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MickyFine's 2019 Reading Quest, Fourth Adventure

This is a continuation of the topic MickyFine's 2019 Reading Quest, Third Adventure.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Nov 7, 1:04pm Top

I'm Micky, 33-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
Favourite read(s):

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
Favourite read(s):

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
Favourite read(s):

Edited: Sep 30, 12:54pm Top

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

Edited: Sep 30, 12:56pm Top

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

Edited: Nov 7, 1:23pm Top

119. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - Becky Chambers
120. Pumpkinheads - Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks
121. Alanna: The First Adventure - Tamora Pierce
122. Cheaper by the Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
123. The Girl Who Knew Too Much - Amanda Quick
124. A Caribbean Mystery - Agatha Christie
125. Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire - Carol Dyhouse
126. In the Hand of the Goddess - Tamora Pierce
127. Lord John and the Private Matter - Diana Gabaldon
128. The Woman Who Rides Like a Man - Tamora Pierce
129. Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give - Ada Calhoun
130. A Room with a View - E.M. Forster
131. Sorry, Wrong Number - Lucille Fletcher
132. Lioness Rampant - Tamora Pierce
133. My One and Only Duke - Grace Burrowes
134. The Last Dragonslayer - Jasper Fforde

135. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
136. That Summer - Lauren Willig
137. Batwoman: The Many Arms of Death - Marguerite Bennett et. al.
138. Spider-Man Noir: The Complete Collection - David Hine et. al.


Edited: Sep 30, 12:57pm Top

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

Sep 30, 12:57pm Top

This thread is officially open for business for the final quarter of the year!

Sep 30, 1:04pm Top

Happy new thread!

Sep 30, 1:17pm Top

New thread orisons, Micky, and much good reading this quarter.

Sep 30, 1:23pm Top

Happy new thread, Micky.

Sep 30, 1:39pm Top

Happy New Thread, Micky!

Have you heard of Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors? I have a feeling you'd like it. (Forgive me if I missed it on your list up there!)

Sep 30, 2:43pm Top

Happy New thread!

Sep 30, 5:19pm Top

Happy new thread!!

Sep 30, 7:08pm Top

Happy new one!

Oct 1, 1:12am Top

Happy new thread, Micky!

Oct 1, 10:58am Top

Happy new thread!

Oct 1, 3:31pm Top

Happy new thread, Micky!

Oct 2, 10:48am Top

Thanks to Foggi, Richard, Joe, Leah, Natalie, Figs, Meg, Jim, and Anita for the new thread well wishes. I'm hoping to have a book review to post tomorrow.

>10 jnwelch: That one has been on The List for a few months already. I'll get to it at some point. :)

Oct 3, 11:39am Top

Book 119

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - Becky Chambers

I adored this mellow science fiction tale of a small mixed-species crew going on a long haul trip to a distant planet to build a wormhole back to more populated space. Each of the crew members are well-developed and over the course of the novel you can't help but fall in love with the entire group. The novel is a bit episodic as the crew do things like visit friends/family, go shopping for supplies, and learn more about each other but the book feels cohesive throughout. If you like Firefly, this book is probably going to appeal (even if its crew is far more law-abiding). Highly recommended.

Rating: *****

Oct 3, 11:45am Top

Book 120

Pumpkinheads - Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks

Deja and Josiah have worked at the local pumpkin patch every fall for the past three years. On their final night, Deja is pushing Josiah to finally talk to the girl he's had a crush on the whole time, while they also try and enjoy every last second of their time in patch.

Charming with deft illustrations, I enjoyed this read. The plot beats feel a bit familiar (Rowell has done some short stories with similar vibes) but it doesn't make the narrative any less enjoyable. A fun and quick read if you're looking for a fluffy palate cleanser.

Rating: ***

Oct 3, 11:50am Top


A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder - Dianne Freeman

Sigh. I read the first chapter and couldn't make myself do a full Pearl-rule. For a novel set in 1899 the dialogue and internal thoughts were just too modern in their tone and the characterizations seemed to flip flop within the same chapter (evil in-laws, except protagonist is also super sympathetic and maybe they're not so evil...). The writing isn't bad, just mediocre and I know there's better things out there so I'm moving on to better reading pastures.

Rating: /

Oct 3, 11:56am Top

Ok LT friends who have read the follow up novels to A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, weigh in on whether I should read them. I know from reading the blurbs they're about completely different characters. Do they suffer in comparison? Should I just keep my shiny love for this novel and treat it as a stand-alone in my mind?

