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Roro's reading BOA for 2018

2018 Category Challenge

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1Roro8
Edited: Jan 22, 5:51am Top

My theme for 2018 is Birds of Australia (BOA). For each of my categories I have selected an Australian bird, most of which I come across regularly in my own garden.



I have been doing this challenge for a while now so I know the category types that encompass most of my reading. My usual target is 60 (unlikely to be met in 2017!) so I am going to stick with that. Once a category has reached 8 books it will be considered deemed "the winner" of the 2018 challenge. Other than that there will be no numerical target for the categories.

I did enjoy my series point scoring this year and may continue with that in 2018, only including series books this time.
ETA - I have decided not to do the series point scoring. Instead, I will list all my series books as seagulls so I know how many I've read, plus I will also count them in one other category. So basically a series read can go in 2 categories. This will certainly encourage series reading (I think).




The categories will be:

2Roro8
Edited: May 30, 3:03am Top

Emu - ScaredyKIT

When I was a young uni student in the 90's a couple of friends and I went bush camping in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. We were skinny dipping in the beautiful fresh water creek not far from our campsite when we heard lots of loud footsteps in the stones. They sounded very heavy. Needless to say the three of us were frightened as the footsteps were very fast and were heading straight for us. When the offenders came into sight it was a group of about 6 emus. They looked very large to 3 naked teenage girls that is for sure. That is why I have selected them to be the mascot for the ScaredyKIT



January GOTHIC - The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
February DISASTER AND SURVIVAL - Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ginsberg
March WEIRD FICTION - The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
April SUPERNATURAL - The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
May CLOSE TO HOME - did not read anything for this one

3Roro8
Edited: May 29, 11:02pm Top

Rainbow Lorikeet - ColourCAT

These birds are in my garden every day. They love the native flowers and plants we have. To me they seem like the perfect choice for the ColourCAT



January BLACK - Best Day Ever: A Psychological Thriller by Kaira Rouda.
February BROWN - Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
March GREEN - The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
April YELLOW - The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
May BLUE - The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas

4Roro8
Edited: May 30, 3:03am Top

Rosella - RandomCAT

Rosellas are so colourful and varied so much in their colours. I often think of the yellow and blue ones as giant budgies. These birds are also daily visitors in our garden. The variety of colours is the reason I chose these birds to represent the RandomCAT.



January: READ A BB - Warlock: A Novel by Wilbur Smith
February: READ A BOOK RELATING TO A LOCAL CELEBRATION - Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
March: HEADLINERS - The Longest Night by Otto de Kat
April: RELATING TO APRIL - The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
May: SPRING IS ALL AROUND - did not read anything for this one

5Roro8
Edited: May 29, 11:04pm Top

Black Cockatoo - Historical

We don't have any of these living in our garden that I know of, which is good as they are quite destructive. We do hear them when they fly past and sometimes spot them in the sky. They really screech and it sounds prehistoric, hence why I have chosen them for the historical books category.



1. For the Winner by Emily Hauser, book 2 in the Golden Apple series
2. The Longest Night by Otto de Kat
3. The Sworn Virgin by Christopher Dukes
4. The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
5. The Conqueror's Queen by Joanna Courtney
6. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

6Roro8
Edited: May 29, 11:03pm Top

Seagull - Series

It is rare that I have seen a seagull alone when I am at the beach or the river. So seagull for series, as series book are not alone either.



1. Warlock: A Novel by Wilbur Smith. Book 3 in The Egyptian series
2. For the Winner by Emily Hauser. Book 2 in the Golden Apple trilogy
3. Sunday Morning Coming Down by Nicci French. Book 7 in the Frieda Klein series
4. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. Book 1 in the Red Sparrow trilogy
5. The Dry by Jane Harper. Book 1 in the Aaron Falk series
6. To Ride the Wind by Peter Watt. Book 6 in the Frontier series
7. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden. Book 2 in the Winternight trilogy
8. Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton, book 1 Lacey Flint
9. The Conqueror's Queen by Joanna Courtney. Book 3 in the Queens of Conquest
10. The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas. Book 1 The Illusionists

7Roro8
Edited: Mar 19, 7:10am Top

Laughing Kookaburra - Australia

The Laughing Kookaburra is quintessentially Australian to me. Some mornings these birds fly around our neighbourhood resting in various trees and waking us all up. They often also warn us of coming rain when they laugh during the day (that could just be a fluke though). Kookaburras are regular visitors in my garden and I absolutely love them. They are probably my favourite Australian bird, so the perfect mascot for this category. This is the category for books set in Australia or written by Australians.



1. The Good People by Hannah Kent
2. The Dry by Jane Harper
3. To Ride the Wind by Peter Watt
4.
5.

8Roro8
Edited: Apr 23, 11:29pm Top

Magpie - Mystery/Crime

A few years ago my son leat his little iPod nano outside in the front yard. When I went out to look for it a magpie had just swooped down and picked it up then flew off with it. I don't know what I was thinking but I ran down the street chasing the bird and yelling at it. Amazingly enough it dropped the iPod and I retrieved it undamaged. Magpies have a reputation for thievery. They certainly like to steal from my veggie patch. They do have a lovely song though.



1. When Nights Were Cold by Susanna Jones
2. Sunday Morning Coming Down by Nicci French
3. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
4. Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton
5. Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

9Roro8
Edited: Apr 23, 11:18pm Top

Fairy Wren - Girl Books

These are such pretty birds, perfect for my girl book category. I remember seeing these birds when I was a young girl living in Western Australia.



1. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
2. The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
3.

10Roro8
Edited: Mar 27, 7:52pm Top

Galah - Extras

Pink and Grey galahs, I see them around now and then in our neighbourhood. Usually when it is very dry. They are usually in large groups when I have seen them and making a lot of noise. When somebody is being a bit silly it is a very Australian term to call them a galah. If I had a comedy category they would be a good mascot. I couldn't leave them out so they are here to represent all the books that don't fit in my other categories.



1. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I considered putting this is crime and mystery, but it isn't the right fit. I also considered putting it in girl books, but that didn't seem right either. So here it is.
2. One In a Million Boy by Monica Wood
3.

11Roro8
Nov 1, 2017, 1:29am Top

I will have to pause in my category construction as I have to go to the bus stop to pick up the kids now.

12Roro8
Edited: Nov 1, 2017, 2:24am Top

I am all set up and reading to start planning for 2018. I am looking forward to participating more in the KIT/CATs. I am keen to read for the colour, random and scaredy challenges for the year and will be very happy if I manage to read 8 books for each.

13whitewavedarling
Nov 1, 2017, 11:49am Top

Your challenge is gorgeous! I thought I was lucky with the nature in our neighborhood, but if I had your garden, I think I'd spend every moment outside bird-watching! Can't wait to see what reads you slip under their wings :)

14christina_reads
Nov 1, 2017, 2:16pm Top

What gorgeous birds! I like how you related them to your categories.

15sallylou61
Nov 1, 2017, 3:05pm Top

Your bird pictures are lovely, and I really enjoyed reading your write-ups of your themes. I learned a bit more about Australia.

16Jackie_K
Nov 1, 2017, 3:08pm Top

What an inventive and original challenge! I'm the same as >13 whitewavedarling: I'd just be watching the garden bird activity all day!

17rabbitprincess
Nov 1, 2017, 6:26pm Top

Excellent choices for all your categories! The lorikeets especially are gorgeous. Have a great reading year!

18LittleTaiko
Nov 2, 2017, 4:04pm Top

Very fun challenge - absolutely loved your emu story!

19Chrischi_HH
Nov 2, 2017, 4:56pm Top

I think I need to move to Australia - so many beautiful birds! Have a great reading year!

20DeltaQueen50
Nov 2, 2017, 11:39pm Top

I love your categories, Ro! I also loved your skinny-dipping story. ;) Looking forward to following along for another year of great reading.

21MissWatson
Nov 3, 2017, 5:34am Top

I envy you the sight of these gorgeous birds in your own neighbourhood. Happy reading!

22Helenliz
Nov 3, 2017, 4:15pm Top

Love the bird pictures and the links to the books. Makes some of our garden birds look small and slightly dull in comparison.

23VivienneR
Nov 3, 2017, 5:07pm Top

Fabulous theme! And each of these gorgeous birds are so perfectly paired with a category. I'll look forward to following along, Ro.

24Roro8
Nov 4, 2017, 3:17pm Top

>13 whitewavedarling: and >16 Jackie_K:, it is certainly lovely to sit outside in the afternoon and enjoy the local bird life. Yesterday there was a king parrot in my veggie patch!

>14 christina_reads:, thanks Christina. I did agonise over a couple of them, however the emu and kookaburra were definite right from the start.

>15 sallylou61:, thanks. I had thought about doing Australian animals in general but then decided that I could relate my local feathered population to my reading with ease, and get to tell my emu and magpie stories too!

>17 rabbitprincess:, I agree with you, the lorikeets are gorgeous. I tried photographing them myself but it turns out that I'm not very good at bird photography. I might have to get in a bit of practice so I can post some photos I've taken myself.

25Roro8
Edited: Nov 4, 2017, 3:27pm Top

>18 LittleTaiko: and >20 DeltaQueen50:, it was very scary, but a great story afterwards. We couldn't see them until they were very close as there were high reeds along the creek bank and we were in the water. The joys of bush camping in Australia.

