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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

His Last Bow (from The Complete Sherlock Holmes)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes -  Arthur Conan Doyle

A quick adventure that take place on the eve of World War I, His Last Bow is not a mystery at all, but something of a spy caper, as Sherlock Holmes brings down a German spy-master.  It's good because it's Holmes and as always he's the master, but it's bittersweet too as the reader knows both what is coming both for England and themselves, as this is one of the last stories we'll ever have.



I read this as part of the Memorial Day BookLikes-opoly donation to the jail library.  It was 10 pages in length, and although it has a war theme, it still only earns $1.00.

Evenly Bodies (Constable Evans, #10)

Evanly Bodies - Rhys Bowen

The Constable Evans Mysteries are slower paced than your average cozy; they have a similar atmosphere and pacing as M.C. Beaton's Hamish MacBeth, but, in my opinion, much better written; less formulaic but just as quirky.


Evan Evans is happily adjusting to married life when an organisational shake up at work suddenly has him part of a major crimes task force with all new co-workers and a murder investigation.  In his quiet little village things are all shaken up too when a Pakistani family moves in and opens up a new shop.  Evan's wife Bronwyn befriends the daughter of the newcomers and, when the girl runs away to avoid an arranged marriage, Bronwyn is both enraged and accused of helping her hide.


For a book that was written 11 years ago, this is a heartbreakingly relevant storyline.  Bowen tackles all the hot button issues of today without really drawing any conclusions except that sometimes the right thing is not really the best thing.


The criminal plotting gets a bit overly convoluted towards the end; it feels like she got herself all snarled up at one point, but she gets back on track and the ending is rather breathtaking.  It's only really now hitting me that she went there in a cozy and managed to keep it cozy.


Bowen is undoubtedly a skilled writer and while this series doesn't have the high energy of Her Royal Spyness, it's still a great read.






Total pages: 210

$$:  $3.00

My Personal Literary Canon: Begin at the beginning

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume Then Again, Maybe I Won't - Judy Blume Deenie - Judy Blume Tiger Eyes - Judy Blume Forever... - Judy Blume The Luckiest Girl - Beverly Cleary Up in Seth's Room - Norma Fox Mazer

I'm going to start with the books that on the surface might strike some as the most trivial, but realistically, because of the age I was when I read them, would have had the biggest impact.


Hands down, the undisputed winner for most influential YA writer has to be Judy Blume.  In my previous post I mentioned I didn't come from an open family.  When speaking about my adolescence, I cannot put too fine a point on this:  my entire sex education consisted of a short movie and forgettable lecture in 5th grade that left me horrified, and the works of Judy Blume.  


But I got so much more out of her books too.  Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret might have enlightened me on the more embarrassing aspects of puberty, but I also learned the importance of making up your own mind about your beliefs, and that there was no right answer for everyone.  I also noted the dangers of jumping to conclusions about people you don't know; that their reality is not mine.  


Then Again, Maybe I Won't taught me that while change was rarely welcomed, sometimes good and unexpected things came out of it.  Deenie was my personal adolescent nightmare writ large; scoliosis terrified me; after reading Deenie it still terrified me, but I could see how someone might survive it and own it.  Tiger Eyes taught me we all carry guilt, even for the things we aren't guilty of and can't control, and while that may be the nature of things, we should never stop trying to let it go.


Then, of course, there's Forever...  I doubt I have to list all that I learned from this book, but the most lasting lesson was this: I'm allowed to choose for myself.  I get to make my decisions on my own terms and I'm allowed to change my mind.


This, in my opinion, was Judy Blume's strength.  She never preached to her readers, either directly or indirectly.  She created characters that were confronted by the things her readers confronted, and then gave her characters the rational capacity to find the answers on their own. Adults don't play Yoda in her books; the kids reach their own conclusions, and as a result they serve as examples to their readers.


