Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Month in Review for June: The (Upcoming) Dog Days of Summer

This photo reminds me of CatDog. Except it's TorGeorge.
This month in review post will be short and sweet, as I'm currently battling an abominable cold virus (the only cold I've had in... 3 years?).

An upcoming feature on my blog during the last two weeks of July (approximately the 17th-31st) will be "The Dog Days of Summer". During the event, I'll be hosting reviews/posts of all genres (which means some will likely be out of orbit) that all feature canine companions and/or protagonists.

 Total Posts: 13
  Total Critiques: 6
    Fantasy: 1
    Historical Fiction/Magical Realism:1
    Historical Romance: 1
    Out-of-Orbit: 1
    Paranormal Romance: 1    
    Part of a Series: 4
    Steampunk: 1

Most Popular Posts of June:
Early Critique: "Undying Legion (Crown & Key #2)" by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith
SFF: The 5 Summer Vacations You Can Take Through Reading
SFF: The 5 Authors You Just Can't Read Enough Of
Gone Junkin': The After Hours Life of a Victorian Soul/Book Blogger
"Peony in Love" by Lisa See
"First of Spring (Gardinian World #2)" by Kelsey Jordan
O.o.O.C.: "The Lady and the Panda" by Vicki Constantine Croke

Pageviews for the Month: 1000
Comments: 10!

Reading Challenges Updates:

Snowflake and Spider Silk Bingo Challenge

Applicable Books:
From January:
Song of Blood and Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope (POC main character)
Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger (New to me author)
Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail Carriger (2nd book in a series)
Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail Carriger (female author)
From February:
Unseen (Unborn #2) by Amber Lynn Natusch (published 2015)
Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop (Urban Fantasy)
From March:
Stardust by Neil Gaiman (written before 2000- it was first published in 1998)
Anthem by Ayn Rand (Novella/Short Story)
Moxyland by Lauren Beukes (Dystopia)
From April:
The Princess Bride by William Goldman (Humorous SF/F)
"The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1)" by Soman Chainani (fairy tale retelling)
From May:
"Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley ("classic" SF/F)
From June:
"The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)" by Scott Lynch (Heists and Cons)

Travel the World in Books Challenge

Applicable Books:

Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo (Texan & Tokyo #3) by Grace Buchele Mineta & Ryosuke Mineta (Tokyo, Japan)
"Peony in Love" by Lisa See (China)

Reading Stats:

Books read in June: 5

Book Stats:
Has a Diverse Main Character: 2
Doesn't Have a Diverse MC: 3
Female Main Character: 2
Male Main Character: 1
Pair and/or Group of Female/Male Main Characters: 2
 Fantasy: 1
 Historical Fiction/Magical Realism: 1
 Memoir/Comic: 1
 Historical Romance: 1
 Steampunk: 1
Published in 2015: 2
Published in 2000-2014: 3
Self-Published, Small Press, or Other: 2
Traditionally Published: 3
Series Books: 4
Standalones: 1
Ebook Version: 3
Paper Version: 2
Favorite of the Month: Three Way Tie: Peony in Love, Undying Legion, and The Lies of Locke Lamora
Least Favorite of the Month: Miss Amelia Lands a Duke (The Caversham Chronicles 0.5) by Sandy Raven
From the-pile: 2
From the-invisible-pile: 2
Recently acquired: 6
Added to the-invisible-pile in April: 6 ebooks
Books bought: 5 ebooks
Pages Read in 2015 Thus Far (according to Goodreads): 12484

5 Stars: 0
4-4.5 Stars: 3
3-3.5 Stars: 2
2-2.5 Stars: 0

Author Stats (1 = 1 book read by x author):
Male: 1
Female: 3
Male/Female Team: 1
Diverse: 1
Not-so-Diverse: 4
Living: 5 (Technically 6)
Deceased: 0

Planning to Read in July/Upcoming Posts (Still All About Relaxing):

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard #2) by Scott Lynch
For the Snowflake and Spider Silk Readalong

The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key #3) by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith
For Review

Rereading for the (Blog) Dog Days of Summer:
Deerskin by Robin McKinley
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
...among many others...

