Curioussquared takes refuge in books in 2023, part 5

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Diskutera75 Books Challenge for 2023

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Curioussquared takes refuge in books in 2023, part 5

jul 25, 3:13 pm

Hello everyone! I'm Natalie. I have participated in the challenge on and off over my almost 15 years (!!!) on LT, and consistently over the past several years.

I'm located in Seattle, where I live with my husband and dogs. I do most of my reading curled up on the couch with my retired racing greyhounds Otter and Kermit, or listening to audiobooks while doing chores and walking the dogs. I am lucky to work from home full-time in HR communications for a large retail corporation.

I read mostly fiction, with a heavy emphasis on fantasy and sci-fi, romance, YA fiction, general fiction/literature, a scattered mystery here and there, and the occasional non-fiction title.

I've been keeping track of my books read since 2008, and I have traditionally aimed for 100, but I think these days I'm usually hoping to hit 150. Last year I hit 200, which was an all-time high and surprising even to me.

Another typical reading goal for me is to prioritize books off my shelves. Last year I was slightly weighted toward library books and I'd like to shift that back this year. I have a separate thread I maintain in the ROOTs group, and in addition, I have a selection of books off my shelves I'd like to get to this year, which you can see in a post below.

Otter and Kermit engaged in some serious tug.

jul 25, 3:29 pm

I had over 30 new-to-me 5-star reads in 2022. I managed to trim it down to these favorites:

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Faithful Place by Tana French
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton
Paladin's Grace by T. Kingfisher
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis

Redigerat: jul 25, 3:40 pm

Books read in 2023:

1. You Have a Match by Emma Lord (off my shelf)
2. Heartstopper vol. 3 by Alice Oseman (library)
3. The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun (library)
4. A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers (off my shelf)
5. Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres (off my shelf)
6. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (off my shelf)
7. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells (reread)
8. The Maid by Nita Prose (library)
9. The Jewel Thief by Jeannie Mobley (off my shelf)
10. Chaos on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer (off my shelf)
11. The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold (library)
12. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (off my shelf)
13. Heartstopper vol. 4 by Alice Oseman (library)
14. This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron (off my shelf)
15. This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron (off my shelf)
16. Possession by A. S. Byatt (off my shelf)
17. Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera (library)
18. Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher (library)
19. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (off my shelf)
20. The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher (library)

21. Enna Burning by Shannon Hale (off my shelf)
22. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey (off my shelf)
23. The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling (off my shelf)
24. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers (off my shelf)
25. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (off my shelf)
26. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (reread)
27. Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson (off my shelf)
28. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers (library)
29. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (off my shelf)
30. Everything For You by Chloe Liese (library)
31. The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (library)
32. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (off my shelf)
33. Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper (off my shelf)
34. The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells (off my shelf)
35. Exit Strategy by Martha Wells (reread)
36. The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie (off my shelf)
37. Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf (off my shelf)
38. Broken Harbor by Tana French (off my shelf)
39. Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier (library)
40. Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen (library)

41. The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert (off my shelf)
42. Scattered Showers by Rainbow Rowell (off my shelf)
43. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami (off my shelf)
44. Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman (library)
45. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole (library)
46. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan (off my shelf)
47. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (library)
48. Othello by William Shakespeare (off my shelf)
49. All the Feels by Olivia Dade (library)
50. Healer and Witch by Nancy Werlin (library)
51. Ocean's Echo by Everina Maxwell (off my shelf)
52. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (off my shelf)
53. Hither, Page by Cat Sebastian (library)
54. Forest Mage by Robin Hobb (off my shelf)
55. Spare by Prince Harry (library)

Redigerat: jul 25, 3:41 pm

Books read in 2023:

56. On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn (library)
57. Icebreaker by A. L. Graziadei (library)
58. The Time Garden by Edward Eager (off my shelf)
59. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (off my shelf)
60. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (reread)
61. The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik (reread)
62. The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik (off my shelf)
63. Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells (reread)
64. Headlong by Michael Frayn (off my shelf)
65. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (off my shelf)
66. Well Played by Jen DeLuca (library)
67. Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola (off my shelf)
68. The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin (off my shelf)
69. The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite (library)
70. The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho (off my shelf)
71. The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren (off my shelf)
72. Bend Sinister by Vladimir Nabokov (off my shelf)
73. The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (off my shelf)

74. The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang (library)
75. The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan (library)
76. Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (library)
77. The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty (off my shelf)
78. What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher (library)
79. Happy Place by Emily Henry (library)
80. The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold (library)
81. Jane Austen Made Me Do It edited by Laurel Ann Nattress (off my shelf)
82. Delilah Green Doesn't Care by Ashley Herring Blake (library)
83. The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi (off my shelf)
84. We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds (library)
85. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (library)
86. A Restless Truth by Freya Marske (off my shelf)
87. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (off my shelf)
88. Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson (off my shelf)
89. Well Matched by Jen DeLuca (library)
90. Sula by Toni Morrison (off my shelf)

91. Something Like Love by Beverly Jenkins (library)
92. The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde (off my shelf)
93. The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo (library)
94. Jadie in Five Dimensions by Diane K. Salerni (library)
95. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (off my shelf)
96. In an Absent Dream by Seanen McGuire (off my shelf)
97. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (off my shelf)
98. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez (off my shelf)
99. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (off my shelf)
100. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (off my shelf)
101. The Martian by Andy Weir (off my shelf)
102. Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev (off my shelf)
103. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (library)
104. Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater (off my shelf)
105. Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater (library)
106. Queen of Urban Prophecy by Aya de Leon (library)
107. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes (library)
108. It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian (library)
109. The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber (library)
110. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (reread)

Redigerat: sep 26, 1:18 pm

Books read in 2023:

111. Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen (library)
112. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (off my shelf)
113. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (off my shelf)
114. Garlic and the Witch by Bree Paulsen (library)
115. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas (library)
116. Only When It's Us by Chloe Liese (library)
117. The House With a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs (library)
118. The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos (off my shelf)
119. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (off my shelf)
120. Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor (off my shelf)
121. Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon (off my shelf)
122. Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay (library)
123. Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn (library)
124. If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar (library)
125. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (off my shelf)
126. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (off my shelf)
127. Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood (library)
128. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby van Pelt (library)

129. Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor (off my shelf)
130. The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez (library)
131. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews (library)
132. Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley (off my shelf)
133. The Children of Green Knowe by L. M. Boston (library)
134. Painted Devils by Margaret Owen (off my shelf)
135. Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao (library)
136. Sherwood by Meagan Spooner (off my shelf)
137. Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy (library)
138. Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli (library)
139. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (off my shelf)
140. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (reread)
141. All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (off my shelf)
142. A Knot in the Grain by Robin McKinley (off my shelf)
143. Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde (off my shelf)
144. The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson (library)
145. Built to Last by Erin Hahn (library)
146. The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (off my shelf)
147. The Hellion's Waltz by Olivia Waite (library)
148. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros (off my shelf)
149. Love & Saffron by Kim Fay (library)
150. The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (library)
151. Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill (off my shelf)

152. The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang (off my shelf)
153. Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge (library)
154. Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher (library)
155. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (off my shelf)
156. Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden (library)
157. Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov (off my shelf)
158. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (off my shelf)
159. Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree (off my shelf)
160. Into the West by Mercedes Lackey (library)
161. Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert (library)
162. Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca (library)
163. Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore (off my shelf)
164. Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland (library)
165. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix (off my shelf)
166. Furysong by Rosaria Munda (library)
167. Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik (off my shelf)
168. The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (off my shelf)
169. The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid (library)

jul 25, 3:32 pm

Books read in 2023:




Redigerat: sep 25, 10:51 am

Last year, I identified a list of 61 books I own I wanted to get to in 2022, and I made it to 51 of them. This year, I'm being slightly less restrictive and still picking about ~40 books I want to read this year, but in some specific categories.

The first column on the left here is a stack of series continuations and sequels I own that I'd like to get to this year. From the top of the stack to the bottom, they are:

1. All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
2. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
3. The Time Garden by Edward Eager
4. The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang
5. The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos
6. The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik
7. A Restless Truth by Freya Marske
8. Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore
9. Ocean's Echo by Everina Maxwell
10. Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor
11. Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
12. Rebel Sisters by Tochi Onyebuchi
13. Chaos on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer
14. Broken Harbor by Tana French
15. Forest Mage by Robin Hobb
16. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

And not pictured because I have them on my Kindle or forgot to include them in the photo and am too lazy to take a new picture:

17. Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
18. Enna Burning by Shannon Hale
19. In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
20. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

The second column on the right are books I've owned for a while (some as far back as 15 years or so!) that it's high time I get to. In order from top to bottom:

21. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
22. Headlong by Michael Frayn
23. Sula by Toni Morrison
24. Possession by A. S. Byatt
25. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
26. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
27. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
28. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
29. Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill
30. Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

The final 10 books are books off my Kindle. I tend to neglect these owned digital books in favor of physical books, so I wanted to prioritize some this year.

31. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey
32. The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
33. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
34. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
35. The Martian by Andy Weir
36. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
37. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
38. Hidden Figures by Margo Lee Shetterly
39. Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibanez
40. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

DONE: 37/40

jul 25, 3:33 pm

Welcome to my thread number 5!

jul 25, 3:47 pm

Happy new one, Natalie!

jul 25, 4:50 pm

Happy new thread, Natalie!

jul 25, 4:58 pm

Thanks, Katie and Micky!

jul 25, 5:48 pm

Happy new thread, Natalie.

jul 25, 6:00 pm

Happy new thread, Natalie!

>1 curioussquared: Love this picture of Otter and Kermit!

jul 25, 6:01 pm

It's been a busy Tuesday. Lots of urgent things to do at work. Last night I noticed something on my stomach that I had seen on Sunday and thought was a blackberry bush scratch from all the yard work I did on Sunday, but it evolved to look more like... shingles!!! I sent photos to a Teladoc dermatologist who agreed they think it's shingles, and I'm seeing my PCP tomorrow to confirm. Who gets shingles in their 30s??? I don't have any other symptoms besides the rash right now -- it was a little itchy last night but hasn't itched all day. Fingers crossed it doesn't become painful. We decided to move forward with our garage deck rebuild so we need to sign that contract so the company can get started this week! Really excited to get this work done. But if they're actually starting work on Thursday, Tim and I need to get to work to move all the stuff off the garage deck and out of the garage, and bagging all the yard waste my mom and I created on Sunday!

Currently reading: Making good progress in The Thursday Murder Club, which is growing on me, and Everything Is Illuminated.

Currently watching: Nothing last night.

Currently playing: TOTK! I bit the bullet and beat the water temple last night. Is it just me or are these temples really really easy?

jul 25, 6:01 pm

>12 PaulCranswick: >13 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Paul and Anita!!

jul 25, 7:38 pm

Happy new thread, Natalie!

jul 25, 8:20 pm

Happy new one!

jul 25, 9:54 pm

>14 curioussquared: I had shingles a few years ago. My PCP gave me a round of horse pills and I never had any severe pain. Fingers crossed you've made it to your doctor in time!

jul 26, 8:29 am

Yikes! Sorry to hear about the shingles. I had a friend who ended up getting shingles due to the stress of working on his master's thesis. I think he was still in his twenties at the time.

jul 26, 11:59 am

>16 drneutron: >17 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Jim and Anita!

>18 libraryperilous: Good to hear, Diana. Hopefully that's the case for me too!

>19 MickyFine: I saw that they can be triggered by stress in younger populations. I didn't think I was that stressed this week! Lol. But also a lot of googling suggested that younger people are getting shingles in recent years due to the chicken pox vaccine introduced in 1995 -- people are less exposed to the virus these days which increases the likelihood of shingles.

jul 26, 12:50 pm

Happy Wednesday! Tim had plans with friends for dinner yesterday, so I worked at bagging yard waste until pretty late, had some mac and cheese for a late dinner, and quickly tidied the main floor in preparation for the cleaners coming today. Today I'll be working, running to the doctor in the middle of the day and probably the pharmacy after, and running home to work more and meet with a garage door salesman from Costco in the afternoon. Then Tim and I will have the joyous task of clearing out our garage in advance of the demo work that will start happening tomorrow. We have seen black widows in the garage before so I will let Tim do the parts that involve moving things that haven't been moved in a very long time and could potentially be hiding very scary spiders.

Currently reading: Finished Everything Is Illuminated on audio while bagging yard waste and moved on to Love, Theoretically. The Thursday Murder Club got good and I'm eager to get to the end, but may not have a chance today with everything going on.

Currently watching: Nothing

Currently playing: No time!

jul 26, 1:37 pm

Ugh... sorry about the shingles, Natalie! I hope you have an easy time of it.

Does TOTK only come on the Switch? I've never played any of the Zeldas, but they always sounded like such fun to me.

BTW... good call on letting Tim handle the potential spider interactions! shudder

Also - happy new thread!!

jul 26, 2:15 pm

>22 PlatinumWarlock: Thanks, Lavinia! Yes, all Zelda titles are Nintendo exclusives, so it's only on Switch. I played some but not all of the LoZ games growing up. Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom I think are particularly fun for people who haven't enjoyed the franchise before because they are very open world and non-linear. You can complete whatever tasks you want in whatever order and there is so much to do that isn't the main questline, so if you don't want to fight a big boss at the moment, you can just leave and go ride horses and complete fetch quests for a while or find new outfits or complete some of the smaller shrine puzzles to get more hearts before you go tackle a bigger monster. The older games were generally much more prescriptive about what you had to do when, and there wasn't as much to do that wasn't just follow the main objective, so if you got stuck or bored, there wasn't another option. I love them!

Yes, "Tim will handle all spider interactions" is basically in our marriage contract, lol. I don't mind the little guys but once they hit a certain size (and can potentially bite me with actual implications!) I do NOT want to go near them.

jul 26, 2:48 pm

The Magician's Daughter by H. G. Parry, which has been on my radar, is on sale for Kindle for $1.99 today, so I snatched that up.

jul 26, 7:45 pm

125 books read: Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer, a fictionalized version of the author, takes a trip to Ukraine to discover his heritage and possibly find Augustine, a woman who may have saved his grandfather from Nazis. In the Ukraine, he meets up with Alex, his unlikely guide and translator, a young man who has studied English in school and manages to butcher each sentence in the most creative ways. They are accompanied by Alex's grandfather and the dog Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.. As they journey across Ukraine together in search of Jonathan's past, they learn more about each other and discover some things that have long been hidden.

This started out well for me but kind of lost the thread by the end. I was captivated by the writing style and two different lenses through which Foer was telling the story, but wanted those stories to come together a little more strongly in the end. I did really enjoy how the sections Alex narrated were written. 3.5 stars.

jul 27, 2:32 am

>23 curioussquared: I believe that my son's Switch might accidentally disappear for a bit so I can check out Zelda. Thanks for the descriptions and advice – I appreciate it!

Good job on that marriage contract, BTW. 🤣

jul 27, 3:18 am

I won't get into the details because *shudder* but once when Morgan was away on a trip I found a large spider in an unfortunate way late at night and here's what ensued:

Much screaming, which
scared the dog, who
then was just in my way as I
tried to spray it INCESSANTLY with bug spray while it
ran around like crazy, eventually
disappearing under the dog's crate.

So I blocked off the bedroom, towel in the gap under the door, and then next day I had to rather sheepishly knock on the neighbor's door and ask him if he would please go into the bedroom and inspect for a spider, which he did because he was amazing. He found it (dead), and gave the all-clear, after which I was able to (nervously) sleep in the room for the rest of Morgan's 2 week trip!

jul 27, 12:18 pm

>26 PlatinumWarlock: I hope you love it, Lavinia :D We're not totally done clearing the garage and will need to do a dump run this weekend, but Tim upheld his marital promises and only made me grab things after he had thoroughly inspected them for arachnids.

