Curioussquared reads off her own shelves in 2024

Discussão75 Books Challenge for 2024

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Curioussquared reads off her own shelves in 2024

Editado: Dez 27, 2023, 1:04 am

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

I'm located in Seattle, where I live with my husband and dogs. I do most of my reading curled up on the couch with my retired racing greyhounds Otter and Kermit, or listening to audiobooks while doing chores and walking the dogs.

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

I've been keeping track of my books read since 2008, and I have traditionally aimed for 100, but I think these days I'm usually hoping to hit 150. I'm on track to hit 225 in 2023, which is an all-time high and I would be surprised if I get there again.

Another typical reading goal for me is to prioritize books off my shelves. I'm pretty evenly weighted so far in 2023, but I think library books will win out in the end (darn audiobooks!). It would be great to read more of my own books than library books in 2024. I have a separate thread I maintain in the ROOTs group, and in addition, I have a selection of books off my shelves I'd like to get to this year, which you can see in a post below.

Here is Otter, ridiculous creature:

And Kermit, cuddling the corn squeaky toy he got for Christmas:

Editado: Dez 27, 2023, 1:15 am

Favorite Books of 2023

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Possession by A. S. Byatt
Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher
A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
Hidden Figures by Margo Lee Shetterly
The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik
The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate Di Camillo
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angelline Boulley
Painted Devils by Margaret Owen
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood
Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
System Collapse by Martha Wells
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
This Rough Magic by Mary Stewart
The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard

Editado: Fev 16, 1:11 pm

Books read in 2024

1. Take the Lead by Alexis Daria (library)
2. At the Feet of the Sun by Victoria Goddard (off my shelf)
3. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers (off my shelf)
4. Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade (library)
5. A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark (off my shelf)
6. Saturday by Ian McEwan (off my shelf)
7. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (off my shelf)
8. Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho (library)
9. Two Twisted Crowns by Rachel Gillig (off my shelf)
10. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (off my shelf)
11. Mild Vertigo by Mieko Kanai (library)
12. A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare (library)
13. A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland (off my shelf)
14. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke (off my shelf)
15. The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells (library)
16. The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan (off my shelf)
17. Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn (off my shelf)
18. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren (library)
19. The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal (off my shelf)
20. Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey (reread)
21. Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (off my shelf)
22. Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake (library)
23. Arrow's Flight by Mercedes Lackey (reread)
24. Illuminations by T. Kingfisher (library)
25. Arrow's Fall by Mercedes Lackey (reread)
26. Slippery Creatures by K. J. Charles (off my shelf)
27. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei (library)
28. Spinning by Tillie Walden (library)
29. Just Kids by Patti Smith (library)
30. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (off my shelf)
31. River Secrets by Shannon Hale (off my shelf)

32. Forest Born by Shannon Hale (off my shelf)
33. Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett (off my shelf)
34. Renegade's Magic by Robin Hobb (off my shelf)
35. Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young (library)
36. Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire (library)
37. Who Cooked the Last Supper? by Rosalind Miles (library)
38. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros (off my shelf)
39. Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto (off my shelf)
40. A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher (library)
41. The Whispering Mountain by Joan Aiken (library)
42. Bride by Ali Hazelwood (library)


Dez 27, 2023, 12:35 am

Books read in 2024




Dez 27, 2023, 12:36 am

Books read in 2024




Dez 27, 2023, 12:36 am

Books read in 2024




Editado: Fev 13, 1:24 pm

2024 Reading Goals

I'm finished all 40 books I wanted to read in 2023! For 2024, I tried to limit it to a similar number but ended up picking a few more than intended. Here's the picture of my physical TBR cart, and the list! Most of these are just books that were calling my name from my TBR shelves. Many are sequels to books I read in 2023 or series I've been working through. A few were chosen to align with specific 2024 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompts, another challenge I'll be working on this year. 55 is more than I intended to pick... but hey, it's about half of the total number I read off my shelves this year, so I think I can do it!

1. A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark
2. A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland
3. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros
4. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
5. Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft
6. Renegade's Magic by Robin Hobb
7. Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo
8. Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross
9. Forestborn by Audrey Becker
10. I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai
11. Pentimento by Lillian Hellman
12. Baudolino by Umberto Eco
13. The Secret Place by Tana French
14. Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs
15. Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn
16. Emily Wilde's Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett
17. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
18. The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
19. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
20. Saturday by Ian McEwan
21. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
22. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths
23. The Night Watchman by Louise Erdich
24. Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto
25. The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison
26. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
27. A Power Unbound by Freya Marske
28. Bookshops and Bonedust by Travis Baldree
29. The Burning God by R. F. Kuang
30. Magic or Not by Edward Eager
31. The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
32. Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht
33. The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
34. The Sinister Booksellers of Bath by Garth Nix
35. The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
36. The Memory of Babel by Christelle Dabos
37. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
38. The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
39. A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
40. The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
41. Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
42. The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan
43. The Dreaming Place by Charles de Lint
44. Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik
45. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
46. The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
47. The Once and Future King by T. H. White

I also have a few books I'd like to read off of my Kindle this year:

48. Two Twisted Crowns by Rachel Gillig
49. Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
50. Forest Born by Shannon Hale
51. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers
52. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
53. Piranesi by Susannah Clarke
54. Witchmark by C. L. Polk
55. Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

DONE: 17/55

Dez 27, 2023, 1:00 am

Love the topper, Natalie.

I will be along for the ride in 2024 as always.

Dez 27, 2023, 1:04 am

>7 curioussquared: Thanks for being my first 2024 visitor, Paul!

Dez 27, 2023, 1:18 am

I'm heading out for a family wedding in California on 12/28 and won't be back until January 1st, so I won't be around here much until then. So happy new year, everyone!

Dez 27, 2023, 9:02 am

Welcome back, Natalie!

Dez 27, 2023, 11:21 am

I'm just leaving a note to say I have starred you, looking at your TBR list you will be having a good reading year/

Dez 27, 2023, 6:55 pm

From your booklists so far we share some tastes in reading. I look forward to seeing what you read.

Dez 28, 2023, 1:02 am

>11 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

>12 catseyegreen: Hi Sara! I'll keep an eye out for your thread as well ☺️

>13 elorin: Hi Robyn! Looking forward to seeing your reading as well 😊 I think I saw on another thread that you're debating a Discworld reread in 2024... I'm not sure I'm up for all of them, but I might join for some of my favorites!

Dez 28, 2023, 1:03 am

Eaglercraft Singleplayer Test (minecraft 1.3_01)

Dez 28, 2023, 1:18 pm

I see a couple of your 2024 reads that are also in my stack. I anticipate your reviews!

Dez 28, 2023, 1:41 pm

Starred for 24! Your off-the -shelves list looks really good -- have fun with them and the wedding!

Dez 29, 2023, 9:51 pm

Just dropping off my star for the new year, Natalie.

Hope you have a good trip!

Dez 30, 2023, 12:25 pm

I'm here for the greyhound content.

Okay, and everything else, but I love seeing those silly faces.

Hope you are having a good trip, see you in the new year!

Jan 2, 3:47 am

Happy reading in 2024, Natalie!

Jan 2, 9:39 am

Happy New Year, Natalie!

Jan 2, 6:58 pm

>16 Tess_W: Welcome Tess! I guess I'd better get reading ;)

>17 Berly: Thanks, Kim! The wedding was great as was the trip!

>18 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! The trip was a lot of fun if a little exhausting :)

>19 ursula: Ask and you shall receive, Ursula! Stay tuned...

>20 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita!!

>21 norabelle414: Thanks, Nora!

Jan 2, 7:08 pm

Hello, all, and happy new year! I'm back from CA and recovering today. The wedding was great as was the San Diego Zoo on New Year's Eve -- I've never seen so many animals out and about when I go to a zoo, and they also had four baby capybaras (!!!), a 2-year-old orangutan who was ridiculously cute, and my personal favorite, a beautiful giant anteater. Our CA cousins hosted a New Year's Eve party at which they definitively proved they are more Bolivian than our branch of the family by serving dinner at 12:30 am, lol. My very white husband was suffering.

The rest of the family is still down in CA doing Disneyland so when we got back, I went and picked up a houseguest -- Ollie the Bernese Mountain Dog/Newfoundland puppy! He belongs to my aunt and uncle. My aunt is still down in CA, and my uncle was going to come but had to stay home when Ollie's sister Laurel unexpectedly went into heat for the first time. The puppies have to be separated until she is done since neither is fixed yet, so we have Ollie until my aunt comes back.

Currently reading: Still working through At the Feet of the Sun on Kindle, and I'm listening to Take the Lead on audio. Need to select my first print book of 2024 -- it will probably be something off my list above.

Currently watching: Nothing over the weekend, but some Selling Sunset and Welcome to Wrexham today.

Jan 2, 7:10 pm

Some photos of our houseguest:

And how the greyhounds feel about it:

Jan 2, 7:23 pm

Happy new year Natalie :)

Jan 2, 7:35 pm

Trying my hand at the year-end book meme!

Describe yourself: Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute

Describe how you feel: All the Feels

Describe where you currently live: The Glass Hotel

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Mysteries of Thorn Manor

Your favorite form of transportation is: The Wonder Engine

Your favorite food is: Honey & Spice

Your favorite time of day is: Long Day's Journey Into Night

Your best friend is: Upright Women Wanted

You and your friends are: Remarkably Bright Creatures

What’s the weather like: Scattered Showers

You fear: What Moves the Dead

What is the best advice you have to give: You Have a Match

Thought for the day: We Deserve Monuments

What is life for you: Everything Is Illuminated

How you would like to die: In an Absent Dream

Your soul’s present condition: Something Like Love

What was 2023 like for you? Well Traveled

What do you want from 2024? Happy Place

Jan 2, 7:43 pm

Happy New Year! Love the canine content and the meme answers!

Jan 2, 8:30 pm

>24 curioussquared: Adorable!

Happy New year!

Jan 2, 8:40 pm

>26 curioussquared: Not to be morbid, but I really like "How you would like to die: In an Absent Dream"! So glad you had fun at the wedding and the Zoo. Great way to start the year.

Jan 2, 10:36 pm

Happy New Year, Natalie! Love all the dog photos.

Jan 3, 3:41 am

>24 curioussquared: I don't know that you could get two more opposite types of dogs than your greyhounds and a Bernese Mountain Dog!

Midnight dinner! 💀

Jan 3, 10:02 am

I found your thread and starred it! Happy reading in 2024!

Jan 3, 10:27 am

My second visit and the pooches made me smile. Not going to let anyone or anything disturb their slumbers!

Editado: Jan 3, 11:16 am

>25 fairywings: Thanks Adrienne! I need to find your thread!

>27 foggidawn: Thanks Foggi!!

>28 figsfromthistle: Thanks Anita!

>29 Berly: I liked that answer too, Kim 😊 and thanks, it was a nice, different start to the year, although now Tim seems to have picked up a bug 😥

>30 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! I plan to keep them coming all year long 😂

>31 ursula: Lol, right? Honestly, he is so good for being a puppy (I think he's somewhere between 8 and 10 months? And a cool 108 lbs). He has less energy than my parents' dog Henry we were watching last year, and is easily distracted into channelling his puppy energy into chewing on nylabones and other toys. He's easier to walk than Henry, too 😂 And he is pretty chill at night, although he did climb up on the bed twice to full-body spoon me last night, I think just because he remembered I was there and got excited 😂

>32 clamairy: 😁 I need to find your thread too!

>33 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Yes, the greyhounds take their beauty sleep very seriously.

Jan 3, 6:22 pm

Happy New Year to you, Natalie! Thanks for providing my greyhound fix.

Jan 3, 11:20 pm

>1 curioussquared: Happy New Year and happy reading!

Jan 3, 11:40 pm

>35 AMQS: Happy to provide, Anne :)

>36 ocgreg34: Thanks, Greg!

Jan 4, 12:03 am

1 book read: Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

Gina Morales has been a coach on The Dance Off for five seasons, and she's excited to meet her new celebrity partner for the new season. When she's paired with Stone, a rugged star from the reality TV show Living Wild, about he and his family living off the grid in Alaska, she's initially disappointed -- he's hot, but she was hoping for dance-savvy partner like a professional figure skater so she could finally win the show. Stone doesn't really want to be on The Dance Off, but he needs to money to help pay his mom's medical bills, so he's all in. But as Gina and Stone get to know each other, they can't deny they have chemistry -- and they might be a winning pair after all.

I don't watch Dancing with the Stars, but I enjoyed this romance inspired by it. Nothing groundbreaking, but lots of fun. 4 stars.

Jan 4, 12:13 am

2 books read: At the Feet of the Sun by Victoria Goddard

Cliopher is now the Viceroy of Zunidh, and the emperor is off on his quest to find his heir. With retirement approaching and the life he knows coming to an end, Cliopher must figure out what comes next -- or perhaps the world will have plenty in store for him.

This direct sequel to The Hands of the Emperor starts off feeling very similar but turns into a very different novel, if just as enjoyable. I liked it just a little less than the first one, but I liked the first one so much that doesn't say much. 4.5 stars.

