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Quondame's fourth quarter continuation....

This is a continuation of the topic Susan's sanity is a lost cause…Round 3.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

Join LibraryThing to post.

1quondame
Oct 1, 3:11pm Top



Hi, I'm Susan, finishing up my 71st year, cleaning up after 3 dachshunds and reading rather more than is good for health and sanity. Yes, I know the gif is paging backwards.

2johnsimpson
Oct 1, 3:55pm Top

Hi Susan my dear, happy new thread and love the gif.

3richardderus
Oct 1, 4:21pm Top

Hi Susan, I'm with John.

4FAMeulstee
Oct 1, 4:37pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan!

I am with John and Richard.

5quondame
Edited: Oct 1, 6:15pm Top

#271) Fledgling



Theo learns about herself and the wider worlds, and that even a safe world like her Delgado birthplace can present hazards.

I've read this several times since I found it online though somehow I didn't know about it soon enough to be among the original patrons. It has all the charms and weaknesses of the series, though aficionados of Liaden™️ bows are left to imagine the details for themselves.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #1: Read a book whose cover pictures at least one person in a position other than standing

6figsfromthistle
Oct 1, 6:56pm Top

Happy new thread!

7quondame
Edited: Oct 2, 9:35pm Top

#272) The Wildered Quest



This is not the sort of book I expect from Kate Elliott who has always before brought the characters with their flaws into joyous balance with the narrative. I spent 4/5th of this one impatient with the players and the play, until the flow of the narrative just took over and did what it required with those idiots. Unless The Gathering, Magic is your thing, there is no need to read this.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #2: Read a book from your favorite genre

8richardderus
Oct 2, 3:29pm Top

>7 quondame: Umm...I think you wanted The Wildered Quest as the title and touchstone...

9quondame
Edited: Oct 2, 3:49pm Top

>8 richardderus: Of course you are correct and it has been corrected. Cut and Paste has much for which to answer. Psst, the was a non-gratuitous w* worked in.

10quondame
Edited: Oct 2, 9:35pm Top

#273) Dead Voices



A ghost story, a three friends against evil forces, an entry into what to read now that you've finished Harry Potter. This is the second in a series of which I have readn't the first, and the connections among Coco, Ollie, and Brian didn't quite work for me. But the story itself and the telling were solid.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #3: Read a book with a word related to Halloween in the title

11LizzieD
Oct 2, 11:16pm Top

I can't keep up with what you've been doing, Susan, but I appreciate your visits to my thread, and I'm wishing you a happy one here with lots of good reading and good commentary!
Do you know the Percy Jackson YA Olympian series? I was reading the first one but have put it on hold for some even more basic comfort rereading. I think Percy is also the one you read when you've finished Harry Potter.

12quondame
Oct 2, 11:54pm Top

>11 LizzieD: I've read the original Percy Jackson series and some of later books. I actually find most YA F&SF very violent with gratuitously high body counts. But a lot of mainstream urban fantasy, the vampires and werewolves defer to the heroine type, are equally bloody. Dead Voices was a cut above all that.

13karenmarie
Oct 3, 9:31am Top

Hi Susan, and happy new thread.

I, too, love the gif.

14drneutron
Oct 3, 6:41pm Top

Happy new thread!

15quondame
Edited: Oct 6, 3:44pm Top

#274) My Name is Red



More than you probably ever wanted to know about Ottoman miniaturists, their lives, loves, rivalries, angst. Being a maker of images in a culture that forbids images is a matter of arrogance and anguish and from the conflict arise the murder of the master gilder Elegant, whose shade narrates the first chapter. Subsequent chapters rotate through other characters and drawings, including the murderer who also has entries as one of the group of miniaturists working on a secret book for the Sultan.
Very much individuals the men, women, children, and figures who narrate have concerns to which we can relate and values that are alien.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #4: Read a book in translation

16LizzieD
Oct 4, 11:27pm Top

I'm in complete agreement with your assessment of My Name is Red, Susan. This is not my favorite Pamuk so far. Incidentally, I had an Turkish acquaintance who hasn't come back here for years, who deprecated my admiration of Pamuk. She gave me other names to read, but I didn't and have probably lost them.

17PaulCranswick
Oct 4, 11:29pm Top

Happy new thread, Susan. You have made quite the posting impression this year!

18quondame
Oct 5, 12:32am Top

>17 PaulCranswick: Ah no, Paul, you are the (pardon me Mark) the postmaster on this list.

19thornton37814
Oct 5, 4:18pm Top

Happy new thread!

21quondame
Oct 5, 9:38pm Top

#275) The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb



Melanie Benjamin's Lavinia Warren is more driven than likeable, seeking to grow beyond the limits her original small town imposes on a person only 32" tall. This book creates a conflict of the costs of her drive to be more within a framework that primarily values her for her smallness and to protect herself while making a life. The author's choices all seem valid, but not highly imaginative or all that interesting.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #5: Read a book in which a major character has some relationship to a circus

22quondame
Edited: Oct 6, 12:03am Top

In preparation for next week's 4 day camping at GWW I've loaded my Kindle with lots of Challenge books. I may have to make some adjustments before Thursday's departure, but I have some spares in line too.

