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Witchyrichy Sweeps the Shelves in 2017 - Part 2

This is a continuation of the topic Witchyrichy Sweeps the Shelves in 2017.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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1witchyrichy
Edited: Jan 1, 11:13am Top



Starting a new thread for the year! Thanks to all for checking in and helping me get to this milestone!

Here's the list so far:




January: Stats 9
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
We Never Asked for Wings
March, Book One
March, Book Two
March, Book Three
Persepolis
Essays After Eighty
The Care and Management of Lies
Inequality in the Promised Land

February: Stats 6
The Underground Railroad
Hidden Figures Review
Dark Corners
Escape on the Pearl
Bud, Not Buddy
The Good Lord Bird

March Stats 6
The Mighty Miss Malone
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Four Queens
Queen Dolley
Small Great Things
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

April Stats 6
Wonder Boys
The Flame Bearer
Spell or High Water
The Lost Book of the Grail
The Buried Giant
The Earth is Weeping

May Stats 6
The Lost Order
The Prime Minister's Secret Agent (Audio)
Coraline
A Company of Liars
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian
Buried In a Bog (Text & Audio)

June Stats 10
Scandal in Skibbereen
Notwithstanding
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Ballad
People
13, Rue Therese
Grand Canyon
Thursdays in the Park
Death on Demand
The Hog's Back Mystery

July 12
Nora Webster Review
Bellman & Black Review
Killers of the Flower Moon Review
Rules of Civility Review
An Unwelcome Quest
Steamboat School
Tibetan Peach Pie
Fight and Flight (audio)
The Templar Brotherhood James Becker: due out on October 3, 2017
The Lost Treasure of the Templars
Design for Murder (audio)
The Templar Archive

August 7
Black Echo
Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County Review
Something Wicked
Born A Crime (audio)
A Gentleman in Moscow
Year of Wonders
A Treacherous Curse

September 9
A Curious Beginning
A Perilous Undertaking
Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow's Schools, Today
Eleanor & Park
Blackberry Picking At Jasmine Cottage
The Stars Are Fire
The Hate U Give
The Painted Queen
Radio Free Vermont

October 3
Hearse and Buggy
Assaulted Pretzel
Notes From a Small Island

November 10
The Invisible Library
The Lincoln Lawyer
Good Omens
Origin: A Novel
Homicide in Hardcover
Instructions
The Dangerous Alphabet
The Sleeper and the Spindle
Odd and the Frost Giants
The Carpet People

December 11
The Masked City
The Mistletoe Murder
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Commonwealth
Dark Witch
12 Days at Bleakly Manor
Norse Mythology

2PaulCranswick
Jul 2, 2017, 5:50pm Top

Happy new thread, Karen. xx

3drneutron
Jul 2, 2017, 6:25pm Top

Happy new thread!

4scaifea
Jul 3, 2017, 6:40am Top

Happy new thread!

Are those your own flowers up top? They're gorgeous!

5johnsimpson
Jul 3, 2017, 1:04pm Top

Happy new thread Karen my dear, lovely thread topper photo, makes me smile and feel warm all over. Sending love and hugs dear friend.

6witchyrichy
Jul 3, 2017, 1:15pm Top

>2 PaulCranswick: >3 drneutron: >4 scaifea: >5 johnsimpson: Thanks for the welcome to my new thread! Those are my flowers. They get tall and showy so the weeds don't bother me too much ;-) It's just too hot and humid to do much these days but that's OK: I'm inside watching Wimbledon and reading.

7witchyrichy
Edited: Jul 7, 2017, 10:27am Top



Nora Webster tells the story of a newly widowed woman left with four children in 1970s Ireland. She struggles against impending poverty even as she finds her new place in her community, a small town where every change is noted and commented upon, from getting a new hairstyle to joining a club. There is a rawness to the book that reflects the rawness of Nora's feelings. She can be sharp at times. But, Nora grows into her own throughout the novel, learning to not care about what other think about her actions, not being afraid to speak up when her needs are not being met and rediscovering a love for music that promises to enrich her life.

8witchyrichy
Jul 4, 2017, 7:00am Top

Up early to watch Wimbledon...hoping to see Roger Federer play.

Besides summer heat, this time of year is all about the fresh food.

We braved the heat to pick blueberries at a local farm. Kept a few fresh in the fridge for snacking and then froze the rest.

My husband keeps bringing in vegies: mostly squash and zucchini but also tomatoes and the last of the cabbage. I turned a couple of the overly large zucchini into two loaves of zucchini bread yesterday (whole wheat with raisins and walnuts) and plan on two more today (whole wheat with chocolate chips). The cabbage became cole slaw: I snuck in some yellow squash for good measure. There are green beans to steam for our 4th of July dinner.

I'm on a bit of a staycation and have been reading nonstop. Finished my RL book group's book this morning: Killers of the Flower Moon about the widespread murders of Osage Indians at the turn of the century in an effort to steal their oil drilling monies.

Grann's book was on my Kindle, which can't go to the swimming pool, so I pulled Rules of Civility off the shelf. I'm enjoying it so far.

9witchyrichy
Edited: Jul 17, 2017, 8:27am Top

10karenmarie
Jul 4, 2017, 7:59am Top

Happy 4th of July, Karen!

I, too, am hoping to see Roger play today. He's 3rd scheduled for Centre Court, which puts it around lunchtime here, I think.

