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I've been lured into the Time-sucking void that is Pinterest ... anyone else there?
lizzardgirl: (Default)
Anyone know if there is an Option to Post pics Directly from my phone on dw, without having to Upload them somewhere?
lizzardgirl: (Default)
Heaven help us all.
lizzardgirl: (Default)
Okay, Summer, I know you and I had a lovely Time. But then you just up and left me without even saying goodbye. And guess what? I'm not the kind of girl to cry after you. I've got Autumn now and I'm embracing it. I'm wearing all the shawls you never wanted me to wear, and the boots, and I got myself new handbalm, which you never cared about, and cooking all the soups you always spoiled. So you know, whatever. Goodbye and be happy elsewhere. I don't need you.

Books 8-20

May. 31st, 2016 11:23 am
lizzardgirl: (books)
(Or, part two of the long-overdue book backup)

8. As Chimney-Sweepers Come To Dust, by Alan Bradley

I liked this, but I didn't love it as much as previous Flavias. I feel that all that background-y stuff about the secret organisations is becoming a bit ... weird? Thoughts, anyone?

9. Total Control, by David Baldacci
10. The Target, by David Baldacci
11. First Family, by David Baldacci

Okay, so the first one of these was mildly enjoyable mostly for retro-fun and the big bad turning out to be a Trump By Another Name, but I hated the second and have no idea why I even read the third. Yeah, no. Not going to read again. Too dumb.

12. Tuesday's Gone, by Nicci French

I read the first one in this series last year, and if I recall correctly, found it mostly okay but not that intriguing. I liked the second one much better, especially the way that the over-reaching arch was set up.

13. The Taming of the Queen, by Philippa Gregory

This is the one about Kateryn Parr. It was enjoyable, mostly, but a few things were a bit weird. Like when she basically had Kateryn quote the Tilbury speech to Elizabeth, implying that she made it up all along.

14. Waiting for Wednesday, by Nicci French
15. Thursday's Child, by Nicci French
16. Friday on my Mind, by Nicci French

I continue to like the series, and wait for my library to have the Saturday book. I was a bit disappointed though about the Sandy development in Thursday and Friday, I feel that the character deserved more. Still very nice mysteries though.

17. The Shepherd's Crown, by Terry Pratchett

Oh, Pterry. I will miss you.

18. Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth

Absolutely fascinating to see where the idea for the show started and Jennifer Worth is a really interesting narrator (though she could have benefitted from a better editor). But is it sacrilege to say I like the nuns on the show better?

19. The Sacred Art of Stealing, by Christopher Brookmyre

Two thumbs up! Very enjoyable, irreverent read. Not for the faint of heart :)

20. Thin Air, by Ann Cleeves

I think what I like best about the Shetland mysteries is not the crime story but the fact that they always make me want to emigrate to the Shetlands.

Whew! All caught up now!

Books 4-7

May. 10th, 2016 11:43 am
lizzardgirl: (books)
4: Imperium, by Robert Harris
5: Lustrum, by Robert Harris
6: Dictator, by Robert Harris

I really liked this series. I know a lot of what went into it had to be guesswork by necessity, but it was pretty meticulously matched to historical detail as far as I can tell, and I really liked the analysis of Cicero as a character. I also very especially liked how the narrator was a slave and was pretty honest about how he had it good, but it still essentially sucks to be a slave and that it's nice that Cicero and the like can forget he is a slave, because he himself can't, but at the same time the narrator is treating slavery as the everyday occurence it was in Ancient Rome. It all rang very true.

7: Leibniz, Newton und die Erfindung der Zeit, by Thomas de Padova [title literally translates to 'Leibniz, Newton and the Invention of Time,' there doesn't seem to be an English translation, unfortunately]

This was an altogether brilliant book. It was such a unique take on the cultural history of the 17th and early 18th century and also featured a lot of the mathematical and physical principles that went into the measuring of time in a way that even I could understand most of it. And then it also was a very interesting biography of the titular characters.

More books to come :)
lizzardgirl: (washroom)
Wut, I never updated my booklist after book 3? Gah, I thought I had. I have all of them jotted down in my agenda, but it's gonna take a while to transfer. I so smart, yes.

lizzardgirl: (books)
Book 1: The Second World War, by Antony Beevor

Because I clearly haven't learnt my lesson from last year, this one was one gigantic big tome that took me almost six weeks to read. How am I ever going to approach Shem's book-numbers? Other than that, it was frightfully interesting and I learnt tons.

