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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, 2018, 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, 2018, 9:40pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Aug 1, 2018, 8:50am Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 1, 2018, 12:04pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

Aug 1, 2018, 4:38pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

Aug 1, 2018, 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, 2018, 9:02pm Top

Costume College looks amazing!

Aug 1, 2018, 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, 2018, 2:04am Top

Happy new one!

Edited: Aug 15, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 8:11am Top

Happy new thread Susan.

Aug 4, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 4:34pm Top

Oh you got me with the Harold Fry!

Edited: Aug 15, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 8:54pm Top

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

Edited: Aug 15, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 12:06pm Top

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

Aug 20, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 10:47pm Top

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

Aug 21, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 1:07am Top

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

Sep 6, 2018, 2:12am Top

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

Sep 6, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 1:14am Top

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

Sep 11, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 2:36pm Top

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

Sep 22, 2018, 1:05am Top

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

Edited: Sep 22, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 9:05pm Top

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

Edited: Sep 23, 2018, 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!

Edited: Oct 7, 2018, 10:12pm 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

Sep 26, 2018, 8:35am Top

>91 quondame: I'm not bothered by the writing because I tend to listen to these. They may actually work better in audio--at least when you are partially distracted from the content because you are driving and paying attention to traffic, the road, etc. I may be bothered by it next time. Tennessee Reads lacks the book altogether, but Knox County has it in e-book. The local public library only has it in print. I'll probably go with the e-book when I'm ready for it. I'm a bit sad I won't be able to listen to it because I've listened to the rest. Looks like 8, 9, 10, and 12 are in audio, but those are the only ones I haven't reached that are. That means I have to read the next 2 and 11. I probably will stop at 12 and not conclude the series since the audio availability isn't there. Most, if not all, are available on ebook through Knox County.

>90 quondame: As far as the Leon goes, I'm reading a lot of them because of the "Two Guidos" challenge. I tried the other Guido and didn't like him, so I'm just reading the Leon books.

Edited: Sep 28, 2018, 8:29pm Top

#235) Point of Sighs

A decent story with interesting twists, but beyond some rather unique city history, not all that interesting. It's good to spend time catching up with old friends, but I didn't feel much of a sense of urgency.

Meets September TIOLI #5: Read a book with a 3 word title and there must be at least one But!
owlie13 agrees that it is in the spirit of
September TIOLI #16: Read a book with a weather term related to rain in the title (or an umbrella on the cover) Because rain on the cover, rain in the text, simply saturated!

Edited: Sep 27, 2018, 9:40pm Top

#236) Lace and Blade 4

Some good stories, some a bit clever, most ordinary. And I've never encountered a gooey pastry cream version of a Madeleine, though I've had chocolate ones and chocolate dipped ones. A writer should not describe pastry he has not eaten, and editors should edit him if he does. I suspect more sloppiness. I acquired it because it has a story by Carol Berg who hasn't written enough for me. It was interesting but not satisfying.

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

Sep 27, 2018, 9:48pm Top

#237) City of Blades

The author states that a whole novel was removed from the center of this. It should have been a novel and ½ at least. There is some great stuff here and another ghastly entanglement with the divine, or at least the ghost of the devine, a high rather merciless body count, as the survivors would have preferred their own deaths to those that occurred. The pacing could have been more sprightly, the characters were pretty good and interesting where they weren't horrific, and the setting is well invoked.

Meets September TIOLI #10: Read a book with a city pictured, diagrammed, or silhouetted on the cover (The word city in the title helps)

Edited: Sep 28, 2018, 8:41pm Top

#238) Ball Lightning

A well paced science fiction novel with some strange interpretations of quantum and uncertainty effects. I don't think observation works the way it does in this novel in a sort of abstract way. The pace works well for the material with only a bit of drag, but the agency of the young major Lin Yun seems way beyond any sense, especially with general dad. A real treasure appears on pg 153 - Diaoyutai State Guest House. All those vowel vastly outnumbering the consonants.

Meets September TIOLI #9: Read a book translated from a non-European language
Note, it should also do for
#16: Read a book with a weather term related to rain in the title

Sep 29, 2018, 2:11pm Top

#239) The Calculating Stars

Really, this should be a , but I am so tired of gender politics now that having the level tension based on that is not something I find enjoyable these days. The smooth, deceptively swift pace works well, the characters are, except for the jerks fulfilling their rolls to prevent women - and minorities - from being astronauts, are really ever so nice and to good to be true, but saved from plastic by some wickedly funny humor.

Meets September TIOLI #12: Read a book that has an epigraph that is a poem or part of a poem written before the 20th century
It would also qualify for #5

Sep 29, 2018, 10:03pm Top

Wow well beyond 3x75 already!

Have a lovely weekend and thanks for helping prop up my thread whilst I was MIA. XX

Edited: Oct 2, 2018, 6:02pm Top

#240) Sophie’s Squash

A silly sweet story of a girl and her squash, for people who are very young and can't do spiders.

Read for October #4: Read a book where the cover has harvest produce on it

I slipped this one in because The Sea Queen, due at the library the day I return from War is proving a rather dense read.

Edited: Oct 12, 2018, 11:36am Top

#241) The Sea Queen

Jumping into the second book of a trilogy meant taking all the characters relationships as a given, but the portrayal of the characters were such that they were fully dimensional if strangely shaped by an dangerous and unpredictable environment. I had trouble with the deliberate pacing, and kept wanting to throw myself ahead in the story. Certainly as believable as any recreation of a viking milieu I have encountered.

I'm not sure if I should credit this as a BB to Familyhistorian or Chatterbox or if it was because I found it misfiled as SF and it followed me home. It is classified as SF at one of my local libraries, I wonder why because it is much less so than many books with supernatural elements. This just has characters believing in weirds, which is straight up historical.

Meets October TIOLI #7: Read a book with an odd number of letters in the title
But I've moved it to October TIOLI : #17: Read a book with a title in the title

Oct 4, 2018, 4:05am Top

#242) Keepers

Coryn and Lou continue to develop by being rewarded with more work for their successes in the previous volume. The bad guys are patriarchal white guys wanting a return to some libertarian never past, which is worn thin in its ubiquity, but the pace is quite spritely and the loses almost real enough to seem to approach reality.

Meets October TIOLI #13: Read a book that has a craft occupation in the title or author's name

Well, in the morning I'm off to War for a few days and may not post until early next week, depending on what sort of connectivity we can manage at the camp site. But I will be reading - I've a Kindle full of TIOLI challenge books!

Oct 4, 2018, 5:08pm Top

>94 quondame: I have a pet peeve about macaron vs macaroon. It always takes me right out of a story if the terms are used incorrectly. And I don't even have a sweet tooth.

could we even suspect a Holmes character of truly nefarious dealings?

Personally, yes! I've always harbored a secret desire to see Holmes and Moriarty switch places, but I'm a softie for Moriarty. Doyle, with his rigid Victorian mores, intended the two to be polar opposites, not mirror images, but I like to fanfic it.

Oct 7, 2018, 8:07pm Top

You got me with the Chambers and the Walton!

Oct 9, 2018, 11:21pm Top

#243) The Demon's Den and Other Tales of Valdemar

Mostly stories I've read and enjoyed before. Valdamar lite, and Valdamar is one of the lighter fantasy worlds.

Meets October TIOLI #10: Read a book related to Ghouls, Goblins or Ghosts

Oct 9, 2018, 11:55pm Top

#244) The Eagle Catcher

Modern Native American setting mystery lite. A reformed alcoholic preist and a divorced Native American lawyer work to clear a promising young NA man of murdering his uncle. Characters are a little better than cut-outs, but not compelling, the pace is good and the writing painless.

Read for October TIOLI #6: Read a book with a setting of increasing age: Rolling challenge

Oct 10, 2018, 12:05am Top

#245) Forgotten Beasts of Eld

Really one of the best stand alone fantasy books ever written. Sybel alone in her house on Eld mountain, calls to her the magical beasts as her father and grandfather did, and raises Tam, the uncalled for child of her aunt and the king, brought to her by Corin of Serli. And when the child has been with her more than 10 years finds herself caught in the conflict between the king and Serli.

Read for October TIOLI #12: Read a book for comfort

Oct 10, 2018, 12:09am Top

#246) The Secret, Book & Scone Society

Talk about going lightly over rough ground, this book makes a cosy out of some of the worst tragedies in the women's lives. Way too comfy and trite. It is competently written and paced, but not worth the time.

Read for October TIOLI #2: Read a book with a picture of bread on the front cover

Oct 10, 2018, 12:15am Top

#247) The Danger

The professional narrating this mystery is a kidnap councilor who helps the family of the victim negotiate with kidnappers, interact with police and deal with the aftermath. The characters are real, the action deliberate until it becomes frantic, and the subject matter inherently interesting. This is at least the 3rd time I have read this, and thanks to a poor memory, I still found it exciting.

Read for October TIOLI #9: Read a book where the author is originally well-known for something other than writing

Oct 10, 2018, 1:08am Top

>108 quondame: Francis is always good. And the best thing is that Felix seems to be as good as his father - not _quite_ the same style, but closer than anyone else writing mysteries. A lot better than the two other series-continued-by-child I've run into. My mom says Anne Hillerman is as good as her father, too - I haven't read any of hers yet to compare (also I'm not nearly as hooked on Hillerman as I am on Francis).

My favorite Francis books are Hot Money (the first I read), Decider (not sure why), and To the Hilt (the second I read, and I read it in the place where it was set). I like The Danger but it's not a favorite, just good.

Edited: Oct 10, 2018, 1:32am Top

>109 jjmcgaffey: I do love Decider and To the Hilt is among my top, but For Kicks is my favorite. I read partway into the Felix Francis book in which Sid Halley is accused of pedophilia threw it across the room and haven't picked up another one. I'll have to check out Anne Hillerman.

Edited: Oct 11, 2018, 9:24pm Top

#248) Betti on the High Wire

I just couldn't believe in Betti/Babo or her adoptive family, though some of the other characters felt more real. Perhaps because of that the action all seemed perfunctory, crossing narrative t's and dotting emotional i's.

Read for October TIOLI #8: Read a book about infertility or adoption

Oct 11, 2018, 3:01am Top

>110 quondame: Huh. I haven't come across that. Silks and...I've read one other Felix... He maintains his father's habit of having titles which refuse to correspond to the story, for me. Is Flying Finish the one with the smuggled people or the air taxis? Is... I remember the plots just fine, but which title goes with which plot is difficult. For some books - some link very well (Shattered, Proof (another favorite), To the Hilt). But which one is the toyman? What's the name of the one with the survival expert (which I read last month)? The one with the guy trapped in the car? The one on the train? I didn't much like Dick's Halley books, by the second or third; I can see Felix having to go too far to make another Halley story.

