VictoriaPL rejoins the Category Challenge (thread 1)

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VictoriaPL rejoins the Category Challenge (thread 1)

mar 13, 6:59pm

Hello my dear friends. Yes, I know it has been AN AGE since I have darkened these halls. My apologies. Life, as they say, gets in the way.
I hope you all have been staying well during the pandemic. I work in Healthcare, so it has been a wild ride. We lost two of my husband's family to the virus in 2021 and the beginning of the year has been a bit dark. I am trying to find my way back to myself. More reading, more walking, more writing - somewhere along the way I lost all of that.
Today I was able to spend a lovely afternoon book shopping with Kay RidgewayGirl at our local Friends of the Library warehouse. They have opened again by hourly appointments, so just a tiny haul.

At the Wolf's Table
Hemingway's Girl
The Paris Wife
Paris in Disguise
Stardust: A Novel by Joseph Kanon
Orphan X
The Dragon Factory
Speak to the Devil
The Abominable

mar 13, 8:56pm

Nice hall and welcome back!

mar 14, 6:28am

>1 VictoriaPL: Hi, we haven't met before but I hope Category Challenge brings you some joy after what sounds like an exceptionally rough time. Welcome back! :-)

mar 14, 9:23am

Welcome back, Victoria! We are here for you and glad to see you with a thread again :)

And that is a great haul for an hour's worth of shopping!

mar 14, 9:27am

Welcome back and all my best wishes for better times ahead.

mar 14, 11:15am

Welcome from a new member of this group and best wishes that things will get better!

mar 14, 6:03pm

Welcome back, Victoria. Sorry it's been such a tough year for you. How nice you got to see Kay and so some book shopping. I'm so jealous.

mar 14, 9:43pm

I'm so glad you are back! I've missed you! I'm sorry to hear about the COVID loss. Welcome back and prayers for you all!

mar 14, 10:17pm

Welcome back!! I’m so sorry about the difficulties you’ve experienced. Happy that you were able to find some uplifting moments book shopping.

mar 14, 10:53pm

Hi Victoria, I am very happy that you have decided to open a thread here, you've been missed. I am so sorry for your family's loss, this has been such a terrible year and half, I hope reading and discussing books will help with getting back to yourself.

mar 15, 6:27am

Thank you all for the welcome and your words of comfort. I am slowly trying to catch up on your threads.

I am currently reading Munich Signature by Bodie and Brock Thoene. It is book 3 in the Zion Covenant series. I was finally able to collect all 9 books so I will be reading them over the next few months. I'll be alternating with other books though.

mar 15, 9:46am

>11 VictoriaPL: I read most of those way back in the 1980s. I'm not sure if I read the entire series or not, but I likely did.

mar 15, 10:07am

Victoria, I hope that reading will bring peace and guide you toward a happier time.

mar 15, 10:09am

Yay! Welcome back! I would like to state, for the record, that I nagged Victoria into returning here.

I came home from that sale with twelve books. I note that at least a few of those books are not set during WWII.

mar 15, 10:10am

>14 RidgewayGirl: We're glad you nagged her, Kay!

mar 15, 10:11am

>15 thornton37814: Nagging is one of my strengths.

mar 15, 10:20am

mar 15, 12:09pm

I'm glad to see you back Victoria! I'm sorry for the loss of your family members. I'll be back to see what you're reading!

mar 16, 12:32pm

Glad to see you back, Victoria! I hope you read some excellent books this year. :)

mar 27, 7:12pm

Well I hope you all have been safe during the storms this week. It certainly has been a crazy time. I have finished two books - just my brief thoughts, not really reviews.

Munich Signature is third in its series and I really enjoyed this one better than book two. Mostly that was due to the character of Bubbe Rosenfelt, an American, fleeing Hitler's advance and coming back home on the Queen Mary. Unfortunately the rest of her family, including five grandchildren, had to take a lesser boat because they had no immigration papers. They are ultimately denied entry to the US and the plight of those Jews onboard as they are turned away from port after port was a terrible and fascinating turn of events.

For a change of pace, I read a new-to-me book from my favorite fantasy writer, Dave Duncan, called Speak to the Devil. It did not de-throne my favorite of his works, indeed, my favorite sword-and-sorcery of all-time The Gilded Chain, but it was nice to be back in Duncan's milieu. I find his world building and his exploration of the cost and consequences of magic always entertaining.

Next for me is another WWII (yes, I read a lot of it) At the Wolf's Table.
Wishing everyone a fabulous week ahead!

mar 28, 6:23am

>20 VictoriaPL: I read all of the Thoene series and I loved them!

mar 28, 3:00pm

Victoria, I just bought a book because it's set in Paris and, surprise!, it's a WWII book. I'll let you know how it is. I've loved one of the author's (Ellen Feldman) novels, liked another and thought a third was barely ok, so it's a bit of a gamble.

mar 28, 4:43pm

>22 RidgewayGirl: if you don't like it than you know that you can re-home it with me and I will love it. 😂

mar 29, 10:10am

>20 VictoriaPL: I read the Thoene series back when it came out. I really don't remember a great deal about it, but it's not a series I'm likely to go back and re-read.

mar 30, 9:01pm

>24 thornton37814: you're right Lori, it doesn't seem like a re-read to me either.

mar 31, 2:22am

Welcome back! I saw the name and had to poke my head in, though I'm not familiar at all with what you're reading. Even so, it's good to see you and hear you're doing okay despite what seems like a very very hard time of it recently. I hope it gets better from here.

mar 31, 11:36am

>26 pammab: thank you so much! Hopefully I'll read something more familiar soon!

