MickyFine's 2019 Reading Quest, Third Adventure
This is a continuation of the topic MickyFine's 2019 Reading Quest, Second Adventure.
This topic was continued by MickyFine's 2019 Reading Quest, Fourth Adventure.
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I'm Micky, 32-year-old 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. This year, in an effort to whittle down my to be read list (referred to as The List) I'm attempting to read 150 books this year. 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
25. Happy Go Money - Melissa Leong
26. Giant Days, Vol. 1 - John W. Allison & Whitney Cogar
27. Consumed - J.R. Ward
28. The Loving Cup - Winston Graham
29. Rainshadow Road - Lisa Kleypas
30. Archenemies - Marissa Meyer
31. Giant Days, vol. 2 - John Allison
32. Do You Want to Start a Scandal - Tessa Dare
33. The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery
34. Circle - Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
35. The Lost Plot - Genevieve Cogman
36. I Love Lucy: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom - Greg Oppenheimer
37. The Golden Road - L.M. Montgomery
38. Tempest - Beverly Jenkins
39. How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps - Nicola Winstanley
40. The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett - Nathan Ward
41. Bed of Roses - Nora Roberts
42. First Earl I See Tonight - Anna Bennett
43. 4:50 From Paddington - Agatha Christie
44. The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London - Christopher Skaife
45. The Little Brooklyn Bakery - Julie Caplin
46. Switch and Bait - Ricki Schultz
47. One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter - Scaachi Koul
48. Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear
49. When the Irish Invaded Canada - Christopher Klein
50. As You Like It - William Shakespeare (re-read)
51. The Library Book - Susan Orlean
52. Amazing Spider-Man: Edge of Spider-Verse - David Hine et. al.
53. Keepers of the Record: The History of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives - Deidre Simmons
54. Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince - V.E. Schwab
55. Venetia - Georgette Heyer
56. Spider-Verse - Dan Slott et. al.
57. Spider-Gwen: Most Wanted? - Jason Latour
58. High Five - Janet Evanovich
59. It's All a Game - Tristan Donovan
60. Teetotaled - Maia Chance
61. Jane of Lantern Hill - L.M. Montgomery
62. Big Stone Gap - Adriana Trigiani
63. Spider-Gwen: Greater Power - Jason Latour
64. Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog - Jerome K. Jerome
65. Unseemly Science - Rod Duncan
66. The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side - Agatha Christie
67. Chaotic Good - Whitney Gardner
68. Without a Summer - Mary Robinette Kowal
69. Spider-Women - Dennis Hopeless
70. Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon
71. Dragonshadow - Elle Katharine White
72. Lumberjanes: Time After Crime - Shannon Watters et. al.
73. Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold - Stephen Fry
74. Spider-Gwen: Weapon of Choice - Jason Latour
75. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
76. A Useful Woman - Darcie Wilde
77. Anne's Alphabet - Kelly Hill
78. Heartburn - Nora Ephron
79. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow - Jessica Townsend
80. Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come - Jessica Pan
81. A Purely Private Matter - Darcie Wilde
82. Our Dark Duet - Victoria Schwab
83. Emily of New Moon - L.M. Montgomery
84. The Chai Factor - Farah Heron
85. The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes - Bill Watterson
86. The Matchmaker's List - Sonya Lalli
87. Rick Mercer Final Report - Rick Mercer
88. Kim's Convenience - Ins Choi
89. Carry On, Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse
90. Double Income, No Kids Yet: The Complete Series 1 - David Spicer
91. Time and Time Again - Robert Silverberg
92. Three Bedrooms, One Corpse - Charlaine Harris
93. Double Income, No Kids Yet: The Complete Series 2 - David Spicer
94. The Joy of Cookies - Cookie Monster
95. Double Income, No Kids Yet: The Complete Series 3 - David Spicer
96. Early Riser - Jasper Fforde
97. Beauty and the Clockwork Beast - Nancy Campbell Allen
98. More Than Meets the Eye - Karen Witemeyer
99. Gin and Panic - Maia Chance
100. Reticence - Gail Carriger
101. A Doll's House - Henrik Ibsen
102. The Sunny Side - A.A. Milne
103. The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde
104. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow - Jessica Townsend
105. Lumberjanes: Jackalope Springs Eternal - Shannon Watters
106. Emma - Jane Austen
107. My Life in France - Julia Child
108. Bridal Boot Camp - Meg Cabot
109. Now? Not Yet! - Gina Perry
110. Muse of Nightmares - Laini Taylor
111. Attachments - Rainbow Rowell (re-read)
112. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
113. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
114. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
115. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
116. Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
117. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
118. Big Mushy Happy Lump - Sarah Andersen
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
Thanks to Foggi, Katie, Linda, Richard, and Amber for the new thread well wishes.
I swear there will be a book review posted soon. Dostoyevsky is sadly not a speed read but I'm getting close to the end.
Thank you Natalie, Rachel, Leah, and Jim for additional thread well wishes. :)
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Raskolnikov, an impoverished former student in St. Petersburg spends a 100ish pages deciding whether or not to commit a murder and then another 500ish pages going in various mental circles about whether or not to turn himself in after he does commit the murder.
The writing here is well done and the translation is also excellent as it doesn't have that stilted and removed feeling I've noted in several translated novels I've read recently. I can see why it's an enduring classic but I was kind of hate reading long passages of this. There are many sections where paragraphs stretch across multiple pages, which is exhausting to read, particularly when spending so much time inside the head of a character whose thoughts are convoluted but also circular. Also, Dostoyevsky's female characters often serve as little more than window dressing with no real careful examination of their internal lives. If you're on a classics kick, this isn't a terrible read but it isn't one I'll ever recommend.
>16 MickyFine: I’m impressed you managed to finish Crime & Punishment - I never did. Gave up about a fourth/third of the way in.
I read C&P in an English class in high school and really liked it, but probably benefited from a great teacher.
I read Crime & Punishment in high school (on my personal time, not assigned), and I think by the last 50 pages or so I ended up reading every-other page just to get it over with. I much prefer Tolstoy!
>17 richardderus: Thank you, RDear. *smooch*
>18 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!
>19 PawsforThought: I wanted to get it read and off my shelves, Paws, so I had motivation.
>20 katiekrug: I can definitely see how having a good teacher to dig into it with could make the reading experience more enjoyable.
>21 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul.
>22 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita.
>23 norabelle414: Agreed. Even with his long passages of theory, I found the plot bits of Tolstoy's doorstoppers more compelling.
Congratulations on 75 books - and with Crime and Punishment at that! Still scarred after assigned that one in HS.
75! Way to go, Micky! And what a 75th. I read Crime and Punishment as a young guy, and back then it had a big effect on me. I don't know what I'd think now.
Thanks to Mary, Meg, Anne, and Joe for the 75 books congratulations.
>27 AMQS: Yeah, I think that one is going to make it's way to the used bookstore before I move again.
A Useful Woman - Darcie Wilde
In the wake of her father's abandonment of her family, Rosalind Thorne has kept a precarious toehold in the upper echelons of society with the aid of her godmother, Lady Blanchard, and by making herself useful to the various ladies of society. Rosalind is adept at creating the perfect guest list for an event or hushing up a potential scandal. But when the body of Jasper Aimesworth is found in the ballroom at Almack's, Jasper's sister Honoria demands that Rosalind find out who is responsible. No small task when several of those who discovered the body along with Rosalind are those dearest to her, including her former beau. The situation is even more complicated when a handsome young Bow Street Runner is put on the case. Will determining how the young man died completely destroy Rosalind's position and will she care if it does?
