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Robin M

Book a Week 2018 - BW44: 52 Books Bingo - Elephant on the cover

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Happy Sunday and welcome to week forty-four in our Open Roads Reading Adventure. Greetings to all our readers and everyone following our progress. Mister Linky is available weekly on 52 Books in 52 Weeks  to share a link to your book reviews.

 I have heffalumps and woozles on my mind. One of the things I enjoyed when my son was young was rediscovering Babar and Horton and Dumbo. And in my recent internet wanderings, enjoyed going down memory lane with Mental Floss’s 10 Pop Culture Elephants.

Since one of our 52 Books Bingo bonus mystery squares is Elephant on the Cover, read a book with a picture on the cover, or elephant in the title, about an elephant as well as explore non fiction reads on conservation, rescue, and research. to history and culture.

 

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent!”
 Dr. Seuss - Horton Hatches the Egg

 

Brit Tripping

Our Brit Tip on Watling way is taking us to West Midlands this week. West Midlands has been a center of industry since the Middle Ages and the growth of the area exploded during the Industrial Revolution.

Rabbit trails: Coventry Cathedral Back to Back Terraces Cadbury More Chocolate Coventry History Sarehole Mill Wightwick Manor

 

Kristin Lavransdatter Readalong

 

Book Three – The Cross
Part 1 – Honor Among Kin  Chapter  1 – 6  ( 116 pages)

 

What are you reading?

 

Link to week 43

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Amazingly didn't finish any books this past week.  Still reading Midnight Riot in Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series.  Waiting in the stack is  Strange Practice (A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel Book 1) by Vivian Shaw.

"Greta Helsing inherited her family's highly specialized and highly peculiar medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although she barely makes ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life."

 

 

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Well I have fallen behind on BritTripping again, as Middle Girl's literature-heavy high school curriculum required my attention. So this week I failed to get out of Warwickshire with Adam Bede; but if I do, for West Midlands I'll read Henry Green's 1929 debut novel Living, set in Birmingham.

Meanwhile I read John Webster's 1613 play The Duchess of Malfi. It's good to read non-Shakespearean Elizabethan drama, if only to get some perspective on how restrained Shakespeare was. If you find perplexing the early scene in Hamlet, where Hamlet jokes with the ghost of his father underneath the stage floor (a scene often cut in modern productions), you'll get a better idea from Webster how really mild that was. Surprise waxworks of a murdered family, a poisoned Bible, a bit of lycanthropy, and much stab-stab-stabbing keep you going through the otherwise bewildering motivations of the characters that move the plot of Malfi along. That's the end of our English Renaissance section, so on soon to the more familiar (to me) ground of the English eighteenth century with Aphra Behn's Oroonoko.

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I read Origin - 1 Star - I keep wondering why I waste my time and energy on Dan Brown books. They’re formulaic and I should know better. The only reason that I read this was because of the setting (Barcelona). I need to give up on his books altogether. Brown definitely has a bone to pick when it comes to faith and religion, most especially Catholicism. Yes, it is fiction, but it also got excessively preachy for my liking. I’m not Catholic and I don’t have a horse in that race, but I can easily imagine that this book would upset those who are. 

Some quotes that I liked:
“Remember death. Even for those who wield great power, life is brief. There is only one way to triumph over death, and that is by making our lives masterpieces. We must seize every opportunity to show kindness and to love fully.”

“The most self-righteous in life become the most fearful in death.”

“There has never been an intellectual advancement that has not included God.”

“There is nothing more damaging for children than the loss of hope, Valdespino thought, recalling how the combination of God’s love and the promise of heaven had been the most uplifting force in his own childhood. I was created by God, he had learned as a child, and one day I will live forever in God’s kingdom.”

The Bat - 2 Stars - I’ve read one other book by this author, “The Snowman”, and I remember liking it enough to want to read the rest in this series. This book, the first, wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t great either. The story started out strong and I was hooked, but I started to lose interest by the time I was about halfway through. I’ve heard, and I also hope, that the other books are better. 

The Park Bench - 4 Stars - This is the second graphic novel that I have read by this author. If you can call it reading, that is. His books are far more visual than anything. It wasn’t as much of an emotional read as his first one, “Alone”, but it’s still a beautiful story nonetheless – the sort of book that makes you think and appreciate the world around you. It’s a story is about a park bench and the various people who visit it at different times. 

9780593078754.jpg     9780553545302.jpg   9780571332304.jpg

MY RATING SYSTEM
5 Stars

The book is fantastic. It’s not perfect, since no book is, but it’s definitely a favorite of mine. 
4 Stars
Really Good
3 Stars
Enjoyable 
2 Stars
Just Okay – nothing to write home about
1 Star
Rubbish – waste of my money and time. Few books make it to this level, since I usually give up on them if they’re that bad.

 

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$1.99 Kindle historical fiction sale includes The Elephant's Keeper's Daughter by Julia Drosten as well as a couple Donna DeLeon Guido Brunetti Books.

