Cindy/LibraryCin's 2022 Reading Challenges

Talk2022 Category Challenge

Join LibraryThing to post.

Cindy/LibraryCin's 2022 Reading Challenges

Dec 24, 2021, 3:21pm

Finally setting up my challenge thread. It will follow the same format as previous years.

Oh, and me? I'm in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and am a librarian. As of the end of 2021, I have three cats - one almost 19 years old (= almost 92!), one about 11 and one about 10.

Reading? There's more I don't read than do read. I'm iffy on "classics", not a big fan of "epic" fantasy. Science fiction varies. Not a fan of romance or westerns.

Favourite genres? Lately, thrillers have overtaken historical fiction as a favourite. Also biographies are right up there. I do read a lot of nonfiction in addition to fiction.

5 stars - very rare
4.5 stars - likely to be a favourite, but couldn't quite give the full 5 stars
4 stars - I really liked this
3.5 stars - good
3 stars - ok
>2.5 stars - also rare

I do use .25 and .75, usually when I really can't decide.

Challenges? Here goes...

Edited: Nov 27, 2022, 9:57pm


Play Book Tag
(tags or challenges)
1. Lab Girl / Hope Jahren. 3.25 stars
2. Songs of the Humpback Whale / Jodi Picoult. 3.5 stars
3. Prayers for Sale / Sandra Dallas. 3.5 stars
4. As I Lay Dying / William Faulkner. 2 stars
5. Career of Evil / Robert Galbraith. 3.75 stars
6. The Dutch House / Ann Patchett. 3.75 stars
7. Our Souls at Night / Kent Haruf. 3.75 stars
8. The Patron Saint of Liars / Ann Patchett. 3.25 stars
9. Troublemaker / Leah Remini. 4 stars
10. The Testaments / Margaret Atwood. 4.5 stars
11. Hour of the Witch / Chris Bohjalian. 3.5 stars
12. The Lost Village / Camilla Sten. 4 stars
13. The Ha-Ha / Dave King. 3.5 stars

Edited: Jan 1, 4:31pm

ARCs (Netgalley, Early Readers)
1. The Heights / Louise Candlish. 4 stars
2. The Lives of Diamond Bessie / Jody Hadlock. 3.5 stars
3. Until Leaves Fall in Paris / Sarah Sundin. 3.5 stars
4. Breathless / Amy McCulloch. 4.25 stars
5. The Keepers / Tan Van Huizen. 3.5 stars
6. Cults / Max Cutler. 3.5 stars
7. The Night Whispers / Caroline Mitchell. 4 stars
8. The Castleton Massacre / Sharon Cook, Margaret Carson. 4.5 stars
9. Killing the Butterfly / Dale Ward. 3.5 stars
10. Little Red House / Liv Andersson. 4.25 stars
11. City Under One Roof / Iris Yamashita. 3.5 stars
12. The Doctor from Hell / Genoviva Ortiz. 3.5 stars
13. Cobalt Red / Siddharth Kara. 3.5 stars

Edited: Dec 12, 2022, 11:06pm

Reading Through Time
1. Little Town on the Prairie / Laura Ingalls Wilder. 4 stars
2. A Stitch in Time / Kelley Armstrong. 4 stars
3. How We Got to Now / Steven Johnson. 3.5 stars
4. Cradle to Cradle / William McDonough & Michael Braungart. 3.25 stars
5. The Wilderness Warrior / Douglas Brinkley. 3.25 stars
6. They Called Us Enemy / George Takei. 4 stars
7. Starvation Heights / Gregg Olsen. 4 stars
8. These Happy Golden Years / Laura Ingalls Wilder. 4 stars
9. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Washington Irving. 3.5 stars
10. Forever Leisl / Charmian Carr. 3.5 stars
11. Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? / Caitlin Doughty. 4 stars
12. Omaha Beach / Joseph Balkoski. 3.75 stars
13. From Here to Eternity / Caitlin Doughty. 3.5 stars

Edited: Dec 24, 2022, 3:18pm

Oh Canada! (Canadian Authors)
1. Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan 3 / Jo-Anne Christensen. 4 stars
2. Brian's Return / Gary Paulsen. 3 stars
3. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place / Alan Bradley. 3.75 stars
4. The Clay Girl / Heather Tucker. 2.5 stars
5. Wild Awake / Hilary T. Smith. 3 stars
6. Anne of Green Gables / L. M. Montgomery. 4 stars
7. First Snow, Last Light / Wayne Johnston. 3 stars
8. Remembering the Bones / Frances Itani. 3.5 stars
9. The Innocents / Michael Crummey. 2 stars
10. The War in the Country / Thomas F. Pawlick. 4 stars
11. Fountaineville / C. A. Simonsen. 3 stars
12. The Wife's Tale / Lori Lansens. 3.5 stars
13. All Together Now / Alan Doyle. 4.25 stars
14. Ballgowns & Butterflies / Kelley Armstrong. 4 stars

Edited: Dec 27, 2022, 2:48pm

Trim the TBR (On TBR 3+ years)
1. Penelope / Rebecca Harrington. 2.5 stars
2. The Only Alien on the Planet / Kristen D. Randle. 3.5 stars
3. Blue Meridian / Peter Matthiessen. 2.5 stars
4. Journey Toward Justice / Dennis Fritz. 4 stars
5. The Stone Monkey / Jeffery Deaver. 4 stars
6. MirrorMask / Neil Gaiman. 2 stars
7. In One Person / John Irving. 3 stars
8. The Runaway Wife / Rowan Coleman. 3.5 stars
9. Annabel / Lauren Oliver. 3 stars
10. All Around the Town / Mary Higgins Clark. 4 stars
11. Paper: An Elegy / Ian Sansom. 3 stars
12. The Lake House / Marci Nault. 3.5 stars
13. The Ophelia Cut / John Lescroart. 3.5 stars
14. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? / Roz Chast. 4.5 stars
15. A Cabinet of Wonders / Renee Dodd. 3.5 stars
16. You Take it From Here / Pamela Ribon. 3.5 stars

Edited: Dec 30, 2022, 1:57pm

Will it Ever End? (Continuing Series)
1. Click Here for Murder / Donna Andrews. 4 stars
2. Big Boned / Meg Cabot. 4 stars
3. Rose in Bloom / Louisa May Alcott. 2 stars
4. Not the Killing Type / Lorna Barrett. 3.5 stars
5. Death of Riley / Rhys Bowen. 4 stars
6. Lies That Comfort and Betray / Rosemary Simpson. 4 stars
7. The Queen and Lord M / Jean Plaidy. 3.5 stars
8. Iced / Karen Marie Moning. 3 stars
9. The Fated Sky / Mary Robinette Kowal. 4 stars
10. Dance of Death / Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child. 3.5 stars
11. Pop Goes the Weasel / James Patterson. 4 stars
12. Book Clubbed / Lorna Barrett. 3.5 stars
13. Lady Knight / Tamora Pierce. 3 stars
14. The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant / Joanna Wiebe. 3.5 stars

Edited: Dec 28, 2022, 10:11pm

Off the Shelf (Print or E- Books I Own)
1. A Tap on the Window / Linwood Barclay. 4.25 stars
2. Shopaholic Ties the Knot / Sophie Kinsella. 4 stars
3. The Island of Sea Women / Lisa See. 3.5 stars
4. The House from Hell / Genoveva Ortiz. 3.75 stars
5. Hamnet / Maggie O'Farrell. 3 stars
6. A Gentleman in Moscow / Amor Towles. 2.25 stars
7. The Haunting of Crimshaw Manor / Mark E. Drotos. 3.5 stars
8. Pretty Little Wife / Darby Kane. 4 stars
9. Between Two Kingdoms / Suleika Jaouad. 4 stars
10. Preventing Her Shutdown / Sammie Marsalli. 3.5 stars
11. The Hunting Party / Lucy Foley. 4 stars
12. Elevator Pitch / Linwood Barclay. 4 stars
13 An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth / Chris Hadfield. 4 stars

Edited: Dec 14, 2022, 3:42pm

Audio Books
1. The Five / Hallie Rubenhold. 4 stars
2. I’ll be Gone in the Dark / Michelle McNamara. 3.5 stars
3. The Outsider / Stephen King. 4 stars
4. The Great Alone / Kristin Hannah. 4.5 stars
5. Olive Kitteridge / Elizabeth Strout. 2 stars
6. Becoming Mrs. Lewis / Patti Callahan. 2 stars
7. Home Before Dark / Riley Sager. 4 stars
8. The Arctic Fury / Greer Macallister. 4 stars
9. The Virgin Queen's Daughter / Ella March Chase. 3 stars
10. Midnight Sun / Stephenie Meyer. 3.5 stars
11. Insomnia / Stephen King. 2.5 stars
12. David Copperfield / Charles Dickens. 2 stars
13. Pandemonium / Lauren Oliver. 3.5 stars
14. Once Upon a Wardrobe / Patti Callahan. 3.5 stars

Edited: Dec 29, 2022, 11:42pm

I'll Travel Virtually (Books Set in Other Countries - not Canada, USA, or England)
1. Penance / Kanae Minato. 3.5 stars
2. Maus I / Art Spiegelman. 4 stars
3. Maus II / Art Spiegelman. 4 stars
4. The Tusk that did the Damage / Tania James. 2.5 stars
5. The Council of Twelve / Oliver Potzsch. 4.25 stars
6. The Voyage of the Narwhal / Andrea Barrett. 3.5 stars
7. The Lacuna / Barbara Kingsolver. 1 star
8. Royal Blood / Rhys Bowen. 4 stars
9. Reflections of Eden / Birute Galdikas. 4 stars
10. Abundance / Sena Jeter Naslund. 3 stars
11. To See You Again / Betty Schimmel. 4 stars
12. Woman at 1,000 Degrees / Hallgrimur Helgason. 3.25 stars
13. The Vatican Princess / C.W. Gortner. 3.75 stars
14. The Swiss Family Robinson / Johann Wyss. 3 stars

Edited: Sep 25, 2022, 3:54pm

Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My! (Animals)
1. Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals / Helene Rajcak, Damien Laverdunt. 4 stars
2. The Bluebird Effect / Julie Zickefoose. 4 stars
3. Buzz, Sting, Bite / Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. 4 stars
4. A Street Cat Named Bob / James Bowen. 4 stars
5. Rare / Joel Sartore. 4 stars
6. Seabiscuit / Laura Hillenbrand. 3.5 stars
7. The Last Wild Wolves / Ian McAllister. 4.5 stars
8. Next of Kin / Roger Fouts. 4.5 stars
9. Pit Bull / Bronwen Dickey. 4.5 stars
10. Grey Matters / Clea Simon. 3.5 stars
11. Beyond Words / Carl Safina. 4 stars

Edited: Dec 11, 2022, 10:50pm

Truth is Stranger than Fiction (Nonfiction)
1. Confessions of a Sociopath / M. E. Thomas. 3.5 stars
2. Elizabeth of York / Alison Weir. 3.25 stars
3. The Greatest Traitor / Ian Mortimer. 3.5 stars
4. Lucky / Alice Sebold. 4 stars
5. Offshore / Catherine Dook. 3.5 stars
6. Alone Together / Leah Hennel. 5 stars
7. The Dorito Effect / Mark Schatzker. 4 stars
8. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly / Jean-Dominique Bauby. 2.5 stars
9. The Witches: Salem, 1692 / Stacy Schiff. 3.25 stars
10. Titanic Survivor / Violet Jessop. 3 stars
11. Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History / Tori Telfer. 4 stars
12. The Great American Dust Bowl / Don Brown. 3.5 stars
13. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief / Lawrence Wright. 3.5 stars
14. The Splendid and the Vile / Erik Larson. 2.25 stars

Edited: Nov 13, 2022, 10:43pm

BIPOC (Authors or main characters)
1. Forgiveness / Mark Sakamoto. 4 stars
2. Jonny Appleseed / Joshua Whitehead. 2 stars
3. Take My Hand / Dolen Perkins-Valdez. 4 stars
4. Becoming / Michelle Obama. 3.75 stars
5. Tituba of Salem Village / Ann Petry. 3.5 stars
6. They Said This Would be Fun / Eternity Martis. 3 stars
7. Little Fires Everywhere / Celeste Ng. 3.25 stars
8. How to Pronounce Knife / Souvankham Thammavongsa. 3.5 stars
9. Five Little Indians / Michelle Good. 3.5 stars
10. Long Walk to Freedom / Nelson Mandela. 4 stars
11. Mediocre / Ijeoma Oluo. 3.5 stars
12. The Secrets Between Us / Thrity Umrigar. 3.5 stars

Edited: Nov 11, 2022, 5:32pm

Overflow (doesn’t fit other categories)
1. The Lady of the Rivers / Philippa Gregory. 4 stars
2. This Tender Land / William Kent Krueger. 3.5 stars
3. Ashfall / Mike Mullin. 4 stars
4. The Family Upstairs / Lisa Jewell. 3.5 stars

Edited: Nov 22, 2022, 10:32pm


1. An Award Winning book. Maus I / Art Spiegelman. 4 stars
2. Published in a year ending 2. The Bluebird Effect / Julie Zickefoose. 4 stars
3. A modern retelling of an older story. This Tender Land / William Kent Krueger. 3.5 stars
4. A book you'd love to see as a movie. The Island of Sea Women / Lisa See. 3.5 stars
5. A book that features a dog.Our Souls at Night / Kent Haruf. 3.75 stars
6. The title contains the letter Z. The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia / C.W. Gortner. 3.75 stars
7. Published the year you joined LT (2013). Not the Killing Type / Lorna Barrett. 3.5 stars
8. A book by a favourite author. A Tap on the Window / Linwood Barclay. 4.25 stars
9. A long book (long for you). Elizabeth of York / Alison Weir. 3.25 stars
10. A book you received as a gift. Hamnet / Maggie O'Farrell. 3 stars
11. The title contains a month. Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944 / Joseph Balkoski. 3.75 stars
12. A weather word in the title. The Last Wild Wolves / Ian McAllister. 4.5 stars
13. Read a CAT. Rose in Bloom / Louisa May Alcott. 2 stars
14. Contains travel or a journey. The Lady of the Rivers / Philippa Gregory. 4 stars
15. A book about sisters or brothers. The Clay Girl / Heather Tucker. 2.5 stars
16. A book club read (real or online). Forgiveness / Mark Sakamoto. 4 stars
17. A book with flowers on the cover. Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals / Helene Rajcak, Damien Laverdunt. 4 stars
18. A book in translation. Buzz, Sting, Bite / Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. 4 stars
19. A work of non-fiction. Confessions of a Sociopath / M. E. Thomas. 3.5 stars
20. A book where a character shares a name of a friend. Big Boned / Meg Cabot. 4 stars
21. A book set in a capital city. The Five / Hallie Rubenhold. 4 stars
22. A children's or YA book. The Only Alien on the Planet / Kristen D. Randle. 3.5 stars
23. A book set in a country other than the one you live. Lab Girl / Hope Jahren. 3.25 stars
24. A book by an LGBTQ+ author. Jonny Appleseed / Joshua Whitehead. 2 stars
25. A book with silver or gold on the cover. Click Here for Murder / Donna Andrews. 4 stars

Edited: Dec 4, 2022, 11:37pm


January: Biography/autobiography/memoir by women
- Confessions of a Sociopath / M. E. Thomas. 3.5 stars
- The Bluebird Effect / Julie Zickefoose. 4 stars
- The Five / Hallie Rubenhold. 4 stars
- Lab Girl / Hope Jahren. 3.25 stars

February: Women in Translation (Women authors and/or translators)
- Buzz, Sting, Bite / Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. 4 stars
- Penance / Kanae Minato. 3.5 stars

March: Women Pioneers
- Prayers for Sale / Sandra Dallas. 3.5 stars

April: Women of Color
- The Tusk that did the Damage / Tania James. 2.5 stars
- Becoming / Michelle Obama. 3.75 stars
- The Island of Sea Women / Lisa See. 3.5 stars

May: Classics by Women
- Seabiscuit / Laura Hillenbrand. 3.5 stars
- Anne of Green Gables / L. M. Montgomery. 4 stars

June: Books set in cities or about cities by women
- The Lacuna / Barbara Kingsolver. 1 star
- Lies That Comfort and Betray / Rosemary Simpson. 4 stars

*July: Women in Science
- The Fated Sky / Mary Robinette Kowal. 4 stars
- Reflections of Eden / Birute Galdikas. 4 stars

August: Children's/YA/Graphic Novels
- Annabel / Lauren Oliver. 3 stars
- These Happy Golden Years / Laura Ingalls Wilder. 4 stars

September: Women during War
- To See You Again / Betty Schimmel. 4 stars

October: Women and Crime
- Little Red House / Liv Andersson. 4.25 stars
- Hour of the Witch / Chris Bohjalian. 3.5 stars
- Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History / Tori Telfer. 4 stars

November: Issues as seen through women's eyes
- Mediocre / Ijeoma Oluo. 3.5 stars

December: Prize Winner by a Woman
- Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? / Roz Chast. 4.5 stars

Edited: Dec 23, 2022, 3:32pm


January: Indigenous Writers
- Jonny Appleseed / Joshua Whitehead. 2 stars

February: 19th Century Authors
- Rose in Bloom / Louisa May Alcott. 2 stars

March: Authors First Published at Age 40 or later
- The Clay Girl / Heather Tucker. 2.5 stars

April: Debut Authors
- Journey Toward Justice / Dennis Fritz. 4 stars
- Wild Awake / Hilary T. Smith. 3 stars

May: Authors From Your Own Country
- Anne of Green Gables / L. M. Montgomery. 4 stars
- Offshore / Catherine Dook. 3.5 stars

*June: Nonfiction Authors
- Alone Together / Leah Hennel. 5 stars
- They Called Us Enemy / George Takei. 4 stars
- The Dorito Effect / Mark Schatzker. 4 stars

July: Asian Authors
- They Said This Would be Fun / Eternity Martis. 3 stars
- Little Fires Everywhere / Celeste Ng. 3.25 stars
- How to Pronounce Knife / Souvankham Thammavongsa. 3.5 stars

August: Prize Winning Authors
- Hamnet / Maggie O'Farrell. 3 stars
- Five Little Indians / Michelle Good. 3.5 stars

September: African Authors
- Long Walk to Freedom / Nelson Mandela. 4 stars

October: Authors in Translation
- Woman at 1,000 Degrees / Hallgrimur Helgason. 3.25 stars
- The Lost Village / Camilla Sten. 4 stars

November- Authors who set their books against real events
- The Great American Dust Bowl / Don Brown. 3.5 stars
- Omaha Beach / Joseph Balkoski. 3.75 stars
- The Doctor from Hell / Genoviva Ortiz. 3.5 stars

December: Favorite Authors
- The Splendid and the Vile / Erik Larson. 2.25 stars
- Elevator Pitch / Linwood Barclay. 4 stars

Edited: Dec 9, 2022, 4:09pm


January: Home Sweet Home
- Forgiveness / Mark Sakamoto. 4 stars
- Jonny Appleseed / Joshua Whitehead. 2 stars
- Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan 3 / Jo-Anne Christensen. 4 stars
- Brian's Return / Gary Paulsen. 3 stars
- Big Boned / Meg Cabot. 4 stars

February: Read a "cat"
- A Street Cat Named Bob / James Bowen. 4 stars

March: Hobby Love
- Rare / Joel Sartore. 4 stars

April: April Showers
- The Last Wild Wolves / Ian McAllister. 4.5 stars

May: May Flowers
- Seabiscuit / Laura Hillenbrand. 3.5 stars

June: Cookin' the Books
- The Dorito Effect / Mark Schatzker. 4 stars

July: Dog Days of Summer
- Pit Bull / Bronwen Dickey. 4.5 stars

August: Canada!
- Remembering the Bones / Frances Itani. 3.5 stars
- The Castleton Massacre / Sharon Cook, Margaret Carson. 4.5 stars
- Five Little Indians / Michelle Good. 3.5 stars

September: A Time to Harvest
- The War in the Country / Thomas F. Pawlick. 4 stars

October: What's in a Name?
- Forever Leisl / Charmian Carr. 3.5 stars

November: City
- City Under One Roof / Iris Yamashita. 3.5 stars
- Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief / Lawrence Wright. 3.5 stars

December: Christmas Sweets
- The Wife's Tale / Lori Lansens. 3.5 stars

Edited: Dec 19, 2022, 3:17pm


January: Haunted Houses
- Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan 3 / Jo-Anne Christensen. 4 stars

February: Spiders, Snakes, and Other Creepy Crawlers
- Buzz, Sting, Bite / Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. 4 stars

March: Switched
- The Outsider / Stephen King. 4 stars

April: Serial Killers
- The Stone Monkey / Jeffery Deaver. 4 stars
- Career of Evil / Robert Galbraith. 3.75 stars

May: Anthologies, Short Stories, and Novellas
- MirrorMask / Neil Gaiman. 2 stars
- The House from Hell / Genoveva Ortiz. 3.75 stars

June: Out in the Wild
- The Arctic Fury / Greer Macallister. 4 stars

*July: The Living Dead (zombies, vampires, frankensteins...)
- Iced / Karen Marie Moning. 3 stars
- Royal Blood / Rhys Bowen. 4 stars

August: Children/YA
- Annabel / Lauren Oliver. 3 stars
- Ashfall / Mike Mullin. 4 stars

September: It's All in Your Head--Or Is It?
- Pretty Little Wife / Darby Kane. 4 stars

October: Witches, Evil Spirits, and Black Magic
- Hour of the Witch / Chris Bohjalian. 3.5 stars
- Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History / Tori Telfer. 4 stars

November: Stephen King and family
- Insomnia / Stephen King. 2.5 stars

December: Holiday Theme
- The Hunting Party / Lucy Foley. 4 stars

Edited: Dec 19, 2022, 3:17pm


January: Series
- Click Here for Murder / Donna Andrews. 4 stars
- Big Boned / Meg Cabot. 4 stars

February: Cold case crimes
- I’ll be Gone in the Dark / Michelle McNamara. 3.5 stars
- Penance / Kanae Minato. 3.5 stars

March: Small towns, big secrets
- Not the Killing Type / Lorna Barrett. 3.5 stars

April: Noir/hard boiled
- The Stone Monkey / Jeffery Deaver. 4 stars
- Career of Evil / Robert Galbraith. 3.75 stars

May: Detectives in translation
- The Council of Twelve / Oliver Potzsch. 4.25 stars

June: Historical fiction mysteries
- First Snow, Last Light / Wayne Johnston. 3 stars
- The Arctic Fury / Greer Macallister. 4 stars
- Lies That Comfort and Betray / Rosemary Simpson. 4 stars

July: Golden Age
- Royal Blood / Rhys Bowen. 4 stars

August: Technothrillers
- Dance of Death / Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child. 3.5 stars

September: Animal mystery
- Grey Matters / Clea Simon. 3.5 stars

October: Mysteries featuring food
- Book Clubbed / Lorna Barrett. 3.5 stars

November: Gothic
- The Family Upstairs / Lisa Jewell. 3.5 stars

December: Holiday Mysteries
- The Hunting Party / Lucy Foley. 4 stars

Edited: Dec 30, 2022, 1:57pm


Year-Long: X, Z
- The Bluebird Effect / Julie Zickefoose. 4 stars

Jan: R and H
- Penelope / Rebecca Harrington. 2.5 stars
- Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals / Helene Rajcak, Damien Laverdunt. 4 stars
- The Five / Hallie Rubenhold. 4 stars
- The Only Alien on the Planet / Kristen D. Randle. 3.5 stars
- Lab Girl / Hope Jahren. 3.25 stars
- The Heights / Louise Candlish. 4 stars

Feb: A and B
- Rose in Bloom / Louisa May Alcott. 2 stars
- Buzz, Sting, Bite / Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. 4 stars
- Elizabeth of York / Alison Weir. 3.25 stars
- The Grave's a Fine and Private Place / Alan Bradley. 3.75 stars
- A Street Cat Named Bob / James Bowen. 4 stars

Mar: P and S
- Rare / Joel Sartore. 4 stars
- Shopaholic Ties the Knot / Sophie Kinsella. 4 stars
- Prayers for Sale / Sandra Dallas. 3.5 stars
- The Outsider / Stephen King. 4 stars
- Maus I / Art Spiegelman. 4 stars
- A Stitch in Time / Kelley Armstrong. 4 stars
- Maus II / Art Spiegelman. 4 stars
- Blue Meridian / Peter Matthiessen. 2.5 stars
- Lucky / Alice Sebold. 4 stars
- Take My Hand / Dolen Perkins-Valdez. 4 stars
- Until Leaves Fall in Paris / Sarah Sundin. 3.5 stars

Apr: L and J
- The Tusk that did the Damage / Tania James. 2.5 stars
- Journey Toward Justice / Dennis Fritz. 4 stars
- The Stone Monkey / Jeffery Deaver. 4 stars
- How We Got to Now / Steven Johnson. 3.5 stars
- The Island of Sea Women / Lisa See. 3.5 stars

May: O and D
- The Council of Twelve / Oliver Potzsch. 4.25 stars
- Offshore / Catherine Dook. 3.5 stars
- The Dutch House / Ann Patchett. 3.75 stars
- Our Souls at Night / Kent Haruf. 3.75 stars
- The Wilderness Warrior / Douglas Brinkley. 3.25 stars
- The House from Hell / Genoveva Ortiz. 3.75 stars

Jun: Q and C
- The Runaway Wife / Rowan Coleman. 3.5 stars
- The Queen and Lord M / Jean Plaidy. 3.5 stars

Jul: E and T
- They Said This Would be Fun / Eternity Martis. 3 stars
- How to Pronounce Knife / Souvankham Thammavongsa. 3.5 stars
- Troublemaker / Leah Remini. 4 stars
- The Virgin Queen's Daughter / Ella March Chase. 3 stars

Aug: M and F
- Hamnet / Maggie O'Farrell. 3 stars
- The Castleton Massacre / Sharon Cook, Margaret Carson. 4.5 stars
- All Around the Town / Mary Higgins Clark. 4 stars
- Five Little Indians / Michelle Good. 3.5 stars
- Ashfall / Mike Mullin. 4 stars

Sep: K and I
- The Innocents / Michael Crummey. 2 stars
- Pretty Little Wife / Darby Kane
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Washington Irving. 3.5 stars
- Paper: An Elegy / Ian Sansom. 3 stars

Oct: V and N
- The Lake House / Marci Nault. 3.5 stars
- The Vatican Princess / C.W. Gortner. 3.75 stars

Nov: G and U
- The Secrets Between Us / Thrity Umrigar. 3.5 stars
- The Doctor from Hell / Genoviva Ortiz. 3.5 stars
- Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief / Lawrence Wright. 3.5 stars

Dec: Y and W
- The Wife's Tale / Lori Lansens. 3.5 stars
- You Take it From Here / Pamela Ribon. 3.5 stars
- The Swiss Family Robinson / Johann Wyss. 3 stars
- The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant / Joanna Wiebe. 3.5 stars

Edited: Dec 30, 2022, 1:58pm

Roundtuits/(Classic) Trim the TBR
3+ years on the tbr.