23quondame
Oct 6, 3:45pm Top

#276) Sapphire Flames



The world of the Hidden Legacy gets even darker and nastier when Catalina as head of the Baylor house must struggle to survive the end of 3 years of grace period while Nevada and Rogan are in Italy. Bad timing, and absurdly improbable, but necessary for this story not to be shared with that power couple. This one just isn't as fun as earlier volumes.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #6: Read the last (available) book of a series

24SandyAMcPherson
Oct 7, 8:59am Top

Delurking to say hi and to make sure I'm on the new thread.

I went to Vancouver (BC) for a week and came back to LT 75-talk having the most daunting backlog of messages! I'm afraid to look at all the new reviews, since I really don't want to find beguiling new titles when I've requested several holds that will probably cascade.

Oh yes, I started an "October-November TBR" list.

25quondame
Oct 7, 2:36pm Top

#277) The Twisted Ones



Reworking the stolen by the fair ones with a vengeance, this tale of a young woman attempting to empty the house of her hoarder grandmother in North Carolina, has inverse resonances with the outsider in a small southern town fables, but mostly gets where it's going. It isn't ultimately disturbing, but I held onto my dachshund for the last chapters.

Yet another riff on early 20th century horror with a Lovecraft connection.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #7: Read a book where there is an embedded word of 4 letters or more in the Author’s last name.

26quondame
Oct 7, 2:38pm Top

>24 SandyAMcPherson: I've found myself wandering far out of my comfort zone from either picking up titles that have been tossed around and getting felled by BBs.

27richardderus
Oct 7, 2:58pm Top

>25 quondame: *ow*ow*ow*

BB

Library has it too. Drat you!

28quondame
Oct 7, 3:00pm Top

>27 richardderus: You have to look for the LC in the note in the back.

29jjmcgaffey
Oct 7, 5:19pm Top

>25 quondame: Oh, that's a T. Kingfisher book! OK, getting it from the library. She generally manages not to make her horror too horrific for me - and her writing is fantastic. I was on the knife-edge after reading your review until I noticed the author.

30quondame
Edited: Oct 8, 12:01am Top

#278) Haunting of Tram Car 015



This mage-punk roar through the wire ways of 1912 Cairo as newly partnered agents of the Ministry of Alchemy try to de-spell the presence attacking passengers on the titular tram car. They find that it isn't the low-level djinn they were expecting, and keep encountering the cresting of the women's suffrage movement as they attempt to identify and control it. Lively and interesting, seeped in the spices of the orient.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #8: Read a book with either an image of leaves on the cover or the word leaf/leaves in the title

31quondame
Oct 9, 1:52am Top

#279) Zombie



I don't know about Tiggers, but I don't like this stuff. Spending a summer inside the head of a serial killer is about as pleasant as being hung up in Alien's larder with a larva feeding in your guts.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #9: Read a book for the October CFF Mystery Challenge Challenge

32richardderus
Oct 9, 2:35pm Top

>30 quondame: I can't wait to get to that one! I **LOVED** A Dead Djinn in Cairo, the precursor story I read three or so years ago and is set in the same magepunk universe.

33quondame
Oct 9, 7:11pm Top

Today was an adventure in being slightly less privileged than my way more lucky than I deserve self is used to. I joined my husband on his commute train - the first time I've been on MetroLink - and then caught a bus to just north of Dodger Stadium to pick up the van we are renting to pack our home away from home into for GWW. It took me about 1/2 an hour to find where to catch the 96 bus downtown since I exited on the street to the north of the station and the stop was on the parallel street to the south. Lovely weather though, just cool enough for what I was wearing and I made my pickup in good time. The 96 is great to know about because it wanders through Chinatown which is currently collecting interesting business and restaurants.

34quondame
Oct 10, 1:37am Top

#280) The Invisible Ring



I found this too full of sexual violence and way high on the body count scale to really enjoy, although it is a dramatic and flowing story. There are males and women, and neither are quite human, but balanced between caricatures of gender roles and strange reverses. Maybe more realistic about the unappealing effects magic might have on thinking beings over evolutionary spans.

I have read other books in this series, both before and after, but don't remember a thing about them.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #10: Read a book where the author's first name and surname are consecutive and in alphabetical order

35SandyAMcPherson
Oct 11, 11:40am Top

I'm passing on The Twisted Ones but, yes a BB for Haunting of Tram Car 015. Great review, >30 quondame: thanks!

36SandyAMcPherson
Oct 11, 11:56am Top

>33 quondame: Would love to hear more about these businesses. Are there Second-hand book shops?
And what is GWW?

37jjmcgaffey
Edited: Oct 11, 3:31pm Top

>36 SandyAMcPherson: I believe it's Great Western War - an SCA event that I've never made it to. Wars are amazing - literally thousands of people come together, for a week or more, in garb (costume/medieval clothes). They fight, of course (it's a sport, but a full-contact one), but also make and teach and display crafts and skills and cooking and and and...

I went to Pennsic (it's in Western Pennsylvania) once, many years ago. That's the only war I've made it to - lots of tournaments (which last 1-3 days and draw 50 to hundreds of people), but not the big events.

And the problem with bookstores in Chinatowns and equivalent (Japantown, etc...) is that, unsurprisingly, they mostly have books in languages I don't read. I find them frustrating, so tend to avoid them.

38quondame
Oct 14, 8:20pm Top

>36 SandyAMcPherson: I haven't ever seen a book store in LA China Town, but I never looked. There is a New Orleans restaurant that has opened there and I think a couple of others - it is accessible or lunch from the main part of DT LA, but probably the rents are a bit lower.

