Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

Looking Back at 2015

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With the help of a few last minute comics, the Goodreads Challenge has been conquered! It's been an interesting year in books. I read more advance copies this year (eARC's and ARC's from BEA)...and then my reading dropped off to almost zero when law school started. ^^; Still, not a bad year.


I added in a few more comics and graphic novels, and I read a couple of free independent ebooks, too. On the dark side, the majority were only 2 stars. That's a little disappointing. :(

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Christmas Report & Giveaway

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Important stuff first: I'm hosting a Twitter giveaway with a bunch of ARC's and signed copies. It's open until January 4th. Go forth and retweet!


Right, now that's taken care of, I had a pretty wonderful Christmas in Florida. It was super weird saying "Merry Christmas" in 80-degree weather, and it never fully felt quite like Christmas, but it was a good trip. The being in Florida part. The 16-18 hour car rides...well, let's just say car rides and I don't exactly get along. :P

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Semester Ends, Christmas Begins

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I'm dreaming of a whitewarm Christmas. I'm visiting the sister and attending a wedding in Florida, which I hear is somewhere in the 70°s and 80°s. Although, we've been having pretty warm weather here the past few days. I think we hit 75° yesterday afternoon. It was absolutely beautiful. If this is global warming, bring it on! ;) Of course, looks like we're back to normal December temperatures this weekend, so best enjoy it while it lasts.

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I have one more exam and paper to complete, and then I'll scramble to pack and get Christmas presents in order. We aren't doing much this year, but I found the same Santa countdown decoration my parents have on eBay and, with a little craftiness, will be giving that to the sister (who never reads my blog and kind of already knows she's getting it, so I'm (hopefully) not ruining the surprise).

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Last Minute Reading & Giveaway Heads Up

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Popping in for one last quick post before I go into extreme hibernation until finals are done.

I squeezed in a quick bit of fun reading over the last couple of weeks to give my brain a break before the study binge--just a few freebies from Amazon.



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Two Weeks to Go

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There are two weeks of classes left to go before exams. They're both half-weeks with Thanksgiving in between.

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My writing class is done, but I have outlining and practice exams for three others. I'm considering canceling the holiday so I can curl up in a corner and...study. >.>

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No, I won't actually cancel turkey day. Hopefully, the real thing will look more like one day of sleeping in, eating and relaxing, and then back to work for the rest of the holiday weekend. But we'll see. There may be some ugly crying at some point. :)

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Halfway There

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Just realized it's been FOREVER since my last post. We're about halfway through the semester! I still have torts reading and legal writing (and hopefully some Netflix-ing) to do tonight, so here's a super quick recap of life. Which has strangely continued despite law school. ;)

I had a birthday! On which I had school, work, and someone stole my soda from the community mini-fridge. Not cool, whoever you are. :/  I also got some lovely waterproof boots that should see me through flooded parking lots and snowy sidewalks this winter. :)

I joined a law student club with some service and networking opportunities.

I completed my one midterm.

And I did a little reading...

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Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith eARC (2 stars)

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This eARC was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith
Series: n/a
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on October 6, 2015
Published by Roaring Book Press
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.

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How To Stay Sane in Law School

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Despite having seriously cut back on fun reading *sobs,* I haven't gone crazy yet! I think the trick has been to have a few constants -- that is, have a few consistent distractions to break up the never ending studying. ;)

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Pretzels: my go-to commuting snack. 

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Top 10 Books on My Fall TBR

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HA! *rolling on floor laughing....and crying* No really, law students don't read. We study.

Evidence:

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Updates: A Little Reading...

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And a lot of reading. Homework reading that is, which I don't think counts. It's not fun enough to count. ;)

It's amazing, though, how your totem pole of priorities changes once school starts. Not that you can actually work according to it, but mine probably looks something like this:

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Updates: Law School Sucks You In

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Assuming I don't have a mental breakdown today, I have officially survived the first two weeks of law school! And I get a break to catch up on everything with the Monday holiday! Actually, there isn't that much to "catch up on" exactly, but you still have the tons of readings to prep for classes and a couple of writing assignments just got tossed in the pot, too.

