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Jolerie's all things Bookalicious Pt. 5

This is a continuation of the topic Jolerie's all things Bookalicious Pt. 4.

75 Books Challenge for 2015

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Edited: Jun 2, 2015, 12:50pm Top

Source: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/25-breathtaking-nature-photography/

My name is Valerie and this is my fifth year (on and off) with this wonderful group. I am a proud mom of two by day and book hoarder by night. When I'm not busy wrangling my two boys (or their dad..ha!) I usually have my head in a book or in a pile of laundry....or in a pile of dishes....
There is no specific genre that I avoid or dislike and am pretty much open to any book because being a family with one income, reading books truly is the most cost efficient way for me to travel. Places to go, people to meet and I get to do all that most of the time in the comforts of my home. Given previous years though, it seems that my reading habits tend to lean a lot towards SF, Fantasy, YA, and Historical books.
I can't wait to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Feel free to drop a line and let me know you've been around! :)

4 Stars: So, so, very hard to put down...
3 Stars: Purr...I'm content...almost...
2 Stars: Anxiously eyeing the next book in my pile...
1 Star: Fire fodder...BURN BABY BURN!!

Currently Reading ☛:

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

Currently Listening ♫:

The Painter by Peter Heller

May Lineup:
The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble BAC Challenge
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
The Bees by Laline Paull
Lady Of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley Book #3
The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
The Scar by China Mieville Book #2
Sons by Pearl S. Buck Book#2
Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis AAC Challenge
The Widow's Walk by Robert Barclay
Tell by Frances Itani
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale Book #2
Betwixt and Between by Jessica Stilling
Let Him Go by Larry Watson
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Sirensong by Jenna Black Book #3
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Empire: Book 2, The Chronicles of the Invaders by John Connolly Book #2

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith May M&M

Previous Threads
Thread 1 Books #1 - 8
Thread 2 Books #9 - 17
Thread 3 Books #18 - 23
Thread 4 Books #24 - 37

Edited: Apr 27, 2015, 2:31pm Top

Favourite Reads of 2012:

1. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (Fiction)
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry (YA)
3. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Fantasy)
4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Fiction)
5. Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum (Fiction)

Favourite Reads of 2013:

1. The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (fiction)
2. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis (YA/SF)
3. Uther by Jack Whyte (historical)
4. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka (historical)
5. A Trip to the Stars by Nicholas Christopher (fiction)
6. Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver (fiction)

Favourite Reads of 2014:

1. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (historical)
2. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (historical)
3. Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville (historical/fantasy)
4. The Martian by Andy Weir (science fiction)
5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (YA)

Edited: Aug 3, 2015, 11:04pm Top

Series List
Ongoing Series
These are books that I'm currently in the middle of with hopes that at some in my life I will be able to check them off as completed!
Alan Bradley – (YA) Flavia de Luce Mysteries (1/6) Next: The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag
Alastair Reynolds - (SF) Revelation Space (3/7) Next: Diamond Dog/Turquoise Days
Anne Bishop – (F) The Black Jewels Series (3/9) Next: The Invisible Ring
Anne Rice – (F) Vampire Chronicles (3/10) Next: The Tale of the Body Thief
China Mieville - (SF) Bas-Lag (1/3) Next: The Scar
David Whitley – (YA) Agora Trilogy (2/3) Next: The Canticle of Whispers
Diana Gabaldon – (FN) Outlander (6/9) Next: An Echo in the Bone
Jacqueline Carey – Kushiel’s Legacy (6/9) Next: Naamah’s Kiss
Jenna Black – (YA) Faeriewalker (2/3) Next: Sirensong
Jessica Day George – (YA) Princess of the Midnight Ball (1/3) Next: Princess of the Midnight Ball
John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard – (SF) The Chronicles of the Invaders Trilogy (1/3) Next: Empire
Jules Watson – (H) The Dalriada Trilogy (1/3) Next: The Dawn Stag
Kady Cross - (YA) The Steampunk Chronicles (3/4) Next: The Girl with the Wind-up Heart
Kate Mosse – (H) Languedoc Trilogy (2/3) Next: Citadel
Kazu Kibuishi – (GN) Amulet (4/?) Next: Prince of the Elves
Kerstin Gier – (YA) Ruby Trilogy (2/3) Next: Emerald Green
Lisa See - (FN) Shanghai Girls (1/2) Next: Dreams of Joy
Marion Zimmer Bradley – (F) Avalon Published Order (2/7) Next: Lady of Avalon
Orson Scott Card – (SF) Ender’s Universe (8/10) Next: A War of Gifts
Paolo Bacigalupi - (YA) Shipbreaker (2/3) Next: ?
Pearl S. Buck – (H) The House of Earth Trilogy (1/3) Next: Sons
Pittacus Lore – (YA) The Lorien Legacies (3/4) Next: The Fall of Five
Robert Jordon – (F) Wheel of Time (10/13) Next: Knife of Dreams
Shannon Hale - (YA) Princess Academy (2/3) Next: The Forgotten Sisters
Stephen Hunt – (F) Jackelian (1/6) Next: The Kingdom Beyond the Waves
Ted Dekker – (YA) The Lost Books (4/6) Next: Lunatic
Terry Brooks – (F) Shannara Heritage Tetralogy (1/4) Next: The Druid of Shannara
Terry Brooks – (F) The Magic Kingdom of Landover (3/6) Next: The Tangle Box
Tom Rob Smith - (FN) Child 44 Trilogy (2/3) Next: Agent 6

Up to date Series – waiting next book
Peadar O Guilin - (YA) The Bone World Trilogy (2/3) Next: TBA
Kiera Cass - (YA) Selection Trilogy (3/4) Next: The Heir

Completed Series
And this is to prove that I am indeed capable of finishing something that I start...
**Bolded ones indicate my favourite series**

Alison Goodman – (YA) Dragoneye (2/2)
Ally Condie - (YA) Matched (3/3)
Anna Carey – (YA) Eve (3/3)
Amanda Hocking - (YA) Trylle Trilogy (3/3)
Arthur C. Clarke – (SF) Space Odyssey (4/4)
Beth Revis – (YA) Across the Universe (3/3)
Brenda Rickman Vantrease – (H) The Illuminator (2/2)
Cornelia Funke – (YA) Inkheart Trilogy (3/3)
Cynthia Hand - (YA) Unearthly (3/3)
D. M. Cornish – (YA) Monster Blood Tattoo (3/3)
Donita K. Paul - (YA) Valley of the Dragons (3/3)
Douglas Adams – (SF) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (7/7)
Francine Rivers – (H) The Mark of the Lion (3/3)
Guy Gavriel Kay – (F) The Fionavar Tapestries (3/3)
Guy Gavriel Kay – (F) The Sarantine Mosaic (2/2)
Jack Whyte – (H) Camulod Chronicles (9/9)
Jacqueline Carey – (F) The Sundering (2/2)
James Dashner – (YA) The Maze Runner (4/4)
Josephine Angelini - (YA) Starcrossed (3/3)
J. K. Rowling – (YA) Harry Potter (7/7)
J. R. R. Tolkien – (F) The Lord of the Rings (3/3)
Kaoru Mori – (GN) Emma (7/7)
Kenneth Oppel - (YA) The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein (2/2)
Kiersten White - (YA) Paranormalcy (3/3)
Kristin Cashore – (YA) Seven Kingdoms Trilogy (3/3)
Lauren DeStefano – (YA) The Chemical Garden Trilogy (3/3)
Libba Bray – (YA) Gemma Doyle (3/3)
Madeleine L’Engle – (YA) The Time Quintet (5/5)
Lois Lowry – (YA) The Giver Quartet (4/4)
Meg Cabot - (YA) Abandon (3/3)
Megan Crewe – (YA) Fallen World (3/3)
Patricia C. Wrede – (YA) Frontier Magic (3/3)
Philip Pullman – (YA) His Dark Materials (3/3)
Philippa Gregory – (H) The Wideacre Trilogy (3/3)
Philippa Gregory – (H) The Tudor Court Novels (6/6)
Robyn Miller/David Wingrove – (F) Myst (3/3)
Rick Riordan – (F) Percy Jackson and the Olympians (5/5)
Robert Scott & Jay Gordon – (F) The Eldarn Sequence (3/3)
Scott Westerfeld – (YA) Leviathan (3/3)
Stieg Larsson – (C) The Millennium Trilogy (3/3)
Stephanie Meyer – (YA) Twilight Saga (4/4)
Susan Cooper – (YA) The Dark is Rising Sequence (5/5)
Suzanne Collins – (YA) The Hunger Games (3/3)
Ted Dekker – (F) Circle Series (3/3)
Ted Dekker/Tosca Lee – (F) The Book of Mortals (3/3)
Terry Brooks – (F) Original Shannara Trilogy (3/3)
Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins – (FN) Left Behind (13/13)
Timothee de Fombelle - (CH) Toby Alone (2/2)
Tony DiTerlizzi - (YA) Wondla (3/3)
Tricia Rayburn – (YA) Siren (3/3)
Veronica Roth – (YA) Divergent (3/3)

Edited: Jul 26, 2015, 3:47pm Top

2015 Challenges
So this year, 2015, I will attempt to participate in Mark's AAC and Paul's BAC! Reasons are so that I have some help getting some of those books off mount TBR and secondly just to expand my reading repertoire. Books will be from my own personal library and from the public library, if I don't already own it. I know there are some fantastic authors and books that I have yet to read, so this is an awesome opportunity to read with other LT friends and join the fun. :D

American Author Challenge
January: Carson McCullers - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Feburary: Henry James - The Portrait of a Lady Daisy Miller
March: Richard Ford - Canada
April: Louise Erdich - The Round House
May: Sinclair Lewis - It Can't Happen Here Babbitt
June: Wallace Stegner - Crossing to Safety
July: Ursula K. LeGuin - Earth Sea Series
August: Larry McMurtry - Lonesome Dove
September: Flannery O'Connor - Wise Blood
October: Ray Bradbury - Fahrenheit 451
November: Barbara Kingsolver - Prodigal Summer
December: E.L. Doctorow - The March Homer and Langley

British Author Challenge
January: Penelope Lively - Moon Tiger ✔/Kazuo Ishiguro - The Remains of a Day
February: Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger
March: Daphne Du M. - Rebecca ✔/China Mieville - Perdido Street Station
April: Angela Carter - The Magic Toyshop
May: Margaret Drabble - The Red Queen
June: Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
July: Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway
August: Iris Murdoch - The Bell
September: Salman Rushdie - Midnight's Children
October: David Mitchell - The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
November: Muriel Spark - Momento Mori
December: Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall

Other Goals
**Finishing the Wheel of Time books (10/13)
**Running a 5K either on my treadmill or outside when the weather is nicer - I'm currently training with the C25K program (halfway done!)
**Reading at least 25 OTS books/end total of 75 books or 25,000 pages (whatever comes first)

Edited: Apr 27, 2015, 2:32pm Top

Awards and Accolades.

