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lkernagh (Lori) Gets Crafty in 2017 - Fourth Thread

This is a continuation of the topic lkernagh (Lori) Gets Crafty in 2017 - Third Thread.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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1lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:44pm Top



Hello Everyone. 2017 will be my sixth year as part of the 75 group. 2016 was a rather tough year on a personal level and I really debated about setting up a thread in the 75 group for 2017, but the pull of the group won out. 2017 is going to be a year of getting back to basics for me... spending time with family, reminiscing about loved ones gone and returning to my second love after food, which is crafting. Yes, you read correctly, my love of food and crafting comes before books but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a good book when I encounter one! Of course, this means that food-related topics will also be found here.

I will also continue to record my on-going personal walking challenge to walk, in three calendar years, the distance it would take for me to walk across Canada. I am currently at the halfway mark in my walking journey. If you don't want to follow my walking journey, don't worry. Those posts will be easily identifiable.... just warning the visitors that are expecting books and nothing but books. ;-)

Given the focus of return to crafting, my visits to LT and my own threads may be a bit haphazard, but I will make an effort to return visits to the threads of my lovely posters.

My reading will be focused on the challenge I have set over on the 2017 Category Challenge, which can be found here, which does take into account my on-going attempts to continue to read books off my TBR piles.

... anyways, that is the plan in a nutshell.

Replacing the "Shamrock/Pot of Gold" tickers from previous years with flower tickers to record my "Books Read" and "Pages Read":






2lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:47pm Top

Books Read:

January:
1. Cupcakes by Daniel Kelley -
2. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig -
3. The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye -
4. Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith -
5. The Absent One by Jussi Adler-Olsen -
6. Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics by Jacke Huba -
7. Paris by Edward Rutherfurd -
8. Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Uprising by Jonathan Littell -

February:
9. Amethyst Dreams by Phyllis A. Whitney -
10. The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs by Alexander McCall Smith -
11. 11.22.63 by Stephen King -
12. Look Again by Lisa Scottoline -
13. The Mercy of the Tide by Keith Rosson -
14. The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig -
15. Office Girl by Joe Meno -
16. Sincerity: How a moral ideal born five hundred years ago inspired religious wars | modern art | hipster chic | and the curious notion that we ALL have something to say (no matter how dull) by R. Jay Magill Jr. -

March:
17. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden -
18. Matylda, Bright & Tender by Holly M. McGhee -
19. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio -
20. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga -
21. These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon -
22. Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith -
23. Daffodils by Alex Martin -
24. A Peacock in the Land of Penguins: A Fable about Creativity and Courage by BJ Gallagher -
25. The Deception of the Emerald Ring by Lauren Willig -
26. At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances by Alexander McCall Smith -
27. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon -

3lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:48pm Top

Books Read:

April:
28. White with Fish, Red with Murder by Harley Mazuk -
29. The Brothers Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard -
30. Drawn Away by Holly Bennett -
31. Daisy Miller by Henry James -
32. 419 by Will Ferguson -
33. Two Fridays in April by Roisin Meaney -
34. Out to Canaan by Jan Karon -
35. The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig -
36. The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith -
37. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson -

May:
38. Five Days in London: May 1940 by John Lukacs -
39. V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton -
40. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky -
41. The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig -
42. The Fall of the House of Cabal by Jonathan L. Howard -
43. A Poisoned Prayer by Michael Skeet -
44. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith -
45. Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen by Glen Huser -
46. A New Song by Jan Karon -
47. The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith -
48. Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life by Allen Shawn -
49. Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day: And Other Tales of the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard -

June:
50. The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang -
51. The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming -
52. Create the Retirement You Really Want by Clay Gillespie -
53. The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health by Justin & Erica Sonnenburg -
54. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton -
55. The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig -
56. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith -
57. A Common Life by Jan Karon -
58. The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss -
59. When I Was Young And In My Prime by Alayna Munce -
60. The Ion Raider by Ian Whates -
61. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell -

4lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:51pm Top

Books Read:

July:
62. From Scratch by Gail Anderson-Dargatz -
63. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns -
64. In This Mountain by Jan Karon -
65. On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons -
66. The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt -
67. Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye -
68. Laugh and Live by Douglas Fairbanks -
69. The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner -
70. Watching July by Christine Hart -
71. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith -
72. House of Daughters by Sarah-Kate Lynch -

August:
73. W is for Wasted by Sue Grafton -
74. An Accident in August by Laurence Cosse -
75. The Last Lost Girl by Maria Hoey -
76. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb -
77. Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon -
78. Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost LOOK Photos by Brian Wallis -
79. Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner -
80. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith -
81. Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius -
82. Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn -
83. Involuntary Bliss by Devon Code -

September:
84. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson - (review)
85. Light From Heaven by Jan Karon -
86. Good Thinking: What You Need to Know to be Smarter, Safer, Wealthier and Wiser by Guy P. Harrison -
87. The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox -
88. September 17 by Amanda West Lewis -
89. The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith -

5lkernagh
Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 8:04pm Top

Books Read:

October:
90. The Man in Lower Ten by Mary Roberts Rinehart -
91. The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong -
92. The Irrationalist: The Tragic Murder of René Descartes by Andrew Pessin -
93. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith -
94. Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris -
95. Strawberry Fields by Marina Lewycka -
96. Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 by Karen Blumenthal -

November:
97. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett -
98. The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries -
99. The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith -
100. Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano -
101. Five Days in November by Clint Hill -
102. The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins -
103. Benito by Francois Gravel -
104. World Without End by Ken Follett -

December:
105. Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose -
106. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith -
107. You have to be careful in the land of the free by James Kelman -
108. The Ameriad: The Untold Founding of America by the Survivors of Troy by Duane Gundrum -
109. Death in December by Shonah Stevens -
110. Letters to the Pianist by S.D. Mayes -

6lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:51pm Top



Welcome to my 4th / Fall thread for 2017.

Next one's yours!

7lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:51pm Top

Hi Everyone! October seems to be getting away from me and the rest of my 2017 is looking to be a very busy one, so I probably won't be around much on LT. I am taking some work-related training courses and a separate course for personal knowledge development so my 'free' time is going to be a bit sparse for the next couple of months.

The trip home for Thanksgiving was fabulous. Got to see my Dad, all of my siblings and their spouses, all of my nephews, one of my nieces and one of my uncles (with a Thanksgiving Day chat with another aunt and uncle). Family tradition of food and football was observed. ;-)

I have managed some reading - but not much walking! - so book reviews to follow but walking update will not occur until next weekend, if I remember.

8lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:52pm Top


Book #90 - The Man in Lower Ten by Mary Roberts Rinehart - audiobook narrated by Rebecca Burns
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Ten (10) in the title"
Source: Hoopla
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 1906
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 176 pages / 6 hours, 30 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the simonandschuster.ca book listing webpage:
Lawrence Blakely, attorney-at-law, sets off by train to deliver valuable documents in a criminal case. His ride will be eventful. Along the way he'll encounter romance, treachery, a train wreck, even a murder in which he'll be implicated. Who's after Blakely and his papers -- why?
Review:
Now I understand why Rinehart is considered to be the American Agatha Christie, or should it be that Agatha Christie is the British Mary Roberts Rinehart, given that Rinehart’s first novel – this one – was published some 14 years before Christie’s first book? Either way, this story has all the wonderful atmospheric feel I have come to love in Golden era mystery novels. For a debut novel, Rinehart does a wonderful job drawing her characters and a twisty plot. The story provides for some good suspenseful moments and I did enjoy the banter Lawrence and his partner/good friend McKnight engage in. Even with a murder and unscrupulous people who think Lawrence still has the documents in his possession, the characters comes across as treating this as a low key concern…. Life and death situations seem to still involve taking time off for a good drink, a bite to eat and a bit of tongue-in-cheek dialogue. Favorite character for me is the amateur sleuth Hotchkiss who just pops up everywhere. Hotchkiss employs the detailed investigation techniques characterized by Sherlock Holmes but with the demeanor of a quiet, bookish accountant. Love Lawrence’s reaction to Hotchkiss’ note-taking and question asking: ”I nodded tolerantly. Most of us have hobbies.”. There is even a romantic sub-plot with one of the potential suspects – who just happens to also be McKnight’s current love interest. This came across as a bit of added fluff and distraction to Lawrence’s “search for the killer” focus, but a distraction that did not cause any annoyance for this reader.

Overall, a delightful golden age mystery read and I will now keep an eye out for more Mary Robert Rinehart books to read.

9lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:52pm Top


Book #91 - The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Nine (9) in the title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: February 12, 2008
Acquisition date: December 3, 2011
Page count: 432 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Charlotte Taylor lived in the front row of history. In 1775, at the young age of twenty, she fled her upper class English country house and boarded a ship to Jamaica with her lover, the family's black butler. Soon after reaching shore, Charlotte's lover died of yellow fever, leaving her alone and pregnant in Jamaica. In the sixty-six years that followed, she would find refuge with the Mi'kmaq of what is present-day New Brunswick, have three husbands, nine more children and a lifelong relationship with an aboriginal man. Using a seamless blend of fact and fiction, Charlotte Taylor's great-great-great-granddaughter, Sally Armstrong, reclaims the life of a dauntless and unusual woman and delivers living history with all the drama and sweep of a novel.
Review:
What kind of story would you expect a journalist, documentary filmmaker and human rights activist to write as their first foray into fiction writing? For Armstrong, the answer was simple: Write a fictionalized account of a strong-willed, resilient and independent-thinking woman straight from Armstrong's own family tree. As many book reviewers tend to note, a good historical novelist has to not only present the facts and tell a story, but also has to be able to communicate the feel of former times, transporting the reader to that earlier place and time. Armstrong does a fabulous job bringing to life the harsh, frontier world of 18th century New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The story captures an interesting period in Canadian - and American - history: The return of Acadians previously ex-pulsed from the area by the British; the conflicting points of view of the Loyalist and the pre-Loyalist settlers and the plight of the native Indian populations as their traditional hunting lands were being taken away from them. While the historical information is well researched, Armstrong does tend to skim over certain events that I wish she had provided more details about. That being said, it is Charlotte's multi-dimensional character, her tenacity, her resourcefulness and her determination to adapt to the harsh environment and make a living that made this such a wonderful read for me.

Overall, a wonderfully written story about the first female settler on the Mirimichi and a great read for anyone with an interest in 18th century Canadian Maritimes history.

10lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:52pm Top

.
Book #92 - The Irrationalist: The Tragic Murder of René Descartes by Andrew Pessin
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: eBook
Original publication date: May 23, 2017
Acquisition date: June 30, 2017
Page count: 508 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Who would want to murder the world’s most famous philosopher? Turns out: nearly everyone. In 1649, Descartes was invited by the Queen of Sweden to become her Court Philosopher. Though he was the world’s leading philosopher, his life had by this point fallen apart. He was 53, penniless, living in exile in the United Provinces, alone. With much trepidation but not much choice, he arrived in Stockholm in mid-October. Shortly thereafter he was dead. Enter Adrien Baillet. A likeable misfit with a mysterious backstory, he arrives just as the French Ambassador desperately needs an impartial Frenchman to prove that Descartes died of natural causes. But solving the mystery of Descartes’s death (Baillet soon learns) requires first solving the mystery of Descartes’s life, with all its dangerous secrets ... None of it is easy, as nearly everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted. But Baillet somehow perseveres, surprising everyone as he figures it all out—all the way to the explosive end.
Review:
Interesting blending of history, mystery and intrigue. Pessin has taken the real life debate as to whether Descartes died in 1950 of natural causes and turned it into a mystery novel, tasking the young and inexperienced Jesuit Adrien Baillet with investigating the circumstances surrounding Descartes untimely demise. The fact that the Swedish court's Chancellor expects Baillet's report to confirm natural causes is only one of many hurdles Baillet faces. The story is really two stories in one... the book alternates between following Baillet investigation and portraying Descartes life. The Descartes chapters make for good historical
reading but I have to say I really enjoyed the fast-paced, twisty plot of suspects and events of the Baillet chapters. Filled with everything from swordplay to secret societies and political /religious intrigue, this is quite the packed historical fiction read. Granted, the author has taken some literary license in giving his characters some more contemporary turn of phrase and mannerisms, but I found these helped enhance my reading pleasure and gave the story some entertaining moments, lightening the dark, sinister atmosphere of shadowy figures, long nights and freezing cold of Pessin's Stockholm.

Overall, an entertaining mystery thriller and an informative glimpse into the life of René Descartes.

11lkernagh
Oct 16, 2017, 12:53pm Top


Book #93 - Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith - audiobook narratted by Lisette Lecat
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: 10th book in a series
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2009
Acquisition date: May 3, 2015
Page count: 240 pages / 8 hours, 24 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.10 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book back cover:
Precious Ramotswe faces problems both personal and professional. The first is the potential demise of an old friend, her tiny white van. Recently, it has developed a rather troubling knock, but she dare not consult the estimable Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni for fear he may condemn the vehicle. Meanwhile, her talented assistant Mma Makutsi is plagued by the reappearance of her nemesis, Violet Sephotho, who has taken a job at the Double Comfort Furniture Shop, whose proprietor is none other than Phuti Radiphuti, Mma Makutsi's fiance. Finally, the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency has been hired to explain the unexpected losing streak of a local football club, the Kalahari Swoopers. But with Mma Ramotswe on the case, it seems certain that everything will be resolved satisfactorily.
Review:
An okay read but not as entertaining as some of the previous books in the series have been. I do enjoy the reoccurring characters - in particular, Violet Sephotho - as providing some intrigue to these stories. While Mma Ramotswe's musings are usually enjoyable, I am starting to find her decisions to not adapt with the times to be a bit tiring, like clinging to a vehicle for sentimental reasons when it is obviously on its last legs is not the best decision to make. I did enjoy the excitement young Puso displays at going to see the Kalahari Swoopers game with Mma Ramotswe and the use Mma Ramotswe makes of the observant nature of children as she works on the case.

