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Lori (lkernagh) Reads her ABCs in 2018 - First Thread

2018 Category Challenge

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1lkernagh
Edited: Sep 8, 2017, 11:41pm Top

Lori Reads her ABCs



Hi everyone. Welcome to my 2018 Category Challenge. This will be my ninth year participating in the Category Challenge. Decided to go back to basics and give myself a reasonably easy challenge this year... one that I can do at my own pace and still continue to read books off my TBR piles for my continued ROOT reading.

The challenge this year will comprise of two alphabet categories - one for author name and one for book title. Overlaps are not allowed, each book read will only count for either one author or one book title. 52 books will be reasonable goal for the year.

I would also like to get back joining in on the various Group Reads as well as the Kits, Cats and BingoDog.

That is my proposed 2018 reading lineup. I will be back in January to kick off my 2018 challenge reading.

2lkernagh
Edited: Feb 1, 9:15pm Top

Author Alphabet Category:



Rule: Letter must be the first letter in the author's first, middle or last name, as displayed on the book cover.

"A" Author -
"B" Author -
"C" Author - Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens - (review)
"D" Author -
"E" Author -
"F" Author -
"G" Author -
"H" Author - The Siege by Helen Dunmore - (review)
"I" Author -
"J" Author -
"K" Author - The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - (review)
"L" Author -
"M" Author - The Road to Ever After by Moira Young - (review)
"N" Author -
"O" Author -
"P" Author -
"Q" Author -
"R" Author - The King of Lavender Square by Susan Ryan - (review)
"S" Author - Dark Desires by Eve Silver - (review)
"T" Author -
"U" Author -
"V" Author -
"W" Author -
"X" Author -
"Y" Author -
"Z" Author -

3lkernagh
Edited: Jan 30, 9:58pm Top

Book Title Alphabet Category:



Rule: Letter must be the first letter in one of the words that make up the book's title.

"A" Book Title - The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder -
"B" Book Title -
"C" Book Title -
"D" Book Title -
"E" Book Title -
"F" Book Title -
"G" Book Title -
"H" Book Title -
"I" Book Title -
"J" Book Title -
"K" Book Title -
"L" Book Title -
"M" Book Title - Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy - (review)
"N" Book Title -
"O" Book Title -
"P" Book Title -
"Q" Book Title -
"R" Book Title -
"S" Book Title -
"T" Book Title -
"U" Book Title -
"V" Book Title -
"W" Book Title - The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove by J.S. Bailey - (review)
"X" Book Title -
"Y" Book Title -
"Z" Book Title -

Too bad I am almost finished with the Sue Grafton mystery series... would have made this category challenge a snap! At least I kept the "X" and "Y" books in reserve. ;-)

4lkernagh
Edited: Feb 4, 3:47pm Top

Monthly CATs / KITs:



January
- ColourCAT (Black) - The King of Lavender Square by Susan Ryan -
- AlphaKIT ("M") - The Road to Ever After by Moira Young -
- ScaredyKIT (Gothic) - Dark Desires by Eve Silver -
- ScaredyKIT (Gothic) / AlphaKIT ("M") - Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy -
- SFFKIT (There is Always Tomorrow) / AlphaKIT ("M") - The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder -
- ScaredyKIT (Gothic) / AlphaKIT ("M") - The House at Riverton by Kate Morton -
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

5lkernagh
Edited: Jan 31, 10:24pm Top


1.
2. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens -
3.
4. Dark Desires by Eve Silver -
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10. The Road to Ever After by Moira Young -
11.
12. Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy -
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton -
20.
21.
22.
23. The Siege by Helen Dunmore -
24. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder -
25. The King of Lavender Square by Susan Ryan -

6lkernagh
Edited: Jan 20, 10:26am Top

Group Reads:



1. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens -

7lkernagh
Edited: Sep 8, 2017, 11:57pm Top

This thread is now open for visitors

8lkernagh
Sep 8, 2017, 11:40pm Top



"Books are a uniquely portable magic." - Stephen King

9sturlington
Sep 9, 2017, 11:45am Top

>8 lkernagh: I love that picture and quote. This is a good idea for a less structured challenge. I imagine it will prompt you to pick those books off the TBR!

10DeltaQueen50
Sep 9, 2017, 12:45pm Top

Looks like you have planned a great reading year for yourself and I am looking forward to following along.

11luvamystery65
Sep 9, 2017, 2:15pm Top

The alphabet is the perfect way to get those books off the shelves!

12LittleTaiko
Sep 9, 2017, 9:24pm Top

Love it - flexible and structured all at the same time!

13christina_reads
Sep 10, 2017, 3:49pm Top

Hi, Lori -- intriguing theme! I look forward to seeing what you read, especially for the less common letters!

14MissWatson
Sep 11, 2017, 2:21pm Top

Hi Lori, it's great to see you made your mind up early. Great idea!

15rainpebble
Sep 11, 2017, 5:49pm Top

Hello Lori. What fun! I look forward to seeing how your challenges play out.

16majkia
Sep 12, 2017, 5:11am Top

Hi Lori. Hope your reading for 2018 is as much fun as your thread is.

17lkernagh
Sep 17, 2017, 9:04pm Top

Thanks everyone! I love the Category Challenge as it always makes me read a bit "outside the box". I have been keeping an eye on the CATs planning thread and love the suggestions being posted there. 2018 is shaping up to be a fun reading year!

18casvelyn
Sep 25, 2017, 8:14pm Top

Flexibility seems to be the name of the game this year.

And I really want to read the book pictured in >4 lkernagh:.

19clue
Sep 25, 2017, 9:24pm Top

Before I joined LT one year I read authors in alphabetical order and titles came from a classics list or a college reading list. Everyone made great fun of me because I was ultra dedicated to not skipping a letter. It ended up being a lot of fun and I read a lot of books I probably wouldn't have otherwise.

Good luck in 2018 for great reading, I'll bet you love your challenge!

20VivienneR
Oct 10, 2017, 5:40pm Top

>17 lkernagh: Yes, I agree, 2017 is shaping up to be a fun year! I look forward to following your reading.

21Roro8
Oct 18, 2017, 5:52am Top

I love this idea. I wish I had thought of it. If you get stuck with any letters, just post, I'm sure many of us will be able to help you out with suggestions.

22Chrischi_HH
Nov 4, 2017, 4:55pm Top

I love the picture and quote in post 8. Enjoy your reading!

23lkernagh
Nov 12, 2017, 12:46pm Top

>18 casvelyn:, >19 clue:, >20 VivienneR:, >21 Roro8: and >22 Chrischi_HH: - Thanks everyone! I am starting to get excited about next year's reading!

24Crazymamie
Nov 12, 2017, 12:58pm Top

Dropping a star for next year, Lori! Fun theme.

25lkernagh
Nov 12, 2017, 1:23pm Top

Hi Mamie!

26mamzel
Nov 17, 2017, 1:58pm Top

Good luck with your challenge. I hope you have success in filling your categories!

27lkernagh
Nov 19, 2017, 12:44pm Top

Thanks mamzel!

28pamelad
Nov 20, 2017, 5:12am Top

I'm sure that the search for some of those letters will lead you to some interesting and unusual books.

29lkernagh
Nov 21, 2017, 9:07pm Top

>28 pamelad:- That will be half the fun, Pam! Even though I am going to try to read predominately books off my own shelves, I know I will be reading some library books as well.

30thornton37814
Nov 24, 2017, 7:40pm Top

Hi Lori! Dropping my star to follow along while I finalize my plans so I can post my challenge later this evening or tomorrow.

31lkernagh
Nov 27, 2017, 11:38am Top

Thanks Lori. Looking forward to seeing your 2018 setup!

32RidgewayGirl
Nov 27, 2017, 11:50am Top

Glad you'll be here in 2018! I like the simplicity of your challenge.

33lkernagh
Nov 28, 2017, 7:58pm Top

"Simplicity for sanity" is my game plan for 2018. ;-)

34mstrust
Dec 8, 2017, 11:49am Top

Hi Lori! I'm here to drop a star and wish you luck with your challenge!

35lkernagh
Dec 8, 2017, 7:58pm Top

Thanks Jenn! I am itching to start my 2018 reading.

36Berly
Dec 15, 2017, 2:22am Top

Lori--I totally endorse the simplicity of the alphabet approach. I know you are going to kill it!

37lkernagh
Dec 17, 2017, 1:28pm Top

Thanks Kim! 14 days left to go for the kick off of the 2018 challenge... not that I am counting or anything. ;-)

38andreablythe
Dec 25, 2017, 5:24pm Top

Oooh, tha alphabetical challenge looks interesting. Here's to happy reading in 2018. :)

39Berly
Dec 26, 2017, 1:37pm Top

Belated Holiday Wishes, aka Happy Boxing Day!!

40lkernagh
Dec 28, 2017, 9:13pm Top

>38 andreablythe: - Hi Andrea, I am itching to get started with the 2018 reading!

>39 Berly: - Thanks Kim!

41lkernagh
Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 7:42pm Top

Looking forward to starting my 2018 reading. In the meantime, below please find my last review and walking update for 2017, a very condensed 2017 year end summary and... of course... the 2017 Year End Book Meme!

42lkernagh
Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 8:05pm Top

My last review for 2017 as I get ready to kick off my 2018 reading:

.
Book #110 - Letters to the Pianist by S.D. Mayes
Challenge(s): 75 Group, 2017 Category
Category: N/A
Source: LTER
Format: e-Book
Original publication date: September 19, 2017
Acquisition date: October 5, 2017
Page count: 412 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.60 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia. Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets. Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?
Review:
As far as historical fiction reads go, this is a bit of a gem. Love the WWII and post-WWII setting. Love the intrigue as we learn more about the powerful socialite circles with fascist leanings an the disturbing information that unfolds as Joe recovers his memories and learns about the family he is now joined to. If you are looking for complex character development, this is not the book for you. The characters do come across a bit flat but there are still some interesting suspenseful moments to carry the story through. While this is a historical suspense read, it is more a story about family and they bonds they hold. Favorite quote:
"Keep strong in this era of bloodshed and pain, for time soon flies and our darkest times will one day bring us all a divine redemption."
Overall, a good WWII styled story, potentially geared towards the YA reading audience.

43lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 7:12pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEKS 128 & 129 UPDATES:
Kilometers walked this session: 66.67 (Week 128=37.02; Week 129=29.65)
Kilometers walked in total: 5,486.88
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Due East of Couturier and heading for Saint Louis-du-Ha-Ha.
Points of interest along the way: Cold and rainy weather put a crimp in my walking the past two weeks. I keep forgetting that winter tends to do that. ;-)

44lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 7:32pm Top

2017 YEAR END SUMMARY:

# of Books Read: 110
Largest book read: World Without End by Ken Follett at 1,014 pages
Smallest book read: Cupcakes by Daniel Kelley at 26 pages
ROOTs Read: 56
# of Pages Read: 36,498
Best Reading Month: June (12 books finished / 4,173 pages read)

Top 15 Reads:
....../.......

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - 5.00 out of 5 /
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - 5.00 out of 5 /
When I Was Young and In My Prime by Alayna Munce - 5.00 out of 5 /
Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye - 5.00 out of 5 /
Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose - 5.00 out of 5 /
A Peacock in the Land of Penguins by BJ Gallagher -
4.80 out of 5 /
The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox - 4.80 out of 5 /
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye - 4.60 out of 5 /
Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Rising by Jonathan Littell - 4.60 out of 5 /
The Mercy of the Tide by Keith Rosson - 4.60 out of 5 /
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson - 4.60 out of 5 /
On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon by Kaye Gibbons - 4.60 out of 5 /
Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius - 4.60 out of 5 /
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson - 4.60 out of 5 /
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden - 4.50 out of 5 /

45lkernagh
Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 7:43pm Top

End of Year Book Meme: Books read in 2017

Describe yourself: The Irrationalist

Describe how you feel: A Peacock in the Land of Penguins

Describe where you currently live: At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Paris

Your favorite form of transportation: The Ion Raider

Your best friend is: Daisy Miller

You and your friends are: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

What’s the weather like: World Without End

You fear: Twelve Angry Men

What is the best advice you have to give: Laugh and Live

Thought for the day: You Have to be Careful in the Land of the Free

How you would like to die: Involuntary Bliss

Your soul’s present condition: The Full Cupboard of Life

46lkernagh
Dec 31, 2017, 7:35pm Top

Wishing all my LT friends a wonderful New Years! Looking forward to following your reading (and other adventures) in 2018!

