Wyvernfriend Reads

I read a lot of books, I like fantasy, romance and some non-fiction

I work as a librarian, I'm an avid knitter. I collect Dragons, fountain pens, notebooks and filofaxes. And Yarn, lots and lots of yarn.

Sofia is a great character

A Duke In Need Of A Wife - Annie Burrows

Sofia tries very hard to be good but she's impulsive, like that time a woman was on fire from a bunch of fireworks that go off suddenly and she runs towards her rather than away.  Oliver Duke of Theakstone noticed, so he invites her to come to his house where he's auditioning prospective brides by holding a house party. There she fails to fade into the background and instead he finds himself becoming more and more attracted to her.  But will she accept his illegitimate daughter?

 

I loved Sofia, cranky duke needed to learn more about how to treat other people, though stationing footmen around the place to ensure no accidental strayings was genius!

 

Fun read, nothing stellar but fun.

Amnesia and mistaken identity

Shipwrecked With The Captain (The Governess Swap, Book 2) - Diane Gaston

This is part of a duology that also features A Lady becomes a Governess and they work well together well (though I'd say you could read either story and be satisfied) I would recommend that if you're reading both that you read this one second.

Claire Tilson is on a ferry from Dublin to England when she meets another woman who looks identical to her. They swap clothes to see if anyone will notice and they discover that the person dressed as the governess is invisible. They continue talking through the night and then the ship is shipwrecked. Claire is knocked on the head and when they arrive several weeks later on a fishing vessel that rescues them (how her reputation wasn't completely ruined I'll never know but I went with the flow) and she has amnesia, everyone believes she's Lady Rebecca based on how she's dressed.

Now she has a marriage she's supposed to enter into with a man who doesn't attract her and Captain Lucien Roper - her rescuer - is attractive but he hates the aristocracy. I enjoyed the read and the characters were entertaining.

History croudsourced

A Guide to Early Irish Law - Fergus Kelly The Emperor of All Maladies - Siddhartha Mukherjee A Chorographical Description of West or H-Iar Connaught; Written A.D. 1684 - Roderic O'Flaherty

Please please, pretty please with sugar on top.  If you're going to write anything about pre-Tudor Ireland, or even pre-19th Century Ireland read A Guide to Early Irish Law by Fergus Kelly

 

Heck, even today there are cultural echoes of this stuff in Ireland.  If I read another medieval or earlier book based in Ireland where they assume common law (and Primogeniture) it will be yet another book too many.

 

(as an aside to this, read some Irish Saints Lives, then tell me Ireland was isolated during the pre-conquest period, I read a book about Galway once where it revealed that there was imports of Olive Oil in the medieval period into Galway)

 

If you want to look at how Cancer existed and about strange ways it was treated read Emperor of All Maladies.

 

 

A chorographical description of the West or Iar-Connaught by Roderick O'Flaherty (in 1648) is an invaluable text for describing life and customs in Ireland during the period.  There are several public domain copies circulating of this.

 

 

The Disgraceful Lord Gray (The King's Elite, Book 3) - Virginia Heath

Well that's a first meeting that's not easy to top. He goes for a swim in a pond (naked!) and she happens on him with her widowed friend. He's spying on her Uncle and really shouldn't be seducing her, but she's very tempting and I enjoyed the read.

There were some interesting twists but I did guess the identity of The Boss, though there were a few red herrings thrown in that made me second guess my choice.

A fun read with characters I enjoyed spending time with.

concept more than people

The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton

So it's an interesting read, it's also an interesting concept but honestly I didn't care what happened to the people.

 

This is a world where in New Orleans people are born grey and only the power of a Belle can make them beautiful.  Camellia Beauregard is one of these Belles and she wants to be the court favourite.  However she isn't at first but later she is and she starts to discover that court politics aren't fun; that things are complicated and that the life of a Belle isn't that great.

 

These young women were badly educated for their roles and the fact that it came to them as a shock is actually shocking.  Court politics are messy and that should have been a core part of their education, never mind some of the other issues.  

