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a reading life

what i'm reading, that's all ... 

In which I wave madly ...


and shout loudly, "I'm here! I'm here! I'm still here!"


I haven't been around lately because my pleasure reading has slowed down in the past two weeks. I'm working on a personal project and my eyes have been troubling me. I work all day on the computer, then I come home and I'm once again on some screen or other. My poor eyes are not happy with me right now. 


I saw the eye specialist this past Saturday and I should be getting my new glasses between this week and the next. I'm so looking forward to new eyes - the struggle to read at night is real :(


I still have one book (Parable of the Sower) left to read from my last BL-opoly roll. I want to get back into the game - I kinda miss rolling =D


And I have to make time to go around and see what everyone has been up to. But I need my glasses for all that.


So, how has your past week been?

The Robot Made Me Do It

The Dark Monk - Oliver Pötzsch The Great Santini - Pat Conroy Icy Clutches - Aaron Elkins The Misremembered Man - Christina McKenna The Orkney Scroll - Lyn Hamilton Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler A Regimental Murder - Ashley Gardner The Serpent Sword - Matthew Harffy Terra Incognita - Ruth Downie Tonight You’re Dead - Viveca Sten, Marlaine Delargy
— feeling hypnotized

 Booklikes-opoly 2019 Edition

hosted by Moonlight Reader & Obsidian Blue


Roll #3 landed me on the Free Parking square, which meant I had to roll again; this subsequent roll gave me:

From the rules, "A 2 or a 3, sends you to the robot":

From my 10 options (above), the randomly generated number is:

which corresponds to:


Title: The Orkney Scroll

Author: Lyn Hamilton

# of Pages: 284

Value: $3.00 upon completion

Current Bank Balance: $31.00

Source/Cost: Personal Library/$0.00 (Smashwords freebie)

Date Acquired: Jul 2016


Book Description: Lara McClintoch’s professional pride is hurt when an antique cabinet she thought was genuine is deemed a fake. When the antique dealer who sold it for a million dollars is murdered and the money goes missing, Lara follows the forgery trail to Scotland’s Orkney Islands, once ruled by the Vikings. The place is pretty and the people kind, but Lara feels danger closing in on her.


Rolling, Rolling, Rolling!

 Booklikes-opoly 2019 Edition

hosted by Moonlight Reader & Obsidian Blue


Today I finished the book from my second roll and it was time to roll again. And roll I did. I rolled. And rolled again. And again. Anyway, here are the results of all that rolling:


Roll #3


This roll took me to Free Parking, where I rolled again


As "A 2 or a 3, sends you to the robot", to The Robot we went:

The Robot Square

And the random number generator gave me this one:


Title: The Orkney Scroll

Author: Lyn Hamilton

# of Pages: 284

Value: $3.00 upon completion

Current Bank Balance: $31.00

Source/Cost: Personal Library/$0.00 (Smashwords freebie)

Date Acquired: Jul 2016


Book Description: Lara McClintoch’s professional pride is hurt when an antique cabinet she thought was genuine is deemed a fake. When the antique dealer who sold it for a million dollars is murdered and the money goes missing, Lara follows the forgery trail to Scotland’s Orkney Islands, once ruled by the Vikings. The place is pretty and the people kind, but Lara feels danger closing in on her. (My post with the list of 10 books and the randomly generated choice)


Now (finally!) for my Memorial Day bonus rolls!


Bonus Roll #1


This roll took me to Space #19:


Title: The Breaking Point: Short Stories

Author: Daphne Du Maurier

# of Pages: 255

Value: $3.00 upon completion

Current Bank Balance: $31.00

Source/Cost: Personal Library/part of an omnibus of five novels and one collection of short stories (Kobo purchase - $5.04)

Date Acquired: Nov 2013


Book Description: In this collection of suspenseful tales in which fantasies, murderous dreams and half-forgotten worlds are exposed, Daphne du Maurier explores the boundaries of reality and imagination. Her characters are caught at those moments when the delicate link between reason and emotion has been stretched to the breaking point. Often chilling, sometimes poignant, these stories display the full range of Daphne du Maurier’s considerable talent.