47lkernagh
Edited: Dec 31, 2017, 8:06pm Top

Whoops... looks like I closed off my 2017 reading in my 2018 thread. Good news is I don't have to repost the happy new year wishes or the end of year reading meme now... it is already here! Not going to bother fixing things here - although I will tidy up the comments a bit. Will now go and post on the 2017 thread. ;-)

48rabbitprincess
Dec 31, 2017, 10:08pm Top

Happy new year, Lori! Glad to see your wrap-up on either thread :)

49thornton37814
Dec 31, 2017, 11:41pm Top

>45 lkernagh: Good meme.

50mamzel
Jan 1, 9:33am Top

It must be fun to have such a large number of titles to choose from for your meme. You had quite an eclectic assortment of 'best reads'. I hope 2018 will be another wonderful year.

51Berly
Jan 1, 7:37pm Top



Happy 2018!!

52Roro8
Edited: Jan 1, 8:00pm Top

Nice to see the Lindsay Faye books in your top 15, I loved them too.

Happy New Year!!

53LittleTaiko
Edited: Jan 1, 8:04pm Top

I’ll be reading Gods of Gotham this month for the RandomCAT as a book bullet from you!

54VivienneR
Jan 3, 8:51pm Top

Great answers to your meme, Lori, especially where you currently live!

Happy new year!

55VioletBramble
Jan 3, 10:08pm Top

Hi Lori. Good luck with your alphabet challenges and other reading.
>8 lkernagh: I really like this graphic

56DeltaQueen50
Jan 5, 2:07pm Top

Hi Lori. You read such perfect books for the 2017 book meme - great answers. Good luck with your 2018 reading.

57lkernagh
Jan 5, 10:51pm Top

>48 rabbitprincess: - Thanks RP and Happy New Years to you! How are you doing with the cold back east? Brrrrrrr!!!!

>49 thornton37814: - Thanks Lori. I stumbled upon the meme a few years back in the 75 Group and have incorporated it into my year end wrap up.

>50 mamzel: - Having a good pile of title to choose from does make the meme a little easier to pull together. I did struggle a bit with the weather question but I still find it fun to see how my reading for the year plays out in the meme. My 2017 reading was eclectic and I like that I can appreciate a wider range of genres than I did in my "pre-LT" years. ;-)

>51 Berly: - Love the New Year wishes, Kim! Wishing you a fabulous 2018.

>52 Roro8: - The Lyndsay Faye books were a BB on LT and a wonderful BB to take! I have held off on reading the third book in the trilogy but I may break down and read it this year.... I always get sad when I know I am about to read the last book in a trilogy/series. I know I will be a sad reader when I read Sue Grafton's "Y" book this year.

>53 LittleTaiko: - I hope you love it Stacy! Such a great story!

>54 VivienneR: - I can thank purchases at a book sale for giving me that meme answer! I probably would never have read the book and who knows what the meme answer would have been. Happy New Year Vivienne!

>55 VioletBramble: - Thanks Violet! I am looking forward to a really loose challenge this year, reading what I want, when I want. I love that book image >8 lkernagh: too.

>56 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks Judy. It helped that I had a good pile of titles to choose from.

58lkernagh
Jan 5, 10:52pm Top

Hello, hello, hello and Happy New Year one and all! Early days of 2018 and I have already hit the ground running. I am making the usual attempt at some New Year resolutions and I have a new found desire to "feather the nest" a bit. Have started off with some new bedside lamps that were a find in a local charity shop. I have also decided to put to use some of the items I acquired while clearing out my mom's sewing room. I have some of my grandmother's tatting work that I have decided to frame and display. I am a fan of the French farmhouse decor as a home style so another run through the charity shops (and a possible trip to the paint and craft stores) is planned for this weekend. I have also decided that the cross-stitch that I was working on last year is now complete, so I will be looking to have it framed as well, but given it's large square size, I will arrange to have it professionally framed.

On the reading front, I have joined the Nicholas Nickleby group read over on the 75 Group. I love starting the year off with a chunkster classic read! I won't be finished that one for a good couple of weeks but it is my audiobook so I have other print and ebooks on the go.

and good news... I have finished my first book for 2018!

59lkernagh
Edited: Jan 6, 1:06am Top

.
Book #1 - The King of Lavender Square by Susan Ryan
Challenge(s): 2018 Category, ROOT
CAT/KIT: ColourCAT - January (Black)
Bingo DOG: "Rank in Title" - King
Category: "R" Author - Ryan
Source: LTER
Format: e-Book
Original publication date: October 2, 2017
Acquisition date: September 28, 2017
Page count: 400 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.65 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Saskia watches the lives of others from her eyrie in Lavender Square with a lonely fascination. While the teacher, the recluse, the advertising whizz-kid and the African woman and her young son run, rush, dart and dash, she knows for sure that she will never have anything worth dashing to. But sometimes all it takes is a little magic to bring people together. And, in Lavender Square, where the lavender grows in mysterious abundance and colours the air with a musky sense of love, magic is never very far away. The neighbours, who once passed each other by in detached universes, find themselves thrown together when they are obliged to take care of young Patrick Kimba. His mother is seriously ill and no one knows when or if she is ever coming home. At first they resist the tiresome interruption, until quite by accident Patrick s dream of becoming a football star and finding his long-lost father becomes theirs, and their lives and heartaches become woven together in a new and unexpected pattern.
Review:
This is one of those feel good stories with heart. The story follows young Patrick, his mom Tessa and their various Lavender Square neighbors over a ten year period of time. The story has a lot of good detail for any football (soccer) fan to appreciate – those bits went over my head, I must admit - but the development of a random collection of people into a close-knit family made this a good read for me. The characters each develop at their own pace. A number of the characters have secrets they do not want to share, even with their new friends, adding to the story’s drama. Why is Joe a recluse? Why does Nuala never answer her home phone when it rings? Why won’t Tessa tell Patrick more details about his dad (a soldier in the Congolese army) or the mysterious correspondence she has been receiving? Why is Fiona such an angry person? All of these secrets are revealed over time – along with a number of other surprises. Patrick’s development over the years from a young boy of 8 into a young man of 18 is interesting to follow. His single-minded focus on his dream to become a professional footballer (and the frustrations of Tessa who wants her son to focus on his studies) are something that a number of parents can relate to as they read the story.

Overall, a wonderful feel good story that gave this reader a shining light against today’s hustle-bustle society where few people try to get to know their neighbours.

60rretzler
Jan 5, 11:02pm Top

Hi, Lori. Dropping a star.



Missing you in the 75'ers so I decided to track you down here and follow along! I always enjoy your reviews, as we seem to have similar tastes. Plus, I want to follow your walk across Canada!

61lkernagh
Jan 6, 12:53am Top

>60 rretzler: - So happy to see you found me, Robin! I had to take a good hard look at my year ahead and decided that trying to participate in not one but two active groups was just going to be way too much, so very glad to see you followed the "bread crumbs" over to this thread. As you did here, I will be starring some threads over on the 75 Group so that I can stay in touch.

62pamelad
Jan 6, 2:15am Top

Australia has an ex-mp called Susan Ryan. She's currently the Age Discrimination Commissioner (against, not for). I don't suppose this is her, though.

63Ameise1
Jan 6, 7:02am Top

Happy reading 2018, Lori. Dropped a star.

64vancouverdeb
Jan 6, 7:26am Top

Happy New Year, Lori! Found you! I thought of you immediately when I heard that Sue Grafton had passed away. I had read several of the initial books " back in the day" , but thought I no longer read her books, I was quite sad that she did not make it to the "Z" book.

65thornton37814
Jan 6, 9:10am Top

>58 lkernagh: I'm about 1/4 of the way into Nicholas Nickleby. I'm trying to read at least 5% each day--and sometimes more.

66katiekrug
Jan 6, 10:58am Top

Happy Weekend, Lori! Your feathering of the nest sounds like fun. I am starting to get an itch, too, but in my case, it just means I finally need to empty the last few moving boxes!

67mstrust
Jan 6, 12:11pm Top

Glad your first of the year was a good one for you, Lori! You've started out right.

68hailelib
Jan 6, 3:10pm Top

Your first book of the year sounds like a good one even if not a 5-star one.

69dudes22
Jan 6, 5:34pm Top

>59n - Well, Lori, you've managed to hit me with my first BB of the year. That didn't take too long. It sounds like the author has fit a lot into 400 pages. And it sounds like a book I would like. I might even read it for the "purple" month instead of letting it languish in my "recommended" collection as I do for most.

70jlshall
Jan 6, 5:53pm Top

I love the ABC theme -- I almost went with that this time, too. I'm starring your thread so I can come back and see what you read (always looking for good ideas). Happy reading in 2018!

71AMQS
Jan 6, 10:27pm Top

Hi Lori, Happy New Year! I've been missing you in the 75 Book Challenge group (seems incredible, I know, since I'm rarely there myself) and had to go back to 2017 to find you. I'm so sorry you won't be with the 75-ers this year - that's pretty much the only place I go, and I don't even manage that very well. You're starred here, though, and I hope to be able to drop in. I hope you have a wonderful reading year!

72cmbohn
Jan 6, 10:50pm Top

Hey Lori! Happy New Year! Post a picture 📷 of the cross stitch!

73lkernagh
Jan 7, 1:25pm Top

>62 pamelad: - Interesting your comment because it looks as though the Susan Ryan who wrote The King of Lavender Square hails from Australia but does not list a political career, so probably not the same person. I did stumble across an article written by her where she states that she has worked as a cemetery manager in Sydney (interesting job position!) with her hardest job (physically) being picking watermelons in the subtropics in 45'C heat and her least favorite job was working in a gingerbread factory in Germany (found it tediously boring). Always nice to learn about the work history of some writers. ;-)

>63 Ameise1: - Happy New Year Barbara and so lovely to see you stopping by! I will return the favour sometime this weekend so that I have your thread starred as well.

>64 vancouverdeb: - Hello Deborah and Happy New Year to you! I hope your holiday season was a lovely one. I was so saddened by the news of Sue Grafton's passing. I can understand why her family will respect her decision to not allow anyone else to take up the mantle and finish the series.

>65 thornton37814: - Sounds like you have a good pace going for your Nickolas Nickleby reading, Lori! I tend to binge listen on the weekends and abandon the book during the week. I seem to be at the 12 hour mark in the 31.5 hour audiobook so we are probably more or less at the same spot in our reading, and you will overtake me during the week. ;-)

>66 katiekrug: - Hi Katie! I am having fun "sprucing up the place". Lets me get back to my creative side. ;-) Good luck with emptying the last of your moving boxes!

>67 mstrust: - Hi Jennifer! Lovely to see you here! I do like to try and start the new year off with a decent read, and one that is a bit more up beat (I don't like starting off a new year reading doom and gloom books).

>68 hailelib: - I had a hard time deciding between the 3.5 and 4 star rating. Some parts had a bit of cookie-cutter cuteness to it that I shrugged my way through but for the most past, I was really quite impressed given that it is a debut novel for the author.

>69 dudes22: - YAY! I know, I shouldn't be so excited to be slinging BBs this early in the year, but I have already been hit by one from Ro so this year may be the "Year of BBs". The story had a couple of areas where the author could have concluded so the fact that the story carried on was a bit puzzling at first but still enjoyable as Ryan managed to bring new secrets to the surface as the story progressed.

>70 jlshall: - Hi Joy, the first time I did an alphabet challenge was a number of years ago as part of a separate group. It is an easy was to try and read books off the TBR shelves, that is for sure!

>71 AMQS: - Hello Anne! Happy New Year! So happy you tracked me down. I thought about setting up a thread again this year over in the 75 Group and I just thought, "I need a break." I am going for low to no stress this year. I will be poking my head in from time to time and will make sure to star your thread so I can keep in touch.

>72 cmbohn: - Happy New Year! Here is a picture of the cross stitch.



Sorry for the poor light levels. We are socked in with the usual January rainy gloom and would need a sunny day to get a proper picture.

74lkernagh
Jan 7, 1:26pm Top

Well, my adventures of yesterday were good and bad. Yes, I did manage to score two used picture frames at a local charity shop that I will be able to use to frame and display my grandmother's tatting. These were good finds because the tatting is long and narrow so the typical boxy picture frames would not work. Quite frankly, I was stunned when I discovered just how expensive picture frames are to purchase! Obviously, I haven't been in the market for picture frames for quite some time. Both purchases have carved wood frames that will look pretty good once I give them a painting (one is a blond color that I am not a fan). It is a wet and miserable day today so I am looking forward to working on the frames today.

On the reading front, my current read would have made the perfect holiday read last month: The Road to Ever After by Moira Young, another LTER book I am behind with reading and reviewing. Should be finished and have a review ready for posting in the next day or two.

