few flashbacks. Interesting, somewhat twisty, a bit explosive (oh did the cover give that away!)

Read For September TIOLI #4: Read a book with the name of a railway station in the title

Edited: Sep 7, 3:37pm Top

#220) Revenant Gun

We are no longer in Cheris mind dealing with Jedeo - his memory reset to 17 Jedeo find himself under Kujen in a 44 yr old body with disconcerting capabilities, while we see Cheris/Jedeo from the viewpoint of a servitor. Another viewpoint are the leaders' of the Compact and Protectorate. This story has it's own charms but frustrates them with flow issues. I'm total not thrilled by the final Kel body count as it seemed out of left field.

Meets September TIOLI #3: Read a book you MUST read

Sep 9, 5:56pm Top

#221) Competence

It's nice Primrose decides to be fine with being Lesbian, but her sexuality shouldn't be the most interesting thing about her and the plodding plot a background which is just there so the other characters are occupied while she does it.

Meets September TIOLI 16: Read a book with a weather term related to rain in the title (or an umbrella on the cover)*

*The umbrella on the cover is described as a parasol, but in fact is an ordinary budget umbrella standing in.

Sep 9, 8:45pm Top

>61 quondame: Hmmm, I bounced off Iron Sunrise the first time I tried it, but it looks like I'll have to give it another try. For some reason, Stross usually doesn't click for me, even the Atrocity Archives, which should hit all the right buttons.

>62 quondame: I still have to read the first book that is sitting here...

>63 quondame: Yeah, that was a real disappointment, wasn't it?

Sep 9, 8:57pm Top

>64 ronincats: Stross's Lovecraftian Atrocity Archives should so not be my thing, but I rather like them. There has been a large number of Lovecraftian inspired works recently that risen way above expecting us to be paralyzed at the thought of someone being tentacle dragged into an acid bath and their soul along with us.

Sep 10, 9:30am Top

#222) The Cobbler's Boy

15 year old Kit Marlow deals with a brutal father a murdered friend, 4 sisters, his own hopeless ambitions. and the perils of requited lust. A lively interesting story which I would rate more highly if I were not put off by modern renderings of the internal lives of prominent figures centuries dead.

Meets September TIOLI #15: Read a book containing a common noun representing a person, but no pronouns or proper nouns

Edited: Sep 10, 9:50am Top

DNF Fire Dance

This got too disjoint for me to continue. I just didn't care who would live or who would sleep with whom. I got to page 100 - but am just cutting my losses which are compounded because I reread Last Song Before Night for which this is a sequel. The cover is fabulous, and is probably why I brought it home from the library.

It would have met September TIOLI #11: Read a book with a full name (first name and family name) at the first page

Sep 10, 11:18pm Top

Half the fun reading your reviews is to see how the book meets the TIOLI challenge! "*The umbrella on the cover is described as a parasol, but in fact is an ordinary budget umbrella standing in." LOL Carry on, carry on. : )

Sep 11, 1:14am Top

>68 Berly: I'm glad you find something to enjoy in them.

Sep 11, 7:41pm Top

#223) Arrowood

Mostly dull. The relentlessly lower class setting isn't even convincingly evoked, except in that there is nothing charming about it. The characters make no sense whatsoever and brutalize people who should be able to squash them except the author knows they're going to be killed off, so no consequences. Blundering and heavy handed with no period sense.

Read for September TIOLI #1: Read a book with a one-word title which contains at least one double letter

Not only are there two double letters, but there is a double-u in the middle.

Sep 11, 8:04pm Top

>69 quondame: The other half of the fun is your thoughts on the books, of course. They are enlightening and to the point. For instance, I am definitely passing on Arrowood! : )

Sep 11, 8:13pm Top

>71 Berly: Thank you. When I find myself doing plot summaries I usually delete most of it and try to reformulate as impressions. Alas, it is much easier to come up with complete sentences of complaint than of compliment. Excellence often exceeds my ability to observe how it is done.

