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I've read quite a few books recently, which is why this is a slightly longer review than normal - I was going to do it last week, but was close to finishing two of the books, so I thought I'd wait.

The Minitiarist by Jessie Burton

There's been a lot said about this book, so I thought I'd give it a go.  They even had a copy in our local library (which I reserved and collected two days' later to save getting dressed to go to the library).  I quite enjoyed it, but I wasn't taken by it as much as other people seem to have been.  And the central premise of the story, that of the dolls' house, for me didn't work as I'd hoped.  I'll be interested to see what others of my flist thought.

Ovid by David Wishart

A mystery set in ancient Rome, recommended by someone in my flist.  The mystery was quite interesting and the setting was reasonably entertaining.  This is the first in a series - I may read more, but there's plenty else on my 'to read' list at the moment.

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

The witches aren't my favourite of Pratchett's characters, but I enjoyed the story.  And even if not my favourite in the Discworld series, they're still better than some things I've read, so I shall certainly be reading more.

Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton

A present from [personal profile] aome  I was totally taken in by the story, suspecting characters I really didn't want to suspect, but happy at the outcome.  It was definitely responsible for one or two late nights, as I had to read 'just one more chapter'.  A series I shall most certainly continue with.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Really worth reading.  Sad, obviously, and graphic, but an excellent description of the first world war from the viewpoint of the German trenches.  The daughter and I are going on a tour of some of the battlefields next April.

The Wine of Angels by Phil Rickman

Recommended by several of my friends: a mystery featuring a female vicar in a parish in Herefordshire, close to Leominster which we visited last month.  It sounded great, but to my mind, too long, too convoluted and I was tempted to give up and take it back to the library part way through.  I battled on, but won't be reading the next in the series.

As ever, I shall be interested to read any thoughts anyone has - the fact I didn't enjoy a book doesn't mean it's badly written, just not my thing.
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Three weeks after posting my last review I have another one.  The last few books have been much quicker to read - hooray.

The Chilbury Ladies Choir by Jennifer Ryan

A few months ago an American site (I don't remember which one) had a challenge to read the first few pages of certain books and earn points which would be converted into books for children in underprivileged areas.  The books were divided into 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute reads.  A five minute read earned one point, ten minutes two, etc.  It was a quiet day at work - I managed to read a lot of the 5 minute suggestions.  And amongst them were a couple of books which I wanted to read more of.  It turned out this particular book was available within our county library system, so I reserved a copy.  Two and a half months later my reservation was top of the list.

I really enjoyed the book.  It's set in Kent early in WWII.  The men have been called up and the vicar is planning on disbanding the church choir, until the women say they're perfectly able to sing, and what the village needs is something positive.  The story is told by four of the women in the form of letters and diary entries, which gives a number of different viewpoints.  There's a strong plot, with a number of strong women, some of whom begin as quite meek and mild, but gain strength through various events.  There's drama, there's romance, there were a few late nights when I had to know what happened next.  Thoroughly recommended.

Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton

[personal profile] aome  recommended this book.  I wasn't sure, since it's written by an American, but set in the Cotswolds.  However, the protagonist is American so, although there were some things which jarred they made sense because the book is written in first person.  Again I enjoyed it.  It's a light read, but entertaining and I read it quickly.  Also, there's a stuffed pink rabbit called Reginald, who reminds me of the daughter's stuffed pink rabbit called Chewed Ears who you can only tell which way he's facing because of the name tape sewn into the back of his neck.

There are a lot more in the series, and I'm looking forward to reading them.

ETA: the very lovely [personal profile] aome has just sent me the next two books in the series, so I'm really looking forward to reading them :)

The Cheltenham Square Mystery by John Bude

This is another of the British Library of Crime Classics.  One of the main suppliers at work offers a monthly quiz.  You read their latest online leaflet, answer a number of questions correctly, and get a go on a roulette wheel with a 50/50 chance of winning.  I've done it four times and won twice - both times a £10 voucher which I've converted to Waterstone's online tokens.  Waterstone's deliver for free if you spend £20.  So I ordered Little Master Dickens A Christmas Carol for my granddaughter for Christmas; a children's book The Tudors: Kings, Queens, Scribes (and Ferrets), which is good fun; and this book because it's a detective story set locally.

It's not the best.  The Detective Superintendent seems particularly slow and I was shouting at him from halfway through the book - clearly they lacked an amateur detective to solve the crime in half the time.  But there were plenty of local references which I enjoyed and I read it quickly enough.  I shall pass the book onto my mother - it'll keep her entertained for a little while.

