Happy Holidays! The 12 Days of LT scavenger hunt is going on. Can you solve the clues?
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Humouress may actually read more in 2018! - thread 3

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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Edited: Aug 4, 1:16pm Top

1 of 14

Edited: Yesterday, 12:34am Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


61) Boy Trouble at Trebizon by Anne Digby
59) Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Edited: Nov 26, 1:04am Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


  57) Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
56) Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
55) Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore
  54) Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

Edited: Nov 4, 1:50am Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


53) The Thirteen Storey Tree House by Andy Griffiths

Edited: Nov 4, 1:46am Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


52) The Pool of the Two Moons
51) Crazy Rich Asians

Edited: Aug 15, 2:40pm Top

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title

49) Chihuly Gardens and Glass
48) To Ride a Rathorn by P. C. Hodgell
47) Tashi and the Big Stinker by Anna and Barbara Fienberg
46) Dr. Twelfth originated by Roger Hargreaves
45) Dr. Eleventh originated by Roger Hargreaves

Edited: Aug 4, 1:19pm Top


Edited: Nov 26, 1:06am Top


      29) The Invisible Library by Genevieve Colman
      28) The Magic in the Weaving by Tamora Pierce
      27) The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
          26) The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
  25) Tashi and the Baba Yaga by Anna & Barbara Fienberg


      24) The First Betrayal by Patricia Bray
  23) Dark of the Moon by P.C. Hodgell


          22) Dragonclaw by Kate Forsyth
  21) Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

Edited: Aug 4, 1:20pm Top

review posted/ rated/ written (link)/ read

/ / (#) / Title


  20) The Greenwitch by Susan Cooper
  19) The Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  18) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
      17) Little Miss Naughty by Roger Hargreaves
      16) Little Miss Bossy by Roger Hargreaves


      15) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  14) A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
      13) Summer Term at Trebizon by Anne Digby
  12) Stardust by Neil Gaiman
      11) The Talisman’s Trinket by P.C. Hodgell
      10) Second Term at Trebizon by Anne Digby
      9) First Term at Trebizon by Anne Digby


      8) Instructions by Neil Gaiman
          7) Little Miss Helpful by Roger Hargreaves
  6) God Stalk by P. C. Hodgell
          5) The Chronicles of Dragon: the Hero, the Sword and the Dragons by Craig Halloran
      4) More Trouble at Trebizon by Anne Digby
  3) Tashi and the Genie by Anna and Barbara Fienberg
  2) Tashi and the Ghosts by Anna and Barbara Fienberg
      1) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Edited: Aug 4, 1:21pm Top

The constellation:

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

Purple stars, from Robin's thread:

Edited: Dec 2, 4:27am Top

Reading at home : Ship of Magic

‘Waiting for the boys to finish classes’ book : Eragon

Bedtime reading :Tashi series, Little Miss series

Kindle : Trebizon series

Downtime : Skulduggery Pleasant

Overdrive : Red Rising

Book club Red Rising & Small Gods

Edited: Dec 2, 4:28am Top

Reading inspirations

Ongoing series:

The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper
Chronicles of the Cheysuli - Jennifer Roberson
Chronicles of the Kencyrath - P. C. Hodgell (group read, started January 2018)
Tashi - Anna Fienberg
The Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold (2014-2017 group read - savouring it before I run out of these glorious books)
**Farseer (group read starting March 2018)

Ooh, what about...

Miss Fisher mysteries
*The Wheel of Time {Tor read https://www.tor.com/2018/02/20/reading-the-wheel-of-time-eye-of-the-world-part-1/?utm_source=exacttarget&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_term=tordotcom-tordotcomnewsletter&utm_content=na-readblog-blogpost&utm_campaign=9780765334336}
Vatta/Honor Harrington
*Ready Player One - before the film comes out!
Earthsea - for the February group read book 1

Aug 4, 1:14pm Top

13 of 14

Aug 4, 1:14pm Top

14 of 14

Edited: Aug 4, 1:29pm Top

Welcome in!


Aug 4, 3:08pm Top

Happy new thread, Nina!

>13 humouress: Oh, nice cool drinks, just what I needed :-D

Aug 4, 3:10pm Top

Thank you Anita!

With all this record breaking weather, I thought cool drinks would be appreciated.

Aug 5, 9:48am Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 5, 10:22am Top

Thank you Jim. I’m looking forward to your big day!

Edited: Aug 9, 1:14am Top

45) Dr. Eleventh

(Eleventh of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)

Edited: Aug 9, 1:14am Top

46) Dr. Twelfth

(Twelfth of 12 : Dr. Who/ Mr. Men series. Children's. Retro)

Edited: Aug 9, 11:16am Top

47) Tashi and the Big Stinker

There’s a giant in town - no, not Chintu. It’s his Only Brother and he’s eating Mrs Chintu and Chintu out of house and home, not to mention terrorising the village. And being a fussy eater. But Chintu can’t throw Only Brother out, so Tashi has to come up with a cunning scheme to help change his mind. This one may have stronger consequences than Tashi intended, though!


Tashi and the dancing shoes

Jack's uncle Joe is visiting so Tashi tells everyone the story of the magic dancing shoes, when Luk Ahead found Tashi's horoscope in time to direct him to find some magical dancing shoes to help him rescue his cousin Lotus Blossom. But when he demonstrated his new leaping powers to the village, greedy uncle Tikki Pu thought he saw a way to profit from them. My 9 year old really liked the first part and really didn't like the second part.


Aug 5, 1:27pm Top

Happy New Thread, Nina!

>15 humouress: Ah, yes. Refreshing.

Aug 5, 5:08pm Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 5, 5:25pm Top

Happy new one, Nina.

Aug 6, 1:39am Top

>23 jnwelch: Thanks Joe! You're welcome.

>24 foggidawn: Thank you, foggi!

>25 Ameise1: Thank you, Anita!

Edited: Aug 6, 11:12pm Top

Finding To Ride a Rathorn a bit awkward in patches. I have the omnibus Seeker’s Bane and this second book was written 12 yrs after Seeker’s Mask. H seems to have reinterpreted some of her characters/ events in the intervening time or explains events from the previous book(s). As I’m reading straight on (and also have recently read the 1st 2 books for the group read of the series ) this can feel cumbersome. H also has a tendency to quote phrases from the previous books which I did find very funny the first time but also don’t fit comfortably in this narrative.

Also : so many typo issues in this Baen edition!!

Don’t get me wrong - still loving the story ( except getting a bit bogged down in soulscapes at the moment) but I’m holding H to the same high standards she’s set with the previous books.

Aug 7, 12:01pm Top

Happy new thread, Nina!

I'm trying to get to To Ride a Rathorn this month, too. I do sometimes find the whole mythology confusing, but I'll persevere!

Edited: Aug 8, 2:28am Top

>28 Dejah_Thoris: Thank you Dejah!

The mythology is a bit mystical and right now (with soulscapes especially, I feel) it's all over the place. I'm looking forward to re-reading the series at some not-too-distant future point and getting more out of it. I read God Stalk for the third time for this group read and it gets easier to follow the more times I read it.

Plus, of course, Jame starts off with amnesia, so she is as confused as us.

Aug 9, 3:01pm Top

Love the thread title. I feel the same way about my reading this year. At my current rate, I might catch up and get to 75. We'll see.

Aug 9, 3:14pm Top

Happy new one!! Those drinks look good. I just received the second one in the Invisible Library series from the library. Tryin to hurt up and finish my other reads to I can get to it.

Aug 11, 11:12am Top

>30 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel! My reading habits have already been patchy this year, with 2 months with only two books each. But last month was a huge improvement (thank you Dr. Mr. Whos!) so - fingers crossed!

Edited: Aug 11, 11:27am Top

>31 Berly: Thanks Kim! From what I hear, the Invisible Library series continues to be good. I will probably have to buy the next one, too, for my shelves.

Edited: Aug 11, 11:31am Top

So real life this weekend has been busy. I bought a new desk for the boys which seems to have motivated my older son to study, so let's hope that continues. I bought more accessories for it (shelves etc) which were delivered this morning, so I spend some time setting it all up - and wasted more time trying to pin down a son to help me.