Oct 3, 12:26pm Top

>18 MickyFine: I'm so glad that you love that book, too!

>21 MickyFine: I say leave its pristine charm untarnished. The Voice of Experience.

(But the other books aren't *bad* you understand. They just aren't...effervescent...the way this one is, and that is always a sad thing to me.)

Oct 3, 3:47pm Top

I thought the second one was good (A Closed and Common Orbit), and see it's got almost 5 stars over on Amazon, with a lot of readers. I didn't like Record of a Spaceborn Few, but see that it's got almost 5 stars on Amazon, too, albeit from a lot fewer readers (500+ versus 193). The new one, a novella, To Be Taught, If Fortunate, was really good, and rekindled my interest in Becky Chambers.

Nice to see you liked Pumpkinheads. Me, too. A fluffy palate cleanser. That sounds right.

Oct 4, 10:48am Top

>22 richardderus: >23 jnwelch: Thank you, Richard and Joe for your input. :)

Oct 4, 11:03am Top

Book 121

Alanna: The First Adventure - Tamora Pierce

Alanna has always wanted to be a knight and she's not going to let anything, including her sex, stop her from reaching her goal. When her father sends her and her twin brother, Thom, off to be trained Alanna convinces her brother to trade places with her. She'll become Alan and train to be a knight, while Thom will go off to a convent to study sorcery. As Alanna settles into her life as a page at the castle, she'll also come to term with her abilities both as a fighter and a magical healer.

An excellent start to a fantasy series that, while targeted at the younger end of the teen spectrum, is a compelling read for more mature readers. Alanna's adventures are fun reading, the establishment of her group of friends in the castle is enjoyable, and the hints of what might lie ahead for Alanna is intriguing. Having read the Bekka Cooper series first, it's fun to see Cooper descendants show up here. I'm definitely eager to pick up the next book in the series.

Rating: ****

Oct 4, 1:31pm Top

>121 I'm so glad you're reading these and you enjoyed the first one! I hope you keep loving the series :)

Oct 4, 2:48pm Top

Happy new thread, Micky!

Oct 5, 9:29pm Top

>25 MickyFine: I really ought to read a Tamora Pierce book. What age range are they for, by the way? My husband reads books to the kids, and I'm trying to think of something after he finishes Warriors.

Oct 6, 4:48pm Top

We loved the Alanna series, Micky. It was one of our daughter’s favorite series as a teen, so we read them, too. I remember them all as being fun reads.

Oct 6, 8:52pm Top

>28 The_Hibernator: I started reading them in 3rd grade and was probably a little young; there's never anything explicit, but sex is mentioned a few times throughout the various series. I'm still a huge fan now in my late 20s :)

Oct 7, 11:21am Top

>26 curioussquared: Thanks, Natalie. I enjoyed it enough I actually put the next book on hold right away rather than waiting for the next book to come up in my shuffle of The List. High praise for me. :)

>27 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. Happy to see you made it over here.

>28 The_Hibernator: It depends on the series from what I've read so far. The first Alanna book is definitely middle grade but I'd classify the Bekka Cooper series as teen. I haven't read as much so I defer to Natalie's response in >30 curioussquared:.

>29 jnwelch: I'm late to the series but I'm finding them enjoyable reads as an adult, Joe.

Oct 7, 11:38am Top

Book 122

Cheaper by the Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

A yellowed paperback copy of this book made its way from my Mom's shelves to mine back when I was a teen and on a serious classics kick but I hadn't picked it up before now. Discussing the book with her this weekend, I learned that she'd bought it for school and didn't like it much. My opinion didn't vary from hers. Two of the elder of the Gilbreth siblings write this memoir of their years growing up in a family of twelve children in the early 1900s, but the primary focus of the memoir is their father. With strong opinions and a large personality, you can tell from the tone of the text that these children adore the memory of their father but as an outside observer, he comes across as a bit of jerk. A motion study engineer (essentially he consulted as an efficiency expert for mostly factories, reducing the number of motions workers needed to make for a job), I'll give him credit for making his wife an equal partner in his professional life. But his views on child-rearing were a bit bizarre and while they were effective, he'd give some modern helicopter parents a run for their money. With far fewer anecdotes of the hijinks the children got up to in such a large family, the narrative wasn't quite what I expected. The writing is also a product of its time with several moments of casual racism. My biggest takeaway was the boggling fact that the Gilbreths had twelve children in seventeen years (with no multiple births) and that Frank Gilbreth senior passed away when the youngest was two years old. I'd be far more fascinated to read a tale of Lillian Gilbreth single parenting all those children. Not recommended.

