DeltaQueen's 2021 Challenge - Reading Is Like a Box of Chocolates - Part 6

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DeltaQueen's 2021 Challenge - Reading Is Like a Box of Chocolates - Part 6

Redigerat: aug 28, 9:28pm


Summer is starting to wind down and, thankfully, the days are a little cooler. Of course it isn’t cold enough for hot chocolate yet, but I am offering a selection of chocolate based drinks to be sipped and enjoyed. My husband and I like to have a cocktail outside on the deck as we watch the sunset, and being on the third floor, we can also watch the neighbourhood ready itself for the night.

Welcome to the sixth thread of my 2021 Category Challenge thread. My name is Judy and I live in the suburbs of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I live quietly with my husband, but luckily, our two grown daughters live fairly close by. Of course, our two grandchildren are the apples of our eyes, a girl, aged seventeen and a boy, aged 22. I have been a member of the Category Challenge for a good number of years and enjoy the preparation and planning that goes into building our categories. I don’t always follow my plans, but they are fun to make. Please feel free to join in on any conversation here, bookish or otherwise. All opinions are respected as long as we are polite and friendly to each other.

I have found that reading is very much like a box of chocolates as you never know what you are going to get, so this year I am taking my cue from Forrest Gump and have decided to match my reading categories to delectable chocolates. I chose to use chocolates from a Canadian chocolatier called Purdys. There is a Purdys in just about every large shopping mall in Canada and Canadians are very familiar with their goodies. For those who don’t know this store, I have put together a Purdys List of Personal Favourites – 15 chocolates to match my 15 categories. Some of these matches may make no sense to anyone, but I had a reason for each choice which I will explain as we go along. I apologize to anyone who is allergic to nuts as many of my favourites do have nuts in them. And while Purdys still define my categories, I am also picturing other chocolate treats.

My reading goals during 2021 are pretty much the same as they have been in previous years:

1. Reduce the number of books on my shelves, kindles and audio account.

2. Read a good number of books from the 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die List.

And this year -

3. Series, series, series – try to gain some control over my series reading.

I am trying not to put too much pressure on myself as I tend to feel obligated to read one book from each category every month, leaving me little room for those fun surprises that come along. So no category targets this year but I usually read over 200 books a year so I expect each category will have a good amount of books added.

Please pull up a comfy chair, grab a book, and cheers to all, “May our hearts be as full as our glass!"


Redigerat: aug 28, 2:27pm

2021 Categories

1. Sweet Georgia Browns – Mystery & Police Series: In other places this candy goes by the copyrighted name of Turtles. I could both eat this candy again and again and read mysteries over and over so this is where I place some of my police procedurals and mystery series reading.

2. Cherry Cordials – Vintage Crime: I picture little old ladies (I think of Sylvester and Tweety’s Granny) munching on these while they also devour classic whodunits.

3. Chocolate Creams – Crime/Mysteries: Dark, rich and mysterious these chocolates match perfectly to the rest of my crime reading.

4. Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels – Fantasy: These chocolate covered beauties are one of my favourites and I can easily “fantasize” that I am working my way through a box of them!

5. Almond Crunch – Science Fiction: Filled with a creamy chocolate filling and bits of almonds, these are “out of this world” delicious and hence my match with science fiction.

6. Passionfruit Hearts – Romance: The shape, the flavour, and the name of these chocolates bring on the feeling of romance. So books that deal with love and romance will be placed here.

7. Peanut Butter Daisies – YA & Children’s Literature – These creamy delights are often a child’s first favourite. And like all good things, many of us never grow out of them.

8. Chai Tea Caramels – Global Reading – This chocolate is exotic enough to match with my reads that are set in far-away countries.

9. Hedgehogs – 1,001 Books – The Hedgehog is probably Purdys best known chocolate, a classic in it’s own right and so it matches well with the classics of this list.

10. Vanilla Creams – Non-Fiction – A straight forward, no nonsense chocolate that consists of a vanilla cream centre wrapped in chocolate. Non-fiction will go well with this.

11. White Cameos – Historical Fiction – Although I am not a huge fan of white chocolate, this delicate candy with the cameo picture has old fashioned appeal and would go well with any historical fiction.

12. Chocolate Letters – AlphaKit – I intend to participate in the 2021 AlphaKit and will place my reads here.

13. Purdy’s Gift Box – Since I am reading so many series, having only one category for Mystery or Police Procedural series isn’t going to be enough. I will use this category to randomly pick a series read from one of the many genres that I read from.

14. Sake and Sakura Truffles – These chocolates are a new addition to the Purdy’s lineup and since I have quite a few books that are written by new-to-me authors, this makes a perfect place to track them.

15. Maple Leaf Melties – All Others – In the shape of the Canadian Maple Leaf, these candies are meant to be popped in the mouth and allowed to melt slowly. This will be where I place all my reading that doesn’t fit anywhere else – what’s the connection? I am Canadian plus I love these candies and wanted to use them!

Redigerat: sep 2, 5:48pm

2021 Tickers

Total Books Read:

Total Pages Read:

Books Read from My Shelves:

Redigerat: aug 28, 2:28pm

How I Rate Books:

I am not a professional book critic nor do I consider myself to be an expert on literary standards, my reviews are based on my reaction to the book and the opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings.

2.0 ★: I must have been dragged, kicking and screaming, to finish this one!

2.5 ★: Below Average but I finished the book for one reason or another.

3.0 ★: Average, a solid read that I finished but can't promise to remember

3.5 ★: Above Average, there's room for improvement but I liked this well enough to pick up another book by this author.

4.0 ★: A very good read and I enjoyed my time spent with this story - one I made an emotional attachment to

4.5 ★: An excellent read, a book I will remember and recommend

5.0 ★: Sheer perfection, the right book at the right time for me

I use decimal points to further clarify my thoughts about the book, therefore you will see books rated 3.8 to show it was better than a 3.5 but not quite a 4.0; etc. These small adjustments help me to remember how a book resonated with me

Redigerat: okt 21, 5:32pm

Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge

This is a Good Reads Reading Challenge that I am going to do in 2021. I am not going to participate in the Good Reads Groups or follow their weekly guide but simply work the challenge on my own.

1. Related to "In the Beginning": The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg (Beginning a series)
2. Author's Name Has No "A, T or Y": Rabbit, Run by John Updike
3. Related to the lyrics of the song "Favorite Things": The Gown by Jennifer Robson - "Girls in White Dresses"
4. Monochromatic Cover: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
5. Author is on USA Today's List of 100 Black Novelists You Should Read: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
6. A Love Story: Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James
7. Fits a Suggestion that Didn't Make the Final List: The Island by Olivia Levez
8. Set somewhere you have never visited: Massacre At Cawnpore by V. A. Stuart
9. Associated with a specific season or time of year: Blood Sugar by Daniel Kraus
10. A female villain or criminal: The Mermaid's Madness by Jim C. Hines
11. Celebrates The Grand Egyptian Museum: Valley of the Kings by Cecelia Holland
12. Written by a woman and translated to English: Claudine's House by Colette
13. Written by an author of one of your best reads in 2020: In The Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride
14. Set in a made up place: Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
15. Siblings as main characters: A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
16. A building in the title: White Houses by Amy Bloom
17. Muslim character or author: Bled Dry by Abdelilah Hamdouchi
18. Related to the past: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
19. Related to the present: Friday On My Mind by Nicci French
20. Related to the future: In the After by Demitria Lunetta
21. Title and Author contain the letter U: Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud
22. Posted in one of the ATY Best Book of the Month Threads: Educated by Tara Westover
23. A Cross Genre Novel: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
24. About Racism or Race Relations: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
25. Set on an island: The Monster's Wife by Kate Horsley
26. A Short Book (less than 210 pages): The Gilt-Edged Mystery by E. M. Channon
27. Book has a character that could be found in a deck of cards: Poppet by Mo Hayder
28. Connected to ice: Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson
29. A Comfort Read: Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read
30. A Long Book: Instauration by Sarah Lyons Fleming
31. Author's career spanned more than 21 years: Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie
32. Cover shows more than 2 people: Die A Little by Megan Abbott
33. A Collection of Short Stories, Essays or Poetry: The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates
34. A book with a travel theme: The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
35. Set in a country on or below the Tropic of Cancer:
36. Six or More Words in the Title: An Olive Grove At The Edge of the World by Jared Gulian
37. From the "Are You Well Read in Literature List": In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
38. Related to a word given to you by a random word generator: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee (Guide)
39. Involves an immigrant: Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
40. Flowers or Greenery on the cover: The Second Empress by Michelle Moran
41. A new-to-you BIPOC Author:
42. A Mystery or Thriller: The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo
43. Contains elements of magic: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold
44. Title Contains a Negative:
45. Related to a codeword from the NATO phoenic alphabet: The Secret of India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen
46. Winner or nominee from the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards: Long Bright River by Liz Moore
47. Non-Fiction book other than a Memoir or a Biography: Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman
48. Might cause someone to say "You Read What!!"
49. Book with an ensemble cast: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
50. Published in 2021: Safe and Sound by Philippa East
51. Title refers to a character without giving their name: The Trader's Sister by Anna Jacobs
52. Related to "The End"

Redigerat: okt 16, 10:27pm

Sweet Georgia Browns Mystery and Police Procedural Series

Books Read

1. The Secret Place (5) by Tana French - 4.1 ★
2. Blood Salt Water (5) by Denise Mina - 4.1 ★
3. Diamond Solitaire (2) by Peter Lovesey - 4.2 ★
4. The Redeemer (6) by Jo Nesbo - 4.2 ★
5. The Ice Princess (1) by Camilla Lackberg - 3.8 ★
6. The Retribution (7) by Val McDermid - 3.8 ★
7. In the Cold Dark Ground (10) by Stuart MacBride - 4.1 ★
8. Thirteen Hours (2) by Deon Meyer - 4.1 ★
9. Last Reminder (4) by Stuart Pawson - 4.1 ★
10. Snowblind (1) by Ragnar Jonasson - 3.7 ★

Redigerat: Idag, 3:08pm

Cherry Cordials Vintage Crime Novels

Books Read

1. Mystery in the Channel by Freeman Wills Crofts - 3.0 ★
2. The Gilt-Edged Mystery by E. M. Channon - 3.8 ★
3. The Case of the Sulky Girl by Erle Stanley Gardner - 4.0 ★
4. The Hollow Man by John Dickson Carr - 2.5 ★
5. Too Many Cooks by Rex Stout - 4.0 ★
6. Missing or Murdered by Robin Forsythe - 3.6 ★
7. Green For Danger by Christianna Brand - 4.5 ★
8. The Saltmarsh Murders by Gladys Mitchell - 3.8 ★
9. Sadie When She Died by Ed McBain - 4.0 ★
10. Murder For the Bride by John D. MacDonald - 3.6 ★
11. Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie - 4.3 ★
12. Brass Cupcake by John D. MacDonald - 4.2 ★
13. Young Man, I Think You're Dying by Joan Fleming - 4.5 ★

Redigerat: Idag, 3:11pm

Chocolate Creams More Mysteries and Crime Stories

Books Read

1. Poppet by Mo Hayder - 4.0 ★
2. Friday On My Mind by Nicci French - 3.8 ★
3. Dodgers by Bill Beverly - 5.0 ★
4. Die A Little by Megan Abbott - 4.2 ★
5. Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill - 3.7 ★
6. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith - 4.0 ★
7. Darktown by Thomas Mullen - 5.0 ★
8. The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow - 5.0 ★
9. Nobody's Perfect by Donald E. Westlake - 4.2 ★
10. Blood Sugar by Daniel Kraus - 3.4 ★
11. Young Man, I Think You're Dying by Joan Fleming - 4.5 ★

Redigerat: Igår, 6:19pm

Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels Light and Dark Fantasy

Books Read

1. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie - 4.5 ★
2. The Mermaid's Madness by Jim C. Hines - 4.0 ★
3. Among Monsters by Jamie McGuire - 3.8 ★
4. Monster Planet by David Wellington - 2.0 ★
5. Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater - 4.0 ★
6. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones - 3.6 ★
7. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland - 4.3 ★
8. Instauration by Sarah Lyons Fleming - 4.0 ★
9. Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.0 ★
10. Dark Days by Manel Loureiro - 4.0 ★
11. The Wrath of the Just by Manel Loureiro - 3.5 ★
12. Bird Box by Josh Malerman - 4.5 ★

Redigerat: okt 1, 4:01pm

Almond Crunch Science Fiction

Books Read

1. Network Effect by Martha Wells - 4.5 ★
2. The Raven's Gift by Don Reardon - 3.6 ★
3. A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold - 5.0 ★
4. Death is a Welcome Guest by Louise Welsh - 4.3 ★
5. Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks - 3.0 ★
6. The Ion Raider by Ian Whates - 4.1 ★
7. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein - 3.5 ★
8. Adrift by Rob Boffard - 4.0 ★
9. Primordia: In Search of the Lost World by Greig Beck - 3.8 ★
10. Dark Angels Rising by Ian Whates - 3.8 ★
11. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton - 3.3 ★

Redigerat: sep 2, 1:13pm

Passionfruit Hearts Romance

Books Read

1. Restoring Grace by Katie Fforde - 3.5 ★
2. Desperate Duchesses by Eloisa James - 3.7 ★
3. The Trader's Sister by Anna Jacobs - 4.0 ★
4. Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas - 4.0 ★
5. Slightly Married by Mary Balogh - 4.5 ★
6. A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams - 4.0 ★
7. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory - 3.5 ★
8. The Secret of India Orchid by Nancy Cambell Allen - 3.5 ★
9. The Captain's Daughters by Benita Brown - 3.3 ★

Redigerat: okt 20, 9:51pm

Peanut Butter Daisies Children's Lit/YA

Books Read

1. In the After by Demitria Lunetta - 3.7 ★
2. While I Live by John Marsden - 4.0 ★
3. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys - 4.5 ★
4. Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington - 3.3 7#9733;
5. Witch Child by Celia Rees - 3.8 ★
6. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee - 4.0 ★
7. When We Were Lost by Kevin Wignall - 3.6 ★
8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - 4.3 ★
9. The Island by Olivia Levez - 3.6 ★
10. A Separate Peace by John Knowles - 4.5 ★
11. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls - 3.3 ★
12. Sorceress by Celia Rees - 4.0 ★