To make up for the dearth of posts, here are a few doodles to amuse:


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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ARC (2 stars)

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I haven't read Bardugo's Grisha trilogy, but I was really excited for Six of Crows, particularly with its Ocean's Eleven heist elements. Much of the book delivered, but, for me, it stumbled at the end.


This ARC was provided by the publisher for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on September 29, 2015
Published by Henry Holt and Company
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
Game of Thrones meets Ocean's Eleven in this brand-new book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

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Top 10 Books on My YA Historical Fantasy 101 Syllabus

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I took some interesting classes back in college, although not too many literature courses--that was more an English major thing. Writing Arts tied in more closely with the Communications and Journalism departments. Still, there was some interesting reading in there, including a class on female detectives in literature where I first learned about the original Nancy Drew. Fun stuff. :)

Anyway, if I were teaching a class, these 10 would be required reading on my syllabus.

YA Historical Fantasy 101


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Updraft by Fran Wilde ARC (2 stars)

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My rating system is far from perfect. Some books get 2 stars because they had significant failings that prevented me from liking them. Some books get 2 stars, not because there's anything horribly wrong with them, but just because I never fully connected. Like watching a horse race or baseball game, but without caring who wins. You watch, but you're not invested. On the bright side, since I didn't find anything horribly bad in this book, I'm confident plenty of readers will really enjoy it. :)


This ARC was provided by the publisher for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Updraft by Fran Wilde
Series: 1 of ? (it does have a sequel)
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Published on September 1, 2015
Published by Tor Books
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
In a city of living bone rising high above the clouds, where danger hides in the wind and the ground is lost to legend, a young woman must expose a dangerous secret to save everyone she loves.

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother's side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city's secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever—if it isn't destroyed outright.

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Updates: The Short Version

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I've been dogsitting at my house, dogsitting at another house, catsitting at another house, tomorrow and Friday are orientation, class starts Monday, and a professor just changed the required text TODAY. (He's going to post the reading for Monday online, thank goodness.)

I'm still stalled on Black Widow. I might try to finish it this weekend...or it will be pushed to the side because I have a ton of reading homework already. I grabbed a couple of graphic novels from the library in the meantime. Lumberjanes was okay; yay for friendship and adventure, but a few little things that marred the experience and the art seemed inconsistent. The new Ms. Marvel (volumes 1 and 2) wasn't bad. I wasn't jumping up and down, but it was enjoyable enough.

And that's it. Yep. Like I said, short. :) Thanks for stopping in and check back tomorrow for my review of Updraft by Fran Wilde! In which people fly and die and fly some more. :)

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Top 10 Authors to Buy

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This week's topic is "Top 10 Auto-Buy Authors." I don't normally do "auto-buy" on anything, especially with books. Even if I've loved an author's work before, I may hate the latest release. I may even have loved the first book of a series and disliked the second. All that to say, I take everything on a book by book basis. Which means copious amounts of investigating and review reading and sometimes reading the book first before I'll buy it for my collection.

And now that we've further established I'm a picky cheapskate, here's a slight tweak to the topic. ;)

Top 10 Authors/Particular Books to Buy:

Robin McKinley - Pegasus series
This is an actual auto-buy. The first book came out in 2010. Something went wrong, and the second book never came out. If it ever sees the light of day, I'm snatching it up.

Ilona Andrews - Kate Daniels series
Library doesn't have it and doesn't seem to be getting it any time soon. And I already have the first two books. Might as well keep going. ;)

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Disney Princess Tag

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I found this tag on Love at First Page (thank you, Danielle!).
Tag created by Soudha @ Of Stacks and Cups


My Favorite Disney Movies:
Hmm, this is really hard, but since the princesses are already in the list, I'm going to say The Emperor's New Groove, One Hundred and One Dalmations, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Treasure Planet, and Meet the Robinsons.


1. Snow White - Name your favorite classic


The classic revenge story.

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Random Amusement: Fairy Tale Movies

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Disney has the lion's share of this market, usually for good reason. Has anyone else managed to perfect that combination of public domain stories with catchy songs and talking animals and/or inanimate objects that results in ridiculous amounts of money? And then successfully merchandise the heck out of it?

