VivienneR in Christie's Footsteps - End of the year!

This is a continuation of the topic VivienneR in Christie's Footsteps - Part 3.

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VivienneR in Christie's Footsteps - End of the year!

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Edited: Jan 1, 2020, 10:51pm

Ashfield, Christie's birthplace & Greenway, a later home used in Five Little Pigs, Towards Zero, and Dead Man’s Folly

I've been a fan of Agatha Christie since I was in my pre-teen years and I've always been fascinated by her travels.

Christie never fell into the trap of setting too many murders in one location, thus avoiding potshots from critics about the spot being a very dangerous place to live. Instead, she used her fondness for large country homes and typical English villages, as well as personal travel experiences to provide backdrops for her stories.

No targets, I'll be reading whatever jumps off the shelf - and probably a few shiny new books. I plan to include as many CATs as possible, and Bingo of course.

I can also be found over at the Club Read group

Edited: Dec 20, 2019, 6:12pm


Andover, Bexhill-on-Sea, and Churston from The ABC Murders

January: Q & A: Queenpin by Megan Abbott
February: K & O: On writing: a memoir of the craft by Stephen King
March: U & L: Into the beautiful north by Luis A. Urrea
April: B & M: Milkman by Anna Burns
May: H & V: Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton
                Hamlet by Shakespeare
June: J & D: Death of an expert witness by P.D. James
July: C & P: The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri
August: N & I: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
                Dr. No by Ian Fleming
September: F & W: The Devil's Feather by Minette Walters
October: G & T: Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell
                The woman in blue by Elly Griffiths
                Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
November: S & Y: Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella
December: E & R: Visions of sugar plums by Janet Evanovich
                A sleeping life by Ruth Rendell
Year-long X & Z: The Lost City of Z: a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

Edited: Dec 23, 2019, 2:48pm


Meadowbank School for Girls from Cat Among the Pigeons

I may not read in all of the CATegories every month. These titles are included in my categories above.

January 26th, Burns Night: The Black Book by Ian Rankin
January 1st, Polar Bear Swim Day: The Healer by Antti Tuomainen
February 5th, Chinese New Year: Flower net by Lisa See
February: 10th & 14th: (Grammy Awards & Valentine's Day): I think I love you by Allison Pearson
March 8, International Women's Day: Best of Women's Short Stories 3
March 17th, St Patrick's Day: The Secret Place by Tana French
March 27th, Joe Day (Joe Sandilands series): The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly
April: Ordeal by innocence by Agatha Christie
April 26th, Hug an Australian Day: Thirty-three teeth by Colin Cotterill
May 25th, Jazz Day: Solo Hand by Bill Moody
June: The Blackwater lightship by Colm Tóibín
July: Canada Day: Starlight by Richard Wagamese
July: US Independence Day: The Fala Factor by Stuart Kaminsky (4th of July)
August 17: V.S. Naipaul birthday: The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief by V.S. Naipaul
August 19, Aviation Day: Death of an Airman by Christopher St John Sprigg
September: International Peace Day 21st: Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson
September: Ondaatje's birthday: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
September 6: Read a book day: Alone in the Classroom by Elizabeth Hay
October 1: International Day of Older Persons: The 100 year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
October 11: International Day of the Girl: Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
November, Churchill's birth month: Milestones to disaster by Winston S. Churchill, Christian Rodska
       and The Gathering Storm by Winston S. Churchill
November: Native American Heritage month: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
December: Christmas: White Christmas with a Wobbly Knee by Andrea Frazer
       and The Act of Roger Murgatroyd by Gilbert Adair

January - In translation: Rounding the mark by Andrea Camilleri
March - Favourite author: Cold is the Grave by Peter Robinson
June - Series complete: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
August - Set where you do not live: The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths
September - Cozy, by the sea: Trial of Passion by William Deverell
October - Historical: Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen
November - Female protagonist: The Coroner by M.R. Hall
       and The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

January - Last in, first out: Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
February - Borrowed: A room full of bones by Elly Griffiths
June - Bullet: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce
July - Multiple by author owned: Silent Scream by Lynda La Plante
August - Somehow still on the tbr list: Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
September - Classics: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
October - cover with visual appeal: Still life by Louise Penny
November - Gift: Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park

