Sandy's Books Read in 2023, #2

É uma continuação do tópico Sandy's Books Read in 2023, #1.

Este tópico foi continuado por Sandy's Books Read in 2023, #3.

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2023

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Sandy's Books Read in 2023, #2

Fev 16, 4:44 pm

My theme for toppers continues to feature vintage book covers in our family library.
From a 1912 edition of Gulliver's Travels with attractive illustrations, my favourite being The Apothecary (page 201).

~ ~ ~

Did anyone enjoy this story as a child? I never appreciated the situations Gulliver got into and my Dad, who read to me at bedtimes, gave up on trying to convince me it was such a good storybook.

Editado: Mar 31, 4:15 pm

A record of my 2023 reading, which has faltered as February zips along at lightning speed:
1. Fuzz (Ed McBain) ***½
2. A Murderous Grudge (JM Roberts) ***
3. Stormbreaker (Anthony Horowitz) ***
4. A Lady's Guide to Fortune-Hunting (Sophie Irwin) ****½
5. My Lady Judge (Cora Harrison) ****
6. The Black Swan (Nassim Taleb) ***½
7. Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques (Peter Reinhart) ****
8. Evolutions in Bread (Ken Forkish) ****
9. Breaking Bread: A Baker's Journey (Martin Philip) ****
10. Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques (Jeffrey Hamelman) ****
11. Bleeding Heart Yard (Elly Griffiths) ***½
12. The Maid of Ballymacool (Jennifer Deibel) ***½

13. The Cartographers (Peng Shepherd) ****½
14. The Last Mapmaker (Christina Soontornvat) ***½
15. Canoe & Camera (Thomas Sedgewick Steele) ***½
16. The Railway Children (E. Nesbit) ****
17. Miss Benson's Beetle (Rachel Joyce) **
18. Green Rider (Kristen Britain) DNF (see comment #52)
19. A Civil Contract (Georgette Heyer) ****
20. Murder on Black Swan Lane (Andrea Penrose) ***½
21. Venetia (Georgette Heyer) ***½
22. Eight Days of Luke (Diana Wynne Jones) ***

23. Conrad's Fate (Diana Wynne Jones) ***½
24. Writ in Stone (Cora Harrison) ****
25. Murder in the Mystery Suite (Ellery Adams) ***½
26. Foster (Claire Keegan) ***½
27. Eligible (Curtis Sittenfeld ) ***½
28. Murder at Half Moon Gate (Andrea Penrose) ****
29. Murder in the Paperback Parlor (Ellery Adams) ***
30. The Sting of Justice (Cora Harrison) ****
31. Camps in Rockies (W. A. Baillie-Grohman) ***
32. Murder at Kensington Palace (Andrea Penrose) ****
33. Murder at Queen's Landing (Andrea Penrose) ***½
34. Eye of the Law (Cora Harrison) ****

Editado: Fev 16, 10:28 pm

Catching up on February book reviews

#13, ~ The Cartographers (Peng Shepherd) ****½

This is an urban fantasy, with intrigue and adventure, cunningly told with many twists and reveals. Even though I anticipated a couple of the ‘reveals’, the story was unwound in a fascinating plot. Lost half a star because the aspect of how maps with phantom settlements operated was very poorly established. No more detail, or else there would be spoilers.
I am still trying to decide how I feel about the dénouement. You can be sure this narrative will stick in my mind for weeks to come.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy this genre.

Fev 16, 4:50 pm

#14, ~ The Last Mapmaker (Christina Soontornvat) ***½

I didn’t intentionally make a trip into reading about the world of mapmaking: it was coincidental that my library request was fulfilled with Soontornvat’s book at the same time I was reading Shepherd’s story.
A good adventure story set in a mythical Asian-styled kingdom. Although I am not the audience for this juvenile fiction, the story will intrigue the middle-school age group. From my experience of the younger reader, the narrative bogged down in several instances with too much detail at points where the story needed to move forward.
The twists in the plot were exciting but the dénouement seemed rather inconclusive and flatlined at the end. The novel will likely appeal to voracious YA readers of fantasy and adventure, despite being longer than necessary.

Editado: Fev 16, 5:32 pm

#15, Canoe & Camera (TS Steele) ***½


Written in a style suited to its 19th century era, the travelogue is surprisingly readable and not overly descriptive with extravagant observations. These explorations contributed to many early reports of navigating a wilderness having little contact with the more populated coastal towns along the eastern seaboard. New lakes and the occurrence of rapids and some major waterfalls contributed to knowledge the lumbermen needed to send their logs to downstream mills.

Published in 1882, our copy is in very good condition, despite the browning paper), with wonderful steel engravings made from Thomas Steele’s photographs. You would be correct in guessing that these illustrations were in large part why I chose to read about these explorer's exploits.

The natural history was very much in the style of Isaak Walton praising the angling pursuits and extolling the need for accurate records.

I certainly marvelled at the group’s intrepid ambition, transporting those cumbersome 1880’s style cameras, hunting and fishing gear, as well as heavy canvas tents and camping supplies.

The explorers, with accompanying guides, were using canvas canoes (not the apparently lighter weight birch bark, which Steel resorted to in a later voyage). Raillery over this choice was often an amusing feature in the story, with the canvas style winning out over birch for speed and durability, assuming the narrative was seriously evaluating such comparison.

What especially struck me in this chronicle was little mention of local, indigenous people. Meantime, isolated farming families with only rivers to connect the people to any sort of town or even other villages, are described as welcoming with hospitable meals and shelter.

Fev 16, 6:30 pm

Happy new thread, Sandy. I only read Gulliver in high school and I remember 4 distinct adventures of his though Lilliput is probably the most famous or well-known. I actually have very little memory of the other 3, if I am honest. I guess the writing didn't blow me away or I would have remembered more.

Fev 16, 6:40 pm

Happy new thread Sandy.

I have >4 SandyAMcPherson: #14 checked out on my Kindle, and >3 SandyAMcPherson: looks interesting too.

So few, like none that come to mind, old books in the family library survived attention from me. Likely they weren't in great shape before I noticed them, but now I only know what they looked like when I last saw them. And I know I'm responsible for the white shoe polish across the 3 volume set of Kirstin Lavransdatter.

Fev 16, 6:51 pm

On a completely different topic, I enjoy new words and expanding my vocabulary.
Lately, election politiking has been the order of the day (on both sides of the border). Imagine my delight in finding this timely list on a website extolling underused and forgotten words in the Oxford English Dictionary!

Credit for the list goes to Jay McDaniel.

Link provided so you can read the words in the image. I couldn't make it more legible...

Fev 16, 6:58 pm

Welcome to visitors. Come on in, and set awhile by the wood stove.
On offer coffee, tea and English biscuits today.

I'm in the back, currently reading Green Rider. I keep stalling out, being thoroughly distracted by library loans arriving.

Fev 16, 7:44 pm

Happy new thread, Sandy.

It is really great to have you back this year. x

Fev 16, 9:05 pm

>10 PaulCranswick: Why thank you, Paul. That's very kind.
I don't contribute much on the threads, really. I feel overwhelmed by keeping up and so many shoot to hundreds of posts by the time I mosey on by. I mean, look at you, 238 posts and on thread #5 already.

When do you get to meet up with the fabric/textile tour (with which Jim is tagging along)?

Fev 16, 9:27 pm

>11 SandyAMcPherson: I had hoped to catch up with Jim and Nina and their families on Monday but unfortunately work got in the way and prevented my travel to Singapore.

Don't feel pressured about trying to keep up on my threads, just the occasional 'hello' let's me know that you are ok whether that is here or at my place no problems. xx

Fev 16, 9:51 pm

Hi Sandy! I'm here to remind you that I am still alive. Happy weekend-ahead's reads!

Fev 16, 10:03 pm

>13 richardderus: Hi RD. I posted on your thread today and appreciated your saying the Viennese cookies are worth it for the boxes alone.

Happy resumption of good health going forward. Thanks for stopping by chez moi.

Fev 16, 10:15 pm


Fev 16, 10:45 pm

Happy new one!

Fev 17, 12:53 am

Hi and a happy new thread!

Fev 17, 7:04 am

Hi Sandy! I'm happy to shift my cushion from your last thread to this one and help myself to some of those English biscuits.

Fev 17, 9:49 am

>6 jessibud2:, >7 quondame: Oh my gosh, Shelley and Susan, I didn't see either of you "up" there until I was scrolling back to >2 SandyAMcPherson: so I could update my latest read. Thanks for the visits.

I certainly delighted in The Cartographers. Good characterisations and a great story for the plotting with just the right amount of suspense. Can't handle much psychological stress these days, despite knowing it is "just" fiction.

Fev 17, 10:04 am

>15 richardderus: :)
>16 figsfromthistle:, Thanks, Anita. I must pop over and see what you're reading these days!
>17 mdoris:, Mary, good to see you dropped by.
>18 lauralkeet:, Hey Laura, welcome to the virtual bookshop with Biscuits ~ my Mum-in-law's sugar cookies!

Fev 17, 10:29 am

Happy new thread, Sandy. I love the Gulliver's Travels illustrations!

>8 SandyAMcPherson: Your word list is fun.

The Cartographers sounds fun. I know my library has a copy.

Fev 17, 4:31 pm

Happy new thread, Sandy!

Fev 17, 5:15 pm

>21 BLBera: Hi Beth. Happy to know you liked the Gulliver's Travels illustrations. I was tempted to scan several other illustrations. It was perfect to settle for the 'Apothecary extracting moonbeams out of cucumbers'. So whimsical (and belatedly realized no one would be able to read the caption).

