Gilroy's 2019 Reading and Life Thread

The Green Dragon

Join LibraryThing to post.

Gilroy's 2019 Reading and Life Thread

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Dec 27, 2019, 8:01pm

I'm sticking with my normal format that I've used the last two years. My reading habits are changing, however. In years past, I had a book going at home, a book for travel, plus e-books and audio books. I've stopped having the travel book, since I now write more when away from the house.

Each book will have a post, followed by a month summary of all reads. When the post appears for the book, I just started the book. The posts about the books will update as I read. I'm a slow reader, so you'll have to forgive me updating backdated posts. The notes also will go into the reviews. If books cross months, they don't get a new post for the new month, but they also don't get counted until finished.

The hopeful goals:
Total books to read: 45 -- 30 audio, 7 physical, 8 e-books
(Count as of December 1 - 32 audio, 11 physical, 6 e-books)

The current reads:

Audio - Holding until next year

Physical book - done until 2020

E-book -
Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey (Kindle)

Edited: Jan 1, 7:47am

Dud Books - Books I attempted to read and gave up:

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (physical)
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (audio)
Babylon Babies by Maurice Dantec (audio)
Mythology 101 by Jody Lynn Nye (ebook)
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (audio)
The Animal in You by Roy Feinson (physical)

Note on how I designate a dud book:
Unless the book is so horrid of prose/story/cliché that I can't get past the first few pages, I feel the need to give the author at least 50 pages or a third of the book, which ever I can make. This allows for initial bad openings and characters to grow enough. At that point, if I continue to struggle and can't get into the book, I'm done and it becomes a dud. At least that's the plan.

Jan 1, 2019, 7:23am

For those who want to play:
Annual book poll for 2018
Google Form
(Only one this year for ease of number crunching)

Edited: Jan 20, 2019, 8:53pm

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Start 1/1/19 End 1/21/19

-- Got this from the Friends of the Library book sale. Didn't check it closely enough. Someone has highlighted and made notes in it. That's so distracting to me. So even if I like the book, won't be keeping this copy.
-- The author aside chapters are annoying as all. There's no point to them, they don't really help the story. Speaking of the story, it's crawling with no activity at page 48. Too much detail (which may or may not become more important later in the book.) Just want SOMETHING to happen right now.
-- The book has gotten very preachy. Maybe, I can understand some of the more conservatives liking the storyline at this point, but I'm teetering on the edge of Dud for this book.
-- I gave it three weeks, easily put it down for other reading material and just didn't care for the plot at all. Don't like the main character, which is bad. So this goes to the dud file.

Jan 1, 2019, 12:49pm

>4 gilroy: I'll be interested to see what you thought of The Life of Pi. My wife was a big fan, and is still annoyed that I Pearl-ruled it after the incident when Pi's father feeds a goat to a tiger. I know it was widely regarded as a terrific book, but there were some dissenting voices.

Jan 1, 2019, 1:09pm

>5 haydninvienna: Okay, I have to ask, because it's a new term to me. What's the Pearl Rule and how does one Pearl-rule something?

Jan 1, 2019, 1:31pm

>6 gilroy: Sorry, I thought this was just a bit of LT jargon, having seen it used a bit here. I understand that it is named after Nancy Pearl, who has written several books on reading, and is a big advocate for “If you don’t enjoy, don’t keep reading”. Basically the Pearl rule is that you give a book (say) 50 pages, and if it’s not getting to you by then, you drop it. I could also call it the Pennac rule, after Daniel Pennac, who advocates a similar principle as one of The Rights of the Reader.

I might have been a tiny bit loose in saying I Pearl-ruled The Life of Pi, because I just decided at that incident that I didn’t like the way it was going rather than dumping it after a certain number of pages.

Jan 1, 2019, 2:10pm

>7 haydninvienna: Ah! Marked it a dud. (Yeah, basically what I say in >2 gilroy: ). Now I understand. :)

Jan 2, 2019, 5:47am

Happy new year! I'm looking forward to following your reading again this year.

Jan 2, 2019, 7:21am

Several things I deeply believe in: Pearl Rule, the Bechdel Test, and the Oxford Comma.

Happy new year!

Edited: Jan 3, 2019, 7:55pm

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
Read by Jeremy Irons
Started 01/02/19 End 01/03/19

-- Interesting start and not at all what I expected when I saw the title. I like the thought that everyone has their own personal legend within them. Suspect I'm going to like this book.
-- I admit the book is unique, but it feels very preachy to me. Like they wanted to do a morality book and a fable or fairytale and it feels like it's clashing within the text. The talk of finding one's legend and dealing with the heart of the world, plus God and the other parts of life all just seemed to clash when considering the different religions and concepts they represented.
-- Hadn't realized how short this book was. 4 hours by audio. Listened to it during lunch as well as while driving so done in two days. Not bad, just before a long drive to see family...

Jan 2, 2019, 8:34am

I wish you a year of good reading. I've read both of the books you're starting with - The Life of Pi took several attempts and eventually it was the audio version I made it through but still didn't really like it. It was a book I'd been given three times as gifts (this also happened with The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak) and so I felt it must have something to commend it (hence the multiple reading attempts). Having reached the end I was more than happy to give all my copies away (shame because I could have forwarded one to you had I known - why do people write in library books?? That just seems so wrong to me).

It's been a long time since I last read the Alchemist and I don't remember much about it, but did make a comment to the effect of 'finished but not my thing'. I made a similar comment after finishing 'The Zahir' by the same author.

Jan 2, 2019, 9:20am

Happy New Year!

Here's Nancy Pearl describing her philosophy - "I live by what I call 'the rule of fifty,' which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you're fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you're over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100. The result is the number of pages you should read before deciding."

Jan 2, 2019, 9:59am

>7 haydninvienna: Thank you for the "Pearl Rule" explanation. Given your description then I can say I Pearl Ruled The Life of Pi too.

By the way, I am a great fan of Daniel Pennac. I have read most of his books and am well aware of, and a great supporter of, his, The Rights of the Reader.

>6 gilroy: Happy New Year, to you.

Jan 2, 2019, 11:23am

>14 pgmcc: I have The Rights of the Reader and support it also. I know I read The Fairy Gunmother some years ago, and I think one other of his novels as well.

I don't apply the Pearl rule strictly because the initial bit of mathematics gives me a discouraging result.

Jan 2, 2019, 12:05pm

I like the Pearl Rule except for the math. I'm over 50 and I'll abandon a book when I damn well please!

Jan 2, 2019, 12:21pm

>16 littlegeek: I am over 60 and I am probably even more adamant in deciding when to abandon a book. :-)

>15 haydninvienna: It is more a guideline rather than a rule. One might call it the "Black Pearl Rule", if you see what I mean, me hearties.

Jan 2, 2019, 1:11pm

>17 pgmcc: Wait. Ye be bringing Jack Sparrow onto me thread? That be not savvy!

Edited: Jan 2, 2019, 1:14pm

>18 gilroy: Aye! Aye! Cap’n!

P.S. That be “Captain” Jack Sparrow.

Edited: Apr 1, 2019, 7:36am

Yeah for me not paying attention... This was a duplicate post!

Jan 4, 2019, 9:24am

*sigh* Now I want to dig out my Pirates of the Carribean DVDs again.

I wished I had Pearl ruled The Life of Pi when I got to the end. :P

Edited: Jan 11, 2019, 8:19am

Awaken by Rachel Humphrey-D'aigle
Start 01/04/19 End 01/10/19

-- Okay, so this is more outside of what I normally read, but I figured I'd try something new.
-- Expanded trope Twins with telepathy and gypsies that aren't trustworthy.
-- Kinda glad we don't have a love triangle yet, but I don't expect it to form, as one of the main male characters is her brother. (Edit: May have spoke too soon?)
-- Okay, now we've added a different twist with Giant wolf-bats and magic and such.
-- I feel like a lot of this book suffered from trying to do too much. You have the kids approaching their 13th birthday and what that entails. You have the a second storyline linking them to the gypsies. You have world discovery (which technically links the two.) It felt compressed for time, like one would edit a movie to fit time allotted. Interesting book, but the next in the series isn't an immediate need.