 

It's an interesting concept novel but I feel no need to continue with the series.  I might pick it up but I'm not hunting it down.

mixed bag

Thor Vol. 1: God of Thunder Reborn (Thor by Jason Aaron & Mike del Mundo) - Jason Aaron;Mike Del Mundo;Christian Ward

This reads like a series of shorts.

 

Thor fights Juggernaut and then he's in Hel to fight with Balder to defeat the queen of cinders and then he's in the future with his descendants on earth and Old Man Phoenix and fighting Dr Doom at the end of time.

 

Basically Thor Fights a lot.

A Closed and Common Orbit - Becky  Chambers

I really enjoyed this story, I enjoyed the first story and this is a sequel, but with only a few of the characters that appear in the first story. When I started I was a little put out that it wasn't the same characters again. However this is an interesting read and drew me in and kept me reading.
Again it's more a soft sci-fi story rather than hard SF and some of the science employs a lot of handwavium but I just let the story flow and enjoyed the ride.
This series has been excellent and I really need to buy book 3, even though I got these free as part of the Hugo Ballot I purchased the first two books after reading the first one.

American Civil War and zombies

Dread Nation - Justina Ireland

Interesting premise. What if during the American Civil War the dead arose and started laying waste to America. One bite is all it takes. The government decides that it will use young black and native americans to fight these undead, training them in academies quite like the boarding schools used to "civilise" Native Americans in the same period and later. It features period doctoring; deeply embedded racism and sexism of the highest order. Along with nefarious plots and skulduggery.

Jane McKeene is an interesting character with a lot going on in her life. The cast is full of complicated people most of whom are just lazily racist and Jane is determined to survive.

Tentacular...

Doctor Strange Vol. 4: Mr Misery - Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo, Frazer Irving

To defeat evil Wong accepted an entity called Mr Misery into himself and now payment is being exacted. Doctor Strange really wants to save the man who has become his friend. He has to come to terms with the fact that Wong put his life on hold to help Doctor Strange and that that wasn't fair. Clea also re-appears and Thor has some screen time. Zelma (another Librarian!) also has to deal with power. There's also some building problems. All told an interesting read.

Borrowed from Dublin City Libraries.

highland romance

His Convenient Highland Wedding (The Lochmore Legacy, Book 1) - Janice Preston

Fun story about a woman who is married to a man she never met for her family's sake as she rejected someone she was supposed to marry because he was a pig but he has influence and now she's a pariah. Lachlan McNeill is a self-made man and he's determined that she will help him create a successful business in whisky.

The growing romance is well done and I enjoyed it.

teenage vulnerability and invulnerability.

Quincredible Vol. 1 - Rodney Barnes

Quinton West is a genius and living in New Orleans. He's a high-school sophomore and after THE EVENT he is gifted with invulnerability and he has to decide what he's going to do with that power. He's always wanted to be a superhero but the reality isn't quite that much fun.

It's fun and full of a variety of people and a good mix of realism and fantasy.

Borrowed from Dublin City Libraries.

stormy

Middlewest - Skottie Young, Jorge Corona

This is an interesting look at a world not quite like ours but is somewhat different and a boy whose father has a terrible temper. Things come to a head and Abel runs away from home to find answers to complex questions while a storm that knows his name follows him. Done in quite a European (Spain/France/Belgian) Comics style (Jorge Corona is from Venezuela) it's an interesting twist on some of the stories about family that I've read.

 

Recommended. Borrowed from Dublin Public Libraries.

Damn that was good

Down Among the Sticks and Bones - Seanan McGuire

This series has been a blast to read.  This is the story of the twins from the first book and could be read before or after the first.  They do stand alone but this explains some of what happens in Every Heart a Doorway.

 

Twins are brought up with rigid stereotypes and then they find a doorway to another world and discover that choices can be complicated.

 

I recommend this series.