And now I'm back on target for my Goodreads Reading Challenge.
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Since removing "Read more and widely" from my goals from the year, I seem to have slipped in the amount I've read.  This is partly because I no longer feel obliged to keep up with my goals, but also because the last few books I've read haven't been of the 'I'll just finish the chapter, ooh look, it ended on a cliffhanger, need to know what happens next' type.  Hopefully this will improve now, because I'm also behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge, which is Not Good.

A Brief History of Norway by John Midgaard

I knew very little about Norway's history and the subject itself was interesting, but the book was originally published in 1963, and my edition dated from 1982.  It read like a dry school textbook from my school days.  The best part was having read about the Vikings and then visiting the Museum in York and seeing some of their artefacts.

You have breath for no more than 99 words.  What would they be?  collected by Liz Gray

The idea behind this book is very interesting.  What would you say if you only had 99 words (at most) to say it?  Some of the contributors were profound, others much less so.  I read it prior to beginning one of my Twelve Challenges, which I've recently started: Ninety-nine Words and which I will be continuing throughout this month.  I suspect I may get more from putting the words in my characters' mouths than I did from some of the entries.

Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik

Book 8 of the Temeraire series, and for me a real disappointment.  I found it dragged and I missed the interaction with the officers and dragons who had been such a major part of previous books.  Not only that, but whereas in earlier books my competency kink was very satisfied, here Lawrence and Temeraire were forever battling incompetence.  There is one book left of the series.  I had originally anticipated finishing the series this summer, but it looks more like sometime this autumn.
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I bookmarked this reading challenge from Dawnebeth about a year ago - as recommended to me by [personal profile] hardboiledbaby    So let's see how I get on!

1) A book published this year.  Stay With Me (Ayobami Adebayo)
2) A book you can finish in a day  Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Max Porter)
3) A book you've been meaning to read. Various Temeraire books (Naomi Novik)
4) A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller. Murder Under The Christmas Tree (various)
5) A book you should have read in school  Cheating slightly, but whilst the son and daughter were at school: Harry Potter
6) A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child or BFF Housekeeping and Home (Marilynne Robinson) - recced by my flist
7) A book published before you were born.  The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
8) A book that was banned at some point.  I shall cheat and say The Bible in English
9) A book you previously abandoned. The Charioteer (Mary Renault)
10) A book you own but have never read I own most of the books I read - picked up cheaply on Ebay
11) A book that intimidates you. The Master and Margarita (Mikhael Bulgakov)
12) A book you've already read at least once.  Inevitably, the Sherlock Holmes stories!

Anyone like to share their answers to any of these questions?
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So, my final book review for this year's goals.  I have read a total of 30 books since May 2016, some of which, since I read them in the last four months, will also be included in my Goodreads reading challenge.

Equal Rites
Feet of Clay
Reaper Man - all three by Terry Pratchett

I'm continuning to enjoy working my way through the Discworld books.  Equal Rites dragged a little I felt, but I always enjoy the City Watch (Feet of Clay) and am very fond of DEATH (Reaper Man), so am satisfied overall.  I have more Discworld books sitting on my shelf, ready for me to continue the stories, possibly later this year.

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

I'm one of those people who regularly fill in the boxes to win prizes in giveaways.  I particularly enjoy the ones on Caboodle, although never really expect to win anything.  But this time I did.  It's a book I would never have selected by myself, because it's very different from my normal reading sphere.  It's set in 1980s Nigeria, written by a Nigerian author.  The plot is interesting, although I found the ending a little too neat - I shall be interested to hear what other readers think of it.  The setting is a culture I know little about, but is explained in enough detail to understand.  And I felt it would have helped if I had known a bit more about the history of the period.  It's written in the first person, but occasionally changes the narrator at the start of a new chapter, without any announcement, which I didn't find particularly helpful.  The book is shortlisted for this year's Baileys Prize, so I'm feeling quite pleased with myself for having read it.

Adventures in the Strand by Mike Ashley

Subtitled Arthur Conan Doyle & The Strand Magazine.  This is a book I'd had on my wishlist for some time, so I requested it for Christmas.  It's very interesting to read about ACD's long relationship with The Strand, and the very varied contributions he made.  Perhaps inevitably I finished it satisfied that Sherlock Holmes was his best creation, despite the author's enthusiastic recommendation for some of his other stories.  I was also left with a lowered sense of interest in the man himself, who, no doubt a product of his time, seem to lack the breadth of vision of Holmes.  It's an interesting read, although I found the constant conversion to modern values of the sums paid for ACD's stories irritating, and Ashley intruded too much into the book for my liking.  But, as an undoubted phenomenon of the time, the role of the Strand Magazine and ACD's part in it, was worth reading about.
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I can't quite believe I've had three years of blogging about the goals I've set.  Looking back over the past year, it's been interesting - and encouraging - to see what I've done.  So often we don't think we've done much, so it's good to have a record.