Lots of those words are so archaic, only I am just waiting for the right moment to use constult. Typifies our PM and his minority government propped up with that 'empty suit' leader of the NDP. Canadian politics is so insordescent.

Yes! The Cartographers came highly recommended and I'm so pleased it was a birthday gift to me last month.

Fev 17, 8:46 pm

>23 SandyAMcPherson: I must admit some of those words seemed to fit more in the Washington Posts neologisms list than a list of arcane terms. So fun.

Fev 17, 9:26 pm

>24 quondame: I had to look up neologisms... I see your point, sort of. I don't want to pay for the subscription so I don't read the WaPo anymore. I was always sporadic about it even when I could look at it in the library (pre-internet time).

Fev 17, 9:49 pm

>22 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita. Nice to see you visiting. I have been trying to remember to delurk when I go round the other threads... but I often get involved in LT too late at night to be thoughtful!

Fev 17, 9:55 pm

>25 SandyAMcPherson: The word list generally gets posted about the Internet - it's full of funny political jokes usually.

Fev 18, 1:31 am

>1 SandyAMcPherson: Happy new thread, Sandy!

I think I kind of liked Gulliver's Travels as a child, but it wasn't anywhere near a favorite.

Fev 18, 9:08 am

>27 quondame: 'Cause I tend not to follow American politics closely, I usually don't "get" the jokes.

>28 ArlieS: Hi Arlie, I happened to post on your thread today before visiting my own. I might browse Gulliver again simply to refresh my memory of the tale. It is quite the classic read.

Fev 18, 9:29 am

>23 SandyAMcPherson: "Insordescent" defines modern politics, everywhere, I think. When money trumps governance for the governors the governed need to throw themselves a nicely bloody revolution to scare the bastards for a generation or two.

Fev 18, 10:13 am

>30 richardderus: Oooh, RD! A 'bloody revolution' ?
Do you truly believe that or are you 'taking the piss' as the Brits tend to say?
Relative to Canada, I'd personally like to see a greater proportion of the electorate to quit voting with such colossal ignorance and examine statesmanship instead of "throw the bastards out" which is choosing to simply vote the alternate bastards in.

We (Canadians) imho, need proportional representation. This first-past-the-post format is a #fail. No?

I do appreciate your candid opinion, however.

Editado: Fev 18, 8:20 pm

17. Miss Benson's Beetle (Rachel Joyce)


Joyce's book was one of those just not for me narratives. The story didn't engage me at all. Ultimately, curiosity prompted me to skim and skip through the chapters to be more level-headed about the plot.

Not a success. The author's characterisations of Miss Benson from the age of ten and her later plans to search across the world started off well. Then, despite the first couple chapters being well-written,weird twists to the story derailed my interest. Some aspects of the story just plain lost me and the character behaviour descended into a a ridiculous farce.
Since these points were already mentioned by others in the reviews on the main book review page, I will not add any spoilers or repetitiveness. The way the plot disintegrated was the main reason I awarded only 2-stars, my code for "Life is too short to finish this one".

Fev 20, 7:04 pm

>31 SandyAMcPherson: Canadian here, but expat since 1992....

I'm not sold on proportional representation; I fear it would just change what types of problems we had, not reduce their overall severity.

Editado: Fev 20, 7:45 pm

>33 ArlieS: okay. Thanks for dropping by. Hope the reading is all good. I understand that the stressy house situation plus other things perhaps, have sent you into escapism reading. I hope you find some good titles or tell us about the re-reading when life sweetens up for you.

Fev 20, 7:57 pm

>31 SandyAMcPherson: Ranked-choice voting and proportional representation would cause much confusion among th ignoramuses but would ultimately make governing fairer. But a major line 'em up and slaughter 'em Revolution combined with expropriation of corporate property for redistribution would throw the fear of God into the scum at the top for a few decades and is certainly worth a whirl. Nothing less will be scary enough to make their boundless greed too dangerous to indulge.

Fev 20, 10:12 pm

Happy New Thread, Sandy!!

Fev 21, 12:51 pm

Happy new thread!

Fev 21, 9:18 pm

>35 richardderus: Thanks for your thoughts RD. I like seeing your feisty-take-no-prisioners get up and go attitude re-emerging. It's what we all love about you. Drop by again soon!

Editado: Fev 21, 9:29 pm

>36 ronincats: >37 foggidawn: Thank you for visiting. Always nice to see you here.

I'm having a "time" as they say. Or is it a "moment"?
I was happily reading a few pages every night of Claire Keegan's Foster this past week. Then, last night, it wasn't on my e-reader anymore. Woe is me.

Okay, my fault for not noticing the due date, and now there's a hold list. Of course. Trudge trudge trudge to the back of the line.
Why is there only 1 copy in this entire province when Keegan is such a crisp, cool author? (Yes, rhetorical question).

Fev 22, 6:58 am

>39 SandyAMcPherson: Oh no! I live in fear of that happening with a Kindle read. I've been lucky so far. Ugh. I'm so sorry that happened Sandy!

Fev 22, 7:35 am

Hi Sandy! Happy new thread. Once again, I’m in catch-up mode.

From your last thread, I’ve seen mention of A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting mentioned but yours is the first review that has actually gotten me intrigued. I’ve just placed a hold on it from our Library and will probably pick it up tomorrow when I’m in town. I love your mention of the Gunning sisters in the Georgian period, and I'm a since-13-so-57-years fan of Georgette Heyer.

>1 SandyAMcPherson: I’ve never read Gulliver’s Travels although I have a copy on my shelves. It’s already tagged to be read in 2023, but we’ll see. Yours is a pretty edition.

>8 SandyAMcPherson: I had never heard of a single one of these. Thanks for sharing!

>39 SandyAMcPherson: Sorry there was a due date on a book you were reading. I hope you get it back sooner than later.

Fev 22, 7:40 am

>40 lauralkeet: No worries. Having knocked my e-reader onto the floor a few evenings ago (I fell asleep and it clunked off the bed), I figure being in a queue is the lesser evil.

I think I should go back to bed and read for awhile...

It's really much cosier under blankies and a duvet despite the heat being on now for daytime. I'm reading Visual Thinking. It's fascinating, but a slow read for me while I digest the ideas.

Editado: Fev 22, 7:55 am

>41 karenmarie: Hi Karen. The page refreshed when I posted a reply to Laura and then saw you had been over for a visit.
I hope you like A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting. I know some reviews provide a different pov so I look forward to what you have to say.

Like you, I've enjoyed Heyer's oeuvre for many a long year. Her books have been especially re-read in the last 2 or 3 years as I needed the comfort of good writing, a few laughs, and generally satisfying endings.

Edited, from under my duvet and all...

I see that Irwin's next title, A Lady's Guide to Scandal will be released on July 11, 2023.

Fev 22, 7:49 am

Good morning Sandy. I'm back, having seen that you just posted. Hoo boy, those are some cold temperatures. I'm pretty good at comparing Celsius to Fahrenheit for temperatures above 0C, but have to look up anything colder than that. But now I know that anything below 17C is below 0F aka very cold (by my standards anyway). Definitely a day to stay bundled under the blankies and read.

Visual Thinking looks very interesting indeed.

Fev 22, 8:01 am

>44 lauralkeet: Hi again Laura, indeed with the oC = oF I can't relate anymore to temperatures in F... except at -40 oC = -40 oF !

A quick fix is to go here, and simply click the temp indicator button (changes the unit to degrees F or C, depending what your device sets). Look in the upper left under current conditions.

Fev 22, 8:03 am

>42 SandyAMcPherson: I agree. Perfect at home reading weather. Where I live, we are supposed to get a lot of ice rain. Enjoy your cozy day!

Fev 23, 4:53 pm

Brilliant sunshine (at the moment) here Sandy and I am enjoying it as it pours in the house. Snow forecast here for Saturday though.... ugh, just bought some primula to plunk in the garden. They will have to wait. It does sound cosier under the blankets where you are!

Fev 23, 9:04 pm

-24C...ewww ick. I'm happiest at 0 to -10C in wintertime. I know you're not going to wander about in shorts so I'm not worried about your survival just your comfort. Be well!

Fev 23, 11:26 pm

Happy new thread, Sandy. >8 SandyAMcPherson: I really liked constult - to act stupidly together. I could see some cases in which that would apply.

Fev 25, 8:15 pm

>47 mdoris: Hi Mary, Mary. I saw that forecast. You're in a bit of a snow belt there on the Island, no?
All I can say is that I would expect the daffs and snowdrops will perk up in the melt. At least you had a spell of nice sunshine.

>48 richardderus: Hey Richard, I am thoroughly fed up with deep cold and insane windchills. I daren't wear shorts until the temps hit +30 (86 oF). Hope your weekend is progressing well and some peachy reads are distracting you.

>49 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. Yup, constult would be the Fed, Libs and Dippers together, huh? I see maybe your forecast of potentially 30+ cm of snow overnight will turn to rain. Sure hope so. All those hills in the New West-Coquitlam area would freal=k me out if I had to drive anywhere. Does the Sky Train really shut down in heavy snow? I get that the soggy wet snow pulls down tree limbs, but snow on the tracks?

Editado: Fev 26, 8:23 am

19. A Civil Contract (Georgette Heyer)


Adam Deveril, Viscount Lynton has inherited a nearly bankrupt estate, thanks to his father's profligate ways. To save his family home and settle his family debts he decides in favour of marrying the gently-reared daughter of a "Cit" to restore his fortunes.

This is a re-read for me and I am still entertained by the story. Good characterisation of the new Lady Lynton and the family she marries into, plus a realistic look at a common-sense solution to insolvency. This theme makes an interesting story departure compared to many of Heyer's Regency novels. The developing relationship was beautifully conveyed, and never descended into unrealistic romanticism with a saccharine ending ~ certainly a most enjoyable piece of writing.

