foggidawn’s books and stuff 2023, part IV

Den här diskussionen är en fortsättning på: foggidawn’s books and stuff 2023, part III

Diskutera75 Books Challenge for 2023

Bara medlemmar i LibraryThing kan skriva.

foggidawn’s books and stuff 2023, part IV

sep 1, 4:32 pm

Lottie, doing her best puppy dog eyes

A new thread for fall and winter!

Hi, all! Welcome to old friends and new. For the latter, I'm a children's librarian in a small Ohio town. My reading tastes range from children's and young adult literature, to fantasy and some sci-fi, to mysteries, to historical fiction and literary works, to romances, to biography and memoir, with a smattering of other nonfiction (it's been a pretty light smattering, of late) and anything else that catches my fancy.

I live on a farm with my husband John, who is also an avid reader, though his tastes run towards graphic novels, golden age sci-fi and nonfiction, mostly about history or chicken husbandry. We have a Springer Spaniel, Lottie, above, who is immensely spoiled and loves being a farm dog. We also have about 65 chickens and too many rabbits (what they say about them multiplying is true) and about 43 acres of hayfields.

For 2023, I haven't really set myself any firm goals as far as reading goes. I'd like to continue reading broadly and diversely, to read some of the books that have been languishing on my TBR shelf, and to enjoy myself -- including finding my way back into genres that I have been feeling burnt out on (fantasy, YA).

As for the "and stuff" part of my thread topper, you may also see me posting here about board gaming, gardening, cooking, and theatre. Though I'm not active in a theatre group at present, I do hope to see some live shows this year. Last year my gardening efforts were pretty minimal, as I was planning our wedding at the time, so I'm hoping to focus on establishing my garden a little more this year. Having moved away from my game night friends, I'll have to work on finding gaming opportunities (though John is a willing participant when he has the time). As for cooking, my sole New Year's resolution this year is to be more intentional about menu planning, so I will probably post about that here. My strategy is to make a list before shopping of what meals I'd like to make over the following week, and then keep that list on the fridge so I know what ingredients I have on hand when it comes time to cook. I probably won't assign specific meals to specific days, but we'll see how it all plays out. Oh, in the summer I also hope to do some hiking and kayaking, so that may also get a mention.

I hope you'll all join me here this year!

Redigerat: sep 1, 4:48 pm

Books read in 2023:

1. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
2. Marmee by Sarah Miller
3. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
4. Moira's Pen: A Queen's Thief Collection by Megan Whalen Turner
5. Toad Words and Other Stories by T. Kingfisher
6. 97 Orchard by Jane Ziegelman
7. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
8. The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard
9. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
10. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman
11. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? : A Memoir by Roz Chast
12. I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
13. Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
14. Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass
15. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
16. The Best Man by Richard Peck
17. The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree by Paola Peretti
18. Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
19. The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat
20. Maizy Chen's Last Chance by Lisa Yee
21. Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano
22. Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson
23. Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango
24. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
25. When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb
26. Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good by Nancy Werlin
27. Princess of the Wild Sea by Megan Frazer Blakemore
28. The Windeby Puzzle by Lois Lowry
29. Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad
30. Petty Treasons by Victoria Goddard
31. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
32. Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen
33. Untwine by Edwidge Danticat
34. The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
35. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
36. The Appeal by Janice Hallett
37. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
38. A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin
39. The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
40. Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim
41. Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
42. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
43. Our Castle by the Sea by Lucy Strange
44. Violet and Jobie in the Wild by Lynne Rae Perkins
45. The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
46. Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
47. The Swallows' Flight by Hilary McKay
48. The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell
49. Broken (In the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson
50. Well Traveled by Jen DeLuca
51. A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie
52. Foster by Claire Keegan
53. All Shall Be Well by Debora Crombie
54. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
55. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
56. Loathe to Love You by Ali Hazelwood
57. In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune
58. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
59. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
60. The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths
61. Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo
62. A Witch's Kitchen by Dianna Sanchez
63. The Rain in Portugal by Billy Collins
64. Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane
65. The Firefly Summer by Morgan Matson
66. The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino
67. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
68. Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey
69. Happy Place by Emily Henry
70. If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
71. Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie
72. The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
73. Witch King by Martha Wells
74. Nomadland by Jessica Bruder
75. Unmask Alice by Rick Emerson
76. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
77. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
78. Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
79. One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
80. Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn
81. Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood
82. Come Hell or Highball by Maia Chance
83. Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews
84. Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews
85. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson
86. Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane
87. The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill
88. Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
89. The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman
90. Leeva at Last by Sara Pennypacker
91. Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters
92. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine
93. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
94. The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
95. Windswept by Margi Preus
96. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
97. Goblin Market by Diane Zahler
98. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
99. Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
100. You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo
101. Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey
102. Why Am I Like This? : The Science Behind Your Weirdest Thoughts and Habits by Jen Martin
103. The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden
104. The No-Show by Beth O'Leary
105. Never Caught: The Story of Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Kathleen Van Cleeve
106. Sweep of the Heart by Ilona Andrews
107. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
108. A Lady's Guide to Scandal by Sophie Irwin
109. The Phantom Twin by Lisa Brown
110. The Bookbinder by Pip Williams
111. The Body in the Garden by Katharine Schellman
112. Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinge
113. Silence in the Library by Katharine Schellman
114. The Left-Handed Fate by Kate Milford

Redigerat: nov 7, 2:28 pm

Books Acquired in 2023

I don't usually keep a list, but thought it might be fun.

1. Moira's Pen: A Queen's Thief Collection by Megan Whalen Turner. Purchased, Azn.
2. Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman. Purchased, Azn.
3. In the Serpent’s Wake by Rachel Hartman. Purchased, Azn.
4. Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. Purchased, Azn.
5. Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L.A. Meyer. Purchased, Azn.
6. In Every Life by Marla Frazee. Purchased, Azn.
7. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. Purchased, Azn.
8. One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde. Purchased/store credit, Bkmns.
9. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Purchased, Azn.
10. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Purchased, Azn.
11. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab. Purchased, Azn.
12. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. Purchased, Azn.
13. Reynard's Tale by Ben Hatke. Purchaed, Azn.
14. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan. Purchased, BkDpo.
15. The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan. Purchased, BkDpo.
16. The Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan. Purchased, BkDpo.
17. In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan. Purchased, BkDpo.
18. Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan. Purchased, BkDpo.
19. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. Purchased, BkDpo.
20. Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend. Purchased, BkDpo.
21. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson. Purchased, BkDpo.
22. A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers. Purchased, BkDpo.
23. Claudius the God by Robert Graves. Purchased, Blph.
24. The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith. Purchased, Blph.
25. The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. Prize, SCDL.
26. Tasty Ultimate: How to Cook Basically Anything by Tasty. Prize, SCDL.
27. The Dark Lord's Daughter by Patricia C. Wrede. Purchased, Azn.
28. Hollowpox by Jessica Townsend. Purchased, Azn.
29. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers. Purchased, Azn.
30. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Purchased, Azn.
31. A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. Purchased, Azn.
32. Record of a Space-Born Few by Becky Chambers. Purchased, Azn.
33. The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers. Purchased, Azn.
34. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers. Purchased, Azn.
35. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. Purchased, Azn.
36. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros. Purchased, Azn.
37. Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas by Melanie Watt. Won, LTER.

sep 1, 4:33 pm

Feel free to post below!

sep 1, 4:37 pm

Happy new thread!

sep 1, 4:37 pm

Happy new thread, Foggi!

>1 foggidawn: I would give in for that look ;-)

sep 1, 4:43 pm

Happy new thread, Foggi! Those are some pretty serious puppy dog eyes from Lottie.

sep 1, 4:50 pm

Thanks Anita, Anita, and Natalie! Yes, spaniels have a very strong "soulful look" in my opinion!

sep 1, 6:33 pm

Happy new one, foggi!

sep 1, 6:51 pm

Happy new thread, foggi! I would say that Lottie has the puppy dog eyes down pat.

sep 1, 7:27 pm

Happy new thread, Foggi.

>1 foggidawn: Lottie is a lovely looking dog.

sep 1, 9:37 pm

Happy new thread Foggi!

sep 1, 10:16 pm

Hello Lottie!

(and Foggie!)

sep 1, 10:56 pm

Happy new thread, Foggi! Love the Lottie photo.

sep 2, 12:11 pm

Lottie is such a sweet girl! My aunt had several English setters (usually two at a time) and they had similar gorgeous eyes. They weren't farm dogs, but they did have their own large pond, and were usually wet and drippy when they came to greet!

sep 4, 4:21 pm

Happy new thread, Foggi!

sep 4, 9:01 pm

Happy New Thread!

sep 6, 9:16 am

Thanks for visiting, Jim, Stasia, Paul, Susan, Dana, Micky, Lavinia, and Clare!

>15 laytonwoman3rd: Lottie hasn't had a lot of opportunities to play in ponds and such, though generally her breed enjoys the water.

sep 6, 9:31 am

All the updates!

Kitchen renovation update: The cabinets are happening! They started installing them yesterday and got all of the upper ones in place. I'm working today, but will run home on my lunch break to see what's going on. I'm so excited; they are lovely and sturdy and taller than my old ones, so I'll have some top-shelf storage space that I didn't have before.

Garden update: My bell pepper plants are going crazy right now! I harvested so many that I brought some in to share with my co-workers. My tomatoes are still having a bit of a slow start; they are covered with green tomatoes and I've gotten a few ripe ones so far, but I'm not yet inundated. I suspect I will be later this month.

Menu update: Still pretty limited in what I can cook, so it's frozen foods or takeout for the rest of the week.

Book and reading update: I have reviews to post below, but I'm particularly excited about yesterday's book mail: a copy of Patricia C. Wrede's new book, The Dark Lord's Daughter! She hasn't had a new book out in some years, so I'm looking forward to diving in to this one.

sep 6, 10:29 am

(115 books read)

Between Us by Mhairi McFarlane -- Roisin's boyfriend Joe is an up-and-coming screenwriter, so she's gotten used to him mining their conversations for material. However, when something from her childhood that she told him about in confidence shows up onscreen, she questions whether she can trust him at all. It feels like their relationship has been cooling off for a while, and when she confronts him with betraying her trust, he can't see what the big deal is. She starts to wonder if that's the only way he's betrayed her. Some of her friends think she's gone a little nuts, and she feels like she's being gaslighted, but the more she looks into Joe's behavior, the more she's convinced that he's hiding something. One member of their friend group, Matt, is willing to help her find things out, but does he have ulterior motives for putting Joe in a bad light in Roisin's eyes?

I like the way McFarlane writes about complicated relationships, but this one didn't hit all the right notes for me. Clearly, Roisin needed to break up with Joe; I'm just not sure that she needed to go into sleuth mode and discover all of his bad deeds. And then she jumps straight into a new relationship without any time for introspection, and I didn't feel a whole lot of chemistry between her and Matt. It was a decent read, but not a great one, and probably not one I'd recommend if you're new to this author.

sep 6, 10:45 am

(116 books read)

The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson -- Welcome to Castle Cove, an affluent little town on the California coast, where popular teen Brooke Donovan has just fallen to her death on the cliffs overlooking the beach. Or was she pushed? Alice, Brooke's ex-best friend, armed with a recent Agatha Christie obsession, is determined to discover the truth. And Iris, Alice's tutor and unwilling partner in crime-solving, sure could use the reward money -- she's not wealthy like Alice and Brooke, and she really wants to find a way out of this town for her and her mom. But what can a couple of teenage girls do when the cops have already pinned the blame on the wrong person?

I had fun reading this YA mystery. I figured out whodunit before the reveal, but there was plenty to enjoy along the way in terms of clues and character interactions. The writing is solid but not stellar. I enjoyed all of the Christie references. All in all, a decent book if you're into teen mysteries.

sep 6, 10:48 am

>20 foggidawn: I think I will give that one a miss.

>21 foggidawn: I thought I already had that one in the BlackHole, but I guess not. Thanks for the reminder to add it!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, foggi!

sep 6, 11:13 am

>19 foggidawn: pictures! Pictures!

sep 6, 11:22 am

(117 books read)

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski -- In Nirrim's world, there are three types of people: the High Kith, Middlings, and Half Kith. She's one of the latter, the lowest caste, who live within the walled Ward, are highly policed and often punished, and have no opportunities to better themselves. When she is thrown into prison for returning a lost pet, she meets Sid, who is unlike anyone she's known before. For one thing, Sid is a traveler from another land. Nirrim's island country hardly ever sees foreigners, and the residents have long believed that there are no other people beyond the sea. Sid makes Nirrim feel all sorts of feelings that she's never felt before with just a bit of flirtatious banter. Moreover, Sid has the ability to get Nirrim out of prison -- and might be the key to all kinds of adventure, if Nirrim is brave enough to take hold of it.