Considering tracking Booker, Bailey's and other Literary award winning books

Edited: May 1, 2015, 12:58pm Top

Book List
(L) Library Book
♫ Audiobook

1. Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds 4*
2. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively 3.5*
3. (L) Amulet - The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi 4*
4. (L) Tell it to the Trees by Anita Rau Badami 4.25*
5. (L) The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini 4*
6. (L) The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers 4*
7. (L) ♫ Bird Box by Josh Malerman 4*
8. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro 4.5*
9. (L) The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness 3.75*
10. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin 4.5*
Favourite Reads:

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

11. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters 4.75* (499-C/M/T)
12. (L) ♫ Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith 4* (12.24-C/M/T)
13. (L) Interference by Michelle Berry 3.5* (271-FN)
14. (L) Vixen by Rosie Garland 2.75* (407-H)
15. Daisy Miller by Henry James 3.5* (59-CL)
16. Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan 3.5* (823-F)
17. (L) Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman/Lorenzo Mattotti 3.75* (53-GN)
18. (L) The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith 3.75* (240-H)
19. (L) Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 5* (407-NF)
Favourite Reads:

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

20. (L) ♫ The Other Story by Tatiana de Rosnay 2.75* (10.02-FN)
21. (L) Canada by Richard Ford 3* (418-FN)
22. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville 4.5* (623-SF)
23. (L) Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm 4.25* (308-FN)
24. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 3.75* (428-CL)
25. (L) ♫ The Farm by Tom Rob Smith/James Langton, Suzanne Toren 4.5* (9.23-C/M/T)
26. (L) Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik 3.5* (323-C/M/T)
27. (L) The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle 3.5* (419-FN)
28. (L) Wonder by R.J. Palacio 5* (404-YA)
Favourite Read:

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

29. (L) Lexicon by Max Barry 4.25* (387-C/M/T)
30. (L) The Kept by James Scott 4* (354-H)
31. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood 4* (196-FN)
32. (L) The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter 3* (200-FN)
33. (L) Charles and Emma - The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman 3.5* (236-NF)
34. The Round House by Louise Erdrich 4.25* (317-FN)
35. (L) The Abominable by Dan Simmons 3.75* (663-H)
36. (L) Origin by Jessica Khoury 3.5* (394-YA)
37. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen 4.5* (286-FN)
38. (L) ♫ After Her by Joyce Maynard 4* (9.41-C/M/T)
39. (L) The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin 3.25* (258-FN)
40. (L) The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse 4* (403-H)
Favourite Read:

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Edited: Aug 3, 2015, 11:05pm Top

Book List Continued...
(L) Library Book
♫ Audiobook

41. Still Alice by Lisa Genova 4* (292-FN)
42. (L) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 4* (316-C/M/T)
43. (L) The Widow's Walk by Frances Itani 2.75* (296-FN)
44. (L) Tell by Frances Itani 4.25* (318-H)
45. The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble 3.5* (352-FN)
46. (L) Let Him Go by Larry Watson 4.25* (269-FN)
47. (L) Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale 3.5* (321-YA)
48. (L) Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis 3* (355-CL)
49. (L) ♫ The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith 3.5* (11.12-C/M/T)
Favourite Reads:

Let Him Go by Larry Watson
Tell by Frances Itani

50. The Savage Garden by Mark Mills 3.75* (335-C/M/T)
51. (L) Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain 4* (335-H)
52. (L) Amulet - The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi 4* (207-GN)
53. (L) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess 3* (141-CL)
54. (L) Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner 3.75* (335-FN)
Favourite Read:

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

55. (L) Betwixt and Between by Jessica Stilling 3.75* (370-FN)
56. (L) The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain 4* (343-C/M/T)
57. (L) Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight 4.25* (324-C/M/T)
58. (L) Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf 3* (165-CL)

59. (L) The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross 3.75* (377-YA)

Apr 27, 2015, 2:35pm Top

Happy New Thread, Val. What a beautiful photo.

Apr 27, 2015, 2:48pm Top

Happy new thread!

Apr 27, 2015, 2:50pm Top

Woo, that's a stunner of an opening photo, Valerie. On my computer I could almost walk right into it.

Congrats on the new thread!

Apr 27, 2015, 4:32pm Top

Happy new thread Valerie, hope you are having a good day my dear.

Apr 27, 2015, 4:34pm Top

Nice shiny new thread, Val!

Apr 27, 2015, 7:04pm Top

>8 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara! And thanks for being first to my new thread. :)

>9 foggidawn: Thanks Foggi!

>10 jnwelch: Hi Joe! Wouldn't that be wonderful if we can be transported to someplace new just back walking into our screens......ha!

>11 johnsimpson: Thanks John! We are finishing up supper and trying to decide what to do with the rest of our evening... :)

>12 katiekrug: Thanks Katie. Love new beginnings. :)

Apr 27, 2015, 7:18pm Top

Oooooh, gorgeous photo topper!

Apr 27, 2015, 7:24pm Top

Happy New Thread, Val! Love the colorful topper! I really enjoyed A.J. Fikry. I hope you share my feelings.

I won't be able to get to The Secret Speech for a couple of weeks but I will get to it.

Apr 27, 2015, 9:47pm Top

>14 Storeetllr: Thanks Mary!

>15 msf59: No worries, Mark. It takes me about a month to get through 1 audiobook anyways so you may just finish it ahead of me regardless. I'm almost done The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and I'm kinda sad to say that I don't like it as much as I thought I would...ha!

Apr 27, 2015, 9:48pm Top

I liked the first half or so of A.J. Fikry and then it went all Hallmark Channel movie cliche-ness on me...

Apr 27, 2015, 10:11pm Top

#38 After Her by Joyce Maynard/Joyce Maynard
Source: Public Library
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Format: ♫ Audiobook
Published: 2013
Setting: San Francisco
Pages: 9hrs 41mins
Series: n/a
Rating: ★★★★

Notes: family, sisters, serial killer, growing up, obsession
Books noted: n/a
Other Books Read: Labour Day

“I tried to think of what my father would tell me. 'Don't let any boy give you shit.' But he'd never said how we should go about preventing this.”

It was a summer like so many others, except for one thing. The string of murders perpetrated by the Sunset Strangler, which occurred on the mountain that loomed behind Rachel and her sister's house turned an ordinary year into something extraordinary. The times they spent imagining and dreaming about the world outside of neighbourhood, of growing up, of life, and boys suddenly pales in light of the terror that has their town gripped with fear. At the heart of the investigation is their father, Detective Torricelli, a hero of mythic proportions who far from being perfect, teaches them about the secrets that every father should impart to their daughters. The lessons they learned that summer of intrigue, heartbreak, murders and love will last them a lifetime.

Loosely based on the serial murders dubbed the Trailside Killings, Maynard spins a fictional account of two sisters and their adventures that summer, their lives, and their encounter with the elusive killer. More of a coming of age story about what it means to be a girl, about growing up, about a time when children were free to roam the streets, to use their imagination to bide their time and less a thriller about a killer on a murderous spree. I appreciated the nostalgic perspective Maynard evokes when it comes to our youths, the risks and the dangers we thought we were impervious to and also the special bond that belongs to fathers and their daughters. Some loves last a lifetime and began before we could fully understand its importance or repercussions.

Apr 27, 2015, 10:12pm Top

Up Next ♫:

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith May M&M

Apr 27, 2015, 11:11pm Top

Happy new thread, Valerie. Looks like you've been reading up a storm.

Apr 28, 2015, 12:13am Top

You always have the most beautiful pictures for the top of your thread, Valerie. This one is a stunner!

Apr 28, 2015, 2:26am Top

Hi Valerie!

Happy New Thread!

I love the picture in your top post! And I got hit by a BB. The new Kate Mosse book is now on my wishlist. The translation will be available in the Netherlands in May!

Apr 28, 2015, 6:59am Top

Happy New Thread, lady!!

Apr 28, 2015, 7:16am Top

I know LT opinion has been mixed on A.J. Fikry but it worked for me. I still think you will love The Buried Giant.

Apr 28, 2015, 10:00am Top

Great opening photo to your new thread, Valerie!

Apr 28, 2015, 10:56am Top

Howdy Val! Love the new thread topper.

Apr 28, 2015, 12:58pm Top

>20 MickyFine: Thanks Micky. I'm definitely taking advantage of having the hubby at home to squeeze in some more reading time. ;)

>21 DeltaQueen50: Thanks for visiting Judy!

>22 connie53: Hi Connie! I looking forward to starting the book today.

>23 scaifea: Thanks Amber!

>24 msf59: Yeah, I think it should be my cuppa but we never know right?! That's what makes reading so much fun. You just never know.... :)

>25 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl! The world is truly a beautiful place.

>26 luvamystery65: Howdy Ro! Thanks for dropping by!

Apr 28, 2015, 1:03pm Top

So I'm totally feeling like a crummy mother today. After the last time we went for both the boys immunizations I was sure I put both their record books back in our fireproof box but of course last night when I went to search for it since J has his 18 months shots today, but it couldn't be found. I was up till 1 in the morning last night looking for the dang thing and no luck. My husband, logical man that he is said that all the records are online anyways so it's okay, but me being all sentimental felt horrible because it is their original records from birth and it records all their measurements as well from each appointment. Will the boys really care when they are older that I've kept these documents? Probably not, but I still feel pretty horrible about it. Sigh.

Apr 28, 2015, 1:05pm Top

Aw, don't feel horrible, Val! AS soon as you get back from that appointment, I bet you stumble across the record books in some unlikely place :)

Apr 28, 2015, 4:42pm Top

>29 katiekrug: What Katie said.

Apr 28, 2015, 6:13pm Top

Agreed. You will find it. I have lost and found that booklet more than once. Embarrassingly enough.

Hope you all survive the immunizations. I just took my two for their flu jab and there was such Drama all the way there and into the office. Then they acted sort of surprised that it was no big deal. Silly kids.

Apr 28, 2015, 6:24pm Top

Hi, Valerie, I'm smiling at Jenn.....
I just had my new pneumonia shot and a D-TAP (because of Mary Doria Russell's getting whooping cough). The nurse who did the injections promised me that they would both be uncomfortable today, but they're not at all. That's not the greatest news because the docs like you to react some, a sure sign that your immune system is up to par.
Anyway, even without kids, I manage to lose stuff, and it most generally shows up, and then I remember putting it there.
Your new thread photo could be in my neck of the woods except that I don't know of many local places with Spanish moss these days. Lovely though!

Apr 28, 2015, 8:25pm Top

Happy new thread, Val! And another gorgeous garden opener! So beautiful.

Apr 28, 2015, 9:15pm Top

>29 katiekrug: Thanks Katie! I sure hope so and if not, like my husband said, what is more important is that we have the record, which the nurses so kindly printed off for me. Wouldn't be the greatest if we end up doubling up on those needles..ha!

>30 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl! All is well. I was just being my typical type A nuttiness.

>31 nittnut: Hopefully it turns up somewhere in the house, Jenn. I have a sneaking suspicion that J might have dumped it into the garbage or the recycling bin and I would have thrown it out unknowingly. So sad, but not the end of the world. :)

>32 LizzieD: Peggy, it's always better for them to warn us ahead of time and then it isn't nearly as bad rather than getting no warning and then cursing them afterwards..ha! With my brain so scattered after having the kids, it's no wonder that not more things get misplaced really.... :)

>33 lit_chick: Thanks for dropping by, Nancy!

Apr 28, 2015, 10:22pm Top

Hi, Valerie! You are a wonderful mother. Just sayin'...

Apr 28, 2015, 11:14pm Top

Totally gorgeous topper, Valerie! Gosh, Valerie, with Murder and Mayhem May looming, those books by Tom Rob Smith look mighty inviting.

Apr 29, 2015, 4:15am Top

>28 jolerie: You will find it somewhere. My kids have those books too (somewhere in my house?). They never asked to see them or take them with them when they moved out. But I can get sentimental when I stumble upon them once in a while.

Apr 29, 2015, 6:53am Top

Yep, chiming in to admit that I've lost and found that little stinker of a vaccination record pretty much every time before I take Charlie in for a check-up. Why can't I ever just put it in the same place?! Or remember where that place is!?

Apr 29, 2015, 11:31am Top

>28 jolerie: Your husband is right. All the records are kept electronically.

Think of it as teaching your boys self-reliance at a young age. :) If your boys are like mine they are utterly unsentimental anyway.

Apr 29, 2015, 12:52pm Top

>35 msf59: Thanks Mark. That is sweet of you to say so. :)

>36 vancouverdeb: Deb, May M&M is a perfect time to dive into a Tom Rob Smith Book!

>37 connie53: Connie, my boys will most likely not care either, especially if by then everything will probably be purely electronic anyways. I'm just being a sentimental sap.

>38 scaifea: Amber, I always put it in the same place and of course the one time I don't, I can't find it. Completely my fault, so it serves me right!

>39 Oberon: It's true Erik and I knew that in some tiny logical part of my brain. I doubt the boys will be heartbroken over a record that kept track of how many times they got jabbed with a needle...ha!