Book 2: The Martian, by Andy Weir

I'm normally not at all into sci-fi, but Marie gave it such an interesting review that I wanted to try it. I did really really like it! Objectively, there were a few rough edges to the writing and with all the sci stuff, I have no clue if it would actually have worked or was bullshit especially that spaceship that couldn't just return to Mars? But obviously it made sense within the story. And subjectively the book was a total page-turner!

Book 3: The Ghost, by Robert Harris

That was an intriguing political thriller with a twisted ending! Also, Blair. That guy basically is Blair by any other name. Just saying.

As for 2016 book goals, I seem to be in the mood for a lot of non-fiction right now. I don't feel any urge towards anything supernatural right now, or anything romance-like. All I have on my reading pile right now is either gritty suspense thriller or gritty non-fiction. My goal is to expand the horizon a little :)
lizzardgirl: (books)
Okay, let's pretend it's 6 weeks earlier, right? I totally wasn't lazy in updating my book list AT ALL.

79: The Royal Mess, by Mary Janice Davidson

It started getting really repetitive. And so much insta-love from constant boning. It was a neat idea, but it's clear it wasn't going to go anywhere new.

80: The Green Road, by Anne Enright

Uhm. Difficult to say. I liked it, but I couldn't love it. It's certainly a good book, might even be a great one, but it just didn't speak to me. I couldn't have cared less about anything in it. Still, for all that, I don't regret reading it. For those interested, it's a book taking apart a family in 1980s up to contemporary Ireland. It's well done. It's just not a voice resonating with me.

81: High Rising, by Angela Thirkell

My brother lent me this, it's another of his obscure literature finds. It was a very fun, light-hearted book, didn't take itself too seriously. Nice little romp in the 1930s English countryside.

82: To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis

I gave myself this book as a Christmas present and OMG loved it SO SO MUCH!!!! Why didn't y'all tell me sooner I had to read this one?

So, all in all, 82 books in 2015. Certainly not my highest number, but then again, it took me a whole bloody month to read that French book alone ... and I'm certainly happy with most of the books I read that year, so there's that :)
lizzardgirl: (books)
70: Blue Monday, by Nicci French

It was an ok crime novel. I thought it got a bit weird towards the ending, but okay. It was fun reading about the shrink's daily life. I kept imagining my own shrink.

71: Foxglove Summer, by Ben Aaronovich

I really loved that one. It started a bit slow but I really liked how it went then. I wish though we'd learnt more about the over-arching mystery of the series, it wasn't really all that present in this one. When's the next one out?

72: The Bride Wore Size 12, by Meg Cabot

I love this series. It's pure brain candy. But it kept irking me that I felt I hadn't read the one previous to this and was missing out on things.

73: Bath Tangle, by Georgette Heyer

The last one in my mini-Heyer re-read and I still liked it tho of course no Regency Buck :)

74: Size 12 and Ready to Rock, by Meg Cabot

So I got this because I thought I hadn't read it, but then half-way through I realised I *had* read it and just forgotten half the stuff and, okay, that was all very irritating but not really the series' fault.

75: The Royal Treatment, by Mary Janice Davidson

Objectively, this series isn't really all that. But it's amusing and funny and fast-paced to read. It's a bit like The Royals (worst TV series ever) but intentionally funny and non-sensical. But the plotting could do with some help and the constant humping (sometimes graphic) gets a bit annoying.

76: Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

Apparently this book has been hyped a lot? A colleague of mine was raving about it. I raced through it and enjoyed reading it but in the end realised I didn't really like it. Some things were neat, but I hated the overall resolution and found I couldn't like the male lead. It gets even more complicated because the plot hangs on an issue Assisted Suicide and I have complicated and partly conflicting opinions about said issue and I felt that this book partly tried to proselytise me very unsubtly. I can see why this book got hyped, but I don't like it and Will Traynor is an arse.

77: The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean, by David Abulafia

This was for a uni course, partly, but I liked the idea so much I got the whole book and read it and I can really only give it thumbs up! Abulafia sometimes is veering on the edge of too-snarky-for-a-historian, but it's a very amusing read and he has a really unique perspective on historical connections and presentation and I learned a lot.

