Monday, November 30, 2020

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (top to bottom - click on image to enlarge):

  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates - purchased
  • Dragon Mountain by Katie and Kevin Tsang and
  • 400 Minutes of Danger by Jack Heath - both from Sterling Children's Books for review
  • Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage by Maria Rivans - purchased

This is also my first stack photographed with the Christmas decorations! I bought the wooden cut-out houses at Target and have them pretty much everywhere -- in the bedroom, on the mantle, and on the entertainment set. I've left them as is but we liked them so much that Huzzybuns encouraged me to buy some extras to decorate for different seasons and I'm looking forward to painting some snow and lights on a few for winter, pumpkins and ghosties for fall, flowers for spring/summer. 

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris
  • Trumpocracy by David Frum
  • A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen

Well, this just hasn't been my month for quantity. Hopefully, December will be an improvement. On the plus side, I am still enjoying everything I read. This has just been one of those months in which I've been either too tired or too stressed to read at all, many days. I'm fine with that. Sometimes you just have a bad month. Moving right along. 

Currently reading:

  • Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver

If Cold Granite doesn't sound very much like my type of book, it's deliberate. I figured after a sluggish reading month I needed to shake up the reading to get myself back into the swing of things. It seems to have worked. Saturday night was the first night in ages that I've read more than a handful of pages. Yesterday, I added One Day in December because I'm ready for some Christmas reading and happened to have that one handy as an e-book (so that will be my e-read for the month). I'm enjoying it, also. So far, so good. 


Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

Because I've been kind of stressed and not felt up to reading, I've watched a lot of movies, lately. I think this is everything but I can't be 100% sure. 

Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater was cute and I thought the two actors were OK together but his hangdog look at the beginning of the movie became a tiny bit tiresome. And, the heroine smiled so much it's amazing her face didn't break. Still, I enjoyed this one. While not a favorite, it was pleasant without becoming so saccharine that it was unbearable. I did think it was bizarre that the heroine had such a huge home, given her job description, but she was divorced so maybe the first hubby was wealthy. He was never around during their marriage, she said, so that seems likely. 

Heart of the Holidays was my favorite of the Hallmark movies we watched. I thought the heroine was a particularly good actress (actor?) and while the theme, "Hardworking woman becomes reacquainted with her old sweetheart who is more relaxed than she is; will they be able to work it out?" has been overused, I thought the actors had enough chemistry and their timing was so perfect that it helped overcome some of the problems that tend to niggle at me when I watch Hallmark movies. I will deliberately be looking for more movies with Vanessa Lengies (just looked up the heroine). She was terrific. 

A Christmas Tree Grows in Colorado had a terribly weak premise. The town of Brooklyn Colorado is in need of something big to draw in visitors and they mayor and his daughter, who works for him, have decided that they must find the perfect evergreen tree to draw in a crowd. Unfortunately, the perfect Christmas tree is on private land and the heroine has already become acquainted with the man who owns the land. Was she trying to butter him up to steal his tree? 

We got a phone call in the middle of this particular movie and muted it, for a while. I found the heroine painfully bubbly and decided I liked the movie better with the volume off . . . till the couple had a big fight at the mayor's office. At that point, we both became curious and tried to unmute the TV at the same time with 2 different remotes, cancelling each other out and putting it back on mute. But, once we figured out what was happening (which only took seconds), we enjoyed the rest of the movie. 

And, finally, we watched the 1987 version of Overboard starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, an old family favorite. We still have it on DVD somewhere around here. But, it was streaming and we hit it right at the beginning. At one point, the Roku reset and Huz said, "We may have to get out the DVD to watch the end." Well, good luck finding it, I thought. Fortunately, we were able to reboot the Roku and return to the same location in the movie. Anyway, it was as fun as always. I love Overboard. I'm also a fan of the newer version and confess I was shocked at how well the remake was done.  

We also watched an episode of Vintage Roads Great and Small and the first episode of the second season of The Mandalorian. Told ya I watched a lot of TV. 