A friend brought me back 10 lbs of fresh blueberries from the NC coast yesterday. I'm going to make blueberry muffins today, I think, and will probably freeze most of the rest, although I will leave a few out for snacking.

11witchyrichy
Jul 4, 2017, 8:14am Top

>10 karenmarie: I discovered that I did not need to be out of bed at 7 AM on a holiday! Guess I should check the schedule more closely. But, I did finish some feedback for an online course I'm teaching.

I LOVE frozen blueberries for a snack in the winter: a little bit of summer wonderful on a cold day.

12FAMeulstee
Jul 4, 2017, 3:55pm Top

Happy new thread, Karen!
Lovely picture at the top, I love colorful flowers in the garden.

13witchyrichy
Jul 6, 2017, 2:53pm Top


Bellman & Black tells the story of a man who spends his life paying the price for a childhood mistake. To the amazement of his friends, William Bellman kills a rook with an impossible shot. The boys celebrate and then move on with their lives. Bellman works hard to create a successful life and family until tragedy strikes. The second half of the novel tells a more mysterious, chilling tale as Bellman makes a deal that saves at least some semblance of his previous life without understanding completely the deal he struck.

I'm still thinking about the story and the way Setterfield winds in short bits about the lives of rooks.

14witchyrichy
Jul 6, 2017, 2:54pm Top

>12 FAMeulstee: Thanks! The gardens are definitely a labor of love.

15witchyrichy
Edited: Jul 6, 2017, 5:45pm Top



Rules of Civility focuses on New York life in the late 1930s. The Depression is mostly over and World War II has not begun. Young women flock to the city where jobs are available along with eligible men, some of them scions of wealthy families. The story is told through the eyes of Katey Kontent, an independent woman who finds herself thrown into the midst of this world, hovering on the edge of the glamorous lives of the rich and famous even as she follows her own dreams. Towles uses the slang and soundtrack of the day as he follows Katey through 1938. I found myself queuing up Autumn in New York as I read the final chapters.

16witchyrichy
Edited: Jul 6, 2017, 5:54pm Top

Home with only a little work on the plate so plenty of time to read!

I checked out my list from the beginning of the year and realized I haven't tackled any of the biographies and memoirs. So, I pulled Tibetan Peach Pie by Tom Robbins off the shelf. I'll be heading to the pool to float and read a bit before sunset. It is one of the treasures from the Tattered Cover from my trip to Denver in 2016.

17karenmarie
Jul 7, 2017, 7:43am Top

Hi Karen! Happy Friday!

Roger's through the second round - he trounced Lajovic after a rough start. I only started watching at 5-4, so missed the early-match jitters.

I've read 2 of the 6 books by him on my shelves, but adored both of them (Still Life With Woodpecker and Jitterbug Perfume) - I'll be interested in hearing your take on his memoir.

18witchyrichy
Jul 7, 2017, 10:13am Top

>17 karenmarie: And the same to you! I was watching for those first game jitters but Roger came through!

Typical of Robbins, he says it isn't really a memoir, more like a collection of chronological essays. And, typical of Robbins, I am finding myself wondering which stories are more apocryphal than true.

I also loved Jitterburg Perfume and can recommend Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas. Haven't read Still Life With Woodpecker. I've read others but when they came out in the 70s so have hazy memories.

19karenmarie
Jul 7, 2017, 1:41pm Top

I like "chronological essays".

20mstrust
Jul 7, 2017, 2:31pm Top

Happy new thread! I need to check out Bellman & Black, that sounds good.

21johnsimpson
Jul 8, 2017, 4:23pm Top

Hi Karen, hope you are having a good start to the weekend my dear, sending love and hugs.

22streamsong
Jul 9, 2017, 3:28pm Top

Happy New Thread! Oh my, your flowers are gorgeous.

You're making great progress on your library tbr lists. The new and shiny continue to call to me. (sigh).

23witchyrichy
Jul 13, 2017, 8:20pm Top

>Thanks! The flowers go crazy this time of year.

I am doing pretty good sticking with a bit of a plan but it doesn't mean I haven't bought a few shiny things that are calling to me. I just *had* to spend those Barnes & Noble coupons ;-)

24witchyrichy
Jul 13, 2017, 8:30pm Top

When I went to put A Gentleman In Moscow on the hold list at the library, I discovered two things:

1. I just finished another novel by Amor Towles that I really enjoyed: Rules of Civility. I'm a few spaces back on the hold list.

2. I had put a children's book on my wish list: Steamboat School. I added it to my hold list and picked it up today. The story of one man's quest to provide education to African American children even as white people pass laws forbidding it. Loosely based on the life of Reverend John Berry Meachum, the narrator is a young boy who dedicates himself to learning.

25witchyrichy
Jul 17, 2017, 8:43am Top



RL book group meets today to talk about this book about the murders of Osage Indians to get access to their oil drilling monies. Turns out the Osages got pushed onto land that sat on some of the richest oil reserves in the United States. Since they owned the mineral rights, the Indians received head rights and became wealthy. Since they couldn't steal the land, local whites decided to figure out how to get to the money through strategic marriage and murder.

I had never heard this story and the book unfolded like a good murder mystery. It leaned towards the sensational at times, reminiscent of 48 Hours or other real life news shows. In fact, the story was dramatized as part of the Lucky Strike Hour. In addition to covering the murders, the book describes the early days of the FBI.