Goal No 1 - Write all the things

In the past year I've added 23 [community profile] fan_flashworks  badges, bringing my current total to 88.  Only a couple of new ones since last time, but one was the all important Collector badge, which still pleases me.

Other highlights over the year are my Call The Midwife SmallFandomBang, my first long AU Bilbo Baggins the Baker's Son, and Watson 1918 which is now written and is being edited.  Word count to date for 2017 is 49K, so I'm on target for reaching 165K for the year again.

I shall be continuing with this goal, and continuing to remember the idea is to not just write all the words, but tackle different things as well.

Goal No 2 - Read More and Widely

Definitely achieved.  I've read 29 books this past twelve months and once more covered a wide selection.  I'll do a review later this month, which should bring the total to 30.  I fully intend to continue posting book reviews, but will no longer include reading within my goals as such.  I've added all the books on my 'to read' pile to my Goodreads profile and will be using it to keep track.  I have just updated my 2017 Reading Challenge from 24 to 30 books, to make it a proper challenge.  If you're on Goodreads and want to find me, I'm Small_Hobbit there.

Goal No 3 - Post a purely photographic post each month

Also achieved.  And I shall be posting an Easter post at the end of this week.  I've enjoyed preparing the posts, but don't see myself continuing as regularly.  It has, however, been a really interesting project and I'm glad I did it.

I'll be setting my goals for the coming year later this month.  After some thought I've decided to keep going with the goals - it makes a difference to me, seeing what I'm aiming for and how I'm getting on.  One of my two new goals will be a monthly blog post, the other will be more of a challenge, and I'm hoping my flist will have a role in this (nothing difficult I assure you!)

Added for DreamWidth users: I'm trying to work out how to forward post an entry.  This is dated 11 April - does it make a difference?

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Time for another book review.

First up, the Christmas books I bought with the book token from my mother-in-law:
Murder Under The Christmas Tree (10 Classic Crime stories) - Assorted writers
Another Little Christmas Murder by Lorna Nicholl Morgan
The Mistletoe Murder and other stories by P D James

I enjoyed the classic crime stories, which showcased why these writers were so good at the genre.  The P D James stories were well written, but not really my sort of thing.  And Another Little Christmas Murder was another of those late 1940s novels that are only brought back for the sake of nostalgia - one day I will learn to not bother with them.

Home by Marilynne Robinson

I read House-keeping last year, and someone recommended reading Home - I can't remember who.  Once again, it's completely different from my usual choice of reading - even given my experiences over the last 18 months, but I really enjoyed it.  It's really slow paced, but once again very visual and I could see it all.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone who's looking for something maybe a little different.

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

I read and enjoyed The Thief last year and so was expecting to read the other three in the series.  But although I quite enjoyed this book it didn't grip me in the same way, the main character started to annoy me, and I think the way the story charmed me last time no longer worked.

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

This is a true account by Cahalan of her experience when her brain was attacked by anti-bodies - it's far more complicated than that, but that's the essence.  I decided to read it because a film has been made of the book, with Richard Armitage as Cahalan's father, so I thought I'd find out whether it would be worth seeing the film.  I found the book very interesting, as she looks at the effect the disease has on her, and also on her family and friends.  A lot of it is written almost from the point of view of an outsider, which makes sense, because Cahalan has no memory of what happened at the time, and so has had to reconstruct events.  As for the film, it had poor reviews and has gone straight to Netflix.  A good dramatisation would have been interesting, but perhaps not dramatic enough for a cinema.

As I said in my last 'Goals' post, although reading widely won't be one of my goals next year, I shall aim to continue posting a book review every two months.  I've joined Goodreads and am recording my progress there - if you're on there and would like to follow me, I'm Small_Hobbit.
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Ten months into the year and time for another reflection - yes, this is what happens when you set your goals in mid-April.

Goal No 1: Write all the things
Having reached 165,000 words last year I'm mentally hoping I'll do the same this time.  Which is a tad unfortunate, since I'm only at 17,500 this year, which if I contine at the same rate will be less than 150,000 for the year - and I really want to hit that target.  It's not as if there's been anything particular which has got in the way of writing either.

Since my last update I've achieved a further four badges from FanFlashworks (bringing my total to 86) where I've been building on genres I've already written.  The last of the badges, which I've named the 'slice of cake' badge, is one of their two fifth birthday badges.

