It’s raining. It will rain really hard for a few minutes, then slack off, then rain again. I have my tea.
Awhile ago I’ve made the decision to get my news from the actual news sources rather than social media, because with the social media you get a wallop of outrage with the news, and I can’t deal with it. I have outrage fatigue. The news alone is difficult enough. When we hear about terrible or alarming things on the news, we usually can’t do anything about them. We end up feeling helpless and sit there and steep in all these stress emotions. When you add someone making declarative statements on top of it, it wears me down.
This morning, I fired up the news app.
- Federal database reveals pilots’ complaints about the embattled 737 Max.
- Building collapses in Nigerian city leaving school children trapped.
- Bus crashes into overpass and bursts into flames.
I think that’s enough news for today, don’t you?
So, in light of this news day, I decided to make a list of things that make me happy. They are small things and probably boring to anyone but me, so you’ve been warned, mundane content ahead.
Erika Tsang, our Avon editor, read SAPPHIRE FLAMES.
This made me so happy, I formatted it with pretty color. So the book might not be a complete fail. We get editorial notes on Friday. The manuscript is currently out with beta readers. We have a joke about reliability of a FIAT in there, and our Italian proofreader saw it and laughed and laughed. As long as we can crack people up, we are doing good.
I have tried several books in the past few days. I read the first two books of a popular fantasy series. I love the first series by that author, but this one, despite being beautifully written, vivid, and complex, also has the mating trope.
I hate the mating trope. It’s the one where two people spontaneously realize that another person is their mate and they are destined to be together and only that person will make them truly happy. I feel it takes away free will from the characters. I hate it so much, that no matter how good the book is, I don’t want to read it. Not sure if I will read the third. On one hand, it’s the author I like. On other, it has the mating trope. The struggle is real.
I am reading another book, billed as a “thrilling alien space adventure,” which is less thrilling than anticipated. I’ve been skimming big chunks of it and will likely abandon it.
Read RELUCTANT CONCUBINE by Dana Marton. This was a pleasant but flawed read for me. A woman who is a healer from a peaceful island is sold into slavery by her father and is bought by war-loving people. It is not a romance, despite the title. It’s a fantasy with a strong romantic subplot. The world is gritty. There is rape ingrained in culture, although it doesn’t happen to the main character. The book goes into endless detail about legends and mythical background, so if you enjoyed Tolkien and Genesis 5 and 11, you will like this. I wanted a sharper, more active story, but this one doesn’t as much grab you by the throat as float you down the lazy river with gorgeous scenery.
I’m watching the Expanse and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim. Gordon said that the Expanse is what Altered Carbon should have been, and I agree completely. Love the show so far. Secretary Kim just makes me laugh and laugh. He is a CEO prodigy and she is his secretary. He is self-absorbed and a complete alpha-hole, and she does everything, from tying his ties to handling firing people. And then she puts in her 2 weeks and he panics. Here is a funny trailer.
If you want to see the show, your best bet is Viki. If you have a Roku or a smart TV, you can download Viki app. The shows are almost always subbed, but it’s worth it.
Epic fail on all fronts. I really want a new game and there is nothing out there. It might be the Assassin Creed for me again.
I’m starting a new knitting project. I have this beautiful set of fingering yarn I bought online and I really wanted to do a shawl with it. Behold my pattern odyssey.
I already had the What the Fade pattern from Andrea Lowry. At the time I bought it, I absolutely loved the blended effect. Andrea specializes in fade effect and she has a whole number of similar pattern.
Upon further examination, I decided it was too warm. I want a spring/summer shawl. I don’t want to do brioche, because it results in a very warm fabric. This seems more like a winter/autumn shawl.
Having nixed this idea, I continued my search and moved on to Xandra by Ambah O’Brien.
It’s a beautiful striped shawl knitted on the bias.
I cast on, screwed it up. Cast on again. Knitted a bit, screwed up the increases. Frogged, knitted a bit more, knitted to the lace section… and realized I didn’t like the lace.
Now, most knitted items have to be blocked, meaning the garment is gently washed, then stretched over a foam board into desired shape, pinned in place, and allowed to dry. Until you block lace, it looks like crap. However, you can strategically stretch the knitted garment to see what the lace would look like and I didn’t like it. At all. On top of it, it’s very hard to knit this thing in front of the TV, because the lace is just intricate enough to make you pay attention. Also Xandra didn’t have the fade effect I wanted.
I moved on to the Fading Point by Joji Locatelli.
This shawl has the fade effect I wanted. It has some lace. It’s pretty.
It’s also giant. The investment of time here is huge. It’s the size of a blanket. And It’s knitted in two parts, which you wouldn’t think would be an issue, as I can knit a sweater in four parts, but this shawl calls for 5 colors and I have six, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to fit the sixth color in. Do I make less rows of each color? Do I add the color before I start on the triangular section? How will this work?
As you can see, I have very little brain left after the book finishing.
Mmm, the book is finished. Mmmmm…
After she went to bed, I decided to watch an episode of Alpha House because it makes me laugh and I needed a destressor. In my wine-addled state and encouraged by the hilarity of John Goodman, I decided to make my own shawl pattern with a little bit of fade and a little bit of very simple lace.
Now, in the light of the morning, that doesn’t seem as an awesome idea, but I have cast on. … Um. Yeah. I will let you know how it goes.
And now the sun is out and my rambling post is done. 🙂 I’ve made stew yesterday, so I don’t have to cook. I plan to spend the day knitting and possibly going to see a movie, because come Friday the edits will land and it’s back to the grind.
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok is better. Just saying. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gMNRGCiCzk
Right? I also really liked Oh My Venus 🙂
Hwayugi/A Korean Odyssey was also really good if you haven’t seen that.
There should be a warning disclaimer with lace weight that it should not be worked on while under the influence. Or to embrace randomly dropped stitches.
Falling snow says
Two other Korean shows which are amazing are:
**Guardian: The Lonely and Great God
**Strong Girl Bong-soon
It looks cuter. I haven’t seen Secretary Kim so I wouldn’t say better.
I’m always learning from you! This is a much healthier way to deal with the crazy.
Learning to fail and then pick yourself back up again was one of the hardest / most important lessons I think I learned when I went to college. Your kids are so lucky that they have such wonderfully supportive parents! Good luck in her programming endeavors 🙂 the rush when you FINALLY successfully solve a problem is pretty addictive.
Love me some Korean dramas 😀 thanks for the rec! On the game front, I spent some time on Sunday playing “The Witness”. It’s one of the free PSN games this month and is mostly about solving puzzles. It started very simply, but quickly grew very addictive. The only drawback is that the controls are a little wonky and it drives me up the wall that you can’t jump up / down. You see where you want to go, it’s RIGHT THERE, but you have to figure out a path to get there. Also, it’s beautiful and ginormous and will probably take 40 / 50 hours to complete. If you’re looking for something you can play that’s short and nicely done, my husband and I really enjoyed “Tick Tock: A Tale for Two” on our phones. It’s also a puzzle game, but requires a “player1” and “player2” to complete. It took us a bit under 2 hours to finish, had a pretty neat storyline / ending, and was more fun than the usual “Let’s watch a show” entertainment. On the movie front, Captain Marvel was way more fun than I thought it would be looking at the trailer 😀 can’t wait for End Game! Enjoy your well deserved rest 🙂
LOVED Capt Marvel. Actually took my young children to it (slightly concerned because PG-13 and 9 yrs …) but the kids LOVED, and not too much in the skin and violence… my daughter (who up to this point wanted to grow up to be a princess) now wants to be a superhero . YEAH!! for strong women in media.
I watched Captain Marvel Sunday — loved it! — and then embarked on a massive MCU re-watch. So far, I’ve re-watched: Avengers 1, 2, and 3; Iron Man 3; Thor 2; Spiderman Homecoming; Captain America: Civil War; and Black Panther.
The kid from Iron Man 3 (character Harley Keenan, I think is his name) is on the cast list for Avengers: Endgame. For some reason, I’m totally stoked about that.
That kid was good. He was in Jurassic Park, too, the one at the theme park with Chris Pratt. He was pretty good in that one, too, I thought.
Did you stay for the vignettes at the end of Captain Marvel? I stayed for the first one but couldn’t wait for the second one. I looked it up online, though, to see what I had missed. Not a big one to miss, but the first vignette was cool.
Karen the Griffmom says
I also want to do a rewatch after seeing Captain Marvel, but I want to do it in series order, not release order. Am a little confused about where Antman and Wasp fit in.
My understanding is that the MCU is divided into phases: phase 1, 2, and 3. Avengers: Endgame will end Phase 3. In my re-watch, I’ve been skipping around, but I definitely want to re-watch all the Phase 3 movies for sure before AE hits the cinema.
Ant-Man was the final movie in Phase 2, but it actually served as a bridge between Phase 2 and Phase 3. Ant-Man & The Wasp is Phase 3 for sure. (There’s a scene at the end when Scott and Hope are trying to return from atomic innerspace — or whatever it was called — and her parents are not at the rendezvous point. It’s after Thanos’ “snap,” so the implication is that maybe they were dusted?) I think it sort of happens concurrently with Avengers: Infinity War.
The first Phase 4 movie will be the new Spiderman movie (Far From Home), due out in July (I think).
Here’s a good link that lists them by phases and then in order: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-different-Phases-of-the-Marvel-Cinematic-Universe
Tasha A. says
You had me at Naked Alessandro! So excited for this book!
Oh yes, me too!
Yes, I caught that, too. 🙂
Patricia Schlorke says
When I saw that I went “Whoo-hoo!” 😀
I really am enjoying The Expanse, too! In terms of getting the news on social media, I have just finished “Facts and Fears” by James Clapper and the use of social media by our enemies to “inform”, inflame and generally undermine Americans is sophisticated, far reaching and really scary. I watched in disgust as many of my friends reacted to the teenager and American Indian incident in Washington DC which was twisted and manipulated by unscrupulous parties. When the truth was finally presented about who was harrassing whom, boy were their faces red. Please BDH, never get your “news” from social media. And be aware that what you see posted, may not be honest. This is a young and unprotected technology that is being brilliantly exploited. Stick with your friends and family.
Can I just say that I know nothing about knitting? So it’s just one of those “someone else does this” things. I can sort of read them but (sorry) I don’t really care. I’m involved in a horse racing blog and THAT matters. Sorry
Is that important? I don’t play video games, but I find Ilona interesting and entertaining in describing what she likes and doesn’t like, or I can skip sections that don’t interest me. The blog isn’t written for me personally after all.
Ah, I see you responded later on and said much the same thing. Sorry!
Thank you for checking. I will try to be more careful in future.
I’m already super excited for Sapphire Flames but a naked Alessandro just makes me even more curious.
It’s raining here, too. With the high snow levels that were already in place, we have a massive melt going on and are under a flood warning. The local big creek completely filled its bed and the entrenchment… Next stop is the levee, so let’s hope we’re almost done!
Kiddo is on her spring break, but came down with a cold. I’m making chicken soup for her today and the house always smells SO good on chicken soup days. I just finished re-reading all five Game of Thrones books and the new Others novel, Wild Country. It was fine, but the first four were better.