Edited: Oct 11, 2018, 6:51pm Top

>112 jjmcgaffey: I'm pretty sure the yuck Felix is Refusal. Yes, Flying Finish is the smuggled people, Rat Race the air taxis. High Stakes is the toy designer, Longshot for the survival writer, Smokescreen for the actor, The Edge is on the train. I'm having trouble searching on LT today, but I found this: http://home.ca.inter.net/~jbeaumont/francis/

Aside from the characters, writing, and frequent realistic female interests, I love Francis's using protagonists who are engaged with their professions and are mostly middle class.

Edited: Oct 11, 2018, 9:35pm Top

#249) Terra Incognita

2 Novellas, Terra Incognita and Remake and one short story, D.A. Terra Incognita is strongest in moments where the landscape takes over and weakest when dealing with the emotional struggles of Carson and Findriddy. Remake still has it's memorable moments, but suffers because, although not in any golden age, movie musicals are still being made. D.A. is cute, not in a good way really. Still it's Connie Willis, though frothy.

Meets October TIOLI #16: Read a book with a ship on the cover

Oct 12, 2018, 1:23am Top

>113 quondame: Yes - I can _find_ which title belongs to which book, but I can't _remember_ them offhand (as I can for most books). I'll have to check out Refusal and see if it drives me as nuts as it did you.

Edited: Oct 12, 2018, 1:30am Top

>115 jjmcgaffey: If, when re-reading a novel that isn't one of my favorites, I remember so much as one scene clearly, that's exceptional. I'm forever remembering some description or interaction and driving myself nuts trying to figure out what book I read it in.

Oct 12, 2018, 3:59am Top

>116 quondame: I've got near-photographic memory for books - for the written word. Only. Don't ask me about anything else. But for books, until recently, if you described some part of the plot of a book I'd read, I could almost always tell you the title and author, and more about the plot. My memory is becoming less good - I've reread some books that I didn't remember at all (went to review them on LT and found I already had...). Or possibly I'm reading books that aren't as good? But for Francis, given a scene or partial plot, I could tell you the entire plot, but hadn't a hope of producing the title for 90% of his books. It's been an oddity, for years.

Yes, I have a very odd memory. Names, weak; faces, weaker; putting them together, almost nil. Video information/entertainment, very slight - I remember movies much the way you describe remembering books (so I don't bother to watch many movies...). But the written word sticks beautifully (so I'm really good at tests...). Except for character names in books - sometimes I can come up with them, but frequently I can describe everything about a book except the names of the characters. And sometimes I can give names of secondary characters but not main ones. I'm just weird...

Oct 13, 2018, 1:25am Top

#250) Ghostlight

Oh does this book stink! It's set in 1995 but all the time I was reading it I felt sure that it must have been written decades earlier - and when a Datsun drove up at the end it pretty much confirmed it. This novel must have been rotting at the bottom of a pile of rejects and only published in the hope that MZB's name could still sell it. The only non putrid part is the truth quotes at the beginning of each chapter. With a protagonist named Truth, which was a constant annoyance added to the no direction at all thrashing that substituted for plot, with everything semi-explained in the penultimate chapters, this book is false, false, false.

Meets October TIOLI #10: Read a book related to Ghouls, Goblins or Ghosts

Edited: Oct 14, 2018, 1:00am Top

#251) Relic

Ruslan is the last human survivor on his planet rescued, cared for, and studied by the tripodal Myssari as they seek to find other humans to re-establish that species once dominate over a large sector of space. I just couldn't get involved in this, with the good aliens and the not quite so good aliens who are only ever a gimmick to substitute for plot. Yes, other living humans are found.

Meets October TIOLI #7: Read a book with an odd number of letters in the title

Oct 14, 2018, 5:45pm Top

#252) Alternate Routes

Ghosts and the freeways of Los Angeles are both familiar Tim Powers elements, and are newly combined with rogue government agency and agents. The hiding from the agency protagonist and the newly rogue agent deal with assassination and apparitions in this fast paced narrative. I didn't find the characterizations up to Powers usual standards and missed the grounding in real personalities that connected his previous LA novels to the landscape.

Meets October TIOLI #5: Read a book where a word in the title starts with the letters SAMHAIN in rolling order

Oct 15, 2018, 5:01pm Top

#253) The Seascape Tattoo

A bit of a hot mess. The manipulative wizard and the worldly warrior aren't complete cutouts, but there isn't really enough character development to make them believably good guys either, the plot has loose more loose threads than fashionable jeans and what doesen't work in the sea battle is pretty much everything. Fairly fast paced though at least 1/3 too long with repetitive self evaluations, I kept being jolted out of whatever flow I'd found by misuse of words or just awkward language. And no map.

Was the book for which I proposed October TIOLI #11: Read a book with a word in the title relating to images
Though it totally nails #16: Read a book with a ship on the cover, but obviously I'm not reccomending it unless you are dying for some mediocre rather retro sword & sorcery. Yeah, the princess does make an attempt at escape for herself, but fails and had to be rescued at the last minute.

Oct 16, 2018, 3:51pm Top

#254) The Witch's Brat

A sweet tale of a crippled boy forced from his home village who first finds a home among the Benedictine monks at Winchester and then among the Augustinians at Smithfield outside London. As usual, Sutcliff keeps anachronisms from marring historical narrative.

Read for October TIOLI #1: Read a book Read a book whose title changes meaning if exactly one letter is taken away

Edited: Oct 18, 2018, 10:46pm Top

#255) Warrior Scarlet

Late bronze age british boy with a withered right arm fights to become a warrior of his people. Some heartache, some love of a good dog, as he deals with what comes to him. I would have loved this as a pre-teen, but now I'm all like what dye produces scarlet, did they ride horses before they had chariots, does iron really cut bronze or is it mostly just easier to produce once the technology is known?

Read for October TIOLI #14: Read a book that has a shepherd and/or sheep on the first page

Oct 17, 2018, 1:07am Top

>123 quondame: Cochineal (an insect) - which would have been a trade good if available at all - produces the best scarlet - not sure what they used then/there, there are a lot of red/reddish dyes. Yes, riding happened first (before the wheel, most places). Not easily, but iron edge against bronze edge the bronze will end up deeply notched and the iron little if at all. Iron requires _much_ hotter fire to work (copper and tin melt in an ordinary hearthfire, iron requires bellows, and charcoal or coke rather than wood).

Sutcliff was a major influence on my love of history - and I often went looking for the answers to questions like those and ended up knowing lots about...stuff that isn't really useful nowadays. But boy is it fun to know! That's really what hooked me into the SCA - finding loads of people who could answer those questions.

I haven't read Warrior Scarlet in...a lot of years, so I don't remember what she said there (about the scarlet, for instance). But those are the answers that popped up, to the questions you asked...

Oct 18, 2018, 10:46pm Top

#256) The Green Man

Really not my thing, but well enough done. No one to like, though the moods were well done and the individuals mostly recognizable. Horror lite, really, though the horror of having to live with ones unlikable self should be more pervasive, it doesn't really seem to be.
Oh, avoid the introduction, it is self important drivel.

Read for October TIOLI #3: Read a book where the final page number or electronic location number are added together to equal the number 4

Oct 18, 2018, 10:54pm Top

>124 jjmcgaffey: I was pretty sure myself that riding was done by 900BC, just from images from the Mediterranean, it's just that as a 12 year old I would have swallowed the thing whole and not fussed that you can't get a good scarlet from madder. I've read that needing tin for bronze was one of the main reasons there wasn't enough of it to arm as many fighters, and that iron, though more challenging to forge didn't need long distance imports, and so could be produced where ever ore and fuel were available, thus arming more. As to the differences in the actual metals, I'd like documentation.

Oct 19, 2018, 2:54am Top

>126 quondame: True. But if it was the best red they could get, then it was true scarlet to them... I do see what you mean about thinking/questioning vs accepting.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze...so bronze is actually any of several copper alloys (not including copper and zinc, that's brass). Tin bronze was the most common form. And you're right, bronze is harder than wrought iron, though less hard than steel (which came considerably later), but iron didn't require trading (since copper and tin are rarely found together). Iron requires hotter fires - melting point about 1500 C vs bronze's 950 C - but that was less trouble. I had it wrong.

Oct 19, 2018, 3:44pm Top

>127 jjmcgaffey: Although harder isn't always better if it is more brittle. It is easy just to say that iron was "better" than bronze, and have it misunderstood as if iron itself was better for swords, but it's much more complicated with any technology that supersedes an earlier one. Clearly the special steel that we call Damascus did have impressive qualities in itself, and older sword centered stories were no doubt retrofitted with it's features.

Oct 20, 2018, 3:21pm Top

#256) Harbinger of the Storm

Swiftly paced blood covered rush to save the Mexica civilization from the ravages of the too rapidly descending star demons that have taken the lives inside the wards of the palace. It isn't easy to feel much sympathy with constant reminders of just how much blood is being shed constantly.

Meets October TIOLI #15: Read a book where you pick up where you left off

Edited: Oct 21, 2018, 1:36am Top

#257) The Princess and the Goblin

The goblins almost come across as an oppressed minority - or rather the king and his people are clearly oppressors of goblins. Somehow this charming tale doesn't work quite as meant when it has the goblins being taxed underground and redeemed by becoming brownies. All the verbiage of how one must behave when one is a princess (or prince?) is a bit much too. But the brisk story and the steadfastness of Curdie and Irene remain.

The cover Amazon is showing for the Kindle addition, is Just Not Right!

Read for October TIOLI #10: Read a book related to Ghouls, Goblins or Ghosts

Oct 21, 2018, 11:47am Top

OOOooo now I want to reread that McKillip!!!!

You are reading some great stuff, I adore Sutcliffe. I am not sure I've ever encountered The Witch's Brat so I must look for that. And I haven't read that Amis either.

Edited: Oct 25, 2018, 1:11am Top

#258) Master of the House of Darts

Well, the star demons were blocked but now plague is the problem. When perhaps the most hated warrior who comes back with a captive, though a contested one, suddenly dies, and then the captive as well, The High Priest of Death is hurled into years old resentments and accusations of corruption and treason. He blunders around as usual, eventually coming across the combination of forces causing the plague.

Meets October TIOLI #15: Read a book where you pick up where you left off

Oct 22, 2018, 1:20am Top

>131 sibyx: I hope you enjoy it! If I've read any other Amis, it was long ago.