There are other teen authors from back in the day that come to mind:  Beverly Cleary, of course, although not for her much more famous Romana series, but for The Luckiest Girl.  At 16, Shelley leaves her family to spend a year in California with a family she barely knows.  While quite a bit of the book is dated now and even a little twee, what stuck with me all these years was her bravery in getting on that plane by herself, her openness to experience new things, and her unapologetic, unabashed delight in the world around her. I admired her for that - I wanted to be like that too, and I am, mostly. I'll forever be grateful to Beverly Cleary for Shelley.


Finally, there's Up in Seth's Room by Norma Fox Mazer.  Like Forever this deals with the weighty issues of first love and how far do you go?  This book fascinated me because it straddled two myths:  If you defy your parents you're automatically wrong, and if you're dating someone older, you're going to be unable to say no.  Finn is 15 and falls for a 19 year old.  She defies her parents after she's forbidden to see him, but she calls the shots with Seth.  She decides what she is and isn't comfortable doing and she sticks to her guns.  As a stubborn teen, Finn spoke to me in ways nobody else ever did.


I give my mom (deservedly) most of the credit for the strong-willed, independent woman I am today, but it's just as accurate to say these women deserve to share the credit with her; they went where she was unwilling or unable to go, and I doubt she could find much fault with their lessons.


My Personal Literary Canon: Context and criteria

Moonlight Reader started this with her post:  A Personal Literary Canon, Part 1 and quite a few of us have jumped on the bandwagon because the question is just too intriguing to ignore:  what makes up your personal literary canon?  Each person's definition of personal canon, by definition, varies.  Mine is summed up thus:


What books have contributed to who I am today?  What books, which authors, shaped me, my values, my beliefs?  To me, those are the books that make up my literary canon.  If someone sat down and read the books in my list, they'd have a pretty good idea of who I am as a person.


To give that statement context, while my childhood was awesome, my parents were rather hands-off and staunchly conservative.  There wasn't any lecturing going on at home, but neither was there any personal-level openness.  As I was a huge reader from the beginning, most of my education about life necessarily came from what I read, shaped further by the examples my parents set.


So, that's pretty much my over-riding criteria for determine books/authors in my canon, but in addition to that I'm more or less using the following:


1.  No restrictions on subject:  fiction/non-fiction/poetry whatever; it's all fair game.

2.  Books or authors that would go with me to the island (in other words, books I love enough to have read over and over and over again).

3.  Concerning authors with multiple works that qualify, or books in a series, I will either include only the author if their work as a whole had a profound effect, or one or two books in a series that had the strongest impact.

4.  I will explain each choice, as quite a few of them will not necessarily be obvious.

5.  This is an ongoing project, and I reserve the right to add or modify these criteria as needed.

BookLikes-opoly: Memorial Day Bonus Books

Moonlight Reader announced Booklikes-opoly bonus rolls in honour of Memorial Day weekend.


Upon completing my rolls (documented in my last post) I dug around the TBR and came up with the following:


For space #8:  Chance - Read a book tagged mystery or has a title that begins with any letter in the world CLUE, I chose Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones; it begins with an "E" and the MC is a private detective (among other things) solving mysteries (among other things). Page count: 310


Eleventh Grave in Moonlight - Darynda Jones A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people.


As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead.


In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension.


With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world- rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all. 



My first roll was a double 5, so I rolled again and landed on: Cars Land 18: Read a book that was published in 2006, 2011, 2013, or 2014 or that has a car on the cover.  I went with Dead End Street by Sheila Connolly because it has a car on the cover (and Dead End Street seemed to play up the car theme).  Page count: 297


Dead End Street - Sheila ConnollyWhen the Pennsylvania Antiquarian Society discovers it owns some unique real estate, a deadly plot unfolds . . .

Society president Nell Pratt believes life is finally going her way. Everything’s running smoothly at work, and her love life is thriving. Then some unexpected news rocks her foundation. Two members of a local neighborhood rescue program, Tyrone Blakeney and Cherisse Chapman, inform Nell that her society owns an abandoned row house in a rundown area of Philadelphia and they insist on taking her to see the property before its date with the wrecking ball.