Captain Marvel was awesome, and since we have an big male orange tabby that resembles Goose, he’s officially become our Flerken to match Jaina, the Dreadlord floofy kitten. =)
Oh, I did link you a video I saw on Facebook about a woman who does a particular type of Russian knit lace. You probably know about it already, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. I tweeted the link to you, but I know you often don’t see things linked to your Twitter account. I couldn’t get Facebook to send it to you for some weird, unknown reason, so I had to take an alternate route!
trailing wife says
Facebook is being really queer today. I thought it was because it didn’t like a comment I made, so I was getting some sort of strange shadow ban where I could ‘like’ things but not use my words, but it turns out lots of people who aren’t me are having problems, too.
My fb has locked me out. I was stressing for a bit, but the husband said his is acting wonky too.
I heard it on the news that FB was down. And forgot about it when I tried to send a message to my nephew
I really enjoyed Captain Marvel and loved the cat! Does anyone know what the cat is and where it came from?
I enjoyed How to Train Your Dragon III. It finished the story arc. Can’t wait for Sapphire Flames. I really enjoy the new series
1) Committing to a straight news source.
Given the corruption of news media by opinion, the disappearing true news sources because of decreasing ad revenue (coz it’s going to different sources like the net instead of the traditional news rags), and the increasing partisan and 5-second-sound-byte-ness of political discourse I’ve been thinking that I should knuckle down and support a trusted, un-corrupted media source by actually subscribing. Ideally two of them. One at least that provides local news, and two so that I’m getting varied takes on the wider national and international news.
The problem is, I’ve been thinking about making this subscription commitment for well over a year, but still haven’t actually done it.
Commitment issues, I guess.
2) Computer Games.
Have you played ‘Oxygen Not Included’, or ‘Tropico’? I suggest those two because they’re among my favorites (though I much prefer the original Tropico to recent years releases) but I suppose I should ask what your taste is. Those two are god/management games. In ‘Tropico 2: Pirate Cove’ you run a pirate island and have to prevent both the captives from escaping and the pirates from rioting. ‘Startopia’ is also good. A much more recent game which is also very good is ‘Frostpunk’.
The Tropico series is additionally good because of it’s solid music tracks.
Kate, regarding 1) – me, too. I applaud your thinking and, lazily, want to piggyback. If you find a good national/worldwise news source, I would be grateful for a recommendation.
Try this one: https://www.allsides.com/unbiased-balanced-news
It rates each source as Left/Center/Right leaning, and provides the analysis behind the rating. It’s basically an aggregator, lets you pick a topic or perspective and links you to the actual articles.
Thanks Lynne ??
I’ve been viewing Google news for a while and they seem to take related articles from several websites and display them together. There’s usually something interesting and I can see multiple viewpoints on the same issue at once.
Google tends to work through search metrics and unfortunately those can be manipulated.
Thanks, Lynne. This looks interesting.
Oxygen Not Included stresses me out. No matter what I do, temperature rises and I have problems.
Yeah I tend to keep the base small by turning off the duplicant replicator after I’ve got 8 to 16 dupes birthed, so I don’t have to dig too much out of the starter area, as if I dig outward too much I dig away all the starter temp blocks to the higher temp surrounds. I usually stick my research equipment temporarily at the top along with the batteries, hamster wheels and compost on the theory that hot air rises in the game as it does irl. And then I scout for an ice biome asap and try to move all electrical/heat creating equipment out of the starter biome asap.
Kinda cheesed about the recent changes made to Abyssalite.
If you’re on Steam “two point hospital”‘ has a ‘free weekend’. It’s basically an updated re-skin on an old PC/ps1 game “Theme Hospital” which I used to love, though the nurse’s voice over the tannoy used to bug me after a while. Going to cram a few ‘free weekend’ play hours into it as much as I can as the modern re-skin version sells at a premium price point.
I already have it. 😀 High five!
? Right back atcha!
PS I tend to have occasions of being an overly opinionated blowhard, and I think I might have done so in discussing Anne Bishop below.
I know you don’t like negativity when discussing your author friends and acquaintances, so feel free to delete that below post if you also think it is overly blowhardickish.
Fan in California says
I’m positive Sapphire Flames will be great — and a naked Alessandro will just make it that much better!!! ? I am a knitter so I would enjoy any posts updating the latest knitting project.
And, as always, love your sense of humor; I always enjoy reading your blog because of your humorous approach to life. Thanks!!!!
+1. I really enjoy reading your posts.
Used to knit in class to stay awake during lectures….so VERY simple patterns only. Plus this was almost 30 years ago. You almost make me wish to restart again when you show your yarns and patterns.
I also love Anne Bishop’s The Others series. That world is so interesting. I know that people didn’t care for this last book as much as the earlier ones, but it felt like she was setting up a new co-series. When I finish one I am spoiled for other boos for awhile-definitely the same with your books also.
AB is one of the few others whom I regard as “trustworthy” and am into multiple re-reads of The Others.
Yeah … the last book … I just finished it (again) (OK, I’ve got the LATEST one on order) , and it may not have been quite at the same level as the previous ones, but the series is worth continuing (with other lead characters); it’s a good world, and I’m really happy that she’s got a good co-series idea going.
The whole thing works.
I feel it’s very hard to keep things at the same level all the time. I’m feeling that some years may be better for an author than others. I’m just very glad that they’re consistently willing to show up with new work.
I too have reread The Others multiple times. I’m sure more readings will follow. Even though I was disappointed in how she wrapped up the last book, I still enjoyed it immensely. Especially Simon’s extreme distress over Meg being taken. That was a very tense interlude. I’m trying not to focus on there being no more books in this world. AB didn’t say definitively no more, but Wild Country is the last for now. I just didn’t connect to Lake Silence, I’m going to give it another try. But, Wild Country made me feel closer to the first five. I enjoyed it very much. I felt there were several characters in WC that could help extend the series with stories of their own.
I’m just glad she’s going back to the Black Jewels in 2020. I’m hoping for a Daemonar book.
Lynn L says
I’d likd to Lake silence quite a bit once I got used to it. Wild country has characters we’d already met in the previous books. I will be sad next year not to have another others book.
I really liked Lake Silence because it was after the intensity of the “cleansing”. I kept stumbling over the fact that Wild Country was happening at the same time as Etched in Bone and it messed with my head. I think I’d have had less issues if this book had come out last year. Oh well, maybe I’ll reread them in that order to see if it helps.
I sure hope she writes more in this world as I really enjoy it. I could not get into the other series the first time I tried it, but I’ll try it again as its been a while. I’m sure she’s ready for a change and certainly can’t fault her for that.
I’m just rereading Wild Country and liking it more on the reread than I did on the first read. There are a couple of characters where I need to know their viewpoint but just skim reading it on the second time through means I don’t have to immerse myself in them being people I really dislike. There are some really likeable characters there too.
I have overall liked the Others series, up to the last book. Still debating on Wild Country, just a bit to “pessimistic” for me. Really have enjoyed all the other books up to this point.
I just finished Wild Country a couple of days ago, having the flu has slowed me down. Yes, it wasn’t quite as good as the earlier books in the series, but it is still well worth the read IMO. I runs alongside the last book before Lake Silence, so if you haven’t read the original series, you will miss quite a bit. I did buy the audio version of it last night and will listen to it after I reread it. I agree that Ann Bishop is on my short list of authors that I auto-buy from. I hope she continues The Others series, I really like the world.
At least good authors are having new books coming out staggered for us to pick up. Faith Hunter recently had her latest come out and Patricia Briggs’s newest isn’t too far off. Then there is a dry spell till August when we get the real prize. 🙂
I’m another one of Anne Bishop fans, but one of the disappointed one with the last two books. Lake Silence was sort of a standolone. It had the opportunity of expanding on non-human characters but revealed nothing new about Crows, Sanguinati and Elementals. Wild Country, expected to be the last in the series, should have brought progress in the relationship between races, instead we went back some steps in the trust department… I hope she’ll write more about the more interesting characters we met in Bennett (the 4 children living with the Intuits, and above all about Joshua Painter!
And fingers crossed for the next Black Jewels books: I’m a bit anxious, hope I’ll enjoy them (I’m still trying – and failing – to forget the book that shall not be mentioned!)
I’m conflicted about the next Black Jewel book. The book that shall be mentioned had me bawling my eyes out. Every time it pops into my thoughts, I have to start thinking of something else or I’ll start crying again. I did NOT like that one.
shall *not be mentioned
I read the first five, but – while I have utmost respect for Anne’s work – ultimately this series didn’t work for me. I suspect that she wanted to write a series about political upheaval and war, while I wanted to read the series about characters and relationships. I felt let down by the fifth book.
Carysa Locke says
Same! Yeah, that is totally my feeling on it as well. I didn’t pinpoint that until you said it.
Warning : overly opinionated un-expert bloviating follows.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve become jaded as a reader.
I stopped reading George R.R.’s books about the second or third in (can’t remember which) when I had the realisation at a point a seemingly main character I had been following had been killed off mid-book. I realised George R.R. was the organ grider, readers were his monkeys and he was paying us in peanuts. Vignettes of dramatic, engrossing scenes bound together between the book covers, but (what appeared to me) no overarching STORY!
I swore off George R.R. at that moment and have never gone back. Never seen one episode of the tv series. I’m not touching it. Even with everyone in the world raving about it. That’s how pissed off I was with George R.R. by that character’s demise. Not that I suppose he cares. He’s probably rollling in it.
Anne Bishop makes the claim on her site of being an author of ‘dark fantasy’, which is a strong claim to stake given that modern fantasy seems to take a James Frey-like approach to scenarios. I.e. make it as pitiful and wretched as possible and people won’t be able to look away, in a similar fashion to bystanders gawking at car crashes.
Side note: I really enjoyed J.v. Jone’s Sword of red Ice and Brent Weeks’ Night Angel series. Might go back and re-read them. Also maybe Dune again.
Getting back to Anne Bishop’s claims to ‘Dark Fantasy’ … I suppose the heroine being into cutting and getting sexual gratification out of it is kinda dark. I suppose the thought of being eaten by a sentient, intelligent animal is kinda horrific. So in some ways I suppose she meets that claim, but I just don’t feel the world of the Others overall is _that_ dark. Putting aside how the seeming heroine of Lake Silence ended up needing to be taken care of by others instead of being capable herself. In Wild Country there was a real opportunity for Jesse to have an epiphany that Tolya would never see her as a ‘friend with benefits’ and never had. That to the Sanguinati humans have only ever been prey, that all Tolya’s interactions with Jesse had only ever been himviewing her through the lens of prey. Clever prey, but still prey. But instead she winds up hoping he’ll eventualy see her as a friend again. There could have been a true deep-felt horror in that realisation. It was a missed opportunity. And the wolves basically end up being treated akin to dogs. Pack loving and loyal. Or not even dogs. As basically human. I dunno. I just don’t think the ‘dark fantasy’ depths that could have been mined with the world of the Others has been realised on a consistent basis.
Just my overly opinionated heartfelt conclusion, for what it’s worth.
PS – to be clear, to understand what I’m referring to when I talk about making the scene as pitiful and wretched as possible. Read through the Oubliette scenes in Brent Weeks’ Night Angel series.
Kate, you might want to stop reading grimdark.
I learned something new today.
Alecia Register says
I have been playing Devil May Cry 5 and Kingdom Hearts 3. I am enjoying both very much, despite this being my first foray into either series. I am also looking forward to Control and Outer Worlds, both supposedly due out this year, but neither have confirmed release dates yet. I didn’t finish Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, I like doing side quests and objectives before doing the story, and kept wandering into higher level areas and getting nuked. It got frustrating after awhile.
