Humouress adventures on in 2023

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Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2023

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Humouress adventures on in 2023

Editado: Jan 4, 5:55 pm

Alrighty! here we go. Happy New 2023!!

(filling this post up gradually):

Sunset and moonrise at Stonehenge ten days before the Summer Solstice on 21st June 2022 - from our trip to England last year

Sunset from the top (yes - the top!; we climbed it) of Sydney Harbour Bridge on the Summer Solstice on 22nd December 2022 - from our trip to Sydney last/ this year

first 12 are mine

>2 humouress: ticker & covers (this thread)

>3 humouress: books (this thread; 1st quarter) March
>4 humouress: February
>5 humouress: January

>6 humouress: constellation
>7 humouress: icons
>8 humouress: reading inspirations

>9 humouress: currently reading
>14 humouress: welcome in!

(I should warn you that I may get off to a slow start on LT as we're away for the holidays.)

75 Book Challenge 2022 thread 4

Since my Jasper is a continent away at the moment, these are my cousin's two mini schnauzer mixes. They're so cute! The younger one, on the right, is still puppy-like and eager to please. The older guy just walks up to you and stands there until you give him a massage - at least Jasper gives me his goofy grin :0)

Editado: Ontem, 10:42 am



Editado: Abr 26, 12:39 pm

(if it's got a tick, I've posted my review to the book's page; stars are self-explanatory; clicking on the number will take you to the post where I've at least put down some ideas; last is the book title and, hopefully, year of publication. I hope you appreciate the alliteration)

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


14) The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher
13) Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Tania Hibbert
12) Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
11) Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep
10) Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Editado: Ontem, 10:43 am

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


9) The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II by Karen Dolby (audio)
8) Into the Void by Tim Lebbon
7) The Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan
    6) The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato (2014)

Editado: Abr 26, 12:30 pm

review posted/ rated/ written/ read

/ / (#) / Title


5) Seeress of Kell by David Eddings
4) The Glasswrights' Apprentice by Mindy Klasky (2000)
3) Spinning Silver by Naomi Novak
2) Unforgettable Fifth at Trebizon by Anne Digby (1994)
1) Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Editado: Jan 3, 10:10 am

The constellation:

  You have got to read this one!                           
  Really good; worth reading                                 
     Good, but without that special 'something' for me   
      Very nice, but a few issues                                    
         An enjoyable book                                                   
         Um, okay. Has some redeeming qualities                   
              Writing is hard. I appreciate the work the author did    
             (haven't met one - yet)                                              
                  Rated only as a warning. Run away. Don't stop.              

Purple stars, from Robin's thread:


Robin has made coloured stars for me (happy dance) and the codes are now enshrined in my profile.

Editado: Mar 10, 11:16 pm

Reading at home :

‘Waiting for the boys to finish classes’ book :

Bedtime reading :Tashi series (yes, still), Robin Hood, Swallows & Amazons

Kindle :

Downtime : Skulduggery Pleasant

school parents' Book club (on holiday)

SF/F Book club Six of Crows (we haven't had a chance to meet & discuss for a while)

online story

audio book

Overdrive start line & bookmarks:
Blood and Iron
The Tiger's Daughter
The Game of Kings

The Storyteller’s Death
Psalm for the Wild-built
Lost Tribe of the Sith
Ruler of Naught
Rebel of the Sands

(Things in Jars

Get a Life Chloe Brown

The Librarian of Crooked Lane
Kill the Queen
The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II

The Golem and the Djinni

The Invisible Life of Adie LaRue
Practical Magic
Book Lover

The High Mountain Court
Daughter of the Moon Goddess
You and Me on Vacation



Editado: Jan 24, 1:37 pm

Reading inspirations

Ongoing series and/ or group reads:

The Dark is Rising - Susan Cooper
Chronicles of the Cheysuli - Jennifer Roberson
Chronicles of the Kencyrath - P. C. Hodgell (group read, started January 2018; thread 2)
Tashi - Anna Fienberg
The Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold (2014-2017 group read - savouring it before I run out of these glorious books)
**Farseer (group read starting March 2018)
***The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan (relaxed group read starting January 2019)
{Tor read
Belgariad Mallorean - group read 2022 with Stasia & Paul (amongst others)
Ranger's Apprentice - John Flanagan (group read starting January 2019)

Discworld: Death - Terry Pratchett (group read 2023 starting with Mort in February)

Ooh, what about...

Lunar Chronicles
Vatta/Honor Harrington
*Ready Player One
Earthsea book 1

*sigh* I didn't advance a great deal with these last year. Let's see what happens this year ...

Editado: Jan 1, 8:28 am

Currently reading


Editado: Jan 1, 12:28 pm

TIOLI Challenge bookmark:

January TIOLI

Editado: Jan 2, 9:54 am

Reviews for 2022:


Reviews outstanding for the year:

1st quarter

Editado: Jan 1, 8:40 am

Happy New Year 2023!!

Jan 1, 8:12 am

Wishing you a comfortable reading year in 2023, Nina. xx

Jan 1, 8:35 am

>13 PaulCranswick: Thank you Paul. I wish you the same, too.

Jan 1, 11:44 am

Happy New Year, Nina! Dropping a star.

Jan 1, 11:51 am

Happy New Year to you too Mamie!

Jan 1, 12:03 pm

Enjoy your summer break in Aus, Nina!

Jan 1, 3:33 pm

Enjoy your 2023 reading!

Jan 1, 8:16 pm

Happy new reading year!

Jan 1, 8:44 pm

Happy New Year, Nina!

Jan 1, 9:22 pm

Happy reads in 2023!

Jan 1, 10:42 pm

Hi Nina, I have you starred.

Jan 1, 10:48 pm

Happy new year Nina!

Jan 1, 10:49 pm

Jan 2, 3:17 am

Happy new thread for the new year Nina!

Jan 2, 7:49 am

I haven't been doing the Wordle etc games since coming away on holiday. Here's the first of the year:
Wordle 562 3/6


Jan 2, 11:34 am

Happy new year, Nina. Pleased to see you hanging out again this year.

Jan 2, 1:57 pm

Happy New Year, Nina! I hope we can get up to some more book antics together this year.

Jan 2, 8:26 pm

>28 MickyFine: Thank you Micky! And to you, too.

Jan 2, 8:27 pm

>29 alcottacre: Thank you Stasia! Absolutely - looking forward to more book shenanigans.

Jan 2, 8:36 pm

>27 humouress: New streak starts today!

Jan 2, 9:58 pm

>32 richardderus: In that case, I'll do another one:

Wordle 563 3/6


Jan 3, 12:12 am

Dropping off a customary star for you! Happy new year and thread!

Jan 3, 5:01 am

>34 vikzen: Nice to see you again Victoria! Happy New Year to you too.

Editado: Jan 3, 10:40 am

1) Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton


Amani and her mother always planned on leaving Dustwalk, a small town in the country of Miraji whose claim to fame was manufacturing guns. Now that her mother has died, Amani disguises herself as a boy, since women and girls have very few rights, and she plans to use her skills as a sharpshooter to earn enough money to leave. But a foreign-looking boy spoils her plans - and then she keeps running into him. The book is full of myths, legends and stories with a touch of magic to them, such as the one about the Rebel Prince; but we come face to face with the magic and realise that in this world, those stories are true.


Jan 3, 10:09 am

>33 humouress: Yay even more!

Jan 3, 1:12 pm

Happy new year and happy new thread! I think Rebel of the Sands is on my TBR list somewhere.

Jan 3, 5:55 pm

>37 richardderus: Thank you :0) Fingers crossed the streak continues.

Jan 3, 5:55 pm

>38 foggidawn: Thank you! I suspect RotS was a book bullet for me - I'll have to do some digging to remember from whom.

Jan 3, 5:59 pm

>36 humouress: Adding that one to the BlackHole! Thanks for the review and recommendation, Nina.

Editado: Jan 3, 10:03 pm

2) Unforgettable Fifth at Trebizon by Anne Digby

{Fourteenth of 14 in Trebizon series; children's, boarding school stories, girls, adventure, school stories}(1994)

The last book in the series starts right after the end of the previous book, with the Trebizon friends on the boat returning from their exchange trip to Paris. They have a lot of studying to do as their GCSE exams are coming up this term. A lot of their Garth college friends have A Levels or GCSEs to sit as well, and Rebecca's friend Cliff has his GCSEs as well. Meanwhile, the girls discover that Mulberry Cove and Mulberry Island are up for sale which could seriously curtail the School's activities on the beach and will mean the closure of the sailing school which they use in summer unless the Action Committee can do something about it. And after the exams, their French exchange friends will be returning the visit in time for the Commemoration Ball and to go home with them for the holidays - during which they will all receive their exam results, after Rebecca's sixteenth birthday.

This book is as full of action as ever while retaining a fairly realistic focus on school life. It ends with most of the beloved characters getting the results they were hoping for and looking forward to a future of possibilities and with Rebecca looking forward to her last two years of school in the Sixth forms. It would have been nice if Digby had closed out the series by taking her to the end of her school career but it leaves Rebecca and her friends in a good place, and with a certain friendship moving on a step.

Although most of the series was a re-read for me, I hadn't read this book before. When I first read the series of the four styles of covers the books I read were the earlier two, more realistic ones (Richard Jones is the only name I can find)which I've always liked and I still think they hold up well although Lucy Truman's covers for the reissue are fun too.


Jan 3, 8:03 pm

>36 humouress: BB! I've got that checked out now.

Editado: Jan 4, 10:46 am

>43 quondame: Hi Susan; welcome over! A BB straight out of the gates. That's pretty good going for me :0)

ETA: Hmm - I suspect my BB must have come from DeltaQueen50.

Jan 4, 7:11 am

I had to post this pattern:

Wordle 564 3/6


Jan 5, 2:27 pm

Happy new year, Nina! Rebel of the Sands might have been me. I enjoyed the whole series. It came out around the same time as An Ember in the Ashes and I think suffered from the comparison -- with two middle eastern-inspired YA fantasies releasing around the same time, it was bound to happen. The Ember in the Ashes series I think got more attention and acclaim, but I honestly preferred the Hamilton books.

Jan 5, 9:41 pm

>46 curioussquared: Thank you Natalie!

