MickyFine's 2019 Reading Quest, First Adventure
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I'm Micky, 32, newlywed, librarian and general reading nerd. I'm a collections librarian for the public library system in Edmonton and as a result I read a solid chunk of non-fiction as I select it for work every day. The rest of my reading is a wide mix of genres but there's usually a healthy dose of romance, fantasy, YA, and historical fiction in the mix. In addition to books, I'm likely to discuss life events (sometimes featuring Mr. Fine), whatever I'm watching on TV, and our cats, Smee & Ash. Posters and lurkers alike are welcome.
1. Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas - Laura Sook Duncombe
2. Vision in White - Nora Roberts
3. My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel - Kitty Curan & Larissa Zageris
4. The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman
5. The Governess Game - Tessa Dare
6. Renegades - Marissa Meyer
7. The Tea Dragon Society - Katie O'Neill
8. How to Fracture a Fairy Tale - Jane Yolen
9. Lumberjanes: Parents' Day! - Shannon Watters & Kat Lehy
10. Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood
11. The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures - Library of Congress
12. The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster - Scott Wilbanks
13. Due or Die - Jenn McKinlay
14. We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
15. Regency Buck - Georgette Heyer
16. Her Every Wish - Courtney Milan
17. The Undateable - Sarah Title
18. A Rogue of Her Own - Grace Burrowes
19. Four to Score - Janet Evanovich
20. Paris by the Book - Liam Callanan
21. A Week to Be Wicked - Tessa Dare
22. The Story Girl - L.M. Montgomery
23. Mockingbird: I Can Explain - Chelsea Cain
24. Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda - Chelsea Cain
My rating system:
/ = Ran screaming in the other direction (aka did not finish)
* = Suffered through it for reasons I'm still not sure of
** = Had far more flaws than virtues
*** = A read I don't regret but could use some improvement
**** = A good, solid read that I might revisit
***** = Loved it beyond reason and will probably re-read in short order
My personal reading challenges for the year:
1. Read in its entirety my copy of Le Morte D'Arthur over the course of the year (and thus the theme for this year's threads). Based on my edition, 18 pages a week should do the trick.
Reading progress: 54/937ish pages
2. In an effort to do a complete turnover in my to read list (typically referred to as The List), I'm aiming for a double 75 this year (a total I've never reached in my many years in the 75ers).
Books read: 24/150
I won't be moving over here full time until 2019 but as my New Year's plans include hermiting with Mr. Fine and marathoning many movies during our first married New Year's Eve, I thought I'd set the thread up early. Make yourselves comfortable and I look forward to chatting with all of you in less than a week. Post away, friends!
Ah, that delightful moment between making plans and gawd getting her grubby paws all over them...such bliss!
Hi Micky, stopping by to leave a trail so that I can find my way back here. Your New Years plans sound perfect! I have reached that stage in life where I struggle to stay awake to ring in the new year. ;-)
Hi, Micky! Dropping off a ⭐️ to keep track of you. Enjoy New Year’s Eve; your plans sound delightful.
Movie marathon on New Year's Eve...you are an old married couple already!
>5 bell7: Happy to see you here, Mary!
>6 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle!
>7 drneutron: Thanks, Jim. We'll see how I do at accomplishing them. :)
>8 richardderus: The best laid plans, eh Richard?
>9 lkernagh: I had some black tea this morning, which should be enough to see me through until midnight (yay for supreme caffeine sensitivity?).
>10 katiekrug: Glad to see you, Katie!
>11 leahbird: Hi Leah!
>12 bohemima: Thanks, Gail!
>13 dk_phoenix: Faith! So wonderful to see you!
>14 The_Hibernator: Same to you, Rachel!
>15 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita!
>16 laytonwoman3rd: You bet, Linda! And it's great!
A year full of books
A year full of friends
A year full of all your wishes realised
I look forward to keeping up with you, Micky, this year.
Happy New Year Micky! And happy new thread!
Wishing you and your family the best for 2019.
>1 MickyFine: Whoa - dramatic thread topper! Like.
Happy 2019! I hope you had a good New Year's. Can't wait to see what you're reading this year!
>25 AMQS: Thanks, Anne! You too!
>26 evilmoose: Lovely to see you Megan. Same to you!
>27 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul.
>28 curioussquared: Yay! Thanks, Natalie.
>29 humouress: Thanks, Nina. I thought it was pretty cool take on Arthur. :)
>30 jennyifer24: Thanks, Jenny. I'm hoping to finish my first book today.
Hi Micky, adding my star and wishing you luck with your 2019 reading challenges!
Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas - Laura Sook Duncombe
This non-fiction title recounts the stories of female pirates both real and fictional from the ancient Mediterranean to the twentieth century. I finished the book with really mixed feelings about it and thus this review is more of a pros and cons list.
-Duncombe takes an intersectional feminist approach to this history, which is lovely to see.
-The women highlighted here are fascinating and worthy of broader awareness.
-Awesome lady pirates!
-Duncombe states herself she's not an historian and it shows in spots.
-Some passages which are labelled as context turn out to be extensive digressions.