Oct 25, 2018, 1:26am Top

#259) City of Miracles

An interesting exploration of what happens when you raise a special kid right.
Lots of action, fast pace, many miracles, as we follow Sigurd following the assignation of Shara as he destroys his way though a rather lot of architecture and nearby people. And meet some rather interesting divine offspring.

Meets October TIOLI #15: Read a book where you pick up where you left off

#260) The Strange Case of The Alchemist's Daughter

The daughters/creations of every 19th cent mad scientist gang up to pursue the elusive Mr Hyde. With the help of Sherlock Holmes. Echos of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and while not quite steampunk, it is a close neighbor. I'm not a fan of the tone - just bearable archness, and aren't we so cleverish.

Meets October TIOLI #13: Read a book that has a craft occupation in the title or author's name

Oct 25, 2018, 8:18pm Top

#261) Exit Strategy

Sort of like a scraping together of the less fascinating parts of the earlier three books - mostly Murderbot hacking through systems to protect itself and it's people. No fascinating new places or uncovered scandals. But some insights into Murderbot itself.

Shared read for October TIOLI #12: Read a book for comfort
This wasn't my idea for comfort, I'd have filed it under #15 or #16

Edited: Oct 27, 2018, 12:01am Top

#262) The Raven Ring

A competent fantasy that manages to take place pretty much entirely in the city of Ciaron - but really doesn't give much of a feel for it or the people that live in it. For no presented reason the young Cilhar, Eleret Salven goes to Ciaron to collect her dead mother's kit - and it turns out that it contains, unknown to her, the family heirloom Raven Ring. Which seems to be the desired object of half of the initial contacts she encounters in Ciaron. Fast paced, smooth, with a clever enough resolution, it didn't resonate much with me.

BB jjmcgaffey

Meets October TIOLI #1: Read a book Read a book whose title changes meaning if exactly one letter is taken away

Edited: Oct 31, 2018, 11:54am Top

#263-5) The Deed of Paksenarrion

This series is not for readers who aren't willing to spend time in the details of a world, for those for whom testing the protagonists past what would even extraordinarily be survivable, or for those unable to accept even fictional divine interference. It is about the the fantasy world in which gods do interfere in the lives of men, elves, dwarfs, gnomes and others, owing much to Tolkien as seen through D&D. Paksenarrion develops from and eager and determined, yet practical young woman, stubborn in her resolves, but capable of questioning herself, into a paladin not only of the Gird, but of the High Lord and two others. And the cost is horrendous.

#263) Sheepfarmer's Daughter

This is largely a medieval military novel, following the recruit Paksenarrion though training and into campaigns where she distinguishes herself both in her own efforts and in the strangeness of the co-incidence around her. While it seems that a lot of time is spent on repetitive detail, I've read this enough times to realize the wizardry of Elizabeth Moon's transitions from detail to narrative so that the less adventurous parts seem to have dragged on when in fact they've been substantially compacted.

Read for October TIOLI #14: Read a book that has a shepherd and/or sheep on the first page

#264) Divided Allegiance

The middle book of the series is set up as a series of adventures, D&D style, in which Paksenarrion is initially rewarded with the chance at what she most desires only to be faced, first with the cost of that chance and then the destruction of that chance though no fault of her own. The ending is one of the most tear-jerking in all fantasy, and gets me every time I read it.

Shared read for October TIOLI #12: Read a book for comfort

This wasn't my idea for comfort, I'd have filed it under #7 or #15, though I must admit the entire volume is on my comfort shelf and I have taken it down when I needed to be absorbed in something that I trusted.

#265) Oath of Gold

This is a quest story of the paladin Paksenarrion. It starts with her recovery from the damages done to her by both her enemies and allies and follows as she grows into her new being as an uncommon paladin. Yes, she survives and her quest succeeds and I don't recall it being any great surprise even the first time I read it, but there is no telling after half a dozen reads. I still find the story compelling and interesting and the ideas worthy of expression.

Shared read for October TIOLI #1: Read a book Read a book whose title changes meaning if exactly one letter is taken away, it could have gone for #15

Oct 31, 2018, 1:17am Top

I love Paks - and I _hate_ Divided Allegiance, it hurts every time I read it. I need to read it for the full story, though. It is the most horrible book I've read at least half a dozen times.

Have you read the continuation? Paladin's Legacy is just as rich, possibly better-written (only possibly...but she had a lot of years of practice between the first trilogy and the next series), and almost as beloved (by me) as the original trilogy. Though I've only read it twice (at least, I've only read the last two books twice. I've read the first one at least 4-5 times, as each book came out...).

Oct 31, 2018, 11:47am Top

>138 jjmcgaffey: I have read all of the legacy books, most only once, and didn't find in them the core of vision buoys up even the harshest moments of the original trilogy - Divided Allegiance is a hard book in many sections, although it has the most classic 'adventure' sections of the whole series, but it's torment is never at all pointless or overdone - which I find is the element that always astounds me about these three books - that you think you've been deeply embedded in routine or torture for much longer than actually counting pages supports - the choice of focus and the deftness at changing focus works perfectly for me.
I remember giving the series to my dad and he liked it but was surprised that I could put up with the extended military training sequences - but when you actually look at those they are relatively brief by anything other than a 'start in the middle of the action' standpoint.
I think Moon must have lived with these books and polished them repeatedly, so that while she may have improved as a writer, she has never again had the time to bring them as deeply to life.
I have also enjoyed her SF series, though they are a bit more hit-or-miss.

Edited: Oct 31, 2018, 12:18pm Top

#266) West Wind's Fool: and Other Stories of the Devil's West

I meant to take advantage of a book of short stories so I could read one or two while out for dinner and pick up my 'big' book when I got home. I couldn't stop reading these. The humor, dry as the enchanted landscape of these books, and the unsentimental humanity for those who live doubtful of their claim to humanity completely captivated me. Again.

This could meet October TIOLI #10: Read a book related to Ghouls, Goblins or Ghosts - it's got demons, the devil, dead men speaking and a Golem. But I'm entering it under:

Meets October TIOLI #7: Read a book with an odd number of letters in the title

Nov 1, 2018, 9:58am Top

I don't love short stories, but >140 quondame: sounds intriguing.

Nov 1, 2018, 11:47pm Top

Look at you on #266!!! I am glad it fit your TIOLI challenges, even giving you a choice!

Nov 2, 2018, 12:52am Top

>142 Berly: Thanks! I'd have had to do some interpreting to get a Ghost out of a dead man and a Ghoul out of a demon, so I just took the simpler approach - unless colons and apostrophes count as letters.

Nov 2, 2018, 2:18am Top


Edited: Nov 2, 2018, 12:27pm Top

#267) An Easy Death

Charlaine Harris's post-dustbowl apocalypse setting has the surviving Russian court ruling from San Diego, the east coast states returning to British dominion, the south as Dixie, the north industrial belt taken by Canada, New America on the prairie and Texoma, the starting region of the story between it an what remains of Texas that the Mexicans haven't take back. Young Gunnie(Lizbeth) Rose uses her abilities with firearms in a crew that protects travelers from bandits and other dangers of travel. Though there are trucks and telephones, this still has a 19th century feel, though by way of Mad Max. Gunnie is a solid protagonist, the action is fast, the scenery weil sketched, and the opposition unrelenting.

Fit it into November TIOLI #8: Read a challenge that completes the phrase, "I am thankful for..."

#268) The Sleeper and the Spindle

Not a retelling, a reinvention, reminding me of some of the darker inverted tales of the 1980s, but from this century's perspective.

Meets November TIOLI #14: read a book which starts with the same letter as your first name or LT handle

Nov 2, 2018, 12:44pm Top

I don't know what happened to my comment from several days ago which should have posted right after >137 quondame:. But in it, I said that while The Raven Ring stands alone, having read the earlier Lyra books gives you quite a bit more insight into the motivations and interactions among the different nationalities as well as their customs.

And then I also said I LOVE the Paks books. I read them as they were published and I still remember the excruciating delay between the second and the third. And yes, I love the Legacy books as well but you are right, they don't have the hard intense spark of passionate dedication that is captured in the trilogy.

Also not a short story enthusiast, but I have really enjoyed Gilman's novels so may give this one a try based on your review.

Is An Easy Death the first of a new series or a stand-alone?

Nov 2, 2018, 2:36pm Top

>146 ronincats: Yes, An Easy Death is listed as Gunny Rose #1. I would have enjoyed a bit more time in Midnight, but it was kind of a closed community and there is only so much you can make interesting when you've set up such boundaries.

Nov 2, 2018, 2:50pm Top

#269) Zilla, Zack and Zodiac

Zella saves Zack who later saves Zodiac. Cute.

Read for November TIOLI #12: Read a book with stripes on the cover

#270) Fabulous Beasts

Monsters saving themselves from monsters. Sly and dark.

Read for November TIOLI #18: Read a book with a body part in the author's name (Priya Sharma)

Edited: Nov 3, 2018, 5:54pm Top

#271) You Die When You Die

This one is weird. A small colony of Viking age Norse on the west shore of lake Michigan (Olaf's Fresh Sea) is almost wiped out and the survivors trek west following a prophesy and followed by a band of magically enhanced women warriors set to kill them because of a prophesy. It is meant to be clever and crude and it is occasionally grossly funny, but the pacing sucks and being stuck mostly in the head of a young man with raging hormonal issues or psychotic killing machines isn't my idea of fun. Angus Watson hasn't mastered the trick of making the language both natural and without anachronistic lumps.

Previously entered for November TIOLI #15: Read a book which doesn't just contain text
Moved to November TIOLI 9: Read a book where a word in the title starts with the letters "In Flanders fields" in rolling order

I really wanted to include this in October TIOLI #1: Read a book Read a book whose title changes meaning if exactly one letter is taken away - You Die Hen You Die fits perfectly with the mood of this book.

I must have picked this up because it was mentioned by Narilka so I guess the BB goes to Gale

Nov 3, 2018, 2:12pm Top

>148 quondame: Ooh. BB on the Sharma.

Nov 3, 2018, 5:55pm Top

>150 libraryperilous: Short and spicy.

Nov 4, 2018, 1:37am Top

#272) Burm For Me

Nevada, a young woman with a rare power is tasked to apprehend a man who could burn her with a thought. Mad Rogan the highest powered telekenetic kidnaps her thinking she is a minion of the pyromancer and they enter an uneasy partnership to hunt him down. Of course he is a complete hunk and wants her. It is a fast easy read full of silly lust with all the usual misunderstandings.

