Storeetllr's (Mary's) Final Thread of 2014 (Part 6) ~ Winter Is In The House! Brrrrrrr!

Forum75 Books Challenge for 2014

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Storeetllr's (Mary's) Final Thread of 2014 (Part 6) ~ Winter Is In The House! Brrrrrrr!

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Bearbeitet: Nov. 17, 2014, 10:49pm

Well, it was a gorgeous autumn here on the Front Range of Colorado, up to about 9:45 a.m. on Monday, November 10, when it went from a sunny 67F to a windy 40F in about a half hour, started snowing at around 11 a.m., and eventually plunged to a teeth-chatteringly frigid 18F by around 3 in the afternoon. (Note: That's a 50 degree drop in about 5 hours!!!) And it hasn't gotten above freezing since then until today, when it got to 37F (currently at around 2 p.m.). Seriously, Colorado? Isn't it a little early for this? I mean, it isn't even officially Winter yet!

Nothing for a sane person to do but stay inside, wrapped in a cozy comforter, with a thermos of hot coffee (or chocolate or tea) and a book. So, though some (including myself) have questioned my sanity over the years, that is exactly what I've done, leaving home only once for a grocery run to pick up some essentials and then scurrying back to the warmth and safety of my basement lair.

So here are a few images of how it went that first day, pretty much within a few hours' time:

And this was me:

First snow:

And a couple of days later:


Freezing little bunny, looks like it's also thinking "WTF?"

* * *

About me: I'm a pretty omnivoracious reader, with an especial taste for the fantasy and mystery genres, seasoned by a bit romance and/or horror. I also like Georgette Heyer-type romances and some scifi, especially that dealing with social issues. I like themed reads to an extent: Fantasy February, Mystery March, May Murder & Mayhem, September Series & Sequels, Halloween Horror October. November is NaNoWriMo (, which I usually start, even if I don't always finish.

Here's my rating system for this year, stolen borrowed from Morphy, except you will never see a rating of 4 or lower, and usually not one of 5, because, if it's that unappealing, I won't finish it. I'm too old, so these days The Pearl Rule is ruthlessly applied! On the other hand, the books I do finish I tend to rate liberally.

10 stars - The book completely enthralled me. Could not put it down. Got something more out of it than just entertainment ~ it enlightened or educated me in some way, or it was utterly emotionally satisfying. Can definitely see myself reading it again. Will keep forever and never loan it out, but might buy extra copies to give away to friends and family.

9 stars - Not quite perfect but almost so. I will actively push this book on my friends and family.

8 stars - A really great book in all respects with perhaps some minor flaws. Highly recommended.

7 stars - Better than average but with some flaws. Recommended.

6 stars - Average. An entertaining read but probably forgettable. Will not reread. Recommended for entertainment value to readers with similar interest.

5 stars - Slightly lower than average. Some aspects of the story, characters or writing troubled me. Probably will not recommend.

4 stars - Finished but did not like. Would not recommend.
3 stars - Had some redeeming qualities or else I couldn't have finished it. Nothing to recommend it though.
2 star - I can't believe I finished this book. What am I? A masochist?
1 star - No book ever gets this rating. If it's a 1, I don't finish it.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 3, 2015, 6:22pm

Books Read in 2014 (bolded titles are highly recommended)


1. Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh
2. Jim Butcher Dresden Files Storm Front, Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm and Jim Butcher Dresden Files Fool Moon, Vol. 1 by Mark Powers/Adrian Syaf (graphic novels)
3. Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer
4. A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman (audiobook)
5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (audiobook)
6. The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn (audiobook)
7. Kitty Rocks the House by Carrie Vaughn. (audiobook)
8. Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neal Gaiman (audiobook)
9. Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (audiobook)
10. Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn (audiobook)
11. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich (audiobook)
12. The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis (audiobook)
13. Second Son by Lee Child (audiobook)
14. Kitty in the Underworld by Carrie Vaughn (audiobook)
15. Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham (audiobook)
16. Spider Woman's Daughter by Anne Hillerman

Fantasy February

17. Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (audiobook)
18. Hounded by Kevin Hearne (eBook)
19. Hexed by Kevin Hearn (eBook)
20. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio)

21. Hammered by Kevin Hearn (eBook)
22. Tricked by Kevin Hearns (audio)
23. Trapped by Kevin Hearns (audiobook)
24. Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
25. The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente (audiobook)
26. Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb
27. Hunted by Kevin Hearns

Mystery March

28. Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell (reccied by AMQS)
29. The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid
30. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers (audio)
31. Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid (audio)
32. Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham (LTER)
33. Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovich
34. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (audio)
35. Little Green by Walter Mosley (audio)
36. The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly (audio)
37. Hostage by Kay Hooper


38. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio)
39. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
40. Shogun by James Clavell (audio)
41. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

42. Switchblade by Michael Connelly
43. Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio)
44. Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb (part audio/part print)
45. Suicide Run by Michael Connelly (anthology including Cielo Azur & One Dollar Jackpot)
46. Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio)
47. The Martian, a Novel by Andy Weir

May: Murder & Mayhem

48. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
49. Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover by Marion Zimmer Bradley
50. Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris
51. Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas
52. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor
53. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

54. World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (LTER)
55. Quiet by Susan Cain (audio)
56. To Kingdom Come by Will Thomas
57. The Bughouse Affair by Muller & Pronzini
58. The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, read by Kate Reading (audio)


59. Soulless: the Manga, Vol. 1
60. The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio)
61. The Collector by Nora Roberts
62. April Lady by Georgette Heyer
63. Monk's Hood by Ellis Peters (audio)
64. The Limehouse Text by Will Thomas
65. The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio)
66. Three Weeks With Lady X by Eloisa James (audio)
67. The Hellfire Conspiracy by Will Thomas
68. Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio)
69. Tropic of Serpents Book 2 by Marie Brennan (audio)
70. Brothers in Arms by Bujold (audio)


71. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (audio)
72. Borders of Infinity by Bujold (audio)
73. Soulless: the Manga, Vol. 2
74. Soulless: the Manga, Vol. 3
75. Mirror Dance by Bujold (audio)
76. I Am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (audio)
77. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich (audio)
78. Speaking from Among the Bones by Bradley (audio)
79. Komarr by Bujold (audio)
80. Memory by Bujold (audio)
81. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (audio)
82. A Civil Campaign by Lois Bujold (audio)
83. Winterfair Gifts by Bujold (audio)
84. Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick
85. Fatal Enquiry by Will Thomas (LTER)
86. Diplomatic Immunity by Bujold (audio)
87. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Bujold (audio)
88. Cryoburn by Bujold (audio)


89. The Ripper Affair by Lilith Saintcrow (LTER)
90. Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (audio)
91. Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly
92. The Poisoned Pawn by Peggy Blair (eBook)
93. The White City by Elizabeth Bear
94. A Famine of Horses by P. F. Chisholm (eBook)
95. Shattered by Kevin Hearne (audio)
96. The Axe Factor by Colin Cotteril (audio)
97. The Black Hand by Will Thomas
98. Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
99. The Yard by Alex Grecian
100. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs (audio)
101. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice (audio)

September Series & Sequels

102. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (audio)
103. A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch (audio, read by James Langton)
104. The Paper Magician by Charlie M. Holmberg
105. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs.
106. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
107. The Blue Girl by Alex Grecian (a short story)
108. The Black Country by Alex Grecian
109. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
110. Poisoned Pearls by Leah R. Cutter (LTER-August)
111. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (audio)
112. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
113. Nickel Plated by Aric Davis
114. River Marked by Patricia Briggs (Audio)
115. Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh
116. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
117. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs


118. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (audio)
119. Hunting Grounds by Patricia Briggs (audio)
120. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (audio)
121. Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs (audio)
122. Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs
123. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke (a gift from Roni)
124. Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold
125. Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey
126. Unnatural Issue by Mercedes Lackey
127. A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
128. Haunted by Kay Hooper
129. Rose Gold by Walter Mosley (audio)
130. A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin


131. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Audio)
132. Festive in Death by J.D. Robb (eBook)
133. Personal by Lee Child (eBook)
134. Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin (eBook)
135. Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
136. The Burning Room by Michael Connelly (Audio)
137. Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. Wrede (eBook) (reccied by Roni)
138. The Wheel of Darkness by Preston and Child
139. White Fire by Preston and Child
140. The William Shakespeare Detective Agency: The School of Night by Colin Falconer (Oct 14 LTER ebook)
141. Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh (Audio)
142. Blue Labyrinth by Preston and Child


143. Seven for a Secret by Elizabeth Bear
144. Archangel's Shadows by Nalinni Singh (Audio)
145. Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn
146. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Audio) (reccied by Judy/Delta Queen)
147. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill (Audio)
148. Christmas in New York by Anne Perry
149. Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill
150. The Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris
151. Angels of Darkness by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews and Sharon Shinn
152. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Bolded=Highly recommended!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 3, 2015, 6:56pm

Reviews to do/in progress/ratings only (no review):

10. Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn (audiobook) 7 stars
11. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich (audiobook) 6 stars
12. The Ides of April by Lindsey Davis (audiobook) 6 stars
13. Second Son by Lee Child (audiobook) 6 stars
14. Kitty in the Underworld by Carrie Vaughn (audiobook) 7 stars
15. Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham (audiobook) 7 stars
16. Spider Woman's Daughter by Anne Hillerman 7 stars
17. Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (audiobook) 5 stars
18. Hounded by Kevin Hearne (eBook) 7 stars
19. Hexed by Kevin Hearne (eBook) 7 stars
20. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio) 8 stars
21. Hammered by Kevin Hearn (eBook) 7 stars
22. Tricked by Kevin Hearn (audio) 6 stars
23. Trapped by Kevin Hearn (audio) 6 stars
24. Wild Seed by Octavia Butler (10 stars)
25. The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente (9 stars) (audiobook)
26. Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb (7 stars)
27. Hunted by Kevin Hearn (eBook) (7 stars)
28. Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell. 7 stars
29. The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid. 7 stars Audio
30. Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers. 7 stars. Audio (would have been higher rating but couldn't stand the reader)
31. A Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid 7 stars. Audio
32. Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham 8 stars (LTER)
33. Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch. 8 stars.
34. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (audio) 8 stars
35. Little Green by Walter Mosley 8 stars (audio)
36. The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly 8 stars (audio)
37. Hostage by Kay Hooper. 6 stars
38. Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio) 7 stars.
39. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 9 stars
40. Shogun by James Clavell (audio) 9 stars.
41. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay. 9 stars

42. Switchblade by Michael Connelly (short story but counting anyway) 7 stars
43. Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio) 6 stars
44. Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb (part audio/part print) 6 stars
45. Suicide Run by Michael Connelly (short story anthology including Cielo Azur & One Dollar Jackpot) 7 stars
46. Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio) 7 stars
47. The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir. 10 stars.
48. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer. 8 stars
49. Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover by Marion Zimmer Bradley (LTER). 6 stars.
50. Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris. 7 stars.
51. Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas. 8 stars.
52. Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. 9 stars
53. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. 9 stars.

