bunrab: (alien reading)
Okay. Let's see. The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison - latest in her Rachel Morgan series. Urban fantasy set in Cincinnati, our heroine is a witch, and demons are - well, not necessarily the enemy, and elves are, well, not necessarily nice people. This volume ties up a few loose ends, and introduces a cool plot twist. I really still don't like the character of Rachel's mother, though, no matter what good reasons she has for being nuts. Oh, and revelations about Rachel's father - surprising but I'm not sure I like that direction.

Have I already mentioned Where the Heart Leads by Stephanie Laurens? Yes, it's a Regency romance - but it's part of a series that features crime solving (murder mysteries and other crimes) as a major feature; in this one, not only our proto-PI, Barnaby Adair, but also our proto-police-detective, get a romance going.

Right is Wrong by Arianna Huffington. Even though I'm on the same general side of the fence, this book is a waste of time, because if one reads any political blogs at all, one has already read all of this. As blog entries, fine. As a book, it's incoherent. And repetitive and redundant. Preaching to the choir. People who disagree aren't going to buy the book, any more than I'd ever buy Coulter; people who agree, well, nothing new here, just a jolly bit of self-congratulatory feeling if you want to read somebody famous agreeing with you; and as for undecideds, well, I have the feeling that most people who are still undecided at this point are unlikely to buy or read hardcover books to help make their decisions. Will be remaindered the minute after the election, and have trouble selling even at $3.99. And I say this who agree with the general gist of the book.

Also a couple knitting books - possibly I'll go into detail on those some slow moment.

Pictures: jumping around a bit, here's toward the end of our trip; we're in Vienna eating pastry at a sidewalk cafe.


And here's one from Slovenia, speaking of pastry: Bled is famous for its cream cakes. We had some, and it was indeed delicious.

However, mostly what we saw in Bled was this: rain. And more rain. Frog-strangling rain.

That's looking down the street from the covered outdoor section of the very good pizza place attached to the back of our hotel.

I really do have to get these pictures up on a page so I can show you all of them without breaking anyone's fpage.
bunrab: (alien reading)
A certain amount of time being spent here waiting for the electrician to show up (yes, Waiting For the Electrician or Someone Like Him), waiting for the people giving an estimate on landscaping to show up, etc.

The Zookeeper's Menagerie by Joanne Duncalf. Ew, Christian allegory even less subtle than Narnia, which is to say, hit-you-over-the-head-with-a-brick unsubtle. That said, the little family of hedgehogs is cute (even if they were intended to demonstrate the superiority of the nuclear family with lots of children over gay couples adopting a child).

Ten Tortured Words by Stephen Mansfield. Ugh, another religious conservative - I have got to start applying a better filter to the "New Books" shelves at the library than "hmmm, interesting title." In this case, Mansfield claims to know what the founding fathers were thinking much better than what Thomas Jefferson *said* he was thinking. Everson v. Board of Ed evil! Lyndon Johnson evil! PFAW and FFRF evil! Thomas Jefferson's opinions on the first amendment are derided because his famous letter was written fourteen years after the first amendment was written, yet the opinions (about what the first amendment means) of one Joseph Story (Supreme Court 1811-1845) in his book published in 1851 are perfectly valid because he was appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison. Also, the index is sloppy - invalid page numbers for some references, absence of citations of things that do appear in the book, ridiculous assorted spellings of "Mohammedanism." Yes indeedy, gotta refine that new book filter.

Planet Cat by Sandra Choron, Harry Choron and Arden Moore. Lots of cat trivia. Every cat joke that has appeared in email for years. Lots of illustrations, from old woodcuts to 20th-century ads using cats. Some of my favorite things: detail of a 1647 woodcut showing two seated witches as they name their familiars - which include not only a cat named Pyewacket, but a rabbit named Sacke & Spice. "The Cat's Tale" by Geoffrey Chaucer's Cat, which features a fairly nice pun. Cat cartoons (Executive at desk: "I'm leaving early today to have my cat neutered. While I'm gone, select 9 people to be Employee of The Month and award each of them with a kitten.")

Peeping Tom's Cabin - comic verse by X.J.Kennedy. I took this one out in April, for National Poetry Month. Nothing in it was particularly worth quoting. Some of the verse is amusing, some of it just pointless, and some crude. Poor imitator of Ogden Nash.

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde. Very funny; as convoluted as the previous books in the series. If Pride and Prejudice appears on TV as a reality show called "The Bennets" and various daughters get voted out of the family, it's time to panic.

Damsels in Distress by Joan Hess. Latest in her Claire Molloy series of cozy mysteries. Makes fun of the SCA through a fictional clone called ARSE.

Head Cases: Stories of brain injury and its aftermath by Michael Paul Mason. A few hopeful notes, but mostly depressing, both about the overall state of our knowledge of how to treat patients with Traumatic Brain Injury and the state of our health care system as totally inadequate to deal with the number of patients. Don't expect miracles.

There, that's enough for now.
bunrab: (Default)
New House: We finally got the contract negotiated, so we are buying the house with the garage! Settlement (closing) should be the last week in April. Whee!

Old House: Finished with the bathroom remodel! The contractors did it in less than a week! The bathroom no longer has dark brown indoor-outdoor carpeting, grey-and-white plastic wall tile, a mustard yellow tub enclosure, blue swan-shaped nonskid stickies on the tub floor, and pink ceramic towel bars. It now has white tile floor, new tub, white tile around the tub with an accent row of narrow tiles in a brown and tan design, which matches the brown and tan wallpaper. New low-flow toilet that works properly, new sink which is a pedestal sink rather than a vanity, so that one doesn't walk into the corner of the vanity cabinet every time one walks into the room, plus there's room on the floor for the scale. It's never going to be a luxury bathroom, not at 5 feet by 8 feet, but it's now reasonably attractive and efficient.