Rating: ***

Oct 7, 2:39pm Top

>32 MickyFine: That was an early favorite read of mine...my sisters are more like aunts than sisters because of the age gap...and I was mostly surprised by the fact that Anne, one of the eldest, died but this is...never...mentioned...except in one footnote.

That jarred on me.

I did love the "therbligs" as the name of the units of work Daddy used...his name anagramized...heh.

Oct 8, 11:38am Top

>33 richardderus: I can see it's appeal for you, Richard. I don't think my edition even had the footnote about Anne. Sigh.

Oct 9, 11:03am Top

Book 123

The Girl Who Knew Too Much - Amanda Quick

Irene Glasson started over in 1930s Los Angeles like so many others. But while on a story for a small Hollywood gossip newspaper in the small resort town of Burning Cove, she discovers a body that may be linked to one of the most promising new stars, Nick Tremayne. As bodies begin to pile up, Irene will have to rely on the help of local resort owner, Oliver Ward, to get out of the mess alive.

A perfectly adequate mystery with a well-written 1930s setting. Amanda Quick (pen name of romance write Jayne Anne Krentz) gets the plot going with a bang and keeps everything churning along at a solid pace. While her characters have interesting backgrounds and careers, I finished the novel feeling like I got no insight into their internal emotional lives, why they really cared about each other, or why I should care much about their HEA. I didn't hate the novel but I won't be inclined to pick up other books in the series.

Rating: ***

Oct 10, 11:30am Top

Book 124

A Caribbean Mystery - Agatha Christie

Miss Marple's nephew has kindly sent her to the Caribbean for a comfortable stay at resort. While Miss Marple isn't quite sure how she feels about the unvarying weather (how is one to start a conversation without the English weather to rely upon as a topic?), when one of the the other guests is found dead Miss Marple finds that her ability to understand personalities and motives works no matter where she is.

Regardless of where she is, spending time with Miss Marple is a reliably enjoyable experience. Even as she gets older and the definition of what's socially acceptable changes, she remains so sharp and never truly adrift. There are a couple moments of racism towards the locals, which are uncomfortable for a modern reader, but otherwise the novel holds up really well. A solid outing for the series.

Rating: ****

Oct 10, 2:16pm Top

>36 MickyFine: I do so love Miss Marple. I find, though, that I like her better in the ITV series than on the page...Elephants Can Remember (made as a Poirot) was a particularly stark example of why the TV show got some things right that she didn't...but there aren't many writers up to Dame Agatha's best.

Oct 10, 3:11pm Top

>37 richardderus: There's a great passage at the beginning of the book where Miss Marple is reading a modern novel her nephew has given her and she has an internal monologue about how all the modern kids seem to talk about sex more but no one enjoys it as much as when it was talked about less. I found it quite funny.

Oct 10, 3:59pm Top

>36 MickyFine: I read A Caribbean Mystery a few years ago and really liked it. I wasn't sure I would because of the very different setting, but it was a good read.

And I remember that passage about talking about sex vs enjoying it. I thought it was a fun comment, too.

Edited: Oct 11, 3:50pm Top

I'm getting close to finishing my current read (Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire for the curious) and I've got a stack of five library books waiting on the nightstand for me for my extra long weekend. Plus I've got season three of The Good Fight out from the library as well. With that entertainment and two dinners over the course of four days, I'm not sure how much I'll be checking in here. So for all the Canadians (or wannabes) who wander through here:

Oct 11, 4:06pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving! Monday, isn't it?

Oct 11, 4:14pm Top

Have a good holiday, Micky!

Oct 12, 1:06am Top

Happy Thanksgiving, Micky. I'll miss it this year as I will be in the US where it will be just a normal day. Enjoy your dinners and entertainment.

Oct 12, 10:11pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving, Micky

Oct 15, 6:40pm Top

Oct 16, 11:29am Top

>41 richardderus: Yes, it was Monday. I had family Thanksgiving on Saturday and Friendsgiving on Monday. :)

>42 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. I did!

>43 Familyhistorian: It's always weird coming back to work and getting emails from various things I subscribe to that are American that didn't pause. Of course, it's also a pain come November when you have a question for an American-based vendor and everyone is off for American Thanskgving. ;)

>44 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul!