Sep 11, 9:18pm Top

#223) Pamela's First Musical

Well, I didn't like it. By the age of 3 most kids have watched dozens of Disney musicals, all better than the one described in this book which, while it might be meant as a send up of musical tropes, is a stupid send up of musical tropes. The explosions of orange pastels aren't to my taste either. The explanations of what people do is plodding. And Pamela deserves a better dress. And 3 year olds deserve a better introduction to the theater.

Read for September TIOLI #2: Gone, But Not Forgotten: Read a work by or about a deceased playwright

Edited: Sep 12, 2:10am Top

#223) Chapter Two

Some witty dialog but drastically poor work on the characters that go from an act one of too good to be true, to act two of too stupid to live, but all's well that ends well. I'm beginning to think that witty New Yorkers don't intrinsically interest me more than wealthy/upper class Brits. One has the zingers, the other the wardrobe, but I don't want to spend hours with either any more. In the copy I picked up from the library every God, Jesus, Christ & Goddamn were heavily crossed out in ballpoint, dimpling the pages.

Read for September TIOLI #2: Gone, But Not Forgotten: Read a work by or about a deceased playwright

Sep 12, 12:25pm Top

How terrible that someone appointed themselves the censor of a library book. Hopefully it will be replaced with a clean copy.

Sep 12, 11:15pm Top

#223) The Armored Saint

This fantasy young woman/girl rescues the village story does take off in some unusual ways, but the plot sort of staggered and the dialog with adults was too realistic to carry the necessary fantasy feel where the trope is for young people to have agency. It's one of the reasons for orphan centered stories. So this novels 'virtues' keep it from working as fantasy.

Read for September TIOLI #5: Read a book with a 3 word title and there must be at least one person on the cover

Edited: Sep 14, 7:50pm Top

#224) Dreamsnake

Re-reading this, the number of unexplained aspects of the post-apocalyptic world bothered me and the insistence that having a dreamsnake was an absolute necessity when there were several essential medical services that had nothing to do with dreamsnakes reduced the motivation and quest connecting the episodes into a novel to a gimmick. The range and development of the characters is good, though the shifts from realism to to-good-to-be-true are a bit jarring.
The story of the itinerant healer remains original in its focus and developments after nearly 5 decades.

Re-read for September TIOLI #13: Read a book where the author's name includes an accent, prefix, hyphen, or macron etc.

Sep 14, 7:58pm Top

#225) Slan

I don't see fans being slans. A cute thing to say, but 1940 must have been barren if this is even close to the highest achievement in SF novel writing. It pretty much runs out of steam before the big conflict and just forages incoherently along with super gizmos and contrived situations.

Re-read for September TIOLI #7: Read a book that won either a Hugo or James Tiptree, Jr. award

Edited: Sep 15, 1:15am Top

#226) Night Flight

Even translated the language is rich and evocative. It is however overcome by macholosophy. About a night mail hub in Buenos Aries, the director, ground personnel and pilots under pressure to preform or be eliminated as impractical. Not that the ideas are invalid, just that the nobility of the cause of night mail may not be up to the costs, and that it is a very insular male world in which the values are tended.

Read for September TIOLI #18: Read a book with a celestial reference on Page 21

Edited: Sep 16, 12:04am Top

#228) Book

I couldn't be expected to resist looking for a book titled Book to meet September TIOLI #1. This book would almost better be titled Tract. It misses being a pro-book paean because it throws several anti-electronic jibes. At least it is not (currently) available in electronic form.

Read for September TIOLI #1: Read a book with a one-word title which contains at least one double letter

Sep 18, 7:55pm Top

#229) The Gypsy

The first portions of the book feel like being caught in an Autumn Windstorm of book leaves, each with a disconnected fragment on which you start to notice the continuing bits of different views. I don't think the story was sufficient to remain interesting if told as a straight narrative, but since the characters are often in as much confusion as the reader the approach isn't arbitrary. As a fan of both Steven Brust and Megan Lindholm/Robin Hobb I wouldn't push this on fans of one or the other.