1. Stay / Allie Larkin
2. Sugarhouse / Matthew Batt
5. You Take it from Here / Pamela Ribon
6. Out With It / Katherine Preston
7. The Perfect Ghost / Linda Barnes
8. The Ophelia Cut / John Lescroart
9. Something About Sophie / Mary Kay McComas
11. The Lake House / Marci Nault
12. The Sister Season / Jennifer Scott
13. Dead Run / Dan Schultz

1. Forgiveness / Mark Sakamoto. 4 stars
2. Confessions of a Sociopath / M. E. Thomas. 3.5 stars
3. Penelope / Rebecca Harrington. 2.5 stars
4. Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals / Helene Rajcak, Damien Laverdunt. 4 stars
5. Click Here for Murder / Donna Andrews. 4 stars
6. The Bluebird Effect / Julie Zickefoose. 4 stars
7. The Only Alien on the Planet / Kristen D. Randle. 3.5 stars
8. Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan 3 / Jo-Anne Christensen. 4 stars
9. A Tap on the Window / Linwood Barcaly. 4.25 stars
10. Big Boned / Meg Cabot. 4 stars
11. Elizabeth of York / Alison Weir. 3.25 stars
12. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place / Alan Bradley. 3.75 stars
13. A Street Cat Named Bob / James Bowen. 4 stars
14. Rare / Joel Sartore. 4 stars
15. The Greatest Traitor / Ian Mortimer. 3.5 stars
16. Shopaholic Ties the Knot / Sophie Kinsella. 4 stars
17. Not the Killing Type / Lorna Barrett. 3.5 stars
18. Blue Meridian / Peter Matthiessen. 2.5 stars
19. Lucky / Alice Sebold. 4 stars
20. The Tusk that did the Damage / Tania James. 2.5 stars
21. Journey Toward Justice / Dennis Fritz. 4 stars
22. The Stone Monkey / Jeffery Deaver. 4 stars
23. Wild Awake / Hilary T. Smith. 3 stars
24. Cradle to Cradle / William McDonough & Michael Braungart. 3.25 stars
25. MirrorMask / Neil Gaiman. 2 stars
26. Offshore / Catherine Dook. 3.5 stars
27. Tituba of Salem Village / Ann Petry. 3.5 stars
28. Our Souls at Night / Kent Haruf. 3.75 stars
29. The Wilderness Warrior / Douglas Brinkley. 3.25 stars
30. The Last Wild Wolves / Ian McAllister. 4.5 stars
31. First Snow, Last Light / Wayne Johnston. 3 stars
32. In One Person / John Irving. 3 stars
33. The Dorito Effect / Mark Schatzker. 4 stars
34. The Runaway Wife / Rowan Coleman. 3.5 stars
35. The Queen and Lord M / Jean Plaidy. 3.5 stars
36. Next of Kin / Roger Fouts. 4.5 stars
37. Pit Bull / Bronwen Dickey. 4.5 stars
38. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly / Jean-Dominique Bauby. 2.5 stars
39. Iced / Karen Marie Moning. 3 stars
40. Troublemaker / Leah Remini. 4 stars
41. The Virgin Queen's Daughter / Ella March Chase. 3 stars
42. Reflections of Eden / Birute Galdikas. 4 stars
43. Remembering the Bones / Frances Itani. 3.5 stars
44. The Witches: Salem, 1692 / Stacy Schiff. 3.25 stars
45. Dance of Death / Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child. 3.5 stars
46. Annabel / Lauren Oliver. 3 stars
47. All Around the Town / Mary Higgins Clark. 4 stars
48. Abundance / Sena Jeter Naslund. 3 stars
49. Titanic Survivor / Violet Jessop. 3 stars
50. Grey Matters / Clea Simon. 3.5 stars
51. Long Walk to Freedom / Nelson Mandela. 4 stars
52. To See You Again / Betty Schimmel. 4 stars
53. The War in the Country / Thomas F. Pawlick. 4 stars
54. Paper: An Elegy / Ian Sansom. 3 stars
55. Midnight Sun / Stephenie Meyer. 3.5 stars
56. Woman at 1,000 Degrees / Hallgrimur Helgason. 3.25 stars
57. Forever Leisl / Charmian Carr. 3.5 stars
58. The Lake House / Marci Nault. 3.5 stars
59. The Ophelia Cut / John Lescroart. 3.5 stars
60. The Great American Dust Bowl / Don Brown. 3.5 stars
61. The Secrets Between Us / Thrity Umrigar. 3.5 stars
62. Omaha Beach / Joseph Balkoski. 3.75 stars
63. The Ha-Ha / Dave King. 3.5 stars
64. David Copperfield / Charles Dickens. 2 stars
65. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? / Roz Chast. 4.5 stars
66. The Wife's Tale / Lori Lansens. 3.5 stars
67. Pandemonium / Lauren Oliver. 3.5 stars
68. A Cabinet of Wonders / Renee Dodd. 3.5 stars
69. Elevator Pitch / Linwood Barclay. 4 stars
70. You Take it From Here / Pamela Ribon. 3.5 stars
71. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth / Chris Hadfield. 4 stars
72. The Swiss Family Robinson / Johann Wyss. 3 stars
73. The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant / Joanna Wiebe. 3.5 stars

Edited: Dec 21, 2022, 2:50pm

PBT Trim the TBR

1. Don’t Throw it Out / Lori Baird
2. A Book in Every Hand / Don Kerr
3. 13 Ways to Kill Your Community / Doug Griffiths, Kelly Clemmer
4. Chief Piapot: I Will Stop the Train / Vincent McKay

5. David Copperfield / Charles Dickens. 2 stars
6. The Second Life of Samuel Tyne / Esi Edugyan
7. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly / Jean-Dominique Bauby
8. Next of Kin / Roger Fouts. 4.5 stars
9. Tituba of Salem Village / Ann Petry. 3.5 stars
10. The Only Alien on the Planet / Kristen D. Randle. 3.5 stars
11. Lucky / Alice Sebold. 4 stars

12. The Son of a Certain Woman / Wayne Johnston
13. The Courts of Love / Jean Plaidy (Victoria Holt)
14. Memories of Anne Frank / Alison Gold

15. All Around the Town / Mary Higgins Clark. 4 stars
16. All My Patients Are under the Bed / Louis J. Camuti, Marilyn Frankel, Haskel Frankel.
17. A Cabinet of Wonders / Renee Dodd. 3.5 stars
18. The Greatest Traitor / Ian Mortimer. 3.5 stars

19. A Cat Named Darwin / William Jordan
20. Journey Toward Justice / Dennis Fritz. 4 stars
21. The Big Book of Irony / Jon Winokur
22. Titanic Survivor / Violet Jessop. 3 stars
23. The Traitor's Wife / Susan Higginbotham
24. The Ha-Ha / Dave King. 3.5 stars

Edited: Jun 6, 2022, 10:02pm

PBT's Walk Down History Lane

1. The Five / Hallie Rubenhold. 4 stars (nonfiction - Cindy)
2. Mr. Churchill's Secretary / Susan Elia MacNeal (fiction - Fran; link = murder in London)
3. The Disappearing Spoon / Sam Kean (nonfiction - Anna; link = WWII)
4. Prayers for Sale / Sandra Dallas. 3.5 stars (fiction - Cindy; link = gold)
5. The Boys in the Boat / Daniel James Brown (nonfiction – Fran; link = Great Depression years)
6. Olympic Affiar / Terry Frei (fiction – Anna; link = 1936 Olympics)

Loop 2
1. Seabiscuit / Laura Hillenbrand. 3.5 stars (nonfiction – Cindy; link = sports)
2. The Giver of Stars / Jojo Moyes (fiction - Fran; links = 1930s, horses)
3. Kon-Tiki / Thor Heyerdahl (nonfiction - Anna; links = dangerous journey (also Kentucky/Kon-Tiki soundalike))
4. The Voyage of the Narwhal / Andrea Barrett. 3.5 stars (fiction - Cindy; link = ocean travel)

Edited: Sep 11, 2022, 11:03pm

Who's PBT's Favorite?

1. A Tap on the Window / Linwood Barclay. 4.25 stars
2. Songs of the Humpback Whale / Jodi Picoult. 3.5 stars
3. Shopaholic Ties the Knot / Sophie Kinsella. 4 stars
4. The Outsider / Stephen King. 4 stars
5, The Great Alone / Kristin Hannah. 4.5 stars
6. Olive Kitteridge / Elizabeth Strout. 2 stars
7. Death of Riley / Rhys Bowen. 4 stars
8. The Island of Sea Women / Lisa See. 3.5 stars
9. The Dutch House / Ann Patchett. 3.75 stars
10. The Lacuna / Barbara Kingsolver. 1 star
11. The Patron Saint of Liars / Ann Patchett. 3.25 stars
12. A Gentleman in Moscow / Amor Towles. 2.25 stars
13. The Testaments / Margaret Atwood. 4.5 stars

Edited: Dec 16, 2022, 3:57pm

Travel Across Canada

Alberta: (9 books between 2014 – 2021)
- Forgiveness / Mark Sakamoto. 4 stars
- Alone Together / Leah Hennel. 5 stars
British Columbia: (17 books between 2014 – 2021)
- Wild Awake / Hilary T. Smith. 3 stars
- Offshore / Catherine Dook. 3.5 stars
- The Last Wild Wolves / Ian McAllister. 4.5 stars
- Five Little Indians / Michelle Good. 3.5 stars
Labrador: (1 books between 2014 - 2018)
Manitoba: (6 books between 2014 – 2020)

- Jonny Appleseed / Joshua Whitehead. 2 stars
New Brunswick: (0 books between 2014 - 2020)
Newfoundland: (7 books between 2014 – 2019)

- First Snow, Last Light / Wayne Johnston. 3 stars
- The Innocents / Michael Crummey. 2 stars
- All Together Now / Alan Doyle. 4.25 stars
Northwest Territories: (3 books between 2014 – 2021)
Nova Scotia: (6 books between 2014 – 2021)

- The Clay Girl / Heather Tucker. 2.5 stars
Nunavut: (4 books between 2014 – 2021)
Ontario: (18 books between 2014 – 2021)

- They Said This Would be Fun / Eternity Martis. 3 stars
- Remembering the Bones / Frances Itani. 3.5 stars
- The Castleton Massacre / Sharon Cook, Margaret Carson. 4.5 stars
- The War in the Country / Thomas F. Pawlick. 4 stars
- The Wife's Tale / Lori Lansens. 3.5 stars
Prince Edward Island: (2 books between 2014 – 2018)
- Anne of Green Gables / L. M. Montgomery. 4 stars
Prairie Provinces: (2 books between 2014 – 2021)
Quebec: (6 books between 2014 – 2019)
Saskatchewan: (14 books between 2014 – 2021)

- Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan 4 / Jo-Anne Christensen. 4 stars
- Fountaineville / C. A. Simonsen. 3 stars
Yukon: (1 book between 2014 – 2019)
Northern Canada (2 books 2019-2021)

- Brian's Return / Gary Paulsen. 3 stars

Edited: Dec 28, 2022, 10:12pm

Play Book Tag

January: Science
- Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals / Helene Rajcak, Damien Laverdunt. 4 stars
- The Bluebird Effect / Julie Zickefoose. 4 stars
- Lab Girl / Hope Jahren. 3.25 stars

February: Thought-provoking
- Buzz, Sting, Bite / Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. 4 stars
- Songs of the Humpback Whale / Jodi Picoult. 3.5 stars

March: Classics
- Maus I / Art Spiegelman. 4 stars
- Maus II / Art Spiegelman. 4 stars
- Blue Meridian / Peter Matthiessen. 2.5 stars
- As I Lay Dying / William Faulkner. 2 stars

April: Detective
- Death of Riley / Rhys Bowen. 4 stars
- The Stone Monkey / Jeffery Deaver. 4 stars
- Career of Evil / Robert Galbraith. 3.75 stars

May: Character driven
- The Dutch House / Ann Patchett. 3.75 stars
- Our Souls at Night / Kent Haruf. 3.75 stars

June: LGBT
- The Lacuna / Barbara Kingsolver. 1 star
- They Called Us Enemy / George Takei. 4 stars
- In One Person / John Irving. 3 stars

July: Memoir
- They Said This Would be Fun / Eternity Martis. 3 stars
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly / Jean-Dominique Bauby. 2.5 stars
- Troublemaker / Leah Remini. 4 stars

August: Women's History
- The Witches: Salem, 1692 / Stacy Schiff. 3.25 stars

September: Favorites
- The Testaments / Margaret Atwood. 4.5 stars
- Long Walk to Freedom / Nelson Mandela. 4 stars
- Beyond Words / Carl Safina. 4 stars

October: Scary
- Hour of the Witch / Chris Bohjalian. 3.5 stars
- The Lost Village / Camilla Sten. 4 stars

November: book club
- Between Two Kingdoms / Suleika Jaouad. 4 stars
- The Ha-Ha / Dave King. 3.5 stars

December: Leadership
- The Splendid and the Vile / Erik Larson. 2.25 stars
- Lady Knight / Tamora Pierce. 3 stars
- Elevator Pitch / Linwood Barclay. 4 stars
- An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth / Chris Hadfield. 4 stars

Edited: Dec 12, 2022, 11:07pm

Reading Through Time

January: Eastern Philosophies & Religion
February: Rural Life

- Little Town on the Prairie / Laura Ingalls Wilder. 4 stars

March: We Are Time's Subjects
- A Stitch in Time / Kelley Armstrong. 4 stars

*April: Technology
- How We Got to Now / Steven Johnson. 3.5 stars
- Cradle to Cradle / William McDonough & Michael Braungart. 3.25 stars

May: Beginnings
- The Wilderness Warrior / Douglas Brinkley. 3.25 stars

June: The Golden State
- They Called Us Enemy / George Takei. 4 stars

July: Mental Health - Then and Now
- Cults / Max Cutler. 3.5 stars
- Starvation Heights / Gregg Olsen. 4 stars

August: What does Fiction Teach us About History?
- Hamnet / Maggie O'Farrell. 3 stars
- These Happy Golden Years / Laura Ingalls Wilder. 4 stars
- A Gentleman in Moscow / Amor Towles. 2.25 stars
- Abundance / Sena Jeter Naslund. 3 stars

September: Harvest Moon
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Washington Irving. 3.5 stars

October: Musically Speaking
- Forever Leisl / Charmian Carr. 3.5 stars

November: Ends and Endings
- Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? / Caitlin Doughty. 4 stars
- Omaha Beach / Joseph Balkoski. 3.75 stars

December: Reader's Choice
- Fountaineville / C. A. Simonsen. 3 stars (Rural life)
- From Here to Eternity /Caitlin Doughty. 3.5 stars (Ends and endings)

Dec 25, 2021, 2:58pm

Wow, looks like you have a very busy reading year planned! I look forward to seeing how you fill in all your categories.

Dec 25, 2021, 4:34pm

All those challenges should give you lots of really good reading!

Dec 25, 2021, 7:11pm

I do try to use the same book for multiple challenges whenever possible. I think the number of challenges remains the same(ish) as previous years.

>24 LibraryCin: and >25 LibraryCin: won't be something each month, either. >24 LibraryCin: will only require 2 books of me (it's a team challenge) through the entire year. >25 LibraryCin: will only be what I choose (certain authors - the more I read, the more "points" (and ultimately "votes") I'll get, but it's my choice on how many).

Dec 25, 2021, 8:34pm

Good luck with your 2022 reading challenges!

Dec 26, 2021, 7:03pm

Hello Cindy! What great challenges you have, and thank you for providing a way to read a book and find that it fits multiple challenges. I hope you have a successful 2022 reading year.

Dec 27, 2021, 3:25pm

Good luck with your 2022 reading! I will be following along, especially the Canadian authors category.

Dec 31, 2021, 9:34pm

Best wishes on your 2022 reads!

Jan 4, 2022, 8:14am

Happy reading!

Jan 5, 2022, 10:35pm

12x12 BIPOC, Roundtuit, Travel Across Canada, BingoDOG, RandomKIT

Forgiveness / Mark Sakamoto
4 stars

Mark Sakamoto’s grandparents were on two different sides of WWII. His maternal grandfather fought in the war and was captured and spent years as a prisoner of war, first in Hong Kong, then in Japan. Mark’s paternal grandmother, a Japanese-Canadian, and her family lost their home and livelihood in BC and were sent to rural Alberta to farm. Mark and his brother were born and raised in Medicine Hat, Alberta. After Mark’s parents marriage ended, his mother had a really hard time (to put it lightly, but trying not to give too much away in my summary).

The summaries of this book make it sound like it’s all WWII, but it’s not. I found the book to be an entire biography of his grandparents, then his own – with a focus on his relationship with his mom. I really liked this. A little “bonus” for me was that Mark’s wife is from Assiniboia, Sask, a small town about 45 minutes from the town I grew up in.

Jan 6, 2022, 6:35am

>37 LibraryCin: Has been on my TBR for sometime. I need to move it up.

Jan 6, 2022, 5:10pm

>38 Tess_W: I hope you like it! I see it got some other more mixed reviews, as well.

Jan 7, 2022, 10:28pm

12x12 Nonfiction, CATWoman, Roundtuit, BingoDOG

Confessions of a Sociopath / M. E. Thomas
3.5 stars

The author is a sociopath and wants to describe it to others. She is not violent, but she doesn’t feel things the way other people do. She talks about her life and what makes her different from “normal” people.

I thought she did a good job explaining. I have read other books that tell me that not all sociopaths are serial killers, etc. They aren’t all violent, as this author isn’t. I did find some of her comparisons to “empaths” a bit odd, and they often didn’t seem to ring true for me. It was only in the epilogue that she defined how she was using the word to mean non-sociopaths (if she also defined it earlier, I missed it). I listened to the audio and it was done well. I rarely lost interest.

Jan 8, 2022, 7:02am

>40 LibraryCin: Interesting take on diagnosing oneself, or at least claiming a less than stellar character. I might pair this book (going to look now) with what is on my shelf, The Sociopath Next Door.

Jan 8, 2022, 12:20pm

>37 LibraryCin: Sounds interesting. I'll make a note of it.

Jan 8, 2022, 2:06pm

>41 Tess_W: I read "The Sociopath Next Door" a few years back. Also very interesting.

Jan 8, 2022, 6:34pm

Enjoy your reading year...many great reads here!

Jan 8, 2022, 10:04pm

12x12 Trim the TBR, Roundtuits, AlphaKIT

Penelope / Rebecca Harrington
2.5 stars

Socially-awkward/inept Penelope is off to Harvard, her mom providing tips for her to make friends, etc. Her roommates don’t seem interested in becoming friends, so Penelope tends to hang out with some of the boys a couple of floors below in their dorm. Eventually, she is roped into helping with a non-speaking part in an experimental/absurdist play.

Everybody in this book was weird. Penelope seems a bit clueless as to academic life (not quite sure how she got into Harvard…). There was a lot of crushes that everyone was having on everyone else; it rarely seemed to be reciprocated. None of the characters were likeable, in my opinion, so I didn’t really care all that much what happened and if they ever got together.

Jan 8, 2022, 10:43pm

12x12 Animals, Roundtuits, PBT, BingoDOG, AlphaKIT

Small and Tall Tales of Extinct Animals / Helene Rajcak, Damien Laverdunt
4 stars

This is a children’s book with large illustrations and cartoons explaining 27 extinct animals (well, 26 extinct, and at the time of publication, the giant tortoise George would likely to be the last of his species; he has since died). The book is divided into geographical areas and the animals focused on went extinct between 15,000 years ago up George (in 2012). Each animal gets a cartoon that either explains a myth or maybe a person who studied or “discovered” them, a large illustration with info about how/when it went extinct and general bits of info about it, as well as some stats like size, weight, etc.

I really liked this. I got my copy from the library, but to be honest, it’s such a quick read and there is a tiny bit of info about each, I don’t know how much I will remember. For that reason, I feel like this is a book that might be nice to have (though I can’t see myself buying it, but others might want to) in order to look back on.

I liked the little cartoons, and the corner with the stats also showed a silhouette of the animal beside a human for a size comparison (for birds, the silhouette compared the animal to a human hand). I thought that was a nice addition. One I will remember – I had no idea there were once giant 6’ beavers running around North America! It does frustrate me that the majority of these animals went extinct, due to (or at least in part) humans – hunting, habitat loss, and/or bringing invasive species with them. There is also a glossary at the back to help kids understand some of the terminology.

Jan 9, 2022, 4:57am

That a busy start to 2022, with some mixed results!
Looking forward to seeing what else you populate your very busy challenges with.

Jan 9, 2022, 1:42pm

>47 Helenliz: It is! The "Small and Tall Tales", though, took only about an hour to read. :-)

And a definite mix of ratings, for sure.

Jan 9, 2022, 10:06pm

12x12 Series, MysteryKIT, BingoDOG, Roundtuit

Click Here for Murder / Donna Andrews
4 stars

Turing is an Artificial Intelligence Personality (AIP) and has been working hard to figure out how humans work. One of the guys at her company, Ray, has been murdered. Ray has only been with the company for 6 months. Turning helps her (and Ray’s) human friends, Tim and Maude, try to figure out what happened after the police assume Ray was involved in drugs and his murder had something to do with that. Turing and friends don’t think this is the case, but they quickly learn that Ray isn’t really who he says he is. What else might Ray have been hiding? And why did Ray want Tim to play this online role-playing game – unfortunately, it kept Tim from meeting Ray the night Ray died.

I really liked this. I think the role playing game upped my interest a bit. I do see I’ve rated it higher than the first in the series (this is the 2nd). Although the game wasn’t everything I was interested in. Finding out who Ray really is, and why he was hiding his identity was also of interest. I just really enjoyed this one, and am glad I continued the series. (I’m sad to see many other ratings are not as high as mine.)

Jan 11, 2022, 9:54am

>49 LibraryCin: That looks like a fun series. I have a few of her other books but hadn't heard of these.

Jan 11, 2022, 9:12pm

>50 antqueen: On GR, one of my friends there mentioned that after a few of these, her publisher asked her not to write anymore (of this series). They wanted her to concentrate on her other series. A series I recently listened to the first one of, then decided I wasn't going to continue. I rated it 3 stars (ok), but on thinking back, I feel like I could have rated it lower.

So... this series has only 4 books. The other series she has continued with - now has 30! Apparently, I am not in agreement with others between the two series'! LOL!

Jan 14, 2022, 10:05pm

12x12 Animals, PBT, Roundtuits, CATWoman, AlphakIT, BingoDOG

The Bluebird Effect / Julie Zickefoose
4 stars

The author grew up with parents who enjoyed watching birds and helping them. As an adult she has regularly helped rehabilitate injured and raise orphaned wild birds, and this book contains stories of all the different types of birds she has helped. She is also an artist, so while helping them, she has drawn them at different stages (often as they grow), so many of her illustrations and paintings, with notes alongside, are included.

I really liked this. I do enjoy watching birds myself, but what a lot of work and effort it takes to raise the babies! The author also touches on habitat destruction, hunting, outdoor cats and other threats to wild birds, as well. The illustrations were beautiful, and I have to admit, although I prefer reading on my old Kobo Touch (black & white), the Kobo doesn’t always recognize DRM-free for library books, anymore, so I often end up reading on my tablet via Libby. The colour was really nice for the beautiful illustrations and paintings in this book.

Jan 16, 2022, 6:41pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuit, PBT Trim, BingoDOG, AlphaKIT

The Only Alien on the Planet / Kristen D. Randle
3.5 stars

When Ginny and her family move across the country when Ginny is in grade 12, she does not want to go, and is lonely. She becomes friends with her neighbour, Caulder. There is an odd boy at school, Smitty, who doesn’t talk. None of the kids have ever known him to talk. Not only that, he doesn’t show emotion or any kind of reaction to anything. He is, however, very smart. Ginny is a bit reluctant, but Caulder insists on introducing her to Smitty. The premise behind them visiting is that Ginny needs help with math (she really does!), and Smitty is able to help by showing her how to figure it out on paper. Caulder and Ginny eventually consider themselves “friends” with Smitty, but something soon goes wrong…

I liked this. Ginny and Caulder frustrated me at times when (I felt that) they pushed Smitty too hard or just couldn’t seem to understand why he was having trouble, but I guess – teenagers? And I sometimes wondered what the psychologist was thinking, but what do I know!? I did love the interactions between Ginny and her brothers, though. The last bit of the book picked up a bit with a confrontation, but it wasn’t quite enough to bring my rating up to 4 stars. 3.5 stars is still good for me, though. I liked it.

Jan 16, 2022, 9:20pm

>52 LibraryCin: What a neat story behind this book!

Some good news is, that there has been a huge growth in bluebird populations, despite their natural nesting places becoming housing projects. Seems that newer bluebird houses are built on the "community" model, with 8-10 nesting holes on an octagonal birdhouse. The bluebirds have adapted to this new model and their numbers reflect it.

Jan 16, 2022, 9:35pm

>54 threadnsong: That's good to hear!

Jan 19, 2022, 9:59pm

12x12 BIPOC, AuthorCAT, Travel Across Canada, BingoDOG, RandomKIT

Jonny Appleseed / Joshua Whitehead
2 stars

Not really much of a story to this – Jonny is a gay indigenous boy growing up on the rez, and he moves to Winnipeg when he gets older, where he becomes a prostitute (my mistake – apparently not a prostitute, but a cybersex worker).

It was not in chronological order, and it was quite sexually graphic at times. The author narrated the audio – I rarely lost focus, but he did have a monotone voice. Turns out there might have been more of a “plot” than I thought (although, still kind of flimsy, I think), so maybe I did miss more than I thought. For some reason, I had it in my head that indigenous 2-spirit people were more accepted in indigenous cultures than gay people in white cultures, but (at least in this book) that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Jan 19, 2022, 10:20pm

Hello! Just catching up on your thread :)

Jan 20, 2022, 5:01pm

>57 VictoriaPL: Hello! Welcome! I've done quite a bit of reading already. At least I'm happy with the amount. If only I was retired, I'd get to do even more. :-)

Jan 21, 2022, 10:29pm

12x12 Oh Canada, Travel Across Canada, Rounduits, RandomKIT, ScaredyKIT

Ghost Stories of Saskatchewan 3 / Jo-Anne Christensen
4 stars

This is the third book of Saskatchewan ghost stories written by this author. This one had a few chapters that were a bit different, though. In addition to the ghost stories from around the province, she interviewed a few groups of ghost hunters based in Saskatchewan.

This had me scared enough – when reading by myself at night – to not head down to the basement after reading, before bed, to scoop the cat’s litter box down there! The chapters on the ghost hunters was unexpected, but surprisingly interesting. Although (sadly), none of the ghost stories were really near where I grew up, I quite liked this one.

Jan 22, 2022, 10:42pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, BingoDOG, Who's PBT's Fave, Roundtuits

A Tap on the Window / Linwood Barclay
4.25 stars

On a dark rainy night, when PI Cal Weaver has a teenage girl knock on his window asking for a ride, he hesitates. But the girl knows his son (his son who died not long ago – via drugs that made him think he could fly… he tried to fly), so Cal feels he can’t refuse (and hopes maybe she can answer some questions for him).

When the girl, Claire, and her friend Hanna do a switch when Claire gets out of the car to use a washroom (Hanna is dressed to look like Claire), it’s not long before Cal figures out it’s not the same girl. But, Hanna refuses to answer questions on what they are doing and tries to jump out of the car. With reservations, Cal decides it’s better to let her out of the car than to have her jump out while the car is moving. The next day, he discovers Claire – the first girl – is missing. And it gets worse...

I really liked this (like most of Barclay’s books). It might not have been as fast paced as some of them, but in the wrap up, there were a couple of surprises, along with a couple of twists to go along with it. With the occasional short chapter from the POV of the “bad guy”, so to speak, I had a guess as to who it was, but I was wrong. To be honest, there is a lot more going on in this book – police corruption and a “fight” with the mayor, Cal and his wife trying to heal, and more.

Jan 29, 2022, 3:46pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, CATWoman, BingoDOG, AlphaKIT

Lab Girl / Hope Jahren
3.25 stars

Hope is a research scientist and professor. She studies trees. This is a memoir primarily focusing on her life starting as a student (though there is a little bit when she is younger). She and fellow scientist and best friend, Bill, set up a lab at a different university three times. Eventually, amidst their long working hours, Hope gets married and has a son, while dealing with bi-polar disorder.

I know most people loved this. I’m waffling between good and ok. I liked the biography/memoir parts of the book. I found some (but not all) of the science interesting (my favourite science chapter was the one on desert plants.) Where I definitely lost interest was in the philosophical parts. She did tend to mix her science with philosophy. Too much philosophy my liking, anyway.

Jan 29, 2022, 4:07pm

12x12 Oh Canada, Travel Across Canada, RandomKIT

Brian's Return / Gary Paulsen
3 stars

This fourth book in the series has Brian back at home in the city, but longing to be back in nature and really not fitting in. He manages to convince his counsellor and his mom that he should head back out to the wilderness.

This one was super short, so only about ½ of it was in the wilderness. Which for me is the most interesting part. Also, very unrealistic – to think the adults would let him go back on his own (he was supposed to be meeting up with someone, but how come an adult didn’t accompany him that far?). I did find the author’s note at the end very interesting, though.

Jan 29, 2022, 4:29pm

12x12 Series, RandomKIT, MysteryKIT, BingoDOG, Roundtuit

Big Boned / Meg Cabot
4 stars

In the 3rd book in the Heather Wells mystery series, the dorm Heather works at is once again the scene of a murder – this time it’s her new boss. Of course, Heather is the one who finds him. It seems not too many people liked him. Heather has been dating Tad, the perfect guy, but he likes running, herbal tea, and is a vegetarian – and is her remedial math instructor.

I really liked this. This was a lot of fun, but they are as much (or maybe more so) chick lit as mystery, with humour thrown in. And there were parts that made me laugh.