Bonus Roll #2

(my Little Friend is in despair over this doubles roll)


This roll took me to the BL square, where I had to spin the Wheel Decide, which resulted in:



And I chose this one, which has been reviewed by more than one of the players:


Title: Parable of the Sower

Author: Octavia E Butler

# of Pages: 356

Value: $3.00 upon completion

Current Bank Balance: $31.00

Source/Cost: Personal Library/$2.00

Date Acquired: Jun 2016


Book Description: When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister's young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny... and the birth of a new faith.


And I had to roll one last time:


Which took me to the GO square; no book waiting there but (cha-ching! cha-ching!) $5.00 to be pocketed for all my troubles!


So. Wow. My Little Friend has a touch of vertigo and I want to know: Can I just read now?! =D



Being a Monopoly novice, I'd posted a question in the Discussion area about the GO square and I'm only now realizing that Moonlight Reader said I had to roll again when I landed on there since it wasn't a book square. So, another roll before the night is over:


I think my Little Friend is wishing he could roll his eyes ;-)


This roll now takes me to Space #7:


Title: The Misremembered Man

Author: Christina McKenna

# of Pages: 325

Value: $3.00 upon completion

Current Bank Balance: $31.00

Source/Cost: Personal Library/$1.00

Date Acquired: Jan 2013


Book Description: The Misremembered Man is a beautifully rendered portrait of life in rural Ireland which charms and delights with its authentic characters and gentle humor. This vivid portrayal of the universal search for love brings with it a darker tale, heartbreaking in its poignancy.

Booklikes-opoly 2019 Tracker - UPDATED

Booklikes-opoly 2019 Edition

hosted by Moonlight Reader & Obsidian Blue


Game On! 


May 26

Lots of rolling today, resulting in $5.00 for my bank and three books to read before I can roll again. With these, and my May TBR still open, my week is fully booked!


Opening Bank $20.00



Space Title #Pages Earnings
May 20 9 #9 The Untouched Crime 322 3.00
May 23 6 #14 Organ Hunters 400 3.00
May 26 5 FP N/A N/A 0.00
May 26 7 Robot The Orkney Scroll 284 3.00
May 26 8 #19 The Breaking Point: Short Stories 255 TBA
May 26 12 #30 Parable of the Sower 356 TBA
May 26 7 GO N/A N/A 5.00
May 26 7 #7 The Misremembered Man 325 TBA
Current Balance: $34.00


May 25

So I still wasn't satisfied with my tracking post (it's the frigging perfectionist in me, sigh) and I'm tweaking it once again. I'm now going with a progress table (I took inspiration from everyone who shared theirs - thank you!) which will include links to my individual roll posts and any applicable reviews. This seems easiest to manage and appears the least cluttered.


I have no idea how to create a table in a post so I'm using an image which I'll have to change out with each update.


With Ani pointing me in the right direction and Jenn/MbD giving permission to use her source code as a base, I now have a nicely formatted table - I love it :-)))


May 23

I've completed my first book and I'm now ready for my next roll. Going forward I think I'll change how I manage my updates. I want to keep this post for overall tracking but maybe not put so much detail in it but leave these extras for a separate post for each book I complete. That way, the tracking post won't get too cluttered and unwieldy. Or something like that. I reserve the right to change my mind again. And again =D 


read more »

Booklikes-opoly 2019! - Roll #2


 Booklikes-opoly 2019 Edition

hosted by Moonlight Reader & Obsidian Blue


May 23 - Roll 2

(My Little Friend is enjoying his role in this roll =D)


Space #14. The Patagonia Star: Read a book set in Central or South America, or by an author from any country in Central or South America.