>37 jjmcgaffey: Yes, Great Western War. I spent the first full day convinced I had an abscessed tooth, but it got no worse and on Sunday was down to mild discomfort. I still have a dentist appointment for tomorrow!. I just sat in my longer and read most of the time, but outdoors, with company, and meals made by someone else.

39quondame
Oct 15, 12:20am Top

#281) Ascension



There are good pieces to be found here, and the story is decent, but the character interactions aren't well set up or believable and the contradictions are a bother.🌈

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #11: Read a book set in space

#282) Beyond the Wild River



A good fishing trip ruined by vengeance, romance, and death. Move along, this is not the book you're looking for.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #12: Read a historical novel or work of history in which a character or characters travel between different countries

#283) August Heat



Salvo has found new ways to get himself in trouble without having to do more than age a bit and continue as he is.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #13: Read a book in which someone dies

#284) Making a Living in the Middle Ages



The subtitle: The People of Britain 850-1520 is somewhat more accurate, but the real title is Economic changes in England, Wales, and Scotland 850-1520 and why it was never just one thing. It wasn't completely deadly, but it felt very repetitive as it went on.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #14: Read a book in which the ISBN contains a 10 or 13 or 19 or 44

40Berly
Oct 15, 3:31am Top

Love your topper, even if we are standing on the wrong side of it. (The pages moving "backwards"...)

>21 quondame: And I have Mrs Tom Thumb on Kindle I think. Someday....

>34 quondame: I like Anne Bishop, but then you only gave it 2.5 stars so maybe not.

>39 quondame: " Move along, this is not the book you're looking for." LOL. Thanks for saving us all from that one.

Happy reading!

41quondame
Oct 15, 11:49pm Top

#285) Things We Lost in the Fire



The horror may just be what people do to themselves, what they do to others, what insanity does to them, or maybe there is really something horrific.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #15: Read a book whose cover gives you an autumn vibe

42quondame
Edited: Oct 17, 12:35am Top

#286) Death and the Joyful Woman



Mysteries that involve the detective's family are tricky, and even though this starts off from the son's viewpoint and and involvement with a suspect, it doesn't break free of the tricky thorny aspect. Also the sweetly managing women gag me and all the young tender manhood garbage.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #16: Read a book which mentions footwear in the first sentence

43karenmarie
Oct 17, 7:54am Top

I love your pithy reviews, Susan.

44SandyAMcPherson
Edited: Oct 17, 10:04am Top

>43 karenmarie: Me too.
That Ellis Peters even sounds like a less than 3 ☆'s book for me, though I haven't read that author for years now.

45richardderus
Oct 17, 2:34pm Top

>41 quondame: Hm. I wasn't anything like as impressed as you sound like you were. Checking...looks like I got it from NetGalley and never reviewed it. Bad boy. Now I have to unearth it and see what I missed, and let this be a lesson to all: Reviewing is the only way for the biblioholic to track reads!

46jjmcgaffey
Oct 17, 2:48pm Top

>42 quondame: I like the Felse mysteries - there are some really good stories there. I gave Joyful Woman 4.5 stars, on the second (at least) reading. Oddly, the one I remember as my favorite I only gave 4 stars - A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs. That may just have been my mood at reading (the problem with star ratings!).

47quondame
Oct 17, 3:35pm Top

>43 karenmarie: >44 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks.

>45 richardderus: Since I really dislike horror, I tend to rate it a bit higher than other forms if it has coherent focus and depth and doesn't rely on oozing, tentacles, etc.

>46 jjmcgaffey: After I powered through the Cadfael books I read everything I could find by EP. The Wales books were too painful to think about for long, I liked the Felse books at the time, but the Bunty and Dominic treatment in this one just rubbed me wrong. And who done it is obvious because the potential motive is laid in early and never comes up again until the detectives are clued in

48richardderus
Oct 17, 4:04pm Top

>47 quondame: Oh! As I'm all about the tentacles, my standards are radically different.

49quondame
Oct 17, 4:11pm Top

>48 richardderus: But if you like them, can they be horrific? Slice thin for sushi!

50jjmcgaffey
Oct 18, 1:39am Top

>47 quondame: Honestly, I remember bits of it but not really how the story went (given I apparently last read it in 2009, even that's really impressive). My review says I was impressed by the dignified handling of adolescent angst...or something like that.

The discussion made me go look at my Felse books, and I found I was missing three (including The Grass Widow's Tale, which is the one that's jumping up and down in my back-brain saying Read me, read me!, for some reason), so I got the ebooks for those three. Does that count as a book bullet?

51quondame
Edited: Oct 18, 1:49am Top

#287) Akata Witch



Not quite a Nigerian Harry Potter, in this story four young teens must master themselves and their abilities to stop a killer bad enough in himself but worse in what he seeks to enable. The final bit isn't really much supported by the preceding development.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #17: Read a work of witchlit

52jnwelch
Oct 18, 8:51am Top

I'm a Nnedi Okorafor fan, Susan. My wife, son and I all liked Akata Witch a lot, and its sequel, Akata Warrior. Her Binti books are excellent sci-fi.

53quondame
Oct 18, 3:23pm Top

>52 jnwelch: She is a good writer, but this book and the Binti series seem to me to be Africanizations of stories I've enjoyed many times before. And she seriously cheats in Binti, wiping out consequences for feel goods.

