Here we go with a second month of reading for pleasure:

6. Huff, Tanya
Smoke & Ashes
WHY: Last book in the trilogy, so I wanted to finish it.
PET PEEVE: Sloppy editing and rookie errors really shocked me. Example: the hotel is referred to as Sheraton (something or other) but a couple pages later it's now "Sheridan". Seriously? You can't even keep that little amount of continuity. There were petty grammar errors, too. Sigh.

7. Wheatley, Dennis
Uncharted Seas
WHY: It was listed as one of three "lost worlds" novels so I decided to read it.
PET PEEVE: The casual sexism (women being referred to as girls, even when they've been married) and unbelievable misogyny (the Belgian engineer promoted to Captain upon that man's death feels he's being trifled with when he learns the object of his affections has been sleeping with a Venezuelan man, not understanding that the latter has blackmailed her into that situation; the Belgian accuses her, breaks the internal bolt to her cabin, locks her in, then hands the key over to the Venezuelan who's been taking a shift belowdecks after crew and ship troubles, basically condoning the woman's rape).
Add to that the racism and classism of the times. The survivors have to avoid the island populated by the Black Devils (who'd already attacked them on the ship). These men have a reputation for killing white men, capturing white women and enslaving them in the so-called "Marriage House" where, of course, they can rape them at will. Yet, despite the alleged superiority of the ship's Captain and passengers, they exhibit just as much brutality toward women (the Venezuelan demonstrates his obsession constantly over one of the women; the rape-enabling engineer).

8. Wheatley, Dennis
The Man Who Missed The War
WHY: The last of the three "lost world" books. This one may have been the weirdest of the lot.
PET PEEVE: Where do I start? A man associated with the British Navy is a passenger on a ship leaving the U.S. bound for Britain, towing one of his inventions - strings of rafts holding containers meant to use the ocean current to replenish supplies for the British war effort. He finds a woman stowed away on the lead raft after he's intercepted plans by the Nazi collaborator aboard to kill him, setting the rafts and powered tug free. Naturally, there's a lot of arguing with the woman, including each harming the other physically until they declare a truce. They end up close to Britain but cannot get to shore, so end up drifting down to the African coast. After more misadventures, they decide to take off on the rafts again, hoping the current will lead them to South America. Instead they end up in Antarctica where they're caught in a war between the weak valley dwellers and the evil descendants of Atlanteans ::rolls eyes:: who have special powers which, through human sacrifice, allow them to affect the course of history, especially by directing stormy weather. They can also infiltrate anywhere in the world and see what's happening on their magic screens. Even better (worse?), these bad guys have sided with the Nazis. So the protagonist and his female companion have to try to sabotage anything that will hurt the Allies. It's been less than a month since I read this and I can't even remember how it ended. Enough said.

9. Huff, Tanya
Blood Debt
WHY: I wanted to keep reading in the Blood Ties series.
PET PEEVE: I wasn't expecting the book to be set in Vancouver and couldn't remember when Henry had moved there.

10. Huff, Tanya
Blood Path
WHY: Because I couldn't remember things moving to Vancouver, I needed to reread how Vicky got turned into a vampire. I'd totally forgotten about the theft of her mother's corpse being why she had to be in Kingston ... and everything that led to her being turned (with Celucci thinking he'd lost her forever).
PET PEEVE: Not about this book, but I'm irritated to learn that the final book in the series - Blood Bank - is not available for loan, either in print or as an ebook. There is ONE copy for reference use only at our SF library branch. Boo.

11. Tuerff, Kevin
Channel of Peace
WHY: The real-life recollections of one of the passengers diverted to Gander, Nfld on 9/11. Very real, yet very uplifting (especially when he gets back to his company in Texas and begins promoting Pay It Forward projects). He is also a character in the hit Broadway musical based on the events: "Come From Away".

12. Ondaatje, Michael
The English Patient
WHY: Because I hadn't read it yet, even though he includes lots of Canadian references and characters in his writing.
PET PEEVE: Hideously difficult to read. Not linear. Characters just appear out of the blue. Tons of historical references (in Britain, Italy, and Egypt) and mentions of aspects of life in Toronto (and other places in the province) that readers wouldn't necessarily relate to. So, if you get a couple of them, you're ahead of the game. It was very slow reading because there were no "filler" sentences. And the raw, often hateful, emotions were difficult to digest.

And that's a wrap for April. No wonder I'm exhausted. Now on to my SGA novel and ::squees:: "The Martian".
Yes, that's how cold I am right now. I just crawled out of bed where I'd been lying on my back, trying to warm my hands up by laying them against my ribs, letting the trapped air warm them from beneath the doubled-flannel layers as well as the comforter and fleece. That worked for a few minutes until the hands LEECHED the heat from my torso. WTF, body!?!

So, right now, I'm applying a few tidbits of chocolate to the problem. Had to remember where I kept the chocolate. Wasn't amused to find it in the "winter scene" cookie tin. Sigh. And I won't be able to read any more of "The Martian" with gloves on. BTW, the book's beginning is promising, though I've already noted how the screenwriter improved on one of the revelations, delaying it for greater impact. Yes, I'm impressed.

After adjusting my body position in the middle of the night to lying on my back, I still woke up with a clogged right ear and sinuses. Blargh. However, I also had faint memories of two reboot Trek hugs: Spock prime with the younger one; and Kirk and Spock. The funny thing about the latter was that there was nothing slashy about it, but just a lot of emotional intimacy and comfort.

Had a lazy day that included an unscheduled nap in the afternoon. The 6:00 p.m. news was overwhelmed with fires in the hydro vaults underneath a major intersection (King & Yonge) of our business district. It had begun shortly after 5. People were evacuated safely from one highrise office building and the worst part seemed to be the acrid smoke outside and complete disruption of vehicular and transit traffic. I seem to be a million miles away from where I worked for half my life.

After that, I watched my usual game shows. The current champ on Jeopardy! is delightful. He just barely won tonight's game - his 6th. I didn't get Final Jeopardy! because I know so little about the Supreme Court. While I'd been watching TV, I also worked on my grocery order. Finally submitted it. Will be experimenting with a few new items including blueberry mint iced tea, even though I was only looking for blueberry iced tea. Meh.
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