This book has a very promising start, setting up an interesting world with complicated systems of magic and social structure. Nirrim and Sid are both fascinating characters, and their adventures are enjoyable to read. There were a couple of times something happened and it didn't get the full weight it needed in the writing -- for instance, a character hits Nirrim in the head with a lit lantern, and it barely gets a beat right at that moment, though there's plenty of commentary on the scar it leaves later. I also saw almost all of the twists coming a long time before they were revealed. However, my biggest problem is the ending, which seemed very dark and abrupt to me. I realized after finishing this book that there is a sequel, which presumably will lead to a better resolution. I will probably read it, in order to get a better understanding of what happened there at the end. So, my recommendation is to think of this as the first half of the story, and have the second book on hand.

sep 6, 11:28 am

>22 alcottacre: Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, too!

>23 fuzzi: I will definitely post pictures when all of the cabinets are in. The countertop is still 4-6 weeks out, and then they'll do the backsplash and final stuff with the sink, so I'll probably do even more pictures of the finished project. Never fear, there will be pictures!

sep 6, 11:48 am

(118 books read)

Oh, Sal by Kevin Henkes -- Four-year-old Sal has cried every day this week. Her new baby sister is taking up all of her parents' attention, plus she's almost a week old and still doesn't have a name! Uncle Jake is visiting, and he calls her Salamander, which she does not like. Worst, she's lost her favorite Christmas present from Santa!

This brief, heartwarming story takes place over the course of just over a day. Sal's concerns feel weighty, an accurate portrayal of childhood problems, and Sal's emotions are given their full range. Henkes has a deep remembrance and understanding of what it's like to be a kid, as he's proven in his earlier books. I'm not sure of the audience for this one, but it's a lovely little slice of life.

sep 6, 12:18 pm

>19 foggidawn: Yay, cabinets! Really excited to see what you think of the new Wrede :)

sep 6, 6:43 pm

I'm excited for you to get your kitchen back (and improved too!).

sep 6, 10:57 pm

Hi Misti, I had The Dark Lord's Daughter pre-ordered too, looking forward to reading it. Your new kitchen renovation sounds great! I could certainly use some extra space in my kitchen.

sep 6, 11:43 pm

>19 foggidawn: I hadn't heard about the new Wrede - I now have it on hold at the library. Thanks! Love her stuff.

sep 7, 9:00 am

>26 foggidawn: ouch. Quit it!

sep 7, 12:57 pm

>27 curioussquared: I'm trying to finish up my current book, but it's next up, I think!

>28 MickyFine: Yes! Me, too, obviously. ;-)

>29 kgodey: I look forward to your reaction to the new Wrede as well, then! And I'm so excited to start putting things back into my cabinets and see how things fit.

>30 jjmcgaffey: Great! Let us know what you think of it.

>31 fuzzi: At least that's a quick read!

sep 7, 1:00 pm

The cabinet guys finished up today, so this evening I'll try to remember to take a few pictures. I'm so excited to put things away; you just have no idea. It feels like the kitchen cabinet stuff has been exiled to the dining room forever, so it's not just my kitchen that I get back, it's my dining room as well!

sep 7, 2:03 pm

>33 foggidawn: Yay, excited to see cabinets!

sep 7, 2:14 pm

sep 7, 2:17 pm

>24 foggidawn: Unfortunately, my local library does not have either book. *sigh*

>33 foggidawn: Yay! Looking forward to seeing the pictures.

sep 9, 9:19 am

>34 curioussquared: Pictures below!

>35 fuzzi: Indeed. :-D

>36 alcottacre: I am struggling through the second book, so maybe don't feel too badly if you're not able to get your hands on them.

Photo time!


Keep in mind that they put the old countertops and sink back on, since the new countertops will take a while longer and will be installed by a different company. Then these guys will come back to do the new sink and the backsplash. They'll also do the stove vent hood and the drawer pulls, because there was some miscommunication on those and they didn't get sent to us (I suspect they didn't get ordered, but there's plenty of time to clear up the misunderstanding while we wait for the countertops).

I am so very pleased with the cabinets! They are beautiful! I spent most of the day yesterday putting things away, and it's lovely to have my kitchen back to a functional state. I found places for everything, and there's a tiny bit of extra space that I'm sure will be quickly absorbed! I also made supper (kidney beans and meatballs on rice) and baked a loaf of banana bread.

sep 9, 9:53 am

Ooh the new cupboards look really lovely! I'm glad you have more of your kitchen back, it must be a relief.

Wishing you a relaxing weekend!

sep 9, 10:31 am

The cabinets look great! Love the color :)

sep 9, 11:43 am

Fantastic cabinets!

sep 9, 12:54 pm

They look great! Congratulations!

sep 9, 12:59 pm

>37 foggidawn: I spent most of the day yesterday putting things away, and it's lovely to have my kitchen back to a functional state.

I bet! The cabinets look lovely!

Have a wonderful weekend (enjoying your new cabinetry!)

sep 9, 4:47 pm

Yay for a functional kitchen. It's going to be beautiful!

sep 9, 4:49 pm

Thanks, everyone!

sep 9, 8:20 pm

>37 foggidawn: very pretty!

I want new cupboards, waah!

sep 11, 9:21 am

>45 fuzzi: Lol! But do you want 5+ months of upheaval before you get the new cupboards?

sep 11, 9:32 am


The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski -- This is the conclusion to the Forgotten Gods duology, which started with The Midnight Lie. I liked that book well enough until the ending. This one picks up immediately where the other ended, and I struggled to get into it. Then I decided to stop struggling, because life is too short for pleasure reading that you're not enjoying. Others may love this, but I just didn't.

sep 11, 9:58 am

(119 books read)

The Dark Lord's Daughter by Patricia C. Wrede -- 14-year-old Kayla has always known she was adopted, but it's still a bit of a shock when a cloaked man approaches her at the state fair, claiming to have been sent by her deceased biological father to bring her back to claim her inheritance. It's even more of a shock when Kayla, her mom, and her brother Del are whisked away to a place very different from St. Paul, Minnesota. At the castle of the Dark Lord of Zaradwin, things are in disarray. It's been ten years since the Dark Lord died, and only a handful of minions and retainers remain. Kayla discovers that she has family at the castle, but their motives are questionable and their histories secretive. Kayla's intrigued about learning magic, especially since it's probably the only way she can get her family back to their reality, but she doesn't want to be a Dark Lady if it involves torturing and executing people. She's caught between two worlds. Will she have to choose? Or are she and her family stuck in this world for good?

Wrede's juvenile fantasy is always fun and lighthearted without being insubstantial, and this is no exception. She's taken a different direction with this book, and I am enjoying seeing where she goes with it. (Though this book stands alone, there's definitely space for a sequel or two.) I really enjoyed the computer that turned into a familiar, and the snarky dragon's head door guard. I also loved that Wrede didn't take the typical route and leave the parent behind, but that Kayla's mom traveled with them to Zaradwin and was an integral part of the story. If you enjoy fantasy for kids, put this one on your reading list!

sep 11, 1:54 pm

(120 books read)

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher -- There's a maiden asleep in a tower, and a great hedge of briars, but it may not be the story you're expecting... Toadling was human once, but that was before she was stolen from her cradle by the Fae and abandoned in Faerie, to be raised by the greenteeth, who sometimes eat abandoned children, but don't eat her. They name her Toadling, and she grows up in the loving arms of monsters, happy and secure -- until the day the Hare Goddess arrives and tells her that her father's house has need of her. Skip ahead a few hundred years: Toadling is guarding what used to be her father's keep, now surrounded by a high hedge of thorns. A knight arrives, and he is kind and courteous, but he's also determined to see what's behind the hedge. He's heard an old story, written in an old book, about a princess, and a castle, and a curse -- one that Toadling would do anything to maintain.

I loved it so much. Maybe I mentioned before how I'm a sucker for fairy tale retellings? This does all sorts of interesting things in terms of taking a fairy tale and turning it inside out. Also, for a story with so many dark edges, it's very sweet and comforting. Toadling is a darling and I want to give her a hug, and Halim (the knight) is so funny and nice. Fantasy fans and dark fairy tale lovers, this one is for you.

sep 11, 1:55 pm

>47 foggidawn: Well, I will be bypassing those two books, that is for sure!

sep 11, 1:58 pm

>48 foggidawn: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation, foggi!

>49 foggidawn: I am also a sucker for fairy tale retellings. *sigh*

sep 11, 2:00 pm

>50 alcottacre: A sound decision. ;-)

>51 alcottacre: You're welcome! And the Kingfisher is a very quick read (a little over 100 pages), so I don't feel too bad about adding it to anyone's list!

sep 11, 2:02 pm

>52 foggidawn: Unfortunately my local library does not have the Kingfisher book, so I am going to have to look further afield.

sep 11, 2:10 pm

>53 alcottacre: Alas. If you do ebooks through your library, you might have better luck that way.

sep 11, 2:15 pm

>54 foggidawn: Nope. Not a big fan of ebooks and it does not look as though it has the book in that format either anyway.

sep 11, 2:18 pm

>55 alcottacre: Well, rats. Hope you come across it somehow!

sep 11, 2:41 pm

>46 foggidawn: I can wait if the reward is coming...

My cupboards are original with this 1970 ranch house. They're not tall enough to stack cans, and they are tired: the bottoms are warping so things in the cupboards slide towards the back wall.

I'd even be happy with open cupboards, the ones without doors.

sep 11, 3:06 pm

>57 fuzzi: In our dusty old house, open cupboards would not fly -- that was one of the reasons I was so glad to get all of my stuff off the open shelves and back inside the cabinets!

sep 11, 3:14 pm

Glad you enjoyed the Wrede! I have it on hold :) I also enjoyed Thornhedge when I read it a week or so ago. Kingfisher seems like an expert at doing sweet and comforting despite some darkness.

sep 11, 3:31 pm

>59 curioussquared: It almost makes me feel tempted to try her more horror-forward stuff. I have loved all of her fantasy that I have read so far. Enjoy the Wrede when you get to it!

sep 11, 4:08 pm

>60 foggidawn: Yes, same here. I read and enjoyed What Moves the Dead which was more spooky gothic as one would expect from a Fall of the House of Usher retelling, but haven't quite worked myself up to try one of her straight horror novels. I'm tempted by A House With Good Bones.

Redigerat: sep 11, 5:09 pm

>48 foggidawn: I have The Dark Lord's Daughter on hold, though it will be a couple of months before a library releases it to me.

>49 foggidawn: Oh! Oh! I have Thornhedge on my Kindle as I type and it's reaching the top of the TBR!

Redigerat: sep 12, 1:49 am

>60 foggidawn: I do _not_ read horror. At all. Except...I read everything Ursula Vernon (T Kingfisher) writes. So I have read her "straight" horror - and it is _excellent_. Somehow she takes horror and makes it work for me. Definitely psychological and not gory, but even at the psychological level...she still has those pragmatic protagonists, who don't get all worked up about the horrific things happening, and it works for me. Although I did want to hit the protagonist(s) of The Hollow Places over the head a few times with a clue bat - remember that thing that just came in? Maaaaybe it has something to do with all this stuff? sheesh.

She's also gotten me to read kid's illustrated books (I love Princess Harriet and can tolerate Dragonsbreath). I do read kids books, but not usually entire series of them...

Also, The Dark Lord's Daughter just came in from the library tonight. I know what I'm reading next...

sep 12, 10:31 am

>61 curioussquared: That one looks interesting to me, too. I've never read The Fall of the House of Usher, so I probably should do that before diving into a retelling.

>62 quondame: I think you will love Thornhedge! And The Dark Lord's Daughter, when it gets to you.