>45 richardderus: I do love Unshelved. Completely accurate interaction too.

Oct 16, 12:50pm Top

>45 richardderus: "I love the sound policy makes when I break it." I'd wear that T-shirt.

Oct 16, 2:43pm Top

Book 125

Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire - Carol Dyhouse

An academic-ish exploration of male heartthrob figures from popular culture (largely book and film) from the last century and a half. I have a lot of mixed feelings about the book. The writing is perfectly functional and the thesis is well laid out but I'm not sure Dyhouse really delivers. Her introduction discusses flipping the framing of popular culture into looking at what has appealed to women and while she outlines some examples and comes up with themes, she never really digs into the bigger question of WHY these figures were appealing. You can also tell her areas of specialty as Lord Byron comes up multiple times as does Rudolph Valentino but any male heartthrob figures that appeared after about 1950 tend to crop up only once in a paragraph or two. The book isn't bad but it wasn't what I was hoping for. YMMV.

Rating: ***

Oct 16, 2:51pm Top

Book 126

In the Hand of the Goddess - Tamora Pierce

Recounts Alanna's adventures as a Squire, preparing to become a knight and revealing her sex to all of her friends who have known her only as a boy.

I wasn't as enthralled with this second book in the quartet finding the plot a bit too episodic with an insufficient sense of time between events. I'll definitely be finishing the series but I'm hoping the writing and plotting in the next book is much smoother.

Rating: ***

Oct 16, 9:40pm Top

>32 MickyFine: I have an old copy of that one around here somewhere...I forget whose shelves I found it on. I had a vague recollection of having loved it long ago, so I gave it a nostalgic re-read. I think the portrayal of dear old Dad was meant to be amusing, and I did have a couple laughs, but I also agree that it hasn't aged very well. Steve Martin made a movie version of it 15 years ago or so, but it took a lot of liberties with the book.

Oct 17, 10:29am Top

>50 laytonwoman3rd: There are a few funny moments for sure but I just couldn't look with fondness on a man whose own children stated that he viewed them as interchangeable cogs.

Edited: Oct 18, 12:38pm Top

Book 127

Lord John and the Private Matter - Diana Gabaldon

Lord John Grey has returned from his exile as the governor of Ardsmuir prison and is back in London, waiting to join his regiment on their next deployment. In the meantime, he's facing the unpleasant task of having to interfere in his cousin, Olivia's engagement, as he's discovered her fiance may have syphilis. He's also pulled into an investigation into the murder of one of the lower ranking members of his regiment who may have been entangled in espionage.

Lord John Grey has always been one of my favourite characters in the Outlander series, so it was fun to dive into one of his many adventures that have been alluded to in the main series. Gabaldon's historical fiction writing chops are in evidence here as she evokes 18th century London with details large and small. It's interesting to spend time in the younger Lord John's head as he balances his public face with his personal desires. Enjoyable if you're fully embedded in all things Outlander.

Rating: ****

Oct 17, 11:23am Top

>52 MickyFine: Micky, if that's your first Lord John story, may I recommend the three-novella collection Lord John and the Hand of Devils? It's a prequel, a sequel, and a down-the-liner for this book.

Edited: Oct 17, 4:21pm Top

>53 richardderus: Oh I've got plans to tackle all of Gabaldon's various Outlander novel(la)s and short stories that aren't the big eight (when oh when will nine arrive?) so I'll definitely be getting to that one. :)

Oct 18, 1:06pm Top

Book 128

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man - Tamora Pierce

Alanna spends most of her first year as a knight amongst the Bhazir in the southern deserts, where she becomes more involved than she planned. Plus her entanglements with Prince Jonathan and with George Cooper, King of the Rogues, continue to tie her up in knots no matter how close or far she might be from the two men.

Happily, this third book in the series returns the excellent writing quality of the first. The plot is well done, Alanna continues to grow as a person in interesting ways, and the expansion of the world is fascinating. And if I could turn off the critical part of my brain that would be it. But instead, I ended up having squidgy feelings about the book because it's (unintentionally?) a white saviour narrative. Sigh. I'll be finishing the quartet because I want to know how things end up for Alanna but I also don't think I'll be revisiting these books.