Goal No 2: Read more and widely
Yet again, I shall write this is ongoing and there will be a report by the end of the month - I'm far enough through my latest book to want to wait to include it.

Goal No 3: Post a purely photographic post each month
I have posted this month's photos of theatres, to go with last month's local pics and December's Christmas summary.

Future Goals
Time to reflect on what my new goals should be.  Yes, I will be keeping goal one, but maybe I should add an additional clause "And in particular xyz".  I'm not sure yet what that could be, all suggestions gratefully received.

Goal two is essentially achieved.  I shall continue reading and posting a bi-monthly book review and recommendations will be acceptable at any time.  But I don't feel I need to include this as a goal anymore.  So a replacement is needed.

And as I said in my last photographic post, whilst I've enjoyed taking the pictures I don't want the obligation to post every month.  I'd say this is another goal I've achieved.  I've even posted an illustrated fic for FanFlashworks and am thinking of doing another.  Since this is something I would never have considered a year ago this goal has certainly worthwhile.

So, flist, where am I going from here?  Should I consider a monthly reflection on being a Pastoral Assistant - which would of necessity be f-locked?  Should I go back to learning German - which would be useful if we do ever get round to booking a holiday to Vienna (or Berlin)?  This will be my fourth year of goal setting; looking back I'm really pleased that doing so has encouraged me to achieve things I very much doubt I'd have managed otherwise, so I am keen to again find the right goals.
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My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

One of those books which I saw a recommendation for and thought since it was very popular I'd read it.  I ordered it through the library and had quite a long wait (not as long as I'd feared) and so when it arrived I had to stop reading my current book and turn my attention to this one.  I had high hopes, but in fact was disappointed.  The book is set in Naples, which may have affected my judgement slightly.  I didn't like Naples when we went there, and for a while this coloured my view of Italy, since I'd not been there before.  That all changed with going to Florence.  I wasn't taken with either of the main characters, and tellingly, because this is the first book in the series, I have no desire to read the next book to find out what happens to them.  I shall be interested to hear what others think of the book.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

I get regular emails from National Book Tokens (I like entering their competitions) and they had a quiz to see 'Which 2016 book should you read?'  In my continuing quest to read widely I did the quiz and this was the suggested title.  It tied in incredibly well with my course, which was a bonus.  It's a short book, 114 pages of largish print of which a good number are only half pages, and it took me less than an hour on the train to read.  It's slightly strange, disjointed, and some of the language you certainly wouldn't hear from the pulpit, but it's an excellent read.

The Seamstress by Maria Duenas

I was chatting with someone on Fan_Flashworks Social (on DW) who mentioned this book.  I looked at the synopsis and thought it worth trying.  This was the book I was reading when I stopped for My Brilliant Friend.  The contrast for me couldn't be more marked.  The heroine Sira Quiroga lives in Madrid just before the Spanish Civil War, but due to various circumstances finds herself in Morocco and then back in Madrid at the beginning of WWII.  The descriptions are powerful, there is plenty of action and the heroine (the story, as is the other, is told in the first person) is very honest about herself.  The book was written in Spanish, by a professor of the University of Murcia and includes plenty of historical references, which ground the story rather than detract from it.  Highly recommended.  (It's also published under the title The Time In Between)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

Hooray!  Finally read them all.  This was better than some of the others, at least I skipped less of the pages than I did in some of the earlier books.  It wasn't as though I didn't know the final outcome, although some of the details were interesting, especially with regard to Snape.  And hooray for Neville, who was my favourite.

Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

Seventh in the Temeraire series.  I enjoyed it more than the previous two and found it an entertaining story, although whether sufficiently so by itself to encourage me to continue reading the series I'm not sure.  But there are only two more books to go and I am fond of Temeraire and Laurence (and Iskierka and Granby) so I shall keep going.  Although the books are quite expensive for a read once only book - and I can't decide whether I want to use MIL's Christmas book token, I may well hold onto it for a while.  And once I've finished reading the series I can indulge in the fanfiction.
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Just a quick post to see where I am eight months down the line.

Goal No 1: Write all the things
I have passed the 150,000 goal for the first time ever.  Hooray!  I'm at 155,000 and with some things yet to write I might make 160,000 which would be awesome and amazing.  Various projects have had to be pushed over into next year, but with some of my Twelve Days of Christmas ficlets yet to write (and there are a few slots left if anyone is interested), plus the prospect of the Amnesty challenge on [ profile] fan_flashworks I shall have enough to keep me going for the next couple of weeks.  I did also have a major push at badge earning, so have four new badges since my last report.

