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lady narcissa

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  1. So I have had two near misses with Covid in the past few months and since I did not get it in either situation its making me almost a bit "I'm never going to get Covid" minded. But I am the paranoid sort and I don't want to jinx myself so I'll say I feel like I could get it and I've just been lucky so far. Back in August one of my co-workers got it. Three others in the office caught it from him. I tested myself in the days after but nothing. Except - my lymph node in my left underarm was very irritated swollen feeling for a week when I would have tested positive if I was going to. I chalked it up to the vaccinees and boosters and because I was the only person still wearing a mask in the office when interacting with anyone. However, my dad came down with Covid last month. I ate with him every day in the days leading up to him testing positive and in one instance took a drink out of his glass and quite luckily neither my mother nor I caught it. Again I had the irritated lymph node for a week , however. But at that point it had been 5 months since my last booster and I was not wearing a mask around my dad so.....who knows! While I might never come down with Covid, I do know I can come down with colds and the flu and I have not had either since 2019 and I have quite enjoyed that so I will just keep on masking when around people in the office and on public transportation and in grocery stores and other germ carrying prone interiors. Plus Chicago in winter can be COLD and I have found masks are way better than wrapping scarves around your face for keeping your face toasty in frigid temperatures, so I'll even wear them outside sometime still.
  2. Chicago has a Christmas market and its similarly lacking so I completely understand. I'm glad Trojan Gold has interested you. I do feel I should warn you, it's in the middle of a series but I do not think its necessary that you read the other books first. I think a decent job is done of updating the reader on any necessary details of characters prior relationships and interactions. Not to discourage you from reading the others! I don't know if you have read anything by Elizabeth Peters (also wrote under Barbara Michaels). She is best known for her Amelia Peabody series which I have also enjoyed. But the Vicky Bliss ones are my favorites, most especially Trojan Gold and Night Train to Memphis. I've been doing seasonal reading this fall so I have one more fallish book to finish before I begin any wintery reads. I've picked up Moominvalley in November which I have not read before but seems perfect for the next day or two. I never read the Moomin books as a child, they were not available here back then, but have enjoyed reading them as an adult. This reminds me that Moominland Midwinter is a perfect January read.
  3. Yes, I reread The Dark is Rising every year beginning on the Winter Solstice. I also reread around Christmas another childhood favorite, The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston. And then my third absolute annual Christmas-time reread is not another children's book but Trojan Gold by Elizabeth Peters which makes me desperate to jump on a plane and go to Germany the week before Christmas to visit all the Christmas markets. But when I read your first post, before getting distracted by the Dark is Rising reference, I was going to suggest Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield. I read it a few months ago and found myself wishing I had read it in December. It takes place over the course of a year but begins and ends at the Winter Solstice and really has its roots in winter. It is fiction set in Victorian England except there are some fantasy elements and some mystery. I found the story in how it wove together a number of plot lines and brought them all together in the end, really satisfying. (Hoping you have not read this and disliked it!) Have you read The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden? The first of a really excellent trilogy. Russian fantasy that was billed as YA but its as YA as Naomi Novik Spinning Silver is. Very wintery and Frost is a character. You have probably read them but I do find the Vera books by Ann Cleves very wintery. When The Darkest Winter came out I think 2 years ago, I saved that for Christmas to read since it was especially Decemberish. Then the Louise Penny mysteries have a quite a few winter ones with How the Light Gets In and A Fatal Grace coming to mind. And of course Hercule Poirot's Christmas is nice to revisit every so often.
  4. I would be delighted to see you again! Let me know when you will be here if you do come to Chicago.
  5. Is anyone planning on attending? Being in Chicago, I could never have fathomed I might consider not attending but of course Covid and crowded indoor situations... Living here I guess I can be more last minute with my decision. It's hard to believe that this will be the third Worldcon affected by Covid. Dublin seems so long ago at this point.