-Duncombe treats both real and fictional/folklore lady pirates identically, making it difficult to differentiate between them without flipping back.
-The final chapter on women pirates in cinema is pretty weak, focused exclusively on Hollywood film (although she drops tantalizing hints about Italian female-led pirate films in the 1950s), and ends up being a rant about the lack of female-led films, which is a rant I understand but not what I came for to a book about women pirates. Not the best final note for the book.
Ultimate verdict, worth picking up but you may want to skim bits and I'd skip the final chapter altogether.
Hey Micky! Dropping a star and excited to see what you're reading this year!
>35 MickyFine: Oh dear! That's not what I was looking for at all. Not being an historian isn't necessarily a death knell for clarity and focus, but sounds to me like that was the problem here. I would most likely really enjoy that last chapter since I was one of the men who was drooling at the idea of Cutthroat Island. What a disappointment the execution was. Killed Geena Davis's career, too.
>35 MickyFine: Well, darn. It seems like such a great premise for a book; I’m sad that the execution was t better. Thanks for an informative review.
>38 richardderus: She does spend a chunk of that last chapter discussing Cutthroat Island so maybe of interest. Of course, there's also a long discussion of Elizabeth Swan in that chapter also...
>39 bohemima: I know, I had high hopes for it when I brought it home from the library. But at least I've saved others some time.
Too bad book 1 didn't work out better, Micky. It looked like it had such promise.
>1 MickyFine: Wow - love that opening artwork!
Belated happy new year to you and the hubby Micky!
Vision in White - Nora Roberts
Mackenzie Elliot is one of a quartet of friends who run a wedding planning business. The irony, of course, is that Mac, while a brilliant wedding photographer doesn't believe that a marriage could actually be successful, especially one that might involve her. But when she bumps into Carter Maguire, who is the brother of one the brides Mac is working for, sparks fly. Can Carter convince the commitment-phobe Mac that not all weddings end in not happily ever after?
Nora Roberts is a big name in the romance genre for a reason. Her writing is solid and her central characters are well-rounded and believable individuals whom it's very easy for the reader to root for. I did quibble a bit over a wedding photographer who refused to use a second shooter (having just done my own wedding, I wouldn't have accepted a photographer who didn't - for the ceremony at a minimum). There were also a couple of "villain" type characters who relied a little too heavily on trope and didn't feel like real human beings. However, these are minor annoyances. In a nice bit of serendipity, the novel is set at almost the same time of year as when I read it which lends some nice seasonal ambiance to the reading. If you're in the mood for a wedding-themed romance novel, this is a very solid choice.
My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel - Kitty Curan & Larissa Zageris
It's a choose your own adventure Regency romance novel. Definitely more pastiche than serious romance novel (the metaphors and euphemisms used during sex scenes had me rolling my eyes), this book knows its market and it's a lot of fun. I read the story lines most interesting to me and enjoyed it but the over-the-topness of some of the writing kept me from exploring every single option. Enjoyable romp. Probably easiest to read in physical format as I find a lot of page-flipping in ebooks a pain. If you like the concept and don't mind some really cliché romance writing, it's worth picking up to flip through for a couple hours.
>46 MickyFine: - I read a bit in this one, but it wasn't as fun as I had thought it would be, so I returned it to the library before I even finished one storyline...
Happy New Year, Micky!
Is your new hubby a reader? I've assumed yes from the photos.
>35 MickyFine: Hello and happy new year/thread! It's good to see you back. I would have been interested in the pirate ladies book, but it sounds like it would probably irritated me for the points you raised. Ah well, maybe there'll be a more up my alley option out there one day.
>46 MickyFine: This reminded me of a board game I played last year - Marrying Mr Darcy. Not sure why, because it's a game instead of a book, but it was a lot of fun and it's gone onto my list of games to buy :-)
>47 katiekrug: I can definitely see that. If I'd been in a less tolerant reading mood, I might have ditched it due to writing campy-ness.
>48 richardderus: Not one I'd force int your hands, for sure, Richard. Although one of the story lines does allow for an f/f romance.
>49 jnwelch: Happy New Year, Joe. Mr. Fine is a reader. He reads DC comics most voraciously along with more traditional books although since meeting me he's discovered library audiobooks and consumes quite a few books that way as well.
>50 archerygirl: I love Marrying Mr. Darcy! Such a fun game. I definitely own it. :)
The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman
Irene is on probation at The Library after her last adventure and is thus stuck with many less desirable book retrieval assignments. However, when Alberich makes another appearance and targets The Library as a whole, Irene and Kai, plus their entourage of friends and acquaintances, must work to save the place Irene loves more than any other.
Another thoroughly enjoyable romp in Cogman's universe. The subtle humour, the high stakes adventure, and the bookish-ness of it all make for an utterly delightful read. If you're a bibliophile of any stripe who enjoys fantasy, you simply must give this series a try.
>53 richardderus: They're such fun. I'm sure you'll be amply rewarded when you eventually pull it off the shelf. :)
Sounds like Pirate Women >35 MickyFine: had the potential to be a really awesome book. Shame it didn't quite make it there. I'll probably keep an eye out for it and at least skim through it, but I'll keep your warnings in mind re: the last chapter.