54quondame
Edited: Oct 19, 2:56pm Top

#288) Wild Magic



Even strong magic users get messed up by the gods, and men are major pains too. If the book had any other non-binary gendered characters than the breasted men called Salagaum, all of whom seem to be ostracized by their families, this might qualify for a rainbow, but while a man-Salagaum relationship is portrayed sympathetically, it's forbidden quality is a story lever.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #18: Read a book with a multicoloured cover for the October birthstone challenge

55quondame
Oct 19, 11:06pm Top

#289) A Night in Lonesome October



I am so not the audience for this book. I don't find monsters fun for their own sake and it would have taken amazing characters and wizard pacing to have overcome my complete boredom with the we will all contest on the night of the full moon to determine if the elder gods will return plot, and 31 daily updates from a pooch made it a tedious drag. Zelazny wrote many books I love, but not this one.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #1: Read a book whose cover pictures at least one person in a position other than standing

56quondame
Oct 21, 12:13am Top

#290) Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine



There's fine and then there's fine. Eleanor has survived from 10 to 30 by not remembering, by isolation, and vodka. But a need for connection manifests when she encounters an attractive singer and a new co-worker makes friendly overtures. The meta-stable existence she has maintained seems to suit her but she does get knocked over the edge....
I'm not quite sure I can totally believe in Eleanor as she is presented, but this story of not too extraordinary people did interest and touch me throughout.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #10: Read a book where the author's first name and surname are consecutive and in alphabetical order

57jnwelch
Oct 21, 9:20am Top

>53 quondame: Wow, what a perspective on the Binti books and Nnedi Okorafor's books, Susan. I appreciate the strength of your views, but thoroughly disagree. From my POV, it's a shame you missed the wonder of those books, and the idea that they're an "Africanization" of old tropes seems just wrong. I'm loving the emergence of stories based on African folklore, rather than European. Jung would say they all derive from the same archetypes, I suppose, but that's not the same as what you're thinking. Too bad. You're the first person I know to have that reaction, and it just seems a shame, like someone who dislikes a wonderful dish at a restaurant. We're not all the same, and that's a good thing, but oh my, those are such cool books.

I'm glad Eleanor Oliphant interested and touched you! Me, too.

58quondame
Oct 21, 10:20am Top

>57 jnwelch: I'm sorry you think I missed what is special about those books, but I don't believe I did. The special girl who leaves her family behind, Binti, has got to be as familiar to you as it is to me and I had just reread a stellar version before encountering Binti. Binti's family being alive after her actions had brought destruction on them is an authorial indulgence Yes, Binti, aside from my major issue, is a good rif on a story and though Akata Witch also has something intriguing to offer, that doesn't in and of itself win them a higher place in my opinion.

59quondame
Oct 21, 1:04pm Top

Arrgh! My house has a noisy infestation of roofers, expected to last the week. The dogs are happy to add to the noise.

60SandyAMcPherson
Oct 21, 4:38pm Top

A whole week of roofing?! OMG.
Sending sympathy.

Will you retreat to a library reading room to find some P&Q?

61quondame
Oct 21, 5:33pm Top

>60 SandyAMcPherson: I don't know for sure how much of the week it will take, but P&Q are not really available except during breaks, and the dogs are being quite unpleasant to clean up after. With my hearing issues and the thick accents of the workers, I can only hope that the right on-the-spot decisions are being made. I don't think we were using the TV antenna....

62quondame
Edited: Oct 21, 5:47pm Top

#291) The Optimist's Daughter



A rather grim little slice of life as Laurel has traveled from her home in Chicago and put her work on hold to be with her father when he goes south to New Orleans to consult about an eye problem with a surgeon who unsuccessfully treated his first wife. The second wife, Fay, has got to be one of the all time achievements in shallow, selfish, ill will ever to take from on the page. Most of the book is Laurel dealing with her father's funeral and revealing its effects on her, complicating the effects of her mother's slow death.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #8: Read a book with either an image of leaves on the cover or the word leaf/leaves in the title

63jnwelch
Edited: Oct 21, 7:36pm Top

I guess the problem I’m having re your thoughts on Binti is we could say the same about virtually any book. The hero going on a journey is one we know, too, and it gets told over and over. Just about every book could be reduced that way. 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry is a funny book that capitalizes on just that.

64quondame
Edited: Oct 22, 2:29pm Top

🎃🎃🎃First time ever I completed the treasure hunt without resorting to any clues! 🎃🎃🎃

65quondame
Edited: Oct 22, 7:45pm Top

#292) Fall Back Down When I Die



Author Joe Wilkins does not cut eastern Montana any slack: "The land where the failures of the nation, the failures of myth, met the failures of men." The men and women he conjures for us do fail in entirely human ways. The steady pace of most of the book is deceptive as it all seems to have gone by too quickly once the final action starts.

Mentioned by richardderus, it's not a BB if the poster didn't specifically recommend it, is it?

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #3: Read a book with a word related to Halloween in the title

66quondame
Oct 24, 2:20am Top

#293) The Library of the Unwritten



Everything in this book almost works. The Library of the Unwritten as an annex of Hell, the Librarian and her failed muse helper, the search for the lost bits of the Devil's Bible all have interesting facets and developments, but the pacing is too drawn out and the some of the character interactions just don't jell.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #9: Read a book for the October CFF Mystery Challenge Challenge - Read a book that has a scary or creepy setting

67richardderus
Oct 24, 11:51am Top

>65 quondame: *snort* TOTALLY a BB. Not so much as a shred of doubt. None. BB. Ab(b)solutely.

