Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baby anole!

Well, my Green Anoles had a hatchling.  It seems to be a she.  I see a light colored line running down her back and she has the snub nose my female does.  I swear I have no clue where Kel laid the egg.  It must be under the Dracaena.  Now I have to look for any others.  I bought Repashy to incubate any she laid because I didn't think they'd hatch in the tank if she laid any there.  I guess I was wrong about that.  I woke up today and looked over at the tank and saw something small hanging from the grate.  All I could think at first was, "How did they poop there?"  Then my sleep-muzzled mind cleared a bit and I realized what I was looking at.

I've ordered small phoenix worms to feed her and they should get here in the next few days.  Hopefully she'll eat the springtails in the tank and any tiny crickets until they arrive.  Also, I'm hoping the big lizards leave her alone.  She is about a third the size of Dom's head.  That's the two of them in the picture.  I put a whole bunch of crickets in the tank to (theoretically) keep the adults happy and fed so they won't go after her.  I'm just going to keep watching as I can.  Once the phoenix worms get here I'll try to catch her and put her in the smaller keeper I have.  The adults don't seem to know what to make of her.  They keep staring at her.  When Dom gets too close, I'm spraying him with water.  It works for cats, right?

She seems to be claiming the little ledge between the tank and the grate as a good place to hang out.  I'm glad.  I don't think the adults can get to her there.  And I discovered a new use for my Halloween Jack-o-Lantern washi tape: covering the corners of the cage grate where she might escape.

Oh, Dom(itan) is my male, and Kel(adry) is my female.  Mom wants me to let my niece name the baby if she ends up taking care of her.  She'd probably name her something lame so I'm likely going to have to be mean and put my foot down.  I'd prefer to have them all named after some kind of geekdom.  If I can keep her alive until adulthood or at least past the true hatchling stage, then I'll name her.  Although, Stella sounds good to me.  Maybe T'Pau?  I've done Tortall names, the next would have to be either Star Trek or Valdemar.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Some more old friends

Last post saw me re-reading one of Tamora Pierce's series.  This last week I've been reading Mercedes Lackey and Julia Quinn.

The Mage Storms trilogy by Mercedes Lackey is another old friend.  The majority of the characters in it are from prior series based in Valdemar.  However one of the new characters and the main character of the series is a young priest from the country that has been the traditional enemy of Valdemar.  Karal is sent to Valdemar as the secretary of his mentor, and former Black-robe (demon-summoning) priest, Ulrich, the first ambassador to Valdemar from Karse in hundreds of years.  Once there, poor Karal experiences a massive case of culture shock as he meets people from societies and religions that he would normally consider heretical.  He makes friends of some of those wildly different people, and starts to adapt to his new life and accept the differences surrounding him just in time for the world to turn topsy-turvy on him.  The energy from a magical disaster that happened over two thousand years before is returning to the world in the exact opposite manner and Valdemar and the Dhorisha Plains are located right where that energy is returning.  Now the mages have to figure out how to stop it from destroying everything their civilizations have built in twenty-four hundred years.

Storm Warning is the first and the introduction to the major players.  In Storm Rising they find a stopgap measure that gives them time to try to figure out their last move.  Storm Breaking is the last and the final solution to their problem takes its toll on the characters.

I moved from fantasy to romance Saturday, probably because Mom and I took my niece to Cinderella.  I read two of Julia Quinn's Bridgerton books: An Offer From A Gentleman, and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton over the last two days.  The first is basically a retelling of Cinderella, so you can see why I read that one.  I've always enjoyed it.  Sophie is the bastard daughter of an earl and has been reduced to servant by her stepmother after having been raised as the earl's ward (a neat way of taking responsibility but not having to acknowledge Sophie).  The Bridgertons give a masquerade ball and Sophie is given a one-night makeover by the servants of the house, who are sick of seeing her treated badly when she's really one of the family.  She and Benedict, the second Bridgerton son, share a wonderful evening and they fall in love.  Ah, but this is a novel and thus conflict is required.  Sophie runs off without telling Benedict who she is.  He tries to find her with the monogrammed glove she left behind (it was her grandmother's).  He fails but Sophie is turned out of her house because stepmother is mean but not stupid and figures out what happened.  The story picks up a few years later when Benedict manages to be at the same house where Sophie has found employ and he saves her from an Unfortunate Fate (translation: the son of a bitch son of the owners was about to gang rape her with a few friends of his).  Benedict feels responsible for the little maid he saved, promising her a job in his mother's household, and things progress from there.

The second is my favorite of her books and features my favorite of her heroines, Penelope Featherington.  Penelope popped in and put of the earlier Bridgerton books and it was always obvious she had a massive crush on the third Bridgerton brother, Colin.  However, Penelope is a tried and true wallflower and Colin is one of the most popular men of the ton.  Not exactly the match of the century.  Colin has wanderlust that takes him all over the place, usually about the time his mother starts bugging him about getting married.  This time when he returns, Penelope is firmly on the shelf and Colin has finally grown up enough to see what he has right in front of him.

I guess I should go back to reading the non-fiction books I have, but I'm just not in the mood.  I feel in the mood for happy endings lately.  I may go back and read all of the Bridgerton books.  I may not.  Looking at the tags for this post, I noticed Harry Potter.  I just may go through all of them again before anything else.  Also, I've turned the list post into a page.  Hopefully it'll be easier to maintain and read that way.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Re-reading old friends

I decided to re-read a few old friends instead of playing with the new and unread books I have on my pile.  I went through the Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce and have started in on the Mage Storm trilogy by Mercedes Lackey.  I think I'll actually read a few other Lackey and Pierce books before I go back to the new stuff.  It's been a rough few weeks and I need the visit to some of my favorite worlds.