>52 MickyFine: I am struck, fatally hit, by a (gasping wheeze) series book bullet! Oh no...say it isn’t so!
I am happy to take responsibility for getting this series into the hands of more readers. :)
>61 MickyFine: All your fault! Boos and Hisses, Little Richie D., 700 months old
The Governess Game - Tessa Dare
Chase Reynaud is a legendary rake who, through a twist of fate, has ended up as the presumptive heir to his uncle's dukedom and finds him responsible for two young wards of the estate who have chased off every governess he's hired. Through a case of mistaken identity, he offers the position to Alexandra Mountbatten who has recently lost the source of her own livelihood and finds herself taking the offer to turn two young hellions into slightly more educated young girls. What neither Chase nor Alex expect is to learn from each other both inside and outside the bedroom.
Another fantastic historical romance from Tessa Dare. Her characters continue to be crafted so well and she makes Alex's fascination with astronomy and her complex back story utterly fascinating. She also continues to excel at including utterly hysterical moments into her novels. One of Chase's wards holds daily funerals for one of her dolls and some of the eulogies that Chase delivers had me in stitches. If you haven't tried one of Dare's romances, this is an excellent sampling of her skills.
>65 MickyFine: Ha! That's priceless. Fainting goats are so odd, aren't they?
>52 MickyFine: I still have the first sat on my shelf. Might have to find it!
Renegades - Marissa Meyer
I'm at a bit of a loss of how to blurb this one. It's a YA superhero/super villain novel that really intelligently tackles some of the questions that superpower narratives have bumped up against repeatedly. There's some fantastically well-written action sequences that work well despite my qualms that action really is done best in a graphic medium. Plus the characters are smart, funny, and compelling and I was fascinated by the arcs of both the main leads. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was definitely leaning towards picking up the second book in the projected trilogy and then I reached the ending and had to put a hold on it immediately. Recommended if you enjoy superhero narratives even a little.
The Tea Dragon Society - Katie O'Neill
A cute, children's graphic novel about caring for tiny dragons who grow tea leaves on their horns.
I could see the appeal and the art work is gorgeous but it didn't set my heart aflutter the way I know it has for other readers here on LT.
>74 MickyFine: sounds cute! I forgot to mention earlier there is a vote going on over on my thread.
>65 MickyFine: That goat seems to be missing the essentials of goathood (namely superhero climbing skills).
>70 MickyFine: Oh, I forgot about that one! I loved her Lunar Chronicles.
>74 MickyFine: I'm glad they're starting to make more child appropriate graphic novels. I was having difficulty finding some for M. Of course, I want to encourage them to read chapter books as well, because I think that is a better way to develop reading skills. But graphic novels are fun.
>75 BBGirl55: Missed voting on this round but I'll try and participate next time.
>76 humouress: But it makes up for it in fainting skills that would put any Southern belle to shame. ;)
>77 swynn: Oh good!
>78 ChelleBearss: I haven't read the Lunar Chronicles but Foggi (I'm pretty sure) put this one on my radar last year and I couldn't resist it.
>79 jnwelch: Glad to hear it, Joe. I have to read the series a bit spread out otherwise the quirks of the series start to wear (much like how I read Thursday Next) but I'm happy to hear they continue to be fun.
>80 richardderus: Thanks, Richard. Can we make it Friday soon?
>81 Familyhistorian: That is completely fair, Meg.
>82 The_Hibernator: All reading is good reading!
Ten more hours, Micky, you only have ten more hours until the Day of Rejoicing.
How to Fracture a Fairy Tale - Jane Yolen
A collection of short stories that riff, retell, and fracture fairy and folk tales from a variety of cultures and countries. Yolen is a skilled hand and the majority of these stories utterly tickled my fancy. My personal favourite was "Sleeping Ugly" in which the sleeping princess trope is revisited. I also enjoyed the notes included at the end of the volume on the origins of each of the stories (many of which have appeared in other publications or collections previously) although I could take or leave the poems included for each of these notes as I'm not a big poetry reader. Recommended if you enjoy a good fairy tale retelling.
Lumberjanes: Parents' Day! - Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh
In this tenth collected volume, the girls attempt to keep their parents from bumping into all the weird things that are constant at their summer camp. But, of course, events conspire to make everything as odd as ever.
I continue to love this comic series and this entry was fun to see the girls' parents and get some of that background context for these awesome girls that readers of the series love so much. As fun and delightful as ever.
The World of Downton Abbey - Jessica Fellowes
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this book. The writing is solid and the photographs are lovely. It was published after the first two seasons of Downton were released so it's incomplete in that sense. My biggest issue is that I'm not the obsessive fangirl I was in my teens when I read absolutely anything I could get my hands on when I was into a fandom. The book rehashes too much plot, doesn't have enough of either 1) set gossip/chat or 2) history to make it really compelling reading for me. The book was a gift several years ago when I was really into the show and I think it will be weeded and hopefully find its way into the hands of some other obsessive fan.