Jan 4, 1:16 am

Happy New Year Natalie, to you and all your boys! Wishing you happiness, health and lots of reading adventures in 2024.

My brother-in-law & family have a Bernese Mountain dog named (despite my noises of discouragement) Dobby after the Harry Potter elf. They're BIG dogs - Jasper's tail is a danger around our dining table when he walks under it but Dobby can just take food off theirs (well, their table is a bit lower than ours) and barely lift his head to do it.

Jan 4, 1:49 pm

>40 humouress: Thanks, Nina! Ollie is a big boy, weighing in at 108 lbs at 10ish months, but he's surprising good. He hasn't stolen any food, and he will go sniff the greyhound food but will back off when I tell him no. This morning I caught him just lying hopefully by their full breakfast bowls -- he knew it wasn't his food, but just wanted to be near it 😂 He's a very sweet, very good puppy. On our walk this morning he and Otter tried to start zooming on leash but they stopped when I offered them both treats, lol. I can walk all three but not if all ~260 lbs of dogs are pulling at the same time!

Jan 4, 6:55 pm

Happy New Year, Natalie, and happy reading in 2024!

Jan 4, 6:56 pm

3 books read: A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

In this sequel to A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Sibling Dex and Mosscap the robot journey from the borderlands into human settlements, where Mosscap begins his quest to understand what it is humans need. As they travel and meet more people and see more places, Dex and Mosscap learn more about themselves, too.

A lovely sequel, just as delightful as the first book. I'll read anything Becky Chambers writes at this point (and am rather sad to have run out of her books to read for the moment!). 4.5 stars.

Jan 4, 6:59 pm

>42 aktakukac: Thanks, Rachel!!

Jan 4, 7:06 pm

I've been taking the first week of the year pretty slow, mostly taking care of the puppy, taking care of Tim (who picked up a bug on our trip), and relaxing. I have a meeting with the consultant I worked with at my old job tomorrow, so we'll see if he has any work for me to do and what he would pay me to do it. I kind of like the idea of doing part-time, so we'll see if it plays out.

Currently reading: Halfway through Ship Wrecked on audio, and read the first chapter of A Master of Djinn last night. Started A Prayer for the Crown-Shy during today's workout and ended the workout with only 17 minutes left in the book so I knocked that out while eating lunch and will need a new Kindle read soon.

Currently watching: Most of the latest season of Selling Sunset -- just the reunion left.

Currently playing: A little bit of TOTK today.

Jan 4, 10:44 pm

>45 curioussquared: I hope you enjoy A Master of Djinn. It's in my top 5 for last year. I thought it was rich and fun. It was a SantaThing book in '22.

Jan 5, 8:15 am

Happy new year and welcome back, Natalie!
I'm in love with your houseguest. Giant, floofy dogs are my unabashed favorite. He's got such beautiful fur already.

Good luck on your shelves! I'm aiming for something similar myself. I wanna shrink the book pile in the bin that hasn't been touched.

Jan 5, 3:41 pm

>46 elorin: Thanks, Robyn! I'm enjoying it so far, only about 60 pages in. I read the two novellas in the universe (The Haunting of Tram Car 015 and A Dead Djinn in Cairo) and enjoyed them, so I'm expecting I'll like this one as well.

>47 Ravenwoodwitch: Thanks, Angela! Ollie is definitely a big floofy goofball -- my kind of dog, too. He is certainly a handsome boy. Yeah, I try to read as many books off my shelves as possible every year because it's the only way to even sort of keep up with my book buying problem!!

Jan 5, 4:04 pm

>2 curioussquared: I love the list! Thanks for sharing, Natalie. I am going to have to track down the books I have not already read.

>7 curioussquared: Good luck with your reading goals this year, Natalie!

>26 curioussquared: Love the meme answers!

>43 curioussquared: I still need to get that one, but it has been so long since I read the first in the series that I probably need to revisit it first.

Have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Jan 5, 6:33 pm

>49 alcottacre: Thanks, Stasia! I love a book list :)

Jan 5, 6:39 pm

4 books read: Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade

When Peter is cast in the blockbuster Gods of the Gates TV show, he's thrilled -- but less thrilled that his new costar Maria is the beautiful woman he had a one-night stand with the night before who left without saying a word before he woke up. Plus, she doesn't even have any TV acting experience. But as Maria and Peter start filming their parts on a remote island off the coast of Ireland, Peter has to admit that he may have misjudged his costar. Over the course of six seasons, they become friends, and Peter nurses a flame for Maria since he doesn't allow himself to have flings with coworkers. When the show ends, will they be able to come together again?

Another entry in the Spoiler Alert/All the Feels universe. I think I liked this one least of the three -- I thought the first half was stronger than the second. But I still enjoyed this, and I appreciated that all of the character reactions and growth made sense with their given backstories instead of seeming out of character. 3.75 stars.

Jan 6, 5:18 pm

>51 curioussquared: I agree this was my least favourite of the trilogy but did appreciate the bow it put on the whole series.

Jan 7, 2:10 am

Happy new year of reading Natalie! Off to quite the start with 4 finished already! >7 curioussquared: Quite the stack this year, excited to track your progress, I'm also hoping to get through at least 40 of my physical tbr books this year. I was supposed to finish Memoirs of a Geisha in December but I'm still working on it & I'm definitely the person that waits until I can read every book in the series at once otherwise I feel like I'd always forget or take forever to come back to the sequels. Lol.

Jan 7, 5:08 am

Hope you managed to get some decent work to do with your ex-consultant, Natalie.

Have a great weekend.

Jan 7, 10:22 pm

Happy New Year, Natalie!

I hope to get to Goddard's books this year. :)

Jan 7, 10:51 pm

Natalie, you are off to a good start of reading. I very much like the book cart. Do you remember where you aquired it?

Happy New Year to you!

Jan 8, 12:46 pm

>52 MickyFine: Agreed, Micky!

>53 WhiteRaven.17: Good to see you, Kro! I'm a little worried my stack is too ambitious but I'll do my best ☺️ I'm considering limiting physical acquisitions to 50 this year, but I have no idea if I would actually stick to that if I tried. Lately I tend to read series over a few years rather than all in a row, which isn't how I used to do it!

>54 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! He basically wants me to do my old job but on his payroll instead of my old company's, so we'll see how it goes 😂 He needs to get approval from my old boss first to have me work in that capacity and he and I are both a little worried she'll say no since she can be proud. But he has been involved in hiring to replace me and says they've interviewed 11 people who all didn't hold a candle to me and things are still crazy, so they need someone doing my job soon. I should know more this week.

>55 libraryperilous: Good to see you, Diana! I hope you like Goddard when you try her ☺️

>56 Whisper1: Thanks, Linda! I believe the book cart is from Ikea. Happy new year to you as well!!

Jan 9, 12:40 am

Happy Monday, all! I had a low key weekend mostly avoiding Tim when not supplying him with tea and food and trying to fight off his cold, which I think I was successful at. He's feeling a lot better too but still has a nasty cough. I wanted to do more and get stuff done, but I think resting was key, and it gave me time to read a bunch, too.

Today I had a doctor appointment and then spent some time putting away Christmas decorations, rescheduling our upcoming trip to Hawaii due to a schedule conflict I had forgotten, and doing some laundry, then cooking split pea soup for dinner.

Currently reading: Finished A Master of Djinn and Saturday over the weekend and moved on to Such a Fun Age as my print book and Last Tang Standing as my audio. A little over halfway through Two Twisted Crowns on kindle.

Editado: Jan 9, 1:14 am

5 books read: A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark

In a steampunk Cairo set in 1912, Agent Fatma el-Shar'arawi is famous for her work dealing with the supernatural in her government role -- but her latest case is a doozy. When a rich Englishman and 20 of his friends turn up burned to death in his estate, with no fire damage to the house itself or the dead people's clothing, Fatma is summoned to investigate. What she finds will lead her to delve deeply into legend to solve the mystery, with the help of her friend and lover Siti, and her new partner, Hadia, who Fatma must reluctantly admit is surprisingly competent.

This was a lot of fun and really well done! I enjoyed Fatma and her thought processes and the rich world Clark has created here. 4 stars.

Jan 9, 1:16 am

I'm impressed that you read five books already!

Jan 9, 1:28 am

6 books read: Saturday by Ian McEwan

This novel follows a Henry Perowne, a middle-aged neurosurgeon living in London, over the course of a Saturday, when a chance encounter turns his day from a normal one to a very strange one.

This book has mixed reviews and I can see why -- it's a very internal story. Really, there isn't much story, and for much of it, nothing really happens. We just follow Henry and his thoughts about his day, from his early morning waking, to his squash game with a colleague, to the fishmonger, and on and on. If you don't like that sort of thing, this would get old quickly. Luckily, I do like that sort of thing. One of the reviews on LT suggests that this novel builds to a big climax that never really comes, and I really disagree with that. There is a scene near the end of the book that was absolutely climactic to me, and I was totally gripped and unable to put the book down. There's also a long denouement, and the climactic scene doesn't end up having a huge impact on Henry, but I don't think that means it's not a climax. Anyway, I typically like McEwan but for some reason I put this off for years because the summary never really grabbed me, but I ended up really enjoying this. 4.5 stars.

Jan 9, 1:58 am

>60 Whisper1: Hi Linda! Now it's six :) That unemployed lifestyle is really working in favor of my reading 😂

Jan 9, 1:59 am

I am toying with adding a goal of only adding a maximum of 50 physical books to my shelves this year, which seems like it should be very doable, but I bought... a lot of books last year, lol. I think I'm going to try to do it and see how I feel. Sometimes buying a few books is such a mood booster for me that it's worth splurging now and then.

Jan 9, 2:09 am

>61 curioussquared:, Natalie, I usually try to avoid Irish writers or stories because I find them depressing. But, over the years, I've come to enjoy your reads and your comments, so I will try Saturday.

Jan 9, 12:55 pm

I got A Master of Djinn last year (22) for Santa Thing and I really enjoyed it. I've heard there's at least one other writing with the same main character and I hope to hunt it down and read it when reading allows. I enjoyed your review and am glad you liked it.

Jan 9, 6:59 pm

>65 elorin: Hi Robyn! I read the novellas a year or two ago and enjoyed them a lot.

Jan 9, 7:01 pm

Well, I finished a few more books and was going to post reviews, but my laptop has gone totally nonresponsive on me 😡 Won't turn on, won't charge, won't show any sign of life. I'm pretty annoyed because it's only 2.5 years old and does not get heavy use given that I'm normally on a work laptop most of the time. I took it to a repair shop and we'll see what they say. In the meantime, I dug out an old Chromebook and am seeing if I can get that booted, and I guess I'll just have to read some more books or get something productive done!

Editado: Jan 10, 1:14 am

7 books read: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Emira is 25 and aimless; not sure what she wants to do with her life, she works part-time doing transcription and part-time as a babysitter three-year-old Briar. Late one night, Briar's mom Alix calls her in a panic -- they have an emergency at home and Alix really needs to get Briar out of the house. Is there any way Emira can come and and take her somewhere for a little bit? Even though Emira is out at a friend's birthday, not dressed for childcare, and has been drinking, she agrees after confirming Alix is OK with it. But then, when Emira and Briar are at the grocery store, they are approached by the store security guard and a woman who alerted him, accusing Emira (who is Black) of having stolen Briar (who is White). Even though the situation turns out OK, its repercussions echo through Emira and Alix's relationship and will change the course of their time together.

I picked this up and couldn't put it down! Reid's characters are super vivid and the story is captivating and timely. I could see maybe finding some flaws if I sat down and thought about it a bunch -- I think the story is pretty predictable once you have a few key plot elements, but in a car crash can't look away kind of way -- but I was so enraptured in this reading experience that it deserves full marks just for the strength of the storytelling. Five stars.

ETA: This has been on my TBR for a while, but I earmarked it to read this year because a bunch of people in the PopSugar groups said it fit the "About a 24-year-old" prompt. Of course, when I started reading (and even when I read the inside cover flap a little closer), I learned pretty quickly that Emira is 25, not 24. That will teach me to trust people on the internet!

Jan 10, 1:22 am

8 books read: Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

Andrea Tang has spent the last several years focusing on work, and it's paid off -- she's next in line to be partner at her law firm and making plenty of money. But when she shows up to the Lunar New Year event at her aunt's house, she's horrified to realize that her worst nightmare has come true -- she's the last of her generation of cousins to be married. Determined to have it all, Andrea starts putting more effort into finding a suitable partner, with lots of shenanigans along the way.

The summary of this book describes it as a mix between Bridget Jones and Crazy Rich Asians and that's honestly perfectly spot-on. Andrea feels exactly like a Singapore-based Bridget Jones with a Tiger Mom. The romance in this book was honestly secondary to me; I mostly enjoyed Andrea's narrative voice and the antics of her friends and colleagues. I thought the audiobook was super well done -- this is a voice that could get annoying fast, but instead I found myself making excuses to listen more. A fun romp, if somewhat lacking in substance. 3.75 stars.

Jan 10, 1:44 am

>63 curioussquared: Good luck staying under 50 with book buying -- no, I mean it! I am just happy if I can keep it below the number I read each year so I can make a dent in my piles. LOL

>69 curioussquared: 8 books already!! Wow. Impressive indeed. And I really liked Such a Fun Age. Nice review.