>19 Chrischi_HH:, I think our sub tropical climate is a big plus for the beautiful birds (and people from other countries!). I hope I manage to read some really great books to fill up my categories.

>21 MissWatson: and >23 VivienneR:, thanks for popping in. I can hear the kookaburras laughing outside right now as I type (at 5.24am). Alarm clocks are not required ;-)

>22 Helenliz:, we have some small and dull looking birds too, but they are still lovely to see and hear in the garden. There is only one bird that drives me crazy because it calls all night. The common koel. It's very black and has piercing red eyes.

26Crazymamie
Nov 12, 2017, 8:35am Top

Love your bird theme and how you introduced each category. That fairy wren is so beautiful.

27lkernagh
Nov 12, 2017, 1:20pm Top

Fabulous theme! I love the colour of the Rainbow Lorikeet. Beautiful! Seagulls to represent series is a good choice. ;-)
The Galah looks like a bird all dressed up for a fancy dress gala.

28Roro8
Nov 14, 2017, 11:57pm Top

>26 Crazymamie:, thanks, I love the fairy wren too.

>27 lkernagh:, I'd never thought of a galah as looking dressed up, but I think you are right.

29mamzel
Nov 17, 2017, 1:22pm Top

>3 Roro8: How lucky you are to have these birds as regular visitors! My regulars are boring jays, mockingbirds, and hummingbirds most notably. I do love listening to the mockingbirds when my window is open in the summer. I hope you have a wonderful year.

30dudes22
Nov 17, 2017, 7:28pm Top

I'm finally checking out next year's threads and setting my stars for those I want to follow. And if those are birds you see all the time, I need to move :) Our birds are not anywhere near as exciting. In fact, since we moved, we've had very few birds at all. Looking forward to what you'll be reading next year.

31Roro8
Edited: Nov 18, 2017, 5:48pm Top

>30 dudes22:, the rainbow lorikeets, rosellas and kookaburras are the most commonly seen - seen daily.

32dudes22
Nov 18, 2017, 6:49am Top

Wow! How lucky are you?

33Roro8
Nov 19, 2017, 10:48pm Top

I have just searched through my books and my wishlist and have found a great selection of books for the ColourCAT. I think the ScaredyKIT is going to require some library visits or an excuse for buying a few new books.

34DeltaQueen50
Nov 20, 2017, 5:05pm Top

>33 Roro8: I noticed when looking through my books how often color is either a part of the title or the author's name. Plus there are so many color coordinated covers that will fit. I think the ColorCat is going to be a very fun and easy challenge.

35Roro8
Nov 29, 2017, 6:38am Top

I have just bought a book that will work for January's colourCAT - black. Best Day Ever, a psychological thriller by Kaira Rouda. The word black isn't in the title but the cover is very black. Otherwise I can read it for the psychological thriller month for scaredyCAT.

36clue
Edited: Dec 5, 2017, 9:17pm Top

As I've said to others, I enjoy seeing a challenge set up that is as personal as yours is. I also love birds and these pictures are just beautiful, I'll enjoy seeing them all year. Good luck with2018 reading, I'm having fun planning ColorCat too!

37Roro8
Dec 16, 2017, 10:00pm Top

>36 clue:, thanks :-)

38RidgewayGirl
Dec 17, 2017, 12:56pm Top

What lovely birds! My best friend recently visited Australia and she said it was so weird to be somewhere that looked like the place she lives (Arizona) but with wildly exotic birds everywhere.

39Roro8
Dec 18, 2017, 3:32pm Top

>38 RidgewayGirl:, I'm going to have to google search images of Arizona now. We are very lucky to have such beautiful bird life.

40Roro8
Dec 29, 2017, 4:08pm Top

My first book for 2018 is When Nights Were Cold by Susanna Jones. I chose it for the reading through time group theme for January - cold!

I'm thinking of Warlock: A Novel by Wilbur Smith for my RandomCAT choice, a book recommended by my father-in-law.

I bought Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda for the colourCAT, the cover is mainly black on my copy. However often I buy something to read for a challenge and then change my mind. I do like freaking myself out with a good psychological thriller though.

I just have to decide on something for the scaredyKIT gothic theme. I think I need a modern gothic book as I'm not much of a classics reader. I was thinking of The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourne, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

41mamzel
Jan 1, 9:59am Top

I would suggest you start with the first of the series, River God. I really enjoyed the series except maybe for the second one which brought the reader to modern times. Unfortunate, but Smith went back to Ancient Egypt with Warlock.

42Roro8
Jan 1, 2:58pm Top

>41 mamzel:, thanks mamzel, I have also read River God and The Seventh Scroll. I'm about 100 pages into Warlock now and it is fairly good so far. I don't think they are as good as his books about the Courtney family in Africa though.

43novawalsh
Jan 1, 3:16pm Top

This is such a fun way to organize your reading for the year! Excited to see what books you choose. Good luck and hope you have a fun year reading!

44Roro8
Jan 1, 7:52pm Top

>43 novawalsh:, thanks. I’m happy to be starting the new challenge now.

45christina_reads
Jan 2, 1:05pm Top

>40 Roro8: Ooh, I really loved The Thirteenth Tale! Hope you enjoy it if you decide to read that one.

46Roro8
Jan 2, 6:36pm Top

>45 christina_reads:, I started listening to it in the car yesterday on my way to and from work.

47Roro8
Edited: Jan 4, 5:59am Top



1. MAGPIE - Mystery/Crime

Reading Through Time January Theme - Cold


When Nights Were Cold by Susanna Jones

A gripping tale of ambition and rivalry, madness and revenge - in the vein of Sarah Waters and Beryl Bainbridge.

As Queen Victoria's reign reaches its end, Grace Farringdon dreams of polar explorations and of escape from her stifling home with her protective parents and eccentric, agoraphobic sister. But when Grace secretly applies to Candlin, a women's college filled with intelligent, like-minded women, she finally feels her ambitions beginning to be take shape. There she forms an Antarctic Exploration Society with the gregarious suffragette Locke, the reserved and studious Hooper and the strange, enigmatic Parr, and before long the group are defying their times and their families by climbing the peaks of Snowdonia and planning an ambitious trip to the perilous Alps.

Fifteen years later, trapped in her Dulwich home, Grace is haunted by the terrible events that took place out on the mountains. She is the society's only survivor and for years people have demanded the truth of what happened, the group's horrible legacy a millstone around her neck. Now, as the eve of the Second World War approaches, Grace is finally ready to remember and to confess...

From one of the finest writers of the psychological thriller comes this beautifully woven, deeply unsettling historical novel; powerfully atmospheric, shivering with menace and reminiscent of the very best of Sarah Waters.
(Blurb from Amazon.com.au)

Set in the early 1900's Grace Farrington flies against the grain for behaviour expected of young women of the time. She seeks adventure and education. She is fascinated by the Antarctic exploration that is taking place and follows with avid interest the progress of explorers like Shackleton. She defies her parents wishes and goes to university and founds the Antarctic Exploration Society with like-minded young women. They go into training for their hoped for future Antarctic exploring by mountain climbing. Tragedy strikes. This book is the story of a young woman's determination to follow her dream, and the unforeseen consequences that follow. A solid 4 star read.



48casvelyn
Jan 4, 7:33am Top

>40 Roro8: I enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale, although it’s been long enough that I don’t remember most of the plot. The Historian is one of my favorite books, though. It’s very long, but it’s not a slog at all.

49Roro8
Jan 4, 7:48am Top

>48 casvelyn:, I'm enjoying The Thirteenth Tale already, it's really drawn me in. The Historian would also work for the colourCAT as its cover is mostly black. So it may still be on the cards. It's hard to pass up a book that is known to be somebody's favourite.

50lkernagh
Jan 5, 11:33pm Top

>47 Roro8: - Seriously?! Your first book of 2018 and I am already taking a BB? At this rate, this could prove to be a damaging year, for me. ;-) Fabulous review!

So glad to see you are enjoying The Thirteenth Tale. Loved that one!

51Roro8
Jan 6, 12:08am Top

>50 lkernagh:, lol, you might need a bullet proof vest if you are to survive the year ;-)

I'm glad I'm enjoying The Thirteenth Tale too, as my other current read is a bit of a let down so far.

52whitewavedarling
Jan 7, 10:31am Top

I had to drop by and tell you that I'm finally/currently reading Mischling--I'm glad I got your warning back in November. The funny thing is, although some of the beginning was hard to take, I'm having a much harder time reading the last 70-80 pages. Early on, I was reading 40-50 pages at a time, and now it's more like 10 at a time. I guess I was prepared for the darkness of the camp itself, and now all of the grief/aftermath is getting to me more than anything earlier did :( I'll persist... but this might be the most hard-to-take fiction I've read, in terms of content--so, again, I just wanted to drop by and thank you for that conversation/warning back in November. Here's hoping you don't hit on any such hard-to-take reads in the near future!

53Roro8
Jan 7, 2:28pm Top

>52 whitewavedarling:, I'm glad my warning was helpful. Even though I found it difficult reading I felt it would be almost disrespectful to the experiences of the people who actually went through these things. I know that it is fiction but it is based on fact. All I had to do was read about it, not live it. I listened to the audio version. I think it would be even harder to read. Good on you for persevering. I will pop over to your thread to see what you think when you are finished.