>63 jjmcgaffey: Thanks, that's helpful. I can see how I might feel the same way. I haven't read her kids books yet, which is surprising, considering that I do read kids books pretty often.

sep 14, 9:53 am

>37 foggidawn: Yay! It looks lovely and spacious, and I can't wait to see what it looks like with the new countertops. Enjoy!

sep 14, 10:39 am

>65 clamairy: Thanks! I'll be sure to post some final pictures when it's all the way completed.

sep 15, 10:02 am

(121 books read)

The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith -- Strike and Robin investigate a crime originating in an online fandom. I enjoyed the story here, though I thought there was a bit of hand-waving done over the technical aspects of cybercrime and how that can be investigated. It's a massive chunk of a book, and I listened to the audio version, both to spare my wrists and because I've enjoyed the narrator's work in the previous books in the series. I'm not sure audio is the best medium for enjoying the book, though, because of the sections that are supposed to be text conversations or chatroom conversations. I picked up the hardcover to see how these conversations are rendered in print, and some take place simultaneously, which is not always obvious in the audiobook. I also thought the book could have been shorter -- the plot gets in the weeds a little bit while following the various suspects and getting the opinions of various people about the identity of an anonymous character. Still, it's clear that the author knows a lot about online fandoms and the interactions therein (nudge, wink), and the conversations between characters ring true. Fans of the series will most likely enjoy this instalment.

sep 15, 12:48 pm

My comments pertain to the previous thread. It looks like you read a lot of things for the KiddieCat. Those tomato slices made my stomach growl! I think you've hit me with a book bullet on that Lily Adler series.

sep 15, 1:22 pm

>68 thornton37814: Thanks for your comment on the tomatoes, and I hope you enjoy Lily Adler. I'm guessing KiddieCat is a category challenge thing? I'm not in that group, but I often read a lot of kids' books, since they are relevant to my work as a children's librarian (and because I've never grown out of them).

sep 15, 3:15 pm

>69 foggidawn: Yes. It is one of this year's categories! This month is history and biography.

sep 15, 3:29 pm

(122 books read)

Afternoon of the Elves by Janet Taylor Lisle -- In her ragged clothes and oversized boots, Sarah-Kate is a figure of ridicule at school. However, she has a magic elf village in her neglected back yard, as Hillary discovers one day when Sarah-Kate invites her over to see it. The two girls spend the fall "helping" the elves by making tiny improvements to their village, and Hillary hopes, more than anything, to see an elf for herself, if she is careful and quiet and looks deeply at the natural world as Sarah-Kate instructs. Sarah-Kate can be strange and temperamental, but Hillary is completely taken with this new friendship . . . until the day Sarah-Kate disappears.

There are hints of magic to this story, which is what I think I gravitated toward when I read this as a child (I'm pretty certain I read this as a child?), but as an adult it's a darkly bittersweet book about child neglect and a family in need to help. It feels a tiny bit dated now, but there's still the lovely allure of the elf village and the compelling character of Sarah-Kate to give the story its appeal.

sep 15, 3:30 pm

>79 foggidawn: Ah, fun! I have a deep streak of mulish stubbornness when it comes to challenges -- sometimes I can convince myself to do them, but other times, the thought of participating makes me metaphorically dig in my heels.

Redigerat: sep 18, 9:38 am


Garden update: As you can see, my garden is producing some massive specimens right now. That's the biggest tomato I've ever grown, and the carrots didn't get very long, but they got very wide! I harvested three heads of cabbage, one as big as my own head, and I need to harvest some more kale. The bell peppers are still producing; after I picked the last lot they set a bunch more fruit, so in a week or so I'll be rolling in peppers again. The tomatoes are still taking their time ripening, which is working out just fine for me -- I get a few at a time, and can deal with them as they come. The basil is done, alas. John found three big wooden crates that we're going to use as beds next year. I am skeptical about how long they will last, but we'll get a few seasons out of them, at least.

Menu update: I made a massive batch of stuffed cabbage with two of the heads of cabbage -- had them for supper Saturday, and froze two more suppers' worth for later. Those will make nice, easy dinners when I need them. This week, I'm planning on making cabbage soup (possibly borscht, but I need to get fresh dill from the store if I'm going to do that, as I like my borscht nice and dilly) because I have the remainder of the cabbage heads that I used for stuffed cabbage that need to be used up. I'll also do quiche, and I bought ingredients for something else, which is completely escaping me right now. So, mystery dinner involving hot Italian sausage? If I can't remember what I bought it for, it will become zuppa toscana.

sep 18, 9:44 am

Mmm, borscht.

I had a few friends on FB saying that if you stop watering your tomatoes, it helps them decide to ripen apparently. In case you want to hurry your tomatoes along.

sep 18, 9:50 am

I'm constantly buying ingredients for things and then forgetting what I bought them for. It's like meal planning on hard mode.

sep 18, 11:02 am

That tomato! My MIL gave us a bunch of tomatoes from their garden when she visited last week, so I am enjoying the fruits of her labor this week :) Tim is not a tomato person so more for me!

sep 18, 11:04 am

>67 foggidawn: I finally picked up the first book in that series last week. I may actually get it read one of these days.

>73 foggidawn: Wow! I wish I had anything even remotely resembling a green thumb.

Have a marvelous Monday!

sep 18, 12:09 pm

>74 MickyFine: Thanks for the tip!

>75 norabelle414: No kidding! I'm pretty sure I was reading a recipe online, but the likelihood of me finding it again is slim.

>76 curioussquared: Mmm! John is less likely to eat them than I am, at least uncooked. When they start piling up, I have a tomato press for making sauce.

>77 alcottacre: Enjoy! I feel that the series has either improved or at least stayed of a solidly good quality over time. And thanks -- have a good week!

sep 18, 12:13 pm

(123 books read)

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett -- While picking cherries on their Michigan cherry farm, Lara regales her three adult daughters with stories of the time she spent doing summer stock and dating an actor who went on to become a Hollywood star.

Patchett is a masterful storyteller. I loved all of the little twists and reveals over the course of the book, as well as the deep love for the play Our Town. Highly recommended.

sep 18, 10:53 pm

>73 foggidawn: Italian sausages cooked with onions and peppers (and a bit of wine) are one of my favorites and you have your own peppers!

sep 19, 2:39 pm

>80 quondame: I'm pretty sure that whatever recipe I was looking at, it had something to do with peppers.

sep 19, 7:03 pm

Hi Foggi. I've been travelling this month and missed a lot of posts... *but* I did just today pick up two BBs on the previous thread, Katharine Schellman books. The first two sound worth giving a chance and I love the combo: regency and mystery. Yay!

sep 19, 7:12 pm

>82 SandyAMcPherson: Hope you like them! I recommended them to my mom, who's also a fan of Regencies and mysteries, and she says she has been enjoying them.

Redigerat: sep 19, 7:33 pm

(124 books read)

The Deep by Rivers Solomon -- Yetu is a Historian, charged with holding all of the memories of her people. She lives in an underwater society formed from the children of enslaved mothers thrown from slave ships, who, never breathing air, learned to breathe underwater and developed gills and fins. The weight of these memories, of all of the painful things that have happened to her people from the Foremothers on, is driving Yetu almost crazy. When they hold the annual Remembering ritual, where Yetu releases the memories to the rest of her people for a brief time, she flees rather than taking the burden back. What will become of her, separated from her people and the memories -- and what will become of those she has abandoned?

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Daveed Diggs, which was delightful. I highly recommend that as a way to experience this text, if audiobooks are your thing. The story itself is immersive and a little disconcerting; you're thrown right in and have to make sense of the world as it's revealed. I'll admit that there are some flashback-like portions where Yetu is experiencing memories of the past that were a little confusing to me, especially as I couldn't page back and forth to make sense of things. Still, I found this a, well, deep read, very poignant and thought-provoking. It's a quick read/listen, but I think it will stay with me for quite a while.

Thanks to scaifea for the book bullet.

sep 20, 9:34 am

(125 books read)

Healer and Witch by Nancy Werlin -- In 16th-century France, 15-year-old Sylvie lives in a small village. Sylvie wants to be a healer like her mother and grandmother. She has a special gift: when she touches someone, she can see their thoughts. Before her death, her grandmother told Sylvie that she would have to find a teacher before she could use her gift for healing, but after her grandmother's death, she tries to take away some of her mother's grief and ends up making a terrible mistake. Sylvie leaves her village in search of a teacher -- but how will she find someone she can trust, in a world where many might label her a witch?

This is a pleasant enough story, aimed more toward a tween or middle-grade audience than Werlin's other books. I found the writing a bit stiff and stilted, and I'm not sure whether that has to do with writing for a younger audience, or if she was trying to evoke something about the historical setting, but it's not what I expected from Werlin. I'd recommend it to readers who really love books set in the middle ages, like The Midwife's Apprentice and The Inquisitor's Tale.

sep 20, 11:00 am

>84 foggidawn: Agree that audio is the way to go with this one -- so good.

>85 foggidawn: My reaction to this one was similar. I think I was wondering who the book is for -- the content was very tween, but I didn't really think the story and writing was compelling enough for that age group.

sep 20, 1:48 pm

>85 foggidawn: That's a cute idea, even if it was stiff.

sep 21, 10:38 am

>86 curioussquared: Yeah, that's a good point, about the audience.

>87 The_Hibernator: Yes, I was excited about the concept, if not the execution.

sep 21, 4:39 pm

(126 books read)

The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal -- Tesla Crane is on a honeymoon cruise to Mars with her spouse Shal and her service dog, Gimlet. Their plan was to enjoy all the shows and drink all the cocktails, but that was before people started getting murdered. And now, somebody seems to be trying to frame Shal. . .

I enjoyed many aspects of this book, but I wouldn't say that you should read it for the mystery. It came together in the end, but it seemed a little muddled getting there. I'll admit it: the dog was my favorite part. I haven't read the source material (Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man) because it never seemed like my thing -- if you have, it might be interesting to compare the two.

Redigerat: sep 22, 8:14 pm

>89 foggidawn: The original Thin Man book is all right, the films based on the book starring Myrna Loy and William Powell are some of my favourite black & whites.

Glad you mostly enjoyed the book.

sep 23, 9:33 am

>90 MickyFine: I'll have to watch those sometime.

sep 25, 9:02 am

(127 books read)

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds -- Avery isn't thrilled to be relocating to Bardell, Georgia for her senior year of high school, but her grandmother is dying and it's Avery's last chance to make a connection with the cantankerous old woman. As a queer, mixed-race teen, Avery worries about how small town life will work for her, but she soon makes two close friends and starts learning about her own family history and how it's wound up in the history of the place. Mama Letty, her grandmother, is prickly and harsh, but Avery is willing to put the work into discovering what made her grandma the woman she is. However, the more she learns, the darker the secrets become...

This book is well-written, with complex characters and a realistic plot. It took me a really long time to get into the book, and I spent some time being annoyed at teenagers being teenagers, but I think both of those problems were more about me than the book. If you enjoy YA lit that tackles big issues, this is definitely a book to look into.

sep 25, 9:29 am

Menu update: I turned a sudden abundance of tomatoes into tomato sauce, so I have spaghetti featuring on the list, or maybe lasagna if I have the energy. (I didn't can/seal the tomato sauce, just put it in jars in the fridge to use ASAP.) I also have eggs that need using, so quiche or breakfast for dinner is on the plan. And I bought some corned beef so I can make corned beef and cabbage with the last head of cabbage from my garden. I made icebox pickles yesterday, so on evenings when John is at work, I will probably just have some snacky foods like cheese and crackers, with some pickles. I'm not always a big sweet pickle fan, but Mom made this recipe earlier this summer, and I loved them, so I decided to make my own.

sep 25, 10:40 am

>93 foggidawn: Look at you, being an amazing domestic goddess.

Wishing you a more engaging next read.

sep 26, 1:06 pm

>94 MickyFine: I was having a very domestic goddess-y weekend -- in addition to the cooking, I did some enjoyable shopping (nothing too fancy, just some new shoes and undergarments, plus the inevitable groceries, and I ordered the knobs for my kitchen cabinets which somehow got left off the original order), and I tackled some mending projects that had been languishing in the sewing room for months. And I did a little cleaning! That is a lot more than I usually get done in a weekend.

Redigerat: sep 26, 2:02 pm

>1 foggidawn: Hi foggi! Love those puppy dog eyes. Jasper does a good line in 'haven't been fed for a week' eyes.

>37 foggidawn: Your kitchen cabinets look very swish. We're currently going through the 5 months plus of upheaval - the kitchen designers told us last week (after the date they said they'd be installing) that it'll take another 6 weeks.

Picked up a few book bullets, between yours and Natalie's threads; Thornhedge for one.

Your gardening and cooking sound like they're really taking off.

sep 26, 2:05 pm

>96 humouress: Hi, and thanks! Kitchen remodeling is definitely a pain -- hope you love your end result as much as I'm sure I will love mine. (I'm already loving the cabinets, of course, but the countertop is yet to come.)

Redigerat: sep 26, 7:23 pm

(128 books read)

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim -- Anna's father is often away, working long hours at his restaurant, and her mother sometimes stays in bed for weeks on end. Anna just wants normalcy -- she doesn't see herself excelling as a student, despite her teachers' exhortations to push herself and the guidance counselor's focus on adding extracurriculars and personal development. She'd love to be able to help out more at the restaurant, but with her mother's fragile mental health, she often ends up caring for her younger siblings. A sweet romance blossoms with her father's new delivery boy, but in the meantime, her mother's grip on reality is growing more and more shaky.

This is a good exploration of what it's like to deal with a parent who is struggling with mental illness. I had expected the romance to be more of a focus, but it's really mostly about Anna's family relationships. I don't feel like the characters are all fully developed, and certain elements are very predictable. I think a teen experiencing similar issues might find it a comforting read, but I probably wouldn't recommend it to adults in general.

sep 26, 7:48 pm

Hi foggi! I am so impressed with your garden output and with your cabinets! Very exciting over there:). Gardening can be tricky where I am - we're at altitude and things are finicky with a shorter growing season, but since we got these giant garden boxes we've grown like crazy. Last year I had success with the New York Times quick tomato sauce, which I made in quantity and then froze.