I adored this Regency cozy mystery. Rosalind is an excellent protagonist with a robust back story and the historical details are well-crafted but not so flashy that you can see the author pointing at all the research she did. The mystery was well done as well and the ultimate resolution of the whodunnit was quite suspenseful. If you like cozies and Jane Austen, this is an excellent mix of both worlds. Highly recommended.
Anne's Alphabet - Kelly Hill
A cute alphabet board book with inspiration from the Anne of Green Gables books. The illustrations are beautiful but some of the words used for the alphabet seem like a stretch for the target audience and may be there more for the adult who loves Anne and is reading the book to the child (raspberry cordial and kindred spirits seem like quite the mouthful for a three year old). Still, thoroughly charming and I'll be gifting it to my nieces.
Catching up: Happy new thread! And, congrats on 75!
I read and loved Crime and Punishment and worked it into conversations more than was probably socially helpful back in my early 20's. I've thought about revisiting it, but don't think I'm ready just yet. Glad to hear that at least it didn't suck.
>30 MickyFine: You got me with that one! Belated congratulations on reaching 75!
Heartburn - Nora Ephron
When Rachel Samstat, who is seven months pregnant, discovers that her second husband is having an affair her life falls apart. How does she go forward from here? Does she forgive the schmuck and stay with him? Or does she move on?
I'm very fond of several Nora Ephron's films so reading this novel was an inevitability. It definitely has its charming moments and many of the jokes continue to hold up well thirty-five years later but even with Ephron's funny observations smattered throughout, it is hard to escape the sadness of the overall narrative. While I definitely enjoyed my time with the book, it won't be one I revisit like I do her films.
>30 MickyFine: Ohhhh noooooooooooo
*trudges off to library site to request YET ANOTHER BOOK-BULLET from Micky "Black-Souled Satanic Book Warbler" the Librarian*
>16 MickyFine: Congrats on 75! I read C&P back in high school in a class called something like Violence, Morality, and Human Nature (my high school was a little intense...) and I really liked it, and it helped to have a great teacher read it with us. We also read Blood Meridian, which I don't think I ever would have read otherwise.
>30 MickyFine: Ooh, the library e-book is available now. Checking it out! :D
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow - Jessica Townsend
Morrigan Crow was born cursed. Everything that goes wrong in her town is blamed on her and she is fated to die young. However, just after her eleventh birthday she encounters Jupitor North who brings her to the secret and magical city of Nevermoor where he sponsors her for membership in the Wundrous Society. In order to gain membership, Morrigan must pass through several trials over the course of a year in order to prove her worthiness.
Comparisons to Harry Potter are inevitable with this book and Morrigan Crow stands her ground well. She's a charming character with several rough edges that make her feel real, the characters that surround her are delightful (I may have a bit of a crush on Jupiter North), and the magical world of Nevermoor is well-designed. I loved the Hotel Deucalion and I like to imagine what kind of room it would craft for me. Townsend also adds a healthy dose of humour to her well-paced narrative and the pages fly by. My only quibble is that Morrigan feels older than eleven in her internal thoughts and her emotional reactions, although a case could be made that her upbringing has made her more emotionally mature than one might expect at eleven. That small issue aside, I utterly enjoyed every second of this novel and eagerly look forward to picking up the next book in the series.
>43 MickyFine: Who *wouldn't* have a crush on Jupiter North after reading that one?! I sure do. I need to remember to pick up the next book at some point...
>44 jennyifer24: Thanks, Jenny! Living in Canada LM Montgomery is core collection so we've got all of her books hanging around. Hopefully your library can bring some in for you.
>45 scaifea: I had a feeling you'd share my book crush, Amber. I had to ignore the illustration of him on the back of the book though. His beard looked far too goat-like in it.
>46 bell7: It's a good choice for a BB, Mary. :)
>43 MickyFine: That's one I've been meaning to read for a while now. I'll bump it up on middle grade TBR list. Glad you liked it so much!
>48 aktakukac: It was on my list for a while also and when I was recently in need of books for the weekend (my holds hadn't come in when expected) it was on shelf in my branch so I nabbed it. It's a 2019/20 Young Reader's Choice Award nominee in the Junior category (run by the Pacific Northwest Library Association) so we have tons of copies of it as our library is very active in the YRCA program.
Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come - Jessica Pan
Jessica Pan was very accustomed to her lifestyle as a shy introvert living in London with her husband and a small circle of friends. But when most of her friends moved to other cities and Jessica left her traditional job for freelancing she found herself feeling lonely, depressed, and a bit trapped by her introvert habits. In an effort to expand her life a little, she decided for a year she would do things that are far more common for extroverts like talking to complete strangers, taking an improv class, and hosting a dinner party.
As an introvert myself, I was really charmed by this memoir. While I'm more of an outgoing introvert than a shy introvert, I could relate to Jessica hiding behind her introvert-ness as an excuse to not try new things or challenge herself. Her writing is funny and charming as she relates her adventures and there were definitely takeaways she shared from her exploits that made me think seriously about how I might apply it in my own life. Highly recommended whether you just enjoy a funny memoir from an author taking on new challenges or if you're an introvert looking to vicariously explore some new experiences.
>55 MickyFine: I actually just checked out and downloaded the ebook, and read the first few pages. We'll see if the momentum continues...
>52 MickyFine: Heh!! The title alone should guarantee it bestsellerdom.
Happy new week, Type II Librarian Lady.
...and you a degree-havin' informed lady! I am shocked. And itchy in sympathy.
>59 richardderus: I really should have learned by now but somehow, I have not.
A Purely Private Matter - Darcie Wilde
In the second book in this Regency cozy mystery series, Rosalind's reporter friend Alice introduces Rosalind to Mrs. Seymore who requires help in trying to prevent her husband from pursuing a criminal conversation case against a beloved actor. Unfortunately, shortly after they meet, the actor is found murdered and Rosalind once again finds herself trying to untangle the many threads within the Seymore family and beyond to determine who may have committed the crime.
While not quite as sparkling as the first entry in this series, I was still really satisfied with the mystery. The historical details continue to be strong and the mystery is well-crafted with minimal coincidences moving the investigation forward. Of course, there's an inevitable love triangle although the time period adds some interesting elements as considerations of class are a major factor with both men. Rosalind continues to be an excellent heroine although I was disappointed that Mrs. Kendricks, her housekeeper appeared so little in this entry as I enjoyed the chapters from her perspective in the previous book. Suffers a bit from sophomore wobble but an enjoyable mystery nonetheless. Recommended if you liked the first book.
Happy newish thread and congratulations on 75 Micky!
>52 MickyFine: Um ... I should just make that into a badge for me to wear.
>67 MickyFine: - Snork. Reminds me of the Ron Swanson sticker I put in The Wayne's stocking last Christmas - "I can't go because I don't want to."
>68 katiekrug: I like that. It fits me better since I am perpetually early to everything, even if I don't want to go.
>67 MickyFine: I need that! I'm sooo going to check out that website!