Overall, an okay read but not one of the better stories in the series.

12mstrust
Oct 16, 2017, 12:53pm Top

Happy new thread, Lori! Hope to see you around here when you have time!

13drneutron
Oct 16, 2017, 12:55pm Top

Happy new thread!

14brodiew2
Oct 16, 2017, 12:59pm Top

Happy new thread, lkernagh!

15jnwelch
Oct 16, 2017, 1:19pm Top

Happy New Thread, Lori!

I've enjoyed the Precious Ramotswe series for a lot of years now. There have been some dips in quality for me, too, in later books, but I've seen positive reactions to the one I've got next, Precious and Grace.

I'd never heard of Mary Roberts Rinehart, and you hit me with a bb with The Man in Lower 10. I'm a big Dame Agatha fan, and I'm adding it to the WL.

16PaulCranswick
Oct 16, 2017, 4:48pm Top

Happy new thread, Lori.

Food and crafting beat books. Not sure I am with you on that although I do love my food!

17Familyhistorian
Oct 16, 2017, 5:37pm Top

Happy new thread, Lori. I know what you mean about finding it hard to get any walking in when you are visiting. I am on a long visit to see friends and family back east. There is a lot of sitting and talking involved.

18thornton37814
Oct 16, 2017, 7:09pm Top

Happy new thread! Not sure if I'll finish the book I'm currently reading tonight or not, but there's a chance.

19FAMeulstee
Oct 17, 2017, 12:54pm Top

Happy new thread, Lori.

20MickyFine
Oct 17, 2017, 4:15pm Top

>9 lkernagh: That one sounds pretty interesting, Lori, especially since I just came back from Nova Scotia. Not quite a hit for me but one I might pick up if I run out of things to read. Hahahaha.

21karenmarie
Oct 18, 2017, 7:43am Top

Hi Lori and happy new thread!

For someone who prioritizes food and crafting over books you're doing very well in meeting your goals. *smile*

22lkernagh
Oct 19, 2017, 9:21pm Top

Thank you Jennifer, Jim, Brodie, Joe, Paul, Meg, Lori, Anita, Micky and Karen for the happy new thread wishes!

>12 mstrust: - I will work on poking my head in from time to time Jennifer. ;-)

>15 jnwelch: - Ah... those dips in quality that can crop up in almost any series. Overall, I have been greatly enjoying the Precious Ramotswe stories, so I am rather glad that McCall Smith has written so darn many of them! ;-)

Very happy to see I managed to bring a author to your attention, Joe! I do believe you would enjoy The Man in Lower Ten and hopefully we will both enjoy Mary Roberts Rinehart's other books.

>16 PaulCranswick: - Food beat everything, Paul! ;-)

>17 Familyhistorian: - I hope you have been having a fabulous trip! The rain this week has put a bit of a damper on my walking, but even so, I am happy to see the rains returning.

>20 MickyFine: - LOL, always good to have a backup plan in case you ever do - horrors of horrors - run out of things to read!

>21 karenmarie: - Thanks Karen, although I have to admit that it is the audiobooks that have carried me this far with my reading goals this year. I quickly checked and 56 of my books read were in audio format. I can be amazingly productive while listening to a book! ;-)

23lkernagh
Oct 19, 2017, 9:24pm Top

Poking my head in to thank everyone who has stopped by my new thread. It has been a very wet week on the island - a good reminder of the winter weather we usually experience. On the weekend I treated myself to a cast iron dutch oven. One of these:



I have already made one pot roast in it - sooooo good! - and the other half is already drooling at the thought of a winter filled with comfort foods like lamb stew, braised short ribs, etc. I am really looking forward to the meals as well!

24lkernagh
Oct 19, 2017, 9:24pm Top


Book #94 - Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris - audiobook narratted by Carrington MacDuffie
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with October, Marigold or Opal in title or author/main character name"
Source: Hoopla
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2002
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 288 pages / 5 hours, 27 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.50 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Who knew love could be so amazing-and stupefying? Not Christian. He was clueless when he started spying on the royal family through his telescope. He lives in a cave with a troll for a dad, after all. If his dad had only warned him about all that mind-boggling love stuff, maybe things wouldn't be such a mess. But then, maybe, Princess Marigold would be dead. But Christian wasn't warned. And now that he's fallen for the princess, it's up to him to untwist an odd love triangle-er, rectangle -and foil a scheming queen who wants to take over the kingdom, even if it means bumping off her own daughter. With echoes of William Goldman's modern classic The Princess Bride, Jean Ferris's hilarious parody of Once upon a time . . ." overflows with oddball characters and sage observations-and ends with a slapstick happily-ever-after that's full of surprises.
Review:
Quirky and adorable is how I would describe this one. Possibly more Shrek than The Princess Bride. I found this to be a fun, entertaining read. I enjoyed how Ferris takes the fairy tale basics – an evil stepmother, a doting father, three older sisters, a hero with a mysterious past and a curmudgeon troll with a heart of gold – and put her own spin on things. I loved the p-mail (correspondence via carrier pigeon), the way in which Ed the troll misquotes a lot of familiar sayings and has an axe to grind with the tooth fairy (who seems to be having a lot of difficulties overseeing the gathering of teeth and the remittance of coin). While somewhat predictable – given the fairy tale formula being utilized – I still enjoyed following the characters as Christian and Marigold’s friendship grows into a romance along with Queen Olympia’s determination to marry Marigold off and get her out of the way in Olympia’s quest to rule the kingdom.

A fun, light, entertaining read for children... and adults like me.

25ChelleBearss
Oct 20, 2017, 9:28am Top

happy new thread!
I've never used a dutch oven so I'll have to keep an eye out for your meals this winter! I'm a big fan of the slow cooker

26lkernagh
Oct 22, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>25 ChelleBearss: - Thanks Chelle! I am very new to slow cooker recipes, so safe to say everything I will be making for the next little while will be a bunch of recipe "firsts" for me! Tomorrow night will be lamb loin chops with potatoes, carrots and asparagus. Not exactly sure how it will turn out.

27lkernagh
Oct 22, 2017, 9:30pm Top

I see by the calendar that another week has passed and .... no.... I don't have a walking update for you, except to comment that the walking has been minimal this past week, with the various fall rain storms passing through the area. This weather has been great for one thing: Focusing my mind on comfort foods. Tonight's dinner is one of my "go to " favorites for comfort food:

Asparagus, Leek and Mushroom Risotto:
Here is an image of tonight's dinner (my second serving)!



... and here is a link to the recipe I use:

http://www.bemindfulbehuman.com/index.php/asparagus-week-asparagus-leek-and-mush...

So... do any of my visitors have a favorite comfort food and if so, please do share here. I am always on the look out for more comfort food recipes!

28MickyFine
Oct 23, 2017, 10:35am Top

>27 lkernagh: I have several comfort foods. At this time of year I really like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cooked veggies. :)

29mstrust
Oct 23, 2017, 11:00am Top

That's a gorgeous plate. I love risotto, and mushrooms too. I have several dishes that I make when the weather gets cooler. Mushroom bisque, butternut bisque, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin casserole. And chocolate crinkles.

30lkernagh
Edited: Oct 23, 2017, 11:18pm Top

>28 MickyFine: - I have to admit I have never attempted to make meatloaf, but my oldest brother does make a darn good meatloaf. ;-)

>29 mstrust: - The plate (actually, smaller bowl) is Arabia Karelia - Finnish stoneware. We stumbled across an estate sale some 20 years ago with a very nice collection and it has been our every day dishware ever since. It is not a complete set, but still quite large with a selection of serving dishes, etc. We have broken some pieces over the years but I do love it and I do occasional searches on line for replacement pieces, but the shipping costs are always rather horrendous.

Here is a picture I found on the web that is a good (but incomplete) representation of the pieces that comprise the Karelia collection. We have all pieces shown in the picture including three sizes of coffee mugs, salad and bread plates, soup and salad bowls, two serving platters and a water/milk jug:



.... as for the comfort food recipes, the butternut bisque and sweet potato casserole sound lovely.... as do the chocolate crinkles (one should always have some form of chocolate on hand)!

31Berly
Oct 27, 2017, 1:49am Top

Good thing I am reading your new thread on a full tummy! Happy new one. : ) Wishing you best of luck with all your RL activities.

32mstrust
Oct 27, 2017, 11:00am Top

>30 lkernagh: Thank you for going to the trouble to find that pic and info for me!

33lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:26am Top

>31 Berly: - LOL! RL continues with good days and bad days (see further explanation provided below). but overall, can't complain, which is probably a positive! ;-)

>32 mstrust: - No worries! I love my current dishware and just wish it was easier to locate replacement pieces.

34lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:26am Top

So glad to see it has been quiet around here, considering I have been a pretty much absent threat host. Life is ticking along. My other half is having to deal with some HR issues that are basically sucking the life out of him - and me in the process as a sounding board - which is not good. I have a huge issue with people who manipulate the system to their advantage and don't care how many co-workers are impacted in the process. A lot of hours are being consumed to investigate and mediate these on-going allegations.

Thankfully, the storms of last week have cleared and the weather has been rather balmy for October. I am still prepped for a potential onslaught of winter, but in the meantime, enjoying the ability to be outdoors with spring weather clothing.

My work and personal development training courses continue and it looks like I won't see a relaxation in the course work until mid-November, but that is okay. Reading also continues so you are in luck that I do have a couple of book reviews to post - along with the long anticipated walking update (I did not realize until today that it has been 4 weeks since my last walking update!).

Given the craziness of RL, today was personal retail therapy day. Treated myself to a pair of Blowfish boots. Unfortunately, Librarything isn't cooperating with posting the picture, so you will just have to accept the fact that I love the boots, without you being able to see them.

Wishing everyone a fabulous and safe Halloween. Always fun when Halloween falls on a weekday... that means the parties happen the weekend proceeding the holiday. Lovely to see some costumes out in force this afternoon for parties happening this evening. :-)

... now for those reviews and the long overdue walking update.

35lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:27am Top


Book #95 - Strawberry Fields by Marina Lewycka
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Yellow cover or the color mentioned in the book title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: 2007
Acquisition date: May 3, 2015
Page count: 320 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
On an idyllic patch of English countryside a handful of migrant workers spend their days picking strawberries and dreaming of a better life, and their nights in two tiny trailer homes—one for men and one for women. All is harmonious in this cozy vale until Farmer Leaping’s wife comes upon him and the berrypicking boss, Yola, in a compromising position. Fury ensues, the police are called, and the migrant workers pile into one of the trailer homes and hightail it out of their little Arcadia, setting off on one of the most enchanting, merry, and moving picaresque journeys since Chaucer’s pilgrims set off to Canterbury.
Review:
It is obvious that Lewycka decided to experiment with shifting formats, producing a unique blending of first and third person narration, including epistolary (Emmanuel’s narration takes the form of letters written to his sister) and the all caps grammar-deficient monologues of a stray dog. Part romance, part adventure, part social commentary, Lewycka attempts to tackle a number of serious social issues – illegal immigration, worker exploitation, environmental activism, factory farming, – from an almost tragicomic perspective. The migrant workers dreams of “freedom” and the ability to earn good money is quickly shown to be a thinly veiled illusion, which would have made for completely depressing reading except for the naïve innocence of some of the characters, with a focus on humour first, social commentary second.

Overall, as much as I enjoyed the growing romance between Irina and Andriy and the use of fractured English and the language barrier to produce comic moments, the manner in which Irina continues to encounter the sleazy Eastern European gangster/exploiter Vulk (in the most unlikely of places) is fanciful in the extreme. That and the fact that some of the story just comes across as rather ‘odd’. An okay read but IMO, not as good as Lewycka’s debut novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian.

36lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:27am Top


Book #96 - Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929 by Karen Blumenthal
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books set predominantly in the month of October" and "Books with October, Marigold or Opal in title or author/main character name"
Source: GVPL
Format: Hardcover
Original publication date: 2002
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 160 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.70 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Over six terrifying, desperate days in October 1929, the fabulous fortune that Americans had built in stocks plunged with a fervor never seen before. At first, the drop seemed like a mistake, a mere glitch in the system. But as the decline gathered steam, so did the destruction. Over twenty-five billion dollars in individual wealth was lost, vanished, gone. People watched their dreams fade before their very eyes. Investing in the stock market would never be the same. Here, Wall Street Journal bureau chief Karen Blumenthal chronicles the six-day period that brought the country to its knees, from fascinating tales of key stock-market players, like Michael J. Meehan, an immigrant who started his career hustling cigars outside theaters and helped convince thousands to gamble their hard-earned money as never before, to riveting accounts of the power struggles between Wall Street and Washington, to poignant stories from those who lost their savings—and more—to the allure of stocks and the power of greed.

For young readers living in an era of stock-market fascination, this engrossing account explains stock-market fundamentals while bringing to life the darkest days of the mammoth crash of 1929.
Review:
This was a quick and informative read. Blumenthal captures not only the events that lead up to the 1929 stock market crash, but she includes information boxes that explain everything from what a stock exchange is and how it operates, bull versus bear markets, stock splitting, as well as a good explanations of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, bonds and what it means to purchase stocks with a margin account. Filled with pictures, newspaper clippings and cartoons from the era, Blumenthal captures how the meteor-rising stock market in 1928 and the first 9 months of 1929 was a beacon to Americans from all social and financial classes as the path to wealth. The book goes into great detail to explain the key players involved and how activities like special stock deals, syndicate pools and rampant insider trading (all deemed illegal practices in our post-1929 stock market world) played a role in the stock market crash.

