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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

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
Ross King
Progress: 64 %
Lady Cop Makes Trouble
Amy Stewart
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
Andrea Wulf
Progress: 2 %
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
Firedrake's Eye
Patricia Finney
Progress: 15/249 pages

Codex Alera

Furies of Calderon - Jim Butcher Academ's Fury - Jim Butcher Cursor's Fury - Jim Butcher Captain's Fury - Jim Butcher Princeps' Fury - Jim Butcher First Lord's Fury - Jim Butcher

Codex Alera is Jim Butcher's straight-out traditional fantasy series, as compared to his urban fantasy "Harry Dresden" series, set in a slightly different Chicago, or his "Cinder Spires" series (only the first book of which is out, that being The Aeronaut's Windlass), which has a more steampunk vibe.

 

This series is principally the story of Tavi, who is a shepherd boy of 15 in the first book, and unusually for an Aleran child of that age, one who has no "fury," or guardian spirit.  This bothers him, but his Uncle Bernard tells him that he'll just have to use his wits more than other people, and think his way out of his problems. 

 

We also follow throughout the series Tavi's Uncle Bernard and Aunt Isana (brother and sister), who are raising him in the isolated Calderon valley, home of violent storms, as well as the cursor (government agent) Amara, and her mentor, Fidelias.  And in the background, the ruler of the land of Alera, Gaius Sextus, an aging and childless king.

 

The novels are filled with strange creatures, both friend and foe - the nomadic Marat, the Icemen of the north, the Canim (residents of the continent Canea, and a tall, canine race), and the Vord, who are malevolent, highly adaptive, spider-like people.  It's also filled with political intrigue, and the machinations of great lords, who see possible advantages for themselves, in having an aging king with no heir.

 

It was a tremendous lot of fun to read.

Reading progress update: I've read 11% of Hound of the Baskervilles.

The Hound of the Baskervilles -  Arthur Conan Doyle

Well, it's been many years since I've read this - at least a decade - so it's almost a case of "read it again for the first time."  (I know that I've read it, as I've read all of the Holmes canon at least once.)

 

Last night I left off with the sight of the paw prints of a massive hound on the moor, and Sherlock Holmes suddenly excited.  It's good to be back at 221B Baker Street, with the game afoot.

U.S. Kindle Sale: Miscellaneous

A Lady in the Smoke: A Victorian Mystery - Karen Odden Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune - Paul Clark Newell Jr., Bill Dedman The Big Sleep (Oxford Bookworms S.) - Rosalie Kerr, Raymond Chandler The Knight in History - Frances Gies All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful: Three James Herriot Classics - James Herriot

Currently $0.99: A Lady in the Smoke, by Karen Odden.  The Knight in History, by Frances Gies.

 

Currently $2.99: Empty Mansions, by Bill Dedman and Paul Newell.  The James Herriot omnibus.

 

Currently $3.00: The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler.

Sunday Soup: Fish Chowder

They had some very nice tilapia on special down at the fish counter at Publix, so we decided to make fish chowder.  This is an old favorite recipe, and is delicious and satisfying.  A mug will fill you up very nicely.

 

3 or 4 potatoes, peeled

couple of stalks of celery, chopped

1/4 cup of vermouth

3-4 small onions, chopped

4-6 pieces of cooked bacon

3 or 4 cooked fillets of a white, firm fish, like cod

at least 1 pint milk

salt and pepper

 

Fry the bacon until crisp.  Poach the fish (cook for about 5 minutes in simmering water, with salt and pepper).  After it cools enough to slice, cut it into inch-sized pieces.  Saute the onions on low heat in the bacon fat until they are limp but not brown.  Cook the diced potatoes and celery in the milk, to which you add the vermouth.  Add the chopped onions, the fish, and the crumbled bacon.  Don't boil after the fish has been added.  Serve with a nice hot bread and butter - it makes a lot and somehow expands to feed however much company you have.

 

If there are any leftovers the next day, be sure to add more milk; it tends to thicken a lot in the refrigerator.

Halloween Book Bingo Update - 6 Read

Saturday I finished First Lord's Fury, by Jim Butcher, which is filled with more creepy crawlies (I'm using this for the Free Space), and yesterday I finished Wyrd Sisters, by Terry Pratchett, which is all about Witches.

 

 

So my spaces/books read are:

 

Read by Candlelight/Flashlight: Survivor in Death, by J.D. Robb - another in Robb's long-running mystery romance series set in c.2060 New York City.  I think this is #20.  It's only about halfway through the series now, I believe.

Witches: Wyrd Sisters, by Terry Pratchett - second book in the "Witches" subseries of Discworld.  Hamlet meets MacBeth, and it's a comedy.

Grave or Graveyard: Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman - the charming tale of a boy raised by the residents of a cemetery.

Free Space: First Lord's Fury, by Jim Butcher - lots and lots of vord (giant spiders).

Creepy Crawlies: Princeps' Fury, by Jim Butcher - still more vord.

Vampires vs. Werewolves: The Immortal Who Loved Me, by Lyndsay Sands - cheesy (very cheesy!) paranormal romance about telepathic vampire life mates from Atlantis.

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.