My bookcase wheels were fixed, so last week I cleaned and polished all three from head to toe and this week did the same for the 24 shelves that go in them and set them up. Not so easy on the old knees - the price we pay for the pleasure of reading ;0) Now to dust, reorganise and re-shelve the books - while trying not to stop and read instead. But I do need to get them all off the guest room bed as we're expecting my husband's brother from Seattle on a work trip next weekend. I did suggest the spare mattress instead, but my husband wasn't amused, for some reason.

And I'm trying to collate and catalogue about 5 years worth of flash cards that my sons' Mandarin tutor very sweetly made for the boys over the years. Number one son has his public exam in less than a year - but can I get him to help with it? Nope - he's watching football instead.

Aug 11, 6:22pm Top

>34 humouress: Have fun refilling the bookcases, Nina!

Aug 12, 4:57am Top

>35 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita, I plan to. I suspect I’m going to ‘rediscover’ books just because I’m handling them rather than looking at rows of them on the shelf.

Do you think I have too many?.... Nah; you can never have enough books.

Aug 12, 5:00am Top

>34 humouress: Hmmmm....organizing flash cards or watching football? Do you blame him?

LOL Have fun rediscovering your books!!

Aug 12, 2:29pm Top

>37 Berly: *sigh* You could have a point Kim.

Thank you; I have to run errands tomorrow but I plan to start on Tuesday. The ‘non fiction’ section should slot back into the same places with no adjustments but all the books do need a wipe down before they go back onto the shelves.

Edited: Aug 13, 4:17pm Top

>27 humouress: more notes on to Ride a Rathorn ; hope to review it tomorrow

Enjoyed it, but some quibbles (as noted above). Starting to get a bit lost with the supernatural elements of the planet, but it still does make sense. Answered most questions about Jame’s ancestors past, but still one or two. I think.

ETA: it maybe that I read the last few chapters in a rush, but I’m feeling that the first two books had that 20th century fantasy vibe that I love, but this one, not so much. Could be wrong. Only way to find out is to keep reading!

Aug 15, 11:46am Top

So I'm gradually re-filling my shelves and finding some useful books: baby sign language for folks with new babies in the family. Not me, sadly, but I'm a book hoarder, so they're staying on my shelves until I can work out where to find a good home for them; disciplining children without yelling - I need to read that; mosaicing and gardening books. And I came across a Chihuly book so, as the topic came up recently, I thought I'd have a quick look at it.

49) Chihuly Gardens and Glass

I have had this catalogued for years and am now just realising that it's the postcard book that accompanies the actual book. I picked this when I visited a Chihuly exhibition set up in a Chicago park at the turn of the century. I love the shapes that Chihuly produces - organic, alien, fluid, colourful, exotic, natural. And I love the way he exhibits his artwork, in amongst plants which the artwork complements. The titles, though, are rather prosaic, usually being the location of the piece.

I suppose I could tear out the postcards and send them off to friends and family to enjoy - but I'm going to keep them all to myself, to leaf through, reminisce and enjoy.

Aug 21, 12:52pm Top

>40 humouress: I love his work!! I keep meaning to head up to Seattle and see the exhibit up there. Someday....

Aug 21, 1:52pm Top

Hi, Nina. I'm back home and trying to catch up. Reorganizing book shelves--what fun! And that is NOT sarcastic.

>39 humouress: I think you are right, the later books do not have that fantasy vibe that I especially loved in Godstalk. But they continue to be so imaginative and I love discovering about this world. It will be interesting to see if that changes when the new book comes out, as it will take us back to Tai-tastigon.

Edited: Aug 22, 1:25am Top

>41 Berly: Last night I took the boys to see a Boyzone concert and afterwards, my husband picked us up and we went for a late snack at the Chihuly Lounge at the Ritz Carlton here. They have some big pieces as just sculptures, on the wall or in display cases, but they also have little enclosed courtyards with plants with some of his pieces interspersed through. I'll see if I can dig up some photos from the internet.

ETA: et voilá!


Aug 22, 1:17am Top

>42 ronincats: Welcome back Roni! I did notice on your thread, but I've just been lurking here and there on a few threads while RL has me preoccupied. The bookshelves, of course, which I'm taking my time with. I'm also catching up on some housekeeping of the books, like listing what remaining books I want to get from which series. You're right, I am enjoying it. Though I will also *sigh* attempt to do some culling. I'm also collating and laminating flash cards for the boys which their Mandarin tutor made for them at my request. Of course, they aren't interested and I'm not sure if half of the cards are missing but my 14 year old has major exams next year. Since he's not panicking about it, I am.

I did promise a review of To Ride a Rathorn about a week ago but I haven't been in a reviewing or reading mood lately. Partly, I think, because I have all those other RL projects on the go and also because I've picked up one of the books I'm planning to cull and I'm a bit hesitant about diving in. I will carry on with the Kencyrath series - I still love it - but I have to clear the guest bed first, so I can access my books easily.

Aug 22, 1:23am Top

Enjoy rediscovering your books! We bought a house recently and I am converting a little attic room into a library. I'm excited to finally get my whole collection out of my parents' house, and really looking forward to shelving all of them :)

Aug 22, 1:34am Top

>45 curioussquared: Ooh, that sounds exciting! You get to create your whole library from scratch.

Myself, I'm trying to expand the space I have, but my husband is vetoing it. He's even already claimed the boys' room for himself for when they leave home. Which is (touch wood) more than a decade away.

Aug 22, 3:16am Top

>43 humouress: To be very prosaic, I always wonder how they manage the security on exhibits organised like this in the midst of 'everyday' life. The colours are wonderful.

>46 humouress: Sounds like you need a library extension...(!)

Edited: Aug 22, 10:22am Top

>47 charl08: Well, in this case, the exhibits are either way up out of reach (and presumably well stuck down) or behind glass. And, as you say, it's in every day life, so you wouldn't really get an opportunity to walk off with it or vandalise it (was that what you were planning?) ;0)

ETA: you can just see a person in that first picture, if you zoom in, so you can see the scale of it.

Library extension ... yes! Though I really don't see how I'd get that one past my husband.

Aug 22, 9:02am Top

We love Chihuly, too, Nina. Good for you for getting the postcard collection and savoring it. That Garfield Park conservatory exhibit in Chicago was so good. We loved his museum in Seattle, but the beauty of the Chicago exhibit was seeing it all in a natural setting.

Edited: Aug 22, 10:28am Top

>49 jnwelch: Ah, thanks Joe; I couldn't remember the name of the park. I know we discussed it on your thread, but it was a fair few posts back and I didn't want to go looking for it. I'd seen the little displays with plants in the Ritz Carlton here before I visited the Chicago exhibit but over there, there was space to really put lots of big pieces in. The only problem was that I was afraid I might miss some of the pieces - especially the smaller ones - because they were literally planted all over the place within beds camouflaged by real plants.

Aug 22, 11:50am Top

Hi Nina! I'm a Chihuly fan, too. A few weeks back I was offered the chance to go see the Chihuly exhibit in the gardens at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Tickets to the illuminated night event, transportation, and a place to stay all taken care of and I had to turn it down! I had an event to attend here at home that I'd committed to months ago.

Here are a few pictures of what I missed:

Aug 22, 12:28pm Top

>51 Dejah_Thoris: Ahh; what an event to have to miss. He seems to be evolving ever-more complex designs; those ferny things look almost real. And that globe thingy (don't I have a way with words tonight?)!

Aug 22, 12:31pm Top

>46 humouress: My suggestion is to pile enough books in stacks around the house that he eventually gets frustrated and willingly gives you more space!

Aug 22, 12:41pm Top

>53 curioussquared: :0)

Unfortunately I'm not the tidiest of people (I'm always organising, but I tend to move on to the next project without quite finishing the last) and I have piles of different things around the place. He's frustrated, yes; but he's threatening to throw stuff out.

Aug 22, 12:43pm Top

... darn it, my books seem to have multiplied during their hiatus. Anyone else have that problem? Not that I'm complaining, in the general scheme of things; it's just a storage issue.

Aug 24, 12:35pm Top

>54 humouress: Lol, I get it. I recently told my boyfriend how many shirts I think I own (I said 100... and why do I still feel like I have nothing to wear?) and he threatened to start throwing them out while I'm asleep.

>55 humouress: They have a way of accumulating, don't they?

Aug 25, 3:53am Top

>56 curioussquared: *sigh* Guys just don't understand.

Proliferating, even.

Good news; I think I've managed to cull ... a grand total of *drum roll* 5! That's so far - I'm still working. Let's hope they don't manage to creep back onto my shelves in the meantime.