It was sad to hear, once again, the story of Native Americans taken advantage of by whites. To take a page from today's headlines, their lives really didn't matter.

26witchyrichy
Jul 17, 2017, 8:51am Top

Stalled out a little bit with reading as I've been watching Wimbledon. Did get a lot of other work done, though, and looking forward to a trip to Pennsylvania to visit my parents this week. Heading out tomorrow.

Meanwhile, finished Tibetan Peach Pie, well recommended with review to come, and now trying to decide what to read next. I toyed with Jane Austen, reading the novels along with the new book Jane Austen the Secret Radical. But I got stuck on both the book and the introduction to Northanger Abbey. Wasn't ready for all the literary interpretation and commentary.

Meanwhile, I seem to have accumulated quite a pile of new books, all enticing:

Black Echo
Looking for Alaska
Eleanor & Park
Tash Hearts Tolstoy
Homicide in Hardcover
84 Charing Cross Road
The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
Desert Solitaire
Finding Abbey
Q's Legacy
Lone Star Rising
All the Wild That Remains

Plus some ed tech leadership books I should at least browse at some point.

27karenmarie
Jul 17, 2017, 9:18am Top

Hi Karen!

I devoted quite a bit of time to Wimbledon, too, and was pleased with Roger and Garbine winning.

I hope you have a wonderful time with your parents.

And yay books.

28streamsong
Jul 17, 2017, 9:40am Top

Hi Karen - happy Monday!

I have Killers of the Flower Moon requested from the library ILL.

I'm currently listening to Sherman Alexie's You Don't Have to Say You Love Me. Your statement:

"It was sad to hear, once again, the story of Native Americans taken advantage of by whites. To take a page from today's headlines, their lives really didn't matter."

really sums up the Alexie memoir, too.

29witchyrichy
Edited: Jul 19, 2017, 2:34pm Top

>28 streamsong: I have heard a couple interviews with Alexie and am interested in reading the memoir. I may download it to listen to on my trip home for Pennsylvania.

30witchyrichy
Jul 19, 2017, 3:14pm Top

I listened to the fourth book in Scott Meyer's Magic 2.0 series: Fight and Flight: Magic 2.0, Book 4. I think this is a series that is better in audio and this book was only released in audio to begin with. The reader does an amazing job with all the voices as well as the various intonations of the characters.

31witchyrichy
Jul 21, 2017, 8:28am Top

At a friend's advice, I signed up for NetGalley, a site where you can get advanced reader copies of books. I haven't done much with it but did request a copy of The Templar Brotherhood by James Becker, the third book in his trilogy about the Knight Templar. I read it in a day and really enjoyed it. Not quite as good as Steve Berry who writes a similar history/action/adventure series. My review is below. I'll publish it to my blog at the end of September as the book is due out in early October.

32witchyrichy
Jul 21, 2017, 8:29am Top

James Becker takes on one of history's greatest mysteries: what happened to the treasures of the Knights of Templar after their demise at the hands of a Pope and a King? In the third book in his The Hounds of God trilogy, we continue on the trail of the treasure with antiquarian book seller Robin Jessop and encryption expert David Mallory as they work to decipher the clues left over 700 years before while dodging both Medieval bobby traps and contemporary bad guys who want the treasure for themselves.

Becker has mastered the art of the page turner: a plot driven story with interesting characters. Even the bad guys get some back story. I did fine myself laughing a bit at them as they can be a bit dull and seem to be easily outwitted by amateurs.

Some parts of the book related to cyphers got a little long as Brecker tried to explain somewhat detailed processes. I felt like I wanted a few more illustrations of what Robin and David were doing. The ones that were included really helped a novice to deciphering understand what they were doing.

I’ve just ordered the first two books in the series. I was able to read and understand The Templar Brotherhood without having read the other two books but I am looking forward to filling in some of the gaps.

Having finished all the Steve Berry “Cotton Malone” books, I am excited to find James Becker on my list!

33witchyrichy
Jul 21, 2017, 5:22pm Top

Went to Aaron's Books today, an independent bookstore in Lititz, PA. It's a small store but has a terrific selection of books both new and used. I managed to fill a bag:

When the English Fall
Amish Guys Don't Call
Good Omens
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Book of the People
Babel Tower (a first edition hardcover for just $9)
The Invisible Library
Radio Girls
Assaulted Pretzel
Shunned and Dangerous
Suspendered Sentence
A Churn for the Worse

The last four are part of a series sent in Lancaster County. I'm missing the first one but my library has it so added it to my wish list.

Babel Tower is the third in a four-novel set so I'm heading out to my library site to see if they have the first two to also add to the wish list.

34karenmarie
Jul 22, 2017, 9:16am Top

Hi Karen!

Nice haul. I love the title Amish Guys Don't Call.

The Lincoln Lawyer is a great book - first of the Mickey Haller series. Have you read the Harry Bosch series by the same author?

35johnsimpson
Jul 22, 2017, 3:35pm Top

Nice book Haul Karen my dear, hope you are having a good Saturday, sending love and hugs.

36witchyrichy
Jul 22, 2017, 8:26pm Top

>34 karenmarie: I haven't read any of Connelly...not my usual fare, I guess. But another friend recommended Bosch so I bought the first one in the series.

I thought the two books about the Amish were appropriate purchases for a bookstore located right in the heart of Amish country.