Rebel of the Sands could have been your fault - I know I take a lot of hits on your thread - although when I did a search, I think Judy read it last year whereas you read it a couple of years ago and I only requested it from the library recently which is why I gave her the blame credit.

Jan 5, 10:03 pm

You have a very interesting collection of libraries listed. I recognized the K, but had to look up the other 2. I look forward to seeing what you read from them.

Jan 5, 10:43 pm

>48 dreamweaver529: Thank you Amanda and welcome over!

And thanks for the reminder - I just added (back) another library. It's a consequence of living all over the world. The K is actually my s-i-l's account - shh! - but I only use it if there's a book bullet I'm desperate to read and I can't find it anywhere else.

Jan 5, 11:04 pm

I don't want any blame - but I'll take all the credit I can! I am glad that you enjoyed Rebel of the Sands. I am planning on reading the second in the trilogy, Traitor to the Throne in April.

I've placed my star here, Nina, and I am hoping to be a little more present that I have been in the past. Here's hoping 2023 brings everyone great reads!

Jan 5, 11:55 pm

I'm all for library use - any circulation is good circulation.

I actually have a card for that library as I live in the Greater Seattle Area. They have a great selection of digital material.

Jan 6, 6:43 am

>50 DeltaQueen50: Welcome over Judy!

If you're doing the TIOLI challenges this year, we could do a shared read of Traitor to the Throne.

Jan 6, 6:45 am

>51 dreamweaver529: Oh - I forgot to tell you that I copied the list you posted for Natalie and sent it to my s-i-l. Although she seems to use the library for a lot of council services more than for reading.

Jan 6, 11:45 am

>53 humouress: I'm glad I could help. I love the fact that the systems around here collaborate to give people as much access as possible.

Jan 6, 3:32 pm

>52 humouress: Definitely doing the TIOLI Challenges so a shared read is on the calendar!

Jan 7, 2:25 am

>54 dreamweaver529: :0)

>55 DeltaQueen50: Alrighty! Though you might have to remind me a bit closer to the time. Looks like there should be no problem borrowing it then (fingers crossed).

Jan 7, 7:12 am

Wordle 567 4/6


Another interesting pattern. It was this or that and I went for that instead of this.

Jan 7, 11:56 pm

And today's:

Wordle 568 3/6


Jan 8, 1:37 am

Howdy neighbour!

Jan 10, 2:49 am

Happy reading in 2023, Nina!

Jan 10, 8:17 am

Love the Sydney photo, Nina. Belated happy new year, too.

Jan 13, 8:24 am

>60 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita! And to you too.

Jan 13, 8:24 am

>61 charl08: Thank you Charlotte!

Jan 13, 8:30 am

Apologies for the silence; we took a family beach holiday up the coast a bit. We stayed in a holiday house with the rest of the family, including my sister's Japanese spitz and had fun. Lily the dog discovered how much she loves the beach. We even did some surfing - which is to say we took one surfing lesson (my sister, my son and myself. I do suspect we might have got my mum on a board if we'd been a bit persuasive.) and I got further than I did in my last (which was my first) lesson three years ago. I actually managed to ride a couple of waves most of the way in!

So now I'm all excited about going on a surfing holiday next time.

That might be a bit too ambitious; but hey - sun, sea, waves. Why not?

Jan 13, 11:18 am

>64 humouress: Sounds lovely! Tim and I have flirted with doing a surfing lesson in Hawaii. Maybe something for next time. We both have pretty good balance; I'm a better swimmer, but I'm not sure how much that would matter for surfing!

Jan 13, 8:04 pm

>65 curioussquared: You should; it was fun and - since I did better this time - not too frustrating. Our last/ first lesson was on Waikiki Beach which does have rocks on the bottom so you don't want to be falling in too much (just remember when you fall in it's usually when the wave has gone so the water is shallower than you expect it to be). We learned a different technique for standing up on the board and I felt that this one (chicken wings, push up, back foot, front foot and then up into a wide-stance crouch) worked better for me but my son preferred the one we were taught in Hawai'i (similar, I think, except front foot and then back foot, according to him). Whichever, just keep it smooth and balanced.

Jan 13, 8:16 pm

>64 humouress: Surfing! Wow! Sounds like fun.

Jan 13, 8:22 pm

>67 figsfromthistle: It was!

I couldn't catch a wave by myself; our coach went in to get the next class but we could stay out and continue but I couldn't get very far (the wave would come in, I'd get ready on my board - and then the wave would go on without me). When he came back out, he'd pick the wave and then give us a push at the right time. He says working out the timing takes loads of practice so I don't feel bad about it. But managing to ride a wave in was a great feeling!

Jan 13, 8:55 pm

>68 humouress: I don't know about a wave, Nina, I couldn't catch a cold at the moment. I need to get off the sofa a little and get my blood circulating.

You will become my inspiration!

When are you back in Singapore?

Editado: Jan 13, 9:01 pm

>69 PaulCranswick: I'm hoping the surfing will/ will have worked off all the holiday calories. As you may remember, both my kids' birthdays are around this time of the year as well as Christmas, New Year - and, of course, all our relatives seem to feel obliged to host us to huge meals while we're here.

We're back in Singapore in a week - if I can persuade my son to leave ;0)

ETA: >59 PaulCranswick: oops, sorry, I missed you up there.

Jan 13, 9:19 pm

>70 humouress: If you don't get killed by kindness then your arteries will at least need to be explained to!

I lost two of my father's siblings (My Aunt and Uncle) in the last month. Not close to either of them but I do feel a little bit sorry for my father who was close especially to his sister.

Editado: Jan 13, 10:13 pm

>71 PaulCranswick: I'm sorry for your loss Paul.

We lost my uncle (my mum's sister's husband) last month but I'm still processing. Though it wasn't due to covid, covid doesn't make it any easier. I feel sad for my aunt, though I know she's the practical kind of person who will soldier on and look after everyone else.

Jan 13, 10:34 pm

>72 humouress: I don't think I have seen any of them for more than 30 years but still a little bit sad.

Jan 13, 10:44 pm

>73 PaulCranswick: Being on the other side of the world doesn't help, certainly. They live in the States so our paths haven't crossed much since we finished our stint there but he was still part of our lives.

Jan 14, 3:30 am

>68 humouress: I couldn’t surf to save my life! Rotten sense of balance and I absolutely hate falling in the water. Although I did enjoy bodyboarding when I was a child. My school was within walking distance of a good surfing beach, so if I didn’t learn then I’m definitely not going to learn now!

>71 PaulCranswick: >72 humouress: Sorry to hear about both your losses.

Jan 14, 12:34 pm

>75 SandDune: Thank you Rhian.

>75 SandDune: Maybe you just need warmer water to learn to surf?

Editado: Abr 26, 12:46 pm

3) Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik


Litsy notes & quotes

Borrowed this from the library (first time in years I've borrowed a physical book) and am enjoying it. Narrated in 1st person from the POVs of 3 (so far) different young women. Though the POV keeps changing, they don't get mixed up. Their lives are interlinked and they're all strong in their own ways, changing their lives for the better (at least Miryem and Wanda; I've only just met Irina). Still near the beginning but enjoying it.

Not yet halfway through. Miryem's actions have changed the lives of all 3 girls (all around 17-18 yo), initially for the better. About 1/3 in, those actions crystallise to change their lives again, but now they all face danger. A new POV is introduced at that point, in the form of Wanda's youngest brother Stepon.
Getting even more interesting.

Jan 15, 2:19 am

>74 humouress: & >75 SandDune: I received a thoughtful message from my cousin, who I haven't seen in an age, after I posted something about his late Dad, my uncle.

They are the Welsh branch of my family as my Uncle married a lady from the valleys and relocated to the coalfields of South Wales before I was born. They are fiercely proud of their Ebbw Vale roots or though my cousin's son is now a lecturer at Leeds Beckett's University. I will make a point of touching base with him when I am back in the UK.

Jan 17, 1:12 am

Made my pilgrimage to/ conducted a raid on Galaxy Books in Sydney. I think it’ll have to count as part of this year’s Thingaversary haul. Will list them later …

Jan 17, 1:15 am

Glad you had fun at the beach and conquered some waves!! I've never tried surfing but I want to. I just need warmer water than the Oregon coast. LOL. Either that or a bodysuit!

Awating raid details...

Jan 18, 9:23 am

>78 PaulCranswick: That's nice. I've spent some time catching up with relatives here. A lot of my generation are traveling but it's important to catch up with my parents' generation at this point, too. And for the next generation to make connections, especially after the enforced break we've all had.

This morning we caught up with one of my son's best friends - they started school in year 1 together but his friend's family moved a few years ago and we spent a lovely morning together. We had taken a mini break in the CBD to meander around and do some sightseeing (not to mention some essential shopping *coughGalaxyBookscough*)

Jan 18, 9:32 am

>80 Berly: Right now we've got the suitcases open and are wondering how to fit stuff in. The raid details may have to wait until we're back - unless I get fed up with the packing and do a little LT admin on the side.

My son asked our coach how high the waves were, expecting them to be a metre or three, but they were apparently only a foot high. Things seem so much more ... exciting when you're actually out in the water. And the first time I came off the board I realised the water itself was barely knee high when I jarred my ankle slightly, expecting it to be much deeper. I was more careful when I fell off after that.

As for bodysuits, I'd bought one the day before so I inaugurated it then (I hate cold water; I'm legendary for taking forever to get into swimming pools). So now I have to do more surfing, right?

Jan 19, 5:57 pm

LOL. I thought surfing was more of a warm-water sport.

Jan 20, 8:49 pm

>83 The_Hibernator: For me, it has to be. But I'd still rather wear a wetsuit to make sure I don't get cold(er).

Editado: Jan 21, 6:23 am

AAAaargh!! The joys of living in the tropics. When I was walking around our attic (which is a fully functioning third floor (with awkward ceiling heights), but tends to be used as a dumping ground/ storage area at the moment) the floor felt like it was dipping in places. My husband had it investigated while I was away and it looks like the termites have invaded so there's currently a termite bait trap there somewhere.

And I may have mentioned a couple of years ago that the cupboard I got for my cookbooks had dry rot so we got the bottom shelf (which was the one affected) changed. My husband's just told me the termites are back again. So the best option seems to be to get rid of the cupboard :0( At least I hadn't put more than about 10 books in yet (I'm trying to catalogue the ingredients lists first) but there are quite a few photo albums in it.

