Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday Snapshots - January 7th 2017

Saturday Snapshots is a meme hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. The rules of the game are:
To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Personally, I find that this is one of the most fun memes that I've participated in. Not to mention that it's a bit of an incentive to get out and take more photos every week!

All photos are new ones this week. I got out earlier in the week to do some birdwatching and photography - finally able to really test out the new 80-400mm lens, and I have to say I'm pretty happy with the results. Any remaining annoyance is pointed firmly at my need to improve my own skills, and not at the equipment (I need to learn to use manual focus properly - so as to ensure that the focus is on the right part of the bird (head and eye) rather than the branches around the bird or the wing or tail).

Anyway, these are the three that I'm most proud of:







All three were taken somewhere I'd driven by several times and not realized what it was. Buttertubs Marsh, Nanaimo.  I'm definitely going back there. It's a beautiful little walk - though the path was pretty icy this week. Lots of different birds too.

I saw some kind of hawk-type bird flying by, a male red-winged blackbird, spotted towhees, dark-eyed juncos, chickadees and assorted sparrows like the ones above. Not to mention a couple of American robins. What the heck. I'm going to add one more photo today:


I can't forget about the squirrels either. We saw quite a few of them. No waterfowl (ducks, geese, or swans) though. Not too surprising as the whole marsh was frozen more or less solid. I definitely want to go back through the year to watch the wildlife change as the birds come and go with the seasons.

Monday, January 2, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is one of the longest lasting book-memes I know of. I've been a participant since the days it was hosted over at J Kaye's Book Blog, and then on Book Journey. Now It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted at Book Date.

The idea of It's Monday! What Are You Reading is to share the books you read last week and also what you are currently reading. I've discovered the hard way that it's a dangerous meme for your TBR piles as frequently I end up adding books to my wishlist thanks to the intriguing descriptions and reviews that others share.

For a week involving the holiday season, I got more reading done than I'd expected:

Hand of Isis - Jo GrahamHand of Isis
Jo Graham

The amazon.com product description:
Charmian is handmaiden to Cleopatra. She is also an oracle, gifted with ancient memories that may hold the key to preserving Egypt. Through blood and fire, war and peace, love and death, she will face a desperate struggle that will remake the future of the world.

Shortlisted for the Locus Best First Novel Award, included in The Amazon Editors' Top Ten List in Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2008 and the Locus Recommended Reading List, with starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, Jo Graham is one of the most exciting new voices to come out of historical fantasy in recent years.
An excerpt from my review:
I can't recommend Hand of Isis enough to any historical fiction reader, and many fantasy readers. I'm almost certain that if you enjoyed reading any of Katherine Kurtz's historical fiction novels or Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, you'll enjoy reading this one, and Jo Graham's other novels as well. 
The second book I read (finished it late last night):

The Laughing Corpse - Laurell K. HamiltonThe Laughing Corpse
Laurell K. Hamilton

The amazon.com product description:
The early Anita Blake novels find new life in trade paperback-as perfect collectibles for long-time fans or as great ways for new readers to sink their teeth into the series.
In The Laughing Corpse, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead...
These books are as close to horror as I care to get.

An excerpt from my review:
Anita Blake is quite the character though. Stubborn, sure of herself, and determined to do the right thing. She's not about to wait around for someone else to take on the tough tasks. Or for someone else to do the unpleasant jobs - and there are a few of those in this book. Instead, if that's what she's got to deal with, she's going to do so - and do it to the best of her ability - even if that scares her.

I'm currently reading only one book this week - and I did actually read a hundred pages or so of it last week so it still counts.

The Fiery Cross - Diana GabaldonThe Fiery Cross
Diana Gabaldon

The amazon.com product description:

The dazzling fifth volume of Diana Gabaldon’s extraordinary Outlander saga, featuring 18th-century Scotsman James Fraser and his 20th-century time-traveling wife, Claire Randall.

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge.

Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time—1743—when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George’s army.

Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor—Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes....

Grand, sweeping, utterly unforgettable, The Fiery Cross is riveting entertainment, a vibrant tapestry of history and human drama.
There are a few books that I'm planning to start reading this week:

Europe: Chained By History
Larry J. Hilton
Newport Publishing
Copyright: 2015
978-0996786119

The amazon.com product description:

A Plea for Europe to form a United States of Europe
Europe: Chained by History is a groundbreaking book that uses history to make a compelling case for Europe to form a United States of Europe--or risk seeing the European Union come apart individually.
Using the history of Vienna from its inception to 1938, readers are invited to observe Western Europe from within this ancient city.
  • Where did historic rivalries among European nations begin?
  • How did the Enlightenment affect Europe and the United States?
  • What persistent darkness allowed Hitler to lead the word in to a second devastating world war?
  • What will it take for today's European Union to survive?
Author Larry J. Hilton explores these questions, and more, by using fascinating details about what it was really like to live in Vienna from the the first century through the days of hyper-inflation after World War 1.
Thought provoking and well researched, Europe: Chained by History radiates hope even as it details the formidable & political obstacles to European unity. In the end, a banking or ISIS crisis will force the issue.
This was a book that I accepted for review - the first one in quite a few years.

Tempest: All New Tales of Valdemar
Ed. Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books
Copyright: 2016

The amazon.com product description:

Twenty-four authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

The Heralds of Valdemar are the kingdom’s ancient order of protectors. They are drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages—and all are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. These inborn talents—combined with training as emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, warriors, and more—make them indispensable to their monarch and realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horse-like Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. The Heralds of Valdemar and their Companions ride circuit throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.