Checking in on your thread and I've been hit by more BB's than I want to admit to. Well done!
My poor reading list regrets this visit. My "OMG those sound brilliant" soul is very happy :D
Our Dark Duet - Victoria Schwab
This review may contain spoilers for This Savage Song.
In the wake of her father's day, Kate Harker has been hiding in Prosperity and fighting the occasional monster outbreak in that city. But when a new monster appears on the scene, she'll be pulled back to Verity to face everything she left behind. Meanwhile, August has had to step up into a leadership role as Verity begins to fall apart and is losing what little humanity he has. As darkness closes in, will he be able to save the city from itself?
A satisfying conclusion to this duology filled with monsters, excellent fight sequences, and an ending that pulls no punches. If you've read some of Schwab's other fantasy works you can see her skills at work here with well-crafted characters and well-defined rules for this universe. Also, there was a significant gap between when I read the first book and when I read it's sequel and I was able to jump into the narrative without a refresher and still follow along. Recommended if you liked the first book.
Jane Austen, the Secret Radical - Helena Kelly
The tone of this one drove me batty and had me Pearl-ruling it with a vengeance. Kelly's argument seems to be that no one understands Jane Austen but her and that you can only understand Austen by closely reading her novels. While it's fair to attempt to gain insight into an author from their books, it's dangerous to extrapolate too much about an author from her works. Also, the book involved a very close reading of the texts, which is fine if you're in the academic market and interested in her argument, but as a general reader (with a Janeite bent) it wasn't what I was hoping for from the book.
Plus she insulted Henry Tilney, which I just can't stand for. ;)
>74 MickyFine: Plus she insulted Henry Tilney, which I just can't stand for. That's a big nope, then.
Emily of New Moon - L.M. Montgomery
When eleven-year-old Emily Starr's beloved father dies, she is left in the care of her mother's side of the family, the Murrays. Renowned in their community of Blair Water for their excessive pride, Emily goes to live with her aunts, Elizabeth and Laura, at New Moon Farm. There she often finds herself at odds with Aunt Elizabeth but she finds a small circle of beloved friends who support her as she grows up and begins her career as a poet and author.
As charming as one would expect from an L.M. Montgomery, this introduction to Emily and her world is lovely to read. While her world is filled with a few more antagonists than some of Montgomery's other characters face, Emily remains optimistic in the face of it all and an entrancing personality with whom to spend time. Not the starting point I'd recommend if you're dipping into L.M. Montgomery for the first time, but still an excellent read for established fans of her work.
>79 MickyFine: I never loved the Emily books as much as the rest of Montgomery's work, though as I recall, it's the third book that I really have problems with. Glad you're enjoying your reread. Those covers sure are pretty! (I think that every time you post one.)
>80 foggidawn: It's actually my first time reading the Emily books so I'm interested to see how the trilogy turns out, knowing that it's the most autobiographical of Montgomery's novels. I adore these covers. Crossing my fingers Tundra releases more in the fall and winter so I can continue to collect all things L.M. Montgomery.
>81 MickyFine: Phew! Glad I didn't post anything more spoilery. I'll be interested to see what you think when the Tundra editions of the next two come out.
>83 MickyFine: I've been collecting the older covers, that are more mass market size, with pale coloured spines, so I'm in the opposite boat from you -- I have Pat of Silver Bush, but not Mistress Pat, because it's out of publication. I should really scour eBay to see if someone is selling it...
>79 MickyFine: I love this book. Anne is my favourite, but I admire Emily's ambitions.
Mild pet drama over the weekend. After determining that Smee was the cat who had been peeing not in his litterbox over the past week, took him to the vet as that's often a sign that something is up health-wise. He's got a urinary infection so giving him (liquid) pain meds twice a day for the next few days plus an antibiotic (in pill form) once day for another 9 days. Giving Smee a pill is an exercise in frustration for all. Mr. Fine and I spent half an hour fighting with him to get him to take the dang thing. I've studied YouTube for some tips that we'll try tonight but if any of you have tips on getting cats to take a pill, I'll take them.
>88 MickyFine: Oh, jeez. Cats and pills. Our old cat was so anti-pills that when we had to de-worm him we had to take him to the vet and have them do it. Then I discovered the wonder that is spot-on de-worming and we've stuck to it ever since. I've never even tried to get new(er) kitty to take pills. When we had to give him antibiotics it was a liquid that apparently tasted like meat so he was very happy to eat it.
I know people who've had good luck putting the pills into liver paté.
The Chai Factor - Farah Heron
Amira Khan is nearly finished her Masters in Engineering, with one final project she needs to write and turn in. Deeming dorm life not conducive to the kind of work she needs to do, she returns home to the house she shares with her grandmother, mother, and younger sister. The only problem: her grandmother has rented out rooms in the basement Amira normally has to herself for two weeks to a barbershop quartet who are preparing for a major competition. Amira really just wants to work but finds herself being drawn into the lives of the four guys in her basement and sparks begin to fly between her and one of the quartet's members, complicating things even more.
I so desperately wanted to like this book. The premise is a great one and I am trying to read more diverse fiction. But I slammed this book down in frustration multiple times. Amira is constantly angry, and while the source of her anger is understandable, it doesn't make for a particularly pleasant reading experience. Also, almost every chapter Amira runs up against an Issue (homophobia, Islamophobia, eating disorders, racism, etc.) to the point where it didn't feel believable. The dialogue was stilted, the regular conflicts between Amira and almost everyone else in the novel felt contrived in spots, and I honestly wasn't sure what the male lead of the novel saw in Amira to be attracted to in the first place. If Heron writes a second novel, I'll try it but I can't recommend this one, which bums me out.
>88 MickyFine: Sorry about your pet drama! I've had some luck with the "hold them tight and stroke the underside of their throat to push the pill down" method, but not much.
>90 MickyFine: Oh dear...not a success. Too bad.
Good luck with the pill thing.
>88 MickyFine: I've found that disguising the pill inside a pill pocket works pretty well for my girl when she needs pills. And when she gets bored with her 'treat', I burrito her in a towel (to contain the extra twelve legs she grows) and it's back to force open jaws and stroke throat until she swallows. That's when a second part of hands is useful. But if you can get pill pockets to work for your cat, they're magic.
>93 richardderus: Thank you, Richard.
>94 archerygirl: The extra legs they grow are really crazy, Kathy.
>95 norabelle414: Hmm. Might have to try that later.
Last night's pill administration was a comparative breeze. Did a Smee burrito and then tried the mouth opening trick we learned from the YouTube video last night and Mr. Fine was able to toss the pill in on the second try and Smee swallowed it. All in about 5 minutes which felt amazing. How much his being dopey from the pain meds helped this process remains to be seen. He gets his last dose Wednesday morning so tomorrow night will be a true test.
The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes - Bill Watterson
It's Calvin and Hobbes. Need more be said? I giggled out loud regularly and had a generally great time.
>97 MickyFine: Ooh, I have two Calvin & Hobbes sets that are waiting patiently for me to pick up and read. One of these days...
>97 MickyFine: The only cartoon strip that never, ever stales for me. I was a big Bloom County and Doonesbury fan back in the day, but they do NOT hold up the way Calvin and Hobbes have.
>96 MickyFine: Glad it went better with the pills.
