Club Read--sallypursell's 2020 reading

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KeskusteluClub Read 2020

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Club Read--sallypursell's 2020 reading

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2020, 11:57pm

First Quarter Totals= 47

SF&F 13
Children’s 0
YA 2
Non-fiction 1
General Fiction 3
Classics 1
Paranormal 8
Romances 10
Graphic novels 0
Mysteries 19

Second Quarter Totals=61
(Some paranormal also counted in SF)

SF&F - 17
Children’s - 0
YA - 0
Non-fiction - 5
General Fiction - 2
Classics -1
Paranormal - 13
Romances - 8
Graphic novels - 0
Mysteries - 15


81. Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs
82. The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths
83. Thyme of Death by Susan Wittig Albert
84. Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
85. Killer Market by Margaret Maron
86. Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood
87. The Spotted Dog by Kerry Greenwood
88. The Palace of Lost Memories by C. J. Archer
89. The Killer Across the Table by John E. Douglas
90. Silent Prey by John Sandford
91. Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck
92. Krakatoa by Simon Winchester
93. The Beauty Defense by Laura James

Third Quarter Totals=
(Some paranormal also counted in SF)

SF&F -
Children’s -
YA -
Non-fiction -
General Fiction -
Classics -
Paranormal -
Romances -
Graphic novels -
Mysteries -


94. Fool's Puzzle by Earlene Fowler
95. When the Sky Breaks by Simon Winchester
96. The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey
97. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
98. The Library Book by Susan Orlean
99. The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman
100. Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors
101. The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham
102. Burning Water by Mercedes Lackey
103. Kansas Troubles by Earlene Fowler
104. Touchdown Pass by Clair Bee
105. Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank
106. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
107. Tremaine's True Love by Grace Burrowes

I have the Critically Low Internal Storage message on my kindle, so I have to read and offload a few. Handful of romance and sci-fi and similar books and stories coming.


108. Too Wicked To Kiss by Erica Ridley
109. The Dashing Duke Makes His Selection by Abigail Haversham
110. Of Bone and Steel and Other Soft Materials by Annie Bellet
111. The Rakish Duke Gets His Comeuppance by Abigail Haversham
112. Tempt Me, Your Grace by Tamara Gill
113. Unchosen; The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels by Hella Winston
114. The Head of the House of Coombe by Frances Hodgson Burnett
115. The Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
116. The Firstborn by Quenby Olson
117. Goose in the Pond by Earlene Fowler
118. The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum
119. The Elect Lady by George MacDonald
120. You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria
121. The Devil and Sherlock Holmes by David Grann
122. The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg
123. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
124. Skinwalker by Faith Hunter
125. A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher


126. The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor
127. Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
128. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
129. The Nowhere Child by Rachel Abbott
130. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
131. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
132. Silent Prey by John Sandford
133. The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews
134. Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

Fourth Quarter Totals=
(Some paranormal also counted in SF)


135. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
136. Winter Prey by John Sandford
137. The Shotgun Arcana by R. S. Belcher
138. ditto
139. Assassin by Patricia Finney as Lady Grace Cavendish
140. Night Prey by John Sandford
141. Mind Prey by John Sandford
142. Poison: Deadly Deeds, Perilous Professions, and Murderous Medicines by Sarah Albee
143. Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier
144. The Elements of Murder: A History of Poison by John Emsley
145. Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne


146. Crossing in Time by D. L. Orton
147. Lost Time by D. L. Orton
148. The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
149. The Road To Agra by Aimée Sommerfelt
150. Colters' Woman by Maya Banks
151. An Exaltation of Larks by Robert Reed
152. The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman
153. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg


154. Lost Time by D. L. Orton
155. Dead Time by D. L. Orton
156. Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham
157. The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie
158. All I Ever Needed by Jo Goodman
159. Look to the Lady by Margery Allingham
160. Air Awakens by Elise Kova
161. Fire Falling by Elise Kova
162. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
163. Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
164. Earth's End by Elise Kova
165. Water's Wrath by Elise Kova
166. Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova
167. Room by Emma Donoghue
168. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

heinäkuu 11, 2020, 12:11pm

Hi Sally - You have been on fire this year. You are reading some of my favorite series. I love Margaret Maron's Knott series and Ruth Galloway is one of my favorite characters in a series.

heinäkuu 12, 2020, 7:29pm

94. Fool's Puzzle by Earlene Fowler This is the first book in a series all named for quilt blocks. That is because the protagonist, Benni Harper, directs a folk museum, and they are hanging a quilt exhibition when a murder takes place in the museum. Benni Harper clashes with the new Police Chief, Chief Ortiz, and he seems to be watching her very closely.

They each do some good work in solving the mystery, and at the end, Benni and the Chief recognize mutual attraction. This is a favorite series of mine for escape reading.

heinäkuu 12, 2020, 7:35pm

95. When the Sky Breaks by Simon Winchester This writer is a find. He writes both science books and interesting history. This is something of a coffee table book, as far as the format goes--the size, and the fact that there are many great pictures, illustrating the extreme power of "the worst weather", including famous storms. I would have liked more information and more pictures; more of everything would have been nice. I have to confess, though, that the main effects were accomplished. We learn some particulars of the most recent famous storms. I guess I don't think recency is the only important consideration, but I have to confess that most of his audience would not remember any other storms, or probably care about older named storms.

heinäkuu 12, 2020, 8:44pm

>4 sallypursell: I read his The Map that Changed the World and enjoyed it immensely.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 15, 2020, 9:51pm

96. The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey This is the fascinating story of the largest map theft in the history of the United States. Gilbert Joseph Bland, Jr. visited academic and public libraries for years, with the habit of slicing the most valuable maps from books or folios of maps. In 1995 he was finally arrested, leading the FBI to a hideout of eight rooms, all filled with maps.

One FBI agent had the job of connecting the maps with the libraries that were missing them, and the thief himself could only identify 75 of the owners. Some libraries insisted they were missing nothing, either because they did not know, or thought they should not admit it to the public. This agent spent years at this task.

Spin out this story to a wider world; the world of map buying and selling, and map-crazed collectors as well as the canny. Learn about libraries storing maps, and the generalized story of maps and famous maps. This is a delicious story of obsession, set in a world of aesthetes and sober curators, collectors and academicians. I loved, loved, loved it.

heinäkuu 14, 2020, 4:56pm

>5 janemarieprice: I'm looking forward to that one.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 15, 2020, 10:16pm

97. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer Mr. Krakauer survived a highly traumatic trip to the summit of Everest, in which half of the team he climbed with died, and several others lost hands and feet and vision to prolonged exposure and excessive time spent in "the Death Zone", above 28,000 feet. He was an accomplished mountaineer, but really a hobbyist at it, having a full-time job as a journalist who climbed when he could. It is to his credit that he does not conceal what he considers his grievous fault in the deaths of his friends and companions.

In reality, Mr. Krakauer, who was allowed to go on a friend's professional guide gig up Everest at the behest of a magazine paying, was not an expert at the highest mountaineering, and could not be expected to rescue others from unexpected weather conditions, in a season in which members of a number of teams perished on the mountain. It was a deadly season, killing twelve of expert teams, including some sherpas. He did well to summit and get himself and others back safely. His heroism is undoubted, as he made multiple attempts to save others, and succeeded at some.

The book is beyond admirable, and affected me emotionally more than I'd like to say. For most of a day I could not read anything further. The pall of tragedy was on me, and I could only dimly realize that it wasn't my own tragedy. That had to wear off slowly. At the time of the writing of the book, it had yet to lose its horror for the author, who was not sure he would ever get over it. Frankly, it seems foolhardy to do something like tempt death to climb Everest. We hear that the high levels of the mountain are sprinkled with the frozen bodies of its victims, that they are now landmarks. It is simply too dangerous to bring them down. Can you truly believe that? Even to get to those places is risking death or life-long injury. To burden themselves with the weight of a body would tip the balance. I cannot internalize this truth, but I think it does clarify why Mr. Krakauer could not save his friends. One was stuck almost at the summit, and never could climb off the Hillary Step, which is what this promontory is called. His hands were too frostbitten to hold anything, he was mostly snow-blind, and after spending a night in this place with no oxygen and with 100 degree below zero wind-chills in a storm, he was probably unable to think well enough to descend. An attempt by two sherpas to help him failed in unclimbable conditions.

A fine book, perhaps a little too real. I am so glad that I read it, now that the spell has worn off. I feel very sorry for Mr. Krakauer, but I don't think he had any right to go on this expedition. I hope he is able to overcome his grief and guilt.

heinäkuu 14, 2020, 6:23pm

These were my thoughts on Into Thin Air

A tragic real life adventure story it certainly is, yet once I had put the book down I could not feel much sympathy for the people involved. A bunch of very rich people trying to buy one of the ultimate thrills of climbing Everest led by largely irresponsible guides. You make your own tragedy's sometimes

It was a gripping read.

heinäkuu 15, 2020, 11:43am

>6 sallypursell: I remember learning about that map theft during a course in rare books, when I was in Library School.

heinäkuu 15, 2020, 12:54pm

Impressive half year and interesting nonfiction run.

>96 I got upset at this Bland guy reading your review.

>97 Into Thin Air is really powerful. I thought it was interesting also because of the trouble Krakauer had managing his own not-blameless role in the story with the idealized uncompromised journalist’s perspective.

heinäkuu 15, 2020, 9:57pm

>9 baswood: It sounds as if we generally agree. There were a bunch of poseurs climbing, but the guides didn't survive better. I agree these guides lost discipline, such as not keeping a strict turn-back time when bad weather was threatening.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 15, 2020, 10:11pm

>11 dchaikin: Mr. Bland way was very much so ... bland. He never seemed to feel any culpability, or the anger that many people felt toward him. He completed his prison sentence and returned, when allowed, to map dealing. I don't know how anyone ever trusted him again.

