The Lily Cafe Weekly Highlights – May 12, 2023

At Home

Where the last couple of weeks were full of errands and other not fun things (with a few fun things mixed in, of course), this past week has kind of felt like a massive social call. We spent Saturday at Disneyland with another family, which could have gone horribly wrong, but ended up being exceptionally magical, especially when my daughter was dressed as Alice and got a picture with Alice, the Mad Hatter, and her closest friend.

Unfortunately, that was followed with two days where we couldn’t park in our parking garage because they decided it was the perfect time to change all of the lights and no one could park there all day. I solved day one by taking the kids for ice cream and to pick up things we probably didn’t need from Target because I had planned on going the next day but said kids decided it had to be that day so I went with zero idea of what we needed. The other day was a really long play date for my daughter and a couple of her friends. It was great because the weather was exceptionally nice for May, and the girls befriended practically every kid on the playground. Unfortunately, my son has been suffering from severe allergies all week, so it hasn’t been as much fun for him.

Wednesday was my daughter’s very first field trip. We went to a local farm where they got to pick strawberries (one of the very nice perks of living in our area of Southern California) and feed animals. Fortunately, there were a ton of parent volunteers so we were each given a small group of kids to keep track of. Not that it always helped. Five and six year olds are really good at running off. One of mine nearly gave me a heart attack, so I’m glad three of them decided to spend half the time holding hands and otherwise congregating. It’s always great when a place has a sandbox; that was 15 blessed minutes where I didn’t have to worry about one of them running off.

And that makes Thursday a nice resting day. Not that I’m resting because summer is coming up really fast and I am not ready, so I’ve been working on laying out a summer-long scavenger hunt across the world to try to help keep my kids engaged. I’ll tell you how that went in August. So far they’re excited. Not sure how they’ll feel when I start giving them puzzles to solve.

Book Impressions

The Galactic Zookeeper’s Guide to Heists and Husbandry by A.C. Huntley

First Impression: Well, the description sounds a little nutty, but after all the sadness from Annie’s Apple I kind of feel like I need funny and silly. I’m hoping this one will deliver. It’ll at least be interesting to read about a two headed llama. Also, how does one transport a large animal through space when one has kidnapped it? I suppose this book will have some interesting answers.

Middle Impression: This feels way longer than it should. It’s humorous, but the humor has not grown on me and I don’t really find it funny anymore, either. I feel like I was promised certain things in the description that are just not happening. Like the romance. It’s basically one-sided, and just kind of feels out of place. I’m also really tired of potty jokes, though the non-human characters are fun. I’m just ready for this book to be over.

Last Impression: The last 20% was probably the best part of this book. I really liked Saffron’s development, and her rapport, if it can be called that, with the two headed llama was really sweet. I finally also got the romance, but it just felt a little out of place. If it had stuck with found family, I think I might have liked it more. And, seriously, the potty jokes just never ended. But the action at the end was fun, and I did like how the story wrapped up.

Chevrons Locked: The Unofficial Unauthorized Oral History of Stargate SG-1, The First 25 Years by Edward Gross

chevrons locked the unofficial unauthorized oral history of stargate sg 1 the first

First Impression: I can credit Star Trek: TNG and Stargate SG-1 as the foundation for my interest in science fiction. I have never been, nor do I ever see myself being, a fan of Star Wars. No, it was mostly Stargate that got me interested in space, and I still love the fond memories of my mom and I sitting together in front of the TV enjoying the team’s travels and all the funny and serious things they had to deal with. So I’m very excited for the chance to read this book. I have no idea what it contains, and I’m definitely not a fan of nonfiction, but, when you’re given a chance to grab a piece of your childhood? I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling knee-deep in the nostalgia these days, so I’m delighted to have the chance to read this one.

Current Progress: 12%. This is turning out to be a lot longer than I thought, but I’m loving it. It makes me feel like I’m 16 again and sitting with my mom watching one of those specials they had before the season started, the ones where the gave a bit of a behind the scenes look and interviews with the cast and crew. There are a few things I don’t get since I only watched SG-1 and not the other two short-lived series, but I’m definitely having a good time. Kind of wish it were a TV special, though.