Apr 29, 2015, 1:42pm Top

#39 The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Source: Public Library
Genre: Fiction
Format: TPB
Published: 2014
Setting: Massachusetts, New England, Alice Island
Pages: 258
Series: n/a
Rating: ★★★¼

Notes: bookstores, books, booksellers, adoption, family, love
Books noted: Lamb to the Slaughter and Other Stories, James and the Giant Peach, The Bookseller (Roald Dahl), Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace), Old School, Bullet in the Brain (Tobias Wolff), The Red Pony, The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck), The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), The Luck of Roaring Camp (Bret Harte), The Book Thief (Markus Zusak), Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak), The Crucible (Arthur Miller), The Paris Wife (Paula McLain), A Reliable Wife (Robert Goolrick), American Wife (Curtis Sittenfeld), The Time Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger), Bel Canto (Ann Patchett), Case Histories (Kate Atkinson), Moby Dick (Herman Melville), The Gulag Archipelago (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn), The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis), L.A. Confidential (Julie Kenner), The Fall of the House of Usher, Caligula, A Good Man is Hard to Find (Flannery O'Connor), The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (Mark Twain), Olive Kitteridge (Elizabeth Strout), Charming Billy (Alice McDermott), Tuesday with Morrie (Mitch Albom), The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan), Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll), The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing (M. T. Anderson), The Awakening (Kate Chopin), The Beauties (Anton Chekhov), The Doll's House (Katherine Mansfield), A Perfect Day for Bananafish (J. D. Salinger), Brownies, Drinking Coffee, Elsewhere (ZZ Packer), In the Cemetary Where Al Jolson Is Buried (Amy Hempel), Fat, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (Raymond Carver), Indian Camp , A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway), The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (J. R. R. Tolkien), Tess of d'Ubervilles (Thomas Hardy), Johnny got His Gun (Dalton Trumbo), A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving), Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), Silas Marner (George Eliot), Their Eyes Were Watching God (Zora Neale Hurston), I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith), Ironhead (Aimee Bender), In Search of Lost Time (Marcel Proust), The House of Sand and Fog (Andre Dumas), A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline D'Engle), Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell), What Feels Like the World (Richard Bausch) The Girls in Their Summer Dresses (Irwin Shaw), A Conversation with My Father (Grace Paley), The Tell-Tale Heart (E. A. Poe)
Other Books Read: Elsewhere

You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, 'What is your favourite book?' Page 87

A.J.'s life takes a rapid downturn after the death of his wife along with declining sales of his bookstore. Angry with the world, the most unexpected twist comes along in the form of an abandoned baby, an unlikely love interest and a mysterious package that might just turn his otherwise mess of a life around.

A book about books would typically be a definite winner in my opinion and yet for some reason, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry just didn't strike the chord I would have expected. In this case, I just couldn't suspend my belief long enough to accept the plausibility of some of the major events in the story and that unfortunately affected my overall enjoyment of the book. What I did enjoy was recognizing all the authors and books that are mentioned in the story and as a book lover, there is a certain amount of gratification when you not only recognize a list of books, but that you've read them and in some cases, loved as well.

Apr 29, 2015, 1:46pm Top

Edited: May 2, 2015, 5:33pm Top

>41 jolerie: This one seems to be quite divisive. I've had some friends who loved it and read other reviews where it fell flat. Yet another case of not every book is for every reader.

Apr 29, 2015, 11:15pm Top

Thanks for the review of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. I keep looking at it and thinking I'd like to read it, but then when I actually pick it up and read several pages , then I think maybe I am not so keen on it. Making good progress through Madame Bovary and it's not so bad! Last night I realized it is only 300 pages or so, not 400! Not long now! ;)

Apr 30, 2015, 4:12am Top

Great review of AJ Fikry. I enjoyed it, but going in, I think I expected a beach book and that's what I got, so it was all good. :) I have seen mixed reviews as well.

Apr 30, 2015, 6:01pm Top

>43 MickyFine: Micky, I can definitely see the appeal and maybe a different time might yield a different reaction. :)

>44 vancouverdeb: Deb, the book has its fans so you never know. For me, it just didn't click enough for me to recommend. Good on you with Madame Bovary. Looking forward to your thoughts!

>45 nittnut: Thanks Jenn! Oh maybe my problem was I need to read it on a beach!! ;)

Edited: Apr 30, 2015, 8:35pm Top

Crazy to think that C's first whole year of preschool has almost flown by. The school hired a professional photographer to take some pictures of the kids and we bought a couple of shots for memory sake.

I wonder what the guy said to him to get the reaction. Must have been something along the lines of, "Can you believe you are about to go to kindergarten??" Obviously C was just as surprised as we are by how fast time flies! But most of all, we are just so darn proud of him! :)

Apr 30, 2015, 9:48pm Top

Oh, I love that pic! It's just adorable!

Yes, time does fly. My baby girl just celebrated her THIRTY-SECOND birthday. *closes eyes and takes deep breaths* She's almost as old as I was when I gave birth to her. *more deep breaths*

May 1, 2015, 4:19am Top

>47 jolerie: What a beautiful young boy he is. You've every right to be proud of him.

May 1, 2015, 6:47am Top

What a beautiful photo! I love the idea of hiring a photography to take more candid shots like that - and he had an easy job with your little handsome thing...

May 1, 2015, 9:35am Top

Happy new thread, Valerie!

>42 jolerie: - I had no idea Kate Mosse had a new book out! Must add that to the library holds list. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

>47 jolerie: - What a great picture!

May 1, 2015, 11:04am Top

Precious photo, Val! He's so happy!

May 1, 2015, 12:24pm Top

>47 jolerie: Ha! Wonderful photo of C, Valerie.

May 1, 2015, 12:31pm Top

>48 Storeetllr: It flies by in a blink of an eye, Mary! I often dream of what the boys will be like when they are adults and not the little guys who demand to sit on my lap whenever they get the chance. I am cherishing the moments!

>49 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara! He is a wonderfully sweet and kind kid. :)

>50 scaifea: The photos were awesome. He even got some action shots of C jumping up and boy did the kid get some air..ha!

>51 lkernagh: Hi Lori! The new book is a stand alone book which I appreciate and is true to Mosse's gothic style. Quite enjoyable.

>52 lit_chick: Thanks Nancy!

>53 jnwelch: Thanks Joe!

Edited: May 1, 2015, 12:56pm Top

April Roundup:

Total books read: 12
Total pages read: ☛ 3694
Total audiobook hours: (1) ♫ 9hrs 41mins
Average rating: 3.83

Nonfiction: 1
Fiction: 5
Fantasy: 0
Science Fiction: 0
Crime/Thriller/Horror/Mystery: 2
YA: 1
GN: 0
Children: 0
Classics: 0
Historical: 3

Series: 1
Standalone: 11

Female authors: 9
Male authors: 3
New to me authors: 7

Library: 9
OTS: 3

Favourite Reads:

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Honourable Mentions:

The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Lexicon by Max Barry

May 1, 2015, 2:34pm Top

I love that photo of C! There's such joy and exuberance captured in that one photograph.

What are your thoughts on the new Moss book so far? I saw it in the bookstore the other evening, but I had my arms already full and was feeling guilty about potentially adding another to the pile, so I blew it a kiss and said I'd come back another day.

May 1, 2015, 3:06pm Top

That is such an adorable photo! What a happy kid.

May 1, 2015, 5:23pm Top

Happy Friday, Val! Love the photo of your son. Absolutely perfect.

Nice book round-up. You did some fine reading.

May 1, 2015, 6:11pm Top

>57 cameling: The photographer did an excellent job.
If you are a fan of Mosse's writing, then The Taxidermist's Daughter should not disappoint. There's a definite darker edge to the mystery in the book that kept me turning the pages.

>58 nittnut: Thanks Jenn! He is usually quite an easy going child. The key word here is 'usually'. ;)

>59 msf59: Happy Friday Mark! Today is doubly a happy day for you I'm assuming since it marks the beginning of your vacation? Wahooo! I think 12 books in a month is the most that I've read before so that is worth celebrating. B.A.G indeed. :D

Edited: May 1, 2015, 6:28pm Top

I was a big fan of Let Him Go and The Wind-Up Girl. I also enjoyed The Girl on the Train. I hope these work for you too.

ETA: I think reading 12 books in a month is very impressive. Great job.

Edited: May 1, 2015, 7:55pm Top

#40 The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse
Source: Public Library
Genre: Historical
Format: TPB
Published: 2014
Setting: Sussex, England, Fishbourne, 1900s
Pages: 403
Series: n/a
Rating: ★★★★

Notes: mystery, taxidermy, murder, secrets, memories, gothic
Books noted: Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare)
Other Books Read: Labyrinth, Sepulchre, The Winter Ghosts

The belief that in death, beauty could be found. The belief that through the act of preservation, a new kind of life was promised. Immortal, perfect, brilliant, in the face of the shifting and decaying world. Page 15

Connie has lived alone with her father, the taxidermist for as long as she can remember. Her memory, after a childhood accident, has remained a blurry, hazy and untrustworthy source of information. Snippets and fragments will sometimes force their way to the surface, yet she cannot for certain claim them to be just a figment of her imagination or concrete evidence that she has lost more than she once thought. Unexpectedly, a body of an unknown girl washes up on the marshes behind Connie's house and suddenly the memories that have lain dormant for so long breaks through like a torrent and for the first time in her life, Connie isn't sure she's ready to face the truth.

Mosse delivers a dark and creepy mystery that centres around the macabre art of taxidermy, the science of preserving life through death. What was once alive can be brought back to life through an intricate process and painstaking attention to detail. When the dead refused to remain dead and when our memories are unreliable , secrets flourish and darkness pervades. Fans of Mosse's gothic storytelling, her atmospheric conjuring, and knack for historical narratives will not be disappointed with her latest offering.

May 1, 2015, 6:40pm Top

Up Next ☛:

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Edited: May 1, 2015, 6:43pm Top

>61 msf59: Mark, looks like I'm in for a great month of reading then! :D
I'll definitely be sad to see the hubby go back to work because that would be my reading time will also significantly decrease.

May 1, 2015, 7:25pm Top

Hi Val, looks like you have a great line-up of reading for May. Although very different from each other, like Mark I loved Let Him Go and The Wind-Up Girl. Both The Girl on the Train and Betwixt and Between are on my wish list so I will be looking forward to your thoughts on them.

May 1, 2015, 10:39pm Top

Oooo. I loved Still Alice. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

May 2, 2015, 4:14am Top

Happy weekend, Val.

Edited: May 2, 2015, 9:10pm Top

LOVE the photo! So adorable!!

May 2, 2015, 6:20pm Top

>65 DeltaQueen50: I'm excited for the books lined up in May. Well to be honest, what month filled with reading doesn't excite me...ha! Thanks for visiting, Judy. :)

>66 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel. I'm enjoying my time with Alice. Since I have an issue of watching the movies before reading the books, I'm glad I put this one on the list so that I can watch the movie sooner rather than later.

>67 Ameise1: Thanks so much Barbara!

>68 ChelleBearss: Thanks Chelle! The little guy looked like he had a blast taking them as well. :)

May 2, 2015, 11:28pm Top

C is such a darling! What a cute, Valerie! And yes, I'm quite excited about the Royal Birth, which is a great puzzle to my husband! ;)

You are so super organized in your reading, Valerie. I decide what I am reading mainly on the spur of the moment. I've not read Still Alice yet, but I read Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey. which was also about dementia/ alzheimers , so I feel okay about that one. Lisa Genova has a new book out on Huntington's called Inside the O'Briens so that is on my mental would like to read list.

May 3, 2015, 1:50am Top

Well, The Taxidermists Daughter seems a bit weird - maybe in a good way. I will keep it on the "considering this" list. :)

May 3, 2015, 1:39pm Top

Hope you are having a great Sunday, Val, and enjoying that lively family of yours!

Edited: May 3, 2015, 7:05pm Top

>70 vancouverdeb: I hear in the running is Charlotte and Alice. I don't think they would name her Diane. Too much history and pressure, although as a middle name..maybe?
Haha....flexible organization is what it is. I like to have a rough outline so I'm not all over the place, but I give myself full rights to change it up when I feel like it as well. :)

>71 nittnut: It is a strange mix of murder, mystery, and taxidermy. Sounds like it wouldn't work, but at least for me, it was an interesting balance.

>72 ronincats: Thanks Roni! We are all enjoying a busy weekend with family, church, and of course the hockey game. :D

May 3, 2015, 7:14pm Top

Hope you are enjoying a fine weekend, Valerie! It has been gorgeous here. I am reading my second Erdrich, The Round House and I am really enjoying it.

May 3, 2015, 7:44pm Top

#41 Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Source: OTS
Genre: Fiction
Format: TPB
Published: 2007/2009
Setting: Boston, Massachusetts
Pages: 292
Series: n/a
Rating: ★★★★

Notes: Alzheimer, family, marriage, early onset, Harvard, careers
Books noted: Moby Dick (Herman Mieville), King Lear (Shakespeare), Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen)
Other Books Read: n/a (new to me author)

Even then, more than a year earlier, there were neurons in her head, not far from her ears, that were being strangled to death, too quietly for her to hear them. Some would argue that things were going so insidiously wrong that the neurons themselves initiated events that would lead to their own destruction. Whether it was molecular murder or cellular suicide, they were unable to warn her of what was happening before they died.