--Yes, Mr. Krakauer managed to complete his promised magazine story, and this book, all while feeling excoriated by his guilt and as if he had transgressed the role of the journalist. I thought it made this book only better, and that if he had managed the outsider's view it would have diminished it. I agree that it was very powerful. I can think of few books so traumatic to witness, but all the same, the air the writer affected was matter-of-fact throughout. He must be a good writer to leave both that air and the power simultaneously expressed.

Thanks for your comments; they are much appreciated.

heinäkuu 19, 2020, 5:55pm

Thanks to everyone who happens by. Even a few words are encouraging. I'm sorry I'm rather behind myself. I was really sick and stopped reading for a week--now I can't seem to catch up.

heinäkuu 28, 2020, 6:51pm

Great review of Into Thin Air. I think I have that unread somewhere on my shelves - you're reminding me to dig it out.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 29, 2020, 12:43pm

>15 AlisonY: Thanks, Alison!

heinäkuu 29, 2020, 12:49pm

Hope you’re feeling better. !!

Muokkaaja: elokuu 10, 2020, 8:26pm

Dan, I am, thank you for your good wish. I am still having a deal of pain, I hate to mention, but the fatigue and mental fuzziness are much better. Also, I got to see two grandchildren on the other end of their huge screened-in porch. In addition, my daughter-in-law there has just finished her dissertation. Soon, I expect they will be Dr. Corin and Dr. Jessica O'Brien-Pursell, his in Archaeology, hers in History.

Did you notice the name "Corin"? We were having a hard time coming up with a name, and just after watching As You Like It we settled on the name "Corin". I didn't notice at the time that this was the name of the shepherd in the play. I must have seen it subliminally, because the name just popped into my head right then, and my husband liked it right away.

Now I hope to visit the screened-in porch where the my other two grandchildren live--with their parents, my second son and his fierce but maternal and uxorious wife, the chemist.

Guess what? I just finished the next Cooper book, The Last of the Mohicans. Or is it Fenimore Cooper? I've never known. I'm going to try to catch up on the reviews next. I thought that would be the last book in July, but I just finished a modern Regency romance also.

(By the way, I am aware that "uxorious" does not fit the way I used it. Don't you think it is curious that there is a word for a man who is very focused on his wife, but none for a woman who is similarly focused on her husband? I assume that is because it is considered normal for a woman's life to revolve around her man, but notable for a man to spend a lot of attention on his wife.)

Muokkaaja: elokuu 7, 2020, 12:06am

98. The Library Book by Susan Orlean The Los Angeles Public Library burned down in 1986. Although the mystery of who and how has never been solved, it was said to be arson. I think it would be hard to be sure of that in the remains of a fire which reached 2,500 degrees, causing some books to simply flash into fire directly. More than 1 million books were destroyed or damaged. About 400,000 were completely obliterated, including primary materials which could never be replaced, including unique collections.

About 700,000 books needed to be frozen immediately, in order to avoid molding, since they were wetted through. Enough space needed to be found to store them frozen until high-tech methods of drying them out could be done. It was years until new spaces could be built to house the remains of the collection, with accomodation for added books in the future. Tremendous amounts of detail work needed to be done to restore some of the existing structure that could be salvaged. The building had been special and ornate from the beginning, with many figures sculpted, representing important people in the history of learning, printing, and literacy. There were also figures of great humans who were titans of thought, or allegorical statues pertinent to the celebration of a magnificent library with a huge collection, rare books, documents, and periodicals, with meeting rooms and lecture spaces.

The book considers the enigmatic figure thought to have been the arsonist, a young man named Harry Peak. He was an aspiring actor, and he gave something like nine different stories of where he was and what he did the day of the fire. He seemed to need to take on importance by somehow involving himself directly in the story of the burning library, but sometimes he claimed as an alibi being with various people in various place. In any case, no direct evidence could be found to implicate him, although firemen, investigators, and library staff all harbored convictions of his guilt.

The book was enormously readable, gave much interesting history of the library, and introduced us to a number of important personages in the history of, and development of, the library, and of libraries overall. It was splendid.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 4, 2020, 12:50pm

99. The Real Lolita by Sarah Weinman

This book explores the connection between a real case of a predator who imagined a "nymphet" sending come-hither looks at him at a young age when that was highly unlikely. He kidnapped her, convinced her it was for her good and the good of her mother that she stay with him, and took her with him across the country, where he set up housekeeping with her, abusing her sexually and psychologically and raping her for about three years. Her name was Sally Horner, and she was only 11 when she was kidnapped.

Vladimir Nabokov had been considering a book from a predator's point of view, of a long relationship such as hers, ever since reading Havelock Ellis' important book The Psychology of Abnormal Sex. He had made multiple attempts at this for about ten years, but was never satisfied with the results. I think he was looking for a setting where he could depict the internal, unreliable psychological world of a pederast, who saw seduction in girls of Sally Horner's age, a seduction that was certainly the product of his imagination. Until he heard of the Sally Horner kidnapping he had not been able to envision it all, but this story electrified his idea.

For years, Nabokov refused to admit any reliance on this story, but after his death, documentary evidence was found that clarified the link. The Sally Horner kidnapping had been instrumental in the genesis of Lolita, because it had crystallized for him the viewpoint of a type of man he had not been able to imagine over the gulf between it and a normal man's sexuality. The creepy and ugly story Lolita was the acme of Nabokov's writing and imagining ability, much as I hated it when I read it. I have read it more than once, in fact, trying to understand what made it so good, when I disliked it so much.

This book suffered from a cover that made the book seem to be prurient, rather than analytical. Still, it was well done, and convincing. The Real Lolita was more enjoyable to read than the book Lolita. I can only presume this was because the pederasty is plainly disgusting in it, and it was not necessary to bathe in Humbert Humbert's viewpoint. What a relief! Reading Lolita was painful, and required fortitude. This book makes it clear why this story was necessary to the genesis of Nabokov's masterful book.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 4, 2020, 12:54pm

100. Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors

This was a fictional treatment of the building of the Taj Mahal, complete with romance, intrigue, secret passageways with traps, and war. I enjoyed it, but it was not so exceptional. Just good basic reading for an afternoon. It is a sizable book, yet I finished it in less than 24 hours. It was that engaging.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 4, 2020, 2:18pm

101. The Crime at Black Dudley by Marjorie Allingham

It is easy to see why Marjorie Allingham is a great doyenne of crime fiction. This is the first Albert Campion novel. He is a quirky detective, with a habit of surprising people. He has invited himself along to a country house party at Black Dudley, and old-fashioned mansion in the country, but not far from London. Of course, a murder takes place, and the guests and host are held captive afterwards for the rest of the weekend to prevent a dislocation of the plans of the bad guys, who are, as it turns out, an international crime syndicate and spy network. As is all the best mansions, there are tunnels and secret tunnels and listening posts. Both the bad guys and the good guys use them to advantage, and at the end of the weekend Mr. Campion brings about the downfall of the criminals.

There is a ritual with daggers in the dark earlier in the book, and a man and maid come to a marital understanding in the midst of all this. There is nefarious and threatening behavior. There is sexist treatment of the women, who have about the fortitude of cooked pasta. They are universally referred to as "the girls". Once I noticed that I was able to discount it, and I enjoyed this book thoroughly. Mrs. Allingham clearly deserves her reputation, although it feels extremely presumptuous of me to express such an opinion.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 7, 2020, 8:47pm

102. Burning Water by Mercedes Lackey This is the first mystery in a series in which Diana Tregarde, a witch and romance novelist works with Dallas Police Detective Mark Valdez, a sensitive, to solve cases in which there is both necessary police work and the use of magical "senses" or magic rituals, which she is well able to perform.

This first case involves ritual murders done to develop a magical well of power to facilitate the embodiment of an Aztec god in the body of a current magic practitioner. It is difficult to understand from outside of the working group belonging to the god, bet eventually Diana and Mark figure it out and foil the plans of the avatar-to-be. The partnership was believable, and the magic was in line with my expectations. This is not top-notch detective fiction, but it was quite fun, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 14, 2020, 2:58am

103. Kansas Troubles by Earlene Fowler

The third book in the Benni Harper/Gabe Ortiz mysteries. In this one Benni and Gabe go to Kansas for her to meet some of his family, and for him to spend some time with them. It is a difficult situation for newlyweds to negotiate, and they have a first significant fight. A childhood friend of Gabe's is involved in awful behavior, and the strife is between his view of this friend and her, more clear-eyed, vision. By the end they have managed to appreciate each other's viewpoint, and stay together. It was an awful vacation, though.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 10, 2020, 8:42pm

104. Touchdown Pass by Clair Bee

One of the series I read when I was young was this sports-oriented one recounting the adventures of the young Chip Hilton, a mid-western boy growing up with a single mother after the death of his father. Chip Hilton plays football, basketball, and baseball, all very well, he keeps good grades, he works after school, and he is an all-around upright guy.

This is how I learned about the rules of these three games, and I have always been a little pollyanna-ish in my morals. Until the late 60's, that is, when I became a bit of a hippie, although very law-abiding, and interested in education and libraries. Before I was a nurse I worked in libraries for ten years, sometimes both the college and the public library. I also took all the classes for an MLS, but didn't finish my electives, or write a thesis. Does the MLS even exist anymore? I didn't actually finish a degree until I was over forty, and of course I had to branch out into a whole new area. My degree was in Biology.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 10, 2020, 8:51pm

105. Twenty-eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank

This book started out very well, with an interesting protagonist who had unwanted and unpleasant visions. She has to stand up to her mother and a perplexing new neighbor. It was also a murder mystery, and I thought the combination of the two threads was unusual and had the potential to appeal to various interests of mine. Too bad this rather devolved into something more typical. Worth reading, but it was not up to the early promise.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 10, 2020, 11:53pm

106. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

This was so different from The Deerslayer! This book was written a number of years before the other, and yet takes place about twenty years later. The Deerslayer is now known to the Iroquois, et al., as La Longue Carabine, something like "Long Rifle", but in English, "Hawkeye". He is now an accomplished warrior, who still keeps company with his same friend, a Mohican Native American by the name of Chingachgook. Unfortunately, almost all of the Mohicans have been slaughtered by perfidious and French-allied Native Americans, whereas the Mohicans were always English- and Colonial-allied, trusted by both farmers and soldiers of the area. The two warriors, both scouts for the English and Colonial forces, are also accompanied by Uncas, the son of Chingachgook, and a paragon of manhood and Native virtues. Uncas is "The Last of the Mohicans" as the book opens.

