VivienneR Watches Weather in 2023 part 4

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VivienneR Watches Weather in 2023 part 4

Redigerat: Igår, 5:33 pm

I'm Vivienne, I live in the Kootenay region of beautiful British Columbia surrounded by snowy mountains. I've been doing the Category Challenge since 2014.

So far this year all my reading has fitted in CATs, KITs, Bingo and the Historical Fiction challenge.

Redigerat: okt 12, 3:53 pm

1. features music or musician: Why Sinéad O'Connor Matters by Allyson McCabe
2. features inn or hotel: Rock paper scissors by Alice Feeney
3. features cat family member: The Cheshire Cat's Eye by Marcia Muller
4. next in series you’ve started: The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths
5. author in your zodiac sign: Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline
6. memoir: The Answer is ...: reflections on my life by Alex Trebek
7. bestseller from 20 years ago: The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
8. plant in title or on cover: The Hidden World of Gnomes by Lauren Soloy
9. switched or stolen identities: Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie
10. taught you something: Bad Actors by Mick Herron
11. book on the cover: Oxford Exit by Veronica Stallwood
12. art or craft related: A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
13. read a CAT: Where the bodies are buried by Christopher Brookmyre
14. small town / rural setting: Hanging Valley by Peter Robinson
15. STEM topic: The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield
16. 4+ LT rating: Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens
17. local or regional author: An Old Cold Grave by Iona Whishaw
18. involves an accident: Saturday by Ian McEwan
19. features journalist: The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
20. popular author’s 1st book: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
21. topic you don’t usually read: The Great War: July 1, 1916: the first day of the Battle of the Somme: an illustrated panorama by Joe Sacco, Adam Hochschild
22. number or quantity in title: A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
23. author under 30: Call of the Wild by Jack London
24. set on plane, train, or ship: Stateless by Elizabeth Wein
25. more than 1,000 copies on LT: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel

Redigerat: nov 29, 9:02 pm


Jan: Hidden gems: A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon
Feb: Second or two: The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves
Feb: Second or two: The Second Cut by Louise Welsh
Mar: Water water everywhere: Treasure Island by Robert L. Stevenson
Mar: Water water everywhere: Stone Rain by Linwood Barclay
Mar: Water water everywhere: Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
Apr: Seven ages of man: The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst
Apr: Seven ages of man: The Abduction by John Grisham
Apr: Seven ages of man: Where is Your Huzband by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
Apr: Seven ages of man: The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West
Apr: Seven ages of man: Tragedy at Law by Cyril Hare
Apr: Seven ages of man: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Apr: Seven ages of man: Beau Death by Peter Lovesey
May: Royal names: Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris
May: Royal names: Situation Tragedy: a Charles Paris mystery by Simon Brett
June: Walls: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
July: Muppets: The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
July: Muppets: Death of a Green-Eyed Monster by M.C. Beaton & R.W. Greene
Aug: Something Good: One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
Sep: Wild, wild west: The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Oct: Treats, not tricks: Marple: twelve new stories
Nov: A Little Light: Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss
Nov: A Little Light: The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

Redigerat: Igår, 5:36 pm


Jan: TV detectives: Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin
Jan: TV detectives: Elegy for April by Benjamin Black
Feb: Classic setting: The Religious Body by Catherine Aird
Feb: Classic setting: Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs
Mar: Paranormal: Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich
Apr: Tartan noir: Dark Blood by Stuart MacBride
Apr: Tartan noir: Saints of the shadow bible by Ian Rankin
May: True, unsolved: Richard III & the Princes in the Tower by A.J. Pollard
Jun: Vintage: A Mind to Murder by P.D. James
Jul: Private detectives: The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra
Aug: Past: Snobbery with Violence by Marion Chesney
Sep: University setting: Service of All the Dead by Colin Dexter
Sep: University setting: Last Seen Wearing by Hillary Waugh
Oct: Locked room: In the Morning I'll be Gone by Adrian McKinty
Oct: Locked room: Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie
Nov: Senior sleuth: An Afternoon to Kill by Shelley Smith
Nov: Senior sleuth: Death Comes to Marlow by Robert Thorogood
Dec: Cozy: Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Redigerat: nov 20, 2:36 pm


All year: X - Inspector Chen and the Private Kitchen Murder by Qiu Xiaolong
All year: Z - The storied life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
All year: Z - From the desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Jan: S - Shrines of gaiety by Kate Atkinson
Jan: S - The Catch: Slough House novella by Mick Herron
Jan: S - The clutter corpse by Simon Brett
Jan: I - Dead man in Naples by Michael Pearce
Feb: J - Joy For Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
Feb: F - The storied life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Feb: J - From the desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Mar: G & A - Wrong place, wrong time by Gillian McAllister
Mar: G & A - Girl in the blue beret by Bobbie Ann Mason
Apr: D - Dead Like You by Peter James
Apr: W - A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson
Apr: W - The Last Hand by Eric Wright
Apr: D - Dry bones by Margaret Mayhew
May: U - The Unlocking Season by Gail Bowen
May: C - The Disappearing Act by Catherine Steadman
May: U - Urn Burial by Kerry Greenwood
Jun: B - The Library Book by Kate Mosse
Jun: K - Killers of the King: the men who dared to execute Charles I by Charles, Earl Spencer
July: P - Tea at the Palace by Carolyn Robb
July: P - A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny
July: O - Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
August: M - The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr
August: Q - Inspector Chen and the Private Kitchen Murder by Qiu Xiaolong
Sept: V - Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton
Sept: E - The Engine House by Rhys Dylan
Sept: V & E - Elementary She Read by Vicki Delany
Oct: N & H - A Darker Shade of Noir" New stories of body horror by women writers
Oct: N - Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
Oct: H - This is What Happened by Mick Herron
Oct: H - The River by Peter Heller
Nov: L - Cappuccinos, cupcakes and a corpse by Harper Lin
Nov: L - After the Storm by Jane Lythell
Nov: T - French Braid by Anne Tyler

Redigerat: nov 28, 4:00 pm


Jan: New: The Long Call by Ann Cleeves
Feb: In translation: The Scarred Woman by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Mar: YA/children: Wild Boy by Nancy Springer
Apr: Order not needed: Muzzled by David Rosenfelt
May: Trilogies: Hope by Len Deighton
Jun: Favourite authors: Slough House by Mick Herron
Jul: Non-fiction: The Conquering Family by Thomas Costain
Aug: Meaning to get back to: A Killing of Innocents by Deborah Crombie
Sep: Began over 50 years ago: Babes in the Wood by Ruth Rendell
Oct: Asian setting: Reflecting the Sky by S.J. Rozan
Nov: Historical: Hasty Death by Marion Chesney
Nov: Historical: Billy Boyle by James R. Benn

Redigerat: okt 19, 12:17 am


Jan: Adventure: You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming
Feb: Published before 1900: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
Mar: Adapted to screen: Clouds of witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
Apr: Mysteries: The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett
May: Children's: Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
Jun: Humour: Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse
Jul: Always wanted to read: Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time (part 1) by Marcel Proust
Aug: In Translation: Candide by Voltaire
Sep: Non-fiction: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Oct: By women: Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth
Oct: By women: Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Redigerat: nov 22, 8:03 pm