  6. Good healing-get-over-covid-quickly thoughts for Which Tyler's sister and Raja! I feel like this month will really be the test for me. Two people in my office are out of the office with covid this week. It's a small office so I interacted with both of them. They both have had it before. Then I attended the family wedding last weekend and out of 200 people, only 3 of us were wearing masks! There were good opportunities to spread out in the church and be outside so it wasn't a total petri dish situation but there were moments during the reception, especially when I held my 6 month old 1st cousin who goes to day care. But I kept my mask on. So we shall see. I'm going to be testing to double check. (Incidentally - I had mentioned that I would not be eating at the reception and this worked out just great for me. We stopped for ice cream before the wedding. And then at the reception the food was apparently horrible so I did not miss out and we just stopped and got burgers on the way home.)
  7. They say children should never pass before their parents and Ivana's mother at 96 is still alive so that must be very hard for her. The T name has become so tainted for many these past few years that it's hard to remember before times when we might have had different thoughts. Ivana was certainly a big and bold personality in her own right in the past. For a time in NYC you could not escape her in the newspapers and on tv. She was everywhere. Then the cheating and divorce from her second husband and the whole media frenzy only increased that. Of course there was no internet back then and you had to get the news in other ways - I remember picking up the Daily News newspaper every morning for several weeks to find out the latest. But then after the divorce, she exploded on a bigger national scale. She got a Vogue cover and a new look and opportunities like a cameo in The First Wives Club movie with her famous catch phrase Don't Get Mad - Get Everything! And people were rooting for her and she had her moment. And then time moved on and she became less relevant to the public and only got remembered in connection with her second husband and her children.
  8. Thank you! Most people I know stopped wearing masks as soon as they could because they found them uncomfortable and hard to breath in. I personally do not find masks uncomfortable - I found a brand that fits me well and I have no problem keeping them on for long periods of time. And I found I got used to the breathing in an N95 pretty quick. Masks have also eliminated an issue for me that I have - I am somewhat allergic to dryness which triggers my Eustachian tube dysfunction and I have found wearing a mask really eliminates this issue for me. So basically no downsides for me with mask wearing. Of course, I have no idea if my not getting Covid has anything to do with wearing the mask or if I'm just one of those people who will never get it no matter what. I'm not willing to stop wearing a mask to find out.
  9. I've been reading a number of mysteries - most of them additional books in series I've previously started - so some more Donna Leon and Ann Cleeves and Tana French. As well as a reread of an Agatha Christie that is really the first one of her's I've reread as an adult and not enjoyed - The Moving Finger. And I read the first Jackson Brodie, Case Histories, mystery which i got after some recommendations in this thread. I enjoyed it and would continue with the rest of the series but for the off putting ebook pricing of the rest! I'll keep my eye out for special on them but I am not paying $10.99 - $14.99 for a not new ebook no matter how much I would like to read them. I see there was a tv series made based on them with Jason Isaacs so I got a bit of a chuckle when his character in the book had some thoughts on the Harry Potter series since Isaacs was in the HP movies.
  10. I will not be eating and drinking. I'll eat on the way - I have a two hour drive to get there. And I'll snack after on the way home - I'm bringing Tupperware to take my cake to go! I honestly would not be even going to this except it's my cousin's wedding and she was supposed to get married in 2020 then postponed till 2021 and now 2022 and she has been depressed and half our family is not attending because they are older and being careful. So I'll go but wear my color coordinated to my outfit (hot pink!) N95 mask and hope for the best.
  11. I had my second booster shot at the beginning of last week. I've got a wedding to attend this upcoming weekend and even though I plan on wearing a mask the whole time, I am sure no one else will be so just continuing to do what I can do. I'm the only one still wearing a mask at work and I think at this point everyone there has had Covid in the past 6 months except me. I hope my losing streak continues!
  12. I'd confide in him I actually have no idea how to use the copier because I never make my own copies. (Of course I make my own copies.)