Rating: ***1/2

Oct 18, 4:04pm Top

Book 129

Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give - Ada Calhoun

A collection of memoir-ish essays in which Ada Calhoun reflects on the advice she'd give in wedding toasts if she could completely honest about the realities of marriage from her position as a woman married nearly twenty years. The conceit of toasts falls apart pretty quickly here as the book is really more a collection of essays reflecting on some of the challenges in Calhoun's marriage with her husband, Neal. While some of the essays had me laughing at some reactions in recognition, I found that more often the quotations from writers/religious leaders were more intriguing insights than Calhoun's own (Tolkien had some fascinating thoughts on marriage). I did rub the wrong way against some of her thoughts on fidelity and monogamy as she seemed to consider it much more fluid and that that experience was universal, which really doesn't mesh with me. Otherwise, it was funny and occasionally sweet and ultimately a very fast read. Cautiously recommended.

Rating: ***

Oct 21, 1:04pm Top

Book 130

A Room with a View - E.M. Forster

An audio drama adaptation of the classic novel. Perfectly enjoyable way to revisit the classic novel. Includes an interview after the play with the actor who plays Mr. Emerson senior who played George Emerson in the 1980s film with Helena Bonham Carter. Recommended if you enjoy the format.

Rating: ****

Oct 21, 1:10pm Top


A Murder for the Books - Victoria Gilbert

Pearl-ruled this cozy mystery featuring a librarian who lives in a small town in Virginia who discovers a body in her library's archives. The writing is fine, if a bit clunky in spots and the plot moves a bit slowly. What made me set it aside was how much librarian work nitty-gritty is included in the text. While having a book set in a library written by a librarian is usually a pro, in this case the author libsplains way too much both to other characters and in her internal thoughts (for the benefit of the reader). I don't want to spend time reading a character's internal thought process about using quotation marks in a search to ensure more accurate results. I already know and I doubt the average reader cares. YMMV.

Rating: /

Oct 21, 1:17pm Top

Book 131

Sorry, Wrong Number - Lucille Fletcher

A one-act audio drama in which an invalid woman accidentally overhears a telephone call plotting the murder of a woman and then slowly realizes that the woman is her. A very quick listen (under half an hour) that does a decent job of building suspense even if the main character is pretty insufferable.

Rating: ***

Oct 21, 3:28pm Top

>58 MickyFine: I might actually want to be in on that conversation. I'm surprised to say that! What can it hurt, after all, since actuarially I can expect to live 23 more years and I read about 100 books a year? Pshaw! One of 2300?


Oct 22, 11:22am Top

>60 richardderus: Give it a go, Richard. Learn some of the magic!

Oct 22, 1:48pm Top

>59 MickyFine: Oh...that sounds like a good one. Would you pop over to the Drama thread in the 2019 AAC and share that review? Radio drama is a lot of fun, and I don't think anyone else has mentioned that in the challenge so far.

Oct 22, 3:28pm Top

>62 laytonwoman3rd: Happy to oblige, Linda!

Oct 22, 4:04pm Top

Oct 24, 10:20am Top

Book 132

Lioness Rampant - Tamora Pierce

In the final book of the quartet, Alanna goes on a quest for a magical artifact and then returns home to Tortall where powerful forces threaten everything and everyone she loves.

A well-drawn conclusion to the series, I was pleased with how things turned out for Alanna even if I had predicted it from the beginning. The action in the final conflict is rapid-paced and much more surprising than most of the plot arcs. Overall, I enjoyed the series and this final book leaves me fonder of it than I have been after some of the previous books.

Rating: ****

Oct 24, 11:37am Top

Tamora Pierce is pretty open about her earlier books being less socially conscious than she would want them to be now, which makes me feel better about liking them than I would if she refused to acknowledge their flaws.

Oct 24, 1:39pm Top

>66 norabelle414: That does make me feel better about these.

I do feel bad the editions I read were stuck with terrible covers that some marketer obviously thought would appeal to teens.

Oct 24, 1:40pm Top

>65 MickyFine:, >66 norabelle414: It's the same reason I still feel comfortable about venerating UKL's magisterial-if-heteronormative The Left Hand of Darkness...she admitted that was a failure on her part and said, if she'd done the book now, it wouldn't have been so limited.

Edited: Oct 24, 2:11pm Top

>67 MickyFine: Yeah that's... not great. My copy of Terrier is in that same publication series and I only allow it to exist because it's got a cat on it.

>68 richardderus: It's so refreshing when public figures don't double down on their mistakes!

Oct 24, 2:42pm Top

>68 richardderus: I really need to try Le Guin. I've got one of her books on The List. Just haven't made it there yet. A feeling I'm sure you know well.