Other than that, I have a walking update, and that is about it for now.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

75lkernagh
Jan 7, 1:27pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 130 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 42.27
Kilometers walked in total: 5,529.15
Current province: (QC)
My current location on the map: Hugging the southwest shores of Lac Temiscouata, southeast of Notre-Dame du Lac and heading for Cinema Degelis.
Points of interest along the way: According to Wikipedia, there is a bike path that follows an abandoned CN Rail line along the lake, from Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec to Edmundson, New Brunswick and comprising of 134 KM of gravel paths. Something else to add to my Quebec bucket list!

And.... *drum roll*.... I am now only 24 KM away from the New Brunswick border!

76Chrischi_HH
Jan 7, 1:42pm Top

Well, >59 lkernagh: hit me as well. Very early BB, but it sounds like a perfect book for a Sunday. :)

77DeltaQueen50
Jan 7, 2:38pm Top

Lori, you are doing so well with the walking! It won't be long before you can dip your toe in the Atlantic Ocean (of course, you may want to wait for warmer weather to do that!)

78Carmenere
Jan 7, 6:16pm Top

Hi Lori! I'm so glad I'll be able to follow your walk across Canada on this thread. Good luck with your challenges!

79rretzler
Jan 7, 7:50pm Top

>75 lkernagh: Fantastic! Keep up the good work. You may inspire me to get out and walk - or at least to get on the exercise bike that Ed bought me for Christmas several years ago and is currently collecting dust in our bonus room!

80Berly
Jan 7, 8:02pm Top

Doing great on the walking! And I will be following your reads.

81thornton37814
Jan 7, 9:47pm Top

Your cross stitch is nice in spite of the light.

82MickyFine
Jan 8, 3:37pm Top

I'm late but I'm here, Lori. Can't not keep up with you even if you're chilling over here rather than in the 75ers. :)

83lkernagh
Jan 8, 7:00pm Top

>76 Chrischi_HH: - Yes, I believe that The King of Lavender Square would make a good Sunday or weekend read. Apologies for the BB. ;-)

>77 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks Judy! I am so happy to find myself so close to leaving Quebec! I know I am still not in the clear to complete my walking challenge in time (July is not that far away.... Gulp!) but if I can close the gap and complete the journey this summer, I will be happy!

>78 Carmenere: - Hi Lynda.... Thanks and glad to see you found me!

>79 rretzler: - Thanks Robin, for some reason I thought I was going to be "walking" through Quebec for a couple more months so I now have motivation keep up with the walking. Good thing too, the weather forecast is rain, rain and rain. ;-) Our home is rather small and the only reason we have never investing in an exercise bike, but if we had, chances are it would be sitting unused. I seem to need purpose for my walking - walking to and from work, walking to the store, etc. Otherwise, it is hard to get up and moving when a cozy chair and a good read beckons.

>80 Berly: - Thanks Kim! Always a bit of a struggle to get mobile when the West coast winter "grey rainy gloom" descends.

>81 thornton37814: - Thanks Lori! Always tricky trying to take pictures when the subject involves light colours against an off-white background. Glad you like it.

>82 MickyFine: - Hi Micky, so glad to see you found me! The 75 Group is a wonderful place but this time of year it is always overwhelming with the flurry of activity.

84lkernagh
Edited: Jan 8, 7:01pm Top

Not much new to report today, except for more rain, some walking and another long overdue LTER book finished.

85lkernagh
Jan 8, 7:02pm Top

.
Book #2 - The Road to Ever After by Moira Young
Challenge(s): 2018 Category, ROOT
CAT/KIT: AlphaKIT - M
Bingo DOG: "Set During A Holiday" - Christmas
Category: "M" Author - Moira
Source: LTER
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: October 25, 2016
Acquisition date: November 21, 2017
Page count: 224 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.20 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Davy David is a thirteen-year-old orphan, who lives in the bushes in a town ruled by a strict minister, Reverend Fall. A talented artist, Davy loves to draw pictures of angels in the dirt, in the early hours of the morning before the townspeople are awake. He spends his days on his own, except for a small dog, who has attached himself to Davy, often going to the library to find inspiration for his pictures of angels. One day, after chasing after a ball for some of the town's boys, he finds himself in the yard of the old boarded-up museum, now rumored to be the home of a witch. The witch is Miss Elizabeth Flint, an elderly woman who has a proposition for Davy: drive her to her childhood home, where, it turns out, she has made the decision to die.
Review:
There is a wonderful timeless quality to Young's storytelling. Brownvale is a down-on-it-luck kind of place, with first the orphanage closing down - explaining why a 13-year-old (our protagonist Davy) is living rough on his own - and now the local library is closing its doors. References to the holiday classic movie "Its a Wonderful Life" abound here, from Davy being adopted by a stray dog he names George Bailey, to the movie playing on local TVs and the repeated chiming of bells in the story, giving the story a holiday feel. The pairing of young Davy with the ornery and "soon-to-be-octogenarian" Miss Flint (a somewhat Miss Havisham type of character) works well and provides for some entertaining moments, especially when the two find themselves in situations that involve "bending the law". Even though the purpose of the journey is one that can bring forwards feelings of sadness and loss, the magical/supernatural elements - including a "Benjamin Button"-like regression - gives the story a wonderful transcendent feel. Themes such as friendship, forgiveness, regret and guilt flow can be found here with a lesson about what really matters in life and death.

Overall, a charming, magical tale with a Christmas holiday setting.

86ChelleBearss
Jan 9, 12:12pm Top

Sorry to see that you won't be participating on the 75 thread this year but I can understand the need to scale down! I'll visit you here instead :)

87lkernagh
Jan 12, 6:28pm Top

>85 lkernagh: - Hi Chelle, Happy to see you found your way over here! I feel less stress having only one group to post to and follow, but I will make sure to star your thread so that I can visit you and see how your lovely family is doing.

88rretzler
Jan 12, 10:36pm Top

It's really too bad that there's not a way to have only one reading thread, but use that thread to participate in a number of different groups. I think I would probably participate in more groups in which there is a reading thread if I only had to post to one. Perhaps that's something that could be suggested to LT somehow - a way to have individual threads but hook them to several different groups?

89thornton37814
Jan 13, 10:37am Top

>88 rretzler: I open both my Category Challenge and 75 group threads, write the post in one, and copy and paste to the other. I delete TIOLI challenge from the Category Challenge thread or add it to the 75 group thread, depending on which I do. It's not too difficult to do that way.

90vancouverdeb
Jan 13, 7:42pm Top

How true! The rain and gloom do not beckon to me for walking! However the dog pressures me, but even then, Lori.....

91mysterymax
Jan 14, 10:15am Top

.88 I'd love that feature. As well, I think it might keep some groups active. I seem to be in groups that fall dormant....

92lkernagh
Jan 14, 5:53pm Top

>88 rretzler:, >89 thornton37814: and >91 mysterymax: - Oh, I can see some great pluses (and some minuses) to having just one thread that can be tagged to certain groups. Like Lori mentioned >89 thornton37814:, when I was participating in both groups I would cut and past most content from one group to the other. The downside to that is I sometimes find myself engaging in similar conversations on more than one thread... and I know some visitors who participate in both groups can sometimes be confused as to whether or not they have already commented on a thread (and does one need to comment on both threads?) so one thread shared between groups would be a good idea. Downside of sharing threads between groups is some people like to compartmentalize their group participation and like posting unique content to each of their threads. Sharing threads across groups would probably be a good idea for groups that are not calendar specific, but for groups like the 75ers and this group, it would blur the lines a bit when it comes to annual reading goals and not as tidy for anyone with any OCD tendencies like me. The current setup may not be ideal but it does work well enough. ;-)

>91 mysterymax: - Good point! Having one thread that is shared across groups might help with dormant groups.

>90 vancouverdeb: - Hi Deb, I hope you are enjoying sunshine this weekend after the cold wind and rain of the past week. I know we have it pretty darn good weather wise compared to other parts of the country but I think I would prefer cold but dry (snow) over cold and damp (rain). ;-)

93lkernagh
Edited: Jan 15, 1:45am Top

Happy Sunday everyone! The week has been a rather crazy one. First off the bat, my work issued cell phone died on me. Had to order a replacement phone which took 4 business days to show up (something about inventory levels). My old iPhone 5s has now been replaced by an iPhone 7. I am still trying to get used to the larger size and the subtle differences (power button now on side and no longer able to charge the phone and use headphones at the same time - seriously, am I the only person in the world who has had to charge their phone in the middle of a long conference call? - don't think Apple thought that idea through very well!).

On the home front, the bedroom remodeling continues. As mentioned further up this thread, I scored two matching bedside table lamps at the start of the year and the following weekend I picked up some picture frames I am going to fix up to display my grandmother's tatting. I decided last weekend that the table lamps require matching bedside tables so did some online shopping and ordered a lovely pair of nightstands, just like this one:



I love the open upper shelf... perfect for books and ereader storage! On Monday the webtracking for the delivery mentioned that the shipping label had been printed, and nothing else. Same for Tuesday morning. Then suddenly Tuesday afternoon it added a line item of a failed delivery attempt. Well, of course it delivery failed, no one was home because the packages were coming from Delta (on the lower mainland) and I was expecting the web tracking to at least report "picked up from shipper", "in transit" or some other indicator that it had actually left the store. Mad scramble between work meetings to see if my other half was able to be home on Wednesday to accept delivery or if I had to make arrangements to work from home. Other half was available and had both nightstands assembled by the time I got home that evening.

On Thursday I was putting on my rubber boots to take the garbage out and suffered an excruciating muscle cramp in my lower leg. Thought it was okay once we massaged to cramp out but Friday the muscle was sore so this weekend has been spend taking it easy on the leg and giving it some warm water epson salt soaks.

On the TV viewing front, I am continuing to enjoy the Australian TV series A Place to Call Home. Just finished the last episode of Season Three and cannot wait to get started on Season Four.

On the reading front, I am continuing to enjoy listening to Nicholas Nickleby as read by Simon Vance. Currently at Chapter 41. I also managed to finish reading Dark Desires by Eve Silver for the January ScaredyKIT, and have now started reading The Siege by Helen Dunmore for the Reading Through Time (RTT) January "cold" theme.

... Now for the walking update and the one review I have ready for posting.

94lkernagh
Jan 14, 5:55pm Top


Book #3 - Dark Desires by Eve Silver
Challenge(s): 2018 Category, ROOT
CAT/KIT: ScaredyKIT - Gothic
Bingo DOG: "New to You Author"
Category: "S" Author - Silver
Source: TBR
Format: ebook
Original publication date: 2005
Acquisition date: June 28, 2016
Page count: 352 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 2.85 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
Betrayed by those she trusted, penniless and alone, Darcie Finch is forced to accept a position that no one else dares, as assistant to dangerously attractive Dr. Damien Cole. Ignoring the whispered warnings and rumours that he's a man to fear, she takes her position at his eerie estate where she quickly discovers that nothing is at it seems, least of all her handsome and brooding employer. As Darcie struggles with her fierce attraction to Damien, she must also deal with the blood, the disappearances … and the murders. With her options dwindling and time running out, Darcie must rely on her instincts as she confronts the man she is falling in love with. Is he an innocent and misunderstood man … or a remorseless killer who prowls the East End streets?
Review:
Silver does a good job bringing forward all the typical Gothic elements - gloomy or decaying setting, a sinister, malevolent being on the loose, a damsel in distress, and a deep set mystery that imbues feelings of fear and high emotion. With the Whitechapel setting (and playing on the Jack the Ripper theme), Silver ratchets up the suspense as the growing evidence has Darcie questioning the mysterious comings and goings of her employer, a doctor with a laboratory that is off limits to his household staff and a fascination with anatomy.

I love a good Gothic read - especially on a cold, rainy night! - so you are probably wondering why the 3 star rating? Well, when I picked up a copy of this book, I was too busy paying attention to the fabulous Gothic cover and story premise to notice that this is a Gothic romance story... with the romance bit being of the steamy, heart palpitation type. I should mention I am not a big fan of romance novels. I don't mind romantic elements but this story seems to swing back and forth between a suspense Gothic read and a romance novel of the bodice-ripping type one would expect to see on offer from a romance publisher like Harlequin. That, and I tend to groan when a Gothic female lead is of the naive, "act first, think later" variety.

Overall, I can see why this one has such a spread of ratings. Love the Gothic suspense read, but ended up skim reading the steamy romance scenes.