Happy weekend, Micky! You got me with The Governess Game, because of course you did :)
>90 MickyFine: Sorry about the ditch. I loved Downton Abbey but I don't think I would enjoy reading about it either
>91 richardderus: LOL. It's funny the fandoms that stick with us regardless of time passed.
>92 jennyifer24: They're both great reads, Jenny!
>93 katiekrug: Well obvs. Who else do I review these romance novels for? ;)
>94 BBGirl55: You're welcome! *blithe grin*
>95 ChelleBearss: It's all right. It's a book out of my house, which is always nice.
>96 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori. It was pretty productive and included mopping the main floor of my house in advance of my family (including my young nieces) coming over for dinner this coming Friday.
>90 MickyFine: Fandom-related books are such interesting artifacts, aren't they? When I was reshelving some books last week I was reminded I own a copy of Sleepy Hollow: Companion to the Hit TV Show, which was published between the first and second seasons of the 4-season show. And my mom still owns a copy of Mugglenet.Com's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7!!
Even recently audio-reading Lauren Graham's Talking as Fast as I Can, which is not technically a fandom book but is very largely about Gilmore Girls, was a bit tedious because I'm not as into Gilmore Girls as I used to be.
>98 norabelle414: I know. I still have my Titanic making of book, which I will probably keep forever because it reminds me of being eleven years old, convinced I was going to marry Leonardo DiCaprio, and absolutely obsessed with all things Titanic (both film and actual history).
Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood
The first entry in the Miss Phryne Fisher mystery series sees Phryne return to her native Australia as a favour to a friend of her father's who is concerned that his daughter may be being poisoned by her husband. Upon her arrival at the swank Windsor Hotel in Melbourne, Phryne finds herself not only determining whether her target is being poisoned but she also finds herself pulled into a plan to damage the cocaine trade in the city. Much adventuring ensues, always in perfect flapper style.
I came into this series with minimal preconceptions of what the mystery or world would be like, having only seen a small chunk of the first episode of the television series adaptation. What I found utterly delighted me. Phryne is a fantastic woman to read about, the mystery is well-crafted, and the world is already filled with supporting characters of whom I'm fond. Plus the descriptions of 1920s Melbourne life and fashion is lush and thoroughly inviting. I'll definitely be continuing on with this series and recommend it to fans of historical mysteries with sassy heroines.
The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures - Library of Congress
The text of this book is a smidgen of book history, a dash of Library of Congress history, with a solid helping of (American) cataloguing history but the real focus here is the images of works and cards from the LoC card catalogue. A delight to flip through for library and book nerds. As a library professional, I also enjoyed the historical photos of some of the work spaces in ye olden days. Beautiful and a deceptively fast read, I definitely recommend it if it strikes your fancy.
I love Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and am very pleased to see the feature film is in post-production. Possibly late this year it'll be out!
>100 MickyFine: Oh, I'm glad to see you liked the book. I am a massive fan of the series (seen every episode multiple times) and am anxiously awaiting the movie. But I haven't dared take the plunge and read the books yet, though I've been temped quite a few times.
I need to start both the Invisible Library series and the Phryne Fisher books. At some point...
>100 MickyFine: Oooo thank you for reminding me about this series! I started watching them awhile ago and always meant to check the books out but never got around to it
>111 laytonwoman3rd: *immediately sets about emptying the gin*
>113 richardderus: You're gonna be SO SICK. And you cannot win anyway, 'cause mine's been there for years. I'll just bop over to my own thread and post a pic.
Aaaaand....I posted, but I put it on Bill's thread, for some reason. I really cannot be trusted after 9 o'clock at night. I'm going NOW to post on my own thread, even though Richard has already seen the other one. *sigh*
How did this happen? I missed almost an entire thread from you! Tragic.
>46 MickyFine: I think I had about the same reaction to My Lady's Choosing -- it was fun, but maybe not quite as much fun as I had wanted it to be.
>70 MickyFine: Yay! Glad you enjoyed Renegades -- I need to remember to check out the second book soon.
>74 MickyFine: Aww, tea dragons! I still want one, but yeah, the book doesn't have much in the way of plot.
>86 MickyFine: You got me with the Yolen collection.
>90 MickyFine: I remember eyeing that book back in the day, but I don't think I'd have enjoyed it much then. I've been contemplating a Downton re-watch, but haven't started yet. Much of the fun was participating in the fandom, seeing what everyone had to say after each episode.
>100 MickyFine: I need to read the Miss Fisher books, obviously.
>100 MickyFine: I have been meaning to watch the Miss Fisher show and had no idea there were books! Thanks for alerting me :)
>99 MickyFine: This post made me laugh so hard, because we are the same age and I can relate very much to your eleven year old self!
>104 norabelle414: She's so great!
>105 richardderus: Now that I've started reading the books, I feel like I've got to make it through at least a few of those before I jump into the adaptation.
>107 PawsforThought: They're great, Paws. Take the plunge!
>108 aktakukac: Books are always ready for you whenever you're ready for them, Rachel. :)
>109 swynn: Enjoy!
>110 fredanria: You are most welcome!
>112 lycomayflower: I am happy to share the BBs, Laura.
