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DeltaQueen Plays Authors: 2013 Category Challenge - Part 5

2013 Category Challenge

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Sep 24, 2013, 6:39pm Top

As we enter Autumn I am in the closing stages of my 2013 Challenge. I should have it completed by the end of October. I will continue to list my books here until year end, as my categories are broad enough that I think most will fit.

I have already set up my 2014 Challenge and I am looking forward to moving over there and starting fresh with the New Year.

E-Read Books = ††

Sep 24, 2013, 6:39pm Top

How I Rate Books:

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

Sep 24, 2013, 6:40pm Top


1. Edgar Rice Burroughs: 10 Tales of Adventure and Daring

2. Virginia Woolf/Graham Greene: 5 Authors I Have Been Afraid of Trying & 5 Authors I Have Been Meaning to Try

3. Kate Atkinson: 10 Crime Stories by Women

4. Lawrence Block: 10 Crime Stories by Men

5. Arthur Conan Doyle: 10 Classic Crime/Mysteries

6. Henning Mankell: Around the World in 5 Crimes / Ariana Franklin: 5 Historical Mysteries

7. Pierre Burton: Non-Fiction

8. Xinran: 10 Books Set in Various Countries Around the World

9. J.M. Barrie: 10 Books to Keep Me Young (YA’s & Children's Lit)

10. Patrick O’Brian: 10 Historical Fiction Stories (To Be Determined by the Reading Through Time Challenge)

11. Hans Christian Andersen: 5 Tales of Fantasy and Magic / George Orwell: 5 Dystopian Stories

12. H.P. Lovecraft: 10 Tales on the Dark Side - Horror, Monsters, Creepy Crawlies

13. Dora Saint (Miss Read) - 10 Books I Want To Read Just Because

I also have plans to participate in the Sandman Graphic Novel Group Read but forgot to set aside a category for it, so I will treat graphic novels as refreshers that I will read between other books:

14. Neil Gaiman: Graphic Novels

Edited: Dec 31, 2013, 3:42pm Top

1. Edgar Rice Burroughs - Stories of Adventure and Daring

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."
Jawaharial Nehru

Books Read

1. I Was Amelia Earhart†† by Jane Mendelsohn - 4.0 ★
2. A Long and Winding Road†† by Win Blevins - 3.1 ★
3. The Count of Monte Cristo†† by Alexandre Dumas - 4.4 ★
4. Zorro by Isabel Allende - 4.5 ★
5. King of the Khyber Rifles†† by Talbot Mundy - 3.8 ★
6. Butcher's Crossing by John Williams - 4.7 ★
7. Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell - 4.5 ★
8. The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson - 4.7 ★
9. I Am Algonquin by Rick Revelle - 4.0 ★
10. The Bounty Hunters by Elmore Leonard - 3.6 ★


11. Fighting Caravans by Zane Grey - 3.4 ★
12. Lord Grizzly by Frederick Manfred - 4.6 ★
13. Riders of the Purple Sage†† by Zane Grey - 2.5 ★
14. Winter Thunder by Mari Sandoz - 3.8 ★
15. The Devil's Oasis by Bartle Bull - 3.9 ★

Edited: Dec 22, 2013, 2:17pm Top

2. Virginia Woolf/Graham Greene - Authors I am Afraid to Try/Authors I Want to Try

"Curiosity will conquer fear more than bravery will."
James Stephens

Books Read

1. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene - 4.5 ★
2. Penrod by Booth Tarkington - 3.2 ★
3. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray - 5.0 ★
4. The Enchanted April†† by Elizabeth von Arnim - 3.3 ★
5. Alias Grace†† by Margaret Atwood - 4.1 ★
6. Memento Mori by Muriel Spark - 4.5 ★
7. What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn - 5.0 ★
8. Trainspotting †† by Irvine Welsh - 5.0 ★
9. An Ice Cream War by William Boyd - 5.0 ★
10. Queen Lucia†† by E.F. Benson - 3.9 ★


11. A High Wind in Jamaica†† by Richard Hughes - 3.8 ★
12. Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther - 4.1 ★
13. Corpsing by Toby Litt - 4.2 ★

Edited: Dec 1, 2013, 4:52pm Top

3. Kate Atkinson - Women Authors of Crime

"Women are like tea bags, they don’t know how strong they are until they are in hot water."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Books Read

1. The Missing by Jane Casey - 3.7 ★
2. The Armada Boy by Kate Ellis - 4.0 ★
3. Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie - 3.6 ★
4. Hocus by Jan Burke - 3.3 ★
5. Red Bones by Ann Cleeves - 4.0 ★
6. The Red Dahlia by Lynda La Plante - 4.2 ★
7. Almost the Truth by Margaret Yorke - 4.0 ★
8. The Hours Before Dawn by Celia Fremlin - 4.3 ★
9. Still Missing by Chevy Steven - 3.8 ★
10. Sob Story by Carol Anne Davis - 4.0 ★


11. Indelible by Karin Slaughter - 3.5 ★
12. The Song Is You by Megan Abbott - 4.4 ★

Edited: Dec 14, 2013, 1:55pm Top

4. Lawrence Block - Male Authors of Crime

"Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they have stayed true their beliefs and ideals."
Kevin Costner

Books Read

1. Tilt-A-Whirl by Chris Grabenstein - 4.0 ★
2. Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville - 4.1 ★
3. Cold Light by John Harvey - 4.3 ★
4. Kindness Goes Unpunished†† by Craig Johnson - 4.5 ★
5. Flood by Andrew Vachss - 4.1 ★
6. Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace - 2.5 ★
7. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin - 4.3 ★
8. Walking With Ghosts by John Baker - 4.2 ★
9. The Cleanup by Sean Doolittle - 3.5 ★
10. Watching The Dark by Peter Robinson - 4.1 ★


11. Black Fly Season by Giles Blunt - 3.8 ★
12. Good People by Ewart Hutton - 4.2 ★

Edited: Dec 17, 2013, 3:12pm Top

5. Arthur Conan Doyle - Classic Mysteries

"Murder is always a mistake - one should never do anything one shouldn’t talk about after dinner."
Oscar Wilde

Books Read

1. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie - 4.0 ★
2. Fright by Cornel Woolrich - 4.0 ★
3. Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy Sayers - 3.8 ★
4. The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie - 3.7 ★
5. The Plague Court Murders†† by John Dickson Carr - 3.2 ★
6. The Crime At Black Dudley by Margery Allingham - 4.0 ★
7. Fer-de-Lance†† by Rex Stout - 3.8 ★
8. Murder At the Vicarage†† by Agatha Christie - 4.1 ★
9. The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey - 4.5 ★
10. The Unpleasantness At the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers - 4.0 ★


11. Laura by Vera Caspary - 4.3 ★
12. The New Sonia Wayward by Michael Innes - 4.1 ★

Edited: Dec 29, 2013, 12:21pm Top

6. Henning Mankell/Ariana Franklin International Crime Stories & Historical Mysteries

"The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only a page."
St. Augustine

"Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters."
African Proverb

Books Read

1. Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith - 4.1 ★
2. The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill - 4.5 ★
3. The Witch Doctor's Wife by Tamar Myers - 4.0 ★
4. Devil-Devil by Graeme Kent - 3.8 ★
5. A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch - 4.0 ★
6. The Firemaker by Peter May - 4.5 ★
7. Million Dollar Baby by Amy Patricia Meade - 4.2 ★
8. A Beautiful Place To Die by Malla Nunn - 4.1 ★
9. The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen - 4.5 ★
10. The Leopard's Prey by Suzanne Arruda - 3.8 ★


11. The Cleaner by Paul Cleave - 5.0 ★
12. The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock - 3.3 ★
13. The Broken Shore by Peter Temple - 4.3 ★
14. Anne Perry's Christmas by Anne Perry - 3.1 ★

Edited: Nov 23, 2013, 2:16pm Top

7. Pierre Burton - Non-Fiction, Memoirs & Bios

"Truth is the most valuable thing we have, so I try to conserve it."
Mark Twain

Books Read

1. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell - 5.0 ★
2. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah - 4.4 ★
3. A Year In the Life of the Cotswolds by Beata Moore - 3.3 ★
4. Under An Afghan Sky by Mellissa Fung - 4.4 ★
5. Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe by Charlotte Gill - 4.4 ★
6. Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne - 5.0 ★
7. Rowboat In A Hurricane by Julie Angus - 4.4 ★
8. Book Lust by Nancy Pearl - 4.0 ★
9. Getting Stoned With Savages by J. Maarten Troost - 3.2 ★
10. The Spy Who Never Was: The Life and Loves of Mata Hari by Julia Keay - 3.6 ★


11. At The Mercy Of The River by Peter Stark - 4.2 ★
12. American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee by Karen Abbott - 4.2 ★
13. Birds, Beasts and Relatives by Gerald Durrell - 4.1 ★

Edited: Oct 21, 2013, 5:55pm Top

8. Xinran - Stories Set Around the World

“In the middle ages people were tourists because of their religion, whereas now they are tourists because tourism is their religion.”
Robert Runcie

Books Read

1. An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor (Ireland) - 3.8 ★
2. Black Mulberries by Caitlin Davies (Botswana) - 3.6 ★
3. Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko (Nigeria) - 4.5 ★
4. My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young (Netherlands/Germany) - 3.4 ★
5. Sky Burial by Xinran - 4.5 ★
6. The Blue Notebook by James Levine - 4.0 ★
7. The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh - 3.2 ★
8. The Lady of the Decoration†† by Frances Little - 3.8 ★
9. The Trader's Wife†† by Anna Jacobs - 3.8 ★
10. Mosquito by Roma Tearne - 3.0 ★


11. Running The Rift by Naomi Benaron - 4.4 ★

Edited: Dec 23, 2013, 1:40pm Top

9. J.M. Barrie - Children's Literature and YA

“Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.”
Chili Davis

Books Read

1. Hunter by Joy Cowley - 4.3 ★
2. Insurgent by Veronica Roth - 4.1 ★
3. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore - 5.0 ★
4. The Scorpio Races†† by Maggie Stiefvater - 2.0 ★
5. Rules by Cynthia Lord - 4.0 ★
6. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness - 5.0 ★
7. Anne of Green Gables†† by L.M. Montgomery - 5.0 ★
8. Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster - 3.8 ★
9. Anne of Avonlea†† by L.M. Montgomery - 4.5 ★
10. A Thousand Shades of Blue by Robin Stevenson - 3.8 ★


11. Number the Stars†† by Lois Lowry - 4.1 ★
12. Among Others by Jo Walton - 3.8 ★
13. Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery - 3.4 ★
14. Escape from Berlin by Irene N. Watts - 4.2 ★
15. London Calling by Edward Bloor - 3.7 ★
16. Anne's House of Dreams†† by L.M. Montgomery - 3.8 ★

Edited: Nov 25, 2013, 1:35pm Top

10. Patrick O'Brian - Historical Fiction

"Any fool can make history, it takes a genius to write it.”
Oscar Wilde

Books Read

1. The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli - 3.3 ★
2. Dissolution by C.J. Sansom - 4.2 ★
3. Outlaw by Angus Donald - 4.0 ★
4. The Persian Pickle Club†† by Sandra Dallas - 4.5 ★
5. The Winter Prince by Cheryl Sawyer - 3.3 ★
6. Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins - 3.8 ★
7. The Shadow Patriots by Lucia St Clair Robson - 3.6 ★
8. The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer - 4.1 ★
9. Dragonfly in Amber†† by Diana Gabaldon - 5.0 ★
10. Henrietta Sees It Through†† by Joyce Dennys - 3.7 ★


11. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier - 4.1 ★
12. Where Earth Meets Sky by Annie Murray - 3.0 ★
13. The Inheritors by William Golding - 4.3 ★
14. The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland - 4.6 ★
15. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - 2.8 ★
16. The Winthrop Woman†† by Anya Seton - 4.6 ★

Edited: Dec 11, 2013, 10:20pm Top

11. Hans Christian Andersen/ George Orwell - Tales of Fantasy and Magic/ Dystopia

“A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter any other way.”
Caroline Gordon

Books Read

1. Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden - 4.2 ★
2. Ice Forged by Gail Z Martin - 3.1 ★
3. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - 4.0 ★
4. Ashfall by Mike Mullin - 4.7 ★
5. River Secrets†† by Shannon Hale - 3.4 ★
6. The Eleventh Plague†† by Jeff Hirsch - 3.0 ★
7. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest - 3.1 ★
8. Ashes, Ashes†† by Jo Treggiari - 2.0 ★
9. A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz - 3.8 ★
10. The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - 4.2 ★


11. Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin - 3.4 ★
12. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.5 ★
13. Un Lun Dun†† by China Mieville - 4.0 ★

Edited: Oct 30, 2013, 5:59pm Top

12. H.P. Lovecraft - Dark Fantasy

“I love zombies. If any monster could Riverdance, it would be zombies.”
Craig Ferguson

Books Read

1. Domain of the Dead†† by Iain McKinnon - 3.5 ★
2. Dark Matter†† by Michelle Paver - 4.5 ★
3. Dust And Decay by Jonathan Maberry - 4.5 ★
4. Day By Day Armageddon by J. L. Bourne - 4.3 ★
5. American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett - 3.0 ★
6. The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan - 2.7 ★
7. Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan - 4.2 ★
8. The Fear by Charlie Higson - 4.0 ★
9. Outpost†† by Ann Aguirre - 4.0 ★
10. Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney - 4.0 ★


11. The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories by Angela Carter - 4.2 ★
12. The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell - 4.5 ★
13. The Woman In Black by Susan Hill - 4.3 ★

Edited: Dec 20, 2013, 1:08pm Top

13. Dora Saint (Miss Read) - Reader's Choice

“For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude"
William Wordsworth

Books Read

1. Double Crossing†† by Meg Mims - 2.0 ★
2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - 4.3 ★
3. Winter In Thrush Green†† by Miss Read (Dora Saint) - 4.2 ★
4. Once Upon A River by Bonnie Jo Campbell - 4.4 ★
5. Plainsong by Kent Haruf - 5.0 ★
6. The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney - 3.2 ★
7. Shards of Honor†† by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.1 ★
8. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - 5.0 ★
9. Jalna†† by Mazo De La Roche - 3.9 ★
10. News From Thrush Green by Miss Read (Dora Saint) - 4.2 ★


11. Anne of the Island†† by L.M. Montgomery - 4.2 ★
12. Let Him Go by Larry Watson - 5.0 ★
13. You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt - 3.4 ★
14. Good Graces by Lesley Kagen - 4.5 ★
15. Wish Upon A Star†† by Trisha Ashley - 3.3 ★
16. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - 3.6 ★
17. A Darcy Christmas†† by Sharon Lathan, Caroline Eberhart and Amanda Grange - 3.1 ★

Edited: Nov 8, 2013, 4:47pm Top

14. Neil Gaiman - Bonus: Graphic Novels

"Socrates should have written comics."
Mark Waid

Books Read

1. Sandman Vol 2: The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman - 4.5 ★
2. Sandman Vol 3: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman - 4.0 ★
3. Sandman Vol 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman - 4.2 ★
4. The Walking Dead Vol 15: We Find Ourselves by Robert Kirkland - 4.0 ★
5. The Sandman Vol 5: A Game of You by Neil Gaiman - 4.5 ★
6. The Storm In The Barn by Matt Phelan - 3.3 ★
7. The Sandman Vol 6: Fables & Reflections by Neil Gaiman - 4.3 ★
8. A Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori - 4.1 ★
9. The Sandman Vol 7: Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman - 5.0 ★
10. The Sandman Vol 8: Worlds' End by Neil Gaiman - 4.3 ★


11. The Sandman Vol 9: The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman - 5.0 ★
12. The Sandman Vol 10: The Wake by Neil Gaiman - 4.3 ★

Edited: Sep 25, 2013, 10:23pm Top

140. Watching The Dark by Peter Robinson - 4.1 ★
Category: Lawrence Block - Male Authors of Crime
September Series & Sequels
TIOLI #7: Number 9 or Higher in A Series

Alan Banks is in fine form for his 20th outing. Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson finds him investigating the death of DI Bill Quinn who is shot in the chest with a cross bow. This investigation in turn leads back to other cases that Quinn was involved in. As always Banks has a very capable crew assisting him and his partner, Annie, who has just returned from medical leave, plays a large part. There is a new face with Joanna Passero, a DI from Professional Standards (Internal Affairs) who is on hand as there have been rumors that the murdered policeman could have been involved in some shady affairs. She and Banks butt heads a lot, but I am wondering if she will show up in future books, perhaps as a love interest.