You got me with the Ann Patchett - thank you!

sep 26, 9:35 pm

>73 foggidawn: I love those giant 'maters!
My basil was weird this year. It started to turn yellow in August, so I harvested whatever was still green and froze it. Two weeks later the basil was bright green again. I think it needed a haircut. It's going to go downhill fast now though.

>79 foggidawn: I really loved this one. She's such a gifted storyteller.

sep 27, 12:13 pm

>99 AMQS: If I get another deluge of tomatoes, I'll have to either can or freeze the sauce. Glad you're having good luck with your garden boxes! I've decided raised beds are the way to go -- less bending, and fewer weeds.

>100 clamairy: I neglected my basil while I was on vacation at the end of August, and it never really recovered. It did well for me until then, though. And yes, the Patchett was great.

sep 27, 12:19 pm

>79 foggidawn: I am glad you enjoyed Tom Lake, foggi.

>84 foggidawn: I took your advice and bought the audiobook. I listen to them frequently and with Daveed Diggs narrating, I am sure to have a good time with it.

>92 foggidawn: Adding that one to the BlackHole. Thanks for the recommendation!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Redigerat: sep 27, 12:44 pm

It occurs to me that I have never posted here about my storytime programs, which I do regularly as a children's librarian. I'll try to remember to put up a quick summary now and then, for those who might be interested. This week I chose books for Hispanic Heritage Month:

One is a Piñata by Roseanna Greenfield Thong, illus. John Parra
Finding Home by Esteli Meza
Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos, illus. Rafael López

I used these books today for school visits (grades Pre-K through 2). We also played rhythm instruments (I was feeling brave) and with the younger ones I also did "Where is Thumbkin"/"Pulgarcito" from the book Sing With Me / Canta Conmigo. For actual storytime tomorrow, I'll probably skip the book Finding Home, as the text is longer than the really little ones will want to sit through.

sep 27, 12:39 pm

>102 alcottacre: Glad you stopped by!

sep 27, 1:15 pm

>103 foggidawn: I'm interested! Thanks for sharing

sep 27, 1:58 pm

>105 norabelle414: Glad to hear it -- you're welcome!

sep 27, 7:09 pm

Sounds like some great books and activities!

sep 28, 9:17 am

sep 28, 3:42 pm

>103 foggidawn: I assume these are picture books? I don't read many picture books anymore. I mostly read super short chapter books to my 4yo. He lives Press Start with a passion. I try to read one of those along with one of my choosing. (Reading Henry Heckelbeck right now.)

sep 28, 3:58 pm

>109 The_Hibernator: Yes, they are picture books. I typically choose ones for storytime that are not too wordy, though sometimes for school visits I go with slightly longer ones.

sep 29, 10:42 am

(129 books read)

The Road to Roswell by Connie Willis -- Level-headed Francie has no desire to attend a UFO festival in Roswell, but her college roommate Serena is marrying a UFO fanatic, and has asked Francie to be her maid of honor. While running an errand for Serena, Francie is abducted by an actual alien, who forces her to drive far out into the desert for reasons that are unclear to her even after they arrive. The tumbleweed-shaped creature seems to be looking for something, and Francie is its unwilling chauffeur. As they travel, they inadvertently pick up more companions: a hitchhiking con-man, a conspiracy theorist, a little old lady, and a Western movie obsessed RV owner. As Francie travels with the alien (dubbed "Indy" for its whip-like skill with its tentacles), she becomes fond of it, and starts to wonder if there's any way she can figure out how to get it to communicate what it wants -- and maybe get her back to Roswell in time for Serena's wedding?

If you like a slapstick road-trip story with a bunch of oddball characters, this book is for you. Willis' madcap humor is on full display here, and each character is loveable in his or her own way. (Well, maybe not Lyle.) The end wraps up in increasingly wacky leaps of logic, so don't go in expecting depth and sobriety, and let yourself be swept along with the narrative. It's a fun ride.

sep 29, 11:43 am

>111 foggidawn: I enjoyed this one too, but the pace was almost a little too frenetic for my tastes. I read it when I was recovering from COVID, so maybe my brain just couldn't handle it.

sep 29, 4:41 pm

>112 clamairy: I felt that way about Crosstalk, the first book of hers that I read. I can see this one being a bit much if you are not feeling 100%.

sep 29, 4:50 pm

(130 books read)

The Chalice of the Gods by Rick Riordan -- Percy Jackson is a senior in high school -- so close to being an adult, and hopefully attracting less attention from gods and monsters. His plan is to go to New Rome University with Annabeth, but his (non-mortal) guidance counselor hits him with the bad news: he has to get three letters of recommendation from three different gods -- and they can't be for things he's already done. He's going to have to take on some more quests. Fortunately, Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood are there to help, just like they were when he had his first adventure, all those years ago.

This feels like a prime return to the original Percy Jackson series. Though Percy mentions some of his previous adventures and old friends, it's okay if not everything he's done is fresh in the reader's mind going into the story. It's a pretty straightforward quest narrative, with beloved characters and Percy's trademark sarcastic humor (the chapter titles always delight). Better yet, this book only covers one quest, so there are a couple more books to look forward to.

okt 2, 9:30 am

(131 books read)

Foreshadow, edited by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma -- In this short story anthology, new and diverse voices are featured. Most of the stories contain some fantastical or supernatural element, though some do not. Each story is accompanied by a brief essay by the editors, highlighting some particularly noteworthy aspect of the story. I found this a surprisingly balanced collection in terms of writing quality, with no "clunkers" among the stories. I enjoyed all of them, and for many, would love to read more. Readers who enjoy short stories, especially YA, would be wise to seek out this volume.

Redigerat: okt 3, 11:53 am

(132 books read)

Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson -- Following the events of Sorcery of Thorns, Elisabeth Scrivener is settling into life at Thorn Manor. However, the house's wards appear to have been suddenly set off, trapping the inhabitants indoors. Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and the others must figure out what has set them off, and how to appease them, before the Midwinter Ball, which Nathaniel is due to host in ten days' time.

This delightful novella is a pleasant companion to Sorcery of Thorns. The stakes are not as high, but the character interactions are just as delightful. Readers get to learn more about Thorn Manor, with its hidden rooms, sentient books, and cursed artifacts. Recommended for anyone who enjoyed the first book in the series and would like just a little bit more.

okt 3, 11:55 am

>116 foggidawn: I added this to my towering TBR list. I already have Sorcery of Thorns there, thankyouverymuch ~ I've got the titles on my e-books WL.
Happy reads ahead!

okt 3, 12:03 pm

>117 SandyAMcPherson: Nice! I think you will enjoy them.

okt 3, 12:14 pm

>116 foggidawn: This was so much fun -- I loved the chance to hang out with the gang for a little longer. Rogerson is an auto-buy author for me now.

okt 3, 12:59 pm

>119 curioussquared: I still have some of hers on my TBR list -- I know I will enjoy them when I get to them!

okt 3, 1:03 pm

>111 foggidawn: I thoroughly enjoyed that one! I am glad to see that you did too!

>114 foggidawn: My daughter, Beth, loved the original Percy Jackson series. I will have to see if she has read that one!

>116 foggidawn: I am going to have to get to those books soon. My local library even has them :)

okt 3, 1:14 pm

For storytime this week, my theme is apples:


From Apple Trees to Cider, Please by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky, illus. Julia Patton
Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington
Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss
The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson, illus. Jonathan Bean
What's an Apple? by Marilyn Singer, illus, Greg Pizzoli

There are so many books on this theme; these are just a sampling of what's available. There are lots of rhymes and songs about apples, so we will do a few of those. I will also do a flannel board where the kids bring up different felt cutout fruits and add them to the "fruit salad" by putting them on the board. (I find that the kids like interactive flannel boards best, where they can put something on or take something off.)

okt 3, 1:15 pm

>121 alcottacre: Thanks for stopping by!

okt 3, 1:20 pm

>123 foggidawn: Happy to do so!

okt 5, 10:11 am

(133 books read)

The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman -- You'd think that an illicit shipment of heroin worth a hundred grand wouldn't have anything to do with the members of the Thursday Murder Club, but you would be wrong, of course.

This series continues strong, eliciting both laughter and tears from me as I read this volume. If you've enjoyed the series so far, you'll probably like this one -- and you'll be glad to know that the author intends to write more of them.

okt 5, 10:22 am

>125 foggidawn: I am starting that one today. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

okt 5, 10:38 am

>126 alcottacre: Hope you like it, too!

okt 5, 10:46 am

>127 foggidawn: Oh, I am sure that I will!

okt 6, 4:16 pm

>125 foggidawn: Once I read down my library stack a bit, I really should get back to that series. I enjoyed the first two.

okt 7, 9:12 am

>122 foggidawn: Sounds like a fun time. What's the age range for your storytimes?

Redigerat: okt 7, 9:32 am

>128 alcottacre: :-)

>129 bell7: It's the sort of series you can put down for a while and come back to, I think.

>130 MickyFine: Thanks! It's billed as a "family" storytime, so I try to have things that will work for various ages, and adapt on the fly to whoever actually shows up. That's usually toddlers to three-year-olds, though lately I've been getting nobody at all. :-( But I use the same theme for my school visits, just focusing on the books that best suit a slightly older audience.

okt 7, 9:52 am

Update: Yesterday I got a new (to me) car! I can't remember if I mentioned it, but I was in a car accident back in spring of 2022 that totaled my poor little car. A friend of John's was going overseas right at that time, and offered us his car, so I've been driving that one. It's a good car, but older, and not a great winter vehicle. We finally took the plunge, and now I have a lovely blue Honda CR-V! It's a few years old, but it doesn't have a lot of miles on it, and it has a dazzling number of bells and whistles compared to any car I've ever owned. I'm thinking I will call it Blueberry. The car I've been driving is getting passed along to the niece of the guy who used to own it, so everyone is happy. Especially me!

Menu & garden update: I am flying by the seat of my pants this week. I went shopping for basics yesterday, and I have things in the freezer, I just haven't yet decided what I will make. I did make some delicious (if I do say so myself) homemade tomato soup on Thursday, with grilled cheese sandwiches. But that's all a pleasant memory now -- though I still have tomatoes ripening in my garden, so I'll probably do it again when I have another batch of ripe ones. The bell peppers are piling up again, but I'll probably just chop and freeze them. Other than that, the carrots are hanging out in the garden until I have need of them, and I will have some more kale coming on soon (I had to chop off a lot of leaves and feed them to the rabbits because of the cabbage worms, but I dusted the area after I cut the plants back, so the new leaves should be less hole-y). The dahlias are still looking lovely. It's been a good year for the garden.

okt 7, 10:04 am

You are going to be a force this winter! Go Blueberry!

Redigerat: okt 7, 4:22 pm

(134 books read)

Thorn by Intisar Khanani -- Alyrra is a princess in a small mountain kingdom, valued only for the political benefits that might be obtained by marrying her off. When a prince from a large and prosperous kingdom shows an interest in her, her mother and brother warn her to try not to screw it up. They send her to the prince's kingdom, accompanied by a minor noblewoman who hates her because of a past humiliation. On the journey, assisted by a dark sorceress who holds a grudge against the prince's family, the noblewoman and the princess swap appearances, so that when they arrive at the palace, Alyrra is left helpless to the machinations of the other. Only she knows of the dark sorceress, and only she can warn the prince -- if she can be courageous enough...

This retelling of "The Goose Girl" does not shy away from the darkness in the original story, and indeed, compounds it. Themes of courage and justice are woven through the story. This book is geared towards a slightly older audience than Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl, but both are excellent retellings. I listened to the audiobook, and as is often the case with first-person narratives, I couldn't always tell what was spoken aloud versus what was an unspoken thought. My only other quibble was that the ending came abruptly, when I was hoping for more story! I will be seeking out more books by this author. If you like fairy tale retellings, you should, too!

okt 7, 10:21 am

>133 compskibook: Thanks! Maybe I will drive up north sometime and have you teach me how to ski! :-)

okt 7, 2:35 pm

>132 foggidawn: Congratulations on Blueberry! I hope you are both very happy together :)

>134 foggidawn: Already in the BlackHole or I would be adding it again!

Have a wonderful weekend, foggi!

okt 7, 2:52 pm

>135 foggidawn: I would be happy to!

okt 7, 4:24 pm

>136 alcottacre: Thanks! I discovered that Thorn is the first in a series, so have already snagged the next book.