>69 norabelle414: I think I read that same edition back when I read that trilogy. Somehow that one doesn't seem quite as bad as these ones. I think it's all the glowing and the very 2003 hair cut on the model.

Oct 24, 2:51pm Top

>67 MickyFine: These ones do have particularly bad covers, don't they? Like they were trying to make them look paranormal and vampiric because that's what the teens want.

My covers will always be the technicolor ones from the 90s and early 2000s.

Oct 25, 10:19am Top

>71 curioussquared: Yes! Hopefully the next time they're reissued they get better covers.

Oct 28, 2:55pm Top

Book 133

My One and Only Duke - Grace Burrowes

Banker Quin Wentworth has been condemned to Newgate prison and a death sentence. When by chance he meets the daughter of a vicar who regularly visits the prison, he is charmed by her. When he learns that said daughter, Jane, is also widowed and with child he thinks he'll come to her aid by offering her marriage and a healthy portion of funds to support herself and the child after his imminent death. However, when Quin is suddenly pardoned after it's discovered that he's the heir to a Duke's estate he and Jane must determine whether there is enough between them to make a marriage.

A thoroughly charming historical romance with an intriguing and quirky cast of characters. The Wentworth siblings are entertaining with their personality traits developed in a destitute youth and Quin and Jane are charming and hold the reader's attention as the plot progresses. It did take me a lot longer than usual for this genre to get a good read on Quin but watching both him and Jane grow as people and a couple was thoroughly enjoyable. I liked it enough that I'll be reading the rest of the series.

Rating: ****

Oct 28, 3:04pm Top

Book 134

The Last Dragonslayer - Jasper Fforde

Jennifer Strange is just a nearly sixteen-year-old foundling on contract as an indentured servant to a corporation of sorcerers in the Kingdom of Hereford. However, when the death of the last dragon at the hands of a dragonslayer is predicted by almost every seer in the kingdom as being imminent, a cascade of events puts Jennifer at the heart of everything that will affect dragons, magic, and fate of multiple kingdoms.

Yet another fun and quirky world from Jasper Fforde. His love for puns and plays on word are in full evidence even as he weaves a tale that riffs on the typical dragon tale. While the book is marketed for teens and the protagonist is one, there's no discernible difference in tone or language from this and Fforde's adult novels. Lots of fun and highly recommended. Also, a great starting point if you've never tried Fforde before.

Rating: ****

Oct 31, 11:13am Top

I found Waldo!

Oct 31, 11:17am Top

Oct 31, 11:47am Top

>75 MickyFine: Love it. I don't have a costume this year. Happy Halloween!

Oct 31, 1:36pm Top

>75 MickyFine: Delightful

Nov 1, 5:39am Top

Nov 1, 10:33am Top

>75 MickyFine: Great costume! Yesterday I just wore a long-sleeve shirt, sweater, warm pants, and scarf to work, because it was freezing and ended up snowing.

Nov 2, 11:18am Top

I agree with everyone above!

Nov 2, 12:54pm Top

>75 MickyFine: *baaawww* Good thing you live so far away. I'd just have to pinch your cheeks and chuck you under the chin!

Hospital trips are cheaper in Canada, though...

Nov 4, 12:27pm Top

Aww, thanks all!

Nov 4, 1:53pm Top

October Summary

Numbers in parentheses are for year to date.

Books read: 16 (134)
Books ditched: 2 (10)

Fiction: 13 (110)
Non-fiction: 3 (24)

Library: 15 (98)
Mine: 1 (26)
Borrowed elsewhere: 0 (0)

Re-reads: 0 (6)

Female authors: 15 (99)
Male authors: 3 (38)

Adult fiction: 7 (74)
YA fiction: 6 (30)
Children's fiction: 0 (11)

Pages: 4,440 (38,299)

Average rating: 3.6 (3.71)

Average time to read book: 2.8 days (3.12 days)

Favourite book(s): The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet still has me feeling fuzzy feelings about how smart and charming it was.

Nov 4, 2:04pm Top

Book 135

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

The classic gothic novel in which the unnamed narrator recounts her marriage to Maxim de Winter, whose first wife, Rebecca, looms large everywhere in spite of her death.

From the first sentence, this novel is utterly compelling. Du Maurier's prose is so evocative that her descriptions come to life on the page. Her unnamed narrator is a fascinating figure and her frequent daydreams/fantasies provide an intriguing insight to this character and her world. Of course, as a study of a marriage the novel is dark but compelling and as a mystery it holds up fantastically well. If you haven't dipped into this classic yet, I highly recommend it.