January - Your name in print: Vivienne - Gently Where She Lay by Alan Hunter
February - We need a break: Paris for one and other stories by JoJo Moyes
March - Brexit: This was a Man by Jeffery Archer
April - Tournament of Books: Circe by Madeline Miller
May - I could have danced all night: High Plains Tango by Robert James Waller
June - Pick a card: Priest by Ken Bruen
July - Bird connection: A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders
August - Back to school: Slam by Nick Hornby
September - Equinox: Days by Moonlight by André Alexis
October - knock-off, follow-ups, tributes, parodies: Devil may care by Sebastian Faulks
       and : The Penelopiad: The myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood
December - By the letter: Dead Cold by Louise Penny
       and : Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline
       and : The right attitude to rain by Alexander McCall Smith

Nov 2, 2019, 9:03pm

AlphaKit - Z

The Lost City of Z: a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon by David Grann 4★

Fascinating. I can't help wondering just what it was that inspired early explorers to go to such extremes, especially travelling into the jungle. This was well researched with a spellbinding story.

Nov 2, 2019, 10:05pm

>12 VivienneR:

I keep seeing mentions of this book. Maybe I should put it on my list to look for.

Nov 2, 2019, 10:26pm

Happy new thread!

Nov 3, 2019, 12:46am

>13 hailelib: I heard about the story a few years ago and was interested so picked up the book when I came across it. The Victorians were so eager to explore unknown places but I'm sure Percy Fawcett had no idea what he would have to endure.

>14 thornton37814: Thank you, Lori.

Nov 3, 2019, 2:20am

Look at that filled in BINGO card! On the home stretch now!

Nov 3, 2019, 9:31am

Happy new thread, Vivienne!
>12 VivienneR: My sister loved that one and I need to pick it up. Glad you liked it.

Nov 3, 2019, 10:58am

Happy new thread!

Nov 3, 2019, 1:00pm

Thank you, everyone.

>17 mstrust: In some ways it reminded me of Atwood's Penelopiad that I read last month. Mrs Fawcett waited at home just like Penelope waited for Odysseus.

Nov 3, 2019, 7:58pm

Happy new thread! I'm still enjoying the Christie locales.

Nov 3, 2019, 8:15pm

Thank you, Ninie. I'll soon be missing them.

Nov 4, 2019, 3:38pm

TBR-CAT - Gift

Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park 5★

It doesn't matter who you are, becoming a parent is like travelling in a strange land. Tom and Lorna worry about their son Luke, a student at university in England. Luke has been stranded by a snowstorm cancelling travel plans, the only person left in his student digs at Christmas. Tom sets out to bring him home to Northern Ireland for the holidays. This novel records Tom's journey as he reflects on another son, Daniel and where he went wrong. Interrupting his thoughts the satnav voice regularly advises him to stay on the route. At one point he turns off the satnav in case the woman can hear his thoughts.

Park's intriguing, quiet story is beautifully written, where each apparently trivial thought and event has significance.

No one ever buys me books because chances are it would be a duplicate, so I gifted this one to myself. If someone had given it to me I'd be able to thank them profusely. It gets a full five stars. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I finished.

Nov 4, 2019, 6:13pm

Happy new thread and what a way to start it off - with a 5 star read!

Nov 4, 2019, 6:32pm

>22 VivienneR: I love when you read a book that you cannot stop thinking about. I will find thoughts of the best books just popping up for ages afterwards. I will have to look for this one.

Nov 5, 2019, 12:07am

>23 DeltaQueen50: Thank you, Judy! It was you who suggested I buy myself a gift from my wishlist and this was the one I chose.

>24 JayneCM: Hi Jayne! As I was reading I was uncovering the significance of each element of the story, without which it could be seen as boring. After all, he was just driving along in the snow with his thoughts. The satnav woman could almost be regarded as a character too. David Park is one of my favourite Northern Ireland authors, mainly because he writes of places I know well - or used to know well.

Nov 5, 2019, 6:30am

Happy New Thread! That sounds like an interesting book.

Nov 6, 2019, 6:34am

>25 VivienneR: My library had a few of his books, so I have put this one on hold for now and will keep the others in mind for future reading. And I do love Irish authors. Thanks!

Nov 6, 2019, 1:18pm

>27 JayneCM: I'll watch out for your opinion, Jayne!

Edited: Nov 7, 2019, 12:49am

Faraway places, Canada, translations

Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson, translated by Quentin Bates 2.5★

My expectations may have been too high for this one. It disappointed.

If Icelander Ari Thor is suffering from anxiety and depressed by winter weather and an avalanche he better not move to my location in British Columbia. Once my town was cut off by avalanches in all three directions. I liked the premise, but there were a lot of problems with this debut. I doubt that I will try another.