Fev 25, 9:07 pm

I have still not finished Green Rider.
I originally started this story in 2022, but after stalling out several times, I shelved it along with some other 'currently reading' books.

This January, I decided to begin it again and managed to reach the halfway point. I've yet to sort out why the story doesn't keep me engaged because its style ticks my mythopoeic-high fantasy, strong-female-lead boxes. And I usually enjoy YA 'Quest' adventures.

Most of my enjoyment of GR has derived from the quiet passages when the MC was making progress in her personal discoveries and learning about her innate strengths and personality.

I'm going to declare it a To Be Continued Afresh Another Time book. I'm not yet willing to call it a DNF book to pass along to the younger audience in the family. I posted a review on the book page mainly for my own information.

Like Lucy who wondered if DNF books were worthy of including in the reading number, I am dithering whether to count all the time I've spent with Kristen Britain as one of my 2023 reads.

My reading bliss evidently trends more to the mental-emotional growth of the characters, rather than the frantic escape passages when the evil characters surface. I wonder if pandemic-head has changed what I like to read? Anyone else encountered this sea change?

Fev 25, 9:13 pm

>52 SandyAMcPherson: I've gotten through all of the Green Rider books, but they'll never be favorites. There are a few series I follow but don't really rate all that highly. Part of it has to do with the protagonist having some strong interest or sense of enjoyment in their character and life and that it be feelingly communicated in the story and not encased in words like determined and duty.

Editado: Fev 26, 12:34 am

>52 SandyAMcPherson: If I make it past half-way in a book, I count it.

Re: pandemic reading: For me I have less and less tolerance for just about anything negative (anger, cruelty, violence, pain, etc.) and crave some striving for goodness and light and peace. I don't mean denying reality, but there's a limit to the grief I can endure. This has always been true for me, but it has increased dramatically in the last few years.

Two examples in the past week: I started Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, historical fiction which has gorgeous writing, but about 30 pages into the novel she goes into graphic detail of foot-binding in 19th c. China. So much unrelenting pain--I had to abandon it, even though it is based on reality.

On the other hand I finished and appreciated Two-Part Invention, Madeleine L'Engle's memoir about her 40-year marriage, culminating with her husband's cancer diagnosis and death. She went into much detail about his illness, but always tempered by examining her response, her fears, her love & gratitude to her husband and her family.

Fev 26, 12:48 am

>54 kac522: While I liked Snow Flower and the Secret Fan it is a tale full of pain and regret.

Fev 26, 1:10 am

>55 quondame: 5 years ago I could have carried on with it; not now.

Fev 26, 1:17 am

>56 kac522: It's been more than that long since I first read it - then I re-read it in 2020 for a TIOLI shared read. I'll certainly look at my review before I ever open it again!

My limit for emotional pain in books is also substantially lower than it has been even if it isn't the lowest in the area - and I used up my spoons for holocaust books in my 20s.

Fev 26, 8:30 am

Thank you Susan and Kathy for your comments on my >52 SandyAMcPherson: Green Rider angst. Indeed, I am grateful for the insights and fellow-feeling. One never knows if it is an age-related mental susceptibility or that I've run out of resilience (spoons, as Susan said at #57). I definitly have no Covid-tolerance spoons left to use.

>54 kac522: Kathy, I cannot ever read books like you mentioned. And that realization has been present for me since I was in my 20's. I've lost too many in my family to cancer, for example, not to mention having coped with that myself (back in 2015).

I added GR to my 2023 reading list and will stop worrying about whether it is kosher to put it in my list. Isn't this strange? To be conscious of what's read or not finished? The trappings of being in school hang on too long past their best by date.

Speaking of reading lists... I do like looking at people's current and recent lists but I often wonder how frequently do folks scroll back to the top of threads to do that? I probably refine too much on everything.

Fev 26, 8:44 am

I never did get through Green Rider even when I was young and reading everything! That said, I also have had my tolerance for pain and cruelty diminished markedly now. Which is probably why I am stuck in the cozy SFF genre right now.

I track both books read and pages read and when I don't finish a book, don't count it as a book read but do count all the pages I read. Otoh, if I am 80% of the way through a book, I will skim the rest and count it. But as the others said, it's your list, your rules--people here do it all sorts of different ways.

>54 kac522: Some authors build a trust with their writing that can carry you through difficult themes, and Madeleine L'Engle is definitely one of those writers!

Fev 26, 9:53 am

>58 SandyAMcPherson: I freely admit that my low tolerance for angst is partially age-related; I just don't need it anymore. I think, too, I feel media is so much more present in our lives that the goings-on in the outside world are plenty real and difficult enough.

>59 ronincats: So true about L'Engle's memoirs--in this book she alternates between memories of her courtship and marriage with present-tense sections about her husband's illness. This makes it palatable, as you learn about the strength of her marriage, family and her faith that she draws on to weather the challenges of illness. I hope I have even a tiny drop of that resilience when I need it.

Fev 26, 10:32 am

>59 ronincats: >60 kac522: Hi Roni and Kathy. I appreciate your thoughts here and have a fellow-feeling for diminished tolerance.

I've left off reading most of the news media websites I originally enjoyed. I could not tolerate the negativity, lack of critical thinking, and exaggeration of facts. I didn't have social media accounts, fortunately. My understanding is that misinformation and intolerance are rife in these venues.

LT still my one enjoyable interaction!

Editado: Fev 26, 12:00 pm

I totally get your issues with Green Rider and went back hoping for more clues, but alas, no comments here BUT I did notice it's not til book 4 or 5 that I shifted from three1/2 to four stars, so there's a clue. I got more and more engaged as I read them, and that often happens as the writer him/herself gets more involved in the characters. However I am in awe of some aspects of just plain story-telling and so sometimes can read just for 'the story' and I can handle violence when somehow it seems to fit (and sometimes when it doesn't so much but I like the story/character enough to keep moving onward)-- but it is definitely a mood-and-life-based thing and shifts around. Tad Williams gets violent but I love most of his books and so does Kate Elliott -- especially in The Crown of Stars series. Some, like Guy Gavriel Kay do not get violent so if you haven't read him widely, I'd go for it! I mean this seriously -- I think, because I write fiction, I read for other things perhaps than the majority of readers. A sort of 'how the heck do they do that?' kind of wonder and craft interest.

So -- there's plenty out there to read instead I'd say and if they don't suit let them go. I just skim violent stuff anyway when I like everything else.

Susan's comment >53 quondame: was excellent!

Fev 26, 12:07 pm

>62 sibylline: Thanks for your comments, Lucy.
More than anything, it is the suspense and "now what" that gets to me.
I feel that Susan nailed it when she wrote "...and not encased in words like determined and duty."
I'm indulging in some Georgette Heyer titles ATM!

Fev 26, 2:11 pm

>51 SandyAMcPherson: That is a Heyer I haven't read, Sandy. It sounds like another winner.

Editado: Fev 26, 5:33 pm

>62 sibylline: >63 SandyAMcPherson: Aw thanks. I'll read for great lengths if I feel a character engaged with their pursuits, invested in the life and developing mostly positively within the frame of the world. Of course endless relationship angst is a real drag - people do get over "the love of their lives" sometimes multiple times.

Fev 26, 5:53 pm

>64 BLBera: Beth, I like this story a lot, however, one thing that bothered me is that Heyer (IMHO) overdoes the father (whose daughter marries Deveril). It was perhaps an accurate portrayal of this type of person with no exposure to polite society, but I found the descriptions overwhelmed the narrative flow. Maybe a personality quirk on my part so don't let my opinion put you off.

Fev 26, 6:07 pm

>65 quondame: So true, but youth never believes this until they've "found" their confidence in themselves. Oh, and learned from the times the 'looove' didn't work.

Fev 26, 6:27 pm

>67 SandyAMcPherson: Heh, with a sister 7 years older I saw a fair number of love's lapses before embarking myself. Not that I didn't take myself entirely seriously and think I knew better.....

Fev 26, 8:08 pm

>68 quondame: I learned the hard way myself 😵‍💫

Fev 27, 9:51 am

>52 SandyAMcPherson: I don't know if it's the pandemic or just general life changes, but I'm definitely searching for books that are more cozy and gentle lately. Like Roni, cozy SFF is hitting just right for me. I used to read more YA, but the angst bugs me more than it used to. But I think that's been something that's been changing over at least the last five years for me, maybe longer. And I do still enjoy it occasionally.

Fev 27, 8:04 pm

>70 foggidawn: Hi Foggi. I appreciate hearing your cosy SFF hitting the right note for you. That feels about right to me, especially your saying that the YA angst bugs you. That's exactly what I had felt (something bugged me) but not identified what was the source of the irritant. Thanks for the insight.

Fev 28, 5:19 am

Happy new thread, Sandy!

Fev 28, 8:41 am

Hi Sandy!

I picked up A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting yesterday from the Library and started it while waiting for my appointment with my lawyer to get a new will and all medical/financial documents redone. I’ve put one of my favorite bookmarks in it – a think wooden one given to me by a friend – and will read some more today.

>51 SandyAMcPherson: Excellent comments. I also give it 4 stars. It’s more about Adam than Jenny, IMO, sweet and interesting.

>61 SandyAMcPherson: I occasionally look at my paid-subscription Washington Post and NYTimes online access but lately, not so much, same as you. I trust both of them, however, just don’t have the emotional wherewithall to get involved in the news. I’m on FB, but don’t post, so LT is my only social media outlet. I love it here, too.