>137 compskibook: I'll take a look at my schedule, then! :-)

okt 7, 6:55 pm

Huzzah for new car! Enjoy settling in to your new set of wheels.

okt 7, 8:05 pm

>132 foggidawn: Congrats on the new wheels. That should be great to drive in the Winter. May you and Blueberry have many adventures together, of only the good variety.

okt 7, 8:43 pm

Congrats on the new car. Love the name you gave it!

okt 7, 9:43 pm

Congrats on Blueberry!! We also have a CRV and really like it.

okt 7, 10:22 pm

Maybe you could name the car Violet Beauregarde!

okt 7, 10:27 pm

Congratulations on your new car!

>134 foggidawn: Seriously (134 books read)
I rather liked Thorn

okt 8, 3:43 am

>134 foggidawn: *sigh* BB'd

Congratulations on your new Blueberry!

okt 9, 9:58 am

Thanks, everyone, for the new car good wishes!

>143 compskibook: LOL! She's much sweeter than that!

>144 quondame: I didn't even notice! It's such fun when the post number and the books read number coincides.

>145 humouress: Hope you enjoy it!

okt 10, 12:34 pm

(135 books read)

The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani -- Rae has no desire to travel to the royal city, much less become one of the new princess's attendants. Her plain appearance, clubfoot, and commoner status will only invite ridicule at court, she is sure. However, when her best friend's little sister is taken by the Snatchers, slavers with peculiar powers of secrecy, Rae is determined to do whatever she can to get answers, even if that means bringing the issue before the royal family.

This sequel to Thorn centers a new protagonist, but many familiar characters feature in the new story. Though this book moves away from the fairy tale retelling aspect of the first book, it takes place in the same richly imagined fantasy world. (I did wonder if there's a touch of "The Pied Piper" with the disappearing children, but I wouldn't call it a retelling of that tale.) I recommend reading not only Thorn, but also the short story "The Bone Knife," before diving into this book. Readers beware: there's a cliffhanger ending, so you'll want to have the next book at the ready!

okt 10, 12:37 pm

>147 foggidawn: there's a cliffhanger ending I hate when authors do that!!

okt 10, 12:39 pm

>148 alcottacre: Right?! I'm just glad that I didn't dive into this series until the next book was already out! I had to request it from another library, though, so I'm left to tap my feet and twiddle my thumbs until it arrives. I mean, I guess there are other books out there that I could read, but... ;-)

okt 10, 12:41 pm

>149 foggidawn: I know exactly what you mean. Once you have started the series, you want to finish before picking up another.

okt 10, 12:48 pm

>150 alcottacre: Yes, especially with a cliffhanger, where it feels like you haven't finished the story.

okt 10, 1:24 pm

>147 foggidawn: I'm glad to see you're enjoying these! I own the first two and will keep an eye out for the third.

okt 11, 12:57 pm

>152 curioussquared: Yes, when you get to them, you'll definitely want the third book at hand!

Redigerat: okt 12, 4:31 pm

(136 books read)

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt -- A 70-year-old widow forms a surprising friendship with a Giant Pacific Octopus. A 30-year-old washout comes to town looking for his biological father. A grizzled supermarket manager nurses an unrequited crush. All of these lives come together, and previously unknown history is revealed.

This is a heartwarming, if predictable, novel. Readers will know long before the characters do about certain plot twists, but there's a satisfaction in seeing it all come together and having all of the loose ends tied up neatly at the end. I felt that it was slow to get going, but part of my issue was that I was listening to the audiobook -- if I'd been reading the paper version, I probably would have sped through it. Still, I think a little too much time was spent on Cameron's life in California. All in all, recommended to those looking for a feel-good read.

okt 12, 5:42 pm

>153 foggidawn: "you'll definitely want the third book at hand!"
Good advice and I will heed that!

My PL has only Thorn and The theft of sunlight. Not even The Bone Knife. Looks to be a decent series, too.
I will put in a recommend for A Darkness at the Door (Book 3) at my local PL. It may be on order already. Canadian libraries have to wait until a distributor here is able to provide new titles before the PLs can order them. Ho hum.

okt 13, 1:43 pm

>111 foggidawn: I love Commie Willis

okt 16, 10:30 am

>155 SandyAMcPherson: "The Bone Knife" was included at the end of the recording of Thorn that I borrowed. I'm not sure if it's included in any of the print editions as a bonus. Hope you can find it! If not, it won't keep you from understanding the events of the next book, it's just that things that happen in "The Bone Knife" come up fairly often in Theft of Sunlight.

>156 The_Hibernator: The books of hers that I've read so far have been great fun!

>157 quondame: I saw that on your thread! I'm so excited.

okt 16, 10:50 am

(137 books read)

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro -- Kathy grew up at Hailsham, a special boarding school in the English countryside. Now she is a carer, traveling from one facility to another to be a sort of patient advocate for those making donations. Over the course of time, she meets her old friends Ruth and Tommy, and reminisces about life at Hailsham and what came after.

There's an overarching sense of melancholy at play in this book. The reader is dropped in with no knowledge of the conditions of Kathy's world, which are both like and unlike our own. Ishiguro slowly reveals the main twist of the story, so there's never a big "aha!" moment, just confirmation of what the reader has already begun to suspect. After reading, I have many questions about the world of the book that are outside the scope of this story. The writing is extraordinarily delicate, both in the way secrets are revealed, and in the way that events and reminiscences flow into one another in a completely organic way. There's a lot to unpack, and I can see this being an excellent book for a book club or classroom discussion. It's the sort of read that stays with you for a long time after you close the book. Recommended.

Redigerat: okt 21, 11:11 am

(138-140 books read)


All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, and Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells -- I started my Murderbot reread in anticipation of the new release next month, and of course I am tearing through them. I'm listening to the audiobooks this time, which are good -- in my head, Murderbot has a more androgynous voice, but narrator Kevin Free gets its tone exactly right, so the more masculine voice doesn't bug me too much.

okt 16, 11:03 am

>159 foggidawn: You're definitely right about this one staying with you -- I think it's been about a decade for me and I'm still thinking about it.

>160 foggidawn: ❤ Murderbot. My first read-through of the novellas was on audio but I haven't revisited them in that format. I should do that at some point!

okt 16, 11:12 am

Garden & Menu Update: The tomatoes have finally taken to heart the change of season and are ripening up at a fast clip. I will be making a nice big batch of tomato soup some day soon. I also harvested some more kale, and might do a nice Zuppa Toscana tonight to use it up. It's definitely soup season. The peppers continue strong. I chopped up and froze some more -- I used the vacuum sealer that I got as a wedding gift for the first time, and it is such a cool toy. John harvested apples this week, and we pressed cider. I also made apple pie filling (I made one pie, then froze enough filling for three more) and apple sauce. I may have seen enough apples for a while. As for the rest of the menu: in addition to those soups, I also plan to do corned beef and cabbage, and breakfast for dinner.

okt 16, 11:21 am

>161 curioussquared: I haven't listened to the audiobooks before, but I'm enjoying them now!

okt 16, 12:03 pm

>162 foggidawn: Wow! You're not going to need to do grocery shopping until spring, at this rate. Off to find out what Zuppa Toscana is ...

Redigerat: okt 16, 1:23 pm

>164 humouress: The trick is to remember to use the things in the freezer! Out of sight, out of mind is a real problem for me. Zuppa Toscana is a creamy soup with potato, kale, and sausage. This recipe is the one I usually use, I think. I don't always include bacon, if I don't have it on hand. (John doesn't like bacon, the weirdo, so I don't buy it very often.)

okt 16, 1:56 pm

>160 foggidawn: I am listening to them, too! I am waiting for All Systems Red from the Libby, but had to start Artificial Condition!

okt 16, 2:28 pm

>159 foggidawn: This remains one of my favourite Ishiguro novels. I'm glad you had a good time with it.

>160 foggidawn: Kevin R. Free's narration is great but my mental voice for Murderbot is more feminine so I still prefer the series in print.

okt 16, 3:45 pm

>166 compskibook: Who could resist ART, right?

>167 MickyFine: I liked it a lot, though I suspect The Remains of the Day will always be my favorite Ishiguro.

okt 16, 8:04 pm

>159 foggidawn: Never Let Me Go is not a book to read when you are depressed. Not a book to read if you are cheerful and don't want to be depressed.

okt 16, 8:25 pm

>169 quondame: No kidding!

okt 17, 12:20 pm

Hi foggi! I finished my umpteenth reread of the Murderbot books and am anxiously waiting for the new release. Our tomatoes are winding down and we are starting to pick under ripe tomatoes so they ripen inside. We have had snow in the mountains and freezing nighttime temps down the hill at least once. We covered up and then the weather turned nice again! I made the NYT quick tomato sauce to freeze as it turned out so well last year.

okt 17, 4:57 pm

>171 AMQS: Our temps are definitely chilly, in the 40s and 50s mostly, but we haven’t had a frost yet. I did bring the houseplants inside, but the garden stuff is hanging on.

okt 17, 7:16 pm

>159 foggidawn: I found this one really depressing when I read it. Having previously read his The Remains of the Day I was totally unprepared for the direction it took.

Thanks for the reminder about the new Murderbot! Enjoy all the veggies.

okt 18, 10:17 am

>173 clamairy: Yeah, I can see that. And yay, Murderbot soon!

Redigerat: okt 21, 11:12 am

(141-143 books read)


Exit Strategy, Fugitive Telemetry, and Network Effect by Martha Wells -- I'm all caught up in my Murderbot reread now, and ready for the new one in just a few weeks! I flipflopped the last two books in order to read in chronological order, which worked very well.

Redigerat: okt 24, 6:29 pm

(144 books read)

Rural Voices, edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter -- This short story collection looks at small-town life from multiple points of view. The stories are set in locations that range across the United States. Some of them were enjoyable, many were just okay, and there was one I absolutely hated (for the content dog death, not the writing). Readers particularly interested in the topic will probably find something to enjoy here, but I wouldn't recommend it across the board.

okt 23, 11:29 am

Garden update: we had a hard freeze last night, which pretty much brings gardening season to an end -- I might still get some more kale, and I have carrots to dig up (and figure out what to do with), but the tomatoes and peppers are done. Of course, now there's the cleanup and prep for winter.

Menu update: I didn't get around to making corned beef and cabbage last week, so that's still on the plan, along with quiche and taco soup.

okt 24, 6:44 pm

(145 books read)

A Darkness at the Door by Intisar Khanani -- Rae has already been through much in the service of Princess Alyrra, trying to solve the mystery of the kingdom's stolen children. Now she faces even greater challenges, and even greater dangers.

Since this is a sequel, picking up almost immediately where the last book left off, I won't give away any specifics about the plot. There's plenty of good stuff to say about the writing and the characters. This author has a knack for creating characters that the reader cares deeply about, and she doesn't spare them as the plot goes through its twists and turns. I have really enjoyed this entire series. The plotting and character work gives off vibes of Tamora Pierce, and I'd also compare the writing style to Rae Carson. Those are two of my favorite YA fantasy authors, so you can imagine how excited I've been to discover Khanani's work! While this book wraps up Rae's story in a satisfying way, there are at least three other characters in this world whose stories I would love to read, so I hope there are more books from this author soon. I definitely recommend this series to fans of YA fantasy.

okt 24, 7:39 pm

>178 foggidawn: Tamora Pierce, you say! These are moving higher and higher on the TBR...

okt 24, 7:58 pm

okt 25, 11:58 am

>179 curioussquared: Yep! I'll be interested if others see the same resemblance.

>180 quondame: It's a little bit harder to find -- I had to request it from our statewide consortium, because my local library didn't have it. I think she may have had to change publishers? But it's worth the effort.

Redigerat: okt 25, 1:11 pm

(146 books read)

I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy -- Former child star McCurdy recalls what it was like growing up as an unwilling participant in her mother's dreams of acting, her adolescent and young adult years on the set of two Nickelodeon sitcoms, her mother's death, her struggles with alcoholism and eating disorders, and how she has learned to build her own life in the wake of trauma. She writes with warmth and humor as well as pathos. Though I wasn't in the age range to have watched iCarly, I could barely put this book down, reading it in less than 24 hours. Recommended to readers who enjoy a well-written memoir.

okt 25, 7:46 pm

>181 foggidawn: Los Angeles City library is well stocked.

okt 26, 9:33 am

>183 quondame: I would imagine so! :-) Glad you will be able to get your hands on the book when you're ready for it.

okt 26, 12:48 pm

>159 foggidawn: I loved this book.

okt 26, 12:57 pm

>185 The_Hibernator: It's very well-written and engaging.

Redigerat: okt 27, 7:43 am

>165 foggidawn: Doesn't like bacon! Well, send it over - plenty of takers in this house. (Especially Jasper who, you know, hasn't been fed since the dawn of time.)

okt 30, 10:21 am

>187 humouress: LOL, Jasper! Yeah, John will eat bacon if it's served to him, but it's not his favorite. Lottie and I make up for his lack of enthusiasm.

okt 30, 10:38 am

(147 books read)

Starter Villain by John Scalzi -- Charlie, recently divorced and with less than $100 in his checking account, is foundering. He used to be a journalist, but now he's working as a substitute teacher, living in a house that is partially owned by his estranged siblings, who want him to get out so they can sell the property -- but then, he'd be homeless. When his wealthy uncle Jake dies, he expects nothing. The last time he saw his uncle was years ago, at his mother's funeral. So, when his uncle's assistant shows up with a request -- and a bequest -- Charlie's not sure what to think. Then he attends his uncle's very strange funeral, and his house explodes. And that's just the beginning...