Jan: C & E Europe: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Jan: C & E Europe: A death in Vienna by Daniel Silva
Feb: Place you'd like to visit: Fire and brimstone by Colin Bateman
Feb: Place you'd like to visit: The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
Mar: Australia & New Zealand: The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill
Mar: Australia & New Zealand: Photo Finish by Ngaio Marsh
Apr: S & C America: Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré
May: Polar regions: Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indridason
Jun: S & SE Asia: Man by Kim Thúy
Jul: W Europe: Seven Steeples by Sara Baume
Jul: W Europe: The Readers' Room by Antoine Laurain
Aug: W & C Asia: Small Wars by Sadie Jones
Sep: Africa: Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
Oct: Canada: Under Cold Stone by Vicki Delany
Oct: Canada: Freddie the flyer by Fred Carmichael, Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, illustrated by Andrea Wulf
Nov: East Asia: Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly

Redigerat: okt 15, 6:18 pm


Jan: Comedy horror: A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Feb: Historical horror: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Apr: Food related: The Dinner by Herman Koch
May: Surviving the horror: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Jul: Beach reads: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Aug: Favourite trope: Perfect Remains by Helen Fields
Sep: Haunted houses: The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart
Sep: Haunted houses: A Skeleton In the Family by Leigh Perry
Oct: Tricks, not treats: The Dead Pass by Colin Bateman

aug 14, 2:23 pm

Welcome to part 4 of my thread!

aug 14, 2:42 pm

Happy new thread.

aug 14, 2:53 pm

Thank you, April. I can't believe how fast this year is progressing!

aug 14, 3:08 pm

Happy new thread, and I hope you're having good weather! :)

aug 14, 4:31 pm

Happy new thread! You've done a spectacular amount of reading already!

aug 14, 5:36 pm

Happy new thread, Vivienne. Hope you fill it with lots of good books. It is scary how quickly the year is passing!

Redigerat: aug 14, 6:56 pm

>27 christina_reads: Thank you. Currently hot and sunny. 41C (106F) last time I checked.

>28 Jackie_K: Thanks, Jackie. Retirement (and insomnia) pays off!

>29 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy! I was planning to start a new thread at the half-way mark then I realized we're in the 8th month!

aug 14, 8:33 pm

Happy New Thread, Vivienne! I love to look over what's been read when someone starts a new thread. You're really doing great hitting all the challenges.

aug 15, 1:19 am

>31 dudes22: Thank you, Betty! I like to read lists of books read too in new threads. Even when I've been following, I can still pick up a BB or three.

Redigerat: aug 15, 1:22 am

MysteryKIT August - Past

Snobbery with Violence by Marion Chesney

The snobbery and upper-crustiness was hilarious! And the cure for syphilis was obviously invented by a man. This Edwardian mystery from the creator of Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin was more fun than I expected and now I'm looking forward to more.

aug 15, 2:38 am

Happy new thread, Vivienne! And thank you for that BB you hit me with, The Readers' Room. I'm reading it now and very much enjoying it.

aug 15, 1:21 pm

>34 MissWatson: Thank you, Birgit! Glad you are enjoying The Readers' Room. It was a lot of fun.

aug 17, 3:53 pm

KiddyCAT August - Series

Al Capone Shines my Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko
Twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz Island, home of the famous prison where his Dad is a guard and where Al Capone is being held. Moose's sister, Natalie, has a condition that implies autism and their parents have had difficulty finding a school for her. in the first book of the series Moose asked Capone for help which leads to a clandestine correspondence continued in this story where Capone expects a return of the favour. Choldenko has created a terrific plot, fantastic characters and a wonderful glimpse of depression-era California.

aug 17, 9:13 pm

ClassicsCAT August - In Translation

Candide by Voltaire

An incisive satire. There are horrific and fantastical sections but often a modern parallel comes to mind making this work as relevant today as when it was published in 1759. I have to admit I was more impressed the first time I read it about 50 years ago.

aug 19, 8:06 am

>37 VivienneR: I agree entirely - I read Candide in my late teens and loved it, and was a bit less enamoured when I reread it a few years ago.

aug 19, 8:42 pm

>38 Jackie_K: Isn't that strange? I would have thought it would be the teen who found it less appealing. When I look back, I probably liked it because it was a completely new reading experience.

aug 21, 12:19 am

Bingo - a number or quantity in the title

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

Violet finds herself at 38, one of the "surplus women" a sad result of the Great War when an entire generation of men were lost. Living with her increasingly crochety mother she realizes her only option is to leave home and become independent. A typing job in Winchester barely pays for a room, food is a luxury but she delights in her independence. Visiting Winchester Cathedral provides a pleasant break in her limited life and one day she discovered a group of broderers, who are embroidering kneeling cushions and seat covers for the quire. This proves to be the beginning of a happy task and friendship.

Although the story is quite slow, I was captivated by every word. And I was surprised to find the embroidered cushions are part of the real life assets of Winchester Cathedral making the story more memorable.

aug 22, 8:16 am

>40 VivienneR: Chevalier is one of my fav authors. This book is on my WL and now I'm moving it up!

aug 22, 12:53 pm

Happy new thread!
Nice to see you liked Al Capone Shines My Shoes, it's a great series that I got my sister hooked on.
Noting Snobbery with Violence, that sounds fun!

aug 22, 4:03 pm

>41 Tess_W: Yes, move it up!

>42 mstrust: That Al Capone series is really well done! I've only read two but really enjoyed them. Snobbery with Violence gave me a few guffaws and eye rolls.

aug 22, 4:04 pm

Bingo - local or regional author

An Old Cold Grave by Iona Whishaw

What I enjoy most in Whishaw's books are the mentions of the area in British Columbia near where I now live such as Nelson and Balfour. Each time I drive along that road I try to imagine the King's Cove buildings, separated by paths and overlooking the lake as described in the series. The recollection of life in the 1940s is not always rosy, especially when homeless, abandoned children were involved. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the budding romance between Lane and Inspector Darling, and look forward to reading more books in the series.

aug 23, 7:40 am

>40 VivienneR: - Looking at my BB list, I see that I've already taken a BB for this back in 2019. Guess I should get to it. Maybe next year.

aug 24, 3:03 pm

>45 dudes22: Whishaw's books are so popular here that it can be tricky finding the next in the series at the library. They are certainly well done.

Redigerat: aug 25, 12:58 am

GeoCAT August: West and Central Asia

Small Wars by Sadie Jones

This is my review of 2013: Set in the 1950s during the military conflict in Cyprus, this is an example of how war - no matter how small - can bring tragedy for those involved. The author has a beautiful writing style and even though the characters have difficulty expressing their emotions, Jones is skilled at allowing the reader to understand them. An excellent work that I can recommend highly.

