Sorry kids, no feet.

I'm a reader raising voracious readers. To mock my children, I have recently quit my job so  I can stay at home and read all day. I enjoy caffeinated beverages, short walks to the library, and long walks down aisles of used book stores. 

Hit A Wall.

It was bound to happen. On the heels of reading so many fantastic books, I was bound to hit a wall. Hopefully this current string of bad reading luck doesn't continue for any significant amount of time.

 

First I had the dumpster fire that was Oksana, Behave. Then I picked up Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman. Lipman has been recommended to me a few times. Good Riddance was just sitting on my library's new release shelf, pleading with me to take it. So I did. About 30 pages in, the book almost found itself hurling toward a wall. 

 

Before I tell you why I had such a violent reaction, let me explain how bad at math I am. A sixth grade student corrected my math in front of my boss. When I told the story to my husband, my ten year old overheard and said "Mom, you know that's basic multiplication, right?"

 

So in Good Riddance, we are introduced to Daphne. Early in the book she attends a 50 year  class reunion for the class of 1968 at the school her mother taught for. There is a pretty significant revelation at this reunion that leads the reader to believe Daphne was born between  1969-1970. A few pages later Daphne points out to her attractive neighbor that he's 25 to her 31. Wait? I know my math is horrible but that doesn't work for me. I'm 34 and know the year of my birth to be 1984. How can someone born between 1969-1970 be younger than me. This isn't a fantasy. There's no strange time travel element. It's completely contemporary with several popular culture references that make it obvious this book takes place in 2018. Not to mention  the 50th reunion thing. I went back to re-read a few pages to make sure I didn't miss anything. Nope. I took out a calculator to double check my math. Yup. Still good. So how in the world does the author get away with this? How does something like this get by an editor? More importantly, what kind of author thinks they   can pull this kind of a fast one their readers?

 

I think it is safe to say, I won't be finishing this book. I decided instead to pick up the copy of Night Circus I checked out from the library. I cracked the cover and was immediately overpowered by the smell of mold and cigarettes. Maybe I need to try an e-book or old reliable Harry Potter?

 

Thoughts? Would anyone else keep reading Good Riddance? Or is this mistake just too  much to forgive?

14 out of 50 isn't too bad. My ten year old is laughing at this. She's read nearly 30 books this summer. I'm constantly reminding her she doesn't have to do things like laundry and drive. My children will be gone for the next ten days which should give me lots of extra reading time. Just kidding. That extra reading time is going to be spent touring wineries and catching up with my friends who have finally returned from their year serving overseas in Kuwait.

Personal Summer Challenge

Reblogged from Sorry kids, no feet. :

 I am not going to be participating in this round of Booklikes-opoly. Instead I'm going to be participating in a summer challenge with a historical fiction group I moderate for. The goal is to read 50 books over the course of the summer. We create our lists and lock them on June 1st. The goal is to read all 50 books on the list and earn points. There are opportunities to change things around twice during the summer. If you'd like more information or to participate, I'll post a link in the comments. Be warned, it is a Goodreads group. I promise, we aren't overly "Goodreads-ish".

 

This post is going to serve as my tracking post. 

 

50.) Here Be Dragons- Sharon Kay Penman 

49.)The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

48.) Red Rising - Pierre Brown

47.) Traitor - Rory Clements

46.) Empress Orchid - Anchee Min - Swapped out for Good Riddance - Elinor Lipman

45.) Silent in the Grave - Deanna Raybourn

44.) The Huntress - Kate Quinn

43.) The Witches of St. Petersburg - Imogen Edwards Jones

42.) Bethlehem Road - Anne Perry

41.) When Gods Die - C.S Harris

40.) The Leopard's Prey - Suzanne Arrunda

39.) Murder, Most Royal - Jean Plaidy

38.)Her Royal Spyness - Rhys Bowen

37.) A Breach of Promise - Anne Perry

36.) The Serpent's Daughter - Suzanne Arrunda

35.) Silent in the Sanctuary - Deanna Raybourn

34.) The White Mirror - Elsa Hart - Swapped out for The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls - Anissa Grey

