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SusannaG

SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

Just another GR refugee.  Other than that, I had a stroke in 2004, and read almost anything I can get my hands on, though I have a particular weakness for history, mystery, and historical fiction.

Currently reading

First Lord's Fury
Jim Butcher
Wyrd Sisters
Terry Pratchett
Progress: 50 %
Lady Cop Makes Trouble
Amy Stewart
Edward III: The Perfect King
Ian Mortimer
Progress: 85 %
The Hundred Years War, Volume 1: Trial by Battle
Jonathan Sumption
Progress: 166/586 pages
King Solomon's Mines
H. Rider Haggard
Progress: 4 %
Queen's Gambit: A Novel
Elizabeth Fremantle
Progress: 22 %
1913: The Eve of War
Paul Ham
Progress: 20 %
The William Shakespeare Detective Agency: The Dark Lady (The William Shakespeare Detective Agency Book 2)
Colin Falconer
Progress: 15 %
Cosmic Quest Cd (Bbc Audio)
Heather Couper

Sunday Soup: Three Sisters Stew

Last night we had a "Three Sisters Stew," which is more of a cross between a soup and a stew, and features pork tenderloin, tomatoes, spices like cumin, and the "three sisters": beans, squash, and corn.  I like to garnish with a dollop of sour cream.  It was delicious.

 

My mother found the recipe we use while reading the New York TimesLink here.

 

(Picture from NY Times; forgot to take a picture last night.)

Halloween Book Bingo Update - 4 read

I am back from my knitting retreat (hope BL didn't go down this time!), where I read Survivor in Death by the flashlight attachment on my kindle, and Princeps' Fury, which is full of Vord, who are giant malevolent spiders.  So that fills two more squares, "Candlelight or Flashlight," and "Creepy Crawlies."

 

 

Books read:

 

Read by Candlelight or Flashlight: Survivor in Death, by J.D. Robb

Grave or Graveyard: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

Creepy Crawlies: Princeps' Fury, by Jim Butcher

Vampires vs. Werewolves: The Vampire Who Loved Me, by Lyndsay Sands

 

 

Ow

Earlier this afternoon I was reaching into the utensils drawer for a pair of tongs, and accidentally sliced my left index finger on the pizza wheel.

 

Ow!

 

And tomorrow I leave for my knitting retreat.

 

Unlike most Americans, my left hand does most of the work in my knitting.  (I knit "Continental.")

 

This should be interesting.

 

(I'm due back Sunday.)

Halloween Book Bingo Update - 2 read

I have just finished the cheese-tastic paranormal romance The Immortal Who Loved Me for "vampires v. werewolves," and that is my second square.

 

 

Books read:

 

Grave or Graveyard: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

Vampires vs. Werewolves: The Immortal Who Loved Me, by Lyndsay Sands

Telepathic Vampire Life Mates from Atlantis

The Immortal Who Loved Me: An Argeneau Novel - Lynsay Sands

I felt like reading a cheesy paranormal romance for "vampires v. werewolves."

 

And boy is this one - I'm not kidding when I say it's about "telepathic vampire life mates from Atlantis"!

 

It's plenty cheesy, filled with insta-lust (why develop a relationship when they're "life mates"?), and suffered from being about the 20th book in an ongoing series, but it had the advantage that when I was reading it, I was composing this review and giggling to myself.

 

That's why I'm feeling generous and giving this three stars.

 

(No I won't be reading another one in this series!  But it served its purpose more than adequately.)

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book is the second book by Neil Gaiman I've read, and both were lovely fairy tales.  I like this the better of the two.  (The other was Stardust.)

 

This book is the story of Nobody Owens, whose entire family is murdered when he is a toddler - his life is saved by his late-night breakout of his crib, and subsequent ramble down to the local cemetery.  And there his life is saved again by the local ghosts, who take him in, and a man named Silas, who is clearly neither a normal human or a ghost, who becomes his guardian.

 

And so he is raised by the inhabitants of a cemetery, to know what they know, be it Fading and Haunting, or Victorian copperplate handwriting and the theory of humors.  This book is the story of his childhood.

 

It is the right level of scary for most middle schoolers, which means it's the right level of scary for me, too.

 

And it is utterly charming.

 

(I read this for the Halloween book bingo, for "Grave or Graveyard."  Though it might also do for some other squares, too.)

 

Halloween Book Bingo Update - 1 read

The mood struck me to read Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book last night - what a lovely little fairy tale.  This fills my square for "Grave or Graveyard."

 

 

Books read:

 

Grave or Graveyard: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

August Roundup

Furies of Calderon - Jim Butcher Ink and Bone: The Great Library - Rachel Caine Academ's Fury - Jim Butcher Cursor's Fury - Jim Butcher Captain's Fury - Jim Butcher First Grave on the Right - Darynda Jones Getting Rid Of Bradley - Jennifer Crusie Rapture in Death - J.D. Robb, Susan Ericksen Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer  - Rick Riordan

I've finished 8 books already this month, and will finish a ninth today.  Not bad!

