DeltaQueen Relies on Friends in 2022 - Page 3

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Talk2022 Category Challenge

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DeltaQueen Relies on Friends in 2022 - Page 3

Edited: May 3, 6:30pm


Welcome to my third thread of 2022. My name is Judy and I live in Delta, a suburb of Greater Vancouver, Canada. My husband and I are senior citizens, living a quiet life. We have two daughters that live fairly close, two son-in-laws and two grandchildren, all of whom we love dearly. I have participated in the Category Challenge for a good number of years as it suits my reading, I enjoy the preparation and planning and, I can’t resist a good challenge! The best part of the Category Challenge is that I have made some excellent friends here along the way.

As both friends and books have gotten me through some tough times, I am happy to be continuing on with my theme of “Friendship”. Friends have brought laughter, excitement, companionship and fun to my life, and indeed, the same things can be said about the books I have read. My Category Challenge is about friendship with each category being named after the members of a famous friendship. I have 16 categories and I hope to read 10 books for 14 of them. I also have an Alphabet Category for which I will read 24 – 26 books leaving my final category for books that don’t fit elsewhere and graphic novels. My categories are listed below with a short explanation of why I am using that particular friendship for my challenge. My reading is quite varied so be ready for some odd pairings!

I believe that friends and reading make everything better and they are needed in ones' life no matter what our age. Putting friends and books together, makes for good conversation and happy times.

Edited: Apr 8, 4:35pm


A. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson: This duo is responsible for solving many a tricky mystery, and their friendship is deeper and more lasting that what appears on the surface. These two are much better together than on their own. I will use this category for my crime stories and mysteries.

B. Starsky & Hutch: Two streetwise police partners that protected each other and the public while keeping the streets of Bay City safe. This TV show was one of the first buddy cop action shows. I will place my crime series/police procedurals here.

C. Nick and Nora Charles: Friends, lovers and partners, this married duo solves the crimes and keeps their audience smiling the whole way through. Dashiell Hammett created a lasting duo with his Thin Man series but, for me, the films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy were sheer perfection and better than the books. Vintage mysteries will be located in this category with particular attention being given to the H. R. Keating List of 100 Best Crime Novels

D. Elizabeth and Jane Bennet: Sisters and best friends, this relationship is one of the reasons why I love Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice so much. They support and encourage each other each step of the way towards finding their own happy endings. A perfect place for my historical fiction reading most of which will be based on the Reading Through Time monthly/quarterly topics.

E. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger: These three young wizards formed an unbreakable bond of friendship while at the Hogwarts School. Battling the evil Voldemort helped to strengthen their bonds, even though they didn’t always agree on everything. My fantasy reading will be placed here.

F. Godzilla and King Kong: Well these two are not exactly friends but they often appear together in film and their epic battles leave humanity caught in the middle. As co-stars and combatants these two scary creatures are the duo that I am going to use for my horror, dystopia and darker fantasies.

G. Captain James Kirk and Mr Spock: The contrast between the passionate and headstrong Kirk and the cool, logical Mr. Spock was compelling. These strong characters kept the Universe safe and made Star Trek a television science fiction classic. My science fiction reading will be placed here.

H. Chuck Noland and Wilson: In the movie Castaway, Fedex systems analyst Chuck Noland ends up on a deserted island in the South Pacific. His only companion was Wilson, a soccer ball. Strange as it seems, his friendship and conversations with Wilson kept him sane. Both because Noland travelled all over the world for his job and because of the exotic setting of the film Castaway, this category will be for global reading.

I. Dr. Meredith Grey and Dr. Cristina Yang: These two met on the televised medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and forged an unbreakable friendship. Becoming each other’s “person” they stood by each other and helped each other through every life crisis that they faced. They particularly helped each other through their romantic dilemmas which were improved by their dark humor and competitive natures. Stories of romance and love will be placed here.

J. Trixie Belden and Honey Wheeler: My childhood role models as to what friends can be to each other, Trixie and Honey met as young pre-teens and the friendly, outgoing Trixie was exactly what the lonely, sheltered rich girl, Honey needed and vice versa. They went on to have many adventures together along with their brothers and I eagerly gobbled up each one. My YA and children’s literature will be placed here.

K. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: Together through good times and bad, this legendary duo robbed banks, evaded capture and lived the good life – until they didn’t. Remembered today mostly from the 1969 film which highlighted their camaraderie. I will place my western reading here.

L. Patience and Foritude, New York’s literary lions: These well known and well loved marble statues grace the entrance to the library at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, New York City. They have become well known mascots to libraries everywhere. I have an extremely long library list and this will be the place where some of the books that have been on my list for some time will be placed.

M. Lucy and Ethel: No last names needed, these BFFs have brightened our lives since the 1950s and can still be found on TV reruns today. Their friendship and their television program is a classic so this is where my 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die will be placed.

N. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler: Two real life best friends who have each other’s back, protect each other’s privacy and know how to have fun with each other. This seems like the perfect place for a variety of women authors

O. Calvin and Hobbes: Before they branched out into books, calendars, mugs, etc. this famous duo brightened our comic strip reading for years as young Calvin and his stuffed Tiger tickled our funny bone with their antics and observations. I can picture Hobbes helping Calvin to learn his ABCs so this will be where I place the books I read for the Alphabet Challenge. As I don’t want to have to purchase a book to read for this category, I might be giving the letters X & Z the year off.

P. Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey and Ross – Friends: This television show is the standard bearer of shows about friends. We followed the lives of these six singles for ten years and it became one of the most popular television shows of all time – all built around the theme of friendship. This group of assorted friends will be the place I put any books that don’t fit anywhere else in my Challenge along with any graphic novels that I read during the year.

Edited: Apr 8, 4:36pm

2022 Tickers

Total Books Read

Pages Read

Books Read From My Shelf

Edited: Apr 8, 4:37pm

How I Rate Books:

I am not a professional book critic nor do I consider myself to be an expert on literary standards, my reviews are based on my reaction to the book and the opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings.

2.0 ★: I must have been dragged, kicking and screaming, to finish this one!

2.5 ★: Below Average but I finished the book for one reason or another probably due to sheer stubborness!

3.0 ★: Slightly below average, a solid read that I finished but can't promise to remember

3.5 ★: Average, there's room for improvement but I liked this well enough to pick up another book by this author.

4.0 ★: A Good read and I enjoyed my time spent with this story - this will be an author I return to.

4.5 ★: An excellent read, a book that touched me and gave me an emotional reaction. This is a book that I will remember and recommend

5.0 ★: Sheer perfection, the right book at the right time for me

I use decimal points to further clarify my thoughts about the book, therefore you will see books rated 3.8 to show it was better than a 3.5 but not quite a 4.0; etc. These small adjustments help me to remember how a book resonated with me

Edited: Jun 17, 1:35pm

Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge

1. A book with a main character whose name starts with A, T, or Y: Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
2. A book connected to a book you read in 2021: Incurable by John Marsden
3. A book with 22 or more letters in the title: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
4. A book that fits a prompt that did not make this list
5. A book by an author with two sets of double letters in their name: Mojave by Johnny Boggs
6. A book with an image of a source of light on the cover
7. A book set in or about Australia: Dust Off the Bones by Paul Howarth
8. Three Books set on different Continents: Book 1 - Europe: To the Back of Beyond by Peter Stamm
9. Three Books set on different Continents: Book 2 - Asia: The Court Dancer by Kyung-sook Shin
10. Three Books set on different Continents: Book 3 - Africa: The Good Braider by Terry Farish
11. A book from the genre of historical fiction: Goodbye, Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
12. A book related to glass
13. A book about a woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and maths): The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
14. A book with fewer than 5000 ratings on Good Reads: Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich
15. A book without a person on the cover: Before the Poison by Peter Robinson
16. A book related to Earth Day
17. A book from NPR’s Book Concierge: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
18. A book by an Asian or Pacific Islander
19. A book that involves alternative reality, alternative worlds, alternative history
20. A fiction or non-fiction book that is set between 1900 - 1951: The Norths Meet Murder by Frances Lockridge
21. A book with one of the Monopoly tokens on the cover
22. A book with a Jewish character or author
23. A book that features a loving LGBTQIA relationship
24. A book related to inclement weather
25. A book less than 220 pages or more that 440 pages
26. Two books with the same word in the title - Book 1: The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks
27. Two books with the same word in the title - Book 2
28. A book that won an award from Powell's list of book awards: Beloved by Toni Morrison
29. A book set on or near a body of water: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
30. A book related to mythology: The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
31. A book published at least 10 years ago: Only One Life by Sara Blaedel
32. A book where the main character is a female detective/private eye/police officer
33. The next book in a series: Collecting Cooper by Paul Cleave
34. A book with an academic setting or with a teacher that plays an important role: Village School by Miss Read
35. Two books, one related to flora - Book 1: An Ecology of Enchantment by Des Kennedy
36. Two books, one related to fauna - Book 2: Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest by David Moskowitz
37. A book that uses all 5 vowels (a,e,i,o,u) in the title or author's name
38. A book by a Latin American author: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez
39. A book from the TIME List of 100 Best YA Books of All Time
40. A book related to one of the 22 Major Arcana cards of the Tarot: Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
41. A book with a theme of food or drink: Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui
42. A book with a language or nationality in the title: English Creek by Ivan Doig
43. A book set in a small town or rural area: Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson
44. A book with gothic elements
45. A book related to a game: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
46. A book with a non-human as one of the main characters
47. A book with hand writing on the cover: Little Bee by Chris Cleave
48. A book posted in one of the ATY Best Books of the Month threads in 2021 or 2022
49. A book connected to the phrase, "Here (There) be Dragons": The Dragon Man by Garry Disher
50. A book that involves aging or a character in their golden years: Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
51. A book published in 2022
52. A book with a time related word in the title

Edited: Jun 13, 12:49pm

2022 Bingo

1. An Award Winning book: Missing by Karin Alvtegen
2. Published in a year ending 2: 2002 - When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka - 4.0 ★
3. A modern retelling of an older story: Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
4. A book you'd love to see as a movie (maybe starring your favourite actor): This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
5. A book that features a dog: Goodbye, Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
6. The title contains the letter Z: Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
7. Published the year you joined LT: The Devil's Closet by Stacy Dittrich
8. A book by a favourite author: Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain
9. A long book (long for you): The Crow Road by Iain Banks
10. A book you received as a gift: Beloved by Toni Morrison
11. The title contains a month: Bloody January by Alan Parks
12. A weather word in the title
13. Read a CAT: Wonderful Tonight by Patti Boyd
14. Contains travel or a journey
15. A book about sisters or brothers: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
16. A book club read (real or online): Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson
17. A book with flowers on the cover: On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn
18. A book in translation: To the Back of Beyond by Peter Stamm
19. A work of non-fiction: Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest by David Moskowitz
20. A book where a character shares a name of a friend: Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand
21. A book set in a capital city
22. A children's or YA book: Blood Feud by Rosemary Sutcliff
23. A book set in a country other than the one you live: Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat
24. A book by an LGBTQ+ author
25. A book with silver or gold on the cover: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Historical Fiction Challenge

1. Set in the country you're from:
2. Set in a different country: Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
3. Set in your favourite historical period: World War I - Goodbye, Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod- Eagles
4. Set in period you're less familiar with:
5. Historical fiction with a speculative element:
6. About a real historical figure or a specific event:
7. A classic work of historical fiction:

Bonus: a work of historical fiction of over 500 pages:

Edited: Jun 15, 1:36pm

Sherlock Holmes & Dr. John Watson - Crime Stories/Mysteries

Books Read

1. Evil Things by Katja Ivar - 4.0 ★
2. The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer - 3.3 ★
3. This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger - 4.3 ★
4. Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand - 5.0 ★
5. The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks - 3.4 ★

Edited: May 27, 11:49pm

Starsky and Hutch - Crime Series and Police Procedurals

Books Read

1. Collecting Cooper by Paul Cleave - 4.2 ★
2. Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir - 3.5 ★
3. The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty - 4.0 ★
4. Only One Life by Sara Blaedel - 3.6 ★

Edited: Apr 28, 1:58pm

Nick & Nora Charles - Vintage Crime

Books Read

1. Home Sweet Homicide by Craig Rice - 4.0 ★
2. Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert - 4.0 ★
3. The Norths Meet Murder by Frances Lockridge - 4.0 ★
4. Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson - 4.5 ★
5. Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich - 3.8 ★

Edited: May 20, 6:55pm

Elizabeth & Jane Bennet - Historical Fiction

: Books for this category will mostly be from the Reading Through Time Monthly and Quarterly Challenges

Books Read

1. English Creek by Ivan Doig - 4.3 ★
2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald - 4.0 ★
3. Dust Off the Bones by Paul Howarth - 4.5 ★
4. Village School by Miss Read - 4.2 ★
5. The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict - 3.0 ★
6. Goodbye, Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles - 4.2 ★

Edited: Jun 2, 1:37pm

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley & Hermione Granger - Fantasy

Books Read

1. The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac by Sharma Shields - 3.0 ★
2. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - 4.0 ★
3. Horses of Heaven by Gillian Bradshaw - 3.8 ★
4. Belle by Cameron Dokey - 3.6 ★
5. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik - 5.0 ★

Edited: Jun 14, 12:56pm

Godzilla & King Kong - Dark Fantasy & Apocalyptic Stories

Books Read

1. The Road to Woodbury by Robert Kirkman - 3.3 ★
2. Kill Creek by Scott Thomas - 2.0 ★
3. Arachnoid by Michael Cole - 3.0 ★
4. The Infection by Craig Dilouie - 3.4 ★
5. Miao Dao by Joyce Carol Oates - 4.0 ★ and The Grownup by Gillian Flynn - 4.0 ★
6. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson - 4.0 ★
7. A History of the Future by James Howard Kunstler

