Monday, September 9, 2019

Computer Down!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
I am enjoying the fall, especially since I'm barely part of the school calendar any more. Instead I can use the time to do what I like.

It was good to get together with my friends on Monday, especially since they picked a spot right in my backyard. Well, right next to our local lake park. After the meal I dragged everyone off to see some of the sights that were part of my kids' youth. They were underwhelmed, but it was still fun and a lovely day for it.

Tuesday is my movie day, of course. I meant to go see something with heart, but ran late so we ducked into Angel Has Fallen which has guns instead. Not as good as Fast and Furious, especially in terms of female characters (all without agency) but I didn't regret the time spent there. That night is my usual online computer book club/gaming group, but sadly my desktop computer turned up its toes as I sat down. After a lot of effort and consultations with the internet, I have diagnosed it as dead. I should probably haul it off to the Apple store to get a price check on a resurrection, but I think a new computer is in my future.

Wednesday I actually cooked again! I'm on a roll. A short roll because I also took the time to see what my AARP benefits include, and one was a discount to a local restaurant (Vince's) so that became Friday's menu plan. It was made extra-special because my niece came home on a visit from college so we were celebrating.

Saturday I went up to our local Sword and Laser meet-up, event though I hadn't actually read the book. Any of the books, because they are really a three-in-one book club, but I like the people and I want to keep in the habit of going. It was worth it -- it was good to see everyone, there were some new members, and there was a beautiful storm on the way home. I had to drive slowly but the lightning was spectacular. After pulling into my driveway I reset all the clocks (I guess the lightning hit something!) and then enjoyed the view from my bedroom window. With that tree down it's a clear view to the sky.

Sunday my brother came out for family dinner, and then he left with the stuff I've been forgetting to mail to my son. His wife does not suffer from the post-office phobia I struggle with. And now here is Monday again! I need to decide whether to be a Cybils judge very soon.

My currently reading is 19 (14 active), which is one page on Goodreads and makes me feel accomplished. This includes six I only touch in between other books, five that have bookmarks but I'm not really reading, three from my shelves, a serial audio from Baen, an audio CD for the car, a KINDLE app book, a Foolscap GoH book, and a Cybils poetry book.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading so I'll sign up there. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers and I've got a YA book and the Cybils poetry to qualify me.

Started: 

The Haunting of Hill House Poppy Done to Death (Aurora Teagarden, #8)Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1)At the Edge (Robyn Hunter, #9)


The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson. This is for next month's Cloudy book club, not the one on Saturday. That one I haven't started yet. Luckily it's been postponed to next month.

Poppy Done to Death, Charlaine Harris. Another audio Aurora Teagarden. I am working my way through them.

Iron and Magic, Ilona Andrews. Backtracking from the last Kate Daniel's book to see how her enemy Hugh turned up on the good guy side.

At the Edge, Norah McClintock. I'm curious to see if Nick is still around so I skipped to the last Robyn Hunter book.



Completed:

The Haunting of Hill House Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1)The Stars My Destination
Long Way DownAt the Edge (Robyn Hunter, #9)Poppy Done to Death (Aurora Teagarden, #8)

The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson. Very claustrophobic and intense. It was fascinating watching through Elinor's viewpoint as that felt very shaky. It was also interesting seeing the world as it was back then and what how people's expectations limited and shaped them.

Iron and Magic, Ilona Andrews. This was a lot of fun! It had much less baggage than the Kate Daniels books, so I didn't have to remember zillions of characters. Instead just two super powered people who have the hots for each other squabble and one-up each other while working together to defeat more super powered enemies.

The Stars My Destination, 
Alfred Bester. The people seemed utterly alien to me, in a way that Shirley Jackson's characters did not. As it's a science fiction novel, I found their unrecognizable motives and decisions as intriguing as following what Bester does with jaunting. Is that how love affairs are meant to work? It's not uncommon for women in old SF to see utterly inhuman, but in this case so were the men. Not flat, but alien. It was an interesting read.

Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds. Cybils poetry book. Ouch. The individual poems don't really stand alone, but the whole book is a powerful epic mostly contained in a young man's ride down in an elevator along with many of the dead from his life. Will he join them? Has he joined them? Is there any other possible path?

At the Edge, Norah McClintock. OK, in all the Robyn Hunter books I'm impressed with Robyn's independence and poise, even if she rarely figures out anything useful until after she's in whatever danger the finale finds her. And she usually isn't the one who rescues herself. And I'm annoyed by the teen drama, especially with her best friend. In this case I found myself sympathizing with the friend -- Nick was rotten and instead of cheering them on I wanted more space. And the mom was as awful in this one as she was in the first book; at least Robyn let herself feel a bit irritated over her parent's monumental selfishness. No, it's not a fun surprise to tell a teen that you want to move next week away from her father, her friends, and the last year or so of high school. This is the last book but in my head Robyn stages a custody move in the next installment.