78: The Royal Pain, by Mary Janice Davidson

See above for #75. Same opinion still holds.

Books 62-69

Nov. 2nd, 2015 11:54 am
lizzardgirl: (books)
62: The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

Okay, I'll admit I picked this mainly because it was one quid at Oxfam. I expected a pretty standard vampire novel, but I really liked this one much more than I thought I would. It's very well plotted and right up until the ending, very nicely paced (the ending felt a little bit rushed though) and has a couple of very interesting twists that kept it from being standard. I really enjoyed reading it. My only complaints would be that the ending is that little bit rushed, and that it left a few too many lose ends. I don't mind not everything being tied up neatly, but with one or two things I did wonder why they had been brought up at all if they were never going to be resolved. Still, thumbs up.

63: Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer

Got this from Caro and I really liked it. Surprisingly, I didn't catch on to the endgame until quite late in the book, and even then I was hoping for it rather than expecting it to happen.

64: Secret Place, by Tana French

I really like her mystery novels but they seem to get gloomier and gloomier all the time. This one was really good but such a depressing ending!

65: Regency Buck, by Georgette Heyer

Okay, so Cotillion brought with it an urge to reread some favourite Heyers and of course this one tops the list. Objectively, I know that the hero is a total creep, but I can't help it, I put on my rose-tinted glasses all the time and just love this novel to bits. It's my guilty pleasure.

66: Life after Life, by Kate Atkinson

Shem's description of this sounded just like my cup of tea and when she was gushing so much about it I knew I had to get it too, and luckily the library had it. I wasn't disappointed. Like Shem, I found the beginning a bit slow to get into, but then it really took off and it was awesome. It's not exactly time-travel, but it touches similar questions as good time-travel novels do and on top of that one of my other favourite topics, alternate universes caused by tiny changes. I loved it!

67: Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith

As I said to my brother, I really really liked this one, but I liked Silkworm - the second in the series - even better. Also, I think JKR really enjoys diving into the gruesome and gory that she couldn't put into her at least nominally children's books. So, fair warning about that. This book is really gory and amputated limbs feature. I never had the feeling though that it was for shock value. It's just a very gruesome story. Also, in true JKR manner, she left it on a bit of a cliff-hanger - not about the mystery, but the personal story of the main characters (which was really nicely developed) - GRRRR!

68: Venetia, by Georgette Heyer

Something to calm my nerves after the JKR ;) When we were talking about Heyers during the DU, Julie said this was her favourite and talked about why and since it's been years since I read this I wanted to re-read with Julie's analysis in mind and she's right. Venetia really is a total kick-ass heroine and her and Damerel's relationship is awesomely honest. The only reason why this isn't my favourite Heyer is that it isn't Regency Buck because my brain is weird.

69: The Job, by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

I've grown a bit tired of her Stephanie Plums but I do like this new(ish) series and this one wasn't a disappointment. Pure escapist fast-paced action, but nicely done.
lizzardgirl: (JAOctGoHoNo)
Not such a good year for the JAOctGoHoNo, this one, but I managed to just finish at least one of the stories I planned. Not sure if it's any good, but at least it's there.

In case you didn't see it in the TR, there's gonna be a wee little soiree tonight in Chat at 9 pm GMT (10 CET and I guess 4 EST? Not sure with all that daylight saving). Do look in if you happen to have time and feel inclined!
lizzardgirl: (JAOctGoHoNo)
I know we've all not been the most active this year, Hallowe'en-wise, but this is your reminder that it's two more weeks!

How're you all faring? Anyone got any successes to tell about? (Please do, we need something to cheer us on!) Me, I've got a neat (I hope) plot idea, no story title, two paragraphs written, and no idea how to continue. On the plus side, it's Emma. Fingers crossed.

Who needs a hand/an inspiration/a plot bunny?

And where are the drowned Darcies when one needs them???
lizzardgirl: (JAOctGoHoNo)
It‘s that time of year again!

Time to start another round of the good old JAOctGoHoNo, that great collection of all stories horror, terror, nonsense and pirates that has come to be what we all love best about Hallowe‘en!

We‘re all used to seeing Kay‘s name here, but the sad truth of it is, our dear leader has no internet connection this year and has handed the sceptre pitchfork to us (that is, Shemmelle and me). We hope to prove worthy of this honour and will certainly do our best!