Edited: May 29, 7:22pm

Captain James Kirk & Mr. Spock - Science Fiction

Books Read

1. Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice - 5.0 ★
2. Red Rising by Pierce Brown - 4.5 ★
3. The Girl, The Gold Watch and Everything by John D. MacDonald - 4.0 ★
4. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal - 3.6 ★
5. The Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole - 4.5 ★
6. Contact by Sean Platt - 3.3 ★

Edited: May 23, 6:12pm

Chuck Noland and Wilson (Castaway) - Global Reading

Books Read

1. To the Back of Beyond by Peter Stamm (Switzerland) - 4.0 ★
2. The Court Dancer by Kyung-sook Shin (Korea) - 3.0 ★
3. Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat (Haiti) - 4.1 ★
4. The Dragon Man by Garry Disher (Australia) - 4.0 ★
5. The Good Braider by Terry Farish (Sudan/Egypt) - 4.0 ★

Edited: May 21, 12:57pm

Meridith Grey & Christina Yang - Romance and Love Stories

Books Read

1. It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas - 3.8 ★
2. Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev - 3.8 ★
3. On The Way To The Wedding by Julia Quinn - 3.7 ★
4. Slightly Wicked by Mary Balogh - 3.7 ★

Edited: May 3, 6:39pm

Trixie Belden & Honey Wheeler - YA and Children's Literature

Books Read

1. Blood Feud by Rosemary Sutcliff - 3.8 ★
2. Incurable by John Marsden - 3.8 ★
3. The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera - 5.0 ★
4. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez - 3.0 ★
5. A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson - 4.3 ★

Edited: Apr 26, 1:11pm

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid - Stories of the American West

Books Read

1. The Chains of Sarai Stone by Cynthia Haseloff - 3.5 ★
2. Desperate Crossing by Barbara Riefe - 3.0 ★
3. Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles - 4.2 ★
4. Mojave by Johnny D. Boggs - 3.7 ★

Edited: Jun 1, 12:10pm

Patience & Fortitude, New York's Literary Lions - Library Loans

Books Read

1. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles - 5.0 ★
2. Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey - 5.0 ★
3. An Ecology of Enchantment by Des Kennedy - 4.2 ★
4. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware - 3.3 ★
5. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - 5.0 ★
6. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund - 3.3 ★
7. Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui - 4.0 ★

Edited: Jun 13, 12:52pm

Lucy & Ethel - Classics, Books from the 1,001 List

Books Read

1. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys - 4.0 ★
2. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse - 3.4 ★
3. Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant - 4.0 ★
4. The Crow Road by Iain Banks - 4.2 ★
5. Red Harvest by Dashiel Hammett - 3.8 ★
6. Beloved by Toni Morrison - 4.0 ★
7. The Wars by Timothy Findley - 4.5 ★
8. Excellent Women by Barbara Pyn - 4.2 ★

Edited: Jun 13, 12:53pm

Tina Fey & Amy Poehler - Women Authors

Books Read

1. The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent - 3.8 ★
2. Wonderful Tonight by Patti Boyd & Penny Junior - 3.8 ★
3. In Bitter Chill by Sarah Ward - 3.8 ★
4. The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn - 3.0 ★
5. A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson - 5.0 ★
6. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende - 4.5 ★

Edited: Jun 17, 1:36pm

Calvin & Hobbs - The Alphabet

Books Read

A Missing by Karin Alvtegen - 4.2 ★
B Five Roundabouts to Heaven by John Bingham - 4.2 ★
C Little Bee by Chris Cleave - 4.5 ★
D The Devil's Closet by Stacy Dittrich - 2.0 ★
H Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer - 4.0 ★
J Where All Light Tends To Go by David Joy - 4.0 ★
L The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey - 5.0 ★
O When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka - 4.0 ★
P Bloody January by Alan Parks - 4.0 ★
Q Calamity Town by Ellery Queen - 4.2 ★
R Before the Poison by Peter Robinson - 4.5 ★
S My Friend Maigret by Georges Simenon - 3.8 ★

Edited: May 6, 3:16pm

Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey & Ross - Friends -Everything Else

Books Read

1. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot - 5.0 ★
2. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson - 3.7 ★
3. Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest by David Moskowitz- 4.0 ★
4. Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain - 4.0 ★

Edited: Apr 8, 5:16pm

2022 Reading Plans

: January - Hosting MysteryKit
: May - Hosting ScaredyKit
: June - Hosting Reading Through Time
: August - Hosting AuthorCat
: September - Hosting CatWoman
: October - Hosting ScaredyKit
: November - Hosting AuthorCat
: November - Hosting CatWoman
: December - Hosting Reading Through Time

Edited: Apr 8, 5:17pm

This thread is now open!

Edited: Apr 8, 5:20pm

I am having trouble concentrating on anything for very long right now and my reading has been placed on the back burner for now. I am heading back to Vancouver Island on Tuesday.

Edited: Apr 8, 5:37pm

Happy new thread Judy. I hope you have a good visit with your mom!

Apr 8, 6:26pm

>25 DeltaQueen50: Your reading will wait for you on the back burner. Hope your trip to your Mom is comforting.

Apr 8, 6:53pm

Best wishes for your upcoming trip, Judy. I hope setting things up for your mum goes well and takes some of the pressure off everyone.

Apr 9, 12:16am

>26 mstrust: Thanks, Jennifer. I am looking forward to getting over there. I am feeling a little guilty that my brother is carrying the load so to speak.

>27 beebeereads: Thanks, Barb. Reading has always been my escape but I think right now, I probably should stick to lighter reads, ones that don't require a lot of thought. I do have a few reading commitments that I need to follow through with and then, I will throw my plans out the window and reach for the romances or lighter reads.

>28 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg. I would like to be there right now but I also have to ensure that things are running smoothly here. My husband and I aren't getting any younger ourselves so I have to plan carefully in order to get away for a bit.

Apr 9, 12:28am

61. The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty - 4.0 ★
Category: Starsky & Hutch
April TIOLI #8: A Repeated Title Word

The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty is the first in a series featuring Sean Duffy, a Catholic detective in a mainly Protestant police force. It is set in 1981 during a period of great unrest in Belfast. The IRA hunger strikes are taking their toll and riots in the streets are commonplace. This was a time when even the cops couldn’t move freely about. Checking under their cars for bombs was an everyday occurrence and driving through certain areas was a guarantee that at the very least rocks and milk cartons would be thrown.

Duffy is working on two cases, one being an apparent serial killer who is targeting homosexuals and the other involves the disappearance of a young woman who is the ex-wife of one of the hunger strikers. These cases appear to be completely unrelated to each other and to the political “troubles”, but as Duffy and his team investigate they start to realize that perhaps these cases are connected. For me the strength of this book was more that the crimes that were being investigated. The author places us in the war-torn streets of Belfast, fills the book with musical references and events of the day that brings that time period vividly to life. The story moves along at a good pace and the use of clever comments and humor help to bring this flawed detective to life.

The Cold Cold Ground held my interest both as a police procedural investigating a couple of bizarre murders and as a guide to surviving a truly horrifying time in Northern Ireland. I certainly intend to continue on with this series and learning more about the slightly subversive Duffy, and the other interesting characters that were introduced in this first book.

Apr 9, 6:16am

Happy new thread, and safe travels. Echoing >28 Familyhistorian: I hope that the visit reduces pressure andn provides clarity as to the way forward that everyone can be happy with.

Apr 9, 8:30am

Happy new thread, Judy. Enjoy your time with your mom.

>30 DeltaQueen50: I've been meaning to read this; I've heard only positive comments about it.

Apr 9, 10:16am

Happy Saturday, Judy. Happy New Thread. I have added Where All Light Tends To Go to my TBR list. It sure sounds like my cuppa.

Apr 9, 10:23am

Happy new thread, Judy. Have a lovely time with your mom.

Apr 9, 12:53pm

Happy New Thread, Judy. Hope you have a good trip to see your mom. I'm sure your brother will be glad to see you too.

Apr 9, 12:57pm

>31 Jackie_K: Thank you so much, Jackie. You would think that we would have discussed and planned for this in more detail, but I guess we kept putting off thinking about it.

>32 BLBera: Thanks, Beth. The Cold Cold Ground was definitely a book bullet from Katie that hit me. It looks like it is going to be a very good series of books.

>33 msf59: I think you will like Where All Light Tends to Go, Mark. I also recommend his second book, The Weight of the World.

>34 MissWatson: Thanks, Birgit.

Apr 10, 1:56pm

Happy new thread, Judy! I love revisiting lists of reading.

Enjoy your visit with your mother.

Apr 10, 3:45pm

>37 VivienneR: Thanks, Vivienne. I like new threads for the same reason, I get to review all the books read!

Apr 10, 3:48pm

Since I will be leaving my husband alone at Easter, I am cooking him his Easter dinner tonight. I am making Maple-Dijon Ham, cheesy scalloped potatoes, Green Beans Caesar and corn. I've made an Almond-Peach Trifle for dessert. He will enjoy his dinner and have plenty of leftovers to keep him going for a few days!

Edited: Apr 11, 12:37pm

62. Belle by Cameron Dokey - 3.6 ★
Category: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley & Hermoine Granger
April TIOLI #1: Middle Letter of Book Title is in the word "April"

Belle by Cameron Dokey is a fantasy retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales, “Beauty and the Beast”. In this version the author changed a few minor details, but basically kept the story intact. In order to expand the story to book length, she added details about Belle’s family. In this book, Belle has a happy and caring family with a mother and a father as well as two beautiful sisters. Belle herself, does not feel that she deserves a name that implies beauty, but, of course, she is about to learn that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Belle loves to carve wood and has a magical gift that allows her to see exactly how each piece of wood desires to be shown. Instead of her merchant father picking a rose at the Beast’s manor, he instead decides to bring Belle a piece of wood from a special tree, the Heartwood. The Beast then demands that Belle come to his manor and show him what the Heartwood carving is to be. Living with the Beast allows Belle to discover his kindness and caring, and before too long, she realizes that she has fallen in love. Of course true love is the secret that can release the beast from the spell he’s been under and brings about a happy ending.

I thought this was a well done version of the story. The author wisely stayed very close to the original but did flesh out some of the characters. I did think that the Beast could have been developed more and perhaps have been introduced a little sooner, as he doesn’t really enter the story until the book is more than halfway through. Belle allowed me to sink into a familiar and light story and was just the right kind of escape read that I need right now.

Apr 11, 6:11pm

Hi Judy. Hugs to you during this difficult time. I certainly understand the need to stay with lighter reads, as that was what I gravitated towards when DH was in the hospital 2 years ago. I'm glad someone has come into assess her, and I totally get wanting her to be around as long as possible.

>30 DeltaQueen50: Sounds like an interesting book, especially as I just finished a well-loved book last month about the onset of the Troubles. It was a YA novel set in late 60's or early 70's Belfast, when fathers encouraged sons to go to the Lodge where they would hear all the propaganda about the other side.

All the best to you and your family.

Apr 11, 9:46pm

Happy trails, Judy, and am hoping that your mom is stabilized.

Apr 12, 12:33pm

I am all packed and ready to go, my reservation on the ferry is for 11:00 am and I should be on the Island and driving to my Mom's by 1:00 pm. I was woken up at 5 this morning by the wind and then at 7 we had a hailstorm! Not sure if I will be able to check in while I am away but I packed a couple of books and my Kindle so I will certainly be reading!

>41 threadnsong: Thank you for your good wishes. I think you would like The Cold Cold Ground, that is, if you want to take on another series.

>42 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess.

Apr 12, 8:28pm

>40 DeltaQueen50: taking a BB for this one. Love Beauty and the Beast retellings

Apr 13, 7:59pm

>44 lowelibrary: I also like Beauty and the Beast retellings. Also, any good woodworker or carver will tell you that the wood tells the carver what it wants to be--he or she just needs to hold it and listen. The carver then just cuts away the unnecessary bits of wood to reveal the object hidden in the wood.

Apr 14, 9:48pm

>45 LadyoftheLodge: When I was a college student I worked for a history professor who carved as a hobbyist. His skill level was far beyond that of most hobbyists though, he did beautiful work. He wasn't interested in selling, he usually gave what he carved to someone. One Christmas he gave me a lantern where he had made the base and carved trees around it. I still have it almost 50 years later and it is still beautiful. When he gave it to me he said that it was made from an old farm fence post. And then said "now it is what it was meant to be."

Apr 15, 11:02am

>46 clue: That is a beautiful story. My dear departed husband was a woodworker for most of his life. He created goblets and bowls on the lathe. I still have quite a few of them. One of the tiniest goblets is about the size of a thimble.

Apr 22, 2:51pm

I am home again and now face the task of trying to catch up with everything! My Mom is as stable as she can be and we have set up a homecare worker to come a couple of times a week and help her shower. We have also arranged for mobile foot care to visit once a month to keep her toenails in good shape. My brother is going to be in charge of taking her vitals and sending them in to the community nurses once a week and they will come out if there is any changes to her condition. I feel bad for my brother cause now he is alone as her caregiver and she does need constant attention. He can't really even go out for 20 mins. to the grocery store in case she has a fall. Luckily my sister lives close by and she can come and sit with Mom when he needs to go out. I am hoping to get back there at the end of May as my sister is taking a trip to Spain so my bro will need some help.

I did read a few books and will try to bring my thread up to date as soon as possible. I do feel better about everything, I know she is getting good care and is comfortable. Really that is all one can ask for.