Edited: Jan 19, 2019, 10:16pm

Before He Kills by Blake Pierce
Start 01/05/19 End 01/19/19

-- This starts with one of those deep seated mystery tropes. Young woman detective who's treated badly because she rose quickly in the ranks and is good at her job, bucking against the male status quo. *sigh*
-- Gruesome description of the murder scene and such. Still waiting to see where it goes.
-- Yup. The trope continues, with the old boys network fighting their good sense and still giving the main character complements. If the mystery itself hadn't been an interesting twist, I'd have dumped it by now.
-- Speaking of the murder - Rural America, someone is targeting strippers, due to "righteous" rage. Whipping them to confess their sins. Leaving them bound to a pole, in their underwear, where they bleed to death. They think it might be a serial killer.
-- At first, I felt scared that Chief Nelson would turn out to be the killer in a horrible twist that just never would work but the author seems to be working away from that. Also of note, the FBI agent is eliminated as a suspect. All that said I wouldn't be shocked with the stereotypes and clichés in this book that the partner or the disgraced journalist are the killer

Jan 10, 2019, 9:27pm

Happy New Year, gilroy! Hope all the books you finish are gems this year. :o)

>17 pgmcc: Ahhh, that's wonderful! :D

Edited: Apr 29, 2019, 2:37pm

Played to Death by BV Lawson
Start 1/10/19 End 04/29/19

-- Not sure about this one yet, but I'm like two chapters into it. Dead guy in an abandoned opera house and the local cop already blames the out of town PI.
-- This has a feel of a more drawn out story than needed, but then again, we're getting the flavor of this small East Coast town.
-- A shame when the primary suspect for the cops ends up dead like her husband. Though I don't think that person was one of my suspects. The old adage of when in doubt, blame the spouse just didn't feel right here.
-- The author is really pushing it toward Seth and Paddy as suspects, but I'm not buying that either. A) too obvious and B) it wouldn't help their overall troubles. No, not a good choice. Something tells me this is going to be a suspect you've not met yet or shifts from out of the blue to a character that makes absolutely no sense.
-- I officially feel bad for letting the book sit as long as I did between readings. It was worthy of a good sit and read, not a stall. But I'm still not used to the whole reading on a tablet/phone/computer screen thing when it comes to books.
-- I can officially stand corrected. Definitely a twist ending that I should have expected. I always wondered why the author kept going back to a fifty year old murder that happened in Europe when dealing with this story. Didn't really pay enough attention to how closely linked they were. Not until the final chapter.
-- Definitely liked the twist in the trope, having the cop and the out of town PI work together instead of being constantly at odds. It made the book more refreshing. And all the town "helpers" that kept offering advice.

Edited: Jan 18, 2019, 1:10pm

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Read by Douglas Hodge
Start 1/14/19 End 01/15/19

-- Hadn't realized how short this book is. Surprises me that they've managed to make two movies from the text.
-- I admit to having seen both movies before reading this, so I was following along in my head which scene was which. And how certain things referenced only showed up in certain movies. Also noted how scenes were altered accordingly.

Jan 14, 2019, 9:26am

>26 gilroy: The real movie (Gene Wider) included elements of the sequel, The Glass Elevator. I believe the expensive immitation did too.

Edited: Jan 28, 2019, 7:22am

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Read by Simon Prebble
Start 01/15/19 End 01/25/19

-- So far this could be listed with the subtitle of "The Misadventures of Pip." It's interesting, though not something that's catching me close to focus on it.
-- If I'm listening to this correctly, Joe was abused by an alcoholic father and as such married an abusive woman to take the place of the abusive father.
-- I'm feeling like this is another book written and published in stages, so they feel a little more stilted when pushed together. Though to bring the file back did connect them some. Also the whole deal with the dying of Ms. Havernsham is kinda creepy.
-- Something I did have to keep correcting myself in my mind was that the use of certain words has changed mightily since this was written. When someone asks is he an intimate, this isn't referring to a date, but to a close friend, for instance.
-- I noted that unless he's given them no first name, Dickens has a habit of referring to characters by their title and first name. Mr. and Mrs. Joe. Mr. and Ms. Cecelia. It's a touch unnerving.
-- I've gotten just about past the half way point. My loan expires tomorrow. I'm not looking to renew. The story isn't real compelling to me, and the "Great Expectations" are two fold: what Pip expects of himself and what others expect of Pip. This is definitely a long winded fictional biography. I'm not into biographies most times. Might be why this isn't my type of book.

Jan 15, 2019, 11:35am

>28 gilroy: I enjoyed that book.

Jan 20, 2019, 2:12pm

Just for the fun of it, I finally logged into Pottermore. Not 100% sure why I broke down and did it.

So for those who are curious:
House - Ravenclaw (Always felt I was more Hufflepuff, so maybe I can be a Huffleclaw or Ravenpuff?)
Patronus - Newfoundland (Curious since I don't like big dogs...)

Edited: Feb 28, 2019, 8:20pm

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
Start 1/20/19 End 02/28/19

-- One of those things I'm not fond of is the exposition at the beginning of a book that may or may not be relevant to the story. Five chapters before we even get a mention of Dirk at all. Which makes me wonder is he even a character? Or a MacGuffin?
-- The more I read, the more I feel like Richard will be the Watson to Dirk's Inspector Clouseau.
-- Some things have happened. Gordon Way, Richard's boss, is dead. Richard was a suspect. He had a couch stuck. We've met Dirk finally. And things are just ... Weird. The plot is very much a snake and you're trying to grab the tail.
-- February must be my month to read or finish weird books. Because this one just was ... weird. Nothing seemed as it was, everything was off kilter. I still don't understand the scenes with the whole Electronic Monk...

Jan 22, 2019, 2:16pm

>30 gilroy: I was an early user of Pottermore, but I haven't been on there in years. I bet it has changed a lot!

Edited: Jul 7, 2019, 8:41am

A Dance of Dragons by Kaitlyn Davis
Start 01/21/19 End 07/07/19

-- So far we start with cliché. Princess feeling oppressed in toxic masculinity kingdom, with a secret lover of a guard. Naturally, she's up to being married off because she's the next princess in line for such a task. Betrothed is just as toxic as dad.
-- Twists, but I'm not sure how unique: Princess can exist underwater without breathing apparatus. Island kingdom imports most of its food, as it's mostly rock and can't grow anything. Lots of metal and jewels in their world.
-- Naturally, the king finds out the princess is misbehaving. Also naturally, the love interest is punished by turning into a slave, whipped within an inch of his life. Princess cries over the broken vessel. Swears to bring him back to "their" life.
-- The first 55 pages is a short story that introduces certain characters. The writing is rather mundane, but the world and set up is interesting enough to go into the first book.
-- Okay, one and a half chapters in, and the characters from the short aren't apparently related to the book yet? So far, we've had hints of the island nation of Ourthoro but that's about it.
-- Huh, hadn't noticed that when I started reading, but there isn't really chapter breaks in this book (?) That doesn't seem right. There's changes in POV to date, but the reader is now saying 204 pages until end of chapter. Wonder if that's a glitch, since Play Books just added that feature recently. Yeah, this is just Google Play Books being stupid. Forget this.
-- Chapters 10 and 11 finally connect to the opening novella. And we may finally wrap these stories together. Move forward. A shame that the boat captain had to die. I liked him as a character. The author should create a side series just with him and his adventures...
-- I probably should have bailed on this months ago. It didn't really compel me to grab and read like I thought it might. I mean Dragons! But the title is misleading in itself. I honestly found the alternating POV not necessary, much less enjoyable. Most times, this can enhance a story or make things more suspenseful. I found it to be annoying and an expansion tactic rather than actually aiding the story. And the whole short at the beginning? Barely has anything to do with the primary novel.

Edited: Feb 11, 2019, 11:06am

Flag in Exile by David Weber
Read by Allyson Johnson
Start 01/30/19 End 02/10/19

-- Last year I started the reread of the Honor Harrington Series through the audio books. These are actually expanded versions from the originals I read, so in a way it is like reading them new again. Not all the new details are found needed, but they're there now. Flag in Exile is book 5 of the series and we greet our heroine on Grayson after months of convalescing from the fall out of book 4.
--The expanded versions have allowed Weber to add more details on his opinions of politics, extreme belief, religion, and moderation. At times, Honor does feel like a Mary Sue or an author's avatar, but at other times, she doesn't.
-- On one hand, it's been so long since I've read this book, this is like reading it for the first time. I don't remember much of this book. On the other hand, I wonder how much I blocked out, as I hear relatives and other of similar political minds behind the rants of the primary bad guys. I hear the ultra conservative ranting about how the secular is destroying the religious and destroying things... This is rather a poignant book for this time...