>27 ursula: Your reaction sounds like the only reasonable one, Ursula. It kind of reminds me of my Costa Rican scorpion encounter. I was SO glad it happened on the last night or else I know I would have had trouble sleeping the rest of the trip.

jul 27, 12:40 pm

Happy Thursday! I keep thinking it's Friday which gives you an idea of how busy I've been. I officially have shingles and have been started on horse pills to get rid of it. Still no real symptoms aside from very minor itchiness. In the evening we made good progress clearing out the garage and moving furniture off the roof deck yesterday. Honestly, the garage is mostly just full of junk from the previous owners -- we'll need to do a dump run this weekend. The project will officially start next week but someone stopped by today to do some measuring and gauge the depth of some of the rot. The cleaners changed their day to Thursday at the last minute yesterday so they will be coming this afternoon instead.

Currently reading: So close to finishing The Thursday Murder Club and I'm really enjoying it at this point. Having a lot of fun with Love, Theoretically as expected.

Currently watching: We wanted something low-key last night so went with Cocaine Sharks, lol. Misleading -- there were no sharks on cocaine.

Currently playing: No time for TOTK last night.

jul 27, 2:23 pm

>29 curioussquared: My brain briefly wondered if they'd already made a sequel to Cocaine Bear. 🤣

jul 27, 2:32 pm

>30 MickyFine: Lol. Perhaps a Sharknado x Cocaine Bear crossover film?

jul 27, 3:13 pm

>31 curioussquared: If there weren't a writer's strike I'm sure they'd be on it already.

jul 27, 7:48 pm

126 books read: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends make up The Thursday Murder Club, which meets secretly in the Jigsaw room each week under the guise of the Japanese Opera club -- to make sure nobody unwanted will show up. There's Elizabeth, whose exotic past means she has connections everywhere; Ron, former union organizer and current loudmouth; Ibrahim, a psychologist; and the newest member, Joyce, a retired, rather lonely nurse who wishes her daughter would visit more. The club started with Penny, a retired detective inspector, who recruited the group to look into cold cases together, and has continued even though it seems that Penny may not wake up again. All four members are surprised when a real murder happens in their midst, and immediately take it upon themselves to do a little good-faith investigating despite the protests of the police.

This has been so hyped everywhere that I was initially a little disappointed. I wasn't captivated for probably the first third of the book. At that point the characters and writing style started to click for me and I began to really enjoy it. I don't think it's the best mystery ever, and I think its wide acclaim is probably mostly due to the fun concept and sort of cross-genre appeal -- I think lots of people who don't read many mysteries would still enjoy this. The characters got better but some still lacked a little meat for me by the end so I'm hoping that will be remedied in future installments. Like, am I the only one who feels like they know literally nothing about Ibrahim?. 3.75 stars.

jul 28, 12:31 pm

Yay, Friday! No real plans today which I'm kind of excited about. Tim and I might get dinner somewhere, or depending on how tired we are, maybe just takeout and some TV.

Currently reading: Wrapped up The Thursday Murder Club yesterday and moved on to Akata Woman in print, which I'm enjoying so far despite having read the previous books a while ago -- it was very easy to slip back into this world. Almost done with Love, Theoretically on audio and it has been just as enjoyable as I expected.

Currently watching: S5E1 of What We Do in the Shadows.

Currently playing: Nothing right now. I did just see they released Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons on Nintendo Switch Online. I was a master of these games on GameBoy and they were the first video games I ever "beat." I might need to rediscover them on Switch!

jul 28, 3:53 pm

>29 curioussquared: >14 curioussquared: Apparently a lot of people, as Markiplier recently mentioned on Distractable that he had shingles too. I'm told it's stress related, but I hope yours stays mild and clears up fast.
>34 curioussquared: Hope you have a relaxing Friday, given all the work you were doing in the garage. And I think you should get the games and have some fun. Rediscovering childhood gems is the best part of being an adult, as now you can circle around them on your own terms (with better skills at playing them ;) )

jul 28, 4:07 pm

>35 Ravenwoodwitch: Thanks, Angela! I've been down a shingles internet rabbit hole this week (naturally) and of course, there are a TON of recent articles suggesting a link between COVID and shingles. Makes sense, given all the research that COVID effs up your immune system. So that's interesting....

And re: the games, I already have an NSO membership so I shouldn't even have to buy anything :) I think I will definitely do some replaying.

jul 28, 5:13 pm


Congratulations on reading 126 books! Sad about the shingles. A friend of mine had shingles when she was in her 50's -- it was very painful. I hope you do not have them as badly as she did.

Please keep us posted about the situation.

All good wishes!!

jul 29, 1:52 am

Happy new thread Natalie! Sorry to hear about the shingles, hope it clears up for you.
>7 curioussquared: Really good progress on this stack, only 10 of the 40 left! >33 curioussquared: I've had this on my list too from all the love I've heard over it, but have been putting it off because it's a series, glad to hear I might not be missing out on too much and can put it off with a little less-hyped expectations.

jul 30, 3:20 pm

Happy new thread Natalie! I hope the shingles episode is mild and is over soon.

jul 30, 4:48 pm

>37 Whisper1: Hi Linda! My shingles have not gotten worse, thankfully. The rash appears to be fading and never got painful, so it looks like I was pretty lucky.

>38 WhiteRaven.17: Hi Kro! Thanks -- the shingles are clearing up with no issues, phew. I'm reading book 31/40 right now -- I think 40 was a good number for this year. 60 bogged me down too much :) yeah, pick up Thursday Murder Club if you want something light and fun, but it's not groundbreaking or anything.

Hi Nina! My shingles episode appears to have been as light as possible, so I think I'm lucky. The rash is fading and I never developed other symptoms.

jul 31, 11:57 am

Good morning! I had a nice weekend. Tim and I went to dinner on Friday night and got delicious fancy Mexican food in the trendy neighborhood near us, then picked up a few pints of artisanal ice cream from the shop across the street. On Saturday I got brunch with a few old coworkers, then Tim and I cleared out all the stuff from the garage going to the dump. I wasn't feeling great that afternoon so Tim volunteered to go to the dump by himself (yay) and I spent most of the rest of the day playing TOTK. Sunday was my best friend's birthday so we went to brunch, then did some book shopping at our favorite book store, then she came over and we lounged with the dogs, ordered Chinese food for dinner, and watched some TV.

Today is a big day -- demo day! The contractor and team arrived this morning and there's lots of banging going on as they remove all the rot and the old peeling roof deck surface. Super excited for the project to proceed!

Currently reading: Finished Love, Theoretically on audio -- review coming soon. About halfway through all three of my reads right now -- Akata Woman in print, Remarkably Bright Creatures on audio, and Sherwood on Kindle -- so I probably won't finish another book in July.

Currently watching: S3E6 and E7 of The Witcher on Friday night, an episode each of The Parisian Agency and Outlander (still finishing S2) on Saturday, and an episode of Taskmaster Australia on Sunday.

Currently playing: TOTK! Made it to Gerudo Town and am working on getting to the temple there.

jul 31, 12:40 pm

127 books read: Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

Elsie is living in adjunct professor hell. She has her PhD in theoretical physics, but wasn't able to secure a research position or a tenure track job after graduating, so instead she's living in her crappy apartment, a diabetic without health insurance, adjuncting at THREE Boston-area universities and supplementing her income working for Faux, an agency that pairs her with men who need a fake girlfriend for a date for some reason. She's surviving, but barely, and most of her hopes are pinned on her upcoming MIT interview for a tenure-track position. Until she learns that one of her interviewers is Jonathan Smith-Turner, notorious experimental physicist and hater of theoretical physicist, who published an article years ago that affected all theoretical physicists and condemned a lot of Elsie's mentor's work. Elsie is still determined to do her best to get the job... but then she shows up to the first interview event, a department dinner, and... she KNOWS Jonathan Smith-Turner. But she knows him as Jack Smith, brother to her favorite Faux client. With the odds stacked against her and Jack suspicious, Elsie knows her chances of getting the job aren't good -- but she still has to try.

Ali Hazelwood's books are just pure fun. I couldn't put this one down, just like the previous two. I would rate this right up there with The Love Hypothesis -- I thought this one was better than Love on the Brain. But really, I've thoroughly enjoyed all of them. 4.5 stars.

jul 31, 1:10 pm

>42 curioussquared: Ooh yay! I'm glad you liked it. I'm slowly creeping to the front of the holds queue for it.

aug 1, 12:46 pm

>43 curioussquared: Nice haul! Enjoy!!

aug 1, 12:57 pm

>44 MickyFine: I hope you love it, Micky!

>45 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia! Now, when will I get to these new books... 🤔

aug 1, 1:47 pm

Happy Tuesday! The deck demo is in full swing. They did a TON yesterday and got the garage down to the frame, and removed all but the wood layer of the deck itself. Unfortunately there was more rot than anticipated, so it's probably going to cost us more to replace everything that needs to be replaced. TBD -- waiting on a message from the contractor. Cooked a strange mix of things for dinner because I had some items that were going to go bad, so I made a chorizo posole and baked crispy tofu and broccoli with peanut sauce. Both very good if not an ideal combo -- I mostly ate the posole and will have tofu for lunch. Today started out busy with an early AM vet appointment for Otter -- just his annual exam. He HATES the vet, though. I think I'm going to have to start bringing Kermit along as moral support. Stopped by Starbucks and Costco gas on the way home and the rest of the day should be normal work.

Currently reading: Ended up squeezing one more July read in and finished Remarkably Bright Creatures while cooking last night. Moved on to The Friend Zone on audio. About 2/3 through Akata Woman in print and would love to finish it tonight if possible.

Currently watching: Nothing

Currently playing: Nada

aug 1, 2:26 pm

128 books read: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Tova Sullivan has been rather lonely since her husband died, especially since her son Erik tragically went missing, presumed dead, soon after his 18th birthday. She doesn't need the money, but she's always loved to clean, so she spends her evenings as the janitor at the small Sowell Bay aquarium. There, she becomes friends with Marcellus, the Giant Pacific Octopus -- even going so far as to conceal his illicit nighttime wanderings outside of his tank. Meanwhile, Cameron Cassmore is new in Sowell Bay, tracing a decades-old trail to try to find his unknown father. When Tova injures herself, Cameron takes over her janitorial duties temporarily, and the two begin to form an unlikely friendship. Meanwhile, Marcellus is getting frustrated waiting for the dull humans to figure out the mystery that's right in front of them...

This was a nice read, easy to listen to. The "twists" were fairly obvious from the beginning, but I'm not sure they were truly meant to be concealed from the reader. I'd say I liked it overall, but it got a little saccharine for me as it went on. I did love Marcellus, though. 3.5 stars.

aug 2, 7:07 am

I took our gals to the vet yesterday for their annual exams, too. Mario LOVES the vet, but Simmons is more like your Otter. And she gets more upset when they take Mario to the back without her - we joke that Mario is Simmons' emotional support dog.

aug 2, 11:52 am

>49 scaifea: Skelly LOVED the vet, too. All the staff always fawned over him because he was such a gentle giant and had a way of charming humans. One of his best tricks was to stare at people and then wag his tail and let out an "Awwoooorrgh" sound to summon them to pet him :) I think his previous life as a racer also left him pretty immune to poking and prodding, so the vet was just a fun place where all the humans loved him. I still have trouble reconciling how much Otter hates the vet just because of how much Skelly loved it! Kermit is somewhere in between -- I think overall he likes going and likes seeing all the humans, but he is a little more suspicious when they do things to him.

aug 2, 2:14 pm

Happy Wednesday! Ended up going to dinner with friends last night. They are more Tim's friends than my friends, but I have fun with them as long as they talk about something other than work :) They are ~5 months pregnant and moving to Israel for work in just a couple weeks (lots going on!!!) so we wanted to catch up with them before they set sail. Spoke with the contractor in the evening and fixing the additional rot will unfortunately cost quite a bit more, but we don't really have a choice and need to fix it, so onward we go. More demo will be happening this afternoon -- fun times. Otherwise, standard workday.

Currently reading: Halfway through The Friend Zone on audio and it's pretty good. 3/4 through Akata Woman and I REALLY want to wrap it up soon.

Currently watching: Nothing.

Currently playing: Zip.

Redigerat: aug 3, 12:42 pm

>47 curioussquared: Jasper LOVES going to the vet. He loves the car ride and sticking his head out of the window (which I'm leery about). The best part is meeting all the other animals; unfortunately they're smaller or older or just another species and he's so enthusiastic that he scares them and we have to take him outside to give them a break. He loves meeting the vet, too, and doesn't seem to mind the poking and prodding. In fact, I've never seen him register when he’s been given injections.

Our renovation is still progressing. It's at a point it's hard to see much progress though they're hard at work (I can hear them). The main construction is done; now they have to hand over to the kitchen designers, to fit my cabinets. Looking forward to having a kitchen again and being able to cook.

>48 curioussquared: Hmm. I'm tempted by Marcellus.

aug 3, 10:26 am

>52 humouress: I know, I always worry when my dogs stick their heads out the car window, too! You must be so excited to have a kitchen again. Best part of our reno is that it's all outside. It does sound like they may need to cut into the wall near our basement door, but any affect on our daily life aside from some noise and entering and exiting the house through a different door is minimal.

Remarkably Bright Creatures was good! Especially if you are in the mood for something wholesome. And Marcellus was great.

aug 3, 12:15 pm

This week feels like it's going alternately very quickly and very slowly. Made more decisions on deck project materials yesterday and chose a garage door. More demo happening today on the additional rot they discovered. I'll just be working away. Also, I made this slow cooker soup yesterday and it was SO good:

Currently reading: Finished up Akata Woman last night and got through the first 50 pages of Firekeeper's Daughter. Just half an hour left of The Friend Zone so will finish that one soon. Next on audio will probably be Clean Sweep.

Currently watching: We finished up S3 of The Witcher. (Thoughts on the season: Meh. Very pretty fantasy TV but the writing this season has just been awful.)

Currently playing: Nothing.

aug 3, 12:21 pm

>48 curioussquared: I bought that one earlier in the year but still have not read it. I really need to get to it!

aug 3, 12:29 pm

129 books read: Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor

Sunny is now 15, and she and her friends continue to progress in their juju studies. But the threat of Udide, the giant spider creature, still hangs over them -- Udide has demanded that Sunny and Chichi restore her missing item to her, and now, she's given them a deadline. Sasha and Orlu aren't about to let the girls have an adventure alone, so the four set out together on a journey that will take them first to Nimm Village, home of the female warriors whose blood runs through Sunny and Chichi's veins, and then to an entirely different world.

It took me a bit to get back into this since it's been a while since I read the first two books in the series, but once I settled back into the world, I was hooked. A solid entry in the series and I look forward to the next one. Okorafor's writing is always so inventive and fresh-feeling. No wonder the blurbs on this book's dust jacket are so insane -- she has endorsements from Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Rick Riordan. 4 stars.

aug 3, 12:29 pm

>55 alcottacre: I hope you like it, Stasia! I think it would be a lovely book for when you need a pick-me-up -- and I know you've had a lot going on lately!

aug 3, 4:22 pm

130 books read: The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

Josh just moved to LA from South Dakota after his breakup -- his ex didn't want kids, and he does. He's working as a fireman and EMT at the same station as his fellow ex-marine buddy, Brandon, who is marrying his fiancee Sloane soon. On the way to the firehouse to meet with Brandon, Sloane, and Sloane's maid of honor Kristen to finalize some wedding details, Josh accidentally taps the bumper of the car in front of him, enraging the woman driver. And when he gets to the firehouse, of course -- the woman whose truck he bumped was Kristen. Despite their initial enmity, Josh agrees to help Kristen with her small business to earn some extra cash, and the two start hanging out. Josh knows nothing can come of it -- Kristen has a boyfriend, a marine who is stationed abroad but coming home soon, and besides, she's made it very clear they're just friends. But he can't help but be enamored of Kristen and her spiky, down-to-earth personality. When Josh sees his opportunity to let Kristen know how he feels, he takes it, and he thinks he might have a chance. But Kristen has a secret, another reason she can't be with Josh, and now she needs to find a way to let him down without telling him why.