54Roro8
Jan 13, 11:59pm Top



2. ROSELLA -RandomCAT, read a BB
SEAGULL - Series read


Warlock: A Novel by Wilbur Smith
Book 3 in the Egyptian series

Hidden away in the vast and forbidding deserts of North Africa, Taita has passed the years since the death of his beloved Queen Lostris in prayer and study. He has become the Warlock, wise in the lore of the ancient Gods, an adept of magic and the supernatural.

Now Taita answers the summons from the beyond. He leaves the desert vastness and returns to the world of men, to find himself plunged into a terrible conflict against the forces of evil which threaten to overwhelm the throne and the realm of Egypt, and to destroy the young prince Nefer who is the grandson of Queen Lostris.

With vivid depictions of battle and intrigue, of love and passion, with fascinating characters both good and evil, Wilbur Smith brings to life in colourful detail the world of ancient Egypt. This is a masterful feat of story telling by one of the world's best selling authors.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

The storyline was pretty good. The telling of the story was way too drawn out for my liking. I had to make a choice - quit the book or skim read large chunks to get through to the more interesting parts. Seeing as the book was recommended to me (and owned by) my father-in-law. I thought skimming was the best option.

2 stars from me because it needed some serious editing. I am not keen on reading the rest of the series. We will see what happens when volume 4 is offered to me.



55Roro8
Edited: Jan 16, 10:04pm Top



3. RAINBOW LORIKEET - ColourCAT - BLACK

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I've promised her...and more."

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he's the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That's why he's planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he's promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and towards the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? How much do they trust each other? Is Paul the person he seems to be? And what are his secret plans for their weekend at the cottage?
(Blurb from Booktopia)

This was a fairly average psychological thriller in my opinion. I picked a few things that were going to happen, or happening in the background before they were revealed. So there was no real "shock" factor.

It was interesting in that the book was told from Paul's perspective. Paul does not really experience emotions which makes it have to have an emotional connection with the book. It felt quite cut and dries and he had no remorse for his actions. also, I don't like it when bad people get away with things and are free to go and harm more people.


56cmbohn
Jan 16, 11:16pm Top

Definitely intrigued by When Nights Were Cold. I'll have to check if the library has it.

57Roro8
Jan 17, 1:36am Top

>56 cmbohn:, it's the best book I've read so far this year!

58Roro8
Jan 19, 2:47pm Top

I have just finished listening to The Thirteenth Tale as my ScaredyKIT read. There will be a review coming soon.

59Roro8
Jan 21, 6:50am Top

I was going to write up a couple of review tonight. One for The Thirteenth Tale and the other for For the Winner: a novel. I didn't get to it because I was out socialising and having a great time. A friend I haven't seen for 4 years is in town and we just had a fabulous catch-up. Thanks to my teenage son for picking me up. Reviews might get written tomorrow.

60rabbitprincess
Jan 21, 8:53am Top

>59 Roro8: Sounds like a great evening! :)

61Roro8
Jan 22, 5:46am Top

>60 rabbitprincess:, it's so nice when you catch up with a friend after such a long time and everything is still the kind of the same.

62Roro8
Jan 22, 5:59am Top



4. BLACK COCKATOO - historical
SEAGULL - Series read


For the Winner by Emily Hauser
Book 2 in the Golden Apple trilogy

Some three thousand years ago, in a time before history, the warriors of Greece journeyed to the ends of the earth in the greatest expedition the world had ever seen.

One woman fought alongside them.

When the king of Pagasae left his infant daughter on the slopes of a mountain to die, he believed he would never see her again. But Atalanta, against the will of the gods and the dictates of the Fates, survived – and went on to bring to life one of the greatest legends of all of ancient Greece...

Teaching herself to hunt and fight, Atalanta is determined to prove her worth to her father and, disguising herself as a man, she wins a place on the greatest voyage of that heroic age: the journey of Jason and the Argonauts to the very ends of the known world in search of the legendary Golden Fleece. But Atalanta is discovered, and abandoned in the mythical land of Colchis, where she is forced to make a choice that will determine her place in history – and change her life forever.

Here then is the legend of Jason and the Argonauts as never told before: the true story of the princess who became a warrior, who sailed and fought alongside Jason and Theseus and Peleus, father of Achilles, and who ultimately ran a race that would decide her destiny. Based on the myths of the ancient Greeks, For the Winner brings alive an archaic world where the gods can transform a mortal's life on a whim, where warrior heroes carve out names that will echo down the ages . . . and where one woman fights to determine her own fate.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

I really enjoyed the first book in this series For the Most Beautiful: a novel and this one was almost as good. This volume takes on the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, a tale I have never read before so I read it with a fresh mind. I rather liked Atalanta. She was very determined, but also stubborn - two characteristics that often go hand in hand.

I love how the Gods watch the mortals from above and entertain themselves by toying with them, making their lives either easier or harder. They take sides and fight amongst themselves. It's like a group of people watching sports and cheering on their favourite team and booing the opposition.

An enjoyable read. I look forward to reading the final book in the trilogy.




63Roro8
Edited: Jan 30, 8:03pm Top



5. EMU - ScaredyKIT

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once home to the March family - fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, brutal, dangerous Charlie, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline.

But Angelfield House hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart...Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield's past - and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel.

What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic writer Vida Winter? And what is the secret that strikes at the heart of Margaret's own, troubled life?

As Margaret digs deeper, two parallel stories unfold, and the tale she uncovers sheds a disturbing light on her own life...
(Blurb from Booktopia)

What an interesting story. The writing is so good. The descriptions are perfect. Such simple things and feelings are described in such lear and unique ways that make reading this book so pleasurable.

Margaret Lea works in her father's bookshop. She loves old books and writes biography type essays on people who have long been dead. So when the very much alive writer Vida Winter invites Margaret to write her biography Margaret is not keen. However she finds herself drawn in to this very intriguing woman.

There is obviously a mystery in Vida's life relating to Angelfield House. What is it? And why does it affect Margaret so deeply?

64lkernagh
Jan 22, 11:10am Top

>63 Roro8: - Great review. I was totally enamored with the story when I read it. My kind of mystery/suspense read!

65thornton37814
Jan 23, 3:20pm Top

I love spying all the little birds in your threads!

66Roro8
Jan 23, 10:36pm Top

>65 thornton37814:, thanks. There were two galahs near my letterbox when I got home from work yesterday. I was going to take a photo to post here but our driveway is just down from the crest of a hill and it is not a very safe place to stop really. Needless to say they flew away as I went up the driveway.

67Roro8
Jan 27, 9:59pm Top



6. MAGPIE - Crime/Mystery
and SEAGULL - Series
and AlphaKIT letter M


Sunday Morning Coming Down by Nicci French
Book 7 Frieda Kein

Psychotherapist Dr Frieda Klein once again finds herself in the midst of a criminal investigation when the rotting body of an ex-policeman is found beneath the floorboards of her house.

The corpse is only months old but the main suspect, murderer Dean Reeve, died over seven years ago.

As the killer picks off his next victims and her home is turned into a crime scene, Frieda's old life seems like a hazy dream.

With eyes of the world upon her and no answers from the police, Frieda realises that she will have to track this killer before he tracks down those she loves.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

This is the seventh in the Frieda Klein series. I was under a self induced impression that it would be the last in the series seeing as each title has featured a day of the week and there have been seven books now and seven days of the week. I thought wrong! This book does not wrap up the series and there is another book on its way.

At the end of book 6 a body was discovered rotting under the floorboards of Frieda's home. This book starts with the investigation into that crime. Frieda is affected by the crime in her home. Dean Reeve is sending her a clear message.

Following on from this act are a series of traumatic crimes affecting the people she loves. Who is doing this? Is it Dean Reeve? And why are her loved ones being targeted?

This was a good read. I don't think it was quite as good as the others, most of which have made my book of the month list in the past. I will continue with the next book and have for another book of the month with that one. Maybe they have been so good I have raised my expectations?

68DeltaQueen50
Jan 28, 6:10pm Top

I'm just starting this series but I am very happy that there will be more than 7 books as the first book was excellent.

69Roro8
Jan 30, 7:47pm Top

>68 DeltaQueen50:, I'm sure you will enjoy them all Judy.

70Roro8
Jan 30, 8:02pm Top

January Summary

Total no of books this month - 6

Total no of series books read - 3

Challenges read this month - 5 - ScaredyKIT, ColourCAT, Reading Through Time, AlphaKIT, RandomCAT

January Book of the month




The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

71christina_reads
Jan 31, 2:53pm Top

I'm excited to see that The Thirteenth Tale won Book of the Month!

72Roro8
Feb 1, 5:42am Top

>71 christina_reads:, it was just so different and kept me interested the whole time. I had to chose it. What I find interesting is that it was a scaredyKIT choice. I decided to participate in that KIT to challenge myself to read books that I might consider but would probably never actually read. So it looks like I'm off to a good start with that idea.

73lkernagh
Feb 3, 6:07pm Top

Ditto what Christina said >71 christina_reads:!