Jan 10, 6:43 am

Oh no! I'm sorry that your laptop isn't behaving properly (or at all, really)! Technology can be so frustrating. I hope it's a quick and easy (and cheap) fix!

Jan 10, 10:01 am

Sorry about your laptop! Hope it is easily fixed! My co-worker who runs the book discussion with me and I are thinking of selecting Such a Fun Age for next year, so maybe I will read it then.

Jan 10, 10:47 am

>39 curioussquared: What an enchanting cover.

>59 curioussquared: I have been trying to avoid BB's but this looks like a good one. On my list it goes.

Hope the problem with your computer is nothing too serious ( or expensive)

Jan 10, 11:57 am

>68 curioussquared: I've been wondering about Such a Fun Age, glad you liked it! Maybe I'll pick it up soon...

Jan 10, 1:00 pm

>67 curioussquared: Sorry about your computer; 2.5's a bit too young for any computer to go kaput. Hope they get that fixed.
And good luck; Darn those bookstores with their shiny covers and enticing book blurbs.

Jan 10, 1:05 pm

>70 Berly: Hi Kim! See, the 50 book limit is an attempt to make myself read more than I'm buying... last year I read 111 books off my physical and digital shelves but I think I acquired around the same amount 😬 Not having a job right now is working wonders for my reading speed! Yesterday I decided I was going to get back to the t-shirt designing I was doing a few years ago, but then my laptop died and I need it to work on the shirts, so I guess I just have to read more.

>71 scaifea: Thanks, Amber! Me, too. I got my old Chromebook working so I have an internet machine again, but I'd like to be able to do other things on my computer too (like the t-shirt designs I mentioned above). I've never had a computer just fully refuse to turn on in any way before -- usually they at least do me the courtesy of a blue screen of death. My old laptop I bought in 2011 still turns on and functions fine if slowly, so the 2.5 year old one dying is definitely frustrating.

>72 aktakukac: Thank you Rachel! I hope you like Such a Fun Age if you read it next year. It was a quick, absorbing read for me.

>73 figsfromthistle: Sorry not sorry about the BB, Anita! Thank you for the good wishes about the laptop. The repair guy said he would probably call me tomorrow.

>74 norabelle414: I appreciated that it dealt with some heavy topics in a pretty light, consumable way, Nora. Definitely one to binge -- it went very quickly for me.

Jan 10, 1:07 pm

>75 Ravenwoodwitch: Thanks, Angela! We'll see how I do with the book buying limits... so far I haven't bought any this year 😂 only 356 days to go!

Jan 10, 1:14 pm

Happy Wednesday! Normally our cleaners would come today, but their cleaning products set off Tim's allergies and since he still has a really nasty cough that allergies would make worse, we decided to cancel. I'm going to try to do a little cleaning of my own instead. I have a few pieces of furniture I've been putting off building (a new bed frame to replace one that broke, and a new shelf for my office that gives me more room for organizing craft and office supplies) and might tackle those today. I need to go to Costco in the next few days, but I might try to clean out the fridge today and take stock of what we need and then go to Costco tomorrow.

Currently reading: Just a few pages into A Taste of Gold and Iron in print and about 10% through The Buried Giant on audio. 80% done with Two Twisted Crowns on Kindle so I should finish that during a workout today.

Currently watching: Not much since I'm still avoiding hanging out with Tim on the couch and have been letting him have the living room and TV for his sick den. I did watch a little Selling the OC last night.

Jan 10, 1:17 pm

>68 curioussquared: Natalie, I've seen this one around so it's been on my radar, but your review pushed it from the radar to the List. Thanks!

Jan 10, 1:20 pm

>79 AMQS: I hope you like it, Anne!

Jan 10, 1:48 pm

Sprry to hear Tim is still not feeling great.

I canceled my cleaner for tomorrow, as we have a ton of stuff cluttering up the main floor that we moved up from the basement and ground floor, and there is no way it was going to be re-distributed in time.

Jan 10, 5:09 pm

Sorry to hear Tim is still fighting his bug. Crossing my fingers the news from the laptop repair place is good.

Jan 10, 6:15 pm

>81 katiekrug: Stupid rain is really getting in the way of everything!

>83 curioussquared: Thanks, Micky! Tim is getting better but I'm still being wary around him because one of my aunts who went on the trip with us and had similar symptoms just tested positive for COVID yesterday 😐

Jan 10, 9:27 pm

>68 curioussquared: You liked that one a bit more than I did, but I too remember the reading experience being like not being able to look away from a car crash.

Reid has a new book coming out in a couple of weeks, if that's not already on your radar.

Jan 11, 11:16 am

>78 curioussquared: Lol I love how "a little cleaning" includes building furniture. That's fantastic.
But sorry Tim's still under the weather. The stuff going around this year is extra awful.

Editado: Jan 11, 12:32 pm

>84 bell7: Yeah, it was one of those reading experiences where I was able to fully immerse which probably slightly inflated my rating, but I thought it deserved it. I'll put Reid's next book on the list!

>85 Ravenwoodwitch: Lol, I wasn't really combining them in my head, but it did sound like that in my post, didn't it 😂 Well, more cleaning/furniture building to come today -- I built the bedframe yesterday but not the shelf. Thanks for the well wishes! I'm just glad I seem to have escaped the bug for now. I'm wearing a mask if I go to Costco later because we don't need any more crud.

Jan 11, 8:44 pm

Well, today ended up going differently than I expected when Otter threw up this morning. He had also thrown up a few days ago, which isn't like him, so I called the vet and they were able to fit him in in the afternoon. Before that I got a few things done around the house and threw a chicken and farro soup in the crock pot then headed to the vet. Kermit came along for moral support. They think he probably ate something outside that upset his stomach and prescribed a gentle diet and some anti-nausea meds for a few days. If that doesn't work, we'll do more diagnostic stuff.

I also got a call that my laptop was repaired, hooray! It seems to be working fine now and the shop charged a fairly reasonable price, so I'm pleased.

The soup still has a few more hours to go so I'll spend that time doing a workout and maybe reading a little more.

Currently reading: Feel like I'm finally getting into A Taste of Gold and Iron 80 pages in. Finished Two Twisted Crowns on Kindle and moved on to Mild Vertigo. Wrapped up The Buried Giant on audio today and now listening to A Night to Surrender.

Currently watching: Some Selling the OC last night.

Jan 11, 8:52 pm

9 books read: Two Twisted Crowns by Rachel Gillig

In this sequel to One Dark Window, Ravyn and the Nightmare in Elspeth's body must work together in order to acquire the Two Alders card to unite the deck and dispel the mist and save the infected. Meanwhile, Elm and Ione search Stone Castle for Ione's missing maiden card while Hauth fights for his life, hoping Ravyn and the Nightmare can complete their quest before more people die.

I liked One Dark Window a lot, and this sequel was even better. It was everything a sequel should be -- it raised the stakes while keeping the story tight and well-plotted, and it was the perfect length. And I love a duology! 4.5 stars.

Jan 11, 8:57 pm

10 books read: The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

In long-ago Britain, shortly after the days of King Arthur, when Britons and Saxons lived in uneasy close quarters, an old couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off on a journey from their village to visit their son. Along the way, they will encounter a warrior and a boy, an aged Sir Gawain, monks, a boatman, and a dragon.

I really liked Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, but this one didn't really work for me. I could appreciate the writing, and there were parts and aspects that worked better than others, but as a whole I had trouble with it. I'm not always great with extended allegories and this was no exception. 3 stars.

Jan 12, 1:33 am

>3 curioussquared: Natalie!!! It's only the 10th of the month and you're at 10 books already!! How do you DO that???

Also, those dogs are so stinkin' cute, I can hardly stand it. 💜💜

Jan 12, 1:26 pm

>90 PlatinumWarlock: Lol! I'm honestly not sure, Lavinia 😂 I certainly don't expect to continue at this pace for the rest of the year. It's been a perfect storm of not only not having a job right now, but also being mostly home for the first two weeks of the year, plus avoiding hanging out with my husband while he's sick, and thus avoiding the living room and TV, so only having books to distract me! Plus I've been really consistent with my elliptical workouts and I read during those. My whole family is also sick and my best friend was avoiding us because she's going to Wisconsin for a memorial this weekend and didn't want to get sick, so voila, speed reading due to isolation 😂 Plus I listen to books when I'm doing chores and cleaning and driving and cooking which is what I've been doing while I'm not reading!

Kermit and Otter say thank you!!

Jan 12, 8:32 pm

Hope Otter feels okay soon, poor baby :(

Jan 12, 8:38 pm

>91 curioussquared: The upside of isolation!! But I hope everyone in your household is well soon.

Jan 12, 10:19 pm

Oh, poor Otter! I hope it was just something weird he ate outside.

Jan 13, 12:01 pm

Sending well wishes for all your guys (canine and otherwise 😊).

Jan 13, 3:33 pm

>92 Ravenwoodwitch: Thanks Angela! Otter seems to be doing well now 😊

>93 Berly: Thanks Kim! I had brunch with a friend this morning and she asked for book recs. I confessed how many booka I had already read this year and she sort of blinked at me and went wait, what day is it???

>94 AMQS: Thanks Anne! Otter hasn't vomited again and seems to be doing better, so I think he probably just ate something gross 🙄 it wouldn't be the first time.

>95 MickyFine: Thank you Micky! I think we're finally all on the mend.

Jan 13, 9:55 pm

>88 curioussquared: I'm not sure about this duology for me, but your review is awfully tempting!

Jan 13, 10:31 pm

>97 libraryperilous: My instinct would be that they would be a little too YA romance/angst-heavy for you, but you never know!

Jan 14, 7:58 pm

11 books read: Mild Vertigo by Mieko Kanai

Natsumi is a housewife living in Tokyo with her husband and two young sons. This book chronicles her inner thoughts in a stream of consciousness as she goes through her repetitive days taking care of her home and family. This novel was published in Japan in 1997, and only recently translated into English.

This was a book bullet from Ursula, who captivated me by posting the whole four page long first sentence on her thread. I tend to like stream of consciousness (I wrote not one but two thesis papers in college on Katherine Mansfield) so I gave it a shot. Natsumi's voice was definitely engrossing, and it was fascinating to see the workings of her mind jumping from the children to the layout of her house to grocery shopping to dinner etc. Below the surface day-to-day topics, Mild Vertigo for me was about the mental load, the household planning and decisions that generally fall to wives to keep track of. The mental load is remembering how much toilet paper you have left so you don't run out, keeping tabs on expiration dates so you know what needs to be cooked first, knowing to wash your son's soccer uniform before the game on Sunday, remembering everyone's appointments, and so much more. Kanai does an excellent job of putting the thought process behind the mental load on paper. I'm not sure I got much more out of this novel than that, and I think the style would have worn thin if it had been much longer, but overall I enjoyed it. The one part I skimmed (and probably missed the significance of) was a bit that was an excerpt of a review from an art exhibition, written in the same stream of consciousness style. I couldn't figure that part out. 4 stars.

Jan 14, 8:07 pm

12 books read: A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

Susannah Finch lives in Spindle Cove, and she's proud of the community she's grown there. Under her direction, Spindle Cove has become a place for women to get what they need -- whether that's the benefits of sea air, practice in becoming more confident, a respite from men or doctors, or anything else, really. That's the beauty of Spindle Cove -- there isn't a single eligible bachelor to be seen. Until Victor Bramwell, Bram to his friends, shows up with his cousin Colin and armsman Thorne in tow, heading to Susannah's father's house. Bram has orders to gather a militia in Spindle Cove, and he knows doing this well is the only way he'll get his field command back after a war injury. Susannah is furious at his presence and the threat he offers to Spindle Cove and wants him gone immediately. Only... she has to admit she kind of likes having him around, too.

The first in the Spindle Cove series -- unfortunately, this was my least favorite Tessa Dare so far. It was fine, but lacked some of the oomph her other books have had for me so far. I'll continue the series but hope they are better than this one. 3.5 stars.

Jan 14, 8:13 pm

Happy Sunday! Things are getting back to normal around here. Tim still has a cough but is feeling a lot better. Otter seems to be OK after his vomiting incidents. I had brunch with a friend yesterday and then spent most of the day playing video games and enjoying the couch again since Tim is feeling better. Today I've been reading, worked out, tidied the house a bit, and am about to cook (trying out Korean beef rice bowls with brussels sprouts and pickled cucumbers). .

Currently reading: Finished Mild Vertigo and A Night to Surrender and moved on to Piranesi on Kindle and The Death of the Necromancer on audio. Still working through A Taste of Gold and Iron in print, which I'm enjoying but is going a little slowly.

Currently watching: Finished Outlander S3 and watched an episode of Welcome to Wrexham with Tim.

Currently playing: Lots of TOTK yesterday. Finally made myself just beat the stupid Thunder temple, lol.

Jan 15, 4:36 pm

>100 curioussquared: Yeah, Spindle Cove is a bit hit and miss when you know what Dare is really capable of. The best of it really is Any Duchess Will Do, although some of the other books are pretty good too.