When I had cats, I had most luck with rolling them thight into a bathing towel. All legs in the towel and only the head out. One was good in spitting out, so I had to put something like butter around the pills for him and stike his throat until he swallowed.
The Matchmaker's List - Sonya Lalli
The year Raina Anand turns twenty-nine, her Nani gets a jump on the promise Raina made to allow her grandmother to play matchmaker. Raina isn't thrilled by the guys she meets in the process and she's still not over a guy from her past, which makes the forced mating process even more painful. As Raina struggles with how to keep from disappointing Nani while also staying true to herself, she finds herself embroiled in a mess of her own making that threatens to hurt far more than just her.
I really loved this novel. Raina is flawed and makes some truly dumb choices at certain points but everything about her felt real and understandable. Her relationships with her family and close friends are complicated but wonderful to spend time with and it's a delight to see all of the characters grow over the course of the novel. While there's definitely romantic element to the plot, romance definitely isn't the focus here. Instead, we spend a year with Raina as she figures out who she is and what she wants and it's a delight to witness the process. Recommended.
>88 MickyFine: et al I mostly did the "throw the pill down there throat" trick, with some butter on the lips so they lick at it which helps move the pill down the throat.
I will add that these urinary infections are usually reoccurring in male cats especially. I will share what took me about 4 long years to find out. Many cat UTIs are caused by struvite crystals which are created from the grain sugars in feed and magnesium, which is important for brain function.
I saw 4 vets over those years who never explained this to me. The 5th one explained it but the solution was surgery or a prescription diet that was expensive and removed magnesium. Much panicky research later I discovered the sugar thing and that grain free food would solve it. We stitched and haven't had a single repeat urinary problem in like 12 years.
Making sure the urine is slightly acidic helps too. A supplement with cranberry and marshmallow root will do the trick. Most urinary tract supplements have these!
Good luck with Smee!
PS: I love vets and know they work really hard. I just also know that, like Drs, vet schools teach to medicine and not to holistic food-as-medicine.
Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.
Books read: 12 (86)
Books ditched: 1 (8)
Fiction: 10 (70)
Non-fiction: 2 (16)
Library: 7 (70)
Mine: 5 (16)
Borrowed elsewhere: 0 (0)
Re-reads: 0 (1)
Female authors: 10 (64)
Male authors: 2 (23)
Adult fiction: 6 (48)
YA fiction: 1 (18)
Children's fiction: 3 (9)
Pages: 4,429 (25,205)
Average rating: 3.75 (3.69)
Average time to read book: 3.3 days (3.13 days)
Favourite book(s): A Useful Woman was so wonderful, it won the prize easily.
Nice summary of July, Micky! I didn't get to A Useful Woman before I had to return it to the library, but it's on my TBR list now and hopefully I will get to it soon... Happy August!
>97 MickyFine: I'm getting the Calvin and Hobbes from my library--thanks for the heads-up!
Rick Mercer Final Report - Rick Mercer
A collection of Rick's rants from the Rick Mercer Report.
I watched the show for most of its fifteen-year run so it was fun to revisit some of these rants. It's also entertaining to see the things that have changed and stayed the same in Canadian politics. For instance, that moment when I realized the current leader of the Conservatives used to be Speaker during the Harper years. Rick is a national treasure in my books and this book is a delight for those who feel the same.
>115 MickyFine: ...if I hadn't already loved Gord Downie, I'd've been his slave for life after listening to that piece. I get the shtik now, he's The Guy Who Notices. Fun!
Hooray for long weekends. Mine started when I saw Rob for an hour yesterday, by surprise, and got Told Off for not having my new phone all fixed up. Made my week!
>116 richardderus: Many more of them were about Canadian politics, which was his bread and butter. Nice that you got some time with Rob. Happy for you. *smooch*
Kim's Convenience - Ins Choi
In a gentrifying neighbourhood in Toronto, Kim's Convenience is a Korean corner store run by Mr. Kim and his wife since they immigrated to Canada. Their children, Jung and Janet, are grown and when Mr. Kim is offered a large amount of money for his store he is faced with the question of what his legacy will be.
I picked up this play because I was curious to see the material that the TV show is based on. Both are full of comedy, love, and really thoughtful look at the experience of coming to a new country. I think it helped having seen the show to then read the play as I already had Mr. and Mrs. Kim's voices in my head. It is interesting to see that Jung and Janet are older in the text and the differences that makes. The play is wonderful and it's easy to see why it was so quickly beloved. I also loved the context that the various introductions and short essays from cast and crew (from both the play and the show) added here. Recommended although I would suggest watching an episode or two of the show on CBC (if you're in Canada) or on Netflix before picking up the play.
Hi Micky! I came home to The Chai Factor waiting for me from the library, but I think I'll pass on it, given your comments.
Hope Smee is feeling better. Leonard has decided he no longer wants to poop in his box, so that's fun *eye roll*
>118 MickyFine: I have never heard of that one, Micky, but I will go and check out netflix after I'm done here.
>119 katiekrug: The Chai Factor was a disappointment but I would recommend trying The Matchmaker's List instead.
Smee is feeling much better. We've got one last dose of antibiotics to give him tonight and then we're done with having to pill him. Just a little under a week of mixing probiotics in to his food to help maintain his gut flora and then we'll be completely done with all the sick kitty things and I cannot wait.
>120 PaulCranswick: Hopefully you can a) access it and b) enjoy it, Paul!
Carry On, Jeeves - P.G. Wodehouse
Bertie and his many friends continue to get into various scrapes and are pulled back out of them by the deliciously well-thought out plans of Bertie's valet, Jeeves.
Another excellent collection of short stories from Wodehouse that I giggled my way through. I particularly delighted in the final story in this collection, which is told from Jeeves's perspective rather than Bertie's which made for a fascinating shift. Always reliably enjoyable.
>122 MickyFine: Ooh, Jeeves and Wooster! I haven't read that particular one yet, but it's on the list. I have all of the J&W books (in a very pretty edition) sitting on my bookshelf and waiting for me. Collecting them has been one of my book quests the past couple of years, and I was ridiculously proud when I bought the last one. They're so good and so funny.
>122 MickyFine: A story told from Jeeves perspective sounds like a fun twist, Micky. I’ll have to keep a look out for that one.
>129 humouress: I've only read the Jeeves and Wooster stories (and not all of them) and the first of the Psmith books (also very good). I'm sure I'll like the rest of his books too.
I think the school stories came first and then Psmith, who was at school and then the start of his career which, I think, fed into the Blandings-type books where one Bertie Wooster was a guest at some point. Though I could well be wrong.
I went on a Wodehouse binge when I was just out of school (golf stories and so on) but I didn’t get much of the humour at that point. But the story where Lord (I forget who; it can’t be Lord Emsworth, he’s too skinny) goes on a diet is hilarious. I actually laughed until I cried.
>132 humouress: I came to Wodehouse via the Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry Jeeves & Wooster TV show.
Double Income, No Kids Yet: The Complete Series 1 - David Spicer
Daniel and Lucy are in their mid-30s and perfectly content with their childless lifestyle, even though their entire social circle seems to be having or raising kids.
The first season of this BBC Radio comedy series is funny and charming. Daniel and Lucy are often the voice of sanity in their group of friends, which always makes for humour. As the series originally aired in 2001 it does show its age in a couple spots but not in a detrimental way. Plus, who doesn't enjoy listening to David Tennant actually get to use his own (Scottish) accent?