>63 SandyAMcPherson: Yay for more Heyer. I just looked at my Heyer catalog, and see that I’ve never read Pistols for Two or My Lord John. Hmmm…

>66 SandyAMcPherson: I loved the father’s genuine love for his daughter. Yes, a bit over the top, but Dickens comes to mind, too, for over the top characters…

Fev 28, 9:29 am

>72 drneutron: Hi Jim. So nice to see you and the Mrs home safe and sound.
Thanks for dropping by.

Fev 28, 9:32 am

>73 karenmarie: Hi Karen, I enjoyed seeing all your comments - so kind of you to take time to remark on everything.

I've been tremendously sporadic in delurking. A lot of non-LT activities in my life, ATM, and not as much reading as I would have liked.

Mar 1, 1:07 am

>50 SandyAMcPherson: Yeah, that forecast was wrong, Sandy. The 30 cms was about right but no turning to rain, then it snowed again yesterday and today. Lots of meetings cancelled especially night time ones. Snow and hills don't mix well.

And a Heyer review. It's been a while since I read one. Maybe time to pull one off the shelf again soon.

Mar 1, 9:38 am

>76 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, I was just now dropping in on your new thread.
Yes, Heyer has always been a comfort read for me especially these last 3 years. I finished re-reading Venetia a few days ago and will post my thoughts later today.
Here's hoping the snow has disappeared and the promised rains rather than flurries appear.

Mar 1, 12:31 pm

>51 SandyAMcPherson: This is one I like, and am impressed by. I found it astonishing that someone as level headed as Adam could have been in love with Julia(?) and fail to appreciate Jenny straightaway. But I first read it later in life and I bet if I'd read it as a teenager I would have been on Julia's 'side' - as in Sense and Sensibility, which, when I read it as a schoolgirl I couldn't understand how Elinor could behave as she did and loved Marianne's romantic behaviour. As a sensible middle-aged woman (verging on elderly, now) I'd be Elinor every time!

Mar 1, 3:04 pm

>78 CDVicarage: Hi Kerry. Nice to see you visiting.
My first go around with A Civil Contract was about 10 years ago or more. At that time, I thought it a painful read and certainly didn't appreciate the finer points of the story.

After I joined LT (2017), I embarked on re-reading everything in Heyer's oeuvre (since I wanted to have a place to keep my reviews). I think I appreciated A Civil Contract so much more by then because I had read The Private World of Georgette Heyer (Jane Aiken Hodge). This biography is an excellently researched analysis and provided a unknown (to me) insight into why Heyer's work is so timeless.

Mar 1, 6:07 pm

>77 SandyAMcPherson: I'm still trying to recover from ODing on Heyer in the 1980's, the 1990's and the 2000's - reading and rereading and being in chat groups. I don't seem to have revisited any for a decade according to LT, but I'm sure my dislike of The Grand Sophy was renewed more recently, I know it!

Editado: Mar 1, 6:32 pm

>80 quondame: Interesting that you mention disliking The Grand Sophy.
I'm somewhat on that page, too, though we're in the minority, I think.
That was a title I've re-read very rarely, and I only keep it because some of my family enjoy reading it when they visit.
I rated this in 2017 with 4-stars but after a pandemic re-read, I changed it to 3½-stars.

Another title I've not bothered to re-read is Bath Tangle. My review hasn't changed, 3* and I wrote, "One of my least favourite Heyer regency novels: highly predictable plot, just a replay of earlier themes. The usual amusing twists to the characterizations seemed missing in this story." I keep it on my shelf for the same reason 'Sophy' is still there.

Editado: Mar 1, 8:30 pm

A wrap-up for the end of February:
One new to me author and series and a re-read of an old favourite.

Book 20. Murder on Black Swan Lane (Andrea Penrose)


This title is Book 1 of the Wrexford and Sloane series, a BB from Lori (thornton37814). I was very happy to become acquainted with this author's work. I certainly found the story intriguing despite some quite rocky plot development. My main quibble was Penrose's inclination to muddy the narrative with essentially two unrelated mysteries which, in my view, clashed as far as a plot device.

Characterization was fun and I liked my time getting to know the female protagonist, a satirical illustrator, A.J. Quill, with her two adopted street urchins. However, it took me about half the book to warm up to the Earl of Wrexford. This part of the story ran very unevenly, requiring too much accommodation to facets of Wrexford as an aristocrat versus the gentleman sleuth consorting with the mysterious Mrs. Sloane a.k.a. 'A.J. Quill'.

I also longed for evidence of an editor. Too often 'hubris' and 'the pot calling the kettle black' were words used to excess. As well, towards the dénouement, unravelling the main murder mystery and the lesser plot (an earlier crime) became too confused to be worthy of interrupting this suspenseful reading. I'll look for some better plotting in Book 2.

Mar 1, 8:25 pm

Book 21. Venetia (Georgette Heyer)


Aspects of this Heyer romance are great, with intriguing characterisations. Venetia, her brother, Aubrey, and their childhood Nurse were wonderfully filled out characters.
Unfortunately, plot idiocy occasionally overwhelmed the story such as the unexpected arrival of Conway's bride and her extremely unpleasant mother. Venetia was well-suited to have depressed the visitor's pretensions.

Later, another revelation develops unexpectedly, regarding a family member, and provides the reader with some amusement. However, the twist in the story felt like a weak gambit to influence Venetia's romance. As a ploy for strengthening Lord Damerel's commitment to marriage, I was less than convinced. Altogether, while not one of my favourite Heyer re-reads, Venetia is a wonderfully amusing story for a relaxing laugh.

Editado: Mar 3, 1:13 pm

As well as rereading Georgette Heyer, I have embarked on revisiting my YA collection of Diana Wynne Jones, one of my favourite authors for contemporary fantasies.

Book 22. Eight Days of Luke (Diana Wynne Jones)


I found my re-reading this particular story a rather sad reflection of Diana's excessively dysfunctional childhood. I now realize I no longer enjoy her stories that apparently harken back to her neglectful parents and their rather abusive treatment of the children.

Despite my adult perception, older children who know a little about the Norse myths may recognize that 'Luke' is Loki, the Norse god of luck and fire. The narrative is rather coy on this aspect. Despite this possible glitch, a mythological development presents David, on summer vacation visiting his unpleasant family, with an 8-day companion of strange and wonderful abilities. The family dynamic changes under Luke's influence and the story is a bit of an adventure thereafter. Without revealing how life changes for David, I will say the story would satisfy the younger YA reader with how it finishes. Hopefully an enjoyable read for the middle grade reader but not reflective of DWJ's story-telling abilities seen in her later novels.

Mar 3, 1:39 pm

Lately realized an early January re-read was never posted in my library and here's my belated review ~ updated from the "tired adult" perspective:

Book 23. Conrad's Fate (Diana Wynne Jones)


This DWJ story seemed less well executed in terms of retelling a Christopher Chant backstory, especially so long after I had read all the earlier Chrestomanci books. In fact I had a 2004 pre-print edition meant for reviewers, which had a plain cover. Long since decluttered. I found a nice used copy of the actual edition first sold, which was great because of typos and other strange, misplaced sentence errors in the pre-print.

The actual plot featuring Conrad had twists that I had trouble making sense of in terms of previous Christopher Chant stories. As I said above, Conrad's Fate wasn't available at the time the Chrestomanci (and other novels) appeared in the 1970's and early 1980's, so it was difficult to feel very connected to a 2005 continuation.

However, there was lots of amusement ~ the usual chaotic household (and controlling adults), young people sent off on their own to manage somewhat undefined quests, a common DWJ (dare I say?) trope, plus surprising help from unexpected quarters. It's a good, if convoluted backstory.

If you've ever read about Diana's upbringing (which comes out in several different tales, like Time of the Ghost, Eight Days of Luke, as well as her memoir (Reflections: On the Magic of Writing), it will be obvious why she creates characters in such dire family circumstances.

I gave 3½ stars only because I felt tired of the family drama and angst. That is likely my pandemic-saturated mentality these days. It's a story my grandchildren revel in and think a great joke on the adults.

Mar 4, 9:25 pm

>82 SandyAMcPherson: I think I noticed the word/phrase overuse less with the audiobook versions. I still think it is a promising series, and I look forward to the next one when I get to it.

Mar 5, 8:09 am

>86 thornton37814: It is indeed a promising series, to me too, Lori.
I put in a hold request for the Overdrive e-book, Murder at Half Moon Gate. There are only 2 copies available and I'm at #5, so it will be awhile before my turn comes along.

At the moment, I'm reading Writ in Stone, book 4 in Cora Harrison's Burren Mystery series. I had to skip Books 2 and 3 because our library system seems not to have bought these instalments. I also just noticed there's no copy of The Cross of Vengeance (Book 10). Strange that all the other books in the series are in their catalogue.

Editado: Mar 5, 12:43 pm

As of today, I played in the charts and graphs for looking at my LT library (genre versus subject category) books.

I was only able to see a pie chart, not a bar graph, though.
I liked Karen's bar graph better.

Edited to make the image size readable.

Mar 5, 4:01 pm

Happy Sunday, Sandy, hoping you're enjoying something deeply fulifilling today.

Mar 5, 9:44 pm

>89 richardderus: best wishes to you for the coming week, RD.

I was lurking over there earlier and wanted to chime in support and say Boo on the unfeeling and definitely "Father-knows-besty" physician. Indidn't say anything though... I was too annoyed at the situation and wanted to have a think. I ate chocolate, too. Amazing stuff. Better than Valium so I am told!