But soon after they arrive at the house, Cherisse is fatally shot and Tyrone is badly injured. The police believe it’s just random violence in a bad neighborhood, but Nell thinks there’s more to it and is determined to find answers before someone else becomes history . . .


My second offical bonus roll was a 6, which landed me on Water Works: Read a book with water on the cover, or where someone turns on the waterworks (i.e., cries) because of an emotional event.  I chose Walking on My Grave by Carolyn Hart for the water on the cover.  Page count: 246


Walking on My Grave - Carolyn HartVes Roundtree seeks Annie Darling’s help when she almost dies in a fall on her stairway. Ves claims to have no enemies but tells Annie that upon her death six islanders will become very wealthy—and all of the heirs have sought advances, which Ves has refused.

Annie and her crew unsuccessfully aim to see if any heir has an alibi for the time when the step was waxed, while Ves invites the heirs to her home. That night one heir drowns, and Ves disappears. There is a smear of blood in her house, and her gun is gone. Police chief Billy Cameron seeks help from Annie and Max to gather up the suspects at Ves’s home, and when the grandfather clock strikes a quarter past seven, a calculating killer will be revealed…



Finally, Moonlight Reader has opened up this weekend to donations to the get out of jail library.  While you can read any short story up to 100 pages to donate, she'll double the payout if you read one that takes place during any war including and after WWI.  I've chosen to do this and read His Last Bow, one of the Sherlock Holmes short stories that can be found in The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.  When first published in The Strand Magazine, it was titled His Last Bow. The War Service of Sherlock Holmes   Page count: 10 pages


The Complete Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan DoyleOn the eve of the First World War, the German agent Von Bork is getting ready to leave England with his vast collection of intelligence, gathered over a four-year period. Von Bork will be received in Berlin as a hero, and is merely waiting for one last transaction with his Irish-American informant, Altamont: naval signals.

BookLikes-opoly: Bonus Memorial Day Rolls

Bonus Roll #1:



I don't know why I keep landing on this spot every time I get to the bottom of the board... thank god I have a lot of mysteries, I guess.  Since I rolled doubles:


Bonus Roll #1A:



it's deja vue all over again!



Bonus Roll #2:


I'll list my chosen books in another post.


BookLikes-opoly: Turn 16 (May 26th)

Today's roll:



This is why I love this game.  I saw this and thought 'oh crap, I don't have anything that's going to fit'; I love a mystery, but not so much a police procedural.  But I went and looked at my TBR pile, and there, at the bottom of a stack, was a book I've been ignoring for years.  Without this game, I'd probably have gone on ignoring it indefinitely - not because I think it'll be bad, but because it's become too familiar in the pile.  Now, it's going to get read and shelved with its brethren where it belongs.  My read:  Evanly Bodies by Rhys Bowen, featuring Evan Evans, a police constable in Wales.


Evanly Bodies - Rhys Bowen Detective Constable Evan Evans and his new bride, Bronwen, are settling into married life in their little cottage above the village of Llanfair when they meet the daughter of one of the village's newest families, a sixteen-year-old Pakistani girl named Jamila.


Bronwen and Jamila are becoming good friends when Jamila finds out from her parents that they have arranged a marriage for her back in Pakistan. Evans tries to convince her family not to enforce the custom, arguing that Jamila is a normal Welsh teenager, but just as the tensions increase, the girl suddenly vanishes. Bronwen is distraught, but there's no trace of her. 


At work, Evans is investigating the murder of a man shot to death through the open window of his home while eating breakfast. After the man's wife is jailed as a suspect, a second man is killed---and then a third---and Evans and his team are on the hunt for a serial killer. But they can't seem to find any connections between the three men…. In the surprising climax of Edgar Award finalist Rhys Bowen's tenth Constable Evans mystery, Evans risks everything to solve the murders and discover what happened to Jamila.  Page count: 210

Dead in the Water (Mattie Winston, #8)

Dead in the Water - Annelise Ryan

I almost don't want to call this a cozy; the crimes committed are pretty vividly written, and although not graphic in a visceral sense, I found it emotionally so.