I am glad you are enjoying your time for relaxation, though.
I love the Expanse show and the book series, too. I think I read all the available books in the space of about two weeks last year. Didn’t get much sleep, didn’t regret anything.
And it doesn’t hurt that Thomas Jane is all sorts of amazing in this.
I love your knitting photos, you could do a book with pics and stuff. I’d buy it and I don’t knit!
Have you read Sherry Thomas? I liked her Elemental trilogy a lot and Lady Sherlock is a fantastic read.
+1. I really like both of these as well. The Elemetal trilogy is one of my favorites.
Sara T says
I read all three Dana Marton books in the Reluctant Concubine series. I enjoyed them.
Well I enjoyed the first book more than 2 and 3.
Now I am reading the 4th book in Cinda Williams Chima’s Shattered Realms novels.
I makes me happy to hear that you are attempting to take a few days and relax. Sorry to hear that the animals had tummy troubles. I am hoping they are doing better.
I did’n t like The Reluctant Concubine either: nice landscapes but other than that… Let’s just say I didn’t feel an emotional connection with the characters.
I’m curious about the 2 fantasy series: I hate the “Mate-at-first-sight” thing too, but sometimes you find some authors dealing the concept well.
I don’t knit but I sew: loooot of pattern alterations going on!
Can’t wait for naked Alessandro! And Catalina’s cases too!
Enjoy the sunny sunset!
Nicki Garvey says
I recommend Elizabeth Kerner’s series : The Tale of Lanen Kaelar, first one is Song in the Silence.
It’s got Dragons and starts off a little “mate-at-first-sight” then life sets in and starts throwing them challenges and seeing them deal with them like real people is really cool.
I’ll look for it, thank you
R Coots says
Oh! I’ll have to look at that secretary show. That fade is on my todo list, but I need to dye the yarn for it still. Good luck with the modified pattern!
If you haven’t read — or started to read and discarded — Anne Bishop’s The Others series, I highly recommend it. I love it. I’m not attracted to most of her other series, but I decided to buy all of this series and I don’t buy much (very limited income; I buy yours, too).
Tea and yarn a great combo. Of course, I crochet rather than knit. I like crocheted lace better and it seems easier. The down side is that crochet projects require more yarn.
Oh man this might come too late but for your kid with the coding bootcamp. I had to to a coding course for my degree last year. I dont know why I need to have basic coding for Health Information Management but I did. I cried really long crocodile tears during the 5 weeks of that class. Lots of chocolate was eaten, I contemplated wine but I had other classes and kids to take care of so sadly no…But when I ran into a wall and submitted my assignment unfinished, my professor and I had a long discussion about why that was ok. His advice is that coding is almost impossible to get perfect. Even when you think youve got something WILL always fail. The point is to make sure you know how you get to the place incase you need to back track and fix it later which will happen. If she hasn’t submitted yet, tell her to do so with a detailed step by step of her process. I am still shuddering about the stress I lived through for those five weeks. I feel her pain. Hope the class gets better for her.
My God, it’s nuts to have to code for a degree in Health Info Mgmnt — I can see the logic (sort of) – I actually TEACH classes that involve coding, but for people coming in who are non-coders and who don’t have that skill set as part of their genetic profile, it is horribly grueling and awful and painful and demoralizing.
Congrats on surviving.
Your prof gave you the right advice at the end.
Ilona thank you for recommending Polaris Rising. I loved it. An honorable protagonist with Machiavellian training REALLY does it for me. It now sits proudly beside The Lost Stars series by Jack Campbell on my reread list.
I literally just finished Polaris Rising about 20 mins ago. I freaking loved it!! And yes, Machiavellian in all the best ways. Can’t wait for the next book.
Hey, darling … I so appreciate the Ramble. I love reading your snippets; and I love feeling connected w/ you and Gordon (and famille).
So … don’t worry about people loving your next. We will. It’s a given. We’re already hooked into the characters. I’m sort of in withdrawal right now, having finished your last, and re-reading several of your previous ones … starting all over w/ KD, doing them in sequence this time. Just filling in the gaps until Next Big Release.
Which bring me to … it’s damn hard to find a trustworthy author. I read when I’m in “down” mode. As in, a bit too brain-sludgy to do ANYTHING productive / useful. There are only a handful of authors whom I can really trust to put out a decent read. Others … well, I wind up skimming them and returning them to the local library ASAP. They just don’t cut it. Which means re-reading old faves many times.
I’m going to try expanding my “old faves” list – and will probably go back to much older literature to fill in the gaps a bit. But it’s still not easy.
What I love about your (combined; yours and Gordon’s) work is that you manage some very nice characterization and interactions, along w/ a very nice plot-pace … nice strong momentum.
Rereading KD #1, I’m wondering how you managed to do so well on the first novel out the gate. I’m sure you had practice pieces earlier, but damn – writing well is SUCH a challenge!
Re/ TV, knitting, all the rest … I understand. Writing is draining. You’ve had tough production schedules. 2018 was a demanding year. Kickoff for 2019 not so easy either. Downtime is important.
And oh yeah, the big move. That’s time-and-energy consuming.
So thanks for staying w/ it, and for continuing to produce the good stuff.
xoxo! – A.
PS – I really like the interactions BETWEEN the characters. That fills out the characterization so well! There are only a handful of people – less than that – who can do this; we all know who they are so I’m not going to go naming names, but that is definitely one of the big rewards in reading your works – and you just keep getting better!
In particular, building in the family dynamics in your more recent series … I really think you’ve got the whole interesting (and heart-warming) family dynamics thing aced.
What she said – yes!
Just in the random series I have been watching latetly. REALLY enjoyed Lucifer (watched all 3 seasons at this point), though I didn’t like the last 2 episodes in season 3 (they were very random). My husband has been enjoying Lost Girl and the Order, they are fairly epic storylines so there is a bit of commitment to them.
Best of luck on your relaxing, I am really looking forward to your next book.
The last two episodes were produced out of order and done post cancellation but before the Netflix pickup. It was weird. I gave them a break on it.
Nicki Garvey says
On the book front I can recommend Elizabeth Kerner’s series The Tale of Lanen Kaelar, starting with Song in the Silence.
I warn you, it has some mate trope elements especially in the beginning. But I view it more as two people who fall in love and then as the books progress things get harder and you really see that. It’s not all and they lived happily ever after, they run into issues. They fight. It feels way more real.
It’s a trilogy and I highly recommend it
Carysa Locke says
I’m not sure what system you play on, but we have very similar tastes in games. I got fed up with the lack of new single player story-driven RPGs last year and bought a PS4, which has several exclusive titles in this genre. Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War along were worth the cost, both excellent, immersive, fantastic games that are among the best I have ever played.
Carysa Locke says
Ok, does anyone know where Google’s knitting translation is? I really want to know what Ilona is saying, but I only understood a couple of words. Brioche, cast on, frogged? ? (I saw cast on and immediately thought “wax on”. 😉
Cast on is the first thing you do to start.
Frog is to dis-assemble all or part of the knitting you’ve done – so called because you “ribbit* out”.
Not the bread in this case. I have not done brioche, but believe it’s a special stitch or stitch pattern. (Hopefully, someone who actually knows will correct me.)
Knitting is like many things – It has it’s own vocabulary. Don’t worry if you run across new terms. Most books have a list of terms and abbreviations included.
Sorry if the non-knitters are bored. Please do skip this. Nobody wants you to be forced to read about things you don’t care about.
I am one of THOSE types who don’t knit. I will always still read what is written here, because it is usually funny anyways, especially when the “professional” words are used and I try to picture whattheheck it is.
I did post that I wasn’t too interested otherwise in the real knitting. And I did apologize to all the knitters. In my opinion, just because one part of the blog doesn’t interest me, doesn’t mean that anyone else has to change what they wish to post or that other parts of the blog aren’t fun. Especially the little snippets and “Alessandro naked” fergawdsakes! (A completely different thing to picture!)
Sorry if my initial comment came out wrong.
The terminology can be funny, especially if you don’t know the subject, and as you said, are trying to figure out what they mean.
I was snarky – Very snarky. My apologies. Not your fault.
On the other hand, I would happily read about horse racing if you cared to venture a post…
Thank you but you do NOT want me to start with the horsies!
I will just say that in my distorted world view, Northern Dancer is The Greatest Canadian.
If you dont have anything to play you should try Devil May Cry 5 it had a premiere last week, very good action game with nice story, there is a lot of recap story videos on youtube so you can catch up if you haven’t played last games! 🙂
Kate Daly says
About that mating trope: I get it. Things I don’t read any more include save the world, anything with shoes in the title, Austen as victim of the otherwise plotless. If you like the writer but hate the trope, get the book from the library (this is important, as you don’t want to encourage via sales a theme you don’t care for) and read the last two or three chapters. That will inform your decision to read or not.
Aurora Ebonfire says
That Kim show sounds like a Tv version of the movie Two Weeks Notice, but still interesting.
Have you tried Monster Hunter World yet? The game comes on both PC and console.
Have you tried Sherrilyn Kenyon’s League series? It’s an interesting series that has space travel, assassins, witty comments, sarcasm, romance, friendship. It’s the only other series that I have read/ listened to other the the Inkeeper and Hidden Legacy series that I always go back to. Congrats on finishing your manuscript, I can’t wait for Sapphire flames to come out. Thanks for all your hard work and all the great worlds you guys create.
Coding for beginners- for me when I was learning new scripts and languages, Google was my friend whenever I got stuck on an assignment (and still is). Search the help boards dedicated to figuring out coding problems for beginners/learners and you can usually find something close enough to modify to your needs without having to reinvent a wheel when you get stuck. Not always perfect but it helps most of the time.
Keep at it it is worth it……..
Books- I am reading currently the new book by Anne Bishop “wild country ” and waiting for the patricia briggs “storm cursed” book in May.
Ooooh – I love Patricia Briggs as well….Mercy Thompson is such a fun character to read!
Ditto. Bummer that she had to push the last book out. I used to take that Tuesday off because Anne Bishop’s and Patricia Briggs’ books would come out the same day, so I’d inhale them both on the same day. Alas, not this year.
I’m still tempted to take off May 7th for the next Mercy book.
Love Mercy Thompson. Strong and caring heroine. So glad to hear another book out soon. Yay!!!!!
My first thought when I read a ‘naked Alessandro’ was, was he alone? OK, I know we will find out eventually.
I think the idea of you creating your own pattern sounds like the best deal. I hope we hear more about that.
What movie are you going to see?
INORITE? There was zero mention of a naked Catalina.
Reading (no mating trope in sight) suggestion – have you tried T.A. White? I just finished her latest book: Rules of Redemption (The Firebird Chronicles Book 1). Strong female character and interesting plot. Cannot wait for the second book…have started pulling up her other novels to read.
Ellen D. says
Been raining almost non stop here. Then the sky changed to an amazing color and a bright light came out. ?
What irritates me about the mating trope is it usually replaces all the dialogue and characterisation involved in people falling for each other – it takes all the actual romance out of a romance plot and most of the fun with it.
There’s a few series (like with Nalini Singh and Thea Harrison) where the bond concept seems fairly crude in the earlier books but gets a lot less deterministic and more complicated over the course of their series, and I enjoyed them lots even with the magically-fated-instalust.
I was going to say that. I LOATHE the mating trope. Especially in YA, where it should be banned. It demeans real relationships.
