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Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

My Man Jeeves
P.G. Wodehouse, Simon Prebble
Progress: 52/308minutes
Dragonfly Falling
Adrian Tchaikovsky
Progress: 4%
Kevin Hearne
Progress: 65%
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
Nymphéas noirs
Michel Bussi
Progress: 185/493pages

Reading progress update: I've read 185 out of 493 pages.

Nymphéas noirs - Michel Bussi

So far this is pretty good, although there's a lot of Monet and Impressionists stuff, and I feel like I'm progressing very slowly. I'm working off of the assumption that Northern France counts as Western Europe for the purposes of Fantasyland 6.


And I still need to read 100 pages for my Jail visit. I'm planning on finishing Tricked (prorating the amount that's left would yield 112 pages).


Edit: In case anyone's interested, this is a murder mystery that takes place in Giverny and was recently translated into English under the title Black Water Lilies.

Booklikes-opoly Turn 34 (July 21)

I just finished up my read for square Mystery 35 last night, so here we go:

Hmmm....I'm thinking perhaps one of these two:

Murder Most Malicious (A Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery) - Alyssa Maxwell  Nymphéas noirs (TERRES FRANCE) (French Edition) - Michel Bussi  

Unless we can count Italy in Roman times and then I can break out The Iron Hand of Mars by Lindsey Davis.


Anyway, since doubles:


I had to check the timestamp on this one, but they are different, so yes, I rolled the exact same roll twice in a row.


I just finished Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker which took place in the Civil War and I'm not about to reread it so I'm thinking I'll skip this one. I don't really have any other possibilities and I'm not about to read a book that I wasn't already planning to read.


Last roll:


Just visiting, so I'll have to read 100 pages of something to donate to the Jail Library.


The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid

The Mermaids Singing  - Val McDermid

Series: Tony Hill & Carol Jordan #1


So this was weird. Definitely weird. I was interested enough to keep reading and I did like part of the ending, but there was definite weirdness going on. I mean, the phone calls...?


And the people warning me about the gruesomeness really weren't kidding. Overall I'm not really sure what to make of it since it was also quite dry and clinical in parts, so I'm going with a completely middle of the road rating unless I change my mind. I know I could put off writing a review, but I'd rather just put something down now so that it's done.


I'm thinking about checking out the next one in the series because I didn't mind Carol and I thought Tony might be better in future books. I also quite like police procedurals.


I read this for booklikes-opoly Mystery 35 "Read a book tagged police procedural or detective on GR, or has a MC who is a police detective". This one is tagged police procedural and one of the MC's (Jordan) is a police detective, so I'm pretty sure it counts. Other people confirmed the genre too. At 416 pages, this adds another $10 to my bank, leaving me with a whopping $247!

Reading progress update: I've read 23%.

The Mermaids Singing  - Val McDermid

He opened the boxes and took out the stacks of document wallets they contained. Carol had labelled them all neatly. Fluent capitals, Tony noted. A woman comfortable with the written word.



Also, what is a "fluent" capital? A neat capital letter? As opposed to indecipherable scrawl?? This is for case evidence documentation back in the 90s. Of course it would be legible.

What Angels Fear DNF @ 13%.

What Angel Fear (Book 1) - C.S. Harris

There isn't anything really wrong with this book; it's just failing to draw me in. I'm pretty sure the events of chapter seven aren't supposed elicit a sigh.

They go to to arrest our hero Sebastian for the actress's murder, one of the constables draws a knife and accidentally mortally wounds the other constable. Then the first constable blames it all on Sebastian and Sebastian flees in a stolen hansom.

(show spoiler)

Anyway, I'm just not feeling it and Sebastian feels a little too perfect and world-weary for me at the moment, so I figure I'll move on. I was trying to read this for booklikes-opoly square Mystery 25 "Read a book that's tagged historical mystery" since it takes place in 1811 (does it count as Regency era if they're just talking about the Regency and it hasn't happened yet?). I did read more than 10% of the book though, so I'm going to count the 44 pages that I read as $2 for my booklikes-opoly bank and move on.