Mattie is feeling a little overwhelmed with wedding planning and child rearing when her best friend, co-worker and mentor has a severe medical crisis and another co-worker is one of three murder victims in a 24-hour span. 


Gone are the days of the early-series Mattie, the one that fumbled about in a sometimes painfully slapstick manner; she's a more confident, pulled together Mattie, even when she's struggling to keep it all together.  She's a great heroine: smart, independent, rational, and humorous.  Her romantic interest is an alpha male who does not try to control her in the slightest, but instead works with her.  Together they're a great pair to cheer on and the cast of supporting characters are all human and likeable.


The murder plotting was excellent and there are ties to cold cases and old history; my only complaint is that this is obviously part of a bigger over-arcing plot and I can't say I care much for those in the context of an on-going series.  A planned trilogy is one thing, but open-ended series have a tendency to get cancelled before the author can resolve that long-game plot, leaving their readers hanging.  I'm not saying that's going to happen here, but it's happened often enough to sour me on the concept.


I'm also annoyed that this series started in hardcover, switched to paperback and is now back to hardcover, but that's not the author's fault; I'm just grumping about it because it plays havoc on my shelves.


Looking forward to what happens next with Mattie and Steve.




Total pages: 344

$$:  $3.00

First time visitors to the garden...

We looked out back yesterday to find this guy and his buddy in our apricot tree.  They're always out and about in the really big canopy trees our neighbours have but they've never graced us with a visit before now.  This morning we had 6 of them sitting just outside our back doors, and I spent a good half hour taking hundreds of photos, while Easter-cat and Carlito stared agog at the Skittles-with-wings (Carlito from inside, because frankly, he's a wuss).


It took forever to choose the picture I wanted to share here, but ultimately I decided on this one, where the Lorikeet is giving Easter-cat the side-eye (she's directly beneath, flattened out, and trying her hardest to watch the bird through the tops of her ears).


Rainbow Lorikeet, giving the evil-eye to the rainbow colored cat beneath him.

BookLikes-opoly: Turn 15 (May 24th)

I rolled and chose my books yesterday, but am tardy with my post, so quickly:



This seems to be a very popular space, doesn't it?  Anyway, I chose Dead in the Water by Annelise Ryan:  it has both trees on the cover and author initials found in the word TARZAN.


Dead in the Water - Annelise RyanAs the single mom of an energetic toddler and an investigator working for the medical examiner’s office in small-town Sorenson, Wisconsin, Mattie is used to her life being a juggling act. But now that she’s moved in with Detective Steve Hurley and his teenaged daughter Emily, and has started planning their wedding, her home life is looking more like a three-ring circus. And with her boss and friend, Izzy, suddenly having a health crisis, she could not be more grateful for the newest staff member in the ME’s office, Hal Dawson.

All too quickly her gratitude turns to shock when a floating body found trapped against a dam turns out to be Hal, but the cause of death isn’t drowning—his throat’s been slashed. Hal was supposed to be fishing on his day off with his girlfriend. And when their empty boat is found in a nearby lake, the whereabouts of the woman becomes an even more urgent question.

To find out what really happened to her coworker, Mattie may need to rock the boat. But a killer is just as determined to keep the truth from ever surfacing, even if that means making Mattie the next one to go under.
 Page count: 344  


The Witch and the Dead (Witchcraft Mystery, #7)

The Witch and the Dead - Heather Blake

These are always good fun: sweet without being sticky, sentimental without being sappy and the mysteries always well thought out.


As Darcy is moving out of her Aunt Ve's house into her own, Aunt Ve takes the opportunity to clean her garage out and finds a dead body: ex-husband #2 (Aunt Ve likes men) who disappeared the day after the elopement 30 years before.  Seems he never really left Aunt Ve (garage was used for storage, detached from the house, and Aunt Ve traveled extensively after he 'left' - for those wondering about the smell, flies, etc).


I'm not even going to bother touching on believability; the premise is a village full of magical witches so really, why bother?  But Blake does create believable characters; magic or not, these are real people and she makes it so, so easy to become invested in their lives. The mystery plot is well crafted too, and heartbreaking in its way.