95lkernagh
Jan 14, 5:56pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 131 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 43.52
Kilometers walked in total: 5,572.67
Current provinces:. (QC/NB)
My current location on the map: Passing through the northern outskirts of Edmundston, heading for Iroquois and Saint Basile.
Points of interest along the way: According to Wikipedia, Edmundston was originally named Petit Sault (Little Falls) in reference to the waterfalls located where the Madawaska River merges into the Saint John River. The settlement was renamed Edmundston in 1851 after Sir Edmund Walker Head, Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick from 1848 - 1854 and Governor-General of Canada from 1854 - 1861. With an estimated population of 17,000 Edmundston has that lovely town look about it:


Edmundston NB Skyline; August,2015 by user P199 as posted to Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

96VivienneR
Jan 14, 7:12pm Top

>93 lkernagh: My doc recommended 250g magnesium daily for cramps. It works like a charm.

Love your night table. Being so far from major cities means we are often obliged to shop online. Most of the time it works out well.

>95 lkernagh: When I told my husband about your impressive cross-Canada walk it reminded him of a book he just finished and enjoyed: Walking to Listen: 4000 miles across America, one story at a time by Andrew Forsthoefel.

97cmbohn
Jan 14, 8:17pm Top

Chiming in to agree with magnesium recommendation. Leg cramps are so painful!

98ChelleBearss
Jan 14, 8:20pm Top

Wow, you've had a busy week! Hope you got some deserved rest!

You are making great progress with your walking challenge! Edmundston is always one of our stops when we travel to visit my grandmother in Moncton.

99lkernagh
Jan 14, 9:05pm Top

>96 VivienneR: and >97 cmbohn: - Making note that both of you recommend magnesium! I have calcium & magnesium tablets, where each tablet contains 250 mg calcium and 250 mg magnesium, I am just really terrible when it comes to remembering to take them. I will try to make it a daily habit (like my small glass of pure orange juice has recently become). I don't suffer leg cramps very often (maybe once a year) but they are sure painful when they happen!

>96 VivienneR: - Most of my family lives in Calgary so when I told my dad today about my online nightstand purchase - and the courier hiccup - he mentioned IKEA. I had to explain to him that there is no IKEA on the island and while I like their flat $70 shipping charge if I make a large purchase, I prefer to shop through vendors that offer free shipping once you hit a certain dollar amount (the nightstands were free shipping). My 20-something niece has recently "discovered" IKEA but she lives within easy driving distance of one of their superstores, so that is a no-brainer. She has also recently discovered HomeSense. ;-)

Making note of the Forsthoefel book... thank you so much for bringing it to my attention!

>97 cmbohn: - Leg cramps are the worst! Hate them. Will try my darnedest to take my daily calcium and magnesium. Thanks so much for the chime in!

>98 ChelleBearss: - Fingers crossed this week will be a snooze, Chelle. ;-) I love when my walking updates trigger responses like yours. Now you have me wondering if the Trans Canada Highway passes through Moncton.... it must!

100lkernagh
Jan 14, 9:05pm Top

I just realized I never shared a picture of the matching bedside lamps I acquired at the start of the year. Here is a picture of one of the pair (on the new nightstand):



I absolutely love the "ornate candlestick" look of the lamp and the shade is equally lovely. Don't know who no longer wanted them but I am very happy to be their new owner. ;-)

101DeltaQueen50
Jan 14, 10:03pm Top

>100 lkernagh: Those lamps are gorgeous, Lori. I like the high height which makes it so much easier to read in bed.

102lkernagh
Edited: Jan 14, 10:15pm Top

Wow - Sharing the following article because I had no idea how Amazon's "take" on a book purchase impacts small publishers. I am actually rather disgusted that Amazon has the gall to take 60% of the sale price (and stick the vendor with the shipping costs) when the article mentions that Waterstones takes 50% and independent bookshop take 35%. For Linen Press, this translates into them 'eating" £2.18 on every Amazon sale, with no money to return to the publisher or the author.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2011/apr/07/amazon-profits-small-publisher-losses

I can only hope that Amazon has lowered their "take" since this article/blog came out back in 2011.

103lkernagh
Jan 14, 10:10pm Top

>101 DeltaQueen50: - Hi Judy, I love the height too. Our bed has a full size box spring (not a low profile one) and I did not realize how difficult it is to source nightstands that are around 25" high. Most seem to be in the 21"-24" range. The nightstands I purchased are 28" high, so that coupled with the height of the lamps, I have no problem reading in bed. ;-)

104mysterymax
Jan 15, 12:52pm Top

>93 lkernagh: I've had some terrible leg cramps and once I mentioned them to my tai chi instructor. He told me that his mother has suffered from them until she was visiting a friend in South America. This friend told her to take a teaspoon full of yellow mustard. His mom was amazed at the result.

Since then I've relied on mustard. Mine always occur at night and sometimes I can barely make it to the fridge to get the mustard (French's ordinary yellow mustard) but the result is a miracle. It takes only seconds to make the cramp go away. Once a cramp was so bad I had to take a second spoon full.

You might not like mustard, especially in that quantity, but it's worth it. Fortunately I don't mind it too much. But it works. I don't know if it's the mustard, or the vinegar in the mustard, but I don't care! It might be there's a different cause for night cramps, but it's worth a try.

Good luck.

105LittleTaiko
Jan 16, 11:13am Top

>93 lkernagh: & >104 mysterymax: - Chiming in on the mustard for cramps solution. A friend of mine who used to be a professional dancer swears by it for when she got leg cramps from dancing.

106mysterymax
Jan 16, 1:45pm Top

I wonder why it works, but glad it does!

107mamzel
Jan 16, 3:21pm Top

Mustard didn't work for me. Luckily I only had cramps bad enough to try it once. Usually I can just work them out.

108clue
Jan 16, 3:46pm Top

>100 lkernagh: I love these lamps! The color of the wall is lovely too.

109lkernagh
Jan 16, 8:41pm Top

>104 mysterymax:, >105 LittleTaiko:, >106 mysterymax: and >107 mamzel: - Interesting! I did a quick Google search and apparently there is some scientific evidence to back up the use of mustard as a remedy for some muscle cramps. They found that the cramping is not caused by the muscle but by a result of hyper-excited alpha motor neurons that cause a misfiring of the nerves. It is the nerve that is the problem, not the muscle itself. The reasoning is that one can counter the cramp by overloading the nerve receptors and create a form of numbing effect on the nerve. Apparently spicy food - such as mustard - when ingested orally, can activate sensory fibers in the mouth and inner throat regions and trigger the numbing effect.

https://edrugsearch.com/mustard-cures-muscle-cramps/

Fascinating stuff!

>107 mamzel: - I can see where the success of the remedy would differ from individual to individual. I am also guessing that not all cramps are a result of a misfiring of the nerve. Some probably are muscle cramps. I can't see an actual muscle cramp being cured by consuming something spicy, but the nerve idea makes some sense.

>108 clue: - Thanks and LOL as the walls are just an off-white, but is textured so it can give a different impression than a flat wall painted with the same paint. ;-)

110VivienneR
Jan 16, 9:59pm Top

>109 lkernagh: Aha! I was sort of thinking along the lines of movement easing the leg cramps (or foot cramps). In that case getting up and walking to the kitchen to get the mustard would ease the cramp!

I'll stay with magnesium. There is nothing that would get me to put a spoonful of mustard in my mouth. :/

111thornton37814
Jan 16, 10:16pm Top

I'm with >110 VivienneR: on the mustard. I don't really like the flavor of mustard at all, although I can tolerate some of the honey mustards. I'd get my spice in some other form. Would a spoonful of Tabasco work? LOL

112rretzler
Jan 16, 10:28pm Top

>109 lkernagh: We always take potassium for leg cramps (in the form of bananas, mostly), but I've read that magnesium, potassium, and calcium can all help leg cramps. Hope yours get better.

113mstrust
Jan 17, 12:49pm Top

I was thinking of potassium too. I used to get leg cramps daily when I was a teenager, ones so bad I'd be limping for hours after, and found that a couple of bananas a week stopped them from occurring. But I'm going to try the mustard if I find myself in the middle of a cramp.

114mamzel
Jan 17, 1:32pm Top

>109 lkernagh: I get cramps from dialysis treatments. Sometimes in the legs, sometimes in my feet. One of the techs mentioned mustard which is why I tried it. Potassium is not an option for me, unfortunately. I miss bananas terribly.

115Roro8
Jan 17, 3:08pm Top

>93 lkernagh:, they are nice bedside cupboards. Mine also have the open shelf at the top, which as you say are perfect for storing the current book and ereader...and hand cream....and earphones......and charging cords....and magazines.....and maybe a pen and highlighter. In short, I can fit a lot of stuff in that shelf! Hope it all comes together perfectly for you.

116Jackie_K
Jan 17, 3:16pm Top

I wish I'd known about the mustard hack when I was pregnant, I used to get terrible leg cramps then (having not had them since my early teens). Thankfully actually having the baby seemed to do the trick, and I've not had a bad one since! Reading around, I think leg cramps in pregnancy are quite common.

117clue
Jan 18, 9:19am Top

>109 lkernagh: LOL, a trick of the light. It looks sort of a periwinkle to me.

118mathgirl40
Jan 18, 10:20am Top

I'm sorry it's taken me this long to drop by your thread. January seems to be passing by me in a hurry! I always enjoy reading your updates, especially those about your walking progress. I'm impressed that you've made it to Atlantic Canada now!

119lkernagh
Jan 20, 10:20am Top

>110 VivienneR: - Movement is important, as is massaging the affected area. It is just so darn hard to move the leg when it is cramped and one is in agony! The last thing I am thinking about is walking to the kitchen. ;-) I get the impression that different remedies work for different people. I love mustard so I will probably consider eating a spoonful of mustard should I get another leg cramp while at home (I am not about to carry a pack of mustard around in my purse).

>111 thornton37814: - I am guessing that anything spicy that can trigger the nerves would work, Lori. Not sure I would be up to consuming a spoonful of Tabasco.... I do don't do well with that kind of spice. ;-)

>112 rretzler: - Thanks Robin, The leg muscle was fully healed early this week. I need to up my banana intake. We always have bananas in the house but it is my other half that usually consumes them. I consume them in the form of banana bread, which probably isn't quite as potassium rich as eating the banana on its own would be.

>113 mstrust: - I was also a sufferer of leg cramps as a teenager. Thankfully, I grew out of that as an adult but I still get the occasional once a year kind of leg cramp. I hate the limping for hours/days after! Potassium seems to be the more common cure and a really easy one to incorporate into one's diet. I did actually eat a banana this morning as part of my breakfast - the other part of the breakfast was a couple of McVitie's Hobnobs cookies... I figure it is the weekend so I can indulge a bit. Besides, the cookies have rolled oats so kind of breakfasty. ;-)

>114 mamzel: - Oh geez.... that must be horrible for you! My mom was not allowed to eat bananas either because of the potassium levels already in her body. Of course, I also don't remember her suffering any leg cramps, but not being able to eat something you enjoy is a hardship, in my opinion. I have a friend who loves tomatoes. Her idea of a snack at her desk was to eat a pint container of grape tomatoes. Unfortunately, she found out that she has a minor to moderate allergy to tomatoes and had to give up tomatoes in her diet.

>115 Roro8: - Thanks Roro! It is amazing what one can stuff into those open shelves!

>116 Jackie_K: - I would have thought carrying a baby for 9 months would be hard enough on the body without adding leg cramps to the equation! Glad to see you haven't had any bad leg cramps since then. I am curious to try the mustard remedy but at the same time, I will be just as happy if I never have another leg cramp.

>117 clue: - Ha, it is probably the shadows. The bedroom gets the morning sun and I took the picture mid-afternoon. Periwinkle would be a lovely colour for bedroom walls! Must keep that in mind....

>118 mathgirl40: - Hi Paulina! I hope your January has been going well. I am being rather lazy about visiting threads so anytime you are able to stop on by is just fabulous with me. I am rather excited that I am actually in Atlantic Canada with my walking! Makes the finish line seem all that much closer.

120lkernagh
Jan 20, 10:20am Top

I am looking forward to a rather lazy weekend of shopping, laundry and reading. I keep forgetting the down side to starting off the new year with a chunkster read is that by mid-month I am starting to feel like I am not making any progress with my reading. The good news is that I did manage to finish my read of Nicholas Nickleby last night - along with my current print book - so I have two reviews reading for posting. I am finding it rather easy to find books to read off my TBR shelves for the various CATs/KITs/BINGO and other theme reads. Hopefully, this trend will continue for the year, but I anticipate there will be some months were I will be a more active participant in the theme reads then other months.