33.) Prince - Rory Clements

32.) The Samurai's Wife - Laura Joh Rowland

31.) The Iona Sanction - Gary Colby

30.) Gods of Gotham - Lyndsay Faye

29.) American Princess - Stephanie Thornton

28.) Rough Music - Robert Blake

27.) The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

26.) Weighed in the Balance - Anne Perry

25.) The Prisoner in the Castle - Susan Elia MacNeal

24.) Woman 99 - Greer Macalister

23.) The Pericles Commission - Gary Colby

22.) Forever Amber - Kathleen Winsor

21.) Eye of the Red Tsar - Sam Eastland

20.) Watch the Lady - Elizabeth Fremantle

19.) Highgate Rise - Anne Perry

18.) A Trail of Ink - Melvin R. Starr

17.) To Die But Once - Jacquline Winspear

16.) The Winter King  Bernard Cornwell

15.) The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

14.) Ravenspur - Conn Iggulden

13.) Remedy for Treason - Cardine Roe

12.) The Heretics - Rory Clements

11.) The Sunne in Splendour - Sharon Kay Penman

10.) The Last Bookaneer - Matthew Pearl

9.) Belgrave Square - Anne Perry

8.) The American Agent - Jacquline Winspear

7.) The Winter Queen - Boris Akunin

6.) We Are Water - Wally Lamb - Swapped out for Daughters of the Lake - Wendy Webb

5.) Jade Dragon Mountain - Elsa Hart

4.) The Temple of the Muses - John Maddox Roberts

3.)The Silent Cry - Anne Perry

2.) The Concubine's Tattoo - Laura Joh Rowland

1.) Pope Joan - Donna Woolfolk Cross

SPOILER ALERT!

Oksana, Behave!

Oksana, Behave! - Maria Kuznetsova

I will admit to judging this book by its cover. A book where a girl is sticking her middle finger (Is it still your middle finger if you only have four?) at everyone? This book had to be written with someone like me in mind. 

 

I cracked open the book while my kids were cooling off at the local splash pad (judge me all you want, they were supervised) and immediately I was hooked. I could related to little Oksana on so many levels. She was sassy. She had problems listening to her parents. She doesn't want a little brother.........

 

-I need to squirrel out here for a second. Throughout the book, Oksana's mom seems to be constantly pregnant. Every time the reader is given the clues to guess Oksana's mom is pregnant, the readers is also told that mom still drink and smokes. I understand that this book starts around 1992. However, Oksana's parents are intelligent people. Her dad was a physicist in Russia and mom is an accountant. Even in 1992, we knew that smoking and drinking while pregnant were bad. As the 90s progressed, Oksana's mom continued to get pregnant. My problem is that, as someone who grew up and went to school in the 90s, I know the information about smoking and drinking while pregnant continued to increase. We were constantly told during high school health classes that smoking and drinking while pregnant would lead to bad things. They lived in America. They went to American doctors. You can't tell me that no doctor pointed out that after several failed pregnancies, maybe you should stop smoking and drinking while pregnant.  I'm done with my squirrel rant now.  Thanks for coming to my TED talk. 

 

Anyway, Oksana should have instantly became a girl I could invite into my home and share a glass of wine with. Especially once she got to college. I am going to need a little bit more information about how she could graduate from Duke and move on to higher education with all the abuse her liver took. 

 

Now Oksana is a full-fledged adult. If you thought all of her questionable choices were behind her, you would be wrong. You get the the end of the book and Oksana has learned nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. She did not develop. She did not mature. She did the same shit she had always done and there never seemed to be any real consequences. It seemed like no matter what kind of stupid decision she made, she always ended up with exactly what she wanted in the end. It is really hard to root for a protagonist like that. In Oksana's defense, it is kind of hard to see any kind of change or development when your author writes a book that's more like a new short story with every chapter instead of a cohesive, flowing novel.

 

 

 

The Pericles Commission (The Athenian Mysteries #1) - Gary Corby

The Pericles Commission - Gary Corby

The Democrats and the Conservatives are fighting. I guess democracy has had the same problem since the beginning of its time. Maybe we need a Nicolaos instead of a Mueller? 

 

I've immediately gone ahead and ordered the next three books in this series. It is pretty rare for me to like a first book in a series as much as I liked this one. I usually find them clunky, full of random back stories, and full of characters who lack personality. This book did have clunky parts. However, I found the cast of characters to be charming and funny. 

 

Nicolaos is to Ancient Greece what Gordianus the Finder is to Ancient Rome. The similiarties are striking both in character and story. The difference is in the setting. Much like Saylor does for Rome, Corby makes Greece come to life. You can almost taste the watered wine and smell the back alleys. Also as noted above, Nicolaos' supporting cast is wonderful. It's a big larger and more eclectic than Gordianus' which adds a fun element to these novels that I don't associate with the others. 

A Trail of Ink (Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton #3) - Mel Starr

A Trail of Ink - Mel Starr

By this point in the series, Hugh should be dead about 100 times over. He just has this knack for getting himself into situations that he should see coming from a mile away. I'm not entirely sure how he ever actually solves a mystery. My favorite character at this point just might be Hugh's horse, Bruce.