They meet in the forest a small group of travelers, which includes two young women, the daughters of Colonel Munro, a Scotsman who is in charge of the fort William Henry, situated on the southern tip of Lake George, in the current New York State. Lake George is East of The Finger Lakes, and near the border of Vermont State. This was the area of a number of skirmishes and battles of the French and Indian War, our part of the Seven Years' War.

Alice and Cora Munro are headed to the fort to join their father, completely unaware that he has sent word that it is too dangerous, with a battle brewing, and that they should stay where they are.

In this novel, we join the action immediately. There is no lengthy section of description. In fact, it is very like the last section of the prior book, and quite thrilling and adventurous. They make it to Fort William Henry, which is afterwards besieged and captured by battle under the command of a gallant French Commander, the Marquis de Montcalm. He offers freedom to the defenders of the fort, including Munro. While the column of defenders are leaving the fort, the French-allied Native Americans slip French control, and massacre the soldiers, militia, and their women and children.

Cora and Alice escape from the massacre with the help of one army officer, Hawkeye, and his friends, and they all move away from the scene. Their enemy Native Americans follow and attempt to capture them. They are barely managing to stay ahead of their pursuers when at one point the two women, our heroes, and the army officer, must hide in a cave behind a waterfall. It is a secret place belonging to the Mohicans and their allies. However, the men have run out of powder for their guns, and they cannot defend the hideaway if they must. They decide, with great angst on Hawkeye's part, to leave the ladies hiding under the waterfall while they go to fetch powder. Hawkeye advises them to surrender, if they are found by the enemy, and allow the bad-guy Indians to take them prisoner. He promises them that he will find them no matter what, and that he will assist them to leave captivity. It is easy to see that Hawkeye admires the older, more serious, Cora Munro. There are no romantic scenes between them, though, as there are in the most recent movie, which I saw the day after I finished reading this.

The ladies are captured, and Hawkeye and friends do return to attempt to rescue them. During the escape both Alice and Uncas, who admired her, will die, to everyone's great grief. At the end of the book, Chingachgook is the sorrowing father, and the Last of the Mohicans.

Although not fast reading, this was a much better book than its predecessor. I enjoyed it very much, although I admit I read it in short bursts, since it was usually the most difficult thing I was reading. I have never been fond of war or battle stories, either. I saw few of the errors which so bothered me in The Deerslayer. Hawkeye is appropriately taciturn, he never seems to be judgmental, and it is rather Uncas who is presented as a paragon. He, however, is appropriately respectful of his father and Hawkeye, and seldom speaks.

It is strange that The Deerslayer, written twenty years after The Last of the Mohicans should have so many more things which seemed to me errors in logic or in tone. He seemed not to have learned from experience. I wonder what he was thinking about these two books. There may be letters which explain this.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 2, 2020, 4:03pm

107. Tremaine's True Love by Grace Burrowes

This was a standard Regency romance, and it stood out in only its length. It was longer than the typical, and towards the latter part of the book it improved significantly. By the end I was convinced to read the next book in the series. This, like many other such series, revolved around a sizable family of a type that was common--too many girls to marry off, with insufficient means to dower them all well.
Just as in most of those, each book takes on the marital fate of one of the siblings, not just the girls. Eventually, good fun, and I got a kindle version of the next book.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 11, 2020, 12:16am

108. Too Wicked To Kiss by Erica Ridley

While Erica Ridley writes Regency Romances and, I think, modern romances, too, I believe this is the first of her novels to be overtly and intentionally "Gothic".
It is set in crumbling manor, owned by a threatening and looming reclusive nobleman. He has been accused of the murder of his wife some years before, and he makes no attempt to deny or disprove this accusation.

It is strange that he is holding a house party, but our protagonist Evangeline Pemberton goes, since she is trying to keep out of the hands of her (evil) stepfather. This way he will not even be able to find out where she is.

You see, Evangeline is a seer. When she touches someone she is granted a brief vision of what is on his or her mind. She has been brought by a distant relation who wants to use her to find out something from their host.

When another murder takes place, Evangeline does not know whom to trust. She only knows that she cannot use her ability on Gavin Lioncroft, her host, and that she finds it more and more unlikely that he is a murderer. She has begun to know him, and to be attracted to him, and he is clearly attracted to her.

When her stepfather comes for her Lord Lioncroft will help her to stay free, and not to be accused of the current murder. His mercenary connection, who brought Evangeline to the house party to use her talents, turns out to be guilty, and a match is made between Gavin and Evangeline. Happy Ever After, of course.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 11, 2020, 12:18am

109. The Dashing Duke Makes His Selection by Abigail Haversham

I gave Abigail Haversham one more chance. That was a mistake. I finished this to get the happy resolution, but I don't recommend it. See post 32.

elokuu 4, 2020, 2:35pm

110. Of Bone and Steel and Other Soft Materials by Annie Bellet This was only a short story, but I need more of this writer. A unique and sympathetic protagonist, in medias res in a serious dilemma, complete with a child to rescue. Speculative fiction setting, obviously. The complete package. Please, Sirs and Madams, can I have some more?

Muokkaaja: elokuu 4, 2020, 3:02pm

111. The Rakish Duke Gets His Comuppance by Abigail Haversham With a name like Abigail Haversham, she should be better than this.

Item #1, she doesn't seem to know what "Royal" means. An Earl lives in "the Royal Mansion" of a County. A Duke has access to Royal Messengers, and both the Duke and the Earl's daughter get their mounts at the Royal Stables. They go walking on the grounds of the Royal Mansion in the Royal Woods. I think the author needs to know about Nobility, as opposed to Royalty.

Item #2, anachronism. The Earl's Daughter has "handmaidens", yet she is an acknowledged and sold portrait and landscape painter. The setting is not just different, it is fractured. Both protocol and propriety are strangely elastic. Sometimes the ladies need chaperones; other times they hang about with young men, with not even a groom. A nobleman is called "honorable" but he indulges in suggestive conversation and forward behavior seemingly at will. A Duke is dying. His son is now called the Duke because of it. No one ever calls him "Your Grace".

A barrister attached to the Duke is announcing how a policy decision has been settled, then says the nobility, even the ladies, will have copies of documents by the "end of the business day". What business day? We haven't seen these people do anything but hunt, dance, and dine. The "Duke" says things like "color me surprised". Now there's a nice medieval saying. What time period is this? It reads like a mix of Medieval and Regency, and is thoroughly awkward.

elokuu 5, 2020, 2:13pm

>111 Sounds like a mish mash for sure. Don't you sometimes wonder how these kinds of books get past the editors?

elokuu 6, 2020, 11:29pm

>33 LadyoftheLodge: And the next one was so bad I didn't even finish it. I definitely wonder how they get past editors. Maybe these people don't know enough to suggest proper edits--but if that's true, why don't they get someone else?

Muokkaaja: elokuu 10, 2020, 8:13pm

112. Tempt Me, Your Grace by Tamara Gill

Awful. Did not finish it. I think I may actually just recycle it, instead of passing it on.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 14, 2020, 3:21am

113. The Unchosen; The Hidden Lives Of Hasidic Rebels by Hella Winston

This book is the result of a moderately deep dive into a sub-culture of the Hasidim who are dissatisfied with the restrictions of that culture, and are making accommodations to it. They each have developed an approach which allows them to live a more satisfying life.

Ms Winston has spent many hours in the copy of these gentlemen and ladies, and she has made observations which demonstrate the difficulty of the highly Orthodox life, the fact that a significant group of them have a feeling of excessive restriction and meaninglessness, and the ways in which they cope and expand their lives. It makes clear the cost to the families of these "rebels", and how much they regret, as well as the ways in which the leavers try to ameliorate that pain and embarrassment.

An interesting inquiry into a splinter group of Orthodox Jewry, but ultimately a slight work. Recommended only for those interested in this topic, or Judaism in general. It would probably also interest students or enthusiasts of comparative religions.

elokuu 7, 2020, 12:57pm

>34 sallypursell: I have often thought I would like to be an editor. I have enough experience with my student papers and a few dissertations. Another thing that gets me is the use of partial/incomplete sentences. That seems to be a trend in all kinds of writing.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 14, 2020, 4:08am

114. The Head of the House of Coombe by Frances Hodgson Burnett

What an unexpected gem this was! It reminded me of some Trollope.

This book gives the natural history of an aristocratic family in Britain, and how the inheritance and title become a reason for machinations on the part of some family members, especially a woman who feels the need to be supported by a man, even if the ton and the common people impute an unsavory story for how she is related to the kindly gentleman who agrees to fund her lifestyle, so that she need not work to support herself and her small daughter. In addition, she neglects and starves for affection her legal daughter by her late husband. The head of the House of Coombe is the man who is willing to appear to support her as his mistress in order to reduce the chances of a family tragedy were she to need to support herself. In addition, he has a serious concern for the daughter when he discovers her plight, and does his best to mitigate her problems, and provide the food, clothing, toys, recreation, caring, and education that she has heretofore lacked.

The mother is a very beautiful woman, with a charming air, and she is able to enjoy her life and avoid her daughter as she wills. The daughter, angelic in appearance, suffers as a child until she meets a true friend. Blossoming as she does under the warmth of this friendship, she is unprepared for the day his mother removes him from London society, all due to the supposed unwholesome atmosphere in the household of the girl-child, based on the supposition that the mother's relationship with the Head is an irregular one.