Title: Organ Hunters

Author: Gordon Thomas

# of Pages: 400

Value: $3.00 upon completion

Current Bank Balance: $23.00

Source/Cost: Personal Library/$0.00 (Amazon freebie)

Date Acquired: Dec 2016


Book Description: On a remote island in Central America, David Morton must foil Dr. Gustav Romer, who performs transplants for the elite of the crime world with organs harvested from those killed by a sinister organization.


The Untouched Crime

The Untouched Crime - Michelle Deeter, Zijin Chen


The Untouched Crime by Chinese author, Zijin Chen, is the result of my first BL-opoly roll; having never read a mystery novel set in China, I was excited to try this one. The book starts off with the discovery of a dead body, and for the officers working the case, it is easy to tell that the unfortunate man is the fifth victim of the serial killer they have been hunting over a three-year period.  




“Every detail is exactly the same as the last four cases. The weapon was found in the grass about five hundred yards away from the body. It was a jump rope, like those used for PE class. There were fingerprints on the wooden handles. The killer attacked from behind, strangling his victim with the rope. Once dead, he put a Liqun cigarette in the victim’s mouth and left a white piece of paper with the words ‘Come and get me’ printed on it. We have already collected that evidence.”

While The Untouched Crime is categorized as a mystery on Goodreads, I don't consider it to be so; or maybe I should say that the mystery I got is not the mystery I expected or was hoping for. By a quarter way through, the mystery element was all but gone as you could tell fairly easily who the serial killer was, though the motivation was still unclear.


After the fifth victim is discovered, there is another death and another team investigating. Soon enough the two teams join up, and the book seems to fizzle not long after that. What comes next between the character groups is mostly repetitive, one going over and over mostly the same investigative ground or the other discussing again and again how to delude the police.


In addition to this repetition, the book is heavy on dialogue which is quite wooden; it lacks emotion and reads like a dubbed low-budget action movie (minus the action =P). It also could do with more editing; I don't remember actual typos but there are sentence construction issues. To be fair, this is a translated work, so maybe that accounts for some of it.


While not as exciting as I was hoping it to be, the ending was unexpected, which salvaged the book just a little. Not that I liked the ending, but the fact that it even managed to surprise me after everything else counts for something.

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Glass Houses

Glass Houses - Louise Penny

Glass Houses begins in the present, with Gamache on the witness stand at a murder trial. The story moves back and forth between this trial and the recent past (eight months earlier) when the events leading to the murder occurred.


These events began with a mysterious figure, dressed all in black – robes, hood, mask, gloves, boots, the whole works – shows up in Three Pines. No one knows who it is and, legally, Gamache can take no action to make the person move on. The unknown individual’s identity is so obscured by the disguise and their presence so menacing, the villagers have taken to thinking of him/her as Death.


Indeed, the whole book seems to be about death: death in the past, death in the present, and deaths that will occur in the future.


“That thing is here because someone in the village doesn’t have a quiet conscience.”


While more revelations and research shed light on the figure or, more accurately, what its presence represents, everyone is still in the dark as to who it may have come for.


Then there is the murder.


From the start, the story is dark and obscure and remains that way for about one-third of the book, around which time a body is discovered and the victim revealed. Even then, you don’t know who is on trial until much later on.


In many ways, while connected, the murder is secondary to the real issue at hand, a problem being fought by Gamache and his team. He is fighting a war he is determined to win. There is plenty of subterfuge going around and Gamache is in the thick of it with his own barely legal masterminding and manoeuvring. The murder is not Gamache’s main objective but he uses the circumstances and the trial as pawns in his war. While the means he uses seem the only way to win this war, the consequences can be devastating, even if he wins.


The book started out on a slow simmer, with the temperature climbing bit by bit after the first quarter. From there, it steadily builds up into a raging and shocking inferno. It was a different pace from usual but I enjoyed it, and I’m eager to know how the consequences arising from all that happened in Glass Houses play out in the next book, Kingdom of the Blind.

