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DeltaQueen Goes to Sesame Street in 2018 - Part 6

This is a continuation of the topic DeltaQueen Goes to Sesame Street in 2018 - Part 5.

2018 Category Challenge

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Oct 6, 11:54am Top

Welcome to my fifth thread of the 2018 Category Challenge. My name is Judy and I live Delta, a suburb of Vancouver, B.C. I love books and reading and through LibraryThing I have expanded my reading to many different genres. This is my 10th year at the Category Challenge and I am enjoying this years challenge very much. I am enjoying my light-hearted theme of Sesame Street and have had no difficulty fitting any book I choose to read into one of my categories.

I went with 18 categories this year and hope to read at least 10 books for 15 of these categories, 5 and 6 books for 2 more. My eighteenth category is for overflow books so these 161 books plus overflows and additions will comprise my 2018 challenge. As the year winds down I am paying more attention to finishing each of my categories as well as continuing to work on the 2018 PopSugar Challenge and trying to fit in as many Cats that I can .

As my thread is dedicated to the classic children’s program, Sesame Street, I thought I would continue on with the idea of children’s classics and post pictures from renowned illustrators of some of the best loved children’s books. The illustrator I have chosen for this thread is Mabel Lucie Atwell.

Mabel Lucie Attwell (June 4th, 1879 – November 5th, 1964) was a British illustrator and comics artist. She was known for her cute, nostalgic drawings of children, that she based on her daughter Peggy. Her drawings were featured on many postcards, advertisements, posters, books and figurines. Among the many classic children’s books that she illustrated were an edition of Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose and The Waterbabies.

Edited: Oct 6, 12:00pm Top

2018 Categories

A. Brought To You By the Number:

The shows aired on PBS and there was no advertising. The show itself though always was brought to you by a number, a letter and a color. The regularity of this brings series to mind, so this category will be for series.

B. The Mystery Box:

Kermit gives the Cookie Monster three guesses as to what is in the Mystery Box. For my guesswork I love to read mysteries and police procedurals so this will be a category for those genres.

C. Big Bird:

Big Bird is larger than any bird I’ve ever seen, so this category will be for the big books of over 500 pages. I will plan on reading five of these.

D Rechov Sumsum & Alam Simsim:

Sesame Street is an international hit, and these are the names of the show in Israel and Egypt. This will be the place to list my global reading – books set anywhere other than Canada, the U.S. or the U.K.

E. It’s Not Easy Being Green:

A song sung by Kermit that encourages children to accept and embrace their differences. This will be a category that features books with a connection to the color green, their cover displays a large amount of green, the author’s name is Green or the word Green is in the title.

F. Elmo:

Elmo is perpetually child-like, so this category will be for Children’s & YA Books

G. The Letters A to J:

Sesame Street is often a child’s first introduction to the alphabet. This category will be a place for books whose authors last names start with the first ten letters of the alphabet.

H. The Letters K to T:

For Books whose authors last names start with the next ten letters of the alphabet:

I. The Letters U to Z:

For Books whose authors last names start with the last few letters of the alphabet.

J. Abby Cadabby:

Magical, fairy-like Abby Cadabby is the perfect choice to head the category for tales of Fantasy and Magic

K. The Count:

Although he is a friendly one, The Count is a vampire so this will be a category for the dark side of fantasy. Ghosts, vampires, zombies and werewolves will all fit here.

L. In Recognition of Excellence:

In recognition of it’s excellence, Sesame Street has won many awards including well over 100 Emmys, so this will be a category for the books that have also been recognized for their excellence by being placed on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die List.

M. Miss Piggy:

Miss Piggy gives a strong female presence to the program, so this will be a category for women authors:

N. Kermit the Frog:

Kermit is an all-round good guy and the object of Miss Piggy’s affection, this will be a category for male authors.

O. Bert & Ernie’s Science Experiments:

Ernie is a master at coming up with experiments where he needs Bert’s help. He is also very good at convincing Bert to do some very strange things, all in the aid of science, of course. This category will be for science fiction.

P. Bob McGrath:

Bob McGrath, a music teacher who lived above Mr. Hooper’s store, was played by a real person, actor Robert Johnson. This category will be for non-fiction.

Q. Oscar the Grouch:

Oscar lives in a garbage can and considers his belongings to be treasures not trash. This category will be for books that have been on my shelf or my Kindle for longer than two years. Will they be trash or treasures?

R. Mr. Hooper’s Store:

Mr. Hooper’s Store carried everything. So this is the perfect place to be the overflow category, a place for graphic novels, for books that don’t fit anywhere else, or whose categories are already filled.

Edited: Oct 6, 12:01pm Top


Total Number of Books Read in 2018:

Total Number of Pages Read in 2018:

Total Number of Books From My Shelf:

Edited: Oct 12, 1:53pm Top

How I Rate Books:

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

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

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

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

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

4.0 ★: A very good read and I enjoyed my time spent with this story

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

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

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

Edited: Dec 6, 3:14am Top

2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge

1. A book made into a movie you've already seen: Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
2. True crime: Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn
3. The next book in a series you started: Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham
4. A book involving a heist: High Sierra by W. R. Burnett
5. Nordic noir: Nemesis by Jo Nesbo
6. A novel based on a real person: Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes
7. A book set in a country that fascinates you: The King's Last Song by Geoff Ryman
8. A book with a time of day in the title: The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
9. A book about a villain or antihero: The North Water by Ian McGuire
10. A book about death or grief: Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor
11. A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist: Ash by Malinda Lo
13. A book that is also a stage play or musical: Black Coffee by C. Osborne, play by A. Christie
14. A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you: Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin
15. A book about feminism: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
16. A book about mental health: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
17. A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift: A Robot In the Garden by Deborah Install
18. A book by two authors: Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French
19. A book about or involving a sport: Wobble To Death by Peter Lovesey
20. A book by a local author: Pleased To Meet You by Caroline Adderson
21. A book with your favorite color in the title: Friends At Thrush Green by Miss Read
22. A book with alliteration in the title: Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
23. A book about time travel: Time And Again by Jack Finney
24. A book with a weather element in the title: Snow Angels by Stewart O'Nan
25. A book set at sea: Sea Witch by Helen Hollick
26. A book with an animal in the title: The Judas Sheep by Stuart Pawson
27. A book set on a different planet : I Dare by Sharon Lee
28. A book with song lyrics in the title: My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson
29. A book about or set on Halloween: Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
30. A book with characters who are twins: Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne
31. A book mentioned in another book: The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells
32. A book from a celebrity book club: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
33. A childhood classic you've never read: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
34. A book that's published in 2018: The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor
35. A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
36. A book set in the decade you were born: A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald
37. A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn't get to: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
38. A book with an ugly cover: Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave
39. A book that involves a bookstore or library: The Library At The Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
40. Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges - 2017 - A Book Set in the Wilderness: The Revenant by Michael Punke

Advanced Reading Challenge

1. A bestseller from the year you graduated high school: Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer (1968)
2. A cyberpunk book: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
3. A book that was being read by a stranger in a public place: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
4. A book tied to your ancestry: Morning At Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
5. A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title: Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas by Judy Parkinson
6. An allegory: Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
7. A book by an author with the same first or last name as you: Middlemere by Judith Lennox
8. A microhistory: Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
9. A book about a problem facing society today: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
10. A book recommended by someone else taking the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: Slow Horses by Mick Herron

Edited: Dec 6, 3:15am Top

A. Brought To You By The Number ... - Series Reading

Books Read

1. Love Story, With Murders by Harry Bingham - 4.5 ★
2. The City of the Sun by David Levien - 4.0 ★
3. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers - 4.1 ★
4. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear - 3.8 ★
5. Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina - 4.2 ★
6. Anarchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill - 4.0 ★
7. Last Rites by John Harvey - 4.0 ★
8. The Impossible Dead by Ian Rankin - 4.2 ★
9. Slow Horses by Mick Herron - 4.2 ★
10. The Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser - 3.3 ★


11. Dark Winter by David Mark - 3.6 ★
12. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - 3.7 ★

Edited: Oct 8, 4:10pm Top

B. The Mystery Box - Mysteries & Police Procedurals

Books Read

1. Black Coffee by Agatha Christie, Adapted by Charles Osborne - 3.3 ★
2. The Clocks by Agatha Christie - 3.5 ★
3. Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey - 3.8 ★
4. The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor - 4.2 ★
5. Blood Money by Dashiell Hammett - 3.8 ★
6. Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French - 4.2 ★
7. The Judas Sheep by Stuart Pawson - 3.9 ★
8. Buried by Mark Billingham - 4.1 ★
9. Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie - 3.8 ★
10. Fear Stalks The Village by Ethel Lina White - 3.8 ★


Edited: Dec 2, 7:48pm Top

C. Big Bird - Large Books

Books Read

1. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy - 4.0 ★
2. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset - 4.5 ★
3. Redemption by Jussi Adler-Olsen - 4.3 ★
4. A Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall - 4.2 ★
5. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay - 5.0 ★


6. Middlemere by Judith Lennox - 3.3 ★

Edited: Nov 4, 11:08am Top

D. Rechov Sumsum & Alam Simsim - Global Settings

Books Read

1. The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad - 4.0 ★
2. Gold Of Our Fathers by Kwei Quartey - 3.8 ★
3. The War Reporter by Martin Fletcher - 3.4 ★
4. Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson - 3.8 ★
5. The King's Last Song by Geoff Ryman - 3.4 ★
6. The Samurai's Wife by Laura Joh Rowland - 3.2 ★
7. An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - 4.0 ★
8. The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng - 3.7 ★
9. Dark Voyage by Alan Furst - 4.1 ★
10. Death At Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood - 3.8 ★


Edited: Oct 25, 11:55am Top

E. It's Not Easy Being Green - Book Has a Connection to the Color Green

Books Read

1. The Scalp Hunters by Mayne Reid (green cover) - 2.7 ★
2. Friends At Thrush Green by Miss Read (title) - 4.0 ★
3. Flowers For the Judge by Margery Allingham (green cover) - 4.0 ★
4. My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson (green cover) - 3.8 ★
5. Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood (author's name) - 4.0 ★
6. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda - 4.0 ★
7. A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson - 4.2 ★
8. The Witch of Hebron by James Howard Kunstler - 3.2 ★
9. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene - 4.5 ★
10. In A Wide Country by Robert Everett-Green - 3.8 ★


11. The Green Man by Kingsley Amis - 4.0 ★

Edited: Dec 8, 12:22pm Top

F. Elmo - Children's & YA Reads

Books Read

1. The Night Is For Hunting by John Marsden - 4.0 ★
2. A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla - 3.0 ★
3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - 4.2 ★
4. Warriors in the Crossfire by Nancy Bo Flood - 3.5 ★
5. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt - 4.0 ★
6. In the Palace of the Khans by Peter Dickinson - 3.8 ★
7. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer - 5.0 ★
8. Ash by Malinda Lo - 3.8 ★
9. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld - 3.8 ★
10. Into The Grey by Celine Kiernan - 4.0 ★


11. White Falcon by Elliott Arnold - 3.7 ★

Edited: Nov 16, 9:44pm Top

G. The Letters A to J


1. A: Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott - 4.5 ★
2. B: Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks - 2.5 ★
3. C: The Big Four by Agatha Christie - 3.0 ★
4: D: Silesian Station by David Downing - 4.0 ★
5. E: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison - 4.2 ★
6. F: Time And Again by Jack Finney - 3.7 ★
7. G: The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans - 4.1 ★
8. H: Eventide by Kent Haruf - 5.0 ★
9: I: A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install - 4.5 ★
10: J: The Weight of This World by David Joy - 4.5 ★


Edited: Dec 4, 9:44pm Top

H. The Letters K to T

Books Read

1. K: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - 4.3 ★
2. L: Savage Season by Joe R. Lansdale - 4.2 ★
3. M: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty - 4.1 ★
4. N: Into That Forest by Louis Nowra - 4.5 ★
5. O: Snow Angels by Stewart O'Nan - 4.1 ★
6. P: Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe - 3.4 ★
7. Q: An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn - 4.0 ★
8. R: The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly - 3.4 ★
9. S: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
10. T: Cutter And Bone by Newton Thornburg - 4.2 ★


Edited: Nov 11, 1:16pm Top

I. The Letters U to Z

Books Read

1. U: Fragile by Lisa Unger - 3.7 ★
2. V: The In-Between World of Vikram Lall by M. J. Vassanji - 4.2 ★
3. W: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward - 4.2 ★
4. X: Miss Chopsticks by Xinran - 3.8 ★
5. Y: The Lost Daughter of Happiness by Geling Yan - 2.5*
6: Z: Caring is Creepy by David Zimmerman - 4.0 ★


Edited: Nov 15, 6:44pm Top

J. Abby Cadabby - Books of Fantasy and Magic

Books Read

1. God Stalk by P.C. Hodgell - 4.0 ★
2. The Queen of the Tearling by Erica Johansen - 4.1 ★
3. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner - 4.2 ★
4. Half The World by Joe Abercrombie - 4.2 ★
5. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner - 4.1 ★
6. The Farthest Shore by Ursula Le Guin - 3.8 ★
7. The Invasion of the Tearling - Erika Johansen - 4.0 ★
8. Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn - 4.3 ★
9. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George - 4.0 ★
10. Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson - 3.8 ★


11. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce - 2.8 ★

Edited: Nov 25, 5:03pm Top

K. The Count Dark Fantasy

Books Read

1. The Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell - 3.5 ★
2. Home by Tom Abrahams - 3.4 ★
3. Cold Hand in Mine by Robert Aickman - 3.6 ★
4. Those Who Hunt The Night by Barbara Hambley - 4.0 ★
5. The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone - 3.4 ★
6. Under The Skin by Michael Faber - 5.0 ★
7. Shattered Hourglass by J. L. Bourne - 3.6 ★
8. Demise of the Living by Iain McKinnon - 3.0 ★
9. Fellside by M. R. Carey - 4.1 ★
10. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll - 4.0 ★


11. Into The Mist by Lee Murray - 3.8 ★

Edited: Dec 7, 4:36pm Top

L. In Recognition of Excellence - The 1001 Books To Read Before You Die List

Books Read

1. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - 4.0 ★
2. The First Garden by Anne Hebert - 2.0 ★
3. The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith - 3.7 ★
4. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh - 3.8 ★
5. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - 4.0 ★
6. The Accidental by Ali Smith - 2.0 ★
7. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - 4.5 ★
8. A Kestrel For A Knave by Barry Hines - 4.1 ★
9. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis - 3.7 ★
10. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West - 4.2 ★


11. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger - 4.0 ★
12. Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin - 4.2 ★
13. Hard Times by Charles Dickens - 3.5 ★
14. Cause For Alarm by Eric Ambler - 3.8 ★
15. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf - 4.2 ★
16. The Day of the Dolphin by Robert Merle - 2.5 ★
17. The Thousand and One Nights by Anonymous - 4.0 ★
18. The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark - 3.7 ★
19. Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes - 2.5 ★
20. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol - 3.7 ★
21. The Devil's Pool by George Sand - 3.8 ★
22. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh - 4.2 ★
23. Sula by Toni Morrison - 4.1 ★

Edited: Nov 18, 1:15pm Top

M. Miss Piggy - Female Authors

Books Read

1. Falling From Horses by Molly Gloss - 3.8 ★
2. The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu - 4.0 ★
3. Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama - 3.8 ★
4. Henrietta Who? by Catherine Aird - 3.8 ★
5. Morning At Jalna by Mazo de la Roche - 3.7 ★
6. Sea Witch by Helen Hollick - 4.0 ★
7. Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer - 3.6 ★
8. Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole - 3.8 ★
9. The Vintner's Daughter by Kristen Harnisch - 4.0 ★
10. A Lantern In Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich - 4.0 ★


11. The Library At The Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy - 4.0 ★

Edited: Nov 10, 12:02pm Top

N. Kermit the Frog - Male Authors

Books Read

1. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy - 4.3 ★
2. Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz - 4.3 ★
3. The Revenant by Michael Punke 4.0 ★
4. Red Moon by Benjamin Percy - 2.0 ★
5. The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton - 3.9 ★
6. Peace Like A River by Leif Enger - 4.5 ★
7. Abattoir Blues by Peter Robinson - 4.0 ★
8. Jealous Woman by James M. Cain - 3.2 ★
9. Wild Harbour by Ian Macpherson - 4.5 ★
10. The House on Cold Hill by Peter James - 3.6 ★


11. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - 4.0 ★
12. Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor by Patrick Taylor - 3.8 ★

Edited: Nov 29, 12:29pm Top

O. Bert & Ernie's Science Experiments - Science Fiction

Books Read

1. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman - 3.2 ★
2. I Dare by Sharon Lee - 4.5 ★
3. A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers - 5.0 ★
4. X-Isle by Steve Augarde - 3.3 ★
5. Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.2 ★
6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick - 4.5 ★
7. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch - 4.2 ★
8. The Humans by Matt Haig - 4.2 ★
9. All Systems Red by Martha Wells - 4.5 ★
10. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells - 3.0 ★


11. Old Man's War by John Scalzi - 5.0 ★

Edited: Nov 1, 12:24pm Top

P. Bob McGrath - Non-Fiction

Books Read

1. A Long Walk Home by Judith Tebbutt - 4.0 ★
2. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah - 5.0 ★
3. A Few Acres of Snow by Robert Leckie - 3.6 ★
4. Doris Day: Reluctant Star by David Bret - 3.8 ★
5. Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn - 5.0 ★
6. Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pajamas by Judy Parkinson - 4.0 ★
7. Twilight of Empire by Alan Eckert - 4.1 ★
8. Over the Top and Back by Tom Jones - 3.7 ★
9. For Bread Alone by Mohamed Choukri - 3.5 ★
10. Silent in an Evil Time by Jack Batten - 4.0 ★


Edited: Nov 5, 11:55am Top

Q. Oscar The Grouch - On My Shelf Longer Than 2 Years - Trash or Treasure?

Books Read

1. A Cat Affair by Derek Tangye - 3.7 ★
2. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo - 4.2 ★
3. High Sierra by W. R. Burnett - 4.2 ★
4. Cemetery Lake by Paul Cleave - 4.5 ★
5. A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron - 4.5 ★
6. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison - 4.2 ★
7. Monkeewrench by P. J. Tracy - 4.1 ★
8. The U. P. Trail by Zane Grey - 3.4 ★
9. A Bullet For Cinderella by John D. MacDonald - 4.2 ★
10. Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie - 3.3 ★


11. Daisy Miller by Henry James - 4.2 ★
12. All That Matters by Wayson Choy - 4.0 ★

Edited: Nov 6, 11:01am Top

R. Mr. Hooper's Store - Overflow

Books Read

1. When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord - 4.0 ★
2. The North Water by Ian McGuire - 4.5 ★
3. The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells - 3.3 ★
4. The World of Thrush Green by Miss Read - 4.0 ★
5. Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor - 4.5 ★
6. Born Scared by Kevin Brooks - 4.0 ★
7. Dog Songs by Mary Oliver - 4.2 ★
8. The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne - 3.3 ★
9. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - 3.6 ★
10. Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan - 4.0 ★
11. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride - 2.0 ★

Edited: Oct 6, 12:37pm Top

Oct 6, 12:48pm Top

159. Wild Harbour by Ian Macpherson - 4.5 ★
Category: Kermit the Frog
October 1,001 Group Read
TIOLI #7: Odd Number of Letters in Title

Wild Harbour by Ian Macpherson was originally published in 1936 as the world is gearing up for war and the future is bleak. This book tells the story of a married couple, Hugh and Terry, who decide to opt out of civilized life and flee the brutality of war and seek a new life in the wilderness.

Part political statement, part survival manual, Wild Harbour is also a love story and the commitment between these two people gives the book it’s emotional impact. The setting is the wild and beautiful Scottish Highlands which unfortunately still isn’t far enough away to allow these pacifists to avoid what is happening. As the story unfolds through diary entries, we can sense the total collapse of society is on the horizon.

I found this book to be short, simple and devastating. The author’s vision of a futuristic war of bombs, poison gas and biological weapons is dark, but considering the path that mankind has taken quite accurate. Wild Harbour makes a powerful and haunting statement.

Oct 6, 9:17pm Top

Happy new thread, Judy! The good thing about your new threads is I get to remember watching Sesame Street with my nephew Michael! I don't think he was quite as crazy about it as my other brother's kids were, but I helped watch him after picking him up from the babysitter after his mom died, even a bit after my brother remarried--until his job transferred him.

Oct 6, 10:13pm Top

>26 thornton37814: Sesame Street gives me good memories as well, Lori. I last watched the program with my grandkids as I used to babysit them when they were little.

Oct 7, 1:50am Top

Happy new thread and a belated happy birthday, Judy.

Oct 7, 10:07am Top

Happy Part Six, Judy!

Sesame Street was a key fixture in my childhood. I would watch it on PBS as many times a day as I could, and I'd watch the Canadian version, Sesame Park :)

Oct 7, 10:35am Top

Happy new thread!

I never really watched Sesame Street as a kid (it wasn't such a huge thing here in the UK, although the Muppets were really popular and I loved them), but we have started showing our daughter (who is not quite 5) episodes of Elmo's World and she's a fan!

Oct 7, 10:47am Top

Happy new thread, Judy! LOL, I want to hug all the puppets in your topper.........even Count Von Count!

Oct 8, 4:09pm Top

>28 Familyhistorian: Thankjs, Meg. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving weeken. I cooked yesterday so today is a day of rest and relaxation and leftovers.

>29 rabbitprincess: Sesame Street is certainly universal and worked perfectly for my 2018 challenge. Happy Thanksgiving, RP!

>30 Jackie_K: I remember my granddaughter really liked Elmo who I thought was a little too-much! I also realize that I have a Miss Piggy category and I don't think she is actually from Sesame Street, she's from the muppet show!

>31 Carmenere: Lynda, the Count has always been a favorite of mine. :)

Oct 8, 11:56pm Top

160. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward - 4.2 ★
Category: The Letters U to Z
TIOLI #6: Rolling Challenge by Increased Age of Setting

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward is set in modern day Mississippi but this tale of a black rural family has a timeless feel. Told from shifting viewpoints, we learn that Jojo and his little sister, Kayla are being reared by their grandparents. Their mother, Leona, is a careless and neglectful mother. The children’s white father, Michael is in Parchman prison, but he’s due to get out and that is all Leona cares about. She is determined to drive upstate and pick him up and she’s taking his children with her.

This is a road trip from hell, with the baby getting sick, Leona and her friend scoring and using some meth and Jojo trying to hold all the pieces together. After Michael is picked up, the trip gets even worse, Michael and Leona can’t seem to see beyond their own needs, and the children are suffering. They arrive home to find that their grandmother, who has cancer, is getting very near the end of her life.

The past and the dead are not lying quiet in this book as the author uses darkness and loss to give this novel an edge. Although parts of the book didn’t totally work for me, this brooding and painful story that deals with issues of poverty, drug abuse, and racial disharmony flowed lyrically amongst the angst, sorrow and compassion.

Oct 9, 9:16am Top

Nice review, Judy. I felt pretty much exactly the same way about it!

Edited: Oct 9, 11:14am Top

>34 katiekrug: There's no denying that Jesmyn Ward is a fabulous writer, she makes the story come alive, I just couldn't quite get into all of the ghostly parts although I did like the "Given-not-Given" visits.

Edited: Oct 10, 1:12pm Top

161. Over the Top and Back by Tom Jones - 3.7 ★
Category: Bob McGrath
TIOLI #9: Author is Well Known For Something Other Than Writing

I was never a big fan of singer Tom Jones but I picked up his autobiography because I am interested in the music and entertainment industry and his fame covers some very interesting years. Overall the book is a light-hearted read about how an unpolished Welsh lad became the famous Sir Tom Jones. He is very frank about the various directions that his career has taken, both the good and the bad.

There is plenty of name dropping along the way, from his friendships with both Elvis and Frank Sinatra, and includes many other entertainment icons being mentioned at some point. I was however, a little disappointed in the fact that Sir Tom has held back a lot about his personal life. There is no mention of his illegitimate son nor his long involvement with Mary Wilson of the Supremes or his declaration proudly made at the height of his fame that he had slept with over 250 women. He only devotes one line to his alleged affairs: “The road will set temptations in front of you that are hard to resist”. Instead, he writes lovingly of his long marriage to childhood sweetheart, Linda, painting a picture of steadfast harmony.

I listened to Over the Top and Back as an audio version read by Jonathan Pryce in a charming, boyish manner and although the celebrity anecdotes and his career ups and downs were interesting, I never felt like I got to see the real person behind the sexy facade and the powerful voice.

Oct 10, 7:41pm Top

I love your Mabel Lucie Atwell illustrations! They were a big part of my childhood - probably because my mother's name was Mabel and she enjoyed having a famous namesake.

Oct 10, 9:26pm Top

Happy new one, DeltaQueen50! I hope all is well with you. I want to watch some classics. What do you recommend off hand? I watched The Big Sleep last week and have Casablanca in hand. Trouble is I usually fall asleep watching it. What you say?

Oct 11, 12:28pm Top

>37 VivienneR: Her drawings remind me of many of my childhood books, Vivienne. The Peter Pan that we had was illustrated by her and I suspect many of our other books as well.

>38 brodiew2: Hi Brodie. Well, personally I love Casablanca, especially as I am both a huge fan of Bogart and also of Claude Rains. A perfect set of classic crime movies that I would love to sit down to would include High Sierra with Bogart and Ida Lupino, The House Across the Bay with George Raft and Joan Bennett - and Lloyd Nolan with one of the best names for a crooked lawyer "Slant" Kolma. Thirdly I am always ready to watch White Heat with James Cagney in one of his best roles.

Oct 11, 12:37pm Top

162. Savage Season by Joe R. Lansdale - 4.2 ★
Category: The Letters K to T
October AlphaKit: L
TIOLI #5: Rolling Challenge Based on the word "Samhain"

Savage Season is a crime novel written by Joe R. Lansdale and it is the first in his Hap and Leonard series. The books are set in eastern Texas with main characters Hap Collins and Leonard Pine as a couple of good ol’ boys. Although they are complete opposites of each other, Leonard is a Vietnam vet, Hap went to prison rather than go to war; Hap is white, Leonard is black; and Hap is straight while Leonard is gay; these fellows are the best of friends and very loyal to each other.