Jan 15, 6:27 pm

>102 MickyFine: Good to know, Micky! I have A Week to Be Wicked checked out but I'll go into it with slightly lowered expectations 😊

Jan 15, 10:54 pm

13 books read: A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland

After an incident he accidentally triggers causes the death of two of the royal guard and the demotion of his personal guard, Prince Kadou of Arast is devastated, the panic attacks and anxieties he deals with regularly getting wrose. Plus, he has a new primary bodyguard, Evemer, who is loyal and proper to a T but seems to have as much personality as a brick wall. As Kadou struggles to get back into his sister, the sultan's, good graces by leading the investigation into a possible counterfeiting ring, he and Evemer learn to work together and grow closer.

I enjoyed this overall, although it probably could have been quite a bit shorter. (Possibly too slow of a slow burn for me.) It took me forever to read the first half and then I flew through the second half. Honestly, the plot of this book is sort of just there; the true focus is the relationship for sure. If you like M/M romances with a LOT of angst and longing and plenty of tropes set against a political fantasy background, this is for you. 4 stars.

Jan 15, 11:04 pm

14 books read: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Piranesi (though he does not think that is his name) lives in the House, a vast structure of never-ending halls filled with statues, the lower levels flooded. He knows of fourteen other people in the house -- thirteen dead, and the Other, the only other living inhabitant. Piranesi spends most of his days surviving -- fishing, drying seaweed, and exploring the house. Piranesi knows the house like the back of his hands, and he understands its moods and tides. When the Other warns Piranesi to beware a sixteenth person who wishes them both harm, Piranesi is confused -- and he starts to question the existence he believes he has always known.

I don't want to say too much about this because I think it's best to go in knowing as little as possible, but I thought this was brilliant and compelling. Lovely writing and a fascinating concept. 5 stars.

Jan 16, 3:58 am

>99 curioussquared: I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. Definitely agree that the mental load was the major thing I got out of it as well - and how it was mild vertigo-inducing to read all of that. In the "yes, tell me about it" and also "god right, are we low on toothpaste?" kind of way.

Jan 16, 4:07 am

Hi Natalie
Fourteen books read so far! WOW! I've added Piranesi to my TBR list.

I haven't had chance to read a lot thus far. There are too many things to do in the house. My granddaughter, Kayla, moved back home. There are boxes all over the place. the Ferret arrived yesterday. I was glad to see him. Though, he is a handfull.

Jan 16, 8:24 am

I've tried to explain the idea of the work of carrying the "mental load" to The Wayne - I think he only sort of got it. But I know he carries his own... I don't think the book is for me, but I like that there are books out there highlighting this.

Jan 16, 12:22 pm

>105 curioussquared: Piranesi is probably my favourite book of the last few years. I absolutely loved it.

Jan 16, 12:37 pm

>104 curioussquared: I booted this one from my TBR a while ago because it sounded too dramatic and romance-y. Gorgeous cover, though! I'm excited for Rowland's maritime fantasy this summer :)

Jan 16, 12:47 pm

>106 ursula: Definitely, Ursula! I thought it was interesting that it was originally published in 1997 -- obviously the mental load has always been there, but it wasn't a term I had heard of until the past five years or so.

>107 Whisper1: Hi Linda! I know, I don't know how I'm reading so fast right now. We'll see if it continues. It sounds like your life has been busy in a good way and you must be glad to have Kayla (and Stinky!) back.

>108 katiekrug: Same with Tim to some degree, Katie, even though he is fully aware that he outsources calendar management, grocery shopping and recipe planning, and household supplies to my brain. I would say he gets it, and is appreciative of the work that I do in those areas, but I'm not sure he gets how much work it actually is.

>109 SandDune: I can see why, Rhian. It was so good. I went into it knowing pretty much nothing and was blown away. It'll definitely be one of my favorite books of the year.

>110 libraryperilous: Yeah, this one I would definitely say is not in your wheelhouse. You can tell the author has written a lot of angsty fanfic, lol. Which isn't a bad thing if that's what you're in the mood for! Yes, I'm excited for their upcoming book too :) I also have their duology set in the same world as AToGaI on my shelf -- A Conspiracy of Truths and A Choir of Lies. These sound less romancey and I'd like to get to them at some point (who knows when!! 🤷‍♀️).

Jan 16, 1:18 pm

Hi Natalie! Glad Otter seems to be better.

You got me with Mild Vertigo. And kind of with Piranesi, which we already have. Two years ago my mom and Marina gave the book to each other for Christmas. We had a good laugh about like-minds, etc. So it's in Marina's pile, from which I also read.

Jan 16, 8:37 pm

Adding my voice to the Piranesi love. I read it as an ARC and thought it was fantastic. You make me want to reread it!

Jan 18, 3:45 pm

>112 AMQS: Thanks, Anne! I hope you enjoy both Mild Vertigo and Piranesi! I do the same thing with some of Tim's books, but I don't add them to my official TBR count, so they're like a secret stash :)

>113 bell7: I think it would be good on a reread, Mary!

Jan 18, 3:56 pm

Happy Thursday, all! I've had a solid week so far. Did some organizing on Monday and Tuesday (including emptying a box that hadn't been touched since we moved five years ago, so that felt particularly good) and yesterday I went to visit my SIL, who had emergency intestinal surgery about a week and a half ago. She seems to be doing pretty well physically but is pretty shaken up by the whole thing. I think she was glad just to have someone to sit and talk about normal stuff with for a while. I brought her and her boyfriend lunch and then we just sat and chatted for several hours. Today I started by finally finding an electrician to come and deal with some fixtures in our basement that haven't been working, and an outlet that stopped working and seemed to stop some other lights from working as well. I booked them for tomorrow, but then they called and said they couldn't come tomorrow, but could come this morning, so I said yes and speed cleaned my house. (Am I the only person who is always cleaning for people doing services in my house? Lol. I can't help it.) They fixed everything in less than 45 minutes and I felt very silly about letting the issues sit for so long. Plans for the rest of the day include a workout, some more organizing/decluttering, and maybe some reading and/or video gaming.

Currently reading: Tropic of Serpents in print, Summers at Castle Auburn on Kindle, and have started Love and Other Words on audio after finishing The Death of the Necromancer today.

Currently watching: S4 E1 of Outlander, the first three episodes of Beef, and the finale of Welcome to Wrexham S2.

Currently playing: More TOTK.

Jan 18, 4:27 pm

15 books read: The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells

Nicholas Valliarde is a nobleman seeking to get revenge on Count Montesq for the death of his adoptive father years ago. He's also secretly Donatien, Vien's greatest thief and conman. When somebody else robs a house the same night he does and leaves behind several dead bodies and some kind of horrible ghoul, Nicholas is suspicious and worried he may be involved in something above his pay grade. Nicholas, his partner and lover Madeline, and their friends will need to stay on their toes -- and partner with Donatien's oldest enemy -- to defeat a greater evil.

I really wanted to like this; I love Wells and was excited to read her Ile-Rien books. Unfortunately it didn't really work for me. I regret listening to this on audiobook because I think the narrator was at least part of the reason I couldn't get into it; I kept slowing down the narration and going back in the book because I somehow kept missing big things that happened while listening. It was like the narrator didn't emphasize the right parts of the text. I'm not sure if it was only the fault of the narrator or the book itself, but next time I try one of Wells' Ile-Rien books, it won't be on audio. 3 stars.

Jan 20, 3:12 pm

Happy Saturday! I'm in a bad mood; we were supposed to have our new garage door installed today, finally, but our contractor called to reschedule for later this week. Again. Ugh. I know a few days aren't much in the grand scheme of things but I'm so annoyed at how long this project has stretched out at this point. Other plans today just include picking up some food from my favorite bagel place, a workout, reading, and maybe some yard work or organizing -- it's finally nice outside after a long stretch of sub-zero temps and then nasty sleet and rain.

Currently reading: Finished up The Tropic of Serpents on Thursday night and Summers at Castle Auburn yesterday. Almost done with Love and Other Words on audio. Now reading The Spare Man in print and need to choose my next Kindle book.

Currently watching: S5E1 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the 2023 Big Fat Quiz of the Year.

Jan 20, 3:21 pm

16 books read: The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

Lady Isabella Trent's second volume of memoirs of her career as a dragon naturalist, this time recounting her trip to the Africa-like continent of Eriga, accompanied by Mr. Wilker and her new young female companion Natalie. Isabella will navigate dangerous terrain, threatening creatures, and cultures very different from her own in her pursuit of dragon scholarship.

Just as fun as the first volume. I'm looking forward to continuing this series! 4 stars.

Jan 20, 3:38 pm

17 books read: Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn

Coriel is the bastard half-sister of Lady Elisandra Hallsing. For most of the year, she lives with her grandmother in a small village, learning her wise woman and herb lore. But come the end of Spring, her uncle Lord Jaxon comes to retrieve her to spend Summer at Castle Auburn, where the regent Lord Matthew rules until Prince Bryan comes of age. Corie loves her summers at the castle; she loves her sister, her friends, and seeing the aliora, the mysterious faerie creatures that are captured and bound into servitude, many of them by her Uncle Jaxon, and have the power to raise the spirits of the humans around them. But as Corie grows older, something about the servitude of the aliora begins to rankle at her, and her teenage crush on Prince Bryan grows into concern over his flippant, cruel disposition and Elisandra's impending marriage to him.

I hadn't read any Shinn before this although I was aware of her name; I have probably read some of her short stories in various fantasy anthologies. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this! Shinn's writing is lovely and lyrical and this book was charming in just the way I like. 4 stars.

Jan 20, 4:23 pm

>119 curioussquared: This is the only Shinn I've read. I liked it, although I've not sought out any other other books.

Jan 20, 4:32 pm

I'm sorry about the project delays, Natalie. It must be really frustrating. Fear of such things is what contributes to my procrastination about getting some things done around our house :-P

Jan 20, 4:48 pm

>120 libraryperilous: Fair! I might try some of her other stuff; my library seems to have a decent amount. I'll let you know if I read anything I think you'd like 😊

>121 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie! Lol, I totally get it. I'm concentrating on the fact that the work is almost done and seems to have been done well, even if it took way longer than it should have and a lot of pressure from us to get it done properly. We are still thinking of moving in the next year or so and I think we need to at least freshen up our kitchen before we sell this place, but I'm dreading finding someone to do it. It would be a pretty small job; just cheap new countertops, painting cabinets, new sink, new open shelving, and new backsplash, and maybe new LVP floors if I can work up the nerve (I'm scared of tearing up the weird floor that's there right now because I have a feeling it's concealing asbestos tiles). So there would be a fine line of finding someone competent who would be OK with such a small job.

Jan 21, 4:57 am

>117 curioussquared: Oh, I know how frustrating it is when the contractor keeps putting things off. Our kitchen is done except for a few bits and pieces - but those bits mean there are some cupboards I can't stock yet. I finally got fed up of waiting for the lazy susans for our big corner pantry cupboard (with the tiny door) and organised it anyway. It's a pain trying to reach the back of it, but at least I know what's where (and what's there) now. Meanwhile, he says other clients are pushing for jobs to be done before Chinese New Year - never mind that our kitchen was supposed to be finished by August - so we're going to have to wait.

Jan 21, 1:13 pm

>123 humouress: I feel you, Nina! Our project started at the end of July and they told us it would take 4 weeks 🙄🙄🙄 They were super industrious and productive at first and then they disappeared for weeks, I'm sure because they had a more profitable job to work on. We have a list of clean-up/finishing touch items we need them to take care of before the project will be fully complete and they're refusing to do any of it until the garage door is installed, so that's another reason I was annoyed about the delay.

Jan 22, 5:03 am

>105 curioussquared: I swear *this* will be the year I read Piranessi. I don't know how I keep getting so close to reading it and yet still haven't.
>117 curioussquared: Oof, delays are frustrating, and sometimes it not so much about it ultimately being a few days later but that expectation of thinking you were going to have it sooner. Hopefully it's not further delayed! Also, I remember loving the first two-three seasons of Mrs. Maisel and just never caught up for some reason, now I'm wondering if I should.

Editado: Jan 22, 2:54 pm

>125 WhiteRaven.17: I think you'll love it when you get to it, Kro. If it helps, it was a super quick read for me -- I read it in two elliptical workout sessions :)

The garage door was just rescheduled for Thursday, so at least there's that. And re: Mrs Maisel -- I think the first few seasons were strongest but if you liked them, the whole show is worth it. It's taken me a while to get to season 5 and now I'm just trying to watch as much as I can before Amazon starts making me watch ads!

Jan 22, 2:53 pm

>119 curioussquared: I really liked Shinn's Mystic & Rider series back when I read it.

Jan 22, 2:54 pm

Yay for The Spare Man! I hope you enjoy it.

Jan 22, 2:55 pm

>126 curioussquared: Ooh, good to know, Foggi!

Jan 22, 3:04 pm

>128 MickyFine: I did, Micky! Finished it yesterday -- review to come :)

Editado: Jan 23, 12:50 am

Jan 23, 1:24 am

>91 curioussquared: Haha - "speed reading due to isolation"! Yep, I get that. :)

And thanks for bringing Piranesi to my attention - that looks marvelous.