Redigerat: okt 5, 1:21pm

Chai Tea Caramels Books Set Around the World

Books Read

1. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (Sweden) - 4.2 ★
2. Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree (Spain) by Tariq Ali - 4.0 ★
3. Rashomon by Ryunosuke Akutagawa (Japan) - 4.1 ★
4. The Tea Planter's Wife (Ceylon) by Dinah Jeffries - 4.0 ★
5. The Taliban Cricket Club (Afghanistan) by Timeri Murari - 4.3 ★
6. A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar (China) by Suzanne Joinson - 4.2 ★
7. Valley of the Kings (Egypt) by Cecelia Holland - 3.1 ★
8. Little Black Lies (Falkland Islands) by Sharon Bolton - 3.8 ★
9. Bled Dry (Morocco) by Abdelilah Hamdouchi - 3.7 ★
10. The Age of Orphans (Iran) by Leleh Khadivi - 3.8 ★
11. The Devil's Highway (Mexico/USA) by Luis Alverto Urrea - 4.5 ★
12. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez - 5.0 ★

Redigerat: okt 14, 12:31am

Hedgehogs Books From the 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die List

Books Read

1. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift - 3.5 ★
2. The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas by J. M. Machado de Assis- 3.8 ★
3. Voss by Patrick White - 2.0 ★
4. The Book of Evidence by John Banville - 3.7 ★
5. Foe by J. M. Coetzee - 4.0 ★
6. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson - 3.7 ★
7. Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud - 3.8 ★
8. She by H. Rider Haggard - 3.2 ★
9. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood - 4.0 ★
10. Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton - 4.5 ★
11. Claudine's House by Colette - 4.2 ★
12. The Summer Book by Tove Jansson - 5.0 ★
13. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carre - 5.0 ★
14. Promise At Dawn by Romain Gary - 4.0 #9733;
15. Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong - 5.0 ★
16. The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat - 2.0 ★
17. The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe - 3.3 ★

Redigerat: okt 19, 1:01pm

Vanilla Creams Non-Fiction

Books Read

1. Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell - 4.5 ★
2. Below Stairs by Margaret Powell - 3.8 ★
3. Grave's End by Elaine Mercado - 2.0 ★
4. Bachelor Nation Inside the World of America's Favorite Guilty Pleasure by Amy Kaufman - 2.8 ★
5. Beyond the Trees by Adam Shoalts - 4.3 ★
6. An Olive Grove At the Edge of the World by Jared Gulian - 4.0 ★
7. Columbus in the Americas by William Least Heat-Moon - 3.8 ★
8. Enchanted Cornwall by Daphne Du Maurier - 4.0 ★
9. Educated by Tara Westover - 4.5 ★
10. I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel - 4.0 ★
11. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn - 5.0 ★

Redigerat: okt 15, 2:06am

White Chocolate Cameos Historical Fiction/Reading Through Time

Books Read

1. Enter Three Witches by Caroline Cooney - 3.6 ★
2. The Gown by Jennifer Robson - 4.0 ★
3. Pieces of Eight by John Drake - 3.8 ★
4. White Houses by Amy Bloom - 4.0 ★
5. The Beacon At Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw - 4.5 ★
6. Empire by Devi Yesodharan - 3.5 ★
7. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly - 4.3 ★
8. The Monster's Wife by Kate Horsley - 4.1 ★
9. The Cannons of Lucknow by V.A. Stuart - 4.0 ★
10. Dawn's Early Light by Elswyth Thane - 4.0 ★
11. Tomato Rhapsody by Adam Schell - 4.5 ★
12. The Second Empress by Michelle Moran - 4.2 ★

Redigerat: okt 12, 12:35pm

Chocolate Letters AlphaKit - 2 Letters Each Month

A. The Last Escape by Bobby Adair & T. W. Piperbrook - 2.5 ★
C. The Whispering Wall by Patricia Carlon - 4.0 ★
D. Fallen Women by Sandra Dallas - 4.0 ★
E. Watching the Ghosts by Kate Ellis - 4.0 ★
F. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - 4.5 ★
H. Pirate Code by Helen Hollick - 4.0 ★
I. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim - 4.1 ★
J. The Almost Sisters by Josilyn Jackson - 3.8 ★
K. Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan - 4.0 ★
L. Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li - 3.3 ★
M. Cop Hater by Ed McBain - 4.3 ★
N. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - 3.4 ★
O. Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter - 4.3 ★
P. Dreams of the Red Phoenix by Virginia Pye - 2.8 ★
R. Algonquin Sunset by Rick Revelle - 4.2 ★
S. Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart - 4.5 ★
T. Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner - 4.2 ★
U. Rabbit, Run by John Updike - 3.7 ★
V. The French for Always by Fiona Valpy - 4.0 ★
W. Monster Nation by David Wellington - 3.0 ★
X. Irises by Franciso X. Stork - 3.7 ★
Z The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner - 3.7 ★

Redigerat: okt 4, 2:52am

Purdy's Gift Box Series Reading From All Genres

Books Read

1. A Darker Side by Shirley Wells - 3.5 ★
2. Massacre At Cawnpore by V.A. Stuart - 4.0 ★
3. Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill - 4.0 ★
4. Crimson Lake by Candice Fox - 4.5 ★
5. Now You May Weep by Deborah Crombie - 4.3 ★
6. Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger - 4.2 ★
7. A Pinch of Snuff by Reginald Hill - 3.5 ★
8. The Fashion in Shrouds by Margery Allingham - 4.2 ★
9. Cross and Burn by Val McDermid - 4.2 ★
10. Over the Gate by Miss Read - 4.0 ★

Redigerat: okt 6, 12:23pm

Sake & Sakura Truffles Author I Haven't Read Before

Books Read

1. Border Songs by Jim Lynch - 4.0 ★
2. The Women in Black by Madeleine St. John - 4.0 ★
3. Long Bright River by Liz Moore - 5.0 ★
4. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - 4.0 ★
5. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell - 4.2 ★
6. Safe and Sound by Philippa East - 4.0 ★
7. Zone One by Colson Whitehead - 3.5 ★
8. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James - 4.5 ★
9. The River At Night by Erica Ferencik - 3.7 ★
10. Over and Under by Todd Tucker - 4.1 ★
11. See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt - 4.1 ★

Redigerat: sep 20, 7:44pm

Maple Leaf Melties Book That Don't Fit Elsewhere

Books Read

1. Train Dreams by Denis Johnson - 4.5 ★
2. Miss Clare Remembers by Miss Read - 4.0 ★
3. The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell - 4.2 ★
4. The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror by Joyce Carol Oates - 4.4 ★
5. Blue Jacket by Allan Eckert - 4.0 ★
6. Descender Vol. 1, Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire
Descender Vol. 2, Moon Machine by Jeff Lemire
Descender Vol. 3, Singularities by Jeff Lemire - 4.3 ★
7. River of Porcupines by G. K. Aalborg - 3.7 ★
8. Descender Vol. 4, Orbital Mechanics by Jeff Lemire
Descender Vol 5, Rise of the Robots by Jeff Lemire
Descender Vol 6, The Machine War by Jeff Lemire - 4.3 ★
9. Rotters by Daniel Kraus - 3.5 ★
10. Mrs. Harris Goes to New York by Paul Gallico - 4.0 ★

Redigerat: aug 28, 2:52pm

2021 Reading Plans

Group Reads and Hosting Duties:

February: Group Read of Voss by Patrick White
March: Hosting - ScaredyKit – Short Stories/Novellas
March: Hosting - HistoryCat - Early Modern History (1500 - 1800)
April: Hosting - SFFFKit – Series
April: Hosting - April Reading Thru Time – The Sun Never Sets
May: Hosting - Random Cat
July: Hosting - GenreCat - Romance

Year long Group Read: Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong

Redigerat: aug 28, 2:54pm


aug 28, 3:04pm

Happy new thread!
So, a colleague returned from Victoria with Roger's Chocolates. They were delicious. How do they compare to Purdy's?

aug 28, 3:09pm

Happy new thread!
I'm quite partial to a Baileys, but I can't say I drink that much of it. My Mother in law discovered I liked it and bought a bottle for me for Christmas. Every year. For quite a few years. I think we ended up with about 7 unopened bottles...

aug 28, 3:49pm

Happy new thread!
>24 Helenliz: I think it's a mother in law thing - mine keeps buying big boxes of redbush tea bags every time we see them, despite the fact that a box can last me a couple of years or more!

aug 28, 4:04pm

Happy new thread! That kahlua and cream looks I'll just grab one to go. Thank you ;0)

aug 28, 4:51pm

Happy new thread!

aug 28, 5:40pm

Happy New Thread!

aug 28, 7:59pm

Happy New Thread! Always like to review what you've been reading in a new thread.

aug 28, 9:06pm

Happy new thread, Judy. Your threads always make me hungry. :)

aug 28, 9:33pm

>23 NinieB: Roger's Chocolates are a Victorian Institution! Their chocolate shop on Government Street (just up from the Empress Hotel) is a favorite tourist destination and they have become known world wide. Roger's are a large chocolate, cream filled with many different flavors. Purdy's is more generic, good but available in most malls.

Redigerat: aug 28, 9:43pm

>24 Helenliz: I sympathize with you over the Bailey's. My husband also received a bottle of Bailey's every Christmas from a work mate, we had bottles of the stuff! We drank some, I used some in baking and, luckily, one of our son-in-laws was very fond of it so we passed some bottles on to him.

>25 Jackie_K: Well, I guess getting the same gift from a mother-in-law is better than getting no gift from her!

>26 Carmenere: Welcome Lynda and enjoy your drink!

>27 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori.

>28 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay.

>29 dudes22: I fell a little behind with my reading when I was visiting my Mom so I ended up reading less in August than usual but that was ok by me. :)

>30 BLBera: It's pretty hard to resist anything chocolate, isn't it. Next year I will be sure to choose categories that don't involve food.

aug 28, 9:59pm

143. Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger - 4.2 ★
Category: Purdy's Gift Box
August TIOLI #2: Book Published Between 1930 - 2021

I had let too much time go by between reading the Cork O’Connor series which is a shame as they are brilliantly written and full of suspense. Blood Hollow by William Kent Krueger is the 4th book in the series and it won a well-deserved Anthony Award in 2005. It totally pulled me in and held my attention throughout.

Blood Hollow is a chilling story of the murder of a beautiful teen, Charlotte Kane, who is found months after she disappeared on a drunken snowmobile ride on New Year’s Eve. Cork, the ex-sheriff and his wife, lawyer Jo, are working together to represent a young, brooding and troubled Indian, Solemn Winter Moon who has been accused of her death. Cork finds himself in conflict with the new, politically motivated sheriff as well as many other town folk who are ready to accept Solemn’s guilt.

Much of the story line in this book revolves around religion, in particular the Catholic Church as Solemn claims to have had a vision of Jesus, and this attracts religious zealots on both sides to the small town in Northern Minnesota. Cork fully realizes the mess that he’s expected to untangle but he is still quite taken aback at the unsavoury family drama that is revealed as the plot twists and turns on it’s way to a thrilling climax.

Hopefully I can get back on track with this series as the author’s excellent writing skills, his strong atmospheric settings and thrilling plots make for some great reading.

aug 28, 10:14pm

>33 DeltaQueen50: I also enjoyed this one, gave it 5 stars. I love his settings. Happy new thread!

Redigerat: aug 29, 5:31am

>33 DeltaQueen50: - I'm just one behind you at number 3 and it looks like I should move along so that I can get to this one as it sounds good. (I saw this one pass through my hands the other day as I've been rearranging my books and was reminded that I needed to get back to the series. So many series...)

aug 29, 8:51am

Happy new thread, Judy!

aug 29, 9:39am

Happy new thread! I'm still working my way through my birthday stash of Purdys -- had to keep it in the fridge because it's been so hot here lately!

aug 29, 10:33am

I just finished Heaven's Keep, Judy. Great minds... I enjoy the northern Minnesota setting. I've listened to the last couple, and the audiobooks are well done.

aug 29, 11:07am

Happy new one, Judy! I love both Kahlúa and Baileys. Another that is excellent for a boozy coffee is RumChata.

Redigerat: aug 29, 6:12pm

I'm one of those tourists that has been to Rogers Chocolates! I fell hard for their dark chocolate covered ginger. I was traveling with a friend who lives in Seattle and she sent her traveling companions a tin box of Rogers Chocolates for Christmas later that year. It seems like forever ago but was just 2019. We all enjoyed that day so much, after chocolates we went to Butchart Gardens where of course we had to have tea!

I looked a few weeks ago to see what I had read in the Cork O'Conner series and discovered I had read the first one three years ago then two stand alones and no more in the series. I was checking because his new book, Lightning Strike, is a prequel so I decided to read it next and go from there. I'm already planning to have a series category next year. I'm in near hopeless condition on most. That said, I started the new Lousie Penny last night and I think it's going to be really good.

I hope you enjoy your new thread as much as I will!

aug 29, 1:23pm

>34 VictoriaPL: I thought about giving this one a 4.5 or 5 star rating because I really did enjoy it but I thought the author got a little heavy-handed with the plot - there was a lot to take in - which lowered my rating a little.

>35 dudes22: I haven't yet read This Tender Land, his second stand alone which I have had on my shelf for some time. It's so easy to get over-whelmed by all the series and trilogies that we are following!

>36 katiekrug: Hi Katie, thanks.

>37 rabbitprincess: It's much better to have your chocolate iced during these hot summer days!

>38 BLBera: You are doing a better job at keeping up with this series that I am, Beth. I love the setting of this series!

>39 Crazymamie: I haven't tried Rumchata ... yet. It sounds delicious. I usually just drink wine but sometimes I feel a little more adventurous and go for a more exotic drink.