When Hap’s ex-wife Trudy shows up with a proposition, an easy way to make two hundred thousand dollars, Hap overcomes Leonard’s objections and they embark on a wild and dangerous adventure that, of course, ends badly.

Savage Season is literary mayhem at it’s best. Dark, funny, and violent, this tightly plotted story is full of hard boiled bravado and emotionally damaged characters. This one book has made me a fan of Joe R. Lansdale and I am happy to note that he has written at least eleven more books in the series plus many stand-alone novels as well.

Oct 11, 1:35pm Top

>39 DeltaQueen50: Thank you for such a wonderful response, delataqueen50! 'White Heat' is one I know very well and have seen recently enough. I've said before and I'll say it again, that I love the scene where Cody Jarrett gives the guy in the trunk of his car 'some air' by shooting holes in the trunk. I think I will take you up on High Sierra. It has been many years since I've seen it and I have been in a Bogart mood of late. I remember you mention the Raft film some time ago. I wonder about it's availability, at least through the library. I'll report back after watch HS. Have a great day!

Oct 11, 10:20pm Top

Happy new thread Judy!

I haven't watched White Heat in a long while but I agree that it is one of Cagney's best roles. "I'm on the top of the world Ma!"

Oct 12, 2:11pm Top

>41 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie, I hope you enjoy your films.

>42 leslie.98: Thanks, Leslie.

Oct 12, 2:26pm Top

163. Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes - 2.5 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence
2018 PopSugar Challenge: Book is Based on a Real Person
TIOLI #7: Odd Number of Letters in Title

Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barns was both a difficult and strange read for me. It is a combination of a literary critique of Gustave Flaubert as well as a novel that deals with the mystery of obsession and betrayal. Geoffrey Braithwaite is a retired doctor and appears to on a quest to examine all things “Flaubert”. He seems determined to find the answers to obscure things such as which of two stuffed parrots was Flaubert’s actual inspiration for one of his stories or why Flaubert kept changing the color of Emma Bovary’s eyes. Unfortunately the doctor is such a colorless character that I easily lost interest in him and found he faded into the pages.

I may have done this book a disservice as I haven’t read anything by Flaubert so many observations and quotes went over my head but overall I found Flaubert’s Parrot to be a bizarre and pointless alternative biography. I have read and enjoyed Julian Barnes in the past and I know he has a great sense of witty humor but with all the strange quirky facts about Flaubert that are stuffed into this book, I couldn’t help but wonder if we, the readers are the butt of his joke.

Flaubert’s Parrot was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1984 and many people love this book, but for me this particular piece of metafiction just didn’t work.

Oct 12, 2:40pm Top

I really enjoy your categories! What a neat way to challenge yourself - and others. Flexibility and fun!

Oct 12, 9:40pm Top

Happy New Thread, Judy. Sorry, I am bit late to the party. Hooray for Sing, Unburied, Sing. Good review. I loved the book too.

Oct 13, 12:12pm Top

>45 HelenGress: Thank you, I love dreaming up themes and categories to match my reading. I have the same general categories every year with mysteries, historical reading, science fiction and fantasy, and YA and I like to add in one or two "new" ideas every year. This year it was the "It ain't easy being green" category. I'm looking forward now to finishing up my planning for the 2019 Category Challenge.

>46 msf59: Welcome, Mark, and no worries, I am falling behind in my visiting of other threads right now as I have a lot going on at home that is keeping me busy.

Oct 13, 3:54pm Top

Hi Judy - You got me with Wild Harbour - I will definitely look for that one. I loved Sing, Unburied, Sing, and the ghosts didn't bother me.

I do have Flaubert's Parrot on my shelves, but who knows when I'll get to it. I know there have been varied opinions.

Have a lovely weekend.

Oct 13, 11:32pm Top

>47 DeltaQueen50: You are so far ahead in your thread planning, Judy. Your threads are always so well planned so I guess it should be no surprise that you enjoy thinking up new themes.

Isn't the weather lately great? I can't believe the sunshine at this time of year.

Oct 14, 11:55am Top

>48 BLBera: I'd be interested in your comments about Flaubert's Parrot. Beth. One thing this book has done is to have made me interested to actually read something by Flaubert so I expect I will be reading Madame Bovary before too long.

>49 Familyhistorian: Meg, this weather is just perfect. We have been going for short walks to get my husband back in top shape but I think today I may slip away for a longer walk by myself. I have my 2019 theme pretty much planned so now I am just waiting for the Cats to be decided so I can make sure they will fit into my reading plans.

Oct 14, 12:04pm Top

164. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol - 3.7 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence
TIOLI #7: Odd Number of Letters in Title

While I didn’t start off loving Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol I did find this a very well done satire that painted an interesting picture of Russian life in early 19th century. His comments on the corruption of the government, the rigidness of society, the exaggerated sense of self-importance that the middle class had were well illustrated and the story itself was presented from an interesting perspective. Based on the theory that workers equalled wealth, landowner’s taxes were established by the number of serfs under their individual control. Enter our main character, con-man, Chichikov, who scours the countryside for dead souls to use as collateral. His schemes have him dreaming of prosperity founded on the ownership of non-existent serfs. In actuality this plot line would not be unusual today given the morals and climate that big business often operates in.

As I went deeper into the book, I found myself start to enjoy the story and even having some sympathy for the scoundrel, Chichikov and his scheme. So Dead Souls with it’s poke at both bureaucratic and inept government and the pompous gentry grew on me and I found myself looking forward to my next installment. I understand that Gogol destroyed part of this book when he turned to religion and indeed there are sections missing and the novel ends abruptly in mid-sentence leaving the reader uncertain as to what the final outcome will be. The author uses humor and a very imaginative story to make his points and Dead Souls turned out not to be as dry a tome as I feared.

Oct 14, 2:43pm Top

>51 DeltaQueen50: I have Dead Souls on my TBR but have never read any Gogol so have always felt a bit daunted by it. It sounds like it's worth taking the time for.

Oct 14, 3:19pm Top

>51 DeltaQueen50: I'm always a little intimidated by the Russian classics, they can be long and such hard work. That sounds like it might not be a really hard slog though.

Oct 14, 3:55pm Top

Hi, Judy. Good for you for reading Dead Souls. My daughter persuaded me to try it, and I thought it was great. I loved the subversive humor.

Oct 14, 4:32pm Top

>51 DeltaQueen50: Jackie, I was pleasantly surprised at the lightness of tone and the humor that the author used. There were parts that I found myself skimming when the author got a little too verbose but overall this was very readable.

>53 Helenliz: Helen, I read Dead Souls by installments which really worked for me. I was very nervous about reading this but I noticed that it was only 129 installments as compared to some of the other Russian classics which are well over 400 plus installments. I decided to try it basically cause it was one of the shorter Russian classics.

>54 jnwelch: Hi Joe, yep, another book that I would never have picked up if I wasn't trying to read books from the 1,001 list. There were a lot of political insights that made me think of today's situations although I hope we don't have to have a bloody revolution in order to turn things around.

Oct 15, 11:54am Top

>51 DeltaQueen50:, I read his collected short stories years ago and really enjoyed them--this was a good reminder for me to hurry up and get to Dead Souls!

Oct 15, 9:03pm Top

Stopping by to get caught up after spending last week in Alberta, experiencing a whole gamut of weather conditions. ;-)
Happy new thread!

Oct 15, 10:00pm Top

>56 whitewavedarling: I was surprised at both the ease of reading and level of humor that Gogol put into his work and I would certainly read more of this author.

>57 lkernagh: Welcome home, Lori. You've come back at a great time as our weather right now is just about perfect. Hopefully the rain will hold off a few more days and let us enjoy all this sunshine!

Oct 15, 10:08pm Top

165. The Mind's Eye by Hakan Nesser - 3.3 ★
Category: Brought To You By the Number
October AlphaKit: N
TIOLI #3: Doing the Math

The Mind’s Eye by Hakan Nesser is the first in this author’s series about Swedish Chief Inspector Van Veeteren and his team. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with this book. I have been assured that the next book is much better which is a relief as I have it on my shelves. As this book won the 1993 Swedish Crime Writers Academy Prize, I am wondering whether my disconnect was because of the writer’s style or if the translation was the problem but the book felt very segmented, uneven and remote.

One thing I do take away from this book is that I believe I am going to like getting to know Inspector Van Veeteren. He is grumpy, rather depressed and works intuitively much to the chagrin of his team. Personally, I would have liked to have had a little more access to his thought process as this would have connected me to the story. The actual plot felt a little familiar, but the real star of the book was Inspector Van Veeteren, and I look forward to more of his brusque manner and insensitivity.

Although this is the first book in the series, it was not the first book to be translated which leads me to believe it is not considered the strongest of his books. Hopefully that is still in my future.

Oct 16, 9:15pm Top

166. River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay - 5.0 ★
Category: Big Bird
October SFFFKit: Historical Fantasy
TIOLI #1: Title Changes With the Removal of One Letter

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay is the second book that he has set in his version of an alternative China. This book follows his previous novel, Under Heaven and takes place some 400 years later. I have loved every one of this author’s novels and this one was no exception. He writes of epic battles, violent deaths and profound love and delivers a multilayered emotionally intense story he has drawn from the history of China’s Song Dynasty.

The country of Kitai has become corrupt, weak and luxury loving over the last few generations. Soldiers are not revered and armies are not being trained properly. When the country is suddenly facing invasion by barbarians from the north, a hero is badly needed. One young man does arise to fulfill this need and thus the legend of Ren Daiyan is born. He firmly believes that it is his destiny to restore Kitai to it’s former glory but unfortunately, there also comes a time when Emperors and politicians find heroes more dangerous than their actual enemy.

River of Stars is a powerful story with a complex plot and multifaceted characters that explores an entire culture while still managing to make this a story about two lovers who are, perhaps, born at the wrong time. This book was a wonderful reading experience that totally captivated me with it’s depth of emotion and lyrical writing.

Oct 19, 2:23pm Top

167. Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson - 3.8 ★
Category: Abby Cadabby
October RandomCat: Playing Cards
TIOLI #12: A Comfort Read

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson is an interesting blend of a French fable and Indian mythology. The story is about two sisters who have been blessed by their goddess in two very interesting ways. One sister drops flowers and precious jewels when she speaks, and the other sister drops frogs and snakes. Each sister must discover what their particular gift means and how to best use it.

The story covers the two paths that the girls travel and along the way the reader is treated to some wonderful world building and descriptions of their culture. Of course there is a covetous governor who wants the one sister for what she can provide him and despises snakes so wishes to kill the other sister. The country they live in is a replica of India and the people are divided by religion, so the sisters beliefs are much like the Hindus while the ruling class are like the Muslims. This isn’t a particularly “happy-ever-after” story, and although each girl finds someone to love, there is no guarantee of a happy ending. This is far more a morality tale about fate, accepting differences and showing kindness to the less fortunate.

Toads and Diamonds is a well written, well-researched and fun take on an established story. I really liked that in this version, both sisters were normal young women of their time, instead of the original tale of one sister being so good and thus deserved being blessed by flowers and jewels while the other was an abrasive, jealous girl and therefore was given the snakes and toads.

Oct 21, 11:55am Top

168. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline - 4.3 ★
Category: K to T
TIOLI #8: A Book About Infertility or Adoption

I was totally absorbed by Orphan Train a novel by Christina Baker Kline. This heartfelt story follows two time lines and two orphaned girls as they search to find somewhere to belong. Set in modern times, seventeen year old Molly has been passed from foster home to foster home for some time, she gets in trouble by stealing a copy of Jane Eyre from the library and is sentenced to fifty hours of community work. She is sent to help clean out an attic at the home of ninety-one year old Vivian Daly, who, as a young girl was orphaned in New York City but placed on an orphan train and sent out west with a trainload of other orphans. These children were basically farmed out to work as unpaid servants.

Vivian is tossed from home to home in Minnesota and was lucky that a teacher eventually took her under her wing and helped to find her a secure and safe home. Molly and Vivian, although years apart in age find that spending time together, sharing their stories, forms a bond between them. By discussing their pasts, they end up helping each other toward a better future.

The author delivered her story in a straight forward simple way that kept it strong and believable. Orphan Train is a moving story but the author keeps it on track with realistically drawn emotionally damaged characters and a poignant ending that brought tears to my eyes.

Oct 21, 11:47pm Top

169. Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan - 4.0 ★
Category: Mr. Hooper's Store
TIOLI #11: A Word in the Title Relate to Images

Portrait of Jennie by Robert Nathan is a novella that was originally published in 1940. This story combines romance, fantasy, mystery and the supernatural as it tells about struggling artist Eben Adams and his encounters with a young girl. They first meet in a park when she is very young and he is feeling particularly lost and sad. She inspires him to draw sketches of her that cause others to admire. At each encounter, Jennie appears to be a little older and when he tries to question her she simply says she is hurrying to catch up with him. He eventually gets her to sit for a portrait that becomes known as his masterpiece.