 

All of that aside, I'm still reading the next book. They are quick light reads. I have all of the available books in e-book form. They are my bedtime books. 

Reading progress update: I've read 110 out of 352 pages.

The Pericles Commission - Gary Corby

Gordianus the Finder is my literary boyfriend from Ancient Rome

 

Uhtred is my literary boyfriend who is a sword wielding Saxon/Viking dreamboat.

 

I have an available spot open for a literary boyfriend from Ancient Greece. Nicolaos just might get that spot.

 

I've already reserved the next two books. These are just what I needed.  

Reading progress update: I've read 24 out of 376 pages.

Król, cesarz, car - Catrine Clay

I'm reading the English version of this book - King, Kaiser, Tsar.

 

It was late last night when I was searching for the book. I couldn't find the English version. I picked the non-English version. Sorry my other language skills are awful. I was using my tablet and had zero desire to enter in all of the information about the edition of the book I possess. Hopefully I get to it later today. 

Reading progress update: I've read 15 out of 408 pages.

The Gods of Gotham - Lyndsay Faye

"Hopstill doesn't care for Irish folk either. That's common enough practice, though. It doesn't seem sporting to me, blaming the Irish for eagerly taking the lowest, filthiest work when the lowest, filthiest work is all they're ever offered, but then fairness isn't high on the list of our city's priorities. And the lowest, filthiest work is getting pretty hard to come by these days, as the main of it's already been snapped up by their kin."

 

......

 

"I don't bother responding to this brand of insanity for two reasons: idiots treasure their facts like newborns and the entire topic make my shoulders ache.......Americans have been feeling this way about foreigners since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798."

 

 

I know I'm reading historical fiction but for some reason it doesn't seem very historical. 

Here Be Dragons (Welsh Princes #1) - Sharon Kay Penman

Here be Dragons - Sharon Kay Penman

This book has been on my TBR since November of 2013. It is one of those books that I always look at on my shelf and say "I'm reading that next". Then I never read it next. I put it on two different TBR challenge lists for 2019. I'm trying to read more pages over the summer than my ten year old. I guess it was finally time to read it next. 

 

About 50 pages in and I'm like "WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS?!?!" Another 20 pages in, I'm crying about something. Another 30 pages in, I'm screaming about how wonderful the writing is. Repeat that pattern for 700 pages. My husband will tell you that this scenario is the reason noise cancelling headphones were invented. Sorry but Llewelyn and Joanna are much more compelling than Sheldon and Amy. Prove me wrong. Seriously, he's on one side of the room laughing hysterically and I'm on the other side crying hysterically. It must be true love.

 

Penman's characters are always magnificent. Justin de Quincy is one of my literary boyfriends. He also needs more books if any of her publishers are reading his. Her Eleanor of Aquitaine is Eleanor of Aquitaine. There is no one else. Fight me on this. Ask the person who tried to tell me Allison Weir's Eleanor was better. It does not end well. I also believe that Richard Burton is the ultimate Henry VIII (and Thomas Becket and Mark Antony). If you can't tell I'm feeling pretty argumentative today. It must be the humidity and non-stop thunderstorms. I had a point I was trying to make here and I got side tracked.

 

The point was John. King John I of England is not typically a character we are suppose to like or feel sorry for. We are suppose to hate him (much like a certain author wants us to hate Henry VIII, again another post). We are suppose to want him fall in a Sarlacc pit. We want to see him drawn and quartered. We are not suppose to think he gets a raw deal. We are not suppose to see all of the good things he did for England. We are not suppose to feel bad for him because at the end of the day most of his family screwed him over. Penman manages to throw all of that out the window. Don't get me wrong, this John is not without flaws. This John is still manipulative, calculating, and full of Angevin temper. This John is also a father, a husband, and a man who does truly care about the people of England (not the nobles, the people). He is the kind of complex bad guy who you can't help but be kind of attracted to and scared of at the same time. 

 

I could easily give each of the main players their own review. They are the kind of characters that stay with you long after you have put the book back on the shelf. Llewelyn has made his way on to my list of literary boyfriends. Joanna had me in tears. Why can't she just be happy? Why can't the Welsh just love her like Llewelyn does? And who doesn't love a woman who lights her husband's bed on fire? Angela Basset has nothing on Joanna. 