>40 clue: Sounds like you were a perfect Victorian tourist! Rogers Chocolates and tea at Buchart Gardens are both a must! Now I am in a quandry - do I go for Lightning Strike now, or should I wait until I am even further into the series? Will have to give this one some thought.

aug 29, 8:01pm

Hello Judy and happy new thread!

Loving the chocolate and yeah, some Kahlua and creme (or 1% milk) might be calling me soon. I've had Bailey's but I never drink it with every cup of coffee, so like so many folks here, it just sits and waits and waits and . . . you get the picture.

Glad your reading is still progressing and you have interesting books. Have you started Dr. Zhivago yet?

And also glad that the smoke has cleared a bit for you in B.C., though I'm so struck by a lack of rain in the Pacific NW, and an overabundance of rain and water now hitting the folks in Louisiana, Mississippi, and traveling up thru Tennessee. Such imbalance going on now and I worry for our planet and its many inhabitants, human and plant and animal.

Take care, be well, and enjoy all your books and chocolates!

aug 29, 8:02pm

Happy New Thread, Judy! I love your header photos--I'm a big fan. My cousin introduced me to something new last month, something that didn't sound at all good but turned out to be totally delicious...chocolate wine. I've been introducing friends to it ever since. Your turn!

Redigerat: aug 29, 8:07pm

>33 DeltaQueen50:

So many people like that series that I should give it a try.

aug 29, 9:50pm

>42 threadnsong: Hi, Threadnsong. I haven't started Dr. Zivago yet. Since my brother admitted defeat I have slacked off with my 1,001 reading. I have been enjoying The Romance of the Kingdom and this month I am joining in on a group read of Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary which will boost the numbers a bit. We are actually having great weather right now and both my hubby and I have getting itchy feet but Covid is keeping us at home and probably will for some time. :(

>43 ronincats: Hi Roni. Wow, chocolate wine. I will have to check the wine store and see if it's available here.

>44 hailelib: I think you would like the Cork O'Connor series, Trisha, but he does have a couple of stand alone novels you could try just to see how his writing works for you. His stand alones are Ordinary Grace and This Tender Land. I have only read Ordinary Grace so far but it was a 5 star read for me.

aug 30, 7:23am

>42 threadnsong: I noticed this morning when glancing at the radar the "northeastern edge" of the main part of the rain had reached my hometown in Mississippi. It was at least "green" instead of one of those orange or red shades further south--for the moment.

aug 30, 12:10pm

Happy new thread!
I'm guilty of getting my own mother-in-law a bottle of Bailey's for Christmas for year after year :-D. It's not her only gift, of course, but she has few interests and is very difficult to buy for, so when she grabbed a bottle of Bailey's from the counter at Thanksgiving and sucked the whole thing down, I took note.
I enjoy a shot of Bailey's or Kahlua in my coffee in winter, but I've recently discovered RumChata and will try that too. I also use it in an apple and maple cocktail and it's delicious.

aug 30, 12:54pm

>46 thornton37814: Hurricane Ida is certainly bringing lots of bad weather to the Southern States. I hope it downgrades soon.

>47 mstrust: Mother-in-laws can be tricky to buy for - that's for sure! Another thumbs up for RumChata - I definitely have to give this a try.

aug 30, 1:19pm

>48 DeltaQueen50: It became a tropical storm this morning, so it is downgraded. It's still got a pretty good eye though--and it's been over land over 24 hours. The schools in north Mississippi dismissed early today. They are predicting flooding to occur in the next 24-48 hours. Even over here in East Tennessee, I'm under a flood watch, and we are not predicted to get nearly as much rain as Mississippi and Alabama are seeing.

aug 30, 3:16pm

Hi and Happy New Thread! I enjoyed reading about Bailey's and the other talk about chocolate. I like a Bailey's on the rocks or in coffee, mainly when we were on the cruise ships. We have a bottle at home and it is still half full. The taste for it seems to come and go.

aug 30, 6:42pm

Happy New Thread, Judy. I love those tasty looking toppers. Yum! Glad you are enjoying cooler weather.

aug 31, 3:01pm

Hi Judy, I see that you're reading a Margery Allingham book for my challenge. Are you reading through these in order? I think my next one in order is book 3, though I haven't read them in order (so I have gaps). Sweet Danger is next, I think.

aug 31, 6:21pm

>49 thornton37814: I hope you don't get any flooding! Stay safe, Lori.

>50 LadyoftheLodge: Hi and welcome. I often use Bailey's to flavor chocolate icing, but for drinking I usually think of adding to hot drinks so tend to mostly use it in the winter. On the rocks would be a pleasant drink for the summer.

>51 msf59: Hi Mark, it's certainly nice to kick back and relax on the deck with a nice glass of wine or a cocktail and watch the sun set. We've been having perfect weather for me - warm, sunny days that cool off at night. We even had rain last night but it cleared up in the morning and went on to be a lovely day.

>52 lindapanzo: Linda, I actually started the series with Sweet Danger and it intrigued me enough that I then started at number one and have carried on from there. I find each book quite different in this series, sometimes it's a straight mystery while at other times the book gets into espionage. This month I will be reading #10, The Fashion in Shrouds.

sep 1, 12:01pm

144. Rotters by Daniel Kraus - 3.5 ★
Category: Maple Leaf Melties
September ScaredyKit: The Dead, Their Habits and Abodes
September TIOLI #1: Last Three Letters in the Author's First Name, Spelled Backwards, Makes a Read Word

I can’t say that I really liked Rotters by Daniel Kraus, but once I was pulled into the main character’s head, I was locked in for the duration. This is a nasty, grim and dark story about a sixteen year old boy, Joey Crouch, who loses his single parent Mom in an accident and is shipped off to live with his unknown father. His father is so damaged that he barely seems human. Joey eventually discovers that his father robs graves for a living and it isn’t too long before Joey has joined him in this gruesome night-time occupation.

During the day, Joey attends his new high school. He becomes the one boy who is picked on by students and staff alike, with special attention coming from the school hero (and bully) who resents the attention his girlfriend gives to Joey. Nicknamed “Crotch” his school days are days of living hell, his nights are even worse.

Joey has a keen sense of observation and the author doesn’t hesitate to use this to supply graphic descriptions on the condition of the dead during the process of applying their macabre trade. Although the writing is stylistic, atmospheric and descriptive, there were times when I struggled with the story as it seemed to drag. It took a lot of reading before the plot advanced. There was an abundance of information about grave robbing, it’s history and purpose as well as our society’s burial rites. Nevertheless, Rotters is a very creative and original story and if you are in the mood for something creepy and disturbing this book could well fit the bill.

sep 1, 5:19pm

>53 DeltaQueen50: We ended up being a little more on the eastern edge of the storm than anticipated. While it did rain through today, the rain wasn't too bad.

sep 1, 10:23pm

>55 thornton37814: Lori, I'm happy to hear that you didn't suffer any lasting damage from Ida.

sep 2, 1:18pm

145. The Captain's Daughters by Benita Brown - 3.3 ★
Category: Passionfruit Hearts
September TIOLI #3: Author's First and Last Name Starts with the Same Letter

The Captain’s Daughters by Benita Brown is a historical family saga and romance that is set in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the late 1800s. Romance, heartache and family secrets form the basis upon which the story is built.

The captain’s daughters are two sisters that are very different from each other. Josie, the elder, is sensible, artistic and kind while Flora, the younger sister is tempestuous, selfish and a great beauty. Josie worries about Flora, but she never quite imagines the trouble and danger that Flora will eventually bring to the family. The romances are kept more to the background with Flora finding a wealthy man who wants to pamper her and take care of her and Josie finds herself drawn to a handsome American who somehow seems familiar to her.

The Captain’s Daughters is a book that has been sitting on my shelf for years, and although quite predictable, it was a pleasant and enjoyable read. I am happy to have finally read it and that I can now move it along.

sep 3, 7:32pm

>31 DeltaQueen50: Too bad I didn't know about Roger's Chocolates before my trip to Victoria, Judy. I would have checked it out.

Looks like we're heading into much cooler weather now. It's starting to feel like fall.

sep 3, 9:48pm

>58 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, next time you get to Victoria you should check out Roger's Chocolates, they are really good. You are right about the weather, I have been enjoying this last week or so of warm days and cool nights but I think we may be having rain over the weekend.

sep 3, 9:56pm

146. The Age of Orphans by Leleh Khadivi - 3.8 ★
Category: Chai Tea Caramels
September TIOLI #8: Author's Last Name Has 7 or Less Letters

The Age of Orphans by Leleh Khadivi is the story of a young Kurdish boy who is violently conscripted into the Iranian army of the Shah after his father and the other males from his village are slain in battle. He is badly treated by the Iranians who use him as a plaything. He longs for his mother with whom he shared a close bond, but he realizes that he must learn to accept this new life that has been thrust upon him.

In order to climb the military ladder he suppresses the Kurd within himself and grows to become a brutal and violent hater of Kurds, working to silence the voice of Kurdish independence. We follow this young man as he rises in rank and marries an Iranian woman. He is eventually deployed back to his homeland in the Zagros Mountains and there we start to see him imploding as he both polices and sometimes kills his own people.

The Age of Orphans is the debut novel of this author and although beautifully and almost poetically written, it was a difficult story to read. The author is unflinching in her vision of an innocent boy repressing his feelings and becoming more brutal and violent as his inner fury mounts. As well as the stark loneliness and cruelty experienced and expressed by this young man, this is also a story that highlights a part of Iran’s violent history.

sep 4, 1:15pm

147. Dark Days by Manel Loureiro - 4.0 ★
Category: Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels
September SFFFKit: Near Future
September TIOLI #13: Fits the "Readers Imbibing Peril" Challenge

Dark Days by Manel Loureiro is the second book in his zombie trilogy. This volume finds our small party arriving and establishing themselves at Tenerife on the Canary Island, a zombie free zone. Of course even though there are no zombies, there is still trouble as people are divided in their choice of government with one side living at Tenerife while the other side lives on a separate island at Gran Canaria. Valued as knowledgeable survivors, the young lawyer and the Russian pilot are pressed into service and sent on a mission to recover medicines and drugs from Madrid.

This dangerous mission is made all the worst by the fact that it has been infiltrated by terrorists who want the medicines for themselves. After many harrowing adventures our twosome returns to Tenerife, only to find that one of their group is in terrible trouble and is being hunted. They eventually reunite and steal a sailboat and leave the Canary Islands, hopefully to find another safe place.

While the book offers nothing new in the zombie genre, it is entertaining with plenty of action that requires the reader to stretch their imagination in just the right manner. The Canary Island civil war was an interesting angle as it is a replay on the Spanish Civil war with one side wanting to establish a republic while the other side is Royalist. As this book ends with a mystery, I am looking forward to the next volume and finding out how everything plays out.

sep 6, 10:59am

You're very good at finding zombie novels I've never heard of- BB!
How are you liking this season of TWD? For me, so far it's improved over the past three seasons.

sep 6, 12:18pm

>62 mstrust: Hi Jennifer. I still love my zombie stories! I have to admit that although I have recorded TWD I have yet to start watching. Now that you say it's pretty good, I am more interested in starting it. I am glad that Maggie is back and since this is the last year, I hope that Michone and Rick make an appearance as well.

sep 6, 5:39pm

148. Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li - 3.3 ★
Category: Chocolate Letters
September AlphaKit: L
Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge: Involving an Immigrant
September TIOLI #3: Author's First and Last Names Start with the Same Letter

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li is a family saga with an undertone of black comedy that reveals what goes on behind the scenes at the Beijing Duck House, a Chinese restaurant in Rockville, Maryland. As the various staff and family members scramble through dinner service, they also serve up a tale of sabotage and revenge peppered by decades of grudges and seasoned with a touch of love.

This is a debut book and although the author makes full use of her restaurant setting and tries to draw the reader into Chinese-American culture, I found there was simply too much to follow in the various story lines as both the owners and the employees are facing drastic changes in their lives. For me, there were simply too many plots that were overfull of angst, drama and even crime. While I was quite interested in some of the character’s dilemmas, others just didn’t have the potential to hold my attention.

I like the idea behind Number One Chinese Restaurant it is just unfortunate that the author tried to include so many plot lines which made the writing and the pacing uneven. I think if this book had had a smaller cast the story would have been more accessible with realistic emotions and humor.

sep 6, 6:20pm

>64 DeltaQueen50: I've also just read a debut crime novel, The Nancys, and made some similar comments. Too many characters and plot lines, humour that doesn't always work, and characters that approach caricature. The Nancys has enough potential for me to seek out the next in the series. Would you try another book by Lillian Li?

sep 8, 1:23pm

>65 pamelad: I would definitely like to read more from Lillian Li, I think the problems that I had with the book were mostly debut problems and that her next book will be more focused.

sep 8, 1:28pm

149. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - 4.5 ★
Category: Chocolate Letters
September AlphaKit: F
September TIOLI #4: Mention of "Bestselling Author" is somewhere on the cover

I found Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn terrifying as this story felt like it could actually have happened. This is an extreme view of mother/daughter relationships, and in this case the psychopathic mother was able to damage three daughters, all in different ways but each equally tragic. The story is narrated by Camille who, upon the death of her sister, started cutting herself at 13. Her cutting developed into the writing of significant words all over her body. She is now in her early thirties, a newspaper reporter who has been sent back to her hometown to write about an a couple of gruesome murders that have two young girls as victims.

As Camille gathers information about the murders, the victims and their families, she also is becoming reacquainted with her own dysfunctional family and becoming more and more concerned about her younger step-sister, Amma. Although thirteen year old Amma is very precocious and can be very mean to others, Camille is afraid that her mother is making Amma and herself ill in order to nurse them while appearing to others to be a loving and concerned mother. As one nasty revelation after another is revealed, Camille believes she not only knows who the murderer is, she also knows why these particular young girls were targeted.