Aug 25, 6:52pm Top

>56 curioussquared: & >57 humouress: LOL! My husband has more shirts, shoes etc. than I have. So some guys do understand.

>57 humouress: Keep up the good work, Nina. Culling is always difficult.

Aug 26, 3:47pm Top

>58 FAMeulstee: :0D Thanks Anita. You always make me laugh.

Aug 26, 7:12pm Top

>57 humouress: Hey, progress is progress!

Aug 27, 3:50am Top

Wishing you a good start into the new week.

Aug 28, 6:39am Top

>60 curioussquared: Well, I am ... progressing.

>61 Ameise1: Thank you Barbara.

I’m spending a lot of time on LT but mainly in the catalogue tab. I’ve shelved down to th Ps now as well as doing some housekeeping on my collections as I go along. I must say, handling the books and seeing the front covers has me excited about reading again. I can’t wait until I can devote my free time to diving into the books rather than looking at the outsides.

And I did post some entries in the Cover Love group. Covers are important to me; I’m pedantic like that.

Edited: Aug 28, 6:48am Top

48) To Ride a Rathorn

>27 humouress: I’m going to have to collate my notes and actually write my review of To Ride a Rathorn.

Not to mention catch up on other reviews and do some housekeeping on my threads.

Edited: Aug 28, 7:07am Top

50) The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

Borrowed from school library. Good use of language. Keen-gleam. Musty-dusty.
Not so keen on Nevery’s notes; advances the story?

Conn is a pickpocket and steals a wizards magic stone which focuses power. So he’s drafted as Nevery’s apprentice- but N doesn’t really want one. Then they realise C has magic and needs to be taught. And he hasn’t yet found his magicalicus localis.

Meanwhile the magic in welmet is dwindling and n has been called back from exile to investigate. But c feels he’s on the wrong track.

Sep 3, 1:32pm Top

>43 humouress: Love those!! Thanks for posting. Very jealous. : ) You've culled 5? Ummm....I mean, way to go! Whoohoo! (I am trying to keep you motivated.) When I log my books, getting the right cover image is crucial; I had no idea there was a thread for covers--cool!

Sep 4, 4:37am Top

>65 Berly: You’re welcome Kim. Thanks for the um ... motivation ;0)

I can’t remember if I was invited to the group or I found it while exploring.

Sep 4, 4:42am Top

I’m reading Crazy Rich Asians on my phone while waiting for the kids to finish their after school classes. I haven’t even heard of some of these places - maybe I’m not rich enough :0) but author Kevin Kwan is apparently a scion of one of these great families so they must be real.

If only one of those crazy rich asians would fund an extension to my library instead of jetting off to Paris for more couture.

Sep 9, 10:50pm Top

I saw the movie; my hubby loved it. Me? I thought the plot and some of the acting were meh. But the scenery, clothing and behavior was rich over the top and had me oooooing and aaaahing. Definitely out of my league. And, yes, they should donate to your worthy cause.

Sep 9, 11:50pm Top

I really enjoyed the Magic Thief books, including their format. I'd put them right in there with my top middle school series like Angie Sage's Septimus Heap series.

Sep 13, 3:51pm Top

>68 Berly: I’d be intrigued to watch the film for the scenery etc too; but my sons don’t seem interested for some reason :0) Maybe I’ll go and see it with a girlfriend or two.

Sep 13, 3:55pm Top

>69 ronincats: I thought The Magic Thief was simply but well written. This first book was a complete story in itself but I’d be happy to continue with the series - if I can find the next books.

I still have to write my review; I’m dithering between catching up on reviews and starting Ship of Magic for the Robin Hobb group read.

Edited: Sep 26, 7:15am Top

51) Crazy Rich Asians

(Litsy notes)

I’m just starting ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ (on Overdrive) since I live in Singapore, lah. Haven’t even started the first chapter but enjoying the snarky comments on the family tree before the prologue.

This book is fun and easy to read (even on my phone). I’m enjoying seeing a matrimonial matriarch’s point of view.
Do you have those in your family too?

Rachel and Nick have just arrived in Singapore. It doesn’t mention the way the humidity hits you as you step onto the aerobridge. And then ups it a notch as you enter the arrivals hall. But that has nothing on when you leave the building and wonder how you’re going to survive the five minutes until you can collapse into the air conditioned comfort of your car.

I must say Rachel has more stamina than me be able to walk straight off a long haul flight into a hawker centre. Good call on Lau Pasat Satay Club.
Must check out this Sembawang place ...

It’s fun spotting landmarks that I recognise. Though I don’t know where in Singapore Mr. Kwan found rolling parklands, even behind the Botanic Gardens.

Edited: Sep 26, 7:11am Top

52) The Pool of the Two Moons

Continuing reading ‘The Witches of Eileanan’ with book two. Bachaiche’s grumpiness is starting to be a pain in the neck.

Reading on... The witches are currently outlawed in Eileannan and continue to practice their rites in secret. But I have to wonder, since they came from another world, if their rites have any power on this world?

Hah! Just worked out that the dreaded Awl is the acronym for the Anti-Witchcraft League. Sometimes these things have to be spelled out for me. 🤯

Sep 14, 10:50am Top

>72 humouress: Been considering reading Crazy Rich Asians. How was it?

Sep 14, 7:58pm Top

>74 drneutron: It was fun and quite quick to read. Mum doesn’t think girl is good enough for her boy and schemes to drive them apart. Girl, meanwhile, being clueless as to how crazy rich they are, is completely oblivious to her schemes.

I may have got a bit more out of it than most people since I could say “I know where that is!”. Or even “I think so ...”; I think some places were in disguise.

Sep 16, 4:38am Top

>75 humouress: Sounds good. The film has finally made it here, so quite tempted to pick up the book.

Edited: Sep 16, 11:03pm Top

>76 charl08: The film has been getting rave reviews here, probably because - well, Singapore; and there's a piece every weekend analysing its success. But I think I do glean the fact that it's doing well in the US too.

ETA: I wasn't quite sure if Kwan was endorsing or criticising the extravagant lifestyles but then I decided he was just writing about characters who happen to be crazy rich. I wonder if he was writing about anyone in particular, given that he's a scion of the OCBC bank founder's family. :0) It's not deep and meaningful, but that means it's easy to get through.

Sep 16, 11:40pm Top

I really enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians, both the book and the film. I don't know anything about Singapore, really, and liked learning a bit about it. I'm in the middle of the third book now.

Sep 20, 1:48am Top

>78 curioussquared: My kids don't want to watch it but my friends seem to have already seen it. Hmm - my parents will be in town soon ...

Edited: Oct 2, 11:58pm Top

Still ticking along here, don't worry. I'm just logging on to bemoan progress in Singapore. Many years ago when my teen was an infant, there was a stretch of road that was quite jungly (rare in Singapore) that we went down quite often. He called it the haunted forest or something once and seemed quite nervous about it, so I renamed it the Hundred Acre Woods as we were into Pooh & co. at the time. And so it remained for years. Until now. Last week I happened to drive up the road after many weeks of not having gone there and it is now a wasteland of concrete construction with an 8 lane highway (well, I can't actually see how many) running across it. Another childhood haunt bites the dust.

So - I will be in London by this time next week, with lots of shopping planned. I don't have a schedule as I will be kid-free! In an effort to slim down before I have to endure the gaze of sundry aunts and uncles, I've been joining my son when he walks the dog. He takes the opportunity to ride his bike instead (a new-found pleasure) but he keeps coming back to check on us. The downside of this is that his faithful hound (well, faithful, yes. Hound? pfft) feels he has to guard his master and desperately tries to tell me that we have abandoned master as he rides gaily off into the distance. Unfortunately, we go out after dinner so I doubt the neighbours appreciate the information. So we spend the first half of the walk pulling in opposite directions as I try desperately not to get pulled over onto my face. As for guard dog, he's a golden retriever from Australia (therefore slighter than UK breeds) and while whatever many kilos of dog galumphing at you to lick you into submission can be quite scary (he's so gosh-darn enthusiastic) and he can bark forever, he's not really guard dog material. Like his master though, he's got brains - when he chooses to use them.

Oct 4, 4:51pm Top

Awww. Sorry to hear about the woods!

Oct 6, 9:35am Top

Thanks Rachel.