All I have to add is that military conflict of any kind is a messy business with no winners.

aug 25, 6:22 am

>46 VivienneR: - I was talking about Chevalier, but that's good to know also.

aug 30, 1:27 am

>48 dudes22: Oh, sorry. I guess Whishaw was still on my mind. :)

Chevalier's book was quiet and understated. I enjoyed it.

aug 30, 1:28 am

ScaredyKIT August - Favourite Trope

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

This debut novel shows that Fields has a remarkable ability for writing grit lit, tartan noir, or whatever you choose to call it. This is the first in a series featuring DI Luc Callanach, a Scottish-born French detective whose mother removed him from Scotland at four years old when they moved to France. He was a one-time model, then most recently employed by Interpol. He is now a DI in Scotland's police service in Edinburgh working with another officer, DCI Ava Turner, where they are investigating a case of missing women and a second case of abandoned new born babies.The missing women crime is gripping, gruesome, somewhat reminiscent of Jussi Adler-Olsen's noir novels. It kept me up until 3am because I couldn’t put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and look forward to following the series.

aug 30, 11:48 pm

>50 VivienneR: I was about to add this series to my list when I realized that I already have the first three patiently waiting for me on my Kindle. I have been avoiding starting new series but this one has really caught my attention.

aug 31, 12:54 am

>51 DeltaQueen50: Good! I'm sure you'll enjoy the series, Judy!

sep 1, 2:51 pm

>53 VivienneR: A great list with several books for me to pursue.

sep 1, 5:02 pm

>54 JoeB1934: Thank you, Joe! I always enjoy reading lists posted by other readers too.

Redigerat: sep 1, 7:48 pm

ClassicsCAT September: Non-Fiction

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Sometimes a book just grabs your attention from the first page and hangs on to it. This is one of those books. I used to work in a polar research library so this is a story I know very well, yet I was completely captivated. It is understandable that it has become a classic since its publication in 1959. It was fabulous, right to the last page when I admit I became a little emotional. This is a strong contender for my book of the year.

And if you haven't come across it yet, this is another book that deserves a mention:
Mrs Chippy's Last Expedition: The Remarkable Journey of Shackleton's Polar-Bound Cat by Caroline Alexander

I was happy that Lansing mentioned the carpenter Harry McNeish known as Chippy and his cat Mrs Chippy. McNeish was buried in Karori Cemetery, Wellington by the New Zealand Antarctic Society with a sculpture of Mrs Chippy on his grave.

sep 1, 5:30 pm

>56 VivienneR: Endurance sounds excellent, so it's now on the wish list.

sep 1, 7:47 pm

>57 pamelad: Glad to help fill up your wishlist!

sep 2, 4:49 pm

RandomKIT September: The Wild, Wild West

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

This was my second reading and more enjoyable than the first when the book was in the throes of publicity hype, which only points to my contrariness. I enjoyed the humour more this time, and appreciated the fine qualities of the good-natured Eli, a generally kind and generous man. His appreciation of the new toothbrush and powder was delightful. However, the contrasting violent scenes keep this from being a sweet, sleep-inducing account. Not only was this a well told story, filled with wonderful characters, but the relationship between the brothers is remarkably complex. Both are hired guns, and while Charlie is belligerent and violent, Eli can pull his weight with a gun yet is understanding of his brother's malevolence. I'm glad I gave this entertaining book a second chance.

sep 4, 12:13 am

SeriesCAT September: Began over 50 years ago

Babes in the Wood by Ruth Rendell

The is 19th in the Inspector Wexford series that started in 1964

From experience, I should be more wary about reading a Rendell mystery. Her characters are always so irritating. In this case even more so: the father of two missing children doesn't care a whit and considers their disappearance as an inconvenience. Wexford should have taken him in for questioning right away to give him a wake up call at the very least. After a meandering investigation I'm finished. This was wasted time for me. I kept hoping it would get better and it didn't. If you like Rendel's Wexford series, my advice is to skip this one.

Redigerat: sep 7, 2:46 pm

AlphaKIT September: V

Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton

This is an Agatha Raisin novel from early in the series that I seem to have missed back in the day. I have found the older ones to be more fun. Agatha's cats have a small part in this one.

sep 7, 7:18 pm

Historical Fiction Challenge - Real Event

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot by Lettice Cooper

Cooper's story is a clear and expertly presented account of the plot to blow up King James I, his family, and the House of Lords and Commons in 1605. An easy read and a pleasant surprise.

An anonymous letter addressed to Baron Monteagle warned that his friends and family would be in danger at the opening of Parliament on November 5 "They shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament, and yet shall not see who hurts them." When the message was relayed to the King he was reminded of the murder of his father, Lord Darnley and immediately understood that the wording indicated gunpowder was to be used. He ordered a search of the cellars. Fawkes was discovered but was able to put the searchers at ease by saying his master, Thomas Percy stored firewood there for the coming winter. The King was not taken in. He dispatched a Justice of the Peace for Westminster accompanied by a troop of soldiers to arrive late at night on the 4th November successfully catching Fawkes and foiling the plot. When Londoners heard of the plot and outcome they chose to burn his effigy on the many bonfires blazing in celebration that night. Fawkes was tortured before giving up any information about his co-conspirators. The result was that sterner laws against Catholics were passed, exactly the opposite of what they intended. The memory has been kept alive ever since by children of England who celebrate his capture by lighting bonfires and burning Guy Fawkes effigies.

Please to remember
The Fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot;
I know no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

sep 11, 2:44 pm

MysteryKIT September - With a College or University Setting

Service of All the Dead by Colin Dexter

Chosen as a mystery sure to have connections with academia, this was a disappointment. It may be the only Dexter novel not to be associated with an Oxford college. The story crept along at a snail's pace to the dragged out conclusion. Not one of Dexter's best.

AlphaKIT September - E

The Engine House: A Black Beacons Murder Mystery by Rhys Dylan

Set in Wales, Dylan's novel provides a dark twist on the murder mystery. A landslip reveals the remains of a couple who went missing eight years previously. Ex-DCO Warlow is brought back from retirement to take up the investigation again, offering him a second chance to solve the crime. My interest was captured at the beginning and although the story flagged somewhat it regained my attention by the end. This is the first book in a series that interests me enough to keep an eye out for the second.

sep 14, 8:38 pm

MysteryKIT September: University setting

Last Seen Wearing by Hillary Waugh

When an eighteen year-old college student disappears after morning classes, her friends check all the logical places like the infirmary, hospitals, without finding any sign of her. She has just disappeared. What follows is a detailed account of the police investigation, said to be the first police procedural novel.

Waugh's book was published back in 1952 when attitudes generally were different from today. For example, the police interrogated a young woman who had done absolutely nothing wrong, apart from not being able to give the information they wanted about a suspect. Their opinions of women were abysmal, although to some degree, accurate. I disliked all of the detectives who had zero sympathy for the missing girl or her father (who was also unlikeable). None of female characters were developed: wives who serve cocktails and go back to their kitchens, the mother with barely a line. Acceptable only because it's expected of the era. If the reader can overlook the dated style they will find it to be a gripping suspense novel, hard to put down.

sep 15, 11:48 am

>63 VivienneR: I would have thought a mystery set in Oxford would involve the university too. On the second mentioned: I'll wait until there are three in the series to see if the ratings improve. No need to start a new series if I'm going to drop it after the third one.