In fact, I just read a YA series where, after book 2, the bonded 500 year old vampire ONLY calls the heroine “soulmate”. As if she has no name or purpose for existence besides being his bonded soulmate.
However, Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series DOES get so much better, and I started it before I’d really seen the mating trope at its worst. So while books 2-4? 5? are kinda simple, they get much more interesting later on (I just can’t make Sasha & Lucas into something “simple”. Not in their own book. In later books, when they’ve turned into token background characters who show up for a couple pages to be too precious for words, yes. But in their own book? No).
Thea Harrison… is pretty ok. Mostly because she’s funny about it. Everything else, I duck as soon as I see it. My problem is that I’m a “fluff novel in a half day, something requiring brains in a full day*” reader, and sometimes it’s just easier and faster to finish the bad book instead of going looking for a new one.
*which makes me so incredibly happy that I’ve just discovered Elizabeth Bear who is amazingly amazing. And amazingly prolific. I’ve spent the last 2-3 weeks reading anything by her I can get my hands on** and am really upset that I haven’t discovered her. Ever since I found Connie Willis, I’ve been actively looking for under-marketed female SF writers. But that was 5 years ago. I should have found Bear before now.
**which led to a small fight with my husband after I went over-book-budget for February.
Also, my general response to someone else loving the mating trope is to steer them toward Tim Minchin: https://youtu.be/Gaid72fqzNE
sharon bronson-sheehan says
If you are looking for a great read (obviously besides your books), I have just discovered Anne Bishop’s Others series. I cannot put them down!
Lynn T. says
Thank you for the laugh, Ilona Andrews. I stopped watching tv news years ago as I found depressing and non informative. I am not on facebook and other social media as that was strictly monitored by my employer and I found boring as I am very aware things on internet are there forever.
I enjoy listening to 4 am BBC broadcast on radio as their slant on news is much different from American news. So I take BBC news at 4 am and NPR news at 6 am and research if something catches my interest….like major differences between stories.
Good luck on knitting. Sometimes you have to personalize pattern when you make something. Pluto had an abnormally well developed chest so standard dog patterns did not fit her. So I taught myself to knit since I could not find a crochet pattern and made her “clothes”.
Titan, my present puppy, does not wear clothes or harness or collar because restraint is an issue for him. [He spent his first 8 months of his life confined to a crate before he Came to live with me.] Eventually he will and I will have to custom make him clothes as he is not a standard pattern pup. He is an 85 pound mutant according to one of my BIL. Grin.
Looking forward to Sapphire Flames. I noticed Hugh’s book the digital library has 6 copies now and still has a long wait. Smile. They only ordered 1 initially.
Melissa B says
I like the pretty carved wood bowl you are using as the yarn dispenser. Maybe I saw the Darn Good Yarn advert through one of your prior posts? Well, I bought one for my Mom’s Christmas Present. She’s an ambitiously awesome knitter too and absolutely loves that bowl. It’s light weight and perfect for someone who travels. Have fun knitting!
A fan brought it to a signing as a gift. I tried not to take it, because it’s expensive, but she insisted. I use it every time I knit now.
I’ve just finished Secretary Kim!! Soooooo funny!! I’m going to be watching this one a few times. Think it’s my favorite Kdrama to date!! I’m so happy you watched it too! Love everything you guys do and I can’t wait for Sapphire Flames!
If you want a good long series, you could try Jonathan Moeller’s Ghosts series. It is ebook only, but each one is cheap luckily. His Cloak Games series is good too, I’ve seen it compared to Kate Daniels actually.
I just read Martha Wells, the Muderbot Series – it was good. Pleasantly sarcastic and novella length.
I’m home sick today, so am going with my usual choice and reading YA novels. This time it’s the Percy Jackson series – not bad. More complicated than the movies.
I also loved Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota series (three are out, one more to be published). They aren’t easy, but are worth it.
Murderbot has a full length novel coming out next year!
I loved the first one, liked the second one, the third one was ok. Here is the problem: I do not like $10 price tag. Our books come out at $15 per ebook if it’s a hardcover or $6.99 when it’s a paperback, and they are usually 100K in length. Murderbots are more like 25K in length and at this point if I buy the 4th one, I would have paid $40 for a normal size paperback. If every single one was amazing, it might be worth it, but as I am liking them less and less, I may have to wait until they are on sale.
Your burn out seems pretty bad. Not surprising with the mongrel year that you’ve had to live through.
My non-medical recommendation is to go outside and dance in the rain, jump in puddles and when soaked, and possibly muddy, come in and have a hot shower.
Hope you are able to get through this burn out quickly.
I second the dance in the rain and jump in puddles recommendation.
Margaret S. says
Love your ramblings. I am not a proficient knitter. Absolutely cannot watch tv at the same time as I try to knit. Have better success with audio books. Have writer/book/series recommendations of which some deal with adults and others with teens. W.R. Gingell, “The City Between” so far books 1-3 are out. Elizabeth Hunter, her Cambio Springs trilogy(?) (three books, two short stories.), Hopefully she will write more. Layla Nash, “Crossroads Burning The Witches of Rattler’s Run Book 1), Laura Thalassa “Pestilence” (The Four Horsemen Book 1). Lastly, Tim Burtonesque – Juliann Whicker, “Butcher, Baker, Werewolf Savior… (long title) I’m on book 2; her “Rosewood Academy of Witches and Mages” (5 books in the series?)
* Agree about the mating trope. It’s compulsory.
* liked Alita Battle Angel. Remember Rogan’s grinder? The upper world has a grinder that slides down the tether pipeline. Also, an eerie reprise of a moment in Titanic, director hubris. But imaginative.
Kimberly King says
Are you able to name the author of the first series you mentioned. I am always looking for new reads. I really enjoyed the Amaranthine saga series from Forthright that you suggested.
I’m not sure if you’re aware or it has been mentioned before but regarding mates/mating/soulmates/bonding etc.:
C.L Wilson’s “The Fading Lands” series are excellent in this regard. In fact, it’s my all time favorite mates book/series EXACTLY because it does not automatically make them blindly love the other person & blablabla.
It’s nothing like that, the relationship develops slowly & far more realistically, healthy even, than most regular romance books, not to mention mate trope books.
Well and also Patricia Briggs’ Alpha & Omega series as well as Mercy’s series, there the mate thing is also while kind of instant, but the relationships themselves are developed ;P
Oooh, and while some k-dramas I’d recommend were already mentioned one that was not but is soooo fun is Strong Woman Do Bong Soon 😀
And if you’re in the mood for smt fun & yet also bittersweet then Goblin – The Lonely and Great God is also fantastic and set a new standard for cinematography. Like whoaaaaaaaaaaaa, it’s like watching some super high class movie!
The mate thing was really only “instant” for Charles & Anna, and Briggs did a really good job at showing us how the relationship built and stumbled and failed and got back up again. As in, the mating may have pulled those two together, but that meant the relationship building was almost harder. Very well done.
Colleen C. says
Ilona give Burnt Worlds a try if you are looking for space books. 1st of 5 in the HMCS Borealis series by SJ Madill. I enjoyed it enough to get the next one.
Okay you’ve got me hooked – like everything you write even when it just ramblings about your day. Don’t know why, but today’s make me crave chocolate. Off for a Peanut M&M binge! Maybe it was the movie note?
Thank you so much! I will definitely take you up on that generous offer.
I tried to do the cheesy thing and told her, “Ok, take this free code for the quiz available on GitHub and modify it.”
“Mom, I’m not going to take credit for someone else’s work.”
Congrats, Mom! Too many kids these days happily take credit for others’ work, enough so the university I work at has invested in software to detect plagiarism in the students’ submitted work.
+1 Parenting win!
The quote from the editor is an evil tease, you are a nefarious woman.
I’m currently rereading Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series and just finished the reread of the Alpha and Omega series. If the fated mate thing is really bothering you right now then you might want to wait on the Alpha & Omega series. She didn’t call it fate, but it was an immediate thing of their wolves each deciding the other one was the mate for them. It was mentioned several times in the series that they did it backwards and usually the wolves ended up accepting as mate whoever their human had chosen although it was sometimes years after the marriage.
Have you looked at any of Casapinka’s patterns? I don’t think she has any fade type but she does have several multi color fingering wt shawls. Ravelry search limited to her fingering wt 3, 4, or 5 color shawls. http://rav.to/gbve47 Welcome Back Garter has an option to use 6 colors.
This is true as far as A&O goes but I’ll say this Patty did not make it easy. They worked for the relationship they have whoo boy. The fated mate thing was less fated more oh look two disasters that might actually like each other lets match make! The wolves were more like very intuitive matchmakers. The Mercy/A&O books are one of the only times I’ve seen the fated mate thing not done in a way that drives me to murder.
This is the reason why I liked the Relentless series by Karen Lynch as well; the have the option of breaking the bond if it’s unwanted. I dislike the whole ‘sorry, you’re stuck with me sweetheart’ deal a lot of authors has going. Not a total deal-breaker, but close.
Agree to disagree. Alpha and Omega is not a fated mate trope. Both characters can walk away from each other at any time and find another mate. It’s just that the wolf parts of them are quicker at recognizing a mate that they are willing to accept than the human parts. And both characters work really hard at their relationship and baggage, just as one would in a real marriage.
Seconded. And this series is a hoot, thoughtful, and scary as all get-out at the same time. Well worth it.
The Mercy Thompson and A&O series are some of my favorites! I agree with you that it’s not an example of fated mates. It might bother people who dislike the trope, but it isn’t really an example of it. Mates and mate bonds exist in the world, but it doesn’t have that “oh well we just met and now we have no choice but to marry because fate/magic” thing going on, and I think that’s usually the part that bothers people about the trope.
Personally, I really like stories that have an element of telepathic/magic bonds between “mates” (or even things like the pack bonds, between people who are close but not necessarily romantically involved with each other), but the fated-mate-at-first-sight thing usually bothers me. I like when the characters have to work at their relationships!
The Nalini Singh Psy-Changeling books are about as close to fated mates as I like, and in those it’s not not something that happens to everyone (or that often), the characters aren’t compelled to be with their “fated” mates, and if they ignore it, it eventually goes away. The couples all end up with a mate bond, but very few (I want to say none, but there’s like 20+ books and I can’t remember them all off the top of my head) felt that kind of compulsion…
Big yes on the Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series and the Alpha and Omega series …. WARNING THOUGH there are some scenes that deal with RAPE and SEXUAL ABUSE in both books. Please be careful is those are hard subjects to deal with for you. I believe they are beautifully written as these books also deal with the aftermath of such events in ones life. In fact they do that amazingly well in my opinion as a survivor.
On a brighter note .. ILONA >>>> you need to try FALLOUT – LAS VEGAS if you haven’t already .. it is an extremely well put together game that is severely under-rated. Its basically a choose your own adventure with guns or swords or other melee weapons. I really like the fact that you can do A but if you do then C will happen however if you choose B not only will C not happen but your choice will blow C and everyone around C to smithereens … then you will get targeted by the bad guys or good guys depending on your opinion.
Anyways thats my 2 cents worth lol … I hope everyone has an awesome day .. its off to Uni for me!!
Kelly M says
I still haven’t finished the Joji Locatelli MKAL shawl from a couple of years ago because of the knit-in-2-pieces thing. Sigh. Once I do the pattern on one side I have no motivation to do it AGAIN on the other. Same reason I always prefer walking a loop instead of retracing my steps!