Alice by all accounts was a woman who had it all - a happy marriage, grown children leading satisfying lives of their own, and the cherry on top of it all was a successful career as a professor at Harvard University. A diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer changes her life and now everything she has worked her entire life to accomplish comes crashing down and there is no cure. The only question is how long does she have left? How long before the Alice she, her family and friends have known will disappear forever?

Genova holds nothing back in portraying the destruction that dementia wrecks on not only the person suffering from the illness, but effecting everyone around them as well. The slow and debilitating deterioration of your freedom, your ability to do even the most mundane of things, but most of all, the lost of your capability to express the simplest thoughts in a coherent manner is shocking. Who you were will be no more and who you dreamed that you could be, forever an impossibility. The reality that so many people live such an existence is a terrifying and a sobering notion. Alice's story is raw, poignant, and eye opening, and I'm thankful that for a brief moment in time, I was able to walk in her shoes, see life through her eyes, and realize how helpless we are when our brains decide to turn against us. Highly recommended.

May 3, 2015, 7:46pm Top

May 3, 2015, 7:48pm Top

>74 msf59: Mark, I'm happy to report we have been having some wonderfully warmish and Spring weather in our neck of the woods as well. I hope you end up enjoying The Round House as much as I did when you finish it. Way to go for fitting in two Erdrichs this year! :)

Edited: May 3, 2015, 8:04pm Top

Good review of Still Alice. Thumb! A friend from work had passed this one on to me and I was surprised how well-written it was. I think she also has a new book out.

I hope you enjoy The Girl on the Train.

May 3, 2015, 9:25pm Top

>47 jolerie: What a great photo!

Also, I like how you listed your favorite reads by year and book cover!

May 4, 2015, 12:30am Top

Wonderful review of The Taxidermist's Daughter, Valerie! Like Rachel, I loved Still Alice. Glad to see you are also in the 'like' camp for Genova's book.

May 4, 2015, 4:40am Top

Valerie, you have been wonderful in keeping my poor thread ticking along in my absence.

Trust that your weekend has been a good one my dear.

Edited: May 4, 2015, 6:49am Top

Egads, Valerie! How did I miss your shiny new thread!? Your little man is certainly growing up! Oh! how exciting for him and YOU that Kindergarten is just a few short months away!
Can't wait to read what you think of Girl on the Train as that's been on my radar since it came out.
I got very paranoid when I read Still Alice and kept asking my husband, do I do this and am I'm like that. It's a scary thought. Other than that, it's a terrific book.

May 4, 2015, 10:50am Top

I loved Still Alice too, Val. An excellent read, if a very sobering one. You're right, Genolva holds nothing back, something I appreciated.

May 4, 2015, 1:38pm Top

>78 msf59: Yes, I believe her new book is Inside the O'Briens which I've seen around the stores. I'm waiting to see how it's received before I jump on that one. I have Left Neglected and Love Anthony on my TBR mountain to get through as well so no rush on my end!

>79 Whisper1: Wonderful to see you making the rounds, Linda! I love the image of all the book covers side by side. :)

>80 lkernagh: Lori, have you read any of Mosse's books before?
Yup, I'm definitely in the like camp and I'm looking forward to reading her other books. She sounds like a really smart lady...a bit like Alice. :)

>81 PaulCranswick: Paul, so glad to hear that the RL busyness has given you a brief reprieve. Hopefully it's a longer break and you get a chance to get some real R&R!

>82 Carmenere: Lynda, I'm equal parts excited and nervous for the little guy's big change coming this fall. Good thing is he loves school and learning so hopefully that sets him up for success and all the changes that are happening in his world.
The Girl on the Train is definitely keeping my attention so barring a horrible ending, I'm probably going to be on the side of liking the book more than not.
I had the same issues while reading Still Alice. All the times I've walked into a room completely forgetting what I was supposed to do suddenly is that much more ominous!

>83 lit_chick: Hi Nancy! It was definitely sobering and scary at the same time. I can't imagine coping with such a reality.

May 4, 2015, 6:25pm Top

I was in Calgary today for a mini-conference. I should have waved at you. ;)

May 5, 2015, 9:31am Top

>84 jolerie: - I have read Books 1 and 2 in her Languedoc Trilogy as well as The Winter Ghosts. I own Citadel, Book 3 in the trilogy but I haven't gotten around to reading that one yet.

May 5, 2015, 1:08pm Top

>85 MickyFine: You totally should have! :P Next time I am ever down in Lethbridge, I'll be sure to send out my Micky vibes. :D

>86 lkernagh: Lori, why am I not surprised that we've read the exact same books. I have Citadel on my TBR mountain but just haven't found the time to commit to the chunkster yet.

May 5, 2015, 2:53pm Top

Hi, Valerie! How is the week going so far? Squeezing in any reading?

May 5, 2015, 3:45pm Top

>87 jolerie: - Ha! Great minds think - and read - alike, it would seem. ;-)

May 5, 2015, 4:19pm Top

I'm another hug Moss fan. I've Sculpture and Citadel as audios and will listen them when I'm in the Pyrenee in July. Isn't that appropriate?

Edited: May 5, 2015, 5:09pm Top

>88 msf59: Mark, you know I could never disappoint you! I finished up The Girl on the Train this morning and what a ride! I did see the ending before it was revealed but that was okay. :)

>89 lkernagh: Amen, Lori! ;)

>90 Ameise1: Barbara, hopefully you can get a copy of Mosse's latest The Taxidermist's Daughter. I am totally jealous that you will be able to visit Pyrenees and to do it while listening to the books is AMAZING!

Edited: May 5, 2015, 6:39pm Top

#42 The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Source: Public Library
Genre: Crime/Mystery/Thriller
Format: TPB
Published: 2014
Setting: London, Ashbury, Witney, England
Pages: 316
Series: n/a
Rating: ★★★★

Notes: marriage, alcoholism, memories, relationships
Books noted: n/a
Other Books Read: n/a (debut novel)

Life is not a paragraph and death is no parenthesis. Page 17

Rachel has been riding the trains everyday, watching the same scenery whip past. Everyday the same. Until something catches her eye and she can't get the image out of her head. The police are involved and Rachel finds herself tangled into the investigation, but no one believes the story she has to tell.

The Girl on the Train has the ingredients to make for an addictive page turner. Written from the perspective of three different women, in diary format, and not one of them is a reliable narrator. Each is seeing the events from their own perspective and only by piecing it all together do you get the whole story. The ending was a bit predictable, but that didn't take away from the overall enjoyment of the story. A worthwhile debut.

May 5, 2015, 6:41pm Top

Edited: May 5, 2015, 9:22pm Top

Valerie! Just saw your post on Carsten's thread! He is so good humoured! I am a crazy royal fan and since Carsten lives so " close" to the UK - as in Denmark, I see his taking up the post of a Royal Reporter as the perfect job for him . I fear that he feels differently , wanting to cover the so called " real news." LOL! ;)

Say, I picked up The Farm by Tom Rob Smith from the library yesterday. Do you think I will like it?

I enjoyed The Girl on the Train but I think it only got 3.8 stars from me. So much back and forth traveling from house to house. :)

I'm really curious to see what you think of The Widow's Walk. It sounds interesting!

May 5, 2015, 10:11pm Top

well darn it all.... all of the other reviews for The Girl on the Train convinced me that I didn't need to read it and then you go ahead and write one sentence that convinces me I probably should consider reading it.

May 5, 2015, 10:41pm Top

>87 jolerie: Sounds like a plan.

May 6, 2015, 1:13am Top

Just passing through with a cheerful wave. :)

May 6, 2015, 11:07am Top

Great reviews of Still Alice and The Girl on the Train. I'm in the queue for the latter at the library and I have been going back and forth on the former. I want to see the film, but I think I should read the book first.

May 6, 2015, 1:35pm Top

Did you get an NDP candidate? I know Calgary was more of a mixed bag.

May 6, 2015, 4:40pm Top

Hi Valerie, hope you are ok my dear, I haven't visited you for a while. Love your review ofThe Girl on the Train I will have to add it to my list of future purchases.

Edited: May 6, 2015, 7:26pm Top

>94 vancouverdeb: Carsten is good fellow to play along..haha! Since you are such a royal enthusiast, have you read any of their biographies? Any good ones out there?
The Farm is considered a psychological thriller so if you generally appreciate that genre, I think you would enjoy it. I got my husband who isn't really a reader to try it and he couldn't put it down either. Smith is really good at drawing you into the story and building suspense so I think if you give it a try, you'll know pretty fast if you'll like it or not.

>95 lkernagh: Well now Lori, you know I gotta ask which sentence it was??

>97 nittnut: Thanks for the quick drive by, Jenn!

>98 EBT1002: Ellen, I'm like you. I need to read the book first if I'm going to watch the movie and since I have the book on my TBR mountain, there really wasn't an excuse. It actually was a pretty good read as well so that's a bonus!

>99 MickyFine: >96 MickyFine: Micky, we did! I'm so shocked. I totally didn't think we would end up with a NDP majority! We got an NDP elected in our riding which was previously PC. Did you guys get a NDP elected as well?

>100 johnsimpson: Hi John! Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy The Girl on the Train when you get a chance to get your hands on the book.

May 6, 2015, 9:13pm Top

>101 jolerie: Yup, both ridings in Lethbridge elected NDP. Which is totally awesome in my opinion. I'm excited to see what they do.

May 6, 2015, 11:16pm Top

>101 jolerie: - Written from the perspective of three different women, in diary format, and not one of them is a reliable narrator.


Ha, I was expecting you guys would be in for a minority govt, so imagine my surprise when I saw the results this morning.

May 7, 2015, 12:15am Top

Happy books, and happy election Valerie! I was on tenterhooks last night - it was looking suspiciously like Wild Rose for a while in our riding for a while. The whole thing is a bit flabbergasting - I'd been looking at the polls, but really thought it would just end up like the last election, with people moderating their voting when it actually came down to it. Also, I managed to win the seat-guessing challenge at work - which I'm feeling rather proud of, seeing as I can't even vote here. It will be very interesting to see what happens next in New Albertastan :)

Edited: May 7, 2015, 1:51am Top

I'm really enjoying The Farm! It is so interesting! I found it at the library and grabbed it! Enjoying it very much. Yes, Carsten is so good natured and good humoured as I tease him about trying to get a job as a housekeeper at the Anmer Hall, or else try to get a Royal Reporting job, just for me! :) As it is, I read the Daily Mail online each day and grab info there. I have read a couple of bio's in the past, but not lately. I have a couple of friends as crazy about royalty as I am, so we have a lot of fun teasing each other about it all.

Wow! Was I ever surprised that your province went NDP! I think it was time for a change and I'd love to " heave Steve" out of Ottawa, so this looks good to me. I'm really a Liberal, but I say anything but the Conservatives. I wonder how my brother and family feel in Edmonton? One of the election when the Wild Rose came on the scene , he said it scared him so much , he and his wife actually bothered to vote. Sighs about said brother, being so politically apathetic. NDP scares me federally, but I still take any one but Harper! ;)

May 7, 2015, 1:54am Top

104 Megan! Albertastan! LOL! Federally I like Tom Mulcair, but not so much the NDP federally, but if we can get rid of Steve I'll vote any old way! ;) Unite the Left, I say. Too much lying by Stevie Boy .

Edited: May 7, 2015, 7:33pm Top

>102 MickyFine: I'm glad to see democracy being exercised. I don't really have a burning loyalty either way as long as the people's voices are heard and the government is listening! :)

>103 lkernagh: You were not the only one, Lori! ;)

>104 evilmoose: Megan, how come you aren't able to vote? Good on you for being able to guess correctly. I know I would have have been wrong my guesses...ha! The next year in Albertastan will be interesting indeed. ;)

>105 vancouverdeb: >106 vancouverdeb: Oh I'm so glad it grabbed you. Buckle your seatbelt and enjoy the ride, my friend! I never really cared for the royals after Diana died since I'm not overly fond of Charles and his love life. Now that William and Kate are in the forefront, it is so much more interesting. I hope they can weather life in the spotlight and their kids are left to grow as normal as possible.
I can't imagine an NDP federal government, but who knows what the future holds. Never say never right???

May 7, 2015, 12:04pm Top

Sweet Thursday, Valerie! Hope the week is going well. I just snagged Inside the O'Briens on audio. Yah!!