Well, I'm back in Singapore; we landed last night.

Jan 20, 8:58 pm

I would need a very patient surfboard if I were ever to attempt to assault the waves.

Gong Xi Fa Cai my dear (oftentimes) neighbour.

Jan 20, 9:00 pm

>85 humouress: Oh we cross posted. Glad to see you safely back and cleverly just in time for more holidays; sorry to see the termites took residence whilst you were elsewhere!

Jan 20, 9:03 pm

>86 PaulCranswick: Gong xi fa cai! Paul.

We're back just in time for the school term so my son is relieved to have a couple more days off, first.

Jan 20, 9:12 pm

>88 humouress: I think it is really good planning and, of course, a good time to be in Singapore!

Jan 21, 6:21 am

>89 PaulCranswick: Absolutely. Completely intentional, of course.

Jan 21, 1:21 pm

Glad to hear that you are safely back home, Nina, but terrible news about the termites. I hope you guys are able to get rid of them before they cause even more damage.

Let me know when you are ready to begin The Seeress of Kell.

Jan 21, 8:53 pm

Sorry to hear about the termites...again. Quick! Save the cookbooks!

Jan 22, 1:52 am

>91 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia! I did start a book last night but I'm happy to read 'Seeress' this month. I can read it next.

Aargh! the termites. When we bought the house about 15 years ago, we stripped it and renovated it, so we made sure to termite-proof it by signing up with a pest control company who put bait traps around the garden which they (are supposed to) constantly check. But our house is a semi-detached and the bugs seem to come in via the dividing wall. I was annoyed the first couple of times we had termites but now I'm resigned. As long as they can get rid of them with not too much damage I won't mind too much. But I wish they could get rid of them on a permanent basis.

Jan 22, 1:54 am

>92 Berly: Thanks Kim. What few cookbooks are in the cupboard are on the higher shelves and seem alright for now. Better check though ...

Jan 22, 11:36 pm

>93 humouress: I wish they could get rid of them on a permanent basis. I bet! Maybe this time will do the trick.

I will start The Seeress of Kell this next week so that I can finish it by the 31st (since I put it on my list of TIOLI challenges for the month, lol).

Jan 23, 1:42 pm

And another reminder of why I live where the air hurts my face. Termite issues are super rare.

Jan 23, 3:06 pm

>96 MickyFine: Hmm. On the other hand, I’m really not a cold weather person. I’ll take the trade-off, for now.

Jan 23, 3:19 pm

Ohh, sorry to hear about the termites, hopefully it's an issue that will soon go away! Sounds like you had a great holiday. Hope you get a chance to go surfing again soon.

Editado: Jan 23, 10:55 pm

Thanks Judy :0)

A friend tells us that a termite queen can grow to the size of a rabbit; hopefully he means a small rabbit.

Singapore has nice surfing weather - warm enough for me - but has no waves. But our coach told me that the east side of the Philippines is nice for beginner surfers, which isn’t too far away from us. Bali is famous for surfing but it’s for more advanced surfers and he pointed out that it has reefs underneath.

Jan 24, 4:42 am

>99 humouress: I wonder if it ever did have any waves or if there has been impact from the constant land 'reclamation' going on. Singapore will soon be bigger than Malaysia!

Editado: Jan 24, 8:04 am

>100 PaulCranswick: Well, we have sovereignty over Pedra Branca already :0)

I suspect Singapore is so sheltered that it never had waves. There was barely a ripple here during the Boxing Day tsunami despite our nearness to the epicentre in Aceh. The island is surrounded and protected by Indonesia and Malaysia.

Editado: Jan 24, 7:54 am

4) The Glasswrights' Apprentice by Mindy Klasky

{first of 5 in Glasswright series; fantasy} (2000)

She was born Rani Trader but we first meet the 13 year old protagonist shortly into her apprenticeship as a member of the Glasswrights' guild which her merchant family bought for her, thus raising her caste level and earning her a three-syllable name, that of Ranita Glasswright. In trying to prevent the assassination of the old king's heir, she inadvertently makes things worse and is then forced to run from pillar to post hiding from the king's soldiers as every sanctuary is stripped from her. She briefly finds a place among the Touched (who are casteless and therefore considered the lowest of the low), claiming the single syllable name 'Rai' and later hides in soldiers' barracks where she is called by the four-syllable name 'Ranimara'.

I would consider this a young adult book except for an instance when Rani is cornered by a soldier who is intent on having his way with her and there seems to be no escape which leads to a tense few minutes.

Litsy notes & quotes

Rani‘s merchant family paid her way into the glasswrights‘ guild thus making the 13 yo a guild member, raising her caste and earning her a 3 syllable name (Ranita). But then the heir to the crown is murdered, the glasswright guild is blamed and destroyed.
Published in 2000. Fun but too many adjectives, some used repetitively, which pulls me out of the narrative.

Halfway through. The adjectives aren‘t bothering me quite as much. Probably a combination of I‘m getting use to it/ the writing is settling in/ the action is picking up

This story is very much about the caste system in the capital City of Morenia as Rani is thrown from one to the other and her name changes to suit. This makes the action feel a bit disjointed and together with the overly descriptive language makes for a slow read. It looks like this was Klasky‘s 1st book; but the story is interesting enough - continuing on

3-3.5 ****

Jan 24, 12:16 pm

>102 humouress: I think I will give that one a pass, at least for the moment.

I hope your next read is better for you, Nina!

Jan 24, 12:34 pm

>103 alcottacre: Thanks Stasia. I’m just tidying up my review of Sorceress of Darshiva and then I’ll start Seeress of Kell - so it should be good!

Editado: Jan 26, 3:06 pm

I thought I should record my adventures in cooking. I don’t think I cook as much as I ought to - the culture in Singapore is to buy from food courts, which we do but we also (the kids especially) succumb to the lure of fast food. I usually end up trying new recipes, when I do cook, and often they’re from the internet.

Yesterday I made homemade pumpkin and ricotta (rather than potato) gnocchi with sage and butter (I suppose) dressing (for want of a better word). It was inspired by Michela Chiappa’s cooking show and I found the recipe on The Chiappa’s website. It came out quite nicely, though I did have to keep adding more flour; I suppose the pumpkin had more liquid than Italian pumpkins. But I’ve still got half the dough left, which I’ve put in the freezer so I can make more pasta at a later date, as well as maybe half of the pasta I made and cooked.

I found a recipe for the sauce on another site; I was expecting more flavour - I suppose I should have let the sage leaves cook longer and go crispy - and it was more of a coating than a sauce. Maybe the pasta absorbed most of the butter?

ETA: I noticed that the site with the sauce recipe suggests letting the mashed pumpkin sit over kitchen towel for a bit to drain off some liquid. That way you need less flour which should result in softer pasta.

Jan 24, 4:51 pm

>102 humouress: I bought this series as one of my earliest Kindles specials, but could never finish it. Rai++ keeps doing reprehensible things without taking responsibility and still "good" things and opportunities seem to keep randomly coming her way. It got way too ridiculous for me.

Jan 24, 5:25 pm

>199 humouress: Based on what I remember about insects from University I'm pretty sure that they can't get rabbit size. They'd suffocate.

Jan 24, 7:04 pm

>99 humouress: I’m going to have nightmares about that, for sure!

Jan 24, 11:23 pm

>106 quondame: Oh dear; I recently bought the rest of the series to fill the gap in my library. Maybe that’s why it took so long. No matter; I’m committed now.

Jan 24, 11:24 pm

>107 SandDune: Thank goodness!

Jan 24, 11:25 pm

>108 foggidawn: Well I wasn’t too comfortable with it. I’m going to believe Rhian :0)

Jan 26, 2:41 pm

>105 humouress: Hooray for adventures in cooking! I am not sure I would call mine adventures as much as disasters. . .

Jan 26, 3:06 pm

>112 alcottacre: That’s why they’re called adventures ;0)

But thanks for reminding me; I meant to add a note to that post.

Editado: Jan 27, 10:36 pm

My holiday shopping; I'm finally getting around to cataloguing them:

All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells
Liaden Universe Constellation IV by Sharon Lee
Liaden Universe Constellation Volume III (1) (BAEN) by Sharon Lee
The Stranger Times: (The Stranger Times 1) by C. K. McDonnell
The Kings of Clonmel (Ranger's Apprentice book 8) by John Flanagan
Reaper Man: (Discworld Novel 11) (Discworld Novels) by Terry Pratchett
Deryni Rising: 1 (Novel of the Deryni) by Katherine Kurtz
Blood Spirits: 2 (Dobrenica) by Sherwood Smith
Naamah's Kiss (Kushiel Legacy) by Jacqueline Carey
Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

I think that should do for most of my Thingaversary books (which is in about 7 months time).

This haul was from one raid on Galaxy's in Sydney.

Jan 28, 2:53 pm

>114 humouress: You can never start eary enough to get your future Thingaversary haul, Nina :-)

Jan 29, 7:22 pm

>114 humouress: Looks like a great haul!

Jan 29, 7:26 pm

>114 humouress: / >116 drneutron: It does indeed even though I haven't got a single one of 'em.

Jan 31, 4:27 am

>115 FAMeulstee: I never thought, in the early years of LT, that it would be a challenge to make up the numbers for a Thingaversary haul ... but 15 years later, far less bookshelf space and a not unlimited budget I've started to find it so.

I wonder who invented the Thingaversary rules and if there's a different set after 10 years?

Jan 31, 4:28 am

>116 drneutron: Thanks Doc! I've been busy cataloguing and tidying up my catalogue; in fact, I'm still in the middle of all that.

Jan 31, 4:29 am

>117 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul. Have I given you some ideas for your Thingaversary? Though I doubt you'd have any problems making up the numbers.

Jan 31, 2:03 pm

>118 humouress: I feel the same, Nina, I joined LT a few months earlier.
I like the idea of celebrating the day I joined LT. My Thingaversary haul may well fade in a couple of years.

Jan 31, 9:38 pm

>118 humouress: I wonder who invented the Thingaversary rules and if there's a different set after 10 years?

I have no idea, but I know it was not me. Not that I am complaining all that much, but buying 17/18 books at one shot may be beyond my financial resources, lol.

Jan 31, 9:40 pm

Interesting haul. I have yet to read anything by Wells so I think I will try the first book in the murderbot series.