May 2019 TBR Update


We're already halfway through the month and I'm a little past the midway point of my May TBR. I've read all the fiction on there (big surprise ...) and I'm at different stages in three of the remaining four books.


I've been listening to The History of the Ancient World with the Voice Dream app and I'm a quarter way through. I hadn't intended going the listening route that far into the book, just maybe 5%-10% to prep myself and to put me in the mood. At which point, the plan was to take up the reading from one of my devices. But now I'm trying to decide whether to continue the listening route or go back to reading from the start. I know I've lost some detail by listening instead of reading but that wouldn't matter much if I was only going for a broad overview. I am enjoying the book perfectly fine so far, and I know I'd only get bogged down in all the footnotes if I were to use my e-reader. Continue listening or start actually reading from the beginning on the Kindle ... I don't know. What do you think?


I completed Glass Houses in Thursday's wee hours and I had the feeling of sleep deprivation all of yesterday for my reward. I enjoyed it overall; the story simmered for 1/3 of the book, then the temperature picked up, with a full-on roiling boil at the end. I'll probably write up something later if my weekend allows. Unusual for me but I have a full social agenda this weekend and I don't anticipate getting much reading done.


Oh, and a big confession - I've only played Monopoly a few times in my life and that was years (and years) ago. I've read all the Booklikes-opoly 2019 posts (thanks so much, Moonlight Reader!!) and I think I'll be ready to start on Monday (May 20) but I'm sure there will be silly questions from me as soon as it gets underway. Y'all have been warned! = D


What are your reading plans for the weekend? Are you following a TBR list? Happy with where you're at?

Snowdrift and Other Stories

Snowdrift and Other Stories - Georgette Heyer

Full disclosure - this collection of stories turned out to be more of a reread, as the first 11 are already included in the Pistols for Two collection. I read the latter collection in 2012, so I hope it’s understandable when I say I barely remembered some of the stories.  This aside, they were all delightful romps as usual, with duels, thwarted elopements, incorrigible misses and, that Heyer mainstay, Nonpareils with their many-caped driving coats of white drab.


Have I mentioned yet this was a fun read? Before this collection, my last Georgette Heyer read was almost two years ago and I didn’t realize how much I’d missed her writing, with its exquisite detail and witty dialogue that just cracks me up :-)


Of all the Heyer novels and stories I know about, this collection is the only one I don't yet own. It first debuted at US$14.99 and now sells at US$9.99. As only three of the stories are new-to-me, I find it hard to justify buying the collection at that price. I'm (stubbornly) waiting patiently for a sale.

The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr

The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Martin Luther King Jr.

This is a collection of insightful and inspirational quotations from Martin Luther King, Jr’s (MLK) writings, sermons and speeches. Like any such collection, this is not an end-in-itself work but more of an opener for a deeper and more contextual dive into MLK’s life and work.


It’s a short collection, less than 20K words; the quotations take up about 55% of the book, with the rest of the space given over to Coretta Scott King’s introduction, a chronology of MLK’s life, and the Proclamation of MLK Day text.


The quotes are organized by subject headings, such as Racism, Peace, Civil Rights and the Community of Man; all are thought-provoking and some of my favourites are:


Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?


Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.


I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.


We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.


A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.†


We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.


A doctrine of black supremacy is as evil as a doctrine of white supremacy.


The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason but with no morals.


Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.


There is so much frustration in the world because we have relied on gods rather than God.


St. Augustine was right—we were made for God and we will be restless until we find rest in Him.


The belief that God will do everything for man is as untenable as the belief that man can do everything for himself. It, too, is based on a lack of faith. We must learn that to expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superstition.

 († this quote brings to mind Socrates’ “an unexamined life is not worth living”)


The books mentioned in the chronology as authored by MLK are:

  • Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (Sep 1958)
  • Strength to Love (Jun 1963)
  • Why We Can’t Wait (Jun 1964)
  • Where Do We Go from Here? (Jan 1967)



In which I return to Narnia ...