 

Borrowed from Irish Public libraries

Things not to do

In your promotional copy for your book don't reference another writer and dis them.  If they're an established author you're not going to win over readers of that author (who may be on a hiatus so you might have an opportunity to find readers)

 

This reading lark isn't a competition, no matter what publishers say.  Yes you're in competition with other new authors but you're also their peers.  If someone chooses both of you to read this year, yay to both of you.  I can guarantee that if I see you dis someone I enjoy for stuff that is nothing to do with stupid life choices (dear Marion Zimmer Bradley, thanks for ruining my enjoyment of your works with your support of your idiot husband, yeah both of you are dead but it leaves a bad taste) I will not choose you over a similar writer I'm choosing to spend my time with.

 

I choose not to spend my time with people like this.  I choose not to spend my time with authors who seem to be preaching at me rather than along for a ride with me.  I'm getting too old to put up with things that drive me crazy.  Instead I'm going to enjoy the ride.  This is not to say that I won't put effort in but I'm no longer to overlook what is basically insulting behaviour, I wouldn't put up with it in real life, why should I have to put up with it in what I read?

More Hugo Reading

Uncanny Magazine Issue 24: Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction September/October 2018 - Dominik Parisien, William Alexander, Rachel Swirsky, Jennifer Brozek, A. T. Greenblatt, A. Merc Rustad, Katharine Duckett, Nisi Shawl, Fran Wilde, Elsa Sjunneson-Henry

This was interesting and made me think and this is why I'm adding it here. 

 

ETA: This is a bit long.

 

It brought up some of the anxiety I have annually when work wants me to sign the Disability Survey, the question they ask is if you have a physical or mental condition that impacts your ability to enjoy life (paraphrased but essentially the gist of it).  And every year I have to admit that yes, I have things wrong with me that get in the way sometimes.

 

I'm probably Coeliac (and this is what I tell waiters); I started to get stomach problems that people (and doctors) dismissed if I ate more than one portion of gluten-containing foods per day and then even that became horrible (I won't go into details except it took two days to get over it).  After being sent to the A&E (ER for US readers) because I got terribly ill on a holiday with my folks, I had to admit that something was very wrong.  However I got into trouble with work about my sick leave, so, it appeared to be Gluten so I eliminated it. I didn't get an appointment with a gastroenterologist for a while so by the time I had the test I was healing.  She asked what I had done. I told her.  She said that I was probably Coeliac but she couldn't confirm it officially but to stay off the gluten.  I have (mostly) but sometimes it's work to find a restaurant to eat.  Nothing is spontaneous, I research places almost obsessively.  I can't just look at a restaurant and say "that looks good" no matter how tired, foot-sore or leg-weary I am.  And I still get "poisoned" semi-regularly; we won't discuss how I end up at events almost fighting over the meager gluten free offerings.  I get very upset at those who can eat gluten who eat "my" food because it "looks good".  Don't get me started on those asshats who have some places ask "medical or choice" when I say I'm Coeliac/Gluten Free.

 

I also have bad feet (another way you can start me on a rant is to suggest I walk more for my health, I have had 2 Physiotherapists suggest that walking is the last exercise they would suggest.) I have flat feet and overdeveloped calves, I tore a calf muscle (fun! Ultrasound afterwards, because Chemo!) walking a short distance down a street, in sensible sandals.  I also have a lower-back/hip injury (it's my lower back but it manifests as my hip, bodies are strange) that acts up, sometimes after walking for more than 20 minutes - I start to drag my foot.  And you know when you're sitting and you put your foot on your opposite knee to massage your foot/calves/stretch your hip? Yeah, I have to reach down and pull my foot onto my knee.  It doesn't like doing that.  Right now it's less sore than it was this morning, I did minor stretches to get it to less screaming. Let's not get into how my body does not like the yoga resting pose of Child's Pose.  My ass and heels do not meet, I can often get a yoga block into the space.  However I can do forward bends; warrior poses and stuff like that like a boss.

 

I have an injury to my writing hand shoulder.  Good news, it led me to embracing fountain pens, bad news I have serious issues these days with crochet.  Bone deep pain.  Right now it's sore.  I have no idea what I did to aggravate it. 