Evie Larson says
If you haven’t yet. … Hallow Knight! What an amazing/fun indie game.
I am literally watching lore videos of this game now (yay multitasking)and there is so much. It looks awesome and I know my roommate is addicted. It’s a platformer, so I’d keep that in mind.
I’m watching Secretary Kim right now too!! It’s fun. I just finished the work olympiad episode – her intensity cracked me up (^_^) AND the big brother is the actor that played the best friend-cum-bodygard in “W”!… He was one of my fav part of that drama, I’m glad to see him again. Up ’til now though the best K-Drama I’ve come across is “Healer”, have you seen it? If not, I strongly recommend it.
I recommend Healer too. It’s my favorite kdrama and I’ve been watching several a year since around 2009-1010 so that says a lot lol
I just started secretary kim now, isn’t this just a more detailed version of two weeks notice? A few things are different, but the gist? Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving it- but am I crazy?
I was wondering the same thing. It wouldn’t bar me from watching it, but the description sounds just like it!
Emily Edwards says
Descendants of the Sun is my favorite Korean Drama. I’ve watched it multiple times. I like it because there is no love triangle (I despise love triangles) and both characters are passionate about their careers. There is no fantasy love, but a love that grows from an understanding about who each person really is…so good.
I am currently watching “Romance is a bonus book” which is also a K-drama – I like how they switch from light to dark topics. It is even on Netflix *-*
Going to give Secretary Kim a try now. It looks light hearted and sometimes you need that.
If you watch korean movies, are you interest in Chinese ones?
If so, I have some recommendation.
The real name in Chinese is “Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms”. It’s basically the most popular series that year. Everyone loves it. Even the book lovers who complain a lot when they know casts because the leading couple is not beautiful enough love it. There is also a movie which was better casted but extremely sucks.
Nirvana in Fire
I love the book dearly. The series has a deviation from book which I don’t like but kinda understand. It’s still great, though.
Both of them are drama and not comedy.
ps I am not chinese.
Nirvana in Fire book? English translated, for real? Where? Where? Wheeeere??????
… that show was epic, though I feel like the book would be better. Also Highly recommend it TOO.
I don’t think there are official english translation. But there is a web translation (not finished)
I read in Thai. We have the fully translated books. ^^
I have watched enough Chinese films to know that everyone I like will die in a horrible and tragic way.
Bwah ha ha, so true!
*cough* Not Nirvana in Fire then.
But I promise that in “Eternal Love” no one dies.
As far as the games go i feel you. It’s been mostly early access this and early access that.
I miss having the potential of fun that Star Wars galaxy had when it first started up. So far everything else has sort of paled in comparison.
If you want a knitting treat, try finding some of the old mon tricot knitting pattern books. I remember leafing through my mom’s collection and trying random stitches just to see how they came out. I still have some of those tattered editions and old McCall’s needlework magazines from the 60s which I can’t part with because of those memories of rainy days when I was looking for something to make. Hope the shawl shapes up as what you want it to be.
Valerie Specht says
Oh, man! I missed the chance to sign up to be a beta reader?! Bummer! ?
I should learn how to knit. I’ve always wanted to…
I have read all the books by T.A. White but I think you’d enjoy her Pathfinder series (The Broken Lands). You suggested a read by S.K. Dunstall, Linesman, which I devoured, have you read the start of their second series, Stars Uncharted? Killing Eve, its on Hulu, is a series that blew me away. Cat and mouse game between a female serial killer and the woman hunting her, but so much more than that! Thanks for anything you do!?
+1 on Killing Eve…god Phoebe Waller Bridge funny + ridiculous levels of thriller.
I am just starting to knit again after a long hiatus. All I want to do is knit. Sadly, my dogs want to eat, go outside and get attention. My husband wants to eat and have clean clothes and a minimally clean house. So selfish.
Sounds like a hump day to me. Nothing works out quite as hoped and so there’s vague annoyance and/ or dissatisfaction with life in general. I generally head out for a 3-5 mile walk on those days. The endorphins kick in about 30 min into the trek and after an hour or so life looks so much better.
Y’all hang in there!
Have you read the Jonathan Roper investigates. by Michael Leese it’s about a brilliant autistic detective who has trouble relating to others
Just finished re-reading all the Innkeeper series. As usual, whenever I read your stories it feels like home. Thank you.
When life gets too much: don’t watch the TV, don’t sweat small stuff and it’s all small stuff. I like to read and pursue my hobbies and after that I end up going to Ted Drew’s and getting a strawberry shortcake. Hmmm hmmm good! Not good for my waistline but sometimes you do what you have to do.
Give your daughter a hug and encourage her to keep going! These things will begin to make more sense with time.
I was a computer science major in college and it was the first time I was really academically challenged. I spent the first semester banging my head against a wall, struggling with concepts introduced in the first week of school while my (male) classmates who had been coding since they were 11 just breezed through. Eventually I figured things out but it took months of camping at office hours and more banging my head against a wall to finally get there. It was incredibly frustrating but ultimately incredibly rewarding. These days I work as a product manager at a major tech company and love my job.
Good luck to her!
Lisa JG says
Thanks for the Secretary Kim tip. That might tide me over until Season 2 of Aggretsuko drops.
I admire your patience in even contemplating a blanket-sized object made out of fingering weight yarn.
You could make your own fade by holding two of your six strands together (bigger needles, yay). Number your yarns, like from darkest to lightest. With six yarns, there are only 15 two-yarn combinations possible (12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 26, 25, 24, 23, 34, 35, 36, 46, 45, 56). Pick a lace pattern you like. Cast on maybe 60 centimeters’ worth of stitches. Execute a color change every 8 or 9 cm.
And if you keep your lace away from the edges, you can do increases and decreases at the edges so you get something wavy rather than just a rectangle.
Silvia A Jackson says
ILONA!! None of your books are failures! They can never be! You two write so wonderful and the stories are getting better and better – not trying to put pressure on you and/or stress you out – please don’t sell yourself short but enjoy your “off time” as we will bug you for more and more of your incredible imagination. (lol)
I’ve read/own all your books and re-read them; they bring so much joy and take me away into a different world, forgetting troubles and worries so I can breathe again.
Please, see yourself as the incredible, imaginative, inventive person(s) you truly are! ?
We had one of our first really spring like days today. The snowdrops are out (and the neighbors with dogs, OMG, so many dogs, I know more dog names than neighbor names) and after stopping by the mom & pop hardware store for some minor repair supplies, I finally made it to our fiber oriented maker space, which never looked like it had much actual stuff… oh, my heavens, how wrong I was. So, I gossiped with the owner, and fingered all the yarn (Malabrigo… I mean, a lot of other yarn, but…) and compared multi-tools with the owner’s son… (and invited them to visit the lab, because sea slugs are awesome, and everyone should see how the science is made, right?) They have fabric, and thread and all kinds of things – no spinning stuff, but it’s hard for me to complain when I’ll only be here another few months.
Of recent books, I think i was most excited by Watcher in the Woods, which is Kelley Armstrong’s latest Rockton book. Those are like crack for me. I’ve been in a mood this last bit, and more likely to dump a book after a few chapters than is usual for me.
Suzanne H. says
For light viewing, I found a Aussie show called “The Strange Calls” (on Netflix and Hulu) that just cracked me up! If the shows Northern Exposure and Haven had a child, this show could be the result. Their blurb on IMDB: Hot Fuzz meets Haven, Aussie-style: A lighthearted, supernatural cop show set in a Australian seaside community of Coolum. A young constable arrives to take the night shift, answering calls from the residents who apparently have some special problems at night. His girlfriend dumps him; his office is a beat-up trailer; and his side-kick is an elderly gentleman who favors a Dungeons-and-Dragons style board game. “It can get pretty weird around here when the sun goes down.
Margaret S. says
Hi, based on your recommendation I just watched the show. Very funny! Too bac there aren’t more.
Carla Moore says
I found a couple of really good books recently one is a YA a coming of age story, Navigating the Stars by Maria V Snyder and it’s wonderful with star ship, grave robbers, killer aliens, and, an age old puzzle involving the TeraCotta Soldiers… The other book is WWII alt history, The Minds of Men by Kacey Ezell… with flying fortress and the psyche women’s corp…
Am I seriously the only one who thought “Naked Alessandro! Whee!”?
I’m with ya, focus on the things that make you happy. I’ve tried really hard to cut down on my news consumption. Sometime when I read the news all I can think is “people really suck.” It takes some chocolate, sewing, and bantering with my kids to remember that not everyone sucks all the time…
No, I definitely had a brief *Yay!* as well.
PBS tv stations are usually fairly even-handed on the event coverage they produce, and NPR for radio. They don’t usually have weather coverage with all the fun radar, but the Weather Channel pretty much covers that. (Although you will run into the fund-raising marathons about every three months or so….)
I am so happy you’re enjoying some time off, it seems like you need it. Glad for the positive feedback on the book, can’t wait to read it! Enjoy the knitting and the vegetating in front of the TV/pc, and keep well. Remember, the BDH loves you!
On the games front Sekiro Shadows Die Twice comes out in about a week. It sounds like an action/adventure/fighting game set in 1500s Sengoku Japan and looks to have game-play not dissimilar to the Assassins Creed games.
Fiat jokes ?. My dad has a really funny one about the company trying to launch in Nairobi. One of the back tires fell off during a test drive.
If you like Scifi, I’d recommend Terminal Alliance. It’s about the thrilling adventures (not sarcasm) of space janitors. It’s up to two books in the series and I really enjoyed it.
+1 on this one. Jim Hines is amazing at the funny and affecting. He also doesn’t do the usual tropes ever.
Have you read Michael Leese he writes about a autistic detective who has trouble relating to people the first book is Going Underground
Ista in Sydney says
I read the Reluctant Concubine a couple of years ago, and felt like it changed horse half way. Like there were two books mashed into one. I enjoyed it mostly but that niggled enough that I decided not to read the next book.
On a good news side, we will be happy to see you in France in less than a month…. 😉
I absolutly agree! I’m already counting the days!
I have a few small and maybe silly things that make me happy too. Won’t list them but I now can add one more: knowing that you guys have an Italian proofreader. As a native Italian speaker I can’t tell you how much of a turnoff it is to read blaring mistakes in a book when an author tries to insert a foreign language they don’t know. Especially mistakes that any speaker of the language worth their salt could have pointed out.
Actually, come to think of it, you speak Russian so I don’t need to tell you since you probably understand. LOL.
Anyway, thank you!
These blogs are my favorite, you sound like a real person and not the normal authorlord (I also like those too). I read the blogs because i love the books and this community, but you can be yourself!
JoAnn Arnold says
You might like this one. It’s free on Ravelry and uses multiple colors. It’s in mu TBK pile but looks like garter and a simple insert. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/diffusion-shawl
For your news fix, try the PBS News Hour. Yes, it occasionally deals with the horrific; however, their pieces are thoughtful and well balanced.
A site you may not be aware of is antique patterns.com
A free site, last I went on there with lots of patterns, some of which (crochet) date back to the 1500’s.
K D says
If you’re looking for a good game I’d suggest the Witcher 3. You don’t have to play the first two to enjoy the story. It does contain adult content. I haven’t been thrilled with any of the games of 2019 so far. Metro Exodus was a total letdown. I’m enjoying Tales of Vesperia, but it was originally released on xbox eons ago, so I don’t count that as a 2019 release. I haven’t gotten DMC5 yet, hopefully it’s better than the Devil May Cry reboot.