Redigerat: apr 3, 11:27am

Finished two more books.

At the Wolf's Table by Rosella Postorino
Rosa Sauer knows that she is lucky to have a consistent supply of quality, nourishing food when so many are going hungry. But she eats with the knowledge that each plate may be the last thing she ever consumes. It's not as if she has a choice in the matter. The SS guards come to fetch her each morning and notate every morsel that goes into her mouth. They watch her carefully and then drive her home. If Rosa lives then the Fuhrer can eat.

I had never heard about Hitler's food tasters before and they did exist although this tale is just an imagining. It makes an interesting framing device within which to examine Rosa's relationships with the other food tasters, the guards, and her in-laws, who she lives with.

Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Zoey has a lot going on. Her father has a baby on the way with his mistress, her mother was just committed to a mental hospital after a suicide attempt and she has state swim competition coming up. But all that aside, what she's most worried about is the accident that totaled her car and the evening that she cannot remember. Why was she out driving at 2:30am? Why are her earrings missing? How is Doug Fox, who has hated her since middle school, involved?

I love, love, love Jennifer Echols YA romances. She is so good. She excels at attention to detail and knows so much about timing. She does angst perfectly.

apr 3, 11:45am

>28 VictoriaPL: I have another book about one of Hitler's food tasters. It's called The Taster by V.S. Alexander, but I haven't rushed to read it as I read another book by the author and wasn't taken with her writing.

apr 3, 4:08pm

>29 DeltaQueen50: interesting! I might have to read that just to compare the two.

apr 6, 3:29pm

>28 VictoriaPL: Aw, Jennifer Echols! Going Too Far is another good one.

apr 6, 3:47pm

Another challenge newbie adding my best wishes for a better year.

From your library sale haul: I have The Paris Wife on the shelf, one of those books I have meant to get to for so long!

apr 6, 5:19pm

>31 christina_reads: Going Too Far was the first one that I read and what got me hooked!

>32 charl08: Thank you so much. The Paris Wife does look interesting. Do you like Hemingway or Paris or both?

apr 6, 5:30pm

Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

If you enjoy Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher, James Bond and other various protagonists that only play by their own code - than you'll like Orphan X. It's exactly what you're expecting and a fine popcorn-y thriller. When I'm in the mood for that kind of thing, Hurwitz never lets me down.

apr 13, 8:40pm

>29 DeltaQueen50: Well, Judy, you got me curious and my library had a copy, so I read The Taster. It was actually quite different from At the Wolf's Table. The only things they really had in common was Hitler's avoidance of meat and his favorite apple cake. He must have really loved that cake, LOL. A few things annoyed me about the story, in particular, the ending. I still found it a decent read but take that with the knowledge that I love the WWII genre.

Not sure what my next read will be. I'm traveling the next week and a half and I'm not certain what's going in the suitcase with me or how much reading I'll get done. I'll see you all then!

apr 13, 9:51pm

>35 VictoriaPL: I'm glad that you found it intereting, Victoria. I need to push it closer to the top of my list.

jun 11, 11:27pm

Oof. I'm so very, very far behind. And I was doing so well. Please forgive.

Our trip to Florida just kind of derailed my rhythm. We had a whirlwind trip and it was so very good to see and hug my Mom and know that she is doing okay. I hadn't see her in person since before the pandemic.
While away, I had a whole new vision for our bedroom - so we emptied it entirely and repainted it, changing the headboard, moved around all the furniture and purged a lot of stuff. It felt good to have a clean-out. I also ordered the most awesome lamps from Amazon (where else?) and photos for a picture wall.
The next project is my office/den. And then my husbands's office/den. I have found that I'm a fan of projects now.
While we were purging, I deaccessioned a whole slew of books from my horror bookcases and took them all to a local trade-in spot. Then I ended up purchasing with trade credit and $1.22:
Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
The Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester
Three Hours in Paris by Cara Black
Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman
The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards
Victoria's War by Catherine A Hamilton

Next I'll catch you all up on what I've been reading and I'll try to get around to your threads too. But for now, have a wonderful evening!

jun 12, 4:47pm

The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry.

Publisher's Weekly: In Stoker-winner Maberry's wild second Joe Ledger novel (after Patient Zero), Joe and his comrades from the Department of Military Science (DMS) take on enough villains and their world-threatening plots to fill half a dozen ordinary thrillers. The dangers Joe and his Echo Team warriors confront include evil boy-girl albino twins born on Christmas, each child marked with a star like the Star of Bethlehem; weaponized genetic diseases; the Cabal, whose goal is worldwide ethnic cleansing; Nazi clones; a race of slaves called New Men; a wide array of mythical beasts (unicorns, centaurs, dragons, elves, etc.); and morphogenetic monsters such as tiger/dogs and insect/humans. Joe battles these horrors with his usual ferocity, but by the end, even this superhero is reduced to despair by the toll the job exacts. While Joe has announced his retirement, eager readers can look forward to one more volume in this humorous, over-the-top cross-genre trilogy.

Yes, evil Nazis trying to take over the world and using eugenics to create the master race is nothing new. It's really what modern technology brings to the table to make an old enemy a new threat.
If you like thrillers and enjoy the ride of non-stop roller coasters then this might be a book for you. Maybe I grew up on too much Inspector Gadget, G.I. Joe and Sean Connery's 007 but I love over-the-top villains. They make it fun. And the book is fun. I'd be up for another in this series.

jun 12, 5:12pm

Welcome back.