Now, twenty-three authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

Join Elizabeth Vaughan, Fiona Patton, Jennifer Brozek, Brenda Cooper, Rosemary Edghill, and others in twenty-two original stories, including a brand-new novella by Mercedes Lackey, to Valdemar, where:

A Herald must crack an ancient code in a historic tapestry in order to arbitrate a dispute over land and lineage…

A Healer’s daughter flees the noble family that has trapped and enslaved her mother, and must seek help to free her mother…

A young woman who hides her clairvoyant powers from her town’s Karsite priests ForeSees a threat, and must risk revealing her Gift to save her community…

A Herald finds his assistant has been abducted by a man upon whom he had levied a heavy fine, and must foil the kidnapper’s plans to save his charge…
This one is the first book I'm planning to read for the Valdemar Challenge that started yesterday.

The third book I'm planning to start is the third book in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series:

The Circus of the Damned - Laurell K. HamiltonThe Circus of the Damned
Laurell K. Hamilton

The amazon.com product description:
First time in trade paperback: the third novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

In Circus of the Damned-now in trade paperback for the first time-a rogue master vampire hits town, and Anita gets caught in the middle of an undead turf war. Jean-Claude, the Master Vamp of the city, wants her for his own-but his enemies have other plans. And to make matters worse, Anita takes a hit to the heart when she meets a stunningly handsome junior high science teacher named Richard Zeeman. They're two humans caught in the crossfire-or so Anita thinks.

The Laughing Corpse - Laurell K. Hamilton

The Laughing Corpse - Laurell K. HamiltonThe Laughing Corpse
Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley Books
Copyright: 1994
978-0425204665

The amazon.com product description:
The early Anita Blake novels find new life in trade paperback-as perfect collectibles for long-time fans or as great ways for new readers to sink their teeth into the series.
In The Laughing Corpse, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead...
The Laughing Corpse is the sequel to Guilty Pleasures, and picks up right where that one left off.

I'm enjoying the re-read, although it's been long enough that I can't even really call it a re-read any more. To be honest, it's as though I've never read the early Anita Blake books as I certainly don't remember much of anything about the plot or the characters at this point.

Anita Blake is quite the character though. Stubborn, sure of herself, and determined to do the right thing. She's not about to wait around for someone else to take on the tough tasks. Or for someone else to do the unpleasant jobs - and there are a few of those in this book. Instead, if that's what she's got to deal with, she's going to do so - and do it to the best of her ability - even if that scares her.

One amusing thing about this series as far as I recall - at least up to Narcissus In Chains and maybe a book or so after that is that the title for each book is that of a business within the story. For the first book, it was Guilty Pleasures, a vampire strip club. In this one, the Laughing Corpse is a comedy club. One where the comedians are part of the supernatural. Within the story we see a vampire comedian and a comedian who uses zombies as part of his act. Which all play into the minor plot point of rumors of increasing regulations surrounding the use of zombies.

There are quite a few things going on in the story at this point, some of which are evolving from the previous book, and some which are specific to this one. Evolving relationships are one thing, especially when you're not sure about what they are or should be. Adding in some evolving self-discovery too... well, that makes for a completely different story. All of which is on top of a series of very gruesome murders...

Well, all of it together adds up to a book I had a hard time putting down. Over fifteen years and this is a series that's still going strong. Very strong. There's nothing particularly dated about it I'm finding, and I'm most definitely looking forward to starting the next book: Circus of the Damned.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hand of Isis - Jo Graham

Hand of Isis
Jo Graham
Orbit
Copyright Date: 2009
978-0-316-068024

The jacket blurb:
Set in ancient Egypt, Hand of Isis is the story of Charmian, a handmaiden, and her two sisters. It is a novel of lovers who transcend death, of gods who meddle in mortal affairs, and of women who guide empires.
That's the blurb for the trade paperback edition I have. The blurb currently available through Amazon.com is as follows:
Charmian is handmaiden to Cleopatra. She is also an oracle, gifted with ancient memories that may hold the key to preserving Egypt. Through blood and fire, war and peace, love and death, she will face a desperate struggle that will remake the future of the world.

Shortlisted for the Locus Best First Novel Award, included in The Amazon Editors' Top Ten List in Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2008 and the Locus Recommended Reading List, with starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, Jo Graham is one of the most exciting new voices to come out of historical fantasy in recent years.
This is one of my favorite historical fiction novels, that I've read and reviewed now several times. Each time I find myself enjoying the book anew - although I always wonder "if only" because the story is one where we all know the ending, even on the first read.

There were a few things that jumped out at me on this read in particular. First of all is one thing I really enjoy finding in a historical fiction novel: a further reading list of sorts, where I can go to find out more information about the time-period, people and cultures involved in the story. For me at least, a good historical fiction novel can lead to wanting to find out more about the reality of the background for a story - thus the search for information on Japan after watching The Last Samurai, for example.

The second item that I found myself intrigued by was the level of technology that Dion and his compatriots were demonstrating and working with at the Museum. Now I want to know more about that and about Alexandria in general. See the above point for a further reading list again. I think I'm going to be hunting down some of the books in it this time.

The third is a quote from the story that just resonated with me given current events.
"Ever since the Gracchi we've had this passion for the common man, for a just plain fellow off the street who hasn't got any airs. Good plain solders who can't tell their ass from a bucket. Why, the gods alone can tell us! But there it is."
From the chapter He Lives and Reigns.
"What-if's", "where might things be now, but for...?" For me, this whole book is full of those thoughts. Overall, there's a definite tone of melancholy and inevitability to the story, and it just draws me in as a reader.

I can't recommend Hand of Isis enough to any historical fiction reader, and many fantasy readers. I'm almost certain that if you enjoyed reading any of Katherine Kurtz's historical fiction novels or Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, you'll enjoy reading this one, and Jo Graham's other novels as well.

The Valdemar Reading Challenge 2017 - My Participation Post

2017 has begun, as of today, so that marks the opening day of the Valdemar Reading Challenge!