I'm torn about this book. Overall, I liked it. I thought the writing was great, so I'll probably read more books by this author. I had a few issues, including one that almost made me DNF it in the first 25%. Josh is an ex-marine, and I can understand how that is attractive, but there's a part where he takes out his gun and loads it because he's bringing it to Kristen's house to protect her from a prowler, and she is... swooning over his gun? Literally the text talks about how hot he is loading his gun and how his gun is soooo biiiig 😍. That grossed me out enough that I almost put the book down entirely. Overall, though I thought it was well told, and the treatment of fertility issues and presumed endometriosis were well done. I did think it was a little bit of a cop out that they had a surprise pregnancy at the end after all that, but hey, this is an escapist romance novel in the end, and Jimenez did state in her author's note that the pregnancy wasn't necessary for their happy ending.. Finally, just a warning that this book does actually get pretty dark in a way I wasn't expecting in a romcom. Let's go with... 3.25 stars.

aug 3, 4:26 pm

>58 curioussquared: Someone recommended this author to me as a good introduction to rom-coms, and the main character was dealing with her partner's death. Too grim for me!

aug 3, 4:35 pm

>59 libraryperilous: Yup. That's the grim event that happens in this book -- the death of the main male character's best friend/main female character's best friend's fiance. Also, read the first spoiler I have in my review -- you will HATE it.

aug 3, 5:44 pm

>60 curioussquared: omg wtf?! Ugh ugh ugh.

Redigerat: aug 4, 11:25 am

>54 curioussquared: - That soup sounds really good. Did you have any leftovers and did it reheat well?

The Wayne is not big on creamy soups, but I'm wondering if I could slip this one by him... :)

ETA: I liked the one Abby Jimenez I liked (Part of Your World), but your spoilers about this one make me think I might skip it.

aug 4, 12:39 pm

>61 libraryperilous: Right?

>62 katiekrug: Lots of leftovers! Tim had it for lunch yesterday and enjoyed it but he is not very discriminating. I'm planning on having it for lunch today and will let you know what I think! Honestly, I generally prefer brothy to creamy soups, but this one was great.

Yeah, I want to try more Jimenez, but this one was wasn't a home run.

aug 4, 1:27 pm

Happy Friday! Work work work followed by the Barbie movie with Tim and my best friend in the evening. Should be fun! This weekend we have plans to go to the local ren faire but might reschedule because my friend has a cold.

Currently reading: Almost halfway through Firekeeper's Daughter and it definitely has me hooked now. Also almost halfway through Clean Sweep on audio which is a lot of fun.

Currently watching: Nothing last night

Currently playing: No gaming recently

aug 5, 3:39 pm

I hope the ren faire plans happen. I really want to hear about those adventures! :)

aug 5, 8:49 pm

>48 curioussquared: I really need to reserve this one from the library.

>64 curioussquared: How was the barbie movie? I must confess I owned two barbie dolls as a kid and never really played with them.....Hope the movie was good!

aug 5, 11:56 pm

>65 MickyFine: We did end up going and had a great time! Had fun looking at all the wares, tried archery, and enjoyed watching the joust, which was done in true A Knight's Tale fashion with plenty of rock music to accompany it.

>66 figsfromthistle: I hope you enjoy it when you get to it! I loved the Barbie movie. I thought it was super well written and really smart. I was laughing the whole time. My best friend and Tim loved it too.

aug 6, 4:16 pm

>67 curioussquared: Where was the ren faire, Natalie? I've never been to one but always wanted to - might have to put it on the calendar for next year!

aug 6, 8:48 pm

>68 PlatinumWarlock: Hi Lavinia! This was my first time going too. It was the WA state Ren faire in Snohomish (very close to Monroe high school). I think there are still tickets left for the weekend after next! It used to be in Bonney Lake which was always a little too much of a trek for me but they moved it this year.

aug 7, 4:05 am

I've been to the Ren Faire in Northern California a few times, it was a fun time. We also tried visiting one that was near Fresno and it was the lowest of low-rent versions of the whole thing, haha.

aug 7, 10:22 am

>67 curioussquared: Oh yay! I'm glad you had such a great time.

aug 7, 12:34 pm

>70 ursula: Lol! I feel like a low-rent ren faire is probably something that's funny to look back on but not very fun to go to.

>71 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky!

Redigerat: aug 7, 1:15 pm

It's Monday! I talked a little about it above, but I had a really nice weekend. We saw Barbie on Friday and I LOVED it (is this my Joker?) and kind of want to see it again. Saturday Tim and my friend and I went to the local ren faire and it was a lot of fun. Tim regretted not dressing up as probably about 90% of people were in some sort of garb. I wore a peasant dress with a half corset and gold/jeweled belt I bought and didn't wear for my wedding in my hair :) On Sunday I caught up on some life stuff and then went to Silent Book Club in the afternoon. It was my first time going alone without my friend and it was fun! I'm all about community reading. I sat with a few other women and while I don't think we would be friends in general it was nice talking about books. After SBC I went to Costco and stocked up for the week, plus picked up stuffed peppers for dinner. Today we were supposed to have dinner with Tim's sister and her boyfriend but they cancelled, so I will use the time to do a workout and maybe cook. Something with chicken, idk what.

Currently reading: I had a great reading weekend! I finished Clean Sweep on audio on Saturday morning, then lounged in bed in the morning and blazed through the last 200 pages of Firekeeper's Daughter. Finished The Children of Green Knowe while filling our yard waste bin on Sunday morning and moved on to Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor on audio. In print, I'm now reading Painted Devils and LOVING IT and got through a ton thanks to SBC yesterday. Finally, I read some of Sherwood on Kindle on the elliptical on Sunday morning.

Currently watching: Barbie on Friday night. Two episodes of S1 of Heartstopper on Sunday as well as an episode of The Bear with Tim.

Currently playing: No gaming this weekend.

aug 7, 3:41 pm

131 books read: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Dina runs a perfectly respectable B&B in a small Texas town. Except that her B&B just happens to be an Inn, a resting place for all sorts of supernatural "guests" -- everyone from vampires to werewolves to all sorts of other aliens are welcome. Her Shih Tzu, Beast, is... much more than a dog, and her innkeeper's broom is a powerful weapon. When Dina spots a new werewolf in town, one who doesn't seem to know who she is and what the inn actually is, she's suspicious, especially when dead dogs start turning up around the neighborhood. Sean, the werewolf, doesn't really seem to be taking much action, so Dina steps in. While Dina and Sean clash initially, it soon becomes clear they're going to need to work together to deal with the intruder threatening their neighborhood.

This was fun! I listened to a graphic audio version which I'm not actually sure I loved that much. I found the sound effects and multiple voices kind of distracting. I'd like to continue the series but might do so in print or on Kindle. 3.5 stars.

aug 7, 4:51 pm

132 books read: Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Daunis Fontaine has always been torn in two, her Fontaine side at war with her native Ojibwe Firekeeper side. When she graduated high school, she planned to start at University of Michigan in the fall, but when her grandmother Fontaine became ill, she decided to defer her admission and stay in Sault St. Marie for a year to support her mom. Daunis loves her community -- both that of her tribe, and the community around the local hockey team, the Superiors, that she played for and her brother plays for now. One benefit of staying around for a year is meeting Jamie, a new kid in town and new member of the Supes. But then, tragedy strikes -- a new strain of meth appears to have infiltrated town and especially the tribe, threatening to destroy the community Daunis loves so much. When law enforcement reaches out and asks Daunis to go undercover and report to them about anything she might hear that could help them catch whoever's distributing the meth, Daunis is hesitant -- it feels like a betrayal, spying on those she loves. But it also seems like the only way she can save them, so she agrees. Soon, she'll uncover secrets she never wanted to know, and be faced with a terrible choice.

This started out a little slow for me but I ended up absolutely loving it, sneaking in pages whenever I had a break at work and spending way too long reading in bed before going to sleep. Daunis is a great character, and Boulley paints a fantastic picture of the tribal community. I thought the writing was excellent, and the plot kept me guessing until the end. 5 stars.

aug 8, 8:28 am

>73 curioussquared: I see people in the States seem to have loved the Barbie film. My sons went to see it with my niece; the boys felt that the feminist message was pushed too hard while my niece called it 'interesting'. I get the feeling she was more sympathetic about the message but felt it was too blatant. I haven't seen the film myself though my husband and his brother want to see 'Oppenheimer', which doesn't seem to have been received with quite as much enthusiasm on LT.

aug 8, 12:34 pm

>76 humouress: I think there was one scene in Barbie America Ferrerra's character's big speech that felt a teensy bit heavy-handed, especially if you are a young person to whom all of her realizations and assertions feel obvious. But I felt that it worked well within the context of the movie -- Barbie, a tabula rasa when it comes to feminist theory since Barbieland doesn't need feminism, DOESN'T know any of the things Gloria is saying. Otherwise, I felt the movie was really smart and one of the best scripts I'd seen in a while. Sharp, incisive writing that also had some totally hilarious lines. Also a killer soundtrack.

I'm interested in seeing Oppenheimer, but it wasn't at the top of my list, clearly. I'll probably end up going this month.

aug 8, 12:39 pm

Happy Tuesday! I have to go into the office today for I-9 verification. When I was hired the government was still allowing companies to do it virtually with a photo, but now they're requiring physical verification again. Oh well, I'll get my August office day out of the way. Planning on getting in around 10:30-11 and leaving around 2-2:30 so shouldn't be too arduous, lol.

Currently reading: Blazed through the rest of Painted Devils yesterday. SO GOOD. Made it through more of Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor on audio and should finish while driving to the office today. It's... fine. Got to 80% of Sherwood while on the elliptical last night; should only take one or two more workouts to polish it off :)

Currently watching: Finished my rewatch of Heartstopper S1 while folding laundry last night. This show is just way too cute. It's like if the sentiment of "SQUEEEEEE" were distilled into a TV show.

Currently playing: Nothing

Redigerat: aug 8, 5:09 pm

I think the un-subtlety of the message was part of the point of the movie. All these men (I'm looking at you, Ben Shapiro) are up in arms over how the Kens are dismissed, taken for granted, or portrayed as mere eye candy, not getting that this is how women are frequently treated in "the real world."

I thought it was clever and smart and extremely well-done.

aug 8, 12:58 pm

>56 curioussquared: I finished that one recently too and like you, it took me a bit to get back into that world, but then the book took off for me. I am very much enjoying Okorafor's writing and look forward to reading anything and everything she writes.

>58 curioussquared: Oo, too bad about that one. I am giving that one a hard pass.

>74 curioussquared: I am not an Ilona Andrews fan, although I should probably give her at least one more chance. I have only read one of her books and just did not like it at all. I cannot even remember the title, it has been that long ago.

>75 curioussquared: I get to dodge that BB as I have already read that one.

aug 8, 3:52 pm

>79 katiekrug: Agreed, Katie!

>80 alcottacre: Hi Stasia! Agreed re: Okorafor; I haven't been disappointed by one of her books yet. I wouldn't say I'm an Ilona Andrews superfan after this book but I'll probably continue the series eventually.

aug 9, 11:16 am

133 books read: The Children of Green Knowe by L. M. Boston

Tolly comes to Green Knowe to live with his great grandmother. There, he learns about the children who have lived there before him -- and begins to have encounters with their ghosts.

I thought this was a sweet children's story but didn't necessarily fall in love with it. 3.5 stars.

aug 9, 12:24 pm

Good morning! Went into the office as expected yesterday. It was... fine. This was my first time really going into the office and working there and wow, it is not conducive to productivity. There is faint pop music pumped throughout the entire building??? What kind of corporate hellscape is this? I did my verification, got some things done that didn't require too much concentration, and left.

I almost missed my 8am meeting today because I didn't realize I had one, so that's how my day is going so far, lol. The contractors found MORE rot (honestly I'm surprised our garage and deck hadn't fallen down yet) so that's how the project is going. Hopefully this is the last of it. Other plans for the day include making chicken sweet potato kale soup and maybe a workout.

Currently reading: Finished Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor on audio and moved on to Dear Sweet Pea. Finished Sherwood on the elliptical last night; haven't started a new Kindle book yet but I might choose A Knot in the Grain. Started my new print book, All the Weyrs of Pern, before bed.

Currently watching: Tim and I watched the new episodes of Only Murders in the Building last night. I missed this show!

aug 9, 12:33 pm

I am very much looking forward to the new season of Only Murders...

Music in the office is... Weird. My own corporate hellscape featured a woman in the next cubicle over who liked to chew ice. All. Day.

aug 9, 12:50 pm

>84 katiekrug: Omg, nooooo. My best friend recently started at a new employer and there's a woman two cubes over who whistles all day. She finally said something and the woman had no idea she was even doing it.

The music in the office is just faint enough that I didn't notice it right away, but then I caught myself singing along to a Lorde song in my head and realized. It's fainter than like, a grocery store, but lyrics and everything are still audible.

aug 9, 2:10 pm

Music on speakers all day??? oh heck no

aug 9, 2:15 pm

>86 norabelle414: Soooo glad I only have to go in once a month.

aug 9, 4:42 pm

The office does not sound cool. I listen to music all day while working but in headphones (unless I'm at home, obvs) but not having a choice of music or getting to turn it off is obnoxious.

aug 10, 12:27 pm

>88 MickyFine: Yep. I spend a good amount of my time writing and I can't write if there's music with words. If I'm answering emails, proofreading/editing, or doing some basic graphic design I'll often put on some music, but most of the time I prefer to be without.

aug 10, 12:46 pm

It's Thursday already! The cleaners are coming this afternoon and I need to give them a heads up about the construction because they won't be able to park in the driveway and will need to come in a different door. After work I'd like to get in a workout and maybe some TOTK.

Currently reading: Finished Dear Sweet Pea on audio yesterday and moved on to Imogen, Obviously. Read more of All the Weyrs of Pern before bed, and started A Knot in the Grain when I woke up in the middle of the night.

Currently watching: A few episodes of Heartstopper S2 while folding laundry.

aug 10, 12:49 pm

The music all day long would drive me absolutely bonkers, I have to say.

>90 curioussquared: Very curious to see your thoughts on the McCaffrey and McKinley books.

aug 10, 1:00 pm

>91 alcottacre: Right? I've never encountered an office environment before with music. So far so good on the books but I'm pretty early in both of them.

aug 10, 1:56 pm

134 books read: Painted Devils by Margaret Owen

Vanja didn't mean to start a cult, but here we are. When she made up the Scarlet Maiden, she had no idea she was REAL. But now the resurrected low god has chosen Emeric, Vanja's... boy? crush? animated coat rack? as a sacrifice, and Vanja and Emeric have only a few weeks to figure out how to stop it from happening, as Emeric would really rather keep on living and prosecuting Vanja's many crimes. Luckily they have help from some kind villagers along the way, including Udo, Jakob, and Helga, who all seemed rather too eager to welcome Vanja into their home. Unluckily, Emeric is supposed to be completing his finding, the final test before he becomes a full prefect, and prefect emeritus Kirkling has decided to make this case into the deciding factor. As if they didn't have enough going on with the whole human sacrifice thing....