Sharp Objects was a spell-binding read, a whodunit that allows the reader to work out the details and fill in the missing pieces as the action mounts. There are moments of back-stabbing rage, cloying and false affections and out and out viciousness. This book is also a dark and revealing look at how mothers don’t always belong on a pedestal and small towns aren’t always safe places to raise a family.

sep 8, 1:36pm

>67 DeltaQueen50: I had to look at the star rating to tell whether or not you enjoyed reading it, LOL

sep 8, 1:48pm

>68 VictoriaPL: Ha! "Enjoyed" is not quite the right word for this one. It was an excellent thriller, the author kept control and didn't go overboard, but it was a difficult read as it made me feel quite "yucky". I will certainly be reading Dark Places in the future. I also have a novella by her called The Grownup. She hasn't published anything in quite some time so I hope there is more to come from her.

sep 8, 1:54pm

>69 DeltaQueen50: I understand what you mean. I like Dark Places too.

sep 8, 4:45pm

>67 DeltaQueen50: I sure liked Gone Girl, will put this on my wish list.

sep 9, 1:15pm

>71 Tess_W: I've only read Sharp Objects and Gone Girl so far, but I would say that this author excells in writing thrillers - and the two I read are very different from one another as well.

sep 9, 1:28pm

150. A Separate Peace by John Knowles - 4.5 ★
Category: Peanut Butter Daisies
September GenreCat: Childrens/YA Literature
September TIOLI #6: Set in a School or Equivalent

Originally published in 1959, A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a coming-of-age story set in a New England private boy’s school during World War II. The story is about friendship, competition and the inner doubts and fears of adolescent boys. There is a school of thought that pushes a homo-erotic dynamic as implied by the interactions between the two main characters, Gene and Phineas. This is subtle and open to an individuals’ interpretation of the relationship.

While Gene is an introvert and intellectual, Finny is an extroverted athlete who definitely has more control over their relationship. Whatever Finny wants to do, Gene, often reluctant, always follows along. As roommates, these opposites are always together. When Finny devises a daredevil club whose membership must jump from the limb of a tree into the river, Gene, although terrified, follows along. Gene admires Phineas but also is jealous of his ease with others and his ability to impress through actions. This jealousy flares up at various times, and eventually Gene acts upon impulse and this act of betrayal changes both boys forever.

A Separate Peace is beautifully written. It moves slowly but gives the reader vivid imagery and strong character development. World War II plays a vital part but always remains in the background, shaping the boy’s world, but not controlling it. The book varies itself, sometimes sad, sometimes humorous, always moving, and for me, it felt authentic to both the time and the place.

sep 9, 1:51pm

>73 DeltaQueen50: I've always wanted to read this. Have had it on my shelf for over 20 years. Thanks for such a great review!

sep 9, 1:54pm

Sweet Thursday, Judy. I also loved Sharp Objects. A perfect introduction to Flynn. Dark Places is excellent too.

sep 10, 12:28pm

>74 Tess_W: A Separate Peace came to my attention through PBS and their "Great American Read". I picked up a copy and finally got around to reading it. I think this is a book that would affect one differently depending on your age and experience at the time. It certainly deserves it's place on the 100 Greatest Books.

>75 msf59: Hi Mark. I had Sharp Objects on my shelf for a very long time and I am glad that I finally got around to it. Hopefully I won't wait as long to pick up Dark Places!

Redigerat: sep 10, 1:05pm

>76 DeltaQueen50: I read A Separate Peace in a high school class over 50 years ago and loved it. I've thought about rereading all of the books we read in that class, but at the same time thought it might not be a good idea.

sep 10, 12:58pm

>77 clue: I have had mixed results with re-reads. Sometimes the book is as great as I remember, while at other times I am left scratching my head and wondering what it was that I loved about the book. I think A Separate Peace would stand up and if you do go for a re-read, I'll be interested in how it hits you.

Redigerat: sep 11, 11:15am

151. A Promise At Dawn by Romain Gary - 4.0 ★
Category: Hedgehogs
September 1,001 Books List Group Read
September TIOLI #8: Author's Last Name Has 7 or Less Letters

Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary is a memoir of his coming-of-age years. It stands as a tribute to his mother, a unique and remarkable woman, who shaped Gary into both the man and the artist he became. She was an independent, fierce woman who fought to give her son everything she could. Gary recounts his childhood in Russia, Poland and France.

Gary and his mother were poor Russians. His father abandoned them soon after Gary was born, but his mother decided that her son was meant for greatness and that his future lay in France. She put all her energies into ensuring that they reached this promised country and that Gary was prepared for the glorious future she envisioned for him. The successes of his career as a prize-winning novelist as well as a decorated officer who fought in WW II, and a diplomat for the French government, were all planned by his mother from his early childhood.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning the details of Gary’s early life. From how they fought the bailiffs to his torture at the hands of his first love at the ripe age of ten, he recounts episodes and adventures in a wry and at times, amusing way. He readily admits that there were many times when his mother embarrassed him but his admiration and love for her shines through each page. I was touched by the bond between these two, she in her single-handed determination to shape his future and he, who appreciated this motherly love and actually strove to fulfill her expectations. I found Promise At Dawn to be a humorous, charming and poignant story.

sep 11, 10:26am

I also read and loved A Separate Peace in high school and have been reluctant to reread it. Your comments nudge me to give it a try.

I haven't read any books by Flynn yet. Maybe it's time to give her a try.

I think I liked Number One Chinese Restaurant more than you did, but I agree that I will read whatever Li writes next.

sep 11, 11:22am

>80 BLBera: Hi Beth, I would love to read your comments on A Separate Peace if you do decide to give it a re-read. I note that Number One Chinese Restaurant gets very mixed reviews but I am interested in what she will write next. And, yes, do give Gillian Flynn a try - her thrillers are dark but are very well done.

Redigerat: sep 11, 9:22pm

152. I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Boget - 4.0 ★
Category: Vanilla Creams
September TIOLI #1: The Last Three Letters of the Author's First or Last Name, Spelled Backwards Makes a Real Word

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel promotes our bookish enthusiasm as she reflects upon the many aspects of being a book lover. From arranging one’s book shelves to remembering that one book that first totally drew you in, she reminds you of the books and memories that shaped you into the reader you are today. This is a very short book that was over all too soon, but it left me with a strong desire to visit my library, tidy my shelves or just grab my latest book and disappear for a few hours.

Although she does mention a few books along the way, this author isn’t trying to provide you with lists or ideas for your next read. Instead of telling you what to read, she understands that reading taste varies and a “great” book means something different to all of us. She encourages the reader to think about what books really spoke to us, what genre we love to indulge in, what author do we impatiently wait for. She also encourages us as readers to take chances, as we never know what magic we are going to find when we open a new book.

I’d Rather Be Reading is a lovely escape as the author assures us that we belong to an exclusive, but not small club, whose world revolves around books and reading. As she says, “I’m grateful for my one life, but I’d prefer to live a thousand.” Luckily, we can do exactly that by reading.

sep 12, 12:34am

Just found you again! So a belated Happy New Thread! You read books faster than I can read your thread!

Are you still getting smoke in Vancouver? I noticed yesterday there were bits of ash in the smoke but after a wind direction change it's clear today.

sep 12, 1:09pm

>83 VivienneR: Hi Vivienne. I am spending a lot of my time these days in reading which I am enjoying. I don't think we have any smoke in our air here. We have been very lucky this year, other than maybe one week earlier, we didn't get a lot of smoke. Our weather is quite mixed right now, a little rain, lots of clouds, but still plenty of sunshine with warm days and cooler nights.

sep 12, 2:06pm

>84 DeltaQueen50: Spending a lot of time reading sounds good. The Anne Bogel book must have been a perfect choice.

sep 13, 11:27am

Thumbs up for your review of A Separate Peace. I've had it one the shelf for years and keep intending to get to it because it sounds very interesting.
>82 DeltaQueen50: I love Bogel's calm voice. I've read two books from her, including this one.

sep 13, 12:23pm

>85 VivienneR: I enjoyed taking a break from more intense books with I'd Rather Be Reading, I recognized myself in most of her descriptions of book lovers and reading addicts!

>86 mstrust: Jennifer, A Separate Peace is well worth investing some time in the read. Then I needed to read something different so I picked up I'd Rather Be Reading as it appealed to my inner book addict then I also picked up a fun jungle adventure story that has also kept me well entertained.

sep 13, 12:36pm

153. Primordia: In Search of the Lost World by Greig Beck - 3.8 ★
Category: Almond Crunch
September Reading Through Time: Time Travel/Prehistoric
September TIOLI #8: Author's Last Name Has 7 Letters or Less

This first book in a trilogy, Primordia: In Search of the Lost World by Greig Beck reads like a Boy’s Own Adventure story as a collection of people, friends since childhood, embark on a hunt for the journal of Benjamin Cartwright, explorer and great-grandfather of Ben Cartwright, one of the group. This journal supposedly details the location of a lost world, high on a South American plateau, where dinosaurs still roam. Benjamin Cartwright Senior was a friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and passed the journal along to him. Doyle, who also supposedly based his book “The Lost World” on this journal, kept the journal and hid it in a secure place before he died.

The five friends decide to head to England to track down the journal and then they plan to head to South America and locate the lost world. Of course, it turns out they are not the only ones searching for this legendary place, wealthy collector, Edward Barlow, is also on the trail of the journal, wanting to be the first to reach the lost world and to hunt dinosaurs. As Doyle once famously wrote, “The Game is Afoot!”

Yes, this is a very predictable plot with stock characters but it is filled with action, adventure and ... dinosaurs! I enjoyed this book for what it was, a simple escape read that kept me entertained. Certainly not for everyone but if you are a fan of Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park, you might enjoy this trilogy.

sep 13, 5:07pm

>88 DeltaQueen50:

Primordia: In Search of the Lost World might be a good follow up book for one of my recent reads. Unfortunately not in my local library.

sep 13, 6:45pm

>89 hailelib: I don't know much about it, Trisha, but I wouldn't be surprised if Primordia is only available for e-readers.

sep 15, 5:24pm

154. Last Reminder by Stuart Pawson - 4.1 ★
Category: Sweet Georgia Browns
September TIOLI #11: The Book Has an Association with the Numbers 12 or 17, or has a Character Named Alex

Last Reminder by Stuart Pawson is the fourth book featuring D.I. Charlie Priest in a British Police Procedural series. I have enjoyed every book in this series as the author is able to deliver imaginative stories that give the reader a nice balance between the mystery, the police business and Charlie’s own personal life. Peppered with humor and inventive dialogue, Charlie and his crew are likeable and intelligent.

This particular entry opens with Charlie being called to a suspicious death. The deceased was a financial advisor and very quickly it becomes known that this advisor caused many of his clients to lose their life savings in a poor investment scheme involving diamonds. The trail leads the police to a father and son duo of drug dealers and an unsolved gold bullion heist.

Last Reminder flows evenly and the story is interesting. The characters are well drawn, the author supplies sub-plots that feature both other police business as well as Charlies’ on-going struggles with his romantic relationship with Annabelle Wilberforce. All in all, Last Reminder was solidly entertaining and I look forward to continuing on with this series in the future.

sep 15, 7:29pm

>91 DeltaQueen50: And another one goes on the wishlist! Great review. The library doesn't have this title but there are others I'll try.

sep 15, 8:55pm

>91 DeltaQueen50: - I have the first couple of these in my TBR pile. Now to get to them...

sep 16, 1:44pm

>92 VivienneR: I hope you enjoy reading about Charlie Priest and his cohorts. It's a series that doesn't seem as well known as some of the other British Police Procedurals but I think they are very well done.

>93 dudes22: Betty, I know you are probably not looking forward to starting another series but these are highly readable and well worth the time invested in them.

sep 16, 5:02pm

>91 DeltaQueen50: I've added the first in the series, The Picasso Scam, to my wish list. It's on Overdrive, which is a big plus.

sep 17, 4:58pm

>95 pamelad: I hope you enjoy The Picasso Scam when you get to it!

sep 17, 5:07pm

I accidentally knocked a coffee cup off my desk yesterday and it was still about a third full. A small amount spilled over my computer keyboard and at first I thought everything was fine, but this morning I couldn't get the "a" key or the "Caps Lock" key to work. I've been pounding away on them and they seem better now, just a little stiff. The worse injury was to my toe, upon which the cup landed. Ouch!!

sep 17, 6:04pm

>97 DeltaQueen50: What a frustrating thing to happen! Sorry about your toe.

sep 17, 11:32pm

>97 DeltaQueen50: oh no! I dumped a glass of water on my laptop once but it survived after drying out. Hope the toe heals quickly.

sep 18, 1:32pm

>98 RidgewayGirl: & >99 VictoriaPL: I think the coffee just caused the keybord to be sticky as it seems perfectly fine now. My toe feels better as well, hopefully just bruised.

sep 18, 1:36pm

Happy Saturday, Judy. Sorry about the laptop mishap. I hope it survives. I hope your weekend is full of book time.

sep 19, 3:07am

>101 msf59: Hi Mark. All computer issues seem to be resolved and my keyboard lives to see another day! I read a lot today and have finished a really good one - see my thoughts below. :)

sep 19, 3:12am

155. The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow - 5.0 ★
Category: Chocolate Creams
September TIOLI #1: The last three letters of the author's first name, spelled backwards makes a real word

The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow is the first book in a crime thriller trilogy based on the DEA’s involvement with the War on Drugs. This is a very intricate story that covers the rise of the Drug Cartels in Mexico over the curse of 25 years. The author spent over six years in research so much of this story is based on actual events.

The story unfolds through the eyes of various characters including a senior DEA agent, a drug lord, a courtesan and an Irish killer-for-hire. Art Keller is a DEA agent who wants to do the right thing, but he becomes obsessed with his desire for revenge. Adan Barrera and his brother Raul follow their uncle into the drug business, where they find they excel as crime lords. Nora Hayden was a California girl who learned how to use the men that were attracted by her great beauty and Sean Callahan is an Irish kid from Hell’s Kitchen who grows into his role as a stone-faced killer.