By putting together the scant information he learns about her, he comes to realize that she is from another time. It is never quite explained in the book whether she is time travelling or if she is an apparition from another time. But this really isn’t important as we the reader, must simply accept what is happening and accompany Eden and Jennie on their emotional journey.

Portrait of Jennie has become one of this author’s best known works due to the 1948 film starring Joseph Cotton and Jennifer Jones. Another of his books, The Bishop’s Wife, was also made into a successful film and deals with many of the same themes.

Oct 22, 8:17am Top

>62 DeltaQueen50: - My RL book club read this earlier in the year and I enjoyed it a lot. The person who was leading the discussion found a youtube video of an interview with the author about the background of the actual orphan trains which was interesting. (I think it was youtube).

Oct 22, 10:37am Top

>62 DeltaQueen50: Nice review, Judy! I enjoyed that one when I finally got around to it not too long ago. I have another of Baker Kline's books on my ereader (The Way Life Should Be) but I haven't read it yet.

Oct 22, 12:32pm Top

>64 dudes22: Betty, I imagine that Orphan Train would be a great book club selection as there is a lot of room for discussion with this one. I woud like to think that these train were organized with the best of intentions, but sending homeless children out to areas where hired help was needed was a recipe for disaster for many of these children.

>65 rosalita: Hi Julia, I will certainly be reading Christina Baker Kline again, in fact, A Piece of the World has been recommended and has been added to my library list.

Oct 22, 4:15pm Top

>61 DeltaQueen50: I loved this retelling when I read it a while ago, Judy. I loved the setting and, like you, loved the character of the girls a lot; I found the whole thing very original and well-written.

Oct 22, 11:00pm Top

>67 ronincats: Hi Roni, I remember you enjoyed that book, in fact , although it was already on my shelves, your review bumped it up the pile. :)

Oct 23, 12:57am Top

Hi, Judy! I completely agree with and commend your review of Kay's River of Stars. I too have loved everything he's written. Such lyrical, intense writing.

Looks like books have been treating you VERY well lately!

Oct 23, 12:25pm Top

>69 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, great to hear from you. Yes, Kay is in a class all by himself, I find I am always emotionally touched by his writing.

Oct 23, 12:40pm Top

170. Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie - 3.1 ★
Category: Oscar the Grouch
October ColorCat: Orange
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Book Set On Halloween
TIOLI #4: A Harvest Fruit or Vegtable is on the Cover

Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie was originally published in 1969 and I have to say that I much prefer Agatha Christie when her books are set in an earlier decade. Hallowe'en Party is set in the 1960’s and the author seems to rotate from being dismayed, amused or disinclined to understand the culture, fashion or music of the day. While I always enjoy reading about Hercule Poirot, this isn’t one of her best mysteries. I suspect that toward the end of her writing career, this being her 39th Poirot story, she often was writing by rote.

Poirot is called upon by his friend Ariadne Oliver to solve the murder of a 13 year old girl, killed at a Halloween party. She had earlier been bragging that she had once seen a murder, and although most people dismissed her as a liar, it seems apparent that a murderer believed her.

I would hesitate to recommend this book to first time Christie readers. I suggest they start with her earlier works and leave Hallowe’en Party to the die-hard fans who will be more willing to accept the stilted dialogue and murky plot. This book in no way lessens my love of this author’s work, but I will definitely be looking for one of her earlier novels next time.

Oct 24, 12:29pm Top

171. For Bread Alone by Mohamed Choukri - 3.5 ★
Category: Bob McGrath
TIOLI #2: A Book With A Picture of Bread On The Cover

For Bread Alone by Mohamed Choukri was both an uncomfortable and depressing read. This autobiographical story of the author tells of his childhood in Morocco where he faced near starvation, abuse and neglect. Fleeing drought and starvation his family leave the Rif to join the migration into the city of Tangiers and then to Tetuan. Most of his siblings die from lack of nutrition and neglect with one brother being beaten to death by his father, but Mohamed survives the beatings, the lack of food and the danger of living on the streets. He provides for himself by begging, prostitution and theft. Only a chance meeting in a prison inspired him to learn to read and write and seek out a different way of life. He went on to become an author and a university lecturer.

The book concentrates on the sordid side of his life, with the main focus on himself. I would have liked a little more background to fill in the picture. The language is sparse and simple giving the book an intense authenticity by making it appear to be written by a twelve year old. Unfortunately, this very simple writing style didn’t really work for me as I would have liked both the setting and the characters expanded but overall, For Bread Alone was a memorable account of how one boy was able to overcome extreme difficulties and give himself a better life.

Oct 25, 12:00pm Top

172. The Green Man by Kinglsey Amis - 4.0 ★
Category: It Isn't Easy Being Green
1,001 Books To Read Before You Die List
TIOLI #3: Doing the Math

It was pretty much impossible to have any sympathy for the main character in The Green Man by Kingsley Amis as it was established very quickly that he is an alcoholic, a neglectful father, an uncaring and absent-minded husband, a womanizer and, is having an affair with his friend’s wife. As the owner of the ancient inn called The Green Man part of his hosting duties are to impart the rumors of ghostly visitations. But after he himself has an encounter he realizes that the ghosts are not only real but intend malice as well.

This is a man who was already suffering from nocturnal hallucinations and hypochondria so when he declares that he is seeing ghosts his friends and family decide he is experiencing the Dts. Over the course of five days this story unfolds partly with humor over life’s foibles and partly with chills over the supernatural occurrences. The Green Man appears to be a macabre parody of life and death and although I was never quite sure if this was a straight up ghost story or a crazy sex comedy, I did enjoy the ride it took me on. This blend of the occult, religion and sexual innuendo reminded me of many of the books that I read during the 1960s when all of these subjects were being closely examined. The Green Man is a short black comedy that I found quite entertaining.

Edited: Oct 26, 10:33am Top

Nice reviews, Judy. I am intrigued by The Green Man. "Ghost story or crazy sex comedy" — sounds right up my alley!

Oct 26, 12:18pm Top

>74 rosalita: It's very definitely got that 60s vibe, Julia.

Edited: Oct 30, 6:19am Top

173. Into The Grey by Celine Kiernan - 4.0 ★
Category: Elmo
October ScaredyKit: Ghost Story
TIOLI #10: Book Contains Ghouls, Gobblins or Ghosts

I found Into The Grey by Celine Kiernan to be a well paced YA ghost story about twin brothers as they come face to face with the supernatural. After their senile grandmother burns down their house, Patrick and Dom, along with their family move to a seaside cottage. Once there, the boys start to have unusual dreams and strange encounters. The story involves both the death of another little boy, many years previously and the horrific death of a soldier during WW I.

As all these incidents come together we learn that there are connections to this family from the past. This is the village that their gran grew up in and the house was the home of her closest friends. As one twin falls to a ghostly possession, the other, Patrick, finds himself struggling to bring his twin back and put these troubled spirits to rest. With the help of an older local man, Patrick works through the distress and fear that these ghosts are experiencing in order to help them find a lasting peace.

Into The Grey is a chilling, atmospheric story that explores both love and loss in a touching way that draws on sibling love, family strengths and sheer determination to travel into the grey of beyond and right old wrongs. At times the story felt a little uneven, but overall this was a very well done ghost story with strong Irish ties.

Oct 26, 4:11pm Top

>73 DeltaQueen50: I'll be watching out for this one! Sounds like fun.

Edited: Oct 27, 7:52am Top

Happy Saturday, Judy. I always admire the diversity in your reads and the unknown gems you bring to the light.

I would still like to get to River of Stars, despite the long gap, since reading Under Heaven.

Oct 27, 11:19pm Top

>71 DeltaQueen50: It's funny, I remember the story of Halloween Party but don't remember it being called that name. Not one of Christie's best but I do like Ariadne Oliver.

Oct 28, 12:43pm Top

>77 VivienneR: I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book at all, Vivienne. I had recently seen on reviews of another of his books that weren't too complimentary so perhaps having low expectations allowed me to give this book a chance and I ended up really enjoying the read.

>78 msf59: Hi Mark, I've been reading a lot lately and not staying current here on LT but I hope to catch up this week. Although River of Stars takes place in the same world as Under Heaven they are set hundreds of years apart so your gap of time between the books won't matter at all.

>79 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. One of my pet peeves is how many books that are originally published in the U.K. are given a new name for the North American audience. I don't know if this is the case here, but it wouldn't surprise me. I like Ariadne Oliver as well, she seems to be one of the few people who can openly poke fun at Poirot and get away with it.

Oct 28, 7:57pm Top

Hi Judy. I have a couple of books by Kingsley Amis on my shelves but have not been motivated to give them my time. Your review of The Green Man is excellent.

And your thread reminds me that I used to participate in the TIOLI challenges and quite enjoyed them. Maybe I'll revisit that group in 2019.

I hope you've had a good weekend.

Oct 30, 6:17am Top

>81 EBT1002: Hi Ellen. I am looking forward to reading more of Kingsley Amis, he appears to lean towards parody and humor. I am still totally addicted to the TIOLI Challenges and look forward to their being posted each month.

Oct 30, 6:21am Top

174. The House On Cold Hill by Peter James - 3.6 ★
Category: Kermit the Frog
October ScaredyKit: Ghost Story
TIOLI #10: A Book Containing Gouls, Gobblins or Ghosts

I have long been a fan of the Roy Grace detective novels written by Peter James so when I saw that he had written a supernatural thriller, I quickly picked up a copy and tucked it away for a Halloween read. This was a classic ghost story about a small family who sink their life savings into the purchase of an old dilapidated country estate and move in, only to find that they are not alone in the house. At first it is only a ghostly sighting of an older woman but as the haunting becomes more malevolent and the house itself begins to turn on them, the terrified family realize that something or somebody has decided that they will never leave.

The House on Cold Hill was a tense and fast paced read that was perfect for this time of the year. The suspense was skillfully built from the very beginning when the enthusiastic family move into what they hope will become their dream home until they come to realize that they are trapped in a situation that is rapidly moving out of control. So, overall a good scary read although there were a few things that bothered me, for example the author often moved the plot along by having the characters withholding information from each other. This was supposed to be a close knit family yet they sure kept a lot of secrets from each other, secrets that should have been shared. Also I couldn’t help but notice the author’s liberal use of brand names, it wasn’t coffee, it was Nespresso, it wasn’t a vacuum, it was a Dyson, etc. To the point where I wondered if he was getting paid to include these brand names.

Although not a very original story, this book had all the elements one would expect to find in a ghost story and I did like that the author relied more on atmosphere rather than overdoing the blood and gore.

Oct 30, 3:25pm Top

Wow, I am actually much closer to finishing my 2018 Category Challenge than I thought. Seven books will give me at least 10 books in each category. I also need 3 more books to complete the 2018 PopSugar Challenge. It will probably take me until December to complete both of these but at least I will be completing all my challenges for 2018.

Oct 30, 5:52pm Top

>84 DeltaQueen50: Sounds like you are doing well. I'm going back to a more traditional challenge rather than a rotating one next year, but I've got some "different" categories than many of you will. They involve reading and will help meet reading goals, but they are a bit non-traditional. I'm trying to hold off until Thanksgiving break to reveal categories and set up my thread. I'll have time to do it then!

Oct 31, 11:12am Top

I'm taking a couple of book bullets for Savage Season and Portrait of Jennie. Great progress on completing your 2018 challenge!

Edited: Oct 31, 11:44am Top

>85 thornton37814: Lori, I am ready to post my 2019 Challenge as well, just waiting to see what the 2019 Cats are going to be. Right now it appears they are going to be RandomCat, TBRCat and either CalendarCat or SeriesCat - none of which would require any special planning on my part. I may set smaller goals for each category next year, giving me wriggle room for other challenges that I take up.

>86 LisaMorr: Good choice, Lisa. I am looking forward to continuing on with the Joe R. Lansdale series.

Oct 31, 6:41pm Top

>87 DeltaQueen50: I'm not planning to try to do everything in any CAT or other challenge next year. I'll join in on particular months if I want to do so.

Nov 1, 9:27am Top

>88 thornton37814: Me too - I've done everything for ColourCAT this year, but only participated in RandomCAT in the months where I had something on the TBR that fitted. It's worked really well for me too.

Nov 1, 12:07pm Top

>88 thornton37814: & >89 Jackie_K: I need to do that as well next year. I am going to make whittling down my TBR my first priority and will only participate in a Cat if I already have a book that fits. As I currently have almost 2,000 books on my shelves and Kindles I should be able to find something for most any subject.

Nov 1, 12:22pm Top

175. Silent in an Evil Time by Jack Batten - 4.0 ★
Category: Bob McGrath
TIOLI #3: Book Has a Connection to WW I

Silent in an Evil Time: The Brave War of Edith Cavell by Jack Batten is a straight forward, factual account of Nurse Edith Cavells’ life and her death in front of an execution squad of German soldiers during World War I. I had heard of her and knew that streets, parks and mountains had been named after her but I didn’t quite know how this all came about. This book describes how, as a Matron of a Belgium hospital, she helped to save the lives of hundreds Allied soldiers. She was involved in a secret organization that assisted soldiers who found themselves trapped behind enemy lines. Although her work put her in terrible personal danger, she gave the soldiers shelter, helped to disguise them, and assisted in finding them a safe route across the border to neutral Holland.