Written for the middle school audience, this book was an interesting and informative read for this adult reader.

37lkernagh
Oct 29, 2017, 12:28am Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEKS 117, 118, 119 and 120 UPDATES: I know, I have an entire month worth of walking to post.
Kilometers walked this session: 135.74 - Looks good until I break it down into weekly totals (Week 117=43.18; Week 118=19.78; Week 119=23.27; Week 120=49.51)
Kilometers walked in total:5,159.67
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Northeast of Drummondville and due west of Victoriaville, heading for Quebec City.
Points of interest along the way: More of a personal note this time than any comments about locations on the map. October has been an interesting walking month for me. My last trip home to Calgary, I decided to grocery shop for my Dad the same way I do in Victoria: as a combination of walking and city transit. I should probably mention for those of you who don't know, I gave up my car 11 years ago and have never looked back - it is very easy to live in Victoria without a car. End result: I was pleasantly surprised that with a little bit of ingenuity and planning, one can get around and do things like grocery shopping in Calgary without a car - even when you live in the suburbs - and not find yourself restricted to just the shops in your immediate area. I was rather excited to discover that a 2.6 KM walk, with a short C-train (light rail transit) ride had me at one of my favorite grocery stores and with my 90 minute transfer from the C-train ride, I was able to shop and then walk a short distance and use the still active ticket to catch a bus that stops one block away from my dad's house. My family thinks I am crazy that I get excited about things like this but they all rely rather heavy on their vehicles to get them everywhere. I found it an informative way to get some exercise in and happy to see that one can "potentially" live in even the suburbs of Calgary without a car. ;-)

38MickyFine
Oct 29, 2017, 10:23am Top

>34 lkernagh: Sorry to hear work life has been stressful for your husband and by extension you. Hopefully you have a restful weekend!

39mstrust
Oct 29, 2017, 12:30pm Top

I hope you're having a good weekend, Lori! Have a fun Halloween.

40tymfos
Oct 31, 2017, 11:32pm Top

Happy new-ish thread, Lori! Sorry about the work stress for your husband.

My mom had a copy of The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart, and passed it on to me, but I haven't read it. (I think I replaced it with a free e-book when I was trying to pare down the volumes on my shelves, but anyway I should read it one of these days.)

41Berly
Oct 31, 2017, 11:55pm Top



Trick or Treat!

42countrylife
Nov 1, 2017, 7:35am Top

Nice reviews. I took a book bullet over The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor. My library doesn't have a copy, so I'll be getting it through inter-library loan.

43Familyhistorian
Nov 1, 2017, 9:27am Top

I hope your other half's HR problems clear up soon, Lori. You are making good walking progress. Hope you had a great Halloween.

44ChelleBearss
Nov 1, 2017, 3:07pm Top

Happy November 1st, Lori!

45lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:31pm Top

>38 MickyFine: - Thanks Micky. Stress is never good. Good news is things are starting to normalize... and just in time for the lead up to the start of the crazy holiday season. ;-)

>39 mstrust: - Thanks Jennifer. I honestly cannot remember if the weekend was a good one or not, but that is in the past and the future is starting to look better. Halloween was surprisingly quiet. Even the "noise crackers" - fireworks with more pop and bang than flash and sizzle - was not occurring in our immediate neighbourhood, so it made for a easy work night.

>40 tymfos: - Thanks Terri. I have been terrible at visiting threads this fall. I hope all is well with you. The Mary Roberts Rinehart book was a pleasant surprise for me. The Bat looks like it has an interesting premise!

>41 Berly: - Thank Kim! We don't get trick or treaters in our building so happy to see you out trick or treating threads!

>42 countrylife: - Thanks Cindy. I hope you enjoy the Charlotte Taylor read as much as I did.

>43 Familyhistorian: - Thankfully, the HR issues have subsided, and thank you for the Happy Halloween wishes, Meg.

>44 ChelleBearss: - Love that meme, Chelle! For me, November first means that I can officially start getting into Christmas mode. ;-)

46lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:31pm Top

Two weeks just seems to fly by like no tomorrow! Still super busy but thankfully, the work drama for my other half has diminished so stress levels are going down. *Whew!*

Today I took in the Remembrance Day cenotaph services. The jet fly by was followed by an unexpected fly by of four Canada Geese. The artillery fire probably disturbed them, but it looks like they were a bit surprised to see all the people covering the ground around the cenotaph, so their ended up diverting their approach to the legislature lawns. Of course, this second fly by had bystanders ducking and weaving to avoid any potential "gifts" delivered by the Canada Geese flying overhead. Given the artillery fire, I am always amazed at the number of people who bring their dogs to the service, although there was one very well behaved Border Collie near me. He was more fascinated with the 2-year-old boy in his line of vision. I am sure the dog wanted to go play with the boy, instead of standing patiently beside its owner. It was great to see such a large crowd for the event.

... now for some reviews and a walking update.

47lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:32pm Top


Book #97 - The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett - audiobook narrated by John Lee
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books page count (901-1,000 pages)"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 1989
Acquisition date: May 11, 2014
Page count: 973 pages / 40 hours, 54 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.50 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known . . . of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect—a man divided in his soul . . . of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame . . . and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state and brother against brother. A spellbinding epic tale of ambition, anarchy, and absolute power set against the sprawling medieval canvas of twelfth-century England.
Review:
Whoever said that a writer of spy thrillers should not attempt to write a historical fiction piece, especially one of such an epic format at The Pillars of the Earth? According to Follett, his editor, for one. Always nice when a writer goes against the grain. In Pillars of the Earth, Follett relies on the things he knows – how to pace a story to build suspense, how to create multi-faceted characters, and his personal love for cathedrals – to write a highly readable epic tale (spanning 50 years) of political upheaval, corruption, greed, and self-discovery. This story will not appeal to all readers. Follett detailed descriptions of the cathedral build appeals to my love for architecture as do the descriptions of the 12 century English feudal system and the strong role of the church and its pageantry. Follett does not present some “cookie cutter” view of medieval England and there really is an awful lot of that time period not to like. Even so, it is the characters that really drew me in and kept me enthralled. Follett’s characters are so “real”. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Follett has included some very strong, independent women as key characters in this story.

On a downside, I am not sure what exactly was running through Follett’s mind in wrapping up the story - I am guessing that it written as a stand-alone novel and only due to its publication success that it morphed into a trilogy – but the ending came across as just a little to “tidy” for me and ended up ending on a slightly lower note after 900 pages of riveting reading.

Overall, a fabulous story, rich in history, strong on drama and filled with memorable characters. A book I can highly recommend to readers who have enjoyed Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies.

48lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:32pm Top


Book #98 - The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries - audiobook narrated by the authors
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Eleven (11) in the title"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2000
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 192 pages / 3 hours, 7 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the harpercollins.ca book listing webpage:
As we move into the twenty-first century the most important question for businesses everywhere is: What are we going to do about the Internet? The two most qualified people in the country to answer that question may be Al Ries and Laura Ries. Not only are they the authors of the BusinessWeek bestseller The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, they are also consultants to dozens of Fortune 500 companies. This book is the result of their hands-on work with both large and small companies as well as Internet start-ups and established Internet brands. Brash, bold, and mercifully succinct, The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding is the definitive text for businesses eager to jump on the Internet expressway.
Review:
When I noticed that this book was published in 2000 – 17 years ago – I was interested to discover if any of the advice (and predictions) of the Rieses still hold true today. Some of their advice continues to make a lot of sense, like understanding if you intend to use the internet as a medium (to communicate and act an “up to the moment” catalogue of your available products and services) or if it is to be an internet business (think Amazon and Shopify) which has no ‘bricks and mortar” storefront. Coming up with short names for your online presence (i.e: the Hudson Bay Company website is www.thebay.com) continues to be a good idea as is anything that shortens keystroke entry.

Some of their predictions for the online world were fascinating. Amazon and Walmart’s current work towards a service that will deliver and put your groceries away for your while you are at work was predicted by the Rieses… but they thought that would happen by 2010, 7 years ago. Even back in 2000, they predicted Amazon’s dominance of the online book business, but their idea of “first out the post” dominance is not the guaranteed predictor of long-term success they communicate as Google has now completely dominated what back in 2000 was Yahoo’s domain as supreme search engine.

While I question the use of the word “immutable” to qualify their “laws” of internet branding, they do make some good arguments for unique brands for distinct product and service lines and the importance of understanding your business and your customers, in both the physical and online worlds and that all businesses will benefit from an online presence of some type, even if it is just to provide contact information for way to connect with the company.

Overall, a quick and interesting read that I would recommend more for its interesting historical view of the Internet in its infancy and the recommendations provided at the time for businesses seeking to make that first leap into the online world.

49lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:33pm Top


Book #99 - The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith - audiobook narrated by Lisette Lecat
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "11th book in a series"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2010
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 240 pages / 8 hours, 22 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.90 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi head to a safari camp to carry out a delicate mission on behalf of a former guest who has left one of the guides a large sum of money. But once they find their man, Precious begins to sense that something is not right. To make matters worse, shortly before their departure Mma Makutsi’s fiancé, Phuti Radiphuti, suffers a debilitating accident, and when his aunt moves in to take care of him, she also pushes Mma Makutsi out of the picture. Could she be trying to break up the relationship? Finally, a local priest and his wife independently approach Mma Ramotswe with concerns of infidelity, creating a rather unusual and tricky situation. Nevertheless, Precious is confident that with a little patience, kindness and good sense things will work out for the best,
Review:
The previous two installments in the series had left me liking but loving the books. Happily, this installment is an improvement. With three different cases to noodle over, the focus is really on the personal lives of our lady detective, her associate and the delicate cases that can come knocking at one's door in the form of a friend seeking assistance. I can see that the author has a lot of fun with his re-occurring character, Violet Sephotho, who can only be described as Mma Makutsi's arch rival. Always interesting to find out what Violet has been up to! Love the road trip to the safari camp.... nice to see the author providing further glimpses into a country he obviously holds dear to his heart.

Another fun, relaxing and contemplative installment in this cozy mystery series set in Botswana.

50lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:33pm Top

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Book #100 - Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: Trade Paperback / ARC
Original publication date: October 3, 2017
Acquisition date: August 17, 2017
Page count: 416 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.65 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company. When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death.
Review:
For a Christian historical fiction and a debut novel, this story has a lot of positives going for it. I am always a sucker for books set in 19th century England. I love that period. So perfect for books steeped in mystery, intrigue and romance. Some Gothic elements are present in the description of Lynhurst Manor and the author plays on the single-minded nature of the gentry of the time period. The details about debtor's prison are vividly portrayed.While I never really connected with Aurelie as a character, I loved the "story within a story" approach and the drama that ensues at Lynhurst as the family starts to wonder who is spying on their activities. Silas is a mystery and I did like how certain pieces of the story - Why is Silas spending the summer at Lynhurst and just who is Lady Jayne? - came together at the end.

A couple of downsides to the story: I was dissatisfied with the lack of resolution regarding some of the characters and as mentioned previously, I just could not connect with Aurelie as the heroine of this story.

Overall, a good book I can recommend for readers who love the Victorian England setting, enjoy a good a romance, and likes to encounter some unexpected plot twists.

51lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:34pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEKS 121 and 122 UPDATES:
Kilometers walked this session: 98.21 (Week 121=51.08; Week 122=47.13)
Kilometers walked in total: 5,257.88
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Due south of Saint Nicolas and heading for Levis.
Points of interest along the way: I just realized that the Trans Canada Highway does not pass through Quebec City. Instead of crossing the St. Lawrence River, the highway stays on the south side. Oh well....

52lkernagh
Nov 11, 2017, 11:43pm Top

Craft Update:
Some of you may recall that I like to make my own Christmas cards. Making use of the craft materials I had purchased last year (and did not use), I have come up with the following for this year's holiday card:





Yes, I am all ready for Christmas. ;-)

53PaulCranswick
Nov 12, 2017, 10:49am Top

Great to see a burst of activity over here, Lori!

Congrats on 100 books. xx

54MickyFine
Nov 12, 2017, 12:01pm Top

Your holiday card looks lovely, Lori. My mom does rubber stamping so she always makes her Christmas cards as well. I didn't pick up that particular hobby (I know how to do it but it's not my idea of fun) so I always buy my Christmas cards. But I get them in February or March - they're on for cheap by then but the selection is still decent.

55lkernagh
Nov 13, 2017, 10:48am Top

>53 PaulCranswick: - Thanks Paul! I know I have rather absent from LT and threads for the past few months. I am slowly making my way through threads but it might take me some time to get all caught up. Hope all is well with you.

>54 MickyFine: - Thanks Micky. I haven't attempted rubber stamping yet but I have seen some fabulous cards created using that method. My mom would also buy cards post-Christmas. It is amazing the stash we came across while clearing out her sewing room last year. The whole family was able to send Christmas cards that year without having to purchase any!

56lkernagh
Nov 13, 2017, 10:48am Top

Today is day three of a four day weekend for me. With the winter weather descending upon us, this weekend has involved giving all of our sweaters, etc a wash to freshen them up after a summer of storage. I am toying with some ideas for some new Christmas ornaments so I will probably spend some time crafting.