Time and Time Again - Robert Silverberg
This collection received a starred review in Booklist and since I'm always a sucker for time travel stories, I added it to The List. Overall, I'd rate the collection as ok but I won't be seeking out any more of Silverberg's writing. His writing is definitely of a certain school of sci fi of which I'm not always a big fan. I was also a bit annoyed that in the entire collection not a single story featured a female protagonist and many of the female characters who do crop up are pretty flat. Summaries and my thoughts on the individual stories follow.
Absolutely Inflexible - Causality loop. Solid story.
Needle in a Timestack - Man trying to keep his wife while her ex keeps time traveling to try and get her back. Good!
Trips - Starts in second person (blech!) but ends up being about a guy aimlessly traveling through parallel universes (also time?) while always checking in on versions of his wife. Kind of annoying and pointless. Wife character seems to exist solely for male fulfillment.
Many Mansions - Terrible people being terrible. And there's time travel.
Homefaring - Man time travels to future (?) and shares a body with a giant lobster. DNF.
What We Learned From This Morning's Newspaper - An entire street in the suburbs receives the NYT from a week and a half in the future. Interesting with a bleak ending.
Hunters in the Forest - Time traveling to the past to see dinosaurs. All right.
Jennifer's Lover - A marriage broken up by a time traveler. Ok.
Sailing to Byzantium - A man from 1984 is brought to the 50th century where the locals recreate various cities and are perpetual tourists. Interesting exploration of what it is to be human.
Breckenridge and the Continuum - A stock broker is simultaneously living life in the 80s and on a exploration mission in the future. I think. I didn't really get this one.
The Man Who Floated in Time - Narrator works as scribe for older man who claims to have traveled to the past by astral projection. Narrator must decide if he believes the old man and whether he wants to learn the skill. Meh.
Gianni - A group of scientists bring forward an 18th century composer to 2008 only to have him lose himself in contemporary culture. An interesting exploration of fate and destiny. Funny to see how an imagined future 2008 differs from the reality that is now past.
The Far Side of the Bell-Shaped Curve - Two time travelers meet at the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and fall in love. The male protagonist flirts with paradoxes in trying to preserve their relationship. Ok but the characters are obnoxiously superior.
Dancers in the Time-flux - A mutated human and an explorer from the late 16th century go on a journey together in the distant future. Meh.
Hawksbill Station - Political revolutionaries from the future are sent to live in a prison camp in the precambrian period. A new arrival causes changes. Really solid.
Against the Current - A man begins randomly traveling backwards through time. Well-written but kind of depressing.
>135 MickyFine: not a single story featured a female protagonist
"Needle in a Timestack" and "Against the Current" are this collection's raison d'etre. I like Silverberg better than you do, but probably that's to do with 1) Y chromosome and b) reading his stuff since 1970.
One other collection you might just consider perusing is Roma Aeterna, about a Rome that failed to fall to the christians. Thematically my jam, jelly, and preserves, but also quite interesting as a thought experiment.
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse - Charlaine Harris
And with that, I'm done with this series. The writing is dated and just plain bad in spots. The romance in this one wasn't romantic AT ALL and I figured out the mystery pretty easily. Plus I just don't like Aurora as a character, which is more important in a cozy. I'll stick with the Hallmark movies based on the books instead, which are far better than their source material.
>140 MickyFine: Mirrors my experience with this cozy series. It was a relief to say, "nope, I'm done," when I was not enjoying myself At. All.
>140 MickyFine: Well, dang, hope your next read is better. Between you & Richard, I'm pretty sure I can skip that mystery series with no regrets.
>140 MickyFine: Well, a romance that isn't romantic and a mystery that isn't mysterious enough sounds pointless. Good call on skipping the reset of the books and just enjoying the TV series.
Double Income, No Kids Yet: The Complete Series 2 - David Spicer
Daniel and Lucy continue to be drawn into the drama of their friends and begin to question whether they really don't want kids.
Continues to be funny and sweet.
The Joy of Cookies - Cookie Monster
A very fast and cute read in which Cookie Monster shares his wisdom. It usually involves cookies: memes, recipes, or general cookie thoughts. If you have any fond memories of Sesame Street, this one is worth the 10-15 minutes. If only for the giggles.
>140 MickyFine: The Sookie Stackhouse series never clicked with me the way it did with so many others, so I need little persuasion to stay away from that series. Still, I'm sorry to hear that it's a disappointment.
>142 bell7: This, on the other hand, looks like a book I didn't know I needed right now.
>146 MickyFine: *baaawww* so cuuute!!
Happy Weekend, Type II Librarian Lady.
>135 MickyFine: Well, if you want a recommendation for a time travelling film, I love 'About Time' with Bill Nighy, Domnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and so on.
>147 swynn: I read and enjoyed a big chunk of the Sookie Stackhouse books in my late teens and early twenties so I'm not sure if her writing improved or if my palate has changed.
>148 richardderus: Thanks, RDear. Thanks to my EDO it was a long weekend, which was lovely right up until I started coming down with a cold last night. Bit bleary-eyed this morning.
>149 humouress: That's already a favourite of mine, Nina. Saw it in theatres and it lives in my personal collection. :)
>150 curioussquared: It's a gooder for sure, Natalie.
Double Income, No Kids Yet: The Complete Series 3 - David Spicer
Lucy and Daniel start to wonder if perhaps they may just want kids after all, while continuing to deal with all the drama of their family and friends. Still funny but also
>151 MickyFine: I ended up rewatching it over the weekend but totally forgot how sad it gets until I was already sobbing for the last half hour. Oops. Still just as good, though.
>153 curioussquared: Yup, it definitely knows how to pull at the heartstrings.
I've spent most of this week home sick with (likely) strep throat (haven't heard back about my throat swab yet but the doctor put me on antibiotics right away and I've improved a lot). As ever when I'm sick, I didn't really have the concentration power for reading but I did finish one book, watched the second half of season 4 of Outlander, and rewatched all the Twilight movies (they're a guilty pleasure, no mockery please).
Starting to feel more human today, even managed to take a shower rather than a bath so I'm hoping to get in some reading this weekend.
>155 MickyFine: Being sick means you can watch whatever you want, without any guilty feelings at all.
Sorry you've not been well, but good to hear you seem to be on the mend.
>155 MickyFine: One of my guilty watches when I'm sick is Fruits Basket, so certainly no mockery from this corner. Hope you're feeling better soon.
>156 PawsforThought: Thanks, Paws.
>157 bell7: My go to sick watch is the first and second Anne of Green Gables movies with Megan Follows but as I didn't have the energy to make it out of bed most of the time, my watching was limited to the laptop which meant movies/TV in my iTunes account and on Netflix.
Early Riser - Jasper Fforde
It's Charlie's first winter working for the Consul rather than hibernating along with most of the human population. But while on his first assignment with his supervisor, all hell breaks loose and strands Charlie in one of the least desirable regions in Wales and finding himself caught between two devious women, one working for the consul and the other working for the biggest pharmaceutical in the world who helps generate a drug that guarantees a dreamless hibernation.