I'm fed up with the "too cold and icy" to go out walking for more than around the block, so a sunny Sunday was a loss.
No wait, I finished the mystery book I started on Saturday. Glued my eyeballs to the ol' e-reader and it was a 4-star read. I'll review it right away because I have another e-book that will expire on me if I don't crack on.

Thanks for your visit. I hope you're resting between posting a lot.

Editado: Mar 7, 9:43 pm

Book 24. Writ in Stone (Cora Harrison)


Cora Harrison has created a distinctive historical mystery series with her evocative writing and strong characterisation. The main protagonist is Mara O'Davoren who brings an insightful and sympathetic personality to her investigations as the Brehon ('Lady Judge') in the Burren region of medieval Ireland. As the judge and head of her own Law School, she is a respected leader of high authority, even over the abbot in the community.

This mystery proceeded on somewhat different lines compared to the first book I read (Lady Judge) and revealed how complex the religious powers of Rome versus the older and traditional Irish ways were affecting everyone. At times I found all the different characters who were either lay people, abbey staff, royal cousins, Clan leaders or monks overly complex to have a sense of who might be the culprit.
Again, I deducted one star because the author manoeuvres the investigation so that Mara takes a foolish chance to confront the murderer alone and elicit a confession. Despite these misgivings, I highly recommend the story for its atmospheric writing, historical detail, and a suspenseful plot.

Edited because I remembered: BB from sibylline (Lucy)

Mar 6, 8:10 am

>91 SandyAMcPherson: I've had my eye on either that series or another by that author. I recognize her name. I might need to give it a try.

Mar 6, 4:48 pm

>92 thornton37814: I think Cora Harrison is an excellent writer. She has an adept hand in bringing the reader into her story and making the world of her novel real and very present.

Some years ago, before I was an LT-member, I started Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend. I was visiting a friend and had borrowed her book because I had finished the one with me for the trip. Naively, I thought I could find a copy when I returned home, because it was a very amusing story and not quite in the way Jane Austin wrote her books.

Well, Bah! The book has never been reprinted (I wanted the paperback, not the e-book) and our public library didn't have it. So if you do find a copy, I would suggest trying this series. I am new to the Burren mysteries and it took looking at CH's list of books on LT to realize I had read some of her work previously.

Mar 6, 8:25 pm

>93 SandyAMcPherson: What a fun title. But not available at LAPL, so it will remain a mystery.

Mar 6, 9:37 pm

>94 quondame: Kind of the same for me, too (a mystery novel). The start was quirky and I recall wanting to read like crazy to get into the book at least half way but now have little memory other than, yeah, wanted to re-read it.
I have thought of looking for a contact address to ask if I could send the postage to borrow the book! I haven't visited her again mainly because she moved from the west coast to Atlantic Canada (some tiny place in New Brunswick). Yeah, I don't think this will work out.

Editado: Mar 8, 12:24 pm

>1 SandyAMcPherson: I've not yet read Gulliver's Travels, though it's on my "Classics to be read" list.

>51 SandyAMcPherson: I really liked this one.

Mar 8, 12:44 pm

>96 fuzzi: Hi Fuzzi, thanks for the visit.
>51 SandyAMcPherson: was a book that really grew on me. I was surprised because at first I wasn't very keen on it and nearly culled it in an annual book declutter. So glad, now, that I didn't.

Mar 9, 9:06 pm

Book 25. Murder in the Mystery Suite (Ellery Adams)


Stayed up late last night to finish Murder in the Mystery Suite (a BB from Lori, "thornton37814"). I'm having trouble deciding what to write for a review because while it was a great romp of a story, the author's writing was rather unsophisticated. I've been reading Cora Harrison novels in the Burren series and Harrison is a hard act to follow.

Ellery created a murder mystery around books and a secret library trope. Happily, she made the story feel original with the setting in a stately manor run as a luxurious hotel with its main draw being a tranquil escape for readers and things literary. While I found the writing style over the top with descriptions and some irrelevant details, the plot moved along merrily with an enjoyable set of characters and an unexpected twist. The backstory to the hotel and the family who owned it was a bit of a stretch but just go with the flow and enjoy the chase. It's fun, a bit silly and readable. Guess I liked it, 'cause I requested my public library for the second novel. We'll see how that goes as a 'continuing saga'.

Mar 10, 8:40 am

>98 SandyAMcPherson: I see you also found the back story a bit implausible, but it was still a fun book. Great escape reading!

Mar 10, 9:11 am

>99 thornton37814: Hi Lori. Indeed, Ellery set up an unrealistic challenge in creating that backstory. As I said, it was still a fun romp and I'm curious to see where she goes with this theme in the next book.
I didn't want to spoil the story for anyone, so I've left my thoughts about the legacy library and such unstated.

Editado: Mar 10, 1:59 pm

Book 26. Foster (Claire Keegan)


for the writing.
However ~ the overlying, dark tone of family dysfunction and implied mistreatment of the young girl made this short story an emotional roller coaster. Keegan is a hugely powerful writer, able to evoke an atmospheric narrative in succinct descriptions. My rating reflects amongst other considerations: did I enjoy the theme and would I read it again?

And like many readers, I was left somewhat bereft by the ambiguous ending.

Mar 10, 9:35 am

>100 SandyAMcPherson: Same here about not spoiling that part.

>101 SandyAMcPherson: I liked that one better than you. I didn't give it 5 stars--just 4.5, but it will be one of my top reads of the year.

Editado: Mar 10, 9:36 pm

>102 thornton37814: Lori, I wonder about reading Small Things Like These. Any insights sans spoilers?

I didn't read the reviews because I like to go into the story uninfluenced. However, 'STLT' seems widely appreciated amongst the 75-ers. I looked at your library and it appears you didn't read this book (or perhaps have yet to add it to your catalogue).
I don't have to decide for awhile because it will be a few weeks before my place in the holds queue wends its way to the top.

Claire Keegan is a truly impressive writer. I normally don't much care for novellas because the charater development seems shallow and the action abrupt or not interesting. But yeah ~ wow for this novel Foster.

Editado: Mar 10, 11:07 pm

>101 SandyAMcPherson:, >103 SandyAMcPherson: I loved both of Keegan's books. Both have open endings. Small Things Like These is a tough subject, but I think the ending gives hope that we can have courage to make a difficult choice to do the right thing.

Note: Spoilers for Foster in the link ahead:

I thought this Q&A with Keegan at St. Columba's College, Dublin, in 2014 about Foster was very illuminating and gives a hint as to the author's intentions:

It helped me get a little bit better sense of where Keegan was going with the open ending.

Mar 10, 11:26 pm

Small Things Like These is definitely worth a read, Sandy. The Burren mysteries look interesting and my library has them as actual physical books!

Mar 11, 1:46 am

Sandy, I was a little lukewarm about Small Things Like These, and I only gave it 3 stars , whereas most books I read get a 4 star rating. Here is my very short review that I wrote, it helps any. A slim novella. Perhaps I expected more. More depth, more about the Magdalen Laundries, more about Bill Furlong, the Catholic Church, and what happened to the young Sarah. A touching story, but just not enough depth.

You won't lose much by reading Small Things Like These, because it so short.

After I read Small Things Like These, I was interested in reading more about the Magdalen Laundries. A much more in depth , but perhaps less well written book that I found at the library was The Magdalen Girls . That I gave 4 stars too.

Mar 13, 2:19 pm

>103 SandyAMcPherson: I haven't read Small Things Like These yet. I was talking about Foster.

Mar 14, 12:31 pm

Wandering in the wilderness of a reading desert.
I seem unable to find anything engaging to read these days. I now have four books on the go and will start on Cora Harrison's novel this afternoon (clearly my mind is not accommodating non-fiction or even literary novels):

~ ~ ~

Well, at least it's a fancy 🥮🧁 dessert 🎂🍰 day

Mar 14, 12:40 pm

Thanks for your visits: Kathy, Meg, VanacouverDeb and Lori.
I'm happy to say (despite the accolades) that I tried out and abandoned These Small Things; the old brain was simply overwhelmed but I do intend to keep the title on my WL.

Meg, the Burren mysteries are wonderful. I hope you enjoy te saga.
Lori, I misread about your reading TST, but I see now you were still commenting on Foster.

Cheers to everyone, let there be some pie in our day!

Editado: Mar 14, 7:08 pm

>108 SandyAMcPherson: I hope you have lovely pie to celebrate the day. Mike secured some for us first thing this morning - last night's mission was scuppered by a long CVS line.

Mar 14, 8:46 pm

>110 quondame: Hi Susan, no pie here today. Meals progress around here subject to finishing leftovers. Tonight it was the yummiest chili made with leftover grilled sausages in stewed down, home-grown tomatoes (from freezing summer produce, all prepped to go) plus lots of seasonings. We'll have egg-cheese pie for tomorrow, however.
I need to quit lurking on your thread, so you know I am paying attention. I've not felt chatty ~ the rate of books to comprehend is so impressive and I've not read a one.

Mar 15, 7:28 am

Hi Sandy! That chili sounds good. I froze some of my summer tomatoes but they were pretty watery when thawed. That worked okay in some recipes, but obviously not all. My "technique" was to blanch, peel, flash freeze on a baking sheet, and then store in freezer bags. How do you do prepare and store your tomatoes?

Mar 15, 7:31 am

>111 SandyAMcPherson: That chili sounds yummy! Is the egg-cheese pie like quiche?

Mar 15, 8:57 am

>112 lauralkeet: Laura, We always blanch and core the tomatoes, then simmer them until very, very thickened. As we harvest the ripening ones (set in the basement to fully ripen and encourage the green ones on the plants to get a move on), I simmer them in batches of about 20. This makes about 3 cups per freezer bag (frozen flat in ziplocks so we stack them like envelopes in the chest freezer). This 3-cup amount is perfect to thaw for a couple or 3 meals per recipe. I never can tomatoes anymore!