Unbound World's presents a round of 10 Chilling Audiobooks for Halloween

Steve Cavanagh's The Liar has won the Crime Writer's Association  Dagger Award

Tochi Onyebuch,s Beasts Made of Night won the African Speculative Fiction Society's Mommo award


Seven Spirit-Filled Books to Read for Halloween

Edited by Robin M
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I finished The Kurdish Bike yesterday. It reads like a memoir, and from what I can tell it really is a memoir with enough details changed that it became recast as fiction. That bothers me as a reader, although I imagine it is "safer" to call a book fiction than to call it a memoir and have to defend its facts. The premise is that a recently divorced 50something woman moves to Kurdistan to teach in the international school in 2010. I think it can be hard to pull of the right tone for a book like this - it is easy to end up with the stereotypical expat story - and I think the author did a pretty good job in that way. The main character (the author?) is brave but wow, she makes some foolish decisions IMO. It's a quick read, and I did learn something about Kurdistan as well as gain a desire to know more. I'm glad I read it. And it filled my Indie bingo square.

Now I am reading The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier, which fits the 15th century bingo square.

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@Negin I feel exactly the same way about Dan Brown, but I've sure read several of them! I can't seem to help myself and recently gave a couple of the books to my dd. I was glad to see your review on The Bat. I read The SnowMan last year and liked it and had wondered about her earlier books.

I am now reading Dracul after seeing @mumto2's comments on it. I'm really enjoying it. It's got the perfect creepy vibe for sitting up on rainy October nights. ?And while I wait to pick up a hard copy of Goblin Emperor, I replaced it as my Audible read with (prepare to be shocked!!) another Uhtred of Bebbanburg book! This one is The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell. I believe it's #8 in the series. I've sidelined In This House of Brede for a little bit We've had too much excitement over the past two weeks with sick and then slowly recovering kids, a dh who finished his degree (yay!) and a snake-bitten dog (boo! but she's recovering well.) I need fast paced and not too heavy right now. 

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Since last week, I finished:

114 Gorilla and the Bird (Zack McDermott; 2017. Non-fiction.)
115 Gideon Falls, Volume 1: The Black Barn (Jeff Lemire; 2018. Graphic fiction.)
116 Kristin Lavransdatter: The Cross (Sigrid Undset; 1922. (Trans. Tiina Nunnally; 2000.) Fiction.)

Oh, Robin! Thank you for the KL readalong! I LOVED the trilogy and have been raving about it to family, friends, and colleagues.

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Speaking of elephants, a live action remake (directed by Tim Burton) of Dumbo is coming out in March.

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Some bookish posts ~ 

Five Books About Heroes Who Shouldn’t Babysit Your Kitten  by Weston Ochse
**

Teaching Advice Gleaned from Books  by Katherine Willoughby
**

50 Short Nonfiction Books You Can Read in a Day (Or Two)  by Sarah Ullery
**

Stumbled upon this reddit thread: 

Lesser known urban fantasy that's NOT paranormal romance!

Regards,
Kareni

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I finally finished One Hundred Years of Solitude. by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. For some reason it took me almost one hundred years to read it. Seriously, while I appreciate the literary value of the book and the poetic language, for some reason it was just not a page-turner for me. I put it down over the summer and just came back to it this week and finally finished it. I have Love in the Time of Cholera. on my shelf. Is it similar? Do you think I will have a tough time getting through that as well?

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I have several books returning this week so am rather ambitious attempt to read or at least try all of them.  KL has recently been renewed and has been set aside....

Cruel is the Night by Karo Hamalainen is an award winning Finnish Translation of a murder mystery set primarily in London so far.  It is a book that I have decided to abandon a couple of times but I keep getting drawn back into it with one more page.  Basically two childhood best friends have a weekend a one’s incredibly luxury apartment in London’s Shard building with their wives.  Total rabbit trail for me because I had no idea one could live in the Shard......it’s the building that looks like a big green pickle on London’s Skyline.  At the beginning of the book three of these people are dead and another is escaping.........almost 70% through with no idea who lives.  One of the characters is reading Murder on the Orient Express. ?. I think I am going to end up really liking it at the end but who knows!  Obviously translated and perhaps a bit choppy occasionally.  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31258311-cruel-is-the-night

One of Kareni’s articles mentions Deborah Harkness,  her latest book is the next one I will be trying.https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38395454-time-s-convert

@Negin I have read the first two Nesbo’s and preferred the first.  Neither has been in Denmark (I think that is right) which I found really disappointing.  I think I have quit reading Dan Brown as I enjoy each one less.

@texasmom33 Glad you are enjoying Dracul.  I hope everyone including the pup is now feeling better.  Congratulations to your DH!

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Cruel is the Night kept me guessing until nearly the last page!  ? 

I decided to abandon the Deborah Harkness until I can do a reread of the series.  I have a feeling I should know about these characters and I don’t.  

I plan to finally start Rose Cottage today!  

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I've finished several books ~

I enjoyed  AJ Rose's Reaping Havoc  which seems seasonably appropriate as it features a reaper.  I then went on to read the sequel  Reaping Fate.  Trigger warning (particularly in the second book) for violence.  (Adult content)  Here's the blurb for the first book (which happens to be on sale for 99 cents):

"No one asked Mitch Seeker if he wanted to be a grim reaper. He didn’t sign up for the rumors, the lack of friends, or the erratic schedule. He doesn’t want to go through life watching people die. Especially not a man he loves. Mitch’s solution is simple—don’t fall in love. He’ll never have to explain why he doesn’t age or why he’s around death so often. Most of all, he will never be a widower.

But when his head is turned by world-class skier Nate Koehn, Mitch believes he may have the answer. If the soul attached to Nate is any indication, Mitch has found himself another reaper, in which case, his undeniable feelings don’t have to be suppressed. However, the spectral tag-a-long is only the beginning of Nate’s burdens. After a catastrophic loss, Nate is no stranger to grief and the hole it leaves behind.

