Wishing a happy 100th birthday to #2’s grandma!

Happy birthday!

And hoping #2 is having a great time at the party!

Things that positively affect my mood

  • Waking up feeling rested.
  • Coffee.
  • Hillary Clinton getting the democratic nomination for president.
  • Good weather.
  • Productivity.
  • Things moving forward (including R&R and acceptances).
  • Chocolate.
  • Red meat.
  • A soothing novel.
  • Not being sick after being sick.
  • Happy music.
  • Vit. D
  • Hugs from DH.

What positively affects your mood?

Guilty pleasures

Have we done a post on these yet?  If we did, it was before 2011, since that’s when this post was last modified…

Okok, I totally love high school girl Japanese anime.

And I know I’m not the only person who used to have a thing for farm-wife blogs.  Oddly I no longer find these interesting, possibly because I have my own two kids.

Also, cheetos.

Speaking of cheesy, #2 has a thing for bad erotica.  (I think she has a thing for good erotica too, but that wouldn’t be a guilty pleasure, right?  Just like there are no apologies for liking good romance novels.)

What are your guilty pleasures?

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Revenge of What-are-we-reading

… a partial list.

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older.  I like this kind of book, and I liked this one.  I’ll read more by him.

Kage Baker’s early The Hotel Under the Sand.  A delight!  #2 should read it.  #2 owns it, but it is an oversized paperback or maybe even hardback and is back at home.  Definitely when we get back!

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers.  The third in a trilogy something about girl assassins in the Middle Ages.  I liked the love interest in this one.

Taking a (possibly permanent) break from Ngaio Marsh, I reread Tommy and Tuppance (first one available free from Gutenberg).  The second and third were delightful as I remembered, but I did get a pricking of my thumbs when picking up By the Pricking of My Thumbs and had a bad feeling about it– and indeed, my subconscious correctly remembered that it was pretty sordid (also I had flashbacks to Miss Marple playing the Tuppence role in one of the video adaptations).  I’m feeling leery about the last one.  Though looking at wikipedia, that’s where I got the Gates of Damascus poem that I liked so much I memorized it.  “Pass not beneath oh caravan, or pass not singing.  Have you not heard the silence where the birds are dead, yet something pipeth like a bird?”

Romancing the Earl by Darcy Burke.  Fun in the style of The Toll-Gate but with sex.  :). To Seduce a Scoundrel was also good.  After that it kind of started going downhill.

Super You by Emily V. Gordon.  I heard about this nerdy self-esteem book and wanted to see if it’s good.  It’s pretty ok.  Give it a try if you’d like to be nicer to yourself.

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi.  A strange and interesting novel about a girl who is kind of haunted.  I think I have Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird on my to-read list, and I’ll get to it relatively soon.

What’s on your To-be-read list?

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What are we reeeading

When previously we discussed books, #2 had recommended Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School.  #1 now vehemently recommends this book as well.  Sooooo good.  DC1 also loved it.

Speaking of DC1 and books about magical schools, both DC1 and I have really enjoyed the The Ever Afters Series by Shelby Bach, about a fairytale after school program.  I couldn’t put the second book down, though I had to put the third book down from time to time because, like with Harry Potter, that’s when stuff gets real.  We have the final book on hold at the library.  (Currently reading!)

I’ve started reading Elizabeth Hoyt.  Her books are fine, but it is true they are a bit repetitive.  Probably best not to read all of them in a row, but to just pick out the best or to take long breaks between.  Check out, don’t buy.  Think late 18th century batman complete with revenge motives.  Lots of batmans with lots of different revenge motives (including the standard dead parents) and different Arthurs and different aristocratic super villains.  Also, for some reason, dogs.  Duke of midnight was going fine until an attempted rape of a minor character whose sole purpose was as a macguffin and to show the good character of a male character, and shortly after the hero roughly shakes the heroine until it hurts her.  Ugh.  The next book in the series has a minor female character beaten to death (in the past) as another macguffin (also as character development for the heroine and another villain).  And after that Dearest Rogue has rape of a minor female character (in the past) as macguffin and character development for the hero!  Also attempted rape of the heroine.  Good grief, can’t she come up with any other way to drive the plot or develop character?  But if you don’t mind the violence-against-women-as-macguffin-and-character-development trope…

This Rake of Mine by Elizabeth Boyle was great fun if you can completely suspend your disbelief and ignore historical accuracy (the main complaints in low star reviews).  If you think of it as a farce it’s fun!  Though about 3/4 of the way through there’s a couple of spots where the author obviously ran out of time (and the editor didn’t fix it) and told rather than showed.  Not great literature, but no sexual violence against women!  Along came a duke though was super boring and I skipped most of the middle.  That could have used less writing.  Her highest rated, the viscount who lived down the lane was fine but could have used editing.  I think I will not seek out the rest of her stuff.