The Boy and Girl meet again when she is old enough to be "out" in society, and a marriage appears likely. Only the intervention of her patron has enabled her to be ready for this, as she has been made whole by a loving housekeeper and governess he supplied to her. It appears that she will escape from her mother, and achieve a mature relationship with an ideal husband. In time, the position and title of the Head of the House of Coombe passes to a distant relative, and the moral and cultural dilemmas of the now-dead people who sought only their own convenience passes into inconsequence.

Oh, I really enjoyed this, even if the situation of the child was sad at first. It seemed to consider events which mattered, and to illustrate them beautifully. The feeling of moral ambiguity appertaining to the main characters irritates, as it should. The transience of those characters that did not scruple over the needs and reputation of the child in their care was satisfying. Their lack of influence over the child was even more so.
That last might be unlikely. I think some PTSD would be very likely. Still, the ending felt "right".

elokuu 7, 2020, 2:33pm

>37 LadyoftheLodge: What I've noticed lately is a tendency to leave the -ed or -d for past or past participial forms. It's rampant! Have you noticed?

elokuu 9, 2020, 2:23pm

>39 sallypursell: Yes, I did notice that! The college students in my online classes seem to have picked up on both the incomplete sentences and the lack of -ed or -d.

elokuu 10, 2020, 3:48pm

Glad you are feeling better, Sally. I enjoy seeing what you are reading (and it seems you may have caught up?)

Muokkaaja: elokuu 10, 2020, 5:49pm

>8 sallypursell:. I had a similar reaction to The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. He was one of those who stayed behind at base camp when Scott left for the South Pole. His best friend was one of those who went with Scott. When Scott's team didn't show up, "Cherry" wanted to go south to try to find them in case they needed help. The man left in charge by Scott denied his request and told him he could go only as far as the first supply depot. In the spring, the missing party was found dead 12 miles farther, and the guilt Cherry felt is terrible to read. I've read a lot about Antarctic explorers, but that was the first time I cried.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 10, 2020, 11:48pm

>41 avaland: Almost, Lois. And thank you for your visit and comment.

>40 LadyoftheLodge: As well as the inversion of the use of pronouns. As subjects:"You and me" "Me and you" . As objects: "Give it to 'you and I'." Or just this: "Give it to I."

"Who" and "Whom" seem equally mysterious to most, and I find it quite irritating how many times people use "whom" when "who" would be proper, turning out some truly strange-sounding sentences.

elokuu 10, 2020, 9:09pm

>40 LadyoftheLodge: I just ran across an example:
Your sister has been most kind, doing everything in her power to make George and I feel at home here.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 10, 2020, 9:51pm

>40 LadyoftheLodge: I need hardly add the usual problems: effect vs. affect, to/too/two, there/their/they're, the "as" that has almost disappeared, in the "like or as" sense, and "less" or "fewer".

There are lots of less common problems, such as "staunch" where "stanch" belongs. Today I came across an unusual coinage. Where "bade" should have been, there was "badeing". Most writers should not even attempt using bid/bade. They just don't understand that verb. "Thee" and "thy" and "thou" are similarly often wrong, and should not be used by most writers. I'm not sure why those are so mysterious to most people, but I guess it they can't get the usual pronouns right they can't use them as examples for how forms of these pronouns should be used.

The most egregious thing lately, besides those irritating pronouns, is the misuse of "lay" where "lie" belongs. I can only suppose that most people do not know that those are two different verbs, or at the least, the active and passive forms of one verb. I hear a screech in my head every time I come across "lay" where its sibling should be.

What are your pet peeves?

I confess there are a few usages I make to suit myself, rather than the proper uses, but I know what I am doing, I think.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 11, 2020, 12:20am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

elokuu 10, 2020, 11:50pm

Hi Sally. Enjoyed catching up here. Sorry you're still in pain, but glad you're getting a change to at least see your grandchildren, even if safety requires some distance. The Real Lolita fascinates me, a book I'll have to get to at some point.

elokuu 11, 2020, 2:38pm

>45 sallypursell: My current pet peeve is the use of "I" instead of "me," as in your sentence suggestion above. It is especially irksome to hear incorrect grammar used by news reporters.

As I alluded to in a previous remark, I am really annoyed by the use of incomplete sentences. I just finished a book in which that style was rampant. I think it is done for emphasis. A better way to write would be to connect the phrase to the previous sentence (in many cases). My students do not understand why their sentences are incorrect when I mark them. (Sometimes I am not even sure they read my comments.) I also dislike the use of a period after every word, for emphasis. Do.You.Get.That?

Another common problem I am seeing is the use of abbreviations which are used in a different way than usual, such as ETA. I thought that meant "Estimated Time of Arrival" but I looked it up and it also means "Edited To Add." Why tell me that, instead of just editing? I do not do Twitter, but there are some strange words that I have seen in examples of Twitter feeds, such as "stanning." Maybe I am just out of the loop here.

elokuu 12, 2020, 2:53am

>48 LadyoftheLodge:

The period after every word for emphasis is to emphasize a particular manner of speech where you are showing your frustration at something. For tweets and such, such writing for me is perfectly fine as tweets are often supposed to reflect how someone would like to say something, rather than how they would like to read something. This also goes for the word "stanning". It's a new slang that has been created so it's perfectly normal for people to enter that in speech like contexts.

It's polite to add ETA instead of just editing something without comment on the internet as you could easily manipulate a conversation otherwise.

For example if the original thread was:
Original: I like to eat peas.
Commentator: I agree with that.

Then someone edited but without notice:
Original edited: I like to eat garbage.
Commentator: I agree with that.

I'm sure the commentator no longer agrees with the edited version but if the original poster edits something on the sly, it'd be hard for them to defend their post.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 12, 2020, 2:02pm

>49 lilisin: I am not a Twitter reader, but I see what you are saying here. I knew the adding of periods after words was for emphasis, but I don't like to see that style in books, and certainly not in academic papers. (I was asked for my pet peeves, so I described them. They are just my opinions, not intended as criticisms.)

elokuu 12, 2020, 6:45pm

>42 auntmarge64: Oh, dear. Then I don't know whether to read it or avoid it.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 14, 2020, 2:42am

>48 LadyoftheLodge: >49 lilisin: But neither of you said what "stanning" means. I don't use Twitter very often, and I haven't seen that.

Perhaps the larger problem is that some don't seem to recognize a place to use more formal language, or don't know what colloquial language is as opposed to more formal language.

All of your peeves bother me, too.
I am also bothered by a less common problem, the comma splice. My daughter is a writer, and she uses it all the time in her novels.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 12, 2020, 10:26pm

>50 LadyoftheLodge:

Oh dear, in academic papers!? That’s not a pet peeve, that’s horror! (And your opinions were definitely not taken as criticism!)

>52 sallypursell:

Here is a good definition of “to stan” better than I could write.

Stanning is a slang term that refers to when a person obsesses over someone, typically a celebrity or athlete. The term comes from Eminem's 2000 song "Stan" which is about an obsessed fan writing to Eminem. A Stan may be obsessed with a normal person, like a crush, but it typically involves a famous person.

So if you read “omg I stan them so hard!” it means the person is obsessed.

Not to be confused with “I ship them” which means you want to see two people in a relationship. This comes from the “ship” in relationship.

elokuu 13, 2020, 2:09pm

>52 sallypursell: Unfortunately, that seems to be true. Every time I teach a class, I post a message in the announcements to remind students that our Discussion Forums take the place of a face to face academic classroom. That means we do not use the casual terms we might use with friends. "Your postings should not resemble texting." Sadly, some do it anyway, and they do not proofread for errors, or else they do not recognize errors or typos.

>53 lilisin: Thanks for the definitions. I would never have guessed that is what "stanning" meant. I saw it on a (posted) tweet and got a totally wrong impression of what it meant. Here is how it was used: "I am totally not stanning why that guy is just sitting there."

elokuu 13, 2020, 3:56pm

Where have I been all this time, not to realise there was such a word as stanning!! There is far too much stanning in the UK/USA at the moment in my opinion - there I have used a new word.

>54 LadyoftheLodge: The phrase 'totally not' perhaps from fifteen years ago is a phrase I have never used. There has got to be a first time for everything.

elokuu 13, 2020, 7:50pm

>54 LadyoftheLodge:

That's a good example of how the word stanning has evolved even more, away from obsession with celebrities, and into a form that is more about showing your general feeling into something.

elokuu 14, 2020, 2:43am

Thanks so much for the definition,
lilisin. I have added a new word.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 14, 2020, 4:04am

>54 LadyoftheLodge: I consistently have problems with run-on sentences in my writing. I know it is a bad habit, but I like connecting all the related clauses together. At least I seldom use sentence fragments. Sigh.

elokuu 14, 2020, 2:52pm

>54 LadyoftheLodge: I understand about the run on sentences, as I have done some of that myself, but it always seems to be the right thing to do at the time and I want to get all the words written down before I forget what I wanted to say in the first place. :~)

elokuu 15, 2020, 9:46pm

I am a big fan of Margery Allingham as well, Sally. I keep meaning to read the series in order; I know I've missed a few along the way. Soon.

elokuu 15, 2020, 10:16pm

>60 BLBera: Great idea, Beth. I started with the first one on purpose, with that in mind, so here great minds are thinking alike.

elokuu 16, 2020, 11:46am

I've been interspersing heavier reads with mysteries on my shelves, so I might get to Mystery Mile soonish, Sally. Although once school starts, I know I'm going to be busy and have less time for reading.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 29, 2020, 3:54pm

115. The Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

This book stopped me in my tracks for a while. It was finely crafted, and admirably done. However, the themes made me so sad that I had to work to make myself read this, and I felt it had a deleterious effect on me. It was days before I could really read anything much. The book was irretrievably sad. I saw nothing but grief ahead for all the characters.