This was a solid police procedural that lead off on many different tangents. It was interesting to see how each thread was followed and eventually how so many threads meshed together to help the investigators reach their goal. In this book Banks is following the threads of a 6 year old case of a young British girl who went missing in Estonia, smuggled Eastern European migrant workers, along with the murders of a policeman and a journalist that come eventually come together and bring resolution.

I enjoyed Watching The Dark and I am very glad to say that after 20 books this series is still fresh and interesting, and I look forward to number 21.

Edited: Sep 24, 2013, 10:51pm Top

I'm listening to #4, The Hanging Valley, right now - good to know I have a few more good ones to read... :)

Sep 24, 2013, 8:43pm Top

Note to self, pick that one up from the library sometime! Also, happy new thread!

Sep 24, 2013, 9:49pm Top

I was just reading the last messages in your old thread but thought I'd respond here. About the Lord Peter Wimsey series, I can't remember if it had aired on PBS or not. I borrowed the DVDs from my local library.

I also enjoyed your review of Laura. I've almost finished with it myself.

Sep 24, 2013, 11:03pm Top

Wow, 6 books left to complete your challenge....that is awesome!

Sep 25, 2013, 2:28pm Top

I must say I really appreciate the attention you paid to your categories - choosing an author to represent, a picture, and a quote. Very nice.

Sep 25, 2013, 10:29pm Top

I've had a busy day as I am leaving tomorrow to spend time with my family on Vancouver Island. My books and Kindle are packed so I am ready to go. I'll be back in a couple of weeks, but should be able to check in every once in awhile.

#19 - Eva, this has been one of my favorite series in all the years I have been reading it. He gives great attention to detail and although there have been some volumes I have preferred over others, the series remains consistently good.

#20 - Rabbitprincess, if you haven't read this series before, I would advise starting at the beginning as the characters develop, evolve and change throughout the series.

#21 - Paulina, I just checked my library and they have about 4 DVD's of Lord Peter Wimsey's cases. I will be looking into that when I return from my trip. Thanks for letting me know about them!

#22 - I know Lori, I am ready to finish but I keep getting sidetracked by other books, I should be able to wind it all up in October.

#23 - Hi Mamzel, I have really liked how my challenge worked out this year and I may just return to a version of it in a future year.

Edited: Sep 25, 2013, 10:40pm Top

141. Anne of the Island†† by L.M. Montgomery - 4.2 ★
Category: Dora Saint - Reader's Choice
September Series & Sequels
TIOLI #6: Title or Author's Name Contains a Landform

By this, the third book of the series, Anne is a young woman and after working for a couple of years as a teacher, she has saved enough money to go to University in Nova Scotia. Some of her friends are also enrolling at Redmond, and she makes new friends as well. By the second year, tired of boarding houses, there are four girls who decided to rent their own house and together with the elderly Aunt Jimsie, as a chaperone, they set up house for the remaining three years. Friday nights are designated as the evening for receiving gentlemen callers and these attractive girls have plenty of those. Gilbert Blythe is a regular and it is very obvious to everyone that he has deep feelings for Anne. Anne who is very fond of her childhood chum, dreads having to hurt him,

As Anne leaves girlhood behind and matures into a young woman, there is little trace of the orphan girl that was. Anne has become serene, sensible and very steady in purpose. In one area however, she seems to lag behind her friends and as she attends one wedding after another, she appears to not be able to see the love that is right in front of her, instead she is still holding out for that elusive Prince Charming that she imagined as a young girl. It takes a dark time and an almost tragedy for Anne to be able to understand where her heart is leading her.

I am loving my re-reading of this series, and have come to love Anne as much now as I did when a girl.

Sep 26, 2013, 2:05am Top

Anne of the Island was a book I adored and I'm a little frightened to read it as an adult. What if it's not as perfect?

Sep 26, 2013, 2:38am Top

Hi Judy, I have been meaning to ask this question for ages. You usually have a TIOLI number and challenge with every read. Where are they coming from? Just curious.

Sep 26, 2013, 10:47am Top

Aww, Anne of the Island is my favorite book in that series. I should really take the time to re-read the Anne books sometime soon!

Sep 26, 2013, 6:34pm Top

I've never read Anne of Green Gables or the other books in the series. I keep telling myself to do so, but never get around to it.

Sep 26, 2013, 8:07pm Top

Oh, i have such fond memories of reading Anne of the Island - it's the Anne book I have the strongest memory reading. I'm glad to hear you're enjoying the re-read, I've been thinking of doing that myself but it's always a bit nerve-wracking to re-read childhood favourites.

Sep 26, 2013, 9:40pm Top

I have fond memories of all the Anne books. I have all of them in a box under my bed. I should dig them out sometime to re-read them.

Sep 26, 2013, 9:51pm Top

Nice new thread Judy. I still love looking at that picture of Neil Gaiman every time I see your thread. Have fun in Vancouver.

#27 Roro8 - the TIOLI challenges are part of the 75 Challenge group.

Sep 27, 2013, 2:20pm Top

I just saw a starred review of Gaiman's latest book, Fortunately, the Milk. I can't wait to see it!

Sep 27, 2013, 5:35pm Top

Wow, lots of visitors!

#26 - Kay, I was a little nervous about re-reading the series, especially after reading Rose In Bloom which I found a little too preachy and moralizing. I think that part of the book just went over my head when I was a child. But overall, I think Anne has stood up wonderfully well. I am glad that I began at the beginning as I think if I had just picked up Anne of the Island separately, I might have found some minor issues.

#27 - Ro, VioletB is correct in that the TIOLI Challenges are set over on the 75 Challenge Thread. Every month, SqueakyChu, the founder of the TIOLI Challenge sets a challenge and then others also list their challenges as well. Over the last couple of years I have shaped my reading both around these challenges and my own category challenge and I try to cover as many of the TIOLI challenges as I can although I have not yet been able to cover all the challenges issued in any one month.

#28 - Christina, I bet you love Anne of the Island cause it is "A Kissing Book", as slowly Anne's friends and finally Anne herself succumbs to Cupid's arrow!

#29 - Andrea, I know all about not getting to books that I have promised myself I am going to read. I think I have had some books in the back of my mind for years that I keep telling myself I am going to get to one of these days. (The Raj Quartet springs to mind)

#30 - I am hoping to work through all of L.M. Montgomery's works eventually. It will be interesting to see if some of her lessor known works stand up as well as Anne does.

#31 - Lori, I am finding the Anne reads are real comfort reads for me, I guess the revisiting of old friends plus the memory of reading them when I was young helps create the comfort.

#32 - I have to admit, I find Neil Gaiman pretty easy on the eyes as well!

#33 - HI Mamzel, me too!

Sep 27, 2013, 5:42pm Top

142. Number the Stars †† by Lois Lowry - 4.1 ★
Category: J.M. Barrie - YA & Children's Lit
September AwardCat: 2000 Finalist - Hans Christian Andersen Award
TIOLI #13 - Serendipity - Book links in some way to the book listed above it

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is set in Nazi occupied Denmark and tells the story of how the country sprang into action to save their Jewish population when word got out that they were about to be detained. From the actions of the Resistance, the Danish police, the fishermen and the general population many were saved.

This book concentrates on one family and is told through the eyes of 10 year old Annemarie, as she and her family help their neighbours escape to Sweden. By focusing on this small aspect of the greater story, we are drawn into the emotional aspects of this event. As Annemarie learns and shows what bravery is, we experience the terror, the suspense and the hope that she did

Lois Lowry won a well-deserved Newberry Award with Number The Stars in 1990. She has delivered a inspiring story that shines a light on a little known historical event and effortlessly manages to show through one family’s decency and kindness how a nation responded to help a segment of their own population.

Sep 28, 2013, 8:54pm Top

@ 34 -- Haha, DQ, you caught me! But I also loved the college setting, and Anne's new friend Philippa was a lot of fun.

Sep 29, 2013, 1:21pm Top

#36 - I liked Phil as well, she was fun, spunky and thanks to her, Gilbert didn't give up on Anne!

Edited: Sep 29, 2013, 1:38pm Top

143. Outpost †† by Ann Aguirre - 4.0 ★
Category: H.P. Lovecraft - Dark Fantasy
September Series & Sequels
TIOLI #10: A Book You've Had Since 2012 that Starts or Continues A Series

Outpost by Ann Aguirre is the second book in her Razorland dystopian series, and this second offering is quite different from the first. While the first book focused on action and survival, this book is more about the emotional development and internal growth of the characters, in particular that of Deuce, the female main character.

The readers also learn a lot more about the enemy or freaks as they are called. These are definitely not zombies but are instead a mutant creature. Savage and cannibalistic, they are showing signs that they are becoming more organized and by the end of the book have the town of Salvation under siege. Of course there is plenty of action, as Deuce and her friends Fade and Stalker, join the militia and spend time both on guard duty and patrols, fighting off attacks by these mutants. Although I grow weary of the romantic triangle aspect, Deuce is a very interesting character and I enjoy both reading about her and her internal thought process.

I have enjoyed reading about these characters and the story moves along quickly with plenty of excitement to help offset the quieter moments. I will be on the lookout for the next volume as Outpost left off with the four main characters setting off on a rescue mission that looks to be both dangerous and thrilling.

Sep 29, 2013, 6:45pm Top

Ignoring all blue type so as to avoid BBs....

Sep 30, 2013, 4:47pm Top

I loved Number the Stars as an elementary schooler. I wonder if I'd like it as much reading it again today. I guess there's only one way to find out!

Sep 30, 2013, 6:13pm Top

Number the Stars is on my Mt. TBR, along with numerous others. It was a potential for AwardCAT, but unfortunately I ran out of September. :)

Oct 2, 2013, 1:33pm Top

#39 - Hi Laura, great to see you even if you are avoiding the blue type!

#40 - I liked the way the author presented the story. It was laid out very simply and clearly so that the younger readers could understand what was happening, and she still was able to keep the story interesting and very readable.

#41 - Yes, the AwardCat led me to this book at this time. I had already read The Giver by Lois Lowry so I figured I would like Number the Stars as well.

Edited: Oct 5, 2013, 9:36pm Top

144. Queen Lucia†† by E.F. Benson - 3.9 ★
Category: Graham Greene - Authors I Am Curious About
TIOLI #1: Rolling Challenge by Number of Letters in First Word of Title

Queen Lucia by E.F. Benson is a tongue in cheek satire aimed at the pretensions of the not quite ‘top-drawer” class. He sets his story in the fictional English village of Riseholm where society and etiquette are dictated by one woman, Emmeline Lucas, better known as Queen Lucia.

This book is light and amusing, but subtle it isn’t. The author misses no opportunity to mercilessly poke fun at these people and their desires to an upper class life of wit and elegance. It is when a rival to her throne moves into the village that the story takes off and each page of this character driven comedy will have the reader smiling, giggling or even snorting in delight.

I think the essence of this book rings a bell with people as these broadly drawn characters can be found amongst one’s social circle today. Every society must have its’ queen, and every queen must struggle to retain her throne. Queen Lucia is the first in a series of books, and judging by this first one, the rest of the series should prove delightful.

Oct 2, 2013, 2:54pm Top

Queen Lucia seems fun, it's going on the 2013 BB list.

Oct 4, 2013, 11:18pm Top

I'm just now getting to this latest thread of your challenge. You're almost there, Judy!

Edited: Oct 5, 2013, 9:43pm Top

#44 - I hope you enjoy Queen Lucia when you get to it. It is a light, short read so great for picking up between the longer ones.

#45 - I know Terri, I have four more books to read to complete the challenge and I have them all lined up to read this month. Even though I am looking forward to some "free" reading, I think just about any book I pick up will still fit into my categories so I will be continuing to list them here.

As my computer time is limited right now, I am also looking forward to getting back home next week and catching up with everyone.

Oct 6, 2013, 4:27am Top

I'm just downloading Lucia in London to listen to next week. I loved Queen Lucia and I've been doing some heavy duty reading for a course this week (Madame Bovary and Far from the Madding Crowd), so something fun is called for.

Oct 8, 2013, 1:07pm Top

Hi Rhian, I have the next two books in the series already downloaded and waiting for me. I can see that you do need some light, amusing reading after your last couple!

Edited: Oct 8, 2013, 3:11pm Top

145. The Trader's Wife †† by Anna Jacobs - 3.8 ★
Category: Xinran - Global Reading (Singapore & Australia)
Commonwealth Challenge: Singapore & Australia
October AlphaCat: J & W
TIOLI #5: A Halloween Word From the Provided List Can Be Made Using the Letters in the Title

The Trader’s Wife by Anna Jacobs starts out in 1865 Singapore where a young woman, Isabella is looking unsuccessfully for work as a governess or companion. Turned down by her own people, she is hired by a Chinese businessman who wants to improve his English and soon finds herself accepted and treated as an addition to the family. When she eventually decides that she must leave in order to search for her cousin, her employer decides she must marry in order to be safe. He introduces her to a young man who has ambition to become a trader and when the two young people agree, they are married.

Isabella and her husband, Bram now relocated themselves to Freemantle, Australia with the desire to set up a shop and a trading business. As these two fall in love and work toward their goal, they meet other characters who are also establishing new lives for themselves in Freemantle. I understand that this is the first in a trilogy and I certainly enjoyed this book enough to track down the remaining two books.

The author has delivered an interesting story and peopled her book with strong, and on the most part, likeable characters. I am enjoying the setting as I haven’t read very much about the west coast of Australia.

Oct 8, 2013, 3:10pm Top

146. The Inheritors by William Golding - 4.3 ★
Category: Patrick O'Brian - Historical Fiction
October AwardCat: Nobel Prize - 1983
TIOLI #1: Rolling Challenge by Number of Letters in First Word of Title

In The Inheritors, William Golding has condensed into one story the death of a lesser race as it gives way to a stronger, more intelligent, better adapted race. As a small band of Neanderthals come into contact with a group of Homo Sapiens, their doom is fore-ordained. The story unfolds through the eyes of Lok, a slightly simple-minded, gentle fellow who, in the pecking order of the tribe, is the lowest man. Lok has trouble putting the pictures that his brain forms into words for everyone to understand, and when the two lead males die, he is unable to process his thoughts and lead the remaining tribe members to safety.