                       Until Next Time,

Sunday, June 28, 2015

NQAC: Biweekly Update #13: That '80s Motorhome in the Home Stretch and No Pet Owner Needed

I finally got the drawer in our sideboard/tv stand from my Gone Junkin' post. The glass knobs are reproduction, but it looks great anyway:

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

Garage Sale Finds:

The Collected Stories by Colette, Robert Phelps (Editor), Antonia White (Translator), Matthew Ward (Translator), Anne-Marie Callimachi (Translator), Robert G. Phelps (Editor)

Three Novels & Five Short Stories by Daphne du Maurier (Including: The King's General, The House on the Strand, and The Glass Blowers)

I love both Colette and Daphne du Maurier, so I had to get these.

the-invisible-pile Additions:

The Disappearance by Philip Wylie
I picked up this one because I've been reading a lot of my stockpiles of classic dystopia this year. As described on Goodreads: 'This brilliant classic of speculative fiction imagines the aftermath of an extraordinary global occurrence that forces Earth’s men and women to exist in parallel dimensions.'

Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1) by Dan Simmons
This one was recommended to me when I was new to Goodreads (in 2012 or so). I had it on my wishlist/price tracking list on Amazon, and I noticed it was finally a decent price, so I clicked buy.

Currently Reading:

Green Rider (Green Rider #1) by Kristen Britain
This is an old addition to my pile that I have always wanted to read but hadn't gotten around to until now. So far it's almost fairy-tale-ish.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Put Aside for Now:

The History of the Rain by Niall Williams
Just haven't been feeling like reading it lately, so I'll concentrate on the books I do feel capable of finishing.

Finished These Books:

Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo (Texan & Tokyo #3) by Grace Buchele Mineta & Ryosuke Mineta
I pick up these comic/blog-style memoirs whenever they're free for Kindle because I like learning about other cultures. This one in particular has become more interesting since my older brother is dating a lady from Japan, so every time I pick up one of Grace's memoirs I learn a little more about current Japanese culture.

Miss Amelia Lands a Duke (The Caversham Chronicles 0.5) by Sandy Raven
A pretty good prequel novella, as long as you don't mind age gaps between the main characters. It did feel a bit rushed, but overall it was good.

In the Blogosphere:

Kate @ Diary of an Urban Housewife tells how she met her husband, and it made me laugh.

Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings explains her obsession with dystopia. If you like any dystopia, just do yourself a favor and click the link.

Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books defends the right to express her opinion, despite it being unpopular with some people.

Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings is celebrating her third blogoversary with a giveaway!

In My Life:

That '80s Motorhome looks extremely different- we finished painting the inside (cabinets, paneling, and ceiling) but I have to finish painting the doors for the cabinets, as well as the hardware. We also have the upholstery done for the diner booth-thingy, but we're waiting on the invasion of Boxelder bugs to dry up before we move it in.



I also learned my dogs/cat no longer need me as a bed partner. Usually Torrie or George will come up and sleep in my bed, but a few nights ago no pet(s) came to see me in my overheated attic quarters. Upon going downstairs to see what ill fate either one of them had met to not come seek out my company, I stumbled upon this tear-jerking scene:

Apparently, I'm not needed any longer- they have each other (and the cool, air-conditioned living room). All I am to them is free meals and vet care...

                      Until next time,

Early Critique: "Undying Legion (Crown & Key #2)" by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

Disclaimer: I was given a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley/the publisher (Del Rey Spectra) in exchange for an honest review. My opinion remains as forthright as ever.

To Be Published: June 30th

My first impressions of this book were that it was notably heavier than its predecessor, The Shadow Revolution, but mostly because of the events of the ending of that novel. Malcolm gets more of the spotlight in this book, and although Simon and Kate do continue to have consistent scenes, the focus is on the characters as a group rather than individuals.