The plot, briefly, is this: a family is traveling to the Southwest for several reasons--the father wants to record and edit the sounds there, since this is his profession, the capture and presentation of life sounds; the mother goes along to see for herself the problem of immigrant children, and in hopes of finding the children of a friend, who are traveling with a coyote to reach her in the US; the children go along as a matter of course, but they take part in their parents' occupation and as part of a family vacation. It is also educational, as the father is seeking the lands important to the very last American Natives living here to surrender to the White Government and agree to placement in a reservation. The son knows that the family is in the process of dissolution, but he is interested in helping record sounds, and in the Indians his father is entranced with. The daughter is too young to understand much, being four years old, but she adds much verve and humor to the family.

There was novel structure to part of the book, but it only added to the weight of the story; it was never distracting. I was distracted by my sadness and foreboding, and while I recognize that this was a fine book, I really hated reading it.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 8, 2020, 2:29am

116. The Firstborn by Quenby Olson

This was another pleasant, adequately-written and framed Regency romance novel. Novel stuck out and hurt to witness or read, which means no more than the typical editing errors, and no bothersome errors in Regency manners or speech. Good enough to enjoy.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 8, 2020, 2:39am

117. Goose in the Pond by Earlene Fowler

Yet another in the Benni Harper romance/crime series, featuring a cowgirl/curator of a folk art museum and her newish husband, an older chief of police in the small town they share. In this entry, The Goose is the Pond is another traditional quilt pattern, and refers to a Mother Goose storyteller at the Public Library. Mother Goose was murdered while in her storytelling costume, and Benni finds her body in a literal pond while she is out jogging with her husband. Benni is running sterism she does best, and she knows the victim and all the possible murderers. Naturally she ends up threatened by the murderer, because she is just too good at putting together the germane pieces. The local police and her husband show up to save the day, and her husband is suitably gratified at her safety and the solution of the crime.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 30, 2020, 9:37pm

118. The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum

This title does not tell you what this book was about. It was instead a book about the history of forensic chemistry, and it is probably my favorite book of this year. The groups of poisons are considered separately, according to the type of poison: opiates, carbon monoxide, the members of the Nitrogen group, like Arsenic and Bismuth, and others, including that great scourge of Prohibition, wood alcohol or Methanol.

We meet the passionate scientists who pioneered in this work, and the tedious and grim ways they performed tests. We also meet the men and woman who stood in their way.

Some background in Chemistry and Medicine or Physiology is helpful, and some sections require strong stomachs to consider. I am fortunate to have all of these, and again, this was my favorite book, possibly for this year. I couldn't stop reading it, and, in fact, I stayed up very late reading it one night. Fabulous!

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 20, 2020, 6:51pm

119. The Elect Lady by George MacDonald This, taken from Wikipedia, is what I learned about this author. I looked because he took me by surprise. It was the quality of his work which drew my attention, and although I had heard of his most famous works, I know nothing about him.
George MacDonald (10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905) was a Scottish author, poet and Christian minister. He was a pioneering figure in the field of modern fantasy literature and the mentor of fellow writer Lewis Carroll. In addition to his fairy tales, MacDonald wrote several works on Christian apologetics.

His writings have been cited as a major literary influence by many notable authors including Lewis Carroll, W. H. Auden, David Lindsay,(1) J. M. Barrie, Lord Dunsany, Elizabeth Yates, Oswald Chambers, Mark Twain, Hope Mirrlees, Robert E. Howard, L. Frank Baum, T.H. White, Richard Adams, Lloyd Alexander, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien,(2) Walter de la Mare,(3) E. Nesbit, Peter S. Beagle, Neil Gaiman and Madeleine L'Engle.(2)

The numbers were footnotes, of course. More coming.

What was most interesting in this book was the various meanings of "elect" this showed. (I've been reading some Trollope in between typing. I almost said "shewed".)
The well-born lady who begins the novel, whom we think well-deserving of this nomination, believes it of herself as well. Yet, through the experiences she undergoes in the course of the book-time elapsed, she re-evaluates her worth, and that of some lesser-born denizens of her parish. I won't tell you the conclusion which falls to her in the last chapters of the novel; perhaps you can guess. In any event, this was lovely, and I'll be looking for more of this author. I am sorry I missed him before, but pleased now to have not failed to encounter him altogether.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 9, 2020, 11:38pm

120. You Had Me at Hola by by Alexis Daria

This was a romance novel, but with such an unusual background it seemed very fresh and... umm... "novel". (tee hee)

The protagonists were shooting a soap opera. One of them was an experienced soap actress, starring for the first time, and hoping to make the jump to movies. The other one was a veteran star of telanovelas who wanted to break into American soap opera for the exposure.
Naturally, they each have a secret; naturally there is great gossip about a possible hookup between them. I don't need to add, I think, that obstacles are largely overcome, and a promising romance is begun. There is the implication of the HEA (Happily Ever After) surely to come, if we all get what we wish for.

I enjoyed this so much. I hope it is the author, and not just this one book. She does not have a large output, but I will be scrounging for the little there is.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 9, 2020, 11:29pm

121. The Devil and Sherlock Holmes by David Crann

This was another non-fiction, in this case several "mysteries" and unknown outcomes of real events from the last part of the 19th Century and the twentieth Century, especially the early parts.

I enjoyed it, but I think I would have arranged them differently. I found the last two much the least interesting of the bunch. They were about politics, government, or spy-craft: something of that sort, and I just couldn't seem to get interested. The others were riveting. Maybe it would have been better still to leave out these two altogether, but I'm sure they were highlights for some readers.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 9, 2020, 11:37pm

122. The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg

This was another non-fiction. As th subtitle has it, it was about the ins and outs of a double murder in West Virginia, and about the investigation, trials, and outcomes of them. It seems the final guilty party is uncertain, but the only person who went to jail was probably not guilty. He was just in the wrong places at the wrong times, and was tried with circumstantial evidence. The real guilty party was probably one of two serial murderers who sometimes claimed to be responsible, and were already in prison. One of them sometimes retracted his statement, but usually maintained his guilt. His description was not close enough for certainty, but he was much more likely than the other convict, who offered no description at all in his claim.

I did find this enjoyable, but it was not really compelling. How this author worked on this was possibly more interesting.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 20, 2020, 6:39pm

123. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

This is one of those books wherein the protagonists begin with antipathy, and then proceed at the last to love. They are the two assistants to the CEOs of two business firms which merge. Neither CEO will work gladly with the staff of the other, so both assistants are kept, and share a room, an antechamber of their bosses' offices. They play "games" like "The Staring Game"and the "Ignoring Game"; and they tease each other in an ugly spirit. Eventually they compete at finding a good morale booster for both agencies, especially in a way to lower the tension between the two teams. His, Joshua's prevails, so they end up playing competitive paintball. Lucy, the female member of the pair seems to be on Joshua's team every game. Their rivalry is well known to all in the group, so when a time comes that she protects him, and then in turn he protects her the whole of the two staffs notices. She becomes sick late in the day, and it is Joshua who takes her home and tends her, calling his brother, a doctor, to see her when her fever gets too high in the middle of the night.

How their antipathy turns to love, and the differing circumstances which attend it are the burden of the rest of the book, and very pleasant it is. I may say that this is one of the most believable hate-to-love romances I have read. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was better than many of its ilk, and I can gladly recommend it to romance-readers.

elokuu 29, 2020, 2:49pm

You've been zipping through books, Sally.
>71 sallypursell: You're missing a "1"

elokuu 30, 2020, 12:28pm

I really want to read The Lost Children Archive. Interesting that you had such a strong emotional reaction to it.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 23, 2020, 6:27pm

124. Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

I was initially disappointed in this book. It sounded derivative of some favorite series of mine, and I hoped for some new approaches to some now-customary ways to describe these topics. Instead it seemed to be no more than a mish-mash of those topics and some others from similar favorite series, comic-book approaches to a new American mythology, in some ways intriguing, and in other ways superficial mis-readings of Native American mythology.

I read on, and soon this novel diverged from its earlier schlock and made its own way into the folklore that it was building. There were new threats and new frights, new villains and new ways to defeat them. All in all, this was more a copy of some favorites than it was a departure from them, but I could see glimmers of a new way to tell this story. It may be derivative, but it seems worthy of some further study. I will read the next two or so. I may be disappointed, or I may find more series to enjoy.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 23, 2020, 11:56pm

125. A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

A 14 year-old lives with an aunt who has a bakery. She is very happy there with her aunt and uncle, especially because she has minor magic with baked goods. She can encourage yeast, keep pastries from burning, and even out browning. She has learned that she also can make gingerbread men dance and do minor tasks. There is even one gingerbread man who has become something of a familiar, who seems to be getting more and more intelligent as time goes on. They keep a sourdough "mother" in the lower-floor storage, almost a basement. His name is Bob, and he functions as another familiar.

Then the government starts a program to discourage tolerance of magicians and encourages magicians to move out of the city. They have, over time, reduced the number of magicians in the city. When the major magicians who work with the army leave town to support a campaign, and an invasion attempt by hostile mercenaries is impending, there seem to be only this child and a woman who was damaged psychologically in an earlier war to defend the city, and the woman is in hiding. She probably cannot help much, since she spends the day riding a skeleton horse, obviously now dead. She does no other magic. The army cannot make it back in time to defend the home city, and Mona is called to the castle to run the defense.

The guards and cooks and maids are thrilled to have her, and gladly follow directions, because they are used to magic-wielders running the defense. She succeeds in running the defense and fending off the invasion force, all using bread magic and kitchen mixtures. (She can animate bread briefly.) It seems that the difference between minor and major magic is partly creativity.
When Mona runs out of energy and ideas, Knackering Molly, the adult who had been damaged in a prior war, shows up and manages the bring to life all the dead horses of the city, even the buried ones. It turns out that she was a major magician, just too damaged to use her magic, and unfortunately she is only able to do this one task. Still, the mercenaries are very much afraid of the dead horses, and break and run. Molly dies in the attempt, as she has no ability to do more than animating so many horses. She has no sense of proportion, and no control of her magic.Mona is hailed as a hero, and learns what an uncomfortable thing that is. She has new perspective on Knackering Molly's choices, and new appreciation for the joys of the bakery and quiet home life.