54. World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters (LTER) 8 stars
55. Quiet by Susan Cain (audio) 8 stars
56. To Kingdom Come by Will Thomas 6 stars
57. The Bughouse Affair by Muller & Pronzini 5 stars
58. The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, read by Kate Reading (audio) 9 stars
59. Soulless: the Manga, Vol. 1 - 6 stars
60. The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio) 7 stars
61. The Collector by Nora Roberts 7 stars
62. April Lady by Georgette Heyer 6 stars
63. Monk's Hood by Ellis Peters, read by Derek Jacobi (audio) 7 stars
64. The Limehouse Text by Will Thomas 7 stars
65. The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio) 7 stars
66. Three Weeks With Lady X by Eloisa James (audio) 7 stars
67. The Hellfire Conspiracy by Will Thomas 6 stars
68. Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold (audio) 7 stars
69. Tropic of Serpents Book 2 by Marie Brennan (audio) 9 stars
70. Brothers in Arms by Bujold (audio) 7 stars
71. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (audio) 7 stars
72. Borders of Infinity by Bujold (audio) 7 stars
73. Soulless: the Manga, Vol. 2 - 6 stars
74. Soulless: the Manga, Vol. 3 - 6 stars
75. Mirror Dance by Bujold (audio) 8 stars
76. I Am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (audio) 7 stars
77. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich (audio) 7 stars
78. Speaking from Among the Bones by Bradley 8 stars (audio)
79. Komarr by Bujold (audio) 9 stars

80. Memory by Bujold (audio) 8 stars
81. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (audio) 6 stars
82. A Civil Campaign by Lois Bujold (audio) 9 stars
83. Winterfair Gifts by Bujold (audio) 6 stars
84. Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick. 6 stars
85. Fatal Enquiry by Will Thomas (LTER). 8 stars.
86 Diplomatic Immunity by Bujold (audio). 8 stars.
87. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Bujold (audio). 8 stars.
88. Cryoburn by Bujold (audio). 9 stars.
89. The Ripper Affair by Lilith Saintcrow (LTER). 7 stars.
90. Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (audio) 8 stars.
91. Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. 8 stars.
92. The Poisoned Pawn by Peggy Blair (eBook) 7 stars.
93. The White City by Elizabeth Bear. Reread. 6 stars.
94. A Famine of Horses by P. F. Chisholm. 8 stars. eBook.
95. Shattered by Kevin Hearne. 8 stars. audio.
96. The Axe Factor by Colin Cotteril (audio). 9 stars.
97. The Black Hand by Will Thomas. 9 stars.
98. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. 7 stars. Audio. Reread
99. The Yard by Alex Grecian. 8 stars.
100. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs. 7 stars. Audio.
101. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. 6 stars. Audio.
102. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. 8-1/2 stars. Audio.
103. A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch (audio, read by James Langton). 6 stars.
104. The Paper Magician by Charlie M. Holmberg. 7 stars.
105. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs. 8 stars. Audio

106. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs. 7 stars. Audio.
107. The Blue Girl by Alex Grecian (a short story). 7 stars.
108. The Black Country by Alex Grecian. 6 stars.
109. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness. 6 stars.
110. Poisoned Pearls by Leah R. Cutter. 8 stars. (LTER)
111. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. 10 stars. Audio (recommended by Joanne - coppers)
112. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs. 7 stars.
113. Nickel Plated by Aric Davis. 9 stars.
114. River Marked by Patricia Briggs. 8 stars. Audio
115. Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh. 8 stars
116. Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs. 8 stars

117. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs. 8 stars
118. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (audio). 7 stars
119. Hunting Grounds by Patricia Briggs (audio). 7 stars
120. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (audio) 7 stars.
121. Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs (audio) 7 stars.
122. Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs. 8 stars.
123. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clark. 8 stars. (gift from Roni)
124. Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold. 7 stars. (Audio)
125. Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey. 7 stars.
126. Unnatural Issue by Mercedes Lackey. 6 stars.
127. A Sudden Light by Garth Stein. 8 stars.
128. Haunted by Kay Hooper. 7 stars.
129. Rose Gold by Walter Mosley. 8 stars. (Audio)
130. A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin. 8 stars.
131. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. 6 stars. Audio.
132. Festive in Death by J.D. Robb. 8 stars.
133. Personal by Lee Child. 7 stars.
134. Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin. 8 stars.
135. Prince Lestat by Anne Rice. 8 stars.
136. The Burning Room by Michael Connelly. 10 stars. Audio.
137. Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. Wrede. 8 stars. (eBook) (reccied by Roni).
138. The Wheel of Darkness by Preston and Child. 8 stars. (eBook)
139. White Fire by Preston and Child. 7 stars. (eBook)
140. The William Shakespeare Detective Agency: The School of Night by Colin Falconer. 7 stars. (Oct 14 LTER ebook)
141. Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh. 7 stars. Audio.
142. Blue Labyrinth by Preston and Child. 7 stars. Audio.
143. Seven for a Secret by Elizabeth Bear. 6 stars.
144. Archangel's Shadows by Nalinni Singh. 6 stars. (Audio)
145. Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn. 8 stars.

146. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. 7 stars. (Audio) (reccied by Judy/Delta Queen) - I enjoyed this, but the reader of this YA post-apocalyptic novel made the protagonist sound too much like my daughter when she was 16, and I had too many flashbacks to that time of my life that threw me out of the story. :) Glad I read it, and may read the next in the series at some point, but am not making it an urgent read.
147. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill. 6 stars. Audio. First in the Chicago vampire series, featuring Merritt, a newly made vamp turned unwillingly after an attack that left her near death. Apparently some sort of prodigy amongst vamps, i.e., stronger than a newbee should be, also rebellious under the hidebound rules of the vampire houses and her House Master. Wasn't thrilled with the reader, and also the book was confusing as to whether it was YA (lots of talk about dating, hot boys not men, kissing and using the term girl rather than woman when discussing self and other females) or adult (talk of hot sex, though no actual bedroom scenes). Whatever, seemed kind of juvenile, though most of the characters are in their 20s/30s physically, though the Master is around 400 years old. Don't think I'll try too hard to continue the series.
148. Christmas in New York by Anne Perry. 6 stars. (LTER) Enjoyable bit of fluff, this is a novelette featuring Jemima, the daughter of Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, who travels to New York as chaperone/friend to a pretty but rather shallow young woman who is to marry into a very wealthy NY society family. Once there, she gets embroiled in what she thinks is simply a messy family scandal and ends up in jail, accused of murdering the young bride-to-be's estranged mother. I used to love Perry's mysteries set in London, but I think I'm over her.
149. Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill. 6 stars. (Audio) Second in series. Like a bag of gummie worms that you KNOW you shouldn't even look at, much less eat.
150. The Anatomist's Apprentice by Tessa Harris. 7 stars. (Audio) Enjoyable start to mystery series set in England around the time of the American Revolution, featuring an American expat, anatomy researcher/student/instructor Dr. Thomas Silkstone who investigates the strange and gruesome death of a young and not much mourned aristo at the behest of the dead man's sister. Okay, it was good enough, but does EVERY mystery these days have to include romance, even one as unlikely as this one? I have nothing against romance in a mystery/thriller/scifi/fantasy, but PLEASE let it be reasonable within the characters of the protags and within the storyline.
151. Angels of Darkness by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews and Sharon Shinn. 7 stars. (Audio) Enjoyed "Angel's Wolf" by Singh, which was about vampire Noel and archangel Nimra; was surprised at how much I enjoyed "Alphas: Origins" by Ilona Andrews, which was about a young mother who was kidnapped by a bunch of bad guys who turn out to be good guys, sort of; but my favorite was "Nocturne" by Sharon Shinn, an enjoyable story set in the world of Samaria and featured Mariah, an Angel's Child, and Corban, a grumpy Angel who had been blinded in a terrible accident. Apparently the print version contains a fourth story, "Ascension" by Meljean Brook, an author I haven't yet read.
152. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. 6 stars. (Audio) Set in the same era as Pride & Prejudice, this is a fantasy featuring two sisters, smart but plain Jane and beautiful but shallow Melody Ellsworth, set in a quasi-Regency world where some (including Jane) are able to manipulate light and temperature to create works of art. Erratic but entertaining in a somewhat shallow way, this sure ain't up to the standards of Jane Austen.

Strikeout=Review Done

Bearbeitet: Nov. 23, 2014, 6:04pm

Books Purchased in 2014 (Strikeout = Read)

1) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. (reccied by Morphy)
2) On the Edge of Twilight: 22 Tales to Follow You Home by Gregory Miller.
3) Storm of Visions: The Chosen Ones by Christina Dodd.
4) Magician's End by Raymond Feist.
5) The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann.
6) To Pleasure a Lady by Nicole Jordan.
7) A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow.
8) Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes.
9) Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan.
10) Hawaii by Michener.
11) The Complete Novels of George Eliot by Eliot.
12) The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie.
13) Baehrly Breathing by Elizabeth A. Reeves.
14) Mind of the Raven by Bernd Heinrich.
15) Fire and Ice by Dana Stabenow.
16) Second Star by Dana Stabenow.
17) 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.
18) Modern Rustic: Greenhouses by Eric Beauning.
19) The Stockholm Octavo: A Novel by Karen Engelmann.
20) Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor.
21) The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
22) A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor.
23) The Devil's Path by Richard Turner.
24) The Sand Reckoner by Gillian Bradshaw.
25) Whisperer by Michael Bray.
26) Teleport This by Christopher M. Daniels.
27) Midsummer Night by Deanna Ray.
28) On Basilisk Station by David Weber.
29) The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (bought another copy as a present for my daughter)
30) 3 a.m. by Nick Pirog (reccie by RD)
31) The Privateersman by Andrew Wareham
32) The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
33) The Dragon's Prize by Sophie Park
34) Inamorata by Megan Chance
35) The Honor of the Queen by David Weber
36) Wingman by Mack Maloney
37) The Time of the Dark by Barbara Hambly
38) Spellsinger by Alan Dean Foster
39) Justice and Her Brothers by Virginia Hamilton
40) I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison
41) The Healer's War by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
42) Freehold by William C. Dietz
43) The Forge of God by Greg Bear
44) Encounter with Tiber by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes
45) Budayeen Nights by George Alec Effinger
46) Blackcollar by Timothy Zahn
47) Gods and Dragons, a set of 8 fantasy novels; includes:
* MOTH (Moth Saga: Book 1) - Daniel Arenson
* EMPIRES OF MOTH (Moth Saga: Book 2) - Daniel Arenson
* HIDDEN, (Dragonlands: Book 1) - Megg Jensen
* MAGIC OF THIEVES (Legends of Dimmingwood: Book 1) - C. Greenwood
* CITY OF DEMONS - Kevin Harkness
* BLAZE: Tranquility - Krista D Ball
* NIGHT OF WOLVES (The Paladins: Book 1) - David Dalglish
* CLASH OF FAITHS (The Paladins: Book 2) - David Dalglish
48) Love and World Eaters by Nick Wisseman
49) When a Child Is Born by Jodi Taylor
50) Montfort, the Founder of Parliament: The Viceroy by Katherine Ashe
51) My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni
52) Fuzzy Navel - A Thriller (Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels by J.A. Konrath
53) Jack Daniels Stories by J.A. Konrath
54) Demon's Fury: Part 1 of the Final Asylum Tales by Jocelynn Drake
55) Confessions of a Courtesan by Elizabeth Charles
56) Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede
57) The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson

Free / Early Review Books

1) Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie (LTER)
2) Gilded by Christina Farley (Amazon First)
3) Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover by Marion Zimmer Bradley (LTER)
4) The Seventh Child by Erik Valeur (Amazon First)
5) Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham (LTER)
6) World of Trouble by Ben H. Winter (LTER)
7) Fatal Enquiry by Will Thomas (LTER)
8) The Ripper Affair by Lilith Saintcrow (June 2014 LTER)

9) The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney (July 2014 LTER)
10) A Sudden Light by Garth Stein (won from
11) Poisoned Pearls by Leah R. Cutter (Aug '14 LTER eBook)

12) Olympus Confidential by Robert B. Warren (Aug '14 LTER eBook)
13) Tunnel Vision by Aric Davis (Sept. 14 Amazon First)
14) The William Shakespeare Detective Agency: The School of Night by Colin Falconer (Oct 14 LTER ebook)


1) The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke (from Roni of Ronincats)
2) Winter of Our Discontent by Steinbeck (from Mark of msf59)


(Idea stolen from Faith "dk_phoenix")

Bearbeitet: Jan. 3, 2015, 6:59pm

Books Started But Not Finished (Yet)

