Reading roundup 07/12/22

So… we have arrived in December already! Time is really speeding up for me these days. Perhaps that is because I read so much Fantasy and Science Fiction!!!

Yet again, I have only managed one book this week. I think that N K Jemisin’s books need a lot of concentration and careful reading. They are impossible to skip through…

The Broken Kingdoms by N K Jemisin

This week’s book was the second part of N K Jemisin’s The Inheritance Trilogy: The Broken Kingdoms.   Here is the blurb:

“A man with no memory of his past and a struggling, blind street artist will face off against the will of the gods as the secrets of this stranger’s past are revealed in the sequel to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, the debut novel of NYTbestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homeless man on an impulse. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. And Oree’s guest is at the heart of it. . .”

This really was an excellent read and well worth the full five stars on Goodreads. This was my review:

The Broken Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy, #2)The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think that I enjoyed this second book in the series even more than the first one. The main character was really interesting and well-drawn and I must admit that I am hoping she is the heroine of the third book. Judging by the series so far, I expect that she won’t be. I certainly enjoy Jemisin’s fantasy writing and, yet again, her imagination is stunning.

I was going to have a change of pace and read something else next, but I simply can’t wait to see how this story turns out! On to the final book >>>>>>>>>

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So, that is exactly what I have done! I am now about a third of the way through book three, The Kingdom of the Gods, and I will write about it next week. As my reviews of the first two books have been very short, I will try to be more expansive.

That’s all for now – Happy Reading to you all.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Monday post 05/12/22: under too much stress!

Welcome to Monday’s post. I had decided to skip today’s post because I am feeling so stressed and ill, but I will try to write something. Unfortunately, Lovely Husband and I have been struggling to manage Elder Son’s difficulties all weekend. I am not going to spell out any details, for his privacy, but will just say that we are totally wrung out and exhausted. All we can hope is that circumstances pan out OK for him and that he will then calm down.

Whilst all of that was going on, I hunted for, and ordered, some amusing Christmas gifts for all three of my “chaps”. We usually give ES and YS cash presents, alongside some clothes, but I decided that it was time for me to stop choosing clothing that they might not even like! Instead, I have bought some items that I hope will amuse them. Let’s wait and see if I have hit the mark this year!

Now, I will try to loose myself in a book and hope that I can stop worrying!

Screenshot from @womensart1 on Twitter – accessed

What a gorgeous picture!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Friday post 02/12/22 with the lovely, lazy leopardesses

Welcome to Friday’s post. I had planned to wear quite a few of my gorgeous scarves this week, but life got in the way! Instead of dressing in my nice clothes, I managed to do a few necessary, but messy, household tasks that were definitely not conducive to wearing Hermès. So, I have only one image for you.

In addition, I am having some issues with the program, PS Express, that I use to make collages. They seem to “upgrade” it quite frequently, but I usually find that I struggle to make it do what I want or what worked for me before they changed it. Anyway, the result is that my nice clear collage goes kind of fuzzy and unfocused when saved. If anyone could help me with this, I would be very grateful. My post-stroke brain cannot cope with thinking all of this through!

So, instead of a collage, here is a head and shoulders shot from earlier in the week:

Outfit of the day 28/11/22 with Hermès’ Lazy Leopardesses scarf

With this scarf I wore my dark grey merino/cashmere mix v-neck by WoolOvers and lighter grey cord trousers by Lands’ End. The earrings are grey crystal and gold by Swarovski and I also put on a pretty pink enamel and gold bangle by Halcyon Days. The scarf was tied in a cowboy knot using a mother-of-pearl scarf ring by MaiTai. Lovely Husband was a bit spooked by the leopardess’s face, but I love the eyes and the pink tongue!

Here is a larger image of the scarf:

Lazy Leopardesses scarf by Hermès

If you would like to read more about this scarf, here is my Scarf of the Moment post. I love the pink background and hem on mine, but the other colourways are gorgeous as well.

That’s all for this week. I will try to wear more of my scarves next week – after all, they are there to be worn and enjoyed. Until then…

Happy Weekend to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 30/11/22

Well, we are already at the final Reading Roundup post of November. Time really has flown! This week I have just one completed book for you…

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jemisin

I decided to read N K Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, #01 The Inheritance Trilogy. Having been awed by her later work, The Broken Earth series, I thought that it would be interesting to try her first book and I am so glad that I did!

Here is the blurb:

“Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky – a palace above the clouds where gods’ and mortals’ lives are intertwined.

There, to her shock, Yeine is named one of the potential heirs to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with a pair of cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.

But it’s not just mortals who have secrets worth hiding and Yeine will learn how perilous the world can be when love and hate – and gods and mortals – are bound inseparably.”