Editado: Jan 23, 3:10 pm

>131 humouress: Perfect GIF, Nina!! Yep, fingers are all crossed for Thursday.

>132 PlatinumWarlock: Hi Lavinia! I hope you enjoy Piranesi :) I love Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, too, but they are VERY different novels.

Jan 23, 3:26 pm

Happy Tuesday! I have a bunch of stuff I'm working on around the house, including tidying for the cleaners tomorrow and some assorted decluttering/organizing. Hoping to try a recipe tonight for peanut chicken and snow peas. I might add broccoli, too. Now that our deck project is almost done and I'm not working, I'm starting to think about the mini kitchen reno we've been talking about for ages and might start soliciting a few quotes. I reached out to my SIL to ask about the guy who did their recent reno; seems like enough of a start for now!

I'm still flying through books at a slightly alarming rate and I'm not sure when I'll slow down! Probably at least this upcoming weekend for a bit -- I'll be participating in The Great Midwest Trivia Contest, one of my favorite traditions. Hosted by my alma mater, it's 50 hours of goofiness and Googling. I play on a team made up of a bunch of alumni; we're distributed across the country and play together on Discord. Read more here:

Currently reading: Finished The Spare Man on Sunday and read the first few pages of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, but had an intense craving for some comfort reading and instead flew through Arrows of the Queen. I'll return to the Zevin after finishing Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall, probably. Also finished Come Tumbling Down during my workout yesterday and moved on to Slippery Creatures on Kindle. Finished Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail on audio this morning and will probably start Illuminations as my next listen.

Currently watching: More S5 of Mrs. Maisel. Also started a couple of new shows with Tim -- S1E1 of Wentworth, which we were enjoying but is pretty intense so will probably take us a while to get through, and a few episodes of Murderville, which is light and silly. The Conan episode was much better than the Marshawn Lynch one.

Currently playing: Some TOTK.

Jan 23, 3:51 pm

18 books read: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Macy and Elliott were best friends before they were in love, and even as teenagers they knew they were meant for each other. Until something happened, and they weren't. Ten years later, Macy has rebuilt her life after the incident and her father's death and is a medical resident living in SF and engaged to be married. But when a chance encounter brings Elliott back into her life, everything she thought she knew starts crumbling beneath her.

A fairly well done second-chance romance. I enjoyed the dual timelines with everything leading up to the reveal of the event that broke Macy and Elliott apart. I will say that for a romance novel, there's a lot of angst and grief. Good, but not my favorite CL book. 3.75 stars.

Jan 23, 4:01 pm

19 books read: The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

Famous inventor and heiress Tesla Crane and her brand new husband, retired detective Shal, embark on a space cruise to Mars for their honeymoon. But just a few days into the cruise, somebody is killed -- and Shal is arrested for the murder. As more people turn up dead, Tesla will need to use all of her wits, money, and power available to clear Shal's name and solve the murder -- and of course, her service dog Gimlet will help, too.

I thought this was a fun space mystery and enjoyed the cruise ship setting and technology, and of course Gimlet. Not the best mystery I've ever read, and there were a few bit that read somewhat awkwardly to me, but overall I had fun with it. Not as good IMO as Kowal's Lady Astronaut series or Shades of Magic books but still fun. As a side note, I haven't read or seen The Thin Man, so can't comment on the book's relationship with that work. 4 stars.

Jan 23, 4:05 pm

20 books read: Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey

When Talia is Chosen by the companion Rolan to be the Queen's Own Herald, she has no idea how her life will change.

I needed a comfort read and this fit the bill perfectly. IDK how many times I've read it, but it's a lot so I'm not really impartial. 5 stars.

Jan 23, 4:09 pm

21 books read: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

In this 5th Wayward Children book, Jack needs help stopping Jill once and for all. Christopher, Cora, Kade, and Suki follow her back to the Moors to assist.

I don't think I like the Jack and Jill books as much as the rest of the Wayward Children books. Nothing wrong with them, just not as much my thing. Still well done. 4 stars.

Editado: Jan 23, 4:17 pm

22 books read: Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail by Ashley Herring Blake

Set in the same town/circle as Delilah Green Doesn't Care. Since Astrid's break-up with her fiance Spencer last year, she has been somewhat adrift, personally and professionally. She knows ending things with Spencer with the right decision, but it doesn't always feel that way when she has nothing on her horizon romantically and her design business is hinging on the one job she has lined up. To be fair, the job is a big one -- lead designer on the renovation of the local Everwood Inn, to be featured on a TV renovation show. The first morning of filming, Astrid is ready to give her all -- until the day starts off horribly when a woman runs into her at the coffee shop and gets coffee all over her pristine white dress. Astrid can't help blowing up at her, even though she feels awful about it afterward. But when she shows up at the Everwood to find out that the woman she yelled at is none other than Jordan Everwood, granddaughter of the owner and lead carpenter on the project, she's horrified -- and determined to act natural for the project to go well. Can Astrid and Jordan get along for the duration of filming?

Cute F/F romance. I liked the renovation show setting. I thought Astrid's self-discovery felt pretty quick and brushed under the rug, but what do I know about these things? I enjoyed the two leads together. 4 stars.

Jan 23, 4:36 pm

Hello, Natalie! You are doing an excellent job of reading off of your (adorable!) TBR cart. And of just reading in general. You got me with The Spare Man - "I haven't read or seen The Thin Man, so can't comment on the book's relationship with that work." Now I must investigate as I am a huge fan of The Thin Man, so just the idea of Nick and Nora Charles in space makes me laugh. I have added it to The List.

Wishing you the best of luck with your renovation projects. We gutted our Indiana house room by room, so I know all about the joys and frustrations of remodeling. We need to tackle a few projects here where we will need to hire someone, but I am procrastinating because I'm not sure I'm ready to go down that rabbit hole again just yet. Heh.

Jan 23, 4:56 pm

I'm sending all good wishes that your renovation projects will go smoothly here on out. And, I agree with Mamie, you are making a good dent in your TBR cart. I will try to emulate you My goal regarding TBR is that i have a nice sized plastic container made for file folders -- a perfect tool for organization.

Thus far, the books I've added from the threads in 2024, have a separate file folder. And these are the ones, I will go to and read. Too often in going through my library, I have TBR books added from the threads, some going way way to 2010. This year, I am very careful regarding books I'm adding and will add only those I know i will read. And I am printing out a page from the page when I add it to the TBR pile. These print outs are in alpha order and I will use them as the go to when looking for what to read.

I'm going through my books added and if I haven't read them for a long time, I'm deleting them, or adding them up further TBR.

I have a folder for the reviews written of books read in 2024, and then either offering them to those who express interest, or donating them to the library.

Books I find primarily interesting, such as those of Patricia MacLachlan, I'll hold on to and make a special area on the shelves to highlight these beautiful books.

It all sounds wonderful...let's see if I follow what I am trying to accomplish.

Congratulations to you Nataiie, for reading 22 thus far this month. That is amazing!! You are an inspiration.

Happy reading!

Jan 23, 5:20 pm

>136 curioussquared: I love the film, so this was my reaction to The Spare Man:

Jan 23, 6:22 pm

>140 Crazymamie: Nice to see you, Mamie! I hope you like The Spare Man -- per Diana's post at >142 libraryperilous:, I'm not sure it holds up to the film 😂

>141 Whisper1: Great plans, Linda! Happy reading to you too 😊

>142 libraryperilous: Lol! I think it stands better on its own. I remember you didn't like it and I had seen some other mixed reviews but I ended up having fun with it.

Jan 25, 3:11 pm

Happy Thursday! The garage door is being installed right now and so far there haven't been any insurmountable problems, so we should have a new garage door by the end of the day (knock on wood!!). In a few hours I'm having lunch with some old coworkers which should be fun. I got one of them hooked on Murderbot and am lending her books 2-7 so she doesn't have to wait through library holds for the series :)

Currently reading: Sped through my reread of the Arrows trilogy and finished Arrow's Flight on Tuesday and Arrow's Fall yesterday. I think I've satisfied my comfort reading craving for the moment so I'll probably go back to Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow now in print. Have about 25% left of Slippery Creatures on Kindle and I'm loving it; should finish today or tomorrow. I finished Illuminations on audio yesterday and am now listening to Just Kids.

Currently watching: A few more episodes of Murderville and the first two episodes of Death and Other Details. We like murder in this house, apparently.

Currently playing: Nothing in the past few days, but I just saw a TikTok about Stardew Valley that got my hands itching to pick it back up, so we'll see where that leads me...

Jan 25, 3:21 pm

23 books read: Arrow's Flight by Mercedes Lackey

Now a full Herald, Talia accompanies Herald Kris into the field on her internee training circuit. Things quickly go south when Talia realizes that her grasp of her gift of Empathy was never really complete and her shields start to disintegrate.

I enjoyed reading through this again although it's definitely my least favorite of the trilogy. It's always interesting going back to books you remember loving -- I checked my logs and I haven't read this since pre-2008. Overall I still see why I loved it and I had a lot of fun reading it, but there was one bit that stood out to me as absolutely not holding up well at all: I was shocked that the initial hookup between Talia and Kris that I remembered as sweet and cute was kind of horrifying from the standpoint of modern ideas of consent. While both are portrayed as consenting adults, Kris makes a move on her while she is at her lowest, most emotionally vulnerable state. She has just hit rock bottom and has zero self-confidence. Not the time, dude. Not to mention he's older, more experienced sexually, and kind of her boss while they're on circuit together. Ugh. Just read as squicky to me as an adult and I wish it had read as squicky to me when I read it as a young teenager. 4 stars.

Jan 25, 3:33 pm

24 books read: Illuminations by T. Kingfisher

Rosa Mandolini is proud to be part of one of the city's artist families who work on magical paintings, even if she's not old enough to do illuminations of her own yet. When she's in the basement one day, she notices that something in a back closet keeps making her forget her purpose and not look at what's on the shelf. After a struggle to obtain this mysterious box and open it without forgetting herself or looking at it, she manages to open the box -- and releases a scarling, a living illumination that eats magic and will destroy all the illuminations in the city given the chance, undermining the infrastructure and safety. Oh, and the scarling hates the Mandolinis. Luckily, opening the box also released Payne, a living crow illumination who helped track the scarling hundreds of years ago and is ready to help Rosa again. If he can turn his attention away from shiny things, that is. Can Rosa trap the scarling before it's too late -- and before her family finds out what she's done?

T. Kingfisher has done it again! Illuminations reminded me of The Magicians of Caprona in the absolute best way, and a Diana Wynne Jones comparison is the highest compliment I can give. I devoured this book. I think it's technically middle grade, but anybody can enjoy this. 5 stars.

Jan 25, 3:43 pm

25 books read: Arrow's Fall by Mercedes Lackey

Having completed her internee circuit, Talia is now the full Queen's Own, and takes on her role as Queen's advisor in an official capacity. Elspeth, the heir, is still a Herald trainee, but the council is eager to marry her to Prince Ancar of neighboring Hardorn. Talia doesn't have a great reason, but she's not thrilled about the match, and neither is the queen. Meanwhile, Talia and Herald Dirk are dancing around each other, neither one talking about their feelings. When Talia and Kris embark on a diplomatic mission to Hardorn to see this Ancar for themselves, neither one can imagine the danger they're stepping into.

I think this is the book of the series I remembered least of. It held up better for me than book 2, although there was some dark stuff at the end there. I wish the Dirk/Talia thing hadn't been so drawn out. Still flew through it and stayed up too late finishing. 4.5 stars.

Jan 25, 4:25 pm

>146 curioussquared: Oooh! On the list it goes!

Jan 25, 10:37 pm

>148 foggidawn: I hope you like it, Foggi!

Jan 25, 10:41 pm

Ooh- The Tropic of Serpents book sounds rlly cool.

Jan 25, 10:44 pm

>150 Owltherian: Hi, Owltherian! I liked that one -- I recommend starting with the first book in the series, A Natural History of Dragons.

Jan 25, 10:47 pm

>151 curioussquared: Okay! It seems like a good series.

Editado: Jan 26, 11:55 pm

>134 curioussquared: I hope the garage door is finished and working perfectly.

With your kitchen renovation, if you're planning to sell, I wouldn't go overboard, if I were you :0) In Singapore it wouldn't be worth it at all because it seems to be the case that everyone immediately renovates as soon as they buy anything, whether it's a Housing Board apartment or a house. And if it's a house, they usually tear it down and rebuild altogether. It's no wonder it's so dusty here. Our road has maybe 20 houses on it and I'm sure that there's always at least one undergoing some kind of renovation (and, yes, we've just been one of the guilty parties). Best of luck with whatever you decide.

Jan 26, 6:55 pm

Howdy Natalie!

The fiasco with the garage door sounds like a giant pain in the backside and I am glad to hear it sounds almost over.

You have contributed to my TBR list considerably this past week. Mostly by the gorgeous covers, but a lot of this sounds like my wheelhouse; lyrical prose, old school fair folk, etc...

Hope the trivia night goes well!