Fev 1, 1:47 pm

>121 FAMeulstee: You may not be as notorious as Paul, Anita, but I’m sure you won’t have trouble finding books to read.

Fev 1, 1:55 pm

>122 alcottacre: Methinks she doth protest too much ;0)

Yup, it’s the one shot part that’s an issue.

Right now I’m finding that I’m going to have to reorganise my bookshelves again. I shelve (mainly) by author but it looks like I didn’t leave enough gaps the last time to allow for my treasure hunting acquisitions now that we can travel again. I did order some books in the intervening years, too - but the cost of shipping overseas (if Books Kinokuniya don’t have the ones I want) is a bit prohibitive. So I may have gone a bit overboard :0)

Fev 1, 2:01 pm

>123 figsfromthistle: You should give Murderbot a go, Anita. I’ve only read the first one so far but it was so much fun that I decided to get the series for my shelves. I liked her Cloud Roads too.

Fev 3, 11:50 pm

Have a great weekend neighbour. I am trying to get a court date moved on 13th February so I can get down South for some reason.

Fev 4, 3:22 am

>127 PaulCranswick: Fingers crossed for you Paul.

Fev 4, 3:25 am

5) Seeress of Kell by David Eddings

Editado: Ontem, 10:41 am

6) The Clockwork Dagger


{First of Clockwork Dagger duology +3; fantasy, steampunk, magic, adventure}(2014)


Litsy notes & quotes

- Just starting this as the protagonist saves a puppy‘s life only to find that he‘s destined for the dinner table. Threw me for a 6, especially as I‘d spent the afternoon protecting Jasper from a thunderstorm.

(I seem to be 5th in the hierarchy in his mind and that is my role: Protectoress from the Thunder. My other one is general Dogsbody/ Massager 🤷‍♀️)

- This book is a lot of fun (except for the collateral damage to animals and small children) and the touch of YA romance doesn‘t hurt.

Editado: Fev 7, 9:14 am

And one more for the acquisition pile: Mort for the group read of Discworld: Death

ETA: the series link doesn’t seem to show

Fev 5, 3:04 pm

>127 PaulCranswick: I wonder why? 😀

>128 humouress: I left you a private message with some details. Will also PM you my phone number and email address too, if you like, so we can coordinate.

Fev 9, 11:48 am

>132 drneutron: Looking forward to seeing you all :0)

Editado: Fev 9, 12:53 pm

7) The Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan

Continuing on with this series; Will is a seasoned full-fledged Ranger with his own, if sleepy, fief to look after. The first few chapters contrast the enjoyment of his attending the annual Ranger gathering (where he doesn't realise that he is a legend to the upcoming Ranger apprentices due to his exploits) with the tension of Halt (who is missing the Gathering for the first time) reconnoitring a coastal village which has been targeted by a cult. When the cult leader seems to recognise him, Halt realises that there is a link to his past which needs further investigation which results in Halt, Will and there erstwhile companion Horace traveling to Clonmel in Hibernia to confront the cult, called the Outsiders.

As much fun as the previous books. It could be read as a stand-alone although it refers to the previous adventure (The Siege of Macindaw) and, of course, continues the stories of the characters. We do get to see Jenny (from the first book of the series) in her element and though this adventure is completed by the end of the book, there are a couple of loose ends that hint at the next adventure.

I noticed that Halt became 'Michael' on occasions when he needed to conceal his name; the same name as Flanagan's son, whom he started writing this series for to show him that you don't need to be big and strong to be a hero.

Litsy notes & quotes

'No, no, not at all,' Horace said, realising that he'd annoyed the Ranger bur not sure how it had happened,
'It's just you don't have the ... He hesitated, not quite sure what it was that Halt didn't have.
'The haircut,' Will put in.
Halt's glare swung towards him. 'The haircut' It was not a question. It was a statement.
Will nodded easily. 'That's right. Royalty has a cerain sense of fashion to it. It has to do with bearing and behaviour and . .. haircuts.'
'You don't like my haircut?' Halt said. Will spread his hands innocently.
'Halt, I love it! It's just that it's a little Rufus the Roughnut for the brother of a king. It's not what I would call ...'
He paused, leaning across in his saddle to study Halt's pepper-and-salt hair more closely, ignoring the drawn-together brows and the dangerous look in Halt's eyes. Then he found the word he was looking for.
Horace had been watching this exchange with interest, grateful that Halt's ill temper had been channelled away from him for the time being. Now, however, he couldn't help buying back in.
'Sleek! That's the word. That's it. Your haircut isn't sleek enough. Royalty is sleek, above all other things'
'Do you find King Duncan . .. sleek?' Halt asked.
Horace nodded emphatically. 'When he wishes to be. On state occasions. There's a definite sleekness to the man.

Wouldn't you agree, Will?

Horace and Will tease Halt, who has always been a figure of authority in these books.

Reading this after finishing a group read of the original 10 books of the Belgariad universe and the banter is similar. Horace is not as naive as he used to be and gives as good as he gets. Horace, Halt and Will are on mission. Well paced and the action is described well and believable.


Editado: Fev 12, 12:22 am

More adventures in cooking: I made a macaroni-cauliflower-broccoli-cheese pie (fairly straight forward but I based it off Jamie Oliver's 'Ultimate Mac n Cheese' for the cheese sauce) which was eaten by everyone, even though my youngest, apparently, doesn't like cauliflower.

I took my heart in my hands and went for a trial saxophone lesson on Tuesday, which was fun. I bought a saxophone in Sydney (my cousin's son is an expert player so he helped me) and brought it back as cabin luggage so I'm committed, anyway. It's something I've sort of wanted to do for decades and I've signed up for classes.

I think Jasper really missed me. Apparently he moped for the first couple of weeks (just my younger son and myself went on holiday) but we noticed that, now we're back, he seems to be more than usually cuckoo when I come home, if I go out. I take ages to get back into routine after a holiday, so I've been at home a lot and I suppose he's used to me being around the place. Maybe he thinks, when I go out, that I might be going off on holiday again.

My older son sent us a photo of Jasper on the dog rug* while we were away. I don't know if it was because our scent was on it, or if it was comforting. I know that since we came back it's been raining and overcast and quite chilly (for Singapore - long sleeves weather) so it probably wasn't too warm to lie on and he has been lying on it a lot, even after we got back. He does have an unfortunate tendency to chew it, though, so I don't know how long it'll last.

ETA:- *you remember the saga from last year, when the boys used the dog rug more than Jasper did?

Fev 9, 7:30 pm

Aw, poor Jasper. He must have been so glad to see you when you got back!

Fev 9, 10:09 pm

Hi Nina, I am going to be celebrating 15 years of LT in June and have decided that I will spread my Thingaversary books over 4 months - so will buy 4 in March, 4 in April, 4 in May and 4 in June - which will give me my 16 books. Maybe as the years go up, we could start buying one books for every 5 years!

Fev 10, 12:27 am

>136 charl08: He absolutely was! We missed him too.

We could talk to our humans on video calls but, though we could see Jasper, for him the phone screen is just a piece of flat glass so we can't interact with him. There was one point where he seemed to recognise our voices over the phone and looked round for us but it didn't seem fair to keep trying to talk to him over the phone.

Fev 10, 12:29 am

>137 DeltaQueen50: Ooh; I'll be 15 in August. I think that's a good Thingaversary plan (wait! what am I doing? saying 'no' to more books? but ... bookshelf space. Ah, well).

Editado: Fev 10, 12:35 am

When we got back to Singapore I discovered that a pair of olive backed sunbirds had built a nest right outside my study. So I spent ages either tiptoeing around my desk or avoiding the study altogether. But then I didn't see the birds for a week or two. So last night I looked it up and it appears that the mating pair build a nest, abandon it for a week or two and then lay eggs. This morning I noticed a sunbird around the nest, so fingers crossed.

Sunbirds seem to like to build their nests right up against human houses. Though I wasn't using the study, the doors were opened every morning and shut every night and the gardeners (because my thumb isn't so green) would have been in the balcony once or twice.

The light brown doors to the right are some of my book cases, incidentally.

Fev 10, 8:00 am

>140 humouress: Oh Nice! The sunbird certainly knows how to pick a wonderful location. Also in full view of some of your bookcases too!

>135 humouress: Good luck with the saxophone lessons. I play saxophone as well but decided early on not to play classical on it ( I had enough classical with piano and F. Horn). Hope you enjoy it!

Happy Friday

Fev 11, 1:33 pm

Jasper! On the dog rug! He likes to keep you on your toes.

Fev 11, 3:20 pm

>140 humouress: Wow! Hope you get to see some baby sunbirds too.

I just read a review of a family memoir largely based in Singapore. I was so surprised to find my library already has a copy, so have requested one.

Fev 12, 12:08 am

>141 figsfromthistle: Thank you!

I saw a sunbird flitting around the nest just now as I came into the study, but I'm trying not to seem to be spying on them.

I've only had a trial lesson on the sax so far so I don't know yet what style of music I'll be taught; but it's called the Thunder Rock school so I'm guessing it'll be more modern.

Fev 12, 12:18 am

>142 curioussquared: Coincidentally, my son sent me this, this morning:

Fev 12, 12:19 am

>143 charl08: I'm hoping I don't scare them off, being around the study.

That looks interesting, though I can only read the first part of the article. I'll wait to see how you like it :0)

Fev 15, 6:48 am

Nina, Jim sort of has an excuse of travelling, but you less so my dear. Blow by blow account of the LT Meet up with photos if possible, if you please!!

Fev 15, 10:48 am

>147 PaulCranswick: Never ask me for a blow by blow account; you may get more than you wish for.

Well, I met Jim, Danita and their friends and we made our pilgrimage to Books Kinokuniya in Ngee Ann City which is (or at least definitely was before the mall renovated and they had to move floors) the 'biggest bookshop in southeast Asia'. Dinner was Peranakan food at Violet Oon's (she's a Singapore celebrity chef) but since they only had two seatings and we picked the later one so my husband and kids could make it, we stopped for drinks at 1-Atico on the 56th floor of Ion Orchard, which gave us a great view over most of the island with Indonesia forming a backdrop on one side and Malaysia on the horizon on the other. And then downstairs to dinner where, though we missed you, we all had a great time. The eggplant, surprisingly, was the spiciest dish.