>64 VivienneR: Those older novels are definitely hit or miss because of writing styles and viewpoints.

sep 15, 3:53 pm

>65 thornton37814: Waiting for opinions of a third book is a good plan!

I agree, the older novels can mean taking a chance, but this one was good overall and an interesting development for mystery novels.

sep 17, 3:18 pm

ScaredyKIT September - Haunted Houses (palace in this case)

The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart

The impoverished Princess Alexandrina whose father, the Maharajah, has just died, is offered a "grace and favour" apartment in Hampton Court Palace, courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Pooki, the only maid remaining in her employ is terrified of ghosts and believes the palace to be haunted. When one of the other palace inhabitants dies after eating Pooki's pigeon pie, she becomes a murder suspect that the princess must investigate. Stuart's entertaining story is crazy, laugh out loud funny yet somehow credible. I enjoy her writing and host of exceptional, zany characters to say nothing of the history lesson. However, The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise will always be my favourite.

sep 17, 5:53 pm

GeoCAT September - Africa (Botswana)

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith

Another in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series featuring the endearing Precious Ramotswe. While I love this series and love getting to know Botswana through Mma Ramotswe, I have to leave plenty of time between books or I begin to feel the same as when I eat too much chocolate.

I listened to the audio version with an outstanding reading by Lisette Lecat.

sep 17, 9:43 pm

>68 VivienneR: I loved your comment about feeling the same as when you eat too much chocolate. It's been a while since I've read a book in this series, so it's probably OK to pick one up again. 😄

sep 18, 12:33 am

>69 mathgirl40: That's what I thought too, Paulina. I was glad I picked one up again because it was very enjoyable. The audio made a big difference too. I've only read this series in print before.

sep 18, 4:02 pm

>68 VivienneR: >69 mathgirl40: I agree about the too much chocolate too! I'm managing about one a year at the moment, and that's great!

sep 18, 6:34 pm

>71 Jackie_K: My first McCall Smith was Corduroy Mansions that sent me on a search for as much as I could read or the library could supply. Now I spread them out and love the occasional visits to Botswana or Scotland Street.

sep 19, 11:10 am

I was at my library a few days ago and McCall Smith had three newly released books on the "new arrival" shelf.

Redigerat: sep 19, 4:51 pm

>73 mstrust: Wow! Did you pick up any? All three? I just had a look at his website that says he writes four or five books a year!

Only one is at my local library.

sep 19, 6:04 pm

I didn't, my arms were already full, but I hope to get bak to them.
Four or five a year sounds about right for him. He's the comfort version of Stephen King.

sep 20, 2:53 pm

AlphaKIT September - V & E

Elementary She Read by Vicki Delany

Delany writes the Molly Smith mystery series that I enjoy, set in Nelson, a town near where I live. However, I was unfamiliar with this series or I might have tried them sooner. The setting is a bookshop and emporium at 222 Baker Street, West London, Cape Cod run by English expat Gemma Doyle (no relation) who is as smart and introverted as Sherlock himself. I borrowed this one as a trial and am glad to report that I enjoyed it a lot even though I've never been a particular fan of Holmes. There were plenty of Sherlockian references and humour and a hint of possible romance. I look forward to reading more.

sep 22, 2:20 pm

Historical Fiction Challenge - a less familiar time period (9th century)

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Set in the late 9th century, the carnage Cornwell describes makes me wonder how humans survived. The slaughter doesn't even compare to all the bloody mysteries I have read over the years. It is well written but tough going because it is not much to my liking. I'd prefer non-fiction for this era.

sep 22, 7:10 pm

>77 VivienneR: I devoured this series last year! Although it is HF, many of the personages were real historical figures at the time. There is a great TV series by the same name.

sep 23, 2:29 am

>78 Tess_W: The real historical figures were what I liked most, Tess. And yes, I can understand devouring the series but I just couldn't take the gore. Maybe on another day it wouldn't bother me as much. I rarely watch tv but I think I might have seen part of an episode from the series which inspired me to get this book.

sep 24, 8:59 pm

>79 VivienneR: Lots of gore, for sure; although I suspect anything Viking/Danes might lean toward that.

sep 24, 9:08 pm

>80 Tess_W: My DIL told me to keep on going, the series is excellent. Undecided still, but I'll keep it in mind. I'm pretty sure if you liked it, I will. Thanks for the input, Tess.

sep 25, 5:11 pm

Historical Fiction Challenge: favourite time period - 20th century

A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black

So slow and meandering that at times I almost forgot a murder was being investigated. When an infamous newspaperman is found shot with his own shotgun it is thought at first that it was suicide. No one was particularly upset. Despite the title I always visualize Black's Quirke stories in dismal, smoky, black and white, particularly fitting for this bleak story that looks at Dublin's anti-Semitism and dark topics that were usually kept quiet in 1950s Ireland. As always, Black's writing is outstanding.

sep 25, 5:36 pm

>82 VivienneR:. Yes, everything is grey. The only cheerful people are corrupt, and the rest are doomed, depressed and drunk.

sep 26, 12:32 am

>83 pamelad: Black certainly had a bleak view of Dublin and its people.

sep 27, 1:32 am

Historical Fiction Challenge - set in a different country - America

Bullet for a Star by Stuart Kaminski

A good choice for this prompt, historical fiction in America, because it featured America's famous movie stars of the 1940s. I can't say I knew them all or all the movies mentioned, but knew enough to make it fun and push me to look for more in the series. It would make a great read for a fan of Hollywood's Golden Age movies.

sep 27, 3:58 pm

ScaredyKIT September - Haunted houses

A Skeleton In the Family by Leigh Perry

When Georgia Thackery was six years old, a power failure at a carnival left her alone in the dark. She heard a disturbing man's voice trying to get her attention and was afraid, rightly so. Fortunately a rescuer in the unlikely form of a skeleton arrived and returned her to appreciative parents. The skeleton went home to live secretly with Georgia and her parents, both academics who named him Sid. Georgia, now an adjunct professor and single parent arranges an examination by a grad student (in exchange for a parking permit) that reveals Sid was murdered. Georgia and Sid investigate. He is a sweet, funny character, and as far-fetched as it seems, Perry makes it work beautifully. I mean, books have talking cats, dogs and any other creature you care to name, why not a skeleton? Perry recounts many of the issues for adjuncts and college life in general. I've previously read a later book in the series and enjoyed it thoroughly but glad I went back to this one, the first in the series. I look forward to more.

I haven't been entertained as much by a mystery novel since I started reading Agatha Christie when I was a tween.