Edited: Oct 6, 9:45am Top

Ooh, look what the BBC is giving me for my birthday.

Oct 6, 10:34am Top

Happy weekend, Nina.

Oct 7, 2:10am Top

So, should anyone drop by, I'll be in London for a couple of weeks. One week in central London and one week just outside, staying with friends. It would be great to do an LT meet up, even at this short notice. Leave a post (or PM me) and hopefully I'll have internet connection and will be able to get in touch with you.

Oct 9, 5:12pm Top

Hi Nina! I think unfortunately I'm going to miss you in London - we're away in the Peak District for a week - but I hope you have a lovely time and get your Forbidden Planet fix! What did you think of the new Dr Who (if you've been able to watch it)? (Spoiler - I loved it!)

Oct 9, 9:45pm Top

Safe travels, Nina!

Oct 10, 7:05am Top

>86 souloftherose: >87 ronincats: Thanks Heather! I’m sorry I’ll miss you. Enjoy the Peak District. James Herriot country, right?

Thanks Roni!

So it’s my first day in London. I’ve spent the morning calling folks and checking in on the kids. Now I’m ready to hit the shops. First stop, I think, is Forbidden Planet.

Oct 10, 7:10am Top

Enjoy your London holiday.

Oct 10, 6:06pm Top

Enjoy your stay in London, Nina!

Oct 10, 9:16pm Top

Thank you Barbara! Thank you Anita!

Edited: Oct 10, 9:43pm Top

So. My Forbidden Planet raid results:

Pierce - In the Hand of the Goddess
Gläser - Book Jumper
Mills - Wizard Squared
Kurtz - King’s Deryni
Hodgell - Gates of Tagmeth
Novik- Temeraire
Cogman - Lost Plot
McGuire - Discount Armageddon
Hobb - Assassin’s Fate
Fforde - Last Dragonslayer, Song of the Quarkbeast

Somehow it doesn’t look quite as much listed out as the time (and money) I spent - or the weight carrying them back. But the results are satisfactory and the longer I spend in a bookshop, the happier I feel. And as for cost, some books are for the kids. Maybe.

I filled in some gaps on my shelves but I also picked up several new series. Incryptid and Dragonslayer come LT recommended but I took a leap of faith with Book Jumper.

Oct 11, 8:28am Top

>88 humouress: Nope, James Herriot country is Yorkshire which is further north. The Peak District is the national park between Manchester and Sheffield - pretty much where the first episode of the new Dr Who was set!

>92 humouress: Excellent FB haul! I'm actually glad I'm reading all of the Hobb's as ebooks this time around as those later volumes are absolute doorstoppers..... Looking at the LT page The Book Jumper has a lovely cover so I think I would have been tempted too.....

Oct 12, 9:02pm Top

>92 humouress: Ooh, good haul! I love me some Pierce and Fforde in particular.

Oct 13, 1:44pm Top

Sorry I won’t be able to meet up Nina. I was thinking maybe I could fit something in but my Mum has broken her hip so I’m not making any plans in advance for the next few weeks.

Oct 14, 4:23pm Top

Yay, Hodgell!! Yay, McGuire! Yay, Fforde!!! Yay, Cogman! Quite a selection you obtained there. Good work!

Oct 14, 4:34pm Top

Lovely haul there. I really liked the Fforde. Hope your trip is going well.

Oct 17, 8:53pm Top

Thank you all!

>95 SandDune: I’m so sorry Rhian. I hope your mum is on the mend soon.

Edited: Nov 4, 12:44pm Top

53) The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

First in series. Ebook library

Borrowed this to help my son with a competition. Quite silly fun - for example, shark tank in th tree house! Maybe a bit young for him; better for 6-10 yer olds. Lots of accompanying drawings and banter between writer and artist


Oct 28, 12:41pm Top

So now I'm back! from London, where I had a thoroughly good time and now have to settle back down to the realities of life. (I can't even type straight now.) We went to see 'Motown' in the West End on our first night there (though I confess I was suffering a bit from jet lag) and we went for 'Tina' on our last night - absolutely wonderful! I had intended buying lots of end-of-season summer clothes there but fortunately for my wallet, the shops were already into autumn and winter clothes. And I managed to catch up with most of my friends and relations.

I do have one more book to add to my list: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor which was enthusiastically recommended to me by a young lady called Laina at the Goodge Street Waterstones, who was very helpful in looking for IGCSE study books for my son. I thought I'd get something there for the sake of nostalgia because it used to be a haunt of mine in my university days (umm ... not necessarily for text books ...) way back when (though it was probably a Dillons then?), but I already had my haul from Forbidden Planet and there weren't any books on my 'must buy' list there.

Oct 28, 2:12pm Top

>100 humouress: I remember when that Waterstones was a Dillon’s as well. Good bookshop though.

Oct 30, 7:19am Top

>100 humouress: Glad you enjoyed your London visit and sorry we missed each other this time. Hope the settling back into the realities doesn't hit too hard - it's taken me a week to start to feel like I'm getting back into the daily rhythm and I'm sure it's harder when you've travelled further afield.

Strange the Dreamer is on my list so I'll look forward to your thoughts. I think the sequel has just been published too - not sure if it's a duology or a longer series.

Oct 30, 9:07am Top

>102 souloftherose: It's a duology -- I recently finished the second book. Both books are amazing, and the first one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so you might want to have the second one on hand.

Nov 3, 5:40am Top

>103 foggidawn: Thank you for the tip :-)

Nov 3, 11:58pm Top

>101 SandDune: Good memories, Rhian.

>102 souloftherose: Thanks Heather. I’m trying to hold onto the holiday euphoria and the jet lag is certainly taking its time to sort itself out. But there’s lots to catch up on, especially with the end of the year coming up soon. (Already?!)

>103 foggidawn: Thanks foggi. I did have a vague memory that Laina told me it’s a duology - at least my completist soul won’t have to be collecting a long series. I’d better get that second one soon, then.

Nov 4, 12:07am Top

I finished Diplomatic Immunity yesterday (finally - a book read!). It was slow going at first, which surprised me for a Vorkosigan book but that may just have been because I wasn’t completely in the right mood. But with about half the book to go, I zipped through it on Saturday and it was the usual fun. Not quite madcap Miles - he is about to become a father, after all.

I did appreciate the scene with the babies, and I had to empathise. Who in their right minds let Miles become a parent. Or me, either. But my two are now 9 and 14 (gosh, already? But I’m still trying to work out what to do); I don’t know how they survived. Or me, either.

Edited: Nov 4, 1:19pm Top

54) Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles - Imperial Auditor and thus Voice of the Emperor when necessary - and his bride are returning home from their delayed honeymoon with the happy expectation of hatching their first two children from their incubators when he is diverted by the Emperor to resolve affairs on Graf Station in Quaddie-space on behalf of Barrayar and the Empress Laissa.

According to the Barrayaran military escort of a Komarran merchant fleet, they were trying to rescue one of their number from the space station. However, the quaddies, who have two pairs of arms instead of a pair each of arms and legs and are more comfortable in free-fall, dispute this version of events and have impounded the fleet as well as imprisoning the offending soldiers. Meanwhile, the merchants are anxious to be on their way especially as some of them are transporting time-sensitive cargo.

Lieutenant Solian, a security officer with the fleet, is missing, presumed dead. A quantity of his blood has been found, but not his body. And the jump ship pilot, whom the Barrayarans were 'rescuing', wants to apply to Graf Station for asylum so he can stay with his new quaddie love, Garnet Five. Sealer Greenlaw, in charge of Graf Station, wants reparation. But, as always with Miles, things are not as easy as they first appear.

Fortunately, he runs into some old friends on Graf Station - Bel Thorne, ex of the Dendarii Mercenaries and Nicol, a beautiful quaddie who (... well, never mind) - who are willing to see his side of things. And he is also married to a woman who not only understands his quirks but can keep a cool head in a crisis.

I found things a little slow going at first, but that could have been due to my reduced reading time during the week. On Saturday, though, I raced through the last half of the book as events started coming together and time started to run out for Miles and co. I think that's when we see Miles at his best.

I did appreciate the scene with the babies, and I had to empathise. Who in their right minds let Miles become a parent? Or me, either? But my two are now 9 and 14 (gosh, already? But I’m still trying to work out what to do); I don’t know how they survived. Or me, either.

4.5***** stars

Nov 4, 5:15pm Top

>100 humouress: Good to see you back, Nina!