>37 VictoriaPL: You're immersing yourself in WWII? Every Man Dies Alone/Alone in Berlin was really worth reading, because Fallada was there.

jun 12, 5:14pm

I found both of these books the last time RidgewayGirl and I went book shopping, which is really apropos because when I think of Hemingway, I think of her. It was also interesting to see Ernesto with two different wives - I think he ultimately had four?? These are two beautifully written books that just sweep you up. I did not want The Paris Wife to end and I kept dragging it out, saving chapters for other days to make it last. Hemingway's Girl was the opposite, I read it one day.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Amazon: Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history and pours himself into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises, Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Eventually they find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck

Amazon: In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match...and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway.
When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation...even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most. Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams? As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths...and the possibility of losing everything she loves.

Redigerat: jun 12, 5:15pm

>39 pamelad: Hi Pamela! Thank you. I cannot STOP reading WWII. I just want more and more. You'd think I'd get my fill but no....

Redigerat: jun 12, 5:30pm

Also two Jennifer Echols books. I do not know exactly why but I enjoy Echols teenage romances. I'm not a huge reader of just straight romances, I tend to skew towards dystopian teen fiction. I do really like her characterizations and her locations and she does angst so very well. I thought I would like Love Story the better of the two but I was wrong - wasn't a fan of the story-within-the-story frame.

Such a Rush
Amazon : Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.
But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.

Love Story
Amazon: For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment? Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

jun 12, 5:59pm

Currently Reading: The Abominable by Dan Simmons.

jun 12, 9:29pm

Glad to see you here! I think you should read all the WWII novels you want.

jun 15, 9:22am

Glad to see you back posting! As Kay said, you should read what you want--and we know you love those WWII era historical fiction novels! The Key West hurricane one sounds interesting.

jun 15, 12:06pm

>45 thornton37814: I really enjoyed Hemingway's Girl Lori! I learned some things about my home state that I was never taught in school.

jun 17, 8:32pm

Lace and Blade edited by Deborah J. Ross
from the back cover: "...brimming with romantic courtly intrigues and dangerous liaisons, with cloak and dagger and perfumed handkerchiefs, the language of fan and stolen glances, with the manners of Jane Austen and the sparkling rapier wit of Oscar Wilde, here are nine fantastic stories of adventure, derring do, love and glamorous but subtle magic..."

I'm not much for short story collections because the stories are inevitably hit or miss and I have trouble reconciling whether I liked the collection enough to keep it. Ideally, I want a book to be one or the other and easily decided about. These stories are very diverse and yet of the same (by design). As expected, they were hit or miss with me. My favorite was The Beheaded Queen by Dave Smeds which was absolutely a pleasure and I wanted more of it. I struggled the most with The Rule of Engagement by Sherwood Smith - half the time I did not know what was happening. The story that I haven't stopped thinking about is The Night Street Baths by Chaz Brenchley - the world building was so rich and accomplished in such a limited space. I have volume II on my TBR shelf, so more to look forward to (there are four or five volumes already published).

jun 18, 11:11pm

Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem

From the back cover: Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems-not the least of which are the rabbit in his waiting room and the trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is an ominous place where evolved animals function as members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage. In this brave new world, Metcalf has been shadowing the wife of an affluent doctor, perhaps falling a little in love with her at the same time. But when the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in the crossfire in a futuristic world that is both funny-and not so funny.

As I was reading this, I was trying to think of a way to describe it to you. I told myself it is 70% The Big Sleep and 30% The Minority Report. As I closed the cover I noticed the Newsweek blurb "marries Chandler's style and Philip K Dick's vision" and thought, exactly! I enjoyed it very much. If there's another like this, I'll gladly read it too.

jun 19, 9:21am

>48 VictoriaPL: Now there's an interesting cover!

jun 19, 12:07pm

>48 VictoriaPL: Lethem is hit or miss with me. Motherless Brooklyn was wonderful and A Gambler's Anatomy was truly terrible. I'll have to give this one a try.

jun 19, 4:47pm

>49 rabbitprincess: yes!
>50 RidgewayGirl: you can borrow it at any time!

jun 25, 8:01am

I'm still with you, friends! I'm in the middle of a door stopper, so I haven't been able to post a completion entry in a bit…but soon.
I also got lost in Netflix's series Cobra Kai. I watched 10 episodes in one day. I think Season Two is the most perfect translation of an 80s franchise-to-series that I’ve seen. Going to devour Season 3 this weekend.

Redigerat: jul 1, 7:42pm

The Abominable by Dan Simmons

I thought this 663 page adventure up Mount Everest.. with Yeti... would be a great way to continue my vacation from WWII books. I have no shred of desire in me to climb a mountain but I loooooove mountaineering books. This book pushed me to my limit on mountain topography, mountain climbing equipment, mountain climbing history, mountain weather, other famous mountains, etc. I mean, if you want to educate yourself on mountaineering, just skip the thriller portion of the book and it will be enough.
Oh, and it wasn't a vacation as I thought because the "Yeti" were Nazis searching the mountain and doing evil Nazi things. So, yeah...

jul 1, 7:50pm

>53 VictoriaPL: Yeah, I think I'll be avoiding that book. I couldn't get through The Terror either, so I suspect Simmons is not an author for me.

jul 2, 9:19am

>53 VictoriaPL: A chunkster adventure!

jul 2, 9:49am

>54 rabbitprincess: The series they made based on The Terror is good, though.