My thanks to LittleTaiko who recommended this fun series.

sep 28, 1:49 pm

>85 VivienneR: I have been working my way through the Toby Peters series. I am a huge fan of the old black and white movies and I am really enjoying these books. My next in the series is #6 High Midnight which features my all time favorite, Gary Cooper.

sep 28, 3:15 pm

>87 DeltaQueen50: Your tempting reviews were what made me pick up this book. I have to admit my knowledge of movies and actors is sparse - I usually have to ask my husband for information. But this is definitely a fun series - and a mystery series - what more can I ask?

sep 28, 5:28 pm

>85 VivienneR: I've borrowed this on KoboPlus because I'm definitely a fan of thirties and forties Hollywood movies. And because October's GeoCAT is North America.

sep 28, 7:12 pm

>89 pamelad: In that case, you'll love it! I only know Errol Flynn from Gone with the Wind and of course Bogart, who makes an appearance. I didn't know any others. I'm sure I missed a host of movie references.

sep 28, 11:10 pm

>90 VivienneR: Clark Gable from Gone With The Wind? I’ll find out when I read it!

sep 29, 2:38 pm

>91 pamelad: Oops. Proves old movies are not my field of expertise.

okt 1, 2:04 pm

Bingo - features a journalist

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

Connelly is a fairly new author for me and this Jack McEvoy and Rachel Waling book was a winner. It’s a fast moving action thriller even though the plot required substantial suspension of disbelief. McEvoy is a journalist who is being let go because not only has the delivery of news changed, but he costs more than the new kids in the business. Together with Waling, an FBI agent, they pair work on identifying the murderer responsible for a grisly series of murdered women. McEvoy believes he has the makings of a great story and the paper will beg him to come back. Complex and gripping.

Redigerat: okt 7, 4:47 pm

RandomKIT October - Treats, not Tricks

This one was definitely a Treat!

Marple: Twelve New Stories

Twelve writers have maintained their own unique style while capturing Christie's Miss Marple accurately, and without resorting to parody. These intriguing murderous puzzles are as delicious as Christie's own. Some even include Christie-like blinkered expression, suggesting prejudice. Just like any collection of short stories, including Dame Christie's own, some were better than others although I enjoyed all of them. My favourite was The Second Murder in the Vicarage by Val McDermid.

AlphaKIT October - H & N

A Darker Shade of Noir: New Stories of Body Horror by Women Writers

The phrase "body horror" was unfamiliar to me and I thought this collection of short stories would be a worthwhile introduction. Without doubt, it certainly lived up to my expectations. The short story is ideal for this type of tale because it has more impact than a longer, drawn out format. And some of these stories certainly have an impact. An excellent collection but not for the faint of heart.

Bingo - Popular author's first book

Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth

A frustrating story with equally frustrating characters. The idea of a criminal conspiracy led by a man wearing a blank rubber mask, whose gang members follow implicitly even without knowing his identity, is too much to stomach. And then we are presented with the characters: Charles Moray a milk-and-water hero, jilted four years previously by Margaret, who, being another lame duck would have been his perfect partner; Margot, the heiress in jeopardy, is what would be called an air-head in modern parlance, loved by Archie, who is the most normal, but I suspect only because he has relatively few appearances. And then Miss Silver, who seems to investigate through psychic powers alone.

If old-fashioned mystery novels appeal and remembering that this was written almost a hundred years ago, it can be enjoyed to a certain extent.

It appears in the Golden Age era the way to get rid of a character temporarily is to send them a trip by air or sea.

If you are wondering how Miss Silver compares with Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: Marple wins hands down. In fact, Christie at her least appealing is the indisputable champion.

Only one more square to fill!

okt 6, 5:37 pm

>95 VivienneR: Only one square--that's where I'm at too! I see you're left with "involves an accident". That one wasn't easy for me to fill. Hope you've got something good planned!

okt 6, 5:41 pm

>95 VivienneR: Ah, sorry Grey Mask was a dud! I actually enjoyed it, but I can definitely understand why it didn't work for you. :) And I would 100% agree that Agatha Christie is far superior!

okt 6, 6:27 pm

>96 NinieB: It hasn't been an easy square for me either. I've checked possibilities and found the "accident" was a very minor part of the story. It's been narrowed down to Accident by Design by E.C.R. Lorac. Looking forward to it, I've enjoyed others by Lorac.

okt 6, 6:32 pm

>97 christina_reads: I wouldn't say it was a dud, just less than what I'd hoped. Miss Silver was the biggest disappointment. And Margot (Greta) was frightfully funny at first then became frightfully tiresome. :)

okt 6, 7:37 pm

>99 VivienneR: The Miss Silver of Grey Mask is not at all like the Miss Silver of the subsequent books. I'm a fan, and like that the characters, including Miss Silver, are people with jobs mostly from lower social strata than Agatha Christie's characters. I also don't mind that there's usually a bit of light romance. Wentworth's plots aren't nearly as intricate as Dame Agatha's, but whose are?

Patricia Wentworth's first book was A Marriage Under the Terror in 1910.

okt 6, 8:19 pm

>95 VivienneR: JCO is excellent at choosing stories for an anthology. I read her earlier horror anthology and have this one lined up to read soon. I'm glad it's another strong collection.

okt 6, 9:20 pm

>100 pamelad: Thank you for that information. I suspected as much and am glad because I have more ebooks by Wentworth. As it wasn't her first book, looks like I'll have to do that square again.

>101 RidgewayGirl: While she is a bit dark for my taste, from previous comments I know you like JCO. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I liked the introduction too. You will enjoy it for sure.

okt 7, 6:39 pm

SeriesCAT October - Asian setting

Reflecting the Sky by S.J. Rozan

This is the 7th in the series and the first one for me so I had some catching up to do. Lydia Chin and Bill Smith have been asked to deliver the ashes of a friend for burial in Hong Kong. While there, they investigate a break-in and become suspects. Although the plot is quite complicated, it is jam-packed with Hong Kong atmosphere and Lydia and Bill are excellent characters. Interesting to see Lydia, a Chinese-American, regarded as American when in China, while at home in America her Chinese origin is noticed first. I know how she feels.

okt 7, 6:52 pm

>95 VivienneR:, >100 pamelad:, >102 VivienneR: I've removed Grey Mask by Patricia Wentworth from the Bingo card since Pamela pointed out it wasn't the first book by the author. Happily it also fits this month's ClassicCAT. I have several to choose from but will probably read Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok for that Bingo square.

okt 7, 7:45 pm

>103 VivienneR: That's a really good series. The stories switch back and forth between Lydia and Bill, so in one Lydia's Chinatown world is the focus, and in the next Bill's world is the focus. I never finished reading it, but I should have.

okt 8, 8:34 am

>103 VivienneR: I'm looking for a good series, so I'm going to put the first book on my WL.

okt 8, 2:29 pm

>104 VivienneR: That was my first S.J. Rozan although as mentioned, not the first in the series. I'm hoping to get to that one soon. It was not the usual run of the mill mystery which makes it more interesting.

okt 11, 3:04 pm

GeoCAT October - Canada

Under Cold Stone by Vicki Delany

I've missed two in the series but jumping ahead did not affect my enjoyment of this Molly Smith novel, set in the area where I live. The setting for this one was mostly in Banff, Alberta, in the heart of the Rockies, and the fictional town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, Mollie's home town on the western edge of the Rockies. I've enjoyed all of the series but this could be my favourite, mostly because of my familiarity with the locations.