Edited: Feb 26, 2019, 7:41am

January Review:
Life of Pi
The Alchemist
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Before he kills
Great Expectations

(For goal counts: 1 physical, 3 audio, 2 e-book -- 2 duds)

Edited: Feb 21, 2019, 1:11pm

Going Rogue by Drew Hayes
Read by Roger Wayne
Start 02/11/19 End 02/21/19

-- Now back to something lighter and more fun. Something less triggering than the previous audio book.
-- We start now with our NPC group, plus the usual PC group... and we're adding a new PC group! This could get complicatedly fun!
-- Well, last book, we had Grumph go through the training to be a wizard so it seems only fitting that this time another party member get trained in their arts. Eric was due.
-- I'm not sure I liked the two PC parties with the one NPC party technique of this book. Obviously, it was needed for some of the story line, fixing certain elements into play. But for a bit, it got annoying. Though anyone who's played will recognize the gun bunny, the min max player, and the blood thirsty bastard that some groups attract.
-- When the artifact had been described initially, I suspected we might see something like happened in this book. What I didn't expect is the note in the epilogue. We've got a good long series ahead? Maybe? I'll enjoy following Thistle, Grumph, Eric, Gabrielle, and Timescor. Still not sure about Mr. Peppers.
-- Oh, two things I can't help but gush over. Befriending a RED DRAGON! and fighting a RED DRAGON!? Just WHOA!

Edited: Feb 28, 2019, 8:22pm

Charlie and the Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
Read by Douglas Hodge
Start 02/21/19 End 2/25/19

-- I thought the original Charlie book was a touch out there. This one makes that first one read like a sane storyline. OMG!
-- I've had trouble even developing thoughts on what direction this book went, quickly down hill, for sure. WEIRD is not even a good word. Dahl had to be on some major substances when he wrote this book.
-- Thought process: If the Buckets were mostly eating cabbage soup, wouldn't they have had propulsion from all that gas released when it finished digesting?

Feb 22, 2019, 8:55am

Feb 23, 2019, 9:20am

>37 gilroy: That's true!

Edited: Mar 8, 2019, 8:11am

Dungeon Calamity by Dakota Krout
Read by Vikas Adam

Start 2/26/19 End 03/08/19

-- Back to this series.
-- Now we see the changes as we find out how Cal handles the loss of his Wisp, Dani. Dale advances in his knowledge, though his instructor is a bit of an arse.
-- And we see the group who will probably hold the place as evil villain the rest of the series.
-- Oh the puns, they HURT!
-- Interesting ending. Twist I wasn't expecting...

Edited: Apr 3, 2019, 8:20am

Change your Questions, Change your Life by Marilee Adams
Start 03/01/19 End 03/31/19

-- I'd gotten this a few years ago, at the advice of a medical practitioner. Started and stopped it a few times, but now decided to focus directly on it.
-- Feels like many of these books focus on how to shift thoughts from negative to positive. Each presents it in their own way, from their own focus, but they are rather similar.
-- We're walking through the various tools now. ABCC, the Choice Map, the Switching lane. All good things to ponder.
-- A new thing to consider - Q-Storming, like brainstorming. A lot of what's discussed in this book could help with writing as much as every day life. It would force questions of what are the characters doing and why?
-- I've gotten through the explanation portion of the book, now on to the workbook portion, to see what else I can learn.

Edited: Jun 18, 2019, 10:37am

Edited: Mar 14, 2019, 5:39am

Swearing is Good for You by Emma Byrne
Read by Henrietta Meire

Start 3/8/19 End 3/13/19

-- I should have expected a book talking about swearing and it being good for you would of course go through the physiological and psychological aspects of swearing. Didn't realize that we'd again here about poor Phineas Gage and his tamping rod through the head.
-- This book covers a lot of different aspects of swearing, including origins, differences between languages and sexes, how we learn, and a few other things.
-- WOW! Pulp Fiction averages 1.74 F bombs per minute.

Edited: Mar 21, 2019, 9:46am

Girl on a Train by A J Waines
Read by Melissa Chambers
Start 3/14/19 End 3/21/19

-- Starting to listen to this, I realized this is NOT the book they made into a movie, though it is a thriller/mystery of sorts.
-- Our main character, Anna, is an investigative journalist who doesn't believe the police theory of a woman committing suicide by train. So she's hunting into details to find the truth.
-- So far she's gotten very little details that would be concrete enough for the police to bother listening to her. Meh. She persists.
-- Over half way through and we still have no viable suspects. The "suspense" part is limited at best. And the clues are slow to materialize. Really need to pick up the pace here, author.
-- I really dislike when a suspense writer adds in chapters from the victims POV prior to the incident, if they aren't the very first chapter or the prologue. Suddenly it feels like they didn't have enough material with the existing storyline to write the full book, so they had to add filler.
-- Well,duh. I should have known the author started pointing out that character more for a reason. Just it came out of left field, completely unexpected. I mean the kid's nine! Then again, I suspected she kept trying to get into the uncle's pants.

Edited: Mar 16, 2019, 12:36pm

I could pee on this by Francesco Marciuliano
Start 3/16/19 End 3/16/19

-- Cute poetry
-- reminds me a lot of my own cats
-- laughing
-- read in one sitting

Edited: Apr 1, 2019, 5:20am

Babylon Babies by Maurice Dantec
Read by Joe Bennett
Start 03/25/19 End 03/29/19

-- So I saw the movie for this (staring Vin Diesel) before I read the book. Suspect I may regret that.
-- Translated, which I think I knew. The phrasing is ... interesting.
-- The beginning is a LOT of exposition, info dump syndrome. Finally getting some activity after 30 minutes of audio.
-- I'm having all sorts of problems with this book. Stating outright, I realize this is supposed to be a Dystopian world and all things are crap, but really, if Canada and the US exist, don't cross the border with their various agencies. That takes very little research. Cut back on the exposition that really isn't needed. Reading all the news articles when you only need one headline of the group, just half a chapter later.
-- Six hours into the 20 hour audio book, I bailed. Just couldn't stomach the bad writing any more.

Edited: Apr 24, 2019, 9:35am

The Writing Warrior by Laraine Herring
Start 03/31/19 End 04/24/19

-- This one is for helping me improve my focus at writing. We'll see how it goes.
-- Some good concepts in the book. Not actually started the actual practices yet, though I probably should. Two I already tend to do. It's a breathing practice and a writing practice. It's the shaking practice I'm stalling on.
-- This is the second book I've read lately that recommends self observation without judgment. See what you're doing, don't label it with any specific thing, just watch. Then find ways to adjust accordingly to better your work flow, mind flow, etc.
-- Many good insights within this book, some of which are giving me ideas for blog posts for my writing blog. Good concepts. Movement opens space, which will allow for creativity to flow...

Edited: Apr 7, 2019, 9:21am

Guild Master by Ivan Kal
Read by Ryan Burke
Start 4/1/19 End 4/7/19

-- I've seemed to fallen into a new genre I enjoy. Probably existed for years: LitRPG. So this follows that same like.
-- Amused. I know this is supposed to be gaming made into literature (thus LitRPG) but I did NOT expect to actually follow a character through the creation screens.
-- Okay, so that's got to be an editing error. There's no such thing as a double headed sword. Double handed sword or double headed axe, even a double bladed sword, but not a double headed sword. I let it go when I heard it but it definitely jarred me enough to stumble on the story.
-- Some of this is feeling like the author is telegraphing the plot. First woman Morgan meets? Fall in love with her. Locked in with a creature not defeated in decades? No problem, the party defeats it. Part of the loot a Guild Hearthstone? No problem, found their own guild where there are no guilds. Really could make it less obvious...
-- The repetition of the stats screen every time it changes is just annoying now.
-- Of course that guy would come back to haunt them...
-- While it ends with a more or less complete story, there's a definite cliff hanger and what feels like THREE overarching story lines for the author to finish. There's the goblin army (maybe one or two more books), the revenge on Emily Door (who knows when this will work its what in), and defeating the tower of power (I can see this one being long running). I'm actually going to ding it for too much left hanging for a book, though for a standard video game, this would be a normal save point.

Edited: Apr 1, 2019, 7:57am

Edited: Apr 25, 2019, 7:12am

The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
Read by Anna Fields
Start 04/08/2019 End 04/15/19

-- I've enjoyed watching the TV show that's based on these books. Before you try to warn me, I've already been told that the books and the show are two different entities. Here's hoping I enjoy the books like the show.
-- And my first major "Wait, what?" is that Dr Isles is a Goth! That completely changes the complexion of the character. Wonder if Sasha Alexander just didn't want to color her hair. She could have gotten tips from Pauley Perette!
-- This is reading like an episode of the TV show, though that episode happened in like season 3 or 4, not directly after the whole Surgeon investigation thing.
-- I had expected the ending, but didn't know they'd go so long before she actually stumbled across the true perp. Glad that Hoyt is paralyzed, as he deserved the damage he took. Really need to get the first book of the series, but starting at #2 isn't bad...