121lkernagh
Jan 20, 10:22am Top


Book #4 - Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens - audiobook narrated by Simon Vance
Challenge(s): 2018 Category
CAT/KIT: N/A
Bingo DOG: "Published > 100 Years"
Category: "C" Author - Charles
Source: Hoopla
Format: audiobook
Original publication date: 1838-1839 in serial format
Acquisition date: N/A
Page count: 864 pages / 31 hours, 21 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.80 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from various sources:
"Nicholas Nickleby" is Charles Dickens's gripping story about a boy's struggle to survive and find happiness in a hostile and unfeeling world. After Nicholas' father dies and leaves the family penniless, the Nickleby family moves to London to stay with their Uncle Ralph, only to have the uncle turn abusive and separate the family. As Nicholas attempts to build a new and unconventional family, he experiences a series of life's trials, where he is helped and hindered by a host of colorful characters, from his ruthless uncle to the hilarious and theatrical Crummles family and the cruel-hearted Wackford Squeers.
Review:
My favorite Dickens read so far. Never thought I would find one that would surpass Great Expectations, but this one did. While Dickens continues to bring forth, in vivid strokes, the bleak and terrible realities of his time period, there is a vibrancy of melodrama - and a bit of a carnival spirit - that gives this story a more lighthearted feel. While I have only scratched the surface of Dickens' writings, I find that he has a flair for creating some rather interesting characters. As much as I despise Ralph Nickleby, his fierce and calculating business mind is something to marvel at. Mrs. Nickleby comes across as a bit of an aristocratic "ditzy" woman but even she makes the odd observation that made me hit rewind once or twice.

Overall, one of the better Dickens reads for me - and redeems Dickens in view of how much I despised Bleak House - giving me the incentive to consider reading more of Dickens works.

122lkernagh
Edited: Jan 20, 10:36am Top


Book #5 - The Siege by Helen Dunmore
Challenge(s): 2018 Category, RTT, ROOT
CAT/KIT: N/A
Bingo DOG: "Longtime TBR" - 2012
Category: "H" Author - Helen
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: 2001
Acquisition date: May 12, 2012
Page count: 304 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.15 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the book back cover:
Leningrad, September 1941. Hitler orders German forces to surround the city at the start of the most dangerous, desperate winter in its history. For two pairs of lovers - young Anna and Andrei, Anna's novelist father and actress Marina - the siege becomes a battle for survival. They will soon discover what it is like to be so hungry that you boil shoe leather to make soup, so cold you burn furniture and books. But this is not just a struggle to exist, it is also a fight to keep the spark of hope alive...
Review:
Having read previous books with the siege of Leningrad as the setting, I was curious to see if this was going to be another "scrabble for survival" story. The characters are well drawn. Even though this is a survival story, what Dunmore has done that I find unique is she makes this a story of the senses for the reader to experience - the bitter sharpness of cold, the syrupy sweetness of homemade jam, the iron hardness of a frozen, dead body, the deafening silence of empty streets, the muffling of a heavy snowfall, the iron tang of nutrient-rich soil. This is more than just a literary experience. Dunmore also conveys a strong feeling of isolation, even though the city is far from being underpopulated. Baser human survival instincts of a siege population are captured beautifully. While capturing the desperation as the siege continues, Dunmore still manages to convey a glimmer of hope, a will to go on for one more day. Dunmore does not sugar-coat the ravages of the siege, but she also does not fixate on the gruesome details as one might... those details are conveyed as just part of the background setting, where walking past a dead body becomes the norm, just like walking past a rock or a tree.

Overall, a well written story of human endurance through the hardships of a city under siege.

123Helenliz
Jan 20, 10:31am Top

>121 lkernagh: I always think getting through a Dickens deserves congratulations. They are good, but hard work and sometimes seem just sooooooo long.

124lkernagh
Jan 20, 10:38am Top

>123 Helenliz: - They are long reads! I tried to read Bleak House using the Daily Lit emails - to try and experience the story in a kind of serial format as it was originally published - but even then, the story came across as just too wordy, with multiple sentences being used when one would have sufficed. ;-)

125Helenliz
Jan 20, 10:44am Top

I know what you mean! And I'm someone who is guilty of using three words when one would do. He out does even me by some margin!!

I found listening to then in ~ hour long chunks seemed to work quite well. An hour on my way home would be enough to advance the story, but not so much that loads had happened. Maybe something about listening in episodes, as the original publication, meant that it did actually work. But since then I've changed job and commute far less, and I'm not sure a week between chapters would work. So I might just have to woman up and read the next one.

126MickyFine
Jan 20, 3:50pm Top

Congrats on finishing the Dickens, Lori! Chunkster completion is always laudable. When you're ready for another, I'm quite fond of Little Dorrit. And there's a great miniseries adaptation with Claire Foy in the title role. :)

127thornton37814
Jan 20, 6:31pm Top

Glad you finished Nicholas Nickleby.

>122 lkernagh: That was has been on my "TBR" list a long time too. I'll get to it one day.

128clue
Edited: Jan 20, 6:32pm Top

>119 lkernagh: I had leg pains when I was a teenager too and so did my best friend. Our solution was to sit on each others leg. I know it sounds nuts but somehow the pressure made them feel a lot better. It can be embarrassing to ask people to sit on your leg though! LOL!

129lkernagh
Jan 20, 11:41pm Top

>125 Helenliz: - Listening to Dickens books in smaller "chunks" of time seems to be a good way to go. That worked well for me with Nicholas Nickleby, although I admit chipping away at it daily seems easier than a once a week. I might need a bit of a story refresher. I find his stories are kind of like some modern soap operas... there are sections where not much happens and then all of a sudden, there is either a huge "reveal" or some other event that wakes this reader up to start paying attention. ;-)

>126 MickyFine: - Thanks Mickey! I have to admit that I have note read Little Dorrit so you might have just nudged that one up closer to the top of the "classics" reading pile. ;-)

>127 thornton37814: - It does feel good to finish NN, Lori. As for The Siege, I figured 7.5 years was long enough on the TBR pile... although I do have some books that have been on the pile for longer than that.

>128 clue: - My mom used to call the teenage leg pains "growing pains" and given the number of people I know who also suffered leg cramps as teens, I wonder if mom was onto something with that observation.

It can be embarrassing to ask people to sit on your leg though!

No kidding! Definitely a unique way to address the leg cramps. ;-)

130lkernagh
Edited: Jan 20, 11:49pm Top

Today has been a good day. Got a lot done - shopping, laundry, housework - but do not feel as though I have spend the whole day rushing around. Tonight I have the home to myself so I am going to curl up with a good book. My current reads are:

Currently Reading:
..

Audiobook:
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy; read by Richard Poe - another book for the January ScaredyKIT (Gothic). This one is labelled as being Southern Gothic (also Frontier Gothic - which seems more appropriate based on what I have "read" so far).
ebook:
The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove by J.S. Bailey - A LTER book long overdue for read/review and a perfect fit for the Short Story Collections.
Physical book:
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder - For the SFFKIT as I was going to read it last year (and the year before that, and the year before that) but just never got around to it.

131lkernagh
Jan 20, 11:45pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 132 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 59.82
Kilometers walked in total: 5,632.49
Current provinces: (NB)
My current location on the map: West side of Grand Falls, due south of the St. John River, heading for Argosy.
Points of interest along the way: According to Wikipedia, the town of Grand Falls is named after the a waterfall created by a series of rock ledges over which the St. John River drops 23 metres (75 ft):


Wikimedia image originally posted to Flickr as GrandFalls1.jpg by ...some guy (CC BY 2.0)

On the walking front, I thought I was having a rather good walking week. The weather has been accommodating, but I was still really surprised when I I discovered that it has been 20 weeks (end of August) since I last logged this many KM for a week. Very impressive for January, IMO!

132lkernagh
Edited: Jan 21, 12:25am Top

Reading The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack and love this description of laundry in the squalid conditions of the Cauldron (a.k.a Whitechapel):
"Lines of rope stretched across the alleys, decorated with flea-ridden rags; clothes put out to be washed by the polluted rain, later to dry in the rancid air, but currently marinating in the toxic vapour."
Not a very healthy place to be....

133rabbitprincess
Jan 21, 8:45am Top

>130 lkernagh: Got a lot done - shopping, laundry, housework - but do not feel as though I have spend the whole day rushing around.

Win-win! Productivity AND energy to spare! Sounds like a great Saturday to me :)

134Berly
Jan 21, 1:28pm Top

Hoping your Sunday goes just as well and congrats on finishing N2!! I stalled out but want to get back to it. May not happen until February though...

135lkernagh
Jan 21, 1:59pm Top

>133 rabbitprincess: - For a change, I actually got started on the weekend productivity on Friday night when I steam cleaned the traffic areas of the place. Sure made Saturday seem very relaxing. No, if only I can find the energy to be that productive most weekends. ;-)

>134 Berly: - Sunday is off to a slow start, Kim, but the only things planned is some baking and my usually weekly call with my Dad, so it should continue to be a relaxing weekend. I can see where one could stall while reading NN. Audiobooks really are my salvation for books like that one.... I can get a lot of stuff done while "reading". ;-0

136lkernagh
Jan 21, 2:01pm Top

Happy Sunday! My Sunday has started off a bit on the rough side. I binge watched A Place to Call Home until 3AM so I only crawled out of bed an hour ago. I did wake up earlier but there was quite the storm happening outside - gale force winds and lashing rain - so I was content to stay snuggled under the covers until the storm eased off. Exactly what Sunday mornings are for.

137ChelleBearss
Jan 21, 2:28pm Top

Happy Sunday!
Hope you enjoyed your snuggle in morning!

>120 lkernagh: I totally under stand that feeling and that's part of the reason I keep putting off reading Stephen King's giant Sleeping Beauties.

>130 lkernagh: I'll keep an eye out for your thoughts on Blood Meridian. I have that one waiting in the stacks

138vancouverdeb
Jan 21, 6:44pm Top

Stopping by to say hi! Did the big windstorm hit you over on Vancouver Island ? I think it was supposed to worse on the Island -which is of course a rather big place! :-) We had quite a windstorm, gale force winds. No power outage around our place though, but I had the flashlights at the ready and my phone charged up.

139lkernagh
Jan 21, 6:55pm Top

>137 ChelleBearss: - I did, Chelle! Too bad I don't get as many opportunities to sleep in as I would like. That, and naps. I am a big fan of naps. Completely screws up my sleep patterns but what the hey. Wow, 720 pages in the hardcover edition. I should have realized with Stephen King that Sleeping Beauties would not be a short book. I think I will be looking for either an ebook or audiobook version. ;-)

... as for Blood Meridian, I am about 20% in to that one. It is very Gothic, and has a fair chunk of rather gruesome violence.

>138 vancouverdeb: - Thanks for the drop by visit, Deborah! Yes the windstorm showed up here on the island early this morning. Nothing like waking to the sounds of pelting rain on the window with whooshes of wind. Like you, no power outages in our area, which is a good thing because I was not as prepared as you! Flashlight use, and some candles but my cell phone was at 15% battery.

140mdoris
Jan 21, 7:50pm Top

Finally found you and what wonderful challenges you are following. We had crazy wind/rain mid island. Wonder if you did too!

141thornton37814
Jan 21, 9:58pm Top

>129 lkernagh: I made a list of the oldest books on my TBR list. I wanted to get the top ten off it and perhaps some of the next twenty after that. I guess I should start paying more attention to that list!

142lkernagh
Jan 22, 11:16am Top

>140 mdoris: - Hi Mary, I am so glad you found me, too. Things did get rather stormy in Victoria late Saturday/early Sunday, but I think it was worse up island where you are. I saw that Mount Washington received so much snow that they actually had to close the ski hills, because of avalanche warnings. Instead of videos of happy skiers, I have seem some videos of skiers digging their cars out in the parking lot. ;-)

>141 thornton37814: - That is a smart way to try and bring those books to your attention for reading, Lori. Good luck with your goal!

---------------------

Today is a day off for me. Still wet and rainy but not as bad as it got on the weekend. Unfortunately, today's agenda of dentist and bank means I have to venture forth instead of staying under the covers reading.

143DeltaQueen50
Jan 22, 1:35pm Top

Hi Lori, even with the bad weather and the dentist, I hope you enjoy your day off. It isn't raining here right now, but we will probably get your weather later on today. Our streets here are still covered in branches and pine needles from the wind storm the other night, but luckily we didn't lose our power.

144MickyFine
Jan 22, 4:15pm Top

>142 lkernagh: Boo for having to go out on a rainy day, Lori. Hopefully all your appointments were early in the day and you can have a lazy afternoon in.