During the past couple of weeks, we also ended up with a new (used) car that I'm calling my husband's "Midlife Crisis Car". It's cute, sporty, and totally different from our usual understated, stripped-down Hondas (I am not normally into all the bells and whistles). This has meant a lot of, "Hey, you want to go for a drive?" is happening. And, while you do really feel the road in this new car, it's definitely fun to ride in. I haven't driven it, yet, because it's a 6-speed and I feel like I'll need to practice on a quiet day, which hasn't happened, lately. The traffic has been horrendous. It has a great sound system and it has turned my husband into one of those weird guys who have to keep their car exterior clean and polished, but that's not a bad thing. He's usually a very messy guy and this is the first time he's ever said, "Nobody can eat in this car." Awesome. 

Hope all my American friends had a great Thanksgiving! We were on our own, just the two of us, and the weather was perfect so we had a good day, a nice meal but not a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and we hope to make up for the lack of gathering in 2021. 

I've got a couple of reviews to post, this week, then I'm going on a blogging break, starting Thursday, and lasting until I've actually finished a few books. I don't know how long that will take. My reading is going much better than it has during the rest of November but Cold Granite is pretty thick and I have no idea how many pages are in One Day in December. So, maybe a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, depending on how I feel about my reading. It helps to step away for a while, now and then. But, I'll be back! 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Fiona Friday

I let my two turkeys (belated Thanksgiving reference) play in the DVD cabinet when they got bored and whiny, this week. Unfortunately, it took me a while to think about snapping a picture. Fiona was just emerging from behind the DVD drawer in this shot. 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M. Eden

The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M. Eden is a Victoria romance, the story of a man who is a gentleman by ancestry but supports himself by writing penny dreadful stories (Society must not find out!) and a music teacher who has been stealing back former possessions since her father was bankrupted and they lost everything. 

Hollis Darby's father gambled away everything but he still has principles. As a member of the Dread Penny Society, he is tasked with wooing various well-pocketed members of society into donating to their cause, rescuing waifs from the street and giving them a new home and life. They're also seeking a thief, the "Phantom Fox", whom they think to be one of the street children. 

Ana Newport's fall from society is more recent and painful as her father did nothing wrong beyond choosing a business partner who was dishonest. After the loss of his company, their house was emptied of all possessions and he has retreated to a single room, where he sits in the window. Ana teaches music but she has also become a skilled thief, although she only steals items of little but sentimental value. Will Ana get caught? 

Hollis has been besotted with Ana since the moment he first laid eyes on her but she seems hesitant to become involved with anyone. When Hollis's brother needs a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis jumps at the chance to ask her for help. It can't hurt that she will need a ride to and from the house. 

Hollis is also worried about his brother. He's hanging out with the wrong people and possibly gambling, the very thing that caused the loss of the family fortune. And, Ana Newport's father has noticed strange happenings at the home across the street. Are they connected? Hollis suspects that the notorious Four-Finger Mike is running a gambling den near Ana's home. Will Hollis and his friends find a way to infiltrate the house and stop Hollis's brother from ruining the family all over again? 

Interspersed throughout the book are installments of two immensely entertaining penny dreadful stories, one the story of a ghost school where young ghosts learn how not to accidentally fall through the floor, how to haunt properly, and other important ghostly skills. The other seems to parallel the main story without being a carbon copy, the tale of a man who has discovered that things are mysteriously disappearing from his ancestral home. The latter has a surprise twist that I never could have guessed in a million years. 

Highly recommended - Adventurous, captivating, clean romance and so immensely entertaining that I dashed off immediately to add the first book to my wish list. The Gentleman and the Thief is the second installment in a series but it stands alone, although hints are dropped and a few small things left open-ended, clearly to lead into a third book. I have got to chase down a copy of the first in the Dread Penny Society series: The Lady and the Highwayman.

Many thanks to Shadow Mountain for the review copy!

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Fiona Friday - Look at my paw

Look at it. 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede

I read The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim Defede as an e-book, which means I shocked myself because not long before I'd read Mexican Gothic electronically, as well. You know how I abhor e-books, right? Two in a row? Gasp! That's not likely to happen again, soon, although I am trying to read at least one per month. We'll see how that works out.