Apr 22, 2:56pm

>44 lowelibrary: I am a sucker for any Beauty and the Beast retelling as well. It was my favorite fairy story, along with Rose Red & Snow White when I was young.

>45 LadyoftheLodge: My grandfather didn't hand carve but he did work with wood and made some lovely things that we still use today. Crib Boards, Salad Bowls and Candlesticks all are still in use.

>46 clue: It is a lovely thing to be able to look at a special belonging and know it's history and where and how it came to be. One can't really place a value on such personal things.

Edited: Apr 22, 3:01pm

63. The Wars by Timothy Findley - 4.5 ★
Category: Lucy & Ethel
April 1,001 Group Read
April TIOLI #12: Set in a Commonwealth Country

The Wars by Timothy Findley is a short book but it packs a very large punch. The story of one Canadian lad who goes off to the trenches in World War I was an intricate and heart wrenching story. The brutality that the author describes in rich, lyrical language makes it plain that there is really nothing noble about warfare and that the psychological effects of this particular war were devastating.

This book really grabbed me and I think this had a great deal to do with my own grandfather who ran away at age sixteen to fight in World War I. He was caught the first time, but succeeded a year later at seventeen. The things he saw and did affected him for the rest of his life. He kept a diary about his experiences and many of his descriptions matched with this book.

The Wars was a moving account of one Canadian man’s experience during World War I, and while it is not an in-depth exploration, the author introduces his character and allows us to sample his early life, his training and his war experiences that together paint a clear and penetrating picture of the shock and struggle that these soldiers were exposed to. Although the book left me feeling emotionally drained, The Wars was a very impressive read.

Apr 22, 3:22pm

>48 DeltaQueen50: - I'm glad your trip worked out so well, Judy. There's at least some peace of mind now that you've seen her and some decisions have been made. The health care worker we had when my sister was in hospice was there around an hour so maybe your brother can slip out then.

Apr 22, 4:22pm

>51 dudes22: Thanks, Betty, I do feel a lot better about things. That's a good idea about Doug going out when the homecare worker is there once he feels comfortable with the situation.

Apr 22, 4:25pm

64. On The Way To The Wedding by Julia Quinn - 3.7 ★
Category: Meredith Gray & Christina Yang
Bingo: Flowers on the Cover
April TIOLI #12: Set in a Commonwealth Country

On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn is the 8th and final book in her series of historical romances about the Bridgerton family. This books highlights the romance between the youngest Bridgerton male, Gregory with the woman of his dreams, who, unfortunately, he doesn’t necessarily recognize upon first meeting.

The story evolves through the author’s trademark light touch and humorous incidents but for me, this book didn’t quite come up to the excellence of her other books. I find that this author is much better at developing her female characters whereas the male romantic leads are quite interchangeable. The story was entertaining enough and it is always a pleasure to reacquaint oneself with members of the Bridgerton family.

Historical Romances have become one of my go-to books when I need a comfort read and I have really enjoyed the Bridgerton series with it’s humor and witty banter. I look forward to sampling one or two of this authors’ other series.

Apr 22, 4:26pm

>48 DeltaQueen50: Glad your trip worked out well. I imagine your brother is under a lot of pressure--I feel for him.

Apr 22, 4:27pm

>64 I haven't read romances for about 40 years. Now, however, I too turn to them for a comfort read. Will look into this author.

Apr 22, 4:39pm

>54 Tess_W: I am very concerned for my brother, it's a lot that he is carrying on his shoulders. Personally I think my sister could be doing a little more, but I kept my mouth zipped - one thing we don't need is for the family to fall out.

>64 I am enjoying escaping into a romance every now and again. There are 8 books in the Bridgerton series and everyone seems to have different favorites. If you give them a try, I hope you enjoy them.

Apr 22, 7:43pm

>48 DeltaQueen50: It's good to hear that your mum's condition is stable and she can live at home. I hope your brother will manage, with the help of your sister, the people who come in, and yourself, to get some time for himself.

I saw on the May AuthorCAT thread that you're reading Mary Balogh who emigrated from Wales to Canada, so have popped in to recommend Jo Beverley who emigrated from England to Canada. I enjoyed her Mallorens series, which is set in Georgian, pre-Regency England.

Apr 22, 7:56pm

>57 pamelad: Thanks, Pamela. I did make note of your Jo Beverly recommendation and have picked up the first in the Mallorens series, Notorious Lady. So now I have two choices, if needed. :)

Apr 22, 8:00pm

65. The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict - 3.0 ★
Category: Elizabeth & Jane Bennet
April Reading Through Time: Technology
April TIOLI #6: Recommended on Face Book

Although I am a fan of vintage movies and have enjoyed Hedy Lamarr in many roles, I really didn’t know that much about her personal life so I was looking forward to The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict. Unfortunately although the author supplied many interesting details about the life of this actress and inventor, the actual writing was not the best.

The book takes place during the 1930s and 40s and covers Hedy’s life in Austria as a young actress and then as the wife of a powerful arms dealer. She escapes both her controlling husband and the ever growing threat of the Nazis, emigrates to America and becomes a famous silver screen persona. Oh yes, she also is the brains behind an invention that both helped during the war and is still relevant today. A lot to cover and the book is less than 300 pages so it’s pretty obvious that a lot of this information was simply skimmed over.

The Only Woman in the Room was meant to show how multi-faceted Hedy Lamarr was but the story definitely suffered from boring writing and an author that chose to put her descriptive powers into the details of the main character’s gowns and looks, and didn’t do much to help the readers see her intelligence or her more scientific side.

Edited: Apr 22, 10:08pm

66. The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey - 5.0 ★
Category: Calvin & Hobbs
April AlphaKit: L
April TIOLI #13: Book has a maritime setting

I really enjoyed The False Inspector Dew by Peter Lovesey. I have now read four books by this author, and have loved all of them so I am ready to add him to my list of favorite authors. This book is also one of the books listed on the H.R.F. Keating List of 100 Best Crime & Mystery Books, a list that I have been reading from and can give a big thumbs up to, as I have relished all the books I have read so far from this list.

This is a stylish, clever story that kept me guessing all the way through. A convoluted plot that includes murder among the well-to-do aboard a trans-Atlantic ocean liner in 1921. The opening of the book sets part of the puzzle with the question of who is posing as the famous Inspector Dew aboard the Mauretania. We, as the reader, think that we know exactly what is going on, but the author has mastered the art of the red herring! The book brought many smiles as I enjoyed this vintage feeling mystery that hearkens back to the crime of Dr. Crippen.

The False Inspector Dew highlights the clever plotting that Peter Lovesey is capable of, and with it’s surprising ending, well developed characters and great setting was a read that I was sorry to see end. I’ve tried to be as vague as I can about the plot because if you do pick up this book, half the fun is not knowing what’s going to happen next or where the author is taking you.

Apr 23, 10:47am

Hi Judy - Good to hear that your mom is stable. It sounds like your brother does have his hands full.

The Wars sounds excellent. I will look for that one.

Apr 23, 12:44pm

>61 BLBera: Hi Beth. I am glad to be at home but I also find myself counting the days until I can go back over. The Wars was excellent. :)

Apr 23, 12:49pm

Hi Judy, I am just stopping by and really like your friendship themes. I am sorry that your mom and family, has been going through such a difficult time.

I have not read The Only Woman in the Room, but I am listening to the audio for Her Hidden Genuis which is also written by Marie Benedict. I will continue on with the audio for a while more but am considering DNFing it. I enjoyed The Other Einstein when I read it years ago but have been disappointed by every novel I've read by Benedict since then.

Wishing you good luck with BingoDOG and the remainder of your challenges.

Apr 23, 3:37pm

Glad your trip to visit your mother was successful. It will ease your mind. Your brother has a lot on his plate.

>50 DeltaQueen50: I've added Findley's book as well as the Peter Lovesey title (>60 DeltaQueen50:) to my wishlist. I've read a lot of Lovesey and enjoyed everything.

Apr 24, 12:13am

Knowing and seeing that things are set up for your mum must make you feel better, Judy. Enjoy your comfort reads.

Apr 24, 12:51pm

>63 LowProfile: Thanks for your good wishes, Low Profile. It unfortunate that Marie Benedict's writing isn't very appealing as she chooses very interesting subjects to write about. I still have a couple of her books on my shelf so I will probably give her another try at some point.

>64 VivienneR: I will for your thoughts on The False Inspector Dew when you get to it, Vivienne. I thought it was really entertaining.

>65 Familyhistorian: Thanks, Meg.

Apr 24, 12:54pm

67. The Dragon Man by Garry Disher - 4.0 ★
Category: Chuck Noland & Wilson
Around the World in 52 Books: A connection to the phrase "Here Be Dragons"
April TIOLI #12: Set in a Commonwealth Country

The Dragon Man by Australian author Garry Disher was a good, solid police procedural featuring Inspector Hal Challis and his investigative team who are tracking a number of crimes, among them a serial killer who is targeting young women along an isolated highway.

The book is set in the Peninsula, a rural area south-east of Melbourne. Challis is nicknamed the Dragon Man because of his love of airplanes, in particular his Dragon Rapide that he is is restoring. Although he lives a rather solitary life, we soon learn that his wife has spent the last seven years in prison for trying to murder him. The rest of Challis’ team are a varied yet interesting group. From the young constable, Pam Murphy who is both idealistic and ambitious to Ellen Destry who is a very capable detective that is dealing with a troubled marriage.

The Dragon Man is well written and engrossing. This is the first of the Inspector Challis series and so a lot of the book was aimed at introducing and developing the characters. I guessed the culprit but still enjoyed reading how the team painstakingly followed the few clues they had to a successful conclusion. I also enjoyed the fact that although hunting a serial killer was a top priority, the police also had to deal with investigating both a series of burglaries and the threat of an arsonist. The Dragon Man has lured me into adding yet another series to my reading.

Apr 24, 1:01pm

>67 DeltaQueen50: Is this your first Disher, Judy? I really like Challis and I love Wyatt. The Wyatt books are more crime than mystery. Not sure how easy they are to get in Canada; when I read them (more than 10 years ago) they were hard to get in the US.

Apr 24, 2:07pm

>68 NinieB: Hi Ninie, this was my second Garry Disher. I had read The Divine Wind a while ago. Uh-oh, I see that the Wyatt books are available for the Kindle so looks like I might be taking on yet another series!

Apr 24, 4:11pm

>67 DeltaQueen50: Glad you liked Garry Disher. He's my favourite Australian crime writer. When you've finished the Challis and Destry series and the Wyatt series, there's the Paul Hirschhausen series, which is set in a rural backwater in South Australia. In comparison, the Mornington Peninsula is much more developed. It's a popular beach holiday spot, only an hour's drive from Melbourne. Rich people have holiday houses in Portsea, while the less well-off camp on the foreshore in Rosebud.

Apr 24, 4:46pm

>99 Wonder if there are any Wyatts on Kindle that I haven't read...?

Apr 24, 7:25pm

>48 DeltaQueen50: I don't know if it's feasible, or if your brother would welcome it, but hiring an aide to sit with my mother for a few hours a few times a week (the minimum time was four hours with the agency we went with) meant that my Dad could run errands or even just go be in another part of the house without needing to be constantly on alert. I was there almost everyday and did some longer stretches so he could get a few days away and he was still worn down by it over time and needed the respite. Anyway, that's my personal experience.

>59 DeltaQueen50: I began a different book by Marie Benedict and it was not an enjoyable experience.

Apr 25, 12:09pm

>59 DeltaQueen50: I'll chime in here with my opinion. I couldn't agree more that Benedict chooses interesting subjects. I read Carnegie's Maid but it didn't rise above 3* for me which is usually my lowest rating since I would rarely finish a book that fell to a 1 or 2 star rating. The Only Woman in the Room has been on my TBR for awhile, but now I am reluctant to raise it to the top. I'll wait a bit longer before I remove it though. Thanks for your review.

Apr 25, 1:06pm

I started one by Benedict, The Other Einstein and couldn't finish it. I know some who love her books, but I won't be picking up anything else by her.

Garry Disher sounds good. I'll look for some books by him.

Apr 25, 1:09pm

I'm glad to hear that your mom is so well-cared for. I know, it's very stressful.

Apr 25, 1:18pm

>70 pamelad: Sounds like I have a lot of Garry Disher books ahead of me!

>71 NinieB: For me, the best reason for having a Kindle is that many older books are available there that you can't find elsewhere.

>72 RidgewayGirl: I am hoping that my sister will step in and arrange to come over to give my brother a chance to go out and run some errands, but I will see about having a caregiver come in to give him some free time, even if gets him out for an hour or so. He called me the "life of the party" yesterday as my Mom told him that things were boring since I left!

>73 beebeereads: I bought a bundle containing three of Marie Benedict's books and The Only Woman in the Room was the first one that I tried. I will give her one more chance before I wipe them off my Kindle, but I don't have high hopes.

Edited: Apr 25, 2:34pm

Hi Judy,
I'm glad that your mom is getting care at your brother's home. My mom (just turned 92) has informed us that she is never leaving her house or living with any of us, so at some point we will have to have a contingency plan in place.

I think I bought a bundle of Marie Benedict's books, and I'm pretty sure The Only Woman in the Room was one of them. Maybe I'll try Lady Clementine.

Apr 25, 1:37pm

>77 lsh63: Sounds like we both bought the same bundle. My Mom is very definite about wanting to remain at home as well. I guess after her years of looking after us, it's only fair we now look after her.

Apr 25, 10:53pm

I'm glad the visit with your mom went well. My parents are in their mid-80's, and while they're still managing OK, I constantly worry about them and feel guilty that I don't live closer.

Glad to see your positive review of The Wars. I love Findley's writing and feel privileged to have attended one of his readings before he passed away.