37witchyrichy
Edited: Jul 22, 2017, 8:28pm Top

>35 johnsimpson: Thanks, John! I drove from Pennsylvania to Virginia, home from my parents. I had a nice visit with them. It was Saturday so traffic on the main highway was terrible. Fortunately, I know multiple ways to get from there to here so I wandered a bit through the country. Now, I'm home and settled in with my husband and updating LT.

Hope you had a lovely Saturday as well.

38johnsimpson
Jul 23, 2017, 3:27pm Top

>37 witchyrichy:, Hi Karen, glad you had a nice journey home from your parents my dear especially if you know different ways to get home to avoid major traffic snarl ups. We are the same when we go off for a drive, if things get busy I just deviate and it normally ends up with a better journey and we see things we have not seen before.

39Copperskye
Jul 30, 2017, 2:04am Top

Hi Karen, You're accumulating a lot of books this month - lucky you! I loved Eleanor and Park and both of the Helen Hanff titles. I'm finding Michael Connelly's Bosch series to be thoroughly addictive.

I need to bump Killers of the Flower Moon up, it seems. Glad you liked it!

40AMQS
Aug 6, 2017, 1:28am Top

Hi Karen!

>26 witchyrichy: um, you haven't read 84, Charing Cross Road? It's definitely a top 5, reread-every couple-of years kind of book. I envy you being able to read it for the first time. Enjoy, and happy weekend!

41PaulCranswick
Aug 6, 2017, 2:25am Top

>34 karenmarie: I presume the eschew the telephone?!

Have a wonderful weekend, Karen.

42johnsimpson
Aug 6, 2017, 3:59pm Top

Hi Karen, hope you are having a really nice weekend my dear, sending love and hugs.

43witchyrichy
Aug 11, 2017, 7:44pm Top

>34 karenmarie: >41 PaulCranswick: I think the Amish boy in the title is not Amish any more but not aware of contemporary dating expectations and rituals.

>39 Copperskye: I believe you are responsible for my foray into Bosch. I finished Black Echo during my trip this week and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the tip!

>40 AMQS: I have discovered that I have some real holes in my reading. I'm a little eclectic and sometimes miss the classics.

>41 PaulCranswick: >42 johnsimpson: Thanks for the weekend wishes! I spent the weekend getting caught up on work so I could head out for my annual summer visit to an old friend in Pennsylvania. Spent a lovely week with her. I'll post the book haul in another post. I managed to come home with a nice pile, some from my friend and others from a new independent bookstore.

44witchyrichy
Edited: Aug 11, 2017, 7:56pm Top

I brought home 8 books:

From My Friend:

The Mistletoe Murder
The Wrath of Kings by Philip Photiou
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Commonwealth

From Wellington Square Bookshop in Exton, PA:

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
The Carpet People: it's a special volume that includes illustrations by Terry Pratchett
Gutenberg's Apprentice
America's First Daughter

I read two books while I was there: Black Echo and Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County.

Here's the stack:

45karenmarie
Aug 14, 2017, 6:56am Top

Hi Karen!

Nice haul, Karen. Lovely to look at, too.

>41 PaulCranswick: Yup, Paul.

46johnsimpson
Aug 18, 2017, 5:05pm Top

Hi Karen, hope you have had a good week my dear and wish you a great weekend dear friend and send love and hugs.

47witchyrichy
Aug 26, 2017, 10:26am Top

>49 Thanks, John, for checking in! It seems like I've been more offline than online this summer and for me, that's probably a good thing! But I have been reading and I miss my LT friends! So, I'm back to my Saturday morning checkins!

48witchyrichy
Edited: Sep 2, 2017, 3:07pm Top



Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County is an historical memoir if that is a genre. Kristen Green was a grandchild of the Massive Resistance movement, the period from 1954 to as late as 1970, when Virginia schools tried a variety of schemes to avoid integration after the Supreme Court passed Brown vs. Board of Education. Prince Edward County took the most extreme approach and refused to fund their public schools for five years and used monies from the state to pay tuition for white students at the newly opened private academy. Green's grandfather was an influential member of the local citizen's council that spearheaded the efforts to close the schools. Green herself attended the local private academy and was in 8th grade when it was integrated in 1986.

While Prince Edward were closed the longest, many other counties took the same steps to avoid integration. Several, including Charlottesville City, were ordered to integrate but appealed the decision and postponed opening schools in the fall of 1958. Both black and white students were locked out, but segregation academies were usually formed for white students. Many of these academies are still open.

African American parents found ways to educate their children from forming local elementary classes to sending older students to other counties and states. But there were still many who simply didn't go to school for five years.

Green balances her telling of the history with her own experiences of growing up in the idyllic Southern town and only later, as an adult, coming to understand the not-so-distant ugly history. Early in the book, she writes, "This city, and the whole South, projects an image of friendliness and hospitality yet is built on a rarely acknowledged history of racial oppression."

Green tries hard to present the viewpoint of her grandparents' contemporaries who are still alive in unbiased ways. We hear familiar comments from them: "you would have done the same thing"; "it was just the way things were"; "those who closed the schools were not bad people". In the end, she finds some personal reconciliation and concludes, "Progress is revisiting what happened here in a public way, connecting with both black and white residents and telling their stories. My contribution is to share the whole story, the complete story, of this town."