Nov 7, 2019, 10:54am

>29 VivienneR: I didn't read that one, but I read the 3rd in the series. I was underwhelmed. I gave it the same rating you gave that one. I think you are safe avoiding future installments.

Nov 7, 2019, 12:01pm

>12 VivienneR: - I have that one on my shelf and hope to get to it soon (of course I say that about almost all my books). I picked it up after listening to the author speak about another of his books.

>29 VivienneR: - Oh dear, I also have that one on my shelf. We'll see how quickly I actually get to it now.

Nov 7, 2019, 4:45pm

>30 thornton37814: Thank you for the advice, Lori.

>31 LittleTaiko: Well, the good part is that the Jonasson book is a quick read and not a doorstop.

Nov 10, 2019, 10:09am

>22 VivienneR: - Wonderful review!

Nov 12, 2019, 9:03pm

>33 lkernagh: Thank you, Lori!

Edited: Nov 12, 2019, 9:15pm

I've been in hospital and awaiting surgery that has been delayed until the end of the month although my doctor is trying to get it moved up. As a result I haven't been reading much but two five-star reads is nothing to complain about.

Category - Mysteries

After the Mourning by Barbara Nadel 4★

Set during the Blitz in London 1940. Francis Hancock is an undertaker of Indian/British parentage trying to care for his family while dealing with shell-shock from "the first one". When he is asked to handle the funeral for a gypsy girl from Epping Forest he is led into an unexpected twist to a spy hunt. This book was darker than others in the series as it featured Mosley's Blackshirts in the police force, however, Nadel strives for accuracy in her stories. I enjoy Francis Hancock novels for the clearly London east end location and for her departure from the usual.


CalendarCAT - Churchill's birth month

The Second World War, Volume 1: Milestones to disaster by Winston S. Churchill, Christian Rodska 5★
The Gathering Storm by Winston S. Churchill 5★

I started listening to Milestones to Disaster but when I realized the text was from The Gathering Storm I read and listened simultaneously. Churchill was a brilliant writer, and made everything so easy to understand. I can't praise him enough and plan to read more, but not all, of the 12 volume series.

If anything, I preferred the audio version although statistics and charts were easier to read in the printed version.

Nov 12, 2019, 9:46pm

Sorry to hear about your upcoming surgery, Vivienne. Glad you can still get some good reading in. I have After the Mourning waiting to be read. I've found Nadel's Istanbul novels quite fascinating.

Nov 13, 2019, 12:33am

I haven't tried the Istanbul novels - yet! Nadel pays a lot of attention to getting details correct. And I love Francis Hancock even though he smokes like a chimney.

I was hoping I'd get another reprieve today but no, surgery is still on.

Nov 13, 2019, 7:17am

>37 VivienneR: Well, I highly recommend them!

Nov 13, 2019, 7:23am

>37 VivienneR: - I hope it gets done soon so you can start recovering and getting back to normal!

Nov 13, 2019, 11:55am

Hope the surgery goes well when you actually get to have it.

Nov 13, 2019, 1:52pm

>38 NinieB: Thanks, on your recommendation, I'll give them a try.

>39 dudes22: and >40 hailelib: Thank you.

Nov 13, 2019, 11:11pm

Thinking about you and wishing you good reads, comfort and a speedy recovery!

Nov 14, 2019, 12:56am

Thank you, Judy! I need cheerful books right now.

Nov 14, 2019, 8:17pm

>22 VivienneR: What a strong and compelling review! I'll keep an eye out for this one. I love books that keep me musing for a while afterward.

>35 VivienneR: Good luck with the surgery! And best of luck with the recovery. I'm sending you good wishes and hopes for ease.

Nov 15, 2019, 12:57am

>44 pammab: As I progressed through that book, I enjoyed it more and more. I hope you are able to try it.

And thank you so much for the good wishes.

Edited: Nov 19, 2019, 7:24pm

I'm still feeling under the weather and not looking forward to my surgery next week. My husband will be driving me to hospital a few hours from here, returning three days later, not a welcome journey at this time of the year. We've been watching snow levels via highway cams on the mountain passes.

Still reading, but my comments will be short.


AlphaKit - S & Y
Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella 3★
Although this is light entertainment with a high level of predictability, it was still enjoyable.

CalendarCAT - Native American Heritage month
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese 4.5★
Another outstanding story from Wagamese.