Apr 26, 12:26pm

Just popping in to say "hello" and glad to see you here. I hope things continue to go along at least somewhat smoothly with your mom. Keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Apr 26, 12:59pm

>79 mathgirl40: Hi Paulina, I wish that we lived closer to her as well, I feel like I am not doing my part as the bulk of her care is falling on my brother and sister. I am looking forward to picking up something else by Timothy Findley, he certainly has a way with words!

>80 LadyoftheLodge: Hi Cheryl. Thanks for both your thoughts and your prayers.

Edited: Apr 26, 1:12pm

68. Mojave by Johnny D. Boggs - 3.7 ★
Category: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Around the Year in 52 Books: Author has two sets of double letters in his name
TIOLI #5: Title or Author's Name Includes a Martin, Abraham or John

One of the great shortages that faced ranchers and miners who came out west to make their fortunes was the lack of women. Other than a few “soiled doves”, there wasn’t much chance of a man finding a wife except through the mail order bride business. Mojave by Johnny Boggs tells the story of Micah Bishop, escaped convict who gets lost in the Mojave desert and is rescued by a trader by the name of Whip Watson. Whip is bringing women to the remote mining town of Calico, California and hires Micah to drive a wagon. Whip has major competition in Candy Crutchfield who is also bringing women to Calico to fill her bordello. Neither Whip Watson or Candy Crutchfield want to see the other one to gain the upper hand and both are willing to do anything to be the winner in this deadly competition.

Micah is a rather hapless hero who stumbles along, slowly putting things together until he finally realizes that Whip has not got these women’s best interests in mind. He becomes attracted to one of the women, Jingfei, and luckily she has the brains and the courage to guide Micah into finding ways of helping the women.

I have found that this author can be relied upon to deliver a colorful and clever adventure story, and Mojave is certainly an entertaining western. Of course there is plenty of violence and gun play that the author wisely offsets with humor to go along the vibrant and assorted characters which makes Mojave a great escape read.

Apr 26, 11:44pm

69. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez - 3.0 ★
Category: Trixie Belden & Honey Wheeler
Around the Year in 52 Books: By a Latin American Author
April TIOLI #14: Final number of pages is in a sequence of smallest to largest

I am Not your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez was a gritty contemporary novel that featured a first-generation Mexican-American teen who is dealing with a number of issues including the death of her older sister that her grieving parents have placed upon a pedestal. Julia seems to believe that she is expected to step into Olga’s role but I didn’t really see that and think that it was expectations that Julia herself took on. Julia is nothing like her older sister, Olga, but after snooping through her sister’s things does discover some of the secrets that Olga was keeping.

This was a coming-of-age story that was difficult in a number of ways. Julia is not a very likeable person, she’s contemptuous and judgmental toward others, and doesn’t often stop to consider what she is saying or doing. When the story swerved into self-harm and mental illness it felt forced as did the life-changing trip to Mexico that supposedly gave Julia a new viewpoint on life. I don’t want to make light of the subject matter covered in this book, there are strong themes of family, grief and secrecy and in thinking about it now, I can see that there were clues to Julia’s depression but overall the story just didn’t work for me.

Ultimately, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a story about meeting your parents expectations and learning how to combine their cultural background with that of your new country. My lack of enthusiasm for this book is most probably due to the fact this this was not the right book for me at this time.

Apr 28, 2:02pm

70. Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich - 3.8 ★
Category: Nick & Nora Charles
April MysteryKit: Noir/Hard Boiled
Around the Year in 52 Books: Less than 5,000 Ratings on Goodreads
April TIOLI #17: Twenty Questions (Two Things on Cover)

Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich is part of his “Black” series of Noir stories. It opens spectacularly in a large South American city as American publicity agent, Jerry Manning gets his client, singer Kiki Walker to walk a black jaguar down the street and into a busy restaurant. The jaguar escapes and all too soon there are a series of brutal killings of young women that have the police hunting for the large cat while Jerry Manning wonders if the monster they are hunting is the jaguar that he was responsible for or if there is another type of monster that is preying on the vulnerable.

While there are certainly aspects of this story that are far-fetched, the author manages to build the suspense by focusing each chapter upon the current victim as he guides the reader through the dark as an unknown thing is on the hunt. The evidence points to the jaguar but Manning becomes convinced that a two-legged animal is actually responsible and is determined to track the creature and bring him down.

Black Alibi is a fast paced story that is extremely suspenseful and stylish which is most probably why it was made into a film entitled “The Leopard Man” in the 1940s by director, Jacques Tourneur. While this is less a mystery and more of a horror story, the author cleverly plays upon our sense of foreboding and our fear of the dark as each stalking scene is gruesomely played out. Black Alibi is a gripping, atmospheric read delivered by the master of Noir, Cornell Woolrich.

Apr 28, 2:17pm

>84 DeltaQueen50: For some reason, I had thought that Woolrich wrote more traditional mysteries, and not noir. I'll keep an eye out for books in his black series.

Apr 28, 5:31pm

>85 RidgewayGirl: Kay, he is an excellent writer of Noir. Many of his books have been made into films as well over the years including Rear Window, Phatom Lady, and Black Angel.

Apr 28, 10:34pm

71. The Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole - 4.5 ★
Category: Captain Kirk & Mr. Spock
April TIOLI #3: Title Includes a Compound Noun

The Old Man and the Wasteland by Nick Cole is a post-apocalyptic story that lured me in immediately. I love survivor stories and this one is a dandy! Written as an homage to The Old Man and the Sea, author Nick Cole has us follow an old man who has spent the 40 years since the nuclear exchange that brought about the downfall of America (and probably the rest of the world) as a salvager. After he made the mistake of bringing a radio that was radiated back to the village, he has been considered cursed. He decides to lift the curse by taking himself further into the wasteland than usual and bringing home something truly valuable to the village.

The main character is well developed and his story of redemption is moving. His journey leads him out into the wasteland desert that is south of Phoenix and west of Tucson. Phoenix was destroyed by the bombs, but the old man isn’t sure about Tucson. As he travels he encounters many adventures that have him fighting for his life. Tracked by a wolf pack, endangered by flash floods, and finally encountering a barbaric tribe, he uses his memory of the Hemingway book to guide him through.

The Old Man and the Wasteland was an excellent escape read for me. I loved the story and the character of the old man. Although the author paints a depressing picture of the future, it is not without the hope that mankind will someday rise above the savage level that exists in this story. This grim, introspective story will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it suited me perfectly at this time.

Apr 29, 6:43am

>87 DeltaQueen50: - I'm very tempted to take a BB for this. I do like post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels as a rule. And the salvager aspect is interesting. Just not sure I need another BB to add to the list. Oh - what the heck - on the list it goes.

Apr 29, 8:06am

Happy Friday, Judy. I am still trying to get caught up around here, after my AZ trip. I already caught a BB, with The Old Man and the Wasteland. Sounds really good.

Have a great weekend!

Apr 29, 10:23am

>87 DeltaQueen50: - Oooh, going to check the library for this one.

Have a good weekend, Judy!

Apr 29, 1:28pm

>88 dudes22: Betty, I have given up trying not to take book bullets. I just add them to my list and I get to them when I get to them. I really enjoyed The Old Man and the Wasteland and I immediately went and picked up two more "Wasteland" novels. There are three of them and although they are grouped together, I think each one is a stand alone.

>89 msf59: Welcome back, Mark. I hope you have a good weekend as well.

>90 katiekrug: Hi, Katie. I picked it up as a freebie through Kindle Unlimited. It's really more of a novella, only 180 pages but I notice the other two books are full length - and of course, I had to actually buy the other two.

Apr 29, 2:05pm

>91 DeltaQueen50: - ha -ha-ha - so I'm really taking three BBs?

Apr 29, 7:41pm

>92 dudes22: (Ducks head and semi-shrugs) Well, there are three books in "The Wasteland" series, but the first one is very short. You will know if you want to continue after reading it.

Apr 30, 5:52am

I'm not sure how I missed your new thread - just catching up.

Glad to hear your visit to you Mum went well. It must be difficult being at a distance. We only have his mother left to worry about. She has carers come in for ~ an hour twice a day.

Shame the Hedy Lamar book wasn't better I saw a documentary about her, must be a few years ago now, and she seemed to be a fascinating woman - such a shame the writing didn't do her justice.

Apr 30, 3:08pm

>94 Helenliz: Hi Helen. I'm glad you found me again. :) I think if anyone wants to read about Hedy LaMarr, an actual biography would be better than reading The Only Woman in the Room. It is a shame as she is a very interesting person.

Edited: May 1, 4:11pm

72. A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson - 5.0 ★
Category: Tina Fey & Amy Pohler
May AuthorCat: An Author From My Country
May TIOLI #1: An Author I Have Only Read Once Before

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson was a captivating and emotionally satisfying read. Set in a small town in Northern Ontario, this is a novel that is poignantly sad yet also hopeful as we read about a family in crisis after their teenage daughter runs away. The younger daughter, Clara, is dealing with her beloved sister’s disappearance and at the same time as her friend and neighbour, the elderly Mrs. Orchard goes into hospital. Clara’s parents decide that this is not the time to tell Clara that Mrs. Orchard has passed away.

Clara spends much of her time at the front windows of her house, watching for Rose to return. She sees the arrival of a mysterious man who seems to be moving into Mrs. Orchard’s house. As Clara has been looking after Mrs. Orchard’s very shy cat, she is worried about his care. Then when she sees the mystery man packing up Mrs. Orchard’s belongings she becomes very angry. The story unfolds by way of alternate narratives and eventually we learn all of their stories and the relationships between them.

The star of the book, for me, is the feisty, determined yet innocent Clara. The author captures the spirit of a young eight year old in a realistic and engaging way that makes the story come alive. Lawson also captures the feel of a small town and it’s difficult to believe that the town of Solace is not a real place that one could actually visit. With her use of a fluid timeline and sympathetic characters, along with wonderful writing, A Town Called Solace was a read that certainly resonated with me.

May 1, 7:35pm

>96 DeltaQueen50: - I've been hearing good things about this book and am looking forward to reading it. I remember that our book club read her first books some years ago and I always meant to read some of her other books. There are so many books, ...

May 1, 9:44pm

Hello Judy. I'm catching up on your thread (it is the weekend!) and I always enjoy your reviews and your honesty about them. I'm so sorry the biography of Hedy Lamar was so poorly written. She is one of those women I'd like to learn more about, but I'll be certain to avoid this author's re-telling.

And echoing everyone's sentiments about your mom. I have a good friend who is living with her mom through her decline and has seen some improvement since she, the daughter, has been there. And she's got sister issues when she reaches out for help and back-up so that she can get a few hours to herself.

I salute you holding your tongue so as not to create discord, and I second the idea of helping by adding a daytime caretaker to give your brother a break. Especially if your sister is not stepping in to help. It can be your way of helping your mum since you are farther away.

May 2, 1:05pm

>97 dudes22: You are so right, Betty! So many books, however, I believe that A Town Called Solace will be well worth your time.

>98 threadnsong: Hi Threadnsong, I think my sister has a hard time seeing my Mom in such decline. I am heading back over there toward the end of this month and hopefully the three of us siblings can figure out the next steps and what we need to do next.

May 2, 1:13pm

73. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund - 3.3 ★
Category: Patience & Fortitude
May TIOLI #3: Every Word in the Title Starts With a Different Letter

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund is a coming-of-age story set in the north woodlands of Minnesota. Fourteen year old Madeline or Linda as she likes to be called, lives in an abandoned commune where only her parents have stayed. Although socially awkward, Linda is very observant, she sees and examines everything that she comes across, observations about her parents, fellow students, and a questionable teacher form much of her thoughts. Another great interest in Linda’s life is the people who live in the newly built cabin across the lake. At first she observes them from a distance through binoculars but eventually she is hired to babysit their young son, Paul, everyday for a couple of hours.

Madeline forms a bond with both the mother, Patra as well as Paul, but when the husband returns after a business trip, secrets start to emerge and eventually both beliefs and inaction put the child in harms’ way. I believe the author’s purpose was to show how the events of Madeline’s fourteenth year carried over into her later life. We are given glimpses of her adult life in both her twenties and thirties and her thoughts still seem to be fixated on this time period in her life.

History of Wolves was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 2017 and is a beautifully written debut novel. The story is dark and disturbing yet I never really felt connected to it. The characters were interesting but seemed very detached and I felt that the varied story strands didn’t quite come together leaving me to wonder what exactly was the point.

May 3, 12:40pm

>100 DeltaQueen50: I read this in 2017. At the time I rated it 3*** but I will tell you now that I have thought of it often. Perhaps I should have let it simmer a bit before rating. When a book sticks with me there has to be a reason. I do recall really enjoying the quality of the writing. When I checked it out, the librarian said, "oh I can't go there. It's very dark." I was surprised to find that I could tolerate the darkness in service of the story and of the underlying theme--actions beget consequences. I am glad I read it.

May 3, 3:58pm

>101 beebeereads: I have reviewed books like that as well, ones that I didn't give a very high rating to, yet they continue to come to mind. I wonder if History of Wolves will be like that for me? I think part of my problem with it was that I was still obsessed with the book I had just finished before starting it - A Town Called Solace so I wasn't ready to open my mind to a new story yet. Timing is everything!

