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Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

An Excellent Mystery
Ellis Peters
Progress: 100%
Europe In Autumn
Dave Hutchinson, Graham Rowat
Engineering Animals: How Life Works
Alan Mcfadzean, Mark Denny
Progress: 125/314pages
The Rise of Yeast: How the Sugar Fungus Shaped Civilization
Nicholas P. Money
Conservation of Shadows
Yoon Ha Lee
Progress: 22%
Le premier jour
Marc Levy
Progress: 180/496pages
Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics)
Herman Melville
Manifold: Time
Stephen Baxter, Chris Schluep
Progress: 99/480pages
The Long War
Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
Progress: 68/501pages

Snakes and Ladders - Update 4



(Moonlight Reader's rule post)



1. Author is a woman: Poulets grillés par Sophie Hénaff (2 dice: 2+6 = 8)


9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K: Blood Price by Tanya Huff (4+4 = 8)


17. Genre: horror: Salvage: a Ghost Story by Duncan Ralston (2 dice: 3+6 = 9)


26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long: An Excellent Mystery by Ellis Peters [Cadfael #11]

37. Has won an award


Probably won't end up reading for that one.

BLopoly board

Alright, I couldn't resist. I took MR's fancy board and PM's pandemic idea and made this (for those of us who are still playing Snakes & Ladders):


Feel free to use it if it strikes your fancy.

Reading progress update: I've read 25%.

An Excellent Mystery  - Ellis Peters

I have a suspicious about this Julian Cruce...

Snakes and Ladders - Update 3


Phew, just missed that snake.


(Moonlight Reader's rule post)



1. Author is a woman: Poulets grillés par Sophie Hénaff (2 dice: 2+6 = 8)


9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K: Blood Price by Tanya Huff (4+4 = 8)


17. Genre: horror: Salvage: a Ghost Story by Duncan Ralston



26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long


I think I'm going to go with Cadfael...


Salvage: a Ghost Story by Duncan Ralston

Salvage - Duncan Ralston

This book started off fairly well, with a man, Owen, trying to come to terms with the death of his sister. This is a horror story, so the horror comes in as outright hallucinations, which honestly isn’t quite as creepy as something more subtle would have been. Some of the initial events seem like a bit of a stretch but make sense in the context of what he’s been going through.


Owen heads out to cottage country to stay in the same rental as his sister and to go diving in the same lake where she drowned, which is apparently a flooded reservoir over the old part of the town. There’s some revelations about his past, some of which seemed pretty obvious (i.e. who his father was) and a not exactly random but not entirely necessary sexual liaison that just seemed kind of weird, especially considering what happened later.


As we progress in the book it seemed like the bad guy or the evil or whatever you want to call it gained more and more power but that power seemed to be applied inconsistently, so it didn’t entirely work for me. I just couldn’t accept the giant hand made of water that showed up out of the blue. I’m not sure whether someone who reads more horror would have liked it better but it just didn’t quite strike the right notes for me.


This book did have a lot of potential, however. I mean, flooded town where people go diving to peruse the ruins is a good, creepy starting point. Overall I’d consider it okay but not great, and I wasn’t discouraged from eventually checking out Ralston’s collection of short stories, which I also have. I mean, it was fun to read a horror story in a middle of nowhere town where you had to drive an hour just to get to the hospital in Peterborough (for reference for non-Canadians, Google tells me Peterborough is 125 km NE of Toronto and 270 km SW of Ottawa, and has a little over 80k people, which is more than I guessed).

Snakes and Ladders - Update 2



(Moonlight Reader's rule post)



1. Author is a woman: Poulets grillés par Sophie Hénaff (2 dice: 2+6 = 8)


9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K: Blood Price by Tanya Huff

17. Genre: horror


This one is harder, just because I don't read enough horror to flag it consistently as a genre...but I did find one candidate easily enough.


Blood Price by Tanya Huff

Blood Price (Victoria Nelson #1) - Tanya Huff

Series: Victoria Nelson #1


This is definitely not a book with which to play the “just one more chapter” game (long chapters). It’s a vampire urban fantasy that was written before cellphones were commonplace (this is important to the plot). Part of its charm comes from its setting, however. It takes place in Toronto and makes references to Canadian Tire instead of Walmart. It can probably most succinctly be summarized in its own words:

In eighteen short hours, the hordes of hell could be ripping the city and its people apart.


“And the only thing in the way is one half-blind ex-cop and the bastard son of Henry VIII.”


Covid-19 may be influencing my ratings since I seem to be going easier on books, but there’s a good chance I’ll check out the rest of the series although I’m not rushing off to do it. The villain did feel a little cartoony at times but wasn't entirely unbelievable either.


Previous updates:

57 %

30 %

25 %


Reading progress update: I've read 57%.

Blood Price (Victoria Nelson #1) - Tanya Huff

“The people writing these stories don’t believe in vampires, and most of the people reading these stories don’t believe in vampires, but we’re talking about a culture where more people know their astrological sign than their blood type. Somewhere out there, somebody is taking all this seriously and spending his spare time sharpening stakes.”


The vampire is worried about people's reaction to stories of a vampire in their midst.