Jan 26, 11:13 pm

>147 curioussquared: Congrats on getting the garage door fixed!! And are you going to finish a book today? Otherwise you are going to lose your book-a-day ratio (how do you do it?!?!)! : )

Jan 27, 12:45 am

>153 humouress: Thanks Nina! There were some shenanigans (the contractors had mismeasured some stuff and the garage door installer was working to make it work for 10 hours instead of the 2 he expected) but it's in and working and it looks great! And yes, we would just do a sort of "lipstick on a pig" renovation -- do a few low cost, high payoff things to make it look like it's not SO badly in need of a total makeover. Prices are high enough here that a lot of people buying won't be able to immediately do a renovation, so I think a small remodel will go a long way towards the desirability of our house.

>154 Ravenwoodwitch: Thanks Angela! Fingers crossed the project should be totally finished by tomorrow... knock on wood. And the trivia contest is a trivia weekend, not just a night, but it's in progress now and going great :D

>155 Berly: Lol, I'm two reviews behind, Kim... I have a problem.

Jan 27, 2:14 am

26 books read: Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles

Will Darling came back from the Great War with a few medals and nowhere to go. After some very lean times, he reached out to his estranged uncle, who was happy to hear from him and was happy to offer him employment in his bookstore. But only a few weeks after he starts working there, Will's uncle dies, and Will inherits the shop -- and all his uncle's problems. When mysterious men begin showing up and demanding Will hand over the "information," Will is at a loss -- but he's not one to give up easily. With the help of Kim, a gentleman who seems to know a little more about what's going on than Will, Will starts to piece things together. But can Will trust Kim, even though he desperately wants to?

I loved this. MM romance, mystery, intrigue, with a 1920s backdrop. I'll be continuing the series for sure. 4.5 stars.

Jan 27, 9:33 am

>157 curioussquared: I have this one in the stacks, Natalie. I had forgotten about it, so thanks for bringing it to my attention again. Sounds like one to get to this year, and hooray that it's a series!

Jan 27, 9:50 am

The trivia weekend sounds like great fun!

>157 curioussquared: - This one is on my library WL and I was just thinking I should finally borrow it...

Jan 27, 10:16 am

>157 curioussquared: Ope, adding that one to the list...

Thanks for the review!

Jan 27, 2:03 pm

>158 Berly: Right? LOL

>159 Crazymamie: I hope you like it Mamie!

>160 katiekrug: I hope you like it, Katie! 15 hours in to the contest and going strong :) Have had ~5.5ish hours of sleep so far, lol.

>161 scaifea: Hope you like it, Amber!

Jan 27, 6:14 pm

27 books read: They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

In this heartbreaking graphic memoir, George Takei tells the story of his childhood internment in several camps during the incarceration of Japanese Americans following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This is an important graphic novel and I flew through it. Takei's story is powerful and he tells it well. 5 stars.

Jan 27, 7:15 pm

>163 curioussquared: This recently was recommended to me because I read Frontera. I definitely want to get to it soon.

Jan 27, 8:11 pm

Hoorah! For a working garage door.

Jan 30, 9:02 pm

>163 curioussquared: This one is definitely going on my TBR! Thank you for the reminder.

Jan 30, 11:24 pm

>146 curioussquared: I've added this book to the TBR pile. Your review was great!

Jan 31, 7:52 pm

>164 libraryperilous: I hope you like it, Diana!

>165 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Anita! We are 99% done with the project now, which feels great. Unfortunately, while finishing painting the trim on the house, the workers got paint on the new deck surface... *eyeroll*

>166 clamairy: I hope you like it, Claire!

>167 Whisper1: Thanks, Linda! I really enjoyed it a lot.

Jan 31, 8:06 pm

Happy Wednesday! This week is flying by. The trivia contest this weekend was fun; we didn't win, but winning isn't really the point with this kind of thing. (Although it doesn't hurt! I've been on the winning team several times in the past.) To win, you have to have a lot of people ready to sacrifice sleep, and we just didn't have that this year so we had probably 10 unstaffed hours across the whole contest. We came in 10th despite that, which is a good result.

Monday I took it pretty easy to get over my lack of sleep from the weekend, especially after I did something to my foot while taking the dogs on their morning walk! I have no idea what happened; I was just walking the same way we walk every day when I suddenly had a super sharp pain in my left foot. I finished the walk, but only by limping and not putting too much weight on my left foot/not bending my toes. When I went to bed that night I had developed a quarter-size bruise on top of my foot where the foot intersects with my middle and second toes. In the morning, the bruise had doubled in size and it was still hurting to walk, so I went to urgent care to get an x-ray in case I somehow managed to stress fracture my foot doing absolutely nothing. They didn't see a fracture, but told me to follow up with my doctor if the bruise isn't gone in a week or so/if it's still painful. It's still there today but I think I'm able to walk better so hopefully whatever the hell it is is getting better. After I got home from urgent care I spent the rest of the day reading (a bum foot is a good excuse to sit on the couch!) and then made lentil soup for dinner. I've been so good about working out lately it's kind of frustrating to be forced to stop, so I'm hopeful my foot is better soon.

Today I had lunch with two of my old coworkers. One brought along her mom and her 1.5 yr old daughter so it was quite the girls' lunch. I brought the other one Murderbot books 2-7 to borrow so she doesn't have to wait in line at the library for them. It was good to see them if a little short -- the one with two young kids has trouble getting away for very long, understandably.

Tonight my friend is coming over and we'll get some takeout and watch a movie. I saw this type of friend referred to as a "couch friend" on TikTok and that is definitely what we are. No activities required, we just like to hang out on the couch and eat, lol.

Currently reading: Finished Spinning and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow in print over the last few days, Just Kids on audio, and River Secrets on Kindle. Currently listening to Renegade's Magic and need to choose a new print book and new Kindle book. I'm leaning towards Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries for my next print book.

Currently watching: Finished the last season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel yesterday.

Jan 31, 8:21 pm

28 books read: Spinning by Tillie Walden

In this graphic memoir, Walden recalls her childhood growing up in the world of competitive figure skating as well as her struggles growing up queer in that space, and more generally in Texas.

I enjoyed this overall, and loved Walden's evocative art style. I felt like it was missing a little insight, maybe? I guess I usually expect memoirs to be somewhat reflective, and this didn't have that to the same level as I'm used to, perhaps because Walden is still quite young and not very far removed from the memories she's drawing. I still enjoyed it quite a bit, though. 4 stars.

Editado: Fev 1, 12:42 am

29 books read: Just Kids by Patti Smith

Smith recounts her life in the 60s, particularly focusing on her relationship with photographer Robert Maplethorpe, as both of them grow up, discover themselves and each other, and devote themselves to art.

I didn't really know what to expect going into this. I'll be honest -- I had only the vaguest idea who Patti Smith was before picking this up, but I needed something to fit the PopSugar prompt of "autobiography by a woman in rock & roll" and I knew this was well-received. Now that I've read it, I see why it has been so well-reviewed. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Smith herself, and I think that was a great choice. Smith's writing is powerful and descriptive, evocative of the intense time period in which she came of age, and hearing her voice reading her words is perfect, especially given her distinct accent. I'm really glad I read this! 4.5 stars.

Fev 1, 1:10 am

30 books read: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Sam and Sadie were briefly best friends as kids, when they met while Sam and Sadie's sister were in the hospital and bonded over video games -- until they had a falling out and grew apart. When they reunite in Boston while Sam is at Harvard and Sadie is at MIT, neither thinks much will come of it -- but before they part, Sadie gives Sam a copy of the game she's programmed, on a whim. Sam plays the game and thinks it's brilliant, and is determined to get back in touch with Sadie. The two decide to make a game together, with Sam's roommate Marx supporting, and history is born. Over the years, Sam and Sadie's relationship will ebb and flow -- but they'll always have video games.

So glad I finally got to this! Sam and Sadie's story drew me in immediately and I couldn't put it down. Zevin's narrative is compelling and innovative. I did think the pacing was a little off; I thought it slowed waaay down 3/4 of the way through after Marx's death and was sort of just denouement for the rest of the book; the climax/big resolution I was waiting for never really came. I'm not sure that was a problem, it was just a little odd to read after the first part of the book was so fast-paced and almost frenetic. Anyway, I'm wavering between 4.5 and 5 stars for this one; let's compromise and say 4.75 here.

Fev 1, 3:31 am

>172 curioussquared: Great review! Tbh, I'm usually immune to fomo, but I'd been on the fence about this one. Definitely not for me, but I love the cover.

Fev 1, 7:33 am

>171 curioussquared: and >172 curioussquared: - I've heard nothing but good things about both of these but neither has called to me. That said, your comments are making me re-consider....

I hope your foot is better today!

Fev 1, 10:48 am

>171 curioussquared: Oh, I went into Just Kids with little knowledge of her as well. Such an amazing book. I'm happy to see she's still performing.

Fev 1, 1:37 pm

Ouch, your poor foot! I hope you feel better soon.

You got me with >163 curioussquared:.

I LOVED Just Kids when I listened to it. Like you, I only peripherally knew about Patti Smith. Somewhere in the book (it's been a few years) she said someone told her she writes like an angel and talks like a trucker, which I certainly thought was an apt description.

Fev 1, 3:06 pm

>173 libraryperilous: It's a great cover! Glad I could clarify your feelings on the book :)

>174 katiekrug: Happy to help sway you! I think they're both worthwhile reads. My foot is still very bruised (it's mostly a lovely greenish color right now) but walking is getting better, so that's good.

>175 clamairy: I'm glad she's still performing, too! It definitely made me want to seek out some of her music, even though I'm not a big music person overall.

>176 AMQS: Thanks, Anne! I think (?) the foot is on the mend; fingers crossed it keeps improving. Yes, I loved that description, too! Glad to know I'm not the only one who read/enjoyed Just Kids despite not knowing much about Patti Smith.

Fev 1, 3:23 pm

Happy Thursday! No real plans today so I will attempt to make a dent in my to-do list now that my foot is feeling a bit better. I'm going to place a grocery order and try to get some organizing done around the house. Also toying with playing some Zelda, or starting a new Stardew Valley file.

Currently reading: Still working on Renegade's Magic on audio and started Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries in print and decided to continue with the series I was reading immediately so started Forest Born on Kindle.

Currently watching: My friend and I watched Nausicaa: The Valley of the Wind last night. So good! A Miyazaki I hadn't seen.

Fev 1, 3:35 pm

31 books read: River Secrets by Shannon Hale

Razo doesn't feel like he's good at anything. He's small, he's not strong, he's not skilled with a sword -- he's a terrible member of Bayern's Own, honestly. So when he's chosen to go along with the delegation to Tira along with his friends Enna and Finn, he's pretty surprised, but happy to be included. Once in Tira, things are tense; most of the Tirans resent the presence of the Bayerns, and Razo is on his toes looking for odd things. When someone starts leaving burned bodies around the complex in an attempt to frame the Bayern fire witch, who the Tirans don't know is Enna, Razo is determined to use any skill at his disposal to solve the mystery.

I enjoyed this follow-up to The Goose Girl and Enna Burning. Razo is a fun character, and it was nice to see him come into his own. 4 stars.

Fev 1, 7:53 pm

>172 curioussquared: Excellent review. A good reminder to request this soon at the library.

Happy weekend reads ahead!

Fev 2, 5:50 pm

>180 figsfromthistle: I hope you like it, Anita! And same to you :)

Fev 2, 5:54 pm

Happy Friday! I've had a good mix so far of productivity and relaxing. Spent the morning reading and walking the dogs, and then the early afternoon doing a full cleaning of the car and finally putting in the all-weather floor mats we bought for it like, a year ago. Then I did enough yard work to fill the bin, then decided that was enough and came in for some lunch. Probably do a little more reading before I get ready to go get dinner with my friend before we see All of Us Strangers.

Currently reading: Same stuff as before -- Emily Wilde, Forest Born, and Renegade's Magic. Hoping to finish one or two in the next few days. I'm heading to my parents' house Saturday night to watch their dogs for a few days, so I'll have some nice, uninterrupted reading time over there. I'm also planning on going to Silent Book Club with my friend on Sunday. We haven't been able to go for a few months now so I'm looking forward to it!

Currently watching: E4 of Death and Other Details, which is fun.

Editado: Fev 2, 7:52 pm

>172 curioussquared: This one has been on my list... I'll bump it up based on your review. Sounds great!

Edit: Haha ... just went to Libby to put the audiobook on my Hold list and I'm 306th in line... clearly it's popular!

Fev 2, 8:07 pm

I am not even going to try and catch up, Natalie, but I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Fev 4, 12:18 pm

>183 PlatinumWarlock: Hi Lavinia! Yep, the Zevin seems to have been consistently popular since its release :) I was lucky enough to score a used copy in great condition from Third Place Books about a year ago so I didn't have to wait (although clearly that didn't make me pick it up sooner 😂)

>184 alcottacre: Right back at you, Stasia!

Fev 4, 12:24 pm

Happy Sunday!

Yesterday was mostly relaxing; I did some reading, gaming, and TV watching and prepped to stay at my parents' house, where I am now. I'll post a picture of my charges tomorrow when I have a computer again. Plans for today are reading and hanging out with the muppets, and Silent Book Club in the afternoon.