Mollie's parents were 1960s hippies (common in this area) who named their daughter Moonlight. Now that she is grown up and a cop, she prefers Mollie. Her widowed mother is in a relationship with police chief Paul Keller, and on a short Thanksgiving break in Banff when Paul's son reported the murder of his roommate. Matt then takes off before he can be questioned, making him a suspect. Molly joined her mother for support and as a civilian tries to find Matt. Meanwhile in Trafalgar a situation is growing between developers and environmental activists regarding the potential development at the Grizzly Resort. The two cases come together in a dramatic conclusion.

Redigerat: okt 12, 3:54 pm

Finished three this morning!

ClassicsCAT October - by women

The Party at No 5 by Shelley Smith

Mrs Roach, a genteel widow of limited means, is hired as companion for aging Mrs Rampage in her home filled with precious collectables, who calculates the value of everything to the penny. Altercations begin, as anyone might expect. While the situation of both women is dismal, their antics are comical, until it's not funny any more but tragic.

Thanks to DeltaQueen50 and Keating's list for the BB.

Bingo - Involves an accident

Saturday by Ian McEwan

A very clever story about one ordinary Saturday in the life of neurosurgeon, Henry Perowne, a day that is shattered by violence, a minor car accident, and a plane crash witnessed. For such a short book, McEwan dips into many topics. If you like McEwan, you will love this one.

Bingo - First book by popular author

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

An account of a mother and young daughter who arrived in Brooklyn from Hong Kong. Despite experiencing dire conditions, the worst imaginable, the daughter went on to earn a full scholarship at a prestigious school that proved to be no relief because as well as her studies she still has to help her mother in her sweatshop job. School was just as challenging, where she looks different, sounds different, and wears the cheapest clothes. Students are encouraged by teachers to watch the news, read newspapers, and discuss current events with their parents, not realizing for this child, it is impossible. It's heartbreaking to read about the difficulties that many immigrants suffer and it appears the author may have had first hand knowledge.

I'm off now to search for something less depressing.

And that completes my Bingo card!

okt 12, 4:41 pm

>109 VivienneR: Congratulations on completing the Bingo Card.

I also found The Party at No 5 in the Keating list and went on to read a few more Shelley Smith's. Time for another, so I've just bought Background for Murder. You can't go wrong at $A.99.

Redigerat: okt 12, 6:00 pm

>110 pamelad: I agree! I really enjoyed it and have already added An Afternoon to Kill. The price is right!

ETA Thanks for the Bingo congrats.

okt 12, 8:39 pm

Congrats on finishing your Bingo card

okt 13, 5:14 am

Congrats on finishing your Bingo card!

okt 13, 12:21 pm

Congratulations on completing your Bingo card. I am also happy that you enjoyed The Party at No. 5, I have also been picking up a few more by Shelley Smith.

okt 13, 12:57 pm

>112 lowelibrary:, >113 MissWatson:, >114 DeltaQueen50: Thank you all. It was a fun Bingo, some easy, some tricky. Glad I was able to finish early without having to make an all-out effort in December.

okt 13, 1:31 pm

AlphaKIT October N

Now is not the time to panic by Kevin Wilson

In 1996 two teenage loners meet and decide to combine their talent for art and writing to create posters that they plaster all over town. They attract more attention than they could ever imagine and things get out of control.

I really enjoyed the characters, the story, and the 1990's culture. Wilson's plots are always delightfully unique.

okt 13, 7:23 pm

I mentioned on the Bingo thread my congratulations but I 'll say it here again!

okt 14, 1:13 am

Thank you again, Betty.

Redigerat: okt 16, 1:32 pm

ScaredyKIT October - Tricks, not treats

The Dead Pass by Colin Bateman

Private detective Dan Starkey has taken on a new case to find the missing son of a political activist. In Northern Ireland, anything political is bound to involve some "tricks" and this one didn't disappoint. Dan risks his well-being when he finds himself searching on the other, unfamiliar side of the fence, as well as being deep in the sex trade. Ribald, and filled with typical Ulster humour. His searching is so inept that at one point police suspect him of murder. I have a hunch that one of the most villainous characters is a parody of a well-known politician who will remain unnamed. Although this is darker than usual for Bateman, I had many laugh-out-loud moments, mostly provided by the excellent audio narration. Not for anyone easily offended.

Not meant to be scary in the usual sense but I wouldn't want his job.

okt 16, 12:18 pm

Taking a hit for The Party at No. 5 and Now Is Not the Time to Panic, they both sound good. Thanks!

okt 16, 1:33 pm

>120 mstrust: Two good ones, you'll enjoy them! Thanks for dropping in.

okt 17, 12:06 am

KiddyCAT October - Siblings

The case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

Enola's mother has gone. Her brothers Mycroft and Sherlock are unsympathetic and choose to send her to a boarding school. By solving a cipher left by her mother, Enola is able to locate some money hidden for her use. She sets off in search of Mum. Along the way she is educated in a way of life unknown until now. I thoroughly enjoyed this short book.

okt 19, 12:18 am

ClassicsCAT October - by women

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Even though I figured out the murderer, this was one of Christie's best.

okt 19, 7:53 pm

AlphaKIT October H

This is What Happened by Mick Herron

It's almost impossible to comment on this book without spoilers. I found the beginning a bit slow before realizing my lack of attention nearly caused me to miss some key plot information. Maggie left her sister and abusive boyfriend and moved to London to work in the mail room of a large office building. She was approached by an MI5 agent, Harvey, who offered her the chance to become an agent. All she had to do was install a flash drive containing a surveillance system in a top-floor office computer. It is during this operation where the reader meets Maggie at the beginning of the book.

The plot seems familiar, it must have been used before. Without doubt, Herron does it well here, combining espionage, mystery, horror and even some evil wit - after all, this is Herron. I could see where it was going from early on, but that was fine, I was happy to go along for the ride. It doesn't reach Slow Horses excellence, but he hooked this reader.

okt 22, 7:25 pm

Historical Fiction Challenge - real event: WWII

On Desperate Ground by James R. Benn

Benn is a terrific writer, effortlessly taking the reader along with the story and fine characters. It was interesting to see things from the German side and refreshing to read a more realistic account without concentrating on the horror. An excellent book and I'm now looking forward to reading the author's Billy Boyle series.

The title is from a quote of Sun Tze: "Desperate ground is no place of refuge at all".

Luckily I found this when I was looking for the author's Billy Boyle series that was recommended by mysterymax.

okt 23, 5:24 am

>126 dudes22: - I got my husband into this series because of mysterymax too.

Redigerat: okt 23, 12:32 pm

>126 dudes22: Benn is a very good writer. He was an excellent recommendation.

Redigerat: okt 25, 4:37 pm

MysteryKIT October: Locked Room

In the Morning I'll be Gone by Adrian McKinty

Sean Duffy, a detective with Northern Ireland's Royal Ulster Constabulary in the early 1980s, is currently on shaky ground with the force. He considers his options of demotion to foot patrol and keeping his pension, or resignation. As a Catholic cop in a largely Protestant police force he is seen as a traitor by childhood friends, particularly Dermot McCann who is one of a group of escapees from the Maze prison. Then a couple of MI5 agents approach him with a tempting alternative of finding McCann for them and keeping his job. In the course of the investigation he meets with McCann's mother-in-law, still mourning the death of her daughter, Lizzie. She promises to deliver McCann if Sean will investigate Lizzie's death and name the murderer. She was found in the family-owned pub, doors locked on the inside and no escape route. Although her injuries indicate an attack because of the locked room her death was ruled accidental. His perseverance pays off and the reward is a brief phone call, a tip-off to McCann's whereabouts. The location is not immediately a clue to his intentions, but ultimately reveals a plan to bomb the hotel in Brighton where Maggie Thatcher will be speaking at the Conservative Party conference.