This is a fun romp, Scalzi-style. There's plenty of witty banter and outrageous invention, plot twists galore and delightful tidbits like typing cats and extremely profane dolphins. If you're looking for light and fun, this is a sure hit.

okt 31, 9:43 am

>189 foggidawn: The dolphins were hilarious! 😂 I did the Audio and enjoyed it immensely.

okt 31, 12:12 pm

>190 clamairy: I thought about doing the audio, but it was easier to get my hands on the paper copy. Plus, I had something else going on audio at the time.

Redigerat: okt 31, 12:33 pm

(148 books read)

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green -- John Green offers his thoughts on various aspects of the human experience, from sunsets and humanity's capacity for wonder, to scratch-n-sniff stickers and Diet Dr. Pepper. Readers familiar with Green's writing style will know what to expect as he expands on these topics with erudition and heart, and those unfamiliar with Green are in for a treat. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author, on a long drive with my husband, who had no previous experience with Green's work. We both particularly enjoyed the Academic Decathlon essay. I'm looking forward to delving into the podcast from which the book was drawn, for any extra bits that didn't make it into the book. I give The Anthropocene Reviewed four and a half stars.

Redigerat: nov 1, 10:04 am

(149 books read)

The Remarkable Retirement of Edna Fisher by E.M. Anderson -- Of course, it's traditional for the Chosen One to be a teenager, but it's by no means a requirement. At least, that's what Methodius the Just tells 83-year-old Edna Fisher when he arrives at her retirement home to inform her that she, in fact, is the next Chosen One. The villain Redway and his pack of dragon riders have been destroying towns and cities, and the Knights, though trained in dragon hunting, are unable to deal with the threat. Edna must find the Sword of Destiny and make her way to Redway's stronghold. Along the way, Edna collects a group of unlikely companions: one who expected to be the Chosen One, one who's afraid of just about everything, and one... well, one who's looking for the opportunity to betray them all.

This lighthearted take on the Chosen One trope and quest narrative isn't exactly cozy fantasy -- there is definitely some fighting and blood -- but it has a decidedly cozy vibe. The writing in this debut novel isn't the most polished, but the character development and plotting are great, and I was engaged the whole way through. If you're as intrigued as I was by the description, give it a try!

Thanks to bell7 for the book bullet!

nov 1, 10:06 am

>189 foggidawn: Great review! I've never read any Scalzi. I think this is worth borrowing from my local PL, which I am happy to discover has just acquired both the e-book and physical copies.

nov 1, 12:27 pm

All caught up, whew!

Happy for you and Blueberry!

nov 1, 12:33 pm

>194 SandyAMcPherson: Good luck! I saw over on your thread that the wait for the ebook is quite long -- hopefully your library will respond to demand by acquiring more copies.

>195 fuzzi: Thanks for visiting!

nov 1, 8:33 pm

>193 foggidawn: Oh glad to see you enjoyed that one!

nov 2, 10:02 am

>189 foggidawn: This one went on The List as soon as I saw it on the upcoming releases but I'm glad to hear you liked it.

>192 foggidawn: I'm glad this was a hit with you. I highly recommend picking up the print book as well as there's a unique essay or two in each format and the print book has some other Easter eggs.

While generally much sillier, I also recommend the podcast John Green does with his brother, Dear Hank and John.

nov 2, 10:58 am

>197 bell7: I did! Thanks for the recommendation.

>198 MickyFine: I will definitely take a look at Dear Hank and John -- I used to watch the Vlog Brothers pretty faithfully, back in the day.

Redigerat: nov 2, 2:55 pm

(150 books read)

Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan -- When an accident put an end to her acting career, Sewanee found a place to land in the world of audiobook narration. She's generally content with her life and career, though she can't help mourning what she lost -- especially since her best friend is a rising star in the film industry. When Sewanee accepts a project co-narrating a romance novel with one of the hottest male narrators in the genre, she sees it as an opportunity to make enough money to keep her aging grandmother in the expensive retirement home that she's lived in for years, even with the added costs of the memory care unit that her grandmother now needs. She doesn't expect the sparks that fly between her and her co-narrator -- or what will happen when they finally meet in person...

I was rooting for the main couple all they way, though some of their conflict felt a little bit contrived, and for a while I didn't like the choices Sewanee was making. The pacing dragged a bit in the middle, though not enough to make me feel entirely bogged down. I guessed a big plot twist pretty much right away, but enjoyed seeing my suspicions confirmed. I also appreciated the look into the world of audiobook narration (one of my dream careers) from an insider's perspective: Whelan herself has narrated many audiobooks. Ironically, I read the print version of this one. All in all, an enjoyable contemporary romance.

nov 2, 3:18 pm

Congratulations on 150 reads!!!

nov 2, 3:54 pm

Congrats on 2x75! >200 foggidawn: I have the audio version of this one on hold, so I'm glad you liked it overall :)

nov 2, 4:18 pm

>201 quondame: Thank you!

>202 curioussquared: Thanks! I imagine the audiobook will be good, except that there are some text message exchanges that may be choppy in the audiobook -- I often find those kinds of things irritating in audio format.

nov 2, 4:31 pm

Congrats on the double 75, Foggi! Sounds like your latest read was pretty cute.

nov 2, 4:33 pm

>204 MickyFine: Thanks! I'm on a streak of good books lately -- fingers crossed that it continues!

nov 3, 1:07 am

Yay for you foggi. 150 books read is a really big pile o' reading, huh? I've picked up lots of BB's from you this past while, or at least potential BB's if the library co-operates.

nov 3, 7:54 am

Happy weekend reads ahead! Yay for reading 150 books!

nov 3, 10:55 am

Congrats on hitting 150 books read!!

>192 foggidawn: I loved this one, too. I have only read one of other book of his, The Fault in our Stars and it was also wonderful. (It's fiction, so there's a different tone.)

nov 3, 11:19 am

>154 foggidawn: It is definitely a "feel-good read," but not the best of books. I am holding on to it for the next time I need one of those comfort type of reads!

>159 foggidawn: That was the first Ishiguro book that I ever read and it has stuck with me to this day. I am going to be giving it a re-read sometime in 2024, but I doubt I will top the feeling that I got when I first read the book. I am glad to see that you enjoyed it, foggi.

Skipping a bunch of stuff in the hopes that I can catch up. . .

>189 foggidawn: I really need to get that one!

>200 foggidawn: Congratulations on hitting 150 books read this year! Great job!!

Have a fantastic Friday, foggi!

nov 3, 12:13 pm

Ooh, double 75? Congratulations!

And maybe I'll see if I can find number 150 in my library.

Redigerat: nov 4, 6:57 am

>200 foggidawn: Congratulations on reaching 2 x 75, Foggi!

nov 4, 9:47 am

>206 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks! 150 is often my goal for the year, so I'm going to see if I can make it to 175 this year.

>207 figsfromthistle: Thanks! Happy weekend reading to you, too!

>208 clamairy: Thanks! I've read all of his fiction, and have partaken of some small portion of his vast online output, so I had a sense of his style going in.

>209 alcottacre: Thanks for visiting! Yes, Ishiguro's writing really sticks with one, doesn't it?

>210 humouress: Thanks! Enjoy, if you can get your hands on it!

>211 FAMeulstee: Thanks!

nov 6, 9:50 am

(151 books read)

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros -- Though she is the youngest daughter of a general, Violet has always expected to follow in her father's footsteps and become a scribe. Unfortunately, after her father's death, Violet's mother decrees that Violet will become a dragon rider like her older siblings. This means training as a cadet in the Riders Quadrant of Basgiath War College, where three quarters of each class can expect to die before graduation. Violet is small, with hypermobile joints and brittle bones. Her chances of survival, much less bonding to a dragon, are slim. Not to mention that some of the other cadets hold grudges against her mother -- grudges that they'd be more than happy to take out on Violet...

This book has been super popular, so I approached it with caution. I can't resist a good dragon story, after all. I found it extremely gripping and absorbing. Standing outside the book, there are some things I question (the brutality of the school, for instance), but while reading, I was able to completely suspend disbelief and run with it. The book feels very YA to me, though there's more spice in the enemies-to-lovers romantic subplot than most YA books display. If you enjoy fantasy and want a read with lots of action, this is the book for you.

I liked it enough to purchase a copy of it and the sequel, which comes out tomorrow, as I didn't want to have to wait for the library holds list to run down.

nov 6, 10:05 am

(152 books read)

The Lost Library by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass -- A Little Free Library appears one morning on the town green, full of books from the public library that burned down years ago. Evan is curious, especially since, when he checks the borrowing slips in the books, he finds that his dad checked out many of them. When he asks his dad about the books, he doesn't get a proper answer. Over the next few days, Evan finds himself more and more intrigued by the mystery of the new little library, and the bigger mystery of the fire that consumed the old one.

That summary covers the main plot of the book, but there are several other characters (a cat and a few ghosts) that add dimension to the story. I wanted to like this book more than I did, but there were just too many plot holes for me to fall down, and the general tone of the book was, to my ear, a bit twee. The ending was over the top and left me shaking my head. Perhaps the intended readership will enjoy it more than I did, but I can't see myself recommending it to them.

nov 6, 10:39 am

>213 foggidawn: I preordered Iron Flame too and am looking forward to it :) I knew going into it that it was a suspend-your-disbelief situation and I had a lot of fun, although I will admit I started laughing when Violet bonded with TWO dragons, because I was expecting her to be very special but maybe not THAT special 😂

nov 6, 11:21 am

>215 curioussquared: In regards to your spoiler, yeah, that was a bit much! But before the Threshing, there were mentions of black dragons (the high-up general over her mom had the only one) and feathertails (never bonding to anyone) so I was sure that she would do one of those things, but I never guessed that she'd do both!

nov 6, 4:59 pm

I feel like I haven't done a menu update in a while. This week I'll do some honey garlic pork chops in the instant pot, something with chicken (Chicken Paprikash, maybe?), and French toast.

I also forgot to do a couple of storytime updates. Last week was dinosaurs:


Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald
Dinosaur Rap by John Foster
Dinosaur Vs. the Library by Bob Shea
The Dinos on the Bus by Peter Millett

It was a great, interactive storytime; a good time was had by all.

nov 7, 2:20 pm

(153 books read)

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day -- In this memoir, Day recounts tales of her childhood, early years discovering gaming, the beginning of her acting career, a struggle with World of Warcraft addiction, and the creation of her first web series and further business and creative ventures.

There's plenty of humor to be found here, as well as insight into the geeky side of culture and mature self-reflection. I'm late to this particular party, but I was looking for an audiobook and decided to give this one a listen. I'm glad I did, as I found many of the things she has to say relatable, and now I'm interested in looking into more of the stuff she has created.

nov 7, 3:32 pm

>213 foggidawn: I own that one, but am kind of waiting for the next one before I read it. Glad to see that you enjoyed it.

>214 foggidawn: Too bad about that one. I loved Stead's When You Reach Me a few years ago.

nov 7, 4:00 pm

>219 alcottacre: When You Reach Me is a favorite of mine, too. I hate to blame the co-author, but I didn't much care for their last collaboration, either.

nov 7, 11:12 pm

>218 foggidawn: I enjoyed this one in print and imagine listening to Felicia Day read it would definitely make for a great experience.

nov 8, 8:26 am

>218 foggidawn: I've enjoyed that one in both print and audio. Glad to see it was a good read for you too! I have been meaning to read Embrace Your Weird, too, but still haven't managed to get to it.

nov 8, 10:00 am

>221 MickyFine: Yeah, I generally enjoy memoirs read by the author, especially if the author has acting or public speaking experience.

>222 bell7: I'll have to take a look at that one. Thanks!

nov 8, 11:09 am

>218 foggidawn: Oh, I'll add that to my wishlist. I think I only know her from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. (And a bunch of random things my kids showed me over the years.) She's very funny.

nov 9, 9:26 am

>224 clamairy: Dr. Horrible's is one of the things I'm meaning to get to, though she doesn't talk about it a whole lot in the memoir, surprisingly.

nov 9, 9:48 am

(154 books read)

Pocket Dog by Jim Garland -- A reference librarian in Boston receives a windfall of cash and is inundated with marriage proposals, but can't figure out how to actually find love. He adopts a small dog (some confusion, he thought he was adopting a large dog) and has various adventures in the dating world before finally finding the right woman for him.