74Roro8
Edited: Feb 5, 6:51am Top

I have two books I have finished and need to review.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews.
Yes, it looks like I have started yet another series. I have a day off on Wednesday so hopefully I will post reviews then.

For the Reading Through Time theme of Hollywood I am currently reading Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner. The cover on my kindle version is very brown so I can also count this for the ColourCat. This book will also work for the RandomCAT this month as it is about Hollywood and filmmaking which goes nicely with the local Noosa International Film Festival. So this choice is a real winner!

I'm considering a couple of options for the scaredyKIT. First is a non-fiction memoir Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg, otherwise I was thinking of something like Life as we Knew it or maybe Ashfall.

75dudes22
Feb 5, 5:03pm Top

I just saw the commercial for the movie "Red Sparrow" and was wondering if it might have been based on a novel. Now I know. I'll be interested in your review.

76Roro8
Feb 6, 5:44am Top

>75 dudes22:, I chose to read Red Sparrow now, after having it on my shelf for the last year, because I saw the preview for the movie. I'm really bad at reading a book if I have already seen the movie so I decided I better read it ASAP. I'm going to do the review tomorrow.

I've just sat down with two library books and I'm trying to decide which one to read....The Good People by Hannah Kent, or The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie.

77Roro8
Feb 6, 8:42pm Top



7. MAGPIE - Crime/Mystery
and SEAGULL - Series
and AlphaKIT letter J


Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
Book 1 in the Red Sparrow trilogy

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton and Jeremy Irons.

Dominika Egorov, former prima ballerina, is sucked into the heart of Putin's Russia, the country she loved, as the twists and turns of a betrayal and counter-betrayal unravel.

American Nate Nash, idealistic and ambitious, handles the double agent, codenamed MARBLE, considered one of CIA's biggest assets. He needs to keep his identity secret for as long as the mole can keep supplying golden information.

Will Dominika be able to unmask MARBLE, or will the mission see her faith destroyed in the country she has always passionately defended?
(Blurb from Booktopia)

I bought this book at a second hand book store early last year. It has been languishing on my bookshelf while I hadn't given it a second thought. Then I saw an ad for the up-coming movie release of Red Sparrow, which gave me the push to get on with reading it now. If I see the movie first there is no way I will ever read the book. It's just one of those things for me. Now I am all primed and ready to see the movie though.

Dominika is a very talented young woman. She has been trained as a ballerina so she has grace and poise. She is intelligent. She is passionate, fiery and certainly has a temper. She is also beautiful and has a special skill which allows her to see peoples colours, helping her immensely when she becomes a Russian spy.

The early part of the book is dedicated to Dominika's training and to the secret activity of the double agent MARBLE. Nate Nash is introduced. He is the "handler" of MARBLE. He seems to be quite an interesting character. Needless to say Nate and Dominika come across each other in the course of their work which leads to some interesting encounters, resulting in a lot of inner conflict for Dominika.

I felt like this book took me a long time to read. All the foreign names and abbreviations and spy language was quite challenging for me having not read spy books much in the past at all. So all that took a bit of extra thought. At one point I wondered if I really did want to read this book after all. However I persisted and the story got more interesting as it went along. There are a lot of characters and back stories to keep straight. It was going to be a 3 star read for me until I got to the end, which was very well done, so I nudged it up to a 4 star. I will read the next one.

78Roro8
Feb 6, 8:53pm Top



8. GALAH - Extras

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue - in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the centre of every party. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio.

Her father is an American born of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous in any setting. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable, no matter what the cost.

Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest in the family - Hannah - who observes far more than anyone realises and who may be the only one who knows what really happened. Everything I Never Told You is a gripping page-turner, about secrets, love, longing, lies and race
(Blurb from Booktopia)

16 year old Lydia is her parents favourite, there is no denying it. She is a good student, a good daughter and tries her best to be what her parents want her to be. But why is she so determined to be the perfect child? And why does she turn up dead in the local lake? These questions are the focus of the book, along with how the individual family members deal with their grief. We are taken back and forward from past to present to get an idea on what has gone on in this family.

The author puts a lot of effort into trying to explain the experience of being a Chinese American. How it feels to not really fit in, and have to deal with racist attitudes.

The book was alright. The family relationships were interesting. All three children in this family are deeply affected by their parents issues. As a parent myself, it made me wonder what damage am I doing to my kids?

79dudes22
Feb 7, 7:34am Top

>77 Roro8: - Sounds interesting enough to add to my wishlist. "I will read the next one" - So this is a series?
Never mind - I see you said trilogy. So are there things left up in the air?

80DeltaQueen50
Feb 7, 10:55am Top

>78 Roro8: I am adding Everything I Never Told You to my Library List, it sounds interesting.

81Roro8
Feb 9, 3:42am Top

>79 dudes22:, it's pretty much settled, but provision is made for further development and drama.

>80 DeltaQueen50:, you will probably like it Judy. I listened to the audio version. The narration was pretty good.

82Roro8
Feb 11, 2:21am Top

I just finished a 5 star read!! Review coming soon.

83Roro8
Edited: Mar 4, 5:26am Top



9. KOOKABURRA - Australian Author

AlphaKIT - Letter P


The Good People by Hannah Kent

In the year 1825, in a remote valley lying between the mountains of south-west Ireland, three women are brought together by strange and troubling events.

Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson: a boy who suffers from a mysterious malady and can neither walk nor speak. Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a servant girl, Mary, who soon hears whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall on the widow's house.

Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person who might be able to help Michaél. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken ...
(Blurb from Booktopia)

Nora Leahy lives in a small Irish village. She is devastated by the loss of her daughter and husband, and now has the care of her 4 year old disabled grandson on her own. It is too much to manage so she hires a maid - Mary. Mary is 14 and from a large family. She hires herself out to earn some money for her family.

Nora eventually goes to the local healer woman with the knowledge of the ways of the Good People (fairies) to cure her grandson of his affliction. The cure involves all three women.

The events that transpire are believable for the location in that time. Hannah Kent does an amazing job of showing us the in-ground beliefs of these people. I would not say that I like these characters, but I felt sympathy for them, all of them. It is a wonderful book. I will be adding it to my favourites list. I thought it was even better than Burial Rights (the author's first book).

84rabbitprincess
Feb 12, 6:28pm Top

Excellent, five stars! I have both of Hannah Kent's books on my list and will have to seek them out sharpish!

85Helenliz
Feb 13, 1:43am Top

I read Burial Rites and it was just completely the wrong book for me at the wrong time. BUT there was something about it. Might have to look that one up.

86Roro8
Feb 13, 5:52am Top

>84 rabbitprincess:, I gave Burial Rites 4.5 stars. So both are great reads.

>85 Helenliz:, I listened to the audio of Burial Rites which I was very pleased about when all the names that I would have struggled to pronounce correctly in my mind were spoken with such proficiency. There have been occasions when I have thought I was reading a "good" book at the wrong time, so I understand what you mean.

87DeltaQueen50
Feb 13, 6:00pm Top

>83 Roro8: I haven't read Burial Rites yet but I am adding The Good People to my list as well!

88Roro8
Feb 14, 5:40am Top

>87 DeltaQueen50:, I highly recommend the audio for Burial Rites Judy. I hope you enjoy them both when you get to them.

89thornton37814
Feb 15, 11:56am Top

>83 Roro8: I have a Hannah Kent I'm hoping to read in the next couple of month. If I love it as much as everyone else, I'll be adding this one and others by her to my TBR list.

90lkernagh
Feb 16, 5:59pm Top

Great batch of reviews since my last "stop by"!

91Roro8
Feb 20, 5:05am Top

>90 lkernagh:, thanks Lori

92Roro8
Edited: Feb 20, 5:23am Top



10. EMU - ScaredyCAT - Survival and Disaster

Lost in the Jungle by Yossi Ghinsberg

Four travelers meet in Bolivia and set off into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, but what begins as a dream adventure quickly deteriorates into a dangerous nightmare, and after weeks of wandering in the dense undergrowth, the four backpackers split up into two groups. But when a terrible rafting accident separates him from his partner, Yossi is forced to survive for weeks alone against one of the wildest backdrops on the planet. Stranded without a knife, map, or survival training, he must improvise shelter and forage for wild fruit to survive. As his feet begin to rot during raging storms, as he loses all sense of direction, and as he begins to lose all hope, he wonders whether he will make it out of the jungle alive. Lost in the Jungle is the story of friendship and the teachings of nature, and a terrifying true account that you won't be able to put down.
(Blurb from Bookdepository)

So three young men meet while backpacking in Bolivia. Then Yossi meets Karl, who offers to take him and his mates into the jungle for a real adventure. Needless to say the group get way more than they bargained for. Yossi ends up lost in the Jungle alone, with very limited resources. He suffers many trials and struggles with hope and motivation.

This was an interesting novel. There is no way I am going on an adventure in the Jungle!

93Roro8
Edited: Feb 20, 5:29am Top



11. RAINBOW LORIKEET - ColourCAT - Brown

ROSELLA - RandomCAT - Relating to a local celebration

Reading Through Time - Hollywood


Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner

Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister's vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie

Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey's zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood's glitterati enthrall Violetuntil each woman's deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

This is a beautiful story of the friendship between two women. Audrey, and aspiring actress who may have missed her shot at stardom, and Violet, a young Southerner looking for a fresh start. Both girls are chasing their dreams. Whether they are going to fulfil them working as secretaries at a film studio during the filming of Gone With The Wind is another matter.