>116 foggidawn: Happy you made it, Foggi! Tea dragons are super cute and I hope you enjoy the Yolen.
>117 curioussquared: You're welcome!
>118 Cait86: I feel like there were many of us. ;)
The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster - Scott Wilbanks
Annie is a twenty-something woman living in a Victorian house in San Francisco in 1995 when a rose garden, picket fence (complete with mailbox), and a wheat field with a distant farmhouse suddenly appears in her backyard one day. Meanwhile, in 1895 Kansas, elderly widow Elsbeth Grundy is less than thrilled when a purple and gold confection of a house appears in her back forty. As Annie and Elsbeth start writing letters back and forth, they realize larger forces are at work in connecting their homes across the years and in trying to solve the riddle they’ll expose themselves to even greater dangers.
An interesting mix of historical fiction, magical realism, and time travel, I found this tale to be an interesting take on a time travel tale. Willbanks creates a compelling cast of central characters and while some of the plot twists were a bit predictable and felt a teensy bit cliched in some moments, the writing is so well done, I didn't mind. A lot of appeal factors so if any of them tickle your fancy, I highly recommend picking up this book and giving it a whirl.
Due or Die - Jenn McKinlay
Library director Lindsey Norris has really started to settle in to her community of Briar Creek, Connecticut and while she has to deal with the small dramas of library life like the contentious Friends of the Library Presidential election. But when another murder is committed in their small town, followed shortly by a massive storm that keeps the police busy, Lindsey finds herself drawn into the investigation.
This cozy mystery series is a new favourite of mine and this second entry is thoroughly delightful. I'm predisposed to love a series where the details of public library life is done so right. I also really adore the cast of characters so even when the mystery is a bit predictable, I still enjoy every second. It doesn't hurt that McKinlay adds a healthy dose of humour throughout.
>122 MickyFine: This has been on my TBR for yonks. I don't remember how I came across it or how it came into my possession, but every time I look at it, I think I should give it a go.
>122 MickyFine: Adding this one to my list. It sounds really good, and will hopefully be better than the last time travel book I read!
>122 MickyFine: Ooh, this one sounds right up my alley. Will have to pick it up!
>124 lycomayflower: It hung out on The List for a couple years before I picked it up after it was recommended to me by one of my mom's close friends (who's like an extra mom for me). Bright side of books is they're very patient and will be good to you no matter when you pick it up. :)
>125 aktakukac: Fingers crossed!
>126 curioussquared: I hope it tickles your fancy.
We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A printed version of a TED talk given by Adichie on feminism. Super quick read and while it didn't bring any particular new thoughts on feminism, it was intriguing to see feminist ideas experienced by someone from a different cultural background than most titles that have been popular over the last few years.
I'm crawling around the threads to say I'm not dead but woefully unread, both books and threads. Happy polar vortex.
>129 richardderus: LOL. I'm actually adjacent to your polar vortex, RDear. I'm currently in Toronto for a conference and it's definitely on the chilly side.
>130 MickyFine: ...spoken by a Plains Canadian...OMGOMG ZOMG The Apocalypse Is Nigh!!!
>131 richardderus: I mean I dislike a nasty winter wind as much as the next person (and it is nasty) and was perfectly content to curl up in my hotel room with take out and Netflix but I'm not sure the sky is falling just yet.
Regency Buck - Georgette Heyer
When Judith Taverner and her brother, Peregrine, decide to go to London, despite the written wishes of their unseen guardian, Lord Worth, they're only goal is to spend the season in London and finally experience the finer things in life. However, meeting their guardian is not at all what they expect and although Judith and her eighty thousand pounds make a decided splash in Society, not all attention devoted to an heiress and her brother are all that they would desire.
This is the first Georgette Heyer novel where up to the penultimate chapter I wasn't quite sure which way it was going to go, which leaves me curious to attempt one of her mystery novels as she mastered suspense and continuous second-guessing on my instincts as a reader with great aplomb. While this particular title won't rank among my favourites of her Regency romances (detailed descriptions of a boxing match and a cock fight were not what I was looking for), she still crafts delightful characters as ever and her historic details are exquisite. Not where I'd recommend starting if you've never tried Heyer, but an entry that fans of hers should try at least once.
>134 richardderus: She's so great! It always takes me a bit to settle into her writing as she's so period accurate but once I do, it's a delight from start to finish.
Also, I would like to point out that -24C is just winter in the parts where I'm from. I mean, not pleasant winter and we bundle as well as anyone but not apocalypse kind of stuff. Gotta hit sub -35C for that, which is rare these days.
>135 MickyFine: Same here. We've had a few days of ≈-20C for the past two weeks or so, which is cold and miserable but not unusual for January and nothing you react to more than "Oh, crap, better take a warmer jumper."
So very very very grateful I am for the immensity of the North Atlantic and its heat-sink properties, climatic norms relevance thereto
>123 MickyFine: Oh, I love that series, too! I think I'm about four or five in at this point. So cozy and so fun.