So! Let‘s do her proud and get the ball rolling. Your ever-mean hostesses have settled on a wonderful theme for this year because of the special anniversary we‘re celebrating. This year is going to be all about 800 years of Magna Carta!!

What‘s it going to be for you? Medieval Emma with Mr Knightley the Baron drafting the Carta? Sir Walter Elliot the local squire receives a copy of the Carta? Maybe there is a map in invisible ink on the back of one of them and Marianne Dashwood discovers it! Is there a band of vampires/werewolves/pirates/dentists after the Magna Carta and only Fanny Price can stop them? Let the plot bunnies run wild!

Whom do I have to ask if I can enter?

No one! Just come along and join the fun! JAOctGoHoNo is for everyone – the more, the merrier scarier! There is a group of people who participate almost every year (and some who always promise to write something, but still haven‘t delivered Yeti No.3 - just saying!), but new faces/fangs/masks are always welcome! If you feel this is the thing for you, just go along with it! There‘s no registry, no entry, no deadline – if you can make it, great. If you can‘t make it, well, that‘s a shame, but we won‘t hold it against you. JAOctGoHoNo is about the fun, not the contest. And if you can‘t write a story this year, doesn‘t mean you can‘t still have fun in the comments, and maybe share a plot bunny or two.

But I know nothing about the Magna Carta! How can I still participate?

Nothing easier than that! Go with your imagination – write whatever tickles your horror fancy – just make sure to reference the Magna Carta somewhere. Did you know that apparently there are pubs called the Magna Carta? Maybe that‘s where your gang of zombies meets every Wednesday! Or is Magna Carta the password necessary to get into the speakeasy/open the mummy‘s tomb/unlock the doomsday device – share ideas in the comments!

Is there anything I‘m not allowed to write?

Well, yes, and no. Anything that is a no-go on the DWG the other 364 days of the year, is still a no-go on Hallowe‘en. Anything else that comes to your mind, however absurd, twisted, scary, not-so-scary, is a definite go-go! You can‘t put a price on horror and you can‘t stick a definition on the JAOctGoHoNo! Just write whatever you like.

I‘m new to this! How do I go about it?

As with the rest of it, it‘s easy. Find a theme. Plot a story. If you‘re stuck, need inspiration or a proof-reader, ask in the comments. Everyone likes to share their gruesome ideas! Hopefully, your story will be done by 31st October, whenever that is in your end of the world. If your computer clock says 31st October, you‘re good to go! Post your story to the DWG message board. Use a scarified posting name (the Simpsons Hallowe‘en name thing). IMPORTANT: Please make it clear who is lurking behind the mask, so that our wonderful archivers will know how to archive the story. (Old hands: please use the names you‘ve used previously, to make it easier!) Then, enjoy yourself! Read the other stories – comment early, comment often, you know you want to! Maybe look into chat – most years, Her Grace, Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, manages to set up a little party there.

Can I drown Darcy dead?

Absolutely! There is never a JAOctGoHoNo where you can not do that!

Anything else I need to know?

Nope. That‘s all. If you have any questions, however, feel free to ask! We only bite on Fridays, and never before tea.

If you know of anyone of the old crowd who'd like to know about this, direct them here!

Oh, and I've made a Magna Carta for Dummies post in the TR, if you feel completely lost.
lizzardgirl: (books)
57: Dr Johnson's London, by Liza Picard

Had borrowed this from Caro last year so really needed to finish it and it didn't disappoint. Very quirky look at particular bits of 18th century London with lots of interesting tidbits.

58: Blackout, by Connie Willis
59: All Clear, by Connie Willis

Can I even say anything new about those, other than that I loved them? I don't think I could come up with anything other than gushing about everything. Like so: OMG COLIN!!!!!

60: Poseidon's Gold, by Lindsey Davis

Managed to find this one in the really, really odd second-hand bookshop in Brighton with the bombsite cellar. Because I have a weak spot for Falco and Helena and am slowly building up my collection of them, although I'd previously read this from the library. Still very nice though. I think they definitely get better too if you read them in order and really see their relationship grow.

61: WARP: The Hangman's Revolution, by Eoin Colfer

This was quick and fun and all that - it's just that any time travel book read after Connie Willis will have very large footsteps to follow in ...