The Child Thief by Brom - Finished about half but just couldn't seem to dredge up enthusiasm to finish, not sure why.
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen - Ran out of time and impetus.
Of Parrots and People by Mira Tweti (reccied by _____ (Morphy?)) - Ran out of time to finish it before my trip, during which it comes due at the library. Have it on hold again.
How to Meditate by Pema Chodron - Also had this as an audiobook but just couldn't seem to find time to study it.
How to Be a Victorian by Ruth Goodman - Returning to library but have it on hold again.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (eBook) (reccied by Mark) - Started but couldn't seem to get into it, perhaps because I was worried about my sister at the time and just couldn't concentrate, and then ran out of time. Have it on hold again from the library.
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson - Just couldn't deal with YA angst just now, so giving it a pass, though I've read the first two in the trilogy.
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey - I ran out of steam about 3/4 of the way through, then skipped to the end, just to see how it came out. I don't usually do that, but I just couldn't face reading it through.
Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (audio) - Library loan ran out; will get again
A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (audio) - Library loan ran out; will get again.
Pistols for Two by Georgette Heyer - I read a few of these short stories but they were missing much of the humor and wit that her novels contain, and they just didn't grab me enough to continue.
The Honor of the Queen by David Weber - Couldn't get into this one, either, but it's on my Kindle so I'll just put it aside for now and maybe pick it up later, when there's nothing else that appeals.
A Season of Knives by P.F. Chisholm - Not sure exactly why, but I just could not get into this, the second in the Sir Robert Carey mystery series, though I gave it over 50 pages. Could be because I've been stuck on the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series, but I confess to feeling bored when reading it and reluctant to pick it up again once I put it down. Thus, back to the library it goes.
Plainsong by Kent Haruf (CD audio) - CD player broken; don't spend enough time in car to listen to it there. Will try later in print or by eAudio.
World After by Susanne Ee (CD audio) - CD player broken; don't spend enough time in car to listen to it there. Will try later in print or by eAudio.
Raiders of the Nile by Steven Saylor - Just couldn't seem to drum up enough interest to finish it, though I got 3/4 of the way through. Gordianus as a callow youth lusting after Bethesda just didn't do it for me. Parts of it were good, but it wasn't a mystery so much as a coming-of-age adventure story.
Three Jack Reacher Novellas: Second Son, Deep Down and High Heat (audio) - Finished two of them but got bored so didn't finish the third. Then ran out of time.
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - Just no time, and I've been on an audiobook kick.
The Edge of Desire by (audio) - Too improbable. Just couldn't stomach the melodramatic romance.
The Gospel According to Judas Iscariot by Jeffrey Archer (audio) - Started it, but though this is fiction it was too much like reading scripture, and the reader's (Bishop Desmond Tutu) voice irritated me for some reason.
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig - Just not enough time or interest to get to it.
Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint (audio) Tried but just didn't get it. Yes, there was some lovely writing, but none of the stories or characters grabbed my attention.
Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott (audio) - Couldn't get into it. Story was confusingly written.
The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu - Just wasn't able to find time (or impetus) to finish it so back to the library it goes. I may pick it up again another time.
The Spook Lights Affair by Muller & Pronzini (audio) - Just could not seem to get into this, the second of the series. I think the reader had something to do with it, plus I really don't like one of the main characters, an arrogant unappealing man IMO.
Against All Grain by Danielle Walker - I'll be getting this out again once we get settled and have time to actually cook.
Evernote for Dummies by David E.Y. Sarna - Really helpful "how-to" book for using Evernote. Thanks to Morphy for the tip.
The Attenbury Emeralds by Jill Paton Walsh (audio) OMG! The WORST reader and engineering and perhaps direction on any audiobook I've ever had the misfortune to TRY to listen to. Not even Scott Brick's narration of The Passage was as bad. Low volume to the point where one can scarcely hear what is being said, and the reader is *mumblemumblewhisper*ing through much of the dialogue. Returned the audio to the library and will be getting the print version if I decide I want to read it.
Flower Fairy Picture Book by Cicely Mary Barker - Skimmed and looked mostly at the lovely pics, but didn't read all poems, etc. May renew when my niece is a little older.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (audio) - Loan expired. May try it again later.
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (borrowed book) Had to return to library before starting. Will renew hold at some point.
The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas (borrowed book) Almost finished it but got annoyed with the main character's stupidity so put it down and just never picked it back up before I had to return it to the library.
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (borrowed audiobook) Will try this one again when I'm more in the mood.
The Terror by Dan Simmons (for the January Journeys Challenge) (eBook) I have tried this one several times but just can't seem to get that interested, though each time I do I get a little farther on in the story.
The Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (borrowed eBook) Just didn't have time.
Light in August by William Faulkner (borrowed audiobook) Not for me, at least at this time.
The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke (audio) Just couldn't get to it and ran out of time.
The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien. (Audio) Got aways in and had no idea what it was about and didn't care to find out.
The Iron King by Maurice Druon (reccied by Richard Derus) (library book) I haven't been able to concentrate on reading since we started actively searching for a new place to live; will get back to it as soon as the inability to focus ends, because I really enjoyed the first couple of chapters).
Colorado Gardener's Guide by John L. Cretti Need to re-borrow or maybe buy.
Best garden plants for Colorado by Betsy Lehndorff, Laura Peters Need to re-borrow or maybe even buy.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 17, 2014, 10:48pm

Welcome to my final thread of the year! Don't be shy! Grab a hot drink and a plate of sweets, gather round the fireplace, and let's chat.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 17, 2014, 6:04pm

I realize I'm way behind on mini-reviews, so here are the last few books I've read, along with brief thoughts on each:

123. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clark. 8 stars. (gift from Roni) I really enjoyed these charming short stories ~ some lighthearted but most with a dark underside (the land of faery is not a safe place) ~ from the world of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Jonathan Strange appears in only one, but one is about The Raven King, and I've been wanting to read more about John Uskglass. There were also stories about Mary Queen of Scots and the Duke of Wellington, and all the stories were compelling. My thanks to Roni for gifting me with this treat!

124. Ethan of Athos by Lois McMaster Bujold. 7 stars. (Audio) Interesting and fun, but without Miles in it (except when being dissed by Elli); not a favorite. Still, glad I read it. I liked the way Ethan matured throughout his adventures, and admired his compassion. Also, I eventually came to understand the psyche of the Athosians (sp?) at least a bit.

125. Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey. 7 stars. A different take on the Little Red Riding Hood story. I liked the protag but thought she was a bit too perfect to be real.

126. Unnatural Issue by Mercedes Lackey. 6 stars. Different heroine, not as likeable. Story wasn't either, though it had its moments.

127. A Sudden Light by Garth Stein. 8 stars. A different take on a ghost story. I liked it. Now I want to read Art of Racing in the Rain, his first.

128. Haunted by Kay Hooper. 7 stars. A Noah Bishop thriller, this time with Hollis, DeMarco, and Deacon investigating a couple of odd murders in a small southern town while, at the same time, a serial killer is abducting and murdering women on the nearby trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Could the two cases be connected?

129. Rose Gold by Walter Mosley. 8 stars. (Audio) Already reviewed in previous thread at

130. A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin. 8 stars. New series for me, recommended (I think) by Roni, featuring a London sorcerer who was betrayed by his powerful mentor and murdered by a monstrous shadow he names Hunger. When he turns up alive 2 years later, bent on revenge, he is a whole lot different ~ and stronger ~ than he was when he died. Original and mind bending urban fantasy.

131. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. 6 stars. Audio. Well, I finished it, but only because I've heard the next in the series is better, the Cinder portions were pretty good, and I had invested so much time in it when it got almost unbearable that I decided to speed up the narration (I never knew you could do that!) and plow through it. Honestly, I wanted to dropkick Scarlet any number of times ~ I know she was only 16, but that was just too much angst and whining in the middle of life-threatening peril for me.

132. Festive in Death by J.D. Robb. 8 stars. Latest Eve Dallas/Roarke murder mystery has her chasing the killer of a really unpleasant victim while trying to cope with Christmas shopping for her friends and preparing for yet another holiday party being thrown by Roarke and her.

133. Personal by Lee Child. 7 stars. Reacher is drafted by a general in the Army, an old enemy from his army days, to find a sniper before he assassinates someone at the G8 Conference in London. Reacher agrees when he learns the man suspected of being the sniper is an old collar of his who he put away while an MP, and suddenly its (tada) personal.

134. Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin. 8 stars. Second in the Matthew Swift/Blue Electric Angel series, which I am very much enjoying. In this one, Swift goes up against :the destroyer of cities: who's been called to London by the curse of a disgruntled woman who is unaware that she is a sorceress.

135. Prince Lestat by Anne Rice. 8 stars. Finale (?) to The Vampire Chronicles begun back in the late 70s with Interview With A Vampire. In this one, old characters are brought together, previously unknown yet whispered about characters are introduced, surprises are sprung, and mysteries are solved. I enjoyed it and liked that it brought closure to a lot of situations and answers to a lot of questions.

136. The Burning Room by Michael Connelly. 10 stars. Audio. Years ago, a sniper's bullet hit and injured a young mariachi musician, leaving him paralyzed and causing a huge upswell of indignation amongst the hispanic community of L.A. and, not so coincidentally, helping to sweep L.A.'s first hispanic mayor into office. Now, the wounded man has died, and the coroner rules his death a homicide, directly the result of the bullet that had lodged inextricably in his spine. The case goes to Harry Bosch, serving his last year in the LAPD as an Unsolved Crime Unit detective, and the young hotshot detective he has been paired with, an hispanic with an agenda of her own that involves another long-unsolved case of an arson fire that ends up connected to another spectacular crime that has never been solved. Connelly is one of the best murder mystery/thriller writers in the business today, and this was among the best of the Bosch series. I thought narrator (Titus Wellover) was pitch perfect in his rendition!

137. Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. Wrede. 8 stars. (eBook) (reccied by Roni). What fun! I really enjoyed this alternate historical fantasy ~ reminiscent of the world of Jonathan Strange, but a lighter, more amusing read, and without any fae in evidence. It was told in epistolary form, the two main characters writing each other from their respective locations of London (Kate) and the country (Cecilia) about what they have been doing.

Nov. 17, 2014, 9:36pm

My goodness, Mary, people are going to be thinking that I am waging undue influence over you! ;-) I'm delighted that you enjoyed the Ladies of Grace Adieu stories, that the Matthew Swift books are a match for you (I do love that series, but I'm only one book ahead of you now.), and that your fancy was tickled by Sorcery and Cecilia, nonetheless.

Nov. 17, 2014, 9:41pm

Haha, Roni. Truth is, you DO seem to be waging a lot of influence over my reading choices these days, though whether it's undue is another question. Among you and the rest of the warblers on LT, my reading wish list/TBR pile is a mile long/high!

Nov. 17, 2014, 9:49pm

But it's MY books you are actually reading! Tee-hee!

Oh, and I completely forgot to comment on the lovely beverages and snacks above--totally scrumptious!

Nov. 17, 2014, 10:06pm

Happy New Thread, Mary! It looks like you are doing some solid reading. I have A Sudden Light saved on audio. I really liked The Art of Racing in the Rain, although I know others thought it was cheesy.

We are getting an arctic blast through Chi-Town. Only 17 here today and more the same tomorrow. Yes, I feel like that poor bunny up there.

Nov. 17, 2014, 10:37pm

>10 ronincats: I guess you could say that ~ 5 out of the 15 books were directly recommended by you!

>11 msf59: Thanks, Mark. Glad to know you enjoyed Racing in the Rain. About the arctic cold, I empathize and sympathize. We are just today for the first time since Monday above freezing. At this moment, it's 28F here, going down to 10F tonight. But, unlike you, I don't have to go out in it, so I guess you win the damn-its-too-damn-cold contest! :) Also, Chicago cold is colder than anywhere else's cold, except maybe in the Himalayas. That lake effect and the wind-chill factor are killers!

Bearbeitet: Nov. 18, 2014, 10:43am

Why are the Touchstones not "sticking" in post #2 above? They load slowly, but they do show up in "Edit," then when the message is posted, they're gone! There are a lot of Touchstones, I know, but they're there before I "post," I swear! And they do show up in #3 and 4.

ETA that, next year, I'm going to have to have a separate message for each quarter so the number of Touchstones in one message toward the end of the year doesn't overwhelm the system.

Nov. 18, 2014, 12:02am

Your new thread is very inviting, Mary. Great snacks and drinks. Curling up in front of a fireplace with a warm drink and a good book makes for a perfect winter evening!

Nov. 18, 2014, 6:37am

Holy moly, there's a lot going on here already! Happy New Thread, Mary! I love the "several WTF's per hour" picture - *SNORK!*

Nov. 18, 2014, 9:37am

Bloody hell, that is a ridiculous temperature drop. Remind me not to move to Colorado!!!!!!!!!!

Hope you're staying warm and cosy indoors as much as possible. Sounds an ideal time for hot mulled wine to me.

Nov. 18, 2014, 2:07pm

Happy new thread Mary! You've been doing lots of reading. I'm still quite enjoying A Sudden Light. Too bad the only real solid time of reading I get to do is right before bed and how much I get to read is dependant upon how wasted from the day I feel..haha. :)

Nov. 18, 2014, 3:02pm

Happy New Thread, Mary.

I love all the welcoming drinks and sweet things!

Glad you liked my list (last thread)

Nov. 19, 2014, 11:12am

It sounds like that Colorado weather is not agreeing with you, Mary. But isn't that sun glorious? We have had a bone-chilling November here in Missouri, too. I think our low was 6 degrees yesterday. We waited until it got in the double digits before walking the dog. Our house painters may never show up again!

Nov. 19, 2014, 1:37pm

>14 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy! I agree, which is why I'm doing okay in this sub-Arctic weather we've been having. I can curl up in front of the fireplace with a hot drink and a good book during the day too!

>15 scaifea: Thanks, Amber. As for the "WTF" meme, it illustrated my state of mind perfectly that day!

>16 lunacat: Seriously! It's really a beautiful state, Jenny, and the sun does tend to shine a lot more than you'd expect during the winter and make it seem warmer than it is when you're out in it, but last Monday was the most crazy-ridiculous weather change I've ever experienced, and I lived in Chicago the first 24 years of my life.

