Currently reading, 3/18 – Napoleon!

Hey fellow readers! I’m back. I didn’t mean to take such a long break, but I didn’t feel like I had anything to say, so I — didn’t? Say anything? Lame excuse, I guess, but there it is.

But today I’m back with a my current reads and plans for the rest of the month. I was looking at my library request list and realized I had several books on there about the Napoleonic Wars. Why not do them all in one big lump? So that’s what I have planned for the rest of the month. Here’s the books on my TBR list:

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. – done! This was a reread since I thought this one would sort of ease me into the whole subject. Lots of fun, combines fighting Napoleon with dragons. This is the first in the series and I really enjoyed revisiting this one.

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Hey, it’s got a blurb from Stephen King. Can’t be all bad!

None But You, (Captain Frederick Wentworth, #1) by Susan Kaye – done! Written as a companion to Jane Austen’s book Persuasion from the hero’s perspective. Not as good as I hoped, but I will still read the next one.

Napoleon’s Wars: An International History 1803-1815 by Charles Esdaile.  Currently reading. Already happy with it because it has several maps and color photos of paintings. Over 500 pages.

Not reading yet, but I’m also planning on reading:

Nelson’s Trafalgar: The Battle That Changed the World by Roy A. Adkins

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susannah Clarke, reread – also the TV series!

Can you think of any good ones I have missed? Maybe I’ll watch Night at the Museum 2 as well!

 

 

 

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Bad News!

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Yeah, that’s me right now. I went to the doctor, looking for some relief for my fibromyalgia. It’s really painful lately and I’m just so tired all the time, and tired of dealing with it.

It did not go as planned.

Instead of coming up with something to help with that, he told me my last blood tests were in and not good. I’m really deficient in Vitamins D & B12, my thyroid is low again, and then he wanted to check my blood sugar.

I have diabetes.

I’m super unhappy about that. My dad had diabetes, and my brother-in-law, and my father-in-law, and my husband’s uncle. My dad almost died literally dozens of times when his blood sugar crashed and my mom would find him and administer glucose or call the paramedics if he was too far gone to drink something. I am scared of winding up like that. Or like my husband’s uncle, who died after getting his leg amputated. Or going blind, like my dad’s friend.

The good news, or at least the not as bad news, is that we caught it quite early and my doctor feels like it can be slowed way down. He feels that if I take my new prescription and stick to my low carb diet, I can stabilize my blood sugar and avoid those horrible complications. And I’m all for that.

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So still sad, but not as tragic as it could be. I would appreciate thoughts and prayers as I deal with this though. My thing with eating sugar and other carbs is more than a bad habit, it’s an addiction, and I’m not going to be able to stop overnight. I’m going to be attending some classes at the hospital about diabetes management, so that should be good. I just really, really, REALLY didn’t want to have to deal with this on top of everything else. Still sad.

Double Book Signing!

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I had a great time last week at a double book launch! Charlie N. Holmberg is the author of the Paper Magician series and other books, including The Fifth Doll, which I did a giveaway of last year. Tricia Levenseller is the author of the duology Daughter of a Pirate King and Daughter of a Siren Queen. Both are local authors here in Utah and I was really excited to go and find out about their new books.

Charlie’s new book is called Smoke & Summons and it’s the start of a brand new series. I got the Netgalley copy of it but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t started it yet. But it sounds really good. Here’s the description:


A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…


Tricia’s new book is called Warrior of the Wild. I got it at the book launch and finished it in about 2 hours! I think I liked her pirate series better, but this one was really original. Less romance in this one and more nasty monsters. Here’s the book description:

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying. 


I will be back with a complete review of that one and maybe a little more about the book launch. It was a lot of fun, and I even won a free book in a trivia contest.

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It sounded really good, but then when I got home I read the reviews and now I’m not so sure I’ll enjoy it. I think I’ll give it a try and if it doesn’t work for me, maybe I’ll do another giveaway!

 

Book Quote 3/3

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HE HATED TO be called Larry. Couldn’t stand it. And so, of course, everybody called him Larry, even his parents sometimes. “My name is Laurence,” he would insist, looking at the floor. “With a U, not a W.” Laurence knew who he was and what he was about, but the world refused to recognize.