As the title would suggest, we do have some zombie action in this book, which then reveals the larger plot. I was unable to predict many of the twists this book took me on, which is always a plus for a plot-jaded reader such as myself. The storyline starts out on a small scale and never stops building, leading to a grand finale.

The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'With a flood of dark magic about to engulf Victorian London, can a handful of heroes vanquish a legion of the undead?
 'When monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane comes across the gruesome aftermath of a ritual murder in a London church, he enlists the help of magician-scribe Simon Archer and alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther. Studying the macabre scene, they struggle to understand obscure clues in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics carved into the victim’s heart—as well as bizarre mystical allusions to the romantic poetry of William Blake. One thing is clear: Some very potent black magic is at work.
 'But this human sacrifice is only the first in a series of ritualized slayings. Desperate to save lives while there is still time, Simon, Kate, and Malcolm—along with gadget geek Penny Carter and Charlotte, an adolescent werewolf—track down a necromancer who is reanimating the deceased. As the team battles an unrelenting army of undead, a powerful Egyptian mummy, and serpentine demons, the necromancer proves an elusive quarry. And when the true purpose of the ritual is revealed, the gifted allies must confront a destructive force that is positively apocalyptic.'

As was the case with the first book, the characters of Undying Legion are what keep you reading long into the night. While the characters were excellent in the first book, it was nice to get to know a few of them better and find out their true motivations for hunting paranormal phenomena. I was lukewarm about Malcolm in the previous book, but now that I've seen his inner workings his actions suddenly made a lot more sense. Imogen's character continues to evolve, even though you would assume she'd remain more static after the events of The Shadow Revolution. We also get to see more of Penny Carter, who is one of my favorites due to her mechanical inclinations- which I may or may not have myself.

The first half of this book wasn't really at the level I felt the first book had reached as far as interest... until the end came and changed my mind. It was a prolonged ending that connected so many dots I hadn't even noticed were there and made me wonder if I had been really (really) paying that close of attention to the first part of the book- usually I'm good at seeing things coming. Luckily the ending for this book tops The Shadow Revolution's, which makes me eager to dig into Conquering Dark as soon as possible.

Undying Legion starts out slow, but keeps building, and building, and even building some more when you think it's the final page. The characters continue to drive the pacing of the book, improving with every scene despite the fact that they were all wonderful in the first book. I recommend the Crown & Key series to anyone who enjoys quirky character-driven steampunk.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for a sequel with a kicker of an ending!

Content: Ages 16+ for violence, black arts, and the occasional abuse of a firearm.

Page Count: 384 pages

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1)" by Scott Lynch

I finally finished this book. I've tried reading this twice before in the two years I've owned it, and it was on my list of the 5 books I hoped to read in 2015, so I have to say it's a relief to finally know what exactly people are talking about when they mention The Lies of Locke Lamora.

The pacing on this book takes a bit of patience on the part of the reader. At some parts of the book I was utterly riveted. At others, I was zoning out, thinking of all my nefarious ancestors and their own misdeeds, rather than actually reading. I must say this was well worth finally finishing, but it isn't as quick and easy to devour as some other books.

The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'In this stunning debut, Scott Lynch delivers the thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his tightly knit band of tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part "Robin Hood," one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling....
'An orphan's life is harsh--and often short--in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld's most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly.
'Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game--or die trying....'

The strengths of The Lies of Locke Lamora lie mostly in the worldbuilding and characters. I was continually amazed at the amount of detail going into the world, either via magics, gods, or structures (not made by man). The characters are what kept me reading, even when I was a bit bored with the plot. Locke, Jean, Calo, Galdo, and Bug are a dynamic team of personalities that (mostly) follow Locke's lead.

The plot suffered from over-segmentation. I like little things- I have a Dorkie who is half the size of my cat, but I don't like minced stories with so many little vignettes. Every time I saw a double space with a number between it I grimaced, because I knew it was either A) unnecessary or B) another scene that I'd have to adapt to, before being flung into the next little mincemeat pie of paragraphs. It annoyed me to no end. You'd think with little chunks of chapters, this book would be fast-paced, but to me it came off as choppy.