I loved the section of the book that focused on the filming of GWTW. The girls were developing their friendship, trying to strive for success in their personal dreams. Things change and the pair face many challenges while trying to maintain their friendship. A very good read.

94DeltaQueen50
Feb 20, 2:42pm Top

Ro, I've added Stars Over Sunset Boulevard to my wishlist, I am also very interested in Lost in the Jungle - I am a sucker for survival stories!

95cmbohn
Feb 21, 2:04am Top

Lost in the Jungle is On my TBR list. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. And I'm with you - I'll leave the jungle adventures to someone else!

96Roro8
Feb 23, 10:55pm Top



12. KOOKABURRA - Australian Author
and SEAGULL - Series

AlphaKIT - Letter J


The Dry by Jane Harper
Book 1 Aaron Falk

WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well ...

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds are reopened. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret ... A secret Falk thought long-buried ... A secret which Luke's death starts to bring to the surface ...
(Blurb from Booktopia)

Aaron and Luke were childhood best friends in the small country town of Kiewarra. A tragedy saw the division of the friendsip with Aaron and his dad leaving town. 20 years later Aaron returns for the funeral of his former best mate, Luke and his wife and son. The authorities believe the stress of running a farm in drought stricken Kiewarra had taken its toll, labelling this a murder suicide.

Local cop Raco and Aaron (now a Federal Police Officer) think there may be more going on here. They begin an unofficial investigation. The matter is further complicated by small town mentality and Aaron questions whether he should even be hanging around. The whole town is under a lot of stress with this drought that goes on and on. People in this small town have long memories and are quick to judge.

This is Jane Harper's first book - and what a beauty! I could not put it down (well, I had to because of work and kids needing to be fed etc, but you know what I mean). I liked Aaron, I really liked Raco. The portrayal of small town life and community politics was very good. An excellent read. I am looking forward to reading the next one Force of Nature.

97DeltaQueen50
Feb 24, 12:25pm Top

>96 Roro8: Definitely adding The Dry to my list, Ro, and I see she has another one out called Force of Nature - looks like another "must" read series!

98VivienneR
Feb 24, 2:44pm Top

>96 Roro8: Another Australian reader pointed out to me that because the name of the villain in The Dry was the same name as a revered prime minister she thought it was distracting and politically suspect. Because it is an unusual name and the fact that the author was a journalist for the Murdoch press, I'm inclined to agree.

My only problem was that I had to text my Australian friend for the definition of a couple of Aussie words. :)

Still, it was a great story! And I will definitely read more by Jane Harper.

99Roro8
Feb 24, 3:43pm Top

>97 DeltaQueen50:, Hi Judy, I've already been thinking that Force of Nature has a very green cover - perfect for the March colourCAT.

>98 VivienneR:, I'm obviously not very politically astute because I didn't even notice the name reference. So that wasn't an issue for me. I wonder what the Aussie words you asked your friend about were, ute maybe?

100Roro8
Feb 24, 4:16pm Top

Time for a little bit of planning for my March reading.

The ScaredyKIT theme this month is weird fiction. I've been struggling with this one as it's just something that I never read. I've been given some good advice to start with something small and was recommended the novella The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson. I've downloaded the kindle version with audio and am going to give it a go.

ColourCAT is green. My Scaredy book will also fit here as it has a green cover. I also want to read the next book in The Frontier series by Peter Watt for this, Ride the Wind. And maybe, Force of Nature by Jane Harper.

Then there is RandomCAT, no decision made for that one yet but Force of Nature might work. I'll keep thinking about this one.

Finally there is my Reading Through Time read, with the theme I chose of Something Sporty. I'm having trouble with that one too. A couple of the books I was interested in just aren't available at my libraries or at the kindle store. I might end up reading Flight From Berlin. There is another book I was thinking of that featured female boxers but I can't remember what it was called. I will continue to look for that to see if I can find it in time.

101dudes22
Feb 24, 8:31pm Top

I’m in the middle of The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown about the 1936 Olympic rowing team. I’m really enjoying it if you haven’t read it yet.

102virginiahomeschooler
Feb 24, 10:02pm Top

>96 Roro8: I picked this one up at the Friends of the Library sale today for $2. Sounds like it was a good purchase.

103VivienneR
Feb 25, 12:12am Top

>99 Roro8: Ha ha! Yes, ute was one, eski was another. I could have guessed ute if I'd thought a bit longer but eski had me flummoxed. I'm a fan of the Edmonton Eskimos football team, often shortened to Eskies, which just made it more puzzling.

>102 virginiahomeschooler: Wow! Good bargain! And you'll enjoy it.

104Roro8
Feb 25, 12:47am Top

>101 dudes22:, I was considering The Boys in the Boat. I've seen it mentioned on LT lately and every comment has been positive. Thanks for the recommendation.

>102 virginiahomeschooler:, $2 is an absolute bargain. I paid $16.99 for mine at the local bookshop. I feel guilty wandering around in there for at least an hour and walking out with nothing. So my $16.99 got me a book plus one hour of new book sensory overload, plus an increased Wishlist!

>103 VivienneR:, In New Zealand it's called a chilly bin. My kids think it's funny when my dad comes over from NZ and calls the esky a chilly bin, especially with his Kiwi accent. I think he lays it on even thicker just to make them laugh.

105dudes22
Feb 25, 7:00am Top

>96 Roro8: - Oh I meant to say that I’m taking a BB for this. Into the Recommended collection it goes. I’m going to see if it’s available at the library when I get home. Not that I need another series...

106Roro8
Feb 25, 2:39pm Top

>105 dudes22:, I know what you mean about the series situation. I often think twice before starting a new series. I only read The Dry because I wanted to read Force of Nature. It turned out to be a good choice though.

107christina_reads
Feb 28, 11:10am Top

>100 Roro8: This is random, but the female boxing book you mentioned...could it be The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman?

108Roro8
Feb 28, 2:48pm Top

>107 christina_reads:, That's the one! Thank you.

109christina_reads
Mar 1, 2:52pm Top

>108 Roro8: Glad I could help! :)

110Roro8
Edited: Mar 3, 4:08pm Top

I just spent 3 nights in Sydney. The only time I got any reading done was on the plane ride there and back. We were busy the whole time. We went to Robbie Williams' concert on Wednesday night, The Tea Pary and Live on the Thursday night, and a Viking themed restaurant Mjolner on Friday night. 3 pumpkin nights (past midnight) plus sight seeing during the day. I was exhausted when I got home yesterday. Unfortunately I now have a sore throat and runny nose - the price one pays for burning the candle at both ends I guess.

We had a great time though so it is all worth it. The boys managed quite nicely at home, no wild parties or anything naughty that I know of yet anyway. And my daughter had fun with our friends while staying there.

February review to be posted today. Plus I have finished one book. I've started my colourCAT read too, To Ride the Wind.

111Roro8
Mar 4, 5:30am Top

February Summary

Total no of books this month - 6

Total no of series books read - 2 (both book 1 in a series)

Challenges read this month - 5 - ScaredyKIT, ColourCAT, Reading Through Time, AlphaKIT, RandomCAT

February Book of the month

It was a hard call this month with 2 reads, and both of them by Australian authors too. In the end, I had to go with Hannah Kent, The Good People




January - The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

112Roro8
Edited: Mar 7, 6:22am Top



13. BLACK COCKATOO - Historical Fiction

ROSELLA - RandomCAT: Straight from the headlines


The Longest Night by Otto de Kat
translated

Since the liberation of the Netherlands, Emma Verweij has been living in Rotterdam, in a street which became a stronghold of friendships for its inhabitants during the Second World War. She marries Bruno, they have two sons, and she determines to block out the years she spent in Nazi Berlin during the war, with her first husband Carl.

But now, ninety-six years old and on the eve of her death, long- forgotten memories crowd again into her consciousness, flashbacks of happier years, and the tragedy of the war, of Carl, of her father, and of the friends she has lost.

In THE LONGEST NIGHT, his impressive, reflective new novel after News from Berlin, Otto de Kat deftly distills momentous events of 20th-century history into the lives of his characters. In Emma, the past and the present coincide in limpid fragments of rare, melancholy beauty.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I started reading this book. I had read a good review for it which prompted me to look for it at my library. I started reading and I thought - This book is all over the place! However, I persisted and ending up with an appreciation of why it was all over the place.

Emma is old, 96 years old. She knows that tomorrow she is going to die. In her frail state she begins to remember a lot of important moments in her life. Naturally, the memories don't come in chronological order. Se remembers some of her relationship with her first husband Carl and her traumatic time in war torn Berlin. She remembers her marriage to Bruno, living in the Netherlands. She thinks on crucial moments in her relationships with her children. She is not a perfect person, but she is not a bad person.

This was a sensitive and thoughtful portrayal of a woman's life. A good read.

113rabbitprincess
Mar 4, 9:40am Top

The Sydney trip sounds like a lot of fun, although that's too bad about the cold symptoms! I hope you're feeling better soon.