Rating: ****

Nov 4, 2:50pm Top

>85 MickyFine: I felt the same about Rebecca when I read it for the first time a few years ago. So good!!

Nov 4, 3:06pm Top

Ditto, Micky. Rebecca really casts a spell.

Nov 4, 3:13pm Top

>85 MickyFine: I add to the Rebecca love.

Nov 4, 3:58pm Top

I say I'm going to read Rebecca every year. Maybe next year??

Nov 5, 5:41am Top

Woot for Rebecca! Love that one. Have you seen the Hitchcock film?

Nov 5, 7:18am Top

I love the Alanna novels best of Tamora Pierce's work, but that may be partially because they're the first I found and I found them exactly when I needed them. I reread them last year and I still love them, although I'm also aware that they're not as socially conscious as they would be if they were written now.

Pierce is great (got to see her at a con a couple of years ago and she's wonderful) and I feel happy to still count her as a favourite because she admits her early books have flaws. As people noted, some authors double-down on their mistakes and it's refreshing when one doesn't.

Nov 5, 8:54am Top

>91 archerygirl: When you saw Tamora Pierce did she do the thing where she pretends to be old and crotchety but it's just an act?? That bit killed when I saw her at the National Book Festival.

Nov 5, 12:24pm Top

Glad to see I'm not alone in liking Rebecca.

>90 scaifea: I haven't. Do you recommend it? The academic essay at the back of the edition I read noted that Hitchcock made major changes to the plot so I wasn't sure whether it's worth watching.

>91 archerygirl: I'm looking forward to exploring more of her books. So far I've just done Beka Cooper and Alanna.

Nov 6, 4:10am Top

>92 norabelle414: Heh, she didn't do that at all! She was just being her warm, wonderful self the whole time :D I kind of would have loved to see her pretending to be old and crotchety.

>93 MickyFine: You've got lots of great Pierce books to look forward to :-)

Nov 6, 5:56am Top

>93 MickyFine: Yes, there are some differences, but the movie is gorgeous and wonderful in its own right. I highly recommend it.

Nov 7, 10:47am Top

Am I remembering correctly that yesterday was your birthday? Did you do anything fun?

Nov 7, 1:03pm Top

>94 archerygirl: Glad to hear it, Kathy.

>95 scaifea: I've placed a hold on it at the library, Amber. :)

>96 norabelle414: It was my birthday yesterday! I'm now a whopping 33! I did lots of fun things. My husband and I both took the day off, we went out for breakfast, there was a bunch of shopping (taking advantage of all those birthday coupons) for clothes, books, and other fun things, we went out for dinner, and then wrapped up the evening quietly and continued our Buffy rewatch.

For the inquiring minds, I bought/was gifted the following books:

The Wallflower Wager - Tessa Dare
Any Duchess Will Do - Tessa Dare
The Big Over Easy - Jasper Fforde
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse - K. Eason

Plus my husband's birthday was just a few days before mine and he acquired a bunch of books of his own, including Supernova by Marissa Meyer, which I'll definitely be borrowing when he's finished.

Nov 7, 1:08pm Top

>97 MickyFine: Happy belated birthday!

Nov 7, 1:23pm Top

Belated happy birthday wishes, Micky! Sounds like it was a good one.

Nov 7, 1:27pm Top

Happy belated birthday, and nice book haul! I've been eyeing How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse so I'm looking forward to your thoughts on it, whenever that may be :)

Nov 7, 2:49pm Top

Thanks Nora, Katie, and Mary for the birthday well wishes.

>100 bell7: I actually stuck it into my nightstand stack so I'll probably get to it this month.

Nov 7, 2:57pm Top

Book 136

That Summer - Lauren Willig

In 2009, Julia Conley has been struggling with finding work in the wake of losing her finance job in the 2008 recession. When she receives word that she's inherited a large house in England from her great-aunt she plans to spend only the summer there cleaning it up and preparing to sell it. In 1849, Imogen Grantham has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage when she meets an up and coming painter named Gavin Thorne.

A case of two narratives intertwining and mirroring each other in two different places with great effect. Both storylines are well done with the historical content never feeling too modern. All of the characters are compelling and I never spent time wishing more page time for one narrative arc over another. While the endings aren't particularly surprising, they're well-crafted and I enjoyed my time with them. Recommended to fans of historical fiction, those who enjoy books about art/artists, Anglophiles, and family drama lovers.