 

What's even better is that five of the nine are four-star reads.  The others are three-star reads.  That's an impressive average.

 

Ink and Bone has a creative setting - the Great Library of Alexandria still exists, and many things are different in this world.  Our narrator is from a family that smuggles books, and has decided to make him a Librarian, to help the family business.  Library school is not easy, and is in some cases fatal.

 

I've also been enjoying the first 4 books in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher (I'm on the waiting list for the fifth, alas).

 

No worst read this month, which is very nice to say.

OK, That Was Weird

— feeling confused

I have a feeling something is going on behind the scenes here, as there's apparently a new program running (check out Bug Reports) - and it apparently doesn't want to play well with No Script, Ghostery, or, in my case, Ad Block. 

 

I went hitting random buttons on Ad Block and it seems to have fixed it.  (Or I wouldn't be posting this, obviously!)

 

The post I had been about to make, before being rudely stopped short, was that I hate it when I put an ebook on my Holds list at the library, I get the email that it's available, and then discover that it's in the wrong format.  That was me, about half an hour ago.  Written in Red, you're now available to someone else, who can read the format you're in.  ::sigh::

First Time Since Friday I've Managed to Get Here

— feeling question

Due to the dashboard taking forever to load, or refusing to load at all.

 

So what'd I miss?

 

I have been reading, though - Furies of Calderon, by Jim Butcher, was a lot of fun.

Worse than Last Friday

— feeling angry

I do not exaggerate.

 

Are all the servers in Poland celebrating their double medals in canoe sprinting?

 

This is ridiculous.

Book Blog Tag

 

I was tagged by, I believe, both Murder by Death and Nerdy Birdie.  Thanks!

 

How long have you been a blogger?

 

I migrated here from GR in September, 2013, during the Great GoodReads Censorship Debacle.  I was hesitant about the blogging format, but I like it.  Among other things, I find I review books more frequently, which is great.

 

At what point do you think you'll stop?

 

I have no plans to stop.  (Though life sometimes has other plans.  And I worry about this site going poof.)

 

What's the best thing?

 

Learning about really cool-looking new books that I would probably not have heard of otherwise.

 

I also appreciate the control BL gives us over our own feed. 

 

What's the worst thing?  What do you do to make it OK?

 

When I wake up in the morning and find several hundred new notifications!  (When I'm glad email notifications are down, frankly.)  Luckily my time is my own and I do read all of them.  (Though if I can't be near a computer for several days, as happened last week - for a good reason, as I was visiting family - I might not read all the intervening posts in my feed.  I think because at a certain point I suffer from eye fatigue if I try.)

 

How long does it take you to create or find pictures to use?

 

I just discovered how to post pictures in the last month or so - it's very exciting!  I don't generally post gifs, but stick with still pictures, and try to pick ones that illustrate what I'm talking about.  It doesn't generally take me long, if I know what I'm looking for.

 

I don't have a digital camera, or a scanner, so I don't post personal pictures.

 

Who is your book crush?

 

This may not mean much to most of you, as this is from a book (and series) long out of print, but Cabot Murray.  (The novel is Yankee Stranger, by Elswyth Thane.)

 

Which author would you like to have on your blog?

 

I'm reading this as "which author would you like to have on your feed?" and I think my answer is "Geoffrey Chaucer."

 

What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

 

 What next, an age/sex check?  I feel like I'm on the AOL boards c. 1997 again.  (I was playing a lot of trivia then.  Good times.)

 

Uh, clothes?  Right now I'm wearing a pair of brown slacks and a striped polo.  (And bedroom slippers, because they're comfortable and I don't intend to leave the house anytime soon.)

 

How long does it take you to prepare?

 

Varies widely.  Sometimes it takes half an hour or less.  Other posts I'm thinking about while I'm finishing the book, and some non-book things I marinate for days.  (Currently something's been marinating a month or more.  We'll see if anything comes of it.)

 

How do you feel about the book blogger community?

 

I love it here at BookLikes.  I particularly love the community that's grown up here.  I hope the management gets their technical issues straightened out.  Their communicating with the wonderful community that's grown up here more would help a great deal.

 

I have lost all comprehension of who's been tagged already, so if you're reading this, it sounds like fun, and you haven't already done it, consider yourself tagged!

What the Hell Happened to Romanian Gymnastics?

— feeling confused

Romania won team medals in women's gymnastics in every Olympics between 1976 and 2012, winning the gold as a team in Los Angeles in 1984, Sydney in 2000, and Athens in 2004.  No country won more Olympic medals in women's gymnastics in that period.