114Roro8
Mar 4, 2:36pm Top

>113 rabbitprincess:, thanks. I just take some cold and flu tablets and keep going, so it's not too bad. Back to work today.

115-Eva-
Mar 6, 7:38pm Top

I am quite envious of the birdlife in your neck of the woods! We have huge flocks of Mitred Conure parrots where I live, but they were imported from South America as pets back in the 60s(?) and our parrots are decendants of pets that either escaped or were set free. We have seagulls as well, of course, but they're not that exotic... :)

My favorite bird of all times is the New Zealand Kakapo parrot and it is on my bucket-wishlist to get to see one in real life!

116VivienneR
Mar 6, 10:00pm Top

You sure packed a lot into the Sydney trip! Glad you had such a good time that it is making up for having a cold.

117Roro8
Mar 7, 6:05am Top

>115 -Eva-:, I just did a google image on the kakapo. They look very interesting. The green tinge on their feathers almost looks like a coating of moss. My sister lives in NZ. I will ask her if she has ever seen one.

>116 VivienneR:, Thanks Vivienne. I must have a good immune system as I am almost better already :-)

118Roro8
Edited: Mar 7, 6:22am Top



14. RAINBOW LORIKEET - ColourCAT - GREEN

EMU - ScaredyKIT - WEIRD fiction


The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

A reclusive man, retreating to the Irish country side with his sister, finds himself one day at the portal to another dimension. Year later, amid the crumbling ruins of his home, a pair of travellers find his diary and its horrifying details of the terrors that stalked his world – grotesque, swan-like monsters crawling from an abyss to swarm about the doors, fierce storms that threatened to unleash malevolent supernatural powers, and a harrowing vision of the death of the solar system.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

I was really struggling to choose something for the weird fiction. It is something I have never read before. Then a couple of people (sturlington and luvamystery) suggested I start with something small like this book, rather than making a commitment to a big book. Great advice. So I got the audio version from kindle and listened in the car on my way to and from work each day (45 mins each way). This book is definitely WEIRD! At least now I can say, with the knowledge that I gave it a small go, that I am not into weird fiction.

The beginning was ok. Then the second quarter was ok - where the strange happenings are going on. But from the halfway mark when we are pondering the universe and time I was lost. Not literally, but lost as in interest level. I did finish it though. The narrator was good and quite pleasant to listen to.

119-Eva-
Mar 7, 12:37pm Top

>117 Roro8:
The Kakapo is critically endangered, so chances are she hasn't seen one, unfortunately. :( It is a wonderfully funny-looking bird! It's flightless, but apparently forgets and climbs up trees and tries to fly off. :) Douglas Adams' words were, "it flies like a brick." Haha!!

120Roro8
Mar 7, 2:39pm Top

>119 -Eva-:, that's so funny that it forgets it can't fly. What a quirky bird!

121rabbitprincess
Edited: Mar 7, 5:43pm Top

Kakapo are adorable! :) Sirocco is the official spokesbird of the kakapo, and he has a memorable turn in Last Chance to See revisited: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T1vfsHYiKY

122Roro8
Mar 8, 6:19am Top

>121 rabbitprincess:, that kakapo was getting very friendly!

>119 -Eva-:, I asked my sister if she's seen one. She says only in captivity. Her partner spends a lot of time in the national parks and bushland of NZ culling feral animals to protect the native species and he has never seen one in the wild. I hope you manage to see one eventually. They are quite unusual.

123Roro8
Edited: Mar 31, 9:50pm Top



15. SEAGULL - Series read

KOOKABURRA - Australian

ColourCAT - Green


To Ride the Wind by Peter Watt
Book 6 in the Frontier series

In 1916, the Duffys and Macintoshes are entangled in the horrors of World War I. From the deserts of the Middle East to the trenches of Europe, the hand of death is always present. But even those left behind are not safe, for the most dangerous of enemies is not the Germans or the Turks, but someone much closer to home...To Ride the Wind continues the story begun in To Touch the Clouds, following Peter Watt's much-loved characters as they fight to survive one of the most devastating conflicts in history - and each other.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

To Ride the Wind continues the saga of the Duffy and the Macintosh families. Over the years their lives come together and effect each other in both positive and negative ways. an old Aboriginal curse continues to hang over the two names.

This volume is largely set during WW1, with some of the male characters facing the frontline. Unfortunately some of my more favoured characters lose their lives while some of the more evil and villainous characters continue to wreak havoc.

I continue to enjoy the series and will read be reading on.

124Roro8
Mar 17, 8:46am Top

Today I finished The Sworn Virgin, a historical fiction book I borrowed from the library. Review coming soon.

I am trying to decide what to read next. So many choices!

125Roro8
Edited: Mar 19, 7:07am Top



16. BLACK COCKATOO - Historical Fiction

The Sworn Virgin by Kristopher Dukes

When her father is shot dead on the cobblestone streets of 1910 Albania, eighteen-year-old Eleanora must abandon her dream of studying art in Italy as she struggles to survive in a remote mountain village with her stepmother, Meria.

Nearing starvation, Meria secretly sells Eleanora into marriage with the cruel heir of a powerful clan. Intent on keeping her freedom, Eleanora takes an oath to remain a virgin for the rest of her life a tradition that gives her the right to live as a man: she is now head of her household and can work for a living as well as carry a gun. Eleanora can also participate in the vengeful blood feuds that consume the mountain tribes, but she may not be killed unless she forsakes her vow, which she has no intention of ever doing.

When an injured stranger stumbles into her life, Eleanora nurses him back to health, saving his life but risking her own as she falls in love with him . . .
(Blurb from Booktopia)

Eleanora is an interesting young woman. She is intelligent, creative and adventurous. She has plans and dreams of becoming an artist. She is a woman before her times. Women in 1910 Albania do not have these ambitions. Women in 1910 Albania get married and do as they are told, usually living a quite secluded life.

When Eleanora's dad is shot dead she needs to know why. Who would want to do this to her beloved father? How is she, and her stepmother going to survive without the support of a man? Her stepmother Meria has a plan, and Eleanora is not going to like it. The consequences of this action have ongoing ramifications.

This story in itself was fairly good. What I found most interesting was the culture of Albania. The customs and honour killings, that seemed like they were ignored by the law. The way that women were to behave and how they were treated was conveyed, as well as the custom of the "sworn virgin".

126Roro8
Mar 19, 7:20am Top



17. BLACK COCKATOO - Historical Fiction

READING THROUGH TIME - Something Sporty


The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

First with your head and then with your heart . . .So says Hoppie Groenwald, boxing champion, to a seven-year-old boy who dreams of being the welterweight champion of the world. For the young Peekay, it is a piece of advice that he will carry with him throughout his life.Born in a South Africa divided by racism and hatred, this one small boy will come to lead all the tribes of Africa. Through enduring friendships with Hymie and Gideon, Peekay gains the strength he needs to win out. And in a final conflict with his childhood enemy, the Judge, Peekay will fight to the death for justice.Bryce Courtenay's classic bestseller is a story of the triumph of the human spirit - a spellbinding tale for all ages.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

Peekay is a very young English boy at the start of this novel. We see him growing up in South Africa under the care of his nanny before being packed off to boarding school. We read about him living through WWII and living in apartheid South Africa. Peaky has a good heart and strives to see the good in all people. He has a very worthy mantra he follows.

This was a re-read for me, my first ever re-read. At first I really got into it, perhaps enjoying it even more than the first read. The more I read the more I remembered so I do admit to skipping a bit here and there as I knew what was coming. That said it is still a good book. I am going to stick with my original score.

127Roro8
Edited: Mar 27, 8:04pm Top



18. GALAH - Extras

The One In a Million Boy by Monica Wood

The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you anything at school?

So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who's been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she's confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

One Saturday, he doesn't show up. Ona starts to think he's not so special after all, but then his father Quinn arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son's good deed. The boy's mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that even at her age the world can surprise you, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find yourself again.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

The boy is this book is a delightful quirky young man that is slightly different to other young boys. He doesn't seem to have friends. His mum and dad are twice divorced. He loves facts and figures. He is a boy scout. This is how he meets the elderly Ona Vitkus. As part of his boy scout duties he goes to Ona's house each Saturday for 8 weeks to do odd jobs in the yard, including filling the bird feeders. He is happy about this as he is trying for a bird finding badge.

Ona and the boy become friends. Ona finds herself telling the boy things she has never told anybody else. This is how we learn about Ona's life. Then the unthinkable happens and the boy doesn't show up. Ona is disappointed. The following week the boy's father (Quinn) shows up to fulfil his son's duties.

Gradually Quinn and Ona become friends. And before long the boy's mother is drawn in. The new tangled friendship unfolds very nicely. All parties come to some realisations and manage their grief in their own way.

This turned out to be not quite what I expected when I started reading it. I quite enjoyed the story and felt that the way the characters managed their feelings was pretty realistic.

128cmbohn
Mar 27, 10:21pm Top

We read that one for book club and we all enjoyed it. Great characters.

129Roro8
Mar 28, 6:04am Top

>128 cmbohn:, it would be a good choice for book club discussion. Plenty to think and talk about.

130dudes22
Edited: Mar 28, 8:02am Top

>127 Roro8: - The second BB for me this morning.

