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Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

Weaver's Lament: Industrial Magic Book 2 (Kindle Single)
Emma Newman
The Mirror Empire: Worldbreaker Saga 1
Kameron Hurley
Leviathan Wakes
James S.A. Corey, Jefferson Mays
Life: An Unauthorised Biography: A Natural History of the First Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth
Richard Fortey
Progress: 274/371pages
Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics)
Herman Melville
Manifold: Time
Stephen Baxter, Chris Schluep
Progress: 99/480pages
Cherie Priest
Progress: 18%
The Long War
Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
Progress: 68/501pages

Reading progress update: I've read 274 out of 371 pages.

Life: An Unauthorised Biography: A Natural History of the First Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth - Richard Fortey

Chapter IX - Monstrous and Modest


In this chapter Fortey finally gets around to discussing the dinosaurs that roamed the Earth during the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods. He describes how our representations and museum displays of these creatures have evolved over time and discusses their relationship with modern birds and whether they would have been cold- or warm-blooded. He also notes that the Cretaceous period saw the first flowering plants and digresses far too long on Darwin's house with its chalk walk.


Yes, two chapters in one day!

Reading progress update: I've read 242 out of 371 pages.

Life: An Unauthorised Biography: A Natural History of the First Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth - Richard Fortey

Chapter VIII - The Great Continent


This chapter starts off with a digression about driving in the desert but moves on to discuss the signs of the passage of ancient glaciers in said desert and how all the continents were briefly joined as Pangea. Some of it was interesting but there really isn't much that was new to me other than some speculation about the die off in the Permian, which wasn't very satisfying (the explanation).

Bingo Card Filled!

But not technically blackout, because not all of the squares have been called yet. I created a new post because I didn't want to overwrite my other card version. Pumpkins with scary faces are read books that have been called; plain pumpkins are read books that have not been called.


Three more bingos today with the Amateur Sleuth call.


I have four bingos so far:

1st bingo: 1st row

2nd bingo: 2nd column

3rd bingo: 3rd column

4th bingo: 2nd row

5th bingo: 1st column

6th bingo: fifth row

7th bingo: diagonal up left to right



Because I've filled my called, I've devised the following method for keeping track of additional reads:



Completed reads have links to reviews (however short they may be); in-progress reads are in italics.


Diverse voicesRupert Wong, Cannibal Chef by Cassandra Khaw [Southeast Asian author[

Murder most foulThe Germanicus Mosaic by Rosemary Rowe [several murders take place]

Cozy mysteryA Knit Before Dying by Sadie Hartwell [cozy mystery that takes places in a small town where MC runs a yarn shop]

Serial/spree killerThe Lamp of the Wicked by Phil Rickman [at least one serial killer]

Locked room mystery*: Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie [woman murdered in her room that can only be accessed via the courtyard]


Magical realism: Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook) [urban fantasy set in the "real" world]

Classic noir*: The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett [lots of drinking and man's man stuff]

VampiresCarpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett [there are vampires]

Country house mystery: Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayer [murder in the country with limited pool of suspects]

WerewolvesThe Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett [werewolves in Uberwald, Angua]


In the dark, dark woods: The Iron Hand of Mars by Lindsey Davis [creepy Teutoberg forest scenes]

Witches: The Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell [Judith is a witch]

Free Space: Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook)

Supernatural: Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook) [magic is pretty supernatural]

Monsters: Harbinger of the Storm by Aliette de Bodard [star-demons and ahuizotls (both Aztec supernatural creatures]


Darkest London: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook) [set in London]

Haunted houses: The Lost Child of Lychford by Paul Cornell [haunting in the church, haunting in Judith's house]

Genre: horror: The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell [Ripper-style killings]

Demons: Lucifer Vol. 2 Children and Monsters [the devil and other demons]

Terrifying women*: Why Shoot a Butler? by Georgette Heyer [female author]


Amateur sleuth: Whose body? by Dorothy Sayers [Peter Wimsey]

Aliens: Sundiver by David Brin [some characters are aliens]

Chilling children: The Malice by Peter Newman [Vesper is 12 or 13]

Gothic: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen [gothic novel parody]

Ghost*: Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook) [ghosts of Nicholas Wallpenny, Henry Pyke]


*Additional Books

Locked Room Mystery: Murder of a Lady by Anthony Wynne [murder in a locked room]


Classic Noir: Pietr le Letton by Georges Simenon [GR category]


Terrifying Women: The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves [female author]


Ghost: The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch [ghost hunting on the Underground]


The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Rivers of London/Peter Grant #5.7 (not sure why it isn't 5.5)


This novella is an excellent little interlude with a mystery involving ghosts on the Underground and showcases many of our favourite characters: Nightingale, Toby, Abigail, Jaget, and Molly. Even Guleed gets a mention although she doesn't make an appearance. We get exposed to a little bit of the history of the Folly and it's just all around good fun.

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 118 pages.

The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch

Ok, I'll admit it. Part of the reason I skimmed through Pietr le Letton was because I really wanted to crack open this book.