Her Every Wish - Courtney Milan
Daisy Whitlaw has never had it easy and yet with every setback in her life, she can't stop herself from hoping for better things for herself and her mother. When the local parish announces a prize for the best proposal for a new business, with no language that says the prize is available exclusively to men, Daisy applies. In an effort to prepare for her speech, Daisy takes the offer of help from Crash, the charming man who broke her heart not that long ago.
Even in novella format, Courtney Milan knows how to rock a narrative. Daisy and Crash are fully fleshed-out characters that are compelling throughout and their back story and relationship development are utterly believable for the time period. If you're looking for a quick novella romance, this one is fully satisfying.
Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.
Books read: 16 (16)
Books ditched: 1 (1)
Fiction: 13 (13)
Non-fiction: 3 (3)
Library: 15 (15)
Mine: 1 (1)
Borrowed elsewhere: 0 (0)
Re-reads: 0 (0)
Female authors: 15 (15)
Male authors: 1 (1)
Adult fiction: 10 (10)
YA fiction: 2 (2)
Children's fiction: 1 (1)
Pages: 4,176 (4,176)
Average rating: 3.4 (3.4)
Average time to read book: 2.5 days (2.5 days)
Favourite book(s): I've got a wealth of reading riches to choose from this month but I think I'll go with The Governess Game for being a really well-executed historical romance with hysterical, precocious children who have stuck with me.
>139 MickyFine: I used to have several fleece-lined leggings, but I'm not a fan of poly-fibers so they've been abandoned. I discovered merino thermal underwear last year and have been living in them all winter. The percentage of my closet that is made of wool is growing constantly.
>122 MickyFine: - Love that word - Lemoncholy. Potential BB as well. ;-)
Great January stats!
Adding book bullets galore, Micky! Thanks for all of the recommendations.
>142 ChelleBearss: A very good month indeed, Chelle. We'll see if I can keep up the pace in January.
>143 PawsforThought: Wool=itchy in my head and I'm not sure I'll ever overcome the bias. But I'm glad it works for you, Paws.
>144 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori. I think it would be a read you'd enjoy if that nudges you any closer to a BB.
>145 richardderus: Ah excellent. I'm working my way through her bibliography in fits and starts and she's more often a 4-5 star read for me but the boxing and cock fighting pushed into the atypical 3 this time around.
>146 alcottacre: You are most welcome, Stasia. Happy to share! :)
>147 MickyFine: In my experience wool is only itchy if it's regular sheep's wool. I've never had any issues with lambswool or merino. They even make baby onesies from merino. But we're all different.
The Undateable - Sarah Title
Melissa "Bernie" Bernard is quite happy with her life as an academic librarian at a small college in San Francisco. Right up until she becomes a meme after someone captures her disapproving face when there's a flash mob proposal in her library. Suddenly, Bernie's face is everywhere. When Colin Rodriguez's online fashion website assigns him to Bernie's story, he finds himself trying to prove that the stern looking librarian isn't completely undateable. As he sets up Bernie on thirty dates in thirty days, he just might discover that she's the perfect date for him.
Super cute contemporary romance that once again gets the librarian details right. Huzzah! Also, Bernie is not shy about sharing her feminist views, which is refreshing. Her chemistry with Colin is a nice slow burn and the romance never feels rushed. There's also a great cast of supporting characters who don't always get a ton of page time but never devolve into stereotypes. While the epilogue felt a bit too neat bow on top, the novel as a whole is highly enjoyable from start to finish.
>149 MickyFine: I read your review, checked out the ebook, and am now ten chapters in. How’s that for a book bullet?
>149 MickyFine: - Sigh. Another one for the list... *shakes fist at Micky*
>150 foggidawn: Huzzah! And for a non-romance reader that's an extra victory.
>151 katiekrug: I binged a bunch of romance novels over the last week because I had some work travel so there might be another one or two.
>152 richardderus: Right? My last Zebra read was all right but this one was really good.
>153 MickyFine: Hey, I've read my share of romance novels in my time -- just, most of them pre-LT, I'll admit. (And way more Regencies than anything else.)
A Rogue of Her Own - Grace Burrowes
The last of her sisters to approach the alter, Charlotte Windham is intrigued by her few encounters with Lucas Sherbourne, the former creditor and neighbour of Charlotte's newest brother-in-law. When circumstances combine to push them into marriage both parties are convinced the marriage will be amicable even if it isn't a love match. But as Charlotte and Lucas spend more time together, they discover there may be more to their relationship than mild attraction and mutual social benefits.
Not the strongest entry in this series, I found Charlotte and Lucas fine but a bit bland to read about. There was little suspense to their relationship and while I enjoy the "marriage of convenience becomes love match" trope, this one didn't do much for me. However, I did adore that towards the end there was a kitten named Beowulf, which struck me as a truly excellent pet name. If you're a completist, this won't be a terrible read but not one I'd rush to recommend.
Stopping by to get caught up, Micky. How is the deep freeze in your part of the country? We have had some cooler than normal winter temps but I have been more amused by the number of people I know who are continually scanning the weather forecast for any hints of the "S" word. ;-)
>158 lkernagh: Sigh. It's been cold. And I feel particularly punished as I was in Toronto last week for a conference when they were having extreme cold and flew back just in time to get the same kind of temperatures at home. I've pulled out the snow pants for my walks to and from the LRT station all of this week. And we're not supposed to get away from the -30C overnight/morning temperatures until Sunday-ish is the current forecast. Makes me wish I could work from home.