Currently reading: Finished Forest Born on Friday and read some Emily Wilde yesterday -- hoping to wrap it today. Have about 18% left of Renegade's Magic but probably won't finish it until tomorrow or Tuesday since that translates to 5 hours and these dogs don't get walks.

Currently watching: An episode of the new season of Queer Eye yesterday and finally finished S2 of The Bear.

Currently playing: Knocked out a few shrines in TOTK yesterday.

Fev 6, 1:11 pm

It's Tuesday! I'm back from dogsitting at my parents' house and need to tackle a bunch of chores today, including tidying for the cleaners coming tomorrow, hitting up the pharmacy, and some decluttering I want to do.

My foot has still been hurting and is still somewhat bruised so I went to my normal doctor's office yesterday, although I didn't realize until I got there that my appointment was with the nurse practitioner and not my actual doctor. She didn't tell me much. The concern is that it might be a stress fracture, and that it seemed to happen with so little cause, but she basically said that since I already had an x-ray last week, she didn't want to do another one since it can take up to 4-6 weeks for a stress fracture to show up on an x-ray!! Great. So she basically referred me to a podiatrist and sent me away. I asked whether I should be limiting activities and she said if it hurts, don't do it. Not a very satisfying appointment. I'm going to keep doing shorter walks with the dogs (my foot seems to hurt if I do two walks a day, but one seems OK) and maybe give it another week and they try the elliptical again. Still frustrating to have my workout groove interrupted.

Currently reading: Got a lot more listening done at my parents' house than I expected because I was in the mood for doing puzzles with audiobooks. I finished Renegade's Magic and listened to the entirety of Idol Gossip, and started Across the Green Grass Fields. Also finished Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries at Silent Book Club and started Iron Flame in print. Also read about a page of The Whispering Mountain on Kindle at the doctor but didn't get far before I was seen. I expect my digital reading to take a hit until I'm back to exercising.

Currently watching: A few episodes of the new season of Queer Eye.

Fev 6, 1:18 pm

As promised, pictures of my charges!

Henry and Hamish, looking like trouble:

Henry looking noble:

Hamish being a little too affectionate:

And Hamish being sweet -- you can sort of get an idea for how big he is based on my legs, lol. He is 180 lbs!

And for fun, both of the puzzles I did while I was over there:

Fev 6, 1:35 pm

>188 curioussquared: Beautiful dogs! I would give them so much petting if I were there. Lovely puzzles, too!

Fev 6, 2:52 pm

I am sorry about your foot. Hope it is something that quickly goes away on its own. Lovely dogs, too - thanks for sharing photos.

Fev 6, 3:27 pm

>189 foggidawn: They got lots of love. They are less cuddly than my dogs, but still very affectionate.

>190 AMQS: Thanks, Anne! It does seem to line up with the stress fracture symptoms Dr. Google is telling me about... 😬

Fev 6, 4:58 pm

>188 curioussquared: Canines! Gorgeous boys.

Nice puzzles, too.

Fev 6, 4:58 pm

The puppers are adorable.

I'm not sure what your access is like but if there's a decent pool near you, swimming might be a good alternative for getting exercise while your foot heals.

Fev 6, 5:20 pm

Doggos! They are adorable.

Sorry about the continued foot pain :(

Fev 6, 7:44 pm

>192 humouress: Thanks, Nina!

>193 MickyFine: Thanks, Micky! I do love to swim, but the appeal of the elliptical is that 1. it's in my house and 2. I can read while I'm on it which was the secret to my consistency :) I might explore swimming options further if the foot becomes a long-term thing.

>194 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie!

Editado: Fev 6, 7:51 pm

32 books read: Forest Born by Shannon Hale

Rin, Razo's younger sister, has always loved her forest home and her family. The trees seem to speak to her, and she has always gone to them for comfort. But when the trees' comfort turns to rejection, Rin is adrift. Full of pain, she decides to accompany Razo and Dasha back to the capitol to find work in the city. There, she meets important people and befriends the young prince, and sets off on a journey with Isi, Enna, and Dasha to discover what threatens Bayern from a neighboring country.

A lovely conclusion to the series. 4.5 stars.

Fev 6, 8:12 pm

33 books read: Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Scholar Emily Wilde is headed to the far north to study the local faerie population in order to complete her groundbreaking Encyclopaedia of Faeries. What she doesn't expect is for her fellow professor and sometimes rival Wendell Brambleby to show up, too. While Emily resents Wendell's presence at first, she soon comes to appreciate his help and skills -- and she'll need him more than ever once she has her first encounter with the courtly fae.

This was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it all the way through, but had trouble getting fully immersed in it for the first half -- not sure if it was because of the writing style or what. But I devoured the second half. 4 stars.

Fev 6, 8:24 pm

34 books read: Renegade's Magic by Robin Hobb

Having escaped prison and believed to be dead by most of his fellow soldiers, Navarre escapes into the forest to go to the only people he believes will accept him now, the Specks, to accept the fate he believes the magic has in mind for him. Once he finds them, though, Navarre finds himself in an awkward situation -- his Speck consciousness, always in the back of his mind, has taken over his body, and the part of him that he thinks of as his true self is just riding along, trapped in his mind. Can Navarre regain control of his physical form and somehow solve the imbalance between the Gernians and the Specks?

I guess everyone has an off trilogy every once in a while, right? Even if you love Robin Hobb, don't read these books. They are bloated and mostly boring. The best part about it was the exploration of fatphobia due to Navarre's weight gain due to the fat-based magic system, but as I feared all along, Navarre ended the book skinny once again and only then does he get the girl, which really ruined it all for me. Navarre is whiny, wishy washy, and annoying throughout the books, and his is the ONLY viewpoint. 3 stars -- Hobb's writing is still good, but the whole thing was just ill-conceived.

Fev 6, 8:33 pm

>198 curioussquared: I absolutely agree with every word about it being an off day for an otherwise-great author. Yeesh, these books. It's too late for me but save yourself!!!

Editado: Fev 6, 8:58 pm

35 books read: Idol Gossip by Alexandra Leigh Young

Alice has always loved to sing. When her little sister drags her to a karaoke parlor in their new home of Seoul, she's surprised to be scouted by a rep from one of the biggest K Pop talent companies in the business. At first, Alice isn't really interested -- she's not super into K Pop, and she has no desire to be in the spotlight like that. Besides, even though she's confident in her singing abilities, she doesn't know how to dance at all. But when her sister -- who's big into the K Pop scene -- points out that she would have access to the greatest vocal coaches if she joins, Alice caves and goes to the audition -- where she's the only girl who makes it through, despite her lack of dance skills. Will Alice be able to find her place in her new girl group and survive life at the academy before her group debuts in 5 months?

If I think about this book too hard, tons of plot holes and inconsistencies start to make themselves known. Alice's sudden desire to be a K Pop star after having no interest made zero sense. But while I was listening to it, I had a great time. It's like cotton candy -- fun and sweet but does not stand up to any pressure whatsoever. But it was a lot of fun to listen to while doing a puzzle, and it fulfilled the Popsugar prompt of a book about K Pop. 3.5 stars.

Fev 6, 8:44 pm

>199 reconditereader: Seriously!! Too late for me, too, as that was book 3, but I hope others can see this warning and take heed!!

Fev 6, 9:15 pm

36 books read: Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

Regan is a young girl reeling from the news that she's actually intersex -- and her "best friend's" horrible reacton to said news -- when she stumbles through a door and into the Hooflands, where various mythical hoofed creatures live. Luckily, Regan is found by a friendly herd of unicorn-farming centaurs, who take her in and treat her as one of her own. It's well-known in the Hooflands that human visitors only appear to save the world, and the centaurs know that Regan will soon need to present herself to the queen of the Hooflands to fulfill her duty -- but they'll take care of her until she's ready.

Loved this. I think I prefer the more standalone Wayward Children books to the quest ones where lots of the kids are doing things together. If you were a horse girl, you'll love this book. 5 stars.

Fev 7, 12:30 am

>201 curioussquared: >199 reconditereader: Well, you've saved me. I've looked at Soldier Son on and off but never got around to it. I probably won't, now.

>200 curioussquared: cotton candy: that analogy absolutely makes sense! (Not that I've read this particular book, but as a general thing.)

Fev 7, 1:08 am

>203 humouress: Phew!!! Bullet dodged. I've really enjoyed everything else I've read by Hobb (planning on rereading Assassin's Apprentice and sequels pretty soon) but this series just didn't work.

Fev 11, 12:40 pm

Happy Sunday! I hear there's some big football thing happening today but I mostly care because Costco will be empty at that time ;)

I've had a fairly low-key week. Wednesday the cleaners came and I wrestled with some tax stuff Tim asked me to look at while they were here. Thursday I mostly took it easy and did a lot of dog cuddling and reading. Friday my mom came over and I helped her book a flight and travel insurance online, then we went to lunch at the new fancy grocery store nearby with lots of prepared and made-to-order food items. I had their pad thai and it was pretty good and reasonably priced given that the portion was two meals for me.

Yesterday I was supposed to go to see Pacific Northwest Ballet's matinee production of Swan Lake with my best friend, but she wasn't feeling well so kindly offered her ticket to my mom instead. My mom is a huge ballet nut (we both danced when we were younger, but she did it because she loved it and I did it because she loved it, lol) and Swan Lake is her favorite so it was a very nice surprise for her. Our seats were great and the show was well done. In the evening Tim and I and the dogs went to my grandma's house to celebrate her 80th birthday.

No big plans today, although I need to check with Tim -- he mentioned that one of his friends was having a birthday party for their 2 year old that we're invited to, but I'm not sure if he meant today or next Sunday. I would be kind of surprised if the party was during the superbowl but these friends are Canadian so maybe? Anyway, I'll either be at a toddler party or Costco when the big sportsball happens, and that's all I have on the docket.

Currently reading: Finished Iron Flame in print yesterday and moved on to Have Dog, Will Travel. Finished listening to Who Cooked the Last Supper? on Thursday and started A House With Good Bones, which is delightfully unsettling so far. Kingfisher is the only person who makes me want to read horror. Haven't made any progress on Kindle reads. I got new Hoka walking shoes and new superfeet insoles this week that have been really helping my foot, especially while walking, so I might do an elliptical workout in my new gear and see how my foot feels because I would love to get back to some light activity (and Kindle reading during said light activity ;)).

Currently watching: Tim and I started watching Suits this week and so far we're really enjoying it. I also finally finished Derry Girls (apparently I only had one episode left; I think I stopped after Clare's dad died because it was too sad but didn't realize there was so little left.

Currently playing: Nothing this week.

Fev 11, 12:53 pm

37 books read: Who Cooked the Last Supper by Rosalind Miles

In this "Women's History of the World," Miles examines the role of women over pretty much all of history -- from the original role of woman as mother of humanity and all-powerful goddess, through the shift to phallus-centric power and female oppression, to the modern day light at the end of the tunnel.

I originally heard about this book on a TikTok talking about how women created the first known calendars based off of menstrual cycles, and how when men analyzed them, they assumed they were tracking lunar cycles -- until a woman historian pointed out that a 31-day lunar cycle would be a little strange. This book did talk about that, and I found that bit and some other portions really interesting, but it didn't quite hold up to what I wanted from it. I wanted more pieces of information about the unknown role of women in history, but instead this book turned really quickly into a catalog of all the varied and creative ways women have been oppressed and abused over the history of the world. Kind of a bummer, and honestly, I don't know that I needed all the details. It rightfully read as very angry. Also, the book ended on a "happy" note talking about the passage of Roe v. Wade, which, yeah, not so happy anymore. Anyway, read this if you want a comprehensive overview of violence and wrongs against women for some reason -- maybe you need a reason to pick a fight with the men in your life? 3.5 stars.

Fev 11, 1:08 pm

Happy birthday to your grandma! And what a nice surprise for your mum to get to watch Swan Lake.

Fev 11, 1:12 pm

38 books read: Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros

In this sequel to Fourth Wing, Violet starts her second year at Basgiath. She and Xaden are separated most of the time since he graduated, and leadership seems to be going out of their way to separate them even more when they have time together -- this new officer Varrish seems to have it out for her. Violet struggles to keep secrets of the rebellion from her year-mate friends who don't know, and uses her scribe knowledge to research the construction of Navarre's wards. Plus, Andarna has been sleeping almost since they got back to Basgiath -- what's up with that?

This was a lot of fun. I think a good portion of the first half probably should have been condensed -- it made it less fast-paced and engaging than Fourth Wing, although that frenetic pace came back for me in the second half. Anyway, I'm usually pretty critical of bad writing, and this is full of it (like PLEASE can an actual good editor get her hands on these books?), but Yarros has a knack for writing a story that keeps you reading and that's enough for me in this case. I'm having fun and that's all that matters! 4 stars.