I read this for my book group and had a terrific conversation with three women who lived through desegregation in the South, mainly in Southside Virginia. My county, just 90 minutes from Prince Edward County, has a segregation academy in the next town. It continues to be mostly white although they are working hard to diversify their student population while struggling to keep the doors open financially.

49witchyrichy
Aug 26, 2017, 11:45am Top

>47 witchyrichy: You are right about that! My book group has also been really good for that: I've read a couple books this year that wouldn't necessarily have made it to my reading list.

50witchyrichy
Sep 2, 2017, 11:57am Top

Happy Saturday everyone! My husband and I decided somewhat at the last minute to do a bonfire for Labor Day weekend. Lots of brush accumulating so it's an excuse to have some folks over to toast the unofficial end of summer. But...even though it's mostly outside, people will need to use the facilities or potentially come into the kitchen. So, cleaning is the order of the day. I've made good progress, though, so am hoping to have some time to dive back into A Curious Beginning. I hadn't read any Raybourn but received a copy of the third book in the series through my Netgalley account: A Treacherous Curse.

I'll write a longer review soon but I am already a fan of Veronica Speedwell. She resembles her hobby: there is something sweet about catching butterflies in a net and then something sinister about killing and mounting them. The bawdiness was fun, too.

And, of course, I was reminded of Amelia Peabody as both women have specific outfits they designed to support their work and share a confidence that sets them apart from the typical Victorian woman. In addition, the third book in the series is set against the backdrop of British archaeology in Egypt. Finally, I'm listening to the Elizabeth Peters' last book, The Painted Queen so stories are intertwining a bit.

51karenmarie
Sep 2, 2017, 2:41pm Top

Hi Karen! Happy Labor Day Weekend to you. I hope your end-of-summer gathering goes well.

I stopped reading the Amelia Peabody books about book 5 or so..... but Veronica Speedwell sounds intriguing. I'll keep an eye out for the books.

52witchyrichy
Edited: Sep 2, 2017, 3:16pm Top

>54 The first two are available. I read the third one first (it won't be out until January 2018) and now have the first two from the library. So, you have time to start from the beginning and finish the first two before the third one is available!

53witchyrichy
Sep 8, 2017, 5:48pm Top

Mystery series abound with everyone from caterers, beekeepers and librarians playing amateur sleuths. Plots and characters can be so similar that it can be hard to distinguish them once you have finished reading. So, it is a pleasant surprise to find a mystery series with intriguingly fresh characters in historically accurate settings forming the basis for the suspense. Deanna Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell's mysteries provide just such combination. Speedwell and her colleague Stoker are naturalists living in Victorian England, moving between royalty, nobility and common folk as they work at creating a natural history museum for their benefactor while investigating mysteries in their spare time. As we follow their investigations, Raybourn provides fascinating details about Speedwell's work as a lepidopterist and Stoker's as a taxidermist.

The third book in the series--A Treacherous Curse--focuses on Egyptian archaeology as Speedwell and Stoker try to find a missing exhibition photographer and expose a potential hoax formed around a mummy's curse. I started the series with this book and was reminded of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody as Speedwell shares much with that intrepid lady. Both are independent, pushing back against the constraints placed on women during the Victorian era including in their clothing, creating costumes that make their jobs easier. Both women serve as narrators, sharing their insights into their families, friends and the world around them. The younger Speedwell is a bit more openly sexual and her bawdiness is fun and refreshing.

Raybourn's writing is a pleasure. She captures the tone of the Victorians perfectly. Both Speedwell and Stoker are deeply drawn characters with pasts that are slowly revealed over the course of the series. They are both intelligent and thoughtful with strong opinions that often lead to furious arguments. Ultimately, however, they respect each other's intellect and personal privacy, content to learn about each other in their own due time.

If you're a mystery fan looking for something new and fresh, Raybourn's Veronica Speedwell mysteries are waiting for you! The third book will be available in early January 2018 but I was able to read a pre-publication galley provided by the publisher. I enjoyed it enough to go back and read the other two.

54johnsimpson
Sep 18, 2017, 3:09pm Top

Hi Karen, just stopping by my dear, sending love and hugs.

55karenmarie
Sep 21, 2017, 8:04am Top

Hi Karen!

I hope you're doing well.

56streamsong
Sep 21, 2017, 10:36am Top

>56 streamsong: Great review! I've added the series to my list of possibilities!

57witchyrichy
Sep 21, 2017, 9:29pm Top

>57 witchyrichy: >58 Thanks for stopping by! I have been away from home for work and play and am heading out tomorrow for one more weekend. So, I haven't been able to practice my usual Saturday morning LT checkin. I miss you all!

>59 Thanks! I read the first two when I was on vacation and enjoyed them immensely! Hope you do, too!

58witchyrichy
Oct 1, 2017, 11:27am Top

I'll admit that Blackberry Picking At Jasmine Cottage is not my usual fare. But I loved the cheerful cover and English village setting so requested an advance reader's copy from NetGalley. And, spending some time in that quaint English village turned out to be a welcome respite from an increasingly chaotic world. There are only hints of evil in the world of Langtry Meadows as one of the characters experienced domestic abuse but all that has happened in the past, and we are spared the details that more realistic fiction might include.

