Sathiel lifted his beaker. “Caffenado,” he breathed, as though the the drink was rare and precious. “Serendipitous child of humans trying to adapt coffee to the soil of an alien world. Now one of the most widely partaken of beverages known. A major import into the Colonies, as doubtless you’re aware. And war-caste and breeder-caste Castigar can’t get enough of it — which is an unlooked-for benefit. Goes to show what can arise, when humanity travels to the stars and welcomes the alien with open hands.”

Shards of Earth, p. 142

Shards of Earth has a bit of an Expanse vibe. Let’s be clear: The main character, Idris, is nothing like James Holden: For one thing, he’s skinny, has jug ears, etc But he does possess a diffidence and vulnerability which makes self feel very protective towards him (just like she felt towards Holden). Go figure!

And Solace! What an interesting backstory she has! Solace is part of an Amazonian group of genetically-engineered women whose sole purpose is to fight (Men are genetically engineered to do something else. Of course women get the hardest jobs, even in the future!) Idris and Solace hooked up 40 years earlier, before she got put into a very, very long cryogenic sleep. She’s awakened to complete a mission, which is — to get Idris! She figures Idris to be about 70 years old (given the amount of time she’s been “on ice”), but when they do meet up, he looks the same age as he was when they last saw each other. Apparently, he’s immortal. Or, he’s passed so often through unspace that it keeps erasing the years. Also, he never sleeps. Never. And he’s the pilot of a nothing freighter called the Vulture God and has acquired a beautiful female side-kick who is a lawyer. Idris has all kinds of people hunting for him, which is why the lawyer is indispensable (Who knew lawyers would still exist, a thousand years into the future!). Solace isn’t jealous, because she’s also attracted to the lawyer. She can go either way.

Shards of Earth also has a Star Wars vibe. The Vulture God crew includes a colorful cast of aliens. The aliens resemble insects (multiple arms, no neck, shell carapace etc). But they have no difficulty interacting with humans. Excellent! So long as they’re not the lead characters like in Children of Time, which was about super-intelligent spiders. She just can’t get into rooting for insects. Something in self’s genetic programming allows her to empathize only with main characters who are human (unless she’s reading Becky Chambers — only Chambers can get self to identify with aliens, like she did in The Galaxy, and the Ground Within)

Self learned that Book 2 of The Final Architecture, Eyes of the Void, is already out. Taking a look at some of the reviews, she reads that the Vulture God crew is still the main focus, and that Solace is still with them. Will definitely read.

Stay tuned.

Note to Self

Still reading The Lantern Men. The Dr. Ruth Galloway books are such a guilty pleasure.

Self is on p. 277.

She was in the city for most of the day, couldn’t wait to get home to resume reading!

Note to self: Never, ever stay at a writers retreat with a name like Grey Walls.

Another note to self: Never get friendly with the girlfriend of a serial killer. Never return her calls, never introduce your eleven-year-old to her gardener.

Just when her frustrations with the main character reach near boiling point, Elly Griffiths slips in a joke: Ruth is seeing a doctor because she’s been getting panic attacks. “The loo in the patient area had a sign on it saying PATIENT TOILET. Well, the WC must be the only thing around here that isn’t feeling frustrated.”


Stay tuned.

Detective Sergeant Tanya Fuller

Self had her first It’s It in decades.

She went to the library and checked out a new book: Katherine Addison’s The Witness for the Dead (Surprisingly thin! The Goblin Emperor, which is the only other Katherine Addison book self has read, was a hefty tome)

She bought a few sundries from Bianchini’s in San Carlos and the bill came to $39 (She bought 13-gallon garbage bags, 10 0z. of Peet’s Dark Roast, a small container of cubed watermelon)

She is on p. 244 of Book # 12 of Elly Griffiths’ powerfully addictive Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery series (She keeps complaining about the plots, but is unable to stop reading). Detective Sergeant Tanya Fuller interviews a witness:

She shows Crissy a photograph of the pumpkin badge.

“Do you recognize this?”

“It’s a Hallowe’en thing, isn’t it? I don’t like Hallowe’en as a holiday. Why dwell on the darkness in life?”

Don’t ask me, thinks Tanya. You’re the one who was married to a serial killer.

The Lantern Men, Book 12 of the Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery series

Stay tuned.


There is one Ruth Galloway character who never disappoints, who never acts out-of-character for the sake of a cheesy story line, and it’s the Druid, Cathbad (Real Name: Michael Malone). In the very first Ruth Galloway mystery, The Crossing Places, he was a suspect in a child’s disappearance. Nelson kept uncovering layers of his past, it turned out he had some connection to the family of the disappeared girl. He was eventually cleared of all charges, and he and Nelson developed an unusual relationship. Nelson saved his life, and he saved Nelson’s. Now, Nelson feels a grudging respect — even, affection — for him.

With each succeeding book, Cathbad just keeps getting more and more interesting. When he shaved off his beard, he looked younger — even, good-looking. He wears his hair in a graying ponytail but is unexpectedly strong. He stole the heart of DI Judy Johnson, and they have two children together.

In The Lantern Men, he manages to scare off a man with a knife who has attacked Phil Trent, the head of the archaeology department at the university where Ruth teaches.

“Phil will survive,” says Cathbad, “but this will have repercussions. We are all threads in the tapestry of life.”

Ruth can almost hear Nelson’s voice saying ‘bollocks’, Judy seems unmoved. She probably gets enough of this sort of thing at home.

“Where did it happen?” she asks.