This is the sequel to Little Thieves, and I loved every minute of it. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- if you like YA fantasy at all, you need to be reading Margaret Owen. Great writing, compelling plots, complex characters, occasional meme references -- what more could you want out of a book? My only regret is that I want book three NOW and it doesn't even have a title or release date yet *sob*. Five stars.

aug 10, 4:00 pm

135 books read: Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao

Zach has always been embarrassed of his Chinese heritage and the way it sets him apart at school in the USA. Mostly, he tries to blend in with the other kids who are into his favorite AR game, even though they're kind of bullies. But then, his AR headset is possessed by the spirit of the First Emperor of China, his mom is possessed by a demon, and it turns out the new Chinese kid at school is also possessed by an ancient emperor. Soon, Zach is on the trip of his life to China to help his new team fight off the forces of evil. But are his new friends too good to be true?

I picked this up because I loved Zhao's Iron Widow and am eagerly awaiting the sequel. Unfortunately, this didn't work for me. If you're an eleven-year-old boy who's super into Yu Gi Oh, this might be for you, but I think I was just so far off the target audience that I couldn't stay interested. 3 stars.

aug 10, 5:13 pm

136 books read: Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

What if Robin of Locksley didn't make it back from the Crusades? In this reimagining of the Robin Hood story, Robin is killed in the holy wars, and Marian, his fiancee, is left behind, her whole life uprooted with no purpose or direction. But when her maid Elena's brother Will Scarlet is taken by the Sheriff of Nottingham, Marian knows she must act. Drawing on the skills she and Robin practiced growing up together, she becomes Robin Hood, fighting for justice in the face of the greedy Sheriff. But Marian is acting alone, and sooner or later, someone will find out... and Guy of Gisborne is awfully suspicious.

This was fine. I love Robin Hood so am always willing to try a retelling. This one lost me near the end when it became enemies to lovers with Marian and Guy. Really it just made me want to go reread The Outlaws of Sherwood. 3 stars.

aug 10, 6:15 pm

137 books read: Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

Middle school in small-town Texas is tough enough, but then Sweet Pea's friend Kiera ditched her for cool girls last year, and her parents decided to get a divorce because Sweet Pea's dad came out as gay. To try to make things as easy as possible for Sweet Pea, her dad ended up renting the house one down from her mom's house, with just eccentric old advice columnist Miss Flora Mae's house in between. When Miss Flora Mae goes on vacation, she asks Sweet Pea to forward the letters she gets with the town's questions for her advice column, and Sweet Pea begrudgingly agrees. But when Sweet Pea recognizes the handwriting on one of the letters, she can't help opening it... and penning a response of her own.

This was a sweet (ha) middle grade novel with a great protagonist. A few parts were a little too cringey for me, even as someone who is preeetty far removed from the horrors of middle school at this point, but kids will probably relate. I appreciated the body positive messages, too -- only to be expected from Julie Murphy. 4 stars.

aug 11, 2:03 pm

Happy Friday! Nothing much on the schedule today aside from work. Next week I'm going up to the Olympic Peninsula with my family Monday-Wednesday so I have a bunch of things I want to wrap up today before I'm out. I wasn't planning on taking more time off, but my grandma's sister recently passed away and my family planned this little trip last minute to help cheer her up, so I figured I would make it work. Tim has to go into the office those days to do some presentations so he won't be coming and the dogs will stay with him.

Currently reading: More All the Weyrs of Pern, and I finished the first story in A Knot in the Grain. Finished Imogen, Obviously on audio while cooking and tidying up last night, and moved on to The One and Only Ivan while walking dogs this morning.

Currently watching: Nothing yesterday.

Currently playing: Did some TOTK last night -- mostly progress in the main questline, which I didn't really enjoy that much 😂 I'm happiest running around completing side quests.

aug 13, 3:18 pm

I'm sorry to hear about your great-aunt, Natalie. I hope the family time together is comforting for all of you but particularly your grandmother.

aug 13, 3:53 pm

>98 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky. She had been experiencing some major health problems for several years and recently took a turn for the worse, so it wasn't unexpected, but of course it's always hard. Unfortunately my grandma's other sister is also not doing very well recently so I too am hoping this trip will comfort her somewhat, which is why I shoehorned in the time off. She definitely needs her family right now.

aug 13, 8:20 pm

Sorry to hear about your great-aunt, Natalie, and hope the trip is a good one for bringing the family together.

aug 15, 12:59 am

>69 curioussquared: That looks super fun. 😊 Just joined the email list so I'll get a heads-up for next year!

aug 15, 1:02 am

>83 curioussquared: We just started OMITB this week too - I'm liking this season the best so far... maybe because I will see anything with Paul Rudd in it! And Meryl Streep... oh my!

aug 17, 1:46 pm

>100 bell7: Thanks, Mary! We had a nice time. We've been coming to this particular spot for 20+ years as a family so it's a nice, easy, familiar trip. It's an old military fort and we rent out the old officer's accommodations, which are in front of the parade ground so there's lots of room for soccer and frisbee. It's an easy walk to the beach and there's also an easy hike to the old fort itself, where my cousins and I spent a lot of time as kids hiding behind corners in dark bunkers to try to scare each other. Lots for everyone to do whether you want to be active or hang out reading, and it's easy for my grandma, who is less mobile these days, to have a nice place to sit and watch all her kids and grandkids and feel like she is in the thick of it.

>102 PlatinumWarlock: I'm not sure I'd say this season is my favorite yet, but I'm definitely having a lot of fun with it, Lavinia!

aug 17, 2:10 pm

Hello everyone! I'm back to work after my family trip and working on catching up on everything I missed. We had a nice trip although I did have to share a room with my mom, whose snoring has gotten ten times worse since the last time I shared a room with her, so my sleep wasn't great. We did get out of the city at the right time, though -- it's been ~90 degrees in Seattle for the past few days and luckily it's about 10 degrees cooler out on the peninsula. No big plans today. I'd like to do a workout and I kind of feel like cooking but I would need to make a grocery order to do that, so we'll see what happens. Today is still supposed to be really hot, but luckily our basement, where my office is, stays cool all day, and it's supposed to cool down tonight.

Currently reading: Lots! Finished The One and Only Ivan on Friday on audio and only have about an hour left of Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories, so should wrap that one up today. I did a reread of Red, White, and Royal Blue on Saturday, and wrapped up All the Weyrs of Pern and A Knot in the Grain on my trip. Now reading The Three Dahlias in print, and I need to start a new Kindle read soon.

Currently watching: Tim and I watched Air over the weekend, which was fun. My best friend and I were so happy to start The Flatshare -- it's finally available in the US after being out in the UK forever!

Currently playing: I tried to play some TOTK when I got home last night but it was too hot on the main floor where the Switch is set up (and I don't like playing on the Switch screen itself).

aug 17, 2:35 pm

Ooh, what service is The Flatshare on?!?!

aug 17, 2:41 pm

>105 katiekrug: Amazon "Freevee" which I've never used before. Basically it's free on Amazon with ads.

aug 17, 2:59 pm

Cool - thanks!

Redigerat: aug 17, 5:38 pm

138 books read: Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli

Despite being a participating ally in the LGBTQIA+ Alliance and both of her best friends being part of the queer community, high-school senior Imogen is hopelessly heterosexual. When her friend Lili, who's a year older, invites her to come stay with her at college for a weekend (the same college Imogen will be attending in the fall), Imogen is excited to spend time with Lili and meet her new, super cool squad of queer friends. But when she gets there, Lili drops a bombshell: in a moment of feeling inadequately queer because she'd never had a queer relationship, she told all her new friends that she and Imogen dated in high school. Imogen is taken aback at first, but happy to help support her friend -- after all, it's only a weekend. After her weekend at college, Imogen strikes up a friendship with one of Lili's friends, Tessa. As Imogen and Tessa grow closer, Imogen starts to get a little more worried about Lili's white lie -- and she starts to get a little more confused about her feelings toward Tessa, too.

Becky Albertalli never disappoints. Imogen, Obviously was funny, cute, and heart-wrenching at various points, and I felt like it was queer rep of a sort that you don't usually see in novels. This book felt deeply personal knowing what I do about Albertalli's own coming out experience. 4 stars.

Redigerat: aug 17, 7:56 pm

>108 curioussquared: Yeah, that was a shitty thing to go through. YA has some rabid fans, and I swear most of them are adults who should know better.

This sounds sweet!

Edited: numbering, spacing

aug 18, 12:41 pm

Happy Friday! I'm still excited even though I had a very short work week. No plans today aside from working, which I'm fine with. Our heat wave has broken and we have an expected high of 73 today. Ideal!

Currently reading: Read just a few pages in The Three Dahlias before falling asleep. Finished Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories on audio while walking the dogs last night and moved on to Built to Last. Started Into the West on Kindle when I couldn't sleep in the middle of the night.

Currently watching: Several episodes of Heartstopper S2, which is still unbearably cute.

Currently playing: A little TOTK.

aug 18, 1:31 pm

139 books read: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Ivan is a gorilla who lives at a circus/mall combo in increasingly sad conditions with his friends Stella the elephant and Bob the stray dog. When the owner, Mack, brings in a baby elephant, Ruby, Ivan is inspired to really try to improve their lives for the first time in years.

I know this is beloved. I mostly just found it really sad. Maybe I'm not the target audience. 3 stars.

aug 18, 1:54 pm

140 books read: Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

When the Prince of Wales and the FSOTUS cross paths and accidentally fall in love, their secret relationship has the potential to scandalize their countries and blow up the president's campaign for reelection.

A reread before watching the new film adaptation. I still love this book, although I will say it doesn't hit quite as hard now that Trump isn't president. When I read it for the first time in 2019, it was like an ultimate fantasy escape/warm democratic hug that I definitely needed. 5 stars.

aug 18, 2:06 pm

141 books read: All the Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey

When the residents of Pern unearth an ancient AI technology from their space colonist ancestors, the AI, Aivas, tells them there is a possibility they could rid the planet of the threat of Thread for good. But it will take a lot of work, and a lot of cooperation -- and the strength of all the weyrs of Pern.

This was fine. It felt a little bit like Pern: We're getting the gang back together! It's been years since I've read the original Pern novels, but if you have a favorite character, they're definitely in this book -- F'lar and Lessa feature, Mennolly and Master Robinton are there, and Jaxom and Piemur play big roles, too. Storywise, I thought this was fairly strong in the first half, but I got a little bored by the end -- the whole thing is basically the endless steps in advancing Pern's technology to the point of being able to get rid of thread, and it was technical in a bad way, at least for me. I think I like Pern better when it's more of a fantasy novel instead of sci-fi. 3.5 stars.

aug 18, 2:14 pm

I haven't read RW&RB yet, but my best friend loved it. She found the adaptation less than stellar, though...

aug 18, 2:15 pm

>114 katiekrug: I've been hearing mixed reviews so we'll see what I think! I'm trying to go in with low expectations, lol.

aug 18, 2:26 pm

142 books read: A Knot in the Grain by Robin McKinley

A collection of stories, a few set in Damar, others in our world or other worlds.

I'm not a big short story person, but I'll read anything Robin McKinley writes and have had this sitting on my Kindle for ages. I enjoyed all the stories, particularly The Healer, Buttercups, and the title entry. 4 stars.

aug 18, 2:40 pm

143 books read: Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde

"I'm not a big short story person," I say, and then I go and read two collections in a row! This was an interesting selection. There appear to be a few different editions, and the one I read included: “The Canterville Ghost,” “The Model Millionaire,” “The Young King,” “The Fisherman and His Soul,” “The Happy Prince,” “The Devoted Friend,” and “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.” I loved the title story and The Canterville Ghost, was meh about the next three, especially The Fisherman and His Soul, and then thought they picked up a bit with The Happy Prince and The Devoted Friend. The Portrait of Mr. W. H. appeared to mostly be an excuse to expound on a theory about Shakespeare's sonnets in the form of a story. It was fine, but more of an essay than a tale. 4 stars.

aug 21, 1:50 pm

Happy Monday!

I had a nice weekend aside from some excitement very very early on Saturday morning. Friday night Tim and I went out to dinner at a local Caribbean restaurant that has a great outdoor space and just a tiny indoor space -- we figured we should enjoy it while it's still nice out. Around 2am, I let Otter out into the yard and he was taking a while, rustling around in the bushes, which isn't unusual -- sometimes it's just a quick potty break, but other times he's sniffing an animal trail or looking for the perfect potty spot. He'd been outside about 5 minutes (I was waiting for him to come back so I could close and lock the door and go back to bed) when suddenly I heard someone very nearby yell "YOU'D BETTER GET THE F*** OUT OF THERE!" I freaked out, froze, and didn't say anything because I didn't want to draw attention to the fact that I was there, so I willed Otter silently to come back QUICKLY (he did come back right after the yell, but more sedately than I would have liked). As Otter was coming up the deck the person yelled again and I quickly and quietly brought him in and locked the door. They yelled one more time after we were back in the bedroom, and then I heard a little more rustling and something thrown (?) hit our deck about 20 minutes later. Tim slept through it all. I told myself I would wake him up if anything else happened, but it was quiet after that. Nonetheless it took me 2+ hours to get back to sleep, I was so hyped up. In the morning we texted with our neighbor who lives in the direction the yelling was coming from and he swears he heard an "intruder" in our yard and that he heard them at 1:30, 2, 3:30, and 5, and it was the neighbor who was yelling and throwing something because he heard the "intruder" moving in the yard. I... am doubtful there was an intruder. Our yard is big and wooded and is along a street that leads to a big forested park, and there are sometimes homeless people who camp there, but we didn't see any evidence of a human presence in the morning, our gate was locked as usual, and given that the neighbor was yelling while Otter was rustling around sniffing, I think the "intruder" the neighbor heard was probably a combination of a racoon and Otter, which would also explain why Otter was sniffing so hard. Anyway, all was well and now we know this neighbor is... a little overreactive.

After my exciting night I was pretty wasted the next day. Tim and I went to see a few houses, then I took a nap at home and played some video games. In the evening my best friend came over and we got pizza and watched a movie. On Sunday Tim and I did some yard work before the forecasted wildfire smoke destroyed our air quality. In the afternoon my friend and I went to Silent Book Club and then I spent the rest of the evening playing video games.

Todays plans include work and then trivia in the evening.

Currently reading: Finished The Three Dahlias at Silent Book Club and moved on to Fourth Wing in print. Working on Into the West on Kindle. 75% done with Built to Last on audio.

aug 21, 2:43 pm

144 books read: The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson

Dahlia Lively is one of the world's most famous fictional sleuths, created by writer Lettice Davenport and popularized by an initial set of movies, in which she was played by Rosalind King, and then a TV show, in which she was played by Caro Hooper. Now, there's a new movie planned, and a new Dahlia in town: Posy Starling, washed up child actress, just cast, who's really hoping this movie will be her break back into consistent roles. She'll have her first chance to impress Dahlia's fans at a weekend convention at Lettice Davenport's family home, where the late writer wrote all the books and her nephew and his wife live today. But while Posy is concerned with making a good impression, there are bigger things to worry about -- starting with blackmail and ending with murder.

This was fun! It felt kind of like... Agatha Christie fandom fanfiction. I had some trouble engaging in the first third of the book, Posy's section, but was totally invested once the murder happened. 4 stars.

aug 22, 12:52 pm

It's Tuesday! Work yesterday was a nightmare and it continues today due to some data issues with an audit we're doing. The issue isn't my fault, but I'm getting 8 million questions about it. Fun. Trivia was fun yesterday even though we finished in the middle of the pack. Today will be work followed by a workout and hangout with my friend in the evening.