Wish me luck with my bedtime reading!

Pietr le Letton by Georges Simenon

Pietr Le Letton - Georges Simenon

Series: Maigret #1


I admit that I started skimming before the halfway mark but didn't drop it entirely because I wanted to see whether it went anywhere. It sort of did, but I really wasn't impressed by a "mystery" where the supposedly great detective just follows a suspected criminal around because he doesn't have enough on him to arrest him. There was very little detecting going on; it was almost all tailing.


Perhaps the series gets better. I'm pretty sure I've read another Maigret that was an ok read but this first book really doesn't want me to pick up any others.


At least this book let me reach my French book goal for this year. I need to pick better French books in general, though, because it seems that I rated the majority of my French choices as one-star reads. Ouch.

The Crow Trap

The Crow Trap - Ann Cleeves

Series: Vera Standhope #1



The first Vera Standhope book explores how a suicide may be linked to some subsequent murders and offers a late introduction to Vera herself. Overall I found the book to be quite enjoyable although I found the ending to be a bit of a let down, somehow. I do plan on exploring the rest of the series though.


This also marks my 144th book read this year, which completes my reading challenge. Not sure if I'll up it.


Previous update:

39 %

Reading progress update: I've read 26 out of 191 pages.

Pietr Le Letton - Georges Simenon

Mrs Mortimer-Levingston perdait son sang-froid.

— Alors ?... C’est ainsi que vous cherchez ?... prononça-t-elle en s’adressant à Maigret. On vient de me dire que vous êtes de la police… Mon mari a peut-être été tué… Qu’est-ce que vous attendez ?

I'm with Mrs Mortimer-Levingston here.


Since I appear to be missing it, can someone tell me what's so awesome about this book? All Maigret does so far is watch a supposed master criminal commit crimes and stand there like an imbecile.

Reading progress update: I've read 39%.

The Crow Trap - Ann Cleeves

And now we finally get introduced to Vera Stanhope!


We had to go through the stories of all three women leading up to the second death: Rachael, Anne and Grace.


I'm not sure I'd like all the books to be like this. 

I think I woke up the kitty


Instead of starting the book for the buddy read, I'm bothering the cat and taking pictures out of consideration for Themis-Athena who hasn't received her copy yet.



Maigret Buddy Read

Pietr Le Letton - Georges Simenon

Who's ready?


I have another book on the go, so I don't mind whether I start this today or not.

Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers

Clouds of Witness - Dorothy L. Sayers

I have to say that I have very little sympathy for Cathcart. This was a very convoluted mystery. Peter Wimsey investigates the death of his sister's fiancé when the police blame his brother, aided by his friend Parker. Saying more than that would spoil things.


It started it off pretty slow. I have to say that Sayers inquest and courtroom scenes aren't very riveting. Things pick up when Peter's mother comes onto the scene, and the scenes with banter and so on are fun.


I read this for the "Country House Mystery" square for the Halloween Bingo, making this my last official Bingo read. It fits the square quite nicely since the death takes place in the country and there's a limited pool of suspects. It's interesting that most of the salient events take place on the 14th of October, the same day I started to read the book (well, yes, some stuff happens before midnight on the 13th, but still).


Previous updates:

40 %

26 %

Reading progress update: I've read 40%.

Clouds of Witness - Dorothy L. Sayers

Lord Peter, concerning his mother's "detective instinct":

I think my mother’s talents deserve a little acknowledgment. I said so to her, as a matter of fact, and she replied in these memorable words: ‘My dear child, you can give it a long name if you like, but I’m an old-fashioned woman and I call it mother-wit, and it’s so rare for a man to have it that if he does you write a book about him and call him Sherlock Holmes.’



I'm also glad that I recently read Northanger Abbey because otherwise I wouldn't have appreciated a reference to it made earlier.

Reading progress update: I've read 26%.

Clouds of Witness - Dorothy L. Sayers

My last official Halloween Bingo book, reading for "Country House Mystery" square. I'd say it's a good fit since we've had a murder committed out in the country in the middle of the night at shooting party. It looks like there may be an outside suspect but that doesn't negate the general situation.


So far I'm finding the laying out of the mystery to be a bit dull, but I'm sure it'll pick up.

My irresponsible Millennial avocado salad


Just felt like sharing. Cucumber, mushroom, red pepper and avocado with poppy seed dressing. 

Reading progress update: I've read 214 out of 371 pages.

Life: An Unauthorised Biography: A Natural History of the First Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth - Richard Fortey

Chapter VII - Silent Forests, Crowded Oceans


I'm still slowly working my way through this book. Chapter seven discusses the Carboniferous coal forests and their denizens. Those old forests sound like gloomy, creepy places with only the odd sursurrus to break the silence. There were dragonflies as big as seagulls and centipedes as big as a human. It makes the centipede alien in Futurama feel not so far-fetched, doesn't it? There are some suggestions that the growth of such animals was promoted by an increased level of oxygen relative to today.


And we aren't to forget to crabs and sharks in the sea.