Jan 30, 2022, 3:22pm

12x12 ARCs, AlphaKIT

The Heights / Louise Candlish
4 stars

When Ellen spots a young man she recognizes but hasn’t seen in two years, she is shocked. That man was supposed to be dead! She made sure of that. Keiran was a friend of Ellen’s son, Lucas, and a very bad influence. Things went very wrong due to that friendship and Ellen just couldn’t stand to see Keiran around. How is it possible he’s back?

I really liked this. Much of the book was told from Ellen’s point of view and it was easy (at least for me) to get caught up in her anger and her adrenaline! The book did also show the POV of Ellen’s ex (and Lucas’ father) Vic. This certainly brought some interesting information and twists to light, but his POV was more business-like and so I wasn’t quite as caught up. At the same time, it also pointed out what an “unreliable narrator” Ellen might be (although I was already questioning that). Maybe that’s not the correct phrase, but it did show how obsessed she was (rightly or wrongly).

Jan 30, 2022, 3:47pm

>64 LibraryCin: Sounds like a good one--on my WL is goes!

Jan 30, 2022, 11:43pm

>65 Tess_W: Enjoy! This was an ARC. I believe it will be published in March.

Feb 2, 2022, 10:16pm

12x12 ARCs

The Lives of Diamond Bessie / Jody Hadlock.
3.5 stars

In the mid-1800s, Annie was kicked out of her home and sent to the nuns when she was pregnant and unwed at 16-years old. When her baby was born and taken away, she ran and ended up in a brothel. Unmarried “fallen” women really didn’t have much in the way of options if they wanted to make enough money to live. Here, she became Bessie and was very good at what she did. She made enough money to travel and she did fall in love with a couple of clients. There was an “issue” with one of those men...

This was good. It took an unexpected turn in the middle of the book, and initially I wasn’t impressed with where (I thought) it was heading, but it did get better again. As I always appreciate, there was an author’s note at the end, explaining that Bessie was a real woman. I had wondered as I read it if she was a real person, but didn’t know for sure until that note.

Feb 5, 2022, 9:56pm

12x12 Series, AuthorCAT, AlphaKIT, BingoDOG

Rose in Bloom / Louisa May Alcott
2 stars

I don’t really have a summary because I wasn’t really interested/paying attention. It seems Rose (raised with a bunch of boy cousins – I know this from the previous book) was away and has returned. I think she might now be looking for a husband. If she isn’t, others are (Phoebe?), as there is lots of talk of “lovers”. Oh, I do remember Rose wanted to become a philanthropist.

I listened to the audio, but neither the narrator nor the story made this interesting enough to really listen to what was going on. I rarely paid attention. Oh, and cousins getting married kind of creeps me out.

Feb 7, 2022, 9:26pm

12x12 Overflow, BingoDOG

The Lady of the Rivers / Philippa Gregory
4 stars

In the early/mid-15th century Jacquetta of Luxembourg married John of Bedford, the brother of King Henry V and the man responsible for holding Calais (and other parts of France) for England, but she did not have any children with him. When he died, she (without permission) married John’s squire, Richard Woodville. She and Richard went on to have many children (including Elizabeth, who would later marry Edward IV and become Queen) while Richard continued to serve King Henry VI (the kind who was “mad”), and Jacquetta served Margaret of Anjou, Henry’s wife. During this time, the tensions between the Houses of York and Lancaster continued to escalate, in no small part due to Margaret’s desire for revenge on those who sided against her husband and son.

I really liked this. I’ve read very little (looks like only one book… and I don’t remember it!) about Margaret of Anjou, but she sure wasn’t likeable (even a little bit!) in this book. How much of the venom was accurate, I don’t know. I did, however, like Jacquetta and Richard. The book did not go all the way to Jacquetta’s death, but ended right around when her daughter Elizabeth would have met and married Edward.

Feb 7, 2022, 10:52pm

>69 LibraryCin: I love Gregory for my historical fiction on royalty. I've read at least one book on Margaret of Anjou, but I don't think it portrayed her quite as evil as you mention. I can't find the book I'm thinking of, but I think it was by Jean Plaidy--another of my favorite royalty historical fiction writers. I'm putting this on my WL!

Feb 8, 2022, 9:37pm

>70 Tess_W: Enjoy! I've read more by Gregory than I have by Plaidy, but I do read some by Plaidy, as well. I find Plaidy writes about some of the less well-known - or well-written about, anyway. I have a bunch on my tbr, but they are older, so it's less likely that I'll find them in my library.

I do find Gregory's books are a bit less dry than Plaidy's though. I don't meant to say Plaidy's are dry. But there often tend to be parts in them that I find dry. That happens less often with Gregory's books.

Feb 16, 2022, 9:31pm

12x12 Animals, AlphaKIT, CATWoman, ScaredyKIT, PBT, BingoDOG

Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects / Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson
4 stars

The subtitle pretty much says it all. Chapters include insect anatomy, sex, the food chain, symbiosis between insects and plants, insects and human food, insects as “janitors”, industries, and more.

I found this really Interesting, but I’m afraid I won’t remember much. There were so many little tidbits of information, it will be hard to remember. I have heard it before, but even if they are pests, insects really are beneficial, and humans would be hard-pressed to live on a planet without them.

Feb 16, 2022, 9:56pm

12x12 Audio, MysteryKIT

I'll Be Gone in the Dark / Michelle McNamara
3.5 stars

The Golden State Killer, murdered and raped over the course of about ten years in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The author of this book was obsessed with finding out who he was… or really, just bringing him to justice. The book is part-memoir, in addition to true crime. The name “Golden State Killer” was even coined by this author; unfortunately, she died before she finished the book.

The man she called the Golden State Killer started off known as the East Area Rapist (the EAR). Later on, someone else (they hadn’t linked the two at the time) was known as the “Original Night Stalker” (I think there was another Night Stalker, as well.)

I listened to the audio, so that may not have helped keep things straight, but between following the rapist/murderer and his (many many) activities, and the author’s sections that were memoir, it didn’t help that nothing was in chronological order. And there were so many murders and rapes, it was hard to follow what was happening. Maybe it would have been easier to read (I suspect so) rather than listen to. So, I was a bit confused for a while, trying to figure out who everyone was and where they fit in.

Feb 16, 2022, 11:54pm

>73 LibraryCin: I concur with your review. I read this book last year, also on Audio. My copy was before the rapist was arrested, so I had to look up what finally happened. Also, the author died 2 months before the book's completion and friends finished it for her.

Edited: Feb 17, 2022, 5:15pm

>74 Tess_W: I must have had a slightly more up to date edition than you had, then, as the killer was found. There must have been an afterword or something that mentioned it.

I forgot to mention that there was a pdf that came with the library audio (well, I had to download it separately). That was kind of nice, though, so I could see maps and things to get a better visualization of that.

ETA: The pdf was only 8 pages, so it really was meant to be maps that go with the book. It wasn't the entire book.

Feb 21, 2022, 2:54pm

12x12 Nonfiction, BingoDOG, Roundtuits, AlphaKIT

Elizabeth of York: The First Tudor Queen / Alison Weir
3.25 stars

Elizabeth of York was Edward IV and Elizabeth Wydeville’s daughter. During the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century, they were Yorkists. Elizabeth married Henry VII, who was a Lancaster, thus bringing the two sides together. Between them, they began the Tudor era, and Henry VIII was their son. This is meant to be a biography of Elizabeth.

I only say it’s “meant to be” a biography because, as with so many women of the time (including queens), there is just so little information about them. So, really, I feel like it’s more of a history of what happened around her during her life, often with musings as to what Elizabeth may have been doing or feeling at certain times or about certain things. It’s a long book, over 500 pages, and nonfiction, which does tend to go slower for me. There’s a lot of information, much of it I didn’t know (I think this is the first book I’ve read specifically focusing on Elizabeth), and even though I found much of it interesting, there are still dry parts.

Feb 21, 2022, 4:03pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, Who's PBT's Favorite

Songs of the Humpback Whale / Jodi Picoult
3.5 stars

Jane and Oliver have been married for 15(?) years, and they were together longer than that. Their daughter Rebecca’s 15th birthday is coming up soon. Oliver is a famous marine biologist who studies humpback whales, but his career success has come to the detriment of his home life. After a big argument, Jane and Rebecca leave. Jane’s brother Joley (Jane and Joley have always been close), helps direct Jane from California to Massachusetts (where Joley is living and working) via letters along the way.

The first half was a bit more confusing with regard to timeline. Rebecca’s POV was told with each chapter going backward in time (but luckily, those were the chapters that told us a date). Until the middle of the book where other timelines met up, chapters were all moving forward chronologically, but they had started at different points in the story. Luckily, mid-way through, the timelines met up.

I didn’t find this as good as Picoult’s other books, but the second half did pick up for me – maybe because all timelines (except Rebecca’s) were now moving forward. But it might also have been that I liked reading the same thing happening from a different POV. Have to admit, though. I don’t think I really liked any of the characters. I suppose that could mean that everyone had good and bad points (like in real life), but I really didn’t like Sam and Hadley. I agreed with the ending – just barely as it almost didn’t go that way, and I was really afraid it wouldn’t (but there are probably readers who wanted it to end the way I didn’t!).

Feb 21, 2022, 8:01pm

>76 LibraryCin: I like Alison Weir's books but they are always so long that it puts me off picking one up. I haven't read Elizabeth of York yet, and will keep it in mind. I enjoy books about the War of the Roses era.

Feb 21, 2022, 8:40pm

>78 VivienneR: I really like Weir, too, but yes, they can tend to be lengthy! I actually had this on my tbr for quite a while.

Feb 22, 2022, 10:01am

>77 LibraryCin: - Probably one of the reasons you didn't like this book as well as some of her others, is that this was her first novel. I read My Sister's Keeper first and then decided to go back and start at the beginning of her books and I didn't like this one as much either. I thought as I read them in order that they got better with each one.

Feb 22, 2022, 9:59pm

>80 dudes22: Oh, that's a good way to do it. I think my first one was also "My Sister's Keeper" (if not the first, then close to it). I have read others in random order at this point. I did see in someone else's review that this was her first one, as well.

Feb 22, 2022, 10:57pm

12x12 Travel, MysteryKIT, CATWoman

Penance / Kanae Minato
3.5 stars

10-year old friends Sae, Maki, Akiko, Yuka, and Emily are playing in the schoolyard when Emily is lured away by a man. It’s a bit later when the other girls find Emily’s dead body. In Japan, there is (or was) a statute of limitations of 15 years. When, after a few years, the murderer is still not caught, Emily’s mother tells the four girls they will pay if the murderer is not found. Fifteen years later, the four girls are adults now, but they have been drastically affected by their friend’s murder and her mother’s curse.

I liked this. Each chapter was from a different character’s point of view as an adult and looking back on what happened when Emily was killed. There was also a chapter (after the four girls’ chapters) narrated by Emily’s mother. The chapters (and book as a whole) was fairly short, so trying to remember who was who was a bit tricky, but it usually only took a small reminder for me to remember each story as I continued through the book.

Feb 23, 2022, 10:16pm

12x12 Oh Canada, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place / Alan Bradley
3.75 stars

After a recent tragedy, when Dogger takes Flavia and her sisters on a trip by boat, Flavia manages to find a body in the water. As she investigates, she also figures out what happened with three women who’d been poisoned at a church years earlier.

I liked this one. As usual, I listened to the audio and upped my rating by ¼ star for Jayne Entwistle. I liked that Flavia’s sisters seemed to be a bit nicer this time around. For some reason, I don’t remember really “noticing” the humour, but I did this time around. I’m sure I probably did, but for some reason it just didn’t stick in my head.

Feb 25, 2022, 11:13pm

12x12 Animals, Roundtuits, RandomKIT, AlphaKIT

A Street Cat Named Bob / James Bowen
4 stars

James had just gotten himself into housing and off the streets. He was a recovering heroin addict when he found an orange cat he called Bob. James was still struggling to feed himself, let alone feed a cat, and take on vet bills as Bob was injured when he first came to James. James was a busker and continued to busk with Bob at his side. Bob helped out in that he attracted a lot of attention, so James made a lot more money than he otherwise would have. When James was kicked out of his favourite busking spots (he was not where musicians were supposed to play), he (and Bob) switched to selling the “Big Issue”, a weekly magazine sold by people down on their luck and trying to get their lives on track.

I really liked this. Bob and James saved each other. It was eye-opening to read about James’ (and likely similar stories to many others living on the streets) homelessness and life on the streets, and how hard it was for him to kick his addiction. It is a quick book to read. The book itself only goes for a couple of years after James and Bob found each other, but looking them up online after finishing, I am saddened to hear that Bob died after being hit by a car in 2020.

Feb 27, 2022, 4:50pm

12x12 Reading Through Time, Read Thru Time

Little Town on the Prairie / Laura Ingalls Wilder
4 stars

The Ingalls family have just come off that “long winter” with blizzard after blizzard after blizzard. Pa is working construction in town, in addition to growing corn and oats and raising a few animals on the homestead. In order to help with money to be able to send Mary to college, Laura takes a sewing job in town. Once that ends, school is starting. At 14-almost-15, Laura needs to be serious at school, so she can get her teacher’s certificate when she turns 16 so she can help with money in order to keep Mary at college.

A surprise person from Laura’s life a few years earlier reappears in her life at school this year. She knows who Almanzo Wilder is, as she sees him around town and he once gave her a ride to school when she is running late. As the Ingalls’ move into town for the second winter in a row, the people in town are creating more social activities to do. And the town keeps growing.

This is such an enjoyable series. The illustrations are very nice. There is one uncomfortable bit of town entertainment near the end, unfortunately, but at the time that it would have happened it wasn’t frowned upon, though it most certainly is now (to say the least). Laura’s recitation of American history is, while impressive, European white history. So, due to the time period it is set, there are some no-so-good things about the book, but overall, I still find these books a lot of fun.

Feb 28, 2022, 5:16pm

>76 LibraryCin: Too bad that one wasn't better.

>83 LibraryCin: I loved Flavia!

>85 LibraryCin: That's probably my favorite in the series, oddly enough.

Feb 28, 2022, 9:30pm

>86 thornton37814: The first one might still be my favourite in the series, but I read them so spread out, I shouldn't say that for sure. Better for me to look it up...

Mar 5, 2022, 11:03pm

12x12 Animals, RandomKIT, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

Rare: Portraits of America's Endangered Species / Joel Sartore
4 stars

This is a National Geographic book. The photographer arranged to have photos taken of several endangered species. There are a few plants, but mostly animals. Almost all of these are species deemed endangered by the Endangered Species Act in the U.S.

There are some beautiful photos; the photographer made sure they each had a completely black or completely white background for the photos. In addition to the photos, each species also has a paragraph with information about it including where to find it, the habitat, why it’s endangered, etc. Some of them also have an additional note by the photographer on how the photo was taken. Some of the photos are close-up, so are very detailed.

Mar 5, 2022, 11:32pm

12x12 Nonfiction, Roundtuits, PBT Trim

The Greatest Traitor: The Life of Sir Roger Mortimer... / Ian Mortimer
3.5 stars

Sir Roger Mortimer was close to Edward II when they were younger, but because Edward didn’t listen to anyone beyond his favourites while he was ruling, he turned many people away from him, including Mortimer. Later on, it seems Mortimer and Edward’s wife, Queen Isabella, carried on a dalliance. Most historians agree that Mortimer had Edward II murdered, while Mortimer and Isabella “ruled” through Edward III (Edward II and Isabella’s teenaged son). This author suggests something a little bit different to Edward II’s end, however.

This was nonfiction, so it took a while to read. It also took a bit for me to get interested, but I did like it maybe starting about 1/3 of the way in or so (or maybe a bit before that). It also got me curious about Robert (the) Bruce in Scotland. I’m not sure about Mortimer (the author)’s proposal for what happened to Edward II, but it was interesting to read about. That being said, I have not read anything about Roger Mortimer before this (except likely in reading about Isabella). I liked the way the author presented his alternate theory. He went through everything to the end of Roger’s life, then backed up with a chapter called “Chapter Twelve Revisited”, which explained what he thinks might have happened instead.

Mar 6, 2022, 6:11am

>89 LibraryCin: A BB for me!

Mar 6, 2022, 2:10pm

Mar 6, 2022, 9:59pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, Roundtuits, Who's PBT's Fave, AlphaKIT

Shopaholic Ties the Knot / Sophie Kinsella
4 stars

When Becky and Luke get engaged, they have mothers on both sides of the ocean wanting to plan the wedding and have it held in England (Becky’s mom) and New York City (Luke’s mom). As the mothers plan in different countries, Becky just can’t decide where she wants to have her wedding… and the plans continue onward with neither mother knowing the other mother is also planning! And Becky just can’t seem to come to a decision and can’t bring herself to tell anyone the crisis she’s having in trying to decide – she doesn’t want to let anyone down.

I feel like “chick lit” is not the kind of thing I think I would like, but when I do read it, I really do (most of the time) tend to really enjoy it! This book (and series) is no exception there (even though I don’t shop, am not “into” fashion, and I often get annoyed with Becky. I did feel like I had a solution for her early(ish) on in the book, and it kind-of (but not completely) went how I was thinking. But, I still enjoyed the ride (even when I was frustrated with Becky). There was a more serious side to this one, as well, involving Luke and his mother.

Mar 7, 2022, 12:20am

>92 LibraryCin: I know how you feel about chick lit. My mind tells me I shouldn't like it, but when I do read it, I usually DO like it...but shhhh;)

Mar 7, 2022, 8:55pm

>93 Tess_W: LOL! Exactly!

Mar 10, 2022, 10:38pm

12x12 Oh Canada, Travel Across Canada, BingoDOG

The Clay Girl / Heather Tucker
2.5 stars

Ari (Hariet) is only 8-years old when her abusive father shoots himself. Ari heads to Nova Scotia to live with her aunts. Her four older sisters… I’m not quite sure where they went. Even the summary so far is partly from the summaries online. Ari goes back and forth between her abusive mother in Ontario and her aunts. Luckily for Ari, her new stepfather (Len) is kind and caring. Even so, Ari has her imaginary friend, Jasper the seahorse, to help her along.

Ok, so it was really hard to follow, especially at the start. I don’t like having to use an online summary to get me up to speed with what is happening as I read a book, but I didn’t like the way it was written, as there was too much reading between the lines to figure out what was going on much of the time (though not all the time).

When I could figure out what was going on, it was good. But too hard to figure that out in too many places. Especially at the start, it didn’t help that all of Ari’s older sisters had names that started with J, in addition to Jasper. It also took a while to figure out who/what the heck Jasper was (and maybe I never would have without the online summary?). There were some things I liked – Ari’s relationship with Mikey, especially. Mikey was a stepbrother later on (not Len’s son, but the son of a different (abusive) stepfather later). I also liked Ari’s relationship with Len. I did think the story was good, but I did not like the way it was written, as it was just too hard to follow through much of the book.

Mar 13, 2022, 3:56pm

12x12 PBT, History Lane, AlphaKIT, CATWoman

Prayers for Sale / Sandra Dallas
3.5 stars

It’s 1936 in a small gold mining town in the Colorado Rockies. 86-year old Hennie has lived here for 70 years. When a new young woman moves to town, Hennie befriends her, as she knows it will take time for most people to accept the newcomer to town, especially when they think her husband has taken a job away from a local. Hennie is one for telling stories, so she keeps Nit entertained with stories of her background when and why she moved from the South (as did Nit and her husband), and more about Hennie’s own life and stories about some of the happenings around town over the years. Unfortunately, Hennie’s daughter wants Hennie to move “down” (off the mountain), as she worries with Hennie living alone in a dangerous place.

I enjoyed this. There was a lot about quilting, which is something I have never done, but I bet people who do quilt would appreciate that in this book. Leaned a bit about gold mining, as well (one thing - I’d never heard of dredging; I guess I’ve read more about the gold rush and panning for gold). There was one unexpected turn at the end (I see other reviews tell me there was lots of (too much!) foreshadowing about something, but somehow I managed to miss that!). Overall, this was enjoyable.

Mar 13, 2022, 4:32pm

12x12 Audio, AlphatKIT, ScaredyKIT, Who's PBT's Fave

The Outsider / Stephen King
4 stars

When a little boy is violently raped and murdered, everything (including nonrefutable evidence) points to the boy’s baseball coach Terry, even though he has always been well-liked, an upstanding member of the town. The police, so convinced it was Terry, arrest him very publicly at a championship ball game. But Terry insists he was out of town, and he can prove that without a doubt (also including nonrefutable evidence). But how could he possibly be in two places at once? Things have already gotten worse for the boy’s family and the entire situation gets worse, still, when Terry arrives at his hearing…

I listened to the audio with the same narrator as for the Mr. Mercedes series, I believe. Holly Gibney from that series also makes an appearance in this one. This was really good. Things seemed like a done-deal on both sides, but almost right away, I figured it couldn’t have been Terry. In any case, how in the world could there be such convincing evidence on both sides? It certainly had me wanting to know more.

Mar 13, 2022, 7:16pm

>97 LibraryCin: For a minute there, I thought you had read The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton! I kept thinking, "I don't remember that particular plot point!"

What an interesting and timely book from this master of the mysterious and twisted. Haven't read anything by him since The Green Mile years ago, so I'll add this to my TBR list. Thank you!

Mar 13, 2022, 9:24pm

>98 threadnsong: LOL! It's a bit of a different story, isn't it!?

I do think it would be fun to reread "The Outsiders", though. I'm not sure if I've read it since high school (though I did - in the last couple of years - pick up the DVD and rewatch that).

Oh, and King keeps publishing more, and he's still really good! I hope you like it!

Mar 13, 2022, 10:09pm

12x12 Travel, AlphaKIT, PBT, BingoDOG

Maus I: A Survivor's Tale. My Father Bleeds History / Art Spiegelman
4 stars

In case anyone doesn’t know, this is a graphic novel/memoir of the author’s Jewish father during WWII. The novel skips between the author interviewing his father in order to write the book and back to WWII. Jews are depicted as mice, Nazis as cats, Poles as pigs.

This is actually a reread (originally read 13 years ago), though it looks like the first time around, I read “The Complete Maus”. I do plan to also reread part II, but I do have them as separate parts this time, so will record them separately.

I did like this better this second time around. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe I was paying better attention. I feel like I caught more of what was going on in the “present-day” story, between Spiegelman’s father and his 2nd wife, in addition to between father and son. I thought this was done well, and didn’t have too hard a time following the time shifts (I feel like this is something I didn’t do as well with the first time around). And of course, his father’s survival story during WWII is one well worth reading.

Mar 19, 2022, 4:07pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time, AlphaKIT

A Stitch in Time / Kelley Armstrong
4 stars

Bronwyn, a widow at 38-years old and a history professor in Toronto, has inherited an old large home in rural England(?). This is a home that she hasn’t visited in 23 years. When she used to visit as a child, she met a boy her own age… turns out this boy was from about 200 years earlier! She saw him when they were children, and again when they were 15, but that summer, tragedy struck and Bronwyn stayed away for all those years later. When she returns this time, she finds not only is she still able to slip back in time, but the house is full of ghosts.

I really liked this. There was more romance than I normally read, but there was enough ghosts, mystery, and time travel to make up for that. Some of the ghost happenings were creepy (which, for me, is a good thing!). I did, however, feel badly for the poor neglected kitten, Enigma. Kitty was supposedly too young to be away from mom, but since Bronwyn wasn’t around for hours and hours at at time, I worried that Enigma would die without milk (knowing that was unlikely to happen in the book, but very unrealistic to say kitty was too young to be separated from mom, then neglect her like that without dire consequences; unweaned kitten, I believe, should be bottle-fed milk every 2 hours; maybe kitty was a bit older than that?) Obviously, that did not bring my rating down any. The mystery was good and I loved the creepy hauntings!

Mar 19, 2022, 10:56pm

12x12 Travel, PBT, AlphaKIT

Maus II: A Survivor's Tale. And Here My Troubles Began / Art Spiegelman
4 stars

In case anyone doesn’t know, this is (part II of) a graphic novel/memoir of the author’s Jewish father during WWII. The novel skips between the author interviewing his father in order to write the book and back to WWII. Jews are depicted as mice, Nazis as cats, Poles as pigs.

This is actually a reread (originally read 13 years ago), though it looks like the first time around, I read “The Complete Maus”. I read Part I last week; I do have them as separate parts this time, so I am recording them separately.

My review isn’t too much different from my review for Part I last week. I think I liked this better this second time around; I feel like I was paying better attention. Although the current day story in Part II didn’t focus as much on Art’s father and his 2nd wife, but there was still plenty happening in the “current” day with Art, his wife, and his father. We had a few more nationalities in part II, all drawn with/represented by different types of animals. This one also included Art drawing himself dealing with the success of part I’s publication and trying to write/draw part II. This one also had the end of WWII with Art’s father getting out of Auschwitz and meeting up later with Art’s mother. A very good book, and a different way to get the message out about what happened during the Holocaust.

Mar 20, 2022, 4:17pm

12x12 Series, MysteryKIT, Roundtuits, BingoDOG

Not the Killing Type / Lorna Barrett
3.5 stars

Tricia’s sister Angelica is running for Chamber of Commerce president to replace realtor Bob Kelly, who has been the president for a long time. Unfortunately, on a break during the meeting, the third candidate, Stan, is found (by Tricia, of course!) murdered on the toilet! Obvious suspects are Bob and Angelica, but Tricia wants to prove otherwise.

I’m still enjoying this series. I like most of the characters. I learned that Tricia is a bit of a “scrooge” (my word/description) when it comes to Christmas decorations. (But then, I like lots of decorations; maybe people who like simple, plain, understated Christmas decos would disagree!) The premise of such a small town with such niche stores (even with tourists to support them), seems unlikely to me (having grown up in a small town where there was no book store at all, let alone niche bookstores!), but that’s ok – the stores weren’t the focus of this book, anyway. I listened to the audio and it was good; it kept my attention.

Mar 20, 2022, 9:58pm

12x12 TBR, PBT, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

Blue Meridian / Peter Matthiessen
2.5 stars

In the 1970s, the author managed to get himself on an excursion that is filming a movie about sharks. Matthiessen learns how to dive with one of those cages to keep him safe from any sharks that may come by.

The book couldn’t keep my attention and I kept falling asleep (granted, it was also a busy, stressful week). It was very slow to read, even when I was paying attention. I wasn’t happy with the animals (particularly the whales) they used as bait to attract the sharks. There was also very little about the sharks themselves, beyond how dangerous they are. I wanted to know more about the sharks, and not the emphasis on how dangerous, which I feel has contributed to the scary shark stereotype. But then, the focus was more on making the movie. The cages were cool – it sounded like they were fairly new at the time. There were some really good photos included in the book. Overall, though, I was disappointed in this.

Mar 25, 2022, 11:36pm

12x12 Nonfiction, Roundtuits, PBT Trim, AlphaKIT

Lucky / Alice Sebold
4 stars

Alice Sebold was an 18-year old virgin when she was brutally beaten and raped in 1981 on the last day of her first college school year. When she returned for her second year, in October she saw her rapist and immediately went to the police. The book follows the trial and how she tried to continue on with her life after.

This was a compelling read and Alice does not hold back in her detailed account of the rape and she goes into detail about what happens after and the trial. Though not in the book, I’m marking this a As I look up the man now, I’m shocked! He was not her rapist! Debating about bringing down my rating, but I don’t like doing that. The rating is based on what I thought of the book itself. She was tough. She immediately knew she wanted to find the man and have him sent to jail. It was unfortunate – some of the decisions she made as she got older, but I guess that could be chalked up to PTSD.

Mar 27, 2022, 2:32pm

12x12 BIPOC, AlphaKIT

Take My Hand / Dolen Perkins-Valdez
4 stars

In the early 1970s, the Montgomery (Alabama) Family Planning Clinic was “helping” poor families with birth control. When new nurse Civil starts working there, she thinks she is doing a good thing and really wants to help. Civil is assigned to go to the home of two young black girls (only 11 and 13) to give them both shots of Depo-Provera to prevent pregnancy. It’s only after she gives them those shots that she thinks to ask more questions. The girls are so young – do they really need this already? Then it gets worse…

This was really good. I wasn’t surprised to read, at the end, that this was based on a real life story of two young girls that ultimately led to a trial and changes in laws. I was surprised to learn that Depo-Provera was available in the 70s. I hadn’t realized it had been around that long. There was a current-day story (2016) to go with the ‘70s flashbacks, but I’m not sure the current storyline really added anything to it – at least not for me. I did feel like, although Civil was trying to help, it got to a point where there was a bit too much overreach. That being said, she really did help that family.