Currently reading: Finished Built to Last on audio and moved on to The General in His Labyrinth. Fourth Wing continues to be great fun, and Into the West is fine. I still haven't been able to break myself of reading all the new Valdemar books despite a decline in quality.

Currently watching: Nothing last night, but I realized I didn't update over the weekend. Watched some Only Murders in the Building on Friday, watched French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Cline for the first time on Saturday with my friend, which was hilarious, and finished Heartstopper S2, which is the best.

Currently playing: Lots of TOTK over the weekend.

aug 22, 1:01 pm

145 books read: Built to Last by Erin Hahn

Shelby Springfield and Cameron Riggs haven't really talked in years, since they both left the TV show they were child stars on and since Shelby went through a breakup with their horrible costar Lyle. In the interim 5 years, Shelby moved back to the midwest and started a furniture restoration business, and Cameron travelled to remote location after remote location as a documentary filmmaker for National Geographic, both escaping their pasts in different ways. When Shelby and Cameron are approached by Lyle to star in a home renovation TV show, they're skeptical -- Lyle has never been the most trustworthy. But the show would be a great opportunity for Shelby to set her dad up for retirement, and the perfect way for Cameron to get closer to Shelby again after all these years...

A serviceable romcom. This was missing something -- not enough conflict, I think. There was never really any question how it would end or enough in the way of them getting that HEA. 3 stars.

aug 22, 2:32 pm

>120 curioussquared: Glad you enjoyed Heartstopper s2! I was worried about the trauma but I thought they handled it really well

aug 22, 5:26 pm

>118 curioussquared: Sorry about the overreactive neighbor, Natalie. I hope you had a better sleep the next night.

aug 22, 8:15 pm

>122 norabelle414: Agreed, Nora! I'm just very pleased with how the whole thing has been done.

>123 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! The next few nights were better :)

aug 23, 10:20 am

I'm currently doing a combination of audio and print reading of Fourth Wing. I agree it's fun! Not sure when I will finish it up. Maybe later today?

aug 23, 12:08 pm

>125 aktakukac: Glad you're enjoying it too, Rachel! I am only about 100 pages in -- I haven't had time to really settle into it. I might go to bed early tonight to read... ;)

aug 23, 12:45 pm

>126 curioussquared: It took me a while to get into the story, but after a bit it really took off and I'm looking forward to seeing what all happens. I'm also wondering what will be set up for the second book - I will definitely be picking that one up this fall!

aug 23, 3:03 pm

>127 aktakukac: I've honestly been hooked since the beginning so good to know it gets even more addictive 😂

Redigerat: aug 23, 3:15 pm

Ugh. Our deck project has been going really well, but when I went to take out the recycling this morning before work, I discovered that when it rained last night, we had some water intrusion into our house by our basement entry door. We think it happened because the contractors removed some siding to replace it but it's been so dry they didn't think to cover it up, and then of course it rained. The siding they removed is above this entry area and the rain went straight through. Not sure of the extent of the damage but a surprising amount of water came through -- our entry rug was totally soaked as well as some shoes that were by the door. I'm actually glad the rug was there because I think it soaked up a lot of the water that could otherwise have gone and soaked the carpet that's beyond the entryway, and instead the carpet only got a little bit wet and will probably be fine. But we may need to replace some drywall now and probably repaint this entry area, too. The contractors will be back tomorrow so we'll know more then.

Currently reading: All the same stuff. Might finish The General in His Labyrinth today, TBD. Really want to make a dent in Fourth Wing soon. Still reading Into the West on Kindle and it's fine. May make more of a dent if I do an elliptical workout today.

Currently watching: My best friend and I finished up the season of Australian Taskmaster last night. We loved it and were really happy with the winner.

Currently playing: Nothing.

aug 23, 4:52 pm

Ugh, sorry about the water. It can be so destructive, even a relatively small amount. We are still dealing with the results of the flood we had in 2021 from Hurrican Ida... I hope the contractors can sort it out quickly!

aug 24, 12:50 pm

>130 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie. No sign of the contractors yet this morning... so we are still waiting to hear the assessment. Flooding is so awful -- sorry to hear you are still dealing with aftereffects.

aug 24, 1:03 pm

Happy Thursday! Yesterday evening I did a Ring Fit workout, which was great, and I'm feeling it today. Did baked tilapia, broccoli, and quinoa for dinner and then Tim and I watched a little TV before I did a super-fast tidy up before the cleaners come today. Like I mentioned above, still waiting for the contractors to show up today so we can understand the extent of the water damage and required remediation. Otherwise, no plans today aside from working, maybe a workout, and figuring out what to cook. I'm contemplating chicken burrito bowls.

Currently reading: Am definitely in the exciting part of Fourth Wing now, which is saying a lot given that it was already exciting. I can see why people are calling this book addictive. Finished The General in His Labyrinth and moved on to The Hellion's Waltz on audio. No progress on Into the West since I did a strength workout instead of elliptical.

Currently watching: Good Omens S2E1. Loving it! My David Tennant crush lives on.

Currently playing: Nothing recently.

aug 24, 1:11 pm

146 books read: The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Garcia Marquez chronicles the final days of Simon Bolivar, depicting the great leader not at his height, but at his nadir, shrunken and crumbling physically and mentally.

I'm not sure I "got" this. I love Garcia Marquez and the writing in this was gorgeous, and I actually really loved his author's note at the end in which he described the extent of the research he did to write this book. But the story itself never really worked for me -- maybe because it was less of a story and more of a portrait of a great man at a point of his life where he has lost most of his greatness. 3 stars.

aug 24, 4:39 pm

Well, the contractors arrived and they don't think the damage is too bad, so that's good. They're going to cut in, check it out, and repair. Unfortunately we don't have any matching paint as it was chosen by the previous owners so we'll have to decide what we want to do in terms of paint for that space.

aug 25, 12:44 am

>134 curioussquared: That sounds like a relatively painless outcome (despite having to choose more paint) - glad to hear it! May the rest of the process be at least that positive.

aug 25, 1:00 pm

>135 PlatinumWarlock: Thanks, Lavinia! I thought we were past the point of discovering new issues (silly me!) when the water intrusion happened. Never underestimate the ways in which a house project can go wrong!

aug 25, 1:07 pm

Very happy today is Friday after a long work week. Last night Tim had plans with friends, so I did a workout, made instant pot chicken burrito bowls, watched some TV and settled in to read for the evening. Today I'm working, then taking Otter to a quick vaccine appointment in the afternoon and dropping off some library checkouts. Not sure what we'll do for dinner tonight.

Currently reading: In the final third of Fourth Wing in print. Should finish up The Hellion's Waltz on audio today. Read some more of Into the West during my workout and it might (?) be starting to pick up a bit?

Currently watching: S3E3 of The Parisian Agency.

Currently playing: Nothing.

Redigerat: aug 28, 2:03 pm

Happy Monday! I can already tell this is going to be another crazy work week. I had a nice weekend -- Friday some friends I hadn't seen in a while came over and we just hung out and caught up. Saturday and Sunday I mostly vegged, combined with some cooking, workouts, reading, and gaming.

Today is our second wedding anniversary -- time flies!! We're planning a low-key dinner out somewhere, nothing huge. But first I have to make it through a dentist appointment this afternoon, boo.

Currently reading: Wrapped up The Hellion's Waltz on audio on Friday while driving Otter to the vet and moved on to Love and Saffron, which I finished while doing chores on Saturday. Started and almost immediately DNFed Exalted on audio due to the worst audiobook narrator I've ever heard -- still plan to read it, but will not be listening to it. Moved on to The Bodyguard instead which is going much better and I may even finish it today. In print, I wrapped up Fourth Wing on Saturday morning, and I'm now halfway through The Dragon Republic. Still working on Into the West on Kindle and am getting a little more into the swing of things now that I'm a fourth of the way through.

Currently watching: The first two episodes of Ahsoka, which is nice and light so far.

Currently playing: Some TOTK. I'm finally enjoying exploring the depths? Must be that I finally have enough hearts not to die all the time 😂 Although I ended my session last night after I died trying to get to a lightroot surrounded by blighted monsters in a volcano, lol.

aug 28, 3:19 pm

147 books read: The Hellion's Waltz by Olivia Waite

Sophie's musical family is new to the small town life after a scandal forced them to sell their business and relocate their instrument repair shop to a cheaper location. There, she runs into Maddie in a shop. Maddie, a weaver, sells a strange bit of fabric to the shop owner, and Sophie happens to witness him turn around and sell it for an enormous markup the next minute. Sophie chases after Maddie to tell her, determined that Maddie should not be cheated. The two develop a friendship, and Sophie learns that Maddie is actually embroiled in a devious plan to ensure rights and profits for the disenfranchised weaver's union, and to put the cruel shop owner out of business. Sophie is conflicted -- she likes Maddie, but she's not sure if she can support her rather illegal plan. But something more is growing between the two girls, and eventually, Sophie will have to choose where her loyalties lie.

This was fine. It felt rather instalove-y, which I suppose is a WLW stereotype ;) Also, I never quite understood the weaver plot to discredit the shop owner -- it was very complex and IDK if I just wasn't paying close enough attention or what. And the attitude of Sophie's family toward her relationship was surprising, too, if not unwelcome. 3 stars.

aug 28, 3:54 pm

148 books read: Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Violet Sorrengail has trained all her life to be a scribe -- even though her mother is general of the dragon riding forces, she has a phsyical condition that makes her bones brittle and her joints weak, and the brutal world of the riders never seemed like a good option. But after her father died and Violet turned 20, General Sorrengail made it clear that Sorrengails do NOT become scribes. They are riders, like Violet's sister and brother before her. Despite the cruelty and brutality of the rider's quadrant, Violet is determined to succeed, even as her classmates die in various ways around her -- some by their peers' hands, as fewer riding candidates means greater chances of bonding with a dragon for the other trainees. Violet still manages to make friends and form alliances -- and she reconnects with her childhood friend Dain, a second-year squad leader who wants nothing but to protect her. On the other end of the spectrum is Xaden Riorson, orphan child of a rebel leader whose father was killed by Violet's mother, so he has every reason to hate Violet. As Violet continues to defeat the odds and survive months and months into her first year, Xaden remains a mystery -- and she starts to think he might not be as bad as she thought.

This book has taken BookTok by storm and I can see why. It's truly addictive to read -- you get sucked in to each chapter and can't put it down. There are no dull spots. It's relentlessly paced and great fun because of it. Is it the best book I've ever read? Absolutely not. There are huge gaping holes in the worldbuilding and some of the world structure starts to crumble if you poke it too hard. Violet is probably too perfect -- I was expecting her to be Very Special when I started the book, but I was NOT expecting her to bond with TWO dragons. I had to laugh even as I urgently kept reading. Some of the writing and dialogue are clunky, and a good editor could have gone a long way. But I still enjoyed the whole ride, couldn't put it down, and immediately preordered book two as soon as I finished. 4.25 stars.

aug 28, 4:27 pm

149 books read: Love & Saffron by Kim Fay

When Joan, from LA, starts up a correspondence with Imogen, who writes a food and lifestyle column from her home base on an island in Washington state, the two women quickly develop a friendship, despite their differences in age, location, and background. Over the backdrop of the mid 1960s, they connect about food, relationships, and more.

This was a lovely, poignant, and heartbreaking epistolary novel, very much in the vein of 84, Charing Cross Road. It's short and easy to devour in a sitting. I especially loved it given its local connection -- the island where Imogen spends a lot of her time is where my in-laws have their beach cabin. Planning to buy my MIL a copy for her birthday! 4.5 stars.

aug 28, 4:49 pm

>140 curioussquared: I remain impervious to the hype around this book, but I'm glad other people love it. I did click on your spoiler and LOLed for quite some time. Sounds like a fun series! >141 curioussquared: sounds lovely and a good gift for your mother-in-law.

aug 28, 4:56 pm

By the way, the new gryphon book in the Valdemar universe is intriguing, but a review said to start elsewhere. I think you've recommended a good Valdemar entry point before, but I don't remember what you told me. What's the best place to start? Thank you!

aug 28, 5:18 pm

>142 libraryperilous: Right? It almost feels self-referential but I don't think it's supposed to be. She is just Very Special. It's a super fun book if you don't think too hard 😂

Re: Valdemar, I haven't read the new Gryphon book yet but I was just looking into it to figure out where it exists on the timeline. I can't remember if the main gryphon character appears in the books, but it apparently takes place right after the Owlflight trilogy, which before this was chronologically the last trilogy in the series, and features other characters from those books. Honestly, I've only read that trilogy once, as well as the two before it -- the Winds trilogy and Storm trilogy. I was in my teens when I read them, and my impression then was that they were not as good as the older books. It's entirely possible that I was wrong, though, being a teen 😂

Nonetheless, my recommendation would be to start with one of the earlier trilogies. If I had to choose specifically for you, I would recommend Vows and Honor, followed by By the Sword, which is a standalone sequel to that trilogy. If you want something more traditionally Valdemar (featuring the Heralds, her most famous characters), the Arrows trilogy might be best (starting with Arrows of the Queen). The Last Herald Mage books are also good, but only read if you are looking for Extreme Angst.

aug 28, 5:23 pm

>144 curioussquared: Thank you! I am not in the mood for angst, so I'll try the Heralds and Vows and Honor books first. I hope, if you do reread the other trilogies you mentioned, that the Reverse Suck Fairy has visited them. :)

aug 28, 5:28 pm

>145 libraryperilous: Me, too! I have so much else to read that I don't see myself rereading them anytime soon, especially since ratings on LT seem to agree with my personal rankings, but maybe I'll do a full series reread someday :) But I've reread all the books I mentioned above many, many times -- they are all comfort reads for me.

aug 28, 5:35 pm

I really loved Love & Saffron when I read it last year. I ended up buying a hardcover edition for my keeper shelves.

aug 28, 7:24 pm

>147 katiekrug: It was so lovely!

aug 29, 2:48 am

A lot to catch up on Natalie, seems like there's been a bit going on with the deck, the rain water, and neighbor. Hope everything else is going well. Season 2 of Heartstopper was very cute, I also rewatched the first season, so heartwarming. >140 curioussquared: Glad to see your review of this book - I've seen nonstop hype for it on bookstagram so it's nice to see a review that is more clear and not just pure excited praise. Lol.

aug 29, 1:24 pm

>140 curioussquared: I've got it on my list, Natalie, and I keep hearing such great things. Fortunately, I'm very skilled at not thinking too hard about certain books, so I'm guessing I'll enjoy it as much as you did!

aug 29, 1:26 pm

>141 curioussquared: & >147 katiekrug: This really looks beautiful and sweet... Thanks for the BB!

aug 29, 1:28 pm

>149 WhiteRaven.17: Thanks, Kro! We had more rain come through last night although much less than last time so life continues to be interesting :) Glad I could provide some context to Fourth Wing. TLDR: Lots of fun, not actually a "good" book, lol.

aug 29, 1:30 pm

>150 PlatinumWarlock: >151 PlatinumWarlock: Hope you enjoy them both, Lavinia! Yes, I imagine you will enjoy Fourth Wing -- it just requires you turn your brain off a bit 😂 One of my friends is more logistics-minded than me (for example, she can rant for a while about how the population of Hogwarts doesn't make sense given the population of the UK and the other info we get about wizard numbers) and she had some issues accepting some of the Fourth Wing logistics, but was still able to enjoy it overall.

aug 29, 1:39 pm

>140 curioussquared: There are huge gaping holes in the worldbuilding and some of the world structure starts to crumble if you poke it too hard.