Meets November TIOLI #16: Read a book where the number of words in the title matches the numbers 867-5309 in rolling order

Nov 5, 2018, 11:52am Top

#273) European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

I do not find Theodora Goss nearly so clever as she finds herself. This book, and the first, might be much improved at 1/3 the length and without the constant inserts of characters arguing the text, but they would still be one note struck over & over and that note one I can do without. I will let the Athena Club adventure on without me.

I really shouldn't have bothered to finish this - it took me over a day and was just readable enough and I had entered it in my own challenge, so I stuck it out, but really there is much better stuff out there to spend the time on.

Meets November TIOLI #10: Read a book with a blurb by another author you have read

Edited: Nov 5, 2018, 5:31pm Top

#274) Grave Surprise

A quickly read compact mystery where the central character is a lightning struck young women who finds the bodies of the dead and can tell the cause of death. The only real suspense was wondering whether the author was making an obvious suspect as a distraction, but nope. Pretty good characters dealing with the non-natural element in their lives tale.

Read for November TIOLI #1: Read a book tagged on LibraryThing as "horror"

Nov 5, 2018, 6:08pm Top

>149 quondame: Yay me! The second one is better if you're up for it. You get more POVs, many of them female. It's still highly irreverent with a lot of violence. I also did this on audio and think the narrator enhanced the experience.

Nov 5, 2018, 8:48pm Top

>155 Narilka: I may consider it, but I don't seem to be lacking reading material, just time and occasionally matches to TIOLI challenges. So far I've had a really mixed bag of books I've checked out for a challenge. This wasn't one, but it went on way too long for me, much like European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman. I kept thinking 'funny once.'

Nov 5, 2018, 9:17pm Top

New Book Happy Dance!!!

Edited: Nov 6, 2018, 7:59pm Top

#275) Rivers of London Vol. 1: Body Work

Darker and grittier looking than the novels, the artwork is interesting but a bit flat - and I will never read another volume on my wee b&w kindle. Too much of the text is dark gray on light grey and well, it doesn't show well.

Read for November TIOLI #17: read a book with a word of the title or author matching a London Tube station, rolling challenge

#276) Metered Space

Aside from the fast pace, this book doesn't have much going for it. A retired PI killing himself with booze and cigarettes following the explosive death of his scientist lover is abducted and saved by aliens who want him to recover a portal for him. He speaks like a poor imitation of a 50s noir detective but the woman scientist who wanted his lover answers in pure 21st century. He goes from place to place learning what happened and almost not surviving encounters with the villain and somehow comes up with a plan which works, but is really deus ex machina. I wonder why writers who don't want to plan good mysteries use the format.

Read for November TIOLI #5: Read a book where the title contains a measure of something

Nov 7, 2018, 12:41am Top

#277) The Infamous Ratsos

The Ratso brothers try so hard to be tough but find that it's tough to be tough.

Read for November TIOLI #2: In memorium: Read a book with a character called 'Kara', or in which the title or the author's first name starts with 'K'

#278) Today on Election Day

Not what I'd call non-fiction, it's an attempt to inform elementary school kids about voting in the USA.

Read for November TIOLI #4: Read a book that has something to do with an election

#279) Harlem Hellfighters

Short but powerful this amazingly illustrated series of poetical sketches of 369th Infantry Regiment and Jame "Big Jim" Resse Europe and his band is like a stroboscope, showing wonders and horrors.

Read for November TIOLI #3: Read a book with a World War 1 connection

#280) Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure

A silly book with some very pleasing water color illustrations.

Read for November TIOLI #13: Read a book to honor Mama Peggy: 11/15/21, 97

Nov 7, 2018, 6:41am Top

>159 quondame: Peggy looks like the illustrations please--just from the cover!

Edited: Nov 8, 2018, 1:07pm Top

#281) Hot Money

The usual well paced well crafted mystery, though this time the family is about as dysfunctional as it gets and in resolution one one of Francis's novels is more tragic as far as I recall. Ian isn't my favorite viewpoint character, though Malcolm is a magnificent creation. This is at least my 4th re-read and I always remember from the first page who done it, which isn't true for all Dick Francis's mysteries, though more than for other writers.

Read for November TIOLI #7: Rolling Challenge (Alphabetical order): Read a book that completes the sentence "I went to Grandma's house and I brought............"

Nov 7, 2018, 9:16pm Top

#282) Dial H Vol. 1: Into You

Strange superheros are pretty standard in GNs these days but when China Miéville sets out to come up with weird, silly, upsetting or surreal superheros he can do it. Not a pretty book and only fun in a how weird can it get way, this is too chaotic over the edge for me.

Acquired for November TIOLI #18: read a book with a body part in the author's name
but I'm entering it as:
Read for November TIOLI #15: Read a book which doesn't just contain text

Nov 7, 2018, 9:48pm Top

We do think alike... I have Body Work but haven't gotten around to reading it because I mostly read on my phone, and that's just too small. I'll try on my 10" tablet, at some point, but that may be a computer book.

I love Hot Money - it was (I think) my first Francis. There are a lot of tragedies in it, things that can't be mended by any means - but I kind of like the ending, very elegant solution. Another tragedy, but one that a) was ongoing, just not recognized and b) was the least painful means of settling things.

I loved the old Dial "H" For Hero comics, but I've read this one and no more. I don't like them in any of their forms, including un-dialed - pathetic. I'll go back and read the old ones, where it was a couple of kids with the dial.

Nov 8, 2018, 12:37am Top

>163 jjmcgaffey: I didn't know of other Dial "H" books, and wouldn't have encountered this except for China Miéville who I generally like.

I somehow have issues with story lines that where the solution is that of Hot Money, children murdering parents. Not that I have any issues with my own daughter, but well.

Edited: Nov 9, 2018, 8:19pm Top

#283) Imposters

More than usually unbelievable setup and escapes. Relentlessly fast moving, this should be a smooth read, but it is so over the top in its adherence to all the YA high body count tropes.

Meets November TIOLI #11: Read a book where the title contains something illegal

Edited: Nov 10, 2018, 2:52am Top

#284) Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

An unromantic look at one of the more romantic of historical figures, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. The structure of this book is sort of like a ball of yarn played along a hallway by a kitten, with eddies of yarn popping us into a contemporary tour of sites figuring in Lafayette's adventures with the continental army, and his tour 40 odd years later. The lack of unity in what was to become the USA is a constant theme, a dark haze in the mostly humorous tone. Calligraphic caricatures that seem more whimsical than accurate punctuate the text.

Meets November TIOLI #6: Read a book that you need to complete for a 2018 Challenge

Nov 10, 2018, 12:16am Top

>164 quondame: Apparently the series I read (and not all of it) was from the 1980s - not sure when I read it, I don't think it was new at the time. There have been multiple series, with multiple variations on the dial(s) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dial_H_for_Hero. I never read the end of the 1980s series, and I hadn't seen any others except this latest. I don't think any of them have been collected into graphic novels, just the original comicbook issues - which makes them hard to find.

And yes...though it wasn't _her_ parent she killed, after all. And at the end it was the house she was aiming for, and Ian (at least, as I recall). But I can't help feeling sorry for her; they're all pretty messed up, one way or another, she's just messed up at a slightly different angle.

Nov 10, 2018, 2:20am Top

>167 jjmcgaffey: As to Hot Money Her failed attempt to kill her father by leaving him in a running car was what had Malcolm turn to Ian for help, so though she didn't succeed, that and the hit and run were direct attacks on her father. And she had killed Coochie and her half brother. I do feel sorry for all of them, it was a bad mix of parents to get caught between, but she really was evil.

Nov 10, 2018, 2:36am Top

>168 quondame: Oh, right, I forgot about that...obviously it's been too long since I last read it. Yes, she was, but she was pathetic too.

Edited: Nov 10, 2018, 2:58am Top

#285) The Fated Sky: A Lady Astronaut Novel

It's well done, but the real conflicts come from racism and sexism, and really, who needs the same shit I lived through in the 50s, 60s, 70s up through right now for entertainment, and the hard SF aspects haven't any wow for me.

Meets November TIOLI #9: Read a book where a word in the title starts with the letters "In Flanders fields" in rolling order

Nov 10, 2018, 11:58am Top

>170 quondame: I admit that I don't even understand what the challenge is, still less how this book meets it. I am much more a Lady Astronaut fancier than you are! I love the world these novels occur in.

Happy weekend reading.

Nov 10, 2018, 1:51pm Top

>171 richardderus: Though I am grateful no meteor disturbed my childhood, I grew up in the 50s and 60s pretty much among rocket scientists and test pilots - My mom had a future astronaut in her adult French class - and while I know the books are well written with good characters and great pacing, they are really rather rosy as to racism and sexism in those periods, while bringing enough of the overtly expressed prejudices up to be a painful reminder of what is still unresolved in our culture.

Nov 10, 2018, 1:56pm Top

>172 quondame: I remember Texas before the Civil Rights Act and agree *heartily* that Mary Robinette Kowal's world isn't as virulent or violent a place as the one I remember. What I put it down to was the Main Event, the idea that extinction has just been avoided, the nicening of the world fits in from there. I wonder if I'm not simply being a blue-sky optimist.

Nov 10, 2018, 2:07pm Top

>173 richardderus: I think we all have to spend a good deal of time as blue-sky optimists or be paralyzed into hopelessness, it's just harder these days.

Nov 10, 2018, 2:19pm Top

Amen. A. Men.

Nov 10, 2018, 8:29pm Top

#286) Dragon’s Code

This is like coffee brewed from used grounds, only by someone who doesn't know what coffee is. A big mishmash of episodes and clueless self examination with no real evidence of personality, other than pompous speechifying.

Wildcarded into November TIOLI #16: Read a book where the number of words in the title matches the numbers 867-5309 in rolling order

Nov 10, 2018, 11:59pm Top

#287) Pinch

Take Charlotte's Web and Where the Red Fern Grows, add a dash of Babe remove all the sentimentality and tear jerking and what you get is a boy who bargains his way to a hunting pig, gets into scrapes, gets fooled and connives. Mr. John Barrow becomes a bit of a drag on the story as the as both abettor and opponent, and Pinch is just a bit too aware to have been so easily fooled.

Since both Pinch and inch are units of measure, I'm getting a two-for!
Read for November TIOLI #5: Read a book where the title contains a measure of something

Nov 11, 2018, 11:56pm Top

>176 quondame: My comment was that Gigi hadn't read Pern any more than Todd did. Yawn.

Nov 12, 2018, 3:01pm Top

>178 jjmcgaffey: At least Todd has a better grasp of English and knows what a plot is. But Anne herself wrote a number of very bad Pern books. The only excellent bit is really the first Novella. But, well, Dragons! And mini-dragons! I was particularly disgusted to see the return of drudges. What a loathsome word for NPCs.