This is a sad story, but a familiar one in the history of the world. As the story is told mostly from the Neanderthal’s point of view, one is inclined to dislike the Homo Sapiens, until the final chapter when the point of view switches and we reach the sad understanding that ignorance, misunderstanding, and fear of the unknown all to often lead to hasty judgements.

This is a powerful story told in a picturesque, lyrical style that touches the reader and stirs the imagination. The Inheritors is William Golding’s eulogy to these unusual beings that existed and then were so effectively wiped out.

Oct 8, 2013, 3:35pm Top

I've only read his Lord of the Flies and that was a long time ago - this one seems interesting in premise, though.

Oct 8, 2013, 4:55pm Top

I hadn't heard of The Inheritors before, but I can't quite decide if it appeals or not.

Oct 9, 2013, 4:11am Top

@50/52 yeah me too. I think I am going to keep an eye out for it secondhand. I really loathed Lord of the Flies at school though.

Oct 9, 2013, 10:11pm Top

Some really great reviews here! I love the Anne series and you're motivating me to do a reread of the entire series in the near future. To comment on RidgewayGirl's question in post 26: I'd reread several of the Anne books as an adult and I found that I enjoyed them just as much as I had when I was a child, and I definitely can't say that about many other YA series I'd reread as an adult.

Oct 10, 2013, 2:12pm Top

#51 - 53 - I loved Lord of the Flies when I read it years ago and when I read that The Inheritors was William Golding's personal favorite of his books I was eager to read it. Although the two stories aren't alike, in both books he has a way of telling a small story that reflects on the way humans react and, this reflection is not always flattering. I would say that if Lord of the Flies wasn't your cup of tea, than you probably wouldn't care for The Inheritors either.

#54 - Paulina, I am really enjoying my re-read of the Anne books, and agree, they stand the test of time well.

Edited: Oct 10, 2013, 2:22pm Top

147. Mosquito by Roma Tearne - 3.0 ★
Category: Xinran - Global Reading - Sri Lanka
Commonwealth Challenge: Sri Lanka
TIOLI #1: Rolling Challenge Based on Number of Letters in First Word of Title

Mosquito by Roma Tearne is written in lush descriptive words that paint a vivid picture of n exotic land caught up a violent civil war. Unfortunately the love story that was at the heart of the story lacked emotional depth and I found the book a rather tedious read.

The author, being from Sri Lanka captures the pain, suffering and brutality that this small country was enduring during the 1990's. Where I felt the book lacked believability was in her handling of the complicated relationship between the two main characters. A mature thirty-something year old writer falling in love with a seventeen year old schoolgirl needs delicate handling to evoke sympathy and allow the reader to feel the emotional innocence and poignancy that was needed. As the story dragged on I found myself much more interested in the events that were happening around the characters than in their personal story.

This is the author’s first book and although I found Mosquito to be rather flawed, her writing at times was both rich and expressive and I would certainly not hesitate to try another book by her.

Oct 10, 2013, 3:24pm Top

A mature thirty-something year old writer falling in love with a seventeen year old schoolgirl needs delicate handling to evoke sympathy and allow the reader to feel the emotional innocence and poignancy that was needed.

I can see where that could end up being problematic.

It sounds like Tearne has skill, though, so maybe she'll improve with subsequent books. I probably will skip this one, but might try something else she writes later on.

Oct 11, 2013, 1:43pm Top

Good idea, Andrea. I read that her first love is visual art and she does put words together like a painter - layered with lots of color. And yeah, that age difference was teetering on the edge of "ick"!

Oct 11, 2013, 1:51pm Top

148. Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney - 4.0 ★
Category: H.P. Lovecraft - Dark Fantasy
October AwardCat: 2011 Bram Stoker Award
October AlphaCat: J
Halloween Theme Read
TIOLI #14: Nominateed For A Bram Stoker Award

Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney is the third volume in his Dead World series that features zombie-like creatures. Although each book is a separate story that can stand on it’s own, the origin of these creatures is the same in each book. This third book takes us back to the beginning.

Southern Texas has been hit with three super-sized hurricanes in a row which has devastated the area and ruined the city of Huston beyond recovery. We follow the survivors of these storms as they scramble for safety from the storm surge that is covering the land. From the soup of ruined buildings and vehicles, dead animals, pollution, seawater and an assortment of unknown chemicals there arises a deadly virus that transforms humans into zombie like creatures that crave flesh. The story concentrates on one group of survivors as they try to escape these zombie-infested waters, but is their government willing to allow evacuation?

Flesh Eaters is a page turning thrill ride that includes all the expected zombie survival tricks presented in a straight out, well-written story with characters that are quite believable in their desperation. If you like zombie stories then you owe it to yourself to check out Joe McKinney’s books.

Oct 11, 2013, 10:38pm Top

Here it is, the book that will complete my 2013 Category Challenge. I am quite pleased that it is one by one of my favorite authors.

149. The Sandman Vol. 8: Worlds' End by Neil Gaiman - 4.3 ★
Category: Neil Gaiman - Graphic Novels
October AlphaCat: W
The Sandman Yearly Group Read
TIOLI #13: Author Is On The List of LT's Top 75 Authors

The eighth volume of The Sandman is called World’s End. It consists of a series of short stories, each told by a different characters, but all blending and weaving together to make this volume very thought provoking. Although Morpheus isn’t a major character in this book, you can feel his touch throughout the stories. In each story we meet someone who has appeared in the series before, at times I felt this was a curtain call for the various personalities.

Somewhere where reality meets the imagination lies an inn called Worlds’ End. This inn is the meeting place for creatures from many different worlds that have been caught up in a storm and while they take shelter they pass the time by telling stories. At the climax of the reality storm, the travellers see a change in the sky and then a funeral procession, obviously led by Morpheus goes by. A closed coffin is carried by and many familiar and strange mourners are part of the procession. But who has died?

Perhaps it is the knowledge that this the series is turning toward the end, but I felt this volume very much was a harbinger of what is to come in the final volumes. I am very sad that this well crafted series is ending but how Neil Gaiman goes about finishing it has my anticipation level rising.

Oct 11, 2013, 10:40pm Top

As my categories will allow just about any book I read to fit, I will be continuing to post about the books I read through to the end of the year and the start of the 2014 Challenge.

Oct 11, 2013, 11:40pm Top

You completed your challenge with a Sandman read... how great is that! ;-)

Congrats and happy to see you will continue to post here until you start your 2014 challenge.

Oct 12, 2013, 12:17am Top

Woo hoo! Congratulations!

Oct 12, 2013, 3:43am Top

Well done on finishing your challenge Judy!

Oct 12, 2013, 4:51am Top


Oct 12, 2013, 5:50am Top

You're done? Well done! Enjoy the free reading and please continue to post here until the new year.

Oct 12, 2013, 6:27am Top

Saved the best for last, did you! Congrats on finishing!

Oct 12, 2013, 7:48am Top

Congrats on completing your challenge, Judy!

Oct 12, 2013, 9:09am Top

Congrats and what a great book to finish on!

Oct 12, 2013, 9:14am Top

Congrats on completing your challenge!

Oct 12, 2013, 12:13pm Top

Congrats on finishing the challenge, Judy!!

Oct 12, 2013, 5:08pm Top

Thanks for all the congratulations, everyone. It's great being congratulated on doing something you love! :)

Oct 12, 2013, 7:04pm Top

Congratulations on completing!!!! Sandman is a beautiful way of completing. And, happy to hear you're hanging around until the 2014 starts.

Oct 13, 2013, 6:04am Top

Congrats from me too! I'm amazed at the speed with which you devour books. Glad you'll still be posting here til year end.

Oct 13, 2013, 1:12pm Top

Wow Judy! Congratulations!

Oct 13, 2013, 5:42pm Top

Well done!

Oct 13, 2013, 5:54pm Top

Congratulations on finishing your challenge!

Oct 14, 2013, 1:16am Top

Good on you Judy. You must have at lead 10 more weeks in the year, great job. I liked your review of Trader's Wife too.

Oct 14, 2013, 11:44am Top

Congratulations! I'm sending you a toast!

Oct 14, 2013, 12:52pm Top

Congratulations! You make reading 149 books look easy!

Oct 14, 2013, 7:55pm Top

Whoops, I've been absent from my own thread for a couple of days. Thanks everyone for the congrats. and for the bubbly. ;)

This weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving and yesterday I cooked our "turkey with all the the trimmings" dinner. I was planning on doing lots of reading today but somehow the day has slipped away on me. This evening I am looking forward to having my grandson for dinner to share in the turkey leftovers.

Oct 14, 2013, 9:55pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving!! You guys manage to throw me off every year and I look at my calendar in panic until I remember you're Canadian. Phew. Every year. I should have learned by now...

Oct 15, 2013, 12:19am Top

Sounds like your Thanksgiving was a wondrous feast, Judy! I love turkey leftovers. We have done the turkey and all the trimmings for two meals and I am looking forward to some wild rice turkey soup tomorrow with fresh whole grain buns. Yum!

> 82 - LOL! Poor Eva.... Consider us Canadian's your early reminder system that the holidays are approaching. ;-)

Oct 15, 2013, 1:50pm Top

#83 - Hi Lori. Isn't it funny how, after gorging ourselves on turkey dinner for a couple of days, we look forward to soup! My husband carefully cut all the meat that we will eat for one more meal and then my daughter scooped up what was left to make soup with the promise of sending us some. So I have soup to look forward to without having to make it!

#82 - LOL, Eva, like Lori says we can be your early warning system. Beep! Beep! Festive Season on Horizon! Festive Season on Horizon!

Oct 15, 2013, 11:17pm Top

Belated congratulations on finishing your challenge! Nice to finish with a Sandman volume. I've just started this volume myself.

Oct 15, 2013, 11:46pm Top

I am so glad that I also have Volume 9 standing by, I need to find out what happens next!

Edited: Oct 16, 2013, 1:16pm Top

150. The Cleaner by Paul Cleave - 5.0 ★
Category: Henning Mankell - Global Crime
TIOLI #18: A Book By a New Zealand Author

Set in Christchurch, New Zealand, The Cleaner by Paul Cleave was a great blend of action, humor and psychological thrills that was definitely dark and intense but was also a book that I did not want to see end. Telling the story of Joe, a devious, intelligent man who lives a complex life of lies to enable him to conduct his chosen avocation of rapist and killer. By day he works in a menial job as a janitor in the police station, passing himself off as slightly retarded, perfect cover for keeping an eye on the investigation into the Christchurch Carver which, of course is him.

Joe enjoys the notoriety of being the killer of seven women, but he is bothered by the fact that he has only killed six. Someone has used him to cover up their own murder and Joe decides to find out who the copycat killer is. His investigation is hampered by the women in his life. Both his mother who demands attention, and who he often tried to do away with, and fellow co-worker, Sally, who seems to see Joe as a replacement for her deceased special needs brother and wants to help him. But it is when the mysterious Melissa enters his life that things start on a definite downhill slide.

Learning what makes Joe tick was fascinating and terrifying and along the way the author throws in delicious details that are both amusing and revealing. The plot has many a twist and although the subject matter is very dark and intense, I found The Cleaner to be that rare read that supplies lots of creepy chills along with a very good story. Highly recommended.

Oct 16, 2013, 12:16am Top

Looks like a BB for an NZ author for me.

Oct 16, 2013, 12:29am Top

Ooohh.... looks like that BB hit me as well, and I really like that cover. The colors just seem to pop!

Oct 16, 2013, 1:20pm Top

#88 & 89 - Good morning, Dave and Lori. I can't rave enough about this author, I know the subject matter isn't to everyone's taste, but for those of us that not only can stomach but actually enjoy this type of book, it's a real winner.

Oct 16, 2013, 1:32pm Top

151. American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee by Karen Abbott - 4.2 ★
Category: Pierre Burton - Non-fiction
Reading Through Time Monthly Theme: A Biography
TIOLI #16: A Book Set In a Country That Is Currently a Member of the U.N. Security Council

I already knew the basics about Gypsy Rose Lee before I started American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee by Karen Abbott. I admire the author for tacking such a difficult subject, as Gypsy Rose Lee spend a lifetime inventing and re-inventing herself. It must have been very hard to separate the real woman from the myth. I did enjoy the book, I learned a little more about Gypsy Rose Lee and a lot about both the vaudeville circuit and burlesque in it’s heyday.

Born as Ellen June Hovick in Seattle, this youngster wasn’t even able to keep her name as her mother decided to bestow this favored choice on the next daughter. Ellen June then became Louise Rose Hovick and spent her growing up years in her sister’s shadow and trying to win her mother’s love. Anyone who has seen the movie Gypsy based on these years will know that the mother, Rose Hovick, was the ultimate stage-mother. The movie actually softened Rose and in real life she was a terror.

That Louise Hovick was able to become the superstar Gypsy Rose Lee had a lot to do with learning from her mother how to grab opportunity and ride it. I am old enough to remember seeing a slightly older Gypsy doing TV commercials in the 1950’s. I also remember her appearing on the TV show What’s My Line. That this complicated, secretive woman was able to pull herself from the seedy world of strip tease and become, at various times in her life, a novelist, an actress, and a television personality makes for a very interesting read. My one quibble with the book is that the timeline of her life jumped around so much that at times it was hard to keep track of exactly when things happened. Overall a fascinating look at a true American celebrity.

Oct 16, 2013, 5:43pm Top

BB over here as well for The Cleaner - I don't even care that I'm trying to avoid adding new series to the wishlist. :)

Oct 16, 2013, 5:48pm Top

#92 - LOL, I've given up worrying whether a book is part of a series or not (except that I am very rigid about reading them in order). It seems every other book that draws me in is part of a series these days.

Oct 17, 2013, 12:22pm Top

@ 91 -- I have vague memories of seeing the movie years ago. Sing out, Louise!

Also, congrats on finishing your challenge! :)

Oct 17, 2013, 3:17pm Top

Thanks, Christina. And I do believe "Sing out, Louise" was the opening line of the movie.

Edited: Oct 18, 2013, 10:29pm Top

152. The Sandman Vol 9: The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman - 5.0 ★
Category: Neil Gaiman - Grahpic Novels
The Sandman Yearly Group Read
TIOLI #13: Author is on the List of LT's Top 25 Authors

Wow. I just finished The Sandman Volume 9: The Kindly Ones and my mind is still in a whirl. Don’t let the title fool you, this volume is one of the darkest yet. Except for the side story of Delirium searching for her lost dog which was charming, the rest of the book took us to the depths of Dreaming.

Reviewing this volume is difficult without putting spoilers in, but rest assured that Neil Gaiman has brought his series full circle. This is the thickest volume in the series and the pace is exceedingly fast, but the chaotic story is both a nod to the past and a path to the future. Be ready to get reacquainted with just about every character that ever graced a Sandman tale. The way these characters are brought back and fit seamlessly into the story is incredible and a nice reward for those of us who have followed the story from the beginning.

I felt that in this issue many threads from previous volumes were laced together but in true Gaiman style, there are still unanswered questions and avenues to explore. The Kindly Ones augments the legend and assures the reader that the dream continues.

Oct 20, 2013, 10:42pm Top

153. The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories by Angela Carter - 4.2 ★
Category: H.P. Lovecraft - Dark Fantasy
TIOLI #16: A Book Written By An Author Who Has Judged the Man Booker Prize

Taking some very well known fairy tales and legends, Angela Carter tweaked and twisted them into her collection entitled The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories. I was quite taken with this collection finding something to admire in just about every story. These tales are often described as “feminist‘ in nature” and, if by that, they mean stories of the female as aggressor and males as victims then, yes, that is partially true. But first and foremost what I loved about these stories was the writing. Beautiful, detailed description along with her earthy and sensuous language created an alluring, hypnotic walk on the dark side.