The Lies of Locke Lamora reminds me of a serialized Victorian story- there are a lot of little sections of text within each chapter. This style might appeal to other people, but not me. Although this book is certainly excellent, it would have been more palatable to me to have a few of those little segments strewn together to make it more cohesive. Nonetheless, I recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora to those who love stories about orphan thieves stuck in a fascinating fantasy land.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for an excellent fantasy that was a little too minced for my taste.

Content: Ages 16+ for violence, swearing (like a den of thieves), and brief sexual content.

Page Count: 719 pages in my mass market paperback edition

I read-a-long with the Snowflakes and Spider Silk's Gentleman Bastards (Re)Readalong, but alas, I finished early due to other commitments.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

SFF: The 5 Authors You Just Can't Read Enough Of

The 5 Authors You Just Can't Read Enough Of

5. Brandon Sanderson (The Benevolent), author of The Way of Kings and Warbreaker
Mr. Sanderson writes like the wind. Which is good, as he plans to write ten tomes for the Stormlight Archive, which I'm a huge fan of. Whenever I think I've read enough of Sanderson, I read another of his books and have my mind blown from the extent of his creativity.

I wish my dogs would sit so calmly in my lap...
4. Robin McKinley, author of The Hero and the Crown and Sunshine
Not only is she an amazing fantasy writer, she's also an animal lover. The great thing is that shows up in many of her books, so it isn't precisely a secret. Mostly I've been sticking to her older books, but someday I'll catch up with her new stuff.

3. George R.R. Martin. author of A Game of Thrones and Fevre Dream
Mr. Martin, who is also the partial/incidental namesake of my cat, writes a fine book. I always find characters I love in his novels, even if they happen to be middle-aged men. If Mr. Martin wrote a thousand page manuscript on the origin of the word 'a', I would still read it. So yes, I'm a fan.

2. Alice Hoffman, author of Turtle Moon and The Dovekeepers
Every time I read a new Alice Hoffman book, I fall a little more in love with her characters and writing style. There aren't many authors who I can say that about.

1. Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale and Cat's Eye
Every time I see a Margaret Atwood book at a thrift shop (that I don't already own) I buy it, regardless of price or condition. Ms. Atwood's books are both difficult to find, and very pricey in the retail book setting, so I covet every copy I come across, and try to resist the urge to marathon read the last remaining Atwood novels I have in my possession, because I like to savor them. 

(All images rightfully stolen from Wikipedia, except Alice Hoffman's)

Note: Some authors would be on this list if they put out a decent amount of reading material for public perusal. *cough*Patrick Rothfuss*cough*

Which authors are on your auto-buy list? What makes you want to read an author's every work?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"Worth: Lord of Reckoning (Lonely Lords #11)" by Grace Burrowes

I did a mini review of this a while back on NQAC, but since my reading has run a-dry of late, I believe I can expand my thoughts on this book for a full one.

This is a rather fun historical romance, which I love, but it also has serious aspects, like the inclusion of familial strife. As I am not a stranger to such situations, I liked the way it was handled: perhaps a little lightly, but it's unusual to see such delicate additions to a historical romance plot. Usually if there is family strife, one side is clearly bad as bad gets, while the heroine/hero side is the 'good' family. I liked that none of the characters were perfect human beings (like those exist), as I do see that irksome feature a lot in romance.

The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'Consummate man of business and rake at large, Worth Kettering, repairs to his country estate to sort out his familial situation, trusting the ever efficient (though as yet unmet) housekeeper, Jacaranda Wyeth, will provide his family a pleasant summer retreat. To his surprise, his household is manage by a quick-witted, violet-eyed beauty who’s his match in many regards.
'As Jacaranda and Worth become enamored, the family she’s kept hidden from him, the financial clients Worth feels singularly protective of, and the ragged state of affairs between Worth and his estranged older brother Hessian all conspire to keep Worth and Jacaranda apart. Worth must choose between love and profit, and Jacaranda must decide between loyalty to her family, and the love of a man who values her above all others.'