The Day the World Came to Town is the story of what happened when American airspace closed after the twin towers were hit, why Gander was chosen as the place to land a large number of planes, how the landing was handled and locals coordinated the effort to care for their huge influx of visitors, and what became of the various planeloads of people in the short and long run, along with a few of their stories. 

The Day the World Came to Town is not particularly well written but I liked it for the stories of kindness and the sense of community, including the way the "Newfies" embraced their guests and went out of their way to provide for their individual needs (like Kosher food for a small group when someone realized they were Orthodox Jews and noticed they weren't eating at all). For a few days, nobody cared about status, country of origin, skin color, etc. It made me want to move to Newfoundland, to be honest. What lovely people and so generous. 

The hard part of the reading was the losses described; and, if you were around on 9/11, it really takes you back to the memories and the emotion. I got teary a lot. 

Recommended - The Day the World Came to Town is slightly dated because it was written soon after 9/11 but it's still a good read. I chose to read it specifically because I'd heard it was an uplifting story and we were on the verge of the presidential election, as I was reading. I needed the escape and it didn't need to be perfect to fit the bill. 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris

And that's the most bitter thing about love: you can't understand it, measure it — not all its edges and intricacies — until it's gone and the clear print of its negative self is left behind. 

~p. 12 of The Museum of Forgotten Memories (Advance Reader Copy - the final print version may be different)

In The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris, Cate Morris is still grieving the loss of her husband, four years past, and now she's lost her teaching job and her home. But, she has one last option. Her husband Richard was the heir to an estate with a museum full of treasures from around the world, including stuffed animals collected by his grandfather, Col. Lyons-Morris. For reasons he never explained, Richard stopped talking to his grandfather and never returned to their ancestral home; he even dropped part of his double-barreled last name. Although he never returned before his death, their son Leo has the right to take residence in the sprawling mansion. 

So, Cate and Leo pack up their flat in Islington and travel to the home that contains Hatter's Museum of the Wide Wide World, which is now run by a steely woman named Araminta Buchan and a handful of employees and volunteers. It's on its last legs. Within 6 weeks, it's likely that the board that oversees the running of the museum will close it. They would benefit from its liquidation and it's unlikely that funds will be found to prop it up. Can the museum be saved?

Leo looks just like his father but he has Down's Syndrome and Cate has clung to her parenting role. Now that Leo has arrived at his ancestral home, he's finding a new strength and determination. Will Cate be able to let go and allow Leo to grow and thrive, even possibly start a new life with someone else? 

Richard's best friend, Simon, dated Cate before she saw Richard and felt an immediate spark. He has been a kind presence as Leo's godfather and was a rock during the rough years of Richard's decline but spends most of his time out of the country. When Cate falls for a new man, will it last or will she be drawn back to her dear friend? 

Recommended - OK, first . . . you have to know half the reason I accepted this book for review was because of that stunning cover. How could you not want to know what's within its pages? In the preface, the author talks about the real museum in Kent that inspired the story and the kindness of the Major who preserved the animal specimens the museum was known for. I just added a new place to my bucket list. If it's at all like the fictional museum version, it must be worth the visit. 

As to the story, I had some minor issues with it that aren't worth mentioning and a problem with Cate's romance. The man she fell for moved on Cate faster than lightning. I was completely creeped out by the speed of his advances, to be honest, and never trusted him. Whether or not I was correct and he turned out to be trustworthy, I won't say. But, there are many surprises in The Museum of Forgotten Memories. It has a lot of plot twists that I never could have anticipated and only a couple that I managed to figure out with few enough hints that they were probably lucky guesses rather than a case of too much foreshadowing. 

I will say that I found it challenging to like Cate, at first. She was quick to make assumptions, a little haughty, and so heavily weighed down by her experiences that her inner monologue was a bit dark, sad, and judgmental. But, she was willing to confront her issues and apologized when she was wrong. So, she grew on me. And, while I haven't encountered many Down's Syndrome characters, it felt to me like Leo's character had the ring of truth. I had a friend in high school with a brother who had Down's and he always glowed when he spoke of his brother and how everyone loved him. Leo is like that; he has a temper yet he's also a charmer and everyone adores him. 