Diving into a new Jasper Fforde-created world is always an interesting experience and the one he's created here is fascinating. There's a lot of fun things to think about in this alternate reality but there's also moments where it almost feels dystopian (although the world established has been hibernating as long as written record exists, it seems). Charlie is a naive protagonist who sort of bumbles along through his adventures and while the reader may get ahead of him in his investigations at points, there's still several surprises along the way. Recommended if you like Fforde's writing but while it's a stand alone, I'm not sure it's the first sample of his writing I'd recommend.
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast - Nancy Campbell Allen
In this steampunk novel, loosely framed around the Beauty and the Beast narrative, Lucy Pickett travels to Blackwell Manor to visit her cousin, Kate, who has recently married the younger brother of the notorious Earl of Blackwell. The Earl has a beastly reputation but Lucy is determined to stay at the manor to investigate the mysterious illness Kate has been suffering from ever since her marriage. But all at the manor is not as it seems and as Kate learns more about Miles, the intimidating Earl of Blackwell may not be so beastly after all.
I'm a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings and I enjoy a good steampunk romp so I had high hopes for this novel. After reading it the best I can say is that if you share those interests, you'll probably find it a serviceable read but it's not going to knock any socks off. There's a Gail Carriger-lite feeling to the whole novel as we have dirrigibles, vampires, shape shifters, and ghosts wandering about the narrative. And while the characters are well-drawn they're a bit lacking in sparkle and charm. I also had some believability issues - if you're going to seriously injure your main character, you can't have her climbing and crawling over the place just days later. I also couldn't forgive the book for naming a housekeeper with a gypsy background Mrs. Romany - such a lack of imagination. I don't regret the read but it didn't really scratch my Beauty and the Beast itch as much as I'd like and I won't be seeking out more books in the series or by the author.
>159 MickyFine: Totally agree with this review! I loved Early Riser but have been very careful about who I recommend it to because I definitely don't think it's for everyone.
Sorry you have been feeling unwell.
I thought Early Riser was just okay, maybe my least ffavorite Fforde.
>153 curioussquared: >154 MickyFine: True, but I love the father-son relationship. And maybe the very end makes the sad parts okay. Still love re-watching it.
>155 MickyFine: Sorry you've been sick. My youngest was supposed to go on camp last week but came down with a sore throat and temperature a few days before and ended up being off school for a week. Luckily for him, the year group is split in two for camp, so we saw him off this morning. He was very excited, although he was disappointed that he didn't get to share the fun of camp with his classmates and best friend.
>158 MickyFine: Ooh, good idea. I should get those and keep them in reserve.
>162 foggidawn: I see what you did there ffoggi.
I'm sorry you're not feeling well - I hope those antibiotics clear it up soon!
I'm with you on Twilight being a comfort watch - I like 'em, too.
>161 curioussquared: I think that's fair.
>162 foggidawn: Thanks, Foggi. Feeling much more the thing now. This is the only non-Thursday Next Fforde that I've read so far. The rest are on The List but I haven't gotten to them yet.
>163 humouress: That's great that your son doesn't have to completely miss out on the camp experience at least. I've got the fancy DVD box set of Anne movies although it includes the third one whose existence I ignore entirely.
>164 scaifea: Thanks, Amber. The antibiotics appear to have cleared everything out and I'm back to normal. I'm glad I'm not alone in enjoying the Twilight movies. Although now I'm tempted to dig out the books and do a re-read... oh guilty pleasures.
>165 katiekrug: I sure am, Katie. Back at work and everything. Which feels a bit tough after my hardest decision for most of last week was what to watch on Netflix. ;)
Happy and healthy new week ahead, Micky! Whatever you do, don't read Lanny. Most irritating read of 2019.
>166 MickyFine: Shades of Grey is my favorite non-Thursday Fforde. It's also stand alone and one I'm more comfortable recommending for someone just dipping their toe into Fforde's weirdness. There have been talks of a sequel FOREVER but it works as a stand alone, the sequel would just be icing on the cake.
>166 MickyFine: Ah, the third Anne film. I was very excited when I saw there was one until I googled it to get more information. It was on TV here at some point and I did catch bits of it, but I didn't make it a point to sit down and watch it through. Of course, it was rather handicapped by the necessary absence of Colleen Dewhurst.
I suspect that I would indulge at least once if I had it in my possession, though.
>167 richardderus: Duly noted. Feeling basically normal today which is lovely. :)
>168 leahbird: I'm looking forward to that one.
>169 humouress: It's truly terrible. I'm fine with the fudging of timelines and plot points in the first two films but the third one goes too far. Sending Gilbert off to WWI? Just wrong.
More Than Meets the Eye - Karen Witemeyer
Logan Fowler has returned to Pecan Gap, Texas with one goal mind: to regain his family farm from the cardsharp who won it from Logan's father several years ago. What Logan doesn't expect to encounter is the trio of adopted siblings he finds living in his home. Particularly the lovely Evangeline Hamilton whose mismatched eyes are only a small sign of the unique personality within. As he gets closer to Evangeline, Logan must face whether the plan he's crafted for so long is worth following.
A perfectly charming historical inspirational romance. Witemeyer is one of my go to authors in this genre and this one did not disappoint.
I missed that you were ill until you were all better! (Bet you wish YOU could have done that.) Anyway, I'm sympathizing. After being sick, it's really not fair one has to go back to work right away.
>172 laytonwoman3rd: Ah well. One week of work and then due to a long weekend and a batch of vacation time, I've got three short weeks in a row. :)
Gin and Panic - Maia Chance
Lola Woodby and her detecting partner, Berta Lundgren, are on the case again when a British lord hires the duo to retrieve a rhino trophy. Lola and Berta head to the estate hosting a hunting party where the trophy currently is but before they can retrieve the rhino head, the host of the hunting party apparently commits suicide. When Lola and Berta are asked to investigate the death as well, they find themselves in the depths of a case that is far more than what it seems.
The third outing in this cozy historical mystery series remains as charming as ever. Lola and Berta delight as ever and although the romantic subplot feels a bit recycled from the previous book, the mystery has plenty of twists and turns and a whodunnit that surprised me. If you enjoy the series, you'll enjoy this entry.
>140 MickyFine: I didn't make it very far with the Sookie Stackhouse books either, although we did watch a few seasons of the show. One season got super weird at the end and we never went back.
Glad that you are starting to feel better!
Reticence - Gail Carriger
In the final book of the Custard Protocol series, The Spotted Custard adds a physician to their crew who completely discombobulates Percy. After Prue's wedding the crew heads off on a visit to her parents and then are sent to Japan to investigate the rumours of yet another type of supernatural shifter.
This book does a lot of things all at once and manages to be pretty successful at all of it. First and foremost is the romance between Percy and Arsenic, which manages to be both funny and charming. It ties up the relationship bows for all of the other major characters aboard the dirigible, while also providing resolution for character arcs from across the three series within the universe Carriger has set up. Plus it has some great things to say about relationships across the spectrum and colonialism. Highly rewarding for readers of both this series and the entirety of Carriger's works. I can't wait to see what she does next.
Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.