68ronincats
Oct 24, 4:40pm Top

>66 quondame: I'm hopeful that those elements will improve in the second book, though.

69SandyAMcPherson
Oct 25, 12:28am Top

>64 quondame: Good going!

I thought I would manage also, but was (and still am) *totally* stumped on #13.
I like these treasure hunt quizzes, except when the description is so vague about hinting the alternative meaning of the clues, then not so much fun. For example, the rhyme says 'book' but one hint on Talk said it is a movie. Meh!

70quondame
Oct 25, 1:41am Top

>69 SandyAMcPherson: I had never heard of the answer to #13, but googled 9 & blood and the answer was on the first page. I don't count doing my own googles as using hints.

71quondame
Oct 25, 1:49am Top

#294) Dirty Magic



I was debating whether to rate this as a 3 or 3.5 then when I looked it up on LT I had already read it. And forgotten it 100%. It is a perfectly fine take on the heroine with something extra in a dark urban fantasy world, a bit different than the usual werewolfs, vampires, and other strange critters, with Adepts being both the monsters and among those fighting the monsters, and the take on magic is not the most common, and the pacing and plotting are better than average, just, well I totally forgot it. Totally.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #7: Read a book where there is an embedded word of 4 letters or more in the Author’s last name

72SandyAMcPherson
Oct 25, 9:46am Top

Anita also answered me on the hunt clue/talk page. Thanks for your keywords, though. For some reason, those words weren't bringing up the correct book at the time. Or, yes, I was up too late at night!

I don't mind googling for the titles, and mostly try to figure out the clues myself before resorting to the 'Talk' page. I like the talk pages, though, because some genres are so unfamiliar to me that I would earn an icon only by accidentally tripping over a title in an unrelated search!

I belonged to LT for over a year before I ever even noticed there were treasure hunts! I particularly value them for pushing me into learning more about the LT world and how to navigate the website (probably changing with the new design). A day late and a dollar short, eh? And I also have discovered a lot about other genres, which has gotten me out of a rut.

73quondame
Oct 26, 2:23am Top

#295) Lost and Found



Lost things catch Ezekiel's attention and he knows who has lost them and where the owner is. Every significant character in this book has suffered some grievous loss of the sort that cannot be helped by simply returning an item, until Ezekiel is asked to find a lost child. Much of the meaning of this book is in living after loss and using your abilities to their fullest, and the characters are vivid and touching and if the plot were less dependent on a couple of major co-incidences it might actually deserve it's current average rating of 4.33.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #14: Read a book in which the ISBN contains a 10 or 13 or 19 or 44

74karenmarie
Oct 26, 9:31am Top

Hi Susan!

>61 quondame: Ha. I looked at part of our roof last Monday that I normally don’t look at and saw the antenna. I don’t think we’re using it either. It probably needs to come down.

75richardderus
Oct 26, 11:32am Top

Happy weekend, Susan, and more 3-plus-star reads ahead.

76quondame
Oct 27, 4:02pm Top

#296) Liaden Universe Constellation IV



Well enough, but no particular delights, and the volume eating tale of Degrees of Separation was for me half saccharine and half re-tread pain resulting from a bad Delm. Only two of the stories were familiar to me from Baen.com, so at least most of the material wasn't a re-read, though re-reads of Liaden™️ books is pretty standard for me.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #2: Read a book from your favorite genre

77quondame
Edited: Oct 28, 1:09am Top

#297) The Waters and the Wild



A YA summer on the lake with strangeness yarn. I didn't find much in it that connected it with other Bedlam's Bard books, though I haven't read the most recent ones, and my memory is not great. That is not in any case a problem with this book, which is decently paced with acceptable level of characterization, though the lead's woozy headedness is a pain.

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #6: Read the last (available) book of a series

78SandyAMcPherson
Oct 28, 10:32am Top

Hey Susan, Impressive that you're at #297 in your reading. I'm thinking that 3-★s is a "mediocre-to-okay" book for you? I tend to default to 3 or 3½ ★s when the book is "meh" to "read again in case I like it better".
I like to get a sense of how others rate books relative to me so I can spot a BB. Some 4 to 4½ ★s have rated much lower.

Over here in my bookish behaviour, I am at #92 which seems an unusually high amount of reading to me. I've never tracked my year's reading before. So maybe that mere record-keeping pushed me to read more. I do know I've persisted with books to the end that I didn't like very much. Maybe that's a good thing.

Don't mind me, I'm just chattering away.

79jjmcgaffey
Oct 28, 5:09pm Top

>78 SandyAMcPherson: I put my star system on my profile page - for me, mostly, so I can remember how I distinguish a 2.5-star (maybe for someone, not me) from a 2-star (not quite a story, errors), and so on. For me, 3 stars is "glad I read it" and 3.5 is "glad I read it, may reread". 4 is "will reread".

When I started tracking my books, I think it did accelerate my reading. But I found that it was necessary to review (at least a quick one) every book, so that I could remember a) the book and b) why I gave it that star rating. I've found several that I simply didn't remember ever having read before, and others that I either hated or loved the second time that I thought were meh the first - or vice versa, just very different star ratings. LT's tracking threads have made several major changes in my reading.