Here is where I'm going to be listing and linking my participating reads through the year, and I've already planned out my first choice: Tempest: All New Tales of Valdemar.

The rules of the challenge are as follows;

Image credits found at
http://endaewen.deviantart.com/art/Herald-and-Companion-499210107
Running from January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017
I'm challenging people to have a go at one of my long-time favorite authors and worlds of books: Mercedes Lackey's world of Valdemar. It's one of my go-to worlds, with plenty of reading material and characters.

If you're a fan of fantasy and haven't given any of these books a try, 2017 is the year to do it! Magic - of varying flavors and styles, horses, and books that are great for everyone from young readers (some of them, anyway) on through to those young at heart. If you already know and love the series, this is the year for that big re-read!


There are several good entry-points to this series now, ranging from the Heralds of Valdemar trilogy (Arrows of the Queen, Arrow's Flight and Arrow's Fall) to the Collegium Chronicles, which starts with Foundation.

The Rules of the Challenge:
  1. Level One: 3-6 books.
  2. Level Two: 6-12 books.
  3. Level Three: All of the Valdemar books.
  4. Level Four: All of the Valdemar books, plus any two of the Valdemar anthologies.
  5. Bonus books: Any other Mercedes Lackey titles from her other series, including the Elemental Masters, Diana Tregarde, Five Hundred Kingdoms etc.
  6. Any reads for this challenge do count towards any other challenges you are participating in.
  7. To join up, just leave a comment here signing up, and, should you choose, comment with the links to your reviews of the books you've read.
  8. This is the most important rule of them all: Have fun!
My participating reads:

Unread Books 2017 - Tolkien Books

I'm a Tolkien collector - see the various Tolkien lists I have on my blog (here, here and here), but I've ended up buying the books faster than I can read them. There are unreviewed books on those lists that I have read, although they were read before I started All Booked Up.

 Unread Books 2017 - Tolkien List:

  1. Hobbitus Ille - J.R.R. Tolkien - Fiction
  2. The Annotated Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien - Fiction
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Reader's Guide - Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull - Non Fiction
  4. The History Of The Hobbit: Mr. Baggins - John Rateliff - Non Fiction
  5. The History Of The Hobbit: Return To Bag-End - John Rateliff - Non Fiction
  6.  Tolkien: A Celebration - Joseph Pearce - Non Fiction
  7. The Battle For Middle-Earth - Bonnie Rutledge - Non Fiction
  8. The Ring Of Words - Jeremy H. Marshall - Non Fiction
  9. The Children of Hurin - J.R.R. Tolkien - Fiction
  10. On Faerie Stories - Ed. Verilyn Flieger - Non Fiction
  11. The Tolkien Legendarium - Ed. Carl Hostetter - Non Fiction
  12. Splintered Light: Logos And Language In Middle-Earth - Verilyn Flieger - Non Fiction
  13. Green Suns and Faerie - Verilyn Flieger - Non Fiction
  14. The Fall of Arthur - Ed. Christopher Tolkien - Poetry
  15. Beowulf - Ed. Christopher Tolkien - Fiction
  16. The Art of The Hobbit - Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull - Non Fiction
  17. Interrupted Music: The Making Of Middle-Earth - Verilyn Flieger - Non Fiction
  18. Master of Middle Earth - Paul Koch - Non Fiction
  19. A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings - Lin Carter - Non Fiction
  20. A Tolkien Compass - Jared Lobdel - Non Fiction
  21. J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century - Tom Shippey - Non Fiction
  22. The Gospel According To Tolkien - Ralph Woods - Non Fiction
  23. There And Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien And The Origins of The Hobbit - Mark Atherton - Non Fiction
  24. Tolkien: A Celebration - Joseph Pearce - Non Fiction 
  25. The Story of Kullervo - Ed. Christopher Tolkien
  26. The Art of the Lord of the Rings - Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull - Non Fiction 
  27. Tolkien - Raymond Edwards - Non Fiction

Unread Books 2017 - Non Fiction

My Unread Books List 2017 - Non Fiction:

  1. Women In Medieval Society - Ed. Susan Mosher Stuard (History)
  2. The Lady In Medieval England 1000-1500 - Peter Coss (History)
  3. The History of the World in 100 Objects - Neil MacGregor (History)
  4. The Zero Mile Diet: A Year Round Guide To Growing Organic Food - Carolyn Herriot (Gardening)
  5.  The Crusader States - Malcolm Barber (History)
  6. Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades - Johnathan Phillips (History)
  7. Alexander The Great - Philip Freeman (History, Biography)
  8. The Rise And Fall of Ancient Egypt - Toby Wilkinson (History)
  9. The Ruin of the Roman Empire: A New History - James J. O'Donnell (History)
  10. Atlas of Medieval Europe (History)
  11. The Axe and the Oath - Robert Fossier (History)
  12. A Short History of the Middle Ages - Barbara Rosenwein (History)
  13. The Grand Design - Steven Hawking 
  14. The Last Apocalypse - James Reston Jr. (History)
  15. Medieval Households - David Herlihy (History)
  16. Special Sisters: Women In The European Middle Ages - Arthur Fredrick Ide (History)
  17. Medieval Costume And Fashion - Herbert Norris (History)
  18. Sex, Dissidence And Damnation: Minority Groups In The Middle Ages - Jeffrey Richards (History)
  19. Daily Living In The Twelfth Century (History)
  20. Cathedral, Forge And Waterwheel - Francis And Joseph Gies (History)
  21. Medicine And Society In Later Medieval England - Caroline Rawcliffe (History)
  22. Londinium - John Morris (History)
  23. The Archaeology Of Roman Britain - R. G. Collingwood (History)
  24. Londinium - John Morris (History)
  25. The Archaeology Of Roman Britain - R. G. Collingwood (History)
  26. Women in Early Medieval Europe 400-1100 - Lisa M. Bitel (History)
  27. An Illustrated History of its First 12000 Years: Toronto edited by Ronald F. Williamson (History)
  28. Becoming Modern In Toronto: The Industrial Exhibition - Keith Walden (History)
  29. The Complete World Of The Dead Sea Scrolls - Phillip R. Davies, George J. Brooke and Phillip R. Callaway (History)
  30. Dictionary Of Mythology
  31. Hadrian - Anthony Everitt (Biography)
  32. The Inheritance Of Rome - Chris Wickham (History)
  33. The Ties That Bound - Barbara Hanawalt (History)
  34. Making A Living In The Middle Ages - Christopher Dyer (History)
  35. The Art Of Medieval Hunting - John Cummins (History)
  36. Eleanor Of Aquitaine - Alison Weir (Biography)
  37. Growing Up In Medieval London - Barbara Hanawalt (History)
  38. The Lost Capital Of Byzantium - Steven Runciman (History)
  39.  Readings In Medieval History - Patrick Geary (History)
  40.  The Real Middle Earth - Brian Bates  (History)
  41. Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada - James Delgado (History)
  42. The Medieval World - Eds. Peter Linehan & Janet L. Nelson (History)
  43. Europe And The Middle Ages - Edward Peters (History)
  44. The Age of the Cathedrals - Georges Duby (History)
  45. A History Of Private Life I (History)
  46. A History Of Private Life II (History)
  47. The Peasantries Of Europe - Ed. Tom Scott (History)
  48. Law And Life of Rome - J. A. Crook (History)
  49. The Temple And the Lodge - Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh
  50. The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception - Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh
  51. The Battle Of Salamis - Barry Strauss (History)
  52. The Knights Templar - Piers Paul Read - Non Fiction (History)
  53. The Lost Tomb Of Alexander The Great - Andrew Michael Chugg (History)
  54. Rome And Jerusalem - Martin Goodman (History)
  55. The History of Britain - Simon Schama (History)
  56. Caesar - Adrian Goldworthy (History, Biography)
  57. The Fall Of The Roman Empire - Peter Heather (History)
  58. Xenophon's Retreat - Robin Waterfield (History)
  59. Isabella - Alison Weir (History, Biography)
  60. An Imperial Possession - David Mattingly (History)
  61. The Peloponnesian War - Donald Kagan (History)
  62. Augustus: The Life Of Rome's First Emperor - Anthony Everitt (History, Biography)
  63. Cicero - Anthony Everitt (History, Biography)
  64. God's War - Christopher Tyerman (History)
  65. Life In A Medieval City - Francis and Joseph Gies (History)
  66. Life In A Medieval Castle - Francis and Joseph Gies (History)
  67.  Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson (Biography)
  68. Armies Of Heaven - Jay Rubenstein (History)
  69. Sea of Faith - Stepehen O'Shea (History)
  70. Beyond Book Indexing - Ed. Dianne Brenner and Marilyn Rowland (Indexing)
  71. The Medieval World Europe 1100-1350 - Friedrich Heer (History)
  72. The City in the Greek and Roman World - E.J. Owens (History)
  73. The Greek World After Alexander 323-30 B.C. - Graham Shipley (History)
  74. A Great And Terrible King: Edward I And The Forging Of Britain - Mark Morris (History, Biography)
  75. Cleopatra - Stacy Schiff (Biography, E-book, History)
  76. Antony and Cleopatra - Adrian Goldsworthy (Biography, History)
  77. Cleopatra A Biography - Duane W. Roller (History, Biography)
  78. Cleopatra the Great The Woman Behind The Legend - Joann Fletcher (History, Biography)
  79. Cleopatra The Search For The Last Queen Of Egypt - Zahi Hawass and Franck Goddio (History, Archaeology, Biography)
  80. Cruelty and Civilization: The Roman Games - Roland Auguet (History)
  81. Nova Scotia Shaped By The Sea - Lesley Choyce (History)
  82. Ancient Cities - Charles Gates (History, Archaeology)
  83. Getting In TTouch With Your Horse - Linda Tellington-Jones (Animals)
  84. Greek Art and Archaeology - John Griffiths Pedley (History, Archaeology, Art)
  85. Roman Art - Nancy H. Ramage and Andrew Ramage (History, Art, Archaeology)
  86. Fighting For The Cross - Norman Housley (History)
  87. The Middle Ages: Everyday Life In Medieval Europe - Jeffrey L. Singman (History)
  88. A Medieval Miscelany - Judith Herrin (History)
  89. Gothic Art: Glorious Visions - Michael Camille (History, Art)
  90. Early Medieval Art - Lawrence Nees (History, Art)
  91. Great Harry's Navy - Geoffrey Moorhouse (History)
  92. Ghost On The Throne - James Romm (History)
  93. Blueprint Crochet Sweaters - Robyn Chachula (Crochet)
  94. Europe: Chained By History - Larry J. Hilton (Non Fiction)

Unread Books 2017 - Primary Sources List

Unread Books 2017 - Primary Sources List:

  1. The Histories - Herodotus - Non Fiction (History)
  2. The Peloponnesian War - Thucydides - Non Fiction (History)
  3. Greek Lives - Plutarch - Non Fiction (History, Biography)
  4. Roman Lives - Plutarch - Non Fiction (History, Biography)
  5. Beowulf - Trans. Seamus Heany - Poetry
  6. Anthony And Cleopatra - Shakespeare - Fiction
  7. Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare - Fiction
  8. Richard III - Shakespeare - Fiction
  9. The Comedy Of Errors - Shakespeare - Fiction
  10. All's Well That Ends Well - Shakespeare - Fiction
  11. Troilus And Cressida - Shakespeare - Fiction
  12. Henry IV Part One - Shakespeare - Fiction
  13. The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer - Poetry
  14. The Saga of Grettir The Strong - Fiction
  15. The Conquest Of Gaul - Julius Caesar - Non Fiction (History)
  16. Metamorphosis - Ovid - Poetry
  17. Greek Lyric Poetry - Trans. Sherod Santos - Poetry
  18. On Sparta - Plutarch - Non Fiction (History)
  19. A History Of My Times - Xenophon - Non Fiction (History)
  20.  Roman Poets Of The Early Empire - Poetry
  21. Troilus And Criseyde - Geoffrey Chaucer - Poetry
  22. Medieval English Prose For Women - Eds. Bella Millett & Jocelyn Wogan-Browne - Non Fiction 
  23. Josephus - Non Fiction (History)
  24. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English - Non Fiction
  25. The Life Of Christina Of Markayte - Trans. C. H. Talbot - Non Fiction
  26. Lysistrata/The Clouds  - Aristophanes - Fiction (History, Play)
  27. Pausanias Guide to Greece Volume One Translated by Peter Levy - Non Fiction (History) 
  28. The Landmark Arrian - Non Fiction (History)
  29. The Crusades A Reader - Ed. S. J. Allen and Emilie Amt - Non Fiction (History)
  30. Women's Writing In Middle English - Ed. Alexandra Barratt - Non Fiction (History)
  31. The Landmark Hellenika - Ed. Robert Strassler - Non Fiction (History)
  32. Chronicles of the First Crusade - Ed. Christopher Tyerman - Non Fiction (History)
  33. Everyman And Medieval Miracle Plays - Ed. A. C. Crawley - Non Fiction
  34. Juvenal The Sixteen Satires - Trans. Peter Green - Poetry
  35. Aeschylus II - Play
  36. Euripides I - Play
  37. Sophocles II - Play
  38. Reading The Middle Ages - Ed. Barbara Rosenwein - Non Fiction (History)
  39. The Song of Roland - Poetry
  40. Rome And Italy - Livy - Non Fiction (History)
  41. The Early History of Rome - Livy - Non Fiction (History)
  42. Odes and Epodes - Horace - Poetry
  43. Joinville And Villehardouin Chronicles of the First Crusade - Non Fiction (History)
  44. The Book Of Contemplation: Islam and the Crusades - Usama Ibn Munqidh - Non Fiction (History)
  45. The Book of Margery Kempe - Non Fiction (Autobiography)

Unread Books 2017 - Fiction List

My Unread Fiction Books 2017:

  1. Star Wars: X-Wing Omnibus 3 - Michael Stackpole (Graphic Novel)
  2. A Flame In Hali - Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross (Fantasy)
  3. The Fall of Neskaya - Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross (Fantasy)
  4. Zandru's Forge - Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross (Science Fiction)
  5. Masters of Fantasy (Anthology)
  6. Sword and Sorceress XV - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  7. Sword and Sorceress XIV - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  8. Sword and Sorceress X - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  9. Sword and Sorceress VI - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  10. Sword and Sorceress IX - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  11.  Rocket Ship Galileo - Robert Heinlein (Science Fiction)
  12. Falls The Shadow - Sharon Kay Penman (History)
  13. The Reckoning - Sharon Kay Penman (History)
  14. Sword and Sorceress I - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradey (Anthology)
  15. Sword and Sorceress V - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  16. Sword and Sorceress VII - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  17. Against The Odds - Elizabeth Moon (Science Fiction)
  18. Alexandria - Nick Bantock 
  19. Morningstar - Nick Bantock 
  20. Gryphon - Nick Bantock 
  21. Lord of the Two Lands - Judith Tarr (Fantasy)
  22. Variable Star - Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson (Science Fiction)
  23. Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi (Science Fiction)
  24. The Forgetting Room - Nick Bantock 
  25. The Venetian's Wife - Nick Bantock 
  26. The Museum At Purgatory - Nick Bantock
  27. Shadow Of The Swords - Kamran Pasha 
  28. The Forest Laird - Jack Whyte (Historical Fiction)
  29. American Vampire - Scott Snyder, Steven King (Graphic Novel)
  30. A Game Of Thrones - George R. R. Martin (Fantasy, e-book)
  31. Queen By Right - Anne Easter Smith (Historical Fiction)
  32. Dreams of Joy - Lisa See (Historical Fiction)
  33. Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire (Fantasy)
  34. By Fire By Water - Mitchell James Kaplan (History)
  35. Heaven To Wudang - Kylie Chan (Fantasy)
  36. Stalking Darkness - Lynn Flewelling (Fantasy)
  37. Traitor's Moon - Lynn Flewelling (Fantasy)
  38. The Empire At War Vol 1  (Graphic Novel, Science Fiction)
  39. The Empire At War Vol 2 (Graphic Novel, Science Fiction)
  40.  The X Factor - Andre Norton (Science Fiction)
  41. Star Gate - Andre Norton (Science Fiction)
  42. Stargate SG1 Do No Harm - Karen Miller (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  43. Stargate SG1 Relativity - James Swallow (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  44. Stargate SG1 The Morpheus Factor - Ashley McConnell (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  45. Stargate SG1 The Cost of Honor - Sally Malcom (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  46. Stargate SG1 A Matter of Honor - Sally Malcolm (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  47. Stargate SG1 Roswell - Sonny Whitelaw and Jennifer Fallon (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  48. Stargate SG1 Alliances - Karen Miller (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction
  49. Masks of the Outcasts - Andre Norton (Science Fiction)
  50. Stargate SG1 The Price You Pay - Ashley McConnell (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction) 
  51. The Renegade - Jack Whyte (Historical Fiction)
  52. The Guardian - Jack Whyte (Historical Fiction)
  53. Written In My Own Heart's Blood - Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fiction)
  54. An Echo In The Bone - Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fiction)
  55. A Breath Of Snow And Ashes - Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fiction)
  56. In The Shadow Of The Banyan Tree - Vaddey Ratner
  57. The Light Between The Oceans - M. L. Stedman
  58. The Third Gate - Lincoln Child 
  59. Equal Of The Sun - Anita Amirrezvani (Historical Fiction)
  60. The Lake Of Dreams - Kim Edwards 
  61. The Forest - Edward Rutherfurd (Historical Fiction) 
  62. The Second Empress - Michelle Moran (Historical Fiction) 
  63. The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill (Historical Fiction)  
  64. Tempest: All New Tales of Valdemar - Mercedes Lackey (Fantasy)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saturday Snapshots - December 31st 2016