Book 56

Aug. 12th, 2015 11:37 am
lizzardgirl: (books)
56: The Collector, by Nora Roberts

I wanted something fast and fluffy after the turmoils of Doomsday, so I went for this. I didn't like it very much in the beginning. It felt a little too stilted for me, too formulaic. But once the two protagonists got to meet each other, it got much better. I especially liked that it neither went the 'You're hot, I'm hot, let's boink for insta-relationship and the magic sex will sort everything out!' nor 'oh woes artificial obstacles keep keeping us apart oh the angst' route of relationship development, but instead had them navigate their relationship and gasp! talk about things and settle issues and find compromises. What a novelty notion! Plus there was a neat little mystery in the background.
lizzardgirl: (books)
52: The King's Curse, by Philippa Gregory

Yeah, I know. I said I'd stay away from these after the disappointment of the Elizabeth of York one, what with Incest!Richard and all the incoherent characterisations. However, this one I liked *much* better. It was a very fascinating analysis of the character of Henry VIII and the slippery slope towards his madness as well as a very intriguing view of Katharine of Aragon. It's not necessarily historically sound, there is a lot of speculation, but in itself it makes a lot of sense and is very convincing in its character analysis (also from what I know of Henry and his religion politics, which as you may recall I researched extensively for my B.A. orals). Plus, there is a lot of Margaret Beaufort- and Henry Tudor-bashing (VILE USURPER LONG LIVE KING RICHARD). For those of you like me who're into that sort of thing. Warning however: Katharine of Aragon features prominently, so there is a lot of pregnancy/childbirth/infant death heartbreak.

53: Harbour Street, by Ann Cleeves

This was a very intriguing suspense mystery, but it got rather bleak and depressing towards the end. Not necessarily a cheerful read.

54: WARP. The Reluctant Assassin, by Eoin Colfer

I've grown tired of Artemis Fowl, so I didn't really follow that series anymore, but I love this fresh new YA Timetravel one of his. The first ten or fifteen pages require a bit of patience as you think you may be dealing with an outright Mary Sue, but it gets really fun and quirky after that. It's a fast-paced, quick read, I went through it in an afternoon.

Now reading Doomsday Book and loving it. It took me about thirty pages or so to really get into it but I was sold when I realised that Shrewsbury College was a real place in it and now I'm about a quarter into it and totally hooked!
lizzardgirl: (books)
50: Central Park, by Guillaume Musso

My mum liked this so much she kept telling me I should read it, but I dunno. It was a really, really gripping tale with a very surprising ending, but in hindsight there are some really creepy implications. Also I feel that it should come with several warnings, but any of them would be a plot spoiler, so if any of you are thinking about reading this and wonder about warnings, let me know and I'll tell you.

51: The Testament, by John Grisham

Ugh. I had never read Grisham before and I don't think I will read one again any time soon. I really disliked this one. The plot was fairly gripping until it lost steam about 3/4 through and I kept waiting for a twist that I thought had been hinted at pretty bluntly before but seemed to have been forgotten and everything just petered out. But the real annoying thing was the narration which was such a jarring blend of idolising money and evangelical preachiness, with a few choice bits of jingoism, racism, elitism, sexism, classism and a few other -isms thrown in for good measure. The narrator just dumped level upon level of hatred and viciousness on all of his characters (which it seems he created mainly for hating them) for petty reasons such as that they hadn't been able to attend a good school or wore cheap suits, then had his main character undergo a magical personality transplant by finding God because dontcha know it, Christianity makes everything better, even poor naive naked brown people in the jungle who really need to stop worshipping snakes because that's just like totally silly. Ugh. Just ugh.

(Note: I don't mind stories about people finding God, but I'd like it happen a little more subtly than 'money money money yadda yadda everything's vicious people stink especially lawyers BAM!JESUS now my life is on track again. Btw poor brown people what haven't found God yet. Oh plot what plot I guess I'll end the book just now. Money for everyone! MONEY RULZ. Uhm okay God kinda rules too but MONEY!!!!!')

The only funny thing about this book was that it's set in about 1996 so every time the narrator raved about the latest technological gadgets that the ~MONEY~ could buy I was thinking about the brick-like Nokias and crappy little pagers that would mean.


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