May 3, 6:44pm

74. A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson - 4.3 ★
Category: Trixie Belden & Honey Wheeler
Around the Year in 52 Books: Title Contains At Least 22 Letters
May TIOLI #4: Set in the 1980s or has a school setting

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson starts out when a high school senior and aspiring journalist, Pippa, decides that her Senior Capstone project will be to investigate the disappearance of high school student Andie Bell. It has been presumed that she was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, but her body has never been located. At the time, the evidence and witness accounts all pointed to Sal but before he could be formally charged, he was found dead, an apparent suicide. But Pippa, who knew Sal, remembers him as a kind and gentle boy, and could not imagine him lashing out at Andie in any manner. She connects with Sal’s younger brother, Ravi, and the two embark on a quest to clear Sal. They do not realize that by digging into the evidence and re-interviewing the witnesses, they are exposing secrets that others want to stay hidden and putting themselves in danger.

This YA teen crime thriller is both fast paced, intricate and addictive. At first I did think that Pippa was a little to good to be true, very mature for her age and she seemed to know exactly how to progress her theories about the crime, but eventually, she shows that she is indeed an impulsive teen who sometimes acts before she thinks. I was a little hesitant about reading a YA crime thriller, but this book totally worked for me. I liked the main characters and I thought the plot was intelligent and there were a few twists that certainly held my attention.

The book is written with journal-like entries, charts, text screenshots and interview recordings and this unique format brought a sense of reality to the story. For me, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder was a book that I found hard to put down, I was constantly wanting to read “just a few pages more” as Pippa stumbled ever closer to the truth.

May 3, 7:23pm

>103 DeltaQueen50: Excellent review. Thanks Judy, that's a BB for me!

May 4, 3:25pm

>104 VivienneR: It's a fun read, Vivienne. I hope you enjoy it.

May 4, 4:54pm

>102 DeltaQueen50: Timing is important. I just finished two books that I loved and realized that I needed to pick something that I wasn't expecting much from. I did love History of Wolves but felt it did feel like a first novel in places.

>103 DeltaQueen50: This sounds like fun.

I can't wait to get to the Lawson.

May 4, 8:54pm

Just caught up with your thread and you got me with two BBs, Judy, The Dragon Man and A Good Girl's Guide to Murder. I love a good mystery!

May 5, 1:36pm

>106 BLBera: I often find that good books come in pairs, and after two good ones in a row, it sometimes takes me a few books to settle into a story again. For me, the best thing for this is to vary the genres and pick up something totally different.

>107 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg, both of those were good and kept me glued to the pages. Hope you enjoy them as well.

May 5, 3:02pm

Because I can't get enough of reading challenges, I have decided to add another one to my reading year. I have seen this one on a number of threads and I think it originated with Ninie. Instead of doing this over the course of one month, I will spread it out over the rest of the year.

Historical Fiction Challenge

1. Set in the country you're from
2. Set in a different country
3. Set in your favourite historical period
4. Set in period you're less familiar with
5. Historical fiction with a speculative element
6. About a real historical figure or a specific event
7. A classic work of historical fiction

Bonus: a work of historical fiction of over 500 pages

May 5, 4:13pm

>109 DeltaQueen50: It's infectious! I'm interested to see what you choose.

May 6, 3:26am

>109 DeltaQueen50: Oh, you've caught it too!

May 6, 10:27am

>109 DeltaQueen50: welcome to the "club!" Interested to see what you choose.

Edited: May 6, 10:55am

Another reading challenge! You are a reading machine.

I agree that it's a good idea to switch genres after reading great books.

May 6, 3:09pm

>110 pamelad: I love a good challenge! I am reading my first book for this challenge, set in one of my favorite time periods - the years of World War I. The book is called Goodbye, Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, and is the first in her series about WW I and the homefront.

>111 MissWatson: I am looking forward to filling in this challenge as I do love historical fiction.

>112 Tess_W: I was thinking that some of these prompts would be excellent ideas for our "Reading Through Time" themes!

>113 BLBera: Beth, I am actually a very indecisive person and these challenges help me in selecting what to read next.

May 6, 3:21pm

75. Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain - 4.0 ★
Category: Friends
Bingo: By A Favorite Author
May TIOLI #5: Published Within 10 Years Before or After My Birth Date

Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain is an in-depth portrait of a woman, the rise and fall of her life and her emotional dependency on her coldblooded, greedy, manipulative daughter. Although Cain is well known for his Noir thrillers, this book is quite different being more of a novel of social observations.

Set during the years of the Great Depression this is a well crafted story peopled with excellent characters, some you love and some you hate. For me, Mildred was someone that I mostly pitied. No matter how well things were going in her life, her happiness rested solely with her daughter, Veda. As her marriage fails and new men enter her life and as she slowly builds up a good business from her humble beginnings as a waitress, all she can think about is how to please her demanding daughter. But Veda is impossible to fully please. She sees people as stepping stones to help her get where she wants to go, and she holds her mother responsible for everything that she sees as lacking in her life.

Mildred Pierce is a dark portrayal of human weakness and greed. Mildred is a strong but flawed woman whose aspirations are not for herself but rather for her children. Unfortunately her daughter is an empty vessel that no amount of caring or love will every fully satisfy. I found myself compelled by the characters and their story and also intrigued by the economic upheavals of 1930s California.

May 6, 6:32pm

>114 DeltaQueen50: I agree! I've been thinking that all of the monthly reads are interesting, but very much like Randomkit. Perhaps we could relate our monthly reads to a time or person or episode in history?!

May 6, 7:00pm

Happy Friday, Judy. I also liked A Town Called Solace but just not as much as you. We both agree on History of Wolves. It fell short. Have a great weekend.

May 7, 12:07pm

>116 Tess_W: I like the openness of these prompts, they allow for an individual to make his own choice yet stay within the group. Also there is a lot of room for discussion, as we can talk about why we chose a certain time period, historical figure or event to read about. The mixture of these open prompts with some more detailed ones would give us a lot of scope and variety. We will definitely have to work some of these into our format next year!

>117 msf59: Hi Mark, you have yourself a great weekend as well. :)

May 7, 12:17pm

>114 DeltaQueen50: I've read some of another series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. I like them, just haven't gotten around to reading the whole series. This one will be of interest to me too, I like that time period as well. I'm off to the library book sale. I've promised myself I will only buy books that will fill in current series I'm reading. We'll see how successful I am!

May 7, 12:20pm

>119 clue: I've read some of the Dynasty series as well and have promised myself that someday I will read the whole series. I have been collecting copies of the books over the last few years. Enjoy your library book sale!

May 8, 5:23pm

It's not been the best of Mother's Days for me. My Mom is back in hospital after collapsing yesterday. The doctor said that the most they can do at this time is make her as comfortable as possible and then let her slip away. I have made a reservation on the 3 o'clock ferry tomorrow and my younger daughter is coming with me. Not sure when I will be back but as always I will take plenty of reading material with me.

May 8, 5:26pm

I'm so sorry to hear this, Judy, and on Mother's Day seems particularly unfair. Sending you and your mom and all your family good thoughts.

May 8, 5:57pm

Very sad news, Judy. My heart goes out to you especially on this special day.

May 8, 6:10pm

>121 DeltaQueen50: Oh Judy, I'm so sorry. Sending you all hugs and strength.

May 8, 6:35pm

>121 DeltaQueen50: Wishng you comforting time together in her last days.

May 8, 10:14pm

>121 DeltaQueen50: Sorry to hear this, Judy. You and mom are on my prayer list this week.

May 8, 10:23pm

>121 DeltaQueen50: So, so sorry this is happening on today of all days. I am glad your daughter is coming with you, and hugs to you.

May 9, 2:09am

I saw your message on the TIOLI group page, dear Guru.

My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your Mom. I hope she will be as comfortable as possible. xx

May 9, 3:07am

>121 DeltaQueen50: Thinking of you all.

May 9, 6:05am

Thinking of you and wishing you peaceful moments with your Mom.

May 9, 9:38am

I'm sorry to hear this Judy, I'll be thinking of you and your family.

May 9, 10:35am

I'm thinking of you and your family, Judy. Take care.

May 9, 11:17am

Praying for you and your family, Judy.

May 9, 11:23am

I'm so sorry to read that, Judy. I wish you, your family and your mom the best in these difficult days.

May 9, 3:37pm

>121 DeltaQueen50: I am so sorry to hear of this. Praying for you and your family.

May 9, 4:44pm

I'm so sorry, Judy. Have a safe journey, and I wish you the very best for the coming days.

May 11, 7:38pm

Sorry to hear about your mum, Judy. My thoughts are with you.

May 19, 10:59pm

Thanks to everyone for your kind messages. My Mom passed away in the early evening of May 9th. Most of her family were at her bedside and although we are very sad it is also a blessing that her suffering is over. I came home today but hated to leave my brother alone. He lived with my Mom and will miss her terribly. I am planning of going back over to Victoria in early June as my sister is going on a trip to Spain and I want to be sure that brother has some company. She would have been 101 years old this Saturday so that will be a difficult day to get through.

I have a lot of catching up to do and books to report on but I think I will wait until tomorrow to start that process.

May 19, 11:07pm

Oh Im so sorry, but yes its a blessing her suffering is over. Glad you can make it to stay with your brother,that must be so hard for him.
May memories bring you peace comfort and strength.

May 20, 12:02am

Heartfelt condolences, Judy. It's always difficult but happening close to special days like birthdays make it even more heartbreaking.

May 20, 12:38am

I am so sorry for your loss, Judy; but glad your mother's suffering is at an end.

May 20, 2:15am

Much love. It all takes a long time to process, take care of yourselves.

May 20, 3:50am

I am so sorry for your loss, Judy. Take care of yourself.

May 20, 6:10am

So sorry for your loss, Judy.

May 20, 6:57am

My condolences, Judy. What a life she had and what a loss she will be. Take care.

May 20, 7:21am

My condolences, Judy. It is so hard to let them leave.

May 20, 10:08am

Condolences, Judy. What a great life your mom had. Take care.

May 20, 10:27am

Thinking of you and praying for your family.

May 20, 11:02am

I'm so sorry to hear this, Judy - take care, and be gentle with yourself and each other.

May 20, 12:03pm

I'm so sorry for your loss. One hundred years is a lot of memories and life. Thinking of you all.

May 20, 12:29pm

Oh my goodness, what a lovely bunch of people we have here at LT. Thank you so much for condolences, it means a lot to me We were very lucky to have had both a wonderful father and mother, and I was very lucky to have kept my Mum until I am in my seventies. I don't think I can bring myself to answer everyone individually as it will bring on the tears but going all the way back to May 8th I am sending heartfelt thanks to >122 katiekrug:, >123 VivienneR:, >124 rabbitprincess:, >125 beebeereads:, >126 Tess_W:, >127 threadnsong:, >128 PaulCranswick:, >129 Helenliz:, >130 dudes22:, >131 lsh63:, >132 BLBera:, >133 christina_reads:, >134 mstrust:, >135 LadyoftheLodge:, >136 Jackie_K:, >137 Familyhistorian:, >139 cindydavid4:, 143, >144 NinieB: for your messages, and some of you sent more than one which is appreciated. It may take me awhile to catch up here but I will be visiting all of you in the near future.

I remember when my Dad passed, I found myself unable to read for awhile, but this time my books were a comfort to me and I did get a lot of reading done. My brother is a gamer and both he and my daughter would get involved in their game leaving me lots of time for my books. Now I have to update my thread.

May 20, 12:42pm

I'm so very sorry for your loss, Judy. And glad that you had a long time with your mom and that she had her family around her.

May 20, 12:48pm

76. Miao Dao by Joyce Carol Oates - 4.0 ★
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn - 4.0 ★
Category: Godzilla & King Kong
May ScaredyKit: Anthologies, Short Stories & Novellas


I read these two stories for the May ScaredyKit and here are my thoughts on both of them:

Miao Dao

Miao Dao by Joyce Carol Oates is a creepy coming of age story about the bad things that have been happening to Mia since her father left the family. As she matures and her body develops, she is teased and grabbed by the boys at school, her friends are drifting away, and then her mother remarries and she has to deal with a lecherous stepfather. Her only refuge is an abandoned lot that once was home to a feral cat colony. When the cats were destroyed, Mia managed to rescue one little kitten, a beautiful white cat that she named Miao Dao. Miao Dao becomes the one thing that makes Mia happy, then the kitten goes missing and Mia suspects her stepfather has done something. But there are times that Miao Dao seems to return, when Mia is most in need, this ghostly white cat appears and becomes her fierce protector.

I always enjoy Joyce Carol Oates stories and her way with words. While I wouldn’t call this a true horror story it certainly was dark, reflective and tense.

Thr Grownup

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn is a twisted tale featuring a haunted house, a beleaguered family and a grifter who dabbles as both a psychic and a sex worker. The grifter, seeing easy pickings, agrees to help “clean’” the house spiritually but soon realizes that this job requires much more than she can provide. The terrified mother believes a malevolent presence has taken control of her stepson and that they are all in danger.

The author builds the suspense to a nice level and then totally turns the story around leaving us not knowing who or what to fear. Is the stepson with his disturbing manner possessed? Or could this be a hoax set up by the stepmom? The reader is left guessing where the evil truly comes from, has the grifter met her match and will she escape?

Infused with the author’s witty black humor, The Grownup is a fun and dark short story that is intense and squirm inducing.

May 20, 1:08pm

>151 DeltaQueen50: don't think I can bring myself to answer everyone individually as it will bring on the tears

besides taking way too much of your time and energy that is spent on your family and yourself. Just sayin!

May 20, 1:58pm

I'm glad you feel you can read. It's good to have an escape.
After Mum died I retreated into only books that I knew had happy endings and weren't too fraught. I read an awful lot of romance for quite some time. Fortunately, that passed with time.

Edited: May 20, 2:49pm

Judy, my heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Sending lots of love and prayers.