Fev 11, 2:03 pm

>207 humouress: Thanks, Nina! Yeah, a surprise Swan Lake showing is about as good as it gets for my mom 😊

Fev 12, 10:05 pm

Sounds like a lovely weekend. Curious whether you ended up at a toddler party or Costco though. 😊

Fev 13, 1:04 pm

>210 MickyFine: Hi Micky! We did in fact end up at a toddler party 😂 It was a good time. Saw some friends who have been kind of AWOL lately (they have somehow acquired like five godchildren recently and they are devoted to the point of seeing these kids multiple times per week) so that was worth it. I went to Costco yesterday instead and it was still satisfyingly empty the day after the superbowl :)

Fev 13, 1:18 pm

Happy Tuesday! Yesterday I tried doing an elliptical workout in my new shoes and my foot still feels good! A victory :) Hoping to do another workout today -- it's so nice to be active again. In the afternoon I went to Costco, then Tim and I went to tour a house (not the one), then I went to trivia with my cousin and his girlfriend. We came in 7th -- middling. Not too bad since we usually have at least two more team members.

Today I'm getting coffee with an old coworker and she is also returning my Murderbot books -- I lent them to her so she didn't have to wait for the library holds and she flew through them :) Also might go to trivia again tonight, TBD. Our other favorite place is doing trivia plus a mardi gras celebration with king cake.

Currently reading: Finished Have Dog, Will Travel on Sunday and started The Stranger Diaries in print. Wrapped up A House with Good Bones on audio and moved on to Bride. Finally made a dent in The Whispering Mountain on Kindle during my workout yesterday.

Fev 13, 1:29 pm

39 books read: Have Dog, Will Travel by Stephen Kuusisto

Legally blind his whole life and raised to believe his disability was shameful, Kuusisto's life is fundamentally changed when he makes the decision at the age of 38 to get a guide dog.

This was a lovely memoir that does an exquisite job of conveying what it's like to live as a blind person, and how a guide dog can change that. Corky sounds like she was the best girl ever. 5 stars.

Read for PopSugar Challenge prompt #8: A book by a blind or visually impaired author.

Fev 13, 1:42 pm

40 books read: A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher

Sam is an archaeological entomologist (basically, she studies old bugs). When her dig is postponed due to the discovery of human remains, she heads to North Carolina to stay with her mother in her grandmother's old house since she sublet her room back in Arizona. When she arrives at the house, things are... strange. Her mother has repainted the house back to the colors it was when Sam's grandmother was alive, and rehung art Sam thought was long gone, including a picture of a Confederate wedding that the mother Sam knows would never have touched. She won't swear, and she's started saying grace before meals -- something Sam has never seen her do in her life. What is going on with her mother? And does the house have something to do with it?

Only T. Kingfisher can make me want to read horror! This was her trademark style -- delightfully unsettling, but also super funny and fun to read. I listened to the audio read by Mary Robinette Kowal which I think helped too -- her intonations and voices made it less scary, more fun. 4 stars.

Fev 13, 6:16 pm

>213 curioussquared: I have just one question: does the dog die? (You can put your answer in spoiler quotes if you want, but it definitely has a bearing on whether I want to read the book or not!)

>214 curioussquared: I will have to get to that one sooner or later, but I'm reading a creepy old house book myself right now (Not Quite a Ghost by Anne Ursu), and two in close proximity might not be the best idea for me.

Fev 13, 6:39 pm

>215 foggidawn: The dog does die, and I teared up a bit at that page for sure, but it's somewhat less hard to read than these things often are (for me at least) because I believe you know going in that this is the first of the author's four service dogs so far. The death doesn't happen until the very end of the book and the book doesn't dwell on it.

Yes, two spooky house books in a row does sound like a lot. I'll look out for your review of the Ursu -- that sounds intriguing!

Fev 13, 6:55 pm

>215 foggidawn: Oh, the Ursu is on my 2024 TBR. I hope you're enjoying it!

Fev 14, 1:57 pm

Hey Natalie!
Sorry your foot's been bothering you. That doctor's visit sounds frustrating and unhelpful :/
Hope this positive trend of it not hurting keeps going!

Fev 15, 12:45 pm

>218 Ravenwoodwitch: Hi Angela! So far so good; the foot has been good aside from a few twinges. Hooray for new shoes and insoles helping!

Editado: Fev 15, 1:11 pm

Happy Thursday!

Tim and I had a low-key Valentine's Day yesterday and exchanged a few treats (plus some flowers for me!). We ordered dumplings and watched TV rather than brave the restaurant scene. I have some chores I want to get done around the house today, then in the evening we're planning on booking lodging for the second half of our Hawaii trip coming up in March.

Currently reading: The Stranger Diaries is picking up -- I'm enjoying Harbinder's narration more than Clare's. I should finish Bride on audio today as I only have 15% left. I wrapped The Whispering Mountain on Kindle yesterday after my workout; next I'm planning on The Sugared Game.

Currently watching: The latest episode of Death and Other Details, several episodes of S1 of Suits, and I squeezed in the first episode of S6 of Love Is Blind while Tim was working out last night :)

ETA: Forgot to mention that I started a new cross-stitch for the first time in a while! I also bought some pattern bundles off of Etsy so I am supplied with projects for the foreseeable future :)

Editado: Fev 15, 1:05 pm

Latest book news from Twitter: The Hugos administration team deliberately excluded some eligible nominees from the ballot in an attempt to avoid offending Chinese powers.

The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Fev 15, 1:02 pm

41 books read: The Whispering Mountain by Joan Aiken

In the town of Pennygaff in Wales, legends tell of the golden Harp of Teirtu, which has recently been discovered and now sits in the Pennygaff Museum, where Owen Hughes lives and which his grandfather runs. But word of the harp's discovery has reached unsavory ears, and before Owen knows it, he has been kidnapped along with the harp, and he'll have to act fast to free himself and save the artifact. He'll need help from his friend Arabis, her tame bird Hawc, and more friends they'll meet along the way.

A lovely classic children's adventure novel which is apparently set in the same alternate universe as Aiken's Wolves of Whilloughby Chase series, but it's been long enough since I read any of those books that it didn't feel familiar. Lots of fun and I loved the Welsh words and other dialects sprinkled throughout. Thanks to Rhian SandDune for the book bullet. 4 stars.

Fev 15, 1:23 pm

>222 curioussquared: Ooh, I'm intrigued!

Editado: Fev 15, 2:04 pm

>222 curioussquared: Midnight is a Place is also set in Aiken's Wolves universe, without having overlapping characters. And also good.

ETA: well I can't find the evidence now that they're set in the same world but I do remember seeing it when I read the book.

Fev 15, 3:33 pm

>221 curioussquared: - I've seen a few posts about that on Twitter (never X) but didn't click through to see what had been excluded and why. Yikes!

Fev 15, 7:50 pm

>221 curioussquared: I SAW this from Daniel Green's channel. I'm with you. Utterly disgusting to see people who are supposed to be honoring the hard work of writers willing to participate in this kind of outrageous censorship, especially of Minority and LGBTQ+ voices.

Fev 15, 7:51 pm

Hi Natalie! How are you?

Fev 15, 7:55 pm

>214 curioussquared: Oooh that looks like a great read. BB for me.

Fev 15, 10:46 pm

>225 katiekrug: Yikes indeed!

>226 Ravenwoodwitch: It's pretty despicable :( It sounds like some kind of reorg (possibly disconnecting the Hugos from WorldCon) will come of it, but who knows.

>227 Owltherian: Hi Owl! I'm doing pretty well -- how about you?

>228 figsfromthistle: I hope you like it, Anita!

Fev 15, 10:48 pm

>229 curioussquared: I think i may be delevoping a cold and most times i get that it becomes i sinus infection so I'm not doin' too good.

Fev 15, 11:37 pm

>230 Owltherian: Boo, being sick is the worst. Have some vitamin C and try to get some rest!

Fev 16, 9:14 am

>231 curioussquared: I'm at school now and sadly to say i have a really bad headache and the people at my school to say it kindly are loud.

Fev 16, 12:39 pm

>223 foggidawn: Somehow I missed you, Foggi. Have you read Aiken's Wolves series? They're excellent.

>224 humouress: I missed you, Nina! Ooh, I'll look for Midnight Is a Place.

Fev 16, 12:40 pm

>232 Owltherian: Hope your headache is better soon and people are quieter!

Fev 16, 12:41 pm

>234 curioussquared: It got worse and people are still being loud as heck

Fev 16, 12:43 pm

Happy Friday! Plans for today include a workout, some house tasks, and probably hanging out with my friend in the evening. I'd also like to carve out some reading time. I just found out that one of my best friends from college is moving to the Seattle area in August (Tacoma, but close enough!) so I'm very excited about that.

Currently reading: Over halfway through The Stranger Diaries in print, about 30% into The Sugared Game on Kindle, and about 25% into XOXO on audio.

Currently watching: Some Love Is Blind while cross-stitching yesterday (why am I such a sucker for this show?) and a few episodes of Suits with Tim last night.

Fev 16, 12:46 pm

Thankyou! New here. I’m looking to read good fiction without all the political correctness interjected. Any suggestions ??

Fev 16, 1:00 pm

42 books read: Bride by Ali Hazelwood

Misery Lark isn't a very good vampyre. She's never felt at home among her own time (probably a side effect of living among humans for years as the chosen collateral) and has lived with humans of her own volition for years now. But when her only friend, human Serena, disappears, Misery will do anything to find her -- even agree to an alliance marriage with Lowe Morlan, a Werewolf alpha.

I love Ali Hazelwood and will read anything she writes. This is very different from her other books -- an Omegaverse fated mates paranormal romance. Overall, I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun, but I didn't like it as much as Hazelwood's other novels. I think I am not really an Omegaverse girlie at heart, but I like Hazelwood enough that I still enjoyed this. 4 stars.

Editado: Fev 16, 1:02 pm

>237 danohoffa: Welcome! Not sure what you mean about "political correctness" but I am probably not the person to recommend books for you as I enjoy modern novels with liberal agendas and LGBTQIA+ authors and characters.

Fev 16, 1:30 pm

>238 curioussquared: I'm skeptical, but I like Hazelwood, so I'll give it a try.

Fev 16, 1:52 pm

>240 foggidawn: Yeah, it wasn't really my thing, but I enjoy Hazelwood's writing enough that I still had fun. But I hope she goes back to primarily writing contemporary romance.

Fev 17, 3:19 am

>233 curioussquared: I'm glad you found me! I also meant to say I skimmed the article you linked to in >221 curioussquared: and was very surprised that such an award would bow to the prejudices of the host country.

>238 curioussquared: Four stars for 'not really' is pretty good :0)

Fev 17, 7:49 am

>3 curioussquared: Hello. You read a diverse range of books. Reading 31 books in January is very impressive. You read as fast as Kermit and Otter used to run!

Fev 17, 10:42 am

>238 curioussquared: This is on The List because, like you, I enjoy Hazelwood's writing and I have a feeling that whenever I get to it my reaction will be similar. Had to Google "omegaverse" as that was a new term for me.

Delighted you're jumping back into cross-stitch. If you're inclined, you're welcome to join us in the NeedleArts group here on LT.

Fev 17, 12:59 pm

>242 humouress: The worst part about it is that there's no evidence right now that the censorship actually occured due to pressures from China. The evidence currently shows that the western administrators took it up on themselves to preemptively self-censor the nominees. So awful.

>243 Pendrainllwyn: Hello, and thanks for stopping by my thread! I try to read diversely although I do tend to read more in my comfort zone than out of it. I like to do a few challenges every year (lately, the Popsugar reading challenge and the Seattle Public Library's Summer book bingo) and fulfilling those challenge prompts helps me pick up books I wouldn't read otherwise. Otter and Kermit are definitely speedy, but they spend 99% of their time going 0 mph on the couch these days :)

>244 MickyFine: Hi Micky! I was vaguely aware of omegaverse stuff before (my understanding is it originated in Supernatural fanfiction and has had a wide following in self-published books recently) but it's never been something I've been drawn to. Bride was fun, but I'd rather Hazelwood gets back to contemporary stuff :)

I will consider joining the needlearts group! First I need to see how long this current stitching phase lasts 😂

Editado: Fev 17, 1:41 pm

>245 curioussquared: As I said, I skimmed the article; I gave up when I got completely lost as to who said what, and why or even when. But that's even worse; to exclude eligible potential prize winners because they might upset someone. Then why accept their bid (which the article indicates may have been dodgy) if it's going to handicap the process?

Fev 17, 2:51 pm

>246 humouress: I also skimmed, but it seems they excluded some and not others who could similarly have offended the CCP. I would bet they used the situation as an excuse to indulge their own personal tastes and grudges, albeit perhaps subconsciously.

Fev 17, 3:45 pm

Glad to hear the foot is feeling better. And I can't believe you are already at 42 books!! That's like one a day. Impressive. : ) Love the dog-sitting photos, too. Especially the affectionate face-licking one. LOL. Have a great weekend.

Fev 17, 6:46 pm

42 books already is pretty darned impressive, Natalie, I must say.

Have a great weekend.

Fev 19, 2:33 am

>246 humouress: Right? Great questions, Nina. I guess we'll see what comes of it.

>247 libraryperilous: I'm sure that happened at least a little. Also, I think the guy at the center of it has been running the Hugos for a while. Who knows how he's used his influence in the past?

>248 Berly: Thanks, Kim! I know, I just keep reading, lol. The dog face kisses were a little too full of wet whiskers for my tastes, but I know they were given with love.

>249 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! Not working has certainly helped my reading totals thus far :)

Fev 19, 2:45 am

New thread is up!