This book dials the quirk up to eleven and leaves it there. I picked it up because a friend was involved with the project, and I figured, hey, I like books about librarians and dogs and romance. The book is cleanly edited, unlike some small press ventures I've come across, and I did read to the end to figure out how the whole wacky thing was going to resolve. If you like your romances extra quirky, this might be just your thing -- but be ready for Nigerian orphans and a long-lost twin and a rapper named QTπ and a Buddhist car dealership and a host of other inexplicable details.

nov 9, 2:13 pm

>226 foggidawn: That does sound like enough to be going on....

nov 9, 2:19 pm

>220 foggidawn: Glad to know that you enjoyed When You Reach Me too, foggi. A Wrinkle in Time is one of my all-time favorite books, so it was not surprising that I liked it.

nov 10, 9:25 am

>227 quondame: It was a bit much, for me!

>228 alcottacre: I love A Wrinkle in Time as well, though the first time I tried to read it I was a little too young to comprehend it. Once I grew into it, it became a favorite.

nov 10, 9:36 am

(155 books read)

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo -- A small mouse falls in love with a human princess and is banished to the dungeon. A clever rat, born in the dungeon, longs for the world of light above. A farm girl turned serving maid has dreams above her station. When these three stories intersect, adventure ensues.

For me, this book is the high point of DiCamillo's writing to date, though I have enjoyed most of her stories and loved some of them. The characters are delightful, and though the book has that fairy-tale feel, it doesn't keep the reader at a distance the way fairy tales sometimes can. There's lots of humor and plenty of adventure. I've been reading it serially to a group of elementary school students, and they eagerly await each instalment. Reader, there is so much light here, if only you will look.

Redigerat: nov 10, 12:39 pm

>226 foggidawn: Wowzers that plot summary! Not for me, I think.

nov 10, 12:45 pm

>230 foggidawn: I love this one! I'm a sucker for a mouse story and this is a great one.

nov 10, 12:51 pm

>230 foggidawn: I really liked this one too. I have enjoyed several of DiCamillo's books, even as old as I am :)

Have a fantastic Friday, foggi!

nov 10, 1:27 pm

>231 MickyFine: I feel badly about not being able to give it a better review, since it has so few -- but my review is honest and I stand by it. And I'm sure there's an audience out there for it. (But not me. Or you, probably.)

>232 curioussquared: Yes, it's a longtime favorite of mine, too.

>233 alcottacre: Good writing is good writing, no matter the audience. :-)

nov 13, 9:57 am

(156 books read)

A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat -- In the summer between middle school and high school, Dan reluctantly takes a trip to Europe with a group of other students. In the freedom of being away from home, he explores this new independence by having a few adventures, making new friends, and even finding first love with another girl on the trip. But what will happen when the trip is over and they go back to their own homes?

I really enjoyed this graphic memoir. Santat perfectly captures all of those adolescent feelings, both the good and the bad. I felt like I was there! Dan's adventures make for a satisfying reading experience, especially when coupled with his excellent drawings.

Redigerat: nov 13, 10:43 am

(157 books read)

Counting the Cost by Jill Duggar -- Growing up in a large family that embraces a highly conservative version of Christianity is one thing, doing so on television is another. Jill chronicles the ups and downs of her childhood and the problems she and her husband faced when trying to achieve financial and emotional independence from the family after their marriage. There's also the trauma caused by her older brother's sexual abuse of her and some of her sisters as children, and the re-traumatization of having that splashed across the media when it came to light years later.

I never watched more than a few clips of 19 Kids and Counting or any of the the spin-offs, but I certainly heard enough about it during the height of its popularity to be interested when this book crossed my path. Jill does a good job of expressing the emotions she felt at certain charged points. The writing feels very cautious at several points, and slips into legalese whenever the lawsuit about the In Touch article is mentioned. Especially toward the end of the book, she refers to "a sibling" rather than using names fairly frequently. While it's understandable that she wants to protect her siblings both from media attention and from her parents' displeasure, it makes for a bumpy reading experience. All in all, though, this is a solid memoir, of particular interest to those who watched the TLC show or those who have experienced leaving a highly controlling conservative environment.

Redigerat: nov 13, 10:59 am

(158 books read)

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer --

"Two men on an island, and both blame the water
for the loss of a wife and the death of a daughter
but neither ever married, and neither's a father.
What is the secret of the girls and the water?"

Lucy grew up reading the Clock Island books by the reclusive author Jack Masterson. She even ran away to his island at age thirteen, hoping to become his sidekick. (He was very polite, though he did call the police to escort her back home.) Now she's a grown-up living in California, barely scraping by. There's a little boy, Christopher, who attends the school she works at that she'd love to adopt, but she can't afford a car and a safe living situation, though she's saving every penny. When Jack invites her to the island to take part in a game, she can't afford to say no: the prize is the only copy of a new Clock Island book, which could then be sold for hundreds of thousands, or maybe even millions of dollars. Lucy is determined to win, but so are the other participants -- and the contest is no child's game...

This is a rarity: a puzzle novel for grown-ups. Readers who grew up on The Westing Game, The Mysterious Benedict Society, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are the prime audience for this book. It's full of whimsy, but just the right amount for this reader (your mileage may vary). If you're intrigued by riddles and mysterious islands inhabited by eccentric figures, you'll find this a rewarding experience.

Redigerat: nov 13, 11:24 am

(159 books read)

Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education by Stephanie Land -- In Maid, Land talked about her experiences as a single mother working as a house cleaner to support herself and her daughter. Class continues the story of Land's struggle to get an education while still fighting to make ends meet. Now a student in Missoula, Montana, Land still works cleaning jobs in between classes, while her daughter starts kindergarten. She struggles to get government aid, where the attitude is clearly that she ought to be working rather than trying to get a college degree, and she fights to get child support from her abusive ex-husband. When she finds herself pregnant again at age 35, during her senior year of college, it's a race to the finish line, with uncertain conditions awaiting her at the end.

Land's first book left me wholly sympathetic toward her struggle, while this book leaves me a little more conflicted. It's easy to think, "I would have made different choices in that situation," when you haven't been in that exact situation. Still, I do think she exhibits terrible taste in men in this book, and I didn't need quite so many details of her romantic encounters. In my review of Maid, I noted some bouncing around in the timeline, and I noticed the same sort of thing happening in this book at times. If you enjoyed Maid and want more of Land's story, this is the place to go. I wouldn't recommend reading Class without having read Maid, as it does rely on knowledge of her previous experiences.

nov 13, 4:30 pm

>236 foggidawn: >237 foggidawn: I am intrigued by both of these. I too never watched more than an episode here and there of 19 Kids, but the drama around it definitely heightened my interest.

nov 14, 1:04 am

>236 foggidawn: I've never watched 19 Kids and counting either, but my mom did. I've not read the book, but what a sad story for most of the kids. I'd be interesting in learning more about the family. I'm glad that some of the kids have broken away from the teachings and even the family. I do feel bad for Anna Duggar, with Josh as her husband. I hope she can divorce him. What a sad situation.

nov 14, 9:23 am

>237 foggidawn: Oh this sounds like fun!

nov 14, 1:35 pm

>239 curioussquared: Yes, I wasn't particularly interested in the show either, but there was plenty of drama surrounding it.

>240 vancouverdeb: It's a sad situation indeed.

>241 bell7: It is a very fun book! I hope the author writes more books along these lines.

nov 14, 1:52 pm

(160 books read)

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson -- Noa wakes up in space. Literally. He's in a spacesuit tethered to a ship, floating among the stars. And he has no idea how he got there. Another teen, DJ, is inside, giving him what directions he can through the comms, considering that he also just woke up aboard a spaceship. Jenny, a third teen, is also on board the ship with no memory of how she got there. Together the three of them must stop the ship for malfunctioning and try to make their way home to Earth, or at least figure out who put them aboard the ship in the first place. The answer will be stranger than any of them could have imagined.

This is a wacky and, yes, complicated adventure, and I did not predict the twists toward the end of the book. The romance between Noa and DJ is very sweet, but I didn't feel that Jenny got very much character development, but remained a bit clichéd for the entirety of the book. I liked the way the author explored various scenarios; the Groundhog Day pastiche was my favorite. If you enjoy YA science fiction, this is worth picking up.

Redigerat: nov 14, 2:59 pm

Menu update this week: we'll probably have cube steaks and cheese squash, and (again) some unspecified chicken dish, maybe a curry of some type? The chicken paprikash was good last week, but I'm wanting something with a little more heat next. Tomato garlic lentils are also a possibility.

Storytime update: last week we did hibernation/bears


Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illus, by Jane Chapman
Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep by Maureen Wright, illus. by Will Hillenbrand
Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming
Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead, illus. by Erin E. Stead

There are always plenty of songs and activities to go with this theme; we did a flannelboard with "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" and sang a song about a hibernating bear with a bear puppet (the bear goes into a tree stump and the kids yell "Wake up, bear!" to get him to come back out to sing the song again). Good times.

nov 15, 7:15 am

>244 foggidawn: oh, wow. I would have loved to be there...


nov 15, 12:56 pm

nov 15, 1:55 pm

>246 foggidawn: hahaha! Love it.

nov 15, 2:02 pm

>244 foggidawn: Very cute theme! I might pick up Bear Snores On for my niece for Christmas

nov 15, 2:18 pm

>247 fuzzi: :-)

>248 norabelle414: All of the Bear books by Karma Wilson are good picks.

Redigerat: nov 18, 10:09 am

(161 books read)

Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros -- It's Violet's second year at Basgiath War College, and if she thought First Year was dangerous and deadly...

I don't want to offer too many spoilers, as this is a sequel to the super-popular Fourth Wing, and you absolutely should read that one first. This one is similar in the level of heat, or maybe a little spicier than its predecessor. It ends in what I wouldn't exactly call a cliffhanger, but let's just say that there will definitely be a third book, and you'll be wanting it at the end of this one. (No news that I could find on when that book might come out, but we can probably start hoping for it in about a year?)

nov 19, 1:20 am

*lurking along but staying under the radar to try and avoid BBs*

nov 19, 10:59 am

>251 humouress: Ditto. This is a dangerous (in a good way) thread.

nov 20, 9:08 am

Huh? I could've sworn I heard people talking, but there's nobody here... ;-)

nov 20, 9:32 am

(162 books read)

System Collapse by Martha Wells -- This book takes place just after the events of Network Effect. ART is still waiting for the university to send a crew to repair his wormhole drive, and in the meantime, Barish-Estranza has shown up, looking for what they can salvage after the alien contamination disaster. Unfortunately, it looks like what they're most interested in salvaging is the planet's humans, forcing them into labor contracts and shipping them away. While the legal team works on finding a way to establish the colony's independence, Murderbot and some of its humans venture toward the planet's north pole, where a second group of settlers is rumored to have set up a colony. What will they find there? And why is Murderbot malfunctioning?

I always enjoy time spent with Murderbot, and this book is no exception. It's maybe not my favorite of the series, because I felt like there wasn't much opportunity for character development for the human characters. That's always been the case, except maybe in Network Effect, and it has to do with how much we are in Murderbot's head and how Murderbot has a hard time understanding humans. (Same, Murderbot, same.) But it bugged me a little more in this book; I don't know why. On the other hand, Murderbot got lots of interesting character development, much to its displeasure! I also may have been a little thrown off by the fact that I expected this book to be Murderbot and ART off on interspace adventures, and instead we're still at this one planet for the duration of the book. That's okay, we'll (probably?) get a space travel adventure next time, and I'll be there for it. Fans of the series should certainly not miss this instalment, but readers new to the series should, of course, start at the beginning.

nov 20, 9:46 am

Menu update: I might make those tomato garlic lentils, and I'm probably going to use up one of my bags of frozen cabbage rolls this week. Of course, the big Thanksgiving dinner is coming up. I've agreed to bring bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with pistachios, deviled eggs, sweet potato casserole (I make mine with crushed pineapple and a pecan topping, no marshmallows for me), and a couple of pies (pumpkin and apple). We'll be having the meal with John's parents and sister and his aunt, uncle, and cousins, so not a huge crowd.

Redigerat: nov 30, 12:23 am

>246 foggidawn: Such a cheerful event. 💖

I finally got started on The Lost Library. This was a BB in doubles, because I saved it twice, once from you and then from Beth (BLbera). So far so good.

Behind on all the threads... so bye for now.

Redigerat: nov 20, 12:13 pm

>235 foggidawn: My local library has a copy of that one, so I will see if I can get hold of it.

>236 foggidawn: those who have experienced leaving a highly controlling conservative environment. Yeah, I did and I do not want to read any more about it, lol

>237 foggidawn: Adding that one to the BlackHole! Thanks for the recommendation, foggi!

>243 foggidawn: I went to add that one to the BlackHole only to discover that it was already there. I am really going to have to get hold of a copy.