I am enjoying Wolf Winter. This might be your cuppa.

May 7, 2015, 3:19pm Top

Hi, Valerie! I'm way behind. Lovely thread topper, and the photo of your son is priceless!

I really liked Still Alice, too. Your review of it is wonderful.

I'm still deciding whether to read The Girl on the Train. Your review is nudging me toward "yes."

May 7, 2015, 5:58pm Top

>107 jolerie: I'm Australian! I have permanent residency, and have been here for over 7 years now, and have applied for citizenship, but in the meantime, I'm still not allowed to vote. Not even in municipal elections! *chants TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION and waves a placard*

Edited: May 7, 2015, 10:01pm Top

>108 msf59: Well, sweet Thursday indeed, my friend. Did you buy a copy of the audiobook or did you get it from the library? Looking forward to your thoughts.
Wolf Winter will get its turn I'm sure. :D

>109 tymfos: Hi Terri! So wonderful to see you here! Hopefully the nudge is a good thing and if you ever pick up the book, it won't disappoint you. ;)

>110 evilmoose:. Megan, I remember you were from Australia but for some reason I thought you had been here long enough to be a Canadian citizen...doh! Oh, I get your frustration. You don't have full rights of a citizen but are expected to give the government its fair portion. Sounds about right...... :/ Just curious, but do you have to give up your Australian citizenship or will you just end up with a dual one?

May 7, 2015, 10:30pm Top

Let's say I "bought" Inside the O'Briens and leave it at that, Val. LOL.

Edited: May 7, 2015, 11:12pm Top

111 " Let's say I " bought " Inside the O'Briens and leave it at that. LOL , Mark , have you been thieving from the mail again! ;) Or just " borrowing " from the stores! ;)

Valerie, " back in the day" when I was young, I could not imagine a federal NDP government, and it still scares me , but I am so weary of Harper and his " Cons" that I'm ready for anything now. I prefer Mulcair to Trudeau , and Mulcair used to be with the Federal Liberal party, so I think he might be okay?

I never imagined that Alberta would go NDP!!! In BC we've had the Liberal in for quite a while now, but really they are closely attached to Harper, so they are not especially left. But you know, I live on the " Left Coast " in Leftcouver , as they say! :)

I think I actually cried when Harper got a majority government so I guess it can't get much worse for me. :) I take my politics seriously , like I do the Royalty. I know what you mean about Camilla, but I guess I've gotten used to her now. But I know what you mean.

May 8, 2015, 10:56am Top

>111 jolerie: I'll actually end up with three citizenships (greedy I know) as I was born with Irish and Australian. Most nations these days are ok with dual citizenship, or at least most of the Commonwealth nations are. And by dual they really mean multiple. So if you really wanted you could just go crazy collecting them.

Edited: May 8, 2015, 6:23pm Top

>112 msf59: Hahahaha...oh, Mark!

>113 vancouverdeb: I remember Vancouver being Liberal when I was growing up and I haven't followed since I moved. Has it ever changed parties or always been Liberal?
In some ways I feel bad for the cards that were dealt C & C. It's clear that they love one another and are right for each other. I just wish C had followed his heart early in the beginning instead of his duty to do the "right" thing and all that mess that occurred afterwards. Hindsight is always 20/20 though. If he had chosen differently, we wouldn't have gotten Will and Harry either so that's a tough one!

>114 evilmoose: Now that seems like a fun hobby - going around and collecting citizenships! :D
The only place I can think of that doesn't allow that is Japan? I may be wrong though.

May 8, 2015, 6:35pm Top

#43 The Widow's Walk by Robert Barclay
Source: Public Library
Genre: Fiction
Format: TPB
Published: 2014
Setting: Bedford, Massachusetts
Pages: 296
Series: n/a
Rating: ★★¾

Notes: marriage, love, time, time travel, ghosts, haunting
Books noted: n/a
Other Books Read: n/a (new to me author)

The long, unmeasured pulse of time moves everything. There is nothing hidden that it cannot bring to light, nothing once unknown that may not become known. Nothing is impossible. Sophocles

Garrett Richmond has been drawn to the Seaside mansion for as long as he remembers. Now as its official owner, his plan is to restore it to its former glory. The only hiccup is the presence of Constance Elizabeth Canfield, a previous owner of the estate and someone who should have been dead over 170 years ago. Garrett can't be sure if she is a ghost, an apparition, or just his mind going over the edge. What he does know is that he is falling in love with her and there is nothing he can do to stop it.

Overly melodramatic with characters reacting and talking in away that is not only unbelievable, but also ridiculous. It reminds me a bit of dreams we have that make so much sense when we are asleep, but once we wake up, everything that occurred seemed completely preposterous. I think I would have been more forgiving if it was marketed as a YA book, and even then, probably not. Not worth your time or mine.

May 8, 2015, 6:37pm Top

Up Next ☛:

Tell by Frances Itani

May 8, 2015, 8:32pm Top

>47 jolerie: what a great shot. It looks like he is saying so, whadaya want me to do then!? Haha, sweet!

Did you find the kids immunisation record book? What a shame to misplace it, I love flicking back over them. Not for the jab records, for the heights and all the things i wrote down in them about what they were saying at certain ages. I really hope it turns up for you!

May 9, 2015, 6:00am Top

Hi Val, I wish you a lovely weekend.

May 9, 2015, 8:33am Top

Happy Saturday, Val! Hope you are having a good weekend. I have not heard of Tell. Have you read her before?

May 9, 2015, 2:31pm Top

>116 jolerie: Thank you for reading that so I don't have to. :)

Hope your weekend started out great and continues that way!

May 9, 2015, 6:12pm Top

>118 LovingLit: Megan, unfortunately, it is still MIA. It will either show up one day or else it is sitting in the landfill somewhere since J has a habit of picking things up and just throwing it in the garbage!

>119 Ameise1: That's so lovely, Barbara! I wish I had a green enough thumb to grow something like that. :)

>120 msf59: I've never read anything by her before but she is a good one, Mark!

>121 Storeetllr: I'll gladly take one for the team. ;)
Thanks Mary! We are having a lovely Mother's Day weekend so far with some wonderfully warm Spring weather.

Edited: May 9, 2015, 7:55pm Top

Valerie, politics were very stable when I was very young and before I was born. I think we had 40 years of the "Social Credit' aka Socred party. They were right of centre , and then finally the party collapsed, so to speak. Since then BC has gone back and forth between Liberal and NDP. But don't be fooled by the Provincial Liberal party in BC. They actually have close ties with the Federal Conservative Party. Our last Liberal Premier was made an ambassador to the UK by Stephen Harper, so you understand they are only " Liberal " in name only. I think it is time for a change in BC, but I think the election is a year or two out.

Really warm here today! 23 C! To much heat too fast ! I'm happy at about 20 C - and no breeze today.

May 10, 2015, 6:15am Top

Happy Mother's Day!

Edited: May 10, 2015, 8:49am Top

May 10, 2015, 4:51pm Top

>123 vancouverdeb: A stable government, if it is a good government is a wonderful thing I would hope. As long as we value our right to democracy and exercise that right, I think it's a good thing. No government is going to be perfect since governments are made of people, flawed and imperfect people. We do the best with what we are given!

>124 nittnut: Thanks Jenn! Wishing you the same, my friend. :)

>125 msf59: Thanks Mark. You are such a sweet guy!

Edited: May 11, 2015, 2:45pm Top

Wishing all you moms out there, biological ones, spiritual ones, adoptive ones, moms of fur-kids, moms of all shapes and sizes, a wonderful day to celebrate and be recognized for all that you do.

(Sorry the quality is a bit blurry since I could only upload a picture of the actual card)
The tradition my husband has set up for Mother's Day is that he creates a photo card collage of the boys pictures from the past year. This year C was able to sign the card himself. I look forward to the gift every year. So precious to see a year of growth and milestones.

Edited: May 10, 2015, 5:08pm Top

Happy Mothers' Day, Val! Cute pix of the boys!

May 11, 2015, 3:13am Top

Happy Mother's Day to you, too, Valerie!

Sorry I'm a bit late with the wishes. Thanks for dropping by my place.

>127 jolerie: That is a brilliant gift! I shall copy it - if I ever get organised enough.

May 11, 2015, 7:13am Top

>127 jolerie: Oh, so so sweet!

May 11, 2015, 12:59pm Top

>128 Storeetllr: Thanks Mary!

>129 humouress: Hi Nina! It's great to see you around the threads. The brilliant part about the gift is I don't have to do any of the organization. That is all up to the hubby. ;)

>130 scaifea: Thanks Amber!

Edited: May 11, 2015, 1:50pm Top

#44 Tell by Frances Itani
Source: Public Library
Genre: Historical
Format: TPB
Published: 2014
Setting: Ontario, Toronto, Canada
Pages: 318
Series: n/a
Rating: ★★★★¼

Notes: war, WWI, love, marriage, family, community, Canadian author, Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist 2014
Books noted: Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Thomas Hardy), The Life of P. T. Barnum (P.T. Barnum), The Old Curiosity Shop (Charles Dickens)
Other Books Read: n/a (new to me author)

War was about defending and protecting. About allegiance, alliance, seizing and grasping territory. War was about death. A mass of lives, a tangle of human lives, young lives, had been clumped together to form exactly that, a mass. Millions of empty chairs. But couldn't the mass be disentangled, looked at as one life, and another, and another? Each with a story, a photograph, a history, a family to love and who loved? No one person ever stood alone. Page 237

The town of Deseronto is like so many other Canadian towns of the time where the young men have left for war, some never to return, and others to return, neither whole in mind or body. Kenan is one of the lucky few who is able to come back from the war to his family and his young wife, but what he endured, what he has seen and heard will never be undone. Some stories are meant to be shared and others are forever trapped inside. A self imprisonment inside his own home, Kenan is unable to process what he has experienced and his inability to communicate the words that were lost on the fields of war leaves him paralyzed and separated from a community that has its own share of grief and secrets.

I have never read anything by Itani before and in fact I've never even heard of this author, but the Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist placed her on my radar and there she will stay. Her writing is both effortless and cutting. Her story of the effects that war has on a community, the futility of it, the hopelessness, but at the same time, the redemptive power of love is fully orchestrated through her writing and the lives of her characters. Beautifully written and wholeheartedly recommended.

May 11, 2015, 1:25pm Top

Up Next ☛:

The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble BAC Challenge

Edited: May 11, 2015, 1:45pm Top

Hi Valerie! I love the photo collage of the boys! How cute!

Good review of Tell. Thumb! I have added it to the T.R. list.

May 11, 2015, 2:43pm Top

What a lovely Mother's Day card your husband makes for you Val! Looks like you've been reading some really good books. I have The Girl on the Train on the shortlist but I am lending it to my cousin to read first. I'm trying to read some Murder & Mayhem first. ;-)

May 11, 2015, 2:49pm Top

>132 jolerie: Good review. Not sure I want to read it, because it sounds like what his service overseas during WWII did to my dad and, consequently, his family (i.e., my mom, me and my sibs), and I don't like to think too deeply about it. Even so many years later, my childhood haunts me.

Hope your week is beginning well!

May 11, 2015, 5:04pm Top

Hi Val, I've enjoyed catching up here. The Mother's Day Photo Card is such a wonderful idea, and your boys take great pictures. I see you enjyed The Girl on A Train so I will have to look into finding myself a copy of that one. You got me with Tell as well.

May 11, 2015, 9:34pm Top

Wonderful review of Tell, Valerie. Like you, Itani is a 'new-to-me' author.

May 11, 2015, 9:40pm Top

>127 jolerie: Wow, look at how much that younger one grew during the year!

May 12, 2015, 8:45am Top

I like your all inclusive Mother's Day greeting, Valerie! It made me smile.
I hope you had a lovely day with your guys and treating you to a relaxing day.
Love the Photo Card. It must have been difficult to stop at 12 pictures because I'm sure you've got 100 more that are just as adorable.

Nice review of Tell.

May 12, 2015, 9:39am Top

Great review of Tell, Valerie! Thumb. I"ve heard of the author, but so far I have not read anything by him . You are tempting me! I love your photo collage and all encompassing message to mom's. I hope you had a wonderful day!

May 13, 2015, 2:31pm Top

>134 msf59: Thanks Mark! I think you would appreciate Itani's writing.

>135 luvamystery65: Hi Ro! The Girl on the Train is a perfect read for May M&M.

>136 Storeetllr: Mary, I can totally understand how the subject matter can hit too close to home for you. It is sobering to think of what the men endured during those years of war and then to have to come back to "normal" life.

>137 DeltaQueen50: Welcome home, Judy. I think you will enjoy both The Girl on the Train and Tell.

>138 lkernagh: Hi Lori! We definitely need to give our fellow Canadian authors more love and recognition.

>139 ronincats: Roni, it is crazy how much growth the young ones go through in one year. He went from being immobile to a toddling toddler in a blink of an eye!

>140 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda! It might have been a hard job so thank goodness it wasn't me that was in charge. ;)

>141 vancouverdeb: Thanks, Deb! Hopefully you will give her a chance since she is one of our fellow Canadian authors. :)

May 13, 2015, 8:03pm Top

>127 jolerie: Your husband is a treasure to make those picture collages for you every year, Valerie. Make sure you keep them in a safe place! You wouldn't want to toss one of those cards out by mistake!

I saw the film adaptation of Still Alice recently. It was just as affecting as the book. I'm glad I have passed the age when I can get early-onset Alzheimer's. Such a terrible disease. I am eager to hear your thoughts on The Red Queen. Drabble is a good writer, but I didn't care for the way she told the story in the book I read by her.

May 14, 2015, 7:34am Top

Hi Valerie! I started the Secret Speech. Good to be back with Leo, but this looks like another dark one.

May 14, 2015, 8:10am Top

>127 jolerie: What a lovely tradition. How very special. Your children are so photogenic!

happy day to you.

Edited: May 14, 2015, 12:22pm Top

>143 Donna828: Haha, yes Donna, I don't want another incident like their immunization records...sigh.
I want to watch the movie at some point as well so I slotted the book in earlier for that reason as well. And besides, it has been sitting shamefully on my shelves for years.
I just wrapped up Drabble last night and thoughts will be coming later today or tomorrow. Unfortunately, I may be in the same boat as you after a promising start!

>144 msf59: I don't know if Smith can write something NOT dark...ha!

>145 Whisper1: Thanks Linda. We of course are completely partial to our boys. ;)

Edited: May 14, 2015, 6:39pm Top

#45 The Red Queen by Margaret Drabble
Source: OTS
Genre: Fiction
Format: TPB
Published: 2004
Setting: Korea, Chosun Dynasty, England
Pages: 352
Series: n/a
Rating: ★★★½

Notes: historical, royal family, memoir, spirits, Asia, BAC Challenge
Books noted: Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss), Macbeth (William Shakespeare)
Other Books Read: n/a (new to me author)

None of us has full access to even our own stories. Page 7

The Red Queen is written in two distinct parts. The first half is a fictionalized memoir of the Crown Princess of Korea and her account of the tragic and tumultuous relationship between her husband the Crown Prince Sado and his father, King Yongjo of Korea. The second half of the book takes place in present day and although it continues to be narrated by the Crown Princess, the arc of the story follows the journey of Dr. Babs Haliwell and the unfortunate parallels that run through both women's lives, even though they are separated by hundreds of years.
I absolutely loved the first half of the book. The Asian court politics, the palace intrigue, and the complicated interactions between the government and the royal family could rival its counterparts across the pond in Europe. Thoroughly fascinating and riveting. My problem was with the second half of the book which I found not nearly as interesting. If Drabble had chosen to expand the first half of the book and kept it as purely a fictionalized memoir, The Red Queen would have been a winner.

May 14, 2015, 6:39pm Top

Up Next ☛:

Let Him Go by Larry Watson

May 14, 2015, 7:16pm Top

OMG! Let Him Go!!! I loved this book. You are sure picking some gems, my friend.

I am at the halfway point in the Secret Speech. Tom Rob Smith is sure a grim fellow. I would still like to have a beer with him but if he gets to depressing, I am outta there!

May 15, 2015, 3:09am Top

Hi Val! Just passing and waving.

May 15, 2015, 6:38am Top

Morning, Valerie!

May 15, 2015, 6:50pm Top

>149 msf59: Haha, I can't tell Mark if you like Watson only a little bit or a lot. I think you need to show more enthusiasm. ;)
I don't think Tom Rob Smith is able to do light hearted, but he can definitely keep my attention..ha! I'm almost at the midway point as well.

>150 connie53: Hi Connie!

>151 scaifea: Ha, it's evening now for me, Amber. :)

May 15, 2015, 8:09pm Top

>127 jolerie: what a lovely thoughtful gift for you!

I'll watch for your thoughts on Let Him Go, I have a thing for the writing of Watson ;)

May 16, 2015, 1:47am Top

I am interested in trying The Red Queen. Even if I don't enjoy the second half, it sounds like the first half is worth it.

May 16, 2015, 8:34am Top

Hi Val, I wish you a wonderful weekend.

May 16, 2015, 3:57pm Top

Hi Valerie, hope you are having a lovely Saturday my dear, sending love and hugs.

May 17, 2015, 2:13am Top

Hi Valerie! Oh, I've had fun catching up here -- especially with monkey photos! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

>132 jolerie: Tell looks like a good one. Years ago I read Deafening by Ms. Itani, and really enjoyed it. It is also a Canadian-homefront-WWI story, and very memorable -- it's probably been 10+ years since I read it, so that's saying something!

May 17, 2015, 6:12am Top

Let Him Go sounds really interesting, Valerie. According to LT, it is similar to Plainsong by Kent Haruf which was one of new author finds of 2014. I hope you are having a wonderful long weekend! Dave had to work on Saturday, but now he has four days off.

May 17, 2015, 8:23am Top

Happy Sunday, Valerie! I hope you are enjoying plenty of R & R this weekend.

I posted a mini-review of The Secret Speech. Glad to put that one behind me.

Oooh, Plainsong...swoons.

May 17, 2015, 12:13pm Top

Hi Valerie! Wishing you a wonderful Sunday!

May 17, 2015, 2:22pm Top

Hey, Val ~ hope you and the family are having a lovely weekend!

Edited: May 17, 2015, 11:04pm Top

>153 LovingLit: I can understand your thing, Megan. He is a wonderful and evocative writer!

>154 nittnut: The first half is completely worth it, Jenn. Disclaimer though because I absolutely love Asian Imperial history and everything to do with that time frame so that alone made the first half extra intriguing for me. Maybe you'll enjoy the second half as well! :)

>155 Ameise1: So exotic and beautiful. Thanks Barbara!

>156 johnsimpson: Thanks John! I hope you and Karen are having wonderful weekend as well!

>157 AMQS: Ann, you are really going to enjoy Tell then because I didn't know when I first read it that it is actually connected to Deafening. There is a crossover character in both the books so that part should be familiar to you. I'm definitely going to seek out Deafening since I really enjoyed Tell

>158 vancouverdeb: I haven't read anything by Haruf yet Deb, so I can't confirm the comparison but I think Let Him Go would be something you'd enjoy so hopefully you will give it at try at some point. :)

>159 msf59: Sorry The Secret Speech didn't quite work out for you Mark. I'm proud of you for persevering and finishing it! I'm about halfway and it's still holding my interest.

>160 Carmenere: Thanks Lynda! Wishing you the same, my friend!

>161 Storeetllr: Thanks Mary. I hope you are having some R&R this weekend as well. :)

Edited: May 18, 2015, 2:50pm Top

Let Him Go by Larry Watson

#46 Let Him Go by Larry Watson
Source: Public Library
Genre: Fiction
Format: HB
Published: 2013
Setting: North Dakota, Montana, Midwest
Pages: 269
Series: n/a
Rating: ★★★★¼

Notes: family, grief, love, marriage, relationships
Books noted: n/a
Other Books Read: n/a (new to me author)

How much of life is that. Right there. Trying not to land wrong. Page 41

George and Margaret Blackledge set off on a journey from North Dakota to retrieve the grandson they lost after the death of their own son. Travelling through the American Midwest, encountering a land both strangely foreign and yet unsettlingly familiar at the same time, both are driven by a love so strong, yet so different from one another, it demands they forge ahead when accepting the loss would have been the sensible and safer choice.

Watson's writing is so simple and serene that it casts a deceptive calm in your reading so that when you encounter the sudden violences in the story, it stands out glaringly in a landscape of peaceful monotony. It is both jarring, unexpected, but a point well made. You know an author is gifted when the character that you can't seem to shake off is the one who rarely appears in the story, barely uttering a single word. The Blackledge's grandson, Jimmy is that such character. A young boy caught between the complicated world of adult affairs, his appearances in the story are short and brief, but unforgettable and gut wrenching. If you are fan of thoughtful characterizations and writing that evokes a strong sense of place and time, Let Me Go is definitely a gem that shouldn't be passed up. Highly recommended.

May 17, 2015, 11:03pm Top

Up Next ☛:

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale Book #2

May 18, 2015, 5:47am Top

>162 jolerie: No need for a disclaimer. I think I've probably read almost everything I could get my hands on about Imperial China. One of my favorite books of all time is The Living Reed by Pearl Buck, which is about Korea. I couldn't really tell you where my fascination comes from - but possibly early exposure to Pearl Buck. Anyway, like I said, I'll read it for the first half. Lol

May 18, 2015, 7:18am Top

Great review of Let Him Go, Valerie! Big Thumb! I hope this leads you to, reading more of his work.

May 18, 2015, 1:12pm Top

>163 jolerie: Too bad this book is not translated into Dutch. It sounds like a book I would enjoy.

May 18, 2015, 6:28pm Top

Hi Valerie, great review of Let Him Go which was a book that resonated with me and I gave 5 stars to. Larry Watson does remind me in many ways of Kent Haruf, I think they both display a Western sparseness in their writing. This very sparseness makes the words they do use very effective.

Edited: May 18, 2015, 6:46pm Top

>165 nittnut: Then we are going to get along just perfectly! I love that time period so anything that starts with that premise is halfway to a winner for me. ;) I'll have to take a look at The Living Reed and most likely add it to my list. Thanks!
ETA: Well whaddya know, it's already on the list..ha! Too many books!! ;)

>166 msf59: Thanks Mark! I am most definitely going to see what else of his I can devour.

>167 connie53: That is too bad, Connie because I think you'd quite enjoy it! Maybe there is something by Haruf that is translated into Dutch as well since a lot of people are making the comparison between the two authors.

>168 DeltaQueen50: Judy, I'm glad to be in such good company when it comes to Watson. I have Haruf's trilogy on my TBR mountain so it's just a matter of time.

May 19, 2015, 5:37am Top

>169 jolerie: Yep. Good thing we found some common ground, eh? Lol

May 19, 2015, 6:37am Top

Morning Valerie! Great review of Let Him Go and I've placed it on the good ole wishlist. I'd consider Hemingway a sparse, simple sort of writer too.
I own two of the Haruf trilogy but holding off reading them till I have all three.
Have a spectacular day!!!

May 19, 2015, 10:17am Top

Glad you enjoyed Let Him Go. CREEPY, huh? I enjoyed it too!

May 19, 2015, 8:16pm Top

>170 nittnut: Amongst other things, Jenn. ;)

>171 Carmenere: Afternoon Lynda! I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to read it. I haven't read anything by Hemingway before, but I'm thinking it is just a matter of time. I don't think I can call myself a reader unless I at least give him a try. :)

>172 lit_chick: I'm in good company it seems, Nancy. :)

Edited: May 19, 2015, 11:12pm Top

Job Update:
So we are now drawing close to 2.5 months of the husband being "off". We have gotten so used to this new routine, I don't know how I am going to transition back to not having him around. I guess we will cross that bridge when the time comes....
He has been called back for a second interview at a real estate management company this past week and now they are moving onto the reference check part so we are hopeful about this one. Please continue to send us the good vibes and prayers if we so happen to cross your minds. Much appreciated my friends! :D

May 19, 2015, 11:08pm Top

May 19, 2015, 11:43pm Top

I'm heading to the library tomorrow to see if I can get a copy of the Larry Watson book. Your review is great!

Looks like you brought home some great books from the library!

May 20, 2015, 1:22am Top

Will definitely say prayers for happy job finding. Good library haul. I keep looking at Seraphina but haven't read it yet. I will watch for your review. :)

May 20, 2015, 7:21am Top

May 20, 2015, 8:35am Top

Sending good thoughts your way, friend!

May 20, 2015, 9:10am Top

>174 jolerie: Checking references sounds promising. Wishing for continued good luck.