This author has won the Hugo and the Nebula awards in recent years, as well as the World Fantasy award. I can't wait to read more. This was a YA novel, yet wonderful.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 17, 2020, 2:54pm

126. The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor
This is two plots in one, and that made it complicated to read. Still, I can't say that it wasn't clear to me, so it must have been well-planned and clearly expressed.

The first thread involves the Great Fire of London in 1666. Molten lead ran down the gutters of near-by streets, the fire was so hot. A murder is made difficult to look into because of the fire. The daughter of the murdered man has been looking for him, and she leads a difficult existence as the drafting assistant of Christopher Wren, a presumptive heiress trying to avoid an aversive marriage, and a guttersnipe. She tries to investigate, but it is a lot to juggle. She is assisted by a young man whose life is complicated by the identity of his father. His father was involved in the plot during the Civil War that led to the public beheading of the King. The current king is that king's son, and he is trying to find the man who wielded the axe and the man who held up the King's head to display it to the crowd. A conspiracy still controls that information, and this young man's father is one of the conspirators. Unfortunately, he has some kind of deterioration of his reason, and can no longer understand the privacy he must keep. His son is burdened by his father's care and his father's past.

The revelation of the regicides and the details of the murder were both revealed in the last chapters. I really enjoyed this book, and it helped me to understand more about the Civil War, something we did not study in the history we had, concentrated as it was on the Amerigo-centric story. I would recommend this, but it was not a quick read, and truly required attention. It certainly was not an easy life for the characters, and I pitied them all.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 25, 2020, 11:33am

127. Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

There was a blurb from William Gibson on the back of the dust cover, and it was worth copying. I took a picture with my phone, and I will now transcribe this. (I am feeling a little formal, since I am cooking for Thanksgiving today.)
The best B movie I've read in at least twenty years. An addictively satisfying, deeply amusing, dirty-ass masterpiece, Sandman Slim swerves hell-bent through our culture's impacted gridlock of genres, side-swiping so many, so brilliantly, so constantly, that it's like watching Sergio Leone and Clive Barker codirect from a script by Jim Thompson and S. Clay Wilson: an L.A.-noir spagetti-western grudge-war apocalypse, fought with magic, shotguns, occult artefacts, and (at one point) the broken wooden handle of a toilet plunger. Sweet.

It's hard to add to that, but the protagonist is a living person who was in hell for fifteen years due to a mistake, and has escaped. He is on Earth, and not too happy with the world. I really did enjoy this, but it wasn't high-quality literature. It was as good as the quoted blurb says, though.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 25, 2020, 7:41pm

128. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope In this second novel in the Barchestershire novels, the Warden is still an important character. The moral dilemma, though, has moved outside his internal struggles, and involves the immediate social and clerical sphere of his small Cathedral town. Main characters are a new Bishop, who seems lazy in his duties, and the Bishop's chaplain, who has an abhorrent-to-the-Warden type of religious observance, and preaches about things which bother the established Clergy of the Shire. The Bishop's Wife is ambitious and she runs her husband, who is willing to have it so. She struggles for pre-eminence with the Chaplain. The awful chaplain is also wooing the older daughter of the Warden, who was widowed, and has a small son.

more pending

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 25, 2020, 11:34am

129. Nowhere Child by Rachel Abbott A short pot-boiler of a thriller. Full of interests that entrance the general public, and I believe it was written for money. Still, it was readable, even if no better than that.

There are kidnapped children and runaways, child gangsters, superficially complicated plots on the part of criminal masterminds, arson, protective custody, child homelessness, and well-meaning policemen and social services personnel. These are some of the adornments of this short novel. I can't really recommend this, but fans of thrillers might find it sufficiently enthralling.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 5, 2020, 2:35pm

>75 sallypursell: Sally, the Kingfisher sounds fun, and I haven't read any of the author's books. It's going into my pile of fun easy reads, which I seem to be doing a lot of these days.

lokakuu 12, 2020, 1:10am

>80 markon: I understand that some of her work is more substantive, but this one was as you say, a fun, easy read. I would love to know what you think if you try this or any others.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:04pm

I'm sorry to have been largely absent for the last month. I've been knitting, blocking, and sewing up a storm, making dresses for my granddaughters and that mosaic knitting scarf for my little brother, well, one of my little brothers. Pictures should be coming on my needlecraft thread soon.

Otherwise, I feel a little paralyzed by the political goings-on and some personal stresses, financial and otherwise. I just haven't felt like reviewing or typing. My sleep schedule is out of whack.

One good thing is that I've begun doing the grocery shopping with my husband twice a week. We used to do that when we were newlyweds, and it's nice to revisit that routine. I am still reading, too, but not as quickly, or even as much, as usual.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 15, 2020, 3:18pm

>82 sallypursell: I am right there with you in terms of the national situations and sleep schedule disturbances. My husband and I also do our grocery shopping together, as well as our daily prayers (which is something new in our routine).

lokakuu 24, 2020, 9:57am

>82 sallypursell: I hope we do get to see pictures of your needlecraft, Sally. It is a good way to cope with stress, and there is plenty of that around.

Take care.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 17, 2020, 2:52pm

This is an accidental repetition of this review, but I am leaving it because it has been referred to below.

126. The Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor
This is two plots in one, and that made it complicated to read. Still, I can't say that it wasn't clear to me, so it must have been well-planned and clearly expressed.

The first thread involves the Great Fire of London in 1666. Molten lead ran down the gutters of near-by streets, the fire was so hot. A murder is made difficult to look into because of the fire. The daughter of the murdered man has been looking for him, and she leads a difficult existence as the drafting assistant of Christopher Wren, a presumptive heiress trying to avoid an aversive marriage, and a guttersnipe. She tries to investigate, but it is a lot to juggle. She is assisted by a young man whose life is complicated by the identity of his father. His father was involved in the plot during the Civil War that led to the public beheading of the King. The current king is that king's son, and he is trying to find the man who wielded the axe and the man who held up the King's head to display it to the crowd. A conspiracy still controls that information, and this young man's father is an conspirator. Unfortunately, he has some kind of deterioration of his reason, and can no longer understand the privacy he must keep. His son is burdened by his father's care and his father's past.

The revelation of the regicides and the details of the murder were both revealed in the last chapters. I really enjoyed this book, and it helped me to understand more about the Civil War, something we did not study in the history we had, concentrated as it was on the Amerigo-centric story. I would recommend this, but it was not a quick read, and truly required attention. It certainly was not an easy life for the characters, and I pitied them all.

marraskuu 8, 2020, 7:42am

I've really enjoyed ctaching up on this thread this mornign Sally, both your reviews and reading process comments. I don't tend to read crime or romance, but maybe I shoudl more, I sometimes see it in others as something that fuels people's reading and preps for bigger or more difficult projects.

The Last of the Mohicans is a favourite film of mine (Michael Mann's version) and I have an as yet unread copy, so it is very interesting to read your comments.

I loved your non fiction reading and comments, especially on Krakauer and maps and the LA library. Your comments on the real Lolita also resonates with some of my thoughts on Nabokov's view and may explain more of my feeling his knowingness / clinical view of the perpetrator.

I loved reading The Secret Garden this year and Frances Hodgson Burnett seems to specialise ona sort of healing of heart and so I will read her more. i also think you've inspired me further to start tryign some good romance and maybe a detective or two, i have one lined up already. I have to complete your first thread too, thanks for enthusing me.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 8, 2020, 2:08pm

>85 sallypursell: Ashes of London sounds interesting from a historical perspective. I like books that educate me about a particular time period without fact dumping.

marraskuu 8, 2020, 3:22pm

Hi Sally,
Loved your review of Ashes of London. I need to get to that one.

marraskuu 9, 2020, 3:27am

>85 sallypursell: I've only read one Andrew Taylor book (The American Boy) but I really enjoyed it. You've reminded me I need to seek out some more of his novels. I thought his writing was excellent.

marraskuu 12, 2020, 3:16pm

>86 tonikat: So nice of you to drop by and to comment. It has been so long since I read The Secret Garden, for possibly the 10-20th time, that I was thinking about reading it again. I think it will be soon.

If I can suggest a mystery to start with, it would be the first of the Ruth Galloway series, The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths. Since you already have one chosen, then I say, "C'est la guerre!"

It was lovely of you to take the time to tell me that you have benefitted by reading my thread. It is a nice effulgent glow to take with me. Thank you.

marraskuu 13, 2020, 12:12pm

>90 sallypursell: Excellent choice of vocabulary words--"effulgent glow." I love vocabulary!

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 13, 2020, 2:32pm

>90 sallypursell: I'll bear Elly Griffiths in mind. I have maybe two or three I should get to first.
I also looked effulgent up - wow, good to hear that, the more the better :)

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 14, 2020, 12:56pm

>91 LadyoftheLodge:, >92 tonikat: In my senior year of High School, I had a boyfriend who would thump me on the head gently whenever I used a word that he didn't know--he had a good vocabulary. I didn't ask him to do this, but I didn't mind, because so few people understood me. I was told that it seemed to others that I was trying to make them feel dumb, since I used so many words that were outside typical usage. This was not really intentional. I learned most of my words from reading, you see, and I read a lot of classics. I didn't know what was typical usage, and couldn't tell what people would know.