Mar 28, 2022, 9:47pm

12x12 PBT, Play Book Tag

As I Lay Dying / William Faulkner
2 stars

I hate reading a book and not knowing what’s happening. All I figured out was that someone was dying. I assumed the narrators (it changes with each chapter) were all family members, but as I continued on and there were so many, I figured it had to be more than family. The woman did die, and the family took a trip with the coffin… somewhere to do something? Presumably to bury her somewhere?

I didn’t like this. I was bored, didn’t really follow what was happening, and didn’t like the writing style. There was a lot of repetition of dialogue. I learned more about some of the things that happened in the story from the reading guide after I’d finished than I figured out while actually reading the book (when I get bored, I skim and take in very little). “Classics” are hit or miss for me, and this was my first Faulkner; I’m going to assume Faulkner will generally be a miss for me.

Mar 30, 2022, 10:52pm

12x12 Audio, Who's PBT's Favourite?

The Great Alone / Kristin Hannah
4.5 stars

Leni is only 13-years old in the 1970s when her parents decide to leave everything behind and move to Alaska (quite unprepared). Although they all love it there, Leni’s father Ernt does not do well in the dark and cold months. He was in Vietnam and has not been well since coming home. This creates very dangerous situations for Leni and her mother Cora, although Cora has this odd relationship with Ernt and they love each other ferociously, anyway. The family has moved around a lot and Leni is happy to meet and make a friend her own age in this small town in Alaska, but life at home is always tumultuous.

I listened to the audio and it was so good. The descriptions were amazing, and I was pulled right in, and I stayed interested all the way through (except one short section toward the end that wasn’t quite as engrossing). I loved some of the secondary characters, especially Large Marge. This is likely to make my favourites this year.

Mar 31, 2022, 7:12am

>108 LibraryCin: - Our book club read this a few years ago, but I wasn't going to be around so I didn't read it. I always meant to. And it's sitting on a book shelf somewhere. I should try to fit it in.

Mar 31, 2022, 4:36pm

>109 dudes22: I was thinking it would make a good book club read! I hope you like it!

Apr 1, 2022, 8:55pm

>101 LibraryCin: I also liked A Stitch in Time. Like you, I didn't care for the romance aspect all that much but found there was enough mystery and supernatural elements to keep me interested.

Apr 1, 2022, 10:56pm

12x12 ARCs, AlphaKIT

Until Leaves Fall in Paris / Sarah Sundin
3.5 stars

Lucie is an American ballet dancer, but she’s been living in Paris and dancing with the ballet there for years. When her good friends (Jews) decide to leave before the Nazis arrive, Lucie offers to take care of their business, a bookstore, until they are able to return. While running the store, Lucie gets involved in a bit more than is probably wise, but she feels like she is doing good.

Paul is also American and is running a car factory in Paris. He is widowed and has a 4-year old daughter. In order to remain in Paris (and run his factory), he must agree to terms by the Germans – although according to the agreement, he is not helping the Germans, but the Germans are using his trucks, anyway, and Paul is seen as a collaborator and is shunned by former friends.

I enjoyed this. I liked Lucie’s chapters (they alternated) more than Paul’s. Not quite 4 stars for me – maybe too many WWII books? Also probably the bits of pieces of the Lord peppered in there; there wasn’t a lot of it, but it just felt strange to me. I guess I’m not used to reading “Christian fiction”. The end wasn’t a surprise, but there were a couple of twists to get there.

Apr 3, 2022, 2:37pm

12x12 Travel, Roundtuits, AlphaKIT, CATWoman

The Tusk that did the Damage / Tania James
2.5 stars

This book follows an elephant, two filmmakers at a sanctuary(?) in India doing a story on a vet, and a poacher. The chapters alternate between the three. The elephants mother was killed when he was a baby and he was stolen, raised to perform.

I didn’t really like this (surprisingly since it’s an animal book). I didn’t care about the humans and those chapters (mostly) bored me. I liked the elephant chapters at first, but they went downhill because they weren’t all from the elephant’s point of view (as I’d expected), but some of those chapters followed the “handlers” more and there was a bit of elephant mythology (which often would interest me, but in this case, I was bored). Overall, though, the book did pick up in the last 1/3 or so and I was more interested, but it was only enough to bring my rating up by a ½ star. Although I’m not even certain what happened at the very end, and although I see other reviews say the three stories came together, I completely missed where the filmmakers’ story fit in.

Apr 8, 2022, 9:52pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits, PBT Trim, AuthorCAT, AlphaKIT

Journey Toward Justice / Dennis Fritz
4 stars

In 1982, Debbie Carter was raped and murdered in Ada, Oklahoma. Four or five years later, Dennis Fritz and his friend Ronnie Williamson were arrested. Dennis knew nothing at all about the murder, but he was tried and sentenced to life in prison, based on next-to-no evidence. In prison, Dennis spent as much time as he possibly could in the law library to figure out how to prove his innocence and get out of there. Finally, after 11 (12?) years, DNA set him (and Ron) free.

The is the same murder covered in John Grisham’s “The Innocent Man”, though Grisham focused on Ronnie, and of course was an outsider’s point of view, whereas Fritz’s book is a memoir, so we see what all happened through his own eyes – an innocent men arrested and on trial for a murder he knew nothing about. Interesting book (and frustrating – between the lack of evidence to begin with and all those letters Dennis wrote to higher and higher levels of court to try to get someone to listen to him!).

Dennis did learn a lot about how the law works while he was in prison, and there were times in the book where he used legal terms and phrases and I wasn’t quite sure what exactly he meant, though the gist was there. But a bit of an explanation would have been nice. Oh, and Dennis was a single dad with a 13-year old daughter at the time of his arrest, so really sad that his daughter had to go through that, as well.

Apr 9, 2022, 9:39pm

12x12 Audio, WPF

Olive Kitteridge / Elizabeth Strout
2 stars

This was a set of short stories that were intertwined with the same characters/community. Olive Kitteridge is a crotechty old woman, but not all the stories revolved around her, either.

I really shouldn’t listen to short stories on audio. Short stories already don’t always interest me as much, and when I listen to books I sometimes lose focus. When I lose focus while listening to short stories, then return my focus, they’ve often moved onto a different story, so I’ve really missed everything. There is really no way to get interested again. That being said, there were a couple of stories at the end that kept my focus more than any of the others, but it wasn’t enough to bring up my rating.

Apr 9, 2022, 9:58pm

12x12 Series, PBT, WPF

Death of Riley / Rhys Bowen
4 stars

It’s 1901. Molly Murphy arrived in New York City not long ago from Ireland. She wants to train as a private investigator, but when she finds an investigator (Paddy Riley), he isn’t terribly interested in training her. He does, however, hire her to clean his office. Mollly still hopes that she’ll still be able to learn something, although Paddy won’t share any of his case information with her. She’s only been working with him a short time when she arrives at the office to find him dying (though she initially thought him asleep); she finds someone ransacking the back office and he hits her and runs; Molly only gets a brief glimpse, but the police don’t seem terribly interested in trying hard to investigate, so Molly will.

This was really good. It started off good – I do like the feisty Molly – but it picked up in the last 1/3 of the book, as things became dangerous for her. I wasn’t sure initially about Sid and Gus – two women that took Molly in with a room to live in – but I sure did like them by the end! The book seems to do a good job of portraying early 20th century NYC, as well.

Apr 15, 2022, 2:38pm

12x12 Trim, MysteryKIT, ScaredyKIT, AlphaKIT, PBT, Roundtuits

The Stone Monkey / Jeffery Deaver
4 stars

When a ship full of Chinese illegal immigrants comes close to shore in the U.S., the Coast Guard heads out to meet them. But the “snakehead” (nicknamed “the Ghost”) -- the guy they paid to get them to the U.S. -- locks everyone (including the captain and crew) except his assistant below deck, and blows up the ship! A few people manage to escape, but it seems the Ghost won’t stop until he kills them all.

I thought this was really good. The story was told from multiple points of view, including Amelia Sachs, the Ghost, a Chinese cop that came on the boat and managed to escape the blast, and two families that also escaped the ship. It’s darker than I usually like (although some darker ones I do like – and this was one of them). I don’t see that this is tagged noir or hard-boiled, but it seemed pretty gritty and dark to me. There was a good twist in this one. Have to admit, I’m not a big fan of Lincoln and Amelia’s relationship, though.

Apr 20, 2022, 5:31pm

12x12 Oh Canada, Travel Across Canada, AuthorCAT, Roundtuits

Wild Awake / Hilary T. Smith
3 stars

Kiri’s parents are away on a cruise and have left her on her own. I think she’s 17? She is part of a musical duo with her best friend, Lukas, and they have Battle of the Bands coming up. Kiri is also a very good piano player and has a test(? competition?) coming up. When she receives a strange phone call about her (long-dead) sister, she learns something (big) her parents never told her about her sister’s death. This starts a series of events that has Kiri spiralling out of control.

I didn’t like Kiri, nor many of the choices she made. The book became kind of chaotic as we moved more and more toward the end. I did like the Vancouver setting – it’s always fun recognizing places. I also thought the idea of Kiri never learning what she does about her sister’s death until the start of this book (5 years later) is pretty unrealistic. I can’t imagine she wouldn’t have heard it somewhere, even if not from her parents or brother. The book still (at least more at the start and throughout the first half or so) interested me enough to consider it “ok”.

Apr 20, 2022, 5:52pm

12x12 BIPOC, CATWoman

Becoming / Michelle Obama
3.75 stars

This is Michelle Obama’s autobiography, so it does start with growing up with her family. Her father had MS and didn’t want to buy a house, so they (2 parents, 2 siblings) lived upstairs from an aunt and uncle in Chicago. Although they didn’t have a lot of money, Michelle got an Ivy league education and a law degree. Which is around when she met Barack. Of course, the second half(ish?) of the book was her marriage, their two daughters, and politics, including Barack’s rise to the presidency with Michelle, not only along for the ride, but having to give up her life and career for that presidency.

I liked this. She is an amazing woman and an amazing speaker (I also listened to the audio book, read by Michelle, herself). There are still some things that I don’t understand about American politics (I’m Canadian), but I also learned a few things, too. And it really was an interesting look behind the scenes of the Obamas lives, as well as behind the scenes in the White House. I like that she really seems down-to-earth and was all about (as much as she could be) keeping her daughter’s lives as normal as possible.

Apr 23, 2022, 10:29pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time, AlphaKIT

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations... / Steven Johnson
3.5 stars

This book looks at connections in inventions – one thing had to be invented or discovered, which created a chain reaction for the next thing and the next thing, etc. Glass, then spectacles, then the printing press caused more people to need spectacles, then microscopes, etc.

I found this interesting – the connections more than how the things were invented. Many inventions would have happened even if the person who invented had not been the one to do so – someone else would have done so soon after. I listened to the audio. The narrator was mostly fine, but there was the occasional odd pause that was noticeable, though the content was enough to (mostly) keep my interest in the book, anyway.

Apr 24, 2022, 3:08pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, MysteryKIT, ScaredyKIT

Career of Evil / Robert Galbraith.
3.75 stars

When Robin, PI Cormorant Strike’s assistant, arrives at the office one day, there is a delivery for her. It’s a severed leg! When they look closer, they can see the name under the address label was originally addressed to Strike, so Strike comes up with a few people who have grudges against him and gives those names to the police, as he thinks they are going after him through Robin. Of course, Strike and Robin will investigate, as well, looking for where these men are now and if they might have had the opportunity to do this. Meanwhile, Robin and her fiancee are having problems, mostly because Matthew doesn’t like Robin’s job nor her perceived (by Matthew) “relationship” with Strike.

I found the first half a bit harder to follow, as there were a LOT of characters, so I found it a bit tricky to keep them and their stories/backgrounds and relationships to Strike straight. One of the relationships that did stick in my head was Strike’s stepfather. We learn about Strike’s childhood – his mother was murdered, and Strike believes it was his stepfather who did it. I was waffling between ok and good (3 and 3.5 stars) for the first half, but I thought it really picked up in the second half so I upped my rating because of that.

Apr 29, 2022, 10:09pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, AlphaKIT, CATWoman, BingoDOG, WPF

The Island of Sea Women / Lisa See
3.5 stars

Set in Korea and primarily spanning from the 1930s to the 1970s (with some “current day” tidbits in 2008), the main character is Young-sook, “now” in her 80s. When she was 15, on Jeju island in Korea, she began training with her mother and best friend Mi-ja to become haenyeo, a diver. As a woman, Young-sook would be primarily responsible for feeding her family and making money from the diving she would be doing. After they are married and have children, Young-sook is unable to forgive Mi-ja for a huge betrayal.

The book takes us through a number of historical events, starting with Japanese occupation, WWII, American occupation, the Korean War, and an event in Korea that wiped out (i.e. they were murdered) many of the villagers on Jeju.

Good story, though it didn’t move quickly. I learned a lot about Jeju island (which I had never heard of) and the historical happenings there and in Korea, in general. Also learned about the women divers, which was definitely interesting. It was a bit frustrating, though, with the women being so prominent in that society, yet boys were still more highly prized. The women worked not only to feed their family and make money, but that money was to be spent on educating the boys. Overall, though, it was a good and interesting book.

Apr 29, 2022, 10:18pm

>122 LibraryCin: I love Lisa See, but haven't read that one, yet. Have you read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan?

Apr 30, 2022, 7:22am

>122 LibraryCin: - Our book club read White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lyn Bracht last year which was also about the women divers also. I knew about them but this book gave me a better understanding. I might put this on my TBR list.

Apr 30, 2022, 2:41pm

>123 Tess_W: I have read it, and I know most people loved it. I rated it the same as this one at 3.5 stars, which for me is "good".

My favourite by her is actually Dreams of Joy (made my favourites the year I read it), which is a sequel to Shanghai Girls. I think I rated "Shanghai Girls" 4 stars and "Dreams of Joy" 4.5 (keep in mind, I don't often give out 5 stars!).

Edited: Apr 30, 2022, 2:42pm

>124 dudes22: Oh, funny that was another one I considered reading this month (though I couldn't remember what it was about or when I'd added it to the tbr or why). I didn't get to it, though, so it will wait until another time.

Apr 30, 2022, 2:43pm

>124 dudes22: And oh... a book club book, hey? Maybe I'll see how many copies my library has it and suggest it for my book club next year...

Apr 30, 2022, 5:42pm

>122 LibraryCin: I loved this one. I did not know the history of Jeju so was glad to add that to my knowledgebase. I had read Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane and really liked it. She was a guest at our book club via Zoom to discuss Sea Women. It was a fun discussion as she talked a lot about her process. I believe she is open to that kind of virtual event if others are looking to have a guest author.

Apr 30, 2022, 11:22pm

>128 beebeereads: Wow, that is pretty cool to have her at your book club!

I'm in two different clubs. One of them (has been going longer) has had local authors (from my city)... I think three different times. The other one just recently had an author from Ontario (I'm in Calgary). That was our first author to come to our book club. Have to admit Zoom has made this much easier! :-)

May 1, 2022, 4:50am

>125 LibraryCin: putting those 2 on my WL!

May 1, 2022, 5:44pm

>130 Tess_W: I hope you like them!

May 1, 2022, 6:00pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time, Roundtuits

Cradle to Cradle / William McDonough & Michael Braungart
3.25 stars

The authors are an architect and a chemist who work together to make/create more environmentally-friendly/sustainable items. They actually start off by saying that what we mostly do now is not good enough; that is, there are still issues with trying to be not “as bad” vs. all-out bad. They want to make things “good” (for human health, for the environment, and even for company’s/industry’s bottom lines, economically. They say it can be done (and they have examples of things they’ve done working with various companies to do those things).

It’s probably something we need to hear, but it’s new, and so for some things, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the ideas: eco-effective vs eco-efficient, upcycling vs downcycling, biological nutrients and technical nutrients, and more. I think I figured out downcycling -- when we currently recycle, this is what happens. This means that the items we recycle are being reused/remade, but they are of lower quality. Because they are of lower quality, more potential toxins/chemicals need to be added to “shore things up”, so to speak. I’m probably not explaining that well.

They did have some good examples and I think they are probably correct in what they are suggesting, but it was hard for me to figure all of it out. Maybe there needs to be more written on this, as the more I read, I’ll likely clue in a bit better. But what’s unfortunate (and I hadn’t realized) is that this book was published 20 years ago, in 2002. Without having heard much more about these concepts, I’m concerned that they haven’t really taken root, still.

May 3, 2022, 10:40pm

12x12 ARCs

Breathless / Amy McCulloch
4.25 stars

Cecily is a reporter who has only tried climbing the three highest mountains in England, Scotland, and Wales. Her ex (and fellow reporter), James, was the mountain climber and he wanted to do the three in 24 hours. Although Cecily failed to do it, she was hailed a hero after she stayed with someone while rescuers were on their way. Cecily’s blog (to James’ consternation) brought her to the attention of famous climber, Charles McVeigh, who is trying to climb (I can’t recall how many) 8,000 m peaks in a year without Oxygen or fixed ropes (alpine style). He has one peak left to do and he invites Cecily to join him with the promise of an exclusive story if she can summit.

Unfortunately, people are dying on the mountain. That’s not unusual in mountain climbing, but there is something suspicious here. And Cecily (along with a few others) is convinced she often hears someone whistling outside her tent some nights; she follows one night to find a lone tent no one knew was there. As a reporter, she also tends to ask a lot of questions.

This pulled me in right away and I thought it was suspenseful from the start. But then, I like thrillers, as well as mountain-climbing stories, though I’m not sure I’ve ever read a fictional mountain climbing story – they can be suspenseful and exciting all on their own without adding a murder mystery to the mix! I did pick out someone as suspicious early on in the book. No surprise to read at the end that the author has climbed this particular mountain in the story herself.

May 3, 2022, 10:58pm

12x12 Audio

Becoming Mrs. Lewis / Patti Callahan
2 stars

When New York author Joy starts corresponding with C.S. Lewis, she is beyond thrilled. They discuss religion in their letters and she is happy to be able to travel to England to meet him (while leaving her husband and two sons behind). Of course, she falls in love with him.

I listened to the audio, and though I lost focus sometimes in the first half, I was pretty much paying attention in the second half, but it didn’t help the story any. I probably did miss some things in the first half of the book, as Joy eventually accused her husband of abuse, but that’s something I completely missed (although he did cheat on her with her cousin).

With regard to the “relationship” between Joy and “Jack” (C. S. Lewis’ nickname), apparently this was based on real life (I had just assumed it was completely fictional), but in the story itself, I didn’t see or “get” it. Yeah, she was head over heels for him, but I didn’t see that he loved her at all. All the gushing at the end was just ridiculously eye-rolling and gag-inducing to me. I didn’t believe it. Oh, and the religious stuff bored me.

May 8, 2022, 3:32pm

12x12 Animals, CATWoman, RandomKIT, History Lane

Seabiscuit: An American Legend / Laura Hillenbrand
3.5 stars

Seabiscuit was a racing horse, famous in the 1930s. As a colt, he just wanted to sleep and eat. He only turned on the speed when he felt like it. His owner was Charles Howard; trainer was Tom Smith; jockeys were Red Pollard and George Woolf. This book includes biographical information about Seabiscuit in addition to all the men. Of course, there is plenty of information on horse racing, in addition.

The story was good. Horse racing is dangerous and I do not like using animals for human entertainment. This certainly didn’t help my opinion. Of course, the author mostly focused on the danger for the jockeys, but those same dangers go for the horses, as well. But the human jockeys choose to do what they do, knowing the dangers. I was surprised to learn how much those jockeys mistreat their own bodies (“reducing” to lose weight) in order to race – the health issues that must come about from that! Being from Alberta, it was interesting to learn that Red Pollard was originally from Edmonton. Hillenbrand is a very good writer and the descriptions of the races were exciting. I was cheering Seabiscuit on.

May 14, 2022, 10:20pm

12x12 Oh Canada, CATWoman, AuthorCAT, Travel Across Canada

Anne of Green Gables / L. M. Montgomery
4 stars

Anne is 11-years old and an orphan when she is brought to middle-aged siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert on Prince Edward Island. They had sent word that they wanted a boy to help with the chores, but there was a miscommunication and they ended up with a girl. They hadn’t the heart to send back the chatty girl who wormed her way into their hearts, despite all the foibles she made along the way.

This was a reread. I read it as a teenager. For this reread, I listened to an audio version. The CBC mini-series from the mid-80s with Megan Follows is one of my all-time favourite movies. Because of that, there was no way I could picture anything else but the characters in that movie as I listened to the book. But that’s ok by me. The book had a few additional happenings that they didn’t put in the movie and the movie expanded on some of the happenings in the book. I don’t know how anyone could not help but love Anne. (Well, to be honest, I’d probably have a harder time of it in real life – as an adult, anyway; I’m sure as a kid, I would have loved her.)

May 15, 2022, 4:14pm

12x12 Travel, MysteryKIT, AlphaKIT

The Council of Twelve / Oliver Potzsch
4.25 stars

In the late 17th century, the hangmen of Bavaria are gathering just outside Munich for their guild council. They don’t often get to meet because, being the dishonourables that they are, no one wants to host their meetings. On this occasion, they happen to be near Munich as the dead bodies of two young girls are discovered, murdered in various styles of execution from the time. As more bodies are found, the hangmen, of course, are suspected. Jakob Kuisl, his daughter Magdalena, and her doctor husband Simon, try to help figure out what it going on.

Meantime, there is also a group of people distributing counterfeit money, and Simon (whose reputation as a mystery-solver has preceded him) has been asked to find the lost dog of a local “royal” family. Really, this turns out to be the young prince’s dog, who befriends Simon and Magdalena’s son, Peter. And Jakob’s younger daughter, Barbara, is at an age where she should be getting married; although, Magdalena was lucky and found someone above her station, Barbara is likely to have to marry one of the other executioners or their sons.

I really like this series and I feel like it gets better and better. I believe I am now caught up in the series, so it’s hard to say when I will get to the next one (I am assuming there will continue to be more – I hope!). The book switches points of view (though never first-person) quite often, but I like that it gives me the feel of all of these things happening, as different characters go about their business, at the same time. Of course, for suspense, it often cuts to a different character/scene just as something exciting is about to happen or happens.

May 15, 2022, 4:44pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits, ScaredyKIT

MirrorMask / Neil Gaiman
2 stars

Helena comes from a circus family and when her mother (not long after they’ve fought) ends up in the hospital, Helena has odd dreams.

This was just odd, I thought. Apparently a movie came first? This has illustrations throughout and it’s short. Since the bulk of the book was a dream, like many dreams it just went from odd happening to odd happening.

May 16, 2022, 10:35pm

12x12 Nonfiction, AlphaKIT, AuthorCAT, Roundtuits, Travel Across Canada

Offshore / Catherine Dook
3.5 stars

Catherine and her husband John live on a boat off the coast of British Columbia. This book details a few short sailing trips they took, mostly with the intention of being gone longer than they were, turning back mostly due to weather issues (and not really being very good sailors!). On the trip where they’d hoped to sail to Hawaii, they brought two additional crew members, Aussie John and Kiwi John; at that point, Catherine’s husband was “John Darling”.

This was short and I had to shake my head a bit at the foibles. But it was entertaining and a bit amusing with some humour thrown in. I enjoyed it.

May 21, 2022, 11:43pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, WPF, AlphaKIT

The Dutch House / Ann Patchett.
3.75 stars

Danny and Maeve are young when their mother just up and leaves to head to India. There is a seven (or eight?) year age difference between them, but they become very close, especially after their father remarries Andrea and Andrea and her two daughters move in. Danny is still only 15-years old when their father dies. The story is told from Danny’s point of view and goes back and forth in time between them as adults and growing up.

Wow, Andrea is the modern-day evil stepmother from hell, isn’t she!? Like many others, I listened to the audio, which was done so well by Tom Hanks (I’m upping my rating by ¼ star due to his narration). I never lost interest, though it is a slow moving book. I didn’t much like the interaction between Celeste (Danny’s wife) and Maeve, either. I identified more with Danny’s feelings near the end than Maeve’s though I can sort of understand why she would feel the way she did. There were other interesting happenings at the end of the book, as well.

May 22, 2022, 11:46pm

12x12 BIPOC, Roundtuits, PBT Trim

Tituba of Salem Village / Ann Petry
3.5 stars

This is a fictional account of the Salem witches in the late 17th century. Told from the point of view of Tituba, who was a slave in Barbados, sold along with her husband to Reverend Samuel Parris who moved with them to Boston hoping to get a position there, but settled for a position in Salem Village. The Parris’s had two young girls in their care – their only daughter, Betsey, and their niece, Abigail. When the young girls started having fits and blaming it on witches, it was Tituba, along with two others who were first named as the witches causing the fits.

I thought this was good; I liked it. About 2/3 of the book was leading up to the witch accusations, some of which was just them all getting settled first in Boston, then in Salem -- a small village where Tituba and her husband were not used to such cold. In this fictional account, Abigail really comes off as a troublemaker – you can see it coming. (She was the first to start having “fits”.) There was a short point form section at the end that explained some of the things that really did happen.

May 23, 2022, 4:27pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, Roundtuits, AlphaKIT, BingoDOG

Our Souls at Night / Kent Haruf
3.75 stars

Louis (pronounced Lewis – I listened to the audio) is surprised when Addie, whom he doesn’t know well, though he knows who she is, approaches him to relieve lonely nights by sleeping together (literally sleeping side-by-side). They are older and their spouses are gone, and they are lonely. Louis decides to give it a try. It’s not long before Addie’s son, Gene, and his wife decide to separate, so Gene brings his 6-year old son, Jamie, to live with Addie for a while, so Addie and Louis now have a grandson in the house, as well.

This was good. I loved the relationship between Addie, Louis, and Jamie (and the dog!), but wth is wrong with Gene!? How can he be so awful to his mother about all this? My grandpa, some years after my grandma died, had a lady friend/companion, and I don’t know that either my mom or her sister (Grandpa’s daughters) had an issue with it. Really Gene? Can you not let your mother be happy? Ugh!

May 28, 2022, 3:09pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time, Roundtuits, AlphaKIT

The Wilderness Warrior / Douglas Brinkley
3.25 stars

President Theodore Roosevelt was a bird lover, a lover of nature in general, and also a hunter. As president from 1901- 1909, he created numerous national parks and monuments and expanded more; he brought in laws protecting birds, as well as created hunting seasons and licensing. He admired Darwin and his theories. He did a lot for conservation in the United States in the early 20th century.

Sadly, I also felt he was very contradictory due to his joy of hunting (including trophy hunting!) Yes, he did a LOT for conservation, but that was dimmed (in my opinion) by his love of hunting, particularly big game, in many cases just to put the animal’s head on his wall. Even in some of his parks, he still allowed hunting, but only of predators, not prey. This was a very long book at just under 1000 pages, so there were times I lost interest. I did learn some interesting things, too – I didn’t know “teddy bears” were named after him (but he didn’t like being called “Teddy”, either).

May 28, 2022, 3:33pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, AlphaKIT, ScaredyKIT

The House from Hell / Genoveva Ortiz
3.75 stars

It was the 1960s in Indiana. Gertrude Baniszewski was a single mother of seven who took in two teenaged sisters while their parents were travelling around the US for work. Unfortunately for the sisters, Sylvia and Jenny (particularly Sylvia), no one realized how abusive Gertrude was, and it was ramped up to infinity as she took a dislike to Sylvia. Not only did Gertrude torture Sylvia, but she encouraged and coaxed others, including her children and their friends, to do so, as well.

This book is fairly short and written in a simple style to make it easy for anyone (regardless of reading level) to be able to read; this is explained in the introduction. This may have led to the very straightforward way of telling the story, all the horrible torture and all. It’s hard for me to rate this book because of all the violence and awful torture Sylvia was put through before she finally died. I read a lot of horror and true crime and other dark things, but this was tough to read – and it really happened! The book is part of a true crime series, and I would be willing to read others, even though it was hard to read the details in this one.

May 29, 2022, 4:43pm

12x12 Animals, Travel Across Canada, Roundtuits, BingoDOG, April RandomKIT

The Last Wild Wolves / Ian McAllister.
4.5 stars

The author is a photographer and lives on the northern coast of British Columbia. He has taken many wildlife photos and helped with studies of the local wolf populations where he is. This is a coffee-table-style book with plenty of large photographs, alongside information about the wolves, and an epilogue that includes information about the destruction and conservation of the area.

Oh, they are beautiful. And sadly, so vilified. I hate people. I hate hunters – there are stories in the epilogue of some awful hunters. I hate the humans behind the companies that only want to make money and don’t care what they destroy to do it, as they destroy the habitats for most animals. These wolves are in an area that is less disturbed by humans, but it’s hard to say if that will last.