Edited: Nov 14, 2018, 2:04pm Top

#288) The Future is Blue

Catherynne Valente writes uphill stories so that you have to watch the text carefully for your next foothold or even handhold. And you don't always know where you've gotten but you're very aware of an interesting journey. Surreal and slyly humorous - my favorite moment was hexing 0110100011110 to get D1E, stealing from all the best she's perfectly willing to paraphrase Tolkien or laugh at Lovecraft, but her stories are her own for sure.

Meets November TIOLI #9: Read a book where a word in the title starts with the letters "In Flanders fields" in rolling order

Edited: Nov 16, 2018, 6:07pm Top

#289) The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

I'd say this is somewhat over hyped and overrated. The pacing is truly impeded and the characters make no particular sense. Set in the later Georgian era, it feels more Victorian and it's feminist and anti-racist stance is pretty pallid. Moments and some of the ideas are worthwhile, but as a whole, don't waste your time

Meets November TIOLI #16: Read a book where the number of words in the title matches the numbers 867-5309

Nov 14, 2018, 10:55am Top

>180 quondame: I've been her fan since Deathless, so I'm pleased to see this read meets with your approval.

>181 quondame: Ugh. Not even going to make a stab at it lest I want to stab innocent passers-by because of it.

Nov 16, 2018, 7:51pm Top

#290) The Little Country

The two stories set along the far Cornish coast don't up to a whole for me. Neither seemed quite as fully realized as it should have been, with lots of arbitrary actions and basically uninteresting horrid villains. The fairie realm itself is sort of a wee appendage. The unifying music is a fine idea, but if drums aren't involved, it doesn't work for me, and while it's cool that Crowley came from Cornwall and all, a corner of a British Isle isn't where I'd set a tale of universal music.

Read for November TIOLI #2: In memorium: Read a book with a character called 'Kara', or in which the title or the author's first name starts with 'K'

#291) Spider Woman's Daughter

The pacing is excellent except for a couple of late stumbles, the characters pretty good, the setting well integrated. That the solution becomes obvious to the reader while the detectives don't catch on until too much later and the ranting of the villain is a total fail.

Meets November TIOLI #14: read a book which starts with the same letter as your first name or LT handle

Edited: Nov 16, 2018, 7:59pm Top

OK, I thought I hadn't read Firebrand, but I'd just failed to make note of it anywhere except Goodreads, and had forgotten it. Whew. Glad I don't have to spend 800 pages again. Meanwhile I'm returning A Blade of Black Steel to the library unread - I don't think I read the first book and the first chapter was an unredeemable mess. Why did I check it out?

Nov 18, 2018, 3:23am Top

#292) Acqua Alta

Not much of a mystery, and strangely this features two of the same characters as the only other Donna Leon I've read to date. It's interesting to spend more time in Venice and learn about Chinese Pottery, art theft, and the northward spread of thuggery.

Meets November TIOLI #9: Read a book where a word in the title starts with the letters "In Flanders fields" in rolling order

(Originally acquired 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 and then entered in October TIOLI #5: Read a book where a word in the title starts with the letters SAMHAIN in rolling order)

Nov 18, 2018, 3:51am Top

My Saturday was a bit more exciting than I was expecting - we went to an SCA event up by Santa Barbara and upon leaving to get dinner at Pea Soup Andersen's hit a deer. We are fine, but it was rather an ordeal arraigning a tow truck to take a car 140 miles on a Saturday evening. We were able to get our Pea Soup but had to wait 3+ hours for the tow, and 2+hrs in the narrow back seat of the tow truck wasn't relaxing.

Nov 18, 2018, 9:54am Top

Yikes! I can sympathize - we live a high deer density area and have had a number of close encounters. One Christmas, both of our cars were in the shop getting fixed after deer collisions. 🙄

Hope you get back to normal soon!

Nov 18, 2018, 9:57am Top

>186 quondame: Oh dear! Not a fun outing. I hope you're back in fine fettle physically (all that sitting around would cause me intense agony so I focus on that) and the insurance payout arrives promptly.

Nov 18, 2018, 3:12pm Top

>186 quondame: Glad you are okay. I don't like driving at night because of deer. I can keep a better eye on them during the day.

Nov 18, 2018, 4:34pm Top

>189 thornton37814: It was 4:15 PM, and quite light when the deer materialized on our fender. I was watching the road in passenger mode and all I saw was a grey-brown blur as the car struck it.

Edited: Nov 20, 2018, 2:40am Top

#293) Un Lun Dun

Two 12 year old girls find their way to Un Lun Dun, a surreal alternate version of their native London, where Zanna is hailed as the prophesied Shwazzy and Deena grudgingly included as a companion. But Zanna is injured and when she and Deena are returned home it is Deena who recognizes that they are still endangered and that she must act. As a bit of a send up of standard quest tales, this is a journey through an urban landscape and prophesy is both followed and circumvented. The pacing has imperfections, but never quite crashes, and the individuals who aid Deena are interesting as is the bizarre cityscape.

Read for November TIOLI #18: Read a book with a body part in the author's name (China Miéville)

Nov 19, 2018, 4:57pm Top

>191 quondame: Your rating is generous, Susan. This book was a rare miss-me from Miéville, whose work I most often dote upon.

Nov 19, 2018, 5:20pm Top

>192 richardderus: I always appreciate urban settings for adventure quests - after decades of hoping someone would write one I'm embarrassed that I forgot which was the first I read, but Miéville has made real contributions to satisfying that desire. I agree that it isn't even close to his best, but it's got some fine bits - the sidekick rant was great.

Nov 19, 2018, 5:23pm Top

>193 quondame: I suspect my mild disappointment stems from my dislike of children as heroes in my fiction. Even that, though, is subject to challenge and one such was delivered by Railsea by the Man Himself.

Have you read Neverwhere? Neil Gaiman's urban fantasy adventure was a solid read. And this from someone who isn't a Gaimanian.

Nov 19, 2018, 5:29pm Top

>194 richardderus: Children as main characters of books that aren't written for children - and even some that are - can be problematical for me too and I had some issues with Deena. I really did like Railsea, but more for the railscape than the characters.

I probably have read Neverwhere, but my memory is a sieve and that would have been before I kept records. I missed many things in the 90s, what with a new kid and a 12+ hr a day job, but was something of a Gaimanian.

Nov 19, 2018, 8:04pm Top

>195 quondame: I myownself was most partial to Sham. Still and all, it's a rare book that speaks the same spell to two people.

A new kid AND a 12hr job! I'll be damned. (Well, small doubt of that, really.) It's a wonder you remember your name.

Edited: Nov 20, 2018, 2:50am Top

#294) For a Muse of Fire

Well paced fantasy in an analog French Indochine of the late 19th century. Jetta is a young shadow puppeteer with extraordinary abilities, that she must hide at all costs, though she must use them in her puppetry to impress the Colonial military leader and the local puppet Boy King to obtain passage to to a miraculous spring that will cure her bipolar disorder. Jetta's high phases are distinguished as being the most danger to her and it proves so, but while this book is not free from many of the usual tropes of young female protagonist fantasy, it is different in it's roots.

Meets November TIOLI #15: Read a book which doesn't just contain text

Nov 20, 2018, 2:56am Top

>196 richardderus: Sham was well worth being partial to, though I've met scores of young feller-me-lads off on a wild adventure and prefer, well, Patricia McKillip's flavor of female protagonists after having little choice but to spend a couple of decades exploring with the boys.

Nov 20, 2018, 8:07am Top

The fantasy explosion of the 1960s and 1970s brought the girls to the party and by the 1980s the default setting was female in that realm...boys were decidedly outnumbered, but funny how it was always the boys that got the publicity budgets. Huh. Anyone might wonder if there wasn't some sort of partiality involved.

Nah! Never.

Nov 20, 2018, 3:09pm Top

>199 richardderus: I was librarian for the local SF club in the late 70s and early 80s, and while I purchased nearly every woman F&SF author that showed up at Change of Hobbit, I wouldn't say they were the default, and when discussions of who we should ask to be GoH at the local cons, the guys had barely heard of Cherryh or McKillip or a bit later Bujold. They knew McCaffrey, but, yes thought the books girly, and only knew of Bradley because she was connected to our social circle through SCA and was on panels at conventions. If I mentioned Jo Clayton, Janet Morris, Tanith Lee, or Diane Duane I got blank looks.
Even today whenever a Best Fantasy or Best Science Fiction list is printed it has usually been composed by 20-30something guys who think Patrick Rothfuss is something special and never heard of Kate Elliott.

Nov 20, 2018, 4:00pm Top

That's just depressing. Jo Clayton and Tanith Lee especially. Giants in the field! Talents of major proportions. I despair of humanity, really I do, constantly building walls and reinforcing dams and never thinking to teeter along the tops just to see what's on the other end.

Nov 20, 2018, 4:29pm Top

>201 richardderus: I've currently half-way through the text of Pamela Coleman Smith: The Untold Story - the illustrator folklorist who painted the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, which is a case study in how women in the arts are trivialized and starved out.

Nov 20, 2018, 4:32pm Top

>202 quondame: Oh drat. My library system doesn't have it.

Nov 20, 2018, 4:36pm Top

>203 richardderus: Oh drat indeed. It is gorgeous, over half of the pages just her art which is so deft and graceful it was dismissed as simple and childish.

Nov 20, 2018, 5:55pm Top

Hi, Susan! I'm so glad you posted on my new thread because it made me realize that I had lost yours somewhere. Now I'm all caught up and I'll try to stay that way! Scary situation hitting the deer — I've had a few close calls but never a collision, thank goodness. I'm glad the only damage is to your car.

I saw that you read Dick Francis' Hot Money recently, and that reminds me to ask if you might be interested in some type of Dick Francis shared read in 2019? A few people expressed interest earlier on my thread, and I think you were one of them. It would be fun to have you along!

Nov 20, 2018, 6:00pm Top

>205 rosalita: I'm glad you found me again! Yes to the Dick Frances shared read! His writing, in his prime, has a tendency to clear my mind out.

Nov 20, 2018, 8:02pm Top

Yay! I'll post on my thread after Thanksgiving to get a show of hands, and some ideas on structure. Stay tuned!

Nov 20, 2018, 11:42pm Top

#295) Twenty-one Locks

If this book were less well written I would have tossed it after one chapter - or before. And ordinary young woman in the months before her wedding is unsure and uninterested in just about everything except the young man she met at the railway tea station. Her fiance is also not eager to marry the girl he proposed to in a spasm of guilt.
If you have anything that interests or involves you in your life, this book will make you grateful for it, as all the lives in it are tone-on-tone gray.