New bank balance: $237

Booklikes-opoly Turn 33 (July 19)

I'm bailing on When Angels Fall (for now, anyway - more on that later), so I rolled again:


Another new square! Tell me, does The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid count as police procedural? I think the MC is a profiler. If not, I have some Peter Robinson books at home or I could read Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings since I'm pretty sure Murdoch is the MC.

The Mermaids Singing - Val McDermid  Except the Dying - Maureen Jennings  


The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

The A.B.C. Murders (Hercule Poirot, #13) - Agatha Christie

Series: Hercule Poirot #13


A murderer seems to be working his (or her) way through his (or her) victims using The ABC Railway Guide. Hastings makes an appearance and the mystery is quite entertaining although the investigation and resolution flounder a bit before we get to the ending and the various reveals.


I read this for booklikes-opoly square Paradise Pier 30 “Read a book with a twist”. There is, of course, a twist in a Poirot mystery, so I’m counting the 331 pages as another $6 added to my bank, giving me a new balance of $235.


Ubik by Philip K Dick (audiobook)

Ubik - Philip K. Dick, Luke Daniels

Narrator: Luke Daniels


Mild spoilers.


This book was mad. This is an alternate futuristic vision of 1992 where psychics of various kinds are counteracted by people with counter-talents. The main character, Joe Chip, goes off on a contract with various others from the firm he works for. When disaster strikes (as it is wont to do), they return to Earth to find it strangely changed and weird messages from their boss appearing in the oddest places(e.g. graffiti on a wall, inside cigarette packages). It quickly devolves into each of the survivors being hunted down by a strange illness or force. It’s kind of hard to explain without going into a whole lot of spoilers, but I can probably get away with saying that technology and objects start turning into older versions of themselves and this throws everyone for a loop.


I think my favourite part was how in this version of 1992, doors refuse to open for you unless you tip them a nickel. Joe Chip spent some time arguing with his own door because he was broke.

Booklikes-opoly Turn 32 (July 16th)

Bank Balance: $229


Starting from Cars Land 16...doubles!



A square I've never landed on before! I have lots of choices though.


The Pilgrim of Hate - Ellis Peters  The Chatter of the Maidens - Alys Clare  What Angels Fear - C.S. Harris  The Nun's Tale - Candace Robb  Cruel as the Grave - Sharon Kay Penman  Sacred Treason - James Forrester  The Iron Hand of Mars - Lindsey Davis A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Sherry Thomas  

Too bad my copy for the More Historical Than Fiction Bookclub read hasn't come in from the library yet because I think it would fit too.




This one is always tricky for me because I don't have a "suspense" tag for my shelves, and I'm not entirely sure what counts as suspenseful. Are we talking thrillers? I seem to have these choices:


The A.B.C. Murders (Hercule Poirot, #13) - Agatha Christie  By Gaslight: A Novel - Steven D. Price  The Mermaids Singing - Val McDermid 

And maybe some of the historical mysteries too.


Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Barker

Mendoza in Hollywood: A Company Novel (The Company) - Kage Baker

Series: The Company #3


This installment of the Company time travel series finally reveals who Mendoza is telling her story to. I’d forgotten about this aspect of the first book because the glimpses of it are so quick, but I’m pretty sure they were there. This mostly takes place in Los Angeles, California, in 1862 where Mendoza is tasked with saving botanical specimens from their upcoming extinction due to the upcoming droughts and subsequent over-grazing. Anyway, there were some interesting Civil War aspects to the plot with the Company operatives uncovering a British conspiracy to gain control of California.


There was one really long chapter that covered one of the operatives’ movie nights in excruciating detail that I feel could have been mostly cut, but I’m left with more of a desire to continue the series now that I had at the start of the book.


I read this for booklikes-opoly square Cars Land 16 “Read a book set in…California”. Various sources put the paperback page count at 352 so I’m adding another $9 to my bank balance since this the second time I’ve landed on this square since the shake-up.


New Bank Balance: $229                  


Previous Update:


Reading progress update: I've read 77%.

Mendoza in Hollywood: A Company Novel (The Company) - Kage Baker

The setting for this book is (mostly) Civil War era California:

"As far as I can tell, the Yankee’s idea of freedom is his right to carry a pistol with which he may shoot strangers in the street."