All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders

Top 10 Bookish Places to Visit

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This week’s theme is courtesy of Georgia @justreadthemm. So here’s my list of fictional locations that I would love to visit.

  1. Diagon Alley, Harry Potter books 1-7 by J K Rowling. Mostly in the early books, but I think this would be so much fun. Who doesn’t want to buy a wand, visit Flourish & Blotts, and try some butterbeer?
  2. 221b Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes books by Arthur Conan Doyle. I’d love to curl up by the fire, eat some buttered crumpets, and hear Sherlock explain it all.
  3. Crestomanci’s castle, Crestomanci series books 1&2 by Diana Wynne Jones. Love these books.
  4. Howl’s Moving Castle, by the book with the same name, also by Diana  Wynne Jones.
  5. Singapore, with the ultra rich, in Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I don’t think I would fit in there at all, but I’d love to see what it was like for a week or so.
  6. The Moon, in Artemis by Andy Weir. I really liked this book, and it would be awesome to be in the fancy hotels on the moon, looking at Earth down below.
  7. The Orient Express, from Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. I don’t want to be murdered, obviously, or stuck in a snow bank. But I’d love to travel in sleeping car through Europe and dine with Monsieur Poirot.
  8. The OASIS, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. That would be so amazing to just be able to be anyone you wanted, do anything you wanted.
  9. Botswana, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. yes, there are crimes to be solved, but there is also bush tea waiting and a comfortable chair.
  10. Alternate London, Tuesday Next books by Jasper Fforde. A world where books are the main form of entertainment, where authors are rockstars, I can have a pet dodo, and we all have toast.

So what do you think of my list? Any on here you’d like to visit? Let me know in the comments.

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone (a review)

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Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone (Warlock Holmes #1) by G S Denning

Synopsis:

Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius. Warlock Holmes is an idiot. A font of arcane power, certainly. But he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart companion. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety… and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.

Starring: Warlock Holmes, Incompetent Detective

Vladislav Lestrade, Nihilist Vampire

Tor Grogsson, House-Proud Ogre

Dr. John H. Watson, Terrified

This book. I think it cast an arcane spell on me. I was a bookstore (risky endeavor, I will admit), minding my own business, looking for my book club selection. But then I saw this series. “Warlock Holmes.” And just like that, I was hooked.

I am such a sucker for these kinds of books. Pastisches, mash-ups, redos, or even just fan fiction, I love it when someone takes a familiar story and makes it new and fresh again. Whether it’s Austen, Doyle, Shakespeare, Bronte or even a fairy tale, a new twist just grabs my attention, especially if it’s two things that seem contradictory. I’ve read and loved Sherlock in space, Cinderella as a cyborg, Jane Austen as a vampire. I am absolutely the ideal target audience for this book.

It’s hard to tell too much about the story because half the fun is in watching Dr. Watson react to these outlandish revelations about Holmes. The truth behind his new living situation dawns gradually, but Watson is up to the task. Like the first volume of the canon Holmes, this is a collection of short stories, each one revealing more about how Holmes came to be the well, person, he is now. I found it very entertaining. It reminded me a lot of this movie:

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Now THAT is a funny movie. Watching Michael Caine as a bumbling idiot is just falling down funny. Anyway, I would recommend this book, but I will admit that I’m not sure I’ll buy the next one. I mean, I got the joke and it was funny, but I don’t know that I need more. Not sure if that makes sense, but it was still a fun book. What are you reading? Let me know! Happy reading!

 

Give me the love: Unappreciated Books

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This week’s them is Underappreciated/Unknown Books, which means it’s my turn to shine! I read a lot of old books and there are plenty that I’m sure you’ve never heard of. Here we go!

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Monsters I Have Known by Jess Hartley. I don’t read a lot of supernatural/ghost stories, but sometimes I like a good creepy tale. I was asked to review this one by the author and I really enjoyed this book. With only 5 other GR reviews, you are all missing out on this one. The first story and one entitled “Material Witness” were my favorites.

The Deadly Side of the Square by Lee Jordan. This one was published back in the 90s, so I’m sure none of you have read it. Sophie Mendel has been through a lot in her time–widowhood, World War, death of a beloved daughter–and she’s not about to give in to life now. When the elderly residents of her decrepit apartment building start leaving–sometimes feet first–she digs in her heels and determines to stay.

