Virtual: Rockin' Re-Read Convention
I’m inventing my own: “In the time of isolation” event.
You have all been invited to Irene's “Rockin' Re-Read Convention” 
Go to the books in your home and select one for this reading club: Anyone I know? Bujold? Heyer? Lee & Miller? Norton? Sayers?

[Thanks go to Jerrie who came up with the title.]
As posted by Jerrie

Yesterday, 11:27 PM
I recently read the latest 3 Aunt Dimity mysteries by Nancy Atherton. They are always comforting and fun.

Today I read "Cosmic Balances Inc" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Every Monday she puts up a free short story, but it's only up for a week, before it disappears. Her site is here: I recommend adding it to your reading feed.

This week
I finished CURSE OF CHALLION by Lois McMaster Bujold a few days ago.

Also   PLAN B and I DARE by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

I read fast.

On the comfy chair right now is PALLADIN OF THE SOUL by Bujold
THE PRINCE COMMANDS by Andre Norton on top of the to-be-read pile.

CURSE OF CHALION by Lois McMaster Bujold is the story of a soldier, Caz. Once the warder of a castle, and commander of soldiers. After the castle/city is ceded to the enemy in a war, he is sent into slavery on a ship with oars.  He committed an infraction and was beaten so soundly, that he was barely conscious for the ships capture, and his removal to a hospital.  Important to the story is the local religion. they celebrate five gods: Four of these have seasons of the year; Daughter, Mother, Son and Father. In Chalion they also pray to the Bastard, the god of things and people out of season, god of children born out of wedlock, in fact god of everything not covered by the other gods.  this is a story of how Caz walk back to Chalion, and into the world he has left, and tries to bring meaning into a life that is apparently god-touched, and not in a way that Caz would wish. 

PALLADIN OF THE SOUL by Lois McMaster Bujold is another story of Chalion, This takes up the story of Ista, once queen in Chalion, then made mad, and now appearing sane, and free to take up her life.  And the life she chooses is not the one that she sees before her. A chance meeting with some pilgrims, gives her the idea to go on a pilgrimage, more as something to do, rather than as a religious need.  Soon she has a cadre of good people around her, and soon she has need of them.
Does anyone want thumbnail reviews?

I've finished PALLADIN, and am half way through THE PRINCE COMMANDS

I was tempted by SMALL KINGDOMS by Charlaine Harris (when I went upstairs to look for something) - and as this a collection of 4 stories (129 pages), I'm done reading. "Anne deWitt runs a tight ship as principal at Travis High School", but she ran a tighter, and more dangerous school at her last job.
I finished THE PRINCE COMMANDS by Andre Norton        
              This was written to be a 'Boy's Book' by Andre Norton , published in 1934.
              It follows a pattern Andre would use in her more mature novels.  Boy of 18, kept isolated for his whole life, if offered a life of adventure with kidnappings, escapes, automobiles, horses, pistols, machine guns and swords.... Lots of swords.

I've started re-reading  GHOST SHIP by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
GHOST SHIP was finished today

I've started to read a collection by Tamora Pierce
I finished TORTAL AND OTHER STORIES by Tamora Pierce
This includes stories that just don't fit into her other Tortal books. Tamora claims to be an author of 4 book trilogies. Or really long single books that wouldn't fit in a single binding. Tortal is a nation of horses and swords. Young men, of good family, who study from age 11 to age 17 to be knights of the realm. There are wizards and healers, fighters, and masters of unarmed combat, people of the desert. Some countries are like ancient Japan, or Egypt. there are places eternally encased in ice, and others where the sun shines every day. There are 5 sets of books about this country. So before you dive into your first quartet , you might want to grab this.

I've started STEADFAST by Mercedes Lackey & pulled down ALANNA by Tamora Pierce
I may pull REBEL SPURS by Andre Norton next.
I've finished
ALANNA (reviewed down below)

GHOST SHIP by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller is next to the comfy chair.