These are not stories to read to young children, these are stories meant for adults and as such explore some sexual elements along with the violence and magic. Some of the tales like “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon”, a version of the Beauty and the Beast are very close to the familiar tale. But then there are the ones like “The Lady of the House of Love” that blends the vampire legend with the story of Sleeping Beauty. This was my favorite of the collection, it quite simply held me enthralled. “Her teeth and claws have been sharpened on centuries of corpses, she is the last bud of the poison tree that sprang from the loins of Vlad the Impaler who picnicked on corpses in the forests of Transylvania.”

These stories were my introduction to Angela Carter and I am now on a mission to track down more by this author who in turn both beguiled and unnerved me with this collection.

Oct 20, 2013, 11:44pm Top

->96 DeltaQueen50:
Such a great installment, isn't it. It not my favorite art-wise, but pretty much everything else is simply perfect.

Oct 21, 2013, 4:40am Top

I loved The Bloody Chamber (Psst try Catherynne M Valente's In the Night Garden too) but I think her other short stories felt a bit flat for me, probably because I loved people mucking about with fairy tales :)

Oct 21, 2013, 3:31pm Top

Congrats on finishing! I'll have to check out American Rose. Gypsy Rose Lee was quite a character. :)

Oct 21, 2013, 4:45pm Top

#98 - Yes, pretty much perfect describes my feelings about The Kindly Ones as well.

#99 - Claire, I believe it was you and Lori (Ikernagh) that put The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories on my wishlist. I need to try something by Catherynne M Valente, so I will add In the Night Garden to my wishlist.

#100 - She was definitely a character. She knew she wasn't particularly talented in the singing and dancing area, yet, she still made herself a star of stage and screen.

Edited: Oct 22, 2013, 2:05pm Top

154. Running The Rift by Naomi Benaron - 4.4 ★
Category: Xinran - Global Reading
Commonwealth Challenge: Rwanda
TIOLI #16: A Book Set In a Country That Is Currently A Member of the U.N. Security Council

Running the Rift is the story of Jean Patrick Nkuba, growing up in Rwanda, having a huge talent for running, a talent that could see him in the Olympics. But Jean Patrick is a Tutsi in a country controlled and run by the Hutu and as the restrictions tighten and violence escalates will he survive the brutality much less make it to the Olympics?

The story covers fourteen years, and is paced much like a long-distance race, starting off slowly, taking the time to describe the country and it’s inhabitants. We learn of one family’s strengths, how much they love and respect each other through good times and bad, and we see Jean Patrick slowing growing into a runner. The middle part of the book increases in speed slowly, allow the tensions to build as we read of Jean Patrick’s university years, he is training hard now but also he is being confronted with the inequality and the force of power that exists, but he is also falling in love which in a country like Rwanda that judges people by their ethnic classification, can be very dangerous. The final third of the book is the sprint to the finish, the political situation comes to a head, the genocide erupts and as the killings mount and the radio blares out hatred and lists of names to be killed, Jean Patrick finally runs the race of his life.

Running the Rift was a very layered story, moving the reader through this beautiful country that was seething with hatred, fear and ignorance just beneath the surface. I found this book to be riveting, thought-provoking and emotionally stirring. Naomi Benaron breathed life into these characters and delivered a first class story.

Oct 22, 2013, 4:17am Top

Running the Rift sounds an interesting read. Added it to the wish list.

Oct 22, 2013, 4:49am Top

That is a well-written review! I love reading what you have to say about the books you read, even when I know I'll never read the book in question. I'll keep an eye out for Running the Rift.

Oct 22, 2013, 12:02pm Top

I have added this book to my library's wish list. It sounds like a great way to introduce the Rwandan issues to high schoolers. I hope we can get it so I can read it, too.

Oct 22, 2013, 2:13pm Top

#103 - Hi Rhian, I loved how the author was able to handle such a difficult subject matter taking this ugly situation yet managing to write a sympathic story with real heart.

#104 - Thanks, Kay. Even though I checked it before I posted, I read over it again this morning and had to correct three errors, mostly because my fingers are moving faster than my brain!

#105 - Mamzel, I think this would be an excellent book to introduce this subject to high schoolers. I think it paints a very accurate picture of what was happening and how it escalated into genocide.

Edited: Oct 24, 2013, 8:07pm Top

155. The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell - 4.5 ★
Category: H.P. Lovecraft - Dark Fantasy
Halloween Theme Read
TIOLI #10: A Harvest Word in the Title

In The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell it’s been 25 years since the zombie apocalypse and America has changed forever. Peopled by zombies, mutants and human survivors, the landscape is now one of ruined cities, guarded enclaves, and wide open spaces. Temple was born into this world and her life has become one of wandering this decayed America while she ponders on the meaning of life, and where she ultimately belongs. Along the way she makes a life-long enemy, one who spends his time tracking and following her with an intent to end her life. She also finds a travelling companion in Maury, a mute retarded giant that she decides needs to be taken to a place of safety, hopefully among his own relatives.

I found this to be an amazing story, reminding me somewhat of The Road, in that our main characters wander this blighted country, meeting strangers, some whom are friendly and some whom are most decidedly not. There are zombies, but what Temple fears the most is the demon inside herself. There are some details in the book that stretch the imagination a little beyond believability and it’s these details that keep me from giving this book 5 stars.

This is an allegorical tale written in simple prose that is in turns both beautiful and gruesome. I loved the main character who was extremely efficient when dealing with zombies, but is still haunted by her past and mistakes that she believes she has made. In reading this book I couldn’t decide if I would label it as a biblical western or a southern gothic, but finally decided that labels need not be applied. The Reapers Are The Angels was simply a super read.

Oct 24, 2013, 2:13pm Top

Yay! Hoping to get to The Reapers Are the Angels next year.

Oct 24, 2013, 2:42pm Top

I've been looking at The Reapers Are the Angels for a while now. Your review is definitely pushing me toward reading it.

Oct 24, 2013, 5:49pm Top

Another BB for me by the looks of things.

Oct 25, 2013, 1:53pm Top

#108 - I see that this is one of those books that garners mixed reviews. I hope you like it as much as I did, Christina.

#109 & 110 - I thought it was a new(ish) look at the zombie story. Not perfect, but I personally loved the style of the writing and enjoyed the story.

Oct 25, 2013, 6:02pm Top

You and I have similar taste when it comes to characters, so I'm putting this on the wishlist - sounds very intriguing!

Oct 26, 2013, 12:58pm Top

#112 - Eva, I'll look forward to reading your thoughts on the book.

Edited: Oct 26, 2013, 1:03pm Top

156. Black Fly Season by Giles Blunt - 3.8 ★
Category: Lawrence Block - Male Authors of Crime
TIOLI #5: A Halloween Word From The Provided List Can Be Made From The Title Letters

This is the third book in his police procedural series, and Giles Blunt has offered up a page-turning thriller that involves drugs, murder, biker gangs and a witness with amnesia caused by being shot in the head. Cardinal and Delorme are working on this difficult case and at the same time battling the multitudes of black flies that make being outdoors in Northern Ontario a misery in the month of May.

I enjoy the Canadian setting of these books, as the fictional town of Algonquin Bay substitutes for North Bay, Ontario, and I find the characters are mostly well developed and interesting to read about. He has captured the feel of a smaller, northern town and the historical details about the military bases not having the same importance as in the days of the Cold War certainly rang true. I would however, like to see both the main characters developed a little more, especially Lise Delorme. She was very much present in the story, but had no character growth to speak of. The author does seem to have a great deal of knowledge regarding police procedures and the cooperation that is required from city, provincial and RCMP forces.

I fully intend to read on into this series and I am looking forward to seeing where Blunt takes Cardinal and Delorme next.

Oct 26, 2013, 3:21pm Top

You were one of the people responsible for putting the first of that series onto my tbr shelves but unfortunately I've not got around to it yet. Good to know the series carries on well though.

Edited: Oct 26, 2013, 6:04pm Top

I too have the first one on my TBR pile and I'm happy blaming Judy for it's place there also. I might pull it out for the police procedurals month in the Mystery Cat next year.

Oct 26, 2013, 7:10pm Top

For some reason I thought I had dipped into this series but apparently not.... the Blunt book I previously read was Breaking Lorca, which had me squeamish as I was reading it (it has a lot of prisoner interrogation torture scenes), and is part of the reason that I am cautious/leery of taking on any more Blunt books. Should I just steer clear of the Cardinal and Delorme series or do you think I might be give it a go?

Oct 27, 2013, 1:42pm Top

#115 - I am enjoying working my way through this series, apparently he bases his books on real cases. I knew the cases that the first two were based on, but not this one. I hope for all concerned that he dressed this up somewhat.

#116 - Hi Betty, the first book would be a great choice for police procedural month.

#117 - Lori, as you know I can handle quite a bit of "strong/explicit" stuff, but I wouldn't say these books are any more graphic than most police procedurals. What these books don't have is the black humor that often is used to lighten the atmosphere of violence and brutality. (eg. Stuart MacBride, Christopher Brookmyre and R.D. Wingfield). So, the best I can say is "Read at your own risk!"

Oct 27, 2013, 1:46pm Top

157. Let Him Go by Larry Watson - 5.0 ★
Early Reader's Review
Category: Dora Saint - Reader's Choice
October AlphaCat: W
TIOLI #16: Set in a Country That is Currently on the U.N. Security Council

In Let Him Go by Larry Watson we are drawn into the world of George and Margaret Blackledge, who, knowing that their deceased son’s wife has married a man who will be a cruel stepfather, embark on a quest to recover their grandson, feeling strongly that he deserves to be raised as a Blackledge not as a Weboy. George, an ex-sheriff, knows that this won’t be an easy or sure thing, but Margaret is righteous in her belief that this child should be raised by people who love him.

When they arrive at the small town in Montana and make their objective clear, they unleash upon themselves the might of the Weboys, with their controlling mother and evil uncle. I don’t think of myself as a vengeful person, but I was hoping that the Weboy clan would in turn suffer consequences for their brutality. This story of two families at war with each other was both gut-wrenching and real, and one that I could not put down.

Written in almost classic western style this story of love, revenge and redemption is elevated by the author’s use of sparse yet poetic prose delivered by strong, well developed characters to create a timeless story that cuts right to the heart. Let Him Go is a fantastic read, and Larry Watson is a master at both the art of storytelling and the craft of writing. I highly recommend this book.

Oct 27, 2013, 2:19pm Top

I didn't know Giles Blunt based his books on real cases (or has based some of them on real cases). Interesting!

Oct 27, 2013, 2:45pm Top

Nice review of the Giles Blunt book. I've got the first on my shelves and plan to read it as part of the MysteryCAT next year.

Oct 27, 2013, 2:50pm Top

#120 - Rabbitprincess, apparently Giles Blunt loosely based his first book on the Paul Bernardo/Karla Homolka case, the second was based on the 1970 FLQ crisis and the murder of Pierre LaPorte.

#121 - I hope I am able to work in his next one next year as well, I am beginning to fear that I may not have given myself enough categories in 2014 for all the mysteries that I like to read.

Oct 27, 2013, 7:07pm Top

Great review. Let Him Go sounds like an amazing book.

Oct 28, 2013, 1:02am Top

> 118 - Good to know, especially since I have both Stuart MacBride and Christopher Brookmyre lined up as possibilities for my 2014 challenge. I think I will see if I can find time this year to dip into Blunt's Cardinal and Delorme series.... just in case I need to re-think my category challenges a bit. ;-)

Oct 28, 2013, 6:15pm Top

#123 - Andrea, it is. :)

#124 - Good luck sorting through your choices, Lori.

Oct 28, 2013, 6:24pm Top

158. A High Wind in Jamaica†† by Richard Hughes - 3.8 ★
Category: Graham Greene - Author's I am Curious About
Commonwealth Challenge: Jamaica
October AlphaCat: J
TIOLI #5: A Halloween Word From the Provided List Can Be Made From the Letters in the Title

I found this a rather difficult book to write about. At first I was a little disappointed as it wasn’t the straight forward adventure story that I expected. But as I read on it became clear that this was an absorbing psychological character study on the nature of children. A High Wind In Jamaica tells of a group of young children travelling from Jamaica to school in England that inadvertently are captured by pirates. The pirates have no idea of what to do with these children and after one half-hearted attempt to get rid of them, basically ignore them and let them run wild on their ship. I was very much reminded of The Lord of the Flies, in that the author appears fully convinced that children, once lacking in adult supervision, quickly deviate into savages, totally without empathy, kindness or morals.

This is a disturbing story of children, and in particular one young girl, Emily, who at the age of ten has the power to give one chills with her thoughts and inner conversations. The children lose one of their own through his own misadventure but actually give him very little thought, they seem much more concerned with the fate of their pet pig who is destined to become dinner. I don’t totally agree with the author’s point of view, I think most people, child or adult, are born with a compassionate, loving nature and it is life’s circumstances that can harden them.

A High Wind in Jamaica is also about the complex relationships that exist between children and adults. I would certainly not call this a YA or children’s book as it deals with very adult matters from murder, awakening sexuality to implied rape. Overall an interesting read but the author didn’t manage to change my viewpoint.

Oct 28, 2013, 9:07pm Top

Judy> I've been curious about A High Wind in Jamaica, but never enough so to move it up on my reading list. I don't think I'm in any hurry to get to it after reading your review. It does sound interesting, but not enough so to add it to my rather long TBR list.

Oct 28, 2013, 11:02pm Top

I was very surprised at the story, Lori. I was really expecting a pirate adventure and it was so very far from that. I also thought I was picking up a YA read, but again I was very mistaken, this is definitely an adult themed book.

Oct 29, 2013, 10:39pm Top

Wow, I'm way behind here! Congrats on finishing your challenge!

I'm another that has the first from that Giles Blunt series waiting on the shelf. One of these days, I'll get to it.

Oct 30, 2013, 5:51pm Top

Hi Terri, good to see you. It's also good to hear that I am ahead of you in at least one of the series that we are both reading! :)

Oct 30, 2013, 5:58pm Top

159. The Woman In Black by Susan Hill - 4.3 ★
Category: H.P. Lovecraft - Dark Fantasy
Halloween Theme Reading
October AlphaCat: W
October RandomCat: "Dark Half"
TIOLI #6: A Book By An Author Who Has Judged the Man-Booker Prize

I am not going to write a full review of The Woman In Black as I see there are well over a hundred reviews already posted. I was trying to stretch this book out until Halloween, but the story grabbed me and I found myself gobbling it up. Not a problem as now I can get an early start on my planned November reading.

I though this short book was a very good ghost story and it managed to give me the chills a couple of time. I won’t swear to it, but I think I may have even shivered a little as well. The descriptive writing and the strange, eerie atmosphere made this a perfect read for a foggy October evening. The Woman In Black would make a good addition to anyone’s collection of ghost stories.

Oct 30, 2013, 7:06pm Top

I dug the movie, so I'm definitely going to read Woman in Black.

Oct 30, 2013, 10:07pm Top

And I haven't seen the movie yet, but know I am looking forward to it.