Not that the world of the Little Village on the Green is a complete fantasy. The inhabitants of Langtry Meadows are quirky but welcoming, and I found myself drawn to their everyday struggles. We see vulnerable human beings who, in many cases, are more interested in the well being of others even when it means heartache for them. Lucy loves her country vet but understands that he must do everything he can to keep his daughter from a loving, if neglectful mother. Perhaps there is the fantasy of this cosy romance. Stoneley manages to create tension around the main storyline, but the reader knows that, ultimately, good will win. And that is not always the case in the real world.

It's a Hallmark movie in a book and perfect for a day when you want to snuggle under the blankets with a lovely cup of tea and escape.

59witchyrichy
Edited: Nov 25, 2017, 11:42am Top

I have followed Bill McKibben's work as an environmental activist so when First To Read offered his first novel for a preview read, I immediately jumped. And, I was rewarded with a scathingly funny look at how a few feisty folks can make the establishment look downright silly even as they make a serious point about a vanishing way of life. Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance.

McKibben's band of would-be activists reminds me of The Monkey Wrench Gang. His fiction sounds a bit like Carl Hiassen but with a New England accent. All three writers have the same goal, I think: preserve the environment but also the way of life connected to that environment, when milk and eggs came from the farmer down the street and everyone seemed to have a few rows of corn and tomatoes in the back yard.

60johnsimpson
Oct 22, 2017, 5:01pm Top

Hi Karen, hope you are having a really nice weekend my dear and wish you a lovely week ahead. Sending love and hugs from both of us.

61witchyrichy
Oct 28, 2017, 8:51am Top

Thanks for checking in, John! October has been full of traveling and online work that seemed to zap all my time and energy. I love my work so it's all good but it was also time for a weekend at home.

62witchyrichy
Oct 28, 2017, 9:08am Top

After the highs of September, I hit the lows of October. I've been on the road: visiting and broadcasting live from schools in the far Southwest of Virginia, then hosting a two-day conference, and finally spending a couple days in DC at a conference. I stopped off in Richmond to teach my graduate class on Tuesday but have been home every since and finally feeling like I am getting caught up.

My reading even stalled out, mostly trying to read at night and only getting a couple pages. I liked most of Bill Bryson's book about traveling around England but without a compelling plot, I found it easy to put it down and not pick it up again. The Road to Little Dribbling is on the shelf but I am going to wait for a bit.

So...what to read? I haven't touched any of the biographies or memoirs on my list from the beginning of the year and my trip to SWVA included two nights of great folk music in Floyd and Abingdon, both stops along the Crooked Road Music Trail. I picked up Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times by Dr. Ralph Stanley. I think I'm going to stick with it but need to find time during the day to read. I brought it down with me this morning and got through the introduction with my first latte. The bookmark is tucked in and I am ready to go. Also rethinking night time reading: the cooler weather means I can hang out in my music/craft room and there's a lovely chair and reading light.

I'll be checking threads now to say hello!

63karenmarie
Oct 28, 2017, 9:58am Top

Hi Karen! Busy-ness and loss of reading mojo are hopefully things of the past for a while. Good luck with your new read.

And, as you mentioned on my thread, Happy Belated Thingaversary. Twelve years. Good for you. You do know the rule about getting one book for each year plus one to grow on, right? *smile*

There are few things better than a lovely chair and reading light.

64Storeetllr
Oct 28, 2017, 5:46pm Top

Hi, Karen! Thanks for stopping by my thread! I've been AWOL a lot this year. I haven't been busy so much as in a bit of a slump - reading and life (and LT). I'm trying to get back on track with all.

Love the garden image topper! So lush and colorful!

Belated Happy Thingaversary!

Have a great weekend!

65streamsong
Oct 31, 2017, 11:59am Top

Hi Karen - it's good to see you posting again!

I haven't read anything by Bill McKibben. It looks like quite a few are available through my library system. What would you recommend to start? Do you have a favorite?

66PaulCranswick
Nov 23, 2017, 4:00pm Top

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

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

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

67streamsong
Nov 23, 2017, 4:04pm Top

Hi Karen - you haven't been around for a while and I've missed your posts!

I hope life is treating you well and then you are busy, well and happy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

68johnsimpson
Nov 23, 2017, 4:18pm Top

Happy Thanksgiving Karen my dear.

69witchyrichy
Nov 25, 2017, 11:38am Top

>66 PaulCranswick: >67 streamsong: >68 johnsimpson: >69 witchyrichy: >70 >71 Thanks everyone for checking in! I hope all of you had a nice holiday. I do miss you, too! Somehow time gets away from me in the fall. I have been making an effort to find "me" time and am back to playing my guitar and piano. I did get over my reading hump. And hubby and I headed to Leesburg last weekend to hear Crack the Sky, a favorite of his from high school. It's not all work.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. My parents came down from Pennsylvania and spent Thursday with us. We decorated the tree and relaxed. Then, sister and family came from Maryland yesterday for the big turkey meal. I did a bunch of preparation so the actual day was easy. Just cooked/heated up some casseroles and whipped some fresh cream to go with the fruit salad, a family tradition. All in all just lovely...but today is a rest day. Calm before the storm. The dogs are exhausted from keeping track of people for two days. The refrigerator is full of leftovers (I'm thinking coconut cream pie for lunch) and the house has had its annual cleaning (we even steam cleaned the carpets).

The fall is always busy: I teach a face to face class and my organization's main event--its annual conference--is at the beginning of December, just a week away. We sold out a few weeks ago so will have 900 people plus 200 some vendors at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in Roanoke, VA. it's been crazy dealing with getting the schedule done and juggling all the other little details. But we will have a blast with all our ed tech friends from across the state. And the Hotel Roanoke is gorgeous at Christmas with big trees decorated by local merchants.