Saturday Snapshots is a meme hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. The rules of the game are:
To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Personally, I find that this is one of the most fun memes that I've participated in. Not to mention that it's a bit of an incentive to get out and take more photos every week!

I'm sticking with the Christmas theme for the first photo - taken at my cousin's place on Christmas Day. I had a bit of fun experimenting with my camera using their Christmas tree as a target. In the process, I figured out how to change flash modes on my new camera - a completely different process from the last one.


The second image was a bit of a surprise. We hadn't realized it was still that cold at our favorite park for photography walks. Usually we see plenty of rabbits and birds there, but not so much this past week. On the other hand, we did see a pair of bald eagles. Unfortunately, they were still too far away for decent photographs - and I ran into a hazard of using auto-focus rather than manual: the camera focused on the branches just beneath the eagles, rather than the eagles themselves.

Still, I liked how this one turned out:





I'm going to throw in a third image too - an older one from Whytecliff Park:




Well, as 2016 comes to an end, I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year with all the best wishes for the year to come!

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Arrival: Europe: Chained By History - Larry J. Hilton

For the first time in a few years I accepted a book for review, and it arrived in my mailbox today:

Europe: Chained By History
Larry J. Hilton
Newport Publishing
Copyright: 2015
978-0996786119

The amazon.com product description:
A Plea for Europe to form a United States of Europe
Europe: Chained by History is a groundbreaking book that uses history to make a compelling case for Europe to form a United States of Europe--or risk seeing the European Union come apart individually.
Using the history of Vienna from its inception to 1938, readers are invited to observe Western Europe from within this ancient city.
  • Where did historic rivalries among European nations begin?
  • How did the Enlightenment affect Europe and the United States?
  • What persistent darkness allowed Hitler to lead the word in to a second devastating world war?
  • What will it take for today's European Union to survive?
Author Larry J. Hilton explores these questions, and more, by using fascinating details about what it was really like to live in Vienna from the the first century through the days of hyper-inflation after World War 1.
Thought provoking and well researched, Europe: Chained by History radiates hope even as it details the formidable & political obstacles to European unity. In the end, a banking or ISIS crisis will force the issue.
As I said above, this is the first book for review that I've accepted in a few years now. I'm definitely looking forward to reading Europe: Chained By History.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My 10 favorite photos from 2016

In the last year I've gotten back into photography in a big way - finally I've started teaching myself how to use my camera on modes other than "automatic" after about ten years of promising myself I'd do so. I've also been getting out with the camera more regularly. As a result, I've had quite a few more photos to share.

Many of these I've shared here already in other posts, such as the various Saturday Snapshots posts I participate in. Other Saturday Snapshots posts I've done are made up of older photos that I've taken over the years but never processed into something I liked.

On to the photos:

1. Tofino Sunset 2:
The most spectacular sunset I saw at Tofino through two separate camping trips last year. The sheer range of color still amazes me.

2. Tofino Sunset:
This was taken earlier in the same day as the sunset above. Green Point Campground near Tofino is really a spectacular place!

3. Great Horned Owl:
This one was a real stroke of luck, as one of the other people on the path pointed the bird out to us. Said bird seemed more than happy to pose for the camera though after we spotted it.

4. Mushrooms:
You can't always stand, crouch or squat to get the photo you want. This one and all my other mushroom photos resulted in muddy knees and elbows as I tried to get the camera closer and closer to the ground for some different perspectives. However, it was definitely worth doing for this one!

5.  Twilight Mushroom:
For this one, I ended up using the flashlight on my phone as a secondary light-source as twilight was fast approaching. First time using the technique and I'm quite happy with how it worked out. No idea what kind of mushroom it was though, and this time I was able to keep my knees and elbows clean by sacrificing the jacket I'd been wearing by kneeling on it.

6.  Thistle:
A thistle that looks a bit like a firework. There's something about flowers on a dark background like this that I really like. I'm still trying to figure out how to get that effect consistently though - without simply imposing it in post-processing.

7. Warbler:
A flock of birds. a fruit tree and a convenient window. The three elements do sometimes combine to create a nice image, and this one was the best result I had. The consensus is that it's some kind of warbler.

8. Rose with Droplets:
One of the rarer times when I was deliberately attempting to set up an image and not just taking advantage of something already together - i.e. a garden flower and bees. I've been fascinated by photos of flowers with droplets of water and this was one of the photos from my first attempt at taking my own pictures.

9. Night Sky:
My first successful attempt at night-sky photography. This is definitely an area that I'm planning to practice more of, as I found it really enjoyable. Just need to find an area that's truly dark enough at night though I think.

10. Rabbit Portrait:
A fairly tame rabbit I was seeing regularly at Rathtrevor Provincial Park. A bit too willing to pose for my photographs if you know what I mean.