The plot isn't highly original, but it keeps you reading. I enjoyed the fact that the author didn't go over the top like most historical romances are wont to do: the plot was believable, which makes it more enjoyable for the realist in me. I also liked that the pacing of the hero/heroine relationship was much slower than your average historical romance- most of the time, I can predict where the plot will change. At 30%ish on my Kindle, there'll be a first kiss, then a hop in bed at 60%. If you like the generic pacing of historicals, this might not be your book.

The best aspect of the book is the familial relationships between the characters, and the characters themselves. As a stubborn individual, I appreciate strong-willed characters, but Jacaranda was probably a touch too bull-headed in her ideas of what she should do. Neither her or Worth's family's are out of the picture in this book, but hers remain a mystery for much of it. In the end, all is resolved, but it takes a little longer than most books.

Worth: Lord of Reckoning is a historical romance that has a lot going for it. Most of the time, you'll find me gagging at romance protagonists, but Worth and Jacaranda were well matched and in a positive relationship, even though she was extremely stubborn and reluctant, at times for little reason. I recommend Worth: Lord of Reckoning to those historical romance addicts who don't mind pumping the breaks on the fast-paced relationships of most Regency novels.

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars for a solid historical romance that doesn't follow the usual map of events.

Content: Ages 18+ for a sex scene, sensitive topics (suicide), and a charmingly persistent rake.

Page Count: 364 pages 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gone Junkin': The After Hours Life of a Victorian Soul/Book Blogger

I have many passions in this life: reading, writing, collecting various animals; and yet there are other things I do in my free time that distinguish me as a distinctly Victorian Soul, mainly, my collection of old objects. I like old things better than new things. It's difficult for me to buy something new (that I assume will break in a year) when something old will work just as well, and is crafted to last a lifetime.

Example: your modern day television stands. Most are made of either MDF (Mildly Disturbing Forestry-bits) or metal, both of which have a tendency to eventually give out (or make your old 1903 house look funky). My mother and I settled on a coffee table from a thrift store for our tv to sit on when we first moved to Idaho, but we've always kept an eye out for that perfect "period-acceptable" stand for our monster of a screen. Last week, we found something. Something that I was greatly concerned we'd have to end up painting over, even though it had wood inlay and not a bit of MDF in sight.

Unfortunately, I only took a picture after we started burnishing it and feeding it gallons of lemon oil, but look at the lower left hand corner and you'll see precisely how scary it looked. I originally assumed this was a piece of '70s homemade furniture, due to all the funky legs and brassy drawer pulls, but as it turns out, this approximately dates from the 1920s period, which was in the realm of what my mom and I wanted. I had originally assumed that the wood color would be medium brown, one shade darker than our pine flooring, but it actually borders on ebony- in person it looks about as dark as my dog Torrie, who is often mistaken for being black-furred until the sun shines on her mink-like coat.

Here's a helpful hint: If you have a monster tv, always put any top/skinny drawers in the tv stand/sideboard before putting that massive thing up there. It's just easier when you don't have to round up a third person to help you do so, because of fractional drawer-space collapse.

Once I had polished it enough, the drawer pulls were beginning to look very drab. With the hardware of most serious antiques, you aren't supposed to touch it- the patina is what collectors like. But with our antiques, which often come with what I would call 'character' (scratches, dents, partially peeled veneer, and the occasional later augmentation), that patina doesn't matter, as they aren't perfect specimens of their type anyway. And also, the handles were sticky, even though we hadn't touched them when oiling. My mom liked them as is, but I can't live with sticky furniture.

I was surprised to find a golden hue in this hardware- I had assumed it was brass, but instead it's a light gold, which, unfortunately, my camera doesn't do justice to. I gave the hardware a vinegar soak for roughly three hours, followed by scrubbing and toothpicking out all the little details. It's a good idea to make sure your hardware isn't metal-plated before you use this cleaning method, as sometimes it loosens some of the plating (I know from our That '80s Motorhome project).