May 20, 3:00pm

>154 cindydavid4: Thanks, Cindy. :)

>155 Helenliz: I didn't think that I would feel like reading but books have been a nice retreat for me. I am reading an historical romance right now, a book I don't have to puzzle over, just accept the escapist entertainment!

>156 LadyoftheLodge: Thanks, Cheryl.

May 20, 3:16pm

77. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson - 4.0 ★
Category: Godzilla & King Kong
May ScaredyKit: Anthologies, Short Stories & Novellas

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson is a collection of short stories. Some of these stories are humorous, some have a touch of horror, all are unusual and made for interesting reading. Author Jackson seems to shine in writing of human oddities. She delights in exposing secrets, prejudices, and obsessions all in a unique, creepy way that kept the pages turning and my attention riveted.

The book is a collection of twelve stories, with the highlight being “The Lottery”. This was indeed a dark tale about a small town and the lottery that occurs annually. We are drawn into the excitement and then realize how desperate the people are not to be chosen. While I enjoyed the Lottery, I also found many of the other stories were attention grabbers and I found the author’s twisted viewpoint quite appealing.

While the stories are understated and subtle, Jackson has a knack of taking a commonplace occurrence or event and adding a darkness that engages our senses and has us gasping in surprise. This was a varied and interesting collection.

May 20, 3:17pm

>152 mstrust: Jennifer, your message slipped by me before but those gorgeous red rose caught my attention as I was scrolling to the bottom of my thread. I know I will always be thankful that I had my Mum in my life for so long. She became both a mother and a friend.

May 20, 3:37pm

78. Goodbye, Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles - 4.2 ★
Category: Elizabeth & Jane Bennet
May Reading Through Time: Beginnings
Around the Year in 52 Books: From the Genre of Historical Fiction
Bingo: Features a dog
Historical Fiction Challenge: From a Time Period That is Your Favorite

Goodbye, Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is the first in her historical fiction series set during World War I. There are a lot of characters that were introduced in this book. There are two main families, the Hunters and the Wroughtons as well as their various relatives and servants. The Upper, Middle and Lower classes are represented and I am looking forward to following the various stories as the war builds and escalates.

This book opens just before the war but by the end of the book England is facing the sadness of the many casualties, the horror of home-coming wounded soldiers, and the influx of refugees. People are starting to realize that this war is going to be a long one and everyone will be dealing with the pressures and conflicts that will be generated.

Goodbye, Piccadilly is both well researched and well written with engaging characters and plenty of interaction between the various classes. From romance to village jumble sales, the author paints a vivid picture of England “rolling up it’s sleeves” and getting ready for battle. I am looking forward to continuing on with this series.

May 20, 4:51pm

Joyce Carol Oates is so good at stories about girls that have a real sense of menace to them. Glad you enjoyed that one.

I am sorry for your loss. I'm glad your mother was surrounded by family when she left.

May 20, 4:53pm

My condolences, Judy.

Edited: May 22, 7:42pm

Aren't we lucky to have our books Judy? So often I wonder how people who don't read get by and I'm glad you had that place to go.

I checked Goodbye Piccadilly out of the library when I saw your first mention of it. I think they have the complete series. I can't seem to move away from WWI and WWII!

One of these days when you "need" a book you don't have planned, take a look at Five Decembers by James Kestrel. I've recently read it and I thought it was very good. As a mystery reader I think you would like it. I can't think of an example to compare it to, it's rather unique. Although it does make me think of some books that were popular in the sixties and seventies.

May 20, 6:27pm

>160 DeltaQueen50: I enjoy novels that take place in WWI, will have to check this one out

May 20, 6:42pm

>161 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, Kay. Joyce Carol Oates has moved up onto my list of favorite authors. I love her writing and her themes.

>162 pamelad: Thanks, Pamela.

>163 clue: I just checked my library and it has Five Decembers so I have added it to my list of future reads. It sounds good!

>164 cindydavid4: One thing I admire about Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is how accurate she is with the research. She is very careful about the details which I appreciate. I hope you enjoy the books.

May 20, 6:53pm

79. The Devil's Closet by Stacy Dittrich - 2.0 ★
Category: Calvin & Hobbs
May AlphaKit: D
Bingo: Published the Year I Joined Library Thing - 2008

The Devil’s Closet by Stacy Dittrich is the first book in her crime series featuring Detective CeeCee Gallagher but I am afraid this is a series that I will not be continuing. I found the book badly written, the main character highly unlikable, and the tired, over-used plot boring. The author seemed to emphasize the main character’s marital problems and her new love connection more than the very serious case of child killings that they were supposed to be working on which increased my dislike of the book.

I don’t have much to say about this book as it was disappointing and not worth the time spent reading.

May 20, 7:20pm

80. When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka - 4.0 ★
Category: Calvin & Hobbs
May AlphaKit: O
Bingo: Published in a Year Ending in a 2 - 2002

When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka tells the story of the internment of a Japanese-American family during World War II. The author based her story on her own family history and has created a small gem of a story, with her careful yet precise prose which highlights the unjust treatment of a people whose only crime was to look different.

When the book opens, the father of the family has already been arrested and sent to a camp in New Mexico. Now it has been decided to round up all Japanese-Americans and we follow the mother, her daughter and son as they are sent to the Topaz Camp in Utah. The author captures the confusion and lack of understanding that the characters experienced. One day they were American citizens, accepted members of the community, but overnight they become aliens that are untrustworthy and dangerous. For almost three years they live in a camp in the desert never knowing when or even if they would ever return to their home in California.

While the topic of When the Emperor was Divine is emotional and heartbreaking, the author chooses to tell the story simply without embellishment resulting in a haunting evocation and, without directly pointing any fingers, this book becomes a lesson for us all. This subtle, lyrical story shines a light on a difficult period in history and although short, packs quite a punch.

May 20, 7:20pm

>160 DeltaQueen50: That one sounds interesting.

May 20, 7:28pm

>168 thornton37814: I thought it was very well done, Lori. She writes very simply, highlighting her charactes inner thoughts yet paints a very clear picture of how the Japanese-Americans were treated.

Also in case anyone thinks this was just an American injustice, we Canadians were guilty of the same thing.

May 21, 10:25am

Goodbye Piccadilly sounds like a good one. I've enjoyed Harrod-Eagles Bill Slider mysteries.

May 21, 12:51pm

>170 BLBera: I also enjoyed the Bill Slider books and I did start on the massive Morland Dynasty series but didn't get beyond the 16th century. I have thought that one day I would go back and give it another try as the books were very well done.

May 21, 1:01pm

81. Slightly Wicked by Mary Balogh - 3.7 ★
Category: Meredith Grey & Christina Yang
May AuthorCat: Author From My Own Country

Slightly Wicked is the second book in a historical romance series by Mary Balogh. Each book follows a different Bedwyn sibling as they find romance. This book introduces the third son, Rannulf, and as he is on the way to visit his grandmother, he meets Judith Law, who as a poor relation, is on her way to live with her aunt. With a rainstorm making travel impossible, they are thrown together but each hides their true identity and share a passionate couple of nights.

When Judith arrives at her aunt’s, she is given baggy clothes to wear and has to cover her red-gold hair with caps. She is made to stay in the background as the aunt doesn’t want any attention to be taken away from her own daughter as they are planning to capture a rich duke for her to wed. Of course, when the duke arrives he is none other than Rannulf. Rannulf finds himself strongly attracted to Judith and his close observation of her results in his protecting her from the unwanted attention of Judith’s step-cousin. After having been thwarted this cousin swears revenge on both Rannulf and Judith.

A fun story with a definite “Cinderella” slant. Although there were some unbelievable plot points, I enjoyed reading of the two main characters as their lust for each other slowly develops into a trusting friendship and eventually a strong love. I am looking forward to reading more about the Bedwyn family.

May 22, 12:02am

>167 DeltaQueen50: I'll watch out for that one. I really enjoyed The Buddha in the Attic by the same author.

May 22, 2:18am

>167 DeltaQueen50: I wish Slightly Wicked and Slightly Married were available in Australia as ebooks, because I've enjoyed the other books in the series. Unbelievable plot points? Of course!

May 22, 7:46am

Sorry, I have not been by, so I missed the passing of your mother. My deepest condolences, Judy. 101 years is a nice long life but I know you will miss her dearly. I hope you can continue to take comfort in the books.

May 22, 9:04am

I'll have to check out the Morland Dynasty. I like Harrod-Eagles but have only read the mysteries.

May 22, 12:37pm

>173 VivienneR: I read The Buddha in the Attic a number of years ago and I also really enjoyed it. I must remember to check out what other books she has written.

>174 pamelad: How odd that the first two books in the series aren't available. And yes, we certainly don't read romance books for their believability!! :)

>175 msf59: Hi Mark. Yes, we will miss her, but she is peacefully at rest. I am still catching up here but I will be by your thread soon.

>176 BLBera: The Morland Dynasty follows the different generations of one family from the middle ages up to the 1930s. I believe there are more than 30 books in the series.

May 22, 2:43pm

82. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym - 4.2 ★
Category: Lucy & Ethel
May CatWoman: Classics by Women
May RandomCat: May Flowers

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym is an amusing slice of life story that directs our attention to that group of unmarried women that are considered smart, supportive, and slightly repressed. They are entitled ‘excellent women’ by the men who both rely and ignore them, these are the type of women who populate the committees, who volunteer for charities and, in fact, have much to do with the actual running of both church and community affairs. First published in 1952 this light satiric story about loneliness being bravely borne centres on Mildred Lathbury, a 35-ish spinster who, through her friendship with the vicar and his sister, involves herself in church affairs, as well as becoming engaged with her new neighbours and their friends.

While Mildred is virtuous and intelligent she is alone and quite content to be so, happily involving herself in churchgoing and part-time charity work. However as the story progresses, a number of potential suitors are presented, and the more Mildred tries to remove herself, the more tangled in the affairs of others she becomes. What does become apparent is that Mildred is an excellent social observer and her dry, witty comments bring a sense of playfulness to the book. In the long run Excellent Women could be considered a romantic comedy about a stereotype that perhaps might be happiest if she stays single.

I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the postwar setting of London in the early 1950s. This was the first Barbara Pym novel that I have read, but I am looking forward to reading more in the future.

Edited: May 22, 5:26pm

>178 DeltaQueen50: based on my other reads of English women authors like Norah Loft people have recommended that I read pym. For some reason when I first tried a book I was turned off by something, and never tried another. Ive been depressed ab out the fate of the world lately. Would like to read something that doesnt add to it. THanks for that rec

May 23, 12:18pm

>179 cindydavid4: The news is depressing these days and books are a wonderful escape. I hope you have more success with Barbara Pym on your second try, Cindy.

May 23, 12:29pm

Hello Judy, and adding my condolences on your Mum's passing. Big hugs to you as I am sure you are traveling through a lot of emotions during this time. And like others on this thread, I'm glad you have your books to turn to for solace.

Your reviews of both Goodbye, Piccadilly and Slightly Wicked sound intriguing. I read a lot about the era of WWI, both its horrendous battles and the fiction around the time. And what an interesting series "Wicked" is a part of! Might have to choose it for some escape sometime.

May 23, 12:33pm

Morning, Judy! I hope you have a good day.
>178 DeltaQueen50: Loved it! Pym had a talent for creating a rich story with characters that would seem mundane at first glance.

May 23, 12:40pm

>181 threadnsong: Thanks, threadnsong. I am looking forward to continuing with the WW I series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. The stories will be covering both the homefront and the actual front, I am trying not to get to attached to the male characters as I am sure some are not going to be coming home at the end of the war.

>182 mstrust: Today, we are off to pick out new chair cushions for our patio chairs. Although today is rather cool and cloudy, the weather was really nice over the weekend and now we want our deck to be ready for the warm weather that I am sure will be coming. Can't wait to start reading outdoors!

May 23, 6:15pm

83. The Good Braider by Terry Farish - 4.0 ★
Category: Chuck Noland & Wilson
Around the Year in 52 Books: Set in Africa

The Good Braider by Terry Farish is the story of Viola, a young Sudanese girl who along with her mother and younger brother, escape from their home in war-torn Southern Sudan and make their way to Cairo, Egypt. They live in the refugee camps and work at menial jobs while they try over and over again to be accepted to the United States where they have a relative willing to sponsor them.

This heart-breaking story is told in free verse and the reader experiences Viola’s thoughts, fears and emotions in the sparse, simple yet deeply descriptive words. From Viola’s rape by a solider, to the loss of a loved one and on to their struggles once they actually reach the United States. We experience her journey to find a better life.

The author of The Good Braider is not a refugee and in fact, is a white woman, but she has done her research and has written a lyrical, moving account that feels authentic. The reader is able to get a real sense of who Viola is and how she comes to terms with what life has offered her. The story is short and moves quickly but certainly depicts the plight of the refugee in a poignant and sympathetic manner.

May 23, 11:32pm

This weekend did make it seem like summer like weather might show up especially the times when it wasn't raining. I did get rained on a few times in the past few. Your reads by Barbara Pym and Cynthia Harrod-Eagles look like good ones.

May 24, 12:57pm

>185 Familyhistorian: Hi Meg. We had our deck power washed and went out and bought both a new umbrella and patio chair cushions so we are ready for some summer weather. I was able to enjoy some outside reading yesterday afternoon which was nice. I enjoyed both the books you mentioned.

Edited: May 26, 2:13pm

84. Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand - 5.0 ★
Category: Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson
Bingo: A Character Shares A Name with a Real Life Friend

Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand was a great read. The author captures the era with her detailed historical details of 1915 Chicago and the Riverview Amusement Park in particular. The plot involves a serial killer in the Chicago summer of 1915 and the child protagonist that is tracking this killer. Pin is a fourteen year old girl who is concealing her identity by dressing and acting as a boy. Pin’s mother works long hours as a fortune teller so Pin is on her own and being a boy is safer than being a girl. Young girls have been disappearing from the streets of Chicago and now they are also disappearing from the Amusement Park. Pin’s sister had disappeared the winter before and her mother is anxious about keeping Pin safe.