The question they both must answer is loud and clear: is the pain of losing love worse than the pain of never having loved at all?"
**

I also enjoyed a re-read of Cooper West's  Parker's Sanctuary: A Guardsmen Novel  along with the FREE prequel Rescued: A “Parker’s Sanctuary” Story   and the very short sequel, Second Chances.  (Adult content)  Here's the blurb for Parker's Sanctuary:

"Greg Lademar is an ordinary and average Army veteran who has settled down with his job as an accountant and his lingering PTSD. He lives a quiet life as a single man, alone on the former blueberry farm he bought from his parents after they retired to Orlando. When a friend who works with animal control asks him to foster Parker, a severely injured dog who has just been rescued from an abusive home, the last thing Greg expects is to be dragged into the mysterious world of the Guardsmen — the bonded pairs of humans and their weredogs, known as Protectors, who are literally the stuff of myths and legends.

Greg’s life is turned upside down by unexpected events involving Parker and the strange Guardsmen pair Marcus and Alex Stephanek, but far more dangerous to him is the man who used to own Parker and holds a grudge for having “his” dog taken from him. A game of cat and mouse ensues, with more on the line than even Greg ever thought possible: his life, and the life of Parker, who has become more important to him than Greg ever imagined a rescue dog could be."

Regards,
Kareni

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I haven't been finishing books lately and am definitely in a fiction funk. I did finish Howard's End a while back and though I enjoyed it, it took me quite a while to read it. I finally decided to stop fighting (as in trying to find a fiction book that grabs me) and just stick to non-fiction for a bit.

This was supposed to be the year of the reread for me but it's turning out to be more like the year of abandoning books with wild abandon. ? I've reread 6 books so far but I've abandoned 8. The most recent was Dead Water, a Shetland Island mystery. There was too much angst and too little mystery. While I certainly don't want flat characters and I do want them to develop over time in a series, I still read mysteries for the mystery. If the time spent on a character's personal life and struggles greatly outweighs time spent on the mystery, the author loses me.. 

@Negin I totally agree with your review from a week or so ago on We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I wasn't impressed. I felt the same way about The Haunting of Hill House so maybe I just don't care for Shirley Jackson stories. I do remember being blown away by The Lottery way back in high school but I attribute that to being much younger when I read it and twist endings were still new to me. After reading one of her books or short stories though I feel like you know what's coming so you're not really surprised by a twist anymore.

I'm currently reading 

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson. Larson is often hit or miss with me, but this one is a hit so far. 

Peter the Great: His Life and World, Robert K. Massie. I've read two other Romanov biographies by Massie - one about Catherine the Great and the other on Nicholas and Alexandra. I like his narrative style. Eventually I plan to read his other book on that dynasty, The Romanovs: The Final Chapter.

I've also been reading a lot of short ebooks and blog posts on writing as I gear up for Nanowrimo. 

 

Edited by Lady Florida.
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Kathy, Happy Birthday!

I finished Rose Cottage and absolutely loved it!  Mary Stewart’s books are so very good.  For Brit Tripper’s Rose Cottage is a great book for some hard counties........Durham, Tyne and Wear, and Surrey (only hard because it needs to be separated from London, she worked in Richmond so Surrey).  I didn’t even mind that ir was a paper book. ?

I am almost done with a plain old themed cozy mystery with RED SHOES on the cover.  Another bingo square done!  The bonus is I kind of really like Diane Vallere’s With Vic’s you get Eggroll.  The main character’s obsession with everything Doris Day is done well. I have always liked Doris Day and feel a huge urge to rewatch a movie or two, plan to check Prime for them.  I also will probably try another in the series.  Mindless entertainment......

Voting is open for the best book of 2018 over on Goodreads.  I have a few on hold but haven’t read a single one except in the Fantasy category where I have read about half of them.  How in the world did I manage that?  I am a mystery fan, really.....

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I just finished reading Shadow Hunt (Disrupted Magic Book 3)  by Melissa F. Olson which I enjoyed.  This is definitely a series to read in order though, so I won't bother posting the blurb.  You've read this, too, right Robin?  How about you, mumto2?
**

I also re-read Cooper West's The Protector  which I enjoyed once more.  I do like the second book in the series the most; I re-read that earlier this week.  (Adult content)

"Guardsmen are always matched in a bonded pair. The Protector can shift into a weredog, and the human partner is his Handler. They are incredibly rare and highly valued, but people also fear them for their mystical abilities. No Protector in living memory has outlived his Handler—until Alex Taylor.

Now a widower, Alex lives a lonely half-life and faces day after day of grief with no hope for happiness in the future. When he unexpectedly bonds with the young and vibrant Handler Marcus Stephanek, Alex is angry and unwilling to leave the memory of his former Handler behind. He pushes Marcus away and tries to distance himself from their bond. But then a mysterious villain who has been secretly shadowing Alex for years sets his plan in motion. Alex and Marcus must learn to trust their bond and love each other, or risk not only their own lives but the lives of those closest to them."

Regards,
Kareni

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11 hours ago, Lady Florida. said:

I totally agree with your review from a week or so ago on We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I wasn't impressed. I felt the same way about The Haunting of Hill House so maybe I just don't care for Shirley Jackson stories. I do remember being blown away by The Lottery way back in high school but I attribute that to being much younger when I read it and twist endings were still new to me. After reading one of her books or short stories though I feel like you know what's coming so you're not really surprised by a twist anymore.