Edited: Apr 25, 2019, 10:23am

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Read by Barnaby Edwards
Start 4/16/19 End 4/25/19

-- Saw the movie of this came out, wanted to read the book first.
-- About a half hour into the book (audio) and so far we've gotten very little back story for why. We've witnessed Mobile London chomp up a smaller mining town.
-- The writing, the characters, the plot, it all continues to be a disappointment to me. And I went in with no expectations. That should tell you something. I'm not too worried about the split plot with Natsworthy trying to get back to London while London charges toward something sinister. I've handled those. I've yet to find a character compelling enough to like. Not even Hester Shore (Or is it Ester Shore? I can't tell since it seems to be pronounced both ways by the narrator.) Somehow I'm not sure the addition of pirates actually improves anything.
-- Not sure why I keep listening to this book. I really could not care which character lives, dies, or how this ends.

Edited: May 23, 2019, 5:16am

White Night by Jim Butcher
Start 4/25/19 End 05/22/19

-- Harry Dresden how we miss you so...
-- This is what I get for taking so much time between books. I'd forgotten Harry has an apprentice, though I do remember which family she comes from.
-- Definitely feels like it's going to be a fun book. Maybe one day I'll just sit and read it straight through.
-- Some interesting twists and turns to the story and I'm barely a quarter way through. He's bumped into his original ex, Elaine, and someone from a previous book, Helen Beckitt. His brother may be involved with the evil that's afoot. And he's trying to help a coven of witches who happen to be all female and it's triggering his sense of "duty."
-- As normal for a Butcher book, less than 100 pages to go, the crap hits the fan blades on full. And He's fighting to save the Vampire White Court, of all things.
-- I like how Butcher is dealing with Thomas and his hunger. Glad to see Harry getting another wizard supporter. I'm scared of what might happen if Harry ever developed PTSD... Very excellent book. Strong writing again.

Edited: May 15, 2019, 9:21am

Honor Among Enemies by David Weber
Read by Allyson Johnson
Start 4/26/19 End 5/15/19

-- I'm willing to admit, after the last book being very triggery for me, I was reluctant to start this book. The additional chapters and rewrites for the expanded editions make some of these harder to read. Or else I just sped through them before and don't remember some of this...
-- Okay, old trope here. We're going to give you an impossible situation with a rag tag crew and expect you to win. Or die trying...
-- Yup deepening said trope. New, green recruit threatened by old screw up, saved by the senior chief, placed in cross hairs. *sigh*
-- It's like there's two different writers from the last book to this one. The last book was dark, depressing, almost to the point of drawing pain. This book is light, some sense of humor, bordering on fun. There's still dark themes about including a bully beating a newbie to a pulp however it feels like they are treated differently.

Edited: Jul 20, 2019, 7:18am

Mythology 101 by Jody Lynn Nye
Start 04/29/19 End 07/19/19

-- The premise drew me in, but so far I'm not fond of the book. Major glitch, the author tried to write out the accent for a Germanic character, changing the v's and w's around, plus a few other things. Distracting.
-- SLOW moving plot. Too much toying around, really need to pick up the pace.
-- When you're sitting at a doctor's office and you willingly turn off the book reader to watch the TV, there's something wrong with the book. Marking this one as a serious DUD!

May 1, 2019, 1:18pm

April Round up:
Played to Death by BV Lawson
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
The Writing Warrior by Laraine Herring
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
Guild Master by Ivan Kal

(Count for goals: 3 audio, 1 physical, 1 ebook)

Edited: May 30, 2019, 7:11pm

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Read by Bahni Turpin
Start 5/17/19 End 05/30/19

-- Confession, I spotted this with good comments on Litsy, it covered a historical subject I frequently research (the US Civil War) and provided a unique perspective. Definitely wanted to check it out. Just waiting for librarian wife to pick it up, so I'll start it either tonight or tomorrow.
-- This is actually a well thought out and written book. Perhaps better than I expected, since I tend to hold so contrary to normal likes and dislikes.
-- One great thing is the author didn't just change history, she thought through exactly what the change would do and followed the changes accordingly. It gives a stronger feel to the book, I think.
-- Well, when you're cocky, you maybe don't do things as you should to keep from getting caught. Mr. Redfern is right. She's full of herself, but she has to be to survive.
-- The first section created an interesting lead up and creates an arc I can follow, not to mention agree with the character's thought process. Not sure if that arc is book specific or series specific...
-- Trying to decide if the author resolved a plot point or just make it more complicated now. Jane found the missing family, but the whole reason for searching for said family is now missing/maybe dead. Well, 4 discs to go...
-- Yeah! Representation! The author included an asexual character!
-- I feel like as the ending neared, the author sped up the action. So while Ding Dong the Sheriff's dead, it felt too fast, too ... easy.
-- The book steadily improved as the plot grew, so I'm willing to give this positive marks. There's a LOT to unpack in this book, though.

May 21, 2019, 7:38am

>56 gilroy: This is on my TBR so I'll be interested to see what you think of it. The premise is great.

Edited: Jul 1, 2019, 8:42pm

The Millionaires by Brad Meltzer
Start 05/23/19 End 6/15/19

-- Had a (former) friend swear that Meltzer is this great writer. Grabbed this book before our friendship fell apart. Time to get it out of the TBR list.
-- I'm already questioning the premise of this book. Which is sad, since I'm only 4 chapters in. For one thing I'd think a bank would check if a client was deceased BEFORE sending him a letter.
-- I feel like the story is being expanded wrong. It would have had more kick if they author drew out the suspense of the main character being caught the first time. Now the whole book has half the suspense it possibly could. I'm feeling rather Meh on this. Looking at other books to read, I'm trending toward Dud with this one...

Edited: May 30, 2019, 8:32pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

May 29, 2019, 1:56pm

I'm currently researching to replace my Ford Fusion, as it nears 200k miles and cost of repairs starts to pass value of car.

Had a few mechanics suggest I veer away from CVT transmissions, because when they break, the car's done. Sadly, two of my preferred options have such a transmission.

Anyway, my top six I'm still working through in no particular order:
Sedans: Chevy Malibu, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion
SUVs: Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4 (except the 2019. The interior looks screwy), Ford Escape

(Waiting on the outside, in case I change my mind: Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forrester, Subaru Legacy)

Proper caveat required here: Proper care and maintenance of a vehicle will always make vehicles last. Ford is known as Found On Road Dead, yet this is the second I have to make 200k miles.

May 29, 2019, 2:11pm

>60 gilroy: Two cents' worth if I may: I know two people here in Durban who have / have had Subaru Foresters. Both have used them as 4x4's, and I have been on an expedition in one. They're roomy, comfortable (even when bush-bashing) and not too thirsty.

May 29, 2019, 2:25pm

>61 hfglen: Wife has an Impreza, which is a great little car. We've taken LONG road trips in it. The catch on them is the CVT transmission. :/ However, I'm inclined to include them.

May 30, 2019, 9:40am

My son is a mechanic and favors Toyotas, but I don't know if that is across the board.

May 30, 2019, 6:14pm

>60 gilroy: Hey! I have a 2019 RAV 4 (Hybrid) and I am rather fond of the interior. Granted it doesn't have all the extra's I had in my Murano. It doesn't read my tire pressure, and the center console, while huge, is not pointed slightly towards the driver like it was in my Murano. In fact I would have bought another Murano in a heartbeat IF Nissan had managed to release the Hybrid version on time. They did not. One of my brothers has the Nissan Rogue Sport and he loves it. I just sold my daughter's Subaru Impreza last week. She used it very regularly for seven years and then moved to NY City so it sat in my driveway and started to do what unused cars do. :o(

Good luck with your search!

May 30, 2019, 6:21pm

Another vote for the humble Subaru Impreza. We've had four. The latest is an 06 and still going. Hauls the kayak and the skis with ease.

See what I did there.


May 30, 2019, 6:49pm

>64 clamairy: It's that center console that I think looks screwy when I looked at it. It just didn't look... right. I can't explain my feel on that thing. Almost felt like they tried to jam a tablet onto the dash instead of a regular console set up. The rest of the car I'm sure is amazing.

>65 Bookmarque: Wife has a 13 Impreza. We took it into the mountains of Georgia (the state, not the country) and it did very well. We're also talking about going kayaking more (with me learning how) so that is on the possible list. I guess I'm just looking at a little bigger vehicle. Which is why I considered the Legacy.

May 30, 2019, 6:58pm

yeah, the Legacy is bigger and taller. Make sure you can get the boats on and off. : )

Edited: May 30, 2019, 7:04pm

>66 gilroy: I love that giant screen. I have it split three ways! The left side of the screen shows me what I'm listening to and how my gas mileage is doing and the right side is my navigation screen. I haven't lived in this area since 1982 so I needed all the help I could get finding stuff.

My son had a Legacy sedan. It drove well enough but never had the ooomph and finesse of the Impreza. We suspect it had been in a collision that wasn't reported. It was a great vehicle for his HS and college years. As soon as he got a real job out of college he traded it in for a Hybrid Camry. (Which he likes just fine... but he really wanted a Tesla.)