Thank you! This was my biggest issue while reading this one. I talked to a couple of co-workers (who read a ton of YA and adult fantasy novels) about the lack of good worldbuilding, so I'm glad it wasn't just me who thought this.

You are absolutely correct when you say it's lots of fun, but not actually a "good" book!

aug 29, 2:09 pm

>154 aktakukac: You could really tell it was her first fantasy novel, Rachel. That said, I'm really excited for Iron Flame to release 😂

aug 29, 2:41 pm

Good morning! Tim and I had a nice anniversary dinner out last night at a local Thai place that specializes in noodle soups. (It's cooling down here -- highs in the 60s today -- so soup was called for.) Today I'm working, then heading to trivia. We're trying a different place today -- the same company runs the trivia game, so we know we'll like the format, but we wanted to try another location because our normal spot is getting really crowded and there's been a change in the neighborhood that has made parking way more difficult than it used to be. This place is actually closer to my house by about 3-4 minutes and has much better parking options. The only downside is that there are fewer food options within walking distance -- both locations are breweries/bottle shops so they allow outside food -- but the new place does always have a food truck option, so that's good. I think tonight's is Thai -- good thing Thai is my favorite since I had it last night too :)

Currently reading: Finished The Bodyguard on the way to the dentist yesterday and I actually enjoyed it more than I expected. Moved onto Gullstruck Island on audio; I'm a few hours in but still feel like I'm just settling into the plot. Only managed about 30 pages of The Dragon Republic before falling asleep last night. I'd like to finish it before the end of the month, but TBD on that front. I'm also working on Long Day's Journey Into Night during my lunch breaks.

Currently watching: S3E3 of Only Murders in the Building. Tim and I were cackling at the Steve Martin white room gag.

Currently playing: Nothing yesterday.

aug 29, 2:47 pm

>156 curioussquared: Happy anniversary! Good luck trying out the new trivia place!

aug 29, 4:02 pm

150 books read: The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Hannah is a bodyguard -- or an executive protection agent, if you will -- though you wouldn't guess it from her diminutive 5'5 stature. But she's trained in jiujitsu, and her main job is to make sure things never get to the point with her clients where she actually needs to use physical force. When her boyfriend dumps her the day after her mom's funeral, Hannah is adrift, especially since her boss won't give her a new assignment to focus on right away. And when he DOES give her an assignment, it's not what she was expecting -- instead of getting to travel to some far-flung place like she normally does, her assignment will keep her at home in Houston, and instead of some old businessman or oil baron like she's used to, this client is really famous -- it's Jack Stapleton, superhero movie star and A-list celebrity, who's at home in Houston to be with his mother during her cancer treatment. This assignment is the last thing Hannah wants, especially when it morphs into Hannah staying at Jack's parents house and pretending to date Jack to keep him safe. But she has never provided less than stellar service for her clients, and she's not about to start now.

A sweet, forced proximity fake dating book. This was getting enough popular acclaim that I think I went in with low expectations (I don't always vibe with the romances booktok loves) but this ended up really working for me. It helps that I like these tropes. 4 stars.

aug 29, 4:10 pm

>158 curioussquared: Congratulations on reaching 2x 75, Natalie!

And belated happy anniversary!

aug 29, 5:21 pm

>159 FAMeulstee: Thanks on both accounts, Anita!

aug 30, 6:20 pm

Happy Wednesday! Late update today because I am struuuggling. I had two drinks at trivia last night, like I normally do, but I felt a little ill all night and had trouble sleeping, and I've felt hungover all day. Ouch. It was only two drinks! No idea what happened to me. I'm dragging my way through work and will spend the rest of the day relaxing. On the bright side, we enjoyed the new trivia venue and came in fifth place after being dead last halfway through, so we felt pretty good about that.

Currently reading: All the same stuff.

Currently watching: Nothing yesterday.

Currently playing: Nothing yesterday. Might do some TOTK tonight.

aug 30, 10:48 pm

>156 curioussquared: Well shoot, I missed it.
Happy anniversary, Natalie!

>161 curioussquared: I find mixed drinks when I'm eating out to get me tipsy far quicker and more intensely than store-bought, so maybe that's it? They do tend to mix multiple alcohols. But it sounds like you had a good time and I hope you feel better :)

And congrats on that number for book totals!

aug 31, 12:06 am


I am impressed by the number of books you read thus far this year!!!
I read about your late-night experience with your angry neighbor. I would have been very scared.

I hope you feel better today. Since I've cut way back on alcohol consumption as it doesn't mix well with Dilaudid that I take for pain, even a glass of wine feels like too much.

Belated Happy Anniversary!

All good wishes for many more years together.

aug 31, 12:25 pm

>162 Ravenwoodwitch: Thanks, Angela!! I was drinking ciders, which I normally do really well with, so not sure what happened. Maybe I failed to notice that one of them had a weirdly high ABV.

>163 Whisper1: Thanks, Linda! I don't drink very much these days, either -- a very occasional glass of something at home, and maybe a drink or two if I'm out with friends or at dinner. I usually stop at two because more doesn't sit well with me, but apparently two was too many this time.

aug 31, 2:02 pm

I can't believe we're nearly in September! Today I'm working and then my friend will come over in the evening. We're planning to watch Saved, which I thought was great back in middle or high school, so I'm interested to see if it holds up.

Currently reading: About 2/3 through The Dragon Republic, which continues to be great, and 1/3 through Gullstruck Island on audio, which I'm enjoying but it's a little slow-going. I'm hoping to finish up Long Day's Journey Into Night on my lunch break.

Currently watching: Episode 3 of Ahsoka, which we're enjoying so far. It seems to be much better written than some of the other Disney content so far. I'm also loving how thoroughly it passes the Bechdel test.

Currently playing: TOTK. More depths exploration.

sep 1, 10:04 am

>93 curioussquared: I still have not managed to read Little Thieves yet. I really need to get that done!

I am not going to try and catch up with everything else. How did I get 70+ posts behind again??

Have a wonderful weekend, Natalie!

sep 1, 12:26 pm

>166 alcottacre: Too many books to read, Stasia! I think you will really like it when you get to it.

sep 1, 4:40 pm

Happy almost long weekend! I'm finishing up a few work tasks and then planning to sign off a little early today. Plans for the weekend are mostly just relaxing, although I might see a movie at some point and I'd kind of like to make a trip to Costco, although it might be crazy busy before the holiday.

Currently reading: Finished Long Day's Journey Into Night on my lunch break yesterday as I hoped; review to come. I have about 1/4 of The Dragon Republic left and about 1/3 of Gullstruck Island remaining on audio.

Currently watching: Saved, which honestly held up really well! Still as funny as I remembered.

Currently playing: Nothing last night, but I'll probably get some gaming in over the weekend.

sep 1, 10:39 pm

I hope you and Tim have a great long weekend!

Did you end up braving Costco? We went yesterday and between it being close to the 30th (we've got a lot of people who work in the oil industry around here and get paid on the 15th and 30th) and the long weekend, it was super crowded.

sep 6, 12:16 pm

Yay, LT is back!

>169 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky, we did have a nice weekend :) Went to Costco on Saturday and it was busy, but it didn't feel busier than any other Saturday. I didn't have to wait in line for self checkout.

sep 6, 1:02 pm

Hooray for all of us! Now that Apartheid Clyde has ruined Twitter, I don't really do anything on the internet except LT, lol. I hope the hackers step on Legos for the rest of their lives.

sep 6, 1:56 pm

>171 libraryperilous: Yes, LT is definitely my number one distraction! I kept finding myself trying to go to the site in between meetings or when I wanted to take a break. Very glad we're up and running again.

sep 6, 3:17 pm

Happy Wednesday and LT is back day, everyone! I had a nice weekend full of a lot of books, and yesterday I went to trivia where we did not perform well. Today I'm working and we're heading to my SIL and her boyfriend's place for dinner, so I'll be multitasking and cooking a side as the workday draws to a close. Planning on making an huminta, which is a traditional recipe in my family from Bolivia -- a sort of corn and cheese casserole.

The garage/roof deck rebuild is proceeding this week. Yesterday they tried to install our new front door but then found out the jamb is too wide, so we need to pick and order a new front door, but all the styles I like will take at least two weeks to get in stock, ugh. Hopefully we can get one ordered today -- I always feel overwhelmed when choices like this have so many options. Spent two hours looking at doors yesterday and still haven't ordered one.

Currently reading: I'm very behind on reviews! On Friday I wrapped up The Dragon Republic which I thought was excellent and moved on to Legendborn in print, which I wrapped on Sunday -- also excellent. Now reading Sing, Unburied, Sing in print. On audio, I finished Gullstruck Island on Sunday, which was just meh for me. I also listened to all of Thornhedge on Sunday, which I loved. I started Winter Counts on Monday and wrapped it yesterday -- loved it. No currently audio but planning on Heart of a Dog as my next listen. Finally, on the Kindle front, I am still slowly working through Into the West. Almost 3/4 through! I also started reading The Girl With the Louding Voice on the Kindle app on my phone while I was waiting for friends to arrive for trivia yesterday so that will be my new full-time Kindle read when I'm done with the Mercedes Lackey.

Currently watching: Over the weekend Tim and I watched S2E2 of Good Omens, S3E5 of Only Murders in the Building, and S1E1 and E2 of Big Little Lies. I also watched Red, White, and Royal Blue with my best friend on Saturday, and on Monday I binged the three Love Is Blind: After the Altar episodes and watched S2E11 of Outlander while folding laundry.

Currently playing: Just a little bit of TOTK on Friday, and then my friend and I played some Snipperclips before watching our movie on Saturday.

sep 6, 5:00 pm

151 books read: Long Day's Journey into Night by Eugene O'Neill

In this family drama, a mother, father, and their two adult sons try desperately to pretend that everything is all right as they each struggle with their own personal demons, illnesses, and deep-seated resentment of each other.

This is a play where you read it and understand why it's a classic, but the experience isn't necessarily "enjoyable". I was somewhat fascinated by the extremely detailed notes O'Neill uses in his writing -- the set is described down to the smallest object, and there are many notes for the actors letting them know exactly how to play certain lines, down to facial expressions and tones. I don't think I've ever read a play with such detailed interpretation notes before. 4 stars.

sep 6, 5:09 pm

Hi Natalie! Just catching up here... Sounds like things are going well, other than the door issue. I want a new front door - even know exactly what I want - but so far my inertia in getting anything done has won out.

I saw an excellent production of Long Day's Journey Into Night a few years ago in Brooklyn, starring Jeremy Irons. It was very intense, and Irons was amazing, but like your reading of it, I can't say I *enjoyed* it.

sep 6, 5:36 pm

>175 katiekrug: I figured we might as well swap out the door while we were doing the garage/roof deck since you access the front door via the roof deck and I HATED the old door. It was weirdly varnished -- a very yellow stain with a super high-gloss finish, and then a teal-painted wooden storm door with glass panels on top of it that was cute in theory, but not really my color, and very impractical when your hands are full and you're trying to hold it open while also opening the actual door to let 2-3 very long dogs inside the house, so we never even used the storm door and just had it constantly propped open all the time, which in turn let a draft into the house under the door constantly. It was just not a functional setup. But I didn't expect replacing it would be such a hassle!

I'd like to see a production of Long Day's. Maybe someday!

sep 6, 7:00 pm

152 books read: The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

Following the events of The Poppy War, Rin is in a bad place -- terrified of her powers, and addicted to opium to keep the god from rising within her. When Nezha's father, the leader of Dragon province, approaches her and the rest of the Cike with a proposition to join the revolution against the Empress and establish a new republic, Rin is at first skeptical -- but she may not have a better option, especially one that gives her such a good chance at killing the empress.

Just as good and just as brutal (ok maybe a teeny bit less brutal?) as the first book in the series. Kuang doesn't pull any punches. This was a long book, 650 pages, but I devoured it and I need to pick up the third one ASAP. 5 stars.

sep 7, 8:42 am

Well, I look forward to seeing what door you pick when choice paralysis wears off, Natalie!

sep 7, 4:41 pm

>178 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! That's my big task for tonight, lol. I told the contractors we would get them our choice today.

Redigerat: sep 7, 5:48 pm

Happy Thursday! I have to say, this short week is feeling pretty long. Last night's dinner with the SIL and her partner was fun, and we came home and fell into bed pretty much immediately. Today I'm working, doing a workout in the evening, and choosing the new front door, hopefully. The cleaners should be here soon which will be nice :)

Currently reading: A little bit of Sing, Unburied, Sing before falling asleep, and some Into the West in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. Finished Heart of a Dog on audio while tidying for the cleaners this morning. Now listening to Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute.

Currently watching: Nothing yesterday.

Currently playing: Nothing.

Redigerat: sep 7, 6:19 pm

153 books read: Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge

Hathin has always acted as interpreter for her sister Arilou, one of the Lost of Gullstruck Island -- those who can send their souls out from their bodies and see beyond their physical form. The Lost are important to the island's ecosystem, since mountains and volcanos make travel and communication difficult, and the Lost are relied upon for communication and news. But Hathin has a secret -- she doesn't think Arilou is a Lost at all. When Hathin interprets her gibberish, she makes it up. Hathin and Arilou's village know about Arilou's condition, but Arilou's status is such a boon on their indigenous Lace settlement that they don't want to risk losing the benefits of having a Lost in their population. When official Lost testers come to verify Arilou's status, Hathin is petrified -- how is she going to maintain the facade in the face of people who actually have Lost powers? The entire village is depending on her. But soon, it won't matter -- Hathin and Arilou will find themselves caught up in a much larger conspiracy than their own small lie.

I really liked the concept of this book but it just didn't work for me. It was long (13 hours) and it took me until hour 9 or so to realize I didn't care about a single person in the book. 2.5 stars; cool idea, meh execution.

sep 7, 7:05 pm

154 books read: Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

This isn't the Sleeping Beauty tale you know. Toadling has guarded the sleeper in the tower for so, so long. When a new knight shows up to try to break through the hedge of brambles and awaken the sleeper, Toadling is worried -- she cannot allow the sleeper to wake. But when the knight resists her normal methods of turning people away, Toadling might have to try something different -- like actually talking to him.

A very sweet, sort of fractured fairy-tale take on Sleeping Beauty. Not my favorite Kingfisher as it's a little slight, but very worth reading, like most of her books are. 4 stars.

sep 8, 12:34 pm

Yay, Friday! Spent too much time choosing the new door last night and didn't fit in a workout, but it is decided. I'll post a picture when the project is done :) We're getting closer! They're painting all the new siding and there are some guys here today to patch the drywall where the water came through into our basement entryway. I did end up cooking some chicken noodle soup last night for dinner. It's still pretty warm, but we're getting a few signs of autumn around here -- this morning we woke up to a thick fog. My plans today include definitely getting a workout in since I missed yesterday and then some reading as I haven't had time for a lot of books this week.

Currently reading: Same stuff -- Sing, Unburied, Sing, Into the West, and Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute.

Currently watching: S2E12 and two thirds of S2E13 of Outlander while scrolling doors last night.

Currently playing: Nothing.

sep 8, 3:06 pm

155 books read: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

After Bree's mother died in a car accident, she shuts herself off, compartmentalizing the grief. Luckily, she's been admitted to the early college program at UNC Chapel Hill along with her best friend Alice, which seems like the perfect opportunity to get away from home and the painful memories there. As soon as she gets to UNC, though, things get weird -- Bree starts seeing things she can only describe as magic, and soon meets several members of what appears to be a secret magical society that is somehow related to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. There's mysterious, moody Sel, who uses some kind of memory-erasing spell on her that doesn't seem to work, and there's Nick, her new mentor, who seems nice but reluctant to tell her more. As Bree gets drawn deeper into an age-old legend, she'll learn more about the world around her -- and a lot more about herself.