>17 jolerie: Thanks, Val ~ I hope you continue to enjoy A Sudden Light and that you get more time to read it. I do remember how it was when I was a stay-at-home mom with one small child, and you have two to wrangle all day!

>18 connie53: Thanks, Connie! Glad to see you here. I did like your list from last thread ~ all the BBs! ~ and thank you for posting it.

>19 Donna828: It was just that one day where it dropped 50F in a few hours that threw me, Donna. Otherwise, I'm pretty much okay with the cold, since I don't have to go out in it too often. And you're right ~ the frequent sun during winter is wonderful. Only thing that makes it unpleasant is the lack of humidity in the air and worry about Nickel, who needs warmth and moisture. I know you've got your own arctic weather thing going on in Missouri ~ 6F is just too too cold for November! I hope your painters show back up when it thaws a bit.

Nov. 19, 2014, 1:48pm

>20 Storeetllr: Maybe I'd quite like it then, as I hate wet cold but I don't mind dry cold. I'd rather it be cold and dry than what we have been having the last couple of winters which is winter temperatures of 3-10C but immense amounts of rain that chills you through and makes you feel like you'll never get warm or dry again.

My ideal winter would be hovering consistently at freezing but with bright sunshine. I couldn't be dealing with the fluctuations you re having though, and I hope Nickel copes OK with the weather.

Nov. 19, 2014, 2:20pm

Happy new(isn) thread Mary. I love the looks of those treats and that fire (and I won't mention that it's sunny and 70-something here).

Nov. 19, 2014, 2:26pm

I think the past two winters here in Denver have been a bit more intense than usual, Jenny, according to people I know who've lived here longer. I was told, before I moved, that there's not a lot of snow and what there is melts quickly, sometimes the same day, and that there aren't a lot of arctic cold days either, and that there's a lot of sunshine all winter long ~ more or less echoing your ideal winter. That's turned out to be untrue, so far, but I think it must be due to the global climate change problem everyone's having.

Ha ha, Reba ~ I saw the forecast was for the upper 60s in L.A. and was thinking "cold snap." All I'll say is "Enjoy!"

Bearbeitet: Nov. 19, 2014, 2:38pm

Speaking of Nickel, she's doing okay, though she's a little bored with being stuck inside all day ~ she's used to being outside at least an hour or so in the nicer weather. One problem with the dry heat is that it wreaks havoc on her skin, resulting in more feather picking (or over-preening, which sounds better), and leaves her looking pretty ragged. She's got a good appetite though, and her other signs are good, so I don't worry too much, but I've got some spray on order that should help with the feather-picking, and I'm looking into buying a better humidifier.

Here's the little sweetie enjoying her beakfast ~ er, I mean, breakfast:

As for her boredom, I spent about two hours the other evening putting together a hanging toy for her, which I put in her cage but forgot to take a picture of. The next morning, this is all that was left of it:

Nov. 19, 2014, 2:41pm

>24 Storeetllr: Well. At least it looks like she had a grand ol' time with it!

Nov. 19, 2014, 7:28pm

>25 Morphidae: Oh, she did, Morphy! She's quite the shredder! She's always got paper or cardboard in her cage for shredding and wood blocks for chewing up. And I have to watch carefully so she doesn't get into my books or the wooden baseboards.

Nov. 20, 2014, 12:26am

A new pretty thread! And beautiful Nickel. She certainly made a colorful mess! More toys please, Mom!

Nov. 20, 2014, 3:36am

I bet she's very proud of herself, having made such a mess!

Nov. 20, 2014, 4:33pm

Now that does look like a whole lot of fun! Glad to hear she's feeling better. :)

Nov. 20, 2014, 5:31pm

Ha! Ha! You build a swing to keep Nickel busy and interested and she returns the favor by giving you a mess to clean up!

Bearbeitet: Nov. 20, 2014, 7:22pm

>27 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne! I had to go out and buy a new set of drill bits as my old (very old) ones would not drill through anything thicker than a popsicle stick. Now I can really make some fun toys, with these wooden blocks I found and pieces of untreated wood and other wood/paper bits.

>28 lunacat: Proud and pleased and wanting to do it again. Actually, today she has been demolishing a string of wooden clothespins (the kind without the little spring). And she just took a bath in her water dish, which just fits her feet and nothing else, but she sure likes splashing around in it. Now the entire room needs to be mopped. Ah, the joys of parronthood!

>29 jolerie: Thanks, Val! Nothing's more fun for her than destroying something. Luckily, she doesn't fly or nothing would be safe!

>30 DeltaQueen50: That's the usual exchange rate for a parront and parrot, Judy. Sort of like being the parent of a rambunctious two-year old. :)

One more pic of Nickel, taken one day awhile back when she was taking a "bath" in her water dish.

Nov. 20, 2014, 7:24pm

I'm always so surprised to see those beautiful red feathers! Mother Nature did a nice job putting the grey tones and red together!

Nov. 20, 2014, 7:48pm

Thanks, Joanne! The red and grey tones are definitely a gorgeous combination!

So, here's a flyer for an event happening in Denver on Saturday 11/22/14. I'll be there. Apparently I'm being paired with "Mr. Bird." And Goober, the Hyacinth Macaw, is an absolute charmer. Anyone in the Denver area, come on out if you can. Should be fun!

Nov. 20, 2014, 8:38pm

Lots of Nickel love going on over here! Yah! She's a beauty! Hope the week is going well, Mary!

You enjoying Bossypants?

Nov. 20, 2014, 9:47pm

Hey, Mark! Thanks, the week's going okay, at least no more freezing snow (yet). Hope you're surviving the arctic blast the Great Lakes region has been suffering through.

Yes, I am enjoying Bossypants, though I wish now that I had it on audio instead of the Kindle. I think hearing Tina Fey read it would make it a lot funnier.

Nov. 20, 2014, 9:49pm

Hope it's warmer at your event Saturday. Is that outside or an indoor mall?

Nov. 20, 2014, 9:51pm

Hope to heck it's inside! I've got my thermals and puffy down coat and Ugg boots and Icelandic woolen mittens and Russian hat with earflaps all set and ready to go, though, so whatever!

Bearbeitet: Nov. 20, 2014, 9:53pm

Bossypants was great on audio and Yes please was equally good in that format.

Bearbeitet: Nov. 20, 2014, 10:14pm

Okay, you've convinced me. I'm going to see if I can I just put the eAudiobook on hold from the library. Thanks, Mark!

Nov. 20, 2014, 10:33pm

Bossypants was fabulous on audio - you'll love it!

If I have a chance I'll try to drop by on Saturday. We're having family visiting next week so my weekend is unfortunately going to be spent doing last minute cleaning and baking, but if I can, I'll take a break.

Sounds like you're going to have a lot of fun!

Nov. 21, 2014, 3:30pm

>6 Storeetllr: Awfully cozy and inviting here! You do know how to furnish a thread! Loving the Nickel pics!

Nov. 21, 2014, 6:54pm

Yah..I agree with everyone else. Bossypants on audio is the way to go. Hope you enjoy it, Mary! :)

Nov. 21, 2014, 7:42pm

>40 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne ~ I've got Bossypants on hold at the library.

I really hope you can make it, though I know you'll be busy this weekend. I'll be there from 2-5 p.m. and will keep an eye out for you, just in case you find the time.

Here's the "official" invitation:

Bearbeitet: Nov. 21, 2014, 8:34pm

>41 michigantrumpet: Thanks, Marianne! Glad you could make it! Happy you find it cozy and inviting! Nickel says hi!

>42 jolerie: Well, three recommendations for the audio ~ how can I go wrong? (Don't answer that!) I'm especially looking forward to ear-reading it now!

So, I went shopping today for Thanksgiving ~ one never knows about quantity and quality as the holiday nears, or whether one will have time to shop closer to the day. I'm going to make my famous (and oft-requested!) Yams-n-Apples Casserole for our family dinner. It's an adult version of yams with marshmallow topping, which is just too sweet for me (even kids end up preferring this one to the sweeter version). Here's a pic of last year's dish, as it was going into the oven to bake:

It's a really easy dish to make. The hardest part is parboiling then peeling the yams, and slicing them and the apples. It leaves a huge mess on the counter, at least the way I do it (I'm a pretty messy cook). The rest is a "piece o' cake." Here's the recipe, in case anyone feels like trying it:

Yams (enough for however many people you want to feed; for a dozen, I use maybe 7 or 8 good sized yams)
Apples (enough, etc.; for a dozen, I use maybe 6 or 7 good sized apples, and I like to use both Granny Smith and either Fuji or another sweet/tart crisp red)
Butter, a half stick to a full stick (depending on how rich you like it and how many servings there are)
Honey, 1/4-1/2 cup, depending on how sweet you like it
Allspice, 1-3 tsp., depending on how much you like the taste of allspice
Raw Pecans, unsalted and unroasted, a few handsful. Okay, sorry, I think I used a package of pecan pieces from Trader Joe's, maybe a cup or so, on the recipe shown above, and I sprinkled the broken pieces between layers and then put any unbroken halves on top.

Parboil yams until the skin is a little loose but so they're notcooked through, about 15 mins.
Cool in cold water so they can be handled, then peel (I just rub the skin off mostly)
Heat in microwave or on stovetop the butter and honey until it's nice and fluid, then add the allspice and mix it up good
Slice the yams in rounds about 1/2" thick
Slice the apples so that the slices are about 1/2-3/4" thick on the thick end
Layer yams and apples, drizzling the butter/honey mixture and a handful of pecans between each layer
I like to make the top layer apple slices
Place the unbroken (if any) pecans artfully (or just toss a handful or two of broken pecan pieces, whichever works, because no one is going to care how it looks, it's so yummy)
Drizzle the remaining butter/honey/allspice mixture over the top (make more if needed)
Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees covered for about a half hour, then uncover it for another half hour, or until the yams and apples are cooked through but not mushy. I like to baste it a few times so the top doesn't dry out completely.

As you can see, the amounts of the ingredients is not set, and you can change the measurements to suit your needs/taste. I don't think I left anything out, but let me know if there are any questions. And I'd love to know if anyone makes this and how it turned out.

Nov. 21, 2014, 8:34pm

Okay, had to favorite the message above so I can find that recipe when I want it--sounds yummy!

Nov. 21, 2014, 8:37pm

You've made my day, Roni! If you try it, let me know how you like it.

It's one of the few things I enjoy making and that turns out consistently well.

Nov. 23, 2014, 12:56am

Hi Mary! Lovely thread, particularly the warm drinks up top:) I have copied your yams-and-apples recipe. I love both, and will look forward to trying. We're going with the grilled chipotle-citrus yams the Denver Post featured this week. Fun to try something new.

Oh boy that cold spell was something, wasn't it? Stelios and I managed a weekend getaway to San Antonio: we had such a wonderful weekend strolling the River Walk in 80-degree weather and eating like royalty. We came home that Monday to a 70-degree temperature difference that was a shock to the system! And more weather tomorrow I hear.

Stay warm!

Nov. 23, 2014, 6:52pm

Hi, Anne! Nice to hear from you! Glad you like the recipe; the grilled chipotle-citrus yams sounds yummy too! I'm going to have to see if I can find that recipe online, try it another day.

Yes, the cold spell was sure something (else)! I'm sure it was quite the shocker coming back to that from the San Antonio warmth. And you're right about more weather. It's snowing here today, just when all the snow from the previous storm finally melted. I'm just hoping the weather is good on Thanksgiving, or I don't know how I'm going to manage getting up to Frisco for our family dinner in my little red sports car!

Nov. 23, 2014, 7:16pm

Happy Sunday, Mary! Hope you enjoyed the weekend and got a little reading time in. Grins...

Nov. 24, 2014, 10:37pm

Hi Mary, I sure hope you aren't getting too much snow. It would definitely be a bummer if you were snowed in at Thanksgiving!

Nov. 25, 2014, 2:53pm

Hi, Mark! Thanks, I got quite a bit of reading in over the weekend, notwithstanding being out all day on Saturday at that fundraising event for the parrot rescue group I volunteer for and then coming home and pretty much crashing without even having dinner until the next morning. I'm just not used to so much standing around and socializing! I spent the rest of Sunday recovering ~ sitting and reading and eating ~ so it's all good. Hope you were able to get some good reading in too!

Thanks, Judy! Being snowed in on Thanksgiving would not be at all fun! Everyone else is going up to Frisco (a small resort town not far from Breckenridge where we're having our family dinner) the day before, but I'm planning to drive up on Thursday morning in a little sporty car that may or may not make it up the mountain in snow. My sister, who is going up the day before after she gets out of work in the Colorado Springs area, said she'll come back down on Thursday morning for me, if necessary, but that's a good 2 hours each way, and I don't want her to have to do that. They've said I can go up on Wed. and stay overnight, but then I have to make arrangements for Nickel, either bring her with me or board her, neither of which I would be happy doing. Well, just going to have to hope for the best!