Edited: May 30, 2019, 7:05pm

>67 Bookmarque: For me, won't be a problem. The wife, however, is 5 foot, even. So she might have difficulty. Which is why I also thought maybe the Forrester.

>68 clamairy: If I could afford a Tesla (and wait for it to be built. Waiting list around here is 3 years...)

Edited: Jun 5, 2019, 8:34pm

Turncoat Gambit by Andrea Cremer
Read by Leslie Bellair
Start 5/31/19 End 6/5/19

-- And so I go back to the Revolutionary war period, with another alternate history. The US lost the revolution and continues to fight against the British Empire, though now with a Steam Punk feel.
-- This series continues to follow Charlotte Marshall and her merry group, though that group is separated. There's a traitor in their midst. and Grave continues as an enigma of a puzzle wrapped in a mystery.
-- The last few chapters felt rushed, like the author was trying to wrap up the trilogy without bleeding over into a fourth book.

Jun 3, 2019, 3:42pm

May Round up:
White Night by Jim Butcher
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Honor Among Enemies by David Weber

(Count for goals: 2 audio, 1 physical)

Jun 4, 2019, 6:36am

>71 gilroy: Thanks for your thoughts on Dread nation. Sounds like the positives outweighed any negatives (I haven't read your spoilers).

Edited: Jun 10, 2019, 7:14am

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Read by Patrick Lawlor
Start 6/6/19 End 06/10/19

-- This is a very vicious book. Animal abuse, stated as "training," dog fights that were encouraged... Not for the faint at heart. Not for the young either.
-- I hate to say this, but I saw that ending coming. Just the way the entire book telegraphed where it was going.

Edited: Jun 14, 2019, 3:52pm

The Scarlet Letter Society by Mary T McCarthy
Read by Marguerite Gavin
Start 6/10/19 End 06/14/19

-- I admit I have been wanting to read this since I met the author at a writing conference. She's got a good sense of humor.
-- My first complaint: the person chosen to read this thing. Horrible. Just Horrible. She barely adjusted her voice for the multiple characters and any ... fun ... in the text is bled out by her nasally presentation.
-- So far, a few explicit scenes, but nothing so vulgar as to be porn. Those that are described tend to shift the focus away from that region. These also work well with the plot and meld seamlessly into the text. Not dropped there just to have them.
-- Lots of name dropping in this book. Not just brands to consider trademarks, but book titles and authors as well. Not just quotes from them but parts worked deep into the text.
--I expected more explicit scenes that I got. There was a lot of fade to black and quickie scenes that left much to be desired, though they fit into the storyline well. The storyline was okay but I felt it rather unfulfilling...

Jun 10, 2019, 7:31am

>74 gilroy: No reviews on LT yet, but the Goodreads reviews are a bit of a puzzle. Not just the fact that they vary from 1 star to 5, and from "This book was beyond a page turner. I literally didn't put it down all day. The characters are amazing!" to "The characters have no depth, the story lines are predictable. If you need a mindless beach read this is fine - just buy it in paperback so you can toss it in the trash on your way back to your hotel room.", but the review by one Jacques Coulardeau who seems to be reviewing another book entirely.

I have to admit that I usually find reading the reviews of raunchy novels more entertaining than the novels themselves.

Jun 10, 2019, 7:36am

>75 haydninvienna: As long as it reads better than 50 Shades, we're good to go. :)

Jun 10, 2019, 7:45am

>76 gilroy: The only one of the 50 Things phenomena I've read is 50 Sheds of Grey, which does not exist on LT as far as I can see.

Edited: Jun 26, 2019, 8:59am

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Read by Simon Vance
Start 06/11/19 End 6/26/19

-- Two of my requested books came in at the same time. So I'm alternating between them. I had started reading this way WAY back when, but I don't remember all of it at all. So glad to hear it now.
-- I've just gotten a few bits of vampire "lore" with holding garlic, the effects of a crucifix and the no reflection concept. So far, much better narrator than the other audio book.
-- Part of the story: houseguest gets nosy and pokes around castle against advice...
-- Hadn't realized when I started that this is an epistolary book, with things being detailed by letters and journal entries
-- They frequently bring up Van Helsing as a vampire hunter in other movies/books/comics. I thought we'd see that here, but maybe I'm not deep enough into the book yet...
-- I quite like the concept of King Laugh as Van Helsing described it. Definitely feel that way at times myself.
-- I feel like the three women vampires were more metaphor for the men's lust, either for Mina or for other women, but that may be me reading into it. Jonathan ran from them, because he was betrothed and as such ran from the temptation.

Jun 11, 2019, 9:18am

>78 gilroy: Simon Vance is one of my favorite narrators. Hope you enjoy the tale.

Jun 11, 2019, 8:43pm

>79 MrsLee: Yes, he's awesome. Enjoy it, >78 gilroy:!

Edited: Jul 23, 2019, 5:24am

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
Start 06/16/19 End 07/22/19

-- Confession: I never read this when I was younger. Going back now to catch it. (Also not read Narnia or LotR)
-- Well, that's an interesting twist I didn't expect. Gandalf marked Bilbo as a Master Thief? And the dwarves are looking to break into caves to get their treasure back from a dragon...
-- Very fun read. Wish I'd read it sooner, but I wasn't meant to...

Jun 17, 2019, 9:04am

#81 I do hope you enjoy it. It's rather slow paced compared to more recent children's fantasy novels. I didn't read it until several years after I'd read LotR, and it seemed anticlimactic to me as a teen. But after I had children of my own I appreciated it much more.

Jun 24, 2019, 6:15am

In other news from the library... *sigh*

Our local group: Southern Maryland Area Secular Humanists (SMASH for ease), affiliated with the Washington Area Secular Humanists (WASH, conveniently) booked a room at the library to hold a Drag Queen Story Hour (and make up tutorial if one chose to stay for it.)

Naturally, the locals have been up in arms about it for weeks. The wife didn't get as much flack on it this time, but the library had to have the local Sheriff on stand by again. And they had an arrest... again. I found out that several of the people on our county commissioners tried to get the politicized, which is a big no no in Maryland, which means they ALL lost my votes.

Sadly, everyone keeps saying "Let kids be kids" yet they are taking away the thought of dress up, make believe, and fun at the expense of adult thoughts when they look at a drag queen.

I'm really tired of stupid adults...

Jun 24, 2019, 6:21am

>83 gilroy: What can I say (within Pub rules) other than that I feel for you?

Jun 24, 2019, 11:04am

>83 gilroy: So sad. Drag Queen Story Hours are heck'n fun :)

Jun 24, 2019, 1:36pm

>83 gilroy: Sadly there are people with small minds everywhere. And most of them can't handle anything outside their sphere of familiarity. Nor do they want anyone else to enjoy those unfamiliar things, apparently. :o(

Edited: Jul 9, 2019, 8:11pm

Blood Kissed by Keri Arthur
Read by Katherine Littrell
Start 6/30/19 End 07/09/19

-- The description drew me in, I admit it. Witch in a werewolf reservation, asked to find a human girl who was lost. Unique world, from Australia, giving different spins to things I usually hear.
-- Huh. All the last names are Gaelic. O'Connor, Fitzgerald, McGuire ... Interesting.
-- Why is it, when there's a female lead, they always immediately find the male lead attractive? Can't there be one instance when she looks at the guy and goes "Meh. Not for me."
-- Newer gripe: hesitated. I feel like this word is being overused and no real description as to what she does when she hesitates. Does she look away? Look down? Bite her nails? WHAT? Just saying "I hesitated" feel so ... incomplete to me. And to use it multiple times in a single page... Ugh.
-- The author left threads open What's up with the Wild Magic? Where's this murdering witch that disappeared? Will Lizzie and Aidan hook up or not? however, the end to this one felt... rushed? Kinda but not really. There was a build up. I guess I did what I always tell myself not to do. I expected more from what the story presented. I wanted more spell slinging and magical battle at the end, dang it! Especially with Lizzie getting a power boost from the Wild Magic. Will I go to the next? Maybe, though I hope the author has learned to better describe something than just "I hesitated" or "He hesitated." Very important in back to back to back paragraphs...

Jul 4, 2019, 2:45pm

June Round up:
Turncoat's Gambit by Andrea Cremer
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Scarlet Letter Society by Mary McCarthy
Millionaires by Brad Meltzer
Dracula by Bram Stoker

(Count for goals: 4 audio, 1 physical - 0 duds)

Edited: Jul 5, 2019, 5:53am

>87 gilroy: That was actually one thing that endeared Archangel Down by C. Gockel to me; the hero is good looking, competent and, despite being a complete stranger, apparently willing to take considerable risks to protect her.