Before replacing the hardware and drawer pulls, I cleaned and polished the wood area behind them, just because once I peeled them off, the wood beneath looked like an oil slick. After that, I replaced all the pulls and polished the rest of the sideboard, leading to the (almost) final product:

Again, my camera adds in color- a lot of it.
About a week later, I finally squeezed the top drawer in:

Still needs more lemon oil- like three gallons of it.

To Restore Antique, Real Wood, or Real Wood Veneer Furniture:
Dust it beforehand (if needed), use Murphy's oil soap to clean (if needed), and plain old lemon oil to polish. Don't get Pledge (or other furniture polish)- save that for your newer MDF furnishings, or if you don't have any of those, donate it to your unsuspecting neighbor.
Reapply the lemon oil in accordance with your furniture's needs- in drier climates, that may mean every month.

Lemon Oil Before and After:

To Clean Hardware:
Make sure you know your antique furniture isn't too valuable or you don't intend to sell it.
Make sure your hardware isn't plated, because it could be chipped.
Then put all the hardware in a bucket of vinegar, let sit for three hours or more. Use toothbrushes and toothpicks to clean- if that doesn't cut it, gently polish with steel wool.

One Final Tip:

If you find furniture tags, keep them on. Someone will likely use them to verify the furniture's age later down the line. My sideboard originated from the Tindall-Wagner Manufacturing Co. out of Shelbyville, Indiana, by way of (Standard ??? Co.) Salt Lake City, Utah. When I Googled it, a few similar pieces to this sideboard popped up, all with the funky legs (two chunky ovoid shapes on the column, one of them with dots scooped out) that my sideboard has.

      Keep it old school antiquated,

Sunday, June 14, 2015

NQAC: Biweekly Update #12: Crickets on the Blog, and an Unnoticed Quotation

Depending on the liveliness of your own summer activities, you may have noticed I only posted one review this week, when usually I at least go for two if I can't do a full three. I've been a bit busy with some of my other pursuits (mainly thrifting) which will be detailed in an upcoming post. Luckily the name of this blog ties in with most of my hobbies, so you may be seeing a few non-bookish posts this summer, in addition to the menagerie of reviews and feature posts.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas (Kindle edition)
Since it was a Daily Deal awhile back, I decided to pick it up, despite not being particularly interested in most YA books. This one has been hyped so much I just want to read it to say I gave it a shot, much like when I read The Hunger Games (surprisingly excellent, but still not the best book ever).

Currently Reading:

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards #1) by Scott Lynch
I've been focusing my reading prowess on this one, as I have committed to Kritika's (Snowflakes and Spider Silk) readalong. It's been making me laugh, in the moments when George the cat allows me to read without interruption.

Finished These Books:

In accordance with my goal to read for relaxation this summer, I haven't finished anything. But I've enjoyed every second of relaxing reading, again, when George the lazy polter-cat wasn't distracting me.

In the Blog/Webosphere:

Back in April, I never realized, but Angry Robot Books quoted my review of Unseemly Science on their website. That's the first time I've ever (to my knowledge) had one of my reviews quoted. I'm feeling overly self-congratulatory, like this Tina Fey/Liz Lemon gif:

Other Non-Self-Congratulatory Posts:

Anne's review of Review of On the Edge (The Edge #1) by Ilona Andrews at Addicted 2 Heroines.

And Jazzie's BookCon Experience + May Wrap Up at The Book Dancer.

In My Life:

I bought the deluxe deluxe edition of Florence + The Machine's new CD (How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful) at Target and absolutely adore every track. It is stuck in my head, and I have it playing on my computer as I write the last of this post. It is my exact cup of coffee, and reminds me of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour album in style.

You may have seen me refer to George as the 'polter-cat' previously on this post. He gained that nickname by sleeping while I'm busy running around the house, and then as soon as I sit down to read, he wakes up and finds something to knock over/make noise with, always in another room, always to make me pay him more attention than my books.

One of his many crimes

Or there might be another explanation for his unusual behavior...

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