A classic locked room mystery wrapped in the unique political conflict of Northern Ireland, using authentic events and real people, all of which give this mystery a captivating appeal. Location, time and well drawn characters make this fast-moving mystery thoroughly satisfying.

Redigerat: okt 26, 3:14 pm

AlphaKIT October - H

The River by Peter Heller

An enthralling story of a canoe trip in Canada's northern wilderness. I love outdoor adventure stories so this was right up my street. Two college friends face a forest fire, a badly injured woman and some unwelcome company. It is filled with suspense that made it a page-turner, hard to put down. And although the ending was disappointing it did not lower my rating.

okt 27, 5:58 am

>129 VivienneR: - I posted on the other thread that I've already taken a BB for this and hope to get to it next year. I've seen this author mentioned by a few people and the books sound like I'd like them.

okt 27, 12:51 pm

>129 VivienneR: I really liked this one, too. It felt so old-fashioned that it took me a bit to realize the story wasn't taking place in the 1960s.

okt 27, 2:49 pm

>130 dudes22: Good choice! I'm sure you will like Heller.

>131 RidgewayGirl: Agree! I kept trying to determine when it was set by watching out for mentions of technology. It certainly had a 60s vibe.

okt 27, 3:55 pm

>129 VivienneR: I am amazed that I haven't seen this book before. When I look at LT Recommendations, I find that 8 other books that I have read are on the list for this book. I looked on Libby and found immediate access to the audio, so I have it on my phone. Will read it next while here in broken hip Rehab.

okt 28, 12:09 am

Oh no! I'm so sorry you have a broken hip, Joe. I hope you recover quickly and easily. I hope Peter Heller's book helps - even though there is a lot of canoe paddling that might not be good for your condition. :) Get well soon.

okt 29, 8:51 pm

Historical Fiction Challenge - Country other than yours

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Oh dear, what a disappointment. What dreadful people! I expected more from the creator of Downton Abbey but of course, with no real story, no big names playing aristocrats and swishing about in grand crinolines, then this is all there is.

okt 30, 11:21 am

>135 VivienneR: I found that one disappointing as well. The "story" didn't really have enough meat to sustain a full-length novel, though it may have worked as an hour-long TV show.

okt 31, 12:35 am

>136 christina_reads: Yes, tea and brittle conversation can take up a lot of pages without anything really happening. You're right, an hour-long TV show would have been better.

okt 31, 1:08 pm

MysteryKIT October: Locked Room

Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie

I've been searching for this book for a while because although I knew the culprit, I couldn't remember anything else about it. It's not easy to find a book by who-done-it. It was only on the last few pages that I realized I had the right book. It was an enjoyable locked room mystery so it fits well with October's MysteryKIT challenge.

Redigerat: okt 31, 6:11 pm

>139 VivienneR: This one of the best lists for me to find new books. Thanks very much.

okt 31, 11:59 pm

>140 JoeB1934: Glad to be of help, Joe. I hope you're recovery is going well.

nov 5, 11:50 pm

MysteryKIT November: Senior Sleuths

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

I'm not sure that I followed all the complexities of the plot but this second book from the Thursday Murder Club was fantastic. The characters are wonderful and I like that the fun is mixed with serious issues.

nov 6, 4:19 pm

>142 VivienneR: I'm hoping to finish this book this week, I'm enjoying it very much. He's so good at creating characters you care about.

nov 6, 5:13 pm

>143 Jackie_K: Yes, the characters seem more like old friends - not that my friends are anything like this.

nov 6, 8:24 pm

I tried, but Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is not for me. I couldn't bear reading about the torture of young children with the mistaken idea that it will make them more beautiful. Foot-binding - it sounds almost innocuous (I remember very well what I suffered when I took ballet) - but reading the details is absolutely horrendous. I know that there was more to See's book but there is no way I will ever find out what it was.

I'm just finishing Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss that also has some abuse of a child, for a different cause, but no less disgusting. The worst is over in Moss's book but I've no intention of going through any more cruelty to children.

nov 7, 2:09 pm

RandomKIT November: A Little Light

Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss

Alfred Moberly, an aesthete artist, married Elizabeth Sanderson, a religious zealot who abhors any kind of pleasure or beauty. There was no indication of her opinion of the opulent rooms he designed for clients. Elizabeth's abuse of her daughter Ally, started at birth. Surprisingly, Ally, and a second daughter, May, survived. This was not a mere Puritanical upbringing but sheer cruelty. It was difficult to decide if Alfred was too busy with his art and meeting with wealthy clients to intervene or if he just closed his eyes to what was happening.

Ally grew up determined to train as a doctor, in part inspired by her mother's work at a home for poor women but also in an attempt to attain Elizabeth's approval. Moss gives a lot of attention to the startling state of the all-male medical establishment at the time including the barbaric Contagious Diseases Act introduced in 1864 as an attempt to protect men from sexually transmitted disease by arresting any woman out alone, no matter how innocent, and enforcing an invasive examination.

In the first half of the book there was little continuity in the story that jumped from one abusive event to another. I was tempted to abandon it and only continued because I have enjoyed other books by Moss. The second half improved but by then Ally is having panic attacks that are diagnosed as hysteria and treated with painful "blistering" with candles as well as physical work such as scrubbing floors. The latter part dealt with Ally's training as a doctor, describing the prejudice she experienced.

Although Moss's writing can be beautiful and her research is impeccable, I cannot say I enjoyed this depressing book.

nov 7, 3:47 pm

KiddyCAT November: Legends

Rowan Hood Returns by Nancy Springer

I really enjoyed this series and am sorry to come to the final book. I'll miss the characters.

nov 10, 4:12 am

>129 VivienneR: I've read Heller's The Painter and was also disappointed with the ending.

nov 11, 12:14 am

>148 Tess_W: I have The Painter on my library list. If I ever get around to it I hope I remember your opinion about the ending, maybe it won't be such a rude awakening.

nov 11, 10:09 am

I've had The Painter on TBR several years. I read and disliked Celine so I'm not sure when I'll give it a try.

nov 11, 3:04 pm

>150 clue: Celine seems to be a departure from his usual style - or at least what I've read so far. I'll follow your opinion and avoid that one.

nov 11, 11:23 pm

GeoCAT November - East Asia (Hong Kong)

Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly

A gripping story but there were a few times when Harry Bosch needed to stop and think of what he was doing, like flashing his money around in Hong Kong like he's a tourist.

nov 12, 4:41 pm

SeriesCAT November: Historical

Hasty Death by Marion Chesney

In an attempt to earn their own living Lady Rose and her maid get jobs as typists without much success, although they learned shorthand and typing in no time at all. A fun story, and a quick read.

nov 14, 1:58 pm

AlphaKIT November L

Cappuccinos, cupcakes and a corpse by Harper Lin

Francesca has moved back to her childhood home after the death of her mother. Now she is running the family coffee shop. When she found an elderly neighbour dead, poisoned with a cup of coffee, she becomes a suspect. The dead man's son is an old friend and knows better. Together they investigate. This is the first in a fun cozy mystery series that leaves room for a possible romance to develop. I look forward to reading more.