Mini Reviews

Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway

titanium noir nick harkaway

Titanium Noir reminded me of a legal thriller I enjoyed a few months ago, so I was eager to give this one a read. This follows a specialized detective who only deals with cases involving individuals called Titans, very wealthy people who can afford a certain treatment that will make them bigger, stronger, and live longer. In this one, a Titan has been murdered and it’s Cal’s job to figure out who killed him. This leads him all over the city and straight into a ghost story that may or may not be true, as well as some history of how Titans came to be.

Honestly, I think the idea of this story was more interesting than the actual execution. I liked Cal. He was a fantastic character to follow with a really fun voice. He’s very much a rough and tumble kind of guy, but there was a softer side to him that I liked when it came out. It made him feel a little more human. I also really liked how the Titans were characterized. I still can’t really fathom how big these Titans must have been, but the ones Cal came across were interesting, from the giant of a man who holds all the power to the one who was murdered who had an interesting history. I liked that there were pros and cons to the procedure, and that there’s always a cost. At the beginning of the story, I was really engaged with what was going on and trying to figure out who killed the Titan. I loved the noir feel to it, and I think I would have liked this more if it hadn’t derailed a bit.

At some point in the second half, Cal is told a version of a ghost story. It’s a story of how the Titan gene was discovered. Then he’s told another version. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another one I’m forgetting about. I feel like he went from finding the Titan’s killer to figuring out the truth behind the ghost story. It was disappointing and I found the story dragged from that point on. I was no longer invested in who killed the Titan, which was the primary reason why I wanted to read this, because no one else felt interested until the very end.

Titanium Noir really took the noir-style and held tight to it. I loved the feel of the story, but the story itself felt like it couldn’t compare with the main character. Actually, I felt like the story failed him because Cal could have been incredible in an incredible story. Instead, I felt like he spent part of the story just chasing this ghost story and another part just chasing his tail, because he only felt like he was going in circles that only sometimes changed direction.

4 cups of tea

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Featured Posts From the Cafe

Well, I did manage to get one non-Book Highlight post up! I have to thank the first above book for that. It’s not a terrible book, but all the cursing really slowed it down for me, so I wrote about Books and Bad Words, and then had Facebook tell me they couldn’t let me post it there even though there are literally zero bad words and I instead talked about how I despise cursing. But I don’t think many people read whatever gets posted to Facebook, so I didn’t really care. I was, though, cutting it close with every Book Highlight this week. I’m glad I got to highlight The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina, Home at Summer’s End by Alys Murray, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, and The Faithless by C.L. Clark. Fiction, romance, magical realism, and fantasy. What a nice mix! It’s been interesting to see where all these gardens pop up.

That Writing Update

Well, not much progress this week. I did manage to work on The Queens once, but I was focusing my energy on preparing for the summer and finishing that zookeeper book, so not much time has gone into writing. I usually get a lot of blogging and writing done at night after my kids have gone to bed, but I’ve really spent most of this past week just struggling to stay awake. I don’t know if it’s because my days have been so busy or if it’s just been too much socializing for this introverted blogger so sleep has been a nice respite. Next week promises to be a little more normal with just some medical appointments (none of them for me, but all of which I need to be present for), so I’m hoping to wrap up my summer planning and get some writing done.

Featured Blog Post

Each week I aim to share my favorite post of the week. This week I find I have to share two, but they’re from the same blog. It’s just that two of the ladies who run Path To Publication have exciting news. Amber’s debut YA novel will be published by Penguin Random House next year, and Lucia, after some highs and lows last year, has an agent for her YA fantasy novel that she’s been talking about on her blog. Congratulations to both of them!

See you next week, and thanks for reading!

6 thoughts on “The Lily Cafe Weekly Highlights – May 12, 2023

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