Getting beyond that, the wolves and the photos are beautiful. The area itself is beautiful, and there are a few photos that are not of the wolves, though of course, the bulk of the photos are. The information about the wolves was interesting – I didn’t know that wolves and ravens have a symbiotic relationship; wolves will hunt and eat many birds, but there has never been remains of ravens found in their scat. There is also a 20-ish minute DVD included with the book, a short documentary that says some of the same as what the book says, but of course the “photos” are now a video. And have I mentioned how beautiful they are!?

May 30, 2022, 10:21pm

12x12 ARCs

The Keepers / Tan Van Huizen
3.5 stars

There is a group of police officers in the small town of Titicut, Massachusetts who are not only tasked with regular police work in town, but there is something they’ve had to keep in check for 300 years, and the guardianship of this has been passed down from generation to generation. Because of this very dark “something”, people occasionally go missing… and the police cover it up. They don’t want outsiders coming in, either, to poke their noses in. So, reporter Don may be in for some back luck as he follows up on another reporter who once tried to figure out what was going on… but then he disappeared. Now, Don will give it a try. And there are teenagers wreaking havoc in town.

It was a bit hard to follow at the start. It started in the 1600s (an epilogue, really), with a lot of Bible verses and other stuff I had trouble figuring out. It continued in the 1980s, but there were a lot of characters to introduce, so it was a bit tricky to follow, in addition to me trying to figure out if it was the 1980s or 1970s when some people had disappeared. I got it in my head, somehow (though I believe I was incorrect), that we were flashing back to the 70s (from the 80s) at times. When we switched to ritualistic stuff with the “Keepers”, it was back to the Bible verses and I lost interest.

All that being said, once I figured out who people were, even though I didn’t like many of them, I had an easier time following. And the pace at the end picked up a lot, I thought. By this point I liked the book enough that I was thinking I would read a sequel if there was one. And it ended on a bit of a “cliffhanger”, so there definitely will be one coming. Hard to say if I’ll remember, though, as this was an ARC, so I am unable to add the second book to my tbr at this point.

Jun 4, 2022, 10:11pm

12x12 Oh Canada, Travel Across Canada, Roundtuits, MysteryKIT

First Snow, Last Light / Wayne Johnston
3 stars

When Ned is 14-years old, he comes home from school to find no one home. This is unusual. It turns out both his parents have disappeared. The book follows Ned as an adult and looks back on his life without his parents in it. Sheilagh Fielding, a reporter and friend of Ned’s father, becomes a good friend to Ned. In 1949, when Newfoundland becomes a part of Canada, the last child born before that time is referred to as “The Last Newfoundlander”. Ned ends up adopting the orphan and also takes in the boy’s destitute aunt.

The book alternates between Sheilagh’s point of view and Ned’s (with a couple of chapters devoted to two other characters). I really have no interest in Sheilagh. She bores me and I don’t like her. Unfortunately, Ned’s missing-parents mystery really wasn’t touched on for most of the book, but we did come back to it at the end. That, of course for me, was the most interesting part of the book. So because of that, I found the start and end much more interesting than the rest of the book. Overall, I’m rating it ok, but it definitely picked up at the end, not only when Ned finally found out what happened, but what happened after that.

I listened to the audio, which had four different narrators. It was done well, although I still lost focus occasionally, but I don’t believe that was due to it being an audio book.

Jun 6, 2022, 10:00pm

12x12 Travel, History Walk

The Voyage of the Narwhal / Andrea Barrett
3.5 stars

Erasmus Darwin Wells is a naturalist from Philadelphia and is excited to be able to head to the Arctic with his friend Zeke (who is engaged to Erasmus’s sister) in 1855, a number of years after Franklin’s expedition. They hope to be able to find traces of Franklin’s missing crew, as well as any artifacts left behind. Unfortunately, Erasmus doesn’t realize how bad things will turn with Zeke as commander.

This was good. It took a while to get going, so I really didn’t get interested until they were on their way. Even while they were away, the scenes with Erasmus’s sister, Lavinia, and her friend, Alexandra, back home bored me. That entire storyline did get more interesting later on, however. I sure didn’t like Zeke (along with the majority of the characters – at least the ones on board the Narwhal!).

Jun 12, 2022, 10:52am

I see people post personal updates in their threads so thought i would do same.

Not a fun few days for me. Am in hospital waiting for surgery for a kidney stone. At least here i have pain meds.

But i worry about my cats st home. I havent been away overnight for over 3 years since ios kidney disease diagnosis. He is 19 and has so many meds. My friend and cat sitter says he is doing really well with the meds... most she had never had to give him before. Sub qs especially fun for her go learn quickly.

More worried about former feral kells who is not eating his pill in the pill pocket. He wont let her get close enough to get the pill in another way. He is the one acting least normal for when im away.

Had hoped for surgery yesterday but didnt happen. Now hoping for today. It is a triage system

Jun 12, 2022, 12:50pm

Oh no! I hope you'll get the surgery today and get home to the kitties soon.

Jun 12, 2022, 3:00pm

>150 rabbitprincess: thank you. I hope so, too. Good news is that i am in stable condition and pain is being managed. Others arent so lucky... and they have to stay longer post surgery

Jun 13, 2022, 3:44am

Sorry to hear about the surgery, having to wait for it is no fun. My best wishes that you can return soon to your kitties.

Jun 13, 2022, 8:49am

I'm so sorry to learn of your impending surgery. I know that you are probably anxious to have done with it! Best wishes for a speedy recovery and your return home to kitties.

Jun 13, 2022, 9:47am

Surgery was done last night. Last surgery of the day at 1030. Just need to get the all clear (hopefully thats coming) and have breakfast.

Jun 13, 2022, 11:00am

Hope the surgery went well and that you'll get the "all clear" soon!

Jun 13, 2022, 9:22pm

So sorry to read about your difficulties. I hope all is well and you are able to get home and recover with your kitties for company.

Jun 13, 2022, 9:33pm

Hi, all. Home today about noon! Happy to be home, but oh so tired... And "back" to work tomorrow (though I will be working at home all this week).

Jun 14, 2022, 5:18am

I'm glad to hear you're back home. Take care of yourself!

Jun 14, 2022, 7:09am

Glad to hear your surgery went well. Try not to "work" too much.

Jun 14, 2022, 10:16pm

12x12 Overflow, BingoDOG

This Tender Land / William Kent Krueger
3.5 stars

Odie, 12-years old, and older brother Albert, are orphans and the only white boys at the Lincoln Indian Training School in the 1930s. There is abuse at the school, but there are also people who help, like teacher Cora Frost. Tragedy hits for Cora’s 5-year old daughter, Emmy, as Odie is being punished (again) for something and it’s not long before Odie, Albert, and their indigenous friend Mose take Emmy away from there, but they need to hide from the headmistress of the school, who wanted Emmy to be hers and is now looking for them. They use a canoe and follow the river to get away; of course, they meet all kinds of people along the way, some who will help, some who won’t.

Good, but I could do without the magical bits; I prefer more realistic. There are some surprises at the end. There is also a good author’s note at the end discussing residential schools, the Great Depression and religious revival tours (the four “kids” come across one of these in their travels).

Jun 14, 2022, 10:59pm

12x12 Travel, CATWoman, PBT, WPF

The Lacuna / Barbara Kingsolver
1 star

I have no summary: Washington, Mexico, servants?, politics, something about the Soviet Union, communism, Trotsky, something with art?

I have never given 1 star before. This would have been my 3rd ever (I think – maybe 2nd) DNF if I wasn’t reading it for a challenge. As I do with books I’m not liking, I ended up skimming, hoping something would catch my attention, but it didn’t happen. Sadly, this is an author I usually like.

Jun 15, 2022, 6:24am

>161 LibraryCin: - I have this in my TBR pile and even started it once but then put it back in the pile. I wonder if your problems with the book were mine also. I've always meant to try it again as Kingsolver is an author I like too. Now I'm not sure.

Edited: Jun 15, 2022, 9:57pm

12x12 Audio

Home Before Dark / Riley Sager
4 stars

Maggie has been away from the house she lived in for only about 3 weeks when she was 5-years old for 25 years. She remembers nothing about the house, but her father wrote a book about the ghosts and hauntings that happened in the house that drove them from it. Maggie believes it’s all lies. Her father has just died and her mother would never talk to her about the house. They only ever said she should never go back, as it’s dangerous for her. But on her father’s death, Maggie learns that her parents never sold the house and it’s now Maggie’s! As an interior designer, she decides to go back to the house to renovate to sell. And, of course, to try to find out what really happened at that house…

I really liked this. I listened to the audio. I thought it was appropriately creepy! It went back and forth between Maggie’s current day viewpoint and her father’s viewpoint from the time to weave the story together.

Jun 15, 2022, 9:58pm

>162 dudes22: I didn't look at the tags here as closely, but I noticed a LOT of tags on the first GR page of tags that were "unfinished" or "dnf" or similar. There are also a lot of people who really liked it.

But I'm wondering if you might not change your mind on it, even if you do try it again.

Jun 19, 2022, 4:36pm

12x12 Nonfiction, Travel Across Canada, AuthorCAT

Alone Together: A Pandemic Photo Essay / Leah Hennel
5 stars

Leah Hennel is a Calgary photographer who was working for Alberta Health Services before the COVID-19 pandemic began. During the pandemic, she was there to take photos in the hospitals, at COVID testing sites, at vaccine clinics, and more. The photos in the book start with testing, progress through various groups and celebrations and how they handled distancing and lockdowns, continue in the ICUs and hospitals, and on to vaccine clinics.

Some of these photos are very powerful. There was a photo that made the rounds early in the pandemic here in the Calgary media and on social media, so it extended to Canada and likely beyond: a doctor is on his knees on the phone with his forehead in his hand as he tells a family their loved one has died. This book has many more photos and stories to go with them. Not all sad, though. There is a photo of a 90-something year old man with a party hat as he gets his first vaccine. There are photos of the therapy dogs coming to “visit” with hospital staff to try to relieve some of the stress. A powerful look at the pandemic. (I almost said “back” at the pandemic, but it is still happening.)

Jun 19, 2022, 9:54pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time, PBT, AuthorCAT

They Called Us Enemy / George Takei
4 stars

“Star Trek” actor George Takei was only a little boy when Pearl Harbour was bombed. His family, living in Los Angeles, was soon rounded up to taken to a camp for Japanese “enemy aliens”, even if they were born in the U.S. (as his mother was). This graphic novel looks back at his time in the camps, and leads up to current day, with a primary focus on how the Japanese were treated at this time.

This was really good. The illustrations were simple, but I thought done very nicely. As such a young boy, along with his parents doing their best to protect him and his younger siblings, he often thought they were on an adventure. Sad how things start to repeat themselves; people just don’t learn.

Jun 20, 2022, 11:34am

>166 LibraryCin: I read this in August 2021. It was a four star read for me as well. I agree with and appreciate your comments. Here are mine made at the time I read it.

I had heard George Takei’s story before, but I still found this graphic memoir informative, heartbreaking and uplifting. I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to a child with a social justice bent. It is very accessible and brings the topic forward to today as well.

Jun 20, 2022, 10:11pm

12x12 Trim, PBT, Roundtuits

In One Person / John Irving
3 stars

William (Bill/Billy) is in boarding school and a young teen when he begins to question why he has crushes on the “wrong people”. He has a crush on one of the wrestlers in school, and also the older (woman) librarian; he also has a crush on a friend’s mother, as well as his own stepfather. In the book, he is an older man (bisexual) and looking back on his life and his relationships over the decades.

I thought this was ok. There was a lot of sex. Of all kinds. Have to admit I got a bit tired of that after a while. But, I thought it got a bit more interesting (and sad) in the 80s when AIDS hit. To see him watch so many people he knew die of AIDS… Initially I was a bit confused with the storyline, as it was a bit back and forth in time and trying to keep track of who was whom and when they were in his life, but after a while, I think I got used to that. I was a bit surprised at how many people in this small town were lgbtq+, though. Maybe there weren’t as many as I thought, as it was spread out over time, but it seemed like a lot.

Jun 24, 2022, 10:38pm

12x12 Nonfiction, AuthorCAT, RandomKIT, Roundtuits

The Dorito Effect / Mark Schatzker
4 stars

This is a look at food and flavour. For decades now, food has become very bland – this includes meat, fruit, and vegetables. Because the companies and farmers want more and more yield for less and less money. This = no more flavour. So companies started creating flavours to make the food taste like what they should have already tasted like… and flavours to make foods taste like whatever they want them to taste like. But with the real flavour gone, so is much of the nutrition. And that is not getting put back into the foods, only fake chemical “flavours”.

This was so interesting. And so sad. It makes me want to go back in time to taste all the flavours that used to come (naturally) with food (without having to add fake flavours, sauces, spices, etc). A few people here and there are trying to bring back some of the original strains for some of the foods (chicken, tomatoes), but the industrial farmers and companies don’t want any part of it unless it can be done just as cheaply and create just as much yield. Sad sad sad. Would love to have some companies catch on to this (and yes, I realize it would be more pricey).

Jun 25, 2022, 5:11am

>169 LibraryCin: - I'm not surprised. I've been telling my husband for years that I can't find a tomato that tastes like I remember. He keeps growing new kinds each summer, but even the "heirloom" varieties don't have what I'm searching for.

Jun 25, 2022, 10:23pm

>170 dudes22: You are correct, and Schatzker has done the research to prove it. He did find an heirloom variety of tomato that he was ecstatic about at the end, though. :-)

Jun 25, 2022, 11:13pm

12x12 Audio, ScaredyKIT, MysteryKIT

The Arctic Fury / Greer Macallister
4 stars

In the mid-1800s, Virginia is asked by Lady Franklin to head up a women’s expedition to the Arctic to find her husband and his two lost ships. But it is to be a secret as to who hired her. And Lady Franklin chooses the majority of the women who are going… and one of the women she chooses is a rich spoiled girl, Caprice. Unfortunately (this is not a spoiler, as we know this at the start of the book), Caprice died while on the expedition and her parents have accused Virginia of murdering Caprice. Virginia is now on trial for Caprice’s murder, but Virginia insists she didn’t kill the girl, though they really didn’t get along.

This goes back and forth in time between Virginia’s trial and the expedition. Caprice is a character who is easy to dislike, so I was surprised at my reaction (of course, I knew it would come) when she finally died – it still hit me. Leading up to her death, Virginia and Caprice were coming around and learning to get along. There were some other unlikable characters in the book, as well.

I listened to the audio, and although initially I wasn’t sure if the narrator would keep my attention, I was kept interested. As I skim through other reviews, I see that Virginia was based on a real person. It’s unfortunate that was no author’s note to tell me that. I do like author’s notes in my historical fiction so I know what really happened and what didn’t. I know about the Franklin Expedition and I could have guessed that there was never a women’s expedition to find Franklin, his ships and crew.

Jun 26, 2022, 9:15am

I too like it when an author includes some notes in historical fiction as to what might or might not be true.

Jun 26, 2022, 2:03pm

>172 LibraryCin: I sort of deduced the ending from the very beginning.
>173 dudes22: what she said!

Jun 27, 2022, 2:46pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits, AlphaKIT

The Runaway Wife / Rowan Coleman
3.5 stars

Rose and her 7-year old daughter, Maddie, show up at a B&B in a small town in the middle of the night. It turns out Rose has – on the spur of the moment – left her abusive husband. Rose’s own father left when Rose was only 9, and her mother died when she was 17. It was not long after, she met and married the older doctor, Richard. Unfortunately, now, Rose doesn’t know where to go, so she follows a picture on a postcard to this small town.

The postcard came from Frasier, a man she met once at her door when she was pregnant. Frasier was looking for John, Rose’s father and an artist, as Frasier was an art dealer. But he was a nice man and such a bright spot in Rose’s dreary day, home alone, long estranged from her own friends, that he’d become a fantasy for her over the following years. To Rose’s surprise, though she was following the postcard in hopes of finding Frasier, she also found her father, whom she hadn’t heard a word from since he’d left.

This was good. The bulk of the story revolves around Rose’s new life (though there are flashbacks to find out what exactly happened with Richard), her new friends in Millthwaite, and her emerging relationship with her father. I quite liked many of the secondary characters, particularly Jenny, the owner of the B&B.

Jun 29, 2022, 9:23pm

12x12 Series, CATWoman, MysteryKIT

Lies That Comfort and Betray / Rosemary Simpson.
4 stars

This is the 2nd book in a series. In 1888, Prudence is working as a private detective along with lawyer friend, Geoffrey. When Prudence’s sometimes-maid (and friend from when they were kids) turns up not only murdered, but “gutted” (similar to Jack the Ripper over in London), people wonder if the Ripper has moved to New York or if this is a copycat. The police want to solve the case quickly, so they arrest the fiancee, but Prudence and Geoffrey don’t think he did it. Then another, then another young woman turn up with a similar MO.

I am really enjoying these mysteries. Prudence is much more assertive than most women of her time and “station”, but I like her. Realistic? I don’t know, but the entire atmostphere/setting of the book is done really well, I think. With how these murders are happening, there is some gore, but that doesn’t bother me. There was more going on than the murders in this book, so even when things appeared to be drawing to a close, there was more to come.

Jul 2, 2022, 2:41pm

12x12 Series, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

The Queen and Lord M / Jean Plaidy
3.5 stars

This is Plaidy’s second book about Queen Victoria. This book opens when Victoria learns she is to be queen at 18-years old. Her first few years as queen are very much directed by the Prime Minister at the time, Lord Melbourne. She becomes very close to him. She has a couple of scandals along the way and things look bad to the public with her reaction when she almost loses him as Prime Minister. The book ends just as she marries.

This was good. By now I’ve read a bit more about Victoria than I had when I read Plaidy’s first book about her. But this one had much more detail about her relationship with the P.M. Wish she hadn’t relied solely on Melbourne’s advice, but this is what really happened.

Jul 3, 2022, 4:38am

>177 LibraryCin: I have studied Vicky to some extent and I concur that she relied only on Melbourne when I think Albert would have been a good sounding board and more neutral, politically, than Melbourne. However, when you are 18 and the queen, it must be quite overwhelming!

Jul 3, 2022, 12:46pm

>178 Tess_W: Good point! She kind of just grabbed hold of the person who was there who she got along with and went with that.

Jul 3, 2022, 10:12pm

12x12 Animals, Roundtuits, PBT Trim

Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees / Roger Fouts
4.5 stars

Roger Fouts was a psychology student in the late 1960s when he got a job helping with a chimpanzee, Washoe, to study whether or not chimps could learn human language by way of ASL (American Sign Language). Despite that he really wanted/planned to work with kids, this began decades of research with, then activism for, chimpanzees. He and his family (wife and eventually three kids) moved where Washoe was either sent or where was best for her. Roger was unable to help many other chimpanzees he met along with way (though he was able to help a few), but (often with Jane Goodall’s help), he fought to make living conditions for chimpanzees used in research in the U.S. better.

He was still fighting for changes in 1997 when the book was published, but on checking today, things have gotten better – not for all chimps, but for many (most?). There were a few sections in the book where he was talking about research and studies that got just a bit dry, but for the most part, I loved reading about the chimps and the studies and was (to no surprise) horrified at what he saw in the medical research labs. Whether in my psychology or anthropology classes 30ish years ago, I had heard of both Fouts and Washoe, as well as many of the other scientists and studies Fouts mentions in this book. I went through a bunch of emotions reading this book – happiness, sadness, anger... I love that he ended up being an activist, and wanted(s) to see change. I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read this book!

Jul 6, 2022, 10:32pm

12x12 ARCs, Reading Through Time

Cults: Inside the World's Most Notorious Groups... / Max Cutler
3.5 stars

This book, based on a podcast(?), looks at ten cults and their leaders. Only three were ones I knew of, including Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and David Koresh (though I hadn’t ever read anything about Koresh previously). Unexpectedly, there were two that included UFOs! There was plenty of murder to go along with these cults. (Only) one of the leaders walked away from the carnage she left behind. I was interested to read about an actress who was highly involved with one cult. The cults were in various parts of the world, including Mexico, Uganda, Canada, and of course, the USA. (I hadn’t even heard of the guy in Canada – from Quebec – and he was twisted!).

I had hoped to learn more about how people end up following these crazy people, but the book was more a short biography of each of the leaders, in addition to the stories of their respective cults and what happened – how they formed, the people that followed them, and how they combusted. Similar to a book of short stories, I found some more interesting than others.

Jul 6, 2022, 10:57pm

12x12 PBT, Who's PBT's Fave

The Patron Saint of Liars / Ann Patchett
3.25 stars

Rose was not-long-married to nice guy Thomas when she just left without a word. It was the 1960s and she was pregnant, so she drove across the country until she came to a home for unwed mothers run by nuns. As Rose helped Sister Evangeline in the kitchen, she found she really enjoyed it there. When much older handyman, Son fell in love with her, she agreed to marry him and stayed on to continue cooking for the girls who continued to arrive, as Son and Rose’s daughter Cecelia grew up there.

I listened to the audio, which was fine. I didn’t like Rose much – for the life of me, I could not figure out why she would have left Thomas. I kept wondering when she would leave Son and Cecelia, too! Have to admit, although I didn’t like Rose, I did find her narration more interesting than Son’s. I did lose a bit of interest when it was Son’s turn. Cecelia rounded out the POV for the last third of the book. I didn’t like the non-ending. What the heck was that!? I’ve lowered my rating by a quarter-star for the non-ending. I kept looking at how much time was left in the audio, and thought – am I missing a part!? No, I wasn’t.

Jul 11, 2022, 10:27pm

12x12 BIPOC, AlphaKIT, AuthorCAt, Travel Across Canada, PBT

They Said This Would be Fun / Eternity Martis
3 stars

The author grew up in the diverse Canadian city of Toronto, but decided to move to the smaller city of London, Ontario for university. Unfortunately, London was not so diverse. As a woman of “mixed” race – her mother was Pakistani and her father (whom she did not have a relationship with) from the Caribbean – she stuck out and had a hard time at her new school. University was supposed to be fun – full of friends and parties. Though she did go to London with a friend, they grew apart during their time there. And Eternity had a number of toxic relationships, and was treated to many microaggressions and abuses.

As someone who went to university about 30 years ago, and even then, wasn’t “into” partying or drinking, I enjoyed her chapters about her family and relationships more than the partying/drinking/campus/student life. The book (though I listened to the audio) read sort of like essays. Obviously as a middle-aged white woman, I am not the target audience! Of course, Eternity brought in some stats to go along with her own experiences. I found the stats easier to swallow, and of course, she went through what she went through, but I questioned some of her generalizations about white people; many of the “stereotypes” or generalizations (about white or black people) she mentioned were things I had never heard of. That’s not to say they aren’t stereotypes, but if they are, I hadn’t heard of (many of) them before.

I feel badly for this kind of review. I hate to criticize, as I know she wrote what she did experience. Am I being a “defensive” white person? I’d like to think not, but I don’t know. The author read the audio herself and did a fine job.

Jul 12, 2022, 10:38pm

12x12 Animals, RandomKIT, Roundtuits

Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon / Bronwen Dickey
4.5 stars

The first half of the book starts with a history of dog breeds, dog fighting, “pit bulls” (however defined, as it constantly changes, but it’s mostly based on looks although there is one actual “American Pit Bull” breed, but many others tend to be lumped in, as well) as seen in history. In the second half of the book, the focus is more on dog bites, breed specific legislation, the media and politics.

The author has done an incredible amount of research here. She looks deeper into some of the media accounts (which are rarely, if ever, based on any kind of proper research), interviews people (on both sides of the “debate” over whether “pit bulls” should be banned or not). I learned of a few myths (like “bait dogs” – apparently they don’t really use bait dogs to train dogs to fight).

This was really interesting and I was impressed how, with very little information she was able to dig deeper, particularly into statistics, to find that most of the stats in the media accounts are just not based on valid (can’t think of a good word) stats. That is, one of the first “peer reviewed” (shoddily done, it seems) articles (which, of course, was then cited in later peer reviewed articles) that did find that pit bulls caused the most deaths was based on very flawed stats (“flawed” is the word I’m looking for).

I’m really impressed with this book and the amount of research that went into it. I feel like a lot more people should read it!

Jul 16, 2022, 3:40pm

12x12 Nonfiction, PBT, PBT Trim, Roundtuits

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly / Jean-Dominique Bauby
2.5 stars

The author, from France, suffered a stroke at 44 years old. It didn’t kill him – instead, he woke up with (I think he called it) “locked-in syndrome” (or something similar). His brain was all intact, but he was completely paralyzed, except for being able to blink one eye. This is his “memoir”, as told by blinking that eye every time the correct letter was suggested, one-letter-at-a-time. He died a very short time after the book was published.

I guess it makes sense that the book was short and the chapters were short, given how difficult and how much time it must have taken to “write” this book. The chapters read like little essays. I found the chapters about his ordeal much more interesting than the random chapters on his dreams or reminiscences – those just seemed to ramble and I found them boring. I like the idea of the book, and it’s incredible that he was able to do it at all, but it just wasn’t very interesting to me.

Jul 16, 2022, 4:03pm

12x12 Series, ScaredyKIT, Roundtuits

Iced / Karen Marie Moning
3 stars

This is a continuation of the author’s “Fever” series, but told from the point of view of 14-year old Dani. This is a Dublin filled with Fae. Dani thinks of herself as a superhero with superspeed, superhearing, and super other things. She and a friend(?) are kind of “kidnapped” by a supernatural being (what kind… not sure, but must have been some kind of fae), Ryodan, and forced to sign a contract to work for him as he and Dani tried to figure out what was randomly icing over various locations and all the people in those locations, ultimately killing the humans.

It’s been too many years since I read the Fever series, and I didn’t find that the author did much in the way of recap, or what she did do wasn’t enough to really help me remember much of what was going on or who was who. The new storyline in this one – the mystery of what was causing locations and people to be “iced” – I found interesting. I thought I liked Dani as a secondary character (from what I recall) in the other books, but I didn’t like her much in this one. And all those horny men after a 14-year old!? Ugh! I am still rating it ok for trying to figure out what was causing the ice and the monsters they fought in the story.

Jul 18, 2022, 4:19am

>185 LibraryCin: I know what you mean. I spent probably more time thinking about the mechanics of how the book was written than what had been written.

Jul 18, 2022, 10:02pm

12x12 BIPOC, AuthorCAT

Little Fires Everywhere / Celeste Ng
3.25 stars

Photographer Mia and her 15-year old daughter, Pearl, move around a lot. When they rent from the Richardsons, the two families initially seem to get along, especially Pearl with the Richardson’s son, Moody, but also Pearl with the other Richardson kids. Things take a turn when secrets start coming out after the two families become quite entwined.

I listened to the audio. The first half didn’t really catch my attention all that much; it was pretty slow moving as the two families really just got to know one another. It picked up in the second half, though, when a friend of the Richardsons adopted a Chinese baby who had been abandoned (along with a few other storylines as secrets abounded). I really did not like Mia. I’m not sure there were any characters I liked, actually. I would have rated the first half “ok” at 3 stars, and wanted to up it to 3.5 stars due to the second half, but I dropped my rating just a touch as I was very unhappy with one of the things that happened near the end.

Jul 20, 2022, 10:26pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time

Starvation Heights / Gregg Olsen
4 stars

In 1911, two wealthy sisters who seemed determined to try many different fad “medical” treatments, ended up in Washington State at a sanitarium run by “Dr.” Linda Hazzard, who promoted fasting for all ailments. Not only did her treatment come with fasting (really, she starved them), but with hours-long enemas and beatings, and she managed to convince her patients that this was all helping. Unfortunately for the sisters, Claire and Dora, Claire died. But only after Linda and her husband had both sisters sign various documents granting them control of their money, jewelry, etc. Not only that, on digging deeper, others had also died under this fasting “cure”.

Wow, crazy! It floors me that people would do something like this to begin with, but then to become so brainwashed as to think it was helping as they slowly starved to death. My summary above is only about the first 1/3 of the book… the middle bit of the book was lawyers investigating Dr. Hazzard, and the last 1/3 was the trial. All very interesting, I thought. And this really happened!

Jul 22, 2022, 5:55am

>189 LibraryCin: You hit me with a BB!