So, that looked interesting, although I had already read some rather negative responses to this series (I usually try not to do that before reading any book). Anyway, this was my review on Goodreads:

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy, #1)The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. Having already read a later Jemisin series, which was amazing, I have to admit that I liked this one more. Now, that is definitely going against the tide. The main reason is that The Broken Earth Trilogy, whilst utterly brilliant, was also extremely dark and foreboding. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms certainly has its gloomy moments, but also more uplifting ones. In my present condition (suffering from depression), I feel that this book was better for me, personally.

Anyway, I am going to read the second book straight away as I find it impossible to look away from Jemisin’s work when there are further episodes in the story still to read!

View all my reviews

Yes, I gave it the full five stars and I am already well into the second book in the series. I think that I will have to read everything by this fantastic, imaginative author!

I will take a break from my usual pattern on these posts and tell you that I have been a bit distracted whilst reading Jemisin’s books by this…

Revenge of the Librarians by Tom Gauld

This is a book of cartoons to dip into when you need an uplift. I suppose that it will mainly appeal to librarians and those in the book world: authors, publishers etc. I tried one cartoon on Lovely Husband and he didn’t really “get” it, but I am sure that my librarian friends will. Anyway, I am reading it alongside other books and will write some kind of response, probably a very short one, when I have finished.

Now, back to my book…

Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Monday post 28/11/22 with this and that

Hello and welcome to the first post of a new week. I have spent quite a lot of time over the weekend sorting out hundreds of photos of my Hermès’ scarves. Up until about two years ago, I had put all of these images into folders on my iPad, but my organisation slipped during the worst COVID times. My plan is to finish getting them all into proper folders, weed out unsatisfactory photos, make a record of the date when each folder has been completed, and then make myself keep them up-to-date.

The next part of the plan is labelling all of my scarf boxes. I bought the labels ages ago, but procrastinated as usual! Then I intend to fill a plastic pocket for each scarf with the receipt, some modelling photos and any tags that I have removed from the scarf. That way, I will have the full details for insurance purposes and also for my family when I am no longer here. Even my small Hermès collection is quite valuable and I want to make it as easy as possible for family members to deal with them.

Later on today, I may be able to finish the initial weeding and sorting, which will be great! It has been interesting looking through the collection. I have been able to work out how often I have worn each scarf and I have been quite surprised to see that I haven’t taken some out of their boxes for ages! This has spurred me on with my plan to wear as many of my more expensive scarves as possible. I have to face up to the knowledge that I must wear them at home because I so rarely go out. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a beautiful silk scarf with pyjamas, is there?

I must choose a lovely one for today… you will see it on Friday.

Right, now is the time when I show you something that caught my eye on Twitter:

Screenshot from @womensart1on Twitter – accessed 23/11/22

I just adore those gorgeous colours, although it wouldn’t do for my tea drinking!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Friday post 25/11/22 with a spectrum of scarves

Welcome to Friday’s post! I do hope you enjoy reading this and feasting your eyes on such a lovely array of scarves.

I made a real effort to wear a range of scarves this week, choosing from the inexpensive to the luxurious; from the small and cheeky to the large and enveloping. Such fun to choose from my collection!

As a kind of background to the scarves, I decided to move on from my navy base colours and, instead, wore a WoolOvers dark grey v-neck jumper in a merino/cashmere mix and Lands’ End mid grey cord trousers.

The first scarf was given to me as a present. It is a pale blue with glittery threads running through the weave – very pretty. I wore it with heart shaped earrings in a toning shade. The image here isn’t quite true with the colour.

Outfit of the day 21/11/22 with blue glittery scarf

My second outfit of the week used my stunning cashmere stole by Johnstons of Elgin. The colours are navy, grey, green, turquoise and white. This time, I will show you a larger image of the scarf as well as the usual collage:

The earrings are by Chalk Jewellery and I love them! I keep stalking their website and I am soooo tempted…

The third outfit took me back to my Hermès collection, but instead of wearing a full size 90cm scarf, I chose the 45cm gavroche, The Savana Dance:

For my next and final scarf I chose my most recent purchase: Sous Le Charme d’Orphée by Hermès. As this is double sided, I tried to tie the scarf to show both sides: the beautiful autumnal shades on the front and the greys on the back.

I wore the pretty Swarovski grey crystal and gold earrings again, but removed the dangles and used the stud parts. The scarf ring is mother-of-pearl, by MaiTai.

Oh, and if I had been able to go out this week I would have carried this lovely grey and silver handbag by Massaccesi and worn these cute pewter shoes by Hotter!

Feeling very pleased with this week’s outfits! What do you think?

Happy Weekend to you all.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Reading roundup 24/11/22

Hello and welcome to this week’s Reading Roundup post. This has been a rather mixed week for my reading as you will find out…

Dark Pines by Will Dean

I chose Dark Pines by Will Dean from the library’s ebook service purely at random. The plot sounded interesting and atmospheric. This is the blurb:

“SEE NO EVIL

Eyes missing, two bodies lie deep in the forest near a remote Swedish town.