In October of 1915, the Germans rounded up a number of people who were helping Allied soldiers to escape and Edith Cavell was one of them. Her fate became one of the turning points in the war, after world wide revulsion was directed at Germany for her execution, the Kaiser declared that no other woman would be shot unless under his direct orders. This decree actually saved three other women that had worked in the same organization from the firing squad. Her death also brought a surge of recruits who wanted to avenge this execution.

Although the author has delivered a concise, well researched and highly readable account of the life of Edith Cavell, I never quite felt that I learned much about the inner woman. She was a very private person and certainly had no desire to be famous, yet truly deserves to be remembered as a great heroine. Among her last words were her reassurances to her family that she felt her soul was safe and at peace, and that she was glad to die for her country.

Nov 1, 1:58pm Top

Your conversation about this year's challenge and plans for 2019 is interesting. It seems I was tempted too much by CATs this year and my tbr shelves haven't actually changed as much as I'd have liked. Every year I say I have to reduce the unread books but left unattended, they multiply instead! 2019 will be different! I too am holding back on posting my 2019 challenge until the CATs have been decided, although I don't think it will make much difference.

>91 DeltaQueen50: Nice review of Batten's book about Edith Cavell. She certainly deserves to be remembered. Batten wrote a couple of mystery novels that I enjoyed and I used to follow his reviews of mysteries in the Toronto Star.

Nov 2, 10:43am Top

>91 DeltaQueen50: I remember learning about Edith Cavell in an Agatha Christie book! One of the Tommy and Tuppence ones, I think. But I'd love to learn more about her...sounds like Silent in an Evil Time might be a good starting point, at least!

Nov 2, 11:54am Top

>92 VivienneR: I also get far too easily distracted on finding a book for the Cat Challenges and I need to focus more on only participating when I have a book already on my shelves. I didn't realize that Jack Batten was a Canadian, I would certainly read more from this author.

>93 christina_reads: Christina, I thought this book covered all the bases in Cavell's life, without delving into her inner self, which I believe, would be very difficult as she was a very private person and didn't easily confide in others. Although Silent in an Evil Time wasn't marked as a YA read in my library, I have seen it designated as such elsewhere which does make sense as it was a fairly straight forward, simple account and would be very suitable for students.

Edited: Nov 2, 12:04pm Top

176. Daisy Miller by Henry James - 4.2 ★
Category: Oscar the Grouch
TIOLI #7: I Went To Grandma's House and I Took _____

Daisy Miller is a novella written by Henry James that was originally published in 1878. James delivers his story in a conversational, gossipy manner as he tells about the relations between men and women of the upper class during the Belle Epoch era, in particular, a story about a young, unsophisticated American named Daisy Miller and the consequences that can happen when one ignores the social conventions of the day.

The story is told by another American, Winterbourne, who comes across as sophisticated rich young man who spends most of his time in Europe pursuing his own pleasures. He meets Daisy Miller and her family in Vevay, Switzerland and finds himself quite taken by Daisy. His very correct Aunt however refuses to be introduced to her as she considers this family to be crass. Winterbourne then makes a point of travelling to Rome later in the year when she and her family are there with the intention of renewing their acquaintance. Unfortunately Daisy still seems quite clueless as to the accepted behavior of the day and manages to become the “talk of the town”.

I really enjoyed this story but was rather taken aback at the abrupt and tragic ending that James provides. The harsh judgment of Daisy by society versus the acceptance of Winterbourne, with his loose morals, was an interesting contrast. I would have liked to have had access to Daisy’s thoughts and feelings rather that just the priggish Winterbourne’s. In the end Daisy does appear to reveal that she did care about Winterbourne so perhaps her behavior was simply to gall him into some kind of action.

Nov 2, 8:45pm Top

>84 DeltaQueen50: - How lovely to see that that your challenges are coming together so nicely. I have no idea what I will do for next year.... although I still need to clear ROOTs off my bookshelves so maybe something that will help me there. Like you, I am waiting to see which CATs make the cut. Maybe I will find inspiration there.

>95 DeltaQueen50: - Great review!

Nov 3, 3:22am Top

>96 lkernagh: Lori, I am enjoying winding this challenge down and getting ready to start a new one. My 2019 Category Challenge is definitely going to be aimed at my bookshelves and Kindles!

Nov 3, 3:25am Top

177. Through The Woods by Emily Carroll - 4.0 ★
Category: The Count
TIOLI #1: Tagged as "horror"

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll is a graphic novel that contains a collection of horror stories. These stories are both spine-chilling and macabre, vividly drawn and illustrated in bright colors, with lots of red and black being used to good effect.

Although I thought each story was good, there were a couple that were stronger than the others, I particularly liked “A Lady’s Hands Are Cold” and ‘Our Neighbour’s House”. From the first lines in the book, “It came from the woods. Most strange things do.” the reader knows that this book is going to take one on a dark journey and, indeed, the author excels in delivering a nightmarish quality to both the stories and the illustrations.

Nov 4, 11:14am Top

178. Death At Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood - 3.8 ★
Category: It Isn't Easy Being Green
November MysteryCat: Cozy Mystery
TIOLI #9: Rolling Challenge Based on "In Flanders Field"

Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood is the 4th entry in her Phryne Fisher mystery series. This book finds Phryne involved with anarchists while at the same time trying to track down a young runaway.

Driving home one night, someone takes shots at Phryne and when she stops to investigate, she finds a young man dying while two others run away. Taking this incident personally, she looks into the background of the dead young man and is soon embroiled in a personal vendetta with some dangerous anarchists. She discovers the plans for a bank robbery and does her best to keep this from happening. Meanwhile she has been hired to find the runaway daughter of a high society man. This case seems to merely be a page filler as Phryne soon puts the pieces together and a resolution is quickly put together.

I actually enjoy reading this series for the setting and the background stories of life in and around Phryne’s home. As the book is set in 1920’s Melbourne, Australia, the lavish descriptions of clothing, food and lifestyle are fun and interesting. I was happy to find all the usual characters and the addition of her two adopted daughters expanded the home story much to my reading pleasure. Phryne Fisher is a feisty, resourceful woman and I enjoy reading about her adventures, both the romantic and the mysterious.

Nov 4, 3:12pm Top

Happy Sunday, Judy. Good review of Through the Woods. Thumb. I LOVED that book.

I have been meaning to read Daisy Miller forever.

Nov 5, 11:50am Top

>100 msf59: Hi Mark, I feel that I have been neglecting graphic novels this year. I have a list of so many titles that I want to check out but I was glad to finally get to Through The Woods. I was surprised at how much I liked Daisy Miller, the story was much lighter in tone than I was expecting.

Nov 5, 11:59am Top

179. All That Matters by Wayson Choy - 4.0 ★
Category: Oscar the Grouch
November ColorCat: Red
TIOLI #8: I Am Thankful For ______

All that Matters by Wayson Choy is the sequel to his earlier book, Jade Peony. Set in British Columbia during the 1930’s and 1940’s and tells of the Chen family, first introduced in the previous book. This time, the focus is on the First Son and Oldest Brother, Kiam-Kim, instead of the younger children but still describes their strict but loving upbringing in Vancouver’s Chinatown.

Kiam comes to Canada with his father and his grandmother, the fabulous Poh-Poh. His mother died in China and Poh-Poh is raising him. Although the father cannot marry again, to avoid upsetting his first wife’s ghost, a companion is brought into the family that Kiam calls Stepmother. She gives birth to a girl, and a boy and they also adopt an orphan boy. Kiam leans that he must always lead the way and set an example for his younger brothers and sister. But for me the star of the book is the grandmother, Poh-Poh. She is the heart and soul of the family, she decrees everyone’s roles, and teaches the children life lessons through her stories of ghosts and curses. And her dire warnings of “Me die soon” help her always get her own way.

These two books truly tell the early Chinese immigrants story. How they came to Gold Mountain, which was their name for Vancouver and set down roots in a new country yet continued on with their customs, culture and language. The younger generation on the other hand becomes much more assimilated in their new country of Canada. All That Matters was as beautifully written as the first novel, and as much as I enjoyed reading about the Chen family again, it did feel a little repetitive as the storyline was so similar to the first book.

Nov 6, 11:07am Top

180. A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride - 2.0 ★
Category: Mr. Hooper's Store
November 1001 Books Challenge Read: Soon to be Added to the List
TIOLI #6: Read for a 2018 Challenge

OMG my brain hurts! A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride is a stream of consciousness novel that explores some very basic themes, a coming of age story about family relationships and lost innocence. This novel was very difficult to read, both due to content and style of writing. It’s uncompromising, intense and intelligent. I have never hidden the fact that “stream of consciousness’ is not a style that I easily take to but I would say that this author uses this genre to it’s full effect.

The book is a first person monologue given by an unnamed girl growing up in Ireland and during the course of the book, the reader is locked in her head. The story is full of emotional betrayals and physical abuse. She is the “I” of the story while the “you” is always her disabled brother who suffers from the after affects of brain cancer. Other characters that are referenced are the absent father who abandoned the family, her ranting Catholic mother and her abusive uncle. Her life unfolds in a series of raw, unfliching episodes.

I had to read this book in small helpings as I could feel my eyes start to glaze over after a couple of pages and I would disconnect from the story, luckily this was a fairly short novel that I could read in short bursts. And while I appreciate the stylistic, tortured writing, I cannot totally applaud it as reading it was such a struggle. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing is certainly unique and deserves our attention, but is not a book that I appreciated or enjoyed.

Nov 6, 1:13pm Top

My husband and I have decided that we need a break so we have booked ourselves into one of our favorite resorts on Vancouver Island, Point No Point. No internet, no cell phones and no tv. We are taking lots of books, our walking shoes and our appetities (one of my favorite restaurant is located there). A lot of reading, a few walks on the beach and some lovely dinners is just what we need. The cabins are built along a cliff and each one practically hangs out over the ocean so we are looking forward to sleeping to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach below. I will stay over on the island for a further week or so and visit with my Mom and the rest of the family. I will try to check in every now and again, particularly as the 2019 Cats are about to be decided. We are off tomorrow morning.

Nov 6, 5:59pm Top

>104 DeltaQueen50: Enjoy your trip! Reading and listening to waves crashing sounds lovely!

Nov 6, 6:14pm Top

>105 thornton37814: I am looking forward to it, Lori. :)

Nov 6, 6:18pm Top

Warning - crazy reader here! Even though I am going away and planning on doing lots of reading, I have been reading up a storm today so that I can finish the two books I am currently reading and be will be able to start two new books on the ferry tomorrow morning.

Nov 6, 6:29pm Top

>107 DeltaQueen50: My cats have wanted lots of lap time lately. I'm planning to mostly watch election returns, read, and have the cats on my lap this evening. I finished the chapter on the audiobook I was listening on the way home. Just two more parts to go. I should come close to finishing it by Friday. I already downloaded a book for the Irish Author Challenge to listen to after this one.

Nov 6, 6:31pm Top

181. The Big Four by Agatha Christie - 3.0 ★
Category: The Letters A - J
November MysteryCat: Cozy Mystery

The Big Four by Agatha Christie was first published in 1927 and features Hercule Poirot with assistance from his friend Hastings and Inspector Japp. Instead of being a work of detective fiction, this story is much more about espionage and international intrigue.

Poirot and Hasting become involved in tracking down a crime consortium that calls itself The Big Four and appears to be focused on “world domination”. Headed by four international criminals, Poirot must first uncover the identities of each of the four. As the hunt commences, the book becomes more of a sensational adventure piece with Poirot as the action hero and Hastings as his trusty sidekick. The Big Four was written during a difficult period in Ms. Christie’s life, and began as a series of stories that were then mashed together as one. She herself has called it “that rotten book”.

The Big Four really has none of the qualities that I look for in a Poirot book. Instead of sitting back, examining the evidence and putting his “little grey cells” to work, in this book he is donning disguises, faking his death and detonating smoke bombs, entirely too much action for the little detective. Luckily this book with it’s silly plot was a quick read and now can be shoved to the back of my mind and forgotten about.

Nov 6, 6:32pm Top

>108 thornton37814: Sounds like a nice cozy evening, Lori.

Nov 6, 8:35pm Top

Your getaway sounds awesome, Judy! I wish I could get The Wayne to do something like that but he hates being without internet :-P

Nov 7, 1:52am Top

>111 katiekrug: Katie, I expect that my husband will be ready to return to civilization after a couple of days. Luckily we both enjoy reading and we will get out for a couple of walks - after all I will need the exercise and fresh air cause I intend to totally pig out at the restaurant. I forgot to mention that we just celebrated our 40th Anniversary so this getaway is also to mark that milestone as well.

Nov 7, 2:00am Top

182. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - 4.0 ★
Category: Kermit the Frog
November RandomCat: It's All About the Money
TIOLI #2: Book's Title or Author's First Name Starts with a "K"

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan is an extravaganza of a romantic comedy that is set against the backdrop of extremely rich Asians in Singapore. While the author admits to loosely basing this story on his own childhood, there is something here to delight everyone. The story centres on Rachel Chu, a smart, independent Chinese-American economics professor who is in love with Nick Young, who turns out to be from an insanely wealthy Singapore family. The book is drenched in obscene wealth, over-the-top status and the expectations that stem from families with this kind of lineage.