Obviously, there's a lot to this book. It has a surprising complexity and a gentle wisdom. And, I do love a book set in a sprawling English mansion. 

My thanks to Gallery Books for the review copy!

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (clockwise):

  • A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen - from Bethany House via Laurel Ann of Austenprose for tour 
  • Alone in London by Hesba Stretton,
  • The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier, and
  • Fled by Meg Keneally - all purchased

Because I am not so hot at self-control, I don't recall if the purchases were made before or after I told myself I was back on a book-buying ban. On the plus side, I still have some books coming but I don't think I bought anything this week. Maybe one book. Maybe none. 

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • I is for Illuminati by Chris Vola
  • The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede
  • Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion by James Pray

Wow, that's two week's worth. Yikes, not good. Hope the election thing being over will help with the rest of the month's reading. 

Currently reading:

  • The Museum of Forgotten Memories by Anstey Harris

I'm going to stop even mentioning the Spanish Flu book till I've finished it. It's been pouting on the bedside table for weeks, now. The Museum of Forgotten Memories is a tour book and I'm scheduled to review it tomorrow, but then I think I only have one more tour book and one ARC, after that, so I'll be free to read off my shelves exclusively, soon. Funny thing about The Museum of Forgotten Memories: I keep forgetting the title. Hilarious, since it's got the word "forgotten" in the title. I am loving it, so far. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

Not thrilled about the current direction of the pandemic stats (straight up). I just returned to Facebook after a 3-month absence for my sanity during the election season and found out that I had one friend recovering, one just diagnosed, one who has a brother on a ventilator, and a cousin of mine was in the hospital, all COVID-19. Today, yet another friend said she's been diagnosed positive. Partly for that reason, we're having an early Thanksgiving with Kiddo and daughter-in-law. We're not much in the mood for a big meal so we're doing hors d'oeuvres and veggies. No turkey and stuffing, nothing heavy. And, we'll be eating outdoors, not hugging, and wearing masks when we're not eating. It's a nuisance but dying is worse. 

We've finished the first and only (at this point) season of Avenue 5, watched a couple Hallmark movies (The Mistletoe Promise and Campfire Kiss -- I liked the former and found the couple had zippo chemistry in the latter), and a lot of news. Husband normally is not big on watching the news but even he was glued to the TV as the vote counts came in. Hopefully, this election will lead to a little calm and the return of a functioning government. Fingers crossed. We certainly need it for the COVID effort. 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion by James Pray and a Fiona Friday pic

It took me over a week to finish a single book, thanks to election stress. Anyone else dealing with this? I think it's fading. Fortunately, Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion was a good book to spend time with. I loved the main character and enjoyed every minute of this exciting middle grade book. In fact, I really, really want the author to continue Jonesy's adventures. 

Jonesy Archer and 17 other youngsters have been stranded on the remaining portion of a remote science station called Canary Station since it was attacked and mostly destroyed, 3 years ago. When the bad guys return, drawn by the signature from Jonesy's special power, her "flux", they're unable to find her so they take all of her friends instead, hoping to lure her into the legion in an exchange. 

Determined to save her friends, Jonesy figures out a way to run for help. Nobody has the strength and technology to battle the Gray Legion. But Jonesy's power is indeed special. Will she find a way to control her power and locate her friends to rescue them (preferably without giving herself up in exchange) before it's too late? 

Highly recommended - There's a lot more to the story that I'm leaving out, of course, like how the children survived the attack and the 3 years alone, how Jonesy manages to escape, and what happens after. It's a 400-page book and action-packed! I seriously hope the author is working on making this a continuing series and I would love to see it turned into a movie. 

Bonus: Jonesy is 11 years old and while she's smart and tough, the author let her be emotional. She actually cries quite a bit. As a person who was quick to tears at that age, I really appreciated the realistic emotions. 

Many thanks to Sterling Children's Books for the review copy! 

I didn't take many photos of the kitties, this week, but I did get one of Isabel with Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion while I was reading! Happy Friday!