Mar 15, 9:00 am

>113 thornton37814: Hi Lori, never sure what the difference is between egg-cheese pie and quiche.
Our recipe is adapted from an older edition of 'Joy of Cooking'. Very simple. These days I "cheat" and buy unbaked, frozen pie shells, usually Tenderflake brand. Makes the supper meal a breeze to throw together.

Mar 15, 12:40 pm

>114 SandyAMcPherson: That's really helpful, Sandy. I take it you simmer them in their "pure" state i.e., you don't season them like you would an Italian-style tomato sauce. Is the end result something like canned diced tomatoes?

Mar 16, 10:48 pm

>116 lauralkeet: So more on the tomato process: The skinned/cored tomatoes become completely sauced and the longer you stir the simmering produce, the more water is released (steam, water vapour ~ you know what I mean, I expect).
I've found that no seasonings or salt is best. In the freezer, the seasonings oxidize over time and become lost or off-flavoured so it's pointless.

And as is normal, some moisture starts to escape the container (even freezer-grade ziplocks) and the result is the salt becomes more pronounced (we're very low salt in our house).
I like to make the stewed product as thick as if I was going to make a pasta sauce where I'll add fresh chopped red peppers and lots of onion (plus some protein item, like precooked and chunked meat). These release lots of juice so the sauce ends up about right for pasta.

Mar 17, 6:48 am

>117 SandyAMcPherson: thanks Sandy!

steam, water vapour ~ you know what I mean, I expect
I loved chemistry and even still remember some of it! Not that this is the most complicated process but still ... 😃 Also very helpful insight on the oxidation of seasonings & salt, and moisture issues. There really is a lot of chemistry in the culinary arts!

Last year I froze sauce made from our garden tomatoes (seasonings and all), used it only once. It just wasn't all that great despite being a tried and true recipe. You've reminded me I could probably purge the other containers in the freezer and free up some space.

Mar 17, 11:40 am

I am now craving fresh-frozen tomatoes simmered with my favorite sauce liquid, a chopped large onion, and 8oz fresh button mushrooms sliced thick as my umami-providing liquid.

Happy weekend-ahead's reads! *smooch plus a stomach rumble*

Mar 19, 4:42 pm

>52 SandyAMcPherson: >58 SandyAMcPherson:

I've never had much tolerance for hopeless situations in fiction, as I discovered when I encountered Nevil Shute's On the Beach some time in my teens. I don't mind bad things happening to people (within reason) or even people dying. But I've been known to DNF a King Arthur retelling simply because it kept pointing out how various events early in the story were fated to lead to unsurmountable problems later on.

Editado: Mar 19, 4:50 pm

>61 SandyAMcPherson: If you asked me, I'd say that LibraryThing forums are a kind of social media - but old school, like LiveJournal, mailing lists, and similar - no algorithm picking what you see to increase "engagement", which seems to translate into getting you upset. I'm on all kinds of "social media", and essentially all of them existed before Facebook.

>79 SandyAMcPherson: You just got me with a book bullet - for the biography rather than the novel.

Mar 20, 9:23 am

OMG! I was away for all of 4 days and the threads exploded like it was back in January. I am behind in updating my reading and will do that later today.
Just now wanted to say thanks for the comments, so nice to see that my occasionally moribund thread is visited.

>118 lauralkeet: Always happy to pass on preserving ideas from my pov. Hope they work for you, Laura.

>119 richardderus: Hey RD, Loved the idea of the fresh mushroom addition. I'm always in the middle of making a tomato sauce-based meal on the spur moment, and wishing I'd remembered to buy mushrooms! Hope your weekend was good. I am def miles behind in your thread.

>120 ArlieS: and >121 ArlieS: My parents were great Nevil Shute fans, so as a teenager, I read his books avidly ~ until I read On the Beach. That was it... I was so done with him. I continued to enjoy Desmond Bagley, however. And yeah, Live journal. I wrote a blog there for years and it was great fun but somehow, ran out of steam. I think work ate my life. I hope you enjoy the Heyer biography, btw. Try to get the hardcover first edition. The paperback has poorly reproduced letter images (I think that's the book that had some of GH's letters reprinted... been awhile since I read The Private World of Georgette Heyer).

Mar 21, 12:23 am

Hi Sandy, I hope you were away somewhere warm. Hmm, The Private World of Georgette Heyer looks interesting. Would you recommend it?

Mar 21, 8:49 am

>123 Familyhistorian: No not a warm escape at all, Meg. The "away" was busy with other activities that left no time for any attention to the computer.

I "" recommended The Private World of Georgette on my review ~ here's what I wrote about the book in Feb. 2019:

This readable biography was a pleasant surprise. Hodge created an accurate and sympathetic view of the historical fiction written over the decades by Georgette Heyer. The prose never descended into maudlin praise or esoteric speculation about the very private person that was ‘Miss Heyer’. Remarks and quotes throughout about the development of most of her novels added an excellent insight into Heyer’s way of writing. At one point, Hodge details very succinctly that people who sneer at Heyer's work clearly haven't read any. I loved her passages on this topic because it shows how thoroughly the inner workings of Heyer's writing was analyzed (by Hodge).

It was especially astonishing to read about her difficulties with the British income tax assessments. One now can understand why many citizens became British ex-pats in order to survive. It was also very refreshing to have Heyer’s work revealed as highly capable and well-researched narratives that men apparently read as well as women. It was increasingly evident as Heyer’s research came to light that she was a notable expert in military strategy of the Napoleanic and Peninsular war histories. Highly recommended biography.

Mar 21, 9:43 am

27. Eligible (Curtis Sittenfeld)


This contemporary version of Pride and Prejudice was surprisingly entertaining but I found part 3 pretty poor. I thought the author was sailing along pretty well until then. It was like Sittenfeld lost interest and was lazy in wrapping up the end. The Liz character was very amusing, however. I liked how the author managed her involvement with her sisters and parents, especially taking the father in hand to resolve his indebtedness. Having never read P&P, I have no idea whether this book's theme follows Austen's closely or otherwise.

28. Murder at Half Moon Gate (Andrea Penrose)


Book 2 in the Wrexford & Sloane series was a much tighter plot and I thoroughly enjoyed the character development of the MC's, Charlotte and Wrexford. The cast of supporting participants in the story was delightful as we came to know the other people better from the first mystery. My sense is that the author will keep her narratives fresh, the individuals will develop naturally, and reader engagement will not dwindle. Penrose is excellent in maintaining the Regency societal vibe and in portraying the politics of the times. Highly recommended.

Mar 21, 1:56 pm

>125 SandyAMcPherson: The first Wrexford & Sloane book was free to read on Prime so it's on my Kindle now, and thanks for the rec!

Mar 21, 5:06 pm

>126 richardderus: There's even a very subtle 🌈 in book 2, and overall not much in the hetero-end. Hope you enjoy the adventure.
I'm getting the books from Overdrive, so all free for me. AND I don't have to declutter the books or find a bricks & mortar PL, just click return. Win-win.

Mar 21, 6:16 pm

>124 SandyAMcPherson: The Private World of Georgette Heyer was, unsurprisingly, almost required reading for members of the group I belonged to, originally called The Society for Heyer Criticism, but more given the more easily? deciphered name The Friends of the English Regency. We put on teas and dances and for a couple of decades, a yearly weekend event with lectures and other activities - once a balloon ascension!

Mar 22, 9:26 am

Happy mid week!

I think I will give the Wrexford & Sloane series a try.

Mar 22, 9:46 am

>128 quondame: I remember you talking about those dances sometime ago. What a brilliant idea. Did you sew Regency-era gowns for the participants? I'd love to see some pix of the designs.

Mar 22, 9:47 am

>129 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita, so nice to see you were here. I hope you enjoy the Penrose series. I'm eagerly awaiting my library turn for Book 3, Murder at Kensington Palace.

Mar 22, 6:25 pm

>130 SandyAMcPherson: I sewed very few of my gowns - mostly hiring costumers in the group for my outfits.
Here are a couple of the outfits by two different people - well 3 people as the riding habit was done by a dressmaking/tailoring couple.

Mar 22, 9:21 pm

>132 quondame: Lovely! Thank you for the photos. Is that you on horseback?
I think that is you in the green gown, no?

Did the event with the riding habit require the Ladies to do much side-saddle riding? I could never figure out how women of those days stayed in the saddle if they were 'hunting' or jumping ditches and hedges on horseback.

Mar 23, 12:56 am

>133 SandyAMcPherson: Both pictures are of me. That was the only riding event we ever managed at least while I was active, so no, sidesaddles weren't really a thing. The group in Albuquerque put on the weekend long Assembly and one of the members, Melinda Snodgrass, owned a couple of horses. The event had a very full schedule - the balloon ascension included, but I pointed out that a hunt breakfast with riding photo ops was absolutely necessary. It was the only Assembly that group ever managed, and I'm afraid I may have pushed them over the edge toward burn out.

Mar 23, 6:00 pm

>134 quondame: In my experience, many groups burn out because all the real organization ends up on the shoulders of too few participants. Often there are great plans for the future activities, all agreed upon, but then expected helpers amongst the membership decide not to come forward to make it happen. I think the balloon ascension was an amazing thing to pull off, though!

Editado: Mar 23, 6:27 pm

29. Murder in the Paperback Parlor (Ellery Adams)


A readable sequel to Murder in the Mystery Suite, even though following a very similar narrative trajectory. Characterization of the main players in this mystery was distinctive. However, the support staff and villagers from the first instalment were repeated as in Book 1. My engagement in the mystery flagged in this respect.