145lkernagh
Jan 22, 5:42pm Top

>143 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks Judy. The day is going really well and even better, the sun is now shining. That was quite the wind storm that blew through the region. Glad to see its damaging effects were minimal in your area - pine needles do tend to get everywhere when the wind picks up!

>144 MickyFine: - Thanks Mickey. While the west coast doesn't quite have the quickly variable weather of the prairies, it was nice to see the rain and wind disappear and the sun come out. Still a bit on the windy side (making it cold) but dry.

-----------------------------
Good news is both appointments went off without a hitch and the sun is back out. I tend to relax while at the dentist's, so much so that my regular hygienist asked me today if do yoga (I don't, but have thought about it). Apparently, she thought I was meditating, I was so relaxed. I let her know that her gentle touch while working on my teeth makes it really easy to relax, but I don't know too many people who enjoy going to the dentist like I do. I guess I am a bit strange that way or just really blessed with having such a good hygienist and dentist. ;-)

The banking appointment was one to address some retirement financial planning decisions in the lead up to the yearly deadline for registered retirement savings plans contributions applicable for the 2017 tax year. A lot of stuff about retirement planning and finances tends to go over my head - it is definitely an industry that loves its acronyms! - but I think the uber cautious investor that I am made (hopefully!) some good decisions today. I will take a meeting with the dentist over a meeting with the financial advisor any day.

146ChelleBearss
Jan 22, 5:44pm Top

Glad that your appointments went well! Relaxing at the dentist is a bit of an oxymoron but glad that you are able to! I think my blood pressure spikes for my whole dental appointments!

147lkernagh
Jan 22, 5:55pm Top

>146 ChelleBearss: - Heehee... so I take it "relaxing" is not a word you would associate with a visit to the dentist, Chelle? ;-)

148DeltaQueen50
Jan 22, 6:03pm Top

>145 lkernagh: I feel the same way about finacial advisors and dentists - give me my dentist anyday. We've been making the rounds of financial institutions trying to set everything up now that hubby has sold his business and the money for the house needs to go somewhere. I can listen for about 20 minutes then I feel my eyes glazing over and I start yawning.

149lkernagh
Jan 22, 6:18pm Top

>148 DeltaQueen50: - OMG, I so feel for you, Judy! I had a interesting chat this afternoon with one of my former work colleagues (who has been retired for a year now). The topic was about the "misinformation" that seems to abound when it comes to retirement investments, things like what is taxable and by how much and any other "hidden" taxes one probably would like to know about earlier rather than later, yadda, yadda. She got stun last year by all the "hidden" taxes when she withdrew from her RRSP, things that she was not informed to expect. She is hoping this year will be easier but she has decided to have her taxes professionally done, just in case there is more weirdness to come down the pipeline. Suffice to say, she has found it to be very frustrating. Personally, I thought financial frustrations regarding taxation were supposed to be less when one no longer draws a paycheck, but apparently, that is something that does not go away.

150lkernagh
Edited: Jan 22, 7:06pm Top

Kind of a random - and bit disturbing - observation for me. I "thought" that my goal of reading ROOTs off my TBR shelves AND no longer making any (or almost no) new purchases of physical books would put me in a very lovely net balance of more books going out (after reading) then new books coming in. Lovely in theory but not the case in practice, as I have discovered and probably will not be the case for any of the months to come. While I have so far seen 4 physical books depart for greener pastures, I have acquired 22 ebooks so far in 2018. All courtesy of the wonderful Christmas gift of the Kobo AURA One my other half gifted me. While I do not seem to be clearing my overall TBR pile - In fact, I am growing it - at least I don't have to dust ebooks, so still a positive, IMO. I am just a little worried that I am becoming one of those readers scanning the website regularly and buying daily deal and other books at a click of a button. :-)

151hailelib
Jan 22, 8:27pm Top

I do check out the kindle daily deals, but if something looks interesting I then check the local library's online catalog and generally end up skipping it.

Congrats on finishing a Dickens' novel!

152thornton37814
Jan 23, 7:41am Top

>150 lkernagh: Those "daily deal" books usually don't tempt me. It's BBs on LT that get me!

153Jackie_K
Jan 23, 9:53am Top

>150 lkernagh: I very rarely am tempted by the daily deal at kobo, but I always check my recommendations, and sometimes there's something there that has been reduced in price (if not I just leave it on the recommendations list, maybe it will be reduced another day :) ).

154mysterymax
Jan 23, 10:15am Top

Glad to see you started Spring-Heeled Jack. I loved the entire series.

155mamzel
Jan 23, 10:49am Top

>150 lkernagh: one of those readers scanning the website regularly and buying daily deal and other books at a click of a button
That sounds suspiciously familiar. ;-)

156LittleTaiko
Jan 23, 11:43am Top

>121 lkernagh: - Congrats on finishing NN - I do love most Dickens. I'd recommend Dombey and Son if you want more Dickens and are curious about one of his lesser known works.

157lkernagh
Jan 23, 9:11pm Top

>151 hailelib: - Good idea and one that I do as well... when I remember. ;-) I tend to treat my ebook purchases just like the purchases I would make at the annual book sale where I am open to purchasing books by authors I have never heard of when the book has an interesting premise. The majority of my new ebook purchases have been under $3 per book, which is probably also fueling my book buying.

Thanks! NN was a rather good read and always nice to check off another classic from my "to read" list.

>152 thornton37814: - Good for you Lori having restraint for the "daily deal" offerings. I hear you on the BBs and the damage they can do. ;-)

I admit that the majority of the "daily deal" books do not strike my fancy either. Do you by chance subscribe to the BookBub (https://www.bookbub.com/home/ ) email feed? That is where I get a number of my "hits" for ebook purchases as these are typically not the "daily deal" books. I have noticed that some of the recent deals in the emails list a price of $2.99 but when I go to the Kobo site, the book is actually available for $1.99. A very nice surprise. ;-)

>153 Jackie_K: - Oh dear... I haven't been paying any attention to the recommendations on the Kobo site. I don't purchase the daily deals... my book buying seems to be more fueled by BookBub emails as I mentioned in my response to >152 thornton37814: above. I don't quite know if I should thank you for letting me know about the recommendations and how those might add to my book purchasing. ;-)

>154 mysterymax: - I just realized how many books there are so far in the series. I am only half way through Spring Heeled Jack and rather enjoy this steampunk/time travel romp in an alternative London. ;-)

>155 mamzel: - Glad to know I am not alone in this activity!

>156 LittleTaiko: - Thanks Stacy! Making a note of Dombey and Son, a book I admit I have never heard of before now.

--------------------------

Today has been one of those odd days. I had an awful time sleeping last night. Woke up 11:30, again at 1:30 then at 3:00 and again 4:45. I had no idea why my sleep was being disturbed so badly. Can't even blame the other half as he is away on a trip at the moment. Suffice to say, I was not looking forward to a sleep deprived and mentally groggy day at the office. It was only after I got to the office that I learned about the Alaska earthquake and the tsunami warning for all coastal communities along the west coast from Alaska to Washington state. As we live within two blocks of the waterfront, I should have (had I known about the warning) considered evacuating to higher ground (although, given that our place is on the fourth floor, technically I was already evacuated to a higher elevation). As everyone following the news knows, the Alaska earthquake was not the type to cause a tsunami, but no one ever knows that "when" the earthquake happens.

Take away lesson from this "unplanned" emergency exercise is that for the most part, the warning systems that have been implemented seem to be working and I am now registered to receive emails and text messages on my cell phone in the event of any type of local alert (including tsunami and Amber Alerts).

158VivienneR
Jan 23, 11:01pm Top

>157 lkernagh: The one positive thing from experiences like this is that we get a wake-up call to be prepared - or at least, more prepared. Glad all turned out well.

159Jackie_K
Jan 24, 8:14am Top

>157 lkernagh: I get bookbub alerts too, primarily for non-fiction (the majority of which seems to be bios of American presidents and histories of the American Civil War, so at least I'm not tempted too often!). Checking my recommendations on kobo has become a daily habit (in fact I'm going to do that after finishing checking LT threads), initially I saw the titles and thought why are you recommending that*, but as I keep clicking on 'not interested' they have gradually become more aligned with my general tastes, and the list now acts as a de facto wishlist. After a while of checking it daily you get to know what book costs how much, so it's really easy to spot when the price has been temporarily reduced!

* one of my earliest recommendations had a title along the lines of "Confessions of a Holiday Rep", complete with cover of bikini-clad young things, and I was (still am) utterly baffled as to what it was in my buying history (primarily nerdy non-fiction) that prompted the recommendations algorithm to pick that up for me!

160LittleTaiko
Jan 24, 10:16am Top

>157 lkernagh: - Yikes, that would make for an eventful evening. Happy that all is well in your area now and that you are all set up to receive alerts.

161ChelleBearss
Jan 24, 10:30am Top

Sorry you had such a bad night! Hope you got some sleep last night!

So glad that the Tsunami warning amounted to nothing!

162RidgewayGirl
Jan 24, 10:37am Top

How lovely to live two blocks from the ocean, but less lovely when there are tsunami warnings, I expect. Glad it was a false alarm.

163katiekrug
Jan 24, 2:53pm Top

Checking in, Lori! I've been away and got a little behind...

I've been meaning to read The Siege for a while now. I think it was one of the first BBs I took when I joined LT!

164lkernagh
Jan 25, 11:02pm Top

>158 VivienneR: - I agree, Vivienne. It was rather heartening to learn that pre-Tuesday tsunami warning, the VicAlert system had some 5,000 subscribers. within 24 hours post-Tuesday tsunami warning, that subscription level had almost reached 35,000 subscribers. As you say, there have been some very positive experiences from that warning.

>159 Jackie_K: - Lovely to learn that one can "streamline" the Kobo recommendations by deleting the ones that are of no interest! Something new I can play with. ;-)

LOL one of your earliest recommendations! I guess they have to toss some oddball reads out there to try and figure out what kind of books would be of interest, and then narrow the recommendations down from there. Still, rather funny, that one!

>160 LittleTaiko: - Even though I tend to take a bit of a fatalistic approach that I live in a high earthquake zone area, one would like to receive some form of notification that something terrible might be heading our way... especially if there is enough time to provide notice. As you say, the good news is that I am now setup to receive alerts.

>161 ChelleBearss: - I have decided that my unconscious mind knew somethings wasn't right, which is why I kept waking up. Too bad, once awake, I had nothing to make me spring into action, even if action was later determined to be unfounded. Oh well, chalking ip up as a good emergency exercise. I did sleep much better the following night. ;-)

>162 RidgewayGirl: - I guess one could say that every golden lining has a potential brass tarnish. Living and working close to the waterfront is lovely. Even though Victoria is considered to be within the Juan de Fuca Strait and not direct ocean waterfront, I still cringe at the story of the 1964 tsunami that caused considerable damage to Port Alberni as a result of a massive earthquake that struck Alaska:

http://www.vancouversun.com/This+Week+History+Huge+earthquake+tsunami+that+devas...

Eerily familiar? What makes the 1964 tsunami of such interest is that the waves that hit the west side of the island traveled a considerable distance inland via the waterway to Port Alberni:



Lessons learned from that tsunami is not just ocean waterfront properties are at risk. The risk also extends to any low lying properties near waterways that are fed by the ocean tides. This is something I did not know before Tuesday.

>163 katiekrug:- Hello Katie!

165lkernagh
Jan 25, 11:03pm Top

Another day down and another day closer to the weekend. I even have a book review to post! Nothing else to report, I am afraid... I lead a rather boring life when I am working.