STEADFAST by Mercedes Lackey is also finished
For Lackey this is part of disconnected books about the wizards of England. These encompass Air, Earth, Water and Fire at the level of "can see", "Magician" and "Master". The stories occur around the time of before and during World War I. There are people who have wilder talents like hedge-witches, seers, sensitives and people with different mythologies (so India has a different set of wizards.) This is one of the stand alone books.
This specific book is about a young girl who's family are travelers. Her mother is actually a Gypsy, her father is not, they all work as Circus performers. The parents die in a fire that burns their caravan, and the grief stricken girl is married to the circus strong man. She leaves this life, and in her escape is aided by a gypsy family who determine that her life will be in Brighton. In Brighton she finds work as the magicians assistant, and dancer, and catches the eye of a Soldier veteran of the Boer war.
You know, thumb nail reviews would be kind of nice.
I didn't think anyone was reading this... I've finished several books since this... I average a book a day, or at least 3 on a normal week.
I am now reading UNATURAL ISSUE by Mercedes Lackey

by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
First you have to understand that Sharon and Steve are very nice people who occasionally have 'snarky' thoughts. When two of the characters come up with the same mother response of "if all of your friends did it would you also", and respond that there must be a subscription service. Sharon & Steve are both tall people who, amongst other series they have written, write about a population of people who are 5'2" or 5'6" in a universe of very tall people.
Second: Their publisher BAEN Press has the subversive idea that if they give you the first book of the series in ebook form, for free, you will get addicted. In this they are correct.
So, you should start at the beginning. with AGENT OF CHANGE and FLEDGELING (which was my entry point) both of these are free books.

That all being said. These books can stand on their own legs. The clan of people known to the universe as Korval, or Tree and Dragon, have found themselves faced by an enemy, an enemy calling itself "Department Of Interior". This enemy has plotted against the home world, and found Korval in their way. In order to cut off the head of DoI, Korval had fired on the home world, wiping out the organization there, and the weapons DoI activated by cutting a rather large hole in the landmass of the major city in the homeworld, saving untold lives, and causing a thousand year old contract to be made void and the family to be banned from the homeworld. At the same time Theo Waitley (from FLEDGELING) has taken to the stars in a ship of a type not seen for several centuries. This ship, in fact, had shown up on radar occasionally as a ghost ship.
Lee & Miller weave the stories of this family together, as they take up lives on the 'transitional' planet of Surebleak, named by it's bleak weather, Oh cold enough for sweaters in summer [Lee & Miller live in Maine], and the fierce natures of the family members, their lives as traders, wizards, politicians, and above all pilots: for Korval is Pilots.
ALANNA by Tamora Pierce

Tamora wrote this as one, VERY long book for girls. This in an age when books for children couldn't be more than 300 pages, because children don't read books that long. Also Alanna starts the saga as age 11, and well before she is 20 has some very adult relationships.
The first book begins as a tale of two twins. Both raised by benign neglect by their studious father. Both trained by the head man at arms and by the village midwife. Thom takes to the training in simple magic, and Alanna takes to the training in archery and riding. They are about to be sent away to schools, each to one that they will not like. Thom uses Alanna's words to rewrite the letters of introduction so that he goes to the school that will start to teach him wizardry, and the newly named twin, "Alan", will go to the crown city and into knight training. BUT, these are the stories of Alanna, and her training in sword, history, and her life as page, squire and finally knight.
UNNATURAL ISSUE by Mercedes Lackey has been finished.
This is another book in the world where the Magicians of Earth, Air, Water and Fire exist.
Suzanne lives in the mansion owned by her father, but has never met him. Her mother died at her birth and her father renounced her. But she lives, and has found companions in the house staff, and purpose in guarding the land. You see Suzanne is a Mage of the earth. But then her father spots her in the gardens, and his magic has changed, and she flees for her life, into a world about to go to war. (WWI).

At the suggestion on the Andre Norton site, I am now reading PERILOUS DREAMS, a collection of stories about dreamers.
I finished the first of the collected stories in PERILOUS DREAMS and the first book of the WILD MAGIC quartet by Tamora Pierce. I'll review both of these as I finish the collection & the quartet.
PERILOUS DREAMS by Andre Norton is a collection of 4 short pieces. Two of these are original to this title.

Basically these stories are all based around. Ty-Kry and young women who can bring another person into their dreams. In each is a dreamer linked to someone who wishes to go on an adventure. The adventure can last several days, and is independent of the abilities of the client, and is deemed safe. The dream is limited to what the dreamer can imagine, and these women study both requirements of the client, and interesting things.

So the 'hive' (managers and the dreamers) take on clients, and each story deals with what can go wrong when dreaming (esper skill) and science (there is a regulator machine that links the minds of dreamer to client) are tampered with.