I became totally engaged in this book which was the perfect foil for some more serious reads I had going at the same time. From designer fashion and jewels, to elegant interior decorating, from private planes and gigantic yachts, right down to the variety of street foods available in Singapore, this book was a delight for the senses. The author also overloads us with characters of both the sane and crazy type, which at times made it hard to keep the storyline straight. The reader also has to accept that Rachel was absolutely clueless as to Nick’s family background, even after two years of serious dating.

Crazy Rich Asians is pure escapism. The author has mixed a lot glamour with a serious amount of trash talk and a sprinkling of “mean” girls, then blended it with humor to produce a book that shows us what I already knew. The extreme rich are always different – no matter their race. Next time I need an escape from reality, I will certainly be looking for the next book in this trilogy.

Nov 7, 4:10am Top

Sounds like a lovely time for you and your husband, Judy. Enjoy!

Nov 7, 5:26am Top

Have a good time, Judy. That sounds like a perfect getaway. A little down time before the hoopla of the holidays starts.

Nov 7, 7:39pm Top

Enjoy your break, Judy. It sounds like a good idea.

Edited: Nov 7, 8:18pm Top

Hello DeltaQueen50! I'm very excited about my current read, Pulse: A Novel by Michael Harvey. I'm blazing through it and it strikes me that you might enjoy, or his last one, Brighton: A Novel. Both are crime novels set in Boston, but definitely not of the Spenser variety. Have you read any Harvey?

Nov 7, 9:53pm Top

Have a great get-away, Judy. I am sure you are bringing a lot of books. Check in when you can.

Nov 8, 9:12am Top

Happy 40th anniversary and enjoy your break! Taking a BB for Crazy Rich Asians.

Edited: Nov 9, 12:12pm Top

Hi, Judy.

I recognize The Big Four from your description, and read it, but I must have shoved it to the back of my mind, too. A rare failure from our friend Agatha.

Nov 10, 11:54am Top

I am enjoying my break away from everyday life very much. We had really nice weather, sunny and warm for the 2 days that we were at the resort. I got a lot of reading done and we went for a few walks as well. I am now at my Mom's and catching up with family. I did manage to complete a few books and I will try to post a general review of each one, but it may take me some time to totally catch up.

>114 MissWatson: Thanks, we did have a lovely time. I think my husband was ready to go home and start watching TV again but I really didn't miss it at all.

>115 dudes22: Yes, I guess by the time I go home we will have to start finalizing our Xmas plans and get started on the shopping and meal planning. This year went by so fast, it seems like we were just celebrating Christmas and yet here is comes again!

>116 BLBera: Hi Beth, even though we are retired and everyday is pretty much a holiday for us, it's nice to switch up the routine and do some different things. I think this little visit to the coast has charged up my batteries nicely.

>117 brodiew2: Hi Brodie, I haven't read anything by Michael Harvey, but I will certainly check him out.

>118 msf59: Hi Mark, the reading went very well and I managed to put a number of books away. :)

>119 LisaMorr: We had a couple of lovely dinners at the resort and decided to count one for my birthday and the other for our anniversary. I feasted on mussels while hubby went for scallops and we both were very happy with our meals. I really enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians and I am eager to continue on with the trilogy.

>120 jnwelch: Hi Joe, yes, we do have to allow Ms Christie a few slip ups when we consider the general excellence of her body of work.

Nov 10, 12:07pm Top

183. Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor by Patrick Taylor - 3.8 ★
Category: Kermit the Frog
November Reading Through Time: Blinded by Science
November AlphaKit: T
TIOLI #9: Rolling Challenge Based on "In Flanders Field"

Another entry in his Irish Country Doctor series, Fingal O’Reilly, Irish Doctor by Patrick Taylor continues his story set in 1960’s Northern Ireland. The younger doctor is off deciding whether he sees himself continuing as a general practitioner in the small Irish village of Ballybucklebo or whether he would rather specialize in obstetrics. Fingal, the senior doctor is enjoying his first few months as a married man.

As Fingal carries out his duties he muses on his past, his first year as a doctor working in the slums of Dublin in 1936. At this time he was also dating the woman who has now become his wife, Kitty. The trips down memory lane are handled smoothly and give us an insight into how Fingal and Kitty drifted apart. Meanwhile in the present Fingal realizes that he is both a very happy and very lucky man with his only concern being whether young doctor Barry will decide to come back to Ballybucklebo.

It’s been sometime since I have read one of these books and I enjoyed my trip to this small corner of Ireland. The stories flow easily and the author inserts plenty of humor. Many of the quirky characters that we have been introduced to in the other books make an appearance, and overall, this eighth book was a very good addition to the series.

Nov 10, 1:07pm Top

I'm glad your mini-vacation was just right. Enjoy your time with family.

I haven't read A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing yet, although I have it on my tbr. I loved her second novel, The Lesser Bohemians, which was also written in that extremely interior stream-of-consciousness. For me, it really worked, but only when I read it for an extended time with no interruptions. It would take a few pages of flailing and then I'd feel as though I were existing inside the protagonist and looking through her eyes and it was an intense experience.

Nov 11, 1:05pm Top

>123 RidgewayGirl: Kay, I expect you will find A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing a far better reading experience than I did. She uses the "stream of consciousness" to it's utmost and the reader is certainly drawn into this girl's head. It's very dark, which I know you will also appreciate, and extremely well written. Just not the book for me.

Nov 11, 1:19pm Top

184. Fragile by Lisa Unger - 3.7 ★
Category: The Letters U to Z
TIOLI #6: Completed for a 2018 Challenge

Fragile by Lisa Unger is a highly readable thriller set in a small town in the U.S. Everyone knows one another and thinks that there isn’t anything new to learn about their neighbours. Of course, they are wrong and over the course of the book a number of past misdeeds come to light.

When a young girl disappears after having a fight with her mother everyone assumes that she simply ran away, but the police investigate thoroughly as everyone remembers when another young girl’s body was discovered in the woods after she disappeared over two decades ago. The main characters are the lead detective, Jones Cooper and his wife, a psychiatrist. The missing girl was their son’s girlfriend and it’s pretty obvious that Jones had something to do with the first girl’s death and can’t help himself from having suspicions about his own son. Of course there are plenty of suspects and the tension mounts as the hunt gets closer and closer to the truth.

It seems as if everyone in this town has a dark secret or two that they are trying to conceal, but the author ties the narrative together nicely and the plot flows fairly evenly. I would have preferred the book to be a little shorter, a little tighter, but this was an engaging story.

Nov 12, 11:57am Top

Your getaway sounds like fun with good seafood, Judy. I hope you are having a relaxing time on the Island. Looks like you are because you are getting your reads in. I wasn't sure about Crazy Rich Asians. A friend of mine said the movie was really funny but I that didn't sell me because - well she is Asian so would maybe appreciate it more than me. Good to see that you enjoyed the book. I didn't realize it was one of a trilogy.

Edited: Nov 12, 12:31pm Top

>126 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. I enjoy a good romance every now and again and Crazy Rich Asians had humor, insight and romance so it fit the bill for a good escape read that I could enjoy without taking it too seriously. I didn't realize it was a trilogy before I started it, and you should know that everything is far from resolved at the end of this first book, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Nov 12, 12:38pm Top

185. The Devil's Pool by George Sand - 3.8 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence
TIOLI #14: Title Starts With The Same Letter As Your LT Handle

The Devil’s Pool by George Sand is a short simple novel about a young French farmer who has been widowed and left with three young children to raise. He lives with his in-laws who encourage him to remarry to provide a mother for his children.

His father-in-law has lined up a widow that he thinks would make a good wife and mother and the fact that she has both a dowry and some land is an added bonus. The young man is sent out to meet this widow and see if they can come to an agreement. He is asked to take a young neighbour with him as she is to work as a shepherdess at a farm along the way. Of course, this young farmer and the shepherdess find they have much in common and a mutual attraction. Along the way they must travel by the Devil’s Pool which brings clarity to the decision the young farmer must make.

I found this story charming and engaging with it’s exploration of the age-old question of whether one should chose to follow their heart or their brain. The author was inspired by the print called The Dance of Death by Hans Holbein and she wanted to show that farmers have a deep connection to the land and nature that is far more joyful and inspiring than the hardship and struggle that is usually used to describe their lives.

Nov 15, 6:48pm Top

186. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce - 2.8 ★
Category: Abby Cadabby
November ColorCat: Red
TIOLI #10: The Book has a Blurb by an Author You Have Read

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce is an urban fantasy story about the March sisters, Scarlet and Rosie, who hunt werewolves, in this book called Fenris, who prey on teenage girls. Scarlet lives to hunt these creatures, arming herself with a hatchet and knives, wearing a blood red cloak, she lures and kills them to save other young girls. Her sister, Rosie, feels she owes Scarlet her life as in their first encounter with a Fenris, Scarlet protected her although it cost Scarlet an eye. Although Rosie is very adapt at the hunt, she does dream of having a different life, one that doesn’t involve so much death. She is drawn to their hunting partner, Silas, but is concerned that loving him will make Scarlet feel betrayed.

While this dark version of Little Red Riding Hood had many ingredients that I usually enjoy, I never really found this book very appealing. The character’s were rather boring and a little too transparent. Scarlet being the angry, bitter and bossy sister, while Rose was too compliant and weak. I also think I am just not a fan of urban fantasy as I found the whole concept did not match well within a modern setting. An example of this was having the sisters use hatchets, in these days I would think they would have had more efficient and stronger weapons.

Overall I simply found Sisters Red to be too predictable, too silly and too unbelievable and not a book I would recommend to anyone.

Edited: Nov 18, 1:06pm Top

187. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison - 4.2 ★
Category: The Letters A to J
TIOLI #8: I Am Thankful For _____

As The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison falls totally in my wheelhouse, it’s no surprise that I really loved this story. An apocalypse that is caused by an unknown illness is claiming many victims, particularly children, babies and women. Our main character falls victim to the disease but she was one of the very few women that recovered. The world she came back to was a totally different one and her first priority was finding somewhere safe. Women were being taken against their will and had become a valuable commodity to the gangs of men who were wandering around.

Disguising herself as a man, she takes to the road and the book unfolds as if we were reading the pages of her journal as well as entries from others she meets on the road. Over the course of a number of years she wanders, leaving behind her past life in San Francisco and her career as a nurse/midwife, but her medical skills become an important aid to her survival. The virus appears to still live in the survivors and is a huge danger to both the unborn fetus and the pregnant woman.

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife is both gripping and grim, yet I felt it never went too far over the top to become unbelievable. I am simply glad that I only get to read about this type of disaster as I wouldn't survive more than a day or two if it were actually real. Although this woman’s story is pretty much wrapped up by the end of the book, there are still many avenues left to explore regarding the status of women in this post-apocalyptic world and I am glad that there is sequel that will hopefully expand on this issue.

Nov 17, 10:09am Top

>130 DeltaQueen50: - Oooh, that one sounds good. Off to check the library catalogue!

Nov 17, 12:18pm Top

>131 katiekrug: I really liked the Book of the Unnamed Midwife, Katie, in fact, I have decided to read the sequel The Book of Etta for the SFFFKit next month.

Nov 18, 12:40pm Top

>130 DeltaQueen50: I need to get to this one! Great comments, Judy.

Nov 18, 1:08pm Top

>133 BLBera: Hi Beth. I was pleasantly surprised the this book, there was more depth and actual story to it than many apocalyptic books.

Edited: Nov 18, 1:21pm Top

188. The Library At The Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy - 4.0 ★
Category: Miss Piggy
2018 PopSugar Challenge: A Book Featuring a Library or Bookstore
November AlphaKit: H
TIOLI #6: Completed for a 2018 Challenge

The Library At The Edge of the World is situated in rural Ireland and is a quiet, gentle story of a small town librarian who, as she learns to accept herself and enjoy her life, also learns the value of being part of a community and helping each other.

Hanna Casey is 51 years old, divorced and has settled into a job that seems to be leading nowhere. After discovering that her husband was cheating on her, she and her daughter left London and moved in with her mother who lives in the small town of Lissberg on the Finfarran Peninsula. Now, with her daughter launched into the world, she feels it is time to get away from her mother and move into a home of her own. It isn’t until she learns that the local council is planning on making major changes to the area, changes that would indeed impact on her and the library, that she also learns to become involved with the community. This involvement adds to the quality of her life and gives her a few home truths about herself while giving her a new outlook on life.

I enjoyed this story with it’s small town atmosphere and various personalities. The Library At The Edge of the World is deceptively simple, stressing the importance of family, simple values, and engaging with one’s surroundings in a positive way. While I thought the ending was a little contrived, this was a good, relaxing read.

Nov 18, 3:56pm Top

>136 LisaMorr: I hope you enjoy it, Lisa. I am going to read the sequel in December for the ScaredyKit and I am looking forward to it.