>77 quondame: Ah, I'd forgotten about that one! I may even have it, in my ebooks - if not, I need to get it. I don't think Lackey's done any that weren't at least 3-star, for me. Some are no higher (and some are 5-star), but all of them have been worth my reading time.

80quondame
Oct 28, 6:13pm Top

>78 SandyAMcPherson: >79 jjmcgaffey: Sometimes the rating is a matter of my expectations being snubbed. If I rate it less than 2.5 it is often because of some major flaw in the writing or something in the story/characters that struck me just wrong. I will rate things as high as 4.5 that I have no intention of reading again, just because they have content in spades, though, yes, high ratings often do go to books I enjoy or would enjoy re-reading. But sometimes I enjoy reading guilty pleasure ~3 books.

Sometimes the few lines I write on LT - or even a footnote from the year or two before I joined, are enough to bring the book back to mind, but not always.

81quondame
Oct 28, 8:31pm Top

#298) The Fire's Stone



Three young people with sever parental issues are twisted together by the author and sent off on a quest to save a city on which they are tested, battered, and bonded and served up grown beyond those bounds. A fast moving narrative twists until the triad is on it's way then flows forward with the inevitability of lava. The characters are less novel now than they would have been nearly 30 years ago, but remain rather charming. 🌈

BB from Dejah_Thoris who

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #18: Read a book with a multicoloured cover for the October birthstone challenge

82quondame
Oct 29, 6:52pm Top

#299) The Long Call



Mathew Venn is unusual in my experience of characters who are police detectives. No tendency to violence and little to temper, his personal issues are less about specific traumatic events or bad habits and more the result of a thinking person growing up in a community of faith. The characters, setting, and communities which resulted in the murder and subsequent events are all excellently presented. I found the pace ever so slightly slower than I prefer, and the whiff Oriental Express communal effort to be the only real flaw. 🌈

It's lovely to become acquainted with a writer with such a promising bibliography. Thanks rretzler

Meets October TIOLI Challenge #14: Read a book in which the ISBN contains a 10 or 13 or 19 or 44

83SandyAMcPherson
Oct 29, 11:28pm Top

Thanks >79 jjmcgaffey: and >80 quondame: for the comments on your style of star ratings. I forget to look at members' profiles to see if they've clarified how the stars are awarded, so I've taken time to do that and noticed better ways of thinking about my allocations.

Not that we have to be all scholarly and apply stars even consistently. I'm also getting better at just going into writing the reviews a little more spontaneously. Schooling has a lot to answer for! I have a very noisy, bossy inner editor!

84jjmcgaffey
Oct 30, 1:51am Top

>83 SandyAMcPherson: Leaving aside whether I'm helping anyone else - I need the stars to be consistent for _me_, so I know how I felt about a book when I finished it (which is often not how I feel about the same book a week, month, year later). And I review for me, too. Nice if it's useful for others, but I can't write that way - I need to write down what I need to know about that book.

85quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 1:05am Top

#300) Blackout



The preponderance of characters carrying heavy immediate emotional loads, gives this book a calculated feel and diffuses the impact of any one angst. Whether accurate or not, it does give an heavy ominous mood to the well presented setting with volcanic ash in the south and a sort of frenzied summer scene in the northern fjords. I'm not a fan of the way the multiple viewpoints were done, making this more of a shallow ensemble piece.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #4: Read a book in translation

86quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 1:05am Top

#301) One Potion in the Grave



Magical cozy witch mystery. Yet another too many suspects for a small pool to fish in. Nothing terribly wrong, nothing much special.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #17: Read a work of witchlit

87LizzieD
Oct 30, 11:11pm Top

>82 quondame: Thank you for the suggestion that Ann Cleves will be worth my time when I get to her!
(Hi, Susan!)

88FAMeulstee
Oct 31, 5:00am Top

>85 quondame: Congratulations on reaching 4 x 75, Susan!

89quondame
Oct 31, 4:14pm Top

>88 FAMeulstee: Thank you!

90quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 1:05am Top

#302) Zero Sum Game



Dark urban conspiracy with telepathy and mindbending, over the top body count, rough cut moralizing. A young woman with something extra tangles with something(s) bigger and badder than she is, and she's pretty bad, in a competent way. Too over the top to be really scary.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #13: Read a book in which someone dies

91johnsimpson
Oct 31, 4:59pm Top

Hi Susan my dear, congrats on reaching 300 books, this is a figure I can only dream about dear friend. Hope you are having a good week and send love and hugs from both of us.

92quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 1:05am Top

#303) Chilling Effect



How can you add 20 psychic cats to a book and have them do nothing? Too lightweight for the immense body count with yet another 5 person crew of a space freighter, I cannot imagine anyone remaining around the train wreck of Captain Eva Innocente. She spends way to much of the novel moaning in her cabin, has no contingency plans and ignores all good advice. The author has raked through a 100 years of F&FS for juicy bits to thread together, and the tale is lively and fast moving, but jeez.

Read for October TIOLI Challenge #11: Read a book set in space

93quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 1:04am Top

#304) The King of Kazoo



A very silly GN, with the characters are not much above stick figures and strangely seem to have vestigial rabbit ears, dress like it's the 1950s in a fantasy reminiscent of those movies with a race through eastern Europe only the baddy is a disgruntled wizard and not the ruler's a identical twin.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #5: Read a book that has a musical instrument in the title

94ronincats
Nov 1, 9:09pm Top

>92 quondame: That's disappointing. This is one coming into my library branch for me soon and I'll probably read it, but I wish it had been better for you.