The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis

It's been wonderful to return to Narnia and by the most direct route this time around. My first foray into that delightful realm was eons ago via audio dramatizations, and I listened to the books in publication order then. I always promised myself I would go back and read the actual books, and do so in chronological order. And so I stepped back in ...


I heartily enjoyed both books, but especially TLTWTW with its themes of hope, forgiveness, sacrifice, and restoration. Deep magic in a simple package.


Everyone plus the whole world have probably read the Chronicles of Narnia already, but if by some remote chance you haven't, I highly recommend that you remedy this oversight immediately. Pronto and ASAP. For therein lies magic deeper still.

The Circular Staircase

The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart

Mary Roberts Rinehart is an author I've wanted to try for some time now and The Circular Staircase was a satisfying intro to her works. I like her writing style so far, tinged as it is with a little humour and irony.


"This is the story of how a middle-aged spinster lost her mind, deserted her domestic gods in the city, took a furnished house for the summer out of town, and found herself involved in one of those mysterious crimes that keep our newspapers and detective agencies happy and prosperous."


The Circular Staircase was a quick and enjoyable read; I started on a Saturday and was done by the following day. It was also a tea & blanket read (a phrase I've stolen without shame from BrokenTune) - I had the flu (now recovering) and it helped keep my mind off my misery, at least when I wasn't blowing my nose for the 1000th time :(


The opening quote from the first paragraph caps everything nicely. Like her fellow city dwellers do in the summer, Rachel Innes takes her household, which includes her niece and nephew, Gertrude and Halsey, and her maid, Liddy, to the country house of Sunnyside, leased from the Armstrong family, presently out in California; the two families are acquainted with each other.


From almost day one, there are strange happenings in and around the house, with someone (a woman?) lurking outside, and inexplicable noises inside. Soon after, a man is murdered on the circular staircase, leaving Rachel and company with none of the peace promised by the retreat to the country:


"The peace of the country-- fiddle sticks!"

Aside from the murder, someone (or some persons?!) is trying very hard to get into the house, and both Gertrude and Halsey are keeping secrets. And where does the Armstrong family fit in all this?


The reveal of the murderer was a bit anticlimactic for me; I had had my suspicions but the way it was revealed and tied up was so low-key. To be fair, though, the murder and its resolution turn out to be almost secondary to the more confounding mystery of who is trying to get into the house and why.


I like the character of Rachel Innes and wish I could meet up with her again in other Rinehart books - she is not shrinking or melodramatic, and I enjoyed her often-times contentious relationship with her maid, Liddy:


"Liddy and I often desire to part company, but never at the same time."

All in all, a good read and I will certainly carry on with Ms Rinehart - The Circular Staircase was plucked from a collection of 22 books, 17 of which are mysteries. We have ample opportunity to get acquainted ;)

We Need(ed) a Holiday!
We Need(ed) a Holiday!

The photo is of Vigie Beach in Castries, St Lucia. George F L Charles Airport, the smaller of our two airports, is directly behind us.


This past Thursday and Friday were weird days; we had a midweek holiday and I kept thinking Thursday was Monday and Friday did not feel like itself.


May 1 is Labour Day (aka International Workers' Day) and we always celebrate it with a public holiday. So, on Wednesday, with our tools downed, we took to the beach to relax. It was a nice not-too-hot (but windy!) day and, a happy surprise, the beach wasn't all that crowded or noisy. On our way back home we treated ourselves to soft serve ice cream. Definitely a day well-spent.


How did you celebrate Labour Day? Do you get a public holiday?