So, you can think of this as a really deep game of role playing. (More like the movie Jumangi 2)

So what would happen if a dreamer found a point of history to play with? Could it change the now and then of a planet, or would the dreamer and client move into an alternate reality?
I've taken a quick break from Tamora Pierce's quartet of Wild Magic.

NECESSITY'S CHILD by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
This is a departure from their normal way of telling the story of the family Korval. In this the otherwise main characters are mostly 'off stage', and Two new characters are introducted.

Syl Vor is the child of Nova Yos'Gallan, and is living at the family Clan House. His two older cousins are off to learn their futures. His two younger cousins are babies. Syl Vor, about age 9, took his time of isolation during Plan B so much to heart, that he now finds himself quite focused on protection and isolated. Everyone else has work, have a purpose. He alone just has his schoolwork, and after his experience living at the Rock, he is very serious about everything, i.e. he doesn't play. Taking his own decision he travels to the city where his mother has her office, and house. He proposes to attend the local school, becoming Kovals guarantee that they approve of the idea of shools.

Kezzi is a child of the Bedel, the kompani. She is the youngest by several years (10?), than the rest of the group. The Bedel are a group of travelers, perhaps closely aligned with the Rom gypsies of our own world. The groups lives in the basement of the old warehouse district. They appear to have been dropped off by a space ship for several years, but keep to their ways. Kezzi goes into the streets above to find something needed by one of her family. She is picked up as a child on the street, and brought to school.

Rys is a man who was found by the Bedel, almost at death's gate, and brought for treatment. The Grandmother of the clan decides to save his life. As he slowly heals, he remembers his childhood, and a bit of his life after his family was killed. As he heals in body, he still has a huge hole in his soul. And then a woman on the streets begins to take an interest in him.

And so things stand as the New Consolodated School gets ready to open on Surebleak.
This latest read is a departure from a good part of my normal SF and Fantasy.

Meg has moved into the family house for the summer to help with three weddings, those being for hert friend, brother's fiancé, and Mother. These women, in their own ways are people who are very demanding. Her friend Elaine because she is ditzy and keeps changing her mind, Meg's mother, who is exacting, and expects Meg to ghost write personal invitations, and Samantha who is exacting, and needs Meg to do everything (and who Meg really doesn't like). The characters include several family members, a dog, a duck, Aunt Sophie's ashes, missing fabric bolts, crocket players, and many items getting moved around the neighborhood,And the peacocks don't even arrive until 2/3 of the way into the book.

This book is a 'farce', the kind of thing with people popping out of closets, the kind of thing the Marx Brothers were usually working with. Did I mention that Meg is a blacksmith?

This is the first book of a series, and I strongly recommend that you read it first before you go on to any of the 25 other books. All have a bird in the title, and all have a bird in the title, sometimes as a pun (LARK THE HERALD ANGLES SING) has Meg "weaponizing" Christmas Carols.

I finished theIMMORTALS quartet by Tamora Pierce yesterday.

The first quartet was about a lady night. The next set of books is about another lady knight (and my memory has it giving much more information on training. This quartet more the Magic and Wild Magic parts of the world. So maybe I likght the knights better?

Daine has come to the Job and Animal faire in GALA. She seeks a job with a woman who has a herd of ponies. She is given the job, even though she told a lie while applying (she says she is 15, when really is 13).
As they head south to Tortall, it becomes obvious that Daine can converse with animals. Her own pony follows her around without a halter. The other poinies act as if she is their head mare, Oona's dog immediately loves her. And when a hawk flies out of the trees, and has to be defended from immortals the magic begins.

Daine has Wild Magic. Or at least he magic centers her in animals. Other humans have magic in this universe, war magic, earth magic, sorcerer magic, but it is made known to the reader that this isn't the same. Less controlled, less directed. Sometimes sick animals pull their healing out of Daine even when she doesn't wish it.

These books center on the difference between the lands of Mortals, and realms of the gods. At first the barrier is pierced, allowing some immortals across, and as the 4th book begins the barrier is gone. In the earlier books (ALANNA) the rules and limitations of magic seem simple enough. Some people have healing magic, and need to train to hone that magic, and other people have other levels of magic. In this quartet, There is now a person with catering (or so it seems) magic, others with war magic, and fire magic. Black Opals can store magic and the immortals (not gods - gods die, but are immediately reborn), like Stormwings, coldfangs, hurrocks, centaurs, Gryphons, dragons and ogres would live forever if they didn't get killed by something pointy.