Did I happen to tell you about the work I did for the student newspaper in college? I did a series of (I thought) humorous quizzes, given in person by me to standardize presentation. The one I am thinking of was about vocabulary, but I pretended it was about sexual practices. I would ask if people would personally practice, or approved of others practicing a series of high-falutin' words for typical things. It started with "pre-marital interdigitation", then "pre-marital osculation", "pre-marital intercourse" and lastly, "pre-marital defenestration". That last one means pushing people out of windows, in case you are not familiar with it. The real purpose was to see how many people would ask me the meaning of any of the terms, particularly the last one. I surveyed about 50 people, and the only person who asked me was a lecturer in the English department! To him I disclosed the real nature of the quiz, and he laughed heartily.

By the way, you wouldn't believe how many people said they would not practice defenestration themselves, but were not against others doing it!

marraskuu 14, 2020, 1:00pm

I'll be catching up slowly, because I am so far behind. Please forgive me for this. I have really not been reading all that much, being so taken with my sewing project, and so consumed with election woes. I have never followed politics so closely, and this was the first year I kept checking on the election results. It was important to me to see Trump out of office. Almost any human would have done for me, but Biden was a nice, gentle choice. There was only a little to object to, and much to admire. Thank goodness I have my brain back, and I am slowly weaning myself of politics again.

marraskuu 14, 2020, 1:15pm

>93 sallypursell: Defenestration always a class pleaser in History lessons. I looked effulgent up as I do know it but wanted to be precise - I open the dictionary quite a lot. I like the quiz, you could do it all again.

marraskuu 14, 2020, 7:55pm

>93 sallypursell: I did know defenestration, from my Latin class in high school (3 years of it!). When I was in 6h grade, my vocabulary tests showed I was off the charts--12th grade++, since the test only went up to grade 12.

marraskuu 15, 2020, 3:40pm

>95 tonikat: The Defenestrations of Prague--good times, good times!

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 15, 2020, 4:08pm

>97 sallypursell: and if i remember right wasn't there one in Scotland in the time of Mary Queen of Scots?

edit - (no me misremembering)

marraskuu 19, 2020, 9:44am

>94 sallypursell: Just stopping by to see how it's going. Glad you have your brain back! My reading is still piecework. Trying to figure out the holidays (I think next week it's going to amount to pie drop-off and a Zoom meet-up). Did you post your dresses on the Needlearts group? If so, I should run over there and check!

marraskuu 23, 2020, 2:36pm

Hope the weaning off politics is working well for you. Since I live in Georgia, things are still hot here with the runoffs for the senate coming up.

Glad to hear Rachel Caine's Great Library series is working for you.

marraskuu 23, 2020, 8:02pm

>100 markon: I'm still checking in with CNN every day, but I'm not checking four times a day. Not talking about it to anyone much either. Whew!

marraskuu 23, 2020, 8:02pm

>99 avaland: I'm almost finished cropping the pictures, Lois. Soon.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 6, 2020, 6:27pm

Oh, I'm sorry, I'm going to be gone again for a while. I have been at my little sister Jessica's house for several days. Her husband suddenly took a turn for the worse in his course of Prostate Cancer, and became semi-conscious on December 2. I went to do nursing care for him to help her. She had just taken leave from work the day before, and was overwhelmed a little, even though her youngest son was staying with her for the last two weeks. She is a little woman who is very strong. It proved that he died just after midnight on the 3rd. I was sitting with him while Jessica tried to get some sleep, which she hadn't been able to do for two days. I was just able to get all the family to the bedside for his last breath, which made me feel satisfied, although I also was grieved. The nursing care was not difficult, other than emotionally.

One sweet thing. The oldest son had planned to be married in the Spring, then moved up the wedding to December 12 so his Dad could be there. Since I was able to help with my brother-in-law's care my sister had time to help get together an impromptu wedding for the son and fiancee next to her husband's bed on the evening of December 2, only about 4 1/2 hours before the death. It was the loveliest impromptu-wedding-at-a-dying-bedside that I ever saw.

The second son made it in from Arizona 2 hours before the wedding, in time to be best man. We found a dress for the daughter in a hurry. The dressmaker tacked up the wedding dress in time for it to be worn. The groom had a tuxedo face mask. The couple even had time to write their vows and read them from their phones. I even had a dress on--quite a coincidence, since I hadn't planned on attending a wedding when I raced out of my home the previous morning.

We have all worn masks indoors at all times, and take turns eating at the table. We're doing the best we can to avoid sharing the virus. The only person not wearing a mask was the dying man, and he had been tested four days before this. I think Bruce, my late brother-in-law had a lovely last day. He saw some friends, and people from work who clearly respected him (he was a master machinist) His son came in from Arizona, the wedding took place, he slept with his wife in their bed one last time, and he died moments after she kissed him, with all his children around the bedside (except the groom, who was having a wedding night, after all.) He was not in too much pain either, as long as I did not move him too much. I gave him his Dilaudid every two hours. It was a good day, and a good death.

joulukuu 6, 2020, 10:56pm

Glad you were able to help your sister & her family. Blessings to all of you as you grieve & celebrate your brother-in-law's life.

joulukuu 9, 2020, 8:11am

What an experience, Sally. It's good to bear witness, for everyone, I think.

joulukuu 11, 2020, 12:31pm

I am still at my sister's house. It turned out the celebrant at the wedding called on Friday to tell us he had just tested positive for CoVid. I was never closer than 10 feet, and spent less than 15 minutes in his presence. I did not attend the afterparty since I was sitting with Bruce. I did not tell his family that through the day he got progressively more cyanotic. I knew he would die that night. I don't think his family noticed his blueish lips and then bluer lips, followed by a little bit of flaring nostrils. I put on his oxygen earlier in the day for that reason. It was only 2 liters, since I hate giving a lot of it by nasal prongs--it dries out the nose so that it is uncomfortable. He only wanted comfort measures. I bumped up the oxygen when he began to breathe faster, which is the only sign of deterioration he gave before he began to just gasp for the last few minutes. The first gasp was the clue to call the family to the bedside. The last child just made it as he exhaled his last breath.

joulukuu 11, 2020, 12:45pm

Sorry, but I'm still occupied thinking about the death-bed. This seems to be our CoVid slumber party.

joulukuu 11, 2020, 1:31pm

I'm sorry to read about your brother-in-law's passing, Sally. It was undoubtedly a blessing that you could aid him in his final moments, and I'm sure that it was a comfort to your sister and both families.

I pray that no one gets sick from the SARS-CoV-2+ wedding celebrant.

joulukuu 12, 2020, 1:02pm

COVID stresses and nursing a family member in his last hours is a lot to manage. I'm sure your sister and her family were so glad to have someone in the family who could help rather than a stranger.

joulukuu 16, 2020, 5:26pm

Thanks to those of you who shared some thoughts after the experience of my late brother-in-law's death. I appreciate them all.

I quarantined at my sister's house, and then went to get a CoVid test last Sunday. On Tuesday it was the 14th day since my possible exposure, and I got the results of the test. It was negative. My sister said she needed some time to grieve alone, and I knew she was right, so I came home yesterday afternoon. I am very grateful to be home.

I don't think I'll be able to read all the posts since I've last done so. If you will all forgive me, I won't even try. I have a little bit to do to get caught up posting here, and keeping up my databases of what I have read. I'll be able to start reading again in a couple of days. Thank you all.

joulukuu 16, 2020, 11:57pm

My databases of reading are caught up! I've been working on that for several weeks. I hadn't noticed how much I had gotten behind. Moving on to some other catch-up.

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:07pm

130. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

When it came time to review it, I couldn't remember anything about this book, so I simply re-read it. I enjoyed it again, too.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 26, 2020, 8:50pm

131. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

A young Danish girl, 10 year-old Annemarie, witnesses the infiltration of the Nazi power structures into Denmark, and saves a Jewish friend of hers from Nazi control, with the help of her parents. Her family then participates in the relocation of a number of the 7,000 Jews of Denmark to Sweden during one frightening and impressive night. Almost all were eventually helped to safety.

This is a book for children in the preteen years, like the protagonist, and is one of the best books about the risk to the Jews posed by the Nazis for that age group. My kids seemed to be inundated with books about the Nazi threat when they were this age. I thought some other literature might have relieved the strain, but I can't say that this isn't necessary. There are still people who deny that the Holocaust occurred. When you consider the relief of some of the concentration camps by American Troops, and the movies and books we have about this atrocity, it stuns me that anyone could do so. I fear that this will only happen again, with the reaction many have now towards immigrants and certain groups of people. This occurs in the United States, where we are all, (except Native Americans) immigrants ourselves.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 29, 2020, 12:55pm

132. Silent Prey by John Sandford Lucas Davenport, a police detective who then leaves the force, is involved in the hunt for the psychotic pathologist, Dr. Mike Bekker. Dr. Bekker is a serial murderer, and his cruelty is notorious. Lucas had a chance in the past to finish this criminal, and didn't take it, despite his reputation for frontier justice. He is known to have killed three times the number of suspects that fellow officers have killed. This time Lucas thinks the time has come to do his own kind of dealing with an evil man.

I'm not a fan of Davenport's practices, nor of his personality, but the police procedures and the course of the investigation in his stories is always interesting.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 26, 2020, 6:52pm

133. The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews

This protagonist marries a man who has advertised in the London papers for a wife, whom he thinks will solve some of this problems living in a manor house near a village in which he is largely unknown. Her new husband has spent years suffering in India due to civil unrest and imprisonment, and has bought this property in a grand scheme of revenge. He seems a cold and withdrawn sort, and it appears that she cannot hope for a congenial and pleasant marriage. Just as she seems to be settling in her own past comes to sting her and threaten her new arrangements. No one knows how her husband will react to her personal troubles, and no one expects what eventuates. Very pleasant reading, although the story may be a bit unlikely. Recommended for those who like this kind of thing.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 26, 2020, 8:00pm

134. Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

This was the standard Flavia de Luce, this time concerning the opening of the tomb of Saint Tancred in the village church, at the 500th anniversary of his death. Strangely, the village organist had disappeared six weeks earlier, and he was found dead, lying atop the Saint's tomb in the late medieval vault under the church organ. How he came to be there, with a 20th century gas mask on his face, and clearly decomposing, and who murdered him and placed him there, are the questions of this entry in the series. As is usual, the child Flavia solves the murder considerably in advance of the constabulary. Also as usual, she uses her advanced understanding of chemistry to do so. I am told there are significant errors in the chemistry this time. That hardly matters to me; my chemistry needs brushing up, and was never advanced. Flavia is well able to fool me, although I had some discomfort over a temperature statement she averred, feeling it to be "off", but not wanting to pause in reading to consider the matter.