On the reading front, I have the following books currently on the go:

Audiobook:

World Without End by Ken Follett - Book two in the Kingsbridge trilogy

eBook:

The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins - an LTER book

Physical Book:

Five Days in November by Clint Hill - Book about the JFK assassination told by one of the Secret Service agents assigned to Mrs. Kennedy

57Berly
Nov 13, 2017, 8:54pm Top

>52 lkernagh: Love the card! I think I am going to take a family photo this year. We haven't done that in a while. I just bought ugly Christmas sweaters for Hubby and me for an annual party and I have the ones for last year so my daughter wants us all to dress up in ugly attire. LOL. We'll see.

Welcome back!

58lkernagh
Nov 13, 2017, 10:02pm Top

Thanks Kim! I love ugly Christmas sweaters! We have a yearly Hibernation Challenge at work where we are to turn down the thermostat and wear our ugly (warm) Christmas sweaters with pride, all in the interest of climate change. I think ugly Christmas sweaters deserve their hallowed place in the holiday archives - along with homemade ornaments (I am thinking of the construction paper chains I remember making in kindergarten) and everything else that puts the focus on family, with a lot of laughs and happiness. ;-)

59lkernagh
Nov 13, 2017, 10:02pm Top


Book #101 - Five Days in November by Clint Hill
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books set predominantly in the month of November" and "Books with November, Chrysanthemum or Topaz in title or author/main character name"
Source: GVPL
Format: Hard cover
Original publication date: 2013
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 256 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.35 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
On November 22 , 1963, three shots were fired in Dallas, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the world stopped for four days. For an entire generation, it was the end of an age of innocence. That evening, a photo ran on the front pages of newspapers across the world, showing a Secret Service agent jumping on the back of the presidential limousine in a desperate attempt to protect the President and Mrs. Kennedy. That agent was Clint Hill. Now Secret Service Agent Clint Hill commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy with this stunning book containing more than 150 photos, each accompanied by Hill’s incomparable insider account of those terrible days. With poignant narration accompanying rarely seen images, we witness three-year-old John Kennedy Jr.’s pleas to come to Texas with his parents and the rapturous crowds of mixed ages and races that greeted the Kennedys at every stop in Texas. We stand beside a shaken Lyndon Johnson as he is hurriedly sworn in as the new president. We experience the first lady’s steely courage when she insists on walking through the streets of Washington, D.C., in her husband’s funeral procession.
Review:
This is a highly personal, insider account of those historical five days as Hill details the events while acting in his role as Secret Service for Mrs. Kennedy. While the text is highly charged with Hill's emotions and his duty as a Secret Service agent, the text coupled with the photographs provide a unique account of the events that have been hashed and rehashed by numerous individuals before him. Yes, it gets a little tedious to have Hill explain, innumerable times, of the enormous task the security detail faced, not just during the trip to Texas, but the delivery of the body back to Washington D.C. and the funeral services, but one can not help but appreciate just how personal the events are for Hill, even fifty years later. I do like how in the epilogue he points to one picture that he says should refute the "grassy knoll" shooter debate.

Overall, a lovely commemorative book to mark that historic event.

60LovingLit
Nov 13, 2017, 11:06pm Top

>23 lkernagh: great Dutch oven! I have my le Cruesette (?) knock off pot which is also very good.

Great reviews lately! Some goodies amongst them.

61Familyhistorian
Nov 14, 2017, 1:41am Top

>52 lkernagh: Very professional looking cards, Lori. It is hard to realize that we are getting close to that season again. Good to hear that the HR issues are resolving. Have a great, short work week.

62karenmarie
Edited: Nov 14, 2017, 6:45am Top

Hi Lori!

>47 lkernagh: Nice review. I was enthralled by The Pillars of the Earth. I loved the detail and characters.

>52 lkernagh: Excellent. I admire people who are talented and creative, and have a dear friend who always makes her own Christmas cards too. I am a Christmas card buyer (eek - haven't bought for this year yet and will, undoubtedly, pay too much).

63Carmenere
Nov 14, 2017, 7:53am Top

Greetings, Lori! >23 lkernagh: what a great purchase!! I wish you many many comfort food meals from your new dutch oven.
What a shame you'll be walking south of Quebec City ;0). The south side is rather dull and foresty according to my recollection. However, I do believe that the Gamache series takes place somewhere in that area. Someone, please correct me if I'm wrong.

64vancouverdeb
Nov 14, 2017, 8:36am Top

I used to make my own cards and managed to fill up and entire room with paper, stamps , etc etc and this past summer I cleaned most of it all out. Actually my husband cleaned most of it away for me, and got rid of some stuff I would have loved to keep. However, I had such a hard time deciding what should go, it was best he did it for me. Your card looks delightful and makes me want to make my own.

65MickyFine
Nov 14, 2017, 3:34pm Top

>55 lkernagh: That's quite the impressive stash that your mom had.

Hope your four day weekend is going well and that your last day off is super restful. I had an unintentional four day weekend as I was home sick Friday before the long weekend. And this week I've got Thursday off to do some running around. It's going to be rough going back to a five day work week next week. :P

66lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 5:18pm Top

>60 LovingLit: - Hi Megan! Love my Dutch oven. I was looking fondly at some le Creuset items at one of the outlet stores but even at the discount pricing, I couldn't justify $200 for one pot, no matter how much I liked it. I will stay happy with my much cheaper cast iron one.

>61 Familyhistorian: - Thanks Meg. I tend to overdue some of the crafts so it was nice to be able to stop myself to get the result I did with the cards. We are all breathing a sigh of relief that the HR issues seem to have stopped. Fingers crossed we can get through the rest of the year without any more unnecessary drama on the work front.

>62 karenmarie: - Thanks Karen! I have dived into World Without End. Follett's books do make for good audiobooks but I am not as enthralled with the second book in the series as I was with Pillars of the Earth. Kind of feels like Follett is rehashing old ground with new characters. Same problems, same intrigues, same feudal violence. As for my crafting talents, you people never get to see the failures - the ones that don't turn out as planned. ;-)

67lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 5:18pm Top

>63 Carmenere: - Thanks Lynda! The other half is loving the meals that are coming out of that dutch oven. ;-) I really do want to visit Quebec City at some point in person... I don't think a virtual trip there would do the place justice.

>64 vancouverdeb: - Hi Deb, that is the downside to crafting, isn't it? Luckily I don't have a spare room but I do have one steamer truck filled with all of my crafting supplies. I can see where it was probably easiest for your husband to clean decide what needed to be cleared out... so tempting to keep stuff, on the off chance you might use it. ;-)

>65 MickyFine: - My mom had stashes of all sorts of things, Micky. She had more than enough room in the house to store the after Christmas sale items. ;-) Sorry to learn that you had an unintended extra long weekend yourself. Hope you are feeling better! 5 day work weeks are rough after enjoying shorter work weeks.

68lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 5:18pm Top



I love this time of year. Craft fairs are happening every weekend and the positive energy of the approaching holidays is in the air. Always gets me excited, even if the weather is dreary and miserable. Every year I promise to go "low key" for the holidays and every year, I fall under the spell of the season and go a little crazy. Already have everything I need for mincemeat tarts - a holiday MUST in this household, along with shortbread - , but I will hold off on any actual baking until December 1.

Is anyone else starting to get excited for the holidays?

On the reading front, I continue to try and work through my backlog of LTER books - I still have 4 more to read and review - and keep up my walking, although that has dropped a bit over the past few weeks (it is too dark in the evenings to do any walking).

69lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 5:19pm Top

.
Book #102 - The Tide Between Us by Olive Collins
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: eBook
Original publication date: September 5, 2017
Acquisition date: August 31, 2017
Page count: 400 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.45 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
1821: After the landlord of Lugdale Estate in Kerry is assassinated, young Art O’Neill’s innocent father is hanged and Art is deported to the cane fields of Jamaica as an indentured servant. On Mangrove Plantation he gradually acclimatises to the exotic country and unfamiliar customs of the African slaves, and achieves a kind of contentment.

Then the new heirs to the plantation arrive. His new owner is Colonel Stratford-Rice from Lugdale Estate, the man who hanged his father. Art must overcome his hatred to survive the harsh life of a slave and live to see the eventual emancipation which liberates his coloured children. Eventually he is promised seven gold coins when he finishes his service, but he doubts his master will part with the coins.

One hundred years later in Ireland, a skeleton is discovered beneath a fallen tree on the grounds of Lugdale Estate. By its side is a gold coin minted in 1870. Yseult, the owner of the estate, watches as events unfold, fearful of the long-buried truths that may emerge about her family’s past and its links to the slave trade. As the body gives up its secrets, Yseult realizes she too can no longer hide.
Review:
I love the idea of telling the story in two parts - the first part set in 1800's Jamaica, the second part set in 1900's Ireland. Makes it easier for readers who like to focus their attention on the story without a lot point of view and time period "jumping around". Down side to this approach means that readers itching to dive right in to uncovering the mystery of the skeleton at the start of the book will have to wait. Each half, on its own, is a good story. Each 'reveal' - there is more than one mystery/family secret to come to light - is subtle and easy to miss. The characters are well drawn and I do love the idea of a story that weaves a tale of a family secret/curse over generations. It wasn't until near the end that I clued in to what was happening with Yseult. Collins does a great job providing hints that on their own don't amount to much but when pieced together, unveils the sinister plot occurring.

Overall, a compelling family saga that provides an interesting glimpse into a period of Jamaica's and Ireland's history.

70lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 5:19pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 123 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 34.97
Kilometers walked in total: 5,292.85
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Continuing to hug the southern aspect of the St. Lawrence River, currently due south of the western tip of the Île d'Orléans island.
Points of interest along the way: Interesting bit of history, the Île d'Orléans island is considered by some to be the "cradle" of the French civilization of North America, being one of the first areas to be colonized by the French, even though it was long inhabited by indigenous First Nations tribes. Images online show this to be a very quaint, pastoral place:

.

Definitely adding this island to my "To Visit" list if I make a physical trip to Quebec City!

71Familyhistorian
Nov 19, 2017, 5:46pm Top

Good for you keeping up your walking in all this rain, Lori. You got me with a BB for The Tide Between Us.

72lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 8:20pm Top

>71 Familyhistorian: - Luckily, I have been able to time my walking to avoid the downpour periods. Walking in drizzly rain is fine with me, just not the "wet to the core" kind of rain or the rainy days with high winds.

The Tide Between Us was good read. Always happy to be pleasantly surprised by LTER books!

----------------------
Soooooo..... I have inadvertently stumbled upon my Christmas present. Other half - for some inexplicable reason that I am unable to fathom - thought it would remain safely hidden in, of all places, the trunk where I keep all of my crafting supplies. Silly man. Maybe he thought I was done crafting once the Christmas cards were made. Not that the gift is going to be a surprise (I asked for a new Kobo Aura ONE e-reader with sleep cover) but I know he is waiting for the tree to go up so that he can place it, wrapped, under the tree to tease me until Dec 25. I do love the holiday season!

73MickyFine
Nov 20, 2017, 1:04pm Top

>68 lkernagh: I'm a "no Christmas stuff before December 1" gal myself but I have done some Christmas shopping already. Plus a small group of my friends have decided to do our own version of the Icelandic tradition of giving books and chocolate to each other on Christmas Eve. Should be a lot of fun. I'm having fun picking books for the three of them. :)

74lkernagh
Nov 21, 2017, 9:05pm Top

>73 MickyFine: - Smart idea to have some of your Christmas shopping already done, Micky! That version of the Icelandic tradition sounds perfect to me.... cannot go wrong with books and chocolates on Christmas Eve!

75LovingLit
Nov 21, 2017, 9:55pm Top

>68 lkernagh: Every year I promise to go "low key" for the holidays and every year, I fall under the spell of the season and go a little crazy.
He he! That is funny. I do the opposite, I want to get a little more into it, but usually only ever manage to go a certain distance before settling in...

76PaulCranswick
Nov 23, 2017, 12:35pm Top

This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

77nittnut
Nov 23, 2017, 12:35pm Top

78Berly
Nov 23, 2017, 1:50pm Top

On this day of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many things, one of them being my



Thank you for being so wonderful! : )

79lkernagh
Nov 24, 2017, 7:42pm Top

>75 LovingLit: - Well done on your part, Megan! I wish I could go low key but I just love the holiday season. Drives my other half a bit batty because I like to play Christmas music while decorating the tree... all that stuff. He runs aways with his friends for the day and leaves me to it, which suits me just fine as I tend to get a little OCD about ornament placement, etc. ;-)

>76 PaulCranswick: - Thanks Paul! What a lovely message. Like you, I am very thankful for the wonderful friends here on LT. Wishing you the very best.

>77 nittnut: - Thanks Jenn! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

>78 Berly: - Love the sentiment, Kim! And Gosh darn, you are going to make me blush. ;-)

80lkernagh
Edited: Nov 24, 2017, 9:18pm Top

So, how has everyone's week been? I know it is the Thanksgiving long weekend in the US so Happy Thanksgiving to all my southern located LT friends!

My week started out on a frustrated note. I won a book from the October LTER batch that was in print (not ebook) format. Usually, that is not a problem as most publishers have been sending the books via USPS so I receive the delivery notice in my mailbox and I just go retrieve the package at the local pharmacy in my neighbourhood. Easee Peasee! This time, the publisher used CanPar couriers, which, when entering Canada, uses the courier company Loomis Express. Loomis attempted two deliveries while I was at work and I had to go out to their depot to pick up the parcel in person, which ended up becoming a 1.5 hour rush hour round trip event because they are only open Mon-Fri with typical office hours. At least I picked up my parcel but it involved working through my lunch so that I could leave early to do so, so minor *grrrr* about that.

On the health front, I got my flu shot last Thursday so, of course, 5 days later I am now sick with a head. Worked from home yesterday and today and hoping to take things easy this weekend to recover.

Still reading books but slowly as I have been more interested in watching shows than reading.