I'm currently reading 

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson. Larson is often hit or miss with me, but this one is a hit so far. 

Peter the Great: His Life and World, Robert K. Massie. I've read two other Romanov biographies by Massie - one about Catherine the Great and the other on Nicholas and Alexandra. I like his narrative style. Eventually I plan to read his other book on that dynasty, The Romanovs: The Final Chapter.

Happy Belated Birthday Kathy!

Nice to know that it's not just me with regards to Shirley Jackson. 

I've only read one Robert K. Massie book so far. I definitely plan on reading more. 

Like you, Larson is a hit or miss for me also. Wow. Seems like I'm just agreeing with you on everything this morning ?!

Edited by Negin
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I finished ‘You are your brain’ by Dick Swaab. He is a neuroscientist and the book has been written for the common people, it has no reference or source list, and is sometimes too popular imo. The line between facts and personal opinions is not always clear, which is problem for me when he states something which is not a logical consequence of the facts.

The part of the book about Free Will, lead me to the translation of the Servo Arbitrio by Martin Luther. Luther and Erasmus disputed about Free Will, and I like the book so far.

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It looks like I'm going to have to back up and read the posts/weeks I've missed.

(Happy birthday Kathy!    I think I recall seeing V.C celebrated her 50th, and mum2 and someone else also celebrated a birthday?  And, some wedding anniversaries happened too?  Belated best wishes to each of you. )

Apologising for the book sharing dump about to happen here, I've been convalescing from surgery the last wee while so have managed to listen to quite a few audiobooks:

September – Lotus

L  =  The Cat Who Caught a Thief ~ Lilian Jackson Braun  (3)  love the narrator!

O =  Killers of the Flower Moon:  Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI ~ David Grann   (5)   N/F  (epukapuka)

T =  The Card: A Story of Adventure in the Five Towns ~ Arnold Bennett  (3Staffordshire    (Classic?)

U =  Unveiled (Lineage of Grace Bk1)  ~ Francine Rivers (2)    Bible based Fiction

S =  Amberwell ~ D.E. Stevenson (4.5

Other books read/listened to during September:

160:  The Gazebo: Miss Silver Bk27 ~ Patricia Wentworth, narrated by Diana Bishop (4) Grovehill, Hertfordshire/ North Yorkshire/ London 

161:  Watchers of Time: Ian Rutledge Bk5 ~ Charles Todd (epukapuka) (3+)  Norfolk/ London/ Essex

163:  The Quiet Gentleman ~ Georgette Heyer, narrated by Cornelius Garrett (4+Lincolnshire        repeat listen.  I always wonder what happened to start the shift in Gervase’s first impression of Miss Morville,  Heyer never tells us.

164:  Enemy Women ~ Paulette Jiles (epukapuka) (2
I was really looking forward to reading this ebook after enjoying "News of the World" so much. I found the writing style and the dialogue in this Jiles book odd – I couldn’t seem to engage with it, so started skipping and jumping ahead past the (small amount of) swearing and sensual content to the last few chapters. Counts as a disappointment read for me.

165:  The Realms Thereunder: Ancient Earth Trilogy #1 ~ Ross Lawhead  (2) Oxford       I found this book really hard going.  I wanted to like it, it had all the ingredients to make it a story I'd enjoy. Too much backstory, and definitely the intro book to a series. I won't be reading any further.

167:  Cotillion ~ Georgette Heyer, narrated by Phyllida Nash (4)   Leicestershire/ London      Relisten,  Love Phyllida Nash as a narrator of Heyer's books.  Freddie is a favourite, so much nicer than that nasty womanising, egotistical, Jack.

 

October – Marigold 

M = The Murder Stone ~ Charles Todd (epukapuka) (2) Devonshire/ Somerset/ Essex

A =  Churchill: The Statesman as Artist ~ David Cannadine  N/F (epukapuka) (3.5https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2552312595

R =  Kindred ~ Steve Robinson (3

I =   If I Run: Bk 1 ~ Terri Blackstock (4

G = The Graveyard Book ~ Neil Gaiman (epukapuka ) Y/A  Spooky London (ish)  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2555121614

O =  Thursday the Rabbi Walked Out ~ Harry Kemelman (3)   https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2479302463?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 

L = Lady of Quality ~ Georgette Heyer  (3.5)   Bath.   Repeat listen. Though I think Heyer did better with this storyline in Black Sheep, the audio of Lady of Quality still makes for a rather charming gentle listen - perfect for when life is busy and cluttered.

D =  The Millionaire Next Door ~ Thomas J. Stanley (4) N/F

Other books read/listened to during October:

170:  A Forgotten Place: Bess Crawford #10 ~ Charles Todd (epukapuka) (4) Dover/ London/ Gloucestershire/ (Wales, Cardiff/ Swansea)   The story seemed slow until I took into account that the authors were trying to give the impression of the ‘trapped in a void’ feel they  had placed Bess in.  The tying up of the story felt rushed compared to the tone of the rest of the book.  I wish Bess would end up with a significant romantic interest …. maybe she’ll meet up with Ian Rutledge, wave goodbye to the protective Simon, and they’ll go and solve cases together ;)

174:  I’d Rather Be Reading ~ Anne Bogel  N/F   I really wanted to like this book, it's about a topic I love, yet the reality didn't match up to what I was hoping it would be.  I was hoping for a book crammed full of lovely long lists of titles the author has read, and why she loves them. (Her blog is a better spot to rifle through ;-) )  Since I didn't read it all - I just start skipping ahead through the chapters - I'm not giving this book a rating.