Redigerat: jul 2, 9:59am

>54 rabbitprincess: I still might give The Terror a try.
>56 RidgewayGirl: So it's a series? Where do you watch it?
>55 thornton37814: it was such a heavy book! I could really only read it propped up in bed with pillows.

jul 2, 2:48pm

Victoria, it's on Hulu. It also has the guy who played the bad guy on Outlander.

jul 2, 3:59pm

>58 RidgewayGirl: I haven't watched Outlander. Shhhhh….

jul 4, 12:51am

Private Justice by Terri Blackstock
book one of the Newpointe 911 series

A dark shadow of fear has fallen over Newpointe, Louisiana. First one, then another of the town firemen’s wives has been murdered, and a third has barely escaped an attempt on her life. Incredible as it seems, a serial killer is stalking this sleepy little southern community. And Mark Branning’s wife may be next on the list. Mark is determined to protect her. But keeping Allie alive won’t be easy—not with their marriage already dying a bitter death. Unless they renew their commitment to each other and to God, someone else may settle their problems … permanently. And time to decide is running out. “This tense and exciting thriller is more than a fabulous read; it has an underlying message about the place of religion within a marriage. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal

The LT Recommendation Engine put this book on my radar and my library had a copy, so I thought, why not? Well, I read it all in one go and really enjoyed it! It's a suspenseful murder mystery written from a faith-based perspective and I thought it was well crafted. Blackstock made sure to include several red herrings and I honestly had trouble deciding between all the suspects. I also appreciated the crisis of faith many characters struggled with as the events of the plot played out but I never felt that I was being preached at. i might just delve into the rest of the series.

jul 5, 7:25pm

Museum of the Missing by Simon Houpt

"This museum of the missing would hold perhaps one hundred and fifty Rembrandts and five hundred Picassos. You could stroll through the Renaissance galleries to admire Raphaels and Titians, da Vincis and Durers, Rubenses and Caravaggios, the The Impressionist section would include works by Renoir and Dega, Monet and Manet and Matisse, Pissarro and his friend and sometimes student Cezanne. You could skip your way through the history of Western art via Vermeer and van Gogh, Constable and Turner, Dali and Miro, Pollock and Warhol. If the pieces hanging in this imaginary museum are not literally ours, they are the Western world's collective cultural heritage, and their absences renders all of us much poorer."

Museum of the Missing is about stolen art. The numerous individual pieces snatched off the walls, cut out of their frames or severed from their bases. The large-scale cultural looting of Egypt by the British and Napoleon, the same of Europe by Hitler and the Germans, and even the ransacking of the Middle East after Saddam's demise. The coffee-table book is full of behind the scene photos as well as beautiful color and black-and-white plates of never-seen-since stolen art and also some of damaged, recovered pieces. Much of the text goes towards the political, legal and ethical issues faced by museums and collections that discover they have stolen pieces or even forgeries in their holdings. There's also a discussion of why art is stolen - not so much for the enjoyment of the piece but increasingly as a way to make a very large sum of quick money. Also, the author petitions for methods to make stolen art less easy to sell and therefore, to deter the theft in the first place. The book is not a rock star of the non-fiction world but was definitely an afternoon's enjoyment.

jul 5, 8:33pm

>60 VictoriaPL: I think I read something by her years ago--although not in that series.

jul 5, 8:56pm

>62 thornton37814: I think she has several series. I intend to read more by her.

jul 5, 10:09pm

>61 VictoriaPL: Oh this looks interesting and also heartbreaking. I think a lot about the artwork destroyed by the Nazis because it didn't fit their parameters of beauty. And the Buddhas of Bamiyan, destroyed by the Taliban, and the Assyrian stuff destroyed in Syria. There's so much gone that can't be repaired or replaced.

Redigerat: jul 5, 10:23pm

>64 RidgewayGirl: yes, so much has been lost. I’ll bring it by to you and you can peruse at your leisure :)

jul 6, 4:02am

>61 VictoriaPL: - I've added this to my list of interesting books to look at (yes- another BB). Like Kay, I think about the artwork that's been lost especially when I read a WW II book.

jul 6, 6:20am

>66 dudes22: thanks for dropping by, Betty! I am so glad that many works of art were saved by moving them out of Paris prior to the Occupation. I'm trying to remember the lady's name who secretly kept logs of the paintings removed from the Jeu de Paume by Goring and others. I read an entire book on her and now her name escapes me.

jul 6, 8:34am

>67 VictoriaPL: - You piqued my curiosity so I googled and found her name is Rose Valland. I might try to find out the book later but I'm on my way out in a couple of minutes.

jul 6, 9:52am

>68 dudes22: yes! That's her.

jul 6, 2:00pm

>609 - Ok - I think I found it. There's a book in your library that I found in an article about her Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling which I'm guessing is it. There's also apparently another newer book that she is a character in: Portrait of a Woman in White by Susan Winkler. I'm going to see if I can find them in our library system. Or at least put them on a list for future reading.