The locks are locks in the canal that runs by the post industrial English town.

Read for November TIOLI #13: Read a book to honor Mama Peggy: 11/15/21, 97

Edited: Nov 22, 2018, 4:49pm Top

After a prologue and 5 chapters I'm bailing on:

Scruples and Drams

The author repeats that Simon Stevens was a founder of Clearwater and his brother John a founder of Minneapolis every time their names are mentioned in the first 5 chapters, as if a reader 1) couldn't remember and 2) really needed to know. Also she advertises that she knows nothing about corsetry. I've already written more than this book is worth.

It would have made a lovely entry in:

November TIOLI #5: Read a book where the title contains a measure of something

Nov 21, 2018, 10:52pm Top

>208 quondame:, >209 quondame: Oh dear. Not at all satisfactory. So sorry.

I hope you enjoy your genetically modified dinosaur meat, if you celebrate and indulge.

Nov 22, 2018, 12:55am Top

>210 richardderus: I spent several teenage years lobbying against a specific genetically modified dinosaur meat and eventually our Solstice feast became goose, partridge, grouse, pheasant. When I became the cook it became schnitzel with prosciutto sauce and fettuccine al pesto and has remained so over 3 decades. Tomorrow's meal will be provided by The Stinking Rose, a much more recent accommodation to the departure for Michigan of the family we shared Thanksgiving with, who borrowed our kitchen to prepare the bird and took the leftover carcass with them. I will miss the Cranberry chutney and the sage stuffing though.

May you have the meal of you choice in good company!

Nov 22, 2018, 2:39am Top

#296) Old Man's War

This is one fast paced space opera with a bit of a twist. I'm not that into military adventure SF so it's not going to be one of my favorites, and the narrator is so straight up that he is pretty flavorless, but for some wiseguy humor, but that is pretty much a given, though I treasure the exceptions. The complete disconnect between the people being protected and the soldiers who mostly die for them feels odd too, but this is an interesting and lively read.

Read to share November TIOLI #6: Read a book that you need to complete for a 2018 Challenge

Nov 23, 2018, 5:58pm Top

#297) Emperor of the Eight Islands

I enjoyed this book even more the second read. The relentlessly forward sweeping tale of a magical Japanese-esque struggle of multiple levels of the hierarchy to gain and keep territory and position is full of betrayals trickery and can get rather gruesome but never shorts the individuals who make the story mean something.

Read for November TIOLI #18: Read a book with a body part in the author's name (Lian Hearn)

Nov 23, 2018, 6:01pm Top

#298) A Spool of Blue Thread

Good, very well written. The writing keeps the attention though since there really is no plot beyond the the events that lead 3 generations to live in and leave a house in Baltimore, pacing doesn't really apply. The backward telling sort of jumps in suddenly midway with one tale from the second generation followed by two from the first, until the final segment is again at the end of the timeline. The earlier tales do make the older generation more layered if not more likeable.

Read for November TIOLI #8: Read a challenge that completes the phrase, "I am thankful for..."

Nov 23, 2018, 10:45pm Top

There is going to be lots of New Book Happy Dancing going on. Just arrived:

German modelbucher 1524-1556 : a compilation of eight German needlework and weaving pattern books

Nov 24, 2018, 12:11am Top

>215 quondame: Ooh, cool! I have Ann Neuper's Modelbuch on my Amazon wishlist, but I haven't seen this one anywhere. I do tablet weaving, though I haven't done any brocaded work yet - mostly threaded-in patterns, a few pieces with manipulated cards. Most of my needlework is cross-stitch.

Nov 24, 2018, 1:24pm Top

#299) The Vine That Ate the South

Very strange, with doses of surreal. This is a dense book, with writing like a thorn hedge tangled and difficult. The language is rich as the exploration of southern grown myth, ending in somewhat ambiguous declarations of faith.

Read for November TIOLI #17: read a book with a word of the title or author matching a London Tube station, rolling challenge

Edited: Nov 27, 2018, 3:35am Top

#300) Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story

An absolute treasure chest for anyone who has been captivated by the imagery of the most popular Tarot deck ever, likes early 20th century illustration, or is interested in feminist history. The least part of this book is the biographical sections and essays as it is not only lavishly illustrated, it also is a gallery of the artist's works - heavily concentrated in 1907 - and includes, entire or in part - several of her publications.

Meets November TIOLI #15: Read a book which doesn't just contain text

Nov 24, 2018, 5:45pm Top


Yay you, what a number.

Nov 24, 2018, 6:11pm Top

>218 quondame: Congratulations on reaching 4 x 75, Susan!

Nov 24, 2018, 11:36pm Top

#301) Grave Secret

Mostly quick moving with a pretty high body count, if you consider the deaths that take place 8 yrs before the main action, one of which Harper has been called to testify on. Harris characters are, as usual, more 3-D than is too common in paranormal fiction.

Read for November TIOLI #1: Read a book tagged on LibraryThing as "horror"

>219 richardderus: >220 FAMeulstee: Thank you! It's been an interesting year!

Nov 26, 2018, 6:36pm Top

#302) Private Peaceful

Smoothly written, the passivity of the narrator grated on me and even the most active of the characters seemed embedded in their rolls to an exasperating degree. And as a whole it did not fulfill it's promise.

Read for November TIOLI #3: Read a book with a World War 1 connection

#303) Treason of Hawks

Another Wilder West fantasy, the conclusion of Rhett Walker's tale - a too knowledgeable foe is intent on fermenting trouble for Rhett, but not at first in any recognizable way - but as allies are drawn to Rhett from his past and others are found dead the personal nature of the threats become more clear. Not as good as some of the earlier books as it take a bit to get moving, but still better than most of what's out there.

Meets November TIOLI #11: Read a book where the title contains something illegal

Nov 27, 2018, 1:13am Top

>218 quondame: Interesting...a strong maybe. But worthy of a woohoo! for being #300!!! I am in awe of you. : )

Edited: Nov 27, 2018, 3:45am Top

#304) Kill the Farm Boy

The sum of these two authors is less than the parts. As Lila Bowen, Delilah S. Dawson writes excellent books and Kevin Hearne can write pretty good ones, but this falls far, far short of those. The farm boy is named Worstley and has taken over farm yard chores because his brother Bestley has been killed for being too handsome. That is as funny as it gets. Alas, Pell is no Discworld and this very mildly amusing yarn offers nothing really original.

Meets November TIOLI #10: Read a book with a blurb by another author you have read

Nov 27, 2018, 10:26am Top

>224 quondame: Ouch. Thanks for the review. I was wondering about that book and now think I'll avoid it.

Nov 27, 2018, 10:48am Top

>224 quondame: Saw this one on the public library new-book list and got interested. Unfortunate that is isn't that good.

Nov 27, 2018, 3:51pm Top

>224 quondame: Thanks for the heads-up, Susan. I'm not familiar with the work of Dawson/Bowen, but I did enjoy Hearne's Iron Druid series. It's too bad it isn't very good.

Edited: Nov 28, 2018, 1:24am Top

>225 Narilka: >226 drneutron: >227 rosalita: Kill the Farm Boy is perfectly readable, but if you are expecting anything at the level of The Colour of Magic, this is not that book. Pell is much more a standard fantasy setting and the casting owes much more to D&D than anything approaching The Luggage or Twoflower and the can't do wizard doesn't compare to Rincewind, my least favorite of Pratchett's main characters. Gustave the talking goat who resents people who consider him an ingredient is the best the authors come up with together. Bored of the Rings and Grunts have done better jobs, if grosser except for goat pellets, as have other authors who weren't doing straight parody.

Nov 28, 2018, 1:27am Top

#306) It Only Hurts When I Laugh

Somewhat amusing half an autobiography up until just after he 'dipped his toes' into advertising. Since he had an obviously profitable advertising business going for years before he ends this installment in the early 60's, I'm not sure what dipping his toes could be relative to. I'm not real fond of the narrative voice here. The David Merrick passages are nightmarish.

Read for November TIOLI #12: Read a book with stripes on the cover

Edited: Nov 28, 2018, 8:00pm Top

#307) Conclave

Well written, but so full of set up that well, why bother. Too tricksey for me. It saved me from reading something to do with DT, so I'm grateful for that, but an inside look at the sort of things that might happen (or assuredly wouldn't happen) in the selection of a pope isn't what I'm into.

Read for November TIOLI #4: Read a book that has something to do with an election

Nov 28, 2018, 11:04pm Top

>224 quondame: Yup, told you about that one. And congrats on passing the quadruple 75 book mark for the year!!

Edited: Nov 28, 2018, 11:57pm Top

>231 ronincats: Indeed you did, but somehow I neglected to 1) note your warning so I wouldn't pick it off my library's new book shelf, 2) check under discussions when I brought it home. I agree that the authors must have spent a lot of (drunken) time giggling over each others sallies, but they should have known better. Oh, and I think I went for it because Kevin Hearne, but when I realized I had already read Firebrand I found this in my pile with Terry Brook's blurb.

Nov 30, 2018, 1:47pm Top

#308) The Man Who Fell to Earth

Nihilism Я US; we're so bad that's good.

Read For November TIOLI #16: Read a book where the number of words in the title matches the numbers 867-5309

#309) Strange Practice

Paranormal Romance (with the most inept romance yet)/Urban Fantasy. The usual determined, talented, and pretty (even though she doesn't pretty herself up) heroine hangs out with monsters in as their physician and friend. The attractiveness of one character for another are more yucky than sympathetic. Well told otherwise, it moves quickly and if it has a feather light a touch on certain figures, that's it's thing. In this volume we aren't treated to lusty were-whatevers, so that's a plus.

BB prequel drneutron.

Meets November TIOLI #1: Read a book tagged on LibraryThing as "horror"

#310) The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart

Sweet, almost too sweet, but spicy too and with a pinch of chili.

Meets November TIOLI #16: Read a book where the number of words in the title matches the numbers 867-5309

Nov 30, 2018, 2:00pm Top

#311) Quality Street

I adore the Katharine Hepburn film so I was hoping for a novel. This is a script and all froth and nonsense, quite like the film but without the energetic and wry charm of it's leading characters. I do like the Susan of the play more than the movie though.

Read for November TIOLI #14: Read a book which starts with the same letter as your first name or LT handle

#312) Through the Woods

Beautifully drawn GN with spare text goes for the jugular with dark fragments of cautionary tales twisted a bit with a whopping Lovecraftian family story in the middle.