 

Somewhere in the middle of all these characters is Wales. Reading Penman's descriptions of Wales reminded of the way I felt the first time I watched The Lord of the Rings. The way Jackson swept through New Zealand made me want to book a flight at that moment. I felt the same way about Wales. I want to visit 13th century Wales. I want to see waterfalls. I want to climb cliffs. I want to sit on the beach. I also want the English to leave the Welch alone. Just let them have their cows and mountains and log homes. 

 

I need to wrap this up. I could go on and on about this novel. At the end of the day, unless you read it for yourself, you won't understand. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go track down the next two books in this trilogy. 

Prince (John Shakespeare #3) - Rory Clements

Prince: A John Shakespeare Mystery - Rory Clements

When I first stumbled upon Martyr, I was looking for something to replace C.J. Sansom's Mathew Shardlake series. Honestly,  I wasn't expecting to ever find something. The Shardlake series is a rarity when it comes to Tudor-era fiction. Clements has been more than up to the task with his John Shakespeare series. They have a gritty, edge to them that is very comparable to Sansom's work. 

 

There is a but here. It's going to be a fancy but (Friends reference anyone?). However, Sansom's characters are just a little bit more compelling. John is not a bad guy. His only fault is he is incredibly naive. For someone who works for one of the biggest spymasters in history, he sure doesn't play the game very well. I think that changes after the tragedy suffered in this novel. John's sidekick, Boltfoot Cooper, seems to be the one who suffers the most from his bosses inability to figure things out. 

 

Currently this is a seven book series so one could assume that being this is only book three, there's time for John Shakespeare to develop in to a cold, calculating agent working for the good of Her Majesty's realm. We all know what happens when you assume things. This book isn't actually the third book in a seven book series. It's more like the fifth book in a seven book series. See this series has two different orders. One order is the publication order. The other is the chronological order within the books. Books six and seven are actually books one and two. Normally, this wouldn't bother me. At least I don't think it would. I can't actually recall reading a series where the author suddenly decides mid-series to go back to the beginning. It annoys me just a little bit to think that this had to be the author's plan from the beginning. I had to stop reading Prince at about the 10-15% mark. There were so many references to previous cases that I couldn't keep up. I had to stop reading and go order books six and seven which are the books in which these previous cases are addressed. Confused yet? 

 

I promise I have a point with this review. I'm getting there. Just kidding, I'm there. My point is if you want to read these novels (which I do recommend), read them in the chronological order, not the published order. 

 

Here's the difference-

Publication Order

Martyr

Revenger

Prince

Traitor

The Heretics

The Man in the Snow (Short Story)

The Queen's Man

Holy Spy

 

Chronological Order (per book events)

The Queen's Man

Holy Spy

Martyr

Revenger

Prince

Traitor

The Heretics

The Man in the Snow (Short Story) 

 

I highly recommend the chronological order. Personally, I'm planning a re-read of the entire series just so I can better appreciate the chain of events. 

 

I'm getting a little long winded here and I've not really mentioned anything about this specific book. I don't have much to add on that front. As pointed out in a previous post, I found the book's commentary on immigration in Tudor England to be rather enlightening. The fact that as a society we haven't actually changed much over the centuries actually gives me a little hope for the future. I mean if we've made it this far being horribly ignorant and unwilling to accept blame for our own failures, I guess there's no reason to believe future generations can't survive. Right? *eye roll*

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 53%.

Prince: A John Shakespeare Mystery - Rory Clements

A huge plot throughout this novel so far has been the English people's irritation with foreigners. Apparently people from the Netherlands (Low Countries), France, and other places are just sweeping in and stealing jobs from hardworking English citizens.

 

This all seems eerily familiar. What's that they say about the more things change? 

Personal Summer Challenge

 I am not going to be participating in this round of Booklikes-opoly. Instead I'm going to be participating in a summer challenge with a historical fiction group I moderate for. The goal is to read 50 books over the course of the summer. We create our lists and lock them on June 1st. The goal is to read all 50 books on the list and earn points. There are opportunities to change things around twice during the summer. If you'd like more information or to participate, I'll post a link in the comments. Be warned, it is a Goodreads group. I promise, we aren't overly "Goodreads-ish".

 

This post is going to serve as my tracking post. 