I always enjoy Flavia's adventures. I try to pause for a while after each one, so as not to run through them too fast. But this one I followed immediately with the next one, because the cliff hanger was so intriguiging. We are told at the end of this book that Flavia's mother has been found, although she has been missing since Flavia was quite small.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 29, 2020, 12:51pm

135. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

I continued reading across the last work and this due to the cliffhanger between them, which piqued my curiosity unbearably. This resolution required Winston Churchill, as well as other luminaries, to express appreciation for the work her mother had undertaken and completed in the late World War. It also involved her mother Harriet's beloved Gipsy Moth biplane, which Harriet piloted herself. The requirements of the case, in addition, included someone to find and review old home movies that Harriet and her "friends" had made. All of this was in aid of explaining a mysterious message from a mysterious man, who was murdered when Flavia went with her family to meet Harriet's train. As usual, this was a bit of a romp, but this one was more serious than some of Flavia's stories. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, and I continue to look forward to Flavia's further adventures.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 29, 2020, 1:41pm

136. Winter Prey by John Sandford

I happened to get several of this series at the same time from the library, simply because of availability. I have been indecisive about continuing my reading of the series, because I have disliked the main character so much, but I like the police procedural in them a lot. Not only that, but the amount of the bad guy's thinking that we are privileged to hear makes the task of the police so much the more interesting. Each actor or team displays both planning and their reactions to the outcomes of such. I enjoyed the by-play more than the detective's activities.

So maybe that will be an explanation; the rest is worth that exposure to the proud and arrogant detective, Lucas Davenport. I confess that in this and the next few, his growing relationship with a small-town general surgeon is also of interest.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 29, 2020, 5:22pm

137. The Shotgun Arcana by R. S. Belcher

Oh, this was good. It is the sequel to the The Six-Gun Tarot and thus is about the town of Golgotha, on the edge of a desert, and the site of repeated battles between Good and Evil. In this case we have a conflict between two men who know they are angels, angels who have been exiled to Earth for a lack of Faith in God's plan. Now, whether they are indeed angels, or are simply men with delusions, can be answered.

Similarly, Golgotha as a place where forces of Good and forces of Evil will repeatedly clash, is well delineated. The Sheriff, purportedly, cannot be killed. His deputy, half American Native and half Caucasian, as closely related to Coyote, the trickster-god, and can shift to Coyote shape at need. They have an apprentice, Jim, who bears with him an heirloom. It is an artificial eye, formerly belonging to his father, and it is an artifact of great power. The lady who runs the laundry is a "Daughter of Lilith", a trained assassin, among other things, who can marshal some supra-normal abilities she has been given by virtue of great intelligence, constant training, and a few drops of the blood of Lilith herself. That is now exhausted; her daughter will be the last of the Daughters. The Mayor of Golgotha, a mild-mannered man, is the Guardian of the legendary armor and weapons from Aaron's Temple of Jerusalem.

If this were not all, there are the proponents of the Evil outcome in Golgotha. One of the angels leads them, and the troops are composed of various exceptionally brutal serial murderers, all of whom enjoy and plan for torture and cannibalism as a part of their crimes. Since this is a very specialized interest, they are necessarily collected from many nations, but Americans make up the highest numbers.

I had read three fourths of this book when I realized that I was missing some things by not spending time on the titles of chapters and some recurring types of them. That meant I had to start over, and take notes. I knew just reading it would be enough fun, so I didn't really *need* to do this, but I wondered if the time spent would repay it in a richer read. Hence, the next entry.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 30, 2020, 9:46pm

138. The Shotgun Arcana again. So, the titles of chapters were each one the name of a card in the Tarot. That gave a theme for each chapter, and there was the implication that everything of importance would be considered in the book. In addition, there were some chapters in italics, which all had the same card at their heads; The Three of Swords, which forecasts "Heartbreak, Suffering, or Grief". I learned that these brief chapters all recounted the way each of the Evil men or women had acted in life, the nature of their crimes, and then how each was recruited. Each such chapter would end with a description of a departure from home for Golgotha. Most of these criminals undertook especially brutal crimes before leaving home, since it was no longer necessary to keep their home turf unknown to law enforcement.

I have to confess that this book is hard to read this way, and I still have the climax to read. There is about 4% of the book left, and I am avid to read it. Still, I must continue to pay close attention to the headings, the Tarot interpretations, and the implications of these chapter headings. I will learn how the "good guys" temporarily overcome the "bad guys" until the next such encounter. Each time Golgatha must keep the Earth safe, and no longer subject to enslavement or death from those who can overcome it.

I know there is a third book, but nothing about that plot. What could it possibly be? I can't tell you whether this extra effort has been worth it. Perhaps I'll be able to say soon.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2020, 11:42pm

139. Assassin by Patricia Finney, writing as Lady Grace Cavendish

Lady Grace Cavendish became a Lady in Waiting to Queen Elizabeth I when her mother was killed in a plot to assassinate the Queen. Now she is 13, and the Queen is trying to help her to a good marriage. Lady Grace will solve a problem in murder, and secure for herself a better future. You see, one of the possible suitors is found dead, and it falls to Grace to prove his innocence. This is a young adult book of historical fiction, and while parts of it seem to be meant as teaching about this period, most of it was enjoyable, and worth following up with the next one.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 3, 10:51am

140. Night Prey by John Sandford

In this novel, the police chief's reputation is on the line, and her career. She believes the pattern of wounds seen on the latest victim is reminiscent of a pattern she has seen before; after some thought and investigation, Lucas Davenport believes he remembers this pattern too.

Not only does Lucas need to unravel this, but he is also trying to figure out a monogamous relationship for the first time--with a surgeon who has her own troubles.

The series continues to be interesting, but my feelings about the protagonist have changed slightly. Why couldn't he grow up before he had a trail of broken relationships and a daughter in his wake? It makes me want to roll my eyes and say, "Men!" when that isn't fair at all.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 3, 10:53am

141. Mind Prey by John Sandford

Another entry in this series. I was drawn by the story of this woman he is trying to settle down with, and I wanted to see how it developed. It ended up the same way his always do, and was both intriguing and infuriating by turns.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 3, 11:11am

143. Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

In the tales of the Round Table, at times a traveler would present to King Arthur's company and present a tale of mystery and adventure, and Arthur would direct a member of the Table to go with the petitioner to quest for the meaning and the resolution of the mystery. The beginning of this was reminiscent of those stories, in that a noblewoman (judging by attire, speech, and attendants) or nobleman would ask her Lord for the help of a knight to resolve or explain an inexplicable, possibly fey circumstance.

In this case, Blackthorn is offered to the Lady in question, whom none of them know, to look into a curse that affects the people of her demesnes. A spirit lives in a tower on an island in the middle of a river, at a ford that is the only convenient way to get over this river, and thus is the best route to a good deal of the neighboring territory. But in the summer this spirit keens and wails loudly from dawn to dusk, in a voice of grief so palpable that the whole county suffers, and productivity lags. The Lady does not know how this curse was engendered, nor how to relieve this pained spirit. She asks for a wisewoman, who might understand the situation, to come and investigate.


joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:18pm

144. The Elements of Murder: a History of Poisons by John Emsley

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:18pm

145. Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:19pm

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:20pm

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:20pm

148. The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:22pm

149. The Road to Agra by Aimée Sommerfeldt

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:22pm

150. Colter's Woman by Maya Banks

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:23pm

151. An Exaltation of Larks by Robert Reed

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:23pm

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:25pm

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:25pm

155. Dead Time by D. L. Orton

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:26pm

156. Mystery Mile by Margery Allingham

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:27pm

157. The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:27pm

158. All I Ever Needed by Jo Goodman

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:28pm

159. Look to the Lady; or, The Gyrth Chalice Mystery by Margery Allingham

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:29pm

160. Air Awakens by Kova, Ellise

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:29pm

161. Fire Falling by Kova, Elise

joulukuu 17, 2020, 3:30pm

joulukuu 26, 2020, 10:34am

>93 sallypursell: I love your school newspaper quiz story!

I am so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law.

Happy holidays. Stay well.

You have also managed to do a lot of reading!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 26, 2020, 8:48pm

Well, I certainly figured out what *not* to do at the end of a year; don't read a lot of books without commenting, unless that's what I mean to do. Don't stop even for flares of my ailments, instead just write short stuff. Don't stop reading other people's threads. I'm so far behind now that I don't want to catch up reading, so I don't plan to. I will post some brief comments on my past reading. It's only a few days until 2021. Surely it will be a better year: I can imagine worse than last year, but given the law of averages, we are likely to see better. Please forgive me for doing such a bad job of these last few weeks. I plead extenuation!

joulukuu 28, 2020, 2:08pm

>146 sallypursell: But keep in mind that you have friends here. No need to worry about not posting or reviewing the books, just glad you are here.Onward to 2021!

joulukuu 28, 2020, 3:23pm

Sally, I seemed to have missed this thread. I'm sorry to hear about your brother-in-law, and then the Covid scare. Glad you feel you can return to us. It surely is easy to get behind in reviews when such a prolific reader as you are. Things are what they are, you are NOT doing a "bad job." Perhaps you might consider just moving on into 2021 reading :-)

joulukuu 28, 2020, 3:45pm

> 146 >148 avaland: Yes, Sally, what Lois said - you've had a lot on your plate lately, consider just easing on into the new year.