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia has been on my wish list for a while and I've read seemingly a gazillion reviews of it, so I was really excited when the e-book went on sale at a reasonable price. I may be terrible about getting around to reading e-books but desperation is very motivating and I really truly wanted to read it. 

Noémi is a party girl who lives in Mexico City in a sprawling, modern home, with her wealthy father. When she receives a rambling, incoherent note from the cousin who used to live with them, her father says she must go find out what's wrong with Catalina. Noémi doesn't really want to go but she knows it's the right thing to do. 

She's met at the train station by Catalina's husband and taken on a long drive up into the mountains to their remote home. This is where the "gothic" bit comes in. The home is an old mansion in poor repair and Catalina lives with her husband's family, including the patriarch of the family, a cousin, and the cousin's mother. There's mold on the walls and the family has bizarre rules that they expect Noémi to abide by (no talking during meals, no smoking, no bothering her cousin unless they feel she's okay to receive visitors). Catalina appears to be sick but maybe more in spirit than in health; her personality is entirely different from the carefree, happy soul of pre-marriage. But, Noémi isn't sure what's wrong and she's determined to get to the bottom of it. 

There's much more to the story, of course, including a growing attraction to cousin Francis and weird dreams that may be caused by the house, itself.

Recommended but not a favorite - Although I never fell massively in love with the plot, I liked about the first 2/3 of Mexican Gothic for the atmosphere, the creepy people, the weird dreams, and the questions that all this strangeness brought up. Why did Catalina's personality change? What was in the potion she had Noémi fetch from town? Was Catalina's husband just imprisoning her so he could keep her money or was there more to the story? What was up with the patriarch of the family and his need for silence? What was the reason for the murder in the family, years ago? What happened to all the other people who died near the house or in the family's long-closed silver mine?

See, I told you there was more to the story. Around the 2/3 mark, Mexican Gothic got a bit too weird for me and I considered giving up. Instead, I flipped to the end of the book and read a few pages to see if it looked like the book was worth sticking out. The ending looked promising so I continued, but I confess I pushed myself to read faster. The reason for all the strange happenings was just a little too bizarre for my taste. I did find the ending satisfying, though, so I have no regrets. And, I loved Noémi. She's a great, strong female character who was devoted to Catalina enough to refuse to leave, even when things became seriously weird and even dangerous. I also liked Francis and was rooting for Catalina, Francis, and Noémi to escape. 

My friend Brittanie started reading Mexican Gothic a few days after I did so we got to discuss it, which always adds to the reading experience. So glad I've been able to occasionally find people to discuss books with; I am missing my F2F group but the hole they fill in my life has been kept nicely plugged by discussion with other online friends and I so appreciate that. 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

I is for Illuminati by Chris Vola

I is for Illuminati by Chris Vola is an A-Z guide to conspiracy theories, a coffee table style book with an opening poem for each letter, a spread of text — usually 2 pages but sometimes a tad more about the particular topic (aliens, chem trails, the big bad government wanting to kill us all with vaccines), and a list of other things that start with the same letter, not necessarily all conspiracy-related. The author mentions both those who've espoused a theory and those who've debunked it within in the text. 

My only problem with this book is the fact that occasionally the writing is so tongue-in-cheek I had a little trouble figuring out what the author was serious about and when he was joking. To be honest, I don't consider that a big issue because I is for Illuminati is probably best for sparking conversation rather than as, say, a reference book (it's definitely meant to entertain, not go into elaborate detail). Here's an interior shot, with apologies for the poor quality:

It was actually the fact that I have a friend who has fallen for the QAnon conspiracy theories that made me sit up and take notice of this book when it was offered to me for review. It was . . . kind of soothing to read a book in which such things are treated exactly as what they are: conspiracies, often without even a shred of evidence (although he pretty much had me convinced that aliens are real; I can't say why). 

Recommended - A fun book to set out on your coffee table in the hopes of starting some fun conversation or a nice gift for someone who can use a smile. Obviously, the midst of a pandemic is not the best time to be having friends over for tea and conversation (unless you're outdoors, of course, and wearing a mask) so it's currently best for enjoying with those in your bubble or for gift-giving purposes. Yes, I definitely have Christmas on my mind. 