Nov 18, 4:12pm Top

I have set my 2019 Category Challenge Thread up at: https://www.librarything.com/topic/298887

Please drop on by and say hello. :)

Nov 18, 4:49pm Top

>135 DeltaQueen50: - I just heard about this book somewhere else..maybe in this month's Book Pages from the library? Oh well - nice to know it's good.

BTW - Your 2019 thread is missing a couple of posts. I've got you starred and already looks like some interesting books.

Nov 18, 8:59pm Top

>135 DeltaQueen50: That one is already on my TBR list. Maybe I'll bump it up!

Nov 18, 10:15pm Top

>139 dudes22: Thanks for the heads up regarding my 2019 thread, Betty. I remember doing those particular posts but perhaps I only previewed them and forgot to actually hit "post message".

>140 thornton37814: I wasn't expecting much from this book as I read it to complete an entry in the PopSugar Challenge, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book.

Nov 19, 7:56am Top

>139 dudes22: - I remember now - I just picked it up on the FOL shelf at the library. Duh! Head slap!

>141 DeltaQueen50: - I can't begin to count how many times I've done that. You would have found it the first time you went to post.

Nov 19, 5:06pm Top

Hi Judy! It's been a while... I've just read three of your threads again and found many interesting books in them. Five BBs hit their target, while Orphan Train already has been on my to read list. I guess I should move it further to the top of that list, your review sounds intriguing. I'm also glad to see that you enjoyed Silesian Station, I've just finished it and liked it a lot as well!

I'm happy your husbands health issue has been solved and that you both enjoyed your little getaway. :)

Nov 19, 11:37pm Top

Hi, Judy. Glad you had such a pleasant time at the resort and are now in the bosom of family!

Nov 20, 4:18pm Top

>142 dudes22: LOL Betty! I'm glad I am not the only one who has trouble remembering where I got all my books. I've been pulling books for the TBRCat and having difficulty remembering where they came from or why I originally got them!

>143 Chrischi_HH: Hi Christiane, thank you, my husband seems to have fully recovered and we did enjoy our few days away.

>144 ronincats: Hi Roni, I'm home again and trying to catch up as well as plan and set up my next year's challenge.

Nov 20, 4:27pm Top

189. Into That Forest by Louis Nowra - 4.5 ★
Category: The Letters K to T
TIOLI #6: Read for a 2018 Challenge

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra is an original and vivid story of two little girls who are lost in the Tasmanian bush in the 1800s after a boating accident claimed the lives of the adults in the party. They are saved and raised by two Tasmanian tigers, learning to survive under the harshest of conditions, slowly losing their language and civilized ways as they become feral.

The story unfolds in broken English as told by one of the girls, Hannah. She relates how she and Becky learn over time to live like the tigers, sleeping during the day and hunting through the night. They eat only raw meat, walk on all fours, and learn to communicate with growls and snuffles. Meanwhile Becky’s father has never given up the hunt for his daughter and eventually finds the girls, having to capture them and force them to leave the wilderness. It soon becomes very clear that the father wants to separate the girls as he believes his daughter will never be totally civilized while the two are together.

I became totally immersed in this well plotted and interesting book and felt a great sympathy for the girls and the tigers, who are today, extinct. The author obviously did a fair amount of research into both survival techniques and these rare animals but what stood out to me was the girls will to live and the unbreakable bond between them.

Nov 20, 6:12pm Top

Hi Judy, I think I had a shared read with you for TIOLI of Halloween Party. It was re-read for me. I like these Christie's but don't love them as I did when I was a teen.

At some point, I'd like to get to Crazy Rich Asians and the other books in the trilogy. I saw the movie, not knowing anything about it, and absolutely loved it.

Nov 21, 8:00pm Top

>147 lindapanzo: Hi Linda, I know what you mean about the Christies. The last two Poirot that I have read I didn't enjoy all that much. I find I much prefer her stand-alones and her Miss Marple ones although when I was young it was the Poirot ones that I was crazy for. I was nicely surprised ny Crazy Rich Asians and now I am looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. Haven't seen the movie yet, but I want to.

Nov 21, 8:05pm Top

Hi Judy. I'm reading through and saw your comments about the 2019 CATs. I am always saying I'm going to limit my challenges for a particular year but the CATs for 2019 seem conducive to whittling away at one's TBR stacks. I've even volunteered to host a month for two of the CATs!!! -- RandomCAT and SeriesCAT. I'm actually looking forward to it. Hopefully I chose months in which work will be less intense. :-)

Nov 21, 8:10pm Top

>149 EBT1002: A very happy Thanksgiving to you, Ellen. You are so busy these days at work these days that I bet the holiday is going to be a real treat! For me the CATs and Kits are just some of the challenges that I can't keep away from. There's also the TIOLI's, The Reading Through Time, and the 1,001 Challenges - all great and all helpful at whittling away the TBR, but I also need to focus on my Category Challenges as well. LOL! Such a lovely problem to have!

Nov 21, 8:14pm Top

190. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh - 4.1 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence
November 1,001 Group Read
TIOLI #5: Title Contains a Measurement of Something

A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh at first seemed to be a light, witty and satirical novel that pokes fun at the upper class of Britain during the time between the wars. However, as the story developed into the disintegration of a marriage, the author revealed the cynicism and bleakness that gave this story it’s brilliant edge.

While much of the story has it’s roots in Waugh’s own life, A Handful of Dust is a perfect blend of comedy and tragedy that captures the self-absorption of the English upper class and the total disregard they had for others. It also struck me how cleverly Waugh turned the tables on his characters by making first one than another the “villain” of the piece. For me, however, the character of Brenda was the worst of the lot. She is the bored, slightly resentful wife that takes up with a society wastrel whose only purpose seems to be that of being the perfect “extra man” that society hostesses can call upon at the last minute. Brenda’s husband, Tony is overly complacent and seems to be fonder of his home than he is of his wife but the resolution of his story could either be considered good or bad, depending on how one feels about Charles Dickens.

Elegant, sophisticated, lively and chilling, A Handful of Dust was quite the read and has me looking forward to reading more of this author.

Nov 21, 9:07pm Top

Looks like you are ahead of the game as usual, Judy, and still getting in some good reads. Good luck whittling down the TBR stacks.

Nov 21, 10:13pm Top

Hi, Judy! I see that the books just keep rolling on. Yah!! Into That Forest sounds really interesting.

Nov 22, 3:40am Top

>151 DeltaQueen50: Great comments, Judy!

Nov 23, 3:36pm Top

We hung a Christmas wreath on our door this morning so I am feeling a little festive right now. My granddaughter is coming over for the afternoon and dinner tomorrow and we are going to bring out the Christmas decorations. Since this will be our first Christmas in the apartment I am looking forward to seeing how everything looks - and to throwing out stuff that we won't be using!

>152 Familyhistorian: I am doing a fine job on the whittling, Meg, it's the bringing in of new books that I can't seem to control!

>153 msf59: I really liked Into That Forest, Mark, I thought the author did a stellar job with both his facts and the story.

>154 MissWatson: Thanks, this was my second Evelyn Waugh and now after these 2 shorter books, I think I am ready for Brideshead Revisited!

Edited: Nov 23, 11:02pm Top

191. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells - 3.0 ★
Category: Bert & Ernie's Science Experiments
1,001 Books To Read Before You Die List
TIOLI #12: Stripes on the Cover

I can’t say that I actually enjoyed The Time Machine by H. G. Wells but the fact that it was originally published in 1895 and is one of the first books to explore the theory of time travel gives this short novel a special place in history.

The story is of a Victorian scientist who creates a time machine and travels to the year AD 802701, where he discovers a childlike race of humanoids called the Eloi. They live in a decaying city which leads the scientist to believe these are the remnants of a great civilization. He then must change his theory when he meets the Morlocks, who are threatening ape-like creatures that live in the dark underground. The narrative reads much like a critique of the class system that was prevalent in Britain at that time bringing together Wells love of both science and politics.

The Time Machine paints a rather bleak future for mankind but it does have a very dated feel to it so I never took the story very seriously. The invented machine also had sounded quite dated and downright uncomfortable, having the traveller seated out in open exposed to the weather and other dangers. But before one writes off this story, one should remember the countless stories of time travel that have followed, and each story owes H. G. Wells a tip of the hat.

Nov 24, 2:04pm Top

Hi Judy - You are super organized - I can't believe your 2019 thread is already ready to go!

Nov 24, 4:56pm Top

>151 DeltaQueen50: Hi, Judy! I haven't been on LT much over the past few weeks. Been too busy packing for my move to NY, which is set to begin on Dec. 3. But I so enjoyed your review of Waugh's A Handful of Dust that I wanted to comment and to say I loved his short novel The Loved One a lot when I read it a couple of decades ago, much more than I did Brideshead Revisited which I read recently. I'm going to see if I can find A Handful of Dust to read.

>146 DeltaQueen50: Into That Forest also looks good!

Have a lovely weekend!

Nov 25, 5:07pm Top

>157 BLBera: I am glad that it's posted and ready to go, but I did have fun with pawing through my books finding reads to match my categories and the various 2019 challenges.

>158 Storeetllr: I am happy to finally have read some Waugh this year, Mary, and finding that I really enjoy his writing. Good luck with the packing, I don't envy you all the work, but moving close to your expecting daughter is going to be good decision, I think.

Nov 25, 5:09pm Top

192. Into The Mist by Lee Murray - 3.8 ★
Category: The Count
November SFFFKit: Creatures
RIOLI #9: Rolling Challenge Based on "In Flanders Fields"

Into the Mist by Lee Murray reads much like the script of a B movie “creature feature” as it tells of a group of scientists and army personnel being terrorized by a Taniwha, a mythical Maori creature whose appearance is much like a giant lizard. The story is set in the remote forests of the North Island’s Te Urewara, lands that were once a National Park but now, due to disputes with the Maori people is a protected area. The scientists are there on a mineral study, searching for gold and the environmental impact that this would have. They are accompanied by a squad of elite soldiers. Unbeknownst to the scientists, there have been mysterious disappearances in the area recently and the soldiers are there to protect this group as well as searching for clues as to why so many people have gone missing.

There’s plenty of action and a good number of characters to act as fodder for the creature. I really liked the setting and enjoyed this story for what it was. A fun and atmospheric thrill ride featuring competent military men dealing with something beyond their comprehension. Of course not all the characters were heroic so it was no surprise as to which ones were not going to make it. Although I had to accept some unbelievable scenarios, Into The Mist supplied me with the thrills and chills that I was craving.

Nov 27, 1:10am Top

193. Dark Winter by David Mark - 3.6 ★
Category: Brought to You By The Number
November ScaredyKit: Serial Murders
TIOLI #14: Title Starts with the Same Letter as my LT Handle

Dark Winter by David Mark is actually the first book in his DS Aector McAvoy series, and in this first outing McAvoy is part of the team that is investigating a series of suspicious deaths that have the Northern English city of Hull on high alert. When McAvoy realizes that these murders are the work of one person, they realize they are on the trail of a serial killer who targets previous victims and them kills them in the way they were originally attacked.

This book is also the introduction to Det. Sgt. McAvoy who is struggling professionally after a difficult year that included his reporting on a group of corrupt cops. He has a strong belief in justice and this has made him a bit of an outsider with the other police officers. He does however, have a very good relationship with his wife and they are expecting a second child, to go along with their 4 year old son.

I had quite mixed feelings about this book, finding it rather slow moving and considering the subject matter, not particularly suspenseful. I did think the writing was quite good but the self-doubt of the main character was a bit off-putting and the resolution to the story felt rushed. Currently I am far more invested in many of the other series that I am reading so at this point I am not planning on continuing on with this series.

Nov 29, 12:33pm Top

194. Old Man's War by John Scalzi - 5.0 ★
Category: Bert and Ernie's Science Experiments
TIOLI #6: Completed for a 2018 Challenge

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi was clever, humorous, exciting and interesting. The intriguing story line caught my attention immediately and the author’s excellent writing and realistic characters kept me glued to it’s pages. In this author’s futuristic world, people have a decision to make upon their 75th birthday, to enlist in the interstellar combat force or not.

Told through the perspective of a new enlistee, we are introduced to this universe and how it works, there are battles with strange and fascinating aliens and uncountable problems that need resolution. These many problems are important as Old Man’s War is the first book in a series, so the author has many directions in which to explore with future books. As with all very good science fiction, this book ultimately explores what it means to be human and issues about aging, maturity, identity are included along with questions about sharing the universe with diverse creatures and whether war is the right way to go.

For me there were many things to love about this military sci-fi story but the best thing was knowing that Old Man’s War is just the first in the series and that I have more John Scalzi in my future.

Nov 29, 9:01pm Top

I loved Old Man's War too, Judy! In fact, I enjoyed the entire series. Fuzzy Nation was good too. Scalzi isn't deep, but his stories are engrossingly entertaining.

Nov 30, 1:18pm Top

Hiya, Judy. I'm another fan of Old Man's War and yes, you have some mighty fine series reading ahead of you. A standalone of his that was fun is Redshirts, sort of a Star Trek spoof.

Nov 30, 2:00pm Top

>163 Storeetllr: & >164 jnwelch: I am looking forward to reading more of this author. I've had the Old Man series and Redshirts on my wishlist for a long time, I hope to finally move forward with these soon.