May 2019 TBR

The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do - Kathie Reimer 7 Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind - Anthony Selveggio Always on: Language in an Online and Mobile World - Naomi S. Baron The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome - Susan Wise Bauer The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. - Martin Luther King Jr. The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis Glass Houses - Louise Penny The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart Snowdrift and Other Stories - Georgette Heyer
— feeling excited

After more than three years of reading my books any old how, creating a TBR list again has brought on a nice purposeful feeling. And how much nicer if I complete the whole thing ;)


For May 2019, I hope to complete:


  • The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do - K Reimer/L Whittle
  • 7 Toxic Ideas Polluting Your Mind - Anthony T Selvaggio
  • Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World - Naomi S Baron
  • The History of the Ancient World - Susan Wise Bauer
  • The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr (ed. Coretta Scott King)
  • The Magician's Nephew - C S Lewis
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C S Lewis
  • Glass Houses - Louise Penny
  • The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Snowdrift and Other Stories - Georgette Heyer


Seven of these are from my paid TBR, and would be a score if I can finish them. The Louise Penny I'm very late in reading; when it first came out I wasn't in a good reading mindset and before I knew it another book had come out, and still another is due later this year in August. At least I have time to catch up without rushing.


The Georgette Heyer collection of stories was a serendipitous library find just now. I don't own it (I think that's the only one) but I've been waiting for a sale before I buy it. It came to mind as I was finalizing my TBR list. I checked my library, thinking no way they would have it but the little doubter was not rewarded, a happy turn of affairs. I know what I'll be doing tonight ;)


What are you most looking forward to reading this month?

In which I drop out of nowhere ...


I know it looks weird - the post before my latest (Apr 30) is from November 2015, a gap of over three years. I was here for a little while, met some wonderful people and had a blast. Then I started having some health issues and I took what I thought would be a short break that turned out to be longer. Also, around that time Booklikes was misbehaving, and I deleted all my non-review posts and all my shelves (which I now regret, of course) thinking I was done with here. 


During my three-year plus absence, I took up mobile photography, resigned my job of over 15 years, took a year-long break, got another job, lost my father, my grandfather, one of my dearest friends and a cousin. Not necessarily in this order. I also read a lot.


From the end of 2015 to present, I read 304 books, including:


  • 27 Georgette Heyer books (only 10 left to go and I'd have read all 57!)
  • 20 Betty Neel books (these were all read last month)
  • 3 different Bible translations for my yearly reading (LEB, NIV, MEV)
  • 14 Agatha Christie books (reread the Miss Marples plus And Then There Were None)
  • The Farseer Trilogy (my sister went on to read the entire Realm of the Elderlings series but my heart just couldn't go on)
  • 8 Anna Katharine Green books (I'm determined to finish that 25-book collection and I only have 5 books remaining)
  • 9 books in the Lara McClintoch Archaeological Mystery series by Lynn Hamilton (only two left)
  • 5 books in the Gideon Oliver Mystery series by Aaron Elkins
  • 5 books in the Adam Dalgliesh series by P D James
  • The entire Sherlock Holmes collection (excluding the Sign of Four, which I read before my break from Booklikes)
  • 6 of the Rabbi Small Mysteries by Harry Kemelman (I think I'm now halfway through)
  • 13 Irene Hannon books (didn't realize I had read that many!)
  • The entire Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy Sayers (definitely a major highlight of my 2017 reading)
  • 27 non-fictions (only ... sigh)


I'm back because I liked how my previous time on Booklikes helped me focus my reading on my paid TBR (instead of mostly freebies and library books), I met some wonderful people and hope to reacquaint with them (those who are still around) and also meet new friends. Plus, right here is a good space to organize reading projects. Here's hoping Booklikes doesn't crash and burn any time soon :P


Oh, and before I forget to mention it, my name is Yasmin. I'll put up a short 'about me' thingy soon.

Third time's the charm ...

— feeling confident
The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome - Susan Wise Bauer

... or so they say. It's my third attempt at this book and, trust me, the book is not the problem. I keep getting distracted by other things every time I pick it up. Hoping to complete it this time around *fingers crossed tightly*