95PaulCranswick
Nov 1, 9:12pm Top

Since I last visited, Susan - and not long ago - you have waltzed beyond 300 books or 4x75.

I am impressed!

Have a lovely weekend.

96quondame
Nov 2, 7:01pm Top

My "Felix" book is proving thick and long, so I've no news for today except that I learned that Natasha Pulley is coming out with a new book in February. What are you looking forward to in 2020? Other than Return of the Thief, which is a given.

97SandyAMcPherson
Nov 2, 8:38pm Top

>96 quondame: Yes, Return of the Thief is indeed a given!

I'm also looking forward to a number of others, not necessarily just 2019/2020 publications, though
The Lantern Men (the #12 book in the RG series); comes out in Feb.

earlier publications:
Paris by the book, a bb from Lauralkeet's thread
Frankly in Love, a bb from foggidawn's thread

98quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 1:04am Top

#305) The Revolutions



Late 19th century spiritual travel to Mars in doubtful company. Nobody has any fun. The Martians are kind of interesting, but they don't have much fun either and all of the landscapes tend toward dreary at best. I do wonder why he bothered with this and I can't recommend anyone else should.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #18: Read a book by an author whose first name is Felix or Lars or one of these names appear in the first sentence

99quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 1:04am Top

#306) Piglettes



Mireille, Astrid, and Hakima are voted the three ugliest girls in their high school, and find common ground in a trip to Paris to crash the July 14th party given by the President. This is about beauty, resilience, social media, bullying, served with a lot of snark and garnished with sentiment.

Meets November TIOLI Challenge #12: Read a book where a word in the title reminds you of a childhood toy

100SandyAMcPherson
Nov 3, 4:31pm Top

>99 quondame: I'm liking the sound of this one!

Especially since I'm in a snarky mood right now about an ER book with which I'm struggling (The Grey Sisters ). Maybe I should give up on ER reviewing. There's so many fabulous reading opportunities to explore.

101quondame
Nov 3, 5:26pm Top

>100 SandyAMcPherson: Between a couple of dull ER books and a couple that either weren't in a format I could easily use or were never sent, I've stopped applying for them.

102richardderus
Nov 3, 5:45pm Top

Well, shiver me timbers!

...what, it's NOT still Talk Like A Pirate Day? I was here just a minute...

...oh. Well done on 4x75! I'm sad to learn Felix Gilman's book was a bust. Happy reading week ahead!

103quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 1:04am Top

#307) Frankissstein



"Sanity is the thread through the labyrinth of the Minotaur." In this deconstructed Frankenstein, ground up with Fall; or, Dodge in Hell or any other cyber life after death tome, what is it to be human and is there artificial consciousness isn't what's going on here though, as the thread is broken when the reader slips between times via holes in the foundations of the maze. Too fanciful to inspire heavy thought, to fruited with heavy thoughts to please the fancy. The actions of the trans narrator of the modern sections leaves me feeling very ambiguous about marking this with a 🌈.

Meets November TIOLI Challenge #17: Read a book that features young person/s in peril

104quondame
Edited: Nov 5, 1:05am Top

#308) The Bottle Factory Outing



The author shovels dreary characters onto dreary jobs in a dreary setting without giving them the slightest awareness that might save them from any normal indignity, but what happens is not just normal and the black humor of the resulting scramble is at least more lively than the earlier narrative.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #3: Read a book with a title that mentions something you could recycle

105quondame
Nov 6, 3:16pm Top

#309) Turning Darkness Into Light



Lady Trent's granddaughter, Audrey Camherst, is invited by a notorious acquirer of antiquities to translate some extraordinary Daconean tablets. It is an uneasy alliance, especially once the Draconean scholar Audrey involves arrives, but what the real issues are are only revealed the scholar's attention is pulled from their absorption in the text to the people surrounding it. As a book about people passionate in their interests I might have been more drawn to this it any of them were much more than monomaniacal, though sometimes in a good way. Still, overcoming the journal/letter format, this is a lively read and and a compelling, if contained, adventure.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #7: Read a book where the title completes the phrase "I am thankful for..."

106quondame
Nov 6, 3:29pm Top

Yesterday a hearse was parked across the street from mid morning at least - when I first noticed it - until around 4-5pm. A sedan with a light bar parked directly behind it shortly after I first noticed it, slightly blocking a driveway, which makes me think it was trying to prevent the contents from being removed, since there was other on street parking. Two individuals in work clothes, one from the hearse and one from the sedan, went to my next-door-to-the-north neighbor's. I have no idea what was going on - those neighbors are newcomers and rent from the owners, one of whom runs the French school behind our properties. My breakfast room window usually just shows an near endless parade of joggers, dog walkers, and other strollers, not to mention delivery vans.

107richardderus
Nov 6, 4:06pm Top

>104 quondame: Like my review of The Beggar Maid: "Lovely, lovely sentences telling deadly little quotidian stories about dreary, slatternly people." Yuck.

>106 quondame: That's very intriguing! I wonder what'll happen next.

108quondame
Nov 6, 4:14pm Top

>107 richardderus: Me too, or, um, I as well. I don't know if the neighbors are familiar with the local flier protocol for gatherings, should they host one. Like all the rest of the tenants, they are from France, or at least French speaking, and I haven't really had any interaction with them. The previous tenants had the most lovely huge white dog who jumped the fence once and after the minute it took Mike to return him, had my husband waxing poetic about real dogs and how he, who rarely gives our wee rat dachshunds much direct attention, wants a dog who will play with him.

109quondame
Edited: Nov 8, 3:05pm Top

#310) Warrior of the Altaii



Only worth reading to tick off bits that were upcycled into WoT, this tale of a rather dull nomadic warrior who becomes the spearhead of change in spite of himself is full of familiar names from our history mismatched together and folded in with Jordan's rather weird fancies.

Finished for November TIOLI Challenge #4: Finish an interrupted book

110quondame
Nov 8, 3:08pm Top

#311) Bolt



A good solid Dick Francis, just not one of my favorites, partly because of the romance subplot, and partly because of the how much the protagonist is able to control so completely, and partly because of the use of an unpleasant character required by the plot.

Read for SHARED READ: Saddle up for Dick Francis' horsy adventures!
Meets November TIOLI Challenge #19: Read a book with a title containing up to 9 characters

111quondame
Edited: Nov 8, 5:45pm Top

#312) Tokyo Babylon, Volume 1



16 year old fraternal twins Subaru & Hokuto Sumeragi hang out with 25 year old veterinarian Seishiro Sakurazuka. Subaru exorcises ghosts while Hokuto dresses herself and her twin in eccentric fashion and is obsessed with pushing Seishiro & Subaru together romantically. This volume mostly raises questions, like why any of the above and what is the Sakurazuka-Sumeragi connection. Since it uses the p word for m-m sex it doesn't qualify for a rainbow.

Read for November TIOLI Challenge #2: Read a book with the name of a city in the title - started by lindapanzo

112quondame
Edited: Nov 9, 4:56pm Top

#313) Gmorning, Gnight!



Emotional bookend twitters to pull you up and ease you down. Some are simple pep tweets, some are multum in parvo.

Read for November TIOLI #14: Read a book where the first letter of the title starts with one of the letters in the word Grateful

113richardderus
Nov 8, 9:15pm Top

>111 quondame: The um, how to put this, coercive nature of the yaoi element made me shudder.

At any rate. Excelsior! Gift wrap!

114BLBera
Nov 9, 1:24pm Top

Thanks for stopping by my thread, Susan. I am quite enjoying Frankissstein, but I understand that Winterson is not for everyone.

You are a reading machine -- well over 300 books! Is that a normal number for you?

115quondame
Nov 9, 2:18pm Top

>114 BLBera: I've upped the number in the last few years since I don't get out as much and the variety is wider both due to LT and it being easier to load books from libraries onto my kindle, which cuts down my re-read count. Just for giggles, I checked 2010 and I read 229 books including a complete re-read of Dick Francis but that was before I joined the SCA which kept me out of the house or sewing and weaving a lot for about 4 years, lowering the count somewhat.

116quondame
Edited: Nov 9, 4:57pm Top

#314) The Cement Garden



What do 3 teenagers with a younger brother do when their mother dies soon after their father. After setting up a complete isolate family in a house removed by urban decay from any close neighbors, the author takes them through a record hot summer on their own. It isn't quite the incestuous Lord of the Flies of the blurb, but it isn't pretty.

Read for November TIOLI #1: Read a book that measures approximately 1 cm in thickness

117quondame
Yesterday, 12:39pm Top

#315) Code of Conduct



Tougher than nails Jani Kilian is hardly herself, being cyborg and disguised and caught in a political/personal situation of utmost complexity even without the alien idomeni, and their ambassador/priest who sees her as his successor. The only standout here is the flavor of the alien connection, and really Jani isn't all that.

Read for November TIOLI #6: Read a book that has a haiku seasonal word/phrase on the cover

118quondame
Today, 11:30am Top

#316) Life with My Sister Madonna



Pretty much one continuous whine. A real object lesson in the pitfalls of having a massive celebrity in the family for both the celebrity and siblings who aren't able to create a strong identity independent of the star. Other than that, any truth is obscured by self-serving or fawning justification.

Read for November TIOLI #10: Read a book by an author who has a sibling who is in the creative arts

119SandyAMcPherson
Today, 11:49am Top

>118 quondame: I've said it before,
~ I love your pithy reviews ~ and it's still true!
It must be difficult being related to a sibling in the public eye. I imagine it would take great personal self-confidence to chill out and live your own life, no?

120quondame
Today, 12:04pm Top

>119 SandyAMcPherson: I imagine it would, since Christopher spent years working for and touring with his sister and seems to value his connections with celebrities a great deal and she had the power to cut some of those.

121jnwelch
Edited: Today, 2:01pm Top

Hi, Susan.

"Solid" is a good word for Bolt. I liked it, too, and I understand your reservations. I've been very happy getting reacquainted with Dick Francis's mysteries. I've re-read several of his outside the challenge, too, as I was having such a good time with them.

122quondame
Edited: Today, 6:36pm Top

#317) Dairy Queen



This is a lively quirky YA novel. D.J. is a high school athlete who has had to leave the basketball team to work in the family's dairy while her father is sidelined with a hip injury. Her path from numb resentful acceptance to articulate choice is a good journey even if it does rely heavily on football. The weakness is that the problems that face her family really require more than one individual finding a voice. 🌈 a bit.

Read for November TIOLI #11: Read a book in which a profession of a drink is written

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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