 

 

Here they are with the bronze team medals at London, four years ago.

 

This may be one of the greatest shockers of the Rio Olympics: Romania did not qualify for the team competition in women's gymnastics!

 

This is their gymnastic team this year:

 

 

Her name is Catalina Ponor, and she is a very distinguished gymnast (a former multiple Olympic gold medalist), and she carried the Romanian flag in the opening ceremonies - but she is 28, which is old for a female gymnast.  (Most of her competitors here are 16-20).

 

Why?  The top twelve teams at last year's world championships qualified to enter the Olympic team competition.

 

Romania was 13th.

 

Why?  Injury was part of it.  But there has to be more to it than that, I think.

 

Ponor, however, is far from the oldest female gymnast at these Olympics, though - that title goes to Oksana Chusovitina, representing Uzbekistan.  She is 41.  41!  She was born in 1975, and originally competed for the Soviet Union.  This is her seventh Olympics - she won team gold for the "Unified Team" at Barcelona in 1992, which was her first games.  (She has also competed for Germany.)  Most of her competitors this time are literally old enough to be her daughters.

 

My hat's off to both of them.

Summer Book Bingo Update - 15 Read

I have just finished Charity Girl, by Georgette Heyer, which I am claiming as a "comfort read."

 

 

So my card now reads:

 

Sun-Sand-Beach Cover / New Author / First in Series / Movie Made / HF

 

Graphic Novel / Pub. This Summer / Comfort Read / Boat-Tent-Cabin / Mt. TBR

 

Romance / Dead Author / Free Space! / Summer Title / Hard Read

 

Planes-Trains-Road Trip / Mystery / Book Bust / Over 400 / Old Fave

 

YA or Kid's / Science Fiction / Read on Vacation / Bad Cover / Fantasy

 

 

And my books read:

 

Sun Sand or Beach Cover: The Singer from Memphis, by Gary Corby

New Author: Legacy, by Susan Kay

First in Series: The Aeronaut's Windlass, by Jim Butcher

Movie Made: Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman

Historical Fiction: Journey to Munich, by Jacqueline Winspear

Published This Summer: League of Dragons, by Naomi Novik

Comfort Read: Charity Girl, by Georgette Heyer

Romance: The Royal We, by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Dead Author: Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle, by Georgette Heyer

Summer Title: Summer Knight, by Jim Butcher

Planes, Trains, or Road Trip: Sprig Muslin, by Georgette Heyer

Mystery: Memory in Death, by J.D. Robb

Book Bust: An Unwilling Accomplice, by Charles Todd

Bad Cover: Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher

Fantasy: The Paper Magician, by Charlie N. Holmberg

An Untimely Frost

An Untimely Frost - Penny Richards

It is 1881, and the young actress Lily Long is in Chicago with her theatrical troupe.  She finds her new husband beating her adoptive mother, and then he beats her and takes all her money, claiming he has a right to it, because he's her husband.* 

 

He then disappears, she learns all the ways in which he lied to her and betrayed her, and she vows to get a divorce.  Finally she finds a lawyer willing to take her case (nice Victorian ladies don't get divorced, and apparently most Victorian attorneys don't take their cases, if you believe this book), and then sees an ad from the Pinkerton Agency looking for female "operatives."  (Mr. Pinkerton dislikes the word "detective.")  She resolves to get hired as one of the first female detectives, and does so despite the fact she is some 15 years younger than their preferred profile.

 

This book is the tale of her first case, when the Pinkerton Agency sends her to Vandalia, Illinois, to attempt to find the former owner of a large estate there, abandoned for twenty years.  (There is a prospective buyer.)  What she finds is a town mysteriously silent after she mentions the name of the man she seeks.  But she is determined to find the truth, and establish justice.

 

*This is the first historical "oops" I noticed.  Illinois had a "married women's property act" allowing married women to keep their wages, some 20 years before this book is set.  So her husband took her money because he was pond scum, but he didn't have a "right" to it.

 

The other two "oops" moments I caught were:

 

1. The usage of the term "feminist."   The term existed, but was not in the vocabulary of Americans in the 1880s.  (It was not used in dialogue, at least - but in interior monologue, which to my mind is about as bad.)

2. The heroine decides the architectural style of the old house she is visiting is clearly "Victorian."  No.  Just ... no.  No, no, no, no, no. 

 

 

The overall tone is melodramatic (perhaps appropriately, considering the heroine's background).  On the up side, there is not even a whisper of a love triangle.

 

There's clearly going to be a sequel.  I'd probably read it if it fell in my lap, but I doubt I'll go looking for it.

 

My ARC courtesy of Kensington and NetGalley - much thanks.  My opinions are my own.

Not Sure This is the Way to Break a Slump

— feeling confused
An Untimely Frost - Penny Richards

I'm less than 20% in and so far have spotted two historical "oops."