Long overdue pictures
I mean, objectively, isn’t Jack the cutest baby in the world?
I mean, objectively, isn’t Jack the cutest baby in the world?
First in the Brooklyn Brujas series, young adult. The big adventure/quest part took me by surprise. It’s not that I didn’t expect the book to have one, but I didn’t expect it to be like that. In a good way.
We took the baby to the movies! As our neighbor said, we’re those people. In our defense, we did our best to minimize disruption, and we succeeded.
Backing up: we’ve seen every Marvel movie in the theater (except Ant-Man and the Wasp), and we want to keep it that way. Captain Marvel came out (and the next Avengers comes out soon), but we’ve got this not-quite-6-month-old, and we’re not ready for a babysitter. But we figured that the movie had been out for a couple of weeks, and maybe if we went to the earliest showing, there wouldn’t be many people, so we could sit away from everyone, and we’d try to time it so I could feed him and then he’d nap…and people, that’s exactly what happened. Turns out the earliest showing on a Saturday morning was 9:45. Who knew they showed movies that early? There were only ten people (including the three of us) in a normal-size theater, so there weren’t many people to be bothered, and Jack performed exactly as planned. He sat quietly for half an hour, then I fed him, and then he slept in my arms through the end of the credits. The noise didn’t bother him, and being scrunched up between the seat’s arms just made him more cuddly and cozy. It was great, and I don’t think we’re ever going to try it again. There’s just no way we’d get that lucky.
I have a plan for how we might see the Avengers movie (which is rumored to be THREE HOURS LONG), but it involves a babysitter, and I’m just not sure I’ll be ready for that. Gotta prepare myself!
In non-theater news, we watched two movies at home recently that were surprisingly good (both on Netflix). The Edge of Seventeen is about a teenager going through a really rough time. Hailee Steinfeld really sells it. I don’t want to like her, but she’s very good. (She was fantastic in True Grit a few years ago, too.) And Juanita (a Netflix original) with Alfre Woodard was fun. Maybe not good, but we enjoyed it, and I’ll watch anything Alfre Woodard is in. She makes the movie.
Book 2 in the Family Skeleton series. Still fun.
Really good novella set in the near-enough future about a super-messed up citizenship test. Good and disturbing – the good kind of disturbing.
I’m not sure who recommended this book, but whoever it was, I don’t trust them anymore. It’s not bad – the writing is better than the last one I read – but it’s disturbing and it really hammers you over the head with the “men are horrible and it’s women who bear the brunt and feel shame their entire lives” message. I’m not arguing the point, but goodness some awful things happen, and I wasn’t really prepared for that when I started reading.
It’s funny how many books I’ve read recently that cross characters from different books or fictionalize (and then match up) real people who probably didn’t know each other (and certainly didn’t solve mysteries together). The Case of the Missing Miss paired up Charles Dodgson with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (which I started yesterday) pairs up the daughter of Dr. Jeckyll with Holmes and Watson (and I’m expecting Dr. Frankenstein to make an appearance, or perhaps his daughter). Then there are all the alternative Holmes/Watson stories, like The Tea Master and the Detective (Watson is a sentient spaceship who makes tea) and A Study in Charlotte, where the Holmes and Watson characters are descendants of Sherlock and the good doctor. And I have another one I’ll read soon (A Study in Honor) set in the near future with Dr. Janet Watson and Sara Holmes.
It’s essentially fan fiction (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and these last few years appear to be THE time for it.
Updated days later: Since I ended up not liking the Jeckyll and Hyde and Holmes and Watson and Frankenstein and so on and so on and so on book, I’ve lost my enthusiasm for this blog post. It’s still notable (I think) how many of these books there have been lately (or at least how many of them I’ve been reading), but I’m less inclined to gush about it since I was disappointed by the latest one*. And to be fair, I wasn’t crazy about the Dodgson/Doyle one, either. To be more fair, the issues I had with both books had nothing to do with their premises. I take issue with the execution (which I discussed in my mini reviews for both books, so I’m not going to repeat myself here). I absolutely plan to keep reading this stuff. Hey, look, that’s a sort of enthusiasm. Yay, genre! Boo, bad writing!