ETA: Whoo! I already took a BB for this from Stacy (LittleTaiko) last year. Hole plugged!

131Roro8
Mar 29, 3:04am Top

>130 dudes22:, that's a double shot! I hope you like it too.

132Roro8
Mar 31, 9:50pm Top

March Summary

Total no of books this month - 6

Total no of series books read - 1

Challenges read this month - 4 - ScaredyKIT, ColourCAT, Reading Through Time, RandomCAT

March Book of the month



March - To Ride the Wind By Peter Watt

February - The Good People by Hannah Kent

January - The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

133Roro8
Edited: Apr 3, 10:19pm Top

I have finished two more books.
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden for ScaredyKIT
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson for ColourCAT
Reviews coming as soon as I can get some computer time at home.

134Jackie_K
Apr 4, 2:08pm Top

>133 Roro8: I have The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden on my TBR, although goodness knows when I'll get to it! I did enjoy his first book though, so have high hopes. Looking forward to your review!

135Roro8
Apr 10, 4:39am Top


19. EMU - ScaredyCAT - Supernatural

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
Book 2 in the Winternight trilogy

For a young woman in medieval Russia, the choices are stark: marriage or a life in a convent. Vasya will choose a third way: magic...

The court of the Grand Prince of Moscow is plagued by power struggles and rumours of unrest. Meanwhile bandits roam the countryside, burning the villages and kidnapping its daughters. Setting out to defeat the raiders, the Prince and his trusted companion come across a young man riding a magnificent horse.

Only Sasha, a priest with a warrior's training, recognises this 'boy' as his younger sister, thought to be dead or a witch by her village. But when Vasya proves herself in battle, riding with remarkable skill and inexplicable power, Sasha realises he must keep her secret as she may be the only way to save the city from threats both human and fantastical...
(Blurb from Bookdepository)

I absolutely loved this book. It had adventure, suspense and a bit of the supernatural.

It continues the story of Vasya, who in order to live the life of adventure she wants has to present to be a young man. This leads her into difficulties when she encounters members of her own family. She saves people, endangers people, fights bad guys tries to learn where she belongs in the world.

I enjoyed the first book, but wasn't sure about continuing. This one is even better than the first in my opinion.

136Roro8
Apr 10, 4:47am Top



20. RAINBOW LORIKEET - ColourCAT - YELLOW

The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

On June 14th, 2007, the King and Prime Minister of Sweden went missing from a gala banquet at the Royal Castle. Later it was said that both had fallen ill: the truth is different. The real story starts much earlier, in 1961, with the birth of Nombeko Mayeki in a shack in Soweto. Nombeko was fated to grow up fast and die early in her poverty-stricken township, be it from drugs, from alcohol, or just from plain despair. But Nombeko takes a different path. She finds work as a housecleaner and eventually makes her way up to the position of chief advisor, at the helm of one of the world's most secret projects.

Here is where the story merges with, then diverges from reality. South Africa developed six nuclear missiles in the 1980s, then voluntarily dismantled them in 1994. This is a story about the seventh missile ... the one that was never supposed to have existed. Nombeko Mayeki knows too much about it, and now she's on the run from both the South African justice and the most terrifying secret service in the world. She ends up in Sweden, which has transformed into a nuclear nation, and the fate of the world now lies in Nombeko's hands.

Jonasson introduces us to a whole cast of eccentrics: a nerve-damaged American Vietnam deserter, twin brothers who are officially only one person, three careless Chinese girls, an angry young woman, a potato-growing Baroness, and the Swedish King and Prime Minister. Quirky and utterly unique, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden is a charming and humorous account of one young woman's unlikely adventure.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

Nomebeko is a teenage worker employed by the sanitation department. She amazingly ends up as the manager. Even more amazingly, she can read and write, unheard of for a teenage black girl in South Africa at the time. More and more totally unbelievable things happen to this girl.

Meanwhile a Swedish man is totally in awe of the Swedish king. Then an incident occurs that turns his adoration to disgust. You can see where this is going.

I totally loved The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared. It was in some small parts believable. Plus the old man was endearing and likeable. Nombeko was not endearing and likeable, nor was our Swedish character. I found this book to be quite disappointing. Sorry.

137Roro8
Apr 10, 4:51am Top

I also finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. WOW. It was excellent. Review coming soon.

138Jackie_K
Apr 10, 6:20am Top

>136 Roro8: I have this on my TBR (bought after also loving The 100 year old man), but haven't got to it yet. Sorry to hear it was disappointing.
>137 Roro8: I'm hearing lots of good things about this one - I will try and find it in the library this year, I think.

139rabbitprincess
Apr 10, 5:11pm Top

>137 Roro8: YAY glad to hear more love for Eleanor Oliphant! I must, must get to this one.

140Roro8
Edited: May 6, 11:07pm Top



21. FAIRY WREN

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Audiobook

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness

(Blurb from Booktopia)

A friend of mine who is an avid reader recommended this book to me out of the blue. She hasn't recommended a book for a few years so I thought I would get moving and read it straight away - well, listen to it in this case.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a life of routine, doing the same things day in and day out. The weekends are quite a challenge as she does not have to go to work. She is struggling to maintain a 'normal' existence. But why does she need 2 bottles of vodka to get her through the weekend?

Things start happening to cause Eleanor to change her routine. She has a very unique way of thinking about things and her approach to human interaction is, at times, both hilarious and cringe-worthy. Despite her 'prickly' nature she is very likeable for the reader. It was wonderful to see her challenge herself in different ways.

There were a couple of moments that required tissues too. Unfortunately, these occasions always seemed to be on my way to work (not on the way home), meaning I had to pull myself together quick smart so I didn't look like a blubbering mess at 7.30 in the morning at the start of my work day.

An absolute gem of a book. It really gave me a bit of perspective on the challenges some people face.
Highly recommended.

141lkernagh
Apr 13, 1:51pm Top

>135 Roro8: - I so need to find time to read the Winternight trilogy... so many great reviews and 4 - 5 star ratings posted here on LT!

142Roro8
Apr 13, 4:19pm Top

>141 lkernagh:, they are very easy to read. I'm so surprised by how much I enjoyed the second book as I wasn't sure if I would like where it was going and it turned out I liked it more than the first one. I'm certainly looking forward to reading number 3.

143LittleTaiko
Apr 13, 5:40pm Top

>140 Roro8: - Eleanor was delightful - so much of her made sense even when I was cringing at what she was doing.

144Roro8
Apr 13, 7:46pm Top

>143 LittleTaiko:, delightful is a very good choice. I'm so glad my friend recommended this book to me. At the moment it is the front runner for my best read so far this year.

145Chrischi_HH
Apr 14, 11:57am Top

My first visit on your thread since January - and it never disappoints. Two BBs for me: The Thirteenth Tale and The Sworn Virgin.

146Roro8
Apr 14, 4:23pm Top

>145 Chrischi_HH:, it often takes me a while to catch up with people's threads too. Glad to see you found a couple of potential reads to add to your list.

147-Eva-
Apr 14, 11:59pm Top

>140 Roro8:
Well, that one has to go on the wishlist!

148DeltaQueen50
Apr 19, 4:58pm Top

>140 Roro8: Ro, you got me again! I am adding Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine to my wishlist. :)

149Roro8
Apr 20, 5:10am Top

>148 DeltaQueen50:, I'm surprised you haven't read it already! You will love it Judy, I have a good feeling.

150Roro8
Edited: Apr 23, 11:17pm Top



22. MAGPIE - Crime/Mystery
and SEAGULL - Series
and AlphaKIT letter Y


Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton
A Lacey Flint Novel - book 1

One night after interviewing a reluctant witness at a London apartment complex, Lacey Flint, a young detective constable, stumbles onto a woman brutally stabbed just moments before in the building’s darkened parking lot. Within twenty-four hours a reporter receives an anonymous letter that points out alarming similarities between the murder and Jack the Ripper’s first murder—a letter that calls out Lacey by name. If it’s real, and they have a killer bent on re-creating London’s bloody past, history shows they have just five days until the next attempt.

No one believes the connections are anything more than a sadistic killer’s game, not even Lacey, whom the killer seems to be taunting specifically. However, as they investigate the details of the case start reminding her more and more of a part of her past she’d rather keep hidden. And the only way to do that is to catch the killer herself.

(Blurb from Booktopia)

This book was a bit more of a graphically violent serial killer type of book than I would usually read. This resulted in some late nights because I had trouble getting to sleep. I thought I had the murderer picked out pretty quickly and was ready to discard the whole series if I was right. Well, I was wrong. So the next book in the series is definitely on my reading agenda.

Lacey Flint is pretty new to detective work, having recently moved up the ranks. She becomes a key witness in the first of what becomes a series of murders. For some reason the murderer is trying to make sure Lacey is aware of each crime. Lacey finds herself witness, investigator, and potential victim throughout the course of the case.

I can't really say anymore without giving things away. This was a good read, probably best not at bedtime though.

151Roro8
Apr 23, 11:25pm Top



23. FAIRY WREN
and COLOURCAT - Yellow


The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
Audiobook

We're all waiting to be found...

Meet the 'Keeper of Lost Things'...

Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfill his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the 'Keeper of Lost Things' have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters...

(Blurb from Booktopia)

Laura works for Anthony. She is his housekeeper and assistant. Unbeknownst to Laura, Anthony has a rather large collections of lost items that he has found and lovingly cared for for the past 40 odd years. When Anthony dies he leaves everything to Laura with a couple of conditions. The main one being that she has to try and restore the lost items to their original owners.

There is the secondary story running alongside featuring Eunice and Bomber. Bomber is a publisher and Eunice his assistant. They have a wonderful and unique friendship. While reading about them I kept trying to predict how their story was going to link in with Laura's.

What ensues is a lovely tale filled with short stories featuring individual lost items. Laura finds herself facing her past and making new friends along the way.

152Roro8
Apr 23, 11:34pm Top



24. MAGPIE - Crime/Mystery

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

The stunning, twisty new psychological thriller from number one bestseller, Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go and I See You

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They're both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.

Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to ask questions about her parents' deaths. But by digging up the past, is she putting her future in danger? Sometimes it's safer to let things lie . . .

(Blurb from Booktopia)

This is one of those books that I wanted to go back through after I was finished to gather all the clues I had missed, or put all the pieces together.

I'm really not going to say much about the story except that it was a really good read.

153dudes22
Apr 24, 7:41am Top

>151 Roro8: - I was going to take this as a BB until LT told me I already had this in my stuff. Turns out I took it as a BB last year from Luanne (clue). Now to get to reading it.

154Roro8
Apr 24, 5:22pm Top

>153 dudes22:, it's a good sign you'll like it if you were ready to take a second hit for it. I'm not sure if you do audio but it was pretty good. They had 3 narrators which really helped with defining the different components of the story.

155dudes22
Apr 25, 3:42pm Top

>154 Roro8: - I'll probably read it. I haven't gotten into audio yet.

156Roro8
May 6, 11:08pm Top

I have been absent for a couple of weeks. First I was unwell with a head cold, then I had to go interstate for a conference I was involved in organising. Then it took me about a week to recover from the exhaustion of the conference. So finally I am back and ready to do my book of the month and summary post for April.

April Summary

Total no of books this month - 6

Total no of series books read - 2

Challenges read this month - 3 - ScaredyKIT, ColourCAT, AlphaKIT

April Book of the month



April - Eleanor Elephant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

March - To Ride the Wind By Peter Watt

February - The Good People by Hannah Kent

January - The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

157Roro8
May 6, 11:38pm Top



25. BLACK COCKATOO - historical

SEAGULL - Series read

Reading Through Time April - Clash of Cultures


The Conqueror's Queen by Joanna Courtney
Book 3 in The Queens of Conquest

A crown can be won, blood cannot be changed.

William of Normandy is a rough man but what more can you expect of an illegitimate son trying to muscle his way into a dukedom? After a violent start to their courtship, Mathilda of Flanders discovers William to be a man of unexpected sensitivity, driven by two goals: to prove himself by becoming a great ruler and to build a warm and secure family.

Mathilda has grown up safe in the love of her powerful parents, her rough and tumble brothers and, above all, her younger sister and closest confidante, Judith. Now, though, they must separate. Judith marries the glamorous Earl Torr and departs for life in England and Mathilda heads to Normandy with William.

When William's cousin King Edward of England weakens, his eyes turn across the narrow sea to the glittering throne he promised Mathilda as a young bride. Mathilda supports him keenly in his challenge, longing to live close to her sister once more.

But as reward for his support for William Torr wants more than William is prepared to cede and there will be no alliance. The two sisters find themselves not just on either side of a sea but of a bitter battle, and the events of 1066 bring great personal loss, as well as victory, to the Conqueror's Queen.
(Blurb from Booktopia)

This is the final volume in the Queens of Conquest trilogy. All three books have been very good reads.

The story starts with Matilda as a 16 year old girl, with romantic interests in a not so appropriate man. Her father decides it is time to marry her off - to William, Duke of Normandy. Matilda is not overly impressed with this idea at all.

The story carries right through to 1066 and it is an interesting journey. Matilda is an ambitious young woman, and her trials and successes make for a good read.




158Roro8
May 15, 7:15am Top

There is very little reading going on here at the moment. I have been busy sewing, sewing, sewing, and watching The Voice with my daughter.

159Roro8
May 24, 7:30am Top

I have finished The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas. It will count as my blue book thanks to all the sky and water on the cover. Review to be written on the weekend.
I have also been reading Labyrinth by Kate Mosse but I'm not really being drawn in so have put it aside for an easier read - Widows by Lynda La Plante.

160Roro8
Edited: May 29, 11:01pm Top



26. BLACK COCKATOO - historical

SEAGULL - Series read

ColourCAT - Blue


The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas
Book 1 in The Illusionists

London 1870. A terrifying place for a young, beautiful woman of limited means. But Eliza is modern before her time. Not for her the stifling if respectable conventionality of marriage, children, domestic drudgery. She longs for more. Through her work as an artist's model, she meets the magnetic and irascible Devil - a born showman whose dream is to run his own theatre company.

Devil's right-hand man is the improbably-named Carlo Bonomi, an ill-tempered dwarf with an enormous talent for all things magic and illusion. Carlo and Devil clash at every opportunity and it constantly falls upon Eliza to broker an uneasy peace between them.

And then there is Jasper Button. Mild-mannered, and a family man at heart, it is his gift as an artist which makes him the unlikely final member of the motley crew.

Thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked: the fortune of one depends on the fortune of the other. And as Eliza gets sucked into the seductive and dangerous world her strange companions inhabit, she risks not only her heart, but also her life...
(Blurb from Booktopia)

It took me a little while to get into this story. I was listening to the audio and it was rather long (for me). Once things got moving and all the characters were in play I was hooked.

Devil has had a hard life. He has his own personal demons but is determined to make something of himself. He partners up with cranky dwarf Carlo. Carlo has his own traumatic background and has a massive chip on his shoulder. Eliza is a young independent woman who befriends the duo and ends up working in the theatre with them along with Jasper Button and Heinrich.

I love the setting - the variety shows of the late 19th century. The struggles of running a theatre and the portrayal of the characters was very goo.

I look forward to reading the next book.


161Roro8
May 29, 11:07pm Top



27. BLACK COCKATOO - historical

ColourCAT - Blue


Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

Three secrets. Two women. One Grail ...10th Anniversary Edition of the spellbinding No. 1 bestselling novel. July 1209: in Carcassonne a 17-year-old girl is given a mysterious book by her father which he claims contains the secret of the true Grail. Although Alais cannot understand the strange words and symbols hidden within, she knows that her destiny lies in keeping the secret of the labyrinth safe ...July 2005: Alice Tanner discovers two skeletons in a forgotten cave in the French Pyrenees. Puzzled by the labyrinth symbol carved into the rock, she realises she's disturbed something that was meant to remain hidden. Somehow, a link to a horrific past - her past - has been revealed. (Blurb from Booktopia)

I was disappointed in this book. I had been looking forward to reading it, maybe that was the problem - unrealistic expectations.

i won't be reading the next book.

162Roro8
May 29, 11:11pm Top

I am still reading Widows by Lynda La Plant and I'm rather enjoying it. I think I will finish it on the weekend.

I am almost finished listening to Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore. I may just finish it before the month is over, giving me a total of 4 books for the month. Certainly not a PB.

163VivienneR
May 30, 12:48am Top

>161 Roro8: Labyrinth sounds like a good read, sorry to hear it didn't measure up. You are right that high expectations can set us up for disappointment.

164Roro8
May 30, 2:59am Top

>163 VivienneR:, it doesn't help that my reading mojo has gone walkabouts at the moment. It is probably a case of the wrong book at the wrong time.

165Helenliz
May 30, 9:48am Top

>161 Roro8: I have to say that was a real stinker for me. Each story, on its own, would have been interesting, but the idea that umpteen generations later, people are replaying the roles of their forebears struck me as ridiculous. And I found that element of the unfeasible impossible to get past.

>160 Roro8: I was struck by how good a surmise this was, but I found it let down by patches of poor writing and some cardboard supporting characters. I'm glad you enjoyed it more than I did, it certainly should have been good.

166rabbitprincess
May 30, 6:33pm Top

>164 Roro8: Oh no! I hope your reading mojo comes back soon and that your next book is better.

167Chrischi_HH
May 31, 4:47pm Top

>160 Roro8: BB for me! This reminds me a bit of The Night Circus which I loved. :)

168virginiahomeschooler
Jun 2, 3:25pm Top

>161 Roro8: Aw that one sounded really good, and it's so pretty. Too bad it was a disappointment.

169dudes22
Jun 4, 6:54am Top

So, way over here, on the opposite side of the world, in the smallest state in the US, there was an item on the news today with a video about a cockatoo exploring a traffic camera in Australia (maybe Queensland?). Gotta love technology.

170Roro8
Jun 6, 12:43am Top

>169 dudes22:, wow! That's pretty random to be shown on TV. It must have been entertaining. Cockatoos are actually quite destructive.

171VivienneR
Jun 6, 3:14am Top

>169 dudes22: I saw that new item too. It was pretty funny. I know cockatoos can rip apart almost anything and I expected the camera to end up in pieces.

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