Further causes for disengagement were lapses in the storyline with details needing attention where the wrong character name was used and plot developments never followed up. Suspense wanes with even the romance interest for Jane (the manager of Storyton Hall) which felt superficial. I think I am done with this series now, but it was worth the time exploring this as a potential cozy mystery series to follow.

I find myself (perhaps unfairly) comparing Ellery Adams writing style to Andrea Penrose's. I certainly read both of these one after the other, so that is not a surprise that personal preference strongly inclined me to be quite judgmental and downgrade Adam's book. However, I have been reading so many other authors who write novels with flair and so smoothly, I'm never jolted out of the world they've created. Cora Harrison, Adrian McKinty, Andrea Penrose, Molly Fader, Ann Cleeves, Sally Hepworth to mention several that I've read in past months.

It seems a shame that Ellery Adams doesn't have a mentor to lift her to the next level because I think the ideas for the plots in her Book Retreat Mystery series have potential to develop into better stories if her writing wasn't so undeveloped. Patricia Wrede rewrote some of her earlier work to great effect. In an Introduction to Daughter of Witches, she explained how much she'd learned and by showing where she changed the way she wrote (not the story per se), so readers could see the difference. It was so insightful and the effect of her changes made the novel come alive.

Not sure why I wanted to tell y'all about my thoughts when writing reviews on Talk. Maybe to show why I am often bored with a novel that lots of readers loved?

Editado: Mar 23, 7:28 pm

>135 SandyAMcPherson: I have see that. My mother always expected no more than 1/3 of the people who volunteered to show up and at least 1 of them to be more trouble than help, which is pretty much the case in my experience. There was one "helper" who often brought spoiled food and would engage the people cleaning up in long pointless conversations. I would let her go for a bit then kick her out, but she seemed impervious and no doubt kept volunteering after I gave up after 3 decades.

>136 SandyAMcPherson: A good editor, heeded, makes such a difference.

Mar 25, 5:47 pm

30. The Sting of Justice (Cora Harrison)


Another mystery set in Ireland of the 16th century, richly written with historical detail and deeply-engrossing characterization. Harrison's stories are all about the Brehon (judge and lawyer) solving the crimes in the Burren, a regional kingdom in County Clare (Western Ireland). The stories are very engaging, peopled by such genuine individuals in their daily lives in a way that brings to life what it was like living in the 1500's.

Of special interest to me was how strongly supportive the communities were and how the practice of Irish law was quite wonderfully sensible (compared to the punitive, arrogant English law that was slowly usurping Ireland's thousands' year-old ruling by Brehon laws). I appreciated that women's rights were protected in ways from which today's societies could well learn. This marvellous background keeps the stories fresh and the suspense in solving misdeeds and murders compelling reading. A series well-worth reading for those seeking their next books in historical fiction.

Mar 25, 5:55 pm

Well, Sandy, I did start my own thread last night here in the 75's. I'll look forward to seeing what you are reading this year. I'm afraid I would have failed grade 8 sewing had a good friend of mine and my maternal grandma not helped me with the sewing machine. My mom never sewed , nor did she own a sewing machine, so I fear my lack of competence with a sewing machine was likely a genetic flaw.

>132 quondame: Gorgeous gowns!

Editado: Mar 25, 6:54 pm

>139 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deborah.

My own mother hated sewing as much as she loved cooking, but my sister fearlessly sewed anything she felt the need for and I followed her. Not that I was ever very good, but competent and able to learn from books and learned early the value of pressing and clipping.

Mar 25, 9:12 pm

>139 vancouverdeb: Deb! How exciting to see you back in the thick of the 75ers.
I picked up a lot of good titles from your lists in previous years. I'll pop over and see what you've written up and peruse lists as they appear.

Mar 25, 9:19 pm

>140 quondame: Hi Susan, I was enchanted with your story about sewing because my mother didn't even know how to thread a sewing machine. It was my father who sewed and taught me various techniques. I was lost trying to learn from books (I never had a sewing/Home Ec class in school).
YouTube was an absolute blessing when I caught up with the technology and was trying to learn new things.

Going back in the thread, I also noted >137 quondame:, that these issues in volunteer-based organizations seem ubiquitous. Mr. SM belongs to a shooting club and the turnout for work parties averages about 10 fellows in a 200-member club, of which only 4 or 5 actually do something besides drink coffee and talk.

Mar 25, 9:31 pm

>142 SandyAMcPherson: I so much prefer written instruction to YouTube - there seems to be very little editing and effort to be concise in the videos. I used to gobble up user manuals for the various computer tools I used - I did finally part with my X-Window books within the last decade.

I want to learn enough about Easydraw to do some fairly simple drawings, but always shy away at the prospects of watching what some mush-mouthed presenter thinks I should know first rather than straight up telling me how to draw lines that fit around a shape and layer them the way I want.

Mar 25, 9:47 pm

>143 quondame: Completely agree that there are too many poor videos out there by amateurs. The times I've looked for computer help is the worst of the lot. However, Mr. SM found an excellent video so he could refurbish our expensive coffee-grinder. So I gess there are enough good YouTubes to make it worthwhile checking that platform.

I am very choosy about the YouTube playlists for textile work. I've a great resource in our local Guild, thankfully. A number of women contribute the best urls to the newsletter for techniques and basic introductions to something (textile-related, I mean). I can't access the newsletter (not belonging to the Guild anymore), but a good friend sends me the best urls when I'm stuck or can't remember how to do something.

Editado: Mar 26, 3:25 pm

I DNF'ed a couple books this morning ~ it was time to admit I wasn't liking these stories and remove them from my Currently reading list.

Last night I devoted a couple of hours' effort to The Twyford Code in understanding the narrative. Not successfully. I disliked it so much, I didn't even add the title to my catalogue as a DNF graveyard book. Not to say other readers haven't enjoyed the puzzles and decoding and whatever, obvs just not my jam.

The second book I decided to skim and then abandon was a title in my January reading plans:
Camps in Rockies: Being a Narrative of Life on the Frontier, And Sport in the Rocky Mountains, With an Account of the Cattle Ranches of the West (W. A. Baillie-Grohman) (such a long subtitle!).

I am definitely a sucker for old histories (this one was published in 1882) and we do have that edition, with a lovely, embossed cover. The steel etching illustrations are also interesting, but the paper is showing its age and I daren't try to lay out the book on the platen in my scanner.

~ the gold lettering didn't show up very well.

So I agree, cover-lust is a real draw and I should remember the old saying ... don't judge a book by its cover.

The Camps in Rockies story was quite detailed and there were many instances where the land and it's peoples, the hardships and the excitement of uncharted rivers was described very well. But for me, at this point in time anyway, the story wasn't very compelling and the telling was never evocative of the explorations and the discoveries.

A couple years ago, I read and extensively reviewed Two Dianas in Somaliland: The record of a shooting trip. It was lengthy and too detailed in places to enjoy; however, it was also a very enchanting tale of two intrepid Englishwomen in the late 1800's setting off on an amazingly uncertain (in my mind) journey through some pretty wild parts of Africa. Herbert's writing was evocative and at times quite suspenseful. It was never dull and I was very rarely bored.

I was looking forward to Baillie-Grohman's chronicle with Agnes Herbert's book in mind. Possibly an unfair expectation, but c'est la vie.
I have posted a few remarks on the Baillie-Grohman book page, since there were some aspects other readers might like to read about and at present I see no reviews. I had a few unexpected insights while skimming the story, because passages which appeared in various sections are worth noting: stewardship of the land.

It was a view not frequently expressed or widely held in those days, but the author brought forward the unusual situation that legitimate land holdings could be established as tenured properties by occupying unoccupied rangeland in specific territories, with a herd of 10,000 head of cattle and there build a ranche or farmhouse, fence in 50 or 100 acres for hay and in fact make themselves entirely at homesic (p. 330, 1st ed).

The author does show considerable enlightenment regarding the sustainability of these grazing practices and decries the uncontrolled use of such land. He also does reflect the attitudes of his era in writing that the unsurveyed territories required official government attention, again completely ignoring the territory occupied for perhaps thousands of years by the first inhabitants. However, one must regard these older histories in the light of the prevailing societal attitudes, deplorable as they were. One can take today's view, that the native peoples presence or rights were never taken into account.

In my mind, Camps in Rockies is actually a valuable resource for historians to remember when writing up current events and perhaps influencing some management that offers redress for past wrongs. In that aspect, the book was well-worth examining, though I admit to skimming quite liberally.

Mar 27, 11:04 am

>138 SandyAMcPherson: A very interesting-sounding read, indeed.

>145 SandyAMcPherson: A very tedious-sounding slog, indeed. The 19th century was overstuffed with people whose prolixity was detrimental to making a point. Call me biased (because I am), but that is a flaw in a read for this modern reader.

Lovely spring burgeoning!

Mar 27, 12:41 pm

>138 SandyAMcPherson: Hi Sandy, That one sounds very good so onto the list it goes! Hope you have a very good week. The daffs here are out and almost out but it is still really cold. Lots of fresh snow on the local mountains.

Mar 27, 6:32 pm

>145 SandyAMcPherson: Sorry Twyford wasn’t your jam. I liked it a lot, but I could see how the format might irritate some people.

Mar 27, 7:31 pm

>146 richardderus: Cora Harrison weaves a quietly intriguing tale and I am thoroughly enjoying this series.