It's a cute story and series, but it's a solid one and I'll keep on reading as long as Black keeps on writing.

How to: Shelves. Part 1 of possibly 100

A few Booklikers have struggles with shelves and it's something I've been wanting to do but have been overwhelmed just thinking about it.  


Linda Hilton, though, got me started as she had specific problems and questions that gave me a point of reference to begin.


This is by no means a comprehensive tutorial, it will be added to over time, and if you have specific issues with shelves, please post them in the How To BookLikes Group, (or in the comments below) and I or someone else will do our best to get them answered.


I'm going to presume everyone knows how to get to their BookLikes shelves.  By default, BookLikes displays your shelves as, well, shelves.  This is fine, but sometimes you need to extra power seeing your shelves in list view allows, so if you see shelves, please change the view to lists by clicking on this button:



Once you're in your list view - take a moment to check out the differences.... then click the "Settings" button on your toolbar:



This will take you to your shelf settings where you can choose things like your default view, default sort order, etc. etc.  But for the purposes of this tutorial we're focusing on the shelves themselves, so scroll a bit until you get to the list of shelves towards the bottom.


What is going to follow is a giant graphic of that section with notations about each function.  It just seemed the clearest way to explain all the different bits:




Exclusive statuses - these are shelves that allow you to mark a book without also setting it as Read, Planning to Read, or Currently Reading.   The best example of the usefulness of this is dictionaries .  Most of the time, you don't actually read, cover to cover, a dictionary.  Creating an exclusive shelf called Reference allows you to shelve it without having to mark your intention of reading it.   There are many other examples of these types of books, so you can create as many exclusive shelves as you'd like.  The checkbox for set as status allows you to move your shelves back and forth between exclusive and non-exclusive (in case you change your mind someday and decide to read the OED cover to cover).


click and drag - please note that older browsers and computers might struggle with this - if you think you're tech isn't a young whipper snapper any longer, use the Position numbers instead (although if you have a lot of shelves, yes, they're a pain).


I included the visible columns part of the page in the image above for two reasons.  1. It's where you can decide what to display in your list view, and 2. to highlight the multiple "Save Changes" buttons.  Now, I don't know for sure but rather to be safe than sorry, use the Save Changes button that applies to each section of the settings page.  So if you make changes to the table -visible columns section, use that save button.  If you make changes to the exclusive statuses, use that save button.


I suspect they're all the same but the sheer number of them make me concerned that they're not.  So, like I said, better safe than sorry.


Hopefully that will start us off.  Let me know.  ;-)

How to: Using BookLikes Widgets

Moonlight Reader's most excellent post regarding a reader's personal literary canon got us all thinking about the books that mean the most to us and/or define us as people and readers.


As I've been in a scripting mind space lately, I additionally started thinking about whether or not a BLer could display their personal canon on their blog pages, which is the basis for this tutorial.  But, this applies to anyone on BookLikes who wants to make widgets for the BL blog OR their personal blog; it just so happens that I'm customising mine for a book canon.


The following widgets are available, and they all more or less follow the same guidelines below:


Follow button -  (Follow my booklikes blog graphic)


Shelf widget - this is the one this tutorial is specific to; you can make more than one of these too, if you'd like to display multiple shelves.


Reading challenge widget - this gives you the progress bar/# of books box on your blog


Giveaway widget - what it says:  a box on your blog page announcing a book giveaway


Reading in Progress - Customisable to one book you're currently reading, so would need manual updating; gives you a progress bar like what you see on your dashboard.


Quote widget - this will pull the last Quote post you created (it must be a quote post - not a text post) and put it in a box on the side of your blog page


Discussions Widget - pulls the last user-defined-number of posts you've made in discussion groups; updated automatically.


My Latest Posts Widget - same as above: you define the number, and it pulls that number of latest posts you've made and makes teasers for them.


My Profile Widget - Allows your visitors to see a bit of data on you - data you can turn on or off.  Includes Country/# of Followers/Following/# of shelves/books reviewed, etc.