This story is a wonderful mix of history and mystery. It is richly textured with multiple story lines that are easily followed due to the author giving her characters unique voices. The carnival setting is well done and we see both the make-believe glamour and the shabby side. The main character, Pin, is sympathetic, smart, and brave. She is not just trying to solve the case of the murdered girls, she is also trying to solve the puzzle of her own identity. Characters such as Charlie Chaplin, Wallace Beery, and Ben Hecht make appearances and artist Henry Darger plays an important role which adds to the feeling of reality.

Curious Toys was absorbing and intelligent. A thriller to be savoured. The book doesn’t move along at a rapid pace, instead much like a carnival ride, it unfolds in a series of ups and downs but in actuality the author has carefully plotted and delivered a story with imagination and heart.

May 24, 3:32pm

>187 DeltaQueen50: Making note of this one, again. I read a review shortly after its release and thought I should read it. Thanks for the reminder!

May 24, 9:35pm

>188 RidgewayGirl: I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Kay.

May 26, 1:56pm

Hi, Judy! Thanks for sending me the link to your thread. I've missed spending time with you!

>187 DeltaQueen50: I used to go to Riverview Amusement Park in Chicago when I was a teenager. I wonder if Hand renamed her park Riverside for copyright reasons. Anyway, sounds like a good book, and it's going on my TBR list, so thanks!

Edited: May 26, 2:16pm

>190 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, great to see you here. Whoops! I typed in Riverside in error. The park was correctly named Riverview in the book. I've corrected it.

Do you have a home thread this year? I don't see one over at the 75s.

May 26, 2:26pm

>191 DeltaQueen50: Oh, okay, that makes sense. Easy to do - when I first saw "Riverside," my mind was okay with it, flipping it to Riverview without thinking about it.

I'm hanging out at The Green Dragon these days. My thread's not that active, but I do post a lot of pics of my grandkids (yes, there are now two of them) and some of my art. I'd love to have you visit when you have time!

May 26, 10:48pm

Judy, I am so glad you posted on my thread. I am still being so bad at keeping up with everyone's threads, and I am so sorry about your mom. I know she is fine, but it leaves such a huge hole in you and your siblings' lives that it is hard and takes time for adjusting. Hugs to all of you.

May 27, 11:30am

>193 ronincats: Thanks, Roni. I have been having trouble keeping up with everyone lately as well. RL does take over sometime!

May 27, 3:13pm

>190 Storeetllr: Going to Riverview was a special summer treat when I was growing up. Deliciously scary rides too!

May 27, 5:30pm

>195 LadyoftheLodge: I didn't get to Riverview until I was in high school and could go on my own. That roller coaster ride was a monster! When I was younger, my parents took us kids to Kiddieland, and then after to get Rainbow Cones. What great memories!

May 27, 5:43pm

>187 DeltaQueen50: I managed to snag the audiobook of Curious Toys which is making me inordinately happy. I'm having a bit of trouble settling down to read, but, if I can manage it, I'll start it tonight.

May 27, 11:50pm

>197 Storeetllr: I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did, Mary.

Edited: May 29, 11:49am

85. Only One Life by Sara Blaedel - 3.6 ★
Category: Starsky & Hutch
Around the Year in 52 Books: Published at least 10 years ago
May MysteryKit: Detectives in Translation

Only One Life is the third book in author Sara Blaedel’s Louise Rick Police Procedural series but the second one to be translated from Danish to English. In this outing Louise is involved in the investigation into the death of a Jordanian immigrant teen in a small Danish town. Because the victim was a young emigrant Muslim, the police immediately suspect that she was a victim of a family honor killing and turned their attention on the family.

Although the story was interesting, I found it was moving too slowly and I was beginning to lose interest when a second death occurred which propelled the case forward and finally focused the investigation in the right direction. Unfortunately many believed in the theory of an honor killing and there were anti-immigrant slurs and the hint of violence that had to be dealt with.

Overall I found the book lacked suspense, but the tension between the two different cultures was handled well. The author kept a good balance between Louise’s work life and her private life, and I will be reading on in the series.

May 29, 2:03pm

>198 DeltaQueen50: Started the book last night and stayed up way past my bedtime, so I guess you could say I am enjoying it, except today I'm really tired. :) (I'm on Chapter 35 of 104.)

May 29, 7:16pm

>200 Storeetllr: Sounds like the book has grabbed you the way it did me!

May 29, 7:28pm

86. Contact by Sean Platt - 3.3 ★
Category: Captain Kirk & Mr. Spock
May SFFFKit: Invasion!

Contact is the second book in a trilogy about aliens invading earth. The first book dealt with the arrival of spaceships and how one family coped. This second volume picks up right where the first ended, and we are with the family in their “safe” bunker. But how safe is it when a group of men are able to break their way in. Luckily most of these men have been sent to protect the family by scientists who believe that the father is an important source of information, if he can be retrieved from the mother ship.

Again in this book, there is little in the way of actual contact with the aliens. Instead we follow two story lines that are split between a couple who leave the Colorado bunker and head to Moab, Utah to consult with the scientists and the rest of the party who stay behind in the bunker. I have lost a little patience with this book as it moved much slower than the first, had less action, and seemed to be deliberately slowing things down so that the third volume would be more exciting. I grew very bored with reading about the pyramids and stone monoliths that the aliens had apparently left behind before.

Since the third book is on my Kindle, I will eventually finish the trilogy as I am curious to see exactly what the aliens are up to. Have they come to colonize or exterminate? I read this type of book for the non-stop action and thrills so I just hope the answer isn’t going to be tedious.

May 30, 9:37pm

I'm so sorry for your loss earlier this month. I'm also sorry that I didn't see it when it happened -- but know you're still in my thoughts.

The Good Braider sounds both excellent and too real for me. I'll keep an eye on it, though, because I imagine it'd speak deeply to me.

May 30, 10:16pm

Hi Judy - I'm late but also sending my condolences and I hope your brother is doing ok.

>103 DeltaQueen50: I really loved A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, so much so that I'm not sure if I'll pick up the sequel as I don't want to be disappointed.

Going further back in your thread, I've read all Garry Disher's crime novels, enjoyed them all. I want to read his two more literary works, will get there eventually. I started reading his books when I realised he is a distant third cousin, we're both descendants of the Disher family who came out from Scotland in 1839 to a new life in South Australia.

May 30, 11:20pm

>203 pammab: Thank you for your kind thoughts. We are coping but, of course, missing her alot. The Good Braider was a very good read but, yes, it definitely had it's upsetting moments.

>204 avatiakh: Hi Kerry. I have a sneaking suspicion that I might have taken the book bullet for A Good Girl's Guide to Murder from your thread. I thought it was so well done, and I, too, am hesitant to pick up the second book in case it disappoints. I really enjoyed the first book in the Garry Disher series and will definitely be continuing on with more from him. How cool to find out you are related to him!

Edited: Jun 1, 12:36pm

87. Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui - 4.0 ★
Category: Patience & Fortitude
Around the Year in 52 Books: A Theme of Food & Drink
June RandomCat: Cookin' the Books
June AuthorCat: Non-fiction
June TIOLI #4: Total Number of Pages end in a 6 or 8

Chop Suey Nation is an interesting mix that first and foremost chronicles the Chinese immigrant experience as they came to their new country of Canada. The author’s plan was to explore Chinese Canadian culture and cuisine through restaurants across Canada. Little did she know that through this project she would also discover much about her own family’s history. Her focus was on the small-town chop suey restaurants that are to be found in all areas of Canada. Chinese workers were brought into Canada to help build the railroads and many stayed in the remote areas that they found themselves in and found that the best way to make a new life in a strange place was through food.

The book covers her intriguing journey across Canada, visiting many small chop suey joints and finding out how they came to be there. She also discovered that her own father had run a chop suey restaurant and through her questions to him learned much about his life that she hadn’t known previously.

Much like the fact that North American pizza has very little in common with authentic Italian cuisine, the sweet and sour chicken balls, chow mein and chop suey that we are all familiar with is considered “fake” Chinese food, developed because authentic ingredients were impossible to obtain and this food appealed to Western taste buds. The term chop suey actually means “bits and pieces”. I grew up with this “fake” Chinese and still crave it on a regular basis.

Chop Suey Nation will not only make you hungry and leave you with a craving for Chinese food, it will also give you a very accurate picture of the Chinese immigrant experience. The book is part history, part memoir and part road trip and is fully a delight to read.

Jun 1, 1:02pm

>206 DeltaQueen50: always interested in immigrant experiences and I can't recall that I've read concerning Canada. On my WL this goes!

Jun 1, 4:32pm

>206 DeltaQueen50: That does sound interesting!

Jun 1, 4:47pm

>206 DeltaQueen50: I agree, I craved Chinese food too after reading this!

Jun 2, 1:41pm

>207 Tess_W: The combination of cross-Canada road trip to visit the family run Chinese restaurants along with her discoveries about her fathers' experiences really worked and made for enjoyable reading.

>208 Jackie_K: It's a light-hearted but sincere look at the Chinese immigrant experience.

>209 rabbitprincess: We had a delicious meal of Chinese take-away the other night - with all my favorite "fake" Chinese dishes - chow mein, chop suey and sweet and sour chicken balls. Yum!

Jun 2, 1:47pm

88. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik - 5.0 ★
Category: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley & Hermione Granger
Around the Year in 52 Books: From NPR's Book Concierge
June TIOLI #8: Something currently impossible occurs in the book

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik is loosely based on the fairy tale of Rumplestiltskin but this is really the story of two kingdoms, one ruled by a demon of fire and one ruled by a creature of ice, and of the women who learned how to control them. I was totally immersed in this book and found it a thoughtful, powerful and intricate read full of magic and atmosphere.

Miryem, Wanda and Irina are compelling characters. Miryem is the daughter of a Jewish moneylender who is too soft so Miryem steps into his role and becomes very successful. Wanda is the oldest child of an abusive drunk who is in debt to Miryem’ family so Wanda finds herself working off that debt in Miryem’s home, and also finds a secure, happy place to escape from her father. Irina is the daughter of a duke who is more involved in his political plans than in planning a happy future for his daughter. Miryem attracts the attention of the king of the Staryk with her boasts of being able to turn silver into gold and he takes her for his queen. Irina, through a subtle magic, finds herself married off to the Tsar, only to find herself in mortal danger as he is possessed by an evil fire demon. The story of how the girls band together and plan for the downfall of their kings is a spellbinding story of high fantasy with a twist of romance.

Spinning Silver has the feel of a Russian fairy tale and the author uses Miryem’s Jewish heritage to great advantage. All of the characters are well developed and multi-faceted and the story is layered, rich, and satisfying. I was surprised by this book and how original and thought provoking it was.

Jun 2, 1:49pm

I am heading back to Victoria this afternoon. My sister is on a trip to Spain and I want to ensure that my brother is doing ok. I will be gone a week or so and probably won't be checking in until I get back. Of course, I am taking lots of reading material. :)

Jun 2, 1:57pm

>211 DeltaQueen50: Yay for the 5-star read! I also loved Spinning Silver. If you haven't read Uprooted yet, I highly recommend that one as well!

Jun 2, 2:13pm

>213 christina_reads: Hi Christina, I have read Uprooted and I did enjoy it, but not as much as Spinning Silver! I would love this author to write some more high fantasy like those two stories!

Jun 2, 2:21pm

>214 DeltaQueen50: Same here, I'd love her to write more books in that vein!

Jun 2, 6:15pm

>211 DeltaQueen50: we read this in a real life book group; and most of us liked it, (love retellings of fairy tales) but we questions the use of the addition of the Jewish religion; it seemed incogruous withthe world she was in. but like you I loved how the young women found they own sollutions to their troubles and were able to help each other. Itoo appreciated the multi faceted story an really liked the characters. I think i gave it a 4

Jun 3, 7:30am

Have a safe trip.

Jun 3, 10:02am

Enjoy your time with your brother.

Jun 11, 5:32pm

Judy, I apologize for being so very late with my condolences, as I've been away from LT for a few weeks and am just catching up with threads. I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your mother and I hope you are having a nice time with your brother this week.

I was glad to see that you enjoyed Chop Suey Nation. I grew up working in my parents' Chinese restaurant, and this book helped me gain a better appreciation of what my parents went through and what they had contributed to the community. (I definitely did not appreciate it when I was young!)

Jun 11, 6:20pm

Happy Saturday, Judy. I hope everything is going well with you. I have not been reading much fantasy, these past few years but Spinning Silver does sound like a good one.

Edited: Jun 11, 9:52pm

>211 DeltaQueen50: Ooooh, this one is on my wishlist! (Thought I would add it, until I clicked on the link and realized I had already added it. Guess it will be on the "Christmas Book" list this year :)

Hope you are doing OK, and your brother is getting along these days as well. Kudos to you for taking the trip to check in on him while your sister is out of the country.

Jun 13, 12:44pm

I am home and now trying to catch up here on LT. I had a good trip and we got a fair number of things done. My brother is doing ok but I know he wasn't looking forward to me going home and being on his own. I stayed a few days longer as we were isolating ourselves after being exposed to Covid. My sister came home from Spain and came to visit us, that afternoon she tested positive. We were a little peeved as she knew that there was a good possibility that she contacted the infection as many on her tour group tested positive while still in Spain. Anyway it looks like we escaped the infection as it's been 6 days and my brother and I are still ok.