Nov 4, 5:27pm Top

Nina! So glad you had fun in London. I would have met up with you, except for the small fact that I don't live there. Come to the US next time!! Sorry about the highway chewing up a favorite childhood haunt. Sigh.

>107 humouress: Is this a standalone? It sounds like a hoot! Great review.

Nov 5, 2:58am Top

>108 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita!

Nov 5, 3:05am Top

>109 Berly: Well that's just not an excuse, Kim.

>107 humouress: >109 Berly: Thanks Kim. It's actually book 14 of 17 chronologically; myself, I prefer to read things in order. You could read this as a stand alone, as with any of the Vorkosigan saga, but there are some things - like knowing who Bel and Nicol are - that add some background to the story. I was putting down my impressions so i could start reading my next book. I'll go back and tidy up and add things like that, hopefully sometime soon.

Nov 7, 11:09am Top

I've never read a book by Lois McMaster Bujold. I probably should put it on my list some day, but there are so many of them I don't know where to start.

Nov 8, 4:21pm Top

Hi Rachel. You’ve been reading up a storm on Litsy!

Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga is sci-fi/ space opera and I also like her Chalion books, which are fantasy. Although most of these books can be read as stand-alone, you get more background information if you read them in sequence.

I personally prefer to read in chronological order, but Roni will have you believe that it works better in publication order ;0)

Edited: Nov 11, 9:15pm Top

55) Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Really enjoyed this.

Bitterblue is now queen after the disastrous reign of her father, Leck. She wants to help her country move forward which her advisors tell her is best served by issuing blanket pardons for crimes that were forcibly committed under Leck and forgetting about them. But, feeling trapped by paperwork, she sneaks out into the city where she finds things are very different from what her statistics suggest. To move forward, she feels she needs to understand what happened in the past. But there are forces that seem to be working to prevent people remembering the past and putting lives in danger.

Fortunately, Bitterblue (how did she get that name?) has good friends in Katsa, Po and their colleagues on the Council that works to counteract the deeds of bad kings and forms a small but solid network of people she can trust, in a country where trust doesn’t come easily.

I wish I’d read this closer to when I read Fire because some of the events in that book are pertinent to this story and I can’t remember the details.

Though I enjoyed it, this book is darker than the other two in the series, dealing with horrific concepts, albeit at a distance of time, of the consequences of the way Leck used his Grace. Although it ends in a good place, with Bitterblue turning into the queen of Monsea that she always wanted to be, it is open ended enough that the story could be continued and I would love to see a fourth book (or more) in this series.


Nov 12, 12:04pm Top

>114 humouress: I really enjoyed Bitterblue! I think it might be the strongest of the series for me, even though I loved Graceling.

Nov 12, 11:55pm Top

>115 curioussquared: It's been a while since I read the other two, Natalie, so I can't compare them directly. I remember I enjoyed them; in fact I borrowed Graceling from the library and liked it so much that I ended up buying the whole trilogy. Other reviewers don't seem to have enjoyed Bitterblue as much in comparison to, especially, Graceling but it seems as though they were expecting the same kind of story. I really liked this one and the relationships that Bitterblue has with her friends. I like the way she can trust them pretty much unconditionally.

And there's a hint of something that might develop into a romance that I would like to read more about. (yeah, yeah - I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.)

Nov 14, 9:00pm Top

Oh, you've been reading some of my favorites, Nina. I love the Vorkosigan saga, and thought Diplomatic Immunity was a very good one. I liked Bitterblue a lot, too. I wasn't so thrilled with her newish one Jane, Unlimited, but I love the Graceling books.

Nov 19, 12:37am Top

>117 jnwelch: Hi Joe, good to see you here. Snap on the Vorkosigan saga and the Graceling books - I really like them too.

Nov 19, 12:48am Top

So; I kind of accidentally started a book club. I was in a magazine meeting and happened to start discussing books with the lady sitting next to me. When she asked what I prefer reading, I mumbled 'Fantasy', expecting the usual dismissive response (not many people I know seem to read fiction and none of them are into F/SF), but to my surprise, she likes fantasy, too. She prefers urban fantasy, though, which is a sub-genre I haven't managed to get really comfortable with so I suggested we read Rosemary and Rue which I'm sure I've read before. I picked it up because the Toby Daye books have so many fans on LT but I didn't fall in love with it myself, so I thought I should give it another go. Well, my friend found more like-minded readers so when I walked into the room, there were five other people (including her). None of us have belonged to a book club before, so we're making up our own rules as we go along.

I must confess, I didn't manage to finish the book before we met, so I'll put down our combined comments later when I do my review (hopefully). I am a bit more than halfway through the book now. I didn't find it unputdownable to start with, though it's flowing better now and though I tend to get distracted away from it, I do want to keep coming back. I don't remember the story - though I'm sure I've read it before - and I didn't post a review; but then, I seem to remember storylines of books I read in my childhood better than books I've read in the last year.

Nov 19, 2:24am Top

>92 humouress: Just catching up on the threads, I've been a bad 75er this year. Anyway I also bought The Book Jumper a few months ago, the cover art was a big draw. I finally read it a few weeks ago and it was ok, not fantastic. I think I love Jasper Fforde's Thurday Next too much.
I really liked Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and still haven't read Strange the dreamer mainly because I haven't had a great year of reading and so haven't got to it as yet, at least there will be no wait for the sequel. I used to follow her blog before she hit the big time with Daughter of Smoke and Bone and got too busy for it. Her husband is an illustrator, they collaborated on Lips Touch: three times which is a delight.

Wish you well with your book club.

Nov 19, 3:37am Top

>120 avatiakh: Hi Kerry! Well, my 75-ing seems to dwindle over the years, despite my best intentions to the contrary. Re The Book Jumper, if a title has the word 'book' in it, it immediately captures my attention.

But now you're giving me book bullets on my own thread. It's a good thing I have such a huge TBR mountain (of my own books, mind you) to hide behind.

Nov 19, 4:04am Top

oops, sorry about that. There's a new children's book by Anna James that also involves book characters coming in and out of books, Tilly and the bookwanderers.

Nov 19, 4:21am Top

*sigh* She apologises and then hits me again.

Nov 19, 12:00pm Top

>119 humouress: I kind of accidentally started a book club
You made me laugh out loud, Nina!

Nov 19, 4:18pm Top

Thank you Anita. Glad to be of service ;0)

Nov 19, 4:32pm Top

>92 humouress: Lovely haul, Nina!

>107 humouress: What I wanna know is where the hell is the TV series for this wonderful, involving, funny, trenchant series?! Huh? HUH?!


Spoken by a fan of the books who is also a bitterly disappointed fan of Doctor Who. The writing isn't great and burying Jodie Whitaker in a group of companions a la Troughton isn't a great choice.

>114 humouress: Oh FINE sure great FINE give the darn thing all the stars there are FINE *trudges sullenly off to Ammy one up*

Nov 19, 10:47pm Top

Just a barrel of laughs here, NIna!!

Nov 20, 12:23am Top

>119Congratulations on starting your own book club, even if you are not quite sure how you pulled it off.

>123 humouress: It's rough when you get hit with book bullets on your own thread.


Edited: Nov 21, 3:33am Top

>126 richardderus: Thanks Richard.

A Vorkosigan TV series? Hmm, that would be fun, if they got it right. There are so many series that have been 'Are they making it? Yes! Not now, maybe later ...' and so on. I think the Wheel of Time adaption is finally lurching off the ground. Maybe.

Well, I enjoyed Bitterblue. Did you not?

ETA: Oh, I see; I've managed to hit you with a BB. Yes, and well deserved. Please do read the Graceling books.

Nov 21, 12:11am Top

>127 ronincats: Thanks Roni!

>128 Berly: Thanks for the congratulations and sympathy, Kim. :0)

Edited: Nov 21, 3:53am Top

56) Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

I've had lots of LT recommendations for this series but urban fantasy isn't really my sub-genre so I thought I'd give it another go as the inaugural book for our newly created book club. I think I have read this before, but I hadn't posted a review and I didn't remember the story. The first part of the book didn't grab me and pull me in; I kept distracting myself, but that could have been my reading mood. Reading the second half flowed better for me.