Of course, if I DID get snowed in, I could spend the entire day relaxing, eating Yams-n-Apple Casserole (which I'm making for the dinner), and reading...

Nov. 25, 2014, 3:08pm

Hmm, getting snowed in doesn't sound the worst possibility.......Thanksgiving with books and Nickel!

Nov. 25, 2014, 3:22pm

Stay warm and cozy, Mary! We are expecting some snowfall the next couple of days as well. Just in time since the last batch just melted. Fun times... :)

Bearbeitet: Dez. 1, 2014, 3:06pm

So, in an attempt to keep relatively current, here are my thoughts on the last few books I've read:

138. The Wheel of Darkness by Preston and Child. 8 stars. (eBook) - Someone has stolen a weapon of great evil from a monastery in Tibet, and the monks ask Pendergast and Constance Greene to find and return it. Murder and mayhem on the high seas ensue. Fun thriller, a little over-the-top, but that's a Pendergast novel for you!

139. White Fire by Preston and Child. 7 stars. eBook. Corrie Swanson from Still Life With Crows is now a third-year student at John Jay. For her thesis which she hopes will win her a scholarship prize, she travels to Roaring Fork, Colorado, a ski resort with an exclusive enclave of the uber-wealthy, to try and figure out what really happened to a bunch of miners from the late 1800s who were killed and eaten, ostensibly by a grizzly bear. Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde make appearances in an historical backstory. I enjoyed it except most of Corrie's behavior was of the TSTL variety. In fact, at one point, I was hoping she would be killed and eaten for her stupidity. Sorry, but the kind of reckless unthinking behavior that may be understandable from a 16-year old spoiled brat just doesn't cut it in a 22 year old college student who is aiming for a career in law, at least not for me. Also, Pendergast is even more than usually enigmatic, almost to the point of being ridiculous. Whatever, I always enjoy these outré thrillers.

140. The William Shakespeare Detective Agency: The School of Night by Colin Falconer. 7 stars. Oct 14 LTER ebook. For starters, let me say that this is not great literature, but it has its charms. I thought the story was a bit uneven (parts were really great and other parts had me wanting to put it down and not pick it back up), there were a few typos (it was an LTER and an eBook, so I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt and figuring these errors will be/have been corrected in the final edition), and some of the plot seemed highly improbable and/or confusing. On the other hand, there weren't any obvious anachronisms, and the depiction of Elizabethan London ~ not the London of the nobility, but the London of the common people, with all its stinks, depravity and bawdiness ~ was pretty wonderful. Plus, it posits a solution to a true mystery of the time: the disappearance of another well-known playwright. The main character, a cousin of the playwright William Shakespeare with the same name, comes to London from the country to make a name for himself in the theater, with his cousin's help, of course. Instead, his cousin is less than pleased to see him there, he is completely unprepared for London and its denizens, getting his purse stolen the first day he is there by an urchin he has helped avoid a beating (or worse) for stealing from a shopkeeper, and he seems completely unable to stay out of trouble, getting himself knocked out a number of times and ending up getting cut up by a Lady whom he has rescued from a dicey situation. He reminds me a bit of Lindsey Davis's detective Marcus Didius Falco, but with less panache and less street smarts. I also didn't enjoy the sex scene between him and his (highly improbable) love interest, though I thought the scene with The Bard and his mistress caught in flagrante was pretty funny. By the end of the book, I had begun to warm to the characters, and most of the loose ends were tied up satisfactorily. All-in-all, it was a fun and easy read, and I will look for the next book in the series.

141. Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh. 7 stars. Audio. The first in the Psi-Changling series, featuring Sasha, the daughter of council member Natasha and a Prime in her own right, and Lucas, Alpha of the Dark River Leopard Pack. Sasha and Lucas meet just as Sasha realizes she is falling apart and close to being wiped for her defective mental state and Lucas is trying desperately to find out the psi who is torturing and murdering changling women.

Just discovered two things: there is a new Guild Hunter novel (Archangel's Shadows and I can get the audio of it and listen to it on my iPhone through Hoopla. *happy dancing*

Nov. 25, 2014, 4:53pm

Hi, Jenny and Val! You snuck in while I was fiddling with my mini-reviews post, which took a lot longer to write than it should have. Anyway, thanks for the sentiments. You hit it on the head, Jenny: to wish for snow or not to wish for snow? But Thanksgiving is a huge family holiday here in the States, so I think I'm going to have to go with the wishing for no snow and going up to Frisco to be with the family. Val, we are getting snow off and on too, along with strong winds and icy temps. Winter may not be official yet, but you sure couldn't tell that from the weather!

Bearbeitet: Nov. 25, 2014, 9:50pm

Just saw the note that I've been selected to receive an Early Reviewers copy of A New York Christmas, a novella by Anne Perry featuring the Pitts' daughter Jemima, now a young woman in her early 20s, from the November 2014 batch! I'm grateful, of course, but I don't recall asking for it. Another bout of short-term memory loss?

Anyway, the TBR pile just keeps getting taller and taller. Thank God!

Nov. 28, 2014, 2:43am

Mary, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Malaysia or the UK but perhaps we should as a timely reminder to say thanks to all my friends here in the group is probably overdue.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Nov. 28, 2014, 12:30pm

Thank you for your kind wishes, Paul! I totally agree and am also thankful for my LT friends!

Hope you have a lovely weekend too, even if it isn't a holiday there!

Nov. 28, 2014, 12:35pm

I hope you had a great holiday, Mary! Are you enjoying a LONG weekend, as well?

Bearbeitet: Dez. 1, 2014, 3:06pm

My whole LIFE is a long weekend these days, Mark! Retirement really does rock! :)

Spent Thanksgiving with family up in the mountains, where the snow is 3 feet deep and the temps are in the 20s and 30s. We had a huge feast at my soon-to-be-nephew-in-law's restaurant (which was closed to customers for the holiday). Between family, friends and those of his employees who had nowhere else to go, we were about 30. My niece made us all write a short "I am grateful for..." notes on small pieces of paper, which were then put in a hat from which everyone had to pick one and read it, then we tried to guess who wrote it. I wrote about my gratitude for my Colorado family, and others' ranged from the similarly serious to the weird. My personal favorite was "I am grateful for bacon and wine."

I'll be going home this afternoon to spend what I hope is a non-eventful rest of the holiday weekend puttering around doing non-stressful things, though I am scheduled to work at the bird sanctuary on Sunday ~ changing paper and washing food bowls. Fun, fun, fun!

Hope you were able to enjoy a long weekend, though I imagine, with your job, you've got to work either today or tomorrow (or both).

Nov. 28, 2014, 1:35pm

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Nov. 28, 2014, 1:37pm

>60 Storeetllr: I'm very grateful for bacon and wine as well! And cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

Nov. 28, 2014, 4:12pm

Haha, Jenny, me too! And coffee. Must not forget coffee. And books.

Oh, the list could go on and on!

Nov. 30, 2014, 10:21pm

>44 Storeetllr: Yum! I'm going to print out your recipe - it sounds wonderful! I made a sweet potato casserole with spinach and mushrooms and pecans, and a relish with cranberries and apples, but combining apples and sweet potatoes and pecans sounds great.

Sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving!

Nov. 30, 2014, 10:43pm

I like the sound of your sweet potato, spinach, mushroom and pecan casserole too, Joanne. Might you post the recipe? I imagine it's savory as opposed to sweet, like the recipe for yams-n-apple casserole is.

Yes, I had a very nice Thanksgiving. We've made a plan for Christmas presents for this year: we put names in a hat and picked two, so everyone has only to get two presents, except, of course, for Baby D. (Honestly, that's what Dylan calls herself these days; and my sister Diane is Gamma D. And she recognizes "D" when someone writes it. Not even 2 and she is recognizing the alphabet. What a kid!)

So, how about this cold snap!? Yesterday heat wave; today a sudden plunge into the deep freeze.

Nov. 30, 2014, 11:38pm

I'll dig up the recipe and post it on my thread later this week, Mary.

Baby D - that's adorable! Dylan will be writing her name before you know it. Stock up on those books!

I'm so glad the weather was nice this past week. We FINALLY went to the Botanic Gardens on Wednesday to see the Chihuly exhibit before it left town. We took my sister and bil who were visiting from FL. It was great!!

But today's weather is a different story. Kinda wish we had had a chance to put the outside Christmas lights up yesterday...

Dez. 1, 2014, 7:29am

>60 Storeetllr: Please do not call me Paul! LOL. Of course, if you really want to, you can, you are my pal after all.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 1, 2014, 3:07pm

Yikes! I did call you Paul! What was I thinking? Sorry, Mark. (Mark, Mark, Mark, NOT Paul! I DO know the difference!) It was a crazy few days there, what with the unexpected 2-day trip up the mountain (with Nickel) and preparing food for Thanksgiving dinner in a strange kitchen. Can I blame the cold and high-altitude lack of oxygen up there in the mountains for my mistake? Anyway, I edited the post to change your name back to Mark. *sigh*

Dez. 1, 2014, 2:53pm

Hi, Joanne! So glad you got to see Chihuly before the exhibit left town! It was pretty spectacular, wasn't it! I drove past yesterday, which was the last day, hoping I could get in to see it just one more time, but it was so crowded and there was no parking so didn't stop. I had thought the cold and wet snow might keep people away, but Coloradans are a sturdy bunch. :)

Dez. 1, 2014, 5:44pm

Heat wave and then cold snap? NO thanks. Weather like that often gives me migraines. Hope it warms up and stays warm a bit more for you Mary!
I like how you organize your Christmas gifting. We may have to adopt that in a few years with all the nephews and niece when they get older. When they are young, it's just nice that everyone gets the seeing the joy on their faces. This year with the big one getting older, we are trying to think of a way to teach him that Christmas is as much about the giving as the receiving so he doesn't think it's all about just "getting" things. Still pondering that one... :)

Dez. 1, 2014, 7:21pm

Absolutely no problem, Joanne! I will get over it quickly.

Dez. 2, 2014, 6:42am

>68 Storeetllr: >71 msf59: I can think of worse things to be called than Paul...especially if his collection of books comes with the moniker... *snork!*

Dez. 3, 2014, 1:38pm

>70 jolerie: This was the first year we've done it this way, and I can't tell you what a relief it is to have to shop for only two (plus the baby) rather than 9! I already picked up a couple of little things for others, but that's okay. I just hope everyone sticks to the plan!

>71 msf59: *snerk*

>72 scaifea: Right? Stop whining, Paul Mark! :)

Dez. 3, 2014, 1:52pm

So, big change of plans!

Since we are having Christmas here in Colorado on December 16 due to half the girls and their men being in the service industry in a ski resort town and thus having to work long hours over the holidays, and since my daughter can't get away at Christmas for more than a couple of days, I'm going to NYC to spend Christmas week with her there!

I must say, I'm a little shell-shocked at the price of the flights, but it is only a little over 3 weeks until Christmas (!!!!!!!) and that's a big time for travel, but still! Also, freaked at how stringent the airlines are about carry-ons. Last time I flew, I was able to take a roller bag, my laptop in its case, plus a big purse. I'm trying to avoid checking in luggage, but I may have no choice, because I'll be there for a little over a week, and I really think I'll need more than I can fit in a small carry-on bag and one small personal item. In order to try and do that, though, I'm going to *gasp* leave my laptop at home! (I'm sure my daughter will let me borrow hers, but mine is all set up with all my bookmarks and passwords *whine whine whine*. Besides, I'm not going all that way and spending all that money just to sit around her apartment surfing the web, right?!?) Also contemplating not bringing my DSLR camera, though I might bring it with just one small lens (rather than all my lenses and tripod, etc.), because there's nothing like NYC for great photography! Well, we'll see.

Dez. 3, 2014, 1:57pm

Wow, NYC at Christmas must be amazing, I'd love to go one year just beforehand but I think I like Christmas itself at home. At least I'd be more likely to get snow over there than on this side of the pond! I hope you have a fantastic time :)

I have managed a week away with just carry on luggage by wearing quite a lot of my clothes when I board the plane! And not taking my laptop, just the iPad, phone and Kindle.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 3, 2014, 2:17pm

I love NYC at Christmastime! I think you would too, though I also find it too frenetic for me as a place to stay longer than a week or so.