For books with some comedy I highly recommend Drew Hayes’ NPCs. The audio books are fantastically done. And if you want magic and scifi in one, I recommend Alex White’s A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe. The second book is also out with the third being released in Jan ’20.
Anna Strait says
I am currently working on a comfort cloak. It is a church pattern I found on ravelry. Makes a fitted cloak that is really quite gorgeous. Simple pattern to carry around.
Thanks for all the author recommendations. I just found out another of my authors passed away last year. Bill Crider wrote or cowrote over 100 books, and my list keeps dwindling down.
Dear Ilona, You are already over-qualified to make your own shawl pattern. It’s a rectangle. Think swatch with a stabilizing border of garter or seed stitch. To fade your colors, do 2 rows of A, 2 rows of B, 2 rows of A, etc. then several rows of B. Then carry on with intermittent rows of B and C. etc. Work it out on a small swatch, tossing in whatever simple lace that suits your fancy. It doesn’t have to be anything more complicated than you can do while carrying on a conversation or watching TV, because your colors are the star of the show and the lace and plain knitting are the supporting cast. A feather and fan or chevron would really show off the color changes.
Make the shawl a multiple of the number of stitches in the lace pattern + the two borders that will total the approximate width of stitches on your needles (the measurement from center back neck to as low on your torso as you want to go). If you already have a rectangular shawl you like, use that as a guide. Start with the same border that you are using on the side, and when you’ve knitted it as long as you want, finish with the border. You can even mirror your color bands from the middle to the far end, so that it begins and ends in the same colors .
Hope this helps.❣️?
Very cool actual news:
Thanks So much, Gailin. That was the biggest laugh my DH and I had all day ❗️
Interesting reading, but the punchline was hilarious and completely unexpected.? ?
I have started two new (to me) series in the last few weeks. Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series is set in Alaska with an Aleut protagonist. The books are so atmospheric and well-written with an engaging cast of characters. I am also learning a lot about Alaska and about Aleut culture. Tanya Huff’s Valour series is military sci-fi with incredibly good aliens. I am enjoying both. On the tube, I love, love, love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. It is wonderful. I am also knitting a shawl – making a pattern designed for two colours with three colours. It just takes a bit of math-fu. I think you can treat most patterns as recipes in any case. I hope you get past the blahs.
I also loved the Kate Shugak series. Like Kate Daniels, she grows and changes through the series. Each book gets better. Like Kate Daniels, in the beginning, she is damaged and isolated. Then we get to watch as experience, friends, heartache, and love in all its forms, help her become more. Also like Kate, she is smart, honest, and fearless. She does not suffer fools. Great series.
Congrats on reaching the Calm Before Edits! Looking fwd to the next book 🙂
Yeah Dana Stabenow is pretty good both as mystery and for that sci-fi trilogy she did. Have ya tried Molly Harpers How to Date Your Dragon? How about Robyn Bachars Galactic Cold War or Corey J Whites Killing Gravity/Voidwitch series? Bill Baldwins Helmsman series? Or fof some lighter fare, Veronica Scott ?
That was great, Gailin. Thanks for the link.
“And it would merely take the quantum state back one 10-billionth of a second into the past, roughly the time it takes between a traffic light turning green and the person behind you honking.” Hilarious! But I wasn’t talking real STRING THEORY, just your average everyday string theory. ?
Thanks, Gailin, That was my biggest laugh of the day – “1/ ten billionth of a second =
approximately the time it takes for a red traffic light to turn green and the car behind you to start honking. But I wasn’t talking STRING THEORY, just your average everyday string theory.?
nothing on the book front as I am currently reading a bunch of cozy/light mystery books. I used to knit and found I liked the wedding rings shawls with fingering yarn. Most that I’ve seen don’t use different colors but you could use the pattern and change the colors for a faded effect
Corina Havard says
I found Soniah Kamal’s recent retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Unmarriageable, enjoyable and thought-provoking. Read a review, and see if it will satisfy your yen for a good read.
People who liked this also bought — just kidding.
I never liked the original and neither did Jude Deveraux. So she retold it the way a modern reader might want it to go in “the Girl from summer Hill”. The review might hook you too.
Corina Havard says
There are a slew of Pride & Prejudice retellings from sweet romantic imaginings to rampaging zombies. If you didn’t like Austen’s novel, it’s unlikely Kamal’s will interest you. Her story is set in Pakistan, a country and culture with which I am unfamiliar. It’s about social classes, colonialism, women’s rights and literature. And a bit of romance.
I agree with the fated mate thing whole heartedly. It takes away all the suspense from the reader, because we know at the end they HAVE to get together, while also causing the heroine to forgive ALL THE MISTAKES and assholery her love interest does, with barely any riper-cushions at all. In some novels, it feels very forced and very unrealistic because the whole “oh, my fated mate has arrived! I’ll be an douche for two months, then rethink all my past mistakes, beg for forgiveness, and receive the goods!” is not how actual relationships work. At all.
I’ve always loved the Kitty Norville Series, by Carrie Vaughn, because she takes the reader’s impression of who the love interest should be [spoiler: the brooding, conflicted, emotionally closed off werewolf hunter] and DOESN’T LET HER FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM because it WOULDN’T MAKE SENSE. Meeting a woman doesn’t mean a man will resolve all emotional conflicts keeping him from entering a relationship. This is, in fact, why he is not in a relationship. Who knew?
Here,Here, Rachel! It’s bad enough if you figure out whodunnit on page 30 of a mystery,
But if you feel like you know the whole story in a romance, just by reading the blurb on the back cover, the only nice thing you can say about the author is you just saved the price of the book. I really like when it takes a while for the relationship to gel, like maybe
3 to 9 books (teehee).
So I don’t know how you can possibly read all your comments but…Here you are.
If you like Assassins Creed you should look in to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
It’s not as stressful but it’s open world and beautiful.
Also this is of course a no bainner, Final Fantasy XV.
You don’t need to have played the old ones, and they have some Assassins Creed DLC that is fun. This game consumed my world till I collected all the trophies (Yes, I’m one of those…. I am a Trophy Whore.) I needs all the trophies. My PS account is all about the trophies.
Nino Kuni 2
I never played the first on, but this was a cutesy little game with animated style in league with Studio Ghibli. And you get to build a city of your own to rule.. Loved! Also it was a little out of the box for me who would rather play Borderlands all day every day for the rest of time.
I’m really just rereading at this point. I feel like all my favorites are in limbo waiting on release in May or August. Kindle unlimited only wants to recommend reverse harems, and I can’t take much more of them, cause realistically why would any women want to babysit more than one man. Is it so they can split up the chores? I mean if I got more bath and gaming time, then yes lets have another spouse. But I would rather read about a strong independent female who makes room in their life for an equal partner.
So right now I’m rereading Jana Deleon’s Miss Fortune series. It’s funny, there is a mystery. and I can reread them and still giggle.
So I hope you have a good rainy day , with good tea and snugly animals
Wenonah Lyon says
I’m reading Alan Hollinghurst – The Sparsholt Affair. Love Holinghurst – The Line of Beauty, The Stranger’s Child. Also read the new Faith Hunter Jane Yellowrock book. One of my favorite writers, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., The Mongral Mage and second in the trilogy, Outcasts of Order. I looked at my preorders: eight coming up between now and December. I like literary fiction, scifi, urban fantasy. If you want something new to read, try Modesitt, Imager series or Recluse series.Have also written two pieces of short fiction, joined a writing group. And the house is filthy. Oh well, to quote someone better an unkept housethan an unlived life.
cherylanne farley says
So glad its not just me! I keep “working” on creating more positivity and–weirdly– it seems quite hard!
Books–kinda washing out. Started reading Charles Finch English mysteries and good cultural learning only OK mystery. Struggled with new Faith Hunter Soulwood book. Switching over to Self Help. Again. Sigh.
Crafting–My health issues include Reynards Syndrom and Rheumatoid Arthritis in my hands which is annoying for crafts needle projects. Planning on starting Calligraphy because the pens are little bigger
Pi DAY!! We have terrific little downtown café that imports FABULOUS pies from special bakery out of town. Its about 35 min drive one way but Im aimed there. Even if all the Pi pies are sold out it is still pleasant anticipation.
My husband has been playing Horizon Zero Dawn and really likes it. It looks cool, nice animation, and later on everyone wears silly hats.
I have decided you are the opposite of binge anything. I have loved reading instalments of the stories you put online. I have just read the Catalina story (got it from the library – young adult fiction, who would have looked there? Thank goodness for the online catalogue!). It was short, so I had to limit the chapters so it would last longer. Opposite of binge!
Of course, I have read all your books, so am waiting patiently for the next one.
On a completely different topic, I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE the new feel of the website. It’s sleek, elegant and still warm.
Tobias Torp says
On the topic of depressing news, this song describes it pretty well 🙂
Thanks for the recs! Am taking a break from the news, and am on the lookout for fun distractions.
I just watched the first couple of episodes of The Expanse and am thoroughly hooked! Plus I’ve downloaded the Viki app for my phone so I can watch What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim 🙂
Incidentally, how I also relieve stress is go for long walks and cook new (to me) recipes. I also like to declutter.
We have a Fiat 500e, and Fiat replacing the gasoline engine with an electric motor has removed all the unreliable joke material while keeping all the fun of zipping around in a cute little car. Zero problems in 2 1/2 years.
To-date the 500e is only sold on the west coast to offset the gasoline models for fuel efficiency and zero emissions requirements, but I hear Fiat will be rolling it out elsewhere in the next year or two. All Fiat jokes aside, the 500e is highly recommended if you can get one. But you’ll have to find another source of Italian car jokes:-(
My cousin had a Fiat many years ago — 1970s. She said Fiat stands for: Fix It Again, Tony.
That said, I think the new Fiats are adorbs.
Alice Brown says
Hey, good luck with the shawl. Did you know there is a group on Ravelry called ‘lace shawls from Russia.’ It may be useful!
Amanda in Austin says
If you haven’t already, the Witchlands trilogy by Susan Dennard is freaking amazing. It’s fantasy and magic and sisterhood and love. I can’t even remember how I stumbled into it, but I’m ever so glad I did.
Okay I’ll be that awful person – I’m guessing you very deliberately didn’t put the names of the books you were reading on the post. But! If anyone has any excellent or awful (but in an entertaining way) recommendations, I would thoroughly appreciate them.
I commute into work now and can get through three books a week just reading on the train and Tube. I don’t have a high level of intellect at 6am so mating tropes are just as welcome with me as the breathtakingly fantastic.
I’ve honestly just been reading one book in the morning that I’m really quite sure involves a lot of rape throughout though it’s supposedly just “their romantic begining” and a wonderful, detailed and involved fantasy book in the evenings.
Thanks to anyone with suggestions!!! Much appreciated 🙂
Hi Ruby, I’m Loving the Walker Papers series by C.E. Murphy, whom I had never heard of
until Ilona so kindly posted about Catie losing her whole email list in a software crash (couple of weeks ago). Joanne Walker is a 6ft. tall, half Irish/ half Cherokee garage mechanic at a police station in Seattle, Washington, who is forced to become a foot patrol cop in the hopes that she’ll quit. She is also shocked to find out she is a shaman.