Oct 31, 2013, 7:06pm Top

I've seen the movie as well and the book is on the wishlist - since it's Halloween today, it won't be for this year's holiday, but maybe for next. :)

Nov 1, 2013, 10:11pm Top

160. The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland - 4.6 ★
Category: Patrick O'Brian - Historical Fiction
Reading Through Time Quarterly Theme: Napoleonic Era
TIOLI #4: Title Contains 15 or More Letters

The first of a trilogy, The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. is by Sandra Gulland. I found this first volume to be a compelling, extremely readable story about a young girl, Marie-Josephe-Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, from the island of Martinique, who eventually, through her marriage to Napoleon Buonaparte, becomes the first Empress of France.

The story is told through her diaries and letters and appears to have been thoroughly researched with many footnotes detailing the actual events that are mentioned in passing. This book covers her life from age fourteen through to her betrothal and unhappy marriage to Alexandre de Beauharnais. This was never a love match, but they did have two children, a boy, Eugene, and a girl, Hortense. Although she went by the name of Rose through all her younger years, Napoleon decided to call her Josephine, and this became how she is known historically. Her married life was brought to an unhappy conclusion with the death of her husband at the guillotine. Rose herself was imprisoned but was released five days after her husband’s death. This first volume concludes with the marriage of Josephine and Napoleon.

This was great read, rich with historical details, full of political intrigue, revolution and romance. Josephine comes across as a real person with hopes and dreams and I was pleased to find her such an appealing heroine. I will certainly be continuing on with this trilogy as I am eager to learn more about this fascinating woman of history.

Nov 2, 2013, 8:37pm Top

I have always wondered about Josephine's background, having not read much about her beyond her marriage to her very famous husband. Adding Gulland's book to the future book list.

Nov 3, 2013, 2:52pm Top

Hi Lori, as it turns out Josephine has a very interesting background, I am looking forward to reading on about her life.

Nov 3, 2013, 8:04pm Top

161. You Are One of Them by Elliott Holt - 3.4 ★
Category: Dora Saint - Reader's Choice
November AlphaCat: Y
TIOLI #4: Title Contains 15 or More Letters

You Are One of Them by Elliot Holt is a coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of the fear and anxiety that gripped America during the cold war. In 1982, two ten year old girls compose letters to the leader of the Soviet Union, Yuri Andropov. One of these little girls, Jenny, gets not only an answer to her letter but an invitation for herself and her family to visit Russia. Jenny becomes a instant celebrity and soon the other girl, Sarah has been left behind, ignored, feeling left out and missing her best friend. When Jenny and her parents perish in a plane crash, Sarah has difficulty coming to terms with her death.

Flash forward 10 years, and Sarah has now graduated from university when she receives a mysterious letter from a woman that Jenny met in Moscow. The letter implies that perhaps Jenny and her family did not perish in the plane crash . Sarah immediately sets off to Russia hoping to find answers. But is this a dangerous secret that waits to revealed or an elaborate hoax?

An interesting read, but truthfully I never felt fully connected to the story. I think I was looking for more of a mystery than the book actually turned out to be. Ultimately this was more about Sarah, her inner conflicts and resolving her unfinished issues that lingered from not having closure with Jenny. I did feel that the author’s descriptions of the budding friendship between the two girls was very well done, and also thought the frustrations and difficulties in trying to converse much less get answers in a country like Russia was both accurate and at times quite humorous.

Edited: Nov 5, 2013, 4:48pm Top

162. Among Others by Jo Walton - 3.8 ★
Category: J.M. Barrie - YA & Children's Literature
November AwardCat: 2012 Hugo Award Winner of Best Novel
TIOLI #6: Author's Name or Title of Book Starts with a Straight Letter


I am probably in the minority here, but I wasn’t totally blown away by Jo Walton’s Among Others. I found the author’s use of books as a story device both original and interesting, her obvious love of the genre of science-fiction shines on every page, and her main character gobbling up book after book reminds me of my own young years. I think my problem was in relating to the actual genre. I have discovered sci-fi later in life, so the books that she mentions didn’t resonate with me the way they would with a sci-fi lover who was introduced to the genre at a young age and discovered for themselves many of the books mentioned in these pages.

The story itself was intriguing and raised a lot of questions. A young girl recovering from a horrendous accident, that she explains as a magical battle where she and her twin sister fought their witch mother and although the girls won, she was left crippled and her twin lost her life. But, reading between the pages, did this really happen? I got the feeling that there was a car accident that Mori blamed on her mother. She mentions once that it was her mother that pulled the plug on her sister’s life support system. Mori ran away from home and was taken into child care, but now she appears to be in the custody of her father, a man she never knew before. She finds herself being sent to a boarding school where she doesn’t fit in, so it’s no wonder that she finds escape from her anger, confusion and despair in books and her own imagination.

The author did end the story on a hopeful note, Mori was starting to fit in, finding a few friends, and learning how to cope with life as it is. No, I can’t say that I was totally blown away by Among Others, but I enjoyed my time spent with the book and felt a genuine connection to author’s passion for reading.

Edited: Nov 7, 2013, 10:40pm Top

163. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - 2.8 ★
Category: Patrick O'Brian - Historical Fiction
November RandomCat: Author Shares First Name With One of the Pilgrims
Reading Through Time Monthly Theme: World War II
TIOLI #17: Read a Book About a Veteran, Conflict or War


I really struggled with Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, almost giving up more than once. I had fully expected to love this story, it seems very popular and is set in a time period that I love to read about. Unfortunately I found it unbelievable and rather meandering in it’s style. I enjoyed the parts that were from Maddie’s perspective more than those from Julie. Those I found totally improbable. I was easily able to read between the lines and could see that Julie was far from the coward she was pretending to be. I could also sense that she was going to be the martyr heroine, and perhaps because of this she never came across as “real”.

Overall, I simply found the plot too preposterous and I wasn’t able to let myself go and sink into the story. I know this book was written for a younger audience but even so I found myself constantly distracted by plot holes and inconsistencies. Obviously even though I wanted it to be, Code Name Verity simply isn't the book for me.

Nov 7, 2013, 11:02pm Top

Agree about Verity - I never understood all the love for the book. While I didn't hate it, I remember being a bit bored and feeling like there wasn't anything new to be gained from reading it.

Nov 8, 2013, 8:19am Top

This sounds familiar although I haven't read it. I think it might have been on a "sometime in he future" list, but will be taking it off. ( I found it in my "recommended by LT" collection, but am taking it off.)

Nov 8, 2013, 8:48am Top

My daughter's reading it now and really enjoying it. She wants me to read it as soon as she's finished, so I'll have an opinion soon.

Nov 8, 2013, 11:30am Top

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this book. I found it a real page turner and the ending had me jumping out of my chair. This is the kind of book that makes me happy that I work in a high school library and have access to books like this.

Nov 8, 2013, 11:54am Top

@ 140 -- What?! Nooooo! I loved Code Name Verity! Sorry it didn't work for you.

Nov 8, 2013, 1:54pm Top

#141 - I am glad that I am not the only one who wasn't blown away by Code Name Verity.

#142 - Betty, I think you should give it a try. It's been very well received by most readers and I would hate to think I've turned you away from a book you may very well love.

#143 - I will be interested in your opinion, Kay. I have read a lot of books set in WW II so perhaps I am a little biased. I can see that this book would have a great appeal for the YA audience.

#144 - Mamzel, I agree that the action picked up by the end of the book, and that the friendship between Julie and Maddie was heartfelt, but I just couldn't swallow a great deal of the plot. I do think that this could be a good introduction and serve as a stepping stone for WW II fiction.

#145 - I know, Christina, I really thought I was going to love this book. Maybe I am just being a cranky-pants, but the love just didn't come. :(

Edited: Nov 8, 2013, 5:04pm Top

164. The Sandman Vol. 10: The Wake by Neil Gaiman - 4.3 ★
Category: Neil Gaiman - Graphic Novels
The Sandman Yearly Group Read


The Sandman Vol 10: The Wake opens with a detailed story on the wake held for Morpheus, and I admit I was quite touched by the heartfelt goodbyes. Matthew plays an important role in this story as he struggles to accept and move on. Continuing on with the theme of closure, we are also given stories featuring both Hob and Shakespeare and both these stories have a feeling of finality. But the book also gives us insight into the Endless and why they are called so.

I am feeling rather blue to have reached the end, and although I would not rate this volume as highly as the previous one called The Kindly Ones, it is nevertheless a fitting finale to this dark, romantic, twisted and quite wonderful epic.

Nov 9, 2013, 12:02am Top

I guess you are not surprised to hear that most people who have read the series tend to go back and reread in order to spend time in that world. :)

Nov 9, 2013, 6:49pm Top

Rereading The Sandman series is very appealing. Now that I have gone thought the series the one time, I know I could pick up on so much more on a second trip.

Nov 10, 2013, 10:29pm Top

165. Fighting Caravans by Zane Grey - 3.4 ★
Category: Edgar Rice Burroughs - Adventure
Zane Grey November
TIOLI #20: Another Title Can Be Made By Scrambling the Letters of The Title

I have mixed feelings about Fighting Caravans by Zane Grey. On the one hand this was a thrilling adventure story, but on the other, his historical facts were few and far between. This is the story of a young boy, Clint Belmet, who is travelling west with his parents when they are attacked by a group of Comanche. They are able to fight them off, but Clint’s mother takes a bullet and dies. Clint and his father then decide that they don’t have the heart to homestead without her, and so become freight wagon drivers. This is a dangerous job as they pick up goods in Kansas City and transport them to forts along the western trail, often travelling as far as Santa Fe.

There were so many Indian battles in this book that they became a little repetitious and I know for a fact that there wasn’t an unlimited Indian population on the American plains so these battles where up to 60 Indians are killed are definitely the work of Grey’s imagination. Originally published in 1929, there is a great deal of racial stereotyping and a far bit of prejudice as well. I have read other Zane Grey’s where his point of view is very fair to the Indian so I am thinking that these prejudices were included to reflect the feeling of the times not the author’s personal point of view.

Where this book shines is in his description of the American West. He captures on the page the sights, sounds and smells of the open prairie and transports his reader to another place and time. Although the language is dated and there are lines such as the cringe-worthy, “The only good Indian is a dead one”, I feel that Fighting Caravans does accurately portray the attitudes and customs of this particular time in the opening of the American West.

Nov 13, 2013, 5:23pm Top

166. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold - 4.5 ★
Category: Hans Christian Andersen - Fantasy
November AwardCat: 2002 Hugo Award
TIOLI #30: Another Title Can Be Made From the Scrambled Letters of the Title

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold is a wonderful old-time fantasy that blends adventure, politics, religion and romance. Following the battered, almost broken ex-soldier, Cazaril as he thinks he has found a place of quiet and safety with his a simple job of secretary-tutor to a couple of high class young girls. But one of the girls, the beautiful, strong willed Iselle isn’t just any girl, she is a member of the House of Chalion and happens to be second in line for the throne behind her impetuous younger brother. When her sickly elder half-brother calls these two young people to take their place at court, Cazaril finds himself standing as protector between Iselle and the unscrupulous Chancellor, Dy Jironal and his evil brother. Worse even than this is the discovery of an dark curse that has been cast upon the House of Chalion. A saviour is needed, could Cazaril be the one to lift this darkness?

Lois McMaster Bujold has created characters that are fully fleshed out, so although the plot is somewhat familiar, it is these characters that make it come to such vivid life. The reluctant hero, Cazaril is one that I grew very fond of and will long remember. She has also developed a wonderful, medieval world which includes an intricate religion which plays an important part in the story.

The Curse of Chalion has a quiet understated tone yet the reader is continuously drawn deeper and deeper into this world. I totally enjoyed the time I spent immersed in this book.

Nov 13, 2013, 5:32pm Top

wonderful old-time fantasy
I feel like I need to read more of these. I don't read them often but tend to enjoy them when I do. Sounds like I would like The Curse of Chalion.

Nov 14, 2013, 10:32am Top

Yet more motivation to read The Curse of Chalion, which has been on my TBR list for ages!

Nov 14, 2013, 4:32pm Top

#152 - Andrea, I found this almost a comfort read. I loved the setting and the characters. I am looking forward to exploring more of this trilogy.

#153 - Christina, The Curse of Chalion had been on my wishlist for quite some time as well. It's so difficult to get to all the books that we want to read in anything even resembling a timely fashion!

Nov 15, 2013, 9:42pm Top

167. Good Graces by Lesley Kagen - 4.5 ★
Category: Dora Saint - Reader's Choice
November AlphaCat: K
TIOLI #5: Rolling Challenge Based on Colors on Cover

In Good Graces by Lesley Kagen we revisit the fabulous O’Malley sisters in Milwaukee during the summer of 1960. It’s been one year since the events of Whistling In the Dark and although a few things have changed, twelve year old Sally is still trying to honor her promise made to her dying father to protect her younger sister, Troo. Troo, on her part, doesn’t make this easy. She seems to be focused on behaving badly and getting herself in trouble, from shop-lifting at the local five and dime to skipping out on her extra religious instruction with Father Timothy.

Although the girls’ mother is home from the hospital and on the mend, and they are all now living with Detective Dave Rasmussen, the sisters aren’t getting too much supervision and are free to wander the neighbourhood and spend lots of time with their friends. The days are long and hot, and the kids have lots of things to talk about, from the disappearance of an orphan boy, to a rash of burglaries, and the news that Greasy Al has escaped the reform school and could be on his way back to Milwaukee to seek his revenge on Troo.

The story is told by Sally, and the author has captured the intonation and innocence of a twelve year old beautifully as the story becomes in turns funny, irreverent, earnest and thoughtful . Troo is wonderfully independent, and more than a bit of a drama-queen. All the characters are well-rounded and real. These books remind me very much of my own childhood.

I thoroughly enjoyed my revisit with the O’Malley sisters, the author has delivered a moving, humorous story with a touch of suspense. A story that is both charming and riveting.

Nov 17, 2013, 3:14pm Top

168. Lord Grizzly by Frederick Manfred - 4.6 ★
Category: Edgar Rice Burroughs - Adventure
November AwardCat: 1955 Fiction Finalist - National Book Award
TIOLI #6: Authors Name or Title of Book Starts With A Straight Letter

Lord Grizzly by Frederick Manfred is a mythical survivor story based on fact. Hugh Glass was part of a fur-trapping brigade travelling up the Missouri River in September of 1822. While out hunting, Glass surprised a mother Grizzly bear with two cubs. Before he could react, the bear was on him. The bear did tremendous damage, but when he regained consciousness and discovered that he had been tended to and then left to die fuelled his rage to the point that he was able to drag himself over 200 miles back to Fort Kiowa. He then embarked on a trail of vengeance against his best friends that had left him to die alone and weaponless in the wild.

An amazing story and in the capable hands of author Frederick Manfred the legend and the facts are blended into one almost unsurpassable adventure story. His descriptions are spot on, whether he’s writing of hostile Indians, the natural wildlife, or the scope and vistas of the American west, he paints a rich yet real picture of this wilderness.

Lord Grizzly is a book I would recommend to anyone with an interest in the American West. The author writes of an incredible event and manages to do so without placing the main character on a pedestal. Hugh Glass is portrayed as a real human with many flaws, and like many men that migrated to the west in those days, one that had both selfish and slightly shady reasons for doing so. The author makes no excuses for this character but simply tells the story and leaves it’s moral quandaries in the reader’s hands.

Nov 18, 2013, 1:56am Top

Lord Grizzly sounds very cool. I haven't read many westerns or frontier tales, but I keep meaning to read some. My granddad was particularly fond of Louis L'Amour. So maybe Lord Grizzly is a good place for me to start.