“Near Tuesday Market Place in Lynn,” says Cathbad. “Did you know that a witch’s heart is buried in the wall there? She was burned at the stake and her heart flew out and into the side of a house.”

The Lantern Men, p. 106

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Wild Chase Scene, The Chalk Pit

Self knows these Ruth Galloway posts of hers are much less popular than her posts of flowers. Nevertheless.

Every Ruth Galloway book ends with a chase scene. Self should know, this is her ninth.

Why does she keep reading? Why?

Who knows? Maybe it’s those goodreads reviews that said there was a hook-up between the two Mains, that ends on a cliff-y.

What? Another cliff-y? She can’t believe it. For the nth time, a cliff-y? But here she is.

Also, if she had a penny for every time Ruth calls Nelson (although Ruth, mind you, always always always feels such trepidation for doing so, he being married to someone else after all) and he answers, “Ruth? What’s wrong? Is it Katie?” — ! She’s becoming quite fond of this way of answering the phone, though. (Where is that promised hook-up? There’s only 50 pages left!) In fact, if Nelson were ever to answer the phone without saying, “What’s wrong? Is it Katie?” self would be very disappointed.

He has just said it again, unfortunately this time Ruth isn’t alone, she’s in the middle of a wild car chase with Nelson’s boss at the wheel, and they’re on speakerphone. To her credit, Nelson’s boss is very poker-faced. Or maybe she’s just British. Who knows.

Nelson’s boss drives a Porsche. Wow, self did not realize that police superintendents made that much money! Also, this woman wears skinny jeans but can rugby-tackle like nobody’s business.


Father’s Day 2022

Listening to Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine.

It is son’s FIRST FATHER’S DAY, WOO HOO! Where does the time go.

Jumbotron on Jefferson Avenue says: SEVERE DROUGHT. LIMIT WATERING TO TWO DAYS A WEEK.

This is why self does all her watering by hand. And only at 10 p.m.

This morning, she was at the 9:35 a.m. screening of Top Gun: Maverick at the local Century 20. There were lots of people. She got peeved when someone came in late and sat right next to her. She prefers to keep at least one empty seat between her and the next person. So she moved. We are still in a pandemic!

After the movie (Really great. What a good actor Miles Teller is. And Jennifer Connolly is fantastic and beautiful. How many people know that she was an undergrad at Stanford? She was a transfer from Yale), self drove to Menlo Park Library and checked out yet another Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery.

Went home, resumed reading The Chalk Pit, which might be her favorite of the entire series (14 books and counting). p. 267, Nelson interviews a local theater director in his flat. The same director who is staging an Alice in Wonderland play featuring an adult Alice tripped out on acid (The staging of this play is one of the biggest running gags in this book)

It is pushing midnight. A local woman’s gone missing. The woman just happens to be the partner of one of self’s favorite minor characters, DI David Clough.

“All the cast get on well. Cassie seems close to Adrian Linley, who plays the Caterpillar, her father in the play. Flora Frampton, who plays the Queen of Hearts, she mothers everybody, and Darrell Shaw . . . ” he pauses.

“Yes? What about Darrell Shaw?”

“He’s a young actor. Very talented. Plays the Gryphon, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat. I just have a feeling that he has rather a crush on Cassie.”

“Does she have a crush back?”

“No.” Leo sounds quite shocked. “She seems blissfully happy with that oafish policeman partner.” He stops. “Oh, I’m sorry . . . “

Nelson hangs on to his stiff upper lip. LOL LOL LOL

Waiting in some excitement for the Juneteenth concert at the Hollywood Bowl to begin. CNN is carrying it live.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

One Word Sunday: EGG


Paul brought a bunch of chocolates for the residents this morning.

I snagged this lovely prize, which put me in mind of Travel with Intent’s One Word Sunday prompt for today: EGG.

These, btw, are NOT Nestlé product. Checked the fine print just to make sure.

citysonnet’s March Colors and Letters: ‘K’

March 12 is a Letter, the Letter K.

Here’s the full list of March Colors and Letters.

Self’s letter K is KRAKEN.

Specifically, KRAKEN COFFEE COMPANY, which has a store on Avila Beach, in Central California.

Avila Beach, which she remembers from when son was in college in San Luis Obispo. She visited again last summer, her first stop when California’s mandatory lockdown ended. (And already, last summer feels sooooo long ago)

Avila Beach was a little more crowded, a little more commercial than she remembered from 15 years ago. But she went early, and found parking right in front of the beach. She entered the coffeeshop and asked the young woman behind the counter, “Is it too early for ice cream?” The young woman responded, “It’s never too early for ice cream.”

SquareOdds #21: Cheeky Brits

Tomorrow is the last day of the SquareOdds Challenge. It has been so much fun. Thank you, Becky for dreaming up The Squares Challenge!

Here are some cheeky pictures from London:

Cee’s Flower of the Day (FOTD): A New Rose

Gorgeous morning (now, it’s blustery and cold, but this morning it was gorgeous).

Self hopped across the bay to Regan’s Nursery in Fremont.

This place is, hands down, the best place to buy roses in the San Francisco Bay Area. The roses are arranged by type: floribunda, hybrid tea, David Austin, Weeks etc etc etc It is so much fun to wander up and down the rows, like growing through a rose dictionary, but with actual specimens in front of you. Self leans towards pinks or reds. She saw Ketchup & Mustard, Barbra Streisand, Chihuly, Just Joey, Candy Cane Cocktail, Chicago Peace, Julio Iglesias.

But her Flower of the Day is Moonlight Romantica! Because that’s the rose she went home with. Ironically, it’s YELLOW:

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