My thanks to HarperCollins for the review copy! 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Since she was very young, Maddy has been living in a bubble — not a literal bubble but a protected environment in which she's safe and anyone who enters her extremely clean home must spend an hour going through a decontamination process to avoid exposing her to anything that could make her ill. She's allergic to everything and hasn't left her home in 17 years. Her mother, a doctor, watches her carefully and she has a nurse named Carla who is both a guardian and friend to her. In the past, she's been crushed by disappointment so her mom and Carla are extremely protective of her. 

When a new family moves into the house next door, Maddy is awed by the thin, athletic teenage boy who wears all black and regularly climbs up to the roof, just out of her sight. There's a lot of yelling, next door, but Olly appears serene, most of the time. Carla doesn't want Maddy to have anything to do with Olly; he'll only break her heart. But, when Maddy and Olly become friends in spite of all the obstacles, everything in Maddy's life is about to change. Is it a good kind of change or could it kill her?

Highly recommended - I'm pretty sure Everything, Everything is a book I'll reread for the joy of the evolving love story and the way Maddy's life is dramatically altered, the friendship with Carla, and the surprise twist. Having mentioned the surprise, I must say that I guessed it early on. It didn't bother me that I was correct; I'm okay with figuring out a crucial plot point if the destination is worth the journey. And, it definitely was. I loved almost everything about Everything, Everything: lovely writing that touches tugs on your heart, sweet but unique young adult romance, an appealing hero and a likable heroine. Wonderful storytelling. 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Friday, November 06, 2020

Fiona Friday - Scream

Everybody in America since Tuesday, probably. 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

All the Buildings in London: That I've Drawn So Far by James Gulliver Hancock

I bought All the Buildings in London: That I've Drawn So Far by James Gulliver Hancock on a whim when I placed an order from Book Closeouts, a couple months back. It only has a few solid pages of text and the rest of the book is just the drawings with maybe a line or two of text, sometimes no description other than the name of the building and where it's located. 

Here's an interior shot (pardon the London tourist trinkets; I needed something to hold it open):

Here's a closer image of the text about Liberty, the department store (you should be able to click to enlarge):

London is one of my favorite places on the planet, hence this emotional purchase. I've been there enough times that it almost feels like a second home (and would love to live there). I knew from the cover image that I liked the artist's style and his story is quite interesting, too, so even though the text is minimal, it's fun reading. I particularly enjoyed seeing how he rendered buildings I'm familiar with and found myself thinking, "I can use this as sort of a guide for some new places to see, next time we're in London." Wow, that sounds kind of uppity. I hope there's a next time.

Highly recommended to architectural art lovers and London aficionados -  A fun look at a fascinating city with a lengthy architectural history and a stunning variety of buildings, new and old. The artist has some particularly unique flourishes he brandishes in his illustrations that make them almost look dynamic rather than static. You can see a little of that in the top part of the cover image. I love that sensation that the buildings are solid yet there's a sense of action. 

All the Buildings in London: That I've Drawn So Far would make a nice coffee table book. There are coffee table books that you keep out for sparking conversation and coffee table books for yourself. This one is mostly for me to flip through and reminisce. But, I'm OK with any conversation-sparking that happens when the pandemic ends and we can have people over, again, of course!

And, speaking of art . . . I'm working on a collage to combat Election Anxiety, right now (and we watched mindless TV, last night, for the same reason). Hope everyone else out there is holding up.  

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Advice from Izzy (for my American friends)

I think just about everyone I know has already voted but we have no early voting, here, and no COVID exception for those who are concerned about their health. So, we'll be masking up and out the door, shortly. Wishes for strength and peace to all my American friends as we await the results. 