Oooh, -30C. That shouldn't be allowed. We've had -18/20C for the past week and a half, which isn't strange at all, though with the milder winters we've had for most of the past 15 years, I'm not as used to it as I once was. Or maybe I'm just getting weaker with age. I could stand it better if only I stopped feeling cold indoors. It's one thing to be freezing when you're actually out in freezing temperatures, but to be freezing when you're indoors drinking tea and wrapping yourself in an extra cardigan just feels wrong. The cold gets into your bones.
It's been milder today, thankfully, and they're saying we'll get near 0C this weekend, which sounds bizarre.
>160 PawsforThought: It got up to -17C yesterday which suddenly felt down right balmy. Back in the deep freeze for the next few days though.
>161 MickyFine: It's strange how you feel like slightly warmer temperatures are borderline summer after a deep freeze.
We had -2C today and I wore a dress (with tights, but still). It felt like I was on holiday.
Four to Score - Janet Evanovich
Stephanie Plum is back up to her bounty hunting hijinks hunting down a woman who skipped out on her bail after being arrested for stealing her boyfriend's car. Of course, the case isn't nearly as straight forward as it looks and the case once again causes major problems for Stephanie.
Another fun entry in the series and although the book shows its age in parts (the language used around the two drag queens who pop up is great for 1998, but would probably take a bit of editing over twenty years later), overall it holds up well. The cast of characters surrounding Stephanie remain very funny and this time the mystery was mysterious enough I wasn't quite sure where it was headed. Definitely a read that will satisfy established fans of the series.
>163 MickyFine: So many nonce books don't do well after their day. Reading Golden Age science fiction is a great example from my experience.
Paris by the Book - Liam Callanan
Leah Eady has relocated to Paris with her two teenage daughters in the wake of her husband's disappearance, in which a complete lack of evidence leaves Leah and her daughters completely in limbo as to whether he left them or has died. All Leah is left with is an incomplete manuscript from her husband that seems to foreshadow the life she has chosen to lead in Paris, running an English-language book store. However, when Leah and her daughters start to feel like they're seeing her husband around the city, they all must grapple with whether he's there or if grief is causing them to see phantoms of a man who is no longer there.
Callanan has written a beautiful book that evokes the world and emotional life of Leah so very well, while also crafting a compelling plot that pulls the reader along. I went into reading this book having completely forgotten what it was about and why I had put it on The List and so the narrative was a surprise and a delight to me. Callanan describes Paris beautifully and in a way that will make readers long to visit or to return to the City of Lights. While some of the supporting characters feel a bit less fleshed out than Leah, Callanan's real focus is exploring Leah's internal emotional life and how she deals with being the one left behind and not knowing the fate of her husband. Recommended for readers who enjoy literary fiction with a bibliophile flavour.
>165 MickyFine: - Putting that on my list for potential reading before or during my visit to Paris in June! Nice review, Micky.
>166 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. Hopefully it puts you in the mood for The City of Lights. :)
>165 MickyFine: *heavy sigh* Of course the library has it. Naturally. Why wouldn't they. *heavier sigh*
>165 MickyFine: Ooh, this sounds right up my alley! I'll be in Paris in April with my parents and might have to read this before then :)
>163 MickyFine: Book four is exactly where I am in that series too! And it's about time to get around to it ...
I had every book reader's nightmare happen to me last night. I was reading my gorgeous Tundra edition of The Story Girl and discovered that when I reached page 200, the book suddenly went back to pages 89-120 and then skipped ahead to page 233. Le sigh. I tweeted about it so we'll see if the publisher says anything, otherwise, I'm going to be that super paranoid shopper checking every page of the book in the replacement copy I order. Woe unto me.
>173 MickyFine: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
Hang them! Torch their offices!
>173 MickyFine: darn it! I hope the publisher responds and you're able to get a new one :(
My favorite Georgette Heyer book so far is The Corinthian.
Sorry about your book woes!
>174 richardderus: Not quite ready to pull out the pitchfork just yet, RDear because the books they make are so darn pretty.
>175 bell7: Over 24 hours and no luck yet, Mary. I think I'm stuck buying a replacement copy. :(
>176 The_Hibernator: Frederica remains my favourite Georgette Heyer but there's still large swathes of her bibliography I haven't tackled yet.
>173 MickyFine: How annoying that happened when you were reading! Georgette Heyer is another author I've been wanting to read for years. I think I checked out one of her novels around the time I got engaged, and it was returned to the library unread. Hope you get some "warmer" weather headed your way soon!
>178 ChelleBearss: Thanks, Chelle!
>179 aktakukac: I'm hoping this is a once in a lifetime thing. :P Heyer is great and I adore her Regency books. The period slang can be a bit dense in some of them but they make for an immersive reading experience. They keep pushing back the warmer weather. At this point, it's looking like Tuesday we might stay in the negative (Celsius) teens for a while, which will feel downright balmy after the last couple weeks. Thank goodness it's a long weekend coming up and I can hermit a bit.