Books read: 14 (100)
Books ditched: 0 (8)
Fiction: 11 (81)
Non-fiction: 3 (19)
Library: 13 (83)
Mine: 1 (17)
Borrowed elsewhere: 0 (0)
Re-reads: 0 (1)
Female authors: 5 (69)
Male authors: 8 (31)
Adult fiction: 11 (59)
YA fiction: 0 (18)
Children's fiction: 0 (9)
Pages: 3,321 (28,526)
Average rating: 3.8 (3.75)
Average time to read book: 3.4 days (3.27 days)
Favourite book(s): Early Riser and Reticence both get the prize this month, the former for being such a fun, weird world and the latter for tying up a series so very well.
A Doll's House - Henrik Ibsen
In this audio version of Ibsen's classic play, Nora must face down the consequences of a choice she made years ago and the ramifications it has for her marriage and domestic life.
Callista Flockhart sparkles as Nora and the other cast members set her off to advantage. I studied this play in high school English but I'd forgotten most of the details so the turn in the final act was wonderful to experience again. Recommended.
Hi Micky! Just catching up a bit, and I'm glad to see that you liked Reticence so much. As soon as I get my next payday I'm buying myself a copy to finish the series. Hope your week is starting off smoothly!
The Sunny Side - A.A. Milne
A collection of short stories and poems that Milne contributed to Punch. Includes a mix of titles written prior to the Great War, during, and afterwards.
My first foray into Milne's writing for adults, this was delightful way to spend a few hours. There's some similarities to Wodehouse in some of the writing, and even a century later many of the jokes remain thoroughly entertaining. And for once, poems I completely got - it helps most of them of were comic. Recommended if it sounds appealing.
>180 LauraBrook: Hi Laura! Ever so lovely to see you. I'm contemplating whether I want to add all of Carriger's steampunk adventures to my personal collection but I'll give it some time. I tend to only buy books I know I'll want to re-read and I'm not sure I will with these.
>182 MickyFine: I hear you. I have the original quintet, and I haven't read the Sophronia series yet, but I've enjoyed the Custard books so much that I can see myself re-reading them in a few (or 15) years. I'll have to check out some of Milne's adult work too. Geez, that sounds pervy. Um, writing for bill-paying people? *facepalm*
>183 LauraBrook: LOL. Hey, for a while I was an Adult Services Librarian. Try explaining that to people. ;)
>184 ChelleBearss: Yay! All the shiny new things for you. I don't think I'm going to read The Testaments. I loved The Handmaid's Tale but I feel like it's wrapped up so well I don't want a sequel. Much like I haven't watched beyond the first season of the show because I don't want to go there. :)
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde
When the shattered remains of Humpty Dumpty are found, Detective Inspector Jack Spratt from the Nursery Crime Division along with his new Detective Sergeant Mary Mary are called in to investigate. While it initially appears Humpty's death may have been accidental or suicide, as Jack and Mary dig deeper it appears it may have been murder most foul.
The first book in the Nursery Crime series is an utter delight. A well-crafted mystery with plenty of twists and turns is accompanied by Fforde's quirky sense of humour and plenty of puns and twists on both nursery rhymes and classic detective fiction. This series appears to exist in the same universe as Thursday Next (Lola Vavoom makes an appearance) but this series stands very well on its own. Recommended if you're in the mood for a funny, slightly weird mystery.
I like that cover more than the US version.
Nursery Crimes is my Fforde blind spot. I own both of them but I've never been able to get into it.
>187 norabelle414: That's fair. I find I also have to be in a certain mood for Fforde and I can't read his books back to back. All the quirky starts to become Too Much. But spaced out from my other recent Fforde read, I found this one super enjoyable.
>188 MickyFine: I'm usually in the mood for Fforde, but agree that I can't read them one after the other. Especially the non-Thursday Next books.
Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow - Jessica Townsend
This summary contains spoilers for the first book in the series. Read at your own risk.
Morrigan has successfully made it into the Wundrous Society but her abilities as a Wundersmith leave her feeling like as much of an outsider as she ever has. Most of the fellow members of her unit view her with suspicion that isn't helped by the rash of disappearances by various members of the Society. With Morrigan's patron, Jupiter North, drawn into the investigation, she feels particularly alone as she grapples with just what being a Wundersmith actually means.
A really solid second entry in this series that had me pleased although a bit anxious to move on to the next book in the series. Morrigan's challenges with her classes felt like they dragged on a bit longer than really necessary although there's plenty of other events going on that keep the novel from dragging or feel like it's wallowing in Morrigan's worries and envy too much. We slowly get to know some of the other members of Morrigan's unit and while I still haven't got a handle on all nine, I'm getting a stronger feel for at least half of them. Also, Jupiter North remains completely book crushworthy. A satisfying read for those who enjoyed the first book in the series.
Lumberjanes: Jackalope Springs Eternal - Shannon Watters
The girls are afraid to go back into the woods after their encounter with The Voice in their last adventure so their counsellor, Jen, takes it upon herself to get them back out there by going on a search for a jackalope. In the process, they encounter someone new in the woods. Meanwhile back at camp, another cabin decides to revive the camp newsletter but when the horoscopes turn out to be eerily accurate it leaves everyone hesitant to do anything.
Sweet, charming, and funny as always. If you've made it this far, you'll love it just as much as previous adventures.
>191 MickyFine: Aaah, Jupiter North! *sigh* I mean, I've been spending a lot of time with my book boyfriend Eugenides lately, but Jupiter does have his charms.
I need to get round to that second Jupiter North, um, I mean, Morrigan Crow, book soon...
>196 scaifea: You really should. I imagine Charlie would enjoy it also.
It's my last day of work before a week of vacation to celebrate my first anniversary with Mr. Fine. Hard to believe it's been a whole year already. We're doing a mix of stay-cationing with an extra long weekend stay at a lake cabin. The cabin has no internet so I'll be bringing a big stack of books with me and I'm super excited about it. We'll see whether I finish my current read (My Life in France, which spoilers I'm adoring) before we leave.
We start our vacation tomorrow by hanging out with Mr. Fine's oldest niece, her husband, and their not-quite-1 year old who are visiting from Newfoundland for a wedding here. Plans include a trip to the zoo and thankfully the weather looks like it will be quite nice.
All this by way of saying that I might be a bit quiet for the next week but expect a deluge of completed books when I return. :)
Sounds like good vacation plans. Lots of reading time is always a good time.
Have a great time! A wifi-less cabin with a stack of books sounds pretty heavenly right now :)
Sounds like a terrific way to celebrate your first anniversary to me. I look forward to the reading report, naturally, being a biblioholic and always looking for a new score.
Enjoy your anniversary vacation! A cabin without wifi sounds delightful!
>191 MickyFine: I really enjoyed those two books as well!
Thank you to Katie, Foggi, Paws, Natalie, Richard, Amber, Jim, and Chelle for the vacation/anniversary well wishes. We had a great time away even though we both came down with head colds. I did manage to get through a large stack of books during my week off and I plan to post short reviews as I can over the next day or so.
Emma - Jane Austen
A BBC radio play adaptation of Austen's classic novel. Just as enjoyable in this format as it is in print.
My Life in France - Julia Child
Julia Child's memoir of her years in France, her marriage with Paul Child, and her experiences starting the PBS sensation that was The French Chef.
I adored every second of this memoir. Julia Child is such a wonderfully charming personality and she comes to brilliant life in the pages of this book. Her descriptions of her life in France will make anyone anxious to travel abroad, her descriptions of food are positively scrumptious, and her reflections on her life with Paul are very sweet. A fantastic feel-good read. Highly recommended.