Read for September TIOLI #15: Read a book containing a common noun representing a person, but no pronouns or proper nouns

Edited: Sep 18, 7:59pm Top

#230) All She Was Worth

A well paced mystery in which a young woman goes missing and the harsh realities of life as an independent young woman in late 20th century Japan are encountered repeatedly as the facts behind who is missing and why are extracted by a police detective on leave and the people and resources he musters, including his own considerable intellect and flexibility.

Read for September TIOLI #9: Read a book translated from a non-European language

Edited: Sep 19, 6:18pm Top

#231) Death at La Fenice

A pleasing read, well paced with characters interesting enough to be involving set in Venice seen through the eyes of a first generation native, so it is familiar if not all embracing. The spectrum of characters is almost entirely from theater workers up to the high level of Venetian society, with the intrusion of one person who has fallen to into wretchedness. The death and it's causes are complex enough to maintain attention.

It is also pleasant for me to read mystery fiction in which the police protagonist isn't a stupidly smart mouthed loner AND the death is not a close contact of the main character or his family.

Read for September TIOLI #12: Read a book that has an epigraph that is a poem or part of a poem written before the 20th century

Sep 19, 8:35pm Top

>76 quondame: Been seeing this all over the place--think maybe I'll pass on it.
>77 quondame: Loved that when I read it in the late 80s! Sounds like maybe I shouldn't reread it.
>78 quondame: Read that in the 60s, have no memory of it.
>81 quondame: Bounced off this near the beginning, despite also loving both authors. Moving it out of the "retry someday" category.

Sep 21, 2:36pm Top

>78 quondame: Congratulations on reaching 3 x 75, Susan!

Sep 22, 1:05am Top

>85 FAMeulstee: Thank you. You have been a great spur!

Edited: Sep 22, 1:19am Top

#232) An Informal History of the Hugos

This is a great way to get an overview of what won, what was nominated (as far as is known), and what should have either won or been nominated. Jo Walton gives the bulk of the judgement on the novels and Gardner Dozois and Rich Horton give in depth information on what was happening in the shorter fiction. There are occasional comments by other contributors and a few bits of juicy history/gossip, but it is pretty straight forward and, not at all amazingly considering the writers, a lively easy read.

Having a complete list of every author and work mentioned and the original and if possible current source of every story would have gotten this book a full 5 stars from me!

Meets September TIOLI #6: Read a book with a definite article in the title, but not at the beginning

Though really it should count for #7 - it should have come out in 2015 and won the Hugo for non-fiction in 2016. What was the delay! We'll see how it does at next year's WorldCon.

Edited: Sep 22, 7:43pm Top

#233) Paddy Clarke, ha-ha-ha

Why would you want to read a book that frames every adventurous episode in a childhood in a parent's awareness of the danger instead of a child's feeling of power and magic? Patrick may relate the rather destructive romps through the suburbs developing around his, but the stream of conscious narative never gets within his feeling of them, but retains an adult tone that forces the adult reader away from any fellow feeling arising from similar episodes. Patrick's brother has withdrawn for him and his awareness is overwhelmed by his parent's constant, singular, unresolving disagreement.

Read for September TIOLI #14: Read a book where the main characters are children

Sep 22, 9:05pm Top

>88 quondame: I guess I liked it slightly better than you did.

Edited: Sep 23, 1:08am Top

>89 thornton37814: You probably liked The Lost Bird more than I did, as well. I didn't realize while I was looking for shared reads that I had picked two that you had listed. And it's possible that I read the Donna Leon because of you - at least I didn't chose to jump into that series just to get a shared read. It was quite enjoyable!

Sep 23, 12:57am Top

#234) The Lost Bird

It's probably not fair to jump into a series after four volumes and expect believable personal development and a real sense of place, but I do and I didn't find those qualities. What I found was a somewhat clumsy rough cut product for the tourist trade, not anything close to real craftsmanship. The mystery itself was interesting enough and completely heartbreaking, but the writing, well it could have used a lot of editing.

Read for September TIOLI #5: Read a book with a 3 word title and there must be at least one person on the cover

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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