  13. Okay so I finished When Blood Lies, the 17th book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris. You only have to look at the dates in the book and location to know where you are headed - March 1815, France. Overall, it was a satisfactory read as all the books in this series have been. Not my favorite, however, and it does start dragging midway through the book. I mean we all know what is going to happen with Napoleon so there is no surprise on that front and its a bit waiting for the inevitable. Of course Napoleon is not the focus of the story, solving the murders are. But he does sort of distract and take away the focus from the main story. I found myself putting down the book and spending more time looking people and events up on the side than usual. And considering the entire series has been building up to a specific event in this book - a 17 book buildup is a lot of buildup! - that bit ended up being very disappointing. But always glad to spend a few evenings wandering around with Sebastian and Hero as they solve murders and wander through interesting locations and learn some small bits of history I didn't know before.
  14. That sounds so nice! He is probably one of the few authors I have not seen in person who I would like to see. Thanks for sharing the information. Very much looking forward to reading all of those should they hopefully get written. Getting ready to start the newest one tonight. I read the latest book in Anne Bishop's Other's series, Crowbones, which came out last month. It was very much 'Rural' Fantasy, set in the same small town and with the same characters from 2 books ago, Lake Silence. I had been a bit on the fence about Lake Silence when I first read it but after Crowbones, I went back and reread it and liked it a bit better than before. I still prefer the original 5 Others books but do enjoy the concept of expanding out into other cities and communities in this alternate Earth in which humans are not the dominant species. My only criticism is the humans are a bit too good or too bad, there is very little shades of grey in between. Obviously there are always people who are going to think they can get away with things but there are too many just plain bad and stupid humans. I'd like to see some more human controlled cities, further away from the Others, and then humans from there having to grasp with the situation after the Others have carried out their more recent human extinction exercise. Never the less still enjoying this world and will continue to read any further books in the series.
  15. I'm reading that one right now. I ended up starting that one and holding off on the Donna Leon one because I wanted to know about you-know-who after such a long buildup. But yes, C.S. Harris is such a consistent writer. Not only does she keep this series coming out regularly, but she wrote some books with her husband and another historical fiction novel at the same time as this series. I had a chance to chat with her at a conference a few years ago and that was very enjoyable.
  16. I've got that book ready to read as soon as I finish my current read. February/March/April seems to be my sweet spot of new book releases every year and they all come out in quick succession and I can't keep up.
  17. @Fragile Bird Sorry, it took me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to reread the first Crescent City and then equally long plus some to read the second one. It's way too long, there are way too many plot lines and the romance taking over from the urban fantasy dominance of the first one made it less interesting to me. I just do not like Hunt that much. The friendships between the characters are probably my favorite part of the series. Oh you might find this interesting, SJM did a spoiler filled interview about the ending of the second book with some stuff revealed about book 3 which she has finished a first draft of:
  18. I was looking through the reviews on amazon for a new release this week where there would have been a very large print run and was amazed at the number of 1 star reviews - not for the writing but for the physical condition of the book. I've occasionally noticed such reviews before but the large number of them within the first week of release clearly indicates there is a problem with this first printing. Over the past two years I've seen a number of articles about issues with getting access to facilities for large print runs and some publication dates being pushed back as a result. It does seem like such issues could lead to a poorer job with printing and assembling books. This seems to cover some of the shortage issues. https://www.vox.com/culture/22687960/book-shortage-paper-ink-printing-labor-explained
  19. @Fragile Bird I'm going to try to paste some of your quotes from the First Quarter Reading post regarding Crescent City and respond to them here...hopefully they paste over... Okay I love spoilers but I was not even seeking them out for the Crescent City series because I just at this point did not care that much but I rather inadvertently saw a spoiler on Instagram so I know what it is. Let me just say... I almost wonder if we are going to have a long painful wait on this cliffhanger. SJM just had a second baby last week. Plus she sold her house in Pennsylvania, spend 6 months in Hawaii, and moved to California in the past year. And has also spent the past year working with Ron Moore on the possible Hulu series of A Court of Thorn and Roses books. I am just going to guess that maybe that will have slowed down with her new book writing. But maybe she is super woman writer? I think we got some false expectations set up with her early string of publishing since she did have so many things finished/outlined before her first book was ever published and that allowed for just a domino of publishing books every year like that. But we shall see. In any event, I am rereading the first Crescent City book (sorry I cannot for the life of me remember the breath and life and blood titles and just default to the series name) and will report back before starting the second one.