Dec 1, 8:25am Top

>162 DeltaQueen50: Glad to see you finally getting around to this one and liking it so much. Hope you continue to enjoy the rest of the series as and when you get to them.

Dec 1, 8:48am Top

>162 DeltaQueen50: I've got that one on the old e-shelf, Judy. Your review is tempting me to dig it out!

Dec 1, 11:19am Top

>166 AHS-Wolfy: Hi Dave. I had the best surprise yesterday when I checked my Kindle and found I have the rest of the Old Man series waiting there for me.

>167 rosalita: Julia, those e-readers are very good at hiding many of our books, I am always finding books that I had totally forgotten that I had bought!

Dec 1, 12:00pm Top

>164 jnwelch: Oh, yes! Redshirts was my first Scalzi, and I loved it too.

Dec 1, 1:03pm Top

>168 DeltaQueen50: Lately I've been trying to resurface forgotten ebooks by going to the last page in the list (so the oldest books bought) and challenging myself to find something there instead of reaching always for the shiny new stuff. It doesn't always work ...

Dec 1, 2:59pm Top

>170 rosalita: I've tried to do that a bit too in my choices for challenges. I've dug out some real hidden gems that way (and only one turkey so far).

Dec 2, 12:50pm Top

>169 Storeetllr: Another Scalzi to look forward to!

>170 rosalita: That's a great idea, Julia. Next year my focus is going to be on my TBR and I would like to move some of those old ones along, I will have to try this.

>171 Jackie_K: Fingers crossed that I find mostly hidden gems as well, Lisa. I remember when I first got my Kindle I went quite crazy with the Daily Deals, many of which are still sitting there, so I may have to wade through a few turkeys in order to find some good ones.

Dec 2, 1:30pm Top

You've intrigued me about The Dark Winter, even if you didn't love it. I like the idea of a detective with a solid home life and any book set outside the usual locations is interesting to me. Hmmm...

Dec 2, 7:43pm Top

>173 RidgewayGirl: Kay, if I wasn't so totally bogged down with other series, I would probably read the next book in the series just to see how it develops. I am leaving this one on the back burner while I try to focus on other long standing series.

Dec 2, 7:55pm Top

195. Middlemere by Judith Lennox - 3.3 ★
Category: Big Bird
2018 PopSugar Challenge: Author Has Same First or Last Name as Me
TIOLI #1: Title or Author's Name Contains the Letter "X"

Middlemere by Judith Lennox is a novel that follows a number of characters that have a connection to an old farmhouse called Middlemere. Romy was a little girl when her family was evicted from the home she loved. Her father’s tragic end and her family’s downfall all came about from being forced to leave the place. Evelyn Deaubeny is the wife of the owner of Middlemere, trapped in a loveless marriage she had no idea that Romy’s family were evicted in order that her husband could house his mistress, Betty Hesketh. Caleb, Betty’s son, had no idea that his mother and the landlord, Mr. Deaubeny were involved at one time.

Covering a number of years from the late 1940’s into the 1960’s, the story follows the lives of these three characters. Romy goes on to work at and then manages an exclusive hotel, Caleb becomes a well known landscape and garden designer and Evelyn works through her problems and creates a meaningful life for herself. Although this long book did read quickly and mostly held my interest, I did find it a little too predictable.

Middlemere claims to be a story about family loyalty, revenge and redemption but I didn’t think it managed to convey enough strong emotion to make the reader have any deep feelings for the characters or the story. Although I found this a mediocre read, I am delighted to get this one off my shelves as it’s been sitting there for many years.

Dec 3, 11:56pm Top

>155 DeltaQueen50: Yeah, I'm not bad on the whittling either, Judy, but those bookstores, online booksellers etc are too great a temptation.

Dec 4, 12:38pm Top

>176 Familyhistorian: For sure, Meg. Buying books with a click of a button makes things entirely too easy! When I first got my Kindle I went crazy with the Daily Deals but I've learned some restraint, even so both my Kindles are overloaded!

Dec 4, 9:47pm Top

196. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed - 4.2 ★
Category: The Letters K to T
TIOLI #16: Moral Values and Beliefs Are An Issue

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed tells the story of Naila, raised in America and having American values but brought up by strict Muslim parents. Her parents have always told her that she may choose what to study and how to wear her hair, but they will choose her husband. As part of their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage and until then, dating, even friendship with a boy is forbidden. Naila has only known kindness and consideration from her parents so she believes that eventually when she introduces her boyfriend, Sarif, to her parents all will be well. Unfortunately they find out that she has been seeing a boy behind their backs and immediately they pack the family off to Pakistan. Thinking she is only there to meet her relatives she is shocked to learn that they are planning to marry her off and leave her in Pakistan.

This well written YA book wasn’t an easy read as the author pulls no punches in how Naila is drugged, beaten and forced into a marriage. Her new mother-in-law isn’t understanding and she finds she has an actual enemy with her new husband’s sister. This young girl had excellent grades, was looking forward to university and perhaps a career as a doctor, now she is being held a virtual prisoner, always watched and never allowed to express her opinions.

Written in the Stars is made all the more potent by the accompanying author’s note about the practice of arranged marriages that goes on in today’s world. Some of these marriages are happy, the author herself experienced a successfully arranged marriage, but in many cases these young women are forced against their will with drugs and violence by the very people they love and trust. Written in the Stars is a riveting and emotional story and a powerful debut novel.

Dec 4, 9:50pm Top

By finishing Written in the Stars, my 2018 Category Challenge is completed. My next read will complete my 2018 PopSugar Challenge, and the rest of my reads in December will be for various other CATS and Challenges.

Dec 5, 3:37am Top

Congrats on finishing your challenge, Judy!

Dec 5, 7:59am Top

Way to go, Judy!

Dec 5, 8:20am Top

Congratulations on finishing your challenge with time to spare!

Dec 5, 4:20pm Top

Congrats on finishing your challenge - and happy free reading! :)

Dec 5, 4:31pm Top

Adding my congratulations on completing your category challenge, Judy. That seems like an outstanding one to finish with.

Dec 5, 9:57pm Top

>180 MissWatson: Thanks, great to have another year's challenge under my belt - now I can really look forward to 2019!

>181 katiekrug: Thanks, Katie.

>182 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay. After doing this for so many years, I have categories for pretty much every book I read so I will carry one this way to year end.

>183 Chrischi_HH: Thanks, it's been a very good year. :)

>184 jnwelch: Thanks, Joe, and, yes, that was a great book to end the challenge on.

Dec 5, 10:19pm Top

Congrats on completing your challenge, Judy!

Dec 6, 3:08am Top

Thanks Roni!

Dec 6, 3:19am Top

197. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - 3.7 ★
Category: Brought To You By the Number
2018 PopSugar Challenge: Female Author – Male Pseudonym
TIOLI #6: Planned to Read in 2018 but Hadn't Got To It Yet

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith is the second in a series of books about a private investigator with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. Unfortunately I found this second book to be a little too long and rather tedious in places. Strike is hired by the dowdy wife of a novelist to track down her missing husband, but the story becomes a look into the fishbowl existence of modern literary life in London.

The missing author has just completed a manuscript that is revealed to be a vicious expose of the people in his life, from his wife to his mistress and, most especially the agents, publishers and other authors that he deals with. When Strike finds the author horribly murdered, there is no shortage of suspects that he has to investigate, all having both opportunity and motive to remove the writer. For me the best part of the book is the slowly evolving relationship between Cormoran and his assistant, Robin.

The Silkworm is an entertaining enough whodunit but the setting of the publishing business felt a little claustrophobic and the author certainly took her time in developing the story. I felt that a good 100 pages of more could have been cut from this book as over all this was too much of a slow-burner instead of a page-turner.

Dec 7, 4:39pm Top

198. Sula by Toni Morrison - 4.1 ★
Category: In Recognition of Excellence
December 1,001 Group Challenge Read
TIOLI #10: A Book Bullet

Sula by Toni Morrison is complex story set in an African-American community in Ohio between 1919 and 1965. It follows two best girlfriends from childhood through to old age and portrays one woman’s betrayal of the other. Nel Wright and Sula Peace, meet as children and their devotion to each other is strong enough to allow them to stand up to bullies and conceal a horrible secret. While Nel grows up to be a pillar of the community, Sula becomes a pariah. The author uses comedy, ribaldry, and sincerity to great effect and this story fully captured my attention.

Toni Morrison has a powerful voice and the gritty language and exploration of family and friendship that Sula explores also captures the complexities of race and gender relations in the United States between the years of 1920 to 1965. I would classify Sula as a feminist novel, as the author uses powerful female characters to tell her story. The characters are realistic and humanizes a part of American history in this short but powerful novel.

This is both Toni Morrison’s second novel and the second book by her that I have read. I am in awe of her frank, uncompromising and intense writing. Talented and impressive, I will continue to search out this author’s books.

Dec 8, 8:03am Top

I'm adding my congratulations, Judy, to a year well read. I've been intrigued the last couple of years (or this year/next year) by your PopSugar challenge. It looks like it would be challenging. I must say I'm tempted.

Dec 8, 12:08pm Top

>179 DeltaQueen50: - Congratulations!

Dec 8, 12:17pm Top

>190 dudes22: It's a fun challenge, Betty, and I certainly had to scramble to find books for every category. It helped that a number of others were doing the challenge and there was a thread over at the 75 challenge (http://www.librarything.com/topic/298650#) to help encourage and give reading ideas. There will be a thread for the 2019 PopSugar challenge once the 75ers set up for 2019.

Dec 8, 12:19pm Top

>191 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori. Being a glutton for punishment, instead of less categories next year - I am going with the full 19 so I expect it will be a very busy reading year for me!

Dec 8, 12:26pm Top

199. White Falcon by Elliott Arnold - 3.7 ★
Category: Elmo
December ColorCat: White
TIOLI #4: Can Form the Word "Elf" From the Letter in the Title

White Falcon by Elliot Arnold is a YA novel based on the life of John Tanner. In 1789 Tanner was captured by Ojibwa Indians from his family homestead in Kentucky. He grew up as an Ojibwa and became fully assimilated in their customs and language. He married an Indian woman and eventually served as a guide for European fur traders as well as working as an interpreter. Although this story is quite dramatic, it is considered a fairly well-rounded and authentic account of this white boy who became an Indian.

At first John Tanner’s life was quite difficult as even though he tried to fit in, the other Indians did not accept him. He was then adopted by an older woman who took him with her to live with the Chippewas, who more readily accepted him as one of their own. He did however, have a strong opponent in the Chief’s son, which lead to many difficulties. Having one foot in both camps enabled him to help the first white settlers that arrived in Manitoba’s Red River Valley and he assisted these settlers to bridge the gap between themselves and the Indians that lived in the area.

I became a fan of Elliot Arnold many years ago when I read his book Broken Arrow, the fictional biography of Cochise, that was made into a film in 1950. White Falcon didn’t have the same impact as that book did but it was a lively adventure read that I quite enjoyed.

Dec 8, 2:06pm Top

I had just started A Dog's Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron but I have decided to put it aside as I am not really in the mood right now for such a sentimental story. Instead I am going to read Going Home an apocalyptic story that will fit this month's SFFFKit: "This is how it ends" .

Dec 8, 2:22pm Top

Congratulations on finishing your challenge, Judy! It's a mighty accomplishment considering how many books you have read! Well done!

>188 DeltaQueen50: That was my least favourite of the first three in the Cormoran Strike series that I've read. I enjoyed the third one better and I've got big hopes for Lethal White.

Dec 8, 3:51pm Top

Hi Judy, Congratulations on finishing your challenge and boy have you reed a lot of books this year! I haven't been able to concentrate on reading
too much, I am sidetracked with Christmas. I'm trying to stick to my list, but it's not helping!

Dec 9, 12:34pm Top

>196 VivienneR: I certainly plan on continuing on with the Cormoran Strike series, I have grown to care about the characters and I realy liked the first book so, fingers crossed, the next ones will get the series back on track.

>197 jonesli: Thanks, Lisa. No matter how many books I read, my TBR still seems to keep growing and growing - I can see that I will never catch up!

Dec 9, 6:05pm Top

Congrats on completing your challenges, Judy. Nice to have the warmer weather after last week's frost.

Dec 9, 7:53pm Top

Congratulations on the completion, Judy! I know that feels good.

I may dip my toe back into the TIOLI challenges in 2019. I so enjoyed them in my first few years here on LT.

Today, 2:57am Top

>199 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. Not too sure about the weather, it seems we are expecting some very high winds to come in overnight. I didn't mind the cold as the blue skies and sunshine were lovely.

>200 EBT1002: Thanks Ellen. I am happy that my 2018 Challenge is completed and I am really looking forward to launching 2019!

Today, 11:02am Top

>198 DeltaQueen50: Imagine what a bleak feeling it would be to go to the bookcase to choose a book and to find that you'd already read all of them. I'm very happy that this will never happen to me.

Nineteen categories next year? Wow. I really need to start thinking about next year's challenge. All I know right now is that the number of categories will be significantly fewer than nineteen!

Group: 2018 Category Challenge

157 members

23,727 messages


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