HEAR NO EVIL

Tuva Moodyson, a deaf reporter on a small-time local paper, is looking for the story that could make her career.

SPEAK NO EVIL

A web of secrets. And an unsolved murder from twenty years ago.

Can Tuva outwit the killer before she becomes the final victim? She’d like to think so. But first she must face her demons and venture far into the deep, dark woods if she wants to stand any chance of getting the hell out of small-time Gavrik.”

I enjoyed the book, although it took me quite a while to read it, and gave it three stars on Goodreads. Here is my response:

Dark Pines (Tuva Moodyson Mystery, #1)Dark Pines by Will Dean
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very intriguing and atmospheric read. Marked down because I feel that it was a bit too long. Interesting to have a female main character written by a man! Also a deaf character with all of the detail about hearing aids etc. The mystery at the heart of the book was well done with very many quirky characters.

The book left me with a haunting sense of place: thick, gloomy and darkly forbidding forests. I will certainly read more in the series and it will be interesting to see how the central characters develop.

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I already have the next book in the series on reserve and am looking forward to seeing how the author develops over time.

My second choice of the week was…

The Affair by Hilary Boyd

… The Affair by Hilary Boyd. Once again, I was drawn to this book by the cover and the description on the ebook catalogue. This is the blurb from Goodreads:

“Connie and her GP husband Devan have led a charmed life since they married in their twenties. Forty years on they are the couple their whole village envies. Life isn’t quite so rosy just now with Devan struggling to adjust to early retirement, but Connie hopes that getting away for a few weeks through her job as a European tour manager will help.

But on one of her favourite tours, to Lake Como, it is clear one of her guests is falling for her. She resists, but Jared somehow gets under her skin, until she’s intoxicated and doing the unthinkable: breaking the marriage vows she’s always held so dear. But she tells herself the affair is not serious, it will end when the season does. And Devan will never find out.

But when Connie returns home, Jared follows. He isn’t going to give her up so easily. And as he grows ever more embroiled in her life, Connie begins to wonder if more than her marriage is in danger . . .”

This was given only one star! Here’s the reason…

The AffairThe Affair by Hilary Boyd
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Got about a third of the way through. Felt thoroughly depressed by the plot, although the trips to Italy sounded lovely. Me and my husband are of a similar age to the main character, so this jarred with me and I just had to stop reading.

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I was so disappointed that I made a glaring grammatical error in that review! Anyway, I am pleased to be able to say that I am currently reading a much better and more satisfying book which I will write about in next week’s post.

Until then I wish you all a week of Happy Reading!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Monday post 21/11/22 with various thoughts

It’s a new week once again! Mondays seem to come around so rapidly. Today’s post is really a few  random thoughts.

We have had some slightly awkward days recently. Elder Son has been planning a holiday for some time and was due to travel yesterday and come back home on Thursday. Unfortunately, various events have prevented his plans from coming to pass: rail strikes, Christmas markets etc. He is very nervous of crowds as he is trying with all of his might to avoid catching COVID and passing it on to me and his dad. So, in the end everything was cancelled and he decided to stay at home but try to plan day trips instead. He hasn’t gone very far today yet as he is still in bed! (I am writing this paragraph at 11.00 am).

LH and I were looking forward to a few days of much needed peace and calm, but it looks as if we are not going to get that! Never mind.

I am going to try to think of some suitable Christmas presents for my “chaps”. The “boys” usually want money, plus I buy them some clothing staples such as t-shirts and jumpers. LH is almost impossible to buy for. To be honest, I am totally stumped! I have no idea what to get them.

While I think, I will look at this loveliness:

I love Canterbury Cathedral. When I was a child, we lived on the edge of the city and my sister and I used to walk into town. We often went into the cathedral and wandered about. This was in the 1960s. I don’t suppose that young children these days have the freedom that we had then! Anyway, even as a child, I appreciated the beauty of this wonderful building.

Right. I think it is now time for me to go downstairs and spend some time with LH.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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Friday post 18/11/22 with “unsuitable” scarves!

Hello and welcome to Friday’s post! This week, I have been looking at scarves that, perhaps, don’t go well with my grey hair. I used to wear these colours, especially brown, when I was younger but since I stopped dyeing my hair and let the greys grow out, I have slowly changed my wardrobe over to a different colour scheme.

So, here are three scarves that have quite a lot of browns and oranges in them. I decided to wear them with the same top and trousers: a navy cashmere mix v-neck jumper from WoolOvers and navy cord jersey trousers from Lands End. By the way, I only wore these clothes for an hour or so each day!

The first scarf is the lovely Olympian Gods by Fetolia in gorgeous shades of teal, orange, pink and brown:

I still think that this scarf, and its sister in the other colourway, would look fantastic framed!