Redigerat: jul 6, 4:57pm

>70 dudes22: I think she is also in Monuments Men but I don't think that's where I’m remembering her from. Let me think on it tonight too. 😊

jul 6, 6:40pm

>61 VictoriaPL: Not a rock star - great description.

jul 6, 7:22pm

jul 7, 7:45am

RidgewayGirl and I are off on an adventure! And there will be book shopping, I’m sure. 😊

jul 7, 8:06am

>74 VictoriaPL: Oh, I have lists of bookstores, Victoria.

jul 7, 12:42pm

Enjoy your adventure! (and the book shopping)

jul 7, 5:40pm

>74 VictoriaPL: Maybe I should have gone to Greenville to join up with you all. Instead I stopped at McKays in Knoxville. I only purchased 3 books. I did a lot of other things while I was in Knoxville. I need to make my next trip on a day when I don't need to be back in time for choir. I also needed to start earlier.

jul 7, 6:36pm

>74 VictoriaPL: Yay!! Have fun on your adventure :)

Redigerat: jul 8, 8:59am

Thanks everyone! We hit one bookstore yesterday, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, which is really lovely. We weren’t in there 15 minutes when the clerk referred to us as sisters. It was so funny.
We spent the afternoon at the Art Museum looking at the Golden Mummies, which was a fantastic exhibit! Additionally, they also had many other funerary portraits that were done for those who could not afford the full monty mummification process - and those faces were just so contemporary. You could see them on the streets today. It made me remember that these were just normal folk doing what was the tradition at the time.
Also, we are not impressed with Sir William Petrie who found many, many mummies but only took the gilded ones, the cream of the crop so to speak. This ties back to our stolen art, stolen culture discussion…

Off for more bookstores today. Be back with a haul…

jul 8, 10:40am

>79 VictoriaPL: Hooray for Quail Ridge Books! I grew up in Raleigh and have some fond memories of that bookstore. Hope you and Kay continue to enjoy your stay in the City of Oaks. :)

jul 8, 10:08pm

RidgewayGirl and I (and Hurricane Elsa) spent the entire day in NC browsing Independents. What a treat! 😊
It's book haul time!

From Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC
Brontë's Mistress by Finola Austin.

From Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer
A German Officer in Occupied Paris: The War Journals 1941-1945 by Ernst Jünger

From The Purple Crow in Hillsborough, NC
The Paris Photo by Jane S. Gabin

From Scuppernog Books in Greensboro, NC
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
Landsman:a Novel by Peter Melman

jul 8, 10:39pm

We had such a great time! I'll post my haul tomorrow. I loved how excited all the bookstores were to hear about our quest. Dirk says we should make regular trips out in various directions to hunt down all the independent bookstores.

jul 8, 11:05pm

>82 RidgewayGirl: I agree with Dirk!

jul 9, 9:02am

I'm insanely jealous!

jul 9, 9:22am

>84 clue: I think we should plan a meet up and all go book shopping together! It's so much fun.

jul 9, 3:07pm

Great haul, Victoria. Like Kay's I don't recognize many of these titles although I do know some of the authors, but they all sound interesting.
I miss my trips to the Island and our book shop outings - hopefully I will get over there soon!

jul 9, 5:26pm

>86 DeltaQueen50: I hope that you do, Judy!

Redigerat: jul 9, 8:42pm

Glad you guys had a good time and some interesting books in your pile. Going to swing by Kay's thread and check out her haul.

jul 9, 8:55pm

Just spotted your thread. I have a lot of catching up to do. Elderly Mom was rushed to the hospital last month (not COVID-related) and is much improved. A few days later, elderly father was rushed to the same hospital. Also not COVID-related. He's got dementia due to Alzheimer's.

Glad to see you back here.

Redigerat: jul 9, 9:40pm

>88 dudes22: thanks Betty!
>89 lindapanzo: Hi Linda, it's good to be back. I'm so sorry things have been rough as of late.

jul 10, 3:16pm

Yay book shopping and road trips! Glad to hear you had a good time and got some good books out of it :)

jul 10, 4:15pm

Excellent shopping trip - sounds like you had a good time.

jul 10, 6:48pm

The Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester

After her French photographer boyfriend sabotages her modeling career, Vogue offers to continue employing Jessica May as a war correspondent. Jess has learned quite a bit of the tools of the trade from Emile and she has tinkered with writing enough to know that she can turn out the kind of woman-focused stories from Italy and France that Vogue's readers will want. But things at the Front aren't as Jess imagined, she and the other female reporters must fight their own battles just to cover the war. Jess wins a few and loses a few - some fights being more personal than others, some having consequences that reach down generations.

Lester has said that she based the character of Jess May on real-life Lee Miller and that's apparent in several areas of the book. The first 100 pages really swept me away. Then the narrative did what I have really come to dislike in these types of tales - it split from WWII to present day. I really, really liked the WWII sections. Jess May and Martha Gellhorn (Mrs Hemingway, at the time) hunting down gut-wrenching stories, the collateral damage inflicted on everyone, Jess's compassion for the soldiers and ensuing romance was beautifully written - those passages were just the best. I cannot say the same for the modern tale at all and the last 50 pages I just disengaged entirely. Such a pity.

jul 12, 12:58pm

Nice moderate hauls from the bookstores! I'm surprised you didn't come away with more!

jul 12, 1:09pm

>94 thornton37814: We were so well-behaved, Lori!

jul 12, 3:26pm

>94 thornton37814: >95 RidgewayGirl: And we had to be able to protect what we bought from the rain! Book shopping in a Hurricane is not for the faint of heart! 😂

jul 12, 5:37pm

>96 VictoriaPL: It's amazing the bookstores were open in the hurricane. Of course, you had the remnants instead of the top speed winds. Still I know there was a lot of water.

jul 13, 11:49am

While I was away from LT and barely touching a book, I missed a few releases by my favorite authors. The LT Recommendation Engine was quick to bring them to my attention so I dutifully ordered two books that came in yesterday.