This has been super popular, and deservedly so in my opinion. I was caught up in Bree's story and couldn't put it down. I thought Deonn's writing was excellent and I particularly loved the way that she updated one of the oldest, whitest stories in the book to make room for young, diverse faces. 5 stars.

sep 8, 6:26 pm

156 books read: Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

Virgil is just trying to get through life on the rez in South Dakota, working mostly as a hired thug distributing justice in the cases where the tribal police and feds won't interfere. But when his fourteen-year-old nephew gets involved in some sketchy drug dealings, Virgil knows it's up to him to figure out who is poisoning his people.

I loved this indigenous mystery novel. The overarching plot summary sounds very similar to Firekeeper's Daughter, and they definitely share themes, but on the whole Winter Counts was much grittier and darker and had a totally different tone. The epilogue set us up for a sequel which I will definitely be looking for. 4.5 stars.

sep 9, 6:51 am

Congratulations on reading 156 books thus far this year. This is quite an accomplishment! I've added Legendborn by Tracy Deonn to my TBR list. Your review is excellent!

Happy Weekend to you. It is incredible hot where I live (NE Pennsylvania.) I've been spending time with my friend Lorraine who recently lost her husband. They would have been married 54 years on September 6th. He was tethered to an LVAID machine, which kept his heart beating, for five years. With additional illnesses, he decided he could not fight any more, and decided to have the machine disconnected.

I'm very proud of my friend. I'm not Catholic, she and Frank are/were. She said the rosary during the removal of the machine's battery. It brought a lot of peace to her. Now the lonliness is setting in, and beause she doesn't drive, I take her grocery shopping, make trips to the pharmacy for her meds, and we go out to eat often -- too often -- I'm afraid the pounds I lost are climing back upward.

I have such fond memories of Frank, Lorraine, Will and I playing trivial pursuit and laughing. I like to think that he and Will are laughing together now, and that Will was there when Frank transitioned.

I read a lot during the grief process immediately after Will's passing. Lorriane isn't a reader. I often wonder how people cope without reading.

Happy weekend to you.

sep 11, 4:12 pm

>186 Whisper1: Good to see you, Linda! I'm sorry to hear about your friend's husband, but I'm glad you are able to support her and provide companionship.

I also often wonder how people cope without reading. It's such a comfort in many situations!

sep 11, 4:23 pm

It's Monday! I had a nice, not-busy weekend. On Friday my best friend ended up coming over in the evening and we vegged, ordered takeout burgers, and watched some reality TV -- exactly what the doctor ordered after a long week. Saturday my parents showed up bright and early with their dog Henry, who we are watching for a week while they are out of town. Henry is a sweetheart but has a lot more energy than the greyhounds, so he can be a little challenging sometimes. He also enjoys barking into the void and at neighbors and random people on the street in the evenings, so we are trying to curb that as much as possible. For the most part he has been very good so far, though. After we got Henry settled on Saturday, Tim and I went to go see six houses -- the listings are finally picking up after a dismally slow summer. Nothing that we fell in love with. We came home and I spent the afternoon reading, then watched the latest Ahsoka episode before bed. Sunday I slept horribly (not Henry's fault, I just had an awful headache throughout the night) so I took it easy. Finished a book in the morning, then played a lot of video games, and finished an audiobook while putting dinner in the slow cooker. Finished the evening with a little TV.

No plans tonight except a few chores I want to get done before my in-laws come to stay with us tomorrow evening. They are renting out their house in Seattle for a few months since they spend 99% of their time up at their beach cabin, and it's only about an hour and 15 minutes from the cabin to where we live in north Seattle so it's not a huge hardship for them to come into the city for appointments. On Tuesday, though, one of them has an appointment at 3pm, and another has an appointment early the next morning, so they're staying the night with us. Tim and I also want to do a review of the finances for our deck project as costs have been creeping up (don't they always with projects like this?) and we just want to make sure we're where we expected to be.

Currently reading: Finished Sing, Unburied, Sing on Saturday and then started and finished Legends and Lattes. Moved on to Seasparrow for my current print read. Finished Into the West on Sunday morning and will now be focusing on The Girl with the Louding Voice as my Kindle read. Wrapped up Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute while cooking and moved on to Well Traveled on audio.

Currently watching: Some Selling the OC on Friday, finished Outlander S2 on Saturday and caught up with Ahsoka, and a few episodes of Big Little Lies on Sunday.

Currently playing: Some TOTK! Realized a few mainline quests I had been avoiding were a LOT easier than I thought they were... so I now have autobuild and the shrine sensor which should make exploring much, much easier. D'oh.

sep 11, 5:42 pm

>167 curioussquared: Oh, definitely. I will be getting to Little Thieves this month though. I am making a point of it.

>177 curioussquared: I am going to have to check into that series!

>182 curioussquared: I got caught by that BB on foggi's thread and here it is again. Too bad my local library does not have a copy.

>184 curioussquared: >185 curioussquared: Those are going into the BlackHole too!

sep 11, 7:07 pm

>189 alcottacre: Yay, I hope you like Little Thieves! And the other BlackHole contributions, too :) I hope you are able to get your hands on Thornhedge eventually! It's fairly new, so maybe your library just needs some time.

sep 13, 12:17 pm

Happy Wednesday! Yesterday I had a dr appointment in the morning and a busy workday, and my in-laws came over to stay the night right after work, so with all that didn't have a chance to update here. The in-laws are gone again now so things are back to normal aside from Henry :) Today's plan is work then trivia in the evening -- we're trying another new venue tonight.

Currently reading: Well into Seasparrow now and had trouble putting it down to sleep last night. Wrapped Well Traveled on audio and moved on to Deathless Divide. No progress made in The Girl With the Louding Voice.

Currently watching: Monday evening we watched S3E6 of Only Murders and two more episodes of Big Little Lies.

Currently playing: No gaming the last few days.

Redigerat: sep 13, 1:01 pm

157 books read: Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov

A doctor performs an experimental operation on a stray dog he picks up off the street that causes the dog to assume physical and mental human characteristics. Shenanigans ensue.

I'm sure some of the aspects of this book that were satirizing the Russian government and various social movements flew over my head, but I still enjoyed the humor and cleverness of this tale. 4 stars.

Redigerat: sep 13, 1:55 pm

158 books read: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

In rural Mississippi, 13-year-old Jojo lives with his Mam and Pop, his little sister Kayla, and Leonie, his drug-addicted mother who sees visions of her dead brother Given while she is high. When Jojo and Kayla's absent father Michael is released from prison, Leonie, who doesn't usually pay much if any attention to her children, insists that Jojo and Kayla make the road trip with her to pick him up, along with her fellow addict friend. Jojo has always acted old for his age, but this journey will force him to grow up even faster -- and reveal a terrible memory from Pop's past.

Gorgeously written and heartbreaking to read. Relatively short, but not an easy book to read. I wasn't expecting the magical realism aspect but thought it worked well. 4.5 stars.

Redigerat: sep 13, 2:25 pm

159 books read: Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

After a lifetime of mercenary work, orc Viv is ready to hang up her sword and pursue her secret ambition: opening a coffee shop. She's settled on the city of Thune for her venture, but there's one problem: nobody in Thune has ever heard of coffee. As Viv establishes her shop and makes some friends in her new home, she'll need to contend with the local gang offering their "protection," as well as some unsavory characters from her past.

I needed something joyful after Sing, Unburied, Sing and this fit the bill perfectly. I started it right after, and ended up finishing it in one sitting in under three hours. I loved the coziness and the found family, and I especially loved Thimble, the ratkin baker. 5 stars.

sep 13, 2:32 pm

160 books read: Into the West by Mercedes Lackey

Following the events of Beyond, Baron Kordas and his refugees of the crumbled Empire have made their escape and are preparing for their long journey west to find a land to establish their new home.

Not her best work by a long shot. The first 75% of the book reads like Travel Logistics: The Novel, with a few minor incidents Kordas must navigate along the way. The last bit of the book featuring our old friends the Hawkbrothers was a little more interesting and suggested that we have made it to what will be Valdemar in the future. No Companions yet, but there's a suggestion of where they will come from, which took me by surprise. I think I enjoyed Delia's chapters more than Kordas's, but neither narrator was super engaging. I'll read the last book in the trilogy, but this has dissuaded me from picking up her other new Valdemar book Gryphon in Light and I think I'm finally going to be more picky about the Lackeys I pick up in the future. 3 stars, which may be generous.

sep 13, 2:35 pm

>194 curioussquared: Yay! The prequel comes out in November and looks like it will also be a good time.

sep 13, 2:47 pm

>196 MickyFine: I enjoyed this one so much that I preordered the second one :D

sep 13, 2:55 pm

>194 curioussquared: Thimble was the best, and I wanted to eat his baked goods. I also liked Tandri.

sep 13, 3:15 pm

>198 libraryperilous: I wanted to eat his baked goods sooo badly. I liked Tandri, too, and Cal :)

sep 13, 3:22 pm

>194 curioussquared: I've gotten Legends and Lattes out from the library at least twice now, I promise I will get to it eventually!

sep 13, 3:36 pm

>192 curioussquared: Dodging that BB as I have already read it.

>193 curioussquared: Still need to read that one! I have owned it forever. Thanks (I think) for the reminder.

>194 curioussquared: Oo, my local library got that one in recently. I will have to check it out!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, Natalie!

sep 13, 4:01 pm

I also loved SIng, Unburied, Sing. Of course, I've loved everything of Ward's I've read and am looking forward to her latest. I think it comes out next month.

sep 13, 4:26 pm

>200 norabelle414: I've been meaning to read it forever, too, so I'm glad it held up to my expectations :) Read it when you need a warm hug of a book!

>201 alcottacre: Happy to add to the BlackHole, Stasia! I hope your Wednesday is excellent as well.

>202 katiekrug: This was my first Ward, but I also have Salvage the Bones waiting for me on my shelf. I'll get to it at some point!

sep 14, 3:48 pm

Happy Thursday! We won trivia last night, but there were only 5 other teams, so less of a victory but still nice. The new venue we tried is just getting started (I think this was their second week) so presumably attendance will build over time. But this one is a bar and grill, so only in-house food is allowed and their food is mediocre. The other two venues we like both allow outside food which is a nice perk.

Today I'm exhausted -- I haven't been sleeping well with Henry here, and the in-laws were disruptive, and then I just didn't sleep well last night. Focusing on making it through the workday, which will be interrupted by a car service appointment in a little bit, and then I have plans to see a friend in the evening. Hopefully I can get a bit more sleep tonight!

Currently reading: All the same stuff. Seasparrow is excellent, and Deathless Divide is compelling.

Currently watching: Nothing

Currently playing: Nothing

sep 14, 5:28 pm

Congrats on the first place finish! A win is a win.

Our regular trivia place also has mediocre food. I basically rotate three things week to week :-P

Hope you get some good sleep soon.

sep 14, 6:02 pm

>205 katiekrug: Thanks Katie! I'd been to this bar before and remembered they had pretty good food, but I think their kitchen is in transition or something because they only had about half the items listed on their website. It's a hockey bar and they used to have good poutine, but I had a side of it last night and it was very meh. Maybe it will improve over time?

sep 15, 6:06 am

>193 curioussquared: I've had this one on my shelf for a long time. Looks like a good read. I will move it to my "read soon-ish" shelf

Happy Friday!

sep 15, 10:55 am

>207 figsfromthistle: Happy Friday, Anita! I thought Sing, Unburied, Sing was very worthwhile.

sep 15, 11:07 am

Phew, Friday. I was in the car service waiting room for FOUR HOURS yesterday which was not what I was looking for out of my day. By the time I got home I had 3 minutes to change and then I had to go meet my friend. We went and got cuban sandwiches and took them to eat at the beach and caught up for a few hours while the sun set, which was lovely. Instead of going to sleep early despite really needing it, I stayed up late reading, proof that I am not always very smart. No plans today, though; hopefully I'll finish Seasparrow, and maybe Tim and I will go get some dinner because I don't think I have cooking energy in me.

Currently reading: Seasparrow and a little bit of Deathless Divide while driving.

Currently watching: Nothing

Currently playing: Nothing

sep 15, 7:22 pm

161 books read: Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert

Celine has been working toward her dream of becoming a lawyer for ages, and she can't wait to participate in the leadership skills/career coaching/survivorship skills competition sponsored by her career idol. She's certain she'll win one of the scholarships to help her through uni. The only problem is that her ex-friend, current nemesis, Brad, is applying for the program too. Will Celine and Brad be able to work through their differences and cooperate to get through the program?

I love Hibbert's Brown sisters books and was excited for a YA romance from her, but this didn't quite hit the spot for me. It felt like there were just a few too many plotlines, which meant that some felt a little ignored. I didn't really enjoy Celine and Brad as characters; they were fine, but just felt a little cardboard. Overall a fine listen, but it just didn't hit like her adult novels for me. 3.5 stars.

sep 15, 7:28 pm

162 books read: Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca

This final installment in DeLuca's series of Ren Faire romances focuses on Mitch's cousin Louisa, or Lulu, who we met in the last book. Lulu is a high powered lawyer who's been working on making partner for years -- but when her firm passes her up once again for some mediocre white guy, something comes over her and she quits right there and then. At a loss for what to do next, Lulu ends up tagging along with Stacy and The Dueling Kilts for the summer, finding herself and disconnecting by throwing herself into the Faire circuit. Stacy warns her about Dex, the Kilts' lead singer, who's well known as a Faire playboy and doesn't do relationships as a rule. Lulu has her guard up, but as she and Dex get to know each other, she starts to realize he might have hidden depths -- especially if someone were to expect a little more from him.

Another fun entry in this series. Not my favorite book ever, but just an enjoyable, good time. 4 stars.

sep 16, 6:25 pm

>211 curioussquared: Glad to hear this one is a good time.

sep 18, 11:24 am

>211 curioussquared: Can that one be read out of order, do you think? My local library has only the one book in the series.

Have a marvelous Monday!

sep 18, 12:32 pm

>213 alcottacre: I think so, Stasia. The book does feature a lot of people from the previous three books, but it can be read on its own. I do think book one was the best of the four.

sep 18, 1:06 pm

Happy Monday! I had a nice, pretty relaxed weekend. On Friday my best friend came over and we watched some trashy TV (Selling the OC) and had dinner. Saturday I spent most of the day relaxing and being a little productive -- played some video games, but also did some laundry and organized a section of my walk-in closet that had become a horrible pile of mess. In the evening Tim and I went out to dinner (Mexican) before we took Henry back to my parents' house and then I went to pick them up from the airport. I love Henry, but I am not sad to have him gone; he just needs a lot more work than the greyhounds. Sunday I had another half relaxing, half productive day and finished it up with a workout and dinner with my friend.

Currently reading: Wrapped up Seasparrow on Friday and am now reading The Left-handed Booksellers of London in print -- I'm a little over halfway through and it's a fun romp. Finished Deathless Divide yesterday while folding laundry and moved on to Furysong on audio. Read some of The Girl With a Louding Voice while on the elliptical on Saturday and it's compelling if rather sad so far.

Currently watching: Just some Selling the OC and half an episode of New Zealand taskmaster yesterday with my friend. I think we decided this version might be a little too deadpan for us and none of the contestants feel as invested as the Australian ones did so we probably won't continue.

