January 2nd, 2017

Monday's Activities Include: walks, lunch at Julie's, sitters, cleaning kitchen, phone convo

Today, I got to walk with M. at 2 p.m. and D. at 11 a.m. Oh, and the rest of the T. family, except R. (another R.! So confusing!) who was off with A. and A.'s sitter, aka, "The Adventure Club". But I get ahead of myself.

T. got himself up as per usual. His sitter wasn't due until 10:30 and he is pretty self-sufficient these days, getting a yogurt for breakfast and then wandering around amusing himself. A. was a tougher nut to crack, however. R. and I both slept in, and I eventually dragged out at around 8:30 (boy, tomorrow isn't going to be easy) feeling like I had a bit of a sore throat (yep I do). After getting dressed, and finding out A.'s sitter -- who was due at 9:30 -- was going to be a bit late, I was like, yay! I started putting away some of the doll clothes and accessories that never got put away from the previous evening's playdate. Then I started opening up some of the remaining boxes of doll stuff from Presents Day. A. woke up and started participating in the unboxing and organizing activity, so that was a nice, calm start to her day.

R. fed her pancakes for breakfast, and I've finally figured out how to do 2017 in M&M's on a small pancake (hint: sideways! also, I use a single M&M for the 0, saving some space). D. and R. (the aforementioned from the Adventure Club) arrived. Off went the sitter and the two girls. D. and I were going to walk, but I remembered I had a 10 a.m. phone call, so we had coffee for a bit then she went home. I had a lovely long phone call -- but never long enough -- with K. So nice to be getting back in the routine.

D. and her family (minus R.) and I and their two dogs all had a nice walk. Then D. and I went off for lunch at Julie's Place which is open again after their winter break. We had a lovely catchup conversation; amazing that it takes two meals and a longish walk to catch up after a week, but it really does.

We stopped at the hardware store next to Julie's so I could buy some calcium chloride for the driveway (we were basically out and it has been very icy).

I had a nice walk and snack with M. at 2. Then I cleaned the kitchen sink, range top, toaster oven, counters and ran the dishwasher.

I'm having leftovers (squash soup, brussel sprouts with bacon) for dinner.

There's a lot of cleaning to do around the house, but it isn't too bad and at least the laundry is all caught up on.

_The Countess_, Lynsay Sands

Sands is not an author I normally read, but I had some spare time and a strong desire for something mindless. Based on a SBTB review, I gave this a whirl.

Let's just say if you require a lot of accuracy in your historical fiction, this is probably not necessarily where you want to be reading.

Sands' heroine was married without having a Season after her father nearly lost the estate to gambling and somebody showed up to marry off his eldest daughter and pay the debt. The daughter (secretly) had a substantial dower from another relative, and after the marriage, the man stops with the Oh You Are My Lovely Rose and switches to being a verbally but not physically abusive asshole who isolates her from her family and friends. But you don't really get to know him in person, because he is mostly present in the book as an inconvenient body, a la Weekend at Bernies or The Trouble with Harry.

Spoilers, ho! If you don't want spoilers, well, leave before you are shipped off to the Colonies as an indentured servant. Or something.

We never do find out who poisoned the asshole husband. Apparently that is divulged in book 2 or 3, which I probably won't read, because this is one of those retell it from the other person's perspective things and a lot of the later books repeat the earlier books.

I haven't read other books by the author, so I don't know if her relatively heavy-handed pop psychology is typical. But it is relatively heavy-handed. It's not that I disagree with her; it's that I have trouble imagining the historical characters thinking that way.

Aside from the unsatisfactory resolution re: who poisoned the asshole, the book is a romp. Lots of misunderstandings and physical comedy, especially surrounding intimate encounters. The twin of the dead husband and the heroine really do wind up having sex in part on a bed where they have forgotten they have stashed the dead guy. Which is why I read the book in the first place, so if that makes you snort, this is probably a good choice for you. Otherwise, probably give it a pass.

_One Fell Sweep_, Ilona Andrews

Wow. That pretty much sums up my feelings about this book. I may go reread it tonight. Just, wow.