The Power of the Dog is a very powerful read that maps the labyrinth that is the international drug trade. The author takes you deep inside this dark world, riddled with corruption, betrayal, greed and revenge. There is a lot to take in and therefore the book is rather long but believe me, I was glued to this compelling story. Be warned however, I expect this book could be too brutal for some as many people die, some quite horribly. Personally, I was drawn in by the author’s strong voice and his well crafted story.

sep 19, 4:10pm

156. Over and Under by Todd Tucker - 4.1 ★
Categry: Sake and Sakura Truffles
September RandomCat: Prizewinners - 2009 Alex Award
September TIOLI #3: Author's First and Last Names Start With the Same Letter

Over and Under by Todd Tucker is set in the small town of Borden, Indiana where the number one employer is the Borden Casket Company. When the workers go on strike, it affects the whole town. Two young friends, Andy and Tom, are spending the last days of summer doing their favorite activities which means time spent in the surrounding woods exploring the many caves of the area. Tom is the son of a union worker while Andy’s father is in management but the two boys don’t know how this fact is going to divide them in the days to come.

Two workers go too far and set a bomb off at the factory, which not only blows a hole in the back of the building but also kills a manager. Everyone thinks the bombers have left the area but the two boys are convinced that they are hiding out in the woods or caves. They decide to track them down. Tom thinks of helping them, while Andy thinks of informing the sheriff where he can lay hands on them. As tensions mount the company brings in outside workers and armed security guards. The owners of the business are talking about closing the factory down as it is becoming more of a hassle and less of a money maker.

Over and Under is a story of family, friendship and community. As the two boys struggle to understand what is going on and where their loyalties should lie, they are also getting more involved in things that are leading them into danger. The backdrop to the story, that of a bitter labour strike makes for a coming-of-age story that is both nuanced and expressive.

Redigerat: sep 19, 9:11pm

>67 DeltaQueen50: Sharp Objects I read this book a while back for a F2F book group. Boy, was it tough going! And boy, looking at my own family of origin, I was glad they weren't that bad. I also applaud her ability to keep such incredibly evil characters creepy and evil, and not caricatures.

>73 DeltaQueen50: A Separate Peace One of my favorite books! Like so many other commenters here, I read it in high school and just loved it. And it might be time for a re-read.

Glad you're doing well, and happy chocolating and reading!!

sep 20, 12:30pm

>105 threadnsong: Thanks for dropping by, threadnsong. I've been reading some great books recently and Sharp Objects and A Separate Peace are definitely two of them.

sep 20, 7:51pm

157. Mrs. Harris Goes to New York by Paul Gallico - 4.0 ★
Category: Maple Leaf Melties
September TIOLI #14: A Shade of Red or Orange are Among the First Words

Mrs. Harris Goes to New York by Paul Gallico is the sequel to the charming Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris and while this book wasn’t quite as light-hearted or winsome as the first, it was nevertheless a delightful read. In this outing Mrs. Harris and her friend Vi Butterfield embark on a quest to reunite a mistreated abandoned little boy with his long-lost American father.

Mrs. Ada Harris is a no-nonsense, salt of the earth London charlady who speaks her mind and has strong opinions, but she also has a soft core for the misfortunes of others and a strong desire to right the wrongs that she encounters. Young Henry Brown is the foster son of some neighbours but Mrs. Harris can’t abide with how they mistreat him. She is sure if she went to America, she could find his long-lost soldier father and all would be well. When the opportunity for both she and her friend Vi to go to New York to help a client establish a home there, she soon learns the difficulties of smuggling a child into America as well as how impossible the task of trying to locate the right “George Brown” will be.

I find these stories are much like a fairy tale with Mrs. Harris playing the part of the fairy godmother. She changes lives for the better through her Cockney wisdom, British commonsense and her own irrepressible optimism. This particular book touches on some serious matters like child abuse and discrimination but of course there is a happy ending, although not quite the ending that Mrs. Harris imagined.

sep 22, 6:53pm

158. Dark Angels Rising by Ian Whates - 3.8 ★
Category: Almond Crunch
September TIOLI #1: The Last 3 Letters of the Author's Last Name, Spelled Backwards, Forms a Word

Picking up the action right where we left off in the last book, Dark Angels Rising by Ian Whates, the third book in the Dark Angels trilogy sets itself up for an action packed closing. The Dark Angels gather a few more of their number, set about bonding with each other, training and learning about their mission which is to save humanity from the ultimate disaster as they must prevent Mudball and his cohorts from gaining control of the Elder technology and using this power to subjugate the universe.

This reads very much like a superhero story with our small band of heroes using their Elder technological powers for the greater good. There is plenty of action with very little character development, the author relying on the adventure to carry the story. I did find however that it was difficult to feel any emotion about the fate of the characters as they all felt a little like “cardboard” characters – colorful but one dimensional.

My other quibble was how rushed the ending was. Considering the build up, I expected the Dark Angels to have more difficulty in overcoming their enemy. I was happy to have a successful conclusion to this fun story, but it would have been more satisfying if a little more depth and emotion had been included.

sep 23, 2:31pm

You're reading some different and interesting books according to your latest posts, Judy. I've had to try to dodge a few BBs!

sep 24, 1:06pm

>109 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, I have been reading a lot this month, but I have also been spending less time being social on LT and have fallen behind on a lot of threads. I spent some time last night catching up and I see you have been having a busy September.

Redigerat: sep 24, 1:18pm

159. A Pinch of Snuff by Reginald Hill - 3.5 ★
Category: Purdy's Gift Box
September MysteryKit: Mismatched Detectives
September TIOLI #11: Book Has an Association with the Numbers 12 or 17

A Pinch of Snuff by Reginald Hill is the fifth book in the Dalziel and Pascoe series of crime novels and was originally published in 1978. It very much brings back echoes of the late 1970s, both in setting, fashion and social behavior. The contrast between the two detectives is very much part of the appeal of the series. Dalziel is crude, tactless and appears to lack any manners, he seems to delight in acting the buffoon but in actuality, he is clever and very much aware of what is going on around him. Pascoe is more of a surface intellectual, empathetic and educated and tends to lead with his feelings and while these two make an excellent combination, the relationship is far from easy.

This particular case involves the pornographic film industry and involves murder as well as the rape of an underage young girl. When Pascoe’s dentist tells him about a film he saw at a private cinema club, he is sure that the film went too far and the woman in the picture was actually beaten or perhaps even killed. Pascoe starts to investigate and suddenly things start to escalate.

A Pinch of Snuff wasn’t an easy read. It’s subject matter of porn, violence to women, and child exploitation were difficult to read about especially as seen through the windshield of the 1970s. I can certainly see the appeal of these detectives as the author adds plenty of sardonic social commentary that kept me interested. One of my reading goals is to read as many of the 100 books that appear on H. R. F. Keating’s 100 Best Crime and Mystery Books so I am happy to be able to tick this one off.

sep 24, 1:31pm

>111 DeltaQueen50: Ha! I read this one for this category as well!

sep 24, 7:22pm

>111 DeltaQueen50: I used to have that book in that exact edition!

sep 24, 11:01pm

>112 NinieB: I do love vintage crime stories and I am enjoying hunting down and obtaining the ones on the list that I haven't read yet.

>113 rabbitprincess: It's definitely an older edition that I picked up in a second hand store. I feel bad for the book because I think I am going to toss it as it is not in very good shape, being a little musty and having some unknown stains on the pages that I don't want to know anything about!

sep 25, 9:01am

>114 DeltaQueen50: Ewww yes, unknown stains are an excellent reason to toss the book! (I just got rid of mine because I wasn't going to re-read it. I like Hill's books but sometimes find them a bit hard going.)

sep 25, 9:07am

Happy Saturday, Judy. I wanted to read The Power of the Dog for years but it fell off my radar. It is back on it. There is another novel of the same name, by Thomas Savage, that I want to read too. It is a western set in Montana. It also sounds great.

Redigerat: sep 26, 8:21pm

>115 rabbitprincess: I would certainly read more of Reginald Hill but I won't be planning on reading the whole series.

>116 msf59: The Thomas Savage book sounds interesting, Mark, I have taken note. I do have one Tomas Savage book on my shelf, The Sheep Queen which I believe is a family saga set in Idaho and Montana. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy by Don Winslow as well.

Redigerat: sep 25, 2:36pm

160. The Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea - 4.5 ★
Category: Chai Tea Caramels
2021 GeoKit: North America
September TIOLI #8: Author's Last Name has 7 or Less Letters

The Devil’s Highway: A True Story is Luis Alberto Urrea’s take on the history, conditions and culture that meets and clashes where the southern United States and northern Mexico collide. This book seemed particularly on point for me due to the humanitarian crisis that is building right now on that same border and thousands of Haitians have arrived hoping to make the cross. Urrea chose to concentrate his story on particular event, that of 26 men who tried to cross from Mexico into Arizona but ultimately chose the wrong time, the wrong place and the wrong guide.

This is a difficult story to read. Urrea brings to life the fateful tale of 26 men and boys who attempted to walk into the United States across the southern Arizona desert called the Devil’s Highway in May, 2001. He guides us through their recruitment by Mexican gangsters, their hope and dreams of what they hoped to find in this journey, to their arrival at the border area where three guides took over, and finally their appallingly cruel walk under the burning sun at temperatures that reached over 115 degrees. Fourteen of the group died.

In The Devil’s Highway, Urrea uses his excellent writing skills to tell this horrific story while also highlighting the greed, cruelty, and at times violence that goes hand in hand with illegal border crossings. This is a modern day dilemma and one that needs to be addressed. As for what is happening right now at the border, where is the United Nations I ask. Why aren’t other countries stepping forward offering aid to these unfortunates. I applaud Luis Alberto Urrea for writing about this difficult subject in a balanced and informative manner. This is a book that is well worth the read.

sep 25, 2:40pm

>118 DeltaQueen50: That was a hard book to read, but a necessary one. As for why other countries aren't stepping forward -- the US is a big country, with plenty of space and resources to add new Americans. And our country's activities did so much to destabilize Haiti. We owe them refuge.

sep 25, 2:48pm

>119 RidgewayGirl: I would still like to see an organization like the United Nations overseeing these humanitarian crises. Yes, America should help but I think there are other countries that should also be offering aid and safety. It's a difficult situation but the world has grown smaller and we all have to do our part in helping.

sep 26, 11:12am

>111 DeltaQueen50: Morning, Judy!
I've never heard of the Keating list. I'll have to look it up.

sep 26, 8:36pm

>121 mstrust: Hi Jennifer, you have obviously been on my mind as I just noticed that I called someone else by your name in a post above (I have fixed it).

H. R. Keating was an author, reviewer and crime novel fan. He wrote the Inspector Ghote of Bombay crime series. He died in 2011 but left behind a list of his choices for the 100 Best Crime Novels. The list can be found here:

sep 27, 9:03am

Hello, Judy! Like Jennifer, I had also not heard of Keating's list. There are some interesting choices on there, and I see a few of my personal favorites. I don't think I would want to read A Pinch of Snuff, though. How many have you read from the list so far?

Redigerat: sep 27, 9:34am

>111 DeltaQueen50: Hi Judy! It’s funny I was looking at this series and wondering why I hadn’t read more since I somehow read book number 2 in the series over 10 years ago. I have been struggling with book number 1 for a while now, but I will read it this year because I own it. I have more in the series
on the shelf but now I don’t feel compelled to complete it.

sep 27, 12:25pm

>122 DeltaQueen50: Thanks for the link. I've only read sixteen on the list so far, so I'm not doing so well, but I have several on the shelf already.
And how nice to know you're thinking of me! :-D

sep 27, 12:46pm

>123 Crazymamie: Mornin' Mamie. I have only read 28 of the books on Keating's List although I have another 46 on my shelves and Kindle. I might just make this a category for next year.

>124 lsh63: Hi Lisa. I have now read 6 books by Reginald Hill, 5 of them from the Dalziel & Pascoe series. I have a further 4 more of his on my shelves to read at some point. He is not a favorite - for some reason as much as I like vintage crime, I often struggle with ones that are set in the 1970s. Perhaps because I lived through the 70s that I find it disappointing when I read about sexist or racist behavior that offends me. I wonder is this a actual reflection of the times or just the author's personal opinions.

sep 27, 12:50pm

>125 mstrust: It's true that some of the books on that list are more obscure than the usual ones found on "Best Of" lists, but it's a fun sampling and a good way to try out varous authors.

sep 27, 3:07pm

I'm surprised at how few on that list I've actually read although there are so many of the authors that I have read. (and enjoyed) I'll have to make some notes on that.

sep 27, 10:45pm

>128 dudes22: I think that is what attracted me to the list, Betty. I knew most of the authors but hadn't read that many of the actual books that appear on the list. I like giving myself some mini-challenges and this is a fun one.

sep 27, 10:53pm

161. The Fashion in Shrouds by Margery Allingham - 4.2 ★
Category: Purdy's Gift Box
September TIOLI #2: The Words "All" or "Nothing" Appear in the Title or Author's Name

I really enjoyed The Fashion in Shrouds by Margery Allingham, the 10th book in her Albert Campion series. I was intrigued by the characters which included both Campion’s sister, fashion designer Valentine as well as the reappearance of Amanda Fitton, who first made her appearance in book number 5, Sweet Danger. Amanda has now grown up and is working as an aircraft engineer. She and Albert decide to work together gathering information and so embark on a fake engagement but really they are fooling no one, these two are meant to be together.

The mystery is quite complex as Campion tries to figure out how a popular actress manages to have the unwanted men in her life conveniently die. This actress is vain, selfish and self-obsessed but could she be intelligent enough to carry out a murder? Then when his own sister is implicated in the recent death of the actress’ latest husband, he realizes that he has to solve the mystery and find out who is the murderer.

As well as giving the reader more information about the mysterious Campion, and giving us clues to work through toward solving the mystery, the author uses this novel to expose some less than stellar truths about fashionable society in 1930’s London. There were a few racist and sexist statements that reflect the 1930s viewpoint but overall this was a very good addition to the series.

Redigerat: okt 8, 2:35pm

162. The Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong - 4.5★
Category: Hedgehogs


The epic adventure novel, The Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong was an excellent read for me. I have long had a knowledge of the characters of the book, picked up by years of playing both Dynasty Warriors and Romance of the Kingdom Strategy games which were based on this traditional Chinese epic. Set in the years of 220 to 280 AD, China was, at that time, divided into three separate states, that of Wei, Shu and Wu. This era signified the crumbling of the Han Dynasty, and the book exposes the rivalry, intrigues and wars that were fought during the turbulent years that the three states were jostling for position.