166lkernagh
Jan 25, 11:04pm Top


Book #6 - Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy - audiobook narrated by Richard Poe
Challenge(s): 2018 Category, ROOT
CAT/KIT: ScaredyKIT - Gothic; AlphaKIT - "M"
Bingo DOG: "1001 List"
Category: "M" Book Title - Meridian
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback / audiobook
Original publication date: 1985
Acquisition date: July 11, 2014
Page count: 368 pages / 13 hours, 15 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.45 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.ca book listing webpage:
In 1849 on the Texas-Mexico borders, a teenage boy finds himself alone in a brutal, aggressive world, where basic survival is the primary purpose. Hard men traverse a harsh landscape where scalping, burning, torture and death are common-place, as the sun beats down mercilessly on the ground. Cultures intermingle and clash. Mexicans, Apaches, Texans and any number of travellers from the United States and beyond struggle to live just one more day.
Review:
Having previously read The Road and Suttree, I “thought” I had an idea of what I was going to be in for with Blood Meridian. Nope, not by a long shot. For starters, this is not your typical Western of villains versus heroes, where at the end of the day the heroes win and ride off into the sunset. The wild west of McCarthy’s creation is a world gone mad, filled with cascading mindless violence, and no heroes in sight. I am not sure to what extent McCarthy borrows from history, but I do know that there is a real historical figure called Glanton who lead mercenaries tracking down and scalping Apaches for the Mexican authorities, so there is a vein of truth to be found within the pages of this story. Where Suttree was more grounded in the decline of the community living along the Tennessee River, and The Road is a journey of desperation through a sparsely populated post-apocalyptic world, both stories still retain some glimpses for optimism/ redemption. Blood Meridian is McCarthy at his most pessimistic. It is a very surreal read, with an allegorical structure and characters like "the Kid" and "the Judge" - whom I could not help but envision as being the Devil himself, what with the way he creates by alchemy gunpowder and expounds a philosophy that is so bloodthirsty it is hard to accept any kindness coming from him except with a dark twist to fulfill a self-serving purpose. I believe that the desert landscape of this story is in fact Hell. Maybe not Dante’s vision of Hell, but just as vivid in its portrayal, maybe even more so in that some readers will have an easier time making the connections with a western setting.

For me, this story really brings to mind Roberto Bolano’s 2666, in particular, the on-going senseless violence of the murders in Santa Teresa. Both authors have a skill for writing sharp, vivid descriptions while at the same time weaving a story with an opaque denseness that can convey a myriad of deeper meanings.

Overall, a worthy read but please keep in mind that this anti-western epic is brutally violent with disturbing imagery in its commentary of man’s inhumanity to man.

167cmbohn
Jan 26, 2:55am Top

Very definitely not for me. I just can't handle anything too grim or dark. My depression is enough of a challenge that I don't need more books convincing me that life is even grimmer than I imagine. Not that I want books that are all fluffy and rainbows, but too dark just makes me feel worse.

168Berly
Jan 26, 3:30am Top

And...it's Friday!! Sorry you had such interrupted sleep, but very glad no Tsunami's happened. Yikes. Also glad you are on the fourth floor. : )

169whitewavedarling
Edited: Jan 26, 9:05am Top

>166 lkernagh:, Great review, and it's pushed me to remember to read this one sooner than later--it's one of his that I've been meaning to get to, as a lot of people I respect have told me they think it's one of his best (or did, some years ago when I was in grad school). It's funny how we come to authors from different directions and think of them in different ways; I came to McCarthy through Outer Dark and Child of God, which might be the darkest book I've ever read still, and they're much more in the vein of Blood Meridian. I think your warning is spot-on, too; his books have their own sort of dark beauty, and I certainly find them worthwhile, but they're also incredibly violent and graphic at various turns.

170ChelleBearss
Jan 26, 9:37am Top

>166 lkernagh: Great review, thumbed!
I've read The Road and it was dark. I will keep in mind your thoughts on this one when I finally get to it. I do "enjoy" dark novels but I have to be in a certain mood.

171DeltaQueen50
Jan 26, 3:13pm Top

>166 lkernagh: Great revew, Lori, I've given it a thumb. I will get to this book in the future as I am very much intrigued by the sound of it. I have loved both my previous McCarthy reads, The Road and All the Pretty Horses and the violence doesn't put me off at all.

172jolerie
Jan 26, 6:37pm Top

Finally tracked you down Lori!

I have some McCarthy on my TBR mountain that I really should dust off and read. The Road is one of my all time favourite books and based on that alone I definitely want to read his other works.
Dropped my star so I won't lose you again.

Now I'm off to hunt Judy down.. :)

173clue
Jan 27, 9:24am Top

>157 lkernagh: I have a friend that lived on the west coast of northern Oregon a few years ago when they had a tsunami warning during the night. There were sirens and they heard them and went running for the car. When they got on the street they realized they didn't have enough gasoline to get out of town. So they sped off to the gas station and there was...everybody else in town! Thankfully, while they were in line the warning was cancelled.

174pammab
Jan 27, 10:00am Top

>173 clue: Well, that's a reason to always keep the tank even more full than 1/4!

I'm not sure I'd recognize a tsunami warning siren if it happened. Is the idea that they are the same air raid sirens from the Cold War and the same sirens that are used for tornadoes in the Midwest?

Very glad things are well by you still, Lori, and that no one was injured in Alaska.

175lkernagh
Jan 28, 7:31pm Top

>167 cmbohn: - Fair enough! Sorry to read about your depression, but it sounds like you know some if not all of the triggers and are able to control for them, so that is a good thing. I think Blood Meridian would have been too brutal and violent for me a mere 5 years ago. LT has slowly been stretching my reading chops but even so, I can only read violence if there is a deeper meaning attached to its use. Gratuitous violence I will not read.

>168 Berly: - ... and TGIF for sure! Thankfully, I refuse to live in ground floor dwellings. I have never felt safe in houses or ground floor units. I have strong memories way back when I was taking care of my parent's home for them while they were living abroad and one of the nightly duties the cats and I was a complete circuit - sometimes more than once! - to make sure that every door and window was securely locked before heading off to bed. I guess I was always meant to be a multi-unit/urbanite dweller... not that that is any safer but I do like being on the fourth floor. Limits any window entry to be from the neighbors unit or from the roof. :-) Yes, very glad to be up from some wave activity should that every happen. *knocks on wood*

>169 whitewavedarling: - Thanks, Jennifer. Great observation of how readers come to books from different angles! (and making a mental note about the dark angle to Child of God). McCarthy is a fascinating author but wow on some of the imagery he exposes the reader to!

>170 ChelleBearss: - Thanks, Chelle. I think one needs to be in the mood for a dark, philosophical read to find any 'enjoyment' in reading Blood Meridian. Excellent writing but really dark stuff.

>171 DeltaQueen50: - Thanks Judy. I have heard great things about All The Pretty Horses so that may be my next McCarthy read.

>172 jolerie: - Hi Valerie, so happy you managed to track me down! I know having friends spread out over multiple groups can be a bit challenging, so glad you followed the bred crumbs over here. If you liked The Road that much, then I think Blood Meridian might be a good book for you! I admit to having really liked The Road myself... McCarthy gave The Road a different feel from the normal dystopian-styled reads out there.

>173 clue: - Wow, a prefect example of how a tsunami warning - that thankfully, does not transpire into a tsunami - can be the perfect emergency exercise. What I find rather ironic - as a Canadian Prairie raised girl transplanted on the coast - is that some of the basic survival skills I learned for winter driving in a full on Canadian winter would be good tools for the balmy winter weather we experience here on the coast. Lesson 1 for Canadian winter driving is to always have at least 1/2 tank of gas at any given time. Sounds like lesson 1 would have been perfect for your friends. Lesson 2 is to always have an emergency kit in the trunk should you find yourself stranded and have to fend for yourself until help can arrive. Interesting basic lessons that can be carried over from one emergency situation to the next. ;-)

>174 pammab: - ;-) As for a tsunami warning siren, I also would not recognize one if it blared. We do have an alert system out of the military base near Victoria that continues to confuse people, even though they have been testing on the first Wednesday (? - maybe first Tuesday) of every month at 11 am. Our system is a rather complicated system of short and long siren blasts. Suffice to say, if I hear the siren on any other day/time of the month, I will be reaching for my cell phone to find out what the emergency is, so maybe that is still a good thing. I am really glad that so much information was gleaned from this "non-tsunami" exercise. Makes me feel more confident that everyone is getting more prepared for when the "big one" does happen.

176lkernagh
Jan 28, 7:31pm Top

It has been quite the wet Sunday! Have been spending a rather lazy day indoors reading as my other half works on both of our computers (I have a reprieve at the moment while he works on his own computer, so I can do some posting). I was rather happy - if "happy" is the correct term to use - to see that the international tsunami warning email system I subscribed to this week works. I woke up this morning to email notifications about the 6.5 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Africa and that the quake and that there were no tsunami warnings for the Caribbean or the Eastern US (and Canada) as a result of that quake. Granted a warning will only be effective for tsunamis generated by quakes a fair distance from my location so the rule of thumb will be: 1) if you feel a quake, head to hire ground immediately; and 2) if no quake but receive warning, head to higher ground.

I can work with those two simple rules. ;-)

On the reading front I have completed my last outstanding LTER book and have a review ready for posting. Working to see if I can complete two more books before month end.

My walking update has an interesting (for me anyways!) local perspective of my weekly walking.

.... other than that, all is good and wishing everyone a fabulous week!

177lkernagh
Jan 28, 7:32pm Top

.
Book #7 - The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove by J.S. Bailey et al
Challenge(s): 2018 Category, ROOT
CAT/KIT: N/A
Bingo DOG: N/A
Category: "W" Book Title - Whispered
Source: LTER
Format: ebook
Original publication date: October 10, 2017
Acquisition date: November 8, 2017
Page count: 276 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 4.10 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
Graves Grove isn’t your ordinary town… Nestled within the folds of the Canadian Rockies, Graves Grove probably isn’t the picturesque place you’d like to stay for long. Peculiar things happen here. The citizens seem normal superficially—they function well enough. But each one is deeply disturbed, wrapped in secrets and neuroses which drive them to strange behaviors. And then there are all the missing children. And why is everyone afraid of that sycamore tree? The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove is an anthology of stories taking place throughout the history of this mysterious town, from its founding to its future. Read them…if you dare.
Review:
Anthologies don't always work for me. I either get bored with the collected works of one author or I find the collection to be a rather random selection of stories, poems, etc. The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove works well for me as it is more a collection of related stories written by various authors (23 short stories by 17 authors, in this case). What I did enjoy is that the collective focus of the stories is on Graves Grove as the setting and the unusual (translation: creepy paranormal) events that occur in this otherwise sleepy little town. A number of characters - such as Mamie Rue Le Doux - and themes - such as the way that the bronze statue of the town's founder seems to mysteriously change its clothing on a regular basis - repeat themselves. Even with a common setting and the repeating characters/themes, each story is different. What does remain consistent is that all of the stories have an element of horror running through them. The good news for me (being the scaredycat horror reader that I am), the stories were not creepy to the point of causing me to lose any sleep, but still creepy enough for me to mentally call out to the characters things like, "Oh, you don't want to go there" or "You don't want to to do that". Never thought I would come to love a character in a horror story collection but I have to say, Mamie Rue Le Doux is a fascinating character! Filled with everything from fairies, witches, demons and shapeshifters to aliens, ghosts, and vampires, these stories do not lack for imagination. If I ever come across a town with a large sycamore tree that doesn't seem to feel quite right, I believe the stories in this anthology will come bubbling to the surface of my mind as a warning.

Overall, I like the result achieved with this anthology and would like to read more anthologies where the editors create the setting and a short backstory and let the individual authors loose to create away.

178lkernagh
Jan 28, 7:37pm Top

My Trans Canada Walking Journey

The goal: To walk - in three calendar years (1,095 days) - the distance that it would take me to walk the Trans Canada Highway from the Mile Zero marker located here in Victoria BC to its end point in St. John's, NL, a distance of 7,821K (4,860 miles).







Here is the link to my Google map where I am tracking my journey: http://tinyurl.com/p8vu9n3

WEEK 133 UPDATE:
Kilometers walked this session: 41.23
Kilometers walked in total: 5,673.72
Current province: (NB)
My current location on the map: Due south of Perth-Andover and heading for Muniac and Upper Kent.
Points of interest along the way: On the home front, I had an interesting walking commute Friday morning. As a bit of background, Victoria is in the process of building a new bridge to replace the existing bridge that that connects downtown Victoria and Victoria West:



This bridge, known as the "Blue Bridge" because of its blue paint, was build back in the 1920s (completed in 1924) and is the bridge I walk across during my weekday walking commute. Decision was made a number of years ago to replace the existing bridge. Work was stalled for various reasons, leading to one local resident posting the following meme on Facebook:



We are now - Finally - in the final stretches for completion of the new bridge. Friday morning the bridge was raised for 30 minutes to allow a large barge transporting the Dynamic Beast crane under the bridge. The closure was at the time when I typically walk over the bridge so I got to join other commuters watching the action. I took pictures but with the rainy and low light levels (sun rise was not for another 20 minutes) below is the only decent picture that gives a size of the crane in relation to one of two tub boats pushing the barge from behind:



The bridge was supposed to be close over the weekend so that the crane could move some large pieces of the new bridge into place, but in typical west coast fashion, the weather was not accommodating. We had 50-70 KM winds all Friday night and during periods of Saturday. Apparently there is a safety issue for the crane in winds over 20 KM so looks like the bridge will be closed Monday (and possibly Tuesday) which means busing in to work and a loss of some of my walking for the week.