Currently playing: Lots of TOTK! Got a lot of shrines. The shrine sensor is sooo nice.

sep 18, 1:53 pm

>215 curioussquared: Interesting thoughts on Taskmaster New Zealand. I haven't watched any of the international versions yet but I've heard that season 2 of TMNZ is way better than the first season so maybe give that one a try if you started with season 1?

sep 18, 2:00 pm

>216 norabelle414: My friend had previously tried S1 and not enjoyed it, so we actually tried S4E1 because we had both seen some funny clips on TikTok and thought that season might be better, but we just weren't very into it. We both loved Bubbah but she was the only one we were really connecting with.

sep 18, 3:31 pm

Oh, I forgot to mention that I snagged a copy of Yellowface in one of the Little Free Libraries I pass every day while walking the dogs over the weekend. I may have squealed. Tim was like, did you spot that from all the way across the street? Lol. Probably my greatest LFL find to date.

sep 19, 8:58 am

Neat! That one's high on my list. What a great find.

sep 19, 12:20 pm

>219 drneutron: Now I just need to read it!

sep 19, 1:20 pm

163 books read: Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore

Following the events of Winterkeep, the Monsean delegation is making their way home via ship. Queen Bitterblue is incapacitated by seasickness, and Giddon spends most of his time worrying about her, so Hava, the queen's half sister and spy, spends most of her time flitting around the ship, learning about how it works from the sailors. But Hava is a spy for a reason -- she spent her childhood in hiding, observing, and something about Kera, one of the ship's mates, keeps striking her as... off. But there's not much she can do on a boat, other than keep her wits about her and keep watching Kera. Her grace of hiding helps her there. But the ship's captain, Annet, has a secret, too -- she has been keeping her concerns hidden, but their sailing is turning out to be much more dangerous than expected, and winter storms are starting to swirl.

Kristin Cashore is just so, so good, and I remain convinced that her writing improves with every book. I love Graceling, but it's so interesting to look back at that book compared to this book -- it's just a much simpler story. Hava is a familiar character from previous books, but it was so fascinating and heartbreaking to be inside her mind, to understand why she is the way she is, to see the full extent of the way that King Leck hurt her. Some might say that the plot of this book drags slightly in the first third; that might be true, but I just didn't care because I was enjoying spending time with Hava so much. I think Cashore's greatest strength as a writer is in her characterizations, and even though this is 600 pages with one POV, what a POV it is. Also, I still love the blue foxes. 5 stars, and I'll keep reading anything Cashore wants to publish, even if I'm a little sad her upcoming book isn't in the Graceling realm.

sep 19, 1:49 pm

164 books read: Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

After the fall of Summerland to shamblers, the walking dead, Jane and Katherine are traveling with the survivors to Nicodemus, a settlement that apparently welcomes people of color and also boasts innovative protections against the dead. But when they get there, they get a few unwelcome surprises -- first, Jane is immediately arrested for killing the sheriff of Summerland, and second, the scientist Gideon Carr has beat them to Nicodemus, and he'll only help get Jane released if she agrees to help promote his unproven vaccine. As Jane and Katherine struggle over their next steps, Gideon proves himself to be even more nefarious than they thought, sacrificing Nicodemus to his experiments. When Jane and Katherine are separated, both gives up hope of the other as they struggle to make their way in a harsh world.

I thought this was a pretty good sequel. I listened to the audiobook, and unfortunately I found the POVs (both first person) really difficult to distinguish between, so I kept having to work hard to figure out if I was in Jane or Katherine's head. I'm not sure if this would have been as great of an issue if I were reading it physically, but it detracted from my enjoyment slightly. I also enjoyed the second half of this book a lot more than the first; I think the first could have been a little shorter, but the second felt like it broke new ground. 3.75 stars.

sep 19, 2:15 pm

Happy Tuesday! Yesterday after work I made pesto chicken with broccoli and couscous, did a workout, and watched some TV before bed. Today will be work, followed by trivia. I am a little annoyed because the food truck at the bottle shop we're going to will be the same as last time we went, a BBQ place, and I am not a huge BBQ fan. (I know -- blasphemy to some people.) Oh well, I'll deal.

Currently reading: Less than 100 pages left in The Left-handed Booksellers of London; I'd like to think I'll finish it today, but it'll probably run into tomorrow since I have trivia. Read a little more in The Girl With a Louding Voice while on the elliptical last night, and got through another third of Furysong while walking dogs, cooking, and tidying up last night.

Currently watching: An episode of The Parisian Agency.

Currently playing: Nothing last night.

sep 20, 9:59 am

>214 curioussquared: Thanks for the input, Natalie.

>221 curioussquared: I still need to read the Graceling books. *sigh*

Have a wonderful Wednesday, Natalie!

sep 20, 10:15 am

>224 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia!

The Graceling books are excellent. The first one is mostly just a solid YA fantasy story, but the way she develops the world and characters in subsequent books is totally fascinating and as the books go on, they become very intricate, with complicated political intrigue and complex characters.

sep 20, 10:31 am

Good morning! Online a little earlier than usual due to an early meeting, boo. Trivia last night was fun and I realized that the bottle shop we went to has ice cream, so I had one adult beverage and then a scoop of mint chocolate chip which was perfect given my early meeting this morning. We came in 5th place out of 12 or so teams. No plans today aside from working -- will probably do a workout and cook salmon plus some combination of veggies and grains for dinner.

Currently reading: I did end up wrapping The Left-handed Booksellers of London yesterday so I moved on to Tongues of Serpents and read a chapter before bed. Still listening to Furysong and reading The Girl With the Louding Voice on Kindle.

Currently watching: Nothing

Currently playing: Trivia!

sep 20, 11:18 am

165 books read: The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Susan grew up in the English countryside with her mom, who was always mysterious about her father's identity. Now that she's 18 and headed to art school in London, she plans to spend some time before she starts working and searching for her father. But almost as soon as she gets there, Susan is pulled into a whole world she didn't know existed, pursued by ancient monsters and entities. Luckily, she also meets the booksellers -- left-handed and right-handed -- of London, an organization whose ancient work it is to keep these entities in check. Merlin and Vivien, bookseller siblings, take Susan under their wing and guide her through this newly revealed world. But some things even the booksellers can't predict...

This was fun! It was fast-paced to the point that I didn't really feel like I understood Susan as a character for much of the book -- it jumped into action rather than character development. But I think that sort of worked given that the point of the book is Susan learning about her parentage and identity. The booksellers are such a fun concept, and I really enjoyed Merlin and Vivian. I don't think anything will surpass Nix's Old Kingdom books as my favorites of his, but I enjoyed this romp and recently picked up the sequel, so I'll try to get to that one soon. 4 stars.

sep 21, 1:00 pm

One day closer to Friday, phew. Yesterday ended up being miserable -- too much going on at work meant an early start day also turned into a working late day and I was online for about 12 hours, which is too long. I still cooked a little bit because the salmon was going to go bad otherwise, but I paired it with boxed mac and cheese for a ritzed up comfort meal, lol. (Tim had gone out to dinner with a friend.) The planned workout did not happen. Today I'm hoping for a shorter workday and to actually get my workout in :)

Currently reading: Not much yesterday. Did listen to more of Furysong and I have only about an hour left, which is good because it's due tomorrow. Only made it through another chapter of Tongues of Serpents before bed.

Currently watching: Tim and I watched an episode of Only Murders and one of Ahsoka before bed last night.

Currently playing: Nothing.

sep 21, 1:13 pm

I have been doing so well at reading books off my shelves, but I also can't seem to stop buying books. Recent acquisitions include:

We Free the Stars
The Death of Vivek Oji
The Beautiful Ones
The Severed Thread
The Sinister Booksellers of Bath
The Spear Cuts Through Water
The Shadow Cabinet
The No-Show
A Conspiracy of Truths
The Ex Talk

Some have already made their way to me, some are in the mail. I blame Book Outlet and their excellent prices and Kindle deals.

sep 21, 2:40 pm

>227 curioussquared: I have enjoyed both of the books in the series (is 2 books considered to be a series?) and I am glad to hear that you liked the first one.

>229 curioussquared: Book Outlet gets me all the time too. I am awaiting another shipment from them even now.

sep 21, 2:56 pm

>230 alcottacre: Book Outlet gets me in two ways -- I can't resist a good deal, AND they put me in a scarcity mindset because they show you how many copies they have in stock! A good deal that will disappear soon?? There's no hope for me.

sep 21, 2:57 pm

>231 curioussquared: If there is no hope for you, I am surely doomed!!

sep 21, 8:17 pm

>218 curioussquared: I love it when I find gems in a little free library.

>231 curioussquared: Book outlet is quite a gem for me a well. One day when I am in the area I am going to have to visit the actual store. A friend of mine lives 15 min drive from there and said it is absolutely heaven.

Happy almost weekend :)

sep 22, 12:26 pm

>232 alcottacre: We'll go down together, Stasia, buried by our TBRs :)

>233 figsfromthistle: I didn't even know they had a physical store! BRB, booking a flight to Canada ;)

sep 22, 2:36 pm

Finally Friday. I ended up working late last night too; we got Cuban food for dinner and there was no workout, just some TV. Hoping for a workout tonight after work and a shorter workday today.

Currently reading: About 25% through Tongues of Serpents and it's picking up a little. (Looks like this one is the worst rated overall of all the Temeraire books...) Finished Furysong yesterday and started The Wolf and the Woodsman on audio while walking the dogs this morning.

Currently watching: An episode of The Parisian Agency and one of Ahsoka.

sep 22, 3:21 pm

166 books read: Furysong by Rosaria Munda

This third and final book in the Aurelian Cycle. After the events of Flamefall, Ixion Stormscourge has taken over Callipolis and imprisoned the revolutionaries and their dragons, and Lee is powerless to resist. Meanwhile, Annie, former first rider, is working to infiltrate Callipolis as a servant to reach Lee and steal the revolutionaries' summoners so she can stage their escape plan. Meanwhile, Griff and Delo have had their positions reversed, and Delo will need to figure out where his loyalties truly lie.

This series is well-done, but complicated, and as I started this last entry I found myself wishing I had reread the previous books first because there was a lot I had forgotten. Most stuff came back to me, though, and I ended up enjoying this a lot. If you are looking for a solid dragon fantasy with a complex, fairly well-drawn cast of characters and some political intrigue, you could do a lot worse than this one -- and, they're all out now so you can read them straight through instead of muddling through like me! 4 stars.

sep 22, 5:17 pm

Hi Natalie! I'm just catching up after a while. I've taken a few BBs (Legendborn, Fourth Wing and Legends and Lattes are on hold; I'm also planning to pick up A Knot in the Grain because I love Damar) but Seasparrow and Furysong were on my list anyway.

>224 alcottacre: Yes, you do need to read the Graceling books Stasia!

sep 22, 5:45 pm

>237 humouress: Hi Nina! Good to see you and I hope you enjoy all of the above :) I'd owned A Knot in the Grain for a while and avoided it because I don't really gravitate towards short stories, but I really liked it.

Redigerat: sep 25, 2:18 pm

Happy Monday! The weekend was not long enough. On Saturday Tim and I went to a small Oktoberfest with some friends in their neighborhood. It was fine; I'm not a big beer person but I did actually enjoy the one I had. Then my other friend picked me up and we went to Costco together, then back to hang out at our place. We ordered Indian food and watched a little TV, then just hung out reading together. On Sunday I exercised in the morning before Tim and I went to get our COVID and flu shots. Feeling OK post-shot, but my whole body hurts -- I think I was already sore from a workout I did Saturday, and the COVID shot is amplifying those aches. Spent the rest of the day taking it easy -- I finished a few books, binged the available episodes of Love Is Blind S5, and cooked some soup in the instant pot.

Currently reading: Finished Tongues of Serpents and The Girl With the Louding Voice yesterday. Moving on to Rebel Sisters in print and Cemetery Boys on Kindle. About 15% left of The Wolf and the Woodsman on audio.

Currently watching: An episode of Only Murders in the Building (Which of the Pickwick Triplets Did It? was stuck in my head all day Saturday), finished S1 of Big Little Lies, an episode of Selling the OC, several episodes of Love Is Blind, and an episode of The Parisian Agency. Apparently I've been in a reality TV mood lately.

Currently playing: A little bit of TOTK before bed last night.

sep 25, 3:24 pm

Sorry to hear about the body aches, Natalie. Hopefully you can have a restful evening to recuperate.

sep 25, 3:28 pm

This COVID shot hit me a little bit harder than previous ones (just a few days of arm-ache, nothing serious)

sep 25, 3:28 pm

>234 curioussquared: My TBR is a BlackHole. I am just going to disappear into it forever.

>237 humouress: OK, ok. I will get to the Graceling books. . . soon!

>239 curioussquared: I hope the rest yesterday is helping today.

sep 25, 4:32 pm

>240 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I'm actually planning on going to trivia tonight. I think I should be well enough -- although I am having a very Mondayish Monday and I'm not in a great mood. Maybe trivia will improve it.

>241 norabelle414: I don't remember what the last booster was like for me, but I think they have all been progressively less bad. I have a feeling I accidentally made this one worse for myself by doing a punishing workout on Saturday and giving my body more aches to amplify.

>242 alcottacre: Into the TBR ether. Love it! I hope you love the Graceling books, Stasia. I think the rest is helping although I'm not enjoying this workday.

sep 25, 6:27 pm

Trivia makes everything better!

sep 25, 8:19 pm

sep 25, 9:16 pm

Sorry your Monday was so Monday-ish, and hope trivia goes well!

sep 26, 1:18 pm

>246 bell7: Thanks Mary! We came in 5th out of 20 or so teams and were pretty pleased with that. I felt better after getting out of the house for some fun :)

sep 26, 2:45 pm

Trivia was fun last night! No big plans today. Will probably cook chicken something and Tim and I might watch some TV. Much less achy today -- I think I'm just a little bit sore still from the workout.

Currently reading: Finished The Wolf and the Woodsman and I have... a lot of thoughts. Read a little more Cemetery Boys last night but am not very far yet.

Currently watching: Nothing last night.

Currently playing: Trivia!

sep 26, 3:12 pm

167 books read: Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik

Laurence and Temeraire have been transported to Australia following Laurence's charge of treason. There, they discover a whole new wild world and work with the locals to try to discover a path through the mountains outside of Sydney for cattle driving. But during their explorations, they come up against many local challenges, including bunyips, local smugglers, lack of water, and a terrifying firestorm. And when one of the dragon eggs sent to Australia is stolen, their focus changes as all their energy and resources are directed toward reclaiming the egg.

I love Laurence and Temeraire, but this was definitely a weak point in the series. It felt a little bit like Novik was like, OK, they're in Australia... now what do I do with them? Lots of rather boring travelogue sections, lots of running around fruitlessly, lots of dealing with bunyips. I plan to finish the series as I love the characters and concept, but I'm hoping this was the low point and they improve moving forward. 3.5 stars.

sep 26, 3:26 pm

>249 curioussquared: I never got beyond the first book in that series, but I definitely need to revisit it. Thanks for the reminder, Natalie.

I am glad to hear you are feeling a bit better today.

sep 26, 4:49 pm

>249 curioussquared: I think this is where the series lost me. I read another or two, but I feel it never got back on track. I will reread the first several, but I don't think I'll read through the whole series. I hope you have a better experience.

sep 27, 12:10 pm

>250 alcottacre: I think the first book is the best of the series, Stasia, but if you like the concept all the books are fun.

>251 dreamweaver529: Me too, Amanda! I'm close enough to the end and I already own the last three so I'll finish, but I'm definitely hoping the next few are a little better than this one.

sep 27, 12:12 pm

>252 curioussquared: Good to know! I read the first book in the series so many years ago that I could not even remember the title :)
Den här diskussionen fortsatte här: Curioussquared takes refuge in books in 2023, part 6