A Week to Be Wicked - Tessa Dare
Minerva Highwood is desperate to get to Scotland to present her earth-shattering geological findings to the Royal Geological Society. Even if she has to convince rake Viscount Colin Payne to pretend to elope with her so that she can make the trip. Of course, Colin isn't particularly keen on the idea of ruining the reputation of a young woman, even in the name of science. And their growing attraction isn't helping him keep to his own rules about the trip.
Another enjoyable historical romance from Tessa Dare. The book is a solid read, the romance is well-crafted, and my only complaint is that the book isn't as funny as I know Dare is capable of. Of course, Colin has some dark shadows lurking from his past which keeps the humour from getting too high-flying. I also appreciated that Dare was realistic about how Minerva would have been treated by the scientific establishment of the period, which made the book feel rooted. Enjoyable for those who have dipped their toes into Dare's bibliography but not a recommended starting point to sample.
The Story Girl - L.M. Montgomery
When Bev and Felix King are sent to live with their aunt and uncle following their father's transfer from Toronto to Brazil, they find themselves warmly welcomed by their cousins and the rest of the social circle that revolves around the King farm in Carlisle, Prince Edward Island. Amongst the cousins, they meet Sara Stanley, the Story Girl whose silver tongue makes every story she tells utterly compelling. Over the course of the spring and summer, the King cousins get into various adventures and scrapes that only children on a farm can manage.
No matter the central character, Montgomery weaves a world that is full of the magic of long summer days and gorgeous landscapes. I did find it interesting she went with a first-person narration in this novel and that her narrator is a boy as Montgomery is so intertwined with her heroines in my mind. However, I found Bev's narration completely believable. It was also fascinating to finally encounter the source material that inspired the Canadian institution that was the television show, Road to Avonlea, and compare the differences. I'll be curious to see how the character development continues in The Golden Road and again compare and contrast with my memories of the show. For those readers that have already fallen in love with Montgomery's writing style.
Mockingbird: I Can Explain - Chelsea Cain
Follows the adventures of former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Bobbi Morse as she deals with the ramifications of being dosed with experimental serums and has various adventures.
I loved every second of these Marvel comics. Funny, feminist, and full of adventure, I immediately picked up the second volume.
Hi Micky! >65 MickyFine: definitely yay. We all complain about our mountains of unread books and long, long lists of BBs and recommendations, but the truth is that I would be bereft without all of the suggestions I find here.
But AAAAACCKKKKK!! Then there's How to Fracture a Fairy Tale, The Card Catalog, The Lemoncholy Life..., The Undateable... OMG you're a one-woman wrecking ball to my TBR!!
Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda - Chelsea Cain
I'm so sad Mockingbird only had 8 issues total because this second volume is even funnier than the first and the adventure is truly banana pants and involves a nerd cruise to the Bermuda Triangle. Need I say more? The volume also includes some issues of a broader Avengers arc that covers some of Bobbi's arc that led to her being Mockingbird but they lack in sparkle when compared to Cain's story arc.
Thanks to Nora who made me put these on The List to begin with and apologies for taking so long to get to them.
>187 AMQS: LOL. Happy to be of service, Anne. You return the favour regularly. :)
>185 MickyFine: Oh, I loved Road to Avonlea. One of the best TV shows of my younger years. I really ought to read that book and the next one. The only Montgomery books I've read are the Anne ones.
>188 MickyFine: It's such a shame about what happened with Mockingbird. I had such high hopes when I heard about it, and just a couple of weeks later, it was cancelled. Sigh.
>185 MickyFine: - Lovely review! You know, I so need to take a couple of weeks off this summer, find a lovely location with summer breeze and a hammock and just binge read L.M. Montgomery. That is my dream anyways.... not likely to happen in reality. *sighs*
Happy Go Money - Melissa Leong
The premise of this financial self-help book is that it will help you balance keeping yourself happy and the realities of your financial needs. And it kind of delivers. For a financial book, I found it took a bit long to get to the financial stuff as the first 100ish pages have a lot of pop psychology as it's more heavily focused on figuring out your happiness factors. The following financial advice isn't super revolutionary: set SMART goals; have some kind of budget; balance saving for emergencies, goals, and retirement; consider using a financial advisor if money stuff really leaves your head spinning. All good advice and I appreciated that Leong (who is Canadian) references both Canadian and American financial options. But I definitely found myself skimming more as I got further through the book as her peppy language just didn't jive for me and as none of the advice was new to me, I didn't really take anything away that would change my financial life. Except slightly more anxiety about retirement savings (as always). YMMV.
Giant Days, Vol. 1 - John Allison & Whitney Cogar
A comic series following the adventures of three first year university students in the first few months of academic life.
It's cute and funny in spots but I wasn't completely swept away by it. I'll give it another volume to knock my socks off before I designate as lovely but not something I feel the need to be sucked into.
>194 MickyFine: I've been eyeing that series for a while, but I think I will resist it for a little longer and see what you think after reading another volume.
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