Jul 22, 2022, 10:37pm

>190 Tess_W: Enjoy! :-)

Jul 22, 2022, 11:26pm

12x12 Travel, ScaredyKIT, MysteryKIT

Royal Blood / Rhys Bowen
4 stars

(4th in a series) As Georgie’s brother and his wife come to London and are appalled at how Georgie lives, Georgie is asked by the queen to represent the royal family at a royal wedding in Romania. But Georgie is expected to bring her (nonexistent!) maid. At the last minute, Georgie finds someone willing to come, despite the perceived dangers of travelling abroad. Unfortunately, Queenie is a disaster as a maid! Even worse, when they arrive at the isolated castle where the wedding will take place – none other than Vlad the Impaler’s castle! – they are snowed in. Georgie is certain she is seeing vampires around the castle. Then at supper one night, a guest – hated by most of the others – suddenly dies, an apparent poisoning.

There is to be a lot going on in this one, but I loved the setting at the castle in Transylvania and the slightly gothic atmosphere of it. I really enjoyed some of the secondary characters (and I do like Georgie, too), but what a hopeless case Queenie is! In addition to the gothic atmosphere, there was humour scattered throughout the book. I was thinking I might like this best of the series so far, but it looks like I also rated the 2nd book the 4 stars.

Edited: Jul 23, 2022, 5:27am

>192 LibraryCin: I read the first book in the series and rated it 3.5 stars. Have sort of forgot to look for book 2, but now I'm off to do so!

Jul 23, 2022, 10:28pm

>193 Tess_W: Hope you like it. I liked it and this one better than 1 and 3. I think I still rated 1 and 3 in the series 3.5 stars (good).

Jul 24, 2022, 3:29pm

12x12 BIPOC, AlphaKIT, AuthorCAT

How to Pronounce Knife / Souvankham Thammavongsa
3.5 stars

This is a book of short stories. She is a Lao-Canadian author, so the stories focus on Lao immigrants’ experiences.

I enjoyed the stories as I read them, so I’m giving this a “good” rating, but like with the majority of short stories I read, I forget them. Even by the end of the (short) book, I have forgotten most of the stories. I give plenty of short story collections an “ok” rating, since I usually find they vary – I like some, but not others – but these (even listening on audio) were almost all ones I liked. I’m not sure if the author meant to set the stories in Canada or the US. I initially assumed Canada, since she is Canadian, but one of the stories referred to all the money being green, so that would be the US. I guess it doesn’t matter, overall.

Jul 24, 2022, 3:53pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology / Leah Remini
4 stars

Leah Remini is an actress, mostly known (I think – at least by me!) for her role as Carrie on “The King of Queens”, which ran for 9 years in the late ‘90s into the 2000s. The bulk of this book, however, focuses on her 35 years as part of the Scientology community before she left the church.

When Leah was a child, her mother’s boyfriend was a Scientologist, so her mom, sister, and Leah all became very involved in the church. Leah always knew she wanted to act and when she was 18, she got her first tv role. In Scientology, celebrities are highly regarded, as they can bring good PR to the church and recruit more people. It was, in particular, after Leah met Tom Cruise, though they initially got along well, that things took a turn when Leah started questioning things.

I don’t read many celebrity biographies/memoirs, but I wanted to read this one after reading another book about someone (a non-celebrity) who escaped Scientology, so that was my initial interest. Leah’s career brought her in contact with other celebrity Scientologists and so the two topics are entwined. I did find some of her stories of her acting and tv life interesting, as well. It was frustrating, angering, and sad for Leah (and the reader) as she learned of more and more transgressions of higher authorities in the church. She never did find out where the wife of the leader disappeared to after years of hearing nothing from a woman Leah had considered a friend (and it appears that is still unknown). There are photos included from when she was little to not long before the book was published.

Jul 24, 2022, 8:06pm

>195 LibraryCin: What a great title for the book. I remember in high school assisting with TSOL classes to the recently-arrived Vietnamese refugees. This was the early 80's and we taught the normal conversational cadence to the refugees. Knowing French also helped, so when "comb" was discussed, I was able to overhear "peigne" and the object and correlate the two words.

I guess "knife" would be a tough word to recognize and pronounce correctly!

Edited: Jul 24, 2022, 9:44pm

>197 threadnsong: "Knife" would be tricky, wouldn't it!?

I grew up in a small town where three Lao families came when I was in grade 2. One of the moms spoke French. All the parents took English taught by a friend's mother (I'm not sure if she spoke French or not; she wasn't of French background, though there was/is a large population of French people in town).

My mom volunteered to help one of the families get accustomed to our culture and how things were done, so we became close to the families that way. Each of the three families had a different person helping with that, as well.

Jul 26, 2022, 11:02pm

12x12 ARCs

The Night Whispers / Caroline Mitchell
4 stars

When two little kids come to elderly woman Rosemary’s door asking for help late at night, she lets them in. The next day, she and her wheelchair-bound son are found brutally murdered, with the two kids nowhere in sight. Sarah is one of the local police, and is helping with the case. Her friend’s son, Elliott, seems to have some insight, as these kids visit him at night, too. And there’s a rumour about town about two black-eyed children.

I really liked this. It was creepy. There were a lot of characters to try to keep straight. The chapters were short and the POV switched around. This was little background stuff, but I also liked that she worked a few COVID things going on (the lead-up as people started wearing masks, a slight opening up again, Zoom calls…). I didn’t realize when I got this via Netgalley that it was the second book in the series. It can be read on its own (obviously, I did, and I really liked it!), but there were hints as to things that happened in the first book, and I do want to back up and read it, too.

Jul 30, 2022, 10:41pm

12x12 Audio, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

The Virgin Queen's Daughter / Ella March Chase
3 stars

Although Nell’s mother was once at court, she has kept Nell from going. But when Nell meets Queen Elizabeth, she is intrigued and vows to go when she’s old enough. And she does. But after she is there, things become dangerous.

Ok, not a great summary. I listened to the audio and did lose interest a number of times. Unfortunately, for some reason, although historical fiction used to be one of my favourite genres, it doesn’t always grab me like it used to. Also, Elizabeth has never been my favourite historical person to read about. I’m not sure what it is (or isn’t) about her, but books abour her don’t usually catch my interest for long. I’m rating it 3 stars (ok), but I feel a bit like I’m rating it higher than I should.

Jul 30, 2022, 11:05pm

>200 LibraryCin: Historical fiction is my very favorite genre. However, I really don't care for books about Elizabeth, either!

Aug 1, 2022, 3:00pm

12x12 Series, CATWoman

The Fated Sky / Mary Robinette Kowal
4 stars

This is the second in the “Lady Astronaut” series. I am trying to write the summary so as not to spoil the first book. It’s 1961 and astronauts are training to go to Mars. When the celebrity calculator, Elma, somewhat reluctantly (it’s hard to leave her husband for at least 3 years) agrees to go on the mission (even though others have already been training for months), she didn’t realize she would be taking another’s place. That person is her Taiwanese friend Helen. There are groups on Earth also protesting the mission.

I liked this better than the first one (I’m rating it higher, anyway). It’s been a while since I read the first, but I think there were some parts where I was bored, I lost interest. That did not happen at all in this one. I liked (most of) the characters and even the ones I didn’t like made for an interesting story. There is also a lot of prejudices, racism, and sexism, along with a lot of conflict, but it’s a tight space shared for a long time. I really liked this one

Aug 6, 2022, 10:37pm

12x12 Travel, Roundtuits, CATWoman

Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo / Birute Galdikas
4 stars

Birute Galdikas is the Jane Goodall of orangutans. Like with Jane (but 10 or 11 years later), Birute was recruited by Louis Leakey to do field work. So in 1971, Birute and her husband Rod headed to Borneo to study orangutans. Once they arrived, they found that – although illegal – people also kept orangutans as pets. Birute decided immediately that she wanted to also start a sort of nursery/sanctuary/rehab where these once-captive orangutans (mostly infants) could come, then head back to the wild when they were ready. And as with all great apes, the habitat is disappearing around them, making it very difficult for them to survive, so Birute and Rod also tried to get help creating and enforcing the boundaries of the reserve that held many of the orangutans.

The book was published in 1995 and at that time, Birute was still in Borneo doing her orangutan studies. The book also goes into detail about Birute’s personal life – her marriage(s) and children. I’ve read lots about Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, but except for one graphic novel that included all three, this is the first I’ve read about Birute. Her book alternates chapters between some of the orangutans and the other topics in the book (though, of course, they all overlap). Very good book, but know that there is a lot more to this one than “just” the animals.

Aug 6, 2022, 11:21pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, AuthorCAT, AlphaKIT, BingoDOG, Reading Through Time

Hamnet / Maggie O'Farrell
3 stars

It’s the 16th century. 11-year old Hamnet and Judith are twins and have an older sister, Susanna. When Judith becomes ill, Hamnet tries to find someone to help.

I didn’t like the characters. The story was told as it followed different characters and in fact, went back and forth in time. I found it hard to follow at the start, maybe the first 1/3 of the book or so: who was who and how are they connected to each other? I wasn’t a fan of the writing style: everything felt detached to me – maybe this is why I didn’t like the characters? Why oh why did we need to include the magical realism (did NOT like that at all!): in addition to Agnes’s (the mother’s) foresight, which wasn’t bad, there was another part that changed a huge part of the story, and I thought it was stupid! I really did.

I thought there were “spoilers” given away in Historical Note at beginning of book! Given this, I assume they weren’t meant to be spoilers and I had heard before I read it, but I feel like I might have enjoyed it more if they had remained unknown until revealed in the book. I feel like with everything I didn’t like, I should rate it lower, but I am rating it ok, based on the story itself.

Aug 8, 2022, 10:40pm

12x12 Oh Canada, RandomKIT, Roundtuits, Travel Across Canada

Remembering the Bones / Frances Itani
3.5 stars

79-year old Georgie is on her way to the airport as she has been invited by Queen Elizabeth to their shared 80th birthday celebration. Unfortunately, Georgie’s car goes off an embankment and lands in a ravine. Georgie is alive, but too hurt to move from where she landed and she and her car are not visible from the road. As she waits for rescue, she goes through memories of her family and her life.

This was good. The initial crash brought me in and although the memories initially weren’t as interesting, I found it picked up a bit when Georgie got married, so I liked the second half of the story better. I also liked the comparisons to “Lilibet’s” (Queen Elizabeth’s) life and the little royal tidbits brought in that way. I thought it was amusing that all the women in Georgie’s family had names that shortened into “male” names: Phil, Fred (she had an Aunt and Uncle Fred when her Aunt Fred married a Fred), Grand Dan… (ok, not quite all, but most).

Aug 13, 2022, 10:47pm

12x12 ARCs, AlphaKIT, RandomKIT, Travel Across Canada

The Castleton Massacre: Survivors' Stories of the Killins Femicide / Sharon Cook, Margaret Carson
4.5 stars

In May 1963, Robert Killins, a very intelligent man and a former United Church minister, murdered his (estranged) wife, his daughter, his sister, and his wife’s youngest daughter. He’d been stalking his wife and daughter for years since wife Florence tried to leave and travelled across the country from B.C. to Ontario to get away. His wife and daughter were both pregnant at the time of the murders. Two more of Florence’s children watched in horror as the murders happened, and were able to get away. They were 12- (Margaret) and 10-years (Brian) old at the time.

The book backs up in time to give a biography of both families – beginning with Robert’s and Florence’s parents, then Robert and Florence and their siblings and everything leading to 1963. It also included a section after the murders where Margaret and Brian came to live with their Uncle Harold and his wife and their youngest daughter (a teenager, the only child still living at home), Sharon, and the two tried to come to terms with what had happened and what they’d witnessed. The last bit of the book also talks about domestic abuse in Canada, in general. Margaret and Sharon are the authors of the book. They undertook a lot of research and got oral histories from many of the people still alive who remember it.

Wow! First a bit of advice – don’t read the chapter that describes the murders close to bedtime! It was terrifying and violent. With one of the authors having been there and the oral histories given by her brother who was also there and a couple of other people who tried to help, all put together, you get an awful feeling of being hunted (as I’m sure both Margaret and Brian felt)! That being said, I am a fan of true crime, and I do like biographies, so all put together, a very very good book. And murders I had never heard of before this.

Aug 13, 2022, 11:21pm

12x12 Nonfiction, PBT, Rounduits

The Witches: Salem, 1692 / Stacy Schiff
3.25 stars

This is a detailed history of the witch accusations and trials in Massachusetts in 1692, not just in Salem, but in neighbouring areas, as well.

I listened to the audio and did miss parts. What I heard more of, I would rate 3.5 stars “good”. But it’s unfortunate I missed the stuff I did as I got distracted from listening. I do feel like I might have taken in more if I’d read it. I don’t think I’d previously read as much of the aftermath as this book included, not just in the surrounding areas but about the people after everything died down. I did like that the narrator also read the footnotes.

Aug 14, 2022, 5:46pm

>206 LibraryCin: I love true crime! Will put this on my WL.

>207 LibraryCin: have read a lot about Salem, but not this one.

Edited: Aug 14, 2022, 9:18pm

>208 Tess_W: Oh, I really hope you like "The Castleton Massacre"!

It was a Netgalley book, but I think it's already published here in Canada. I believe it will be published in the US on Aug 23.

Aug 15, 2022, 10:33pm

12x12 Series, MysteryKIT, Roundtuits

Dance of Death / Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
3.5 stars

A professor uses his fingers to rip off his own face in front of a class of horrified students. Someone falls from stories above a restaurant and falls through into the restaurant – this one sort of looks like a suicide, but there are lots of odd things about it. Possible spoiler for previous book(s) in series NYPD detective (?) D’Agosta is surprised to learn the his friend and FBI agent Pendergast is still alive. Pendergast tells D’Agosta that his brother, Diogenes (also thought to be dead) is actually alive and has the perfect crime planned for a week away; Pendergast needs D’Agosta’s help to stop it.

The chapters follow a lot of different characters. I find it sometimes jars me out of the story, and I tend to lose focus at the start of many of the chapters as we are reintroduced to whomever we are following this chapter and what is happening at that moment with them. Oddly, even though in reviews of previous books in the series, I commented on characters I liked, I’m not sure I really liked any of the characters in this one. However, I do like that so many of the characters come back from previous books. Characters that initially don’t seem connected (or maybe that’s just my fuzzy memory!). There was a twist near the end and the epilogue set up the next book in the series. I did like this enough to continue the series.

Aug 17, 2022, 11:01pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits, CATWoman ScaredyKIT

Annabel / Lauren Oliver
3 stars

This is a short story set in the “Delirium” dystopian series. It follows the mother of Rachel and Leah who is in prison for some reason. Despite how short the story is, it flashes back and forth in time to when Annabel is “cured” (nothing really explains what she is cured of – love, I think? There are hints, and my vague memory of other books in the series), then is matched with her husband.

As noted in the summary, I don’t remember much of the rest of the series, and this one is so short, it’s hard to fill in the blanks with anything to refresh my awful memory. Overall the story was ok, but I would have liked to be able to fit it in with the rest of the series better. Plus, it didn’t really end, but this was meant to be .5 in the series, so set before the first book, so maybe the first book followed up? I don’t recall.

Aug 20, 2022, 11:34pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits, PBT Trim, AlphaKIT

All Around the Town / Mary Higgins Clark
4 stars

Laurie was only 5-years old when she was kidnapped. Two years later, she was let go, but she had blocked out everything from the time she was with her abductors. When Laurie is in the early 20s and her sister Sarah, a lawyer, now in her late 20s, their parents die. More trauma. Laurie is now in college and has a good relationship with one of her professors, but when he is found murdered, signs point to Laurie. She doesn’t remember.

It wasn’t fast paced, but many psychological “thrillers” aren’t. This was much about the psychology. Really interesting read; I imagine the author would have had to do a chunk of research on this. I’ve not read much about it; I think I have only one other book tagged multiple personality disorder, which is actually surprising as I do find it fascinating.

Aug 21, 2022, 12:04am

12x12 BIPOC, AlphaKIT, RandomKIT, AuthorCAT, Travel Across Canada

Five Little Indians / Michelle Good
3.5 stars

This book follows a few First Nations people who went to a residential school in B.C. when they were young. It follows them from the school, as they leave, and as they try to make lives for themselves after the traumas they experienced at the school. They wind in and out of each other’s lives.

Lucy is 16 when she is put on a bus to Vancouver from the school; luckily she knows Maisie who left the school a year earlier; unfortunately, she does get into a sticky situation before making it to Maisie’s place. Kenny managed to escape the school when he was younger, but he and Lucy had crushes on each other back then. Carla is a friend of Maisie’s. Howie gets into trouble with the law when he encounters “Brother” from the school as an adult.

I listened to the audio book. It was good. I wasn’t as interested in Carla’s story, so I missed a few things there. I also don’t think I liked Carla very much; she was very pushy. The book jumped between characters, and it often jumped forward large amounts of time, so at the start of some of the chapters I needed to try to figure out how many years later it was (and there was one bit with Carla that felt like the timing was out of sync with her character vs the rest of the story… but I’m not sure – that’s where I lost a bit of interest and missed a few things). And of course, there were memories of the school for all of them. There was at least one event that I think I missed altogether and when it was mentioned later in the book, I wondered what exactly had happened about that, so not sure if I missed it or it just wasn’t detailed or what happened there.

Aug 21, 2022, 9:50pm

12x12 Overflow, ScaredyKIT, AlphaKIT

Ashfall / Mike Mullin
4 stars

When 15-year old Alex’s parents leave him alone for the weekend for the first time, little do they know that (literally) disaster will soon follow. Alex is in the house when something hits it and suddenly there is a fire. Not only that, part of the house heaves and collapses and he is underneath a desk. He manages to pull himself free and get out, but with no phones working (cell or landline), he runs the few blocks to the fire department. The power is also out. Luckily, Alex’s neighbours are willing to take him in, but no one really knows what’s going on. The “thunder” is ridiculously loud and continuous throughout the night. They wake up to utter darkness, inside and out (it’s daytime). Things happen (that I won’t go into), but Alex later finds himself travelling toward Illinois (he is in Iowa) via skis to find his parents and younger sister. Hopefully they made it to his uncle’s place.

This was really good. It drew me in right away. I thought the author did a really good job of the descriptions – of the noise, of the dark... It’s scary the kinds of things people will do following a disaster like this (the characters – and the reader – did find out the next day what had happened, although I’ve left that out of my summary). Some of the people Alex comes across are helpful, but many are not. I believe this is a trilogy, so it didn’t fully finish. There was a short author’s note at the end, as well, to talk about this kind of potential disaster.

Aug 23, 2022, 4:22pm

For different reasons, the last 3 books all look interesting.

Aug 23, 2022, 5:26pm

>212 LibraryCin: Psychological thrillers my favs! On my WL is goes.

Aug 26, 2022, 12:47am

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time, CATWoman

These Happy Golden Years / Laura Ingalls Wilder
4 stars

Laura is now 15(?) years old and has her first teaching job. But it’s taking her away from her family and she needs to board with people near the new school… and the wife/mother doesn’t seem to like her much. Lucky for Laura, Almanzo decides to come bring her home on weekends. And the job is only for a couple of months. Once she is done, she can go back to her own schooling.

This is the start of this installment of Laura’s childhood/growing up in the late 1800s. The rest of the book follows her to more teaching jobs and with her and Almanzo’s courtship.

I really enjoyed this one, as well. It feels like not as much happened in this one as in some of the others, but we followed the seasons through a few more years as Laura (and Mary) grow up and are branching out on their own. From the title of this one, I always thought they would be much older (“Golden Years”) in this book, but I suppose the meaning of the phrase might be different now. I found it interesting that she could go back and forth between teaching and being a student (with her regular class!). Obviously she didn’t need to finish school to become a teacher. I really do love the descriptions of the prairie and of the weather.

Aug 29, 2022, 11:35pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, Read Thru Time, WPF

A Gentleman in Moscow / Amor Towles
2.25 stars

In 1922 in the Soviet Union, rich man Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to “house” arrest, imprisoned in a fancy hotel. He spends the next few decades in the hotel.

That’s pretty much it. Not much happens (until the end). I found the “imprisonment” odd, as he didn’t even need to stay in his room; he had access to go wherever he wanted in the entire hotel. He could chat with whomever he wanted, he ate in the restaurant, he sometimes slept with an actress who stayed in the hotel. Not exactly sure what kind of “prison” this is (not much, in my opinion). At some point, he was working in the restaurant, but I missed when that started.

It was pretty slow-going and I was bored so I skimmed some of the book. A little girl “the Count” met, Nina, was slightly interesting for a very short time. Later on, Sofia was occasionally interesting. Not sure what happened here, but possible Whatever happened to Nina? Why didn’t she ever come back for Sofia?. Very possible that was explained, too, and I missed it. The book gets the extra ¼ star for the ending, but for the most part, nothing happened and it was boring. I realize my opinion does not agree with most.

Aug 30, 2022, 6:25am

>218 LibraryCin: sorry you did not enjoy this more! I think it is in my top five favorite books of all time. Perhaps I liked it so well because that is one of my very favorite eras of history to teach.

Aug 31, 2022, 3:59am

>218 LibraryCin: We're in agreement about A Gentleman in Moscow.

Aug 31, 2022, 9:17pm

>220 pamelad: Ah, I am not alone! ;-) Thank you.

Aug 31, 2022, 10:23pm

12x12 ARCs

Killing the Butterfly / Dale Ward
3.5 stars

Teenager Patty comes from a home where she has been abused by her father. Her mother is not much better, but when she dies, Patty has only her aunt to live with. Which is fine until she starts school and ends up getting involved with reprobate Roy. She slowly spends more and more time with her abusive boyfriend away from her aunt’s house. William is a loner, but manages to fall for Maggie, but some time after they are married, Maggie starts getting on his nerves. When they decide to spend a week out at Maggie’s sister’s cabin, the two couples intersect.

I thought this was a good story, but be warned that it is quite violent. It is frustrating to “watch” Patty not even try to get away from her abuser, but from what I hear that’s not completely inaccurate. At first I couldn’t figure out where William and Maggie fit into the story, but I figured it would eventually make sense, and it did.

Sep 3, 2022, 10:47pm

12x12 Travel, Roundtuits, Reading Through Time

Abundance / Sena Jeter Naslund
3 stars

This is a fictional account of Marie Antoinette’s life, as she moved from being a princess in Austria to the queen of France before the French Revolution overthrew the French monarchy.

I listened to the audio and it just didn’t draw me in much, so since I was often distracted, I did miss much of it. I have read only one or two other books on Marie Antoinette. I found some of the vocabulary used in the book a bit… “pretentious”? I can’t think of a good word – “high-falutin’”? (LOL!) I suppose pretentious works. That certainly didn’t help get me more interested. I am still rating it ok, as it did pick up a bit toward the end during the Revolution. I did find interesting what happened to Marie and Louis’ son and daughter after their parents were put to death. I likely did read of that previously, but I had forgotten.

Sep 3, 2022, 11:19pm

12x12 Off the Shelf

The Haunting of Crimshaw Manor / Mark E. Drotos
3.5 stars

Stephen has just become a new professor of Paranormal Studies at a university he used to attend. He had been in a relationship with Evelyn, who is still a student there. Stephen is called upon to be the university rep for the paranormal club that Evelyn is a part of and they are lucky enough (along with two other students from the club) to be able to investigate a haunting at a local (now deserted) house, Crimshaw Manor. During its history, Benjamin Crimshaw lived there with his wife, Elizabeth, and their young son Jonathan. After a bad storm, Elizabeth was found hanging, but there was never any sign of Benjamin or Jonathan.

There was more on the technical equipment/aspects of the investigation than I’m really interested in, but I appreciate that it was described so readers can get a better idea. I don’t really believe in ghosts, though I love the stories of them! Even still, they can creep me out. And this one did, at times; there were some creepy things going on!

I wasn’t crazy about Stephen and Evelyn’s relationship (picked up from a previous time), with Stephen now being a professor and Evelyn a student (though not Stephen’s student). I didn’t find the “relationship” very interesting, even without the professor/student dynamic. I did like Elizabeth’s story and how the place came to be haunted. The end did indicate that there might be a sequel, and I liked it enough to read the next book if there is one.

Sep 11, 2022, 11:03pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, WPF

The Testaments / Margaret Atwood
4.5 stars

This sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” takes place 15 or 16 years after the first book. In this one, we follow three characters: Aunt Lydia and two teenaged girls, one in Gilead and one in Canada. Early in the book, both girls lose their mothers. Agnes’ (in Gilead) father, Commander Kyle, marries Paula, who is awful to Agnes. Daisy in Canada has actually lost both her parents in an explosion, and she is a bit lost as to what to do next until someone gives her some information she hadn’t previously known and helps her with where to go next. With Aunt Lydia, we find out more about her pre-Gilead, and how she became an aunt. The three stories do converge as the book continues on.

I listened to the audio and it was really good! The actress who plays Aunt Lydia in the tv show also narrated the character’s storyline in “The Testaments”. Although I loved the audio, and would recommend it for those who listen to audio books, it was harder to tell Agnes and Daisy apart, especially when the storylines converged; earlier in the book, you can tell by the other characters and what is happening around them. The narrators are different and their voices are different, but I still couldn’t remember which voice was who. BUT that did not detract from how much I liked the book. I also liked an added bit (can’t recall if it’s called such, but it’s an epilogue) at the very end. I’ve read “The Handmaid’s Tale” twice and I liked this one quite a bit more.

Sep 11, 2022, 11:24pm

12x12 Nonfiction, PBT Trim, Roundtuits

Titanic Survivor / Violet Jessop & John Maxtone-Graham
3 stars

Violet Jessop was a cabin steward in many different cruise ships during the early 20th century, taking over after her mother was no longer able to do the same work. However, there were very few women who did this job at the time. Violet survived not only the Titanic sinking, but also when the Britannic sank during the war.

This was ok. There wasn’t nearly as much about the Titanic as I’d hoped. I do normally like biographies/memoirs, as well, but I just didn’t find this one all that interesting. And I’ve done cruises, so that is often interesting to me, as well. I just didn’t find her writing interesting, unfortunately. John Maxtone-Graham was the editor of Violet’s writings and he did interject tidbits of info and speculation into the book, and that didn’t bother me at all, but in the ebook it was sometimes hard to tell when it was Violet’s words or his; italics or square brackets of some other indicator would have been nice.

I wondered at times if she was making some of it up, to be honest. One thing that made me think that was repetition of common things (that were apparently incorrect, like musicians playing “Nearer My God to Thee”) that have been said. She also used pseudonyms for some people, which is fine, but the editor mentioned at one point that he wondered if some of the passengers mentioned were mashes (my word, not his – can’t recall the word/phrase he used) of multiple people Overall – ok, but I’m not sure this should be at the top of anyone’s Titanic reading list.

Sep 12, 2022, 7:58am

>206 LibraryCin: interesting what people remember. I've read several accounts of the "last song", and over 100 people claim it was "Nearer my God to Thee" and at least that many remember a waltz.

Edited: Sep 12, 2022, 9:49pm

>227 Tess_W: I've read a couple of things about all the people that remember hearing "Nearer My God to Thee". Most of what I've read seems to think that they did not actually play it.

I found this as I was writing my review:

"We'll never be completely sure, but most Titanic experts suspect that the band never played their most famous hit at all."

ETA: the article is short, but of course, says much more than the one sentence I've quoted here.

Sep 14, 2022, 10:50pm

12x12 Animals, MysteryKIT, Roundtuits

Grey Matters / Clea Simon
3.5 stars

Ducie is a grad student working on her thesis. Just after she meets with her advisor, she comes out of the building only to stumble upon a murder victim, another man in the English department. In her personal life, she is feeling lonely as her boyfriend is spending almost all his time working; her best friend/roommate has a new boyfriend; her beloved pet cat, Mr. Grey, had recently passed away, although his ghost visits her, still, and she has a new black and white, still unnamed, kitten.

Like with the first book in the series (this is the 2nd), there was more academic-speak in the book than I would have liked. I wasn’t necessarily all that excited to hear, in so much detail, about Dulcie’s thesis. I wasn’t sure initially if I would continue the series after this one (primarily) because of that. Not a big fan of ghost-cats talking, either. But as the end came around, I decided I like it enough that I would try the next book, as well.

Sep 17, 2022, 11:26pm

12x12 BIPOC, AuthorCAT, PBT, Rounduits

Long Walk to Freedom / Nelson Mandela
4 stars

Nelson Madela was a lawyer, then involved for most of his life with the ANC (African National Congress), when he fought for the rights of black Africans and against apartheid when that was instituted in the 1950s. He went to prison in 1963 and spend almost three decades there as a political prisoner (alongside other members of the ANC and other similar political groups) before being freed in 1990. This is his autobiography up to when he became president of South Africa in 1994.