Read for November TIOLI #1: Read a book tagged on LibraryThing as "horror"

Nov 30, 2018, 3:28pm Top

>233 quondame: #308 I remember reading this when I learned there was to be a movie made of it; I was mightily impressed as a teen SF fan. I think I'll leave those memories intact and not re-read it. Thanks for the reminder of a good experience.

Edited: Dec 1, 2018, 8:02pm Top

#313) Little Sister

A teenage forth daughter's adventures start when the Heian capital is under attack by martial monks and she must flee with her mother, young brother and sisters under protection of her beloved eldest sister's husband. When their party is itself attacked and their destination has it's own dangers, Mitsuko runs away with the sister who has been under her care to prevent them being at the mercy of the local warlord. She finds a tiny shrine for shelter and prays for aid. The story is an exploration of the consequences of receiving aid, both for the supplicant and those who offer aid. And an adventurous romp with some of the aroma of Journey to the West.

Read for November TIOLI #2: In memorium: Read a book with a character called 'Kara', or in which the title or the author's first name starts with 'K'

Dec 1, 2018, 8:33am Top

I loved Paksenarrion too -- and it was hard, that third book. I accepted what happened to her as part of her paladinhood. I'll be rereading these for sure.

Love Aaronovitch, but I've fallen behind.

Big fan of Anne Tyler here --

Congrats on surpassing 300!

Dec 1, 2018, 6:00pm Top

>237 sibyx: I don't find the nastiness in the 3rd book nearly so wrenching as the end of the 2nd book. That is hard for me to read. i don't think I've read any Anne Tyler before, and since I'm mostly an S&SF reader it doesn't scratch my reading itch much. I find I need my sort of books in abundance to tackle other sorts.

Dec 1, 2018, 8:01pm Top

#314) The Black God's Drums

This alt-history New Orleans comes across moist and dense in the best way, I was thankful for all the rudimentary French my mother left me with in deciphering the dialog which is the okra of the story's gumbo. It really does feel different than other steampunk and uses it's alt-attitude to enhance the agency of the characters.

A BB shot by ronincats October 27, 2018.

Meets December TIOLI #6: Read a book that you planned to read in 2018, but didn't read yet

As I've been tickled by the sense that each book I read is somehow connected to the prior book, I'll say that this has a teenage girl protagonist and an alt-history as connections to Little Sister, which considering my reading preferences registers as week.

Edited: Dec 4, 2018, 1:45am Top

I take a day off and go out to a Yule party and my thread falls so far down I have to do a search to find it. This group is active!

#315) X is for Xmas

Nothing special here, just an excuse to put a book up for sale. The cover is so wrong, as sentiment, not death is the main tone.

Read for December TIOLI #1: Read a book with a title (not subtitle) or author's name which contains the letter x

#316) White Hot

Lots of bodies, some booty. Catalina displays her talents in the interest of decreasing the body count, but it's kind of hard believe in the shoot first environment that's been the default.

Meets December TIOLI #5: Read a book that features Red, Green, White, Silver or Gold in the Title or as the Main Color of the Cover

#317) Wildfire

The body count remains high and there is a new active contributor. It's getting to be much more ensemble actions, but the more is is revealed about talents and the rules houses are said to follow, the less logically consistent the conflicts in the plot are. But the action is fast and the sex scenes total fantasy, so who needs logic.

Meets December TIOLI #4: Read a book with the word "elf" somewhere in the title

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 2:36am Top

#318) Salvage and Demolition

A huge amount of story in a short book, with a wonderfully twisted time travel plot to assure both the salvage and the demolition. This is at least my third read of this and this time I think I'll associate the title with the story!

Read for December TIOLI #7: Read a book where "and" is the middle word

Dec 4, 2018, 2:25am Top

>241 quondame: I can't keep up with your thread, let alone all the books you read! Let's see...I posted here 6 days ago and in that time you have added 18 books. What?!?!? : )

Dec 4, 2018, 9:17am Top

>241 quondame: Now that one's a direct hit! Thanks, Susan, for reminding me that Tim Powers's ouevre isn't exhausted.

Dec 5, 2018, 1:46am Top

#319) Empire of Sand

A decent girl with something special is joined with perfect for her guy and saves herself by reshaping the world story. The pacing is somewhat uneven as it takes master level skills to endurably focus the reader's attention while the sympathetic characters are being ground down for a good part of the narrative.

Read for December TIOLI #12: Read a book with a title built around the word 'of'

Edited: Dec 5, 2018, 4:17pm Top

#320) The Cricket on the Hearth

What could project Gutenberg be thinking to put that constipated cricket cover on this book. 3 old men, 3 young women, one married to one of old men, one the daughter, one the fiance. This depiction of domesticity in a May-October relationship shadowed by the obvious blight in the coming May-December marriage is really not of our time, and not to my taste.

Qualifies for December TIOLI #9: Read a book with a cover you dislike, but
Read for December TIOLI #14: Read a book where the title includes the words home, heart, or holiday

Edited: Dec 7, 2018, 12:03pm Top

#321) Street Freaks

An unprepared teenage boy must escape in an dystopian future LA, his only direction to seek out Street Freaks in the lawless Red Zone. What follows is in form much what would be expected from the beginning, an immersion in an alternate culture with a group of 'tweeked teen auto reconstructionist street racers. Terry Brooks has told the fantasy version of this story several times, and now brings it 200 years or so into the future with cyborgs and drugs instead of elves and magic. The pacing is not quite up to the story, and the falling in love with the 'he sees her as a real person' sex synth falls off the creepy edge.

Meets December TIOLI #6: Read a book that you planned to read in 2018, but didn't read yet

Edited: Dec 7, 2018, 3:27pm Top

#322) Lies Sleeping

For all the interesting bits of British history hand and foot holds on this climbing wall of a tale, the overall journey isn't as involving as some of the others. It is good to spend time with Peter Grand, is liquid associates, and magical co-workers, but the contrivances and co-incidences stuck out a bit to far.

Meets December TIOLI #5: Read a book that features Red, Green, White, Silver or Gold in the Title or as the Main Color of the Cover

Dec 7, 2018, 12:59pm Top

>247 quondame: Check your touchstone here, Susan. I had to go check why I didn't have this already if it was now available in the US, and see that because of the choice of hardcover or really expensive Kindle, I am electing to wait for the library order of it to come in for now.

Dec 7, 2018, 1:17pm Top

>247 quondame: I've always thought that this series should be made for TV. Wasn't there some talk of a Peter Grant BBC/ITV limited series? The absurdities, while not always as obvious as you report this entry's being, don't stick out so much on the idiot box. And the stories are really visual!

Dec 7, 2018, 3:29pm Top

>248 ronincats: Fixed, thanks! >249 richardderus: I'm surprised it hasn't been. Or maybe not, since Peter is not a white guy.

Edited: Dec 7, 2018, 11:15pm Top

#323) The Shimmer

Well enough written and with characters that aren't quite placeholders, still there is a level missing in all aspects except pacing in this time travel via death (shimmer appears at death, how is that not going to lead to body count) to keep it from being special.

Read for my own December TIOLI #10: A Book Bullet {fired by drneutron}

Dec 8, 2018, 1:11pm Top

>251 quondame: Mm. No, then. TYVM for crossing one off the ever-expanding TBR.

Edited: Dec 12, 2018, 1:40am Top

#324) How to Fracture a Fairy Tale

Perfectly competent reimaginings. And what's the point. I just can't get Jane Yolen - whatever she's aiming at, it isn't my viscera. Over the years I've picked up novel after story collection laced with little poetic gems that sparkle and leave me indifferent. Competent and clever, wily even, but not to my nose, stinky gutsy.

Read for December TIOLI #2: Read a book by an author you've read before, but haven't read in 2018 (so at least 11 months ago)

Edited: Dec 12, 2018, 1:59am Top

#325) Where the Past Begins

A moving view into Amy Tan's store of memory and the stories she's been told and has imagined and re-imagined from their emotional hearts to explore the truth of the past. The importance of story in how we know and judge ourselves and others and the consequences of having stories imposed on us, is not so much a recurrent but a constant theme as she tells stories from her life an her parents' lives, early and late.

Read for December TIOLI #3: Read a memoir by a living woman

Dec 12, 2018, 1:59am Top

#326) Time's Children

This very fast moving but only vaguely involving story plays out in segments 14 years apart with some unsupported decisions causing major disasters and motivations all over the place, but never believable. The bad guy is a placeholder autarch with inexplicably obedient minions.
Time traveling costs walkers the amount of time of the jump, so to go back one year is to arrive a year older. Since going forward also costs the same, I wonder why any one jumps forward, but that isn't discussed. There is also seemingly cost free teleporting and walking through walls but the difference is also not discussed.

Meets December TIOLI #2: Read a book by an author you've read before, but haven't read in 2018 (so at least 11 months ago)

Dec 12, 2018, 3:23pm Top

>253 quondame: I have the same issue with Yolen.

>254 quondame: I like Amy Tan better than that, so will ILL this one up.

>255 quondame: P.U.

Edited: Dec 14, 2018, 6:18pm Top

#327) Search Image

OK, we get to spend fun time with Esen & Co. However a there is novella worth of plot fatted with alarms and excursions that probably have to do with the next volume in the series but serve to remind readers who everyone is and what they can do. Interesting aliens.

Meets December TIOLI #2: Read a book by an author you've read before, but haven't read in 2018 (so at least 11 months ago)

Dec 14, 2018, 12:02pm Top

>257 quondame: I suspect you entered the book title above on your phone, Susan! ;-)

I like Czernada's writing and have had the entire original trilogy of this series in my tbr pile for AGES--I really should get to them.

Dec 14, 2018, 5:24pm Top

>258 ronincats: Nope, I am just a terrible typist and very poor editor. Thanks for catching that. I have some complaints about Czernada's non-humans, but not about the readability and flavor of her books, I just enjoy them. And I liked that the main plot of Search Image basically villianless, which I really prefer. This is only in spoilers because there are clearly something villainous going on that doesn't pertain to the problem Evan brings to the library, though it comes with him.

Dec 14, 2018, 6:20pm Top

#328) Clean Sweep

Cute fast moving, girl with something special (she's keeps an extraterrestrial inn, which gives her powers) gets into hairy guy and toothy guy combat action against worse monsters. Very very lite. The werewolf and vampire are extraterrestrial in origin and magic is super high tech.

Read for December TIOLI #9: Read a book with a cover you dislike

Dec 14, 2018, 6:43pm Top

>260 quondame: I deffo grok the "cover you dislike" thing. Wowzer what a bowser.