Too Close to God by Jeff Long
Hid From Our Eyes by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Now I’m all at odds between my library books, my new shiny friends, the other books I bought last weekend and the ones gathering dust on my TBR shelf.

jul 13, 2:36pm

>81 VictoriaPL: None of these are familiar to me but I have to admire your diverse choices. As you read each one you will be reminded of Elsa.

Redigerat: jul 13, 11:33pm

Killbox by Ann Aguirre Sirantha Jax book 4

I don't read as much science fiction as I used to, and series sci-fi even less - but if there's one sci-fi series that I get excited about, it's Sirantha Jax. I own books 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6, but I had lollygagged about borrowing book 4 from the library, silly me. Aguirre is just a master. Much of what goes on the series is internal: Sirantha's grimspace jumping, March's psi, Vel's intricate wa's but it all comes across seamlessly with the dialogue and doesn't slow down the pacing. The character interactions are so well written. Sometimes the plot verges on a little too much politics for my taste (why does so much sci-fi do that?) but the rest of it is so rich that I can get past it. Now that I'm in the later half of the series I'm beginning to anticipate the ending and mourn it. But, such is a reader's life.

jul 14, 9:01pm

Shadow of Doubt by Terri Blackstock Newpointe 911 book 2

Amazon: A poisoned past. A bitter present. Is Celia a murderer ... or a victim? Detective Stan Shepherd lies comatose in the hospital, a victim of arsenic poisoning. The Newpointe police have a suspect: Celia Shepherd, Stan's wife. Celia is no stranger to such charges. When her first husband died of poisoning, a technicality scuttled the case against her and Celia got of scot-free. Now it looks like the same old story--only this time, the motive appears plain. An old flame has moved into town under circumstances bound to raise suspicion. And that's just for starters. More evidence is gathering that can put Celia away for good. But attorney Jill Clark thinks the pieces of the puzzle fit together a bit too neatly. Either her client's Christian faith is a sham or she's the victim of a deadly frame-up--and the real killer is still afoot ... Shadow of Doubt is book two in the Newpointe 911 series by award-winning novelist Terri Blackstock. Newpointe 911 offers taut, superbly crafted novels of faith, fear, and close-knit small-town relationships, seasoned with romance and tempered by insights into the nature of relationships, redemption, and the human heart.

i enjoyed being back in Newpointe again. Didn't care for this one as much as the first one but still a solid entry in the series. Will read the next.

Redigerat: jul 17, 8:41am

Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick

Now for something completely different, LOL. I don't know that I've ever seen a lilac in person, or smelled one. This book was given to me by my Mom earlier this year when I was down for her birthday. Granted, my Mom knows very little of my reading tastes but a lady at her garden club mentioned this book and she wanted to give it to me. i did really enjoy The Orchid Thief so a book about lilacs is not entirely out of the realm. I did enjoy the story and it was well written and kept my attention. If I'm ever in that part of the country, I wouldn't mind visiting Hulda's lilacs. Her garden - after being wiped out by floods (again) was recreated by donations from people she gave cultivars to - is still maintained by volunteers. You can read more about it here:

Amazon: German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eighth-grade education—and a burning desire to create something beautiful. What begins as a hobby to create an easy-peeling apple for her pies becomes Hulda’s driving purpose: a time-consuming interest in plant hybridization that puts her at odds with family and community, as she challenges the early twentieth-century expectations for a simple housewife. Through the years, seasonal floods continually threaten to erase her Woodland, Washington garden and a series of family tragedies cause even Hulda to question her focus. In a time of practicality, can one person’s simple gifts of beauty make a difference? Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a story of triumph over an impossible dream and the power of a generous heart.

“Beauty matters… it does. God gave us flowers for a reason. Flowers remind us to put away fear, to stop our rushing and running and worrying about this and that, and for a moment, have a piece of paradise right here on earth.”

jul 17, 11:34am

I have a lilac tree in my yard. I'll show it to you next spring. It's supposedly a special cultivar designed for our climate, but it's always struggled and even ten years on, it's a small thing that never produces more than one or two blooms.

jul 17, 11:36am

>103 RidgewayGirl: I would LOVE that!

jul 17, 11:40am

Prepare to be underwhelmed!

jul 17, 12:20pm

I love lilacs and nothing shouts Spring more than the scent of lilacs wafting on the air. Their scent can be quite overpowering so I don't usually pick them and bring them inside, but I love to catch a hint of their scent when outside. I also love the cover of Where Lilacs Still Bloom.

jul 17, 12:44pm

>106 DeltaQueen50: have you ever seen any Klager cultivars? I think she developed over 200.

jul 17, 12:49pm

>107 VictoriaPL: I don't believe that I have, but I see that Hulda Klager's home and garden in Woodland, Washington are open to the public and someday, when we can travel to the States, I would love to visit. A local politican and owner of a number of nurseries lives near-by and he is also into developing various lilacs. He holds an open house at his estate once a year and we have bought some unusual lilac plants there. These lilacs are among the plants that I miss from our old home now that we are living in an apartment.

jul 17, 1:50pm

>108 DeltaQueen50: in the book, they talk quite a bit about taking cutting from lilacs as families would do, giving starts to newlyweds, etc. What a lovely tradition. I hope that you are able to visit!

jul 17, 2:31pm

>109 VictoriaPL: We do the odd drive-bys to check up on the old place! ;)