*I’m especially disappointed by the Alchemist’s Daughter book because I heard the author speak at Boskone in February, and I really liked her. I feel betrayed. Just a little.
First in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, we have Dr. Jeckyll’s daughter teaming up with Holmes and Watson in 1890s London to find the murderous Mr. Hyde and get the monetary reward because poor Miss Jeckyll is dead broke. The book is being written by a character we don’t meet (in the narrative, anyway) until much later in the book, but we know she’s writing it right away because the other characters have conversations with her about the narrative, within the narrative. It’s loads of fun.
Update: NOPE. It started out fun and interesting, but the writing style got really irritating (although not the interruptions from characters – that was still mostly fun). It’s full of exposition, all tell and no show, and it’s all happening in the dialogue, which makes the dialogue really clunky and painful to read. It’s a pity. I really wanted to like this book.
Last in the Lady Helen series, we move the action to Bath and OH the drama and the men fighting over Lady Helen (even though she’s betrothed!) and the SECRETS and the clothes and poor Darby, and oh yes, fighting the big bad nasty demon-types. And I knew it, I KNEW it, and I’m not going to tell you what I knew because spoilers, but it’s nice to be right.
This was fun. I’m bummed there’s no more.
You’re out with a stroller? You must be that one person I don’t really know who just had a baby! When I’m out for a walk with Jack and I meet someone else out and about in whatever neighborhood I’m in, there’s a 75% chance they’re going to ask me if I’m so-and-so from down the street who just had a baby. Not ONCE have I been their so-and-so from down the street who just had a baby. I’ve had that conversation with a LOT of people in at least three different neighborhoods.
I’m walking down the sidewalk minding my own business.
“He might bark, but I promise he’s friendly.”
Um, what? Oh, that poodle who looks like he has a mohawk is in the front yard. “Thanks!”
The man heads to the dog, and I stop at the end of his sidewalk and ask if I can say hello to the dog. Because dogs. He says of course, and I start petting the very friendly, very nice dog.
“Is your husband Matt?”
Um, what? “No….”
“Because his wife walks around here a lot and they have a two-month-old.”
“No, I’m Susannah, my husband is John, and he,” pointing at the stroller, “is nearly 6 months old.”
What I don’t get is how he only remembers the husband’s name when it seems it’s the wife he’s met on her walks, but whatever. His name is Tom, the dog’s name is Bogey (as in Humphrey), they’re both nice, and if I don’t write his name down, I’m not going to remember. Yesterday, I ran into a woman I’d met on a walk months ago and messed up her name. I remembered her kids’ names, but I guessed Grace for her. Nope. She’s Nancy. But she didn’t remember mine, so we’re even.
Second in the Lady Helen series, we move the action to Brighton and Lady Helen has to dress like a man (gasp) and keep secrets from the duke who wants to marry her while also trying not to be attracted to the earl who may have murdered his wife (but clearly did not). Also, there’s magic and power and killing nasty demon-types.
This is the first in a trilogy about a Regency period noblewoman with parents who died scandal-ridden, who, as she turns 18 and starts her first season in London, finds out she’s got this supernatural power to fight nasty demon-types, and she might just have to save the world (but not in book 1). And of course, her mentor is a smoldering earl accused of murdering his wife. Such fun!
This is a post-apocalyptic world where nearly all white people died and the people who live die by the time they’re 20 (of what sounds like the plague), so the world is populated by kids. The language is all dialect or pidgin, hard to get used to, but you get there. It’s told in the first person, so that language is all you get. It’s sometimes hard to remember that the main character is only 15. At other times, it’s painfully obvious and terribly sad that they’re all just children. I was having trouble deciding if I liked it, or even if I thought it was good, and since I finished it over a week ago and I can’t let it go, I think that’s a yes on both counts (although I’m not crazy about the VERY end).
A cozy mystery set in present-day England with dragons. It’s cute, it’s lightly humorous, it set up a lot of background stuff so I’m hoping for a full series (there’s one sequel, Christmas-related), and even though the whodunit part wasn’t that hard to figure out, I still very much enjoyed it.