A little bit of heartbreak mixed in with the gruesome side of a paranormal homicide
police department told in the most hilarious way I’ve ever read. Like our beloved Kate D.
she just keeps slogging on because she knows no one else is equipped to save and her friends, not to mention the world.
But beware! You will laugh so hard that while you’re blotting the tears away and making
wounded pig noises, your fellow passengers will be wondering if they should be calling the men in white coats.
Jenny W says
I enjoy Anne Bishop’s The Others series (blood prophets, werewolves (and other weres) and vampires, alternate history), and Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson Series (woman mechanic and coyote shapechanger, werewolves, faye, vampires).
Nalini Singh (has mating tropes)
Thanks guys 🙂
I loved that series. And good news! It’s complete so you can glom it in its entirety should you wish…
ACK! I thought I was responding to Chris’ comment about C.E. Murphy’s “The Walker Papers”.
Patti C. says
I love the Walker Papers! C. E. Murphy is a wonderful author. As with Ilona, I try to grab everything she’s ever published.
BTW, Ilona, thanks for the blog, which I just found. And thanks for the Innkeeper Chronicles!!
Bought 🙂 I look forward to frightening my fellow commuters x
Stéphanie Lachance says
Have you ever tried playing Subnautica? It’s not a new game (released in January 2018) but it’s one I keep paying again and again. The world is so beautiful you can loose many hours just to explore it.
so happy for some reason, that my fave author enjoys the kdrama i do! ? try Touch of my Heart too. its about a failed celeb and a grumpy attorney and a whole law office filled with wacky people
“We have a joke about reliability of a FIAT in there”
When we were looking for a new car my partner said “what about…” & I called it a Fix It Again Tomorrow. He looked at me like I’d grown an extra head!
Omg secretary kim made me cry in hilarity. I would recommend weight lifting fairy Kim Bok joo for your next show!
Mama of three says
I too LOVED Secretary Kim. So funny my sides hurt while I was watching. Thanks for the recommendation Ilona. Best 16 hours of TV I’ve watched in years.
Appreciate the recommendations in this thread, found several books to add to my reading list. Here are some more book recommendations for those looking for new reads, some oldies and indies you may not have heard of.
All of my descriptions are lame, I promise they are much better than they sound, check out real synopses online before discounting:
-Wen Spencer: Tinker or Endless Blue (Fantasy, everything by her is awesome)
-Sara King: Legend of Zero (All her books are great, SciFi and Fantasy)
-Meljean Brook: Iron Duke (steam punkish, Mogul Horde infects Europe
with nanobots in sugar & enslaves entire population, controls with
-Lois McMaster Bujold: A Civil Campaign, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance (Sci-fi, Recommend everything from the Vorkosigan series, colony planet stranded, develops militaristic society and reconnects with wider galactic society)
-Pearl S. Buck: Imperial Woman (Chinese historical)
-Octavia E. Butler: Parable of the Sower, Xogenesis (Aliens collect cancer DNA from humans to improve their species) (Sci-Fi, she’s amazing)
-Doris Egan: The Gate of Ivory (Sci-fi/fantasy, anthropologist stranded on alien planet, must adapt and acculturate)
-Ankaret Wells: Heavy Ice (Sci-fi, all her books are intricate and interesting)
-Katharine Eliska Kimbriel: Fires of Nualla* (Sci-fi, marriage on a
colony planet that must import partners from off planet due to radiation)
-R. Lee Smith: Last Hour of Gann (Scifi, humans stranded on alien planet, brutal but
-Lynn Gala: Claiming, Tails, and Other Artifacts (Sci-fi, non-traditional human alien partnership)
-Mackey Chandler: Family Law (Sweet Sci-fi, girl raised by alien when her parents are killed)
-Penny Reid: Neanderthal Seeks Human (Romance, modern, funny)
-Elizabeth McCoy: Herb-Witch (Fantasy, poison immune half breed herb-witch marries alchemist)
-Laurence Dahners: Vaz (Sci-fi, autistic man invents new technology to move matter)
-T.A. White: Rules of Redemption (SciFi, fun read)
-L. Rowyn: A Rational Arrangement (Fantasy, interesting relationships and world building, smart riding cats as partners)
-Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor (Fantasy, half goblin son of emperor raised in exile must return to court to rule when rest of family assassinated)
-Grace Draven: Radiance (Fantasy Romance, arranged marriage, both spouse think the other is hideous but considered attractive by their own species)
-Gail Carriger: Soulless (Fantasy, frothy victorian with werewolves)
The goblin emperor absolutely rules but the author has said it’s a stand alone title which breaks my heart because I loved the world she created
I also have a broken heart for the same reason. Sigh
Me also—love that book!
You’ve listed a couple of my favorite authors/books/series as well as a few others I was unaware of. Thank you, though my TBR list may be swearing slightly please don’t take it personally.
As an aside, have you read Kelly Gay’s Charlie Madigan series? Loved that series and wish to reread it but am unwilling to pay those prices (>$15 per ebook).
Here are some of my more unique favorites: (no ‘mates’ included)
Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series is very funny steampunk adventure. Not sure If I would call them romance or not? May be one slight stinker in the lot but truly unique characters. Let’s just say there is a character for every sort of reader to fall in love with.
CJ Cherryhs Foreigner series is amazing (except the first book) it is mainly political sci-fi however I have never seen an author create a civilization so different to human with such depth and so well. The “aliens” are in so many ways more interesting than the humans. (With eventual sweet subtle romance)
Peter Cline’s 14 and The Fold are just about as creapy creative as I can stand. I don’t like horror but these aren’t your average horror in any way. The buildups are fantastic.
Larry Correia’s Hard Magic books are also incredibly creative and a b&$ch to explain. They are a bit hard-boiled detective with a whole lot more. The narrator is Bronson Pinchot and he is beyond fabulous. People with powers but unlike any I have read before.
Angelmaker- Stand alone and strange but compelling for no accountable reason. Steampunk
I just ‘stumbled’ over a book called Rules of Redemption by TA White which I didn’t think I would like but it hit the spot. Science fiction with a slight paranormal twist. A book with lost family found, no gratuitous sex and an easy to live with end while I wait for the next in the series. Try this one, I tried love Nikki 😉
The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs (plus the Omega Wolf companions that are no mere companions!),
Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones,
These are the ‘crap I’ve just reread every Ilona book and there’s nothing new for a while’ book series I adore and read and reread. I read a heap of non fiction; philosophy and IT, so there’s one side that needs feeding and the other, passionate professional geek so the programming thing – yeah, when I started I was overwhelmed and thought – wtf there’s a heap to learn – and 26 years later I learn daily! No 1 WILL get there, but as a former teaching academic, one of the best bits of advice I can give is never be afraid to ask others for help.
I’m looking though the book recs here — would like to add Scott Lynch and his Gentlemen Bastards (Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies, Republic of Thieves). His books are awesome, even if I am often saddened by the teasers of future books whose publication dates are elusive. Some of the absolutely best world building I’ve run across, plus I love the dialogue and characters
Paul Davis says
Reluctant Concubine sounds like a rewrite of Elizabeth Vaughan’s Warprize, which is several years old.
Just want to send a word of sympathy and support for Kid 1. The first programming class I took in college was the worst grade I had ever received and ever did receive. Now I make a living programming in a language that didn’t exist when I took that class. One of the painful things about programming classes is that it is the minutia that kill you, but it isn’t really that you need to learn, or that will make you a good programmer in the long run. And also want to second what Timelady said about asking for help If kid 1 already does this, she’s ahead of the game. If not, I highly recommend it. I was well into graduate school before I figured out that going to office hours and/or asking for help is a great way to learn stuff, not a sign of weakness.
I’ve done that lately with crochet, can’t find anything to hold my interest. Have you read Terminal Alliance and Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines? I really enjoyed them. Just finished Cast in Oblivion by Michele Sagara, I so love that series. You introduced me to Klei’s Oxygen not Included, have you played that lately? The newest upgrades have added space and rockets, I sink so many enjoyable hours into that game. Hope you have a better week.
Have you tried planned pooling with crochet? I just finished a blanket sized one for my Kid 1, she goes off to college next year, and it was really fun. More about how colors land in stitches than tension and texture through different stitches.
Games: I second the recommendation of Subnautica, it’s a game that I can spend hours on. However, if you want more story-based adventure there is the Witcher 3 and Shadow of Mordor series. Shadow took me a while to get into but once I did it’s a lot of fun with interesting game mechanics (plus both are a couple years old and on sale on Gog/Steam often).
Programming: I wish Kid1 all the best and plenty of whatever they need to relax. Even with 20+ years in the industry I still have those projects that I end with throwing up my hands. It’s an everyday learning experience but is so satisfying when you finally figure out the best (or ‘a’) method. Good luck and don’t give up!
News: When I’m having one of my bad days and need something to help me remember the good in all of us, I check out this site. It’s worth pursing just for the smiles: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/
Catherine Anderson says
Love this thread – just added a few to my wishlist 🙂
Here are a few others to consider while waiting for Sapphire Flames (avoiding the fated mate trope as much as possible):
1) Lois McMaster Bujold – a repeat from above, but adding The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls, two of my all-time favorites – fantasy, with themes of perseverance and integrity in the face of overwhelming personal tragedy – incredibly uplifting
2) Nina Kiriki Hoffman – Silent Strength of Stones and The Thread that Binds the Bones – fantasy, coming-of-age, ethics of magic, family conflict
3) KJ Charles – A Charm of Magpies – a bit darker, M/M fantasy, excellently done
4) J. Fally – Bone Rider – sci-fi, interesting take on alien invasion/AI, M/M
5) R. Cooper – Beings in Love series – M/M, sweet, fluffy, feel-good fantasy
6) Amy Rae Durreson – Lord Heliodor’s Retirement – fantasy, themes of perseverance and personal integrity, overall a warm and fuzzy read
7) Robin McKinley – Sunshine – a non-sparkly, well-written take on vampires
8) Angel Martinez – A Christmas Cactus for the General (short M/M sci-fi) or Brandywine Investigations (Hades as a P.I. – enough said)
9) Janet Kagan – Hellspark – sci-fi, communicating with alien species
10) Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series (fae)
11) Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series – Cherokee skinwalker meets vampires
12) K Edwards – The Last Sun – fantasy, overcoming adversity, tarot (desperately waiting for the sequel to this one, too)
13) Rhys Ford – Black Dog Blues – gritty and fascinating urban fantasy with a damaged hero, good, bad and morally ambiguous elves, and a heaping helping of family drama
14) Forthright – Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox – new fantasy author – kitsune and other magical beings – definitely worth a second (or third) read
15) Martha Wells – Murderbot Diaries series – sci-fi, really interesting take on AIs as second-class citizens
Thanks for making it to the end of this post!
Just a shawl suggestion: http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/eyelet-triangle-shawl-l60393.html
It’s easy to knit once the pattern is established. It’s made with a cake yarn but could easily be adapted to your yarn.
I hate any pat predictable you know what’s coming romanc3 books…
I hate when women are sold in to slavery full get Stockholm syndrome….
I would much prefer in that case when the ass hole romantic lead rapes the woman,that she roll over kill him,dismember the bastard and escape….the end!
On to news Ilona I hear you
I call it. bad News…..I can rarely watch it ,PBS works best for me if I do…..