Spoilers! Continue and an ad-hal might get you!

Ok, so I think this is book 3 in the Innkeeper series. A chaotic ... something or other shows up as a courier and tells her her sister is in trouble. So off she goes to rescue sister and niece. She recruits the vampire to help her out, and the vampire's reaction to her sister is ... really fucking entertaining.

All these books with Team Wolf vs. Team Vampire, and this is the _first_ resolution that involves answering the question, "Do you have a sister?"

The main storyline -- why is it the Draziri have it in for the smelly guys -- is telegraphed pretty early on and pretty overwhelmingly. But who cares, when you get things like Mr. Rodriguez's son is a what?!? And the magic answer turns out to be a name that matches the initials on the cat's tag?!?

Most of the time, gimcrack stuff like this makes me eye roll. But I was cheering. If Ilona Andrews is your kinda crack, this was _really good crack_. I am so looking forward to the next entry.

Also, I _love_ the cop now! All this trouble with what to do about the cop and the answer is simple. Give him a copy of the relevant law and appropriate arms and boom. He's now enforcing the treaty FOR them, instead of interfering with them. Awesome.

_The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck_, Sarah Knight

OK, so, some people are clearly not grabbing a clue from the title. YES, the book is loaded, larded, completely laden with f bombs. If that is a problem for you, this is not a book for you. Don't read this book if you aren't loving the f bombs. Seriously.

Sarah Knight has written an effective parody AND an effective self-help book. The topic of the self-help aspect is prioritization of time/energy/money in line with one's values. Most of the book is devoted to introspection on what aligns with your values and figuring out how to say no to things that don't align with your values but do exhaust your time/energy/money, without being an Asshole (TM). She explores some of the domain of being polite vs. being honest while saying no.

The books weaknesses require little contemplation to identify. Her evaluation function is too present-focused. It is only at the end of the book that she makes any effort to help the reader figure out what they should be doing now so that they don't wind up regretting not doing it later. A lot of duty/obligation stuff is devoted to getting you to avoid this situation, and since she is jettisoning duty/obligation, I think she should have spent more time on this.

But you know? It's her book. And it is fairly humorous.

It's hard to know if this would _help_ any particular reader. I don't know that I was helped by it (but I was vastly entertained, and a little disturbed by how many of the examples it wouldn't even occur to me to feel any guilt about). But if you feel like you are being nibbled to death by small requests difficult to say no to, but which are not advancing you along your spiritual path, hey, can it really hurt? There are at least several giggled in it.

_Moonshadow_, Thea Harrison

This is in the Elder Races universe, however, it is set in the UK, rather than being US centric.

SPOILERS HO! Run, or Isabeau will send Morgan to git you and rip out your tongue or something even worse.

Sophie got shot while working as a witch consultant for the LAPD. She is still recovering when Dr. Kathryn Shaw approaches her with a weird will/inheritance thing. If she can get into this old English manor house, it's hers, along with a substantial annuity. Sweet! Sophie was adopted by exploitative witches and left first chance she got. She had to figure out her ancestry on her own and knows she has some Djinn ancestry.

Nikolas is a Knight of the Daoine Sidhe, a dwindling crew being persecuted by the Light Court (led by Isabeau) and unable to return home to Lyonesse, where Oberon lies insensate and all but dead.

Robin is a puck gone missing, who somewhat inconveniently shows up to be rescued by Sophie and provide a point of initial conflict with Nikolas (and Gawain). Antics ensue.

Sophie _does_ get the house. And I mean, this is a romance novel, so obvs Sophie and Nik are gonna get it on (and on and on and on because he is part Wyr and Mating and blah blah blah). There is a strong thread of Who Will Betray Me involved. And there are lovely setups (is Morgan fully controlled by Isabeau? Does he need to be rescued too? Of course we need to find out!) for more in the series.

Utterly satisfying, if Thea Harrison's elder races novels do it for you, this probably will too, subject to there may well be some sort of UK errors that I am not detecting that might piss you off. But, fun! And exploring the manor house sorta like an episode of Sapphire and Steel.