I was thinking of that too, Jenny ~ wearing two pairs of pants and two tops on the plane! Plus my puffy coat, scarf, mittens, hat, shawl, Ugg boots and socks. (I'll need two seats!) I think I can get away with bringing only a couple more tops and maybe a skirt or nice pair of slacks, in case we go somewhere fancier than jeans allow. My real problem is footwear as they take up a lot of room. (I need boots, which I'll be wearing, sturdy walking shoes, as my feet are arthritic, and a nice pair of shoes in case we go somewhere fancy.)

I was also thinking of bringing along my strawberry fold-up tote bag and using it to stash the extra layer of clothing once we get on the plane.

Dez. 3, 2014, 5:47pm

If you use Firefox, I believe there is a way to save your bookmarks and passwords to a file. You can put it on a flashdrive and bring it with you. Let me know if you are interested and I'll double check with MrMorphy.

ETA: You can make an HTML file that has your bookmarks so all you have to do is click on the link. Then you can export your passwords to a text file.

Dez. 3, 2014, 7:25pm

Christmas-Time in the Big Apple, eh? Sounds wonderful, Mary. I have never been to that fine city.

Dez. 3, 2014, 11:17pm

Thanks, Morphy. I put them in Evernote, but I don't always remember to update when I change them. And occasionally I even forget to record the password for a new application/page. I'll just have to muddle through. It's only a week, after all. How urgent could it possibly be? (Oh, boy. I just put a jinx on myself, didn't I.)

Meg's been in NYC since 2003, Mark, so I've been a number of times, in all different seasons, but Christmas in The Big Apple IS pretty special! I hope you can get there one of these days.

Say, I wonder if there are any 75ers in NYC with whom I can get together for a meetup. I should check before I go, as that would be so much fun!

Bearbeitet: Dez. 4, 2014, 1:59am

mahsdad just posted (on Richard Derus's thread: a link to a site that lets you browse what NPR considers the best books of 2014. I know I won't be the only one thanking him for all the bullets flying around on that site. :)

Dez. 4, 2014, 7:19am

>67 msf59: Ooh, I love that strawberry tote!! I have something similar, but not nearly as adorable (it folds up into itself, but not into any particular shape, other than just plain old bag shaped).

Also, yay for Christmas in NY! I was there for (and in) the Macy's Parade one year and that was a hoot.

Dez. 4, 2014, 12:36pm

Christmas in NYC sounds exciting! I totally get what you mean about it being only good for a 1 week stay when it's hectic and busy. I like the atmosphere of it all but at some point it does get to be a bit overwhelming.
Our Canadian airlines just introduced fees for checked luggage. We used to be able to check in 1 luggage for free. Now everyone has to come up with creative ways to cram more things in less space. Travelling does not come cheap anymore...

Bearbeitet: Dez. 4, 2014, 2:18pm

>81 scaifea: Sounds like the one I have is like yours, Amber ~ a shapeless bag that folds up inside itself. I couldn't find an image online, though, so I used that one (which I think I like more). What fun that you were in the Macy's Parade! I've never been there on Thanksgiving Day to see it, but my daughter goes every year. (Note: When I lived in So.Cal. for 35 years, I never saw the Rose Parade either. I'm SUCH a dork.)

>82 jolerie: You're right, Val, it makes travel even more expensive and is quite annoying, though I admit that the actual flying part of traveling never was easy for me. I used to be afraid of flying; now I just find it incredibly uncomfortable. But, if you want to go anywhere further than a day or so of driving, or if you need to get somewhere fast, it's the only way to get there.

Dez. 4, 2014, 5:57pm

Hopefully you'll be able to get away with just the hand luggage if you're creative enough!

Dez. 5, 2014, 6:55am

>83 Storeetllr: Yep, it was a hoot being in the parade, even though it was the coldest it had been in something like 15 years and it snowed lots. Ha! Our band even got to escort Santa!

Dez. 5, 2014, 11:26am

Mary, I'm thrilled for you being able to be with your daughter in NYC for Christmas. What a fun time you will have. I have not spent any time in the city and would love to go there someday just to see some broadway plays and soak up the atmosphere. Yes, on the camera and lots of pictures! Of course, you will have to make a trip to The Strand and report back to us. *Sigh* …can't help it, I'm a tiny bit green with jealousy!

Bearbeitet: Dez. 5, 2014, 2:31pm

Thanks, Jenny. I've been looking at articles on how to pack light, but most of them seem to be for summer travel, where you don't need bulky items. And now my daughter tells me we'll be going to a Broadway show (she wants to see "Matilda" or "Kinkyboots") so I must have something "nice" to wear. *sigh* She said my black jeans and a nice top would suffice, but I can barely zip the jeans up (haven't worn them since I retired and guess I've put on a pound or two (or ten) over the past year).

Must have been a great experience, Amber. Were you in band? Forgive me if you've mentioned it on one of your threads, but what did you play? And was it in high school or college?

Thanks, Donna ~ it should be fun! And I'm scheming ways to bring my DSLR in my carry-ons without having to leave my underwear at home. :) In addition to the Broadway show, we're going to take in a film and eat at a chinese (or thai or sushi or something asian) restaurant on Christmas Day. Plus she wants to take me to the Guggenheim, and I want to go to the Met and the Natural History Museum (just having read a few Pendergast novels, though I love the museum anyway). And yes, I hope to get back to The Strand. It'll be a busy seven days!

Dez. 6, 2014, 1:44pm

Christmas in NYC sounds very exciting, Mary. This will be a great break for you and spending time with your daughter is what the holidays are all about.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 9, 2014, 2:18am

They are indeed, Judy! Turns out this year I have two family Christmases ~ one here in Colorado with my sis and her girls, the boys in their lives, and grandbaby Dylan; the other with my girl in NYC. My cup runneth over! You ready for the holidays yet? I've got one out of the three presents I need to give this year, but since it's for the easiest one of my three to buy for (Baby Dylan), I'm not feeling too excited.

Guess what I got her! Ocean, a Photicular Book. I thought she'd get a kick out of it: she likes books, and fish, and these pictures move! Here's a link to a YouTube video:

Dez. 7, 2014, 8:48am

>87 Storeetllr: I was in the drumline in my high school marching band. We were in the parade in 1989.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 7, 2014, 8:42pm

Very cool, Amber! I bet you had fun! Does Charlie show any interest in drums?

So, here are my latest few mini-reviews:

142. Blue Labyrinth by Preston and Child. 7 stars. Audio. First third was good, second third was boring, and final third exciting. After all this time and after all the wild adventures and weird happenings he's experience and seen hanging around with Pendergast, you'd think D'Agosta would stop saying things like, "This is nuts." Everything about the Pendergast thrillers is nuts (i.e., outrageously unrealistic). Also, this novel involved another murder in the museum, along with very nasty people doing really nasty things. You'd think Nora Green would be a little less cavalier about her safety when tootling around inside the place after dark. And, finally, Pendergast was not much in evidence in the second third (boring) part of the novel, which is why, I suppose, it bored me. Still, worth the read, except I went for the audio version, hoping the voice of reader (Rene Auberjenois) would be palatable. It wasn't. Back to print versions on all future Pendergast novels.

143. Seven for a Secret by Elizabeth Bear. 6 stars. Novelette and so a quick read or I might not have finished it. The Germans (Prussians) won WWI and are an occupying force in England. Abby Irene is an old woman now, holding onto life only until the enemy is ousted. Not my favorite wampyr novel.

144. Archangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh. 6 stars. (Audio) Well, not my favorite of this series, partly because I didn't like the reader, whose nasally, whiny style just doesn't fit this series, but also because too many sex scenes (what's new?) that weren't really all that necessary, and because the relationship between main characters Ashwini (sp?) (guild hunter) and Janvier (vampire) seemed ho-hum.

145. Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn. 8 stars. I just love these mystery novels featuring Bernie Little and his faithful partner/companion from the "nation within the nation" Chet (the Jet). This wasn't one of my favorites, plot wise, but Chet was his usual wonderful self, and some of his antics and thought processes made me laugh out loud. HIGHLY recommended series!

Edited to correct numbering. (Also note that I'm on course to finish 150 (or more) books this year!)

Dez. 7, 2014, 9:21pm

Happy Sunday, Mary! Hope you had a good weekend. I see you are churning through the books. Yah!

Dez. 7, 2014, 9:55pm

I'm with you on Archangel's Shadows. Gave it the same rating and thought it was ho-hum, too.

Dez. 8, 2014, 6:44am

>91 Storeetllr: Yep, he loves playing around with my drum set!

Dez. 8, 2014, 3:25pm

Thanks, Mark ~ I had a good enough weekend, but, as I said before, every day is a weekend for me these days. :) I am very happily churning through the books, and will be starting one you recommended, Ancillary Justice, as soon as I finish one that Judy (Delta Queen) recommended, Life As We Knew It.

Hah! So glad I'm not the only one disappointed with this latest Guild Hunter offering, Morphy, but sad that it wasn't better. I loved the first few a lot (even with all the sex scenes in them) and wish it could continue.

Of course he does! What boy wouldn't?

Dez. 9, 2014, 12:27am

Oh how exciting - seeing your daughter in New York for Christmas!! I'm so happy for you!! I have a lot of happy memories of visiting the city during the Christmas season. Really my favorite time to visit - all bustling and festive!

I also have some foggy memories of late night/early morning trips to Chinatown back in my younger days...

Sounds like your plans are shaping up nicely!

Frontier charges more for a carry-on bag than for a checked bag. It's quite a racket.

Also, are you listening to the Chet & Bernie books or reading them? I'm thinking of trying the audio versions.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 9, 2014, 2:23am

Hi, Joanne ~ Yes, I'm pretty excited about going to NYC and spending Christmas with my daughter. Haven't done that for a few years, so it will be a real treat!

Racket's a good word for it. They sure don't make it pleasant to travel these days. I'm on United, and they charge $25/checked bag, but the carry-ons are free. They allow two carry-ons: one can't be larger than 22x9x14 wide, and the second 10x9x14. I've got a beat-up backpack type roller-bag that is about the right size, but my niece said I could borrow her pretty, red, solid-sided roller-bag. Unfortunately, it's 24x9x14 (it's the rollers that make it 2" too tall). I'm going to try and get away with using it anyway and ask my sister to wait for me in the car outside the terminal with the old ratty backpack until I've confirmed that the roller-bag will work. (I'm sure she will be happy to do that for me, haha.) :) The allowed size of the second item is kind of small. Even the purse I've been using is wider than 14"! For my second item, I'm going to use a small photographer's backpack that has a padded section on the bottom for the camera and a top section that I can use for what I usually keep in my purse. I can stow my iPhone, Kindle and tablet in the bottom section along with the DSLR and the small 50 mm. fixed lens that I decided to use for any photography I do there.

About the Chet & Bernie books ~ when I can force myself to wait for the library to get audios of them, I listen to them, and they are fantastic! I actually like the way the reader does Chet's voice much more than I like the way the reader of the Iron Druid books does Oberon's voice. Anyway, I couldn't wait with the latest one, so I read it as a hardcover. Having listened to so many of them, though, I had Chet's voice firmly in my mind as I read.

Dez. 9, 2014, 3:57am

>97 Storeetllr: Wow, $25 is cheap! It's about £30 here on budget airlines (free on more expensive ones) which Google informs me is $47. But then I must stop doing that, as it simply makes me realise how high the UK's cost of living is!

We are also generally only allowed one piece of cabin luggage, so a handbag has to go inside the slightly bigger suitcase type that we cram all our stuff into. Such a pain in the neck. I can't remember if I've ever flown purely with carry on luggage, generally we have 1 item of hold luggage between three or four of us for things like towels and shoes. It sounds like you should be able to just about swing it with your two items (although don't swing them or they might not allow you on the plane ;). )

Dez. 9, 2014, 3:12pm

Wow, Jenny, that is pretty steep! I guess I'll stop whining now. :)

Dez. 13, 2014, 1:16pm

Well, it's lonely here in Lake Woebegone (aka my final thread of the year), and the chill gloom outside just makes it more so. My sister's been sick for a few days, now ~ I took her to the emergency room the other night, because she was afraid she might have pneumonia, but the doc said it was just a really bad case of the flu. Doing what I can to make her comfy, but she just wants to sleep, so I've ended up just bringing her tea, juice, water and broth at intervals and as requested. So far, I haven't caught what she has, and just happy I got my flu shot back in November!

As for me, I'm stressing over my upcoming trip to NY (don't like to fly, don't know what to do about luggage, and spent far too much on the flight to feel easy about spending even more on Christmas presents, though I'm ignoring that last and am going shopping today before the snowstorm predicted for later today starts... *sigh*). Worse, I can't seem to settle on a book to read ~ I've got eight going, some of them highly recommended, but none of them have hooked me yet.