I admit to feeling rather overwhelmed at first as the story opened up with the appearance of dozens of warlords and generals that were hard to keep track of. Thank heavens I persevered as what brings this book to life are these exciting and varied characters that the reader meets throughout the journey. Eventually a pattern emerges and the story narrows to follow certain characters which makes it much easier to absorb the story. The names of Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang, and Cao Cao may have little or no meaning to westerners, but these are just a few of the heroes that through their loyalty or treachery live on and have become cultural icons in China.

Other than having to keep track of a multitude of characters, the book was very easy to read and I quickly became absorbed in the adventure, culture and geography of the story. This is a book that I have long wanted to read and now, I am happy to say that I have completed this massive volume and was very satisfied with the historical and mythical aspects of this story that truly does romanticize the lives of these feudal Chinese warlords.

sep 28, 1:08pm

>131 DeltaQueen50: Congratulations on finishing that, Judy. Birdy and I fell off the group read, but we are going to try again next year. We were slightly overwhelmed by all the characters, and felt like we needed to step back and try to get them straight in our heads and then begin again. We found an excellent podcast that a husband made for his wife where he reads the book but also stops to add context and to explain why certain things are significant, so we are going to listen to that together and follow along in the book in 2021. We also bought a card game that features the characters. We need all the help we can get. Heh.

sep 29, 4:24am

>131 DeltaQueen50: Congrats on your accomplishment, Judy. I, too, fell by the wayside, maybe I feel more drawn to it when winter comes.

sep 29, 5:47am

>131 DeltaQueen50: Yes, congrats on finishing the Three Kingdoms. A worthy accomplishment for the year. I'm hoping to finish in October.

sep 29, 1:30pm

>132 Crazymamie: Mamie, I really think that having some prior knowledge of the many characters as well as an inkling of their general personalities really helped me with the book. I, too, was overwhelmed at the number of characters at the beginning of the book but if you stick with it, eventually a group of core characters comes together and with all the battles and executions that go on, the characters are weeded out quite effectively!

>133 MissWatson: It's definitely a book that you have to make a huge time commitment to and maybe winter with it's long dark afternoons and nights will give you the time you need for this project.

>134 avatiakh: Thanks, Kerry, and I will be there to give applause when you get to the end. :)

sep 29, 3:20pm

>131 DeltaQueen50: Congrats on your completion of The Three Kingdoms. It is languishing on my shelf!

sep 30, 11:34am

>136 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess, I am very happy both to have read it and to have finished it! ;0

sep 30, 9:12pm

>131 DeltaQueen50: Congrats on finishing, Judy.

>122 DeltaQueen50: Interesting list. I am happy to see Allingham, P.D. James, Roseanna, and The Daughter of Time there.

The Devil's Highway sounds like an important book. I liked the Urrea novel I read; I'll add this to my list.

okt 1, 3:57pm

>138 BLBera: Hi Beth. So far I have read Into the Beautiful North and The Devil's Highway by Urrea - both very different but both very good reads. I have The House of Broken Angels and I am looking forward to it as I have heard many good things about it.

Redigerat: okt 1, 4:10pm

163. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton - 3.3 ★
Category: Almond Crunch
October SFFFKit: Book Has Significant Non-Human Characters
October TIOLI #1: Something With Wings is Pictured on the Cover

I fully expected to love Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton and at first I did. It is both funny and clever, and the first 50 pages was both intriguing and fun but gradually I started to feel like the book was getting very repetitive and the plot seemed bogged down.

This is an apocalyptic tale that never quite explains itself. We follow along with a domesticated crow called S.T. (which stands for Shit Turd) and his fellow pet, Dennis the bloodhound. The humans, or mo’fos as S.T. calls them, have contracted a disease that turns them into mindless zombies. These two animals eventually embark on a mission to save other domesticated animals who are stuck indoors. S.T. is a smart-ass crow who loves all things human, he likes to watch TV and he loves junk food, in particular, Cheetos. He relies on nature’s information network to guide him and Dennis and takes advice from some of the creatures he meets along the way but he mostly relies on his own intelligence and on Dennis’ superior sniffing to find their way around a very changed Seattle.

Hollow Kingdom tries to walk a fine line between humor, science fiction and morality and for me, the morality came across a little too strongly and the science was never explained fully. This left the humor which was well done but eventually the witty one-liners and clever quips couldn’t carry the whole book. I can see that many would love this story about a wise-cracking crow, but I was hoping for a little more and found myself getting a little bored by the whole thing.

okt 2, 12:43pm

164. Cross and Burn by Val McDermid - 4.2 ★
Category: Purdy's Gift Box
October TIOLI #7: Trick or Treat

Cross and Burn by Val McDermid is the eighth book in her Tony Hill, Carol Jordan series of investigative crime novels. This particular book picks up directly from the last book as Carol and Tony are still dealing with the guilt and grief that destroyed their relationship. Carol has removed herself from law enforcement and Tony is trying to move on without her in his life.

The central character in this book is another member of their team, DS Paula McIntyre who is now working on another team but finding it difficult to adjust to a new chief. Someone is brutally killing women and when Tony finds himself a suspect, Paula can’t help but call her previous team members together, including Carol Jordan, to exonerate him.

Val McDermid can always be relied upon to provide a thrilling, gripping story and Cross and Burn is no exception. Her excellent writing and story telling are the reason that I am still loving this long running series. Now I am looking forward to the next book and seeing if Carol and Tony can continue to find their way back to each other.

okt 3, 8:26pm

Hello and happy October, DeltaQueen! I am catching up with all of my LT friends, and you have certainly had a great reading month. Enjoy your many chocolates!

okt 3, 9:23pm

>141 DeltaQueen50: Excellent review! Sounds like the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series should be read in order. I've only read one so far but the library doesn't have all of them.

okt 4, 2:47am

>142 threadnsong: Hi threadnsong! September was a very good reading month for me and so far, October is shaping up to be stellar as well!

>143 VivienneR: Hi Vivienne, there is a definite personal story line that threads through the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series. Not like the crime stories of Agatha Christie or Rex Stout that don't need to be read in any particular order!

okt 4, 2:56am

165. Over the Gate by Miss Read - 4.0 ★
Category: Purdy's Gift Box
October RandomCat: Includes a Character Who Gives
October TIOLI #7: Trick or Treat Challenge

Over the Gate by Miss Read is the fifth book in her series of books that are set in Fairacre Village in the Cotswolds. This book consists of a number of short stories that various members of the community have passed on to Miss Read, head mistress of the village school.

The stories capture a wide variety of incidents, among them there is a sad ghost story about a man who lost his family in a terrible tragedy and also a lively and funny tale of rivalry and eventual sabotage of a Christmas Pudding during World War II days. Although the focus is on a number of different characters, there is still a strong connection to the school and Miss Read’s professional and private life.

Over the Gate is loaded with village charm and helps to move the series along as we learn about the lives of some of the village inhabitants and how they cooperate and help one another most of the time. I am always both delighted and soothed to read a book by this author although in this case I listened to an audio version as excellently read by Gwen Watford.

okt 4, 1:27pm

166. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls - 3.3 ★
Category: Peanut Butter Daisies
October TIOLI #11: A Main Character Has Paws

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls is a children’s fiction novel that was originally published in 1961. The story, set in rural Oklahoma during the 1920s, is about a boy, Billy, and his two Redbone Coonhounds that he calls Old Dan and Little Ann.

Billy wanted these dogs more than anything and he saved for two years to get the fifty dollars he needed to buy them. He trains them for hunting raccoon and the three of them spend many nights out hunting and Billy soon realizes that his dogs are very special. They have a unique way of working together and of understanding what is needed from them. As this is a coming-of-age story, I braced myself for the sadness that I was sure was coming. And sure enough, eventually Billy must face the ultimate loss of his dogs.

I have very mixed emotions about Where the Red Fern Grows. This is a book whose themes of determination, self-reliance and responsibility are wonderfully drawn but this is also a book that describes in fairly graphic detail the hunting, killing and skinning of wild animals which I found difficult to read about. While I can recognize that this is a well written book, I found it hard to sympathize with Billy when he was so casual about the killing of animals. Perhaps this book would resonate with people who grew up in rural surroundings and have more appreciation of hunting than I do.

okt 4, 8:09pm

>73 DeltaQueen50: A Separate Peace There is a school of thought that pushes a homo-erotic dynamic as implied by the interactions between the two main characters, Gene and Phineas. This is subtle and open to an individuals’ interpretation of the relationship.

OMG! I had to read A Separate Peace in grade 11, which was in the late 1970s (or perhaps, 1870s. It feels very long ago). My BF and I wanted to write about Gene and Phineas having a gay relationship, but we were so naive and thought it was a big joke. We thought we were being so edgy and hilarious. We didn't know that anyone ever actually wrote books with gay characters and we didn't think we'd really meet many gay people in our lives. I mean, that cute guy with the high voice on the swim team was obviously gay, but he was one of hundreds in our grade. I don't remember much about that book, but I do remember that. I'm sure it was my friend who picked up on this, because I would have been completely clueless. Ah, memories.

Anyway, I had lost you for a while there, but I've found you again. Whew.

okt 4, 9:01pm

>145 DeltaQueen50: I love that series! Thanks for reminding me to get back to it!

>146 DeltaQueen50: One of my favorite books and movies!

okt 5, 1:13pm

>147 Nickelini: Ha! I would have been the same, I was very unaware in my younger days. Personally, I don't think this book was about a gay relationship but a friendship/rivalry between two young males. Nowadays, it seems that any book that explores same sex friendship tends to get a label. Glad you found me again!

>148 Tess_W: I am slowly working my way through the Fairacre series and really enjoying each book. I think I would have been more atuned to Where the Red Fern Grows if I had read it at a younger age. It seems as if many of the so-called children's classics deal with the death of loved animals. I am thinking of The Red Pony, Old Yeller, and Beautiful Joe.

Redigerat: okt 5, 1:29pm

167. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez - 5.0 ★
Category: Chai Tea Caramels
Around the Year in 52 Books: A Book From the "Are You Well Read in Literature List"
2021 GeoKit: Central & South America, Caribbean
October TIOLI #1: Something With Wings Is On the Cover

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez is a historical fiction novel about the Mirabal sisters during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. While their parents try desperately to live their lives and ignore politics, each of these smart and lovely sisters eventually becomes involved in the quest for freedom.

Minerva Mirabal, perhaps the boldest of the sisters gets involved in the revolution first, two others, Patria, and Maria Teresa soon join in while the last sister, Dede, while in sympathy with them, was discouraged by her husband from actively taking part. Known as the “Maraposas” or “Butterflies” all the sisters showed great courage in their actions. The story covers the sister’s lives from childhood through to their marriages and having children. The author doesn’t just tell the reader what was happening, instead through the events in the lives of the sisters we experience the uncertainty and fear. Trujillo had a stranglehold on the country and even the slightest hint of opposition was stamped out. By the end of the book, three of the sisters had spent time in prison, were under house arrest and their husbands were still in prison.

In the Time of the Butterflies is a book that totally engulfed me. I was drawn into the lives of these sisters, from their girlhood during the 1940s on into their lives as young women, wives and mothers. The story is all the more poignant as it is based on true events and although the author didn’t personally know the Mirabal family, this novel is an ode to both their courage and their dedication to each other.

okt 5, 2:48pm

>150 DeltaQueen50: - I gave this 5* too when I read it. The fact that it was based on actual events was part of the reason, I'm sure.

okt 5, 4:01pm

>145 DeltaQueen50: I love Miss Read! I always know what to expect when I turn to her novels. I have acquired the entire set and also have some duplicates. I made sure not to lose her when I packed my books to move to our new home.

okt 5, 4:17pm

>151 dudes22: Betty, it's one of those books that has me wondering why I waited so long to pick it up.

>152 LadyoftheLodge: I started with Miss Read by picking up the odd one here and there, mostly at the library but then about 10 years ago I started the Thrush Green series over from the beginning and now I am working through the Fairacre series. Thank heaven they are still available - some in Audio form and some for the Kindle. Miss Read's books are the ultimate comfort read!

okt 6, 7:40am

I remember stumbling on the Miss Read novels when I lived in Cincinnati. I simply devoured the entire series. I picked up a couple of used copies at their Friends sale as they were getting rid of some of the extra ones ordered to accommodate initial demand. I'd love to pick up the rest of the series.

okt 6, 12:18pm

>154 thornton37814: Lori, when I shop second-hand book stores I always check to see if they have any Miss Read books and I did get most of the Thrush Green series that way. Now, since I haven't been out and about much due to Covid, I have relied on Amazon for my Fairacre books. I would love to see all of Miss Read's book get reprinted.

okt 6, 12:23pm

I've put In the Time of the Butterflies on my library list. It sounds like something I would enjoy!

okt 6, 12:30pm

168. See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt - 4.1 ★
Category: Sake and Sakura Truffles
October ScaredyKit: Real Life Monsters
October TIOLI #5: One of the Title Words Begins with an "S"

For her debut novel, author Sarah Schmidt chose to tackle the famous Lizzie Borden case in See What I Have Done. More than a hundred years later, this double murder is still discussed and new theories are still being put forward. Although it becomes clear that the author strongly suspects Lizzie of killing her father and step-mother, she doesn’t settle the mystery but instead explores the characters around the murder and has the reader constantly wondering what does Lizzie know and what did she do.

Lizzie and her sister Emma are ten years apart in age, with Lizzie being thirty-two and Emma forty-two at the time of the murders. Both sisters had problems with their controlling father and step-mother, but Emma was out of town at the time of the murders so Lizzie was the sister who came under suspicion. Lizzie also apparently had a history of instability. There was also Bridget, the maid, whose savings Mrs. Borden had taken, Uncle John, brother of the sister’s dead mother, who disapproved of how the sisters were being treated, and a stranger, Benjamin, hired by Uncle John, to set his brother-in-law straight.