Redigerat: jul 18, 7:33am

I love lilacs! The suburban street I grew up on had a median that was planted with lilacs and there were also a couple bushes under my bedroom window. They bloomed late May/early June and were a sign that summer was on its way.

jul 18, 12:55pm

>111 ELiz_M: what a great remembrance!

jul 18, 1:30pm

Lilacs are prolific in this part of British Columbia, the climate (hot summers, snowy winters) must be perfect. Even left unattended they survive on empty lots. Just about everyone on my street has lilac ranging from a modest shrub like mine to towering trees, in every shade of lilac. While in flower, the entire neighbourhood shares that fabulous scent.

jul 18, 4:51pm

>113 VivienneR: that would be wonderful to see! BC has always been on my bucket list.

jul 19, 7:37pm

Jerusalem Interlude book 4 Zion Covenant

SPOILER filled Synopsis by Plugged In:
In 1938, Hitler’s plan to annihilate all Jews extends to Israel and all of Europe. Letters sent from Leah Feldstein to her musician friend, Elisa, are pieced together to reveal the pre-World War II plights of several European Jewish families. Leah and her husband, Shimon, both Messianic Jews, flee Germany for Israel only to land in a refugee camp. There, Leah befriends a young woman named Victoria. A bomb set off by Victoria’s Muslim half-brothers injures Leah. Victoria falls in love with Eli, a Jewish rabbi student. Lies and deceit end in false accusations by Victoria’s family and other militant Muslims that Eli raped Victoria. Victoria’s brother and the Muslim leader Mufti Haj Amin stir up a Muslim crowd into believing a dead body is Victoria. Rumors of Victoria’s death bring Eli out into the open where Eli’s brother leads the Muslim mob in killing him. Meanwhile, Elisa and her husband flee to England where her father, Theo Lindham, resides. Theo, a former German department store owner, Messianic Jew and sole survivor of the Dachau prison, is tricked into returning to Germany for a meeting that promises relief for Jewish refugees. The Germans plot to kill Theo but allow him to escape in an effort to send a strong message to England that Jews will suffer death. During his visit, Theo angers Field Commander Göring, second in command to the fuehrer, when he reads a poem from a collection Göring had confiscated years earlier from Theo. Goring orders the books to be burned. The bonfire sparks Kristalnacht (the night of broken glass). Other subplots include a Polish family’s struggle with attempted rape, bribes and false arrests and a young Jewish boy in France hidden by a Nazi and driven mad enough to commit a murder that moves Hitler’s plans forward.

Okay, a lot to unpack in this entry in the series. A lot. I'm a softie, so my favorite plot was the main plot between Eli and Victoria. And not just because she shares my name. The book held my interest pretty well, I was able to read it in just over a day. I plan to continue with the series.

Redigerat: jul 20, 5:37pm

The Shadow by James Patterson and Brian Sitts

"The Shadow was a crimefighter," said Maddy. "He fought evil in the city back in the 1930s."
Poole spun through his mental trivia bank. Crimefighter. Evil. Big City.
"You mean like... Batman?" he asked.
Lamont looked puzzled.
"Who's Batman?"
"Batman," repeated Poole, digging deep into cultural memory. "I think he had some kind of double identity. A rich playboy. He had a mansion. And he came out at night to fight bad guys. Like a bat."
"Goddamned copycat!" said Lamont.

My first exposure to The Shadow was the 1994 film starring Alec Baldwin (which I do have fond feelings about). But this book jumps from 1937 to 2087 by page 17 so if you were hoping for the classy nightclubs and gowns and architecture seen on the big screen, be forewarned. Our good guy vs bad guy story takes place in a very bleak city indeed. I loved spending time with favorite characters Lamont Cranston, Margo Lane and Shiwan Kahn and how Patterson and Sitts envision them interacting together. However, and you knew there would be a however, right? The book felt really inconsistent to me, and I'm not even taking the 150 year time jump into account with that. The book spends pages and pages telling you that The Shadow's invisibility is not a true power, that it's all hypnosis and he doesn't really disappear. Then, later in the book he shapeshifts into a small animal and that power is supposedly truly a change in form. Then he begins to shoot fire balls from his hands. Not just a distraction technique with powders like a magician, but real fire balls. Don't get your hopes up for this one.

Redigerat: jul 22, 10:03am

Too Close to God:Selected Mountain Tales by Jeff Long

"This was getting better, his telling as much as the tale. He knew when to cast the fly and when to sink the hook. A few minutes ago, I had been in my own river. Now I was his fish."

I absolute adore Jeff Long's "mountain" books. They rank not just among my favorite adventure / thriller books but among my favorite books, period. I don't know how it escaped me for so long, but when I saw that there was a collection of his shorter works, I could not click the Buy button quick enough. Long's way of storytelling just has a way of sinking down into my pores. Sometimes, out of the blue, a scene from one of his books or a phrase that he used will come back to me. The way he writes about climbing (and falling) makes me hold my breath, it is captivating.
This book holds the first chapters of Long's books: The Ascent, The Descent, The Wall and Angels of Light - so not all of the material was new to me. The other short works printed here have appeared in magazines. To be completely honest, I did not enjoy all of them; Revenge, Cannibals and The Virgin of Irnst were my favorites. What I really enjoyed was Long's introduction to each work because it gave small insights into his personal history, moments of inspiration and even some of his thoughts on the craft of writing. All in all, reading this book just made me hungry for more new material. Seems that I am your fish, Mr. Long.

jul 22, 8:59am

<118 A new author to me, my library has a lot of his books so I've put him on my list.