Her reaction: she finds his resemblance to her late husband creepy rather than endearing, and the fact that his willingness to be brave and self-sacrificing extends only to her well-being, and he can be completely selfish when other innocents are in danger, makes him rather despicable in her eyes! The insta-love behaviour on his part isn't as nauseating as it sounds either, he finds his own reactions inexplicable and there are strong indicators over the course of the book regarding a specific cause for these traits i.e. plot point, not cliché. They work together because they need to; and there are no signs by the end of the book of any incipient romance.

I did enjoy seeing the clichés subverted. Maybe it would work for you too?

Jul 5, 2019, 5:35am

>89 -pilgrim-: I'll have to check that book out. Thanks for the thought!

Jul 5, 2019, 5:56am

>90 gilroy: I suppose I should add the caveat that this is very obviously Book 1 of what is intended as a series; very little is actually resolved by the end.

Edited: Jul 17, 2019, 7:19am

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face by Alan Alda
Read by Alan Alda
Start 07/10/19 End 07/16/19

-- Every communication book I have read covers similar topics. Most of them start with Active Listening. Each book may term it differently, but it almost always has the same concept. Listen to hear, not listen to respond.
--I enjoyed this book. I feel like the end started to meander away from the base concept, but it still covered the base idea of communication and how earlier examples worked.

Jul 17, 2019, 4:08pm

Some follow up from the world of stupidity in politics and libraries:

My local county commissioners held a public forum to hear how to better serve the community. Again the topic swung around to the library and it's sponsoring of the DQSH (which it didn't. But these people didn't want to hear that.) So the following day when the Library Board and the Commissioners sat down for their monthly butting of heads...

The commissioners took money from the Library Budget to give to the Sheriff's office... for covering the event. Again, the library had nothing to do with the event except provide the room. Yet they were punished for it.

Personally, I have no problem with the event organizers having to pay for the police doing security for an event. I disagree with going after the library because the event chose to use their room for the event.

Now, without anyone saying a thing, the commissioners are being inundated with calls and complaints from library and first amendment supporters. The state delegation is investigating if the commissioners broke the law. And there's a gofundme page to help put the money stolen by the commissioners back into the library coffers.

Perhaps there is a little justice in the world...

Jul 17, 2019, 6:59pm

>93 gilroy: Argh. Well at least the library has plenty of local support. The commissioners sound like first class @$$#*!!$.

Edited: Aug 8, 2019, 1:41pm

Educated by Tara Westover
Read by Julia Whalen
Start 07/18/19 End 7/31/19

--Okay, I'm jumping on the popularity train here. Keep hearing about the book, now I gotta check it out.
-- To me, the book is discussing people with a conspiracy theory mindset, combined with mental illness. Added to by brain damage from an accident. Two of the people in the book, I've felt a little sorry for, because they seem to have their head on straight...
-- I've been quiet on this book to this point, because it's a lot of things to think about and unpack. Brother Shaun is a classic abuser, waiting until he knows he has the upper hand, physically attacking, then coming back to apologize.
-- I can honestly say parts of this book could be seen as a safety manual. Why the rules exist, why the Personal Protective Equipment exists...
-- I'm sure others poke to the religious aspect of the family. I'm filtering parts of this out, as not all the presented stances and problems are from that religion. From a schizophrenic mind almost definitely. but not the religion, necessarily.
-- I find this book has a lot to unpack as you reach the end. There's a lot of signs and things that could speak wonders to the world at large...

Jul 18, 2019, 4:02pm

>94 clamairy: If I were to take a guess, the county is split about 75/25 moderates who appreciate the library with an attitude of if you don't like it just avoid it versus a very vocal super ultra conservative "moral police" who believe everyone should follow their bigoted ways...

Um, I guess I revealed which side I'm on. :)

Jul 18, 2019, 4:18pm

*sirens wail*

Edited: Aug 25, 2019, 8:27pm

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Start 07/20/19 End 8/25/19

-- Am I the only one who would cast David Hewitt as Artis Corbin?
-- The world building is amazing. The writing is easy and this is proving a fun, quick read. Can't believe I'm already a quarter the way done. The set up is taking a touch more than I thought, but she did filter it in among the introductions.
-- I do wonder if the dinner scene and the comment about eating mammals was a commentary from a vegetarian author or just a characterization...
-- Wow. This is just a fast read, I've just cleared the half way mark and can't put it down.
-- Oh, I love that! The Modders are allegory for transgender people. I also love the nonbinary pronouns of Xe and Xyr.
-- I'm sticking to very well written. I'm already eyeing buying book 2.
-- I like the interplay the characters have developed, even though this book all feel like just a set up to know the world before the real plots begin. There's enough introduction to everything you feel that this is a huge universe the author is building. The whole Rosemary/Sissex thing is fun too.
-- This was such a great book, I had trouble putting it down.

Edited: Aug 13, 2019, 5:32am

Heat Wave by Richard Castle
Start 07/22/19 End 08/13/19

-- This is a TV show tie in, from the show Castle. Because I'll watch Nathan Fillion in almost anything. This is supposed to be the first book he wrote during the first season. So let's see what happens.
-- One chapter in and it sounds like the book is mirroring the TV show plot, which doesn't surprise me...
-- I'm still marinating my opinions on how this book goes. It feels so much like a plot of an episode, though with more of the thoughts out front. And to be seen from Beckett's eyes instead of Castle's... Not sure Kate had these thoughts though. Not until at least season 3.
-- The fact that the stay behind is a common theme through this book for Rook is a little amusing, except when it gets him in trouble.
-- Somehow I had a feeling that the accountant did it. He was the one with all the access and it made the most sense. Not to mention they focused a lot on this character.
-- Silly book, fun to read... going to hold until I've read the series then make a keep/go decision.

Jul 23, 2019, 9:19am

>99 gilroy: I've found those to be pretty fun. They are not on my keep-forever shelf, but are read-anytime-in-pinch. Lots of in-jokes to the show, and the last one I read even had a couple of Firefly references.

Edited: Aug 7, 2019, 5:39am

Frankestein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Read by Simon Vance
Start 07/29/19 End 08/06/19

-- Back to a classic and the OG horror of its day.
-- This is my second with Simon Vance as a narrator, and I must say, he does marvelous work.
-- I expected this to cover more of the creation of the creature, as that is where most of the movies tend to focus. I'm finding myself surprised. Instead the creation of the creature seems to be a quick, glossed over part of the story, then the haunting by the creature and Frankenstein's psychosis as related to his work the rest of the story.
-- I'mj trying to decide if I feel sorry more for the monster... or Frankenstein himself.

Jul 30, 2019, 2:02pm

>101 gilroy: I hope Vance makes this a good experience for you. I read it as a teen and loved it, but subsequent readings made me cringe. Victor certainly swoons quite a bit, and at inopportune times, too.

Edited: Aug 8, 2019, 1:25pm

Invention: the Locomotive by William Henri
Read by Stanley Brown and Jason Hill
Start 08/07/19 End 08/07/19

-- My train obsession catches up to me. :)
-- Very quick, painless book. I suspect it was written for the younger crowd. Very simple and to the point.
-- It gives some dates, names, and places of the first railroads in England. Somewhat informative. A good jumping off point for new details.

Edited: Aug 25, 2019, 11:24am

In Enemy Hands by David Weber
Read by Allyson Johnson
Start 08/08/19 End 08/25/19

-- I'm continuing on this series, because except for one book, these have been a good overall read.
-- Just about a third of the way into the book and there's a lot of talking and plotting, but very little forward action. I better understand why the editors might have dropped have these chapters with the first printing.
-- This is where the books start to really skew away from the earlier well focused plots. You start getting a lot more off shoots of political chapters and other side views, which may or may not benefit the story.
-- I'm honestly glad he didn't go into detail with regard to some of Honor's torture in this book.

Edited: Oct 6, 2019, 7:00am

The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Start 08/14/19 End 10/5/19

-- I'm not sure what I was expecting when I grabbed this book. Science fiction, definitely. But not military sci fi, I don't think. We'll see how it goes.
-- The first few pages feel choppy and scattered. I'm not sure if this is supposed to mirror the main character's state of mind or if it was just bad editing.
-- The switching between Rod and Blaine to refer to the main character gets real REAL annoying. I don't know if this is the two writers habits merging, but it makes following the character hard, because they are referred to differently.
-- I felt like the whole first contact from the Mote could have been a book in and of itself, drawn out with thoughts and feelings of the characters. But the authors didn't feel this to be the book's focus.
-- This is a dense book with a lot of characters. Sometimes it feels like they are shoehorning in characters, just to get them POV time.
-- I've honestly stopped reading for what the humans do. I care about the aliens. The human cast it too huge and uninteresting to care. I'll probably drop the book once the aliens are no longer part of the plot.
-- I just noticed that Heinlein listed this as "One of the Best science fiction books I've read" (Cover blurb) so I have different tastes than Heinlein. Explains a lot...