Nov 18, 2013, 12:13pm Top

Hi Andrea. it's quite the story, and all the more fantastic with the knowledge that it's based on a true story. I love westerns and have actually put this category back into my next year's lineup. But if I was going to recommend one book to a western "newbie", it would have to be Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. As long as the sheer size of the book doesn't daunt you. It's a wonderful story and one that even people who swear they don't like westerns seem to love.

Nov 18, 2013, 3:45pm Top

169. Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery - 3.4 ★
Category: J.M. Barrie - YA and Children's Literature
TIOLI #5: Rolling Challenge Based on the Colors On Cover

Anne of Windy Poplars is the fourth book in the Anne series, and this one is told in epistolary style as Anne has become the principal of Summerside High School and is writing letters to her finance Gilbert while he is in medical school. This book covers the three years that the two have to wait until Gilbert becomes a doctor and they are able to marry.

Windy Poplars is the home that Annie is boarding in. Owned by two widows and run by a salt-of-the-earth housekeeper, Anne arrives like a breath of spring air. Along with these women, Anne makes other friends in and around Summerside and is able in her own winning way to bring happiness and change into many lives. This book comes to an end as Anne returns home to Green Gables knowing in a very short while she will finally become Mrs. Gilbert Blyth.

I was a little disappointed with Anne of Windy Poplars as much of the story felt repetitious and Anne seemed a little too perfect. I missed the Anne that often make mistakes and learned life lessons from her errors. I found the author seemed more moralistic and a little preach-y in this volume. I also missed the great descriptive writing about the passing of the seasons that I have enjoyed in the previous three volumes. I note that this book is often the one missing from boxed sets of the Anne of Green Gables series, and I also know that although it is the fourth book in chronological order, it was actually the seventh one to be published.

Nov 19, 2013, 2:50am Top

I've never read past Anne of the Island and I think I'll keep it that way. I don't want a mature, even-tempered Anne.

Your reading is impressively diverse.

Nov 20, 2013, 12:39pm Top

Hi Kay, I admit that I definitely prefered reading about Anne's earlier years, but I am bound and determined to read through the whole series so I will carry on with Anne's House of Dreams next month.

Diverse is a good word. I tend to think of myself as "Jack of all trades, master of none"!

Nov 20, 2013, 12:46pm Top

170. Riders of the Purple Sage†† by Zane Grey - 2.5 ★
Category: Edgar Rice Burroughs - Adventure
Zane Grey November Group Read
TIOLI #4: A Book Whose Title Contains 15 Letters or More

Zane Grey never allowed political correctness or historical accuracy to interfere in his storytelling but in the case of the overly dramatic, downright cheesy Riders of the Purple Sage, he should have. I am a fan of Grey’s and have enjoyed other books of his that I have read, but I really had trouble sticking with this story to the end. This is a book that should have disappeared, stored away up in grandpa’s dusty attic years ago. It is certainly not a book that should be used today to represent Zane Grey’s work.

I had hoped that Riders of the Purple Sage would be a straight forward “cowboy story”, instead it is a strange blend of Morman bashing and romance. The plot points sound good on paper: Cattle rustlers, two couples falling in love and overcoming many obstacles to be together, along with horse stealing, a mysterious masked rider and a little orphan girl, but the one point the readers will take away from this book is the low opinion of Mormon’s that the author must have had. The one area that I felt Zane Grey excelled in was his beautiful descriptive writing. Although it seemed a little over-blown at times, I have travelled in this area of Southern Utah and the colors and scenery are incredible.

Riders of the Purple Sage was originally published in 1912 and unfortunately just doesn’t hold up well today.

Nov 21, 2013, 9:15am Top

Looks like you didn't enjoy it much more than I did.

Nov 21, 2013, 2:11pm Top

Lori, I was very disappointed as I have read much better from this author. As well as the cringe-worthy Morman bashing, I found the story itself rather silly as well.

Nov 21, 2013, 2:19pm Top

171. Escape from Berlin by Irene N. Watts - 4.2 ★
Category: J.M. Barrie - YA and Children's Literature
Early Review Program
November Reading Through Time Monthly Theme: WW II
TIOLI #4: A Book Whose Title Contains 15 Letters or More

Escape from Berlin by Irene N. Watts is composed of three novellas that blend perfectly together to make one cohesive story about Jewish children who were saved from the Nazi’s by the Kindertransport. The Kindertransport was a program set up by the Refugee Children’s Movement with the full support of the British Government and many other groups. In the nine months before the war “at-risk’ children were moved out of Germany to safety in Britain. During this time, over ten thousand children were saved. These stories are being issued as one book in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Kindertransport.

The book is told from two of the children’s point of view, starting in 1938 with eleven year old, Marianne Kohn. Her parents reach the difficult decision to send her to England with the knowledge that they themselves would possibly not be able to get out of Germany. On the train to England, Marianne watches out for seven year old Sophie Mandel after her mother thrusts her on the train just as it is pulling out.

The story captures beautifully the confusion, fear and sadness of the girls as they are sent away from their parents, their home and their country and set down in a place where they are strangers. This was an emotional and moving account of these children as they struggle with a different language and a different religion along with strange foods and customs and overwhelming homesickness. That they eventually adapt and actually thrived had a great deal to do with new friends and guardians.

At the end of the war these two girls have grown into young women of eighteen and fourteen. They meet again at a hospital where Marianne is training to be a nurse and Sophie volunteers. The end of the war brings with it a new set of anxieties as now they wait to hear some word of not only what happened to their families but also are they willing give up the lives they have in England to be with family that they haven’t seen in seven years.

Wonderfully written, this would be an excellent book for young readers to gain an understanding of what was actually happening in Germany to the non-Aryan residents both through the war and in the years leading up to it. The author herself was a child saved by the Kindertransport, and although this isn’t her story , Escape from Berlin gives an accurate picture of what these children experienced.

Nov 21, 2013, 3:40pm Top

That last one sounds very good! Great review, Judy!

Nov 21, 2013, 9:54pm Top

Kindertransport sounds like an interesting topic.

Nov 21, 2013, 11:29pm Top

What a scary experience that must have been - great review!

Nov 22, 2013, 6:09pm Top

#166 - Terri, I was pleasantly surprised by Escape from Berlin. I knew it was a YA book, and didn't anticipate that I would be drawn in as much as I was. It was a very good read and I am now planning on passing it along to my Mom who I think will also really like this book.

#167 - Tricia, as so often happens this book has stirred my interest and I would very much like to read more about the Kindertransport. My library has a non-fiction book called Rescuing the Children: the story of the Kindertransport by Deborah Hodge that I am adding to my TBR list.

#168 - Hi Eva, I was pleased that the book was well rounded, and although some guardians were depicted as rather uncaring and mostly just wanted someone to train as a servant this was the minority, on the whole the guardians that came forward seemed to be caring, responsible people. Even so for a young child to have to live in a foreign country without the support of their parents must have been so hard. Then once they were settled, many had to go through the whole process again when the children were evacuated from London in the early days of the war.

Nov 23, 2013, 2:20pm Top

172. Birds, Beasts and Relatives by Gerald Durrell - 4.1 ★
Category: Pierre Burton - Non-Fiction
TIOLI #15: A Book Title that Completes the Phrase "I Am Thankful For ..."

As the author’s family feared, Gerald Durrell had many more stories of their life in Corfu to tell, and in Birds, Beasts and Relatives, the second of his Corfu Trilogy, he delivers a few of his favorites ones. As always this interesting clan with their varied interests, vague mother and Gerry’s assorted creatures makes for delightful reading.

Extremely entertaining, this short volume is chock full of stories that are both humorous and informative. Whether he is making discoveries of curious creatures like the strange spider crabs or dancing with Pavlo the bear, Gerry is living a childhood that we all wish could have been ours.

And with all of his humorous tales and vivid descriptions the beautiful sun-drenched island of Corfu comes alive. Gerald Durrell had a wonderful time in the years he spent there and his Corfu Trilogy lets us all in on his adventure.

Nov 23, 2013, 3:09pm Top

I've ordered a couple from my library about Kindertransport including the one by Hodge.

Nov 23, 2013, 4:40pm Top

I love the cover illustration as well as the title of Birds, Beasts and Relatives. I haven't read the first in the trilogy. I'm sure it is better to read the trilogy in order, but I'm wondering if it works as a stand-alone?

Nov 23, 2013, 6:04pm Top

#171 - I'll keep an eye our for your thoughts on that book, Tricia. It seems to be the only one in my library that deals with the subject of the Kindertransport so I hope it's a good one.

#172 - Lori, as these books are really a collection of stories loosely woven together I think they could very easily be read as a stand-alone. That being said, the first one, My Family and Other Animals is still my favorite. It might just be my favorite because it was the first and so the others have paled by comparison.

Nov 23, 2013, 6:39pm Top

I added the first one to the wish list with a note that the second one is the one that caught my eye.

Nov 24, 2013, 7:29am Top

I have the first one in my TBR pile now because of your comments made last year (year before?). Didn't get to it this year but I have an animal category for next year that I'm going to try and fit it into. Now I'll be adding the second to my wishlist.

Nov 24, 2013, 6:40pm Top

Lori and Betty, these are great books and I hope you enjoy them when you get to them. I hope I am able to fit the last one in next year sometime.

Nov 24, 2013, 10:35pm Top

I'm just catching up with your reviews and I'm so glad to see your positive review of Curse of Chalion. I'm still working on the Vorkosigan series (and will be reading plenty of Vorkosigan stories for the 2014 group read) but I've also got Curse of Chalion waiting on my bookshelf.

Nov 25, 2013, 1:31pm Top

Paulina, 2014 is going to be a year of Lois McMaster Bujold reading as I want to continue with the Chalion series as well as the group read of the Vorkosigan series. Instead of every month, I have decided to read a Vorkosigan book every other month in order to fit in all the other books I want to get to.

Edited: Nov 25, 2013, 1:50pm Top

173. The Winthrop Woman †† by Anya Seton - 4.6 ★
Category: Patrick O'Brian - Historical Fiction
November AwardCat: 1959 Fiction Finalist - National Book Award
November RandomCat: Main Character Shares Her Name With One of the Pilgrims
TIOLI #6: Title Or Author's Name Starts With a Straight Letter

This was a very satisfactory read. In The Winthrop Woman, Anya Seton writes a rich and varied story about one woman’s life and by doing so provides extensive historical data on the early days of the American colonies. The political and religious strife, the difficulties with both the native Indians and the neighbouring Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, as well as the perilous nature of life lived on the edge of a vast wilderness are all explored in this book.

Elizabeth Winthrop was a beautiful, strong willed, healthy woman who unfortunately did not easily fit into the life that was meant to be hers. She was not willing to be a subservient chattel, to be ordered around by her male guardians, neither could she live the strict Puritan lifestyle that was expected of her, but by being both strong and independent she brought much hardship and difficulties into her life. That Elizabeth Winthrop was a real person who lived in the 1600’s and was related to a family that provided leadership to the American colonies made the story all the more interesting.

Extremely well written and researched, this is historical fiction at it’s best. A great story, wonderful characters and a realistic look at past events that helped to shape the future. This is a fascinating time to read about and the author’s skill at giving Elizabeth’s story both romance and adventure but still staying true to the conservative nature of the early settlers and the hardships that they faced makes this a great read.

Nov 25, 2013, 2:04pm Top

Nice review of The Winthrop Woman! I've been meaning to try more of Anya Seton's books after reading and loving Katherine a couple years ago.

Nov 25, 2013, 5:10pm Top

I read a lot of Anya Seton when I was younger and am now working my way through her books again. So far I have read Dragonwyck, Green Darkness and now The Winthrop Woman. They were all very good. I will probably go with Katherine next.

Nov 25, 2013, 7:07pm Top

I have yet to read any Anya Seton, but I have Avalon sitting on my bookshelf. Sounds like she's an author I should try out.

Nov 26, 2013, 2:02am Top

#182 - Andrea, I don't think I have read Avalon but I will have to look into it.

Nov 26, 2013, 2:14am Top

The Winthrop Woman does look interesting, and I think you are due a few bonus points for finding a book that not only fits the RandomCAT, but is set during Colonial times!

Nov 26, 2013, 8:15am Top

>178 DeltaQueen50:: That sounds like a good idea. I'll probably try to fit in at least one book from the Chalion series as well, in between Vorkosigan reads.

Nov 26, 2013, 12:31pm Top

#184 - It never even dawned on me that the book fit the RandomCat until I was actually about to post it to my thread. Duhh!!

#185 - I have to rein in my book planning a little as I don't want to overplan and then find I don't feel like reading everything I have committed to.

Nov 26, 2013, 12:44pm Top

174. Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther - 4.1 ★
Category: Graham Greene - Authors I Am Curious About
Reading Through Time Monthly Theme: WWII
TIOLI #6: Title or Author's Name Starts With a Straight Letter

The Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struthers that I just read has very little in common with the 1942 film of the same name starring Greer Garson. But looking a little closer, perhaps the film is the future for the Miniver family, what happened after the book closed. In any case, both the book and the movie paint a distinct picture of the stoic English upper middle class of the 1930’s.

First off I loved how the author set the scene, imprinting vividly the absolute Englishness of Mrs. Miniver and her family. The book is comprised of a series of essays, and whether it’s her gentle musings on her home, family and friends, or her razor-sharp observations on human nature in general, Mrs. Miniver is a joy to read. The war is very much in the background of this book, you sense it coming along on cat’s paws, first lightly mentioned in passing, then on to the fitting of gas masks, and eventually we find Mrs. Miniver planning her 1939 Christmas that will include her seven evacuee children and may not include her husband unless he is able to get leave from his unit to be with them.

The book is deceptively charming and sentimental, but underneath you can feel strength of purpose and steadfastness that the author is portraying, Mrs. Miniver was originally meant as a propaganda article and was published in the newspaper, nevertheless this is a literary piece that captures a certain type of woman in what will probably be her finest hour.

Nov 28, 2013, 10:14pm Top

175. Wish Upon A Star†† by Trisha Ashley - 3.1 ★
Category: Dora Saint - Reader's Choice
TIOLI #3: Read a Book With A Holiday Theme

I picked this up to help close out the month of November and to hopefully get a start on the festive season with a Christmas story. Wish Upon A Star by Trisha Ashley tells the story of Cally and her young daughter, Stella. They have moved to the village of Sticklepond to live with Cally‘s mother in order to help save money for a trip to the United States so Stella can have an experimental operation that she needs. Meanwhile, Jago is also new to the area and he is looking for a location to set up his wedding cake business. Cally is into cakes as well and writes recipes in both a magazine and a Sunday Supplement. This is not the right time for either of them to be getting involved in a relationship, but it appears to everyone that these two are perfect for each other and they can only fool themselves for so long.

This story could easily have been overly sentimental but the author manages to keep the story moving along and does not allow it to bog down in pathos. Stella is a very sick child but the characters around her remain optimistic that the operation will give her a normal life. The bulk of the story is about the raising of the money for Stella’s operation, and the establishing of Jago’s business. There are a couple of over-the-top ex-fiancés that were a little silly, but overall this was a nice light romance with enough seasonal touches to give it a festive feel. The book reaches it’s romantic conclusion as Christmas draws near and it brings a nice, satisfying closure to the story.

This is the first book I have read by Trisha Ashley, and I understand that she often bases her stories in this village which seems to have an almost magical feeling about it. Although this story was not exactly a show stopper, I would certainly like to try other books by this author. One warning however, be prepared to read about a wide variety of yummy sounding cakes (some recipes are provided in the back of the book).