176:  Mere Christianity ~ C.S Lewis  (epukapuka)  I just cannot get into this book - I've tried a printed copy, audio books, and an ebook.  This is, at least, my 4th try over the last five years.  Time for me to lay it aside and count it as attempted.

178:  Kindred ~ Steve Robinson, narrated by Simon Vance  London / Germany (3) https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2558729224?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

181:  Faro’s Daughter ~ Georgette Heyer    London  audiobook (2)  The audiobook, complete with beautifully played,  though thoroughly irritating,  musical breaks, just ruined the revisiting of this story for me – but then Deb and Max are not favourite Heyer characters  of mine  to start with.

183:  The Four Graces: Miss Buncle Bk4 ~ D.E. Stevenson (3.5)  Wildcard (Chevis Green) / London      https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2556376029

184:  The Way Mum Does It ~ Alexandra O'Brien  (epukapuka)  N/F (3.5) https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2560242399

 

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51 minutes ago, tuesdayschild said:

I've been convalescing from surgery the last wee while ...

Nice to see you back again.  I hope that you are (or soon will be) full recovered, tuesdayschild.

Regards,
Kareni

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Thanks Kareni, I'm hoping (and praying) for that too. 

On the book reading front, even though I'm not doing the bingo challenge The Elephant Whisperer ~ Lawrence Anthony is on my list of want to reads - this  week seems like a good one to start it.  I'm currently listening to Prayers for Sale ~ Sandra Dallas, The Autobiography of George Muller, and, The BFG since it's a Roald Dahl title I've never read.

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Tuesday, So glad to see your post. Sending hugs and prayers for a full recovery!  I was just thinking about trying to check on you yesterday.  I am too lazy to quote but I have gotten quite a laugh out of Bess and Ian leaving Simon behind!!!

I finished Anna and Her Daughters by DE Stevenson and enjoyed it quite a bit.  Very briefly I thought that she was returning to a Scottish village used in another book, maybe Amberwell, but decided I was wrong.  Just similar characters.  Her books are always such a peaceful getaway......

Kareni, I have read and enjoyed Disrupted Magic and am hoping she does another series with Scarlett soon!

 

 

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13 hours ago, mumto2 said:

Kareni, I have read and enjoyed Disrupted Magic and am hoping she does another series with Scarlett soon!

I'll join you in that hope, mumto2.

Regards,
Kareni

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I was very briefly in the great state of Texas last weekend, specifically in San Antonio. I got to meet up with Heather, better known to long time BaW readers as Butter! It is always a pleasure to meet with members of our homeschool/book loving community.

I finished City of Stairs, the fantasy/mystery novel by Robert Jackson Bennett, and I really, really enjoyed it. Very clever world building, great characters, a good mystery all tidily wrapped up in this stand alone story. There are 2 more novels set in that world, but I wouldn't call it a trilogy.  I waited about 48 hours before starting the second book in the series, City of Blades, and so far it is just as engrossing, though perhaps not as surprising as the first one was.

The flight to San Antonio, complete with a short layover, was almost long enough for me to read an entire mystery. I finished The Draining Lake one afternoon in the hotel room. It is one of the Inspector Erlendur series set in Iceland. Much of the novel is set in post war East Germany, and it was quite gripping. The perfect airplane read.

I'm about half way through Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid. It is one of those books that you don't want to say "I'm enjoying it" as the story is so very stark, but oh! The writing is lovely!

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Kathy, happy (late) birthday! 

Tuesday, fervent wishes for a speedy convalescence. Can I say how blown away I am by how many books you (and others here!) manage to read? I've just finished only my 82nd, and that's with having been pretty successful at staying off the internet this year. 

Jenn, I'd scold you for not zipping through the Capital on your way through Central Texas, but our water last weekend was non-potable (there were even highway signs warning the incoming tourists) so you were arguably better off. Also we were having a monsoon. With heat. And the worst mosquito season in memory.

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@mumto2 Thank you. The good thing is the BAW reading challenges gave me another thing to focus on.     I do feel sorry for Ian Rutledge, Bess could be the answer to the Todds, in my opinion,  romantic interest dilemma they seem to harbour for him.   Agreeing with your take and Stevenson's books - I think Amy (?0 made a comment in a previous weeks thread about some D.E Stevenson books too, I'll hunt it up - and have added your Anna & Her Daughters mention to my WTR list.

Thanks to @Kareni link sharing I have a few more books on that WTR list. Though it's classified as a juvenile read, I really enjoy biographical books with beautiful illustrations of the subjects work and am hoping our local library can source The Girl Who Drew Butterflies .

Happy teen reading/schooling moment: Dd just completed To Kill a Mocking Bird and she was surprised she enjoyed it so much, she thought it was going to be a book all about r@pe and so was really resistant to starting it. Long story short, she's used some of the themes in it to write one of her (impassioned ? )  NCEA literary essays.

ETA:  @Violet Crown I have never "read" so many books in a year before.  Following the Brit and Flower challenges this year,  and some curve balls that life tossed my way, has encouraged me to be really bookish.   Technically I haven't "read' all these titles, but I'm counting being read to via audio as having read them.  (A comment like that last one can start lively debates amongst some IRL acquaintances who are reading purists ?).    Just have to add, my Dc & I were super impressed with your Dd's Latin reading acumen.