Reading progress update: I've read 30%.

Blood Price (Victoria Nelson #1) - Tanya Huff

Right, run toward the vampire. *Rolls eyes*


You deserve what you get, Vicki.

Reading progress update: I've read 25%.

Blood Price (Victoria Nelson #1) - Tanya Huff

So we have some gratuitous partnering that seems mandatory in urban fantasy although I take comfort in the author's foreword that the relationships are only secondary to the plot. But we also get lots of Toronto points (as in, points awarded to the book for making Toronto references) and I'll probably be tempted to continue the series on that strength alone. So many of the books I read either take place in places I've never been or don't know well enough to really get that sense of familiarity. Not that I was familiar with the Toronto of the early nineties, but I wasn't an adult in the early nineties either, so it's a bit of a wash there.

Snakes and Ladders - Update 1

Slow progress.



(Moonlight Reader's rule post)



1. Author is a woman: Poulets grillés par Sophie Hénaff

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K


Now to scour my to-read list...

Poulets grillés par Sophie Hénaff

Poulets grillés - Sophie Hénaff

Series: Anne Capestan #1


(English follows)


Pas mal, en somme. C’est vrai qu’il y avait quelques scènes bizarres parsemées ici et là à travers le livre et qu’elles n’avaient pas de lien évident aux événements du livre, mais elles ont été élucidées avant la fin. Je n’aime pas tellement la technique mais je la pardonne ici.


L’histoire concerne une bande de policiers dont pour une raison ou une autre, on voulait s’en débarrasser. Alors on les a plantés dans un placard et on leur a ordonné à former leur propre brigade. Pour passer le temps, ils enquêtent des vieux dossiers et découvrent de nouvelles choses, naturellement.


Il y a des moments ridicules ainsi que beaucoup de sérieux. C’est rare que je trouve des livres en français que je suis tentée de lire, alors c’est probable que je continuerai la série.



Not bad, in summary. It’s true that are some random scenes scattered throughout that don’t have any obvious links to the event in the book, but they were explained before the end. I don’t particularly like the technique but I’m forgiving it here.


The story concerns a group of police officers that the wider force wants to be rid of. So they put them in the closet and make them form their own office. To pass the time, they investigate some old files and discover some new things, naturally.


There are ridiculous moments mixed in with a lot of seriousness. It’s not all slapstick. It’s rare that I find French books I’m tempted to read, so it’s likely I’ll continue with the series.


Previous updates:

84 %

2 %

Reading progress update: I've read 84%.

Poulets grillés - Sophie Hénaff

Sometimes this book is heavy and serious, with blacklisted police still trying to do their job and investigates old crimes, etc, and sometimes we get exchanges like this:

– Non, c’est mon fils. Il veut devenir coiffeur, alors je le laisse faire. Je lui donne deux euros et comme ça, il est content, il apprend.

Ce sacrifice capillaire sur l’autel de la paternité attendrit Capestan.

– Il a quel âge, ton fils ?

– Neuf ans. Je sais, c’est pas parfait, mais bon. Le pauvre, il a des ciseaux à bout rond.


(The guy lets his nine-year-old kid cut his hair with scissors with rounded tips.)


I just don't know what to say to that. Also, just how many kids does Torrez have? 3? 4?

The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley

The Golden Tresses of the Dead - Alan Bradley

Series: Flavia de Luce #10


I have to say that listening to Flavia is a lot of fun, although I'm not sure I really understood what was actually going on in the mystery. I'm not sure whether I just wasn't paying enough attention or whether it really was as wishy washy as it seemed. But anyway, even if the mystery was only so so, Flavia's shenanigans are always fun. And I have to say that she definitely deserves her cousin, Undine. That little terror.

Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Walking to Aldebaran - Adrian Tchaikovsky

This was a short novella about an astronaut wandering some weird alien structure in space. The alien structure is a doorway to a complex of twisting corridors that sometimes lead to other doors at other stars. Basically, it’s Fae roads in space, complete with monsters that want to eat you and other travellers.


I thought the creepy atmosphere was well done, and although the “twist” is telegraphed well in advance, I still enjoyed the book and found it ended better than I was expecting there for a bit.


Previous updates:

40 %

32 %

Reading progress update: I've read 2%.

Poulets grillés - Sophie Hénaff

Son histoire avait commencé par un simple accident : un coéquipier blessé d’un coup de couteau au cours d’une arrestation. La routine. Le flic de remplacement pendant la convalescence avait été blessé à son tour. Les risques du métier. Le suivant avait pris une balle et trois jours de coma. Le dernier était mort, jeté du haut d’un immeuble. La culpabilité de Torrez avait été écartée chaque fois. Il ne pouvait être responsable en rien, pas même de négligence. Mais son aura était désormais plus épaisse que la poix. Il portait Malheur. Personne ne faisait plus équipe avec Torrez. Personne ne touchait Torrez et peu le regardaient encore dans les yeux. Sauf Capestan, qui se foutait des mauvais sorts.


– Je ne suis pas superstitieuse.


– Vous le deviendrez, affirma Valincourt, d’un ton sépulcral.


That Malheur made me smile.


So far, so good. The French is very readable.