I did have a good laugh earlier when I read the linked article. Murrika.

Dez. 13, 2014, 2:28pm

I was just thinking of you yesterday and wondering what was keeping you so busy. But I was thinking of pleasanter things, like preparing for your trip and Christmas, so sorry to hear about your sister. It must be such a blessing to her to have you there to help her, though.

DOn't let that blogger get near the Nieman-Markup catalog!

Dez. 13, 2014, 3:16pm

Or, as I call it, Needless Markup. :) Actually, I have an old gift card from NM for (I think) $250 that I never used. In Cali, gift cards never expire. Not sure about Colorado. May have to wait until I get back to California for a visit to use it, though not sure it's worth it. As a friend said about the gift card, "How nice. You can get a pretty scarf with it."

Dez. 13, 2014, 3:40pm

>100 Storeetllr: Sorry to hear how sick your sister is, but I'm glad it's not pneumonia as that is awful. I had double pneumonia a couple of years ago and it was the worst I have ever felt. Not even having the energy to stand up to transfer from my bed to a commode! I was in Intensive care at that point because I'd gone septic (hence the double pneumonia) and I've never been so glad for the nurses around me. Even watching TV was too exhausting.

I can remember the thrill I got when I was well enough to walk 10m down the hall to the bathroom. I still had to sit down in the shower, and didn't have the energy to wash my hair myself, but being alone to wee was a great treat.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 13, 2014, 11:45pm

Oh, Jenny, that sounds awful! I had pneumonia about 10 years ago and will never forget. Wasn't as bad as yours, thank goodness mine responded to antibiotics and I didn't need hospitalization, but I was likewise incapacitated and in bed for a good week. Not even enough energy to read.

Dez. 14, 2014, 12:22am

That link is hysterical! And so true.

Sorry to hear that your sister is under the weather and hope she's feeling better soon. The flu seems to be ramping up of late. Don't you get it!

I always get stressed out, too, before I travel. I'm good at worrying about little stuff and make myself a little crazy doing it. It'll all come together for you and you'll be so happy spending time with your daughter!

Hope one of your eight books finally grabs you! Have you ever tried Andrea Camilleri's Montalbano series? They're pretty entertaining.

I'm looking forward to a little snow tomorrow. It's been too warm!

Dez. 14, 2014, 9:39am

Happy Sunday, Mary! Hope you are having a good weekend. Sorry, to hear about your sister. Hope she is getting better. And I hope you bookhorn in some reading today.

Dez. 14, 2014, 3:28pm

Well, Joanne, you got your wish ~ it snowed last night and still is! I'm watching it fall as I sit at my desk typing this. It's kind of gloomy, the view. Last year, I looked out on a golf course, which, even in winter, was groomed and was, therefore, pretty, even on a snowy, cloudy day. Our back yard ~ not so much. Anyway, my sis seems to be feeling a bit better today but is still weak and coughing, congested, etc. I read the first Montalbano and just never got to the second. Maybe this would be a good time to get back to it. I'm thinking I'll buy an inexpensive (well, relatively speaking) carry-on that is the right size. It will pay for itself in a few flights, assuming I ever travel by air again. :)

Thanks, Mark! Hope you have a lovely Sunday and get some reading in too. I went shopping yesterday ~ four (4) hours (!!!) in a mall (ugh) ~ and was exhausted and aching all over when I finally got home last night (though I did manage to finish my Christmas shopping ~ yay me!). I was so tired, I knew I couldn't read, so instead I started listening to "Serial," which you've been warbling about on your thread. Well, I finished the first episode and, yes, thanks so very very much, I'm hooked. Can't wait to listen to the second installment tonight!

Dez. 14, 2014, 4:36pm

Serial is infectious, Mary! I am already on Ep #8 and hope to wrap it up before the finale on Thursday. It's a great water-cooler program.

Dez. 14, 2014, 4:58pm

>108 msf59: But what to do when you never go anywhere near a water-cooler?!

Dez. 14, 2014, 5:57pm

I think of LT as a giant water cooler, Jenny!

Dez. 14, 2014, 6:18pm

>109 lunacat: This is a our water-cooler, right here, Jenny!! LOL.

Dez. 16, 2014, 1:59pm

Your sister must have really appreciate all the great care she was getting from you. Bless you Mary!
Will be thinking of you as you prepare to fly. Even though I know it can be stressful, hopefully focusing on the destination and spending time with family will ease the flying part of it for you. :)

Bearbeitet: Dez. 18, 2014, 3:30pm

>111 msf59: :-D

>112 jolerie: Thanks, Val. I didn't do a lot; she was burrowed in bed most of the time and didn't want me (or anyone) around bugging her. I must say, she's not a happy sick person. :) She went to work yesterday for the first time in a week but is home again today. I haven't talked with her yet, but I hope she didn't overdo it.

I'm feeling more relaxed about the trip to NY now that I broke down and bought a relatively inexpensive carry-on bag that is exactly the size allowed. I can fit everything I wanted to bring into it too! Now my only concern is preparing things for Nickel ~ putting her daily meals (cooked breakfast and afternoon crunchies) in individual baggies so it will be easy for my sister/niece feed her while I'm going, making sure there are enough toys to keep her busy, and making sure there is enough paper available for cage paper and perch paper changes. It's a lot of work, having a parrot!

Dez. 18, 2014, 4:42pm

I hope your sister is soon feeling better, Mary. You best take care as you certainly don't want to catch any germs right now. Glad you found the perfectly sized carry-on - the less stress at this time of the year, the better!

Dez. 18, 2014, 8:20pm

Thanks, Judy! Turns out my sis went to work today after all! She apparently now has a bad case of laryngitis but other than that is on the road to recovery. Our Colorado family Christmas has been rescheduled to January 5. How nice we get to stretch the holiday out that far!

Dez. 19, 2014, 6:39am

>115 Storeetllr: That's great that you get to extend the festivities for that long. Hopefully it will be a good highlight to keep the post-Christmas blues at bay for a while.

Dez. 19, 2014, 12:06pm

Oh! You get the post-Christmas blues too, Jenny? I'm always surprised to get that deflated feeling the day after Christmas. Like Christmas isn't even my favorite holiday, but I seem to expect so much from it. :)

Dez. 19, 2014, 12:31pm

Yes, definitely. I think it's a combination of too much food, too much sugar, too much alcohol, complete exhaustion, over stimulation and the anticipation being far better than the result. Kind of like the thought of a holiday being better than the holiday itself.

Plus I have CFS so I'm always absolutely shattered after two days of festivities. We do Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) as nearly as big as Christmas itself so the 27th is a complete washout, I simply can't function. I'll be lucky to get out of bed!

And then there is the thought of January which must be the longest month ever. I'm really selling it aren't I ;)

Dez. 20, 2014, 7:41am

You know, I used to feel that post-Christmas let-down, too, but this group has pretty much cured me of that: after Christmas now I'm full of excitement about the new group starting up and everyone making brand-new threads and reading challenges and all that excitement keeps me going through January! Ha!

Dez. 20, 2014, 12:07pm

Hi Mary, I'm not sure when you're leaving, but I just wanted to be sure and stop by to say safe travels to you! Have a wonderful time in the city with your daughter and a very Merry Christmas!

Dez. 20, 2014, 2:57pm

Oh, Jenny ~ CFS is so hard! So sorry you have to deal with that. I sometimes think I have it, because I have a lot of the symptoms, though so far I haven't been diagnosed. I do know what you mean about having to take a day or two after a busy day to recover. Maybe when I go in for my yearly wellness checkup, I'll mention it to my new doctor. Anyway, perhaps this year you'll be able to skip some of that letdown if you think about your and your mom's Christmas presents to each other which will be happening this spring!

That's a good way to look at it, Amber! (Funny, but when I first read your post, I thought you said, "...everyone making brand-new threats... ." LOL

Thanks, Joanne, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too! I'm leaving Monday evening (and praying the snow holds off until after my plane takes off) and will be there until the evening of 12/30.

My daughter called me this morning to tell me what she has planned for us, and I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. I told her I might not be able to do it all, but she said she's sure I'll be fine. She wants to see the Broadway production of "Kinkyboots" Tuesday evening, maybe with another friend; see the Rockefeller Center tree on Christmas Eve, then out to dinner with my nephew and his wife; see the film "Into the Woods" and have have chinese on Christmas; go to MOMA to see the Matisse cutouts ( on Friday; go to the Met and/or Natural History Museum on Saturday; take a ride on a vintage train to Lower Manhattan to see the 9/11 Memorial on Sunday; and, finally, Monday to Harlem to see her new apartment (she'll be moving in on 1/2) and then on to The Cloisters ~ WHEW!!!!!

I'll be bringing my arthritis pain meds along with me for sure!

Dez. 20, 2014, 4:33pm

Oh, but it sounds like a Christmastime to remember, Mary!!

Dez. 20, 2014, 4:51pm

Eek, I'm exhausted just reading about the plans! There is no way I'd be able to cope with all that.

I survived an activity filled five day holiday this year thanks to large amounts of painkillers and caffeine, but it took me nearly a month to recover and my immune system took a really big hit. When I put myself too far I end up with chills and aches similar to having the flu, with the same foggy head and total exhaustion. On a bad day I'm barely able to make it an hour out of bed before I need a nap, but the sleep is never restorative.

Mostly I'm very lucky to be able to structure my life in a way that gives me time off after a big occasion (competing my horse, having a day out with friends etc) and I've learnt how useless I'll be after something like a holiday. And after some issues, my best friend has learnt that it's not just laziness but an actual problem that needs managing, and she supports me and helps me push through when I need to, and comes bearing food and drink when I need to rest.

Hopefully you'll be able to survive the holidays intact and get some downtime scheduled as well!

Dez. 21, 2014, 6:36pm

Have a wonderful Christmas, Mary and enjoy your time with your daughter. I will be leaving on the 26th to spend time with my Mom and the rest of the family in Victoria. So I guess I'll see you in 2015!

Dez. 22, 2014, 5:33pm

Sounds like your holidays is going to filled with so much excitement Mary! Can't wait to hear about all your adventures. Have a wonderful time with the family, my friend. :)

Dez. 22, 2014, 9:02pm

Hope you arrived safely in NY, Mary! Have a wonderful time with your daughter. Check in when you can.

Dez. 23, 2014, 6:22am

Hopefully you had a good flight yesterday and are happily settled in NYC and ready for your fun-filled week.

Dez. 23, 2014, 2:52pm

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Mary.

Dez. 23, 2014, 10:40pm

I also hope you have arrived safely, Mary, and are starting into your wonderful week with your daughter. It's Chrismas Eve's eve, and so I am starting the rounds of wishing my 75er friends the merriest of Christmases or whatever the solstice celebration of their choice is.

Dez. 24, 2014, 10:33am

Happiest of Christmases, Mary!

Dez. 24, 2014, 11:24am

Merry Christmas, Mary! Have a wonderful holiday in NY!

Dez. 24, 2014, 11:26am

Bearbeitet: Dez. 25, 2014, 1:19pm

From our family to yours!

Dez. 24, 2014, 12:57pm

Mary have a great Christmas and new year!

Dez. 24, 2014, 4:24pm

Dez. 25, 2014, 3:20am

Mary, best wishes to you for a very Merry Christmas!

Dez. 25, 2014, 9:40pm

I hope your NYC Christmas is a magical one for you and your family, Mary.

Dez. 27, 2014, 1:03am

Dez. 29, 2014, 4:31pm

Happy Holidays, Mary.

Dez. 31, 2014, 4:20pm

A big thank you to all of you lovely visitors who left holiday greetings that kept my thread warm while I was in NYC visiting my daughter for Christmas. Sorry for not responding sooner, but I didn't have my laptop in NY, and it's not easy for me to do LT on my tiny iPhone. Plus Meg kept me running - or at least walking - every day I was there. I swear we must have walked miles every day, and up and down subway stairs, and up and down her apartment stairs. Exhausting, not to mention painful for my arthritic joints. At least the weather was nice ~ warm (in the 50s and 60s) most of the time, and we did so many fun things and I got to spend time with friends and family, so it was all worth it. Anyway, I just got back last night and am still recovering from the flight (and all that walking)... I'll reply to everyone individually as soon as I catch my breath and post pictures of my Christmas in NYC adventure. And I'll be visiting everyone's threads to wish you all a Super Happy New Year!

Dez. 31, 2014, 6:49pm

Dez. 31, 2014, 8:56pm

Lovely image--just like Nickel! Glad you survived. See you on the other side, Mary!

Dez. 31, 2014, 9:57pm

So glad you had a great time in the city! Welcome back to chilly Colorado!

Happy New Year!