Tried a Lisa Kleypas, specifically Dreaming of You, but she is REALLY into attempted rape as a trope.  I mean seriously, lady.  Also so much gratuitous stupidity.  I can buy the matchmaking lady inviting the hero and the heroine to a house party without them knowing about the other, but inviting the woman who sent the goons who scarred the hero’s face (that the heroine shot in the first chapter) to the same house party when you’re trying to set the hero and heroine up and you know that the villain will try to kill the heroine if she knows that the hero loves her…  That’s just causing drama for drama’s sake.  There was a better way to arrange that (and one that wouldn’t, you know, involve yet another attempted rape on the heroine).  *Sigh*

Meanwhile, back in #2 land, I finished Tam Lin by Pamela Dean.  This book is for you if you liked The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  It’s good, but long, and there’s quite a lot of the main characters talking about poetry and analyzing plays and quoting things at each other.  I’m on Volume 2 of Gotham Academy.  I’ve been catching up on Maria V. Snyder and some very naughty books and stories that can’t go on this blog.  I’ve also  caught up (almost?) on Ilona Andrews, and read a bit of nonfiction.  My current read, which I love so far, is Nevada, by Imogene Binnie.  At the start of the book, the main character works in a huge used bookstore and her life is kinda bad.  I sense that big changes are coming.

What are YOU reading, Grumpeteers?

In which I DGAF

This post contains swearing.  It’s behind the cut.

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Girls at Boarding School

Three books.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, the latest Flavia de Luce novel from Alan Bradley.  I’ve missed a few things in not reading all of this series — I read the first 2-3 and then skipped some until this book.  But this one’s a hoot.  Flavia, now 12, unwillingly gets sent to boarding school where she discovers secrets, mystery, and a corpse in her chimney.

The School For Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer.  It’s been a long while since I read this, but I still remember some scenes.  I don’t remember that much about it, but I remember liking it, and I think people should read it and find out whether they like it too.

The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School by Kim Newman (argh, why are all these books by men?  Fail.).  This is a book that #2 should read!  On the first page of the book, Amy is unceremoniously packed off to boarding school when her mother finds her sleeping on the ceiling.  At school she meets many girls who are friends, enemies, acquaintances, co-conspirators, classmates, etc., as well as teachers with secrets.  Magic and saving the world from creepy danger.  I would read a sequel.

I know that “girls at boarding school” used to be a genre in, say, the 1940s and beforeDoes anyone have any good suggestions for recent books?

#2 has loved this genre forever.  She liked the worst witch series and carol beech york’s extended Miss Know it All/ good day mice series (Good Charlotte is a great one).  These series are both full of slim volumes with higher reading levels than such skinny books usually have.  She wishes that Diana Wynne Jones had written a book with Millie as the main character during her boarding school days instead of her just showing up as a supporting character in the chrestomanci series (we meet her in the Lives of Christopher Chant, but don’t see her again until she’s an adult).  Oh man, I loved boarding school stories so much, and it turns out I also loved boarding school!  These aren’t recent books, but the 70s/80s had a little middle-grade reader renaissance of boarding school for girls books.

Oh, and recently: GUNNERKRIGG COURT.  DC1 is also enjoying some fairy tale boarding school stories… um… what were they… Flunked was one.  The school for good and evil is another.  These tend to be coed but female protagonists.  (Just like Hermione should have been…)  Gotham Academy is also a good coed boarding school adventure.  (And if you want an all-girls summer camp, LumberJanes really is about “friendship to the max”.)  And I’m sure there’s more I’m not thinking of right now.  Maureen Johnson also has a series of boarding school murders, but it’s more of a library check-out rather than a purchase.