The story shifts perspective between the characters as the day of the murder is re-imagined, and we are drawn into this unhealthy family full of resentments and frustrations. The author writes in a very descriptive way, about the emotions, actions, sights and smells that percolate as tensions mount to the eventual boil. Atmospheric, chilling and dark, See What I Have Done is an intense read and an excellent debut.

okt 6, 12:36pm

I've had the Alvarez on my Kindle for several years now. Time to get to it!

okt 6, 2:02pm

I'm glad to see another Alvarez fan, Judy. In the time of the Butterflies is one of my favorite books.

I'm on the fence about Hollow Kingdom; I'll put it on the someday pile.

I've only read one book by Val McDermid, Skeleton Road, which I really liked. I'll have to try out this series.

okt 6, 2:49pm

>158 DeltaQueen50: Sounds like a good one for October!

okt 6, 3:22pm

>158 DeltaQueen50: - Being only a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from where this took place (about an hour), the murder gets dragged out on the news every year around this time. I think I heard lately that the house has been sold again. I had a friend I worked with who actually went and stayed there once. NOt sure if you can still do that.

okt 6, 6:43pm

I've just come home from a lovely afternoon spent with my elder daughter. It was my birthday on Monday so she took me out to lunch today to celebrate. It was a sunny day so we went for a little drive after lunch and admired the pumpkin fields and colored leaves. We ended up at the stables where my granddaughter rides and works. She wasn't there today but we got to walk around and even got to pet some of the horses.

>159 katiekrug: It's always fun to find a special read among our TBRs and Kindle books. I hope In the Time of the Butterflies works as well for you, Katie.

>160 BLBera: I was surprised that I didn't enjoy Hollow Kingdom more. But In the Time of the Butterflies more than made up for that. I am looking forward to reading more from Alvarez. Val McDermid excels in writing thrillers and police procedurals, I've enjoyed both the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series and all the stand-alones of hers that I have read so far.

>161 japaul22: See What I have Done perfectly fit the October ScaredyKit theme of "Real Monsters"!

>162 dudes22: The Borden murders certainly seem to have captured the public's interest. Perhaps because Lizzie was tried and acquited. Even though there was a lot of evidence, the Jury decided that a woman just couldn't have committed such a violent crime.

okt 6, 7:56pm

>155 DeltaQueen50: Most of them are now available as paperback reprint novels. I found them used on Amazon. I started reading and buying the Miss Read novels when they were available through Christian Herald Family Bookshelf (probably in the 1980s, before Dora Saint passed away). A dear friend introduced them to me, since I am a teacher and she thought I might enjoy them. I was able to fill in the gaps in my collection when I visited England and bought them in Penguin editions--my luggage was packed with them.

okt 6, 8:21pm

>146 DeltaQueen50: I'm convinced I had Where the Red Fern Grows as assigned reading in school. I don't remember any of the plot, though (perhaps fortunately, because that would have been an upsetting book to read as a tween).

okt 6, 10:08pm

>163 DeltaQueen50:
Happy Birthday!

okt 7, 4:33am

>146 DeltaQueen50:
>165 rabbitprincess:

Where the Red Fern Grows was indeed a part of my school curriculum and also when my boys were in the 8th grade (13-14 years old) it was required reading. I'm glad it was because by that age I think it is good that not every story ends with a sunset and a happily ever after. I just love that book!

Happy Birthday, Judy! Oft times the simple celebration is the best!

okt 7, 5:24am

>163 DeltaQueen50: Happy birthday - it sounds like you had a lovely day!

okt 7, 5:40am

>163 DeltaQueen50: - A Happy Birthday to you! Sounds like a great way to spend a birthday.

okt 7, 10:55am

Happy Belated Birthday, Judy!

okt 7, 11:13am

>163 DeltaQueen50: Happy Birthday! It sounds as if you had a lovely day.

okt 7, 12:57pm

Happy belated birthday!

okt 7, 1:35pm

Thanks for the Birthday wishes, everyone. Yesterday was a lovely day, especially since by about 4:30 pm it had clouded up and poured rain all last night.

>164 LadyoftheLodge: If I travelled to the U.K. I can see having to get an extra suitcase to bring back all the books!

>165 rabbitprincess: Where the Red Fern Grows was published in 1961 so I would have been the right age but I don't think we studied it. I will have to check with my brother, he's a little younger and he may have read it in school.

>166 Nickelini: Thanks, Joyce.

>167 Tess_W: I think many of the books that we studied in school have been taken off the curriculum today. Everyone is so sensitive about subject matter now. I believe that Where the Red Fern Grows would be a book that would hold a boy's attention but school's have to step carefully as people are very quick to take offense.

>168 Jackie_K:, >169 dudes22:, >170 katiekrug:, >171 LadyoftheLodge: & >172 BLBera: Thank you, I enjoyed yesterday. Last week my husband and I met with my younger daughter and her husband for dinner as three of us have birthdays in late September, early October. So I got plenty of celebrating done!

okt 8, 3:01am

>173 DeltaQueen50: Happy belated birthday, Judy. Isn't it wonderful that we can celebrate again, in real life?

okt 8, 12:24pm

>174 MissWatson: It is wonderful. I heard that British Columbia, the province that I live in is about 73% vaccinated which shows that we are making progress. Now I am hoping that children will soon have a vaccine as well.

okt 8, 12:32pm

Lots of reading since last time I was here and a birthday too. I made note of a couple of books to look out for.

okt 8, 1:16pm

>176 hailelib: Hi Trisha, I hope all is good with you.

okt 8, 1:22pm

169. Watching the Ghosts by Kate Ellis - 4.0 ★
Category: Chocolate Letters
October AlphaKit: E
October TIOLI #7: Trick or Treat

Watching the Ghosts by Kate Ellis is the fourth book in her police procedural series featuring DI Joe Plantagenet. This series is set in the fictional Northern England city of Eborby which is the thinly disguised historic city of York. A common thread that runs through all the Plantagenet books is a touch of the supernatural. In this outing Joe is involved in the investigation of a former mental asylum that has now been converted into apartment units. When a series of murders occurs, all the victims appear to have some sort of connection to Havenby Hall.

This asylum was also home to the notorious serial killer Peter Brockmeister and many of the victims are killed in his signature style but Brockmeister has been dead for a number of years – or has he? It isn’t long before Joe and his colleagues realize that what is happening now is strongly influenced by the past.

I found Watching the Ghosts a fun combination of police procedural and horror story. The author combines serial murders, kidnapping and a mysterious haunted building and delivered a story that kept the pages turning and me reading long into the night.

okt 8, 2:39pm

My top reads for the 3rd quarter of 2021 were:

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John Le Carre
Darktown by Thomas Mullen
The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow
The Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
The Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea

okt 8, 7:49pm

>175 DeltaQueen50: I heard that British Columbia, the province that I live in is about 73% vaccinated which shows that we are making progress. Now I am hoping that children will soon have a vaccine as well.

Yes! It looks like children will be getting their vaccines soon. I think our numbers are going to improve with the new vaccine mandates that were announced this week. I work for one of those companies included in the mandate, and I'm thrilled. My work group is all fully vaxed, but I don't know anything about other people on my floor or in the lunch room.

okt 8, 8:27pm

>179 DeltaQueen50: Got a couple of BB hits there! Mullen and Knowles. I ordered Darktown and got The Last Town on Earth and A Separate Peace while I was there.

okt 8, 8:28pm

>180 Nickelini: That's good news! It makes us feel safer knowing the people around us are vaccinated.

okt 8, 9:27pm

>180 Nickelini: Yes! I am all for mandating the vaccine, I don't have a lot of patience for those who are resisting. My daughter has a couple or workmates who have refused to get a vaccine so far, apparently they ramble on about a government conspiracy - but I figure if the government wants to track you that badly all they have to do is track everyone's cell phone.

>181 VivienneR: I hope you enjoy those books, Vivienne. I was just thinking earlier today that Darktown will definitely be in my top books of the year.

Redigerat: okt 9, 3:16pm

170. The Brass Cupcake by John D. MacDonald - 4.2 ★
Category: Cherry Cordials
October TIOLI #7: Trick or Treat

The Brass Cupcake by John D. MacDonald was originally published in 1950 and, although he had been writing short stories for the pulp magazines for several years prior, this book has the distinction of being considered his first novel. This novel is a fine example of the hard boiled/noir traits that he was to become known for.

Set in the rich Florida tourist town of Florence Beach, the main character is a tough but straight shooting investigator for an insurance company. He is given the task of getting back the jewellery that was stolen from a rich woman tourist, but unlike most professional robberies, the victim in this case was murdered. The story twists and turns through murders, robbery, and insurance fraud while our steely jawed hero deals with police corruption, the crime syndicate and assorted other members of a picturesque rogues gallery. Along with the violence there is also an interesting romance.

The Brass Cupcake was a thrilling and fun story that eventually got nicely resolved and left me with a smile on my face.

okt 10, 3:14pm

Tomorrow is our Canadian Thanksgiving but I am cooking our Thanksgiving dinner today. It will be a small one with just my husband, my grandson and myself. I am in the process of baking pumpkin pie and will be doing a turkey later on. Since Grandson is working today we are having a late dinner and will sit down around 8:00 pm. That gives me plenty of time to prepare our feast and fit in some reading!

okt 10, 3:20pm

Happy Thanksgiving and also belated birthday Judy!

okt 10, 8:24pm

Happy Thanksgiving, Judy!

okt 11, 12:33am

Thanks Lisa and Kay. My dinner was excellent and I got rave reviews from both the hubby and grandson. I did get some reading in today but unfortunately, as you will see from the review that follows, it wasn't a book for me!

okt 11, 12:41am

171. The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat - 2.0 ★
Category: Hedgehogs
October 1,001 Challenge Read: A Bird, Animal, Fish or Insect in Title
October TIOLI #1: Something with Wings is on the Cover

I don’t quite know what to make of The Blind Owl by Iranian author Sadegh Hedayat. Although very short it was a difficult and dark read. The story is of a lonely pen case illustrator and his decent into madness through his use of opium, his obsession with death and decay, and his obvious sexual frustration.

As he hallucinates we enter into his dream sequence about a woman who he sees and then can’t find however much he searches. Later she shows up on his doorstep, appears to die in his bed upon which he dismembers her body and buries her in the ancient city of Rey. The second part of the book reveals more about the narrator. He is ill, deranged, and taking opium. He is an invalid being looked after by an old woman and his wife, whom he calls “the bitch” and who he imagines is sleeping with every man she meets. It isn’t pleasant being given access to this man’s fevered mind.

With no clear plot or obvious point to make, I guess I would label The Blind Owl as a bleak psychological portrait that is meant to challenge the reader to reach some element of self-knowledge but it was entirely too opaque for me.

okt 11, 7:54pm

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you find a better book for your next read!

okt 11, 11:44pm

>190 LadyoftheLodge: While reading The Blind Owl I have also been reading a pirate saga which is fun and full of adventure. Having this lighter read to escape to definitely helped!

okt 12, 12:39pm

172. Pirate Code by Helen Hollick - 4.0 ★
Category: Chocolate Letters
October AlphaKit: H
October TIOLI #8: Tagged as History or Historical Fiction

Pirate Code by Helen Hollick is the second book in her historical fiction series entitled The Sea Witch and is set in the 18th Century Caribbean. Pirate Captain Jesamiah Acorne and witch Tiola have come to Nassau to take advantage of the King’s Pardon. He is approached with a proposition to aid the British in their war with Spain. Threatened and forced to comply, he must leave Tiola behind and head Hispaniola.

There are more than a few plots and counter-plots to keep track of for both Jesamiah and the reader. The story slowly reveals the various threads as it also uncovers more secrets from Acorne’s past. Meanwhile Tiola has a final reckoning with her husband and makes deals with the goddess of the sea for Jesamiah’s life.

Pirate Code is another ripping yarn in this pirate series. The addition of a touch of the supernatural comes from Tiola, a white witch. These otherworldly elements are woven throughout the text and help keep this series exciting, colorful and a great escape read.

okt 13, 1:57pm

173. Nobody's Perfect by Donald E. Westlake - 4.2 ★
Category: Chocolate Creams
October TIOLI #9: Tagged as "Humorous"

Nobody’s Perfect by Donald E. Westlake is an amusing crime caper story that was originally published in 1977. It features professional robber, John Dortmunder as he takes on an “inside job” of stealing an expensive painting for insurance purposes. The owner, the rich and irresponsible Mr. Chauncey, needs money but doesn’t want to give up his artwork, so he hires Dortmunder and his bumbling crew to take the painting and then he will buy it back after he collects the insurance. A simple plot, so what could go wrong?

It turns out that the answer is plenty and the story is one continuous bumpy ride as Dortmunder scrambles to set things right and collect his money. As well as hiring Dortmunder, Mr. Chauncey also hired a hit-man, Leo Kane, to ensure that his painting is returned. When the original painting is misplaced, Dortmunder must come up with a fail-proof plan to satisfy Mr. Chauncey and avoid any confrontations with Mr. Kane. The story takes us from New York to London and on to the Scottish Highlands as Dortmunder strives to overcome all obstacles and bring this caper to a successful conclusion.

This was both my first Dortmunder story and my first book by author Donald Westlake. It was a clever, light, humorous story that I really enjoyed. Having the story unroll from the perspective of the robber gave it an interesting twist and I loved the various schemes that Dortmunder and his helpful friend Kelp came up with. I will certainly be on the lookout for more by this author.

okt 14, 12:35am

174. The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe - 3.3 ★
Category: Hedgehogs
October Reading Through Time: Supernatural
October TIOLI #7: Trick or Treat

The Purloined Letter was originally published in 1845, and is one of three stories featuring the famous Parisian amateur detective C. Auguste Dupin. These three stories are considered early forerunners of the modern detective story.

This case involves the blackmail of the queen. A letter from the queen’s lover has been taken. The police know who took the letter and are trying to retrieve it but all their efforts to locate it’s hiding place have failed. On being handed a cheque in the amount of 50,000 francs, Dupin was able to produce the letter. Using his method of identifying with the criminal, Dupin was able to put his mind to work and discover where the letter had been hidden.