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!

81Familyhistorian
Nov 24, 2017, 9:03pm Top

>80 lkernagh: Most of my LTER wins are delivered by Canada Post but I do remember coming back from a trip to find out that one had been sent by CanPar and I only had until such and such a date to pick it up. Yes, of course the deadline was while I was away. I complained and the book was sent to me by Canada Post. That was definitely a one off. The rest of the time it is hit or miss if I receive the ER book or not.

I hope you feel better soon.

82lkernagh
Nov 24, 2017, 9:21pm Top

>81 Familyhistorian: - Hi Meg. Thankfully, most publishers of the LTER books I have won do send the books through regular mail, which puts delivery in the hands of Canada Post on this end, which is so much easier. the cold is getting better - thanks to Neo Citran! - and I hope to be back to full health by the end of the weekend. *fingers crossed*

83MickyFine
Nov 24, 2017, 10:09pm Top

Hope your cold hits the bricks soon, Lori.

I had a cold around Remembrance Day and kicked it but it came back in milder form again this week. I am unimpressed.

84Copperskye
Nov 25, 2017, 12:18am Top

>52 lkernagh: Very nice! The folks on your list will love them!

85Familyhistorian
Nov 25, 2017, 12:29am Top

>82 lkernagh: I hope the end of the weekend sees you back to health, Lori. After all, you have to get those steps in for your cross Canada trek. It is hard to find time between rain showers these days.

86lkernagh
Nov 26, 2017, 5:08pm Top

>83 MickyFine: - The cold has decided that it likes me so if is hanging around more than I would like. Sooooo annoying! Boomerang colds are the worst. Poor you! Hope you are feeling better soon.

>84 Copperskye: - Thanks Joanne!

>85 Familyhistorian: - Sadly, I am still battling this cold, Meg. I should have it gone by the time we switch into December, so that will be good. Don't want to do any holiday baking until I am back to full health. The darn cold is impacting my walking, which has me a bit ticked off. All the more reason for me to stay indoors and get over this cold as soon as possible!

87lkernagh
Nov 26, 2017, 5:08pm Top

My head cold continues to linger so I have been taking advantage of the dreary weather to stay indoors and get some reading time in. I am currently reading - well, listening to - the second book in Follett's Kingsbridge trilogy. Not as good as the first book, but too far into it to not finish it.

In the meantime, one book review and a very minor walking update coming up.

88lkernagh
Nov 26, 2017, 5:09pm Top


Book #103 - Benito by Francois Gravel
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Orange cover or the color mentioned in the book title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback
Original publication date: 1987
Acquisition date: September 20, 2012
Page count: 161 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book back cover:
Benito - thirteenth child of an absent-minded father and amnesiac mother - grows up in a comfortably undemanding anonymity, and spends his childhood contriving ways to remain inconspicuous. But in time he discovers that his carefully cultivated anonymity casts an extraordinary spell over other people: If they so much as meet his eyes, they are irresistibly compelled to pour out their innermost thoughts. They can then go on their way relieved and unburdened - even if Benito has been lost in daydreams and hasn't paid the slightest attention to their confessions. Listening - or rather, not listening - becomes Benito's life work, but despite his growing fame he remains a bemused and innocent observer of the world around him.
Review:
An interesting blending of quirky existentialism and fanciful satirical insight, this little gem brings to mind books such as Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, Voltaire's Candide and the dreamlike magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A hard book to describe so I will just reproduce the comment found on the book's back cover:
"A droll and charming tale of the power of love, and the miracles it works; behind its gentle comedy lies a shrewd and pointed vision of human folly."
Gravel has a keen eye and uses his pen to point out - in a light, humorous manner - some of the crazy things that happens in society. An author worthy of a wider readership. Love the advise a 6-year-old Benito receives from his father:
"Now listen to your father: life stinks but there's nothing can beat it. Work is the key to success. Beware of monopolies, and respect women. Any questions?"
Note: This may be an obscure book for non-Canadian (and non-French speaking readers) to grab a copy of. My copy is an English translation.

89lkernagh
Nov 26, 2017, 5:09pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 124 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 20.21
Kilometers walked in total: 5,313.06
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Continuing to hug the southern aspect of the St. Lawrence River, and heading for Montmagny.
Points of interest along the way: Nothing except that head colds really do impact one's ability to get out and log some walking time!

90MickyFine
Nov 27, 2017, 11:40am Top

>86 lkernagh: Sorry to hear your cold is still hanging on. I think I'll be completely back to normal tomorrow (finally!).

Hopefully you get in some good reads while you rest. :)

91mstrust
Nov 27, 2017, 12:39pm Top

Hi Lori! I hope you feel better soon.

92lkernagh
Nov 27, 2017, 4:03pm Top

>90 MickyFine: and >91 mstrust: - Thanks Micky and Jenn. I hate being sick but fingers crossed this means I have had my illness for the winter season and can look forward to a healthy December and new year. ;-)

93karenmarie
Nov 28, 2017, 7:07pm Top

Hi Lori! Sorry to hear that you have a cold and that it likes you. I hope it goes away soon and that you can get back to walking and your normal routine.

94lkernagh
Nov 28, 2017, 8:04pm Top

>93 karenmarie: - So do I, Karen! Being able to work from home has not helped hasten the cold away, but I guess I could be a lot sicker than I am. I have to drag myself into the office tomorrow so that will be the big test to see how well I am feeling.

95lkernagh
Nov 28, 2017, 8:04pm Top


Book #104 - World Without End by Ken Follett - audiobook narrated by John Lee
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books page count (1,001-1,100 pages)"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2007
Acquisition date: May 10, 2014
Page count: 1,014 pages / 45 hours, 30 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.40 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from various sources:
Two centuries after the townspeople of Kingsbridge finished building their exquisite Gothic cathedral, four children slip into the forest and witness a killing... and event that will make Kingsbridge once again the centre of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge. As the children grow into adults, so to does their world drastically change into a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, with intrigue and tension quickly reaching a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race — the Black Death.
Review:
Not as good as The Pillars of the Earth, but still a solid read for anyone interested in feudalism, religion, architecture and medical practices of the late Middle Ages. The only hold overs from book one is the location - Kingsbridge - and some minor references at the start of the book to identify certain descendants of some earlier characters. Beyond that, this book could be read as a stand alone, and maybe it should. I can understand that a writer may feel compelled to reproduce a successful story plot formula, but short of making use of the Black Plague as a mechanism for some interesting plot dynamics (Who lives? Who dies? Who runs and hides?), Follett reproduces a number of his themes from the first book. Same/similar themes, different characters. I guess if I had read Pillars of the Earth when if first came out and then had to wait 17 years for the sequel (instead of reading the two books almost back-to-back as I did) I probably would have been enthralled, and not noticed the plot/theme similarities. The violence found in the first book continues in this one - actually, I think this one is a bit more violent - so be forewarned if you tend to shy away from books that contain vivid descriptions of killing for revenge (or just for the sake of killing). That, and I have to admit that I found Caris to be an annoying character, which detracted me from fully enjoying the story... I was too busy being ticked off by some of her "entitlement" behaviour. As he did with the first book, Follett wraps everything up in the end with a nice, tidy bow, maybe thinking he was stopping with the sequel. Kind of makes me wonder whether the third book, A Column of Fire - published 10 years after World Without End - will be another bit of "same old, same old". Might just have to bite the bullet and find out.

Overall, Follett does write a good story, even if parts of this story come off as being annoyingly familiar.

96karenmarie
Nov 28, 2017, 9:01pm Top

>95 lkernagh: I agree totally with your review. Not as good as Pillars of the Earth, derivative, not as enthralling. Daughter perked up when we discovered there was a 3rd one, and I have put it into my Amazon shopping cart for her for Christmas.

97lkernagh
Nov 29, 2017, 9:27pm Top

>96 karenmarie: - Always sad to be let down, especially when the previous book was so darn good! Sounds like a fabulous gift for your daughter. I am keen enough to get around to reading - or listening - to the third book, at some point.

98karenmarie
Nov 30, 2017, 6:18pm Top

>97 lkernagh: I took it back out because I already have a book for her. Sister called today, though, asking what to get daughter, so we both went to Amazon, she in CA and me in NC, I found it, she found it, and it will be in the box from sister sometime in December. Daughter will be thrilled.

99lkernagh
Nov 30, 2017, 9:56pm Top

Glad to see a happy solution to the hectic Christmas shopping season we are now in!

100Storeetllr
Dec 3, 2017, 4:10pm Top

Hi, Lori! I finally found you after a hiatus of a month from LT and reading. Looks like you've been getting a lot of good walking and good reading done. I could not read Pillars of the Earth because I kept comparing it (not favorably) to another book I read on the same subject and time period: Edith Pargeter's The Heaven Tree. Highly recommended, if you are interested in cathedral building in the 13th century. (By the way, Edith Pargeter also wrote as Ellis Peters of Brother Cadfael fame.)

101lkernagh
Dec 3, 2017, 9:01pm Top

>100 Storeetllr: - So glad to see that you found me, Mary! Thank you so much for the Edith Pargeter rec! I loved the Brother Cadfael books she wrote as Ellis Peters. For some strange reason, my foray into the books published under her own name, I still need to get around to reading. ;-)

-----------------------------

I hope everyone has had a fabulous weekend! My was great, for the mere reason that I am now "officially" over my head cold. Yahoo for that! The week has been a good one. Taking in a lot of the festive events happening around town. Friday I took in the Gingerbread Showcase, an annual fundraising event for the local branch of Habitat for Humanity, currently in its 9th year. The hand crafted, 100% edible displays focused on the theme "Celebrating Canada". My favorite out of the bunch, entitled "Growing up Canadian":



A slide show of entries can be viewed at the following Habitat for Humanity website: https://www.habitatvictoria.com/gingerbread-showcase.html

I am holding off on decorating until next weekend. In the meantime, I do have a review for a rather quick, enjoyable audiobook and a walking update.

102lkernagh
Dec 3, 2017, 9:02pm Top


Book #105 - Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose - audio recording of a live performance by the LA Theatre Works
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books with Twelve (12) in the title"
Source: Hoopla
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: Originally broadcast as a television play in 1954
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 96 pages / 1 hour, 25 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 5.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the penguinrandomehouse.com book listing webpage:
A blistering character study and an examination of the American melting pot and the judicial system that keeps it in check, Twelve Angry Men holds at its core a deeply patriotic faith in the U.S. legal system. The play centers on Juror Eight, who is at first the sole holdout in an 11-1 guilty vote. Eight sets his sights not on proving the other jurors wrong but rather on getting them to look at the situation in a clear-eyed way not affected by their personal prejudices or biases. Reginald Rose deliberately and carefully peels away the layers of artifice from the men and allows a fuller picture to form of them—and of America, at its best and worst.
Review:
Cylla Von Tiedemann, paraphrasing slightly from her published theatrical review, sums this one up better than I can:
"a buffet of juicy male character types, circa the 1950s. Here we have such classic specimens as the timid bank clerk, the wisecracking sports nut, the shrewd stockbroker, the polite immigrant, the blustering bigot. Heck, there's even a glib ad executive who could be pitching slogans with the younger version of Mad Men's Don Draper...all about seeing beyond stereotypes."
What I love about this one is that I can see how it remains a powerful story, even to this day. I am sure it would be just as equally powerful to read it as it was to listen to the audio recording of a LA Theatre Works live performance. Things to love: It is short (a mere 96 pages / 1.5 hours listening time): the story is intense, with some refreshing comic moments; the anonymity of the characters - they are referred to by Jury number, not name - allows one to focus on the drama and the details as they unfold. I am a huge fan of old fashioned radio plays, which makes the audio recordings of LA Theatre Works performances such a fantastic experience for me.

Nothing like a good courtroom - okay, jury room deliberations - drama to distract me from the holiday craziness. Loved every minute of this one!

103lkernagh
Dec 3, 2017, 9:02pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 125 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 22.13
Kilometers walked in total: 5,335.19
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Due east of Montmagny.
Points of interest along the way: Too busy with work, head cold and the craziness that is the start of the holiday season to pay attention to anything exciting to report on my walks, except to say that "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." as per this photo taking on my way home from work one evening last week:

104MickyFine
Dec 4, 2017, 12:08pm Top

>102 lkernagh: LA Theatreworks has some great recordings of Noel Coward plays that I've thoroughly enjoyed in the past. If you're looking for more listening. :)

105LovingLit
Dec 4, 2017, 12:16pm Top

>79 lkernagh: I think we all get a little OCD about ornament placement- I mean, it's ornament placement! It must be balanced.
I have a penchant for Boney M's Christmas album, so I guess I do get Christmassy to a certain degree ;)

>101 lkernagh: edible?! Who could destroy that work of art by eating it? Its gorgeous

106mstrust
Dec 4, 2017, 5:47pm Top

>101 lkernagh: Those are some amazing gingerbread entries. I thought the beaver Mountie was the best.

107karenmarie
Dec 7, 2017, 6:46am Top

Hi Lori!

>101 lkernagh: I enjoyed the slideshow. My favorite is Christmas is for the Birds.

108lkernagh
Dec 8, 2017, 8:37pm Top

>104 MickyFine: - I love Noel Coward plays! As soon as I read your post I did a quick search of my local library and they have stacks and stacks - while, not literally, but you get me meaning - of LA Theatreworks recordings for borrowing. My 2018 reading year is going to be populated with these audio recordings!

>105 LovingLit: - Boney M! I so need to listen to Boney M when I am decorating the Christmas Tree tomorrow. Give you a chuckle, when I was a girl, my family spend one Christmas touring New Zealand - did both islands - in a rented camper van. The rule was the driver and the map reader were the ones who got to control the music selection as we were driving. Boney M was one of the cassettes - yes, we are going back in time that far - that was routinely played, along with John Lennon, John Denver and others. Great memories!