Photos - I know Jim has some and I did get one taken but it's on my husband's phone so I'll have to get it from him. Soon ...

Fev 15, 10:52 am

Fev 15, 3:19 pm

>148 humouress: Did you buy any books?

Fev 16, 1:15 am

>150 PaulCranswick: Jim picked up a couple of books but I seem to have winnowed Books K for everything I want, for the time being. Unlike some people (who shall be nameless) I can (sometimes) leave a bookshop without half a shopping basket full of books (though it tears at my soul) - although there was a time ...

I can still window-shop with the best of them, though.

Fev 16, 8:53 am

Finally made it to Jakarta and an Internet connection… a pic of Nina and me is posted on my thread. I’d love to get a copy of the ones Rama has!

Paul, you need to make time to meet Nina and her family. We had a great time getting to know them and Singapore!

Fev 17, 1:57 am

Saw the pic with Jim on his thread. Very fun and totally jealous!! : ) LT friends are the best.

Editado: Fev 17, 3:02 am

Alrighty, folks, here it is:

Danita, Jim and friends on the right; firelion, superboy, myself and Rama on the left.

Editado: Fev 17, 3:09 am

>152 drneutron: I'm glad your cruise is going well, and the shopping too. It was really lovely meeting you all and my teenager even said (as I told you) that he'd be happy to meet you all again. (He's not really that antisocial, he just seems to think that it's cool to sound like he is 🙄.) We all had a great evening.

ETA: see Paul, we're not that scary. Come on over.

Fev 17, 3:09 am

>153 Berly: Aren't they just?

You're welcome to visit Singapore anytime (hint) :0)

Fev 17, 4:08 am

>154 humouress: LT meet ups are the best, Nina.
Glad to see you all having a good time together!

Fev 17, 9:31 am

>154 humouress: A very fine looking group!

Fev 17, 9:43 am

>154 humouress: Happy smiles all around! Great meet-up photo, thanks for sharing it, Nina!

Fev 17, 11:39 am

Great photo! Looks like an awesome meetup :)

Fev 17, 11:47 am

>135 humouress: Congratulations on the saxophone! That is an instrument that I have always wanted to try, but never had the wherewithal to do so.

>140 humouress: Neat!

>154 humouress: I am beyond jealous, lol.

Fev 17, 10:06 pm

>157 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita! The invitation stands for everyone.

Fev 17, 10:06 pm

>158 laytonwoman3rd: Well, you know, we LTers have certain standards ;0)

Thank you.

Fev 17, 10:07 pm

>159 richardderus: Hey Richard; glad you're feeling well enough to meander over.

You're welcome.

Fev 17, 10:07 pm

>160 curioussquared: It was a lot of fun meeting Jim & co.!

Fev 17, 10:12 pm

>161 alcottacre: >135 humouress: Thanks Stasia. The school I picked doesn't rent out instruments, though some do, but they suggested buying a second hand instrument. With covid, however, I felt safer buying new - though the price did make me step back. I bought it in Australia with my nephew's expert advice and I think that saved me a little bit of money, plus I managed to claim some sales tax back when I brought it back.

>161 alcottacre: >140 humouress: I don't see much activity at the nest on a daily basis but once in a while I spot a bird there. I did see one yesterday so I took as good a look as I could out of the corner of my eye.

>161 alcottacre: >154 humouress: Come on over, then!

Fev 17, 10:58 pm

Hi Nina, how great that you got to have a LT meetup! I've had about three so far and they are always fun and it really is true - LT people are the best!

Fev 17, 11:03 pm

>167 DeltaQueen50: Yes, being on the other side of the world from the majority of LTers means fewer meet-up opportunities but this was my third one (though the first where anyone remembered to take a photo). I met Heather and Luci in London about (wow!) seven years ago and Caroline made a flying visit through Singapore a few years ago. And yes, LT people are the best!

Fev 17, 11:07 pm

>154 humouress: Awesome!!! Glad someone took a pic! Very cute family. Okay, and the LT visitors, too. ; )

Fev 17, 11:09 pm

>169 Berly: Thank you :0D

Fev 17, 11:22 pm

>154 humouress: Definitely a fine looking group! (And not a football jersey in sight!)

>152 drneutron: Most certainly I will, Jim. I am sure that this blasted project cannot go one forever!

Editado: Fev 17, 11:35 pm

>171 PaulCranswick: Thank you. (We applied the thumbscrews.) ;0)

Fev 18, 7:33 am

>154 humouress: What a great big meet up group! Food looked good as well ;)

Happy weekend

Editado: Fev 18, 11:40 am

>173 figsfromthistle: Thank you! :0)

I got my husband to book the restaurant; he loves to show off Singapore and picked Violet Oon's which does Peranakan food which is a speciality of places like Singapore and Malacca, on the Straits, and which is influenced by Malay, Chinese and, I think, Portuguese and Dutch. (Think spice routes, shipping and trading empires.)

Editado: Fev 18, 7:14 pm

9) The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II by Karen Dolby

{read by Helen Lloyd}

Disappointing because I felt that the title promised more than it actually delivered. It could more accurately, if long-windedly, be called ‘A look at the Royal Family through some amusing anecdotes and remarks’.I may ave also been subconsciously expecting some recordings of Her Majesty herself as it was an audio book. The book includes anecdotes not just of HM but of her family, form Q Mary her grandmother to Princes William and Harry, her grandsons and mentions the births of some of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Litsy notes

Listening to the audio book (currently up to Ch3). Occasionally amusing but (so far) not finding as many instances of QEII's 'wicked wit' as I was hoping for. There are also lots of instances of comments from other members of the royal family - finding the title misleading. There are a few lists (prime ministers and years served; births, deaths etc of the royal family) which don't translate easily to audio.


Fev 20, 1:24 pm

Great photo, Nina!! Maybe someday...

I think that as the sunbirds BUILT the nest while you were doing usual study activities, they won't be disturbed by you continuing them while they are using the nest.

Fev 21, 5:13 pm

>154 humouress: Great photo, and the food looks and sounds delicious!

Fev 21, 8:05 pm

>175 humouress: I can't imagine it being a surprise-laden read given how heavy the investment in keeping Her Late Majesty apolitical has been lo! these seventy years. Still a little morsel of a surprise now that she's gone couldn't've hurt, could it? Oh well, just as a way to occupy your ears reasoonably agreeably, it wasn't an utter fail, so that works. Better luck next time, Nina.

Fev 22, 9:56 am

>176 ronincats: Thanks :0)

Unfortunately, the sunbirds built the nest while I was away - though other people were briefly in and out of the study. But I'm hoping that you're right Roni.

Fev 22, 9:57 am

>177 foggidawn: Thank you!

Fev 22, 10:01 am

>178 richardderus: I'll have to check the publishing date but I got the impression the book was released while HM was alive. There were one or two nuggets; Elizabeth, at her coronation, telling the archbishop to 'Get me moving!' because the friction from her heavy investiture robes had her stuck to the carpet for instance, or when she looked angry it was actually because she was trying not to burst out laughing - but too few and far between for me.

Editado: Fev 24, 10:05 pm

Continuing on with cooking adventures; I made the cake for this morning's Riding for the Disabled debrief session. I made the Chiappa's Italian pear-honey-almond cake (which is incredibly moist so make sure you cool it thoroughly or it can go soggy) which is all fruit & nuts, gluten free (almond flour), dairy free (olive oil) and sugar free (honey/ maple syrup).

And in preparation for tomorrow's dinner I made quiche shells using a Gordon Ramsay recipe. The pastry is really short though and we dropped the larger one (on the table, thankfully) taking it out of the oven to glaze after blind baking; not only did it crack but crumbled as we tried to piece it back together. No matter, it is egg washed for tomorrow, so it'll have to do. The second shell looks it better condition, though the pastry kept crumbling as I tried to get it into the tin. Fortunately shortcrust is very forgiving about being minged back together.

Fev 23, 3:13 pm

Nice meetup photo Nina!

I've never actually eaten a quiche. Maybe I should try one.

Fev 23, 5:51 pm

I love quiche - it's just a savory custard pie. I use my normal pie crust, the same one I use for fruit pies and pumpkin pie, though you can use any kind - or none, crustless quiche is a thing. Eggs, milk (cream, half-and-half, evaporated milk...), cheese, and whatever stuff you want in - bacon and spinach is my favorite, or Quiche Lorraine which is bacon and (well-cooked, ideally caramelized) onion. And whatever spices appeal - nutmeg is a classic.

Fev 23, 8:41 pm

>182 humouress: The sgortness of Ramsay's pastry recipe sounds excessive to me. I love a good crumbly short crust, But I want a slice that has its crust still on it, too!

All is forgiven, though, when it's quiche coming onto my plate. *yummm*

Pear-honey-almond cake has scrummy written all over it, too. Didn't happen to memorialize it with photeaux, did you?

Fev 25, 8:56 am

>183 The_Hibernator: Thanks Rachel!

You absolutely should try quiche. It's quite easy to make, though the pastry (and blind baking it) can be annoying; but you could probably get a ready made shell where you are. With the added benefit that you can stuff it with healthy veggies and (hopefully) sneak them past the kids. As usual, one son isn't keen on mushrooms while the other son loves them so they go into our quiches anyway :0)

Fev 25, 9:00 am

>184 jjmcgaffey: I liked the Gordon Ramsay one because it has herbs in it and it was really yummy (albeit fiddly) the first time I tried it so I used it again. I couldn't find the recipe book I usually use for the pastry but I think it isn't as crumbly. Our standard filling is bacon and mushroom. Sometimes I add baby spinach but this time I lightly fried small tomatoes (to reduce the liquid) and added them. I haven't tried nutmeg but I'll give it a go; it's not big on my radar usually.

Fev 25, 9:03 am

>185 richardderus: We managed to save most of the crust on the first tart and I tried to wrap the whole thing in foil and set the base with a bit of custard and cooking that before adding the rest of it, which was mostly successful. I could try crustless next time, I suppose, but I put a lot of work into that one and I wasn't going to lose it!

I meant to take a photo for you but I took the boys out to a career fair today and I suspect that the rest of the quiche has disappeared by now.