Music: Went to hear the Austin Lounge Lizards at Wolf Trap last Thursday. They're still good, still funny.


Books:
Rebecca York's werewolf series:
Killing Moon
Edge of the Moon
Witching Moon
Crimson Moon

A certain sameness to all of them - acceptable mystery plots, but the villains are pretty much all the same sort of serial sex pervert murderer who is trying to use kidnapped or controlled women to build up magical powers, and our werewolf hero who has trouble coming to terms with his werewolfness, plus the woman scientist-of-some-sort (medical researcher, botanist, etc.) who is in love with him, must defeat said villain, during the which it is revealed to the woman that the man she loves is a werewolf. They're not all identical, but similar. Edge of the Moon actually involves two non-werewolf peripheral characters from the first book.
Also on a Marion Nestle binge - she's the nutritionist/economist from whom Michael Pollan gets a lot of his stuff. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition, and Health is mostly a rant about how industrial agriculture and its lobbyists diluted the Food Pyramid to the point of uselessness - a good rant, but a rant. There are also bits about food terrorism and food fearmongering in there; I had a bunch of notes scribbled down of things to mention, but now I can't find the notes. What to Eat is interesting, but waaaay too long. The average grocery shopper is not going to wade through all of that, even though it's got some very useful information - for example, for people who complain that they don't buy fresh produce because it's too expensive, Nestle shows how you can eat seven servings of fruit and vegetables per day for less than a dollar per person, which puts it within the budget of most families. (The current recommended amount is 9 servings, but most people don't even get seven, so that would already be an improvement.)
The most recent two in J.D. Robb's (Nora Roberts) Eve Dallas series, Creation in Death and Strangers in Death. As usual, they're good, though not great literature. The usual mix of Rourke-owns-everything, Eve's-cars-fall-apart, hot sex scenes, and unlikely but fascinating villains.
Hitman, lastest in Parnell Hall's Stanley Hastings series. Hastings is confused, as usual, and there turns out to be more than one hitman.
bunrab: (alien reading)
Bedlam, Bath and Beyond by J.D. Warren - reviewed on Amazon.com here. Not nearly as silly as the title might lead you to believe. More urban fantasy than romance.
Cravings - anthology of 4 novellas in the supernatural romance vein, a couple years old but somehow I missed it when it came out. The Laurell Hamilton is an Anita Blake of the worst sort - gee, should I have sex with Nthaniel? Maybe with Micah and Nathaniel at the same time? Oh, and Damien too? And fantasize about Richard while it's going on? Ick. Completely lacking in any semblence of a plot, and for that matter, completely lacking in any romance. The MaryJanice Davidson story is good - it's a peripheral addition to the Betsy the Vampire Queen series, taking place in between Undead and Unwed and Undead and Unemployed. Now that we have later books in the series, it's sort of eerie to briefly meet Marjorie the Librarian. We also get a peek at the Fiends while they're still living with Sinclair and Betsy:
" 'They're like puppies... they roll in everything.'
'Sure,' Andrea said, humoring the woman. Puppies. Undeniably evil puppies with foul dispositions and the appetites of rabid, starving tigers. All righty. "

Eileen Wilks' "Originally Human" had its amusing moments, and our witch heroine seems like an interesting character. It's always nice to run into an author who can think of an FBI agent being a member of a coven, and a lawyer-sorcerer who is only incidentally a werewolf. The Rebecca York story, "Burning Moon," was different - very much a murder mystery first, supernatural romance second. Werewolf hero, blind psychic heroine. I've already gone ahead and purchased one of the novels in the series that this story is part of - stay tuned.

And a couple Regency romances and knitting books - no surprises there.

We are, incidentally, back home in Balto. Still tons of mail and stuff to catch up on. Trying to see where all my lists are at. Have only read the last couple of days worth of my flist posts, because trying to catch up on a few weeks would be impossible - I'd fall further behind faster. [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet made it down to Arlington for the last two days of the Army Band Tuba-Euphonium Conference - and came home Saturday night with a new tuba. Our house is a bit small to have two tubas on the living room floor along with several saxophones... it's a very nice tuba; perhaps he will even write his very own post about it.

Our approximate schedule: home in Balto. for all of February; back to Austin for the first week in March, then Balto. for the rest of March and the first two weeks of April; Austin for the last two weeks of April, back to Balto. by April 30 or earlier. Possibly one more trip to Austin after that. The estate sale will be the third or fourth weekend in April; after that, W's house will get listed and sold, and that may require us to be in Austin for the closing. Don't know yet. Anyway, so for February I will attempt to keep current on everything. Ha!

Oh - CRS, The Deep arrived! Thank you, thank you! Googly-eyed glass squid!

Now to go pay some bills.
bunrab: (Default)
Just a few things:
Toys to Crochet: Dozens of Patterns for Dolls, Animals, Doll Clothes, and Accessories by Claire Garland. Reviewed on Amazon.com here.
The Penguin Who Knew Too Much by Donna Andrews. Latest in her Meg Lanslow series, featuring an improbable but amusing extended family.
Territory by Emma Bull. A rather odd little fantasy - an alternate history western where Wyatt Earp is an evil wizard.

Mostly been reading magazines, having houseguests, and playing with new hedgie, who still does not have a name.

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