So this is a society where the bow and the lance, knives and swords rule, but here magic is needed to protect and defend.
I like the first 3 books better than the last. In the 4th book, we have a long journey through the realm of the gods, and it's not my favorite.

I'm now reading OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon next since it's already next to the comfy chair.
I've finished reading the TROUBLE IN MAYAPAN by Andre Norton 
this is an unfinished novel, only available on-line at
It is not a complete novel. In fact this is 11 chapters, and 7 outlines of  a pre-edited novel. As I consider Andre Norton to be one of the best editors I have ever met, this is in need of her touch.

For what it is, post WW II, South America, Adventure story for boys, it fits in the genre. But, or course, it is too short, and left me wanting it to be finished.  At 70 pages (8.5x11) it is very unfinished. The best thing was finding where my own single sheet of outline fits into the whole. [This being a double sided typed page. So old that the edges are crumbling.]

I thank Victor Horadam and Jay Watts for providing the text
Just finished OOUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon

this is the first book of her series. All are well plotted, and researched. (Takes her 2-3 years between books). This is the paper edition, and is the size of a brick. It's 850 pages. This is most satisfying ly rated "R" by me.

Simply put,Claire and her husband Frank Randall, are on their second honey moon in the Highlands near Inverness. WW II is just over (1945) and Claire is back from 4 years of being an army nurse, and Frank from service with MI6. They were wed in a small chapel near where the bed-and-breakfast they are staying in, and are now trying to know each other again after being apart for the war years.

Frank is researching his many times great grandfather, and Claire begins to study herbs and herbal medicine.

And then one day she makes a return visit to a stone circle, to look for a herb that she saw there. She hears a loud buzzing, like bees, and it spooks her enough that she steps through the center stone, and back 202 years.

Claire is woefully unprepared for 1743. She's dressed in a summer dress, which tears to easily as she is kidnapped first by a Red coat who looks startling like Frank, and then by a group of Highlanders. She is tossed back and forth between these two
groups, finally being willing to marry a highlander to give her citizenship, and some safety from the soldiers.

So beings the saga where Claire is tossed back & forth, trying to make her way back to the stone circle, trying to stay out of jail, act as a physician, keep her new husband from getting himself killed, meeting his family, highlanders, and even the loch ness monster. And this is just the beginning of the first book.

I found my self staying up way to late, dreaming parts of the book, and sneaking in other books to get a break.
I'm tempted to grab the next book right away, but, maybe some comedy next?
KNAVE OF DREAMS by Andre Norton has finally percolated to the top of the to-be-read pile.

Having done so, I was a bit disappointed. Oh it's OK, but I realize why I don't re-read it very often.

Once you get past the "set up" chapters of how American Ramsey ends up as Kaskar, there is the standard "arrival on a new planet" sort of story that Norton does so well.

The young man arrives on a "death bed", and is helped by the young woman he finds praying at his side. Ne needs to learn the language and the culture, fast. He seems to have succeeded in this training, in what seems to me, impossibly fast speed. He takes on the persona of a last survivor of a blood feud. All of this while he just wants to go home (ruby slippers anyone?)

The holes in the plot include him not learning to read. The land has battles fought with swords, and large elk used to pull land transport, but flying ships that can easily drop into a small clearing that the elk-cart had been used.

Even the battle tactics are questionable. Ramsey joins some mercenaries, who have swords, small (glass) projectile weapons, and some sort of larger "vibration" machine. The enemy sends an enveloping fog - but through that is able to pinpoint bomb the larger machines (which are bunched in one place). A message bird is sent out, and in another point in the story, an actual messenger, but messages on 'wire' are mentioned. The technology is listed as being re-discovered after some sort of nuclear war. But that is not how science works; technology works on technology. If you can re-create a flying machine, you should also be able to use the technology to develop a land machine. If you develop hand guns, why do you need swords?

All the same, I am most interested in the main castle, with what appeared to be a secret passage (or was that just an empty hallway), and hidden chambers. This is the stuff my dreams are made.

Sadly, I found the ending implausible. People don't ……. Oh well, you will have to read for yourself.

MYCode Guide

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