Fev 25, 11:40 am

>186 humouress: I usually use pre-made rolled-up pie crusts from the grocery store refrigerated section. When I don't use the ready-made, I typically made a basic pie crust; sometimes I add a quarter cup of parmesan. I've never bothered with blind-baking crust for quiche, but maybe I will try it sometime.

Editado: Fev 25, 5:46 pm

I use the pre-made rolled-up crusts for quiche too. And I blind-baked them for years, but they always shrunk down so the filling overflowed the crust. Then, once, I just forgot to blind-bake it, and it turned out fine. So guess what? Our favorite filling is canned salmon with cheddar cheese, diced onion and green pepper.

Fev 26, 2:17 am

I like blind-baking, since I discovered the trick of using foil and sugar as the weight (or parchment paper and sugar, but the foil shapes better). It's much more solid than pie-weights or a pie chain - and I've never had success blind-baking without a weight (yes, it slumps down way too easily). With the sugar, and baking the full 45 minutes at 350F (instead of very hot then remove the weight and do the rest of the time at a lower temperature), I get crusts that are the right shape and 90% baked, so they don't get soggy in the middle with custard fillings. 60 minutes if it's not a baked filling (like pudding pies), 45 if the filling needs to bake.

And I get toasted sugar - which is just like normal sugar the first two or three times you use it but eventually gets pale brown and a nice caramelly flavor for use in cookies, meringues, etc.

Fev 26, 4:58 am

>189 foggidawn: I don't think we get pre-made pie crusts here. I occasionally see Pilsbury 'crescent' cans for croissants and I'll buy pre-made flaky pastry and filo pastry (the one time I tried flaky pastry in this heat was ... interesting). But pastry for quiche is easy and is something I can do. I think I was nervous about cooking when I was young and baking was something I tried early on that worked so I don't mind making the pastry from scratch - plus there are only a couple of ingredients unless you're going fancy :0)

Thanks for the tip about parmesan in the pastry. I'll try that sometime.

Editado: Fev 26, 10:20 am

>190 laytonwoman3rd: Oh, that's interesting. I thought the blind baking was to make sure the shell gets crispy. I quite like blind baking because I get to pull out my baking beans and, you know, I have those so I feel quite professional and all. But I'm a rather last-minute-throw-something-together-for-dinner kind of person and I always forget how long it's got to sit in the oven both to blind bake and to cook the custard, so I could try it some time.

I might give your filling a go but it'll have to be when the boys aren't around (and quiche is one thing (which I make) that they both seem to like a lot) because one doesn't like fish (like my dad, he doesn't like the smell of fish) and the other one likes smoked salmon or sushi salmon but not cooked salmon. What can you do? 🤷‍♀️

ETA: (not that I’m trying to sell the recipe, but) the Gordon Ramsay one said to leave the excess pastry hanging over the edge and not trim it, which might help with the shrinking issue. I didn’t try it partly because I needed the extra to patch gaps (and partly because I like running the rolling pin across the top and getting a nice, crisp edge).

Fev 26, 5:13 am

>191 jjmcgaffey: I admire the fact that you've done the research and found what works best for you. I just follow whatever the recipe says and I haven't had to lower the temperature for a recipe for a while. I'm a bit slavish about following recipes - partly I'm pedantic, partly I'm a scientist and mostly one of the very first things I tried to cook by myself (as a surprise for my mum when I was 10) was a disaster because I had to adapt the recipe to what we had in the house and I didn't have enough experience to know that you can't substitute any old flour.

I like the tip about toasted sugar, thanks. These 'adventures' are paying dividends.

Fev 26, 5:35 am

I’m very impressed by anyone who can successfully cook pastry. Mine just goes very sticky or falls apart completely. Doesn’t help that I measure myself up against my mother and grandmother’s efforts who both made pastry several times a week for both of their adult lives!

Fev 26, 5:44 am

>195 SandDune: Well, they obviously got enough practice :0) It's probably about being patient when it's just coming together and not adding too much water, especially at that point when it's almost come together but crumbles apart if you apply a bit of pressure. Yup, been there too.

Editado: Fev 27, 3:30 am

And the other thing I do is use Cook's Illustrated vodka pastry recipe. The trick is, you need a nice wet pastry to roll out easily (not wet, really, but smooth and not crumbly), but if you have too much water in the pastry it forms gluten and gets tough instead of flaky. But gluten will not form in alcohol. So if you use half-and-half water and 80 proof alcohol (vodka being largely tasteless, though you might be able to add some interesting flavors with other alcohol), you can add quite a bit more liquid and prevent crumbling while not creating gluten strands to toughen the pastry.

Note that I am allergic (technically, intolerant - like lactose intolerance) to alcohol, and I've never had a problem with the pastry (after it's baked, of course). The alcohol goes away entirely.

The Cook's Illustrated recipe has some other nice tricks too, but the basic one is to, for two crusts, use 1/4 c cold water and 1/4 c cold vodka for the liquid.

Hard to find a good version that isn't behind a paywall, but I found one...odd source!

Notes - 5 ounce cup of flour (scoop and sweep); you can mix the liquids in with the food processor too, it works just as well as doing it by hand.

Fev 27, 2:40 pm

I find there is never enough of the pre-made crust to overlap the edges of my quiche pan, and even with weights, it tended to shrink down from the lip. If I make my own crust, that's not an issue, and I agree that the blind-baking eliminates all worry about soggy crust. But I have the same issue with timing -- "I always forget how long it's got to sit in the oven both to blind bake and to cook the custard". I have used the vodka recipe for crust too, and it's does make handling it a bit easier. As we've given up drinking alcohol here in the last year, there's never any vodka in the house now. I keep wine on hand for cooking, but probably ought to get one of those little bottles of vodka for the pastry. And now, for some reason, I have this urge to make a cherry pie. Well, the urge is more to EAT the cherry pie, but first things first...

Fev 28, 7:41 am

>197 jjmcgaffey: Ooh, alcohol in pastry. I like! ;0) I should give that a go.

And, yes, what's the Virginian government doing pushing that?...

Fev 28, 7:45 am

>198 laytonwoman3rd: Mmm ... cherry pie. I'll have some please - once it's made.

For fruit, I'm more inclined to making crumbles; a) there's a higher fruit to carbs ratio, so - technically - more healthy and b) no need to roll out the pastry. But, hey, if you're making I won't say no :0)

Fev 28, 1:36 pm

Virginia ABC - Alcoholic Beverage Control. The government runs the alcohol shops... (yes weird, not unique in the US though).

As I can't drink (or eat) alcohol at all, all my alcohol is for cooking/baking. But I'm also a) cheap and b) the baker in the family - so I got a huge bottle of vodka from Trader Joe's (1.5 liters - and yes, it's in metric) and store it high. I have a little bottle, hip-flask size, in the fridge with _cold_ vodka in it - that will make 2-3 batches of crust, and I refill after each crust-making binge (and then freeze the crusts, as thick disks, until I'm ready to thaw, roll, and bake. Not _quite_ as convenient as the storebought crusts but not far off).

and the more I type "alcohol" the more difficulty I have with spelling it. Sheesh.

Fev 28, 5:05 pm

>199 humouress:, >201 jjmcgaffey: Alcoholic beverages like vodka are sold only in "state stores" in Pennsylvania as well. LOTS of revenue for state coffers. Beer and wine can be sold in grocery stores in the last few years, however.

Editado: Mar 2, 1:03 am

>201 jjmcgaffey: That's a good idea, for homemade 'pre-made'. If only I had the freezer space - maybe once we renovate. And the tip on keeping some vodka cold for pastry making.

Yes, I was having difficulty typing 'alcohol' too, even though I hadn't actually had any. Well, one way to remedy that ...

Mar 2, 1:04 am

>202 laytonwoman3rd: I'm guessing beer or wine in pastry wouldn't be quite the same as vodka? ;0)

Mar 2, 12:44 pm

>204 humouress: would probably be a FAIL! Although I feel I have heard of putting white wine in pastry.

Mar 2, 3:34 pm

It's the 80 proof - 40% alcohol - that makes it useful for tender and flaky. Beer at something like 4% alcohol might taste interesting but will have basically the same effect as water for gluten, and wine not much better at 13-15%. I am so tempted to get some Everclear or similar - 75% alcohol - and see how that works...

Mar 2, 3:51 pm

Beer doesn't have enough alcohol to work like vodka...Hoping you're all well and healthy there in the heat belt. It's getting unpleasantly warm here, too...up to 16C today. *whew*


Mar 4, 4:18 am

>206 jjmcgaffey: Let us know how it goes.

Mar 4, 4:22 am

>207 richardderus: And you, like the intrepid adventurer you are, have gone before to verify this (possibly in liquid form) for us?

I hear you on the weather front. 25ºC right now (about 5.30 in the arvo) and expecting 24ºC tonight *shivers*. The only good thing about that is that when my husband turns on the air-conditioning tonight, we'll get heating instead of the usual cooling.

Mar 5, 11:03 pm

In other news, with the incessant rain we’ve been getting, our house is springing leaks like it’s competing with the Titanic. I pulled some books off the wall shelf in the boys’ room to update superboy’s catalogue and discovered that the one against the wall was wet. This on top of a whole heap of other unexpected spots (the attic seems to be the only place we haven’t found a leak - yet). At least the rain, while not the steady English drizzle, isn’t a constant tropical downpour. It must be the outer edge of a system in the Philippines - so it must be much worse for them.

Last night my husband’s team (Manchester United) played my team (Liverpool) on our home ground. Of course he stayed up to watch the club he’s supported since he was a boy. We commiserated each other beforehand and - taking a tip from my eldest son - I dug out a Liverpool shirt and put it on. The match was reasonably even for the first half and though Man U scored, it was ruled off-side. We scored the first allowed goal just before halftime.

And then we came back and scored six more. Man U, a not insignificant team - you may have heard of them - scored precisely nil. They were not happy bunnies. Though I’ll admit that my husband was probably more gracious in defeat than I would have been.

Mar 6, 12:31 pm

>211 humouress: My family is mostly Liverpool fans and there was much rejoicing yesterday. Ugh to the leaks -- I hope you don't find more!

Mar 6, 9:15 pm

>212 curioussquared: I'm sure there was :0)

And thanks - fingers crossed.

Mar 6, 9:17 pm

Ooh - there's a lot of chirping going on now on the balcony. I dared a glance across and it looks like a mama olive-backed sunbird is encouraging a baby to take a flight.