Rating: ****

Nov 7, 3:18pm Top

Book 137

Batwoman: The Many Arms of Death - Marguerite Bennett et. al.

Katherine Kane is on a quest to track down who might be selling dangerous weapons on the black market. In the course of her investigation she's drawn back to the island that used to be run by a former lover and that has now been taken over by a corporation whose goals are darker than they seem.

I spent this entire volume being So Lost. In theory there's an explanation of Batwoman's backstory thus far at the beginning of the volume but it's done in weird comic panels with insufficient text and I couldn't wrap my brain around what was going on or even who Batwoman is. And then the final comic included in the volume involves a jump forward into the future and I got even more lost. Probably more enjoyable for those who are deeply immersed into the whole Batman universe but not a great entry point.

Rating: **

Nov 7, 3:27pm Top

Book 138

Spider-Man Noir: The Complete Collection - David Hine et. al.

A collection of two Spider-Man Noir story arcs, a couple comics that were part of the Spider-Verse event, and a Spider-Geddon comic.

These are so well done. Translating Spider-Man to the grittiness of 1930s noir is done so seamlessly with Peter working with his Aunt May who's a communist agitator in the tent camps of those hit hardest by the Depression. Two of the major Spider-Man villains make their appearances in the initial two arcs and they're both reimagined gorgeously. Highly recommended if you like Spider-Man, liked the Spider-Man Noir character in Spider-Verse (book or film), or enjoy a noir-ish romp.

Rating: ****

Nov 7, 8:27pm Top

>101 MickyFine: Ah, your TBR pile works something like mine then. Nightstand books are those I intend to read over the next month or so as well.

Nov 8, 2:24am Top

>101 MickyFine: & >105 bell7: I'm another member of the "books that are soon to be read are on the bedside table" club. Though in my case it's primarily library books.

Nov 8, 5:31am Top

Oh! Happy birthday, then! Sounds like you have a great time.

Charlie and I are watching Buffy right now, too! (First time for him and about the 15th rewatch for me.) He was an instant fan.

Nov 8, 8:45am Top

Spider-man Noir sounds good. I did like that character in the Spider-verse movie. Adding it to the WL.

Nov 8, 9:48am Top

Happy Belated Birthday! You share your birthday with my dad, one of his brothers (they were born on the same day but 8 years apart), and a friend of mine. I have had to move some of my nightstand stack of books to the floor by my bed because it's getting too tall...

Nov 8, 1:55pm Top

>105 bell7: Nightstand books are where it's at!

>106 PawsforThought: Mine are mostly library books also.

>107 scaifea: Thanks, Amber! We're over halfway through season 2. We just watched the episode when Angelus kills Jenny and it still upsets me every time.

>108 jnwelch: I think you'll really enjoy it, Joe.

>109 aktakukac: I usually try to keep the nightstand stack to about 6 or less books. I only ever have one book on the go and since I work at the library there's usually a pretty constant flux of books in and out over the course of a month. :)

Nov 8, 4:38pm Top

Happy belated birthday, Micky! I know I'm late, but this just means you get to celebrate longer, right?

Nov 8, 5:14pm Top

>111 Ape: Definitely! And thank you! :)

Nov 8, 9:58pm Top

Happy "*snort* you're HOW young now?" day, and congratulations on giving yourself the right kind of relatives who'll give you book coupons unprompted.

Many happy reading hours this weekend.

Yesterday, 4:57am Top

Belated happy birthday to you and Mr Fine!

>74 MickyFine: Snap!

These are my Alanna books - or rather, I have books 2 and 3 (so far)

Yesterday, 6:54am Top

Also belated greetings from me Micky.

Yesterday, 1:00pm Top

>114 humouress: Ooooh, I like those covers. :)

Yesterday, 9:51pm Top

>116 Ape: *Curtseys*

I don't mind the covers Micky has with Alanna and the light behind her but I'm not fond of the third one. I don't like fiction covers with photographs of people as a general rule; if I remember correctly, you're another one who doesn't like them.

Today, 6:05am Top

>110 MickyFine: Oh, yes, I *love* that scene! So unexpected and so well done, I think. I love that he doesn't kill her in the traditional vampire way, but instead simply breaks her neck, as if to add insult to injury murder. Very Angelus of him.

Today, 10:55am Top

>117 humouress:: Definitely! People are the worst! (on covers)

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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