Redigerat: jul 22, 9:42am

>119 clue: They are all stand alone except for Deeper which is a sequel to The Descent. I would probably start out with The Ascent, The Wall or Angels of Light. I love The Descent but it's more fantastical than just straight mountaineering. I look forward to hearing your thoughts when you get around to it!

jul 22, 9:38am

Good Morning Victoria! I am number 2 in line for False Witness, that is all. I must clear my reading schedule!

jul 22, 9:43am

>121 lsh63: oh wow! You must have got in the queue early or your library ordered several copies! I am ready whenever you are.

jul 22, 9:58pm

Just doing some maintenance on my LT library and tags. These are the books I read between Jan 1 2021 - Mar 13 2021 when I rejoined the Category Challenge.

The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult
The German Heiress by Anika Scott
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh
The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel
Henry VIII: Wolfman by A.E. Moorat

jul 23, 6:15pm

Playing for the Commandant by Suzy Zail

Amazon blurb:
“Look after each other . . . and get home safe. And when you do, tell everyone what you saw and what they did to us.” These are Hanna’s father’s parting words to her and her sister when their family is separated at the gates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Her father’s words — and a black C-sharp piano key hidden away in the folds of her dress — are all that she has left to remind her of life before. Before, Hanna was going to be a famous concert pianist. She was going to wear her yellow dress to a dance. And she was going to dance with a boy. But then the Nazis came. Now it is up to Hanna to do all she can to keep her mother and sister alive, even if that means playing piano for the commandant and his guests. Staying alive isn’t supposed to include falling in love with the commandant’s son. But Karl Jager is beautiful, and his aloofness belies a secret. And war makes you do dangerous things.

Yes, it's another YA WWII book. Those happen to be my jam. If you read a lot of WWII stories than it's a very familiar thing: the roundup, the camp sorting, the roll call, the bullying by the block capo, the stealing of food - and then - the liberation, the reunion of survivors, etc.
What this book has all through it, which is lovely, is music. What Hanna chooses to play for joy, for herself and her family; how she plays in her mind palace when she has no access to a piano; how she censors her repertoire when the Commandant is near. I love that she and Karl found common ground in music.

Redigerat: jul 24, 11:58am

Kay (RidgewayGirl) and I are book shopping again today. This time it’s our local Friends of the Library sale. We have a good system in that if she puts a book back, it probably goes in my bag :) The volunteers only fret over us when we laugh too loud.

jul 24, 5:18pm

>126 VictoriaPL: Oh, a library book sale! I am sooooooo jealous. Looks like you had a great haul!

jul 24, 5:24pm

Did you really only come home with eight books for yourself? I walked out with seventeen!

jul 24, 5:40pm

>127 rabbitprincess: thanks! My TBR is spread across two shelves now. I'm in trouble!

>128 RidgewayGirl: but you read faster than I do!

jul 24, 9:37pm

>126 VictoriaPL: There are quite a few there that would have caught my eye too! I'm a big fan of fiction about real people.

jul 24, 10:27pm

>130 JayneCM: I am very curious about Strapless!

jul 24, 10:40pm

>126 VictoriaPL: Nice book haul, and you definitely have a star theme going on there. Some of the covers are lovely!

jul 25, 7:49am

>132 mathgirl40: I did not even realize! When I’m just sight browsing the stacks or boxes alpha by author, I am such a sucker for a good cover. Of course something in the blurb has to be interesting but the cover mostly.

jul 25, 6:55pm

Great book haul, Victoria. I've read and really liked Mrs. Poe but all the others are new to me and I will look forward to reading about them.

jul 25, 8:00pm

>134 DeltaQueen50: Thanks! That's awesome news about Mrs. Poe. :)

jul 25, 8:13pm

The Pisces by Melissa Broder

Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika's home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety — not in the Greek chorus of women in her love addiction therapy group, not in her frequent Tinder excursions, not even in Dominic the foxhound's easy affection.
Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. A masterful blend of vivid realism and giddy fantasy, pairing hilarious frankness with pulse-racing eroticism, THE PISCES is a story about falling in obsessive love with a merman: a figure of Sirenic fantasy whose very existence pushes Lucy to question everything she thought she knew about love, lust, and meaning in the one life we have.

I thought this was going to be one of those rom-com, breezy summer reads. Lucy is a newly single modern woman, obsessed with Tinder, in a beach town where no one knows her and she could really let loose. No. I mean, don't get me wrong, there is a lot of meaningless sex but rather the book comes off as a heart-sickening exploration of mental illness and depression. At first Lucy seems a reliable narrator but by the end, I found myself questioning if Theo was really a merman or not. That said, I enjoyed the writing style and, even though Lucy was a complete train wreck, I never wanted to put the book down.

jul 25, 8:19pm

>136 VictoriaPL: Wow, that was quick! I'm glad you liked it, given that I put it in your hands. May I borrow it?

Redigerat: jul 25, 8:48pm

>137 RidgewayGirl: I don't sleep well when D is gone (I know you know how that is). I will gladly let you borrow it, it will be an “excuse” to have dinner.

jul 25, 8:50pm

>138 VictoriaPL: We don't need an excuse!

Redigerat: jul 25, 9:27pm

>131 VictoriaPL: I liked Strapless when I read it several years ago. I went through a Sargent phase at one time and saw this painting during that period. Even though I was familiar with it I was overwhelmed by it in person, partly due to it's size. He could be a stinker though.

jul 25, 9:19pm

> that's awesome!