Edited: Sep 11, 2019, 12:30pm

Tin God by Stacy Green
Start 9/7/19 End 9/10/19

-- so far, this is reading like a modified romance. Female lead, male lead, but with a murder and dead friend in common. Semi interesting premise. I'm 3 chapters in. Reads pretty easy.
-- this turned more interesting as I read. Very hard to put down.
- the end culprit I didnt expect, but they also weren't hugely touted through the book. Everything suggested about them made them make sense.
-- twisty turny, a very good mystery.
-- primary gripe (and I admit to doing it too) is a writer who gets stuck on a reaction. Jaymee was always balling her fists. Her reactions felt attached to her hands. Sometimes she'd bite her lip, but mostly her hands showed more.

Edited: Sep 7, 2019, 6:06pm

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Read by Dylan Baker
Start 8/26/19 End 9/5/19

-- Decided to check out another in the long list of "classics"
-- I'm four chapters in and my only thought so far is "If a modern author waited this long to name a character or have any action happen, they'd never get past the slush pile."
-- Nearing the end of Chapter 10 and my thoughts are to kill all the odd numbered chapters, to strengthen the story and speed it up some. It's crawling something fierce. My dogs can't handle the pace.
-- Really don't mind the loss of some of the characters as it was a huge cast. But really the dog had the worst death! Poor thing was neglected as it was... And then there was the jack rabbit...
-- I realize when this was written, the image was supposed to be a white family, but I'm getting more a sense of a former slave family that had finally gotten something going, became exploited by a white bank, then forced out. The constant push and the maltreatment. It all smacks horribly.
-- Almost to half way and am teetering toward dropping it as a dud.
-- at 56 % complete and needing to return it in four days, I'm going to call this one a dud for me. The character I most identified with just walked off scene not to return. The cast is overly large and hard to follow. And the book is depressing as all crap. It may have a great ending line, but I won't get to it to know...

Aug 26, 2019, 9:56am

>107 gilroy: Have your tissue box nearby.

Edited: Dec 25, 2019, 7:44pm

Ever Shade by Alexia Purdy
Start 08/27/19 End 12/24/19

-- I was looking forward to this book. Something about it called to me. However, a chapter and a half in and I'm finding disappointment in the writing style.
-- Hmmm, magical elder to impart wisdom, second chapter. No wait, she's an excuse to Infodump. BOY is that a dump. The entire plot of who and what Shade is and what her reason for being in the book.
-- Oh, I'm suffering from bad writing syndrome (tm). Info dump, twice within a few pages, all pushing a plot line that I'm having trouble swallowing, especially since there's very little set up to it. If I were the main character, I'd be demanding more proof, time to get ready, and just bolting away from the nuts. Suspect all my anticipation may be damaging my joy of this book and making me more harsh, but I would have the same issues without such.
-- While the feel of the main character is of a teen, the whole of the story feels rushed. There's too much info dump not enough plot and showing.
-- Perhaps scenes meant to show feel more like tell right now, but they didn't meld the two techniques well.
-- "Their faces were gleaming with laughter and flashing." This is an edit fail. Something else was said here and got lost.
-- "spilling down like entrails" oh that's not a good description for a character of royal stature
-- This feels like they are trying an homage to the hobbit or the lord of the Rings , but the writing skills just can't match Tolkien. Things happen, but the details are limited and there's too much focus on her and not enough on the journey.
-- Too much tell, not enough show. The book is only 286 pages long yet it feels like it could be 1000 easily.
-- Traitor in the midst? Maybe. And a hateful guard doesn't help either.
-- This book could use a good editor. Repeated words and phrases within a paragraph. Extended sentences that could be trimmed without losing meaning. Better word choices in some places...
-- And we have a deus ex machina ending. Thus book could have been so much more.

Sep 11, 2019, 12:27pm

Today, we remember.

We remember the shock of the first plane.
We remember the disbelief of the second plane.
We remember the heroes who rushed in, the heroes of the third plane.
We remember the last plane so close to DC.
We remember the fall.

And we honor those who had no idea this was there last few hours.

Sep 11, 2019, 12:51pm

>110 gilroy: Amen. Thank you for making me pause and consider.

Edited: Nov 10, 2019, 7:26pm

Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Start 9/10/19 End

-- More than 20 chapters of backstory. Some history that may or may not be needed. I finally passed the quarter pole and feel like more story and less history is being told.
-- Modified Christian narrative
-- Somehow, I'm seeing this as a better way of displaying the BDSM culture than 50 Shades of Gray ever did. Some may see this as disgusting, but that is essential what an Anguisette desires.
-- I have no empathy for any character other than Guy to this point. Maybe Hyacinthe. Honestly, I find Phedre' a touch annoying.

Edited: Sep 25, 2019, 5:27am

Injustice for All by J A Jance
Read by Gene Engene
Start 09/18/19 End 09/24/19

-- Thought I'd go back and explore this series again.
-- Main character is rude and a bit of a bore. Always seems to stumble across the attractive woman with a problem. Kinda formula.
-- Plot is a little fitting for right now. Politician's wife caught with dead body in the surf, denies affair, possibly husband of another murder victim to blame.

Edited: Oct 6, 2019, 7:03am

The Sight by Chloe Neill
Read by Amy Landon
Start 09/25/19 End 10/3/19

-- Been two years since I visited this part of Ms. Neill's thoughts. Let's dive back in.
-- The idea of magic versus normal seems like another way of framing the racism issues the world continues to face. Timely novel to read.
-- She mentioned the same issue with Malicha and being very formal, probably because he was a general, twice in a very short span. Almost like it was a section missed during the editing process.
-- why do romance authors, especially when using a female pov, always seem to see possession in the guy's eyes? And why is that a good thing?
-- war has come to Nola and the big reveal happens. Kinda expected Claire would need to reveal her magic. Revealing the big bad of the book as on the cusp of wraith-hood I should have seen coming.
-- I like the tension, the build of these books. Going to wait on the next one, but worth the series.

Oct 1, 2019, 7:55am

(I've slacked on my round up posts lately, so here we go.)

July Round Up;
The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
Mythology 101 by Jody Lynn Nye (Dud)
Blood Kissed by Keri Arthur
If I understood you, would I have this look on my face by Alan Alda
Educated by Tara Westover
Slaying It by Chloe Neill

(For count - 1 physical, 1 ebook (1 dud), 4 audio)

August Round Up
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Invention: Locomotive by William Henri
Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Heat Wave by Richard Castle
In Enemy Hands by David Weber

(For count - 1 physical, 1 ebook, 3 audio)

September Round Up
Tin God by Stacy Green
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinback
Injustice for All by J A Jance

(For counts - 1 ebook, 2 audio (1 dud))

Oct 1, 2019, 8:19am

So how was the Nicki Heat book, btw? I liked the TV show for what it was, but haven't read one.

Oct 1, 2019, 8:59am

>116 Bookmarque: Fun, silly little book. Felt like Castle wrote a wish fulfillment/fantasy of what he wished would happen with Beckett from the show. Changed things around JUST enough to make it not exactly the show, but if you've seen the show, you'd know the characters. Fit right into the feel of the show too.

Edited: Oct 1, 2019, 9:47am

About what I thought. I think they're written by committee. Group fantasy? lol

Oct 1, 2019, 10:06am

>116 Bookmarque: & >117 gilroy: I've read a couple of them now. Having loved the first couple of seasons of Castle, I enjoyed the books a lot. Not enough to run out and buy them all, but enough to read them when I have an opportunity. >117 gilroy: did a masterful job of description in that post.

For what it's worth, my mom who has never seen Castle, couldn't put the third (or was it second?) book down. It might have been both. She really loved them.

Oct 1, 2019, 7:33pm

On a more writer related note, though book related, the wife and I decided to try out that MasterClass site that advertised all over Facebook. I admit, I got snagged by the likes of Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, and David Baldacci teaching their writing habits and techniques. The wife has been watching Gordon Ramsey and has at least one other big chef lined up. It's been a very interesting set up so far.

Right now, I'm watching the David Baldacci lessons. 18 lessons that average about 12 minutes, with a workbook and other insights included. Plus assignments and a forum to share.

I'm watching to see what other writers they get. Though they also have Simone Biles teaching Gymnastics, and a NatGeo photographer with a class on taking proper nature photography...