 

50.) Here Be Dragons- Sharon Kay Penman 

49.)The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

48.) Red Rising - Pierre Brown

47.) Traitor - Rory Clements

46.) Empress Orchid - Anchee Min - Swapped out for Good Riddance - Elinor Lipman

45.) Silent in the Grave - Deanna Raybourn

44.) The Huntress - Kate Quinn

43.) The Witches of St. Petersburg - Imogen Edwards Jones

42.) Bethlehem Road - Anne Perry

41.) When Gods Die - C.S Harris

40.) The Leopard's Prey - Suzanne Arrunda

39.) Murder, Most Royal - Jean Plaidy

38.)Her Royal Spyness - Rhys Bowen

37.) A Breach of Promise - Anne Perry

36.) The Serpent's Daughter - Suzanne Arrunda

35.) Silent in the Sanctuary - Deanna Raybourn

34.) The White Mirror - Elsa Hart - Swapped out for The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls - Anissa Grey

33.) Prince - Rory Clements

32.) The Samurai's Wife - Laura Joh Rowland

31.) The Iona Sanction - Gary Colby

30.) Gods of Gotham - Lyndsay Faye

29.) American Princess - Stephanie Thornton

28.) Rough Music - Robert Blake

27.) The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

26.) Weighed in the Balance - Anne Perry

25.) The Prisoner in the Castle - Susan Elia MacNeal

24.) Woman 99 - Greer Macalister

23.) The Pericles Commission - Gary Colby

22.) Forever Amber - Kathleen Winsor

21.) Eye of the Red Tsar - Sam Eastland

20.) Watch the Lady - Elizabeth Fremantle

19.) Highgate Rise - Anne Perry

18.) A Trail of Ink - Melvin R. Starr

17.) To Die But Once - Jacquline Winspear

16.) The Winter King  Bernard Cornwell

15.) The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

14.) Ravenspur - Conn Iggulden

13.) Remedy for Treason - Cardine Roe

12.) The Heretics - Rory Clements

11.) The Sunne in Splendour - Sharon Kay Penman

10.) The Last Bookaneer - Matthew Pearl

9.) Belgrave Square - Anne Perry

8.) The American Agent - Jacquline Winspear

7.) The Winter Queen - Boris Akunin

6.) We Are Water - Wally Lamb - Swapped out for Daughters of the Lake - Wendy Webb

5.) Jade Dragon Mountain - Elsa Hart

4.) The Temple of the Muses - John Maddox Roberts

3.)The Silent Cry - Anne Perry

2.) The Concubine's Tattoo - Laura Joh Rowland

1.) Pope Joan - Donna Woolfolk Cross

Rabbit Hole

I've been sick for the last four (maybe five) days. I'm on my second of potentially 10 days home from work. At this rate, I will not be finishing the school year. It's a good thing I have three years worth of banked sick time. I've used way too much of it this year. 

 

Anyway. I decided to go down the series rabbit hole. I made a list of all the series I have started. I read a lot of mysteries so this list got a little out of control. I had to add a couple of qualifiers- 

 

1.) A series is defined as having more that four published books.

 

2.) I did not count a series if there are plans for several more published works (more than two)

 

With the qualifiers in place, I still had quite the list. I won't list all of the series in this post. I need to pace myself.

 

As it stands right now -

 

43 series started and not finished

 

19 series started and not going to finish

 

As mentioned above, I read a lot of mysteries. I'm in a GRs group dedicated specifically to historical mysteries. This list is far from complete. 

I Didn't Get It

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart  Turton

This was a DNF at chapter 16.

 

I was intrigued by the plot and the fact that so many people raved about this book. One of these days I will stop being fooled by books people rave about. 

 

This book just didn't do it for me. At 16 chapters in, if nothing is happening, I'm not sticking around. I was bored. Plain and simple. 

Nope.

This is easily the most upsetting thing on the internet right now.

 

https://www.ign.com/articles/2019/05/17/robert-pattinson-cast-as-the-batman-for-director-matt-reeves

 

In related news, I need to figure out how to change my links. I need to figure out how to do a lot of things on this site. Or just with my life in general. Summer is coming. 

SPOILER ALERT!

Silence in Hanover Close (Thomas and Charlotte Pitt #9) - Anne Perry

Silence in Hanover Close - Anne Perry

I have come to love this series because the books are quick reads. They are dramatic. The mysteries are intriguing. 

 

Here comes the but. However (that's just a fancy but), the characters are getting a little outrageous. In this novel, Emily goes from being the widowed wife of a Lord to taking a position as a lady's maid. I'm suppose to believe that society girl, Emily, would pass off as a lady's maid? Seriously? And how have we gotten to this point with Charlotte? She spends more time in society houses than her own house. And yet, society hasn't figured out who she is yet? Nobody realizes that this woman magically appears every time there's a scandal? For as much tea room gossip as there seems to be, I find it hard to believe nobody has yet realized that while Charlotte is the sister of the well-connected Emily, she's also the wife of the police officer who is constantly at their door. 

 

All of that being said, I'm still going to devour the next book in the series.