May 20, 2015, 10:30am Top

Hi Val, I predict your husband has the job in the bag! Can't wait to hear ...

May 20, 2015, 11:23am Top

Keeping my fingers crossed and sending good wishes northward!

May 20, 2015, 2:23pm Top

Sending good vibes and positive thoughts, Valerie, for your hubby landing that job.

May 20, 2015, 2:27pm Top

Waiting's the hardest part, I think. Fingers crossed that all goes according to plan!

I never thought I'd enjoy Hemingway, but I loved A Moveable Feast, supposedly semi-autobiographical fiction, and also liked The Sun Also Rises, which surprised me a lot.

May 20, 2015, 10:07pm Top

>176 Whisper1: Thanks so much Linda! I love coming back from the library with a bag of books and the best part is I didn't have to fork over any money for it. :)

>177 nittnut: Thanks for the prayers, Jenn! I've had Seraphina on my list for a long time and it was just sitting there on the shelves calling out to me, so I decided it was time to pick it up.

>178 msf59: Thanks my friend! :)

>179 scaifea: Thanks, Amber. Much appreciated!

>180 swynn: Thanks for the luck, Steve!

>181 lit_chick: We are definitely hopeful, Nancy!

>182 katiekrug: Thanks Katie! Your northward thoughts are welcome!

>183 jnwelch: Thanks so much Joe!

>184 Storeetllr: Mary, waiting is totally the hardest part, but still trying to take it all one step at a time and not get ahead of ourselves.
Thanks for the Hemingway recommendations. It is a good place for me to start. :)

Edited: May 20, 2015, 10:13pm Top

My copy of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale came in the mail today. She is fast becoming one of my goto authors. If you like the writing and storytelling style of Kate Morton and other similar writers, Hannah could be you cuppa as well! :D

ETA: I'm about 1/3 way through The Babbitt and for some reason, maybe it's the timing of when I'm reading the book, but I swear I never seem to get past about 10 pages before my eyes get so heavy, I end up snoozing. It has happened more than once. The book is not boring by any measure, but wow is it a cure for insomnia at this point for me..ha!

May 21, 2015, 3:56am Top

>184 Storeetllr: I'm adding my recommendation for A Movable Feast. Generally, I find a little Hemingway goes a Very. Long. Way. But I loved A Movable Feast.

May 21, 2015, 7:18am Top

I really liked Babbitt but it is not for everyone and you definitely need to be in the "mood" for it. Good luck!

May 21, 2015, 4:07pm Top

>187 nittnut: Well I guess that settles it then. A Moveable Feast will go on the list for future considerations. :)

>188 msf59: Mark, I just don't know if I'm smart enough to appreciate this classic but I'll forge ahead regardless.

May 21, 2015, 4:17pm Top

#47 Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale
Source: Public Library
Genre: YA
Format: HB
Published: 2012
Setting: Danland, Asland, Mount Eskel
Pages: 321
Series: Book #2 of 3
Rating: ★★★½

Notes: monarchy, friendships, romance, government, class, revolution
Books noted: n/a
Other Books Read: Princess Academy

Which is worse - acting in the wrong or not acting at all? Page 196

The continuing adventures of Miri and the graduates of the Princess Academy is filled with the looming threat of revolution. As typical YA fare goes, the story has its share of love interests, triangles and such, but thankfully it is not the focus of the book and by no means heavy handed. The bulk of the story is focused on the ethical questions of rulership, class disparity, government representation, and the rights of the people versus the rule of a monarchy. A charming story that is accessible to both a younger audience, but can also be appreciated by adults as well.

May 21, 2015, 4:17pm Top

Up Next ☛:

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis AAC Challenge

Edited: May 26, 2015, 12:22pm Top

>191 jolerie: Fun fact for you - Sinclair Lewis was born in Sauk Centre Minnesota - 50 minutes south of my home town. They have signs on the main street that read Original Main Street based on his most famous novel. Of course, Main Street features a fictionalized version of Sauk Centre which is less than complimentary. Nevertheless, Sauk Centre has embraced Sinclair Lewis. I went to a big ceremony when I was in grade school when the post office released a Sinclair Lewis stamp and had a big unveiling in Sauk Centre. It was pretty fun even though I was too young to appreciate Lewis as a writer at the time.

May 23, 2015, 6:41am Top

>192 Oberon: What a wonderful story, Erik. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Hi Val, I wish you a wonderful weekend.

May 25, 2015, 9:02am Top

Just a quick drop in - I'm about 7/8 finished Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and loving it! I see you are reading it too . I waited for it to come in to the library, on a hold and initially I thought - oh, one more story about WW11 - because I think I've read a lot of historical fiction about during WW11 - but what a fabulous read and different take on things. Enjoy!

Best wishes to and your husband on the hope of a new job!

May 25, 2015, 1:17pm Top

Hi Valerie, Oh, I am thinking good thoughts for you and your family. It is so hard when unemployment stretches out, but I am confident he will find something. Good luck to him!

I JUST finished A Moveable Feast yesterday, so I can concur with others here -- it was a very enjoyable read!

May 26, 2015, 2:14pm Top

>192 Oberon: Erik, that is a very cool and fun fact. It's always fun when we can draw a personal connection a story or the author. Makes them so much more real!

>193 Ameise1: Lovely as always Barbara!

>194 vancouverdeb: Thanks Deb! Have you read anything else by Hannah? I've read Winter Garden and really liked it. I have two other of her books in my TBR mountain as well. Your wishes are appreciated, my friend. :)

>195 AMQS: Hi Anne! We have friends who have also lost their jobs during this economic downturn and still have not found a job yet and they have been waiting for much longer than we have. It gives us some perspective so we aren't rushing things and just taking it all day by day. Hemingway seems like a must read at some point.

Edited: May 26, 2015, 4:40pm Top

Sorry I haven't been around much the last couple of days. We just got word from family that my husband's cousin suddenly passed away while on vacation in Japan. He was young and leaves behind a daughter and wife. So sad. Now we are in the process of helping his wife sort through some insurance stuff. As well they were unable to ship the body back from Japan so he was cremated and now they still have to figure out all the logistics of getting his ashes home before we can have a funeral. My heart goes out to them....
On the job front, the real estate company has officially extended an offer to my husband. Now we begin the negotiations and if both parties are happy with the contract, we will finally be back in the working force sometime mid June.

Thank you everyone for your love and support through everything. Hopefully I will be able to catch up with all your threads in the next couple of days.

May 26, 2015, 2:33pm Top

I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's cousin, Valerie. I'll be keeping your family in my thoughts while keeping my fingers crossed on the job front...

May 26, 2015, 3:42pm Top

Val, I'm sorry hearing about your husband's cousin. It's so sad. You and yours are in my thoughts.
I keep my fingers crossed for the job.

May 26, 2015, 3:43pm Top

Hi Valerie, so sorry to hear about your husband's cousin, we will keep you in our thoughts my dear and send love and hugs to you and your family.

May 26, 2015, 5:20pm Top

Oh Valerie, I'm sorry to hear about the loss in your family.

On the other side, I really hope everything works out well with the job offer for your husband. :)

May 26, 2015, 6:12pm Top

Oh Valerie, I am so sorry to hear of your family's loss.

On a brighter note, it is a good thing that your routine may be changing shortly. Nothing is worse than getting into a rut. It only gets more difficult to dig out of it as job skills change so quickly.

Yay to the fact that you've placed A Moveable Feast onto your to read list! I very much enjoyed it as well as shorter novels, The Old Man and the Sea and The Snows of Kilimanjaro. A nice introduction to Hemingway is a book by Paula McLain The Paris Wife. I really began to know and appreciate the author through this historic/bio novel.

May 26, 2015, 7:42pm Top

Sorry to hear about your family loss, Valerie! Hugs to my pal! Thanks for letting us know.

May 26, 2015, 7:55pm Top

Oh Valerie, I'm sorry. What a heartbreaking time for your family.

I hope your husband's job works out and that he is happy there.

May 26, 2015, 11:50pm Top

Also extending my sympathies to your family--so hard to lose someone so young, and in a different country to boot!

Fingers crossed that your husband's job negotiations work out to your great advantage.

May 27, 2015, 12:00am Top

So happy to hear that there is a job possibility. Hopefully everyone comes to an agreeable agreement. :)

So sad about your husband's cousin. It's extra traumatic to have it happen so far from home and have to deal with the inevitable legal and cultural issues. I am sure that they are grateful to have someone help with all the details of insurance and things.

May 27, 2015, 12:02pm Top

My condolences re your husband's cousin, too, Valerie. Oof. Young and on vacation, leaving behind a daughter and wife. Sorry to hear it, and sending positive thoughts to your family and his.

That's encouraging news re your hubby. I hope the job works out.

May 27, 2015, 10:47pm Top

So sorry to hear the sad news in your husband's family, Val. On a positive note, congrats on the job offer! Here's to all the details working out to the agreement of both parties.

May 28, 2015, 2:28pm Top

Sad news about your husband's cousin. My condolences.

Glad to hear he got the job if he wants it!

May 29, 2015, 6:02am Top

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's cousin's sudden death.

I hope that the contract negotiations between your husband and the real estate company go well. Please keep us posted.

May 29, 2015, 8:38pm Top

Condolences to you and your family, Valerie.

May 30, 2015, 3:54am Top

>163 jolerie: well then, I will read it in due course.

>197 jolerie: what a sad loss, and life changer for many. I am sorry you and that family is having to go through it (((valerie)))

May 30, 2015, 4:15pm Top

Gosh you're on a roll with some good reads, Valerie. Loved your review of Tell and have added that to my OWL. I can't wait for you to read The Nightingale to see if you like it. I picked it up at the bookstore today after reading the first chapter and it looks very promising.

May 30, 2015, 4:30pm Top

Val, you doing okay? Miss you!

May 30, 2015, 10:15pm Top

I'm so sorry about your family's recent loss, Valerie, and the complications of your husband's cousin dying in Japan. On a happier note, that's good new on the job front. You and the boys will miss having Daddy around the house I'm sure.

I hope you have been able to stay awake long enough to finish Babbitt. I liked it pretty well but there were some draggy parts.

Jun 1, 2015, 12:16pm Top

Val I'm sorry about your husband's cousin's loss. What a blessing for her that you are both able to help her. Sending you my best.

I've started the thread for H.P. Lovecraft http://www.librarything.com/topic/191629

Jun 5, 2015, 11:13am Top

Hi Val, I wish you a lovely weekend.

Jun 5, 2015, 1:05pm Top

Sorry for being MIA friends and sorry I haven't had a chance to catch up with everyone yet. Today is the funeral so I will probably be missing for a few days more.

My husband has officially accepted the job offer so he will be starting work end of June so another adjustment is coming our way.

Reading has been stalled for the most part but will hopefully we will get back to our regular scheduled programming soon. :D

Jun 5, 2015, 1:22pm Top

Very happy that your husband has a job again, Valerie.

Once again, my sympathies for you and your family.

Jun 7, 2015, 3:06pm Top

Okay, going back to catch up with everyone!

>198 scaifea: Thanks for the thoughts, Amber.

>199 Ameise1: Thanks for your positive thoughts, Barbara. We are thrilled for him to finally land a job after almost 3 months of searching.

>200 johnsimpson: Thanks for the love, John. Sending them back many times to you and Karen as well!

>201 MickyFine: Thanks Micky! We are starting work again at the end of the June. I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief. :)

>202 Carmenere: Hi Lynda! I will miss having all the help around the house but I'm also looking forward to getting back to some routine as well. I feel like I have The Paris Wife either on my TBR mountain or it's on my library list.

>203 msf59: Thanks, friend. I've missed my regular LT time!

>204 AMQS: Thanks so much Anne. We are just thankful he found something given the economy and such. The timing of everything works out great for us as a family!

Jun 7, 2015, 3:11pm Top

>205 ronincats: Thanks Roni! It was a logistical nightmare, but now with the funeral service completed, I think the family can finally take some much needed time to just let everything soak in. Your support is so appreciated!

>206 nittnut: Hi Jenn! Yes, the language barrier and being in a remote touristy location did complicate matters, but everyone is home and the most pressing matters are taken care of so we are thankful. Just another reminder of how time is so fleeting....

>207 jnwelch: Thanks for the support Joe! This is such a great community. The hubby has officially accepted the position so we are going to try to make the best of our next 2 weeks of vacation time together!