 

That's just the obvious messy stuff, there's the sinus headaches that I suffer from regularly enough that I end up with an almost annual sinus infection; the suspected adult onset hay fever; the post-chemotherapy lung damage from Bleomycin and the depressed immune system from the same chemotherapy.  


Yeah I'm almost 50 and I could probably do some things to improve some of these. I do regular Yoga, I try to do stuff but some days my spoons are gone.  Being awake enough to ensure I hydrate and eat can be the miracles.  I would like some health gurus to live in my body and tell me that fixing some of this stuff is easy.  Their bland platitudes are so annoying.  Yes I know that if I got more fit I could probably reduce some of the issues.

 

This isn't even going near the timebomb that is my liver (it constantly tests high, possibly as it took over too much of the work from my lymph system when I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma but it's also a bit hyperactive since) and the fact that I'm on blood pressure drugs.  And yes, my liver is possibly not happy with the cocktail that keeps me moving, however I am in my doctors office on a regular basis to get checked up. (This is one of my problems with the idea of getting your prescription remotely, yes you're probably fine but the people who see you regularly are the pharmacy staff and the GP, I love the pharmacy staff we see in ours, they know us well enough to ask if we're okay when we're not, and occasionally advise GP stat moments).

 

ETA 2: and we almost forgot the chronic Hidradenitis suppurativa that litters one of my armpits and my upper legs. (don't follow the link if you're squeamish, but yes my underarm looks a lot like that)

 

This doesn't even go near the stress that has had me shatter two teeth, even with a nightguard.

 

Also the next person to ask me why I didn't have kids?  Yeah.  They will get the laundry list of this, it takes most of my energy to deal with this body, I'm barely coping with it.  

 

And with this laundry list I still hesitate about marking myself as disabled.  To me that sometimes sounds like it's final, that I have to live with the concept that this is as good as it gets and that doesn't sit well, even if I'm not really currently doing enough to help myself.

 

Then I read this.  It's a mixed bag of fiction and think pieces and made me do a lot of thinking about life and what I have and that really when you think about it, we're all disabled in some way.  We need to think differently about disability, that it's a spectrum, not a black or white issue.  I remember listening to 99% invisible, IIRC, where it pointed out that ramps in shops and on paths helped people with prams more than people with wheelchairs an unintended benefit.  Making things accessible doesn't make other people's lives worse, it makes everyone's life better.

 

Restaurants still need to do a bit better with allergies and online menus and search tags.

Romance Canon

So a few outstanding Romances I have read, some contain thriller or paranormal elements but I like and enjoy these books.

 

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Sleeping with Fear - Kay Hooper

A Princess in Theory - Alyssa Cole

Someone to trust - Mary Balogh

Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang

The Designs of Lord Randolph Cavanaugh - Stephanie Laurens

Sharp Edges - Jayne Anne Krentz

The Accidental Vampire - Lynsay Sands

Lady of Desire - Gaelen Foley

Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie - Jennifer Ashley

The Lover - Robin Schone 

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

 

This all score 4 stars or higher on my scale, several of them have flaws but I would read any of them again in a heartbeat

 

ETA: WIngs of the Falcon by Barbara Michaels - my first copy was read to coverless and I lent it only for it to be "lost", I found a replacement copy.

Currently reading

The Earl's Inconvenient Wife (Allied at the Altar, Book 2) (Sisters of Scandal)
Julia Justiss
Binti: The Night Masquerade
Nnedi Okorafor
Carol Vorderman's How To Do Sudoku
Carol; Chohan, Ko; Bean, Anita Vorderman
Progress: 57/320 pages
The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation
Ian Mortimer
Progress: 172/336 pages
My Life Goals Journal
Andrea Hayes
Progress: 46/224 pages
Practical Cataloguing: AACR, RDA and MARC21
Anne Welsh, Sue Batley
Progress: 72/224 pages
Double Cross
Carolyn Crane
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women
Susan Faludi
Raven's Strike
Patricia Briggs
Crossroads
J.J. Bonds