Dec 1, 2013, 4:58pm Top

176. The Song Is You by Megan Abbott - 4.4 ★
Category: Kate Atkinson - Women Authors of Crime
December Random Cat: Auld Acquaintances
TIOLI #3: Rolling Challenge by Country

Through all the powder, greasepaint and glamour, we’ve always known that the Hollywood that we see on the screen is an illusion. In The Song Is You, author Megan Abbott cuts through the illusion and shows the slick, sleazy and dangerous underbelly that was part of the film business of the late 1940‘s and early 1950’s.

By mixing real life stories with fiction, the author delivers a spellbinding noir narrative that is both a seductive mystery and a tour of the murky, sordid tinseltown that was kept tightly under wraps by the big studios’ publicity departments. These tragedies of real life aspiring actresses Jean Spangler and Barbara Payton, one an apparent murder victim and the other a example of how too much sex, alcohol and bad publicity could send someone on a downward spiral with no chance of recovery are ingeniously woven together with her own fictional characters to create an atmospheric story that had me running to Google more than once to sort the fact from the fiction.

I found The Song Is You to be a twisted, ardent tale about a Hollywood cover-up and one man’s guilty desire to know what really happened on that fateful night that he walked away. This is not a story for those that are sensitive to violence and sexual depravity, but frankly I totally fell under it’s spell.

Dec 3, 2013, 12:39pm Top

177. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - 3.6 ★
Category: Dora Saint - Reader's Choice
December AlphaCat: L
50 States Reading Challenge: South Carolina
TIOLI #4: Secrets & Lies

Set in South Carolina during 1964, The Secret Life of Bees is an eloquent and emotional coming-of-age story about a young girl called Lily who is being raised by a harsh and unloving father. Shadowing Lily’s life are the sad events that occurred the day her mother died. Lily has been raised by a black woman, Rosaleen, and when Rosaleen gets into trouble with three racists and is beaten and thrown in jail, Lily is able to free her and the two embark on a life altering trip to find a place of safety and love.

I was a little sceptical about this book, fearing it would be overly sentimental but both the story and the writing won me over. A young white girl living with a group of eccentric black women who teach her about not only the meaning of family but also of the empowerment of women made for a poignant and touching tale. That the book is written in a strong authentic southern voice made the characters come alive and the story seamless.

There does seem to be a running theme in many books by southern authors these days of white girls learning life lessons while getting love and security from a black woman but even though the plot was familiar, I enjoyed this particular book and would recommend The Secret Life of Bees to anyone who enjoys this type of story.

Dec 3, 2013, 6:28pm Top

I love The Secret Life of Bees movie and have been meaning to read the book for a while now. I find myself drawn to sentimental stories sometimes, but then, I like a good cry. ;)

Edited: Dec 3, 2013, 6:39pm Top

>189 DeltaQueen50:, The Song is You sounds fascinating. I'll have to add it to the pile of "Things to Read in 2014".

Dec 4, 2013, 10:59pm Top

#191 - I am now eager to see the movie version of The Secret Life of Bees. Surprisingly this book didn't dissolve me in tears, just the odd trickle. ;)

#192 - I hope you enjoy The Song Is You when you get to it. I am looking forward to reading more of this author.

Dec 4, 2013, 11:03pm Top

178. London Calling by Edward Bloor - 3.7 ★
December AlphaCat: L
Reading Through Time Monthly Theme: Time Travel
TIOLI #1: Has a 2 Word Tag That Starts With the Same Letter

I quite enjoyed London Calling by Edward Bloor, a time travelling story where a young American boy from 2005 travels back to 1940 London during the Blitz by way of an old radio that he inherited from his grandmother. He meets up with another young boy who seems to expect him and who requires him to witness certain events. These events are then used in the future to resolve certain issues. Along the way, his family gets a new direction that puts them on the road to healing.

This is a YA book and I think a very good one, but it is very slow at the start and I don’t know if it would hold the attention of a younger person long enough for them to get immersed in the plot. If they stick with it, they will be rewarded with a very good story that is interesting and has a degree of complexity. The main character is a Catholic and spiritual beliefs come into play as well.

London Calling would be an excellent introduction or jumping off place for young readers to learn about the Blitz.

Dec 5, 2013, 5:47am Top

>194 DeltaQueen50: I think I would like that one. I'll have to check and see if it's available from the library.

Dec 5, 2013, 7:03pm Top

->190 DeltaQueen50:
Is that the one where she's made to kneel on grits as a punishment? Confused the heck out of me that they would keep that in the pantry - being not American, for me grit is just small gravel. :)

Dec 5, 2013, 10:53pm Top

#194 - I hope you are able to track it down, Carrie.

#195 - LOL Eva! Grits isn't something that is readily available here in Canada either, but I think it's quite coarse, along the lines of cornmeal but rougher. I know when I read about her having to kneel on grits, I winced and rubbed my knees in sympathy.

Dec 5, 2013, 11:03pm Top

I spent today Christmas shopping and I am just about finished. My daughter is on quest to have my grandson disconnected from the X-box more and do something else, preferrably reading. Of course I was the once charged with getting him a book or two. I have no idea what a 14 year old boy would want, but I do know that he is very interested in anything to do with WW II. So I got him King Rat by James Clavell about a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp and a non-fiction book called Jungleland: A Mysterious Lost City, a WWII Spy and a True Story of Deadly Adventure by Christopher S. Stewart. I hope these aren't too adult for him. I think I will tell him that if he doesn't like the books I will buy them back from him. I've read King Rat but the other one definitely intrigues me.

Dec 6, 2013, 4:56am Top

It's been a while since I've read King Rat too, Judi, but those sound like a good choice to me. I buy each great- niece and nephew a book at birthday and Christmas and I'm always a little worried that I'm either buying above or below their level of reading or interest. I have a sister who is a children's librarian so I can always call and ask her at least. I know that one book I bought this year will be a little above the vocabulary level of my niece so I asked my sister (it's her granddaughter) if she had a dictionary yet (she doesn't) so my sister is going to get her that for a gift. I still have a little pink leather dictionary my aunt gave me when I was about 8 or 9. It was a great gift and I think of her fondly when I look at it on my shelf.

Dec 6, 2013, 12:09pm Top

Betty, I do remember that I was reading adult books by the time I was 14 and I think these books will hold his interest. I certainly feel much more sure of myself when it comes to my granddaughter. Of course, we are still reading books together so I have a much clearer idea of both her reading level and where her interests lie.

Edited: Dec 8, 2013, 5:28pm Top

179. The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock - 3.3 ★
Category: Ariana Franklin - Historical Mystery
December AlphaCat: L
TIOLI #4: Secrets & Lies

I found The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock to be both interesting and informative, but unfortunately I also found myself struggling to finish the book. I didn’t mind that I disliked all the characters, they were well developed and distinct, but the stories just didn’t hold my interest or were able to draw me in. I say stories as the book, set on Guernsey Island, actually covers two, in one we are introduced to a 1980’s teenager, Catherine, who informs us that she has murdered her best friend. She is writing down the events that led up to this tragedy and we learn how insecure, truth-stretching Catherine was ever so grateful for the friendship Nicolette offered, that she apparently didn’t see how Nic was using her for her own benefit. Nic eventually turned her back on Catherine and ensured through her bulling and belittling that Catherine once again was a social outcast. Along with Catherine’s story, is that of her uncle’s anguish over events that happened on Guernsey during the German occupation of the 1940’s.

These are stories that are about the truth, but as seen through the eyes of one who only knows half the story, the truth becomes rather flexible. The lines here are blurred and fluid. I did feel that the author, who grew up on Guernsey, captured the claustrophobic feeling of living on an small island where everyone either knows or is related to everyone excellently

I found it slightly jarring to be in one time period and then suddenly in another. I was surprised that of the two, I actually preferred Catherine’s story and I did quite like how these stories were wrapped up. Overall, The Book of Lies was an original idea but for me, it just feel short of the mark.

Edited: Dec 8, 2013, 5:32pm Top

180. Winter Thunder by Mari Sandoz - 3.8 ★
Category: Edgar Rice Burroughs - Adventure
TIOLI #8: Winter in the Title or Author's Name

After her own niece, a young school teacher, and some of her pupils were lost and found in a harsh blizzard in 1949, Mari Sandoz wrote the novella Winter Thunder to describe a similar event. A twenty-three year old teacher along with the sixteen year old bus driver and a small group of children are stranded after a sudden storm wipes out any trace of the road. Eventually the bus tips over, catches fire and they are stranded in open country, miles from any ranch house. This small group must find some kind of shelter in order to wait out the blizzard. Showing great resourcefulness and courage they manage to cling to each other and to life for a number of days until rescue comes.

The author makes no effort to soften this story. These winter storms that could and often did hit suddenly were deadly to be stranded in. This young teacher had to deal with food shortages, sickness among the children, a young man, the bus driver, who thought he should try and strike out across the country on his own, and at least one case of extreme frostbite. So much responsibility was on her young shoulders and I do believe the author meant this to be tribute to her niece.

I applaud the fact that this very short story was named one of the ten best American Short Novels by Reader’s Digest and although this is far from a thriller, the author quietly draws the reader into this survival story and I found Winter Thunder to be a compelling tale.

Dec 9, 2013, 5:46am Top

I haven't stopped by for a while Judy, you have been very busy.

Dec 9, 2013, 10:19pm Top

Hi Ro, yes, I have been reading up a storm. I am setting a record for number of books read this year. I won't get to 200, but this is by far the most books I have ever read in one year. Obviously, I don't have much going on in real life!

Dec 10, 2013, 3:15pm Top

181. The Broken Shore by Peter Temple - 4.3 ★
Category: Henning Mankell - Global Crime
December AwardCat: 2006 Long List, Miles Franklin Award
TIOLI #3: Rolling Challenge by Country

The Broken Shore by Peter Temple is a above-average police procedural that had me engrossed for days. Joe Cashin, a Melbourne homicide detective has been assigned to the rural area in south-eastern Australia that he grew up in. He is recovering from injuries that were sustained while on the job. Now having to deal with constant pain is part of his life. Unfortunately, small-town doesn’t mean small crime as all too soon Joe finds himself involved in a murder investigation of a prominent local man.

The plot unfolds slowly but the style and sense of place were riveting. The author doles out information, letting the reader slowly put the facts together both on Joe’s back story and with the investigation. I have a feeling that this story with it’s racial tensions, corruption at various levels and such a dark view on humanity in general is one that would be familiar in many countries. The author also knew when to give the reader a break from such a bleak outlook and his use of humor was spot on. Of course, I just have to mention the two wonderful Standard Poodles that Joe has, these are not pampered show-dogs, but actual hunting hounds and it is very clear that this author knows not only dogs but this particular breed of dog.

I have checked and it appears that there is a further book set in this area, but it also appears that the main character in the next book is not Joe Cashin, but his immediate supervisor and friend who had a supporting role in The Broken Shore. I will definitely be looking for this book and keeping my fingers crossed that this author returns to Joe's story as I would really like to read more about him.

Dec 10, 2013, 10:46pm Top

I added The Broken Shore to my tbr shelves a while ago but it's always good to get confirmation that it was an enjoyable read. Glad you liked it.

Dec 11, 2013, 6:27pm Top

#206 - I need a new series like I need a hole in the head, but I admit I was a little disappointed when I looked this up and it doesn't seem to be a series, just the one connected book. I liked The Broken Shore enough that I was more than ready to take on another series.

Dec 11, 2013, 10:28pm Top

182. Un Lun Dun†† by China Mieville - 4.0
Category: Hans Christian Andersen - Fantasy
December RandomCat: Auld Acquaintances
TIOLI #2: What's On Your Holiday Table?

China Mieville has been classed as one of the author’s of the new weird style of fantasy fiction, and in Un Lun Dun his replica of London becomes a fantastic, surprising and at times slightly disturbing image, but as this book is aimed at a younger audience, he appears to have a tighter control on his creations. Un Lun Dun has a charm and whimsy that will definitely set younger minds at ease.

The book is set in two London’s. The real London and another distorted, magical one where the garbage comes to life and the buses fly. This other London, the Un Lun Dun, is threatened by a growing pollution, called Smog. However, unlike the pollution that we know in our world, over there the Smog has thoughts, feelings and a plan to take over.

The book does move along at a fast pace and I truly think this would be an excellent read for a fantasy loving child. In fact, I may be reading this again, but to my Granddaughter, as I think she would love it, and enjoy the humor that the author has slyly inserted. I also enjoyed that not only does he turn London on it’s head, he also has inverted the familiar plot of “the chosen one”. For me somewhere around a 3.3 star read, but I am giving it 4 stars as I believe this would delight it’s targeted audience.

Dec 12, 2013, 11:57am Top

Un Lun Dun sounds like such a great book. I've been meaning to read it for a while, because it sounds like it's right up my alley.

Dec 12, 2013, 9:07pm Top

It's a much lighter read that I had expected from China Mieville, he was obviously writing for a younger audience, but it still has some very Mieville bits with his puns and how he built this incredible alter city.

Dec 13, 2013, 11:08pm Top

I do love me some Un Lun Dun. Or more accurately - I do love me some Miévillian brain-activity! :)

Dec 14, 2013, 12:23pm Top

I haven't read anything by Mielville yet. Sounds like it's about time.

Dec 14, 2013, 1:21pm Top

#211 - It's amazing to me how some author's minds work, I stand in awe of Mieville and Gaiman in particular.

#212 - Oh do give Mieville a try, his world-building is excellent, he is an author that has the total ability to carry one away to a new place and time and totally immerse you in his creations.

Dec 14, 2013, 2:02pm Top

183. Good People by Ewart Hutton - 4.3 ★
Category: Lawrence Block - Male Authors of Crime
Commonwealth Challenge: Wales
TIOLI #9: A Book From the Kirkus Reviews List of Best Fiction 2013

Good People by Ewart Hutton is the first of a mystery series set in Wales. The main character, D.S. Glyn Capaldi, has been sent from the city of Cardiff to the rural district of central Wales as a punishment for breaking the rules, something he is all too fond of doing. This is an area populated by “good people”, people with strong, moral attitudes and an area where major crime simply doesn’t exist.

But one night six men and a young woman disappear, and when they are found the next day only five have returned. These five are well known young men of the community and they have a good explanation about what happened. The local police accept the story and are ready to close the book on the affair, but Capaldi remains unconvinced. On his own, he digs deeper and starts to uncover a web of lies and deceit that lead him to a depth of moral corruption that is horrifying.

This story is complex and twisting. Just when you think you have figured out where it’s going, it takes another turn. Capaldi is a very engaging character, but I was left scratching my head at how quickly he was able to put the pieces together, if he is that smart, then how did he let himself fall from grace and get posted to this remote area in the first place. That said, I still was quite impressed with this first book and plan to continue on with the series. A word of warning about the degree of sexual depravity that this book contains, the storyline becomes quite gruesome in places but overall, I found Good People to be a dark and engrossing thriller.

Dec 14, 2013, 3:52pm Top

Hee, I like that the detective's last name is Capaldi, because Peter Capaldi is the name of an actor I quite like. Might try the second book in the series, Dead People; maybe it won't have as much sexual depravity (I don't like extensive descriptions of that sort of thing, so thanks for the warning).

Dec 14, 2013, 9:28pm Top

I already know when I open your thread that there's most likely a bookbullet coming - true this time too!!! Thanks, I think. :)

Dec 15, 2013, 5:47pm Top

#215 - Don't know quite how to describe the sexual depravity, but will say that the author is very matter of fact and doesn't embelish or dwell too much on any details but also doesn't turn away from it either. It's part of the storyline but not used in a gratuitous manner.