Dez. 31, 2014, 11:28pm


Happy New Year from your friend in Kuala Lumpur

Jan. 1, 2015, 3:47pm

>141 Storeetllr: Love it, Mary. Welcome Home! It sounds like you have a wonderfully exhausting visit with your daughter. So it's back to cold and snow for you…perfect for reading…and making new threads. Hint!

I feel a bit like this guy as he makes his way up a steep hill through the snow.
It's crazy around those 2015 threads!

Jan. 1, 2015, 9:11pm

Looking for your 2015 thread...hope to see you there. :)

Jan. 2, 2015, 3:41pm

>122 ronincats: It was, Roni! As much for the aches and pains from so much walking and stair climbing as anything else. Just kidding, though there was more walking involved than I normally do in a year. :)

>123 lunacat: I read the spoon essay, Jenny, and totally understand (and to an extent relate). Hope you made it through this holiday season without difficulty.

>124 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy! Hope you are having as wonderful a time with your family in Victoria as I had with mine in NYC!

>125 jolerie: Thanks, Val! Hope your holidays were similarly wonderful!

>126 msf59: Thanks, Mark! Not much checking in was done, I was on the go from the moment I rose in the morning til late in the evening most days I was there.

>127 lunacat: Thanks, Jenny!

>128 connie53: Connie! Thanks and hope yours were also wonderful. I'll get over to your thread (old or new) (or both) soon!

Jan. 2, 2015, 3:43pm

>129 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! Love the kitty bling!

>130 scaifea: Thanks, Amber!

>131 msf59: Thanks, Mark!

>132 Morphidae: Great spoon story, Morphy!

>133 jolerie: Thanks, Val!

Jan. 2, 2015, 3:46pm

>134 SandDune: Rhian! Thanks, and hope yours was also wonderful! I'll get over to your new thread soonest to wish you a happy 2015!

>135 Copperskye: Thanks, Joanne! Hope to see you soon!

>136 AMQS: Thanks, Anne! Hope yours was merry and bright too! See you soon!

>137 rosalita: Thanks, Julia! Christmas in NYC can't help but be magical! Pictures soon, I promise.

Jan. 2, 2015, 3:51pm

>138 PaulCranswick: Thanks so much, Paul! Hope your holidays were also wonderful!

>139 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe!

>142 ronincats: Thanks, Roni! I wanted to post one of Nickel playing, but I couldn't find one that was half as fun-looking. She's more a sit-and-watch-the-action-around-her kind of parrot, though she does enjoy shredding things.

>143 Copperskye: Haha, Joanne, it was kind of a shock to go from warm NYC to deep-freeze Denver. Thank goodness the last day in NYC was colder than the 50-60F weather we had all the rest of my time there.

>144 PaulCranswick: Thank you, my friend! I hope 2015 is good for you too!

Jan. 2, 2015, 3:55pm

>145 Donna828: Thanks, Donna! Yes, it was wonderful and exhausting, but I loved spending the holiday with my daughter! Yes, back home to the deep freeze ~ and all the chores that weren't done while I was away and so became urgent. I haven't had much time for being online ~ in fact, I realize I haven't gotten to your thread to wish you a Happy New Year yet ~ but I hope to be finished with everything today so I can spend the weekend playing on LT.

>146 fuzzi: Hi, fuzzi ~ yes, I'll get on that tonight or tomorrow I hope. BTW, note below that one of my top 10 favorite books from 2014 was recommended by you. :)

Bearbeitet: Mrz. 15, 2015, 9:46pm

So, I read 1512 books in 2014. Of them, my Top Ten Eleven Favorites are:

The Martian by Andy Weir (reccied by Mark and Joe and Jim aka DrNeutron)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (audio)
Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neal Gaiman (audio)
Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Shogun by James Clavell (audio) (reccied by fuzzi)
River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (audio)
The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, read by Kate Reading (audio) (reccied by Roni)
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (audio) (reccied by Joanne and others)
The Burning Room by Michael Connelly (Audio)

I note that most were audiobooks, which I'm finding much more comfortable to read these days than printed books, both paper and eBook.

Also noteworthy is the fact that I bought two of the above books to give to my daughter, because I loved them so very much and thought she might enjoy them too. Can you guess which two?

Best series of 2015 (both urban fantasy):

Mercy Thompson
Matthew Swift

Edited to fix number of books read.

ETA series faves.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 4, 2015, 12:02am

Finally got around to uploading my NYC pics, which ended up being a lot fewer than I thought ~ probably because my daughter took so many on her own iPhone camera that it seemed we were forever taking shots. Anyway, here are a few of them that I really liked:

First, at the Denver airport, I was rushing to the gate when I saw this and had to stop and take a pic:

I didn't go in, because I was a little late, but I love that it's there at the airport terminal amidst all the other shops selling junk and fast food.

On my first night in NY, my daughter took me to see a Broadway musical, and these were our seats:

Meg with Billy Porter, star of Kinky Boots and an amazing performer (Meg said "He's a Broadway legend!" and that this was the first time in 11 years that she stood by the stage door after a show to get the star's autograph.)

If you get a chance, do go see "Kinky Boots." It was amazing!

Walking back to our apartment from the theatre, I noticed this wonderful lintel:

A drink (or two) after the show, at a little bar a few blocks from where we were staying

The days I spent in NYC all seemed to run together, so I'm not sure what day it was that we went to the 9/11 Memorial, but it was impactful. Here are some of the pics I took there:

One of the two memorial pools

Panorama of one of the pools

The museum tower

The fire station across the street from the site, where many first responders came from

One day we went for a ride on a vintage subway train, ca. 1930.

Meg beneath the "City of New York" sign. Note the woman in vintage costume seated behind her.

We rode from Queens Plaza to Union Square, where we ended up at The Strand:

Would you believe, all I bought were The Martian for my daughter and three postcards? Well, true, because I had no room ~ not even an inch of spare space ~ in my carry-ons! It was fun to wander through the stacks, though it wasn't long before I started to feel a bit overwhelmed, what with the gazillion books, the trillions of people shopping, and the high heat. (Why do New Yorkers turn the heat up so high that you sweat in your warm winter clothing when you're inside, then freeze the minute you step back outside?)

Bearbeitet: Jan. 2, 2015, 10:59pm

Lovely pictures, Mary!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 3, 2015, 12:24am

One of my favorite places in NYC is The Met, where we ended up going to rather than the Natural History Museum where I had thought I wanted to go (mainly because I just finished a Pendergast thriller set there). I'm so glad I chose the Met, not least of which is because I wandered into a room full of statues of Hatshepsut, which was serendipitous since I'm currently in the middle of a history about her! Anyway, these are some of the images from The Met and its environs:

Me across the street from the Met

Sitting on the crowded front steps in the sun, where we enjoyed a NY hotdog while waiting for a friend to join us.

One of my favorite galleries, a replication of an Egyptian temple.

In the Hall of Hatshepsut:

From the way the statues depicted her, she was a beautiful woman!

This reminds me so much of the sphinxes guarding the Riddle Gate in "Neverending Story."

And this reminds me of Aslan. It's from "Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age" (

Bearbeitet: Jan. 3, 2015, 12:16am

Oh! I almost forgot our trip to MOMA to see the Matisse cutouts exhibit ( Photos inside the exhibit were not allowed, but here are a couple of shots of other pieces that I particularly liked:

Megan in front of art by Mark Grotjahn

Details from Grotjahn's paintings

Detail from another piece of art with (surprise) birds whose creator I forgot to note.

I loved this but forgot to write down the artist's name.

Jan. 2, 2015, 11:32pm

Mary, you were and are so busy. Stupendous pictures. Meg is a beauty! Take your time around here and get rested up. There is plenty of year left!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 4, 2015, 12:01am

Some random shots:

61F on Christmas Eve? Inconceivable!

Impressionist image of Times Square

Panorama of Times Square on Christmas Eve at night

Me and Meg in Times Square on Christmas Eve at night

Streets of NYC

On my last night there, my daughter's friend treated us to a double-decker bus tour of Midtown and Downtown, and I took a few shots while riding in the upper deck:

Left: Macy's Plaza / Right: Empire State Building with its festive Red and Green crown

Bearbeitet: Jan. 3, 2015, 12:39am

Thanks, Roni and Donna! It was great reliving the trip via the pics. Hope I didn't post too many!

Jan. 3, 2015, 2:49am

Gorgeous photos, Mary! Thanks so much for sharing them!

Jan. 3, 2015, 5:40am

Lovely pictures, but tiring just to look at! You probably need a holiday to recover from your holiday.

Jan. 3, 2015, 7:48am

Oh, wonderful, wonderful photos! Thanks so much for sharing, and I'm so glad that you had such a good time, Mary!

Jan. 3, 2015, 9:32am

Great shots! I love the vintage subway one.

Jan. 3, 2015, 11:52am

Thanks, Joanne, Kerry, Amber and Jim! Glad you enjoyed them, and, yes, Kerry, I did (still do) need a few days of R&R to recover from all that fun! Jim, they run the vintage subway during the Christmas season, and we took our ride on its last day in service until next Christmas. It was a good reminder of how different today's subway trains are compared to earlier in the 20th century. For example, the lights kept flickering on and off and the smell of diesel was almost nauseating, but the seats were cushioned, there were ceiling fans, and the ads were interesting (ads for Ivory Soap and a 2-bedroom apartment on the upper west side for $1,200 ~ A YEAR ~ rather than for pregnancy counseling and the like). Here's an image of the car we rode in; I think there were other models from other time periods too.

Jan. 3, 2015, 11:56am

Those vintage subway trains are gorgeous, but I don't fancy the diesel fumes so much. I wonder what happened to the old London Underground carriages - I know there is the Transport Museum in London (that I've never been to) so I'd assume they have a couple, but I'd love to see some of the early steam ones from the 1860's.

Glad to see you had such an enjoyable time, but I hope you're got a decent block of time to rest and recharge now :)

Jan. 3, 2015, 12:33pm

Wow, what a great trip to NYC, Mary! Thanks for all the photos. You took full advantage of a great city. I'd never thought about vintage subway cars - that is gorgeous all right.

Jan. 3, 2015, 7:46pm

Oh wow, Mary! Your photos are magical!! Thank you so much for sharing.

Jan. 3, 2015, 11:28pm

I throughly enjoyed your NYC travelogue, Mary! It looks like you really made the most of your time there by seeing and doing some really fun stuff, and not just the usual. Well done!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 4, 2015, 12:07am

We didn't like the diesel fumes much either, Jenny, but overall the ride was well worth that slight discomfort. I'd love to see the London Underground carriages too! If I ever get to England...

It was a great trip, the best time I've had in NYC! Glad you enjoyed the photos! I'm definitely happy to share!

Thanks, Anne! New York City at Christmas is magical!

Thanks, Julia! And you're right, it wasn't the same old/same old, though I hadn't actually considered it that way. Glad you enjoyed the travelogue, which is a very nice way of describing the passel of pics I posted. :)

Bearbeitet: Jan. 4, 2015, 2:08pm

I never can resist these kinds of memes!

Meme answered by books read in 2014

Describe yourself: Wild Seed
Describe how you feel: Frost Burned
Describe where you currently live: World of Trouble
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Borders of Infinity
Your favorite form of transportation: River of Stars
Your best friend is: Nickel Plated
You and your friends are: Fair Game
What’s the weather like: Just One Damned Thing After Another
You fear: A Madness of Angels
What is the best advice you have to give: Some Danger Involved
Thought for the day: Some Girls Bite (I’m looking at you, Nickel.)
How I would like to die: Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and then A Sudden Light
My soul’s present condition: Otherwise Engaged

Jan. 4, 2015, 9:13pm

Great meme, Mary! I may give it a try myself. Some Girls Bite, lol, poor Nickel. Love your choice for the weather. It sure is fitting!

Jan. 6, 2015, 5:56pm

I so much enjoyed the pictures of your trip. I especially got a smile from the little things like you noticing the lintel or getting to see where your seats were. Thanks for sharing!

Jan. 7, 2015, 11:41pm

Thanks, Joanne ~ it was fun to fill it out. Heh heh, Nickel never bites me, but sometimes she grabs hold of my finger a little too hard and I have to tell her, "No biteys!" Because there have been times that others haven't realized she isn't actually biting, and they got scared and pulled away, and then they got hurt. She needs to learn to be more gentle (though sometimes I totally understand ~ I'd want to bite someone who put their finger in front of my nose too)! Anyway, glad you enjoyed the meme.

Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed the pictures! NYC is so photogenic, and there is always something interesting to see, even just walking down the street. Maybe especially when you're just walking down the street.

So, I went ahead and started a new thread for 2015, and you can find it here: