Stacy's (LittleTaiko) 2019 Challenge - Clue
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Hello everyone! I'm back for another year with a challenge built around one of my favorite movies - Clue! The categories are fairly basic and stretched to fit the characters from the movie. Some extreme stretching was needed in some cases. However, I've been wanting to use this as a theme for quite some time and finally decided that 2019 would be the year. The quotes below don't come anywhere near covering all the wonderful quotes however they do represent a few of my favorites.
I am an accountant for a theater in Dallas and love sushi, musical theater, walking, and wine. I will also read pretty much any type of book but my go to books will almost always be mysteries.
There aren't any minimums for any of the categories. The goal is to just to read whatever I want when I want to except when it comes to my book club selections.
1 Star - Didn't like at all or did not finish
2 Stars - It's okay but not something I would recommend.
3 Stars - I liked it but may or may not recommend it
4 Stars - Really liked it and am happy that I spent time reading it
5 Stars - Loved it and the whole world should read it too
Mrs. Peacock - Cozy Mysteries
Professor Plum: What are you afraid of, a fate worse than death?
Mrs. Peacock: No, just death. Isn't that enough?
1. Iced Under by Barbara Ross (4 stars) - Book - Jan
2. Carbs and Cadavers by Ellery Adams (3 stars) - ebook - Jan
3. Aunt Bessie Invites by Diana Xarissa (4 stars) - ebook - Jan
4. A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams (4 stars) - Book - Jan
5. Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams (2 stars) - Book - Feb
6. Aunt Bessie Joins by Diana Xarissa. (4 stars) - ebook - Feb
Unsolicited by Julie Kaewert
A Story to Kill by Lynn Cahoon
Choked Off by Andrea Frazer
Clouds in My Coffee by Julie Mulhern
A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert
Southern Spirits by Angie Fox
The Murder at Sissingham Hall by Clara Benson
Colonel Mustard - Mysteries/Thrillers
Colonel Mustard: Just checking.
Mrs. Peacock: Everything all right?
Colonel Mustard: Yep. Two corpses. Everything's fine.
1. The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty (4 stars) - Book - Jan
2. Death of Achilles by Boris Akunin (3 stars) - Book - Jan
3. Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter (2 stars) - ebook - Jan
4. The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (4 stars) - ebook - Jan
5. The Appeal by John Grisham (2 stars) - Book - Jan
6. The Man on the Washing Machine by Susan Cox (4 stars) - Book - Jan
7. Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (4 stars) - ebook - Feb
Far From True by Linwood Barclay
Camille by Pierre Lemaitre
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Miss Scarlet - Classics
Colonel Mustard: Do you like Kipling, Miss Scarlet?
Miss Scarlet: Sure, I'll eat anything.
1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (5 stars) - ebook - Jan
2. Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott (3 stars) - Ebook - Feb
3. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. (5 stars) - Borrowed - Feb
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Professor Plum - Non-fiction
Miss Scarlet: Why is the car stopped?
Professor Plum: It's frightened.
1. The White Darkness by David Grann (4 stars) - Book - Jan
2. Underfoot in Show Business by Helene Hanff (4 stars) - Ebook - Feb
3. Apple of My Eye by Helene Hanff (5 stars) - Book - Feb
4. Becoming by Michelle Obama (4 stars) - Borrowed - Feb
The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
The Great Bridge by David McCullough
Confucius: And the World He Created by Michael Schuman
Extreme Measures by Jessica Nutik Zitter
Lessons from Tara by David Rosenfelt
Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell
Mr. Green - Fiction
Mr. Green: I didn't do it!!!
1. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (4 stars) - Book - Jan
2. The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea (4 stars) - Library - Jan
3. So Lucky by Nicola Griffith (4 stars) - Library - Jan
4. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (3 stars) - Book - Jan
5. Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala (3 stars) - Library - Jan
6. The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (4 stars) - Library - Jan
7. Small Island by Andrea Levy (4 stars) - Book - Jan
8. Census by Jesse Ball (3 stars) - Library - Jan
9. The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase (3 stars) - Book - Feb
10. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old by Hendrik Groen (4 stars) - Borrowed - Feb
The Comedians by Graham Greene
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Lush Life by Richard Price
Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Mrs. White - Science fiction/fantasy
Wadsworth: Your first husband also disappeared.
Mrs. White: But that was his job. He was an illusionist.
Wadsworth: But he never reappeared!
Mrs. White: He wasn't a very good illusionist.
1. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams (4 stars) - Book - Jan
2. The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett (3 stars) - ebook - Jan
Passage by Connie Willis
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The Grandmother Paradox by Wendy Nikel
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard
The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
Young Zaphod Plays It Safe by Douglas Adams
Wadsworth - Short stories/Poetry/Other
Wadsworth: ...and to make a long story short...
All: Too late!
1. Civil to Strangers and Other Writings by Barbara Pym (4 stars) - Book - Feb
Poems of Emily Dickinson
The Nonexistent Knight and the Cloven Viscount by Italo Calvino
Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut
The Queen of Spades and Other Stories by Alexander Pushkin
For fun, I'm going to limit this to books from my TBR shelf and not something I've borrowed from the library. More incentive to clear off some of the stack!
1. Author uses middle name or middle initial - Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse
2. Debut novel - The Man on the Washing Machine by Susan Cox
3. Book about/featuring siblings - The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase
4. Read a book bullet (meaning another LT member inspired you to read it) - Underfoot in Show Business by Helene Hanff book bullet from Clue
5. Book mentioned in another book you have read - The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty (mentioned in The Secret, Book & Scone Society)
6. Topic or character related to medicine/health - Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
7. Animal on cover/in title/plays a significant role - A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams
8. Book with an artistic character - The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty
9. Eastern European author or setting - The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
10. Children’s/YA book, or reread a childhood favorite - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
11. Alliterative title - Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay or Lush Life by Richard Price
12. Part of a series - Iced Under by Barbara Ross
13. Read a CAT - The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
14. Prize-winning book - Small Island by Andrea Levy
15. Weather (title contains a weather word, or book involves/centers around a weather event) - The White Darkness by David Grann
16. Short stories or essays - Civil to Strangers and Other Writings by Barbara Pym
17. Book made into a movie - Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
18. Fairy Tale
19. Graphic novel - Theories of Everything by Roz Chast
20. Main title has 6 or more words in it - So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish by Douglas Adams
21. Cover has at least two human figures - The Appeal by John Grisham
22. Book in translation - The Death of Achilles by Boris Akunin
23. Food-related title or topic - Carbs & Cadavers by Ellery Adams
24. Book has an LT rating of 4.0 or more - The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
25. Title contains a homophone word (such as hair/hare, slay/sleigh, there/their/they’re) - Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter
My daughter and her BFF loved this movie, I lost track of how many times they watched it and I swear they could recite every line! Looks like you are on the track to a good reading year!
This is one of my other half's favourite movies. Great theme! :)
What a fun challenge! And one that might include lots of pics of Tim Curry, which is a plus.
>14 MissWatson: - Thank you! I decided a back to basics in categories would work best for me this year.
>15 christina_reads: - It is brilliant! I'm due for a rewatch - need to just figure out which streaming service it's on these day.s
>16 thornton37814: - Classic board games are my go to gifts for toy drives. I always hope kids love them as much as I did.
>17 rabbitprincess: - Thank you! It makes me smile every time I think of the quotes.
>18 mstrust: - You can never go wrong with Tim Curry pics!
I'm always excited to see what people will use for inspiration for their categories. Looking forward to your reading.
Love this theme! My family has always enjoyed the game, my son even made a 3-D board complete with doors and furniture. Although, I've never seen the movie so now I'll have to find it!
>20 dudes22: - Thanks for stopping by! I usually am racking my brains for ideas until something finally pops up. This one has been stewing in my head for several years now and I just never could figure out how to make it work until now.
>21 LisaMorr: - Thank you! It's nice to have a thread that makes me smile every time I look at the pictures.
>22 lkernagh: - Happy to see another movie fan!
>23 VivienneR: - A 3D game? Wow - your son sounds awesome!!!!
What fun to see Clue incorporated into your theme! That game brings back memories. Best of luck with your challenge. :-)
>25 This-n-That: - Thanks! I’ve picked out some potential reads and am getting excited for the new year.
Current January reading plans:
- The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (book club)
- The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (AlphaKit)
- The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty (RandomCAT)
- The Death of Achilles by Boris Akunin (AlphaKit, SeriesCAT, TBR challenge)
- The Appeal by John Grisham (AlphaKit, TBRCAT)
- So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams (AlphaKit, Calendar CAT, TBR challenge)
>27 LittleTaiko: Nice plan for January taking shape there. Hope that you manage to execute the reading plan better than I usually manage!
This is a fun theme and your January plans sound decent. Happy reading! :)
Thank you for the lovely New Year's wishes. Such festive and lovely cards!!
1. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (4 stars)
This was a lovely way to ease into 2019. Cuddled up with this book and a warm blanket. This book pokes gentle fun at health spas and social media obsessions while examining what might drive somebody to end up at a health resort like this. There are nine strangers who for reasons of their own are searching for ways to improve their lives. While the rules of no talking, required fasting, and lots of mediation might seem extreme they are still hopeful they might become new and improved people by the end. However they get more than they bargained for with the new protocol being rolled out by the owner. Once I got the characters straight it was easy to settle in and enjoy the ride.
>34 LittleTaiko: - That does sound like the perfect read to "ease into" 2019. ;-)
A theme that makes you smile whenever you see the pictures is perfect! I look forward to following your reading again this year.
End of the year meme using the books I read in 2018.
Describe yourself: Still Me
Describe how you feel: Delivering the Truth
Describe where you currently live: A Place For Us
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Along the Infinite Sea
Your favorite form of transportation: Hot Seat
Your best friend is: Uncommon Type
You and your friends are: And Ladies of the Club
What’s the weather like: Cold Mourning
You fear: Death in the Dentist’s Chair
What is the best advice you have to give: Treacherous is the Night
Thought for the day: Hope Never Dies
How I would like to die: The Body in the Library
My soul’s present condition: A Glass of Blessings
>37 LittleTaiko: What a lovely answer for "my soul's present condition"!
What a fun theme! I love the board game, but have never seen the movie. After reading those quotes, I will definitely have to rectify that situation.
I'm going to your greatest fear today! I'll have to remember to check back in later ;)
Thanks all for the comments.
>44 Jackie_K: - Hope all went well today and that you are still with us. :)
2. The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty (4 stars)
This was not your typical detective protagonist in that Sean is a artist, former PI, and very avid fisherman. To be clear I am not a huge fan of fishing though I have done it before, but I seem to really enjoy books about fly fishing for some reason. I adored The River Why and found this book to be quite interesting as well. Anyway, back to the book. Sean has moved to Montana and is no longer a practicing PI. Martha is the sheriff in the town. When a dead body is pulled from the river and accidental drowning is ruled out, Sean and Martha find their paths crossing as they are both drawn into the case for different reasons. Liked the setting and the characters quite a bit with the exception of the rather cliched femme fatale.
3. The White Darkness by David Grann (4 stars)
Thrilling account of Antarctica exploration led by Henry Worsley. Taking part in something so extremely dangerous is not something I would wish to pursue but I am fascinated by those who choose to do so. This is a slim volume that I believe is the same as a New Yorker article he published. If you are into people doing things that really test their mental and physical strength then I would highly recommend the book or article to you.
>46 LittleTaiko: Re: The White Darkness
I can understand why he chose to do the exploration with other people, but to go alone? With a wife and children at home? It's amazing to me that he was fortunate enough to marry someone willing and able to live the life she did when his interest in Artic exploration didn't materialize until after they were married. She was as strong and dedicated as he was.
>47 clue: She was definitely a stronger woman than I could ever be. She and the children were amazingly supportive. His decision to make the solo trip was just inconceivable to me but his brain definitely functioned differently than mine.
4. Iced Under by Barbara Ross (4 stars)
Really enjoyed this latest in the Maine Clambake series. Winter has come to Maine so most people are hunkered down in their homes. Julia's mother receives a package containing a beautiful and expensive necklace that was part of her family for years but had disappeared. Who sent it and why? Where has it been all these years? Julia of course investigates and the path leads to learning more about her mother's side of the family. Loved the additional characters and hope that some of them can be a part of future books somehow.
5. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (5 stars)
This is a book club selection and a reread for the umpteeth time for me and I still love it! I do skim most of Anne's speeches when she starts to ramble on but I still admire her spirit. Marilla and Matthew continue to delight as well.
>52 LittleTaiko: I have the first in the clambake series downloaded. I need to dip into it. I love Anne Shirley!
>53 thornton37814: - I agree that Anne Shirley is great! I'm really curious to find out tonight what others in my book club thought of it. I know one member gave it 2 stars on Goodreads which just baffles me. What on earth did she not like?
>54 LittleTaiko: that's all I gave it, but then I came to it first as an adult. I found Anne tedious, with her overly vivid imagination and the way she goes on and on and on to completely no purpose. I can see it has charm, but it was insufficiently charming to overcome its other shortcomings.
So LittleTaiko, in the Bingo (Post 9 I believe), are you trying to get 5 in a row or a coverall?
Seems like a difficult challenge. If I were doing it, looking at that card, I'd be lucky if I can maybe get the bottom row if I tried to do it. I know of at least 2 books on my to read list with 2 humans on the cover, and another that was originally in Russian - I'd have to work for the other three! Good luck whichever you are doing.
6. Death of Achilles by Boris Akunin (3 stars)
Overall I enjoyed this despite not having read anything else in the series. Fandorin is a diplomat and detective who has returned home to Russia after having spent several years in Japan. He's known as a man who can get things done and it was intriguing to see his thought process as he worked through various issues of the case. My biggest problem was with how this book was set up. The first section is all about Fandorin and the case. Then boom, you are hit with section two which gives you the tedious back story of the villain before retelling key events through his eyes. The third section is the resolution. While it was quite interesting to see the two sides to the case, the sudden shift in perspectives really took me out of the story.
7. Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter (2 stars)
This novella is apparently a prequel to her book Pretty Girls which is sitting on my TBR list. After reading this I'm not sure I want to read Pretty Girls. I normally thoroughly enjoy anything by Slaughter so was really disappointed in this overwrought look at the inner workings of a college girls thoughts. It was boring and tedious and quite frankly I didn't care what happened to her by the end. I'll still give Pretty Girls a try as maybe having the story fleshed out a bit more will be helpful.
>55 Helenliz: - I could see that if your fist introduction to Anne was as an adult she could be hard to take. I was fortunate to have read her as a child. I am nothing at all like her - no whimsy here, but I think I liked how she worked hard and didn't mind being smart. As an adult I find Marilla, Matthew, and Mrs. Lynde more interesting.
>56 ChessFanatic: - I'm going for full coverage throughout the year. We'll see if I get there, but my reading covers such a wide variety of things it seems like it should be possible. Thanks for the well wishes!
I've read the first three Fandorin novels and each one seemed to have different structures from the others. So I'll be reading this one with no expectations.
>55 Helenliz: I came to Anne as an adult too, but I quickly devoured not only the Anne books but everything else Montgomery wrote.
>55 Helenliz: & >60 thornton37814: - It was interesting, of the 11 of us at the meeting last night roughly half hadn't read Anne until now. Of the 11 there was only the one person who didn't like. She found it boring and had to force herself to finish it. On the bright side, she got a lot of housework and other things done as a way to avoid picking up the book. :)
>59 hailelib: - That's good to know. I enjoyed Fandorin but wasn't sure I wanted to read anything else if the structure was going to be similar.
8. Carbs & Cadavers by Ellery Adams (3 stars)
Cute first mystery in the Supper Club series that features five friends who form a supper club in an effort to lose weight. The protagonist is a male which is unusual for the cozy mystery genre and a nice change of pace. James has moved home to take care of his father and is now the head librarian at the local library. One of the other club members works is an aspiring police officer who currently works with the department which is how the club gets their information when they decided to investigate the suspicious death of a local young man who was generally considered bad news. When suspicion falls on a lovely young woman they all know they compelled to help her. Typical small town activities and characters. The book focuses a lot on the groups dieting efforts in addition to the mystery, maybe a bit even on the dieting front. Oh! For fans of the her Book Retreat series, you'll get a chuckle out of the fact that there are two characters, young men named Francis and Scott Fitzgerald. She must really be a fan of Fitzgerald since she uses that as a name of one of the twin boys in the Book Retreat books.
9. The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea (4 stars)
I do enjoy a messy family story involving multiple generations, especially when you throw in some humor. Big Angel is dying of cancer and wants to have one last big birthday party before he dies. However his mother dies a few days before his party so the family now have a funeral and birthday party to plan and survive. This books is about family, what it means to be a Mexican, as well as finding a place in America. This shows the family in their messed up, imperfect, lovable way. So many funny bits (the parrot!) along with some moving ones.
Netflix did a version of Anne of Green Gables that I was very excited for, right up until a few episodes in when I realized they were playing with the idea that she was deeply psychologically damaged by her time prior to her new home with the siblings, and that's the source of her imagination. Too intense for me! I'll take my sweet version, please.
>65 JayneCM: - You're quite welcome!
>66 pammab: - I tried to watch the Netflix version too but gave up after a few episodes, mainly because they were starting to take a lot of detours from the book. I didn't mind a little darkness to her backstory but completely altering the story bugged me - especially the instance with the lost brooch. In the book it was a normal incident but in the show it became quite a traumatic and really unrealistic event.
10. So Long, And Thanks For All the Fish by Douglas Adams (4 stars)
Another funny installment in the Hitchhikers series. Lovely to see Arthur get his shot at happiness and Ford Prefect continued to delight.
11. So Lucky by Nicola Griffith (4 stars)
This slim little book really packs a wallop. I picked it up and could not put it down - read all 180 pages in one sitting. Mara has been recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and the book shows her struggle to adapt to what her new life entails while also dealing with some issues in her personal life. While Mara isn't always the most sympathetic of characters you can't help but feel for her during the struggle. There's a thriller aspect to the novel that helps keep the pages turning.
12. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (3 stars)
Overall compelling read loosely based on some real life spies during WWI. The story alternates between Eve's story in WWI and Charlie's mid 40's story set soon after WWII. Charlie is trying to locate her missing cousin and Eve might be able to shed some light on what happened to her. Around the midway point the book started to feel a bit long and maybe started to become a touch melodramatic. However a lot of horrible and crazy things happen during war so maybe it wasn't so melodramatic after all. Both Eve and Charlie were intriguing characters and I enjoyed spending time in both worlds.
13. The Color of Magic by Terry Practhett (3 stars)
After a false start a couple of years ago with this book, I finally read it and found it be fun escapism. At times it was hard to stay engaged when the story would shift suddenly but overall I loved spending time with Rinceworld and Twoflowers and fully intend to read more in the Discworld series.
14. Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala (3 stars)
I struggled with this book mainly because of the lack of quotation marks. What should have been a gripping story about two teenage Niru and Meredith dealing with the repercussions of him realizing he's gay became quite disjointed. It became quite confusing at times to determine who was speaking and I'd have to stop and reread a few times to figure it out. That only succeeded in taking me out of the story. There was an old-fashioned feel to the book as I kept assuming the story took place in the 80's instead of in modern times since the reaction to his being gay seemed a bit extreme especially from his parent's point of view. Then again they were from Nigeria and had a totally different outlook on life than I would have had. The book is told first from Niru's point of view and then from Meredith's. I will say that I found the Meredith section to be more compelling. Lots of food for thought with this book I just wish I could have found it more engaging.
15. The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (4 stars)
I was hesitant to read what is essentially a new Sherlock Holmes story but ended up thoroughly enjoying it which shouldn't be surprising since I have love other books by Horowitz. He did an excellent job of capturing Watson's tone and overall did a good job of getting Sherlock right. The mystery starts with a man who is being followed by someone from his past that he'd rather forget and then goes off in a whole other direction that somehow makes sense. Fun to be back with Holmes & Watson.
16. Aunt Bessie Invites by Diana Xarissa (4 stars)
Oh so lovely to return to the Isle of Man and Aunt Bessie and company. This time Bessie is planning a Thanksgiving feast even though they don't celebrate it on the Isle of Man. When she goes out to the local farm to inspect the turkeys to be used in the feast she discovers that the farm owners have just discovered a skeleton buried in one of the storage barns. The question quickly becomes who was this person and how did he die? Bessie and her friends spend the usual amount of time eating and taking about the case. Added bonuses were how previous story lines were threaded into the book so that characters met previously are still around.
I've heard of Xarissa before here somewhere - maybe on a previous post of yours. I was just thinking this would work for the "X" in the Alpha Kit. Need to check this out and see if the library has any.
ETA: Yup - It was you - took a BB
>70 LittleTaiko: I will say, as a fan of the series, that this is one of the weakest books. I think it takes to book 3 for Pratchett to find his voice and from there he really finds his feet. Well done on persevering with it though. And I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.
>72 dudes22: - Not surprising that it was me as there don't seem to be too many people reading her books. They are definitely on the light side but I find them enjoyable.
>73 Helenliz: - That's good to know. The first time I tried to read it was on an airplane which really was the wrong setting. All that world building needs concentration and that is hard for me to do when flying. Too many other distractions. I'm hoping to read the next in the series later this year.
17. The Appeal by John Grisham (2 stars)
It's quite possible that I've outgrown Grisham books which makes me a little sad. I used to love the legal thrillers and they kept me on my toes. This one was kind of boring and hard to get into. Characters kept being added throughout the book which made it hard for me to really settle in with the book. Plus the subject matter was a bit depressing. While the concepts and the story he was trying to tell are important it may have just been the wrong book for me at this time.
18. The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (4 stars)
This was quite an unusual book that was moving, heartbreaking, and at times a bit funny. Fielding Bliss is a 13 year old boy in the early 1980's when his dad posts an ad inviting the devil to come to their town. When a young black boy named Sal shows up claiming to be the devil it seems amusing at first. However when the town is suddenly struck with a horrible heat wave and weird things start to happen, the townspeople are only to happy to direct their ire at Sal. The repercussions for Sal, Fielding and the rest of the Bliss family are harsh. This book covers quite a bit about racism, AIDS, and fear but in a different way.
>74 LittleTaiko: - Unfortunately, there are none of her books in the whole library system in our state. I'll have to think about buying one, I guess.
The Summer That Melted Everything sounds very weird, so BB for me! Thanks for the review, I'd never heard of it.
>76 dudes22: - Yeah, I think they are only in ebook format so harder to get. Good luck finding one!
>77 mstrust: & >78 LisaMorr: - I really hope you like it! It's not a book I had heard of either until someone in my book club picked it for our next read. Probably not something I would have chosen on my own. Always happy to discover something unexpected.
19. Small Island by Andrea Levy (4 stars)
The more I think about this book the bigger it's impact. Set in England and Jamaica, and alternating between WWII and shortly after, it is broken into four sections with each section told primarily through the eyes of one of the main characters. The story opens with Hortense, an ambitious and cold Jamaican woman who might dream of England if for no other reason than a friend of hers has that dream. Hortense is someone who never really developed people skills. It's rough to open with her as the primary narrator since she's not the easiest of people to like, however the payoff later makes starting with her a good choice. The second section is from Gilbert's point of view and he is such a delight to spend time with. He's a Jamaican man fighting in the war to help his mother country of England. Even through all the awful stuff that happens to him his voice is so lively and witty. The last two sections are from Queenie and Bernard's points of view. They are an English married couple with plenty of problems of their own.
20. The Man on the Washing Machine by Susan Cox (4 stars)
Well that was certainly fun. Theo Bogart is hiding out in San Francisco trying to rebuild her life under an assumed name. She's slowly made friends with a group of shop owners in her little part of the city and life seems to be pretty good. Or at least it would be if her business partner wasn't such a flake, a neighborhood man hadn't just fallen to his death, strange tensions weren't brewing among the group, and not to mention the strange man she finds standing on her washing machine. I liked Theo and friends and while the ending may have gotten a bit chaotic it was quite a nice ride.
21. A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams (4 stars)
I'm slowly trying all of the various series by Ellery Adams to see which ones I like the best. So far this Books by the Bay series and the Book Retreat series are tied as my favorites. This was the first in the Books by the Bay series and features Olivia Limoges, a wealthy woman who has come back home and is helping out the town in her own way while she works on writing her first novel. When one of the members of her writer's group is killed it shakes up the little group and prompts some investigating. Really loved the characters and look forward to seeing how their lives progress.
>81 LittleTaiko: I thought I'd read Small Island but I guess it was checked out when I was doing the Caribbean tour, and I ended up reading Fruit of the Lemon instead. I should try it. I read the first one in the Adams series several years ago. The second is on my Overdrive list at both libraries, but I don't think I've seen it come up as available often. I'll need to put a hold on it when I think it will work out well for me.
>82 thornton37814: - It started a bit slow for me but then I became quite intrigued with the story. Hope you like it if/when you decide to try it.
22. Census by Jesse Ball (3 stars)
I keep waffling between 3 and 4 starts on this one. On the plus side is the sweet father/son story and the fact that it handles the son's Down's Syndrome in a respectful manner. The preface explains the authors intent which was moving. It was a story easy to engage with but maybe not always to understand. I never really understood the census portion of the story or what it was supposed to say about government overreach. I'm not even sure what was involved with the census besides tattooing people which seemed odd. There were also a few scenes when the man is remembering life with his now deceased wife where things he mentioned about her didn't fit with everything else that we know. In a nutshell, I enjoyed it but didn't always understand it.
I tried doing monthly recaps last year and lost interest somewhere along the way. I'm back with cautious optimism that I can do a recap each month.
5 - Library
0 - Borrowed (Other)
11 - Owned
6 - Ebooks Owned
22 - Total
1 - Ebook
0 - Books
1 - Total
>88 mathgirl40: - I wonder if the book would have had as much impact without the preface. I've enjoyed seeing your ToB reviews as well. Having the short list earlier than usual has been helpful. I don't feel as stressed trying to get as many books in before the tournament starts.
23. Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny (4 stars)
For some reason I had been reluctant to start this latest in the series even though I have loved almost all of the books to date. I think it's because I wasn't the crazy about the drug story line from the previous book and was afraid it would dominate. Fortunately while it was part of the story it wasn't the main event. The mystery centered around why Gamache and two other people were named liquidators for a dead woman's will despite having never met her. As always, Penny does an excellent job unfolding the layers of the mystery. While I still found the drug aspect to be a bit tiresome the rest of the book was really a lot of fun. I'm quite interested to see where the next book takes the characters. Oh and the acknowledgements made me tear up at her complete honesty about how hard it was to write this book after the death of her husband.
24. Civil to Strangers and Other Writings by Barbara Pym (4 stars)
I say this every time, but oh how I do enjoy a Pym novel, or in this case a couple of novellas and some short stories. These are all pure Pym with the small village setting, relationship intrigue, vicars, potlucks, etc...One story managed to combine that with a spy plot that was a hoot.
25. The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase (3 stars)
What would you do for your family? That is the question explored in this novel that takes place at Applecote Manor and alternates between four sisters in the 1950's who experience an unforgettable summer in and a married couple with two children who are living at the manor 50 years later. The gloom from a mysterious tragedy that took place in the 50's story still hangs over the house. I much preferred the earlier story as the sisterly dynamic was fun to read about and their melodramatic tendencies could be forgiven because of their age. Less easy to forgive was Jessie the mother in the later story who should be way more of an adult than what she is. Her reactions to events were more in line with how a teenage girl would react than a woman in her 30's.
26. Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams (2 stars)
I think I've confirmed that magical realism and cozy mysteries just don't mix well for me. It means I have to suspend belief even more than usual. Ella Mae has fled home to Georgia after catching her husband in New York cheating on her. In the span of a a few chapters she has started baking pies that are infused with emotions that have an impact on whoever eats them. However she doesn't seem to notice anything strange. She also has the hots for her old high school boyfriend and has renewed a feud with her high school enemy. Oh yeah, and her aunts all seem to have magical powers that she can't see either. Okay characters but overall just not my thing.
27. Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott (3 stars)
The sequel to Eight Cousins pretty much unfolded like I expected. More pompous and creepy interference from Uncle Alec, Rose remains charming and innocent, the cousins remain supportive. The surprising bit was how Alcott resolved the love triangle which felt a bit like her taking the easy way out. Even with all that it was still a cute story for it's time.
28. Underfoot in Show Business by Helene Hanff (4 stars)
Hanff really knows how to tell a story. Her memoir about her early years in show business is informative, funny, and completely entertaining.
29. Apple of My Eye by Helene Hanff (5 stars)
I loved reading this short love letter to New York City/guidebook so much. Around 1976, Helene and her friend Patsy decided to play tourist for a few weeks so that Helene can better write descriptions about various tourist destinations for one of her writing jobs. Following them on their journey was so much fun. Hanff's wry humor struck the right chord with me and I delighted in having been to many of the attractions they described. It was bittersweet to read about the newly build World Trade Center towers. A little weird to also have the new Trump Towers mentioned as well as the up and coming Barnes & Noble company taking over. There were a few places mentioned that I was unaware of and have now added to my list of things to do during one of our visits.
Yea for three day weekend when I get a chance to read and finish up books that had been in progress for a bit!
30. Aunt Bessie Joins by Diana Xarissa (4 stars)
Bessie has joined a couple of her friends in helping with a fundraiser called Christmas at the Castle. When the obnoxious designer that was brought in to consult is found dead there are plenty of suspects since he managed to offend almost everybody he met. Bessie and friends do their part to help solve the crime.
31. Becoming by Michelle Obama (4 stars)
So lovely to spend some time in her world. She's such an interesting and classy lady, it was a joy to learn to learn more about her life
32. Cannery Row by John Steineck (5 stars)
I really don't know why this book resonated with me so much. Maybe because it was different than what I was expecting. All I know is that I completely enjoyed the characters and the glimpses into a little slice of life in Monterrey. There really isn't a plot unless you count Mack and his gang trying to throw the perfect party for Doc. Loved the insights into everyone's personalities and it just made me happy to read it.
33. The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen (4 stars)
Hendrik is a Dutch man living out his remaining days in an assisted living facility in the Netherlands. He decides to start a diary and expose what really happens in the facilities. What follows is a bittersweet, amusing, and insightful look at aging.
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