Goal No 2: Read more and widely
There will be another post by the end of the month.  This time there are some new books I've been reading, and enjoying.  I had a book token from my mother-in-law for my birthday and I need to decide what to use that for.  It has to be used in store, which is a tad annoying, but I might use it for some light Christmas reading and persuade SM to pick them up from Waterstones when he goes into the city centre - I could order via click and collect.

Goal No 3: Post a purely photographic post each month
I'm busy collecting photos for this month's post.  Last month was almost a cheat because I used it for all the pretty Florence porcelain.  Although it's been an interesting project, I'm not sure it's one I would want to necessarily continue.  But that's okay, there's no reason why I shouldn't still do the occasional photo post, but come April look to having a new goal for the coming year.

I also need to find a more suitable title for these posts.  Goal number 1 is currently in its third year and will continue, because it helps me to keep track on what I'm doing.  And looking back does provide me with encouragement.  I've just reread my original posts on setting goals and can see how they have helped.  Goal number 2 is in its second year and again will continue, because I'm really enjoying widening my reading scope.  Which means that Goal number 3 is the only one which changes and is therefore a true goal.
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Third review, plus a short complaint about library services.

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

This is billed as the new Sherlock Holmes novel.  It's narrated by Dr Watson, but as with Moriarty there is a lot of grapic violence, which I could have done without.  I would say it was more Valley of Fear than Hound of the Baskervilles, and had it not been a Holmes story I suspect I would not have read it.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J K Rowling

I enjoyed this more than some of the previous books, although I still don't care for Harry.  There seemed to be more action this time, which was good - events are finally getting going.  Fleur came into her own at the end, which pleased me.  But, as ever, I found the whole 'Half-Blood Prince' theme annoying.

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

Having really enjoyed Life After Life, I was looking forward to this.  The timeline jumps around a lot, and although it meant some of the significant plot could be held back until towards the end, I found it very jerky.  In addition a number of the major characters are very unlikeable, which, for those of you who know my preferences, meant I wasn't taken with a significant part of the book.  The Guardian refers to the major twist at the end as one which will either delight or infuriate readers - I was one it infuriated.  I'm curious to know what any of my flist who have read the book thought of it.

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik

Books 5 and 6 in the Temeraire series.  I have been spacing these books out, but since I couldn't get a cheap copy of Tongues of Serpents I ordered it through the library, and it arrived rather quicker than I expected.  I think Novik has slightly painted herself into a corner with the conclusion of the previous book.  I enjoyed Victory of Eagles, but would have liked to see more of some of the regular dragons and characters, and Tongues of Serpents felt rather long winded, although there were some interesting parts.  I shall however carry on, because I'm told the next book is good, and I am still invested in William Laurence and Temeraire.

I joined the local library in the summer, thinking it was a good thing to do.  I've taken a couple of books out since, but haven't had time to read them, and I've also discovered that series I enjoyed years ago no longer appeal.  However, I have been able to order a few books, of which one I'm still waiting for (there is a long waiting list).  Having finished my last Temeraire book I went to order the next, but there is no copy in the county.  They do have the last in the series, but that is of no use to me at the moment.  So I'm back to buying books.  And if a book does come in I have to stop what I am reading in order to read the new arrival, since there are only 21 days from collection before it's due back.  Which rather means the library is a good idea in theory, rather less in practice.
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I can't believe I'm half way through the year with my goals, but apparently we are indeed six months away from April.  You can't put a month down before it disappears!

Goal No 1: Write all the things
Still on track for the 150,000 words for the year - hooray!  At the beginning of September I made a long list of things I intended to write this autumn.  I had a feeling I'd done really badly, but looking back it's not as bad as I thought; all those with deadlines have been met, although I do need to get on with my [ profile] smallfandombang fic - anyone interested in cheering on Call The Midwife?  The first chapter of Lucas/Adam has gone to beta - even though with the uninspiring title of Chapter One.  And I've signed up for [ profile] mini_wrimo which I shall devote to Watson 1918.  The Lewis casefic may have to wait for the new year.  Doing my course has taken out the whole of one evening (by the time travel is included), which has a knock on effect the following day, so being realistic I'm not doing badly.  And I have two more badges since last I posted an update:

Goal No 2: Read more and widely
There should be another post up by the end of the month, although once again it's second or more books by the same writer.  Which comes of receiving lots of suggestions of "If you enjoyed X, you should read Y."