Reading List Widget - Customisable to show your most recently created lists (if any)


Author Widget - I'm guessing this is most useful for authors, but also fun for diehard fans of certain authors.  Search out your author name, name the list, define # of books to display, etc.


As I said earlier, they all follow more or less the same instructions - each is customisable (or not) in its own way, but all require you to go to the same page, get some code and paste it in your blog and that's what these instructions cover.  So, to begin:


Go to your Dashboard menu (the green one) and choose "Goodies".




From the Goodies page, select the "widgets" tab:




The widgets page is going to list all the widgets I've listed above and their customisable fields.  Whatever widget you want to make is going to be made on this page.  So for the the shelf widget, scroll (if you need to), down just a bit - it's the second one on the page: Shelf Widget



As you can see, the customisable fields are all pretty self-explanatory.  Play around a bit if you'd like; the preview updates as you make changes, so you can see what the finished product will look like.  Once you're happy with the look, press the "Get Code" button directly under the preview.  You'll get something that looks like this (but not exactly - because customisation):



If yours isn't highlighted automatically, highlight all the text in this box - make sure you get ALL of it, and use your Edit - Copy function to copy it.


From here you need to leave this page and go to the Settings page.  Again this also applies to all the other widgets. So, from the green dashboard menu, choose Settings:




On the settings page, you want to choose the "Blog" tab from the line of tabs that runs along the top of the page:





Once you're on the blog settings page, you have to scroll WAY down the page.



Further down...



A little bit further...




Until you see "Theme: Customise"



Click the "customize" button, and you'll be taken to a split page:  the first 25% will be a black bar running down the left hand side, and the other 75% will be a sort-of preview of your blog page (I say sort of because it's propagated with fake posts).  What we care about is what is in that black bar, and it's almost at the very bottom of it, so more scrolling...


You're looking for the box titled "Widgets area".


Now, stay with me, this can sound complicated but it isn't.


This box might be empty or it might not be.  If you've used widgets before, there's going to be other text in this box.  If this is your first time, the box is likely empty.


Care must be taken about where you paste your new widget code.  If you paste it in the middle of stuff that's already there, you'll break your widgets and probably get some crazy stuff showing up on your blog page.  


Each widget's code begins with a bracket ( < ) and the word 'iframe' and ends with 'iframe' and a ( > ) bracket.  Just make sure anything you paste into this box is before or after an 'iframe' tag text block.


Where you paste it determines where it appears on your blog.  If you paste it beneath your Reading Challenge widget, for example, then it's going to appear beneath your Reading Challenge box on your blog page.  


Most of the blocks of widget code will have a title= in them and this is the easiest way of identifying which block of code creates which widget.  So in the screenshot to the left, you can see "title=My Profile" (it runs across two lines) - that's my profile widget.  If I paste my shelf widget code above that, it will appear above my profile on my blog page.


So, place your cursor in the box and use the arrows on your keyboard (it's the easiest, if tedious, way to navigate the small little box; you can expand the box by pulling down its lower right corner, but it can be fiddly).  Once you have your curser in a clear space, paste the code in for your shelf widget.


If getting this right worries you - the safest thing to do is either place your cursor at the very top of the box, or at the very, very bottom and paste the code there.  Both ways will ensure that you don't paste into existing code.


Once you've done that, click the "Save" button located at the top of the black bar.  The image below shows you what - generally - the shelf code looks like in place (yours will be different because it's your custom settings) and where the "Save" button is.



Once you've save it - you're done.  Go to your BookLikes blog page and you should find it there, along the left or right side, depending on which template you're using.  This is mine - or, maybe not.  I think I've hit BookLikes limit on image sizes per post.  But, you can see your own once you try it.  :)


Happy widgeting - please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, or in the How To BookLikes group.


One last note:  This code should also work on your own outside-of-BookLikes blogs but I cannot comment on how easy or difficult it is to do this.  Each blog platform varies, but if you're interested, check out your blog platform's documentation for how and where to place this code to see your BookLikes shelves/widgets on your personal blog.  