Edited by tuesdayschild
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4 hours ago, JennW in SoCal said:

I was very briefly in the great state of Texas last weekend, specifically in San Antonio. I got to meet up with Heather, better known to long time BaW readers as Butter! It is always a pleasure to meet with members of our homeschool/book loving community.

I finished City of Stairs, the fantasy/mystery novel by Robert Jackson Bennett, and I really, really enjoyed it. Very clever world building, great characters, a good mystery all tidily wrapped up in this stand alone story. There are 2 more novels set in that world, but I wouldn't call it a trilogy.  I waited about 48 hours before starting the second book in the series, City of Blades, and so far it is just as engrossing, though perhaps not as surprising as the first one was.

The flight to San Antonio, complete with a short layover, was almost long enough for me to read an entire mystery. I finished The Draining Lake one afternoon in the hotel room. It is one of the Inspector Erlendur series set in Iceland. Much of the novel is set in post war East Germany, and it was quite gripping. The perfect airplane read.

I'm about half way through Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid. It is one of those books that you don't want to say "I'm enjoying it" as the story is so very stark, but oh! The writing is lovely!

How fun!  Glad you had a chance to meet another BaWer in real life!

City of Stairs recently arrived in my Overdrive and I hope to read it before it disappears.  When I went to verify that I got the name right (in terms of what I actually had) I discovered the audio for Leviathan Wakes by James S.A Corey is now in my account.  That is also a Jenn recommendation........I think?  I need to get listening, I finally have headphones again!  Mine broke I knew we had another pair but it took a couple of weeks to find them.  A Natural History of Dragons on audio also arrived today.  Isn’t it weird how you can be next in line for a hold for weeks then they all show up at once?

For the last day of spooky month I discovered that my library now has the rest of the Drew Hayes series titled Fred, the Vampire Account so I am listening to one of those.  These are silly and make me smile!

4 hours ago, Violet Crown said:

 

Jenn, I'd scold you for not zipping through the Capital on your way through Central Texas, but our water last weekend was non-potable (there were even highway signs warning the incoming tourists) so you were arguably better off. Also we were having a monsoon. With heat. And the worst mosquito season in memory.

Just eek!  Sending hugs,  is the water fixed?  

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Books that are currently free to Kindle readers ~

Dear Maude (The Dear Maude Trilogy Book 1)

The Myth Seeker (Mythbound Book 1)

Forever and For Always (The Inn at Sunset Harbor-Book 2) (the first book in the series is also free, I believe)

The Soldier's Wedding: Special Forces #1  by  Karina Bliss

Chosen: Chosen #1 (The Chosen)

Regards,
Kareni

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6 hours ago, tuesdayschild said:

  @Violet Crown I have never "read" so many books in a year before.  Following the Brit and Flower challenges this year,  and some curve balls that life tossed my way, has encouraged me to be really bookish.   Technically I haven't "read' all these titles, but I'm counting being read to via audio as having read them.  (A comment like that last one can start lively debates amongst some IRL acquaintances who are reading purists ?).  

I have no patience for "purists" who discount the way most people read books from Antiquity to the spread of the printing press: by hearing them read out loud. Charlemagne had Augustine's Civitas Dei read to him while on campaign. Augustine himself was surprised to witness Ambrose reading silently--a thing that Augustine, with all his patrician education, had never encountered.

1 hour ago, mumto2 said:

Just eek!  Sending hugs,  is the water fixed?  

Oh yes, just a failure of our water treatment system to cope with weeks of torrential rains. Our clueless mayor, may he be unseated next week (oops, no political posts...), held a press conference informing us that we must reduce water consumption by ceasing to water our lawns.

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@Violet Crown glad to hear the water is back to normal. I LOL'd at your comment. Maybe if you water your lawns, it causes evaporation that causes....oh well never mind. Maybe that will all get fixed in the next week. ? Wishing you fully potable water from now on! 

@tuesdayschild hope you are recovering well!

Dh and I have an impromptu day to ourselves tomorrow that I just found out about it will include a bookstore, as I have a birthday gift card!  I need help! I am loving Dracul, 1/3 of the way in. I really liked Magpie Murders a few weeks back. I enjoyed my first Agatha Christie last month. And of course I LOVE Uhtred of Bebbanburg. I am open to suggestions as to what to buy! I am officially 0/5 for my last round of tipsy book buying that I based off of Barnes and Nobles recommended shelves, along with Amazon star ratings. Apparently they aren't reliable guides....so hoping to improve tomorrow's odds with good rec's from here?!?   My want to read list is a little overwhelming with heavy stuff,  and I'd rather stick with books similar to the vibe I'm currently enjoying. So if anyone has suggestions I'm all ears. ?

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8 hours ago, texasmom33 said:

 

Dh and I have an impromptu day to ourselves tomorrow that I just found out about it will include a bookstore, as I have a birthday gift card!  I need help! I am loving Dracul, 1/3 of the way in. I really liked Magpie Murders a few weeks back. I enjoyed my first Agatha Christie last month. And of course I LOVE Uhtred of Bebbanburg. I am open to suggestions as to what to buy! I am officially 0/5 for my last round of tipsy book buying that I based off of Barnes and Nobles recommended shelves, along with Amazon star ratings. Apparently they aren't reliable guides....so hoping to improve tomorrow's odds with good rec's from here?!?   My want to read list is a little overwhelming with heavy stuff,  and I'd rather stick with books similar to the vibe I'm currently enjoying. So if anyone has suggestions I'm all ears. ?