Then...it's over, the semester ends, and everything slows down. I will have a couple weeks to hang out in my fav chair and read and crochet some gifts, send some cards and just mellow.

I am grateful for it all and for all of you!

70witchyrichy
Nov 25, 2017, 11:41am Top

>68 johnsimpson: I realize I wrote the whole post without naming the book: Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance. It's his first novel. His other books are environmental writing and I would start with The Bill McKibben Reader to get a sense of his work.

71witchyrichy
Nov 27, 2017, 3:37pm Top

Aah...I passed 75 books without any notice and am now at 81 once the ticker counter catches up!

I finished Homicide in Hardcover this morning. I picked it up on one of my book store visits and didn't even think twice as it's a mystery that takes place in San Francisco with a bookbinder as the main character and a wine country commune filling in some of the colorful background.

My library has the rest of the books in the series so I'll pick them off one at a time or as far as I get before I get tired. I have done that with a few series. The new Maisie Dobbs is on the Kindle and I haven't had a real longing to read it.

I bought up the whole Amish country series by Laura Bradford at a bookstore in Lititz, PA. I've read two of them and they are a blast from my childhood past of buggies and markets and Lancaster County. The fictional town is very much like Intercourse, Pennsylvania. And, I have a hankering to watch the movie Witness again.

72johnsimpson
Nov 27, 2017, 4:18pm Top

Hi Karen, congrats on reaching 75 books my dear, hope you had a really good weekend dear friend, sending love and hugs.

73FAMeulstee
Nov 27, 2017, 6:15pm Top

Congratulations on reaching 75 and beyond, Karen!

74drneutron
Nov 27, 2017, 7:57pm Top

Congrats!

75Copperskye
Nov 27, 2017, 10:24pm Top

81 books (so far)!! Congrats to you, Karen. I'm exhausted just hearing about your busy schedule... :)

76karenmarie
Nov 28, 2017, 9:04pm Top

Hi Karen and congratulations on reaching 75 and beyond!

77witchyrichy
Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 6:03pm Top

>75 Copperskye: >76 karenmarie: >77 witchyrichy: >78 >79 Thanks, everyone! I just added a few more. I'm working through some of the shorter Neil Gaiman books and then just laughed my way through The Carpet People. 2018 will definitely include the Disc World books. Just good story telling with enough snarkiness to make it funny.

>78 The schedule reaches the peak this week. Then, I'll have lots of relaxing time so I can crochet and read into the Christmas break. I'm hoping to do some baking: King Arthur Flour has a chocolate Babka recipe that I've been longing to make, and I make cookies and candy to take around town to a few folks.

78karenmarie
Nov 30, 2017, 5:43am Top

Hi Karen!

I just checked out the King Arthur Flour Chocolate Babka recipe. It sounds yummy. You'll have to let us know how it comes out if you get the time to make it.

79witchyrichy
Dec 16, 2017, 8:21am Top

>81 Baking begins today! First, cookies for gifts (and us!) and then the babka. Plus, my sister said how good the Pecan Cheesecake Pie looked on the cover of the November Southern Living. I'm going to take it as her hostess gift when we go up for Christmas.

80karenmarie
Dec 16, 2017, 8:45am Top

Ooh, Karen, that Pecan Cheesecake Pie looks good. Interesting - the cheesecake part rises to the middle and the pecan pie part settles to the bottom with pecans on the top. I want to make it. I have everything in the house. Perhaps tomorrow since we have a family party today and I won't have time.

Have fun baking.

81witchyrichy
Edited: Dec 17, 2017, 1:15pm Top

Two weeks later and life is all about hygge. I'm curled up under a blanket on the sofa, watching my favorite movies, crocheting Christmas gifts and getting caught up on Library Thing. Did I mention the lovely hot latte and adoring dogs tucked in beside me? The wood burning stove provides warmth in our old farmhouse.

Despite the busy schedule, I have been reading even if it's just a couple pages before bed. And, I've added a few items to my wish list on Overdrive. Several are there at the recommendation of a reading friend who suggested Nora Roberts, an author I have not read before since I always associated her with romances. At her recommendation, I added The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy and The Guardians Trilogy.

82Storeetllr
Dec 17, 2017, 2:59pm Top

Hi, Karen! All those baked goods sound scrumptious! If only I were a baker. How did the pecan pie cheesecake turn out? Enjoy your relaxing Sunday!

I like Nora Roberts stuff, though I haven't read those two trilogies. I like her romantic thrillers and her In Death series, though I no longer read straight romances. The way Roberts writes them works for me.

83witchyrichy
Dec 18, 2017, 10:42am Top

>83 witchyrichy: >85 Finished the cookies so we can deliver them today. I won't tackle the pie until next Sunday as we head to my sister's on Christmas Day. Karen, let me know if you make it before then and have any tips! I am not a pie baker so may resort to a store bought pie shell. We have pecans from a neighbor's tree.

84karenmarie
Dec 18, 2017, 12:11pm Top

Hi again!

I'll be making it on Wednesday, I think, to take to husband's work party on Thursday along with a regular pecan pie. Tips to follow if it seems tricky or confusing. :)

Ooh, pecans from a neighbor's tree. We used to get papershell pecans from husband's Great Aunt and uncle. You could crack them with your fingers and I've never tasted sweeter pecans.