As for the edible... I think that was a way to control what supplies could be used in the creations as small children do seem to have easy access to the displays. After sitting on public display for 6 to 8 weeks, I don't think anyone will be eating the creations. ;-0

>106 mstrust: - I love the beaver mountie. I posted a bunch of pictures on my Facebook and the caption I wrote for the beaver mountie pic was this:
Beaver? Check. "Mountie" uniform? Check. Hudson Bay Blanket? Check. Nanaimo bars? Check. Hockey and snoweshoes? Check. Poutine? Check. "Canadian Guide to Extreme Politeness"? Check.... and cannot forget Timmies in hand!
;-)

>107 karenmarie: - Hi Karen! They are great, aren't they? I do admit, the bird on is very original and well done.

109lkernagh
Dec 8, 2017, 8:37pm Top

Happy end to the work week and start to the weekend, everyone! This weekend I will be in full on holiday mode. I will be putting up the tree, decorating the place and getting some holiday baking done. I have been spending way too much time lately on Pinterest but I have come away with some new holiday baking ideas I want to try out, like cranberry pistachio white chocolate shortbread.

Work had RL has been busy but not unmanageable.... I even managed to finish reading a book... .well, an audiobook but it still counts as a book read, IMO. ;-)

110lkernagh
Dec 8, 2017, 8:38pm Top


Book #106 - The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith - audiobook narrated by Lisette Lecat
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "12th book in a series"
Source: GVPL
Format: Audiobook
Original publication date: 2011
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 240 pages / 8 hours, 21 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Precious Ramotswe faces two confounding cases: the mysterious fate of some cows, and the ghost-like reappearance of her dear old white van.
As Mma Ramotswe investigates the deaths of cows at a cattle post outside Gaborone, she finds herself also pursuing other mysteries closer to home. One of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni’s apprentices appears to have gotten a girl pregnant, and has run away to avoid marrying her. Meanwhile, Precious sees her beloved old van—sent to the junkyard long ago—trundling around the city again. Has the van been miraculously revived, or is she hallucinating? Further complicating matters are Violet Sephotho’s newly launched campaign for a seat in Botswana’s parliament, and Grace Makutsi’s growing fears that she’ll never be able to marry her fiancé Phuti Radiphuti if she can’t find the perfect pair of wedding shoes. As ever, Precious will draw on her trademark grace and wisdom as she helps unravel all these tangled threads.
Review:
Another delightful episode, filled with sigh-inducing events for some repeat characters. I like how the characters have fully developed and a visit to Precious Ramotswe's Botswana is like a return visit to a favorite town/village. The fact that I could totally see the "shoe catastrophy" coming - and groaned at some of Charlie's cringe-worthy statements - is what makes these stories such a fun read.

111ronincats
Dec 8, 2017, 8:48pm Top

Here's to a holiday-themed weekend; may it be joyfully productive, Lori.

112lkernagh
Dec 8, 2017, 9:04pm Top

Thanks Roni! I think I have managed to convince my other half that he might want to help his buddy with his boat this weekend, leaving my to my holiday happiness making. ;-)

113lkernagh
Dec 8, 2017, 9:04pm Top

Sharing a bit of my IP geeky side. You know how easy it is to say "I will Google it" or "I am off to the store for Kleenex" when you are really just going to buy what ever brand is on sale? I came across this YouTube music video - Don't Say Velcro (created by Velcro company) and I have to say, I found it to be a hilariously brilliant consumer education campaign tool.

It must be working.... it even warranted a mention on Anderson Cooper's RidicuList.

114MickyFine
Dec 9, 2017, 4:45pm Top

Sounds like fun weekend plans, Lori. I look forward to the verdict on the shortbread. It sounds fantastic.

115PaulCranswick
Dec 10, 2017, 7:14pm Top

>113 lkernagh: In the UK vacuum cleaners are invariably called "Hoovers" for example.

Hope your weekend has been a splendid one Lori. xx

116nittnut
Dec 10, 2017, 9:13pm Top

>101 lkernagh: How cute are those displays? Thanks for sharing the link.

I am also very interested in the shortbread...

117lkernagh
Dec 10, 2017, 11:49pm Top

>114 MickyFine: - It has been a very productive weekend, Micky! I ended up improvising a bit with the shortbread recipe... I used up all of the white chocolate I had on hand for a different cookie recipe. Both turned out fabulous and the other half has been informed that he is welcome to take cookies into the office.

>115 PaulCranswick: - LOL, Hoover is one of those pesky words that have hit mainstream vocabulary. ;-) Weekend was wonderful... just a tad too short. sighs

>116 nittnut: - I am so glad you enjoyed the gingerbread displays, Jenn! Such fun and a great way to exhibit hidden local talent! As I mentioned to Micky, I ended up improvising a bit on the shortbread cookie recipe... ran out of white chocolate and was not in the mood to brave the throngs of shoppers for more. ;-) Even with the adaptation, I am going to call it a success.

118lkernagh
Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 11:18pm Top

It has been a great weekend. Tree is up. Front door is decorated (door as wrapped present with gift tag theme) and I even managed to get in some baking time:



From left to right:
- Brown Sugar Orange Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread - my own recipe. Ran out of white chocolate so improvised.
- Peppermint Mocha Cookies - adapted from this Sally's Baking Addiction recipe
- Mincemeat Tarts - this recipe ;-)

In between all of the holiday fun, I managed to re-dye one of my favorite work skirts. Some clothes - thankfully! - suffer fabric colour fad without suffering any other "wear-and-tear". I will be darned if I am going to get rid of a perfectly good, well fitted/flattering skirt just because the color has faded with repeat washings. One of the spend thrift traits I picked up from my mom.

.... of course, this means that I have done zero reading this weekend. If I can finish the book I am reading right now before Dec 31st, than I will be happy. Going for the low goals now. ;-)

At least I have a walking update... such that it is.

119lkernagh
Dec 10, 2017, 11:49pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 126 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 35.38
Kilometers walked in total: 5,370.57
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Due east of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.
Points of interest along the way: I got nothing for you. Too busy with holiday season preparations.

120drneutron
Dec 11, 2017, 8:46am Top

Oooo, those mincemeat tarts look great!

121mstrust
Dec 11, 2017, 11:43am Top

Oh, your cookies are beautiful! Those chocolate ones look so chocolatey!
I happened to make cranberry orange shortbread cookies on Saturday too (twinsies). I rolled the chilled logs in a combination of red and gold sanding sugars.
Since I have so many cookie tins to fill this year, I'm pretty much making a cookie every day. Today's will be sugar cookies with just a little maple syrup added to the batter. I'm going to frost with just white royal icing and a brush of gold pixie dust.

122MickyFine
Dec 11, 2017, 12:59pm Top

>118 lkernagh: Those cookies look amazing, Lori.

I hear you on the no reading front for the weekend. I didn't get in any either. I'm hoping to get through my current read before Christmas (Diana Gabaldon doesn't write short books... sigh). And then it will be time to think about reading goals for next year. :)

123lkernagh
Dec 11, 2017, 11:20pm Top

Quick poke in to fix the link to the peppermint chocolate cookies in >118 lkernagh:.

Will be back to post responses at some point, just not tonight.

124The_Hibernator
Dec 12, 2017, 1:44pm Top

Beautiful cookies!

125lkernagh
Dec 12, 2017, 9:57pm Top

>120 drneutron: - Christmas isn't Christmas without mincemeat, Jim!

>121 mstrust: - The Chocolate Peppermint Mocha ones are really quite amazing! They are like eating bite-sized decadent peppermint chocolate cake. I decided to use black cocoa power (instead of the usual "red" cocoa powder) and it really made a difference! Will be keeping that in mind the next time I make anything chocolate.

Yay for twinsies! Great minds do think alike. ;-) Wow on your baking energy, Jennifer and your baking creativity. I came home from work and all I have done this evening is sit in front of the computer with a glass of Malbec.

>122 MickyFine: - Thanks Micky! I don't get to do much baking as my other half isn't a big fan of baked goods - he prefers chocolate, as you will see in my further post below - so December is the one time of the year where I get to go a little crazy, knowing that I can always "gift" extras to friends and neighbours.

"Diana Gabaldon doesn't write short books... sigh" No kidding! Great writer and thankfully she has learned with her Lord John books that one doesn't need to write on such a voluminous/epic scale all of the time. ;-0

>124 The_Hibernator: - Thanks Rachel!

126lkernagh
Dec 12, 2017, 9:57pm Top

Starting off with a fun story to share:

My other half is big on chocolates. Hilariously, he asked me on Sunday if we were out of chocolate. I should mention that we usually have chocolate almonds or some Lindt chocolate in the fridge, so he was a bit put out that the "fridge was bare". He gave me a strange look when I said, "There is chocolate under the tree". Once the tree goes up, all of the Christmas chocolate - Terry's oranges, Quality Street, After Eight mints, Ferrero Rocher and his personal favorites: Guylian seashells and Guylian Opus - are all put under the tree. I even had to point him in the direction of the tree. I guess he is not quite in Christmas mode.... must be the head cold he has developed.

... Yup. I am healthy and now he is sick. It is shaping up to be one of those winters. I have already informed him that our 're-gifting" ban includes any and all viruses or other seasonal illnesses. Somebody (not me) is getting an extra strong toddy this evening... maybe even two.

127MickyFine
Dec 13, 2017, 12:25am Top

>125 lkernagh: I'm lucky that the cookies I typically make for Christmas get softer as they age as long as they're kept in an air-tight container. Means I can eat them well into February if I want. In between all the chocolate. ;)

>126 lkernagh: The cold going around this year (at least in my circles) is a brutal one. Glad you're over yours and hopefully the husband beats his quickly.

128Familyhistorian
Dec 13, 2017, 6:37pm Top

>118 lkernagh: Your baking looks so good, Lori. Good for you for getting your decorating and baking and stuff done. I sent out my cards and did on line shopping for some folks back east but still have shopping and a touch of decorating to do. (I only do a touch, no tree or outside lights or anything crazy like that).

129karenmarie
Dec 17, 2017, 8:08am Top

Hi Lori!

>113 lkernagh: That is a riot. Thanks for sharing!

>118 lkernagh: They look wonderful and tasty. I'm especially intrigued with the Peppermint Mocha cookies and may make them this week. I usually make Pecan Puffs and "Mama's Best Brown Sugar Cookies", a refrigerator cookie with pecans during the holidays, and sometimes will make a pan of fudge too. I made some divinity last week to send to my sister's MiL, who lives with them and loves divinity. I hadn't made it in forever, but thank goodness for the stand mixer!

>126 lkernagh: What a great story. Sorry to hear that he's sick, though. I barely stay in the same room with him when my husband's sick. No re-gifting of germs seems reasonable.

130PaulCranswick
Dec 17, 2017, 10:16am Top

>126 lkernagh: I am also a lover of chocolate, Lori, but I guess that putting the stuff under the Christmas Tree and leaving it in the same room as me would have disastrous consequences for Christmas!

Have a lovely choco-fllled Sunday.

131lkernagh
Dec 17, 2017, 2:47pm Top

>127 MickyFine: - Cookies and Chocolate... two of my favorite things! Thankfully, the scotch-infused hot toddies seem to have done the trick. Fingers crossed we are now finished with illnesses for this winter season!

>128 Familyhistorian: - A touch of decorating sounds perfect to me. I only decorated the tree and the front door this year. Thought about stringing a set of lights on the balcony, only to discover that the spare strand of lights are "indoor only", so no lights on the balcony... one less thing to worry about. ;-)

>129 karenmarie: - Glad you enjoyed it, Karen! Love your baking line-up. I have never made divinity, or tried it before. Is it kind of like a lighter form of fudge? Thanks. He is feeling better... now we just need to avoid people who are still "walking contagions". ;-)

>130 PaulCranswick: - LOL, well, he is only allowed to open one box at a time, and it looks like we probably won't be opening the Quality Street tin until Christmas day... it is all about will power, Paul!

132lkernagh
Dec 17, 2017, 2:47pm Top

Taking things easy today. The weather is wet and dreary so a good day to stay indoors. Besides, I have a sewing project I am going to tackle this afternoon. We have an old duvet that we keep in the living room for snuggling under on the couch when reading or watching shows/movies. The duvet is very old - I am afraid that if I wash it one more time, all the down stuffing will come out - so I bought a new duvet two weeks ago. Sewing project today is to sew a duvet cover (the new duvet is a different size than the old duvet so that can't use the old cover for the new duvet.

On the reading front, I am STILL working on my current read I started near the end of November. I am determined to finish it sometime this week, but until then, all I have for you is a walking update.

133lkernagh
Dec 17, 2017, 2:47pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 127 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 49.64
Kilometers walked in total: 5,420.21
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Northeast of Saint-Pascal and heading for Sainte-Helene-de-Kamouraska.
Points of interest along the way: Happy see my walking distances are climbing again!

134mstrust
Dec 17, 2017, 3:29pm Top

>126 lkernagh: I think our husbands are related. I usually have some chocolate front and center so he can see it when he opens a cabinet, but the few times it isn't there, he wails, "There isn't any chocolate!" It's very accusatory. I take him through each cabinet and the fridge pointing out all the varieties available and he calms down.
One of his friends just gave him a one pound Snickers bar.

135karenmarie
Dec 18, 2017, 7:42am Top

Hi Lori!

>131 lkernagh: Divinity is classified as a nougat-type candy. It's pure white. The ingredients are egg whites, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and I add nuts. My grandmother's recipe also uses 1/8 teaspoon almond extract in addition to the vanilla extract. Years when I was ambitious I made chocolate fudge, penuche (a brown sugar fudge), and divinity. They look beautiful on a serving tray together.