>216 cindydavid4: Personally, I really liked the Jewish aspect to the story, I thought it brought a sense of history and reality to the story.

>217 Helenliz: & >218 BLBera: Thanks Helen and Beth. It was difficult at first to go back to my Mom's house, but I did enjoy spending time with my family. My nephews came around a few times and brought their kids - all boys, aged 7, 5 and almost 3. So lively, loud and fun!

>219 mathgirl40: Thank you for your kind thoughts, Paulina. I found Chop Suey Nation a very interesting read. Small Chinese restaurants were so abundant when I was young and now, they seem to be disappearing as the owners retire and their children are doing other things. My husband who grew up in the Prairies remembers when every small town had their own Chinese restuarant. It's definitely part of Canadian history.

>220 msf59: Hi Mark. I don't read as much fantasy as I used to but I really did enjoy Spinning Silver, it was very well done.

>221 threadnsong: I hope you enjoy Spinning Silver when you get to it.

Edited: Jun 13, 1:17pm

89. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende - 3.5 ★
Category: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler
Historical Fiction Challenge: Set in a country other than your own
June Reading Through Time: The Golden State
June TIOLI #2: Published in the 1990s

I found Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende an enjoyable read that was filled with rich characters and told an excellent historical story that was captivating and interesting. The book opens in the British colony of Valparaiso, Chile and the story is about the orphaned Eliza who is taken in by the very British Victorian spinster Miss Rose and her rigid brother, Jeremy. Eliza grows to be both at home in the proper English drawing room and in the kitchen, as much of her upbringing was left to the Indian servant woman, Mama Fresia. All runs smoothly until Eliza meets and falls in love with Joaquin Andieta, a young Chilean man who, when he hears about the discovery of gold in California, heads off to build a better life for both himself and his poverty-stricken mother. When Eliza discovers that she is pregnant, she runs away to find him.

Eliza befriends a Chinese physician, Tao Chi’en who helps her to stow away to California. They build a solid friendship. He disguises Eliza as a Chinese youth which enables her to travel to the gold fields in search of Joaquin. Tao Chi’en builds a life for himself in San Francisco, while Eliza, still disguised as a boy, plays the piano at a brothel. She learnsto love the freedom her disguise gives her. Years pass and her step-mother Rose, and her uncles Jeremy and John come to California to find Eliza.

Well written and engaging, Daughter of Fortune was a historical adventure story with a great deal of scope. I was fascinated by the South American connection and intrigued by how vivid and real the story became. By using the themes of both obsession and freedom, the author has captured the turbulent days of the California Gold Rush.

Jun 13, 1:49pm

90. Calamity Town by Ellery Queen - 4.2 ★
Category: Calvin & Hobbs
June AlphaKit: Q
June TIOLI #12: Completes a Square of the Seattle Public Library Bingo Card

Calamity Town is my first book by Ellery Queen, picked because it appears on H. R. F. Keating’s List of Best Crime Novels. Ellery Queen is a pseudonym created by American crime fiction writers Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee. They also use the name Ellery Queen for their main fictional character, a mystery writer. In this outing Queen comes to the small town of Wrightsville for research and ends up helping to solve a case involving murder by poison.

The Wrights are the leading family of Wrightsville and Ellery becomes friendly with the youngest daughter and eventually the whole family. The middle daughter, Nora, has just gotten back together with the love of her life. But bad luck seems to follow Nora as first she has to play host to her husband Jim’s unpleasant sister, Rosemary, and then comes to the realization that her new husband is plotting to murder her. With plenty of twists and turns, the book keeps both Ellery Queen and the reader on their toes although it appears that small town gossip has already decided who the poisoner is. A difficult case to predict, I was absorbed in the story and couldn’t wait to find out what exactly did happen on New Year’s Eve and who the villain was going to be.

I really enjoyed this puzzler and now I have a new author to add to my list of vintage crime authors that I want to read more of.

Jun 13, 5:14pm

>222 DeltaQueen50: Personally, I really liked the Jewish aspect to the story, I thought it brought a sense of history and reality to the story.

but thats why I read fantasy, to escape reality! But you make a good point

Jun 13, 6:18pm

>223 DeltaQueen50: I've read two Allende's and liked one and didn't like the other. I'm going to read this one to cement the decision!

Jun 13, 8:01pm

>224 DeltaQueen50: I just started reading this yesterday (to match you in TIOLI). I've read quite a few Ellery Queens but didn't realize that there are any set outside of New York City.

Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

Jun 13, 8:11pm

>223 DeltaQueen50: - I've had this in my TBR pile for over 10 years. I really need to get to reading it. (along with a few others of hers in my TBR pile).

Jun 13, 9:15pm

>225 cindydavid4: Well, that's certainly true - fantasy does make a great escape from real life!

>226 Tess_W: What other Allende's have you read? I have read Zorro and a YA story called City of Beasts both of which I enjoyed. I have The House of Spirits on my shelf to get to at some point.

>227 lindapanzo: Hi Linda! I did enjoy my first Ellery Queen and I particularly liked the small town America setting.

>228 dudes22: I had it on my TBR for a number of years as well, it just kept getting shuffled to the bottom of the pile!

Jun 13, 9:25pm

>223 DeltaQueen50: I've really enjoy Allende's historical novels, including Daughter of Fortune. House of Spirits and Portrait in Sepia are my favorites, and I also enjoyed the Eva Luna short stories. For some reason, I couldn't get into Zorro, but maybe because I kept thinking of the TV show Zorro that used to be on when I was a kid, and I haven't picked up anything by her since. Might be time to get back to her stuff.

Jun 13, 10:25pm

>230 Storeetllr: I also loved thos early books of hers, and would include Paula in that group. Like Anne Tyler, her early books were so wonderful, but the latter ones I just couldnt get into.

Jun 13, 10:37pm

>231 cindydavid4: I didn't read Paula, I think because I have a daughter and, at the time, I just could not deal with the thought of losing a daughter. Perhaps now, but I don't think so. I did love her early historical novels, though, almost enough to give Paula a try.

Edited: Jun 14, 5:22am

Welcome back, Judy, and thanks for the reminder about Daughter of fortune. I've got this somewhere...

Jun 14, 7:36am

Hi Judy: I'm glad you had a good visit with your brother. It will certainly be an adjustment for him. I really like Allende's historical fiction, and I haven't read Daughter of Fortune, so I have something to look forward to.

I read Ellery Queen's work years ago and remember enjoying them.

Jun 14, 10:44am

>232 Storeetllr: I so understand. Not sure Id call it a history, but certainly a memoir of the time. I think its as powerful as the year of magical thinking I have put off reading books for similar personal reasons; there are enough books out there to read. So don't push yourelf if its going to be painful.

Jun 14, 12:29pm

I used to read Ellery Queen and also had a subscription to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. I think there was an Ellery Queen TV show too? Calamity Town goes on my wish list!

Jun 14, 12:47pm

>230 Storeetllr: It's been a number of years since I read Zorro so I don't remember whether it's very different from the TV show or movie. Like the legend of Robin Hood, I have a soft spot for Zorro. I clearly remember avidly watching the TV show when I was young.

>233 MissWatson: I read Daughter of Fortune because I mistakenly thought it was on the 1,001 List of Book to Read Before You Die List. I was surprised when I went to check it off and it wasn't there! No matter, it was a great read and I am glad that I finally picked it up.

>234 BLBera: Hi Beth. I am going to try to get over to the Island every other month or so, but my sister will visit him regularly as well as my nephews and their families which will help. It sounds like I have a lot of Isabel Allende's books in my future!

>236 LadyoftheLodge: I also remember the Ellery Queen TV show and magazines although I wasn't a regular viewer or reader.

Jun 14, 1:01pm

91. A History of the Future by James Howard Kunstler - 3.5 ★
Category: Godzilla & King Kong
June SFFFKit: Series
June TIOLI #4: The Total Number of Pages Ends in a 6 or 8

A History of the Future by James Howard Kunstler is the third installment in his dystopian series entitled World Made By Hand. The books are set in a future America after a total economic, environmental and political collapse has occurred a number of years ago. This particular book opens just as the residents of a small town in upstate New York called Union Grove are preparing to celebrate Christmas.

In this new world, electricity, computers and most modern conveniences are a thing of the past. Christmas is a time for family and loved ones to gather together and enjoy simple pleasures of music, food and friendship. On this stormy Christmas Eve a couple of events occur that will effect many of the townspeople. A shocking double murder sees a young mother taken into custody and many fear that justice will demand that she be hung. Also, a young man returns to the town after wandering America for the past two years. Although malnourished and exhausted, his story is bleak as there isn’t much left of America anymore with various factions forming their own countries that are in violent competition with each other. But all is not gloom and doom, we also read how people are learning to live a good but simple life in this new world, helping each other, sharing their supplies and appreciating their families.

These books have some pretty big flaws, the author’s viewpoint is one that I don’t very often agree with, his women characters are one-dimensional and there is a distinct lack of ethnic characters. But the author delivers the stories in a folksy, earnest tone and I appreciate that he gives the reader a sense of hope so I will be continuing on to the last book in this dystopian pioneer series.

Jun 14, 11:46pm

>239 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess. I will check those titles out.

Jun 15, 1:23pm

Glad you had time with your family, Judy, but good to see you back.

Jun 15, 1:30pm

>241 mstrust: Thanks, Jennifer. It's good to be home. :)

Jun 15, 1:47pm

92. The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks - 3.4 ★
Category: Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson
Around the Year in 52 Books: The First book of two that share a title word
June TIOLI #1: Author's Name Starts or Ends with an "S"

I have mixed feelings about The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks, while I loved the idea of it, the actual execution left a lot to be desired. The story of two brothers setting out for a small village on Dartmoor in order to speed up the release of their sister’s murdered body, was original and intriguing. They didn’t care about who killed her, they just wanted to be able to bring their sister Rachel’s body home to their mother for a proper burial.

It turned out that her body was being held until the crime was solved so the half gypsy brothers set out to find the murderer. The brothers are very different from one another, where Cole is absolutely fearless, Ruben is the one who thinks things through. Ruben has also inherited the ability to experience members of his family’s sensations and can see events that affect them even when he is miles away. This strong connection to his sister allowed him to visualize her murder and his connection to his brother is going to enable him to help find a resolution to their difficulties.

Although they are warned off by the police, the brothers travel to the remote village of Lychcombe but the questions they ask only seem to stir up the locals and it soon becomes apparent that there are some very violent types who are opposed to any further investigation into the rape and murder of their sister. Of course they keep pushing and their efforts lead to pain and torture as they slowly uncover the secrets that will eventually lead to the truth.

While I found this story of vigilante justice plausible and interesting, there was a great deal that one had to accept at face value and not question. First and foremost, the paranormal twist felt forced and unbelievable as it took most of the mystery out of the story. I also thought that the characters could have been a little better developed as they all seemed one dimensional. While I enjoyed the many twists that The Road of Dead offered up, this isn’t a book that I can fully recommend to others.

Jun 17, 1:39pm

93. Little Bee by Chris Cleave - 4.5 ★
Category: Calvin & Hobbs
June AlphaKit: C
Around the Year in 52 Books: Handwriting on the Cover
June TIOLI #3: Set in one of the listed European Cities

Little Bee by Chris Cleave is a dual narrative story about a Nigerian asylum-seeker and a British magazine editor who originally meet in Nigeria then re-unite in England several years later. The story is both heart-warming and heart breaking.

Little Bee is a young Nigerian girl just released from the refugee detention centre after having stowed away on a ship to escape the horrors and violence of her native country. Sarah, is a recent widow, her husband having committed suicide. She is the mother of a young boy. Along with a number of secrets that are slowly revealed, these two women are tied together by a violent incident on a beach in Nigeria, but although referenced to, this incident isn’t explained until much later in the book.

The book totally drew me in as I followed each woman’s story. The author weaved political issues throughout the book and this, along with the women’s strength, resilience and courage made the book feel very real. At times charming and at others very dark, this is a story that I will remember for a very long time. First and foremost, Little Bee is the story of two women survivors set against the backdrop of political issues surrounding refugees and the accountability of globalization.

Jun 17, 4:52pm

>229 DeltaQueen50: I thought Calamity Town was slow going until we got to the part where we learned about the letters.

I think I may go through the chronological list and see which ones I've missed in the series and start with the oldest one first. I think it's #5 or so.

Jun 17, 7:25pm

>245 lindapanzo: I didn't mind the slow set-up and I will certainly be interested in reading more of his books that are set in Wrightsville. Of course I should also check out a few that are set in New York as well.

Jun 17, 7:57pm

>244 DeltaQueen50: Hit by a BB!

Jun 18, 8:14am

I've had Little Bee on my shelf for years. Time to read it!

Jun 18, 4:56pm

>247 Tess_W: This is the second book that I have read by Chris Cleave, I will definitely be on the lookout by more. I hope you enjoy Little Bee when you get to it.

>248 BLBera: I had Little Bee on my Kindle for eons! I am glad that I finally got to it!

Edited: Jun 18, 5:38pm

Please come on over the my new thread - just click on the continuation button.

Jun 19, 1:07pm

Hi, Judy—just catching up. I haven’t been here since April. So sorry to hear about your mom. I know how special she was. (Hugs)

Good to hear that Chop Suey Nation is a good read. It’s been on my wishlist. And now you have me craving Canadian-Chinese food even though it’s only 10 am.

Jun 19, 1:33pm

>251 Nickelini: Hi Joyce. Thanks for your kind thoughts. My Mom has left a huge hole in my family, but we are tottering on. I think you will enjoy Chop Suey Nation when you get to it.
This topic was continued by DeltaQueen Relies on Friends in 2022 - Page 4.