Here's my basic review of the series, bearing in mind that this is my favorite of Tammy's series.

It has been almost two decades since Alanna, the Lioness, earned her knighthood while disguising herself as a boy.  It has been over a hundred years since women made up any portion of the knighthood of Tortall.  The king has decreed that girls can now openly try for their knighthoods and Keladry of Midelan is the first in a decade to try.  She faces steep opposition.  In the first book, First Test, she is allowed to join the pages (the first step of a knight's training) on a trial basis.  If she can prove to the training master, Lord Wyldon, that she can hack it, she can stay on permanently.

In the second book, Page, obviously takes place after she has proven she can handle to duties and has promise as a knight.  Kel and her friends declare war on the hazing that happens among the pages.

The third book, Squire, sees Kel becoming the squire to Lord Raoul and serving with the King's Own.  She has a romance and ends up being the caretaker of a gryphon, much to her dismay.

The last book, Lady Knight, has Lord Wyldon, who had been impressed by her performance and skills taking advantage of the fact that Lord Raoul basically trained Kel for command and giving her command of a refugee camp.  The country is at war with their traditional northern enemies, the Scanrans.  The Scanrans have a new weapon made with necromancy by a mage called Blayce.  Kel is given the task of ridding the world of the man by the Chamber of the Ordeal (it's basically a magical being that sorts out the squires who fail and those who become knights).  The only problem is that she has the refugee camp to take care of and can't do both without becoming foresworn.

These are the basic plot points and I hate giving spoilers.  As is usual with Tammy's books, the characters are pretty well-drawn.  Animals have a prominent place in the books.  They're getting pretty intelligent after the events of Daine's series.  I especially liked Peachblossom, Kel's warhorse.  He sounds so sweet and innocent from that name, doesn't he?  Ha!  Peachblossom's interactions with Kel's friend, Neal, really get me giggling.

I love this series.  It is my favorite of hers.  I could read it once a month and not be upset.  I like the characters so much that the two Green Anoles I have are named after two of the characters, Kel and Dom.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Another re-read and the monster Granny Hex

I really enjoy Bianca d'Arc's Dragon Knights series.  I love the world she's built, so I read it quite a bit.  The other day (last Wednesday) I re-read Keeper of the Flames.  It has gryphons in it.  Yay!  My favorite fantasy critter.

I bought two new history books in my unending quest to avoid going back to LOTR.  They're in the vein of Kurlansky's Salt, which I really loved.  They're about spices and their influence on history.

As for other stuff, I figured out I'm going to need 481 hexes for my Granny Hex afghan.  I frogged most of my progress on the ripple that nuked itself and balled the yarn to recycle.  Obviously, I did nothing wrong.  I didn't miscount or anything.  It was the afghan that went wonky by itself.  He he.  I have five hexes done completely and sewn together with a whip stitch.  I'll keep doing that rather than have to sew a pile of 481 hexes in marathon sewing sessions.

Also, Mom and I have most of the plans in place for our vacation to Canada and the World Cup!  Regrettably, we won't be able to get to any USA games, but the games we got tickets for look like excellent match-ups.  And there will be whale watching!

Monday, April 06, 2015

A rare miss by Stephanie Laurens and driving debacles

One more book to add.  I stopped at the bookstore before work and ended up reading a hardcover I've been eying up for a few months, By Winter's Light, by Stephanie Laurens.  This was one of her winter/Christmas Cynster stories.  It wasn't bad but it was a bit boring.  It seemed to serve less as a romance and more of an introduction to the next generation of Cynsters.  Which is fine, but definitely not hardcover-price-worthy.  I'll wait until it comes out on paperback to actually buy it.

Last night when we got home from my brother's house we talked to the neighbors and found out that there is a long wait time to schedule driving exams.  I went online just a bit ago and found out the earliest I can take mine is September 2.  Five friggin' months?  They only test on Wednesdays at my local troopers barracks.  That is absolutely ridiculous.

I've scheduled it because my permit expires on the 12th.  This should be interesting.  Mom will bug and badger me to drive as much as possible and I still want to just curl up in a ball at the very idea.  I now have to find an instructor and that means sopending more money I don't have to get something I absolutely want no part of.  Lovely.  Maybe the area will suddenly get metropolitan-rated public transportation in the next month and I can forget all about it.  What?  It could happen (in a mirror universe).

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Star Trek and Birdies

Today I finished a book about Star Trek called Star Trek and History, a collection of essays (shockingly enough) about the role history has played in the development of the Star Trek universe and how Star Trek has also influenced history.  I enjoyed most of the essays.  Each of them at least made me think, even if they didn't all teach me something new.  I did learn some new things about the fictional universe that has shaped my life.

The other book I'm adding to the list is The Unleashing, by Shelly Laurenston.  I picked it up on Wednesday and really liked it.  It's the first book in her new world that features mostly Viking gods and the people they choose to fight for them when Ragnarok comes around.

The first one is about Kera Watson, a former marine who is killed and becomes one of the Crows, women chosen by the goddess Skuld, one of the Norns, to be her soldiers.  Regrettably for Kera, the other Crows aren't exactly big on discipline or military efficiency.  They are all women who, thanks to Skuld's intervention, have a chance at living their lives all over again.  The fighting they do for her is their night job.  Kera has a bit of trouble meshing with their craziness at first.  As this is a romance, she finds her soul mate in the form of one of Odin's Ravens, Ludvig "Vig" Rundstrom, whom she originally thinks is a vet with PTSD, not a skilled blacksmith who can fly.

I know that sounds strange but it's really fun.  Laurenston's characters tend to have one trait that I absolutely love.  They are completely nuts and they make me laugh.