>132 lkernagh: I can barely sew a straight seam even using a sewing machine, so salute you for making a new duvet cover!

136Familyhistorian
Dec 18, 2017, 12:03pm Top

>132 lkernagh: I hope that the duvet cover is finished or almost finished, Lori. It seems to be snuggling under duvet cover weather although, as I look out the window, it doesn't appear to be actively raining. I will see when I get out in it in a few minutes. Good luck finishing that book and then maybe you can move on to more engaging reads.

137nittnut
Dec 18, 2017, 12:13pm Top

Your cookies look gorgeous.
My husband doesn't eat chocolate. *gasp* So we don't have that problem.
I just had a brutal cold. The rest of the family got it over Thanksgiving. I decided I didn't have time, but two weeks ago, the virus overwhelmed me. It lasted two weeks. It wasn't flu, just a brutal cold. I hope you're done sharing germs at your house.

138LovingLit
Dec 18, 2017, 1:56pm Top

>118 lkernagh: Peppermint mocha cookies!!?? Wow, they look great, and I bet would suit a Christmas feast to a tee.

Not chiming in to talk about sickness in the house, W has chicken pox and it is forecast to be hot today. He is one unhappy camper. I will be at work, so I hope his dad has his maternal nurturing vest on.

139The_Hibernator
Dec 19, 2017, 1:22pm Top

>132 lkernagh: You say that as if it's possible to sew a duvet cover in one day? You must be quite the sewer.

140mstrust
Dec 22, 2017, 12:42pm Top

Have a Merry Christmas, Lori!

141lkernagh
Dec 23, 2017, 12:08am Top

>134 mstrust: - LOL.... glad to see I am not the only one with a chocolate loving other half! ;-)
Oohhhhh, a one pound Snickers bar. I can see that being consumed. I tend to buy the mini Snickers bars for my desk drawer. Excellent way to kick start me mid-afternoon.

>135 karenmarie: - Hi Karen, thank you so much for the explanation. Nougat makes sense to me. lighter than fudge but still has a lovely sweetness to it. ;-) Brown sugar fudge is one of my favorites! Love that stuff and haven't made any for the past 20 years. I used to make it a lot as a teenager.
As for the duvet cover, it was simplified in that I purchased two oversized sheets in the fabric I wanted, so it was just a matter of sewing three sides together, make it fit the duvet to a "T" by create a "fold and closer" for the fourth seam and sewing a sham ruffle, and then I just had to sit down and hand sew the snap fasteners into place. Easee-Peasee! Was a fun Sunday afternoon project.

>136 Familyhistorian: - Hi Meg, as you can see by the "process" described above, it was a afternoon project that was completed the same day. The most time consuming bit was hand sewing the snap fasteners into place to close the duvet cover. The cold weather from last week has continued, and yes, I have been enjoying curling up on the couch under the new duvet!

As for the book... I seem to have stalled with that one. Oh well, I have a new and enjoyable time suck (explained below) that will carry me through the holidays quite nicely.

142lkernagh
Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 12:09am Top

>137 nittnut: - Thanks Jenn! "My husband doesn't eat chocolate." So, does that mean you can bring home chocolate for yourself and know that it won't be consumed? Jealous! Poor you.. I hope you are feeling better. Yes, we have stopped "sharing" that dreaded bug so fingers crossed we all will have a healthier 2018!

>138 LovingLit:- Oh Megan, those cookies were evil.. only because it was hard to just eat only one!

OMG... chicken pox is no fun. Poor W! I hope W is on the mend and that your other half was able to excel at the maternal nurturing. A good skill that fathers should have for emergencies like this!

>139 The_Hibernator:- Rachel! So lovely to see you stopping by!

.... but I did, and it was rather easy (at least, I thought it was since it just involved straight seam sewing, measure twice and sew one and all that). Process explained in the preceding post. :-0

>140 mstrust: - Why thank you Jennifer. Love the card! Restraint at this time of year... oh, who am I kidding, restraint at any time of year is one of those "guidelines" that can be followed or ignored.

143lkernagh
Dec 23, 2017, 12:09am Top

Hello my friends! I hope no one has succumbed to the stress and strain that this holiday season can have on people. While walking in to work today, I was saddened by overhearing one individuals very loud, and very angry, cell phone conversation. 7 am is way too early for that much vitriol. Three blocks further along, I then got to witness the stupidity (a.k.a. Darwin's Law) that some people engage in. I could not believe what my eyes were taking in: An individual (male) in his 40's I would guess, parked his car on the side of the road at the start of a bend in the road, got out of the car, proceeded to the center of the road where he then stopped - yes, stopped in the center of the road - and pulled out his smart phone and started to either take pictures or a video of his parked car. While all this is going on, cars are trying to drive around him. I should also point out on top of positioning himself in a potential blind spot for northbound traffic, he was not wearing any high visual clothing - dark colours and no reflective strips - for some strange reason, this didn't bother him. he was too busy focused on whatever he was doing with his smart phone. It takes all sorts. At least I was able to see him safely leave the flow of traffic and return to his car, but still.... a really dumb thing to do!

Good news is, I am now off until the 28th and I am looking forward to a stress-free time. Some last minute grocery shopping tomorrow and I can hunker down and just enjoy the usual holiday activities of sleeping in, eating good food, watching Christmas classic movies and maybe, just maybe will also get to see a dusting of snow of Christmas eve. My kind of holiday season. ;-)

On the reading front, I am at the same spot in my current read as I was last week, and the week before. My current time suck has been finishing all of the Doc Martin episodes and the start of a new TV series that I completely enthralled with: A Place to Call Home. If you are not familiar with the show, it has been described as an Australian Downton Abbey. You can view the trailer for A Place to Call Home here: http://www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi2855185945

Suffice to say, I am hooked! Of course, I am going to have to be a bit flexible in how I watch the series. Acorn TV can only offer Canadian views the first two seasons (BBC Canada has the exclusive rights for seasons 3, 4 and 5 - bugger). Luckily, my local library has season three on DVD that I can borrow, I can watch season 4 via my library subscription to Hoopla so that is good but still... frustrating to not be able to just continue streaming the show. sighs

... I know...a first world problem. ;-)

144lkernagh
Dec 23, 2017, 12:09am Top

As I plan on spending the next 5 days off-line, below please find my holiday greeting for all of my thread visitors:


145Berly
Dec 23, 2017, 12:22am Top

>118 lkernagh: Wow! Yummy! I hope you have a wonderful time over the holidays. Love your card. ^^

146Ameise1
Dec 23, 2017, 10:53am Top

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

147ronincats
Dec 23, 2017, 5:50pm Top

It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:

148lkernagh
Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 7:25pm Top

>145 Berly:, >146 Ameise1: and >147 ronincats: - Thank you Kim, Barbara and Roni for the holiday wishes! As you can see, I am not off-line, as anticipated. Other half has had to head out to help a friend with an electrical problem so I will try to visit threads while he is busy. ;-)

149EBT1002
Dec 23, 2017, 8:14pm Top



Wishing you a very merry holiday season, Lori!

150Donna828
Dec 23, 2017, 9:43pm Top

Lori, I love your hand-crafted holiday card way upthread. I would love to create something that beautiful and meaningful. Thank you for the Christmas message in >144 lkernagh:. I hope 2018 is a grand New Year for you and yours. I appreciate all the book reviews that have inspired me and others.

151msf59
Edited: Dec 23, 2017, 11:00pm Top



^Have a wonderful holiday, Lori!

152Copperskye
Dec 23, 2017, 11:06pm Top





Merry Christmas, Lori!

153karenmarie
Dec 24, 2017, 8:18am Top

Hi Lori!



Stopping by to wish you and yours all good things this holiday season.

154nittnut
Dec 24, 2017, 8:24am Top



Knowing you lights my world!
Merry Christmas! Peace and Joy!

155The_Hibernator
Dec 24, 2017, 11:03am Top



Happy holidays! I am thankful this holiday season for all the good friends I have made in this group. You are all so supportive. I don't know what I'd do without you!

156SandDune
Dec 24, 2017, 2:19pm Top



(Or in other words, Happy Christmas, to you and yours!)

157rretzler
Dec 24, 2017, 8:36pm Top

158AMQS
Dec 25, 2017, 1:36am Top

Dear Lori, best wishes to you and yours at Christmas!

159PaulCranswick
Dec 25, 2017, 3:38am Top



Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

160kidzdoc
Dec 25, 2017, 4:52am Top



Merry Christmas, Lori!

161calm
Dec 25, 2017, 8:39am Top

Merry Christmas Lori, I hope you have a wonderful book filled 2018

162banjo123
Dec 25, 2017, 3:31pm Top



wishing a holiday and new year of peace for you and yours!

163Berly
Dec 26, 2017, 4:22pm Top

Happy Boxing Day!!

164LovingLit
Dec 27, 2017, 3:59am Top

>144 lkernagh: I hope your break was all it promised! And that your off-work time is being thoroughly enjoyed :)

165Familyhistorian
Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 12:38am Top

So were you happy with the dusting of snow for Christmas, Lori? I think it can stop now!

166jnwelch
Dec 28, 2017, 5:16pm Top



Happy Holidays, Lori!

167ChelleBearss
Dec 28, 2017, 7:35pm Top

Hope you had a good holiday!

168lkernagh
Dec 28, 2017, 9:48pm Top

>149 EBT1002:, >150 Donna828:, >151 msf59:, >152 Copperskye:, >153 karenmarie:, >154 nittnut:, >155 The_Hibernator:, >156 SandDune:, >157 rretzler:, >158 AMQS:, >159 PaulCranswick:, >160 kidzdoc:, >161 calm:, >162 banjo123:, >163 Berly:, >164 LovingLit:, >166 jnwelch: and >167 ChelleBearss: - Thank you Ellen, Donna, Mark, Joanne, Karen, Jenn, Rachel, Rhian, Robin, Anne, Paul, Darryl, calm, Rhonda, Kim, Megan, Meg, Joe and Chelle for the holiday messages! The holidays were wonderful. We went low-key and even though I knew what my present was in advance, it was still a lot of fun to open and load my ebooks onto my new ereader.

>165 Familyhistorian: - LOL! I do love snow Meg but I understand that on the West Coast it can be more trouble than the joy it provides. ;-)

As Meg pointed out, we did have some snow on Christmas Day - got my White Christmas wish! - but it was all melted by Boxing Day, as per the Christmas Day/Boxing Day comparison pictures below:


Christmas Day


Boxing Day

Boxing Day was a relaxing day of online shopping, eating and book reading. For the most part, the holidays were filled with food, fun and sleeping whenever I felt like it. I am a huge fan of naps!

On the reading front, I also managed to: 1) finally finish a book a started 5 weeks ago; and 2) read two quick reads. Good news is that with these books read, I have "technically" completed my challenge by reading a minimum of three challenge reads per month, so super happy about that!

Walking review will wait for the weekend and then I will do a final 2-week update to close off 2017.

I have two books on the go at the moment - both LTER books that I am overdue for reading and reviewing - and I hope to get both of those books finished before chiming in 2018.

169lkernagh
Dec 28, 2017, 9:48pm Top


Book #107 - You have to be careful in the land of the free by James Kelman
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Eleven-Word title"
Source: TBR
Format: Trade Paperback
Original publication date: 2004
Acquisition date: May 16, 2010
Page count: 410 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 2.00 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Jeremiah Brown, a Scottish immigrant in his early thirties, has lived in the United States for twelve years. He has moved as many times, from the east coast to the west coast and back again, all in the hope his luck would change. To add to his restlessness and indecision, he now has a nonrefundable ticket to Glasgow to visit his mother for the first time in seven years. The question is, will the visit help him get over the pain of separation from a woman he met and loved in New York and with whom he had a little girl, or will it make it worse? In this rich, funny, superbly crafted novel, Kelman has once again created a memorable character-compulsive, obsessive, self-doubting, beer-loving, and utterly engaging-and a singular portrait of an immigrant's America.
Review:
I struggled through this one. In fact, I struggled with the book for 4 weeks before finally finishing it. I like the idea of the experiences and perspectives of a "furnir" as he analyses both his experience of living in America (as a Red Card class III immigrant, aspiring to Green Card status) and what he finds to be his failures as a partner, father and son. Why the struggle, you might ask? Well, for starters, every time I dipped into the book, I had to reacquaint myself with chosen words written in a phonetically accented Scottish tongue, with "huis"="house"; "Skarrisch"="Scottish"; "Uhmerka"="America"; "mair"= "more"; etc, etc.

It also didn't help that our narrator has the attention span of a bunny rabbit, with a habit of embellishing his stories, only to make retractions later. Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting found this to be a "brave and provocative" that will delight Kelman loyalists and should win him many converts among Americans..." is probably deserving praise, but as I have never read Welsh's works, there is a good change that I am not the target audience of their works. Even if this one is "A beautiful embodiment of moral, social and political outrage portrayed on the most human level", it was a darn challenge to find any quote-worthy phrases that did not contain profanities or other derogatory expletives. Below are the two rare exceptions worthy of mentioning here:
"Naw, I said, sometimes life can be beautiful. But sometimes things are the opposite of that, if there is an opposite of that: being honest I don't think there is; just there can be bad times, we get these bad times. You says ugly there Rita, odious stiff like that; but I'm no sure if they are opposites. To me beautiful is out there on its ayn lilke if it's there in yer life, if beautiful's there in yer life. Nothing can touch that. There isnay nothing else."