In the first half, I found his personal life more interesting than his work/political life. But the second half really picked up for me. I found his time as a prisoner the most interesting part of the book. He (and the other political prisoners) managed to continue to fight as much as they could from within the prison walls. He really was an amazing man, but sadly his family life suffered for everything he did for the people of South Africa.

Sep 25, 2022, 3:35pm

12x12 Oh Canada, AlphaKIT, Travel Across Canada

The Innocents / Michael Crummey
2 stars

When Ada and Evered’s parent both die, they are still young. It’s the 19th century and they live in an isolated area in Newfoundland. They do what they can to survive.

I listened to the audio. It was slow-moving and I couldn’t get interested, though the Newfoundland accents and phrases are fun. I missed much of what happened in the book, but I didn’t really care, either. I’m not sure how old the kids were when their parents died and not sure how old they were at the end of the book, either. It was a bit ugly as they became teenagers with no one else around, though. When I saw this book was nominated for a few awards, that explained it for me (my not liking it).

Sep 25, 2022, 3:54pm

12x12 Animals, Play Book Tag

Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel / Carl Safina
4 stars

The subtitle sums up this book in just a few words, but to be more specific, the author talks to people who have been studying elephants, wolves, and whales (and travels to the places to see the animals). One additional section does not focus on any one specific type of animal, but looks at many different animals and various studies of animal observation and behaviour.

If there are still people out there who think animals don’t think or feel, they are deluding themselves. Anyone who spends any time around animals at all has to realize. And it seems most or all are smarter than we think. And how do we define “intelligence”, anyway? In human terms. Even IQ tests are biased. The author points out many instances where if we held humans to the same standards as scientists hold animals when they are being studied, humans may not fare very well, either.

Of the three animals that were mainly focused on, I have read very little about whales, so I probably learned the most in that section. Sadly (and to no surprise for most of us), each of these animals are having a hard time surviving with everything humans are doing to their world, and this is touched on toward the end of the sections for each of the animals. If we start to “understand” them a bit better, will that help change things we are doing to our world (as it affects them so much)?

Sep 25, 2022, 4:36pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, ScaredyKIT

Pretty Little Wife / Darby Kane
4 stars

Both Aaron and Lila had awful childhoods, losing both their parents in terrible ways. After being (emotionally, mentally) abused and controlled by her husband, Aaron, for years, Lila discovers a secret Aaron has carried. She finds a video. This pushes her over the top and she comes up with a plan to make him disappear. But on the day she tries, although things seem to work according to plan, initially, something goes very very wrong… Adam has disappeared, but not in the way Lila had intended.

I thought this was really good. It pulled me in quickly and I wanted to know what was going on. Of course, there are a few twists and turns along the way. And I constantly wondered what to believe of Lila. She’s very cold, not very likable. Parts of the story are also from the point of view of Ginny, the lead investigator into Aaron’s disappearance. The two women are both very smart and tough.

Sep 25, 2022, 5:59pm

>232 LibraryCin: taking a BB for this book. I just finished The Art of Being An Elephant which uses photos from Amboseli National Park and I have read 2 books on the Yellowstone wolves.

Sep 25, 2022, 6:00pm

>233 LibraryCin: you hit me with a BB!

Sep 25, 2022, 9:24pm

>234 lowelibrary: >235 Tess_W: Hope you both like it!

Edited: Sep 25, 2022, 10:09pm

12x12 Reading Through Time, Read Thru Time, AlphaKIT

(2022 review; this is my 5th time reading in the past 10 years.)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Washington Irving
3.5 stars

Icabod Crane is a teacher in a village near “Sleepy Hollow”, where there is a legend of a headless horseman – a ghost of someone without a head who rides a horse; they say he was a soldier. Crane has a crush on young local beauty Katrina Van Tassel, but another man – a good-looking brawny practical joker – also has eyes for her. Even still, bookish Crane thinks he has a good chance with her. But he runs into trouble late at night after a party at the Van Tassels on his way home.

I’ve read this a few times before, usually around Halloween. I feel like I paid more attention this time, as I was at home without other distractions. I tend to gloss over descriptions, and this one is very descriptive, but I paid more attention today so I feel like I “noticed” more going on in the book in addition to the ending. Keeping my rating at “good”.

Sep 28, 2022, 10:33pm

12x12 Travel, Roundtuits, CATWoman

To See You Again / Betty Schimmel
4 stars

Early during WWII, Betty and her Jewish family moved out of Czechoslovakia to Hungary. It was there that Betty (at 13 years old) met Richie. They fell madly in love with one another and vowed to marry one day. But they were separated in the last year of the war and though Betty, her mother, sister, and brother all survived, Betty could not find Richie after the war ended. At the encouragement of her mother, although Betty didn’t love him, she married Otto, who loved her very much. But she never lost her love for Richie and while married decades to Otto (and she had three children with him), she always looked for Richie.

I thought the first half during the war was better. Yes, the Holocaust is awful, but it was amazing that all in Betty’s family survived except for her father, much due to her mother’s encouragement, support, and resilience. I hadn’t read anything about Hungary (and its occupation) during the war until now. I felt really badly for Otto as Betty continually commiserated about losing Richie. Although he was almost never home (always working), which was hard on Betty, especially once the kids came along.

Sep 30, 2022, 11:01pm

12x12 Oh Canada, Roundtuits, RandomKIT, Travel Across Canada

The War in the Country / Thomas F. Pawlick
4 stars

The author of this book is looking at life in rural areas with a focus on eastern Ontario. More specifically, he is looking at family farms vs factory farms, as well as mining rights vs indigenous land claims and sub- vs surface rights of landowners.

It seems the government is making things more and more difficult for smaller operations. Large corporations not only get subsidies, but smaller operations are hit with regulations they couldn’t possibly afford to meet, and in a lot of cases, regulations that just make no sense for what they are doing.

Some examples include the vegetarian restaurant told they needed to replace their cedar counter with stainless steel, stainless steel being needed for meat… but they don’t serve meat; but they might one day; well we’ll get stainless steel if that happens; nope, too bad, you need to do it now. Or the small butcher shop that doesn’t serve food to eat inside his shop but is suddenly required to install washrooms. These are just the tip of the iceberg. Both these businesses were asked to do much more than this, as their own expense, of course. Growing organic food is much more difficult than it should be, etc.

The author does end the book with lots of suggestions to fix these issues, but the political will is needed to do it and that’s currently not there, with large corporate lobby groups holding the purse strings of many politicians. Urban folks are asked to become educated to help rural folks stand up for these things.

Oct 2, 2022, 10:54pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits, AlphaKIT

Paper: An Elegy / Ian Sansom
3 stars

This is a history of paper. Not just paper, including how its made (pretty much the same as it has been for hundreds of years, except now by machines instead of by hand), but it also looks at the histories of various items made with paper: books, games and puzzles, origami, art, and more.

The intro started off really interesting, also taking us through a day without paper. The rest of the book – though it had some interesting tidbits -- just wasn’t quite as good. There was a lot of references to literature and art, and that kind of lost my interest there. Overall, though, I’m rating it “ok”, but I feel like that might be a bit generous.

Oct 4, 2022, 10:45pm

12x12 Audio, Roundtuits

Midnight Sun / Stephenie Meyer
3.5 stars

This is, of course, “Twilight” from Edward’s point of view. Edward and his vampire family live in Forks, Washington when Bella arrives to live with her Dad. Edward, who can hear people’s thoughts, is drawn to Bella, as he is unable to hear hers and they fall madly in love.

It’s been a long time since I read (and enjoyed) “Twilight”. This was pretty slow-moving (as was the original, I believe), and I didn’t think this one was as good, but it was interesting from the other point of view. I know some people found Edward’s stalking of Bella creepy, but I didn’t see it that way in the original. It really stood out from Edward’s POV, though, since we could now see how often he really did watch her! I had forgotten much of what had happened in the first book. The book really didn’t pick up much until the baseball game, but things moved quickly after that (this was likely the case in “Twilight”, too). I sure don’t like Rosalie! I listened to the audio and, overall, I’m rating it good.

Oct 7, 2022, 10:51pm

12x12 ARCs, CATWoman

Little Red House / Liv Andersson
4.25 stars

In 1997, Eve’s daughter Kelsey has disappeared. Eve tracks her to a small town in New Mexico where the trail ends, but Eve is sure Kelsey is there somewhere. But the townspeople not only don’t help, they seem to be covering up something. Twenty-some years later, Eve has died, and her adopted twin daughters Lisa and Connie are left with very different inheritances. Lisa, the “good” daughter, is left with pretty much everything of value. Connie was left a small house in a town she’s never heard of in New Mexico… a town where strangers aren’t welcome, and the house leaves something (or a lot of somethings) to be desired. There are a lot of rules to this inheritance for both Lisa and Connie. Connie was never treated well by Eve.

This was really good. It pulled me in quickly and kept me wanting to read to find out what was going on. I’ve read a lot of mystery-thrillers the past couple of years and sometimes they have blended into one another. I think this one will stand out in my memory. Have to say that Eve sure was a hateful character – both in 1997 and in Connie’s memories as she looks back on how Eve treated her. I should add that the book does go back and forth in time – in 1997 from Eve’s perspective, and in the present day from Connie’s.

Oct 9, 2022, 5:13pm

12x12 Series

Pop Goes the Weasel / James Patterson
4 stars

Geoffrey Shafer works at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. and has diplomatic immunity. He also plays a role-playing game with three other men around the world he was in the army with years earlier. His character is Death. Unfortunately, Shafer’s fantasy game is now a reality for him as he acts out murders on real people, mostly people in the poor neighbourhoods where the police tend to not spend too much time or money investigating what happened.

But Alex Cross and a few of his detective friends are working on some of these cases in their spare time. At the same time, he tries to spend time with his family and girlfriend. Unfortunately, when they all head to Bermuda on holiday, things become personal.

I really liked this one. Although it got really frustrating with the diplomatic immunity. I don’t understand the why of that… people with diplomatic immunity can just go murder people in other countries and are not able to be punished for it? I just don’t get it! Maybe (in reality) it’s not quite that simple?

Oct 9, 2022, 7:51pm

>243 LibraryCin: Hi Cindy - in regards to your question about diplomatic immunity, I remember a vehicle accident in New York? Washington D.C.? where a young person was killed by a drunk driver who was a Russian diplomat. The diplomat was not brought to trial, but was kicked out of the US and not allowed to return.

I don't remember if the victim's family received any recompense over the incident. It did bring to light the question of "how far does diplomatic immunity really extend?"

Oct 9, 2022, 9:26pm

>244 threadnsong: It's a good question.

Oct 10, 2022, 10:03pm

12x12 Travel, AuthorCAT, Roundtuits

Woman at 1,000 Degrees / Hallgrimur Helgason
3.25 stars

80-year old Herra lives in Iceland in a garage by herself with her laptop, and she is waiting to die. She was told 18 years earlier that she had 3 months to live due to cancer… and here she still is. She does expect it will finally happen soon. She is thinking back on her life with a focus on when she was about 10-15 years old or so during WWII. When her father joined the German army to fight for Hitler, she and the rest of her family left for Denmark. The book goes back and forth in time.

There were a few amusing parts, I thought, including Herra calling the local crematorium to make an appointment for her own cremation! Initially I found her current day situation more interesting, but as things progressed during the war, I liked those parts better. She wasn’t a very likable woman, though that wasn’t necessarily the case when she was younger. Although she also wasn’t treated very well by her three sons nor their wives. Overall, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to rate it 3 stars (ok) or 3.5 (good), so going with the in-between.

Oct 15, 2022, 6:16pm

>243 LibraryCin: A case happened in the UK where 19 year-old Harry Dunn was killed by a US official's wife, Anne Sacoolas, who was driving on the wrong side of the road. She was protected by diplomatic immunity and immediately returned to the US. It started a firestorm of discussion with the result that the loophole is now said to have been closed and prosecution of family members will now be permitted. The event led to a lot of US/UK friction.

Oct 15, 2022, 9:51pm

>247 VivienneR: Oh, that's interesting.

Oct 15, 2022, 10:46pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, Fall flurries, CATWoman, ScaredyKIT

Hour of the Witch / Chris Bohjalian
3.5 stars

In 17th century Boston, Mary has been married to Thomas for 5 years. He is incredibly abusive toward her, both physically and mentally, but always when there is no one else to notice anything askew. When Mary finally decides she can take it no longer (after he has put a (new-fangled) fork (aka Devil’s tines) through her hand), she is determined to divorce him. In the meantime, though, there have been whisperings of witchcraft. There is a woman in town who dislikes Mary, and Mary and Thomas’ indentured servant also suspects Mary of witchcraft (in part, due to those forks!).

This was good. It felt slow-moving even though we got to Mary’s petition for divorce fairly early on in the book, but of course, this wasn’t the entirety of the story. There were a couple of twists toward the end. I found the bit about the forks interesting – that is, they were a new item and people looked on them suspiciously. I had no idea! I did like the book, but there are others by the author that I’ve liked better.

Oct 16, 2022, 7:46am

>249 LibraryCin: I have read Midwives by this author and I liked it. What others have you read that you liked? I have 4 or 5 of my WL, but would like to pare it down!

Oct 16, 2022, 2:57pm

>250 Tess_W: "Midwives" was the first one I read by him, and probably the one I liked the best. :-)

I don't know if others agree with me on this one (I vaguely recall some differing opinions in the reviews, but it's been a while since I checked), but I think this was the one I liked next-best (part of that may have been the description of a plane crash at the start of the book): The Night Strangers. I also listened to the audio of that one; that may have also helped.

Funny, I just reread my own review and that was the 2nd book I read by Bohjalian.

Oct 19, 2022, 10:42pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, Fall Flurries, AuthorCAT

The Lost Village / Camilla Sten
4 stars

Alice is a filmmaker still looking for her big break. Maybe this is it? Her grandmother grew up in a small isolated town in Sweden where something odd happened in 1959. Everyone disappeared. All almost-900 of them. (Alice’s grandmother had already moved to Stockholm by then.) There was one decomposing woman tied to a post in the town square and one baby still alive. 60 years later, Alice gets together five people to go film a promo to raise money to create an entire documentary trying to figure out what happened in this town all those years ago. But things go very very wrong...

The start of this book pulled me right in. It did go back and forth in time between Alice and her crew there for five days filming and back in time to the townspeople and what went on at the time. It did slow down for a while with some set-up, but it picked up again. Creepy… those isolated buildings just left with stuff still on the table, etc. It was all so sudden.

Oct 19, 2022, 10:58pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time, RandomKIT, Roundtuits

Forever Liesl: A Memoir of The Sound of Music / Charmian Carr
3.5 stars

Charmian Carr was the actress who played Liesl in “The Sound of Music”. She was actually 21-years old playing 16. The first half of the book is memories of making the movie, and the second half looks at some of her own life and family, as well as the ongoing friendships she had with the other children from the movie (and more). Before each chapter is a brief reminisce of someone who loved the movie. And there are plenty of photos throughout.

“The Sound of Music” is one of my all-time favourite movies. Every time she mentioned a scene or some dialogue or a song, I was able to easily picture it in my head. So it was fun to learn of so much that happened behind the scenes. Have to admit I knew none of the child actors’ names (until now!). At 21, but playing one of the children, Charmian was sort of between the adult and child actors on the set.

She was primarily very positive with things she said about the people and the making of the movie. But there were a few little things. But I really think she is sincere in how much making the movie meant to her. So I did learn a few things about Christopher Plummer (Chris) and Julie Andrews, as well. There was a chapter near the end that told more of the actual von Trapp family and their real story, since so much of the movie was fictionalized; that was very interesting.

I was tempted to rate this a bit higher, but I’m certain that’s only due to how much I love the movie itself, so I’ve kept it at a “good” rating.

Oct 21, 2022, 8:14am

>252 LibraryCin: Been on my WL for sometime. Perhaps add to my 2023 reading list which I'm now composing!

Oct 23, 2022, 9:54pm

12x12 Trim, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

The Lake House / Marci Nault
3.5 stars

Victoria grew up in a small community in New England where all the families knew each other. She and her friends all thought they’d grow up, get married, and have their kids there (or in nearby Boston, but eventually make their way back again). Victoria’s plans changed, however, and she went to California to become an actress (which she did), and rarely returned. But now, at 70+ years old, she has returned for good. One friend, Molly, is happy to have her home and is welcoming but the others are not impressed.

Heather is a writer of a travel column in one of Boston’s newspapers. Her relationship with her fiancee and agent, Charlie, has soured, however. When Heather decides to leave, she buys a house in Victoria’s old community. But she doesn’t realize she’ll be the only resident under 70 years old! The houses simply passed down the generations of the older people (but the next generations haven’t stayed). And most of these elderly neighbours don’t want someone young living next to them (the noise, the parties!).

I liked this. It didn’t move quickly, but I honestly didn’t really notice that about it until the end. I liked the relationships Heather ended up having with some of her neighbours and how those evolved (as well as the relationship with the grandson of one of the neighbours).

Oct 26, 2022, 11:04pm

12x12 Nonfiction, CATWoman, ScaredyKIT, Fall Flurries

Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History / Tori Telfer
4 stars

This book looks at historical women serial killers. There are a number of stories of different women in different places and times, from the 13th century up to the 1950s.

As interesting as I found all of these stories as I read them, they do read like short stories, so (unfortunately) by the end, I have already forgotten details of the earlier stories in the book. Even so, I was certainly very interested and very much “enjoyed” reading the stories.

Many of the women killed via poison, but not all. There were a few very cruel women included (that is, they killed by other cruel ways); the two that immediately come to mind were both nobility in their respective countries and time periods. I really liked the author’s writing style, and she even injected a bit of humour at times. I also liked that the author was also able to find out personal information on these women, not just information about the murders they committed (she talks in the afterword about cutting out a couple of people she wanted to include, but she just couldn’t find enough info on them).

Oct 30, 2022, 3:50pm

12x12 BIPOC, CATWoman

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America / Ijeoma Oluo
3.5 stars

I’m having trouble finding the words to describe the book. It made sense while I was listening (to the audio), but hard to sum up in a short couple of sentences. The author is looking at how US society came to be so focused on white male power. How it’s a sort of benchmark, and even mediocre white men tend to have more power than many others (people of colour, women, lgbtq+, etc.).

As for the audio book, it was read by the author herself and she did a great job; it held my interest. As with many anti-racist books, there are some things that are hard to hear and (as a white woman), it’s sometimes hard to wrap my head around some of the horrible experiences of people of colour. I think I’m also lucky that I work in a female-dominated profession.

Oct 30, 2022, 10:30pm

12x12 Series, MysteryKIT

Book Clubbed / Lorna Barrett
3.5 stars

Tricia’s sister Angelica is now president of the town’s Chamber of Commerce. Unfortunately, they don’t have a real place to work out of, so the secretary (Betsy) is working in Angelica’s business space. It’s not long before there is a ruckus in the back and Tricia and Angelica discovery Betsy’s body in the back crushed by a book case! Betsy wasn’t well-liked, so when it’s discovered it wasn’t likely an accident, there are a number of people who might have done it. Tricia, as usual, chats up people around town to see what she can find out.

I liked this one (although I’m not sure there are any in this series I have disliked yet). It’s the 8th book in the series, and I really enjoy many of the characters, though there are definitely some odd “ducks” in the crowd! Tricia’s (current lack of) love life is a bit creepy, though, as two former suitors are still interested and trying to win her back. But really, I think this series (at least for me) is just as much about the characters and their relationships to each other as the mysteries themselves. There was one extra worrisome (and surprising) bit in the book toward the end.

Oct 31, 2022, 9:23am

>258 LibraryCin: I read the first four in this series and then somehow drifted away. I just checked and see that the last one I read was in 2015! I'll have to try book 5 in the new year!

Oct 31, 2022, 11:32pm

>259 clue: I hope you (continue to?) enjoy it!

Nov 5, 2022, 3:10pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits

The Ophelia Cut / John Lescroart
3.5 stars

Brittany is in her early 20s and beautiful. When Rick, whom she recently dated, doesn’t want to let her be, he is abusive and ends up raping her. Rick is murdered soon after. All signs point to Brittany’s father, Moses. Moses’ friend Hardy will be his lawyer.

I liked the bulk of the storyline and it picked up in the second half during the trial, I thought. However, I found all the characters a bit confusing (there were a lot of them!), and they sometimes referred to them by first name, sometimes last name, sometimes a nickname. It was hard to figure out who was who and how they were related to one another in a lot of cases.

There were a couple of other things going on, as well… Moses, Hardy and a group of their friends were hiding something – it sounds like they had done some vigilante justice a while back? This storyline never really amounted to anything, though. Also, there was a former cop/murderer who was in the witness protection program. It was only when I finished the book that I discovered this part of a series (in fact, it’s #14!). So that probably explains the other (unfinished) storylines.

Nov 6, 2022, 4:57pm

12x12 Travel, (Oct) AlphaKIT, BingoDOG

The Vatican Princess / C.W. Gortner
3.75 stars

This book follows Lucrezia Borgia from when she was 13-years old and her father became Pope until she was about 20-years old after her second husband died. In that time, she was married twice, may have had two children – possible spoiler here: one possibly via incest/rape (though this is speculation), and had to deal with a power-hungry father who was Pope and two power-hungry brothers, one whom she loved and got along well with (Cesare) and one whom she did not get along with (Juan).

History has not been kind to the Borgias, including Lucrezia, although Gortner states that, in his research, he found that - like many women of powerful families of the time (and (my added comment here) for centuries before and after), she really was just a pawn. His research did not show she was cruel and power-hungry like her father and brothers. I found this very interesting, as the little bit I’ve read about the Borgias, I also had the impression she wasn’t any “better” than the others in her family.

Gortner does a really good job of historical fiction from the viewpoint of a woman, though I’m not sure anything will beat “The Last Queen” for me (his first book). In all honesty, through most of this book, I was ready to give it an ever-so-slightly lower rating, but I upped it in the last ¼ of the book or so, after Lucrezia married her second husband, Alfonso, whom she loved (at least according to Gortner in this book).

The afterword goes a bit further into history after where the book leaves off so we know what happened to all the major players in the book, in addition to talking a bit about the author’s research. I also loved that he mentioned, in the acknowledgements his pets and does a bit of animal rescue promotion.

Edited: Nov 6, 2022, 8:14pm

>257 LibraryCin: This sounds fascinating. I'm glad someone wrote about this topic; there are too many spectacular individuals who are non-white men and are better at their jobs/life but never recognized or allowed to advance.

Nov 6, 2022, 9:10pm

>263 threadnsong: Agreed! Hope you like it if you do end up reading it!

Nov 6, 2022, 10:26pm

12x12 Nonfiction, AuthorCAT, Roundtuits

The Great American Dust Bowl / Don Brown
3.5 stars

This is a nonfiction graphic novel depicting the “Dirty Thirties” – the dust storms that hit mostly Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Kansas. It is geared toward a YA audience. It also gives a bit of background leading up to the conditions that helped create the dust storms and the consequences to the people and farmers in the areas affected. In addition, the dust travelled to the eastern coast!

It’s short, but it has some nice (colour) illustrations, some of them coloured in so dark to represent the lack of visibility during the storms. There were even a few things I didn’t know about (or if I’ve read about them (this is likely) I’d forgotten – like the electric charges in the air). There were even a couple of real photographs included at the end, but not only 1 from a 1935 storm, but one from 2011, as well.

Nov 8, 2022, 10:46pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, PBT

Between Two Kingdoms / Suleika Jaouad
4 stars

The author was only 22/23-years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She had just finished university and was looking forward to her future. She had just started a new relationship (a few months previous) and the two of them had just moved to Paris. They came back to the US and moved in with her parents so she could get the treatment she needed. The treatment went on for 3-4 years, and it took a toll on her relationship.

She did recover, but wasn’t sure what to do next. She decided to take a road trip around the perimeter of the US and she planned to visit people she had met or just corresponded with while she was being treated for her cancer. She had been writing newspaper columns during her treatment, so she was known throughout the US.

I found the first half, with all the medicine and treatments and trying to hold her relationship together much more interesting than her road trip. I almost lowered my rating due to the road trip, but decided to leave it where it is. The most interesting person (for me) she met on the road trip was the man on death row in Texas. He wrote to her early on in her cancer journey, and the parallels were really surprising to me. Something that scared me about the book was how much support and help she needed throughout. I live alone and likely always will. My mom has had breast cancer twice. How will I take care of myself and my cats if I was to become so ill that I need those kinds of treatments? It’s a scary thought.

Nov 8, 2022, 11:47pm

Books like that can cause unnecessary worry. Stay positive Cindy. Thinking of you.

Nov 9, 2022, 4:17pm

>267 VivienneR: Thank you! You're right. Maybe this type of thing will never come to pass. Or maybe my own circumstances will change by then if it does.

Nov 9, 2022, 7:51pm

>268 LibraryCin: Yes, circumstances can change. You might be running an entire cat rescue mission in the future! (with lots of help, of course).

Nov 9, 2022, 9:26pm

>269 VivienneR: LOL! Wouldn't that be nice!?

Nov 10, 2022, 9:41am

>269 VivienneR: Maybe not. We had a beautiful cat rescue facililty open a couple of years ago with a limit of 100 cats. They hit the limit the first week. As you can imagine it led to a lot of stress for those working there!

Nov 10, 2022, 10:37pm

>271 clue: omg! :-( That's so sad...

Nov 11, 2022, 5:31pm

12x12 Overflow, MysteryKIT

The Family Upstairs / Lisa Jewell
3.5 stars

At 25, Libby has inherited a large house that belonged to her biological parents, whom she doesn’t remember, as she’d been adopted at 10 months old when her parents and one other person had been found (suicide) in the home she has now inherited. An older brother and sister were never found. Now, Libby wants to find out exactly what happened in that house and what happened to her siblings.

The story is told from three different points of view, one of them narrating what happened 25 years ago before “the baby” (Libby) and the three dead people were found. It took me quite a while to figure out all the characters and although it wasn’t overtly mentioned how the characters were related until later in the story, I did eventually figure it out. That being said, to get there took wading through figuring out a bunch of other characters, too. I have to admit the first half of the story wasn’t nearly as interesting as the second half, likely because it took me so long to figure out all the characters. I would probably give the second half a bit higher rating than I’m rating it overall.

Nov 13, 2022, 10:43pm

12x12 BIPOC, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

The Secrets Between Us / Thrity Umrigar
3.5 stars

Bhima is no longer working for the family she had been, and is now living in the slum with her granddaughter, Maya. However, with some help, she has managed to send Maya to university, while Bhima herself is now working two jobs (cleaning and cooking) for two other people. She really dislikes the woman at her morning job, but at her afternoon job, when her employer has a friend move in – a friend who has moved back to India from Australia and seems to have forgotten the customs – Bhima is not only treated very well, she is treated more like a friend.

The often disagreeable Parvati has an argument with her nephew and he kicks her out of where she has been living. She finds a room to rent at a brothel, and sells vegetables at a stand during the day to make her daily rent. Circumstances bring the two older ladies, Bhima and Parvati, together and they form a business partnership.

This is a continuation of “The Space Between Us” by the same author. Despite this being a sequel (and although I have), I don’t think you need to have read the first book to read this one. The bits you need to know are told to you in this story (good thing, because I wouldn’t have remembered any of it!). I liked this. I considered upping my rating to 4 but decided to keep it at a “good” rating for me. It’s not fast paced, but it’s a nice story of friendship. With the way it ended, I feel like there is a possibility for another continuation (with a different focus). If another book came out with these characters, I would read it.

Nov 18, 2022, 12:14am

12x12 Audio, ScaredyKIT

Insomnia / Stephen King
2.5 stars

Ralph’s wife recently (I think) passed away. Now he is having trouble sleeping. It’s not long before he starts seeing “auras”. It turns out a local older woman, Lois, is also seeing these auras. There is a woman activist coming to town to speak, but townspeople of Derry are divided about it.

I listened to the audio, and the audio was ok; I guess I lost interest periodically, but I don’t think it was the narrator or the audio at fault. This is one of, if not the, book I’ve rated the lowest by King (of what I’ve read, which is quite a bit), as he is one of my favourite authors. There were parts that I “liked” (or at least found more interesting), like the domestic abuse situation, but much of it just didn’t interest me.

Nov 20, 2022, 4:06pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? / Caitlin Doughty
4 stars

This is a book of essays answering kids’ questions about death. The author is a funeral director in California and she answers questions like: What would happen to an astronaut body in space? Will I poop when I die? What would happen if you died on a plane? Can I be buried in the same grave as my hamster? Add to that the book’s title question, and more.