>208 lit_chick: Thanks so much for the support and well wishes Nancy! I'm sure all that positive energy worked in our favour!

>209 Storeetllr: Thanks Mary! We are just glad something came up and I'm sure my husband is just relieved to not have to troll the job sites anymore. :)

>210 kidzdoc: Thanks Darryl! All the well wishes has paid off. Work is on the horizon and we are super thankful.

Jun 7, 2015, 3:15pm Top

>211 DeltaQueen50: Thanks Judy!

>212 LovingLit: Thanks Megan. Another reminder to cherish the time we have with those in our lives right now.

>213 cameling: I really like Hannah's writing so I'm thinking that The Nightingale will be right up my alley. Seeing how the TBR mountain is rather ridiculous, I wouldn't be surprised if you end up reading it before I do. I hope you enjoy Tell when you get the chance to read it!

>214 Storeetllr: Thanks for checking up, Mary! *Hugs*

>215 Donna828: Hi Donna! I'm glad I read Babbit and since I have the intention to be a purist in the challenge, I was glad when I could finally check that one off the list. Not my favourite by any measure but no regrets in reading it! ;)

>216 luvamystery65: Thanks Ro! Thanks for the link. I'll have to check it out at some point.

>217 Ameise1: So lovely, Barbara! Thanks. :)

>219 ronincats: Thanks for all the love and support again, Roni!

Edited: Jun 7, 2015, 3:46pm Top

Happy Sunday, Valerie! Glad to see you checking in. We have missed you!

Hope you are doing well.

ETA: How are you enjoying The Painter. I really liked that one on audio.

Jun 7, 2015, 6:23pm Top

*hugs back*

Jun 7, 2015, 8:31pm Top

I seem to have lost your thread, Val, sorry about that. I'll try to keep up!

So sorry to hear of your family's recent loss but glad to hear the good news on the job front.

Love your adorable photos!

Jun 8, 2015, 2:03am Top

*random Monday hug*
And a hello on my way by...

Jun 8, 2015, 1:11pm Top

Hi Val--Sorry about your husband's cousin, but really glad for the job news. Hope you faring well. Hugs. : )

Jun 11, 2015, 7:59pm Top

Valerie, very sorry about your husband's cousin's death. How sad!

Very glad to learn that your hubby has a new job!

Jun 12, 2015, 11:45am Top

Hi Val, I wish you a relaxed weekend.

Jun 12, 2015, 11:56am Top

Valerie, I am just finishing Tell and I have to really thank you for the recommendation. I've really been enjoying this book.

Jun 12, 2015, 2:35pm Top

Sorry to hear about your family's loss. Hope you'll be able to rest and enjoy some quiet time this weekend, Valerie.

Jun 12, 2015, 3:01pm Top

Just catching up. Sending sympathies on your loss and congratulations on your husband's new job.

Jun 13, 2015, 6:20am Top

Also just catching up - so sorry to hear about your husband's cousin and belated congratulations on your husband's new job.

Edited: Jun 13, 2015, 8:29am Top

Jun 14, 2015, 3:19am Top

Hi Valerie. Sorry I haven't been around much (I can see how many weeks I've missed by counting Barbara's beautiful pictures).

Condolences on the loss of your husband's cousin. It's hard when they're young, and they leave a young family.

Congratulations on your husband's new job.

How is it having the house to yourself again? Now you've got to readjust and get used to all those annoying habits that you adjusted for in the first place ;0) Well, maybe your husband doesn't have annoying habits, but mine does. Though he's pretty useful around the house, too; so on balance, can't complain.

Jun 15, 2015, 9:10am Top

Hi Valerie! Stopping by to get caught up after an LT absence.

Let Him Go sounds like a winner. I feel pretty good about visiting and only coming away with one BB. ;-)

Sorry to read the sad news regarding your husband's cousin. My condolences.

Congratulations on your husband's new job!

Edited: Jun 16, 2015, 10:52pm Top

Hi friends! I've so missed my regular LT time and my reading time. We have family from out of town back for the summer so that means a lot of time spent with cousins and such. It has been so much fun but also tiring at the same time. Sadly, my reading for June has been wholly lacking but I try to squeeze it in here and there. HOPEFULLy I will be able to get back to keeping up to date with everyone soon. Thanks so much for all of you that have visited my thread from time to time! I promise I WILL BE BACK. :D

Jun 17, 2015, 1:30pm Top

Heya Valerie, looks like I'm not alone in neglecting LT. Happy June, the rainy season is upon us!

Jun 17, 2015, 4:31pm Top

Hi Valerie, congrats to your husband for his new job my dear and don't worry about being away from LT, we will keep posting to see how you are and that we are here for you when time allows. Sending love and hugs to you and your family from over the pond.

Jun 17, 2015, 6:49pm Top

A Valerie sighting! A Valerie sighting! Hooray!

Jun 18, 2015, 12:02am Top

Great to hear from you, Valerie. Summer does seem to be a busy time for many of us, but it's nice to know that LT is here waiting for us.

Jun 18, 2015, 12:15am Top

Happy summer, Valerie! While your reading and LT time may take a backseat for the time being, it's great that you're going to be immersing yourself with family.

Jun 19, 2015, 5:15pm Top

How great to have a Valerie sighting! Wishing you a wonderful summer, Valerie.

Jun 21, 2015, 3:59pm Top

Hi, Valerie! Enjoy your family time!


Jun 21, 2015, 9:08pm Top

Greetings Valerie! Continue having a good time with your family, the reading can wait for slower times.

Jun 27, 2015, 6:41am Top

Hi Val, I wish you a fabulous weekend.

Jun 29, 2015, 10:26pm Top

A Valerie Sighting! Glad you're having a fun summer! Don't worry about us. We'll be around. Especially me, since it's winter at my house...

Jun 30, 2015, 12:27am Top

Enjoy your family time Valerie!

Jul 1, 2015, 10:48am Top

Happy Canada Day!

Jul 1, 2015, 11:23pm Top

>240 msf59: lol

Hi Valerie. Keeping busy huh? Keep on reading!

Jul 6, 2015, 10:01pm Top

I miss not seeing you around here, Valerie, but I sure hope you are having a great summer!

Jul 7, 2015, 8:10pm Top

Hi Valerie, I've been absent from LT as well. Hope you are all doing well. And reading a lot!

Jul 7, 2015, 10:08pm Top

Hey Valerie! I hope you and the family are enjoying the summer and possibly getting in some Stampeding time. ;-)

Edited: Jul 20, 2015, 9:59pm Top

Hi Valerie, sorry I've been awol. Lots of loss and adjustment in your life. I hope you are hanging in there.

Going back a ways, I liked but did not love The Girl on the Train. It was a quick and pleasurable read.

Wishing you easier roads in the latter part of the summer....

Jul 24, 2015, 10:58pm Top

My goodness, Valerie, so much going on with you! No wonder you've been MIA. I hope that your husband's job is going well now that he's been working for a few weeks and that you yourself are well and ready to be back among us.
I'm thinking seriously about Deafening to introduce me to F. Itani. Thank you, ma'am.

Jul 28, 2015, 2:27am Top

I hope everything is going well, Valerie!

Jul 28, 2015, 7:29am Top

Hello, like you, I haven't been around LT for awhile. I do miss it, but real life for me equates to getting better and resting. I have a week and 1/2 and then I'm back to work.

It sounds like you are having a busy summer.

Take care.

Aug 8, 2015, 12:26am Top

I"ll bet the monkeys are keeping you busy. Hope the husband's new job is going well. We miss you.

Aug 11, 2015, 11:57pm Top

*waving* It's been a while since I dropped by, but I see you're even more busy than I am.

Aug 12, 2015, 12:05am Top

*Pokes head in, looks around* Valerie? *Sighs and shuffles off*

Hope your summer is going beautifully and that all is well. We miss you. :)

Aug 12, 2015, 2:47pm Top

^ What Jenn said.

Aug 19, 2015, 5:42pm Top

Hi Valerie! I'm just getting back into the swing of LT myself. Hope you and the family are doing well!

Aug 21, 2015, 2:38pm Top

Hello from me too.

Aug 21, 2015, 10:22pm Top

*sigh* And another Hello and another wish you were here. Take care!

Aug 30, 2015, 4:26am Top

Happy Sunday, Val. Here is hope seeing you back soon.

Sep 13, 2015, 11:44pm Top

Hi Val--Just checking in here. I have been largely MIA on LT myself. Trying to get back in the swing of things. Hope to see you soon. : )

Sep 14, 2015, 4:27pm Top

Hi Valerie, just checking in my dear, things have been a bit hectic recently but I will be back here regularly, sending love and hugs.

Sep 24, 2015, 12:56pm Top


Oct 18, 2015, 6:53pm Top

Hi Valerie!

Oct 24, 2015, 10:03am Top

Miss you and the monkeys, Valerie!

Nov 28, 2015, 2:42am Top

I am back. Ahem. So, I think you should be too!! Hope all is well. Miss you.

Dec 7, 2015, 10:18pm Top

Waving hi!

Dec 11, 2015, 5:13pm Top


Dec 11, 2015, 6:30pm Top

Yep. Yep. Yep. Maybe this little flurry of activity will draw you back. We don't forget you!

Dec 11, 2015, 7:35pm Top

Miss you Valerie. I hope you are enjoying the Christmas season with your monkeys.

Dec 12, 2015, 5:40pm Top

Valerie, I hope you jump back into LT after the holidays. I know this has been a tough year for you. A new year is a good time for new beginnings. I miss you!

Dec 22, 2015, 8:39am Top

Hey Val, to you and yours

Dec 23, 2015, 1:05pm Top

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Val! Come back to us!

Dec 23, 2015, 2:12pm Top

Merry Christmas, Valerie! We MISS YOU!! Enjoy the holidays with your family!

Dec 23, 2015, 3:03pm Top

Missing you. Wishing you all well.

Dec 23, 2015, 3:04pm Top

For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!

Dec 24, 2015, 12:22am Top

Dec 24, 2015, 8:18am Top

Hi Valerie, sending Christmas greetings to you and your family my dear. We are all missing you on here and I am sending love and hugs.

Dec 24, 2015, 2:13pm Top

Have a lovely holiday, Valerie

Dec 24, 2015, 2:34pm Top

Merry Christmas Valerie!

Dec 25, 2015, 8:42pm Top

Merry Christmas

Dec 26, 2015, 9:13am Top

Merry Christmas, Valerie!

Dec 26, 2015, 3:58pm Top

Dec 26, 2015, 5:17pm Top

A belated Merry Christmas to you!

Dec 28, 2015, 2:19pm Top

Happy Holidays, Valerie!

Dec 28, 2015, 9:05pm Top

Best wishes to you, Valerie, and Happy New Year!

Dec 29, 2015, 4:50am Top

Hi Valerie. Belated merry Christmas and best wishes for 2016!

Dec 31, 2015, 1:09pm Top

Hi Valerie, wishing you and the family a very Happy New Year my dear and sending special love and hugs.

Dec 31, 2015, 3:37pm Top

Jan 1, 2016, 12:35pm Top

Popping over to wish you and your family a Happy New Year and best wishes for 2016, Valerie!

Jan 4, 2016, 12:19am Top

Happy New Year Valerie!

Jan 14, 2016, 8:18am Top

Belated New Year wishes, Valerie. Yes, I'm still running behind.

Hoping you and your family are keeping well, and that you'll make it over to the 2016 group soon.

Jan 16, 2016, 3:16pm Top

Miss you Val!

Feb 28, 2016, 3:15am Top

Val--Just checking in. Miss you! Hope all is well with you and your family. : )

Feb 28, 2016, 7:18am Top


Feb 29, 2016, 11:02am Top

*more waves*

Feb 29, 2016, 3:24pm Top

Hi Val, hope you are well my dear.

Mar 26, 2016, 9:34am Top

*still waving*

Apr 6, 2016, 4:44pm Top

Howdy Val!

Apr 6, 2016, 5:10pm Top


Apr 12, 2016, 1:56am Top

Hello?! : )

Apr 15, 2016, 3:59pm Top

Hi Valerie, wishing you a wonderful weekend my dear, sending love and hugs.

May 12, 2016, 6:01pm Top

Hello valerie

May 18, 2016, 1:00am Top

I see that you are reading on your home page. Hope you can come out and play again soon! Be well. : )

May 18, 2016, 11:30am Top


Jul 30, 2016, 4:43pm Top

Hi Val!!

Sep 11, 2016, 6:21am Top


Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2015

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