Goal No 3: Post a purely photographic post each month
There will be an autumnal post up in the next week or so.  Having just posted the Oxford pictures I thought I'd wait before the next picture heavy post.  I'm not sure what I shall be doing after this month though, so am open to suggestions.  We're off to Florence at the end of the month, so I may cheat a little and save some of the photos for a 'Florence special'.
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As promised, here is my second book review of the year.  As I mentioned in my last post on my goals, these are all follow up books in one way or another.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I read The Goldfinch by the same author last year, and several people instantly suggested I read this one.  It's a very interesting read and one I got through quicker than I expected, reading more each day than I'd planned.  Which has to be the sign of a good book, when you really should go to sleep, but then it's 'just one more chapter' - fortunately most of the chapters are short.  The characters, although not always attractive, are fascinating.  The plot, although it sounds strange when just stated, makes sense.  Definitely recommended for quite an intense read.

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik

Fourth in the Temeraire series.  And yes, I am still enjoying these.  This time the book takes us to southern Africa, in the hunt for a cure for a deadly dragon flu.  The characters remain appealling, both human and dragon.  And, yes, the next book in the series has arrived.

Shadows in Bronze by Lindsey Davis

The second in the series of stories about Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman informer.  In some ways a typical detective novel, although set in Ancient Rome, it has a good collection of supporting characters, as well as an air of humour about it.  It took me longer to read than I expected, but that's partly because I've also been reading the vicar's books first and then finishing with Falco.  Enjoyable, and when I went to order the next in the series the Ebay seller had 15% off 4 books, so I ordered the next four (they'll keep).

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

At times I had to really force myself to keep going.  I have lived through teenage angst and unreasonableness (twice) and I don't need to read about it as well.  And, I did skim read some of the pages.
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Just over two months since my last check, and a third of the way through, so how is everything going?

Goal No 1: Write all the things
I have been slowing down a little later, which is unfortunate, since this year I've decided I will actually go for the 150,000 words in a year.  By the end of July I was just on track, so I thought it's now or never.  And then lost nearly a week this month being away and far too busy to do much writing.  With [ profile] fan_flashworks Amnesty Challenge happening at the moment, I made myself write a number of ficlets, which helped to improve my total, so I should make 10,000 words for the month, just need to stretch a bit more.

I've signed up for [ profile] heroinebigbang for their Round Four redux, since Tiny Bang only requires a minimum of 1,500 words - just as well as rough drafts are due in on Sunday.  I wasn't going to do [ profile] smallfandombang this year, because Lewis no longer qualifies, but it is a good incentive to churn out the words.  I checked with them because Call The Midwife wasn't on the list, and it does qualify, so I can see myself doing it again.  And finally there's a DW com called Genprompt_bingo which looks like fun.  Their next round isn't until December, but they were very helpful when I inquired about whether poetry could be included and the minimum size required, and added my suggestion to their list, so I shall definitely be having a go.  I've wanted to do a bingo card before, but most seem quite restrictive, so I'm quite hopeful.  If nothing else it will mean I'm continuing to 'write all the things'.

I've only earned two new badges over the last couple of months, which is again a sign of concentrating on the things I know:

Goal No 2: Read more and widely
Reading is continuing, although this year I seem to be reading a number of sequels or books by last year's authors.  There are others books waiting to be read, but I don't seem to have got round to them.  And the vicar keeps giving me books to read as well - which I am not adding to the list.  There should be another book review up within the next week.

Goal No 3: Post a purely photographic post each month
Water lilies were posted at the beginning of the week, and next month I'll be looking at the neighbourhood as we head towards autumn.  I shall have to start thinking about what to do after that.
smallhobbit: (Edel Lion)
27: How/where do you purchase your books?
Occasionally from book shops, Waterstones if I receive tokens from my mother-in-law, the Book Depository for other new books. And mainly from Ebay - I'm quite happy reading second hand books, since I'll probably only read them once. Apart from generally pre-owned books there are a lot which are library stock withdrawn from service. And when I've finished reading and written my review I take them to the charity book shop in Tewkesbury.

28: An ending you wish you could change [ profile] verdande_mi
Part of me would like to change the ending of The Hobbit, but in the book I think it was right. And there's always fanfic for the film ;) Just one book? My first thought was The Age of Innocence but I'd have changed so much of that book, maybe then The Doomsday Book so it was more dramatic. As I said to [ profile] daria234 in answer to Q7, the ending is important.

30: One book everyone should read [ profile] snailbones
Ooh, difficult. I've never been keen on 'everyone should read' because we all have different responses to things. I'd certainly like more people to read the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories to see what's actually said. But I'm going to suggest The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham.

32: OTP or NoTP?
NoTP - that's not generally what I'm reading for.

33: Cute and fluffy or dramatic and deadly?
Dramatic, but not necessarily deadly.

37: A book you are scared is not going to be all you hoped it would be?
The final book in the Temeraire series.