Bridal Boot Camp - Meg Cabot
Physical trainer, Roberta "Rob" Jones is surprised when Ryan Martinez, a very ripped member of the local Sherriffs, shows up in her Wednesday night Bridal Boot Camp class. What she doesn't expect is to find such a charming man beneath the surface of all those muscles.
There's bits of Meg Cabot's writing skills on display in this novella as there's an excellent meet-cute and spots of excellent humour. But in only four chapters, the relationship between Rob and Ryan feels fantastically rushed and I couldn't let myself believe that a woman with as much baggage as Rob would really jump into bed with Ryan as quickly as she did in this novella. That said, I enjoyed the brief bits of world set up in this novella and I look forward to exploring it more in the full novel set in the same location that's set for release this fall. Really only worth picking up if you're a Meg Cabot completist.
Now? Not Yet! - Gina Perry
Early Reviewers Win
Peanut just wants to go swimming right now. But his friend Mo keeps on insisting on doing other things on their camping trip first.
A very cute picture book that illustrates the importance of delayed gratification but also the need to sometimes drop the responsible things and do something fun. Enjoyable read that will be going to my nieces.
Muse of Nightmares - Laini Taylor
In the second half of the duology, Lazlo Strange must quickly come to grips with his new powers as he and Sarai grapple with how to deal with Minya's demands in the wake of the hold she literally has on Sarai's ghost. Meanwhile, the group with whom Lazlo traveled to weep struggle with what Lazlo's heritage means to them. And in the distant past, two sisters and their desperate need to prove how special they are will cause ripples that influence far into the future.
This follow up to Strange the Dreamer is non-stop action and reading it feels almost exhausting when you realize the breadth of pages is covering a few days in the same amount of pages the first book covered much longer spans of time. For all of the intense action going on, there is still well-drawn emotional arcs for all of the characters with whom readers have become so familiar. Taylor crafts a brilliant fantasy world, resolves her issues well without it ever feeling like they've been tied up with a bow. Will completely satisfy readers of the first book.
Attachments - Rainbow Rowell (re-read)
I recently acquired my own copy of this novel and thoroughly enjoyed my re-read. The 1999-2000 setting of the book remains charming (although astounding to think it's now twenty years in the past) and I thoroughly enjoyed Beth and Jennifer's email exchanges as well as watching Lincoln as he grows as a person. If you haven't tried this charming romance, I highly recommend it.
>214 MickyFine: - I also really liked this one, Micky.
I'm enjoying your flurry of reviews! Glad your time away was good, despite the colds...
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
I was in the mood for a re-read and it hit the mood precisely. Prepare to see the rest of the series crop up here in the next week or so as they're chunky but fast reads.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
BBC radio play adaptation of my favourite of Austen's novels. Very well done, with perfect voice casting for all the roles. My only quibble was some of the plot changes that make perfect sense in an audio format but still bother me since I know the plot inside out. Excellent commuting listening.
And with that, I'm caught up on reviews!
>215 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! Mr. Fine also made it through a good stack of comics and one regular book so we both had an excellent (reading) time. :)
>191 MickyFine: I am planning on reading the Morrigan Crow books early next year, and I'm already excited. I may give Attachments a go at some point. I didn't care for Landline all that much, but I'm willing to try some more of her stuff. Congrats on getting through such a large stack on books while you were on vacation! Too bad about the colds. Hope you both feel better soon.
>213 MickyFine: *sigh* I was afraid that one might end up being exhausting (I thought the ending to the first one was, a bit), and so I've been avoiding it. I think I may just keep on avoiding...
>219 aktakukac: I'm sure you'll have a great time with Morrigan when you get to her. Depending on when you decide to read the books next year, you may be in luck as the third book is due out next spring. I really adore Rainbow Rowell so I heartily endorse trying Attachments.
>220 scaifea: It is a great book and I really enjoyed it. You just don't get many low-key lulls in the plot so it can wring you out a bit as a reader. Maybe if you interspersed reading it with something more comforting it might work for you. :)
New Moon - Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
The re-read continues.
>223 richardderus: Agreed. I love tulips and when I have a bit more control over flower beds and such, I might have to look at getting some of the ruffled variety. They have an interesting look.
Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
Still remains my favourite of the quartet.
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
Mansfield Park is my least favourite of Jane Austen's novels (which, for the record, still puts it leaps and bounds ahead of many books) but this BBC radio play production is truly excellent and a joy to listen to. Some of that is due to the fantastic cast (just look at those top billed names) but the adapters also managed to make Austen's most chunky work into a streamlined narrative that flows. Highly recommended to Janeites and non-Janeites alike.
>226 MickyFine: Ooh, yes, you can't really go wrong with that cast!
Micky, I am in your province - did you feel a disturbance in the Force?
I waved at Edmonton when it showed up on the plane map thingy... :)
>226 MickyFine: Ooh, maybe I should re-read (or rather re-listen) to Mansfield Park. It's my least favourite of Austen, as well (though I haven't read Sandition yet).
>227 curioussquared: They were all delightful as their characters.
>228 katiekrug: *waves back* Ah you're the reason the temperature suddenly dropped. ;)
>229 PawsforThought: It's hard to have strong opinions about Sanditon as it's just a fragment so there's decent groundwork laid but it's hard to determine which direction Austen would have gone with the characters. I am interested to see the upcoming adaptation of it that's scheduled to air early next year on this side of the pond to see how Andrew Davies decides to flesh it out.
>230 MickyFine: Ah, that was supposed to read "Sandition or Persuasion". I caught myself misspelling Persuasion so went to edit before posting but must have just deleted. Oh, well. I've read neither, and I agree that it must be difficult to say anything when there's so little of Sandition.
I didn't know there was an adaption coming - it's always interesting to see what people do with Austen.
This discussion is reminding me of how long it's been since I watched The Jane Austen Book Club, which I'm ridiculously fond of and have watched an embarrassing amount of times. (It's perfect for when you're feeling under the weather or just a bit down.)
>231 PawsforThought: Oooh, Persuasion has one of the most romantic letters in literature. You've got good things ahead for you. :)
>226 MickyFine: Well, hello there, Cumberbatch and Tennant... wishlisted!
Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer (re-read)
The re-read concludes with all of its weirdness but a satisfying happy ending.
Big Happy Mushy Lump - Sarah Andersen
Another endearing collection of comics that had me giggling while I also often identified with Sarah's attitudes and reactions. Funny and highly recommended.
>237 MickyFine: I love the big covers you are adorning your thread with, Micky.
Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.
Books read: 18 (118)
Books ditched: 0 (8)
Fiction: 16 (97)
Non-fiction: 2 (21)
Library: 10 (83)
Mine: 8 (25)
Borrowed elsewhere: 0 (0)
Re-reads: 5 (6)
Female authors: 15 (84)
Male authors: 4 (35)
Adult fiction: 8 (67)
YA fiction: 6 (24)
Children's fiction: 2 (11)
Pages: 5,333 (33,859)
Average rating: 3.9 (3.83)
Average time to read book: 3.6 days (3.44 days)
Favourite book(s): My Life in France deserves a chef's kiss for being such a fantastic read.
This topic was continued by MickyFine's 2019 Reading Quest, Fourth Adventure.
This topic is not marked as primarily about any work, author or other topic.