Poppy Done to Death, Charlaine Harris. It was fun watching Aurora grapple with her feelings of discomfort and distaste as she helps wrap up her murdered sister-in-law's life. Aurora is very much into fidelity and loyalty and keeping up standards, and seeing the proof of Poppy's more free wheeling life with multiple lovers and scandals discomforts her and gives her a chance to examine what she wants for herself. And what she wants is a family where everyone can rely on each other.


Bookmarks Moved In:

Son of the Black Sword (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, #1)Tell the Wolves I'm HomeTender MorselsBook Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason
Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost HeroOne Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2)I Am Princess XMary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein

Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia. 57/? Baen's podcast serial. Trust is hard when you are infamous for betrayal.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt. Still inching along. This kid is looking for emotional pain and it's not that hard to find.

Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan. 2/10 discs. Another two tracks down!

Book Lust, Nancy Pearl. Still in the A's.

Founding Martyr, Christian di Spigna.  Boston Massacre. Successful career. Dead wife.

One Good Dragon Deserves Another, Rachel Aaron. Brothers are tough.

I Am Princess X, Cherie Priest. I am starting to like these kids. I hope they are worth it!

Mary's Monster, Lita Judge. The next 2018 Cybils poetry book.


Picture Books:

None this week.

Palate Cleansers

These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)The Inn of the Sixth HappinessThe Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeCookieGive All to Love (Sanguinet Saga, #11)Reading and Learning to Read

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.

Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Alan Burgess.

The Educated Child, William Bennett. English in Kindergarten and first grade. These guys do not seem aware of the latest data on homework's inefficiency.

Cookie, Jacqueline Wilson.

Give All to Love, Patricia Veryan. She's his ward. She's not jealous at all. Nope.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. Why reading is fun.

Reading Challenges
  1. Cybils 2017. Nothing.
  2. Cybils 2018. Finished Long Way Down, working on the Mary Shelley one.
  3. Reading My Library. Nothing.
  4. KCLS Ten to Try. Cybils for the win!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Social Butterfly Me

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Well, I've had a week of empty nesting and I don't think I can keep up this pace.

After an emotional, protracted parting from my son on Sunday (He yelled "I gotta get the door" as he dove out of the car. His key card wasn't working at his dorm yet so he had to catch someone else going in.) I planned to drive straight home from the hotel on Monday morning. But while unpacking his backpack he found a Seattle library book I had asked him to drop off for me, so on Monday I started by going back by the college. This time I forced him to hug me. Then I settled into my Charlaine Harris audio book and drove back home, stopping for a lunch somewhere north of Olympia.

Tuesday Linda and I took ourselves out to enjoy Blinded By The Light, which had English accents and Bruce Springsteen songs. Like chocolate and peanut butter, it turns out those are great things that taste great together. Wednesday I went out to my local breakfast place and actually shopped for meals, so that I made dinner on both Wednesday and Friday. This may not seem like much but I've been ducking cooking for almost a month now. Wednesday was linguine with Brie and roasted red bell peppers, and Friday was a Mexican lasagna with cheese.

Thursday was time to meet up with a friend for lunch. Parking was hard! Friday was another lunch and than a movie with a friend from out of town -- Kathy and I met online while pregnant with our now almost 21-year olds. We ate at BOILING POINT, which was fun because you get to have fire on your table while you eat. And then we went to see Decker and Shaw, the Fast & Furious movie. We sat chatting as the credits rolled at the end, and I discovered that there are two extra scenes that I missed when seeing the film with Linda and Alexander.

When I mentioned this at dinner with the family, Susan said she was thinking of seeing it herself. So I ended up going again on Sunday. I am sure getting my money's worth out of my Regal Unlimited pass. And for more movie fun, I joined in with my nephew and sister as he finished his Twilight movie watching -- the third movie on Saturday night and then both parts of Breaking Dawn on Sunday. That's a lot of movie watching!


My currently reading is amazingly steady at 22. Three from my shelves, six I only touch in between other books, five that have bookmarks but I'm not really reading them, a serial audio from Baen, an audio CD for the car, a KINDLE app book, a library book, a Foolscap GoH book, two poetry Cybils books and a book club book.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called It's Monday! What Are You Reading so I'll sign up there. There's also a version that is kidlit focussed at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers and several YA books and the poetry to qualify me.

Started: 

Voices of the FallLast Scene Alive (Aurora Teagarden Mystery, #7)Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files (The Dresden Files, #12.5)Last Chance (Robyn Hunter, #1)
The Desperate Mission (Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi, #1)Give All to Love (Sanguinet Saga, #11)Long Way DownMary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein

Voices of the Fall, edited by John Ringo and Gary Poole. The second anthology from various authors set in Ringo's zombie apocalypse.

Last Scene Alive, Charlaine Harris. Another reread in the Aurora Teagarden saga.

Side Jobs, Jim Butcher. For my Tuesday book club.

Last Chance, Norah McClintock. From my shelves, for my book team.

The Desperate Mission, Jude Watson. From my shelves, for my book team.

Give All to Love, Patricia Veryan. When I buy books I've already read, they go in the slow-read pile.

Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds. Cybils poetry book.

Mary's Monster, Lita Judge. Another Cybils poetry book, because the first one was really sad.


Completed:

Voices of the FallLast Chance (Robyn Hunter, #1)The Emperor's Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #1)Last Scene Alive (Aurora Teagarden Mystery, #7)
The Desperate Mission (Star Wars: The Last of the Jedi, #1)Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files (The Dresden Files, #12.5)Nightchaser (Endeavor, #1)

Voices of the Fall, edited by John Ringo and Gary Poole. After a really sad introduction by Gary Poole (apparently most of the people he talks to about this book would shoot their mother BEFORE she became a zombie just on general principles) the stories kicked in. There are a lot more survivors on land than the Sea Wolves knew about, and we hear a lot of their stories. These range from stories of survival and the societies that make that happen to more straightforward task completions. And the first thing that happens when the zombies come is that women forget about birth control. About the third thing that happens is the men decide that's just as well because now we have to repopulate the earth anyway. Personally I would postpone the repopulation until after the need to run away very fast goes down a bit, but apparently I don't understand physics or something. Anyway, it was fun to see how authors imagined life with zombies everywhere from Maine to New Zealand.

Last Chance, Norah McClintock. I've been hopping around in this YA mystery series, and I've finally tripped across the first one. Robyn is caught up in a misunderstanding at a protest march, and after her parents completely betray her she bargains for a sentence of mandatory volunteering at a pet shelter in lieu of being charged for dropping a bag of dog poop she was holding when a security guard attacked her. There she sees Nick, the boy who stole all the money she raised at a junior high fundraiser (also for pets). She and Nick start a maybe-friendship/maybe more while dealing with thefts and vehicle homicide (he confesses, she proves he didn't do it). I like how Robyn solves this, but was left with a very bad taste in my mouth for the way her parents treat her.

The Emperor's Blades, Brian Staveley. My brother and I kept reading this as the story of how the three children of an evil emperor try to keep power after he is disposed, but I think the author regards the kids as heroic. They don't do anything heroic, though. Occasionally their opponents will do something SUPER evil to encourage us to cheer for these only sorta bad guys though. The author also tends to forget that women are people -- he tries for a while but keeps absentmindedly treating them like pieces of plot that motivate or inspire the men to do real character type things.

Last Scene Alive, Charlaine Harris. Another audio to brighten my drive. This one starts with Roe at the end of the black grief period after the death of Martin. She is just starting to open her eys again when Robin comes back, as does another murder. The emphasis was on her steps forward (and back) in engaging with life again, helped along by frustrations with her step-son and an awareness of the selfishness of grief.

The Desperate Mission, Jude Watson. It's a kids book about a sad Jedi zooming off to a mystery planet to have adventures. He also has regrets. Does what it says on the tin.

Side Jobs, Jim Butcher. Well, I was behind at the meeting on Tuesday and I think I'll be ahead on the next meeting, but these were fairly fun adventures in the life of Harry Dresden and friends. I love it when the author puts in little details about when and how the story got written, although I prefer it when they don't trash talk the story I'm about to read. My favorite was the final story, about Murphy after Harry's death. Maybe I'll pick the series up again now that I'm reminded where I left off.

Nightchaser, Amanda Bouchet. The library Romance Club pick. I missed the meeting, and it's probably just as well since I didn't really like the book. I think this author and I just don't really mesh; the science fiction background seems rather generic, the main character seems a bit dim, and the romance is glacial and I wavered between thinking the couple shouldn't get together and then not really seeing why they did but whatever.

Bookmarks Moved In:

Son of the Black Sword (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, #1)Tell the Wolves I'm HomeTender MorselsBook Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason
Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution's Lost HeroOne Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2)I Am Princess XThe Stars My Destination

Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia. 56/? Baen's podcast serial. I just started the podcast. Aurora Teagarden takes all of my listening time.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Carol Rifka Brunt. Still inching along. This kid is looking for emotional pain and it's not that hard to find.

Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan. 2/10 discs. Another two tracks down!

Book Lust, Nancy Pearl. Still in the A's.

Founding Martyr, Christian di Spigna. I'm waiting to hear about his kids.

One Good Dragon Deserves Another, Rachel Aaron. They are starting to run around the board now.

I Am Princess X, Cherie Priest. I am starting to like these kids. I hope they are worth it!

The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester. I am not liking these characters, but I think they will do interesting things.

Picture Books:

None this week.

Palate Cleansers

These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading. Give All to Love will be one of these.

A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)The Inn of the Sixth HappinessThe Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeCookieReading and Learning to Read

A Traitor to Memory, Elizabeth George.

Inn of the Sixth Happiness, Alan Burgess.

The Educated Child, William Bennett.

Cookie, Jacqueline Wilson.

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca.

Reading Challenges
  1. Cybils 2017. Nothing.
  2. Cybils 2018. Working on the longer poetry books.
  3. Reading My Library. Nothing.
  4. KCLS Ten to Try. Poetry!