The changeling (ie half fae) October (Toby) Daye had been trapped in a fish pond for fourteen years but, as she can't explain the true reason to her mortal family, they want nothing to do with her now she has returned. Evening Winterrose, with whom Toby has a love-dislike relationship, lays a curse on Toby to solve a crime committed on a pureblood fae living in the mortal realm in the city of San Francisco or she (Toby) will die. The story follows her as she follows the clues through a San Francisco mortals won't entirely recognise and that Toby herself is rediscovering after her long absence.

I usually have a problem with urban fantasy of knowing where the boundaries of fantasy and reality blur but I didn't find it an issue in this book. One of our book club members is Irish and found it a bit disorienting to read about creatures of Celtic mythology displaced to the west coast of America, where they have obviously been for a few hundreds of years. That's one of the issues I usually have with urban fantasy - but this time I just took it as a given. However, a glossary of the different types of fairy creatures and their characteristics would have been useful since Toby comes across many folks with different ancestries in the course of her investigations. I do question the use of the word 'changeling'; usually it is used for the children of faerie who are substituted for mortal children rather than people whose ancestry is a mix of human and faerie.

I quite like Toby but her reluctance to get back in touch with the people who knew her before and have been begging her to come back into their lives is confusing. When she does connect, it is obvious that they have been worried about her with reactions ranging from concern (from women) to infatuation (from at least three men/ male characters). I'm not sure how much sleep or food Toby managed to get over the course of the story and the number of times she was attacked and had to be rescued was also slightly uncomfortable.

McGuire does explain the way her fae survive in the mortal world, crafting illusions to blunt their otherworldly features and having to avoid the pressure of breaking dawn when the magic of the previous day is stripped away. I'm not sure how magic works in her universe but, apart from a couple of spells, it happens and you accept it; you don't have to be told how to use a telephone, for example.

The mystery was solved satisfactorily and I would like to find answers to questions from Toby's past, such as why she was trapped in the fish pond, whether she will find peace with her daughter and maybe find out a bit more about her own mother; so I will read the next book in the series, at least.

Comments from our Book Club night: Toby is short for OcTOBer (two of our six members didn't get that, and I remember it took me a while to realise that when I first came across talk of the series). The story is written like a Dick Francis (noir crime) book with a gender reversal and the addition of faerie. It feels like McGuire's first book, but that could be because it's the first book in a series and she is introducing characters and situations which will, presumably, feature in future books in the series. Toby's reluctance to communicate with people who would willingly help her is a bit frustrating.

3.5/4 ****

Edited: Nov 21, 5:29am Top

Ah; I did read it in April 2015 and did write a partial review, but never posted it. Here it is:

) Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

(October Daye series book 1, LT recommended)

This is the first of the October Daye series, which I've seen raves about around LT; and especially since we're born in the same month (October), I was intrigued enough to order it in to my bookshop.

October (Toby) is a changeling; a child of a fae Daoine Sidhe mother and a mortal father, living on the fringes of immortal fae society - and bitter as heck about it, like all other changelings. Having lost years of her life to fae magic, she now survives from job to job.

Then she receives a call out of the blue from Countess Evening Winterrose, ordering her to solve a murder and Toby finds herself racing time to solve the case before Evening's curse or her murderers catch up with Toby.

('scuse incomprehensibility - will edit later)

Usually I don't find urban fantasy easy to read, but either I've got more comfortable with it, or Ms. McGuire writes very well, because the mortal and fae worlds fit well together here; and even the unexplained displacement of the Sidhe from Ireland to San Francisco didn't throw me (though there was no mention of Native American supernatural creatures). I'd like to continue reading the series.


And I also discovered I read Sarah Prineas’s Magic Thief in the same month.

Nov 21, 5:07pm Top

Well, since I'm one of the ones who warble about the series, I'm glad you liked it better on this go-round, Nina.

Nov 21, 9:30pm Top

Ah yes...the dreaded McGuire...mmmf

Nov 22, 3:12pm Top

Nina, I love that you accidentally started a book club. I wonder if it will continue.

Nov 23, 11:27am Top

(Coming here after your reference on the monthly fantasyfans thread. I'm looking for more individual threads to follow!)

Cool, I remember thinking similar things about the book. If I remember the third book had more details about her mother, but that's also the point when I started having much less fun with the series, stopping reading a few books later. I tend to like urban fantasy more when it's a "normal" character caught up in grander circumstances, and Toby becomes considerably powered-up over the course of the series. (Somehow, she still needs to be frequently rescued and told to take care of herself, though....)

If you're doing urban fantasy for your book club, why not some Bordertown? The series has short story collections and novels, whatever tickles your fancy.

Edited: Nov 26, 12:58am Top

So yesterday was son number two’s birthday party for which he chose to do laser tag (the same as last year). As we’ve been having a long-running debate about my letting him play the game ‘Fortnite’ (I had a conversation with another mum at the party about how her son says she’s the worst mum in the world because everyone else is allowed to play). I have actually downloaded it for their PS4 but their accounts are restricted by their ages. Fortnite here is rated 12+ and he’s still 9. ‘Oh, but that’s the Singapore rating. Try another one’, so I looked at the UK. Guess what? That’s 13+. So he chewed on that for a few weeks; last week he tried telling me that his friends must be playing the Australian version and I should download that (though I think the machine is locked to the country it’s built for ie Singapore for us). I tried to find an age rating for Fortnite in Australia but I could only find suggestions, which are for 15+. I think he’s given up asking - at least for now.

However, I thought I’d make him a cake on the Fortnite theme. His brother thought that was mean, but he liked the idea, so I made a map of the island. My husband couldn’t tell what it was but he was impressed that the kids recognised it immediately (which also means they must be playing it. Hmmm). So all that took care of the last two days of our lives.


Edited: Nov 25, 4:45pm Top

>137 humouress: Belated happy birthday to son number twoo, Nina.
And on his behalf: the books I was reading at that age were always aimed on older kids. I guess it is no different with games ;-)

Nov 25, 9:12pm Top

Thanks Anita, but his actual birthday isn’t for almost another month. We have to have their parties early, before everyone disappears for the long holiday.

I’m happy for him to read above his age, but I’d rather keep e-games to his age rating. He’s the more ‘macho’ of my boys; every time he modifies his Lego, it’s another ‘gun’ shape, so I’d rather keep the violence to a minimum even if it’s only on screen. I’ve discovered that they really do find it hard to filter at that age. I had to ban Scooby Doo for both boys when each of them was 4 because it gave them nightmares.

Edited: Nov 25, 9:19pm Top

>133 ronincats: Thanks Roni. I’ll give the second one a go sometime. The friend I originally recommended it for is onto book 3 and loving the series.

>134 richardderus: I’m guessing you’re not a fan, Richard?

>135 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen. Well, we have our next meeting scheduled for January and two books on the menu; Small Gods and Red Rising so I’d better get a hold of them and start reading soon! It’s nice to finally meet in person other folks who share my love of fantasy.

Nov 25, 9:29pm Top

>136 Kanarthi: Hi Kanarthi and welcome to my thread.

As I said, I seem to get along with this book better than other urban fantasy I’ve tried. Maybe it’s because Toby is part of the fae world? It’d be interesting to find out more about her mother (I suppose her father is well and truly out of the picture). I’m not sure how I’ll find her powering up; I’ll see when I get there. Ai! not another damsel in distress - that, I’m not so keen on.

Thanks for the Bordertown recommendation. One of the comments from the book club was that, as the first book in the series, Rosemary and Rue had a lot of world building so, unless we were continuing with the series, we didn’t get a lot of story out of it. Maybe Bordertown would solve that for us.

Edited: Nov 26, 12:41am Top

57) Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

stand alone, juvenile, fiction

This was an engaging story, set in the early 20th century, about a young orphan girl called Maia who is told that some distant relatives have been found, who live in the city of Manaus with its magnificent gold-domed theatre, deep in the Amazonian rainforest. When she looks it up in the school library, she imagines the colourful flora and fauna and the adventures she will have with her twin cousins. Sadly, when she gets there, she finds the reality quite different, as the Carters refuse to adapt to their surroundings, closing them out and attempting to live as they did in England.

But despite them, Maia - who has a love of life - makes friends especially with two other orphans whom she tries to help to happy endings. Fortunately, she also has adults on her side who recognise her worth, namely in the shape of Miss Minton, her governess, and Mr. Murray her guardian/ lawyer. And she does get to explore the Amazon River, the River Sea of the title.