The Wonderful Weekend Book

The Wonderful Weekend Book: Reclaim Life's Simple Pleasures - Elspeth Thompson

One of my impulse buys from the library sale, I thought it would be a fun source of inspiration for new weekend activities.  


As it turns out, the author and I are apparently on the same page when it comes to ways of enjoying a weekend:  most of the things she recommends or suggests are things we already do, to some extent.  Except learning to play the ukulele - er, no thanks, I'll pass on that one.  Still, MT and I are guilty of the weekly Sunday shop; something both he and I dread, and even though we take advantage of farmer's markets, there's just always something on the list that can't be gotten without a supermarket trip.  (We're not quite ready to trust online grocery shopping yet, either.)


There are a lot of good ideas here, helpfully broken down by season and all-year-round activities.  While the ideas are universal to all, the main drawback is that the book is entirely UK-centric, providing liberal lists of UK sources and the author's anecdotes about great places to stay or things to do in the UK.  The debate about how worthwhile it is to go to France to stock up on alcohol seems a particularly moot one to someone living in Australia (or anywhere else that isn't Europe for that matter).


Frankly, it's not a book I'd say is worth buying in the shops, but if your library has it, or like me, you find it for a buck at the library sale, it's not a bad source for ways to mix your weekend up a bit.

How to: Adding BL linked book covers and/or text links into the body of your posts.

I think a lot of us know how to do this, but I think there are an equal number of BL'ers out there that don't know about this useful tip for putting BL-linked book covers and title/author links into the body of your posts.


It's easy, but it's not obvious at all.  It's also not the most stream-lined process, if you think about it, but it works really well and here's how to do it.


Create your post and use the "+" to Add Book, up at the top (I'm calling this the BookLikes book bar for the sake of this tutorial) to add a book from either the BookLikes database or your bookshelves.  Even though you don't necessarily want the book there, you need it there temporarily - you'll remove it later (unless you're me, in which case you'll forget every time and have to go back to remove it).


Once your book is added up in the BookLikes bar, hover your mouse over it and you'll notice three small buttons appear on top of the cover (depending on how busy the cover art is, one or all of these can be hard to spot).  I used a coverless book to make them easy to see:




When you're ready to insert your cover or your link, make sure the cursor is where you want them to go, and click on the appropriate little popup button.  They will instantly produce a cover or a link in your post, wherever the cursor is.


Once you're finished, use the 'x' to remove the book cover from your BookLikes bar, unless you want two cover images of the same book in your post.



1.  You can do this for as many books as you'd like - just add them to the book bar first.  If you want to add more than 10, you'll have to remove them as you go, since 10 is the limit for books added to the BL book bar at any one time.


2.  You can edit the text title/author link.  When you hover over it with your mouse it'll look like it's going to take you to the link, but just ignore that and click in the part you want to edit: the cursor will move there and you can edit without losing the link.  I usually replace the '-' booklikes uses between the title and author with 'by' so it reads nicer.


3.  You can move both the text link and the cover around, but it's easier to move the text link. The text link moves the same way any other text can be moved: cut/paste or highlight/drag.  If you're not comfortable with html enough to feel like you can fix any errors, don't move the cover - just delete it from the post and then place it in its new spot from the BL book bar.  


4.  You can treat the cover link the same way you'd treat any other image:  click on it to highlight it and change its justification (left, right, center, justified) or change it's image attributes using the image button in the format bar.


That's all there is too it - when you're finished, just remember to use the 'x' to remove any covers from the BL bar that you don't want to keep in the finished post.


Happy posting.  :)



ETA:  Well, I did it again - posted and forgot to remove the cover from the book bar.  I am nothing if not consistent.  :P


Library sale!

Hit up my local library systems quarterly sale today and had a much better than usual haul (including 5 books for MT, not shown here).



See that book second from the bottom?  The Lost Book of Salem by Katherine Howe?  Yeah, turns out I already own that one but under its original title The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.  I freaking HATE when publishers do that.  grrr...


I'm looking forward to the rest though; all but the Pratchett are titles new to me.