  20. I did decide to reread the first book so it will be a few days before I get to the new one. I did see the SPOILER you are referring to, however, so I have been spoiled to that bit. Maybe we can discuss in more detail in the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance thread? (Actually I will go to that thread and post more then after this.) I, like you, generally enjoy spoilers especially for books like this and will look ahead to the last chapter or seek them out on the internet. That way I can relax while reading and just enjoy instead of speed reading through.
  21. Yes, lots of us have ideas like this as teens! Not so many of us write them fully down and go and get them published. I think she and others like Veronica Roth had the good fortune to come out of college with these books they had written as teens and the YA market was just exploding and looking for new YA authors and they lucked out with timing and getting published. I have read the first Crescent City book. As with all her books I enjoyed some parts and disliked others. I'll read the next one although I'm debating if I need to reread the first one or if I can remember enough of it. If you enjoy this series and are looking for something else to read you might want to check out the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning which was a big influence on SJM for the Crescent City series. The first book is Darkfever.
  22. I think this means you need to build some kind of she-shed/greenhouse out in the backyard!
  23. @Fragile Bird Ahh welcome to the world of SJM books. @kairparavel and I have discussed them over the years in the YA and Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance threads here. A word of warning about the Throne of Glass series...SJM wrote the first book when she was in high school and it is so different from the later books in the series that she wrote as an adult. The later books are not something you could have ever predicted based on that first book. Her writing developed and the stories reflect where she is in her own life and her changing interests and inspirations. Personally, I think A Court of Thorn and Roses is her best book - as in best edited, most tightly composed, most satisfying as a complete story. Most of her books are just way too long and rambling and in need of reigning in - the last book in the Court trilogy is just a bloated mess. But despite that she creates compelling locations and interesting female characters and great friendships between them which is why I keep reading her.
  24. I got my booster shot yesterday and I am now sitting here with an itchy red solid - feels like a golf ball - bump on my arm. It's just fascinating the different reactions the human body has to these vaccines. This reaction is similar to what I had after my first Shingles shot. While I had lots of reactions to the first two Pfizer shots, it was all internal with my lymph nodes and nothing visible and surface like this. Hopefully this will only last a day or two because it is very itchy!
  25. Illinois lost population and lost a seat so someone had to go. To the extent the Democratic legislature could mess with Republican seats, they did. (Miller with her Hitler comments had to go.) In terms of Democrats, Newman was the newest and has basically no history with Illinois Democrats and no loyalty was owed to her and yes, there is some bitterness with old school party members over her beating Lipinski. The Latino population has been a boom in the Chicago area and there has been tremendous pressure within the Democratic party here to increase their representation. So in the last round of mapping, Neman's house got mapped into Chuy's district and Chuy's district got shifted a bit in order to allow a potential second Latino representative to get elected. So did Newman get purposely redistricted out? Not so specifically, but there was no incentive with party members to do her any favors and make things easy for her. I will just note the Latino caucus in Illinois is playing hardball this year. In Chicago, for example, they gave in and got screwed with the redistricting of ward maps in Chicago 10 years ago. They are not giving in this time and Chicago might end up having its ward map redistricting go to the voters for the first time in ages if the aldermen cannot come up with a compromise map in the next few months. So them suing over the new Illinois congressional map despite having a possible two seats is just part of their broader strategy in trying to get more representation in Illinois.
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