>250 foggidawn: I waited to read Fourth Wing until the sequel was out. I guess I need to get to it now!

>254 foggidawn: That one is up next in my reading queue.

Have a marvelous Monday, foggi!

nov 20, 12:34 pm

>256 SandyAMcPherson: Hope you enjoy The Lost Library more than I did!

>257 alcottacre: Hope you enjoy those BBs! A First Time for Everything just got the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, so if you find it harder to get a hold of than you expect, that might be why.

nov 20, 12:36 pm

>258 foggidawn: Cool about A First Time for Everything! My local library has a copy and I put it on hold, so hopefully I will get to read it soon.

nov 20, 2:03 pm

I can't wait to get into Iron Flame and System Collapse! You got through them fast!

nov 20, 4:10 pm

>260 compskibook: I jumped right on them as soon as they arrived!

nov 21, 12:00 pm

(163 books read)

Flying Solo by Linda Holmes -- When Laura returns to her childhood hometown to deal with her great-aunt Dot's estate, she also rekindles a romance with Nick, the town librarian and her first love. A hand-carved duck decoy found in a cedar chest leaves Laura with lots of questions about her aunt's life and the romances she may have had over the years. But neither the mystery nor the romance are enough to keep her in the small town long-term: she's determined to finish up the work of sorting through Dot's stuff and return to her single life in Seattle. It does make her wonder, though, if a relationship with Nick has to be one thing or another...

A fun read, but I suspect not a memorable one. I liked the subplot about the duck, which is stolen and rescued in a heist-like maneuver. I thought the ending was realistic but not particularly satisfying in regards to Nick, and I had trouble empathizing with some of Laura's choices. I'll read more by this author, but I preferred her previous book, Evvie Drake Starts Over, to this one.

nov 23, 10:55 am

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it today!

nov 24, 9:52 am

(164 books read)

Hey, Hun: Sales, Sisterhood, Supremacy, and the Other Lies Behind Multilevel Marketing by Emily Lynn Paulson -- In this memoir, Paulsen talks about her journey into and out of a multilevel marketing (MLM) company. Interspersed with her own narrative are factual tidbits about how MLMs work, why so few salespeople succeed in them, and why they're still so appealing, especially to white suburban moms. Paulson was one of the few who attained success, getting her "FREE" (spoiler: not really free) car and six-figure paychecks before waking up to the slimy reality of company structure and practices that caused so many of the friends she recruited to lose money rather than gain it. She also talks about the role her alcoholism and subsequent recovery played in her MLM involvement.

I've never been a salesperson for an MLM, but like most white, middle-class women of my generation, I've known several people who have. (I think I still have some nail wraps somewhere from supporting a co-worker's venture, and actually some of those kitchen gadgets that a church friend pushes are pretty handy.) I was aware going into this book about the pyramid-scheme-like nature of MLMs, but was intrigued about why so many seemingly intelligent people are taken in by them. Paulsen comes across as strident, entitled, and uncaring in places -- I think this is because she writes from the frame of mind she was in at the time of the events. She speaks cavalierly of her children and husband and her experience of motherhood before the MLM -- which, fair enough, she is allowed to have and express her feelings, but it didn't make her any more likeable. There's also a fair amount of profanity, which surprised me. Her desire to help people caught in MLMs is clear, though sometimes her reasoning isn't. In particular, while I agree with her points that MLMs are racist, sexist, and classist in structure, some of her early attempts to tie in white supremacy were a little shaky (though when she got to the pandemic and noticed her co-saleswomen buying into QAnon and similar rhetoric, it became clearer where she was coming from). An interesting read if you're interested in the topic, though the writing could be cleaner.

Redigerat: nov 24, 3:51 pm

>264 foggidawn: I think autobiographical works that portray the author as hard to like flawed are probably more accurate to reality than otherwise.

nov 24, 4:13 pm

>265 quondame: That is most likely the case.

nov 24, 4:14 pm

>263 foggidawn: Thanks, foggi! I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

nov 27, 9:21 am

>267 alcottacre: I did, thanks! The food was delicious and it was nice to see some of John's family who aren't often in town.

nov 27, 9:36 am

(165 books read)

The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick -- Liv works as a cleaner. Her favorite client is Essie Starling, who also happens to be Liv's favorite author. Essie is a noted recluse, and Liv is one of the few people she talks to. When Essie dies, Liv is astonished to discover that Essie has left her the monumental task of finishing her last novel. Liv has six months to polish the manuscript and write the final chapters, and during that time, she is required to keep Essie's death a secret. Liv feels she can't finish the novel without a deeper knowledge of Essie, so she tracks down certain people who played important roles in Essie's life -- but she can't tell them that Essie is gone! Also, there's a journalist poking around...

I'm often intrigued by books with authors as characters, though reading about the act of writing is not always exactly enthralling. In this case, there's enough sleuthing going on as Liv delves into Essie's past that it's not all about the writing. Liv makes some savvy choices as well as some foolish ones, and there's a good bit of interpersonal tension as her marriage feels the strain not just from her own secrets, but from the things her husband is hiding as well. All in all, if you like a character-forward book about writing and the publishing industry, give this a go.

nov 27, 10:18 am

Menu update: I have chili, lasagna, and mujadara (lentils and rice with caramelized onions) on the list for this week. We still have a few small containers of Thanksgiving leftovers (mostly veggies, a tiny bit of turkey) that will be gone for lunches in the next day or two. I'm hankering to bake something sweet. Maybe cookies, or maybe just another pumpkin pie, as I didn't get enough of it to be tired of it yet.

We're planning on visiting a local tree farm to get our Christmas tree on Friday, so decorating will be happening then. I have some cleaning (mostly dusting and vacuuming) and organizing to do before I can decorate -- always the least-fun part of the process.

nov 27, 11:11 am

>270 foggidawn: once the pumpkin is gone I'm planning on trying one of my friend's recommendations, a cranberry/apple pie. Seems one year while making pies she ran out of apples and threw in fresh cranberries. Yum.

nov 27, 11:57 am

>269 foggidawn: Into the BlackHole it goes!

Have a marvelous Monday, foggi!

nov 27, 3:03 pm

>270 foggidawn: We're planning on visiting a local tree farm to get our Christmas tree on Friday
Will John be bringing his famous chainsaw???

nov 27, 4:53 pm

>271 fuzzi: Sounds yummy!

>272 alcottacre: Enjoy, and back atcha!

>273 norabelle414: Hahahahahahahahaha! I think they usually have saws on hand, but maybe just bow saws, so maybe I should suggest it to him!

nov 30, 12:29 am

>258 foggidawn: Re The Lost Library (Rebecca Stead), I did enjoy it -worth, although with some caveats . Reviewed yesterday (main book page).

nov 30, 4:39 pm

>275 SandyAMcPherson: I enjoyed reading your review. It does sound like you enjoyed it slightly more than I did, as I left my rating a solid 3.

nov 30, 5:01 pm

(166 books read)

Parachute Kids by Betty C. Tang -- Ten-year-old Feng-Li is excited about her family's vacation in America: they're planning on seeing the sights around L.A. and going to Disneyland! What's less exciting is when their parents tell Feng-Li and her older siblings that they're actually staying in America. What about her friends back in Taiwan? What about school? Over the course of the next few months, first their father and then their mother must return to Taiwan as their visas expire. The kids are left to take care of themselves, with the assistance of family friends who live not far away. Will they be able to get by on their own, living under the radar due to their own expired visas? Or will they run into trouble? And when will their parents be able to return?

This is a fascinating story drawn from the author's real-life experiences, combined with those of other parachute kids in similar situations. The art and writing are both good, and I liked the use of colored speech bubbles to denote when the characters were speaking their mother tongue. If you enjoy juvenile graphic novels featuring real-life stories, add this one to your reading list!

dec 1, 5:26 pm

>276 foggidawn: Thanks for mentioning that you read that review. I often wonder if my talk-thread buddies go and look at my "main book page" public reviews.

Awhile ago, I decided to mostly post the reviews on my Talk thread where I "-liked" the story or I had a big snark about a book for whatever reason.

Nowadays, I do review absolutely every book read, because my annual reading count has at least doubled since I retired. Since I had time to read what I wanted instead of trying to stay current with what I was supposed to know for my work-related activities, I was beginning to lose track of what the plots were in individual novels.

Redigerat: dec 2, 1:32 am

>277 foggidawn: Wow! I didn't know this (that the kids stay and the parents slip back and forth). Kind of scary to think about. All the what-ifs that could go wrong.

I checked our PL and there are multiple holdings, so this can be a BB for me! Thanks for the interesting review.

>277 foggidawn: Fabby BB! Edited (late the next evening) to say, Yup, Parachute Kids was a very interesting novel. A quick read, and I have posted my review on Talk.

I will wait awhile to post on the public book page. I'd love to see what other comments might come forward in my Talk thread.

dec 2, 10:48 am

>278 SandyAMcPherson: I post all of my reviews both on my talk thread and on the book page. I don't get a lot of "thumbs" on my book page reviews, but I hope and assume that they are helpful to people nonetheless. (I know that they are on Talk, as I get people "complaining" about BBs!) I review almost everything I read, though sometimes I don't bother with later entries in long series.

>279 SandyAMcPherson: Glad you enjoyed Parachute Kids! It is a scary concept; so many things could go wrong. I think in a lot of cases the kids are left with friends or distant relations, but still.

dec 2, 12:53 pm

Menu update: all of the things from last week that didn't get made! We ended up eating with friends and family a couple of times this past week, and eating out yesterday afternoon, which left us not hungry for supper.

We did get our Christmas tree on Friday -- we ended up getting a pre-cut one from a nursery, as it was miserably drizzly and neither of us felt like tramping through the fields. I did a lot of the holiday decorating yesterday evening, but didn't do anything to the tree other than putting the lights on it. I will work on putting up ornaments tomorrow. I also bought garland for the stair rail last year on clearance, but I need to dust and clean the bannisters before I can put that up.

Redigerat: dec 2, 2:14 pm

Storytime update: No storytime this past week, but I am reading Christmas stories tonight at a tree lighting in a nearby village. I've picked out some fun ones:


Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Sleigh by Mo Willems
Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
Santa's New Sleigh by Caroline Crowe

I may grab some others before heading over there so I have enough variety to not get tired of them, as the idea is that I'll be reading whenever a group of kids stops by our assigned spot. We also have a marshmallow snowman craft for them to do. The weather is supposed to be decent, so I'm hoping for a pleasant time.

dec 4, 4:42 pm

Sounds like a fun outreach event. I hope you didn't get too cold!

dec 4, 4:56 pm

>283 MickyFine: I was a little chilly by the end of the evening, but all in all it went well!

dec 7, 7:22 am

>282 foggidawn: I'm glad I'm not the only one reading Christmas children's books!

dec 7, 7:45 am

>1 foggidawn: Have I said, that's a gorgeous photo of Lottie.

dec 7, 9:52 am

>285 thornton37814: For sure! At my school visits yesterday, I focused on Santa Claus:


How Does Santa Go Down the Chimney by Mac Barnett, illus. John Klassen
The Great Santa Stakeout by Betsy Bird, illus. Dan Santat
The Animals' Santa by Jan Brett
Five Little Monkeys Looking for Santa by Eileen Christelow
(It's a parochial school, so I knew they'd be comfortable with Christmas books -- for a public school visit, I'd either add in some other holiday stories, or just go with a wintery theme.)

>286 humouress: Thanks! She's very photogenic. :-)

dec 8, 9:14 am

(167 books read)

The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty -- Amina was a pirate once, but now she's retired. She just wants to live in peace, raising her daughter -- until the day an old woman comes to her door with an offer Amina can't refuse: enough money to secure her whole family's future for generations if she rescues the kidnapped daughter of a former shipmate. Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems at first...

I enjoyed this, but it didn't flow along smoothly for me. I suspect I wasn't exactly in the right frame of mind for it, and it's probably not the book's fault at all. If you're intrigued by fantasy on the high seas with pirates and magic and a swashbuckling middle-aged heroine, I encourage you to pick this one up!

dec 8, 10:18 am

>288 foggidawn: Maybe it's just the wrong time of year for feisty lady pirate fantasy. I read this one when the weather was warmer and I really enjoyed it, but I doubt it would suit me right now.

dec 8, 2:26 pm

>289 clamairy: I've had a hard time for the past couple of years getting into big epic fantasy stories. I just can't seem to find the brain space. This makes me sad, because I have enjoyed so many in the past, and because the authors keep writing them, and I want to be able to really sink into those big, imaginative worlds like I used to. I'm hoping that eventually I'll get back into the mood for them. I try one every so often, just to see. And some kinds of fantasy still work very well for me; it just depends.

dec 8, 3:06 pm

>289 clamairy: That's an interesting concept; I've never considered that. Mind you, since the weather here is pretty similar all year round, I don't have to worry about it :0)