The author reads the book herself, but she also does plenty of youtube videos and a blog, I think. Anyway, she does a good job and I find this stuff fascinating! She does a good job of mixing in some humour to go along with the rest of the explanations, as well. There is some science and history, as well, depending on the question/answer.

Nov 22, 2022, 10:30pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time, Fall Flurries, AuthorCAT, BingoDOG, Roundtuits

Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944 / Joseph Balkoski
3.75 stars

This is a detailed account, much of it using primary sources, of the invasion of Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. It was primarily American soldiers who landed here; Canadian and British soldiers landed on other beaches that day.

I actually liked the author’s narration a bit better than the many primary source quotes he used to illustrate (and expand on) the things he was talking about. Partly, that may have been the smaller font of the quotes vs my (getting older) eyes! I tended to sometimes skim over some of those quotes. But the amount of detail and research that went into this is amazing. Very much like Cornelius Ryan’s account of D-Day as a whole (published in 1959, and used in Balkoski’s research, as well).

Nov 23, 2022, 10:32pm

12x12 ARCs, RandomKIT, Netgalley

City Under One Roof / Iris Yamashita
3.5 stars

Amy, a teenager in a small Alaska town, finds a couple of body parts that have washed up on shore. Cara, a police officer from Anchorage, comes to help figure out what happened. Cara comes with secrets of her own. Unfortunately after she arrives, so does a blizzard, trapping everyone with no way out. A third POV in the book is Lonnie, someone with mental disabilities, who takes care of a resident moose.

I liked the story, but I didn’t like Lonnie’s chapters; I found them quite confusing (I guess since her mind is confused, this “fit”, but I didn’t find it good reading. The thriller part of the book didn’t grab me like many do, but again, I did still like the story. I liked Cara and her background and storyline. Amy’s story and background was pretty interesting, too. There were definitely some odd characters and stories (in addition to Lonnie). I wonder if there was some setup for a second book, though?

Nov 25, 2022, 9:42pm

>276 LibraryCin: I gotta say, I just love that title. Cuz, you never know!

Nov 25, 2022, 10:22pm

Nov 25, 2022, 10:50pm

12x12 ARCs, AuthorCAT, AlphaKIT

The Doctor from Hell / Genoviva Ortiz
3.5 stars

Harold Shipman was a doctor in the U.K. from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. In that time, he murdered over 200 people (likely the number is much higher). He is the serial killer who has killed the most people ever. This is a short biography of him and his deeds. He was actually very well-liked, but things came tumbling down with the death of another well-liked and influential woman in her community.

This is meant to be for any level reader, so it is kept short and simple. I still thought the story was good, but because it was kept short, there were plenty of details and victims that could have been expanded on. It’s not tale of blood and guts murder, but a doctor who (for reasons unknown) killed many of his own patients.

Edited: Dec 3, 2022, 12:22pm

12x12 Off the Shelf

Preventing Her Shutdown / Sammie Marsalli
3.5 stars

The author wrote a diary as he was caregiver for his wife of 43 years when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That diary became this book (it’s more about the length of a novella).

I am rating this good. It is hard to criticize such a personal story like this, but I only rate it as “low” as I am because there was a lot of repetition (like you would find in a diary, really). There were a few spelling and grammatical errors, as well.

But really, it’s a heartwarming story of a man’s incredible love for his wife as he tries to stop her mind from shutting down. He talks about all their daily activities and how much he tries to connect with her through these activities and in other ways. Oh, she does not speak.

I have had relatives with Alzheimer’s, but I’ve not been directly involved with them as they went through it, so I’ve not seen it firsthand. I hadn’t realized there were a lot of physical issues that go along with it, in addition to the mental issues. I can’t imagine how difficult this kind of caretaking would be.

Nov 27, 2022, 9:57pm

12x12 PBT, PBT, Roundtuits, PBT Trim

The Ha-Ha / Dave King
3.5 stars

Howie was in Vietnam for the war. He was injured and came home unable to talk. He has not been able to since, nor did he re-learn to read and write. His best friend (and former high-school girlfriend), Sylvia, calls on him to take care of her 9-year old son, Ryan, while she is off to rehab. Lucky for Howie, he has three other people living in his house. Laurel lives there without paying rent, but she helps Howie out. Two other rooms are rented out to young men, Harrison and Steve (he calls them Nit and Nat: he doesn’t like them much!).

This was good. There was a lot of “guy” stuff in the book, but with Howie and Ryan as main characters, becoming almost like father and son, one should expect that. It was nice how the household came together to help out with Ryan (though none were used to having a kid around the house!). I didn’t like Sylvia much, but then Howie did some stupid things, too.

Dec 1, 2022, 10:44pm

12x12 Audio, Roundtuits, PBT Trim

David Copperfield / Charles Dickens
2 stars

I can’t give much of a summary. It’s pretty much David Copperfield growing up, getting married, etc.

I listened to the audio and most of it was not actually interesting enough to listen to. So, I missed most of it. I found many names caught my attention, though, for some reason. Uraiah Heap (sp? he’s the ‘umble one – I caught that!), Peggarty, Macawber, Agnes, and Dora. Funny, the other thing with names (at least for the main character) is that he seemed to have a few nicknames and I even think I caught them, or some, anyway! So, I seemed to notice when names were mentioned, but didn’t pay enough attention to what actually was happening. I did catch a bit more of what happened at the end. And I did read a wikipedia summary maybe 1/3 of the way through the book so I might have some kind of idea what was going on. Too bad the book itself didn’t engage me enough that I knew what was happening as I listened, though. It’s another of the classics in the “miss” category for me, though I keep trying them!

Dec 2, 2022, 8:26am

>284 LibraryCin: there are some books that I "lose" when listening on audio and I have to go find chapter summaries somewhere to catch me up! Sorry you did not like Copperfield; tis one of my favs!

Dec 2, 2022, 1:40pm

>285 Tess_W: I think I've tried two or three by Dickens now, and I haven't liked any of them, so I'm thinking he's just not for me.

Dec 2, 2022, 1:58pm

>286 LibraryCin: could be. I either love Dickens (Bleak House, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations) or they are all blah--poor orphans, the streets, the workhouse, etc (Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Nicholas Nickleby, The Pickwick Papers). I feel the same about Virginia Woolf, have never read one of hers that I could abide!

Dec 3, 2022, 9:49pm

12x12 Nonfiction, AlphaKIT, RandomKIT

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief / Lawrence Wright
3.5 stars

This is a detailed look at the history of Scientology, including a biography of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

The author talked to many people who have left Scientology, as well as a few still involved, but many who are still involved wouldn’t be interviewed. Given its close ties to various celebrities, there is much discussion of some of the celebrities who are involved. The book was published in 2013, so that’s that same time and before a couple of the other books I’ve read on Scientology (one written by Jenna Miscavige-Hill, the niece of the current leader of the religion/cult, and another written by actress Leah Remini). Miscavige-Hill was already running a website that is mentioned a few times in this book, though. The “church” (cult?) is plagued with accusations of human rights abuses, assaults, etc.

This was mostly interesting, but there were times (mostly within Hubbard’s biography section of the book) where I just couldn’t focus. I think I find the personal stories the most interesting (including the other books I’ve read), though this is a very well-researched detailed account. It’s pretty scary, though, that journalists, people who have left, etc, anyone who says anything against Scientology appear to be harassed, and in some cases, even framed for crimes they didn’t commit!

Dec 4, 2022, 7:05pm

>288 LibraryCin: I have also read an account of someone trying leave and they lost their job because church members started complaining to the company about the employee. Reminded me of the Eagle's lyric, "you can check in but you can never leave."

Dec 4, 2022, 8:42pm

>284 LibraryCin: I'm not a big Dickens fan either but did enjoy A Tale of Two Cities.

Dec 4, 2022, 9:56pm

>289 Tess_W: Wow, sad sad sad...

Dec 4, 2022, 11:14pm

12x12 Oh Canada, Travel Across Canada, Reading Through Time

Fountaineville / C. A. Simonsen
3 stars

In the late 1950s, Davis is the youngest of four (living) siblings in a rural area on the Prairies (Saskatchewan, I think). His oldest brother died in Korea. His only sister, Gracie (whom he is closest to) is dating the local minister’s son. He has two twin brothers. Davis is 11/12 years old, I believe. There is an older neighbour whose yard Davis passes by every day who intrigues him. But Davis sees something very unusual (and a bit scary for him) one day. Davis spent a lot of time with the elderly people in town (a “witch” he met who was telling a “story with a story”, as well as some of the men at the local Legion Hall), while at the same time dealing with things happening at home.

This was ok. I rarely enjoy stories within the main story. This one took up a lot of the book, and I ended up skimming through much of it (the story within, that is). Of course, it did mean something in the end. I found the family issues more interesting than either the additional story or the time spent with the older people.

Dec 4, 2022, 11:36pm

12x12 Trim, CATWoman, Roundtuits

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? / Roz Chast
4.5 stars

This is a graphic novel telling of the author’s struggle as her parents aged. They didn’t like talking about death or any preparation for it, including any thought of moving someplace to make it easier for them to live – until they really had no other choice. Her parents both lived to their mid-90s and the cost of them living in the “Place” was taking a toll, in addition to her father’s mental issues and her mother’s physical ones.

It is a graphic novel, but not all pages include comic “strips”- some pages just have an illustration for the page, a few even have photographs of when Roz was cleaning out her parent’s house. A couple of pages include poems her mother wrote. She also includes some drawings she did of her mother in the months leading up to and including the day she died.

This was very well done, I thought. She included many thoughts and problems she had that are probably hard to talk about let alone publish in a book. It shows how hard it is to take care of parents as they age, and the personal struggles, especially when one’s relationship was not always great to begin with. Oh, the costs… wow, what a scary thought. What if your parents don’t have enough saved up to pay for the kind of care she was able to provide for her parents (and she had hard time with it)? What if you don’t have enough to help out? What happens when we get that age if we don’t have enough (and in my case, I don’t have kids to help, either)? Very very well done graphic novel.

Dec 9, 2022, 4:07pm

12x12 Audio, Roundtuits

Pandemonium / Lauren Oliver
3.5 stars

This is the 2nd book in a dystopian series where people are given a surgery to turn off any remnant of love; this is called “the cure”. After the first book, Lena has escaped into the wild, but has “lost” her boyfriend Alex (he died) along the way. Meanwhile, back in the “regular” world , there is a teenaged boy with a health issue that has prevented him from getting the cure: Julian. Julian has become a spokesperson for the cure. When Lena is sent to follow Julian, they are both kidnapped.

I liked this and am happy to continue the series. I listened to the audio and it was done well, kept my attention for the most part. It was a bit confusing at first, though, as the narration went back and forth in time between “Then” and “Now”, and with listening to the audio, it’s not easy to back up to see where we were. I knew, based on what was happening what was going on (I wasn’t confused there) and we were in one or the other, but in all honesty, it took me a while to figure out which parts had happened first, as I kept missing if we were “then” or “now”. I liked where this book went, but there is a surprise cliffhanger ending.

Dec 11, 2022, 10:48pm

12x12 Nonfiction, PBT, AuthorCAT

The Splendid and the Vile / Erik Larson
2.25 stars

This book follows Winston Churchill during the Blitz (WWII) in London during 1940-1941. It not only looks at what is happening, politically and in the war, but also follows his family: his wife, Clementine; his daughter, Mary (17 in 1940, I think), who was sent outside London at this time; his son, Randolph, who married, but continue to cheat on his wife, despite having a new baby, gambled, drank, and just generally behaved badly.

From my description, you can guess that I found the personal/family stuff much more interesting in this book. It’s unfortunate, because Erik Larson is probably one of my favourite nonfiction writers, but this one just did not get my attention (I was NOT listening to the audio, either). I’m sure I missed even much of the personal stuff, but of what I did take in, that was the stuff that did keep my attention, even if briefly. One of the “stories” that I liked was Mary out dancing with friends when a bomb hit the club they were in (there is more to it – I just don’t want to give it away). There were bits and pieces of info from Germany, and from the U.S., as Churchill really wanted the help of the Americans. This one, obviously not for me (unfortunately).

Dec 12, 2022, 10:48am

Dec 12, 2022, 11:38am

>295 LibraryCin: I usually like Eric Larson and this one is on my WL........BUT.......

Edited: Dec 12, 2022, 1:54pm

>297 Tess_W: I am an outlier, if you check the other reviews. I would guess you are likely to enjoy it more than I did (based on the numerous other people who loved it!).

Dec 12, 2022, 1:55pm

>296 clue: Oh, that might be interesting! Thank you!

Dec 12, 2022, 11:05pm

12x12 Read Thru Time, Reading Through Time

From Here to Eternity / Caitlin Doughty
3.5 stars

The author owns a funeral home in Los Angeles, but is a bit different in how she views death and burials. She is much more environmentally-conscious and would like for those of us in North America to be a little less… can’t think of a good word: uptight, maybe… about death. In this book, she travels to a few different places to see how various cultures deal with death. The places she visited include: Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, Japan, and Bolivia. She also “travels” to a couple of places in the U.S. where they do things a bit differently (as much as possible within the restrictive laws): Colorado and North Carolina. She ends back at home in California.

This was interesting. I actually found the research being done in North Carolina (re: green “burials” – actually “recomposting” of the bodies) not only the most interesting, but the most appealing for me. Caitlyn herself would like to be offered up to vultures, as in Tibet. I already know I’d like some kind of green burial, but I expect what type will depend on what’s “allowed” where I am when I die. Some of the more interesting cultural customs (for me) were in Mexico (Dias de los Muertos) and Bolivia (natitas). Like with her other books, there is a hint of humour there, as well (maybe less than with her other books, but still occasionally). And there were some great illustrations!

Dec 14, 2022, 3:42pm

12x12 Audio

Once Upon a Wardrobe / Patti Callahan
3.5 stars

George is 8-years old and won’t live much longer. He is confined to home. His older sister, Megs, is going to school at the women’s portion of Oxford, where George’s favourite author, C. S. Lewis (“The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” has just been published) is a professor. George wants Megs to find out for him “Where did Narnia come from?”, and Megs will do anything for George, so she musters up her courage to approach the author and has many conversations with him, as he tells her stories to pass on to George.

I listened to the audio and thought it was good. Although I’m not a fan of “stor(ies) within a story” and that held true for this one. I didn’t really care about “Jack”’s (C.S. Lewis’s) stories and mostly tuned those parts out, but I did love Megs’ and George’s story. I also loved Padraig (sp?) and the romance with Megs. I don’t know for sure, but my guess will be that this puts me opposite of many on which part of the book I preferred!

Dec 16, 2022, 12:17am

12x12 Series, PBT

Lady Knight / Tamora Pierce
3 stars

It’s the 4th (and last?) book in the series. Kel is now a knight. There is a war on. Kel is (disappointingly) put in charge of a refugee camp. She does need to train the refugees and has some “convict soldiers” (criminals who choose to fight in a war instead of going to prison) to help defend the camp, if needed. Although the training is going well, things go very wrong when Kel has to leave for a short time to provide updates/reports to her superiors.

I’d rate the majority of the book ok, though there were some parts where I got a bit more interested and would up the rating to “good”. Overall, though, I’m leaving it at ok. I do think the second half picked up a bit more over the first half.

Dec 16, 2022, 3:56pm

12x12 Oh Canada, Travel Across Canada

All Together Now / Alan Doyle
4.25 stars

Alan Doyle, lead singer of Great Big Sea, was missing performing when COVID hit. In the summer of 2020, he wrote some stories, as if he’s in a pub telling friends, and published it in this book.

I listened to the audio read by him, and I think that’s the way this story should be “read”. He is telling the stories as if he’s in a pub, and one of them, in particular (my favourite) – I just don’t see how it would translate on paper. It was the story of “dying laughing” and I was! The way he tells it – with his own laughter (fake laughter, but he does it so well...) – is just incredible and the laughter is so infectious! Other stories focused on Newfoundland itself, as well as some of his travels with GBS and the other famous people they met. It’s fun to hear how starstruck a star themselves can be sometimes. One of the stories just didn’t interest me much, but the rest were really good, so 4 stars, overall, for the book, but the extra ¼ star (as I do) for an amazing audio book.

Dec 19, 2022, 3:17pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, MysteryKIT, ScaredyKIT, Fall Flurries

The Hunting Party / Lucy Foley
4 stars

Emma has arranged for a get together of (mostly) university friends over New Year’s Eve in a remote area of Scotland. Emma didn’t actually know this group of friends in university, but she has been dating one of them for three years. Although they only get together every New Year’s, she still feels a bit like an outsider. The beautiful Miranda is married to Julien; Mark (Emma’s boyfriend) always had a crush on Miranda; Katie is Miranda’s best friend – or was when they were students. There is a gay couple and one couple with a new baby. Heather and Doug are not part of the group of friends, but work at the lodge the friends are staying at; they both have their own reasons for wanting to work somewhere so very isolated and remote. As a blizzard arrives, trapping them in place with no way in or out, one of the guests (friends) has disappeared.

The story took a bit of time to build. It was told from a few different points of view, including Emma, Katie, Miranda, Heather, and Doug. The atmosphere – the remoteness, the loneliness, the cold of the place – was done really well. The reader is not told who is the missing guest until a ways into the story. I have to say none of the characters was particularly likable. It was a good buildup to the finale, and hard to tell who the culprit was, as it could have been just about anyone.

Dec 20, 2022, 4:37pm

>295 LibraryCin: I remember that was my opinion of Larson's book too: not for me. There are better books about Churchill.

Dec 20, 2022, 11:13pm

>305 VivienneR: Glad I'm not the only one! I have added (via someone's suggestion) a different Churchill book to my tbr...oh, actually I think it focuses on Churchill's wife.

Dec 21, 2022, 2:48pm

12x12 Trim, PBT Trim, Roundtuits

A Cabinet of Wonders / Renee Dodd
3.5 stars

Set primarily in 1927, Dugan is a dwarf who runs a “freak show”, which includes teenaged Siamese twins Molly and Faye, morphodite (hermaphrodite) Alex, giant Sean, Dugan’s “twin” dwarf Mario, “Wolf girl” Saffron, fat lady Beatrice, tattooed man Shadrach(?), and a black gay man (Finch) who travels with them as a photographer. Dugan is worried about profits as motion pictures are starting to become more popular as the others are each musing about what they might do next, away from “carnie” life when they are able to leave. Although the show is a protection of sorts – protection from doctors who want to study and/or sterilize them.

The book was slow-moving but interesting in that it looked at the private lives of those living in this time with various deformities: their personal relationships, and some of the abuses they dealt with. Included was a short afterword by the author.

Dec 23, 2022, 3:31pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, Roundtuits, AuthorCAT, PBT

Elevator Pitch / Linwood Barclay
4 stars

When there are elevator mishaps in New York City three days in a row – mishaps where people died in each one – the mayor must take drastic steps. Meanwhile, there is a reporter, Barbara Matheson, a single mom to a now-adult daughter (though her parents raised her daughter), who seems to have a grudge against the mayor. The mayor did approach her to write a biography about him, which she rejected.

I wasn’t quite as interested in the political aspects of the book with the mayor, though it was important to the book. I was more interested in Barbara’s and her daughter’s lives. The POV did switch around with each chapter. Through most of the book, I would have rated this 3.5 stars (good), but it really ramped up in the last 20% of the book. It was very suspenseful at that point and I didn’t want to put the book down (and I didn’t) until I finished! That was enough to increase my rating. Overall, although it turned out really good, it is not one of my favourites by Barclay.

Dec 24, 2022, 3:18pm

12x12 Oh Canada

Ballgowns & Butterflies / Kelley Armstrong
4 stars

This is a novella to follow the first in the author’s series “A Stitch in Time”. (Possible spoilers for the first book - am marking them, but they are only spoilers if one hasn’t read the first book.) In this one, Bronwyn is back in England to spend Christmas with William. She is now 6 months pregnant, and exhausted, but is looking forward to the holidays with her husband in both the current day and in William’s time period, Victorian England.

It was fun to “experience” the Victorian Christmas with Bronwyn. I also loved the cover! There were a few things that happened that will likely extend into the next book (though I’m sure it will be briefly explained there, too), so it was nice to see how those things happened, but I really liked the Christmas/holiday them of this one! (I actually don’t read very many Christmas-themed books.)

Dec 27, 2022, 2:48pm

12x12 Trim, Roundtuits, AlphaKIT

You Take it From Here / Pamela Ribon
3.5 stars

Danielle and Smidge are in their mid-30s and have been best friends for a long time. Smidge stayed in Louisiana, got married, and had a daughter. Danielle went away to California; she also got married, but that ended in divorce. When Danielle comes home to visit, Smidge has an unhappy surprise and (odd) request for her. Possible spoiler (it is mentioned in the blurb, but it comes a bit of the way into the book): Smidge has cancer and she wants Danielle to take over her life after she dies of cancer; that is, she wants Danielle to marry her husband and take care of her daughter.

Wow, I really really didn’t like Smidge and wondered why anyone would be friends with her (or why anyone would marry her). So selfish (and this includes before the cancer). I felt badly for Danielle. I did like Tucker. Despite my intense dislike for Smidge, I still liked the book, as a whole. And no, I didn’t cry at the end – because I didn’t care about Smidge even a little bit and I thought Danielle’s life would be much better with Smidge gone.

Dec 28, 2022, 10:11pm

12x12 Off the Shelf, PBT, Roudtuits

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth / Chris Hadfield
4 stars

The title of this book makes it sound – in part – like a kind-of self-help book: “ to life on Earth”. But it’s really not. It is primarily a memoir about Chris Hadfield’s life as an astronaut and his three trips into space.

I really liked that it was more about his life and his trips to space (and the huge amount – years! - of preparation for it. Oh, the amount of planning is incredible – particularly focusing on (all) the worst case scenario(s). There were bits of “advice” here and there that can be taken for life in general. I just found the planning and the trips to space so interesting. (I hadn’t realized he’d also done some youtube videos, so I’ve had to take a look – very entertaining!)

Dec 29, 2022, 11:41pm

12x12 Travel, Roundtuits, AlphaKIT

The Swiss Family Robinson / Johann Wyss

This is the story of the family (mom, dad, and four boys) who were shipwrecked on a deserted island and how they managed to survive.

2022 reread (on audio)
3 stars
This was an unintentional reread – I forgot that I read it a few years back. This time, though, I listened to the audio. I actually wish I hadn’t reread my review from the first time around, as I noticed my main complaint right away after reading my review: Dad was a walking encyclopedia! He knew everything about everything. It didn’t seem very believable, either. The variety of animals on the island, plus they never seemed to miss when they were hunting. It was all too easy. Not only that, they wanted to stay on the island (at least at one point)! The audio: although it did seem to hold my interest at the start… it lost me part way through and my interest came in and out. I’m rating it ok this time around.

2014 read (ebook):
3.5 stars
It was entertaining, but not believable. The father knew everything about everything, and pretty much everything went right. Every animal they came across they were able to kill or capture for some kind of use – food, eggs, pets, or something else. Not only that, there was quite an international variety of plants and animals: hyena, ostrich, kangaroo, lion, penguin, walrus, boa, pineapple and much more... Overall, I thought it was still enjoyable, but one has to be able to suspend reality. I did (mostly) like the ending.

Dec 30, 2022, 10:33am

>312 LibraryCin: I've never read the book, but the 1960 Disney film was a favorite of mine and my brother's growing up!

Dec 30, 2022, 1:10pm

>313 christina_reads: Wasn't there a tv show, too? I remember watching something when I was little. I thought it was a tv show, but maybe I saw the Disney movie, too.

Dec 30, 2022, 1:57pm

12x12 Series, AlphaKIT, Roundtuits

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant / Joanna Wiebe
3.5 stars

In book 2 of the trilogy, Anne is back at school, but she knows more about what is going on around her at this so-called boarding school. Possible book 1 : The students are actually dead and “vivified” (brought back to life via a deal with the parents). And the teachers are demons. . But there’s more that Anne hasn’t learned yet about herself. She has come back to get revenge on the person who is the new headmaster.

I don’t think it was as good as the first one, but overall it was still good. There was a recap, but it was quick and I was still trying to get back into the “world” and was a bit confused. There were also a couple of characters with similar names I kept mixing up. But when we got away from the odd vocabulary and I was able to get more into the story, it got better for me.

Dec 30, 2022, 3:43pm

>314 LibraryCin: I don't remember a TV show, but I wouldn't be surprised.

Dec 31, 2022, 12:05pm

>316 christina_reads: Maybe it is the movie I'm remembering!

Dec 31, 2022, 6:32pm

>314 LibraryCin: I'm vaguely remembering a TV show/series from the 70's. So you might be on the right track. And yes, I also remember the Disney movie. Maybe they did the spin-off TV series after the movie was released?

Dec 31, 2022, 10:37pm

>318 threadnsong: Maybe they did. Glad I'm not the only one thinking there might have been a tv show. It really wouldn't have been a surprise if they did!

Jan 1, 4:30pm

12x12 ARCs

Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives / Siddharth Kara
3.5 stars

In the Western world, almost all our technological devices use rechargeable batteries, and with the push to move to more electronic vehicles, there are more and more rechargeables needed. A good amount of cobalt goes into each of those batteries, and the Congo is where you’ll find the majority of cobalt to be mined.

Unfortunately the bulk of the people who do that mining are “artisanal” miners – they are mining on their own, so to speak; they are not employed by any company. They are extremely poor and have no other options to make money. Their kids could go to school, but even though it’s supposed to be free, it is not funded well-enough for that to be the case and they need to pay. Most families cannot afford to pay, so their kids also have to go to work mining. There are no health or safety standards and when people die or are injured not only is no one held accountable, no one is there to help pay medical bills. What they are paid for the cobalt they mine (putting their lives at risk) is next to nothing.

The author travels to mines and through villages in the Congo, talking to the people mining. He tries to talk to some of the companies paying for the cobalt (and some of the middlemen), but there are only a few who will talk to him.

This was interesting and so very sad. I didn’t rate it higher, though, as I did lose interest occasionally. That might have been due to other things on my mind, I’m not sure.

Jan 1, 4:43pm

My top 10 (4.25+ stars):
Alone Together: A Pandemic Photo Essay / Leah Hennel
The Great Alone / Kristin Hannah
The Last Wild Wolves: Ghosts of the Rain Forest / Ian McAllister
Next of Kin: My Conversations with Chimpanzees / Roger Fouts
Pit Bull: The Battle Over and American Icon / Bronwen Dicky
The Castleton Massacre: Survivors’ Stories of the Killins Femicide / Sharon Cook, Margaret Carson
The Testaments / Margaret Atwood
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? / Roz Chast
All Together Now / Alan Doyle
The Council of Twelve / Oliver Potzsch

Honourable mentions (4.25 stars):
Breathless / Amy McCulloch
A Tap on the Window / Linwood Barclay

Dishonourable mention (1 star):
The Lacuna / Barbara Kingsolver
+ seven 2-star books

Jan 1, 5:32pm

My book stats... this is figured out manually, so prone to error. Also, many books fit multiple genres, so sometimes they are counted for more than one, sometimes I might miss counting some, so it's approximate, but I like to compare year-to-year. Also, I might miss some Canadian authors, if I don't know or don't remember that an author is Canadian.

165 books
55,402 pages
= 335.8 pages / book (average)

Canadian authors: 28 out of 165 = 17%

Some genres (some of these will overlap, and I probably missed some, too):
Nonfiction (not including Biography/Memoir): 32 out of 165 = 19.4%
YA + Children’s: 13 out of 165 = 7.9%
Biography/Memoir: 28 out of 165 = 17%
Graphic novels: 5 out of 165 = 3%
Mystery/Thriller: 23 out of 165 = 13.9%
Historical Fiction: 29 out of 165 = 17.6%

Nonfiction + Biography/Memoir: 60 out of 165 = 36.4%

Edited: Jan 1, 11:09pm

Had to look around a bit for that year-end meme. Found this in someone else's thread:

Year-End Meme

Describe yourself: The Only Alien on the Planet

Describe how you feel: Wild Awake

Describe where you currently live: The Island of Sea Women

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

Your favorite form of transportation is: Long Walk to Freedom

Your favorite food is: Jonny Appleseed

Your favorite time of day is: Midnight Sun

Your best friend is: Woman at 1,000 Degrees

You and your friends are: Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History

What’s the weather like: Breathless

You fear: Becoming Mrs. Lewis

What is the best advice you have to give: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant

Thought for the day: You Take It From Here

What is life for you: A Cabinet of Wonders

How you would like to die: From Here to Eternity

Your soul’s present condition: I’ll be Gone in the Dark

What was 2022 like for you? Penance

What do you want from 2023? A Stitch in Time