I hadn't seen any activity for over a week, maybe, and I'd given up. I thought they'd abandoned the nest - but maybe they were there all along.

Editado: Abr 26, 1:03 pm

10) Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Litsy notes

I love the fact that she has a perfume called 'Book' which is meant to evoke the excitement of being in a library or bookshop.

And it's a nice touch that the best-selling author she mentions is 'January Andrews' from Emily Henry's 'Beach Read'.

The romance is believable because the hero ha a lot of empathy for the heroine and is always in her corner - at least, after the initial (obligatory) misunderstandings

Mar 12, 11:07 pm

Reading through your thread has been educational. I had to look up blind baking - I've done that before just didn't know what it was called. My sympathies for your house leaks.

Mar 20, 2:40 pm

>216 Familyhistorian: I’m glad I could be of service :0)

Thank you for the sympathy.

Editado: Abr 26, 12:32 pm

12) Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Magical realism, Urban fantasy

This looks like it was the first written in the series but fourth in chronology (will have to confirm)

Sally and Gillian Owens, who come from a long line of daughters who always take the surname ‘Owens’, were orphaned early and taken in by ‘the aunts’ - another pair of Owens sisters (whose true loves were struck by lightning and so they’ve been spinsters ever since) with a mysterious air about them. The girls, when they grow up, do their best to avoid their magic heritage especially as it has resulted in them being shunned at school and in their New England town with whispers of witchcraft. They have grown up feeling that they don’t quite belong and they don’t deserve love; especially as Owens girls have historically been unlucky in love - or at least not quite lucky.

Gillian, always less responsible than Sally, runs away from home as soon as she can while Sally has a family of her own and doesn’t want to see history repeat itself when her daughters grow up. But finally Gillian brings her troubles home to Sally and the sisters’ lives evolve.

To be honest, urban fantasy is not my preferred genre. Though the Owens girls do have flaws to their characters (so at least they’re not too good to be true) they are all stunningly beautiful and all the boys around them fall excessively in love with them all - which is a bit annoying for us ordinary mortals. Even down-to-Earth Sally, around whose life the story is based, gets someone to fall in love with her when he reads a letter she’s written to her sister.

I found this a fairly gentle story although the premonitions and foreshadowing had me skipping ahead nervously once or twice and the switches in tense between the present and the past for the same time frame was a bit confusing. I did appreciate the bond between sisters (and also the three different generations); however annoying … or don’t fully comprehend each other, they are there for them in times of trouble. I wouldn’t mind seeing the film based on this book.

I like the last half-paragraph of the book:
Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.
And, for all its doomsaying, the story does end happily.


Mar 24, 8:07 pm

>211 humouress: Man U, a not insignificant team - you may have heard of them

Hahaha and the scoreline couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch.

It annoys me that Fernandes pushes the linesman and gets away with it (not even a sending off) and in their next domestic game, the Fulham player pushes the ref and gets sent off and everyone is baying for a ten match ban.
Double standards and bias in favour of the so called elite clubs.

What happened to Penang?

Mar 25, 5:55 am

>219 PaulCranswick: Yeah; there seems to be unbalanced refereeing all over the place. I can allow Fernandes's behaviour, given the score line. Man U were royally ... upset that match. I read afterwards that Varan had to call the team back to applaud the fans (though a lot of them had left the stadium) after the end.

Penang in two weekends. But you say no decent bookshops? :0(

Editado: Mar 25, 1:28 pm

Hmph. So I've been using Pinterest to save various ideas, from my card crafting to ideas for our upcoming kitchen renovation. The app has been trying to get me to enter my birthdate, which I successfully avoided until today when I couldn't find a way in other than to enter some random date set about a week or a year ago. Upon which it kicked me out and locked the app as being too young; I tried to log back in but it's asking for my birthdate as per my passport or government issued ID. Seems awfully suspicious to me. Does anyone else use Pinterest and have you come up against this?

Wildlife update: some not so pleasant news in that there was an unpleasant smell in our attic a couple of weeks ago which we couldn't place ... until later. Seems a bat died but was caught in the ceiling fitting of the chandelier (the ceiling there is double height, so we tend not to look up) and then - well, you know the natural order of things. But we haven't had our daily incursion of bats since then, except for one that flitted in and flitted straight out.

Last week, though, as I was driving I was treated to a full and glorious view of a collared kingfisher as he flew across the road and I caught sight of his full bright turquoise wingspan from the back and quite close rather than just a fleeting glimpse.

And I think I caught a quick glimpse of something running along the grass bank of the canal which I think was a pair of otters. I know other people have seen otters in the canal but I haven't been lucky enough to, yet.

Mar 25, 11:48 am

I think apps can be pretty strict about birth dates because they can get in big trouble for having users younger than 13. I don't have any specific Pinterest recommendations though.

Mar 25, 12:28 pm

>210 humouress: I have indeed. I even tried >206 jjmcgaffey: Everclear but it was a bust...too much evaporation led to toughness.

24C at idea of Hell...4C at night is my preference.

Mar 25, 12:36 pm

>221 humouress: Maybe it's because I live in the USA or simply that iVe been on the site since it birthdate request ever came my way that I can recall.

Editado: Mar 25, 1:31 pm

>222 curioussquared: Thanks. I do know that apps are supposed to have a minimum age limit (and also that my kids have been bypassing that requirement for a while) but Pinterest suddenly started asking a few weeks ago. I'm most certainly not about to hand over my passport details though.

Mar 25, 1:33 pm

>223 richardderus: Thanks for the tip!

>224 richardderus: Thanks. I wonder if maybe there are hackers trying to get details?

Mar 25, 1:41 pm

>226 humouress: I wouldn't suspect hackers. I think they're probably just trying to clean up accounts that didn't have birthdates attached so they're not liable for underage users and when you put in an obviously fake birthdate, that triggered the request for the birthdate on your ID or passport -- just a more official way of saying "no, your REAL birthdate, please."

Mar 25, 1:58 pm

>227 curioussquared: Fair enough. But I can't find a way to get back in without giving them an ID number - and if I did, I don't know how they would verify it.

Well, I've sent them an e-mail, so hopefully it'll get sorted out.

Mar 25, 2:05 pm

I stopped using Pinterest - and looking at Google searches that turned that up - after they stopped letting me look at stuff without logging in. I have (had) a Pinterest account but I didn't want to log in every time - didn't want them following me around the web Facebook style. I actually request, on some searches, that Google not show me any Pinterest sites (which makes the search results a little thin - but lots of results that won't let me look at the details are less interesting than few results where I can actually see them!).

Mar 25, 2:30 pm

>228 humouress: Oh, I didn't realize they were actually requesting your id/passport number and not just the birthdate on that document. I wouldn't want to give that out either!

Mar 25, 2:35 pm

>229 jjmcgaffey: Oh. I log in to Pinterest and leave it open but I hadn't noticed them following me around the web. Mind you, I spend most of my time on LT (or on Pinterest) - but that's something to think about.

Mar 25, 6:10 pm

>221 humouress: I picked out a not quite random date not far from my own birthday to enter on web sites. So far it hasn't caught me on the inaccuracy.

Mar 26, 1:08 am

>233 quondame: Yes; I think I've been a bit careless in using my real birthday (they promise treats!). I'll have to use your tactic from now on - if they let me back in, first (in the case of Pinterest).

Mar 26, 6:09 am

>218 humouress: That is a strange series in terms of the order to be read vs when the author wrote it. I completed this series this year. I have yet to watch the film. Anyhow, enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Mar 29, 3:12 am

‘Even though Golden Retrievers are goofy dogs with plenty of adorable, derpy behaviors, they are actually one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world!’

I think I’ve been taken for a ride.

Editado: Mar 31, 11:08 am

More cooking adventures:

I found some striped, coloured farfalle a couple of weeks ago and I thought it would make a nice dinner. I didn't want to cover up the patterns with sauce so I roasted some sliced vegetables (aubergines, courgettes and colourful capsicums) to toss through it with some olive oil and fresh basil. I did make a separate sauce with mushrooms and canned tomatoes - but the mushrooms were sliced and didn't shrink as much as I hoped and the tomatoes were also a bit chunky so (because firelion won't eat mushrooms) I blended the sauce. He didn't notice - though he did pull out the aubergines, which I thought were the best part. I also bought some prosciutto to toss through in case my carnivore husband objected to the lack of meat. His first comment was that it could have used some bacon in it, despite all the flavours I put in; but he did eat it without, though we added the prosciutto to the leftovers on the second day for him.

And dessert was Nigella's 'mint julep peaches' (from her Forever Summer, I think), which are essentially poached in a bourbon & sugar syrup with fresh mint sprinkled over and which came out nicely. The mint does really add to the flavour.

While we were eating, I noticed Jasper sticking his head through the half-closed kitchen door. I said 'Jasper' to remind him that he's not allowed in the kitchen and then more firmly because he ignored me. But he'd spotted a bit of food on the floor so he wriggled through (have I mentioned that if he wants to go somewhere, he can get through the smallest gap but if we ask him, it has to be opened to its fullest and we have to step aside or he can't fit suddenly?), grabbed it and wriggled out again. And then acted as though nothing had happened. No guilty conscience at all.

Speaking of cheeky animals, we haven't had bats for a week or two (after the above incident) except for one that came in through the front door but immediately turned and went back out. But the other day a fairly large bat sailed calmly through the dining room door, flew straight across the sitting room, turned left and flew out through the front door (which is around a corner). It knew exactly where it was going; none of the usual panic and getting lost trying to find its way out.

Mar 31, 11:55 am

>236 humouress: I don't think of my dogs as being very smart, but every once in a while I will notice the subtle ways in which they have trained me, and I start to wonder if I'm not giving them enough credit...

>237 humouress: Yumm, you're making me hungry. Cheeky Jasper!

Editado: Mar 31, 12:24 pm

>238 curioussquared: Well, Jasper certainly knows how to get me to give him a good massage. And if I stop but he's not had enough, he'll ask for more.

The other day I was practicing the saxophone and Jasper came up the stairs. I wasn't sure if he came to listen or if there was a thunderstorm on the way (he reacts to the pressure more than to the noise). Then he started making comments on my playing. Eventually I gave in to his demands and followed him downstairs* to save him from the thunderstorm (it broke almost overhead in the end) - only for him to abandon me when he heard his master (superboy) coming downstairs.