179lkernagh
Jan 28, 7:37pm Top

Currently Reading:
..

Audiobook:
House at Riverton by Kate Morton; read by Caroline Lee - another book for the January ScaredyKIT (Gothic).
ebook:
TBD
Physical book:
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder - For the SFFKIT as I have been meaning to read this one ever since I acquired my copy back in 2013.

180mdoris
Jan 29, 3:09pm Top

HI Lori, Just posted on my thread about the most scrumptious new cookbook about brunch in Victoria. You lucky duck! There is so much on your doorstep. Envious me.

181MickyFine
Jan 29, 3:35pm Top

Ah construction. That favourite topic of conversation everywhere. ;)

Hopefully they get the bridge together soon so that your commute gets easier again, Lori.

182jolerie
Jan 29, 6:44pm Top

Kate Morton is one my go to authors if I'm ever in a book funk. :)

183lkernagh
Jan 30, 9:56pm Top

>180 mdoris: - OMG! *scurries off to investigate* Two BB's later I am back. The First we Brunch does look tempting, and I do need to know if there are any new brunch places that I should be checking out. Our restaurant scene is continually changing for such a sleeply little town. Of course, anything by Helen Humphreys gets automatic attention, so both BB's happily taken as a result of popping over to your thread, Mary!

>181 MickyFine: - Construction is one of those topics that never seems to go away, does it Micky. ;-) Monday was a bit of a interesting commute as the bus driver started heading for the second bridge and then must have received notification from dispatch that the blue bridge was back in operation. Good thing too as northbound traffic was at a snails pace and to be avoided if we didn't need to take the longer detour any more. Fingers crossed, the new bridge is to be operational at the end of March, which is not all that far off.

>182 jolerie: - Hi Jolerie. My first Kate Morton read was The Distant Hours which I really enjoyed. The House at Riverton is so far not shaping up to be as compelling a read but for a debut novel - at least, I think it is a debut novel - I am prepared to make some allowances. Morton does write a good historical fiction story, doesn't she?

-----------------------
Monday was a bit of a blur but good news is that the temporary bridge closure has been lifted and my walking commute has returned to normal, or as normal as it can be when the weather shifts between sunshine and lashing rain/hail. ;-) The weather forecast is for much of the same for the next week to 10 days so we shall see how much walking I am able to get in.

On the reading front I have one more book finished and should be finished the other one tomorrow so I am going to close off my January reading with some rather decent reading statistics.

184lkernagh
Jan 30, 9:56pm Top


Book #8 - The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
Challenge(s): 2018 Category, ROOT
CAT/KIT: SFFKIT: There is always tomorrow - Meant to read it in 2017 (or earlier), but didn't
Bingo DOG: "Story Involves Travel" - Time Travel
Category: "A" Book Title - Affair
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback
Original publication date: 2010
Acquisition date: May 5, 2013
Page count: 373 pages
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.70 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: from the amazon.com book listing webpage:
London, 1861. Sir Richard Francis Burton - explorer, linguist, scholar, and swordsman; his reputation tarnished; his career in tatters; his former partner missing and probably dead. Algernon Charles Swinburne - unsuccessful poet and follower of de Sade, for whom pain is pleasure, and brandy is ruin! Their investigations lead them to one of the defining events of the age, and the terrifying possibility that the world they inhabit shouldn't exist at all!
Review:
There is no doubt that Hodder has done his homework. A number of the characters and certain locations are pulled directly from history, but that is where the recognizable elements end. Hodder has done a fabulous job creating an alternate reality Victorian England world filled with enough steampunk elements to make this reader expect the sounds of whirring, clanking mechanics and steam to rise directly from the pages. The story started off in full sci-fi styled creepiness in the form of attacks made by the mysterious creature locals have dubbed “Spring Heeled Jack”, but the story quickly evolves into a more straightforward gaslight mystery adventure romp (except for the loup-garous, a.k.a. werewolves) courtesy of the explorer Burton – now a King’s agent – and his friend, the young poet Algernon Swinburne. The time travel piece, while intriguing at first, grew to be a rather tiresome slog for me as the book headed towards its conclusion (too much ricocheting around like a pinball in a pinball machine for my tastes). Without a doubt, it is “too clever for his own good” Swinburne (a devout follower of the Marquis de Sade) and the messenger parakeets (with their proclivity to colourful language) that made this such a fun read for this reader. I also liked how Hodder’s alternate reality Victorian world is one being divided into a caste system of the Technologists (supporters for bigger and better machines), the Eugenicists (developers of insanely modified animals/humans), the Libertines and the Rakes (both going where their hedonistic desires take them).

Hodder packs an awful lot into this one story, providing moments of drama, suspense and satire to the downright outrageous (in the “suspend believe” realm). As with other steampunk adventure romps I have read, this one is wonderful in providing the reader with a historical grounding before leaping off into the wildly fanciful unknown of the author’s imagination. Where does it fall down for me? Some of the content is a bit repetitive – and I am not talking about the parts involving the time travel (where some form of repetition would be expected). It also seems a bit uneven. The story also lacks in any strong character or plot development, which is fine if one is reading strictly for the entertainment value.

Overall, another decent read squarely in the steampunk genre and an enjoyable adventure romp of the “over-the-top” extravaganza style when an entertaining read is just what a reader is in the mood for.

185AHS-Wolfy
Jan 31, 9:57am Top

>184 lkernagh: I have this one sitting on the tbr shelves. Thought it might be a little similar to the Newbury and Hobbes series by George Mann which I'm partway through so haven't gotten around to reading it yet so as to avoid potential confusion. Shame to see the comment about no strong character or plot development though.

186MickyFine
Jan 31, 11:09am Top

>183 lkernagh: Swap you your rain for our -32C windchill? ;)

>184 lkernagh: I enjoy steampunk but while atmosphere is important I'm usually in books for good characters so I think I'll be skipping that one.

187lkernagh
Jan 31, 10:42pm Top

>185 AHS-Wolfy: - Hey Dave! If I had to choose between George Mann and Mark Hodder for character development, I would have lean towards The Affinity Bridge as having more character development than Spring Heeled Jack. That being said, The Affinity Bridge is very much in keeping with a more traditional gaslight mystery with steampunk elements while the Hodder is more "free range" with a full cavalcade of characters and adventure to keep a reader entertained. I notice that I gave The Affinity Bridge the same 3.5 star rating so, I am probably not much help for you regarding the Hodder book. I liked them equally, but for different reasons, if that makes sense.

>186 MickyFine: - No. I will happily continue with the rain. I will be making a trip to AB in Feb and it is anyone's guess what weather conditions I will experience then! ;-) Probably a good call on your part to skip the Hodder book, unless you are able to just sit back and watch historical figures involved in a high adventure story kind outside of what you might expect of them.

-------------------------

January 30th and one more book completed, which means I can post the review and my January recap. It has been a good reading month and I have enjoyed getting back to a less constrained/ more free-wheeling approach to my reading. It has also been a very productive month for my ROOT reading. Here is hoping this wonderful reading trend continues.

188lkernagh
Jan 31, 10:42pm Top


Book #9 - The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - audiobook narrated by Caroline Lee
Challenge(s): 2018 Category, ROOT
CAT/KIT: ScaredyKIT: Gothic; AlphaKIT: M
Bingo DOG: "Fits at least 2 KITS / CATS"
Category: "K" Author - Kate
Source: TBR
Format: Trade paperback / Audiobook
Original publication date: 2009
Acquisition date: November 26, 2011
Page count: 473 pages / 19 hours, 15 minutes listening time
Decimal/ Star rating: 3.35 out of 5 /
Book description/summary: adapted from various sources:
Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline. In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they -- and Grace -- know the truth. In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House where ghosts awaken and memories, long-consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge; something history has forgotten but Grace never could.
Review:
While not heavily imbued with the suspenseful gothic atmosphere I like to find in a Gothic read like Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca or even Morton’s more recent novel, The Distant Hours, this is still a good story about family secrets. Instead of the usual format of a heroine as an outsider trying to crack the family secret, Grace is the only surviving person with first-hand knowledge of the secret. Told predominantly from the point of view of Grace, the story is meted out in a slow, meditative style. The story of Grace’s own family mystery only receives minor nods as the plot largely revolves around the two sisters, Hannah and Emmeline. Without given any of the plot away, it is fair to say – and using the author’s own words from her closing notes - that Morton captures elements of the haunting of the present by the past, the entrapment of women socially, the unreliability of memory and confessional narratives. One could also consider the gothic element of a crumbling/decaying family estate to be captured here in the form of the crumbing decay of a prominent British family, so there are some good Gothic elements to found here.... just not the deepening atmospheric suspense build I was looking for. I did enjoy the historical period and I found Hannah to be a well-developed character. As for Emmeline, well, she comes across as nothing more than a passion driven petulant child playing dress-up (even though we do see her through into her late teens and by all accounts considered to be a young adult of the social period) and very much the opposite to her sister Hannah.

Overall, I preferred The Distant Hours more, but acknowledge that for a debut novel, The House at Riverton is a wonderful period piece set in WWI and post WWI time periods, with the period and social norms captured in fine detail. This one may appeal to readers who enjoyed Remains of the Day or the UK TV series, Upstairs, Downstairs.

189lkernagh
Jan 31, 10:49pm Top

JANUARY RE-CAP:

BOOKS READ:
The King of Lavender Square by Susan Ryan - 3.65 /
The Road to Ever After by Moira Young - 4.20 /
Dark Desires by Eve Silver - 2.85 /
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens - 3.80 /
The Siege by Helen Dunmore - 4.15 /
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy - 4.45 /
The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove by J.S. Bailey - 4.10 /
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder - 3.70 /
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton - 3.35 /

January STATS:
No. of Books read: 9
ROOTs read: 8
Largest book read by page count: - Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens at 864 pages
Smallest book read by page count: - The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove by T.S. Bailey at 276 pages
# Pages read: - 3,634 pages
Average # pages per book read: - 404 pages
Average # pages read per day: - 117
Audiobooks / eBooks / Physical Books: - 3/3/5 - with two books being counted as audioreads to get physical reads off my TBR pile.
Male vs. Female Authors: - 5 vs.5 - reporting an even balance here as one book read was an anthology that included works by both male and female writers
Fiction vs. Non-Fiction Reads: - 9 vs. 0
Average Decimal/ Star rating for books read: 3.81 out of 5 /
Publication date range of books read: 1839 to 2017

BingoDOG Update:

2. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens -
4. Dark Desires by Eve Silver -
10. The Road to Ever After by Moira Young -
12. Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy -
19. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton -
23. The Siege by Helen Dunmore -
24. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder -
25. The King of Lavender Square by Susan Ryan -

190MissWatson
Feb 1, 3:36am Top

You've had a great reading month, Lori!

191jolerie
Feb 1, 12:13pm Top

Lots of good reads for January Lori!

Looks like I've only read The Forgotten Garden but evidently liked it enough to list her as one of my favourite authors. I probably should read The House at Riverton first before reading her later works!

192ChelleBearss
Feb 1, 3:27pm Top

Looks like January was a great reading month for you!

193Carmenere
Feb 1, 3:52pm Top

Hey, Lori! You're making great progress, both walking and reading. Congrats for getting that chunkster out of the way right from the start!
Hope February is just as successful!

194AHS-Wolfy
Feb 1, 6:11pm Top

>187 lkernagh: Makes perfect sense Lori. Thanks for the comparison. I guess I'll get around to it eventually.

195lkernagh
Feb 3, 5:21pm Top

>190 MissWatson: - Thanks Birgit! It was a good reading month. Curious to see if I can maintain the momentum. ;-)

>191 jolerie: - Thanks Valerie and I have to admit to doing the same thing, adding an author to my favorites list after only reading one book. I rationalize it that this way, I have more books by that author to look forward to reading. ;-)

>192 ChelleBearss: - Thanks Chelle! January was a good reading month.

>193 Carmenere: - Hi Lynda! Always a sense of accomplishments when I am able to kick the year off with a big tome read. ;-)

>194 AHS-Wolfy: - You can probably take the approach I have with some series and wait until the author has enough books written that if I decide I love the first book, I can plow through them like candy or potato chips. That is kind of what happened with my Inspector Montalbano reading. ;-)

--------------------
I see that this thread is getting a bit long so I think I will go and set up a new thread to kick off February.

196lkernagh
Feb 3, 5:29pm Top

New thread is up! Come on over!

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