Redigerat: nov 17, 3:31 pm

Historical Fiction Challenge - a different country than your own - Northern Ireland

I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty

Another excellent mystery tale from Northern Ireland during “The Troubles”. McKinty combines a tantalizing mystery of a body torso found in a suitcase with an accurate description of the political situation of the 1980s.

This is the second novel of the series and what is most impressive is the authenticity of his description of the politics of the time. I read the third in the series last month and was even more impressed. Terrific story and characters. I’m looking forward to continuing with the series.

nov 17, 9:28 pm

AlphaKIT November - L

After the Storm by Jane Lythell

A British couple, Rob and Anna get the opportunity to sail to Belize with the owners of a sail boat owned by Americans Owen and Kim. The journey is very different from the idyllic voyage they imagine, and demonstrates the perils of living in close quarters with strangers, with no chance of escape. Sounds promising but unfortunately the story quickly became boring. Even the late action scene could not revive it.

nov 17, 10:43 pm

>155 VivienneR: Awhile back I was trying to come up with a reasonable list of series I wanted to continue next year and I put this on the list. I thought I had read 2 but I just cataloged one in LT so I'll have to figure out where to start. I really liked the first. Amazon shows his last books are standalones. I'm not sure one of them is for me, Stephen King described it as "nightmarish" so it may be too much!

nov 18, 12:14 am

>157 clue: Well, I've only read the first three (out of order) so I can't comment on the later books. What impresses me is how accurately he describes the situation in Northern Ireland - although I know there were horrific scenes in real life that he omitted. I'll be continuing with the series for sure. We'll see if Stephen King is correct.

nov 20, 2:47 pm

It's been a busy month but I finished two yesterday:

AlphaKIT November - T

French Braid by Anne Tyler
An intergenerational story of family relationships told with Tyler's typically calm style.

MysteryKIT November - Senior sleuth

An Afternoon to Kill by Shelley Smith
When a plane has trouble and lands in a desert, the lone passenger walks to a nearby house where the woman there tells him a story of murder. It's an engrossing story with a surprising finish.

nov 20, 3:19 pm

>159 VivienneR: I also liked An Afternoon to Kill, and plan to read more of her books. It helps that they're on Kindle Unlimited.

nov 20, 4:22 pm

>160 pamelad: That was my second Shelley Smith book and I really enjoyed both. I'll be looking for more at kindle.

nov 22, 8:00 pm

This was my Early Reviewer win last month. A nice fit for October's GeoCAT.

GeoCAT October: Canada

Freddie the flyer by Fred Carmichael, Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, illustrated by Andrea Wulf

Freddie was a boy living in Canada’s far north who dreamed of being a pilot after watching a small plane bring supplies to his remote community. He worked hard to earn money so that he could go to flying school when he was sixteen where he got his pilot’s license one flew home in his own plane.

This is a beautiful book with the wonderful true story of Fred Carmichael’s successful career as the first indigenous commercial pilot in the Arctic. It will inspire a child with confidence to follow their dreams. Easy to read, twelve short chapters are headed by the names of the months, written in English, Gwich’in, and Inuvialuktun. The colourful illustrations are outstanding and impart the ambiance and character of the north.

nov 22, 9:08 pm

>142 VivienneR: Several people have now recommended Richard Osman to me. I really must try this series!

>162 VivienneR: I saw your review of Freddie the Flyer on the GeoCAT thread. Looks like a winner!

nov 23, 1:03 am

>163 mathgirl40: The Osman books are fun. Highly recommended.

And Freddy the Flyer is one of my favourite Early Reviewer books from the last 16 years! The illustrations are lovely. I used to work in a Polar Research library and this would have been an excellent addition to the children's section.

nov 23, 11:23 am

>162 VivienneR: Making note to add this to my nephew's library!

nov 23, 12:00 pm

>165 rabbitprincess: Good idea! In the absence of nephews, I'm going to give mine to a young friend.

nov 26, 3:31 pm

MysteryKIT November: Senior sleuth

Death Comes to Marlow by Robert Thorogood

The premise seemed good but somehow the story fell a bit flat, possibly because it had too many scenes that were just plain meddling. As I came near the end I didn’t care much who did it. I enjoyed Thorogood’s TV series Death in Paradise, but this novel, not so much.

nov 26, 6:46 pm

>167 VivienneR: I didn't get far with this book, and think the author is trying to cash in on the success of Richard Osman's Thursday Murder Club books.

nov 28, 4:02 pm

>168 pamelad: I wondered too about the similarity with Osman's books. It was unfortunate timing, even if unintentional because they just don't compare.

Redigerat: nov 28, 4:04 pm

SeriesCAT November - Historical

Billy Boyle by James R. Benn

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel set during WWII. Billy Boyle, a young Boston cop with a tenuous connection with General Eisenhower, found himself sent to England to help his uncle Ike. The book was serious, based on fact, but still remained entertaining. The twist at the end explained many of the questions I had while I was reading. Now looking forward to reading more in the series.

nov 29, 9:04 pm

RandomKIT November - A Little Light

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

This takes place over three days in a maternity unit in a Dublin hospital while the 1918 flu pandemic was raging. Donoghue offers little in the way of storytelling here, but her novel details the condition of hospitals, particularly the maternity unit, and as a sidebar, conditions in homes run by the Catholic Church. It’s all pretty dismal and it must be remembered that some of the procedures, treatments and church-run homes were in effect until much later than 1918.

The character of the doctor, was based on a real person, Dr. Kathleen Lynn, who started a free clinic.

Donoghue wrote this for 100th anniversary of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and days after it was presented to the publisher another pandemic hit.

The title was taken from the medieval Italian belief that illness proved the heavens were governing fate, that people were star-crossed: Influenza Delle stelle - the influence of the stars.

Igår, 5:38 pm

MysteryKIT December - Cozy

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

This looked promising but unfortunately didn’t live up to my expectations.

Igår, 11:44 pm

KiddyCAT December - Holiday stories

When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke

I liked that the reindeer had a fondness for marzipan - it’s one of my favourite treats too. Niklas Goodfellow and his Christmas caravan fell to earth in a dreadful storm two weeks before his big day. This dark story finds Goodfellow, the last real Santa, at odds with Gerold Goblynch who favours a commercial Christmas where Santas who don’t agree are turned into chocolate. Warning: although some children relish grisly details, keep in mind that Goblynch sent the deer to a meat-packing plant. A great story without the sugary sentimentality common in Christmas stories.

Idag, 12:02 am

>171 VivienneR: A definite BB for me!