But someone is just as determined to make her leave. Once Sophie is gone, the building can be razed and new, expensive developments be built. Only Sophie stands in their way. But Sophie is a lot tougher than they expected, and she’s got friends on her side. Great story with lots of twists.

Stroke of Death by Josephine Bell. An elderly man starved by his caretaker. Or was he? Young physical therapist thinks he needs help and enlist a local doctor, but things are never as simple as they look. The neat twist at the ending made this one stand out for me.

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Women Astronomers: Reaching for the Stars by Mabel Armstrong. This was one of the first books I got for free in exchange for a review, and I still think it’s a great book. It profiles female astronomers through the ages and it’s told in an easy to read format perfect for younger readers. Women in STEM!

Away With Them to Prison (Antony Maitland 43) by Sara Woods. I used to love this English crime series featuring a English barrister who investigates crime. All his clients are innocent, naturally, and he always extracts a confession from the real guilty party in open court. This time it’s a couple of policemen who wind up on trial for corruption.

Death Lurks in the Bush  (Kelly Ryan #3) by Kate Grilley. I got this one at the dollar store. I’ve never read any others in this Caribbean mystery series, but if you like Death in Paradise on the BBC, you’d like this one too.

Goodbye to Poplarhaven by Edward Geary. I read this one because I knew the writer as my college English professor. He was a good, rather reserved teacher, but as a writer he is observant, wry and funny. This is his memoir, an ode to life in small town rural Utah.

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The Facts in the Case of E A Poe by Andrew Sinclair. A man is convinced he is the reincarnation of the great writer Edgar Allan Poe. Is he right? Decide for yourself. This one is on Kindle Unlimited.

Death’s Bright Dart by V C Clinton-Baddeley. I have a lot of these old, out of print murder mysteries on my list. What can I say? I love them. This one has an expert on poisons being mysteriously murdered during a lecture on poisons. This one is the first in the short series.

The Lord Mayor of Death by Marion Babson. The first one I read by this author and still my favorite. Great story of a terrorist threat during a parade, efforts of the police to prevent a panic and spot the bomb, a missing girl, and the mayor who has decided to let the show go on with himself as bait.



It’s a little late in the day, but I hope you’ll find something in here worth reading. I can’t wait to see your lists. Feel free to link them in the comments and I’ll check them out. Happy reading!

Currently reading 2/18

Happy Monday. How was your weekend? My Saturday was a little busy, but Sunday was all about naps and PJs. Not bad at all. 🙂

Currently reading

Audio:

Grant by Ron Chernow. I swear, I really am going to finish this book. The story has Grant in the last days of his second term as president. They tried to get him to run for a third term, but he said no. I didn’t know that! I’m at 80% and I’m hoping some of the remaining portion is a bibliography which I can skip. It’s been great, but I’m ready to be done. Will definitely do a review when I’m finished.

Ebook:

The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen. I’ve been reading this one even longer, but this time I don’t mind. It’s one I read when I forget my other books and I always enjoy it. So many interesting stories and fact, and the writing is great.

Print:

Emma Brown by Clare Boylan. I’m doing a little mini challenge to read books off your shelf. My goal is 5 this month and I’ve already cleared off 3. This one is number 4. I’ve had it for several years, but never got around to picking it up. It’s historical fiction, based on an unfinished manuscript by Charlotte Bronte. So far it is really hitting the right tone. It’s been telling two stories, back and forth, and I’m curious about when they are going to link up.

Study in Brimstone (Warlock Holmes #1) by G S Denning. Recently bought, but I swear I have a good excuse! I was looking for my book club pick when this series caught my eye, and I HAD to pick them up. Not very far in, but it is hitting all the right notes with me. Take a look at the cover:

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Sherlock Holmes is a genius. Warlock Holmes is something else.

So many fun details and the writing is really enjoyable. Not far along with this one either, but it’s off to a great start.

In other news, I’ve decided to add a new shelf to my GoodReads : READ SOON. I have 1800+ books on my TBR list there, and when I get to the library or decide to buy something, I get totally overwhelmed. I started a new shelf which I’m limiting to 10-15 books, no more. That way I can remember which books I really, really want to read soon. Then when something sounds AMAZING, I won’t forget about it.

What are you reading? Finished anything great lately? Tell me all about it in the comments and happy reading!