©2020 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Monday Malarkey

Recent arrivals (bottom to top because I wrote the titles before I took the picture):

  • The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M. Eden - from Laurel Ann at Austenprose for tour
  • Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac - total impulse purchase
  • The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox - Sent by friend (borrowed)
  • Jonesy Flux and the Gray Legion by James Pray - from Sterling Children's Books for review
  • 3096 Days in Captivity by Natascha Kampusch - purchased 

The purchase of 3096 Days in Captivity is an unusual one because I am soooo not into true crime, but it's a story I've got a personal interest in for reasons I'll share when I review it. I've already started writing about that interest, although I won't get around to reading 3096 Days till I finish the other two nonfic titles I'm reading. Everything else . . . well, this is a fun variety, isn't it? Jonesy Flux is middle grade; The Widow of Pale Harbor is by the author of The Witch of Willow Hall, which I loved, so it should be another good fall read. I can't explain Code Talker. "If you've read this you'll like that," type of thing, I think. I usually try to ignore those recommendations because they haven't worked for me at all. I prefer getting recommendations from friends and through reading reviews. 

Books finished since last Malarkey:

  • All the Buildings in London: That I've Drawn So Far by James Gulliver Hancock
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (e-book)
  • Matrimony, Inc. by Francesca Beauman
  • The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M. Eden

Currently reading:

  • The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede
  • The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

I just finished The Gentleman and the Thief, so I haven't yet chosen my next fiction read. I'll have to wander around, picking up books and considering. The two that remain, both nonfiction, have been waiting for me to return to them, all week. I started The Day the World Came to Town and was enjoying it so much that I could have finished it the next day but . . . maybe this is weird . . . it's so important to me to get everything I read into my end-of-month photo that I didn't want to finish a second e-book in the month of October. I can only put up the cover of one e-book by propping my reader next to the stack of paper books. So, I set it aside and will return to it shortly. And, I didn't read a single page of The Great Influenza, but it's an easy one to pick up after a gap of a couple days or a week or a month, so no biggie if a couple weeks pass between readings. I'm strongly considering Jonesy Flux or Earthlings for my next read, but I haven't wandered amongst my stacks yet. We shall see. 

Posts since last Malarkey:

In other news:

We're streaming more movies and series than normal and I've seen some commercials indicating that my favorite weekly shows are about to return. Yippee! 

Avenue 5 is a series we're streaming daily (one episode per day -- Huz can't stand binge-watching). It is without a doubt the worst thing Hugh Laurie has ever done. At least, that's our humble opinion and we've been Laurie and Fry fans since the Jeeves and Wooster series. Having said that, we're enjoying it, nonetheless. When we started watching Avenue 5, I said it felt like a sitcom, not a sci-fi and Huz told me to hang in there, it improves. Nothing had happened, at that point. But, then it became interesting.

Avenue 5 is the name of a travel spaceship that has a gravity problem. It goes off its normal trajectory, which will add years to its journey home to Earth. It's only supposed to be an 8-week trip. And, Hugh Laurie plays a fake captain. The real captain is unfortunately killed when the gravity problem is corrected. 

Seriously, Avenue 5 is so stupid. But, it's just the right kind of stupid, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, often squirmy uncomfortable but in a way that makes you smile. 

I particularly love the fact that Laurie plays an actor playing a captain and pretending to be American but occasionally screwing up and switching back to his British accent. 

Vintage Roads Great & Small is a travel show that Huzzybuns discovered on Acorn. Peter Davison and Christopher Timothy are the stars and if you've ever seen the original All Creatures Great and Small, you know they were among the 4 main characters. Timothy played James Herriot and Davison played Siegfried Farnon's reckless and carefree younger brother, Tristan, Siegfried being the owner of the veterinary clinic. We watched the original when it showed on PBS in the 80s and then again and again in reruns. And, we're Dr. Who fans, but we thought Davison was one of the worst Doctors, sorry Peter. 

Anyway, each episode shows a different road trip in a classic car. They make stops to visit with the owners of other classic automobiles (and take a ride in them), have a picnic by the side of the road, spend the night or have a drink at interesting locations, and do a bit of hiking to historical sites. It is so good and their Britishness so fully on display with all the quirks and humor that I think it may be the first show that I've ever stayed entirely silent throughout. I try not to be but I'm annoyingly chatty while watching TV. I highly recommend this series if you have access to Acorn or some other platform where it can be viewed. 

I opted to skip my PBS shows on Sunday because I just didn't feel like watching TV. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up on them (if PBS offers them for streaming) and get back to viewing at the regular time, next week. 

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

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