Dec 14, 2018, 10:32pm Top

#329) The Late Show

For me, there is a bit of an unanswered question left at the end of this novel featuring Renée Ballard as a night watch detective in Hollywood. I liked that there were multiple cases going, though maybe not enough and they all start the same evening. Ballard is an interesting addition to the somewhat non-conforming detective field, not a wise cracking disrespecter of all authority, though her assignment to the late show is as a result of troubles. Moves steadily from the start and the twists and revelations don't stall it at all.

I started this because it was on my kindle (my husband checked it out) and was into it before I realized I hdidn't get it for myself, but it also
Meets December TIOLI Challenge #15: Read a book which starts with a word from 'Silent Night, Holy Night'

Dec 15, 2018, 11:21am Top

>260 quondame: I don't like that cover either. Of course, most fantasy/vampire/werewolves covers don't appeal to me.

Dec 15, 2018, 8:18pm Top

#330) Bartered Brides

Not quite as bad as The Wizard of London but it is a slog until the final action scene, with the obvious course of action stumbled upon until almost the last minute. The characters aren't interesting enough or the emotional weight heavy enough to involve me in this Bluebeard retelling, though the basic plot had some promise.

Meets December TIOLI #5: Read a book that features Red, Green, White, Silver or Gold in the Title or as the Main Color of the Cover

Dec 17, 2018, 9:07am Top

I don't seem to have read any Tim Powers -- I'll start with Salvage and Demolition I think.

Dec 17, 2018, 1:26pm Top

#331) Silence Fallen

Mercy is almost killed and is abducted and manages to survive and while Adam isn't always literally there for her, he is there for her.Mercy's view of Prague is not bad, but Adams view of Italy could be anywhere.

Meets December TIOLI #4: Read a book with the word "elf" somewhere in the title.

Dec 17, 2018, 8:36pm Top

>265 sibyx: I haven't read this one, but love Tim Powers' work in general.

Edited: Dec 19, 2018, 3:56pm Top

Today, just before I put my library returns into the bin a woman put Becoming in and it was all I could do not to reach in and grab it, I am so far down the holds list it will be a year before I see it. Earlier, on my way out the door, I found a gutted Amazon package & when I got back had to arrange refunds and reorders. That's as much excitement as I want to deal with and I already had to struggle with my wee dachshund to clean out a bite on her ear. I'll know in a day or two if I did enough to save us another costly vet visit.

#332) Rock with Wings

Readable, eventful. Bernie & Chee are just static nice-nice, the beauty of the landscape is extolled to the max, but the effects are really all told not shown. In this novel the separation of Bernie & Chee for about a week serves to have two mysteries going with very slight connection pasted in at the end. Except for borderline excessive twee, not painful.

Meets December TIOLI #13: Read a book for the 50 states challenge

Dec 19, 2018, 4:05pm Top

Happy happy, joy joy, and birthday bravas!

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 2:45pm Top

>270 richardderus: Thanks!

#333) Home

A reminder of the brutal violent injustices of racism and the cost of war. The narrated to an outsider form of the central character's section is a bit of a puzzle for me.

Meets December TIOLI #14: Read a book where the title includes the words home, heart, or holiday

Dec 20, 2018, 10:13am Top

>268 quondame: I read all of Tony Hillerman's books but have not felt compelled to read Anne's continuation. I enjoyed the insights into Native culture and traditions but really didn't care for Chee at all.

>269 quondame: Oh, that looks lovely! And happy birthday to you, Susan!

Dec 20, 2018, 12:30pm Top

>272 rosalita: I liked Tony Hillerman's Chee - he made mistakes and wasn't perfect in his choices, but he was learning and truing up on himself. Anne Hillerman has turned them into inspirational Navaho cutouts.

Dec 21, 2018, 9:45am Top

Find the Light—Reflect the Light—Be the Light

Happy Yule 2018!

Dec 21, 2018, 2:48pm Top

>274 richardderus: As a child I remember having to push my finger through the indents in the delicate family ornaments. We were such destructive little gits. Those are lovely and look much sturdier than those.

Dec 21, 2018, 3:04pm Top

I loved the suncatchers, as Mama called them, too much to poke at 'em. I do recall, somewhat guiltily, the fate of cat-shaped ones. It was...shattering.

Dec 21, 2018, 7:36pm Top

Real life 5, books 0. This isn't right, but the dinner at Northern Cafe in Cerritos was amazing. Egg tarts from 85°, were good too. A Christmas party, some SCA exchequer work, picking up enough basil for the official not a Christmas dinner, dinner (and green tomatoes too), stopping by the library, recovering from the birthday diner at Fogo de Chão, hobbling after dachshunds and spending to much time and $$$ on the internet.

Dec 22, 2018, 4:31pm Top

(Or in other words, Happy Christmas, to you and yours!)

Dec 22, 2018, 4:38pm Top

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 2:44pm Top

#334) Avalanche

684 pgs of metahuman morality, love, violence, blathering. A graphicless comic book I fell asleep multiple times just trying to get through. I believe there might have been some fun playing with meta powers in earlier episodes but not really anything fun here, just powering up and up and not making it or just making it by some new last minute leveling up. Save yourself - assume, if you can remember who's who that your favorites come out on top and the baddies get theirs and read something else. Oh, and all sorts of potential just gets mentioned in the first half to be ignored and unused except for a no-op cameo at the end. The last 100 pages of battle seemed longer than A Memory of Light.

I'm not saying their my morals or anything but comic book morals, but they do they ever get talked to death. Saving the world from ultimate Nazi evil and complete destruction, so we're behind that, yes?

Meets December TIOLI #16: Read a book in which moral values and beliefs are an issue in some way

Edited: Dec 24, 2018, 2:35pm Top

Wishing you a bright and merry Christmas, Susan!

Dec 23, 2018, 4:53pm Top

you read quite a lot - and a lot of stuff I never heard of. Probably should come here more often to look for new ideas

the light is born (a nativity scene from Riehen)
Wish you a happy Christmas time

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 2:44pm Top

#335) Penny Whistle Christmas Party Bk: Inc Hanukkah, NW Yrs & 12th Nit Famly Parties

Do you have socially well adjusted small children, friends with same, lots of spare time and or energy, room to place several, well more than one, card tables out for crafting activities? Oh, and need to add more to your winter holiday to do list? Craft supplies extra.
I don't, and frankly hate glitter. These parties sound like they would have been nightmares to child me who never met glue that didn't get all over her and heard other children's creations praised. No mention of champagne punch or even eggnog for the adults, so this wouldn't have flown in the 50's.
It has about as much truth as a carnival shill's spiel.

Read for December TIOLI #8: Read a book with a winter holiday in the title

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 2:44pm Top

#336) Moonstruck Volume 1: Magic to Brew

Julie has had one date with perfect Selena and on the second her BFF and coworker the centaur Chet loses his butt to the evil fox magician with a ghost assistant. Getting the but back offers challenges to the relationship and a tour through a world - or corner of a world - where being human seems to be the rarer disability. Fun art and an amusing cast.

I asked my daughter for something less that 150 pages that I'd like but hadn't read.

Read for December TIOLI #11: Read a book of 150 pages or less

Dec 25, 2018, 4:34am Top

Happy holidays, Susan.

Dec 26, 2018, 1:01pm Top

Chuckled over your review of the Christmas party book!

Dec 26, 2018, 5:54pm Top

>286 sibyx: Terkels, got to love 'em! Merry Christmas!

Dec 26, 2018, 8:59pm Top

>281 SqueakyChu: >282 paulstalder: >285 PaulCranswick: >286 sibyx: Madeline, Paul S & Paul C, and Lucy too, thank you!

I got a few books for Christmas!

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 2:44pm Top

#337) The Road to Hell

It's been a long while since I read the first two books of this series - I remember them as more lively and engaging. The story in this was burdened by extending every scene to the maximum length & with so very many groups of characters that swapped in and out as soon as I figured out the relationships in a group the next chapters would feature an entirely new group. and having all the military on one side designated chan something while the other was a 25, 50, 100, 500 etc and multiples of each #. Too much work for too little content. Oh, it's a dragon against WWI tech, with magic and psi talents also opposing on a multiple chain of earth like planets. Pretty high body count, mostly off to the side.

Meets December TIOLI #16: Read a book in which moral values and beliefs are an issue in some way

Dec 29, 2018, 2:49am Top

Help! the stars have all gone missing from my mini reviews! rretzler can you come to the white courtesy phone please?

(anglebracket open)img src="http://static.librarything.com/pics/s5.gif"(anglebracket close) etc aren't showing any more!

Dec 29, 2018, 4:04am Top

>290 quondame: I think you need to change the link to https instead of http - it's been reported as a bug here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/301071

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 2:43pm Top

>291 souloftherose: Thanks! I may be crazy enough to go back an fix a year's worth of postings, but not today!
In any case it looks like I have a rather mild case of a worse malaise.

Dec 31, 2018, 11:23am Top

Dec 31, 2018, 3:47pm Top

Dec 31, 2018, 3:50pm Top

#338) Amazing Cows

Gently absurd and amusing with a couple of ROTFL moments.

Meets December TIOLI #11: Read a book of 150 pages or less

Dec 31, 2018, 3:58pm Top

Happy New Year's Eve!

Edited: Dec 31, 2018, 6:40pm Top

#339) Magic Triumphs

Cleaning up all the loose ends by adding in one almost overwhelming foe, this book hardly holds together. Very high body count.

Rather loosely meets #10: A Book Bullet

Dec 31, 2018, 6:44pm Top

#340) Mission to Pluto

Informative for those who haven't closely tracked the solar system explorations of the last decades. Too many pictures of people, however deserving of renown they are, and not enough of of Pluto and companions.

Read for December TIOLI #17: Read a nonfiction book with beautiful photography

Dec 31, 2018, 8:13pm Top

>298 quondame: Heh, I was the "System Assurance Manager" for New Horizons - was in the Atlas System Ops Center on launch day. Haven't worked the project in 12 years, but still have a fondness for it. I'm probably not in the book - it was published just recently and has the current operators and scientists. But I know them!

Dec 31, 2018, 8:16pm Top

Congratulations on a banner reading year, Susan! 240 books is amazing.

See you on the other side!

Jan 1, 2:13am Top

Interesting end-of-year, I got to be in conversations with Tananarive Due, Barbara Hambly and Tim Powers, all of whom mentioned working on new material and in Tim Powers case he even mentioned a detail after answering my question about Alternate Routes. I bugged out of the New Year Eve party way before midnight - I'm just not into endurance partying any more.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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