But that doesn't mean there aren't other entertaining movies out there based on our favorite Grimm, Anderson and Lang tales. Some of them entertain us for the wrong reasons, but we're all allowed our guilty pleasures. ;) With that, I give you some fairy tale inspired movies I enjoyed.

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The Drafter by Kim Harrison ARC (2 stars)

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I was looking for some adult urban fantasy/sci-fi at BEA in May and ran across Kim Harrison's The Drafter. I haven't read anything else by Harrison, and I can't say I'm jumping at the idea after the issues I had with this one. It reminded me very strongly of a YA book I read last year, ACID by Emma Pass; and that wasn't a good thing.


This ARC was provided by the publisher for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Drafter by Kim Harrison
Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles #1
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy/Sci-fi
Published on September 1, 2015
Published by Gallery Books
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
Detroit 2030. Double-crossed by the person she loved and betrayed by the covert government organization that trained her to use her body as a weapon, Peri Reed is a renegade on the run.

Don’t forgive and never forget has always been Peri’s creed. But her day job makes it difficult: she is a drafter, possessed of a rare, invaluable skill for altering time, yet destined to forget both the history she changed and the history she rewrote.

When Peri discovers her name on a list of corrupt operatives, she realizes that her own life has been manipulated by the agency. She joins forces with a mysterious rogue soldier in a deadly race to piece together the truth about her final task, unable to trust even herself.

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Updates: BookitCon Recap

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One week to go until orientation. Start praying. A lot. Summer is officially over.

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And in other news, this Sunday was the first ever BookitCon! Which was pretty fun, and I met someone else with my same first/last name! I don't know the numbers, but the turnout seemed decent and there was a Starbucks right around the corner when I required caffeine. ;)

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Top 10 Authors I've Read the Most

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This should be an easy topic. Open up the Goodreads stats, find who's at the top, easy peasy. So I did that and realized some of those names were from long, long ago. Like elementary school and high school. And now I feel old. :) So I weeded them out and what's left are authors I've read (at least one book from) recently.


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Discussion: Cutting Out Cable

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I watch a lot of TV. Not as much as I used to, but still a lot. In my house, we eat dinner in the living room while watching the news, and the TV is pretty much on all evening, even if some of us are on computers or reading books for part of it. But someone suggested cutting back the cable the other day--possibly getting rid of it entirely.

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This isn't necessarily a bad idea. Would it be a major change in our daily lives? Oh yeah. We'd probably still get plenty of screen time, just more of it through computers and free or subscription streaming. We might become more productive: more reading, more writing, more cleaning, more exercising! (Don't hold your breath on that last one.) Sure, there would be lots of long silences and more work involved in finding something silly to watch when you need a brain break, but we would adapt eventually. Or crack and bring back the cable. ;)

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The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack Campbell (2 stars)

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This is the second book in Campbell's Pillars of Reality series. If you haven't read the first and don't want to be spoiled, feel free to check out my review of The Dragons of Dorcastle instead.

Also, heads up that Campbell writes this series for audio. Audio is the intended format. I read the ebook version, and the reading medium definitely impacts the review; so I encourage you to also read a review of the audiobook if you like the sound of this. :)

This e-book was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Hidden Masters of Marandur by Jack Campbell
Series: The Pillars of Reality #2
Genres: YA/Adult, Fantasy
Published on June 10, 2015
Published by Jabberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
The second book of the exciting The Pillars of Reality epic fantasy series, by New York Times best-selling author Jack Campbell!

Someone wants to kill Mari, a young steam mechanic in the guild that controls all technology. She has learned that her world of Dematr is headed for a catastrophe that will destroy civilization and that mages really can alter reality for short periods. Someone also wants to kill Alain, a young mage who has learned that mechanics are not frauds, as his guild teaches, and that mechanic Mari is the only person who can prevent the oncoming disaster.

Narrowly escaping death, the mechanic and the mage stay alive thanks to their combined skills, an alliance never before seen. But it becomes clear that both of their guilds, the most powerful forces in the world, are trying to destroy them. Other powers, like the great empire and a mysterious secret order, also seek to kill or capture them using every weapon from imperial legions to mage-created trolls, dragons, and rocs.

Trying to survive and learn the truth about their world so they will know how to save it, Mari and Alain realize the answers they seek may lie in the dead city of Marandur. But Marandur is guarded by the legions that have sealed it off from the rest of the world for more than a century. Mari and Alain's only hope may rest with the unseen masters of Marandur.