If you are looking for a new book series that will not disappoint, and something off the beaten path, I recommend reading “An Eternity of Eclipse” by writer Con.Template. It is my favorite series of all time dealing with demons, angels, Leviathans and all sorts of wicked things in a complex world-building setting and plenty of unforeseeable plot twists. However, what makes this series my favourite is that it stars my #1 hot alpha hero of all time (can’t really ever get hotter than the Demon of Lust! (Although to be honest, Mad Rogan is a close second)) and has tons of funny bickering dialogues. I think the only reason it isn’t more well known is because the story takes place in South Korea and the main characters are not white (gasp!). Anyways, I love that writer and the more people read her/his books, the more books they will write (hopefully!).
Other fantasy gems are the Cruel Prince series by Holly Black and The Bear and the Nightingale series by Katherine Arden… although both are already established writers you most likely have already heard of.
P.S. I totally agree – whoever came up with this mating trope thing should be sedated… although this is an unpopular opinion if you look at the number of werewolf mating stories on Wattpad.
I’ve stumbled across a series titled “Knitting in the City” by Penny Reid. The series follows a group of women who meet every Tuesday to knit and support each other. The first book is Neanderthal Seeks Human and I loved it. I don’t knit and am completely non-crafty, but most of my friends are. There are definitely some fun knitting moments that I think would speak to a knitter. The author has the spin-off series The Winston Brothers, which is what I first read and enjoyed. She has a good way with words – smart and witty. I read it and thought you might enjoy a nice romance with knitting – especially given the news cycle!
I recently read the Pathfinder series by T.A. White and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. The heroine is very capable and logical but has enough flaws to keep her human. I also loved the fact that her abilities come from hard work and dedication rather than being the “chosen one” or having secret superpowers.Also, her flaws do not make want to punch her in the face with a chair (which I have to say has happened with more heroines than I want to admit). Bonus: hot male love interest that starts out as annoying but matures quite a lot over the course of the series. Her world-building was also really good. I recommend it to everyone! The author is not as established from what I understand but she has a very good writing style.
As to games, I started playing Persona 5 this weekend and I love it! The story line is really cool and it has an interesting blend of social quests and battles. It’s a JRPG with turn based fighting mechanics. There are quite a few cut-scenes but the animation is really beautiful so I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Still have not found a good TV show to watch but now I am watching GoT again. Want to re-watch the whole thing before the new season starts.
I love “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim”, too. Your blog makes me want to watch it again.?
Can’ t wait for Catalina’s story to come out.?
Renee Sweet says
Can’t wait to see your shawl progress! I have yarn ready for a What the Fade, but am waiting until my brioche skills are a bit more solid.
Heather Langston says
I absolutely love The Expanse! Even got my law school, non-science fiction roommate hooked on the show. I know it’s almost “back to the grind” time for you, but if you haven’t already read the Rogue Mage trilogy by Faith Hunter you might give that a try. Thorn St. Croix is an amazing character and the post-apocolyptic story setting is really unique- not your typical Mad Max burned out world.
Loads of positive thoughts for your coming edits. I’m working away at my owm story and keeping your advice in the back of my brain. My Camp NaNoWriMo project is finishing my revision after my roommate read my story (so far I haven’t cried at her critique- but it’ll happen at some point)
You have no idea how many times I wanted to post “I wonder what Ilona is reading right now” in the fan group hehe.
Glad to get the answer, not so glad you didn’t find anything you really enjoyed. Everyone seems to be in a book funk at the moment (guaranteed to disappear on the 27th of August though!).
Megan Ryder says
I understand the knitting struggle. I did knit fading point and have to say I ADORED it. The knitting was pretty easy and fast – mostly garter with some easy lace to break it up. Lovely wrap. Seriously. Was actually a lot faster and easier knit than i expected.
But I understand the struggle. Take your time. The right project will come.
My mom watched the Secretary Kim show and she was iffy about it. That’s the type of KDrama I usually watch so I’ll start on it this weekend. Thanks for the rec.
I see many of my favorite book series mentioned above but sometimes I need something a bit more -humorous- and so I return to G.A. Aiken’s ‘Dragon Kin’ series. Oh, those uncivilized shape-shifting dragons and their fighting, stomping, roasting, and smiting; they cheer me up every time.
Reward: DFW Fiber Fest is the first weekend of April. Lots of vendors, indie dyers, yarn mills, fiber choices… I’m going! Great way to encounter new yarns and colorways… and maybe by then edits will be completed?
I loved Secretary Kim. I thought it was really fun. I’m watching A Korean Odyssey right now (because to watch Vicki I need to switch inputs to a different device than my typical Netflix/Hulu device. First world pain.) as it’s on Netflix. I’m enjoying it, but it’s moving a little slowly maybe for how long the episodes are. Still, I’ll watch just about anything with a Monkey King character.
Cynthia McCullough says
OMG! Thank you for introducing me to this What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim show! I didn’t know that existed. My son and I have been learning Korean, and this show has a language-learning setting. AWESOME.
Language learning setting? Get out of town! 진짜?!?
Definitely going to check that out. I have been starting and stopping for 10 years. I like the app Lingodeer but I also wanted to have a consistent storyline – not just spots of Talk to Me in Korean (great and helpful videos). Thanks for mentioning
There are some great book recommendations in this thread. I’m jotting down a short list.
I recently read The Sisters Of The Winter Wood by Rena Rossner. It was an enjoyable tale with no Insta love.
Have you seen The Slumber Shawl? It’s might fit your specs and would be pretty worked in fingering. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/slumber-shawl
Also this is a stunning fade shawl
Can’t wait for your next book release!
I watched secretary Kim a while ago and it’s sooo good , i love it ?
Stitched Together says
I love my Fading Point wrap and you are right, it is a behemoth of a knit, but I wear it ALL the time. It’s sock weight so it’s nice and light but there is acres of it so you can wrap it around yourself multiple times, or if like me you are tired a lot and it’s just a tiny bit chilly you can lay under it like a blanket! I dyed the yarn for mine and I’m glad I did so that I didn’t have to work out which yarns to use.
Roseanne Lobbezoo says
Thanks for the VIKI recommend. Being a senior with limited computer skills, I can use all the help I can get. Over the years I have seen several K shows that Intrigued me and wanted I to see more of. The problem was that I would only have access to their first or second episode and then nada. Beyond frustrating. I’m giving this a try.
If you have Netflix, there are several K-drama-dys and it is the full season which is usually 16 shows. Good luck! 🙂
I have the paid subscription to Viki and it is worth the very minimal cost to be ad free. Their catalog is very extensive, I have been really happy with it. (:
Generally they have the English subtitles up within a day or 2 of broadcast.
First, I love the term “outrage fatigue”. And I agree that the news is grim in any case. I use NPR for my news source. Informative.
Sounds like maybe you need some pampering. Mani/pedi? Massage? That might help the lack of good (new) games.
You should feel good about your accomplishments. And, thanks for not being a trope author.
Ilona, I just finished Heaven and Hell by Kristen Ashley and totally loved it. Have you read it, and if so, would like to know your take.
P.S. I’m having Kate withdrawal.
Britni Patterson says
Game wise – Look up Dragon Quest. It’s absolutely fantastic in the JRPG genre. It takes all the tropes and turns them upside down and makes fun of them, while still taking itself seriously. It’s adorable and hilarious and makes men cry.
Thank you for the TV suggestion. Just finished Romance is the Bonus Book – loved it all the way through! Have been having some stressors over life’s burrs and trying to find solace where I can. Books have been hit or miss. Audiobook – The Keeper of Lost Treasures has been a surprising bit of treasure on my drives to & fro (although I almost stopped on the first chapter because it was not initially suited for driving due to the multiple storylines but now it is quite lovely).
Thinking life-changing thoughts but not sure which direction they will lead or what form they will take. So I continue to get through the day – as you say – I cast on. Thank you for your moments of levity, admission to moments of being under/overwhelmed, and for being yourself. I cherish my visits with you and yours (real and virtual).
You should make this one https://goo.gl/images/uuX7Jk
How did I not know you watch Korean dramas? It makes me love you even more. I just finished SKY Castle which has intense family dynamics. You should check it out.
Akeru Joyden says
A lot of my favorite series have been listed above, except one of the newest series that I am gaga over: The Chronicles of St. Marys by Jodi Taylor. The first book has to be THE MOST APPROPRIATELY Titled Book Of All Time — Just One Damn Thing After Another. I am fast approaching re-read numbers on par with my Kate Daniels re-reads. After which I switch tracks to Wen Spencer’s many worlds of goodness. usually followed in round by Nalini Singh, Jim Butcher, and Michelle Sagara along with a ton of the greats already mentioned… like Briggs, Bishop, Murphy, Hobb, Koch, Harrison, and still others… tonight was Bishop’s Others…
Do you like local co-op games? Here are my top 5 that the SO and I enjoyed playing together:
1. Portal 2
2. Hammerwatch (Warlock is the best class!)
4. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Julie Ferm says
I have been relaxing a lot with My Time At Portia and Infinifactory on Steam.
My Time At Portia is like Stardew Valley on steroids. You run a workshop instead of a farm. There is a little farming, mining, relic hunting, easy fighting in dungeons, running around doing quests, etc. It is very laid back. Only Commerce Commissions and a few side quests have any deadlines at all. It’s my total decompress game.
Infinifactory is a 3D logic puzzle. Very easy at first, and eventually gets brain bending. No time limits though, so again, it’s just fun and a nice way to exercise my noggin. Zero stress.
Nicki Garvey says
I call the mating trope “fated to be mated” it pleases my brain when I run across it because otherwise it would too be annoying for me to keep giving the books a chance
Not sure what genre of games you enjoy most but I’ve been playing The Division 2 and Detroit: Become Human recently and both are amazing! Highly recommend.
The Division 2 is a 3rd person tactical shooter-looter. Can be played solo but is more fun played with others. You don’t need to have played the first one to understand the second. It also has one of the best intro videos after the tutorial mission that I’ve seen.
Detroit is just amazing. It’s described as an adventure game but it’s like watching a movie. You play as different androids through various scenarios and your choices effect what happens throughout the whole story. Super intense. (If you’ve ever played Heavy Rain it’s a similar kind of game. I actually got the double pack of Detroit and HR but haven’t played HR yet.)
Hi! I don’t know if this sort of support is welcome or would be welcomed by a numbered Kid, but my partner and I are both programmers (we’ve both worked at Google etc) and I remember the early days of applying face to wall while learning. I’d be more than happy to help in future situations like this. I do this sort of deadline help work often, and for people who’ve done less for me than your writing has. Please reach out if you’d ever like, including if Kid would like moral support from or to pick the brain of a live programmer out in the wild).
Yep, well, definitely can’t edit these comments. I can’t believe I left a stray unbalanced parenthesis in a post offering programming support… (sigh) how convincing lol.
Stephanie Quist says
You should try reading kater cheek. She only has ebooks and I think a couple of short stories that were published in anthologies. Full disclosure: the only reason I’ve heard of her is because we used to hang out in the same crowd a while back. But her books are seriously entertaining.
Seeing you recommend what’s wrong with secretary kim on here was both amazing and surreal. It’s like two worlds collide! Why are my kdrama obsessions and my book obsessions occupying the same space suddenly? For people who don’t want to dl Viki or want it without commercials, what’s wrong with secretary kim is also available on Netflix. For something a bit more “soapy” but exponentially more beautiful and cinematic, I’d really recommend descended from the sun. The chemistry between the two leads is off the charts (so much so, that they got married in real life!). Also available on Netflix.