Monday, December 26, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - December 26th, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is one of the longest lasting book-memes I know of. I've been a participant since the days it was hosted over at J Kaye's Book Blog, and then on Book Journey. Now It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted at Book Date.

The idea of It's Monday! What Are You Reading is to share the books you read last week and also what you are currently reading. I've discovered the hard way that it's a dangerous meme for your TBR piles as frequently I end up adding books to my wishlist thanks to the intriguing descriptions and reviews that others share.

Here's hoping that everyone had a great Christmas or whichever winter holiday you and your family celebrates!

Last week I finished reading one book - and it wasn't either of the books I'd been reading the week before.

Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. HamiltonGuilty Pleasures 
Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley
Reprint edition: 2004:
978-0425197547

The Amazon.com product description:
Published over ten years ago by Ace, Guilty Pleasures marked the debut of a series that was destined to grow from cult favorite to a major New York Times bestseller. Now, for long-time Anita Blake junkies and newfound fans, Guilty Pleasures makes its trade paperback debut. Readers will learn how Anita Blake started raising the dead-and killing the undead. And how she met Jean Claude, the master vampire destined to become not only her biggest nemesis, but her greatest lover...
A snippet from my review:
...Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the series, it both stands alone and serves as an introduction to an interesting world. One where the supernatural is known about and has a legal place. In that, this series is similar to the books by Patricia Briggs, except that most of the legal wrangling has already happened here. That's one of the things about this series that I remember enjoying the last time around - that rather than complete secrecy being one of the driving elements of the story (for example the J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood books, or Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters series), there are actual legal procedures to follow and things are more open. Perhaps not all the details, but the broad strokes are known about - not that that erases all the prejudice.
I'm currently deep into the second book in the series, The Laughing Corpse.

Books I'm currently reading:

The Fiery Cross - Diana GabaldonThe Fiery Cross
Diana Gabaldon

The amazon.com product description:
The dazzling fifth volume of Diana Gabaldon’s extraordinary Outlander saga, featuring 18th-century Scotsman James Fraser and his 20th-century time-traveling wife, Claire Randall.

The year is 1771, and war is coming. Jamie Fraser’s wife tells him so. Little as he wishes to, he must believe it, for hers is a gift of dreadful prophecy—a time-traveler’s certain knowledge.

Born in the year of Our Lord 1918, Claire Randall served England as a nurse on the battlefields of World War II, and in the aftermath of peace found fresh conflicts when she walked through a cleftstone on the Scottish Highlands and found herself an outlander, an English lady in a place where no lady should be, in a time—1743—when the only English in Scotland were the officers and men of King George’s army.

Now wife, mother, and surgeon, Claire is still an outlander, out of place, and out of time, but now, by choice, linked by love to her only anchor—Jamie Fraser. Her unique view of the future has brought him both danger and deliverance in the past; her knowledge of the oncoming revolution is a flickering torch that may light his way through the perilous years ahead—or ignite a conflagration that will leave their lives in ashes....

Grand, sweeping, utterly unforgettable, The Fiery Cross is riveting entertainment, a vibrant tapestry of history and human drama.
Sadly, this book seems to be dropping down my priority list. I have to admit that I haven't read any of it in the past week.

The second book is also one I started last week and have yet to finish:

Hand of Isis - Jo GrahamHand of Isis
Jo Graham

The amazon.com blurb:
Charmian is handmaiden to Cleopatra. She is also an oracle, gifted with ancient memories that may hold the key to preserving Egypt. Through blood and fire, war and peace, love and death, she will face a desperate struggle that will remake the future of the world.

Shortlisted for the Locus Best First Novel Award, included in The Amazon Editors' Top Ten List in Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2008 and the Locus Recommended Reading List, with starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, Jo Graham is one of the most exciting new voices to come out of historical fantasy in recent years.
This is the book that's getting the lion's share of my reading attention right now - partly because it's on my Kobo, so I can read for a bit after we turn the lights out.

Also on my Kobo, so it's getting some more attention is the third book I'm currently reading:

The Laughing Corpse
Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley Books
Copyright: 1994
978-0425204665

The amazon.com product description:
The early Anita Blake novels find new life in trade paperback-as perfect collectibles for long-time fans or as great ways for new readers to sink their teeth into the series.
In The Laughing Corpse, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried-and some people better off dead...
I've been plugging away at this one fairly strongly since I started it on Saturday. Not that I had a lot of reading time yesterday. Instead I ended up working on one of my sock-projects (ripping out the entirety of the heel flap as far as I'd knit it (14 rows) to get down to a dropped stitch, then starting again). Now I have the correct number of stitches, it's time to start that section again.

I got a couple of books over the last week as well:

Tempest
Ed. Mercedes Lackey
DAW Books
Copyright: 2016

The amazon.com product description:
Twenty-four authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

The Heralds of Valdemar are the kingdom’s ancient order of protectors. They are drawn from all across the land, from all walks of life, and at all ages—and all are Gifted with abilities beyond those of normal men and women. They are Mindspeakers, FarSeers, Empaths, ForeSeers, Firestarters, FarSpeakers, and more. These inborn talents—combined with training as emissaries, spies, judges, diplomats, scouts, counselors, warriors, and more—make them indispensable to their monarch and realm. Sought and Chosen by mysterious horse-like Companions, they are bonded for life to these telepathic, enigmatic creatures. The Heralds of Valdemar and their Companions ride circuit throughout the kingdom, protecting the peace and, when necessary, defending their land and monarch.

Now, twenty-three authors ride with Mercedes Lackey to her magical land of Valdemar, adding their own unique voices to the Heralds, Bards, Healers, and other heroes of this beloved fantasy realm.