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Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson eARC (3 stars)

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I don't usually think of myself as a fan of westerns, but I had a lot of fun with this Gold Rush, pioneer trail adventure! Lee has a lot going for her as a protagonist, and several levels of conflict and tension keep the story engaging throughout.


This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Genres: YA, Historical, Fantasy
Published on September 22, 2015
Published by Greenwillow Books
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

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Updates: Law & Summer

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I officially have two weeks until school starts, and I'm pushing like crazy to get ready and to fit in some summery stuff before my free time evaporates. I just got my schedule and bill yesterday. It's going to be a busy semester. That's for sure.

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10 Fairy Tale Retellings I Want to Read

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I made a list of Top 10 Books for Readers Who Like Fairy Tale Retellings (which I recommend checking out) back in March, and there haven't been many changes to that list since. (Except for Uprooted, which was very good.) I could easily find "10 Retellings That Didn't Work for Me but Might for You," but that's a little negative...and depressing. ;) So instead, I give you 10 fairy tale retellings I haven't tried yet, but want to read!





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Confession: I Don't Feel Like Reading Your Blog

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It just hit me today that school starts in three weeks. Count 'em: one, two, three. O.O So here's the thing: I don't usually do stress in big, obvious ways like chugging a pint of Ben & Jerry's. I do stress in little, sneaky ways that I don't always realize are stress-related until I really stop and think about it. But I'm thinking about it now, and the best way I've found to deal with stress--besides praying like my sanity depends on it (because it does)--is to be honest. To objectively evaluate why I'm doing (or avoiding) stuff and what I want to change.

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I feel like a traitor as a blogger saying this, but I don't feel much like reading other blogs right now. It's seriously, completely me, not you. See, it's not that I don't want to read your posts. I do. I am still interested and want to read lots of blog posts. But I don't feel like doing it. Right now, blog reading feels like work. Sad, but true. Partly because I feel like I should read in detail so I can leave a thoughtful comment. It doesn't take long to do that once or twice, but I procrastinate, and I'm busy with other stuff; and once it builds up into a backlog of 50, I procrastinate even more and just don't want to deal with it.

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Beastly Bones by William Ritter ARC (3 stars)

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William Ritter's debut novel, Jackaby, was a pleasant surprise earlier this year, blending historical and supernatural in an entertaining, suspenseful mix. Beastly Bones has all the silliness, severity and magic of its predecessor. Plus dragons. :)


This ARC was provided by the publisher for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Beastly Bones by William Ritter
Series: Jackaby #2
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Historical
Published on September 22, 2015
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
“I’ve found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I’ve known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality.”

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer R. F. Jackaby are called upon to investigate the supernatural.

First, a vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, now home to the exiled New Fiddleham police detective Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.

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Updates: Shiny and Savory

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This past week, I ran up to Philly one night to catch up with some old high school friends. One of them picked a noodle shop run by an immigrant from Japan who made some delicious ramen. Cup Noodle this is not. Although, I could have gone for the extra spicy version of Gates of Hell. What I had was delicious and had a nice undercurrent, but I love trying the super spicy stuff. ;)

And, in case you didn't catch it on this week's discussion post (about Apple's late Back to School sale and how Macs and Windows are sharing a number of similarities these days), I finally picked up my shiny new computer that, God willing, will last me all through law school and beyond with zero problems. (Who are we kidding? Mac or not, this is technology. There's no such thing as a problem-free existence. Although, if I stay away from the video editing for a while, I might stand a chance of not crashing this one regularly. I may or may not have been responsible for several unscheduled restarts in my college computer lab back in the day. >.>)

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Top 10 Bookworm Characters

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We're readers, so we love finding kindred spirits in our reading--that is, bookworms. ;)



Beauty - Beauty - How do you survive longterm imprisonment in a magical Beast's castle? Ride your horse and read.

The Dragon - Uprooted - How do you stay sane when caught between an evil forest and a chaotic mess of an apprentice? Read your books and follow the directions exactly so.

Verity Newton - Rebel Mechanics - How do you prepare for an independent life as a governess to the rich and magical? Read.

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