My second scarf of the week was Tyger, Tyger by Hermès. A lovely study in browns, navy, green, blue and red:

When I tie this scarf, I usually try to avoid the large expanse of the “Tyger’s” body and use the parts with the flowers. I don’t think that the orange and browns would work for me!

The third scarf is again by Hermès: La Femme aux Semelles de Vent. This is an absolutely classic H scarf and highly sought after – which is why I bought it! Some of the other colourways would suit me better, but I was really thrilled when I found this one at such an excellent price.

I think that the navy outfit was not the best foil for this scarf and I am not sure what would work from my wardrobe. Dark or light grey, perhaps? I also try to avoid the sepia centre when tying as this colour definitely does not work for me.

One more thing. This is some of the jewellery that I could have worn with these outfits. I did, in fact, wear the earrings!

Anyway, you can see that my plans for working through all of my Hermès Autumn/Winter scarves and shawls are well on the way this year. I still have quite a large pile of boxes and, of course, I can also bring in designers other than Hermes, such as Fetolia, Liberty of London and Ferragamo!

So many scarves, so little time (and energy)!

Happy Weekend to you all.

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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PS. These are Scarf of the Moment and similar posts about these scarves. You may find them of interest…

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Reading roundup 16/11/22

Hello, fellow readers and welcome to this week’s Reading Roundup! Today I have three books to tell you about…

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard

My first book was 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard, chosen at random from the ebook selection at my local library service. This is the blurb which intrigued me:

“No one knew they’d moved in together. Now one of them is dead. Could this be the perfect murder?

56 DAYS AGO
Ciara and Oliver meet in a supermarket queue in Dublin the same week Covid-19 reaches Irish shores.

35 DAYS AGO
When lockdown threatens to keep them apart, Oliver suggests that Ciara move in with him. She sees a unique opportunity for a new relationship to flourish without the pressure of scrutiny of family and friends. He sees it as an opportunity to hide who – and what – he really is.

TODAY
Detectives arrive at Oliver’s apartment to discover a decomposing body inside.

Will they be able to determine what really happened, or has lockdown provided someone with the opportunity to commit the perfect crime?”

I also realised that I had read another of this author’s books back in 2017, which I apparently enjoyed, although I can’t remember much about it! Anyway, I also found this book both interesting and enjoyable. This is my response on Goodreads:

56 Days56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a very cleverly thought out and plotted thriller. I had occasional difficulties in following the changing timelines and had to check back a few times to get the story clear in my mind. Perhaps the author wanted us to be a little confused, so that her revelations would come as a real surprise.

Anyway, it was an unusual story set in the difficult COVID times, with plenty of twists to keep you reading. I will definitely seek out more by Catherine Ryan Howard.

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After this quite complex read, I turned to a short story…

Galatea by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller is well known for her book, The Song of Achilles, and I was quite shocked to realise that I haven’t read it yet! That will be remedied soon, when my reservation becomes available from the library. When I saw that her short story, Galatea, was on the catalogue, I downloaded it straight away. So, here is the blurb:

“In Ancient Greece, a skilled marble sculptor has been blessed by a goddess who has given his masterpiece – the most beautiful woman the town has ever seen – the gift of life. Now his wife, Galatea is expected to be obedience and humility personified, but it is not long before she learns to use her beauty as a form of manipulation. In a desperate bid by her obsessive husband to keep her under control, she is locked away under the constant supervision of doctors and nurses. But with a daughter to rescue, she is determined to break free, whatever the cost…”

And this is my very quick review:

GalateaGalatea by Madeline Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A retelling of the Pygmalion and Galatea myth as a short story. Strongly feminist and haunting.

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My third and final book was much less successful, unfortunately…

The book was A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins. I must say that it has been well-received by many readers and was nominated for an award on Goodreads in 2021. Anyway, here is the blurb:

“’What is wrong with you?’

Laura has spent most of her life being judged. She’s seen as hot-tempered, troubled, a loner. Some even call her dangerous.

Miriam knows that just because Laura is witnessed leaving the scene of a horrific murder with blood on her clothes, that doesn’t mean she’s a killer. Bitter experience has taught her how easy it is to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carla is reeling from the brutal murder of her nephew. She trusts no one: good people are capable of terrible deeds. But how far will she go to find peace?

Innocent or guilty, everyone is damaged. Some are damaged enough to kill.

Look what you started.”

Well, I was intrigued by the blurb, which drew me to the book. My eventual response was this:

A Slow Fire BurningA Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found this very confusing to read – couldn’t get a grip on what was happening until the final sections. Most of the characters were thoroughly unlikeable, apart from one. All of the switching around left me lost. The final revelations were interesting, but I wonder why I persevered with the book!

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Ho hum! Now, I am reading something completely different and you will find out what it is in next week’s post.

Until then: Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,

Anne

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