Oct 5, 2019, 9:22pm

>120 gilroy: Fascinating. I usually scroll right past those adds trying not to look at them. Let us know if you think they're worth it.

Edited: Oct 26, 2019, 8:02am

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Read by Robert Glenister
Start Date 10/14/19 End Date 10/24/19

-- I found myself underwhelmed by the previous book in this series. Trying again to see if things improve
-- The scene with the reporter seemed out of place, unless it was for characterization purposes. Still unsure about it.
-- Pompous ass gets booted. Lady stays. Old cliche. Gruff, broke, hard luck PI also cliche.
-- Better characterization this time, not all based on how they hold a cigarette. I feel more for Cormorant this time too. This mispronunciation of the name resonates with me.
-- Somehow, shining a light on the book ending and how it matches the murder feel too much like a red herring. I'd be like Cormorant and try to prove my client innocent as well.
-- I have my suspicions on who the killer is, but I'm not sure. The clue of piper2011 feels like it should be more important than it's being treated.
-- And the thoughts I had proved bad, as one clue was a red herring
-- Get to the end, reveal the killer, and for some reason I was expecting to see a bigger reveal
-- They kept pointing toward one suspect, then did a sharp left at the end. That's much better plotted, better characterization, stronger overall story.

Oct 25, 2019, 5:33pm

I love the Glenister audiobooks and have 'read' all the Strike books this way. I thought this one was pretty convoluted, but really gut-wrenching fun. It was balanced between the personal relationships and the case, more than some of the other books.

Oct 27, 2019, 8:41pm

>122 gilroy: & >123 Bookmarque: I enjoyed this one the best of the four. In the beginning of the series I felt like she was deliberately ripping off Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brody books, but I've come to enjoy them just as much. I do hope she continues with the series.

Nov 10, 2019, 7:12pm

Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong
Read by Laural Merlington
Start Date 10/25/19 End Date 11/6/19

-- I've been reading this series all out of order but it hasn't hurt my understanding too badly
-- Savanah reads like the petulant 12 year old she should be. Paige feels more like a late 30 something than a mid 20 something. Maybe part of that comes from changes in the previous book that I missed
-- Leah is an interesting character but is so a red herring to the plot. I felt like she was underused
-- Lucas offers a different take on some of the world building that had come before. He's a bigger factor to the plot than admitted. Perhaps to the larger series arc.
-- I think I saw the whole coven banishment coming. Just the way the Elders treated their coven head had too many telegraphed steps to them.

(I'm still gathering my thoughts on this one)

Nov 10, 2019, 7:27pm

I'm trying an experiment over the last quarter of the year to see if things work better with postings.
I've started making my notes into OneNote for the sake of more immediate comments when I can't get to the internet.

This has had ... mixed results. I'm no better making these notes than I was here...

Edited: Nov 16, 2019, 9:14pm

Everywhere that Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline

Narrator Teri Schnaubelt
Start Date 11/6/19 End Date 11/15/19

-- I've enjoyed the later books in this series, so it's nice to go back to the beginning and see how things began.
-- This book follows Mary DiNunzio while working at her old law firm, before and up to her joining Bennie Rosato. It feels like a cross between a legal thriller (as the later books are) and a straight up stalker/thriller.
-- I feel bad for Mary, that she falls into the arms of a man who could be a potential stalker. Emotionally vulnerable, she fell into the guy's bed. Seems a bad idea
-- Somehow, pointing to Ned, this seems very red herring for the thriller concept. He's too obvious. Though Judy has a point too
-- They just started dating and he's already into the terms of endearment. *shudder*
-- The final culprit makes much more sense. I feel like the clues toward them were too few and far between. Not enough for it to be completely unconsidered, but enough for you to blink in shock

Nov 29, 2019, 5:44am

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
Start Date 10/6/19 End Date 11/28/19

-- Originally I picked this up as a gift to someone else. They didn't want it so it stayed on my shelf.
-- Silly little mystery as a flock of sheep try to solve their shepherd's murder.
-- I feel like the writer is talking down to the reader, with the constant reminder of who the smartest sheep in all Glennkill is.
-- You are getting a smattering of clues from the sheep in their various excursions and from them overhearing conversations, but I'm near the end of the book and am still lost.
-- I probably should have given up at the half way point on this book. I just wasn't drawn in. Point in fact, I avoided reading it some nights.
-- The final few chapters were disappointing. The culprit was a twist, but through all the story, not a good twist. No hints, no clues, nothing to point toward this outcome.
-- I feel like this should have been a dud book, but the concept was so unique…

Edited: Dec 30, 2019, 1:32pm

I admit I've been slacking on my reading of late. Too much going on with my life to stop. And I hate saying that...

So here's my round up for the last two months:

October Round Up
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Sight by Chloe Neill
The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell

(For counts - 1 physical, 2 audio)

November Round Up
Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
Everywhere that Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline
Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong

(For counts - 1 physical, 2 audio)

Dec 6, 2019, 9:38am

>129 gilroy: It happens. I've been having that reading slump/slack for about two years now. Some months I can read 6-8 books, others I'm happy to have finished 2.

Edited: Dec 25, 2019, 7:53pm

The Devil's Heart by Carmen Carter

Read by Gates McFadden
Start Date 12/9/19 End Date 12/10/19

-- I have limited thoughts on this. My first major comment is this is NOT an unabridged version, no matter what the cover says. It says Adapted for audio, which tells me that they edited it. Sounds are used to replace sentences.
-- It just didn't impress me. The story was a touch bland. And they tried to make an echo when dealing with dialogue.

Dec 25, 2019, 7:56pm

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

Read by William Hope
Start Date 12/2/19 End Date 12/5/19

-- Read this way back in high school so wanted to read again to remember the storyline
-- There are some rather rude characters in here. Not to mention racist and narcissistic.
-- Let's see. Nick is Watson. Gatsby is a con. Daisy is a confused woman. Jordan is a golfer and maybe a cheat. George Wilson is a lost man. Myrtle Wilson is a ladder climber and materialistic woman. Most of the rest are ne'er-do-wells.
-- I remembered an accident at the books end, but I misremembered who drove and who died.
-- Gatsby was living as a shell of himself, maybe that's the take away from this book. Be true to self.

Dec 26, 2019, 6:37am

Bot Wars by J V Kade

Start Date 11/28/19 End Date 12/25/19

-- It feels like the first few chapters are more to establish the attempt at slang the author created. Honestly, it isn't great, but I have to remember this was written for the middle grade set. However, cheesy, it is not. It's just pathetic.
-- This book definitely could have used a stronger editor, even for the grade they chose. Bring more focus to the story. Some chapters are done to introduce elements, I get that. But they ramble for too long. Those intros could be a partial chapter.
-- There's elements late in the book that I kept asking "why didn't they do this sooner?" or "Hasn't more time passed than is valid for that device?" The end of the book is a nice neat wrap up, except…
-- I am going back to the whole slang thing. It jarred me out of the story each time. It may "fit" the world, flow well with the text, but it makes absolutely no sense. For a character who's a bot repair person or who does things with his hands, fine. The main character isn't either of those things. Just NO.

Edited: Dec 31, 2019, 11:31am

The Animal in You by Roy Feinson

Start Date 12/30/19 End 12/30/19

-- Psychology worked to face the animal world.
-- I had to manipulate the numbers just to get something close to my personality. this thing is so wrong...
-- Best friend chose different from me, so got me one that fits. Still not a good book from what I could tell.

Edited: Jan 1, 7:34am

December Round up:
Ever Shade by Alexia Purdy
Bot Wars by J V Kade
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
The Devil's Heart by Carmen Carter
The Animal in You by Roy Feinson

(for the count - 2 physical, 2 audio, 1 ebook -- 1 dud)

Jan 1, 7:52am

End of year count and annual Reading Poll:

Final Count was 55 books read - 6 duds for a total of 49 books completed
Physical books - 13 read - 2 duds = 11
Ebooks - 8 read - 1 dud = 7
Audio books - 34 read - 3 duds = 31

Another breakdown:
49 fiction and 6 non fiction attempted.
18 fantasy, 11 science fiction, 11 Mystery, 7 other fiction

Here's the link to the annual book poll (It will also be in the new thread):
Link to Poll

Edited: Jan 1, 8:52am

Oh, and because I'm slacking and forgot to mention this when it happened -- I did end up with a replacement to the Fusion back in October. My final selection...

2016 Subaru Crosstrek AWD

Blue with all the safety trimmings.

Jan 1, 9:02am

What a cute little sube! Congratulations.

Jan 1, 4:41pm

>136 gilroy: That poll was fun, hadn't seen that before. :)

Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 6:51pm

>139 MrsLee: I had to go back and rearrange, because everyone had missed the last section of books. :(
Well, it was three responses, so nothing major to date.