85johnsimpson
Dec 18, 2017, 3:28pm Top

Hi Karen, hope you had a good weekend my dear. Karen spent most of yesterday making nice Christmas treats and truffles for presents and friends and some for us obviously, ha ha. Wishing you a good week ahead dear friend and send love and hugs.

86karenmarie
Dec 22, 2017, 5:59am Top

Hi Karen!

I made the Pecan Cheesecake Pie on Wednesday. It is delicious - rich and sweet.

It worked well although it took longer to set than the 50-55 minutes suggested in the recipe. That may be my oven - don't know. I think I ended up adding about 15 minutes, but as I always tell my daughter "Always use the fewest number of minutes suggested in a recipe. You can always add minutes."

87karenmarie
Dec 24, 2017, 7:39am Top

Hi Karen!



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

88johnsimpson
Dec 24, 2017, 9:06am Top

Hi Karen, wishing you a very Merry Christmas my dear and sending love and hugs dear friend from both of us.

89ronincats
Dec 24, 2017, 10:02pm Top

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

90AMQS
Dec 25, 2017, 1:24am Top

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

91PaulCranswick
Dec 25, 2017, 9:49am Top



Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

92witchyrichy
Edited: Dec 27, 2017, 11:14am Top

>87 karenmarie: >89 ronincats: >90 AMQS: My pie turned out quick nicely, and my sister was happily surprised. Even made the crust from scratch. Your looks delicious! I didn't think to take a picture.

93witchyrichy
Dec 27, 2017, 11:02am Top

>91 PaulCranswick: >92 witchyrichy: >93 witchyrichy: >94 Thanks for the holiday wishes! I hope all of you had lovely holidays as well and thanks for thinking of me. We did some traveling and I spent most of yesterday playing my new ukelele.

Still on holiday break and trying hard not to work. I am in the midst of reading three books and may finish at least one before the new year.

94witchyrichy
Dec 27, 2017, 11:16am Top

Belated holiday wishes to all!

95streamsong
Dec 27, 2017, 11:42am Top

I hope your Christmas was wonderful, Karen.

Yay for a new ukulele! Have you played before or is this new to you?

And also yay for trying to finish books before the New Year! Me, too! It's cold and snowy out there and I intend to hibernate with books today after the outdoor chores are done.

96witchyrichy
Dec 27, 2017, 11:55am Top

>98 I am new to the ukelele but play piano and guitar. I got the bug when a friend's daughter started a nonprofit that donates ukes to senior centers and hospitals. They provide lessons as well. It is called Heartstringz.

97witchyrichy
Dec 29, 2017, 5:21pm Top

I'm posting here since it's still 2017...I had a lovely day! One of my oldest friends reached out before the holidays, and we set a date for lunch today. We settled right back into our friendship: it's been more than a year since we've seen each other but we got caught up and talked a lot about our goals and dreams for 2018. We may have made a date to go to Ireland in 2020! It was just wonderful to sit and chat about all things large and small. We left with a determination to do this more often. Aaah...

Now I am home with a wonderful fire in the stove, staving off the cold. Husband has been sleeping on the couch in this room along with the dogs, keeping the fire going. But I stumble upstairs to the pretty cold bedroom and sleep under three or four layers. I actually don't mind but it is going to get VERY cold in the next 10 days. We have a futon that pulls out into a bed but it is uncomfortable. So, he bought an air mattress to put on top of the futon that I"m going to give a try tonight.

98karenmarie
Dec 29, 2017, 10:28pm Top

HI Karen!

I haven't created my 2018 thread and haven't posted on anybody else's. You're right, it's still 2017.

How lovely that you settled right back into your friendship. I did that with an acquaintance from high school 6 years ago - we're from California but are both here in central NC and connected on the Facebook page for our high school's graduating class (1971. Eep.) We have become fast friends in that time and have gotten into the habit of meeting for dinner monthly excepting January, as she is an accountant for a small private company and she's swamped 'til mid February. Have fun and wow! Ireland in 2020.

I prefer a cold room with blankets and comforters. Possibly not as cold as yours, but still. I hope the air mattress works out!

99witchyrichy
Dec 30, 2017, 4:56pm Top

I just added another book for the year...a mystery that has been lurking on my Kindle for awhile. It is a cold, overcast day so we hunkered down in the den by the stove. The air mattress works wells although I did end up stumbling up to my upstairs bed around 1:30 AM...woke up hot and stuffed up.

12 Days At Bleakly Manor was a manor house mystery with a group of characters brought together at Christmas with the promise of getting their greatest desire only to learn that that prize will be awarded to only one of the attendees. It is a mystery within a mystery as the two main characters work to discover who drove them apart the year before, with one ending up in prison and the other left standing at the altar.

100karenmarie
Dec 31, 2017, 3:47pm Top

Hi again! Final post for 2017.



Peace, Health, and Happiness in 2018

101Storeetllr
Dec 31, 2017, 6:17pm Top

Happy New Year, Karen! Hope your 2018 is filled with health, peace and prosperity! Oh, and lots of great reading!

102witchyrichy
Jan 1, 11:20am Top

I decided to add Norse Mythology to my 2017 list. I almost finished it last night...

>103 >104 Thanks for the best wishes for the new year!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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