38: What qualities do you find annoying in a character? [ profile] okapi1895
Incompetence, as correctly predicted ;) Mistakes happen, unforeseen events occur, people are learning - all of these are perfectly acceptable. But so-called intelligent characters who fail to consider the consequences and those in authority where their incompetence is used as a plot point as much as anything else, just no.

39: Favourite villain [ profile] snailbones
Hmm, I'm not sure I have one. A lot of what I read doesn't necessarily have a villain. Some of the baddies in the Discworld series are entertaining. I don't like Moriarty in ACD Sherlock Holmes, but have a soft spot for Andrew Scott's Moriarty in BBC Sherlock; and I really like Moriarty in The Librarians tv series.

40: Has there ever been a book you wish you could un-read? [ profile] okapi1895
I suspect I've blanked out any I read some time ago. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, which I felt was a total waste of time, but that would be because I could have read something else, rather than the specific contents.
smallhobbit: (Edel Lion)
And we continue:

15: Post a shelfie [ profile] snailbones and [ profile] okapi1895

Books )
The first is the shelf by my bed, which includes the books I'm currently reading; the second is the overflow box.

16: Rant about anything book related [ profile] daria234
So far, I'm extremely disappointed with the Harry Potter books. The characters are very two dimensional and at the moment, (I'm partway through The Order of the Phoenix) I'd quite happily see Harry disappear without trace. Not to mention all the official cover-up which is doing my competency kink no good whatsoever. If I wasn't going to see The Cursed Child with friends I wouldn't continue. But then I think Jamie Parker and I battle on.

17: What do you think about movie/tv adaptations? [ profile] margaret_r
It depends on the book and the way it's adapted. I enjoyed the adaption of The Hobbit (although some might say I'm biased). There have been Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie adaptions I've really enjoyed - think Granada Holmes, or David Suchet as Poirot. And I'd never have read either The Jewel in the Crown or Brideshead Revisited if I hadn't seen the TV adaptions first. There have been some great Dickens adaptions, with memorable performances - but there have been others which haven't worked for me at all.

20: A character you like but you really, really shouldn't. [ profile] daria234
Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Yes, I know who played the character in the recent Hannibal series, but I read the book first. Like probably isn't the right word, but I had a lot of sympathy for him, and wished the story would work out differently. And relating to the previous question - this was one adaption I enjoyed, but I felt there was a lot of important background which was left out.

23: Did your family or friends influence you to read when you were younger?
My parents read, my mother took me to the library, my friends lent me books, so yes.

24: First book(s) you remember being obsessed with [ profile] scfrankles
Lots of school stories: Mallory Towers and St Clare's, followed by the Chalet School books.

26: Do you read from recommendations or whatever book catches your eye?
Lots of recommendations - thank you so much flist, feel free to continue suggesting books. Occasionally something will particularly catch my eye.
smallhobbit: (Edel Lion)
Time to answer some of the questions in the Book meme:

3: First book that had a major influence on you [ profile] verdande_mi and [ profile] okapi1895
It's so long ago, I really can't remember. I'd say so many of them led me to enjoy reading.

4: Quick, you're in desperate need of a fake name. What character name do you think of first? [ profile] daria234
Violet, um, Violet Watson

6: Public library or personal library?
Personal library, although I have finally joined our local public library. Changing jobs last autumn means I can now get there when it's open. Although I shall still be buying most of my books from Ebay.

7: What is the most important part of a book, in your opinion? [ profile] daria234
The beginning because if it doesn't draw me in then I'm less likely to read it, the middle because I need to continue to be engrossed, but especially the ending - there is such disappointment if the ending of a good book doesn't live up to the rest of it. On the other hand a good ending and I'm instantly off ordering the next book in the series, or another book by the author.

9: If you were to publish a book what (besides your real name) would you use for your author name? [ profile] scfrankles
A hard one, but maybe Katherine Cozens, which was my grandmother's name.

11: What book fandom do you affiliate yourself with the most?
No surprise to anyone, Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.

12: Tell one book story or memory (what you were wearing when you were reading something, someone saw you cry in public, you threw a book across the room and broke a window, etc.) [ profile] scfrankles
Not really any particular memories, although countless nights as a child reading late in bed. I still do that! Sitting in bed wearing a thick white fluffy sweatshirt top in winter. And the number of times I'd go into my son's bedroom at night to check on him and remove the book which had fallen over his face when he went to sleep.