An obvious recommendation is The Word is Murder.  It’s not Magpie Murders but I think all of us who loved Magpie Murders also loved The Word is Murder.........

Another series the I love is  C.S. Harris and the St. Cyr mysteries.  These are just good.....a couple of gentle readers haven’t liked them for language or violence but these are addictive.  I have the biggest crush on St, Cyr!   I have read them twice and was just thinking about when the next will be out.  I am guessing April.  What Angels Fear is the first......https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39149.What_Angels_Fear

Lastly, my rather out there recommendation,  Rivers of London series, which is my current reread.  Ben Aaronovitch is the author.  The first book has a British and a US title so https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9317452-rivers-of-london.  I think it is Midnight Riot in theUK and Rivers of London US.

Agatha Christie.......my favorite.  I think the earlier ones are best and the later ones are dreadful (well not up to standard).  Robin has a list on 52 books that puts them in order which is helpful.  I recently reread Miss Marple’s first outing, Murder at the Vicarage and enjoyed it.

Have you tried Dorothy Sayers?  I hesitate to recommend one,  just do not buy The Five Red Herrings.  I think Gaudy Night remains my favorite but it is totally out of order and Peter isn’t in it so it is a dreadful recommendation!

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, texasmom33 said:

Dh and I have an impromptu day to ourselves tomorrow that I just found out about it will include a bookstore, as I have a birthday gift card!  I need help! I am loving Dracul, 1/3 of the way in. I really liked Magpie Murders a few weeks back. I enjoyed my first Agatha Christie last month. And of course I LOVE Uhtred of Bebbanburg. I am open to suggestions as to what to buy! ...?

Enjoy your birthday shopping jaunt!

Have you read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova?  My daughter enjoyed it when she was on her Dracula reading kick.

Regards,
Kareni

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1 hour ago, mumto2 said:

An obvious recommendation is The Word is Murder.  It’s not Magpie Murders but I think all of us who loved Magpie Murders also loved The Word is Murder.........

Another series the I love is  C.S. Harris and the St. Cyr mysteries.  These are just good.....a couple of gentle readers haven’t liked them for language or violence but these are addictive.  I have the biggest crush on St, Cyr!   I have read them twice and was just thinking about when the next will be out.  I am guessing April.  What Angels Fear is the first......https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39149.What_Angels_Fear

Lastly, my rather out there recommendation,  Rivers of London series, which is my current reread.  Ben Aaronovitch is the author.  The first book has a British and a US title so https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9317452-rivers-of-london.  I think it is Midnight Riot in theUK and Rivers of London US.

Agatha Christie.......my favorite.  I think the earlier ones are best and the later ones are dreadful (well not up to standard).  Robin has a list on 52 books that puts them in order which is helpful.  I recently reread Miss Marple’s first outing, Murder at the Vicarage and enjoyed it.

Have you tried Dorothy Sayers?  I hesitate to recommend one,  just do not buy The Five Red Herrings.  I think Gaudy Night remains my favorite but it is totally out of order and Peter isn’t in it so it is a dreadful recommendation!

 

 

 

Yay, thanks! I did go to Robin's link and bought Hallowe'en Party and The Mysterious Affair at Styles  after I finished my first Agatha Christie, but I got them on Kindle because they're so much cheaper than in print most of the time. They're waiting patiently in line for me to finish Dracul, because it skipped ahead of them. ?

I tried Whose Body by Sayers a few years ago, but I had trouble getting into it. I still have it so maybe I'll give it a second look.  I haven't read any of these others so I'll check them out. 

1 minute ago, Kareni said:

Enjoy your birthday shopping jaunt!

Have you read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova?  My daughter enjoyed it when she was on her Dracula reading kick.

Regards,
Kareni

Thank you!  I haven't read it- from the description sounds like a great fit. 

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On 10/28/2018 at 6:08 PM, Teaching3bears said:

I finally finished One Hundred Years of Solitude. by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. For some reason it took me almost one hundred years to read it. Seriously, while I appreciate the literary value of the book and the poetic language, for some reason it was just not a page-turner for me. I put it down over the summer and just came back to it this week and finally finished it. I have Love in the Time of Cholera. on my shelf. Is it similar? Do you think I will have a tough time getting through that as well?

I read Love in the Time of Cholera and could not stand it. Hated that book. So much so that I can't bring myself to read any of his other books. 

 

It's been a few weeks since I checked in here. I have been reading. Currently, I am trying to finish Plight of the Living Dead. Then I will start The Power for bookclub. 

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6 hours ago, Kareni said:

Enjoy your birthday shopping jaunt!

Have you read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova?  My daughter enjoyed it when she was on her Dracula reading kick.

Regards,
Kareni

The Historian is another huge favorite of mine!  

Texasmom33 looking forward to hearing what you pick

Mom Ninja, glad you checked in. I knew someone really disliked Love in the Time of Cholera and though it might be you.  I stopped after maybe 5 pages.........;)

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Yesterday I enjoyed re-reading Tigers and Devils  by Sean Kennedy.   I liked these characters and hope to continue on in the series.

"The most important things in Simon Murray’s life are football, friends, and film—in that order. His friends despair of him ever meeting someone, but despite his loneliness, Simon is cautious about looking for more. Then his best friends drag him to a party, where he barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler—unaware that the athlete is present. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other's lives forever.

Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca for serious fans. There, players are treated like gods—until they do something to fall out of public favour. This year, the public is taking Declan to task for suffering injuries outside his control, so Simon's support is a bright spot.

But as Simon and Declan fumble toward a relationship, keeping Declan's homosexuality a secret from well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media becomes difficult. Nothing can stay hidden forever. Soon Declan will have to choose between the career he loves and the man he wants, and Simon has never been known to make things easy—for himself or for others."
**

I also read Out of Bounds (The Boundaries Series)  by A.R. Barley.  This was a pleasant read, but I doubt it's a book I'll be re-reading.  (Significant adult content)

"Beaten and heartbroken, Jesse Cole is placed in a new dorm room after his last roommate attacked him. Just wanting to be left alone to heal in peace, he's shocked when tall, dark and dangerous-looking Nick Moretti walks in.

Nick doesn't have time to tiptoe around his new roommate—he's too busy working in order to pay for school. But something about Jesse brings out his protective instincts. As their cautious friendship grows and becomes loaded with sexual tension, he wants to make Jesse comfortable.

Enter the perfect plan: a line of tape down the center of the room. Boundaries established.

But as innocent movie nights become hours-long temptation marathons, and whispered chats from across the room delve into straight-up dirty territory, crossing the line has never been so satisfying."

Regards,
Kareni

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Pic of results of bookstore trip with dh tonight. ? He picked one of them randomly for me, LOL. We'll see how it turns out. I had to get a different Horowitz, as they didn't have The Word is Murder. I could've waited to order on Amazon, but I was in instant gratification mode. CS Harris was also limited, but I managed to snag one. I used to be a massive John Connolly fan, but now can't figure out where I left off in the series. I figured fall is a great time to start back though. During our move two houses back I had to purge 90% of my books and didn't think to enter them into GoodReads at the time, so I've no idea what of his I read past a point, so I just grabbed on I knew I didn't. Anyway, off to read. Hope everyone's weekend is off to a great start! Thanks again for the recs! 

 

RKm86QK3Ts26Rd0SiMwsqg.thumb.jpg.d37ceb6c86a2cd171ac5a2ad14d98190.jpg

 

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I finished The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell on Audible today while cleaning house. The narrator, Matt Bates, really hit his stride on this volume of The Saxon Stories. I was thrilled with the book and the narration. In this volume, Aethelred is dying and the competition is on to see who will succeed him as leader of Mercia, and of course, Uhtred is called to again fight to save the dream of the late King Alfred and his daughter Aethelflaed. Very well done. 

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19 hours ago, texasmom33 said:

Pic of results of bookstore trip with dh tonight.

What a fun looking stack, texasmom33. I hope you'll get much pleasure from your new books.

19 hours ago, texasmom33 said:

He picked one of them randomly for me, LOL.

Which one did he choose?

Regards,
Kareni

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35 minutes ago, Kareni said:

What a fun looking stack, texasmom33. I hope you'll get much pleasure from your new books.

Which one did he choose?

Regards,
Kareni

Thanks!

He chose Jackrabbit Smile. After I'd gotten the ones suggested from here I told him I wanted one randomly chosen in the mystery section by cover alone. He was being his usual comic self and tried to get me to take one with a bunch of Golden Retrievers on the cover, which I passed on, so he picked this one for me instead. ?

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6 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

He chose Jackrabbit Smile.

Having looked at the blurb, it certainly sounds intriguing.  (But, but ... it's the 13th book in a series.  Are  you someone who needs to read a series in order?)

Regards,
Kareni

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4 minutes ago, Kareni said:

Having looked at the blurb, it certainly sounds intriguing.  (But, but ... it's the 13th book in a series.  Are  you someone who needs to read a series in order?)

Regards,
Kareni

As long as they aren't confusing I'm usually okay and then I go back and read the earlier ones. That's what I did with Carl Hiasson's books, and it worked, but I have had it backfire in the past too. I guess we will see. I was surprised by how few books in any series they had. We were at Barnes and Noble, and I guess they have more authors and no additional shelf space, so it seemed like for many books they only had the most recent two or three. For any new series, I'm going to have to go to Amazon for sure. B&N is our only local bookstore left. ? And our library stinks, so they are my only fix for instant gratification on books. 

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3 minutes ago, texasmom33 said:

I was surprised by how few books in any series they had. We were at Barnes and Noble, and I guess they have more authors and no additional shelf space, so it seemed like for many books they only had the most recent two or three. For any new series, I'm going to have to go to Amazon for sure. B&N is our only local bookstore left. ? And our library stinks, so they are my only fix for instant gratification on books. 

I hear you on limited choices available at a book store; it must be very difficult to be the buyer given the absolute abundance of books available these days. 

I'm fortunate because not only do I have B&N, I can also go to the local university book store and a couple of independent bookstores that feature a small selection of new books and a large selection of used books.   And I have two good libraries to borrow from.  I should start counting my blessings!

Regards,
Kareni

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2 minutes ago, Kareni said:

I hear you on limited choices available at a book store; it must be very difficult to be the buyer given the absolute abundance of books available these days. 

I'm fortunate because not only do I have B&N, I can also go to the local university book store and a couple of independent bookstores that feature a small selection of new books and a large selection of used books.   And I have two good libraries to borrow from.  I should start counting my blessings!

Regards,
Kareni

That would be awesome. I am jealous! 

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