On a previous page, the same character had remarked:

"Surely there’s been enough blood shed in this poor country. Wouldn’t you like to live in a city where you could walk down the streets without fear of being shot? I can assure you, in her native land your mother had no need to wear a pistol. Order and safety and the rule of law, that’s the blessing of a modern empire."

By the way, this book was first published back in 2000.

Booklikes-opoly Turn 31 (July 14th)

Starting from Main Street 10:


I've landed on this square since the shake-up, too. I could go looking for a book with a page count ending in 1, 9, 2, or 6...or....Mendoza in Hollywood should take place in California! I have to admit, I'm really tempted.


Mendoza in Hollywood: A Company Novel (The Company) - Kage Baker 



Murder Past Due by Miranda James

Murder Past Due - Miranda James

Series: Cat in the Stacks #1


A well-known author of crime thrillers is murdered in his hometown and Charlie Harris, a librarian with a Maine coon cat called Diesel, feels compelled to help the cops investigate. The murder mystery aspect was okay although definitely still finding its sea legs, but Diesel is what makes me want to continue this series.


I read this for booklikes-opoly square Main Street 10 “Read a book that takes place in a small town in the USA”. This murder mystery takes place in a small college town, so with 294 pages it nets me another $6 for my bank balance. My new total is $220. I’ve landed on this square since the shake-up, but since I didn’t complete a book for it I’m not applying the frequent lander multiplier.

Booklikes-opoly Turn 30 (July 12)

Bank Balance: $214

Starting from Frontierland 4


This is the second time I've landed on this square since the shake-up but I didn't end finishing a book for this square last time so I don't think I get the location multiplier if I finish a book this time. I don't have many books that take place in small towns in the US (small towns elsewhere are a bit easier to find in my TBR), although I think a book I borrowed from my mother would qualify. I think it takes place in a small town. Not sure if I'll read it though.

Murder Past Due - Miranda James  


The little attempt at an x indicates that I didn't read a book for that square:


The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman

Irene is sent to retrieve a book from a chaos-infested alternate world for The Library with the help of her assistant/trainee Kai. She belongs to a secret organization called The Invisible Library that collects books and stores them in a massive library complex located somehow adjacent to the many alternate worlds to which its operatives may travel. These alternate worlds all apparently have the same physical laws but they range from the more orderly worlds where magic isn’t a thing to the more chaotic worlds where you can encounter vampires and werewolves and somehow this leads to more steampunk-style technology.


The concept here is interesting but I never really connected with the book or its characters. There’s a revelation about a dragon that has little impact on the reader because the reader just doesn’t have the information to know why Irene reacts the way she does. It misses, the mark, basically. There are also several plot points that feel like the characters are required to be a bit slow on the uptake (the twists weren’t all that surprising) or it felt like a plot hole until it was finally explained (to be fair, these things were mostly explained).


The other thing that bugged me was the question of timeframes. The library has been around for at least several hundred years and possibly for several thousand. There seem to be a lot of Victorian-era steampunk worlds and there’s nothing to say that we’re not modern day or later (cell phones are a possible technology for the worlds). If we’re modern day or later (to give the library more “time” to exist), why are so many worlds “stuck” in what feels like earlier times? Do they actually get stuck technologically based on the level of chaos in them? Are there futuristic more orderly worlds? If so, has more time passed or did technology just progress faster? These questions kept bugging me all throughout the book and the origin of the library is a mystery. I’m not sure if I’d be disappointed with the answer.


Basically, this book just wasn’t quite fun enough to warrant a full three stars so I’m sticking with 2.5. I am somewhat curious to find out more about The Library so I may read the next book although I’m not certain I’ll actually get any answers, so I won’t be rushing out to get find it.


I read this for booklikes-opoly square Frontierland 4 “Read a book where…the letters in the title can be used to spell RIVER”: The Invisible Library. Since this is the second time I’ve landed on this square since the shake-up, I get a location multiplier of 1.5 for this 328 page book, which gives me another $9 for my bank.


New Bank Balance: $214


Previous Updates:

16 %

64 %

Reading progress update: I've read 64%.

The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman

I'm confused by the cat burglar affair explanation.