Join Elizabeth Vaughan, Fiona Patton, Jennifer Brozek, Brenda Cooper, Rosemary Edghill, and others in twenty-two original stories, including a brand-new novella by Mercedes Lackey, to Valdemar, where:

A Herald must crack an ancient code in a historic tapestry in order to arbitrate a dispute over land and lineage…

A Healer’s daughter flees the noble family that has trapped and enslaved her mother, and must seek help to free her mother…

A young woman who hides her clairvoyant powers from her town’s Karsite priests ForeSees a threat, and must risk revealing her Gift to save her community…

A Herald finds his assistant has been abducted by a man upon whom he had levied a heavy fine, and must foil the kidnapper’s plans to save his charge…
I'm waiting to start this one in January as the first book for my Valdemar Reading Challenge. Looking forward to it too.

And finally, a very nice Christmas gift:

The Hobbit
The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition
J.R.R. Tolkien
HarperCollins
Release Date: September 22, 2016
978-0007440832

The amazon.com blurb:
This sumptuous gift set includes a replica of the very rare first edition of The Hobbit, the only edition where one can now read the original version of the story before Tolkien re-edited it to become the one enjoyed by readers since 1951. The Hobbit was published on 21 September 1937, with a print run of 1,500 copies. With a beautiful cover design, nearly a dozen black & white illustrations and two black & red maps by the author himself, the book proved to be popular and was reprinted shortly afterwards. History was already being made. The scarcity of the first edition has resulted in copies commanding huge prices, way beyond the reach of most Tolkien fans. In addition, subsequent changes to the text - particularly those to chapter 5, when Tolkien decided in 1947 to revise the text to bring it better into accord with events as they were developing in its 'sequel', The Lord of the Rings - mean that the opportunity to read the book in its original form and format has become quite difficult. This special printing reprints the first edition, so that readers of all ages - not just 'children between the ages of 5 and 9', as Rayner Unwin famously declared in his report on the original submission - can finally enjoy Tolkien's story as it originally appeared.
I've been waiting for this one to actually be released since it was announced for the 75th anniversary!
Yes, I started looking through it first thing after opening it yesterday. One note: the slipcase is so very tight that if I'm not very careful, I might end up damaging the book itself. I do see myself reading this one with the current edition of The Hobbit sitting there as well so I can cross-reference between the two editions.

Also a fun idea, sitting and reading The Hobbit while listening to all three of the movie soundtracks (another Christmas gift).

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton

Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. HamiltonGuilty Pleasures 
Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley
Reprint edition: 2004:
978-0425197547

The Amazon.com product description:
Published over ten years ago by Ace, Guilty Pleasures marked the debut of a series that was destined to grow from cult favorite to a major New York Times bestseller. Now, for long-time Anita Blake junkies and newfound fans, Guilty Pleasures makes its trade paperback debut. Readers will learn how Anita Blake started raising the dead-and killing the undead. And how she met Jean Claude, the master vampire destined to become not only her biggest nemesis, but her greatest lover...
It's been long enough since I read Guilty Pleasures that when I began rereading it a few days ago, it was almost like I'd never read the book before. The entire plot felt more or less unfamiliar to me. Interestingly though, I do remember that at that time it wasn't one of my favorite books in the series. Now, I really couldn't say why that was - unless because I started reading at Burnt Offerings if I remember correctly, I was looking for characters I had become familiar with in the later books. This time though, there was none of that. I simply kept turning the pages until I'd finished reading the book.

Are you looking for a female character who isn't afraid to do what she needs to and who takes charge of her life without simply waiting for circumstances to come to her? That's Anita Blake, sometimes called "The Executioner" for her role as a vampire hunter - mostly on the correct side of the law when doing so too. And she's only one of the cast of characters. We also meet up with some other characters who will play larger roles in future books, such as Edward.

For all that Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the series, it both stands alone and serves as an introduction to an interesting world. One where the supernatural is known about and has a legal place. In that, this series is similar to the books by Patricia Briggs, except that most of the legal wrangling has already happened here. That's one of the things about this series that I remember enjoying the last time around - that rather than complete secrecy being one of the driving elements of the story (for example the J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood books, or Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters series), there are actual legal procedures to follow and things are more open. Perhaps not all the details, but the broad strokes are known about - not that that erases all the prejudice.

My one caution with this series is to be prepared for some fairly vivid scenes. One of the things Anita does in the course of her work is to work with the police - sometimes on murder scenes. And then there's her "day" job, where she works as an animator - which is also a somewhat gruesome job it seems.

In terms of the series overall, I believe I stopped reading around the time Bullet was released, so I definitely will have some catching up to do, but I'm looking forward to it. However, I'm finding the way that I've chosen to buy the books this time to have one minor downside: I've gone for the five-book bundle for the first five, and that makes it harder to judge where I am in any particular book - they come as one large file on the e-reader. Not that that's going to deter me. In at least one way it's actually going to be an advantage rather than a disadvantage - keeping the books in order will be a whole lot simpler!

Saturday Snapshots - December 24th - Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday Snapshots is a meme hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. The rules of the game are:
To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Personally, I find that this is one of the most fun memes that I've participated in.

With tomorrow being Christmas Day, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Here's hoping the day brings nothing but wonderful surprises for everyone!

And to go with the theme of the day, I've got some winter and Christmas themed photographs to share.

First of all, some icicles from last week's cold snap:

The next two are a bit warmer and cozier - a tabby-cat snuggled under the Christmas tree:



The final photo I'm adding is so that my other cat (Maddie) doesn't get jealous of Jenny.


All of these photos are straight out of the camera with no post-processing, and all taken with my new D7100 - which I'm really enjoying, although quite a few controls are in completely different places from either of my previous cameras. Definitely a bit of a learning curve going on now, and I'm really looking forward to get out and experiment, including with the new lens. Now I just have to wait for the weather to cooperate!

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