13: What character would be your best friend in real life? [ profile] verdande_mi
I think I'd have to choose Jane Rowland from the Temeraire series.
smallhobbit: (Cat)
So, without further ado:

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Recommended by my good friend E.  It's about Irene, a professional spy for the Library, which harvest fictions from different realities.  There's steampunk, mechanical crocodiles, plots and counter-plots, thrills and spills,and is generally a good read.  Worth trying if you want an adventure book that's in a different reality with an entertaining heroine.

Black Cherry Blues by James Lee Burke

I took this from one of those celebrity recommended book thingies, because it was different from anything I've read before.  The descriptions of life in Louisiana were beautifully written - and I don't go in for descriptive generally.  The plot was gripping, although the case was rather more physically than I read by choice.  It's crime fiction, but one where I cared for the main protagonist and some of those around him.

Mort by Terry Pratchett
Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

Yes, I am slowly reading the Discworld books.  I enjoyed both these - I found I was keen to keep reading to find what happened to Mort, even when I knew I needed to go to sleep.  And similarly with Men at Arms, I really wanted to know what happened.  I don't feel the attraction others have for the 'verse, but the stories themselves did what a good story should do - encouraged me to keep turning the pages.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling

I'm still not caught up with the stories.  It feels predictable, and where there are twists I don't find them satisfying.  And the Ministry of Magic pretending nothing is going wrong has to be my least favourite trope.

Book meme

Jun. 22nd, 2016 01:14 pm
smallhobbit: (Edel Lion)
I've been looking at book/reading memes for a while, and have decided to go with this one from [ profile] verdande_mi as it should give me something to burble on about over the next couple of months.

Give me a number/numbers and I will answer in their own posts. I will also single out some of them myself if there's any I want to tackle that aren't mentioned by one of you :) :)

1: Currently Reading
2: Describe the last scene you read in as few words as possible. No character names or title.
3: First book that had a major influence on you
4: Quick, you're in desperate need of a fake name. What character name do you think of first?
5: Favorite series and why
6: Public library or personal library?
7: What is the most important part of a book, in your opinion?
8: Why are you reading the book you're currently reading?
9: If you were to publish a book what (besides your real name) would you use for your author name?
10: Do you listen to music when you read?
11: What book fandom do you affiliate yourself with the most?
12: Tell one book story or memory (what you were wearing when you were reading something, someone saw you cry in public, you threw a book across the room and broke a window, etc.)
13: What character would be your best friend in real life?
14: Favorite item of book merch
15: Post a shelfie.
16: Rant about anything book related
17: What do you think about movie/tv adaptations?
18: Favorite booktuber(s)
19: Book that you call your child.
20: A character you like but you really, really shouldn't.
21: Do you loan your books?
22: A movie or tv show you wish would have been a book
23: Did your family or friends influence you to read when you were younger?
24: First book(s) you remember being obsessed with
25: A book that you think about and you cringe because of how terrible it was
26: Do you read from recommendations or whatever book catches your eye?
27: How/where do you purchase your books?
28: An ending you wish you could change
29: Favorite female protagonist.
30: One book everyone should read
31: Do you day dream about your favorite books? If so, share one fantasy you have about them.
32: OTP or NoTP?
33: Cute and fluffy or dramatic and deadly?
34: Scariest book you ever read
35: What do you think of Ebooks
36: Unpopular opinions
37: A book you are scared is not going to be all you hoped it would be
38: What qualities do you find annoying in a character?
39: Favorite villain
40: Has there ever been a book you wish you could un-read?
smallhobbit: (Edel Lion)
Two months after setting them, how are my goals progressing?

Goal No 1: Write all the things  This is continuing - hooray!  The [ profile] ushobwri New Frontier Challenge certainly helped, in that I've written Werewolf fic for the first (and probably only) time: Not Just The Tattoos.  I've written a fusion between two Shakespeare plays I hadn't written before: Red or White.  And a very cracky ficlet from the POV of a hot air balloon: The Air Balloon Debate.

I've also written for both [ profile] ficmountain and [ profile] not_primetime and have signed up for a Historical RPF challenge, which will, I think be a real challenge.

New badges from [ profile] fan_flashworks include a number for genre I made a point of writing the last couple of months, as well as those I'm more inclined to write in.  I'm particularly pleased with the Unbelievable badge, which represents two years worth of challenges.

Goal No 2: Read more and widely  There should be a book review later this month.  I'm glad I kept this goal as it's encouraging me to stay motivated.  My book basket/shelf still has 14 books so I won't run out of things to read for a good while.

Goal No 3: Post a purely photographic post each month  So far so good!  I have some photos for this month's post and I know what I want for the rest, I just need to remember to take the pics.  I did debate whether to bother, but reminded myself this is a goal and it shouldn't be too easy, so a bit of effort wouldn't hurt.


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