Beautifully written and engaging. Deserved winner of the Nestlé Children's Book gold prize.


Nov 26, 12:52am Top

(Hmm. 57. So .... if I just reverse the numbers ... hey presto!)

Nov 26, 2:47am Top

>143 humouress: So close...yes!!

>137 humouress: AMAZING cake! And both my kids play Fortnite, but then they are 18 and 22. And it is ALL about shoot-em-ups. Finding prizes is part of it, too, but that's really more about finding more ammo and maps and grenades and things to make shelters out of. I think you are wise to wait a few years for your kids. ; )

Edited: Nov 26, 3:30am Top

>144 Berly: Thank you!

I actually didn't stay up the whole night making the cake, for once. Usually I finish after the kids have come down in the morning, had a look at it, had breakfast and gone off to school.

It was kind of funny; every time the poor guy thought he had found a loop hole, it just got worse. His brother, at 14, has played it at friends' houses and claims it's boring. By the time my younger one is old enough, he may not want to play anymore *sigh*

Nov 26, 9:19pm Top

The sloth from across the causeway has finally made it across to your thread Nina.

Hope that everything is going swimmingly and, I have to say, that is some cake @ >137 humouress:

Nov 26, 10:02pm Top

>140 humouress: The Dreaded McGuire and I are at daggers drawn.

>142 humouress: That's a warble and a half!

Nov 27, 12:13am Top

>141 humouress: If you're into short stories, that could be a good one -- if you want a novel-length one, I really like Finder, which is a single novel and could be read without any of the other Bordertown stuff.

Red Rising is a new one for me to check out! Already reaping the dividends of your thread.

Nov 27, 12:45am Top

>146 PaulCranswick: 'The sloth from across the causeway has finally made it across ...' I got my hopes up that we'd finally meet, Paul :0)

Thank you, re the cake. I have to make another one this week for son number one.

Nov 27, 12:46am Top

>147 richardderus: Hmm - do I want to know more, Richard?

That's only the second book I've read of Ibbotson's but she does write well.

Nov 27, 12:50am Top

>148 Kanarthi: Hah! Mutual book bullets. I'll propose those to the other book club members.

To be honest, I haven't read Red Rising yet, but another book clubber who has liked it so much, they've gone on to the second book. (I've found it on Overdrive, but I can't remember my log in details for the card for that library.)

Nov 27, 1:51pm Top

>147 richardderus: Good idea! reverse the numbers! Maybe I can still make 57 this year? lol. Probably not, what with the baby. But I am trying to supplement with graphic novels to see if I can buff up my count a bit.

Dec 2, 4:10am Top

>152 The_Hibernator: I'm all for buffing up the count. Though not so happy you confused me with Richard. :0/

Edited: Dec 2, 5:49am Top


So yesterday was son number one's birthday party (though his actual birthday isn't for almost 2 weeks more) and what an adventure that was! First, icing the cake. Every year, the boys beg to be allowed to help with the cake but I usually do it at night and it ends up being an all-night job. But as he's doing Food & Nutrition, I thought he's old enough to help with his cake and I might get it done faster. Wrong. After delaying for ages and dancing around the kitchen with his headphones on, he finally made the butter icing though he spilled a lot of icing sugar all over the place and I had to help him sift the second bag; and that was the end of his practical contribution. And maybe I really ought to get a spherical cake mould given the number of football cakes and helmets (like Darth Vader) I've made in recent years; it would make shaping the cake a lot easier.

So, as he opted for a go-cart racing party, the theme was racing and he asked for Lewis Hamilton's gold helmet. Cake was done but as we were getting ready to leave for the party it started pouring at our house. Not usually a problem because we live near the catchment area for the reservoirs and while it can be bucketing down here, it can be bone dry at school, which is 10 minutes drive away, and further parts of Singapore. But then the venue called and said it was raining there too and, as it was evening, there wouldn't be any sun to dry up the track even if it stopped raining. So we made a quick change of plans and booked tickets to see the 'Robin Hood' film for the lot of them. Then we collected most of the boys at the carting arena (fortunately, at 15 years, they're pretty independent), took the cake in (through the rain) and served them cake after singing 'Happy Birthday' to my embarrassed son. Having filled them with sugar, we called up a couple of maxi cabs and shifted everyone off to the mall where the cinema is. Then I had to order food for each boy since we couldn't take the pizza we'd originally ordered into the theatre but I needed to give dinner to a horde of hungry (but polite) teenagers, plus a couple of 9/10 year olds. But everyone took it in stride (except my husband) and they all enjoyed the film.

The film itself was fun, though full of historical inaccuracies and the plot made no sense. It looks like they set it up for a sequel; maybe that will be the main story and this was just filling in the back story?

Dec 2, 5:47am Top

>154 humouress: Wow that is some cake, Nina. Did it taste as good as it looks?

Hope your Sunday is a restful one. xx

Dec 2, 5:51am Top

>155 PaulCranswick: Yes it did, thanks Paul. Since I stayed up for all of Friday night and Saturday was so hectic, I made sure to get plenty of rest today.

How is your Sunday going? Well, I hope. Hope the family is all keeping well.

Edited: Dec 2, 1:00pm Top

Oh, phooey! I'm getting really fed up with technology. It's all about the next shiny new thing without putting in the infrastructure to properly support it. Right now, my iCloud account is full. I got a new iMac last year with mega storage so I could keep all my photos on it; but now I can't work out how to get it out of the cloud and onto the computer. Sounds like it should be simple, right? But I've been googling and trying all evening. I've got Google photos too, as an alternative storage, but even that's stalled.

And it's all disposable, too. We had our music system serviced last week because it wasn't working properly and I needed accompaniment to help me through my cake-making nights. Apparently the system itself is okay but the remote controls are not, but they can't replace them for us because they're too old. We only got the system about ten years ago when we moved into our house. It sounds like a long time, but I noticed recently that my dad still has his music system that he took from England to Australia and I remember he got it when I was about the same age my oldest is now, so it's been going for 30+ years. (If he want's to get rid of it, I'm happy to take it off his hands because it has a turntable. I'd just have to find records to play on it, but those are making a come back.)

Not to mention that things are getting harder to use. Our TVs for example, have gone from 4 tiny buttons to 1 toggle switch that's supposed to do everything - but it does different things depending on whether you're watching TV or cable or Netflix, so if you lose the remote (as the kids tend to do), it's impossible to navigate.

Okay. Rant over. Sorry.

Dec 3, 7:30am Top

Huh. Looks like I missed one. I’ll slot it in here for now at no. 58 & change things around when I’m on the computer. I was sure I did some kind of review though.

58) The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

Fun. For younger readers but I like her technique and hyphenated descriptive words.


Dec 3, 9:21am Top

Always, always, always buy universal remotes. Always, always. That way when your manufacturer remote dies you will have a replacement. Plus the remote itself can be hidden from the kids while in the package.

I have two (2) universal remotes still packaged up without batteries awaiting their moment to shine.

Dec 3, 12:50pm Top

>159 richardderus: a) Good idea! Thank you.

b) Now you tell me *sigh* Let’s see if it’s not too late to get some that can work.

Dec 3, 1:10pm Top

You're good to go getting a universal remote now...unless your brand of appliance isn't manufactured any more. The beauty of these babies is that they have booklets in them with numeric codes that correspond to different equipment manufacturers. It's a weird-but-true fact that these codes, while they shift over time, are always findable even when the printed list doesn't have them...and the instructions for how to make the remote find its own code are annoying but they work. I've had to do it.

Dec 4, 3:03pm Top

Truly? In that case I shall sally forth and acquire such remotes forthwith. I can imagine it now ... I’ll be able to sneak up on the kids and switch everything off with a wave of my magic wand, even when they think they’ve hidden the remotes from me. *evil laugh*

Thanks Richard!

Edited: Dec 5, 2:46am Top

59) Red Rising by Pierce Brown

First of 4 futuristic
Overdrive (library) book club

Set on Mars in a future where humans have colonised the galaxy by terraforming the planets and moons with helium-3 mined on Mars. Demokracy (maybe the 'k' refers back to Greek origins?) has been overthrown and Society is divided into tiers with humans genetically colour coded (even down to their eye colour) to their rung in life. The lowest of these are the reds and the highest, who rule Society and enjoy its ultimate luxuries, are the golds, the aureates.