A simple story with the answer relying on the deductions made by Dupin who worked out that the letter’s appearance had been altered and that it was in plain sight if one cared to look. Having the detective simply use his brain to solve the mystery allowed this genre to become both based on action as in The Murders of Rue Morgue and on analytical thinking by allowing the detective to ponder the case and track down the clues through his own deductions as in this story.

okt 15, 2:13am

175. The Second Empress by Michelle Moran - 4.2 ★
Category: White Chocolate Cameos
Reading Through Time 4th Quarter Time Period: Napoleonic Era
Around the Year in 52 Books: Flowers or Greenery on Cover
October HistoryCat: Country of Your Choice
2021 GeoKit: Europe
October TIOLI #12: Major Character Spends a Significant Amount of Time Away From Their Native Country

The Second Empress by Michelle Moran was the perfect blend of history and storytelling as the author recounts the final years of Napoleon’s reign. The story unfolds through the eyes of various characters such as Napoleon’s sister, Pauline, her black chamberlain, Paul Moreau, and of course, Napoleon’s second empress, Marie-Louise.

Austrian princess, Marie-Louise is only 18 when she is chosen by Napoleon to be his second wife. She was basically being brought to France to be the mother of his children as Josephine was unable to provide him with heirs. All of the Bonapartes come off as very selfish, vain and dominating people with no regard to the feelings or concerns of others. Napoleon seemed unable to control his ambition and his decision to embark on a war with Russia and it’s devastating outcome led to his downfall. Marie-Louise tried to be the wife that Napoleon needed but when he was forced to abdicate she was able to rely on her father to spirit herself and her son away from France and eventually she was able to live a peaceful life. I actually most enjoyed the parts of the story that were told by the unreliable narrator, Pauline Bonaparte. With her obsession over her brother, her extravagances and her need to be the centre of attention at all times her story certainly livened up the book.

The Second Empress is a well written, well researched story that totally held my interest. The author kept her focus on the relationships rather than the actual political history so it is quite a light read. Personally, I didn’t think the third narrator, Paul Moreau was needed. I suspect he was added as a counter-balance to the crazy antics of Pauline but I didn’t feel that he added much value to the story. This book paints a vivid picture of the last few years of Napoleon’s rule, but I advise future readers to remember this is a work of fiction so not all the details are exact.

okt 15, 12:34pm

>195 DeltaQueen50: I also liked this book and agree that the additional voice was not needed. I didn't think the character of Paul (can't remember his real name)--Pauline's Haitian "groom?" was necessary and didn't add much to the story.

okt 16, 1:27pm

>196 Tess_W: I will be picking up more books by Michelle Moran in the future!

okt 16, 10:32pm

176. Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson - 3.7 ★
Category: Sweet Georgia Browns
Around the Year in 52 Books: Connected to Ice
2021 GeoKit: Polar Regions
October TIOLI #5: One of the Title Words Starts with an "S"

I had mixed feelings about Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson. This is the first in his Dark Iceland series and there were parts that I thought were excellent and others that fell short for me. This is the story of a rookie policeman who accepts a job in the extreme northern town of Siglufjordur in Iceland, leaving behind his medical school girlfriend, Kristen. He arrives in town in November, just as winter is closing in.

Winter actually does completely engulf this town. The only road into town goes through a mountain tunnel and when heavy snowfalls cause avalanches, the town is cut off. When an elderly author is found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs in the local theatre, it is at first dismissed as an accident. Then a young woman is found brutally attacked and unconscious in her back garden. There is a connection between the author and this young woman causing the police to give both cases a deeper scrutiny.

The positive points of the book were the mystery that was well done and kept me interested as a variety of motives and suspects were brought to light. Where the author excelled was in creating the claustrophobic atmosphere of a small town facing the darkness of winter, the heavy snowfalls, and the isolation of living within the Arctic Circle. What I didn’t particularly like was the main character, Ari Thor, who I found a little too headstrong, selfish and immature. Luckily the writing and setting kept the pages turning and I can always hope that Ari Thor does some maturing before the next book.

okt 17, 1:59am

>198 DeltaQueen50: I don't follow Nordic Noir at all, but I saw a $9.99 edition of this at Arm Chair Books in Whistler a couple of weeks ago and scooped it up. It's on my one day pile. Funny that you just happened to read it

okt 17, 1:32pm

>199 Nickelini: Hmmnn, a case of "great minds think alike" or simply a bookish coincidence?

okt 17, 8:16pm

>200 DeltaQueen50:
Oh, I'm going to take "great minds think a like" any chance I get!

okt 18, 9:14am

>198 DeltaQueen50: That's on my radar. I've enjoyed the author's Hidden Iceland series.

okt 18, 1:12pm

>201 Nickelini: Me, too!

>202 thornton37814: I have the first one in the Hidden Iceland series as well - I'm looking forward to it.

okt 18, 10:10pm

177. The Wrath of the Just by Manel Loureiro - 3.5 ★
Category: Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels
October TIOLI #17: Title Would Make a Good Superhero Name

The Wrath of the Just by Manel Loureiro is the final book in his zombie apocalyptic story. This book continues the adventures of the threesome that have been in every book, the Spanish lawyer, the love of his life, Lucia and his best friend, the Russian helicopter pilot. The book ends on a positive note, but there is still plenty of trouble and adventure for the three to experience before we reach that end.

After escaping from the Canary Islands they are picked up during a storm at sea by a huge tanker and taken to Gulfport, Mississippi where a racist religious zealot has established a colony. Aided by a group of brutal Aryan Nation enforcers, only subservient white people can live in comfort here, any black, brown, yellow or red people are treated like slaves and send out to face the undead in order to bring home goods for the colony. One good thing has come about however in that some scientists that live here have developed, not a cure, but a drug that keeps one from transforming into an undead. This along with the fact that the undead are starting to fall apart gives our main characters plenty of hope for the future. Unfortunately, we also find that the isolated country of North Korea has managed to stay intact and upon learning about the oil that Gulfport has, sends an expedition to obtain that oil.

I enjoyed this trilogy, but as per usual with zombie stories, after the first book, it isn’t the undead that the living have to fear, but other humans. The author did a good job of showing the devastation that could occur and kept the danger level high throughout all three books. The writing was adequate for this type of story, but I do wish that the author would have developed his female character into a stronger more independent person rather than the clingy afterthought she became.

okt 19, 7:53am

>179 DeltaQueen50: I like this best of list, Judy. So glad to see The Devil's Highway on there. I loved that book.

I really want to get to In the Time of the Butterflies. I have put that one off far too long. Hopefully in the next few weeks.

okt 19, 12:57pm

>205 msf59: Hi Mark. I have now read 2 books by Luis Alberto Urrea and I am looking forward to reading more by him. I think you will find In the Time of the Butterflies a very rewarding read.

okt 19, 1:06pm

178. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn - 5.0 ★
Category: Vanilla Creams
Around the Year in 52 Books: A Travel Story
2021 GeoKit: Europe
October TIOLI #5: One of the Title Words Begins with an "S"

Every once and awhile a book comes along that reaches out and speaks to all your senses, and The Salt Path by Raynor Winn was such a book for me. This is an uplifting memoir of a couple, Raynor and Moth Winn, who lose their house and livelihood through a bad investment. The day after losing their court battle, a doctor advises them that Moth had an incurable degenerative brain disease. Homeless and uncertain about their future or how to proceed with life, they walk. They choose to walk the 630 mile long South West Coast Path which follows the coastline of Somerset, North and South Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

This would be a huge undertaking for anyone but for this couple, their age, financial situation and Moth’s disabilities made this an almost impossible undertaking. The author isn’t looking for pity and she doesn’t sugar-coat the situation but describes all the ups and downs they encounter along the way. This was a difficult undertaking yet somehow this trek with it’s views, wildlife, and freedom allowed them to accept and come to terms with their situation. Even having to cut their trip short due to winter setting in didn’t stop them, they returned the next summer and completed their journey.

The Salt Path was a powerful life-affirming story that the author tells in a realistic, humorous manner. As I followed the story I was googling the villages and beaches that were mentioned and I was amazed at the scenery, but this was so much more than a travel story. This couple totally won my heart with their affection and care for each other as well as the author’s honest and beautiful writing.

okt 20, 1:34am

>207 DeltaQueen50: I'm so glad you wrote about this . . . it's one that was on my wishlist but I was forgetting why and it was falling off. You've helped push it up to the "get this one!" list. It's pertinent because my book club met tonight on Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller and we ended up having a lot of discussion about homelessness and it's various forms. This book would have fit in perfectly

okt 20, 1:29pm

>208 Nickelini: Joyce, I loved The Salt Path and I will look forward to your comments on it. Apparently Raynor Winn has written another book since called The Wild Silence which is now waiting for me on my Kindle.

okt 20, 9:56pm

179. Sorceress by Celia Rees - 4.0 ★
Category: Peanut Butter Daisies
October Reading Through Time: Supernatural
October TIOLI #5: One of the Title Words Starts With An "S"

Sorceress by Celia Rees is the sequel to Witch Child and the conclusion of Mary Newbury’s story. Mary had been brought to the New World as a servant to a pilgrim family. At the end of the previous book, Mary had been accused of witchcraft and had fled into the North American wilderness. She was found by her Indian friends White Eagle and Jaybird, and went on to marry Jaybird and have children with him. They lived with the Pennacook people peacefully for a number of years but in 1675, King Philip’s War saw the death of her husband and changes for Mary and her offspring.

Mary eventually finds a home with the Iroquois but in fact, she was a magical being and was able to work spells, but her inclination was towards healing. The book is told in two distinct timelines, one being Mary’s time in the 1600s while the other being set in today as a descendant of Mary’s traces her ancestor.

I enjoyed this story as the author obviously did a lot of research into the life styles of the Indians in the 1600s. She accurately recounts the history and shows how Europeans had little to no understanding of the natives and how the strict religious practices of the white people had no room for the Indian’s more mystical beliefs. Sorceress was both an excellent story of one woman’s life and a thrilling read about the clash between two cultures.

okt 21, 5:39pm

180. Blood Sugar by Daniel Kraus - 3.4 ★
Category: Chocolate Creams
Around the Year in 52 Books: Associated with a Specific Time of Year
October TIOLI #7: Trick or Treat

I don’t even know where to begin with this book! Blood Sugar by Daniel Kraus is perhaps the author’s tribute to Clockwork Orange. The characters speak in a street slang that is almost untranslatable at times. As the reader carries on, however, this thug lingo starts to actually make sense and an extremely creepy story is revealed. Basically a very troubled young man named Robbie has planned to dish out tainted candy to the trick-or-treaters and he has the help of three neighbourhood children.

The three children, Jody, Dag and Midget obviously hang out at Robbie’s because he supplies them with drugs, and pretty much lets them do what they want to do. These are very damaged children. Through Jody, the narrator of the story, we learn how terrible and heartbreaking the lives of these children are. As the day progresses, Robbie continues to plan to give out deadly treats but perhaps something or someone will change the outcome.

Blood Sugar was gross, depressing and sad. It was also extremely well written and clever. This is a book that I can’t really recommend to anyone, yet it is also a book that I will long remember. This is the second book by Daniel Kraus that I have read and I can assure everyone that this author is unique.

okt 22, 2:07pm

I'm intrigued, though the gross part gives me pause, ha! The Hard Case series has been hit or miss with me, but I'll look for this one. Thumbs up for your review, Judy!

Igår, 11:56am

>212 mstrust: Thanks for the thumb, Jennifer. I hope you do read Blood Sugar at some point as I would love to hear your comments.

Igår, 12:50pm

I'm really looking forward to The Salt Path, Judy. Great comments.

Igår, 4:45pm

>214 BLBera: Hi Beth, I think you will love The Salt Path, it's really a great read.

Igår, 6:25pm

181. Bird Box by Josh Malerman - 4.5 ★'
Category: Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels
October SFFFKit: Creature Feature
October GenreCat: Horror
October TIOLI #1: Something with Wings is on the Cover

Bird Box by Josh Malerman is both a novel of supernatural and psychological terror and I couldn’t put it down. Now that I have finished the book I can see that there were a few giant plot holes, but during the reading I was totally able to ignore the flaws and concentrate on the fear.

This is an apocalyptic story about life as we know it ending on earth. Something is out there, something so alien that seeing it will cause total madness and drive the person to murder and suicide. Malorie, alone and pregnant, finds shelter with a group of other people, but because the book is written with a time line that jumps back and forth, we know that this sanctuary isn’t going to last. In the past time line we learn what happened to the group in the “safe house” and in the present time line we join a blindfolded Malorie and her children as they embark on a dangerous journey to find other people and a find a better life.

The author cleverly never allows the reader to see the creatures that cause such mayhem. They are out there, they come close at times, but the fact that they remain a total mystery adds to the horror. Much of the book rests squarely on the shoulders of the main character, Malorie. She was developed over the course of the book, starting out as rather timid and passive, but by the end of the book she was a tower of strength. Bird Box was an unsettling, horrific thriller that dished out plenty of thrills and chills which was exactly what I was looking for.

Redigerat: Idag, 3:19pm

182. Young Man, I Think You're Dying by Joan Fleming
Category: Chocolate Creams
October TIOLI #14: Contraction in Title

I found Young Man, I Think You’re Dying by Joan Fleming a fascinating crime story that contrasts the lives and choices of two young men. Both grew up in London working class families, but where one family bestowed a good upstanding morality, the other did not. Joe works in a pizza house and dreams of one day owing his own restaurant. Winston grew up to be a psychopath, he lives a life of crime, loyal to no one but himself.

Joe was not perfect, he was still involved with his friends in a group they called The Wotchas. The purpose of this group was to be the side man and driver for Winston. Joe realizes that Winston is going to go too far one day and wants to get out, but at the same time, the money he makes is being banked towards his future. One night Winston comes for Joe to get him to drive him to his crime site, and this is the night that Winston goes too far and kills an elderly lady. While Joe ponders whether he is going to the police or not, he meets a young runaway girl called Francis who has her own beef with Winston.

Young Man, I Think You’re Dying won the British Crime Writers Association’s Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of 1970. As the author explores the minds of both the young psychopath and the ambitious dreamer an intriguing story emerges, one that is well crafted and unusual.

Idag, 4:23pm

Judy, I fell SO far behind on your thread, but I am caught up now and will try to stay that way.