#216 - I guess we've even this time since I just picked a bb up on your thread!

Dec 17, 2013, 8:18am Top

Catching up here, so behind. The Song Is You is on my radar as my next Abbott.. cant wait.

Dec 17, 2013, 3:10pm Top

#218 - Claire, I loved The Song Is You and if I wasn't trying to rein myself in on the book buying right now, I'd be ordering some more of her books. I have my eye on Bury Me Deep and Die a Little. Come January I will be ordering at least one of these!

Dec 17, 2013, 3:25pm Top

184. The New Sonia Wayward by Michael Innes - 4.1 ★
Category: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Classic Mysteries
TIOLI #10: Read a Book With a Predominantly Blue Cover

Sonia Wayward is a well known writer of formula romance novels. When she suddenly drops dead while on a yachting holiday, her husband, Colonel Petticate, slips her body overboard and proceeds to cover up her death, telling people that Sonia has gone abroad on a little holiday. He finishes her current novel and submits it for publication and is not at all surprised in the slightest that this book is very well received. He is prepared to carry on with his deception in order to continue living his comfortable life of ease and quiet refinement.

The New Sonia Wayward is a very clever book, but does ask for a huge leap of faith from its readers to believe that Colonel Petticate would throw his wife’s body overboard. It is never fully explained why he wouldn’t report her natural death and then carry on living from the royalties that she has acquired. However, as you read about this character, his actions seem to fit in with his rather nasty self-serving personality.

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive”! This old saying certainly fits as Colonel Petticate has a difficult time to keep things from unravelling and is struggling to keep the truth from surfacing. Both it’s withering look at the literary world and following Petticate as he sweats through the various complications that arise made for a very humorous read. Added to that is the author’s light prose and spirited dialogue which elevated The New Sonia Wayward to a much higher level.

Dec 17, 2013, 9:21pm Top

I haven't read a Michael Innes in a while, this sounds really good and I'm putting it on my list!

Dec 18, 2013, 4:39pm Top

This was my first Michael Innes and I will certainly be looking for more of his to read as well.

Dec 18, 2013, 4:47pm Top

185. The Secret River by Kate Grenville - 5.0 ★
Category: Xinran - Global Reading - Australia
December Award Cat: Miles Franklin Award Shortlist (2006)
TIOLI #4: The Words Secrets of Lies in the Title

Author Kate Grenville paints a powerful picture of the conditions that were awaiting the early convicts that were transported to Australia and the conflict between them and the Aborigines in The Secret River. Sent to this new and strange land not by personal choice but from conviction by an English court and, after working off their sentence, it was very difficult to return to England. Instead they were encouraged to claim a piece of land from this seemingly empty continent. Of course the fact that it was populated by a native population was discounted and these people were dismissed as “naked savages”. That this was the way of things time and time again as white people “discovered” new continents does not make this story any less harsh.

William Thornhill was born into the lowest class of English society, raised in poverty, and even though trained as a waterman on the Thames River, still had to rely on petty thievery as a way of making ends meet. He was eventually caught and sentenced to be transported to Australia. Along with his pregnant wife and young son, he embarked on a life changing adventure. It wasn’t long before Thornhill knew that he had no desire to return to England, that he and his children had a far better chance at improving themselves by staying in Australia. His wife, Sal, felt different and was counting the days until they could return. Taking up property and building themselves into people of consideration was his goal, but standing in the way were the Aborigines who felt that these interlopers had no right to fence the land or claim the crops as their own. When violence escalated, Thornhill had to make a difficult decision. Pack up and leave or stay and sweep the Aborigines from his land.

This was a wonderful piece of historical fiction both well written and researched. The characters, especially William Thornhill are complex, multi faceted people that express real human emotions. There is a general sense of foreboding as we can see both a future confrontation between Will and his wife, as well as the build up of tensions with the natives. The author tells a very emotional story without the reader feeling manipulated. This is an in-depth look at how this land was settled by violence through mutual incomprehension and lack of understanding.

Dec 18, 2013, 8:08pm Top

Judy> I actually have that down as one of the books I may check out to read once I complete my Christmas stash. I plan to go to the library tomorrow to check them out. Your 5 star review of it made hope that it is still available when I get there tomorrow. It wasn't checked out when I was making my list yesterday.

Dec 18, 2013, 8:12pm Top

I wrote over on the Roots thread that I had this planned for this month, but am postponing it for the Australia GEO Cat next year. Now that I've read your review, I'm looking forward to it even more.

Dec 18, 2013, 8:31pm Top

Great review of The Secret River. I liked it very much myself, and I plan to read the sequels one day.

Dec 18, 2013, 8:40pm Top

All these comments have me thinking that I might need to have an Australia category in my challenge one year. The only Australian literature I can recall reading in the past is Nevil Shute's A Town Like Alice, yet there are so many that I'd like to read. A Secret River is high on my list, as is more by Peter Carey, and I've come across one or two mystery series that sound interesting.

Dec 19, 2013, 6:06pm Top

I've spent most of today wrapping Christmas presents, just have a few more to do so should finish up this evening. I feel quite ahead of myself this year, but I still have to do laundry, as well as pack and get ready to head over to the Island on the 26th.

#224 - Lori, I hope you are able to pick up The Secret River, it's been around a number of years, so hopefully will be waiting patiently on the shelves for you.

#225 - Betty, you are in for an excellent read when you get to it.

#226 - Paulina, I am eager to get to the sequels as well. From what I gather the next book, The Lieutenant isn't really connected to the first book other than by setting, but then the third book, Sarah Thornhill is about William Thornhill's youngest daughter.

#227 - I know, Carrie, I think I could fill an Australian category easily. I do hope to finally read Picnic At Hanging Rock next year, it's been on my wishlist for a long, long time.

Dec 20, 2013, 1:13pm Top

186. A Darcy Christmas †† by Sharon Lathan, Caroline Eberhart and Amanda Grange - 3.1 ★
Category: Dora Saint - Reader's Choice
TIOLI #1: Book Has a 2 Word Tag that Starts With the Same Letter

A Darcy Christmas consists of a Christmas themed trio of novellas that are all involving Jane Austin’s characters from Pride and Prejudice. The first story, Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Carol, just about had me tossing the book across the room, written by Carolyn Eberhart, this was a take-off on the Dickens classic. There was nothing clever about this at all, the author seemed to simply insert the names of the main characters from Pride and Prejudice into the story by Dickens which resulted in an extremely silly story. This should never have been placed first in the book, as it was very off-putting and almost led me to abandon the read.

The second story was much stronger, entitled The Christmas Present by Amanda Grange, it tells the story of a very pregnant Elizabeth and her husband going to visit Jane and Charles Bingley for Christmas. Jane herself, has just had a baby. Many familiar characters show up in this story, from Elizabeth and Jane’s parents to Lady Catherine DeBourgh. This one, I think came the closest to capturing the essence of a Jane Austen novel.

My personal favorite was the third entry, A Darcy Christmas, although this didn’t seem to capture the voice of Jane Austen as well as the previous one, it was much more Christmas-y and that was the reason I was reading the book in the first place, to get a large helping of Christmas. The Christmas Present was a series of chapters and each chapter dealt with a different Christmas through the years at Pemberley.

I wouldn’t recommend this book to Austen purists, as I don’t believe these stories are strong enough to stand up to any comparison to the original, but if you want a story that captures a little Christmas, at least two of the three work quite well.

Dec 20, 2013, 2:18pm Top

@ 229 -- Thanks for your review of this, DQ! I recently downloaded it for free on my Nook, because why not? But I'm not expecting anything particularly wonderful, despite being an Austen fanatic...seems like I have managed my expectations appropriately. :)

Dec 20, 2013, 5:58pm Top

Christina, I found it interesting that the two stories that I liked best are both from authors that have used the Darcy's in their stories before. Perhaps they are most used to writing this type of thing. Pride and Prejudice certainly seems to be a book that many readers want more of. Poor Jane Austen, just think of how rich she could be if she were around today and making a series out of P & P!

Edited: Dec 22, 2013, 2:25pm Top

187. Corpsing by Toby Litt - 4.2 ★
Category: Graham Greene - Authors I Want to Try
December AlphaCat: L
TIOLI #3: Rolling Challenge by Country

I first read about this author on Pete's (psutto) thread and have wanted to try something by Toby Litt ever since. Corpsing was quite unlike any other book I have read this year. Set in contemporary London, the author writes his story with an stylish flare, and at first the book appears to be a straight forward mystery, but as the story unfolds it’s soon apparent that there is much more going on here than meets the eye. The narrator, Conrad Redman is invited to meet his ex-girlfriend for dinner at a posh restaurant. Hoping for some sort of a reunion he rushes off to meet her. They aren’t sitting at the table very long however, before they are gunned down. Conrad survives the attack, Lily does not.

After his rehab, Conrad is determined to find out what exactly happened and who is behind Lily‘s death. Neither the police nor Lily‘s parents are very forthcoming so Conrad soon takes things into his own hands. The deeper he digs, the more complex and bizarre the story becomes. There are many twists and turns as the readers, along with Conrad, find out who was the catalyst behind this attack and who was the dupe.

Although I found that the story lagged a little in the middle portion of the book, overall I enjoyed this very different read finding it both unique and engrossing. I am looking forward to discovering more books by this author in the future.

Dec 22, 2013, 6:00pm Top

I'm starting to see people listing their best reads of 2013 so here are the books that I've chosen as my best reads of 2013:

The Sandman Series: Volume One - Ten by Neil Gaiman
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
Let Him Go by Larry Watson
Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
An Ice Cream War by Wiiiam Boyd

I guess having so many great books to chose from lets everyone know what a great reading year I had. Most of the above books were based on recommendations that I got on Library Thing.

A few runner-ups:

The Secret River by Kate Grenville
The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton
The Franchise Affair by Josephine Tey
What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn

Dec 22, 2013, 6:53pm Top

I'm in the middle (well, almost finished really) of Corpsing myself so I can't read your review just yet. Noted the rating you've given it though and I'm quite enjoying it too.

Dec 22, 2013, 7:18pm Top

#233 You read some great books this year! Some of those will have to go on my wishlist.

Dec 22, 2013, 10:17pm Top

#234 - Oh, I'll be looking forward to your comments, Dave.

#233 - I knew it was a good year for me but when I went to find my top five books and couldn't narrow it down to any less than seven, I knew I had a great year!

Dec 23, 2013, 5:46am Top

ooh I want to read Corpsing, nice review and means I now cant wait to get hold of a copy.

"Corpsing was quite unlike any other book I have read this year" - pretty much sums up most Litt books :) Every book I read of his is completely different... although having said that King Death sounds a bit similiar.

Sounds like a great year! Here's to a fab 2014.

Dec 23, 2013, 7:34am Top

I've taken my share of BBs from you this year and one that I already had on my TBR pile, Plainsong is going with me on vacation in Feb.

Dec 23, 2013, 1:38pm Top

#237 - Claire, I have both I Play the Drums in a Band Called Okay and Deadkidsongs on my shelves so I am hoping to fit at least one of those into my challenge next year.

#238 - Betty, I hope you love Plainsong, I have Eventide on my shelves which is not exactly a sequel but is set in the same small western town, another one I hope to fit in next year.

Dec 23, 2013, 1:45pm Top

188. Anne's House of Dreams†† by L.M. Montgomery - 3.8 ★
Category: J.M. Barrie - YA and Children's Literature
December AlphaCat: L
December RandomCat: Auld Acquaintances
TIOLI #3: Rolling Challenge by Country

Anne’s House of Dreams tells the story of Anne’s first couple of years of marriage to Gilbert Blythe. Anne must make her goodbyes to Marilla, Mrs. Lynde and the twins as she and Gilbert will be relocating to the area of Glen St Mary where Gilbert is setting up his practise. Of course first comes their wedding which is held in the old orchard at Green Gables.

Anne is terribly homesick at first, but grows to love her new home, the House of Dreams that she has been wishing for. She also makes some interesting and colourful friends and it isn’t long before she is helping others find their own peace and happiness. She loves married life and even though they are sorely tested by tragedy, she and Gilbert only grow to love each other more.

This entry in the series captures the essence that was missing in the last book. I could quite happily leave this series here and now, but the completist in me will continue on.

Dec 23, 2013, 3:29pm Top

I am going to be popping in and out of LT over the next couple of days and then I will be away visiting relatives until the New Year. I may not get around to everyone's thread so thought I would leave this:

Wishing everyone all the best of the season and I'm looking forward to moving on to 2014's Challenge when I get back.

Dec 23, 2013, 3:50pm Top

Have fun with your visiting and have a great holiday.

Dec 23, 2013, 3:52pm Top

Merry Christmas and have a great time with your family! See you in the new year :)

Dec 23, 2013, 4:47pm Top

Merry Christmas to you also.

Dec 23, 2013, 8:45pm Top

Since the year isn't over, I've been refusing to finalize my "top 5." A few of the ones I brought with me to read after Christmas could potentially make the top 5 based on reviews by others. I have ranked my top 5 so far!

Dec 23, 2013, 11:11pm Top

Merry Christmas Judy! Enjoy your time with family over the holidays.

Dec 24, 2013, 3:55am Top

Merry Christmas. Have a fab holiday.

Dec 24, 2013, 7:53am Top

Have a wonderful holiday Judy! See you when you get back.

Dec 27, 2013, 11:17pm Top

Merry Christmas, DQ, and a very happy New Year!

Dec 28, 2013, 4:14am Top

Have a great time Judy.

Edited: Jan 5, 2014, 12:04pm Top

Hi everyone, I am at my Mom's and having a great time, but have very little computer access so I have to be quick. I had a wonderful Christmas, got lots of great books which was great but are now distracting me from my reading plan! I have two books that I want to finish off and count for 2013 before I move over to start on the 2014 Challenge.

Dec 29, 2013, 12:35pm Top

189. An Anne Perry Christmas: Two Holiday Novels by Anne Perry - 3.1 ★
Category: Ariana Franklin - Historical Mysteries
TIOLI #16: Book Title Has An Embedded Word

I was a little let down by this book as I didn't find it giving me much in the way of Christmas nor were the mysteries very compelling. Two novellas, one dealing with a suicide and the other a murder over inheritance, both set at Christmas time. Of the two I preferred the first story, A Christmas Journey, but I highly doubt that I will continue with this series in the future.

Dec 31, 2013, 4:00pm Top

190. The Devil's Oasis by Bartle Bull - 3.9 ★
Category: Edgar Rice Burroughs - Adventure
December RandomCat: Old Acquaintances
TIOLI #1: Book has a Two Word Tag That Starts With the Same Letter

The Devil's Oasis is the third volume in Bartle Bull's African trilogy. This has been an excellent adventure story that spans the years just after WW I and continues up and into the WW II years. This final story deals with the North African campaign and Rommel's bid for Tobruk. My only quibble with this entry is that I found the story reminded me a lot in the story that was told in volume two.

All the familiar characters from the first two books are here, and the action, romance and intrigue is non-stop whether in the city of Cairo or out on the desert. Even though this third volume is the weakest of the three, I would still recommend this trilogy to anyone who is looking to read an exciting adventure story with an exotic setting.

Jan 5, 2014, 12:04pm Top

This thread is closed and I am off to the 2014 Challenge. Hope to see you there.

Group: 2013 Category Challenge

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