And today, when they all came home from dinner, Jasper first paid obeisance to my husband (alpha male) and then the boys called him over. He went to firelion and then headed back towards the kitchen. But because his brother got Jasper to come when he called but Jasper didn't go to him (and he kind of gloated), superboy called him back. I noticed Jasper's satisfied expression as he settled in for another massage.

ETA: * yes; apparently I have to be Downstairs to save Jasper from thunderstorms. If it's only minor, he'll sit on the top step (we close the stair gate so he doesn't come onto the landing - but last week, the boys sent me a photo of him IN 🤯 one of their beds) but for bigger ones, I have to be Downstairs to watch him pacing.

Mar 31, 12:28 pm

>238 curioussquared: I'm glad you like the food. I rarely 'invent' dishes - I'm happier slavishly following a recipe - but the (essentially) warm pasta salad came out pretty much as I envisioned it.

I think I've made the peaches before but they didn't work so well that time. This time it came out well - and there's poaching liquid left over that I've frozen (as suggested) for another time.

Mar 31, 1:40 pm

>240 humouress: I'm the same way! Give me a recipe any day. I don't feel like I have great cooking instincts but I can follow a recipe well. Although, my instincts have definitely improved after all those years of following recipes :)

Abr 1, 5:09 am

>237 humouress: Bit dangerous reading here when I am fasting!

Have a great weekend, neighbour.

Abr 1, 11:53 pm

>241 curioussquared: Exactly! (And, in my case at least, thank goodness.)

Abr 1, 11:55 pm

>242 PaulCranswick: Hang in there Paul! Just a bit longer. We drove through the Geylang area yesterday evening - it's looking quite festive.

Thanks Paul, you too. Will wave to you from overhead next weekend :0)

Abr 10, 4:53 pm

>237 humouress: How cool are those!! Love it. And thanks for keeping my thread warm. : )

Abr 11, 5:57 am

>237 humouress: Oh that looks like a fun meal!

Abr 22, 1:15 pm

>245 Berly: No worries. And right back atcha!

Abr 22, 1:15 pm

>246 figsfromthistle: Thank you. It was :0)

Editado: Abr 26, 1:05 pm

11) Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Litsy notes

Enjoying this story. It flows quite well and is engaging. Trope is: the entire royal family is killed except for one insignificant member who then fights for the throne. Too much facetious use of the f-word, just to target an older audience. Otherwise it‘s a good YA fantasy.
For some reason, everybody wears black leggings and black boots.

There are are few colloquialisms in the writing, the oddest of which was when they put toboggans on their heads to protect against the snow. It seemed odd to be wearing a sled 😄 but I‘m guessing it‘s supposed to be some kind of head gear.

The ‘romance‘ element is more of ‘antagonism turning to desire and respect‘ and a mutual understanding of each others‘ backgrounds but I did appreciate that it wasn‘t insta-love

Editado: Abr 26, 12:36 pm

13) Get a Life, Chloe Brown


Litsy notes & quotes

I‘ve seen this book around the LT threads so I picked it up. I hadn‘t realised it‘s set in Nottinghamshire; I had assumed it was set in the States, so that was a pleasant surprise. I like the lightheartedness and the appearance of the main character‘s sisters (who, I think, get their own books in the series). I really appreciate the dual viewpoints and seeing the two main characters from each other‘s perspectives which gives the story more depth.

The two protagonists have the hots for each other. I can‘t work out if they‘re just horny or in love. I suspect the first since they‘re still in the non-communication stage.

2/3rds the way through and dragging a bit. They've finally got together, though (that wasn't a spoiler, was it? 😉), but I'm guessing something else has got to happen before the end.

So Red (his name is Redmond and he has red hair) is upset that Chloe‘s friends abandoned her but she says herself she pushed them away. I mean, if your friend constantly cancels on you at the last minute for over a year, the message she‘s sending is that she doesn‘t want to spend time with you.

I‘m afraid the last 1/3 dragged for me and I skimmed it; it‘s pretty much about how they can‘t keep their hands off each other. Too much casual swearing and more graphic than I‘m comfortable with TBH. Oddly, Red is more 3-D than Chloe. She has fibromyalgia and is in constant pain …and that seems to be about it. I didn‘t get why Red was besotted with her.

I‘m afraid the last 1/3 dragged for me and I skimmed it; it‘s pretty much about how they can‘t keep their hands off each other. Too much casual swearing and more graphic than I‘m comfortable with TBH. Oddly, Red is more 3-D than Chloe. She has fibromyalgia and is in constant pain …and that seems to be about it. I didn‘t get why Red was besotted with her. 🤗 I know there‘s a lot of love for this one but it didn‘t work for me - sorry.
He looked up with a start, and shit, she was right. He hadn't even noticed. She split time into something endless and wonderful, like crystal splitting light into rainbows. Or maybe he was so fucking hungry for her he was slowly losing his
grip on reality. One of those.

Editado: Abr 26, 12:38 pm

14) The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher

4-4.5 ****

Editado: Abr 26, 12:00 pm

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue


(see next thread)

Editado: Abr 23, 5:50 am

Sorry for the long silence, folks. I'm spending a few weeks in Sydney with my folks, having abandoned the kids to my hubby. I've also been tidying up superboy's catalogue ... which lead to tidying up a few series (like Tintin which was a mammoth task and still needs work) ... which lead to creating a few series (like Lego bricks - because lots of people had already catalogued their kits so I decided to corral them into a series).

But I have done a bit of cooking here. I made a rice & curry meal for my parents which my dad voluntarily said was good, which my sister and I agreed was pretty good going. And I thought I'd try some soups. Fortunately my mum has a soup maker, which takes a lot of the work out of making soups so I tried a mulligatawny recipe from the BBC Good Foods website (will find the link later). Though my sister had to finish it off for me as I had a video conference with my husband, kids and one of the kitchen contractors who was making a proposal to renovate our kitchen. It came out quite well (the soup) though with more heat than we were expecting. It may have been that old adage of 'too many cooks ...'

ETA: here's the link to the recipe

Abr 22, 2:17 pm

>253 humouress: Hope you enjoy your time in Sidney, Nina.

I came her to tell you a new LibraryThing Hunt started three days ago.

Abr 22, 5:48 pm

>250 humouress: Oh dear, Get a Life, Chloe Brown is near the head of my queue.

Abr 23, 5:17 am

>254 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita. I am - thought it's a bit cooler than I'm used to in the tropics at the moment.

Thanks - I did see the banner and had a quick look (I got 2 quills but that may be all I get by myself) but I haven't sat down to have a proper go at it.

Abr 23, 5:20 am

>255 quondame: Each to her own; lots of other people liked it. And, if I get around to sitting down to write a review, I did find quite a few good points. It just dragged for me towards the end - but that could even be my reading mood. I had a lot on my plate at the time, trying to finalise my decisions for our kitchen renovation and packing for Sydney.

Abr 23, 2:44 pm

Sydney in the autumn must be gorgeous so I hope you get to enjoy the actual *season* before resuming exile in the eternal summer of Singapore.

Abr 25, 9:13 am

Thank you Richard. I've deacclimatised to cold weather so yesterday felt chilly since it was rainy (did you say 'glorious autumn'?) but today was sunny and pleasant. No 'fall colours' but Sydney does do gorgeous, glorious sunsets in any season and my parents' place has (currently, anyway) an uninterrupted view.

Abr 25, 9:25 am

Huh; completely missed setting up a new thread for the new quarter. Will have to get around to that.

In the meantime, I made another soup for my parents; a sweet potato, coconut and lemongrass soup that they quite liked - apart from the lemongrass fibres which my mum can't eat and my dad wouldn't. No matter - we strained them out of the leftovers so we'll try it again tomorrow. I followed it up with a crème caramel from a recipe that my cousin gave me decades ago - but I had to go from memory since the hard copy is at home ... somewhere. I had to refer to the internet for the oven temperature and so I took the measurements for the caramel from the recipe I found. But the part I seem to have memorised, after all these years, is:

make the caramel, pour into the dish or ramekins you're going to bake the crème caramel in, tilt & rotate so it covers the bases and a bit up the sides and then pop them into the fridge to chill for a bit

4 eggs
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
1 tin milk
1 and a quarter tin of water

Whisk those together and pour into the caramelised dish(es) - the caramel should have set solidly - and put them on a baking tray, add water to the tray for a water bath and bake.

Abr 25, 12:29 pm

Hope you are enjoying your time in Sydney! The creme caramel sounds delicious.

Abr 25, 12:42 pm

>261 curioussquared: Thank you, I am.

Let me know how the caramel turns out, if you try it.

Abr 25, 12:46 pm

>262 humouress: I am NOT a baker and definitely not beyond stuff like cookies; my family has a traditional flan recipe that I've never been able to master. But I love stuff like this, so maybe I'll try it eventually :)

Editado: Abr 25, 12:54 pm

>263 curioussquared: This is an easy recipe. When I said 'decades ago', it was because I was in my mid-teens when I first tried it and it worked for me (which is why I've continued to make it). The only tricky bit is the caramel - and you are supposed to burn it, anyway :0)

ETA: plus, it's in a water bath - so it's not baking baking.

Editado: Abr 26, 12:55 pm

8) Into the Void by Tim Lebbon

Litsy notes & quotes

The 1st chronologically of the Star Wars novels (the Lucasfilm canon) when all the Je‘daii lived in the Tythan galaxy

The protagonist is Lanoree Brock who is chasing her brother Dal; he may be involved in something that could put the entire galaxy at risk. Told partly in flashbacks to their childhoods. Dal was always antagonistic to the Force (but then why train as a Je‘daii? I wonder)

Although the story is told from a Je‘daii pov, and they‘re supposed to be in balance with the Force you can see that they seem to ride rough shod over other people‘s/ nations feelings - for their own good, of course 😉 but they don‘t even notice and you can understand why they‘re not always welcome
The Je‘daii say, “There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.” But they are ignorant of your lives, your struggles, and their superiority blinds them. They say, “There is no fear; there is power.” Yet in their power they are smug. And I will make them fear me.
—Despot Queen Hadiya, 10,658 TYA
Este tópico foi continuado por Humouress adventures further in 2023 - thread 2.