Darrow is a lowRed, a miner on Mars and married to Eos. Their life is hard and dangerous; they marry young, at fourteen years and burn out early. Thirty five is considered old for a miner. They are the pioneers, proud to be mining helium so that the other colours can come from Earth and join them once the planet has been terraformed. But then they discover that the planet has already been terraformed. And has been for centuries.

But Darrow is a Helldiver, the most daring, reckless, fastest and most dexterous of the miners and he’s quick and clever. Tragedy impels Darrow out of his tier in Society to be physically altered and trained to be a gold by the Sons of Ares, an organisation whose purpose is to destroy the system from the inside. The narrative tells of his training and his initiation into the ranks of those attempting to become the Peerless Scarred - the very highest of the high.

There are a few quirks in the writing that I had to get used to; the story is told in the first person and in the present tense. And there are some invented words, like the ‘clawDrill’ that Darrow operates in the mine, that have a capital letter in the middle rather than a hyphen.

Darrow did seem to adapt rather easily to things that had me a bit lost, given that his family had lived for generations in only one place - a mining colony under the crust of Mars - and been indoctrinated into believing that technology on Mars was limited to their pioneer lifestyle. For instance, the multi coloured society (pinks, greens, blues, browns, obsidians) each with their different functions. Or flying in a shuttle above the surface of the planet to a different location. He also spent a lot of time in the middle of the book doing pretty much what I would do when thrown into a situation with no instructions - wander around cluelessly making a mess of things. While realistic, it did feel like the narrative lost its way a bit there. But Darrow did seem to learn from his mistakes, eventually.

I like the concept that a person’s place in society can be indicated by the way they speak, whether in highLingo or midLingo for instance, although in practice, apart from one or two swear words, I couldn’t tell the difference.

There is a lot of casual violence; goats, sheep, horses, humans are dispatched with less than a flick of a sentence even when they are not being used as food. Even a planet is disposed of and barely paid attention to, as though it's in the normal run of things.

Small quibbles, however. Overall, well written and compelling. I am not averse to reading the next book in the series. Docking half a star for the casual violence.


Dec 4, 3:58pm Top


Lost half my review. Have to retype. Brain can’t cope.

Edited: Dec 4, 4:35pm Top

Really? Again?

Will re-type for the third time. It was a good review the first time. And even the second.

Edited: Dec 4, 4:36pm Top

And again. I’m learning to copy it first now *sigh*

ETA: giving up. Will finish it tomorrow.

Dec 4, 6:14pm Top

Argh! Sorry the elimination fairies are on your case. Better luck next time.

Dec 4, 7:36pm Top

Oh my heck!! It's hell to lose a fully typed review. So sorry. *smooch*

Dec 5, 12:33am Top

>167 ronincats: >168 richardderus: Thank you. I feel better now.

Dec 5, 1:53am Top

>166 humouress: Argh!! That has happened to me enough that I TRY to remember to ALWAYS copy what I write before I post. It has saved me several times. (Notice how I capped TRY? Yeah, I am not at 100% yet. LOL)

Dec 5, 2:33am Top

>170 Berly: It hasn't happened to me for a while, so I'm not in the habit of copying before I post. I was typing on my iPad, which didn't make things any easier.

Well, the review is written. I managed to re-type most of what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. I think there were one or two more things but I can't remember them at this point.

Dec 5, 9:44am Top

Just catching up with your thread. Those cakes look amazing! How long does it usually take to decorate one?

Dec 5, 1:27pm Top

>172 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita!

It usually takes me a night to decorate a cake. By the time I’ve got the kids sorted out and get started it’s dinner time but at least at night there are no distractions and it’s a bit cooler, which makes butter icing easier to work with. In past years I’ve finished at around the time the kids come down for breakfast or even when they leave for school.

The Fortnite cake I finished by 4am this time but the helmet took a bit longer and I finished around 7am - probably due to the shape and symmetry being harder to get right and my son’s ‘help’ ;0)

Dec 5, 2:03pm Top

Happy days, Mme Nina.

Dec 6, 5:51am Top

>174 richardderus: Merci beaucoup, m’sieur.

Edited: Dec 6, 5:57am Top

60) Dr. Thirteenth by Roger Hargreaves

Yes! There is a Dr. Thirteenth! You may remember that about six months ago my son got me the collection of Drs. First to Twelfth but that was before the new Doctor had made her appearance on TV. Well, now she has her own book too, which we acquired and read last night.

Dec 9, 10:50pm Top

>157 humouress: I hate to sound like a cynic but I believe it is all about money. Tech companies want to make more of it.

Hang in there, Nina.

Dec 13, 1:29pm Top

>177 EBT1002: I hear you Ellen.

For instance, I like my iPhone 6 but now it’s getting really hard to even find a cover for it (I like ones which cover both front and back of the phones). Soon none of the accessories will fit.

Yesterday, 12:03am Top

Phew! All the mad rush to the end of the school year is over. Got the boys’ birthday parties out of the way and then I’d volunteered to co-ordinate the carol singing evening for the Parents’ Association; my first event for the PA, so that was a bit stressful.

But we sneaked into Malaysia to take the boys to Legoland over the weekend which was fun, despite the rain. So now, just a couple of Christmas presents to sort out and we’ll do something to celebrate the boys’ actual birthdays on their days.

Maybe I’ll find time to finish some reviews, tidy up my threads and go looking for the 2019 group.

Edited: Yesterday, 12:32am Top

61) Boy Trouble at Trebizon by Anne Digby

The Trebizon books are fun and a lot more contemporary and true to life than most boarding school books (Enid Blyton, I’m looking at you). They follow Rebecca Mason who joined the school in the second year and is now going into the first term of the third year and a new boarding house, where she plans to share a study bedroom with her two best friends, Tish Anderson and Sue Murdoch. This year, the girls are old enough to be allowed to go to dances with boys and they’re all excited about the Hallowe’en dance - but Rebecca claims she’s not interested in boys.

She has discovered tennis and has been picked for the county reserve team and now has a chance to go into the county D squad. Meanwhile, Tish’s brother is in trouble over his house master’s new sports car and the Action Committee gets into gear to prove his innocence.

It does look like the focus of this book is moving away from school life, though; the first book was about Rebecca’s writing prowess but
‘I used to think you wanted to be a writer!’ Pippa said to her that day ... ‘But it looks as though you’ll be too busy playing tennis.’

Easy to read, with a good mix of mystery, tension and teenage school life. A couple of instances raised my feminist hackles slightly; when Rebecca tidied up a boy’s room without even being asked and why can’t girls admire cars if boys can?

3.5/4 ****

Yesterday, 11:20am Top

>180 humouress: "Tidied up a boy's room without...being asked" sounds stalkery and invasive and unpleasantly high-handed to me. But then again I'm a boy.

Edited: Yesterday, 12:11pm Top

>181 richardderus: Don’t worry, she was rescuing him at the time.

But said boy depicted is about the same age as my oldest and, really, I wish boys would learn to tidy up their own rooms. :0/

Yesterday, 1:05pm Top

>182 humouress: OIC

A point: Why don't women focus less on making their sons/husbands/males into the housekeepers they aren't and more on getting housekeepers to do these unnecessary and pointless chores? My mother's rants about bedmaking led me never to make any bed after 1972. "No girl will ever want to marry you!" Ooo! Promise? "It looks slovenly! I can't stand to look at it!" Does that mean you'll stay out and stop haranguing me? etc etc

I trust my point is made.

Yesterday, 1:26pm Top

>183 richardderus: Hmmphh. Well, you wouldn’t be any help to have around when I’m trying to .... encourage him, would you?

I’m not trying to make him into a housekeeper (wouldn’t that be something?) but it would be nice to see the floor sometimes. Especially if he expects me to go into his bedroom (emergency text sent from school: Mum, I forgot my hair gel which is absolutely vital for my survival and I need you to bring it to school) (paraphrased).

Yesterday, 1:55pm Top

*snort* I remember those days! "Oh dear, what color wreath would you like your father and I to place on your headstone?" was my (paraphrased as well) response!

Yesterday, 2:08pm Top

>185 richardderus: Ah, well, I guess I’m a pushover.

Said child has now been 15 years old for all of three hours (or four hours, depending on how you count these things, since he was born overseas). He came into our room just past midnight to tell us that it’s now Wednesday and to be wished for his birthday.

Yesterday, 2:20pm Top

*double snort*

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2018

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