Gah! I looked up prolixity to be sure I did have its correct meaning in mind. For the inquiring minds, yes indeedy, a fancy synonym for 'wordiness', or as my trusty Oxford Shorter 'said': unduly prolonged or drawn out. Boy, that's an understatement. I do have another 19th C read waiting in the wings, A Secret Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina by Richard F. Burton. I'm anticipating a very saucy tale. Probably quite an exciting travelogue in the forbidden city of Mecca.

RD, somehow I doubt that you sit with a thesaurus beside you (or open on a tab in the browser) to find tricky $50 words. I think you have the widest working vocab of anyone I ever knew or interacted with online. I'm glad you use these words because it's fun, it's a readerly audience, and I could do with such usage, sprinkled lightly, to tease my head into finding interesting synonyms.
Thanks for the visit.

Mar 27, 7:40 pm

>147 mdoris: Hi Mary, teasing me with daffodils! Oh no! I'm glad your snow is on the mountains where it belongs and not flattening spring blossoms.

I enjoyed The Sting of Justice very much, not too loaded with history or backstory, and full of enough mystery to be interesting. Perhaps you might get more out of the evocative aspect by reading in order, however, this particular title can very well a be stand-alone. I still haven't read book 2 because it seems to have missed being purchased for our library system.

Mar 27, 7:50 pm

>148 foggidawn: Hi Foggi, I think Hallett's book was more for the folks who enjoy code breaking in stories and can hold all the red herrings at bay. It wasn't an irritating format, so much as a tiring one to follow. Mostly I read at night-time and that's not the most conducive time of day for tricky plots.

Mar 28, 10:35 pm

32. Murder at Kensington Palace (Andrea Penrose)


I think this series is losing me a bit.
So far, the mysteries have been intriguing, certainly original, and with no taint of a re-worked trope. However in this story, the plot was a feeble use of historical aspects in early research of electricity. As an underlying basis for murder, the plot device of arcane electrical experiments was rather boring with little flair for being intriguing.

The novel's main participants in the science of this murder investigation involved Wrexford and Kit Sheffield rather than Charlotte. The best characterisations are Hawk and Raven: enchanting, amusing, and mischievous by turns. The introduction of 'McClellan' into the Sloan household as a lady's maid when needed, and as the housekeeper otherwise, was an interesting development in the previous book and continued effectively here. However, I didn't exactly buy the need for Sloan to enter the beau monde to advance the investigation. Most of her involvement was in the guise of her assumed urchin-disguise, Phoenix.

All along, the narrative in this series has been moving towards Charlotte Sloan assuming her rightful place in society as an earl's daughter, obviously a manoeuver to facilitate a socially-acceptable romantic relationship with Wrexford. The pacing of this development is glacial and the dithering has become very tedious.

A.J. Quill is a valuable character and is regrettably being lost in the greater part of the intrigue. The Quill persona is an effective alternative to the story descending into a pedestrian saga with nothing distinctive to say. Illustrated satire was a strong weapon in the society of the 17th and 18th centuries, where reading and the printed word was largely inaccessible to the masses. The role that Quill played was a unique aspect of Penrose's Sloan and Wrexford adventures, so I see 'his' participation as an important contribution in how Charlotte's independence evolves.

And finally, niggly, but very irritating is repetitive use of vocabulary and phrases. I find this detracts from reader engagement because suddenly the story falters and throws me out (metaphysically-speaking). Hubris appears too often in the Penrose novels, yet is arguably misused and depends on knowing what Aristole's intention was in using it. Frequently, Of mice and men crops up in this and other novels in the series. The annoying thing is the phrase brings to mind the John Steinbeck novel of 1937, so acts as a glaring anachronism. If referencing Robbie Burns' writing (1785) was intended, it is misquoted. I'm disappointed with sloppy writing or researching, yet the author usually has shown historically-correct writing. Copy editor problems perhaps?

Mar 29, 10:41 am

>149 SandyAMcPherson: Thanks, I think...I once took a proctored vocabulary test in pre-computer days and it said I had, as a 22-year-old student, a vocabulary of 37,000 words. That never sounded like a lot until someone told me the high end of average was 5,000-6,000 words and median was 1,600.

Reading the the wartime edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica from 1968-1970 paid dividends.

Mar 29, 11:08 am

>153 richardderus: my mother was one of the smartest persons I have ever known. She never went to college, but she READ READ READ.

I suspect she had an impressive vocabulary.

Mar 29, 12:57 pm

>154 fuzzi: It's the best way to acquire a vocabulary, and the only way to acquire a working instead of theoretical one.

Mar 29, 2:03 pm

>153 richardderus:, >154 fuzzi:, >155 richardderus: Thanks for the comments.
Despite the prolonged graduate studies, my vocabulary is not very extensive despite being a bookish person.
Likely my reading is not at all widely spread out across genre nor balanced in fiction/non-fiction.

Narrow focus academically, I would say, contributes to a narrow familiarity as a wordsmith.
Scrabble probably had the most influence on my vocab when I was a kid.

Mar 29, 2:15 pm

Interesting discussion about vocab. I remember once telling my mother that I realized that I had a bigger and better vocabulary than any of my friends. She said it was because I was a reader. I must have been around 10 years old at the time. She also always told me, when I asked what a word meant, to go *look it up*.

And yes, Scrabble will do that, too! ;-) (says this avid scrabble player). I am thinking that wordle may contribute, too, somewhat...

Mar 29, 2:19 pm

Count me as another with a very large vocabulary, living with a woman whose English vocabulary is even larger than mine who also understands more languages than I can shake a stick at.

Mar 30, 9:14 am

>157 jessibud2: oh, my mom used to do that, tell me to go get the dictionary to look up words I didn't know.

Thanks, Mom!

Editado: Mar 31, 7:08 pm

33. Murder at Queen's Landing (Andrea Penrose)


The mystery surrounding involvement of high-level conspirators defrauding the British East India Company was a good premise to develop the plot for the latest investigation by Charlotte and Wrexford. However, the mathematical convolutions and the underlying financial shenanigans to manipulate the bills of exchange and the profits made thereby, was less than clear or even especially interesting.
The prolonged on and off again relationship between the main protagonists drags on, in an eye-rolling reader-frustration at the loss of their edgy relationship in the earlier books.
Again, Penrose aggravated me with the overuse of the same word. The character of Lady Cordelia, uttering ad nauseum that this or that group of people were ‘dastards’ certainly derails suspense or excitement in the narrative.

Mar 31, 4:24 pm

34. Eye of the Law (Cora Harrison)


The year is 1510 and a great feast is being held in County Clare for the wedding of a young woman in the wealthy clan of O'Lochlainns. When the celebration is disrupted by the entry of 2 unknown men, the party takes a dark turn when one of the men claims he has brought forward an unknown son of the clan leader. Mara, the Brehon of the Burren is thence involved in investigating a convoluted saga of murder, deceit and disloyalty.

This plot was quite devious and I was rather surprised how it played out. The involvement of the Brehon's law school scholars was a nice development. Readers will appreciate that the author keeps the continuing saga of her Burren mysteries fresh by moving the characters through their lives. One aspect in this story was less than satisfying because the culprit avoided his just deserts. I became so invested in the saga, that I wanted to see a different set of consequences. This speaks to the power of Cora Harrison's writing.

Editado: Mar 31, 4:43 pm

End of the month summary
Unexpectedly, I completed 12 books in March (for a total of 34 books finished so far in 2023). My reading has largely been escapist reading, mainly to avoid thinking about how *tired* I am of the everlasting winter, snow, and being unable to navigate walking on solid, icy ruts from the freeze-thaw cycles. Daily walks are balm to my soul.

List of March titles, my most enjoyable ones with touchstones
(stars are relative and not always about pure enjoyment)

***½ Conrad's Fate (Diana Wynne Jones)
**** Writ in Stone (Cora Harrison)
***½ Murder in the Mystery Suite (Ellery Adams)
***½ Foster (Claire Keegan)
***½ Eligible (Curtis Sittenfeld )
**** Murder at Half Moon Gate (Andrea Penrose)
*** Murder in the Paperback Parlor (Ellery Adams)
**** The Sting of Justice (Cora Harrison)
*** Camps in Rockies (W. A. Baillie-Grohman)
**** Murder at Kensington Palace (Andrea Penrose)
***½ Murder at Queen's Landing (Andrea Penrose)
**** Eye of the Law (Cora Harrison)

As time goes on, I notice a little less enjoyment in the subsequent books in series I'm following. As I completed more volumes, the niggles began to build, particularly in the novels by Andrea Penrose. These small annoyances were not so serious as to prevent me from going onto the next story. I probably simply need to give a long rest between reading the next instalment(s).

Mar 31, 6:06 pm

>160 SandyAMcPherson: Have you heard of the Lion of Judah series by David Liss? A similar setting and related plot starts the series in A Conspiracy of Paper. If further reading in that time period appeals, of course.

March looks like it was a good reading month for you!

Editado: Mar 31, 10:49 pm

>163 richardderus: Interesting that you recommended A Conspiracy of Paper, Richard. Thank you.

I do plan to read this soon as the library gets the book in. It is not in any of our local branches.
Recently, a biblio-friend, who reads historical fiction very widely, suggested the Benjamin Weaver books for my next series choice.
Definitely ideal for my liking, only "Lion of Judah" isn't mentioned, though the C-of-Paper is listed in the Weaver series.
Has Liss also written a series of other titles under "Lion of Judah"?

Edited to add that I am cheered to note I'll be able to pick up A Conspiracy of Paper, the book you recommended just today. I was fortunate it arrived so fast. I checked how soon it might come in and there it is now (only 3 days ago from when I requested it!).

Abr 1, 12:27 pm

New thread this morning ~ not an April Fool's joke, honest and truly!
Este tópico foi continuado por Sandy's Books Read in 2023, #3.