"Ye know what like it is when ye hear something greeting be it a dumb animal or a child, it breaks yer heart. That is if ye are a genuine person. A lot of bodies arenay genuine persona aarh jack lad they be persons by proxy, they have trained themselved no to be genuine persons, their morality becomes a politics and the actual argument has to do with whether or no morality exists or whether or no an individual has an obligation to be moral."
Overall, a struggle of a read for me. While the story contains some wonderful literary references and some fantastically insightful moral and social commentary, the whole airport "persian bet" aspect of the story just left me baffled.

170lkernagh
Dec 28, 2017, 9:49pm Top


Book #108 - The Ameriad: The Untold Founding of America by the Survivors of Troy by Duane Gundrum
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category, ROOT
Category: "Books with Twelve-Word title"
Source: TBR
Format: e-Book
Original publication date: April 3, 2013
Acquisition date: February 17,2014
Page count: 218 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.35 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
The Greeks had their Iliad and Odyssey, the Romans had their Aeneid, and the British had their Britannia and those continuously changing King Arthur stories, starring wannabe Shakespearean actors slumming it until something better came along. But America got nothing. Until now. Finally, an epic has emerged, from the lost annals of time (whatever that means...just go with it...it sounds scholarly), that tells the true story of America's foundation. The Ameriad tells the story of the Trojan warrior Amereaus, who has been chosen by the gods to found a new land somewhere across the Great Sea (capitalized because it's that great a sea). Running away from his domineering wife Democrita, Amereaus travails the many forgotten lands of yesterday to battle new gods and new evils (because the old ones were boring), leading to a new land previously occupied by other people until Amereaus kicks them out. For the glory of a new land that will one day be called Amereausland (placeholder until a better name comes along). So join Amereaus, his much smarter assistant Lyddius, and a cast of many others (because it's a novel and just having two characters would have been really boring), including a translator of the epic who really should have never quit his day job but just so happened to be in the right place at the right time to become the greatest translator of all time (Editor's Note: Please do not let this guy write any more of his own back copy!).
Review:
This was a rather fun read. While I was never a devout reader of Greek mythology, I have read enough to understand that this one is a parody of The Iliad and The Aeneid and I was able to enjoy the elements borrowed to create this “what if” American mythology story. Gundrum dials up the satire/humour with descriptive monikers for various mythological gods (Amereaus’ parents are the god Head Honcho and the goddess Fluffy) and lesser gods like Beer and Shop Teacher. The names alone should give you an idea of the type of story this is. Through the story, Gundrum pokes fun at everything from powerful corporations, economic globalization (the Trojan Horse is discovered to display an undecipherable text: “Made in China”), the atom bomb, junk food to modern morals and ethics. Some of the satire was easy to pick up on but other aspects were more obscure to identify. The section where Amereaus meets Socrates is fabulously done but I never did figure out why the focus on “The Pillars” or its significance as a satirical element for the story. Just have to chalk that up to an aspect of American history / modern culture that I do not have much knowledge / understanding of.

Overall, a fun, quick read and one I can recommend to anyone who with a basic understanding of Greek mythology and happens to likes their comedy to be of the Monty Python / Mel Brooks style or for readers of Marie Phillips’ Gods Behaving Badly.

171lkernagh
Dec 28, 2017, 9:49pm Top


Book #109 - Death in December by Shonah Stevens
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: "Books set predominantly in the month of December" and "Books with December, Poinsettia or Turquoise in title or author/main character name"
Source: TBR
Format: e-Book
Original publication date: February 2017
Acquisition date: March 16, 2017
Page count: 74 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.10 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
When headmaster James Leibinger finds one of his teachers dead, the police write it off as suicide. After all Dorian Jones had plenty of problems. However James is convinced Dorian was murdered, but how can he prove it? The he remembers a chance encounter with a female private detective – Jayne Belmont. Would she be able to solve this mystery? Jayne is faced with an entire staff of teachers and an ex-wife who would all like to see the back of Dorian. What's more they all seem to have had opportunity. Jayne slowly narrows down her suspects, but when another body falls to their death and all the suspects were in the same room, the case becomes impossible to solve. Or does it?
Review:
For a first novel – sorry, novella given its short 74 page length – this is an interesting light (dare I call it a cozy?) murder mystery set in a remote, small town area of Australia. The lead character, our novice female private investigator, has more of a bubbly cute personality that a gritty, determined one, but seems to work here given that even Dorian’s ‘hard as nails” ex-wife Janis ends up showing a surprising soft side. The plot and the complex web of interrelationships of some of the characters is well written and probably would have, with some work and editorial guidance, made a rather intriguing full length novel. The novella format tends to means that certain details are minimized or left out and that was the case with this one. I would have liked to have seen the setting expanded upon and more character developments, but for the short format, Stevens does a good job giving the reader multiple suspects and a couple of surprising plot twists.

Overall, a light-weight murder mystery (and first in a currently four book series) that may appeal to readers of the cozy mystery sub-genre looking for a series set in Australia.

172Carmenere
Dec 29, 2017, 8:17am Top

Happy belated Christmas greetings, Lori and all the best in 2018!
PS: Ile d Orlean Island is like a slice of french countryside plopped right in the middle of the St. Lawrence. We traversed the island and spent the day at its wineries and outdoor markets. Simply lovely!

173MickyFine
Dec 29, 2017, 11:05am Top

Love your Christmas Day and Boxing Day comparison pictures, Lori. With our current -30C, I'm a little envious of the green. Even though I much rather prefer snow this time of year to the brown alternative. ;)

174Familyhistorian
Dec 29, 2017, 2:51pm Top

>168 lkernagh: Nice for you that all the snow melted by Christmas day, Lori. Ours stuck around and almost disappeared and then it snowed again *sigh*. Of course, now the torrential rain for the last day and a half has gotten rid of the white stuff.

Death in December sounds like a great read for the month and short too, which is often a good thing at this time of year!

175lkernagh
Dec 29, 2017, 8:21pm Top

>172 Carmenere: - Thanks Lynda for both the holiday wishes and the info regarding Ile d Orlean Island! Definitely going on the must see list for any trip to that part of Canada!

>173 MickyFine: - Thanks Micky! As I mentioned over on my Category challenge thread, I had to keep looking at the Christmas Day photo the next day. Kept on wondering if I had dreamed the snow! As much as I love snow, I am not that keen for the colds temps you folks are suffering through right now. I am sure my dad is wishing his March cruise was happening now. ;-0

>174 Familyhistorian: - Wow, you got snow, again? Poor you guys! I had to laugh as one of my relative in Alberta commented on my comparison pics I had posted on Facebook. He offered to send the Alberta snow this way, if he could just figure out how to deliver it!

Death in December was a decent read... one of those quick one your can fit in while waiting in the doctor's office. ;-)

-------------------------------
Wow, last weekend of 2017. While 2017 was not the emotional roller coaster ride 2016 was, I am still looking forward to closing the door and welcoming 2018 with open arms. Of course, the weather is miserable - wet and rainy - so curling up on the sofa this evening is the plan!

176AMQS
Edited: Dec 30, 2017, 2:58am Top

>168 lkernagh: Lori, is that your view? So beautiful! Hope you enjoyed your evening curled up - I curled up and read for a good part of today - first time in a long time I've been able to do that!

177Ameise1
Dec 30, 2017, 5:13am Top

Happy weekend, Lori.

178MickyFine
Dec 30, 2017, 4:00pm Top

Hope your New Year's weekend is everything you want it to be, Lori.

I'm going to be curling up under a blanket this afternoon myself. The baseboard heating in my apartment can't quite keep up with how cold it is.

179karenmarie
Dec 31, 2017, 3:57pm Top

Hi Lori!

I like the Christmas Day and Boxing Day photos, too.



Peace, Health, and Happiness in 2018

180mstrust
Dec 31, 2017, 5:22pm Top

181Ameise1
Dec 31, 2017, 5:28pm Top


view from Zürich's landmark mountain Üetliberg

182Storeetllr
Dec 31, 2017, 6:05pm Top

Happy New Year wishes to you and yours, Lori. May your 2018 be filled with health, peace and prosperity. And lots of great books!

183rretzler
Dec 31, 2017, 7:51pm Top

184lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 8:00pm Top

>176 AMQS: - Hi Anne, while the pictures are not a view from my home, I am a very 1 minute walk short walk from that scene. I live close to the inner harbour and enjoy the harbour front walkways whenever I get a chance. ;-) As for reading, yes I did manage to spend a very enjoyable evening with a book and a cup of tea.... lovely!

>177 Ameise1: - Thanks and happy weekend to you, Barbara!

>178 MickyFine: - I feel for you and the nasty cold snap Alberta (and other part of North America) are experiencing right now! Even my dad, the perennial walker, admitted that he took the car to grocery shop... it was just too darn cold to walk to the store! Thank you for the New Years wishes. I hope you New Years is an enjoyable and celebratory one!

>179 karenmarie: - Thank you Karen for the comments and your holiday wishes!

>180 mstrust: - Happy New Year, Jennifer!

>181 Ameise1: - Happy New Year, Barbara. What a beautiful scene!

>182 Storeetllr: - Thank you for the new year wishes, Mary! Wishing you thte same for 2018!

185lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 8:01pm Top

>183 rretzler: - Thank you Robin!

----------------------------

I only managed to finish one more book before settling in to ring in 2018. Very happy with 110 book read for 2017 and looking forward to more reading (and walking) and whatever else crops up in 2018! One more review, my last walking update for 2017, a very condensed year end summary and... of course... the Year End Book Meme!

186lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 8:01pm Top

.
Book #110 - Letters to the Pianist by S.D. Mayes
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: e-Book
Original publication date: September 19, 2017
Acquisition date: October 5, 2017
Page count: 412 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia. Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets. Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?
Review:
As far as historical fiction reads go, this is a bit of a gem. Love the WWII and post-WWII setting. Love the intrigue as we learn more about the powerful socialite circles with fascist leanings an the disturbing information that unfolds as Joe recovers his memories and learns about the family he is now joined to. If you are looking for complex character development, this is not the book for you. The characters do come across a bit flat but there are still some interesting suspenseful moments to carry the story through. While this is a historical suspense read, it is more a story about family and they bonds they hold. Favorite quote:
"Keep strong in this era of bloodshed and pain, for time soon flies and our darkest times will one day bring us all a divine redemption."
Overall, a good WWII styled story, potentially geared towards the YA reading audience.

187lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 8:02pm Top

2017 YEAR END SUMMARY:

# of Books Read: 110
Largest book read: World Without End by Ken Follett at 1,014 pages
Smallest book read: Cupcakes by Daniel Kelley at 26 pages
ROOTs Read: 56
# of Pages Read: 36,498
Best Reading Month: June (12 books finished / 4,173 pages read)

Top 15 Reads:
....../.......

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - 5.00 out of 5 /
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - 5.00 out of 5 /
When I Was Young and In My Prime by Alayna Munce - 5.00 out of 5 /
Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye - 5.00 out of 5 /
Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose - 5.00 out of 5 /
A Peacock in the Land of Penguins by BJ Gallagher -
4.80 out of 5 /
The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox - 4.80 out of 5 /
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye - 4.60 out of 5 /
Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Rising by Jonathan Littell - 4.60 out of 5 /
The Mercy of the Tide by Keith Rosson - 4.60 out of 5 /
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson - 4.60 out of 5 /
On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons - 4.60 out of 5 /
Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius - 4.60 out of 5 /
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson - 4.60 out of 5 /
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden - 4.50 out of 5 /

188lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 8:03pm Top

It is that time of year once again.... the End of Year Meme! I had to get a bit creative with a couple of my responses but overall, I like how my 2017 reading filled out and fit most of the questions. ;-)

End of Year Book Meme: Books read in 2017

Describe yourself: The Irrationalist

Describe how you feel: A Peacock in the Land of Penguins

Describe where you currently live: At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Paris

Your favorite form of transportation: The Ion Raider

Your best friend is: Daisy Miller

You and your friends are: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

What’s the weather like: World Without End

You fear: Twelve Angry Men

What is the best advice you have to give: Laugh and Live

Thought for the day: You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free

How you would like to die: Involuntary Bliss

Your soul’s present condition: The Full Cupboard of Life

189lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 8:03pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEKS 128 & 129 UPDATES:
Kilometers walked this session: 66.67 (Week 128=37.02; Week 129=29.65)
Kilometers walked in total: 5,486.88
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Due East of Couturier and heading for Saint Louis-du-Ha-Ha.
Points of interest along the way: Cold and rainy weather put a crimp in my walking the past two weeks. I keep forgetting that winter tends to do that. ;-)

190lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 8:04pm Top

Wishing all my LT friends a wonderful New Years! Looking forward to following your reading (and other adventures) in 2018!


191rretzler
Dec 31, 2017, 8:54pm Top

>187 lkernagh: Lori, I did not know that Twelve Angry Men was a book, although I guess I really should have. I absolutely love that movie - the book is going on my wishlist!

192lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 9:16pm Top

>191 rretzler: - Well, to be honest, it started out as a TV play and morphed from there. I know you can read a play version, but you are right, it is not a novel or book in the traditional sense. Still... a fabulous read/listen if you do tract down a print copy or listen to an audio version.

193Berly
Jan 1, 7:33pm Top



Happy 2018!!

194lkernagh
Jan 5, 6:32pm Top

>193 Berly: - Thanks Kim!

------------------------
So after a long think, I have decided that I need to scale down the number of groups that I join in 2018. I love the 75 Group and may be back participating in 2019. In the meantime, my home base in 2018 will be my Category Challenge thread which can be found here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/268995

195Carmenere
Jan 7, 6:12pm Top

You will be missed here, Lori, but I've got your challange thread starred and will follow you there! Happy reading in 2018!!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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