SeriesCAT - With female protagonist
The Coroner by M.R. Hall 3.5★
My first experience of Hall's series featuring coroner Jenny Cooper. Even though Cooper's overuse of medication for panic attacks was a tad annoying, the story was interesting and fast moving. I'm looking forward to another.

Nov 19, 2019, 8:01pm

>46 VivienneR: The only book I've read in the Jenny Cooper series is The Flight, which I read, not surprisingly, because the main case involves a plane crash.

Wishing you a safe trip for your surgery! Winter seems to have come early this year.

Nov 19, 2019, 10:18pm

Safe travels to you and your husband, Viienne. I have my fingers crossed that all goes well with your surgery.

Nov 20, 2019, 3:44am

Best wishes for a good outcome for your surgery. And safe travels!

Nov 20, 2019, 1:50pm

Best wishes for your surgery from me too!

Edited: Nov 22, 2019, 2:30pm

>47 rabbitprincess: Sounds good, I'll add that one to my wishlist. Thank you for the good wishes, it's wintery most of the year here in the mountains :)
>48 DeltaQueen50:
>49 MissWatson:
>50 Jackie_K:
Thank you all for your good wishes. We leave on Wednesday when the weather forecast predicts snow. Let's hope that changes.

Nov 22, 2019, 2:31pm

Category - Fiction

Room by Emma Donoghue 3.5★

I recently saw the movie, which naturally removed any element of surprise when reading the story and I have to admit I sped through parts of the book knowing how it played out. Inspired by a real life event of the type I usually avoid in the media, it's a disturbing story lifted only by the devotion between mother and child.

Nov 22, 2019, 10:20pm

>52 VivienneR: I adored Room but I agree that seeing the movie first would definitely have ruined the reading experience to some extent. I found that recently with The Testaments as some of it was given away in series two which I had already watched before the book release.
I have some of Emma Donoghue's other books on my TBR list.

Nov 22, 2019, 11:28pm

>53 JayneCM: Yes, I learned a lesson to have one or the other. I'm looking forward to trying more of Donoghue's books and have a hold on Akin at the library.

Nov 24, 2019, 7:01pm

SeriesCAT - With female protagonist

The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths 4.5★
An excellent installment in the Ruth Galloway series. Griffiths included some interesting geological information about Norwich as well as a closer look at the personalities of the main characters. I can't wait for the next one.

I read this earlier this month and forgot to enter it on LT.

Nov 24, 2019, 8:14pm

Stopping by and joining the others with good surgery wishes and safe driving wishes for your husband!

Nov 25, 2019, 12:30am

Thank you, Lori. Much appreciated!

Nov 25, 2019, 2:16pm

Good luck with the surgery. Hope all goes well.

Nov 30, 2019, 6:43am

Here's hoping that your surgery goes well and recovery is quick!

Nov 30, 2019, 7:34am

I hope you're already on the other side of surgery and that it was successful! Looking forward to seeing you back with us soon.

Dec 1, 2019, 2:57pm

>58 LittleTaiko:
>59 Tess_W:
>60 Jackie_K:

Thank you all so much. There were some complications making it more difficult than what I anticipated and a longer stay in hospital so I am just taking it easy now. However, I can't say enough about the wonderful care I received at Kelowna General Hospital in central British Columbia.

Dec 1, 2019, 2:59pm

Category - Golden Age & Cozy Mysteries

A presumption of death by Jill Paton Walsh & Dorothy L. Sayers 3★

It wasn't Dorothy Sayers, who gave Harriet and Peter sparkling conversation, in fact Peter wasn't around much in this story. However, my copy was an audiobook read by Edward Petherbridge, the actor who played Lord Peter in the tv series, and who gave the entire story a Sayers flavour.

I considered a 3.5 rating but although I finished it just a couple of days ago I can't for the life of me remember how it ended. Blame it on my recovery from illness.

Edited: Dec 1, 2019, 3:30pm

November Summary
Read in November: 13
Year to Date: 157

Category - Mysteries
Phi Beta murder by C.S. Challinor 3★

Category - Golden Age & Cozy Mysteries
A presumption of death by Jill Paton Walsh & Dorothy L. Sayers 3★
After the Mourning by Barbara Nadel 4★

Category - Fiction
Room by Emma Donoghue 3.5★

Faraway places, Canada, translations
Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson, translated by Quentin Bates 2.5★

AlphaKit - S & Y & Z
Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella 3★
The Lost City of Z: a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon by David Grann 4★

CalendarCAT - Churchill's birth month & Native American Heritage month
Milestones to disaster by Winston S. Churchill, Christian Rodska 5★❤️
The Gathering Storm by Winston S. Churchill 5★❤️
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese 4.5★

SeriesCAT - With female protagonist
The Coroner by M.R. Hall 3.5★
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths 4.5★

TBR-CAT - Gift
Travelling in a Strange Land by David Park 5★ ❤️

November ended in a bit of a washout but fortunately started well.

Dec 1, 2019, 5:02pm

Glad to hear things went well, Vivienne. Take your time getting up to speed.

Dec 1, 2019, 5:38pm

So good to hear from you! Hope you can take advantage of the cozy December weather to help with your recovery ;)

Dec 1, 2019, 6:04pm

Lovely to see you posting and that you are now in recovery mode!

Dec 2, 2019, 8:02am

Great to hear from you! Take it easy, and stay safe and warm!

Dec 2, 2019, 10:46am

I'm very glad to hear your surgery is over and you're back home. Get well quickly!

Dec 2, 2019, 12:25pm

Take good care of yourself!

Dec 3, 2019, 1:48am

>62 VivienneR: or just that it isn't quite up to DLS' standards. I did read the follow on books by Jill Paton Walsh, and I can't recommend them. The last one, especially, was nasty.

Get well soon and read lots of good things.

Dec 3, 2019, 10:25pm

>64 dudes22:
>65 rabbitprincess:
>66 lkernagh:
>67 Jackie_K:
>68 mstrust:
>69 MissWatson:
>70 Helenliz:

Thanks to all of you for the lovely wishes. It was such a treat to drop in and see so many nice messages.

Unfortunately my recovery stalled and I have to go back to Kelowna hospital. Now that we've had substantial snow my husband is not looking forward to driving through the mountains again. I would be taken by ambulance if I was in worse shape. Oh well.

Meanwhile I'm going to try to get my 2020 thread up. The rest of this month will only involve light reading.

>70 Helenliz: Thanks for the tip, I'll give my other JPW Lord Peter book a pass.

Dec 4, 2019, 12:01am

>71 VivienneR: Oh no - I hope you have a safe drive and your recovery will go smoothly from here.

Dec 4, 2019, 1:25am

>72 JayneCM: Thank you, Jayne. At least the timing will be a bit better and he won't have to keep his foot so firmly on the gas pedal to get there on time.

Edited: Dec 4, 2019, 1:35am

Category - Non-fiction & Biography

Nocturne on the life and death of my brother by Helen Humphreys 4★

A beautifully written tribute to her brother who died of pancreatic cancer and whose artistic talent was entwined with hers since childhood. It is a reminder to tell those we love how we feel and to savour every moment spent with them.

Although I'm counting this as read I didn't quite finish this because it is too sad for my unhealthy condition right now.

Dec 4, 2019, 3:10am

I'm sorry to hear things aren't going smoothly for you. My best wishes for a safe trip and return!

Dec 4, 2019, 7:21am

SO sorry things aren't progressing as you might want. Hope things get straightened out so you can get back on your feet.

Dec 4, 2019, 11:41am

>75 MissWatson: Thank you, Birgit.
>76 dudes22: Thank you, I hope so too.

Dec 4, 2019, 1:26pm

Sorry to hear that progress isn't as you had hoped. Praying things turn around quickly.

Dec 4, 2019, 1:44pm

Wishing you safe travels back to Kelowna, and a quick solution to whatever isn't quite working at the moment!

Dec 4, 2019, 7:51pm

It's nice to see you posting again!

Dec 4, 2019, 9:17pm

Hope you are doing better soon and the recovery gets back on track.

Dec 4, 2019, 9:37pm

I'm sorry to hear about your health worries. I'm wishing you a quick recovery and a safe trip back home afterward.

Edited: Dec 5, 2019, 4:55pm

>78 Tess_W:
>79 Jackie_K:
>80 clue:
>81 hailelib:
>82 mathgirl40:

Thank you all! Your messages are very encouraging. Now I just hope the weather plays along for the long drive through the mountains. Snow is a given.

Dec 5, 2019, 4:54pm

RandomCAT - December by the letter

Dead Cold by Louise Penny 4★

This was the first Louise Penny book I read and I didn't take to it much although I loved the Quebec references: the weather, culture, clothing, hockey, Leonard Cohen. I gave it 3 stars back then but after this re-read I'm upping that to four now that I "get" Three Pines. I have only one in the series left to read, the last one published. I hope Penny never tires of writing about Armand Gamache and Three Pines.

This takes care of D & C. I hope to cover the remaining letters soon.

Dec 10, 2019, 7:12pm

Fingers crossed that you're doing better now! All good wishes for you and your safety and health.

Dec 15, 2019, 9:06pm

I didn't have my surgery because I contracted flu instead, coupled with food poisoning. I've even been too sick to read. My husband caught my flu so we've both been bedridden. I haven't been able to do any Christmas shopping or even to send cards. Fortunately my son brought me groceries and treats.

>85 pammab: Thank you, I am much better but still very shaky, weak and not getting much reading done.

Looking forward to 2020.

Dec 15, 2019, 11:44pm

>86 VivienneR: Oh no, that is terrible. I hope you are both feeling much better very soon.

Dec 16, 2019, 3:30am

What a dreadful year you are having. I hope you recover quickly and fully and my best wishes for a much better 2020.

Dec 16, 2019, 3:06pm

Wow, what an awful time you're having! I hope you feel better soon. Nobody should have to go through all that at once.

Dec 16, 2019, 7:10pm

I'm so sorry you have had this terrible ordeal. I hope both you and your hubby are on the road back and doing much better soon.

Dec 17, 2019, 11:35am

I am beginning to think there must be something in the B.C. waters since we are both having such a terrible time! So sorry that you are having such a difficult time. I hope both you and your husband are feeling better soon.

Dec 17, 2019, 3:27pm

>86 VivienneR: - Oh dear, I hope both of you are feeling better soon. The flu is no fun and to have both of you sick at the same time is awful.

Dec 17, 2019, 3:29pm

>87 JayneCM: Feeling better but it's a slow recovery. Thank you.

>88 MissWatson: Thank you, I'm looking forward to 2020 too.

>89 mstrust: Thank you, it seemed like one thing led to another.

>90 clue: Thank you, slowly recovering but we'll make it.

>91 DeltaQueen50: Thank you, Judy. And I'm wishing you and your husband good health too. It's time for both of us.

Dec 17, 2019, 3:52pm

AlphaKit - E & R

Visions of sugar plums by Janet Evanovich

This was my first Evanovich so I have nothing to compare it with, but found it to be a light entertaining Christmas read. There were many laugh-out-loud moments. Perfect for my current state of recovery.

Dec 17, 2019, 11:49pm


White Christmas with a Wobbly Knee by Andrea Frazer 3.5★

Funny and different, an entertaining read for Christmas involving the eccentric British upper classes. The title is made up of cocktail names, the recipes are provided.

Edited: Dec 18, 2019, 11:59pm

RandomCAT - December by the letter

The right attitude to rain by Alexander McCall Smith 3★

I haven't read any of this series for a long time, but it was easy to get back into McCall Smith's gentle story.

Dec 19, 2019, 5:55am

>96 VivienneR: I think this is the next one for me in that series and is one my radar for my challenge next year.

Dec 19, 2019, 12:17pm

>97 dudes22: McCall Smith stories are always enjoyable.

Dec 20, 2019, 12:44pm

>95 VivienneR: - That is such a cute series - love the cocktail names!

Dec 20, 2019, 5:42pm

>99 LittleTaiko: Yes, it's a very funny series. I believe I have one more on the shelf.

Dec 20, 2019, 6:16pm

AlphaKit - E & R

A sleeping life by Ruth Rendell 3.5★

Inspector Wexford solves the mystery of a murdered woman's identity and history with unintended clues from his wife and daughters. This story had a women's lib theme. The denouement took me completely by surprise.

Dec 23, 2019, 2:43pm

Dec 23, 2019, 2:49pm

>102 mstrust: Thank you, Jennifer! I hope yours is Merry too!

Dec 23, 2019, 2:52pm


The Act of Roger Murgatroyd by Gilbert Adair 3★

Not a bad send up of a Golden Age mystery, but Adair doesn't quite pull it off. The 1930s didn't ring true as there were a few modern ideas mixed in. The trope of a country house filled with Christmas party guests cut off by a snow storm is overused and tired. I happen to be reading The Hunting Party, another one with a similar theme, but which is done so much better.

Dec 24, 2019, 1:50pm

Happy Holidays!

Dec 24, 2019, 3:01pm

Thank you, Judy! I hope your holidays are merry and we both have better health in the new year.

Dec 24, 2019, 3:36pm

Category - History & historical

It began with a page: How Gyo Fujikawa drew the way by Kyo Maclear 4★

A condensed biography of the children's book illustrator and author Gyo Fujikawa (1908-1998), including the time her family spent in an internment camp in California during WWII. It's a challenging story to relate to youngsters and although Maclear covers the basic details, it is not a stimulating story that will make a child think more or want to know more about the topics covered. The illustrations by Julie Morstad, some of which show Fujikawa's objection to racism and segregation, are the best part.

This was my October ER win.

Dec 24, 2019, 5:34pm


The hunting party by Lucy Foley 3.5★

A group of friends since Oxford enjoy a special vacation each year, this year to a remote luxurious hunting lodge in Scotland. The inevitable happens when they are cut off by a snow storm and one is murdered. Chapters are narrated alternately by guests and lodge staff, leaving the identity of the murdered guest unidentified until the end, making the story even more suspensful. However, using a group like this should offer a balanced character study for the plot to work but Foley's characters were either dominant or flat and empty making it obvious who would not get the chop. Suspenseful until the end.

Edited: Dec 25, 2019, 1:36am

To all my friends in this group and others, thank you for a great year of sharing your reading.

Dec 25, 2019, 7:55am

And a Merry Christmas to you and yours too. May it be filled with good books and love.

Dec 25, 2019, 9:24am

Thank you, Helen. I wish you the same for Christmas and the new year.

Dec 25, 2019, 1:45pm

Merry Christmas, Vivienne! I hope you're feeling better and that you have a restful and fun holiday :)

Dec 26, 2019, 1:19am

Thank you, RP! It's certainly been restful but this flu that we got was a doozy. I can't wait for better things in 2020. I hope you had a wonderful time with your parents.

Dec 26, 2019, 2:29am

I hope your Christmas was lovely and that you are feeling better now. Bring on 2020!

Dec 28, 2019, 4:52pm

>114 JayneCM: Thank you, Jayne. 2020 can't come soon enough!

Dec 28, 2019, 4:54pm

Category - Non-fiction & Biography

Elizabeth and Philip: A Royal Love Story by Town and Country 4★

This special edition of Town and Country was a gift from my daughter-in-law that I enjoyed a lot. The well-chosen photographs pair well with the text that does a valiant job considering it covers nearly 100 years of the lives of the Queen and Prince Philip.

Category - Golden Age & Cozy Mysteries

Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn 3.5★

Set in the 1920s this is a fun mystery in the Golden Age style with a hint of romance thrown in. And although the solution will satisfy the most aristocratic family worried about scandal, it didn't sit comfortably with me.

This was a BB from DeltaQueen50. Thank you, Judy.

Dec 29, 2019, 4:34am

>116 VivienneR: I do love a book about the royal family!

Dec 29, 2019, 1:05pm

>117 JayneCM: My daughter-in-law knows what I like! The subtitle said it all: A Royal Love Story. It was a special edition of Town and Country magazine, coincidentally, the main character of the Carola Dunn book was writing an article for the same magazine.

Dec 29, 2019, 3:23pm

>116 VivienneR: Yes, the ending of Death at Wentwater Court was a little too neatly arranged - I guess having money, power and influence did give the upper class an advantage!

Dec 29, 2019, 4:18pm

>119 DeltaQueen50: The Honourable Daisy certainly had the Chief wrapped around her little finger! But it was nice light reading, just right for me now when I'm recovering from flu.

Dec 29, 2019, 4:23pm

My November Early Reviewer snag:

Category - Off the beaten track

McTavish goes wild by Meg Rosoff 4★

McTavish: rescued dog or rescue dog? This is a cute story about a family who choose to go camping for their summer holidays. Although Pa Peachey's concerns about lions, malaria and the like are ridiculous, I can imagine young readers hooting with laughter at their silliness. When McTavish thinks the family are not enjoying their camping trip he rescues the situation in doggie fashion. This is a nice transition from picture books to illustrated chapter books for 7-9 year olds.

Dec 29, 2019, 5:54pm

>121 VivienneR: My son would probably like that one - he is eight. I will have to keep an eye out for this series.

And just took a quick look and my local library has the first book in the series on shelf. I am already eagerly awaiting their reopening on January 2nd (do they really need eight days holiday?!), so will grab it then.

Dec 29, 2019, 10:11pm

>122 JayneCM: Yes, look out for the series, Jayne. I have heard the first one is even better (I haven't read it) but I liked this one.

That's a long break for a public library but I guess business slows down over the holidays.

Dec 29, 2019, 10:13pm

Faraway places, Canada, translations

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Chilling (pardon the pun), but not as scary as I thought it would be.

Dec 29, 2019, 11:24pm

>123 VivienneR: I live in a small country town so lots of places are closed between Christmas and New Year. I must admit, I quite enjoy the quieter pace at this time of the year.

Dec 30, 2019, 1:07am

>125 JayneCM: I live in a small town too. I used to work at a university library and they shut down for 8 days too, but then there were no students (or faculty) around.

Dec 30, 2019, 5:07am

>126 VivienneR: It has been good actually as I now have a big pile of books ready to return (before I pick up the next lot of holds!)

Dec 30, 2019, 4:30pm

>127 JayneCM: I have to keep an eye on my holds list so that I don't get them all at once. My husband drops by the library almost every day and as soon as the library staff see him they check the holds shelf for my name. It's very convenient. :)

Are you anywhere near the wildfires that we are hearing about?

Dec 30, 2019, 5:22pm

>128 VivienneR: I have my own dedicated shelf for holds at the library!

Hubby is on a firetruck at the moment but thankfully we are only mopping up. All our fires were kept under control over night. The huge fires are on the other side of the state and are looking very bad. I am watching the live updates now as towns are currently under threat.

Dec 30, 2019, 6:28pm

Glad to hear you're not close to those fires. I was wondering when I was watching the news this morning.

Dec 30, 2019, 7:00pm

>128 VivienneR: This year I started suspending holds five weeks before my Christmas vacation so that they wouldn't come in while I was away. Now that I'm back, of course, they're getting reactivated. I had six to pick up today!

Dec 30, 2019, 7:28pm

>130 dudes22: Thank you. Unfortunately it is going to get worse before it gets better, in the next few hours.

Dec 30, 2019, 7:54pm

>129 JayneCM: A dedicated shelf: now that's a good idea!

Good and bad news about the fires. I live in an area that has been threatened many times. Last year we could see the flames from our living room and our son's house was just over the hill, so I know how it feels. Wishing you luck - and rain.

>131 rabbitprincess: If I place a hold on a title, it can come from one of many BC libraries that are connected as a cooperative. Suspending is not an option unless it is from my home library. As soon as I see "in transit" it's too late to suspend. My main problem is that hitting the "hold" button is just too easy!

Dec 30, 2019, 9:25pm

>133 VivienneR: Thank you. Although I am thankful that the fires are not near us this time, it is very scary. There are 4000 people sheltering on a beach as the fire is burning through the turn. They are talking about bringing in the military for a sea evacuation as it is getting far too close.

Dec 31, 2019, 7:39am

>133 VivienneR: - The last time (and first) that I tried to freeze a request for a book, I ended up deleting it and had to re-add it which put me back at the bottom.

>134 JayneCM: - That's so scary.

Dec 31, 2019, 9:30am

>134 JayneCM: We've been watching the fires on tv and reading online news. It is truly horrifying.

>135 dudes22: Ow! I bet that happens to a lot of people.

Dec 31, 2019, 9:37am

Category - Fiction

The bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett 4.5★

I love books that are different, imaginative and out of the ordinary. That's exactly what this one is. Laugh out loud laced with horror.

Thanks to RidgewayGirl for the BB.

RandomCAT - December by the letter

Embers: one Ojibway's meditations by Richard Wagamese 4★

A short inpirational volume from Wagamese. A good way to wrap up the year.

"Teachings come from everywhere when you open yourself to them."

Dec 31, 2019, 9:44am

December Summary
Read in December: 17
Year to Date: 174

British: 88
Canadian: 34
US: 24
Other nationalities: 28 (African, Australian, Belgian, Chinese, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Iranian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish)

male / female ratio: male 82 / female 91

ratings: 15 x 5 star ratings; 26 x 4.5 stars, and 59 x 4 stars.

A good year.

Dec 31, 2019, 9:44am

Dec 31, 2019, 1:55pm

>104 VivienneR: Too bad The Act of Roger Murgatroyd was disappointing...I love the title, but it sounds like I shouldn't bother with the book!

Dec 31, 2019, 3:06pm

Great wrap-up for the year! Enjoy your New Year's Eve :)

Dec 31, 2019, 6:41pm

Happy New Year! What a great reading year you have had. See you in 2020 for more fabulous books!